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STEVIE WILLIAMS WINS CRO RACE QUEEN STAGE AND LEADS GC

Stevie Williams took a solo win and the red jersey on the queen and penultimate stage of Cro race.
Only 137.7 kilometres long, stage 5 was the make or break for the GC, with several teams looking to place themselves in the red jersey ahead of stage 6.

The action started from the beginning in Rabac as Hermann Pernsteiner, and Lazkano (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) pulled out of the peloton to break. The two of them escaped the main group and won the first mountain goal of the day, the ascent to Gračišće, with Hermann taking the top points. After that, a passing goal in Pazin awaited, and Hermann was the first again.

On the way from Viškovo to Rijeka, Yates and Stevie Williams were joined at the head of the race by Riccardo Zoidl (Felbermayr Simplon Wels) as the trio managed to create a half-minute advantage over a group of about 20 riders. In both Viškovo and Rijeka, Stevie was strongest on through the passing goal. The trio then took advantage of the unorganized chasing group from Rijeka to Opatija and increased their advantage to almost a minute. Despite the chasers eventually closing the gap by 30 seconds, it was not enough to catch the trio out front.

In the final few kilometres, Stevie was able to accelerate away from Yates and Zoidl and solo to victory. Stevie was delighted with the win: “I was afraid after the first passage through Opatija that they would catch me since we did a lot of stages and I was afraid that there was no freshness in my legs. However, somewhere three kilometres to the finish, I realized that I still had a freshness and could still pick up the pace.

My teammates positioned me well on the start of the climb Učka, which started very hard on the bottom. The group gradually got smaller and smaller. As the group, we were very lucky with Hermann’s position and Santiago in the group behind, so it was perfect for me to be with Simon. I was able to use them. I am proud of the way I raced. I am really happy to take this win for the team and myself. I am over the moon now. I am also happy to take the lead GC, and I am expecting a tough race tomorrow. I will give everything, and hopefully, I will come out with the red jersey.”

Satisfied Sports director Franco Pellizotti commented on Stevie’s win: “I am happy for the win but especially because the win goes to Stevie, who has in previous seasons suffered a lot. He succeeded in progress and went through difficult times, and here is the result. I am super happy for him.”

(All pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usages only and are copyright CRO race / KL Photo @TeamBahrainVictorious)

— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com

Spring Classic in Autumn: Vanmarcke leads ISN in a postponed edition of Paris-Roubaix

Sep Vanmarcke will be ISN’s first pick in Paris-Roubaix, next Sunday, the third of October. Together with the Belgian cobbles specialist, we are looking ahead to one of the biggest and hardest classics in professional cycling.

It will be the team’s very first Paris-Roubaix.

Normally, Paris-Roubaix is the final highlight of a series of cobbled classics early in the season. This year, however, it is rather ‘lonely’ on the calendar, being held on October 3rd, making Paris-Roubaix an Autumn instead of a Spring Classic.

Sep Vanmarcke, therefore, expects an interesting edition of the highly anticipated race. “Normally, this race is the last cobbled classic after a long period of Spring Classics, but now it is on its own, at the end of the cycling calendar. That will feature different racing. Some riders might already be looking forward to off-season after a long period of racing, while others might be even stronger than they normally are in spring.”

Vuelta Espana 2021 – 76th Edition – 16th stage Laredo – Santa Cruz de Bezana 180 km – 31/08/2021 – Sep Vanmarcke (BEL – Israel Start-Up Nation) – photo Luis Angel Gomez/BettiniPhoto©2021

Then, there’s the weather forecast. It might very well be raining in the north of France next Sunday. The experienced Classic specialist Vanmarcke knows that racing on cobbles in the rain is a different discipline than racing on cobbles in the sun. “It could the first Paris-Roubaix in rainy conditions in a long time, since 2002 if I remember correctly”, Vanmarcke says.

It would be the first, rainy edition of the classic for most of the peloton, including Vanmarcke. “I have raced on cobbles in wet conditions before, but not Paris-Roubaix. Indeed, things get more slippery, technical, and treacherous.”

Rain or no rain, Israel Start-Up Nation did showcase, in the last few one-day races, that it is ready for Paris-Roubaix. “We finished multiple times in the top-10 with different riders in races that can be seen as a warm-up to Paris-Roubaix. That will definitely give us confidence towards Sunday,” says the Belgian.

He continues: “Apart from having a good line-up for this race, the Factor bike is ready, too. We did some recon rides last week on the course, and I tested out some of our material. I know which Maxxis tires I want to run and how much pressure is comfortable on the cobbles.”

Sports Director Dirk Demol, who won Paris-Roubaix in 1988, will cover the 257-kilometer race by car, directing the team over the cobbled sections. He says that doing the recon last week gave the team a lot of information. “Definitely material-wise, as Sep explained, but also about the condition of the sectors. Some of them have moss and grass in between the cobbles, which make them extra slippery. The farmers have already started harvesting their fields, meaning that there are sectors with mud on them.”

“I speak from experience”, he continues, “when it is wet, and now especially in this part of the season, it is going to be very treacherous. I did Paris-Roubaix in wet conditions, and it is another kind of race.”

Israel Start-Up Nation’s line-up for Paris-Roubaix (03/10):

  • Rudy Barbier
  • Hugo Hofstetter
  • Jenthe Biermans
  • Tom Van Asbroeck
  • Sep Vanmarcke
  • Guillaume Boivin
  • Mads Würtz Schmidt

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com

Road captain Ben Moshe leads ICA through nervous first stage in Portugal

Israeli rider Yuval Ben Moshe is one of the most experienced riders in the Israel Cycling Academy formation racing the next ten days in Portugal. Thus, the 22-year-old is the road captain in the #VPSantander21 – it’s a role he enjoys and is good at.

“It was nice”, Ben Moshe would say after the stage. “I always try to do my best to give good calls about what I see during the race.”

In the first stage (after yesterday’s prologue), Ben Moshe took the important role upon himself and carried it out to the liking of sports director Cherie Pridham. “Yuval did a good job today”, she said. “It was a nervous stage with a lot of motivated riders who battled for positions in front of the bunch to avoid possible splits during crosswind sections.”

According to the British DS, Ben Moshe gave good information via the race radio, was positive, motivated his teammates and kept the team together during important moments in the race. “I saw a confident Yuval today, who took his role seriously and carried it out very well.”

Ben Moshe himself enjoyed having the responsibility. The Israeli and his teammates led team leader Mason Hollyman into the final climb in a good position. The Brit showed himself when he made a few moves, and finished solidly in the bunch.

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com