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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Nairo Quintana wins stage 2 of the Vuelta a España as Nicolas Roche grabs red, Marianne Vos caps off a dominant Ladies Tour of Norway with another stage win and the overall victory, Elia Viviani takes his third Cyclassics title in a row. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Quintana wins Vuelta stage 2 as Roche grabs red
Stage 2 at the Vuelta a España looked like a good one for the puncheurs, or maybe even the sprinters, but it was climbing star Nairo Quintana (Movistar) who sailed across the finish line first in Calpe.
The 29-year-old Colombian joined a select group that got clear on the day’s final climb and then soloed off the front in the closing kilometers to take the win. Five seconds later, Nicolas Roche (Sunweb) took runner-up honors just ahead of Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).
“It’s special, I’ve never won like this before. This is a first,” Quintana said. “I needed it and so did the team. We worked in good harmony and did a good job.”
With overnight leader Miguel Ángel López (Astana) finishing among the chasers 37 seconds back, Roche surged into the overall race lead at the Vuelta a España with Quintana in a close second overall just two seconds back.
The 199.6-kilometer stage from Benidorm featured some early climbing challenges that helped spring the day’s breakaway and also put the sprinters to work from the start. By the time the last survivor of the break was caught with around 30 kilometers to go, the peloton was starting to thin, leaving a reduced pack to take on the final categorized climb of the day, the second-category Puig Llorenca.
A flurry of early attacks on the ascent lined out what was left of the peloton and then Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) hit the front, forcing splits and leaving a few big names, like Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) and Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott), fighting to make up ground.
Valverde led a much-reduced group over the king of the mountains point but the hostilities didn’t end there. Roglic, Roche, and Quintana powered clear of the still-disorganized group along with Fabio Aru (UAE-Team Emirates), Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott), and Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First). Within moments, the six riders had a gap that began to grow over the reduced pack, still coalescing into a chase behind.
With 10 kilometers to go the gap was up to 20 seconds. It grew to 35 seconds inside the last five kilometers, and as it became clear the escape would stick, Quintana made his move, firing off a powerful solo attack with around three kilometers to go. Urán, pulling at the front when Quintana launched, did not immediately respond, and Quintana quickly opened an advantage that would prove hard to shut down.
Nieve jumped clear of the group to chase on his own but nearly crashed with a sketchy ride through a corner, and from that point on there was no catching Quintana.
Roche’s second-place ride was enough to propel him into the race lead, with all six escapees making big strides in the general classification fight on a stage few expected to have such a big impact in the battle for red.
Stage 2 results
1 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar 5:11:17
2 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sunweb 0:00:05
3 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
4 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First
5 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:08
7 Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) Equipo Euskadi 0:00:37
8 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
9 Alexander Aranburu Deba (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
1 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sunweb 5:26:12
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 0:00:36
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb 0:00:38
8 Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) Equipo Euskadi 0:00:40
9 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:46
10 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
The crashes on Saturday’s opening day of racing the Vuelta a España were not limited to just the riders. Whoever was at the helm of this Euskadi-Murias team car during the squad’s TTT recon could have probably been paying a bit more attention to the road.
Deceuninck-Quick-Step blames Jumbo-Visma for narrow miss in Vuelta’s team time trial
The Deceuninck-Quick-Step team came within two seconds of winning stage 1 at the Vuelta a España, a 13.4-kilometer team time trial in Torrevieja, but things might have played out differently if the squad had not been forced to slow down to avoid a Jumbo-Visma team car parked near a corner on the course.
“Jumbo-Visma took the victory away from us. That was a curve we would normally take at high speed,” sports director Wilfried Peeters told Het Nieuwsblad.
Jumbo-Visma’s TTT squad had crashed going through the corner after riding through a spot of water in the road, and several minutes later one of the team cars remained in the area.
“That incident caused some riders to fall back, so that I had to order something to be held back.”
The time lost in the brief slow-up left Deceuninck-Quick-Step wondering what might have been on a day that very nearly concluded with a victory.
Viviani takes third straight Cyclassics title
Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) sprinted to his third straight EuroEyes Cyclassics victory on Sunday.
The 30-year-old Italian, whose August campaign has already seen him take wins at RideLondon and the European championships, added another big win to his ledger ahead of Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Dimension Data).
This year’s edition of the Hamburg WorldTour race covered 216 kilometers and featured four climbs of the very short but steep Waseberg. The day’s breakaway was reeled in by the final ascent, and a lined out peloton began to split into smaller groups on the climb.
Bora-Hansgrohe’s Pascal Ackermann was among the big names caught out by the hard racing. Viviani and most of the other big names for the sprint stayed safe near the front, however, and the pack held together for the finale to set up a bunch kick.
Michael Morkov (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) delivered Viviani into the final 200 meters with a textbook lead-out and then Viviani powered up to speed. Although Ewan was well-positioned on his wheel, there was no catching Viviani, who took a convincing third straight win at the line.
Vos closes out the Ladies Tour of Norway with another stage win and the overall title
Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) capped off her dominant performance at the Ladies Tour of Norway with one final stage victory, her third in a row, en route to the overall title, also her third in a row.
The 32-year-old Dutchwoman relied on her finishing kick to take stage 4, which came down to a sprint after 156.2 kilometers of racing from Svinesund to Halden. Vos went long in the finish and no one came close to matching her at the line. Marta Bastianelli (Virtu) claimed runner-up honors with Ilaria Sanguineti (Valcar Cylance) nabbing third.
Vos took home the overall title with a 29-second advantage over GC runner-up Coryn Rivera (Sunweb), with Rivera’s teammate Leah Kirchmann rounding out the final podium.
Dygert-Owen nabs third straight Colorado Classic stage win
It’s been a big weekend for third-straight victories all over the world of bike racing.
Saturday’s third stage at the Colorado Classic concluded in familiar fashion. Race leader Chloe Dygert-Owen (Sho-Air Twenty20), winner of the first two stages of the race, soloed to her third straight victory in Golden to extend her overall lead.
Featuring seven laps on a 14.6-kilometer circuit, stage 3 had the sprinters hoping for a bunch kick but Dygert-Owen had other plans. The 22-year-old American attacked on the final lap and held on to the finish to take the win. Teammate Jennifer Valente took runner-up honors five seconds later with Fearless Femme’s Rebecca Wiasak in third.
The Colorado Classic closes out with a circuit race in Denver covering 85 total kilometers on Sunday. You can catch the finale here:
Attilio Viviani wins shortened Schaal Sels
Elia Viviani wasn’t the only member of his family sprinting to a one-day victory on Sunday. His younger brother Attilio Viviani won an unusual edition of Schaal Sels.
With multiple crashes marring the early kilometers of the race, the Schaal Sels peloton decided to slow down en masse and neutralize the racing until organizers made changes to a course they considered too dangerous.
Organizers cut out a few sections of the route, and racing ultimately resumed. The event came down to a bunch sprint finish, and Viviani, a stagiaire with Cofidis, took the victory ahead of Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Gobert) and Michael Van Staeyen (Roompot-Charles).
Larsen wins the Tour of Denmark
Niklas Larsen (ColoQuick) held onto his Tour of Denmark lead through Sunday’s final stage to wrap up the overall title.
The 165.6-kilometer stage 5, which ran from Roskilde to Frederiksberg, concluded with a sprint, won by Tim Merlier (Corendon-Circus) ahead of Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept-B&B Hotels) and Jasper De Buyst (Lotto-Soudal).
Larsen finished safely to secure his GC victory with Jumbo-Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard and Riwal Readynez’s Rasmas Quaade taking the other two spots on the podium.
Coming up at the Vuelta
The sprinters will like their chances on stage 3 of the Vuelta a España.
Running 188 kilometers from Ibi to Alicante, the stage features two categorized climbs before a downhill run-in to a flat finish that could lead to a bunch kick.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Nairo Quintana wins stage 2 of the Vuelta a España. Photo: Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2019