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Monday, May 9, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets. - Yogi Berra


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2022 Giro d'Italia stage three reports

We posted the report from stage winner Mark Cavendish's Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Arnaud Demaré's Team Groupama-FDJ:

The third stage of the 2022 Giro d’Italia, the last one contested in Hungary, came as the first major goal for the Groupama-FDJ cycling team. Arnaud Démare could therefore count on the support of all his teammates for the anticipatedbunch sprint in Balatonfüred. After a very long day, the Frenchman followed his lead-out train and then managed to make its way into the front. Eventually, he got only beaten by Mark Cavendish on the line and just came close to victory.

The finish

It was a close one...Sirotti photo

For the pure sprinters, the Giro really started this Sunday, with the last day of racing in Hungary before joining Sicily on Monday. The third stage, without serious climbs and featuring201 kilometres, was supposed to end in a royal sprint. The peloton could also enjoy an easy run-in as the day’s breakaway formed after fifty metres of racing with three Italian riders: Mattia Bais, Filippo Tagliani (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli) and Samuele Rivi (Eolo-Kometa). Their lead increased up to six minutes but was then contained quite early on. After seventy kilometres, Arnaud Démare also took part in the intermediate sprint, where he took fifth place. A few minutes later, his teammate Clément Davy appeared atthe front of the peloton to contribute to the chase behind the leading trio. The young Frenchman held that position for more than a hundred kilometres.

He was still leading up the way to the Groupama-FDJ train when Bais and Rivi, the last breakaway survivors, were caught with thirty kilometres to go. “Clément did a very good job chasing the breakaway, and he also held on well in the final, up to the only categorizedclimb”, said Sébastien Joly. In the last ten kilometres, Attila Valter took over after another great day for him. “I smiled a lot today and I really enjoyed this stage”, said the former pink jersey. “I think it was a very beautiful day to close this Hungarian part which gave me the best memories of my life”. “Attila also had to refocus on the race, it was important for the team”, pointed out Sébastien. “We have eight riders at the start, and we need them all. He was there in the mix, and he enabled his teammates and the train to spare themselves a bit in the final”.

For a handful of kilometres, the national hero allowed Arnaud Démare and his lead-out men to remain at the forefront of the peloton. Tobias Ludvigsson then took over until the last four kilometres, where the tension increased even more. “It was very fast, and we expected it because everyone was very fresh,” said Arnaud. “Our positioning was good, but it was hard to stay together. I lost the guys with just a kilometre to go but managed to get back into Jacopo’s wheel at 600m. I saw the train with Cavendish pass, and I fought to get into this wheel. I was really happy to be there.” The former French champion therefore found himself in a very good position before the final sprint, which the Briton started with some 250 metres to go.

“He went hard from far, and held on for long”, explained Arnaud. “It was impressive. There wasn’t much to do. I immediately started my sprint next to him, but looking back, I think I should have stayed a bit in his wheel and waited until the last moment to try to overtake”. If the Groupama-FDJ sprinter was therefore unable to matchCavendish, winner on the line, he did not get caught by anyone either. A solid second place therefore opened the Giro for Arnaud Démare and his teammates.

“I’m still disappointed as I’m here to win”, he said at the finish, “but there are plenty of other opportunities coming up. It still is a decent start for the team. Physically, I’m fine, I don’t miss much. The guys did a good job, we still have to adjust the timing and stay together. We took second, it could have been worse, it could have been better too, but at least it really launches our Giro”.“Some things were good, others a little less, but they can also be explained”, concluded Sébastien Joly. “The lesson of the day is that we are right up there. We can win, but we will have to improve a few things. We can’t say we’re satisfied tonight because we’re here to win.”

For Attila Valter, an amazing experience came to an end this Sunday, and the young Hungarian had a lot to say about it. “These three days were incredible. It is for sure one of the most memorable weeks of my life”, he claimed. “It’s really matching the three days in the pink jersey I had last year. It was maybe an even better feeling. Today, they were cheering for me so much, even more than they cheered for me last year in the pink jersey. It was just incredible. I don’t know what I’ve done to make the people like me that much, but I’m really happy for that. I will really think back to this time with a lot of pride.

“This country really showed that we are ready for cycling. There were really a lot of people, a lot more than what you usually see on the Giro. All the other riders in the bunch were really happy. We showed them that this beautiful country is a really great place to ride a bike. I just can’t say more, it is really the best experience of my life. I will use this memory all along my career, I really hope I’ll feel this again in my life. If not, it’s still okay, because it is not something that happens to everyone. I’ll fly with a big, big smile to Sicily.”

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Here's the Giro report from third-place Fernando Gaviria's UAE Team Emirates:

Fernando Gaviria showed his sprinting legs are coming to the boil with a solid 3rd place finish on stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia from Kaposvár to Balatonfüred (201km) on the flat final leg of the Hungarian Grand Depart.

The race pases through the start city of Kaposvár

The race pases through the start city of Kaposvár. Sirotti photo

The peloton held a pedestrian pace for much of the day before bursting into action in the final 20km with the speeds ramping up in excess of 60kmph.

In the final kilometre Rui Oliveira guided leadout man Max Richeze and Gaviria into the last 500m in optimal position. Richeze opened up the sprint on the left hand side of the road with Gaviria squeezing through but just being denied by winner of the day Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl).

Gaviria: “It was a hard and very fast sprint. We fought to win it and did our best to be up there. The team did a great job to keep me at the front. We’ll look to the next opportunities, we’re happy with today and how it went but we are also focussed on going for a win in the chances to come.”

Joao Almeida remains best placed on the GC in 11th spot as Mathieu Van Der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) leads the race heading into the first rest day before the stage 4 in Sicily on Tuesday.



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Here's the Giro report from Team Jumbo-Visma:

The third stage of the Giro d'Italia has not presented any problems for Team Jumbo-Visma. In the 200 km long stage from Kaposvár to Balatonfüred, the sprinters battled for the victory while the general classification riders arrived unharmed. Pascal Eenkhoorn attempted to take the mountain jersey, but he was unsuccessful.

Stage three was a day for the sprinters

Stage three was a day for the sprinters. Sirotti photo

The last stage on Hungarian soil offered little drama. Immediately after the start, three Italians formed the day's breakaway and got a five-minute lead. The peloton kept the margin within limits and reeled in the attackers with under thirty kilometres to go.

On the only climb of the day, Eenkhoorn attacked. Blue jersey wearer Rick Zabel went with the Giro debutant and together they battled for the mountain jersey points. Eenkhoorn won the sprint and scored five points, as many as Zabel. But because the German has a better position in the general classification, he can ride in blue again after the rest and travel day.

"If the opportunity arose, I wanted to go for it. It was not my idea, but Koen's. I was well-positioned, but unfortunately I got Zabel with me. I had hoped he would stay in the peloton so that I could take the jersey. It's a shame I didn't manage to get it."

After the climb, Eenkhoorn held on for a while, but he got caught back by a hungry peloton. The riders of Team Jumbo-Visma crossed the finish line in the same time as winner Mark Cavendish.

"Our goal was mainly to save energy”, sports director Marc Reef said. "It was a pretty quiet day with a fast final in which we protected our classification well."

After three stages in Hungary, the cycling caravan will travel to Italy tomorrow, where the Giro will resume on Tuesday. Reef is happy with how the first days went. "We have made a good start with our riders. In the first stage, Tom, Sam and Tobias crossed the finish line in the first part of the peloton and yesterday we had a strong time trial day."

"Of course we had hoped for victory, but we have to be satisfied with third place. We are among the first in the classification and are going to Italy with a good feeling."


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Four Days of Dunkirk final team reports

We psoted the report from GC winner Philippe Gilbert's Team Lotto Soudal with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Gerben Thijssen's Team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert:

This Sunday, Gerben Thijssen took his first professional win, the seventh of the season for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, by winning the bunch sprint in the final stage of the Dunkirk Four Day (2.Pro).

Gerben Thijssen wins stage four.

Gerben Thijssen wins stage four.

After two podium finishes earlier this week, the 23 year old Belgian sprinter rewarded the work of his teammates who, once more, delivered a fantastic job to bring him in a perfect position in the final kilometer.

At the end of this sixth and last stage, Baptiste Planckaert confirms his fifth place in the general classification. French neopro Hugo Page, who finished for the fourth time this week in the top twenty, concludes the week in fourteenth place of the final classification.

“Thanks to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux I'm a winner again! This victory means so much to me, after two seasons during which I went through hard times both physically and mentally. Since my arrival here, I feel stronger than ever before and race after race I gain confidence. Because of small errors I didn't manage to win, even though I felt that I had the capabilities to do so. Thanks to the the hours of analyzing our sprints with the sports directors, my training Ioannis Tamouridis and my lead out Boy van Poppel, we managed to create the perfect scenario today. My teammates brought me into a perfect position and I launched my sprint with 300 meter to go. It was far, but I didn't hesitate and nobody managed to come out of my slipstream. I'm very grateful for the confidence I receive from the team and I want to show this real Gerben Thijssen a lot more in the future!” - Gerben Thijssen

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