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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, August 22, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals. - Immanuel Kant

Tour de France: 2020

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, 2020: The Tour During Covid-19, Better Late Than Never is available in both Kindle eBook and Audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Vuelta a Expaña stage three team reports

Stage winner Sam Bennett's Team Bora-hansgrohe sent me this:

The last stage in the Netherlands was again a showdown between the fast men, who contested the sprint win on a circuit around Breda on the longest stage of this year's Vuelta, at 193.5 km in length. Sam Bennett started the stage in the green points jersey and hoped to be able to defend it and take another stage win. With the team providing him with exemplary support all day, in the end, Danny van Poppel was the last man to set his teammate up perfectly on the left hand side of the road, ahead of the bunch sprint.

The Irish fast man was able to hold his own in a hectic tussle at the front and ultimately take the win. The team from Raubling thereby took its second stage victory in a row and extended its lead in the points classification. Today's stage is now followed by a transfer to the Basque country and a rest day tomorrow before the peloton contests the first hilly stage of this year's Vuelta.

Two in a row for Sam Bennett. Sirotti photo

"I am very happy about my second stage win and I have to say a big thank you to my teammates. They were just super. Jonas rode in the wind at the front all day and even still had the power to ride a good turn at the end. After that Ryan kept us in front so well, and then came the masterclass lead-out from Danny. It was really perfect teamwork. Honestly, it wasn't that easy today because a lot of riders were fighting for our wheel, but I managed to hold on to Danny and launch my sprint at a good time. We also extended our lead in the points standings today. I can't ask for more than that." - Sam Bennett

"It was a hectic day, very tiring for the peloton. So it was really a case of: ready, set, go! Our goal today was to take a second stage win as well as defend green. We wanted to keep the race under control and show the other teams that we are here for the stage win. However, we didn't invest absolutely everything at that point, because looking at the overall classification, there are still three weeks to go. That's why the main focus today was to get through safely. The guys did a really incredible job and we can be very satisfied with the opening weekend. We also want to thank the organiation here in the Netherlands and especially the Dutch fans, because there was almost a Tour de France atmosphere here the last three days - chapeau!" - Bernhard Eisel, Sports Director

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Here's the Vuelta report from second-place Mads Pedersen's Trek-Segafredo team:

Mads Pedersen is showing off super-fast legs in La Vuelta a Espana, his second Grand Tour this season after he raced and won a stage at the Tour de France.

For a second straight day, and second straight bunch sprint, he has gone up against some of the fastest sprinters in the pro peloton and pulled off second place.  Once again, Sam Bennett foiled his first Vuelta win.

Mads Pedersen getting second to Sam Bennett in stage two. Sirotti photo

And his teammates, 100 percent in support, are giving him that extra bit of motivation to finish off their selfless work.  From the unsung grunt work put in by Dario Cataldo and Julien Bernard to keep the breakaway in check and pace high at the end, to the perfect lead-out by Daan Hoole and Alex Kirsch, the team has been all-in for the former World Champ.

Even the light-weights, Juan Pedro Lopez, Kenny Elissonde and Antoni Tiberi, all patiently awaiting the hills, drop back to the car for feeds, or assist with encouraging words of support.

Every rider on the team does his part in a Grand Tour stage. And this all adds up. Three stages into the three-week race, Mads Pedersen and the boys are knocking on the door of victory.

"The boys did a really, really good job today. Everyone was committed. Julien pulling from the beginning and Dario taking over. It was not an easy break to control so they did really well.

"I think our young guns here learned that it’s nicer to be up front with us in the finales, and not in position 80, so both Juanpe and Tiberi learned something new today by staying with us. Especially Tiberi, he did really well, he was still there with 3k to go and that was impressive.

"Daan is always there at the end, doing the leadout and keeping us out of problems. And Alex - yeah, we know the story, which was pretty much the same again. He leaves me on the wheel of Sam.

"Sam opened the sprint, and it was a headwind sprint, so I was like ‘okay, perfect’. I opened a moment later, but I picked the wrong way, I went to the right. I think Mclay from Arkea and Sam came a bit together and I got boxed in. I had to stop pedaling and be a bit on the brakes and then go left and start the sprint again. It destroyed the chances at winning the stage, but it shows good for the rest of the Vuelta. We still have some good opportunities to go. - Mads Pedersen

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Here's the Vuelta stage three report from new GC leader Edoardo Affini's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Edoardo Affini will wear red when the Vuelta starts on Tuesday in Spain. Sirotti photo

After stage three of the Vuelta a España, the leader's jersey changed hands again at Team Jumbo-Visma. Edoardo Affini is the new leader and will start in the red jersey next Tuesday.

It was Mike Teunissen's turn today after Robert Gesink had taken the lead following the team time trial and rode in the leader's jersey yesterday. The Dutch rider visibly enjoyed the race and happily handed the jersey over to his teammate Affini. "I enjoyed today. With thousands of people along the course, riding this stage was a good experience. If feasible, we wanted Edoardo to take over the jersey after today. It is amazing that several team members get a taste of something great this way. We all deserve that; we worked very hard for it. It's wonderful to see Edoardo experiencing the same joy Robert and I have been experiencing lately."

New classification leader Affini expressed his happiness. "It's wonderful we can share moments like these. As Dutch cyclists, being able to ride in the jersey these past two days was amazing for Robert and Mike. I think this is also really special. It is a leader's jersey in a grand tour. Few riders experience it. I'm grateful my teammates gave me this jersey and will enjoy it like the other guys. Of course we will not lose sight of our tasks”, the Italian said.

"For Robert and Mike it was wonderful to ride in red in their own country, but Edoardo also deserves this very much”, sports director Grischa Niermann said. "He always rides in the service of others. On Tuesday, he will start as the classification leader. It is a great honour for him and it is a nice way to reward him like this, also for his excellent work in the team time trial. All the guys wanted to hand him the jersey. We are happy that we came through the last few days well. We enjoyed riding on Dutch soil. Tonight we fly to Spain, and we will continue to pursue our goals on Tuesday."

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Here's the stage 3 report from Team Quick-Step Apha Vinyl:

One of the many Dutch cities by the economic madness that was the Tulip Fever four centuries ago, when several bulbs of the flower whose spectacular journey had begun at the junction of the Pamir and Tian Shan Mountains hundreds of years prior to what today is considered the first financial bubble in history, Breda hosted both the start and the finish of the race’s third stage.

A completely flat one, it was also, at 193.2 kilometers, the longest day of La Vuelta, and a seven-man breakaway animated it until 15 kilometers to go, when the last rider of that group was caught by the peloton. As expected, the stage ended up in a mass gallop and the victory went to Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe), with all our boys coming home safely in.

The race will now leave the Netherlands and head to Spain, more precisely to the picturesque Basque Country, where a shake-up of the general classification promises to come as soon as Tuesday, in Laguardia.

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