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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,
It’s a dilemma we cycling fans will face a bunch of times in the coming weeks: which top-level race to watch on a given day? On Sunday we had Liège-Bastogne-Liège and stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia happening at the same time, forcing viewers to choose between the two, or flit back and forth as the races unfolded.
It’s a lot to take in and, really, the madness is just getting started. On October 25 we’ll have the women’s Paris-Roubaix, men’s Paris-Roubaix, a stage of the Giro and a stage of the Vuelta a España all happening at the same time. If you’ve got a good strategy for watching all of that, do let us know. On the plus side, there’s plenty of great racing in the weeks ahead and given how this year has gone, we should be grateful for that fact.
For now though, here’s how Sunday’s racing ended up, plus a handful for other news items from around the world of cycling. Have a great week!
Matt de Neef
| Diego Ulissi wins stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia
Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates) took advantage of a short uphill finish tailor-made for punchy riders to win the Giro d’Italia’s second stage, attacking shortly after the red kite and holding off Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Mikkel Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep).
Michael Matthews (Sunweb) led the peloton across the line just five seconds back.
“I told Valerio Conti to accelerate to drop the sprinters on the last kilometre,” Ulissi said. “We were perfect, I’m really happy for this extraordinary success.”
Sprinters tried to take control of the finale, in particular the Groupama-FDJ team of Arnaud Demare, but the ramp proved too difficult for most. Luca Wackermann (Vini Zabù – KTM) set off the attacks, and Ulissi followed. Sagan dangled behind Ulissi and couldn’t quite close the gap.
“I think I could have done better,” Sagan said. “I think if I could have caught them I could have started the sprint. I had to do a big effort to catch them. After they started to sprint, I did my maximum and Diego was stronger. It was a pretty hard climb, 3.7 km, we went from the bottom to the top full gas.”
The GC picture remained the same. Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) retains the maglia rosa. He said he expects to lose it when the race hits Mt Etna on Monday, hopefully to his own teammate.
“The final climb was very hard and we climbed up very fast,” Ganna said. “I am happy I retained the maglia rosa, it’s a very nice feeling. Tomorrow I will work to help Geraint Thomas.”
Stage 2 result
1. ULISSI Diego (UAE-Team Emirates) in 3:24:58
2. SAGAN Peter (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time
3. HONORÉ Mikkel Frølich (Deceuninck-QuickStep) same time
4. MATTHEWS Michael (Sunweb) +0:05
5. WACKERMANN Luca (Vini Zabù-KTM) same time
GC after stage 2
1. GANNA Filippo (Ineos Grenadiers) in 3:40:27
2. ALMEIDA João (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +0:22
3. THOMAS Geraint (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:23
4. FOSS Tobias (Team Jumbo-Visma) +0:31
5. CERNÝ Josef (CCC Team) +0.36
| Roglic wins Liège-Bastogne-Liège as Alaphilippe celebrates too early
Primoz Roglic put the heartbreak of the Tour de France behind him with a stunning victory over Julian Alaphilippe at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, his first Monument victory.
It was a bad day for Alaphilippe, who had the win settled but put his hands up well before the line and was pipped by a sliver of a wheel by the Slovenian. Making Alaphilippe’s day even worse, he was later relegated for abruptly changing his line in the middle of the sprint, nearly crashing Marc Hirschi. He was given the last place in his group: fifth.
Hirschi continued to impress, finishing in second after playing an aggressive role in the finale. In third was Tour champion Tadej Pogacar.
“It’s unbelievable,” Roglic said. “It was so close. It goes to show you can never stop believing and never stop pushing until the last centimetre. It was the first time I did the oldest race in the calendar. It was on my wish list to win a Monument. I’m super happy I managed to win.”
1 ROGLIC Primož (Team Jumbo-Visma) in 6:32:02
2 HIRSCHI Marc (Team Sunweb) on same time
3 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) on same time
4 MOHORIC Matej (Bahrain-McLaren) on same time
5 ALAPHILIPPE Julian (Deceuninck-QuickStep) on same time
Read on for more from the men’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
| Lizzie Deignan wins at Liège-Bastogne-Liège
For the first time in her career, Lizzie Deignan has won in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Trek-Segafredo rider won solo out of a breakaway that went on the Côte de la Vecqueé with 50 km to go. Similar to Annemiek van Vleuten in 2019, Deignan made her winning move from said break on the Côte de la Redoute.
Only nine seconds behind Deignan, Mitchelton Scott’s Grace Brown rode into the finish to take second place in what was a career-best performance for the Australian. Brown had made her move alone on the race’s final climb, the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, and made ground on Deignan all the way to the line. Deignan’s teammate Ellen van Dijk took the final podium spot from the splinters of the breakaway, 2:19 behind Deignan.
“I expected to win a classic like this one – I have often been there, but I often just missed,” said Deignan. “Winning a classic is very special. I am really happy.”
1 DEIGNAN Elizabeth (Trek-Segafredo) in 3:29:48
2 BROWN Grace (Mitchelton-Scott) +0:09
3 VAN DIJK Ellen (Trek-Segafredo) +2:19
4 VOS Marianne (CCC – Liv) on same time
5 PIETERS Amy (Boels – Dolmans) on same time
Read on for more from the women’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
| Multiple injuries for Greg Van Avermaet after Liege crash
A crash inside the final 100 km of Liège-Bastogne-Liège saw Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) abandon the race with several injuries. The Belgian’s season is likely over after separating his shoulder and sustaining multiple fractures.
“X-rays performed at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire du Sart-Tilman in Liège revealed that Greg sustained an acromioclavicular (AC) joint separation as well as three fractured ribs, a small pneumothorax, and a small fracture of the first thoracic vertebra transverse process,” said CCC Team doctor, Dr. Piotr Kosielski.
“Fortunately, he suffered no concussion. These injuries more than likely mean the end of Greg’s season however, alongside CCC Team’s chief medical officer, Max Testa, we will monitor his recovery and make any decisions accordingly in the coming days and weeks.”
| The Everesting world record has been broken again
American racer Sean Gardner is the first rider to complete an outdoor Everesting in less than seven hours.
Gardner, who races for Philadelphia-based club CS Velo and is a USAC level 3 coach, climbed 8,848 metres in 6 hours 59 minutes and 38 seconds, on a 15.5% stretch of Tanners Ridge Road in Virginia. His time was enough to take more than five minutes off the previous record set by Irish racer Ronan McLaughlin back in July.
“I was ahead of Ronan’s pace most of the day but knew it was going to be close that final lap,” Gardner told CyclingTips. “It was a big relief when I saw that 29,029 ft marker pass on the head unit. Breaking 7 hours got me pretty stoked. I did an extra bonus safety lap just to make sure, which might have been the hardest thing I have ever done just to stay upright!”
| EF Pro Cycling fined for Giro kit
You would have seen the splash that EF Pro Cycling’s Giro d’Italia kit made. The collaboration with skate brand Palace turned heads with its striking but outlandish design. You might not have seen that the UCI fined every EF rider for wearing the kit to the teams presentation before the Giro began.
The team was fined a total of 4,500 Swiss francs for wearing “non-compliant clothing during podium obligations” with the UCI claiming the team didn’t register the alternate kit with the governing body before the race began. Team director Jonathan Vaughters explained on Twitter that the kit was registered, albeit without the Palace logo.
“The uniform was submitted months ago. Without the palace logo,” Vaughters wrote. “As we all know, the UCI isn’t great with confidentiality, so we left the logo off. That was the issue at hand.”
| Harry Sweeny wins Piccolo Lombardia
Young Australian Harry Sweeny has won the U23 version of Il Lombardia with a solo move in the Italian one-day race. The 22-year-old crossed the line in Oggiogno 23 seconds ahead of a chase group of five to take the biggest win of his young career so far.
Sweeny, who races for the Lotto Soudal U23 team was already due to join the setup’s WorldTour squad in 2021 but his win is further confirmation of his talent. “Some days are better than others,” he posted on Twitter after the win. “All I can say is a huge thank you to the staff and riders of Lotto Soudal.”
| Ferrand-Prevot and Avancini win round 2 of the MTB World Cup
Cross country world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and Brazil’s Henrique Avancini have taken out round 2 of the MTB World Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.
— CANYON//SRAM Racing & CANYON//SRAM Generation (@WMNcycling) October 4, 2020
After finishing third in round 1 a few days earlier Ferrand-Prevot again spent much of the race off the front on her own but this time was able to hold off the chase to finish 21 seconds clear of Anne Terpstra and 1:10 up on Loana Lecomte. In the men’s race, Avancini won the first MTB World Cup of his career, sprinting across the line just ahead of Milan Vader and Nino Schurter.
The winning moment for Henrique Avancini.
— UCI MTB (@UCI_MTB) October 4, 2020
The truncated MTB season continues at the World Championships in Leogang, Austria, this coming weekend.
| Up next at the Giro d’Italia
Monday’s stage 3 is the first real test of this year’s Giro. The category 1 climb up to the Etna volcano on the Piano Provenzana side is 18.8 km long and averages 6.6%. The last few kilometers are the steepest, peaking at 13% with 2 km to go.
We could see a break go on this stage, which rolls up and down through its entirety.
Who it’s for: Climbers and GC men.
What to watch for: Look for cracks in the GC riders. Hopefully no cracks in the volcano.
In case you missed it
| Take a bow: Mathieu van der Poel’s 50 km solo attack seals BinckBank Tour win
On Saturday’s final stage of the BinckBank Tour Mathieu van der Poel attacked from 50 km out, on the legendary Muur van Geraadsbergen, to win the final stage and the race overall. Remarkable stuff.
| Ganna the first to wear pink at the Giro d’Italia
The Giro d’Italia began on Saturday with a 15.1 km individual time trial. World champion Philippo Ganna took the win and the first maglia rosa of this year’s race.
| Preview: Stage by stage breakdown of the Giro d’Italia course
Today’s feature image comes from Cor Vos and shows Diego Ulissi winning stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia.