‘Grande’ Martin WINS in the Giro and completes Grand Tour stage victory trifecta

⁃ Israel Start-Up Nation wins stage 17 in the Giro
⁃ Martin wins first-ever Giro stage, after having won in Tour and Vuelta
⁃ Martin: “I could not believe it at the finish”
⁃ Co-owner Sylvan Adams: “We are proud”

An outstanding Dan Martin wins stage 17 after an incredible fight on the final climb. “This is the reason why I came to the Giro d’Italia!”

The Irishman forced, together with his teammates, a breakaway group after an hour of racing. The chase in the peloton was on, but didn’t manage to close the gap.

“I came to the Giro to win a stage,” Martin said after the finish. “That I joggled my head after the finish proves that I just could not believe that I made it.

“I knew today would be one of my last chances. As I lost time before, I could try to go for my goal with joining a breakaway.”

One minute and thirty seconds distanced Martin from other GC-contenders. At the finish, he had 13 seconds left.

Martin: “I received the updates from the sports directors about what was happening behind me. From 3.5 kilometers to the finish, I pushed as hard as I could, because I knew from a recon I did that the climb would flatten towards the finish.”

Team co-owner Sylvan Adams was watching the final hour of racing on the bus. It was exciting until the finish, as the gap between Martin and his competitors shrunk, grew, shrunk, and grew throughout the whole race.

With a big smile on his face, Adams said after the finish, “Dan said yesterday that he would give it a go in today’s stage. He said this climb suited him particularly well. The team did amazing to get Dan into the break. He delivered and I am super proud.”

Winning the seventeenth stage in the Giro meant that Martin successfully achieved an important career goal. He has now won stages in the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France, and the Vuelta a Espana, the first and last of those races while wearing #blueandwhite colors of ISN.

Israeli climber Guy Niv said after the stage that he was nervously listening to the race radio, but could not hear anything anymore in the last kilometer. “When I found out that Dan made it to the finish, I was super happy. As a team, we kept fighting after a challenging second week for us this Giro. It is exciting that Dan succeeded today.”

Martin concluded: “We had a Giro with ups-and-downs. We lost Krists in the first stage, then had pink with Alessandro and got a few podiums, then lost two guys in one day and now the team is back at an up. We kept fighting and believing, and today it worked out.”

#YallaISN #Blueandwhite #sababaisn #fantiniwines #giro
Photos: Noa Arnon and Bettini Photos

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com

Nizzolo departs the Giro d’Italia with maiden Grand Tour stage victory in hand

Following the completion of stage 14 of the 104th Giro d’Italia finishing atop the Monte Zoncolan, Team Qhubeka ASSOS’ European and Italian champion Giacomo Nizzolo has withdrawn from the race.

The 32-year-old won his maiden Grand Tour stage in sensational fashion taking victory in stage 13 in Verona, ending a near decade-long wait for the victory and sparking emotional scenes.

Nizzolo had specifically prepared for the sprint opportunities at the Giro in order to finally achieve his goal of winning a stage. After finishing a tough stage on Monte Zoncolan the decision was taken for him to withdraw, in order for him to rest and recover and then, together with the team, focus on his upcoming goals.

It concludes an excellent race for the Italian after also twice finishing second – on stages two and five – while also wearing the leader’s jersey for the points classification, the maglia ciclamino.

Nizzolo’s win came just two days after that of debutant Mauro Schmid in Montalcino, and in addition to strong individual performances from Victor Campenaerts and Max Walscheid.

Giacomo Nizzolo

Everybody knows how much I love this race, and what it means to me. To finally win a stage here has been a dream come true, and the raw emotion at the finish line in Verona showed that. I will treasure that memory for the rest of my life.

I came into the race in good condition, with fast legs and focus on the flat sprints, but have been struggling on the climbs which has really taken its toll. So we decided it would be best for me to stop, and to recover to look forward to the future.

For our team this has been an incredible Giro d’Italia so far. We speak about the spirit of Ubuntu within our squad – “I am because we are” – and I think it’s evident for everyone to see in the way we are racing just how tight we are as a group and organisation.

My win in Verona wasn’t just a victory for me and those behind the scenes but as importantly it continued to showcase our team’s purpose in riding for something more, for the impact that bicycles can have in changing lives which we are doing everyday together with the Qhubeka Charity.

— Jean Smyth to teamqhubeka.com

Brown braves it with a late attack to take the stage one victory at Vuelta a Burgos Feminas – Team BikeExchange

Australian rider Grace Brown powered to victory on the opening stage of the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas today, attacking on the final climb of the day before taking the win in a three-up sprint to move into the race lead.

Team BikeExchange controlled the race for most of the day, attempting to split the peloton in the wind after 30km of racing, before Georgia Williams and Sarah Roy then led the peloton and closed down a solo breakaway rider ahead of the final climb of the day.

Brown was well-placed at the head of the reduced bunch alongside teammates Amanda Spratt and Ane Santesteban as they began the final ascent and the Brugge-De Panne winner then made her move with six kilometres to go. Accelerating away from the peloton on the gradual slopes, only two riders were able to go with the 28-year-old’s sheer power.

The trio dangled around 15 seconds ahead of the bunch for the remainder of the climb and as they passed under the flamme rouge it was touch and go as to whether they could hold on to contest the stage victory. As the line approached, Brown led out the sprint, leaving her fellow attackers in her wake as she powered to her second UCI victory of the season and into the race lead for Team BikeExchange.

Grace Brown – Stage 1 winner
“It was our plan to attack and try to win the stage. We wanted to put a little bit of pressure on early on in the crosswinds and see if we could split the peloton. My plan then was to hold on until the last climb and then attack as we got to the crest and try to hold onto that until the finish.

I didn’t know if I would have any other riders with me, but I had two riders, unfortunately they didn’t work a lot with me until the end, Elise Chabby pulled a few turns and then it was a sprint against them and I got away with it. I knew on a normal day if we had all pulled equal turns then I could probably win the sprint but I was a bit unsure if I had done too much, so I was relieved to win in the end. 
I came into this race feeling pretty good after the last Spanish races so I was confident that if the stage played out as we planned, then I should have a pretty good chance today. It felt really hard after I attacked, and you are never really sure if you will hold on, especially when the gap is quite small.

I was a bit worried if we played too many games at the end with the three of us that we wouldn’t keep the gap and the bunch would come past us, so I knew I couldn’t wait too late until my sprint, which is why I led it out.”

Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas – Sport Director 
“The outcome of today’s race was exactly the plan, it was everything we wanted from kilometre 30 when we tried to split the peloton in the wind and then going into the climb. It was an amazing job from the girls to put our riders into the top position into the climb and with the attack with Grace over the top, it was all as planned. It is weird that everything happen exactly as we wanted but it is one of those good days.
Tomorrow is a stage that should be a bunch sprint, we have a couple of sprinters and it should be a good day for Grace to keep the leader’s jersey.”

2021 Vuelta a Burgos Feminas – Stage 1 Results:
1. Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) 3:32:04
2. Elise Chabbey
3. Niamh Fisher-Black

General Classification after stage 1:
1. Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) 3:32:04
2. Elise Chabbey
3. Niamh Fisher-Black

Photo Courtesy of Getty Sport.

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Team BikeExchange women bring a stellar line-up as they hunt down victory at the inaugural women’s Vuelta a Burgos Feminas – Team BikeExchange

Team BikeExchange women go full force into the first UCI Women’s WorldTour stage race of the season, Vuelta a Burgos Feminas, lining-up with talented climbers in the form of Amanda Spratt and local Basque rider Ane Santesteban, who has enjoyed three top-10 finishes in the recent Spanish races.

Alongside the duo, giving the team extra strength and depth, are in-form Australian’s with Brugge De-Panne winner Grace Brown and Australian champion Sarah Roy, plus New Zealand champion Georgia Williams and Italian sprinter Arianna Fidanza.

The four-day race is bookended by summit finishes and is set to be a challenging one with the heavy undulating roads in the northern region of Spain, with 2021 being the first ever edition of the race for the women’s peloton. 

Team BikeExchange atVuelta a Burgos Feminas 20-23rd:
Grace Brown (AUS)
Arianna Fidanza (ITA)
Sarah Roy (AUS)
Ane Santesteban (ESP)
Amanda Spratt (AUS)
Georgia Williams (NZL)

Amanda Spratt
“It is really motivating to be at a new race and especially at a new WorldTour stage race. I am excited to get the stage racing part of the season underway and this is certainly an important race for us in preparation for the Giro d’Italia. 

Ane has shown that she is in really strong form from the past races and also some of the other girls, so I think we have a great team. You always have a chance to win every race and I think this week we will have to play it smart, Annemiek van Vleuten and Anna van der Breggen have shown how strong they are at the moment. 

There are four really quite different stages in this race, we know the wind can play a part, there’s a punchy uphill finish, a longer uphill finish, so there’s many different characteristics to each stage and we know the final stage will be really decisive for the general classification.”

Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas – Sport Director
“The team has been working really well together, we have been taking good initiatives and creating the races we wanted. It is the first WorldTour stage race of the season and it is definitely going to be a very high level.

The stages are interesting, there’s some hard finishes and there’s some short stages which can make it very fast racing. We come to the race with the clear focus to play the GC with Ane and Spratt. We have a strong team and a pretty good balance of riders.”

2021 Vuelta a Burgos Feminas Race Details:
Thursday, 20th May: Stage 1, Villadiego to Sargentes de la Lora, 100km
Friday, 21st May: Stage 2, Pedrosa de Valdeporres to Villarcayo, 97km
Saturday, 22nd May: Stage 3, Medina de Pomar to Complejo Karstico ojo Guarena, 115.4km
Sunday, 23rd May: Stage 4, Quintana de la Sierra to Lagunas de Neila, 123.3km 

Photo courtesy of Getty Sport

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Urška Žigart attacks to take a spectacular debut victory for Team BikeExchange on the final stage of Setmana Ciclista Valenciana – Team BikeExchange

Slovenian rider Urška Žigart gave Team BikeExchange something to celebrate on today’s final stage of Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, attacking to take her first victory of the 2021 season in impressive style, with a strong and convincing solo move, with teammate Arianna Fidanza winning the bunch sprint behind for second place.

After some bad luck with crashes yesterday, Team BikeExchange started the final stage on the offensive, sending Teniel Campbell into an early move, which headed in hot pursuit of an early solo escapee, Nadine Gill. Campbell’s move was eventually brought back yet the squad remained attentive, and it was up to 24-year-old Zigart to take the next opportunity.

Ahead of the penultimate climb of the day, with more than 70km still to race, the Slovenian attacked away from the bunch and quickly bridged across to the sole leader Gill. The duo worked together to increase their advantage out to more than three and a half minutes before Zigart launched away from her breakaway companion with 25km remaining.  

Pushing on with every pedal stroke over the undulating terrain, the new 2021 signing was able to hold on to take a classy debut victory for the team, holding off the chasers by a slim margin of five seconds, wrapping up a successful four-days of racing in Valencia.

Urška Žigart – Stage 4 winner
“When I was about six kilometers to the finish, the gap was coming down really fast because they were preparing for the sprint from the back. At that time, I was thinking I am not going to make it, they’re going too fast, and I had a headwind, but my director was yelling in my ear to push through and telling me I can do it and to believe and I made it so I am very happy.

We wanted a bit more with the GC but that was more or less decided on the first day. We were really happy with Arianna taking third place two days ago and of course today we took first place and second place, so to have one-two on such a hard stage it is really good, and we can go ahead into the next week of Spanish races very confident.”

Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas – Sport Director
“It was an amazing day and finally we had a bit of luck. The team rode awesomely and Urška took her opportunity, a move that doesn’t happen so often but when it happens it feels the best. 
With Arianna in second place, it proves one more time what she is capable of. It has been an amazing week where we can take lots of confidence in to the next races we have here in Spain.”

2021 Setmana Ciclista Valenciana stage 4 results:
1. Urška Žigart (Team BikeExchange) 3:30:13
2. Arianna Fidanza (Team BikeExchange) +0:05
3. Sheyla Gutierrez +0:05

Final General Classification Results:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten 13:18:57
2. Mavi Garcia +2:16
3. Katrine Aalerud +2:30
11. Janneke Ensing +2:37

Photo courtesy of Bettini Images

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com