Wins and crashes at Flanders; GC battle at the Giro: Daily News Digest

by Caley Fretz


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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,

It was a busy day at the races today. Chantal van den Broeck-Blaak and Mathieu Van der Poel won thrilling editions of the Tour of Flanders and young Brit Teo Geoghegan Hart took his biggest win to date with a stage win at the Giro d’Italia, where Vincenzo Nibali and Jakob Fuglsang struggled to keep the pace. The uphill finish in Italy saw the GC battle heat up.

Making yet another good argument for the existence of a curse on the rainbow jersey, Julian Alaphilippe hit a motorcycle in Flanders and will undergo metacarpal surgery on Monday.

All this and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Until next time,

Caley Fretz
Editor-in-Chief


What’s news

| Van den Broeck-Blaak wins solo at Flanders

Boels Dolmans continued their winning ways with Chantal van den Broek-Blaak at the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Van den Broek-Blaak made her move after the Oude Kwaremont and before the Paterberg, and was able to ride alone to the finish to take her first Ronde van Vlaanderen.

As the chase group got farther away from the sole leader the race for second looked like it would be the best sprinter of the chase. In the sprint, Amy Pieters made it 1-2 for Boels Dolmans and Lotte Kopecky of Lotto Soudal sprinted to third.

Over the Paterberg, the final climb of the day, Van den Broek-Blaak had a 13 second lead on the chase of heavy hitters including Van Vleuten, Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope), Demi Vollering (Parkhotel Valkenberg), Grace Brown (Mitchelton Scott), and a few more Boels Dolmans riders.

With very little cohesion in the chasing group the two Mitchelton Scott riders, Van Vleuten and Brown alternated attacking the rest of the group. They attacked many times, none of them successful, and with each attack the chase continued to fall apart, allowing Van den Broek-Blaak to gain more time.

Tour of Flanders results
1. Chantal van den Broek Blaak (Boels-Dolmans)
2. Amy Pieters (Boels-Dolmans)
3. Lotte Kopecky (Lotto-Soudal)

| Van der Poel wins Flanders over van Aert

Mathieu van der Poel won the Tour of Flanders after a long, two-up fight with his longtime rival Wout van Aert.

It came down to a sprint, and down to less than a wheel length, between two riders with battles that stretch back to cyclocross courses and look set to continue long into the future.

Alexander Kristoff led a select group across the line in third.

The Koppenberg with 45km to go served as the breaking point, creating gaps in the still-large front group and setting up van der Poel, van Aert, and Alaphilippe to head off the front.

The trio became two when Julian Alaphilippe ran into the back of a motorcycle, nearly hit by van der Poel as well. The Frenchman crashed hard and left the race.

That left two.

Van Aert and van der Poel rolled turns in unison through the laps that now define the end of Flanders, over the Kwaremont and the Paterberg.

With 16km to go, over the top of the Kwaremont, the gap was still over a minute and the group behind was dwindling.

The leading duo continued to trade pulls as they raced down the narrow descent into the sharp right turn at the base of the Paterberg, the last opportunity for a cobbled escape. Van der Poel led onto the climb, riding on and off the narrow strip of smoother stone at the far right side. Van Aert looked comfortable as the gradient ramped up. Neither found any space.

With 10km to go, and no more cobbles ahead, the two still swapped turns and rain began to fall.

Some cat-and-mouse let the chasing group close in, and they could see the leading duo as the race went under the red kite at 1 km to go.

Van der Poel held the right side, up against the barriers. Van Aert opened the sprint but couldn’t get the jump on his old rival. His front wheel never made it to the lead, and van der Poel took home his first Ronde van Vlaanderen victory.

Tour of Flanders results
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix)
2. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)
3. Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates)
4. Anthony Turgis (Total Direct Energie)
5. Yves Lampaert (Elegant – Quick-Step)

| Alaphilippe breaks metacarpals in Moto crash

Julian Alaphilippe’s rough post-Worlds autumn continued on Sunday when he ran into the back of a slowing motorcycle and crashed hard, breaking the 2nd and 4th metacarpals in his right hand. He will have surgery on Monday morning at the Herentals Clinic by Dr. De Schrijver.

| Tao Geoghegan Hart wins Giro stage, Almeida defends pink

The uphill finish to Piancavallo in stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia set up a battle between the GC men, and Ineos’ Teo Geoghegan Hart added to his team’s win tally.

Team Sunweb grabbed the race by the horns, using Jai Hindley and Chris Hamilton to set up team leader Wilco Kelderman. Kelderman was able to drop all his rivals except Geoghegan Hart.

The Maglia Rosa of João Almeida was distanced, but he fought to the finish and lost only 37 seconds, retaining his lead by 15 seconds over Kelderman. Hindley is now 3rd overall at 2’56” and Geoghegan Hart is fourth at 2’57”.

Vincenzo Nibali and Jakob Fuglsang, viewed as the favorites after the departure of multiple GC contenders early in the race, both lost time. Both crossed the line in the same group, 1’36” down.

Stage results
1. Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) in 4’38″52
2. Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) at 2s
3. Jai Hindley (Sunweb) at 4s

General classification
1. João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) in 59’27’38
2. Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) at 15s
3. Jai Hindley (Sunweb) at 2’56”

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