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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, October 18, 2020

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2020 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

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Giro d'Italia stage 14 reports

We posted the report from stage winner Filippo Ganna's INEOS Grenadiers team with the results.

Here's the report from GC leader Joao Almeida's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Portuguese becomes the U23 rider with the most days in the maglia rosa at a single edition.

João Almeida will lead the general classification of the Giro d’Italia for the 12th consecutive day, after putting in a stunning ride during Saturday’s hilly individual time trial between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. Unfazed by the fact it was the longest stage against the clock in his career (34.1km), Almeida found his rhythm immediately after the start and crested Muro di Ca’ del Poggio – the main difficulty of the day (1.1km, 12.3%) – with one of the best times.

Joao Almeida

Joao Almeida turned in an impressive ride. Siortti photo

Tucked over the aero bars to save watts and keep speed, the 22-year-old continued to gain time on most of the other GC contenders between the first and second intermediate before losing some of his advantage by the time he hit the base of the last climb. João regained the momentum on San Pietro di Barbozza and produced a flying ride, from the top diving down to the finish, where he stopped the clock in 44:11, enough for a solid sixth place.

This spectacular performance that confirmed Almeida’s TT prowess helped Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Portuguese Grand Tour debutant strengthen his grip on the pink jersey, with just one rider within two minutes of him ahead of the third summit finish, on Piancavallo, which will bring down the curtain over the second week of the Corsa Rosa. João isn’t the only rider of the Wolfpack inside the top 10 overall, with newcomer Fausto Masnada sitting in eighth place after punching above his weight in Saturday’s demanding time trial.

“It was better than I expected and I don’t think I could have been faster today. I had a really strong start and everything went as planned on the Muro, then I struggled a bit for a few kilometers but I recovered and on the last climb I felt good. Knowing there was a descent to the finish I went deep, but without taking any risks, and seeing the time I gained on all these GC favourites after this effort makes me very happy”, Almeida explained after donning his 12th maglia rosa. “I love time trials and I liked this course and being able to put in such a solid performance gives me a lot of confidence. Of course, the road to Milan is still long and many tough climbs await, but every day spent in pink is a bonus which I fully enjoy.”

Here's the report from GC second-place Wilco Kelderman's Team Sunweb:

Stage 14 at the Giro d’Italia saw the peloton take on a testing 34 kilometre long time trial. Rolling down the start ramp in Conegliano the opening kilometres of the route were almost pan-flat, albeit on a slight drag. However, the riders were soon faced with the incredibly steep climb of Muro di Cà del Poggio – an ascent that averaged over 12% for a kilometre. Once over the top, the remaining 25 kilometres took on rolling parcours, which included yet more climbing before the riders crossed the line in Valdobbiadene.

With a tough day of climbing ahead tomorrow, the team set out to conserve as much energy as possible throughout the difficult course, with only GC riders Jai Hindley and Wilco Kelderman going full-gas. Starting the day in seventh place on GC, Hindley set solid intermediate times throughout the course, keeping within touching distance of the GC riders around him. Giving it his all over the rolling terrain, Hindley stopped the clock in Valdobbiadene for a credible finish time of 46 minutes and 19 seconds.

Wilco kelderman

Wilco Kelderman rode well enough to keep his 2nd place in the GC.

Penultimate rider off the ramp, Kelderman rode a strong time trial over the undulating parcours. A consistent effort saw him place in the top ten at every intermediate checkpoint, gaining time on the majority of the other GC candidates. Pushing on the pedals all the way to the finish, Kelderman crossed the line in a time of 44 minutes and 27 seconds which saw him claim a good ninth place on the stage.

As the dust settled once all of the riders had finished their efforts, there was a small shake up in the GC standings. Kelderman maintains his second place on GC for the team, now 56 seconds behind race leader Almeida, while Hindley occupies tenth spot in the overall standings ahead of tomorrow’s mountain-top finish.

“With the big mountains still to come I’m satisfied with the result from today,” explained Kelderman at the finish. “I’m surprised with myself actually, the whole Giro is going better than I expected so I’m super happy with how it is going so far. I was focused on the time trial and I was looking forward to it before the Giro. It’s always a special day where it’s also hard to suffer so much. From the beginning of the season we prepared for here by focusing a lot on my time trial, training on the bike a bit more. When I look at myself I feel I did a nice time trial and compared to a lot of the other GC riders I set a good time. There are hard days still to come, with big mountains tomorrow and then a hard last week, so in the end it will probably come down to minutes and not seconds.”

Hindley added: “It was full gas for me out there. The team did everything they could to get me ready for it and I laid it all out there. I tried not to go out too hard in the first five kilometres and then hold power on the first climb before then on the other drags I tried to go over the top and maintain the speed. It was a pretty brutal course but it was also stunning too, through the vineyards and on some beautiful roads.”

Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts continued: “We had a very challenging time trial today. There was a steep one kilometre long climb early in the race and a longer climb in the final. It was a really nice parcours over the 34 kilometres. We had Jai and Wilco there, aiming to secure their positions on the GC. Both of them have done solid rides and it’s good to see Wilco maintain that second place on GC and still within reach of the lead. Jai also did a good ride and maintains his top ten place overall. Good performances from both guys and we’re looking forward to tomorrow’s big day in the mountains.”

Rafal Majka's Bora-hansgrohe team sent this report:

The second of three Individual time trials in the 2020 Giro d’Italia, stage 14 came ahead of a final week packed with mountain stages, where the GC race was going to come to life. The 34.1km course rolled, with a steep fourth category climb early on which, while short, saw an average gradient of 12.3% and a maximum gradient of 19% - enough to test the most able climbers.

Today’s outcome would show which riders were on target for a strong GC finish in Milan, and which ones would have to push hard in the coming mountain stages. Starting in reverse GC order, this meant BORA-hansgrohe’s strongest TT rider, Maciej Bodnar, had a chance to find how the course was riding, as well as an opportunity to go for a good time himself, but with the course not suiting a pure time trialist, Bodi crossed the line with a time of 46:36, followed shortly after by Peter Sagan, finishing in 47:19.

As the list of riders still to go out shortened, the GC riders staked their claim on the stage, with Rafał Majka and then Patrick Konrad hitting the road. Rafał put in an impressive performance of 45:17 – one of his strongest performances in a time trial – with Patrick taking 46:11. The Polish rider’s finish saw him take sixteenth on the stage, as well as climb to sixth in the overall standings.

Rafal Majka

Rafal Majka turning in a good ride. Sirotti photo

"Today, my goal was to ride as steadily as possible. I didn't want to push in any part of the stage but instead I kept a steady pace, I didn't exaggerate or go on the limit anywhere. It was all about maintaining my power. I didn't lose any positions in the GC standings and I think that the days ahead on the mountains will be decisive." - Rafał Majka

"I gave it my all today but I didn't have the best legs for this time trial. I did quite well on the first climb but, unfortunately, I wasn't able to keep the rhythm in the final part of the stage and I lost time. However, the Giro d'Italia is far from over and I feel confident about the upcoming mountain stages." – Patrick Konrad

"I think we can be very satisfied with Rafał's performance today. He moved up in the overall standings, he's in close contention with the main GC riders and in terms of his power values, he did one of his best time trials. Patrick isn't satisfied with his result. We were hoping he could move to 5th or even 4th in the GC but he dropped to 9th now. However, keep in mind that yesterday, he put in a brilliant performance. He finished third, very close to victory and today we were hoping for a bit more. Still, there are seven more stages to race, and a lot of high-altitude climbs to go over, and that is where we need the legs. The morale is high in the team and we are focusing on the very hard days next week." – Jens Zemke, Sports Director

CCC Team headed to Vuelta a España

The team sent me this:

CCC Team will line up at the Vuelta a España targeting stage results with a diverse team of Grand Tour debutants and experienced stage winners.

Sports Director Piotr Wadecki said the team will focus on giving every rider the chance to take an opportunity across the 18 stages, without a General Classification contender in the ranks.

“The Vuelta a España will round out the season for our eight riders so it is their last chance to make a good result this year and finish their seasons on a high. We know it is a tough race and racing in November will be a new experience for everyone but as a team we are motivated. The advantage of not lining up with a GC rider is that we have the freedom to jump in breakaways and race aggressively every day,” Wadecki explained.

“With the experience of guys like Simon Geschke, Jan Hirt, Fran Ventoso, and Łukasz Wiśniowski, our young riders will be in good hands out on the road. Michał Pauta and Georg Zimmermann are set to make their Grand Tour debut while Will Barta and Jakub Mareczko will build on the experience they have.”

CCC Team at the Vuelta a España (20 Oct - 08 Nov)

William Barta (USA):
“I am really looking forward to taking part in my second Vuelta a España. First, I would like to say thank you to the team for giving me this opportunity. I really enjoyed my experience racing my maiden Grand Tour at the Vuelta last year and so I am hoping to build on that experience this year. It is quite different to be racing the Vuelta into November, but I think it will be a great race nonetheless. I am really looking forward to the time trial as I think it fits me well, and I would like to take my chances on the climbing stages and go for some stage results.”

Simon Geschke (GER):
“I was a late call up for the Vuelta a España so I didn’t really have the race in mind as a big goal at the beginning of the season. I have been in good shape since the Tour de France and I kept training until now in case I had to go. Now that I am, I am keen to make it a good race as it will be my last of the season, like everyone else there. I am motivated to push one more time and hopefully I can still carry my form from the Classics into the race.”

Simon Geschke

Simon Geschke will be at the Vuelta. Sirotti photo

Jan Hirt (CZE):
“It has been a busy second half of the season and I’m starting to feel it but I am looking forward to seeing what I can do at the Vuelta a España. No one really has any experience racing this late into the year so I think it will be interesting to see how the race plays out. I will take things day by day and see what we can do as a team.”

Jakub Mareczko (ITA):
“I’m very happy to start my first Vuelta a España and discover a new Grand Tour. The sprint stages will be my target so I hope to be up there. I’ve had a good block of training and racing and I’m feeling good. We have worked well with the team to prepare for the Vuelta and we believe we can get some good results.”

Michał Paluta (POL):
“I’m very excited to race the Vuelta a España as since I started cycling it was always a dream to race a Grand Tour, and I was always looking forward to getting this chance one day. As the pandemic began I was worried we wouldn’t have any races during this season and, of course, the racing looks a little different now with the restrictions. But after a mentally tough time, it’s already October and performing in the Vuelta has kept me very motivated for a couple of months. My first goal is to finish my first Grand Tour and I’ll do my best to accomplish this goal but I’m ambitious and I’m eager to get some nice results in the stages. I‘ve never raced for three weeks in a row so I’m very curious how my body will be after this kind of race load. Moreover, racing in November is a new experience for me as well. There are some stages I like the look of but really the race situation will write itself so we will have to see.”

Francisco Ventoso (ESP):
“It is always nice to race on home soil so I am excited to be lining up at the Vuelta a España for the seventh time in my career. I don’t have too many race days in the legs so we will see how my form is when we start racing. I will enjoy the race and try to help our young riders as much as possible.”

Łukasz Wiśniowski (POL):
“I am happy to be back at the start line and able to race again one more time this year. I have now had a long block off since Tirreno-Adriatico but I have been able to get back into training and build my form for the Vuelta a España. Because it has been a while without racing, I will take things day by day and do what I can to help the team and see how quickly I can get back into the race rhythm. This will be my first Vuelta so I am looking forward to discovering the race.”

Georg Zimmermann (GER):
“The team already enabled me to race some of the most prestigious one-day-races like Il Lombardia, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and Gent-Wevelgem and I learned a lot about these races, how my body handles 6-7 hours of bike racing, and the importance of teamwork and positioning. Now I also get the opportunity to race my first Grand Tour as a neo pro. I feel grateful for all the races I have been selected for and I am definitely excited about the Vuelta. The longest stage race I have ever done was half of the distance of the Vuelta so I am looking at it as a big challenge. I am not just starting the race to reach Madrid. I would like to go home with a result and the team will give me the chance to do this occasionally so we will see how the race goes.”

Sports Directors: Piotr Wadecki (POL), Marco Pinotti (ITA)

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