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Mitchelton-Scott set to have internal discussions on Vuelta a España participation - Cyclingnews.com
Team pulled out of the Giro d'Italia with five COVID-19 positives
After pulling out of the Giro d'Italia ahead of stage 10 due to five positive COVID-19 cases within their roster and staff entourage, the Mitchelton-Scott team will monitor the situation and hold talks in the next 48 hours to determine if they will race the Vuelta a España. The final Grand Tour of this truncated season is set to start next week on September 20 even as COVID-19 cases are rapidly growing across Europe. Last week, Mitchelton-Scott's Giro d'Italia leader Simon Yates was forced out of the race after returning a positive COVID-19 test, while four staff members from the Australian team returned the same results after tests were taken on Sunday and during Monday's rest day. Ahead of Tuesday's stage 10, the team decided in conjunction with Giro d'Italia organiser RCS to leave the race. Jumbo-Visma followed suit after their GC leader Steven Kruijswijk also tested positive for the virus. Upcoming talks within the Mitchelton-Scott management will not lead to a snap decision over the team's Vuelta a España participation, but General Manager Brent Copeland has told Cyclingnews that the team will take a socially-responsible stance if cases in Spain continue to rise, and the staff and riders feel uneasy about racing. "We're not going to make a decision tomorrow but we will have an open discussion over where we go next because the numbers in Spain are increasing rapidly," Copeland told Cyclingnews. "We'll see how it goes in the next few days but we don't want to find ourselves in the same situation at the Vuelta as we had at the Giro. At the moment we want to go, but if we'll talk internally and if there's unease about going then we'll make a decision based on our social responsibility." According to Copeland, even with the Giro roster and the team's staff now isolating, the squad still has the personnel to race the Vuelta, but the central issue comes down to safety and the health of those within the Mitchelton-Scott bubble. The experience of the Giro has highlighted that despite good intentions from the organisations and the teams, there is still no real defence against coronavirus. "As far as the logistical side is concerned we're covered for that side of things," Copeland said with regards to the Vuelta. "The problem is the same for everyone because everyone is cautious while the numbers are increasing all over Europe. To take your riders and staff and put them into an area where there's a lot of infected people with this virus becomes a decision over social responsibility from an ethical point of view. We're looking at that as well and we're having a discussion at a management level with Gerry Ryan about that tomorrow. If the numbers continue in this way, and as we saw at the Giro, no matter how hard we tried to stay in that bubble we still had positive cases. "The scary part is that we had two nights of negatives and then on Sunday we had four positives. There are still big question marks over how this virus works and it comes back to a social responsibility, which is the same decision we took at the Giro. As far as UCI regulations go, we could have started but we felt it was unethical to do that with so many positives in the team." For now, no decisions will be made and it should be stressed that the ultimate call on the Vuelta will be made by the Spanish authorities. "All of this will depend on the numbers. We have riders and staff who have wives and partners who are pregnant and who have small children. Taking them far away from their families and having them quarantine in hotels is a difficult call to make," Copeland said. "We're cautious over our next decision because while we have the visibility for sponsors to consider, and the sporting side, it all comes second to the health and well-being of our riders and staff."
2020 Tour de France stage 18 highlights - Video - Cyclingnews.com
Watch Michal Kwiatkowski and Richard Carapaz dominate the final mountain stage
The Ineos Grenadiers team may have lost defending champion Egan Bernal but they haven't lost hope: the team launched Richard Carapaz and Michal Kwiatkowski into the day's breakaway on the final mountain stage - a torturous five-mountain, 175km trip from Méribel to La Roche-Sur-Foron and the pair did not disappoint. After losing mountains classification rival Marc Hirschi (Sunweb) to a crash on the third climb, the Col des Saisies and Bahrain McLaren's Pello Bilbao on the final descent, Carapaz and Kwiatkowski came in side by side to celebrate the team's first major success of the Tour de France. Behind, Bilbao's teammate Mikel Landa launched an assault on the yellow jersey of Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) that never troubled the Slovenian, but did dislodge Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) from his position above Landa in the standings. Roglic launched teammate Wout van Aert ahead to sweep up the time bonuses at the line and safely finished ahead of second-placed overall Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) to hold onto his 57-second lead in the GC. Watch the Tour de France stage 17 highlights above.
Richie Porte survives Tour de France 'fistfight' on queen stage - Cyclingnews.com
Australian climber moves up to places to fourth overall
Richie Porte (Trek Segafredo) may have lost time in the battle for the yellow jersey on the Tour de France's 'queen stage' stage 17 on Wednesday but the Australian still managed to come out a winner, as he moved up two places in the overall standings, from sixth to fourth. Porte, 35, finished fifth on the summit finish of the Col de la Loze, 1:01 behind stage winner Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), but he dropped a number of his primary GC rivals to leap above both Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Rigoberto Uran (EF Pro Cycling). On a brutally tough day in the race, Porte had to keep pace with the main contenders and then ride his own race when the final attacks came within 3km of the finish. He was well supported by his team throughout the stage, with standout performances from Mads Pedersen and Kenny Elissonde. "To be honest, there are climbs in cycling, like the Zoncolan, that are absolutely brutal, but today, with the final at altitude I could barely pedal my bike, and with 500 metres to go, I couldn't stand up," Porte said. "Everybody went super deep. It was a hard day, but I'm happy with the way it turned out. Tomorrow is another hard day; we'll see how the legs back up. "When I reconned this stage in July with [teammate] Bauke Mollema, we knew it was going to be the queen stage at the Tour. To get through and come away in a better position than we started in makes me happy. "It was a fistfight, to be honest. It was every man for himself," he continued. "Sepp Kuss [Jumbo-Visma] was there for Primoz Roglic, but at the end of the day, there was nothing really teammates could do to help. I'm happy to move to fourth on GC." Porte is still some way off a podium place, sitting 1:39 behind Lopez overall, but the Australian can take hope from his consistency so far in the race. Had he not lost over a minute in the cross-winds on stage 7, he would be even closer to Lopez's current third place in the standings, and with another tough day in the mountains coming on stage 18, the Trek rider remains focused on the GC. "Let's see how it is tomorrow and get through Friday, then hopefully do a good time trial as well," he said, referring to Saturday's test, when the Tour's penultimate stage finishes at the top of the climb of La Planche des Belles Filles.
Pozzovivo quits Tour de France due to injury sustained on opening stage - Cyclingnews.com
Italian has battled for over a week with elbow injury but will know target Giro d'Italia
NTT Pro Cycling's Domenico Pozzovivo has quit the Tour de France following the conclusion of stage 9 in Laruns on Sunday, having battled through the opening week with an elbow injury sustained in the large crash that brought down a number of riders three kilometres from the finish in Nice on the opening stage of the race. Pozzovivo who was in 45th position overall, almost 50 minutes down on new race leader Primo Rogli (Jumbo-Visma) says that he'll now be able to fully recover, and hopes to be able to instead target the rescheduled Giro d'Italia in October. The 37-year-old has finished in the top 10 at the Giro five times since 2008, and was fifth in both 2014 and 2018. "I didn't want to leave the Tour without seeing if my body could recover during the course of the race, but the pain every day has been incredible," Pozzovivo said in a press release on Sunday. "Added to that is the risk of crashing again and causing even greater harm, which is simply too great. "I'm going to focus now on recovering as quickly as possible, and then look towards my next goal, which will hopefully be the Giro d'Italia," the Italian said. "I've tried to give my absolute best, and have had incredible support from my team here, for which I want to thank everyone involved," Pozzovivo said. "I wish them all the very best for the rest of the race." Teammate and compatriot Giacomo Nizzolo was also involved in the same crash in Nice, and was forced to quit the race on stage 8 on Saturday. "It's really disappointing that Domenico has been forced to pull out of the race," said NTT team manager Bjarne Riis. "We were very optimistic that he would be able to feature in the overall general classification, but that opportunity was taken away from him on the first stage by the crash. "I've seen how he's been bravely suffering every day, and we've now come to the conclusion that the best thing is for him to stop," said Riis, who the team said ultimately made the decision. "We want him to return home, focus on recovering and start looking ahead to preparing himself for the Giro d'Italia. "It's been so encouraging to see how he prepared himself to be ready for the Tour de France after the way in which he recovered from his serious crash last year, so for his race to end in this way is very sad," he said. Pozzovivo was hit by a car while training in Italy last August, suffering a broken arm and leg, which he at first feared might end his career, although he fought back to race again at the Tour de la Provence in February, having moved from Bahrain Merida to NTT for the 2020 season.