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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, May 25, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain. - Robert Frost

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Giro d'Italia stage 13 team reports

We posted the organizer's and GC leader Jan Polanc's UAE-Team Emirates' reports with the results

Here's the report from stage winner Ilnur Zakarin's Katusha-Alpecin team:

Placing himself in an early break on stage 13 set the stage for Ilnur Zakarin in Friday’s 102nd Giro d’Italia. Zakarin, 29, took advantage of his position and attacked on the last climb, eventually arriving solo atop Lago Serrù (Ceresole Reale) to claim the stage win and move himself into third place on the general classification.

Ilnur Zakarin

Ilnur Zakarin crosses the line alone. Sirotti photo

Ilnur Zakarin: “I did my best for the GC today. I went into the breakaway to gain time. To also win the stage was a surprise because that was not my original plan. On the last climb I gave all of my energy and for this effort I earned the stage victory. I am happy with this result. I am third place now so I will keep trying for the pink jersey. My first goal is the general classification.” It was a third grand tour stage win for the Russian rider with a previous Giro stage win in 2015 and a Tour stage win in 2016.

Zakarin’s time of 5:34:40 (35.14 km/h) on the 196k stage departing from Pinerolo put him 35-seconds ahead of second-place finisher Mikel Nieve of Mitchelton-Scott, and 1:20 in front of Mikel Landa (Movistar Team) in third. The solid work from Zakarin jumped him from 12th place to third on the general classification at 2:56 behind race leader Jan Polanc (UAE-Team Emirates) and 31-seconds behind second place Primož Roglič.

Zakarin: “I think Roglič is a strong guy and really the favorite for this race. Now we will rest and see what we can do tomorrow. I hope for a top five finish on GC but maybe we can do something more. I won a stage here before but it was not a climbing stage. The last 5k were really hard. This is an important win for me. It’s been two years since my last win.”

Stage 14 on Saturday brings a shorter, more intense day. At 131k, the stage begins in Saint-Vincent and ends on the category 3 Courmayeur (Skyway Monte Bianco). With only 14k of flat riding, the stage includes 5 classified climbs and up-and-down terrain throughout the day.

Here's Bora-hansgrohe's report:

With three tricky climbs, today’s 13th stage was the first real mountain stage of this year’s Giro d'Italia and took the riders over 196km to the Alpine region of Piemont. 40 km after the start in Pinerolo, the riders reached the Colle del Lys, a first category climb. Following a 40km long descent, the course then went upwards yet again to the 9km log and on average 8.7 per cent steep Pian del Lupo. After another steep descent, the final climb of the day began to the finish town Ceresole Reale, near the glacial basin of Lago Serrù, which lies at an altitude of 2247m. The last 7 km until the finish line ramped up to 9 per cent grade.

The race started fairly aggressively and any early attacks were being brought back almost as soon as they went off. After 30 km, the field split into three groups. Davide Formolo was able to join the first group of about 28 riders, which after cresting the first categorised climb, had been able to carve out an advantage of around 3 minutes to the group containing the Maglia Rosa. Team UAE Emirates and Jumbo Visma led the reduced peloton in an attempt to reduce the gap and with the ascent to the Pian del Lupo the gap had been reduced to less than 2 minutes.

The steep climb took its toll on the leading riders and several had to fall back into the chasing group. Davide was able to hold his own and ride in one of the front positions within the leading group. The chasing group, now reduced to 15 riders, and containing Rafal Majka and GC favourites, began to close the gap to the front. The peloton, which contained the Maglia Rosa, was now distanced with more than 2 minutes. At the foot of the ascent to Ceresole Reale, the group around the Maglia Rosa was able to catch up to the group of favourites now lagging 40 seconds behind the leaders with 38 km to go. On the steep climb to the finishing town, several riders attacked from the front group and were able to distance themselves. Davide rode in a group of 5 riders in pursuit of the leaders. The group of favourites containing Rafal Majka followed a couple of minutes behind.

With 15 km to go Davide was unable to keep up with the tempo and was dropped. A quartet then led out in front and had over 4 minutes to the group of favourites, which included Rafal, V. Nibali and P. Roglic. With a few kilometres to go, Rafal attacked but could not shake off his rivals. In the last two kilometres, I. Zakarin and M. Nieve lead out front but in the end the Katusha-Alpecin rider was the strongest, ultimately getting himself over the line victorious. Rafal finished in 6th place, two minutes in arrears, and with that remains in 7th place in the general classification, while teammate Davide managed to finish in tenth position on the stage.

Rafal Majka

Rafal Majka racing the closing kilometers of stage 13. Sirotti photo.

From the finish line:
“Today Davide managed to get into a break with several quality riders, and the plan was that he would try to go for the stage win. It was an interesting stage, with many GC riders losing time but also others gaining time. But there are still several stages left to come and it’s hard to predict what will happen. The last kilometres were very tough. I tried to bridge to the leaders, with the help of Davide, but it wasn’t possible. But there are several stages ahead of us and we'll of course keep trying.” - Rafal Majka

“It was good that Davide managed to get into a large breakaway group, but the field didn’t give them too much time and they weren’t able to carve out such a substantial advantage. There were many strong riders in the leading group, including Mollema and the eventual stage winner Zakarin, and it wasn’t easy competing against them. They were very strong today. However, Rafal was able to take time on riders like Roglic and Yates, and that will be an advantage heading into the coming stages." - Jens Zemke, Sports Director

Sunweb's Louis Vervaeke abandons Giro d’Italia on stage 13:

Team Sunweb’s run of poor luck continues at the Giro d’Italia as Louis Vervaeke is forced to abandon the race. Having been on the attack earlier in the Giro during stage eight, Vervaeke felt completely empty during today’s stage and climbed off the bike before the last ascent of the day.

Louis Vervaecke

Louis Vervaeke in 2017

Vervaeke had this to say: “I feel completely empty, like I will wake up sick tomorrow. I wasn’t able to take on any food or drink during the stage and just had nothing left in my legs. I’m disappointed because the team was riding well and we were looking forward to the opportunities in the final half of the race.”

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef added: “It’s a real shame for Louis and the team that he had to abandon because he was riding really strongly at this Giro. During the stage he felt totally empty and wasn’t able to continue. We will continue to fight with the five guys that are left and look for more opportunities throughout the rest of the race.”

Team Jumbo-Visma climbs to victory in Hammer Stavanger Climb

We aren't covering the Hammer series, but here's the race report from Team Jumbo-Visma:

Team Jumbo-Visma has started the Hammer Series in Stavanger with a victory in the Hammer Climb. The formation of Frans Maassen won two of the ten sprints, but managed to position two riders well in every lap to score enough points.

Mike Teunissen secured the team victory in the final lap with a powerful final sprint, claiming the maximum double points. It meant the twenty-second victory for Team Jumbo-Visma of the season.

During the tough evening, in which the Grisabakken had to be climbed ten times, the tactic was to collect as many points as possible during the laps in which the team could score double points. In addition to Teunissen, the rest of the team, consisting of Jonas Vingegaard, Amund Grondahl Jansen, Pascal Eenkhoorn and Maarten Wynants, were also very active.

Tomorrow, the Hammer Series in Stavanger will continue with the Hammer Sprint. Dylan Groenewegen then joins the team.

“Such a victory is a real team achievement. Everyone was very strong today”, Teunissen said. “As a team, we rode very attentively and we were always represented in the breakaway. First with Jonas and then with Pascal and me. The race made clear that you don’t have to win every sprint to score a lot of points. We only won two of the ten sprints, but we always scored points with multiple riders. We were very consistent and we were constantly in control. That was crucial for our victory.”

Pascal Eenkhoorn especially praised the strong sprints of his teammate. “Mike was very important to us today. He was really strong on that climb. Which was obvious, because he won two sprints.”

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