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Friday, March 24, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell

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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Volta a Catalunya stage four team reports

We posted the report from third-place Corbin Strong's Team Israel-Premier Tech with the results.

Here is the report from GC second-place Remco Evenepoel's Team Soudal Quick-Step:

La Molina returned at the week-long World Tour race, less than twenty-fours after Remco Evenepoel triumphed there, but this time it featured in the first part of the stage, meaning its impact on the general classification was equal to zero. The only eventful thing to happen there was five riders forming a breakaway that remained off the front until four kilometers to go.

Soudal Quick-Step was one of the teams to take over the reins at the head of the peloton, especially in the last part of the stage, to protect Remco Evenepoel and deliver him safely home in Sabadell, which returned at the Volta a Catalunya for the first time in 22 years.

Kaden Groves wins Tour of Catalonia stage four.

Evenepoel concluded in the same time as winner Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Fenix) and remained on the overall podium of the race before the hardest summit finish of the race – Lo Port, a climb whose double-digit gradients are expected to bite and widen the gaps between the contenders.

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Here's the Catalonia stage four report from Team Groupama-FDJ:

The breakaway failed to get the better of the bunch on Thursday in the Volta a Catalunya. Kaden Groves therefore took stage 4 in a bunch sprint, as the Groupama-FDJ team did not experience a fully calm day.

Michael Storer had to leave his teammates before the start following his crash on day 1, and Matthieu Ladagnous also suffered a small crash along the way. Lenny Martinez still is fifteenth overall ahead of the decisive week’s third summit finish at Lo Port.

Less than twenty-four hours after finishing stage 3 at the top of La Molina, the riders started stage 4 of the Volta a Catalunya with the same climb on Thursday. Located after about ten kilometres, it looked like a perfect spot to create the day’s breakaway. The Groupama-FDJ team however took the start with only five riders. After Clément Davy’s withdrawal on Wednesday, Michael Storer was also forced to leave the event. “We were rather optimistic yesterday at the start, but in the end, it wasn’t better at the finish”, explained Jussi. “Following medical advice, we decided this morning together with Michael that he would not start. He will undergo additional exams following his crash”.

Despite being reduced, the team still tried to join the fight early. “We just named one man for the breakaway, and that was Bruno”, added Jussi. “We didn’t want to move right at the start, but only when approaching the top of La Molina. This is exactly what Bruno did. It wasn’t the good move eventually, even though he was with good riders. In the end, we don’t have regrets, because the group that went away after him was caught in the final”.

Although Roger Adrià (Equipo Kern Pharma), David de la Cruz (Astana-Premier Tech), Torstein Træen (Uno-X), Christopher Juul-Jensen (Jayco-AlUla) and Nans Peters (AG2R Citroën) succeeded in establishing the day’s breakaway, the bunch proved very careful and never left them a decent lead. They were eventually caught with six kilometres to go before an expected bunch sprint and the victory of Kaden Groves. “As for the team’s day, it was Lada who crashed this time, far from the finish”, noted Jussi. “It doesn’t look serious, but it’s still annoying… We’ve suffered a crash every day since the start of this Volta a Catalunya. The stage was also not that quiet. It was fast in La Molina, and actually fast all day on quite winding roads. The goal for Lenny was to save as much energy as possible prior to the summit finish scheduled tomorrow”.

The French climber finished safely in the peloton on Thursday, and therefore remains fifteenth in the general classification. “We thought that stage 3 would be the queen stage, with more than 4000 meters of elevation gain, but everything is still on the table and open”, completed Jussi. “It will be an important day for us tomorrow, and we hope it will suit Lenny more.”

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Coppi-Bartali Week stage three team reports

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

Here is the report from stage winner Ben Healy's Team EF Education-EasyPost:

Ben Healy claimed stage three of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali.

The Irishman claimed his first pro road win with our team. After matching the best climbers in the race on the last dirt-road climb of the circuit in Forlì, Emilia-Romagna, Ben and his teammate Mark Padun surged clear. The pink EF pair attacked over the final kicker with Italian veteran Domenico Pozzovivo in tow and held off their rivals all the way to the finish on the Glauco Servadei velodrome.

When the trio hit the boards for one decisive lap to finish their 21-kilometer break, Ben put his track skills to work and launched an explosive sprint to make it two wins in a row for our team in the Italian stage race. Sean Quinn won stage two yesterday in Longiano.

Ben Healy beats Domenico Pozzovivo for the stage win. Sirotti photo

“It was a pretty chaotic day and not what we would have expected to be honest. There was a crash pretty early on...and from then on it was my job to mark a lot of the early moves. I had super good legs today. We just came to the final climb today and I could feel it in the legs. I had it so I gave it a go and Mark and Domenico came with me. We pushed all the way to the line. I wasn't sure I had the win until the very last moment when I crossed the line. When we got away on the last climb, I knew there was a good chance I could take the win,” Ben said.

Regarding his first professional win on the road, Ben said, "This win feels really good. Things are going well. We took the win yesterday with Quinn and I think all my hours on the turbo have paid off."

Our team is flying. Yesterday, Sean Quinn and James Shaw one-two'd the peloton in the finale, before Sean sprinted to his first professional victory. Today, it was Ben and Mark’s turn. Who is going to go for it tomorrow?

Stage four takes the peloton into the low mountains around Fiorano Modenese. The 170-km lap includes three categorized climbs and finishes on a hard, tricky circuit around the city. After his powerful ride for Ben today, Mark Padun knows he is in form. Mark is just 36 seconds back from the overall lead and will look for opportunities to go on the offensive. So will James Shaw, who is just 12 seconds out of the leader's shirt. Ben showed today that he is climbing very well, too. If he can get over the first category climb to Serramazzoni, he’ll be hard to beat.

The Irish TT champion also has his eyes on the 18.6-km time trial in Carpi that will close out the race. So does Mark.

"As a team, we have four riders in the top ten on GC so we'll want to figure out how to go into that TT with the leader's jersey and to keep it," he said.

But first, they are going to savor today’s victory with the rest of their teammates.

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Lotto Dstny’s Florian Vermeersch headed to E3 Saxo Classic

Here’s the team’s update:

After the Classic Brugge-De Panne, Lotto Dstny is preparing for the next race on the Belgian spring Classic list: E3 Saxo Classic. For many years, this one-day race on WorldTour level has been a good test towards the Ronde van Vlaanderen and this year is no different.

2022 winner Wout van Aert with Christophe Laporte on a break in the 2022 E3 Saxo Classic.

The course of the E3 Saxo Classic has barely changed. In just over 200 kilometres of racing, the peloton will face 17 hills and several cobbled sectors. At 40 kilometres from the line, the iconic duo Paterberg-Oude Kwaremont will shape the race even more towards its decisive scenario.

Lotto Dstny can count on a strong seven-man team that wants to leave its mark on the race. Jarrad Drizners, Pascal Eenkhoorn, Sébastien Grignard, Arjen Livyns, Michael Schwarzmann, Brent Van Moer and Florian Vermeersch will be at the start for the Belgian ProTeam. Florian Vermeersch will race the E3 Saxo Classic for the second time in his career. The 24-year-old has recovered from a crash at Bredene Koksijde Classic and now targets a nice performance at the E3 Prijs.

Florian Vermeersch: “The E3 Saxo Classic is a race that’s close to my heart and after a year of absence, I’m really happy to be back at the start in Harelbeke. Of course the crash at Bredene Koksijde Classic was far from ideal but luckily the consequences were limited and now I’m ready to race again.”

Vermeersch previews the race scenario of E3, in which he finished 16th last year.

“I expect quite a traditional E3 Prijs, meaning that we need to be attentive on the traditional important points in the race. Just like in the past Classic Brugge-De Panne we want to leave a mark on the race and go on the offensive. This is how we like to race at Lotto Dstny and that won’t be different in the coming period. Of course we will miss Victor Campenaerts in the upcoming Classics as he is a rider that can really make an impact on the race. But within Lotto Dstny, we still have plenty of cards to play who have already proven their good shape. We are really motivated to show us in the biggest spring Classics”, concludes Florian Vermeersch

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