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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, October 30, 2020

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Vuelta a España stage nine reports

We posted the organizer's stage nine report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Pascal Ackermann's Bora-hansgrohe team:

After the start in Castrillo del Val, the riders set off on a 158 km slightly undulating course to Aguilar de Campoo, which today offered a second chance for the sprinters. Only two riders formed today's leading group, which was able to break away relatively early from the field. The gap to the peloton levelled off at three minutes throughout the race and it was only a matter of time until they were brought back.

Unfortunately, Pascal Ackermann went down after 60 km, but he was able to continue the race and caught up with the peloton not long afterwards. With 20 km to the finish line, the breakaway duo was finally reeled back in. BORA - hansgrohe remained attentive at this point, and after the duo was caught, the team from Raubling again came to the front of the race.

After the last sharp turn, Pascal was in a very good position with two lead-out riders left in support. But after the German launched his sprint on the finishing stretch, Sam Bennett accelerated and the two fast men contested the stage win, with the Irishman crossing the line first. After a protest, however, he was denied the win by the jury due to headbutting, and Pascal was declared the stage winner.

PAscal Ackermann

Pascal Ackermann was awarded the stage after Sam Bennett was relegated. Gomez Sport photo

"I felt good today and was optimistic that we could be successful. The guys supported me throughout the stage and so I still had good legs at the finish. In the finale I was headbutted by Sam and I finished second. The jury then relegated him after an objection. It's not exactly the way I wanted to win, but I think the decision was right. We still have a long way to go to Madrid, there are a couple more chances for the fast men, so I hope we can be successful there." - Pascal Ackermann

"We wanted to take the finale into our own hands and I just have to praise the team for the way they prepared the sprint. Chapeau to everyone. We are very proud of the guys and how they rode the finish. Now we're going to see how the next days will proceed, and what we can still achieve here." - André Schulze, Sports Director

Here's the report from GC leader Ricard Carapaz's INEOS Grenadiers:

Richard Carapaz completed this third day in the red jersey on a day for the sprinters at the Vuelta a Espana.

Richard Carapaz

Richard Carapaz remains in red. Sirotti photo

The INEOS Grenadiers team leader was comfortable in the peloton and, after finishing safely in the bunch, retained his 13-second advantage at the top of the GC.

With just two breakaway riders up the road the peloton had no issues controlling the stage, with the team able to support Carapaz on the road, with another sprint stage expected on Friday.

At the finish Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) crossed the line first, only to be relegated following a headbutt. The handed the sprint victory to Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Richard Carapaz:
“We knew the finale was a bit dangerous. We had seen the finish a first time and we wanted to be in a good position not to take any chance. In the end, it was quite an easy day. We expected it to be more nervous.”

And here's the report from third-place Max Kanter's Team Sunweb:

Today’s stage at the Vuelta a España saw a parcours that favoured the fast men of the peloton, with a predominantly flat 157 kilometres from Castrillo del Val to Aguilar de Campoo. From the flag drop a two-rider breakaway formed out front, while the peloton fanned across the road behind.

The bunch were always in control and slowly reeled in the breakaway throughout the stage, with the duo caught at around 20 kilometres to go. Approaching the finale, Jasha Sütterlin and Martin Salmon brought sprinter Max Kanter into a good position towards the front of the bunch. On the fast and frenetic run in, Kanter was initially blocked in but he was soon able to free himself and delivered a good turn of speed to cross the line in fourth place on the road. After a jury decision to relegate Bennett, Kanter was promoted to the podium and third place – his first ever WorldTour level and Grand Tour podium, and a good reward for the team’s hard work.

Max Kanter:
“Today was another sprint stage where after one kilometre a two-rider breakaway got clear,” explained Kanter at the finish. “Then we tried to settle down in the bunch and save as much energy as possible for the final. The guys tried to support me as best as possible and bring me into the last kilometre in a good position. It was really nervous and hectic but they managed to put me into a good position. In the last kilometre I tried to find a good wheel to do my sprint. I came home in third which I think is a good result for us and we’ll try to do even better in the next sprint stage.”

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef added: “It was a flat, sprint stage today and our goal was to sprint with Max. We had a clear plan for the final lap. The guys in general did a good job, Max was in position with Jasha and Martin. We stayed in a good position in the final kilometres, and we brought him into the last corner near the front with just over one kilometre to go. Max did a good sprint. He was at first a little bit boxed in but then he managed to start his sprint and finished third in the end. All in all it was a good result that we can be happy with and we’re looking forward to tomorrow again.”

Anna Plichta to sign with Lotto Soudal Ladies

Lotto-Soudal sent me this release:

Anna Plichta (28) will reinforce the Lotto Soudal Ladies Team from 2021 until the end of 2022. The Polish national time trial champion rode for Trek-Segafredo the past two seasons and has now signed a two-year contract with our women’s team.

Anna Plichta: “It’s already several years that the Lotto Soudal Ladies Team has appealed to me. I now got this offer to join the team and I had to take it! During the year I spend a lot of time in Belgium as my fiancé is Belgian and it has started to feel like my second home. Therefore it also feels very natural to choose for a Belgian team.”

The past seasons Anna was a big support for her teammates. In 2018 at Boels-Dolmans and since 2019 at Trek-Segafredo. Last year, she became Polish time trial champion; a title she prolonged past summer. In September she finished fourth at Trophée des Grimpeuses, a Belgian climbing race.

“This is going to be a new challenge for me”, says Anna. “At Lotto Soudal I will get the opportunity to have a go myself in the races, whereas the past years I worked a lot for my teammates. I am 28 years old now and this is the moment to take this chance. This new role and new team gives me a lot of motivation to start working towards next year.”

Anna says she likes an aggressive style of racing and loves to attack. “The past two years I also focused more on time trialling and I have really improved quite a lot in this discipline. I won the Polish National Championship two times in a row. I rode good at the European Time Trial Championship where I finished seventh and last year I got fifth in the ITT of the Madrid Challenge. So I already set some nice results on the time trial bike and this is definitely a discipline I want to keep improving at.”

“Now it’s time for a break after what has been an unconventional season. A good rest, also mentally, will now be important to start the new year fresh and to build up a good shape ahead of the new season. I definitely want to be good at the Ardennes races next year and in stage races where a time trial is included. I am definitely looking forward to this new adventure with the Lotto Soudal Ladies.”

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