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Thursday, March 23, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these. - George Washington Carver

Tour de France: 2019

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, 2019: A Year of New Faces is available in both Kindle eBook and audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Volta a Catalunya stage three team reports

We posted the report from stage winner Remco Evenepoel's Team Soudal Quick-Step with the results.

Here is the report from GC leader Primoz Roglic's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Primoz Roglic has also finished on the podium in the third stage of the Volta a Catalunya. Roglic came in just behind Remco Evenepoel on the mountain stage to La Molina after winning the first stage and placing second in stage two. In the overall classification, the Slovenian rider maintained his lead.

Remco Evenpoel wins ahead of Primoz Roglic.

With 4,000 meters of elevation gain, the third stage of the Catalan stage race lived true to its designation of mountain stage. The peloton faced a challenging climb to La Molina with two first-category cols and one hors category. Seven riders launched an attack early in the race but were caught before the last climb.

The peloton stayed together for the first few steep kilometres of the final climb, but with four kilometres to go, it was Evenepoel who launched the first attack. Roglic didn't give in and stayed in the world champion's wheel. The pair rode away from the competition at a blistering pace. In the last kilometre, Evenepoel picked up the pace again, and Roglic could not prevent his opponent from winning the stage. He fought for every metre and will start the fourth stage in the leader's jersey.

"It was a pretty tough stage", Roglic said. "It was close, but I am happy to have kept the leader's jersey. Remco was super strong and deserved to win today. At the end of the stage, I didn't have the best legs, but I could still follow him. Yesterday's final climb was maybe a bit too short, but today's was too long. Still, I can live with my performance. Friday's stage will probably be the next big test. I will give everything I have. I must keep in mind that I am still busy getting back in shape after my injury. I am happy with the way things are going, but at the same time, I have to be happy with any result. I will continue to give everything, no matter what, every time."

Sports director Marc Reef described the third stage. "We saw another strong team performance today. Our team took control in the early stages. Ultimately, Soudal-QuickStep took control and made it clear that they also wanted to win the stage. Together with Sepp Kuss, Primoz was well positioned in the group of favourites. When Evenepoel attacked, Primoz was able to follow. Considering where he came from, that's a good sign. Evenepoel was the better rider today. We are going to have an exciting last part of this race. Even though we are focused on winning this race, we are already anticipating the Giro d'Italia. Considering Primoz's ongoing recovery process, the signals he sends here are super good. We still have some work to do, but we are on the right track."

Here's the Catalonia report from third-place Giulio Ciccone's Team Trek-Segafredo:

Giulio Ciccone sprinted to third place, and took some valuable bonus seconds on the line, on stage three of Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.

After being supported by his teammates all day, the stage predictably came down to the final climb to the top of La Molina and while he wasn’t able to go with the move of Remco Evenepoel (Soudal – Quick Step) and Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo Visma), Ciccone continued to fight hard and, in the end, was the ‘best of the rest’ 13 seconds back.

Cicco’s Reaction:
“It was a really fast stage right from the start. It was also a really really hard stage. Almost 4000 meters of altitude. We went fast but we were always there together and knew things were under control. On the second last climb, the long climb, they [Quickstep] were already setting a really hard tempo and we tried to manage our energy. Then in the final, when I understood I was not able to follow Evenepoel and Roglic, I started to think about the bonus seconds available in the sprint for third on the line. The tempo was already really fast for about five minutes before they attacked so I think we [the group behind] were already on the limit so we all just tried to continue with our own tempo. Today they were on another level but I think in the end, we can be happy. We did a really good job. We are fighting with the big names, we are there and we can be proud.”

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And here's the Catalonia Tour report from fourth-place Jai Hindley's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

180.6km between Olost and La Molina, three categorised climbs and, just like yesterday, a mountain finish made for yet another tough day in the Pyrenees on Stage 3 of the Volta a Catalunya. The stage win came down to the final two kilometres of the last climb. Only Primoz Roglič was able to follow Remco Evenepoel's decisive attack. 15 seconds behind, Cian Uijtdebroeks and Jai Hindley fought for positions on the stage and in the overall classification. With the victory of Remco Evenepoel, Hindley crossed the finish line in 4th, Uijtdebroeks secured his next top 10 result and finished in 8th. In the overall standings, Jai Hindley moved up to 6th, while Cian Uijtdebroeks consolidated 9th place.

Fourth-place Jai Hindley earlier this year at the Tour Down Under. Sirotti photo

From the Finish Line:
“It was a really tough day with long climbs and the mountain finish in La Molina. Once again the guys did an amazing job looking after us, so a big shoutout to them! It was already a pretty select group that went over the penultimate climb, approaching the final ascent Toni Palzer did a perfect lead out, and from there it was full gas to the finish. Roglič and Evenepoel are on another level here, it’s really hard to follow them. Ultimately I’m happy with my shape, even though the podium would have been nice today. But step by step, there are still a few hard days to come.” Jai Hindley

“We just missed out on the podium today, but we're still very happy with the results of Jai Hindley and our young Cian Uijtdebroeks. Looking at the GC, we were able to move up one spot with Jai, a trend we want to keep over the next few days. Anton Palzer performed very well today, he crossed the penultimate and most difficult climb within the very reduced group of top riders and was able to put in some important work for our captains on the approach to the final climb. There could be an opportunity for a breakaway tomorrow before another tough mountain finish on Friday.” Christian Pömer, Sports Director

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Coppi-Bartali Week stage two team reports

We posted the report from new GC leader Mauro Schmid's Team Soudal Quick-Step with the results.

Here is the report from stage winner Sean Quinn's Team EF Education-EasyPost:

Sean Quinn took his first pro win on stage two of Coppi e Bartali putting in an amazing ride along with teammate James Shaw in the closing stages of the race.

“It's quite a relief to get this first win to be honest,” said Sean. “I’ve missed out on a few opportunities in the past, so it feels great to finally get that win.”

Sean Quinn wins a big one. Sirotti photo

The second stage of Coppi e Bartali was not one for the faint of heart. With 172.5km from Riccione to Longiano, the stage included four challenging laps on a finishing circuit that featured climbs on the Roncofreddo (6.8km at 3.6%) and Bivio Monteleone, and a finishing climb atop Muro del Belvedere (900m at 10.5%) in Longiano.

“The whole team rode super well,” said the 22-year-old American. “We had seven guys in the last 50 kilometers. And then Mark and Georg set us up in a really good position. With about 20k left, James Shaw and I followed a move and all of a sudden, we realized we had a huge gap and the guys in the group behind kept saying on the radio ‘no one's chasing. It's looking good. Keep going, guys.’"

Sean and James were part of a small group of riders that went clear of the bunch on the finishing circuits. They quickly built up a healthy lead over the chasing peloton behind with Sean setting a strong tempo on the climbs and James pushing the pace on the flats. With one lap remaining, it was anyone's race and Sean knew it was going to be a tactical finish.

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On the final climb up the Muro del Belvedere, both Sean and James got distance from the leaders – Mauro Schmid (Soudal-QuickStep), Walter Calzoni (Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team) – but they gritted their teeth and slowly closed the gap. As soon as they were back together, with only a few hundred meters to go, Sean knew the stage was his. He went straight to the front and, as soon as he could see the finish, launched his sprint, taking the win in dominant fashion.

“When the two guys attacked on the final climb and got a little bit of a gap on James and I knew we could come back in the last few hundred meters,” said Sean. “I've been in situations like that before, where you just go overboard too early. And maybe I could have followed him at first. But I trusted that I had the legs and that I could come back a bit later. But it was hard. I had to suffer a bit.”

Sean has turned heads ever since he entered the WorldTour last year and we knew it was a matter of time before he got his first pro win.

“Winning is nothing without the people around you,” said Sean after the finish. “I just want to say a huge thank you to the team, the staff, my teammates and everyone who has supported me throughout the low points over the last couple of years.”

It was an amazing display of teamwork and determination from our guys in Italy. With three more stages to go, Sean now sits in second overall, with James Shaw, Mark Padun and Stefan de Bod behind him all in the top ten as well.

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