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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, February 3, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country. - Kurt Vonnegut

Sticky Buns Across America

Les Woodland's book Sticky Buns Across America: Back-roads biking from sea to shining sea is available as an audiobook here. For the print and Kindle eBook versions, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Saudi Tour Stage two team reports

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Here’s the report from second-place Andrea Bagioli’s Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl team:

Patched up following his opening stage crash but with his morale high after a good night’s sleep, Andrea Bagioli was motivated to be among the protagonists on the tough finish of Abu Rakah, which was tailored to his punchy skills. Protected by an excellent Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team, who contributed to the steady pace that brought back the escapees inside the last 20 kilometers, Andrea made his move with the flamme rouge in sight.

The final climb of the day was an unclassified one, but the 7.7% average gradient over just 1600 meters seriously tested the riders. Unfazed by the tough ramps, our Italian danced away from his opponents and linked up with Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious), who had previously put some daylight between him and the bunch. Bagioli produced a huge and impressive effort that ensured the duo a comfortable buffer with 500 meters left, but was unable to close the gap when the Colombian jumped off his wheel with just 300 meters to go.

Santiago Buitrago wins the stage just a head of a hidden Andrea Bagioli.

Second on the stage, Andrea took a lot of heart from Wednesday’s result: “At the end of the day I am satisfied, because I wasn’t sure I would be in the front after Tuesday’s crash. But I felt good during the stage and the feeling continued once we hit the climb. I attacked with one kilometer remaining and tried to do by best, but one rider was faster in the sprint. Nevertheless, this podium – my first of the season – gives me a lot of confidence for the next stages.”

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Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana stage one team reports

We posted the report from winner Remco Evenepoel's Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl team with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Aleksandr Vlasov's Bora-hansgrohe team:

Stage 1 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (2.Pro) in southern Spain took the pros from Alqueries to Torralba del Pinar and had a 167 kilometers long, tough profile to offer. While a breakaway of five riders was in front almost all day, the final climb up to Torralba del Pinar brought the decision. After an attack from Remco Evenepoel, only Aleksandr Vlasov could stay within striking distance and eventually finish in second.

Remco Evenepoel crosses the line alone.

From the Finish Line:
"The team did a really good job keeping me in position before the final climb. Unfortunately I was a bit too far back in the group when Remo attacked. But I gave my best to follow and I’m really happy with the result. Four more stages to come - I’m super motivated!" Aleksandr Vlasov

"That was a very tough first stage here in the hills of Valencia. We’re super happy with Aleks' result and the great teamwork today. We worked very well together and executed exactly the plan we discussed with the riders in the morning. We’re on a good path here and are really looking forward to the next four stages."
Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, Sports Director

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Team Movistar posted this Valenciana report:

It was a day of big work with no prize for the Movistar Team on stage one of the 73rd Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (UCI ProSeries), over 167km in the Castellón province, from Alqueries to a demanding finish in Torralba del Pinar, where Remco Evenepoel (QST) left no room for respite to his rivals and took a convincing solo victory.

The Belgian attacked from a short GC group out of a peloton where huge efforts, from the very start and up to the decisive climbs of Ayodar (Cat-3) and Torralba (Cat-2), were taken by the Movistar Team as they supported the chances of Enric Mas and Alejandro Valverde. Helping them out was Juri Hollmann, riding for very long at the front to chase the early breakaway; Iñigo Elosegui and Jorge Arcas, in the approach to the climbs; and Einer Rubio and a strong Gregor Mühlberger, in the pointy end of the stage.

The attack from Evenepoel, 5km before the finish, left behind Alexander Vlasov (BOH), 2nd, plus a main pursuit group (+32″) where Mas (4th) and Valverde (7th) were able to stay with other main contenders like Carlos Rodríguez (IGD), Luis León Sánchez (TBV), Antwan Tolhoek (TFS) and Jakob Fuglsang (IPT).

Time gaps are already significant in a GC which should get decided with Friday’s brutal climb to the Antenas del Maigmó in Alicante. Before that, Thursday’s stage two will bring a lumpy course, with a flatter finish than today’s, near the Valencian capital in Torrent.

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And here's the Valenciana report from team Jumbo-Visma:

In the first stage of the Tour of Valencia, Sam Oomen has just fallen short on the final climb to Torralba del Pinar to compete for the podium places. Debutant Milan Vader stayed in the front for a long time.

Five riders formed the day’s leading group and got a maximum lead of five and a half minutes. They were caught before the last two climbs. During the approach of these climbs, the peloton’s speed increased significantly. Oomen and Vader held out with the strongest riders for a long time but had to give in during an attack on the final climb. Oomen eventually lost one and a half minutes to winner Remco Evenepoel.

For Marc Reef, it was his first day in the Team Jumbo-Visma team car. “We knew it would be a tough day. It was the first race after a long winter preparation. It’s always a matter of seeing where we stand. We had a few scenarios in mind. The first was to see how far the guys, including our sprinter David Dekker, would get during this race. We also wanted to support our climbers. If the peloton would fall apart, they could ride their own final. I think that went well. They started the last climb in a good position. They gave everything until the end. All in all, it was a good first test; we got through the stage well.”

“In tomorrow’s stage we hope to be able to sprint with David”, Reef continued. “Our big goal is to take a stage win in the sprints. Tomorrow will be a tough day, but hopefully we will get our first chance.”

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