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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, February 24, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. - George Bernard Shaw

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Volta ao Algarve final team reports

We posted the report from winner Remco Evenepoel's Deceuninck-Quick Step team with the results.

Second-place Max Schachmann's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this:

On the final day of the Volta ao Algarve, the peloton took to a 20.3km-long and flat course around Lagao to contest the race against the clock. With only small time intervals separating the best-placed riders in the GC, today’s stage offered up a dramatic finale to conclude this year’s race. Max Schachmann and Lennard Kämna, the highest-placed BORA - hansgrohe riders in the overall standings, left the start house among the last riders of the day.

Max, who headed into the stage as second in the GC, set the third-best time at the intermediate checkpoint, and by the end of the day, took a solid fourth place with a deficit of 38 seconds to the winner of the stage, Remco Evenepoel. With this, he concludes the race in second place overall, while teammate Lennard Kämna takes seventh in the GC.

Remco Evenepoel

Remco Evenepoel on his way to winning the final stage.

From the Finish Line:
“There were some good time triallists on the start line, so I had to give everything to stay up there. I put in a good intermediate time, but knew that it would be hard to beat Evenepoel. In the end, I was able to take fourth on the stage, and with that, second in the general classification. I’m relatively happy with what I was able to achieve, particularly with it being my first race of the season, and this also gives me confidence for my upcoming races. With two riders in the top 10 in the GC, I think the team can be satisfied with its performance in Portugal.” - Max Schachmann

“We knew that there are some very strong riders in attendance here, including the World and European time trial champions. But we still hoped for a good result with Max and Lennard in the race against the clock, and Max put in a particularly strong performance to finish fourth. With this result, he takes second in the general classification, which is good to see so early in the season. Lennard also managed to finish seventh in the overall standings, so to have two riders in the top 10 at this race is a satisfying result.” - Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, Sports Director 

And here's the report from Rohan Dennis' Team INEOS:

Rohan Dennis took a close second place finish on the final day at the Volta ao Algarve.

The time trial world champion finished 10 seconds back on stage winner and overall victor Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) across the 20.3-kilometre Lagoa course.

It took until the final rider to dislodge Dennis from the hot seat, with Michal Kwiatkowski also putting in a competitive ride to take sixth place.

Geraint Thomas found himself in the mix, clocking the 12th fastest time in his first race of the season. A consistent final day helped elevate Team INEOS to victory in the team classification.

And here's the report from Team Sunweb:

Jasha Sütterlin and Cees Bol both finishing in the top 20 for Team Sunweb in the final stage individual time trial at the Volta ao Algarve, placing 16th and 17th respectively over the 20 kilometre course.

Jasha set a fast early pace to post the fastest time of the day for a period before both himself and Cees sat in the top ten until the latter GC favourites started to come over the line.

Both riders finished within one minute of the race winner, while overall Ilan Van Wilder ended the day in 17th place.

After the stage, Team Sunweb coach Matt Winston gave his account of the day. “It was another good all-round performance and a solid TT today for the first one of the season. Everyone can be happy with the result and where they’re at, and we can take that forward to the classics campaign where most of the guys head to next weekend.”

UAE Tour stage one team reports

We posted the report from winner Pascal Ackermann's Bora-hansgrohe team with the results.

Here's the Movistar report:

Pascal Ackermann (BOH) took Sunday’s victory at a world-class sprint opener in the 2020 UAE Tour. Most of the fastest men in the peloton were lining up in Dubai for a 147km course where desert winds did not show up this time, which meant the Movistar Team had an easier time to stay away from trouble.

PAscal Ackermann

Pascal Ackermann takes the first stage.

The Telefónica-backed squad, which had José Joaquín Rojas (9th) featuring in the inevitable sprint, kept its focus on helping Alejandro Valverde saving energy before the crucial GC stages, which start on Monday.

A lumpy stage two course around Hatta, next to the Oman border (168km), will see punchy climbers and even some sprinters seek for glory at the tough slope of the town’s Dam, 400m with a whopping maximum of 17%.

Here's report from Chris Froome's Team INEOS:

Over at the UAE Tour, the seven-day stage race got under way in Dubai with a test for the sprinters. The day was all about staying out of trouble ahead of tougher tests to come, with the bunch kick eventually won by Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Chris Froome came through the test without issue, making his return to competitive racing after eight months of recovery.

Chris Froome:
“There’s still a way to go until I’m back to where I left off, but the first feelings are really good. It felt good to just have a number on, have the elbows out again and be fighting for position in the bunch. It feels good to be a bike racer again.

“(This morning) I felt really excited. It was like being a neo-pro again at my first race. It’s only eight months out but it feels like it’s longer. I know what condition I’m in and I’m not in winning condition. I should be in good enough condition to get through the race and do what I can for the team. I can’t set my expectations too high but just being here is a big goal for me.”

Ruta del Sol final team reports

We posted the report from second-place Jack Haig's Mitchelton-Scott team with the results.

Race winner Jakob Fuglsang's Team Astana posted this report:

The 66th edition of the Vuelta a Andalucía finished with a short time trial in Mijas today. Jakob Fuglsang put in a strong performance out on the course, taking the same time as the stage winner Teuns. The Danish rider concluded the five-day race with a back-to-back win on the overall ranking. Astana’s first general classification victory of the season.

Jakob Fuglsang

Jakob Fuglsang gets the final yellow jersey. Sirotti photo

Today, the 66th edition of the Vuelta a Andalucía had its final big showdown with a 13km short time trial in the city of Mijas.

The first Astana rider, who left the start ramp was Dmitriy Gruzdev. He finished the course after around 20 minutes. Also, Nikita Stalnov, Hugo Houle and Vadim Pronskiy crossed the line with the clock stopping after around 18 minutes.

The second last rider from the Kazakh team was Ion Izagirre. He rode a solid race by finishing the course 17 seconds behind the later stage winner Teuns, which saw him take fourth place in the general classification at the end of the day.

Jakob Fuglsang, leader of the race, went up the road as the last rider of the day, at 15:20 and put in a strong performance. The Danish rider set the second-best time at the intermediate checkpoint and crossed the line after 17:57 minutes to take second only 0.8 seconds behind Teuns. With two stage wins, Jakob Fuglsang made it back-to-back wins at the Ruta del Sol, winning the race two years in a row.

-It was a good time trial and, in the end, it was super close. I am really happy that I could repeat my overall win here. It’s amazing to start the season by winning this race again. Last year I had the best season of my career so far and I hope that repeating this win means I can do the same again. It’s been a very hard race and we had a lot of hard competition to defend the jersey from the first day but the team has been amazing. I am the winner but so is the team. Of course, for me it was important to keep the jersey but with a short and intense TT, you have to give everything and I didn’t want to take to many risks on the descent so to finish second, I am really happy. I hope it will be a good season and starting like this with a good result here gives me confidence and I can now work towards my next goals. – Jakob Fuglsang

-We are super happy. We came here to defend the title and we did. The team did an amazing job the whole week. Jakob but also the whole team trained hard over the winter months and it paid off. Today’s time trial was short and intense but once again Jakob but also Ion showed a strong performance. Missing the win only by a tenth of seconds is hard, but this year’s edition of the Vuelta a Andalucía had a strong line up. But all in all, we are more than happy to start the season like that. – Alexandr Shefer

Here's the update from Chris Harper's Jumbo-Visma team:

Chris Harper has finished in eighth place in the final thirteen kilometre time trial of the Ruta del Sol. The Australian youngster clocked a final time of 18:28 and was about half a minute slower than stage winner Dylan Teuns. For Harper, it is his second top ten result this week. He finished seventh in the opening stage.

“This is a good result. I felt really good today”, Harper said. “It was a very tough and lumpy time trial. It was going up and down a lot and we even had a bit of offroad in it as well. The plan was to ride uphill as fast as possible and then recover a little in the descents. I was able to keep my pace. It also confirmed that my shape is good and that, despite my mechanical problems of yesterday, I can look back on a very good week. Things don’t always go the way you want. But the legs felt great all week. On the climbs it went well and my time trial was okay too. This gives me a lot of confidence for the future.”

Sports director Arthur van Dongen concurred with his young, talented rider. “Chris has done a very good time trial. Excellent even. It was a short but tough time trial with a lot of climbing. It was also very technical. Looking back at this week, we cannot be dissatisfied. It was a tough Ruta del Sol. We were part of every breakaway that we wanted to be in. Antwan and Chris showed themselves well, especially on the climbs, and I have seen a very strong team.”

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