Mende, Saturday, July 16th – Michael Matthews won again at the Tour de France five years after the last time. Second at Longwy and Lausanne, he became the second Australian to win a stage after Simon Clarke on stage 5 and the second rider from Team BikeExchange-Jayco to win a stage after Dylan Groenewegen on stage 3. The sprinter from Canberra rode as an attacker to finish solo after the Côte de la Croix-Neuve in Mende while Alberto Bettiol and Thibaut Pinot rounded out the podium.
Young rider leader Pogacar shattered rivals plans with a well crafted ride on the cobbles of Northern France while veteran Australian Simon Clarke took a maiden Tour de France stage victory at age 35.
Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, Wednesday, July 6th – Australia’s Simon Clarke claimed his maiden Tour de France stage victory as the early breakaway survived to the line. The Israel-Premier Tech veteran, aged 35, pipped Taco van der Hoorn on the line while Edvald Boasson Hagen rounded out the podium. Wout van Aert who crashed before the cobbled sector and waited for Jonas took third spot.
The yellow jersey battle took a new twist with a big re-jig at the top of the standings. While Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) who had punctured retained the yellow jersey by a margin of 13 seconds over breakaway member Neilson Powless a late attack by Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) in the company of Jasper Stuyven (Trek – Segafredo) saw the UAE rider move into third and extend the gap to rivals such as Vingegaard.
How it happened
Edvald Boasson Hagen (TotalEnergies), Magnus Cort and Neilson Powless (EF Education-Easypost), Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) and Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels-KTM) entered the second cobbled sector with an advantage of 3’25”.
Clarke described what it meant to win his first Tour de France stage: “I mean, after winter I had, I had no team and Israel-Premier Tech rang me up. I was given that chance… Today is the reality check that everything can happen if you take the opportunity. The first few days of the Tour, I was looking after the team. But this morning, the team director said: ‘Clarkey, today is a breakaway day!’ The stages I won at La Vuelta and the pink jersey I had at the Giro all came in the first week of the race. So I thought today was maybe the day… But I still can’t believe it. I passed Taco less than 50 meters to go. I gave my bike the biggest throw I could. My stages at La Vuelta came in similar finishes. I chose to sit back and hope for the other guys to crack before. I really had to chase Edvald down. We’ve been sprinting since the last corner. I went as hard as I could until the line. I moved to Europe for racing when I was 16 and I’ll turn 36 on the second rest day of the Tour, so after 20 years, now the dream comes true. Hi to everyone in Australia and thanks for the support through all those years!”
BINIAM GIRMAY out sprinted Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix to become the first Eritrean to take a stage at a Giro. In a cruel twist of fate the 22 year old Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux rider was immediately sidelined after taking a cork in the eye from the celebratory Prosecco.
Eritrea’s Biniam Girmay made the best of his duel with Mathieu van der Poel to become the first Eritrean stage winner at the Giro d’Italia, one and half months after he made history in the northern classics, winning Gent-Wevelgem. It was a very competitive stage, heading to Michele Scarponi’s native town of Jesi. Italy’s Vincenzo Albanese rounded off the podium and Juan Pedro Lopez retained the Maglia Rosa.
Biniam Girmay had to skip the post-podium press conference to go to hospital after an incident on stage, however straight after the finish he said: “I started the Giro with the desire to win a stage. Everyone from the team pulled for me today, even the GC riders, Domenico Pozzovivo was amazing at the end. At 600m to go, he said: ‘come’. He pushed me to go and win. I realize I’m making history but it’s thanks to my team and my family. I’m really grateful to them.”
Juan Pedro Lopez, who pulled on the maglia rosa for the eight straight day said in the press conference: “When we passed Filottrano, I started to cry. I didn’t get to know Michele Scarponi but I know his family and there were a lot of emotions. I was lucky enough to meet Biniam Girmay three or four years ago. We’ve maintained a good relationship since then. We also keep in touch via social media. He makes history today. Moreover, he’s a very humble and amicable person. As for myself, I enjoy every day and every kilometre in the Maglia Rosa. I don’t know for how much longer but tomorrow I’m sure I’ll enjoy again.”
Napoli (Procida Capitale Italiana della Cultura), 14 May 2022. Thomas de Gendt invaded Naples today as part of a four man group to seal a second win at a Giro d’Italia. This one on the shores of the bay of Naples could not be much more different from the one he claimed ten years on Stage 20 of the 2012 edition at Passo dello Stelvio.
STAGE RESULTS 1 – Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) – 153 km in 3h32’53’’, average speed 43.122 km/h 2 – Davide Gabburo (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè) s.t. 3 – Jorge Arcas Peña (Movistar Team) s.t.
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION 1 – Juan Pedro Lopez Perez (Trek-Segafredo) 2 – Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 38″ 3 – Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) at 58”
The Lungomare Caracciolo in Napoli, with an impressive crowd on a summer-like day, welcomed the second success in the Corsa Rosa, 10 years after the first one, by Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal). The Belgian rider won the sprint between four of the 21 riders who were part of the breakaway that started at the beginning of the stage, pushed on by Mathieu van der Poel.
De Gendt, in the company of Davide Gabburo, Jorge Arcas Peña and his team-mate Harm Vanhoucke, anticipated the other fugitives by attacking 43km from the finish and resisting the return in the final of van der Poel himself, who tried in vain to take the lead in the company of Mauro Schmid and Biniam Girmay.
Among the escapees, Guillaume Martin moved up on GC and now stands in fourth place 1’06” behind the Maglia Rosa Juan Pedro Lopez, who defended the lead despite numerous attacks launched in the final kilometres by Lennard Kämna.
The stage winner, Thomas De Gendt, said in the press conference: “I won races in previous years but I’ve felt it’s become harder and harder to be in the good breakaway. I only managed to do it for the third time this year. There are always good riders up there. Today, again, it was the case with Mathieu van der Poel and Biniam Grmay. We also knew that everyone would look at them; normally everyone looks at me. We took advantage of that. I’ve had bad luck and bad shape in the last two years. Today I proved that I’m still able to win races. It was a really nice circuit today – something like a championship but I can only talk about the Belgian championship because I’ve never won the Europeans or the Worlds. I think it’s nice to do it in a Grand Tour. It felt like a classic today. It made for an attractive racing, not exactly what people expected.”
Tomorrow sees the second uphill finish of this Giro d’Italia at the top of the Blockhaus.
10 May 2022: Stage 4 (172km) Etna-Nicolosi (Rif. Sapienza).
Europe’s largest volcano was the scene of a titanic duel between Lennard Kämna of BORA – hansgrohe and Juan Pedro López of Trek – Segafredo over the last few kilometres of a stage which saw a break hold off the peloton. It was Kamna who took the stage honours while Lopez, whose bike-handling failed him on the final turn, took enough time to become the new Maglia Rosa.
How it happened:
Faced with the epic ascent of Mount Etna at the conclusion of the day’s stage the peloton took a relaxed approach when 14 men broke away early leaving themselves with over 160km to go. The 14 breakaway members comprised:
Valerio Conti (Astana Qazaqstan), Lennard Kämna (Bora-hansgrohe), Davide Villella, Rémy Rochas (Cofidis), Rein Taaramae (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma), Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal), Mauri Vansevenant (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo), Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix), Diego Andrés Camargo (EF Education-EasyPost), Erik Fetter (Eolo-Kometa), Alexander Cataford (Israel-PremierTech) and Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën).
The break took advantage of the peloton’s apathy and pulled out a 8’10” gap.
With 30km to go, and still enjoying a 6′ gap, the unity of the break ended with Oldani making a bold bid for glory. It looked solid too. With 12km to go he had a lead of 1’03”. Then Lopez attacked.
The Spanish rider caught and passed Oldani within 2km and things began to look exciting not just at a Stage level on for the GC.
With 8km t0 go Kämna made an appearance at the front of a small group with Vansevenant and Moniquet that represented the last of the break. His pace was too high though and at 6.5km to go he was riding solo in pursuit of Lopez. the peloton was now clawing back time and was 4’20” adrift.
There was another shift in positions behind with Taaramae accelerating to become third man on the road. With 2.5km to go Kämna had caught Lopez and the two were spotted in conversation. Whether it was something to do with how they intended to divide up the spoils it seemed to not have been resolved as the two were in a desperate duel coming into the final bend at 200m with Lopez on Kämna‘s wheel.
All became moot for the Stage win as Lopez made a mess of the turn and immediately lost 5 meters on the German who came across the line to take a first Giro stage win, and the sixth win of his career.
Lopez was visibly annoyed at the outcome and even in the interviews had to be reminded he was the new Maglia Rosa. He had started the day in 47th spot at 1’12” but with the peloton still adrift and arriving 2’37” later he now had 39″ over Kämna but 1’42” over Simon Yates and 2’06” back to Richard Carapaz and Romain Bardet.
Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo): “I worked hard all day to take the Maglia Rosa. I attacked in the toughest part of the climb but Kämna was able to come back at -3. I tried to fight for the victory but it was really difficult to win. I’m really happy to have the Maglia Rosa, I don’t know how long I’ll keep it but I’ll enjoy it“.
Lennard Kämna (Bora-hansgrohe): “It was a very hard day, especially the final climb. I thought it was over when Lopez was marked at 30″. When I caught him it was probably a tacit deal, stage to me and Maglia Rosa to him. I’m happy to have won a stage, it takes a lot of pressure off the team too“.