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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. - Arthur Schopenhauer

Melanoma: It Started with a Freckle

David L. Stanley's masterful telling of his bout with skin cancer Melanoma: It Started with a Freckle is available in print, Kindle eBook and audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Giro d'Italia stage three team race reports

We posted the report from stage winner Michael Matthews' Team Jayco AlUla with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Mads Pedersen's Team Trek-Segafredo:

In the third day of the Corsa Rosa Pedersen sprinted to second. “I feel sorry I couldn’t give the win to repay the strong effort of my teammates.”
In the first real chance that the Giro d’Italia offered him, Mads Pedersen came very close to success. On the finish line in Melfi, the third stage of the Corsa Rosa, the Trek-Segafredo captain placed second in the sprint with Matthews (Jayco-Alula), the winner, and Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck), in third.

Second-place Mads Pedersen is on the far right of the picture. Sirotti photo

Pedersen’s regret is related, above all, to the great performance of the team in making the race and supporting him in an exemplary manner in the most critical moments, especially in the finale.

After the generous work of Otto Vergaerde in the first part of the race, pulling the peloton and keeping the breakaway under control, the race got to the heart approaching the 3rd and 4th category KOMs. A brutal selection, initiated by Tesfatsion and Ghebreigzabhier significantly reduced the group and dropped many sprinters. On the last kick, Mads also paid the price for the effort, but then managed to come back thanks to the work of his teammates.

At the end, the sprint.

Mads’ Reaction:
"The team did really well today. We had a plan and we did what we had to to make it reality. We had to keep the situation under control in the first part and then, on the climbs, to go hard to drop some sprinters. Jayco-Alula had the same idea, they also went hard on the climbs in favor of Matthews.

"It was definitely not easy during that part of the race, I suffered a lot on the last climb and I got dropped, but in the end thanks to the super work of my teammates, we managed quite well to come back in the first group. From that moment on we rode very well, keeping the first positions in the downhill and taking the lead in the final kilometer. It was an amazing work from Amanuel, Toms and Bauke in a not so easy situation, with wet roads. Then, after the last turn, looking back to the sprint, I did a little mistake hesitating a bit too long when Matthews launched."

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Here's the Giro report from GC leader Remco Evenepoel's Team Soudal Quick-Step:

Remco Evenepoel didn’t have any problems when it came to retaining the maglia rosa at the end of Monday’s long stage from Vasto to Melfi, which concluded with a small bunch sprint. The day was a pretty straightforward one, with just two classified climbs in the final part and some rain that made the riders extra attentive on the final descent.

Soudal Quick-Step controlled matters with Mattia Cattaneo and Louis Vervaeke, who then led out Remco at the intermediate sprint in Rapolla. The World Champion was first there, snatching three bonus seconds that helped him increase his margin over the closest opponent in the general classification to more than half a minute. From there on, the sprinters’ teams moved to the front and kept setting the tempo until the end, where Michael Matthews (Jayco-Alula) took the win.

Just after stage three. Remco Evenepoel will start stage four in pink. Sirotti photo

“Everything went well today. The stage wasn’t hard and I had a very strong squad by my side the entire time. On the descent, which was wet and tricky, I wanted to have my teammates at the front, setting the tempo as we took on those narrow roads, and they did a great job. It wasn’t my plan at the start of the day to sprint for bonifications, but since I was there I decided to do it, because it didn’t cost me any energy”, said Evenepoel after the stage that brought him a third consecutive pink jersey.

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And here’s the Giro report from Primoz Roglic’s Team Jumbo-Visma:

Primoz Roglic has come through the treacherous final of the third stage of the Giro d'Italia unscathed. He sprinted to seventh place after two climbs and a slippery descent in the rain. Michael Matthews took the win.

The peloton on its way to the finish city of Melfi. Sirotti photo

The 213-kilometre stage got off to a slow start, with two escapees taking the lead for a while. Team Jumbo-Visma did not worry too much and ensured that leader Roglic was always at the front of the peloton.

It was only in the hilly finale towards Melfi that the race broke open. Several teams set the pace on the two categorised climbs, forcing many riders to let go in the rain. Roglic diligently maintained the lead on the ascents and descents while his teammates led him to the uphill finish.

The Slovenian was grateful for his teammates' work. "It was important to cross the finish line in one piece", Roglic, the new number three in the GC, said. "We tried to get a good result, but that was not the main goal. If there were opportunities, we wanted to seize them. But with all the hectic, it's good that we stayed out of trouble."

Sports director Marc Reef: "I'm relieved since the last 50 kilometers were quite challenging, and the rain made the roads very slippery. We finished on a good note because Primoz finished in one piece."

"We expected the strong sprinters to go for the win here", said Reef. "But because of the weather, it was a bit more hectic than expected. Michel Hessmann and Koen Bouwman assisted Primoz well and tried to guide him to a good classification."

Reef anticipates action on the first mountain stage to Lago Laceno tomorrow. "There are a lot of altimetres, and the finish is after a tricky climb. I expect the GC riders to put their rivals to the test. It will give us a better idea of how strong the competition is."

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Zdenêk Štybar undergoes surgery for iliac artery endofibrosis

Štybar’s Team Jayco-AlUla sent me this news:

37-year-old Zdenêk Štybar has undergone surgery for iliac artery endofibrosis, after a recent medical examination revealed the issue; a health problem which has become increasingly prevalent amongst professional cyclists in recent years.

The rider from the Czech Republic joined Team Jayco AlUla at the start of the 2023 season however, after performing below his personal expectations especially in the early season classics, a major goal of his, the diagnosis has shed light on the cause and given him the much needed answers to questions he has been searching for.

Zdenêk Štybar winning the 2019 E3 BinckBank Tour.

Late last week Štybar underwent surgery which was a success, and the former cyclocross world champion has already begun his steady road to recovery.

With a lot of self motivation and a positive mindset, the Australian outfit is confident in being able to welcome Štybar back into the team environment soon. It can be a bumpy road back to full strength but the team pleased with his decision to keep fighting, to give himself the opportunity to enjoy more racing with Team Jayco AlUla and the chance to end his career on his own terms, whenever that may be.

Zdenêk Štybar:
“For me it was so weird that I was under-performing. I thought my shape should be good and I did everything well, the winter was good, and I thought that probably the low performance was because of Covid that I had at the end of February, just before opening weekend.

"Then during the races like Flanders, I thought that this must be something else, not just a lack of condition. I even thought it could be the age, maybe I just couldn’t follow anymore, but I still couldn’t believe that was the case.

"We made a check in the hospital for my iliac arteries, and it confirmed that they were kinking and that immediately explained everything for me, for the last three years of my career as to why I wasn’t on the level that I should be.

"I then faced the decision to operate and take the risk to not come back to racing, as of course the recovery period is a lot of time without the bike and the season is just starting. Or I had to decide to not operate and therefore end my career immediately.

"I thought to myself, I do not want to end my career this way and I want to give it a chance, even if I know it will be very tough. I also want to give something back to Team Jayco AlUla, I didn’t want to just race four months and then stop, that is not why I came into this team. I had to give it a chance, so I will stay very positive, and I wish that it will work out well, I will return to a good level and can still make something out of my career.

"We will see how the recovery goes, of course I have a great support team around me and people that I have had close to me for many years, and they helped me to make the decision and for that I am still very motivated to go on.”

We wish Zdenêk the best of luck with his recovery and look forward to seeing him back in the peloton.

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