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Sofia Bertizzolo takes victory in La Classique Morbihan after strong team tactics – Liv Racing

Sofia Bertizzolo did herself and Liv Racing a big favour. She won La Classique Morbihan (115 kilometres) on Friday in Brittany, France. At one kilometre before the finish, on a sloping part, she placed a razor-sharp attack. No one had an answer. The peloton finished 9 seconds later. Lotte Kopecky came in seventh.

Bertizzolo won her first professional UCI victory in France. “That’s great of course, even though La Classique Morbihan is maybe not the biggest race. The feeling of winning was something I had been looking for for a long time. This season I have shown several times that I am strong. But unfortunately there were not many chances to win, partly because I am not a pure sprinter or climber. It’s nice that today all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. It is the confirmation I have been looking for for a long time.”

Bertizzolo praised Liv Racing’s tactical plan. Pauliena Rooijakkers was in a breakaway with 85 kilometres to go before the local circuit. At 25 kilometres from the finish the Dutch rider attacked again. This time she stayed ahead with eight other riders.

“The idea was that Lotte Kopecky and I would stay calm and focused in the peloton. When Pauliena was caught again, I attacked at 1 kilometre from the line exactly according to our plan. Full gas, I did not hesitate. We knew we could surprise the competition with that, because Lotte was of course still in the peloton. Nobody likes to close the gap, knowing that there is a very strong sprinter in your wheel. The tactic worked out well. And luckily my legs were strong enough to execute the plan. I’m very happy with this.”

Saturday, with the Grand Prix du Morbihan Féminin (102 kilometres), there is another race in the same region. The profile of that race is similar to that of La Classique Morbihan. “It would be great if we could have another celebration as a team.”

— rik to livracing.com

Late crash takes out Peron’s chances on stage 4 in Croatia

Sports director Gennady Mikhaylov:

“Another top 20 today with Andrea and we are certainly consistent in that regard, but we were aiming higher and for the work we put in we deserved more. You can’t do anything about the crash, it happened right in front of him and he did well to stay upright.”

“The guys were positioned much better today, and this morning’s team talk obviously had some effect, but our first target was to get in the breakaway and we didn’t.”

“That needs addressing. Today was a perfect opportunity and we tried to make it into the early move, then stopped. As we stopped the right move went and we weren’t there, and we need to work on that. You should be going three or four times, all our guys apart from Andrea as the sprinter, trying to get an attack going, but we didn’t try hard enough, and we will speak about that.”

Andrea Peron:

“Man. I can’t believe it. That was the best position I’ve been in for maybe the last two seasons. I was top ten inside the last km and the third wheel went down in front of me and I had to start from scratch. I couldn’t do anything about it, and I was so frustrated when we crossed the line.”

“I want more than top 20, and we want more than that as a team. We worked better today as a unit and we were together until deeper into the stage, but we only have two more opportunities left in 2021 – tomorrow and Sunday. It’s going to be hard, especially tomorrow with the climb, but we will try to get a top ten finish before this race and our season is over.”

— Tim Lindley to www.teamnovonordisk.com

Team BikeExchange animate Eschborn-Frankfurt as Matthews takes ninth – Team BikeExchange

Team BikeExchange did as they promised and went on the offensive at Eschborn-Frankfurt before teeing up Michael Matthews for a top-10 finish in the sprint finale.

The squad placed Luke Durbridge in the early breakaway move of five, with the escapees going on to open an advantage of more than three minutes before the peloton pegged them back.

As the gap began to tumble, Team BikeExchange made their way to the front of the pack and ramped up the tempo, firstly with Lucas Hamilton then with Nick Schultz and Rob Stannard applying the pressure. The race then burst into life with 60km to go as Matthews attacked over the top of the Mammolshain climb.

The 30-year-old drew a select group clear with teammates Hamilton for company and Durbridge still clinging on after his exploits in the initial breakaway. However, despite their best efforts, the gap back to the peloton never exceeded more than 40 seconds, with a host of teams keen to bring it back together for a sprint.

As the last of the group were reeled back in inside the final 10km, Team BikeExchange powered to the front as they refocussed on the upcoming sprint. Luka Mezgec surged to the head of the field underneath the one kilometre to go banner with Matthews in tow, but as the sprint opened up, the former second place finisher was left with nowhere to go, crossing the line in ninth.

Michael Matthews:
“We obviously wanted to make it a hard race, we put Durbo in the breakaway to make sure we had someone up the road if any guys were going across. Once we started the big lap, we were already firing guys up the road to make it hard for the sprinters.

Then on the second to last lap I decided to attack and got a nice group going, but there weren’t many people wanting to work with us to help it stay away and so around 20km to go we got caught.

In the end I had no legs left for the sprint but I gave it a go anyway and I think it’s good signs for things to come.”

2021 Eschborn-Frankfurt – Results:
1. Jasper Philipsen 4:28:03
2. John Degenkolb ST
3. Alexander Kristoff ST
9. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) ST

Photo Courtesy of Getty Sport.

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Alexis Renard takes second place on the last day of Tour de Pologne

Israel Start-Up Nation finished off Tour de Pologne with an impressive performance by Alexis Renard who took second place on the stage after the early breakaway managed to hold off the sprinters in a nail-biting finish.

After several strong performances throughout the race, Renard showed off the ISN team colors once again on the final day of racing. The young Frenchman infiltrated a small but strong breakaway early in the stage, which ultimately proved too strong for the peloton to bring back.

On the final kilometer, the sprinters could see the quartet right in front of them but they didn’t manage to catch them before the line. Renard took the wheel of Julius van den Berg (EF Education – Nippo) but despite a strong effort on the final meters, he had to settle for second place.

This is the third podium spot for Renard in the recent month of racing, once more proving to be in incredibly good shape at the moment.

Alexis Renard: “This morning, we talked about the possibilities of a breakaway staying away and Matthias [Brändle] told me that with the tail wind all day, the break could make it all the way. It was a really strong group that got away and we went full gas until the end. During the last lap, I was thinking about how I could take the win. I saw that Van den Berg was the strongest in the group so with 300 meters to go, I pretended to start my sprint. Van den Berg saw that he started his own sprint. I tried to pass him on the final meters but he was too strong. However, I don’t have any regrets.”

— Mikkel to israelcyclingacademy.com

Greipel takes sixth place on stage 12 of the Tour de France


André Greipel put himself in the heart of the action on stage 12 of the Tour de France as he made the winning breakaway after a hard day in the crosswind.

With an extremely windy weather forecast and lots of open terrain, it was clear that Thursday’s stage would be a nervous one right from the start.

The pace was furious on the opening kilometers until a strong group of riders finally managed to distance the peloton. Greipel was always attentive near the front and he made sure to follow the right moves and make it into the front group.

Not interested in having another leg-breaking day on the bike, the peloton decided to take it relatively easy, letting the break quickly open up a gap of over 10 minutes.

With about 45 km to go, the riders up front started attacking. Greipel was quick to respond several times, but ultimately a group of four riders got away to ride for the victory. Former ISN rider, Nils Politt took the win, while Greipel was sixth after finishing second in the sprint within the group of chasers.

André Greipel: “It was quite nervous with the crosswind at the beginning. We went full over a little climb and after that, the peloton split in the wind. It was a strong group of guys and we worked together really well. I knew that Küng would go early and I could have gone with him [when he went] but I wasn’t sure if this would be the right move. In the end, I’m happy for Nils. I’ve seen him grow up and we train together every day. He’s a really good friend. However, I would have liked to win the sprint in the chase group, but I got boxed in at the end.”

— MC to israelcyclingacademy.com

Würtz Schmidt takes fifth place on stage 5 of Dauphiné


Mads Würtz Schmidt did well to sprint to fifth place on the challenging stage 5 of Critérium du Dauphiné. Israel Start-Up Nation’s team leader Ben Hermans also finished in the reduced peloton to keep his 17th place overall.

On paper, Thursday’s stage was another good opportunity for a strong break to make it all the way. Multiple riders tried to get up the road early on and, ultimately, five riders managed to get a gap. However, the peloton never let the group get more than a two-minute advantage and as the pack took on the final steep climb, it all came back together again.

With gradients of nearly 20%, many riders got dropped due to the fast pace at the front, leaving a select group of riders to fight for the stage win. Würtz Schmidt was well-positioned leading into the sprint and the strong Dane put on a great performance to take fifth place on the line. Geraint Thomas (INEOS) won the stage after a late attack, while Lukas Pöstlberger (BORA – hansgrohe) kept his overall lead.

Mads Würtz Schmidt: “This was a warm and hot day! I tried to get in the break at the beginning of the stage, but we didn’t get a big enough gap. Then Asgreen (Deceuninck – Quickstep) went away and because he was so close in the GC, the peloton never let the break go. We went fast all day, which made for a hectic day as well as the wind was quite strong too. On the last climb, I just kept my own pace, making sure not to get dropped and to make it over the top with the group. When Thomas attacked, I was actually thinking about going as well. In hindsight, I should probably have done that. In any case, I’m glad I was up there today and had the legs to race hard.”

— MC to israelcyclingacademy.com