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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, July 29, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done. - Ludwig Wittgenstein

Tour de France: 2019

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, 2019: A Year of New Faces is available in both Kindle eBook and audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Vuelta a Castilla y León final reports

We posted the report from stage two & GC winner Simon Yates' Team BikeExchange-Jayco with the results.

Here's the report from 2nd-place Sam Bennett's UAE Team Emirates:

George Bennett showed he is bouncing back from his Covid-19 setback at the Tour de France, with a confident 2nd place on the final stage of the Vuelta Castilla y Leon in Spain.

The 32 year-old climber broke away from an elite group in the final kilometres in pursuit of lone leader Simon Yates (BikeExchange) who took the stage and the overall classification on the hilly parcours starting and finishing in the town of Guijuelo (189.3km).

Simon Yates wins the second stage. Photo: Ciclismo Gonzalez

The result also meant Bennett finishes 2nd in the General Classification behind Yates.

Bennett: “It felt good to be back on the bike and back at the races after the disappointment I had at the Tour. I actually didn’t feel that good today but hung on and had the legs to do something at the end. I’m confident the form is still in the body from all the work I’ve done and I’m confident we’ll see it over the coming weeks.

"The boys were great today; they did a great job and got me in a really good position. I just couldn’t follow Simon at the end. He was just too strong and second was the best we could do. I’m really glad to be back racing.”

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Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl headed to Tour of Poland

Here’s the team’s update:

Since our first outing there, the Wolfpack has amassed more than a dozen stage victories and two overall triumphs, most recent of these being recorded last year.

Unlike previous editions, this year the Tour de Pologne will get underway with a hilly stage that could still see the sprinters in contention at the end, before giving the fast men a clear opportunity to shine twenty-four hours later, in Zamosc. Three classified climbs and an uphill finish in Przemysl will change the leader of the general classification on stage 3, which will be followed by two other tough tests, on the roads to Sanok and Rzeszow, respectively.

A regular finish since the race gained World Tour status, Bukovina Resort is back and will play host to a tough 15.4km uphill individual time trial which should set in stone the GC of this 79th edition. From there, the riders are set to travel to Krakow Sunday afternoon, for a final showdown between the sprinters.

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s squad for the 25th World Tour race of the season will be headlined by Mark Cavendish, who will be back in action for the first time since triumphing at the British National Championships last month, a victory that moved him up to joint-third in a ranking of the most successful riders in history just behind Eddy Merckx and Rik Van Looy.

Mark Cavendish wins this year's Milano-Torino

Joining the Manxman – who will race here for the third time in his career – at the 79th running of the Tour de Pologne will be Rémi Cavagna, Josef Cerny, Tour of Belgium winner Mauro Schmid, Zdenek Stybar, Bert Van Lerberghe and Mauri Vansevenant.

“It’s a beautiful Tour of Poland with chances for every type of rider. The first two stages will be sprint stages, where we have Mark ready to fight for a good result, with Bert, Zdenek and Josef there to support him; then the third stage is the same as last year with the steep 1.5km uphill finish which will reshuffle the standings, where Mauro and Mauri could be in the mix.”

“Stage four and five can maybe come down to a bunch sprint or maybe not, they can also be for the puncheurs, but even the breakaway will have a chance there. In the stage six individual time trial, we’ll look to Rémi and Mauro for a good result, as the latter proved he can do well in this discipline. Finally, the last stage should be again one for the sprinters, but it will all depend on how the GC teams will race it”, explained Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Geert Van Bondt.

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Team BikeExchange-Jayco previews Tour of Poland

The team sent me this:

Team BikeExchange-Jayco will take a two-pronged approach to the Tour of Poland as they target both stage wins and the general classification.

The seven-rider squad features a wide range of talent as the team look to take on the sprint finishes with Australian Kaden Groves, while backing Giro d’Italia stage winner Matteo Sobrero and Lucas Hamilton for a tilt at the overall.

The powerful trio of Alex Edmondson, Michael Hepburn and Kell O’Brien will play a key role for the fast finishes, with American time trial champion Lawson Craddock set to provide support on the climbs, as well as targeting the TT stage.

Lawson Craddock (showing riding the 2021 World Championships) will start the Tour of Poland. Sirotti photo

The week-long stage race features varied terrain and starts with two flatter stages that should end in sprint finishes. The following three stages each have a series of climbs before an 11.8km uphill time trial on stage six. The racing then concludes in Krakow with another chance for the fast finishers.

Team BikeExchange-Jayco:
Lawson Craddock (USA)
Alex Edmondson (AUS)
Kaden Groves (AUS)
Lucas Hamilton (AUS)
Michael Hepburn (AUS)
Kell O’Brien (AUS)
Matteo Sobrero (ITA)

Lucas Hamilton:
“It’s my first time doing the Tour of Poland, so I’m looking forward to it. I had a bit of a hit out on Monday at Villafranca after being at altitude for a couple of weeks, the legs seem to be ok, but I’m pretty keen to get back into the swing of things with racing.

"I think the uphill TT will be pretty crucial for the GC, but it’s more of a ‘slight’ uphill TT, so I think it’s going to be a bit of a grind. But we’ve shown this year that we have a really strong team in time trials, especially on the equipment we have.

"We have a really good squad heading to Poland and for the majority of stages I think we have guys that can be competitive and go for the win, so we’re looking forward to it.”

Gene Bates (Sport Director):
“We’ve got a two-pronged attack; we’ve got Kaden here, it’s his first race back in a while, but he’s been preparing well, and he’ll be targeting the flatter stages. Then we also have Matteo and Lucas who will look more at the overall general classification for the week.

"Matteo is performing well in time trials this year and this one in particular could suit him well, so he will be looking to stage six. I think for the GC, that hilly time trial is going to be critical, it’s probably the most selective stage there is in terms of time gaps, so it will be significant in deciding the GC.

:We have some guys coming in from training and some who have a race or two in their legs, but I think that’s not too dissimilar across the board. I think there’s a lot of riders coming to Poland who have had a break and didn’t do the Tour de France and are coming to Poland to prepare for the Vuelta.

"All our guys are fit and well, and we’re hoping to hit the ground running from stage one onwards. It’s a big backend of the season coming up and this is just the start of it.”

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Matej Mohoric to lead Team Bahrain Victorious at Clásica de San Sebastián

Here’s the team’s news:

Matej Mohorič leads a strong Bahrain Victorious line up to the 42nd edition of the Clásica de San Sebastián. The 224.8km day race starts and ends in San Sebastián, as the riders go over 4,147 vertical meters across six classified climbs.

Matej Mohorič wins the 2022 Milano-Sanremo. Sirotti photo

Luis León Sánchez joins Mohorič from the Tour, while Arashiro, Buitrago, Mäder, Pernsteiner and Poels make up the lineup and bring options to the team to battle for the win.

Sports Director Neil Stephens will be hoping Mohorič can go one place better after finishing runner-up in 2021: “It’s a really demanding race that starts along the coastline towards the west then turns inland towards the hardest climb, the Erlaitz. Then Murgil- Tontorra, before the descent into San Sebastián.

"This year we are hoping to go one better than last year with Matej. We expect it to be a demanding race with attacks right from the start. Alongside Matej, we’ve got Gino Mäder, who is hoping to be there in the final, and Luis León Sánchez, who is coming off a solid Tour de France, which gives us options depending on how the race pans out.”

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