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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, September 9, 2019

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Vuelta a España stage fifteen reports

We posted the organizer's stage summary with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Sepp Kuss' Jumbo-Visma team:

Sepp Kuss has won the fifteenth stage of the Vuelta a España in a sensational way. The American from Team Jumbo-Visma was the best climber of today’s breakaway. The victory for Kuss on the Puerto del Acebo is the fifth in his young career. The win is number 44 of the year for Team Jumbo-Visma.

Sepp Kuss

Sepp Kuss wins Vuelta stage fifteen.

After his beautiful win(s) in the Tour of Utah last year, this win can be be seen as the next step in his career. The 24 years old American attacked six kilometres from the top of the final climb. No other breakaway rider could follow his high pace.

“This is amazing to believe”, says Kuss. “The Vuelta is incredible for us at the moment. This is an incredible day. We were attentive from the beginning and at the front. Some of the the teams sent dangerous guys up to the front, so I decided to go with them. The gap was big enough to go for the stage win. Otherwise I was going to help Primoz on the final climb. I had no strategy on the final climb, I just went full gas, I celebrated the final kilometre with the fans. The passion they have is fantastic and that is why cycling is such a big sport. On bad days they are there for you, they shout you to the top. They always support, that is why I love cycling.

Team Jumbo-Visma allows Kuss to grow step by step. “To grab this kind of victory is not easy, I always work hard to be in a good shape. The team gives me opportunities. This is the third Grand Tour I've participated in. I get chances to race for myself, like today. I'm really grateful to the team."

Primoz Roglic's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this report:

After yesterday’s flat stage, the race went back into the mountains for a challenging stage 15. The peloton started from Tineo into the 154-kilometer mountain stage, which finished on the Santuario del Acebo, a category one climb. It was clear to be be another tough battle for the overall of the Vuelta a España, as the riders had to face three category one climbs before heading onto the final 7,3 km long uphill finish.

Vuelta a Espana

No shortage of challenges in stage fifteen.

Right from the start attacks were flying and high speeds marked the first hour of racing.GC contender Rafal Majka always stayed at the front of the race together with teammate Pawel Poljanski, before on the descent after the first climb of the day, a big breakaway of 17 riders distanced themselves with a small gap. Pawel Poljanski represented BORA- hansgrohe's colors in it and with 55km to go, shortly before the penultimate ascent of the day, Pawel’s breakaway group had more than three minutes advantage.

When the race finally reached the last climb, both, the break and the peloton split up almost immediately. While at the front S. Kuss was the one to lead the race, A. Valverde made an early move a little further back. Only P. Roglic was able to follow the Spaniard, with Felix Großschartner taking control in the chase group. When Astana forced another split, Großschartner was dropped, but Majka looked confident following Lopez and Pogacar while N. Quintana was in difficulties.

Pawel Poljanski now waited for Majka and also supported his leader in an important situation. When Kuss took the win on the Santuario de Acebo, Majka lost contact to Lopez and Pogacar on the last two kilometers. But the BORA – hansgrohe leader was able to keep a high rhythm, finishing 14thin the end. Majka is still sixth on the overall, but now just around two minutes behind Quintana.

From the Finish Line:
“It was really a tough day, with attacks and fast speeds right from the start. We had with Pawel one in the day’s break and in the final he and Felix rode really strong. Felix brought me into position and increased the pace to force a split among the chasers. We are in the final part of this Vuelta and have to be concentrated. We will do our best to achieve at the end a result we can be proud of.” - Rafal Majka

“It was another tough stage, four category one climbs and the battle for the GC. I think we showed in the past days, and also today, a really good performance. Pawel and Felix were with Rafal until the final climb and helped him as long as they could. Then he crossed the line surrounded by the other favourites and secured his 6th place on the overall.” – Patxi Vila, Sports Director  

UAE-Team Emirates sent me this:

UAE Team Emirates’ Tadej Pogačar moved another step closer to taking a podium finish at his first ever Grand Tour, after matching his main GC and Youth Classification rival, Miguel Angel Lopez (Team Astana), pedal stroke for pedal stroke during stage 15 of La Vuelta.

Tadej Pogacar

Tadej Pogacar after winning stage nine. Sirotti photo.

It was a stage that saw the breakaway riders have their day, with Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) crossing the line first after battling 154.4kms of mountainous terrain from Tieno to Santuario del Acebo. The race came to life for the GC contenders on the final climb of the day, with a select group of riders fracturing as the gradients got tougher. Pogačar (photo Bettini) rode the perfect race, letting Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Promoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) ride away with 7km to go as they went head to head for first and second place. Meanwhile, Pogačar calmly marked his man Lopez, responding to each acceleration and ensuring no time gaps were opened up. The intelligent and measured performance allowed the 20-year-old Slovenian to retain third place in the overall classification – 17 seconds ahead of Lopez – and take the white ‘young riders’ jersey into stage 16.

Pogačar commented: “It was another really fast day and the start was really hard. Towards the end it was getting hotter and hotter and we still went full gas on the last climb, so I am really happy that I could hold third place in the overall and the white jersey. When Valverde attacked, I was a little tired, but also I didn’t want to waste more energy by accelerating so early on the climb. Instead I decided it was best to follow Lopez as he is still the closest to me in the GC”.

Stage 16 will be another tough race for the GC riders as they take on a 144.4km mountain course from Pravia to Alto de la Cubilla Luba. The stage features three climbs en route and ends with yet another summit finish, 1690m above sea level.

Tour of Britain Stage two news

We posted the report from winner Matteo Trentin's Mitchelton-Scott team with the results.

Here is the race organizer's report:

Former European champion Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) moved into the race lead of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain after sprinting to a dramatic victory in Kelso, Scottish Borders, on Sunday.

Trentin pipped Jasper de Buyst (Lotto Soudal), Mike Teunissen (Team Jumbo – Visma Cycling) and Davide Cimolai (Israel Cycling Academy) to the line after a reduced peloton caught brave solo attacker Alex Dowsett (Team KATUSHA ALPECIN) within 50 metres of the finish line.

Matteo Trentin

Matteo Trentin takes stage two.

Trentin, who placed third in Saturday’s opening stage in Kirkcudbright, gained crucial time bonuses on the line as a result of his win. This, combined with the distancing of overnight leader Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo – Visma Cycling) on the final SKODA King of the Mountains climb of Dingleton, put the Italian rider into the overall lead of the race.

After a three-rider breakaway had toiled in the warm Scottish Borders sunshine for much of the day, the race burst into action on the Scott’s View SKODA King of the Mountains climb, with Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon Circus) and Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal) attacking and bridging to the three leaders.

That spurred an intensified chase and catch on the run to Melrose, with Trentin grabbing three bonus seconds at the intermediate Eisberg sprint in Melrose at the foot of the final climb at Dingleton.

Over the climb Pavel Sivakov (Team INEOS) went clear but was reeled in by the chasing of Mitchelton-SCOTT on the front of the bunch, which split the field in half, with overnight leader Groenewegen in the rear part of the peloton.

Attacking with three kilometres to go, Dowsett looked like he was going to upset the remaining sprinters, but despite being welcomed into Kelso’s main street by a wall of noise the British time trial champion was caught with 50 metres remaining, holding on to finish seventh on the stage.

Trentin now leads by 11 seconds overall from Cimolai and De Buyst, while also taking the Cetaphil points jersey lead.  The Eisberg sprints jersey moves over to breakaway rider Gediminas Bagdonas (AG2R La Mondiale), while Jacob Scott (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) retains the SKODA King of the Mountains jersey.  His team-mate Peter Williams won the public vote for Wahooligan Combativity award for his efforts in the day’s breakaway.

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