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David Gaudu wins Faun-Ardèche Classic from two-up sprint
David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) won the hilly Faun-Ardèche Classic on Saturday, with Clément Champoussin (Ag2r-Citroën) second and Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) third.
A decisive selection of nine riders was made midway through the 1.Pro-ranked race in the constantly rolling terrain bordering the French Alps.
The top-three finishers eventually went clear over the long Côte de Saint-Romain-de-Lerps climb with 25-kilometers to go after Carthy made a move that only Gaudu and Champoussin could match. Carthy dropped out of the bunch ahead of the finale however to leave it to the two Frenchmen to battle for the final honors in a sprint.
Deceuninck-Quick-Step ride clinchers at cobbled classics
Leading classics squad Deceuninck-Quick-Step is riding clincher tires at the opening weekend of the classics.
The team is riding with Specialized Turbo Clincher tires and Roval carbon clincher wheels at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne this weekend. Quick-Step also rode the Turbo Clinchers at the Tour de France last summer as part of a two-year transition away from tubulars.
“After one ‘transition’ year of testing, and with already several years racing clinchers in TT as the fastest option, in 2021 we decided to move forward with clinchers for all types of racing,” said team technical and development manager Ricardo Scheidecker. “Based on the data we have collected from extensive testing, we arrived at the level of being very comfortable with our choice knowing that we have the fastest setups, even for the demanding cobbled classics.”
Tadej Pogačar docked 10 seconds for push at UAE Tour
Tadej Pogačar and UAE Emirates teammate Jan Polanc were both sanctioned by the UCI after stage 6 of the UAE Tour on Friday. Race officials docked both riders 10 seconds after it was found that Pogačar gave Polanc a push forward as the race entered the decisive final sprint. Both riders have also been fined 200 Swiss Francs.
The penalty means that Pogačar now only holds a 35-second lead over Adam Yates in the GC standings. However, with the UAE Tour finishing with a mostly-straightforward sprint stage in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, the Slovenian should still be assured victory, provided he keeps upright in the 147-kilometer, pan-flat race.
Itzulia Basque Country returns with short opening TT and decisive final mountain stage
The WorldTour-ranked Izulia Basque Country has presented its route for 2021, and the six-stage event is tough as ever.
The race kicks off April 5 with a 13.9-kilometer ITT in Bilbao that finishes on a fearsome closing climb to the line. Stage 3 and stage 6 also close out with summit finishes. As always, no day will be straightforward as the race winds through the northern Spanish province notorious for short, steep climbs. The sixth stage into Arrate will prove decisive on the GC, packing seven categorized ascents into just 112km.
The race was canceled altogether in 2020 and will make a welcome return for GC contenders, with the typically-tough parcours forming a key building block for many Giro d’Italia and Tour de France-bound riders. Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič are among those slated to be starting this April’s race.