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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, August 27, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honored by posterity because he was the last to discover America. - James Joyce

Tour de France: 2022

Bill & Carol McGann’s book The Story of the Tour de France, 2022: The Fastest Tour Ever is available as in both Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Vuelta a España stage one team reports

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

Here's the report from winner Team dsm-firmenich:

Balancing risk and reward, Team dsm-firmenich navigated the wet opening day team time trial in Barcelona to take a brilliant win at the Vuelta a España.

Just before the race got underway the skies above Barcelona opened up and rain began to fall. As one of the early starters, the team had to navigate the conditions as the roads turned from dry to wet, making for some potential danger. With a material plan set to tackle the changing conditions and after good training in recent days, the team were confident and worked incredibly cohesively as a unit. Setting the fastest time at the intermediate, they would go on to continue that form and move into the hot seat at the finish.

A nervous hour followed as the Team dsm-firmenich squad waited as team-after-team came close but just couldn’t match their effort. A rapturous celebration followed as everyone revelled in a great victory which sees Team dsm-firmenich move into the red jersey and race lead with Lorenzo Milesi.

Speaking after the finish Milesi said: “It’s an amazing feeling. This win with all the team was so fun and so nice, it was really emotional. Also watching the whole race and the other teams ride their efforts; that was definitely a harder watch than in Glasgow. We took some risks out there but had a good pacing plan with the team and stuck to that. I think that worked really well for us. I’m just super happy to be a part of this win and of course to be in the red jersey will be special too.”

Lorenzo Milesi will start stage two in the GC leader's red jersey.

Romain Bardet added: “It’s a dream start for us to be honest. We did some nice training on Wednesday here together. The goal for the Vuelta still says the same; we will take it day-by-day. We want to make sure that our young guys can learn as much and gain as much experience as they can. We did well in the process today. It was a fun experience to ride with the guys on the limit on every corner but also caring about how the guys were following behind you. I’m proud of everyone, it’s a really nice day.”

Team dsm-firmenich coach Phil West continued: “It’s a really, really nice way to start the Vuelta and it’s a lovely example of teamwork from both the staff and riders. We set out to go through our process throughout the day. Of course in these races you never know quite what can happen, so we just focused on what we could control, and that’s what we did. Unfortunately the rain came before the start so there was quite some water on the circuit. Even despite the weather, the guys focused on the process and executed their plan in the race as the best we could and in the end we came out with a really nice ride. It’s a good way to kick this Vuelta off and we’re looking forward to the next days.”

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Here's the Vuelta report from fourth-place Team Soudal Quick-Step:

The last Grand Tour of the season got underway with a wet, windy and dark team time trial, elements more fitting to be the setting of one of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s gothic novels than for a cycling race, but the Soudal Quick-Step boys impressed even in these horrendous conditions, finishing only mere hundreds of a second outside the podium.

Andrea Bagioli, Mattia Cattaneo, Remco Evenepoel, Jan Hirt, James Knox, Casper Pedersen, Pieter Serry and Louis Vervaeke remained focus on the slippery roads of the 14.6km stage that featured a total of 19 corners, and delivered a great result at the end of the day, six seconds separating them from DSM-Firmenich, who won the opening stage in Barcelona – which hosted the Gran Salida for the first time in more than six decades.

Soudal Quick-Step in the rain and in the dark. Getty Sport photo

The World Champion led home our squad, who managed to stay upright and stopped the clock in 17:36 after averaging 50.45km/h and is Soudal Quick-Step’s best-placed rider on the general classification, where he gained time on almost all his rivals.

“This was a dangerous stage. We planned to go as fast as possible in these conditions, but while making sure we kept it as safe as possible, without any risks in the corners. The boys did a perfect job considering everything and we are proud of them. At the end of the day, we can be content with what we did today it counts as a good start”, said sports director Klaas Lodeweyck.

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Here's the report from eighth place Team INEOS Grenadiers:

The INEOS Grenadiers came eighth in a rain-soaked team time trial along the streets of Barcelona, ultimately finishing 20 seconds behind the stage winners on the first day of La Vuelta.

The team set off under rapidly worsening conditions that unfortunately caused Laurens de Plus to come down and subsequently abandon the race within the first few kilometres.

Despite this, and a puncture for Filippo Ganna, the Grenadiers continued at pace, and crossed the intermediate time check just 15 seconds down on the leaders.

INEOS Grenadiers limiting their losses.

Negotiating the boulevards of Barcelona became increasingly challenging, with standing water present on many of the course’s corners.

Yet - despite the conditions - the Grenadiers did a superb job of limiting their losses, only surrendering a further five seconds in the second half of the course.

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And here's the report from eleventh-place Team Jumbo-Visma:

Team Jumbo-Visma has finished 11th in the opening team time trial of the Vuelta a España. Despite wet conditions, darkness, and a flat tyre for Jonas Vingegaard, the yellow and black brigade managed to limit the gap to the winning team, DSM-Firmenich, to just over half a minute.

Soggy Jumbo-Visma riders finish stage one.

In soaking wet conditions, Team Jumbo-Visma set off for a 14.8-kilometre team chrono on the streets of Barcelona. Just before the first waypoint, Vingegaard suffered a puncture, forcing the Dane to change bikes. The rest of the team waited for Vingegaard - who, along with Primoz Roglic, is Team Jumbo-Visma’s leader in this edition of the Vuelta a España - and lost valuable time.

After a solid second part, the Dutch team stopped the clock at 18 minutes and 2 seconds. It meant the 11th time for the Dutch team. "Considering the conditions, we can be satisfied with our performance. The rain, poor visibility and Jonas' puncture put us in a difficult situation, but I think we managed well”, said Mathieu Heijboer, Head of Performance at Team Jumbo-Visma.

"It was wet and treacherous", Roglic said. "A team time trial means finding a balance between riding hard and staying safe. We managed that. We can be happy with it. The aim was to get through without any unnecessary problems. This was the first of 21 stages, so we still have enough stages to go. You can't win the Vuelta here, but you can lose it."

According to Hungarian time trial champion Attila Valter, the team took no risks in the time trial. "Unfortunately, Jonas had a puncture, but all in all, we rode a very good time trial", said Valter, unhappy with the (limited) light. "It was almost night, and it was dark. You could hardly see anything. The aim was to get everyone across the line safely, and we did."

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