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Wednesday, August 31, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

The cat is such a perfect symbol of beauty and superiority that it seems scarcely possible for any true aesthete and civilized cynic to do other than worship it. - H. P. Lovecraft


Tour de France: 2021

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, 2021: The Little Cannibal Dominates is available in both Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Vuelta a España stage 10 reports

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

Here's the report from stage winner and GC leader Remco Evenepoel's Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl:

Remco Evenepoel produced one of the fastest individual time trials in Grand Tour history, ticking off his main objective of La Vuelta a España by taking a stage victory, which saw him become the first Belgian rider in the last 35 years to triumph in a stage against the clock at the Spanish race.

Remco Evenepeol enjoys his win. Sirotti photo

As the last man to roll down the start ramp, Remco knew what lay ahead, having trained in the morning on the course before following Rémi Cavagna from the car as the Frenchman rode a perfect race that put him in the hot seat with a time of 34:18. Starting his time trial some two hours after Rémi concluded his effort, Evenepoel easily found his rhythm and made a clear statement as soon as the first checkpoint, where he improved his teammate’s time by a whooping 21 seconds.

By the time he reached the halfway point of the 30.9km ITT between Elche and Alicante, the red jersey was already in pole position to take his maiden Grand Tour stage victory, and the 22-year-old continued to keep to tap out a ferocious tempo on his Specialized Shiv, gaining time on all the GC rivals despite some drops of rain falling on the road inside the last twenty minutes of his effort.

On the finishing straight, Remco almost caught his two-minute man before stopping the clock in 33:18 thanks to a stunning 55.67 km/h average speed, thus recording the fastest individual time trial of the season. In the end, it was a beautiful and memorable 1-3 for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, with Cavagna joining the Belgian on the stage 10 podium.

“I achieved my dream and goal for this race, and it feels great. The pressure is off now, but the confidence and motivation are high, so we will continue to fight over the next stages. Winning the Vuelta remains a dream and we will try to keep the jersey for as long as possible, but for the moment we will just enjoy what’s a fantastic day for us”, said the first Belgian in more than four decades to take a victory at La Vuelta in the leader’s jersey.

“I saw what Rémi did and knowing the time in the key sections of the race helped me a lot, as I noticed many were losing time in the second part of the course, which included that long downhill. I knew I had to push the entire time I was out on the course and after almost 30 kilometers, on the small bump to the finish, my legs were a bit heavy, but I left it all out there and it feels nice to know that I won my first Grand Tour stage in the leader’s jersey”, concluded Remco after his first ITT win at World Tour level, which will see him start stage 11 with a buffer of more than two and a half minutes over his nearest opponent.

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Here’s the report from second-place Primoz Roglic’s Team Jumbo-Visma:

Primoz Roglic has finished second in the time trial of the Vuelta a España. Because of his excellent performance, the Slovenian moved up to second place in the overall standings.

The ultra-fast 30.9-kilometre course seemed suitable for the time trial specialists, which proved to be the case. At the first intermediate point, Roglic firmly established himself at the front. The three-time Vuelta winner duly organised his time trial but ultimately lost to classification leader Remco Evenepoel.

Primoz Roglic on his way to second place. Sirotti photo

"I am delighted with my performance", Roglic referred to his second-place finish. "I rode a good time trial. I'm proud of it. One rider was better today. Remco is flying at the moment. He is in the form of his life. After all his successes, we shouldn't be surprised. I feel I am physically fit. The Vuelta is not halfway yet, so there is still a lot to fight for. I have moved up to second place in the general classification. Each day, we will look at the possibilities to get good results. I am convinced that those opportunities will come. Today's time trial has boosted my confidence."

Teammate Rohan Dennis aimed for a top result, but halfway through his race, the Australian realised it was impossible. "I aspired to achieve a place of honour. I felt strong at the start. But along the way, I noticed I could not reach my full potential today. Then I focused on finishing this time trial unscathed. I feel I am getting better every day in this Vuelta. I hope I can support Primoz well in the rest of this race", the Australian time trial champion concluded.

Head of Performance Mathieu Heijboer analyzed the time trial of his two riders just after they had finished. "Primoz started very strong. From the first intermediate point, he was on Cavagna's schedule. He's a specialist who focuses entirely on this discipline. Primoz then kept pace with him and was even faster on the final stretch. This was a perfect time trial for Primoz. The rest day did him good. Rohan gave him some tips just after his own time trial by sharing his experiences on this course. After Rohan noticed that a good classification was impossible today, he decided to ride safely to the finish to save energy for what lies ahead. As a team we look back on this day with a good feeling. Primoz is on the right track; only Evenepoel is from another planet."


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Fourth place Carlos Rodriguez's Team INEOS Grenadiers posted this short update:

Carlos Rodriguez, Pavel Sivakov and Tao Geoghegan Hart all put in strong performances in stage 10’s time trial to ensure there were three Grenadiers in the top 10 in Alicante.

Carlos Rodriguez riding to fourth place. Sirotti photo

Rodriguez solidified fourth overall after finishing fourth on the 30.9km stage, 1:22 behind winner and race leader Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl).

Sivakov finished five seconds behind Rodriguez in fifth and now moves up to ninth overall (+7:06” on Evenepoel), with Geoghegan Hart coming in eighth on the stage and 10th on GC (+7:37).


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And here's the report from team Bora-hansgrohe:

After the transfer to the Mediterranean coast and the second rest day, the Vuelta continued today with a 31.1 km long individual time trial between Elche and Alicante. The mostly flat course with no particular difficulties benefited the riders with a lot of power and for the GC riders, time losses had to be kept to a minimum.

Unfortunately, Sam Bennett didn't start today, as he tested positive for Covid in an antigen test, after which the team decided to withdraw him from the race.

Sam Bennett (shown before stage 4) could not start stage ten. Sirotti photo

Wilco Kelderman crossed the finish line after 37:04 minutes, thereby clocking the best time for the team from Raubling. Jai Hindley, who was ninth overall heading into the stage, finished two seconds slower than his Dutch teammate and dropped back to 13th place in the overall standings.     

"We knew that the time trial wouldn't be easy, particularly because it was quite flat. In the end, Jai lost a few positions in the GC. Perhaps we had expected a little bit more from him today. Despite that, he put in a good performance in the first part of the course, and then lost some time in the second part. However, we'll keep fighting, we still have several mountain stages ahead of us, so we won't give up despite the setback of today." - Sylwester Szmyd, Coach

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