A herculean effort from Team Bahrain Victorious’ leaders on the uphill TT that closed the 75th Tour de Romandie saw Swiss Gino Mäder finish 2nd on GC in his homeland, and Damiano Caruso move up 12 places to 6th.

Caruso, starting in 18th overall, had briefly taken the hotseat from more established climbers Thibaut Pinot (GFC) & Steven Kruijswijk (TJV), before Aleksandr Vlasov (BOH), – eventual stage & race winner – went just over a minute quicker on the 15.8km course.

Meanwhile, after finishing with the leaders the previous day, Mäder had gone 3rd fastest on the TT behind Vlasov and Simon Geschke (COF), which put the local favourite on the provisional podium with the overnight green (Rohan Dennis, TJV) and white (Juan Ayuso, UAE) jerseys still on the 7.7km ascent of Saint-Luc to Villars. Both went significantly slower than Mäder & Caruso, and slipped off the podium.

Tour de Romandie 2022 – 75th Edition – 5th stage Aigle – Villars 15,84 km – 01/05/2022 – Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora – Hansgrohe) – Gino Mader (SUI – Bahrain Victorious) – Simon Geschke (GER – Cofidis) – photo Massimo Fulgenzi/SprintCyclingAgency©2022

Finishing 2nd in the Team Classification, with a stage win and a rider on the podium, it has been another successful week for the squad.

I’m really happy with today, because it was a really good performance, and I’m happy for Gino too, finishing 2nd on GC,” said Caruso after the stage. “Without the bad luck yesterday, maybe it could have been even better, but that’s bike racing

The Italian had been in contention for the overall before a mechanical 300 metres from the line on the summit finish of stage 4 meant he lost 38 seconds. But there can be no doubt that the team has achieved its objectives in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.

Tour de Romandie 2022 – 75th Edition – 4th stage Aigle – Zinal 180,1 km – 30/04/2022 – Scenery – Peloton – photo Massimo Fulgenzi/SprintCyclingAgency©2022

Lead Sports Director Neil Stephens was delighted with how the week had played out: “It’s been fantastic racing, and we’ve been involved every single day trying something. It’s a bit disappointing that Damiano had his mechanical yesterday in the final, but to walk away with not only the stage win but Gino 2nd on GC too, is more than what we expected and very very satisfying.

Mäder, already a stage winner at the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de Suisse,  has been the centre of media attention throughout the week. He confirmed his status as one of the rising stars of the peloton with a best ever overall result in a stage race, following his 5th at last year’s Vuelta a España, but the 25 year old surprised even himself with his achievement on this final day.

We hoped for a podium, but I didn’t really believe in it until I crossed the finish line! I’m super happy, Damiano performed great, and as a team we rode well together the whole week, pushing each other. Yesterday was a bit of a frustrating day, but I think we bounced back pretty well – we can enjoy what was a good week!

(All pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usages only and are copyright @Sprintcycling @TeamBahrainVictorious)

— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com

Peron & Lozano roll hard on the climbs to finish with the leaders at Hellas Tour

A hot and hilly opening stage of the International Hellas Tour traversed the ancient Island of Crete from the capital Heraklion to the picturesque port of Chania where a technical finish awaited on the seafront.

Italian sprinter Andrea Peron and Spanish climber David Lozano produced a good showing for Team Novo Nordisk, forming part of an elite reduced group that formed over the climbs and tried in vain to chase down the remnants of the breakaway.

David Lozano:

“I felt a lot better today than in Turkey that’s for sure. It was hot, straight onto a climb and the pace was high from the start, but we did a good job today. The guys supported me and Andrea really well and to be honest everyone in our group thought the breakaway was already caught.”

“We hit 2,900m elevation in 179km and the group of four guys were really moving out front. Andrea and I were in the reduced favorites group and we collaborated well together. When we hit the descent to the finish, it was technical and we thought we would be fighting for the stage result, so to find out at the finish that one guy remained and he won…was a bit deflating. But we’re in good shape and we go again tomorrow.”

Sports Director Gennady Mikhaylov:

“That was a good start from us today. The guys followed instructions and worked hard with both Andrea and David right up there with the favorites group.

“The race was split very early because we were straight onto the climbs and I was surprised that one guy from the break managed to stay out front, but that’s the race today and we showed good signs. So that’s what we will carry forward into tomorrow’s stage two.”

— Tim Lindley to www.teamnovonordisk.com

Summit finish in Manisa splits field on stage four in Turkey

The complexion of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey changed on stage 4 with the first summit finish of the race coming at the end of 156km from Izmir to Manisa.

Topping out at an altitude of 1,400m, the finish in Spil Milli Park combined difficulty with beautiful scenery as experienced Hungarian Peter Kusztor did his best to stay with the leading group but the high pace saw most of the bunch shelled early on as the overall contenders lit the touch paper.

David Lozano:

“Our objective was to try and get in the breakaway today and then work to look after Peter and it was Sam and myself who were tasked to try and get in the break. We tried a few attacks, one after the other to try and get something going but we weren’t in the right place at the right time today and we missed the move when it went.”

“After the break I went, I thought ‘ok, I can stay with Peter’ and we try to do our best on the climb, but then a mechanical forced me into bike change just before the climb and that was it. I couldn’t get back into the group in time. The climb was hard, nearly 14km at 7% and the road surface wasn’t the best, so we rode our tempo up to the line.”

General manager Vassili Davidenko:

“It was a steady drag out into the mountains today, one of those days when you can see where you’re going but don’t seem to be getting there until right at the end and we knew it would be hard climb up to the line. The ascent up to Spil Milli Park was a real climb on a tough road surface and ended up being potentially race defining as the GC contenders set a brutal pace and it was too much for us to stay with the leading group.”

“Nevertheless, the guys tried their best and Peter fought to hang in as long as possible, but the group got small pretty quickly with every acceleration riders were getting dropped, so it was important for us to make it to the line in one good shape and reset for tomorrow.”

Photo: Mario Stiehl

— Tim Lindley to www.teamnovonordisk.com

Martin looks to finish Giro with top-10 in GC after stage 20

Dan Martin emptied the tank for the penultimate time during the 20th stage of the Giro d’Italia.

With the help the team, the Irish climber maintained his top-10 position in the GC by finishing 14th in a very challenging stage that featured three tough climbs.

Giro d’Italia 2021 – 104th Edition – 20th stage Verbania – Valle Spluga – Alpe Motta 164 km – 29/05/2021 – Guy Niv (ISR – Israel Start-Up Nation) – Vincenzo Nibali (ITA – Trek – Segafredo) – photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

What’s left in the Giro is a semi-long time trial to Milan on Sunday. Martin’s top-10 does not seem in danger going into the final day.

Israel Start-Up Nation has two riders who will aim for a great result in the last stage. Patrick Bevin and Matthias Brändle are ISN’s two ITT-specialists.

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com

Puncher’s finish in Rwanda, Piccoli keeps GC-ambitions alive

Canadian GC-contender James Piccoli is, after stage 5, still in the mix for overall victory in the Tour du Rwanda.

The stage with the final climb to Kimironko Market, one of the busiest markets in Rwanda, has only been won by true punchers in the past editions of the race. It’s short, steep, and usually doesn’t result in big time gaps between GC-contenders.

ISN, chasing with the strong Omer Lahav and Guy Sagiv, closed down the gap with the break-away far before the final climb. James Piccoli, five seconds down on the yellow jersey, finished together with his competitors. The climb to Kimironko doesn’t particularly suit him as a rider, but the Canadian did finish seventh.

He barely lost time on his direct competitors. He is actually one second closer to the yellow jersey after today.

Friday’s stage is most likely going to be crucial for the GC, as well as Saturday’s short individual time trial. Sunday’s final stage resulted in time gaps over the last few editions of the Tour, so the race is definitely not decided yet.

#RacingForChange #YallaISN #TdRwanda2021
Photos: Sjors Beukeboom and Jean Chris Kitoko

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com

Sprint train derailed by crash, first non-top-10 finish for Greipel in Turkey

When a bunch of riders hit the deck in the fourth stage of the Tour of Turkey (no ISN-riders were involved), the sprinting ambitions of the team were demolished.

The fourth stage in the Tour of Turkey featured some beautiful coastal roads and impressive views of the Mediterranean Sea. The race started close to the old castle of Alanya, heading through Antalya, and finishing in Kemer.

It was a little bit windy on the open ocean roads and Israel Start-Up Nation tried to set up echelons. The wind was not hard enough though, so apart from a few riders dropping off the back, it was not quite successful.

It was clear that @TeamIsraelSUN did not want to simply ride to the finish for another bunch sprint. The team instead chose a more aggressive style of racing, while making sure the sprint train would stay in position for the final.

ISN was, in the last kilometers of racing, betting once more on sprinter Andre Greipel, who had finished top-10 in every single stage of the Tour of Turkey so far.

It was both the hard battling for positions and the crash with a few hundred meters to go that derailed ISN’s sprint train. The boys lost each other’s wheels, and the chance for another sprinting success was eliminated.

Fortunately, none of the ISN-riders hit the deck. Unfortunately, there was no way to salvage a good result for Andre Greipel.

Tomorrow is the first day with proper elevation in the Tour of Turkey. Instead of working hard for Greipel, the team will go all-out for climber Sebastian Berwick.

#TUR2021 #YallaISN

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com