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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, July 25, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

A culture war is something only the other side fights. The side you are on is merely talking sense. - Robert Shrimsley

Important upcoming racing, according to the UCI revised calendar:

Latest completed racing:

Annemiek van Vleuten wins Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasiko

Van Vleuten's Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this report:

World champion Annemiek van Vleuten returned to racing in style today, claiming victory at Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasiko in what was only her second race of the 2020 season and second solo win in the rainbow jersey.

Annemiek van Vleuten

Annemiek van Vleuten gets another win. In this picture she's winning Omloop Het Nieuwsblad held earlier this year.

The race marked an official return to racing for the Mitchelton-SCOTT women’s team following on from almost five months away from racing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 37-year-old cast any doubt in form aside, launching away from Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) on the final climb, before catching and passing solo leader Mavi Garcia (Alé-BTC Ljubljana) on the descent to take a magnificent solo victory; a tactic which was become her signature trademark.

Peloton shatters
With a wide range of teams on the start line, months without racing and hot temperatures, the day was set for a very active race. After 60kilometres and two categorised climbs, a break was yet to form but the pace saw the peloton reduce down to around 30 riders.

As the reduced front group headed up the six-kilometre, first category climb, Etxauri, the first breakaway of the day formed. A group of four riders managed to escape over the top and establish a solid rhythm, riding out to around a one-minute advantage.

Rainbow ready
With all eyes on her, Van Vleuten showed everyone she was ready to race, making it into an elite selection on the third climb of the day, that successfully bridged across to the front four riders before another split occurred.

Van Vleuten broke away in what proved to be an important move with five other riders, including her great rival and compatriot Van der Breggen.

The winning move
Garcia took her chance with just over 20kilometres to go, jumping away from the leaders with a strong solo attack and quickly establishing a one-minute lead.

However, on the final climb, Zuarrarrate, Garcia’s lead significantly reduced after multiple attacks and counter attacks flew from the strong chasing group. This saw Van der Breggen break away with Van Vleuten close behind on the wheel.

Van Vleuten showed experience and patience, waiting for a good moment and as Van der Breggen slowed, the world champion counter attacked, leaving the Olympic champion in her shadow.

The Mitchelton-SCOTT rider continued to press on, catching and passing the solo leader Garcia after a small rise on the descent, before enjoying a spectacular solo victory.

Annemiek Van Vleuten:
“I am super happy to begin like this. It is a dream second start to the season, it's my second race so I have won two out of two races, it can’t be better. To win solo is awesome too, I could really enjoy the last 500metres.

“I was a little bit nervous coming from altitude just two days ago so I didn’t know how I would feel but I love to race in Northern Spain so that’s also why I came here and it was great to test the legs after an altitude block.

“At the start I didn’t have any expectation to win to be honest, because Lucy (Kennedy) and Amanda (Spratt) were actually the leaders today. Just the girls weren’t really on an awesome day, so they dropped on the third climb and I came there with a small group on the top of that climb.

“I am of course happy I won but I am really very happy because I also raced tactically smart. On the final descent with five kilometres to go there was a small 300metre uphill and I had that really in my mind. We did a recon and I knew it was a good opportunity. I caught Mavi (Garcia) by surprise because I was very prepared for it and then I held on for the final four kilometres to the finish.

“I am very happy with the day and also I want to give a shout out to the organisation with how they organised it, how they kept it safe and made sure everyone was tested here, they were very serious.”

Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasiko Results:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
2. Mavi Garcia (Alé-BTC Ljubljana)
3. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans)

Gijs Leemreize transfers to pro team Team Jumbo-Visma

The team sent me this release:

Gijs Leemreize will be part of the World Tour selection of Team Jumbo-Visma from 2021. The 20-year-old rider is the first rider to make the switch from Jumbo-Visma Development Team to the flagship team. He signs for three seasons.

Leemreize, from Ruurlo in The Netherlands, already has experience with the Dutch World Tour team. Early this year he raced the Tour de la Provence and at the end of July he will start in the professional race Vuelta a Burgos.

“It has always been my dream to become a professional cyclist”, Leemreize said. “In the early years that I cycled that was not yet realistic, but it went better every year and I continued to take steps. In the end it went fast, because last year I was still with a club team. It was very nice that I was allowed to take the step to the Development Team last year. I am very happy that I can now join the World Tour team.”

Robbert de Groot, Head of Development, sees Leemreize as a talented climber. “We think he has the potential to become a full-fledged professional. This is also a trigger for the other riders of the Jumbo-Visma Development Team. Gijs is the first rider to make the switch and hopefully more riders from our Development Team will follow in the coming years.”

Sportive director Merijn Zeeman is happy that he can add a young talent to the team. “It is a memorable accomplishment that the first young rider makes the switch from the Development Team. Last year Gijs raced with the club team Sensa - Kanjers voor Kanjers. We got a tip by Han Vaanhold, after which Gijs earned a place in our Development Team. We didn’t expect a rider to make the switch so soon. Gijs has developed well and the Development Team and the associated training program have contributed to this. We consider him ready to switch to the pros and learn more and gain experience there. We have faith in him and that is why we committed him for three years.”

Matteo Trentin to lead CCC Team at Vuelta a Burgos as 2020 season resumes 

CCC Team sent me this:

24 July 2020: CCC Team returns to the peloton next week with Matteo Trentin headlining the team’s Vuelta a Burgos rider roster when racing gets underway at the Spanish five-day stage race on Tuesday (28 July).

Matteo Trentin

Matteo Trentin wins the second stage of the 2019 Tour of Britain

CCC Team will have a strong group of riders joining Trentin at Vuelta a Burgos said Sports Director Gabriele Missaglia.

“I think everyone is really looking forward to being on the start line and doing what we all love to do. Vuelta a Burgos is a great opportunity for us to get back into the swing of things and to race hard after the extended break. Trentin will be our leader in Spain and I think he will be coming to Vuelta a Burgos in good shape, ready to race for stage wins on this parcours after a strong final block of training leading into it. We will have a good group of riders around him in the opening stages with Patrick Bevin, Víctor de la Parte, Kamil Gradek, Kamil Małecki, Szymon Sajnok, and Attila Valter,” Missaglia explained.

“I think Bevin can also look to try to achieve a good result over the five-stage race with de la Parte and Valter well-prepared for when we reach the mountains where the standard of the field will be very high. It has been a very strange season so far but, as a team, I am sure we are ready to restart the season on a positive note. Finally, while we are more than happy to be back racing, we know that it is still a sensitive time and we will maintain the highest standards of hygiene and adhere to our team medical protocol and that of the race organizers and host country.”

Trentin is looking forward to the restart of the 2020 season and testing his racing legs once again. “I am happy to be back racing and to be lining up at Vuelta a Burgos next week. It will be a good opportunity to be back in the mix again after this long period without races. My training during this time has gone smoothly so I am feeling good and I think my form is in a good place to try to go for a stage win. There is a good combination of everything at Vuelta a Burgos with three sprints and two mountains. In terms of preparation for the rest of the season, this race will be a key first step but it will also be important for me to be racing in the hot temperatures of Spain to get used to the same kind of heat that we will experience at Milano - San Remo, where I join the Classics squad.”

Vuelta a Burgos (28 July - 1 August)

Rider Roster: Patrick Bevin (NZL), Víctor de la Parte (ESP), Kamil Gradek (POL), Kamil Małecki (POL), Szymon Sajnok (POL), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Attila Valter (HUN)

Sports Directors: Gabriele Missaglia (ITA), Piotr Wadecki (POL)

Victory for Gregor Mühlberger and second for Patrick Konrad in Sibiu Tour queen stage

Here's the release from Mühlberger's Bora-hansgrohe team:

Stage 1 of the Sibiu Tour provided a real test for the climbers. Today’s parcours traversed 183km from Sibiu to the 2040m high Balea Lake. Before the riders reached the finish line, they had to conquer a 23km-long final climb with an average gradient of six percent. Shortly after the start, a small breakaway group got away, yet the peloton, led by BORA - hansgrohe, finally caught the breakaway at the foot of the final climb. In the decisive final ascent, a small group including Patrick Konrad and Gregor Mühlberger launched an attack, but with 5km to the mountain top finish, Patrick distanced himself from the group, and was shortly thereafter joined by his teammate. In the end, it was Gregor who took the stage victory, with Patrick finishing in second place and also taking the lead in the general classification.

Gregor Muhlberger

Stage winner Gregor Mühlberger shown at the 2019 Tour de france. Sirotti photo

1. G. Mühlberger     4:52:11 
2. P. Konrad                +0:00
3. M. Badilatti              +0:16
4. R. Rochas               +1:04

From the Finish Line:
"From the start, it was a tough race. Patrick and I worked well together on the final climb and he launched his attack just at the right moment. Although it wasn’t necessarily easy, I managed to catch up to him and we crossed the finish line together. To have a teammate in the leader’s jersey is great, and to finish first and second on the stage made this a perfect day. Winning the stage here definitely gives me motivation for the rest of the race and for the rest of the season.“ - Gregor Mühlberger

"It went perfectly for us today because we both finished together, Gregor won the stage, and I took the yellow jersey. I am happy that we were able to get such an excellent result in the end. Many thanks to the entire team for all their hard work today. I liked today’s final climb quite a lot, and although we went full throttle, I enjoyed that experience. We waited until the others made a tactical mistake and then we rode full gas. We were able to open a gap and eventually take the win." - Patrick Konrad

"We had planned to drop the other riders on the final climb. It wasn't necessarily an easy feat, but in the end we managed to achieve that. 5km from the finish line, Konrad attacked first, and about 1km later Gregor joined him. Both of them executed our plan perfectly. The third rider was always around 10 to 15 seconds behind them, so it ended up being a real competition. But in the end our efforts and tactics were ultimately rewarded with first and second place. What we saw today was a great performance, also from the other riders who did the preliminary work until the final climb." - Jens Zemke, Sports Director

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