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Fabio Jakobsen tops Sam Bennett to win stage 4 of the Vuelta a España, Steven Kruijswijk abandons the race, EF signs Magnus Cort Nielsen. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Jakobsen pips Bennett to win stage 4 of the Vuelta a España
Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) won stage 4 of the Vuelta a España, narrowly pipping Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) in a photo finish sprint to earn his first career Grand Tour stage victory.
“This is a big one for me, especially in the Dutch champion’s jersey,” Jakobsen said. “I came here to win a stage at the Vuelta. I’m only 22 and I’m happy I can put this already on my palmares.”
Max Walscheid (Sunweb) was the third rider across the line in the bunch kick in El Puig, but was ultimately relegated by the jury for an irregular sprint, elevating Fernando Gaviria (UAE-Team Emirates) to third. Sunweb’s Nicolas Roche finished safely in the peloton to maintain his position atop the general classification standings.
The 175.5-kilometer stage from Cullera featured only one categorized climb crested over 40 kilometers from the finish. With the sprinters’ teams eyeing the flat finale, the pack kept the day’s breakaway on a relatively short leash.
A crash in the bunch with around 60 kilometers to go saw Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First) hit the deck, but the Colombian remounted quickly and rejoined the peloton without much trouble.
With Deceuninck-Quick-Step and Movistar joining forces to set a high tempo in the pack, the break was caught just inside the final 20 kilometers. A continued effort from multiple teams to keep the pace high shed several riders off the back of the bunch as the race neared the finish, but most of the big sprint names remained in contention. After a short-lived attacked from Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) was reeled in, the sprint trains began battling for position at the front.
The sprint delegations of Deceuninck-Quick-Step and Sunweb pulled the peloton onto the finishing straight. That put Jakobsen in a strong position as the line approached, while Bennett had to make up ground a few riders back after losing position in a roundabout.
Deceuninck’s Max Richeze took over to lead out the sprint into final few hundred meters. With 200 meters to go, Jakobsen made his move.
Gaviria tried to match the Dutchman on his left but quickly flagged. As the Colombian faded, Bennett came up from the same side with a furious turn of speed and almost pulled even with Jakobsen, making for a photo finish on the bike throw.
Further review confirmed Jakobsen’s victory by the slimmest of margins.
Stage 4 results
1 Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck-QuickStep 4:04:16
2 Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Sunweb
4 Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
5 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
6 Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
7 Szymon Sajnok (Pol) CCC
8 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
9 Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10 Juan Sebastian Molano (Col) UAE Team Emirates
1 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sunweb 13:55:30
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 Pro Team 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
As USA Cycling’s Twitter account pointed out on Tuesday, it’s 30 years to the day since Greg Lemond scored his 1989 world road title in Chambéry, France.
Despite repeated attacks from Laurent Fignon, the then-28-year-old Lemond survived a challenging day to battle for the win in a sprint ahead of Dimitri Konyshev and Sean Kelly. If you like watching old-school highlights, YouTube has you covered.
Kruijswijk pulls out of the Vuelta
Steven Kruijswijk has abandoned the Vuelta a España due to lingering pain from a knee injury suffered in Jumbo-Visma’s stage 1 team time trial crash.
A podium finisher at this year’s Tour de France, Kruijswijk entered the Vuelta in the mix for the overall title alongside teammate Primoz Roglic. With the departure of the 32-year-old Dutchman, Roglic now becomes his team’s sole leader.
Wiggins plans to become a social worker
Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour de France champion, is studying to become a social worker.
The 39-year-old Briton, who retired from racing in 2016, says he is “detached” from his cycling career and looking to do something different.
“I don’t give a shit about my cycling career now,” Wiggins told The Big Issue magazine. “I don’t want to live off the back of it.”
After hanging up the wheels, Wiggins made a short-lived attempt at professional rowing. Recently, he has appeared on cycling broadcasts as a pundit, which he appears set to continue doing alongside a new career.
“When I was offered a TV role I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it,” he said. “It took me a while to find myself, redefine myself, and come back to cycling without an ego.
“So now I can do the TV job, but I’ve also enrolled to do an Open University degree in social work. I want to help people.”
EF signs Magnus Cort Nielsen
Magnus Cort Nielsen will join EF Education First on a two-year deal starting next season.
The 26-year-old Dane has ridden with Astana since 2018 after turning pro in the GreenEdge organization back in 2015. A fast finisher who doesn’t mind a lumpy profile, Cort Nielsen counts one Tour stage win and two Vuelta stage wins on his career palmares, among other victories.
Cavendish and Poels linked to Bahrain-Merida
Reports in La Gazzetta dello Sport have linked some big names to transfer talks with Bahrain-Merida. According to the Italian newspaper, Wout Poels (currently with Ineos) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) could move to the team next year.
Poels, 31, is a former Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner with numerous results in one-week races on his career palmares, and he has formed a key part of Ineos’s Tour de France support squad in recent years. He has raced with the team since 2015.
Cavendish, whose long list of career exploits marks him as one of the greatest sprinters ever, has ridden with Dimension Data since 2016. His first season at the team saw him pick up four Tour stage wins, but after a 2018 marred by health issues and a quiet start to 2019, the squad did not select him to ride the Tour de France this July.
According to La Gazzetta, Cavendish’s trusted lieutenant Bernhard Eisel could also be in the mix to join Bahrain-Merida, with Eros Capecchi (currently with Deceuninck-Quick-Step) also linked to the team.
Coming up at the Vuelta
Stage 5 at the Vuelta a España will bring the GC contenders to the fore with a challenging uphill finish.
The 170.7-kilometer stage from L’ Eliana concludes at the Observatorio Astrofísico de Javalambre at the end of an 11.1-kilometer climb with an average gradient of 7.8 percent.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Fabio Jakobsen wins stage 4 of the Vuelta a España. Photo: Dario Beligheri/RB/Cor Vos © 2019