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VN news ticker: Bauke Mollema wins Trofeo Laigueglia, Sepp Kuss adds Romandie to schedule

Here's what's making headlines on Wednesday, March 3.

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Bauke Mollema wins Trofeo Laigueglia

Trek-Segafredo’s Bauke Mollema took top honors at the 58th Trofeo Laigueglia, winning solo ahead of Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) and Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), who trailed by 40 seconds. Mollema’s teammate Giulio Ciccone, who won the race in 2020, came across the line in fifth, with the chase group.

The final 40 kilometers of the 202km route tackled a 10km circuit featuring the Colla Micheri (2km at 8.2 percent) and the Capo Mele (2km at 3.4 percent) four times, with little respite.

The Trek-Segafredo rider escaped from a group of eight which included Bernal, Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorius), and Ciccone with 16km to go. The Dutchman jumped alone and was able to stretch the gap while his Italian teammate refused to take up the chase with the group.

“We had a strong team here, and we were the only team with two riders in the eight to 10 riders at the end with 15kms to go. I saw a good moment; Cicco was in my wheel, so I attacked,” Mollema said.
“I had a big gap quite fast. It was not easy to keep the tempo to the finish line, but yeah, I am super happy that I made it.”

The win was the second for Mollema so far in 2021, and the fifth for the team in the new season. Mollema is fresh off a win on stage one of the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, at which he finished in third overall.

“It’s super nice to win here, and I am super happy to start the season like this,” Mollema said. “I have felt good the last few weeks, and I wanted to start the season in a good way, and it’s nice to have two wins now. I think the team is riding really strong, and hopefully, we can continue like this in the other Italian races coming up this weekend.”

Trofeo Laigueglia 2021 results

  1. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), 4:57:05
  2. Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), at 0:39
  3. Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), at s.t.
  4. Clément Champoussin (AG2R-Citroën), at s.t.
  5. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), at s.t.
  6. Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious), at s.t.
  7. James Knox (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) at 0:57
  8. Andrea Vendrame (AG2R-Citroën), at 1:01
  9. Biniam Chirmay Hailu (Delko), at s.t.
  10. Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), at s.t.

Sepp Kuss adds Tour de Romandie to schedule

Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), hot off his season debut at the UAE Tour, has filled out his racing calendar for the first half of 2021.

Jumbo-Visma officials confirmed to VeloNews that Kuss, after racing at the Volta a Catalunya this month, will also race the Tour de Romandie in April. After that, he will hit altitude camps on both sides of the Critérium du Dauphiné in June ahead of a likely return to the Tour de France.

The 26-year-old Coloradan should see chances to ride for GC at both Catalunya and Romandie this spring before slipping into his proven role as super-domestique at the Dauphiné and Tour. Jumbo-Visma captain Primož Roglič will dip his toes into the Ardennes classics this spring, and open up space for Kuss to race at Romandie, a race Roglič has twice won.

Amanda Spratt headlines Team BikeExchange at Strade Bianche

Amanda Spratt will lead a strong Team BikeExchange squad at the 7th edition of the Strade Bianche women’s race on Saturday, alongside new 2021 signing Ane Santesteban, who makes her debut in Team BikeExchange colors.

“It’s one of my favorite races on the calendar and it’s always so epic and iconic with the gravel roads,” she said. “We are going there with a strong team, and my shape is good, and I think it was good to start with such a tough race as Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. I’m happy to have that in the legs before Strade. If I have to point out some tricky sections, I would say the San Martino in Grania sector with 9.5km of gravel, which is often wind and dangerous. Of course, the weather time can affect the race a lot.”

Richie Porte returns to Paris-Nice with Ineos Grenadiers

Two-time winner Richie Porte will make his European debut in Ineos Grenadiers colors at Paris-Nice starting Sunday. Porte won the “Race to the Sun” in 2013 and 2015, and will share leadership duties with Giro d’Italia champion Tao Geoghegan Hart.

“I can’t really say what my ambitions are for this edition of Paris-Nice,” he said Wednesday in a race release. “I’ve just arrived from Australia and even in normal conditions, it’s already an extremely complicated race to win. This time, I just don’t know what sort of form I’ll be in. I’ve only raced in January in Australia, whereas my rivals have already taken part in very competitive races in Europe.

“Paris-Nice is not an easy race to win, so to have won it twice is gratifying,” he said, who raced in a pro-am event in Australia in January. “We have a very strong team for this edition of Paris-Nice. First and foremost, I want to play a role as part of a group and help the team to win, whoever it is with. Most importantly, I can’t wait to get started.”

Paris-Nice also marks Porte’s European debut and his return to Ineos Grenadiers, which he left when it was called Team Sky in 2015 to race for three seasons at BMC Racing and two at Trek-Segafredo. Last year, Porte hit third on the Tour de France podium.