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Ladies Tour of Norway stage 3: Annemiek van Vleuten scores on summit finish, seizes GC lead
Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) blasted to her third victory in two weeks on Saturday’s Norefjell summit finish of the Ladies Tour of Norway. Van Vleuten countered an attack from Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (SD-Worx) before time trialing away from her opponents to score the stage win and move into the overall lead ahead of Sunday’s final stage in the WorldTour race.
The result continues a spectacular summer for van Vleuten. The 38-year-old placed second in the Olympic road race before winning the Tokyo time trial and the one-day San Sebastian classic.
Moolman Pasio finished second on the stage while Mavi Garcia (Alé-BTC) came third.
Kristin Faulkner (Tibco SVB) had set a fierce pace in the top half of 11km climb to the Norefjell summit in the bid to distance her rivals and dive into the leader’s jersey after starting the day second overall. The American’s pace served to whittle down the bunch, but it was van Vleuten that had the kick to make it count.
Van Vleuten had marked an attack by Moolman Pasio at three kilometers to go on the long grinding pass and immediately dictated the pace. The Dutch veteran pushed hard, first distancing counter-attacker Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) and then grinding Moolman Pasio off her wheel.
Faulkner attempted to time trial her way back to the three race-leaders but van Vleuten’s stinging pace was too hot for to match. The Tibco-SVB captain finished sixth on the stage and lost ground in the race for GC.
Overnight race leader Riejanne Markus (Jumbo-Visma) also couldn’t match van Vleuten’s decisive kick and finished over one minute back.
Van Vleuten takes a 39-second lead over Moolman Pasio heading into the final stage of the race Sunday, a mostly-flat 141km ride into Halden.
Remco Evenepoel blasts to final stage win and overall victory at Tour of Denmark
Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) edged the final stage time trial and crowned his overall victory at the five-day Tour of Denmark on Saturday.
Evenepoel was the last rider out of the gate in the Danish tour’s 11km TT around Frederiksberg and dashed the hopes of Søren Kragh Andersen (DSM) by beating the home rider by one second. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) was third on the stage.
— Deceuninck-QuickStep (@deceuninck_qst) August 14, 2021
After dominating the third stage to secure a strong GC lead Thursday, Evenepoel’s narrow TT win put a cap on his overall victory at the Tour of Denmark. Evenepoel topped Pedersen and Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), who took second and third on the final podium.
Tosh van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal) tumbled to fifth overall after starting the day in second on GC. He finished almost one minute down on his key GC rivals Saturday.
Evenepoel’s GC victory and pair of stage wins makes for his second stage-race conquest of the season after winning the Baloise Tour in June.
The 21-year-old ace will now challenge for a series of smaller races in Belgium ahead of a flurry of end-of-season goals including the European championships, world championships and Il Lombardia.
Seven stage races victories in @EvenepoelRemco’s palmares since turning pro:
2019 Tour of Belgium
2020 Vuelta a San Juan
2020 Volta ao Algarve
2020 Vuelta a Burgos
2020 Tour de Pologne
2021 Tour of Belgium
2021 Danmark Rundt
Photo: @MarioStiehl pic.twitter.com/lgSn7iXPdw
— Deceuninck-QuickStep (@deceuninck_qst) August 14, 2021
Tejay van Garderen to become sport director with EF Education-Nippo
Tejay van Garderen will be swapping his seat in the saddle for a ride in the director’s car next season.
EF Education-Nippo confirmed Friday that the recently retired van Garderen will become sport director with the squad at the start of 2022.
“When you’re a bike racer, you think, ‘Once I’m done racing I’m just going to put the sport behind me’ and start the next chapter. But when I was facing my own cycling mortality, I realized I’m still not done with the sport,” van Garderen said in a team statement Friday.
“I want to stay involved, I want to stay connected, I want to be with the guys and help in any way I can and if I can’t help with my legs anymore, then I want to help with my mind and my experience. Being a director, that’s the best way to do it.”
Van Garderen had spent the final three seasons of his illustrious career with EF Education-Nippo. He explained that team sport director and former racer Matti Breschel had in part influenced his decision to approach management and ask for the role.
“At the Giro, I spoke to Matti Breschel and he was the one telling me, ‘If opportunities come, say yes. You might think you want to take a year off and figure things out but opportunities don’t come very often,’” van Garderen said.
“It’s really special that I can be a DS for this team in particular. The friends I was able to make, the people I was able to work with these past few years, and my relationship with this organization dates back to when I was a junior on 5280 Magazine and I was teammates with Alex Howes when we were 17 years old. I’m really honored they’ve given me this opportunity.”
Van Garderen will not officially become director until next season. However, the 33-year-old is buckling up Saturday to start a trainee role at the Vuelta a España. The American will shadow the team staffers in Spain as they look to take Hugh Carthy to the podium.
“If I were headed to the Vuelta as a rider, I wouldn’t be nervous because I’d know what to do. As a DS, the thought of standing on the bus looking at the guys looking up at me as opposed to being with the guys looking up at the DS, I don’t know, it’s going to be weird,” he said.
“It all happened really fast. I almost still can’t believe I’m not a bike racer anymore but I’m really excited with the direction everything’s taken.”