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Jakob Fuglsang misses out on Tour de Suisse stage win by centimetres but moves up second on GC – Astana

Jakob Fuglsang misses out on Tour de Suisse stage win by centimetres but moves up second on GC

A gutsy performance from Jakob Fuglsang saw the Danish rider narrowly miss the win on stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse after attacking in the final 15 kilometres.

Stage 5 took the riders from yesterday’s finish town of Gstaad to Leukerbad with a category one climb right after the start but as expected, the race lit up in the final 50 kilometres on the category one Erschmatt climb.

The Astana – Premier Tech riders did a stellar job delivering their leader Jakob Fuglsang into position at the bottom of the final ascent. The Danish rider showed his strength and launched an attack with 20 kilometres to go, bridging across to the current leader Esteban Chaves.

Cycling fans saw an exciting finale as later stage winner Carapaz attacked from the chase group and joined Fuglsang, who was, at this point, leading the race solo after dropping Chaves. A battle to the line saw Fuglsang take a strong second place, missing the stage win by centimetres with Carapaz just coming around Fuglsang on the line.

In the overall ranking, the Lombardia 2019 winner moves up to an impressive second place, 26 seconds behind new leader Carapaz.

“I felt good and today’s stage was hard and long but the profile suited me. The team did a great job. They protected me the whole day, from the first climb onwards. As planned, on the bottom of the final ascent I stayed first with the others and tried then to distanced myself. But when I heard Carapaz was coming I tried to save a little bit of energy as I knew it was going to be a tough battle. I just started the sprint too early, but I moved up to second on the General Classification and there are still some stages to come.” – Jakob Fuglsang 

“We can be really happy with today´s performance. The guys worked really well together and as planned, they brought Jakob perfectly into position. On the final ascent, Jakob felt good so he launched an attack earlier than maybe expected, nevertheless it was a strong performance and at the end he just missed a few centimetres to win the stage. On the overall ranking he now sits second, with only some seconds behind Carapaz but there are a few hard stages to come. Tomorrow will be another tough one and we will try everything to support Jakob again as best as possible.” – Ivan Velasco, Coach 

Tour de Suisse

Stage 5: Gstaad > Leukerbad  (175km)

Top3: 1. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 2. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana – Premier Tech) 3. Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation)
Top 3 GC: 1. Richard Carapaz –  2. Jakob Fuglsang – 3.Maximilian Schachmann

Astana  – Premier Tech Top 3 : 2. Jakob Fuglsang; 34. Jonas Gregaard; 35 Stefan de Bod

 

Photo credit: Gettyimages

— nadine Pfeffer to www.astanapremiertech.com

Lutsenko blitzes Criterium du Dauphiné time trial to take stunning win – Astana

Lutsenko blitzes Criterium du Dauphiné time trial to take stunning win

Alexey Lutsenko blitzed the field in the Crtierium du Dauphiné stage 4 time trial to take an impressive win on a day when Astana – Premier Tech went one-two with Ion Izagirre taking second place.

Izagirre set a flying pace on the 16.4km course to cross the line in 21’44” and move into the hot seat for a few minutes before Lutsenko stopped the clock eight seconds faster.

The Kazakh time trial champion started well to set the provisional third fastest time at the intermediate checkpoint but it was in the second half of the 16.2km course when Lutsenko put the hammer down on his Wilier Turbine to leave everything on the road.

“I did the maximum today and I’m really happy to win the stage. It wasn’t a big surprise for me because I did a lot of work on my time trial bike at altitude camp in Teide just before the race and I had a lot of motivation from Dmitry Fofonov in the car behind. We did many, many hours of training on the TT bike in the camp and it has paid off,” said Lutsenko.

“This kind of course, 16 kilometres of up and down is perfect for me. In the first six kilometres I went a bit slower and saved some energy and then in the last six to seven kilometres I went full, full gas. In the final, I just did my absolute maximum, 200 percent. To be only one second off the yellow jersey is a bit disappointing but the Dauphiné isn’t finished and I will fight to get the yellow jersey. Maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after in the mountains.”

Lutsenko came nail-bitingly close to taking the yellow jersey, having started the say 24 seconds behind races leader Lukas Postlberger, and ended up  missing out on the yellow jersey by just one second.

Lutsenko and Izagirre’s strong performances come on the back of a two-week block at altitude in Tenerife as they look to prepare for the Tour de France, which has seemingly paid off for the Astana – Premier Tech duo after their dominant performances today.

“I did a good time trial in Paris-Nice but in the Basque Country and Tour de Romandie, I didn’t feel very good in the time trials. So, you never know what to expect because it is a speciality but now, I feel very good. The second part of the time trial was hilly and was the most important part. There you could make the difference. I’m really happy with my result today and for the team with Alexey’s win. To be the top two on the stage is a really good result and now we’ll look to continue our success in the second half of the race,” said Izagirre.

Alex Aranburu, who was third overall at the start of the day, crashed during his time trial in a day of mixed fortunes for the team but fortunately did not sustain any major injuries.

Race Profile

Critérium du Dauphiné

Stage 4 ITT: Firminy > Roche-La-Molière

Top 3: 1. Alexey Lutsenko, Ion Izagirre, Kasper Asgreen

Photo: Getty Images

— Phoebe Haymes to www.astanapremiertech.com

Alex Aranburu comes close to Critérium du Dauphiné stage win – Astana

Alex Aranburu comes close to Critérium du Dauphiné stage win

A nail-biting finish to Critérium du Dauphiné stage 3 saw Alex Aranburu sprint to second place on the uphill finish in Saint-Haon-Le-Vieux, after being caught with 100 metres to go by Sonny Colbrelli.

“The last kilometre was pretty crazy. It was pretty tough. We all went two by two from each team so it was not organized at all. I was going from one side to the other to try and catch some wheels. I saw I was a little ahead so I decided to start my sprint because in the first two stages I was closed in a bit in the sprints. When I saw the opportunity, I went for it but I came up a bit short in the last stretch,” said Aranburu.

After a relatively quiet stage, the last of the two breakaway riders were caught with 22 kilometres to go, as the peloton battled for positioning heading into the finale.

Aranburu was well positioned by his teammates as the fast pace saw splits in the bunch and despite sitting outside of the top 20 riders approaching the flamme rouge, Aranburu showed his skill to surf from wheel to wheel and move up inside the final kilometre.

With the finish line in sight, Aranburu launched his sprint with 250 metres to go and immediately had a gap but Colbrelli was able to jump on his wheel and with 100 metres to go, come around the Basque rider to take the win.

Aranburu’s second place is his third consecutive top ten result in the opening three stages and sees him sit in third place on the General Classification, 18 seconds behind race leader Lukas Pöstlberger.

“My legs are good though. After the altitude camp in Teide I had some doubts but the truth is I am feeling better day by day so I’m happy. Tomorrow we have the time trial, then we have some hard stages in the mountains and we have to be strong for the General Classification. I think we will have to work hard but we will see what happens with breakaways too,” added Aranburu.

Race Profile

Critérium du Dauphiné

Stage 3: Langeac > Saint-Haon-Le-Vieux (172.2km)

Top 3: 1. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious), 2. Alex Aranburu (Astana – Premier Tech), 3. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates)

Astana – Premier Tech top 3: 2. Alex Aranburu, 13. Ion Izagirre, 34. Alexey Lutsenko

Photo: Getty Sport

— Phoebe Haymes to www.astanapremiertech.com

Brown wraps up Vuelta a Burgos Feminas with 7th overall & a stage win with Spratt going on the offensive for 10th on the final Queen stage – Team BikeExchange

Team BikeExchange wrapped up the four-day Vuelta a Burgos Feminas today with stage one winner Grace Brown taking seventh place overall, after a strong ride on today’s Queen stage summit finish in Lagunas de Neilas where she climbed to ninth position. Teammate Amanda Spratt showed her cards, riding on the offensive all day by jumping in to a large breakaway, before attacking up the final ascent and eventually claiming a respectable 10th place after a huge effort throughout the 121km stage.

The day began with a rapid pace with the peloton not allowing any breakaway groups to form. Eventually, a large group of 30 riders was given freedom with Spratt and Georgia Williams represented in the move for Team BikeExchange. 

The gap opened up to over one minute 40 seconds with Spratt winning the first GPM sprint before the group reduced to 14 riders on the approach to the final ascent to Lagunas de Neilas. Spratt then went on the attack, taking with her one Movistar rider, before being joined by two more riders as they passed the 4km to go mark.

The race then suddenly lit up, with a surge from behind as the GC favourites quickly charged towards the leaders as they began the climb. By the time they started the final two kilometres, the quartet were swallowed up and only a trio of Anna van der Breggen, Annemiek van Vleuten and Demi Vollering remained at the head of affairs as the road gradient increased.

Behind, Brown and Spratt fought hard all the way to the line to finish the brutal stage in ninth and tenth position respectively, securing a top-10 placing overall and a stage win, which concludes a successful four-days of racing for the squad.

Amanda Spratt
“I was so disappointed with yesterday and I knew I had to refocus and come out today and have a good ride. The girls were so amazing at the start, especially Sarah Roy and Georgia Williams, and I was able to sneak into that move and really thanks to Georgia. She killed herself for me and we knew that I had a good chance in that group as one of the strongest climbers.

I just had to be patient and I attacked on the second to last climb and then again on the last climb a few times to try and shake the others. Maybe I was a little too keen at the start with the hard final, but honestly I’m really happy with my ride and it’s nice to be a part of the race again. It was great to take a stage win with Grace here and she’s also finished 7th on GC.”

Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas – Sport Director 
“It wasn’t really planned, but we ended up with a group of over 25 riders going away and Spratty was in there and it was a really good move for us and we had Georgia there to support. 

We took the opportunity, it was an opportunity that came and in the end it came up a couple of kilometres short, but it was a really good move.

I think the whole race has been pretty positive, we came with two goals, to get a stage win and get a good general classification position, and we got a stage on day one with Grace and a good general classification result, so all the boxes are ticked.”

2021 Vuelta a Burgos Feminas – Stage 4 Results:
1. Anna van der Breggen 3:24:15 
2. Annemiek van Vleuten ST
3. Demi Vollering +0:20
9. Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) +1:09
10. Amanda Spratt (Team BikeExchange) +1:17

Final General Classification:
1. Anna van der Breggen 11:23:55
2. Annemiek van Vleuten +0:03
3. Demi Vollering +0:23
7. Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) +1:07

Photo Courtesy of Getty Sport.

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com

Jan Tratnik just a step to the win on the epic stage to Monte Zoncolan, and Damiano Caruso keeps the 3rd position in GC after Stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia.

Who would’ve expected that Jan Tratnik would pick Monte Zoncolan to try to take one more career victory on Giro d’Italia? Team Bahrain Victorious Slovenian rider and Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team) made this monumental Giro stage even more attractive until the very end. Both riders were part of the day’s breakaway that split on the ramps of the iconic Zoncolan ascent in the finale. Tratnik was the first to attack with about 10km to go, with only Fortunato managing to close the gap. Then, with 2.5km to go, the Italian debutant’s decisive acceleration at the Giro earned him a legendary solo win. Jan Tratnik came to the finish in second place, 26” adrift.

The steep and brutal slopes of the Zoncolan – with gradients up to 27 percent – seemed never going to end for Jan Tratnik, especially when he was chasing the race leader in the final kilometers. The Slovenian rider expressed his thoughts after an exhausting stage under heavy conditions: ” For me, for sure, it was the longest three kilometers in my life. It was just a never-ending story. So hard. I saw my rival in front of me all the time that little ahead, but it was simply the strongest one. Otherwise, I wanted to follow, but there was no power anymore in me for that cherry on a cake. As a team, we didn’t plan to go into the breakaway, but our tactics were to go to the front and be a safeguard to Damiano Caruso, our GC. It just happened that I was at the right place at the right time, and things opened up to me to go there for it.  I gave my all, and I am really satisfied with a 2nd place”. 

Giro d’Italia 2021 – 104th Edition – 14th stage Cittadella – Monte Zoncolan 205 km – 22/05/2021 – Damiano Caruso (ITA – Bahrain Victorious) – photo Dario Belingheri/BettiniPhoto©2021

It was a good day for Team Bahrain Victorious. Besides the exciting ride from Tratnik, the team was delighted by the excellent ride of its captain Damiano Caruso. The Italian rider scored a top ten result, and above all, he maintained his 3rd place overall on a brutal day. 

Damiano Caruso: “These steep gradients don’t suit me. Nevertheless, I was able to manage the situation. I think that climbing at his own pace was the best thing to do. I never faced the climb on the other side of the Zoncolan, but I hope to have never to ride it if it is like this one. It is an ascent worth of its reputation. No doubt”.

Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) kept the Maglia Rosa and has shown resistance to the attack from Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) in the last few hundred meters. Yates took the second position in GC over Vlasov with 1:33, and Damiano Caruso kept his third position with 1:51 seconds behind Bernal.

(All pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usages only and are copyright @Bettiniphoto @TeamBahrainVictorious)

— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com