Einhorn hunts for glory in explosive battles at Tour of Slovakia

An explosive prologue and an interesting first stage opened the Tour of Slovakia. Einhorn was very well in the mix.

With the knowledge that Einhorn got safely over the final climb in stage 1, Carl Fredrik Hagen gave it a good go and bridged the gap to the breakaway of the day. As he joined them, there were only two riders left from the original group of escapees.

Tour de Slovaquie 2021 – 65th Edition – 1st Stage Kosice – Kosice 158,4 km – 16/09/2021 – Israel Start-Up Nation – photo Igor Stancik/BettiniPhoto©2021

The three guys in the break defended a gap of twenty seconds over the peloton in which Israel Start-Up Nation didn’t have to bother about the chase. Chris Froome, Norman Vahtra, Krists Neilands, and Einhorn were very well positioned in the final twenty kilometers of racing, patiently waiting to see if Hagen would be caught or whether they could sprint for a stage victory.

After yesterday’s prologue, a stage win could have potentially put Einhorn in the leader’s jersey, as he was just a handful of seconds behind the leader after an impressive 1.6-kilometer-long effort in the streets of Kosice. However, competition is huge in Slovakia, with sprinters like Hodeg, Nizzolo, and local favorite Peter Sagan.

Hagen got reeled in with five kilometers to the line. From there, Froome, Neilands, and Norman brought Einhorn in the top-10 before the final turn. Einhorn was fast, overtook several competitors, and sprinted to sixth.

Tour de Slovaquie 2021 – 65th Edition – 1st Stage Kosice – Kosice 158,4 km – 16/09/2021 – Bora – Hansgrohe – Israel Start-Up Nation – photo Igor Stancik/BettiniPhoto©2021

“I could rely on my teammates today,” Einhorn said after the finish. “We were well positioned, but it was a big battle for the first spots in the pack towards the final turn. Just before that, Norman got a little bit boxed in. I came from too far back to go for the podium, but I felt fast.”

The strong finish gave Einhorn morale for the next few stages. “Tomorrow there is another chance. As a team, we are capable of doing better than the sixth place, and the second stage is a good one to prove it so.”

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com

Woods hunts for KOM points on stage 9 of the Tour

Israel Start-Up Nation put on an impressive team effort on stage 9 of the Tour de France, setting up Michael Woods to join the breakaway and go for KOM points. He’s now second in the competition for the polka dot jersey.

Despite digging deep on yesterday’s first day in the mountains, Woods was eager to get up the road once again, aiming to score points in the KOM competition. The ISN riders made sure that no dangerous groups went away on the opening kilometers before hitting the first climb of the day. At that point, Woods went to the front to follow the strong attacks, which ultimately saw him make it into a strong six-rider front group.

Woods scored KOM points on the first four categorized climbs, before giving in to the wet and cold conditions in the high mountains. Overall, the Canadian is now in second place, just eight points down on the leader in the king of mountains competition: Nairo Quintana (Arkea – Samsic). Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) still leads the race ahead of tomorrow’s rest day.

Michael Woods: “We took the front from the start and rode all the way towards the first climb. The guys were really awesome today. At the end, going head-to-head with Quintana took its toll. The accumulated fatigue from yesterday’s big effort and the cold weather today really started to impact me. I tried to play it the best way I could but following Quintana killed me and I blew up. The weather really affected me, and I could barely hold the handlebars on the descent. I was descending like a feather.

“However, we are still very much in the game [for the KOM]. It would have been nice to go for the stage win today but that wasn’t in the cards. Still, the fact that I was able to attack and be in the break after riding so hard yesterday gives me a lot of confidence. Now, I have two days to recover and then I’ll be good for the next stage.”

— MC to israelcyclingacademy.com