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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, January 30, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

'But I don't want to go among mad people,' said Alice. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the cat. 'We're all mad here.' - Lewis Carroll

Marcus Aurelius: Meditations

Marcus Aurelius' Meditations is available as an audiobook here. For the Kindle eBook version, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Callum Scotson breaks away for second place on the final stage of the Santos Festival of Cycling

We posted the race organizer’s report with the results

Here’s the report from Scotson’s Team BikeExchange-Jayco:

Callum Scotson took a brave and hard-fought second place on the third and final stage of the Santos Festival of Cycling as the breakaway stayed away up Willunga Hill.

The 25-year-old initiated the break of the day as he went on the attack in the opening kilometres, drawing four riders with him before four more escapees bridged across to create a leading group of nine.

The group worked well together as they pushed their advantage out to over four minutes and the peloton struggled to organise a coherent chase behind. As the Willunga Hill climb approached it was clear that the stage honours would be fought between the breakaway, with the bunch unable to make a significant dent into the time gap.

Scotson was the first to make a move on the lower slopes of the climb and his acceleration blew the group to pieces, with only two riders able to react. However, when Angus Lyons launched his counterattack, Scotson was unable to follow as he battled the steep gradients to hold on for second place.

Angus Lyons wins the final stage.

Callum Scotson:
“I actually thought quite quickly we had a good chance when the gap got to over four minutes. With about 30km to go I knew we would hold on as we had a good gap and the group was working well.

Once I got to the climb it was pretty straightforward, being in the breakaway the ones with the best legs would always get a gap quickly. I could have raced tactically a bit better possibly but in the end I went as hard as I could and was the second best on the day.”

Matt White (Sports Director):
“The plan was to have somebody in the breakaway because we didn’t know who would be willing to chase, the national team were the only team with guys who would probably have been confident that they could win the stage.

Overall, it’s been a good week, we came here and showed our faces, gave some guys some opportunities to go after stage wins and we’re certainly going to leave Australia in better condition than when we started, which is obviously the most important thing with our bigger goals coming up.

Also, we gave two of Australia’s best juniors a great experience in how WorldTour teams work and we got to see how they are as young men, and they fitted in the team really well and helped out the other guys during the week.”

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Trofeo Pollança-Andratx team reports

We posted the report from winner Alejandro Valverde's Team Movistar with the results.

Here’s the report from second-place Brandon McNulty’s UAE Team Emirates:

Brandon McNulty put in another strong performance to take 2nd place at the Trofeo Pollença – Port d’Andratx (170.1km).

The 23-year old was able to find a quick turn of speed on the final 2km rise to the line with only veteran star Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) able to get the better of him.

Brandon McNulty winning the Trofeo Calvia earlier this week.

UAE debutant Marc Soler had been active on the earlier climbs, taking points over the top of the Coll den Bleda, before McNulty showed his impressive condition to impose himself on the final climb.

McNulty: “ It was another super-hard day out there. I came to the bottom of the final climb in good position and then at 1km to go I tried to follow Valverde and then put in my own attack and it was just me him and Vlasov. It came down to a sprint and I didn’t quite have the kick to match Valverde but all things considered it was another good day for me and the team I think.”

Tomorrow the racing at the Mallorca Challenge concludes with the Trofeo Playa de Palma (169.1km).

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Here's the report from Kobe Goosens' Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team:

An explosive final was waiting for the riders this Saturday at the end of the Trofeo Pollença – Andratx (1.1, 29/01), the penultimate race of the Mallorca Challenge. With a ramp of 2.5 kilometer averaging more than 8 per cent, the punchers received a great opportunity to show themselves and once more Belgian rider Kobe Goossens distinguished himself by taking ninth place and his third top ten in three days.

The riders directed by Aike Visbeek and Pieter Vanspeybrouck again took the initiative in this hilly classic. First, by controlling the gap to the early breakaway of eleven riders which was caught with 80 kilometer to go. The race scenario was then unpredictable until the final climb, as multiple breakaway attempts never lasted for a long time. Also Jan Bakelants and Loïc Vliegen followed the moves in the second race half.

A reduced bunch of forty riders started the final two uphill kilometers together and Goossens was once more among the better riders. His teammate Biniam Girmay finished 19th and was invited to the podium as the best U23 rider.

Jan Bakelants, Biniam Girmay Hailu, Alexander Kristoff, Andrea Pasqualon, Adrien Petit and Kévin Van Melsen are the seven selected riders to conclude the Mallorca Challenge with the Trofeo Playa de Palma this Sunday. In this fifth race around the capital, the sprinters will face the Coll de Sa Creu (9.1km at 3.2%) 35 kilometer before the finish.

"It’s the third good result in a row for Kobe and I think he could have finished closer to the podium if he started his final effort a little later. I’m convinced that we will see him often this season when the road goes up, we clearly saw this week that he has made a big step forward. He always started the climbs in a good position thanks to the support of his teammates. The fact that five of our riders were present in the final of such a difficult race shows the quality of our group. This is good for the confidence!" - Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager)

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Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl to ride Volta a La Comunitat Valenciana

Here’s the team’s news release:

After being postponed to April in 2021, Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana returns at the beginning of February this year as one of the early stage races of the season. The first three days will be the most important in terms of the general classification fight, with the peloton set to take on a total of 14 classified climbs. The toughest of these will come at the end of stage 3, Alto de las Antenas de Maigmo, at the bottom of which the riders will arrive having previously tackled a 3km stretch of gravel roads.

The last two days of the race – finishing in Torrevieja and Valencia – are expected to come down to a bunch sprint, although in the past the fast men’s plans got spoiled by the attackers, one of the most recent examples being Stijn Vandenbergh, who upset the sprinters on the local circuit in Valencia back in 2016, despite a plastic bag getting stuck in his rear wheel with just a couple of kilometers to go.

Next week’s race will mark Remco Evenepoel’s first presence in Spain since August 2020, when he captured the Vuelta a Burgos overall standings, taking what at that time was the fourth GC win of his career.

Remco Evenpoel having a good day at the 2020 Vuelta a Burgos.

The Belgian will be joined by another rider who has tasted success in Spain on several occasions – Fabio Jakobsen – a five-time stage victor and points classification winner at La Vuelta. Rounding out our team will be Mattia Cattaneo, Josef Cerny, Mikkel Honoré, Yves Lampaert and Olympic Madison Champion Michael Mørkøv.

“Looking at the team for Valencia, we can definitely get some chances, especially with Fabio, as some of the stages should end in a bunch sprint. But also with Remco, Mikkel and Mattia we can do something nice. The route is a demanding one, with two hard uphill finishes; one of these has a few kilometers of gravel roads, which will make things even more difficult. We would like to get a stage victory and, if possible, do a good general classification. But the race is tough and we know it won’t be easy”, said Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Tom Steels.

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