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  1. Van der Poel: I think this victory is very important

    Mathieu van der Poel (Correndon-Circus) took his fourth win of 2019 and checked off another box on his rapidly growing road resume Wednesday at Brabantse Pijl, beating recent Monument winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) in a four-up sprint in Overijse, Belgium.

    "I knew I had a chance in the sprint, but you're never sure," Van der Poel said. "I chose to turn on from the front, so I wouldn't get trapped and be able to ride my own sprint. When I started, I felt that I would be able to continue to the finish line.

    "The region is familiar territory to me," he said. "As a young rider, I have ridden here a few times already. So I knew that I could manage the Schavei. The rest of the race was harder than expected. My race was already successful when I could slip along with the favourites. That I could still win De Brabantse Pijl is the icing on the cake."

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    Van der Poel joined Alaphilippe, Tim Wellens and Team Sunweb's Michael Matthews in a group that bridged to lone escapee Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) on the final lap of three finishing circuits that included climbs over Hagaard, Hertstraat, Holstheide, Ijskelderlaan and finally Schavei.

    An attack from Wellens on the Holstheide with 10km to go distanced Impey. Alaphilippe attacked over the top of the Ijskelderlaan, forcing Van der Poel to dig deep to stay with him, while Wellens and Matthews were initially dropped but clawed their way back to the leaders.

    Van der Poel led the breakaway onto the final climb of the Schavei then and under the flamme rouge, where cat-and-mouse games forced a reluctant Matthews to briefly take the lead as the field was quickly closing.

    You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

  2. Alaphilippe misses the win but takes confidence from Brabantse Pijl

    Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) missed out on this seventh win of the season Wednesday at Brabantnse Pijl, finishing second in a four-up sprint at the end of the race to Matthieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus), but the winner of Milan-San Remo and Strade Bianche will take confidence from his aggressive racing heading into the Ardennes Classics next week.

    “My team did a superb job, and on the last lap I decided to attack," said Alaphlippe, who abandoned the Tour of the Basque Country last week after being involved in a high-speed crash ion stage 4. "Over the top of the climb we were five riders, and I rode full gas to help this move go all the way to the line."

    Alaphilippe helped form the winning breakaway when he, Van der Poel, Tim Wellens (Lotto Souydal) and Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), bridged across to solo escapee Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) on the final lap of three finishing circuits in Overijse, Belgium.

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    Wellens attacked over the Holstheide climb and was followed by Alaphilippe, Van der Poel and Matthews, while Impey lost touch with the group with just over 10km to go. The leaders worked well together and held off the chase with a small gap, but Alaphlippe attacked as they approached the final two climbs.

    The Deceuninck-QuickStep leader's move wasn't enough to drop Van der Poel, however, while Wellens and Matthews initially lost contact but then clawed their way back. Van der Poel led the breakaway onto the final climb of the Schavei and then under the flamme rouge with Matthews, Alaphilippe and Wellens on his wheel.

    A lull in the action briefly pushed Matthews into the lead, but the cat-and-mouse games continued as the field was quickly closing from behind, causing Van der Poel to jump with 250 metres to go. Alaphilippe, Wellens and Matthews tried to respond, but none could come around the Dutch champion, with Alaphilippe collecting the second prize and Wellens landing third.

    You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

  3. USA Cycling names recipients of Kelly Catlin Fund

    USA Cycling has named two recipients of the Kelly Catlin Fund, created to honour the memory of the 2016 Olympic silver medallist and three-time World Champion who took her own life in March. Annual grants from the fund will support the Minnesota Cycling Center and emerging women’s track racers through the Kelly Catlin Women's Track Development Grant.

    "An exceptional talent, Kelly was passionate about growth potential on and off the bike and in helping others perform at their best," said Rob DeMartini, president and CEO of USA Cycling, "Through the Kelly Catlin Fund, her dedication will continue to make an impact both in the community where she began racing and for future generations of cyclists."

    A multi-talented athlete, artist and musician, Catlin began racing as a teenager at the urging of her twin brother, Colin. She quickly rose through the ranks, winning the Minnesota state cyclo-cross championships and then landing on the podium in her first national road championships in 2013 in the Junior 15-18 category.

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    Catlin won the U23 national title in both the road race and time trial in 2014 and 2015, and the Pan American Games time trial in 2015, but it was on the track where she found the most success as part of USA Cycling's team pursuit squad.

    Together with Sarah Hammer, Jen Valente, Ruth Winder and Chloe Dygert, Catlin won the 2016 world championship title and the silver medal in the team pursuit in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. After Hammer's retirement, Kim Geist joined the squad, which went on to win two more world titles. Catlin also earned two bronze medals in the world championships in the individual pursuit in 2017 and 2018.

    Catlin, 23, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. She earned bachelor's degrees in biomedical engineering and Chinese from the University of Minnesota in 2018 and was pursuing a master's degree in Computational and Mathematical Engineering at Stanford University. She also competed professionally for trade team Rally UHC Cycling on the road, finishing second in the US criterium championships in Knoxville in 2018.

    You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

  4. Sam Bennett overcomes Giro snub with multiple wins in Turkey

    The Giro d’Italia is just three weeks away, and Sam Bennett is the most prolific sprinter of the professional ranks in the 2019 season so far, raising questions over Bora-Hansgrohe’s choice not to select the Irishman for the corsa rosa, where he won three stages last year, including the grand finale in Rome.

    Only Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) has won more races [8] than Bennett in the current season. The fast man from Carrick-on-Suir told Cyclingnews that he is proud to have crossed the line first at least once in each stage race he has taken part in this season: the Vuelta a San Juan [stage 7], the UAE Tour [stage 7], Paris-Nice [stages 3 and 6] and now stages 1 and 2 of the Presidential Tour of Turkey. Beating Fernando Gaviria, Caleb Ewan, Alexander Kristoff and Elia Viviani in Dubai was a masterpiece. In Turkey, he managed to outsprint the likes of Fabio Jakobsen, Ewan and Mark Cavendish.

    “I didn’t really know what my condition was like after having a break and putting on some weight after Milan-San Remo,” Bennett said after stage 1 in Terkidağ. “But I knew I’d come back in form quickly. I just didn’t know for which stage.”

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    Bennet’s sixth win in the technical and uphill finish of Eceabat on the Gallipoli peninsula was very impressive. The second most successful sprinter of 2019 is Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) with five wins while Viviani has four and Gaviria three. Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel and Peter Sagan have just one victory each, whereas Cavendish is yet to win this year. German national champion Pascal Ackermann has claimed two victories: Clasica de Almeria and Bredene Koksijde Classic.

    Ackermann is the designated sprinter of Bora-Hansgrohe for the Giro d’Italia starting in Bologna on May 11, and Sagan remains their star rider for the Tour de France.

    “There are the Giro and the Tour that I really wanted to do,” Bennett replied when asked if his success so far increases his disappointment at being left out of his team’s selection for the Giro and Tour. “Whether I was doing the Giro and the Tour or not, I approached the season in the same way: as a professional. I thought with the results I have they’d be open to new ideas, but it doesn’t matter.

    You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

  5. Schweizer opens up about abuse at Cervelo-Bigla in 2015

    Doris Schweizer, former two-time Swiss road champion, has come forward with details concerning her experiences while racing for Cervelo-Bigla under the team's owner Thomas Campana. Campana was accused of abusing his power as the head of the team in 2015 by bullying, fat shaming, intimidating riders and ignoring medical concerns.

    "I did not want to comment further, but due to extreme reactions, I would like to share some personal thoughts," Schweizer wrote in her blog on Monday.

    "It is probably understandable that as a person affected, I cannot understand how such behaviour can be considered ‘normal’ or ‘necessary’ to demand top performance.

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    "Even four months later, the Swiss main sponsor Bigla did not take the opportunity to catch up or to ask questions - but in my opinion, that alone also draws a clear picture."

    In an article published by the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant last November, former Cervelo-Bigla riders Iris Slappendel, Carmen Small, Vera Koedooder and Schweizer revealed their concerns while at the Cervelo-Bigla team where athletes would avoid Campana's anger.

    Their allegations of abuse took place predominantly during the 2015 season. Campana denied all the allegations.

    Schweizer's case revolved primarily around ignored medical concerns after she had crashed during the Giro Rosa that year and suffered from a suspected concussion with symptoms that included blurred vision and sweating. Schweizer said that Campana told her it was 'because of the heat,' and she felt obliged to start and finish the following stage. She was only permitted to leave the race after a phone call from the team doctor, who expressed the seriousness of her concussion symptoms. Schweizer says she suffered from those injuries for two years, and still sometimes feels the after-affects of the head injury.

    You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

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