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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Van der Poel and Niewiadoma triumph on an action-packed day at the Amstel Gold Race, Grossschartner takes the overall title and Ewan wins the final stage at the Tour of Turkey, Watopia adds “Fuego Flats” desert terrain. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Van der Poel wins Amstel Gold Race
Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) added yet another big win to his brilliant 2019 tally with a stunning, come-from-behind victory at the Amstel Gold Race. The Dutchman out-sprinted Simon Clarke (EF Education First) in Berg en Terblijt after a powerful escape was caught on the finishing straight.
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), who spent most of the final hour off the front, took third.
“I wanted to get over [the final climbs] on my own but it didn’t really work,” van der Poel said after giving the Netherlands its first home winner in over a decade.
“I went full gas and I hoped they’d start to look at each other at the front. It was unbelievable.”
Van der Poel had tried to attack the bunch with around 40 kilometers to go, but was unable to form a gap. After he slotted back in with the peloton, Julian Alaphilippe spurred a dangerous move of his own, and he was quickly joined by Fuglsang. The powerhouse duo wasted no time in building a healthy advantage, with the peloton scrambling to put together a coherent chase. Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) and Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) linked up to form a two-man pursuit group, with the pack shedding several names as the pace picked up for the chase.
Alaphilippe and Fuglsang collaborated well together into the final few kilometers, maintaining a healthy gap into the finale that seemed like it would be more than enough to hold off the chasers, but those in pursuit refused to give up, with van der Poel himself doing much of the work at the front of a small group of survivors. Kwiatkowski joined the pair of leaders to form a three-man group for the final kilometer, but van der Poel and the rest of the chasers were suddenly just a few seconds behind.
With 300 meters to go, the groups came together to set up a hectic sprint. Van der Poel jumped onto Fuglsang’s wheel and then wound up to full speed. Clarke was slotted into the Dutchman’s slipstream but never came close to catching him.
Van der Poel shook his head in disbelief as he crossed the line to take the win.
1 VAN DER POEL Mathieu Corendon – Circus
2 CLARKE Simon EF Education First
3 FUGLSANG Jakob Astana Pro Team
4 ALAPHILIPPE Julian Deceuninck – Quick Step
5 SCHACHMANN Maximilian BORA – hansgrohe
6 LAMBRECHT Bjorg Lotto Soudal
7 DE MARCHI Alessandro CCC Team
8 MADOUAS Valentin Groupama – FDJ
9 BARDET Romain AG2R La Mondiale
10 TRENTIN Matteo Mitchelton-Scott
As if the brutal finishing climb of the Tour of Turkey’s queen stage was not enough of a challenge, weather conditions in the mountains made for a wild day on the Kartepe slopes on Saturday. Race organizers moved the finish line a few kilometers down the climb for at least a slightly clearer finale after heavy snowfall turned the original finish into a winter wonderland (in April).
Meanwhile, in the “commentary booth”…
Niewiadoma takes women’s Amstel Gold Race
Katarzyna Niewiadoma won the women’s Amstel Gold Race title, delivering a late attack on the iconic Cauberg to nab her first victory of the 2019 season.
“It was an extremely hard race. It opened with really hard action already. Every single hill we were just pushing so hard,” she said.
“I’m just so happy I could finally put everything together for the victory.”
The 24-year-old from Poland hung with a select group late into the day before soloing clear on the race’s best-known climb inside the final few kilometers. She gapped her rivals on the the ascent and then held on as the road flattened out to take the win.
Annamiek van Vleueten (Mitchelton-Scott) rode to runner-up honors with Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) taking third.
1 NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna Canyon SRAM Racing
2 VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek Mitchelton-Scott
3 VOS Marianne CCC – Liv
4 LANGVAD Annika Boels – Dolmans Cycling Team
5 PALADIN Soraya Alé Cipollini
6 LUDWIG Cecilie Uttrup Bigla Pro Cycling
7 VOLLERING Demi Parkhotel Valkenburg
8 BASTIANELLI Marta Team Virtu Cycling
9 JACKSON Alison Team TIBCO – SVB
10 BALSAMO Elisa Valcar Cylance Cycling
Grossschartner wins Tour of Turkey, Ewan nabs final stage
Felix Grossschartner took the overall title at the Tour of Turkey, climbing to victory in the intense, snow-shortened stage 5 on Saturday and staying safe in Sunday’s sprinter-friendly sixth and final stage to wrap up the victory.
The GC win was a career first for Grossschartner. It also marked Bora-Hansgrohe’s first-ever overall victory in a WorldTour stage race.
Grossschartner’s closest rivals from stage 5 would also join him on the final podium, with Valerio Conti (UAE-Team Emirates) finishing second and Merhawi Kudus (Astana) in third. Deceuninck-Quick-Step youngster Remco Evenepoel took fourth overall.
Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) took a convincing stage 6 win ahead of Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) and Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), his second stage victory in this year’s edition of the race. Bennett went long on a slightly uphill finish, but Ewan closed him down and surged clear to take the win.
“I was lucky that I had a pretty strong Quick-Step train going up the [final] climb,” he said. “When I thought they were fading, I jumped and caught Sam and luckily got past him.”
Belgian racing icon Patrick Sercu dies at 74
Patrick Sercu passed away on Friday at age 74. The Belgian was an Olympic gold medalist and many-time world champion on the track, often pairing with Eddy Merckx in two-man events in the velodrome.
Sercu also scored several stage victories and a green jersey at the Tour de France to go with plenty of other impressive results in his lengthy road career.
Zwift’s Watopia adds desert expansion
Zwift has added a desert course to its virtual universe with the aptly named “Fuego Flats,” 20 kilometers of flat roads geared towards time trialists and sprinters.
The terrain features desert landscapes, rocky canyons, a saloon, and a 1960s style resort.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Mathieu van der Poel in disbelief as he takes the win at the Amstel Gold Race. Photo: Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2019