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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, October 7, 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.

Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success. - C. S. Lewis

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Milano-Torino team reports

We posted the report from third place Joao Almeida's Team Deceuninck-Quick Step with the results.

Here's the report from winner Primoz Roglic's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Primoz Roglic has won an Italian autumn classic for the second time in four days. In Milan-Turin, the leader of Team Jumbo-Visma defeated a strong field on the final climb to the basilica of Superga in an impressive way.

Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic wins in Torino. Sirotti photo

A leading group of six rode away early in the race. Despite a four-minute lead, the escape did not last long. The wind created echelons. This meant the riders could no longer save energy for the highlight of the day, the double climb of Superga.

Roglic saw teammates Tobias Foss and Michel Hessmann in a front group of about twenty riders. The latter two didn’t hesitate and decided to accelerate considerably in service of their Slovenian leader. On the climb, the front group thinned out and some riders from the back managed to make the jump to the leading group. A real elite group set course for the final climb to the basilica.

Adam Yates was in good shape and accelerated after Mauri Vansevenant had already attempted to escape. Roglic saw that the competition couldn’t go any faster and he pushed again. The Olympic time trial champion closed in on Yates, stoically parried a few pinpricks, and made things difficult for the Brit. The Slovenian crossed the line solo and won for the thirteenth time this season. Roglic’s victory raised Team Jumbo-Visma’s total number of victories to 44 this season, including the Olympic gold.

"It was a tough race again", Roglic confessed. "Fortunately, my legs were good. I’m happy I was able to add a win to my season total. The conditions were good. However, the wind made it quite tough. The battle in the course started early. Today’s field of competitors was very solid. That resulted in a tough final. I was initially happy to follow. Fortunately, I had some power left to place a decisive acceleration that ultimately helped me to victory. I have to compliment the whole team. We fought together and started early to control the race. We were alert during the echelons. This victory can be defined as a real team effort."

On Saturday, Roglic will be at the start of the Tour of Lombardy. The course of the falling leaves is his last race of the season. "It’s important to recover quickly now. Saturday’s race presents another nice challenge. I’m eager to finish my season with a victory. The Tour of Lombardy is my big goal of this block of Italian one-day races. It’s a monument. The rest speaks for itself. We will do our best as a team to start the race as good as possible. We’ll see if we can compete for the win again on Saturday. For now, I’m going to enjoy this victory and then I’m going to focus on the next race."

Here's the report from second-place Adam Yates' Team INEOS Grenadiers:

Adam Yates battled to second at Milano-Torino with an exciting, attacking performance on the Superga as Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) came out on top.

Adam Yates

Adam Yates finishes second. Sirotti photo

Yates and Roglic contested the race victory after going clear of the other favourites on the final climb, with the INEOS Grenadiers rider's late attack in the closing metres countered by the Slovenian, who sealed the race win.

Earlier, the race had come to life with 50 kilometres remaining as crosswinds split the peloton into echelons.  The INEOS Grenadiers bounced back from missing the split, each rider working hard to catch an elite front group of 25 riders, to allow Yates and Pavel Sivakov to bridge to the leaders.

As the gradient increased on the first ascent of the Superga, Sivakov was instrumental in bringing to heel attackers from the lead group, with Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) the most prominent, who stayed clear until the second and final Superga climb, when Yates came into his own.

Yates attacked a dwindling front group with four kilometres to go, dropping all his rivals except Roglic, and the pair quickly amassed an unassailable lead. The decisive moment came in the closing metres as Yates' acceleration was countered by Roglic, who was able to catch and pass the Bury rider to win a thrilling Italian classic.

Adam Yates:
“I had a good ride, but in the end the strongest guy won. The last few races, the Vuelta and then Emilia I kinda waited and you know Primoz, he just goes - like 500m to go, really explosive, so it’s hard to beat him, and in the end he still had the legs to beat me. In the end, he was the strongest guy in the race.

“Early on, big thanks to the guys as we got caught out a little bit in the wind. We were in a good position, but then a few guys from other teams dropped the wheel, so we were caught out and had to do a big chase. In the end we caught back up and I tried to do my thing on the last climb, i did the best I could but in the end not good enough. We’ll try again on Saturday.

"Lombardia is a big goal, the condition is there, I just need to pull it out of the bag. One more race on Saturday, hopefully I will be on the top step of the podium this time."

Fourth-place Tadej Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates posted this Milano-Torino report:

It was a high quality field of riders who fought in the double ascent of Colle di Superga, in the final of the oldest classic on the calendar: Milano-Torino (190 km).

The composition of the 23 man group included Tadej Pogačar, Rafal Majka, Diego Ulissi, the world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck -Quickstep), Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), Adam Yates (Ineo-Grenadiers), Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quickstep) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

The high pace imposed by Rafal Majka and later Adam Yates at 4 km from the finish weakened the resistance of the opponents, leaving only Roglic, Almeida, Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation), Valverde and Tadej Pogačar to play for the win.

Another attack by Yates was followed by Primoz Roglic, with the latter going on to take the win followed by Yates (+12").


The peloton gets started on its way to Torino. Sirotti photo

At 35" from the leading duo, Pogačar and Almeida started the sprint for the podium, a sprint won by the Portuguese. Strong performance also by Diego Ulissi who, with a constant pace, managed to cross the finish line in 7th place (+48").

Pogačar: “I’m happy with today’s performance, and I think I’m in good shape ahead of Il Lombardia. We moved well as a team throughout the race and were in the right place when we needed to be. I was missing a little bit on the last climb, but I think it’s normal, considering the efforts made yesterday at Tre Valli Varesine.

"In light of today’s race, I can look forward to Saturday with optimism: now two days of recovery and then I will give it all on the roads of Il Lombardia".

Pogačar will rest tomorrow, but UAE Team Emirates will be in action at Gran Piemonte, 168km from Rocca Canavese to Borgosesia.

Here's the Milano-Torino report from Michael Storer's Team DSM:

Michael Storer raced to a hard fought 15th place at the end of a tough attacking Milano – Torino during which the race split with 50 kilometres to go in crosswinds causing a select group which saw a hard, fast final hour of racing.

Michael Storer

Michael Storer winning 2021 Vuelta stage 10. Sirotti photo

The pace was controlled by the peloton behind the day’s early break of six riders containing Team DSM’s Kevin Vermaerke, keeping their gap in check before making a very early catch when the front of the race split with around 50 kilometres still to race in crosswinds.

A very strong front group of 23 formed with Vermaerke initially there for Team DSM before the lead group reformed on the first of the two climbs in the finale, with riders dropping back including Vermaerke and others bridging across including Storer.

This front group then hit the bottom of the final climb mainly intact, chasing one solo leader, before it exploded on the tough slopes to the finish. Small groups fought their way to the top with Storer in the chase behind four leaders eventually finishing 15th.

“Today was a bit of a different Milano – Torino with some strong wind in places,” explained Michael Storer. “The peloton split in a more surprising moment than expected but the teams who had missed it pulled behind. We did a lead out into the bottom of the first climb and it was all about the legs from then on.

“I managed to make it across to the front group but then on the final climb I didn’t quite have the legs for a top result today.”

Team DSM coach Luke Roberts added: “We aimed today to get a guy at the front of the race and Kevin did a good job to get into a group of six early on but they were only given a small lead. There was a bit of wind about today which made for a bit of nervousness in the bunch. Right after the feedzone a few teams went on the attack in a crosswind section which split the bunch into a few groups.

“There was around a 40 kilometre chase until we hit the final circuit with the two groups quite close together throughout and coming close the first time up the climb on which the front group reshaped. We then had Michael who had good legs to get in the first group over the top. It was an incredibly strong field here today and difficult to go for a real top result in this final. Overall it was a good effort from Michael and the team.”

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