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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, May 18, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Mistakes are a part of the dues one pays for a full life. - Sophia Loren

Sticky Buns Across America

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Giro d'Italia stage seven team reports

We posted the organizer's & Team Bora-hansgrohe's reports with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Pello Bilbao's Team Astana:

Stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia to L’Aquila became a day of glory for Pello Bilbao. The Astana’s rider took a great solo victory, attacking from a breakaway group with around 1.5 km to go.

Pellot Bilbao

Pello Bilbao takes a solo win. Sirotti photo

- I am so happy with my win! Honestly, I can’t believe, that, finally, I took a big victory. It is a special day for me, since I like the Giro d’Italia so much and I really wanted to win a stage here! I want to thank my team for trust in me! Astana Pro Team did this possible! – said Pello Bilbao.

Stage 7 of the Giro (185 km) has started with many attacks and a super high pace of the peloton. After many attempts, finally, a group of riders broke away clear with two representatives of Astana Pro Team: Pello Bilbao and Andrey Zeits. The Kazakh rider did a phenomenal work in the break, leading the group and holding a gap to the main peloton. Finally, this job, done by Andrey Zeits allowed Pello Bilbao to save some energy for the final. Inside the last 10 km the breakaway has exploded with attacks, but only Pello Bilbao was able to launch a decisive one, immediately taking a small gap, the Astana rider did his best to stay clear in front and to win this stage.

- Honestly, I did not expect the day will end this way. It was an improvisation. We had Dario Cataldo, Manuele Boaro and Ion Izagirre, who tried to go in a break in the first kilometers, but the peloton just did not give them much space. Finally, me and Andrey Zeits could join a right group. I want to thank Andrey for an absolutely great job, he did today. Thanks to Andrey, our group managed to hold the gap and to play the stage win. In the end of the day I tried to play my card not only with the power, but also with my head. The final was a hard one and I just was looking for a moment to attack. With 1.5 km to go our sports director Alexandr Shefer told me it is a right moment and I just gave my best in that attack. This success means a lot for me and I want to dedicate it to my team, my family and to Michele Scarponi. It is great to take a stage win at the Giro, but, anyway, our main goal here is still the same – to help Miguel Angel Lopez to win the race. Me as well as all the team are for 100% for him at this Giro d’Italia, - added Pello Bilbao.

One of the heroes of today’s stage Andrey Zeits finished the race with a smile on his face.

- I am so happy for Pello, it is a nice victory for him, but also for the team. We tried for many times to go in a break today and, finally, together with Pello we went in a good group. I knew, that Pello is faster than me and he could have a chance for the final, so I did all I could to support him in this break. I am happy that all work I did today, helped him to win the stage. I had a special motivation in this stage, because today is a birthday of my wife. With my work and the result we’ve got as a team I’d like to congratulate my wife Larisa! – said Andrey Zeits.

- This victory brings a good additional motivation for all team. We are happy with this success, which arrived to us already at the first week. The main part of the race is still ahead and we are ready for the fight. But, today, we will celebrate a bit! I’d like to thank all team for great dedication to our common goal and to thank our sponsors for support and help during the season. A special thank to our main partner Samruk Kazyna, which is always with us, - added Alexandr Shefer, sports director of Astana Pro Team.

Despite a strong chase behind the shoulders of the break, the peloton did not catch the escapers, arriving at the finish 1 minute 7 seconds after Pello Bilbao. Astana’s leader Miguel Angel Lopez finished safety in the main group.

In the general classification the Italian Valerio Conti still leads the race.

Tomorrow will be held the 8th stage of the race: 239 km from Tortoreto Lido to Pesaro.

GC leader Valerio Conti's UAE-Team Emirates sent me this report, Fernando Gaviria abandons:

UAE Team Emirates’ Valerio Conti will wear the pink jersey for another day, after crossing the line on Stage seven of the Giro d’Italia with the main peloton.

Valerio Conti

Valerio Conti finished stage seven safely. Sirotti photo

The 185km route from Vasto to L’Aquila was dominated by the breakaway, and it proved successful with Pello Bilbao (Astana Pro Team) crossing the line to take the stage win.

Despite finishing just over a minute behind, the stage proved to be a reasonably comfortable day for Valerio Conti and his teammates, who looked to protect the pink jersey and ensure that UAE Team Emirates head into the weekend still holding onto the pink jersey.

Commenting on stage, Conti said: “We knew it would be a hard stage, but it was harder than expected. I want to thank the team that has proved to be a family, ready to give their all and who helped empower me along the whole 185km. I have special gratitude for them; they have gifted me another day wearing the Pink Jersey”.

There was however disappointment for Fernando Gaviria, who was forced to withdraw from the race at 50km after suffering with pain in his left knee for the last few days.

Commenting on the withdrawal, Gaviria said: “I was struggling from the start today and my left knee has been already been hurting for some days. I tried to hang on but I could barely push the pedals. It’s a pity because we were doing okay in the sprints and were ready to have another crack. The knee pain can be complicated, but I’ll rest now, take care of the knee pain and come back and build towards the next big goal”.

Tomorrow, Conti will once again be at the at the front of the pack as the riders set off on Stage eight; the longest at this year’s Giro at 239km.

Bora-hansgrohe reports on Tour of California stage five

We posted the report from second-place Max Recheze's Deceuninck-Quick Step team with the results.

Bora-hansgrohe sent me this update:

This was the Tour of California’s longest stage, and if the prospect of hours in the saddle wasn’t disheartening enough, there were also five categorised climbs for the peloton to contend with over the course of the day. After making their way over five categorised climbs – including the first category San Marcos Pass, with its gradients hitting an average of 6.8% over its 5.9km distance – there was some respite in the fact most of the final 35km were flat or downhill – save for a kick just outside of the finish in Ventura. After all the climbing, it was likely the overall contenders would be setting their sights on the finale for the chance for time gains and to go for the glory of taking the win.

From the start, there was an intense fight to get in the break, but the fast pace made it harder to make a move. After almost 50km the escape came – with the Slovak National Champion, Peter Sagan, leading the charge, today wearing the green jersey of points leader. This group of what eventually became thirteen riders pushed ahead to build a gap that topped out at 2:30, but their number, not to mention a strong tailwind, made it easier to stay out in front. With riders threatening the GC standings in this lead group, the peloton wasn’t happy to let them stay out front and brought their lead down, particularly as the break had maintained its lead to the final 20km.

As the bunch snapped at their heels, a solo attack came from the break, but it was all in vain as first, now into the final 10km, the remnants of the escape were swept up by the peloton, taking Peter with them, before the lone escapee was caught on the final kick before the finish. The race was once again spurred into life here as the GC riders went for both the win and for any time bonuses they could take, the going made more difficult by relentless headwinds. Splintering the peloton with their attacks, a select group of GC riders formed ahead, amongst them both Maximilian Schachmann and Felix Grossschartner. Sprinting hard, Maximilian took sixth spot and Felix thirteenth, the duo maintaining their strong GC positions ahead of a pivotal day in the mountains tomorrow.

Ivan Garcia

Ivan Garcia wins in Ventura

From the Finish Line:
"It was a very hard day, from the start with an average speed of 50kmh in the first hour. It was full on with crosswinds and splits in the peloton. The strong pace kept on for the rest of the stage and in the finale, we had that kicker. Felix and I were in the front and wanted to attack but it was Urán, Bennett and another EF rider that launched the attack. We chased them down but there was too much headwind in the last 2km, so it was going to finish with a sprint. We gave our best but some sprinters had already reached us, so I took sixth." – Maximilian Schachmann

​​​​"Very long stage, 230km, and wind that reached 40kmh. There were various attempts for a break in the first 50km but the strong breeze made it difficult. Finally, a group went away, with Peter in there, and managed to build a lead up to two minutes. The peloton caught them with 10km to go because there were serious GC contenders in there and the peloton couldn't let them go away. Maximilian and Schachmann were in the leading group that sprinted and retained their positions in the overall standings." – Jan Valach, Sports Director

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