Bernal wary of Roglic's Tour threat as champion manages back injury

By Sports Desk August 28, 2020

Egan Bernal will be managing a back injury on the Tour de France and is wary of the threat posed by Primoz Roglic and his Jumbo-Visma team.

Ahead of his defence of the yellow jersey, Bernal appeared to be in good form with a victory at La Route d'Occitanie and a runner-up finish in the Tour de l'Ain.

However, Team INEOS' sole lead rider for the Grand Tour, with former champions Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas left out of the line, withdrew from the Criterium du Dauphine with a back problem.

Bernal acknowledged the issue was persisting on the eve of the Grand Depart in Nice on Saturday, but he is hopeful of being in contention in the final week.

"I feel a little bit of pain in the back, to be honest. I'm much better than I was in the Dauphine. In the Dauphine it was really bad, the pain," said Bernal.

"But these days I'm feeling much better and I hope during the whole Tour to be working hard and trying to recover, especially for the last week."

Alongside Bernal, Roglic is one of the leading contenders going into the rescheduled Tour despite a crash in the Dauphine.

The Slovenian beat Bernal at the Tour de l'Ain and has not finished outside the top four in any of the 11 stage races he has completed since April 2018, winning eight of them.

Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team-mate Tom Dumoulin, the 2017 Giro d'Italia winner, is also among the favourites, having placed in the top two in each of his previous three Grand Tour finishes, but he has not completed one since the 2018 Tour.

"I think they [Jumbo-Visma] are really something. For sure they will be one of the favourites to win the race," said Bernal.

"Primoz, in the past races, he was the strongest guy and he was flying. I think they will be one of the favourites and we need to be really careful with him and also Tom Dumoulin, who was getting better in the last races.

"That's something good for the race to have another strong team, a really, really strong team to fight.

"It can be good for us because they will need to take some responsibility in the race."

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  • Vuelta a Espana: Izagirre wins stage six as Roglic loses race lead to Carapaz Vuelta a Espana: Izagirre wins stage six as Roglic loses race lead to Carapaz

    Ion Izagirre claimed victory in a rain-soaked stage six of the Vuelta a Espana on a day that saw Richard Carapaz replace Primoz Roglic as the overall race leader.

    Astana Pro Team rider Izagirre made his move in the final 3km of Sunday's climb to Formigal to finish 25 seconds ahead of Michael Woods and Rui Costa.

    The 31-year-old timed his attack well, something brother and team-mate Gorka failed to do earlier in the race, as he added a fourth Grand Tour stage victory.

    An eventful final climb also saw overnight leader Roglic lose pace with Carapaz, who finished 55 seconds behind Izagirre but still did enough to take the General Classification lead and the red jersey.

    Roglic was visibly struggling with around 2km to go and Carapaz took full advantage with a late attack, although he did not have the legs to keep up with Hugh Carthy in the final stretch.

    EF Pro Cycling's Carthy bridged the gap to the other contenders and moved into second place, with Roglic slipping to fourth behind Dan Martin.

    "We have been working very well this week, we have been performing well, and today we had a go," said Carapaz, whose INEOS team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart won the Giro d'Italia on Sunday. 

    "We have done very well, and this is the reward for the whole team. We had more than one scare and that encouraged Movistar to pull in the end. 

    "I knew the end of the stage and, to begin with, I let others who were interested do a bit. There were many attacks. 

    "I had calculated the distance and I attacked at the right time. There is still a lot of the Vuelta to go and we are going to defend it - it is a luxury to be able to defend it."
     

    STAGE RESULT

    1. Ion Izaguirre (Astana Pro Team) 03:41:00
    2. Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) +00:25
    3. Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) +00:25
    4. Rob Power (Team Sunweb) +00:27
    5. Michael Valgren (NTT Pro Cycling) +00:27

    CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

    General Classification

    1. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 24:34:39
    2. Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +00:18
    3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) +00:20

    Points Classification

    1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 79
    2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 61
    3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 57

    King of the Mountains

    1. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 19
    2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 18
    3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 16

    What's next?

    After a rest day on Monday, the riders return on Tuesday with stage seven and have two climbs to navigate of the Alto de Orduna, involving an inclination of 14 per cent. The final climb takes place 18km from the finish line in what could be a decisive stretch.

  • Giro d'Italia: Geoghegan Hart gets latest INEOS title in Grand Tour breakthrough Giro d'Italia: Geoghegan Hart gets latest INEOS title in Grand Tour breakthrough

    Tao Geoghegan Hart claimed a remarkable victory at the Giro d'Italia on a sublime final Sunday for INEOS Grenadiers. 

    Geoghegan Hart had been set to play a supporting role to Geraint Thomas in Italy until the 2018 Tour de France champion suffered a fractured pelvis early in the race. 

    INEOS were without a number of their other big names amid a packed Grand Tour schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

    Last year's Tour de France winner Egan Bernal and defending Giro champ Richard Carapaz targeted the Paris event, while the departing Chris Froome - a seven-time winner across all three elite events - entered the Vuelta a Espana. 

    That left Geoghegan Hart to take centre stage, but he thrived at the Giro to seize a share of the lead with Australia's Jai Hindley heading into the 21st and final stage. 

    It was the first time in Giro history two riders had been tied heading into the time trial, a 15.7-kilometre ride in Milan. 

    But Geoghegan Hart ultimately rode to a comfortable victory, finishing 39 seconds clear of his direct rival with a time of 18 minutes and 14 seconds.

    "Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine this would be possible when we started out in Sicily almost a month ago," said Geoghegan Hart, who became the fifth British Grand Tour winner. 

    "All my career I've dreamt of trying to be top 10, top five maybe, in a race of this stature, so this is something completely and utterly different to that. 

    "I think it's going to take a long time for this to sink in." 

    INEOS' success did not end there, though, as heavy favourite and time trial world champion Filippo Ganna won the stage in 17:16. 

    Ganna, making his Grand Tour debut, claimed his fourth stage victory of the Giro after blowing away Victor Campenaerts' early benchmark of 17:48, which remained enough for second place. 


    STAGE RESULT 

    1. Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) 17:16
    2. Victor Campenaerts (NTT Pro Cycling) +00:32
    3. Rohan Dennis (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:32
    4. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +00:41
    5. Miles Scotson (Groupama-FDJ) +00:41

    CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

    General Classification

    1. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) 85:40:21
    2. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +00:39
    3. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +01:29

    Points Classification

    1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 233
    2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
    3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 108

    King of the Mountains

    1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 234
    2. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) 157
    3. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) 122

  • Vuelta a Espana: Wellens stage delight as Roglic retains race lead Vuelta a Espana: Wellens stage delight as Roglic retains race lead

    Tim Wellens powered to victory on stage five of the Vuelta a Espana as he emerged as the strongman from a three-way battle for supremacy in Sabinanigo. 

    The 29-year-old Belgian, twice a stage winner on the Giro d'Italia in seasons gone by, is making his Vuelta debut this year and ensured it would be one to remember. 

    He was locked in a scrap for first place with Frenchman Guillaume Martin and Dutch youngster Thymen Arensman, but the Lotto Soudal rider would not be denied, victory carrying him to the top of the early King of the Mountains standings. 

    Wellens resisted a charge from Arensman at the flamme rouge and pushed clear on the uphill finale of the 184.4-kilometre ride from Huesca, with Martin taking second place, four seconds back. 

    "It feels super good," Wellens said. "It was the goal of the team to have minimum one victory in the Vuelta and it's super nice it's come so early. 

    "Now in the next weeks we don't stress, so I'm super happy with the victory." 

    Assessing the race in the closing stages, he said: "We rode super good together. All three of us were a little bit at the same level but I had the kick at the end that brought me to victory." 

    A hilly second half of the stage had split the field, with Wellens part of a mid-race breakaway of a dozen riders that was gradually whittled down to the trio that entered the last kilometre with the spoils up for grabs. 

    Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) led the sprint from the peloton to cross the line in fourth, remaining the General Classification leader as the race heads to the Pyrenees on Sunday. 

    Roglic's closest rival overall in the red jersey stakes, Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation), crashed in the closing metres, along with David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), but the Irish rider was able to get back on his bike and complete the stage. 

    STAGE RESULT

    1. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 04:19:25
    2. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +00:04
    3. Thymen Arensman (Team Sunweb) +00:12
    4. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +02:13
    5. Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) +02:13

    CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

    General Classification

    1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 20:52:31
    2. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) +0:05
    3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +0:13

    Points Classification

    1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 79
    2. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 57
    3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 57

    King of the Mountains

    1. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 19
    2. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 18
    3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 16

    WHAT'S NEXT?

    The riders have tackled moderate hills so far but Sunday takes them into the Pyrenees, albeit not on the route that was planned initially. French coronavirus restrictions have forced Vuelta organisers to cancel the scheduled Tourmalet summit finish, with the stage instead ending with the category one Aramon Formigal climb.

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