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Ben O'Connor (Dimension Data) has abandoned the Tour of Oman through illness. The Australian suffered a fever after stage 2 on Sunday and did not take to the start of stage 3 in Shati Al Qurum on Monday morning. O'Connor, who will take aim again at the Giro d'Italia in May, had high hopes for Oman, and was eyeing a result on the decisive summit finish on Green Mountain on stage 5. However, he began to feel unwell during Sunday's stage, where his teammate Ryan Gibbons claimed third place, and his condition deteriorated in the evening. "Already yesterday he told us after the race that he didn't feel good. He was still in the front group but couldn't really work for Ryan. He told us, 'I really feel shit,'" Dimension Data directeur sportif Hendrik Redant told Cyclingnews.ADVERTISEMENT "So we talked about it, and said, 'Ah – no worries. We'll see what happens – that's cycling.' But then last night he really started coughing a lot and felt bad and had a fever all night. The doctor was with him a few times overnight, and we put him in a separate room, but he really got sick. He was coughing, with mucus coming up, his nose full, and pain all over. When you have flu, you know that at the start you have pain all over your body, which is what he has." The decision was taken by the team and their medical stuff to pull O'Connor out of the race, and it wasn't a difficult one to make. "With a fever, there's no way you're going to start here. It's too early in the season. If this happened at the Giro, he'd try to start, of course. But here, if you do that, there's the risk that it could get really bad, and then you have a problem," Redant said.
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) claimed the overall win at the Tour Colombia 2.1 on Sunday atop Alto las Palmas, taking third on the final stage behind Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Ivan Sosa (Team Sky) and beating Sosa by four seconds in the general classification. But Lopez's win was really earned on Friday during the stage 4 circuit race in Medellín, where the 25-year-old Colombian infiltrated the day-long breakaway and claimed eight seconds in time bonuses at the intermediate sprints. Those bonus seconds proved to be the difference for the final podium. "We knew from the beginning that this race was going to play out like the previous year, fighting for a few seconds, even in the bonuses, and that day in Medellín we raced intelligently and were able to get eight seconds, which proved invaluable in the end," Lopez said in the post-race press conference.ADVERTISEMENT Not that Sunday's stage was without drama. Lopez and Sosa battled to the end for the overall, ceding the stage win to Quintana as the two played a game of cat and mouse that allowed the Movistar rider to catch and then overtake them after a careless spectator knocked Quintana out of the select four-rider group that also included Team Sky's Egan Bernal. While Sosa's and Quintana's rhythms were interrupted as they had to clip out and put a foot down, Lopez and Bernal initially continued on until Bernal dropped back to pull his teammate back into contention for the overall. Sosa said he didn't notice the melee behind him as he drove the group and simply pressed on with his pace. "Well, I didn't give much thought to that moment," he said. "I was pulling the group and I saw that a spectator had dropped his cell phone, but I didn't turn to look, and instead continued on with my rhythm."
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Mitchelton-Scott's Simon Yates will begin his season at the 2019 Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol – also known simply as the Ruta del Sol – on Wednesday, and will be joined by his brother Adam, Esteban Chaves and Jack Haig at the mountainous five-day Spanish stage race. While Adam Yates started his season in early February at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, where he took victory on the race's 'queen stage', Simon – winner of the 2018 Vuelta a España – will begin his build-up for May's Giro d'Italia at the Ruta del Sol, which his Mitchelton-Scott team have never participated at before. Simon Yates' last completed race was that overall Vuelta victory in Madrid last September, as he didn't finish at either the Worlds road race or the Giro dell'Emilia, which was his last race in early October.ADVERTISEMENT It's for that reason that Simon says he'll play a support role to Adam and their teammate Jack Haig, with the Australian having also ridden a good Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana to finish seventh overall. Esteban Chaves, meanwhile, used the same race to return to racing for the first time since last May's Giro, having been struck down with mononucleosis in the meantime. "I'm looking forward to starting racing again," said Simon Yates on his team's website. "It's a new race for me, so I'm looking forward to that, and I know some of the roads quite well around Granada, so that also helps. But really I'm just ready to start racing again.
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) overcame his rivals, an overzealous fan and gravity to win the Queen stage Sunday at the Tour Colombia 2.1 ahead of Team Sky's Ivan Sosa and overall winner Miguel Angel Lopez of Astana. Quintana was in a select group with Sosa, Lopez and Team Sky's Egan Bernal inside the final 5km of the summit finish at Alto las Palmas when the fan, who was attempting to run alongside the riders lost his balance and fell into the group. Quintana and Sosa hit the deck briefly, while Lopez and Bernal continued on. "It was pretty difficult and sad," Quintana said in the mixed zone after the race. "Unfortunately, it was a fall at a very important developing moment in the race and the stage. Finally, we got up and got going again. Thankfully, I was able to put in that final attack to win the stage."ADVERTISEMENT Bernal dropped back to help his teammate, who started the day fourth overall at 29 seconds, and eventually brought him back to Lopez, who was third overall at 23 seconds, before losing the pace and falling out of the group. Lopez and Sosa then engaged in an odd game of cat-and-mouse that nearly brought them to a standstill on the course as Quintana powered his way up to and then past the formerly lead duo, leaving them to fight it out for second place and the overall crown. In the post-stage press conference, Lopez said he and Sosa were battling for the overall, but the Astana rider started the day six seconds ahead of Sosa only needed to finish with the Team Sky rider to seal overall victory.
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Egan Bernal appeared slightly upset when he arrived at the Team Sky van following stage 5 at the Tour Colombia 2.1, where he slipped from sixth overall to ninth and lost another 43 seconds to the current race leader and is now 1:05 behind. The 22-year-old Colombian's family was waiting for him and appeared to offer condolences as his hopes for repeating his 2018 Oro y Paz title looked quite a bit dimmer. His younger brother crying, and Bernal provided a hug and wiped away the tears from his face. But appearances can be deceiving, and all is not lost for Team Sky. Ivan Sosa made the dangerous breakaway on stage 5 and finished fifth, six seconds behind stage winner and new race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep). He is currently fourth overall at 29 seconds with the final summit finish to Las Palmas remaining.ADVERTISEMENT Even with Sosa up the road, Team Sky chased furiously to keep the move in check but did not pull the escapees back before the finish. It called into question the team's tactics and whether they put too many eggs in Sosa's basket. "I think what we're doing is very easy to look at from the outside and kind of just see one race and think, 'OK, that's the break, that's your leader, and that's how we're going to play the day,'" Team Sky assistant director Ollie Cookson told Cyclngnews before the start of stage 6. "But as you may have seen Sky or [director Nicolas Portal) work in the past, there's obviously parallel races at the same time. So we wanted to keep our options close for today." Froome
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) came close to doubling up at the Tour of Oman on Sunday but, despite surviving the late climb of Al Jissah and winning the finish sprint from the group, the stage 1 winner had to settle for second place as Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) had already crossed the line alone. Consolation came courtesy of the bonus seconds that keep him in the red jersey as overall leader of the race. The uphill drag of a finish suited Kristoff, but matters were complicated by Al Jissah - 1.4km at 9 per cent - which topped out 5km from the line and was followed by a fast descent into the final kilometre. As the elastic between Kristoff and the rapidly-thinning main group started to fray on the steep incline, Lutsenko was leaving the bunch at the front end, heading over the top alone. The Kazakh rider was already sat up and celebrating when Kristoff was moving up through the watts.ADVERTISEMENT "It was fast, and I was a bit dropped on the last section of the climb. I had maybe 25 metres to be in the group, and behind me I saw nobody so I was actually alone on the top," Kristoff told Cyclingnews. "I just sat on my frame the whole downhill, going very fast through the corners, and I managed to come back to the group, but unfortunately there was a guy in front. I took the sprint but it was for second place. "I think Lutsenko was the strongest. He deserved the win. To manage to attack in such a finale and stay away, he was very strong."
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

News that the U19 Paris-Roubaix faced cancellation due to a financial shortage hit John Degenkolb "like a bomb" and prompted the Trek-Segafredo rider to help a campaign set up to save the race. The 2015 Paris-Roubaix winner and the GoFundme campaign were looking to raise the 10,000 Euros initially needed to save the race, and within 24 hours after the fund was set up donations stood at 700 Euros over the required amount. All additional donations are set to fund future editions of the race and a volunteer organisation that helps protect the cobbles. Race organizer John Malaise announced on Friday that due to a lack of funds it was likely that the U19 race, which is part of the U19 Nations Cup, would have to be cancelled.ADVERTISEMENT Upon hearing the news that 10,000 Euros in sponsorship money was still needed, Degenkolb said: "Immediately it was clear to me that I wanted to do everything possible to prevent this worst case. Not only because I have a very special relationship to Paris-Roubaix. A race that fascinated me already as I was a child and directly infected me with the fascination for cycling. "But also because of its importance for the support of young talents. In France, in Germany, worldwide. If cycling should have a sustainable future we need such races for the young guns - hardly anyone knows that better than me." The Trek-Segafredo rider is going beyond simply making a donation himself, with records showing he donated 2,500 Euros. He has promised a "Dege Special Roubaix T-shirt" to all who donate at least 25 Euros.
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) edged out Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) and Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) to win the 34th edition of the Clasica de Almeria on Sunday. The German national champion timed his sprint perfectly, coming off Mezgec's wheel with just over 125m to the line and powering clear of the opposition. Kittel came from further back but gave himself too much to do. In the end, the Katusha rider narrowly missed out on the win, with Ackermann taking his first win of the 2019 season. Mitchelton-Scott had done the majority of the pace setting throughout the day and many predicted that Mezgec would lead out European Champion Matteo Trentin. However, it was the Italian who hit the front with just over 200m to go with Mezgec tucked in on his wheel. However, the Mitchelton pair had no answer when Ackermann opened his sprint. The 25-year-old German has already picked up from where he left off in 2018.ADVERTISEMENT Ackermann and his teammates were patient in the finale, watching on as Mitchelton controlled the field. The German team moved up inside 1.8km to as the race tackled the final circuit, while Kittel sat deeper in the field before his lead-out train brought him up with just under 1,000m to the line. "It was a really hard race," Ackermann said in a post-race flash interview. "Actually 100km before the finish there was a split in the peloton. Mitchelton did it and then we came to the finish line and the sprint was a hard one. Asked if he was surprised that Trentin didn't sprint, Ackermann said, "No, I saw it in the race that Trentin was going to the front and the other one was in the pack and I knew that Mezgec was going for the sprint. How it unfolded
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Simone Velasco (Nero Sottoli - Sella Italia - KTM) won the Trofeo Laigueglia through a long solo effort, conquering the climbs and taking every risk on the rolling course. Nicola Bagioli (Nippo - Vini Fantini - Faizane) won the sprint from small group for second, with Matteo Sobrero of the Italian national team taking third. It was the first professional career win for the 23-year-old Velasco. He jumped from the peloton with three others as the race entered the first lap of the closing circuit and soon took off for his near 50km solo effort. A group of seven got away within the first 20km of this hilly race. Jonas Aaen (Riwal Readynez), Michael Piccot (Biesse Carrera), Giulio Masotto (Team Colpack), Andrea Ferrari (Iseo Serrature Rime Carnovali), Evgeny Kobernyak (Gazprom Rusvelo), Federico Burchio ( D'Amico UM Tools) and Emanuele Amadio (Ct Friuli) quickly established a large gap.ADVERTISEMENT The early gap of 7:25 slowly dropped, and as they hit the halfway point, their lead had been whittled down to three and a half minutes. But from there it started dropping rapidly. After 141km, the break was over, as the four leaders were caught by a group of about 40 riders, and soon the whole peloton came back together. As they entered the first lap of the closing circuit, four riders got away: Simone Velasco (Neri Sottoli), Alexander Cataford (Israel Cycling Academy), Andrea Toniatti (Colpack), and Jacopo Mosca (D'Amico-UM Tools). Velasco then took off solo.
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com