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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, October 7, 2019

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love. - William Wordsworth

Sticky Buns Across America

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Gran Premio Beghelli team reports

We posted the report from winner Sonny Colbrelli's Team Bahrain-Merida with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Alejandro Valverde's Team Movistar:

And he’s still there. More than eight months after his season debut, Alejandro Valverde, the everlasting leader of the Movistar Team, was up there in the fight for a win just 24 hours after a big effort in the Giro dell’Emilia. The Spanish road race champion went onto the podium of the GP Beghelli, with its characteristic, ten-lap circuit around the GPM of Zappolino (1.4km at 5%), with a 2nd place into a short field’s sprint where he was only beaten by a strong sprinter, Sonny Colbrelli (TBM).

Alejandro Valverde

Alejandro Valverde finished second to Sonny Colbrelli. Bettini photo

The Telefónica-backed squad’s good job to control the bunch into the final laps, full of attacks -Betancur, Verona, Carapaz and Prades following the accelerations-, did not bring a move from ‘Bala’ at the ascent, rather than the Murcia native jumping off the front right at the start of the final descent with six other riders: Mollema (TFS), Gaudu (GFC), Martin (WGG), Haig (MTS, 3rd) and a Bahrain duo, with Iván García Cortina escorting and leading out the sprint for his team-mate. It was the 18th podium of the 2019 season for the former World Champion, six days before the final race this year at Il Lombardia.

It wasn’t a less brilliant performance from the Blue ladies racing for the Spanish national team over the 80km morning course, six laps to Zappolino included. The Movistar Team focused its efforts on protecting sprinter Sheyla Gutiérrez, who rounded off the season with a fine 7th spot behind winner Marta Bastianelli (ITA). A good top-ten result to add to Eider Merino’s 9th place atop San Luca on Saturday.

Here's the report from third-place Jack Haig's Mitchelton-Scott team:

Australian Jack Haig sprinted to third place from a select group after an attacking finale to the GP Bruno Beghelli in Monteveglio.

The 26-year-old jumped clear of the peloton with six other riders in the closing kilometres as they held of the pack to contest the win.

GP Beghelli podium

The race's podium, from left: Alejandro Valverde (2nd), winner Sonny Colbrelli & Jack Haig (3rd). Sirotti photo

Three riders soon established the breakaway as the peloton rolled out of Monteveglio for a long loop before returning to the city for 10-laps of a circuit centred around the Zappolino climb.

The peloton were content to allow the trio to get over 10-minutes down the road before pegging the gap back as they approached the circuit. The advantage was down below seven minutes as the pack crossed the finish line for the first time and the tempo increased.

The break were eventually brought back with 42-kilometres to go as the race reset and teams set about forming their game plan for the remaining laps. A dangerous looking attack soon went clear with Italian Edoardo Affini infiltrating the seven-rider move for Mitchelton-SCOTT.

The group opened up a gap of 15-seconds on the field with 25-kilometres remaining, but the peloton soon closed the move down as it all came back together once more with 20-kilometres remaining. A number of riders were keen to avoid a reduced bunch sprint and two riders clipped off the front as the race hit the final lap.

The pair were caught as counter attacks were launched up the Zappolino, but despite attempts to get away the bunch closed down any attackers. The day was looking set for a reduced bunch sprint, however, a group of seven had different ideas as Haig jumped away from the field in the select group inside the final four-kilometres.

With a mix of teams represented the chase stalled, and the winner looked set to come from the leading group as they passed under the flame rouge. With fast finishers amongst the attackers, Haig was always up against in a sprint, but still battled to a podium spot behind winner Sonny Colbrelli (Team Bahrain-Merida).

Jack Haig:
“The team rode really well today, especially covering a lot of the late moves that were coming with four laps to go.

"It was a very aggressive race on the climb but also on the back flatter section of the race and everyone started positioning quite well when we got closer to the final. We always had someone in every little move that was going away so everyone rode together very well.

“The late move that I was involved in came about with 700m to go of the last climb. It had been quite hard until that point and then a few people put in attacks here and there and I followed some wheels.  As we crossed the top there were more gaps opening up and I managed to jump across. Initially it was just (Alejandro) Valverde,  (Bauke) Mollema and I and then a couple of the others guys like Cortina and Colbrelli came across.

“I obviously knew that in the group there Colbrelli was the fastest guy and I tried to line him up in the sprint. In the end Valverde squeezed me off his wheel a little bit and I followed him in for third but I’m very happy with the result.”

David McPartland:
“In general it was a very aggressive edition, probably the most aggressive edition of the last few years at least.

"There was only a few teams with big sprinters and the other 15 teams or so we trying to break the race up. It made for a hard day, and a really hard last 50km.

"Every decent move that went down the road we had guys in there and in general the guys did a super job.

"When we came into the final Haigy was in a good move that went away. Ideally it would have been good to have a fast guy in with him but it went on the climb so he just followed.

"Really, for Jack it shows his condition and that he is in good form. It’s almost like a win for us to have a climber sprinting to third, so all in all a pretty good day really.”

Adam Yates wins CRO Race

Yates' Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this report: 

Queen stage winner Adam Yates has successfully retained his lead on the final stage to be crowned the 2019 CRO Race champion in Zagreb today. Yates finished seventh place on the final stage behind winner Alessandro Fedeli (Delko Marseille Provence). Teammate Alex Edmondson sprinted to fifth.

Adam Yates

Adam Yates (shown at this year's Dauphiné) has won the CRO race. Sirotti photo

In their first appearance at the race, Mitchelton-SCOTT finished the six-day race with the overall winner, a stage victory and the mountains and sprint jerseys. The Australian outfit never finished lower than fifth on any stage.

Final stage:
Eight riders formed the day’s breakaway and rode quickly out to over four minute’s advantage.

With 30km to go their advantage was split in half and as they negotiated the finish circuits it continued to deplete, but the final survivor, Fedeli, was able to hold on by a few bike lengths to steal the stage with the charging reduced bunch hot on his heels.

Starting the race with stage ambitions, Mitchelton-SCOTT contested each of the six stages and never finished outside the top five. A victory on the Queen stage by Yates highlighted the week, whilst Edmondson represented the outfit strongly across each of the sprint stages, finishing second, third and three-times fifth.

The pair also secured the mountains (Yates) and sprint (Edmondson) jerseys.

Adam Yates:
“Today panned out perfectly, we didn’t want to risk working too much earlier in the day and having nobody in the final circuits just in case it kicked off.

“From the beginning of the week we set out to win a stage and hopefully the GC would come along with that and that’s pretty much what ended up happening. Alex was up there almost every stage challenging for the win and Brent and Callum really set me up for my win on stage five, so as a team we couldn’t have done much more.

“We had a real mix of guys here and with some of the dangerous finishing circuit things could have got out of control quickly but we stayed focused and never really ended up on back foot the whole week.”

Gene Bates:
"It was an excellent performance from everyone. It sounds cliché, but it was a real team performance all week, especially last two days and in particular in the Queen stage to set Adam up for the win.

“It shows what good motivation and form in the back end of the season can produce. It was a really good week, especially with the two young guys amongst it too.

“Today we had a depleted team, but we didn’t have to do much at all to control the stage.  Our boys did a lot of work early on to make sure break was one we were happy with and then it was up to the other teams if they wanted the stage win.

“Adam is fit and motivated and realistically yesterday’s final climb wasn’t one that suited his strengths - it was shallow and fast so it was a really impressive to see him to ride away and take time on everyone. It’s a good sign for the Italian races this week.”

CRO Race – Stage 6 Results:
1. Alessandro Fedeli (Delko Marseille Provence) 3:22:14
2. Jan Tratnik (Bahrain- Merida) +0:02
3. Florian Kierner (Team Felbermayr – Simplon Wels +0:02
5. Alex Edmondson (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:05

CRO Race – FINAL General Classification:
1. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 20:57:05
2. Davide Villella (Astana Pro Team) +0:22
3. Victor De la Parte (CCC Team) +0:29

Maxime Monfort becomes sports director at Lotto Soudal

Monfort's Lotto-Soudal team sent me this:

Today, Maxime Monfort will ride his final race as a professional cyclist during the Famenne Ardenne Classic. Monfort will immediately start a new chapter within the world of pro cycling as the 36-year-old Belgian will take on a role of sports director at Lotto Soudal, the team where he spent the last six years of his career.

Maxime Monfort

Maxime Monfort races at the 2018 Brabantse Pijl. Sirotti photo

Maxime Monfort: “Originally, I did not intend to end my professional cycling career this year, but I only received a proposal to renew my contract at the end of August, while at the same time general manager John Lelangue asked me to become a sports director. It came somewhat unexpected, but at that moment, I felt the time was right and besides, the opportunity presented itself. After the Tour de France, I did already think about my future and the idea to retire was already there, independent of the proposition to become sports director. Eventually, it only took two days to make the decision, but I had already put a lot of thought into it.”

“For me, to hang up the bike in my own province, together with my fans and family was a must. That way, I can spend the entire day together with them. Of course, there is the race, but there will also be a moment with the fans, both before and after the race. I want to make my final day as a professional bike rider something really special.”

“Cycling is and will always be my passion. I realized the dream of turning pro, but it was also a personal dream to stay in the world of pro cycling after my career. Now, the opportunity is there, a little earlier than expected, but I have a lot of ideas and I am really looking forward to it. For the past six years, I raced at the Lotto Soudal team, so I know the staff, riders and the way of working. It is nice to start my career as a sports director like that.”

“It certainly won’t be easy to immediately make the switch from pro rider to sports director, but I am 100 percent sure of my decision. For example during the first training camp, it will maybe feel a bit weird to exchange the bike for the car, but I am fully ready.”

“There are a lot of differences between a cyclist and a sports director. It may be the same sector, but it is something completely different. I think there are more benefits to a job as sports director; I don’t have to train anymore and I don’t have to pay attention to what I can or cannot eat. Now, I will be able to enjoy life a little more, but at the same time doing what I love. I am very proud of my career, but the moment has come and I definitely won’t regret it.”

The six sports directors for 2020 are: Mario Aerts, Herman Frison, Maxime Monfort, Kurt Van de Wouwer, Marc Wauters and Frederik Willems. They will report to general manager John Lelangue.

Maxime Monfort:

Five pro victories"

Grand Tours:

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