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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, May 8, 2021

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

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

I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter. - Blaise Pascal


Current racing:

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Arianna Fidanza sprints to her first podium of the season on stage two of Setmana Ciclista Valenciana

Fidanza's Team BikeExchange sent me this report:

An aggressive Team BikeExchange were rewarded with a strong third place for Arianna Fidanza as stage two of Setmana Ciclista Valenciana came down to a bunch sprint.

Arianna Fidanza

Arianna Fidanza (left) was third, as Sandra Alonso takes the stage.

The team were active throughout the 130km stage with Spaniard Ane Santesteban forcing an early break before being joined by teammate Urška Žigart in a counterattacking move. However, the group was soon brought back and despite several attacks, only one rider managed to escape.

The lone attacker established an advantage of more than three minutes as riders continued to attack the peloton behind, but with 30km remaining the chasing bunch were closing in. New Zealand champion Georgia Williams was tasked with leading the chase and the race eventually came back together with five kilometres remaining.

26-year-old Fidanza was positioned well for the sprint and took a strong third place, her first podium of the season, behind a photo finish with the victory going to Sandra Alonso.

Ariana Fidanza:
“The sprint was nervous so I decided to start my sprint at 300 metres to go but it was too early because there was headwind into the finish straight.

"In the end I am happy because it’s a good result and I am happy that today I had the chance to have a go for a result myself and for the team as they gave me confidence and trust.

"The team was strong all day today, we always were together, racing well and tried to do our best. It was a hard race with some climbs and also with warm weather.

"This is my first podium of the season for Team BikeExchange and this gives me confidence for the next races where I’ll continue to try to do my best, help my teammates and race well as a team.”

Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas - Sport Director:
“Today was a great result for Arianna without any doubt and also a very strong ride by the whole team, we raced aggressively all day and had all riders in several moves.

"Arianna has just shown a bit of what she is capable of and I am confident we'll see more soon.”

2021 Setmana Ciclista Valenciana stage 2 results:
1. Sandra Alonso 3:42:59
2. Sheyla Gutierrez ST
3. Arianna Fidanza (Team BikeExchange) ST

General Classification after stage 2:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten 7:03:51
2. Mavi Garcia +2:10
3. Katrine Aalerud +2:27
12. Janneke Ensing +2:31

George Bennett to lead Jumbo-Visma at Giro d’Italia

Here’s the team’s release:

George Bennett leads the Team Jumbo-Visma selection in the Giro d’Italia. The New Zealand champion hopes to achieve a place in the top five of the general classification in Italy.

George Bennett

George Bennett racing in the 2018 Vuelta a España. Sirotti photo

“I would like to see how far I can reach in the general classification. That’s what I want to focus on”, Bennett says. “There is a strong field of participants at the start. I think there are two or three absolute favourites for the overall victory. Shortly afterwards, a list of outsiders with perhaps ten to fifteen names follows. I put myself in between”, the 31-year-old rider says.

The New Zealander is curious about his race form. “I haven’t had a lot of racing days in the legs yet this season. After the national championships in my home country, I rode fully in service of Primoz Roglic in Paris-Nice. Then I had to abandon the Volta a Catalunya after three days. The question is how I stand in relation to the competition. We will see that in the coming weeks. The only thing I can control is the fact that I will appear at the start here in the best possible form. In my opinion, we succeeded.”

Four mountain stages
The 104th edition of the Giro d’Italia begins Saturday with a time trial of over eight kilometres in Turin. The general classification riders will have to show themselves and keep their nerves from the start. In the first week already four mountain stages await, including three arrivals uphill. “I will have to be sharp right away. I did everything I could to start in good shape. I hope I end up in a good flow. And hopefully it will last three weeks.”

Mythical Monte Zoncolan
The highlights in the second week are the eleventh stage on a course that shows many similarities with Strade Bianche and the fourteenth stage with the climb of the mythical Monte Zoncolan. By that time the proportions in the classification will be very clear.

Sports director Arthur van Dongen knows the strategy for this Tour of Italy. “We will have to be sharp from day one. The team will constantly have to ride in service of George. If everything goes according to plan, Dylan can sprint for victory in the flat stages. In the first week we have to be on our guard. You can’t win the race here, but you can lose it. The second week has some important moments with the Strade stage and the stage to Monte Zoncolan. This is where serious differences will emerge.”

Honour
The final week is traditionally tough with four mountain stages and the final time trial in Milan. Bennett: “It’s an honour to me to be the leader here in Italy. I don’t feel any extra pressure myself. I don’t think it will be my last chance right away if I don’t reach my goal. I will do my best every day and ride as fast as possible to the finish. After the next three weeks we will see if that is enough to achieve the predetermined goals.”

Bora -hansgrohe reports on Volta ao Algarve stage three

We posted the report from winner Sam Bennett's Deceuninck-Quick Step team with the results.

Today’s 203 kilometers from Faro to Tavira were quite undulated again but still it was a second chance for the sprinters in the bunch. Right after the start a break of four riders went up the road but the peloton controlled the gap immediately and never gave them more than a five minutes advantage. BORA – hansgrohe and Deceuninck-Quick Step led the bunch and with 10 kilometers the break was caught. 

Because the final was very technical again, positioning was key and BORA – hansgrohe was at the front of the peloton going into the final kilometer. But once again Sam Bennett got the perfect timing to win his second stage of the week, while Pascal Ackermann crossed the line in 5th place today. 

Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett wins again.

From the Finish Line:
"We have been placed well, but I had to break in the last corner and lost my momentum.  I was a little surprised then when Morkov passed on the left really fast. I hesitated maybe too long which wheel to grab but at that point I had already no chance. The mistake was in the last corner." – Pascal Ackermann

"Well, a fifth place is obviously not what we expected. But in general, the guys did a good job again. We controlled the race the whole day with Lennard and also in the finale we were in front at the right time. We also wanted to have still two guys in front of Pascal after the last corner and also that worked out well. But Pascal lost his speed in the corner and it is almost impossible to accelerate again then." – Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, Sports Director

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