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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, June 3, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven't committed. - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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Giro d'Italia final team reports

We posted the reports from the race organizer and GC winner Richard Carapaz's Movistar team with the results.

Stage 21 winner Chad Haga's Team Sunweb sent me this:

Ending with a 17 kilometre time trial around Verona, the Giro had one last sting in its tail with a tricky parcours awaiting the riders today. The focal point of the route was a four and a half kilometre long climb that averaged over four percent in gradient. Over the top of the climb a sinuous and technical descent lead onto the flatter finish.

Chad Haga

Chad Haga beating everyone else. Sirotti photo

Chad Haga was first off the start ramp for the team and set a strong intermediate time on his Cervelo P5, only six seconds behind the best time at that point. Haga continued to pace himself well, taking the best possible lines on the tricky descent before powering along the flat to the finish. Setting a time of 22 minutes and seven seconds, it was enough to see the Team Sunweb rider move into the provisional lead, and into the hot-seat for the afternoon.

Riders continued to come through the finish line but Haga’s time stood strong. With pre-stage favourite Roglic starting fourth last, it was a nervous wait for Haga and the team. However, the time set was more than good enough to secure the victory, with Haga taking his first Grand Tour stage win, putting Team Sunweb’s two Keep Challenging stripes back on the podium again. A great result for the whole team after everyone believed that the chances would come, keeping the faith all the way to Verona.

An elated Haga said the following at the finish: “It was a very fast course, with a lot of technical corners. The climb was very tough to pace, there was no rhythm on it and you had to constantly adjust your effort to the climb. The descent after the climb was very fast and technical. The extended recon I did for that paid off; I watched a video of it around twenty times this morning. After the last TT we knew this one would suit me more, so I’m very thankful for the team allowing me to save myself as much as possible over the last week for today. It’s been a hard Giro for us; we started well but then lost Tom, Rob, Louis and Sam. Since then we have been trying to salvage anything from the race. The win means a lot to me but it also means a lot to the team too, it redeems the Giro for us.”

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef added: “Chad had been thinking of this day since the previous TT. He did a good recon this morning and studied the route thoroughly, watching it back on video several times to know every metre of the parcours. In the TT itself he paced himself very well; he didn’t really lose anything in the opening part, before doing a strong climb. It was the descent where he really made the difference and it shows that his effort studying the route paid off. This win is so deserved, Chad is such a selfless rider and always gives his all for the team so it is really nice to see him take the victory. We’re all very proud of this result as a team.”

Lotto-Soudal got 2nd & 3rd in the final stage. Here's the team's report:

Lotto Soudal played a main role in the closing Giro d’Italia time trial today. Victor Campenaerts – reigning European champion against the clock – and Thomas De Gendt finished second and third, respectively. The American Chad Haga took the victory in Verona, he was four seconds faster than Campenaerts. The Ecuadorian rider Richard Carapaz secured the overall victory today and wins his first Grand Tour.

Victor Capenaerts

Victor Campenaerts riding to second place. Sirotti photo. 

Early in the afternoon, Victor Campenaerts covered the seventeen kilometres long hilly course in a time of twenty-two minutes and eleven seconds. That way, the Lotto Soudal rider could take place in the so-called hot seat but only moments later, Campenaerts had to give that place to Chad Haga, who improved his time with four seconds. A superb ride from Thomas De Gendt saw him finish in a time of 22’13”, delivering the 32-year-old Belgian a third spot on the stage.

Victor Campenaerts: “Of course, I am disappointed with second place. Team-wise, we did everything to obtain a good result. Performance manager Kevin De Weert made a thorough analysis of the course and that certainly payed off today with a second and third place. It is a nice team result but I would have preferred to win and an additional twentieth place, for example. It is particularly disappointing because I lost the time trial during the descent, where the shape is not important but taking risks is. But that is of course also a part of cycling. If you lose for example twenty seconds on a climb, it is easier to admit that the other rider was stronger. It is thus frustrating but Chad Haga only rode six seconds slower before the descent started, so he also was really impressive today. The past few stages, I noticed he was saving energy and preparing for this time trial.”

“I carried out the plan to perfection but during the descent, it is about cornering as fast as possible. Of course, I received the perfect information from the team car but the audacity is also an important factor. The many track training sessions in Mexico did not really play into my advantage today. But I prefer to finish runner-up in the closing Giro time trail and breaking the Hour Record to winning and not breaking the record. It is of course difficult to focus on multiple goals but just like in San Marino, I was again close to victory today. Finishing the Giro with two time trial victories would have been nice but the shape is certainly promising towards the Baloise Belgium Tour.”

The final Tour of Norway stage - between Gran en Hønefoss – would decide the overall victory today. Carl Fredrik Hagen was part of the breakaway but he was caught on the final climb, where first Bjorg Lambrecht and later Tim Wellens attacked. Together with Hirschi, Wellens opened up a small gap but eventually, the stage ended in a bunch sprint. Norwegian rider Halvorsen was the fastest, his compatriot Kristoff took the overall win. After an offensive six days of racing from Lotto Soudal in Norway, Sander Armée and Carl Fredrik Hagen finished ninth and tenth in the general classification.

Pascal Ackermann's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this final report:

The Giro d’Italia came to a close today with an individual time trial around Verona. The first 5 km of the 17 km-long course were flat and took place on wide and straight roads. Afterwards, the route kicked up to the 5 per cent steep Torricelle ascent, where the intermediate time check was taken, followed by a 5 km-long bendy descent towards the Roman amphitheatre of Verona. With a time of 22:11 minutes, the European time trial champion V. Campenaerts led the race early.

Pascal Ackermann

Pascal Ackermann in the purple sprinter's jersey.

The first BORA - hansgrohe rider to leave the start house was Rudi Selig, followed by his teammate Pascal Ackermann, who crossed the line with a time of 25:06, and by finishing the final stage of the Giro also secured the points jersey. His teammates Michael Schwarzmann and Pawel Poljanski took on the course next, finishing in 23:55 and 24:14 minutes respectively. Cesare Benedetti rolled over the finish line with a time of 24:49. In the meantime, C. Haga set a new best time of 22:07, which was the winning time at the end of the day. Jay McCarthy and Davide Formollo rolled down the start ramp around 30 minutes later. Jay, at that point, had set the 7th best time at the intermediate check and in the end completed the course in 23:16. His Italian teammate Davide arrived in the Amphitheatre of his home town after 23:05 minutes.

The last rider of the Raubling squad to start the race against the clock was Rafal Majka, who finished the final stage in 22:47 minutes. The Polish climber could not reach the best time, but displayed a very good performance, and with that, moved up to 6th place in the general classification, less than 7 minutes behind the overall winner R. Carapaz. By the end of the Giro d'Italia, Rafal's teammate Davide maintained his 14 place in the GC. The team completed the race with great success: two stage wins with Pascal Ackermann, another stage victory with Cesare Benedetti, Rafal Majka's top 10 placing in the GC, and a victory in the points classification with Pascal Ackermann, who became the first German to take the Maglia Ciclamino home at the end of a Giro.

From the finish line:
“Initially I felt like the underdog but now we can see what I can achieve. I am just happy to be part of this team. I have a lot of friends here and they all did an amazing job on all the stages, be it on the flat or in the mountains. They always motivated me out on the road, and also outside of competition. Everybody worked very hard to get these results and I have to really thank them for all their support. I really wanted to participate in the Giro and when I was selected, the confidence that the team placed in me gave me additional motivation to try even harder to achieve more. In the end we did an amazing job and my thanks goes to everyone in this team.” - Pascal Ackermann

“I knew that there could be changes in the overall standings today, and so it was important to put in a good performance in the time trial. In the first, flatter part, I kept some energy in reserve, but on the climb I gave it everything. I had really good legs and was able to overtake Lopez in the general classification. Overall, I think we can be extremely satisfied with three stage victories, as well as the points jersey. I wanted to net a result in the top 5, but can be satisfied with my sixth place too. The whole team worked perfectly together here, supporting Pascal for the sprints, and me in the mountains. The guys did a fantastic job, and that paid off in the end.” - Rafal Majka

“With Rafal Majka’s sixth place, the team secured its best overall placing at a Grand Tour in the existence of the team. In addition, we secured two stage wins with Pascal Ackermann and one with Cesare Benedetti, as well as the points jersey and 8 podium places. This is also the first time that a German takes home the points jersey. We can be very satisfied with this, and the fact that we also brought all 8 riders safely to Verona. The guys worked extremely well over the pats three weeks. BORA - Hansgrohe is a team that generates success together, and not only by virtue of one rider. Special mention to everyone in the team, who contributed to a fantastic atmosphere at this race, as well a the approximately 20 staff and those who worked in the background.” - Jens Zemke, Sports Director

Here's Mitchelton-Scott's final Giro report:

The 2019 Giro d’Italia came to a close today with a final time trial in Verona, with a Australian champion Luke Durbridge riding to 11th position on the final stage. Despite not walking away with the title they dreamed of, Mitchelton-SCOTT concluded the month of racing with a stage victory from Esteban Chaves and eighth overall with Simon Yates.

Esteban Chaves

Esteban Chaves wins stage 19. Sirotti photo

The third and final time trial was to be the decider of the 2019 Giro d’Italia. The 17km course through Verona again featured a mid-course climb, but not to the same extent as the previous two time trial stages.

Durbridge was Mitchelton-SCOTT’s highest place finisher, stopping the clock in a time of 22:34 to finish 27seconds behind stage winner Chad Haga (Sunweb Team). Yates finished one-minute adrift, but it was enough to retain eighth overall.

Fresh off success at the last Grand Tour, the 2018 Vuelta a Espana, Mitchelton-SCOTT and Yates lined up with confidence, hoping for back-to-back three-week success. Starting off strongly with a second place on the opening time trial, and successfully navigating the next week of sprint stages, an off-day on the critical second time trial trial had the team on the back foot.

Still battling for the best general classification possible, Mitchelton-SCOTT also began to play extra cards for a stage win, eventually riding onto the top step on stage 19 courtesy of Chaves.

Mitchelton-SCOTT – Top 5 Results:

1st Stage 19, Esteban Chaves
2nd Stage 1, Simon Yates
2nd Stage 13, Mikel Nieve
2nd Stage 14, Simon Yates
2nd Stage 17, Esteban Chaves
3rd Stage 15, Simon Yates
4th Stage 7, Lucas Hamilton

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“We can 100% walk away with our heads held high. The boys committed from day one to day 21 and that’s all you can ask for. It wasn’t through a lack of trying, in preparation, in the way we raced or the way we went about things for the three weeks.“It’s a Grand Tour, they are tricky. Our GC riders are young, especially the Yates brothers at 26-years of age. You can’t win every Grand Tour you start, professional cycling is a very competitive world.

“We were in the mix, it just wasn’t enough this year to arrive on the podium. But it wasn’t through a lack of trying. We had a stage win, four second-places, we animated the race, we made the race on multiple stages to try to claw back stage wins and to try to keep Simon in a high general classification position.

“I am nothing but proud of the boys for the way they committed to the three weeks.”

Simon Yates:
“It was a very disappointing Giro for me personally, although disappointing isn’t the right word, heartbreaking is more accurate.

"I put a lot of effort into this, a lot of time and it has just not come together the way I was expecting. That’s OK, there’s always another Giro, another year and I will come back at some point and try again. You can always learn and we will do that going forward.

“The team were great. For sure one of the best I have ever experienced in a Grand Tour. Really on the money from day one and for the whole three weeks the guys were there for me. I was never alone at any moment, whether it was on the flat with the bigger guys or on the climbs with the climbers, they were really amazing.”

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