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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.
Egan Bernal has officially won his first stage race of the year. The reigning Tour de France champ finished safely on Tuesday at La Route d’Occitanie to wrap up the overall victory in his very first race back after the long hiatus.
That has to be good for the morale, and not just for Bernal, with his Ineos teammate Pavel Sivakov holding on to second overall too. Teammate Chris Froome, meanwhile, finished outside of GC contention after appearing to be riding in support mode during the race, and if that wasn’t hard enough work, he also spent some energy telling off a roadside spectator on Monday after hearing some boos.
Froome did at least get some good news from his future team Israel Start-Up Nation this week. On Tuesday, the squad announced the signing of Carl Fredrik Hagen, who rode to eighth overall at last year’s Vuelta a España. As he leaves Ineos, which has made a habit of signing numerous riders with top 10 performances at Grand Tours to be domestiques over the past decade, Froome will be happy to see his new team making it a priority to sign potential support riders.
Read on for more …
| Bernal wins La Route d’Occitanie, Cosnefroy takes final stage
Egan Bernal capped off his return to racing with an overall victory, staying safe through Tuesday’s final stage at La Route d’Occitanie to take the general classification title there.
Bernal’s Ineos teammate Pavel Sivakov held on to second overall in the French stage race, with Aleksandr Vlasov rounding out the final podium in third.
Benoit Cosnefroy nabbed the fourth stage two seconds ahead of Bauke Mollema, with Thibaut Pinot taking third on the day.
| Froome shouts back
Every so often when racing in France, Chris Froome will hear some booing from the roadside fans. It’s not really anything new for the four-time Tour winner, but he wasn’t having it on Monday at La Route d’Occitanie.
As one spectator caught on video, Froome decided to respond with some choice words in French (it’s hard to make out but suffice it to say that Froome was voicing his displeasure) and a gesture to boot.
| Israel Start-Up Nation signs Hagen, giving Froome a potential domestique for the mountains
Speaking of Froome, his future team Israel Start-Up Nation took a step towards solidifying his support squad on Tuesday, signing Carl Fredrik Hagen for 2021.
Hagen rode to eighth overall at last year’s Vuelta a España in his first season at the WorldTour level with Lotto-Soudal.
“We see him having a double position in the team – he can learn and gain more expertise while being a great help to our other riders and getting his own chances in other races, including Grand Tours,” said Israel Start-Up Nation team manager Kjell Carlstrom. “I value his attitude – he has both feet on the ground and clear ambitions and goals for his future career with us.”
| Canyon launches e-racing development team
Canyon eSports has announced the launch of the Canyon Development team, which will complement its already existing men’s and women’s Canyon ZCC teams. The new development squad will feature some 20 up-and-coming talents ages 16 to 23.
The team is accepting applications for prospective riders over at the Canyon ZCC website.
| Swiftwick launches new Merino socks, yes, socks
We’re big fans of the Swiftwick Aspire foot gloves, and now the company has a new offering. The new Swiftwick Pursuit Ultralight is a thin sock constructed of a fine-gauge Merino Wool that aims to keep your toes dry, comfortable and free of stank.
They feature a reinforced heel and toe, and are available in Swiftwick’s usual cuff length options. Expect to pay between US$17 and US$22 for a pair.
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Today’s feature image of Benoit Cosnefroy winning stage 4 of La Route d’Occitanie comes from Cor Vos.