Frenchman Thibaut Pinot has announced his race programme through to the end of the season at Il Lombardia. The FDJ rider hasn't raced since winning the Tour de l'Ain and will next be in action at the Tour du Doubs on September 10.
The French stage race win salvaged the second half of the 2017 season for Pinot, who enjoyed a successful debut Giro d'Italia in May with a stage win and an eventual fourth place overall after starting the final day on the podium. Prior to the Giro, Pinot won a stage and finished on the podium at the Ruta del Sol and Tour of the Alps, and was also on the final Tirreno-Adriatico podium.
After the one-day Tour du Doubs, Pinot will head to Belgium for the Grand Prix de Wallonie on September 13. Pinot's final races will all come in Italy starting at Giro dell'Emilia on September 30. The next day Pinot will line up at the Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli, Tre Valli Varesine on October 3, and then Milano-Torino the following day. Il Lombardia, where Pinot finished third in 2015, is the final race of the season for the 27-year-old on October 7.
De la Cruz into fourth at La Vuelta
David de la Cruz rolled over the line atop the Observatorio Astronómico de Calar Alto on stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana, one minute down on race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky). A broken front derailleur on the final climb of the day to the summit finish hindered the Quick-Step Floors rider but De la Cruz fared better than several rivals, jumping from sixth to fourth overall.
With 11 stages raced, De la Cruz is 2:36 minutes down on Froome with Vincenzo Nibali second at 1:19 and Esteban Chaves third at 2:33 minutes. Rather than focus on what could have been, the 28-year-old explained he is concentrating on his rise back up the GC.
"It's a really pity what happened today, but there's nothing I can do now to change things," said de la Cruz. "Luck always plays an important role in cycling, and unfortunately, today it wasn't on my side. That bike change cost me important seconds and a better result, but I don't want to think of this anymore. I'm happy that I had good legs and could stay with the other favourites. Hopefully, it will be only onwards and upwards in the next week and a half for me."
While De la Cruz is yet to match the stage win and day in the red leader's jersey he enjoyed last year, he is on track to better his seventh place overall on 2016. With four stage wins already in the pocket for Quick-Step Floors at the Vuelta, the Belgian team will also be aiming to match its five wins at the Giro and Tour while backing in the Spaniard for his GC challenge.
George Bennett leaves the Vuelta
George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) has abandoned the Vuelta a España after 11 stage after struggling with illness. The New Zealander finished more than half an hour behind the winner at Calar Alto on Wednesday, and the team decided he won't start stage 12.
Bennett rode strongly at the Tour de France, infiltrating the top 10 overall before he was forced to abandon with illness, and in the aftermath he continued to struggle with viruses and an infection. His team said it was "crucial to be cautious after his glandular fever and sickness in the Tour".
Steven Kruijswijk is the team's best-placed rider on general classification, in 15th.
Vuelta stage 11 video highlights