BikeRaceInfo: Current and historical race results, plus interviews, bikes, travel, and cycling historyBikeRaceInfo: Current and historical race results, plus interviews, bikes, travel, and cycling history
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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, October 4, 2023

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2023 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

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Tre Valli Varesine reports

We posted the report from fourth-place Primoz Roglic's Team Jumbo-Visma with the results.

Here's the report from winner Ilan Van Wilder's Team Soudal-Quick-Step:

Ilan Van Wilder signed off the 949th victory in the history of our team after a remarkable solo ride in Tre Valli Varesine, where he broke away from an elite group featuring Grand Tour and Monument winners and managed to hold off the chasers en route to becoming the first Belgian since Eddy Merckx in 1968 to taste success at the Italian one-day race.

Ilan Van Wilder takes solo win in Verese. Photo: Getty Sport

Victorious this season at the Deutschland Tour, Ilan made his smart move after some heated kilometers which witnessed a flurry of attacks from the big favourites, going clear on a false flat just of the hilly circuit around Varese – host of the 2008 World Championships – just before the 2km Casciago climb. The moment he opened up a small margin with ten kilometers to go, the 23-year-old continued pressing on his pedals and arrived at the bottom of the last ascent with 20 seconds in hand.

Via Sacco was no easy task, but Ilan rode superbly in the closing kilometers, managing his effort to a tee and claiming his first success in a one-day race – at an event Soudal Quick-Step hadn’t won until today.

“I am very happy with this win, the least expected victory of my career, as it came after not feeling that good last Saturday in Giro dell’Emilia. When I went clear it happened without me wanting to attack, all that I intended was to make a tempo, but then I had a gap and went full gas. Brama encouraged me from the car all the time, saying I had to do a time trial to the finish, and that’s what I did. This is an emotional victory, one for my teammates and the staff, after a difficult week”, said Ilan following Soudal Quick-Step’s 54th triumph of the season.

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Here's the report from third-place Aleksandr Vlasov's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

The course of this year's edition of the race started in Busto Arsizio and covered 195.5 kilometres of hilly terrain, with the riders having to take on a circuit in Varese eight times. On the Morosolo climb, Pogačar attacked, forming a small lead group, including Aleksandr Vlasov. A few kilometres later, Van Wilder attacked and the Belgian quickly gained a lead. Back in the 10-strong chasing group there was no good cooperation and so Van Wilder's lead grew quite fast. Before the final Carapaz attacked out of the chasing group, but he was not able to catch up with Van Wilder. The sprint for third place was won by Vlasov shortly before Roglič and Pogačar.

Aleksandr Vlasov at this year's Tour of the Alps. Sirotti photo

"It wasn't an easy day of racing today. We lined up with Sergio Higuita, who was second here last year, and so he was our designated sprinter in the finale. I had a free role, for example to go into the break, and see what happens. In the end, I was in the front group and so I readied myself to try to do the best sprint I could. However, when Van Wilder went away, our group hesitated, and no one wanted to take responsibility for chasing. I'm pleased with my podium finish here of course, and it's good to see that my form is there ahead of Lombardia on Saturday, where I hope to do well." - Aleksandr Vlasov

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Münsterland Giro team reports

We psoted the report from fourth-place Nils Eekhoff's Team dsm-firmenich with the results.

Here's the report from winner Per Strand Hagenes' Team Jumbo-Visma:

Per Strand Hagenes crowned Team Jumbo-Visma's perfect team play at the Münsterland Giro with a handsome victory. Together with Christophe Laporte and Edoardo Affini, the young Norwegian was in the lead group throughout the race and rode solo to the finish.

Per Strand Hagenes takes a solo win in Münster.

Strong winds and heavy rain broke up the race right from the start in Osnabrück. A first group, with Affini, Laporte and Hagenes, broke away and quickly took the lead. Jos van Emden, who won the race in 2007 and 2013, rode safely in the chase group with Olav Kooij, Jesse Kramer and Tim van Dijke.

In the hilly middle section of the German race, the peloton and the lead group continued to thin out. Team Jumbo-Visma was always alert and joined the chase. In the slippery streets of Münster, Laporte attacked in the final. Hagenes attacked after Laporte was caught and held on until the finish line, two kilometres from the finish.

"We played strong and were in the breakaway with three riders”, said Hagenes, who succeeds Kooij as the winner of the Münsterland Giro. "The teamwork was still good after the climb, and we were confident we could make it. It was just a matter of keeping going. In the last few kilometres, Christophe said I had to try something. I took a shot, and it turned out to be the right one. I only realised I had won when I saw the staff cheering.”

"I'm already looking forward to next season”, said the winner, who will make the final move to the WorldTour team. "The classics should suit me, and these are the races where I can develop. I hope to race a lot, but most of all, I hope to learn a lot."

It is the third victory of the season for the young Norwegian. He previously won the Profronde van Drenthe and a stage in the 4 Jours de Dunkerque. Hagenes' victory brings the total number of victories for Team Jumbo-Visma this year to 65.

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Richard Carapaz to lead EF Education-EasyPost at Il Lombardia

The team posted this:

This Saturday, Richard Carapaz will lead EF Education-EasyPost at the Giro di Lombardia.

Alongside Esteban Chaves, Ben Healy, Mikkel Honoré, Andrea Piccolo, Jonathan Caicedo, and Rigoberto Urán, our Olympic and Ecuadorian champion wants to light up the last great classic of the year.

Richard Carapaz in the climber's jersey at the end of the 2021 Vuelta a España. Sirotti photo

After a difficult season beset by illness and injury, he is back in attacking form. On Tuesday, Richie finished second at Tre Valli Varesine with a tremendous sprint away from the group of favorites in the final kilometer. To be able to do that after all he’s been through shows just how tough Richie is. We spoke to him about his comeback for the Race of Falling Leaves.

How do you feel going into Il Lombardia?
It has been a difficult season for me. It has not been my year. It was a very strange one. Since the beginning of the season, there was always something off, but now I’m finally ‘seeing sunlight again.’ Recently, I’ve been feeling very good. I’m close to my best.

These days in Italy, I’ve been in great shape and that is something that strengthens me and my head. I want to be in the game at Lombardia. We have a team that knows what I want, and I’ve shared my confidence with them that I feel fresh, with good legs, and it’s something they have seen in the last weeks. Lombardia is Lombardia, and we’re here to go all or nothing.

Only one rider will lift his hands in the air, but I know that I can be the one. That’s my personal objective.

How difficult was your comeback?
It was very hard. When I left the TDF, I didn’t yet know that I would have to write the story again on a blank page. I wasn’t sure about anything. I flew back to my home country, Ecuador, but it turned out very different to what I had hoped. I started my comeback, but as hard as I fought, I felt that it wasn’t getting any better. I couldn’t see light at the end of the tunnel.

And all this went into my head. I started to think about things I should not, but then these last five weeks my body started to feel better. I could breathe more easily and I could slowly see some results. Back on the bike, I was feeling better. That was the biggest problem I had. One hour on the bike was okay, but the pain started to kick in then, so two- and three-hour rides were impossible to think about. It was also in my head; was it because I was working too hard? Was I not doing enough work? These were questions that haunted me during my whole recovery.

Now in Italy, being able to fight for a win with the big guys in my first races back is something enormous for me. This comeback, besides the hard work and the suffering, has been a positive for me, because I now am where I have to be. There were many uncertain days on my way to recovery. The workload was very intense. I wasn’t even in my hometown Carchi in Ecuador. I had to live in Quito for practical reasons, because my physiotherapist, my kinesiologist, were all closer there, so all that time I wasn’t at home with my family. I was living in a different city, working as hard as I could every day to come back.

From where do you get your motivation?
In the end, I have to say that I love my bike. I love cycling. It’s my passion. It’s something that motivates me every day.

I trained for five months as hard as I could to be fit for the Tour. The road ahead was clear, and then, in a blink of an eye, everything went dark. So that is something that was obviously in my head with me. I was angry, frustrated, when I thought to myself, shoot, I need to come back. That was my motivation, to get out that anger that I had in me since my crash in Bilbao.

Now being able to feel that I am in shape again is something that is maybe not a relief, but it definitely consoles me. I’ve worked hard for it. Being able to be here again with the best is not an easy task, even more so nowadays when in every race you look at the numbers afterwards and think, heck, these numbers are not normal. But yeah, going day by day and feeling good is something that I like. I’m motivated every day. I wake up, knowing I’ve done something positive and I want to continue with that focus. In the end, that’s the Richie we all know: competitive and always active in the fight.

We have a very strong team for Il Lombardia. What is it like to lead your teammates into such an important race?
We will have to manage the race well. We have Rigo and Chaves, who already knows what it takes to win a monument like Il Lombardia. We will have to manage the race based on everyone’s feelings. We don’t all want to play the same card. You have to demonstrate beforehand what your capabilities are. We will have a leader, and I think that I can take over this responsibility. I want to be the one who goes to the meeting and says, ‘this day is going to be for me, and I want you guys to trust me.’

I’ve already shown what I’m able to do, that I am well prepared, and that I’m going to be the one who is going to be ready to stand in the line of fire. And I know that I will be surrounded by the best teammates, who will lead me towards the climax of the race. There will be many moments in the race when you will need to be perfectly placed, and then it will be just a pure elimination race. The competition level is so high nowadays that if you are ever in a bad position early in the race, all that extra effort will be something that will cost you in the end.

So far, I’ve not yet been the one saying, ‘Guys, I want to win,’ but I have been showing my teammates that they can put all their trust in me. I’ve been getting better day by day. I’m coming from a very difficult situation. I had to quit racing for over seven weeks, so being able to stand here now is something that my teammates know is not an easy task. Lombardia is a race made for my characteristics. We will be up against many very very strong opponents, but I know that I will be in the fight. It will be a special race. You grow up watching the Giro, Tirreno, Il Lombardia, and you dream, as a kid, of standing on the podium. The Italian fans are wonderful.

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