Caleb Ewan sprints to 50th pro win at Belgium Tour

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Caleb Ewan sprints to 50th pro win at Belgium Tour
Published on 2021-06-14 09:24:27
Updated on 2021-06-14 09:30:12

Caleb Ewan has won the third stage at the Baloise Belgium Tour after an impressive team effort. On a slightly uphill finish in Scherpenheuvel-Zichem, the Australian launched a strong sprint after what was an impressive lead-out from his Lotto Soudal teammates. Ewan won ahead of Pascal Ackermann and Michael Mørkøv. For the 26-year-old Ewan, it’s the 50th professional victory of his career.

“I am really impressed by what my teammates did today”, starts Caleb Ewan. “They brought me into a perfect position before that final climb and at the top, we were all together. Then they basically pulled into the headwind all the way to the finish and no one came around us. I think we were only with four guys left as we had to use a few more teammates than we wanted to chase the breakaway and that’s what makes it even more impressive.”

From the start of the stage, Lotto Soudal – together with several other sprint teams – immediately took control of the race. An early breakaway of five was kept in check and eventually caught at a handful kilometres from the finish. With an impressive lead-out, Caleb Ewan was brought into a perfect position towards the slightly uphill finish, which suited the Australian perfectly. Ewan finished off the work of his teammates with a powerful kick to the line.

Caleb Ewan: “I am really lucky to have such strong and smart teammates. We’ve integrated Tosh Van der Sande and Harry Sweeny in the lead-out as well, a first time at the UAE Tour and now here again and I think that was maybe what we were missing a little, those two guys in front of Jasper and Roger. Although it had been months since we’ve all raced together and did a sprint, they just did the perfect job.”

“Obviously, tomorrow’s Ardennes stage will be quite hard but I’ll use it as a training. Of course, I hope to be back up there on Sunday for another sprint. It would be nice to go into the Tour with at least one more win, but I am happy with how I am feeling now. As a sprinter, confidence is your biggest weapon. I feel like everything’s on track”, concludes Caleb Ewan.

Lotto Soudal
Caleb EWAN

A stage on the GIRO for Thomas De Gendt

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Thomas De Gendt adds another memorable victory to his list. In the eighth stage of the Giro, with departure and arrival in Naples, De Gendt, with his teammates Harm Vanhoucke and Sylvain Moniquet, was part of a breakaway of more than twenty riders. On a difficult circuit around Monte Procida, the early breakaway gradually thinned out and after some tactical play five riders broke away, including teammates De Gendt and Vanhoucke. The five riders never got much ahead of the first pursuers and in the last kilometers, the Van der Poel - Girmay duo almost came back. It was finally Vanhoucke who started the sprint for De Gendt to finish the job. This is his second stage victory in the Giro, ten years after his first on the legendary ascent of the Stelvio. "Today I really had a great day and with three teammates in the breakaway we were able to play a bit," said De Gendt afterwards. "We played perfectly. Due to illness and bad luck, I haven't been able to achieve the performances I wanted in recent years and that's why this win feels maybe even more special than the one on the Stelvio." "I even doubted that I would come to the start of this Giro in good shape. But this victory proves that I am back. This stage reminded me of Barcelona's stage during the Volta a Catalunya. The succession of climbs where it's hard to recover suits me well, so I rode at a tight pace the whole time to really give no one a break." "I know I'm fast after a stage like this, I still felt strong and I bet on the sprint. Harm played the team game perfectly in the last kilometers with Van der Poel and Girmay who were really getting closer. Three hundred meters from the finish, I gave it my all and that...

Guillaume Martin at his first GIRO

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The Cofidis team is preparing to compete in the first Grand Tour of the season with ambition. For the first time in his career, the Normand will compete in the Giro. His solid experience of the Grand Tours (5 participations in the Tour de France, 2 in the Vuelta) will necessarily be an asset to approach these three weeks of competition. During his last 5 Grand Tours, Guillaume has always finished in the ‘top 20’. His progress is constant since he remains in two 'top 10', at the end of the last Grande Boucle (8th) and the Vuelta (9th). Returning to competition last Sunday in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the climber completed more than three weeks of training at altitude in Sicily, in particular on the slopes of Etna, in order to adapt to Italian roads. He will do everything to join in the victory of certain stages (there will be 6 in the mountains) and aim for the general classification. Guillaume will be supported by the whole team, like Pierre-Luc Périchon, Anthony Perez, Davide Villella, Rémy Rochas, very prominent during the last Vuelta (15th), and Wesley Kreder. All these riders, exemplary teammates, will also be able to do well in order to aim for a stage victory. “The objective will be to achieve a good, even a very good result in the general classification. I hope to do better than my best performance in a Grand Tour (8th). During the three-week course in Sicily and on the slopes of Etna, I worked well, rode well. Admittedly, I only had one day of racing before the Giro (Liège-Bastogne-Liège) so it will be a bit of an unknown. But I hope to build pressure throughout the three weeks and I am very happy to discover this Grand Tour. It will be a first. I have ...

Victory of ION IZAGIRRE in the last stage of the Tour of the BASQUE COUNTRY

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After a remarkable stage in which he gave up nothing, Ion Izagirre won for the first time in the colors of Cofidis. The Spaniard, who finished 2nd overall, 11 seconds behind the winner, Daniel Felipe Martinez, thus offering Cofidis its 8th victory of the season and its first in the UCI world tour circuit in 2022. He had time to raise his right arm and clench his fist, a sign of overwhelming enthusiasm and resilience at every turn. Ion Izagirre crossed the line first, this Saturday afternoon in Arrate. The day's stage, 137.5 km long from Eibar will have been epic all the way with seven passes to climb in the Basque mountains. A breathtaking finale Hostilities began with about 40 kilometers to go. The thrilling finale was littered with attacks, and Ion Izagirre was one of the most active at the front. On the last climb, there were only a handful of strong riders left at the front, including overall winner Daniel Felipe Martinez, Jonas Vingegaard, Marc Soler and Alexandr Vlasov. Next to them, Ion Izagirre. The Basque rider held on despite a crash with 4 km to go. He immediately got back on his bike and made a great effort to catch the frontrunners. In a breathtaking final, he managed to get the better of Alexandr Vlasov and Marc Soler. Having joined Cofidis in the off-season, Ion has always considered the Tour of the Basque Country, the region where he grew up, as an important goal. He won it in 2019 and had a stage last year. So the Spaniard repeated the feat under his new colors, which allows him to take 2nd place overall, just 11 seconds behind leader Daniel Felipe Martinez.


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