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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Laurens De Plus wins the BinckBank Tour as Oliver Naesen takes the final stage, Lachlan Morton nabs a photo finish stage 5 win at the Tour of Utah, Mathieu van der Poel tips Julian Alaphilippe as the favorite for worlds. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Laurens De Plus wins the BinckBank Tour
Laurens De Plus (Jumbo-Visma) took his first pro win in style on Sunday, claiming the overall title at the BinckBank Tour.
The 23-year-old Belgian, who played a key role in Steven Kruijswijk’s Tour de France campaign last month, surged to the top of the overall standings on the final stage of the BinckBank Tour with a third-place finish on the iconic Muur van Geraardsbergen climb after getting away late with Oliver Naesen (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Greg Van Avermaet (CCC).
Naesen won stage 7 ahead of Van Avermaet and jumped up to second overall in the GC, with overnight leader Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) dropping to third on the final podium.
Even after a stage 6 time trial – won by Filippo Ganna of Ineos – the general classification at the BinckBank Tour remained tight heading into the seventh and final stage. The 178.1-kilometer trek from Sint-Pieters-Leeuw to Geraardsbergen featured no shortage of challenges, with a profile visiting numerous hellingen familiar to fans of the spring Classics.
Naesen, Van Avermaet, and De Plus powered clear of the reduced bunch on the Bosberg and then the all-Belgian trio worked well together to maintain a healthy advantage. De Plus snatched several bonus seconds on the run-in to the Geraardsbergen finale, and then Naesen and Van Avermaet went head-to-head for the stage victory.
Naesen topped his veteran compatriot in the sprint to win stage 7, and four seconds later, De Plus hit the line to seal the overall win—his first victory in any pro race, not to mention a GC title in a WorldTour event.
From the world of track cycling: This guy deserves a medal.
— François Lamiraud (@LamiraudF) August 17, 2019
Morton wins stage 5 of the Tour of Utah
Even with all the alternative racing on his calendar this year, Lachlan Morton (EF Education First) is still pretty good at “traditional” racing too. The 27-year-old Australian won Saturday’s stage 5 at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah ahead of New Zealander Hayden McCormick (Bridgelane).
Morton, the overall champion in Utah in 2016, joined the early breakaway on the 137-kilometer stage that started and finished in Canyons Village. 23-year-old Australian Dylan Sunderland (Bridgelane) attacked the break in the last 10 kilometers, getting a decent gap, but Morton made a move to bridge up to him and McCormick followed. The duo caught and dropped Sunderland and then continued on to the battle for the stage win.
Morton took a narrow victory in the final sprint. Simone Velasco (Neri Sottoli) led a chasing group over the line for third.
Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling) finished 1:22 later to retain his overall race lead heading into Sunday’s final stage.
Danny and Boy van Poppel to Wanty-Gobert
Danny and Boy van Poppel are linking back up after spending four years racing on different teams. The Dutch duo will head to Wanty-Gobert in 2020.
Boy van Poppel, 31, is finishing a lone season with Roompot-Charles after five years with the Trek organization. Danny van Poppel, 26, has spent the last two seasons with Jumbo-Visma. The younger van Poppel’s list of career achievements features several sprint victories, including a stage win at the 2015 Vuelta a España.
Bastianelli wins Postnord Vargarda WestSweden
Marta Bastianelli (Virtu) continued her strong 2019 season in Sweden on Sunday, picking up her third WorldTour one-day victory of the year at the Postnord Vargarda WestSweden Road Race.
The reigning Tour of Flanders champion – and Italy’s national champion – held on through an aggressive race to battle for the win in a reduced sprint. CCC-Liv’s Marianne Vos led into the last hundred meters, but Bastianelli overhauled the Dutchwoman just before the line to nab the win.
Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) took third.
Lutsenko wins Arctic Race of Norway
Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko won the Arctic Race of Norway, overhauling overnight leader Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) on the fourth and final stage.
Markus Hoelgaard (Uno-X) took the stage win ahead of Amund Grondahl Jansen (Jumbo-Visma) with Lutsenko in third. Barguil finished one second later in fourth place, and that was enough for Lutsenko to take the overall win by a second. Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy) rounded out the final GC podium.
Van der Poel tips Alaphilippe as worlds favorite
Considering the strong season he has put together on every kind of bike he touches, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) is getting plenty of deserved attention as the cycling world eyes the upcoming road world championships in Yorkshire—but the Dutchman says Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) is the rider to watch in the battle for the rainbow jersey.
“For me, Alaphilippe is the favorite. He is the strongest rider this year on the road overall, for sure,” Van der Poel said at the Arctic Race of Norway, according to Cyclingnews.
“If you see what he did at the Tour, it’s quite incredible. It’s his last big goal and we’ve seen this year that if he sets his mind, he can achieve really nice things. So for me he’s the strongest opponent.”
Van der Poel, for his part, says he is planning to race hard and see what he can pull off on the rolling Yorkshire parcours, which has some similarities to the Amstel Gold Race he won back in April. After the Arctic Race, van der Poel will continue his worlds build-up with an altitude camp and then a start at the Tour of Britain.
Hamilton takes Czech Cycling Tour finale, Impey nabs overall
Mitchelton-Scott enjoyed a strong final day at the Czech Cycling Tour. 23-year-old Australian Lucas Hamilton took the stage 4 win, with teammate Daryl Impey finishing second on the day to seal the overall victory.
Hamilton and Michael Kukrle (Elkov-Author) rounded out the overall podium.
Roglic and Kruijswijk headline Jumbo-Visma for the 2019 Vuelta a España
Jumbo-Visma will have both of its biggest GC stars at the upcoming Vuelta a España. The Dutch WorldTour outfit announced its roster for the Spanish Grand Tour on Friday with Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk leading the way.
Sepp Kuss, George Bennett, and Robert Gesink will provide the team with even more climber firepower, as will Neilson Powless, making his Grand Tour debut. Tony Martin and Lennard Hofstede round out the roster.
Sosa wins Vuelta a Burgos
Ineos’s Iván Sosa took the biggest win of his young career on Saturday, nabbing the overall title at the Vuelta a Burgos. The 21-year-old Colombian, already leading the race, won the fifth and final stage from Santo Domingo de Silos to Lagunas de Neila to put an exclamation point on his GC victory.
Óscar Rodríguez of Euskadi-Murias took overall runner-up honors, while 2019 Giro d’Italia champion Richard Carapaz (Movistar) nabbed the final step on the GC podium in his first race back since he won the Italian Grand Tour in June.
International CX season kicks off in Melbourne
‘Cross isn’t coming, it’s here. The opening round of the 2019/20 international cyclocross season kicked off in Melbourne over the weekend, with the Melbourne Grand Prix of Cyclocross showcasing two days of muddy racing between the nation’s best riders.
In Australia’s only international cyclocross event, it was newly crowned national champions Chris Jongewaard (Flanders/health.com.au) and Peta Mullens (Focus/Attaquer) who came up with the goods, each taking the wins on both days.
Held on the new Broadford cyclocross circuit in the hills north of Melbourne, the racing was about as far from CX’s European heartland as possible, although the muddy, boggy conditions gave riders and fans a taste of Belgium.
“It is a very challenging course and it felt like we were climbing the whole race,” said five-time Australian cyclocross champion Jongewaard. “Sunday, especially, it turned on a lot of hard boggy sections. With the rain and the mud it just turned out perfectly really. It wasn’t great to be out there (in the rain) but they were real cross conditions and that’s what we want.”
Feature Image: Oliver Naesen wins the final stage of the BinckBank Tour. Photo: Davy Rietbergen/Cor Cos © 2019