Movistar's Richard Carapaz scored his first win for the Spanish WorldTour team this weekend at the Vuelta a Asturias, a three-day 2.1 race that started Friday in Oviedo. The 24-year-old was fifth on the opening stage, won the queen stage to Alto del Acebo and was eighth on Sunday to secure the overall win.
Carapaz and Movistar had to fight off an eight-rider breakaway on the final day. The group included Ricardo Mestre (W52), who was less than two minutes off Carapaz's lead. In the end, the bunch that included Carapaz finished just 34 second behind the remaining two leaders.
"After yesterday's victory we knew we were holding a very decent gap, and my teammates controlled things really well so we could keep this jersey until the end," Carapaz said. "We were also keeping in mind that other squads had to join us at the front of the pack because the podium places were also at stake at the finish, and that's how we got others to work in the finale.
"This is not a victory by myself, but a success achieved by the whole team," Carapaz said. "I'll always hold Asturias and this first big victory dear in my heart and memory. However, we must continue to work hard, so we can make sure other wins like this come in the future."
Carapaz said the team will enjoy the victory briefly before departing Tuesday for Israel and the Giro d'Italia, which begins May 4 with an opening time trial in Jerusalem.
"It's a three-week stage race and we will have to keep focus as well as remain calm in the first days," Carapaz said. "It's my second Grand Tour and I think all experience I got in the Vuelta last year will help me. I'm in good form, as shown here. I've trained a lot for this objective, and I hope we Blues can make ourselves visible during the race."
Jingle Cross named top Cyclo-Cross World Cup event
Jingle Cross in Iowa has been named the top UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup race of 2017 in the UCI President's Awards voted on by select riders, teams, media and series sponsors. Jingle Cross topped nine other races and is only the second event outside of Europe to be honored with the award.
“It is an incredible honor for Jingle Cross to be named the Best Cyclo-cross UCI World Cup,” said Promoter and Race Director John Meehan. “This award speaks to the dedication of Jingle Cross staff, volunteers, sponsors and the great people of Iowa City and Johnson County. Their hard work and love of cycling over the past 15 years has enabled Jingle Cross to grow into one of the premier cycling events in the world. We can’t wait until September and the opportunity to again bring world-class cyclo-cross to North America.”
The race moved from its traditional holiday dates to late September in 2016 to host World Cup races for the first time in its 15-year history. The 2017 Jingle Cross World Cup races took place on September 17 and were won by Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team) and Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon).
The 2018 edition will take place September 28-30 in Iowa City, Iowa. The 2018 Jingle Cross will be the second stop on the Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, following the opening round in Waterloo, Wisconsin.
"Jingle Cross and the UCI World Cup perfectly embodies the high energy, fun and supporting culture of Iowa City,” said Geoff Fruin, city manager of Iowa City.
In addition to the World Cup event, there will be a full schedule of amateur races, a gravel ride, a product expo and local vendors.
Ryan continues breakout season with third at Elsy Jacobs
Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM) continued her breakout season this weekend at Festival Elsy Jacobs, finishing third overall in the three-day Dutch race. Ryan finished eighth in Friday's prologue time trial, then secured third overall with second on stage 1 and fourth on Sunday's final third stage.
Canyon-SRAM had 2017 Elsy Jacobs winner Chrstine Majerus on the start line, and she took the overall lead after winning stage 2 ahead of Ryan. Her fifth-place finish on the final day saw her fall to second overall, however, one second behind stage winner Letizia Paternoster (Astana Women). Lotta Lepistö (Cervélo-Bigla) was second on the stage followed by Elisa Balsamo (Valcar PBM), then Ryan and Majerus.
Time bonuses on the line bumped Paternoster into the race lead ahead of Majerus. Ryan finished six seconds back to take the final podium position.
"We went in to the last stage trying to win the stage and the general classification," said Canyon-SRAM director Ronny Lauke. "We knew we had to invest and to take a risk, and with that we may lose everything. But we didn't want to race to only defend second or third on the GC."
"The commitment towards that plan from the entire group was great, and I couldn't ask for more today," Lauke said.
Ryan, 23, is in her third season with the team after spending two years with UnitedHealthcare. So far this season Ryan has won Drentse Acht van Westerveld in the Netherlands and finished second at Women's WorldTour Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Ronde van Drenthe. She was fifth at Amstel Gold Race, the seventh stop on the 2018 UCI series.
Ryan and the team will now turn their attention to the two-day stage race, Tour de Yorkshire, starting Thursday, May 3.
Bahrain-Merida see Romandie upside in Pernsteiner's GC result
Sprinter Sonny Colbrelli narrowly missed a stage win and general classification leader Ion Izagirre finished outside the top 10, but Bahrain-Merida are taking solace in the Tour de Romandie performance of 27-year-old Hermann Pernsteiner, whose surprise 14th-place finish was a revelation for the team.
With a demanding prologue and five stages, including an uphill time trial over a distance of almost 10km, the race threw a lot of challenges at the riders. The team fielded Gorka and Ion Izagirre to go for the overall standings, while Enrico Gasparotto and Pernsteiner served as their support in the mountains. Ramunas Navardauskas and Kristijan Koren were on hand to close gaps and reel in attackers so Colbrelli could have a shot at stage wins in the two stages that looked well-suited for the fast men.
Pernsteiner's 20th-place finish in the stage 3 individual time trial moved him up to 14th on the general classification, and despite his duties working for the Izagirre bothers, he was able to maintain the spot over the next two days.