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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,
With the Giro d’Italia done and dusted all our racing attention can turn to the Vuelta – a race that has already been very exciting! Rest day one is behind us, and already stage 7 was a hilly one.
Meanwhile, more transfer news continues to hit the airwaves, this time on the women’s side.
Read on for more …
| Woods wins stage 7 of the Vuelta a España
Mike Woods nabbed his second career Vuelta a España stage win on Tuesday, winning stage 7 out of a strong breakaway. Omar Fraile took runner-up honors on the day, just ahead of Alejandro Valverde.
Race leader Richard Carapaz finished with the other main GC contenders in a group 56 seconds behind Woods.
With the first rest day behind them, and the general classification seeing some major changes on stage 6, stage 7 looked to be the beginning of a major battle. The stage itself took on the Alto de Orduña twice, a first category climb that maxed out at 14%, with the second ascent topping out only 18 km from the finish.
After a slow start to the stage, with a few failed breakaway attempts, a large group of riders escaped the Ineos Grenadiers, who were patrolling the front for Richard Carapaz, the race leader. Behind the break, an even larger chasing group formed.
The riders escaped with around 105 km to go, and for a while, the gap hovered around a minute. With under 100 km to go the break and chase merged to create one super break containing 33 riders. Such a large breakaway soon spawned a flurry of attacks, none successful.
Some strong climbers forced themselves into the breakaway, including Sepp Kuss and George Bennett of Jumbo-Visma, Woods, Valverde, Fraile, Davide Formolo, Kenny Elissonde, and Guillaume Martin. Ineos kept the break within 2 minutes for the majority of the race, and as the gap reduced even more on the final climb the break lost riders one by one. On the Orduña the climbers put the pressure on, attacking each other as the climb neared the top.
Valverde made a last-ditch attempt in the final kilometer of the climb and was followed by Martin, Nans Peters, Woods, and Fraile. The five gained a slight gap on the break they left behind, now only 11 riders. With the leader’s gap under 20 seconds with 5km to go the five stopped working together and started relentlessly attempting solo moves. Valverde had a promising attempt that was chased down, as did Woods.
Woods escaped for good in the final kilometer, and was able to hold off Fraile to take his second major win of the 2020 season.
Fifty-six seconds later the peloton crossed the line with all the GC contenders, so Carapaz will once again line up in red for stage 8. George Bennett and Alejandro Valverde jumped minor placings to make up the bottom of the GC top ten, crossing the finish line thirteen seconds down on Woods in the remains of the breakaway.
Top 10, stage 7
1 WOODS Michael (EF Pro Cycling) 3:48:16
2 FRAILE Omar (Astana Pro Team) 0:04
3 VALVERDE Alejandro (Movistar Team)
4 PETERS Nans (AG2R La Mondiale) 0:08
5 MARTIN Guillaume (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits)
6 COSTA Rui (UAE-Team Emirates) 0:13
7 ARANBURU Alex (Astana Pro Team)
8 SCHELLING Ide (BORA – hansgrohe)
9 ELISSONDE Kenny (Trek – Segafredo)
10 FORMOLO Davide (UAE-Team Emirates)
Top 10, GC
1 CARAPAZ Richard (INEOS Grenadiers) 28:23:51
2 CARTHY Hugh (EF Pro Cycling) 0:18
3 MARTIN Dan (Israel Start-Up Nation) 0:20
4 ROGLIC Primož (Team Jumbo-Visma) 0:30
5 MAS Enric (Movistar Team) 1:07
6 GROSSSCHARTNER Felix (BORA – hansgrohe) 1:30
7 SOLER Marc (Movistar Team) 1:42
8 CHAVES Esteban (Mitchelton-Scott) 2:02
9 VALVERDE Alejandro (Movistar Team) 2:03
10 BENNETT George (Team Jumbo-Visma) 2:39
| Marlen Reusser joins Alé BTC Ljubljana in 2021
After an impressive collection of results in 2020 with Equipe Paule Ka, Marlen Reusser will join Alé BTC Ljubljana in 2021. Reusser is one of the first Equipe Paule Ka riders to have officially found a new team for next year after the announcement of the team’s immediate termination.
This year Reusser claimed second at the European and World Championship Time Trials. She has been the Swiss ITT National Champion in 2017, 2019, as well as this year, and the Road National Champion in 2019. Before joining Equipe Paule Ka (formerly Bigla – Katusha) Reusser rode for the WCC Team, the team of the UCI World Cycling Center. Reusser adds a lot of power to an already strong Alé BTC Ljubljana squad.
In the team’s press release Reusser hinted at her ambitions for next year.
“My focus will certainly be on the most important time trial events such as the European Championships, World Championships and Olympics Games where I think I can aspire to a medal,” Reusser said in a press release. “I also want to improve my skills in road races and try to get some good results. For this, I will be able to learn a lot from the most experienced riders of the new team like Marta Bastianelli.”
| 2021 Tour Down Under in doubt
Despite assurances that the Tour Down Under would take place in January 2021 as planned, the organizers are now in doubt whether the race will be able to go ahead.
Due to strict COVID-19 restrictions, the women’s Australian Open has already been canceled, and as the women’s and men’s TDU gets closer, it is questionable whether the State Government will be able to allow the race. The South Australian executive director of events Hitaf Rasheed has been clear that the event is important to South Australia and that those involved will consider all safe options before making a final call.
“There are a lot of moving parts in making a decision like this,” Rasheed said. “There are many stakeholders, and we have been working closely with them to ensure we arrive at the best possible outcome for all concerned.”
A decision is expected to be reached within a week.
| Pinotti joining Mitchelton-Scott staff in 2021
As Cyclingnews reports, Marco Pinotti will join the Mitchelton-Scott staff next year after a lengthy tenure with the CCC organization.
The former pro is currently head of performance at CCC and will contribute as a coach at Mitchelton, with possible occasional appearances as a sports director as well.
| Mauro Vegni calls on UCI to sanction Jumbo-Visma and EF Pro Cycling for actions at the Giro d’Italia
Jumbo-Visma left the Giro d’Italia after their general classification favorite, Steven Kruijswijk, tested positive for COVID-19 on the first rest day. A week later, EF manager Johnathan Vaughters called for the race to be stopped. Four teams had turned out 11 positive tests among them on the first rest day, forcing Mitchelton-Scott and Michael Matthews of Sunweb to leave the race.
Even though the race is over after successfully making it to Milan, race director Mauro Vegni hasn’t forgotten the teams that were unhappy with the Giro’s COVID-19 protocols.
“I want sanctions for Jumbo-Visma and EF. If anyone thinks they can infringe on the rights or duties of WorldTour teams, then I will also consider myself ‘free’ from the obligation to invite them,” Vegni said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport. “What happened is also a matter for the UCI License Commission.”
Vegni was also critical of the CPA after the events of stage 19 and believes that cycling needs a new union.
“The riders must have a union that helps them and that doesn’t just fight to the bitter end,” Vegni said. “The riders are intelligent people and there’s a need to change the idea of the union, for it to modernize, so that looks at the real interests of the riders. Fights should be fought in a meeting room, not in the streets.”
The UCI has not yet responded publicly to Vegni’s comments.
| In case you missed it
What you missed at the Paris Roubaix that never happened
With the cancelation of Paris Roubaix, the dynamic photography duo of Ashley and Jered Gruber had a day off from following the peloton around with their cameras. Jered, a fan of the cobbled Classics, wanted to ride the empty Paris Roubaix course, so Ashley followed along with her camera.
The result is a hint at what could have been in a stunning photo gallery with words by Iain Treloar.
| Hunt 34 Aero Wide Disc wheelset review
David Rome tested out Hunt’s new aero disc wheelset, “an aerodynamically designed aluminum road wheel for disc brake road bikes.”
| New faces and voices at CyclingTips
CyclingTips officially adds Abby Mickey as Associate Editor and José Been as a Contributing Writer to the team. We are also thrilled to announce Ronan McLaughlin has joined CyclingTips as the new Tech Writer.
Today’s featured image of Michael Woods winning stage 7 of the Vuelta a España comes from Cor Vos.