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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, January 25, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

The audiobook version of The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1 is available.

Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength. - Saint Francis de Sales


 

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2021 Santos Festival of Cycling stage four report from Team BikeExchange

We posted the race organizer's reports with the results.

Here's the report from Team BikeExchange:

Herald Sun Tour stage winner Kaden Groves sprinted to second place on the final stage of the Santos Festival of Cycling as Luke Durbridge wrapped up the overall to hand Team BikeExchange their first general classification title of 2021.

Sam Welsford

Sam Welsford takes the final stage. Photo: Sara Reed

The team controlled most of the final stage around Victoria Park as they kept a strong seven-rider breakaway in check, with Damien Howson and Lucas Hamilton each taking turns on the front to control the gap.

The remains of the break were eventually swept up with five laps to go as the bunch began to battle for position. Race leader Durbridge then moved to the head of the field and set a rapid pace before swinging off with one lap to go.

Australian road race champion Cameron Meyer then took over, before handing the final lead-out duties to Alex Edmondson. Groves was well positioned heading into the penultimate corner, but as the sprint opened up the 22-year-old couldn’t match the pace of Sam Welsford (Garmin Australia) who sprinted away to the stage four victory.

Kaden Groves (2nd, Stage 4):
"I had an armchair ride pretty much all day from the boys, so I was disappointed to come in second, but it must also have been pretty easy in the wheels, we had a lot of teams challenging us going into that final corner from probably about five laps to go.

"It was a really good job by the boys, keeping me fresh all day, I’m just disappointed I couldn’t finish it off.  Sam [Welsford] is pretty local here and he’s done that corner a few more times than me. We came out side-by-side, it ended in a drag race and I just couldn’t match his track power."

Luke Durbridge (Overall Winner):
"It’s really, really special. I’m really, really happy, it’s been a fantastic week for us. We had a few chances with Kaden where he was just there, he just got beaten again by world-class Sam Welsford on a circuit that he knows.

"I think the boys did a really good job today, everyone dug-in, gave Kaden the best option and he came away with second, so we can be happy with that and we can be happy with the week. This has really set us up for the summer, for the nationals.

"I’m really happy with where I’m at, I prepared well in the off-season, I’m glad I came home to Australia to have some normality. I’m looking forward to the season and hopefully I can carry this form onto Europe and I can have some big results there."

Matt Wilson (Sports Director):
"It was a fantastic way to finish the tour, obviously the stage win would have been ever better, but you just can’t fault the way the guys rode on that stage, they controlled everything and gave Kaden the best chance, he was just beaten by a better man on the day.

"All week it’s been just a super effort by the guys, they followed the plan to perfection and got the win and we couldn’t be happier."

Wout van Aert confidently goes to the World Championships after a double strike

Van Aert's Jumbo-Visma team sent me this:

Wout van Aert has won the World Cup of Overijse in an unmistakable way. With that victory, the Belgian champion also secured the general classification in the World Cup. The Team Jumbo-Visma rider recorded his fifth win of the season.

Wout van Aert

Wout van Aert (shown winning 2020 Dendermonde World Cup race) seems to have a way with mud.

The expected battle between Van der Poel and Van Aert also seemed to come. Halfway through the first lap, the two had already created a big gap to the rest of the field. Due to a flat tire from the world champion, Van Aert was able to quickly take a big lead. Van de Poel came very close, but the three-time winner of the World Cup continued to expand his lead in the last laps.

"I was really looking forward to it. In the first two laps I immediately set a high pace", says Van Aert. "Then Mathieu took over to slow down the pace. However, I didn't want to. I had a big gap because of his flat tire, but then I crashed. It was a tough cross where the incidents were decisive. Mathieu kept pushing, so I was never really comfortable. Only towards the end did I get a little more space. It was especially pleasant to be leader instead of the chaser. This victory makes me very happy."

Van Aert, who extended his contract with Team Jumbo-Visma this week, looked ahead to the World Championships that is scheduled for next Sunday in the sand of Ostend. "I don't think I'm the outspoken favourite. Mathieu has already booked more victories. I am happy with the way I can go to the World Championships, but in principle he has more advantages."

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