EUROTRASH Monday: Cyclo-Cross Action and All the Peloton News

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Get a big coffee for a full EUROTRASH Monday. All the cyclo-cross action from the Superprestige Jaarmarktcross in Niel and the World Cup GP Beekse Bergen in Hilvarenbeek with results and video.
Jonathan Vaughters thinks the WorldTour relegation is absurd – TOP STORY.
Other top news: Jonas Vingegaard is looking forward to racing with/against Remco Evenepoel and he rates Juan Ayuso, Geraint Thomas talks about the INEOS team, recovering Primoz Roglič is on schedule, Tadej Pogačar to ride the 2023 Tour of Flanders, Iljo Keisse on his last Gent 6, Jay Vine for the 2023 Vuelta, Fred Wright revelation of 2022 and Eusebio Unzué on Alejandro Valverde.
Rider news: Francesco Gavazzi retire at the end of 2023.
Contract news: Caja Rural-Seguros RGA extends with Orluis Aular.
Team news: Europol no longer involved in Bahrain Victorious doping investigation, EF Education-EasyPost welcomes Stefan de Bod, SD Worx wins UCI WorldTour for sixth Time in Seven Years and Sam Bewley and Rene Mandri join IPT as sports directors.
Race news: Beking Monaco 2022, everything you need to know about the second edition.
Plus: Soudal Quick-Step 2023 team will be presented at Belgian Theme Park Plopsaland De Panne.

 


TOP STORY: Jonathan Vaughters Thinks the UCI WorldTour Promotion and Relegation is Absurd
Jonathan Vaughters, manager of EF Education-EasyPost, has made his feeling known about the promotion-relegation battle that his team became involved with this year. “Next year we will send riders to races that we normally don’t ride.”

“In September I was very happy with a second, sixth and ninth place after a race. You couldn’t sacrifice a rider to try and win the race because you needed all three to score points,” Vaughters told Cycling Weekly. “That is really an absurd way of racing, it is very annoying for everyone.”

EF Education-EasyPost scored very few points in March and April in 2022, causing them to drop in the points standings. One of the reasons for this was that they had to deal with a lot of sick riders. “We’re going to send riders to some of those races next year that we might not normally ride,” said Vaughters.

Which races? “The Tour of Norway or Milan-Turin, we have suitable riders for that. On the other hand, we are not going to ride extra races in Belgium and France (where there are a lot of points to score), we don’t have the riders for that or we didn’t attract them for that.”

Jonathan Vaughters might have to change they way his team races, just for the points system:

 


Superprestige Jaarmarktcross Niel – Men 2022
Laurens Sweeck won the second round of the Superprestige. The Belgian started the final round together with Lars van der Haar and managed to beat the Dutchman. Michael Vanthourenhout was third.

The Jaarmarktcross in Niel had a strong field for the men’s race. Of course world champion Tom Pidcock, Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel were not there, but the four top men of the past few weeks were: European champion Michael Vanthourenhout, Laurens Sweeck, Lars van der Haar and Eli Iserbyt, the last year’s winner.

The best start was by Kevin Kuhn. The Swiss rider was first off the road and onto the grass, with Sweeck on his wheel. Niels Vandeputte and Vanthourenhout were next and Iserbyt also quickly joined them. Van der Haar, in his Dutch champions red-white-blue jersey, followed a little further back. At the end of the lap there was a group of nine men at the front. Van der Haar and Van Kessel were four or five seconds behind. At the start of the second lap, this group closed in, while Sweeck’s chain fell off. Third in the European Championship was held up for a while and was caught by the large group. Iserbyt was in charge at this point. The rider of Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal was ahead of the rest, but before the start of the third of nine laps he dropped back. There were still eleven riders together. On the third lap, three riders went off the front: Vanthourenhout, Van der Haar and Sweeck. Sweeck clearly had good legs, as he dropped his two companions and continued alone. While the European and Dutch champions fell back to the chasing group.

At the start of lap six, Sweeck was 15 seconds ahead of Vanthourenhout, who had again pulled away from the others. Van der Haar and the surprising Witse Meeussen followed a few moments later. Iserbyt, who had to deal with a broken saddle, was in 15th place at almost a minute. We could write him off for the win, but he was still be strong in the final laps. Lars van der Haar with Vanthourenhout eat into Sweeck’s lead. The Dutch champion took a gap in the sand section and left Vanthourenhout and slowly crossed towards the solo leader. Halfway through the seventh lap we had two men in the lead. The two stayed together well into the final lap. The difference was only made in the sand, by Sweeck. The sand specialist took a gap on Van der Haar, who had to get off the bike, and would keep his lead to the finish. The Dutchman had to settle for second place. Michael Vanthourenhout crossed the finish line in third.

Race winner, Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Fristads): “They often tell me that I have to hold back on training, that it pays off. Maybe I should agree with those people. It’s not that I was sick, but I haven’t been on my bike for two days. I’m not used to that, but you can see that it can sometimes help. If you make a really good turn there, you could grab a few seconds. I think I also rode away from there (in the sand) earlier. That was early, it was still long. And there was quite a bit of wind, so if you could catch something with two or three men, you had an advantage. I was on the limit. Otherwise I wouldn’t have let them come back. This is definitely one of my main goals (the Superprestige competition). I kind of left the X2O behind. I’m in good shape in the World Cup and here too, so I’m going to try to keep it that way.”

2nd, Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions): “It was a great battle. Laurens is always a dangerous customer in the last lap. I played it the way I think I should play it, but in the end he raced just three quarters too far in the sand. I left a gap on purpose. If you really race straight into the sand with the wheel, it won’t work anyway. That’s a risk, but for me it was the only chance for me to get through the sand properly. It was just a nice fight. I just enjoyed it. It was a great match, a great audience. It’s a shame I didn’t win, of course you want to, but the fight was very nice.”

3rd, Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels-Sauzen-Bingoal): “It was great, it was special to race around with the jersey (European national champ), but you also feel pressure of having to chase. That was noticeable for the first time today, when Laurens rode away. But I tried to do my job and I think third was the highest I could get. I think I can be satisfied. Especially after this week, after everything I’ve been through after getting such a win. I know my place. That’s just always doing my best and always riding for that podium. It’s not because I became European champion last week that I suddenly have to win every cross. It’s good the way it is and I’m always happy when I’m on the podium.”

Superprestige Jaarmarktcross Niel – Men Result:
1. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Crelan-Fristads in 1:01:28
2. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 0:03
3. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels-Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:35
4. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:41
5. Witse Meeussen (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:44
6. Toon Vandebosch (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:47
7. Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 1:06
8. Emiel Verstrynge (Bel) Crelan-Fristads at 1:13
9. Kevin Kun (Sui) Tormans Cyclo Cross at 1:23
10. Corné van Kessel (Ned) Tormans Cyclo Cross at 1:30.

 


Superprestige Jaarmarktcross Niel – Women 2022
Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado won the women’s Jaarmarktcross in Niel. The Dutch rider fought out a duel with Denise Betsema in the second round of the Superprestige. Inge van der Heijden finished in third place.

A number of big names were missing from the women’s race in Niel. New European champion Fem van Empel took a rest in her busy schedule, while Lucinda Brand, winner of the last three editions, has not yet fully recovered from her hand fracture and Annemarie Worst is struggling with a knee injury. There was still a good field of participants, including Denise Betsema, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, Inge van der Heijden and Lorena Wiebes.

Alvarado and Van der Heijden had the best start. They were well ahead of Clara Honsinger and Zoe Bäckstedt’s crash, which held up many other riders, including Wiebes. Betsema was in front and she rode away together with Alvarado and Van der Heijden. The trio were joined by Aniek van Alphen and Sanne Cant at the start of the second of six laps. The connection was short-lived, because Betsema, Alvarado and Van der Heijden soon split again. Van Alphen stayed close for a while, but at the beginning of the third lap, it was over for her. Meantime, Alvarado put in an attack. Betsema was able to follow and took over later in the lap, Van der Heijden had to leave a gap. The 777 rider returned briefly at the start of the fourth lap, but had to pass again soon afterwards.

Betsema and Alvarado matched other and stayed together until the final lap. Alvarado made a mistake, but as she was in the lead, Betsema was held up and had to leave a gap. She came back, but then lost some ground again. Due to the small difference, however, it remained exciting. The Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider joined again on the sand, but it is here that Alvarado made the difference again while running. She maintained her lead for the remainder of the lap to cross the line victorious. For Alvarado it is the first win in a year and a half. Betsema took second place, Van der Heijden was third.

Race winner, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Deceuninck): “It was way too long ago (her last win – February 14, 2021). It’s finally here, I had to wait a long time for it. It’s finally here. I hope I’ve finally left, that I can always compete for the win. I was better in the first part of the race, the second part – with some straights – Denise (Betsema) was better. We’ve been working together all the time, right up to the last lap. Then it was all or nothing. It was a full lap of racing.”

2nd, Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “It was a fierce battle until the last lap. That last lap I had some problems with my pedal clicking in, that didn’t go very well. Alvarado also made a gap there. It’s a shame I couldn’t finish it, but I’m happy with the form. I didn’t think she really ran out of there. After the sand pass I just really couldn’t get into the pedals, basically what I kinda had all the time on the last lap. Then you go into such a descent very uncertainly. Alvarado then sees that she has a gap, which creates morale. She then finishes it off nicely, she is a deserved winner. But, what I say, I’m happy with the form and I’m looking forward to the next one. It’s definitely a target (the Superprestige). Winning a classification seems very nice to me, I’ve never done that before. But the competition is very strong, so it won’t be easy.”

Superprestige Jaarmarktcross Niel – Women Result:
1. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck in 48:04
2. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:05
3. Inge van der Heijden (Ned) 777 at 0:54
4. Aniek van Alphen (Ned) 777 at 1:03
5. Sanne Cant (Bel) Crelan-Fristads at 1:08
6. Manon Bakker (Ned) Crelan-Fristads at 1:39
7. Marion Norbert-Riberolle (Bel) Crelan-Fristads at 2:01
8. Amandine Fouquenet (Fra) at 2:25
9. Perrine Clauzel (Fra) AS Bike Racing at 2:34
10. Francesca Baroni (Ita) Pissei-Groep T.O.M. at 2:44.

 


World Cup GP Beekse Bergen – Hilvarenbeek Men 2022
Laurens Sweeck has added the first World Cup in Beekse Bergen to his palmarès. The 28 year-old Belgian Crelan-Fristads rider got the better of Lars van der Haar and Michael Vanthourenhout on the fast course in Hilvarenbeek. World Cup leader, Eli Iserbyt, finished 5th, but retained the series lead.

The GP Beekse Bergen is a new race to the World Cup. The course had been used for the Dutch National cyclo-cross championships three times, in 1973, 1993 and 2013. Sunday’s race was on a new course with less climbing. Due to the many twists and turns with long sand sections, the race would come down to technique and speed.

Again it was Swiss champion Kevin Kuhn who took the lead from the start, but the race remained closed for a long time, until Kuhn made a mistake and crashed in the technical forest section. Because the Swiss rider was in third place at the time, Lars van der Haar and Laurens Sweeck were left off the front thanks to the crash. European champion Michael Vanthourenhout saw through the danger and crossed to the leaders. The gap remained at about 8 seconds between the front three and the chasers. On the 4th lap Joris Nieuwenhuis made the crossing to the front group. After that, the four continued to put pressure on each other, but they couldn’t stop Eli Iserbyt from catching them, but he crashed and dropped back the the chase group.

On the penultimate lap, sand specialist Sweeck took control. This caused the gaps between the front riders to widen. Meanwhile, Iserbyt was coming back again. The five tried to attack each other and it looked like Sweeck and Vanthourenhout succeeded, but in the final lap everything came together again. In the sprint Sweeck had the most speed to take the win ahead of Van der Haar and Vanthourenhout.

Race winner, Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Fristads): “Yes, couldn’t be better. I think I’ve had a perfect week. I didn’t really expect it. It may sound strange, but I’ve been really sick and I didn’t feel one hundred percent. I think the condition is apparently good enough to overcome that. I felt less than Friday, but I was in good shape. I had to switch bikes for a while because I wanted slightly harder tires. The handlebars of that bike dropped a bit, so then I had to switch again. I lost a bit there, but the winner is right so I think it turned out okay. I thought I was going quite early (in the sprint), but we came out of that last corner hard and it was difficult to stay on the wheel there. Then it seemed as if Michael (Vanthourenhout) started the sprint right away, but he accelerated for a while and didn’t really go so then I went full throttle.”

2nd, Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions): “I’m disappointed again, I can’t make anything else out of it. I think the rest are starting a bit faster at the moment. I’m just trying to get out and I still succeed today. That was definitely a drawback (the beams). I couldn’t get it right in my head, I didn’t dare. I should have always jumped them but I know that if it just doesn’t sit right in my head, I better not do it. Lying on the floor takes more time. The race went pretty well for me, except for the last lap. When Eli (Iserbyt) came back I suddenly had to fight for my position and that takes me just a few meters to start the sprint. I think if I had been on the wheel (of van Sweeck), I could have gotten past. Eventually I get to the same top speed as Laurens and I couldn’t get there anymore.”

World Cup GP Beekse Bergen – Hilvarenbeek Men Result:
1. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Crelan-Fristads in 57:36
2. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions
3. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:02
4. Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 0:03
5. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:04
6. Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:17
7. Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:20
8. Ryan Kamp (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:21
9. Vincent Baestaens (Bel) at 0:29
10. Jens Adams (Bel) Chocovit Cycling Team at 0:30.

 


World Cup GP Beekse Bergen – Hilvarenbeek Women 2022
Shirin van Anrooij won the World Cup in the Beekse Bergen on Sunday. In an exciting battle she was the best from Fem van Empel and Puck Pieterse.

On the technical course, Van Empel took the lead from the start. The peloton stayed together in the early part of the race. Then Pieterse, Van Empel and Alvarado took the initiative. Pieterse and Van Empel were the only ones who jumped over the bars, putting pressure on Alvarado. In the fourth of six laps, a crash caused her lose contact. From behind, Van Anrooij made an impressive effort. The Baloise Trek Lions rider caught up with the front riders on the penultimate lap.

Just before the start of the last lap, Van Anrooij jumped away from her competitors. The difference was small. In the final, Pieterse and Van Empel could see Van Arnooij, but she crept further away on the technical sand section. This turned out to be enough for the final victory ahead of Van Empel and Pieterse. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado was fourth and World champion Marianne Vos was fifth.

Race winner, Shirin van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions): “Really very special. Last week I was quite disappointed after the European Championship, just disappointed and a bit frustrated. I knew the form was good, but I never expected that I would be good enough to win a World Cup. The start is not quite there yet this season and I let myself be pushed back a bit. I felt a bit behind the times throughout the cross. I actually really rode my own pace and moved up place by place and suddenly I saw Puck and Fem racing. Then I just knew: when they stop, I have to attack immediately. So then I started on the road and I thought: now it is really still a very long time. But on the other hand, you just have to ride on and hope that they are through too. I just didn’t make a mistake anymore and then the finish came pretty quickly.”

World Cup GP Beekse Bergen – Hilvarenbeek Women Result:
1. Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions in 47:02
2. Fem van Empel (Ned) at 0:01
3. Puck Pieterse (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck
4. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:25
5. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:30
6. Blanka Kata Vas (Hun) SD Worx at 0:46
7. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 0:47
8. Marie Schreiber (Lux) Tormans Cyclo-cross Team at 1:06
9. Aniek van Alphen (Ned) 777 at 1:09
10. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:17.

 


Jonas Vingegaard: “Remco Evenepoel and I Would be Good Allies”
2022 Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard is looking forward to a Grand Tour with Remco Evenepoel. The Dane said in an interview that the two top men could also be good allies, because they like to make the race hard. “I find it difficult to estimate our level in relation to each other.”

After the Saitama Criterium in Japan, Vingegaard looked back extensively on his season with Het Nieuwsblad. The Danish winner of the Tour de France was asked whether Evenepoel could be a good ally in a Grand Tour. “Yes, me and Remco in the same Grand Tour; that could work well. We both benefit from a tough race. He could be a good ally until we have to deal with each other.”

Vingegaard saw how Evenepoel won the Vuelta in August. “He was incredibly strong. However, I find it difficult to estimate how we relate to each other at the moment. We’ve never raced against each other in a three-week tour.” The two rode two stage races together this season, the Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of the Basque Country. In Italy the Jumbo-Visma rider finished well ahead of Evenepoel, in Spain the Belgian was better.

The Dane certainly does not shy away from a three-way battle between Tadej Pogačar, Evenepoel and himself. “That would be really cool, I can’t wait for that moment. But don’t forget Roglič and Bernal. All of us together in one Grand Tour, I’m already excited. I want to race against the very best. If I win then it will only make my victory shine.”

Vingegaard looking forward to a battle with Remco Evenepoel:

 


Jonas Vingegaard Thinks Juan Ayuso was the Surprise of the Year
Jonas Vingegaard said Juan Ayuso is the surprise of this season. After Ayuso’s third place in this year’s Vuelta, the Spaniard is going to be a formidable competitor in the coming years, according to Vingegaard.

“Ayuso surprised me the most of all the riders,” Vingegaard said in an interview after the Saitama Criterium. “I thought he was strong in the spring, then he rode very well in the Vuelta as well. . Next year I will really have to take him into account.”

Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders were the best races to watch, according to the Danish Tour winner. “But I actually find that every year.” And his own performance? “My best day this year was on the Col du Granon. Looking back now, that was my best day on a bike ever.”

Ayuso – Top rider according to Vingegaard:

 


Geraint Thomas Speaks About His Relationship with the INEOS Team
Geraint Thomas was back on the podium of the Tour de France in 2022. However, the 36 year-old INEOS Grenadiers rider was not a leader for that Tour de France, he said. “I mainly had a helping role.”

That role had everything to do with his 2021 season which wasn’t as successful, where Thomas finished only 41st in the Tour de France. In an interview with CyclingNews, the Welshman said his INEOS Grenadiers team had drawn conclusions. “It almost felt like they were just seeing some numbers on a sheet, some statistics. It seemed like they just went with that, instead of me as a person, whom they’ve known for the past 20 years.”

Thomas indicates that he was no longer a real leader for the team. In addition, he also had to be an example for the younger riders. “Before the Tour, we talked about the other leaders. There was never any question of me getting a protected role. It was a surprise to me that their attitude changed so suddenly.”

However, with a third place overall at the Tour, Thomas has proven that he can still compete with the best lap riders. However, there is a change in the relationship with the team. “I think you realise it’s a business too. You are not always best buddies with your management.”

“I still hang out with them,” the Tour winner continued. “I still have a working relationship with them. You realise that sometimes there is a big difference between personal and business.” Thomas is not yet sure what his season will look like in 2023, but he previously indicated that he wants to focus on the Giro.

Thomas has a different relationship with his team:

 


Recovering Roglič is on Schedule, But No Cycling
Primož Roglič is still recovering from an operation on his shoulder. The Slovenian of Jumbo-Visma says he is on schedule, but will not get on his bike in the coming weeks. “I may have to wait another month before I can cycle again,” he said via social media.

Roglič had a shoulder operation in Slovenia a month ago. “That shoulder needs to be repaired. It’s no secret that I’ve dislocated my shoulder several times. It’s not nothing that’s going to happen. They cut off a piece of the bone and moved it to where the shoulder dislocated,” he told Val 202, a Slovenian radio station.

The three-time Vuelta winner spoke more about his medical situation. “Rehabilitation is going according to plan. I can move the shoulder a bit again, although I may have to wait another month before I can cycle again. However, I am currently also busy with other projects,” Roglič refers to his foundation, among other things.

In 2022 Roglič had some peaks, he won two multi-day races; Paris-Nice and the Critérium du Dauphiné, but as far as the Grand Tours are concerned, Roglič will want to forget the season. He had to abandon the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.

Not a great year for Roglič:

 


Trentin: “I Would Not be Surprised if Pogačar Starts the Tour of Flanders in 2023”
Tadej Pogačar made his debut in the Tour of Flanders in 2022. In the end he had to settle for fourth place. Will he ride Vlaanderens Mooiste in 2023? “I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries again in 2023,” his UAE teammate Matteo Trentin told RaiSport.

Trentin also spoke of Pogačar’s personality. “As a person, he does everything with a smile,” Trentin said of the two-time Tour winner. “He has his own philosophy. He loves to be a rider and shines when he wins, but especially when he loses. From a sporting point of view, it’s amazing how eager he is to compete with everything, and that he only gets stronger as the race gets tougher.”

A tough race where Pogačar battled for victory last year was the Tour of Flanders. In Dwars door Vlaanderen he finished tenth, but a few days later he took part on the Ronde. In a chaotic sprint he was closed-in and saw Mathieu van der Poel take the win. “Last year, on his debut, he almost won the Tour of Flanders,” said Trentin. “He had a lot of fun there. I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries again in 2023.”

Flanders again for Pogačar in 2023:

 


Keisse on His Last Six Days of Gent
Iljo Keisse is preparing for his ‘farewell tour’ at the Six Days of Gent (15-20 November). The 39 year-old Belgian has won the track event seven times in the past, but the ‘Keizer van het Kuipke’ is not thinking of an eighth victory this year. “Winning is certainly not what I assume,” he said in conversation with Het Nieuwsblad.

An emotional Keisse looked ahead to the very last (official) race of his career in a press conference. The departing Keisse also hopes to play a leading role in his very last Six Days of Gent, but is also realistic. “Winning is certainly not what I assume. I start with moderate ambition. In recent years I have suffered too much in the Six Days. Everyone dreams of a goodbye like Kenny De Ketele, but you can’t make that comparison.”

“Kenny was a track specialist, which I am no longer. He also retired two or three years too early, I think. While I am no longer the rider I used to be. At my age, that is no more than normal. At my age I need a buddy in top shape, someone who is actually better than me.” In his last Six Days of Gent, Keisse will be teamed up with Jasper De Buyst. “I am very happy with him from a sporting point of view. He has hurt me many times in the past. Hopefully we can now hurt the competition together.”

The organisers have a strong field on the Gent track. Keisse: “If you look at individual qualities, the strongest couple is Ethan Hayter-Fred Wright. But will that be the case in Gent? They are certainly not used to riding with smaller gears. I mainly watch Fabio Van Den Bossche and Yoeri Havik. A small, compact team. They will become very dangerous customers. Ditto for Robbe Ghys and Lindsay De Vylder.”

Keisse hopes to be able to make a sporting impression, but the Six Days is of course mainly dominated by his retirement. “Although it will be another six days of stress and suffering on a bloc basis. That’s why I’m glad that the week after (24 November) I still have Merci Iljo (a farewell event in ‘t Kuipke in Gent). Also a race, but with the intention to amuse us in the meantime. I am especially happy that I can say goodbye in the ‘t Kuipke. That place has dominated the past twenty years of my life.”

Iljo Keisse’s last Gent ‘6 Days’:

 


Jay Vine for the 2023 Vuelta, No Tour
Jay Vine had his big break in the 2022 Vuelta, where he won two mountain stages. Then we heard that the Australian would leave Alpecin-Deceuninck for UAE Emirates, despite an ongoing contract with the Belgian team. However, that switch is not a result of his performance in the Vuelta a España, Vine said in an interview with RIDE Media.

“This was already happening before the Vuelta,” referring to the talks with UAE Team Emirates. “Yes, I was approached by people after my victory in the Vuelta, but nothing came of it, because this (the deal with UAE) was already in the pipeline.”

He has ‘mixed feelings’ about his departure from Alpecin-Deceuninck. “It was known in the peloton that I would leave, but there was no bad blood within the team during the Vuelta. We went all in for Tim Merlier, who had already announced he was going to Quick-Step. The team atmosphere was fantastic until the end of the Vuelta. It’s a shame to leave that behind, but I’m looking forward to a fresh start.”

His start for UAE Emirates will be in the Australian Championships, followed by the Santos Tour Down Under. And after that? “I can guarantee that I will not ride the Tour de France, but there is room for another Grand Tour.” He doesn’t know yet which tour that will be. In December, during the team training camp, Vine expects to get more clarity.

No Tour de France in 2023 for Jay Vine:

 


Wright Revelation of 2022: “Just keep plodding and it will work”
Fred Wright has been active in the pro peloton for several years, but we saw the best of the 23 year-old Briton this year. In the Tour of Flanders he had a seventh place. That performance was of great importance for the rest of his season.

“The confidence that I gained from that ensured that I went to every race with the idea: okay, I was seventh in the Tour of Flanders, that’s not nothing,” he explained to Cyclingnews. “Maybe I didn’t expect to get this result, but I did expect to get further than the previous times. The fact that I arrived at Oude Kwaremont the last time with a group of six or seven riders was already a huge improvement compared to last year and a sign of what is yet to come.”

Wright then rode both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España and stood out in both Grand Tours for his attacking. He was involved in an early break many times, but he did not manage to take his first professional victory. “I was often close, but to make the race in two of the biggest races on the calendar… I think I would have signed for that right at the start of the season.”

“Looking back, you think, maybe I could have done this or that. The only time there might have been more was the seventh stage of the Vuelta (won by Jesús Herrada). It was a sprint with a group of five or six. I know what I did wrong. That was the only stage I probably should have won, but it didn’t happen. But such things are all retrospective. You shouldn’t dwell on it too long. It’s best to keep it simple, learn from mistakes and try again. Just keep plodding along and it will work.”

In the future, Wright wants to develop further as an ‘all-rounder’. “That’s what I’m trying to aspire to. I see myself winning races in the sprint from a breakaway group or of a thinned out peloton. I will try to do the same next year.” His season build-up in 2023 will be similar to the past two years. “Going full in the classics, a break and then to the Tour as a helper, but also on my chance to go for stage wins. I would like to do that for at least the next three years. It’s a good way to divide the season.”

Wright also has his sights set on the World championships in Scotland, which will take place in early August. “That’s good timing, I think. It will be important to come out of the Tour well, just like I did last year and then start at the World championships. It’s going to be a big goal, especially because it’s in Scotland.”

More from Fred Wright in 2023:

 


Unzué on Valverde: “After His Doping Suspension, It Turned Out That he Didn’t Need Anything”
Alejandro Valverde has retired from cycling and Eusebio Unzué, Movistar’s team manager, has been looking back on Bala’s career with Cyclingnews. Among other things, he spoke about Valverde’s suspension due to his involvement in ‘Operación Puerto’, the doping scandal surrounding doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

After being banned from racing for almost a year and a half, Valverde returned to the peloton in early 2012. He rejoined Movistar, which replaced Caisse d’Epargne as sponsor of the team. “He came to the top when the system was a bit more lax, but after a year and a half he came back and immediately won his first race,” Unzué refers to the Tour Down Under 2012, where Valverde won the fifth stage. In the eleven years that followed, Valverde had many victories. “It turned out in the end that he didn’t need anything to be a great rider.”

“We were convinced that he would return to his old level, and both in that first period and until recently, he continued to win,” said the Movistar team boss, who did not want to comment on whether the doping suspension was justified or not. Now Unzué will have to do without El Imbatido. Valverde guaranteed results, but Unzué’s team was not dependent on him. “We just enjoyed seeing him perform in all types of races, except Paris-Roubaix.”

“He fought with the best sprinters, the best classic riders, the best puncheurs, in hilly time trials, in week-long stage races… To do everything he did, we would have to sign six new riders. And in a sport where everyone says that the level of the races continues to rise and the qualities of the riders are increasing, he was capable of everything, and more. It has been a privilege to see that.”

Valverde will be missed:

 


Francesco Gavazzi Will Retire at the End of 2023
Francesco Gavazzi will start his last season as a professional cyclist in 2023. The now 38 year-old Italian has extended his contract with EOLO-Kometa by one year, but will retire at the end of 2023.

Gavazzi made his professional debut in 2007 on behalf of Lampre-Fondital. He rode for the Italian formation for five years and then rode for Astana (2012-2014), Southeast (2015) and Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec (2016-2020), now he races for EOLO-Kometa. In his prime, Gavazzi was known as a quick man with a preference for selective courses. In all those years he managed to take thirteen professional victories.

He won the Coppa Agostoni and the Marco Pantani Memorial and was successful in the Giro di Sardegna, Tour of the Basque Country (two stage victories), Tour of Beijing, the Volta a Portugal, Tour of Burgos and the Tour du Limousin. However, his biggest victory in 2011: he was the best that year in the eighteenth stage of the Vuelta a España. In Noja he beat the Belgian Kristof Vandewalle.

“I have decided to continue for another year, as I still really enjoy racing. I am also part of a nice group. I am still competitive and able to help my teammates. It will be my last year in the peloton, but I’m excited. I would like to guide the young riders in our team a little further, and who knows, I might end my career with a sporty bang,” Gavazzi said in a press release.

Gavazzi is not the only rider of EOLO-Kometa who has extended their contracts. Sprinter Giovanni Lonardi (26), climber Alessandro Fancellu (22) and Diego Pablo Sevilla (26) have also signed up until the end of 2023. Lonardi was the fastest in the Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana last season, Fancelu finished sixth in the Tour de l’Avenir.

One last season for Francesco Gavazzi:

 


Caja Rural-RGA Extends Contract with Orluis Aular
Caja Rural-RGA has extended the contract of Venezuelan Orluis Aular until 2024. The 26-year-old rider has been racing for the Spanish ProTeam since 2020.

Aular came to Caja Rural-RGA three years ago because of his successes in South American. In 2019 he took 12 UCI victories, including five stages and the final classification in the Vuelta a Venezuela. With Caja Rural-RGA, the Venezuelan continued to win. This year, Aular took seven wins. He also finished second in the final stage of the Boucles de la Mayenne. Next week, the Spanish ProTeam will start preparing for the new season in Pamplona, the team said in a press release. Aular’s program will also be decided there.

Orluis Aular to stay with Caja Rural:

 


Europol No Longer Involved in Bahrain Victorious Doping Investigation
Europol is no longer part of the Bahrain Victorious doping investigation. “The matter is now in the hands of the judiciary,” a spokesman for the European police service told Cycling Weekly.

At the end of June, in the week before the start of the Tour de France, several searches were carried out on riders and staff of the Bahrain Victorious team. Europol subsequently stated that this was a co-ordinated action by several police units and judicial authorities in France, Belgium, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Poland and Slovenia, led by Europol, among others. The European Police Service had taken over the lead in the investigation, which began in 2021, from OCLAESP (a French unit that fights crimes against public health and the environment).

“The operational phase in the coordinated action against the use of banned substances in cycling races is over,” Interpol now says. “Europol has supported the operational phase. It did so by deploying its officers in the participating countries to facilitate information exchange and to provide forensic support in studying the seized electronic devices.”

Europol announced shortly after the searches – of which it also published photos – that it was taking the fight against doping extremely seriously. “The illegal production and distribution of doping substances generates significant illegal profits for organised crime groups. They often use these profits to fund other criminal activities. Doping substances not only create unfair competitions, but also endanger the health of athletes, as criminals often produce illegal doping substances in underground laboratories without hygiene regulations, while using dangerous and substandard raw materials.”

What does it all mean for the team?

 


EF Education-EasyPost Welcomes ‘Underestimated Talent’ Stefan de Bod
Stefan de Bod will ride for EF Education-EasyPost in 2023. The 25-year-old South African, who rode for Astana Qazaqstan in the past two seasons, has signed a two-year contract with the American team.

De Bod has been a pro since 2019, when he moved up from the Dimension Data development team to the WorldTour squad. In that year he won the African Time Trial Championship and finished third in the Tour of Austria. After a disappointing season in 2020, he left for Astana. In his debut season for that team, he finished fifth in the Tour of Hungary. This year De Bod was seventh in the time trial of the UAE Tour, fourth in the Sibiu Cycling Tour (2.1), sixth in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon (2.1), fourth in the Tour of Slovakia (2.1) and fifteenth in the Clásica San Sebastian.

“I’ve had some really good results in the last few years, but I’ve also struggled to discover what type of rider I am,” said De Bod in a press release from EF Education-EasyPost. “I think I can develop into a flight specialist for the big races and grand tours. But I think I can also become a classification rider for the one-week races. That is my long-term goal.”

“Competitions like the Tour de Romandie, Tirreno-Adriatico, the Tour de Suisse, the Critérium du Dauphiné, those kinds of races are my favourite races. They are races with some mountains, some flat stages and usually also a time trial or a prologue. The goal is to get better in such races.”

Jonathan Vaughters, the EF Education-EasyPost boss, sees a lot of potential in De Bod. “Stefan is a rider that I have been keeping an eye on for a while. He is an underrated talent, who can play an important role in a team like ours, which focuses on big results in hilly races. His time trials have remained under the radar, but clearly indicate his talent. My hope is that we can get the most out of him and he will be invaluable to our team.”

Stefan de Bod to EF:

 


Team SD Worx Wins UCI World Tour for Sixth Time in Seven Years
“Resilience of team is satisfying”

Sovereignly, Team SD Worx defended the number one position in the UCI rankings for teams last season. For the sixth time in seven years, the team also managed to win the WorldTour classification. No fewer than 20 victories were recorded, including 11 wins at WorldTour level. Sports manager Danny Stam therefore looks back on the 2022 season with satisfaction.

With Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio’s final victory in the Tour de Romandie, did you finish the season well?

Danny Stam: “It’s always nice when you manage to win the first and last WorldTour race of the season. It was a long and tough season, where you notice at the end of the year that the increasingly full calendar takes its toll. We started with a limited group in Romandie. I noticed it was difficult to keep everyone motivated. We had illnesses and injuries. Some had already finished the season, while others were doing cyclocross or riding on the track. Then it is great that we still had the right irons in Switzerland and still managed to win. A nice way to end the year.”

You end the season with 20 wins. Does that inspire satisfaction?

Danny Stam: “We started the season very strongly. So the classic spring went well with nice victories in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Strade Bianche and Brabantse Pijl, among others. That spring created a lot of expectations. In Spain we still raced well, but then we had a down period. In the Tour de France Femmes we were good again. Then we performed below par in Norway, Sweden and in the Simac Ladies Tour. If you end the season in Romandy like that again, you can be satisfied. That also shows the resilience within the group.”

Team SD Worx remains the best women’s team in the UCI rankings. Is that important?

Danny Stam: “Yes indeed. This is something we can be proud of. We had another good season and several nice wins. It’s not just those 20 wins, but also 47 podium finishes. Women’s cycling has been developing in recent years. The calendar is getting fuller and the level is higher and higher. There are more teams with strong performances across the board. It gives me a good feeling when I see how often we can still make a mark on a race. Of course, you also have a few down periods. If you are a few percent less, you will be immediately beaten. Only when everything is right you compete for wins. However, it would also not be good if you win everything all year.”

To win the WorldTour for teams no less than six times in seven years can also be called an achievement.

Danny Stam: “I am definitely proud of that. It shows that for years we have managed to be the best team in the most important race series. To prove it again and again is a huge challenge. Especially when you see in recent years that the competition is getting bigger and bigger. Many WorldTour teams have joined, setting up a women’s team in addition to a men’s team. They all build a team around two to three top female riders. Nowadays, you see that even in women’s cycling the talents are committed much earlier. To then win the WorldTour for so many years in a different composition, I think is a great achievement.”

THE big change in women’s cycling this year was the arrival of the Tour de France Femmes. Did the appeal of that race surprise you?

Danny Stam: “The Tour de France Femmes is a gamechanger for women’s cycling. This is next-level. Organiser Amaury Sport Organisation is not the fastest to introduce women’s cycling, but when they go for it, something is immediately in place. We saw that last year with Paris-Roubaix and now certainly with the Tour de France Femmes. It is abundantly clear that this stage race will be a very important moment in the season. A peak moment that we will be living towards. Of course the spring with the Monuments retains its value, but the importance of the Tour de France Femmes is already very high after just one edition.”

 


Sam Bewley and Rene Mandri Join IPT as Sports Directors
With preparation for the 2023 season underway, Israel – Premier Tech is pleased to welcome former professional cyclists Sam Bewley and Rene Mandri to the team’s Sports Director group.

IPT General Manager Kjell Carlström welcomed the team’s new additions at pre-season meetings in Barcelona this week.

“Our Sports Director group will have a new look next year with Sam Bewley and Rene Mandri adding their unique experience and a fresh outlook so we are excited to see them join the team. Steve Bauer will move into the role of Head Sports Director, a role he previously held at CCC Team, which will see Steve lead our DS group and work alongside Sporting Manager Rik Verbrugghe, while Eric Van Lancker will transition to an operations role. At the same time, I want to extend a big thank you to Zak Dempster, Claudio Cozzi, and Nicki Sørensen, who will be leaving IPT. They have all contributed significantly to the team over the past years and we wish them well with their next endeavours,” says Carlström.

Having retired after a 13-year cycling career this year, Bewley is excited to take on his next chapter as Sports Director with IPT.

“I’m really excited to start this new chapter in my cycling career and get stuck into my new role as Sports Director. After a long career as a pro, this felt like the natural next step for me and Israel – Premier Tech presented a great opportunity that will allow me to develop and also offer my experience to the team,” explains Bewley.

Mandri, also a former cyclist who retired in 2013, has recently been working as Manager for Team Ampler-Tartu2024 and is looking forward to a new challenge.

“In my recent work as Manager of Team Ampler-Tartu2024, I was really missing working as a Sports Director and being at the races. So I was looking for something more exciting and having a good structure around me. After the three days of meetings this week, I can see this is a great group of people and I’m excited to get started,” adds Mandri.

2023 IPT Sports Director group:
Steve Bauer (Canada), René Andrle (Czech Republic), Sam Bewley (New Zealand), Dirk Demol (Belgium), Oscar Guerrero (Spain), Rene Mandri (Estonia), Dror Pekatch (Israel), Ruben Plaza (Spain) – Israel – Premier Tech Academy.

 


Beking Monaco 2022, Everything you Need to Know About the Second Edition
Scheduled for 27 November, the event will see cyclists compete on an iconic circuit to raise funds for charities.

Beking Monaco is back with its protagonists for a day of sport and solidarity. The event will open its doors on 27 November at X o’clock and will feature numerous events alongside the bike races. There really is room in the programme for everyone: teenagers, children, families. It is a special opportunity to share one’s passions and at the same time unite around the foundations’ missions.

There are two competitions that the public will be able to enjoy during the day, that of the professionals and the Pro-Am, dedicated to amateurs who want to put themselves to the test, challenging their idols.

The route of the professional competition runs along part of the Formula 1 track and is characterised by numerous bends, some of which are considered ‘high speed’ sections where the spectacle is assured. The format, one of the fans’ favourites, will be the city criterium, a way to breathe in the adrenaline of the sport and get excited, passage after passage.

The Pro-Am charity event, on the other hand, consists of a challenge between teams composed of professionals, ambassadors of the sport and two amateurs who will race on the same circuit. A unique event on a challenging terrain loved by many.

The 2021 European and Italian champion and winner of Paris-Roubaix, Sonny Colbrelli, will participate in this special criterium and confirms the winning format of the event: “It was absolutely fantastic to race the Pro-Am last year. I am aware, as are my colleagues, that we have a responsibility to the amateurs because they love cycling and they follow and trust us and are inspired by us. When I arrived at the start, I saw that they were excited to waiting for us. I in turn was excited to share that moment with them and team up to cross the finish line first. My teammates were fierce; grit and enthusiasm were at their peak. In the end, we took second place and we were very happy with that. It was a beautiful day of sport and celebration,” Colbrelli continues. “Bottas (Valtteri) was also on the team. Not only were the amateurs excited, I was too. I felt honoured to race with a great F1 champion who put his heart into it as if he were racing a grand prix and who thanked me at the end for the result we had achieved together. Really wonderful! Thinking about it, I couldn’t say in which sport, but especially in which event, it is possible to share a moment like that. I think BEKING is one of a kind.”

For children, there will be a free area reserved for their curiosity where they can learn to ride a bike, have fun and play with many activities in store for them. Access to the kids’ area does not imply registration or age limits, it will be sufficient to have some mastery of the bike – be it push bike or pedal bike.

Enthusiasts will also be able to visit the Expo Area, where, thanks to the event’s partners, it will be possible to discover a preview of all the novelties in the bike world and meet the illustrious personalities of world cycling, while there will also be space for lots of music in the centre of the Beking Village, in which DJ sets will alternate on the main stage to provide great entertainment throughout the day.

Monaco is preparing to host champions and fans from all over the world for an event that exalts the happy union between sport and charity.

The complete programme of the event is available on the official website www.bekingevents.com.

Beking Monaco 2022 scheduled for 27 November:

 


Soudal Quick-Step Team for 2023 Will be Presented at Belgian Theme Park Plopsaland De Panne
Meet the 2023 Team during the Soudal Quick-Step Family Day at Plopsaland De Panne, on Friday 6th January.

By teaming up with the popular Belgian theme park Plopsaland in De Panne, the Soudal Quick-Step Family Day will give fans of the team a chance to see the 2023 team at first hand, with the whole of the team being presented publicly for the first time, as well as a host of activities for fans, both young and old.

The unique day will have a number of activities taking place throughout the park. There will also be the chance to get your hands on the team merchandise and walk through the Soudal Quick-Step village meeting the team’s sponsors. This as well as having access to the whole of the Plopsaland De Panne Theme Park and its more than 50 attractions throughout the day. The main event will be the official team presentation, which will take place in the Main Square of the park, giving fans a close up look at the whole of the Soudal Quick-Step Team for the first time, with each taking to the stage and then taking part in a parade through the park.

You can secure your place for the event on Friday 6th January in Plopsaland De Panne by visiting WWW.PLOPSA.BE/SOUDALQUICKSTEP with tickets being €40 for adults ≥1m, €16,50 for kids between 85cm and 1m and free entry for children under 85cm tall!

 


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