The Cycling Race News Show: Challenge Mallorca, Vuelta A San Juan & The Great Ocean Road Race


It’s been another action packed week of pro
racing, with races in Argentina, Australia, and the Netherlands, but we’re going to start
on the normally sunny island of Majorca, Spain. The Challenge Majorca is a series of four
back to back one day races, an interesting and relatively unique concept which means
that riders don’t have to finish, or even start any one particular day, in order to
compete the next. John Degenkolb chose to start the first and
the last races, and he couldn’t really have got his own season, or that of Trek Segafredo,
off to a better start, winning them both in a bunch sprint. Majorca treated the team very well, in fact,
with newly signed twenty six year old Tom Skujins got to raise his arms on day three,
on what was a punchy day out to say the very least – feast your eyes on this for a hard
day in the saddle. (Source: Twitter @ammattipyoraily) Day two, meanwhile, belonged to Tim Wellens
of Lotto Soudal – just as it did last year in fact. The notoriously difficult stage to Deia was
made even tougher by the weather, but Wellens excels in the rain, so it wasn’t a surprise
to see him at the head of affairs, comfortably out sprinting Gianni Moscon. In fact the result was even less surprising
if you’d seen Wellens’ Instagram post from a couple of days previous – he’d netted
a ten minute personal best power in training, a monstrous Five hundred and thirteen watts
at seventy one kilograms. If you’ve got access to a power meter, go
and see how long you can hold that power to weight for, it may just give you a renewed
admiration for pro cyclists. (source: Instagram Tim Wellens) The Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana was also, incidentally,
the second race back for Alejandro Valverde after his horror crash at last years Tour
de France. He finished third after riding a particularly
aggressive race, so it seems that there is still life in him yet. Vuelta a San Juan Over to Argentina now, where stage one winner
and Colombian super talent Fernando Gaviria was forced to abandon and head to hospital
after a heavy crash on day stage four. It did open the way for his team mate Max
Richeze to win the stage, but it was small consolation for the QuickStep team, who will
be hoping this doesn’t interrupt an important Spring campaign for the twenty three year
old. Ryan Mullen won his first professional race
outside of the Irish National Championships with victory on the stage three individual
time trial, a great start to his first race with Trek Segafredo. He did, though have to rely on some help from
a local cycling fan after getting lost on his way back from the subsequent press conference. Teammate Giacomo Nizzolo concluded the race
with a sprint victory, his first win for over year. That made five wins in six days for Trek Segafredo,
so instead of rider of the week, we have our first ever Team Of The Week – thoroughly deserved
Trek Segafredo, what a way to start your season. The race overall, though, belonged to Gonzalo
Najar. Never heard of him? Nope, neither had we, although perhaps we
should have done given that he’s the current Argentinian national champion. The twenty four year old showed everybody
a clean pair of wheels on the Queen stage, attacking from far out and averaging a whopping
31.5kph on the fifteen km four point five percent climb to the line. He soloed to the stage win, almost two minutes
ahead of anybody else. From that point on, the general classification
was never really in doubt. Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (VIDEO) Jay McCarthy took the second pro win of his
career in the men’s race and with it the second World Tour win of the year for Bora Hansgrohe. The race was run off in sweltering conditions
with the thermometer topping out at forty one degrees. The one hundred and sixty four kilometre race
was animated from the flag drop, with a five man break going clear that included Dane Lasse
Norman Hansen of Aqua Blue and Katusha’s Pavel Kochetkov, this pair surviving until
the the final lap of the tough finishing circuit in Geelong, their efforts enough to reward
them with the King of the mountains and sprint jerseys respectively. With the break absorbed a reduced peloton
hit the final ascent of Challambra Crescent and it was here that Lotto NL Jumbo’s George
Bennett and Borah Hansgrohoe’s new signing Peter Kennaugh really forced the pace, splitting
the group and sending an elite nine rider group clear which included Mitcheleton Scott’s
Esteban Chavez, BMC’s Simon Gerrans and McCarthy. The group never really combined as a unit
and with a smaller chasing group breathing down their necks Chavez took flight with three
km to go but was caught as both the lead and chasing group merged within the last five
hundred metres. McCarthy proved the sharpest in the rush to
the line, just pipping a fast finishing Elia Viviani who had to come from a long way back
after being part of the chasing group. In form Daryl Impey rounded out the top three. Just take take a look at these stats from
Velon, showing the sprint efforts of Viviani, Gerrans and Dries Devenyns after four hours
of racing.. Ale Cipolini’s Chloe Hosking ensured Commonwealth
Games selection for Australia with her victory in the Women’s race, using her renowned
sprint prowess to take the sprint from a reduced bunch; out pacing Mitchelton Scott’s Gracie
Elvin and Cylance’s Giorgia Bronzini. Towards Zero Race Melbourne (VIDEO) Preceding the road races was the Race Towards
Zero – a twenty two lap circuit race which takes place on Melbourne’s Albert Park Formula
One circuit. Bora-Hansgrohe’s Sam Bennett got the better
of Elia Viviani and Steele Von Hoff in the men’s event. The twelve lap women’s race was taken by
the in-form Annette Edmondson in a very close bunch sprint. Giorgia Bronzini took second with Tibco’s
Kendall Ryan in third. CycloCross World Cup Hoogerheide Hoogerheide in the Netherlands hosted the
final round of the Telenet UCI World Cup at the weekend, simultaneously serving as the
final preparation for the World Championships. It was fitting to see both Sanne Cant and
Mathieu Van Der Poel take spoils – those two have dominated their respective categories
this season, although the margins of victory certainly give us hope of a very close fought
battle this coming weekend. Cant bounced back from a disappointing result
the previous week in France, powering away from the midway point of the race, leaving
Eva Lechner to settle for second. Another fine performance from British U23
National Champion Evie Richards saw her round out the podium – she’s a standout favourite
for the U23 rainbow bands. The big news in that race, though, was the
crash of Pauline Ferrand Prevot and World MTB Champion Jolanda Neff, Prevot was taken
to hospital, but thankfully with no major injuries, she’s hopeful of competing at
the Worlds. Home favourite Marianne Vos took 4th, albeit
at 51s – it seems a long shot that she’ll take an eighth Elite World Title, but you
still can’t count her out. In the men’s, Van Der Poel might have crossed
the line first, but it wasn’t quite as convincing as previous weeks. Current World Champion Wout Van Aert crossed
the line just 8 seconds later. This Sunday will almost undoubtedly be a two
horse race, but it could well be a close fought battle nonetheless. Before we finish, we must say we were delighted
to see Vincenzo Nibali announce that he will make his Tour of Flanders debut this year. Nibali is, of course, better known for his
Grand Tour exploits – he’s won all three – but he’s also no stranger to monument
success, having twice won Il Lombardia. And I think we should all applaud him for
going outside his comfort zone here, it’s going to be fascinating to see how he gets
on, rubbing shoulders with the hard men of the classics. Right, that’s it for this week, we’ll be back
in the same place this time next week, where we’ll be talking through the Volta a Valenciana,
the Herald Tour and Etoile de Bessages, but first and foremost, the World Cyclo Cross
championships in Valkenberg. Who will take the coveted rainbow bands? Find out right here. In the meantime, you might want to watch this
next video with former World Time Trial Champion Emma Pooley, in a special edition of Ask GCNything.