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Is Primoz Roglic The Favourite For Il Lombardia? | GCN’s Cycling Race News Show

(countdown beeps) – Welcome to the GCN racing news show. Coming up this week, newly
crowned world champion Mads Pederson debuts his rainbow bands in Belgium, in a race
which saw fresh controversy over the use of barriers with feet in the finishing straight. We’ve also got Giro
dell’Emilia, the GP Beghelli, more international
cyclocross from Belgium, the latest rider transfer news and team news, and unfortunately, some sad news as one of cycling’s
most influential figures, Giorgio Squinzi, passed away. We’re going to start, though, with the Giro dell’Emilia from Saturday. It’s a race that started back in 1909 and which has taken
place every year since, including, incredibly,
through both World Wars. The startlist for the men’s race was really something to behold, amongst them Alejandro Valverde, Vincenzo Nibali, and all three winners of the Grand Tours this year: Richard Carapaz, Egan Bernal, and Primoz Roglic. It’s the first time that we’ve had all three Grand Tour
winners at the same race since the 2016 Volta a Catalunya where Contador, Froome, and Aru were all taking part. Emilia is characterized by the climb to the sanctuary in San Luca. 2.2 kilometers at 10% and the same one which was used in the opening time trials at this year’s Giro d’Italia, a stage won by Roglic. The first rider of the
really big names to attack was Jakob Fuglsang on the
penultimate time up it, a move which drew almost all
of the strongest climbers clear of the rest. Ultimately though, it would all come down to the final ascent to the finish line. Mike Woods of the EF Education First using the steepest section of 18% to make his move, he quickly opened a gap. However, soon on his
wheel and straight pass it was Roglic, and it wasn’t long before the Vuelta winner
had gone clear solo. In his usual high-cadence
style he showed us all that he’s far from finished in 2019. Coming home a full 15
seconds ahead of Woods, who crossed the line just
in front of his teammate, Sergio Higuita. That’s the first major,
one-day win in Roglic’s career, and he’s firmly announced himself now as one of the favorites for
the last monument of the year, Il Lombardia, which is
this coming Saturday. His time up the San
Luca climb, according to Ammatti Pyoraily on Twitter,
is the fastest ever, chopping six seconds off
of Vincenzo Nibali’s effort from two years ago. He’s also the first rider
ever to win this race off the back of a Vuelta win, and in fact, only one other rider has ever won it off the back of a Grand
Tour in that same season. That person, as you can probably guess, was Eddy Merckx, who did it back in 1972. In the women’s event earlier that day, unfortunately we didn’t get to see Annemiek van Vleuten
debut her rainbow jersey. She’d fallen ill in the run-up to the race and wasn’t able to take the start. The majority of the
99-kilometer race was flat, with just a single ascent
of the San Luca climb to the finish. And it was there, of course,
where the winner was decided. Five women pulling clear midway up it including Elisa Longo Borghini, who has won the race twice before. It was her who kicked first to the line with around 300 meters to go, but glued to her wheel was Demi Vollering of Parkhotel Valkenburg, and it was the young 22-year-old who would find the strength to cross the line first, underlining her emergence
as one of the best climbers on the women’s scene. Longo Borghini had to settle for second with another youngster, Nikola Noskova, in third. The following day saw the 23rd running of the Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli. Nowhere near as tough in terms of terrain as Emilia, but still not easy. 10 laps of the finishing
circuit contain the climb of the Zappolino which, at
one-and-a-half kilometers and 5%, is often not enough to allow
the climbers to do their thing, but enough to sap the strength
and speed of the sprinters. The race-winning move
there came over the top of the final ascent, and
it was a very strong group. Valverde, Haig, Gaudu,
last year’s winner Mollema, former winner Colbrelli, Garcia Cortina, and Guillaume Martin. Colbrelli was the fastest on paper, and as it turned out, the
fastest on the road too. He took his second win at the event, and is third of the season,
ahead of Valverde and Haig. The women’s event ended in a bunch sprint with Marta Bastianelli
continuing her tremedous season to take the win ahead of Lorena Wiebes. That marked her 11th
victory of the year so far. Can I just say, though, the Parkhotel Valkenburg
team have been the revelation of the season in women’s cycling, for me. They are now up to equal
second in ProCyclingStats’ own team rankings, ahead of the likes of Sunweb, Trek-Segafredo,
and Canyon SRAM, who operate on far bigger budget. So rather than a rider
of the week this week, we’re going to have a team of the week: Well done to Parkhotel
Valkenburg for everything that you’ve achieved this year. The Tour de l’Eurometropole
saw newly-crowned World road race champion Mads Pedersen debut his rainbow jersey
and custom Trek bike, and I’ve only got to tip my hat to whoever designed that bike. It looks gorgeous. He also got to wear the
number one on his back as the winner of the race in 2018. He wasn’t able to repeat
that on this occasion. The race ended up in a reduced sprint won by Piet Allegaert of
Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise his first win of the year, and as a rider, he’s currently
looking for a contract for next season. It couldn’t have come at a better time. The finish though saw more controversy as a crash saw Deceuninck-QuickStep rider Alvaro Hodeg hit the deck hard. He suffered a left forearm fracture, two fractured ribs, and a left shoulder
fracture which will require an operation. The cause of the crash
was the type of barriers used in the finishing straight, which had feet as opposed to the slanted barriers
that the UCI recommends for the finishing straight of races, and it’s a recommendation
rather than a requirement. As you can imagine, it
provoked a fresh tirade of criticism from pro riders
who are understandably sick of so much being invested in measuring of sock length, while basic safety
issues still don’t appear to have been addressed. Possibly, the most vocal
of all was Matteo Trentin, who took to Twitter to say
that barriers with feet should be banned in any part of any race, not just the finale. And it’s quite hard to argue with that, isn’t it, given how
many crashes we’ve seen this year alone because of those barriers. It’ll be interesting
to see whether the UCI impose a new ruling on them for 2020. Before we go any further, I
just wanted to let you know what racing we’ve got coming up here on GCN Racing this week. On Tuesday, those of you in North, Central, and
South America will be able to watch live coverage of
the Tre Valli Varesine. We’ve also got shorter highlight
version for you worldwide, which we’ll also have for the rest of the Italian one-day races, Milano-Torino on Wednesday, Gran Piemonte on Thursday, and then the big one, Il Lombardia on Saturday. It’s also another big
weekend of cyclocross with the third round of the
Ethias Cross on Saturday, followed by the first
round of the SuperPrestige from Gieten on Sunday. Some geo-restrictions do apply, but commentary will be with
myself and Jeremy Powers. And, if you’ve got any suggestion for what you would like to
see in the half-time show between the women’s and the men’s races, we’d love to hear them. Please let us know in the
comments section below. Before we get on to cyclocross, we also had the CRO Race last week. The general classification
of the six-day race was basically decided
on the penultimate day. Adam Yates of Mitchelton-Scott proving he was a class above the rest on the finishing climb to Platak, putting 10 seconds into
second place Davide Villella. In finishing seventh, on
the final stage, Yates wrapped up the GC which was
his fifth win of the season. The race wasn’t without incident, an overzealous official chasing down stage winner Eduard Grosu after the line got in the way of the
riders who’d been sprinting behind him, taking two of them down in quite a nasty crash. Again, not the first time
that this has happened in recent times, and
another concern to safety that the riders could do without. What most people would describe as proper cyclocross conditions
awaited the riders at the GP Pelt in the
Rectavit Cross Series, plenty of rain and mud made
for some exciting racing. Formerly, the Soudal
Classics with a new sponsor, the Elite Women’s race showed that Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado is coming to the cross season in brilliant form, as the Corendon-Circus rider put in a near-flawless performance
to take her second victory of the weekend. From 777 rider Yara Kastelijn and another Dutch sensation, 17-year-old Shirin van
Anrooij of Team 185, fresh from a silver medal
in the Junior time trials at the World’s in Yorshire. She rounded out the podium and watch out for her as
the cross season progresses. Now, I know we have a bit
of a bunny hop obsession in cross, but we have to
show some appreciation as well for Anniek van
Alphen who hopped away to a fine eighth place
in some tough conditions. Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal’s Laurens Sweeck was looking to take
four victories in a row, and continued what has
been a successful start to his cyclocross season. In the early stages, it looked like it would be Lars van der Haar who could be a force to be reckoned with, until he came unstuck on
what has been notoriously his arch nemesis in terms of obstacles, when he took a proper
tumble at the planks. This initially handed
the lead to Tom Meeusen, one of the most technically gifted riders of his generation, who
was managing to ride sections in the tough conditions
that no one else could. Eventually though, it was
Quinten Hermans that got clear. It would turn into a battle between the Telenet Baloise
rider and Sweeck behind. And it came down to a small slide, and the difference in a remount position at the top of one of the steep banks for the lead to change hands and for Sweeck to ride away to victory. Hermans hung on for second, while you’ve got to say
hats off to van der Haar who battled back to round
out the podium in third. The previous day saw the second
round of the Ethias Cross, the Barren Cross, literally
translated as the Bare Cross. It’s an absolute joy of a course to watch, probably not to ride, as our co-commentator Helen Wyman said in our live broadcast. It’s got sand, planks, bridges, and a double-pump-track-esque
BMX rhythm section. So what can we take away from the Elite Women and Men’s races. Well, Corendon – Circus’
Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado got her cross season off
there to a phenomenal start, by outsprinting 777’s Annemarie Worst, after coming into the finish in a group that also contained
World under-23 champion, Inge van der Heijden of CCC Liv, and Maud Kaptheijns of
Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal. With the absence of three-time winner Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert, it was anyone’s game. Man of the moment Eli Iserbyt looked great before coming a cropper
on the planks on lap two. He took a while to recover,
but he would eventually find his way back to the front. Teammate, and former
World under-23 champion Michael Vanthourenhout
went solo on lap four, so often in the elite
races he’s the nearly man, though, on the occasion his luck held and so did the power despite Toon Aerts putting his trademark
acceleration towards the end, Vanthourenhout fought back to hold on for his second win of the
season ahead of Iserbyt who left a tiring Aerts to take second, while the Telenet
Baloise rider took third. One nation who we’ve seen
something of a resurgence of sorts from over the
past five years or so is the EKZ CrossTour in Switzerland. The first round was held on a great course in Aigle again, had a
little bit of everything including another BMX rhythm section. In the women’s race,
two-time overall winner and four-time round winner Pavla Havlikova was the big favorite. Nevertheless, it was
France’s Perrine Clauzel who has already had two
victories to her credit this season, who started with confidence and stood out quickly to
lead the race throughout. Barely half a minute behind Clauzel was young Swiss rider Zina
Barhoumi, who finished second while Line Berquier
surprised by taking third after a very competitive final sprint with favorite Pavla
Havlikova finishing fifth. The men’s race remained
open for a long time, with a very tight leading group. Spanish champ Felipe Orts was
constantly on the offensive but his pursuers, Dieter Vanthourenhout, Wietse Bosmans, young
Swiss Loris Rouiller, and Belgian Vinny Baestaens kept him within striking distance, and ultimately, it would be last year’s winner Baestaens who put in a storming final lap to take the victory in Aigle. The next Telenet UCI World Cup is in Bern, in two weeks’ time. The power shown by the
Swiss, on that past weekend, shows that it could be an
exciting home World Cup for them. We were all very saddened
to hear, last week, of the passing of Doctor Giorgio Squinzi. For those of you who are a little newer to the world of cycling, you may not recognize the name, but Squinzi was one of the
most influential characters the sport has ever seen. In 1993, he and his company Mapei formed one of the most iconic teams in the sport. A quick look through some of the riders who rode for Mapei, at some
point in their careers, is like looking at a who’s who of the world’s best
cyclists from that time. It was a doping scandal
involving one of their riders, Stefano Garzelli, that ultimately led to Squinzi closing the doors on the team at the end of 2002. But he is fondly remembered
by the whole community as a man with incredible
passion for the sport. Amongst them, Charly Wegelius, who said “Giorgio Squinzi’s passion for cycling “changed my life forever. “I will never forget my time
as part of the Mapei family, “and still cherish
friendships from those days. “My deepest condolences
to Doctor Squinzi’s “family and friends.” And we, at GCN, would like
to add our condolences too. Rest in peace, Giorgio, and thank you for everything you did for our sport. We’re going to move on now to
some team and transfer news. Last week, a team Katusha
takeover was confirmed by the Israel Cycling Academy. The UCI is still in the
process of approving it, but it should mean that the Israeli team will end up with a
WorldTour license in 2020. Katusha though, aren’t
finished in the sport, they will continue to
cosponsor a men’s team and apparently become the title sponsor for a professional women’s team next year, which is great news. Unfortunately though,
Roompot Charles announced that they have been unable to
find a replacement sponsor, and so will cease operation
at the end of the year, leaving 18 riders and
at least as many staff searching for jobs for next year. Meanwhile, the UCI have
announced last week the teams who have applied
for licenses for next year. French squads Arkea-Samsit and Cofidis have applied for WorldTour licenses but Total Direct Energie haven’t, which could be risky, as with a possible 20 teams in the WorldTour,
it means there will be only one World Cup place available at each of the Grand Tours next year. Onto some transfer news, now, and we’ll start with Andre Griepel, the German sprinter signed a two-year deal with Arkea-Samsic at
this time last year, but, by mutual consent the
second year of the contract has been annulled. As yet, it’s unclear as to whether Griepel will continue to race in
2020, or hang up his wheels. That same team continues to be very busy in the transfer market though, in just the last week they’ve announced the signing of Thomas
Boudat, Nacer Bouhanni, Dan McClay, Christophe
Noppe, and Lukasz Owsian. Rohan Dennis, who just took his second world time trial title, is rumored to be heading
to Team Ineos next season. You’ll remember last week, the Bahrain-Merida announced
that they’d canceled his contract with the team, but you’d think that a move to Ineos could be a good one for him. Heading away from Ineos
is David de la Cruz, who is going to UAE Team Emirates. The Israel Cycling Academy
also announced last week that they’d signed James Piccoli, one of the revelations of the
season over in North America. This will be his second
effort at making it in Europe, and if his results this
year are anything to go by, I think it might be second time lucky. Okay, that’s it for this week. Don’t forget to join us for all that live racing if you can. In the meantime, I can thoroughly recommend this next video: Jeremy headed to Belgium to spend a day in the life of cyclocross legend Sven Nys who’s busy coaching the next generation of cyclocross greats. You can find that down here. I’ll see you next week, bye for now.

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