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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, February 6, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

He was a bold man that first ate an oyster. - Jonathan Swift

Cycling's 50 Triumphs and Tragedies

Les Woodland's book Cycling's 50 Triumphs and Tragedies: The rise and fall of bicycle racing's champions 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 five team reports

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

Here's the report from from race winner Maxim Van Gils' Lotto Soudal team:

The young Lotto Soudal Belgian Maxim Van Gils has secured the overall victory during the final day of racing at the Saudi Tour. The final stage ended in a bunch sprint, which was won by Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen. Caleb Ewan couldn’t defend his chances due to a backwheel puncture at two kilometres from the finish. His teammate Jasper De Buyst sprinted to 7th place on stage five of the Saudi Tour. Ewan also saw his red points jersey change shoulders to his fellow sprinter Groenewegen. However, with the overall victory, two stage victories and the white young rider’s jersey, Lotto Soudal can look back on an extremely successful Saudi Tour.

Maxim Van Gils wins stage four.

Of course, 22-year-old Maxim Van Gils was relieved that he could take home the overall victory at the Saudi Tour today.

“Yesterday I won my first professional bike race and today I already take home the leader’s jersey. This really gives me a special feeling”, said a smiling Maxim Van Gils. “The past week really was a wonderful experience. That is why I want to thank the entire team for their support and helping me achieve this victory, without them this would not have been possible. The final stage definitely wasn’t an easy one, we had to exert force on the pedals the whole day long. Again Thomas De Gendt did an incredible job in keeping the early breakaway in check. Now it is time for some rest before I prepare the next races. We’ll see what they bring, but at Lotto Soudal we are of course always aiming for the victory.”

Maxim Van Gils will resume competition in Spain, where he will be at the start of the Clásica Jaén Paraiso Interior and the five-day Ruta del Sol.

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Here's the report from stage five winner Dylan Groenewegen's Team BikeExchange-Jayco:

It was double delight for Dylan Groenewegen in the desert, as the Dutch sprinter powered to his second win of the Saudi Tour in AlUla Old Town.

The 28-year-old backed up his victory on stage three, with another imperious sprint after an impressive lead-out from his Team BikeExchange-Jayco teammates, to make it a dream start to the 2022 season.

Earlier in the stage a group of four riders went clear to form the breakaway, but they were never given much leeway, with the day always destined for a sprint finish. The last of the escapees were eventually reeled back in with 10km to go as the peloton turned their attention to the upcoming bunch kick.

The squad rallied around Groenewegen as they raced around the finishing circuit in AlUla, with Slovenian Luka Mezgec guiding his teammate into the perfect position ahead of the kick for the line. As the sprint opened up Groenewegen powered away from his rivals to take his second victory of 2022.

The win also handed the Dutchman the red points jersey to cap off a successful week for Team BikeExchange-Jayco, that saw the squad claim two wins and a second place for Mezgec on stage four.

Dylan Groenewegen - 1st place:
"The boys did a really good job, they’ve learned really soon and have tried to do things as good as possible and now we have two victories. I think it’s two out of three, so it’s really nice.

"We lost each other a little bit, but in the final we found each other and Luka and me came together on the roundabout. It was a really good job from the team, they put me in a really good position in the end, I think maybe 200 metres before the finish, Luka put me in position, he made a really good move to go to the right and I had some space to go very well and very free, so it was a good sprint.

"It’s a really good start of the season, I was a little bit nervous before the start of the season in a new team, but everyone has learned so fast and everybody did a really good job today."

Tristan Hoffman (Sport Director):
"It has been a fantastic week, Dylan is new in the team and the boys did a fantastic lead-out again and for me personally, to start with two victories, is so great.

"In the end all the boys did a fantastic job and all the team here played their part, it was fantastic teamwork all week."

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Tour of Valenciana stage four team reports

We posted the report from stage winner Matteo Moschetti's Trek-Segafredo team.

Here's the report from third-place Alexander Kristoff's Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team:

Alexander Kristoff, the Norwegian sprinter from Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux rewarded the exemplary teamwork of his teammates by his first podium of the season in Torrevieja this Saturday.

Matteo Moschetti wins stage four.

Just like two days before, the men under direction of Aike Visbeek and Steven De Neef took command of the final with the sprint train leading the bunch under the red flag.

Italian rider Andrea Pasqualon repeated his impressive effort in the lead out role before Kristoff started his sprint with 200 meter to go. After his fifth place on Thursday, Kristoff finished on the third step of the podium this time.

On Sunday, the stage race will be concluded by a 92 kilometer race circuit around Valencia, the capital of the region, where another bunch sprint is expected.

"We can be proud of how we managed the stage today! I benefited from the support of my team during the whole race and I especially remember our performance in the final. All seven riders contributed to this podium. In general, we were probably the strongest team in the final, although we were maybe missing some manpower in the final 500 meter, enabling other sprinters to come from behind with higher speed. But we’re improving every day and I’m convinced that we’re on the right way towards another victory!" - Alexander Kristoff

Fifth-place Fabio Jakobsen's Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl team posted this report:

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana continues Saturday with a long but calm stage that took the peloton on the coast. Five riders decided to try their luck in the breakaway, but they lived on borrowed time, with a coalition of teams dragging the gap to within touching distance by the time they hit the outskirts of the finish town. Josef Cerny was again impeccable as he chased down the escapees, who were reeled in with some help from Mattia Cattaneo at the 15km-to-go mark.

Remco Evenepoel provided a massive 2km pull at the front of the peloton, until 600 meters to go, when Michael Mørkøv and Fabio Jakobsen tried to make their way to the front of the peloton, ahead of the final bend. The Dutchman had the power to replicate the stage 2 success, but was unfortunately boxed in down the barriers some 200 meters from the line and couldn’t open his sprint, taking fifth in Torrevieja, where Matteo Moschetti (Trek-Segafredo) won.

Despite missing out on the victory, Fabio claimed important points in the red jersey classification and remains in contention for taking it home on the final day, which will end in Valencia. Teammate Remco Evenepoel kept hold of the white jersey and could become the first Belgian winner of the best young rider standings at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

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Both Team DSM and Team Jumbo-Visma withdraw from Valenciana Tour after Covid positives

Here's note from Team DSM:

After three team members produced positive self-tests for COVID-19 this morning before the start of stage four, Team DSM have taken the decision to withdraw from Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana after close consultation with the race organisers and in compliance with UCI regulations.

The affected team members developed mild complaints during the morning and are now in quarantine, and the team will continue to follow the advice and rules from the local government.

Team DSM wishes everyone at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana the best of for the final two stages, and thanks the organisers and UCI for their support for us in taking this decision.

And here's the Jumbo-Visma update:

After two positive corona tests, Team Jumbo-Visma will no longer be at the start of the Tour of Valencia today.

Since it cannot be ruled out that more people will test positive, the decision has been taken to protect others, inside and outside the team. From three days before the start, all team members, riders and staff alike, were subjected to daily corona tests to be able to act appropriately in the interest of everyone’s health. In addition, compartments were used as much as possible to limit the number of so-called close contacts. The infected team members go into isolation, close contacts go into quarantine and the rest return home.

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