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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
May 31, 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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Giro d'Italia final team reports

We posted the report from GC leader Egan Bernal's Ineos Grenadiers team with the results.

Here's the report from GC third-place Simon Yates' Team BikeExchange:

Briton Simon Yates delivered Team BikeExchange an overall podium placing at the 104th edition of the Giro d’Italia today, after the 21-day race concluded with an individual time trial in Milan.

Simon Yates

Simon Yates finishes his stage 21 time trial. Sirotti photo

Yates’ third-place finish, makes it GreenEDGE Cycling’s fourth Grand Tour podium placing, following on from Yates’ 2018 Vuelta a España victory and Esteban Chaves’ second and third place finishes in the 2016 Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España respectively.

After racing with maturity through the three-week event, Yates launched himself into second place on the standings after an impressive performance on the mighty Monte Zoncolan on stage 14, before showing his real strength in the final week of racing as the race entered the high mountains.

The British climber attacked and gained time on the Maglia Rosa on stage 17 before claiming a spectacular solo victory on stage 19. After relentless work day in, day out from his Team BikeExchange companions, it was up to Yates to secure his final podium placing on today’s final 30.3km individual time trial stage.

The 28-year-old successfully charged around the course without problems, to cement his position on the GC, as Egan Bernal was crowned the 2021 champion ahead of second placed Damiano Caruso after a thrilling three-week battle.

Simon Yates – Third place overall:
“I am proud of what I accomplished here. I have no regrets. Those guys showed day in, day out that they were better, so I can only be proud of what I did.

"I had some small problems at the start but then I could really show myself in the third week, but I also paid for my efforts yesterday. Yesterday I was not as good as my stage win, but as I have said before you have to be good for the full three weeks.

"I did my best every day, the days in the cold, the body didn’t respond as well as I wanted it to but that is one of those things, you have to deal with bad days and bad moments and that is how you go on to win the race. Egan did that successfully on numerous days.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
" We came to win the Giro d’Italia, we gave 100% from start to finish, the whole organisation and there is a whole lot of work and effort behind this result.

"There is only one winner, but we gave it all we could. We had a great stage win, we arrived on the podium and the boys and everyone behind Simon gave 100% commitment to this effort, so we can leave the Giro d’Italia very proud of the effort the whole team has made.”

Points classification winner Peter Sagan's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this report:

Nothing is ever certain until the last rider crosses the line, and with the final day of the 2021 Giro d’Italia traditionally ending in an individual time trial, there was still the potential for upsets.

Stage 21 took place on the streets of Milan, the 30.3km parcours twisting and turning on city roads, and while the profile was flat, there were enough hazards to catch out the unwary riders and put a cruel end to their race.

For BORA-hansgrohe, it was a bittersweet ending to a race that saw Peter Sagan take a sprint victory on stage 10 putting him into the Maglia Ciclimino of points leader, before the team’s GC leader, Emanuel Buchmann, was forced to abandon the race following a crash in the opening kilometres of stage 15 after riding so consistently and making his way to sixth in the overall standings.

The team turned in exceptional performances every day, from Matteo Fabbro, Felix Grossschartner and Giovanni Aleotti getting in the break on multiple stages, to Daniel Oss and Maciej Bodnar controlling the peloton on the sprint stages and protecting Peter Sagan. Racing until the end, the team gave it their all in Milan, with Maciej Bodnar setting the time to beat early on, the Polish time trial specialist coming home in 34:42 and sitting at the top of the provisional classifications for a time, finally finishing in eleventh, and Felix Grossschartner also setting a fast time, crossing the line in 35:11.

All eyes then turned to Peter Sagan, the Slovak rider only having to finish the stage to confirm the first ciclamino jersey of his career and, after setting a time of 36:47, it was finally time to celebrate an excellent performance from both Peter and his BORA-hansgrohe teammates.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan takes home the Points Jersey. Sirotti photo

From the Finish Line:
"I'm very happy and proud to step on the final podium in Milan, wearing the ciclamino jersey of the Giro d'Italia. It has been a dream of mine for many years and I am delighted to see it come true today. I'd like to thank the race organisers, the incredible Italian public that was back on the roads cheering for us and all my teammates for their work in these three tough weeks of racing." – Peter Sagan

"It was a very fast time trial. In the final 10 kilometres that were completely straight, there was a bit of headwind which it made it hard. I gave it my all, aiming at a top-ten time. We had two main goals when we started in Turin three weeks ago. We achieved one, the ciclamino jersey with Peter, after putting in a strong effort, so I think we can be happy about that. Unfortunately, we weren't able to reach the other one, a good GC position with Emu, because of the crash but these are things you can't control. Overall, I am satisfied." – Maciej Bodnar

"In general, it was a successful Giro for us. From Peter's point of view with the stage win and the sprint jersey. But in the overall classification, it was of course a bitter situation to lose Emanuel Buchmann after the first half of the race. Unfortunately, we could not compensate for that. That left Peter's successes, which we then brought safely to Milan, plus some nice stage placings. Apart from that, we were at the award ceremony almost every day with Peter in the jersey, and our riders always put in a good performance on the stages. All in all, it was a successful Giro and the team made the best out of the situation. Peter's stage win should also be highlighted, which was definitely a team effort." – Jens Zemke, Sports Director

Here's the report from Joao Almeida's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

For the second consecutive year, João Almeida concluded the Corsa Rosa inside the top 10. After spending an astonishing 15 consecutive days in the pink jersey before taking fourth overall last autumn, the man from Caldas da Rainha confirmed that result despite the fact the 104th edition had more summit finishes and fewer ITT kilometers.

Joao Almeida

Joao Almeida finishing stage 20. Sirotti photo

Sitting in 13th place at the start of the last week, well outside the top 10, João began an amazing comeback race, gradually gaining time in the big mountain stages. His resurgence was kick-started in the gruelling Cortina d’Ampezzo stage, where he infiltrated in the break on a rainy day and ended up taking an impressive sixth place that elevated him three positions in the overall standings.

Sega di Ala and Alpe di Mera, where he finished runner-up for mere seconds after proving out to be the strongest of the GC contenders, only underlined Almeida’s strong condition, which was on display one more time on Alpe Motta, where the 22-year-old showed a lot of grinta and determination to push himself through the pain as he continued to make inroads in the rankings. With one day to go, Almeida knew he had one more card up his sleeve, the 30.3km Milano individual time trial, and he used this opportunity to the maximum, jumping over two more opponents en route to fifth on the stage and sixth in the general classification.

“Despite arriving here after three hard weeks, I felt quite good and was focused on doing a good ITT, and I’m content with the result, especially on a flat course like this. Sixth overall is a very good result and I’m happy to be back in the top 10 after last year’s edition”, said João. “Overall, it was a good Giro d’Italia for me, a race where I learned a lot and where I could see the improvements I have made in the big mountains, where I could stay with the real climbers.”

For Rémi Cavagna, it was a cruel end to his fifth Grand Tour in Milano, where the Corsa Rosa finished for the 79th time in history. The French ITT Champion delivered a very solid and confident ride, going through both intermediate checkpoints with impressive times, and looked on track to clock up the victory, but crashed with just 500 meters to go, after missing a tricky turn. Rémi got himself up from the ground and back on his bike quickly, but the time lost in that incident proved decisive and he concluded stage 21 as runner-up, just 12 seconds behind the winner.

“It’s a real pity. I did a very good time trial, but I took the last turn full gas, as I forgot about it, and went down. I got back on my bike, but there was nothing more to do at that point, so it’s really frustrating, as I felt there was a chance for me to win today. On the other hand, I can’t say I am disappointed finishing second, as I gave everything out there”, Cavagna explained after the stage.

And here's the closing Giro report from Team Jumbo-Visma:

Team Jumbo-Visma has finished the Giro d’Italia with the third place for Edoardo Affini in the final time trial in Milan. The Italian had to concede twelve seconds to world champion Filippo Ganna. It was Affini’s third podium finish in this year’s Giro after finishing second twice in the time trial in Torino and Verona.

Following his Italian teammate, Tobias Foss rode a descent time trial and finished in twelfth place. By doing so he secured his ninth place in the general classification. George Bennett finished eleventh overall and Koen Bouwman twelfth.

George Bennet and Tobias Foss

George Bennett leads Tobias Foss in stage 17. Sirotti photo

Affini looked back on his first full Giro with a good feeling. “I am very happy with what I showed this Giro. It’s my first full grand tour and I am satisfied with two second places and a third place. It was a very beautiful experience. In addition, I gave myself completely for the team every day, so as a result I didn’t have the greatest legs anymore today. I gave it my all, but Ganna is just too strong for the time being. He is the world champion after all. I will do everything I can to keep improving in the coming years and definitely also in this discipline. And, who knows, one day I might beat Ganna.”

Foss, who also completed his first full grand tour, was very grateful to the team. “It were three great weeks and it was a very nice experience. I want to thank the team for the opportunity and the confidence and the trust they had in me. And also for all the work they did for me over the past few weeks. The mindset was really good and that was nice to see. We gave everything every day. I have learned a lot and there is still a lot to learn for the future. To be already in the top ten in a grand tour is a dream come true. It gives me a lot of confidence for the future and it is also a confirmation that we have made a lot of steps in the right direction in my development process.”

Sports director Arthur van Dongen counted his blessings in Milan. “Edo gave everything to win the stage today, but the real good feeling was missing. However, that is not that surprising after three weeks of hard work for the team. But the third place is still a good result. Tobias’ time trial was also very good. The fact that he finished ninth in the GC as a young rider bodes well for the future. Looking back on the whole Giro, we had different objectives coming into the race, especially with George. When it turned out that this was not going to work out the way we had hoped, the team showed resilience and switched their mindset really quickly. We have been in breakaways that competed for stage wins and in the mountains we were consistently in a good place. You can also see that in the GC with three riders in the top twelve. I also wvant to compliment Koen. He has done a lot of work for the team and still managed to finish in twelfth place. That also shows the steps he has made in his development over the years.”

Brent Van Moer soloes to maiden pro victory at Critérium du Dauphiné

Van Moer’s Lotto-Soudal team sent me this report:

Brent Van Moer put on a serious show in the opening stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné. The 23-year-old Lotto Soudal rider went on the attack immediately after the start, left his breakaway companions behind at 15 kilometres from the finish, held off the reduced bunch and soloed to a fantastic first professional victory. By winning the opening stage, the Lotto Soudal rider is also the first leader of the Critérium du Dauphiné. Besides, Van Moer realised a clean sweep as he also took the mountain, points and young rider’s jersey!

Brent Van Moer

Brent Van Moer sits up and enjoys his win. Photo:ASO/Fabien Boukla

“I almost can’t believe it. My first professional victory and immediately in this way and with the leader’s jersey on top of it…”, begins an emotional Brent Van Moer. “After what happened at the Ronde van Limburg, where I was about to fight for my first pro victory but got sent into the wrong way at the end, I was really disappointed but I immediately shifted focus towards the Dauphiné. I was really eager to show that I am able to finish off a race. The fact that I can already do this at the Dauphiné, amongst this strong field of riders, is just fantastic. What a difference compared to last year, when I was also part of the early breakaway but had to abandon the race due to a crash. It is really special to be now wearing the yellow jersey.”

Almost immediately after the start in Issoire, Brent Van Moer went on the attack together with Gamper, Gautier and Garrison. The four-man breakaway was never granted lots of advantage as the sprint teams set a strong pace at the front of the bunch. Garrison had to let go already early in the race, leaving Van Moer with only two breakaway companions at the front. In the tough opening stage, the riders were faced with a hilly terrain.

Brent Van Moer: “We absolutely wanted to be part of the early breakaway. At first, I was a bit disappointed that we were only with the four of us, but as I could take several KOM points along the way, I was already sure of a trip to the podium. This took the pressure a little bit off, but I knew that maybe a lot more was possible.”

Due to Team Ineos setting a strong pace at the front of the bunch, the advantage of the early breakaway went down to 1’30” but that is when Brent Van Moer his moment had come. The 23-year-old Belgian left his two breakaway companions behind and went solo in search of the stage victory. That also succeeded, as Van Moer held off the peloton in a fantastic way as he soloed to his first ever pro victory. Apart from the leader’s jersey, Van Moer also seized the KOM, young rider’s and points jersey.

“From the team car, I was told to go all out from the final climb and when I had 50 seconds advantage atop the final climb, I knew that – with most of the final kilometres downhill – the stage victory was possible. But only when I got into the final three kilometres, I was sure of it. As a team, I think we have shown that with racing aggressively, you can go really far. We also form a really solid team. I remain really careful what defending the leader’s jersey concerns. We have a really tough Dauphiné in front of us and I’ll take it day by day whether I can defend any of my jerseys. But I will definitely fight for them and then we’ll see where that takes me”, concludes Brent Van Moer.

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