EUROTRASH Monday: All the Rider News and Race Video

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Another brimming full EUROTRASH sack to go through this Monday: European road championships, Arctic Race of Norway, Tour de l’Ain and Tour of Scandinavia all with video. No Pressure on Evenepoel for la Vuelta – TOP STORY. Vuelta news: Team announcements. Rider news: Training crash for Laurens De Plus, operation for Chloe Dygert, Tom Dumoulin misses farewell party and Michele Gazzoli banned. Team news: Soudal – Quick-Step development team, rider contracts with Bahrain Victorious, UAE Team Emirates, Jumbo-Visma, Liv Racing Xstra, BikeExchange-Jayco and DSM. Casper Pedersen talks Quick-Step and Dan Bigham goes for the Hour Record. Plus race news from Maryland Cycling Classic. Coffee?


TOP STORY. No Pressure on Evenepoel for la Vuelta from Lefevere
Remco Evenepoel is aiming for a top ten place and a stage win in the Vuelta a España. If a good performance doesn’t happen, then according to Patrick Lefevere this doesn’t mean that it will not happen in the future. “That would be all too easy,” said the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team manager in an extensive interview with Het Laatste Nieuws.

“The first goal is to leave the Netherlands unscathed,” Lefevere said about Evenepoel riding la Vuelta a España. “It starts in the Basque Country then, doesn’t it? A first evaluation will only be made after the time trial in Alicante. If he is still in good shape, he can put his cap ‘to the back’ and say: ‘Now we’re really going to try it’.”

“In any case, he did everything he could to be ready. To the extent that I sometimes feel compassion for him. I don’t know anyone of that age who goes on an altitude training camp so often, who trains so much, who is so maniacal. It would be nice if he could get some compensation for that.”

If Evenepoel does not succeed in his intention, should conclusions be drawn? “His critics will say yes. But not as far as I’m concerned. That would be all too easy. He’s only 22. And his contract runs until the end of 2026. Until then, he’ll get all the credit. Problem is, people have short memories. Five years ago he was not a racing cyclist, so to speak. And because of that bad crash in Lombardy, he lost another year in his development process.”

If Evenepoel scores a good final classification in the Tour of Spain, the Tour de France of 2023 seems a logical next step. However, Lefevere has other ideas about this: he would rather not see his 22 year-old ‘young gun’ start in the Tour next year. “We’ll see at the team meeting in October, but… if it’s up to me, not. Vuelta-Giro-Tour: in that order it stays in my head. I emphasise: in my head.”

As far as the Grand Tours are concerned, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl still has a lot to learn, thinks Lefevere. “On all levels. I have a fantastic staff, but… that right mentality, specifically tailored to that tour work, has yet to creep in. I am convinced that this is possible, because we are a team that always strives for more and better. We are never really satisfied. This switch cannot be achieved in one day. Altitude training camps, for example, are still fairly primitive. We don’t send a whole crew with one or two riders, like in some other teams. The big difference is: if they have not won a race in April, there is no panic.”

Putting everything on the Grand Tours is not an option at all for Lefevere. “I think that’s a big risk. I don’t like to put all my eggs in one basket. If you do and your classification man drops in such a Grand Tour after one week, then that is a disaster. Now, with us: so be it. Remco compensates for that with Liège-Bastogne-Liège and San Sebastian. Conversely, a possible switch to classic one-day work is not an option for him at the moment. It’s just too early for that.”

No pressure on Remco in la Vuelta:

 


European Road Championships – Men 2022
Fabio Jakobsen is the new European champion. The 208 kilometre long race in Munich finished in a bunch sprint, the Dutchman was the fastest. Arnaud Démare was second, Tim Merlier third.

In the first kilometres there was a bit of climbing. Seventeen kilometres after the start in Murnau am Staffelsee, southwest of Munich, the Kesselberg (5.1km at 4.9%) had to be tackled. The second serious climb of the day followed after more than 90 kilometres, the Eurasburg climb (1km at 10.4%). After 40 kilometres the race hit the 13 kilometre circuit in the centre of Munich which would be ridden five times. The circuit had many bends and corners and could be described as quite technical.

The first attack of the day came from Lukas Pöstlberger (Austria) and Silvan Dillier (Switzerland). The peloton let them go. Olsian Velia (Albania) wanted to join them and Blerton Nuha (Kosovo) and Mantas Januškevičius (Lithuania) came with him. The three tried hard, but in the end they dropped back into the bunch one by one. The Netherlands team, with Boy van Poppel and Jan Maas, initially led the peloton with help from Spain. Later on, Germany, France and Belgium also lent a hand. Pöstlberger and Silvan Dillier got no more than 3 minutes advantage. Then the difference started to fluctuate a bit. At one point it was 1:30, later 3, then 2:30. There was a crash in the peloton. Rudy Barbier, French teammate of Arnaud Démare, seemed to be the biggest victim, but he was able to continue. On the Eurasburg climb, just before halfway, there was some real action. The Italians, with Matteo Trentin leading the way, tried to hurt the pure sprinters. Fabio Jakobsen, among others, had a bit of trouble, but the Dutchman was not dropped. There was a split at the front. Marco Haller (Austria), Jan Tratnik (Slovenia), Rui Oliveira (Portugal) and Dries De Bondt (Belgium) took a gap. This didn’t last long, as all four were caught within a few kilometres.

Next it was Zdenek Stybar and again Trentin to make another attempt. They were unsuccessful, as Belgium and Ireland, for Tim Merlier and Sam Bennett, controlled things. The attacking caused Pöstlberger and Dillier to lose some time and with 100 kilometres to go, their lead was only 1:20. Fifty kilometres later, on the finishing circuit, little had changed. Five kilometres later home rider Pascal Ackermann, one of the outsiders for the victory, crashed. The German was at the front of the pack when he hit a barrier. The sprinter was unable to continue. With just under 30 kilometres to go, Pöstlberger and Silvan Dillier were caught. It was now time for the final lap and the inevitable bunch sprint. France initially took command, while the Dutch also positioned themselves at the front. Stefan Bissegger saw an opportunity for a late attack. The Swiss rider made a nice gap, but the speed in the peloton was so high that he was caught again with 2 kilometres to go. In the sprint that followed, Fabio Jakobsen seemed to be too far back. On the wheel of Danny van Poppel the Dutchman went with the Belgian train, who brought Tim Merlier to the front. The Belgian went early, but Jakobsen came past him. He sprinted to victory after Van Poppel’s preparatory work. Démare was in second place, Merlier was third. Van Poppel managed to finish fourth after his very strong lead-out.

2022 European champion, Fabio Jakobsen (Netherlands): “I am incredibly happy! To be European Champion is something that I only dreamed about, but at the start I was confident in my chances of turning this dream into reality, as I came in good shape and had a strong team. We don’t race too much together during the year, but everybody in the Netherlands team did a great job and put me in a perfect position going into the last kilometre, for which I am grateful to the guys. I felt good today. I survived on the first climb, then struggled a bit on the steep gradients of the second one, but came through while the team made sure of keeping the breakaway’s advantage under control the entire time. In the final 200 meters, I just did my sprint and I am delighted with this victory, the gold medal and with having this jersey on my shoulders for the next twelve months.”

2nd, Arnaud Démare (France): “Just like in Plouay, in 2020. The French team did a great job. Everyone gave their best. Given the nervous course, I wanted to avoid dangers and always be in the first ten riders. It wasn’t a hard day, but it was very nervous because there were always corners. We had to be patient and stick together. It worked. The goal after that was to pull it into a ribbon, and we did that on the last lap. The final straight was very long. I chose the right wheel, Fabio Jakobsen’s. But he was very strong. I was on his wheel, but he still had a man in front of him.”

3rd, Tim Merlier (Belgium): “Too bad, because I’ve rarely had a team like that in front of me. They passed me in the last 25 meters. I think I had to start a little too early.” Did the team hit the front too early? “I thought that question would come. It may have seemed that way on TV, but it was super hectic. If you sit too far (back), you have to kick too many peaks and we could now avoid that. This was a super team. It’s painful. It was already running through my head that I would win and something like that doesn’t happen to me much. If it had been the other way round, he would have been beaten too. If there’s a fast rider on your wheel and you have to start a little too early, it’s usually fatal. And it’s also Jakobsen, isn’t it. There was a jersey attached to this.”

4th, Danny van Poppel(Netherlands): “This is what I really dreamed of as a lead-out. Super nice. It’s not just my job, it’s also the team’s. Boy (brother Boy van Poppel) sat in front of me and coached the other boys well. We were also able to speak good Dutch, which is also nice. Merlier started in the finishing straight, but much too early. Then I thought, what should I do now? I turned on and off so that Fabio could get out of the slipstream. Very cool, very cool. This was the goal and it worked. Especially if he wins, it’s perfect. Fabio is the deserved European champion. We have been in the room together. There we agreed on some things, because it takes some getting used to. For example, Sam Bennett stays on my wheel, while Fabio chooses his own way, after which we find each other in the last straight. I already did some good lead-outs this year. Then you get a lot of praise. For me it’s just a win.”

European Road Championships – Men Result:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Netherlands) in 4:38:49
2. Arnaud Démare (France)
3. Tim Merlier (Belgium)
4. Danny van Poppel (Netherlands)
5. Sam Bennett (Ireland)
6. Luka Mezgec (Slovenia)
7. Elia Viviani (Italy)
8. Alexander Kristoff (Norway)
9. Jon Aberasturi (Spain)
10. Mads Pedersen (Denmark).

Euro Champs’22:

 


Arctic Race of Norway 2022
Cofidis’ Axel Zingle won Stage 1 of the Arctic Race of Norway, a five-hour loop in the rain which started and finished in Mo i Rana. The French rider was the quickest up the decisive climb, putting some bike lengths on Gleb Syritsa (Astana Qazaqstan) and Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies), second and third. It’s the second victory as a pro for the talented young Frenchman, who is the first wearer of the Midnight Sun jersey as race leader with an advantage of 4 seconds over Burgaudeau and 5 over Syritsa.

114 riders took the start on the 1st stage of the 2022 Arctic Race of Norway covering 186,8 kilometres. There were strong winds and mild rain all day long. As soon as the race began, a group of five escaped: Stephen Bassett (Human Powered Health), Luis Ángel Maté (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Eirik Lunder (Team Coop) and Sam Culverwell (Trinity Racing) went clear. By kilometre 17, they had built a gap of 5:20. Back in the bunch, Intermaché-Wanty-Gobert, Uno-X and Israel-Premier Tech joined forces to control the break.

Bassett was the first rider at the top Korgfjellet (Cat.1, 46,9km), where the front group had an advantage of 3:35 over the peloton. The gap was steady for the following hour of racing, as the American rider reached the summit of Elsfjord (Cat.2, 95,3km) in first position again. The vibe in the main group changed as it approached the second climb to Korgfjellet (Cat.1, 107,9km), with Intermarché’s Taco van der Hoorn and Dries de Potter taking the reins to up the pace and reduce the gap of the breakaway down to 1:30 on its summit. Meanwhile, Bassett secured the lead of the KOM classification and the maiden Peacock jersey by cresting the third and final categorised climb of the day in first position. After the descent, some attacks took place in the bunch, with Krists Neilands (Israel-Premier Tech) being particularly active. No one was given leeway, though, and Uno-X and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert regained control of the operations, with BikeExchange-Jayco joining the chase for sprinter Dylan Groenewegen. The advantage of the break had increased to 2:20 as they went through Finneidfjord (135km) led by Culverwell.

Uno-X sped things up at the cutting edge of the main group, shutting down the break with 24 kilometres to go and trimming the peloton before the first crossing of the finish line (165,5km), where Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies) crossed the line first in order to get some bonus seconds for the GC. A reduced bunch of 60 riders was left at the head of the race by the second crossing of the finish line (176,2km), led by Kristian Aasvold (Human Powered Health). DSM took over from Uno-X and managed to keep the front group together through the final lap around Mo i Rana despite several attacks. The final kilometre kicked slightly uphill. Axel Zingle (Cofidis) opened the sprint with 200 metres to go and nobody could match his powerful acceleration as he powered away to victory.

Stage winner and overall leader, Axel Zingle (Cofidis): “I’m just so happy with this victory. Yesterday we did a recon of the final circuit and at night, when I was on my bed, just before sleeping, I could only think of today’s race. Every time I get this kind of feeling with a race, I am close to winning. It was hard to position myself ahead of the final sprint. I knew that, if I was on the top 10 on the last corner, I could fight for the victory – but the run-in to the final hill was a long, 3 kilometre descent on which being at the front meant spending too much energy. The key was being the last to sprint for a good position before the last turn. I managed to do this, I won the race… and I’m very happy.”

Arctic Race of Norway Stage 1 Result:
1. Axel Zingle (Fra) Cofidis in 4:50:09
2. Gleb Syritsa (-) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:01
3. Mathieu Burgaudeau (Fra) TotalEnergies
4. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkéa Samsic
5. Nick Schultz (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
6. Maurice Ballerstedt (Ger) Alpecin-Deceuninck
7. Håkon Aalrust (Nor) Team Coop
8. Andreas Stokbro (Den) Team Coop
9. Antonio Angulo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
10. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux.

Arctic Race of Norway Overall After Stage 1:
1. Axel Zingle (Fra) Cofidis in 4:49:59
2. Mathieu Burgaudeau (Fra) TotalEnergies at 0:04
3. Gleb Syritsa (-) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:05
4. Kristian Aasvold (Nor) Human Powered Health at 0:08
5. Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Sjoerd Bax (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:09
7. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkéa Samsic at 0:11
8. Nick Schultz (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
9. Maurice Ballerstedt (Ger) Alpecin-Deceuninck
10. Håkon Aalrust (Nor) Team Coop.

Arctic Race’22 stage 1:

 

On Stage 2 the best sprinter in the field won the sprint stage of the Arctic Race of Norway. Dylan Groenewegen put on an excellent display of power to repay the work of his BikeExchange-Jayco teammates at the end of the 154,3 kilometre stage. The Dutchman launched his sprint with 250 metres to go and kept at bay Amaury Capiot (Arkéa-Samsic) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (TotalEnergies) to score his seventh victory of the season. Cofidis’ Axel Zingle retained the Midnight Sun jersey and netted bonus seconds on an intermediate sprint to increase his lead over Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies) to 5 seconds.

The 2nd stage of the 2022 Arctic Race of Norway covered 154,3 kilometres between Mosjøen and Brønnøysund. Peacock jersey wearer Stephen Bassett (Human Powered Health) went on the attack early on to create a 5 man breakaway with Iker Mintegi (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Johan Ravnøy (Team Coop) and Liam Johnstone (Trinity Racing). At the top the day’s first categorised climb, Laksforsen (Cat.2, 21km), the front group had a 3:40 lead on the bunch. Van Poucke, who had been Bassett’s main challenger for the KOM on the opening stage, beat the American on the summit to score the maximum points.

Cofidis, defending the GC leadership of Axel Zingle, and BikeExchange-Jayco, looking after their sprinter Dylan Groenewegen, drove the bunch for most of the day and prevented the break from building a gap that went above the 4 minutes threshold. Van Poucke got the best of Bassett again at both Tosen (Cat.2, 69,km) and Lande (Cat.2, 94,8km), yet the American had a big enough advantage to keep the lead. On the final kilometre of the Lande climb, Mintegi dropped back to the peloton, that was 2 minutes behind. By the time the race reached Hommelstø (121,2km), with Johnstone in first position across the line, the gap of the front four had been reduced to 1:20.

The break was brought back for good by the bunch on the climb to Torghatten (141,8km). The GC contenders sprinted for the bonus seconds, with Sven Eryk Bystrøm (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) getting 3 seconds ahead of Midnight Sun jersey wearer Axel Zingle and Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies), who netted 2 seconds and 1 second respectively. Israel Premier-Tech and Intermarché-Wanty Gobert took the helm in the final ten kilometres, preparing for a bunch sprint that was finally launched by Groenewegen with 250 metres to go. Despite the long range of his attack, no one was able to pass him before the finish line.

Stage winner, Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange-Jayco): “We don’t have my normal lead-out team here, as we have some GC riders in the squad. Still, my teammates did an amazing job today. They pulled all day long and brought me back to the front of the bunch after a crash affected me in the final kilometres. We looked like a real sprint train in the final, and [Nick] Schultz brought me to a perfect position near the finish. I started my sprint really early, but it was enough. Yesterday was a hard day, but today we got a nice win for me and also for the team. This has not been an easy day, with some rain and some wind during the day, plus some climbs at the end of the stage. I have quite good legs after the Tour de France, my shape is really good… and I am very happy with this win.”

Overall leader, Axel Zingle (Cofidis): “It has been a pretty tense stage, especially in the final. But, overall, I would say it was an easy day for me – maybe a little less for my teammates, who had to work at the front. They did a perfect job and we even got some bonus seconds in the final intermediate sprint. It was a good day in the Midnight Sun jersey. At the team meeting I said I would decide whether I had a good feeling or not to go for the bunch sprint in the final kilometres. I reckoned the mood was very nervous and, with 500 meters to go, I saw some riders moving from right to left and thought it was too dangerous a sprint for me to get in the mix. I decided to just stay on the bunch and think of tomorrow’s queen stage. We will see there how my climbing legs are. I knew climbing would be important here, so I did some efforts on training to prepare for this – and they went well. The final climb is too hard for me on paper, but we will do everything in our hands to keep this jersey.”

Arctic Race of Norway Stage 2 Result:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco in 3:41:17
2. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkéa Samsic
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) TotalEnergies
4. Blake Quick (Aus) Trinity Racing
5. Matteo Malucelli (Ita) China Glory
6. Florian Dauphin (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
7. Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel-Premier Tech
8. Matthew Gibson (GB) Human Powered Health
9. Martin Urianstad (Nor) Uno-X
10. Gleb Syritsa (-) Astana Qazaqstan.

Arctic Race of Norway Overall After Stage 2:
1. Axel Zingle (Fra) Cofidis in 8:31:14
2. Mathieu Burgaudeau (Fra) TotalEnergies at 0:05
3. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkéa Samsic at 0:07
4. Gleb Syritsa (-) Astana Qazaqstan
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) TotalEnergies at 0:09
6. Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:10
7. Kristian Aasvold (Nor) Human Powered Health
8. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
9. Liam Johnston (Aus) Trinity Racing
10. Sjoerd Bax (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:11

Arctic Race’22 stage 2:

 

Victor Lafay had come to the Arctic Race of Norway with some unfinished business from last year, when he was third on the Queen Stage and the final GC of the Northernmost road cycling event. On this 2022 edition, though, the French rider managed to triumph at the top of Skallstuggu on Stage 3 to claim his second victory as a professional rider and the Midnight Sun jersey off the shoulders of his Cofidis teammate Axel Zingle. A group of eight riders led by Kévin Vauquelin (Arkéa-Samsic) and Hugo Houle (Israel-PremierTech) finished just 3 seconds behind Lafay and will be his main challengers for the overall win on Sunday in Trondheim.

109 riders took the start on the 3rd stage of the 2022 Arctic Race of Norway, which covered 177,7 kilometres between Namsos and Skallstuggu. It was a fast start under a bright sky, and it took 11 kilometres for Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Maurice Ballerstedt (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Tom Wirtgen (Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces-WB) and Håkon Aalrust (Team Coop) to go clear as the two main contenders for the Peacock jersey, wearer Stephen Bassett (Human Powered Health) and runner-up Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), neutralised each other’s attacks to finally stay in the bunch. By the intermediate sprint in Namdalseid (33,1km), won by Ballerstedt, the breakaway had a 4 minute gap on the peloton driven by Midnight Sun jersey Axel Zingle’s Cofidis teammates.

The race situation remained stable for most of the stage. Aalrust led the break over the Strugstad summit (Cat.2, 85,8km), where the advantage of the front group had increased up to 5 minutes. TotalEnergies began contributing to the chase for the benefit of Mathieu Burgaudeau, who sat in second position on the GC behind Zingle. As the terrain got more demanding, the pace stepped up and, as a result, some riders began to dangle off the back of the bunch and the gaps narrowed. Wirtgen was the first across the summit of Stene (Cat 2, 126,4km) and Aalrust led through Reinslia (Cat.2, 139,5km), where the break clocked a lead of just above 3 minutes.

The run-in to the final climb of Skallstuggu (Cat.1) was lumpy and featured two intermediate sprints on Levanger (156,8km) and Hojem (163,9km) won by Ballerstedt and Van der Hoorn respectively as the breakaway riders capitalised all bonus seconds at stake. Intermarché’s Dutch rider attacked with 15 kilometres to go and his acceleration was only matched by Alpecin-Deceuninck’s promising German rouleur as Wirtgen and Aalrust dropped back to a bunch where BikeExchange-Jayco had taken the reins. The front duo was reeled in by the pack just as the final 3,8-kilometre climb started. When the road began to pitch upwards, Andreas Leknessund (DSM) opened a series of attacks from different riders. With 2.3 kilometres to go, Victor Lafay (Cofidis) put some daylight between himself and the rest of the bunch, that had split into lots of groups. No chase attempt was established behind Lafay and the French rider triumphed with a few seconds to spare.

Stage winner, Victor Lafay (Cofidis): “My legs are sore! It has been difficult to win here. I knew I had to attack on the stepper sections of the climb. Axel [Zingle] told me that I had to play my chances because he wasn’t feeling at his best. I’ve accelerated with more than 2 kilometres to go, and the way to the finish has felt super long. I saw I had a good gap on my chasers and, as the gradient was high, we weren’t peddling that fast – maybe 18, 19 kph. I decided I couldn’t stop and wait, so I kept going. The climb was hard and I guess my rivals had similar thoughts behind me. In the end, it boded well for me. We had several cards to play today. The best one was Axel, as he already had a lead and we believed he could cope with today’s final climb, but the pace was very high in the final kilometres and it took its toll on him. Luckily, he reached the finish line close to the best, so he is not too far away on the standings. I hope that, if I lose the Midnight Sun jersey, it’s him who takes it. We came here to win this Arctic Race of Norway and we are in a position to do so. We will do our best. I had to quit the Tour de France due to sickness, and I struggled to resume training for three weeks because I couldn’t breathe properly. I got back to business today, and it feels great.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Kévin Vauquelin (Arkéa Samsic): “It’s very reassuring to be amongst the best, as I did today. I’m satisfied I’ve scored a good result. Of course, it’s a pity to come this close to victory and not getting it, but I can’t change that and I am thinking of tomorrow’s stage already. We are here to win and we will do everything in our hands to do it. We’ll see what’s possible to do tomorrow, as it will be a demanding final circuit with a very steep hill and so many bonus seconds at stake. Cofidis has a strong team, but our Arkéa-Samsic is a good squad too. Today’s stage will leave some fatigue in our legs, but tomorrow’s can prove turn out to be even more exhausting.”

KOM, Stephen Bassett (Human Powered Health): “It’s a close lead, but we are very happy with it. We played it defensively today, rather than attacking for more points. My team and Sport Vlaanderen kind of neutralised each other today as we fought to be on the breakaway. To be honest, it was nice to take it a bit easier today and spend the day at the peloton. As for the Peacock jersey, it comes down to tomorrow. I’m surprised with how good my legs are, as this is my first race back since I broke my collarbone two months ago in the United States. I’m enjoying Norway: it’s beautiful here, and the racing is great.”

Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “It was okay out there today. I felt good. In the first kilometres there was a big fight for the break. At the beginning a group of 20 riders went clear, and it was strange. We kept attacking as the plan was for me to be on the breakaway to take some pressure off my teammates. I wasn’t going for the win, as the final climb was too difficult for me. I managed to go on a small break as we wanted. The final didn’t go down to plan as we didn’t win atop Skallstuggu, but we still have Sven Eryk Bystrøm and Quinten Hermans up there, playing for the GC.”

Arctic Race of Norway Stage 3 Result:
1. Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis in 4:09:29
2. Kévin Vauquelin (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:03
3. Hugo Houle (Can) Israel-Premier Tech
4. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
5. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Israel-Premier Tech
6. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
7. Jason Osborne (Ger) Alpecin-Deceuninck
8. Nick Schultz (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
9. Igor Chzhan (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan
10. Nicola Conci (Ita) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:09.

Arctic Race of Norway Overall After Stage 3:
1. Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis in 12:40:46
2. Kévin Vauquelin (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:07
3. Hugo Houle (Can) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:09
4. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:10
5. Nick Schultz (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:13
6. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
7. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Israel-Premier Tech
8. Jason Osborne (Ger) Alpecin-Deceuninck
9. Nicola Conci (Ita) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:19
10. Sjoerd Bax (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:20.

Arctic Race’22 stage 3:

 

DSM’s Andreas Leknessund pulled off a masterpiece he will never forget to win the Final Stage 6 and the overall win of the 2022 Arctic Race of Norway. The Norwegian rider went clear from the peloton with 100 kilometres to go and proved to be the strongest in the final circuit of Trondheim, holding off all the attempts to bring him back and landing a solo victory and the overall win ahead of Hugo Houle (Israel-PremierTech) and Nicola Conci (Alpecin-Deceuninck). It’s the first time a Norwegian rider has triumphed in this event since the victory of Thor Hushovd in its first edition, back in 2013.

108 riders took the start on the 4th stage of the 2022 Arctic Race of Norway, which began and finished in Trondheim after covering 159,1 kilometres. One DNS: Intermarché-Wanty Gobert’s Sven Eryk Bystrøm, who fell ill overnight and sat out of the race giving up his hard-earned 4th overall place. It was a hectic start, with many moves as all of the event’s prizes and honours were undecided and up for grabs, as the 400 litres of Mack Brewery products awarded to the winner of the first intermediate sprint in Spongdal (26km). Israel-Premier Tech led out, but former GC leader Axel Zingle (Cofidis) proved the fastest of the contenders and took three important bonus seconds ahead of Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) and Kévin Vauquelin (Arkéa-Samsic), who closed in to Midnight Sun jersey wearer Victor Lafay (Cofidis) by two and one seconds respectively.

Virtually every rider from every team wanted to be in the break, and that made for a thrilling first hour of racing until Andreas Leknessund (DSM), Fabian Greiller (TotalEnergies) and Alessandro Verre (Arkéa-Samsic) managed to jump clear 65 kilometres into the stage. The trio build a lead that reached 2:15 at the top of Løvset (Cat.2, 78,7km), Greiller was first. Cofidis drove the bunch to keep the gap steady as Leknessund led the way through Ståggån (Cat.2, 101,9km).

It was with 37 kilometres to go that the riders entered the final circuit in Trondheim: a 8,1 kilometre loop with a steep climb to Tylhot Tower (1,4km at 7,7%) to be crested 5,8 kilometres from the finish line. As soon as the road pitched upwards, Leknessund took off from his companions to reach the summit of Tylhot Tower (Cat.2, 128,9km) solo, holding a 1:10 gap on a bunch where attacks began. A three-man group with Martin Urianstad (Uno-X), Embret Svestad-Bardseng (Team Coop) and Thomas Gloag (Trinity Racing) went clear on the climb and caught Verre and Greiller after the second crossing of the finish line with 24 kilometres to go. They were quickly swept up by the pack when the race finally took shape.

Nicola Conci (Alpecin-Deceuninck) unfurled a ferocious attack to pass the summit of the second climb to Tylhot Tower (Cat.2, 137km) second to Leknessund, who was still leading the race with a 45 second buffer. The Italian rider was joined from behind by teammates Jason Osborne and Kristian Sbaragli, as well as by Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier Tech), Dries de Potter (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert), Axel Zingle (Cofidis) and Max Poole (DSM). The Alpecin-Deceuninck squad kept a fast tempo as Leknessund collected KOM points in Tylhot Tower (Cat 2, 145,2km) and bonus seconds on the third and fourth crossing of the finish line. Conci took off again up the final climb to Tylhot Tower (Cat.2, 137km) in a furious pursuit of Leknessund, who managed to keep him at bay. Behind, Lafay, Vauquelin and Hermans took on a late chase with the Midnight Sun jersey in mind that turned out unfruitful as all of them finished off the podium for the benefit of Conci, Houle… and the outstanding overall winner Leknessund.

Stage winner and final overall winner, Andreas Leknessund (DSM): “I felt quite bad yesterday so today we agreed to see how the legs reacted and waited for the local laps. The attacks kept coming in the bunch though and as a team we decided to all participate in the moves and after a while the legs felt better and I went away with three guys. At first, I didn’t think that it would go to the line but my personal goal was to get a lap out front of the crowds and enjoy it. When I was out there alone I just went full-gas. I didn’t believe it would stay away until the last kilometre actually. I felt pretty tired and was expecting the guys to come really fast from behind, especially as the climb which was steep and hard. My teammates told me on the radio that everyone was suffering and that really motivated me. It’s really nice after yesterday. It’s like home race for me and it’s one that I watched since a small kid – it’s unbelievable to win the race overall, it’s quite emotional to be honest.”

5th on the stage and 2nd overall, Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier Tech): “I’m really happy with the way I rode, especially today. It was pretty much tied up on the GC, with the bonus seconds being key. I saw an opportunity to attack on the second climb and I decided to go up the road. There were three Alpecin-Deceuninck guys, they started to pull and I decided to give it a shot along with them. The rest of the favourites couldn’t catch up with us and, had the break stayed together, I’d probably have won the GC. Yet Alpecin-Deceuninck decided to attack, and anyway I am happy with how we rode. We raced aggressively as a team, everyone was good, I’ve finished second and I’m happy.”

2nd on the stage and 3rd overall, Nicola Conci (Alpecin-Deceuninck): “It has been a beautiful day. As a team, we had the goal of trying everything in our hands to win the overall – and, above all, the stage. We wanted to gamble for the win, in spite of risking our three top10 places in the GC. We have raced really well as a team, yet we have found a very powerful Andreas Leknessund to prevent us from reaching our goals. In any case, it’s been beautiful. We expected a hard start, and it took indeed more than an hour for the break to go clear. The entrance to the final circuit has been very nervous. We decided to anticipate our move to three laps to go, and we launched a three-man attack with Jason Osborne, Kristian Sbaragli and myself. In the final climb I accelerated again on my own to try and catch Leknessund. I could see him, but I had made a very big effort and I couldn’t close in. This podium result marks a re-starting point for my career. The last couple of years have been harsh for me, as I had to undergo surgery to solve a problem on my iliac artery – and then there was Covid-19, the issue with my former team. Now I’ve landed on a team where I feel at ease. I love how we race and the environment inside the team. I look forward to the future with optimism.”

3rd on the stage and 4th overall, Axel Zingle (Cofidis): “I was not chasing the 400 litres of Mack Brewery products on the first intermediate sprint! There were so many things at stake, and I was honestly just thinking of the bonus seconds. In any case, we will make good use of this prize in our November training camp. The Blue jersey is just a consolation prize. What we were longing for today was the overall win. We have controlled the race all day long, so we were short in numbers on the final circuit. We tried to follow every move, without taking turns in the breakaway groups. Unfortunately, there was no cooperation behind over at Victor Lafay’s group and we couldn’t finish where we wanted – just 4th and 5th. In any case, we have nothing to regret. We have honoured our status as GC leaders and it’s been a beautiful week. We have proven that we are in good shape and on a good dynamic ahead of the end of the season. Today’s GC win was a difficult one to pull off. We have done a great team effort and that’s what we shall keep in mind.”

KOM, Stephen Bassett (Human Powered Health): “It was a stressful last two days – more than actually being in the break! The team has been really good at defending this Peacock jersey. These Belgian guys [his runner-up Aaron Van Poucke and his team Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise – ed.] really know how to ride their bikes and it was nice to see how the whole team worked to keep their moves under control. Especially the first 30 kilometres were quite twisty and there were a lot of attacks, so it was good to have everyone switched on from the very beginning. It was a relief when the three-man break went away, as they would mark all the points up for grabs. It’s really nice to win this Peacock jersey. I’m not a super talent, so I have to carve out my opportunities. This year I’ve devoted myself to breakaways. With this week, my count is up to 8 breaks this season – 20% of the races I’ve contested so far in the campaign!”

Arctic Race of Norway Stage 4 Result:
1. Andreas Leknessund (Ned) DSM in 3:30:26
2. Nicola Conci (Ita) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:16
3. Axel Zingle (Fra) Cofidis at 0:18
4. Max Poole (GB) DSM
5. Hugo Houle (Can) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:20
6. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:35
7. Mathieu Burgaudeau (Fra) TotalEnergies
8. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Deceuninck
9. Sjoerd Bax (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck
10. Victor Koretzky (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM.

Arctic Race of Norway Final Overall Result:
1. Andreas Leknessund (Nor) DSM in 16:11:32
2. Hugo Houle (Can) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:08
3. Nicola Conci (Ita) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:09
4. Axel Zingle (Fra) Cofidis at 0:14
5. Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis at 0:15
6. Kévin Vauquelin (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:22
7. Max Poole (GB) DSM at 0:23
8. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:26
9. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:28
10. Sjoerd Bax (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:35.

Arctic Race’22 stage 4:

 


Tour de l’Ain 2022
Antonio Pedrero won the Third and Final Stage of the Tour de l’Ain. The Movistar rider was the best after a stage of 131 kilometres. Pedrero went solo from his fellow escapees at 55 kilometres. Guillaume Martin won the final overall of the three-day stage race.

The final stage of the Tour de l’Ain was a tough one. In total, only 131 kilometres had to be covered, but it went up and down continuously. Immediately after the starting signal in Plateau d’Hauteville, the riders had to climb. The Col de Cuvillat (3.3 km at 6.8%) was just a warm-up for what was still on the menu, but it was the ideal place to start. A lot of riders attacked and tried to get away with a large group. That didn’t work out in the end, but we did get an interesting flight.

Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal), Andrea Piccolo (EF Education-EasyPost), Antonio Pedrereo (Movistar) and Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) were initially the escapees of the day. However, the chaos was not yet over. Two-time World champion Alaphilippe was his nervous self and decided to go with Pedrero. The two rode away from the pursuers, taking a lead of 2 minutes. A group got together including: Piccolo, Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal), Nicolas Prodhomme (AG2R Citroën), Elie Gesbert (Arkéa Samsic), Jeremy Cabot and Cristian Rodriguez (both TotalEnergies) and started the chase. In the peloton they also didn’t know what to do with this situation, so overall leader Guillaume Martin put his teammates on the front. Cofidis kind of took control of the race, although they were 5 minutes behind the front riders. After 75 kilometres, the race situation changed once again. Alaphilippe could no longer keep up with Pedrero’s pace on the Col de Menthières (9.2km at 6.3%), and that the 30 year-old Spaniard was solo. Pedrero did well, the experienced Movistar rider rode further and further away from Alaphilippe. He was also able to keep the peloton at a good distance, with 35 kilometres to go, the thinned peloton still followed at 4 minutes. With Mattias Skjelmose, Trek-Segafredo had a rider in second place overall, so they decided to take action and put Thibau Nys and Julien Bernard at the head of the peloton, which immediately narrowed the gap to the leader.

On the second climb of the Col de Menthières, the final of the final stage really started. Felix Großschartner and George Bennett, attacked. Bennett got away and rode past a lot of remaining escapees, only Pedrero was still alone at the front. Behind was a small group with leader Martin, Skjelmose, Bennett, Rudy Molard, Sébastien Reichenbach, Jaakko Hänninen, Valentin Paret Peintre and Harry Sweeny. Pedrero’s lead dropped to 2 minutes. Despite the multiple attacks behind, he held up. Pedrero had the possibility of the overall win for a long time, because at the start of stage three he was 2:06 behind. It became a nail-biter, but in the end it didn’t work to put him in the yellow jersey. He did win the stage. Sweeny and Bennett escaped, allowing them to be on the podium of the final stage. Martin had to speed up in the streets of Lélex, but was able to secure his overall victory.

Stage winner and 5th overall, Antonio Pedrero (Movistar): “It was an unexpected victory. The idea was to ride into the break to see if something would happen, but we opened a gap very early and could maintain the difference. I never thought I could make it. The day turned out well, and I could hang on strong until the finish line. This victory leaves me very, very happy. I wasn’t thinking about the GC. I knew what the differences were and in my case it was complicated. This victory alone is a great joy within itself.”

Final overall winner and 7th on the stage, Guillaume Martin (Cofidis): “We didn’t want to give the escape too much margin. We did very well without panicking. Everyone in the team was really strong. We expected that the breakaways wouldn’t make it, but in the end Pedrero just held on. We really had to accelerate at the end to come back and keep the jersey. He was really impressive. It made me count on the end. Ah, the much-discussed points that affect our daily lives and will do so until the end of the season, unfortunately. We have a small margin, but we can still score points to grab. In the Tour de France we were active, but we didn’t score many points.”

3rd on the stage and7th overall, George Bennett (UAE Team Emirates): “I really enjoyed this race. I felt good but I’m a bit disappointed with the result. I had some bad luck yesterday when I got something caught in my rear derailleur in the last big climb and I wasn’t able to make back the time today but these things can happen, I still enjoyed racing here with a good group of guys who helped me a lot on every stage.”

Tour de l’Ain Stage 3 Result:
1. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar in 3:28:40
2. Harry Sweeny (Aus) Lotto Soudal at 1:18
3. George Bennett (NZ) UAE Team Emirates
4. Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 1:39
5. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
6. Sébastien Reichenbach (Sui) Groupama-FDJ
7. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
8. Jaakko Hänninen (Fin) AG2R Citroën
9. Valentin Paret-Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team at 1:58
10. Rémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis at 3:21.

Tour de l’Ain Final Overall Result:
1. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis in 10:34:43
2. Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 0:06
3. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:08
4. Jaakko Hänninen (Fin) AG2R Citroën at 0:12
5. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar at 0:17
6. Sébastien Reichenbach (Sui) Groupama-FDJ at 0:20
7. George Bennett (NZ) UAE Team Emirates at 0:29
8. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 1:54
9. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 3:15
10. Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Arkéa Samsic.

 


Tour of Scandinavia 2022
Marianne Vos won the Third Stage of the Tour of Scandinavia. The Jumbo-Visma rider was the fastest on an uphill finish in Sarpsborg. Vos also remains the leader in the general classification.

The start of the 118.9 kilometre stage was in Moss, in the Norwegian province of Viken. Soon after kilometre zero there was an attack. Italy’s Elena Pirrone of Valcar-Travel Service took a gap, Josie Nelson (Coop-Hitec Products) joined shortly after. The two worked well together and had a lead of 3 minutes. There were two climbs that had to be conquered with the Skjonnerod (900m at 4.6%) and the Greaker (500m at 7%), but these played no significant role.

At 55 kilometres from the finish, there was a big crash. On the left side of the peloton, a rider crashed and followed by a large group of riders. Meanwhile, the gap to the escape was getting smaller, and so Lourdes Oyarbide decided she could make the crossing. Movistar’s Spanish rider joined to the pair and started the fight against the peloton, although it was an impossible battle. The Jumbo-Visma riders led the pack and the lead of the three fell to less than 1 minute. Oyarbide jumped away from Pirrone and Nelson. The Spanish rider didn’t lead the race for long, because the finalé had started in the peloton. Sofia Bertizzolo and Demi Vollering knew that they wouldn’t beat Vos in a sprint, so they opted for a late break. Vos was very attentive and countered the attacks quickly. In the end it was Alice Barnes (Canyon//SRAM) who was able to pull away. The 27-year-old British rider was ahead of the peloton for a few kilometres. At 13 kilometres from the finish, with two local laps left on the menu, she was 25 seconds ahead. Last year, Kristen Faulkner took the win in this stage, by also breaking away in the final. Last year, when Faulkner escaped in the final, the peloton was too late. That didn’t happen this time. Going into the final lap, Barnes was caught.

Then there was constant attacks in the last local lap, where there was a lot of twisting and turning. Anouska Koster tried in the final kilometres, but nobody managed to get away. All eyes were on Vos for the sprint. The Dutch multi-champion had to move up a lot of positions in the last kilometre, but did it very easily. She then jumped on to the wheel of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, after which she came past strong. Three out of three for Vos in Scandinavia. Uttrup Ludwig took second place, Shari Bossuyt was third.

Stage winner and overall leader, Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma): “This is very special. Winning three times in a row is something you don’t see very often. It was a pretty tough race with a lot of attacks. I tried to stay in front and be alert all the time. During the last few kilometres it was important to be well-placed for the sprint. I got through the last corner well, but then I got boxed in. I had to make a small sprint to get back in position and then I ended up in Cecile’s wheel. It proved the right wheel. I felt I could still sprint, although you never know how explosive the others are. It was a tough race and everyone had sore legs. I had to go deep, but it’s very satisfying when it finally comes together like that.”

Tour of Scandinavia Stage 3 Result:
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 3:04:40
2. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope
3. Shari Bossuyt (Bel) Canyon//SRAM
4. Alexandra Manly (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
5. Gladys Verhulst (Fra) Le Col-Wahoo
6. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
7. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
8. Yara Kastelijn (Ned) Plantur-Pura
9. Floortje Mackaij (Ned) DSM
10. Marthe Truyen (Bel) Plantur-Pura.

Tour of Scandinavia Overall After Stage 3:
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 10:28:08
2. Shari Bossuyt (Bel) Canyon//SRAM at 0:22
3. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope at 0:24
4. Alexandra Manly (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:30
5. Floortje Mackaij (Ned) DSM
6. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
7. Megan Jastrab (USA) DSM
8. Gladys Verhulst (Fra) Le Col-Wahoo
9. Margaux Vigie (Fra) Valcar-Travel & Service
10. Marthe Truyen (Bel) Plantur-Pura.

 

Alexandra Manly won the Stage 4 of the Tour of Scandinavia. On the tricky finish in Mysen, BikeExchange-Jayco rider was the strongest in the sprint of a leading group, who just managed to stay out of the peloton’s hands. Chloe Hosking was second, Laura Tomasi third. Marianne Vos, who had won the first three stages, was sixth and held the overall lead.

Like the third stage, the fourth stage was through Norway, after the first two stages were in Denmark and Sweden. The 119.2 kilometre stage between Askim and Mysen had a slightly hilly character, and the finish was also uphill. Marianne Vos, winner of the first three stages was in the yellow leader’s jersey.

Several riders tried to get away in the first half of the race, but the peloton was not giving away space and it was difficult to create a gap. Just past the halfway mark, Femke Markus of Parkhotel Valkenburg managed to escape alone. She gained a lead of more than 30 seconds, but she was caught by the peloton. Another attack was not long in coming. Lourdes Oyarbide (Movistar) and Mischa Bredewold (Parkhotel Valkenburg) tried and took a 40 second lead. BikeExchange-Jayco then accelerated causing the lead to begin to shrink and everything came back together. The attacks continued to followed in rapid succession, but it was so difficult to take a stable lead. In the last 10 kilometres Alexandra Manly (BikeExchange) and Alice Barnes (Canyon) attacked.

Manly and Barnes kept ahead and were joined later by some other riders. The peloton were close behind, but Manly still won after a hectic final. On the uphill finish, she was just ahead of Chloe Hosking (Trek-Segafredo) and Laura Tomasi (UAE ADQ). Marianne Vos crossed the finish line in sixth place and missed out on the win for the first time this tour. The Jumbo-Visma leader remained in the yellow jersey.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Alex Manly (BikeExchange-Jayco): “It’s a bit surreal to be honest, I’ve been trying to do this all year but kept making mistakes and today it wasn’t the plan to do what I did, but the opportunity was there so I couldn’t not take it. I have to say thanks so much to all these girls, everybody worked so hard today. We really wanted to make it an aggressive race but when the attacks kicked off, we were quite tired. In the end, it just opened up again because we made it hard in the middle. I am really glad to pull it off because the girls have been working really hard for me for a long time now. The final was all just racing on instinct, it wasn’t really a part of the plan. The race was breaking up and I was feeling good, so when you feel good you have to go. I think I am just really lucky that the group split, and we had a few more riders come across to us, as when we were just two riders I didn’t think we were going to make it, so it is just really good to win today.”

Tour of Scandinavia Stage 4 Result:
1. Alexandra Manly (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco in 2:53:44
2. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Trek-Segafredo
3. Laura Tomasi (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
4. Alice Barnes Canyon//SRAM Racing
5. Anouska Koster (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
6. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
7. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
8. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
9. Emilia Fahlin (Swe) FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope
10. Shari Bossuyt (Bel) Canyon//SRAM.

Tour of Scandinavia Overall After Stage 4:
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 13:21:52
2. Alexandra Manly (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:20
3. Shari Bossuyt (Bel) Canyon//SRAM at 0:22
4. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope at 0:24
5. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) UAE Team ADQ at 0:30
6. Floortje Mackaij (Ned) DSM
7. Megan Jastrab (USA) DSM
8. Gladys Verhulst (Fra) Le Col-Wahoo
9. Marthe Truyen (Bel) Plantur-Pura
10. Susanne Andersen (Nor) Uno-X.

 

The Queen Stage 5 of the Tour of Scandinavia was won by Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig. On the final climb, the Danish rider was with Liane Lippert, after which she beat the German in the sprint. With her victory, Uttrup Ludwig also took over the leader’s jersey from Marianne Vos.

The more than 127 kilometre fifth stage of the Tour of Scandinavia took place entirely in Norway. From Vikersund it went on flat or rolling roads to Noresund, where the final climb to Norefjell (11.1 km at 6.1%). There were two categorised climbs that had to be conquered, but they didn’t amount to much. So it would all come down to the final climb. Marianne Vos started – after three victories in four days – in the leader’s jersey, but the chance seemed small that she would keep the jersey at the end of the day, with many riders were still within a minute. Demi Vollering, who would normally be the top favourite, crashed on the fourth stage and didn’t start on Saturday. SD Worx was left with only three riders, because Vollering’s teammates Anna Shackley and Niamh Fisher-Black also didn’t start after they hit the deck on Friday. Fisher-Black sustained a collarbone fracture.

During the first kilometres of the stage there were several failed attempts to escape. The only one who managed to really make a gap was Esmée Peperkamp (DSM). The Dutch rider took a lead of just under 30 seconds solo. The peloton let her go for a while, then pulled her in again and the battle started again. After many attacks it was eventually Sarah Roy who got away. The 36-year-old Canyon//SRAM rider had a lead of about half a minute. Amber Kraak (Jumbo-Visma) had collected some mountain points, with which she secured the final win in the QOM competition. Roy was alone in the lead, however, it remained restless in the bunch and several riders wanted to make the jump across. Five riders, including Lucina Brand, succeeded. The collaboration was not good and so everything came together again. The next to try was Sophie Wright (UAE Team ADQ). The 23-year-old British rider took the biggest lead of all the solo attempts, 2:30. Valerie Demey (Liv Racing Xstra) then gave chase but would never make it. Wright also didn’t hold up against the pack and before the final climb started, she was caught. Now the favourites would fight it out.

The first kilometres of the climb were set by the women of FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope and Movistar, then Canyon//SRAM took over. With more than 7 kilometres to go, it was too fast for overall leader, Marianne Vos. She struggled for a while, but in the end she had to let go and lose the yellow jersey. Liane Lippert let Peperkamp wear out the opposition by setting a strong pace. The Dutch rider apparently still had something left after her previous efforts, because at one point there were only around ten riders in the group of favourites. Neve Bradbury (Canyon//SRAM) accelerated, but the 20 year-old Australian was counter-attack by Lippert and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig. Anousha Koster just couldn’t follow. Lippert and Uttrup Ludwig soon gained a considerable lead over the others. It then came down to a sprint between two and Uttrup Ludwig showed himself the fastest, to take the stage victory and the leader’s jersey from Marianne Vos. Julie Van de Velde (Plantur-Pura) finished third on the stage.

Stage winner and overall leader, Cecile Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope): “The last three kilometres I was really giving everything. Thanks to my teammates I was able to win here. Tonight we might drink a glass of champagne to it! The team rode so well today. We were always in the front ranks of the pack with the whole team. I really have to thank my teammates, they have continuously protected me. Emilia (Fahlin) and Stine (Borgli) rode a very good pace on the climb. It was clear that they believed in me. From that moment on it was really giving everything. As a cyclist you have a kind of killer instinct, I really wanted to win. In the end I succeeded, which made it a very good day for me. We want to take the leader’s jersey home. It will be tough, I expect a big fight tomorrow.”

Tour of Scandinavia Stage 5 Result:
1. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope in 3:26:24
2. Liane Lippert (Ger) DSM at 0:01
3. Julie Van de Velde (Bel) Plantur-Pura at 0:31
4. Josie Nelson (GB) Team Coop-Hitec Products at 0:38
5. Alexandra Manly (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
6. Tamara Dronova-Balabolina (-) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad
7. Anouska Koster (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
8. Esmée Peperkamp (Ned) DSM
9. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10. Neve Bradbury (Aus) Canyon//SRAM.

Tour of Scandinavia Overall After Stage 5:
1. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope in 16:48:30
2. Liane Lippert (Ger) DSM at 0:17
3. Alexandra Manly (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:44
4. Julie Van de Velde (Bel) Plantur-Pura at 0:55
5. Tamara Dronova-Balabolina (-) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad at 1:00
6. Neve Bradbury (Aus) Canyon//SRAM
7. Katrine Aalerud (Nor) Movistar
8. Anouska Koster (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:06
9. Esmée Peperkamp (Ned) DSM
10. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 1:08.

 

The Final Stage 6 of the Tour of Scandinavia was won by Marianne Vos. The Dutch rider, who won three times already in this tour, was the fastest in a bunch sprint, after her teammate Anouska Koster was caught near the finish. Shari Bossuyt was second. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig beat off an attack by Liane Lippert to take home the overall victory.

The final day from Lillestrøm to Haldena, over 153 kilometres, look perfect for the sprinters. The course was fairly flat, although there were the climbs of Fetsund (1.1km at 3%) and Ørje (1.1km at 4%). The final would take place on a technical and difficult finishing circuit of about 5 kilometres, thee times, in the port of Halden.

After the departure from Lillestrøm, there were break attempts. It took until after the first climb before five riders finally escaped: Sylvie Swinkels (Coop-Hitec Products), Maud Rijnbeek (AG Insurance-NXTG), Femke Markus (Parkhotel Valkenburg), Eluned King (Le Col-Wahoo) and Katia Ragusa (Liv Racing Xstra). The escapees’ lead was up to 5 minutes. With 80 kilometres to go the peloton accelerated, reducing the gap to 3 minutes. Ten kilometres later there was only a little more than 2 minutes left of the original lead. This was due to the riders of FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope, who were working for leader Uttrup Ludwig. The five out front were no threat to Uttrup Ludwig at this point, Rijnbeek was more than 6 minutes behind and the best placed up front, the difference stayed stable for a long time. It kept fluctuating around 2 minutes. Jumbo-Visma, which had the big favourite for the stage victory with Marianne Vos, decided to take over the lead. With 40 kilometres to go, the leaders had about 1 minute. Ragusa had dropped back to the peloton.

With 20 kilometres to go, just before the start of the circuit, the last escapees were caught. Not long after, some skirmishes broke out. Mischa Bredewold (Parkhotel Valkenburg) and Jeanne Korevaar (Liv Racing Xstra) attacked. The latter created a nice gap, she had over 15 seconds at one point, and started the final lap solo. Staying away turned out to be an impossibility. There were several counter-attacks, of which Anousha Koster’s looked promising. The Jumbo-Visma rider went past Korevaar. The Frisian continued solo, while behind her the battle for the overall erupted. Liane Lippert, second overall, attacked Uttrup Ludwig’s yellow. The Danish rider was initially too far back, but managed to get back to her competitor with a strong jump. Koster was still leading. Several riders tried to make the crossing, but the Jumbo-Visma rider held out strongly. In the last kilometre, the peloton came very close. With about 100 metres to go, the sprinting bunch, with Marianne Vos at the front, passed her. Vos held off her competitors to take her fourth victory in the Tour of Scandinavia. Uttrup Ludwig was the final overall winner.

Stage winner, Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma): “It is difficult to determine when to start the sprint. I tried to position myself well. Because Anouska was ahead, the rest had to go full speed, an ideal situation for me. We developed a lot of speed. The others knew we would pass them and that they would have to sprint. That’s beyond our expectations. We wanted to win the mountain jersey here. We immediately succeeded in winning a stage, so that was very nice. Then we won three more stages. We could have never imagined that. Our way of racing was an excellent experience. We constantly motivated each other to give our all and fought with everything we got every day. The spirit was good. We learned something every day.”

3rd overall and 8th on the stage, Alex Manly (BikeExchange-Jayco): “It’s been a very good week in Scandinavia, to come home with third on the GC with this team is really, really special. I think we’ve bonded really well this week and it’s been a great team effort from everybody, there’s no way it would have happened without people learning from each day and committing to the plan every single day. We’re super happy, the staff and everyone, it’s been great!”

Tour of Scandinavia Stage 6 Result:
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 4:01:25
2. Shari Bossuyt (Bel) Canyon//SRAM
3. Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Movistar
4. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
5. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
6. Nina Kessler (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco
7. Tamara Dronova-Balabolina (-) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad
8. Alexandra Manly (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
9. Anouska Koster (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
10. Gladys Verhulst (Fra) Le Col-Wahoo.

Tour of Scandinavia Final Overall Result:
1. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope in 20:49:50
2. Liane Lippert (Ger) DSM at 0:17
3. Alexandra Manly (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:44
4. Tamara Dronova-Balabolina (-) Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad at 1:00
5. Neve Bradbury (Aus) Canyon//SRAM
6. Julie Van de Velde (Bel) Plantur-Pura at 1:03
7. Anouska Koster (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:06
8. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 1:08
9. Katrine Aalerud (Nor) Movistar
10. Erica Magnaldi (Ita) UAE Team ADQ at 1:09.

 


UAE Team Emirates Name Squad for La Vuelta España
Emirati team head for third Grand Tour of the season

UAE Team Emirates have named 8 riders for the final Grand Tour of the year – La Vuelta España. The race will depart from Utrecht, in the Netherlands on 19th August before making its way South to the Spanish mainland and ending in Madrid on the 11 September over a course distance of 3,280km.

The team goes into the race with a dynamic squad who will aim to be protagonists across multiple terrains, with Joao Almeida capable of a strong showing in the GC and Pascal Ackermann leading the line in the sprints. The race will also see the Grand Tour debut of 19 year old Spanish talent Juan Ayuso who will be the youngest rider in the race. Team Manager Matxin Fernandez (Spa) along with Sports Directors Andrej Hauptman (Slo) and Manuele Mori (Ita) will lead the following 8 riders :

La Vuelta ciclista a España [2.UWT] – 19-Aug-2022 / 11-Sep-2022
Pascal Ackermann (Ger)
Joao Almeida (Por)
Juan Ayuso (Spa)
Brandon McNulty (USA)
Sebastian Molano (Col)
Ivo Oliveira (Por)
Jan Polanc (Slo)
Marc Soler (Spa)

Almeida: “It’s my first Vuelta and I’m really excited to get started. The past few months have not been straightforward and my condition has not been 100% .At Vuelta Burgos it finished on a high-note and it was a good boost for the confidence to take the win on the last day. I felt like I rode myself into that race. I’m feeling good again on the bike and with a strong team I think we can do some really nice things at this race. It’s hard to say what to expect but I think the objectives can become clearer as the race goes on. It will be a long road from Utrecht to Madrid but I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

 


La Vuelta (August 19 – September 11)
Julien Jurdie: “A group of hyper competitive riders”
“We come to the start of the Vuelta 2022 with a group of hyper competitive riders and with high ambitions. The AG2R CITROËN TEAM will revolve around Ben O’Connor for the general classification. And like every year, our team will strive to shine by chasing stage victories. The riders will have to be animators in the race and slip into the breakaways in order to clinch a victory.”

Julien Jurdie, sporting director of the AG2R CITROËN TEAM, presents the eight riders who make up the squad for the start of the Vuelta 2022:

Clément Champoussin
24 years old / 1 professional victory
3rd participation
Best result: Stage victory (2021)

“Clément will be at the start of his third Vuelta. We all remember his victory last year, the stage before the finish. Clément will be at the start with a lot of desire and a goal to be an animator to aim for a stage victory again by slipping into a breakaway. He will also be an important element in the plan around Ben O’Connor with his strengths as a climber.”

Dorian Godon
26 years old / 5 professional victories
3rd participation
Best result: 3rd in a stage (2019)

“Dorian will come to this Vuelta with great motivation. Initially he planned on racing the Tour de France, so this Grand Tour is making up for that. He arrives with a lot of freshness and determination. Dorian has a hybrid racer profile, with a high burst of speed but also the ability to get through mountain stages very well. It will be very important for him also to help protect our leader during the flat stages. His burst of speed will allow him to hope to win a stage.”

Jaakko Hänninen
25 years old
1st participation

“Jaakko will start his second Grand Tour this season after the Giro d’Italia. His climbing abilities will be very important for this Vuelta which again this year offers a dense route with a lot of elevation gain. Jaakko knows how to sacrifice his personal ambitions for a leader and that ability to do the job for Ben O’Connor. He will also have the opportunity to slip into a breakaway and play his personal card.”

Bob Jungels
29 years old / 25 professional victories
3rd participation
Best result: 2nd on a stage (2017)

“Bob has recovered well from his Tour de France where he had a very good performance (a stage victory and 12th place in the general classification). He will take on a teammate role alongside Ben O’Connor, although he will keep a keen eye for slipping into a breakaway and vying for a stage victory. He will be very important for the team with his qualities as a rider and will especially play a key role for the opening team time trial in the Netherlands.”

Ben O’Connor
26 years old / 7 professional victories
2nd participation
Best result: 6th on a stage (2019)

“Ben will be our leader for this Vuelta, which he always planned to ride. He left the Tour de France disappointed following his abandonment, so we will wait to see how he is feeling during the first stages to decide on a more precise objective. His physical condition is good, he has prepared well. He comes to shine on the Spanish roads and to be among the best riders. Ben has the ability to excel in the general classification.”

Nans Peters
28 years old / 2 professional victories
3rd participation
Best result: 4th on a stage (2020)

“Nans nurtures the personal goal of joining the select circle of riders who have won a stage in all three of the Grand Tours. He has already won on the roads of the Giro d’Italia (2019) and at the Tour de France (2020), so a stage victory in Spain is clearly an objective. Nans is deeply rooted in our team. Having gone through our training course, he definitely shares the values of the AG2R CITROËN TEAM. He will be our road captain; he will be a point man for the group around Ben O’Connor.”

Nicolas Prodhomme
25 years old
2nd participation
Best result: 9th on a stage (2021)

“Nicolas is getting ready to start his second Grand Tour of the season after a good Giro d’Italia. He has prepared very well for this goal. He will be an animator of the race and aims to shine personally by slipping into a breakaway. His climbing strength will be invaluable for the team goals, and we will need him on these roads that he knows well so that he can help his leader.”

Andrea Vendrame
28 years old / 4 professional victories
1st participation

“Andrea is going to race the Vuelta for the first time. It is very important to have a rider on the team who can sprint. There are many difficult stages during this 2022 edition, which will see a small group of riders who will vie for victory at the line. Andrea will have a good card to play thanks to his quick finish, and he can aim to shine on these types of days, and win a stage victory.”

The number: 2
Two riders from the AG2R CITROËN TEAM will be racing the Vuelta for the first time.
Andrea Vendrame has already started five Giro d’Italia and has won a stage victory in 2021.
For Jaakko Hänninen, this will be his third Grand Tour, after two Giro d’Italia.

The news: O’Connor, Jungels and Peters go for 3
Ben O’Connor, Bob Jungels and Nans Peters have all won a stage victory in the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France. Now they all have the opportunity to enter the elite circle of stage winners in all three of the Grand Tours during this 77th edition of La Vuelta.

 


Team BikeExchange-Jayco Attack La Vuelta with a Double-Edge Sword with Former Winner Yates & Sprinter Groves
Team BikeExchange-Jayco has named its eight-rider squad for the 2022 Vuelta a España today, headlined by 2018 champion Simon Yates, with ambitions of taking a second overall victory in the three-week Spanish Grand Tour, which starts on Friday, 19th August in Utrecht, Netherlands.

The predominantly Australian team line-up will have the main goal of supporting Yates on his quest for a high general classification placing, with Kaden Groves making his Grand Tour debut and complimenting the team, to give a secondary option to challenge for sprint stage victories.

Team BikeExchange-Jayco Line-up:
Lawson Craddock (USA) – 5th appearance
Luke Durbridge (AUS) – Debut appearance
Kaden Groves (AUS) – Debut appearance
Lucas Hamilton (AUS) – 2nd appearance
Michael Hepburn (AUS) – Debut appearance
Kelland O’Brien (AUS) – Debut appearance
Callum Scotson (AUS) – 2nd appearance
Simon Yates (GBR) – 4th appearance

Well-Rounded Squad
For the high mountains, Australian climber Lucas Hamilton will be there to support Yates alongside a strong and experienced ‘engine room,’ consisting of American Time Trial champion Lawson Craddock, plus Australian powerhouse Callum Scotson and La Vuelta debutants Michael Hepburn and Luke Durbridge. In a cross-over role, track specialist Kelland O’Brien will form part of the engine room whilst also playing a key part in the sprint finishes, to support fast-man Groves.

A Mixed Bag
Beginning with a team time trial, the first WorldTour TTT of the 2022 season, ambitions are high with a stage victory the team’s goal. The race then enjoys two more flat and potential sprint stages in the Netherlands, before transferring to northern Spain ready for more flatter stages, before a trio of summit finishes on stages 6, 8 and 9. An important and testing individual time trial then comes after the first rest day when the peloton heads to the south of Spain, ahead of four more hard summit finishes, with sprint stages sprinkled throughout the route towards the traditional final stage in Madrid.

Brent Copeland – General Manager: “We head to the third and final Grand Tour of the season with high motivation after enjoying a successful season so far with stage wins in both the Giro and the Tour de France. For the Vuelta we have a fairly young team with some riders making their Grand Tour debuts and it is exciting for us as an organisation to see what they can do. With great options to challenge for stage wins in the climbs and on the flat, we believe we have put together a really strong team that is very diverse and can achieve a lot in this Spanish Tour.”

Gene Bates – Sport Director: “Our goals are pretty straightforward; we have a double approach in going for stage wins with sprinter Kaden Groves and stage wins and a strong overall showing with Simon Yates. It will be Kaden’s first Grand Tour, he is fast and, on his day, when he is in top form he is fast enough to win, so we have high expectations for him. With Simon, we know what he is capable of, he has won the Vuelta before so we are going in looking for the best overall, we can. The horsepower we have in the team is enormous, so we will try to hit the ground running in the TTT and get the momentum going straight away. There is a lot of climbing in this edition, the individual time trial stage is a lengthy one so that will be important for the overall. It isn’t like the Giro or the Tour where you have real key climbs with the Alps then the Pyrenees, there’s sort of rogue stages in there that could turn the race on its head if you get caught out. The stage to Sierra Nevada will be a key stage but also stages in Asturias will be particularly difficult but make for some great and entertaining racing.”

Simon Yates – 2018 La Vuelta Champion: “I’m looking forward to the Vuelta this year, of course I have great memories from the race after the win in 2018, so it is always special to return. It is going to be a really hard edition and starting with a TTT, but we have a really strong team and I think we can get the tour off to a good start with this stage in particular and in general with the strength in the team line-up that we have. After the Giro I had time to recover and re-build and it was good to start back racing again in Castilla y Leon and San Sebastian, so I am feeling ready for the Vuelta now. There’s a lot of climbing, especially in northern Spain and in general, it looks like a really hard and challenging course. We are going there to win, the team has had a great season so far, so the morale is high, and we are all motivated to finish the season off well with this last Grand Tour.”

 


Laurens De Plus Hit by Car While Training
Laurens De Plus was hit by a car during a training ride. The Belgian INEOS Grenadiers rider spoke of his ‘accident’ on social media. “Please be careful with the vulnerable road user.”

“Thank you to the driver for hiting me from behind. Fortunately with a better outcome than my colleagues last week. Please be careful with the vulnerable road user,” De Plus said on Twitter. The Belgian also added a photo showing abrasions to his arm and leg. His bike was also damaged.

Four years ago, De Plus was training in South Africa with Petr Vakoc when they were hit by a truck. Broken pelvis, a bruised lung and bruised kidneys was the outcome. Vakoc was in worse shape with multiple broken vertebrae. Unfortunately, recently many cyclists are hit during training. Recently Tiesj Benoot was hit by a car in Italy, leaving him with a small fracture in the neck and a concussion.

Another training crash:

 


Dygert Undergoes Third Operation on Thigh
Chloe Dygert has gone under the knife again. The American was operated on the front of her thigh at the Maxima Medical Center (MMC) in Veldhoven. As a result of an earlier operation, immediately after her serious crash at the World time trial championships in 2020, scar tissue had formed, which caused new problems.

On social media, Dygert, the 2019 World time trial champion, explained why she had to have surgery again. “During my accident in 2020, eighty percent of my quadriceps (the muscle group at the front of the thigh) was completely severed, and the iliotibial band (the tendon plate that runs from the pelvis to the outside of the knee) partially torn. In the healing process after the surgery there was a large amount of scar tissue that left me in a constant state of pain, on and off the bike.”

A second procedure, intended to remove the resulting scar tissue, failed in 2021. “After I participated in the Olympic Games in Tokyo (where she finished 7th in the time trial) I had surgery for the second time on the tissue, because the pain was unbearable. It was unsuccessful. I almost had another surgery scheduled for January, but because it would be a long recovery process and I knew I wouldn’t do any additional damage, I wanted to finish this season.”

However, the season did not go as planned for Dygert. “After a month I got mononucleosis, after which I spent the entire spring recovering from it, hoping to finish the season. Recent blood tests have shown that I am still battling this virus. So the decision was made to end my season and do the surgery as soon as possible. That way I can start 2023, without pain in my leg!”

The scar tissue, which limited the muscle’s movement and normal function, has since been removed, said Dygert. This season, the American rode only one UCI race on the road. The 25-year-old Canyon//SRAM rider finished 26th in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Chloe Dygert crashed out in the 2020 Worlds TT:

 


Tom Dumoulin Misses his Own Farewell Party Due to Illness
Tom Dumoulin, who will retire as a professional cyclist at the end of this season, has already ridden his last race in his own country. The former Giro winner should have been seen in action one more time in the Netherlands in the Profronde Etten-Leur on Sunday, but had to cancel due to illness.

Dumoulin had deliberately chosen the Etten-Leur criterium to celebrate his farewell party with the Dutch public, wrote BN De Stem, but not now. It is not yet known whether changes will be made in the rest of Dumoulin’s program. For the time being, he is still on the start list of the Tour of Denmark, which starts on Tuesday.

Despite Dumoulin not riding, the organisers of the Profronde van Etten-Leur still had a strong field: Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard, plus Wout van Aert, Jasper Philipsen, Vincenzo Nibali, Bauke Mollema and Wilco Kelderman.

No Dutch farewell for Tom Dumoulin:

 


Statement on Michele Gazzoli
Astana Qazaqstan Team received an official notification from the UCI regarding a 1-year period of ineligibility imposed on the rider Michele Gazzoli as the consequences of the presence of a Prohibited Substance Tuaminoheptane in the rider’s A Sample collected during an in-competition doping control on February 17th at the Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta.

As part of this case, Astana Qazaqstan Team received from Michele Gazzoli a full explanation on how the above-named substance entered his body. These explanations have also been presented and thoroughly reviewed by the UCI.

The UCI considered the explanations provided by Michele Gazzoli, namely the fact that the above-named substance entered the body unintentionally from the ingestion of a medication named Rhinofluimucil (a nasal spray for the treatment of rhinitis), purchased at a pharmacy independently without any implication of the medical staff of Astana Qazaqstan Team. The UCI decided this case was classified as an unintentional violation of anti-doping rule, which is why the disciplinary penalty was limited to one year of ineligibility and disqualification of the results of one race Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta only.

Astana Qazaqstan Team categorically emphasises that the team has nothing to do with this unfortunate violation of anti-doping rule by the rider Michele Gazzoli.

Astana Qazaqstan Team, adhering to the zero tolerance policy, decided to immediately terminate the contract with Michele Gazzoli.

One year ban for Michele Gazzoli:

 


Soudal – Quick-Step Development Team to Launch from 2023
Bart Roosens and Philippe Soenens Team Elevate powered by Home Solution-Soenens to join the Wolfpack

The new team will join the Wolfpack from 1st January 2023 and will be known as Soudal – Quick-Step Devo Team. The task of all involved is to identify young cycling talent and bring them into a structure that will allow them to develop and flourish, with the aim of providing a sustainable stream of cycling talents to feed into the World Tour Team.

By joining the squad, the young riders will be exposed to what it is like working in a team infrastructure and environment similar to that of the World Tour team early in their careers, and experience the Wolfpack spirit and family feeling, and therefore better preparing them for when it is time to move up to the senior ranks.

The Belgian based Elevate p/b Home Solution-Soenens current team manager, Bart Roosens, will remain at the head of the project, with Kevin Hulsmans, a former member of the Quick-Step Team, also remaining the team’s sports director. Team Elevate will integrate into the Wolfpack’s structure, with logistics and expertise being shared, all with the aim of giving the best young cycling talents a platform to grow and shine.

Speaking of the new partnership, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl CEO Patrick Lefevere said: “We are delighted to welcome Bart into the Wolfpack. This is a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved to do something special and give an opportunity to identify the best young cycling talent around and give them a chance to grow into valuable members of our World Tour team. We had a fantastic experience previously with the Klein Constantia team, which brought through a wealth of talent, including the current World Champion Julian Alaphilippe, Rémi Cavagna, Florian Sénéchal, Enric Mas, Max Schachmann… the list goes on. I would like and hope that we can build something similar again, and I am sure everyone will get behind and give their full support to this important new venture.”

Adding to this, Bart Roosens said: “I am very honoured to have the opportunity to work with the new team. I have been a fan of the Wolfpack in its different incarnations, for many years. I am also a big admirer of Patrick, the way he works and what he has built – I have a lot of respect for him. I think Patrick has seen the work we already do and knows that we have the infrastructure and culture that can help these riders become valuable members of the full men’s team. The goals of the new team will be to identify, develop and deliver young cyclists that are good enough to ride and compete at a World Tour level. I would like the first rider to be with them in two years, however, this is a project, and we want to do it in the correct way for both the team and the riders, so this may take some time.”

 


Bahrain Victorious Signs Cameron Scott, Rainer Kepplinger and Fran Miholjevič
Bahrain Victorious is delighted to announce the signings of promising youngsters Cameron Scott, Rainer Kepplinger and Fran Miholjević for the upcoming 2023 season.

The Croatian 20-year-old Fran Miholjević is already joining the team as a stagiaire this season. Bahrain Victorious worked closely with Fran in the past season as a rider of the Cycling Team Friuli ASD, which Bahrain Victorious works in collaboration with to develop and scout young talented riders. Fran took brilliant results recently, like the solo stage win at the Giro di Sicilia against several WorldTour professionals. The young Miholjević also excelled as a TT specialist: he recently won the Silver medal at the European Continental Championships U23 and the Gold medal at the Elite National Championships in Croatia.

Fran is looking forward to his step up to the WorldTour: “It is a dream and a pleasure to sign with this Bahrain Victorious. I know the team well as they support my previous squad, the CTF. From the training camps, I did with Bahrain Victorious, I have seen the attention to detail when it comes to performance, so I do not doubt that I will be able to develop and improve in the best way possible. I look forward to this new chapter and will give my all to leave a mark”.

Bahrain Victorious will count on the talented 24-year-old Australian sprinter Cameron Scott from January 1st 2023.

Matt Wilson, CEO of Scott’s actual team, Australian Cycling Academy Ltd, comments: “It is with tremendous pride that we make this announcement today that Cameron will join one of the top World Tour teams in Bahrain Victorious for the next two years. Cameron has been with the Australian Cycling Academy since its inception in 2018. His development and professionalism are a testament to himself and to the work of our dedicated and passionate staff. Cameron has had many setbacks over the years, but despite that, he has shown character and belief to overcome them and is now set to show what he can do on the world’s biggest stage.”

Cameron has in his Palmares as top results in 2018 a stage victory at Tour of Qinghai Lake, the U23 National criterium title, a stage at the Tour of NZ, and several NRS races. Recently he won the one-day race Memorial Philippe Van Coningsloo. He also had a track sprinting background, with multiple appearances with the Australian National Team. In the Teams Pursuit, he won the UCI World Championships in 2019.

Cameron comments on the signing: “I’m very happy and excited to join the WorldTour with team Bahrain Victorious for the 2023/24 seasons. Racing in the world tour has been a lifelong goal for me, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to achieve this with such a great team.”

The other promising young rider who will debut in the WorldTour with Bahrain Victorious in 2023 is Rainer Kepplinger.

The 24-year-old Austrian rider joined the cycling world only about a year ago after excelling at rowing, becoming a member of the Hrinkow Advarics Cycleang team. They discovered his talent at an eCycling event, which he won on his first attempt. This year he impressively took the Silver medal at the ITT National Championships and won the Overall at the Raiffeisen Oberösterreich Rundfahrt.

Rainer Kepplinger is enthusiastic about this opportunity of joining Bahrain Victorious: “I am really looking forward to meeting my new teammates, and I am already motivated for the upcoming challenges. I hope that I can develop well, and we can achieve good results together”.

 


UAE Team Emirates Continue to Strengthen with Novak Signing
Slovenian rider joins on 2-year contract

UAE Team Emirates continue to strengthen their squad for the future with the signing of Domen Novak who will join the team starting from 2023.

The 27-year old from Dolenja vas is the latest rider to commit his future to the team alongside Tim Wellens and Felix Grosschartner who have already been confirmed to join the Emirati squad.

Novak is a former Slovenian road race champions and stood alongside his compatriot Tadej Pogačar and Rafal Majka this year on the final podium of the Tour of Slovenia, underlining his climbing pedigree.

Novak: “It has been my dream to ride for UAE Team Emirates alongside a champion like Tadej Pogačar and so many other good riders. Now the dream has come true, I’m honoured and grateful for the trust they have shown me and I’m eager to begin the journey.”

Mauro Gianetti (Team Principal & CEO): “Novak is a rider who has shown good progression in his years as a professional and we feel he can provide good qualities to the team, especially in the mountains. He has many years under his belt at World Tour level and we believe he has a lot to offer our team in the years ahead.”

 


Boven, Ryan and Van Bekkum Extend with Jumbo-Visma Development Team
Lars Boven, Archie Ryan and Darren van Bekkum will also be part of the Jumbo-Visma Development Team next year. The three riders extend their contract for another year.

Thanks to his contract extension, Boven is completing his U23 period with the Team Jumbo-Visma development team. “I have made great strides in the past three years. The guidance is top notch which has helped me a lot, especially in the past year and a half. Riding in a mixed team with professional cyclists has also made me stronger. I hope to continue this upward trend into next year. I am confident I can do that in this team.”

Ryan is also going for his fourth year in yellow-black service. “I am happy to extend my contract with this team. I feel at home here. For me and my development, this team is the best place at the moment. I’ve had some injuries, but since I’m fit again, I am taking steps and developing myself. I look forward to continuing that.”

Second-year U23 rider Van Bekkum also wants to continue to develop in the coming season. “Since I joined the team two years ago, I have learned much about nutrition, training and race tactics. The team helps me to become a cyclist and that’s great. I’m happy to stay with the team for another year because there are always things to learn. Here I can do that; I am thrilled to have the team’s confidence.”

Head of Development Robbert de Groot is happy to be able to supervise the trio longer. “These guys are still making progress, all at their own pace. We give them the time to develop calmly, which is going very well. We look forward to working with these riders longer.”

Rick Pluimers and Owen Geleijn will leave the team at the end of the season and will not be part of the Jumbo-Visma Development Team selection next year.

“For Rick and Owen, their cycling career is going in a different direction than further development at Team Jumbo-Visma. Both riders have been instrumental in the team’s growth and have also developed on a personal level. We are proud to have had these men on our team and proud that we contributed to their development. We are sure they will be successful outside our squad and we thank Rick and Owen for their commitment and contribution. Together we will end the season well”, De Groot says.

 


Mavi García Signs Two-Year Contract at Liv Racing Xstra
Mavi García will join Liv Racing Xstra on January 1st. With the arrival of the Spanish road and time trial champion, the Dutch UCI Women’s WorldTeam welcomes one of the peloton’s strongest GC riders. Mavi García has signed a two-year contract.

“When I sat down with Giorgia Bronzini and team manager Eric van den Boom, it immediately felt very good and comfortable. Those conversations gave me confidence. I am convinced that together we can create something beautiful and that there is room to grow. In the meantime, I have been working at the highest level for many years. In this phase I need tranquility, understanding and professionalism. Liv Racing Xstra can offer me a lot in all these areas. All decisions I have made in my career have been well-considered and have always brought positive change. It will be no different with this move”, said Mavi García.

“Liv Racing Xstra is a stable team with a rich history in cycling. Looking at the riders, I see a lot of potential, in all areas. For next year I think it is most important that we operate as a team. That we are one tight unit and fight in the races that are important. In addition, I want to experience the pleasure. That is where success begins.”

With the arrival of the Spanish top rider, Liv Racing Xstra has the desired GC rider. That position was vacant for the moment. Team manager and owner Eric van den Boom: “We wanted to reinforce ourselves with a strong rider who is able to achieve success in stage races as well as in tough one day races. Mavi García fits that profile perfectly. She also brings the necessary experience that our talented youngsters can really use. We can’t wait to get started on this cooperation and look forward to seeing where it takes us.”

Mavi García to Liv Racing Xstra:

 


BikeExchange-Jayco Women Sign Norwegian Rider Ingvild Gåskjenn
Team BikeExchange-Jayco is pleased to announce the signing of Norwegian rider Ingvild Gåskjenn for the next two seasons.

The Australian outfit welcomes the 24-year-old and her diverse skillset, with Gåskjenn adding to the team’s strength and depth, as it looks to continue to feature in the wide range of races across the WorldTour calendar, embarking on its 12th year in the women’s professional peloton.

Having ridden on a Norwegian team, Hitec Products, for the past six-seasons, Team BikeExchange-Jayco believe a fresh new challenge will see Gåskjenn step up another level, learning from her new international teammates but also bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and experience, despite her young age.

Gåskjenn has ridden in the biggest Women’s WorldTour races across the calendar and has shown great potential on the climbs with a fighter’s mentality and great ability to suffer. The Australian outfit hope the 24-year-old will develop further and be key contributor to the team’s success, as the squad continues to grow in the coming years.

Brent Copeland – General Manager: “We are pleased to welcome Ingvild onto the team in 2023, she is a rider that our women’s team has been looking at over the past seasons and we believe she will fit in very well and strengthen our team further. She is still very young, and we believe she has a lot of potential. We hope we can provide Ingvild with the right environment and resources she needs to grow, to reach her true potential and also become a part of the team’s success in the future. It is exciting for us to bring on fresh new talent as we continue to grow as an organisation, with high ambitions for the future.”

Ingvild Gåskjenn: “I am really happy to be able to join such a great team for the next two years. GreenEDGE Cycling has always been one of the best teams in Women’s WorldTour and this makes me really proud. I feel ready to take the next step in my career, and I feel like Team BikeExchange-Jayco is a great place to continue my development. I’m really looking forward for the next couple years in order to contribute to the team and my continuous growth.”

Ingvild Gåskjenn
Date of Birth: 1st July 1998 (24)
Nationality: Norwegian
New Contract: 2023 & 2024

Top Results:
4th Thuringen Ladies Tour (2022)
2x 5th Thuringen Ladies Tour (2022)
6th Tour of Swiss stage (2022)
6th U23 European Championships (2019)
7th Women’s Tour Stage (2022)
9th Women’s Tour Stage (2022)
11th Women’s Tour Overall (2022).

 


Team DSM strengthen their Women’s program with three more talented additions
Team DSM are excited to reveal the latest additions to their Women’s program for 2023 as Eleonora Ciabocco, Maeve Plouffe and Eglantine Rayer all sign with the team through the 2024 season.

Eleonora Ciabocco (ITA)
Hailing from Italy, Ciabocco had a short but successful opening season in the junior ranks in 2021, competing in a handful of national and international races alongside some regional junior Italian races. Out of the five international races she competed in she finished in the top ten of all of them: starting off with fifth at Trofeo Binda Juniors, third in the Italian time trial, second in the European road race and ninth at the World Championship road race. Her crowning glory was a brilliant late attack to claim the Italian race win, a title she would go on to expertly defend recently in 2022 with another brilliant ride. Alongside wearing the tricolour for another year, her season so far has included some more symmetry, with another second in the European road race and third in the Italian time trial, highlighting her strong ability on the bike.

Ciabocco said: “Team DSM are a very professional and organised team and this attracted me to them. You can see this on social media but thanks to their Talent Days, I was able to experience it in person and it convinced me even more. Being part of such a great team excites me a lot and I’m looking forward to riding with everyone. In the juniors I see myself as quite a complete rider who can climb well but also defend themselves in a sprint. In the short term my goal is certainly to gain experience, learning both from my teammates and the staff. I hope to be of help to my teammates, even in the crucial stages of the races and in the long term I hope to be the best I can with the team and take some nice results.”

Team DSM head coach Rudi Kemna expressed: “In the junior ranks Eleonora has shown herself to be quite a complete rider; she can climb well but also packs a good punch too. She’s taken back-to-back Italian road race titles which is really impressive, as that is normally one of the toughest races at that level. Furthermore, Eleonora has a really good mindset for a cyclist; always wanting to improve, but she’s also able to read a race well and play the game of cycling well, which is impressive for someone so young. We’re looking forward to working with her.”

Maeve Plouffe (AUS)
Born in Adelaide in Australia, Plouffe has spent most of her career so far on the boards, competing against the very best in the world of track cycling. Plouffe’s power and speed has helped her to become a seven times Australia champion in the madison, team pursuit, omnium, and road time trial, which she has followed up in 2022 with victory in the individual pursuit at the track world cup in Milton – setting a very impressive time. Tasting success not just on the track, Plouffe has impressed on the road too with the aforementioned time trial win as a junior in 2017. This season has saw her show her sprinting prowess with stage wins at the Santos Festival of Cycling and Tour of Gippsland, before she won the Warrnambool Cycling Classic race in New Zealand. Returning to Belgium for a stint of racing after her track success, she powered to a win and has picked up three further top tens in races too.

Plouffe said: “I’m absolutely ecstatic to be joining Team DSM for 2023. Pursuing a career on the road has long been an ambition of mine, and I can think of no better team to develop with than Team DSM. After seeing some success over the last few years on the track, I’m eager to apply myself to the new challenge of racing on the road. I’ve always admired their Women’s program as the most dialled sprint lead out train in the women’s WorldTour. As a budding lead out rider and sprinter, the opportunity to be a part of this lead out therefore feels like a natural fit for my background and is definitely a career-defining opportunity. I’m feeling incredibly motivated and I can’t wait to put in the work over the Australian summer so that I’m ready to race in my new colours in 2023.”

Team DSM head coach Rudi Kemna continued: “Maeve is an amazing talent on the track, where she has proven that already by taking medals in various events at different championships and nations cups and is one of the fastest in the world in the individual pursuit. On the road she’s shown her speed too with a sprint win this year at the Tour Down Under event and we see that in her values she has potential to grow even further. As she’s mostly been a ‘trackie’ we want to help her transition onto the road in the coming years, help her gain more experience and nurture her talents. In our talks she also showed a great mindset and is someone that wants to continually challenge herself and progress as a person and rider.”

Eglantine Rayer (FRA)
Diminutive in stature but not in nature, young Frenchwoman Rayer has impressed many in her two years in the junior ranks. Bursting onto the scene, she claimed a well-earned third place in her opening race at Trofeo Binda before going on to complete the double at the French national championships, winning both the time trial and road race. Rounding out her season, which she only ever finished outside the top ten in a stage or race once, she claimed a fine bronze medal at the European road race. The start of her 2022 campaign saw more solid results but she really kicked up the level with a stage win, the GC and mountain classification title at Tour du Gévaudan Occitanie; before second in the European time trial and an incredible win at the same championships road race. Arguably however, her best performance might be the second place at Alpes Gresivaudan Classic where she came second in a mountain-top sprint finish against a field of strong elite riders; hinting at her potential future climbing ability. While just today, Rayer delivered another strong performance against the clock to claim back-to-back French time trial titles.

Rayer explained: “Team DSM have followed me since my junior years, which I think has created a bond of trust between us. I can’t wait to turn professional and take part in my first WorldTour races and give it my all for the team in their jersey. I love the atmosphere within the team, and I can’t wait to meet everyone properly. By joining Team DSM, I hope to be able to achieve and experience the greatest emotions in sport.”

Team DSM head coach Rudi Kemna added: “We’ve been in contact with Eglantine for a while and she has really impressed us with her attitude on and off the bike; she has a big and friendly personality. She has been a double French champion on the road and time trial, and this year took the European road race too. Her characteristics suit the longer ascents, but in the junior ranks she has been explosive and shown good ability against the clock too – so we will look to keep her development as broad as possible in the immediate future; allowing her to grow and find her feet as she makes the step up.”

Maeve Plouffe to join DSM:

 


“This Team Gives Me a Chance to Learn From The Very Best”
Having signed a two-year contract with Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, Casper Pedersen is looking forward to starting his spell with the most successful team of the last decade.

“I have always looked at Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl and had a little dream inside of me to wear that jersey, so I am quite excited for the coming years.

They are a team with a long history of successful results, and you can see the way that the team rides on the road that there is a togetherness. They dictate races in a way that few other teams can and it’s a signal that there is a great atmosphere, and everyone is prepared to work for each other, and it is something that I want to be a part of.

I hope the structure and the environment can help me develop as a rider. I want to be involved in the action at the end of races, especially in a lead-out role. This team will give me a chance to learn from the very best, especially from Michael (Mørkøv), and being able to be part of some successful sprints with the team.

Even without my fellow countrymen there, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl would be a very interesting proposition, but of course to have three Danish riders already in the team makes it even more attractive. Having Michael there is especially good for me with regards to the sprints, but I also already know Kasper (Asgreen) and Mikkel (Honoré) and speak to them in the bunch. It is always nice when you have friends across many nationalities, but it is always nice to have a few countrymen. They have all told me that it is a great team to be with.

Like many kids do, I played football as a kid. Ever since I was young I watched the Tour, but I didn’t know that you could ‘do’ cycling and go to a club. One of my primary school classmates started riding with a club and I was really interested. I asked my parents if I could go and try it – first they were thinking twice as they knew I was likely to change my mind. But I could borrow a bike from the club, who had a system for renting a bike. I really enjoyed the training sessions, which was the first time I had properly experienced a hunger flat, because I had no clue how to eat! But I loved the freedom it gave me and the chance to burn off a lot of energy. One of the things that frustrated me about football was that it was within a structure where I could only train or play for a limited time, whereas I could go out on my bike when it suited me and gave me more freedom.

I don’t really follow football anymore, except for national competitions like the World Cup or European Championships – I feel like I get my sport fix from cycling nowadays! I find it hard to label what I do off the bike because I have lots of interests but I am not really into one thing – for example I like cars but I don’t buy or collect them. I am very social, so I enjoy spending time with my friends and I follow and study economics as it is something that I am interested in, so current world affairs are very interesting to me!

But my focus for now is finishing my current season well and then the next two seasons with Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl. I will sit down with the team management at some point and finalise which races I will take part in. There are a lot of nice races, and I hope I will ride a grand tour, but first we will need to talk about what is possible.”

Casper Pedersen to Quick-Step:

 


Dan Bigham to Take on the UCI Hour Record timed by Tissot in Switzerland
Dan Bigham is aiming to break the UCI Hour Record timed by Tissot on Friday 19 August as part of his continued work in pushing the boundaries in research and development for the INEOS Grenadiers.

Bigham, the INEOS Grenadiers’ performance engineer, will return to the scene of his 2021 successful attempt on the British record at the Tissot Velodrome in Grenchen, Switzerland.

Then Bigham set a new British record with a distance of 54.723 kilometres and this time he is aiming to overhaul Victor Campenaerts’ world mark: the Belgian rider’s UCI Hour Record timed by Tissot stands at 55.089km.

Bigham has played a key role in evolving and optimising the team’s time trial performance package across the 2022 season and will use the knowledge from this attempt to further boost the Grenadiers’ performance moving forwards.

The attempt will be streamed live on the INEOS Grenadiers’ YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Bigham said: “The UCI Hour Record timed by Tissot has been a massive thing in my life for the past few years, since I first attempted one as a student in 2014. I’m excited about the prospect of seeing what I can do against the clock again, with the support of the team behind me.

“Physically I’ve moved on since becoming a part of the INEOS Grenadiers. As much as my workload is high, it’s been nice to have everything I do consolidated within one place. It means I can be so much more organised in how and when I can train, while having the full support of the team – not just in allowing me to train, but enabling me to train efficiently. It’s been great to bounce ideas off so many fantastic people within the team and I’ve been welcomed with open arms.

“And having access to all of the team’s partners has been massive for me. The amount of support that Pinarello have put into this project by bringing a new, incredibly high-level bike to the table in such a short space of time is pretty astronomical. We’ve done a huge amount of skin suit testing with Bioracer over the past six months too. It’s been really impressive and I feel like I’m in a really good position on that front. Some of the ideas that we’ve implemented across the whole package have been left field but wholly adopted. It’s been such a progressive project to be involved in.

“We want to create a blueprint for future UCI Hour Record timed by Tissot attempts but it’s not just limited to track – every single week the team are competing in time trials on the road and there’s a huge amount of detail that we’ve gone into that will help improve our time trialling in many different respects. Whether that’s pacing strategies, thermal management or equipment development, it all ties in. There’s so much that we can bring forward to keep the team ahead on the road.”

INEOS Grenadiers Deputy Team Principal Rod Ellingworth said: “From the moment Dan joined the team we’ve been all in to support his attempts to break the UCI Hour Record timed by Tissot. His work both on and off the bike has been hugely beneficial to the team’s performance across 2022 and we’re excited to see how the lessons learned from this attempt can help us further push the boundaries of our performances.”

 


Maryland Cycling Classic Supported by UnitedHealthcare Announces Seven Brand Ambassadors
Nelson Vails, Rahsaan Bahati, Mari Holden, Bobby Julich, Fred Rodriguez, Jock Boyer and Adrien Niyonshuti Join Maryland Cycling Classic for Weekend of Events

The Maryland Cycling Classic supported by United Healthcare today announced a roster of seven world class athletes as brand and community ambassadors for its weekend of events taking place September 1-4, 2022.

Nelson Vails, an Olympic silver medalist in track cycling; Rahsaan Bahati, a former U.S. National Champion in criterium; Mari Holden, an Olympic silver medalist and former world-champion in time trial; Bobby Julich, a past podium finisher in the Tour de France; Fred Rodriguez, the only four-time U.S. Professional Champion in road racing; Jock Boyer, the first American to race in the Tour de France in 1981, and Adrien Niyonshuti, the first black African to race in cycling in the Olympics, were named as brand and community ambassadors.

The diverse group is made up of individuals with incredible stories. Vails, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., became the first African American to win a cycling medal in the Olympics, and was recently featured in The Cheetah Story, a documentary about his life.

Bahati is a native of Los Angeles and a former national champion who still actively races at an elite level. He is founder of Bahati Racing and Bahati Foundation, mentoring inner-city youth.

Holden is Asian-American and a native of California now living in Colorado Springs, Colo.; she won her medal at the Sydney Olympics and followed up later that year by winning the UCI World Championships in the individual time trial. She now works with the USA Cycling Foundation and helped launch their “Let’s Ride Program”.

“I’m looking forward to the return of international level racing in the U.S. at the Maryland Cycling Classic,” said Holden. “The combination of community engagement and professional racing will inspire everyone. Not only will there be racing, but there will also be fun events teaching bike safety to kids and advocacy. It’s going to be an incredible weekend.”

Julich, a native of Glenwood Springs, Colo. who now lives in Greenville, S.C., began his career with a bang, finishing fifth overall in the 1990 Tour de Trump as an amateur racing for the U.S. National Team. He went on to a storied career culminating with a third-place finish in the 1998 Tour de France. He is currently one-half of the popular “Bobby & Jens” podcast distributed by Outside, Inc.

Rodriquez has been one of the most prominent Latino-American professional cyclists, and one of only a handful of Americans to win a stage of the Giro d’Italia. He is also the only four-time U.S. Professional Champion in road racing, winning his last title in 2013. He is a native of Los Angeles and now lives in the Oakland area.

“As a four-time U.S Pro Road Race Champion, I specialise in one day races, and I jumped at the opportunity to be part of America’s top one-day pro cycling race. I hope to one day see it up there with events like the iconic Milan-San Remo,” said Rodriguez. “I’m looking forward to sharing this experience with the fans and it will be a blast to give them some insights of the ‘ins and outs’ of how a one-day race unfolds.”

Boyer was the first American to race the Tour de France in 1981, topping off at 12th overall in the 1983 race. He has gone on to start the first cycling program in a black African country, building it into a trans-continental “Africa Rising” program now with his wife, Kimberly Coats. They recently started a new program in Benin and the organisation has produced several world-class cyclists in various African countries. Boyer was also one of the main characters in the award-winning Rising from Ashes documentary.

Niyonshuti was made famous as the star of the Rising from Ashes documentary. He was a Rwandan who suffered loss of several family members during the country’s civil war. Under the coaching of Jock Boyer, he became the first black African to participate in the Olympics at the 2012 London Games. His rise to an elite level was chronicled to culminate at the Olympics. Niyonshuti currently coaches and provides leadership and mentoring for African cyclists, including those at an Academy in his native Rwanda.

The group of Maryland Cycling Classic ambassadors will be featured in various community functions throughout the weekend of activities, including the community Bike Jam at Patterson Park on Thursday, September 1, from 4:30 pm to 7 pm in Baltimore. Numerous members will also visit local schools that morning to educate children on bike and helmet safety on behalf of the race. Each ambassador will be featured with a hero card within the Youth Activity Booklet which will be handed out at both events.

Ambassadors will also be featured as guests of the Bridges of Hope of Ride on Saturday, September 3, which begins in Sparks, Md. at the Kelly Benefits headquarters and takes riders on parts of the route the pros will race the next day. The event benefits the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Fund. To register, go to marylandcyclingclassic.us.

Ambassadors will share their unique stories and perspectives during “Night with Champions”, a forum event on Saturday night, from 6 – 8 pm, which examines Ethnic Diversity in Cycling. Finally, on race day, the ambassadors can be found in and around the event and will engage with fans during autograph signings at the Expo area adjacent to the finish line.

“We are thrilled to welcome this incredible group of world class athletes to the inaugural Maryland Cycling Classic,” said John Kelly, Maryland Cycling Classic’s Event Chair and President of Kelly Benefits Strategies. “Fans will have the opportunity to meet and interact with our ambassadors throughout the weekend of events as they share their unique perspectives and experiences about the importance of increasing diversity in the sport of cycling.”

Host partners of the Maryland Cycling Classic supported by UnitedHealthcare include the City of Baltimore, Visit Baltimore, Baltimore County, and the State of Maryland. The event is sanctioned by the UCI and USA Cycling and is managed and marketed by Medalist Sports, LLC of Peachtree City, Ga., and KOM Sports Marketing of Colorado Springs, Colo., professional road cycling leaders the past two decades. The event is a production of the Sport & Entertainment Corporation of Maryland, led by President Terry Hasseltine.

  • To learn more or volunteer, please visit www.marylandcyclingclassic.us.
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