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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, September 17, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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

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Tour de Luxembourg stage three reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

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

The longest stage of the Tour de Luxembourg travelled from Mondorf-Les-Bains, the country’s famous spa town, to Mamer, over 189.3 rolling kilometers, and had in the spotlight a six-man breakaway whose gap, despite hovering around the three-minute mark, forced the field to work hard in order to reel them in.

As they entered the final five kilometers, the bunch could see the remaining escapees up the road, but the quartet fought tooth and nail to hold them off and they almost managed it, getting reabsorbed only 800 meters from the line. João Almeida came home with the peloton, having been protected from start to finish by his Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates, and remained at the top of the points classification.

Sacha Modolo

Sacha Modolo wins stage three.

“The pace was high today, but I had an easy ride thanks to the team, who did a great effort for me. Coming into the final kilometer, I felt good and wanted to sprint, but it turned out to be very messy and I got boxed in, so I had to brake. Now I will recover and focus on the individual time trial. I am confident ahead of it and will give my best to try and retake the yellow jersey, but it will all depend on how the legs will respond”, said João, who sits just four seconds from the overall lead.

Coppa Sabatini team reports

We posted the report from winner Michael Valgren's ED Education-Nippo team with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Sonny Colbrelli's Bahrain Victorious team:

Sonny Colbrelli crossed the line behind Michael Valgren (EF Education-Nippo) on an uphill sprint to the line at Coppa Sabatini.

This year’s Gran Premio Citta di Peccioli was a bit different than in the previous years. It was 210 km long with three different circuits which always passed through the tiny picturesque old city Peccioli.

Despite an early breakaway, Bahrain Victorious took control of the race to manage the gap. Sonny was positioned very well at the penultimate climb and was one of the protagonists who pushed the group. On the final climb, Colbrelli and seven riders went up the road with a minute to the peloton. With several attacks, Sonny chose the right moment to follow Valgren but ultimately had to settle for second as fatigue from his efforts in the European Championships set in.

Michael Valgren

Michael Valgren takes the race ahead of Sonny Colbrelli.

Sonny Colbrelli: “I gave it my all today. In the late breakaway group, I always pull at the front. They were in two of the same team, and obviously, Valgren stayed behind. Therefore, in the finale, he has more energy left. I can’t say I’m happy with a second-place result, as I always want to win. Today more than ever, I’m wearing the European Champion jersey and wanted to take the first win with it. Besides that, my teammates, especially Domen Novak and Jonathan Milan, worked hard, and I wanted to repay them with a victory”.

Alberto Volpi, Bahrain Victorious Sports Director: “We are satisfied with today’s racing. Guys followed the instructions and the team strategy. Sonny was at the end well positioned with the help of all his teammates. Unfortunately, he didn’t have strength in the last few meters, and he finished 2nd.”

Sonny Colbrelli can soon have another opportunity to take the first victory with the European Champion jersey, as he will lead Bahrain Victorious at Memorial Marco Pantani, scheduled on Saturday 18th September. The Italian Champion already won this race in 2014, which wants to remember one of the most beloved Italian cyclists of all time.

This edition will feature a traditional route of 196km from Castrocaro Terme Terra del Sole to Cesenatico. A challenging course, including the Montevecchio circuit with a 5km climb (average slope of 6-8% with peaks of 13-14%) to be covered three times. Then the race heads towards the sea, with the finale on the Cesenatico 5km circuit to repeat four times, for a total of Km 20.

Alberto Volpi, Bahrain Victorious SD: “Memorial Pantani is always a particular race with a challenging first part with many climbs and a second easier part on the plain. We aim to win the race with our leader Sonny Colbrelli, supported by Domen Novak. We will also try to enter in the break with Pernsteiner, Padun and Williams”.

Here's the report from Antonio Pedrero's Team Movistar:

Antonio Pedrero (Movistar Team) showed again his class and tenacity in arguably his best pro season, claiming a very decent result, eighth place, in a race not suited to his pure-climber abilities: the Coppa Sabatini (UCI ProSeries), an Italian semi-classic held on Thursday over a hilly circuit around Peccioli, Tuscany.

The Catalan climber got himself, after one of numerous climbs to Piazza del Popolo, into a 15-man group, later reduced to eight members with most favourites in, against which a real pursuit was never organized, the peloton always trailing by around 1’30” until the very finish.

The effort to join the decisive break took, however, the better of Pedrero, who wasn’t able to take any turns into the final lap and was dropped against more explosive riders on the decisive slope. Dane Michael Valgren Hundahl (EFN) ended up repeating his win from the eve’s Giro della Toscana against European champion Sonny Colbrelli (TBV).

The Movistar Team, here directed by Maximilian Sciandri, was still able to claim their second top-ten result in as many races in Italy this week, a tournée they will continue in Romagna with Saturday’s Memorial Marco Pantani.

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

For the second day in a row, an Italian classic was on the menu for the riders of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert this Thursday with the Coppa Sabatini (1.Pro, 16/09) in the province of Pisa. In the past, the parcours of 210 kilometer around Peccioli has been favorable for Andrea Pasqualon, who won in 2017 and finished 2nd four times.

This Thursday, Lombardian rider Lorenzo Rota showed his class again in a battle between strong riders. Eight men were in the race lead in the final race hour in one of the loops around Peccioli after having absorbed and dropped the early breakaway of five riders. It was on the fifth passage of the Montefoscoli (0.7km at 12.1%) that the octet with Rota distanced the rest of the peloton, where Andrea Pasqualon had the support of Simone Petilli and Jan Hirt.

The five hilly laps were behind the back, but the remaining peloton didn’t manage to close the one minute gap with the leaders on the three flatter final circuits. With one lap of 13 kilometer to go, a first attack in the leading group was reported. But in the end the complete leading group started the ultimate uphill kilometer towards the finish in Peccioli. Just like one day before in the Giro della Toscana, Michael Valgren took the victory. Lorenzo Rota finished in the top 5 for the third time in a row in a one day race after his 4th places in the Clasica San Sebastian and the Giro della Toscane.

“I had to be ready to join an important breakaway while my teammates were protecting Andrea Pasqualon. The tactic we had chosen was good, as I accompanied a breakaway which battled for the victory. Our cooperation was good, so it was clear that we were on our way to the win. I’m happy that I was again able to be in the mix for the victory, just like yesterday. Especially because some riders in the front didn’t race yesterday and had fresh legs at the start of this Coppa Sabatini. These two days brought me a lot of confidence for my build up towards the Tour of Lombardia, which is my big goal in the next weeks!” - Lorenzo Rota

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