Vuelta a Espana 2020 : Stage 4. Giro d’Italia 2020: Stage 19. Bennett, Cerny and whole lot of confusion

Sam Bennett (Deceuninck Quick Step) carried straight on with his winning ways by claiming victory on Stage 4 of La Vuelta – his seventh of the year. Initially given the jump by UAE Team Emirates Jasper Philipsen, the Irishman claimed the slipstream and zoomed past in the final pedal strokes. Meanwhile over at the Giro d’Italia, Josef Cerny delivered a fine solo victory for his CCC team, leaping away from the break with 20km to go. As marvellous as that was, it wasn’t the main story of stage 19 – as rider power turned what should have been the longest stage, into the shortest! There was no change on GC anywhere. Let’s get into it.

Okay, two grand tours in one day is confusing enough without the polemic raging on twitter all day. Let’s start with La Vuelta, which for once wasn’t the crazy one of this Grand Tour double up.

Viva La Vuelta

Four stages in and the race organisers gave the sprinters their chance and they were not going to let the opportunity slip from their grasp. As expected the Quicksteppers bossed the roundabouts and squeaky final bend to set Sam Bennett up for a run to the line.

It didn’t all go according to plan and Sam found himself on the behind a charging Philipsen, but once he got into the slipstream he accelerated away to take a convincing win.

Jasper Philipsen came on the inside and got a jump, and I actually really didn’t believe I was going to catch him. I started getting more and more speed towards the end and I was still accelerating towards the line, so I had the power. But when he initially went, he was explosive around the corner that I didn’t know if I could catch him.

It’s amazing what confidence can bring to a sprinter, and the Irishman looks to have it spades. 

Love this shot.

Records a-go-go again

Stage 4 results

1 Sam Bennett (Deceuninck Quick Step) 3:53:29

2 Jasper Philipsen (UAE-Team Emirates)  same time

3 Jakub Mareczko (CCC) s/t

4 Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe) s/t

5 Gerben Thijssen (Lotto-Soudal) s/t

GC Top 10

1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 16:30:53

2 Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up) +0:05

3 Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +0:13

4 Enric Mas (Movistar) +0:32

5 Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) +0:38

6 Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +0:44

7 Felix Grossschartner (BORA-hansgrohe) +1:17

8 Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) +1:29

9 Marc Soler (Movistar) +1:55

10 George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) +1:57

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

Points jersey Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

King of the Mountains Richard Carapaz (INEOS)

Best Young Rider Enric Mas (Movistar)

For full race reviews, go to cyclingnews

Official race website: Vuelta a Espana


Much ado at Il Giro d’Italia

Ahhh stage 19, you sweet, contrary child. What should have been the longest stage and turned into the shortest. What should have ended with a nailed on sprint at the finish and didn’t.

I want to speak about our stage victor first, because I fear most of the column inches about this day’s racing will not be about his exploits.

Let’s hear it for Josef Cerny

The stage was shortened to 124km and Josef was in front for all of them. First as part of a trio, later as part of a larger breakaway group and finally on his own. He made his winning move with 20km to go, slipping from the front of breakaway and putting his not inconsiderable TT ability on show – let’s not forget he was 6th on the opener and 5th on stage 14.

He needed every watt he could find from his screaming legs with the likes of Iljo Keisse (Deceuninck Quick Step) and NTT’s Victor Campenaerts powering away behind him. With 17km to go he held 40secs, at 9km it was 28secs and it went south to 21secs at the 4km mark. But the Czech didn’t look back, just kept on sucking in oxygen and turning the pedals. He held them off and had time to enjoy his first WorldTour victory. A full two arm salute all the way to the line

I still cannot believe it but it is a really nice feeling. I didn’t believe it until I was about 500 meters to go. I still had about 25-30 seconds in the last ten kilometres but it was a full headwind. I thought I could I could do it and I was pushing hard and now I’m here after crossing first in the finish line. It’s unbelievable. I cannot describe it, it was just incredible. I try so much and today, I have achieved my dream.

Wonderful for the team that says goodbye at the end of the season

The shenanigans at the start

Facing a day of 258km in the wet and cold after a late finish yesterday and an early start today, the riders were not happy.

When chaos reigns you need someone to make sense of it from a rider’s perspective  …step forwards Ladies Favourite Bernie Eisel

The result of the meeting

Back on the bus

Bernie knows

He’s not wrong, this could have been handled better but here we are.

Twitter found the light side

And predictably found plenty to take to the keyboards with views ranging from:  “this wouldn’t have happened in the old days, Andy Hampsten on the Gavia” etc etc (which yes, that is an iconic image and a supreme feat of human endurance, but had little to do with what was unfolding in the circumstances of 2020), to “what about the all the towns that paid to have the Giro with them?” Also a valid point, but again what choice were the riders left with?

Could it have been handled better? Undoubtedly. Was it the correct decision? Yes in my opinion it was.

You may choose to disagree and that’s OK, it’s fair to say probably not all the riders were in agreement either.

I’m giving the final word to Adam Hansen, who was involved in the meeting this morning and in discussions with riders.

You can bet your bottom dollar this will rumble on. Anyone else find this a disturbing quote from the race organiser?

Stage 19 Results

1 Josef Cerny (CCC)  2:30:40

2 Victor Campenaerts (NTT) +0.18

3 Jacopa Mosca (Trek-Segafredo) +0:26

4 Simon Clarke (EF Procycling) same time

5 Iljo Keisse (Deceuninck Quick Step) +2:18

GC Top 10

1 Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) 80:29:19

2 Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +0:12

3 Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:15

4 Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren) +1:19

5 João Almeida (Deceuninck-Quickstep) +2:16

6 Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) +3:59

7 Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) +5:40

8 Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) +5:47

9 Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-Quickstep) +6:46

10 Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) +7:28

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb

Points jersey Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)

King of the Mountains Ruben Guerreiro (EF Ducks)

Best Young Rider Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb)

For full race reviews, go to cyclingnews

Official race website: Giro d’Italia 

Final thoughts

The struggle of double header Grand Tours is real for cycling fans everywhere

Yep, we feel you Orla

Header: © Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

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