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VN news ticker: Pascal Ackermann signs with UAE-Team Emirates, Patrick Lefevere apologizes for comments about Sam Bennett

Here's the news making headlines for Saturday, August 7.

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Pascal Ackermann will join UAE-Team Emirates beginning in 2022 on a two-year contract.

“I am absolutely thrilled to wear the UAE jersey next year. This step will be a special one in my still-young career. The team I will be part of is something unique in cycling,” Ackermann said. “I would like to thank everyone who made this step possible and gave me the confidence to achieve common future goals.”

The 27-year has 35 wins on his palmares, including two stages of the 2020 Vuelta a España and two stages of the 2019 Giro d’Italia, as well as a stage of the UAE Tour, and a pair of bronze medals from the European road championships.

In 2021, he won three stages of the Settimana Ciclistica Italiana, and was third at the Classic Brugge–De Panne.

UAE-Team Emirates principal Mauro Gianetti commented that with other recent additions to the squad, as well as retaining the two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar, Ackermann will be a valuable and promising addition to the team.

“Pascal is a hugely talented rider and we are delighted to have him join our squad. We know he is capable of great things and we look forward to working towards many successes together with him in our team,” said Gianetti. “We are building a group of riders who can work well together in a good environment both on and off the bike and we believe a rider like Pascal can enrich the team also with his human qualities which is very important.”

Ackermann has been racing with Bora-Hansgrohe at the WorldTour level since 2017.

Patrick Lefevere apologizes for comments about Sam Bennett

Deceuninck-Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere apologized Saturday for comments he previously made about the Irish sprinter who won the green jersey at the 2020 Tour de France.

A week ago in Het Nieuwsblad, Lefevere drew comparisons between Bennett’s planned move back to Bora-Hansgrohe in 2022 to ‘women who return home after domestic abuse.’ Lefevere used the same channel to issue an apology.

“I’m not too big to admit that I’ve been thinking over my statements about Sam Bennett. My opinion of him remains the same, but what I wrote about intimate partner violence — in the context of his return to Bora — was not appropriate. Mea culpa,” Lefevere wrote.

Lefevere was extremely critical of Bennett for requesting time away from racing — including skipping the 2021 Tour de France — to treat a knee injury sustained at the Tour of Belgium. Recent examinations show that Bennett may require surgery on his knee, and then a period of rehabilitation effectively ending his 2021 season.

“From now on I’ll choose my words more carefully in the whole discussion around Bennett, and I prefer to remain silent,” Lefevere continued. “A recent scan shows he will need knee surgery, with a three- to four-month rehabilitation period. He will therefore no longer race for our team.”

Mikel Landa wins Vuelta a Burgos overall

Spaniard Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) won the general classification of the Vuelta a Burgos. Fabio Aru (Qhubeka-NextHash) and Mark Padun (Bahrain-Victorious) rounded out the final podium.

The fifth and final stage was won by Great Britain’s Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo), who bettered Einer Rubio (Movistar Team) and compatriot Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange).

Landa crossed the line on the final stage some 16 seconds adrift of Carthy in sixth. Overnight race leader Romain Bardet (Team DSM) was dropped on the final climb with more than 3km remaining, and ceded more than a minute to his GC rivals.

Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) finished just off of the podium in fourth place on the final stage. The 2019 Tour de France champion was caught out in a crash with several teammates earlier in the week.

2021 Vuelta a Burgos stage 5 results

  1. Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo), 3:23:53
  2. Einer Rubio (Movistar Team), at :05
  3. Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange), at :07

2021 Vuelta a Burgos final standings

  1. Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious), 18:30:00
  2. Fabio Aru (Qhubeka-NextHash), at :36
  3. Mark Padun (Bahrain-Victorious), at :43

Ben Hermans scores Arctic Race of Norway stage 3 win

Ben Hermans (Israel Start-Up Nation) won the third stage of the 2021 Arctic Race of Norway, and assumed the lead of the general classification.

Odd Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and Victor Lafay (Cofidis) were just behind Hermans’ wheel, and finished in second and third on the stage, and also slotted into the same positions on the general classification.

Previous race-leader Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) was distanced by more than a minute on the hilly stage, and dropped to 15th overall.

2021 Arctic Race of Norway stage 3 results

  1. Ben Hermans (Israel Start-Up Nation), 4:14:28
  2. Odd Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), at s.t.
  3. Victor Lafay (Cofidis), at s.t.

2021 Arctic Race of Norway general classification

  1. Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious), 11:22:03
  2. Fabio Aru (Qhubeka-NextHash), at :04
  3. Mark Padun (Bahrain-Victorious), at :06