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  1. Amgen Women’s Race: Moolman-Pasio third overall after vertebral compression injury

    Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv) had targeted the Ardennes classics and the mountainous Tour of California Women’s Race – but a crash in the final sprint at Amstel Gold Race forced a change in priorities upon her.

    “I crashed hard in the sprint for eighth. I launched my sprint and got switched, so I went from full speed to nothing and hit my back hard. I tried not to make much of it because Flèche Wallonne was two days away and that was my goal. It started to materialise that it was more serious than what I wanted to accept, to be honest,” she told Cyclingnews.

    Flèche Wallonne is always a big goal for Moolman-Pasio, and after a second place in 2018 she was eager to line up and race. She finished seventh. Four days later she had to abandon Liège-Bastogne-Liège and finally went for a check-up of her injury.

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    “Two weeks ago, I had an MRI scan,” she explains. “The doctor said it would be three weeks off the bike because I had compression of the L4 and L5 vertebrae. They were worried the compressed disc could become herniated. I thought my whole season was gone. There was trauma in the area, haematoma, tight muscles, and a bruised sacrum.

    “I had some hard talks and got advice from the team doctor and my coach. The sports doctors have a less conservative approach, to take one week off and then see how the back responded. I took that week off, then I started training again. It was important to focus on massage work and stretching to try to help the back.”

    To recover from injury while simultaneously adjusting to the time difference from Europe, Moolman-Pasio went to Boulder, Colorado where she eased back into training.

    You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

  2. Start times for Giro d'Italia stage 9 time trial

    The second of three time trials during the 2019 Giro d'Italia, Sunday's 34.8 kilometre test between Riccione and the microstate of San Marino is perhaps the toughest to gauge. Flat for 22 kilometres, it's the 12.8-kilometre climb to the finish that provides the most uncertainty.

    With two time checks coming before the climbing starts (at 11.7 and 22.2 kilometres), there'll be some idea of which riders have coped best with the rain-hit opening week, and who is gaining form as the race progresses. However, the uneven ascent to the finish is set to throw all of that out of the window.

    Officially, the average for the climb might be 4.5 per cent, but the hill's rhythm-altering false flats and descents hide what is an average gradient of almost 7 per cent when the road rears up. Maximum gradients of 11 per cent feature both in the final kilometre and 10 kilometres from the line. To make things harder, there's potential for rain and maybe even thunderstorms mid-afternoon.

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    Winner of the opening time trial in Bologna, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), is the overwhelming favourite to take victory once more in San Marino. Since the stage 4 departure of Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), the Slovenian is perhaps the only GC contender who can both climb and time trial to the highest level. He sets off 154th, at 15:40 CET.

    Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) sets off nine minutes earlier, and the Briton looks to be the most intriguing competitor after finishing second in Bologna and winning the mid-race TT at Paris-Nice earlier in the season. Despite his much-improved ability against the clock, he seems certain to lose time on the flat, but how he fares on the climb will be a major factor in how the general classification falls after the stage.

    Astana leader Miguel Angel Lopez, who starts at 15:25, will be another one to watch after surprising with fourth in Bologna, even outpaced Dumoulin on the flat section there. Two-time Giro winner Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) follows at 15:28.

    Giro d'Italia 9 start times 

    You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

  3. Giro d'Italia: Nibali looks to limit losses to Roglic in San Marino time trial

    Pesaro may have been festooned in pink to celebrate the visit of the Giro d'Italia but, by the time Vincenzo Nibali emerged from anti-doping following stage 8, it was beginning to have the air of the coastal town they forgot to close down.

    Grey waves were crashing onto wet sand on the seafront, while leaden drops of rain were falling steadily over the finishing straight, where the podium and television area were already being dismantled. The boisterous crowds that had lined the final kilometres had long since dissipated in search of shelter.

    As Nibali soft-pedalled towards the Bahrain-Merida bus, he slowed to offer a perfunctory account of the Giro's longest day. The 239km leg along the Adriatic coast had passed off without incident – "Nothing to report," he said – and thoughts were already turning to Sunday's pivotal time trial to San Marino.

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    So far on the Giro, few days have been like Sunday, where the overall favourites will face off on the 34km course from the Adriatic coast to the mountaintop republic. Nibali and his rivals have been eyeing one another closely all week. Sunday will confirm or rebut their impressions. "Tomorrow we'll take stock of the situation," Nibali said.

    Nibali reaches the final act of the Giro's opening week in 16th place overall, 6:03 down on maglia rosa Valerio Conti (UAE Emirates), though the gaps of greater concern the Sicilian are to Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott). He will set off from Riccione 39 seconds down on Roglič and just 4 behind Yates.

    Roglič, an emphatic winner of the opening time trial in Bologna, is the overwhelming favourite to triumph again here. Nibali's coach Paolo Slongo acknowledged that a successful outing for Nibali would entail limiting his losses to the Slovenian and roughly breaking even with Yates, whose improvements against the clock carried him to time trial victory at Paris-Nice earlier this season.

    A real time trial

    You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

  4. Bol powers to victory on final stage of Tour of California – Video

    Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) sewed up the overall victory at the 2019 Tour of California on Saturday, getting through the final stage from Santa Clarita to Pasadena unscathed, having taken the race lead the previous day on Mount Baldy.

    Stage 7 was won by Team Sunweb's Cees Bol, who outsprinted Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates teammate Jasper Philipsen, topping off a tough week of racing that saw Dimension Data's Mark Cavendish retire from the race on the final stage.

    Twenty-year-old Pogacar's overall win by 16 seconds over EF Education First's Sergio Higuita – with Deceuninck-QuickStep's Kasper Asgreen only a single second further back in third – was never truly in doubt, although Bora-Hansgrohe's Max Schachmann, who started the day 11th overall, 1:28 down on Pogacar, featured in the day's early breakaway, and at one point held the virtual race lead, and was later joined up front by Asgreen, who was a true danger man for Pogacar.

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    However, the race came back together in the final 10km, and the only real question then was who was going to win the bunch sprint, with Dutchman Bol coming out on top.

    Pogacar, meanwhile, could celebrate the biggest win of his short career so far, while 21-year-old Colombian climber Higuita was arguably even more impressive in what was only his first WorldTour event, having only joined EF Ecucation First from Continental team Euskadi ahead of the race.

    Third-placed Asgreen – just 24 – also continued his rapid rise in what is only the Dane's first full season in the WorldTour with Deceuninck-QuickStep, having joined the Belgian team in April last year.

    You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

  5. Tadej Pogacar: Tour of California was my main goal

    Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) may not have the grizzled demeanor of a well-seasoned GC rider, but the 20-year-old put away some of the top riders in the world this week on his way to winning the 2019 Tour of California.

    Pogacar climbed the general classification with fourth place on the high-altitude climbing leg to South Lake Tahoe on stage 2, and then weathered the storms and attacks over the next three days to set himself up for victory with a winning ride on Mt. Baldy ahead of Sergio Higuita (EF Education First), George Bennett (Jumbo Visma) and Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) on stage 6 on Friday.

    It has been the culmination of a neo-pro season with UAE Team Emirates that saw Pogacar take both a stage and the overall victory earlier this year at the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal.

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    "This race was my main goal this year," the well-spoken Slovenian said at the post-race press conference in Pasadena. "I knew that I was well prepared, but I surprised myself a bit that I took the overall win. I am really happy and looking forward to returning next year."

    Pogacar rode a smart race throughout the week, going with the right moves on the way to Tahoe and then conserving his energy for the 'queen stage' up Mt. Baldy on the penultimate day. His tactical prowess proved itself again on the final climb of the day, when he rode within himself as attacks went up the road, and he had the confidence to wait until the right time to make his own counter attack. While more experienced riders floundered, Pogacar thrived.

    His final act included snaking past Higuita in the final corner by slowing a bit going into the bend and taking the quicker inside line to the finish, seizing the win and a 10-second time bonus that added to his final buffer. Pogacar told the media he'd learned his tactics from 10 years of racing with great coaches.

    You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

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