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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,
As we head into the weekend, the Giro d’Italia gave the sprinters another chance to shine on Friday, and a rider who is really starting to rack up the wins in this year’s race delivered yet again.
Meanwhile, Friday’s headlines featured some tough news out of France as the 2020 edition of Paris-Roubaix has officially been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Both the men’s and the women’s pelotons were hoping to be racing on the cobblestones of the Carrefour de l’Arbre and in the velodrome this October after the race was postponed from April, but we’ll have to wait a while longer yet for Roubaix action.
Read on for more, and until next time, readers.
| Démare wins again on stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia
Arnaud Démare powered to his second straight win and his third in four days at the Giro d’Italia on Friday, sprinting to victory on stage 7.
Démare was well-positioned for the final kick and delivered on the finishing straight, holding off Peter Sagan to nab the win and extend his lead in the points classification. Michael Matthews took third on the day.
Behind the sprinters, race leader João Almeida and the top GC contenders all finished safely in the peloton.
The 143-kilometer stage from Matera to Brindisi was a remarkably fast one, with the peloton setting an average speed record for a Giro d’Italia stage at 51.234kph. Not long after an early breakaway formed, there was action in the pack itself as cross winds buffeted the race and echelons formed.
The early splits saw Jakob Fuglsang and Simon Yates among those fighting to close down the gap to a lead group, which initially opened a decent gap to those caught behind, while also closing down the breakaway move. After a hard chase and a change in wind direction, however, Fuglsang’s group managed to reconnect with the bunch and then Yates’s group did the same.
Multiple crashes inside the last 75km made things even more hectic in the peloton, leaving riders chasing to rejoin the bunch on the run-in to the finale, where the sprinters’ teams battled for positions ahead of the expected bunch kick.
Groupama-FDJ, as it has already done before in this race, put Démare in great position for the final sprint. He duly delivered on the finishing straight to pick up his third Giro stage win this week.
Top 10, stage 7
1 DÉMARE Arnaud (Groupama – FDJ) 2:47:28
2 SAGAN Peter (BORA – hansgrohe)
3 MATTHEWS Michael (Team Sunweb)
4 SWIFT Ben (INEOS Grenadiers)
5 HODEG Álvaro José (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
6 BARBIER Rudy (Israel Start-Up Nation)
7 BALLERINI Davide (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
8 BATTAGLIN Enrico (Bahrain – McLaren)
9 FIORELLI Filippo (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè)
10 VIVIANI Elia (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits)
Top 10, GC
1 ALMEIDA João (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 24:48:29
2 BILBAO Pello (Bahrain – McLaren) 0:43
3 KELDERMAN Wilco (Team Sunweb) 0:48
4 VANHOUCKE Harm (Lotto Soudal) 0:59
5 NIBALI Vincenzo (Trek – Segafredo) 1:01
6 POZZOVIVO Domenico (NTT Pro Cycling) 1:05
7 FUGLSANG Jakob (Astana Pro Team) 1:19
8 KRUIJSWIJK Steven (Team Jumbo-Visma) 1:21
9 KONRAD Patrick (BORA – hansgrohe) 1:26
10 MAJKA Rafal (BORA – hansgrohe) 1:32
| Paris-Roubaix cancelled
Paris-Roubaix has been cancelled for 2020.
The race had originally been scheduled for April 12 before it was postponed to October 25, but amid rising COVID-19 cases in France, regional and national authorities requested that the event be called off altogether. Friday marks the first time since the Second World War that an edition of the iconic one-day race has been cancelled. This year’s event was set to feature both men’s and women’s races for the first time.
“We would like to warmly thank the communities and event partners who supported us in this postponement as well as those who were, like us, delighted to see the Queen of the Classics even in the autumn,” organizers said.
“We will see you on the cobblestones on the 11th April 2021 to celebrate one of the greatest monuments in world cycling.”
| Annika Langvad retires
Multi-time mountain bike world champion Annika Langvad said on Friday that she is retiring from pro racing. The 36-year-old Dane made the announcement on social media on the eve of the elite women’s event at MTB Worlds in Leogang, Austria, which she said she will not race due to illness.
Langvad’s impressive career palmares includes four marathon world titles and the 2016 cross-country world title, along with numerous World Cup wins, five Cape Epic wins, and a victory at the Leadville 100. She also won national road and time trial titles in Denmark, and in a short stint with Boels-Dolmans on the road last year, she nabbed runner-up honors at Strade Bianche and third at La Flèche Wallonne.
“Now is the time,” Langvad wrote. “These 10 years of racing will probably be some of the most intense time of my entire life and now I’m ready to devote myself to other things in life.”
| UCI finds that ethics violations were committed at Doltcini-Van Eyck
The UCI announced in a short statement on Friday that its Ethics Commission “came to the conclusion that violations of the UCI Code of Ethics had been committed” after looking into allegations of harassment at the Doltcini-Van Eyck team. Two riders, Marion Sicot and Sara Youmans, had filed complaints with the UCI alleging sexual harassment by director Marc Bracke.
Friday’s statement from the UCI only addressed the determination that violations had been committed; the UCI Disciplinary Commission will now determine how to proceed with possible sanctions.
“In view of the sanctions recommended by the UCI Ethics Commission, the case was referred on 24 September 2020 to the UCI Disciplinary Commission, which initiated disciplinary proceedings,” the UCI said. “As the procedure is ongoing, the UCI, the Disciplinary Commission and the Ethics Commission will not make any further comments at this stage.”
| Pidcock wins U23 world MTB title
Tom Pidcock added yet another big win to his long list of under-23 results on Friday, taking the U23 men’s cross-country title at Leogang MTB Worlds.
The versatile 21-year-old Briton, who will join the Ineos Grenadiers in 2021, took the convincing victory with only one rider within two minutes of his time. Christopher Blevins rode to runner-up honors, 1:52 back, with Joel Roth rounding out the podium 3:05 down.
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Today’s featured image of Arnaud Démare winning stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia comes from Cor Vos.