Second consecutive stage win for Ewan at Belgium Tour

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Second consecutive stage win for Ewan at Belgium Tour
Published on 2021-06-14 09:28:58
Updated on 2021-06-14 10:37:41

One day after Caleb Ewan’s stage win in Scherpenheuvel-Zichem, the Australian once again took the day’s honours for Lotto Soudal at the Belgium Tour. Against all odds, a reduced bunch sprinted for victory in what was marked as the queen stage in and around Hamoir. Following another impressive lead-out by Lotto Soudal, Caleb Ewan finished the job perfectly. The Australian won the sprint with a considerable margin over Bryan Coquard and Davide Ballerini. Ewan also took over the points jersey from Remco Evenepoel, who remains the overall leader.

“To be honest, I didn’t really believe in a stage victory before the start”, begins Caleb Ewan. “I expected that the GC guys would take their opportunity today and that there would be a lot of attacks. But the pace was kept really high all day long and I think a lot of the guys didn’t really have the legs to get away in the end. It was only with one lap to go that I really started to believe in it. I felt good and we decided that we would give it a go. That is why you started seeing us coming to the front to chase the breakaway. I am really happy to pull it off once again after a superb job by my team today.”

After a run-up that included several ascents – one of which the infamous Mur de Huy – two local laps of around 30 kilometres were covered in and around Hamoir. The pace was held high and the peloton was thinned out as the riders headed closer to the finish. Despite several attacks, no one was able to carve out a considerable gap. In the very final of the race, the riders were confronted with several climbs, where the peloton was completely strung out. Caleb Ewan got a little distanced, but thanks to impeccable teamwork, he was brought back to the very front of the race. His Lotto Soudal teammates delivered a perfect lead-out in which Jasper De Buyst brought Caleb Ewan in a perfect position to the final straight. The Australian rewarded his teammates with a second consecutive stage win, De Buyst still finished in 5th place.

“Of course it was a really tough stage and obviously I wasn’t really expecting to be there in the final. I got distanced on the final climb but the team did an amazing job waiting for me and moving me back to the bunch. In the end, we were still with five guys left and it worked out perfectly. I knew it would be hard to come back but I kept fighting with my teammates to bridge to the front group. And that lead-out was again really impressive…”

Caleb Ewan can make it three wins tomorrow in the closing stage towards Beringen, where another bunch sprint is expected.

“Tomorrow, there’s another chance for a stage win and obviously we are really motivated to go for it again. I don’t think I ever scored a hattrick in my career so that would really be unique”, concludes the 26-year-old Australian.

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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