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Saturday, September 9, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity. - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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 thirteen reports

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

Here's the Vuelta report from stage winner Jonas Vingegaard's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Jonas Vingegaard has won the 13th stage of the Vuelta a España in superior fashion. The 26-year-old Dane of Team Jumbo-Visma rode solo to victory on the flanks of the Tourmalet after clever team play. Sepp Kuss, leader of the general classification, and Primoz Roglic finished second and third, respectively. The trio of Jumbo-Visma currently holds the top three spots in the overall classification.

Jonas Vingegaard racing up the Tourmalet to the finish. Sirotti photo

“I’m proud and over the moon”, an emotional Vingegaard said. “I can’t imagine a better day. My little daughter Frida is celebrating her birthday today. So I wanted to win the stage. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there, but I’m hoping this will more than make up for it. This victory is for her.”

Team Jumbo-Visma set the pace at the start of the stage. On the climb to the Col d’Aubisque, several riders got into trouble. Eventually, an elite group reached the Col du Tourmalet. Following a good team effort, Vingegaard launched an attack, and the two-time Tour winner rode solo to his maiden Vuelta stage victory. Kuss and Roglic completed the Jumbo-Visma success by finishing second and third, half a minute behind their teammate.

“We had our sights set on this stage”, Vingegaard said. “We wanted to gain time on the competition, which we managed to do. Then, finishing first, second, and third makes it really unique. We now have three team members in the top three in the overall standings. It’s perfect in every way. Our goal is to win the Vuelta. At the moment, it looks promising.”

Despite being happy with the stage victory, sports director Marc Reef recommended restraint. “First of all, my compliments to Robert Gesink. He controlled the pace from the first climb. He was very valuable today. After that, the guys were exceptional. But each stage demands that we remain focused. We still have a long way to go, though we are already in a better place than yesterday. Today’s 1-2-3 is exceptional. We will celebrate that tonight.”

Kuss retained the red jersey. The 28-year-old American leads teammates Roglic and Vingegaard by over a minute and a half. “It was a dream scenario. We are thrilled with the way we used our collective strength today. We are in a good position, but tomorrow is another tough mountain stage. It’s up to us to keep doing well.”

As of today, Team Jumbo-Visma has 58 victories this year. It was Vingegaard’s 14th win of the season.

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Here's the Vuelta report from fourth-place Juan Ayuso's UAE Team Emirates:

Juan Ayuso put in a show of attrition to climb to 4th place on stage 13 of the Vuelta España from Formigal. Huesca la Magia to Col du Tourmalet (134.7km).
Jumbo Visma stole the show to take a 1-2-3 on the stage win by Jonas Vingegaard as his teammate Sepp Kuss retains the lead.

Riders climb the Tourmalet to the finish. Sirotti photo

Ayuso now moves into the lead of the young riders classification and up to 4th place on GC at 2’37”. Marc Soler and Joao Almeida both drop a few places to stand 6th and 10th respectively.

Ayuso: “It was a crazy day and was very explosive, I think I’ve never ridden a stage like this. I was speaking with Sepp Kuss and he said it was like a Tour de France style stage , even though I’ve never done the Tour I can kind of understand what he meant by it. At the start I didn’t feel great from the crash yesterday but I felt better and better as the stage went on. I think tomorrow I should be even a bit better to try and make the race hard. At the end I was pulling with Enric and we were just trying to work a bit together against Jumbo. Last year I wore the white jersey but I hadn’t earned it because I was just wearing it for Remco so this year it feels good to have actually earned it.”

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And here's the Vuelta report from Lenny Martinez's Team Groupama-FDJ:

For the first time since the start of the Vuelta, Lenny Martinez really struggled. It must be said that stage 13 across theFrench Pyrenees was considered as the race’s queen stage. After three major climbs, including the final one up to the Col du Tourmalet, the young climber from Groupama-FDJ reached the finish in eighteenth place, more than eight minutes behind the winner Jonas Vingegaard. He thereforelost his spot in the top 10 overall and is now fourteenth, more than ten minutes behind the red jersey Sepp Kuss. Alongside him for a while, Michael Storer received the combativity prizeafter coming first on the Aubisque and Spandelles climbs.

Lenny Martinez climbing to the finish. Sirotti photo

For many, the peloton was tackling the queen stage of the 78th Vuelta on Friday. One thing was certain, the day’s monstrousmenu didn’t allow any weakness: more than 4200 meters of elevation gain were concentrated in just 134 kilometres, therefore offering a metres of climbing per kilometre ratiorarely seen before. Although the stage mainly took place in France, the start was in Spain, in the Puerto de Portalet, shortly before the border. The fight for the breakaway began from this climb, Michael Storer followed a few moves, but the distance (4.4 km) and the gradients (5.4%) proved not enoughto make a difference. The peloton was therefore almost full when starting a very long descent towards Laruns, where the race resumed hard with the Col d’Aubisque (16.5 km at 7%).

Numerous attacks occurred, and Michael Storer once again managed to join a group of around twenty riders halfway through the climb. In the meantime, the peloton broke up, and Lenny Martinez was often seen at the back. “I made the mistake of being a little behind,” he explained. “Then, I didn’t want to move up too fast because the tempo was high, so I went up little by little.” The young climber therefore never lost contact, and even managed to follow when Jumbo-Visma accelerated five kilometres from the summit, after Joao Almeida and especially Remco Evenepoel dropped.

The red jersey group was then reduced to around thirty riders and caught the leading group, while Lenny Martinez was still supported by Rudy Molard, right up there despite his crash the day before. “The stage started quite well for us,” said Benoît Vaugrenard. “Rudy was impressive, and Michael was strong as well.” As the summit approached, the Australian went on the attack again, dropped off a few men and took first place at the top of the Col d’Aubisque. He was brought back further up the road due to a high tempo set by the pack on the descent. Four men, including Mikel Landa, Sepp Kuss and Jonas Vingegaard even took a gap before starting the Col de Spandelles (10.5 km at 8%). It led to a huge selection right at the bottom.

The big favorites started to accelerate, Lenny Martinez lost a few metres but didn’t crack. The Groupama-FDJ leader bravely managed to come back to a group of around twenty men six kilometres from the summit, but he struggled again some three kilometres further. After returning to the group, Michael Storer managed to hold the pace and even attacked 1500 metres before the top to secure maximum points in the mountain classification. He did come first, virtually took the best climber’s jersey and then waited for the rest of the group.
As for Lenny Martinez, he limited his losses and crossed the top of this penultimate climb twenty seconds behind the best.

“It wasn’t an easy day,” he said. “I had chills and cold in the Col de Spandelles. I held on, and then came back in the downhill.” The French rider managed to bridge across before the twenty flat kilometres leading to the bottom of the Col du Tourmalet (18.8 km at 7.4%) and tried to recover as best as possible. Unfortunately, this was not enough, and after just one kilometre of climbing in the Pyrenean Giant, he had to let the group go. “Physically, Lenny was empty, he had nothing left,” Benoît commented. “He managed to fight but it was difficult. He finished as best he could with Michael.”

The Australian climber took on the domestique role for his young teammate, and therefore worked for him for part of the climb before Lenny Martinez finished alone in eighteenth place, 8’25 behind the winner Jonas Vingegaard. “I knew at the bottom of the Tourmalet that my legs and body were empty,”said Lenny. “Thanks to Michael, I had a wheel to hold on to. He helped me a lot and I finished as best I could. I had nothing left, but I had to fight to the end after all the work done by my teammates over the past two weeks.”

If some riders experienced bigger disappointments on Friday, the Frenchman still lost nine places overall, now sitting infourteenth position. “It’s a bad day, but he fought well and that’s part of his learning experience,” noted Benoît. “He is young, and it is through difficulty that you learn best. We will now take stock and see what we can do for the rest of the Vuelta”.

Due to Jonas Vingegaard’s victory, Michael Storer didn’t collect the best climber’s jersey, but he did however win the most combative prize. All the Groupama-FDJ riders also finished on time at the top of the Col du Tourmalet andwill set off again tomorrow for another big mountain day. “They are very tired,” added Benoît. “The time limit was low,and they had to fight until the end. It was a very tough stage.”Saturday, they will have to do it all over again with three climbs and 4600 meters of elevation gain towards Larra-Belagua.

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And here's the Vuelta report from Team INEOS Grenadiers:

INEOS Grenadiers held their fire on what proved to be one of the toughest tests to date in La Vuelta.

Geraint Thomas put in some early digs to try and form a breakaway, on the second of the stage's four climbs, with Jonathan Castroviejo also active.

However, it soon became clear that the GC teams would not let a group go clear, with an infernal pace being set all afternoon.

As such, the Grenadiers dropped back, saving their energy for another day, while the GC men fought between themselves for the stage.

Climbing the Tourmalet. Sirotti photo

Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) took the victory, with team-mate Sepp Kuss remaining in the red jersey.

Over in the Tour of Britain, the Grenadiers were well positioned in the finale, avoiding a crash with under two kilometres to go.

Tom Pidcock would sprint to ninth, with Magnus Sheffield up there in 12th. With the GC still razor-close, Pidcock moved up to fifth overall, with stage placings deciding much of the top 50 riders. Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) still holds a slender three-second lead ahead of a final weekend which should shake up the standings.

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