Another big EUROTRASH Monday: Reports, results and video from the UCI World Cup Vlaamse Druivencross in Overijse, the Telenet Superprestige Merksplas and the ‘6 Days’ of Gent.
UCI boss Lappartient is thinking of three new Olympic cycling events – TOP STORY.
Rider news: Nairo Quintana not going Medellín-EPM, but a WorldTeam. Tom Pidcock to focus on the Classics and Matej Mohorič not the best descender.
Contract News: Two more years with EF for Esteban Chaves, Eduardo Sepúlveda finds new team via Twitter, Martin Laas and Igor Chzhan to Astana Qazaqstan, Jumbo-Visma women’s team invests in future with new young Dutch riders, Bahrain Victorious sign Buratti and Bruttomesso, Soudal Quick-Step Devo Team signs Warre Vangheluwe and eolo-Kometa renews with Bais, Bevilacqua, Rivi and Maestri.
Team News: Gianni Savio optimistic about his team at Conti level, Financial blow to Le Col-Wahoo after sponsor drop out and Frans Maasen on Jumbo-Visma’s 2022 Season.
Plus, Annemiek van Vleuten raises more than €17,000 from ‘attic sale’. Coffee time.
TOP STORY: UCI boss Lappartient is Thinking of Three New Cycling Events at the Olympic Games
UCI president David Lappartient hopes to expand the number of cycling events at the Olympic Games. According to the Frenchman, there is a chance that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will propose adding the Mixed Relay team time trial, the mountain bike short track and BMX flatland to the Summer Games program.
“Our biggest goal is to keep the five current Olympic cycling disciplines,” Lappartient told Inside the Games. He means road cycling, mountain biking, track cycling, BMX freestyle and BMX racing.
According to the UCI boss, it is quite possible that there will be a request for new parts within those disciplines. “For example, the Mixed Relay team time trial and the mountain bike short course. Those parts don’t need any extra riders,” Lappartient says. Meaning that riders who ride the road race or time trial can also participate in the Mixed Relay. The same applies to the short course, where participants in the MTB cross country could ride the short course.
The addition of the BMX flatland part (tricks on a BMX bike on a flat surface), would then provide 24 extra participants, according to Lappartient. “But the most important thing is to keep the current disciplines. If we can add another part that would be great. And why not an e-cycling medal too? Because for that we can use the same riders who have already qualified. But that will not be instead of another discipline…”
“The more parts we have, the better it is for our sport. But I support IOC President Thomas Bach’s view that the Olympic Games should not always be bigger. You get a lot of criticism of the Games, it becomes more difficult to find organisers and the budget has to grow… We have to be reasonable in that too,” said Lappartient, who has been a member of the IOC since the start of this year. In the interview with Inside the Games, Lappartient does not comment on cyclo-cross. For years there has been a call to add cross to the Winter Olympics. Last year, IOC President Bach attended the cyclo-cross World Cup in the snow of Val di Sole.
David Lappartient wants more cycling at the Olympics:
UCI World Cup Vlaamse Druivencross – Overijse Men 2022
A tough round of the cyclo-cross World Cup in Overijse was won on Sunday by Michael Vanthourenhout on Sunday. The Belgian of the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal team crossed the finish line first after a hard duel with World champion Tom Pidcock. Lars van der Haar was third.
Lars van der Haar had the fastest start and was first off the road. World champion Tom Pidcock had some problems and then had to chase. On the first tough stretches Eli Iserbyt took command, with Michael Vanthourenhout and Felipe Orts on his wheel. Iserbyt and Vanthourenhout joined forces and took a big gap. Behind them were two groups battling for third place. Pidcock fought back into the top 10 in the first lap. Pim Ronhaar was at home in the mud and settled into third place, but was quickly passed by Pidcock.
The World champion managed to close the gap with the leading duo. He immediately set the pace, so that Iserbyt had to drop out and Vanthourenhout made a mistake. Van der Haar, Ronhaar, Sweeck and Thibau Nys followed. Pidcock was solo on the third lap of seven. Vanthourenhout didn’t give up and rejoined Pidcock a lap later. Behind them, Iserbyt lost places due to a puncture and the race would be a hand-to-hand fight between Vanthourenhout and Pidcock for the victory. Sweeck, Nys, Van der Haar and Ronhaar battled for the last podium place. Pidcock was put under a lot of pressure in the second part of the race. He saw Vanthourenhout take a few lengths, but also managed to fight back. The decision would come in the last two laps. A crash by Pidcock left Vanthourenhout in the lead. It was a gift that the European champion was only too happy to make the most of and he opened a gap of 13 seconds.
After a bike change, the INEOS Grenadiers World champion managed to take some time back. At the start of the final lap, the difference was only 8 seconds. Pidcock looked like he caught the European champion, but he made an expensive mistake and Vanthourenhout soon had 6 seconds. Vanthourenhout had Pidcock close on his heels, but he was the first to turn onto the finishing straight and after 1 hour and 5 minutes, he took the victory. The World champion was 3 seconds behind. In the battle for third place, Lars van der Haar was the better of Laurens Sweeck. Joris Nieuwenhuis took fifth place, just ahead of his teammate Thibau Nys.
Race winner, European champion Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “I think this victory is better than the one at the European Championship. It was really close with Tom, I was a little better on the technical bits, but uphill it was hard to follow Pidcock. I think it was a good fight. Eli Iserbyt was very strong in the beginning, so we got away quickly. When Pidcock came, I saw his pace was a little faster. I then had to follow my limit, but he also started making mistakes. I had to take advantage of that (the crash by Pidcock), I was not involved. Everyone is riding at a high level and he is not going to just ride us home. You have to keep believing in yourself and I did that today. It’s great that I managed to beat Pidcock, but he can also improve a lot. We are going to see an even better Pidcock.”
2nd, World champion Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers): “It was a nice race. It was really fun, but I’m a bit frustrated. My chain got stuck at the start, I don’t know why. I had a similar problem during the recon and maybe this was the same bike. But I’m not sure. I was going really well, but in the last laps I didn’t have that feeling. It’s the first race of the season. And even if it only lasts an hour, it is full of gas. You have to get used to that a bit. I trained for two hours and did an hour of cross yesterday, so I have three hours in my legs. I can be happy, especially with this rainbow jersey every day. And Michael has shown why he won the European Championship. He was very good today.”
7th, Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “It is a concern. I fought back with myself in the second half of the cross. Then it’s a tough game. I didn’t really have any problems at first, everything went well. But I had to leave a gap and had a puncture just after the pits. After that the best was gone and the morale was a bit gone. I already had to push hard with that flat tire and I had to walk more than usual. Then it came back, that feeling and the less strength in my left leg. Then your leg drags along… Anyway, I remain positive and was able to participate well in the first half. That is good to build up to next week. I don’t know how fast it will get better. You always expect as soon as possible, but maybe I should give me two, three or four weeks. You want to show the best of yourself. I can still win the World Cup and the X2O Trophy, the Superprestige will be a bit more difficult. It is important to limit damage. It is a day with two sides. I’m glad I still have the leader’s jersey. This is a classification that has not yet been lost, but it was not easy today. There are worse things in life, but from a sporting point of view it is not great. It takes a lot mentally. Everything then comes together. But I get a lot of support from the team, the team manager and my environment. That’s what I’m attracted to. You have to be patient and then I can flourish in better times. It could be worse, I know, but I hope it will get better soon.”
UCI World Cup Vlaamse Druivencross – Overijse Men Result:
1. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal in 1:05:42
2. Tom Pidcock (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:03
3. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 0:37
4. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Crelan-Fristads at 1:09
5. Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 1:30
6. Thibau Nys (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions at 1:31
7. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:36
8. Pim Ronhaar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 2:02
9. Jens Adams (Bel) Chocovit Cycling Team at 2:45
10. Kevin Kuhn (Sui) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team at 3:03.
UCI World Cup Vlaamse Druivencross – Overijse Women 2022
Puck Pieterse won the cyclo-cross World Cup in Overijse with a strong show. For the 20-year-old Dutch rider of Alpecin-Deceuninck, this is her first World Cup victory. She was outstanding on the very tough course from the first lap and won by 1 minute over second placed Fem van Empel.
The best start went to World Cup leader Fem van Empel, while Puck Pieterse also got away well. The French rider Hélène Clauzel also had a good start, but she could not follow Pieterse and Van Empel on the slippery course. Pieterse in particular made an impression. She was technically in a class of her own and immediately had a gap with the others. Where she rode the bike on difficult sections, the rest had to get off. Behind her was Van Empel, Shirin van Anrooij, Denise Betsema and also Aniek van Alphen, but Pieterse was riding away from them. The talented Alpecin-Deceuninck rider, who benefited from her mountain bike experience, had a lead of 19 seconds after one lap. That difference only increased in the second lap, because Pieterse’s pursuers made more and more mistakes. The leader also had problems, but kept a strong pace.
After the second lap of five, the difference between Pieterse and Van Empel was already 45 seconds and after the third lap, just under a minute. There was also a battle for the final podium spot. Van Anrooij had to try to keep Van Alphen, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, Betsema and Clauzel behind her. That five rode for a long time within 20 seconds of each other. Pieterse started the final lap with a lead of more than 1 minute. Nothing would prevented her from taking her long-awaited first World Cup victory. Van Empel followed in second place and Van Anrooij had shaken off her pursuers. After a strong chase, Lucinda Brand finished fourth.
Race winner, Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck): “It was such a cool race, but it was also very tough. After the start I wanted to be at the front on the first descent to the pit lane. I know my descent is very good, so I took all the risks to build up a lead. After that I rode my own pace and took it a little more carefully. I actually expected it to go more smoothly, but I’m glad it didn’t turn out that way. I have been second many times, so I was hoping for it. I think this race is so beautiful, then it’s great that it worked out today. After the first lap I thought I had started too fast, but I knew I could build it even further. It also worked at the European Championships, so I rode hard every lap.”
2nd, Fem van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “I noticed from the start that today would not be for me. It was really cross today, I think Puck rode very strong today. I had no answer for her. Then you have to race at your own pace and make as few mistakes as possible. I hit the ground a few times, but luckily I didn’t have any damage. I couldn’t do anything against Puck today. Shirin (van Anrooij) came pretty close, but I had a margin and I’m glad I was able to finish second. It is especially important not to take too much hay on my fork. I have opted for the World Cup and am now well placed in the standings, so I try to continue this line.”
3rd, Shirin van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions): “I was hoping to be on the podium today. This is a completely different race than last week, but I put some pressure on myself. I also expected that Puck would win today. She’s been close many times and she deserved it. She really flew. I myself have made a big step in this kind of mud crosses.”
UCI World Cup Vlaamse Druivencross – Overijse Women Result:
1. Puck Pieterse (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck in 52:44
2. Fem van Empel (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:03
3. Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 1:36
4. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 1:51
5. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 1:56
6. Aniek van Alphen (Ned) 777 at 2:09
7. Clara Honsinger (USA) at 2:16
8. Hélène Clauzel (Fra) AS Bike Racing at 2:32
9. Inge van der Heijden (Ned) 777 at 3:03
10. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 3:06.
Telenet Superprestige Merksplas – Men 2022
Laurens Sweeck won the Superprestige Merksplas. The Belgian rode away from the rest of the pack on the first lap and then held on to the finish. Lars van der Haar was the closest in second place as World champion, Tom Pidcock was 7th in his first cross of the season.
The first to hit the off-road was Sweeck. Stan Godrie and Niels Vandeputte were on his wheel, but the other favourites were not far behind. Later in the lap gaps appeared and Van der Haar, Pidcock and Vanthourenhout had to chase. At the front; Vandeputte, Sweeck and Iserbyt rode on together. At the end of the first lap they had a lead of 9 seconds on Van der Haar, Felipe Orts and Kevin Kuhn. Pidcock followed a few seconds later, but soon made contact. The trio at the front fell apart during the second of eight laps. Sweeck escaped the other two, who were joined by Van der Haar. He took the initiative in the pursuit. The Dutch champion rode away on the third lap and crossed the line alone, 18 seconds behind Sweeck. Iserbyt followed a few seconds later, after which a group with Pidcock, Vanthourenhout and Vandeputte came through. The four got together on the fourth lap.
During the fourth lap Van der Haar got a little closer, he was 15 seconds behind through the finish. His recovery didn’t continue, because the Dutchman lost his strength on the next lap. The same thing happened to Pidcock, who had to let Vanthourenhout and Iserbyt go. The Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal duo were riding for third place, because Van der Haar and Sweeck could no longer be caught. On the penultimate lap, Van der Haar got a bit closer at 13 seconds. Due to a good ride through the sand, Sweeck took more time again, so he started the final lap with a lead of 16 seconds. That turned out to be enough. The Crelan-Fristads rider held on and took the win. Lars van der Haar came second, Michael Vanthourenhout third.
Race winer, Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Fristads): “The shape of my life? Everyone thought that I had already ridden very well in Namur, but in my opinion that was not quite top yet. I don’t think I’m 100% yet, but it’s very good. It can’t always go well for everyone. I’ve also had lesser weeks, but it’s going super well now. I will try to hold on to that. I don’t think that was the case with anyone (a flawless race). They were small mistakes, not big ones. I was able to make a difference right from the start without really having to push. That worked in my favour the whole race.”
2nd, Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions): “I missed it in that opening lap. I was compromised and got stuck behind Corné (van Kessel). The gap got too big before I could move up. On the other hand, you also have to say that Laurens very cleverly holds a gap of twelve to fifteen seconds. I really thought: come on hey, make a mistake so I can join! (laughs) But he continued to ride smoothly and perfectly. I tried to keep the pace as high as possible, but he didn’t make any mistakes. I was outsmarted. I don’t know if I really did anything wrong, but a few got over and I couldn’t get past them fast enough. They didn’t make it up those climbs in the woods. Before I knew it, there was already a gap of fifteen or twenty seconds. That was exactly the gap that I could not close. I can actually live with it, I fought hard for it (2nd place). I just came across a very strong Sweeck. Tomorrow we just go for it. I am really looking forward to it. It’s a nice course. I am very curious about the changes, but I think they will be to my advantage.”
3rd, European champion Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “I do think this was the highest achievable. I missed my start a bit, I was chasing the whole race. At one point I was in third place. Then I tried to drive to Lars (van der Haar), but I had a very bad lap. At that moment I knew it was going to be difficult to get any closer. After two, three minutes you will arrive in that forest. Then it is difficult to pass riders. Then you see that after one lap you are already riding at twenty seconds and you know that Laurens was just super strong today, and that he might have always won. It’s still early. We’re in the third or fourth race. If we had ridden six or seven races, it would be different. But I don’t think it will come down to one point (the Superprestige competition). When it comes down to it, at the end of the standings, I think we could play that. But now it’s just every man for himself. I think I will carry this with me (his form). The cold also makes you feel a bit deflated at the end, but that will be the case for everyone. We’re going to try to top everything up and get to tomorrow as best we can.”
7th, World champion Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers): “It was a bit difficult. Maybe it wasn’t the best cross to start with. In the corners I lost so much time. My level was okay, but I lost a lot of time and places in the corners. I think it was a bit of a Laurens Sweeck show today. I fell through a mistake, I just had too many mistakes. But I’m glad it wasn’t that bad. I have not set a date to win again, but I hope to win again this season in the rainbow jersey. It’s nice to wear these colours again after a few years. The fans made it beautiful.”
Telenet Superprestige Merksplas – Men Result:
1. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Crelan-Fristads in 59:39
2. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 0:05
3. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:40
4. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:53
5. Ryan Kamp (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:10
6. Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 1:20
7. Tom Pidcock (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:25
8. Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) Burgos-BH at 1:46
9. Kevin Kuhn (Sui) Tormans Cyclo Cross at 2:05
10. Jens Adams (Bel) at 2:08.
Telenet Superprestige Merksplas – Women Result:
Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado won the Superprestige Merksplas on Saturday. The Dutch rider came through alone after one lap and managed to maintain her lead to the finish. Denise Betsema came in second, Inge van der Heijden finished in third place.
Marianne Vos had the best start, while Brand came to a standstill. She lost a lot of places and had to chase right away. Only Alvarado could follow Vos on the first lap. When the World champion couldn’t get into her pedal, the Alpecin-Deceuninck rider immediately took a few meters. Through the finish, the gap had already grown to 11 seconds. Behind Vos there was a group with Inge van der Heijden, Aniek van Alphen, Denise Betsema, Marion Norbert-Riberolle and Manon Bakker. They caught the Jumbo-Visma rider in the second lap. The group behind Alvarado then split. Vos quickly fell back. Inge van der Heijden and Denise Betsema kept the leader in sight for a long time. After three of the five laps, however, Alvarado was 18 seconds ahead of Van der Heijden and Betsema followed 3 seconds later. Brand and Bakker came through at a further 37 seconds.
In the lap that followed, Alvarado gained a few seconds over the chasing duo and started the final lap with a large margin and could not lose. Denise Betsema finished in second place, Inge van der Heijden completed the podium.
Race winner, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Deceuninck): “Maybe it seemed that way (easy), but it was constant giving, because behind me they didn’t give up. And the circuit was tough. I was a bit lucky with that (following Marianne Vos at the start), it was kind of a good lead-out. She fell back, after which I had a free hand. I certainly took advantage of that. You don’t forget winning the first time. That was very special, now I’m going through it. The shape is good, so you expect a few things. But you are very happy when it comes out. I actually didn’t think about that at all during the race (Sunday). It is now a matter of recovering and then trying to be as fresh as possible at the start tomorrow.”
2nd, Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “Of course it would have been nice to win today, I really went for it. I had a bad start and it was very difficult to make up for it. Alvarado was out of sight from the first lap. In the first lap, on the first climb after the mud, everyone ran into each other, riders hooked up with the bikes. I think I lost more than ten seconds there. I had to pay for that afterwards. I hope for a better day and a better start tomorrow. I didn’t feel great, but usually a double weekend does me good. Then I will be fine the second day.”
Telenet Superprestige Merksplas – Women Result:
1. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck in 44:28
2. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:18
3. Inge van der Heijden (Ned) 777 at 0:16
4. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 0.33
5. Zoe Bäckstedt (GB) EF Education-TIBCO-SVB at 0.43
6. Manon Bakker (Ned) Crelan-Fristads at 0:51
7. Aniek van Alphen (Ned) 777 at 0:54
8. Marion Norbert-Riberolle (Bel) Crelan-Fristads at 1:17
9. Clara Honsinger (USA) EF Education-TIBCO-SVB at 1:19
10. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:58.
Gent ‘6 Day’ 2022
Lindsay De Vylder and Robbe Ghys were the winners of the ‘Six Days’ of Gent 2022. The Belgian duo managed to win the final madison, putting Fabio Van den Bossche and Yoeri Havik into second place. Iljo Keisse and Jasper De Buyst finished third.
There was much tension in the final madison. Lindsay De Vylder and Robbe Ghys, who had started the final day in second place, were the first to pass the 300 points mark and took the lead. In the last half hour there was a change of pace with Fabio Van den Bossche and Yoeri Havik, who also took several laps with an offensive tactic. The teams of Jules Hesters-Tim Torn Teutenberg and Iljo Keisse-Jasper De Buyst also competed for victory in the final, but they had scored considerably less points than the other duos. The retiring Keisse and De Buyst made another shot at the overall win. They took a lap and the lead, to the delight of the public in ‘t Kuipke.
But immediately the other teams did the same, so that order was restored. With 35 laps to go, Keisse and De Buyst made another attempt to put the rest at a lap, but that attack failed. Van den Bossche and Havik also tried to knock De Vylder and Ghys off the top spot, but they failed as De Vylder and Ghys managed to close that gap. They won the final madison sealing the victory. For Ghys it is his third overall victory in a row in the Six Days of Gent, his teammate De Vylder won for the first time. Van den Bossche and Havik were second, while Keisse and De Buyst were third.
Sunday turned out to be an intense, emotional and adrenaline-filled day for Iljo Keisse, who made his final outing at the competition he loved heart and soul ever since discovering it as a small kid, three decades ago. The man who, since turning pro, has become synonymous with the prestigious event, winning it seven times and finishing it on the podium on six other occasions, went out with a bang in front of his family and the hundreds of supporters who couldn’t conceive not being present and showing their support for Iljo one more time.
“The King of ‘t Kuipke”, whose glistening career on the track includes four European titles and 28 triumphs in six-day races, bowed out in spectacular fashion, winning his very last individual race – the Derny – before receiving a guard of honour from the rest of the Gent competitors.
This set up the scene for Iljo’s final triumph at the competition which this year celebrated a century since its inception, a resounding victory that came in the very last outing of the evening, the Madison. Together with teammate Jasper De Buyst, Keisse lapped the rest of the teams in astounding fashion and retained that advantage, taking a vital win that not only sent the fans into delirium, but also vaulted the duo onto the overall podium.
“I don’t know where to start… Everything began here. I was dreaming of riding the Six Days as a little kid, while sitting here and watching the riders from the stands”, a visibly emotional Iljo said after the finish. “I came a long way, and then, in 2005 I won it for the first time. That was a dream that came true, a really magnificent moment. Since then, everything came faster and faster, and I enjoyed every single moment of winning Six Day races. I got so much from the amazing public and, at the same time, I tried to give back a lot. It was an unbelievable journey and I am grateful for everything. I want to thank everybody: my wife, children and my family, Patrick, and all the people who always stood close to me. Thank you all for your support!”
Gent ‘6 Day’ Final Result:
1. Lindsay DE Vylder (Bel)/Robbe Ghys (Bel) – 0 laps – 356 points
2. Fabio Van Den Bossche (Bel)/Yoeri Havik (Ned) – 0 laps – 337 points
3. Ilio Keisse (Bel)/Jasper De Buyst (Bel) – 0 laps – 181 points
4. Jules Hesters (Bel)/Tim Torn Teutenberg (Ger) at 1 lap – 253 points
5. Vincent Hoppezak (Ned)/Philip Heijnen (Ned) at 8 laps – 250 points
6. Ethan Hayter (GB)/Fred Wright (GB) at 8 laps – 206 points
7. Roger Kluger (Ger)/Theo Reinhardt (Ger) at 9 laps – 107 points
8. Jan-Willem Van Schip (Ned)/Tuur Dens (Bel) at 18 laps – 245 points
9. Gianluca Pollefliet (Bel)/Noah Vandenbranden (Bel) at 31 laps – 166 points
10. Brent Van Mulders (Bel)/Matias Malmberg (Den) at 43 laps – 102 points.
Team Medellín-EPM Hopes to Sign Nairo Quintana
Nairo Quintana is still without a team after his departure from Arkéa-Samsic. Time is running out for the 32-year-old Colombian climber and Team Medellín-EPM hopes to take advantage of that. Quintana has received an open invitation from the UCI Continental team via social media.
Quintana, who was removed from the results of the last Tour de France due to the use of the banned painkiller Tramadol, still seems to have not found a new team for next season. It is certain that he will not ride for the French Arkéa-Samsic team in 2023, but now the question is which jersey will he wear in 2023.
If it is up to Team Medellín-EPM, the winner of the Giro d’Italia (2014) and Vuelta a España (2016) will return to a team of his home country of Colombia. The team said: “Nairo is our great representative of Colombian cycling. For this reason, we at Team Medellin-EPM offer you to continue your sports career with us, with a broad and international calendar. How proud it would make us if you represented us.”
“Thanks for this invitation, but that doesn’t fit into my plans,” said an amused Quintana to Telemedellin TV. After that, the Giro and Vuelta winner said his intention is to “keep pedalling and look ahead”.
Quintana has always denied the use of Tramadol. The climber therefore appealed against the decision of the UCI to cancel his Tour results, but ultimately failed at the International Sports Tribunal CAS. Tramadol is not yet on the list of performance-enhancing drugs, but it is banned by the UCI. From 2024, the painkiller will be on the doping list of the WADA.
Quintana Will be in the WorldTour Next Year
Since Nairo Quintana and Arkéa-Samsic announced at the beginning of October that they were separating after the Tramadol affair, little has been known about the future of the Colombian. Earlier this week, he turned down an offer from the continental Team Medellín-EPM. On Friday, however, the climber gave a tip about his future to the Spanish news agency EFE. “I will ride in the WorldTour.”
“I can’t say much more now. I look ahead and will keep pedaling as hard as I can. I want to stay motivated to win races and represent my country,” said the Colombian climber, who also does not rule out a return to his old team; Movistar. “That is one of the options, I have had a good relationship with the team. But the most important thing is that I have several options to continue racing.”
Pidcock to Focus on the Classics
World cyclo-cross champion Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers) will started his cross season on Saturday in Merksplas. He was seen as one of the top favourites before the start, but expectations are tempered from the Pidcock camp. “We see the crosses mainly as a build-up to the classic season,” said his trainer Kurt Bogaerts told Sporza.
“We consider the cyclo-cross races mainly as intensive training. We hope that he can grow a bit during the season and can get good results” said Bogaerts, who indicates that Pidcock has few expectations for now. “He will be at the start this weekend in Merksplas and Overijse, but not with super ambition. He has mainly base training.”
The Briton has not prepared specifically for the cyclo-cross season. “He has only done one technical training and moreover his first races are never very good. Pidcock always takes some time to get into it, but his base condition is better than last year. In any case, he is very excited to get started,” said Bogaerts.
Pidcock does not start the cyclocross season completely unprepared. “It is certainly the intention to look good, but the focus this year is not on the World championships, as was the case last season. We especially hope that his form curve will grow towards the road classics next season,” said the 45-year-old Bogaerts.
Pidcock’s first cross of the 2022/23 season:
Matej Mohorič Not the Best Descender in the Peloton
Matej Mohorič won Milan-Sanremo this spring, the biggest victory of his career so far. He did this thanks to an impressive descent of the Poggio. Does that make Mohorič the best descender in the peloton? “No, I’m certainly not the best,” said the Slovenian to Cycling Weekly.
“I think I’m pretty good, but no, I’m not the best,” he continued. “There are others who are better and faster than me. Julian Alaphilippe is pretty good, some of the sprinters are pretty special and of course you have Tom Pidcock, he’s also really fast.” Mohorič thinks that good descenders have their quality by nature. “I think you are born with it. You either have it or you don’t. It’s because of the lack of fear, I think. In addition, practice makes all the difference, especially at a young age. And you have to learn from your mistakes.”
During Milan-San Remo, Mohorič used a ‘dropper post’. With this technical gadget, he lowered his saddle a few centimetres shortly before his decisive attack. This resulted in a lower centre of gravity and therefore better control. “I didn’t know if it would work at first, but I was happy to test it over the winter. Even during the first time I used it, I saw great opportunities. I thought it could make a significant difference and be an advantage, but I wasn’t sure to what extent.”
Mohorič says that they have thought about using the secret weapon before. “But we decided to save it for this big race. I love this race and dreamed of winning it one day, even without a dropper post, so it was just something that could help me. We expected to be the only ones using it that day and it worked out well.”
Jonathan Vaughters Confirms Chaves has Two More Years with EF
Esteban Chaves has a contract with EF Education-EasyPost for the next two years. Team manager Jonathan Vaughters confirmed this on Twitter. When Chaves’ arrival was announced in August 2021, the duration of the relationship between the two parties was not mentioned.
Vaughters responded on Twitter to a post sharing an article by L’Équipe. The French sports newspaper wrote that Chaves is still looking for a new team for 2023. “This shows how well L’Équipe does research. Chaves’ contract with us will run for another two years,” Vaughters replied to the tweet. It is not an extension of the contract, the climber had already signed a three-year contract with the American team in 2021 until the end of 2024.
Chaves moved from Team BikeExchange last winter. In his first season for EF Education-EasyPost, the 32-year-old Colombian didn’t win any races, but he did manage to take several top placings. He finished seventh in the Critérium du Dauphiné, second in the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge and fourth in the Coppa Sabatini.
Chaves has two more years with EF:
Martin Laas is Newcomer to Astana Qazaqstan Team
Astana Qazaqstan Team is happy to announce a one-year deal (for 2023) with 29-year-old Estonian rider Martin Laas.
Martin Laas is well known as a strong sprinter and during 2022 season he won two stages at the Baltic Chain Tour, also taking a second podium place at a stage of the Saudi Tour and a third place in the prologue of the Sibiu Tour.
In general, among his best results could be noted a stage of the Arctic Race of Norway and two third places at the Clasica de Almeria and Kampioenshap van Vlaanderen in 2021, two stages at the Tour of Slovakia in 2020 and three stages at the Tour of Korea in 2019.
“First of all, I’d like to say that I am really happy to sign a contract with Astana Qazaqstan Team and I am really looking forward to the new season. Perhaps, my last year in cycling was not the best one, so I hope to start 2023 in a good way, good mood and with some good results, both for the team and my personal. I am ready to help the team in reaching its main goals and I am looking forward to start working with the young sprinters of the team to share all my experience with them. And, of course, I’d like to get my own chances to show all I can do in sprint,” – said Martin Laas.
“In the upcoming season we would like to pay a bit more attention to quite not a traditional discipline for us as a bunch sprint. I believe we have a good potential for this. So, the arrival of Martin Laas in the team can help us in this question. The famous Jaan Kirsipuu, with whom I have raced a lot in the past and whose opinion I respect, recommended me to pay attention to Laas as a talented and fast sprinter. Indeed, Martin is a strong sprinter who can win and who can share his vision and his experience with the young riders to create a strong sprinter group,” – said Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.
Martin Laas to Astana Qazaqstan:
Igor Chzhan Signs with Astana Qazaqstan Team
Asian road race champion Igor Chzhan is going to spend the next two seasons in the Kazakh WorldTour Astana Qazaqstan Team.
After three months of stagiairie and four races with Astana 23-year-old Kazakh rider signed a two-year deal with the team (2023 and 2024).
“A new and very important chapter of my career is beginning. Of course, I am very happy to sign a contract with Astana Qazaqstan Team and to get an opportunity to compete in the WorldTour side by side with the best riders in the world, to represent the colours of my country in the highest league of world cycling. Besides, of course, it is also a great responsibility, which motivates me very much, because I understand that there is a lot of work ahead. There is always something to learn and to strive for. I thank the team management for their trust, and I will try to justify it,” – said Igor Chzhan.
In the recently ended season of 2022 Igor Chzhan scored his biggest success so far, winning the road race of the Asian Cycling Championships as a rider of the National Team. Besides, he took a second place in the individual time trial of the Kazakhstan National Championships, won the Grand Prix Velo Alanya and was third in the overall classification of the Tour of Sakarya.
As Astana Qazaqstan Team trainee Chzhan took part in three stage races (Arctic Race of Norway, Tour of Slovakia and Le Tour de Langkawi) and a one-day race (Gran Piemonte). Mostly providing his support to team leaders, Igor Chzhan also showed himself in the queen mountain stage of the Arctic Race of Norway, taking a nice 9th place, and finished 20th in the General Classification of the Tour of Slovakia.
“As I have already said, for several years we have been closely following not only the performance, but also the progress of Igor Chzhan. In the last two years, the rider has demonstrated stable growth and results, so a stagiairie in our team was a logical step. Igor showed himself worthily in those races where he competed as part of Astana Qazaqstan Team, he supported the leaders really well and gained experience, which he will need vitally in the future. There is a lot of work to be done together ahead, and I believe that our team is the best place to develop young domestic riders, giving them a chance to prove themselves in the WorldTour – the main cycling league of the world,” – said Alexandr Vinokurov.
Igor Chzhan to Astana Qazaqstan Team:
Eduardo Sepúlveda Finds New Team via Twitter
Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli will not be a ProTeam in 2023, but Eduardo Sepúlveda has managed to stay at the pro level. The 31-year-old Argentinian has found a new team thanks to a call on Twitter, although it is not yet known which team it is.
“My team, Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli, had financial problems…” Sepúlveda said to Relevo. “The days went by and my manager Moreno Nicoletti continued to look for opportunities. And although the talks were positive, no offers came. I decided to lend him a hand and roll up my sleeves myself looking for opportunities.” With success, because Sepúlveda now has a verbal agreement with a WorldTour or ProTeam. The winner of the fourth stage of the Tour of Turkey is the fifth rider of Gianni Savio’s team to find a new team place.
Andrea Piccolo and Alexander Cepeda already made the switch to EF Education-EasyPost during the 2022 season, Natnael Tesfatsion goes to Trek-Segafredo and Andrii Ponomar seems to have a contract with Arkéa-Samsic.
New team for Eduardo Sepúlveda:
Team Jumbo-Visma Women Invests in Future with Young Dutch New Riders
Team Jumbo-Visma Women is adding three young Dutch riders to the selection in 2023: Nienke Veenhoven, Rosita Reijnhout and Maud Oudeman. This highlights the cycling team’s desire to develop young talent as an investment in the future.
Eighteen-year-old Nienke Veenhoven is one of the riders who will debut in Team Jumbo-Visma’s jersey in 2023. She was coached by CyclingClassNL during the past year, a separate project of the KNWU, NOC*NSF, and Team Jumbo-Visma that aims to help up-and-coming champions reach the pinnacle of the world stage. “I have learned a lot at CyclingClassNL”, Veenhoven states. “Through the way of training, but also in terms of nutrition. You grow as a rider when you get the right guidance.” Veenhoven expects to develop further at Team Jumbo-Visma. “I’d like to learn the best ways to train for and build up to a race. Although I’m new to riding with the elite, I hope to soon establish myself at the front of the pack during sprints or short climbs.”
Rosita Reijnhout (18) also has a recent history with CyclingClassNL. The Dutch rider rode to 25th place in the U23 category at the World Championships in Australia at the end of September and is proud of her move to Team Jumbo-Visma’s women’s team. “I want to develop both mentally and physically. I hope to pick up a lot of knowledge from cyclists with a few years of professional experience. In addition, I want to gradually become a stronger rider. I am confident that I will be successful with the guidance I get here. I hope to make my mark in climbing races, and the Belgian races appeal to me. And I would love to compete in the Giro one day. That is genuinely a dream.”
Maud Oudeman is already familiar with the highest level of cycling. By finishing first in a Zwift Academy race last year, she was awarded a professional contract with Canyon/SRAM. Oudeman outperformed 31,000 female competitors. The rider, only 19 years old, will soon join Team Jumbo-Visma.
“I am looking forward to it. The motto ‘winning together’ suits me very well. I particularly like the way Team Jumbo-Visma races because they ride as a team and work well together.” Oudeman views herself as eager to learn and dedicated. “If you give me a task, I will do everything in my power to carry it out to the best of my ability”, she says. “In the beginning, I mostly concentrate on the process and hope the results will come shortly after.”
Rutger Tijssen, sports technical manager of Team Jumbo-Visma Women, is enthusiastic about the newcomers. “These talents have proven in the juniors that they can do well across various courses. We considered the team’s requirements and made adjustments where necessary. The only expectation we have initially from Nienke, Rosita and Maud is that they will be on a development curve.”
Tijssen continued: “They are young girls. That means we will develop a personal plan for them to mature as riders. We will carefully examine the riders’ current performance level. After that, we will develop logical next steps. For example, we will determine which training sessions suit them best and which race they will start. We put each athlete along a learning line, if you will, to determine what steps must be taken to advance. For each rider, this is different.”
Team manager Esra Tromp is eager to collaborate with the three new riders. “Team Jumbo-Visma believes that success must be earned rather than purchased. We have the necessary personnel, materials, and expertise to allow talent to excel. We must be patient, but I have big hopes for the new girls. We have a solid enough basis to compete in World Tour events and win.”
Bahrain Victorious Sign Buratti and Bruttomesso, Two Young Talents for the Future
Following the announcement of Cycling Team Friuli (“CTF”) as the official development team for 2023, Bahrain Victorious management is already working on the future with the signing for 2024 of two young Italian talents: Nicolò Buratti and Alberto Bruttomesso.
Nicolò Buratti is considered the strongest Italian U23 rider. He’s been part of the Cycling Team Friuli since 2021, and this year he took 11 wins in almost every race he rode from August to the end of the season.
Amongst the most important successes are prestigious races such as the GP Capodarco, the GP Poggiana, and the stage wins at the Giro del Friuli, where he was 2nd in GC. “I’m delighted to continue my journey in the Cycling Team Friuli. A team that I can describe as my family and my second home. It is the ideal team to continue my growth path towards professional cycling. And I’m thrilled to turn pro with Bahrain Victorious in 2024. It’s a high-level team, and I consider it one of the best in the World. It’s a huge opportunity for me. I think the best team I could have to debut as a pro, as it’s familiar seen the collaboration with CTF. I’m looking forward to starting my new journey with TBV in one year!”
The 19-year-old sprinter Alberto Bruttomesso will join the Cycling Team Friuli for the 2023 season, his second team among the U23, after a first successful year when he won 6 races, including the victory at the Giro d’Italia U23 and the following pink jersey: “I’ll join Cycling Team Friuli to spend another season in the 2023 category to gain as much experience as possible before becoming a pro rider. In particular, I’m glad to have the opportunity to ride more abroad, especially in the North. Competing in races in Belgium and Holland will increase my skills, allowing me to test myself against strong riders at the international level.
Turning pro is the dream of every young rider, and when it comes to happen with such an important team as Bahrain Victorious, one of the strongest WorldTour team, there’s nothing more to add to describe how happy I am. This year with their development team, will help a lot to be ready for debuting in the WorldTour in the next 2024 season. Anyway, I will aim to keep on learning as much as possible and help the team captains. Only after that, maybe then I could dream of winning for Bahrain Victorious a Classic Monument someday.”
Soudal Quick-Step Devo Team signs Warre Vangheluwe
The 22-year-old is excited to get things started next season.
Hailing from Meulebeke and describing himself a classics-style rider, Warre Vangheluwe had an impressive year that includes a win at Kemmel Koerse and podium places at the U23 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and GP Jules Van Hevel.
Speaking about his chance to join the team, Warre Vangheluwe said: “I am ready and happy to be able to push myself with this squad and develop myself further. I am a Belgian, so to join the Soudal Quick-Step family is a dream come true for me. I grew up watching the likes of Tom Boonen and other big names, so it is special to me. I would say that I am not really a sprinter, but I am looking to develop into more of a hardened classics type rider. I look up to Yves Lampaert a lot, so I would like to emulate him.”
“I started cycling because of my two older brothers. The middle brother started when he was eight years old and he just finished racing now, so he had a long career. So, I started cycling because they did it but I loved it from there. I too started when I was eight years old and now my biggest goal is to become a pro rider. I think this is a big chance for me to hopefully make that step.”
Soudal Quick-Step Devo Team manager Bart Roosens also added: “Warre is a very strong classics type rider, who thrives in hard races. We have seen him progress and we want to give him a chance to develop into a professional rider.”
Bais, Bevilacqua, Rivi, Maestri: Four More Renewals
“EOLO KOMETA is a family.” This is what all the riders who have come to wear this jersey say and repeat: a family. The perfect place to ride a bike, but at the same time the place where you feel good: you grow, you mature, you enrich yourself as cyclists and as men. Davide Bais, Simone Bevilacqua, Samuele Rivi, Mirco Maestri (he has renewed for two seasons) will continue to be part of the wonderful family that is EOLO KOMETA.
Davide Bais: “I have to be honest: I don’t see myself in a different jersey. Because I immediately felt great here, because I found wonderful people here, because I grew up here, and most of all because I feel I can grow more here. This team has given me so much, and as far as I am concerned I will do everything to deserve the trust that has been renewed in me.”
Simone Bevilacqua: “I am very happy to continue this project and I am grateful to Fran, Ivan and Alberto for trusting me again: this fills me with pride and I hope this year I can repay them. With a team like this there are all the prerequisites to do great things also on a personal level, I would like to win something and I have already started training again with this goal in mind.”
Samuele Rivi: “Knowing that I will be here again next year is great: it was not a given, and I thank everyone for the trust that I will try to repay. How? By trying to make myself available to the team, to go in the breakaway when I am asked, and maybe to take some satisfaction because I would like to win a race. I’m happy to find all my teammates and all the guys on the staff with whom a great relationship has been established, I can’t wait to start again: see you on the road!”
Mirco Maestri: “In short, here we are again: here in EOLO KOMETA I have found a second family, and it is obvious that I am overjoyed by this confirmation, which has even more value because it is a double confirmation since I have signed until 2024. I think I had a good season, although with a bit of luck and a pinch of coolness I could have hit the big target. I’m talking about that stage at the Giro d’Italia that got away from me by a whisker, and it’s the second time in my career that it’s happened to me: and since they say that the third time is the charm, I really hope I can come back to the Giro and fulfil this big dream. From this team I have received so much, and I think I have also given something from the human point of view. Now, as I have always done, I turn the page because for me every year is like the first. I want to put myself on the line, I want to prove that I have deserved my place in the team, I want to help the team and deserve to be called to the Giro, because there is an open account.”
Gianni Savio Optimistic About his Team at Continental Level
Gianni Savio is optimistic about the future of his Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli team. The eccentric manager has said that the team will certainly not race on an Italian license in 2023 and that his team will compete at Continental level.
“If last week there was a 50 percent chance that we would continue, now it is 70 percent,” Savio told SpazioCiclismo. “There are still some aspects that need to be defined. My intention is to compete on a Continental level next season. It will be a project aimed at educating the young, promising riders. I hope to have a final green light next week.”
Savio is sure that the ProTeam Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli will not exist. “We will continue on a foreign, Continental license. I am prepared to make it a transition year, but with my philosophy. I don’t plan to experience another year like last season. There was a lot of tension and money that didn’t arrive. Fortunately, everyone got what they should get, but we really don’t want this anymore. That is why we want to make a good plan for 2024 and take our time for it.”
The team boss does not want to say whether his team will race on a South American license. In the past, Savio trained several Colombian talents and his team was sponsored by the country of Venezuela.
What next for Savio?
Financial Trouble for Le Col-Wahoo After Sponsor Drops Out
Le Col-Wahoo is in financial trouble. The British women’s team can no longer count on one of its main backers next year, Velonews reports. It is currently unclear whether it concerns Le Col or Wahoo.
Team manager Tom Varney hopes to find a new sponsor in time for 2023. Due to the withdrawal of an important partner, the team is struggling with a budget deficit of approximately 400,000 euros. According to Velonews, that is almost 50% of the total sponsorship. “One of our key partners has indicated that they cannot honour their agreement,” team boss Varney outlined the current situation.
Varney is now forced to scale down and must say goodbye to some high earners. “I have informed all riders and staff members and told them to look for another employer. I am also in contact with managers of other teams to see what is possible. I think three or four riders have already agreed on a new team, which is good.”
“By saying goodbye to the highest-earning riders, we have a better chance to continue. We have already had a number of discussions with potential sponsors and more clarity will come soon. However, it is a very annoying and unfair situation, especially since it is so late in the season.”
In short, the future of Le Col-Wahoo does not look too bright, but Varney remains optimistic with a view to 2023. “As things stand, we still have our second highest budget for next year. It’s more than we’re used to, although it’s not close to what we had this year. The most likely is that we will continue at a lower level next year, although I don’t know exactly what that will look like yet.” Varney actually wanted to start the new season with twelve riders next year, but that now seems unlikely.
A difficult future for Le Col-Wahoo:
Frans Maasen on Jumbo-Visma’s 2022 Season
Frans Maassen looks back with pride on the season that his Jumbo-Visma team experienced in 2022. He assesses the successful year of the yellow blacks to WielerFlits. “I’ve been around for a long time, but this is by far my best season I’ve ever experienced,” said Maasen.
“The year 2020 wasn’t that bad either, but winning the Tour de France is above all. For a cyclist, that is the highest you can achieve, higher than Olympic champion,” Maassen thinks. “It was our dream to win the Tour. We have now won the yellow and green jersey, which was great to experience.”
The stories of the leaders are well known. But which rider has surprised Maassen the most? “Olav Kooij was exceptionally good. Twenty years and twelve victories. Koen Bouwman winning the mountain jersey in the Giro d’Italia, that is also phenomenally good. And Christophe Laporte was also a very big surprise for me.”
Maasen happy with 2022:
Annemiek van Vleuten Raises More than €17,000 from ‘Attic Sale’
Annemiek van Vleuten has collected more than 17,000 euros for charity with her ‘Attic Sale Campaign’. Cycling fans could meet Van Vleuten at Peerenboom Cycling in Wageningen last Saturday and bid on cycling gear she used, ranging from cycling clothing to components.
By the end of the day she collected more than €17,000. Half of the proceeds will go to the Amy Pieters Foundation, the other half to Bikes4Masai, a foundation for children of the Kenyan Masai people. “This is super cool. I have done this here before, but this is certainly the largest turnout ever,” Van Vleuten said more than satisfied. “It’s great that everyone is so generous. This makes me really happy.”
A happy Annemiek van Vleuten:
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