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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, March 10, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals. - Immanuel Kant

Les Woodland's book Paris-Roubaix: The Inside Story - All the bumps of cycling's cobbled classic is available in print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Paris-Nice stage five reports

We posted the organizer's stage one report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Olav Kooij's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Olav Kooij has won the fifth stage of Paris-Nice. The 21-year-old sprinter got off the wheel of Mads Pedersen after more than two hundred kilometres, following a strong lead-out from Edoardo Affini, and pushed his bike across the line first. It is Kooij's second victory at WorldTour level, having won a stage at the Tour of Poland last season.

Olav Kooij gets the biggest win of his career. ASO photo

The longest stage of this edition of the "Race to the Sun" had to be climbed right from the start. Some second- and third-category climbs were perfect for a possible breakaway, but it did not materialise.

Towards the end, teams with a sprinter ensured the pace increased considerably. Team Jumbo-Visma kept Jonas Vingegaard out of trouble before helping Kooij in the final kilometre. Affini put Kooij in an excellent position in the last few hundred metres, and the Dutch rider took his first win of the season.

"This is the best win of my career so far", said Kooij, who couldn't believe his luck. "I am very grateful to the team. Edoardo's work in the race's closing stages was phenomenal. I felt like I was too far off on the last kilometre, but we chose the right side of the roundabout and made up a few metres. Edoardo then put me in the front perfectly, and I passed Pedersen. This victory means a lot to me. It was one of my goals for this spring. I know that on a good day, I can beat anyone. That confidence has only grown."

Kooij had already achieved some strong results this season and felt that victory at the highest level was getting closer and closer. "I've been close a few times this season, and we've achieved some great results together, but for a sprinter, only winning counts. It is cool that I am now doing it at the highest level. It feels good to win another stage after winning the team time trial." Kooij's victory was the tenth victory of the season for Team Jumbo-Visma.

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Here's the Paris-Nice & Tirreno-Adriatico report from GC leader Tadej Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates:

In the longest stage of Paris-Nice at 212km UAE Team Emirates policed the peloton to defend the lead of Tadej Pogačar. The Slovenian, who was victorious yesterday on the stage to La Loge des Gardes kept calm to hold his lead while Matteo Trentin took 4th in the bunch sprint which was won by Olav Kooij (Jumbo Visma).

Pogačar holds a lead of 6’’ over David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) heading into stage 6 tomorrow from Tourves to La Colle-sur-Loup (197.4km).

Before the start, Pogacar is in yellow.

Pogačar: “I enjoyed the first day in yellow, and it was a nice day, finally some sun and no stress, so it was a nice day. I know the last stage well, it’s my home training roads and it’s a nice stage.

Even tomorrow, it will be stressful, a classic stage, and anything can happen with a lot of surprises. Stage 7 is the most predictable, and you need to measure your effort to the top. I like the final stage the most.”

At Tirreno Adriatico Adam Yates fought to the line to take 3rd place in the uphill battle for stage 4 from Greccio to Tortoreto (218km) which was won by Primo Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).

Almeida who finished on the same time as the leaders moves up to 3rd place on GC and takes the white jersey as leader of the young riders classification.
UAE Team Emirates sit in a commanding position with McNulty also 4th place overall heading into stage 5 tomorrow from Morro d’Oro to Sarnano-Sassotetto (168km).

Almeida: “ It was a good day, quite a long and hard stage. Tomorrow and Saturday are very tough stages too. The goal is to dispute the race and aim for the victory. We are well placed at the moment with myself and Brandon so we’ll aim to do something in the coming stages.”

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Tirreno-Adriatico stage four reports

We posted the report from new GC leader Lennard Kamna's Team Bora-hansgrohe with the results.

Here's the Tirreno-Adriatico report from stage four winner Primoz Roglic's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Primoz Roglic has won the fourth stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. The Slovenian of Team Jumbo-Visma had the best punch on the vicious final climb to Tortoreto. Wout van Aert crashed at the bottom of the final climb, denying him the stage win.

Primoz Roglic enjoys his stage win. Sirotti photo

The most challenging part of the stage came at the end, with four climbs in the last 50 kilometres. On the second pass of the Tortoreto, Julian Alaphillipe took off. Van Aert was quick to react, and although the rest of the peloton joined him a little later, the Belgian's intentions were clear.

For Van Aert, things went wrong at the foot of the fourth and final climb. He collided with Tom Pidcock; both went down but were able to continue. "I'm not in too much pain. I've got scratches, but I hope it's OK", Van Aert said.

After eliminating the first contender for victory, Team Jumbo-Visma had to switch to a different plan. Roglic entered the sprint of the depleted peloton early. He defeated Alaphilippe and Adam Yates on the line. Wilco Kelderman finished a respectable fourth. "I'm super happy. Winning is always good", said a delighted Roglic.

"It just didn't go according to plan. We were going for the win with Wout, but he crashed on the right side of the track. At that moment, I was on the left side, which prevented me from crashing as well. We had to change tactics, and we did that well."

Since crashing out of the Vuelta, Roglic is racing in Italy for the first time. He had shoulder surgery in October, and recovery took a while. "It's been a tough time for my family and me. I worked hard and had to sacrifice a lot to be able to stand here again", the Olympic time trial champion said.

"At the beginning of the week, I didn't know where I would stand, so honestly, I'm a bit surprised. I am thrilled that all the hard work of the past months is paying off."

With his victory, Roglic has moved up to second place in the overall standings. Another uphill finish awaits tomorrow.

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And here's the report from second-place Julian Alaphilippe's Team Soudal Quick-Step:

Julian Alaphilippe was in the mix at the end of the longest stage of the week, 218 kilometers from Greccio to Tortoreto, where the peloton tackled four times the eponymous climb. The second time up this 3.1km hill averaging 7.1%, the Frenchman was the one to ignite the fireworks – as soon as the excellent Dries Devenyns peeled off the front – launching an attack which reduced the peloton to around 40-50 riders.

Despite a few more skirmishes in the next hour of racing, the group arrived together at the bottom of the climb the last time up, Soudal Quick-Step being represented by both Alaphilippe and Andrea Bagioli. The two-time World Champion expertly made his way through the bunch in the last two kilometers, remaining calm and biding his time as other riders chose to show their intentions early on the steepest part of the ascent.

All these actions came to no result, and in the end a reduced sprint decided the winner in Tortoreto. Julian accelerated with 150 meters to go, putting in a solid effort that saw him take second place, just behind Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), thus scoring his first World Tour podium of the season.

The drive to the finish. Roglic already has the jump on Alaphilippe. Sirotti photo

“I’m happy about the feeling I had. I came here to do a good Tirreno, and this result confirms that I’m heading in the right direction. Of course, I would have preferred a victory today, but we can be content because the team did a good race, which is an encouraging sign for the upcoming days and weeks.”

“My early attack wasn’t planned, I just felt good and wanted to make the final part of the stage hard. Then when the regrouping happened, I was there together with Andrea, we stayed focused and kept an eye on the other teams that had multiple riders there. In the final kilometers maybe I could have been better placed for the sprint, but it is as it is. We’ll keep fighting and trying again in the weekend”, said Alaphilippe after the stage.



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