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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Rémi Cavagna wins stage 19 of the Vuelta a España from the break, Mathieu van der Poel extends his Tour of Britain lead with his second stage victory, Chris Froome looks ahead to the 2020 Tour and the Tokyo Olympics. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Cavagna wins stage 19 of the Vuelta a España from the break
Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) soloed to his first Grand Tour victory on Friday’s stage 19 of the Vuelta a España.
The 24-year-old Frenchman attacked out of the day’s breakaway with around 25 kilometers left to race and held on all the way to the finish line in Toledo to grab the victory five seconds ahead of the peloton. Bora-Hansgrohe’s star sprinter Sam Bennett was left to wonder what might have been, settling for second ahead of Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quick-Step).
Despite the mostly flat profile, the day was not without drama for the GC contenders. Jumbo-Visma’s Primoz Roglic and Astana’s Miguel Ángel López were among a group of riders caught up in a big crash on rain-slicked roads with some 65 kilometers left to race, and were forced to chase as the Movistar team initially injected a huge turn of speed at the front of the pack with the red jersey caught behind. The Spanish WorldTour squad ultimately relented, however, and Roglic and López caught back on.
Not long after the regrouping, Bora-Hansgrohe initiated another big split in the crosswinds with Roglic again caught out, but everything came back together after a few tense minutes. When all was said and done, Roglic and the rest of the big GC names finished together, with the Slovenian maintaining his commanding race lead.
The 165.2-kilometer stage from Ávila saw Cavagna and several others jump clear very early on, but the peloton kept the move on a relatively tight leash, with the gap mostly hovering between one and two minutes for much of the stage.
A little over an hour into the day, a light drizzle turned into steady rainfall. The pace remained high in the pack, however, bringing the gap to only a little over a minute with 65 kilometers still to go, when several riders hit the deck rounding a wet corner.
As Roglic and López remounted and joined up with teammates, Movistar pushed the pace in the now-reduced main peloton, opening a gap to the chasers of around one minute. After 20 minutes of tension with two groups going full speed through wet, windy central Spain, the groups were back together, with the chasers directing angry words and hand gestures at the Spanish WorldTour outfit upon rejoining the group.
Half an hour later, crosswinds helped create another split, with Roglic again forced to chase for a few brief moments, but the race leader again caught back up to his rivals.
Cavagna made his move out of the break with around 25 kilometers to go, putting in a big surge to solo clear on a flat stretch of road. He quickly opened a big gap to the other breakaway riders, and went into time trial mode, hunching over the bars and motoring along towards the finish.
The peloton closed in on the other escapees and made the final catch of all but Cavagna with around two kilometers to go. The lone attacker off the front, however, refused to yield, and charged up the cobbled, uphill finale in Toledo to grab the stage 19 victory. Bennett won the sprint, but it was only good enough for runner-up honors.
Roglic, López, and the rest of the big GC names finished with the pack to keep the situation atop the overall leaderboard unchanged heading into Saturday’s final high-mountain stage.
Stage 19 results
1 CAVAGNA Rémi (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 3:43:34
2 BENNETT Sam (BORA – hansgrohe) 0:05
3 STYBAR Zdenek (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
4 GILBERT Philippe (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
5 VALVERDE Alejandro (Movistar Team)
6 VAN DER SANDE Tosh (Lotto Soudal)
7 TEUNS Dylan (Bahrain Merida)
8 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates)
9 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel (Astana Pro Team)
10 ROGLIC Primoz (Team Jumbo-Visma)
1 ROGLIC Primoz (Team Jumbo-Visma) 75:00:33
2 VALVERDE Alejandro (Movistar Team) 2:50
3 QUINTANA Nairo (Movistar Team) 3:31
4 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel (Astana Pro Team) 4:17
5 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) 4:49
6 MAJKA Rafal (BORA – hansgrohe) 7:46
7 KELDERMAN Wilco (Team Sunweb) 9:46
8 HAGEN Carl Fredrik (Lotto Soudal) 11:50
9 KNOX James (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 13:23
10 SOLER Marc (Movistar Team) 21:09
This meticulous approach to folding up cycling kit was one of the most watched things in the cycling Twitter-sphere this week. Reactions from actual pros appear to be mixed. What do you think?
How to pack your cycling equipment like a pro 👌👌 pic.twitter.com/4wG3EfZuTy
— Cycling Today (@CyclingTodayEn) September 11, 2019
Van der Poel tops Trentin to win stage 7 of the Tour of Britain
Leaving no doubt about his form as the Yorkshire world championships loom, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) has extended his lead at the Tour of Britain with his second stage victory of the week. The 24-year-old Dutchman topped Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) to win stage 7 at Burton Dassett Country Park.
With a string of punchy climbs in the finale of the 188.7-kilometer stage from Warwick, it was a reduced peloton that approached the line to contest the victory. Van der Poel led into the final few hundred meters, and as he wound up to speed, no one could match him. He took the clear win one second ahead of Trentin, with whom he has battled for the top spot in the race GC over the past few days, while EF Education First’s Simon Clarke took third on the day.
Van der Poel takes a lead of 12 seconds over Trentin into Saturday’s final stage.
Brailsford reveals battle with prostate cancer
Dave Brailsford underwent surgery for prostate cancer last month, the Ineos team principal has told The Times. The 55-year-old Briton was reportedly diagnosed just one week before this year’s Tour de France.
“It’s easy to think ‘why is it happening to me?’ I’ve worked hard on my health so you can get bitter, angry, frustrated,” Brailsford said. “I had to learn to accept it. Talking about it among the team was a massive help.”
According to the Times, he will learn on Saturday whether surgery was a success.
Brailsford, who spent years as the performance director of British Cycling, has been a driving force behind the Sky/Ineos organization since its first season in 2010, managing the organization through its early years of growth into its current period of Tour de France dominance.
He said that his battle with prostate cancer has given him new perspective.
“It’s not easy when you are having to talk about cancer to a 14-year-old daughter but it does bring you closer to people,” he said. “It gives you a different appreciation.”
Froome ‘grateful to be alive,’ targeting Tour and Olympics in 2020
Chris Froome (Ineos) is “grateful to be alive” after his bad crash while reconning the time trial at the Critérium du Dauphiné this June – but he is also determined to return to form, as he has told The Telegraph.
The four-time Tour de France winner says that he is targeting not only a fifth Tour title in 2020, but also eyeing both the road race and the time trial at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
“Coming a week after doing the Tour — assuming I’m doing the Tour — it’s almost perfect,” he said. “I’d like to throw my hat in the ring for both.”
Froome has a long way to go in his recovery after sustaining multiple fractures, and a recent incident that saw him accidentally cut himself with a kitchen knife didn’t help, but the 34-year-old says he is hoping to get back to riding soon.
“It would be great to be able to do some of those post-season events that I typically do in the off-season. Just to get back into the pro scene again,” he said.
“It would be great if I could do something before January.”
Coming up at the Vuelta
The final high-mountain stage of the 2019 Vuelta a España awaits on Saturday.
Stage 20 runs 190.4 kilometers from Arenas de San Pedro to Plataforma de Gredos. The six categorized climbs on the menu will give the GC contenders one last chance to shake up the race before the final stage in Madrid.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Remi Cavagna wins stage 19 of the Vuelta a España. Photo: Dario Beligheri/RB/Cor Vos © 2019