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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Sam Bennett wins stage 3 of the Vuelta a España, Ineos shifts Vuelta focus after Tao Geoghegan Hart and Wout Poels drop out of GC contention, Chloe Dygert-Owen closes out the Colorado Classic with all four stage victories and the overall title. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Bennett sprints to convincing victory on Vuelta stage 3
Sam Bennett sprinted to his first ever Vuelta a España stage victory on Monday’s stage 3.
The 28-year-old Irish national champion topped Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) and Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) in a bunch kick in Alicante.
“I can’t tell you how relieved I was about that. I felt so bad yesterday, I can’t tell you how bad my legs were during that stage,” Bennett said after his win, which came on the heels of a challenging stage 2 that shook up the general classification.
“It means a lot to get another Grand Tour victory, especially in the national champion’s jersey.”
Bennett’s Irish compatriot Nicolas Roche (Sunweb) finished safely in the peloton to retain his grip on the red race leader’s jersey.
The 188-kilometer stage from Ibi featured a pair of categorized climbs in the second half of the day, but the largely downhill final 40 kilometers and a flat finish had the sprinters’ teams motivated to keep things together for a fast finale.
That spelled an end for the day’s breakaway with around 40 kilometers to go. A high tempo in the pack also ended the stage victory hopes of one of the biggest sprinting names in the race, however, with Fernando Gaviria (UAE-Team Emirates) losing touch with the pack the final climb.
The pace was high as the peloton approached Alicante for the final sprint, with Sunweb, Bora, and Trek all jockeying for position. As the peloton rolled into the final few hundred meters, it was Trek in the strongest position at the front, but with Bennett slotted in just behind Trek’s sprinter Theuns.
“Just as Shane [Archbold, Bora lead-out man] wanted to go on the right, Trek came and he kind of got boxed in, but I went with momentum to the left and got on [the wheel of] Trek,” Bennett said.
The plan worked out well. When Trek’s final lead-out rider peeled off, Theuns kicked, but within moments Bennett exploded past with a turn of speed no one came close to matching. The Irishman cruised to a convincing victory at the line, the fourth Grand Tour stage victory of his career.
Stage 3 results
1 Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe 4:25:02
2 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
3 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
4 Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
5 Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain-Merida
6 Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Deceuninck-QuickStep
7 Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck-QuickStep
8 Cyril Barthe (Fra) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
9 Szymon Sajnok (Pol) CCC
10 Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
1 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sunweb 9:51:14
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar 0:00:02
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First 0:00:08
4 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:22
5 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana 0:00:33
6 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:35
7 Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education First 0:00:37
8 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb 0:00:38
9 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:46
10 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
Neilson Powless is making his Grand Tour debut at this year’s Vuelta a España, and just a few days into the race, he’s already making progress as a developing rider.
— Neilson Powless (@NPowless) August 26, 2019
Dygert-Owen sweeps the Colorado Classic
Chloe Dygert-Owen (Sho-Air Twenty20) made it four for four on the final stage of the Colorado Classic, winning the final stage en route to the overall win.
Just as she had done for the first three stages, the 22-year-old American put in a big solo attack on the 74.1-kilometer fourth stage, a circuit race in Denver. For the fourth straight time, no one could catch her.
Dygert-Owen took the stage 4 win 11 seconds ahead of Janelle Cole (Lux-Flexential) with Emma White (Rally UHC) leading the pack over the line 50 seconds back.
At the end of her dominant Colorado Campaign, Dygert-Owen stood atop the overall podium with a 2:37 advantage over GC runner-up Brodie Chapman (Tibco-SVB) with Omer Shapira (Canyon-Sram) rounding out the final podium a further 20 seconds down.
‘No excuses’ after Geoghegan Hart and Poels drop out of Vuelta GC contention early
Both of Ineos’s Vuelta leaders, Tao Geoghegan Hart and Wout Poels, tumbled down the overall leaderboard on Sunday’s stage 2. After losing touch with the peloton during a flurry of attacks on the day’s final climb, Geoghegan Hart and Poels ultimately finished 9:51 down on stage winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
“We don’t want to hide anything, there’s not any kind of excuses,” Ineos sports director Nicolas Portal said, according to Cycling Weekly.
“It was hot but not too hot, it was hard but not too hard.”
Although the team may not have brought one of its big three GC contenders – Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, or Egan Bernal – to the Vuelta, a strong result in the overall was a goal. Now, Ineos will recalibrate its focus to hunt stage wins over the remainder of the three weeks.
Skujins extends with Trek, Liepins signs for two years
Trek-Segafredo is continuing to invest in Latvian cycling talent. Toms Skujins, currently in his second year with the team, has signed on for another year, and the team has also secured the services of his compatriot Emils Liepins, who has ridden at the Pro Continental level with Wallonie-Bruxelles this year, for the next two seasons.
“From day one Trek Segafredo staff and riders have been amazing in welcoming me, so it is a huge pleasure to stay with the team at least till the end of 2020,” Skujins said.
“There are still some good races I’m looking forward to this year, and I know we will put on some good racing for the fans. Of course, next year is already on my mind a little too and who knows, maybe it’s time to go see what the fuss is about at the Giro. However, one way or another it will be a fun 2020 because not only I will be riding for Trek-Segafredo yet again, but there will be a human on the team I can speak Latvian with, so I don’t get so homesick.”
Nippo to shift sponsorship to Delko-Marseille-Provence
Japanese construction and materials company Nippo, currently a sponsor of Italian Pro Continental team Nippo Vini Fantini, will shift its sponsorship to French Pro Continental outfit Delko-Marseille-Provence in 2020.
The new name will be announced soon, according to the Delko squad. As for the current Nippo team, the future remains grim, with the squad expected to fold at the end of 2019.
Coming up at the Vuelta
Taking the Vuelta a España peloton from Cullera to El Puig, stage 4 of the Vuelta a España features only one categorized climb and a flat final 30 kilometers.
The 175.5-kilometer stage should be another good one for the sprinters.
Beauty of Cycling
The Colorado Classic showcased some incredible racing talent – particularly from Chloe Dygert-Owen – and plenty of high-altitude natural beauty, and fortunately the Grubers were on hand to capture it all.
Check out the gallery of the 2019 Colorado Classic here.
Fizik Terra Powerstrap X4, a shoe for gravel
Fizik’s latest velcro-based shoe is aimed squarely at gravel riders on a budget. Featuring Fizik’s Powerstrap design that envelopes the foot, the Terra X4’s are built on a nylon composite sole, while the new “X4” rubber tread is designed for grip and durability when off the bike.
The shoes are designed for use with 2-bolt SPD-style cleats, and will be available in a choice of Black/Black, Anthracite/Grape and Mud/Caramel (pictured), and in sizes from EU38-48 (half sizes available in certain markets). A pair of EU42 are said to weigh 584g. Expect to pay US$149 / AU$269.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Sam Bennett wins stage 3 of the Vuelta a España. Photo: Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2019