Colombians, Cobbles And Crashes | The Cycling Racing News Show

(race countdown beeping) – This week on the GCN Racing News Show, an unbelievable number of
crashes at Tirreno Adriatico and one of the most
dramatic stage finishes I’ve seen for a long time. We also have the youngest winner
of Paris Nice for 38 years, plus the Women’s World Tour
which continues with the cobbles of the Ronde Van Drenthe. We’ll start this week
though with Paris Nice, the race to the sun certainly lived up to its name this year, finishing under the
bright blue skies of Nice. But starting with far
from ideal conditions in Northern France. The race was dominated by Team Sky, Michal Kwiatkowski going into
the overall lead in stage four extending that in the following
days Individual Time Trial. However, he came slightly unstuck on the only mountain top
finish on the penultimate day. Unable to stick with the
pace of the top climbers in the cold of Terreni. But thankfully for him,
his teammate Bernal could. In fact, that day was yet more evidence that Colombians are set to
dominate the high mountains for years to come. At the head of the race, we had a battle between two
incredible Colombian talents, 22 year old Daniel Martínez
of EF Education First, eventually getting the better of Miguel Ángel Superman
López of Team Astana, take his first professional road-race win. And then behind, the fastest
to rise up that climb were Bernal along with Nairo Quintana, putting them into first
and third respectively, on the general classification. And so, it came down to
the final day of racing, Quintana threw everything at it employing a similar tactic
to the one that Marc Soler successfully employed on
the same stage last year. Ultimately though, Team Sky
would have enough strength and depth to defend Bernal’s lead. But it was great to watch, as this stage seems to
be every single year. And so Egan Bernal becomes the
youngest winner of Paris Nice since Steven Roach back in 1981. What I find most amazing though
about Bernal’s performance, wasn’t his climbing, I mean we all know just
how good he is at that. But, the way he rode in the
first three days of crosswinds. I mean, I don’t know, but I’m presuming that this isn’t a style of racing regularly encountered in Colombia, But Bernal not only
survived the crosswinds, he embraced them, and if anything, he was one of the
strongest riders there too. Now of course he did
have a brilliant coach in the form of Welshman Luke Rowe, but you can get all the tips in the world that doesn’t mean anything unless you’ve got the balls and the power to ride at the front of the race. And Bernal had both in abundance. That also means that Team Sky have won six of the last
eight editions of Paris-Nice, with five different riders. Although as I pointed out
to Neal Rogers on Twitter, That still makes Sean
Kelly better than Team Sky. Incredible really to think that
he won that race seven times in a row. Fair play to Nairo Quintana though, he has often been
criticized in recent years for not attacking enough. But he laid it all on the
line in that last stage, and it almost worked. There were a few other notable
performances from the week, Sam Bennett taking two stage
victories was one of them, he was less than happy with
his team BORA-hansgrohe at the start of the year,
because they snubbed him for the Giro d’Italia this year. Though he’s certainly given
them something to contemplate, he’s now won a stage of every stage race that he’s competed in this year and with Sagan not quite
100 percent at the moment, you wouldn’t put it past him taking Milan-San Remo Saturday either. Jack Haig finished fourth overall and I thought that was
another step up the ladder in his career. Already one of the most dependable mountain domestiques around, but at 25 years of age now, increasingly making a case of
being a team leader himself. His teammate Simon Yates stage win at the Individual Time Trial was the first of his
career in that discipline, sending out a very strong
message to his rivals at this years Giro d’Italia. Luke Rowe bossing the peloton
only in the first few days but also in the climb, which
is mightily impressive. It’s gonna’ be interesting to see in fact what he can go do in the
upcoming Cobbled Classics And speaking of Classics, what about that ride from
Oliver Naesen on the final day? Former Belgian Champion,
big Classics specialist, he found the strength to
stick with the climbers on that last day, and finish second on the stage to Ion Izagirre. Very impressive indeed. And I will also say
that riders like Naesen or Michael Valgen for example, that can do pretty much everything, are worth their weight in gold in this modern era of reduced team sizes. Also fitting that bill
is Magnus Cort Neilson of Team Astana, he was superbly impressive
in his victory on stage four. And Thomas De Gendt who as
ever, is just impressive in being Thomas De Gendt. He went home with the
Mountains Classification. Now on to the other major
stage race that’s on right now, Tirreno-Adriatico. And it didn’t get off
to the best of starts for BORA-hansgrohe. (horns honking) And instant which quite
rightly ignited a lot of debate about rider security in races. Not the first time it’s
happened at that race either. Peter Sagan swerved a
spectator crossing the road in the final Individual Time Trial a couple of years ago there. And stage winners Mitchelton-Scott
almost came to grief in the closing kilometer this year. Many fingers were pointing
the blame at various parties, but it is a tough one. I mean it’s nigh on impossible
to barrier entire courses. Security officials can’t keep an eye on every single member of the
public at the roadside. But there are certainly some
lessons to be learned there because this sort of thing
really shouldn’t be happening. If you’ve got any
suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments
section below this video. Now as mentioned, Mitchelton-Scott
took the race honors. Michael Hepburn going into the race lead. And I love these stats
sourced by a ammattipyöräily Luke Durbridge of that
team averaging 449 watts for 22 and 1/2 minutes, taking eight pulls at the front of the
team at over 550 watts. Now I was accused of hyperbole last week for saying that Alaphilippe
is on another level this year, but his demonstration on stage
two makes me think he is. Yes, he was already great. And yes he’s already
won loads of big races. But right now, he’s just got that level
of confidence about him that I’ve not seen before. And to be honest, I’ve got a
level of confidence about him. When he’s in the front group of a race of a stage, like stage two of Tirreno, I just look at him and think that he’s just not going to be beaten. But just as I was thinking
that I’d be proven right, he was beaten both
yesterday and on Saturday. So maybe, or probably, I’m wrong. Saturday’s stage was
really quite incredible. Alexey Lutsenko definitely is a man who’s raised his game this year. He attacked with 38 kilometers to go carved out a lead of over a minute to some of the best riders
in the world, then crashed. Twice, got back up, got caught almost in
sight of the finish line, and then still found the
strength to out sprint everybody to take the stage win. It really was an incredible
display of resilience, strength, and terrible bike handling. But hats off, that was absolutely nuts. And Lutsenko is a thoroughly deserving GCN Rider of the Week this week. His team also, Astana,
are on fire right now. Jakob Fuglsang pulled off a
similar feat the following day, except that he managed to stay upright and solo to the win, which he dedicated to the
late Michele Scarponi. That means that that squad
now has 19 race wins in 2019 which is even more than
Deceuninck-Quick Step. Today looks set to be another
clash of the sprinters, the first of which incidentally, was won by Elia Viviani
ahead of Sagan and Gaviria. The Italian champion averaged
over 68 kilometers per hour in the closing 350
meters, and peaked at 74. Absolutely crazy. Next time you’re on a fast descent, check out how fast that feels. There’s been no stage racing in the Women’s peloton this week. But we have had a couple of one-day races. First up, a fine win Audrey
Cordon-Ragot of Trek-Segafredo in the, just bear with me on this one, A Drentse Acht van Westerveld. Only 36 riders managed to finish what was a particularly
attritional day with high winds. The Mayherd in the race is
a climb over a landfill site called the VAM-Berg. Ragot attacked a small
group into a headwind and had carved out a 90 second lead by the time she reached the finish line. And that was in fact her
first road-race UCI win in over four years. And then on Sunday we had
the Ronde van Drenthe, unfortunately there, the
organizers had to take out one of the most notorious
sectors of cobbles in the race due to the condition of the road. But never the less, it was
another extremely tough race, held in horrendous conditions. With less than 50 riders finishing, all absolutely covered in mud. It came down to a sprint
from three riders, Marta Bastianelli, the former
World Champion given the win, despite a slightly controversial change of line in the closing sprint. Chantal Blaak did protest after the finish but the result stood, with
the Dutch National Champion taking second and Ellen van Dijk in third. Absent at that race was
Anna van der Breggen, she was beginning her challenge at the Cape Epic with Annika Langvad. Annika off to the best possible start, crushing the Prologue by
over 2 and 1/2 minutes. And it’s basically hard to see anybody beating that pair over there. The Men’s Prologue was
taken by the pairing of Nino Schurter and Lars Forster. And the eight day race
covers over 600 kilometers, with close to 17,000 meters of climbing. Ian Bibby made it three wins in the Zwift Kiss Super League last week. Taking place in the London circuit and finishing up Keith Hill. Bibby was biding his time and ended up making his move half way up. Eventually coming in three
seconds in front of Alex West of the Zwift Academy super team. Madison Genesis once again won the round and extended their lead in
the teams classification. I’m going to end this week once again with a few sad pieces of
news I’m afraid to say. The cycling world lost
three more last week. First up, UK cycling legend Keith Butler. Butler was a brilliant
rider back in his day, a multiple National Champion, and helped Tom Simpson with his World Championships win in 1965. But Keith did as much
if not more for cycling after he retired from competing. He set up the Surrey League in 1983 organizing countless races, in fact, up to 170 a year at his peak. Some of which I actually
competed in myself. Without his vision, far fewer people would have ever pinned
a number on their backs, and those races were also instrumental in the early careers of many riders who went on to great things in the sports. We also lost a cyclist at the complete opposite
end of his career. Tate Meintjes, just 19 years of age. He was knocked off his bike last week whilst practicing on
the Redlands TT Course, and didn’t survive the impact. There’s really nothing you can say about a life taken so early. It is quite devastating,
and on exactly the same note news is just coming in that
Stef Loos also lost his life at a race on Sunday. What we’re hearing is that
he was one of three riders sent off course accidentally at the Alfred Gadenne road race on Sunday, and was then involved in
a collision with a van. Goes without saying that
our condolences and thoughts are with all of the friends and family of Keith Butler, Stef
Loos, and Tate Meintjes.