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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, August 21, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy. - Isaac Newton

TDF volume 1

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, Vol 1: 1903 - 1975 is available in print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Vuelta a Expaña stage two team reports

Stage winner Sam Bennett's Team Bora-hansgrohe sent me this:

Today's route traversed almost completely flat terrain from 's-Hertogenbosch to Utrecht. The 175.1km course briefly went over the Amerongse Berg before the fast men struck for the first time in this year's race. With a perfect leadout, the team placed Sam Bennett in position for the fast finish. After Pedersen took on the sprint first, Sam was launched by Danny van Poppel and was able to pull alongside the Dane in a neck-and-neck race to take the stage win.

Sam Bennett is the points classification leader now. Sirotti photo

"Danny brought me to the front with a high pace, then he was ready for me to go, but I waited an extra second or so, and didn't know if I'd then be too slow. Honestly, I wasn't quite sure if I'd be able to go fast enough after that point, but it all worked out in the end. To win here is really nice. I knew I could win again at this race, but it was just a matter of time. Huge thanks to my teammates, who really did a strong job for me today, especially Danny who rode a really fantastic lead-out. I'm very proud that I was able to reward all their hard work with the win." - Sam Bennett

"It was a perfect day for us. We didn't quite know where Sam was at, but we kept saying that we have confidence in our sprinter and we brought the best sprinter we have. The guys really worked very well together and Sam's win was the perfect way to start off the race. It was extremely important for Sam and for the whole team to have such a good start to the Vuelta, and of course it really gives us a boost for the next few days. So, all in all, perfect teamwork was crowned with an incredibly strong sprint win today." - Bernhard Eisel, Sport Director

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Here's the Vuelta report from new GC leader Mike Teunissen's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Team Jumbo-Visma has maintained the lead in the Tour of Spain. Robert Gesink transferred the red jersey to Mike Teunissen. Teunissen finished fourth in the day's sprint and as a result, he will start in the red leader's jersey tomorrow.

Mike Teunnissen will ride stage three in the red leader's jersey. Sirotti photo

Gesink started today's race wearing the leader's jersey after the team time trial on Friday night. "I've had a fantastic day”, the Dutchman said after his red day. "I rode 150 kilometres with a smile, the last 25 kilometres I rode with a grimace."

From the start in 's-Hertogenbosch, many people were along the course. The crowd saw five riders escape, but they were caught in time for a bunch sprint. The fact that it was busy along the route had not escaped Gesink. "It was bizarre. There were so many people. It was satisfying for the team as well as for me. It's just fantastic to ride in the leader's jersey in our own country.”

In the sprint, Teunissen was finally allowed to go for his chances. "It was important to stay with Primoz first. We had lost each other for a while. Eventually, Edoardo and Primoz came back to me. Then I heard Grischa say that Primoz was safe and I could take my chances. It was tough, but I managed."

"It's a special feeling, wearing this jersey in your own country. Yesterday also felt special, but now even more so”, the new red jersey wearer continued. "We wanted to try and have me take the jersey today. I thank the team for that. It is super nice. It moves me”, said Teunissen, who will wear the leader's jersey in a grand tour again after the yellow jersey at the 2019 Tour de France.

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Here's the stage 2 report from second-place Mads Pedersen's Team Trek-Segafredo:

Stage 2 saw the first sprint of the 2022 Vuelta a Espana, and, as expected for the flat parcours, the fastest legs got their chance. The race played out predictably with the breakaway going early, controlled, and eventually brought back by the teams, including Trek-Segafredo, interested in setting up a man in the fast ending.

In the last crazy kilometers and the battle for every inch of space reaching a crescendo, Dario Cataldo and Alex Kirsch were instrumental in assisting Pedersen.

“Pretty hectic in a technical final,” agreed Pedersen. “Alex (Kirsch) is doing a really, really good job of keeping me out of trouble, and basically, I just have to follow his back wheel and then open the sprint when I think is the right moment.”

Sounds easy. But, of course, it isn’t.

The speed in the bunch was close to 60km/h through roundabouts and tight corners in a technical finish. The riders fight for every small opening, jarring shoulders, yelling – risks us mere mortals would never consider – all to keep or gain frontal positions. Teammates are key. Positioning is everything. Well, almost everything. The team’s designated sprinter still needs to finish it off with a shot of incredible power.

Mads had Alex, all six foot four inches of his savviness to lead him through the craziness. In the final meters, in prime position, Mads launched off his wheel and had nothing but the white line ahead. However, one man had a little bit more.

Sam Bennett spoiled Mads’ chance at his first Vuelta victory, but with 19 stages remaining and the next sprint stage already Sunday, there’s no time to dwell, only time to get ready and try again.

Coming to the line. Mads Pedersen (white jersey) almost has it. Sirotti photo

“Next sprint is already tomorrow so let’s hope we can change 2nd place to 1st place,” said Mads. “A perfect job from the whole team today, and it looks well for the rest of the sprint days. The legs responded well from yesterday’s TTT. It’s nice to be back racing after the Tour so I hope for three good weeks.”

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And here's the report from fifth-place Pascal Ackermann's UAE Team Emirates:

Pascal Ackermann had a solid start to the Vuelta España taking 5th place in the opening bunch sprint of the race on Stage 2 from ’s-Hertogenbosch to Utrecht (175km).

View of the sprint from above.

The first road stage of the race ended in a bunch gallop where Ackermann was guided the finish by his leadout train, just missing the last kick to win the sprint behind the Irishman Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe).

The race lead switches shoulders to Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) ahead of the final stage in the Netherlands tomorrow before transferring to Spain, with a flat day starting and finishing from Breda (193.2km).

Ackermann: “ It was a really hectic final with a big fight in the sprint. I was a bit cautious in the last corner after my crash last week and I lost a bit of speed.
It was a flat stage without any real hard section so everyone was fresh which makes it a bit more of a tense sprint, but it was a good test. Tomorrow we’ll try again for the win.”

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