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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, March 12, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

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Paris-Nice stage five team reports

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Sam Bennett's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

Sam Bennett made it two Deceuninck – Quick-Step victories on Thursday by delivering a hugely impressive sprint in Bollène, where a Paris-Nice stage concluded for the first time in 50 years, just minutes after the team notched the win across the border, at Tirreno-Adriatico. The Irishman relied again on a bulletproof lead-out train, and even though he was temporarily off the wheel of Michael Mørkøv ahead of the final kilometer, he found the power to accelerate and jump again aboard the Deceuninck – Quick-Step train with the flamme rouge in sight.

Tucked back on the wheel of the three-time Danish Champion, who showed again why he is the best lead-out man in the business, Sam waited for the final 200 meters to kick out. From the moment he opened his sprint it became clear he would be unbeatable, his stunning turn of speed propelling him to another clear victory at the “Race to the Sun”, after the one in St.Cyr-l’Ecole, this time ahead of Nacer Bouhanni (Arkea-Samsic) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe), who completed the podium.

Sam BEnnett

Sam Bennett enjoys his win. Getty Sport photo

“I was disappointed after the second stage, so to bounce back and win what was the last sprinters’ stage makes me very happy. It’s fantastic that Deceuninck – Quick-Step got two wins today, I’m delighted for Julian and really proud of the Wolfpack spirit that the entire team displays no matter the race or the circumstances”, said Sam after becoming the active rider with the most stage wins at Paris-Nice.

Bennett, who after his 30th career victory in the World Tour returned in the green jersey, continued: “Big thanks to the entire team, I couldn’t have done it without them. They did again an incredible job, they were just perfect. That was an awesome lead-out and I’m super happy I could hold it to the line. Michael always gets me there and a lot of my results are down to him. When I’m on his wheel, I know that all I have to do is stay there and not panic. I did that again today and it feels great to get another win in this race I love so much.”

Here's the report from race leader Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team:

Team Jumbo-Visma hasn’t come through the fifth stage of Paris-Nice without problems. The team lost an important rider in the person of Tony Martin, who had to leave the race after a crash.

What seemed to be a problem-free stage, became in the end one with a bitter aftertaste for the Dutch team. Thirty kilometres before the finish Martin crashed. Classification leader Primoz Roglic also went to the ground in the same crash, but was able to resume the race quickly and managed to keep the leader’s jersey.

Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic remains in yellow. Jumbo-Visma photo

Sports director Grischa Niermann briefly explained the situation. “Tony had a lot of pain in his elbow. He was therefore taken to the hospital for a check-up. We hope it’s all right and that he can get back on his bike soon. This is of course a huge loss for the team. We will have to race without him in the next few days, which means that the remaining six riders will have to work a little bit harder. Fortunately everyone is fit, so I hope we can keep the yellow until Nice.”

Roglic did not sustain any serious injuries from his crash. “It’s very unfortunate and unhappy that Tony is out now. Fortunately I’m fine; I don’t have any problems. Tony crashed right in front of me and I didn’t have enough time to avoid him, so I fell over him. This is just part of cycling. We have to go on without him.”

Pascal Ackermann's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this Paris-Nice report:

Today's mostly flat 203km route from Vienne to Bollène in the Rhône Valley was an occasion for the sprinters who were looking to add to their results tally. With no riders trying their luck in the breakaway today, the peloton remained together as it rode towards the finish. At the two sprint classifications, Maximilian Schachmann managed to take bonus seconds and as a result, reduce his deficit to the overall leader to 31 seconds.

Bora hansgrohe

Bora-hansgrohe at the front. Bettini photo

With only a few kilometres remaining, the jostling for position commenced and BORA - hansgrohe was also present at the front of the field, trying to position Pascal Ackermann in the lead-up to the finale.  When S. Bennett pulled away on the finishing straight, however, the German sprinter tried to keep up, but had to let him go, subsequently sprinting to third place behind the Irish stage winner. Meanwhile, Max Schachmann retains his current second place in the overall standings ahead of tomorrow's challenging stage.

From the Finish Line:
"After we experienced some bad luck on the second stage, we were fully motivated to net a good result today. The course was something for the sprinters and we expected that the victory would be fought out in a bunch sprint. Our sprint preparations went a slightly awry and I had to start my sprint from slightly too far back. In the finale, Sam took off and I couldn't follow him. I ultimately finished in third place, not a win, but still a podium. My form is good and we can definitely build on it during the next races. Now we’ll be looking to concentrate on the upcoming days here to still get the best out of the race as a team." - Pascal Ackermann

"Today was another day that we can actually be quite happy with. Max managed to take four valuable bonus seconds in the general classification, with the support of his teammates, and in the end we took third with Pascal in the sprint. I think we can be satisfied with that. Unfortunately, one of our lead-out riders was missing in the finale, and the sprint was also fought quite hard, so our guys were pushed out of their good position. As a result, Pascal had to commence his sprint from very far behind. But I think if one looks at today, an upwards trend with Pascal definitely emerges, and it’s only a matter of time until the first victory comes our way. Tomorrow we’ll have a difficult stage, where we’ll call upon our riders who are strong in the mountains. Our goal now is to help Max take a podium place here in the GC." - Christian Pömer, Sports Director

Tirreno-Adriatico stage two team reports:

We posted the report from GC leader Wout van Aert's Jumbo-Visma team with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Julian Alaphilippe's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

UCI World Champion Julian Alaphilippe blasted to his maiden victory of the season after delivering a perfectly-timed attack in the closing 200 meters of Thursday’s stage to Chiusdino which saw him become the French rider with the most stage wins at Tirreno-Adriatico.

Julian Alaphilippe

The stage is Alaphilippe's

Deceuninck – Quick-Step delivered a tactical masterclass on stage 2 of the race, sending Giro d’Italia revelation João Almeida on the attack with over 25 kilometers to go, a move which ended up giving more trouble to the peloton then they had expected, after the Portuguese was joined by three other men. Going into the last ten kilometers, their gap stood at 40 seconds, forcing the bunch chase hard in order to shut down that move on the Chiusdino climb.

With two kilometers to go, the chasers could see the leaders, but Almeida continued to make it hard for the bunch, getting out of the saddle and dropping his companions. The 22-year-old gritted his teeth as he rode under the flamme rouge, but the margin began to come down rapidly. Sensing this was the perfect moment to go, Julian Alaphilippe – who up until that point sat on the wheel of Kasper Asgreen and Zdenek Stybar – punched clear 200 meters from the line and held off both Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) as he celebrated his second win in the iconic rainbow jersey.

“We were in a perfect position with João at the front, which allowed me to stay focused on keeping my position. When it became clear he would get caught after Thomas’ forcing, I went and gave everything, full gas until the line. This first victory of the season is a relief for me. It’s never easy to win in the rainbow jersey and to do it at this race feels amazing”, said Julian, whose first success of the season came in the country where he conquered the rainbow stripes last September.

Alaphilippe, who became the fifth different Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to put his name on the winners’ list this year, was full of praise for his teammates: “I couldn’t have done it without them, so a big thanks goes to the guys. Kasper and Zdenek took care of me on the climb, while João’s attack made it easier for us in the final. The day was a hard one, but the team did an incredible job and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome, especially as it came in the same country where I won this beautiful jersey.”

“In the final part of the stage there were many attacks and we decided to join in, knowing it would put the team in a better position for the last climb. With two kilometers to go I dropped the others, but I knew my chances were slim, with only a few seconds separating me from the bunch. At 300 meters to go, the peloton was closing in at a different speed, so it was over for me. I am glad Julian took the victory, because if he wouldn’t have attacked at the right moment, then another rider would have won. It was a perfect day for us and this gives us more confidence for the next stages”, Almeida added after concluding the day in seventh place, thus making his way into the top 10 overall.

And here's the stage two report from Team BikeExchange:

22-year-old Robert Stannard finished amongst top company on today’s tough second stage at Tirreno-Adriatico, sprinting to an impressive sixth place on a final steep pinch up to the finish line in Chiusdino, bumping himself up to seventh place on the general classification.

Defending champion Simon Yates animated the final 35kilometres of the race, as an early breakaway of six riders was caught on the penultimate climb. A dangerous move of three then clipped off the front, with Yates alert and quickly in hot pursuit of the trio.

The Brit jumped across, before escaping in a select group of four over the top of the climb. The quartet hovered around 30seconds in front of the bunch until the final two kilometres of the 202km stage. As the bunch drew closer, Yates eased up with two kilometres to go, just before the remaining leaders were swallowed up by the chasing pack.

Waiting in the wheels, teammate Stannard was able to follow an explosive acceleration in the final kilometre with all the race favourites present. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) passed his teammate Joao Almeida, the sole remaining attacker, just metres before the line to steal the stage honours, with race leader Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) settling for third place.


The peloton cruises across beautiful Italy. Getty photo

Robert Stannard:
“It was quite cruisy at the start and then it was really on over the hills in the final hour or so. It was nice for us to have Yates up the front for a bit, it took the pressure off a bit.

“The goal for me today was a top five result, so I was pretty close, but I think I did what I could do in the final there. I had the legs; it was just a matter of positioning in the final kilometre.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“Rob was our designated leader today and he was in good company, he finished sixth which is a really good result for him on a finish that which we knew suited him.

“It was a very aggressive last hour and all the pure sprinters where dropped and that is the type of rider Rob is; he is very fast and can climb quite well.

“Obviously with Simon, it was a disappointing result, we can’t hide from that. It is his first race here and it is the start of his preparation for the Giro d’Italia. He looked in very good shape on the final climb with the KOM and taking some time bonuses. We will now just refocus for tomorrow.”

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