Yates takes Catalunya stage 3, Groenewegen wins De Panne: Daily News Digest

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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

Adam Yates climbs to victory in the Volta a Catalunya’s third stage, Groenewegen wins a sprint showdown in De Panne, Ridley unveils the “Flying Moustache.” Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Yates climbs to Catalunya stage 3 victory

Adam Yates won the third stage of the Volta a Catalunya, besting a handful of climbing stars at the end of a challenging stage. The Mitchelton-Scott rider took the win ahead of Egan Bernal (Sky) and Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) on the Vallter 2000 finishing climb.

Race leader Thomas De Gendt lost over two minutes in the stage, but managed to maintain his position atop the overall leaderboard for at least one more day, with a 27-second advantage over Yates.

For Yates, the win served as a bit of redemption after he lost his leader’s jersey on the final stage of Tirreno-Adriatico by a mere one second to Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).

“Last week I showed I was in good condition. I came up short there. I really wanted to win today to make up for it,” Yates said after his Catalunya stage victory.

The 179-kilometer stage from Sant Feliu de Guixols to the Vallter 2000 summit finish was a fine opportunity for a climber like Yates. Although the profile was mostly flat for the first half of the day, the final 60 kilometers featured three categorized climbs, culminating with a long uphill slog to the line.

11 riders jumped away shortly into the stage, building a gap that topped out at around five minutes. Movistar was the most interested of the chasing teams, setting the tempo as the peloton began to roll over a series of appetizer climbs ahead of the main course. A well-marshaled breakaway held its gap mostly steady until the final 30 kilometers, but then the advantage started to shrink, and riders began to drop out of the move. With 10 kilometers to go, the few survivors had less than two minutes and plenty of climbing still to do as Sky hit the front to set a torrid pace in the peloton behind.

Pieter Weening (Roompot-Charles) left his breakaway companions behind on the early slopes of the final climb, but Sky’s pace was too high for him to last long. De Gendt was dropped from the pack, and then Weening was caught with six kilometers to go, setting up a battle for the GC stars on the tough gradients. Bernal wasted no time in kicking things off.

The Colombian attacked some five and a half kilometers from the finish line, quickly gapping all but Quintana, who seemed unperturbed by his compatriot’s pace and looked comfortable holding his wheel. The pair pressed on for a few minutes alone before Yates bridged up to them. Then Martin and Miguel Ángel López up to make it a quintet of leaders for a brief moment, but attacks from Yates, López, and Bernal kept the head of the race in a state of flux until the final kilometer. All five rolled under the flamme rouge together.

“On the climb there, Bernal and Quintana were really strong. When they attacked I held back a little bit to peg my effort,” Yates said. “I slowly came back to them. Then it was a bit of a game. Quintana didn’t really want to work. In the end it was a little sprint.”

Martin was the first to make a serious push with a few hundred meters and two hairpins still to go, but Yates pulled past by the final turn. The 26-year-old held on to take the win.

Adam Yates wins the third stage of the Volta a Catalunya. Photo: Luis Gomez/Cor Vos © 2019

Yates and the rest of the GC hopefuls will have another chance to shine on Thursday. The Volta a Catalunya continues with a stage 4 that finishes on the La Molina finishing climb.

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Groenewegen wins sprint showdown in De Panne

Dylan Groenewegen triumphed in a clash of sprinting’s fastest at Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne, taking a convincing win ahead of Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) and Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step).

Now a collection of one-day races for the men and women – and upgraded to the WorldTour for this season – the former “Three Days of De Panne” is Groenewegen’s first ever one-day victory at the sport’s highest level.

Dylan Groenewegen triumphs in De Panne. Photo: JdM/PN/Cor Vos © 2019

The 200-kilometer race through northwestern Belgium took the peloton from Bruges to coastal De Panne with a handful of cobbles and “hellingen” in the first half of the route. A flat finish meant the sprinters were always likely to contest the win, but the day was not without intrigue.

Six riders formed the day’s main breakaway early on, working up to a gap that hovered between four and five minutes, but it was a move on the Kemmelberg with 125 kilometers to go that really spiced up the race: Gaviria joined Edward Theuns, Danny van Poppel, Marco Haller, and Lukas Pöstlberger in a split over the iconic Flemish climb, and the quintet jumped to an advantage of a minute over the peloton.

Gaviria’s former team of Deceuninck-Quick-Step decided that it would be best not to allow a sprinter of his caliber to arrive at the finish in a small group. The Belgian squad went to work on the front over the ensuing climbs, ultimately spelling an end to the move with around 70 kilometers left to race. The original escapees were all mopped up inside the final 15 kilometers to set up the sprint.

Viviani was the first of the marquee sprinters to go. Gaviria surged ahead inside the final hundred meters, but left enough room on his right side for Groenewegen to come flying past. The Dutchman had enough time for a cheeky check behind to ensure that, yes, he had room to celebrate, and he did just that as he crossed the line for the convincing victory.

Round one of the sprinter-friendly cobbled classics goes to Groenewegen. Viviani, Gaviria, and the rest of the fast finishers may have another shot this weekend at Gent-Wevelgem.

Phinney, Small, and others open up

In the wake of Kelly Catlin’s suicide, Taylor Phinney, Phil Gaimon, Carmen Small, and other pros have shared their stories of battling with depression with Bicycling to show that whatever the outside perception, “pro athletes aren’t immune to depression and anxiety.”

Taylor Phinney at E3 Harelbeke. Photo: ©kramon

“I think my lowest moment was probably after I came back, and we won the World Championships team time trial with BMC in 2015. I just felt nothing,” Phinney said. “I’d worked really hard to make it back to this point, and it was something that I had wanted to win for a really long time, but I was like, ‘Man, I feel numb.'”

Head over to Bicycling to read the story.

Stannard leads Coppi Bartali after busy first day

The Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali got underway with its first two stages on Wednesday in Italy. Emils Liepins (Wallonie-Bruxelles) triumphed in the 98-kilometer stage 1a, but did not get to enjoy his the race lead for long.

A few hours later, Mitchelton-Scott won the stage 1b team time trial over Sky and Gazprom-RusVelo, putting Robert Stannard into the race lead. The Australian will have a chance to defend it on Thursday in a challenging stage 2.

Tech News

Ridley unveils the “Flying Moustache”

Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) is making a push for the UCI Hour Record in a few weeks, and Ridley has unveiled the bike he’ll be riding in the attempt. Ridley has dubbed the Arena TT bike, which shares geometry with the Dean FAST that Campenaerts rides on the road, the “Flying Moustache.” Fans voted for the name on Sporza’s website.

Victor Campenaerts’s Hour Record bike. Photo: Ridley

Highlights of the bike include custom handlebar extensions molded to Campenaerts’s arms and a 63-tooth front chain ring.

Get all the details on the Flying Moustache over at Ridley.

Coming Up

Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne rolls on with the WorldTour women’s race on Thursday. The cobbled one-day features a start list with plenty of firepower. Among the big names set to attend are Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv), Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott), Lucinda Brand (Sunweb), Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo), Chloe Hosking (Alé Cipollini), Amalie Dideriksen (Boels Dolmans), and Marta Bastianelli (Virtu).

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