© GPCQM / James Startt

Vuelta Ciclista a Espana: Jumbo-Visma’s demonstration, Evenepoel’s disappointment

Extremely rare in the history of the Grand Tours, three riders from the same team are leading the general classification at the start of the last week of the Vuelta a Espana. The question is no longer whether a Jumbo-Visma will achieve final victory. But which of the three riders Sepp Kuss, Primoz Roglic or Jonas Vingegaard will be on the top step.

Wearing the red jersey since the 8th stage, Sepp Kuss remains in pole position coming into the last six days of racing. He is 1’37” ahead of Primoz Roglic and 1’44” ahead of Jonas Vingegaard. A comfortable margin. Above all, he seems to have the backing of his two teammates to take the final victory. Roglic and Vingegaard want to see him win. This is a unique opportunity for them to reward the exceptional dedication of their “super teammate”. So far, Kuss hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. If Jumbo-Visma’s plan goes off without a hitch, the American will finish in red.

The week was also marked by the collapse of Remco Evenepoel on the Tourmalet stage. The Belgian has lost all hope of winning a second Vuelta in a row. But in revenge the next day, the leader of the Soudal-Quick Step put on an incredible show in Larra-Belagua to take the stage and don the jersey as the King of the Mountains.

Stages won by: Team dsm-firmenich ; Kron (Lotto-Dstny) ; Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step) ; Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) ; Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) ; Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) ; Soupe (TotalEnergies) ; Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) ; Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) ; Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) ; Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) ; Molano (UAE Team Emirates) ; Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) ; Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step) ; Costa (Intermarché – Circus – Wanty).


Simac Ladies Tour: Van Vleuten, farewell to the queen

Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) won the overall classification of the Simac Ladies Tour (WorldTour), an event that takes place in Belgium and the Netherlands. The 5th and final stage was won in a sprint by her teammate, the Dutch Lorena Wiebes.

At the end of a 150.3 km stage in Arnhem, the victory of the day came down to a sprint with European champion Wiebes winning, the 71st of her career, ahead of the Italian Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek) and Lotte Kopecky who ultimately launched her teammate to victory.

With an advantage of 11 seconds at the start on Sunday, Lotte Kopecky, 27, won the final general classification. The rider from Antwerp thus adds a 34th victory to her career, the 14th of the season. The world champion finished in the peloton and now succeeds Lorena Wiebes as the event’s champion. In 25 editions, this is the first Belgian victory.

It was also the last professional race for the Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten, Olympic time trial champion, who is hanging up the bike with 104 victories under her belt. At the end of a 2023 season that she has left her mark on, the Dutchwoman is retiring from professional cycling leaving a very big footprint. At over 40 years old, “Vleuty” has continued to dictate to the young guard. Her success is a result of long-term work ethic and a passion that she has maintained from the beginning of her professional career. Now in the twilight of that career, Annemiek van Vleuten can savor her success. The road has been long, but how beautiful it was…

The results: 1. Kopecky (Team SD Worx) ; 2. Wiebes (Team SD Worx) ; 3. Henderson (Team Jumbo-Visma)…

Stages won by: Kool (Team dsm-firmenich) ; Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) ; Kopecky (Team SD Worx) ; Kool (Team dsm-firmenich) ; Kopecky (Team SD Worx) ; Wiebes (Team SD Worx).


Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec: De Lie, the first WorldTour win with style

At 21, Arnaud De Lie (Lotto-Dstny) finally has his first major victory. During the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec, the first of the two Canadian classics at the end of the season, the Belgian showed himself to be uncompromising during the mass sprint and won his first WorldTour race. De Lie won ahead of Corbin Strong (Israel-Premier Tech) and Michael Matthews (Jayco-AlUla), double winner of the competition in 2018 and 2019.

The young Belgian sprinter was inspired by the Australian to build his success: “I looked at the other editions and saw that Michael Matthews was launching very late. I launched my sprint from afar, but I knew how to gain momentum. Corbin Strong is 2nd, he is always super strong on this kind of finish.”

Badly placed at the moment when Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) launched his sprint, the Bull of Leschert began to reel in his competitors one by one with his hands on the hoods finally to win by a solid margin over his rivals.

The results: 1. De Lie (Lotto-Dstny) ; 2. Strong (Israel-Premier Tech) ; Matthews (Jayco-AlUla)…


Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal: Adam Yates continues the UAE tradition

Briton Adam Yates won the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal by outsprinting his breakaway companion, Frenchman Pavel Sivakov, in the final meters. Third in the last Tour de France, Yates now succeeds Tadej Pogacar, the leader of his UAE Team Emirates, on the list of winners of the prestigious Canadian race. Pogacar did not race the event this year. The 31-year-old Yates settled his score with Sivakov, currently at Ineos but who will join the UAE team next season, 200 meters from the finish after 219.6 km on the rugged Mont-Royal circuit.

“It’s a very difficult race, with almost six hours on the bike. Tactically we had the perfect race. On the last lap, I went all out. I had great legs. It’s a perfect day, really,” Yates explained after his 23rd professional victory. “Adam was much stronger than me in the sprint, but I’m really happy with this second place,” Sivakov emphasized.

The two men escaped 10 kilometers from the finish when Yates attacked, taking advantage of the enormous work his teammates did to make the difference. Only Sivakov managed to follow him, but was unable to realize his dream of achieving a first victory in a one-day classic, since he is more of a specialist in stage races.

Behind, a chasing group of around ten riders, including Julian Alaphilippe (12th in the end) and Valentin Madouas (4th), closed to around ten seconds, but they did not manage to collaborate sufficiently to catch the pair up front. Spaniard Alex Aranburu (Movistar) took third place, just ahead of Madouas, while Simon Yates, Adam’s twin brother, finished sixth.

The results: 1. A. Yates (UAE Team Emirates) ; 2. Sivakov (INEOS Grenadiers) ; 3. Aranburu (Movistar)…


GP de Fourmies / La Voix du Nord: Merlier, of course

Having decided to come to the Grand Prix de Fourmies / La Voix du Nord at the last minute, Tim Merlier justified his change of program at the end of the season by winning the northern classic, after a perfectly controlled mass sprint.

“The team did a great job today and I have to thank them for that. I had good feelings and a lot of confidence, which helped when I lost my leadout riders a bit in that crazy last kilometer. I started the sprint very early, but I had enough power to hold it. This victory makes me very happy and I am looking forward to my next event, which will be the Tour of Slovakia,” said the 30-year-old rider.

At the end of the afternoon, which was animated by five breakaway riders including Dries De Bondt who was caught only 10 kilometers from the finish at the start of the last lap of the circuit, the Belgian leader of the Soudal-Quick Step team proved to be the most powerful in the streets of Fourmies: he beat his compatriot Gerben Thijssen (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Matteo Moschetti (Q36.5) and Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X). The French riders Paul Penhoët (Groupama-FDJ) and Arnaud Démare (Arkéa-Samsic) ranked 5th and 7th, respectively.

The results: 1. Merlier (Soudal-Quick Step) ; 2. Thijssen (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) ; 3. Moschetti (Q36.5)…

Upcoming races:

Until 11 September: Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche, https://tcfia.com/

Until 17 September: Vuelta a Espana, https://www.lavuelta.es/fr/

13 September: Giro della Toscana, http://www.girodellatoscana.com/

13 September: Grand Prix de Wallonie, https://www.trworg.be/

14 – 17 September:  Tour of Taihu Lake, https://www.uci.org/competition-details/2023/ROA/70122

14 September: Coppa Sabatini, http://www.girodellatoscana.com/

15 – 17 September: Tour de Romandie Féminin, https://tourderomandiefeminin.ch/

17 September: Grand Prix d’Isbergues, https://gpisbergues.com/