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Faulkner attacks & fights to an impressive third place on the opening stage of Itzulia  – Team BikeExchange Jayco

Third place finisher at the Navarra Women’s Classic, Kristen Faulkner, has claimed another podium finish after attacking in the final of today’s stage one in Itzulia. 

The American rider took her opportunity in the final 15km, attacking directly after a dangerous breakaway group was caught and quickly opened up a gap. Fighting ahead on a wide open road, the 29-year-old was shortly after joined by Demi Vollering and Pauliena Rooijakkers, and the trio quickly got into a good rhythm, which enabled them to opened up a lead of around 40 seconds. 

With a technical finish on a narrow road for the final 200m, it was all about positioning into the last 150m, as the riders remained in the same position all the way to the line, with Vollering claiming the stage victory and Faulkner taking her second podium finish in three-days.

Local Basque rider Ane Santesteban also continued to display her top form, fighting to fifth place with Australian climber Amanda Spratt in seventh place, both at 41 seconds.

Kristen Faulkner – 3rd place 
“It was a hard day out, they really push it on the climbs, SD Worx, and then they attacked and four got away right after the final climb so we had to take control chasing them down so that was pretty full gas. 

Then when it all came together I attacked and I was able to stay away for a little while until the two riders came across. Overall it was a really good day, a really hard day and I am really excited to be on the podium again and we have two more days of opportunities to come.”

Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas – Sport Director
“We were expecting the climbs to be hard and for there to be a small group at the front and we were waiting for that moment for there to be a bit of chaos when things came back together, we wanted to take that opportunity and it worked perfectly. 
 
It was always the plan for Kristen to attack and for us to have Ane and Spratty behind for the sprint, so it was a perfect plan and it worked out. Kristen was unfortuntaly with two riders who where playing out the general classification, so we didn’t want to commit too much, as we had our GC interests behind but in the end another strong podium and she just missed the win.”

2022 Itzulia stage 1 results:
1. Demi Vollering 2:55:17
2. Pauliena Rooijakkers ST3. Kristen Faulkner +0:02
5. Ane Santesteban +0:41
7. Amanda Spratt  +0:41

General Classification after stage 1:1. Demi Vollering 2:55:05
2. Pauliena Rooijakkers ++0:06
3. Kristen Faulkner +0:10

Photo: Getty Images

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Yates makes his mark with a spectacular solo victory on the opening stage of Vuelta Asturias – Team BikeExchange Jayco

Simon Yates has started as he means to go on, taking a spectacular solo victory on the opening stage of the three-day Vuelta Asturias. The 29-year-old headed to the race, using it as the final touches to his preparations for the Giro d’Italia starting next week, and today demonstrated top form by riding away from his rivals in the final and to his second victory of the season.
 
Confident in his ability, Team BikeExchange-Jayco allowed an early breakaway group of five riders to gain momentum and ride out to a maximum advantage of just under 10 minutes, during the 170km hilly stage from Oviedo to Pola de Lena.

The squad then took up position at the head of the peloton for the majority of the stage, keeping the breakaway in check, before picking up the pace inside the final 50km and eventually making the catch with 35km to go as the race headed into the more selective, hilly section.
 
Working to neutralise any further breakaway attempts, the Australian outfit stayed attentive while also keeping team leader Yates well protected. Damien Howson then made a tactful acceleration at the base of the final climb and opened up a gap with Ivan Sosa which set up Yates perfectly, putting pressure on the remains of the peloton and allowing the Brit to launch his damaging attack around one kilometre from the summit of the final climb. 
 
Yates successfully powered away from his opponents and maintained his advantage on the predominantly flat run-in to the finish line, to take the win by 14 seconds, and in doing so, took the overall lead of the race.
 
Simon Yates – 1st place:
“First of all, I have to thank all of my teammates for the great work they have done all day long. In the finale, we kept the pace high to avoid some attacks and be in the top positions at the start of the last climb. Damien Howson made a move, got a gap and then I attacked over the top. 

The sensations are good, and the legs responded very well. Tomorrow is the Queen stage, and it would be nice to be able to win again, also because my goal remains to win the overall.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“It took 20 or 30km for the breakaway to get away, then we took control for most of the stage. When we got to the more selective part of the race, the last 35km, Movistar pushed the pace and then we carried it on especially with Callum Scotson. Callum did an incredible 15km and by the time he finished, the bunch was only around 15 or 20 riders left on the penultimate climb. 

Then going into the bottom of the last climb, Damien Howson attacked so that allowed Simon to come from behind. Damien got out there with Sosa, Simon jumped across to them and then continued again on his own.
 
It was nice work by the team and a nice exhibition by Simon who went only in the last kilometre of the last climb with around 5 or 6km from the finish line. He won solo by 14 seconds which gives us a nice buffer with the bonus seconds going into the next two days.”
 
2022 Vuelta a Asturias stage 1 results:
1. Simon Yates 4:26:44
2. Vincenzo Albanese +0:14
3. Alexis Vullermoz +0:14
 
General Classification after stage 1:
1. Simon Yates 4:26:34
2. Vincenzo Albanese +0:18
3. Alexis Vullermoz +0:20

Photo: Photo Gomez

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

La Vuelta. Alex Aranburu fights to second place in the opening time trial in Burgos – Astana

La Vuelta. Alex Aranburu fights to second place in the opening time trial in Burgos

Alex Aranburu took a solid second podium place in today’s opening individual time trial around the Cathedral of Burgos. The Astana – Premier Tech rider finished with the best provisional time halfway through the race, stopping the clock at 8 minutes and 38 seconds. Aranburu had to wait for some two hours in the hot seat until defending La Vuelta winner Primoz Roglic beat his time with just six seconds, taking the stage win and the first red jersey.

“Well, of course I feel a bit of disappointment after I was so close to a stage win, but honestly, it was expected that Primoz Roglic would be the biggest favourite today. I did a good time trial, and I can say I liked it very much. I love these kind of short and explosive races and I was motivated to do a good race today. I tried to do my best on the climb, but also in the final part, which I think was crucial for the stage result. It was not easy to keep a high pace in the last few kilometres, but I succeeded, and I finished with the best provisional time. Well, I had to wait quite long on the hot seat and at the end of the day I just missed the win. However, I can be proud of my performance today and I think this is a good start to the race for me”, – said Alex Aranburu.

In general, Astana – Premier Tech team performed well in today’s first stage. Firstly, it was Omar Fraile, who finished with the best provisional time and later Luis Leon Sanchez and Oscar Rodriguez both crossed the line with the third best time. Next it was Alex Aranburu, who smashed it with the new time, enough to get the team’s first podium place at this La Vuelta. Later, we saw good performances from the Spanish Time Trial Champion Ion Izagirre and his brother Gorka Izagirre before the team’s leader Aleksandr Vlasov showed good legs with a place in the top 10 of the stage.

Young Kazakh rider Yuriy Natarov was motivated to try to fight for the first mountain points at the Vuelta a España, but could not get the points on the top of the climb. However, it was his first attempt to get a result at his first ever Grand Tour stage.

“I think that the team had a really solid start today and all the riders showed themselves in the best way. Indeed, we were so close to a victory but instead we took another second place. However we knew that Roglic was the main favourite in this short time trial, so we can be really happy with the performance of Alex Aranburu, but also with the stage of our leader Aleksandr Vlasov, who did a very strong time trial and finished inside the top 10 ahead of many other GC contenders. Well, it was a good start for us and now we are looking forward to the next stages”,– added Dmitriy Fofonov, Team Performance Manager.

La Vuelta a España. Stage 1. Burgos – Burgos, 7.1 km.

Stage Top-3: 1. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo – Visma); 2. Alex Aranburu (Astana – Premier Tech); 3. Jan Tratnik (Bahrain – Victorious) … 10. Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana – Premier Tech).

Photo credit: @Gettysport

— Vitalii to www.astana-qazaqstan.com

Top-10 for Brändle on the opening day of Giro d’Italia

Israel Start-Up Nation started out the 2021 Giro d’Italia with a strong performance by Matthias Brändle who finished ninth in the opening time trial in Torino.

With a short distance of just 8.3 km, Saturday’s stage 1 was always going to be a very fast fight against the clock. The ISN guys were eager to do well, which Alessandro De Marchi proved with a powerful effort at the beginning of the race, crossing the line in third place at the time.

Soon after, Brändle showed that he too was on an excellent day as he came blasting over the finish line, setting a new best time with 9:09 minutes. Brändle stayed in the hot-seat for a while before ultimately settling for ninth place as the world champion Filippo Ganna (INEOS) took the win.

Matthias Brändle: “This was a very fast course, but it was actually a quite technical one too. You really had to pay attention at all times to take the corners properly. Personally, I had a really good day on the bike. I started well and I could keep the pace high all the time. At the end, I made top-10, so this was definitely a good start. Now, we look forward to the rest of the race!”

Unfortunately, despite several strong performances on the stage, the first day of the Giro didn’t end well for the team. On his way back to the hotel, Krists Neilands crashed and was taken to hospital where a scan confirmed a fracture on his right collarbone. The Latvian climber will need surgery and therefore won’t take the start of stage 2 on Sunday.

— MC to israelcyclingacademy.com

Opening stage in Rwanda: Israel Start-Up Nation creates hard race and starts the hunt for GC

After a few days of social projects, including embracing the only women’s team in Rwanda (see video below) and visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial, Sunday the second of May marked the first stage of the Tour du Rwanda.

The girls from the cycling club of Kibungo, who Israel Start-Up Nation pledged to support with the cycling equipment needed to chase their dreams, came over to watch the race and saw that Israeli continental riders Edo Goldstein and Omer Lahav had perfectly adapted to racing with the WorldTour team.

It is always a special feeling to race on Rwandan roads. The fans, the views, and the type of racing make the Tour du Rwanda different from any other race.

With teams consisting of only five riders, and a peloton of just 75 riders in total, the stages in the Tour du Rwanda are very difficult to control. The race features very aggressive racing, from the gun, and requires an attentive racing attitude.

Israel Start-Up Nation, who had participated in the Tour du Rwanda since it was a continental team, has experience with racing on Rwandan roads. The team took responsibility, chased down a break-away, and finished with four of the five riders solidly in the bunch.

With seven stages to go, James Piccoli is in a promising position for a good result in the GC.

Photos: Sjors Beukeboom & Jean Chris Kitoko

#YallaISN #RacingForChange #TdRwanda2021

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com