EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday! – PezCycling News

EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!  PezCycling News

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Tao Geoghegan Hart gave INEOS Grenadiers another Grand Tour, winning the Giro d’Italia. All the results and videos from Italy and the Vuelta a España. David Brailsford happy – TOP STORY. Other cycling news: Contracts for Miguel Ángel López, Tim Wellens, Jelle Wallays, Ben O’Connor, Michael Valgren and Keegan Swirbul. Alpecin-Fenix not interested in Fabio Aru. Team news from Gazprom-RusVelo and Rally Cycling. Edgar Pinto suspended. Race news from Maryland, Berlin 6 Days and the Tour of Britain. Monday Grand Tour coffee time.


TOP STORY: David Brailsford: “We really raced this Giro and that is more fun”
Dave Brailsford, the top man at INEOS Grenadiers, saw Tao Geoghegan Hart win the 103rd edition of the Giro d’Italia. “What I especially liked is that we really raced offensively in this Giro. We race much more offensively now and that is more fun,” Brailsford was candid in conversation with Eurosport.

The British team started the Giro three weeks ago with a time trial victory by Filippo Ganna, but a few days later the team had to deal with a real blow with the withdrawal of GC leader Geraint Thomas. “That was a big disappointment, but Filippo then set the tone with a win in that hilly stage.”

“Then everyone thought: wow, that’s an incredible achievement! It inspired everyone and from that moment on all riders rode for stage victories. Tao just had to race and go for a classification.” The British team won no less than seven stages in this Giro, but Hart also turned out to be strong enough to compete for the overall Giro victory.

Brailsford: “Tao really grew in his role and he didn’t feel any pressure. Every day was an adventure and he got better and better. However, there was a moment in the race when he really came to believe in the overall victory. Tao once had the dream of becoming a professional cyclist. He left school at one point and now he just wins the Giro. It looks like a boys’ book.”

INEOS Grenadiers have won many cycling races in recent years with their ‘tactics’, but raced this Giro in a completely different way. “We always raced in a defensive way and won a lot with that approach, but now we race more offensively and that is more fun. Our team really raced and that is ultimately what it is all about. It’s also about how you win.”

“You can park the bus, but we all started cycling to race. It’s about the emotion of the sport. We are now writing a whole new story with the team,” Brailsford concludes.

Tao Geoghegan Hart, Dave Brailsford and Filippo Ganna:


Giro d’Italia 2020
Giro d’Italia Stage 18 saw the race blown apart over the Stelvio. At the line it was Jai Hindley who took the stage and his Sunweb teammate, Wilco Kelderman pulled on the leader’s pink jersey. There was also INEOS Grenadiers’ Tao Geoghegan Hart in second place on the stage and now third overall. The top three are all within 15 seconds.

The riders had to deal with the climbs of the Passo Castrin, the legendary Passo dello Stelvio and the final climb towards Lake Cancano. First the race went straight up from the start line to the top of the Campo Carlo Magno at 1,681 metres. A leading group of 24 riders soon formed and again Ben O’Connor was one of the driving forces. The pace was also very high in the peloton. The sprinters were soon dropped and the group of GC favourites only consisted of about twenty riders at the top of the Campo Carlo Magno. This group, with the main classification riders, managed to reconnect with the front riders on the descent. Six riders were still out front.

Daniel Navarro, Thomas De Gendt, Filippo Ganna, Stéphane Rossetto, Dario Cataldo and Fabio Felline managed to get a nice lead together. O’Connor smelt the danger and the stage winner on Madonna di Campiglio crossed together with Hector Carretero, Ben Swift and Alessandro Tonelli, just before turning up the Passo Castrin. Deceuninck – Quick-Step intended to make it a controlled stage, but still had to watch more and more riders jump to the leading group. KOM, Ruben Guerreiro put his EF Pro Cycling teammates on the front of the chasing group. The Portuguese saw his two biggest competitors (after Giovanni Visconti dropped out) for the mountain jersey, De Gendt and O’Connor, riding ahead.

The lead group: Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis), Thomas De Gendt and Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal), Filippo Ganna and Ben Swift (INEOS Grenadiers), Daniel Navarrro (Israel Start-Up Nation), Dario Cataldo, Sergio Samitier and Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), Fabio Felline (Astana), Louis Meintjes and Ben O’Connor (NTT Pro Cycling), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) and Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling). Sergio Samitier was the best placed rider in the leading group, just over 12 minutes from pink jersey João Almeida.

Guerreiro decided to make the leap himself and he took Matthew Holmes, Joe Dombrowski, Louis Meintjes, Sergio Samitier and Antonio Pedrero with him, so we had a leading group of fifteen on the descent of the Passo Castrin. De Gendt was the first to top the first category climb, ahead of Guerreiro. In the peloton, Sunweb took the initiative for Wilco Kelderman and Jai Hindley, but the difference to the leading group was now 2 minutes. After 50 slightly climbing kilometres, the lead had increased to about 4 minutes. At the front, the pace was increased by Louis Meintjes, who sacrificed himself for his teammate O’Connor. The South African climber managed to drop Thomas De Gendt. Ben O’Connor attacked and no one was able to follow the NTT rider. In the peloton, Sunweb rode hard for their leaders, so that the group was considerably reduced to twenty riders. After Chad Haga had done his work, it was Martijn Tusveld’s turn.

O’Connor rode further and further away from his fellow escapees and started the last fourteen steep kilometres of the Stelvio 2 minutes ahead. In the group of GC riders, Domenico Pozzovivo was in trouble as Oomen lifted the pace. Almeida was under considerable pressure. The Portuguese race leader was having problems 11 kilometres from the top of the Stelvio. Almeida’s teammate, Fausto Masnada, waited for him, but the group was getting smaller and smaller. INEOS Grenadiers who took over for Tao Geoghegan Hart. Rohan Dennis took to the front of the group and only Hart, Hindley and Kelderman were able to follow the Australian TT specialist. Nibali, Jakob Fuglsang, Rafal Majka all lost contact. It was vital for Kelderman to hang on, but the second on GC was ridden off the wheels on the steepest stretches of the Stelvio. Dennis, Hart and Hindley caught the lonely O’Connor, Kelderman tried to limit the damage. Almeida, who was fighting for his pink jersey, was now almost 2 minutes from Dennis, Hart and Hindley.

Dennis once more went deep and took Hart and Hindley in tow. Kelderman followed at half a minute, Pello Bilbao, Nibali and Fuglsang were at 1 minute and Almeida’s deficit grew towards 2:30. In the final kilometres of the Stelvio there were no more attacks, but the differences got bigger. Although Kelderman did manage to limit the damage to 40 seconds, making him the main candidate to take over the pink jersey from Almeida. With 37 kilometres to go, Rohan Dennis was the first to cross the top of the Stelvio, followed by Hart and Hindley on his wheel. In the fast and technical descent of the Stelvio, the three front riders lost some ground, but on the flatter kilometres towards the final climb of Torre di Fraele (9km at 6.8%), the astonishingly strong Dennis managed to take the lead again. Kelderman was all alone and now more than 1 minute down. Almeida’s pink dream had now been shattered: he was 4 minutes behind.

Hindley was beaten in the last intermediate sprint and saw Hart take a few important bonus seconds. Kelderman, was caught by Bilbao and Fuglsang and started the last climb of the day almost 2 minutes later. Hart had to do it all himself now, as the work of an impressive Dennis was finally done. Hart and Hindley started together to the finish, while Kelderman went through a crisis. The Dutchman had to let Fuglsang and Bilbao go, but managed to limit his gap to the two leaders to just over a minute and a half. At the front, Hart seemed to be heading to the stage win. Hindley wouldn’t come to the front as Kelderman was fighting for the pink jersey. Hart and Hindley rode together to the last kilometre and in the sprint for the stage victory, but Hindley had the freshest legs. Hart finished second, Pello Bilbao crossed the line third after a strong final climb. After the finish of Fuglsang, we were waiting for Kelderman.

The Dutchman turned out to have enough left at the finish. Kelderman took the pink jersey, although the difference with Hindley after eighteen stages is only 12 seconds. Hart followed at 15 seconds and still has a chance to win the Giro.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage report’ with photo gallery HERE.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Jai Hindley (Sunweb): “It’s incredible, I have always dreamed of a victory like this. Putting my hands in the air and crossing the line today was massive for me and my career. I still cannot believe it, hopefully, it’s the first of many. On the Stelvio, I was told to follow Tao. It’s probably not the way I like to race, but this is professional bike racing in the end. I am here to help Wilco win this Giro, he is the Maglia Rosa and the final ITT suits him. I know what he has been through in the past few years and how hard he’s worked to get back to this level, I respect him as a rider and as a person and I want him to win.”

Maglia Rosa and 5th on the stage, Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb): “Our plan was to go full gas all day and drop João Almeida on the Stelvio. That’s what we did but I could not follow the Ineos Grenadiers riders. Jai [Hindley] could. He also could have waited for me but the team had different plans. It means a lot to me to take the Maglia Rosa after having had a lot of broken bones. I’m really happy to be back. The fight isn’t over yet. Ineos is really strong but the final time trial is in my favour. I’m confident. I’ll try to do everything to win the Giro.”

2nd on the stage and 3rd overall, Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers): “We didn’t really have a specific gameplan going into the stage, other than to try and get one or even two guys up the road. It was a pretty tricky start but we achieved our first primary goal with Swifty and Filippo, first in the big move on the climb – and then when that came back together they managed to get away again – mainly because of Filippo really driving it and forcing the move. That was super impressive to see, no surprises there I have to say. We were happy to have them up there, knowing they would likely come back to us at some stage and be there if we needed them. Then it was just a case of seeing how it unfolded on the Stelvio, In the end I think Rohan basically rode 99% of the race off his wheel. It was super, super impressive. It was kind of tricky to know how the situation was behind and how everything would be after such a hard stage. Congrats to [Jai] for the win. He’s a super nice guy and a friend of mine. In hindsight it was a pretty crazy stage. We set out at the start of the day to take time and we did that. I can only really thank my teammates. I didn’t really do much in the end! It was 90% them I’d say. It’s really unexpected – especially if you look at how the first stage of the race was. I was pretty far behind after a few stages. We can almost smell Milan now so we’ll stay focused and see what happens.”

3rd on the stage and 4th overall, Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren): “The race was quite extreme, but perhaps it’s the best rhythm for me. I am not that fresh, but I can stand a good pace. I have to say a big thank you to Domen Novak who save my race together with all the team. Thanks to their believing me in the third week. It’s unbelievable to continue with this level after Tour de France. We just have 3 days more and it’s done. I am tired but still with the best motivation and a bit of energy. I have to concentrate until the end and make the best result as possible for GC.”

6th on the stage and 7th overall, “It was a big day! Unfortunately, I started suffering from the first climb and in the ascent to the Stelvio I decided to ride at my own pace and not go on the limit and risk even more. On the last climb, it got better, I had good power and I was able to distance some of the GC contenders. Overall, I think it was a good day for me. We have three more stages, including another climbing one and a time-trial, and we are done.” – Patrick Konrad

7th on the stage and 5th overall, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “Today was very hard. Others were stronger, I’m not yet at their level yet and there wasn’t too much I could do about it. I was pretty much on the limit halfway up the climb, so the only thing I could do was ride at my own pace. On the other hand, being in pink on the Stelvio was really special, despite losing first place on the GC. It was also every emotional, as my family and a couple of Portuguese fans were at the top cheering for me. I am a bit sad not having this iconic jersey anymore after more than two weeks, but at the same time happy of what I achieved and proud that I had such a great team by my side, which helped me live the pink dream. I don’t know what this race still holds for me until Milan, but I’m ready to do my best.”

11th on the stage and 10th overall, Rafal Majka (BORA-hansgrohe): “It wasn’t an easy stage for me, I wasn’t feeling well at all, from start to finish. I held on as much as I could and I gave my absolute best. The climbs on the Stelvio and then the one to the finish were really hard. I hope to recover for the remaining stages.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 18 Result:
1. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb in 6:03:03
2. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
3. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:46
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:25
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 2:18
6. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 4:04
7. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 4:51
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-McLaren
10. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 4:55.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 18:
1. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb in 77:46:56
2. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb at 0:12
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:15
4. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 1:19
5. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 2:16
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 3:59
7. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 5:40
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 5:47
9. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 6:46
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) BORA-hansgrohe at 7:28.

Giro’20 stage 18:

Stage 19 was shortened due to a rider strike. But Josef Cerny was a deserving winner, taking a Grand Tour stage for the soon to disappear CCC team. Victor Campenaerts (NTT) was second and Jacopo Mosca (Trek-Segafredo) third. Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) finished in the peloton to hold the overall lead.

Led by the cyclist union CPA, the riders had complained to the organisation about the length of the stage. The 258 kilometres that were on the program, in combination with the heavy rain, and after the very tough mountain stages of the last days. Giro boss Mauro Vegni changed tack because a number of riders threatened not to start and decided to shorten the stage. The riders were taken to Abbiategrasso by bus. From there, 124 kilometres had to be raced. It was a very remarkable day for new pink jersey Wilco Kelderman, but you didn’t hear the leader of Sunweb complain.

Right from the start (still in pouring rain): Victor Campenaerts, Simon Pellaud and Josef Cerny attacked the peloton. A group formed behind with Giovanni Carboni, Nathan Haas, Marco Mathis, Iljo Keisse, Simon Clarke, Lachlan Morton, Alex Dowsett, Sander Armée, Albert Torres, Jacopo Mosca and Etienne van Empel. Those eleven managed to take the lead after a chase of 20 kilometres. In the peloton, BORA-hansgrohe chased. Peter Sagan’s team gave the fourteen leaders no more than a minute and a half. For a moment BORA-hansgrohe reduced the difference to half a minute, but the peloton did not get any closer. The escapees again pushed the lead to one and a half minutes, which was the sign for BORA-hansgrohe to give up the chase. No other team was interested in the stage victory, and so the fourteen leaders were free to compete for the stage victory. In no time, the lead was increased to 7 minutes, because Sunweb maintained a leisurely pace in the peloton. The front runners continued to work well, up to 30 kilometres from the finish.

Victor Campenaerts was the first to attack to open the final action. The NTT time trial specialist was the most active, with Pellaud, Clarke, Cerny, Armée and Mosca behind him. On a hilly part before the second intermediate point, Cerny managed to break away. Cerny took 20 seconds on Campenaerts, Clarke, Mosca, Armée and Keisse. The latter managed on his own to make the jump to the Campenaerts group, where Pellaud was dropped. Cerny started the last 15 kilometres towards Asti with a lead of 40 seconds. The five pursuers did not accept that and worked well in the chase. They got closer to Cerny little by little, but the difference stuck around 20 seconds. The Czech dived into the last 2 kilometres with enough time to claim the stage victory in Asti. Campenaerts managed to finish second with an attack in the last kilometre. Behind him Mosca won the sprint for third place against Clarke, Keisse and Armée.

The peloton crossed the finish line almost 12 minutes behind the stage winner. Tao Geoghegan Hart, third in the rankings, tried in the wet final with an attack to grab some seconds on Kelderman and Hindley, but Deceuninck – Quick-Step did not allow it. All favourites crossed the line in the same time and Kelderman remains in the pink jersey.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage report’ with photo gallery HERE.

Interview with stage winner, Josef Černý (CCC):
Josef, congratulations! How does it feel to take your first Grand Tour win?

“I still cannot believe it but it is a really nice feeling. I didn’t believe it until I was about 500 meters to go. I still had about 25-30 seconds in the last ten kilometres but it was a full headwind. I thought I could I could do it and I was pushing hard and now I’m here after crossing first in the finish line. It’s unbelievable. I cannot describe it, it was just incredible. I try so much and today, I have achieved my dream. I am really happy for my team, my family, and my girlfriend.”

Talk us through today’s shortened stage.
“It was a strange day and it was a very difficult moment. We had three really heavy days in the mountains in the last days and today, it was raining full gas. I was really happy the organiser shortened the stage but it was still a hard day. I think history will not ask me if I won a shortened stage or a longer stage, I just won the stage. It’s really nice to have the hands in the air in the finish line. I was lucky in the breakaway and we were working well together and in the final, it was just about who had the better legs.”

After two good results in the time trials, you now have a stage win. How has the Giro d’Italia been for you?
“This Giro d’Italia has been really special for me. I was happy with my results in the time trials and I’m looking forward to the final one in Milan. But to win a road stage is really special. I enjoy the fight in the breakaway because it’s a lottery. I was happy that I had good legs after the Stelvio yesterday and I’m happy I was able to show what I can do.”

2nd on the stage, Victor Campenaerts (NTT): “It was very nice that straight away as soon as they shortened the stage, I thought it was a good decision. Especially with the days that we had before. When they shortened it I thought of it as a good opportunity to go on the attack because when you go on the attack with other WorldTour riders and it’s only 125km, it’s always hard to catch the break back. Pretty soon it was clear that we could sty in front and I had super good legs but in Dutch we say ‘I was riding like a wild bull’ and I maybe showed a bit too much in that sense; but second is good and we like to win of course. I am satisfied with the result and now there’s an exciting two more days to come.”

Maglia Rosa, Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb): “It’s nice to be wearing the Maglia Rosa and all the equipment in pink to go with it. I’m happy with the decision to shorten the stage. Today it was a good day to take things a bit easy. What I need to do tomorrow is to follow the other guys from Ineos Grenadiers. They’ve showN that they’re strong but tomorrow’s stage is not as hard as yesterday’s. It’ll be a big day but I don’t see it as the biggest fight of my career. I’ll give it everything either way.”

Maglia Ciclamino, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ): “With four stage wins in this Giro, our goal today was to defend the Maglia Ciclamino. We did not want to take the risk of a flat tire for example, or not scoring any points, so we let the breakaway go when the BORA-hansgrohe team stopped pulling the peloton. Today with the points classification, it’s mission accomplished.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 19 Result:
1. Josef Černý (CZ) CCC in 2:30:40
2. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) NTT Pro Cycling at 0:18
3. Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:26
4. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Pro Cycling
5. Iljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
6. Sander Armée (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7. Albert Torres (Spa) Movistar at 1:10
8. Simon Pellaud (Swi) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
9. Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè
10. Alex Dowsett (GB) Israel Start-Up Nation.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 19:
1. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb in 80:29:19
2. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb at 0:12
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:15
4. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 1:19
5. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick Step at 2:16
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 3:59
7. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 5:40
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 5:47
9. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick Step at 6:46
10. Rafał Majka (Pol) BORA-hansgrohe at 7:28.

Giro’20 stage 19:

Stage 20 of the Giro d’Italia turned the podium upside down as the climb of Sestriere put INEOS Grenadiers’ Tao Geoghegan Hart across the finish-line first and Jai Hindley (Sunweb) into the pink jersey, both on the same time. Wilco Kelderman couldn’t hold the pace and dropped to third. Sunday’s time trial will decide this year’s Italian Grand Tour.

Twelve and fifteen seconds was Wilco Kelderman’s lead before the start of the last mountain stage to Sestriere. The Sunweb rider had to keep a close eye on Tao Geoghegan Hart, third overall, just fifteen seconds from the pink. And Jai Hindley, his teammate and second overall, could also play a crucial role on the way to the ski village of Sestriere.

The French government banned passage through their territory, so the route was changed to a fairly long mountain stage with a triple climb of Sestriere. The break of the day was established quite quickly with 21 riders.

The lead group: Arnaud Démare, Simon Guglielmi and Geoffrey Bouchard (Groupama-FDJ), Kamil Malecki (CCC), Tanel Kangert (EF Pro Cycling), Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier and Matteo Sobrero (NTT Pro Cycling), Davide Villella and Einer Rubio (Movistar), Nicola Conci and Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Davide Ballerini, Pieter Serry and Mikkel Frohlich Honoré (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal), Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation), Andrea Vendrame (AG2R-La Mondiale), Filippo Fiorelli (Bardiani-CSF Faizanè), Brandon McNulty (UAE Emirates), Elia Viviani (Cofidis) and Jan Tratnik (Bahrain McLaren).

In the peloton, Astana (for Jakob Fuglsang) and Bahrain McLaren (for Pello Bilbao) did the work, causing the lead of the 21 to fluctuate around 7 minutes. On the run-up to the first climb of Sestriere, the difference was reduced to 5 minutes. Very little happened on the climb itself. It went too fast for a few escapees. On the steeper ramps of Sestriere, INEOS Grenadiers’ men shoot forward. Salvatore Puccio was the first rider to sacrifice himself for leader Hart. Filippo Fiorelli was first at the top in Sestriere with 52 kilometres to go. The Italian from Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè managed to take 12 KOM points, Ruben Guerreiro’s mountain jersey was in trouble. On the descent from Sestriere, Ballerini went crazy, hoping to start the second climb of the Alpine climb with a lead. The fast Italian succeeded and started the next climb with a lead of half a minute. The leading group completely fragmented on the way up, leaving everyone on their own. In the group of favourites, Puccio was relieved by Filippo Ganna, who managed to thin out the group. A very strong Dennis took care of the necessary work, Kelderman was dropped, as was Rafal Majka. In the meantime it was the turn of the Stelvio’s strongman, Rohan Dennis, to completely empty himself in the service of Hart. Fuglsang, Pozzovivo and Nibali had to let go.

At 30 kilometres from the finish, Jai Hindley was looking back as Kelderman had to leave a few meters. The Giro leader was visibly struggling and had to let go of the super trio (Dennis, Hart and Hindley). Kelderman found himself in a group with Bilbao, Almeida and Pozzovivo and Nibali. The difference between the Hart-Hindley group and the Kelderman group quickly increased to 40 seconds. Einer Rubio was the first to reach Sestriere, the Colombian still had to complete almost 30 kilometres. Dennis, Hart and Hindley followed after a minute and a half, then it was a good 40 seconds wait for the group containing Kelderman. The Dutchman could still count on support from riders of Trek-Segafredo (for Nibali) and Deceuninck – Quick-Step (for Almeida). The difference continued to fluctuate around 40 seconds, but Kelderman and co were unable to reconnect before the final climb.

Rubio, Serry and Ballerini, the last survivors of the early break, started the final climb together. However, the three front runners were soon joined by Dennis, Hart and Hindley. Kelderman’s pink dream seemed to come to an end, as the difference increased to one and a half minutes. It was the final climb between Hart and Hindley, the two best climbers in this Giro d’Italia. The Australian took the intermediate sprint in Sauze di Cesana, at 7 kilometres from the line, for 3 bonus seconds. Hart managed to get two. On the steeper ramps of Sestriere, Hart still left the work to Dennis. The pink jersey followed with 5 kilometres to climb, one and a half minutes from the front runners. A kilometre further it was only one minute.

Kelderman had to match an acceleration of Almeida. Kelderman couldn’t follow, while Hindley tried to drop Hart with two hard attacks. The Briton proved to be tough and refused to give in, causing the pace to slow again. This gave Dennis the opportunity to reconnect and lift the pace. Hindley and Hart eventually had to go for a sprint for the victory. The INEOS Grenadiers’ rider started the sprint first and managed to hold Hindley off. This means that Hart and Hindley are on the same time with the final time trial to Milan ahead. The Australian now has the pink jersey, but Hart is on the same time and is the better time trialist. Kelderman drops to third place in the standings, at 1:32 from his teammate Hindley.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage report’ with photo gallery HERE.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers): “Certainly before the Giro I wasn’t expecting this scenario with 15km left in the race. Although, this is a lot like last year, with unexpected and young contenders. What Rohan Dennis has done for me has been incredible. I owe him for the Stelvio stage and for today. Having a two-time TT world champion and the current world champion [Filippo Ganna] helping me the way they did is fantastic but tomorrow it’ll be up to me to perform against the clock.”

Maglia Rosa and 2nd on the stage, Jai Hindley (Sunweb): “This is amazing. I’ve been watching the Giro since I was a little boy and it’s been a dream of mine to lead a Grand Tour. It’s an incredible feeling. I have no regrets about the Stelvio stage. We won it and we can’t change the way it unfolded. Today I looked at Tao [Geoghegan Hart] to see if he was tired or not. I attacked but I couldn’t get rid of him. He’s already showed he can time trial well. But tomorrow will also be the last day of a 3-week race. All I know is I’ll die to keep this jersey. It’ll really be a ‘race of truth’.”

5th on the stage, Andrea Vendrame: “Two days ago on the Stelvio stage I was sick and really suffered on the bike. So finding myself in front all day on such a difficult stage is a great satisfaction for me.When I see the riders who finished in front of me, I can only be satisfied. With Geoffrey, he and I managed to be in the break. I think if the peloton had given us a little more leeway, it would have been possible to fight for the victory. When the favourites group caught up, I managed to surf the wheels while smoothing out my effort until the finish. I didn’t win, but this kind of day does a lot of good for the morale. More generally, I am satisfied with my Giro (3 top tens); I was pretty close to getting that win.”

Maglia Ciclamino Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ): “My motivation for getting in the break away today was to continue to enjoy the Giro. It was a challenge with my teammate Simon Guglielmi to make the break and it was great to share that with a young guy who helped me out tremendously. It was a wonderful way to celebrate my Giro with the crowd. I was encouraged a lot on the climb. It’s enormous to finish the race in Milan with the Maglia Ciclamino after the four wins we’ve taken.”

Maglia Azzurra Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling): “Actually Tao [Geoghegan Hart] is one of my big friends, since we rode together for Axeon. I’m happy for him. Today I tried to do a good race. I finished with Pozzovivo and Nibali. I was happy with the legs. One day maybe I’ll try to go for GC. It’ll be nice to ride into Milan with the Maglia Azzurra tomorrow. It makes me happy and motivated for the future.”

8th overall, Patrick Konrad (BORA-hansgrohe): “Today, we had the fight we all had expected and I felt well after three hard weeks. It all came down to the action by Ineos which split the bunch. From that moment, I kept on pushing as hard as I could, giving my best. I’m now 8th in the overall standings and I think it is something I can be happy about because I performed at my 100%. We still have a time-trial tomorrow, so maybe there is something possible.”

Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT): “It was a tough stage and I saw all the riders from the other teams also on the limit today. I wasn’t so bad and was confident I would be able to do a great final climb but unfortunately on the final descent I had an issue. I then used Amanuel and Ben as we tried to do the best climb possible; I showed that I had very good legs but I was very unlucky in not being able to use them for the stage result and to improve on the general classification. The entire team has been fantastic – and today again – we were just really unlucky.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 20 Result:
1. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 4:52:45
2. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb
3. Rohan Dennis (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:25
4. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick Step at 1:01
5. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:34
6. Einer Augusto Rubio (Col) Movistar at 1:35
7. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb
9. Attila Valter (Hun) CCC at 1:48
10. James Knox (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 2:00.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 20:
1. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb in 85:22:07
2. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 1:32
4. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 2:51
5. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 3:14
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 6:32
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 7:46
8. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 8:05
9. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick Step at 9:24
10. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-McLaren at 10:08.

Giro’20 stage 20:

Filippo Ganna won the final individual time trial Stage 21. His young English INEOS Grenadiers teammate, Tao Geoghegan Hart, battled against Sunweb’s Jai Hindley to take the final pink jersey in Milan. Hindley had to settle for second place after three weeks of racing, Wilco Kelderman finished third. The final stage victory went to top TT favourite Filippo Ganna.

The first target time was set by Matthias Brändle of Israel Start-Up Nation, but Alex Dowsett was four seconds faster. Arnaud Démare (18:54) also rode a good time trial. Miles Scotson set the fastest intermediate time after 10 kilometres and managed to finish in 17:57. Victor Campenaerts and Mikkel Bjerg were also working hard. The NTT Pro Cycling Belgian certainly didn’t disappoint. Campenaerts turned out to be six seconds faster than Scotson at the timing point and the World Hour Record holder was moving well in the second part of the course. Bjerg was down at the intermediate point. At the finish line, the difference between Scotson and Campenaerts was 9 seconds in favour of the Belgian. Campenaerts took the hot seat, but still had to wait for Ganna to appear.

Josef Černý, stage winner in Asti, was looking good in his time trial, but the Czech CCC rider was 12 seconds slower than Campenaerts. World champion and top favourite Filippo Ganna managed the top time in Milan. The INEOS Grenadiers rider was 20 seconds faster than Campenaerts at the intermediate point and at the line the difference had increased to 32 seconds. With a time of 17:16, Ganna was able to set the bar very high for his teammate Dennis. The man who made such an impression in the last mountain stages, Rohan Dennis, turned out to be unable to threaten Ganna. At the line, Dennis, the two-time World champion, had to concede 32 seconds to his Italian team mate. The Australian was slightly slower than Campenaerts.

The focus shifted to the battle between the classification riders. Hermann Pernsteiner was the first rider from the top-10 to start, but everyone was looking forward to the rides of Wilco Kelderman and Tao Geoghegan Hart and Jai Hindley. Hart looked faster than Hindley, this was confirmed after 10 kilometres. The Briton turned out to be 22 seconds faster than the Australian and managed to go further ahead in the remainder of the time trial. Hart is the second Briton, after Chris Froome in 2018, to win the Tour of Italy. Hindley eventually finished second overall, 39 seconds behind the winner Hart. Wilco Kelderman rode a good time trial and managed to finish third on GC. Revelation; Joāo Almeida overtook Pello Bilbao for fourth place. Fuglsang, Nibali, Konrad, Masnada and Pernsteiner completed the top 10.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage report’ with photo gallery HERE.

Stage winner, Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers): “Maybe next year I’m not going to win a single time trial – I can’t take anything for granted. I know that I have to go back to working hard and keeping a low profile. I started this morning very focused for the win and focussed on taking a seventh stage victory at this Giro d’Italia for the team. Today was the icing on the cake after all the work we’ve done over three weeks, with Tao’s excellent time trial. Today’s my most beautiful win, it’s wonderful to win for myself after having helped my teammates to great victories. It’s been a bombshell Giro!”

2020 Giro d’Italia winner, Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers): “Until the moment I crossed the line, I tried to take it like any other stage or any Sunday ride. It was just about performing and seeing my family and friends at the finish. It’s been a strange year for everyone around the globe. I haven’t been home since last year and I’m looking forward to seeing my siblings. It’ll be strange to leave the team bubble. It’s amazing to be in this position as the winner of the Giro d’Italia. Congratulations to Jai and Wilco Kelderman for their podium finish. It’s been a great fight. Right up until I reached Milan, I didn’t think I was gonna win the Giro d’Italia. It’s crazy!”

2nd overall, Jai Hindley (Sunweb): “I did everything I could, I laid it all out there on the road. The result is what it is and I accept that and regret nothing. I did ask to receive time checks and I knew what was happening but there was nothing I could do. I was going as hard as I could. Of course I’m disappointed after what happened today, but I’m super proud of how the team rode, how I rode over the past three weeks. Hopefully this is just the beginning. This is for sure my best performance ever and hopefully it’s a step in the right direction for things to come. I’d like to come back here – I love this race. It’s brutal but it’s also beautiful. I’ll definitely be back.”

3rd overall, Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb): “I wanted to finish things off in a good way, and I was really motivated to get a good result today – actually it went pretty well. Still, we lost the Giro on the last day and that’s just disappointing, but in the end I’m super happy with the podium. If they had told me three weeks ago that I will be on the podium here in the Giro then I would have signed on the dotted line. When I’m back home next week I will think about it and I’ll feel very proud and happy.”

4th on the stage and overall, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I can’t put into words how happy I am, this is incredible, something I would have never dreamed of. My goal three weeks ago was a top 10 finish, so the be fourth on the GC of this beautiful race is simply mind-blowing! This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of my Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates and staff, who have shown at all times the amazing Wolfpack spirit and to whom I am very grateful. I discovered a lot of things about me here, I pushed myself mentally and gave everything every single time. I leave this hard race with many beautiful memories, the best of these being the day when I seized the maglia rosa on the Etna. I am still young and will see what the future holds, but what I can tell you now is that one day I hope to wear this iconic jersey again.”

Maglia Ciclamino, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ): “That was a beautiful and demanding time trial. I had stiff legs after three hard weeks of racing. I watched Filippo Ganna riding fantastically and I was happy to see my teammate Miles Scotson finish in fifth place. Four stage wins and the Maglia Ciclamino make it an exceptional season for me and the team. I’m proud of my teammates.”

Maglia Azzurra, Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling): “After such a hard Giro I had nothing left in the legs. I just managed to finish. I enjoyed the three weeks in Italy and it was a big effort from all the organisation, congratulations to everyone involved. Everyone was fighting for a stage, and it was a good race. This Maglia Azzurra for me is a big source of motivation. In cycling you never know what can happen, I’m feeling better and stronger, I think I’m not too old. Now I want to enjoy this moment, make the most of the memories and take some time off. I’ve raced before [with Tao Geoghegan Hart], he was happy for me when I took my stage. I told him: ‘you’re going to have your moment’, so it’s good that it turned out like that. I would also have liked to see João on the podium, I’m proud of him too.”

8th on the stage and 15th overall, Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates): “Today went well for me. My legs were really really tired, but I just gave everything I had left and I’m happy with another top 10 result. Overall I’m very happy with my grand tour debut. Four top 10s and a respectable GC result is really nice and I hope to be able to keep improving over the years!”

8th overall, Patrick Konrad (BORA-hansgrohe): “The Giro d’Italia is now over and I think the whole team did a good job. We won a stage with Peter, we were always there in the fight for the ciclamino jersey, we had a good result in the GC. The team was always present, fighting for stage wins. That was my third Giro d’Italia and I really enjoyed it. It was nice being with this group for three weeks. The season is ending as well and I’m happy to be able to enjoy some time with my family after the difficult period everybody went through because of the virus.”

11th overall, Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT Pro Cycling): “It’s unbelievable (to be finishing the Giro after his crash in 2019) and I think this has been the most important three weeks of my life. To think that I could recover and be in the fight for the GC at the Giro, is actually unbelievable. And now I have done it, with the full support of the team and now we can look forward to what’s to come. This was a very important ride, to be back in good shape in a Grand Tour and also fighting for the GC. This was a very important for me, my family but also very much for the team.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 21 Result:
1. Filippo Ganna (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers in 17:16
2. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) NTT Pro Cycling at 0:32
3. Rohan Dennis (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers
4. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:41
5. Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-FDJ
6. Josef Černý (CZ) CCC at 0:44
7. Chad Haga (USA) Sunweb
8. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:46
9. Kamil Gradek (Pol) CCC at 0:47
10. Jan Tratnik (Slov) Bahrain-McLaren.

Giro d’Italia Final Overall Result:
1. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 85:40:21
2. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb at 0:39
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 1:29
4. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 2:57
5. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 3:09
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 7:02
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 8:15
8. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 8:42
9. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 9:57
10. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-McLaren at 11:05.

Giro’20 stage 21:


Vuelta a España 2020
Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) displayed his punchy abilities to win Stage 3 of la Vuelta at the summit of La Laguna Negra-Vinuesa. The Irishman accelerated inside the last 200m to take victory ahead of the overall leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers). Dan Martin claimed his second Vuelta stage win, 9 years after his victory in Sierra de Béjar-La Covatilla, and his first victory since stage 6 of the 2018 Tour de France. He only trails by 4 seconds on GC.

Five riders attack from the gun: Mark Donovan (Sunweb), Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie), Aritz Bagües (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Willie Smit (Burgos-BH). Primoz Roglič’s Jumbo-Visma control the gap around 4 minutes until the first climb of the day, the cat-3 Puerto de Oncala. EF Pro Cycling drove the bunch on the climb, Tosh Van der Sande was first (with 87.1km to go) with a gap down to 2:40. Astana and Movistar maintained the pressure over the top and the early attackers are caught after 110km off the front.

The bunch kept riding at a hard pace as the leaders were wary of the weather conditions but a new group of attackers manage to get away with 48km to go. Valentin Ferron, Paul Ourselin (Total Direct Energie), Hector Saez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH) open a 1:35 gap as the race entered the last 40km. EF riders get back to the front of the bunch to control the gap. The pace kept increasing as the leaders tried to position themselves ahead of the 8.6km final climb to La Laguna Negra (average gradient: 5.8%). The attackers were eventually caught with 7.5km to go. At the same moment, stage 2’s winner Marc Soler (Movistar) had to change his bike.

Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) also suffered a mechanical with 5km to go, as Chris Froome uped the ante for INEOS Grenadiers. Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) was the first attacker to try to break the INEOS lock with 2.5km to go. He was caught by Ivan Sosa’s pace. Clément Champoussin (AG2R-La Mondiale) tried his luck just before the last kilometre, unsuccessfully. The elite group of climbers eventually battled it out for victory on the steepest ramps of the climb, up to 15%. Dan Martin made his move inside the last 200m and only Primoz Roglic and Richard Carapaz manage to follow him while the rest of the GC contenders drop a few more seconds after three explosive stages.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage report’ with photo gallery HERE.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Dan Martin (Israel Start-up Nation): “I’ve come so close to winning this year and I really wanted to win a stage for this team because they’ve been so good to me. Obviously we couldn’t do it with the injury in the Tour but we were determined to win today and the team was amazing. Every single one of them played a part in today’s victory. It’s part for them and part my wife also, because it’s the first time I win since my kids were born.”

Overall leader and 2nd on the stage, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “It was not an easy day, with quite some wind again, the rain and a hard climb. The team did a great job and I’m happy I was close. It’s a nice day for us. It was a fast finish with a lot of attacks in the end. Dan [Martin] was the strongest and he deserves his win.”

3rd on the stage and overall, Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers): “The team did a great job and first of all we’re very happy with the results. But there’s still a lot of La Vuelta to be raced. We still have to face some key stages. I think tomorrow should be an easy day but we’ll see what happens.”

4th on the stage, Wout Poels (Bahrain-McLaren): “I have finished stage well so I am happy with that. It was a hard stage due to the wind and you had to be careful throughout the whole day. In the last climb, I was just following until the last 2 km when race a little bit exploded. Then I paced myself and then at the end I did a sprint. I was getting closer in the sprint and I am happy with that. That’s good for the confidence after the first two days where I got dropped in final. It’s not far from the top-10 now, so there is some good perspective.”

7th on the stage and overall, Felix Großschartner (BORA-hansgrohe): “I tried to attack over the last 500m, but it didn’t quite work. Nevertheless, I am satisfied with my performance. Yesterday I had cramps but today I felt much better. Our initial goal here was to go for a stage win, but then the team also gave me the go-ahead to ride for the GC. In any case, this year’s Vuelta will enable me to gain experience for the future and I’m glad that this opportunity has been given to me. I’d like to also thank the team again for their hard work and for bringing me into a good position on the final climb.”

10th on the stage, Clément Champoussin (AG2R-La Mondiale): “I went hard on the final climb today; I had good legs. The sensations were good, I was well placed to follow the best. At 1.5 kilometres there weren’t a lot of riders ahead, I took a chance and hoped the favourites wouldn’t come after me. I got a bit of daylight between me and them before getting caught. It’s encouraging for the future, there are a lot of stages left.”

Vuelta a España Stage 3 Result:
1. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation in 4:27:49
2. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma
3. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers
4. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:04
5. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana at 0:07
6. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 0:09
7. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:12
8. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling
9. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma
10. Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:24.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 3:
1. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma at 12:37:24
2. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation at 0:05
3. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:13
4. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 0:32
5. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling at 0:38
6. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 0:44
7. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:17
8. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:29
9. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 1:55
10. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 1:57.

Vuelta’20 stage 3:

After three explosive stages to kick-off la Vuelta 2020, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) made the most of the flat Stage 4 en route to Ejea de los Caballeros. The Wolfpack worked for most of the day to ensure a bunch sprint and the Irishman didn’t miss his opportunity, taking victory ahead of Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) and Jakub Mareczko (CCC) while Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe) finished fourth. This is Sam Bennett’s third victory on the roads of La Vuelta.

The first flat stage of La Vuelta 2020 inspired four attackers: Harry Tanfield (AG2R-La Mondiale), Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis), Jesus Ezquerra and Willem Smit (Burgos-BH) attack at km 0 and quickly open a 4 minute gap before the sprinters teams started to control the gap. With a slight tailwind, the attackers covered 48.2km in the first hour but their lead is down to 2 minutes as they entered the last 100km of the stage. Movistar up the speed outside of Borja (90km). The peloton stretched but doesn’t split. The gap decreased to 20 seconds, but the breakaway riders were not caught. The pack eventually slowed and the attackers pushed their advantage to 1:30 with 65km to go.

The pack accelerated again inside the last 50km of the stage. They cut the gap down to 34 seconds at the intermediate sprint, with 23km to go. Willie Smit tried to survive a bit longer at the front. He is eventually caught 14km from the finish line. The sprinter’s teams maintained a hard pace to make sure nobody would surprise them in the final nervous kilometres. The Deceuninck – Quick-Step train hit the front inside the last 5km with strong work from Rémi Cavagna. And Sam Bennett delivered the victory.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage report’ with photo gallery HERE.

Stage winner, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It was so fast in the run-in, and actually, it was fast all day and I was a bit nervous, got to admit that. We said we needed to come together at one point and the team did the job perfectly. They came together when we needed to and even more than we asked to be. We only asked a few guys to be there and the whole team was there. I went for the outside and Philipsen came up the inside and got such a jump I actually didn’t think I was going to be able to catch him. But in the end, I started getting more and more speed and I was still accelerating to the line. I had the power but he was so explosive out of the corner and I didn’t know if I would catch him. But I found the speed I needed, and in the end, I managed to overtake him and take my first win since Champs-Élysées, which feels amazing.”

Overall leader, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “It was tailwind in the beginning so the pace was very high. It was mostly nervous in the final 20km, it went very fast but the team protected me well. It might look like an easier stage regarding watts but you really need to be focus and to be positioned at the front of the peloton as much as possible, you can’t relax.”

2nd on the stage, Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates): “It went really well. The boys did an amazing job in the final just as we had planned. The whole time I was in pole position to take the win and with 50 meters to go I felt I had it. In the end, Bennett came from behind with a lot of speed. I have no regrets about my sprint, we did as planned as it didn’t quite work out. I’m a little bit disappointed not to get the win but it still gives me confidence for the other sprint stages.”

4th on the stage, Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe): “Of course, we wanted to take the stage win, but unfortunately that didn’t work out. The first three stages were not easy for the sprinters, but I felt good and thought that we could prevail today. At this year’s Vuelta, there aren’t many chances for the sprinters, so we wanted to try everything. In the last kilometre, it was quite fast and chaotic, but I was able to hang on to Sam’s rear wheel. In the end I wasn’t able to pass him and finished fourth. Not the result that we had hoped for, but we’ll try again on the other sprint stages and are hoping to be successful then.”

Vuelta a España Stage 4 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 3:53:29
2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
3. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) CCC
4. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
5. Gerben Thijssen (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
7. Max Kanter (Ger) Sunweb
8. Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Start-Up Nation
9. Emmanuel Morin (Fra) Cofidis
10. Magnus Cort (Den) EF Pro Cycling.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 4:
1. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma in 16:30:53
2. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation at 0:05
3. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:13
4. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 0:32
5. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling at 0:38
6. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 0:44
7. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:17
8. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:29
9. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 1:55
10. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 1:57.

Vuelta’20 stage 4:

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) won Stage 5 of La Vuelta 2020 at the end of an action-packed day with many attacks over the hills leading to Sabiñanigo. The Belgian puncheur already displayed his aggressive style in the first days and made it into another break after 100km. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Thymen Arensman (Sunweb) were with him at the front all the way to Sabiñanigo but they couldn’t match Wellens’ punch on the uphill finish. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) dominated the sprint in the bunch to assert his grip on La Roja ahead of Sunday’s mountain stage. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) crashed in the final metres.

Martin Salmon (Sunweb) attacked in the first kilometre and 13 more join him: Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), Cattaneo (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Power, Salmon, Storer (Sunweb), Fraile (Astana), Seigle (Groupama-FDJ), Woods (EF Pro Cycling), Barta (CCC), Edmonson (Mitchelton-Scott), Dewulf (Lotto-Soudal), Martin, Barcelo (Cofidis) and Ligthart (Total Direct Energie). But that strong group didn’t get away. EF Pro Cycling, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA and Burgos-BH were determined not to let the breakaway go without them. The gap never got higher than 40 seconds. Many riders counter-attacked, and Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) bridged the gap at 64km. But the attackers are caught 5km later. Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Andrey Amador (INEOS Grenadiers) try their luck but the peloton was back together after 90km of racing.

Attacks keep flying and 12 riders get away inside the last 90km, including Jumbo-Visma’s Sepp Kuss. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Thymen Arensman (Sunweb) attack from that group with 79km to go. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) joined them on the first climb of the day, the Alto de Vio (Cat 2). Their chasers were caught by the bunch, trailing by 2:50 at the summit. Wellens collected the KOM points and the attackers increase the gap to the INEOS-led peloton: 3:27 at the top of the Alto de Fanlo, with 47km to go. INEOS Grenadiers give up on the chase with 32km to go. Total Direct Energie take over at the bottom of the final climb, the Alto de Fanlo, but the leading trio maintain a 3 minute gap at the summit, with 17km to go. Romain Sicard (Total Direct Energie) gave up on the chase inside the last 15km.

Tim Wellens, Guillaume Martin and Thymen Arensman worked well together until the last kilometre. Arensman attacked at the flamme rouge but Wellens jumped on his wheel and then took the uphill finish ahead of Martin. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) was the strongest n the bunch to finish 4th while Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) hits the deck with David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) in the final metres, but they were all given the same time.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage report’ with photo gallery HERE.

Stage winner, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “It feels super good. I had a very difficult period because I had a big crash before the Tour de France. There are no ups without downs. It makes this victory even better. Today was a special day because we raced for two hours before the break was gone. It was super hard. And then we were lucky enough to go for it with three riders at the front. The cooperation was super good. We were about at the same lead but I got the victory in the end. It was the team goal for La Vuelta and now we can ride with less stress and maybe get another victory with myself or my teammates. I was not so confident because I had the impression we were about as strong. I was surprised when Guillaume Martin stayed a bit behind after the first attack. And I went full gas to the line.”

Overall leader and 4th on the stage, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “Today was a fast and hard stage. There isn’t much to say about it. It was a fast hard start but our guys were always on top of the game. It was a long fight for the breakaway and finally they went. Sepp [Kuss] was there. The last 500m were hard too. It’s another day behind us and I’m happy. [Kuss] can win! He’s in a great shape and we work together. In the end, it really doesn’t matter if he wins or I win, if we can win. We all do our best and then we can be proud about it.”

5th on the stage and 7th overall, Felix Großschartner (BORA-hansgrohe): “Right from the start, things kicked off very quickly. Then when it became clear that one group was going to break clear, the pace was okay. We knew that the route would kick up at around 700m ahead of the finish and so it was important to be in a good position to avoid giving away any unnecessary seconds. I managed that quite well. I was in front when there was a crash, and fortunately I wasn’t involved in it. In the end, I looked at Roglic, but I wasn’t sure if I should go for it then. But when he started sprinting, I tried to follow yet just couldn’t get past him. I felt good today and now I’m going to try to recover well and I am optimistic for tomorrow.”

Vuelta a España Stage 5 Result:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 4:19:25
2. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 0:04
3. Thymen Arensman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:12
4. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma at 2:13
5. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 2:14
6. Alex Aranburu (Spa) Astana at 2:17
7. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma
8. Julien Simon (Fra) Total Direct Energie
9. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers
10. Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 5:
1. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma in 20:52:31
2. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation at 0:05
3. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:13
4. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 0:32
5. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling at 0:38
6. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 0:44
7. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:17
8. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:29
9. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 1:55
10. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 1:57.

Vuelta’20 stage 5:

A hard wet day of racing in the Pyrenees saw Ion Izagirre (Astana) fly to victory from the break while Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) took La Roja from Primoz Roglic’s shoulders as the new overall leader of La Vuelta 2020. Ion Izagirre dropped his breakaway companions with a strong attack 3km away from the summit finish of Stage 6. Richard Carapaz finished 12th on the stage and gained 43 seconds on Roglič. The Slovenian is now 4th overall, behind Carapaz, Hugh Carthy and Dan Martin.

The summit finish in Aramon Formigal at the end of an explosive first week of racing inspired aggressive racing as the riders remember Alberto Contador’s ride on the same roads in 2016. Attacks fly from the start, with Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) leading the early attempts. The Frenchman was on his own at the front after 13 km. He was soon joined by a strong group of attackers: Cattaneo (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), Costa, Henao (UAE Team Emirates), Power, Storer, Sütterlin (Sunweb), I. Izagirre, G. Izagirre (Astana), Van Baarle (INEOS Grenadiers), Cort Nielsen, Woods (EF), Jauregui (AG2R-La Mondiale), Zimmermann (CCC) G. Martin, Lafay, Perichon (Cofidis), Valgren (NTT), Arcas, Verona (Movistar), Hivert (Total Direct Energie), Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Cabedo (Burgos-BH).

Gorka Izagirre trails on GC by only 3:37. He was virtual overall leader when the gap hit 3:45 in the first climb of the day, the Alto de Peralba. Primoz Roglič’s Jumbo-Visma team controlled the gap around 4 minutes and Dan Martin’s Israel Start-Up Nation started working at the front of the bunch ahead of the second climb, the Alto de Cotefablo. Guillaume Martin chased the KOM points and the gap slightly decreased to 3:30 at the summit, with 40.9km to go. Gorka Izagirre accelerated on the downhill and opened a 45 second gap to his break companions. Cameron Wurf (INEOS Grenadiers) also ups the ante in the peloton… and Primoz Roglič is among the riders forced to chase in the valley to get back to the main group. He bridged a 20 second gap with the help of George Bennett 21km from the line.

The final climb of the day (14.4km average of 4.7%) saw riders battle it out for the stage and for La Roja. At the front, Gorka Izagirre was caught with 7km to go. But his brother Ion attacked 4km further and nobody could keep up with his pace en route to his first La Vuelta stage victory, after his previous successes in the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia. Michael Woods finished second ahead of Rui Costa. In the peloton, Movistar put the hammer down to try and make the most of Roglič’s isolation. Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) proved to be the strongest among the GC favourites, finishing 8th (at 48 seconds), 5 seconds ahead of Richard Carapaz and Marc Soler (Movistar). Primoz Roglič finished 20th, with a gap of 1:38.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage report’ with photo gallery HERE.

Stage winner, Ion Izagirre (Astana): “It was a very tough stage. We knew that bad weather will hit the stage and that at the whole second part will be really wet and cold. We are in the Pyrenees and here the rain always brings the cold. But we were ready for that. From the start I was able to go in a breakaway together with Gorka and it was a good moment for us. Thanks to attack of Gorka I just stayed on the wheel in our chasing group, saving some energy for the final. I attacked on the steepest part and shortly opened a gap. I looked back and saw that nobody really followed me, so I continued pushing hard until the finish. It was a tough way to the top with raining all the time, but I managed to stay in front and to win this stage! I want to thank my team for the work done today and of course I want to thank my brother Gorka, who was phenomenal! Gorka was really strong and on the descent he did a powerful attack. I think, he could win today. But, when our group caught him back I knew that it was my turn to attack. Gorka provided me with good help on the climb and with 3 km to go I found a moment and just went away. This victory means a lot for me and I am happy to bring it to Astana Pro Team. After my crash at the Tour de France I was able to recover well, the team was always next to me during this time and I am happy that I came here at the Vuelta a España. I want to thank also all our sponsors, especially Samruk-Kazyna for a great support during this super difficult season.”

Overall leader, Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers): “First of all it’s a major satisfaction. We’d been working very well for the whole week, we had a strong plan and we went for it. It worked great and this is a reward for the team. I spoke with Andrey [Amador]. We handle things very well in wet conditions, the idea was to go quite fast on the downhill and see how things were for the finale. Several riders were under pressure and it motivated Movistar to pull. I knew the final climb very well and I decided to let the others work if they were interested. And then we’ve seen many attacks. I had chosen my moment and I attacked with the right timing. La Vuelta is still long and we’re going to defend the jersey. It’s a privilege to defend it.”

3rd on the stage, Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates): “Today it wasn’t originally the plan for me to go in the breakaway. Henao got in the break originally and then I was covering the moves behind and ended up in it also. The sensations were good but just a little bit tired from yesterday. I’ll be looking at the parcours for more chances later in the race. De La Cruz is also moving up the GC which will focus on too.”

4th overall, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I had some problems putting on my rain jacket at the top of the climb and it was very fast on the downhill. I had to go full gas already before the last climb to get back. I didn’t crash but I was too far back in the group. We all did our best and as long as we’re still in one piece, the show goes on and this is not over yet. We’re here to do our best and we’ll fight for it.”

6th overall, Felix Großschartner (BORA-hansgrohe): “The weather, with the cold and the rain, really made racing that much more difficult today. Nevertheless, I felt quite good for the whole stage. The escapees managed to prevail, and in the end, was able to improve slightly in the overall classification, which is of course a nice way to conclude the stage. Now I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s rest day. The team worked well together yet again, and they brought me into a good position, which ultimately allowed me to keep up ahead of the finale. Now I hope that things will continue in the race like this.”

Vuelta a España Stage 6 Result:
1. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Astana in 3:41:00
2. Michael Woods (Can) EF Pro Cycling at 0:25
3. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
4. Robert Power (Aus) Sunweb at 0:27
5. Michael Valgren (Den) NTT Pro Cycling
6. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
7. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:38
8. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling at 0:48
9. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Astana at 0:53
10. Sergio Henao (Col) UAE Team Emirates at 0:55.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 6:
1. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers in 24:34:39
2. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling at 0:18
3. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation at 0:20
4. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma at 0:30
5. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 1:07
6. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:30
7. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 1:42
8. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 2:02
9. David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 2:46
10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 3:00.

Vuelta’20 stage 6:


López may go to Movistar
Miguel Ángel López’s future is still uncertain. The last in the line of teams that would have their eye on the Colombian rider is Movistar. If he joined Eusebio Unzué’s team he would join forces with Alejandro Valverde, Enric Mas and Marc Soler.

It was sports journalist Ciro Scognamiglio who announced the news. He wrote on social media that López may ride for Movistar next season. “To be clear, it’s not a foregone conclusion but a likely option so far.”

The Colombian rider, winner of the Tour stage to the Col de la Loze, will most likely leave Astana at the end of the season. At the end of May, he was linked to BORA-hansgrohe, in the following months it was reported that he was on his way to AG2R-La Mondiale.

Lopez and Valverde together?


Tim Wellens Wins Stage 5 in Vuelta a España and Extends his Contract
Lotto Soudal’s Tim Wellens claimed the stage win in Sabiñanigo after beating Guillaume Martin and Thymen Arensman in a three-man sprint. Wellens becomes also leader in the mountains classification. The three sprinted for the stage having broken clear from a larger breakaway group that formed earlier in the stage. After the stage Wellens announced having extended his contract with the team until end of 2022.

“At the start of La Vuelta it was the goal of the team to win one stage,” commented aggressive rider Tim Wellens, who went in the break already for the third time in this Vuelta . “It is super nice that it comes so early in the stage race. So now the next two weeks we can ride without stress. This morning I already had a plan to join the breakaway. The start was super difficult. We went full gas for two hours. Then I was lucky enough to be in the first group. The cooperation was difficult since we had two riders with a good GC classification present. Then we attacked with three riders and the cooperation was much better. We were all three at the same level. I could finish it off on the steep finish.”

Tim Wellens, multiple winner of some stage races, won already two stages in the Giro. This is his first one in the Vuelta. After a difficult classics campaign, Tim Wellens insisted on participating in La Vuelta to colour his short and different 2020 season.

“I had a difficult period with a big crash in the run-up to Tour de France. I made a comeback in Tour de Luxembourg but I needed a long time to find back my good legs. So, I was a little bit scared to come into this Vuelta. But I am super happy with this stage victory,” explained Tim Wellens.

Tim Wellens, who still had a contract with Lotto Soudal until end of 2021 was very happy to announce that he extended his contract until end of 2022.

“I became professional in this team in 2012. Lotto Soudal is part of my family. With them I won six stages and nice one-day races. Why should I change? I feel good. The team trusts me and I have a lot of confidence in the team’s future. Our future looks good,” concluded Tim Wellens.

Tim Wellens – Vuelta stage 5:


Cofidis Sign Jelle Wallays
Cofidis has confirmed the arrival of Jelle Wallays, who has signed a one-year contract. The two-time winner of Paris-Tours comes from Lotto Soudal, where his contract was not renewed.

Last week, WielerFlits reported that Wallays was close to an agreement with Cofidis. After five years with Lotto Soudal, the Belgian rider rode his very last race in the BinckBank Tour for John Lelangue’s WorldTour team. The team management left him out of the team for Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, which meant that he had to end his season early.

In his search for a new team, Wallays eventually ended up at Cofidis. “I am very happy that I am going to Cofidis”, he says via the team of Cédric Vasseur. “It is a very good opportunity in this difficult time, in which many riders do not have a contract. I love one-day races, the difficult scenarios and I want to be the perfect teammate with Cofidis and its leaders like Elia Viviani and Guillaume Martin.”

Jelle Wallays:


O’Connor signs contract with AG2R-La Mondiale
Ben O’Connor will be heading for AG2R-Citroën Team next season. The Australian climber leaves NTT Pro Cycling. O’Connor won a mountain stage in the Giro d’Italia last week.

“I’m really looking forward to my first race for AG2R-Citroën Team. It gives me the opportunity to discover a new culture and to race in a different way. I don’t know much about France, except for a few holidays in the Alps with my parents. However, I do know that AG2R is a team with a rich history.”

“I have shown that I can win at the highest level, but I want to perform even better in stage races in the future. I want to perform even more consistently as a rider and book more victories,” said O’Connor, last Wednesday still stage winner at Madonna di Campiglio in the Tour of Italy.

Team manager Vincent Lavenu of AG2R La Mondiale is a satisfied man after the deal has been closed. “We had been in contact with Ben O’Connor for two years. We wanted to bring him in, as we were looking for a climber. He is still young and has shown in the Giro what he can do. Ben is certainly a reinforcement.”

AG2R La Mondiale, which will be AG2R-Citroën Team next season, has already strengthened itself with Greg Van Avermaet, Lilian Calmejane, Stan Dewulf, Anthony Julien, Bob Jungels, Marc Sarreau, Michael Schär, Damien Touzé and Gijs Van Hoecke.

Ben O’Connor – Giro’20 stage 17:


Michael Valgren to EF Pro Cycling
WielerFlits report that Danish rider Michael Valgren will race for the American EF Pr Cycling team next season. The former winner of the Amstel Gold Race (2018) and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (2018), is still with NTT Pro Cycling this year, the team where his fellow countryman Bjarne Riis is in charge.

Long uncertainty about the future of NTT Pro Cyling led Valgren to choose the EF Pro Cycling’s, Jonathan Vaughters’ team. The 28-year-old blonde rider also rode for Tinkoff and Astana. His best performance this season is 11th place at the World championships in Imola. Last year, he finished sixth in the World championships in Yorkshire won by his compatriot Mads Pedersen.

Michael Valgren:


Alpecin-Fenix ​​Denies Interest in Fabio Aru
Several Italian media have reported in recent days that Fabio Aru would be interested in going to Alpecin-Fenix. The former Vuelta winner would contest a number of cyclocross races in January and then race as a classification rider in the road season.

It was inbici.net that was first to come up with the “news” last Wednesday. We knew that 30-year-old Aru would not renew his contract with UAE Team Emirates. But according to inbici.net, he would relaunch his career through his old love, cyclo-cross. “There is great interest from Alpecin-Fenix,” the web-site wrote. “He will race in January, after which he can race as a classification rider in a Grand Tour.”

Meanwhile, the news on social media has taken on a life of its own. But there is absolutely no question of a possible switch to Alpecin-Fenix. “I cannot comment on his cyclocross ambitions, but it will not be in a Alpecin-Fenix ​​jersey,” says Philip Roodhooft. “With all due respect to Fabio, we have never been in touch about a possible switch and that is not the intention. I can’t say more about that.”

As a youngster, Aru did participate in cyclo-cross races for a number of years, but he has never been a top performer in this discipline. His best result is a 5th place in the Italian junior championship (2008). In the same year he also finished 11th in the World championships in Hoogerheide. In 2009 he also competed in Belgium. As a first-year U23, he finished 50th in the Superprestige in Ruddervoorde.

Where will Fabio Aru be in 2021?


Team Signs Climbing Sensation, Keegan Swirbul
Swirbul Inks Two-Year Deal After Successful Team Debut in Portugal

Rally Cycling has signed former national under-23 road champ Keegan Swirbul to a two-year contract. The signing comes after an impressive debut in September’s GP Vedras and Volta a Portugal. The 25-year-old from Colorado was initially brought in as a trainee but quickly proved himself invaluable, earning himself a roster spot after 12 days of racing with the team. Swirbul is known in the peloton as an easy-going, hard-working, and talented climber.

“I’m really excited to be joining Rally Cycling,” said Swirbul. “They have fantastic management, are moving up the ranks, and I’m ready for the challenge.”

Swirbul first went pro in 2014 with the Bissell Development Team but faced setbacks due to injury early in his career. After a successful comeback in 2019 that included second overall at the Tour de Langkawi, Swirbul aims to take his cycling career to the next level.

“Early in my career, I faced a lot of obstacles,” said Swirbul. “I’m grateful for my health and this opportunity with the team. I’m going to give it everything I have.”

Swirbul hopes he can take his cycling career to the next level with Rally in 2021. “I’m really looking forward to being based in Europe full-time and racing a complete road program,” said Swirbul. “The timing feels right in my career to make some big steps.”

Men’s team director Patrick McCarty was familiar with Swirbul from the domestic racing scene where he competed for Floyd’s Pro Cycling and Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis. After giving Swirbul an opportunity to compete with the team in Portugal, it was clear that he had what it takes to be successful overseas.

“Keegan had been on our radar for a few years so we jumped at the chance to give him a trainee role in Portugal,” said McCarty. “We’ve known him to be a huge climbing talent and quickly saw that he could adapt and race well in Europe.” McCarty expects Swirbul to easily integrate into the team’s ranks and join its strong stable of climbing talent. “He’s an essential piece to our North American identity and we’re expecting big things from him over the next few seasons,” added McCarty.


Gazprom-RusVelo Extends Partnership with Colnago
In the season 2021 the Russian team Gazprom-RusVelo will continue to race on the legendary Colnago bicycles. Since 2013 the team has been competing on Colnago and this ongoing partnership will continue next year.

“Ernesto Colnago founded our company in order to create the best bikes in the world and to help the best racers achieve their dreams,” said Melissa Moncada Colnago Vice-chairman. “Ever since Colnago was founded, we’ve believed in champions all around the world, and being the bike partner of Gazprom-RusVelo is something we’re very proud of. At Colnago we strive to create the best bikes for riders, and this year’s Tour was a perfect example of seeing our unparalleled dedication to our work pay off.”

General manager of Gazprom-RusVelo Renat Khamidulin on the extension of partnership with Colnago: “Maestro Ernesto is not only a sponsor for us, but an experienced mentor with the wealth of unique knowledge and who is part of our cycling family. We are glad to continue our partnership with the best bicycle manufacturer in the world, as it was already justified at Tour de France this year and which is definitely a motivation to the riders of our team.”


Rally Cycling Renews Title Partnership with Rally Health
Rally Cycling is headed back to the races for 2021 and beyond. Digital health company Rally Health, Inc. and Minneapolis-based sports management company Circuit Sport are proud to announce a renewal of their long-standing partnership.

The cycling team will remain one of the only programs in the world to field both a men’s UCI ProTeam and women’s UCI Continental Team. 17 men and 10 women are planned for the team’s revamped 2021 roster.

The team shares a broad vision for success with Rally Health that extends beyond the races.

“Rally Cycling and Rally Health have long shared the goal of spreading the message about the benefits of adopting an active and healthy lifestyle,” said Steve Olin, chief product officer, Rally Health. “We’re all eager to get back out on the road again to share this message with cycling enthusiasts everywhere.”

In a year where bike racing, like all sports, was put on pause due to the pandemic, Rally Health and Circuit Sport shifted the communication of their mission to an online Healthy Habits campaign that showcased the team’s athletes achieving their goals from the safety of their homes.

“2020 presented unexpected challenges for sports teams around the world. We were able to adapt and get through it, thanks to this steadfast partnership,” said Circuit Sport managing director Charles Aaron. “This renewal is another step in our team’s long term vision of growth.”

The pause on road racing came with a bonus – Rally Cycling earned an invite to the first-ever Virtual Tour de France. The team took a unique approach towards preparing for this prestigious event, televised in over eighty countries. They enlisted new technical partners as well as the advice of some of America’s top e-racers, eventually winning stage three with Canadian Matteo Dal-Cin.

Back on the real roads in August, the team showed they hadn’t lost a step in isolation. The women and men stormed back to life in Europe, together accounting for five wins, a points competition, a king of the mountains victory, and numerous top 10 placings.

“This year had some unique challenges,” said Rally Cycling chief operating officer Jacob Erker. “I’m immensely proud of how the team rallied. We not only got back to racing safely, but we stood on top of the podium. We are eagerly awaiting the 2021 season.”

For ‘21, a diverse race program is in the planning phases that will feature America’s most iconic events as well as multiple international campaigns for the men’s and women’s teams. A major highlight of the ‘21 calendar will be the newly announced Maryland Cycling Classic, an exciting new one-day race in downtown Baltimore made possible via a partnership with UnitedHealthcare.


Pinto (W52-FC Porto) Provisionally Suspended by UCI
The UCI has temporarily suspended Edgar Pinto. The reason for the suspension of the 35-year-old Portuguese from W52-FC Porto is the use of prohibited methods and / or prohibited substances.

It is not known what exactly Pinto is suspected of. The experienced driver of the Portuguese continental team only came into action for six days this season. This spring he rode the Volta ao Algarve (34th in the final classification) and at the end of August he did not reach the finish in the Portuguese road championship.

The UCI’s list of temporarily suspended riders also includes Pinto’s former teammate Raúl Alarcón. The 34-year-old Spaniard was punished by the UCI last year for the same reason. Alarcón had already reported abnormal values in his biological passport in the spring of 2019.

Edgar Pinto (W52-FC Porto):


Date for World-Class Maryland Cycling Classic Announced for 2021
New Logo Featuring Supporting Sponsor UnitedHealthcare Unveiled

​The Maryland Cycling Classic, America’s top one-day professional race, has announced the inaugural event will take place September 5, 2021 and will feature several events over the course of Labor Day Weekend.

The inaugural event had originally been scheduled for September 6, 2020 but was postponed in late June due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will be part of the prestigious UCI ProSeries and is one of the top-ranked events in North and South America. UnitedHealthcare was previously announced as presenting sponsor.

“Obviously a lot has gone on the past few months on so many levels,” said Terry Hasseltine, the President of the Sport and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland, which owns the event. “All of our partners, most importantly UnitedHealthcare, the State of Maryland, City of Baltimore and Baltimore County, have been fantastic through a difficult year. As we look to the future, we now feel poised to put on a great weekend of events capped off with the Maryland Cycling Classic, which will no doubt instantly become one of Maryland’s premier international events.”

“The Maryland Cycling Classic is huge for cycling in the USA, and to have the support of Baltimore and the entire state of Maryland is a big deal,” said professional cyclist, Nathan Brown. Brown, who has completed six grand tours and wore the KOM jersey for two stages in the 2017 Tour de France, is slated to compete at the Maryland Cycling Classic as part of the UCI ProTeam, Rally Cycling.

“It’s super exciting to have UnitedHealthcare support this event. They are an important part of American cycling, and to see them branch out and sponsor the Maryland Cycling Classic is really stellar. On a personal note, my father-in-law grew up in Baltimore, so this race will be extra special. I’ll have a lot of family watching and cheering us on,” added Brown.

Hasseltine added that they’ve been working with event partners Medalist Sports and KOM Sports to build out a weekend of events that will include a Health and Wellness Festival, a Public Charity Ride, Community Outreach Program on Bike Education and Participation and a new hospitality and experiential platform. Details on each event will be announced after the first of the year.

More information can be found at www.marylandcyclingclassic.us.

The event also revealed a new composite logo featuring its supporting sponsor, UnitedHealthcare:


No Berlin Six Days in 2021
The organisers of the Berlin Six Days have decided not to organise the event next year. The competition was scheduled for February 9-14, 2021, but the next edition of the Berlin Six Days will now be waiting until February 2022.

“Although it comes as no big surprise, it is still difficult to announce the postponement of the Berlin event. Given the situation surrounding COVID-19, we cannot afford to endanger our fans, athletes, volunteers and employees,” the organisation writes.

“We have therefore made the difficult decision to move the 110th edition of the oldest Six Days in the world to 2022.” The next edition will now take place from 8-13 February 2022. “We look forward to welcoming you back on the track, when we can also race safely again.”

Due to the cancellation, Wim Stroetinga and Moreno De Pauw remain the last winners of the Berlin Six Days. Earlier this year they managed to beat the Danish couple Hester-Wulff Frederiksen out of the leader’s jersey on the closing evening.

No Berlin 6 Days in 2021:


Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour Named as ‘Ones to Watch’ in 50 Most Marketable Sports Properties
The Tour of Britain and The Women’s Tour have been named as ‘Ones to Watch’ by SportsPro, the world’s leading international media company for the sports industry, following the publication of its 50 Most Marketable Properties list.

The Tour of Britain and The Women’s Tour, Britain’s most prestigious men’s and women’s professional cycle races that are both organised by SweetSpot Group, were picked out among ten additional sports properties tipped for emergence or resurgence in the coming year.

Last month, SportsPro expanded its global 50 Most Marketable platform, which is now in its 11th year, to include separate lists for athletes, brands and sports properties, including leagues, teams, governing bodies and major events from across the globe.

The main 50 Most Marketable Properties list contains just one other cycling event – the Tour de France – and just seven other British sports properties.

The full list of ‘Ones to Watch’ by SportsPro can be found here.

There are title partnership opportunities available for 2021 and beyond with both The Women’s Tour and The Tour of Britain, plus The Tour Series city centre race series that is also organised by SweetSpot Group.

All three race events provide a proven platform and an extensive and diverse audience base for brands wishing to get involved in the sport, whether as a title sponsor or at other levels, including official partners or suppliers.

The 2021 Women’s Tour will be a part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour for the fifth year and held between Monday 7 and Saturday 12 June starting from Bicester in Oxfordshire and finishing at Felixstowe in Suffolk.

The 2021 Tour of Britain takes place from Sunday 5 to Sunday 12 September, starting from Penzance in Cornwall and finishing in Aberdeen. Devon, Warrington and Cumbria are among the venues so far announced as hosting stages of the race.

OVO Energy Women’s Tour, Stage 5: Builth Wells – Lizzie Deignan of Trek-Segafredo wins. Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

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