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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,
As the week comes to a close, racing continues at the Giro and several teams are gearing up for the Tour of Flanders, but not all of those that we’d expected to be there will make the start.
Over in Italy, stage 13 came down to a reduced sprint, where a rider who had already picked up one win so far in this race added another victory to his sizable collection of Giro stage wins, while the promising young race leader further padded his lead with a few bonus seconds.
Elsewhere, Équipe Paule Ka announced its immediate shutdown, while three other teams that had been expected to race the upcoming Tour of Flanders will also not be in attendance.
Read on for more, and until next time, readers.
| Narváez wins stage 12 of the Giro from the break
Diego Ulissi nabbed his second stage win so far this at this year’s race on Friday’s stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia.
The 192-kilometer stage from Cervia came down to a reduced sprint in Monselice after a select lead group distanced the sprinters in the final hour of racing. Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s Mikkel Honoré led out the sprint but Ulissi positioned himself just behind the Dane, launched his sprint, and then held off race leader João Almeida and Patrick Konrad at the line. The win marks the eighth Giro stage win of Ulissi’s career.
Almeida padded his GC lead with bonus seconds but the standings at the top of the GC were otherwise unchanged as all of the major contenders for pink finished safely in the lead group.
The stage got underway in pleasant conditions, a welcome change from Thursday’s rainy 12th stage. It took some time for the main breakaway to get clear on the day, and then, although the move built its advantage quickly upon getting away, the peloton reacted soon enough to keep the gap small.
With the break’s advantage hovering at only around two minutes for much of the way, it was clear that several teams in the pack had interest in bringing things back together.
After a pancake flat first 150 kilometers, the racing heated up on two late fourth-category climbs. On the first, Peter Sagan helped force a split that dropped Arnaud Démare and many others while also pulling the bunch ever closer to the break. Démare caught back on with the help of his Groupama-FDJ team on the run-in to the second and final climb, and his squad even hit the front to set the pace, but that would not last long.
A move from Ulissi kicked off the attacks, and the hard-charging pack swept up the remaining breakaway riders with around 15 kilometers to go. As others put in digs at the front, Démare, Sagan, and numerous others were dropped.
With Démare in a big group farther back, Sagan, Elia Viviani, and a handful of others joined forces trying to rejoin the lead group. Despite a spirited chase, they could not close down the gap, leaving the stage up for grabs among those at the head of the race. In the final kick, Ulissi took his second win of the race at the line.
Top 10, stage 13
1 ULISSI Diego (UAE-Team Emirates) 4:22:18
2 ALMEIDA João (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
3 KONRAD Patrick (BORA – hansgrohe)
4 GEOGHEGAN HART Tao (INEOS Grenadiers)
5 HONORÉ Mikkel Frolich (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
6 SAMITIER Sergio (Movistar Team)
7 FUGLSANG Jakob (Astana Pro Team)
8 BILBAO Pello (Bahrain – McLaren)
9 NIBALI Vincenzo (Trek – Segafredo)
10 HINDLEY Jai (Team Sunweb)
Top 10, GC
1 ALMEIDA João (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 53:43:58
2 KELDERMAN Wilco (Team Sunweb) 0:40
3 BILBAO Pello (Bahrain – McLaren) 0:49
4 POZZOVIVO Domenico (NTT Pro Cycling) 1:03
5 NIBALI Vincenzo (Trek – Segafredo) 1:07
6 KONRAD Patrick (BORA – hansgrohe) 1:17
7 HINDLEY Jai (Team Sunweb) 1:25
8 MAJKA Rafal (BORA – hansgrohe) 1:27
9 MASNADA Fausto (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 1:42
10 FUGLSANG Jakob (Astana Pro Team) 2:26
More to come …
| Équipe Paule Ka announces immediate shutdown
Equipe Paule Ka announced on Friday that it was immediately ceasing operations as payments from the title sponsor ended in August.
The team, which has been racing since 2005 when it started as Bigla Pro Cycling, announced in June that fashion brand Paule Ka would be taking over as title sponsor for the next four years after prior sponsors Bigla and Katusha withdrew their funding. Upon the resumption of the season, the team raced as Équipe Paule Ka, scoring podium results at Strade Bianche and the GP de Plouay and a stage victory at the Giro Rosa under the new moniker.
Earlier this month, however, team manager Thomas Campana notified riders and staff the team faced an uncertain future due to the absence of funding from Paule Ka. On Friday, the team said in a press release that expected payments have not come for several weeks.
“It is with great regret that Équipe Paule Ka announces the immediate cessation of its racing season and, unfortunately, the closure of the team – currently ranked fourth in the world with over 3000 UCI points – due to the absence of sponsor payments since August,” read a statement from the team.
“After late payment of its first instalment in July, the French fashion company Paule Ka then failed to pay the team in the months of August, September and October, despite multiple assurances that the payments were on their way.”
The shutdown of the team leaves 13 riders, including the likes of Lizzy Banks and Leah Thomas, both of whom enjoyed strong 2020 campaigns, on the market at a challenging time.
| Alé BTC Ljubljana, Chevalmeire, and Astana out of women’s Tour of Flanders
The Alé-BTC Ljubljana team of defending champion Marta Bastianelli and the Astana and Chevalmeire teams will not be at the women’s Tour of Flanders on Sunday.
Alé-BTC Ljubljana remains in quarantine following a COVID-19 positive within the team.
“With great regret we have to give up the race,” said sports director Fortunato Lacquaniti. “There are deadlines and rules to be respected and we have no other choice. In addition, the riders have been practically at a standstill for a week and would have no way of facing such an important and demanding race in optimal conditions.”
Astana and Chevalmeire are also out for Flanders; Sporza reports that three members of the Chevalmeire team have tested positive for COVID-19 and the Astana Women’s Team has also withdrawn from the Flemish one-day, meaning that at least four teams that had been expected to make the start in Flanders (including Équipe Paule Ka) will not be in attendance.
| Zakarin heading back to Gazprom-Rusvelo
Ilnur Zakarin is heading back to Gazprom-Rusvelo next year. The 31-year-old Russian rode for the squad in 2013 and 2014 before spending five years with the Katusha organization. He has spent this season with CCC.
Zakarin has racked up a number of stage racing results over the course of his career, landing on the overall podium with a third-place finish at the 2017 Vuelta a España, taking two stage victories at the Giro d’Italia and one at the Tour de France, and the GC wins at the 2015 Tour de Romandie.
Recent seasons have not seen Zakarin finding as much success as a GC racer as he enjoyed earlier in his career, but he continues to be a threat as a stage hunter. He said in a statement from the team that he is hoping to get back to winning ways with Gazprom.
“Speaking about my goals, I would like to be straight on the point – my aim is not to only share my experience, but to demonstrate maximum and achieve new victories with the team,” he said. “We have already talked with team management about the race calendar of 2021. The stage-races in the first part of [the] season will be my main focus and I will do my best to be at my peak form in spring.”
| CCC backing Trentin at Flanders with Van Avermaet out
The CCC team confirmed on Friday that Greg Van Avermaet will miss the race due to the injuries he suffered in a crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
With the multi-time Flanders podium finisher out, CCC will instead look to Matteo Trentin to lead the way. The 31-year-old Italian is coming off a strong ride at Gent-Wevelgem, where he finished third.
| EF signs Hideto Nakane
EF announced on Friday that the team has signed Hideto Nakane for next season.
Nakane, 30, comes aboard after riding with the Nippo Delko One Provence squad this year and the Nippo Vini Fantini team in the three years prior to that. He will join EF on the heels of a strong 12 months of racing, delivering a top 10 at one of the biggest races in his home country, the Japan Cup, late last year and riding to top 10s at the Tour de Langkawi and the Tour de Taiwan and a Langkawi stage victory this season.
| Eurobike 2020 cancelled
Eurobike organizers announced on Friday that the 2020 edition of the event has been cancelled. Originally scheduled for September, the trade show was moved to November amid coronavirus concerns, but it will now not be held at all this year.
“Our comprehensive hygiene and safety concept, as well as the positive number of registrations for the Eurobike Special Edition had given us cause us to be optimistic until very recently,” said Klaus Wellmann, CEO of Messe Friedrichshafen, which holds the event. “Unfortunately, the latest developments now call for a rethink. It has become extremely unlikely that the situation regarding travel will improve by the end of November. The temporary ban imposed on accommodation also presents an additional obstacle. Accordingly, it is now our duty to act responsibly. It is against this backdrop and with a heavy heart that we have decided to postpone the bike industry get-together at Eurobike in Friedrichshafen until next year.”
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Today’s featured image of Diego Ulissi winning stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia comes from Cor Vos.