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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, March 28, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory. – Viet Thanh Nguyen

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Volta a Catalunya stage three reports

We posted the race report from stage winner Adam Yates' Team Mitchelton-Scott with the results.

Here's the organizer's short post:

Adam Yates, the winner in Vallter 2000 says that he will try to win again tomorrow in La Molina.

"Tomorrow is another day to la Molina, another hot day, a new opportunity to win. I was in my good condition, and the form is good, so I’ll try again tomorrow but race never finishes until Barcelona, the last stage areas are always real difficult. Yaeh, I will try my best and I will hopefully win"

On his victory he commented that despite losing distance with Bernal and Quintana at first, he was able to recover after a great effort and beat in the sprint a group where they were also Dan Martin and Miguel Lopez.

Adam Yates

Adam Yates wins the third stage.

Bora-hansgrohe sent me this stage 3 report:

After a break of five years, the climb Vallter 2000 was back in the stage profile of the Volta a Catalunya and built today’s queen stage and summit finish. The riders had to tackle the 11 km climb, which had an average gradient of around 7,6 %, after 168 demanding kilometres with three categorized climbs. Right after the start in Sant Feliu de Guixols, eleven riders formed the day’s breakaway and built up a maximum gap of five minutes.

As the escapees reached the penultimate climb of the day, the gap started to drop steadily. BORA – hansgrohe stayed in the bunch, concentrating on protecting their climbers. As expected, the race fell apart on the final ascent of the day when Team Sky shacked up the bunch. After a significant injection in pace, almost immediately most of the main field were in serious trouble while the break was caught easily.

Unfortunately, also D. Formolo lost contact early, but R. Majka and M. Schachmann where still able to hang on to the reduced first bunch. When Sky pushed once more, also Majka and Schachmann dropped from this group. While at the front with Lopez, Bernal, A. Yates, Quintana and Martin five riders played some tactics on the last kilometer, Rafal was fighting hard in the second chasing group.

In the end Adam Yates took the stage win on the line ahead of Egan Bernal and Dan Martin, with Rafał Majka crossing the line in 17th position as best-placed BORA – hansgrohe, 1:37 behind the winner.

Rafal Majka

Rafal Majka (shown in the 2018 Tour de France). Sirotti photo

From the Finish Line:
“It was a hard stage today. The final climb had an average gradient of 7,6 %. The team worked well to bring me in a good position, but as Team Sky increased the pace, the race fell apart and it was not easy to follow them. I finished inside the top 20 but it was a really tough fight today." – Rafał Majka

“We went confidently into today’s stage, after our two successful first days here. Our plan was to support our climbers to achieve a good stage result. Jay worked very well for his teammates until the bottom of the final climb, as well as Gregor. At the end of the day Rafał crossed the finish line in 17thplace, which isn’t really what we hoped for, but there are still some stages left at the Volta a Catalunya, and we will try our best to achieve some more good results.” – Christian Pömer, Sports Director

Dan Martin's UAE-Team Emirates sent me this:

Daniel Martin was right in the mix of the action with the best climbers in the world when the Volta a Cataluyna stage finished at Vallter 2000. He managed his energy and showed his tenacity over the 11.4km climb to the finish line, where Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) won.

At 7.5km remaining, the group was down to 12 riders under Team Sky’s push. Its rider Egan Bernal attacked at 5.5km remaining. Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) followed the Colombian immediately and was joined by Yates, and at 3.5km left, Miguel Angel López (Team Astana) and Martin.

Martin resisted after a couple of tries by the Colombians and tried to go long at 1000 metres out, and then drove through in the sprint, passed by Yates and Bernal.

Dan MArtin

Dan Martin (shown in the 2018 Tour de France) was third in stage three. Sirotti photo.

“The pace on the final climb was high, we were going quickly up until the start of the climb, so the work of my team-mates was even more important. They kept me in great position,” Martin (photo) said. “I had good feelings, I tried to go at my pace and it allowed me to return to the front in the last kilometres. When I returned, I tired to play my cards in the sprint, keeping sure that I was at the front in the last two curves, above all in the last turn at 200 metres to the line. Unfortunately, this curve was a little narrower than I expected and I had to take the inside line, I had to slow down and this favoured Yates, and he had fresher legs. Third place is great. I would’ve preferred to win. I’ll try again tomorrow“.

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) remains in control of the race overall while Martin moved to fourth overall at 33 seconds. Tomorrow’s fourth stage starts in Llanars and ends in La Molina after 150.3 km. It’ll be difficult given the three category one climbs and the final hors catégorie climb.

And here's the report from Egan Bernal's Team Sky:

Egan Bernal moved up to third place overall at the Volta a Catalunya following a thrilling showdown on the queen stage. The Colombian was the first of the overall contenders to attack on the summit finish to the Vallter 2000 ski resort, breaking the race apart with just over five kilometres to go.

Bernal crossed the line in second place, as an elite five-man group traded blows on the steep final metres of the beyond-category climb.

The result sees Bernal move up the GC, now sitting just 30 seconds back on race leader Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal). The Belgian dug deep on the final climb to retain his lead, with stage winner Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) elevating himself into second place, three seconds ahead of Bernal.

Team Sky arrived at the head of the race as the climb up to Setcases began, with Jhonatan Narvaez leading the line before Sebastian Henao and Ivan Sosa proceeded to split the peloton apart. Bernal will wear the young rider jersey on Thursday as new leader of the competition.

Egan Bernal

Egan Bernal is not to be underestimated. Here he enjoys winning 2019 Paris-Nice. Sirotti photo.

Egan Bernal:
“The most important thing is to try and do our best and then see how far it could bring us. We took some time on Valverde today, but in the first group there are still some really good riders like Nairo, Yates, Dan Martin - so of course it''s going to be difficult, but we will try. Tomorrow is another hard and important stage and we then we will try to attack again.”

Key moment:
With his rivals in difficulty, Bernal launched the first big acceleration drawing out Nairo Quintana (Movistar). The pair forged clear but were eventually joined by Yates, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Dan Martin (UAE-Team Emirates). The quintet went on to contest the stage, with the overall standings still wide open heading into the next phase of the race.

What’s next?
The climbing continues on stage four, with the first category ascent to Molina set to shake up the GC once more. The climb is tackled twice, with bonus seconds up for grabs in between ascents. The uphill finish should see the overall contenders go toe to toe once again.

Driedaagse Brugge - De Panne team reports

We posted the report from winner Dylan Groenewegen's Jumbo-Visma team with the results.

Second-place Fernando Gaviria's UAE-Team Emirates sent me this:

The UAE Team Emirates’ sprinter Fernando Gaviria placed second in the 43rd edition of the Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne after 200km.

This year, the race is marked on the WorldTour Calendar. Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) took the trophy with Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick Step) rounding out the podium behind Gaviria.

Dylan Groenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen wins in De Panne.

“I’m sorry because I wanted to win” Gaviria said. “The sprint was complicated with a few curves and narrow roads. At seven kilometres from the finish, there was a crash that caused us to lose Bohli and we used energy to return to the front part of the group.

"In the final, Ferrari worked amazing well to take me into position for the last kilometre. Then I did my sprint, but Groenewegen was on my wheel and was able to pass me. Now I’m going to try to recover ahead of Harelbeke and above all, Gent-Wevelgem“.

The race was marked by an escape of eight men who rode clear after eight kilometres. They were taken only in the final hard-fought kilometres, staying free for more than 180km

And here's the report from third-place Elia Viviani's Deceuninck-Quick Step team.

This year, Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne made its World Tour debut and Deceuninck – Quick-Step came at the start with a strong team rallied around defending champion Elia Viviani, who relied on Kasper Asgreen and Iljo Keisse to control the six-man breakaway that decided to animate the 200.3km-long race which had the riders face five cobblestone segments and five hills before the flat circuit around De Panne.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step were prominent at the front of the bunch at all times, chasing both the sextet and the five riders that had attacked with more than 90 kilometers to go, over the top of the Kemmelberg, the hardest hill on the course. Once that late move was brought to heel, things calmed down until the final ten kilometers, when a crash occurred as the road narrowed split the peloton, taking several riders out of contention and leaving Elia without the services of Florian Sénéchal, caught behind the pile-up.

Asgreen and Keisse didn’t have any problems when it came to reeling in the survivors of the breakaway, before Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne victor Bob Jungels took over the reins, delivering Michael Mørkøv and Elia Viviani in the top 10 positions under the flamme rouge. Viviani came off the Dane’s wheel with less than 200 meters to go, hitting out first, and sprinted to his seventh podium of the season, behind Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) and Fernando Gaviria (Team UAE Emirates).

“The plan was to control the race and the boys did just that, so a big thanks is in order. Unfortunately, we lost Florian before the finish in that incident and that meant that we had to change the plan, so Bob took a really long pull as we entered in the last kilometer. Michael did a perfect lead-out and I sprinted in the last 175 meters, but two other guys were faster today. Still, a podium in a World Tour race is not bad and this result shows that the legs are there for Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem”, Elia explained after coming in the top 3 at Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne for the second year in a row.

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