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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, October 31, 2020

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2020 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. - Charles Spurgeon

Tour de France: the Inside Story

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Vuelta a España stage ten reports

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

Here's the report from stage winner & new GC leader Primoz Roglic's Jumno Visma team:

Primoz Roglic has won the tenth stage of the Vuelta a España in an impressive way. The leader of Team Jumbo-Visma won on the uphill finish in Suances after a strong sprint. Due to the boni seconds and a split in the peloton, the Slovenian regained the lead in the overall classification.

Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic takes the stage and the GC lead. Photo: Gomez Sport

For Roglic it is his third stage victory in this Vuelta. He previously won the first and the eighth stage. It marked his tenth victory of the season, the twenty-first for Team Jumbo-Visma. With his stage victory, he also strengthened his leading position in the points classification.

After a leading group was caught in the final, it was a long sprint towards the 1.5 kilometre long final climb. Roglic was brought into position by Paul Martens and showed his great form by taking the victory with a powerful explosion.

“It’s always nice to win”, Roglic said. “I never get used to winning. The legs felt really good today and I am very happy with this victory. The team has put me in a good position and this victory is also for them. I am now a year older and a year stronger. It’s like a good wine. The older the better. The fact that I have the red jersey again doesn’t change much for us as a team. We must try to keep the momentum and most of all we need to stay focused and stick to our own plan. I look forward to the next two mountain stages. It will be a nice spectacle to watch.”

Here's the report from Richard Carapz's INEOS Grenadiers:

Richard Carapaz now sits in second place overall at the Vuelta a Espana, equal on time with rival Primoz Roglic.

Richard Carapaz

Ricahrd Carapaz won't be warming up for stage 11 in red tomorrow. INEOS photo

The pair head into a GC weekend of climbing level pegging after Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) sprinted to victory on the uphill finish in Suances.

With a three-second advantage added onto bonus seconds, it was ultimately stage placings that elevated the Slovenian into the red jersey after 10 stages.

Carapaz finished 14th on the stage, after his teammates had helped shepherd him safely into the final 3km.

Chris Froome and Cam Wurf hit the front to begin driving the pace into final 12km, ensuring Carapaz remained well positioned. Dylan van Baarle and Andrey Amador later arrived back at the front with 6km to go to continue the process.

Richard Carapaz:
"It was actually a very calm stage, but the finale was very nervous. A lot of teams we’re interested in being at the front. The team again did a great job in the finale, but Roglic was too strong today."

Gabriel Rasch:
"We need to be ready for everything - ready for Jumbo-Visma to put someone like Bennett in the break for example. We need to be there for Richie and protect him for as well and as long as we can.

"It's going to be a really hard weekend with a lot of super nice racing. I'm pretty confident Richie will do well. He's been looking forward to these two days in the mountains and they are climbs that suit him really well."

Second-place Felix Grossschartner's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this:

In contrast to yesterday's flat stage, today's 165 km parcours between Castro Urdiales and Suances was a trickier one. In addition to a small climb in the middle part, the last two kilometres ran uphill, which was enough to thwart a sprint. The four-man escape of the day was able to pedal out a lead of more than 12 minutes today, but with 15 km to the finish it was all over.

On the final climb, some of the sprinters fell back, while at the front of the field, several riders unsuccessfully launched a series of attacks. Over the last three kilometres, the GC riders, including Felix Großschartner, took the lead. With only a few hundred meters of road remaining, P. Roglič attacked and the Austrian BORA - hansgrohe rider countered, but he was ultimately unable to pass the Slovenian in the uphill sprint and crossed the finish line in second place, in the same time as the day's winner. This leaves Felix still in 6th place in the overall standings.

elix Frossschartner

Felix Grossschartner wins the first stage of the 2020 Tour of Burgos

"It was very hectic in the end, but the team put me in a good position heading into the finale. I took Guillaume Martin's wheel and moved up, but Roglič was too strong in the end. In any event, I’m very happy with my second place. I think I’m getting stronger day by day, but the next two days will be very hard. If I lose some time there, it won’t be too bad, because in the last week there are still several possibilities to make up for that.” - Felix Großschartner

"Today was quite a challenging stage with a tough 1.5 km long climb to the finish. We knew that this might be slightly too hard for Pascal and with Felix we were pretty sure that he would be able to ride well in the end. However, you can never be completely sure in such a finale and so we supported both riders. Felix then proceeded to ride very well and we’re happy with his second place behind Roglič. The whole team worked well to put Felix into a good position in the lead-up to the finale, and in the end, it was a good day for us." - Steffen Radochla, Sports Director

Here's the report from third-place Andrea Bagioli's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

Castro Urdiales welcomed the Vuelta a España peloton for just the third time in history Friday afternoon, as the race entered its second half, one which will be heavily tilted towards the climbers. Four men attacked soon after the neutralized start and built a 12-minute gap – the largest one a breakaway has enjoyed since the beginning of the race – but under Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s impetus that buffer melted on the rolling roads of Cantabria, the quartet being overhauled inside 17 kilometers to go.

It was the cue for Rémi Cavagna to launch one of his trademark moves, which saw the “TGV of Clermont-Ferrand” stay at the front for a couple of kilometers, the peloton reeling him in just before the uphill kick to the line. A stage winner at the race seven years ago, Zdenek Stybar moved to the head of affairs and stretch out what was becoming a reduced group, before neo-pro Andrea Bagioli kicked out 200 meters from the line.

The Italian punched above his weight in the exploding finale and took a remarkable third place – behind stage winner Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) – for his first ever podium in a Grand Tour stage. It was another result, after the victories at the Tour de l’Ain and Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, which confirmed his huge potential that at the moment doesn’t seem to have a ceiling.

Andrea Bagioli

Andrea Bagioli wins the second stage of this year's Coppi Bartali race. Sirotti photo

“In those last two kilometers it was a question of positioning and timing and the boys did a great job for me. Zdenek and Michael brought me in a great position at the bottom of the climb and from there I just remained attentive and bided my time before accelerating with 200 meters to go. I like this type of finishes and I am very happy with my first top 3 in a World Tour race. I’ll draw a lot of confidence from today and hopefully we’ll continue to rack up some more strong results until the end of the race”, said Andrea after netting Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s 15th top 3 finish of the season in a Grand Tour stage.

Luka Mezgec to mix it up in the next two years with Mitchelton-SCOTT

Mitchelton-Scott sent me this release:

Slovenian Luka Mezgec will race with Mitchelton-SCOTT for the next two years, an exciting period for the 32-year-old that will provide a mix of personal opportunities and a return to lead-out duties.

Luka Mezgec

Luka Mezgec racing in the 2019 Vuelta a España. Sirotti photo

A Giro d’Italia stage winner and multiple stage winner at week-long races such as Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Tour de Pologne, Tour of Beijing and the Tour of Slovenia, Mezgec made his debut at the Tour de France in 2020 and twice came agonisingly close to a coveted victory, winning select bunch sprints behind a solo escapee.

His performance cemented his ability on the world’s biggest stage but with the return of Michael Matthews to the Australian outfit, it also presents an opportunity for Mezgec to return to a lead-out role.

Mezgec, who’s 2021-2022 contract will take his time with Mitchelton-SCOTT to seven years, previously performed the role for Caleb Ewan and is excited about the opportunity to take it up once again, with Matthews’ return to the team an extra motivation for Mezgec to re-sign.

Luka Mezgec:
“My last five years was like a dream to be a professional cyclist and all this was because of the relationships we have here between each other - devotion, work ethics, freedom and trust. We push each other’s limits and we are doing this with having a lot of fun in the process.

“I really had a lot of fun at my first Tour de France. The team backed me up really well and surely those bittersweet second places gave me confirmation that I can compete with the best on any race, no matter the name of it.

“Signing Bling (Matthews) was really good information for me, because I was always hoping to do some more lead-outs in my career. With Caleb I found this role really fascinating and many times as a sprint train we delivered him smooth in the final 200m. To be there, making quick decisions on the road with a sprinter attached on your wheel is one of the greater feelings I have had in cycling.

“We are both decent climbers so on trickier courses we will have more cards to play in the finals now. This is how I can have my own chances in the next two years. When race is open in the hard finals we can play on each other’s attacks to benefit us.

“Overall I’m just looking forward for the next two years knowing that we’ll have a blast out there.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“What we can take out of this year’s Tour de France is that Luka is a class act. The performances that he made at this year’s Tour were very, very impressive.

“Luka is continuing to get better and better and I think he is going to take a lot of confidence out of the Tour in particular, but this year in general.

“He is a guy that has been with this team for a long time and he is a really integral part of the chemistry of this organisation, so for him to continue is one bonus and with the arrival of Bling, the match and the extension is an exciting one.”

“I think the combination with Luka and Bling next year is going to be a really good one. I think they will complement each other well, I think a lot of the races that we will target with Bling next year, Luka will be there at crunch moments.  But also when we go with them as a combination together, in certain tactical ways they are a formidable two-pronged attack.”

Luka Mezgec
Date of Birth: 27 June 1988 (32)
Nationality: Slovenia
Joined Mitchelton-SCOTT: 2016
New Contract: 2021-2022

Top results:
-   1st 2014 Giro d’Italia – Stage 21
-   3x stage winner at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
-   2x stage winner at Tour de Pologne
-   2x stage winner at Tour of Beijing
-   2nd 2020 Tour de France – Stage 14 & 19

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary