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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2020 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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

There is frequently more to be learned from the unexpected questions of a child than the discourses of men. - John Locke


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Vuelta a España stage four reports

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from stage four winner Fabio Jakobsen's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

Fabio Jakobsen took a memorable success at the season’s final Grand Tour, after a superb sprint in the final 300 meters of the 163.9km stage 4, confirming he is again one of the fastest men in the sport. Already victorious this season at the Tour de Wallonie, the 24-year-old showed great instinct and a huge turn of speed as he surfed the wheels in the final kilometer before unleashing a devastating sprint and blasting past all his opponents.

Fabio Jakosen

Fabio Jakobsen wins stage four. Sirotti photo

“This is a dream! I want to thank my family and the team, my second family, because they are the reason I am here. It’s the most beautiful victory of my career and I can’t thank everybody enough for what they did for me. It’s been a long road since last year, and to be here, a Grand Tour stage winner again, makes me incredibly happy”, an emotional Fabio said after his third success of the season.

Running over a mainly flat route, Tuesday’s stage was easily controlled by the teams who wanted to see it come down to a bunch sprint in Molina de Aragon, which was hosting its first La Vuelta finish. Once the breakaway got reeled in, Deceuninck – Quick-Step remained at the front of the bunch, making sure Jakobsen was in a good position for the uphill kick to the line, where a 3% average gradient spiced up things a bit.

But Fabio timed it perfectly and took a convincing victory – our team’s 48th of the season – that netted him also the green jersey, for the first time in his career: “The finale was hectic, as it always happens when you have a bunch sprint. Luckily, I had both Styby and Bert with me, and after the latter took me to the front I opened my sprint and I guess I just had a bit more in the legs. I feel that after this win my comeback is complete and the circle is now closed after everything that happened last year. I feel great, I am at a good level and I’m happy to be here with the team and have the green jersey, which I will try to keep for as long as possible.”

Here's the report from GC leader Rein Taaramäe's Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team:

On paper, the fourth stage of the Tour of Spain (2.WT, 14/08-5/09) didn’t contain any danger for the red kit of Rein Taaramäe. Team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert controlled a breakaway of three riders from the start in Burgo de Osma. The escapees managed to increase the gap to 4 minutes, but never endangered the jersey of Taaramäe of the 163.9 kilometer parcours towards Molina de Aragon.

The peloton was nervous at the approach of the finish, and Taaramäe couldn’t avoid a crash under the 2 kilometer sign. Luckily, the red jersey could immediately get in the saddle again to reach the finish with some abrasions. He was given the same time as stage winner Fabio Jabobsen, so kept the leader’s jersey on the eve of the fifth stage through open fields between Tarancon and Albacete. Riccardo Minali sprinted to 10th place.

Rein Taaramae

Rein Taaramäe will start stage five in red. Sirotti photo

“This was incredible! We enjoyed this day a lot. It was fantastic to see my teammates leading the peloton the whole day. Of course I would have preferred to end the day without a crash, but luckily it was more fright than pain. I'll continue defending the jersey the next days. Tomorrow we'll need to be attentive for wind and echelons. The day after, positioning on the foot of the steep and short climb towards the finish in Cullera will be crucial. We'll defend this beautiful jersey as long as possible!”  - Rein Taaramäe

“I'm happy to finish again in the top 10 of a stage. Although it wasn't without difficulties. The team worked well for Rein all day, so I had to do the positioning towards the sprint on my own. I was a bit boxed in in the final kilometer but then found a gap so I could pass several riders in de last 500 meter. I can be happy with this result and especially with my feeling. This is promising for the next sprints.” - Riccardo Minali

Here's the report from GC third-place Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team:

Team Jumbo-Visma has made it through the fourth stage in the Vuelta a España without any problems. The stage to Molina de Aragón ended in a bunch sprint. Primoz Roglic, who crossed the finish line in the presence of his teammates in the belly of the peloton, retained his third place in the general classification.

Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic riding the stage one time trial.

Team Jumbo-Visma guided their Slovenian leader through the stage and were riding at the front at the important moments. Except for a puncture for the Slovenian, the stage went smoothly.

“We got through the day well”, sports director Grischa Niermann said. “These are tricky stages in which you always have to pay attention. We kept Primoz in the front all day and the stage went according to plan for us.”

A similar stage awaits tomorrow, although Niermann is wary. “Tomorrow is going to be a very nervous day. We have to be alert for the wind, especially in the final. We have to be sharp and focused.”

Astana team will continue into 2022

Here's the short notice the team posted:

The Astana team’s future in the WorldTour peloton is secured for 2022 with the team’s Kazakh shareholders confirming they will continue as team owner and title sponsor for the upcoming season.

Alexandr Vinokurov has been reappointed as Sports Team Principal for the 2022 season and will oversee the rider and staff recruitment and sporting operations.

With preparations underway for the team’s 17th year in the peloton, announcements regarding rider contract extension and new rider signings will be made in the near future.

Team DSM's upcoming racing

The team sent me this schedule:

Tour of Norway: AUG 19-22

Michiel Elijzen - Team DSM coach
“Tour of Norway is a race with an interesting parcours, including some tricky and challenging hilly stage finishes. We go to the race with a motivated group, with Andreas as our Norwegian rider who's looking forward to racing on home roads. We'll look day by day to see how we can get the best results out of the stages and during that process, see where Andreas lies in the GC. We have two riders from our Development program riders in the team, Leo and Oscar, so for their experience and development it's good for them to ride a stage race with our Men's program. We want to race aggressively and take our chances throughout the four days, where we can hopefully compete for strong stage results."

Line-up:
Romain Combaud (FRA)
Mark Donovan (GBR)
Felix Gall (AUT)
Leo Hayter (GBR)
Andreas Leknessund (NOR)
Oscar Onley (GBR)

Grote Prijs Marcel Kint: AUG 20

Bennie Lambregts - Team DSM coach
"Grote Prijs Marcel Kint is traditionally a very open and attacking race, that often comes down to a bunch sprint finish, but the breakaway has taken success here too. We want to make sure that we're in any important early moves so that we can get into the race in a nice way. It's also really good for the development of our riders to be able to take part in an open race like this, where we can work on our communication and teamwork. We arrive with more of an open plan, looking to make the dangerous attacks, but if it comes down to a bunch sprint finish in the end then we will work to set up Marius for that."

Line-up
Tobias Lund Andresen (DEN)
Marius Mayrhofer (GER)
Tim Naberman (NED)
Pepijn Reinderink (NED)
Martin Salmon (GER)
Vegard Stokke (NOR)
Hannes Wilksch (GER)

Simac Ladies Tour: AUG 24-29

Albert Timmer - Team DSM coach
"The Simac Ladies Tour is a nice race in the Netherlands that has a bit of everything; with a prologue, time trial, sprint stages and a few days that suit attacking and exciting racing. We also need to be wary of the weather conditions because some of the stages take place on exposed roads, so we need to attentive throughout the race. We arrive on the start line with a strong team where we'll look to race aggressively when we can throughout the week, while on the sprint days we will work together as a unit, aiming to set up Lorena for the finales."

Line-up
Susanne Andersen (NOR)
Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Megan Jastrab (USA)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Julia Soek (NED)
Lorena Wiebes (NED)

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