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VN news ticker: Team USA wins silver at MTB world championships relay, Jasper Philipsen abandons Vuelta a España

Here's the news making the headlines on Wednesday, August 25.

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Team USA wins silver at MTB world championships relay

In the opening event of the 2021 UCI mountain bike world championships, Team USA has claimed silver in the team relay.

For the team relay event, each country selects a rider of each sex from the following categories — elite, U23, and junior. The silver medal American squad included Olympians Kate Courtney and Christopher Blevins, U23 national champs Savilia Blunk and Riley Amos, and juniors Ruth Holcomb and Bradyn Johnson of the Bear National Team.

The team relay provides an opportunity for riders to get a feel for the course at speed before their XC races. “I think this is the perfect way to start off this week,” said elite rider Kate Courtney. “For me, it’s been about just getting back into my rhythm and finding that form, but also the flow on course and to be a part of the team here is a really special thing. I think it’s really the perfect preparation for all of our riders to be able to give their best in the cross-country races, but also to have a fun way to work together and do something great in the name of Team USA.”

Wednesday’s silver medal was Team USA’s second since the team relay event was added to the world’s schedule in 1999. The American squad was bested by France, who clinched its seventh team relay world championships title.

Jasper Philipsen abandons Vuelta a España

Alpecin-Fenix sprinter Jasper Philipsen did not start stage 11 of the 2021 Vuelta a España.

The sprinter who won stage 2 and stage 5 — and who also wore the green points jersey for stages 2-3 and 5-7 in the Spanish tour — abandoned overnight.

His team indicated that Philipsen had a mild fever and that he abandoned the race “so as not to jeopardize the rest of his season.”

Philipsen said he was disappointed to leave earlier than planned, and he also thanked his team management, staff, and riders for a successful Vuelta.

Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) will continue on as the best-placed sprinter in the Vuelta with 180 points, while Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) moved into second place in the category with 74 points.

Brandon McNulty back in action at trio Belgian and Dutch races

After a month-long break from racing following the Olympic Games, Brandon McNulty will be back in action at a trio of Belgian and Dutch races this week. McNulty finished sixth in the men’s road race in Tokyo after helping his teammate Tadej Pogačar to victory at the Tour de France earlier in June.

The American rider will be part of a seven-man team competing at the Druivenkoers-Overijse on August 26, the Brussels Cycling on August 26, and the seven-day Benelux Tour beginning Monday. McNulty will be joined by Fernando Gaviria, Mikkel Bjerg, Finn Fisher-Black, Marc Hirschi, Vegard Stake Laengen, and Max Richeze.

Gaviria will head the team’s ambitions in the early races as he looks to build upon his recent win at the Tour of Poland, which was his first victory in almost a year.

“My motivation is really high coming into this next block of racing in Belgium. The team is bringing a balanced squad, so I think we’ll have a lot of options for big results,” Gaviria said. “Personally, my condition is good. I was able to take a nice victory in Poland and I’m really focused for a strong end of season.”

USA takes cycling silver medal on opening day of Paralympics

Shawn Morelli rode to silver C4 3,000-meter individual pursuit
Shawn Morelli rode to silver C4 3,000-meter individual pursuit Photo: Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

Shawn Morelli claimed the first Paralympic cycling medal for Team USA, taking silver in the women’s C4 3,000-meter individual pursuit. The track cycling program got underway at Izu Velodrome Wednesday with four gold medals on offer.

Morelli put in the second quickest time in qualifying, despite having to deal with a delay to her ride. In the final, Morelli went up against Emily Petricola, who had broken the world record in qualifying. The Australian set a blistering pace, and she caught and passed Morelli after 2,000 meters.

Canada’s Keely Shaw took the bronze medal ahead of Australian Meg Lemon.

Australia had a great day on the Izu boards with another gold medal from Paige Greco in the women’s C3 3,000 individual pursuit.

The 24-year-old broke the world record twice on her journey to gold, first in qualifying and again by a further two seconds in the final to beat China’s Wang Xiaomei by a convincing margin. Meanwhile, Denise Schindler took the bronze medal.

In the Women’s C5 3,000-meter Individual Pursuit, Sarah Storey put in a dominant performance to storm to her 15th Paralympic gold medal — her 10th in cycling. Storey broke the world record in qualifying to set up an all-British final with Crystal Lane-Wright. She made quick work of her teammate, passing Lane-Wright just after the halfway mark.

Marie Patouillet of France dominated the bronze medal contest, beating New Zealand’s Nicole Murry by more than five seconds.

The final gold medal of the day was awarded in the tandem 4,000-meter Individual Pursuit. The Netherlands pairing of Tristan Bangma and pilot Patrick Bos romped to victory. They caught and passed the defending champion Stephen Bate and pilot Adam Duggleby (Great Britain) before the line to seal a convincing win.

Poland’s Marcin Polak and pilot Michal Ladosz paced their effort perfectly to beat France’s Alexandre Lloveras and Corentin Ermenault and take bronze.

Full results can be found here.

Alison Jackson wins Simac Ladies Tour stage 1 from breakaway

Alison Jackson (Liv Racing) beat Maëlle Grossetête (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) in a two-up sprint to claim victory on stage 1 of the Simac Ladies Tour. The win is Jackson’s first since the second stage of the Women’s Tour of Scotland in 2019.

Jackson and Grossetête were the remaining members of a three-rider breakaway, which was sparked by Jackson, that went up the road after nearly 30km of racing. They held off a late surge from the peloton to contest the win between them, with Jackson taking the win on the line.

Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) was the fastest from the peloton and she took the sprint for third place, right behind the leading duo.

“I saw an opportunity early on and normally I’m waiting for the sprint but we’d seen that long breakaways actually get a lot of success when you’re with some strong people. I’m just happy that the other two bridged to me and we worked hard and just snuck in that win. I’m super happy,” Jackson said.

“A win is a win but it has been a tough year and I just really think it is a gift.”

Jackson’s win puts her into the race lead.

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