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ALEJANDRO VALVERDE WINS GIRO STAGE 16, ENTERS GC PODIUM!

Alejandro Valverde shatters Giro d’Italia field

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Alejandro Valverde shatters Giro d’Italia field with impressive actitud on stage 16 to Andalo, arguably the most spectacular so far in this ‘Corsa Rosa'; enters podium, Nibali (AST) now at 1’20” as Spanish champion sits just 23″ short of Chaves (OGE), 3’23” to pink jersey

The most spectacular stage in the 2016 Giro d’Italia (132km between Bressanone and Andalo) was won by a legend in cycling and the leader of the Movistar Team. Alejandro Valverde has turned the dynamics of the ‘Corsa Rosa’ upside down with the gift that turned him into the most consistent rider of the peloton for decades: tenacity. The plan was clear for the Blues, and ‘Bala’ unveiled it after the finish: “Tear the race apart”. Nothing else. Forgetting about power data for a day, without counting the seconds behind his nearest rivals, including Vincenzo Nibali (AST). The only premise today was going on the attack.

75 kilometers from the finish of Andalo, after good work from the whole telephone squad during the Passo della Mendola climb (Cat-2), Ilnur Zakarin (KAT), Steven Kruijswijk (TLJ) and Valverde himself ultimately broke the peloton after several accelerations. The attacks left Colombia’s Esteban Chaves (OGE) behind, 39″ after the ten-man group led by Valverde into the ‘Traguardo Volante’ of Cles, where ‘Bala’ took a two-second bonus he would multiply at the finish.

Cards were on the table as Valverde recovered his nonconformist spirit from the Mur de Huy, the Vuelta a Andalucía and already so many races this year, leaving Nibali behind into the Fai della Paganella (Cat-2) ascent and beating Kruijswijk on the last kick up Andalo. The win, Alejandro’s 97th as pro, takes him directly into the selected club of stage victors in all three Grand Tours vueltas (Tour, Giro, Vuelta). Things will calm for a while on Wednesday -196km from Molveno to Cassano d’Adda, with just one Cat-4 climb- before the big finale of this ‘Corsa Rosa’ starts in Piedmont on Thursday.


Alejandro Valverde: 

“It was an amazing victory. We came to the start fully focused, knowing that it was going to be a really demanding stage for us. We had already inspected it back in March, the three of us – Chente, Andrey and myself. The team worked their hearts out to go for victory today and tear the peloton apart. We really dug deep for the victory, we put all means we had to claim it. The split wasn’t forming up into the first ascent, and the race leader and other rivals were insisting a lot. Happily, we were able to open that gap just before the end of the ascent, with Kruijswijk and without Chaves. We went ahead, pulling all the way to the foot of Fai della Paganella – I think we did a great job, all of us up there.

“I don’t think it was a really bad day for Nibali. He was keeping up with us all the time during the break and had everything under control. It was just that I attacked into the final ascent, so I could keep the gap against Chaves and reduce the field ahead – those kilometers alone might have costed him a lot. Seeing Kruijswijk doing that well wasn’t a surprise to me, either when he took the leader’s jersey. He’s been already showing for years he can cope well with the Giro, he was arguably the strongest into the final week last season, and this year, he came here with all willingness to win the race. We three, Steven, Zakarin and Myself, insisted until the very end so we could keep that gap. That brought me the win.

“I already stated during the rest day that my bad day on Saturday was just a consequence of riding in altitude for so long, so many kilometers above 1,700, 1,800 meters. We got through the day as good as we could and later on, we saw at the mountain TT that my physical condition was still near optimal. We just had to go for it today, breaking the peloton into pieces – and we succeeded. The team was phenomenal. I want to thank all of them -mechanics, carers, riders, sports directors- for their dedication. This is a tribute to them, also for my family, my kids and all the fans.

“It’s true that Kruijswijk’s only weak point so far is his team. Even though we tried to isolate him today, he reacted fantastically well. However, the Giro is far from over. Many demanding stages are left, including Friday and Saturday. We must, however, enjoy today’s win, and also the podium, which makes the final result even better.”

TOUR DE FRANCE Stage 6

Mark Cavendish Blasts to 3rd Victory
for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka

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The fairy tale Tour de France continued on stage 6 for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka as Mark Cavendish sprinted to his 3rd victory at this year’s race. Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quickstep) was 2nd in the lunge for the line and Dan Mclay (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) placed 3rd.

At 190km from Arpajon-sur-Cere to Montauban, the terrain took in a few undulations but nothing significant enough to stop a big bunch sprint from deciding the final stage outcome. Only 2 riders made the early break of the day and this all but assured that the sprinters would have their day, as Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, Etixx-Quickstep and Lotto-Soudal had no trouble at keeping the escapees at around 3 minutes for the majority of the day.

The inevitable catch took place just inside of 15km to go, and this is where things would get really interesting. The road was rather narrow and it meant that the peloton was densely packed, with almost no room for teams to move up. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were in the front 3rd of the peloton but there just didn’t seem to be a way through for our leadout team to get to the front.

The narrow road continued right up until 3km to go and it was clear that a long leadout train was not going to work today. Cavendish just wanted to be taken to the wheel of Kittel, from where he would then freelance to the finish. Our African Team were able to get Cavendish locked on to the German’s wheel after some clever work by Mark Renshaw, and from there our Manxman showed his class. Jumping with around 300m to go, Cavendish came from behind Kittel to forge ahead on the slightly downhill sprint and took another incredible win for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka.

While the entire team were working toward the common goal of delivering Cavendish to the finale, Daniel Teklehaimanot, played a huge part in today’s victory as the Eritrean national champion spent close on 150km working at the front of the peloton. This victory comes at the perfect time for our African Team as we begin the big push to get people to sign up for our Qhubeka5000.org challenge. Tomorrow the race will head into the Pyrenees and Mark Cavendish will do so as the leader of the Green Jersey points competition once again.

Mark Cavendish – Rider:

It was a hot day. Daniel Teklehaimanot did an incredible job to control the breakaway. He was riding super strong actually and he was up there for a long, long time. The guys are getting more and more confident as the race goes on. Steve Cummings was up there fighting with us until the end which was phenomenal, he is a strong guy to keep us there in the final. There were essentially two finish lines, one was at 12km to go and one was at the finish. We were a little bit too far back at the first one but Mark Renshaw did a great job at 4km to go to get me just there and out of a sticky situation. I thought the best wheel to follow in the final was Kittel. It was a fast finish and with the finish line not appearing until late I knew the guys would leave it late because your instincts are not to go before you see the line. I knew Kittel’s wheel was the one to get the biggest slingshot from and with the speed of the finish, I knew if I got a good slingshot I could be going 3-4km/h faster than him before he had time to react so that’s what I did and I was happy to hang on for the win.

@stevepeat is pretty happy with how the @maxxistires DTH Tan walls and peaty grips look on the @santacruzbicycles #Jackal , what you think? #lizardskinsgrips #peatygrips #stevepeat #repost
@nathanpeterhaas and @teamdidata put the icing on the cake powering to victory during stage 4 of the Vuelta a Burgo! #dspbartape 📷 @mariostiehl #AfricasTeam #TeamDimensionData #BicyclesChangeLives
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