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VN news ticker: Anna van der Breggen bests Annemiek van Vleuten at Durango-Durango, Quick-Step Floors commits to pro cycling through 2027

Here's what's making the headlines on Tuesday, May 18.

Anna van der Breggen wins Durango-Durango

World road and time trial champion Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx) took top honors at the Durango-Durango.

In a two-up sprint between the current and the previous world champions, van der Breggen bested compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar Team) in a two-up battle. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) rounded out the podium following a rain-soaked 115.7km Basque Country race.

Ludwig was the first to attack in the final ascent of a 5km climb at 5.5 percent. She distanced herself from Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), Pauliena Rooijakkers (Liv Racing) and Amanda Spratt (Team Bike Exchange). Only the two Dutch women could bring her back.

After distancing themselves from Ludwig before the crest of the climb, the two descended the 8km stretch together, and it was van der Breggen in the rainbow jersey who forced van Vleuten in the European champion’s jersey to the front in the final kilometer, only to come around her to take the win.

Durango – Durango Emakumeen Saria 2021 Results
1. Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx), 2:51:23
2. Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar Team), at s.t.
3. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope), at 00:04

UCI alters the bottle-toss rule; bottle rain OK on climbs in the last 50 km of a stage

The UCI in conjunction with RCS Sport announced Tuesday an update to the rules concerning discarding bottles at the Italian grand tour.

The rule update takes effect as of stage 11, and will continue through the remainder of the race.

“Riders will not be sanctioned for throwing a bottle to the public when the bottle is thrown on climbs in the last 50 km of the stage,” indicates the rule update. “Riders must ensure that the throwing of their bottle towards the public does not present any danger, either to spectators or to other riders.”

Should a rider discarding their bottle endanger spectators or other riders, the existing sanctions, in place since April 1, will apply.

“In case of non-compliance with these conditions and precautions, the sanctions will be maintained in accordance with the UCI regulations currently in force,” indicates the rule update.

Should riders dispose of bottles outside of designated litter zones, the race commissaries may exercise discretion in rules enforcement.

“In specific race situations which would lead riders to dispose of bottles or waste outside the zones provided for this purpose (which is prohibited), the Commissaires’ Panel, as authorized by the UCI regulations in force, shall have the possibility of not sanctioning the rider if it deems the situation exceptional.”

Recent attention was brought to the rule when Michael Schär (AG2R Citroën) was ejected from the Tour of Flanders for tossing a fan his bottle.

On stage 6 of the 2021 Giro d’Italia, Pieter Serry (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) was hit by a Team BikeExchange vehicle when Serry was returning to his team car ostensibly to discard unneeded clothing for his team. Dropping this clothing roadside — as has been the custom until the new rules went into effect on April 1 — could have drawn penalties against Serry and his team.

The UCI indicated that it will evaluate the effects of this rule change to determine if the change will extend beyond the Giro, to other events.

“These new rules will be evaluated to determine whether or not they should be applied in the future to all or part of the events on the UCI International Road Calendar,” the statement said.

Giro d’Italia COVID testing: all clear

The RCS Sport in conjunction with the UCI conducted 600 PCR COVID-19 tests during the first rest day of the 2021 Giro d’Italia.

In a joint statement, the race and the UCI announced no riders nor team staff returned positive tests during the campaign conducted on May 17.

Rapid testing was conducted after the conclusion of stage 4. This previous round of testing also returned no positive COVID-19 results.

The next round of full testing will be conducted one week from today, on Tuesday, May 25.

UCI announced Track Champions League

The UCI announced Tuesday the creation of the UCI Track Champion League.

In the announcement, the international governing body of cycling said that the new format will be “fan-focused, designed to build the global profile of track cycling beyond the four-year Olympic cycle.”

The racing format is to be the same at each of the six stops, with riders scoring points in either sprint or endurance race categories — sprinters will race both the Sprint and Keirin events, while endurance riders will race both the Elimination and Scratch races. 18 riders (72 total) will compete in each category.

Rankings within the UCI Track Champions League will be determined by points based on finishes in events at each of the stops, and an overall winner in each of the categories will be the rider with the most points at the end of the series. At the end of each stop, the four event-leaders in each category — two male, two female — will be awarded a leader’s jersey to wear at the next event. Event winners will earn €1,000, while the series winners will each take home €25,000.

The six-event series will kick off November 6, 2021, and will feature gender-equal race participation and prize allocation going ten deep, as well as an equal worldwide media broadcast schedule. The race’s six stops will be broadcast across Discovery-owned channels (Eurosport, GCN, and the GCN Racing digital channels among others).

Round 1 – Majorca, Spain, November 6
Round 2 – St. Quentin-en-Yvelines, France, November 20
Round 3 – Panevézys, Lithuania, November 27
Round 4 – London, United Kingdom, December 3
Round 5 – London, United Kingdom, December 4
Round 6 – Tel Aviv, Isreal, December 11

Movistar’s Serrano takes Ruta del Sol opener

Gonzalo Serrano (Movistar) took the opening stage of Spain’s Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol on Tuesday, winning an uphill sprint into Zahrara de la Sierra ahead of Daryl Impey (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Orluis Alberto Aular (Caja Rural-Seguros). The sprint came at the end of a 152.1km stage, which saw the peloton tackle three categorized climbs.

The victory marked Serrano’s second win as a professional — his first came at the 2020 edition of the Spanish race.

This year Ruta del Sol was rescheduled from its traditional early-season date to May due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The five-day race will run through May 22.

Quick-Step Floors commits to pro cycling through 2027

Quick-Step floors announced Tuesday it is committed to another six years of sponsoring the Patrick Lefever-led professional cycling squad.

The team boss said this is his biggest contract ever, and he has big plans to capitalize on it reports Wielerflits.

“This is my longest sponsorship contract ever,” Lefevere said. “We always want to remain a winning team and we dream of a Belgian rider who will win the Tour de France in the future.”

2021 marks the 23rd year that the company has backed a cycling squad, and is currently one of the longest-running relationships in the sport.

“We have been working together for 23 years and we are growing year after year. That is something we are very proud of. Cycling is a fantastic sport and this team exudes a will to always win and we have that too. We see that with the team and we see it with us ”, says Quick-Step’s Ruben Desmet.

Earlier this year, Deceuninck-Quick-Step extended Remco Evenepoel’s contract through 2026. The team also boasts on its roster the current world road cycling champion Julian Alaphilippe, the 2020 Tour de France green-jersey winner Sam Bennett, and has been linked to Peter Sagan for the coming season.

Tim Merlier leaves Giro d’Italia with stomach problems

Alpecin-Fenix rider Tim Merlier has quit the Giro d’Italia on its first rest day, citing stomach problems and fatigue. The 28-year-old – who was making his Giro debut – won the Belgian team’s first-ever grand tour stage with a sprint victory ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo and Elia Viviani on stage 2.

He spent two stints in the maglia ciclamino as leader of the points classification, losing it to Peter Sagan on Monday’s stage 10.

“It’s a shame I have to leave the Giro, but I believe it’s the most sensible choice right now. This was the first time in my career that I raced for 10 consecutive days, and the past few days have taken their toll,” Merlier said in a team statement on social media.

“I’m proud and honored that I could make my grand tour debut here. This Giro d’Italia has been an unforgettable adventure for myself, and for Alpecin-Fenix. We came here aiming for a stage victory, and I’m therefore very pleased that we were able to achieve that goal and that we continued to battle for stage wins afterwards. It was a great honor and a great motivation to be able to wear the iconic maglia ciclamino for five days. I will support the boys from home now in the next eleven days.”

He is the second major sprinter to head home early after Caleb Ewan abandoned during stage 8 with knee problems.