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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, February 11, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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Tour of Oman stage one reports

We posted the organizer’s report with the results.

Winner Fernando Gaviria's UAE-Team Emirates posted this report:

Fernando Gaviria showed a return to top-form with victory on Stage 1 of the Tour of Oman from Al Rustaq Fort to Muscat (138km).

Fernando Gaviria takes the first stage of the Tour of Oman. Alex Broadway photo

Having claimed a string of podiums last week at the Saudi Tour, the 27 year old came with a point to prove and converted a perfect leadout from his UAE teammates for his first triumph of the year.

The team took hold of the race inside the final 2km with a high-speed train of riders storming the flat finish in Muscat. Max Richeze dropped Gaviria off in the last 200m with no one able to get near to the UAE fastman as he raised his hands in victory ahead of Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl).

The win means Gaviria now leads the overall classification and UAE Team Emirates also lead the team classification.

Gaviria: “Yesterday I told the media I really wanted to win some stages here, I’ve been putting pressure on myself and in my head I knew I needed a victory. Last week in Saudi I came close but just missed it so to take a win today is amazing. The team did really nice work today, they worked like a big family and delivered me perfectly. I’m really happy to be here in Oman in this beautiful country and am hungry for more wins. Let’s see how the legs are today after the massage and build towards more good results here.”

The Tour of Oman continues tomorrow with Stage 2 from Naseem Park to Suhar Corniche (167.5km) which should end in another sprint.

Second-place Mark Cavendish's Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl team posted this report:

Mark Cavendish returned to the Tour of Oman for the first time in six years and came close to clinching his second win there, after the one he took back in 2011. Winner of four stages and the green jersey at last year’s Tour de France, Mark made his season debut Thursday morning and showed a lot of grit as he battled for victory at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre in Muscat.

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl was among the teams who controlled the three-man breakaway, reeling in the last member of that group with ten kilometers to go, and placed Cavendish close to the front of the bunch, making sure he went under the flamme rouge in the first five positions.

Opening his sprint with 150 meters to go, the 36-year-old showed an impressive burst of speed which allowed him to make up ground quickly, but unfortunately ran out of road and had to settle for second, just behind Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), a result that left him with mixed feelings.

“Coming into the first race of a new season, you are never sure about form and it was good to get the feeling of racing back in my legs. I felt good throughout the stage and the speed was good at the end, but I was just in the wrong position which meant I had to come around the outside and catching Fernando was just that bit too much. But I am confident that I have some good form and we have a group that have not raced together, so we will look to build on it in the coming days. I’m just happy to be in the mix after just six weeks of training, following my collapsed lung”, said Cavendish after his 85th top 3 for the Wolfpack.

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Here’s the report from Tour of Oman third-place Kaden Groves Team BikeExchange-Jayco:

Young 23-year-old Australian Kaden Groves blasted to an impressive third place on today’s opening stage at the Tour of Oman, with only the world’s well renowned sprint stars, Fernando Gaviria and Mark Cavendish, able to pass him in the hectic finale.

With two new faces amongst the team, in Campbell Stewart and Kelland O’Brien, both making their debut in the 2022 team colours, it was a totally new lead-out train for Groves. However, the squad gelled together quickly and were able to deliver Groves into a strong position coming into the final metres, allowing the young sprinter to unleash his powerful kick in the fast finale.

Groves jumped onto the wheel of Gaviria in the dash to the line, before settling for a strong podium placing, getting the team off to a solid start in the warm six-day event.

The Team BikeExchange-Jayco sprinter also picked up the young rider’s jersey after his promising performance today, and will wear it in tomorrow’s stage; another predominately flat stage for the sprinters.

Kaden Groves - 3rd place:
"It was a pretty straight forward day, there was a bit of wind around, but there was a small breakaway controlled by Quick-Step, UAE and us, so there was no real danger. The KOM got pretty hard there with around 40km to go with some attacks from DSM, but again everything just got neutralised. Then we just rolled on into the finish and things started to get hectic with about 10km to go.

"Considering we’ve got a new bunch of guys here working together, it’s Campbell and Kell’s first time with the team, they both did really well. We got lost a little bit but coming through 1km to go, we were all together and we did a really good job in the end.

"I was on Gavaria’s wheel, the winner, but I just didn’t have the legs to come round him. But I’m happy with the sensations and I think it’s going to be a really good week.

"I’m not unhappy with third, it’s more the performance I’m after and I didn’t have the best legs in the finish, so if we can have a smoother run to the line, I’m confident that with good legs I can get a win here."

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Tour de la Provence prologue time trial reports

We posted the report from winner Filippo Ganna's INEOS Grenadiers with the results.

Here's the report from Julian Alaphilippe's Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl team:

Tour de la Provence marked Julian Alaphilippe’s first outing since last October’s Il Lombardia, which he concluded sixth, just two weeks after successfully defending his rainbow jersey. Present at the French race for the third time in his career, the 29-year-old got off to a solid start in the 7.1km prologue hosted by Berre-l’Étang, a small town lying just 30 kilometers from Marseille.

Julian Alaphilippe racing to sixth place. Sirotti photo

Last Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl on the start ramp, Alaphilippe put in a good effort which saw him conclude in sixth position, just 17 seconds off the time of Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), who took the win.

“I’m really happy to be here and get my season underway. Doing it with a prologue was demanding and gave me the opportunity to see where I am after this winter. I wanted to do my best and see where that took me. At the end of the day, I am satisfied and already looking forward to the next stages. There is zero pressure in the team, but we will try our best until Sunday. The objective is to have fun and find the race rhythm again. The motivation is there and if there will be an opportunity for a stage victory, we’ll try to grab it”, said the World Champion.

Julian wasn’t the only Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider to have a solid outing in the short time trial: both Dries Devenyns and newcomer Ilan Van Wilder were up there Thursday afternoon, finishing ninth and tenth, respectively.

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Here's the report from Team Astana Qazaqstan:

Samuele Battistella made a solid start at the Tour de la Provence (2.Pro) in France, which began today with a seven-kilometer-long prologue in Berre-l’Étang.

The Astana Qazaqstan Team rider finished fourth, losing just 15 seconds to the World Champion Filippo Ganna, who won the stage.

“Well, I am quite happy with the way the race turned out for me. This winter I worked a lot on my TT bike position and I improved a lot, so I was confident I could get a good result here. The route suited me well and I was motivated to try my best for a high place. Well, I am fourth at the end of the day and this results in my first race inspire me ahead of the entire season”, – said Samuele Battistella.

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