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Fast & Furious à Naples

Une certaine inconnue entourait la huitième étape du Giro, tracée tout autour de Naples. Certains sprinteurs et autres puncheurs pouvaient y trouver leur compte, mais c’est finalement l’échappée qui a pris l’avantage dans une journéecourte mais intense sur les routes de Campanie. Au bout des 153 kilomètres, Thomas De Gendt s’est adjugé la victoire alors qu’Arnaud Démare a conservé son maillot cyclamen à la veille de la grande étape de montagne, vers le Blockhaus, précédant la deuxième journée de repos. 

Neuf ans après son dernier passage dans l’une des villes les plus emblématiques du pays, le Tour d’Italie reposait ses bagages dans la cité napolitaine ce samedi. Le départ et l’arrivée y étaient installés, et à peine 153 kilomètres composaient ce huitième acte ni plat, ni extrêmementvallonné. Les jeux étaient ouverts, donc, et cela a donné lieu à un départ très dynamique. « Aujourd’hui, c’était vraiment particulier avec notamment quatre tours de circuits de moins de vingt kilomètres, vraiment techniques, où ça n’arrêtait pas de monter/descendrerappelait Sébastien Joly. Pour certains dans le peloton, il a même peut-être été difficile de se mettre en configuration « championnat » sur un Grand Tour. De ce point de vue, c’était un peu inédit ». L’échappée du jour, constituée de vingt-et-un coureurs, s’est néanmoins dégagée dans les dix premiers kilomètres, soit une petite heure avant l’entrée sur les circuits. En tête, Mathieu van der Poel, Thomas De Gendt, Biniam Girmay, Diego Ulissi, Guillaume Martin & co ont longtemps été maintenus à deux minutes, mais le peloton a finalement relâché la pression à une cinquantaine de kilomètres de la ligne, lorsque la grande bagarre pour la victoire d’étape s’est déclenchée en tête de course. Au terme d’une belle lutte, Thomas De Gendt s’est imposé après 3h32 d’une course néanmoins intense. 

« Il faut savoir calculer ses coups », Arnaud Démare

Attila Valter a coupé la ligne au sein du peloton principal trois minutes plus tard alors que ses coéquipiers en ont terminé un peu plus loin« On est en fin de première semaine, et ça a bien bagarré jusque-là, confiait Arnaud Démare après avoir de nouveau endossé le maillot cyclamen. On a vu d’entrée de jeu que ce serait difficile aujourd’hui car beaucoup de coureurs voulaient prendre l’échappée. C’était un beau parcours, mais on savait aussi qu’il était un peu difficile. Je me suis accroché un petit peu, mais il faut savoir aussi calculer ses coups sur un Grand Tour ». « On s’était dit qu’on pouvait se donner une chance selon la façon dont ça allait se dérouler, et c’est pourquoi on s’est bien accroché assez longtemps, ajoutait Sébastien. Puis, quand on a vu que l’échappée prenait vraiment du champ et qu’aucune équipe n‘était intéressée pour rouler, une grande partie de nos coureurs se sont relevés pour récupérer. D’autres se sont accrochés plus longtemps, mais seul Attila a terminé avec le premier groupe. Aujourd’hui, le but était soit d’arriver pour la gagne, soit de récupérer en vue de demain. La montagne se profile et ce sera une grosse journée avec cette arrivée au Blockhaus ». Dimanche, Arnaud Démare arpentera bel et bienles 5000 mètres de dénivelé au programme avec le maillot cyclamen sur ses épaules, mais il ne compte ce samedi soir plus que vingt-sept points d’avance sur l’Érythréen Biniam Girmay. « Ça va être un beau challenger », lançait le Picard en conclusion.

— Rodolphe Boulinguez to www.equipecycliste-groupama-fdj.fr

Cross winds, crashes and another fast finale on stage two in Turkey

Another sprint stage unfolded on stage two of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, with a shorter 156km of racing and lots of strong wind to contend with over the closing kilometers. Team Novo Nordisk rallied around Italian sprinter Andrea Peron with the Padovan just outside the top ten in twelfth and hungry for more.

Hamish Beadle:

“Our early objective was to get in the breakaway today, but it didn’t happen so my role was to stick with Andrea and try to help him out at the end but it quite messy today with the cross winds and the last hour was really hard. I think we did ok, but we can do better, and we’re focused on making sure we do that in the days to come.”

Andrea Peron:

“The result was ok, but it could have been a lot better today. It was so windy with a few crashes again and I found it quite stressful avoiding all the carnage. The speed was insane at times today, you’d get held up by a crash, lose contact, chase back on and all at close to 60kph.”

“It was a crazy kind of day, and the final was at warp speed again, but we came a lot closer today and the guys tried their best to help me out with Hamish alongside me right into the last kilometer. We go again tomorrow, and it looks to be a flatter stage and another chance to try and break the top ten at the finish in Izmir.”

General Manager Vassili Davidenko:

“It was a lumpy stage again today but played out as we expected for another sprinters stage with breakaway going away pretty-easily and then Lotto and BikeExchange controlling the bunch with everyone thinking about the final sprint. Our initial plan was two pronged, we wanted to get in the breakaway, show ourselves and be visible before working for Andrea at the end.”

“We missed the breakaway, so we shifted our focus solely on to Andrea and we did much better today, with Hamish working hard and staying up there alongside Andrea until the very end and we were only just outside the top ten. Getting closer!”

— Tim Lindley to www.teamnovonordisk.com

Tour of Turkey opens with longest stage and fast sprint finale

The 2022 Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey began today with a tough 207km opener that included three categorized climbs before the finish and was peppered with numerous crashes before a fast and technical bunch sprint wrapped up the day’s proceedings.

Andrea Peron:

“It was a classic Tour of Turkey stage today, frantic and with quite a few crashes throughout the day and I’m happy that I managed to avoid them and stay upright. The pace was high throughout, and I’m pleased to have stayed up there over the final climb which was full gas and that’s a good sign for the week to come, but I lost touch just before the sprint.”

“It was a fast downhill run to the finish, and I ended up boxed in going into the last kilometer and with this final it was hard to move back up to the front to regain a good position for the sprint, but we’ve got seven more days of racing to come and overall, I’m happy to come through today in decent shape.”

General Manager Vassili Davidenko:

“It was a long stage to start the race with and it didn’t really let up after the break went. We wanted the guys to sit tight in the bunch with the intention of looking after Andrea, but unfortunately both Filippo and Umberto were both involved in crashes and slipped out of the group, but both are ok and that’s the main thing.”

“Andrea did well to stay among the leaders over the climbs at the end as some team’s tried to force the selection and then the descent to the finish was extremely fast, but Andrea, David, Peter and Sam all held on to finish in the bunch and we’re already focused on tomorrow now.”

— Tim Lindley to www.teamnovonordisk.com

Team Novo Nordisk challenged by a very fast prologue at Tour of Slovakia

Stephen Clancy (IRL)

“This is my first participation at Tour of Slovakia, and I am very happy to be here to show what’s possible with diabetes.”

“Today’s prologue was short but intense. It was a very flat course with a tricky u-turn halfway covered in cobblestones and tramlines. The pressure was high but I did my best and I’m quite satisfied with my result.”

“This is my first participation at Tour of Slovakia, and I am very happy to be here and look forward the the road stages to show what’s possible with diabetes.”

Sports Director, Massimo Podenzana (ITA)

“We expected a fast start today and we got it. With less than 1.6 kilometres to go, this prologue required full power from start to finish and there was no space for error.”

“The boys were very focused, and ready to give it all. It was good to see some of our guys among the fastest riders crossing the line in less than two minutes from the start.”

“It was a good warm up to tomorrow’s stage,which will be a tough one.”

— tnn to www.teamnovonordisk.com

Peron finishes 21st in a fast final sprint at the GP de Fourmies

Head Sports Director, Massimo Podenzana (ITA)

“With two really challenging races behind us, we came at the GP de Fourmies with hanger for a good result.”

“This Grand Prix is a race that suits sprinters, and our strategy was to have the team working for Andrea and have him battling with the leaders in the final sprint.”

“Andrea did a great job in the last kilometres keeping the pace and staying at the front. Too bad he lost a few positions in the final meters, but he still brought home a good result and the one we needed to keep the morale up for the upcoming two final races of this season.”

Andrea Peron (ITA)

“After crashing in Besancon last week, I felt pretty sore and couldn’t train to my max this week.”

“Today’s parcour suits me and I felt good. The guys did a great job helping me to keep a good position. I gave my best and overall I’m happy with the result.”

“Now we have only two races left and hopefully today’s result will be an extra motivation for a good finale of the 2021 season.”

— tnn to www.teamnovonordisk.com