Dumoulin wins 9th Vuelta stage, takes overall lead

Getty Images
0 Comments

EL POBLE NOU DE BENITATXELL, Spain (AP) Tom Dumoulin passed Tour de France winner Chris Froome with about 50 meters (yards) left in a steep climb to win the ninth stage and take the overall lead of the Spanish Vuelta on Sunday.

Froome jumped ahead with less than 200 meters to go but couldn’t hold off the Dutchman’s late charge for his first stage victory in this year’s Vuelta.

Dumoulin crossed the line in 4 hours, 9 minutes, 55 seconds. Froome had his best stage so far and finished only 2 seconds behind, but the British rider remains more than a minute back in the overall standings.

Former leader Esteban Chaves of Colombia struggled at the end of the climb and finished nearly a minute behind Dumoulin, losing the leader’s red jersey and dropping to third overall. Joaquin Rodriguez of Spain was in the mix near the end Sunday and finished third, moving to second place overall, 57 seconds behind Dumoulin.

Dumoulin and Chaves were involved in an early pileup nearly an hour into the 168.3-kilometer (104.5-mile) ride from Torrevieja to the Cumbre del Sol, or “Summit of the Sun” peak. Alejandro Valverde also got caught up in the early accident and briefly needed medical assistance before recovering to finish seventh. Nario Quintana of Colombia was sixth.

Jasper Stuyven of Belgium did not race because of an injury sustained Saturday in a stage he went on to win. Peter Sagan, who was accidentally taken out by a motorbike near the end of Saturday’s stage, also had to withdraw.

Several other riders were injured in that eighth stage, none more seriously than Kris Boeckmans of Belgium, who suffered a concussion, facial trauma and an injured lung. Before Sunday’s stage, Vuelta organizers said Boeckmans underwent surgery overnight and was in a stable condition. Doctors said that on Monday they would consider waking Boeckmans from an induced coma.

Chaves also was involved in a pileup before recovering to retain the lead on Saturday.

The 10th stage of the three-week Vuelta, a 146.6-kilometer (91.1-mile) leg from Valencia to Castellon, has a climb less than 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the finish but should end with a sprint.

Australia’s Jay Vine wins Tour Down Under

4 Comments

ADELAIDE, Australia — Australia’s Jay Vine defended his overnight lead to win the Tour Down Under, the first event of the 2023 World Tour.

Simon Yates of Britain won the final stage and moved up from third to second place on overall standings. Vine came in second on the stage to secure the biggest win of his career in a stage race.

The UAE Team Emirates rider took the overall tour lead when he finished second in Stage 2 and third in Stage 3. He came into the final stage with a 15-second lead on general classification.

The 70-mile stage involved four laps of a 15.5 mile-circuit through the Adelaide Hills before finishing just beyond the summit of Mount Lofty.

Yates led the crucial attack on the ascent less than 1.2 miles from the finish, but Vine jumped onto his wheel and Australian Ben O’Connor also joined in.

O’Connor led out close to the finish line, Vine briefly passed him but Yates came over the top to claim the stage win. Vine retained his overall advantage and claimed the title in his debut appearance in the Tour Down Under.

The 27-year-old made his name in e-Sports before being signed by the UAE team after winning the academy program on the Zwift online platform. He won two stages of the Vuelta a Espana last year and the Australian Time Trial title.

“It’s pretty incredible to be standing here and wearing this jersey,” Vine said. “The way we drove that was first class. My guys were incredible.”

The final stage featured a breakaway of 13 riders but Vine’s UAE teammates led the chase by the peloton and put their rider in a position to contest the win.

Yates again rode an aggressive race but had to be happy with the stage win.

“We came Down Under with a lot of ambition. We put a lot into it and we didn’t come away with the overall but we can walk away pretty happy,” Yates said. “Obviously Jay Vine is a massive talent and the crowd will be happy with a local winner.”

France’s Coquard wins Tour Down Under Stage 4; Vine leads

5 Comments

ADELAIDE, Australia — French cyclist Bryan Coquard won Stage 4 of the Tour Down Under for his first-ever World Tour win, while Australia’s Jay Vine retained the overall tour lead by 15 seconds with one stage remaining.

Coquard is a lightweight sprinter who has had 49 wins in a decade-long career but had never won on the World Tour until he cleared out near the finish to claim the 82-mile stage by a margin of about just over 100 feet.

Vine was among the leading group that shared Coquard’s winning time and who retained his lead on general classification over Britain’s Simon Yates and Germany’s Phil Bauhaus. The race concludes with Stage 5, which ends atop 2,329-foot Mount Lofty.

“It’s a long time that I’ve waited for this win, 10 years,” said Coquard, who rides for the French Cofidis team. “I never really expected and I’m very happy and relieved with this win.”

While the stage was flat and suited sprinters, it had its challenges. Cross-winds and occasional gradients made the stage difficult and confounded some riders.

After an early breakaway by Jonas Rutsch and former tour winner Daryl Impey of South Africa, the peloton broke into two groups with Vine and other tour leaders among the leading group.

The leading group stayed together around the last, sharp bend towards the finish and Coquard bided his time until his late sprint left other riders flat-footed.

“It was pretty stressful,” Vine said. “There was one point there, I thought we were going to have an easy day and I was happy, smiling, waving to families on the side of the road.

“Then, 45 kilometers in it was on and it was on until the end so it was a very hard day. There was a lot more calorie expenditure than I was planning.”