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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, April 19, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

That pleasure which is at once the most pure, the most elevating and the most intense, is derived, I maintain, from the contemplation of the beautiful. - Edgar Allan Poe

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Tour of the Alps stage two team reports

We posted the report from Aleksandr Vlasov’s Team Bora-hansgrohe with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner & GC leader Tao Geoghegan Hart's Team INEOS Grenadiers:

Tao Geoghegan Hart extended his overall race lead at the Tour of the Alps after securing a second win in a row on stage two.

Tao Geoghegan Hart will start stage three in green.

The Brit was looked after expertly by his INEOS Grenadiers teammates on the day, and was once again able to time his final burst to take the win. Geoghegan Hart did well to stay upright on the left-hand corner entering the velodrome in Ritten, with nearest rival Felix Gall (Ag2r-Citroen) crashing next to him.

Pavel Sivakov played a key role in the closing stages to help keep the group together, shutting down a dangerous attack from Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) to bring the leaders back together inside the final kilometre. Fourth place on the stage also saw Sivakov elevate himself into fourth overall, 28 seconds behind his teammate. Gall's time was restored after the stage and he sits second, 18 seconds back on Tao.

Once again the team committed superbly to the cause, with Ben Swift spending huge stretches on the front of the peloton controlling the break. Thymen Arensman also impressed with a strong turn on the first of the day's two concluding climbs, thinning out the bunch to help lay the foundations for victory.
Tao Geoghegan Hart

"I think you have recognise Pavel in that final. He made it very easy with his strength because he kept the race together. Without his strength and also experience to ride in the smart way, it would have been much harder to keep that group together. You have to react to every move and he did an amazing job.

"Ben Swift also all day, riding really smart and really strong. All the team. It was really nice to see Thymen (Arensman) looking great today after not feeling super yesterday. He bounced back and showed the true legs and talent that he has. All around everyone did a great job, I only had to do about 70 metres in the end.

"Tomorrow is another race. It’s a longer climb and is very different to yesterday and today. I’m looking forward to it and we’ll see how it goes."

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Here's the Tour of the Alps report from Team Bahrain Victorious:

As the 46th Tour of the Alps crossed from Austria to Italy, Team Bahrain Victorious’ co-leaders were at the fore once again on the 165kms from Reith im Alpbachtal.

It was a day that promised to be crucial in the GC battle, but in the end the time differences were small; the final climbs of Barbian and Mittelberg thinned the front group down to 8 riders, but were not testing enough to create big gaps between the favourites.

Plenty of climbing on the stage. Sirotti photo

A break of three riders had gone clear after 10kms, and were joined by three more with 100km remaining. Their efforts were doomed to fail of course, and after they were caught and passed by the group, Santiago Buitrago accelerated on the last categorised climb of Monte di Mezzo. His was a test of his rivals rather than a full-on attack, and gave some impetus to the leaders as they headed for a short, steep ramp and a finishing half lap of an ice-rink (without the ice) in Ritten.

Once the Colombian was caught, race leader & Stage 1 winner Tao Geoghegan-Hart (IGD) managed to enter the arena just ahead of Jack Haig and kept that advantage to the line. Second place for the Australian, who was in bullish mood after the stage:

“Yesterday, I made it incredibly hard for myself doing all that valley alone, so I was suffering a little, and it was quite hot today, so maybe I overheated slightly. Me and Santi played the final really well: he tried to attack early, but the climb wasn’t hard enough for that, and just into the final, I was with Tao, and he beat me to the entrance to the ice-rink.

"We knew you needed to be first onto the arena but I couldn’t quite do it. They blocked the road a little, but that’s racing.”

Haig finished less than a bike length back, while behind them, Buitrago sped around Pavel Sivakov (IGD) to take third place. In addition, Santi’s efforts on the last two climbs earned him the blue jersey for the race’s best climber, in which he will ride stage 3.

Jack was positive about the work of the team today and optimistic about the coming days and weeks:

“The team did a good job keeping me right at the front today, and we have to try something now because of the advantage Tao has with the time bonuses. Me and Santiago are going well, so that’s a good sign for the Giro.”

Stage 3 on Wednesday is the ‘Queen Stage’, and will see the peloton cover 164 kilometres from Renon with a C1 summit finish to Brentonico – San Valentino.

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Jonas Vingegaard and Team Jumbo-Visma continue together until end of 2027

Here’s the Jumbo-Visma news release:

Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard will stay with Team Jumbo-Visma at least through the end of 2027. The contract of the 26-year-old Dane has been extended by three years.

Vingegaard joined Team Jumbo-Visma in 2019. In 2020 he was part of the team that won the Vuelta a España with Primoz Roglic. Vingegaard placed second in the Tour de France in 2021 before going on to win it last year.

Jonas Vingegaard is looking for a repeat in France this summer. Sirotti photo

“I have had a fantastic journey with the team who has supported me in every way to become the rider I am today. I appreciate the quality of the team and the people here and feel at home. Every day we push each other to get better, and this is where I can fulfill my full potential. We will definitely reach an even higher level together. I'm excited to continue growing within the team.”

Richard Plugge, General Manager of Team Jumbo-Visma, is confident about the future: "Jonas is a fantastic fit for us: he is eager to learn and easy to coach, and also pushes us ahead as a team. He was a rough diamond when he first came to the team. Together, we developed significantly, ultimately winning the Tour de France. Jonas is essential to our goals if we're to maintain our position at the top.”

Vingegaard's primary goal for this season is to win the Tour de France. The Danish rider has already won two stage races this year. “The Tour de France is something very special. The feeling I had, standing on top of the podium, was fantastic. My goal is to go for many more wins. In the Tour but also in other races to come. It means everything to me to know that I will be in the team for a further five years. It gives me peace of mind and the opportunity to focus on my goals even more.”

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Andreas Kron headed into the unknown at Flèche Wallonne debut

Here’s Kron's Team Lotto Dstny post:

Andreas Kron clinched a fourth place at the Amstel Gold Race for Lotto Dstny while Maxim Van Gils sprinted to seventh. “We gained confidence from these results”, says the young Dane, “We want to continue down this road.”

Andreas Kron on his way to fourth place at the Amstel Gold Race.

The 24-year-old Dane will be accompanied at La Flèche Wallonne by Mathijs Paasschens, Pascal Eenkhoorn, Lennert Van Eetvelt, Sylvain Moniquet, Harry Sweeny and Maxim Van Gils. “Honestly, I don’t know what to expect this Wednesday”, says Kron, “I’m racing Flèche Wallonne for the first time and a couple days later I’m also debuting at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. It will be a step into the unknown, but I am looking forward to it.”

Kron did a recon of the Flèche Wallonne final on Monday. “We rode the final 37 kilometres. It was a nice ride and the Mur de Huy is indeed quite steep”, he laughs, “that is something you already feel during training and I’m expecting it to go a lot faster in the race on Wednesday. I don’t know if this race suits me, I’ll give an answer to that Wednesday evening. I don’t have any reference points, because I never raced a one-day event on a finish such as the Mur. I expect Liège-Bastogne-Liège to be more my cup of tea.”

The Dane knows the race only from watching it on television. “I saw Valverde take the win on numerous occasions and also the past years Julian Alaphilippe showed his fast legs. Nowadays, Flèche Wallonne has become quite the atypical race, a kind of ‘waiting game’ until the race explodes on the Mur. This contrary to the trend where the races are opened quite early. It’s something I like, just as was the case at the Amstel. The Flèche is all about waiting, waiting, waiting”, he repeats “and see how fast you can ride up the Mur at the end. In the past years, several riders have tried to avoid the classical scenario but no one has succeeded. Maybe Wednesday is the day, we will see, but I think we’re in for the same final.”

Is there a perfect moment to launch your sprint at the end? “I don’t know”, concludes Kron, “first and foremost, you have to be in good position to start the final climb, then get your timing just right and hope for strong legs and explosivity. This is my first participation and a top ten spot would be nice but I also expect something from Maxim Van Gils. I think his chances are better than mine at Flèche Wallonne.”

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