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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, April 17, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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Tour of Turkey stage seven reports

We posted the report from winner Patrick Bevin's Team Israel-Premier Tech with the results.

Here's the report from sixth-place Danny van Poppel's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

On Stage 7, two 2nd category climbs awaited the peloton on the 131km route between Gelibolu and Tekirdag. It presented a good opportunity for a breakaway group, however, the last 25 km, which were mostly flat, could also play into the hands of the peloton.

An early breakaway was able to go clear, but was reeled back in again with 30km of racing remaining. A little later, several attacks ensued from the reduced peloton, which included Danny van Poppel. In the end, the Dutch rider wasn't able to make it to the front group and concluded the stage in sixth place.

Patrick Bevin enjoys his win.

"It was a reasonably good day for us. Unfortunately, Sam had a mechanical problem in a really important phase of racing. Then we tried to bring him back to the front when the race really started. But it cost him too much energy and he wasn't able to fully recover. He was then too far behind when we entered the next climb. But we still had Danny as our second leader, who rode an incredible race and finished sixth. He gave everything, brought out his climbing legs and rode this type of parcours very well for a sprinter. We may have underestimated the stage somewhat. We knew it would be hard because of its length of 130 kilometres, but they rode really well, particularly Danny, so we're pretty satisfied with that. Tomorrow it's all in for the final stage." - Bernhard Eisel, Sports Director

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2022 Paris-Roubaix Femmes reports

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

Here's the report from winner Elisa Longo Borghini's Trek-Segafredo team:

Ripping a page from Lizzie Deignan’s book after her historic win in the 2021 Paris-Roubaix Femmes, Elisa Longo Borghini attacked a long way from the finish line in the second edition and never looked back.

The Italian champion built a half-minute lead that held steady for the next 35 kilometers and entered the Roubaix velodrome alone to give Trek-Segafredo a second straight victory in the Hell of the North.

Elisa Longo Borghini wins in Roubaix. Sirotti photo

“If you go, you have to believe from the beginning. I was just full gas. You don’t fuck around, just go,” said Longo Borghini about her audacious attack.

The moment when the tables could turn on Elisa was in the sectors four and five, two of the toughest rated, with 20 kilometers remaining.

Elisa entered the five-star Carrefour de l’Arbre with 23 seconds and, after two punishing kilometers, exited with 22. It was the last of the worst. Only 16 kilometers remained. Thoughts of victory now seemed plausible.

Behind a group of four chased, but two were from the Trek-Segafredo team. Lucinda Brand’s and Ellen van Dijk’s skulking presence was textbook and hindered the two others from becoming fully organized. Elisa’s gap grew again as the kilometers ticked off.

With one kilometer to go, it was a firm 35 seconds. Elisa could savor the moment of entering the iconic Roubaix velodrome alone.

“It’s unbelievable; you have many thoughts going around,” explained Elisa when asked what she was feeling at that moment. “You are in hell and then all of a sudden in paradise riding into a velodrome with a big history of cycling. I was thinking of my family, my boyfriend, and my teammates; this is who I ride for.

“It’s been a very tough spring for me, I had sinusitis for a month, and I couldn’t perform the way I wanted,” she continued. “I knew I was worth more, which was frustrating. It was a hard time and I need to thank first of all my family and my boyfriend Jacopo (Mosca) because they are all the time keeping my morale up, and secondly, my team Trek-Segafredo because they still had faith in me even though I didn’t perform the way I was supposed to. They brought me to this race even though I said I was not ready, but they kept saying, ‘You are more than ready, and we know you are capable of doing this.’ I have to say they were right.

“With sinusitis, you can’t really breathe, and in cycling breathing is everything. So I had to take a step back to take two forward. So I skipped Amstel Gold and Brabantse Pijl and was able to get rid of the infection with antibiotics. And in the end, if I feel good, I win,” laughed Elisa.

The Trek-Segafredo presence in the front of the race in all critical moments made the difference. Lucinda Brand marked a dangerous move by Lotte Kopecky and Marta Bastianelli over the gnarly four-star rated Auchy à Bersée with 54 kilometers to go.

The trio dangled out front with a 15-20 second advantage ringing alarm bells behind. When the threatening breakaway was finally caught back some 20 kilometers later, Elisa made her winning attack.

“Honestly, I wish I could bring all of my teammates to the podium today because it was a great team performance today, and I need to thank them all. Lucinda was perfect, and everyone was there where they needed to be in every sector. We were a determined squad and ready for everything today. It was a huge team performance, and without them, I would not win any single race.

“And also, this is a little bit for Elisa Balsamo, who was disqualified, but sometimes in the race, you grab a sticky bottle,” she continued, referring to the illegal move as Balsamo chased back from a puncture. “The rule is the rule, but you still feel a little bit sorry.”

Trek-Segafredo made history in 2021, winning the first-ever Paris Roubaix for women and placing two on the podium. One year later, they made sure history repeated itself with Lucinda Brand sprinting to third place behind Longo Borghini’s solo win.

“Now I will have a plaque on the showers,” Longo Borghini added. “It’s hard to realize this because I am just Elisa. But now I am in the middle of champions.”

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Sixth-place Floortje Mackaij's Team DSM posted this:

Rolling out of Denain this afternoon, the second edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes lay ahead of the peloton; with its famous and feared (in equal measure) cobblestone sections. A fierce day of racing was expected and so it was, as the French spring sun seared down over the peloton.

It was a dry, dusty day.

It was a steadier start to affairs as a break established itself early on, but as the cobblestones approached the pace and intensity only ramped up and the gap to those ahead had almost dissipated completely as live TV coverage started at around 80 kilometres to go. Unfortunately, the team were caught up behind a large crash with Pfeiffer Georgi suffering a mechanical as a result and having to chase back.

Nonetheless the team regrouped well, with five riders making it into the reduced bunch of around 50, as the cobbles came thick and it fast. It turned into a race of attrition, as the peloton forged on and thinned out even further, with Georgi and Floortje Mackaij riding strongly to make it into the group of around 15, as others in the team suffered bad luck.

Heading into the finale, Longo Borghini launched her winning solo attack while Georgi and Mackaij both tried to break free from the shackles of the group. Over the final few cobbled sections, the Team DSM duo fought hard with Mackaij making it into the group that fought for the podium places. Pushing all the way to the line in the famous velodrome, Mackaij claimed a brilliant sixth place, while Georgi showed a strong sprint in the following group to claim ninth – making for a great double top ten finish within the team.

Speaking after the line a smiling Georgi said: “I really loved every minute of today. I felt good. It was nice to have me and Floortje there together until Carrefour. We could help each other with positioning and use our numbers a bit in the group at the end. It was pretty crazy to be fighting for a top ten finish, I wasn’t expecting it today. Last year was so hard and I didn’t know how it would go but I felt really strong, and coming into this velodrome just gives you so much motivation to dig deep. I just gave it everything I had to the line and I’m super happy to come in the top ten.”

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And here's the report from Team Jumbo-Visma:

Team Jumbo-Visma Women won’t remember the second edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes as a successful one. A few hours before the start, the team was unpleasantly surprised when it became clear that Marianne Vos could not start. In the race, the team also wasn’t lucky.

Vos tested positive for the coronavirus a few hours before the race. As a result, last year’s runner-up could not fight for victory in a race she had marked as an important goal. However, an eager Team Jumbo-Visma decided not to hide in the race.

Marianne Vos winning the Rucphen Cross in 2021.

On the many cobbled sections, Romy Kasper and Teuntje Beekhuis, among others, rode well in the front. Coryn Labecki and Kasper suffered punctures. It forced them to chase down the fast-paced peloton. Elisa Longo Borghini won the race. Beekhuis, Kasper and Labecki all finished in the top 25.

“It wasn’t easy today”, Labecki said. “I had three punctures. I felt good before the start, but I had too much bad luck. I wanted to go for the win, but it turned out differently. That’s the way it goes sometimes. I kept fighting for a good result and I think that goes for the whole team.”

Race coach Lieselot Decroix explained the modified race plan. “We wanted to race attractively and tried to be in the breakaways. It was a hectic race. After some riders’ equipment failure, we were a step behind. Because Marianne could not start, we had lost a valuable asset. The riders showed fighting spirit today and kept going for it in the race, but we could not follow at the decisive moment”, Decroix concluded.

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