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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, April 15, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

The audiobook version of The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1 is available.

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Tour of Turkey stage four team reports.

We posted the report from stage winner Mark Cavendish's Deceuninck-Quick Step team with the results.

Israel Start-Up Nation posted this report:

The fourth stage in the Tour of Turkey featured some beautiful coastal roads and impressive views of the Mediterranean Sea. The race started close to the old castle of Alanya, heading through Antalya, and finishing in Kemer.

It was a little bit windy on the open ocean roads and Israel Start-Up Nation tried to set up echelons. The wind was not hard enough though, so apart from a few riders dropping off the back, it was not quite successful.

It was clear that Team ISN did not want to simply ride to the finish for another bunch sprint. The team instead chose a more aggressive style of racing, while making sure the sprint train would stay in position for the final.

ISN was, in the last kilometers of racing, betting once more on sprinter Andre Greipel, who had finished top-10 in every single stage of the Tour of Turkey so far.

It was both the hard battling for positions and the crash with a few hundred meters to go that derailed ISN’s sprint train. The boys lost each other’s wheels, and the chance for another sprinting success was eliminated.

Mark CAvendish

Mark Cavendish wins again.

Fortunately, none of the ISN-riders hit the deck. Unfortunately, there was no way to salvage a good result for Andre Greipel.

Tomorrow is the first day with proper elevation in the Tour of Turkey. Instead of working hard for Greipel, the team will go all-out for climber Sebastian Berwick.

Brabantse Pijl team reports

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

Winner Tom Pidcock's INEOS Granadiers posted this report:

Tom Pidcock claimed his first professional road victory in emphatic fashion at De Brabantse Pijl.

The young Brit showed calm and race-craft beyond his years in a thrilling finale in Overijse, timing his sprint to perfection on the uphill ramp to the line and overhauling rival Wout Van Aert.

Tom Pidcock

Tom Pidcock gets his first pro win.

It had been the Grenadier who twice enlivened the final with a pair of identical attacks on the Hertstraat. His first move helped force a selection on the finishing circuit, before the second helped set up a three-up final shootout.

The win is a continuation of Pidcock's superb step up to the professional ranks - following a podium at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and a fifth place at Strade Bianche.

Earlier the team had worked hard to peg the gap to the day's breakaway. Cameron Wurf got through a lot of kilometres on the front, before the team moved up as a unit with 40km to go. Richard Carapaz was the next Grenadier home in 31st after doing some good work following counter-attacks behind.

Tom Pidcock:
“I know that sprints at the end of a race like that are not the same as if you are sprinting for a town sign, so you always go into those sprints with confidence.

“Wout was pulling super hard every time we got away, I was coming through on the front and I was doing the same watts to get on his wheel. He was pulling super hard, but maybe too hard in the end.

“I was getting nervous, they were coming behind, but I waited and waited, Wout went and kind of got a little bit boxed in, then I rushed Wout and came past him.

“We were a little bit on the back foot with the group away and we were running out of guys, so we said to Jumbo ‘we pull to the climb, then we go’, Trentin came as well and it worked out pretty good in the end.

“I knew I was going well going into this race as I finally had a good week’s training with no interruptions so I knew I was going to be good and it’s nice to actually be good in the race as well to the finish."

Here's the report from second-place Wout an Aert's Jumbo-Visma team:

Wout van Aert has finished second in the Brabantse Pijl. In the sprint, the leader of Team Jumbo-Visma came just short for the victory. Englishman Tom Pidcock caught Van Aert in the last hundred metres and won the race.

A leading group of nine riders was given the space to create a lead of six minutes and Finn Fisher-Black controlled the escape on behalf of Team Jumbo-Visma. About fifty kilometers before the finish the speed in the peloton, led by Pascal Eenkhoorn, Timo Roosen and Nathan Van Hooydonck, increased. They closed much of the difference.

An attack by Pidcock was a springboard for Van Aert and Matteo Trentin to join the leading group. The same trio eventually managed to escape fifteen kilometres from the finish, after which they battled it out in the final sprint for the victory.

“It was a difficult race to control”, Van Aert said. “Everyone was looking at us in the beginning. On the local lap we lost our grip as a team and we let other teams surprise us too much. Eventually I managed to escape with Tom and Matteo and that created a good situation arose. Tom was strong in the race, but I hoped to beat him in the sprint. I started early, but my legs filled up very quickly. Today the strongest rider won and that was Pidcock. It’s always frustrating when you just come up short at the end, but for the rest I rode in the best possible way today.”

And here's what fourth place Ide Schelling's Bora-hansgrohe team had to say about the race:

Following the traditional start in Leuven, the 201 km-long 61st edition of Brabantse Pijl featured no less than 27 climbs before the peloton crossed the finish in Overijse. None of the climbs were particularly difficult, yet the rapid succession of climbs was sure to gradually sap the riders' strength.

After the first hour of racing, a leading group of nine, including Jordi Meeus, managed to establish itself ahead of the peloton. With 30 km remaining, Ide Schelling attacked out of the reduced field, and with the help of his Belgian teammate, eventually managed to bridge the gap into the first group. Meanwhile, Trentin put distance between himself and the leading group, only to be joined by van Aert and Pidcock a few kilometres later.

Although the group containing Ide tried their all to bring back the leading trio, their efforts were ultimately too late, with the three riders fighting it out for the victory in Overijse. After Pidcock took this year’s title, Ide prevailed in the sprint for the remaining places, finishing the race in 4th position.

From the Finish Line:
"It was a good race for us. On the first laps I tried to save my energy, but when the race became really serious, I knew I had to make a move, or else I would have lost my chance. I attacked on the climb and eventually managed to close the gap to the breakaway. It was not necessarily an easy thing to do, but Jordi did an excellent job here, so many thanks to him. When van Aert and Pidcock attacked, I was right behind them and wanted to follow, but in that moment, I just lacked the power, and had to take up the chase together with the rest of my group. Although we worked fairly well together, it was unfortunately not enough to catch up with the trio. Nevertheless, I was still determined to achieve a good result, so I gave everything to sprint for fourth place, and the fact that I managed to achieve that makes me quite happy." - Ide Schelling

"Overall, the team rode a solid race and we are very happy with Ide's fourth place. Jordi rode very well in the breakaway group, and did a great job in helping Ide to make the jump into the first group. We had a bit of bad luck today with Nils Politt's mechanical on the cobbles, but in the end we can be very happy with the team's performance and especially with Ide's result." - Steffen Radochla, Sports Director

Tour of Valenciana stage one reports:

We posted the report from stage winner Miles Scotson's Groupama-FDJ team with the results.

Here's the report from second-place John Degenkolb's Lotto-Soudal team:

Lotto Soudal rider John Degenkolb finished second in the opening stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. The Australian rider Miles Scotson took a solo win, Degenkolb was the fastest of a sizeable chasing group and had to settle for second place, some thirty seconds later.

Miles Scotsun

Miles Scotson takes the stage.

“The cold, rain and many altitude metres made for a tough first stage”, John Degenkolb began. “On the many climbs, we tried to hang on as long as possible and in the end, I managed to survive as the last rider of the team as I was part of the first group.”

With almost 3,000 altitude metres between Elche and Ondara, the riders were immediately faced with a tough opening stage. The hilly terrain in the Valencian hinterland caused serious splits in the bunch and at 40 kilometres to go, only a small group remained. The stage was decided at around twenty kilometres from the end, when the Australian Miles Scotson attacked and immediately opened up a sizeable gap. Despite a crash in the closing kilometres, Scotson held on and took a solo win. John Degenkolb proved to be the fastest of the chasing group and won the sprint for second place.

John Degenkolb: “I gave it a try in the sprint and was able to win it, but unfortunately there was still one rider in front. After a tactical final, a rider of Groupama-FDJ escaped and we didn’t manage to catch him back. Of course, it’s a pity that I couldn’t sprint for the win, but this performance is definitely good for the confidence.”

“Tomorrow should be a bunch sprint and I am really looking forward as with Caleb Ewan, we have one of the fastest riders on board. I can’t wait to support him in the best way possible.”

Due to back problems, Jasper De Buyst had to abandon early in the race. That means Lotto Soudal will start with five riders in Alicante tomorrow.

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