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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,
As we near the final weekend of Grand Tour racing this season, riders at the Vuelta a España spent a long day in the saddle in difficult conditions en route to a sprint finale.
Meanwhile, a popular Classics rider is hanging up the wheels, a former time trial national champ is headed to a new squad, and a team on the brink is perhaps a bit more optimistic about its chances of carrying on than it was a few days ago.
Read on for more …
| Jasper Philipsen wins stage 15 of the Vuelta a España
Jasper Philipsen rode to his first ever Grand Tour stage win on Thursday’s stage 15 of the Vuelta a España after a long day on the bike.
The 22-year-old Belgian topped Pascal Ackermann and Jannik Steimle at the end of a 230.8-kilometer stage from Mos to Puebla de Sanabria.
The sprinters and a handful of lead-out riders arrived a few seconds ahead of the red jersey hopefuls on the day after organizers decided to take GC times at 3km to go on a windy, rainy day in Spain. All of the Vuelta’s main GC contenders finished safely to keep the top of the overall standings unchanged.
Stage 15 of the Vuelta a España took the peloton on a lengthy journey over a lumpy profile with over 4,000 meters of climbing, in intermittently unpleasant conditions. In other words, it was a tough day out.
It also looked like a good day for the break, and, after a fierce battle, a solid move got away a little over an hour into the stage. The escapees worked their gap up to around five minutes, but then the peloton upped the pace to begin the long process of bringing the move back.
Mattia Cattaneo jumped off the front of the break on the final categorized climb of the day, but he would not hold off the peloton, which swept up the last remnants of the break to set up a sprint.
With the tricky weather conditions and the apparent presence of oil in the road, organizers decided to neutralize the GC battle within the final 3 km, allowing the sprint teams to battle for the stage victory while the rest of the pack took it a bit easier behind.
Mitchelton-Scott led into the final kilometer with Deceuninck-Quick-Step then taking over, but a strong UAE Team Emirates lead-out effort put Philipsen in position in the final few hundred meters. He launched with around 200 meters to go and surged to the front to nab the win ahead of Ackermann and Steimle.
Top 10, stage 15
1 PHILIPSEN Jasper (UAE-Team Emirates) 6:22:36
2 ACKERMANN Pascal (BORA – hansgrohe)
3 STEIMLE Jannik (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
4 WRIGHT Alfred (Bahrain – McLaren)
5 SMITH Dion (Mitchelton-Scott)
6 JANSE VAN RENSBURG Reinardt (NTT Pro Cycling)
7 CORT Magnus (EF Pro Cycling)
8 GODON Dorian (AG2R La Mondiale)
9 DEWULF Stan (Lotto Soudal)
10 MORKOV Michael (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
Top 10, GC
1 ROGLIC Primoz (Team Jumbo-Visma) 60:19:41
2 CARAPAZ Richard (INEOS Grenadiers) 0:39
3 CARTHY Hugh (EF Pro Cycling) 0:47
4 MARTIN Dan (Israel Start-Up Nation) 1:42
5 MAS Enric (Movistar Team) 3:23
6 POELS Wout (Bahrain – McLaren) 6:15
7 GROSSSCHARTNER Felix (BORA – hansgrohe) 7:14
8 VALVERDE Alejandro (Movistar Team) 8:39
9 VLASOV Aleksandr (Astana Pro Team) 8:48
10 DE LA CRUZ David (UAE-Team Emirates) 9:23
| Stannard retires due to rheumatoid arthritis
Ian Stannard is hanging up the wheels. As a Thursday press release from Ineos explained, the decision comes after the 33-year-old Briton spent months trying various options to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
“Ian was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 12 months ago,” Ineos team doctor Richard Usher said. “It has caused him severe inflammation in the joints, and Ian has had pain in his wrists, knees, and ankles. We have tried various treatments but ultimately Ian has taken the best decision for his long-term health.”
Stannard has been a member of the Ineos organization since its inception as Team Sky back in 2010, featuring as one of the team’s Classics leaders. His career palmares includes back-to-back wins at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2014 and 2015, as well as a podium finish at Paris-Roubaix in 2016.
“I wanted to keep racing and that competitive fire still burns within me, but I am proud of what I have achieved in the sport and look back at my career with great pride, especially racing for this team,” Stannard said. “It’s been a dream come true.”
| Rosskopf signs with Rally
American pro Joey Rosskopf is headed to Rally next season on a two-year deal, the team announced on Thursday.
Rosskopf, 31, has spent the past six seasons racing at the WorldTour level with the BMC/CCC organization, racking up a pair of US national time trial titles in that time.
“We’re kind of making a circle here but it’s not like I’m packing it in and going back to the US to start over,” Rosskopf said. “Rally Cycling has grown to an equal level to what I’ve been doing in the WorldTour the last six years. I can’t imagine the amount of work that riders, staff, and management have done to make that happen.”
He also noted that he is planning for a renewed focus on TTs, which have always been his strength, as he moves to a new team.
| UCI confirms current WorldTour applicants for 2021
The UCI released the list of squads that have applied for WorldTeam and ProTeam status next season so far, confirming a handful of already expected changes.
On the women’s side, all eight current WorldTour outfits have applied to continue as such next year, while SD Worx (the new iteration of Boels-Dolmans) has applied to join their ranks.
On the men’s side, Circus-Wanty Gobert has indeed filed to move up to the WorldTour after acquiring the parent company of the CCC team. So far, NTT is absent from the list of WorldTour applicants (more on that in a moment). Meanwhile, the Eolo-Kometa squad of Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso as well as Kern Pharma have both applied for second-division status.
| Maybe the NTT team will find a new sponsor after all?
Just days after team manager Bjarne Riis offered a grim outlook on NTT Pro Cycling’s hopes for finding a new sponsor, team principal Doug Ryder has provided a more optimistic update.
“We have people from America to Australia and everything in between loving this team and wanting to get involved, trying to make a difference, and trying to connect with us,” Ryder said via a team press release. “It is tough in the world today economically, and some businesses are really struggling, and some aren’t. But we are very close to being on the road next year.”
Ryder also addressed NTT’s absence from the current list of WorldTour applicants for 2021.
“This Thursday is an announcement of the teams which have submitted their documentation, and we will not be on that list,” he said. “In the next couple of days, I think we should be able to say that we will have a plan to move forwards into 2021.”
| UCI reportedly opens proceedings to release Nippo Delko One Provence’s bank guarantee
Cyclingnews reports that the UCI has begun proceedings involving the designated paying agent of the Nippo Delko One Provence squad to release the team’s bank guarantee following complaints for riders who have said they are owed money.
According to Cyclingnews, multiple riders have reported missing wages, while at least two riders allege that team manager Philippe Lannes has suggested that they will not be on the team next season despite contracts that say otherwise.
Lannes reportedly denied knowledge of the bank guarantee proceedings, and said that riders have been paid as planned with the exception of a period of reduced wages due to the racing hiatus. He also implied that he did not deem certain riders good enough to continue with the team into next year. The CPA has reportedly contacted Lannes regarding the dispute.
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Abby Mickey previews the upcoming Madrid Challenge, the final Women’s WorldTour race of the season.
Today’s featured image of Jasper Philipsen winning stage 15 of the Vuelta a España comes from Cor Vos.