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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, May 19, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain. - Samuel Johnson

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Giro d'Italia stage eight team reports

We posted the organizer's & Team Lotto-Soudal's reports with the results.

Here's the report from third-place Pascal Ackermann's Bora-hansgrohe team:

The eighth and longest stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia started in Tortoreto Lido and came to a close in Pesaro after 239 km of racing. The first 140 km were comprised of completely flat roads along the Adriatic coast, while the last 80 km traversed over hilly terrain, including three categorised climbs. From the top of the last ascent the route continued on undulating terrain before the riders got on the way on a rather technical descent towards the finishing town.

The final 3km into the city centre of Pesaro were flat again. Right from the outset, a duo got away and extended their lead during the day to more than 5:45 minutes. After 100 km in the saddle, BORA-hansgrohe and some other teams moved to the front of the field to control the tempo and as a result the advantage of the leading duo reduced to slightly less than 3 minutes with 80 km to go.

At the intermediate sprint Pascal Ackermann collected some more bonus points and extended his lead in the point classification over his nearest rival. With the pace making of Lotto-Soudal, the advantage of the leading duo then tumbled quickly and in the ascent to the final categorised climb, the remaining solo escapee was caught. The field started to break up somewhat on the steeper section of the ascent, but when three riders escaped, the team from Raubling, together with the other sprinter teams led the charge to reel the new leaders back in. With 6 km to the finish, the trio had been caught.

It was now that the sprinter teams took their positions at the front, but when Pascal launched his sprint with 200m to go, C. Ewan came out of his slipstream and charged past the German champion to cross the finish line in first position. After a very long day in the saddle, and a display of formidable teamwork, Pascal took third place on the stage and also defended his lead in the points classification.

Caleb Ewan

Caleb Ewan wins Giro stage seven. Sirotti photo

From the finish line:
“You can’t win every day and I think Caleb was simply the fastest. In the finale, he showed just how strong he is. I don't know if it was a question of positioning today or not. But it was clear that Caleb performed better in the finale today. I’m just happy to be on the podium and retain the points jersey. Tomorrow we’ve got the time trial to contend with and then we have a rest day, before there will be another two stages for the sprinters.” - Pascal Ackermann

“It was thanks to the entire team that Pascal was able to contest the win today in the finale, and he’s been able to take the win twice so far. This time, he managed to take third place. However, compliments to the team, which turned themselves inside out so that everything would come back together again after 239km of racing. We were unable to count on help from other teams, because they had already earmarked us as the favourites for the sprint win. All in all, the first week has gone extremely well for us and we can be proud of what he have achieved so far. Now we have to concentrate on our GC riders over the coming days.” - Jens Zemke, Sports Director 

GC leader Valerio Conti's UAE-Team Emirates sent me this update:

UAE Team Emirates’ Valerio Conti remains in the Pink Jersey after another tough day at the saddle.

Valerio Conti

Valerio Conti gets to spend another day in pink

Today’s stage saw riders tackle a mammoth 239km route from Tortoreto Lido to Pesaro on the east coast of Italy, and spectators again saw a breakaway go early. They managed to hold off the chasing group until the final 6.5km, where the route started to twist and wind. It was an anxious finale to the stage, with light rain causing many to question whether it could impact the downhill finish.

The cautious approach to the final hairpins paid off, and a thrilling sprint finish saw Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) cross the line to take the stage win.

Commenting on the stage, Valerio Conti said: “It was a tricky finish today but once again the team did a super job and they kept me out of trouble. Now I will try to relax and rest as much as possible so I can give my best tomorrow in the time trial and honour the pink jersey.”

Stage nine of the Giro d’Italia will see riders tackle their second Individual Time Trial (ITT) across a 34.8 km course, finishing in the province of San Marino.

Bora-hansgrohe reports on Tour of California stage seven

On the final day of the Amgen Tour of California, it was a short ride from Santa Clarita to the stage – and the race’s – finish in Pasdena, 126km later. While the street circuit finale, which would be ridden three times before the finish, was almost tailor-made for the sprinters, there was just the small matter of getting over the hills. The profile showed only one categorised climb, but the day as a whole managed to fit in plenty of climbing. The only lifeline for the faster riders was the long descent from the hills, but there was no guaranteeing what type of rider would be in contention for the win – especially with the GC race far from over.

After riding so hard on yesterday’s Queen Stage, Maximilian Schachmann jumped in the break, showing he had both the power and the determination to keep on fighting – the young German rider knowing that the time bonuses available on this stage could move him back into the GC top ten. Maximilian’s group of eleven slowly worked to build up a lead, but this didn’t grow any more than two minutes. However, the proximity to the peloton gave a few the chance to bridge, and Felix Grossschartner was one of those who took up the challenge. Constant attacking and acceleration meant the number out in front was changing constantly, but on the long descent back into town, Maximilian jumped once again, he and four others putting some distance between themselves and the other chasers.

As the day moved into its final 10km, the peloton was visible behind this committed group, but this didn’t stop them attacking until the last one of them was caught and by the time the catch was made, Maximilian had taken enough time to make it into the GC leaderboard again – as long as he finished with the bunch. From here on in, it was the bunch that was going to contest the win, and having stayed safe over the climbs and the long downhill section, the Slovak National Champion, Peter Sagan, was still in contention. None of the sprint teams could control the finale given how few true sprinters were in the mix, and in the free for all finish, fighting for clean air, Peter found it and put the power through the pedals, but it was just too late, taking second position on the line.

Cess Bol

Peter Sagan (far right) finishes second to Cees Bol.

Giving it their all until the very end, Felix Grossschartner held onto his eighth spot in the GC, while Maximilian jumped back into the top ten to take tenth after a hard week of racing for the entire team.

From the Finish Line:
"It was quite a chaotic stage, with so many attacks, counter attacks and moves in the peloton and the breakaways. All that action made it a tough one but in the end, the bunch entered the final lap of the circuit in Pasadena together for a fast sprint finish. I was well positioned in the finale but probably I reacted a bit late to Bol's sprint. I think I can be satisfied with the performance we had here, both mine and of the team. We had a victory, two podium places and put in a great effort throughout the week."– Peter Sagan

"After yesterday's bad luck in the finale on Mount Baldy, I focused all my anger and energy on today's stage. I rode offensively in order to pick the bonus seconds and move up the GC. I think that the fact I was in the breakaway helped our guys in the back because the peloton had to ride very hard as well, which made the sprinters suffer a lot. It's a pity though Peter came so close to victory." – Maximilian Schachmann

"I wanted to secure my spot in the GC, so I had to stay with the other GC contenders today when they went on the attack on the climb but still, I'm satisfied with my 8th place overall in what was a very tough edition of the Tour of California." – Felix Grossschartner

"We knew it was going to be a tough stage today but we also knew that Peter had the form to make it over the climbs and be ready for a bunch sprint in Pasadena. At the same time, we wanted Maximilian to enter the top 10 in the GC, so he had to be in all the break moves and stay in the front to pick as many bonus seconds as he could. That's what he did, so he spent nearly all the stage fighting it out in all the leading groups and responding to all the attacks. The first break managed to get more than 2 minutes of advantage, but UAE Emirates and EF were setting an extremely strong pace in the peloton to neutralise it. All breakaways were finally caught but Maximilian's tremendous effort gave him the bonus seconds to finish 10th overall. At the same time, Daniel, Oscar, and Juraj were working for Peter and the sprint. Unfortunately, Juraj had a flat and couldn't be in the finale but Daniel pulled hard for Peter who did a good sprint and took a close second. I think we can be satisfied with our overall results in this Tour of California. It was probably one of the hardest editions we've raced, with very long stages and lots of climbing. Peter had a win, Felix and Maximilian put in a strong effort and the whole team did a solid job in every stage." – Jan Valach, Sports Director

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