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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, February 8, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it. - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (Stage 2): Tony Gallopin fractures his left scaphoid

Gallopin's Ag2r La Mondiale team sent me this bad news:

Tony Gallopin crashed 15 kilometers from the finish of the second stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. "He suffered a fractured left scaphoid [one of the carpal bones on the thumb side of the wrist, just above the radius]. We will announce how long he will be unavailable to race at a later date," Eric Bouvat, head doctor for AG2R LA MONDIALE, said.

Tony Gallopin

Tony Gallopin finishes a stage in the 2019 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

Oliver Naesen was caught in the same crash and suffered a blow to the pelvis, but no fracture.

Jack Haig new GC leader of Volta a Valenciana

Here's the team's release:

Yesterday's fifth place finisher Jack Haig moved into the race lead in Volta Valencia today, after finishing in 12th position in the bunch sprint and as the highest placed rider from the general classification, on a day that came down to countback.

With no time bonuses awarded on the finish line, stage placings have become crucial, with Haig able to finish ahead of yesterday's stage winner, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), to leap frog the Slovenian into the classification lead.

Mitchelton-SCOTT executed their two-pronged attack well in the final, firstly assisting sprinter Luka Mezgec into position before he powered to sixth place, whilst also looking after Haig and delivering him into the yellow jersey.
Like the previous two stages, a breakaway group formed easily in the opening kilometres and headed out to a steady advantage, sitting between two and three minutes for most of the stage.

As the race passed the only categorised climb of the day and entered the final 50kilometres, the group of six halved in size, with just Hector Saez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Julen Izizar (Fundacion-Orbea) and Ivan Moreno (Equipo Kern Pharma) the three riders remaining out front.

Their advantage dropped to under one-minute as they passed the 25kilometres to go mark, with the race leading team UAE Emirates and sprint teams, Team Jumbo-Visma and Deceuninck-Quickstep, heading the chase.

With eight kilometres to go, the day was finally over for the three breakaway riders as the peloton stormed past. Mitchelton-SCOTT worked to keep Haig and Mezgec in a good position into the final three kilometres, with stage placings an important factor for the classification.

Youngster Rob Stannard fought to keep a high pace into the final kilometre, before Mezgec found a gap and opened up the sprint. The tight finish saw Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo-Visma) claim another sprint victory, with Mezgec taking sixth place and Australian climber Haig, close behind in 12th.

Dylan Groenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen wins the third stage.

Haig heads into tomorrow's Queen stage as the race leader but on the same time as the other main classification contenders.

Jack Haig:
"To start the first race of the season with a good performance yesterday and to go on to take the jersey today and head into the hardest stage tomorrow in the lead, it really gives a nice confidence boost.

"I hope to hang onto it tomorrow but it will be a hard battle, the field of riders here is super strong.

"The final today was quite tricky, it was super fast and especially the last 10kilometres there were a lot of roundabouts, but again the guys did an incredible job of looking after me. Callum Scotson and Chris Juul-Jensen were really good in the final making sure I was always in good position and Michael Albasini did a massive pull on the front in the final kilometres to bring two riders back.

"It will be hard tomorrow but I will try my best, I am excited and I'm sure the guys will do their best to give me the best opportunity to see how my legs are and go up against everyone. The final climb is only around five kilometres but time wise, it will be quite a long effort, especially for this early in the season but I will give it my best shot."

Dave McPartland - Sport Director:
"We were going into the stage for Mezgec today and then to try and shepherd Haig through the final as best as possible and the jersey is just a result of this.

"It is great we have the jersey. I am sure tomorrow the first part of the race will be hard, there will be a lot of guys that aren't going to wait for that final climb and will trying to get down the road, get in a break and try to take a stage, so we will have our work cut out. It will be interesting but we won't be the only ones as there's around five or six teams all with riders on the same time.

"We said at the start of the week, that with there being no bonus seconds on the line it could quite well come down to positioning in the bunch, and at the moment it is like that. Having said that, tomorrow is way harder than these first three days."

Neo Pro Kaden Groves wins Herald Sun Tour stage three

We posted the report from GC leader Jai Hindley's Team Sunweb with the stage results.

Here's the report from Kaden Groves' Team Mitchelton-Scott:

Neo-pro Kaden Groves took his first UCI win for Mitchelton-SCOTT in a sprint finish on stage three of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour.

Kaden Groves

Kaden Groves takes his first UCI win.

The team worked hard to soften up the bunch throughout the stage, which featured climbs at the start and end of the 118km journey from Bright to Wangaratta, before the 21-year-old proved too strong for his rivals, saluting in joy.

Heading straight out of Bright and up the Tawonga Gap climb, the pace was on early and it caused a significant split in the bunch over the climb.

Mitchelton-SCOTT tried to get riders in the breakaway but were heavily marked and when the elastic eventually snapped after 50-60km, the two top teams on general classification were without representatives.

The lead group of six led the race by over three minutes through the feedzone and Mitchelton-SCOTT put riders on the front to assist with the chase.

As the break started to splinter from the heat, the race hit the final climb. 2018 Vuelta a Espana champion Simon Yates took up the charge and forced the pace under the instruction of Groves.

Whilst the pressure on the climb was enough to tail off some of the sprinters, most were able to re-join as the final breakaway riders were also swallowed up on the run in to the line.

Groves, who crested all of the day’s climbs in the front group, was the freshest in the final and showed his form to beat Dainese and Mahkel Raim (Israel Start-Up Nation) in the sprint.

Kaden Groves – Stage 3 Winner:
“It was a pretty hard stage today, it was the stage I picked for the week.

“I’ve been trying to get the first win with the new team. The guys have been riding so well together that they really deserve this. Today was a perfect team effort so I’m pretty happy to repay them with a win.

“I’m not climbing too bad at the moment so I was pretty happy with the hard pace on the first climb and I made the first selection. After that, Sunweb were really marking us out of the race, not letting us go in the break so we had to chase all day.

“In the end, after the hard climb before the finish, we managed to drop some of the guys and I had Yatesy and Cam Meyer riding the front. It all came back together but I think I was one of the freshest at the finish.

“It was always our plan to put (Dainese) under pressure. I am good mates with him so I know how he climbs and how he rides, so I knew I would have him on the climbs.

“We knew EF was going to be strong, they have the strongest lead out, but I had Cam and Dion (Smith) holding me on the side of the bunch. Coming into that last corner it was just my job to slot in.

“I think I came around the corner maybe sixth wheel but with 400m and a lot of wind around today I was pretty confident I could come over the top.”

Matt Wilson – Sport Director:
“It was always the most interesting stage on paper; the longest stage, some climbs in the final and at the start, the GC close and Sunweb so strong, we knew it was going to be a really tactical stage.

“It took 50-60km for the break to get established, then there was a lot of poker going on so it was a really hard stage for everyone.

“We ended up committing more guys to the chase than we wanted, we tried to disrupt Dainese at the top but he made it back, but the guys still had enough in the tank to get Kaden to the right spot and it all paid off.

“Kaden is a really hungry and determined rider, he knew he wanted to get a win in Australia before he took off to Europe. He was very disappointed the first stage when he didn’t get it and sprinters win on confidence – when they start winning, they keep winning – so that’s a great way to start the year.”

Sebastian Langeveld breaks collarbone at Étoile de Bessèges

Langeveld's EF Pro Cycling team sent me this bad news:

Sebastian Langeveld crashed on Friday during the Étoile de Bessèges stage three after a rider in front of him lost control on a descent. Langeveld went to a nearby hospital where it was determined the Dutch rider sustained a broken right clavicle. He also suffered road rash in the fall.

Sebastian :angeveld

Sebastian Langeveld signs in at the 2019 Tirreno-Adriatico. Sirotti Photo

Langeveld did not have surgery on the collarbone break Friday, but he will likely do so once he is cleared to travel home, where he will also be re-evaluated.

“You absolutely hate when anyone takes a hard fall like this,” EF Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters said. “We’re thinking of Sebastian and his family. We wish him the best and we will assist in a cautious recovery process.”

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