VN news ticker: Florian Sénéchal wins Primus Classic; Tadej Pogačar, Urška Žigart get engaged

Here's the news making headlines for Saturday, September 18.

Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP via Getty Images

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Florian Sénéchal delivers after Deceuninck-Quick-Step dominates Primus Classic

Florian Sénéchal finished a day of Deceuninck-Quick-Step dominance with sprint victory at the Primus Classic on Saturday. The Frenchman kicked out of the five-man lead group to beat Tosh van der Sande (Lotto Soudal) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) in the Belgian one-dayer.

Deceuninck-Quick-Step had dominated much of the final hour of racing with Sénéchal, Mikkel Honoré, Zdenek Stybar, Davide Ballerini and world champ Julian Alaphilippe all making the front splits in the flat-out finale into Haacht.

Sénéchal profited from having teammate Honoré with him after the race boiled down to five riders in the final 10 kilometers. The Quick-Step pair relentlessly attacked and counter-attacked their three rivals, with Simon Clarke (Qhubeka Next Hash) the first to lose the wheels.

Honoré led out the final sprint before unleashing Sénéchal for his second win of the season after also winning at the Vuelta a España last month.

Mathieu van der Poel finished eighth after being distanced from a dozen-strong lead group with 21km to go due to a puncture. The Dutchman had been looking strong as he builds back from the injury that saw him withdraw from the MTB worlds last month.

Sénéchal and Alaphilippe will both be racing for France in the worlds road race next Sunday, while van der Poel is expected to be leading the Dutch team unless his back injury proves problematic in the coming days.

Tadej Pogačar and Urška Žigart get engaged

Cycling’s newest power couple has got engaged. Tadej Pogačar and Urška Žigart both separately posted on Instagram on Friday to break the news that they would be formalizing their long-standing relationship.

“You have only one life, and she is mine. Dreams came true as she said yes!” Pogačar wrote.

The 24-year-old Žigart, also from Slovenia, currently races for BikeExchange after previously riding for Alé-BTC. She and Pogačar are reported to have been dating since 2019 after they met when the reigning Tour de France champ was racing for Rog-Ljubljana.

“Eternity with you seems too short,” Žigart wrote in her social media post.

Both Pogačar and Žigart will be racing for Slovenia in the world championships road races this weekend. Pogačar will also race the TT, while Slovenia sends Eugenia Bujak for the women’s race.

David Gaudu wins final stage of Tour de Luxembourg, João Almeida secures GC

David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) darted away from the lead group in the final kilometer of the stage to win the final day of the Tour de Luxembourg on Saturday.

Overnight race leader João Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) finished second behind Gaudu to secure the overall victory and take his second GC victory of the season. Pierre Latour (Team TotalEnergies) finished third on the stage.

Gaudu will carry confidence into his next race, Milano-Torino on October 6

“It’s nice to win given the field,” Gaudu said. “We are here to prepare for the Italian classics, including the Tour of Lombardy. I want to perform there. We were lucky to have a good run. I had the best time of my life. There is nothing but positive.”

Almeida will lead Portugal’s hunt for the rainbow jersey at next weekend’s road championships road race. He is set to ride alongside Ruben Guerreiro, Nelson Oliveira, Rafael Reis, and Rui Oliveira.

Organizers hunt new date for 2022 Paris-Roubaix due to election clash

The 2022 Paris-Roubaix needs a new date in the diary.

Next year’s edition of the cobbled monument was originally slated for April 10 but is likely to have to be rescheduled due to a clash with the French presidential elections. With the Tour of Flanders falling the weekend before, April 3, officials were initially eyeing a new date of April 17 only to find a clash with the already scheduled Amstel Gold Race.

Sporza reports that organizers ASO are currently mulling holding both the men’s and women’s Paris-Roubaix on the same day next year as a workaround. Dates currently under discussion are the Friday (April 15) or Saturday (April 16) before Amstel Gold Race or the Monday (Easter Monday – April 18) afterward.

“The Hell of the North” will make its highly-anticipated return next month after the cancelation of the 2020 edition. The inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes rolls out October 2 with the men’s race following October 3.

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.