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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

People think that I must be a very strange person. This is not correct. I have the heart of a small boy. It is in a glass jar on my desk. - Stephen King

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Giro d'Italia stage three team reports

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Stage winner Fernando Gaviria's UAE-Team Emirates sent me this:

Despite actually crossing the line in second, Gaviria took home the stage win following a decision by race officials to relegate Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick Step) after he was deemed to have impeded an opponent in the final sprint.

Ferando Gaviria

Ferando Gaviria was grim-faced at the awards ceremony. Sirotti photo

There was nothing to separate the peloton as they came into the final kilometres in a large bunch, but with riders wrestling to get into a good position, there was an unfortunate crash at just 3km from the finish; fortunately the key contenders for the stage win were not involved. Ahead of a tricky and narrow chicane just one kilometre out, Gaviria held his position and came into the closing 500 metres on the wheel of one of his fellow riders, before launching his attack. The win – Gaviria’s fifth career Giro d’Italia stage victory – also puts the Colombian top of the Points Classification.

Commenting on the result, Gaviria said: “This isn’t really how I wanted to win and that’s why I didn’t celebrate on the podium. In my view Viviani is the winner today. I don’t think he did it on purpose – he came straight out from Ackermann’s slipstream. This is the first time I’ve ‘won’ because of the relegation rule but I guess these things happen, especially in sprinting. Regardless of the result my team did a great job and I hope to repay them with a clear win as soon as possible.”

Stage four is a hilly 235km route from Orbetello to Frascati, and should be a good test for the General Classification (GC) contenders. Spectators can expect a punchy finale to the stage as riders battle an uphill finish, on the undulating and twisting roads in the Rome suburb.

Here's the report from Elia Viviani's Deceuninck-Quick step team:

Minutes after becoming the first Italian Champion in three years to celebrate a victory at the Corsa Rosa, Elia Viviani was informed by the race jury that he won’t be going to the podium. The win was instead given to Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), following what the jury considered to be dangerous sprinting from the 30-year-old Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider.

Ferando Gaviria

Elia Viviani was the first rider across the line.

“I am completely disappointed by this decision. Yesterday I made a mistake in the final and today was focused on doing my best. As you could see all the other sprinters crossed the line behind me. The team did an amazing job and I am extremely proud of them. There was a strong headwind, so that’s why I started my sprint late. I was really happy to have taken the win, but then this decision came and all I can do now is focus on the next sprint I and take this jersey to the top of a stage classification”, Elia said after Monday’s stage.

It wasn’t the only setback for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, as James Knox – who up until the final kilometers worked hard for the team at the front together with fellow Grand Tour debutant Mikkel Honoré and Pieter Serry – crashed and lost time, arriving at the finish two minutes behind the main group. The only solace for the team after Monday’s stage is that Luxembourg Champion Bob Jungels is now close to making his way into the top 10 overall, after gaining two positions in the general classification and moving up to 11th.

Here's the report from GC leader Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team:

Today’s stage wasn’t too hectic. One brave attacker got a maximum lead of seven minutes, but was caught before the last fifty kilometres mark. A reduced peloton then sprinted for the stage win. Team Jumbo-Visma kept Roglic in front all day and stayed out of trouble in the treacherous final kilometres.

“It was a fairly easy stage today”, overall leader Roglic explained. “There was only one attacker, so that was an easy situation to control. There was a very strong wind, so we had to pay attention all the time as there was a possibility of echelons. We are a Dutch team, so we know how to deal with the wind. The final is always stressful, but the team protected me very well and kept me in the front all day. We survived the day unscathed.”

Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic will start stage four in pink. Sirotti photo

Sports director Addy Engels concurred with his captain. “There were talks beforehand about possible echelons due to the strong wind. In the end that did not happen, but we had to be ready for the battle and try to eliminate as many risks as possible. There were a few dangerous moments, but nothing really happened. We were ready for a fight and we got through the day perfectly.”

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

The third stage, at 220 km in length, commenced in Vinci, the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci, and concluded in Orbetello on the Tuscan coast. The route crossed through slightly hilly landscapes around Siena before reaching the area around Grosseto, and was tailor-made for the sprinters to shine. After the only climb of the day, the Poggio L’Appartita (Cat. 4), the parcours featured flat terrain into Orbetello with the only difficulty being a chicane just 400 m ahead of the finish line.

With Pascal Ackermann, wearer of the Maglia Ciclamino, BORA-hansgrohe had a hot favourite amongst their ranks today. After only a few kilometres a soloist escaped and the field conceded an advantage of around seven minutes during the course of the day. The race situation remained unchanged for quite some time but when Lotto Soudal increased the pace, the distance to the escapee diminished slowly and after 140 km on the front he was eventually reeled in.

With 50 km to the finish line, BORA - hansgrohe came to the front to control the tempo. Shortly afterwards, Bahrain-Merida, Jumbo Visma and Mitchelton- Scott joined the squad from Raubling in the pace-setting. With 15km to go, the teams of the fast men also moved up front to position their fast men, with crosswinds being expected on the last part of the course.

The race proceeded in a relatively orderly fashion, however with 5 km remaining, the finale was ushered in and Deuceuninck Quickstep ramped up the speed. A crash occurred in a hectic finish, which tore the field apart, but BORA – hansgrohe had Ackermann as well as Majka and Formolo in the front of the group. In the last 1000 m, Rudi Selig led out the German road champion almost perfectly, and after a tricky series of corners, Ackermann faced the headwind with 200 m remaining. However, he launched his sprint somewhat too early, and Elia Viviani sprinted first over the line.

However, the Italian was later relegated due to an irregular sprint maneuver and Fernando Gaviria was left to take the stage win. Pascal moved up to third place on the stage, while Rafal Majka was able to maintain his 6th place in the overall classification.

From the finish line:
“I think that we did a good job, but in the end my timing didn’t work out and I went too early into the headwind. Given these circumstances, we can be happy with a third place. But there are still more stages to come, where we can hopefully put up a good fight.” - Pascal Ackermann

“We were very motivated and were ready to support Pascal 100 per cent. Due to the winds today we also rode offensively and I have to say that the guys did a superb job. We would have almost reached our goal on this stage, but today the other sprinters were either faster or had a little more luck. But one can’t win all the time in cycling. Tomorrow’s stage doesn’t quite suit Pascal, with its uphill finish, however we’ll have another attempt to take a victory on the stage afterwards. He is currently in good form and I am confident that we will be able to notch up another win.” - Christian Poemer, Sports Director

Framebuilder Roland Della Santa dies

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News posted this sad news:

RENO, Nev. (BRAIN) — Noted framebuilder Roland Della Santa, known for his custom steel frames made for racers and collectors including a young Greg LeMond, died this weekend, friends say.

Jan Johnson, a longtime friend of Della Santa and wife of framebuilder Peter Johnson, said Della Santa was found dead at his home in Reno on Saturday morning. Della Santa was not married; a cousin was driving to Reno from Southern California to make arrangements, she said.

Della Santa, who was 72, began building frames in 1970 and recently attended the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Sacramento.

LeMond told BRAIN that Della Santa educated him about European pro cycling and inspired his career.

"Roland had a big impact on my career. Really when I was 16 I had no clue what pro cycling was — I showed up at my first race in a yellow jersey, I didn't know you're only supposed to do that if you won the Tour de France. But I rode to Roland's house weekly. He had a living room that was maybe 20 feet by 20 feet and he'd have this huge stack of European racing magazines. That's the first time I saw pictures of the great races and the riders and it got me hooked. So Roland was probably one of the biggest influencers on my career," LeMond told BRAIN on Tuesday.

Della Santa was LeMond's first sponsor and built frames for the future Tour winner, his father and his wife. Later, Della Santa built the first stock steel frames sold under the LeMond label in 1986.

"He was a nice guy, really sarcastic, kind of snarky sometimes. He had a good sense of humor and was always calm, always mellow. He was a great racer, too, people don't remember. If you ordered a frame at the wrong time, it might be delayed because he was off training too much to finish it. He was part of the Northern California racing scene with people like Gary Fisher and Joe Breeze and Tom Ritchey," LeMond remembered.

You can read the entire story here.

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