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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, October 18, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral. - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Bill & Carol McGan's book The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1, 1903 - 1975 is available as an audiobook here.

Veneto Classic team reports

We posted the report from winner Samuele Battistella's Astana-Premier Tech team with the results

Here's the report from second-place Marc Hirschi's UAE Team Emirates:

UAE Team Emirates brought an end to the 2021 road calendar with 2nd place at the Veneto Classic in Italy.

The Emirati squad were in a commanding position for much of the day over the 207km from Venice to Bassano del Grappa, pulling the peloton along until the final 50km where the race began to heat up.

At around -35km Matteo Trentin went clear with Samuele Battistella (Astana) over the climb of Marostica and the two worked well to hold a 25’’ lead over the chasers.

There was drama for Matteo Trentin with 22km to go, when a touch of wheels saw him go down and forced to drop back to the chasing group which contained Ulissi, Hirschi and Davide Formolo.

Thanks to some tireless work from Formolo the gap to Battistella was reduced leading into the final climb at 8.4km to go, though despite attacks from Hirschi and Ulissi they were unable to bring back the lone leader, with Hirschi winning the sprint behind and Ulissi coming home in 6th.

Samuele Battistella

You can see the group chasing winner Samuele Battistella. They were only six seconds back at the end.

Hirschi: “In the end it was a pity that Trentin crashed from what turned out to be the winning move. I was a few seconds behind Battistella who we couldn’t quite close down on the last climb so we were sprinting for 2nd place. I’m pleased with the result but for sure with this team and the riders we have here the goal was to win. It was a nice race but we just missed our goal of the win, but in general we can be pleased.”

The Veneto Classic brings an end to the 2021 road season as the team bring down the curtain on what has been a hugely successful year.

And here's the report from seventh-place Lorenzo Rota's Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team:

Invited this Sunday on the very first edition of the Veneto Classic (1.1, 17/10), Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert lined up for its third race in the region of Venice in five days. The selection lead by Valerio Piva also participated in the last race on Italian soil this season. On the program: a hilly parcours of 206 kilometer between Venice and the native locality of Andrea Pasqualon, Bassano del Grappa.

Accustomed to the spotlights when the race goes uphill in recent weeks, Lorenzo Rota again distinguished himself in the final featuring the climbs of La Rosina, La Tisa and the Muro di Contra Soarda. After a strong work of support from his teammates, he battled in the chasing group of ten riders behind lone leader Battistella. Just like Tre Valle Varesine and Coppa Agostoni, Rota took 7th place after five hours of racing. He concluded his first season with the Belgian team with a fifth top 10 in seven races on Italian roads.

“I like to race with an attacking style and that mindset earned me yet another top 10 today. I am thrilled that, together with the team, we could deliver good results to the sponsors this year by offering an attractive style of racing. Personally, the Tour de France was a trigger. I came out of this race a better rider, and following crashes on the Tour and the Clasica San-Sebastian, I gained momentum. I raced following my gut feeling, which taught me a lot about my abilities. These are valuable lessons that I will carry with me for my winter preparation, as I plan to take a new step next season in terms of results. But before meeting up with this fantastic group of riders and staff, I will observe a well-deserved rest and enjoy the time with my family!" - Lorenzo Rota

Bahrain Victorious renews contracts with Gino Mader & Damiano Caruso

Here’s the team’s announcement:

Bahrain Victorious are pleased to announce the contract extension of Caruso and Mäder. Both riders have had great seasons in 2021, winning their first Grand Tour stages and their best GC rankings at Grand Tours.

Caruso displayed an immense show at the Giro d’Italia, going from domestique to leader and placing 2nd overall while winning that memorable Stage 20. He followed up his form where he won a stage at La Vuelta Espana in epic fashion going solo from 70km to win stage 9.

Damiano Caruso

Damiano Caruso winning stage nine of the 2021 Vuelta a España. Sirotti photo

“Staying with the team was a pure formality after such a stunning season that is the best of my career so far. I believe that when something is working well, there’s no need to change it. I experienced probably my best year as a pro rider with this group, and I’m more than happy to continue my journey with Bahrain Victorious.”

Gino Mäder had an equally impressive season winning Stage 6 at the Giro d’Italia and managed a top-five finish in GC at La Vuelta Espana. The Swiss rider was also crowned the best young rider at La Vuelta and is showing his GC credentials for the future: “I’m super happy that the team signed me last year when things weren’t so easy. The team believed in my qualities and trusted me before I did, and I am looking forward to keeping it going that way!”

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