VN news ticker: Álvaro Hodeg delivers Tour of Slovakia stage 1 win, Michael Valgren extends with EF Education-Nippo

Here's the news making headlines on Thursday, September 16.

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Álvaro Hodeg delivers Tour of Slovakia stage 1 win

Álvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) sprinted to the Tour of Slovakia stage 1 win, on his 25th birthday, ahead of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Hodeg was put within striking distance of the line by teammate Michael Mørkøv. After a right turn at 400 meters to go, Hodeg held the three-time world champion racing in his home-country tour.

“Very fast stage today where the guys did their best to make sure the breakaway was kept under control and didn’t make it all the way to the finish line. I had the legs and the form today for the sprint finish but in the last turn, I chose to take the left side of the road instead of the right, which proved to be the winning option,” Sagan said. “Congratulations to Alvarito for his victory, he got a nice birthday present today.”

Deceuninck-Quick-Step stagiaire Jason Osborne, a recent Olympic silver medallist in rowing and a recent signing for the team, retained his ninth place overall ranking.

The 159-kilometer route on wet roads thew a category 3 climb at riders just 7km into the stage, and was followed by another cat 2 climb just 19km later. This was followed by a cat 2 climb mid-stage, before a final cat 3 punch came at 117km gone.

With time bonuses on offer on stage 1, the top of the general classification was re-sorted after the 1.6km prologue Wednesday.

Stage 2 Friday is 179km from Spišské Podhradie to Dolný Kubí and will take on a category 1 climb mid-stage, and then a category 2 climb at 15km from the finish which should prove for a very fast run-in to the line.

Tour of Slovakia Stage 1 Results

  1. Álvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), 3:34:38
  2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), at s.t.
  3. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Qhubeka-NextHash), at s.t.

Tour of Slovakia General Classification

  1. Álvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), 3:36:19
  2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), at :06
  3. Kaden Groves (Team BikeExchange), at :09

Michael Valgren extends with EF Education-Nippo

Michael Valgren has extended his contract with EF Education-Nippo through the 2022 season.

“I’ve had a really good first year. I feel at home,” Valgren said. ““I feel like I understand the team and the team understands me. I can’t wait to keep walking down this path.”

Valgren won the Giro della Toscana Wednesday, continuing a high-performing season in which he represented Denmark in the Tokyo Olympics, and prior to that, he had his seventh start at the Tour de France.

“I work really well with Andreas Klier and he’s been taking good care of me,” said Valgren who’s compatriot Magnus Cort recently won three stages of the Vuelta a España.

“Magnus is someone I’ve bonded with and we know each other really well now. We can have really good races together,” said Valgren.

Sacha Modolo takes Tour of Luxembourg stage 3 bunch sprint

Sacha Modolo (Alpecin-Fenix) came out on top on stage 3 of the 2021 Tour of Luxembourg.

Modolo launched a perfectly-timed sprint to deny Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-Citroën) and Eduard-Michael Grosu (Delko) the top step on the podium.

The stage 3 win is Modolo’s first pro win since 2018 when he was racing with EF Education-Nippo.

There was no change to the general classification, with Marc Hirschi (UAE-Team Emirates) still leading by four seconds ahead of João Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step).

Throughout the stage, Team TotalEnergies and Rally Cycling did the majority of the work at the front. As the race entered the final 30km, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux and UAE-Team Emirates — for overall race-leader Hirschi — took over the pacemaking duties.

At 1.5km remaining of the 189km route, the remains of a break — Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafrdo), Kenneth van Rooy (Sport Vlaanderen), Ben O’Connor (AG2R-Citroën), and Ceriel Desal (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB) — were all but swept up, after the gap had been cut to 10 seconds at the 3km mark.

Edvald Boasson (Team TotalEnergies) opened the sprint, but Modolo launched off an Alpecin-Fenix leadout to take the win.

Tour of Luxembourg Stage 3 Results

  1. Sacha Modolo (Alpecin-Fenix), 4:17:47
  2. Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-Citroën), at s.t.
  3. Eduard-Michael Grosu (Delko), at s.t.

Tour of Luxembourg General Classification

  1. Marc Hirschi (UAE-Team Emirates), 12:18:53
  2. João Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), at :04
  3. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), at :19 s.t.

Jon Aberasturi disqualified from Tour of Luxembourg for banned riding position

Caja Rural-Seguros RGA rider Jon Aberasturi has been sent home from the Tour of Luxembourg after he was seen using the ‘super tuck’ position during stage 2. The riding position is one of those that was banned on April 1 this year under a raft of safety measures.

Aberasturi will not be allowed to start stage 3 and was also handed a 500 Swiss franc fine for his troubles. The Spanish rider vented his frustrations on social media and said that the jury member who disqualified him should “have his glasses checked”.

“Tomorrow I will not start at the Tour of Luxembourg thanks to an incompetent judge who needs to have his glasses checked,” he wrote on Twitter. “The disqualification due to confusion over the famous ‘bicho bola’ [a Spanish slang term for the super tuck that means woodlouse] position. Thanks UCI. Once again … taking care of the most important details.”

Colby Simmons signs for Jumbo-Visma development team

U.S. junior national road race champion Colby Simmons has been snapped up by the Jumbo-Visma development squad. The 17-year-old younger brother of Trek-Segafredo rider Quinn Simmons has signed a two-year deal with the Dutch squad.

Simmons has had a strong 2020, finishing second at the Trofee van Vlaanderen and winning a stage of the Grand Prix Rüebliland to take third overall.

“I’m really looking forward to joining a team that can help me in my development as a cyclist. I think Jumbo-Visma Development Team is a perfect stepping-stone for my further career and am grateful that I can prove myself here,” Simmons said.

Joining Simmons at the team will be 17-year-old Dutch rider Jesse Kramer, who was also confirmed on a two-year deal.

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