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VN news ticker: Four Team USA riders into Olympic BMX racing semi-finals, Mikel Landa to return to racing at Clásica de San Sebastián

Here's the news making the headlines on Thursday, July 29.

USA gets four riders into Tokyo Olympics BMX racing semi-finals

Corben Sharrah, Connor Fields, Alise Willoughby, and Felicia Stancil have all made it into the semi-finals of the BMX racing competition for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics.

The BMX events started Thursday with quarterfinals featuring four heats — comprising three races — each for the men and women. The top four in each heat earned a place in Friday’s semi-finals.

Defending men’s Olympic champion Fields soared through his heats to finish first overall, while Sharrah took fourth in his to make it through to the next round. In the women’s competition, Rio silver medalist, Willoughby won all three of her heats to make it through and Stancil rode into third.

The 19-year-old Olympic debutant Payton Ridenour was the only member of the USA squad to miss the cut, losing out by a single point in her heat.

“It felt great. With the way the Olympics are formatted, it’s all about advancing into the next round and getting to the finals and then making it happen there,” Fields said. “Winning a quarterfinal is great and I feel awesome. Now I’m just looking forward to tomorrow and to repeat the same process in the semis to get myself into the final and I should have a good chance there.”

For the semi-finals, there will be two heats of three runs, with the top four from each heat progressing into the final shortly before noon Friday, Tokyo time.

Mikel Landa to return to racing at Clásica de San Sebastián

Mikel Landa will lead the Bahrain Victorious squad at the 40th edition of the Clásica de San Sebastián, set for Saturday July 31st.

Landa crashed out of the 2021 Giro d’Italia on stage 5 when he ran afoul of traffic island some 5km from the finish.

“After the crash at Giro d’Italia, my period has been quite hard. I was very motivated for the Giro and in excellent shape. Then with that crash, my goals finished as well. It has been a very hard period. First of all, I had to recover physically after the surgery due to broken ribs and the collarbone. Then mentally, it has also been a difficult period because you have to stop suddenly, knowing that you need more time to be 100 percent recovered,” the Spaniard said.

Landa had taken several weeks off the bike to recover from surgery following the May crash, and is returning to from ahead of his country’s grand tour.

“After one month more or less, I started riding the bike and get back on the road with hard training, so my intensity has not been too high until last week or two weeks ago. I attended altitude training camp trying to get a better shape, and I’m feeling better and better by the day. I’m a little bit far from my best shape now, so the first races starting with San Sebastian, Getxo, and Burgos, will be quite hard for me.

“I don’t have too much racing speed in my legs, and I think these races will be good for me to improve my shape. I hope to be much better and in good shape until La Vuelta,” Landa said.

Landa will lead a squad of Matej Mohorič — who won stages 7 and 19 of the 2021 Tour de France — Santiago Buitrago, Kevin Inkelaar, Domen Novak, Mark Padun, and Stevie Williams at the Classica San Sebastian and Getxo race.

Jonas Vingegaard adds three years to Jumbo-Visma contract

Jonas Vingegaard will stay in Jumbo-Visma colors through 2024 after signing an extension to his contract with the team.

The Danish rider has had a breakthrough year in 2021, which culminated in second-place overall at the Tour de France. Vingegaard had to step up into the leadership role after Primož Roglič was forced to abandon due to injuries he sustained in a crash on stage 3.

“I am very happy to extend my contract with the team. So far, our cooperation has been successful, and hopefully, we will continue to achieve good successes in the future. I feel good here. That made it an easy and natural choice to stay longer with the team,” Vingegaard said.

Vingegaard turned professional with Jumbo-Visma in 2019 after impressing with the Danish ColoQuick squad.

“Jonas has been riding for this team for three years now. We work together every day to become better. It is great to see a talent develop and grow within the team. We are confident that we will continue to achieve great performances together,” sport director Merijn Zeeman said.