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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,
There’s been a bit going on in the world over the last few days – and the sport of cycling is no exception.
The Vuelta a España reached a thrilling conclusion over the weekend, with Primoz Roglic claiming his second straight victory in the final Grand Tour of the season. The Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta also reached its end, with Lisa Brennauer likewise backing up her 2019 win.
With the conclusion of those races, another important milestone was reached. The 2020 racing season has come to an end, and the riders of the professional men’s and women’s peloton can begin their off-season in earnest. We made it, you guys!
All that and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
| Pascal Ackermann snares final stage of La Vuelta a España
After seventeen stages of intriguing racing, the final stage of the Vuelta took the peloton 139.6 km into the heart of Madrid.
Things were placid at the beginning of the stage, before a breakaway of four riders formed, looking to make one final impression on the race.
The sprinters had other ideas, however, and the move was brought back with 5 km to go. Bora-Hansgrohe, Deceuninck-Quickstep and UAE Team Emirates were the teams trying to set it up for their sprinters, and it was the German squad that would emerge triumphant on the day. After a well orchestrated lead-out, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) held off Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quickstep) to claim his second stage win of the Vuelta.
| Primoz Roglic defends Vuelta title
Primoz Roglic concluded his impressive – and sometimes heartbreaking – season with a Grand Tour win, finishing safely in the peloton in Madrid to defend his Vuelta title.
On Saturday’s climactic mountain stage, Roglic survived a flurry of attacks from Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) and Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) to preserve a 24 second lead in the race.
That would go on to be Roglic’s final winning margin ahead of Carapaz, with Carthy taking the final spot on the podium, 1.15 back.
| Lisa Brennauer wins Ceratizit Challenge
The season-closing race of the women’s season wrapped up in Madrid before the men’s race, with the three-stage Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta finishing with a circuit race through the city streets.
With time bonuses scattered throughout the stage, it was a tense and tactical affair, with Elisa Longo-Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) and Lorena Wiebes (Sunweb) each trying to advance their positions in the general classification. However, it was ultimately Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling) who would prevail, holding onto a lead built from her time trial the day before.
Elisa Balsamo (Valcar-Travel & Service) snatched the final stage win courtesy of a composed lead-out from her team, with Wiebes in second and Alé BTC Ljubljana’s Marta Bastianelli in third.
| Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado wins European Championship
Reigning cyclocross world champ Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado has added a European Championship to her palmares, emerging the strongest of a trifecta of Dutch riders in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. It’s Alvarado’s first elite European title, having won the U23 version last year, and shows that she’s in strong form heading into the European winter. Surrounding Alvarado on the podium were Annmarie Worst and Lucinda Brand.
| Eli Iserbyt takes European title
Eli Iserbyt (Belgium) won his first European elite title in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, backing up the promise shown as an U23 World and European Champion. The 23 year old Belgian led from the front with compatriot Michael Vanthourenhout joining him for second, and Dutch rider Lars van der Haar rounding out the podium.
It was a dominant display by the Belgian squad, with seven out of the top 10 riders. Two of the most prominent names in cyclocross – Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert – did not feature in the results sheet, as they were enjoying some downtime after monster seasons on the road.
| Chris Froome gets Vuelta trophy… nine years later
Chris Froome (Ineos) might have finished more than three hours back in his comeback Grand Tour, but he found himself on a podium in Spain regardless – getting handed the trophy for the 2011 Vuelta a España.
Froome was quietly announced the winner of the 2011 Vuelta last year after the relegation of initial winner Juan Jose Cobo (Geox) for biological passport violations. In Madrid yesterday, he finally scored a trophy to go along with it.
“This victory is truly special for me,” Froome said. “It was a very special race for me [in 2011]. That’s when I discovered within myself I could become a grand tour rider, and be a candidate to win them. That Vuelta gave me confidence to go the Tour de France, and to strive to win grand tours.”
| Ecuador loves Richard Carapaz
Richard Carapaz was valiant in his attempt to unseat Primoz Roglic from the lead of the Vuelta, but ultimately fell 24 seconds short. But even if he didn’t win the Vuelta, he has the love of his country, as this video shows:
In case you missed it
| Women’s peloton survey: Wages up for top riders, 43% buying their own gear
A recent Cyclists’ Alliance survey of the women’s peloton has cast some light on wage disparities, the number of riders racing for free or buying their own gear, and some improved conditions.
Today’s featured image from La Vuelta a España comes from Cor Vos, and shows Pascal Ackermann (left) winning the stage from Sam Bennett (centre) while Jasper Philipsen and Max Kanter snuggle up next to each other on the right.