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Julian Alaphilippe opts out of Olympics
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) will not line up for the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo — a major reversal for the Frenchman’s stated goals from last season.
On Friday Alaphilippe took to his personal Twitter account to announce the news.
“I am informing you after having thought for a long time, in agreement with the coach of the France team and my team Deceuninck-Quick-Step, not to be a candidate for selection for the next Tokyo Olympics,” Alaphilippe wrote. “It is a personal and well-considered decision. End-of-season objectives have been defined and in this sense choices must be made. I would be very proud to wear the France team jersey for the next world championships.”
Alaphilippe was considered one of the heavy favorites to win the Olympic road race, which features a mountainous route near Mt. Fuji. In 2020 Alaphilippe announced that the Olympics would be the focal point of his season. He finished fourth place at the 2016 Olympic road race in Rio de Janeiro.
The 2020 games of course were postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Alaphilippe went on to have one of his best seasons ever, winning a stage of the Tour de France as well as the UCI road world championships.
Annemiek van Vleuten wins in Spain
Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) returned to her winning ways with victory Thursday at the one-day Emakumeen Nafarroako in Spain’s Navarra region.
She bettered Demi Vollering (SD Worx), with Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) coming across the line third.
“It was a hard day with rain, but I was able to turn that to my advantage,” van Vleuten said. “I knew I had to get rid of Vollering, because she already beat me in sprints at Liège and Amstel. It was a complicated finale, and we were outnumbered, so to win makes it taste even sweeter.”
The race opened a busy period of racing in Spain, with a series of one-day races in the Navarra before heading to the Vuelta a Burgos Femininas, May 20-24.
Domenico Pozzovivo forced to abandon Giro d’Italia
The Giro d’Italia lost one of its ever-steady riders when Domenico Pozzovivo decided to pull out.
The Italian veteran crashed twice early in stage 6, and struggled to finish Thursday’s stage. Following a medical assessment, the Qhubeka-Assos captain did not start Friday’s stage.
“I went above the limit just to finish yesterday,” he said. “I’m very sad to leave the Giro because my shape was very good and the team was doing a great Giro. It’s very hard to give up but my left arm, elbow, is in a condition that I can’t stay on a bike in any way so I had to take this decision.
“Yesterday I went above the limit to finish the stage and to have some more hours to see the consequences of the crash,” he said. “During the stage I was in big trouble to stay on the bike so I expected a miracle during the night but it hasn’t happened.”
The 38-year-old started his 15th career Giro, and finished inside the top-10 on five occasions.