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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, May 27, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

The most remarkable discovery in all of astronomy is that the stars are made of atoms of the same kind as those on the earth. - Richard P. Feynman

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Giro d'Italia stage 15 team reports

We posted the organizer's and GC leader Richard Carapaz's Team Movistar reports with the results

Here's the report from stage winner Dario Cataldo's Team Astana:

The Astana rider Dario Cataldo took a heroic victory today on the streets of Como at stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia. After a few days of illness, today Cataldo was able to move himself in a breakaway together with the Italian rider Mattia Cattaneo. Spending all day long in the leading group, at the finish line in Como Dario outsprinted his breakaway companion, taking the most important win in his professional career.

Dario Cataldo

Dario Cataldo wins stage 15. Sirotti photo

- I still can’t believe in it! Today in the morning I could not even think the day will end like this! For a few days I was sick, but still tried to fight on in this race to provide my best to the team and our leader Miguel Angel Lopez. In the team we all stay together, we all work for one goal, riders, staff, directors, all our sponsors, our partner Samruk Kazyna… We have one goal and everyone is trying to do his best for that. So, despite I did not feel good in the morning, I went out to the start with an aim to give my best, - said Dario Cataldo.

- There were many attacks in the group from the start, and in a moment I attacked together with Mattia Cattaneo. A bit later we realized we are only two in front, we decided to push hard as long as possible to see if we could break away. In the end, the peloton gave us space and we started to work more regular. We worked really well together. Anyway, it was a super long and hard day and despite a big gap we had, the peloton still had a chance to catch us. The last climb Civiglio was a tough one. Cattaneo tried twice to drop me, but every time I had legs to answer. I was afraid of these attacks, but, hopefully, I was able to follow it. I knew I have better chances in sprint, so even he left me to lead out our group inside the final two kilometers, I just did it, because there was no place to play the games since the chasers were close. Anyway, I preferred to launch my sprint from the first position and it worked out perfectly! That’s something amazing to win a stage of the Giro d’Italia! I am so happy! – added Dario Cataldo.

- In the beginning it was hard to break away. For 20-30 km they had a small advantage and in any moment it could be closed out. But, they both continued to work hard in front and, finally, the group let them go. Both riders did a good job in the break, in every climb they had a good pace, enough to keep the peloton on a distance despite of a chase behind them. In a few moments we thought the break will be neutralized, but they could stay away until the finish. Indeed, Cattaneo tried for several times on the last climb, but Dario was good enough to follow. In the end Cattaneo decided not to work anymore, leaving Dario on the first position. It was a bit risky, since the chasers were really close. But, our rider did all perfectly. Dario continued keeping the pace and still found some energy to sprint for a victory. I think, that was a very beautiful win for him and for the whole team! – said Stefano Zanini, sports director of Astana Pro Team.

Behind the shoulders of the breakaway, there was a big fight for the general classification. A few riders attacked on the steep slopes of Civiglio to split away the group of the favorites. In the end, 4 riders have got a small advantage on the climb and later of a very technical descent, finishing 11 seconds behind Dario Cataldo: Simon Yates finished third and Hugh Carthy did 4th with the pink jersey Richard Carapaz 5th and Vincenzo Nibali 6th. 25 seconds later Astana’s leader Miguel Angel Lopez brought the first chasing group to the finish line, taking a solid 7th place.

Before the second rest day Richard Carapaz still leads the overall standings of the Giro d’Italia, having 47 seconds on Primož Roglič and 1 minute 47 seconds on Vincenzo Nibali. Miguel Angel Lopez is still 10th, 5 minutes 55 seconds behind the GC leader.

Here's the report from Simon Yates' Mitchelton-Scott team:

Briton Simon Yates has sprinted to third place behind a two-man breakaway after another attacking attitude on stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia.

Simon Yates

Simon Yates finishes third. Sirotti photo

For the second consecutive stage Yates was a major instigator after his Mitchelton-SCOTT teammates took things into their own hands on the 232km ‘Classics-style’ stage.

Yates finished alongside Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and leader Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team), just 11seconds behind stage winner Dario Cataldo (Astana Pro Team).

Gaining some seconds on the likes of Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), Mikel Landa (Movistar Team) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Yates moves up one position to eighth overall ahead of the second rest day.

Expectations that the stage would be one for a breakaway, expectations were for a big fight and large move to form. Despite some efforts, including from Esteban Chaves, after a fast first hour of racing just two riders rode themselves to an advantage.

As the race entered the final 100km, the stage looked likely to be contested by the leading duo. Until then, the peloton, led by leaders Movistar Team, showed no interest in chasing and the gap was out to over 15minutes.

In a quick shift in momentum, Mitchelton-SCOTT moved to the front of the peloton and took racing into their own hands. The increase in pace saw the gap reduce by five-minutes in less than 30km and sparked a new energy from the bunch as they reached the latter climbing section of the race.

As we approached 50km to go and the Colma di Sormano climb Lucas Hamilton set the tempo on the front and the deficit to the break continued to reduce. Yates made two swift attacks on the Sormano the first immediately covered by Movistar, the second saw a small gap emerge, before the GC favourites worked together to close it over the top of the climb.

The final climb set the scene for more attacking for Yates, this time with Vincenzo Nibali and Richard Carapaz setting off in pursuit. The attacks caught Yates, but he chased the pair down the descent before sprinting to third place, just 11seconds behind the surviving breakaway pair.

Simon Yates:
“I’m getting better day by day, but really at the end of the day I have nothing to lose now. If I go from far out, they don’t chase me and I can gain some seconds or if I go from far and they catch me, it doesn’t matter because I’m a very long way down so I can try these things. 

“It was only a small breakaway for a long day. Mid way through the stage I was feeling good, Whitey geed me up a bit and the guys did a really great job. No one else wanted to commit to the chase, they were happy for the breakaway to stay away, but the big guys did a really great job into the bottom of the climbs and the rest of the guys were great on the climbs, especially Lucas. It’s his first Grand Tour and he is ripping up climbs for fun.”

Matt White:
“At the start of the day the plan was to put someone in the breakaway, but no one expected it to be just two riders. 

“We had to make a decision if we wanted to go for a stage win. It’s the day before a rest day, Simon is in good form, the climb suited him well and so we went for it.

“We’ve never given up fight, but it’s not about gaining a few seconds here and there, the most positive thing is that Simon is moving in the right direction and that’s not the case for everyone in the top ten.” 

Jumbo-Visma's Primoz Roglic had a rough time in stage 15. Here's his team's report:

Primoz Roglic has lost time in the final of the fifteenth stage in the Giro d’Italia due to bad luck. The leader of Team Jumbo-Visma had to swap bikes due to a mechanical problem. He crashed in the descent of the Civiglio. As a result, Roglic had to give in forty seconds to his closest competitors Richard Carapaz and Vincenzo Nibali. Roglic remains second overall at 47 seconds from Carapaz.

Primoz roglic

Primoz Roglic and Vincenzo Nibali in stage 13. Sirotti photo.

The stage initially evolved without problems for Team Jumbo-Visma, until the ascent of the Civiglio. Two leaders were allowed a maximum lead of fifteen minutes and they eventually competed for the stage victory. Behind these leaders, the team kept Roglic well-positioned. After the descent of the Sormano, Roglic was forced to swap bikes with Antwan Tolhoek. Roglic quickly returned to the group with all the GC favourites, but was subsequently unable to immediately answer an attack by Nibali and Carapaz. During the descent, the Slovenian tried to close in on his competitors, but he crashed.

“It wasn’t a good day for me, but it wasn’t the worst either”, Roglic said. “All in all I can live with the outcome of this stage, taking all bad luck into account. I had to swap bikes in the run-up to the Civiglio. It always feels different when you are riding someone else’s bike instead of your own. Nibali and Carapaz were very strong today. At the top of the Civiglio I was not far behind, but I took too many risks. It is still a long way to Verona and anything can happen. I still feel pretty good. First I will enjoy the rest day and then we will see what will happen next.”

Despite the bad luck, Sports director Addy Engels was able to live with the time loss. “Forty seconds is a lot on a day like today. But in hindsight it is not too much either. It could have been much worse. Today we lost a battle, but we are not eliminated in the battle for the pink jersey. We will keep fighting.”

Rafal Majka's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this report:

Featuring 237 km of racing from Ivrea to Como, stage 15 was the second-longest in this year’s Giro d’Italia. After 160 km of flat terrain, the Madonna del Ghisallo and the Colma di Sarmano, both category 2 ascents, and the Civiglio, which are known from Il Lombardia, had to be conquered. After the challenging 4.2 km-long and 9.8 per cent steep ascent of the Civiglio, the technically challenging parcours kicked up for 6km along the shores of lake Como before reaching the finishing town.

After the first 10 km of racing, a duo escaped and was able to build up an advantage of almost 16 minutes.  At the first intermediate sprint, Pascal Ackermann, currently second in the points classification, put up a fight to take bonus points. On the rolling roads up to the first climb, Mitchelton-SCOTT made the tempo and the gap to the two leaders began to whittle away. With 65 km remaining, BORA - hansgrohe came to the front of the field to force the tempo, which resulted in the peloton breaking up into three sections. The group of favourites, including Rafal Majka, jostled for the foremost positions, to be ready for potential attacks on the climb of the Madonna del Ghisallo, and subsequently made their way up to the pilgrimage chapel. 

In the descent, Mitchelton-SCOTT took control and led the team of favourites up the next climb, the Colma di Sarmano. At this point the breakaway, who worked well together, still had around 6 minutes on the group of favourites. With 45km to the finish, S. Yates attacks but the remaining group of favourites let him go for the moment. Rafal Majka, supported by Davide Formolo, rode in the group behind with V. Nibali and P. Roglic. Movistar lead the chase and eventually caught up to the Mitchelton-SCOTT rider. In the descent of the Colma di Sarmano the two escapees were able to gain again some ground on the chasing favourites, leading with over 4 minutes. In a flat part before the last climb, Movistar increased the tempo yet again but the breakaway duo of Cataldo and Cattaneo could hold onto an advantage of 5 minutes.

Meanwhile back in the main group, P. Roglic had to change his bike but was able to catch up to the favourites. On the steepest part of the Civiglio-climb, V. Nibali attacked and set after S. Yates and H. Carthy who had escaped from the main bunch. Further back Davide Formolo set up to wait for his leader Rafal Majka who was in some difficulty. In the fast descent P.  Roglic was unable to take a sharp turn and lost some ground against his rivals. With 2km to go the leading duo still had half a minute advantage over the chasing group around Nibali. 250m to the finish Cataldo pushed past Cattaneo, his breakaway companion, to take the win on the day. Rafal and Davide crossed the line with more than 30 seconds behind the winner. After this stage Rafal was able to maintain his 4th position in the general classification, 2:35 minutes in arrears of Carapaz, the leader of the GC, ahead of the second rest day.

Rafal Majka

Rafal Majka racing in stage 13. Sirotti photo

From the finish line:
“Today is the first day that we really suffered on these short climbs. It’s not easy after four days of riding full gas all the time but today we still tried not to lose time and keep fighting. We maintained our good place in the GC with my fourth position, and we worked together to achieve this. Davide was strong and waited for me at the top of the decisive climb and we then tried to bridge the gap, we didn't quite succeed but we can be satisfied with our results.” - Rafal Majka

“This was another hard stage, with 232 kilometres and the final of Il Lombardia. We didn’t lose nor win time today, and we’re still sitting within reach of the podium with our fourth place, which is a very good achievement. Today Davide had to wait for Rafal on the decisive climb, so that they would be able to work together on the rest of the stage. Our guys performed well today yet again and finished in 8th and 11th place, which means that they also sit in 4th and 12th in the overall standings. Chapeau, they put in a very solid day’s work today.” - Jens Zemke, Sports Director

CCC Team reports on Hammer Stavanger

The team sent me this:

26 May 2019: CCC Team finished off Hammer Stavanger in style, setting the fastest time in the race against the clock to take the stage win and crossing the line in fifth place, to secure fifth overall, at the first stop on the Hammer Series calendar.

After a great performance by Łukasz Wiśniowski in the Hammer Sprint yesterday, where the Polish rider scored nearly 600 points, after an impressive move in the second part of the race, CCC Team made it into the top eight and qualified for the Finalist Group in the Hammer Chase.

CCC Team was the last team to start in the Finalist Group, setting off two minutes and 47 seconds behind Team Jumbo-Visma with each team in between separated by 20 to 30 seconds.

Wiśniowski, Szymon Sajnok, Serge Pauwels, Nathan Van Hooydonck and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck got off to a fast start and set the second-best time after the first of three 16.3-kilometer laps.

The quintet went even faster on the second lap, continuing the strong pace and moved up from eighth place to fourth at one point. The podium place was within reach but, in the end Team INEOS managed to come back and eventually CCC Team finished in fifth place overall, setting the best time of the day of 53’49”, on the 48.9-kilometer course, which was enough to secure the Hammer Chase win.

Jackson Stewart, Sports Director: "Our guys rode super well today. We wanted to pace the long team time trial well and with all the data on the road from the other teams, we quickly realized we could win the Hammer Chase. The guys were really motivated and everyone was having a good day so, we just kept focusing on setting the fastest time of the day. It is a really nice feeling to finish this race with a win."

Łukasz Wiśniowski: "We were focused on this race and we knew that we have a strong team here. We started off well and we were able to maintain our pace all the way so, we are happy with how we rode. There was no pressure on us and since we were the last team to set off there was nobody behind us and we couldn’t afford to go easy at the beginning. We managed to catch a few teams and the next ones were within our sight and that motivated us but, the strong and well-rounded team was the key today."

"Yesterday, we had to ride aggressively to score points and to start the Hammer Chase in the Finalist Group. I waited for the second part of that race where I attacked together with Michał Gołaś (Team INEOS) and I was able to win a few sprints. Obviously, that move cost me a lot of energy and took its toll on the legs but, we were aiming for the team time trial, everyone motivated each other and in such moments, you often forget about the fatigue."

Race Profile

Hammer Chase: Stavanger > Stavanger (48.9km)

Top 3 of Hammer Chase: 1. CCC Team 2. Team INEOS 3. Team Sunweb

Top 3 of Hammer Stavanger: 1. Team Jumbo-Visma 2. Team Sunweb 3. Mitchelton-Scott 5. CCC Team

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