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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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2020 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Life is a travelling to the edge of knowledge, then a leap taken. - D. H. Lawrence

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Tom Dumoulin leaves Vuelta and focuses on next year

Dumoulin's Jumbo-Visma team posted this news:

Tom Dumoulin will no longer participate in the Vuelta a España. The rider of Team Jumbo-Visma will leave the grand tour after seven stages and will focus on the upcoming cycling season.

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin riding in stage 9 of the 2020 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

Dumoulin made his comeback in the peloton this year in the colours of Team Jumbo-Visma after a long period of injuries. This season, the Dutchman became seventh in the general classification of both the Tour de France and the Critérium du Dauphiné.

“Both our coaching staff and I think it is the best choice to get off the bike”, Dumoulin said. “At the start of the Vuelta I already felt tired and that feeling remained. It makes no sense for me to continue, because then I might put a strain on next season. It is not desirable to leave the Vuelta, but this is the right choice. We can all agree on that. With Primoz we are in good shape in the general classification. Hopefully the team can take home the win.”

Sportive director Merijn Zeeman sees an important pawn disappearing in Dumoulin. “It is a pity that Tom is going home. Every day we monitored his fatigue and it kept increasing. Despite this, he played an important part in the team and did a good job. Although his short participation in the Vuelta has been a good investment for 2021, we now see that we are encountering limits and we take the responsibility that comes with it.”

Vuelta a España stage seven reports

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Michael Woods' EF Pro Cycling team:

Mike Woods rode his way to a solo victory after a perfectly timed attack in the closing stages of stage 7 of the Vuelta a España. This is the Canadian’s second career stage victory at the Vuelta.

Michael Woods

Michael Woods wins stage seven. Photo: Gomez Sport

If Week One told us anything about how this year’s Vuelta was going to be raced, it’s that it was going to be a fast and furious race. Cold weather, strong winds, heavy rain, tough mountain top finishes and a seemingly endless barrage of attacks made the first week enthralling to watch.

One day after the rest day, yet another hard stage lay ahead for the peloton who had to tackle the Puerto de Orduña, a category one climb, twice. The 160km stage from Vitoria-Gasteiz to Villanueva de Valdegovia in the Basque Country in the Northern regions of Spain, got off to a fast and furious start. The stage profile favored a strong breakaway, which meant that it took time for the break to settle. But with just under 100km to go, a large breakaway formed at the front involving around 35 riders from a host of teams.

Mike Woods and Magnus Cort were the two riders representing EF Pro Cycling in the front group, which never managed to build a sizable gap over a peloton. But as the kilometers ticked by, it seemed more and more plausible that the breakaway might make it to the line.

It was on the second ascent of the Puerto de Orduña that Mike Woods decided to launch his move. After riding solo for much of the climb, the Canadian was joined by four other riders, Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Omar Fraile (Astana), and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) near the top of the climb.

With around five kilometers to go, the quintet was still riding strong together, but with a charging bunch of riders closing in behind, attacks started to fly out of the group. It was with just over one kilometer to go that Woods launched his decisive attack which would see him cross the line solo.

The smile said it all at the line said it all, and so did the embrace from Hugh Carthy. What a ride. What a race.

Mike Woods:
That was a special day, it’s always amazing racing in the Basque Country. I got away with those four other guys and they were riding super strong. I felt bad that I couldn’t pull through, but with Valverde, I just couldn’t pull through because we had Hugh Carthy in the peloton and we didn’t want to give him any more time in the classification. So, I was able to sit in a bit and then I had a bit of luck, I had the legs and I just took the win.

I had penciled in this stage a bit, but initially I wasn’t meant to get in the breakaway I was meant to be with Hugh, however the race just got so crazy and the group got so big I had to go across to make sure we had numbers in it and it paid off great for me.

I’m going to savor this stage win and after that I’ll start looking at the race book after.

Magnus Cort:
It’s really, really good to get the win! He was so close on the last stage that the fact that he was able to do it today is unbelievable. I think his form here has been improving during the week, I was actually surprised because as you said it was a bit hard out there and everyone was on his limit. When I got back into the peloton from being in the break, I could see how hard the stage had been, sometimes you don’t really know, if you’ve been in the break, how hard the stage has been, but once I was back there seeing the faces there weren’t many guys there who had great legs left.

The atmosphere is great in the team at the moment. Going forward things will be a bit like today in that we have our chances, but obviously the closer we get to the finish, and depending on where Hugh is, we will be really supporting him.

Here's the report from GC leader Richard Carapaz's INEOS Grenadiers team:

Richard Carapaz remained in the red jersey at the Vuelta a Espana as the INEOS

Grenadiers rode hard to protect the race lead.

A dangerous group of riders pushed on up the road on a day that featured two climbs of the tough Puerto de Orduna. The team were pressed into action with 36 men combining in the breakaway. The Grenadiers rode well to peg the advantage, with Chris Froome, Michal Golas, Dylan van Baarle and Cameron Wurf setting a tempo.

Andrey Amador then put in a large turn to drive the peloton into the closing stages. In the end it was Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) who prevailed from the breakaway, coming home 56 seconds ahead of the bunch.

Richard Carapaz

Richard Carapaz remains in red.

Carapaz holds the same 18-second overall advantage over Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling), with the top eight positions going unchanged.

Here's the stage seven report from Deceuninck-Quick Step:

Rémi Cavagna confirmed there’s a reason why he’s nicknamed the “TGV of Clermont-Ferrand”, single-handedly animating the opening part of stage 7 thanks to his splendid time trial skills that allowed the Frenchman to stay at the front for 30 kilometers. It was on the undulating terrain leading to Puerto de Orduña – the climb first used at the race in 1956 – that the peloton was back as one, opening the door to a new breakaway, this time numbering 36 men, to go clear.

Remi Cavagna

Rémi Cavagna working hard in 2020 Tour de France stage 13. Sirotti photo

The third rider in as many years to win the Tour of Slovakia, Jannik Steimle was there for UCI World Team Classification leader Deceuninck – Quick-Step, and remained with the group until the second ascent of the Orduña, where the breakaway’s advantage crumbled after a forcing of the peloton and a lack of cooperation between the escapees, who began thinking of the victory.

Five men took off and fought for the win in Villanueva de Valdegovia, Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) emerging victorious, followed some 50-odd seconds later by a reduced bunch featuring both Andrea Bagioli and Mattia Cattaneo. The latter continues to be Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s highest placed rider in the overall standings ahead of Wednesday’s stage to Alto de Moncalvillo.

And here's what Team Sunweb had to say about the stage:

Following a much needed rest day, the riders transitioned back to the Basque Country where it all began a week ago. Departing from the regional capital, Vitoria Gasteiz, the race headed north-west towards the Puerto de Orduña, an unrelenting eight kilometre ascent which was to be tackled twice, before finishing in the minuscule town of Villanueva de Valdegovía.

Given the ragged nature of the stage’s profile, which favoured the baroudeurs, a frenetic battle to make the day’s breakaway ensued. As a consequence of the urgency to make the morning escape, the fasted expected times were well and truly surpassed, with the riders setting an average speed of well over 40 kilometres per hour.

After a number of unsuccessful attempts, a group of over 30 riders which included Thymen Arensman, Robert Power and Michael Storer, managed to assemble and build a substantial gap over the main peloton. As was the case with the previous stage, the presence of several riders threatening to seize the race lead meant their advantage remained relatively tenuous throughout. The sheer size of the front group led to incessant attacks and counterattacks in order to dispense of any excess weight in the lead up to the final climb. Despite their efforts, the stern chase from the peloton behind saw the gap to the front group swiftly diminish.

However, upon reaching the Puerto de Orduña, the peloton took their foot off the gas which allowed the breakaway to almost double their lead going into the steepest slopes of the ascent. Meanwhile the group of main GC favourites were biding their time, there were several attacking moves going over the top which ultimately formed a group of five at the head of the race. In spite of the quality of the leading quintet, a committed chase behind commanded by Storer and Arensman really put the pressure on, but was ultimately ineffective in reeling them back in, which meant they had to settle for minor places, finishing 12th and 13th respectively.

“Another very hard day!” exclaimed Storer after the race. “A lot of  teams were looking to get in the breakaway. Jasha did a fantastic job in creating the split for me to get across. Rob and Thymen also made it to the break meaning we once again had three riders in the escape. I believe that’s the fourth time we’ve managed to do this which is super impressive. On the last climb Movistar set a very hard pace and we unfortunately just missed out on the winning move.”
Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef added: “It was a really hard day today, especially the start. It took over 60km to form a successful breakaway! Once again we did a great job to put so many riders in the move. Initially, we had Thymen, Robert, Michael and even Mark was there, though he had to drop back to the peloton on the first climb. As expected, the race was settled on the final climb. Thymen and Michael managed to keep up with the leaders all the way up the climb. It’s a shame that the group of five slipped away over the top. The boys did everything they could to bring them back, but the leading group was just that little bit too strong. It was a faultless race from them today.”

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