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Marianne Vos wins Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Wout van Aert shares Sanremo data, Aru requires iliac artery surgery, Cape Epic concludes. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Vos wins Trofeo Binda
Marianne Vos stormed to her first road victory of 2019 with a convincing sprint at the head of a small group at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda. The CCC-Liv rider topped Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla) in Cittiglio, Italy, to take her fourth career Trofeo title—her first in seven years.
The 131.1-kilometer WorldTour race featured fast racing from the gun, with no one able to break clear of the peloton for long – despite numerous attempts – until Tayler Wiles (Trek-Segafredo) jumped away solo around an hour into the day. Shortly after she started the first of four laps on a 17.5-kilometer finishing circuit, however, Wiles was caught, spurring other riders into action.
Grace Brown (Mitchelton-Scott) managed to get a gap with Leah Thomas (Bigla) in pursuit and a peloton splitting into small groups behind. Both riders were reeled in towards the end of the second lap, but further attacks and regroupings over the next 20 kilometers chipped away at the size of the peloton. That set up an exciting final lap that saw defending champion Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) attack on the final climb, drawing seven other riders with her, with Vos and her CCC teammate Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio in the mix. With Moolman-Pasio putting in plenty of work at the front, the eight-rider group kept the advantage over the last few kilometers as the finish line approached.
A chasing group made contact with the back of the escape in the final few hundred meters, but no one came close to the three-time world road champion sprinting to the win at the front. Spratt pipped Ludwig for a close second place.
Though mostly known for his efforts in one-hour races, three-time cyclocross world champion Wout van Aert put in an excellent performance across nearly seven hours at Milano-Sanremo Saturday. The Jumbo-Visma rider finished sixth in his debut ride at the season’s first Monument, and then uploaded his power data so that the rest of his can see what it takes to finish La Classicissima on the same time as race winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step).
Degenkolb rues dropped chain at Milano-Sanremo
John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) might have had a shot at linking up with the lead group in the final kilometers of Saturday’s Milano-Sanremo, but an untimely mechanical dashed his hopes of reconnecting with what would ultimately be the winning move. Aboard a bike sporting SRAM’s new electronic 12-speed 1x groupset, the former race winner dropped his chain while descending the Poggio.
A frustrated Degenkolb said after the race that he believed he still had a chance to rejoin the leaders before the dropped chain, but with the mechanical, “the race was over.”
Van der Poel wins GP Denain
Four days after a nasty crash at Nokere Koerse that saw him loaded into an ambulance, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) rode to the biggest one-day road victory of his young career, winning the GP Denain.
The world cyclocross champion took advantage of a cobbled sector some 40 kilometers from the finish to attack the bunch, bridged to a handful of early breakaway riders, and then soloed clear to take the victory in the UCI 1.HC-rated event. With any concerns of serious injury in his Nokere Koerse finishing straight crash now a distant memory, van der Poel enjoyed a healthy celebration as he crossed the line in Denain, France, with Marc Sarreau (Groupama-FDJ) in second and Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) taking third.
Van der Poel will get his first taste of WorldTour racing next weekend at Gent-Wevelgem.
Schurter and Forster, Langvad and van der Breggen take Cape Epic overall titles
Nino Schurter and Lars Forster (Scott-SRAM) wrapped up the general classification win at the Absa Cape Epic, staying upright in the final stage to turn their race lead into an overall race victory. The Swiss pairing cruised through the first few stages of the Cape Epic, lost time and the lead when Forster punctured at an inopportune moment in stage 3, and then retook control of the race for good in stage 5. Schurter and Forster played it safe in stage 7 to seal the overall title with an advantage of 7:36 over Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory), with Damiano Ferraro and Samuele Porro (Trek Selle San Marco) rounding out the GC podium. Ondrej Cink and Sergio Mantecón (Kross-Spur) took the final stage victory.
On the women’s side, Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen finished the Cape Epic just as they finished all but one stage in the race: with a victory. The Investec-songo-Specialized duo dominated throughout the event, leading wire-to-wire and winning every stage but one. They finished with a 30-minute GC advantage ahead of overall runners-up Candice Lill and Adelheid Morath (Summit Fin), with Ariane Lüthi and Maja Wloszczowska (Kross-Spur) closing out the race in third on GC.
Iliac artery surgery will sideline Aru for months
Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) will miss the Giro d’Italia. The Italian is set for surgery to repair his iliac artery after medical examinations showed inadequate blood flow in his left leg. The date for the procedure will be determined soon, with an estimated return to racing in “three to four months.”
It’s the latest setback in what has been a frustrating handful of seasons for Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates), but Aru sees the potential bright side that the iliac artery issue may have been at the root of his difficulties performing at the highest level in recent years.
“From a certain point of view, I can only be relieved to have found the problem; on the other hand, I am angry about the bad luck that has fallen on me for the umpteenth time and that will force me to miss the Giro d’Italia again,” Aru said in a team statement. “I will work to try to put an end to this dark period as soon as possible.”
Specialized unveils latest edition of Sagan Collection
Specialized has rolled out a new edition of its Sagan Collection line of bikes and accessories, featuring color schemes inspired by Peter Sagan. The “Chasing Rainbows” installment of the Sagan Collection is the third iteration on the theme, which first appeared in the form of flashy gold bikes and kit prior to the 2018 Tour of Flanders.
The latest Sagan-Specialized collaboration offers two different design themes – “Overexposed” and “Underexposed” – to reflect two different sides of Sagan’s personality. The three-time world champion had some fun with a baseball bat as part of the announcement.
The WorldTour rolls on this week at the Volta a Catalunya, where many of the worlds top GC stars will battle it out on an always challenging parcours.
Alejandro Valverde has won the last two editions, and Movistar will like their chances of a fourth straight win 2016 champ with Nairo Quintana making the start as well, but competition will be fierce. Chris Froome headlines a Sky team that also features Egan Bernal, with Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo), Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), and Miguel Ángel López (Astana) also on the long list of GC stars set to attend.
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