Emotional Mark Cavendish says he may have competed in his last race as Mads Pedersen wins Ghent-Wevelgem
Mark Cavendish - GETTY IMAGES
Full results and details after Guerreiro took his biggest win
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On another extraordinary day in his most unpredictable season, Mark Cavendish told reporters in Belgium that he may have competed in his last race as a professional cyclist.
After Gent-Wevelgem, the one-day semi-classic in Flanders, when asked how his race went, a whiny Cavendish said: "Maybe this will be the last race of my career." When asked if he thought his career was over, he replied, "Maybe yes."
According to a report on Cyclingnews.com, the sprinter was in ongoing negotiations with Bahrain-McLaren, the WorldTour team led by Rod Ellingworth. However, Cavendish's post-race comments suggest they may have stalled.
Cavendish started Gent-Wevelgem as part of the seven-man team from Bahrain-McLaren and surprised many when he made the breakaway of the day, which was almost 70 kilometers from the line in the 232.5 km race from Ypres to Wevelgem.
Mads Pedersen, the former world champion, won the race that served as the warm-up for the Flanders Tour next Sunday, while Florian Sénéchal took second place ahead of Matteo Trentin, who came third in a highly competitive edition of the race.
After favorites Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert canceled each other out, much of the post-race chatter was expected to surround what has gone wrong for two of the biggest names in cycling right now. However, the potential resignation of Cavendish, the best sprinter of a generation to win 30 stages in the Tour de France, may mean that certain conversations take a back seat for the time being.
In Italy, Ruben Guerreiro won the ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia when his Portuguese rider Joao Almeida kept the leader's pink jersey until Monday's rest day.
Guerreiro clinched a second stage win for EF Pro Cycling when he broke the heart of Ineos Grenadiers' Jonathan Castroviejo on the final hundred meters of the 208 km stage to Roccaraso.
Joao Almeida crossed the line a little less than two minutes later but saw his advantage cut to 30 seconds when Wilco Kelderman moved up to second with a late dig in front of the peloton.
"The team did an incredible job," said Almeida from Deceuninck-QuickStep. "They were perfect and thanks to my team-mates I still wear the Maglia Rosa. I'm also happy for my compatriot Guerreiro, he deserves the win!"
Almeida keeps the pink jersey
Joao Almeida crosses the finish line safely to hold onto his leader's pink jersey after Tao Geoghegan Hart finished sixth ahead of Lucas Hamilton. The Ineos Grenadiers rider won a few seconds and climbed two places to 17th overall after a stage that, to be honest, never really came to life. Fortunately, the Gent-Wevelgem semi-classic was a blast!
Ruben Guerreiro - Ruben Guerreiro wins the ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia; Mads Pedersen prepares with the victory of Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders - GETTY IMAGES
By the way, Almeida wrote another piece of cycling history by keeping the Maglia Rosa. The 22-year-old has now held a leader's jersey on a major tour longer than any other Portuguese rider.
Guerreiro wins the ninth stage of the Giro!
Ruben Guerreiro jumps Jonathan Castroviejo about 100 meters from the line and the man with the duck on his jersey wins in the rain. This is the first stage win by a Portuguese at the Giro d'Italia in 31 years, the last being Acacio Da Silva, who won on Etna in 1989.
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 500 meters from the finish
Jonathan Castroviejo and Ruben Guerreiro drive extremely slowly as the road climbs, but who will rain their arms?
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 1 km to go
The leading pair are in the final 1,000 meters of this tough stage, but who has the legs to finish it in the very steep final of the stage? Jonathan Castroviejo is leading and he's glued Ruben Guerreiro to his bike, the Portuguese doesn't seem particularly keen on a corner.
Giro d'Italia, 9th stage: Another 1.5 km
Tao Geoghegan Hart and Lucas Hamilton put around 30 seconds into the main draw and gained valuable time for the general classification. Back in the group, some teams are fighting for their position.
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 2 km to go
Jonathan Castroviejo and Ruben Guerreiro are on their way to victory. The Ineos Grenadiers rider has only won one time trial in his professional career, while Guerreiro has only won one, the Portuguese National Championship in 2017.
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 5 km to go
Tao Geoghegan Hart and Lucas Hamilton are the second chase group on the road. The pair are about two minutes behind Mikkel Bjerg, Kilian Frankiny and Larry Warbasse. Jonathan Castroviejo and Ruben Guerreiro lead the stage by just 15 seconds.
Giro d'Italia, 9th stage: still 5.5 km
Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos Grenadiers) attacks before the breakaway, only Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) can follow. Further down, Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) and Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-Scott) have broken off the front of the field, presumably in the hope of winning a few seconds before Monday's rest day.
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 7 km to go
And the peloton is on the final climb of the day, reaching its steepest section near the top - up to a 12 percent drop. Once again Trek-Segafredo are in the lead and Vincenzo Nibali has got rid of all wet weather equipment. Will he attack?
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 9 km from the finish
The peloton may not have filled the gap with the leaders, but there have been a number of divisions in the group. Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT) seems to be fighting his way back. Quite a lot of water on the road while the wind is blowing. In summary, they drive in terrible conditions.
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 15 km from the finish
The five-man runaway is on the last climb of the day, climbing up to an incline of up to 15 percent. Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates), Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos Grenadiers), Kilian Frankiny (Groupama-FDJ), Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) and Larry Warbasse (Ag2r-La Mondiale) lead the stage with a lead of almost four minutes, like I can imagine today's winner will be one of them.
Pedersen wins Gent-Wevelgem!
Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), the former world champion, won Gent-Wevelgem. The young Dane bridged Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Matteo Trentin (CCC) and Alberto Bettiol (EF Pro Cycling), while Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) spent too much time to watch each other. In the end, Van Aert and Van der Poel eliminated themselves from the race, while the smartest driver of the day raised his arms in celebration a week after Paris-Roubaix was canceled a week after the biggest one-day race of the year: the Tour of Flanders.
Sénéchal came second, Trentin third.
Gent-Wevelgem: Another 1 km
Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel may have missed the crucial step. You won't want to take on John Degenkolb who has a stronger sprint. Mads Pedersen has now formed the top group.
Gent-Wevelgem: Another 1.5 km
Alberto Bettiol, Matteo Trenton and Florian Sénéchal have created some space between themselves and the pre-race favorites, Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, but can they keep this lead?
Gent-Wevelgem: Another 2 km
And Mathieu van der Poel bridges and takes the rest of the drivers with him.
Gent-Wevelgem: Another 3 km
Wout van Aert, Stefan Küng, Alberto Bettiol and Florian Sénéchal are pioneers.
Gent-Wevelgem: Another 4.5 km
Wout van Aert goes alone, but here comes Mathieu van der Poel. The Dutchman caught Van Aert before Kung is next.
Gent-Wevelgem: 6 km to go
And Alberto Bettiol goes from behind, but he's back on the reins. And Wout van Aert is gone!
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 21 km from the finish
Trek-Segafredo appears to have knocked it off on the front of the peloton.
Gent-Wevelgem: 8 km to go
Florian Sénéchal leans forward to put on his shoes. Minutes from discovering who will win the 83rd edition of Gent-Wevelgem. Alberto Bettiol sits in the back. Could the Italian think about starting a train from behind?
Gent-Wevelgem: Another 10 km
This very select nine-man group runs through and through. You won't get caught here today and the winner will be one of them.
Gent-Wevelgem: Another 15 km
Alberto Bettiol attacked and caused another split in this select group. Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel are here, as are Matteo Trentin, Yves Lampaert, Florian Sénéchal, John Degenkolb, Mads Pedersen and Stefan Küng
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 28 km to go
The outlier consists of only five riders - Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos Grenadiers), Kilian Frankiny (Groupama-FDJ), Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling), Larry Warbasse (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Mikkel Bjerg (Emirates Team of the UAE) - after Ben O'Connor (NTT), Eduardo Sepúlveda (Movistar) and Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-KTM) lose contact on this ascent. Trek-Segafredo ride hard in the front of the field and put pressure on the back.
Gent-Wevelgem: 20 km to go
We are on the last 20 kilometers of a fascinating race in Flanders. John Degenkolb got rid of his mud-splattered glasses and briefly drove on the front before making room for Mike Teunissen. Jumbo-Visma has two drivers here - Teunissen and Wout van Aert - while three work for Deceuninck-Quick Step. EF Pro Cycling has two in Alberto Bettiol and Sep Vanmarcke. Mathieu van der Poel remains the favorite from this group.
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 32 km from the finish
Trek-Segafredo takes over the front and places numbers there on this climb. Vincenzo Nibali will be keen to test his rivals here and exploit any weaknesses. Presumably the two-time winner of the Giro feels strong. The deficit in the outlier is around 4 minutes and 10 seconds.
Gent-Wevelgem: 24 km to go
The game is over for Stefan Küng. He is back in this strong group that is leading the race by 1 minute and 8 seconds. I can't see them being caught, not with the power driving hard up front.
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 35 km from the finish
Jonathan Castroviejo attacks the lower part of the 9.4 km long Bosco di Sant'Antonio, with the speed violation leading to a brief separation in the group. The Spanish time trial specialist could today, but he still has a long way to go.
Gent-Wevelgem: Another 30 km
Mathieu van der Poel's teammate, Gianni Vermeersch, crashes. However, the chase group continues to pursue the race director Stefan Küng, who has leaned over his handlebars. There are no more climbs, none of the hard concrete roads and no more cobblestones. However, a strong wind is blowing that could hinder Küng's attempt to win a first semi-classic here today. Incidentally, the Groupama FDJ driver is 9 seconds ahead.
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 40 km from the finish
Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) is afraid of a slight right-hander, the Dane walks off the road when he is relegated. He wastes little time getting back on board. The lead of the outlier drops slightly to 4 minutes and 8 seconds.
Gent-Wevelgem: 33 km to go
Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert drive straight through the leading group, Alberto Bettiol stays on. Stefan Küng has none of it and the Swiss time trial specialist went solo.
Gent-Wevelgem: 35 km to go
Stefan Küng and Matteo Trentin cut off the top of the leading group when they hit the Kemmelberg for the third and last time today, but Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert come.
Gent-Wevelgem: 37 km to go
Many look around in the leading group. It looks like they'll be caught pretty soon. With Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and three Deceuninck Quick Step riders, nobody - apart from Mike Teunissen and Gianni Vermeersch - will be happy about it.
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 50 km from the finish
Giovanni Visconti, who crossed the summit of Passo San Leonardo, is the new virtual guide in the mountain classification who has added another 18 points to his balance sheet. The peloton took back another minute, the gap has decreased to 4 minutes and 15 seconds.
Gent-Wevelgem: 44 km to go
Deceuninck-Quick Step has three drivers - Kasper Asgreen, Yves Lampaert and Florian Sénéchal - in the chase group, now 25 seconds behind Sep Vanmarcke, Stefan Küng, Matteo Trentin, Mads Pedersen, Luke Rowe, Gianni Vermeersch, Mike Teunissen, Alexis Gougeard and Florian Vermeersch. Many look around, everyone is watching Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert while they wait for one of these couples to start over. Nobody will want to miss a free ride to the leaders should Van der Poel go on one of his usual attacks.
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 55 km from the finish
The outlier is nearing the summit of Passo San Leonardo and although the riders work well together their lead has dropped to 5 minutes and 30 seconds. This is good news for Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick Step), who may be allowed to wear his leader's pink jersey, Monday rest day.
Gent-Wevelgem: 47 km to go
Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-Quick Step) bridged the chase group, which was 25 seconds behind the leaders.
Gent-Wevelgem: 52 km to go
Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert cross the Kemmelberg. The couple go to great lengths to achieve a small breakup. Alberto Bettiol (EF Education First), John Degenkolb (Lotto-Soudal), Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-McLaren) and Kasper Asgreen somehow shut them down after briefly losing their bikes. What a strong group of drivers it is.
Gent-Wevelgem: 53 km to go
The top group is on the 400 meter long paved Kemmelberg. Fortunately, the stones look dry which helps drivers get over them. Florian Sénéchal, a cobblestone specialist and winner of Le Samyn in 2019, is at the head of the second group, and the Frenchman has Deceuninck-Quick Step teammate Kasper Asgreen as a companion.
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 60 km from the finish
Deceuninck-Quick Step are still at the forefront on a wet day in Italy. While they don't care too much about targeting today's stag, they hope to fill the void during the break. As it stands, Jonathan Castroviejo is very close to Maglia Rosa thanks to the 6-minute 30-second advantage the outlier has.
Gent-Wevelgem: 58 km to go
It looks like Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Sep Vanmarcke (EF Pro Cycling), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Matteo Trentin (CCC), Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Fenix ), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) and Florian Vermeersch (Lotto-Soudal) are in the lead after leaving space for about 20 seconds between themselves and the group with Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert.
Kung - GETTY IMAGES
Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates), the talented young sprinter, is stuck in no man's land chasing the top flight.
Gent-Wevelgem: 61 km to go
Luke Rowe (Ineos Grenadiers) takes a short break at the top of the front runner, the Welshman peeling off before the Swiss powerhouse Stefan Küng, a rider who I think could do well on the Flanders tour next week, takes over.
Gent-Wevelgem: Another 64 km
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), Sep Vanmarcke (EF Pro Cycling), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) and Matteo Trentin (CCC), Anthony Turgis (Total Direct Energy), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) and Florian Vermeersch (Lotto-Soudal) belong to the top group of around 25 drivers. In summary, all the favorites before the race are here and there with a scream.
Gent-Wevelgem: 67 km from the finish
Mathieu van der Poel, Mads Pedersen, Wout Van Aert, Sep Vanmarcke and several other well-known classic specialists have built the bridge to the outlier.
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 67 km from the finish
And the rain stared in Italy. The lead of the outlier has decreased slightly. While not much happens at the Giro, I will focus on this absolutely thrilling race in Belgium.
Gent-Wevelgem: 70 km to go
Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo) both fell on a corner. What a chaotic but typically action-packed race in Flanders. Mathieu van der Poel just stuck his nose in the wind for a moment, while Matteo Trentin (CCC) cut off the front of the second group on the road.
Gent-Wevelgem: 72 km to go
Johan Jacobs (Movistar) gets caught on the road by the second group but the cross winds have caused further divisions in the lined up group. I'm not sure how it happened, but Welshman Owain Doull and Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe) got off the road.
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) takes over the front almost immediately and he has Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck-Quick Step) at the wheel. The outlier advantage has been reduced to just 55 seconds.
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 75 km from the finish
Astana, riding today to protect general classification contender Jakob Fuglsang, sits near the top of the peloton, hidden behind Deceuninck-Quick Step, Bahrain-McLaren (Pello Bilbao) and Trek-Segafredo (Vincenzo Nibali ). The gap in the break has increased to 6 minutes and 20 seconds.
Gent-Wevelgem: 80 km to go
Mathieu van der Poel, one of the big favorites for today's race in Flanders, has an Alpecin-Fenix team-mate at the front who is trying to close the gap during the break. Injecting on pace has caused the group to expand while some cracks are starting to form.
Gent-Wevelgem: 84 km to go
Swiss Johan Jacobs (Movistar) is trapped in no man's land between the peloton and the runaway when he hits Kemmelberg, which is tackled twice more today. Ineo's grenadiers are at the front of the peloton and perhaps hope to be able to field Michal Kwiatkowski. For those interested in these things, Ineos Grenadiers have four Brits here today: Owain Doull, Ethan Hayter, Chris Lawless and Luke Rowe.
Gent-Wevelgem: 85 km to go
The outlier in Flanders has mastered the first three climbs of the day, the Scherpenberg, the Vidaigneberg and the Baneberg, and leads by almost two minutes. Interesting to note that Mark Cavendish (Bahrain-McLaren) is there alongside Leonardo Basso (Ineos Grenadiers), Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Alexander Konychev (Mitchelton-Scott), Kenny Molly (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles) and Julien Morice (B & B Hotels - Vital Concept) and Gilles De Wilde (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise). Quite cloudy and a bit of moisture in the air and a number of drivers kept their arm warmers on.
Giro d'Italia, stage nine: 85 km from the finish
As mentioned earlier, there is an eruption in Italy and they are already in the last half of the stage and have passed through the first categorized cliff of the day, Passo Lanciano. Whta was a seven-person break consisting of Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos Grenadiers), Kilian Frankiny (Groupama-FDJ), Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling), Ben O'Connor (NTT), Eduardo Sepúlveda (Movistar) and Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu ) -KTM) and Larry Warbasse (Ag2r-La Mondiale) rose to eight after Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) went to great lengths to build a bridge.
The best-placed driver in the overall standings is Castroviejo, who started the stage 6 minutes 49 seconds behind race director Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick Step). Unsurprisingly, Deceuninck-Quick Step and Trek-Segafredo, who will think of their leader Vincenzo Nibali here today, do much of the heavy lifting at the front of the field.
And welcome to another double head of a live blog, our second Sunday in a row after Liège-Bastogne-Liège last week. While the focus today is on the ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia, the 98 km stretch from San Salvo to Roccaraso, we will also watch what happens in Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields, the one-day semi-classic in Flanders, which will serve as a warm-up event for next Sunday's big tour, the Tour of Flanders.
As you can see from the following profile of the stage in Italy, today's stage seems to favor the climbers and so there could be a slight jolt in the overall standings. I think that with four categorized climbs we can also expect the Maglia Azzurra, the jersey of the leader in the mountain classification, to change hands later in the afternoon.
Giro d'Italia 2020, profile of the ninth stage - route to the Giro d'Italia 2020: how to watch live TV coverage and follow the stages of the race
Here are the front runners in the four main classifications that have been awarded jerseys - Maglia Rosa (pink), Maglia Ciclamino (cyclamen), Maglia Azzurra (blue) and Maglia Bianca (white).
Today's leg started at 9.28 a.m. (BST) and there is currently a seven-man runaway. Our live blog starts at 12.30 p.m.
By the way, there was only one non-runner today after Rudy Barbier (Israel Start-up Nation) was forced to give up. The French sprinter was spotted on one of the climbs yesterday.
Over in Flanders, a seven-man runaway is leading the race by a little more than two minutes, but the septet has not yet reached the hellingen - the short, sharp, hellish climbs - that pepper the 232.5km race. Back to walk you through the day in 25 minutes.
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