Ganna wins in Italy, Brown and Alaphilippe win in Belgium: Daily News Digest

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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,

As ever in the reshuffled 2020 road season, Wednesday was a busy day for bike racing, and a day of firsts for a few different riders.

In Italy, reigning world time trial champ Filippo Ganna soloed to victory on stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia after spending a long day out front in the break. For all of Ganna’s success against the clock in his young career, the win was his first as a pro in a mass-start race.

Meanwhile, in Belgium, riders took on the hilly Brabantse Pijl. In the women’s race, Grace Brown powered to a convincing first pro one-day win with an impressive attack in the finale. On the men’s side, Julian Alaphilippe nabbed his first win in the rainbow jersey, although he celebrated early enough (again) that he was very nearly pipped at the line by another world champion.

Read on for more …

Dane Cash
News Editor

What’s News

| Alaphilippe narrowly gets his first in in the rainbow jersey men’s Brabantse Pijl

World road champ Julian Alaphilippe took a close Brabantse Pijl victory on Wednesday, narrowly besting world cyclocross champ Mathieu van der Poel after celebrating perhaps a bit too early for the second time in four days.

After multiple attempts by Alaphilippe and van der Poel to get clear, the 197-kilometer one-day race in Belgium came down to a three-rider battle as Alaphilippe, van der Poel, and Benoit Cosnefroy powered off the front late and hung on to fight for the win.

Cosnefroy went first in the final sprint, and then Alaphilippe surged past and into the lead, but just as he had done at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Alaphilippe posted up in celebration with some ground still left to cover. Although his early celebration Sunday did not really cost him a win as he was ultimately relegated anyway, it very nearly did on Wednesday, as van der Poel almost pulled even at the line.

The finish line photo confirmed Alaphlippe’s narrow win, however, leaving Van der Poel to settle for second with Cosnefroy rounding out the podium in third.

Alaphilippe’s close victory marked his first win in the rainbow jersey.

Top 10

1 ALAPHILIPPE Julian (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 4:36:52
2 VAN DER POEL Mathieu (Alpecin-Fenix)
3 COSNEFROY Benoît (AG2R La Mondiale)
4 COLBRELLI Sonny (Bahrain – McLaren) 0:13
5 BARGUIL Warren (Team Arkéa Samsic)
6 KWIATKOWSKI Michal (INEOS Grenadiers)
7 BAGIOLI Andrea (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
8 TURGIS Anthony (Team Total Direct Energie)
9 COVI Alessandro (UAE-Team Emirates)
10 DEVENYNS Dries (Deceuninck – Quick Step)

| Brown solos to victory at women’s Brabantse Pijl

Grace Brown powered to her first career one-day victory as a pro at Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday in Belgium. The 28-year-old Australian, coming off a runner-up ride at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, left no doubt at Brabantse Pijl.

Brown jumped from the peloton with around 17 kilometers to go to bridge up to lone attacker Lauren Stephens, and then she left Stephens behind and continued on solo. She held on to nab a clear victory in Overijse.

Liane Lippert was the next rider across the line 47 seconds later with Lippert’s Sunweb teammate Floortje Mackaij arriving four seconds later to claim the third spot on the podium.

Top 10

1 BROWN Grace (Mitchelton-Scott) 3:03:38
2 LIPPERT Liane (Team Sunweb) 0:47
3 MACKAIJ Floortje (Team Sunweb) 0:51
4 KOPECKY Lotte (Lotto Soudal Ladies) 1:19
5 FAHLIN Emilia (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)
6 LELEIVYTE Rasa (Aromitalia Vaiano)
7 CONFALONIERI Maria Giulia (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling)
8 RAGUSA Katia (Astana Womens Team)
9 GARCÍA Mavi (Alé BTC Ljubljana)
10 STEPHENS Lauren (Team TIBCO – SVB)

| CCC-Liv does not start Brabantse Pijl after coronavirus positive

The CCC-Liv squad was not in attendance at Brabantse Pijl after pulling out of the race following a positive test for COVID-19.

The team had already arrived in Belgium for the race but was notified on Wednesday morning that one pre-race test had registered a positive result, and the squad therefore withdrew before making the start.

| Ganna wins stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia

Filippo Ganna powered to victory on stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday, soloing out of the day’s breakaway and holding on to get the win in Camigliatello Silano.

A reduced peloton arrived at the finish 34 seconds after the world time trial champion with Patrick Konrad leading the way over the finish and race leader João Almeida taking third and padding his overall lead with a handful of bonus seconds.

The rest of the marquee pink jersey hopefuls finished safely in the group, although Jonathan Caicedo, who started the day in second overall, was unable to stick with the other GC riders and arrived over 16 minutes down on the day.

Ganna’s victory was his first ever pro victory in a mass start road race, and his second win so far at the Giro after he took the opening TT.

The 225-kilometer stage from Mileto saw a long fight in the early goings to get into the breakaway, with the day’s main move not established until about an hour into the stage. The move that did finally get clear featured eight riders including Ganna and his Ineos Grenadiers teammate Salvatore Puccio, Carl Fredrik Hagen, and a few other notables.

The peloton allowed their gap to grow to around five minutes before gradually whittling away at their advantage as the escapees approached the final climb of the day, the lengthy Valico di Montescuro, whose summit was 11.6km from the line. The break hit the climb with about two and half minutes on the pack. A high pace in the escape saw riders dropping on the early slopes of the climb, while behind, Thomas De Gendt and Einer Rubio jumped from the pack to try to bridge.

Before long, only Ganna, Héctor Carretero, and Edoardo Zardini were left from the original break at the front of the race, and then De Gendt and Rubio joined them about halfway up the climb with around 19 kilometers to go in the stage. Rubio put in big surges to drop Carretero and Zardini, but then Ganna delivered a huge attack to solo away from Rubio and De Gendt. Ganna went up and over the summit alone, while behind, Rubio and De Gendt were caught. Ganna held on to take the win, while Konrad sprinted to runner-up honors out of the reduced group behind with Almeida nabbing third.

Top 10, stage 5

1 GANNA Filippo (INEOS Grenadiers) 5:59:17
2 KONRAD Patrick (BORA – hansgrohe) 0:34
3 ALMEIDA João (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
4 KELDERMAN Wilco (Team Sunweb)
5 HAMILTON Lucas (Mitchelton-Scott)
6 HINDLEY Jai (Team Sunweb)
7 VANHOUCKE Harm (Lotto Soudal)
8 BILBAO Pello (Bahrain – McLaren)
9 FUGLSANG Jakob (Astana Pro Team)
10 MASNADA Fausto (Deceuninck – Quick Step)

Top 10, GC

1 ALMEIDA João (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 17:06:23
2 BILBAO Pello (Bahrain – McLaren) 0:43
3 KELDERMAN Wilco (Team Sunweb) 0:48
4 VANHOUCKE Harm (Lotto Soudal) 0:59
5 NIBALI Vincenzo (Trek – Segafredo) 1:01
6 POZZOVIVO Domenico (NTT Pro Cycling) 1:05
7 FUGLSANG Jakob (Astana Pro Team) 1:19
8 KRUIJSWIJK Steven (Team Jumbo-Visma) 1:21
9 KONRAD Patrick (BORA – hansgrohe) 1:26
10 MAJKA Rafal (BORA – hansgrohe) 1:32

| Trek-Segafredo pulls Weening out of Giro

The Trek-Segafredo team pulled Pieter Weening out of the Giro d’Italia midway through stage 5 “Due to light dizziness felt during the stage,” according to the team’s Twitter account.

Weening crashed on Tuesday’s stage 4 just after getting a bottle of a team soigneur. Although he initially seemed okay to start Wednesday’s stage, Trek withdrew him from the race after he felt dizzy.

“The Dutchman had been closely monitored yesterday, in the night and today in the morning and the conditions had allowed the start. In the next few hours he will undergo clinical tests,” the team wrote on Twitter.

| Riders crash as Giro helicopter blows barriers onto the road

Two Vini Zabù-KTM riders hit the deck on stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia when barriers were blown onto the course by a low-flying helicopter. Luca Wackermann and Etienne van Empel both went down just after Arnaud Démare took the stage win. Van Empel escaped serious injury but Wackermann suffered a concussion and a broken nose and withdrew from the race.

Vini Zabù-KTM sports director Francesco Frassi said afterwards that a helicopter might have been to blame, and Giro organizer RCS Sport later confirmed that a helicopter used by state broadcaster RAI was involved in the incident.

| Former Sky doctor Freeman says he destroyed a laptop, met with James Murdoch

Former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman made his first appearance so far this year at the tribunal evaluating his fitness to practice medicine on Tuesday.

As The Guardian reports, among the many matters discussed at the hearing were the circumstances surrounding a damaged laptop that was given to the General Medical Council (GMC) for examination in 2019. The laptop in question was a temporary replacement for one that Freeman has alleged was stolen in Greece, which supposedly had information on it regarding the jiffy bag delivered to Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné. UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) examined the replacement laptop as part of an investigation in 2017, and then Freeman apparently damaged it beyond repair after receiving a new laptop. Freeman later handed over the damaged laptop to the GMC, but investigators were unable to access any of the data.

“I had seen a program about how people in India can access data on laptops,” Freeman said, according to The Guardian. “I decided I cannot let that happen so I destroyed it. This was in the midst of a period when I wasn’t feeling well. I told my lawyers and my solicitor Mr Eastwood said I shouldn’t do that for data protection reasons.”

Freeman also outlined details of a meeting between himself and James Murdoch, then-chairman of Team Sky sponsor Sky plc, ahead of a planned appearance before a parliamentary committee investigating doping.

“I went down to see James Murdoch and Team Sky with Mr Eastwood to be briefed at an imposing building at Canary Wharf,” Freeman said, according to The Guardian. “Mike Morgan was there — who is a big person in sports law – and Rupert Murdoch’s lawyer was over from Australia. It was very tense. Pressurized. They wanted to know how I would answer certain questions. I broke down in tears and couldn’t go on. Mr Eastwood stopped the session. I never went back. I wrote to Damien Collins [Member of Parliament] to say I would answer questions in writing.”

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Today’s featured image of Julian Alaphilippe narrowly winning Brabantse Pijl comes from Cor Vos.

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