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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, September 1, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants. - Isaac Newton

Story of the Giro d'Italia volume 2

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Giro d'Italia, A Year-by-Year History of the Tour of Italy, Vol 2: 1971 - 2011 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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Vuelta a España stage six team reports

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

Here's the stage six report from stage winner Sepp Kuss' Team Jumbo-Visma:

Sepp Kuss has won the sixth stage of the Vuelta a España. The American rider of Team Jumbo-Visma crossed the line alone on the summit of the Pico del Buitre. Leaders Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic also attacked behind him, and both managed to gain time.

"The Vuelta a España has always been an exceptional race for me”, Kuss beamed. "I felt super strong all day. It's fantastic to finish like this after all the hard work of my teammates. It's not often that I win a stage, but when it happens, it's a great feeling.”

Sepp Kuss takes a brilliant solo win. Sirotti photo

The 28-year-old referred to the tactics of the Dutch team. After tens of kilometres, Dylan van Baarle, Jan Tratnik and Attila Valter joined Kuss in the lead group of around forty riders. "We wanted to try and put pressure on Remco Evenepoel and Soudal-Quick Step. We knew it was going to be a difficult day to control. Dylan, Jan and Attila rode brilliantly. I have to thank them for all their hard work. For me, it was just a matter of finding out when to make the final gap", Kuss said.

A few minutes behind the American, Roglic and Vingegaard attacked together on the steep final climb, gaining over half a minute on the red jersey wearer Evenepoel. "The legs were much better today. We still have a long way to go, but today was a good day. I enjoyed it”, Roglic said.

Vingegaard, co-leader of Team Jumbo-Visma in the Spanish stage race, was also pleased with his team's tactics and praised his teammate Kuss. "He's a great guy. He deserves this after everything he has done for the team in the past. A great stage win."

"I enjoy riding for both guys, but of course, it's great to win for yourself, too”, Kuss said. "I heard on the radio that our leaders were very strong today. Because we were in the lead group with four riders, I could stay in front. A perfect day."

Sportive director Merijn Zeeman spoke of a dream scenario. "The victory for Sepp and time gains for our leaders. It doesn't get any better than that. I am so proud of the whole team; it was a team effort.”

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Here's the Vuelta report from Remco Evenepoel's Team Soudal Quick-Step:

Remco Evenepoel made sure of limiting the losses after an insane day of racing which culminated in a ruthless climb that, as expected, led to some noticeable changes in the general classification, which our rider was leading at the start of stage six.

Crashes, splits in the peloton, countless attacks, abandons – including one of Andrea Bagioli – all these happened in the first hour of racing Thursday afternoon. An incredibly high pace meant that all the breakaway attempts were doomed from the start in the first 50 kilometers of the stage, but once things calmed down a bit, a massive 42-man group got away and put a maximum gap of seven minutes between them and the bunch.

Soudal Quick-Step had Mattia Cattaneo and Louis Vervaeke there, and they both proved of great help on the final climb, where they dropped down from the break to work for Remco Evenepoel. When the going got tough and attacks started flying from all over the place with four kilometers remaining, the Belgian Champion initially relied on the Italian to guide him, before taking matters into his own hands and going at a steady tempo on the steep double-digit gradients of Pico del Buitre.

Remaining calm in these tough moments allowed Evenepoel to limit the losses, which at one point were close to 50 seconds, and conclude the stage only half a minute behind his main rivals, thus keeping a small advantage over them in the overall standings.

Remco Evenepoel finishes stage six. Sirotti photo

“I felt good, but I just couldn’t match the others when they went. I am glad I could limit the damage, riding at my own pace and making a controlled effort. I didn’t have the best legs today, it’s something that happens in cycling, but at least I could find a good tempo in the final kilometers and could even accelerate a bit at one point. Hopefully, this was my bad race of this race”, Remco said at the finish.

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Here's the Vuelta report from UAE Team Emirates:

Marc Soler fought to 5th place on the first major mountain test on stage 6 of this years Vuelta España.

The climber stuck with the high quality break of the day from La Vall d’Uixó to Observatorio Astrofísico de Javalambre (183.1km) which featured over 4,000 metres of vertical climbing and was won by Sepp Kuss (Jumbo Visma).

Within 15km of the stage there was a mass pile up in the peloton with Jay Vine affected and going down hard. The Australian suffered contusions to his left elbow and was taken to a nearby hospital, sadly unable to continue the race.

Meanwhile Juan Ayuso & Joao Almeida gained time on some of their GC rivals while finishing just 7’’ and 14’’ respectively behind the Jumbo Visma duo of Roglic and Vingegaard.

Juan Ayuso finishes stage six. Sirotti photo

Soler: “I entered the breakaway with the idea of patrolling the front and dropping back to help Juan if needed behind. I didn’t have the legs to go for the stage but the most important today was that Juan finished close to the main rivals, which he did. Above all I hope that Jay Vine is feeling better after the crash he had.”

Ayuso: “It was a brutally hard stage, which was flat out from start to finish with what seemed like constant attacks. Roglic attacked first quite strongly and Vingenegaard followed after and instead of reacting and risking blowing up I kept my rhythm and fought my way back and managed to almost lose no time. It was a very very hard stage.”

Tomorrow’s stage from Utiel to Oliva (200.8km) will likely see another chance for the sprinters.

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And here's the report from Team dsm-firmenich:

After a fierce day of racing in the breakaway, Romain Bardet summited the Observatorio Astrofísico de Javalambre in a strong third place this afternoon at the Vuelta a España.

Leaving the town of La Vall d’Uixó there was a sense in the peloton that it could be a day for the breakaway to fight for the stage win and as a result an infernal opening two hours of action unfolded. Attack after attack went at the head of the peloton with Team dsm-firmenich making sure they were represented in any larger and more dangerous looking moves, using their energy wisely.

Eventually after roughly 60 kilometres of racing a group of around 40 riders had detached itself from the main peloton, with Max Poole and Bardet making the split for the team. Unfortunately in the meantime, Lorenzo Milesi and Romain Combaud were involved in a crash within the peloton, with Milesi ultimately abandoning the race.

The breakaway’s advantage quickly grew to almost seven minutes, which started a frantic chase in the peloton. As a result, the pace remained high for the remained of the day and in particular the closing 50 kilometres. In the break Bardet and Poole contributed early on but when it then became a battle between the GC riders represented there and those in the peloton, they tucked in and focused on the finish climb.

With all said and done as they took on the lower slopes of the climbs, the break held onto enough of an advantage to fight for the win. Poole helped Bardet early on as some of the other teams set a really strong pace and shredded the bunch. Countering a dangerous attack, Bardet launch clear and formed a strong quartet out front before eventual stage winner Kuss put in his own attack. Riding alongside Martinez, Bardet fought all the way to the line and claimed a strong third place come the summit of the mountain.

Bardet expressed: “It was a big day out today. It was a hard fight to go into the break today and in the end it was a big move. It was really good to be in there with Max in the front. I felt good on the stage but just got beaten by a stronger guy in the end. We can have no regrets, but I’m already looking forward for the next opportunities.”

Team dsm-firmenich coach Phil West added: "It was a mixed day for us. We’re really happy with how the lads rode. We set off with a goal to try and be in the right break with Romain, Max, Chris, Lorenzo – guys who can go the distance and fight it out on a final like this. It took a long time for the break to go, with lots of moves coming and going, but we were always there present and correct. Unfortunately, at a certain moment there was a crash which Lorenzo and Romain [Combaud] were both involved in and Lorenzo had to abandon the race, so we will wait for further information on that after he’s had some scans and checks.

"From there in the race, we had Max and Romain in the big break and in the final selection. When things were splitting earlier they made sure that one of them was always in the front which was good. In the end they were able to go into the fight for the win and we ended with Romain in third. Of course it’s a shame to lose another guy in a crash with Lorenzo, but we’re continuing in a good way here so we’ll go for it again tomorrow."

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