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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Philippe Gilbert wins stage 12 of the Vuelta a España after attacking out of the breakaway, Lorena Wiebes takes the Boels Ladies Tour lead with her second straight stage victory, Mathieu van der Poel says he won’t start the Olympic road race next year. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Philippe Gilbert wins stage 12 of the Vuelta a España
Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) powered to an impressive 10th career Grand Tour stage victory on Thursday, winning stage 12 of the Vuelta a España in Bilbao.
The 37-year-old Belgian attacked out of the breakaway on the day’s steep final climb and just held off a two-rider chase to nab the victory. Alex Aranburu (Caja Rural) took second ahead of Fernando Barceló (Euskadi-Murias).
“It was crazy, the atmosphere on the last climb,” Gilbert said. “It was like in the Classics with all the flags and everything. They gave me a lot of motivation. I’ve raced a lot here in the Basque country but this is my first success.”
Race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) rolled across the finish line in the peloton to maintain his red jersey.
Gilbert joined the 19-rider main breakaway move on the 171.4-kilometer stage from the Circuito de Navarra race track. With a hard mountain stage looming, the peloton allowed the escape to cruise to a healthy advantage, putting the stage win in play for the riders up the road.
A pair of ascents in the run-in to the final climb wore away at the break and saw attempts to get clear, but things were back together for a select group of breakaway survivors for the steep gradients of the Alto de Arraiz. The punchy Gilbert made his move as the grade kicked into the double digits.
Barceló and Aranburu were the only riders who came close to matching Gilbert’s surge, riding just behind him for a few moments before he dropped them and pressed on solo. He arrived at the top with around 20 seconds in hand, and then started the descent.
Although the chasing duo had him in their sights with the gap down under 10 seconds for the final two kilometers, Gilbert held on to the line to nab his sixth career Vuelta stage win.
Stage 12 results
1 GILBERT Philippe (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 3:48:18
2 ARANBURU Alex (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA) 0:03
3 BARCELÓ Fernando (Euskadi Basque Country – Murias)
4 ROJAS José Joaquín (Movistar) 0:22
5 ARNDT Nikias (Sunweb) 0:26
6 VAN DER SANDE Tosh (Lotto Soudal) 0:29
7 BARTHE Cyril (Euskadi Basque Country – Murias)
8 BOARO Manuele (Astana)
9 DECLERCQ Tim (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
10 CONTI Valerio (UAE-Team Emirates) 0:31
1 ROGLIC Primoz (Jumbo-Visma) 44:52:08
2 VALVERDE Alejandro (Movistar) 1:52
3 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel (Astana) 2:11
4 QUINTANA Nairo (Movistar) 3:00
5 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) 3:05
6 HAGEN Carl Fredrik (Lotto Soudal) 4:59
7 MAJKA Rafal (BORA – hansgrohe) 5:42
8 EDET Nicolas (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits) 5:49
9 TEUNS Dylan (Bahrain Merida) 6:07
10 KELDERMAN Wilco (Sunweb) 6:25
Beauty of Cycling
Mountain bike worlds saw some impressive performances last weekend in Canada. Nino Schurter rode to an incredible eighth world cross-country title, while Pauline Ferrand-Prevot capped off an emotional comeback season with her second career cross-country title.
You can check out a great gallery of the action here.
Wiebes takes Boels Ladies Tour lead with stage 2 win
Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) took over the GC lead at the Boels Ladies Tour with her second straight stage victory in the WorldTour race.
The 20-year-old Dutchwoman sprinted to victory on Thursday’s stage 2, overhauling compatriot Kirsten Wild (WNT-Rotor) in the closing meters of a flat, 113.7-kilometer day of racing in and around Gennep. Lucinda Brand (Sunweb) took third on the stage.
The bonus seconds Wiebes grabbed at the finish line propelled her ahead of overnight leader Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) to the top of the overall standings. Wiebes now sits seven seconds ahead of van Vleuten in the GC with three stages remaining.
— World Cycling Stats (@wcsbike) September 5, 2019
Van der Poel won’t target Olympic road race
Mathieu van der Poel has his sights set on the Tokyo Olympics, but as he has told De Telegraaf, he won’t be making the start in the road race. The 24-year-old Dutchman will be all in for the Olympic mountain bike event next year.
“That is far too difficult, participation in the road race at the Games is not an option,” van der Poel said.
Van der Poel, the reigning world cyclocross champion, has been juggling a busy schedule of both road and mountain bike racing this summer. He won multiple MTB World Cup events this season, but skipped mountain bike worlds last weekend to focus on his preparation for road worlds on a Yorkshire parcours that should suit his skill set.
Nonetheless, the Olympic mountain bike event remains a central objective for his young career, motivating him to skip the road race in Tokyo.
Sunweb and sports director Visbeek part ways
Sports director Aike Visbeek, who was in the team car for Sunweb during Tom Dumoulin’s 2017 Giro d’Italia victory and numerous other major successes, is no longer with the squad, Eurosport reports.
According to Eurosport, a “disagreement” led Sunweb management to decide to part ways with Visbeek after the Tour. Sunweb has yet to officially announce his departure.
The Dutch former pro had been with the team since 2013.
Rally UHC signs Zukowsky, Bassett, Ganzar, and Williams for 2020
Rally UHC has added firepower to both its men’s and women’s teams for 2020.
On the men’s side, the Pro Continental squad has signed Canadian Nickolas Zukowsky and American Stephen Bassett for next season. Zukowsky, 21, has enjoyed a strong 2019 campaign with Floyd’s Pro Cycling, winning the GP Saguenay overall and finishing third on GC at the Tour de Beauce. Bassett, 24, is finishing out the year with domestic squad First Internet Bank Cycling. He earned runner-up honors at U.S. pro road nationals this summer in addition to winning the Joe Martin Stage Race.
The Rally UHC women’s team has signed Americans Leigh Ann Ganzar and Lily Williams, both currently with Hagens Berman-Supermint. Ganzar, the 2018 U.S. criterium champion, won the women’s Winston Salem Classic in May, while Williams won the same race last year.
Coming up at the Vuelta
Stage 13 of the Vuelta a España should deliver plenty of action.
166.4 kilometers from Bilbao to Los Machucos, the stage features seven categorized climbs, none more fearsome than the final ascent. The special-category Los Machucos climb runs 6.8 kilometers with a brutal average gradient of 9.2 percent and numerous sections that pitch up over 15 percent.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Philippe Gilbert wins stage 12 of the Vuelta a España. Photo: Dario Beligheri/RB/Cor Vos © 2019