Kasper Asgreen wins the E3 Saxo Bank Classic: Daily News

Kasper Asgreen wins the E3 Saxo Bank Classic.

by Dane Cash

photography by Cor Vos


Hello again, CyclingTips readers,

Friday saw the Classics specialists in action on the Flemish cobbles at the E3 Saxo Bank Classic, and stage racing as well at the Volta a Catalunya and the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali.

Read on for the latest from the world of cycling.

Dane Cash
News Editor

What’s news?

Asgreen solos to victory at E3

Kasper Asgreen won the E3 Saxo Bank Classic on Friday, soloing away from a select group in the finale and holding on for the victory. His Deceuninck-Quick-Step teammate Florian Sénéchal nabbed runner-up honors on the day ahead of Mathieu van der Poel.

As it so often does, the challenging one-day in Flanders saw aggressive riding throughout the day, and the peloton was significantly reduced when Asgreen powered off the front on the Eikenberg inside the last 70 km for his first big attack of the day. Behind, the pack would split into small groups as riders attacked and counterattacked, while Asgreen continued to build an advantage out front over the course of the next hour. Into the last 20 km, Asgreen had a gap of 20 seconds with a select group chasing behind.

Wout van Aert put in a big dig out of that group on the Tiegemberg, shelling a few riders out the back but not creating any separation. As Van Aert began to flag, Van der Poel responded with a big surge of his own, and within moments, Van Aert was dropped, and Van der Poel, Sénéchal, Greg Van Avermaet, Zdenek Stybar, and Oliver Naesen had broken clear of the rest of the group. With 18 km to go, Asgreen’s gap stood at 13 seconds. Over the next few minutes, Dylan van Baarle caught up to Van der Poel’s group, while Asgreen’s gap continued to fall. The chasers caught up to him with 12 km to go, making for a seven-rider lead group.

A high pace kept the group mostly intact on the run-in to the finale, while Asgreen spent several minutes mostly at the back of the group. With 4 km to go, however, Asgreen fired off an attack again and built a gap. With two of Asgreen’s teammates in the group behind, any attempt to bridge was immediately tracked down, and that helped Asgreen quickly build on his advantage. Two kilometers later, Asgreen’s gap had grown to 15 seconds, and before long it was clear that the Dane was heading to his first ever WorldTour one-day victory. He indeed held on to take the victory, with Sénéchal sprinting to runner-up honors ahead of Van der Poel 32 seconds later.

Top 10

1 ASGREEN Kasper (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 4:42:56
2 SÉNÉCHAL Florian (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 0:32
3 VAN DER POEL Mathieu (Alpecin-Fenix)
4 NAESEN Oliver (AG2R Citroën)
5 STYBAR Zdenek (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
6 VAN AVERMAET Greg (AG2R Citroën)
7 VAN BAARLE Dylan (Ineos Grenadiers)
8 HOELGAARD Markus (Uno-X) 1:28
9 VERMEERSCH Gianni (Alpecin-Fenix) 1:30
10 HALLER Marco (Bahrain Victorious)

Bora-Hansgrohe does not start E3 after COVID-19 positive

Bora-Hansgrohe did not make the start at E3 on Friday after Matthew Wells tested positive for COVID-19.

“After Walls’ positive test result was received and confirmed by a second test, several PCR tests were carried out on all other team members yesterday, all of which were negative,” the team said in a statement. “Despite this, according to the instructions of the Belgian Cycling Federation, the team is not allowed to take part in today’s race.”

Kämna powers out of the break to win stage 5 of the Volta a Catalunya

Lennard Kämna won Friday’s fifth stage of the Volta a Catalunya after attacking out of the day’s main breakaway. The 24-year-old German soloed clear inside the last 10 km and held on to win with a 39-second gap to runner-up Ruben Guerreiro, with Mikel Bizkarra taking third, 42 seconds back.

Kämna, Guerreiro, and Bizkarra joined a big group of breakaway riders that formed in the early goings of the stage, and the peloton allowed the escapees to build a substantial gap over the course of the stage. Kämna repeatedly attacked a whittled down breakaway going up the final climb of the day. He got clear along with Steven Kruijswijk and Carlos Verona but the trio was brought back, and then he Kämna went again, this time soloing clear.

He quickly built a gap and extended as it took time for the chase to get organized behind, and there was no catching him in the final kilometers. Bizkarra attacked the second group on the road in the last kilometer but Guerreiro surged past to nab second place on the day.

Adam Yates would finish together with the rest of the top GC contenders 1:59 behind Kämna to maintain his overall race lead.

Top 10, stage 5

1 KÄMNA Lennard (Bora-Hansgrohe) 4:29:13
2 GUERREIRO Ruben (EF Education-Nippo) 0:39
3 BIZKARRA Mikel (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 0:42
4 SMITH Dion (BikeExchange) 0:44
5 MARTIN Dan (Israel Start-Up Nation)
6 MOHORIC Matej (Bahrain Victorious)
7 KNOX James (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
8 VALTER Attila (Groupama-FDJ)
9 URÁN Rigoberto (EF Education-Nippo)
10 KRUIJSWIJK Steven (Jumbo-Visma)

Top 10, GC

1 YATES Adam (Ineos Grenadiers) 18:45:27
2 PORTE Richie (Ineos Grenadiers) 0:45
3 THOMAS Geraint (Ineos Grenadiers) 0:49
4 VALVERDE Alejandro (Movistar) 1:03
5 KELDERMAN Wilco (Bora-Hansgrohe)
6 CHAVES Esteban (BikeExchange) 1:04
7 ALMEIDA João (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 1:07
8 CARTHY Hugh (EF Education-Nippo) 1:20
9 KUSS Sepp (Jumbo-Visma) 1:29
10 YATES Simon (BikeExchange) 1:32

Equipo Kern Pharma pulls out of Volta a Catalunya after COVID-19 positives in team

Spanish ProTeam Equipo Kern Pharma left the Volta a Catalunya on Friday after two team members tested positive for COVID-19.

The squad said in a press release that the positive tests had come “during the Covid-19 tests practiced on Thursday night and Friday morning as part of the team’s health protocol for this Volta a Catalunya,” and the team subsequently pulled out of the event before stage 5.

Vingegaard wins Coppi e Bartali stage 4

Jonas Vingegaard won stage 4 of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, extending his overall lead on the penultimate day of the race.

The 154.8 km stage that started and finished in San Marino closed out with several laps on a circuit that traversed a short climb, and the repeated trips up the ascent whittled the peloton down to a select group in the finale. Javier Romo attacked out of pack on the final climb, but Vingegaard responded and caught and passed him, and then held on to nab his second stage win of the race. Romo settled for second with Nick Schultz taking third on the day.

Top 10, stage 4

1 VINGEGAARD Jonas (Jumbo-Visma) 4:26:37
2 ROMO Javier (Astana-Premier Tech)
3 SCHULTZ Nick (BikeExchange)
4 HAYTER Ethan (Ineos Grenadiers)
5 VANSEVENANT Mauri (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
6 AYUSO Juan (Colpack Ballan)
7 HERMANS Ben (Israel Start-Up Nation) 0:02
8 TESFATSION Natnael (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)
9 HENAO Sergio (Qhubeka)
10 TIBERI Antonio (Trek-Segafredo)

Top 10, GC

1 VINGEGAARD Jonas (Jumbo-Visma) 15:04:13
2 SCHULTZ Nick (BikeExchange) 0:07
3 HAYTER Ethan (Ineos Grenadiers) 0:11
4 ROMO Javier (Astana-Premier Tech) 0:14
5 HERMANS Ben (Israel Start-Up Nation) 0:15
6 SOSA Iván (Ineos Grenadiers) 0:16
7 VANSEVENANT Mauri (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 0:21
8 HONORÉ Mikkel Frolich (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 0:26
9 COLLEONI Kevin (BikeExchange) 0:39
10 HENAO Sergio (Qhubeka) 0:43

The 2023 Tour de France will start in Bilbao

The ASO announced on Friday that the 2023 Tour de France will get underway in Bilbao, the biggest city in the Basque Country region of Spain. According to organizers, the race will start with “a loop stage,” and stage 2 “will also take place entirely within the borders of the Basque Country.”

Brest in the Brittany region of France will host the Grand Départ this year, while the 2022 edition of the race will start in Copenhagen, Denmark, making 2023 the second straight year that the Tour will get underway outside of France.

Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles becomes Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB

The Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles team announced on Friday that is has a new name.

Belgian company Pauwels Sauces, which joined the team as a sponsorship partner in 2021, will now be a title sponsor of the Belgian ProTeam, which will now be known as Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB.

Moving Pictures

You may recall reading the news that organizers would be employing robots to remind people to wear masks at E3, in addition to assisting in other ways. As it turns out, a robot also played a key part in the podium ceremony after the race.

Coming up …

The Volta a Catalunya continues on Saturday with its sixth stage, where a late third-category climb will make it hard to predict how things will turn out. Meanwhile, the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali will reach its conclusion with a challenging fifth and final stage that will start and finish in Forlì, climbing the Rocca delle Caminate seven times along the way.

Then, on Sunday, the Volta a Catalunya will close out with a punchy seventh stage in Barcelona, where riders will take several trips up and over the Alt del Castell de Montjuïc, while in Belgium, the Classics will continue at Gent-Wevelgem. On the men’s side, Wout van Aert, Mads Pedersen, Sam Bennett, and seemingly any number of Bennett’s Deceuninck-Quick-Step teammates could be among the contenders, while on the women’s side, pre-race favorites include Jolien d’Hoore, Lotte Kopecky, and Emma Norsgaard.

In case you missed it …

  • This week’s Bike of the Bunch is an ultralight homebuilt mountain bike from Francis Lim.
  • As James Huang writes, Enve is getting into the frame business with the Custom Road.
  • Abby Mickey, Amy Jones, and Lauren Rowney discuss the big one-day races of the past week as well as the upcoming Gent-Wevelgem in the latest episode of Freewheeling.
  • Ronan Mc Laughlin provides some insight into how Kasper Asgreen turned what looked like two doomed attacks into an E3 victory.
  • Abby Mickey previews the next race on the Women’s WorldTour calendar, Gent-Wevelgem.

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