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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

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2020 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Pity the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. - Don Marquis

Story of the Tour de France Volume 2

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Giro d'Italia Stage 16 reports

We posted the report from stage winner Jan Tratnik's Team Bahrain-McLaren with the results.

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

It’s one of the most beautiful sights in cycling: the maglia rosa honouring the prestigious tunic by going on the attack and showing to the whole world he is ready to fight until the last ounce of energy to hold onto his iconic jersey. Despite his young age and lack of Grand Tour experience, João Almeida demonstrated that he compensates this with endless exuberance and ambition, two key factors that have made him the revelation of the 104th Giro d’Italia.

For the umpteenth time since the start of the race, the 22-year-old Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider displayed his eye-catching natural aggression, capitalising on his teammates’ excellent work, who on Tuesday protected him throughout the day and made sure of delivering him in a perfect position on the punchy finish to San Daniele del Friuli, which last year was used in the Giro della Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia.

Team Deceunck-Quick Step

Team Deceuninck-Quick step took very good care of their maglia rosa. Sirotti photo

Shortly after passing under the flamme rouge banner, the Portuguese came off the wheel of James Knox, exploded away from the rest of the riders and continued full gas until the line. This show of intent gave the overall leader a boost of confidence and brought him a gain of two seconds over his nearest rival on the general classification ahead of the Madonna di Campiglio summit finish.

“It wasn’t the plan to attack, but sometimes the best way to defend yourself is by going on the offensive and today was one of these days. The feeling was good, so I just went, especially as the explosive finale was to my liking. I know I took only two seconds, which don’t change much, but it was an important move for my morale”, said a smiling João, who once again praised his teammates for their admirable job.

“They were great today! All the time around me, then setting a tempo that prevented attacks on the final climb and doing a perfect job in the last kilometers. I know that another difficulty awaits on Wednesday, but I am ready to continue fighting and hopefully I will have the same good legs”, said Almeida, who became the second rider in the history of Deceuninck – Quick-Step to lead a Grand Tour for 14 days, after Julian Alaphilippe at the 2019 Tour de France.

Matteo Fabbro's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this:

Covering a massive 229km, stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia was going to deplete all the energy reserves that had been topped up on yesterday’s second and final rest day. If the distance wasn’t tough enough, the parcours featured six categorised climbs, the last of which was part of a circuit ridden three times ahead of the finish in San Daniele del Friuli.

It took some time for a break to form, but when it did, it was better described as a mini-peloton, with Matteo Fabbro and Paweł Poljański getting themselves in the move and playing their part in extending their lead, going from three minutes, five and then eight minutes as the race reached its midway point. With the peloton so far behind, the breakaway riders started attacking each other, the first coming on the first pass of the summit of the Monte di Ragogna, and the escape split into three groups – two riders on the front, with two chasing groups behind them.

Matteo Fabbro

Matteo Fabbro finishing 8th. Sirotti photo.

The time gap at this point was just below fifteen minutes, and in these frenetic and fast-paced moves, Matteo was caught by surprise when these went, leaving him in the second chasing group, but this didn’t deter the young Italian, who fought on. The lead duo was too far ahead now to catch, but the Italian rider pushed on to make sure he was able to take a top-ten position on the stage, taking eighth, having made up time well on the ride to the finish. Further back, the GC riders started to slowly raise the pace, knowing that now was the time to start to try and take seconds.

Having been kept safe by their BORA-hansgrohe teammates, both Rafał Majka and Patrick Konrad managed to respond well to the late surges on the front and finish with a select group of overall contenders, ensuring there were no changes in the GC standings.

"Paweł and I were in the big breakaway and worked a lot. I finished in the top ten of the stage and I'm happy with the result. So far, the Giro has been personally really good, I wasn't expecting such a performance and I hope we'll continue at this level with Rafał and Patrick." – Matteo Fabbro

"It was a tough and tricky stage where we had to stay alert. The parcours was up and down all day but without the big climbs that are more suited to me. Thanks to my teammates for their work, we were well-placed when it mattered in the final loop of the circuit and crossed the finish line in the GC group. That was key today, not to lose any time ahead of the very hard and important mountain stages ahead." – Rafał Majka

"The stage was marked by the big breakaway of 28 riders in which we had two, Paweł Poljański and Matteo Fabbro. That was also our original plan, to have two riders if a big group was formed, and fight for the stage win if possible. It all came down to the last 60km, that's where the action took place and it was clear the winner would come out of the breakaway. Unfortunately, we weren't able to jump with the best when the two main moves were made, first with Tratnik and then with O'Connor. Matteo came very late but with enormous power and took eighth on the line. It was a very late move by him, had he responded earlier it could have been different. Matteo had the legs but he's still a young rider, he lacks the experience and I think we have to give him the time to reach the level where he can smell the right moment to attack. His riding was better than his result, but as I said, he's still young. In what regards our GC riders, they came in with the leaders' group, and the big mountain test starts tomorrow where it won't be about a few seconds anymore." – Jens Zemke, Sports Director

UAE-Team Emirates reports that Fernando Gaviria is Covid-19 positive:

After undergoing a PCR test on yesterday’s Giro d’Italia rest day, UAE Team Emirates’ Fernando Gaviria has tested positive for COVID-19.

All other riders and staff returned a negative test, and will undergo further testing today.

The teams medical staff are monitoring the situation closely and doing all they can to ensure the we can proceed safely.

Fernando Gaviria

Fernando Gaviria has tested postive for Covid-19 after after having had the disease in March.

Gaviria was immediately isolated following the test result and is feeling well and is completely asymptomatic. This is the second time the Colombian has tested positive for the virus, after also having it in March.

Vuelta a España stage one team reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Stage winner Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team sent me this:

Primoz Roglic has won the overture of the Vuelta a España in an impressive way. The Slovenian leader of Team Jumbo-Visma arrived solo on the Alto de Arrate. The winner of last year’s Vuelta a España could therefore immediately put on the red leader’s jersey. It is the nineteenth victory of the season for Team Jumbo-Visma.

Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic takes the first stage. ASO photo

Roglic’s victory came about through fantastic work by his teammates. Team Jumbo-Visma, together with a few other teams, controlled the entire stage and never let a group of escapees get a big margin. Robert Gesink took the lead in the final phase after which Sepp Kuss attacked at five kilometres from the finish. A reduced group with George Bennett and Roglic quickly made the connection. After several new attempts by the strong American, the Slovenian national champion went away in the final kilometre. As a result, he took a handful of seconds on his closest competitors.

After victories in, amongst others, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Tour, the Tour de l’Ain and the Dauphiné, Roglic clinched his eighth victory of the season already.

“This is a fantastic start”, a happy Roglic said. “I am very happy with this victory. The team has shown that we are very strong. They did a perfect job throughout the stage. It is great that I can reward them for their efforts with this stage victory. We went full gas on the final climb. Sepp rode really fast. I will wear this leader’s jersey with great pride again. Hopefully we can provide the people at home even more spectacle. In any case, I’m going to enjoy this Vuelta. Day by day, we definitely have to do that this season.”

The impressive Kuss, who won a stage in last year’s Vuelta, claimed the first mountain jersey. “We knew the climb would be very steep and difficult. It was suitable for attacks, so we attacked. It was nice to see that Primoz could finish it in this way. Defending the red jersey is our number one priority for now. The Vuelta is the best race of the year for me.”

Second-place Richard Carapaz's Team INEOS Grenadiers posted this report:

Richard Carapaz got the team's Vuelta a Espana campaign off to a strong start with second place on the opening stage.

The general classification battle burst into life early on the famous Arrate finish, with the Ecuadorian following a number of attacks as a select group of contenders formed early on in the Grand Tour.

Sprinting to second on the downhill finish, Carapaz now sits five seconds behind early race leader and stage one winner Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).

The INEOS Grenadiers had pushed the tempo on the run-in, stringing out the bunch and making life hard on a day that saw a number of contenders lose time.

Dylan van Baarle and Andrey Amador had hit the front on the flat, with Brandon Rivera and finally Ivan Sosa taking it up on the climb. Attacks quickly followed, with the race blown wide open right from the off.

Chris Froome:
“It was a great day for us with Richie coming second and being right up there for us on GC. He’s our team leader here and we’re going to be helping him as much as we can throughout the race to try and get us the victory overall.

“For me personally I got a bit caught out coming into the penultimate climb. I started pretty far back and got stuck behind the crash at the bottom there. I’m really happy to be here and happy to be racing a Grand Tour again after two years. I’m going to take the race day by day and just try and do as much as I can throughout the race.

“The sensations were good. I think I’m still missing a little bit of that top end from not having raced much. Today was definitely an improvement and I hope to keep building throughout the race.”

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