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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, October 7, 2022

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Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl headed to Il Lombardia

Here’s the team’s update:

Il Lombardia – the race won by some of cycling’s biggest names – runs its 116th episode this weekend on a different course than the one of last year, when the Wolfpack came close to victory with Fausto Masnada, who took second.

Tadej Pogacar won in 2021 with Fausto Masnada a close second. Sirotti photo

After they will leave behind Bergamo, the home town of last season’s runner-up, the peloton will tackle a series of five climbs – Forcellino di Bianzano, Ganda, Passo della Crocetta, Forcella di Bura and Colle di Berbenno – all stacked up in the space of 90 kilometers, but these aren’t expected to have a big impact on the race.

Instead, things promise to heat up once the riders will hit the slopes of Madonna del Ghisallo, from where they’ll head to Como for a first ascent of San Fermo della Battaglia. A short descent will then lead them onto the demanding climb of Civiglio, but this won’t be the last hurdle of the day, as just a couple of kilometers later they will tackle again Battaglia, from whose top only five kilometers remain until the finish.

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s line-up for the last World Tour appointment of the season will consist of double World Champion Julian Alaphilippe, former Piccolo Giro di Lombardia winner Andrea Bagioli, Dries Devenyns – who will make his tenth outing at the Italian Monument – Mikkel Honoré, Ilan Van Wilder, Mauri Vansevenant and Louis Vervaeke.

“It’s the last Monument of the season and our penultimate race, we come here after solid outings at Bernocchi and Piemonte, so the motivation is huge and we want to do well. The riders are ready to give everything on what will be a hard course, with a different final part than last year that could have a significant impact on the outcome. Julian is our leader and he will have a strong team around him, so we are confident”, explained sports director Davide Bramati.

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Team BikeExchange-Jayco to ride the final Monument of the season – Il Lombardia

The team sent me this:

Team BikeExchange-Jayco head to the fifth and final cycling Monument of the 2022 season,Il Lombardia, with an open and aggressive approach as they look to be protagonists and animate the iconic 253km event.

After falling during the week, the team’s original leader for the one-day classic, Simon Yates, will be an unfortunate non-starter on Saturday, leaving the Australian outfit forced to change its tactics and approach. Runner-up on a Tour de France stage earlier this year, Nick Schultz and local Italian climbers Kevin Colleoni and Matteo Sobrero, have the legs to challenge on the climbs, and will line-up alongside American time trial champion Lawson Craddock and Ethiopia’s Tsgabu Grmay.

Young Swiss rider Alex Balmer will make his debut at the event, and after 15 years as a professional rider, Il Lombardia will be the final race for Estonian Tanel Kangert.

Tanel Kangert (shown at the 2019 Liege-Bastogne-Liege) will make Il Lombardia the final race of his career. Sirotti photo

Known as the ‘Classic of the dead leaves’ falling in Autumn, the 2022 race will feature traditional climbs such as the iconic Ghisallo, but this year the race will see the riders pass over the double climb of San Fermo, and a final circuit of 22 kilometres that also includes Civiglio.

Team BikeExchange-Jayco Line-Up:
Alexander Balmer (SUI)
Kevin Colleoni (ITA)
Lawson Craddock (USA)
Tsgabu Grmay  (ETH)
Tanel Kangert (EST)
Nick Schultz (AUS)
Matteo Sobrero (ITA)

Kevin Colleoni:
“Il Lombardia is one of those seasonal events which I am really attached to. Not only was it one of the races that I went to see every year when I was a young rider, but it starts from Bergamo which is not far from where I was born and where I live.

“I am curious to test my condition in a race like this. A fall at Coppa Agostoni certainly did not help me in view of Il Lombardia, but I think I have a good condition and I will certainly give everything I can.”

Matthew White – Head Sport Director:
“Obviously the absence of Simon Yates forces us to change our race tactics. However, the goal remains to be protagonists and to animate the race from the very beginning, for example by entering the main breakaway of the day.

“Saturday will certainly be a special day for Tanel Kangert who, after 15 seasons among the professionals, will enjoy the last race of his career and also for our young Swiss rider Alexander Balmer who will make his debut in this great classic.”

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Gran Piemonte Team reports

We posted the report from second-place Matej Mohoric's Team Bahrain Victorious with the results.

Here's the report from ninth-place Alessandro Covi's UAE Team Emirates:

Alessandro Covi was the best placed of UAE Team Emirates in the reduced sprint of about thirty riders where Ivan Cortina (Movistar) proved the quickest at Gran Piemonte.

Ivan Garcia won the race. Sirotti photo

The race, 198 km from Omegna to Beinasco, experienced its crucial moment on the ramps of the climb of Il Pilonetto (3.3 km at 7.9% average gradient with a brow at 59 km from the finish), with the group split in two.

At the head of the race, 33 cyclists remained, including UAE Team Emirates rider Vegard Stake Laengen and Alessandro Covi: in the sprint that concluded the race, the Italian rider took 9th place.

Hirschi, on the other hand, was involved, fortunately without consequences, in a crash that occurred as he approached the final stages of the race.

UAE Team Emirates will face their next big objective on Italian soil on Saturday 8 October, lining up at the start of Il Lombardia with a change from the already announced line-up: Alessandro Covi will take the place of Jan Polanc.

In addition to the aforementioned Covi, the Emirati team will count on João Almeida, Davide Formolo, Marc Hirschi, Rafal Majka, Tadej Pogačar and Diego Ulissi.

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And here’s the Gran Piemonte report from tenth-place Frederik Wandahl’s Team Bora-hansgrohe:

Today's race in the north of Italy was one of the last chances of the season for the sprinters. After some hills in the early stages, the course took the riders over flat roads before two more climbs in the last third of the race, which were not to be underestimated. More than 30km ahead of the finish, the last escapees were caught by a large chasing group.

BORA-hansgrohe was represented by Ben Zwiehoff, Frederik Wandahl, Matteo Fabbro and Felix Grossschartner in this group of about 40 riders. Together with Intermarché, EF and Bahrain Victorious, the team from Raubling set the pace at the front and was able to keep the field at bay until the finish line. In Beinasco, the victory came down to a sprint, in which Frederik took 10th place, with the victory going to Ivan Cortina.

"We don't have a pure sprinter here in Italy, but we remained attentive during the race and four of us made it into the leading group. From that perspective, it was a good performance. Felix and Matteo did a really good job to keep me well positioned in the first group, and Ben was pulling at the front of the group. So I think we worked well together. The race was well controlled over the last kilometres, so it was hard to try something there. But all in all, given that we don't have a sprinter here, tenth place for me is a good way to finish off my season, so I'm pretty pleased." - Frederik Wandahl

"Without a pure sprinter here, our goal for this race, which seemed to be predestined for a sprint, was to use the climb to make a selection in the peloton and possibly ride with a medium-sized group towards the finish. That worked out quite well. I have to give a big compliment to Ben Zwiehoff, who was really one of the strongest uphill. Felix Grossschartner, Matteo Fabbro and Frederik Wandahl also got over the climb very well. And when the race exploded, we had four riders in the first group of about 40. We then also invested quite some energy with Ben to keep this group out front, with several sprinters having been left behind in the second group. So again, chapeau to Ben.

"In the end, the intention was to create some chaos and to fight for the victory with Felix or Matteo with a solo attack, or as plan B to give our young Dane Frederik Wandahl the opportunity to get a good result in the sprint from the reduced field. Unfortunately, the solo attack option didn't quite work out. The race was too organised and so Frederik ended up getting his chance and he used it very well. With tenth place in such a prestigious race, he can complete his second season in professional cycling pretty satisfied. I'm very proud of today's team performance and I'm also happy that Frederik was able to achieve a nice result to finish off his season." - Christian Pömer, Sporting Director

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