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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, September 13, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

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Vuelta a España stage 16 team reports

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

Here's the report from stage winner Jonas Vinegaard's team Jumbo-Visma:

Vingegaard dedicates emotional Vuelta win to friend Nathan Van Hooydonck.

On a day when Team Jumbo-Visma was torn between joy and grief, Jonas Vingegaard won his second stage of the Vuelta.

Van Hooydonck became unwell in his car in his native Belgium this morning and was involved in a traffic accident. Considering the circumstances, he is doing well.

[Ed: Here's a link to the story about van Hooydonck in The Guardian newspaper]

The final climb of stage 16 of the Vuelta was a tough one, with about five kilometres of climbing at an average gradient of almost nine percent. Vingegaard surged ahead of a depleted peloton on one of the climbs, which had gradients of up to fifteen percent. Nobody seemed to be able to stop the Jumbo-Visma rider from taking his second victory in this Tour of Spain. Vingegaard's time gain allowed him to overtake his teammate Primoz Roglic in the general classification. Sepp Kuss remained in the lead.

Jonas Vingegaard wins stage 16. Sirotti photo.

"I would like to dedicate this victory to my best friend”, said an emotional Vingegaard, referring to Van Hooydonck. "We heard the news just before the start this morning. On days like this, it's not easy to keep the focus on cycling. I knew that I wanted to win for Nathan. I am happy with this win, but my thoughts are with him. I hope Nathan will be back to his old self soon. He always sacrifices himself for others. He and I have spent a lot of time together over the past few years, and I've built up a good relationship with him. He is always there for me. I hope that Nathan and his wife will be all right soon.”

Classification leader Kuss, when asked afterwards, discussed today’s stage. "Jonas attacked at the perfect moment. You could see that very few riders were able to stop his attack. Primoz and I then decided to defuse any counter-attacks in the group of favourites. All three of us have the freedom to attack. The main goal is to take the red jersey to Madrid with the team next Sunday. Tomorrow will be much less tactical. The climb to the top of the Angliru is tough, and it will all come down to who is the strongest. Hopefully, my legs will be fine.”

With his 15th victory of the year, the Dane - who, like Kuss and Roglic, had previously won a stage this Vuelta - gave his team their fourth victory in the current edition of the Spanish grand tour. This takes the Dutch squad's season tally to sixty victories.

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Here's the Vuelta report from second-place Finn Fisher-Black's UAE Team Emirates:

Finn Fisher Black took his biggest result on Grand Tour debut, with a confident 2nd place on stage 16 of the Vuelta España.

The 21 year-old rider jumped away from an elite group in the final kilometres in pursuit of lone leader Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) who took the stage and sits second in the overall classification on the hilly finale Liencres Playa to Bejes (120.1km).

Juan Ayuso crossed the line in 5th place at 1’01’’ and holds 4th places GC.

Finn Fisher-Black finishes second. Sirotti photo

Finn Fisher Black: “When Jonas attacked my idea was to go to the front and push the group on. When I looked back the group wasn’t there so the DS told me to push and and try and catch. It’s a nice personal result for me but the main goal over the next days is to help the guys for the GC.”

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Here's the Vuelta stage 16 report from Team dsm-firmenich:

Team dsm-firmenich fought hard for the breakaway of the 16th stage of La Vuelta with Max Poole and Romain Bardet showing themselves in the breakaway.

After Vuelta’s second rest day on Monday, the peloton rolled out from Liencres Playa for stage 16 on a mostly flat parcours, knowing a punchy kicker awaited them in the deep finale.

A fast and furious start saw multiple attacks in the bunch with Team dsm-firmenich ensuring they were present in any dangerous move. Eventually, after almost 10 kilometres of action a group of around ten riders went clear, with Romain Bardet and Max Poole riding strongly to make the early split. The gap – however – hovered only between fifteen and forty seconds, as several teams who missed the break chased them down. Being brought back after forty kilometres, the game started all over again. Bardet tried his luck another time, but a break with Poole eventually managed to go clear. Their lead however was kept on a tight leash by GC teams, not getting more than a one-and-a-half-minute advantage over the peloton.

Despite Poole riding strongly, the break’s advantage decreased slowly and was caught as the race came into the final ten kilometres. With Vingegaard taking the win ahead, Poole joined the rest of the team, still having to fight the stinging gradients on the run to the line after which all crossed the line safely.

Romain Bardet before the start of stage seven. Sirotti photo

After the stage, Poole stated: “It was a pretty hard day. Romain and I made it into the early front group, which got a good gap. Unfortunately, some teams behind didn’t let us go and closed the gap. Then, I started jumping again and bridged to a couple of guys. But in the end, we just didn’t get a rope and were brought back before the final climb. Despite we have no result, I think it was a good effort and strong teamwork as we’re going into the final week”.

Team dsm-firmenich coach Phil West added: “We set out for an aggressive race and to be in the breakaway with numbers. As a team we did a really good job today, but as the fight went on longer then it opened an opportunity for the GC teams to control and also go for the Stage. In the end we conserved energy and look forward to another fight tomorrow. Although no result to speak of today, I’m really happy with the level of team work we have here and look forward to the coming stages”

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And here is the report from Remco Evenepoel's Team Soudal Quick-Step:

The final week of the season’s last Grand Tour resumed Tuesday afternoon with a short stage, just 120 kilometers in length from Liencres Playa to Bejes, where a 4.8km climb averaging 8.8% was supposed to serve as an appetizer for the high mountains that are still to come before Madrid.

On paper, it was a day suited to a breakaway, that’s why dozens of riders tried to book their place in one. Early in the stage, with some help from Remco Evenepoel, Louis Vervaeke joined a strong six-man move, but with their maximum gap hitting just 40 seconds, the peloton had no trouble in bringing them back.

Soudal Quick-Step continued to remain active, this time with Mattia Cattaneo, the Italian joining with 80 kilometers to go a move that looked promising. At one point, they managed to take their advantage close to two minutes, but a change of pace at the front of the bunch spelled the end of their hopes before the ascent, where Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) attacked and took the win.

Remco Evenepoel remains in the KOM jersey. Sirotti photo

Remco Evenepoel remained in the KOM jersey, and will carry a 30-point advantage over his closest opponent during Wednesday’s stage to the mythical Angliru, which returns after three years.

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