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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, August 28, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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

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Vuelta a España stage 13 reports

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

Here's the report from stage winner Florian Senechal's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

Florian Sénéchal brought Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s 52nd victory of the season after an insane finale in Villanueva de la Serena, where stage 13 concluded. The 28-year-old benefitted from an excellent lead-out from his Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates – who stormed to the front in the closing kilometers and split the peloton with the flamme rouge looming on the horizon – and delivered a perfect sprint with 150 meters to go.

Florian Senechal

Florian Senechal celebrates his Grand Tour stage win. Sirotti photo

Victorious in two races since joining the Wolfpack back in 2018, Sénéchal was supposed to launch green jersey Fabio Jakobsen, but the Dutchman dropped from the reduced front group and the Frenchman quickly became the man who carried the hopes of the team. In the last kilometer, Florian waited patiently for the finishing straight and kicked within sight of the line, holding off Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) for the biggest win of his career to date.

“We had other plans today, but when Fabio shouted on the radio that I should go instead for the sprint, I immediately focused on that, on remaining calm and giving it my best in that chaotic finale. The guys did an incredible job and I’m grateful to them for their immense efforts and for giving me this opportunity.”

“At the same time, I also want to thank my wife, family and friends, people who, together with my team, always supported me and believed in me. I still don’t realise what this win means, it’s just crazy”, said an elated Florian after racking up Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s eighth Grand Tour stage victory of the season.

Fabio Jakobsen, who extended his lead in the points classification after taking the intermediate sprint in Don Benito, remained upbeat after the stage: “This is cycling, you can be the main favourite but things don’t always turn out the way you wanted. The team did a perfect lead-out, but the legs were full of lactic acid and I could see that before the last two kilometers, so I just told Florian that he should sprint and I’m happy that he finished it off for. I’m sure other opportunities will come and we will go for them.”

Here's the report from GC leader Odd Christian Eiking's Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team:

For the sixth time in this Tour of Spain (2.WT, 14/08-5/09), the stage was concluded by a bunch sprint. And for the sixth time, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert finished the stage with a rider in the lead of the general classification. Perfectly protected during the thirteenth stage, Odd Christian Eiking avoided to be trapped by the echelons which were set up by some teams 60 kilometer before the finish. Together with the sprinters teams, the men from Valerio Piva and Jean-Marc Rossignon had no difficulty to control an early breakaway of three riders which was formed immediately after the start in Belmez.

In spite of a nervous final and several gaps, the Norwegian and South-African Louis Meintjes managed to reach the finish line after 204 kilometer without issues. Riccardo Minali was the first rider of the team to cross the finish line in 14th place, 11 seconds after winner Florian Sénéchal. Eiking will wear the red jersey for a fourth time in a row during the fourteenth stage which will bring the riders from Don Benito towards Pico Villuercas for a rude mountain top finish (14.4km at 6.3%).

Odd Christian Eiking

Eiking will start stage fourteen in red. Sirotti photo

"The many roundabouts in the final kilometers were no surprise, but I didn’t imagine that they would be decisive for the stage win. There were some time gaps, but thanks to the great work of my teammates I managed to finish in the front and avoid changes in the general classification. The team was fantastic today, I only had to follow. Tomorrow will be a hard day in the mountains. I will give everything I have to defend the red jersey, but a lot will depend on what the other teams desire, in particular the winner of the two last editions, Primoz Roglic." - Odd Christian Eiking

Here's the report from third-place Alberto Dainese's Team DSM:

Despite some rolling terrain in the opening part of the stage, today’s flatter finally suited itself to a fast finish and looked set to be an opportunity that the sprint teams didn’t want to miss out on. Rolling out of Belmez, a breakaway trio managed to escape the bunch with relative ease, quickly gaining a two minute gap. However, the peloton immediately took control and started to set a steady tempo behind, with Thymen Arensman doing a good job in the chase for the team.

As the stage ticked by, the gap slowly diminished before the catch was eventually made at 25 kilometres to go. Moving forward well as a unit, the team took up a good position at the front of the bunch to look after fast finisher Alberto Dainese. Coming into the final two kilometres some other sprint teams set an infernal pace at the front of the bunch, with the peloton splitting under the pressure through the technical sections. Dainese was just caught behind a split as a front group of around fifteen riders emerged but after some strong riding, the junction was made but the group then split again in the final few hundred metres. Pushing all the way to the line with a long sprit, Dainese ended the day with a strong third place; collecting yet another top result for the team at this Vuelta.

Alberto Dainese

Alberto Dainese finishing third in the thirteenth stage. Sirotti photo

“The guys did a good job to help keep me safe from the start today,” explained Dainese at the finish. “We had Thymen help with the chase at the front to keep the breakaway close and set up a sprint. Coming into the final few kilometres we were in a good position but some other teams took it up in the front and the bunch split through the roundabouts. We had to chase back to the front split and when I got there the sprint was almost opening up. I gave it everything I could to the line and finished third in the end.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston added: “The plan was to go for a bunch sprint today. The guys did a really good job at the start to make sure the breakaway was small. We committed to the chase for most of the stage. There was a little bit of a nervous moment when it started to go full gas. Then after that we focused on each other and were really good together and came into the last kilometres in a good position for a really technical final. We had two guys suffer punctures which so that weakened our lead out train a little bit, but we still managed to find each other and come into the closing kilometre in a good position. Unfortunately, there was a little bit of a gap that opened up on the last roundabout and Alberto had to do a really long sprint there just to take third, and wasn’t able to fight for the win. Again we showed some really good teamwork today but it just went wrong a little bit in the last kilometre.”

Here's the report from Luka Mezgec's Team BikeExchange:

Slovenian sprinter Luka Mezgec claimed fourth place today for Team BikeExchange in a messy sprint finish to the 13th stage of La Vuelta a España, which saw gaps open and the peloton split inside the final three kilometres.

With a scattering of roundabouts in the final, Deceuninck-Quickstep put the hammer down, taking control at the head of the bunch, forcing the peloton into one line.

Mezgec began flying through the corners, trying to keep an eye on team leader, Michael Matthews behind, but due to the fast nature of the course the duo lost each other. Trying to limit losses, Mezgec continued towards the head of the strung out, split bunch and was able to salvage fourth place on the line.

Luka Mezgec – 4th place:
“The team did really good until the crucial point of the day where we actually got blocked with about four kilometers to go, and the corner at three-kilometers to go was the point where you could not really move up after that.

"We lost ourselves there, somehow I found Rob Stannard with about two kilometers to go, and I thought that Matthews was on my wheel. But it was hard, I was like kamikaze through the corners, I was just trying to get up there. I knew there was no time to move up other than going full gas into the corners.

"The biggest mistake was not being at the front with three kilometers to go and I think that actually cost us the sprint and the result in the end.“

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