Volta A La Valenciana, World Championships News & The Rock Cobbler | The Cycling Race News Show

Welcome back to the GCN Racing News Show – this
week the European road seasons gets into full swing with the Volta a la Valenciana in Spain
and the Etoile des Besseges in France, we have a new individual pursuit world record,
a UCI World Championships extravaganza, and the amazing Rock Cobbler event from California. We shall start, though, with proof that 6
hour rides on Zwift really do work. The 5 day Volta Valenciana began last week
with a 10km individual time trial. The winner? Edvald Boasson Hagen. The Norwegian hit the headlines at the start
of this year for his epic sessions on an indoor cycling treadmill, but that dedication has
clearly paid off. And it’s the best form he’s had in a time
trial for quite some time – according to Cillian Kelly, that’s only the 2nd time trial win
that he’s had in the last 9 years if you exclude his national championships. Greg Van Avermaet opened up his account for
the CCC team with a win on day 3 – and didn’t he do it in fine style. After a tough finale, he kicked to the line
with Trentin on his wheel, but the Italian couldn’t even get level with him, let alone
get past him. Before that day, GvA had said he was ready
for the opening classic, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and the proof was in the pudding – watch out
for him in 3 weeks time. That stage, according the The Road Book on
twitter, meant that Alejandro Valverde had then finished in the top 50 of every race
(and every stage of every race) for the 200th time in a row – dating back to the #Giro 2016,
which is quite remarkable. He hasn’t had a win yet this year, though,
and it didn’t come on the Queen stage either. There, he was pipped to the line by Adam Yates,
taking his first win in 9 months, but his team, Mitchelton Scott’s 7th win of the
year.. However, in coming 4th, Ion Izaguirre had
done enough to take the race lead, and he would hold that through the final day. For Izaguirre, that’s his first win since
a stage of the Tour in 2016, and the first this year for Team Astana. And you know what that means – rap montage! Yeaaaah boooouy. Dylan Groenewegen showed a characteristically
impressive late burst of speed to win the final stage ahead of Kristoff and Trentin,
to get his 2019 win count off the ground. In the women’s one day race, 23 year old
Lotte Kopecky sprinted to victory ahead of Alice Barnes – the race was notable as it’s
one of the few that has a female race director – a rarity in pro cycling. Meanwhile in France it was Cofidis’s Christophe
Laporte who took overall honours at the Etoile des Besseges from Tobias Ludvigsson. Laporte, best known as a sprinter, won the
second stage into La Calmette, but he showed his all round ability by going on to win the
final day’s Time trial, by just point 48 of a second from Ludvigsson. Down in South Africa, the two most high profile
riders took the spoils at their national championships – Ashleigh Moolman Pasio and Daryl Impey. For Moolman Pasio, it was her 5th national
road title, whilst for Impey, it was his 8th National time trial title, and 7th in a row,
whilst he also managed to defend his road title on Sunday. In other news, the UCI announced where the
World Championships are to be held in 2023, and it’s great news for Scotland, as they’re
going to take place in Glasgow. Further to that, though, there are a couple
of other interesting changes to what we’ve been used to over the past couple of decades. Firstly, they will take place over two weeks
in August. They haven’t specified the exact dates,
but that’s a significant move forward in the calendar, and actually close to where
they used to take place many years ago. Secondly, you may have heard me say ‘two
weeks’ – and that’s not because they’ve found a load more road events to run, but
instead because this will be the inaugural combined UCI World Championships, and as such
it will not only be road and time trials, but also mountain biking, para cycling, trials,
and ‘indoor cycling’, which we can presume means track racing. So, a true festival of cycling which will
bring together the world’s best cyclists in all disciplines, all fighting it out for
the coveted rainbow jerseys, and I for one think that’s a stonking idea. Who will do the after party better, Mountain
Bikers or roadies? I think I know the answer. One discipline which WON’T be held there
is Cyclocross, and that seamless segway leads me nicely on to the races that took place
last week – the World’s may have come and gone, but there were no less than three top
level races last week. And, it’s been a great week to be World
Champion. Mathieu Van Der Poel made it three wins from
three, taking the Brico Cross in Maldegem on Wednesday, the DVV Trophy on Saturday,
and then the particularly muddy Superprestige in Hoogstraten yesterday. That’s 7 wins from 7 races in the Superprestige
for Van Der Poel, 30 wins from 32 starts in cyclocross this season, and well over 100
career victories, at the age of 24. Sanne Cant, meanwhile, didn’t quite manage
a clean sweep, but she did sweep up wins at the Superprestige and DVV Trophy. The one that got away for her was the Brico
Cross, where a crash left her with too much to do and she ended in 6th. That race was won by Denise Betsema, who you
could say was the revelation of this season – that was her 11th win. Sticking with off road – you may remember
this time last year our report of the Rock Cobbler – well it was back, on Saturday, for
the 6th edition in Bakersfield California. This is an event that really does have everything
thrown into one single ride, 85 miles long with 6 thousand feet of climbing, it includes
a rest stop, my favourite, a tyre obstacle course, which, I think it’s fair to say,
was tackled very differently by different competitors, there’s also the hike a bike
section with gradients of 50%, and the house ride through the home of promoter Sam Ames. To say it’s unique is an understatement,
but if all of that wasn’t fun enough, it finishes at the Lengthwise Brewing Company
where riders can enjoy a recovery pint or two. Like most events of this kind, the idea is
to get round and have fun, but of course at the front there is a competitive element,
Philip Tinstman first across the line in the men’s, a 3 up sprint after 5 and a half
hours of racing. 3rd in that sprint was the legend that is
Tinker Juarez, now 57 years of age. In the women’s Echo Rowe got the better
of Alison Tetrick in a time of just under 7 hours. I’m not sure my 4 hours of riding per week
would have been enough to get around the event, but it’s certainly one to go on the bucket
list. On to a completely different discipline, we’d
like to offer our congratulations to Finn Fischer Black, who just won the junior men’s
pursuit title at the New Zealand National championships, in a quite incredible time
of 3 minutes and 8 seconds. Unfortunately UCI officials and doping control
weren’t in place for that qualifying time, but they were for the final, where he did
3 minutes and 9 seconds to set a new official world record. Well done Finn. Finally this week, we’re going to take a
quick look now at the UCI Rankings. Alejandro Valverde continues to top the individual
men’s rankings while a strong start to the season by Elia Viviani sees him in 2nd place. The women’s ranking remains unchanged, with
Anna Van der Breggen at the top of table, Annemiek Van Vleuten 2nd and Marianna Vos
third. Indicating the complete domination of the
dutch in women’s cycling right now. Looking at the Men’s Team Rankings, DECEUNINCK
– QUICK – STEP is sitting top of the table and is likely to bolster its position through
the classics. Sky is currently second and Bora Hansgrohe
are third having leap frogged Movistar. At the bottom of the table, the two lowest
ranked world tour teams are currently CCC in 17th place and Katusha Alpecin in 20th
who are actually sitting below two non world tour UCI teams, Direct Energie and Cofidis. Remember, this year the two lowest ranked
Men’s World Tour Teams will effectively be relegated at the end of the year, which
is going to make the fight for points even tougher. Greg Van Avermaet leads the newly formed one
day rankings, although when informed, he knew nothing about it. For more information about how the rankings
are calculated and how points are scored, we have a handy video explaining it, I’ll
link to that in just a moment. That’s all for this week – next week I’ll
be back with all the news from a star studded Tour of Colombia, which starts today with
the likes of Froome, Quintana, Bernal, Angel Lopez and Uran amongst those who’ll battle
it out for overall honours. We’ll also have the Trofeo Laigueglia one
day race in Italy, which we have for you live on Facebook this coming Sunday with myself
and Chris Opie on commentary, so I very much hope you’ll join us then. In the meantime, for Oli’s concise and clear
explanation of the UCI points system, click down here, and make sure you come back for
tomorrow to watch cyclists doing push ups on the GCN Show!

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