Racing Roundup – 15/03/21

This weeks round of cycling saw the dramatic conclusion of Paris-Nice, as well as everyones favourite cyclo-cross rider Mathieu Van der Poel pull out yet another super human effort to go solo in Tirreno Adriatico.

Here’s what happened:


After Covid related lockdowns in France caused huge changes to stage 7, Paris-Nice looked all but won for Primoz Roglic. After Sam Bennett took stage 1, Cees Bol rode to victory in stage 2, and the flying Swiss Stefan Bissegger stage 3 in the ITT, Paris-Nice turned to the hills.

After a day with six categorized climbs finishing on the Cat 1 Chiroubles (7.3k @ 6%), it was a dominant Primoz Roglic who took stage 4 as well as a 35 second lead over last years winner Max Schachmann. Stage 5 as predicted finished in a sprint won emphatically by the rampant Irishman Sam Bennett (clinching him the sprinters green jersey), before stages 6 and 7 turned back to the hills, where Primoz Roglic again showed this strength on the climbs, taking the spoils on both occasions.

With a 41 second lead and a world-class team, Paris-Nice looked a done deal for Jumbo-Visma and Primoz Roglic. However it was not to be after a heavy crash for Roglic early into stage 8 left him with a dislocated shoulder. Despite remounting and continuing to push, a second heavy crash all but ruled out overall victory. With the win up for grab chaos ensued on the final climb and it was 2020 winner Max Schachmann who would come out on top defending his yellow jersey, and beating Aleksandr Vlasov and Ion Izagirre into 2nd and 3rd respectfully. After a tough day Roglic would come home 56th on the day, 3.08 down and finish
15th overall on GC.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Primoz Roglic (@primozroglic)

It was action packed, and it would be fair to say that Paris-Nice confirmed that Roglic is a man to feared this year and will a true threat for any Grand Tour that he enters. It would also be fair to say that Sam Bennett is the fastest man on the road this year and if he can hold his form, he has to be the hot favourite for the Green Jersey at the Tour!

Tirreno adriatico

Stage 1 as predicted finished with a sprint, but the winner came from outside of the usual suspects in this one as Belgium cross superstar Wout Van Aert pipped the fast men to the line with a perfectly timed kick, and took the Blue leaders Jersey for himself in the process!

Stage 2 followed and this truly was a one-day specialist finish, with a short, sharp up hill finish. World Champion Julian Alaphilippe came home first closely followed by Wout Van Aert and Mathieu Van der Poel respectively. Once again these three were making it clear for all to see that they are some of the best in the world when it comes to punchy finishes.

Against all odds it was nearly a day for the breakaway in stage 3, only for them to be caught with just 5km’s to go. With that group out of the way, the teams assembled and it was some cunning work by stage winner Julian Alaphilippe dropping a wheel allowed team mate Zdeněk Štybar to go clear with 500m to go. Race leader Wout Van Aert closed the gap only for Mathieu Van der Poel to jump him on the line and take stage victory.

Stage 4 at Tirreno Adriatico was defined but hilly and it was Tour De France winner Tadej Pogačar who was by far the strongest man on the day. Britain’s own Simon Yates came home second but stage 4 saw the end of the challenge from Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal of Ineos who lost over a minute. With the stage
win and bonus seconds, Pogačar took the overall race lead and the Blue Jersey.

Stage 5 was all about the weather and one man in particular. After 155k of rain, wind and freezing temperatures, it was Mathieu Van der Poel who decided to go long and break away solo with 50km to go!

After 3 laps of the gruelling closing circuit with climbs of up to 15%, he had built up a gap of over 3 minutes to the second group on the road (the group of GC contenders) and it looked all but done. Was there a sting in the tail? After a late surge by race leader Pogačar, the gap fell and fell, and at one point within the final kilometre it looked like there would be heart break for Van der Poel, but after kicking again he crossed the line just 26 seconds ahead of the chasing Pogačar.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Velon CC (@veloncc)


It wasn’t until after the stage that he confessed that he only attacked to try and beat the cold, and within the last 15km he was *only* holding 200W to the line. Maybe he is human after all?

With 2 stages left including an ITT, it certainly looks as if it is Pogačar’s to lose, and as with Roglic, he looks in fantastic form for this stage in the season.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by UCI (@uci_cycling)

Other cycling news

Away from the Pro world we saw an incredible feat unfold in Qatar where 46-year-old barrister Jonathan Parker claimed to have beaten the 100m TT world record in an amazing tome of 2hr 49m 58s. For most of us the 100miles is a challenge in it’s own right, so to average 56kph and over 300w for nearly 3 hrs is a breath taking effort. This record is still to be verified, but it’s certainly an incredible effort. Check it out here.