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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, February 15, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

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Tour de la Provence final team reports

We posted the report the stage four report from the Deceuninck-Quick Step team with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Phil Bauhaus' Baharin Victorious team:

Sunday, February 14th, 2021 – Phil Bauhaus won the Tour de la Provence’s final stage in a technical finish in Salon-de-Provence, beating Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) to the line.

Phil Bauhaus

Phil Bauhaus takes the stage. Photo William Cannarella CV/BettiniPhoto

The final stage of 163.2 km started in Avignon and saw a breakaway go off with four riders early on, only to be caught with 2km to go.

The last few corners caused a frantic finish, as Heinrich Haussler took the lead for Bauhaus showing some impressive handling to keep the German up the front and out of trouble. Bauhaus showed his power going past Davide Ballerini as he kicked for the line and claimed the team’s first victory in 2021.

Bauhaus was delighted by the win: “It was a super-fast final, and the team did really really well today and wanted this result really really bad. I went for it, and I’m happy I could pass the guys at the front.”

“I knew I needed to be in front with 600 meters to go, and then I was strong enough to finish it off. It’s always good as a sprinter to win races. But I’m also happy for the team. It takes some pressure off us now we have that win. It gives us confidence for the next races.”

Sports Director Rolf Aldag was happy with the team’s performance: “Today the team executed the plan perfectly and were pretty confident that Phil could do it and he proved that this time last year that he can win. Everyone was dialed in and willing to help. We had two goals, to not lose time with Wout for the GC and win the stage with Phil. The early season victory takes the pressure off. It was a nice victory against some other world-class sprinters. We can be very happy with the day.”

“Overall, I think yesterday was a decisive stage, and we had three guys up there with Dylan, Wout, and Jack, and they also did well. For Wout, he showed he could close the gaps to Alaphilippe and Egan Bernal, which should give him a lot of self-confidence. So overall, we feel we are ready for the season.”

Team Bahrain Victorious also took two top 10 finishes, with Wout Poels claiming 4th after his impressive display on stage three, and Jack Haig just behind in 7th. Aldag, is happy with the early progress “Overall, I think yesterday was a decisive stage, and we had three guys up there with Dylan, Wout, and Jack, and they also did well. For Wout, he showed he could close the gaps to Alaphilippe and Egan Bernal, which should give him a lot of self-confidence. So overall, we feel we are ready for the season.”

Overall winner Ivan Sosa's INEOS Grenadiers team posted this short final report:

Ivan Sosa sealed overall victory at the Tour de la Provence as the Grenadiers continued their strong start to the year.

The Colombian laid the foundations for success in Saturday’s rousing win on Mont Ventoux, and in Sunday’s finale he was well protected by his teammates, crossing the line safely in Salon-de-Provence.

With a fifth career stage race victory at just 23, Sosa was joined on the podium by compatriot and teammate Egan Bernal. The 2019 Tour de France winner slipped one place to third on the final day as Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) grabbed some early time bonuses.

Egan bErnal and Ivan Sosa

Teammates Egan Bernal & Ivan Sosa after the fourth stage. INEOS Granadiers photo

The Grenadiers helped set the pace for much of the day, with Eddie Dunbar combining with the sprinter teams at the head of the race.

Here's the closing 2021 Tour de la Provence report from Team DSM:

The final stage of racing at the Tour de La Provence saw the peloton come out flying as they left the start town of Avignon, with an early intermediate sprint tempting numerous attacks from the bunch. The team were incredibly active, following a lot of dangerous moves with Romain Combaud in a notable group that was brought back. On passing through the intermediate sprint the elastic finally snapped, with Team DSM debutant Andreas Leknessund riding strongly to make a break of four.

The quartet worked well together over the rolling terrain, building up an advantage of over four minutes, before the peloton started to slowly reel them back in throughout the afternoon. Holding off the peloton for a while, Mas attacked from the breakaway group with around 20 kilometres to go but Leknessund showed his strength and alongside Gallopin and Laveneau they were able to bring him back. The four then cooperated again, with Leknessund impressing after being the last rider caught in the closing three kilometres.

Meanwhile back in the bunch, the rest of the team worked well to bring sprinter Max Kanter towards the front of the peloton for the fast finish once the race entered the final ten kilometres. Unfortunately on the technical and hectic run in, Kanter lost the wheels of the sprinters and wasn’t able to compete for a top result come the end of the stage, but the team can be applauded for the commitment and good teamwork towards their goals in their first race of the season.

“It was a good way to finish off the race by being in the breakaway,” explained Leknessund at the finish. “At first I wanted to be there for the experience and the training, but when we came closer to the end it also became exciting to see if the peloton was going to catch us or not. But in the end we got caught with approximately two kilometres to the line. I also think this last stage was good for the whole team, as we improved through the race physically, and also in the way we worked together as a group.”

Team DSM coach Michiel Elijzen continued: “Our goal was to be in the breakaway today. The guys fought really hard to do so and Andreas managed to get in there for us. We went for the mountain jersey as well but in the end got second in that classification, which is still a nice result. The break stayed away for a long time in the end and went pretty far and close to the finish. Behind, the guys were working for Max to put him in a good position for the sprint. There was good commitment and that’s all that we can really ask from them at this stage of the season in our first race. It was a good final day here in Tour de La Provence and we did a good job I think.”

Bora-hansgrohe posted this closing Provence Tour report:

While yesterday's stage decided the overall winner, today offered the sprinters an opportunity to prove themselves on the flat 163 km-long route from Avignon to Salon-de-Provence. Although a breakaway dominated proceedings for much of the stage, the teams of the fast men had other ideas,  eventually reeling them back in with 2 km remaining until the finish. In the subsequent bunch sprint, Matthew Walls finished 7th behind the day's winner P. Bauhaus, a solid performance by the young Brit. Thanks to his third place at the first intermediate sprint, Patrick Konrad moved up in the overall standings, to conclude the French stage race in fifth place overall.

Team Cars

And now it's time to move on to the next race. Bettini photo

From the Finish Line:
"Honestly, I was hoping for a podium place today, but the finale was quite hectic with a lot of corners. In the end we were ultimately just too far back to fight for a top result in the sprint. But with two top ten finishes this week, I'm pretty happy with my first race for BORA - hansgrohe and I hope to continue building upon my good form in the upcoming races." - Matthew Walls

"We essentially had two races today. First and foremost, we wanted to take bonus seconds in the first part of the stage. That's when the team controlled the race quite well and then brought me into a good position to sprint for the bonus seconds. Thanks to my third place there, I moved up to 5th place in the overall standings. So many thanks to the entire team for the great support. Overall, we can be more than happy with the performance of such a young team here this week." - Patrick Konrad

"This was a very good race for such a young team. With Matthew's 7th place, we achieved another solid result today. It was important for us to go for the bonus seconds to give Patrick an opportunity to make up a second on Mollema. The guys did that very well and it was a good tactical performance from them. Then, our goal shifted focus to bringing Matthew and Patrick to the finale in a good position. Overall, the outcome of the race is pretty good for us, we wore the young rider's jersey twice, had a rider in the top ten every day, and finish the race with Patrick now in the top five overall. Particularly considering that there are four very strong climbers ahead of him in the GC, this is a very good performance from him. In a field of such big names, I'd say it's been a successful week here." - Jens Zemke, Sports Director

Here's the Lotto-Soudal closing Tour de la Provence report:

At the end of the Tour de la Provence, his first ever race as a pro, Filippo Conca immediately takes home the mountain jersey. At the end of stage three, the 22-year-old Italian took over the jersey from Lilian Calmejane, who crashed and was forced to abandon the race. During the closing stage, the Norwegian Leknessund equalled the amounts of points in the classification, but Conca taking full points atop a second category climb during stage two eventually made the difference. That way, Conca won’t easily forget his first stage race as a professional cyclist.

Filippo Conca

Filippo Conca after the fourth stage. Picture: Photo News

“I really wanted to be part of the breakaway in order to secure the mountain jersey”, begins Filippo Conca. “During the first 50 kilometres of the stage, the pace was really high and it was quite difficult, if not impossible, to set up a breakaway. Eventually, four riders managed to escape the bunch, but luckily there wasn’t any threat to my mountain jersey. Then, I could shift my focus to helping the team in the final.”

Filippo Conca is of course delighted that he can take home the mountain jersey. It really is a debut of dreams in his first race for Lotto Soudal.

Filippo Conca: “I feel really good within Lotto Soudal. There are a lot of young riders and besides, it is fantastic to learn from the more experienced leaders. For now, I don’t really know what type of rider I am, but definitely not a climber, despite finishing 5th at the U23 Giro d’Italia, twice. I think it is a little too late to turn myself into a climber because for that I would have to lose a lot of weight and muscles. In that case, I prefer to be a little less strong in the high mountains, but more useful on other terrains.”

The young Italian is rather aiming for a career as an offensive rider.

Filippo Conca: “At the start of their career, many riders dream of winning a big Classic or a Grand Tour. I would rather see myself evolve into a ‘baroudeur’ type of rider like my compatriot De Marchi or my teammate De Gendt. To join breakaways, being strong uphill and useful to the team definitely sounds like something for me.”

“Following a slight dip in Italian cycling, a new generation of young riders is very eager to show themselves. With guys like Aleotti, Battistella, Covi and teammate Oldani, a new generation of young Italian riders looms at the horizon. The future of Italian cycling sure is looking bright”, concludes Filippo Conca.

Phil Bauhaus won the final stage of the Tour de la Provence. John Degenkolb sprinted to a fifth place and is satisfied about his shape as the spring Classics are just around the corner.

John Degenkolb: "It was a really successful day for us. We were able to secure the mountain jersey of Filippo Conca and going towards the bunch sprint, we worked together really well. We had a good plan and it worked out quite well in the end. It was a very technical final and we were in the mix. I was a little too far back to sprint for the victory, but still I am happy with this top five result. I am improving every day, even after some days of intense racing, so that is very promising for the upcoming period. Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne is up next and from then on, some really important races await for me."

Clásica de Almería team reports

We posted the report from winner Giacomo Nizzolo's Qhubeka-Assos team with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Florian Sénéchal's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

Clasica de Almeria ran its 36th edition this year, one which was pretty quiet until the last 20 kilometers, when a cavalcade of crashes ended the race of many riders. One of these was Alvaro Hodeg, who was involved in a pile-up and had to abandon the race, being taken to the hospital for examinations.

After being assessed, it has been revealed that the Colombian had suffered multiple abrasions and a wound on his left hand, but thankfully, no fractures. The 24-year-old from Monteria will continue to be assessed by our medical team in the coming days.

A few minutes later after that incident, Mark Cavendish had a mechanical which took him out of contention before the final lap in Roquetas del Mar, the Andalusian town which just a couple of years ago that played host a Vuelta a España stage. With both sprinters out of the equation, it was Florian Sénéchal who stepped in for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, and thanks to a strong effort of Jannik Steimle and Bert Van Lerberghe, took second behind Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka Assos) – our team’s sixth top 3 finish of the week.

Giacomo Nizzolo

Giacomo Nizzolo takes the race.

“It wasn’t planned that I would do the sprint today, as normally I should have been the last guy in Alvaro’s train. Then Mark too had that problem, so from that moment on it was me who was going to do the sprint. I wasn’t too sure of myself, as I had already lost some energy controlling the race and protecting Alvaro, but I could still produce a good turn of speed and take an unexpected second. I want to thank the guys – Stijn, Tim, Jannik and Bert – who gave me a perfect lead-out, they once again showed how strong this team is”, said Florian, the first Frenchman in 17 years to finish on the podium at the Clasica de Almeria.

Here's the report from Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux:

This Sunday was an ideal opportunity for the sprint train of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux to put into practice the rehearsals that took place during pre-season. Indeed, the Clasica de Almeria (14/02 - 1.Pro) has often proven to be generous to the fast men over the years. Including to our own Danny Van Poppel, who took the start with great ambitions, following his second place in 2018 and his fourth place last year.

Despite four categorized climbs in the first part of the race, the peloton remained organized and allowed the breakaway to enjoy relative freedom, but eventually the pack got back together at around 40 kilometers to go. Unsurprisingly, nervousness took over, some riders found themselves on the floor and were out of contention for what was looking like yet another massive sprint finish. Pieter Vanspeybrouck made his return in the peloton after a crash. And unfortunately also Jonas Koch and Boy Van Poppel, a vital part of the sprint train, were involved in the damage. But Danny Van Poppel could still rely on Pieter Vanspeybroeck and Andrea Pasqualon to lead him out in the final kilometers. In the end, Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka) proved the fastest in Roquetas de Mar, and Danny Van Poppel, slightly shut in, grabbed a sixth place.

Jean-Marc Rossignon (Sports Director):
"It was a very nervous day, because for many in the peloton it was their first race of the season. The guys very aware of that, but still we had three crashes and seven punctures. First with Pieter in the early part, and towards the end when Boy touched the wheel of a rider in front of him and took Jonas down with him. With his train diminished, Danny somehow managed to get a top ten. I am absolutely convinced that with perseverance, the guys will pull it off. The train which we have been working on this winter is very strong on paper, that is why I am very positive for the upcoming races"

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