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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Alejandro Valverde tops Primoz Roglic to win stage 7 of the Vuelta a España as Miguel Ángel López reclaims red, Tejay van Garderen abandons the race, Nathan Haas will join Cofidis on a two-year deal. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Alejandro Valverde wins stage 7 of the Vuelta a España as Lopez reclaims red
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) nabbed Friday’s stage 7 of the Vuelta a España atop the steep Mas de la Costa finishing climb.
The reigning world road champ battled up the ascent in a select four-man group with Movistar teammate Nairo Quintana, Jumbo-Visma’s Primoz Roglic, and Astana’s Miguel Ángel López. In the challenging final hundred meters, Valverde and Roglic surged clear. Valverde pulled away in the closing moments to take the win with Roglic in second and López in third.
“I have to thank Nairo for making a really hard ascent,” Valverde said. “He tried to distance our rivals, Roglic and ‘Superman’ [Lopez], but they were really strong too. We kept at it and fortunately I came away with the win.”
López retook the race leader’s red jersey after it spent one day in the possession of stage 6 breakaway rider Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida), who was distanced long before the finale on stage 7.
The 183.2-kilometer stage 7 from Onda saw a busy first hour of racing with multiple attempts to form the day’s breakaway before the decisive move finally got clear after more than 60 kilometers. With big names like Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) and Sergio Henao (UAE-Team Emirates) up the road, it was a strong break, but the peloton rode a high tempo that kept the escape within a few minutes.
Teuns was dropped going over the penultimate climb of the day as the pack continued to drive a hard pace into the finale. The break was caught shortly before the start of the short but very steep final ascent, putting the stage win up for grabs among the overall contenders.
Hard work at the head of affairs from Jumbo-Visma whittled down the pack to a small group, and then Quintana hit the front. Within moments, the lead group was down to just Quintana, Valverde, Roglic, and López.
Quintana put in multiple surges on the climb but was unable to open much of a gap, with Roglic looking the most comfortable responding to the pressure. The quartet rolled into the last few hundred meters together before Valverde and Roglic separated themselves on the steep gradients, and then Valverde left Roglic behind in the final moments to nab the victory.
López’s third-place finish put him back atop the general classification with a six-second lead over Roglic, with Valverde in third, 16 seconds down.
Stage 7 results
1 VALVERDE Alejandro (Movistar) 4:34:11
2 ROGLIC Primoz (Jumbo-Visma)
3 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel (Astana) 0:06
4 QUINTANA Nairo (Movistar)
5 MAJKA Rafal (BORA – hansgrohe) 0:42
6 IZAGIRRE Ion (Astana) 0:48
7 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) 0:51
8 ARU Fabio (UAE-Team Emirates)
9 BENNETT George (Jumbo-Visma) 1:07
10 RODRÍGUEZ Óscar (Euskadi Basque Country – Murias) 1:20
1 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel (Astana) 28:19:13
2 ROGLIC Primoz (Jumbo-Visma) 0:06
3 VALVERDE Alejandro (Movistar) 0:16
4 QUINTANA Nairo (Movistar) 0:27
5 MAJKA Rafal (BORA – hansgrohe) 1:58
6 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) 2:36
7 CHAVES Esteban (Mitchelton-Scott) 2:52
8 BENNETT George (Jumbo-Visma) 3:34
9 KELDERMAN Wilco (Sunweb) 3:36
10 ARU Fabio (UAE-Team Emirates)
The latest entry in the EF Gone Racing series goes inside the team’s visit to the Leadville Trail 100 MTB. As usual, both the behind-the-scenes moments and the racing action are worth a watch …
Haas to join Cofidis
Nathan Haas will race for Cofidis for the next two seasons, rider and team announced on Friday.
The 30-year-old Australian is currently finishing his second season with the Katusha-Alpecin squad. The signing is the latest in a string of pickups for the French Pro Continental outfit with WorldTour ambitions—sprint star Elia Viviani will also join the team next year.
“Nathan will bring us a new culture and a different ‘bike’ knowledge,” Cofidis manager Cedric Vasseur said in the team’s announcement. “He is a rider as comfortable in the one-day races as he is on the big tours. His experience will undoubtedly be an asset to help the team take a new course.”
Haas, a versatile rider with a handy finishing kick, has compiled his best results in lumpy one-day events and stages of stage races. He turned pro with the Garmin organization in 2012 and rode with the team until joining Dimension Data for two years from 2016 to 2017, and then Katusha for the past two seasons.
“I spent eight years in a French school,” Haas said. “It’s like returning to my second home.”
Van Garderen abandons the Vuelta
Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) is out of the Vuelta a España. The 31-year-old American pulled out of the race during Friday’s stage 7 due to injuries he sustained in a crash on stage 6.
The departure of van Garderen, who finished 10th overall in his last Vuelta appearance in 2017, is the latest blow for an EF team that already saw Rigoberto Urán and Hugh Carthy abandon following a separate crash on Thursday. The team is down to five riders after starting with eight.
Kristoff wins stage 2 of the Deutschland Tour
After finishing second on the opening stage of the Deutschland Tour, Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) went one better on Friday’s stage 2. The 32-year-old Norwegian sprinted to victory and out of a reduced bunch on the lumpy 202-kilometer stage from Marburg to Göttingen.
Kristoff, who has always raced well in Germany with a long history of results at races like Eschborn-Frankfurt and the Hamburg Cyclassics, topped Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) and Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) to get the stage victory and take the overall race lead.
Coming up at the Vuelta
Stage 8 of the Vuelta a España runs 166.9 kilometers from Valls to Igualada.
The flat finish could have the sprinters eyeing a possible stage win, although the second-category Montserrat climb will make things interesting.
Evoc’s road-specific bike travel case
Said to be “bike fitting proof”, the Road Bike Bag Pro is Evoc’s first dedicated road bike travel case and allows you to keep your bike’s handlebars and saddle in their set positions. It’s a similar dropout-mounted concept to Scicon’s hugely popular AeroComfort Road case, but Evoc has seemingly added a more sophisticated hybrid hard-shell design that sees better protection and stabilisation of the bike.
The Road Bike Bag Pro (at a not so cheap US$925) also features just rear wheels at the base (although does include a clip-on front wheel) which should mean the bike and case isn’t tipped upside down by baggage handles to prevent it from rolling off conveyer belts, a common issue of the Scicon (as mentioned in our recommended bike travel case article). It’s a product that on paper seems extremely well thought-out, and so we’ve called in for review for when it becomes available later this year.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Alejandro Valverde tops Primoz Roglic to win the Vuelta’s seventh stage. Photo: Luis Angel Gomez/Cor Vos © 2019