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by Dane Cash
August 26, 2020
Photography by Cor Vos
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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.
WorldTour racing continued for both the men’s and women’s pelotons on Tuesday with some big names coming away victorious in Plouay.
Lizzie Deignan powered to her first win of the season in the women’s GP de Plouay, topping British compatriot Lizzy Banks in a two-rider sprint. With the victory, Deignan has now claimed three career titles in the French one-day.
On the men’s side, it was Michael Matthews nabbing his first win of 2020. The 29-year-old Australian bested Luka Mezgec and Florian Sénéchal at the end of the hilly race to nab the victory.
In other news from the Bretagne Classic, Bora-Hansgrohe did not start the race after a rider tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the event, marking the first time an entire team has pulled out of a WorldTour race for that reason. Bora-Hansgrohe would later say that the result was a “likely false positive” after the rider registered a negative result in a subsequent test.
Read on for more …
| Matthews and Deignan win in Plouay
Both the men’s and women’s WorldTour calendars continued on Tuesday in Plouay.
On the women’s side, a wet GP de Plouay saw Lizzie Deignan, Lizzy Banks, and Jip van den Bos jump clear inside the final 40 kilometers. Van den Bos, however, crashed out of the move, leaving Banks and Deignan out front. A strong chase group featuring Annemiek van Vleuten formed behind, but the duo held on into the finale of the last lap on the finishing circuit, while the chasers were ultimately caught by the pack.
In the final few hundred meters, Deignan surged ahead to take the victory with Banks settling for runner-up honors. Chiara Consonni won the sprint for third from the pack 1:13 back.
The men’s event, the Bretagne Classic, saw numerous attacks in the second half of the race, but none of the moves stuck. Sunweb had the numbers in a reduced peloton to control the race into the finale, where things came down to a sprint. Michael Matthews proved fastest in the closing meters.
Luka Mezgec nabbed second on the day with Florian Sénéchal taking third.
| Bora-Hansgrohe withdraws from Bretagne Classic after COVID-19 positive, says it was “likely false positive”
Bora-Hansgrohe did not make a planned start at the Bretagne Classic after a rider tested positive for COVID-19 in pre-race testing. The team would later state that the result was a “likely false positive” after the rider registered a negative result in a followup test.
Bora’s withdrawal from the Bretagne Classic marks the first time an entire team has pulled out of a WorldTour race for that reason.
In a statement, team manager Ralph Denk criticized the protocols surrounding pre-race testing given the possibility of false positives.
“I think adjustments must be immediately made here,” Denk said. “We also require certainty regarding testing procedures and strategy. If we don’t have this, we will soon have serious issues, because who wants to invest in a lottery game as a serious company?”
| UCI addresses race safety in statement
The UCI has released a statement addressing the topic of race safety conditions following a number of recent incidents, including major crashes at the Tour of Poland and the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Noting that “safety remains the responsibility of the organizers,” the UCI reiterated that it took certain measures following recent crashes and that investigations are ongoing, while also saying that it will “further reinforce its inspections before and during events, together with its Technical Advisers, with the aim of guaranteeing as far as possible the utmost safety of athletes.” For the moment, it is unclear exactly what that reinforcement will mean.
The UCI also said it will enact “a far-reaching reform of the safety conditions in conjunction with the riders, teams and organizers.” The details of what that reform would constitute remain unspecified for now.
| Jumbo-Visma downplays uncertainty over Roglic’s status before the Tour
Primoz Roglic’s bad crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné has led to some uncertainty about his status ahead of the Tour de France, but Jumbo-Visma has downplayed concerns as the race approaches.
Roglic’s partner Lora Klinc recently said that it is not yet clear whether he will be at the race. “The most important question at the moment is whether Primoz will really start,” Klinc said at a press event for the publication of her new book, according to RTV Slo. “We all want that, but we are waiting for the confirmation.”
Jumbo-Visma has since addressed that uncertainty, saying that his status has improved in recent days. “Lora was still with Primoz on Monday and Tuesday last week and he was not quite back to his best,” sports director Merijn Zeeman told AD. “As soon as training became serious again, he participated in everything.”
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Today’s featured image of Michael Matthews winning the Bretagne Classic comes from Cor Vos.