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Philippe Gilbert wins Paris-Roubaix, Ion Izagirre takes Basque Country title, Factor adds customization platform. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Gilbert wins Paris-Roubaix
Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) has added a first career Paris-Roubaix title to his brilliant Classics palmares. The 36-year-old Belgian topped Katusha-Alpecin’s Nils Politt in the Roubaix velodrome after the pair jumped away from a select lead group inside the final 15 kilometers.
Gilbert’s Deceuninck teammate Yves Lampaert secured the final spot on the podium.
“I’m not afraid of long attacks,” Gilbert said. “They’ve often worked out in my favor. I got down to work with Politt, who is quite a brave rider. It was ideal to be in his company. In the finale, we rode flat out together, and in the end, it came down to who was the strongest – and that was me.”
With the Roubaix victory, Gilbert has now won four of cycling’s five Monuments, with only Milano-Sanremo missing from his tally.
Gilbert and Politt had initially joined a small escape with some 60 kilometers left to race on the Orchies cobbled sector, with Lampaert, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) bridging 10 minutes later to form an elite group of six that would ultimately decide the race among themselves.
A surge from Gilbert with 23 kilometers to go forced a split in the six, with van Aert, Vanmarcke, and Lampaert left chasing. Vanmarcke and Lampaert caught back up on the Camphin-en-Pevele, but van Aert was unable to close the gap, leaving five at the front.
Politt spurred the winning move on Gruson cobbled sector. The German built a small gap of his own before Gilbert bridged up. Vanmarcke and Sagan did not react until it was too late—they were left chasing with little help from Gilbert’s teammate Lampaert, who happily sat on their wheels as they tried in vain to close down the gap. A mechanical from Vanmarcke put another dent into their chances. By the final five kilometers, it was clear that it was down to Gilbert and Politt in the finale.
After watching them put in all the work in the chase, Lampaert dropped Sagan and Vanmarcke and started making his way up toward the two leaders, putting some pressure on Politt to take the front in the Roubaix velodrome. Politt led Gilbert into the final few hundred meters on the track, where Gilbert blew past to take a convincing sprint victory at the line.
Politt settled for second with Lampaert coming across the line 13 seconds later, while Vanmarcke notched his third career fourth-place Roubaix finish ahead of Sagan, who seemed uninterested in battling for the minor placings.
Australian sprint legend Robbie McEwen had the tweet of the day, a reminder of just how impressive Philippe Gilbert’s Roubaix victory is, in context.
Gilbert was in rough shape last summer.
He’s doing a bit better now.
Izagirre triumphs in the Basque Country after dramatic final stage
Ion Izagirre won the Vuelta al País Vasco, jumping up to the top of the leaderboard on the sixth and final stage of the race.
After Emanuel Buchmann took over the race lead from Bora-Hansgrohe teammate Maximilian Schachmann in stage 5, Izagirre was sitting second overall heading into stage 6. He joined a powerhouse escape on the Azurki climb alongside Astana squadmate Jakob Fuglsang, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), and UAE-Team Emirates teammates Dan Martin and Tadej Pogacar. The move managed to stay clear all the way into the finale.
Yates topped Martin for stage 6 with Fuglsang taking third.
Izagirre, however, was the biggest winner of all, taking a long-awaited overall title in his home race for the first time after three career third-place finishes.
“We have a very strong team here and we knew we had to try something today to fight for the overall victory. We knew that this was possible to do,” Izagirre said. “After so many podiums, finally, I won this race. It is very special because it is my home race and all my family and friends were here at the finish to support me.”
Martin earned second-place honors in the general classification, while Buchmann ultimately settled for third – which was at least better than where he had initially finished the day. The German had dropped off the podium after taking a wrong turn in the final kilometer, giving Fuglsang a brief moment as third overall in the provisional standings, but race commissaires bumped Buchmann to third after acknowledging it was an official’s mistake that had led Buchmann astray.
Australia’s Dyball wins the Tour de Langkawi
Ben Dyball (Sapura) has given Australia its first Tour de Langkawi winner in over two decades. After surging into the race lead with a stage 4 victory on the brutal Genting Highlands climb, the 29-year-old held on through Saturday’s eighth and final stage to secure the overall title, the biggest victory in his career so far.
Simone Bevilacqua (Neri Sottoli) and Marco Benfatto (Androni Giocattoli) took respective sprint victories in stages 7 and 8.
23-year-old American Keegan Swirbull (Floyd’s) finished the eight-day race in Malaysia an impressive second overall, his first ever GC podium as a pro, with Vadim Pronskiy (Vino-Astana Motors) taking third.
Benoot, Keisse taken to hospital after Roubaix crashes
Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) and Iljo Keisse (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) are receiving medical attention after crashing at Paris-Roubaix.
According to Sporza, Benoot went down in a collision with a Jumbo-Visma team car while he was working his way through the vehicle convoy following a mechanical. Keisse crashed into a traffic island and hit the deck hard. Both riders abandoned the race and have since been taken to a nearby hospital for examinations.
Klein takes the Healthy Ageing Tour
Lisa Klein took the overall victory at the Healthy Ageing Tour, riding into the race lead in the stage 4a time trial and maintaining control at the top of the general classification through stages 4b and 5 to nab the win.
The 22-year-old Canyon-SRAM rider topped Trek-Segafredo’s Ellen van Dijk – who won the TT – and stage 5 winner Kirsten Wild (WNT-Rotor) on the final podium.
Freinstein and Roper win the Tour de Brisbane
Raphael Freienstein (Inform) and Emily Roper (Roxsolt Attaquer) have come away victorious from the inaugural Tour de Brisbane, a new addition to the 2019 Australia National Road Series (NRS) calendar.
The women’s event came down to a two-up sprint between Roper and veteran Taryn Heather (Specialized Women’s Racing) after the pair attacked 17km from the finish of the 110km city-centre race. In the men’s event, 2018 NRS winner Freinstein and Dylan Sunderland (BridgeLane) got away and just managed to hold off the bunch.
Factor launches paint customization program
Factor Bikes has joined the growing number of high-end bike companies to offer a custom paint program. Dubbed Prisma Studio, Factor’s customization program offers a 3D visualization of your design.
Scope for customization is currently somewhat limited, with just two design options and nine different colors across matte, gloss, and metallic paints. Still, that leads to 2,688 possible combinations, and Factor say there are more colors on the way. The online tool is currently limited to the Factor O2 Equipe and Classic disc or rim frames, and Factor’s other models will be added soon. Expect to pay US$200 onto of the regular retail price for this service.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Philippe Gilbert tops Nils Politt to win Paris-Roubaix. Photo: NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2019.