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Saturday, April 30, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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Tour de Romandie Stage three team reports

We posted the report from GC leader Rohan Dennis' Team Jumbo-Visma with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Patrick Bevin's Team Israel-Premier Tech:

Israel – Premier Tech’s Paddy Bevin took a beautiful victory on stage 3 of Tour de Romandie as he won the sprint from a reduced peloton in Valbroye.

Patrick Bevin wins stage three. Sirotti photo

“I knew this was a stage where I could be there at the finish and I really wanted to win this sprint. What a day”, Bevin said with a big smile after crossing the line.

Knowing that today’s stage could be a good opportunity for a breakaway as well, the IPT riders were ready for multiple scenarios.

One of the designated riders to aim for an early break was Krists Neilands and on the first climb of the day, the Latvian climber showed great legs by winning the KOM sprint. Afterwards, Neilands managed to distance the peloton and get away with two other riders.

The trio built up a good gap of over four minutes and for a moment, it looked like they might make it all the way. Neilands did well to win another three KOM sprints, landing him in lead of the competition regardless of the outcome of the day.

”For a long time, I actually thought they would stay away”, Bevin explained. “I know how strong Krists is right now and I was happy to see him get up the road. He’s such a good teammate and he has done so much work for us. It’s great to see him in the KOM jersey now.”

On the final 25 km, the peloton upped the pace significantly and on the penultimate climb, it all came back together again.

Having studied the final meticulously before the stage, Bevin knew exactly how he had to approach the run-in and when he launched his sprint, nobody was able to follow the 31-year-old Kiwi.

”All day long I was thinking about that last corner. It was all about that last corner. I cued up on the wheel of Ethan Hayter [INEOS] and it worked out perfectly. It simply couldn’t have gone any better. It’s not often that you have a plan in your head and you get to execute it like that. Today, it really worked out perfectly. It’s amazing.”

Today’s victory is Bevin’s third win in just two weeks after winning stage 7 and the overall classification in Tour of Turkey earlier this month. It’s also Israel – Premier Tech first WoldTour win this season.

In the general classification, Bevin is second overall just 14 seconds down on the leading rider, Rohan Dennis [Jumbo-Visma], ahead of Saturday’s queen stage of the race.

Here's the Romandie Tour report from Felix Grossschartner's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

Today's stage was a 165 km long hilly route with five climbs around Valbroye. After the breakaway trio was caught before the Dompierre ascent, the race saw a handful of attacks from the peloton. However, they were ultimately unsuccessful and so the stage came down to a sprint in Valbroye. Felix Grossschartner finished eighth and was the best placed BORA-hansgrohe rider, while Sergio Higuita and Aleksandr Vlasov crossed the line in the same time. Due to the bonus seconds at the finish, the day's winner Patrick Bevin moved up to second overall, with Felix dropping to third, now 18 seconds behind overall leader Rohan Dennis.

Felix Grossschartner riding the prologue time trial a few days ago. Sirotti photo

"The last hour was really hectic today. For us it was particularly important that we were always positioned in front and we managed to do that quite well. So thanks to the whole team for the great cooperation here. On the last climb there were a few attacks. Aleks and I tried to counter the most important moves and we succeeded with this.  In the final sprint we tried to be at the front, and although it didn't work out 100%, overall it was a good day and we are looking forward to tomorrow." - Felix Grossschartner

"The start of the stage was, as expected, not that easy. There were some strong riders in the breakaway today and so Jumbo-Visma controlled the gap. Then before the finale, it was Ineos Grenadiers that got involved to set up the sprint for Hayter. In the end, it came down to a fast finish from a reduced peloton. We were there with Felix, Sergio and Aleks and of course we would have hoped for a better result. But it wasn't because of a lack of will. It was more because coordination in such a small group proved to be a bit difficult. Nevertheless, we saw that we were able to ride at the front with three riders. Tomorrow comes the big mountain stage, where there will definitely be movements in the general classification." - Rolf Aldag, Sports Director

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Here's the Tour de Romandie report from Rémi Cavagna's Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl:

Rémi Cavagna instigated the day’s main move, taking with him two riders what turned into a three-man breakaway that animated the stage starting and finishing in Valbroye, a small town in the canton of Vaud. The French Champion, who had tried his luck also two days ago, was the “engine” of this small group that pulled away after just ten kilometers, padding their lead to four minutes by the time they arrived at the bottom of Châbles, the second of the stage’s five classified climbs.

The gap remained stable until 60 kilometers to go, when it began to steadily come down and fluctuate around two minutes. Clicking off about five seconds per kilometer, the rampaging peloton managed to claw back Rémi and his companions just before tackling the Dompierre ascent (3.6km, 5%). Attacks didn’t happen there, but a couple of kilometers later, on the Sédeilles, where one rider put ten seconds between him and the field, a move that was soon nullified on the descent.

In what turned out to be another nervous final kilometer, Mauro Schmid clipped off the front and pushed hard to open a gap, but was pulled back in sight of the line on the finishing straight and the stage went to Patrick Bevin (Israel Start-Up Nation). Mikkel Honoré took a solid top 10 for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, while Schmid cemented his place at the top of the youth classification ahead of the race’s queen stage.

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Team INEOS Grenadiers announces its Giro d'Italia squad

The team sent me this release:

It’s that time of year again, when Italy turns pink and the Grenadiers’ focus turns to Grand Tour racing. The first three week race of 2022 comprises 21 gruelling stages, contested across two countries, and a parcours peppered with the kind of brutal mountain stages so synonymous with the Giro.

This Giro team of Grenadiers will comprise of:
Richard Carapaz
Jonathan Castroviejo
Jhonatan Narváez
Richie Porte
Salvatore Puccio
Pavel Sivakov
Ben Swift 
Ben Tulett

Here is what the team have to say about lining up next week to race the first Grand Tour of the year.

Richard Carapaz:
“I have a nice memory of the Giro from when I competed in it when the race was in Israel, in Tel Aviv. To be over there in that country racing and to then win a stage in my first Giro is one of those great memories that I have of this race. It’s a race that I love, maybe my favourite race, so to win there was special. That stage I really remember. 

“Then when I won the Giro d’Italia in 2019 it was something really special, above everything it was always a race that I wanted to compete in, so to win it was an incredible moment. It wasn’t just a significant win for me, it was also a significant win for my country. It had a big impact and started a new era in cycling for Ecuador. It also had an impact on me mentally, as it showed me that I had the ability to be a successful Grand Tour racer.

Richard Carapaz with his Giro Trophy at the end of the 2019 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

“A great characteristic strength that we have in this team is that we’re all in for winning the Giro d’Italia. Every Grenadier knows this is the goal, we all have that in common and want to deliver. I think when you have a team that is all behind the same goal, and with a team of riders who are so strong, who are ready to help each other, that is a real strength.”

Richie Porte:
“I did my amateur days in Italy and that was like my cycling apprenticeship. Then I went to the Giro in 2010 as a neo pro and the next thing you know, I wore the pink jersey for three days. That was incredible and still some of the best memories of my career to be honest. It’s a privilege to go full circle and finish up at the Giro for my last Grand Tour.

“I’m 37 now but at the end of the day it's just a number isn’t it? I know I can perform on my day - obviously off bike I have a family now which changes things but on the bike I’m going as well as I ever have. Going into this race, we’ve got a guy in Richard Carapaz who can win this race. It’s nice to go there with a rider you like, respect and hopefully help win the race. It’s so motivating.”

Rod Ellingworth - Deputy Team Principal:
“The team has shown already this year just how strong and competitive it can be. The younger riders have stepped up and surpassed the mark we originally set for them, and it’s been energising for every member of the team. Then the way the older riders are helping guide and encourage them, as well as still achieving results of their own, makes me incredibly proud. That mix of experience and energy, and a genuine enthusiasm to go all in for each other is our greatest strength as a team, and it’s proving to be successful.

“That’s why I’m looking forward to seeing what Richie Carapaz and this Giro team can do. It doesn’t feel that long ago that we saw Egan ride into the Piazza Duomo and take the pink jersey at last year’s edition, or with Tao the previous year. This race means a lot to our team, and I have every confidence that we are going to be lining up in Budapest with the ability and intense desire to win, just as much as we have done in any other edition. We’re set to take the race on.” 

Our Giro d'Italia Team:

Richard Carapaz – 28, Ecuador:
Since winning the Giro in a breakthrough ride in 2019, Carapaz has gone on to solidify his reputation as one of the most exciting racers in the sport. Already a national hero, he became the first Ecuadorian to podium at the Tour de France with third place last year. His attacking style was showcased with Olympic Gold in the Road Race, before finishing second at La Vuelta. Heading into the race as team leader, he will be targeting his second Giro title this year.

Jonathan Castroviejo – 35, Spain:
Lining up in Budapest to begin his 15th Grand Tour, Castroviejo brings an invaluable blend of experience and climbing skill. A selfless teammate, he has evolved from a time trial specialist to one of the best medium mountain support riders in the peloton. Often going above and beyond taking huge turns on the front, his steady support and calming presence will be key across the three weeks.

Jhonatan Narvaez – 25, Ecuador:
A versatile talent, Narvaez will be required to call on all of his skills as he tackles a fourth successive Giro. A proud compatriot of Richard Carapaz, Jhonatan claimed an impressive stage win at the 2020 edition of the race. Not only does he possess a quick turn of speed, he is also comfortable in the crosswinds and can turn his hand to setting tempo in the mid mountains. Every team needs an impressive all-rounder like Jhonatan.

Richie Porte – 37, Australia:
Racing his 17th Grand Tour in what is set to be his final season as a professional, Richie will head into the Giro full of focus. One of the very best stage racers of his generation, the Tasmanian has a sparkling palmares featuring wins at some of the world’s biggest races. Most at home in the high mountains, he knows what it takes to race at the sharp end for three weeks, making him a huge asset to the team.

Salvatore Puccio – 32, Italy:
With eight Giros already under his belt it’s safe to say Puccio loves racing at his home Grand Tour. He is also one of the most loved riders of the Grenadiers, with a blend of loyal, strong and selfless support riding that has seen him play a part in so much team success. A pro since the 2012 season, expect Salva to be putting that experience to good use, particularly on flatter terrain.

Pavel Sivakov – 24, France:
With a 2019 top-10 Giro finish among his list of achievements, Pavel brings plenty of motivation into his sixth Grand Tour. Born in Italy, his young career has seen him grow into one of the sport’s strongest climbers on his day. His presence will be much needed when it comes to both the medium and high mountains. With wins at the Tour of the Alps and Tour of Poland, Pavel has shown he can ride well for himself or play a powerful team role.

Ben Swift – 34, Great Britain:
Part of the team’s successful Giro win in 2020, Swift’s exceptional climbing and eventual 18th place finish flew slightly under the radar. A sprinter when he turned pro in 2009, the Brit has fully rounded out his talents as he’s gained experience. The two-time reigning British national road champion will provide key support across all terrains and is an unflappable presence in the team after 14 years of pro peloton experience.

Ben Tulett – 20, Great Britain:
The youngest member of the Grenadiers lineup, Tulett makes his Grand Tour debut at this year’s Giro. The Brit has impressed greatly since turning pro two years ago, with bags of climbing potential. Already a stage winner this year at Coppi e Bartali, Ben will learn a lot more about himself across the three weeks, with a great opportunity to test himself in the mountains in a support role.

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Annemiek van Vleuten suffers wrist fracture in training crash; expected to skip Spanish races in May

Here's the bad news from Team Movistar

The Movistar Team regrets to inform that her leader Annemiek van Vleuten sustained a broken right wrist after a training crash on Thursday. The Dutchwoman successfully underwent surgery last night at the Rijnstate Hospital in Arnhem.

Annemiek van Vleuten wins the 2021 Dwars door Vlaanderen. Gomez Sport photo.

While no timeline has been set on Van Vleuten’s recovery, the doctors’ assessment on her fractures after surgery confirms a full recovery is to be expected. Annemiek’s approach to the Grand Tours in July (Giro d’Italia Donne + Tour de France Femmes) will not be compromised by the injury, either.

As the Movistar Team management remains committed to putting health before any sporting goals, no plans have been established on Van Vleuten’s return to racing. The Spanish races the Olympic champion was going to compete at in May (Navarra Classics, Itzulia Women and Vuelta a Burgos) are currently out of her schedule.

Van Vleuten and the Movistar Team wish to thank the medical team at Rijnstate for their quick arrangements to allow for a same-day surgery, which is expected to help with Van Vleuten’s recovery times.

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