VN news ticker: Stefan Küng tops Filippo Ganna in Euro time trial champs, Leah Thomas solos to Tour de l’Ardèche stage 2 win and overall lead

Here's the news making headlines on Thursday, September 9.

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Stefan Küng tops Filippo Ganna in Euro time trial champs

Stefan Küng (Switzerland) bested Filippo Ganna (Italy) at the 2021 European time trial championships. Küng also won the same title in 2020.

“I am very happy. It’s great to keep this jersey,” Küng said after averaging 55kph over the 22.4km route.

Aided by a tailwind, Küng was 11 seconds faster than Ganna after the mid-course time check.

Eight seconds separated the top two finishers while Remco Evenepoel (Belgium) was another seven seconds back, in third place.

Stefan Bissegger rode to fourth place, 23 seconds behind his Swiss compatriot.

Küng is coming off the Olympic Games where he just missed the podium, and has been preparing for the upcoming world championships, in Belgium.

“I know from myself that I can fight back in such a time trial. During the race, I was thinking about the Tokyo Olympics. Then I lost a medal by a split second. ‘Keep going, keep going,’ I thought all the time,” said the Swiss. “It’s great to extend my title, but I hope to put on another jersey soon.”

Marlen Reusser fastest in 2021 European women’s time trial championships

Marlen Reusser (Switzerland) raced to first place in the women’s 2021 European time trial championships. She covered the 22.4km route in 27:13 — 19 seconds faster than Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) and 1:02 ahead of Germany’s Lisa Brennaur — averaging 49.38kph.

“I really liked the course and I had very good legs,” said Reusser. “I knew I had to give everything and go as fast as possible. It turned out to be a very nice time trial. It went fast from start to finish and I am very happy about that.”

Reusser came in hot off a silver medal at the Tokyo Games in the individual time trial, and more recently she won stage 1 of the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta.

She has her sights set next on the world time trial championship title. But first, she’ll line up for the European road championships, reports Wielerflits.

“In two days we will ride the road race with strong riders, but my next big goal is the world time trial Championship. It’s on my thirtieth birthday, so I’d like to give myself a really big present then,” she said.


Leah Thomas solos to Tour de l’Ardèche stage 2 win, takes over GC lead

Leah Thomas (right) won stage 2 of the 2021 Tour de l’Ardèche. (Photo: Gomez Sport)

American Leah Thomas (Movistar Team Women) soloed to victory on stage 2 of the Tour de l’Ardèche, and took over the lead of the race general classification.

Thomas escaped from the break on the final climb of the day, over the Col du Rotisson, and rode off the front to win in Beauchastel.

Thomas, a Tokyo Olympian, won the stage with a commanding eight-second advantage over soon-to-be teammate Elizabeth Deignan (Trek-Segafredo Women) who was the best of the rest.

A breakaway of ten women finished the stage with nearly a six-minute advantage over the main field after 122km, which included four categorized climbs.

After stage 2, GC places two through nine are tied on time.

Stage 3, Friday, is a 134km route with three categorized climbs before a mostly-flat run-in to the finish in Avignon.

Anna van der Breggen, Annemiek van Vleuten headline strong Dutch women’s worlds team

A loaded Dutch women’s team is confirmed for the road world championships in Flanders later this month, with defending champion Anna van der Breggen and 2019 champion Annemiek van Vleuten headlining an impressive line-up.

The team also has two other former world champions in Marianne Vos and Chantal van den Broek-Blaak among its eight starters for the road race. Breakout star Demi Vollering will also be on the start line, along with Lucinda Brand, Ellen van Dijk, and Amy Pieters.

Due to having the defending world time trial champion, in van der Breggen, and the reigning Olympic time trial champion, in van Vleuten, the Dutch team has secured four spots in the chrono this year. Both van der Breggen and van Vleuten are set to ride, while former TT world champion Van Dijk and Riejanne Markus will take the remaining places.

“We are doing everything we can to take home the title again. Expectations are obviously high, but you start at zero with every championship,” Dutch coach Loes Gunnewijk said. “The starting position is good. We have a very strong block with which we want to ride an attacking race. The course in Flanders lends itself to racing early in the race and then we have a lot of irons in the fire with which we want to take control of the race. We will certainly be looked at, but we are used to that and will not be an obstacle.”

The Dutch men’s team is yet to be confirmed.

Christopher Blevins entertains Tour of Britain crowds

Wednesday’s Tour of Britain hilltop finish on Great Orme delivered a thrilling finale with Wout van Aert besting Julian Alaphilippe for the stage honors.

A little further down the climb, the crowds got some additional entertainment with recently crowned MTB short track world champion Christopher Blevins doing his best to wheelie up as much of the climb as possible.

The 23-year-old is making his season debut on the road at the Tour of Britain for Trinity Racing. His escapades on Great Orme were met with a loud response from the cheering crowds on the side of the road.

Italy raking in golds at European road champs

Host nation Italy is topping the early medal table at the European champs with two gold medals already.

The azzurri notched up its first victory in the Mixed Team Relay, with the team of Filippo Ganna, Matteo Sobrero, Alessandro De Marchi, Elena Cecchini, Marta Cavalli and Elisa Longo Borghini winning by 21 seconds. Germany secured the silver medal, beating the Netherlands by six seconds.

The home side picked up where it had left off on the second day of action with Vittoria Guazzini — who has signed for FDJ next season — winning the under 23 women’s time trial. Germany’s Hannah Ludwig claimed second with Elena Pirrone adding another medal for Italy with third place.

Ganna and Cecchini will both be in action again Thursday in the elite individual time trials.

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.