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VN news ticker: Michael Valgren doubles up in Italy, Caleb Ewan leaves Luxembourg ahead of worlds bid

Here's the news making headlines for Friday, September 17.

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Michael Valgren doubles up at Coppa Sabatini

Michael Valgren hadn’t won a race for three and a half years, and now he’s won two in two days.

Just 24 hours after winning the Giro della Toscana on Wednesday, the EF Education-Nippo strongman outsprinted Sonny Colbrelli to win Thursday’s Coppa Sabatini. The Italian double marked Valgren’s first victories since his breakout classics campaign in 2018 when he won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Amstel Gold Race.

“It’s a nice way to win against Colbrelli. He’s a big favorite for the world championships, so to beat him in an uphill sprint is a big thing.. I’m super happy,” Valgren said.

Valgren will now head to the road worlds as part of a strong Danish team that also includes Magnus Cort, Kasper Asgreen and 2019 rainbow jersey Mads Pedersen. He paid tribute to his EF Education-Nippo teammate Neilson Powless for his part in the win Thursday. The American had made a sizzling solo move that allowed Valgren to sit in the bunch behind and save his legs for the final sprint.

“This win is for the whole team, they were amazing. We rode fantastic … I had some really good help from my teammate Neilson Powless, who was strong, so I could just sit in the wheels in the headwind section,” Valgren said. “I knew I was strong and so thought to make it as hard as possible on the climb to see how it goes. Luckily I made it to the line.”

Valgren’s double victory was capped off with a contract extension. EF Education-Nippo confirmed Thursday that the Dane would remain on the books through 2022.

https://twitter.com/EFprocycling/status/1438594613007224832

Caleb Ewan leaves Tour de Luxembourg ahead of worlds bid

Caleb Ewan has pulled the plug on the Tour de Luxembourg as he turns his attention toward the world championships road race. Lotto-Soudal confirmed Thursday that the Aussie sprinter would not start stage 3 of the Luxembourg Tour.

“Together with the team doctor, it was decided that Caleb Ewan would not take the start of the Tour de Luxembourg stage three today,” the team stated via Twitter. “In order not to jeopardize his participation at the worlds, Caleb withdrew from the race and will now recover and rest up.”

Ewan had finished dead-last on both of the first two stages of the Tour de Luxembourg. He had won a stage of the Benelux Tour earlier this month before abandoning ahead of the final stage.

“During the second stage, Ewan had to let go after 75 kilometers of racing. He had Kluge and De Buyst with him as bodyguards, but getting in on time still cost him a lot of strength. Too much actually,” sport director Marc Wauters told Belgian media Thursday. “Continuing in those conditions was impossible, even if there was a bunch sprint ahead today.”

“We hope that a week of supercompensation can bring salvation and do wonders. He had started this Tour of Luxembourg to improve his condition one last time for the world championships and a good Ewan could certainly have sparkled here.”