VN news ticker: L39ion of Los Angeles takes Joe Martin Stage Race opener for men and women; Marlen Reusser wins Simac Ladies Tour stage 2

Here's the news making the headlines on Thursday, August 26.

Photo: Kit Karzen

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L39ion of Los Angeles doubles up at Joe Martin Stage Race as Schneider, Williams win stage 1

Photo: Aevolo Cycling

L39ion of Los Angeles scored big in the opening stage at the Joe Martin Stage Race, with Skylar Schneider winning the women’s road race and Tyler Williams taking the victory in the men’s event.

The race, which was called off in 2020 due to COVID-19, made its return on Thursday with its first of four stages. Men tackled a 185.5km road race, while the women completed a 94km road race, both of which started and finished in Fayetteville.

Schneider was part of a small breakaway that came to the line together, and she won the sprint ahead of Heidi Franz (Rally Cycling) and the Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank duo of Clara Honsinger and Veronica Ewers. Anet Barrera Esparanza and Maggie Coles-Lyster were also part of the front group, finishing fifth and sixth, respectively.

Williams was part of a three-rider breakaway that survived to the line. He beat out Gage Hecht (Aevolo), with Oscar Sevilla (Team Medellin) in third.

Joe Martin Stage Race preliminary results

Pro Men

  1. Tyler Williams L39ion of Los Angeles, 4:07:57
  2. Gage Hecht, Aevolo, at s.t.
  3. Oscar Sevilla, Team Medellin, at 0:01
  4. George Simpson (Project Echelon), at 1:25
  5. Adam Roberge, Elevate-Webiplex) at s.t.

Pro Women

  1. Skylar Schneider (L39ion of Los Angeles), 2:51:22
  2. Hedi Franz, Rally Cycling
  3. Veronica Ewers, Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
  4. Clara Honsinger, Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
  5. Anet Barrera Esparza, 3T/Q+M Cycling, all at s.t.

Marlen Reusser takes chrono win on Simac Ladies Tour stage 2

Marlen Reusser (Alé BTC Ljubljana) fended off Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo Women) and Chantal van de Broek-Blaak (SD Worx) to take the stage 2 win at the 2021 Simac Ladies Tour.

The 17km time trial on flat and wind-battered roads in Gennep, Netherlands, comes a day after Reusser crashed.

“I’m very, very, very happy. You never know what’s happening. You never know how strong you are or the others are and so it’s really a big honor to be the fastest today,” Reusser said. “I’m so happy.”

Reusser now leads the GC by 12 seconds ahead of van Dijk and Broek-Blaak.

The Swiss rider was recently second in the individual time trial at the Tokyo Games.

2021 Simac Ladies Tour Stage 2 Results

  1. Marlen Reusser (Alé BTC Ljubljana), 20:41
  2. Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo Women), at :18
  3. Chantal van de Broek-Blaak (SD Worx), at :41

Pascal Ackermann wins Tour of Germany opener

Pascal Ackermann won stage 1 of the 2021 Deutschland Tour. (Photo: BORA – hansgrohe / Bettiniphoto)

German Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the opening stage of the 2021 Tour of Germany on a perfect leadout from his teammates.

“It came down to a sprint and the boys did a stellar job. Rudi [Selig] carried all the speed through the last corner, I had to go early then but it was a tailwind and I had mounted a big chainring today so I knew it could work out. I felt the other guys coming close, but nobody took real advantage from my slipstream, and then I knew I got it,” said Ackermann.

The 191.4km route, which started in Mecklenburg and ended in Vorpommern, was not without incident, however.

A crash in the final 2km brought down Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), and riders from Alpecin-Fenix, UAE-Team Emirates, and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux.

While the winner of the green jersey at the 2021 Tour de France did not quickly remount, the “Wolfpack” train continued to roll on in the final kilometers but came up short on the work set up by Bora-Hansgrohe.

Ackemann also won the Deutschland Tour opening stage in 2019, the last time the race was held.

2021 Deutschland Tour Stage 1 Results

  1. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe), 4:07:01
  2. Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain-Victorious), at s.t.
  3. Marco Haller (Bahrain-Victorious), at s.t.

Remco Evenepoel solos to Grape Race win

Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) won the 2021 Druivenkoers-Overijse (“The Grape Race”) — 192km in Overijse Brussels that featured five climbs which will be seen in the coming UCI world road championships.

Attacking at 60km from the finish, the Belgian rode to the finish solo, ahead of teammate Mikkel Honoré.

A brief race neutralization happened some 30km from the finish when a fire near the race route had to be brought under control.

Teammate and world road champion Julian Alaphilippe rode into 13th place, some 58 seconds behind Evenepoel.

2021 Druivenkoers-Overijse Results

  1. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), 4:15:55
  2. Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), at :40
  3. Aimé de Gendt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), at :53

2021 Grinduro California canceled

The 2021 Grinduro California is canceled due to wildfires that have ravaged northern California in the region near Mount Shasta.

Other Grinduro events in Switzerland, Japan, and Australia still remain on the calendar.

Even organizers indicate that riders will receive a 20 percent refund on registration fees, plus a 100 percent refund on any additional camping and/or meal packages already purchased.

“After two years of planning an amazing event and looking forward to welcoming the Grinduro family to Mt. Shasta, we’re gutted to have to make this decision once again,” said Amanda Schaper, Grinduro California event director. “Sadly, we know that canceling now is the only option and the responsible thing to do for everybody involved. Between forest closures, wildfires, unsafe air quality, and the Delta variant of COVID, the situation has simply stacked up too many barriers for us to ensure everyone’s well-being while providing the good times that Grinduro has to deliver to our participants and the Mt. Shasta community.”

The USDA Forest Service announced the temporary closure of nine national forests in northern California on August 20 due to extreme fire conditions and strained firefighting resources.

Forest closures and air quality issues were stacked on top of the COVID-19 situation, and the worsening spread of the Delta variant.

“The entire Mt. Shasta community is disappointed that we’ve been forced to cancel Grinduro Shasta again this year,” said Justi Hansen, SORA executive director. “We are so grateful to everybody who has been involved with the event so far this year. So many locals have been working hard behind the scenes to make this a safe and fun event for all of our participants. There is so much support here in Mt. Shasta for Grinduro, and we can’t wait to see the event come to life in 2022.”

Grinduro California organizers are planning the 2022 event with an earlier date on the calendar.

Mikel Landa unsure of Vuelta a España meltdown

Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) is unsure what’s behind his Vuelta a España meltdown. The Spanish rider started as a podium favorite, but struggled early and gave up 20 minutes in stage 10 to tumble out of the top 20.

“I’ve been better,” he told AS. “I was already feeling bad for a few days, so it wasn’t worth it to keep suffering, so that’s why I eased up. I’m not going to give up.”

Also read: Jack Haig on the rise

Landa crashed out of the Giro d’Italia in May, and admitted he wasn’t sure how he was going to do during the Vuelta. Following overall victory at the Vuelta a Burgos last month, his confidence was on the rise.

“I’d like to win a stage. First I have to look for good sensations, and when I am better, I will try,” he told the Spanish daily. “I’m not sure what’s happening to me. I had to stop for a long time after my crash at the Giro. I’m missing the continuity, and maybe that’s the main reason why.”

Landa started Thursday’s 12th stage in 25th at 27:10 back.

Strong day two for Great Britain in Paralympic track program

Great Britain enjoyed a strong session on the Izu Velodrome boards on day two of the Paralympic track program, taking home three silvers and a gold. Meanwhile, Canada, Spain, France, and Russia all earned their first cycling medals of the games.

There were medal opportunities in the first event Thursday with the women’s B (tandem) 1,000-meter Time Trial. Larissa Klaassen (Netherlands), who finished second in Rio, set a new Paralympic record to win gold with her pilot Imke Brommer.

Klaassen beat her nearest rival Aileen McGlynn (Great Britain), who was riding with pilot Helen Scott, by nearly 1.5 seconds. Belgium’s Griet Hoet, alongside pilot Anneleen Monsieur, put in a strong ride to claim the bronze medal.

There was a tough contest for the top spot in the men’s C4-5 1,000-meter Time Trial, with all the medalists from the Rio Paralympics going up against each other for the top honors once again. In the end, it was Rio bronze medalist Alfonso Cabello (Spain) that had the power for glory.

Cabello, a C5 rider, broke the world record in his category to storm to gold ahead of the defending champion Jody Cundy (Great Britain). Cundy set a new C4 Paralympic record but couldn’t match the pace of his Spanish competitor and finished 0.2 seconds slower. Jozef Metelka, a C4 rider, was bumped down a place compared to Rio, but he managed to edge out Guoqing Wu to take the bronze medal.

The medal opportunities continued to come with the men’s C1 3,000-meter Individual Pursuit final coming immediately afterward. Mikhail Astashov, of the Russian Paralympic Committee, went up against Canada’s Tristen Chernove in the gold medal contest.

Astashov, who broke the world record in qualifying and was nearly five seconds quicker than anyone else, set off in search of Chernove with a very quick start and he finally made the catch with about 750 meters remaining. Meanwhile, Zhangyu Li (China) dominated the bronze medal race to beat Ricardo Ten Argiles (Spain) and secure the final place on the podium.

In the men’s C2 3,000-meter Individual Pursuit contest, France’s Alexandre Leaute set a new world record to beat Darren hicks (Australia) by 3.5 seconds. The bronze medal was claimed by Guihua Liang (China), who had taken gold in Rio.

The final medal opportunity of the day came in the men’s C3 3,000-meter Individual Pursuit, with an all British finale between Paralympic debutants Jaco van Gass and Finlay Graham. Van Gass was the favorite going into the final after setting a new world record in qualifying, but the young Graham pushed all the way.

Van Gass took the gold on the line, beating Graham by a second. Meanwhile, David Nicholas (Australia) beat Eduardo Santas Asensio by nearly two seconds in the bronze medal race.

You can find full results here.

Peter Sagan return from injury includes European road champs

Peter Sagan’s return to racing following a knee injury he picked up at the Tour de France will include a ride at the European road championships, the organizer has said. Sagan is also penciled in to ride the Benelux Tour, which starts next week.

Sagan had to pull out of the Tour de France in the second week after picking up the injury in a crash with Caleb Ewan on stage 3. He underwent surgery on it and was forced to skip the Olympic Games in Tokyo as he recovered.

He has not raced since quitting the Tour de France, but has posted a video of himself training in the Pyrenees this week.

“My recovery is going well,” Sagan told the organizer. “I am training intensively to get back to my best level. I can’t possibly predict how the European Championship race will turn out, but I can promise that I will give everything for the best possible result.”

Marlen Reusser wins Simac Ladies Tour TT, takes race lead

Marlen Reusser (Alé BTC Ljubljana) took a convincing time trial victory on stage 2 of the Simac Ladies Tour in Gennep. The Olympic time trial silver medalist, who had crashed the day before, stormed around the 17km course in a time of 20:41.

Trek-Segafredo rider Ellen van Dijk was the only rider to get remotely close to Reusser as she finished 18 seconds slower than the Swiss, with SD Worx’s Chantal van den Broek-Blaak taking third at 41 seconds back.

Reusser’s ride was more than enough to make her the third rider to take hold of the race lead and puts her in a strong position to take the overall classification by the end of the week. She holds a 12-second gap on van Dijk after losing some time to the Dutchwoman in short prologue.

“I’m very happy. You never know what know what’s happening and how strong you and the others are so it’s really a big honor to be the fastest today,” Reusser said. “I knew it was possible [to beat van Dijk] because it has happened before, but I know she is also very strong and it’s kind of her terrain and her country and she’s very strong, so I was not sure at all.

“I destroyed my race suit yesterday and people said, tomorrow you’re going to wear the TT suit and then hopefully just the yellow jersey, so you don’t need another race suit. I hope it’s like this.”

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.