European road peloton return to action as Alberto Contador’s side win in Spain


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The European men’s road season came back to life on Sunday at the Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana.

Giovanni Lonardi (Eolo Kometa) edged out Amaury Capiot (Arkéa Samsic) and Chris Lawless (TotalEnergies) to claim the first elite road victory on European soil ahead of a month filled with short stage and one-day races across France and Spain.

Sunday’s La Clàssica in southern Spain saw no WorldTour team on the starting line in a crowded race with conti teams.

Instead, Event 1.2 was led by TotalEnergies, Arkéa Samsic, local teams Caja-Rural, Burgos-BH and Euskaltel Euskadi, and Lonardi’s crew led by Alberto Contador.

As one of the biggest teams in the peloton, Burgos-BH controlled for much of the race, shaking off the break of three to set up the final sprint in València.

A huge crash in the final kilometer interrupted the final gallop, but Eolo-Kometa’s Lonardi emerged unscathed to win the reduced sprint and open the books for European racing in 2022.

The biggest names in the men’s WorldTour kick into high gear in just days as 10 top teams heat up their jets in the five-race Challenge Mallorca series, starting on Wednesday.

Read also : What you need to know about the Euros restart on the road

From there it’s fueled up to top level racing, classics and more.

Meanwhile there…. Santos Cycling Festival kicks off

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, the Santos Festival of Cycling kicked off this weekend with a surprise win for Emily Watts (Knights of Suburbia) at the Williamstown Criterium.

BikeExchange-Jayco rider Ruby Roseman-Gannon took the overall lead in the Australian event thanks to her intermediate sprints.

You can read the full report from our CyclingTips friends here.

The Festival of Cycling’s elite women’s race is contested over three stages, from Sunday to Tuesday, while the three-day men’s race will run from Thursday to Sunday next week.

The all-Australian action takes place in place of the COVID-devastated ‘summer of cycling’ which usually sees the international peloton in action during the Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

With the Tour Down Under canceled due to the pandemic for a second consecutive year, the men’s WorldTour opens to the UAE Tour at the end of February.


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