EUROTRASH Monday: The Weekend’s Muddy Cyclo-Cross and All the Other News!

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Another weekend of racing in the mud. All the action from the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup in Dublin and the X2O Badkamers Trofée in Kortrijk. Plus Peter Sagan wins the Beking 2023 criterium.

Mathieu van der Poel doesn’t know how long he will continue racing – TOP STORY.

Rider news: Peter Sagan’s road team for 2024, will Cian Uijtdebroeks stay with BORA-hansgrohe? Cian Uijtdebroeks focuses on the Giro d’Italia in 2024, Santiago Buitrago wants to ride his first Tour de France, Brandon McNulty looking for a specialty, Giulio Ciccone wants a good overall in a Grand Tour, Michael Woods makes Giro’24 his main goal, is David De la Cruz’s career over? Martin Laas back to Continental level, Romain Sicard to be a DS and the sad news of the death of 19 year-old Íñigo Díaz Sanchez after collision while training.

Team news: Team Jumbo-Visma to become Team Visma | Lease a Bike from 1 January, Jurgen Foré to join Soudal Quick-Step as chief operation officer, Team dsm-firmenich recruit Angus Stoneham to their Development program, Tom Portsmouth looking forward to taking on the professional challenge, Paul Magnier to turn pro with Soudal Quick-Step and Jayco AlUla confirms its 2024 men’s roster.

Race news: No postponement for La The Vuelta Femenina, four championships awarded to Heusden-Zolder and the stages of the 2024 Tour de Romandie.

Plus: Buycycle comes to Canada and ‘Breaking The Hour: Filippo Ganna’ video.

Monday EUROTRASH coffee time.

 


TOP STORY: Mathieu van der Poel: “I Don’t Know How Long I Will Continue Racing”
Mathieu van der Poel has doubts whether he will focus on cyclo-cross every winter in the coming years. Raymond Kerckhoffs spoke with the cyclo-cross and road World champion for Vélo Magazine and RIDE Magazine/WielerFlits. ‘MVDP’ elaborated on his cyclo-cross ambitions.

Van der Poel indicates that with the back injury that tormented him in January, he never expected to be able to achieve such a good 2023 road season. “The back will always remain a working point,” he says in the interview. “On the road I have that injury well under control. In fact, I hardly had any problems there and last year I had the best road season of my career. Now that I’m focusing on cross-country again for the winter months, we have to wait and see how that back will hold up. That uncertainty will always remain.”

Doesn’t this make Van der Poel hesitate to focus more on one discipline in the future and skip the cross-season? “Yes, that does cross my mind. We also talked about it within the team. I don’t know how much longer I’ll keep racing. An occasional winter without cyclo-cross would also be nice. Not just to avoid taking risks with my back. I actually do racing purely for fun. And of course the World title is still an important goal. I actually see the rest of the season more as a winter activity. There is no longer much for me to gain in terms of sport.”

This winter, Van der Poel will ride thirteen races, including the cyclo-cross World championships in Tábor where he will defend his World title.

How much more cross will we see MvdP compete in the future?

 


UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup – Dublin Men 2023
Pim Ronhaar won the cyclo-cross World Cup in Dublin on Sunday. After a battle in the Irish mud of almost an hour, the Dutchman was the first across the line. The race was an exciting three-way battle that culminated in a two-man with Laurens Sweeck. Eli Iserbyt was at the front for a long time, but lost his place in the last lap and finished third.

With Lars van der Haar and Joris Nieuwenhuis missing, the Dublin World Cup cyclo-cross started in the rain. Niels Vandeputte had the best start, but Eli Iserbyt quickly took command through the heavy mud. He was unable to create a gap and a leading group of 14 stayed close to one another. In the second lap, Thibau Nys came through strongly. He opened a gap at the start of the third lap, forcing Iserbyt to chase. He took Pim Ronhaar, Laurens Sweeck, Jens Adams and Joran Wyseure with him. Michael Vanthourenhout, who started after his crash in Kortrijk on Saturday, had a lot of difficulty and dropped away from the front after 20 minutes. After half an hour, Wyseure and Adams opened a gap, but Nys quickly closed it. Iserbyt was only just hanging on, but he still had an answer to a serious acceleration from Ronhaar. Sweeck also followed, after which a gap opened up between the front three and pursuers Adams, Wyseure and Nys.

Two laps from the finish, Ronhaar had a 3 second lead over Iserbyt and 9 over Sweeck, who then lost valuable time during a bike change. At the front, Ronhaar and Iserbyt kept each other in check, while Sweeck fought back. At the start of the final lap, the Dutchman, who continuously set the pace in the final, made a strong attack, creating a gap. Iserbyt, who won in Kortrijk on Saturday, was tired and lost more and more time. Sweeck still had some energy in the tank and tried to close the gap to Ronhaar. The Baloise Trek Lions rider had Sweeck on his heels. Just before the finish, Sweeck finally got onto Ronhaar’s wheel and he went past on one of the toughest mud sections. Ronhaar didn’t give up and so a sprint would decide the race. Ronhaar successfully surprised Sweeck and took the victory as he did in the Dendermonde World Cup.

Race winner, Pim Ronhaar (Baloise Trek Lions): “To win like this, it is even cooler than in Dendermonde. At the beginning I thought that Thibau Nys would win easily, because he went so fast. I knew I shouldn’t give it my all right away, because it stays together for so long, because it’s not very technical. I did the same last year and that is the best for this race. Two or three laps before the finish I saw that Eli was at a gap, then I gave it my all. I felt so strong. Things didn’t always go well in the sand, but they did in the last lap. After that, Laurens passed me and I thought: Ah shit, I’m not going to win this again. I was stuck in deep mud, but then he stopped (his attack). Just before that I didn’t expect that I was going to beat him. To win like this is even cooler than in Dendermonde. If Laurens had continued, I might not have gotten over him. I was very bad there (Troyes), so I didn’t understand anything. Then you come here with less confidence. That’s why I don’t understand it. I have no idea how this is possible.”

2nd, Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Corendon): “Without the flat tyre in the penultimate lap it would have been possible to win. Because of that flat tyre I had to close a big gap. Pim had already started his attack, but I came back after my flat tyre. So I should have accelerated there, but I didn’t get the chance to recover. Yet I no longer had any doubts. That part was difficult. I wanted to counter him (Ronhaar) there and mentally gain the upper hand. But my legs were fully feeling it, so there was not much left to do the sprint. It was a sprint to the death, but my effort lasted too long. I didn’t have that last punch anymore. I am satisfied with my race and the feeling, so I hope to continue in that direction.”

3rd, Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “I was exhausted. It was a very difficult race, in which we had to push for a whole hour. There was a lot of deep mud, which was to my disadvantage. But there was still a podium place for me, that was all there was to it. I felt empty in the last lap. My passage in the sand did not go well and after that I had to fight for third place. I was very happy that the finish was coming. I wanted to stay with him (Ronhaar) as long as possible afterwards, but after that I was completely empty. Pim was better in the deep mud sections. Then you try to stay with him, but that is not easy. But all in all it was a great race on a very difficult course.”

UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup – Dublin Men Result:
1. Pim Ronhaar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions in 57:17
2. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Crelan-Corendon at 0:02
3. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:20
4. Joran Wyseure (Bel) Crelan-Corendon at 0:28
5. Jens Adams (Bel) Athlete For Hope at 0:37
6. Thibau Nys (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions at 0:59
7. Ryan Kamp (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:59
8. Kevin Kuhn (Sui) Circus-ReUz-Technord at 1:19
9. Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 1:25
10. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:29.

 


UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup – Dublin Women 2023
Lucinda Brand convincingly won the Dublin 2023 World Cup cyclo-cross on Sunday. The Baloise Trek Lions rider opened a gap in the first lap and rode further away from Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado in the Irish mud. For Brand it is her first victory in the World Cup since January 2022.

The fastest start in Dublin went to Leonie Bentveld, but she quickly disappeared when Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado took over the lead. Lucinda Brand, Zoe Bäckstedt and Marie Schreiber also showed themselves early in the rain and mud of Ireland. At the end of the first lap it was Brand who pulled away from the other three.

The differences were not great between the top 4, who managed to distinguish themselves in the absence of Fem van Empel and Puck Pieterse. The wheat was decided on the second lap. Alvarado was the only one able to make the jump to Brand, putting the two top favourites in the lead. Brand held off the World Cup leader well and managed to increase her lead to 15 seconds. That difference increased further when Alvarado made a mistake and got stuck in the fence. Brand could hardly miss the victory, although Alvarado came back to within 18 seconds on the penultimate lap. It turned out to be a short revival.

The 34 year-old Dutch woman made no mistakes at the front and crossed the finish line solo after almost 55 minutes of racing. This was Brand’s first victory in the Cyclocross World Cup in almost two years. Her last victory at this level dates back to January 2022, when she won in Hulst. In the battle for third place, it was Bäckstedt who was faster than Schreiber. The young British rider took distance from the Luxembourgish halfway through the race. In the final lap the battle was exciting, but Bäckstedt managed to get her podium place. Sara Casasola came up from behind and the Italian was heading for fifth place, but dropped back to ninth place in the final lap.

Race winner, Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions): “There was a big battle (neck) after the start, but after the difficult and technical section I had a small lead. I immediately wanted to put the pressure on, although it was difficult to keep a gap, but it still seemed to split. I felt super strong. It’s a lot of pushing. I like that and was also able to get into a flow. But it was also only possible to win with good legs. And if I have the strength, punching goes well for me. Even though it remains difficult, I was still able to recover along the way. I had hoped for this, but certainly did not expect this. Certainly not that I would win this way. I especially hoped to fight until the end, then this is a nice surprise,”

2nd, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Deceunick): “This is the best that could be done today. On the one hand I am a bit disappointed, but also happy, because there were two strong riders behind me. I mainly had difficulty finding a rhythm today and Lucinda was very strong. Maybe I didn’t have the best legs either. My mistakes. I made too many. This course also suited her (Brand) very well, with many long straights and lots of wattages. She also really deserved it. Every little mistake costs seconds and that was just a little too many. After that moment I continued to ride through the gates, but it was still difficult to accelerate. I’m a bit tired, to be honest. I was a bit nervous at the start, but I gave it my all and it all worked out in the end. It was a lot of fun in the mud, this was really my type of race here. All my clothes were brown from mud, but this was perfect for me. Thank you Dublin!”

UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup – Dublin Women Result:
1. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions in 54:59
2. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Deceunick at 0:38
3. Zoe Bäckstedt (GB) Canyon//SRAM at 0:45
4. Marie Schreiber (Lux) SD Worx at 0:57
5. Inge van der Heijden (Ned) Crelan Corendon at 1:10
6. Aniek van Alphen (Ned) Cyclocross Reds at 1:16
7. Maghalie Rochette (Can) at 1:19
8. Kristyna Zemanova (CZ) Brilon Racing team MB at 1:23
9. Sara Casasola (Ita) FAS Airport Services-Guerciotti at 1:26
10. Leonie Bentveld (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:39.

 


X2O Badkamers Trofée – Kortrijk Men 2023
Eli Iserbyt won the X2O Trophy cyclo-cross in Kortrijk on Saturday. After an exciting finale, he held off Lars van der Haar and Cameron Mason for the victory.

Some of the top cross riders missed the X2O Trophy in Kortrijk, but the two most consistent riders were on the start-line: Lars van der Haar and Eli Iserbyt. There was bound to be a battle between the Dutchman of Baloise Trek Lions and the Belgian of Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal. Iserbyt had an average start, but then quickly moved up, but it was Van der Haar who accelerated at the front.

Van der Haar seceded, together with Corné van Kessel to get away. After the first lap, the two Dutchmen had a 9 second lead over the three Belgians: Iserbyt, Michael Vanthourenhout and Niels Vandeputte. Van der Haar was first over the line and took 15 bonus seconds for the X2O Trophy overall. Iserbyt was third and had to settle for 5 seconds. In the second of eight laps, Van der Haar and Van Kessel’s lead increased. Vanthourenhout, who was alone in third place due to a mistake by Vandeputte, was 11 seconds behind at the finish line. Iserbyt and Vandeputte followed a few seconds later, while Cameron Mason almost caught this duo. Van Kessel had to let go of Van der Haar, who was a few seconds further ahead of Vanthourenhout in the third lap, who with Iserbyt still with a small gap, joined Van Kessel.

Vanthourenhout left Van Kessel on the fourth lap and slowly got closer to Van der Haar. The difference had dropped to 8 seconds halfway through the race. Vanthourenhout managed to bridge this gap in the next lap, after which the new leading duo slowed right down. This allowed Iserbyt and Mason to return to the front. Four riders still had a chance of victory. Mason then put in some attacks, but he couldn’t get away. The British rider also slipped, but because the rest were held up, his fall was not too much of a problem. The men of Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal then took command and bombarded the opposition. First it was Iserbyt who put in an attack, then it was Vanthourenhout who accelerated. Both times Van der Haar closed the gap.

Going into the last lap, Mason lost a little ground and it now looked like a battle between three riders. Vanthourenhout chose to attack, while Iserbyt tried to slow down Van der Haar in the corners. That worked out quite well and Vanthourenhout had a nice lead. The European champion fell and holding his shoulder was out of the race. Because Iserbyt and Van der Haar were held up, Mason got back to the leaders. Iserbyt took the initiative and managed to give Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal the victory. Just behind the Belgian, Van der Haar sprinted to second place, ahead of Mason. Behind him, Van Kessel rode to fourth place. Michael Vanthourenhout had to abandon after his fall.

Race winner, Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauces Bingoal): “I had some trouble getting into the first half. I saw that Michael was super good. We talked for a while and it was immediately clear to me that he was the better one. Also on a technical level. In that area we tried to hold off a very strong Lars. Then I saw Michael going down. I was swearing and turning the switch to achieve that victory yourself. In that bend there was only one track and the sun was low, so we didn’t see much. He must have gone off track. We raced quite quickly, it was diagonally downwards. I hope it doesn’t turn out too bad for him, but it didn’t look good. I heard he didn’t race any further. That’s a shame. Hopefully he can race tomorrow (the Dublin World Cup), because we are going to the airport together. I hope for the best. It’s a shame that I’m still losing those bonus seconds, those ten seconds. I think I’m still losing a little time. It is a special classification, but I hope to take back some time in the more difficult races. It’s only the second round, so it looks good. I went from rhinos to griffos in the second lap. Then it started to drizzle a bit, so my mechanic decided to switch back to rhinos. I was grateful for that, because I didn’t shout it myself. Sometimes they also make the right choice, that is also important. I had the right tires for the last lap, because it started to rain a lot.”

2nd, Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions): “I saw an opportunity to grab the first fifteen bonus seconds and immediately had a gap. Then you have to keep racing. In retrospect it might not have been the best thing. Eventually Michael came along. I knew that they (Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal) were going to play the game that was annoying for me, but I had to play along and suffer it. I was lucky that Cameron kept up the pace. It was a shame that he fell, because that was perfect for me. Then Michael and Eli got the chance to play again and again. You just couldn’t overtake, because it was very slippery. There wasn’t much going on, because I mainly focused on Eli. But then Michael fell. I think I was the biggest victim of that, because I had to get off the bike completely. It gave Eli the chance to get back to the front. I had to kick behind to get back to him. Maybe I’m the fastest on the line, but you also have to get into the right position. That didn’t work out. That’s why I took a risk at the beginning of the race to grab those seconds. At the finish I lost one more and the win. That’s still very sad, but I get nine seconds. That’s nice again.”

3rd, Cameron Mason (Cyclocross Reds): “It was a real battle. The tactics of Eli and Michael (Vanthourenhout) helped me a bit to get back into the first group. Once I got there it was quite chaotic. I saw what they were doing. Lars is very experienced: he paid very close attention to the attacks. I was always on the fence, but everyone was at their limit. Everyone made mistakes, including me. But I’m very happy with this third place. I felt like a bit of an idiot. But that’s how it goes. You sit at the front and give everything. That is the moment when mistakes are made. It was a difficult part for me, just like the part after it, where you had to jump on your bike very quickly. I was often at my limit there, but I showed my level today with a podium finish. I have a lot of self-confidence now. I have shown in the last month that I am getting closer. Today was another great step in the right direction. There will be a lot of home crowds from Great Britain (in Dublin), but the Irish crowd are also great fans and wonderful people. So I’m looking forward to it.”

X2O Badkamers Trofée – Kortrijk Men Result:
1. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal in 58:26
2. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 0:02
3. Cameron Mason (GB) Cyclocross Reds
4. Corné van Kessel (Ned) Deschacht-Hens-Maes at 0:51
5. Jens Adams (Bel) Athletes for Hope at 1:03
6. Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Fenix-Deceuninck at 1:38
7. Anton Ferdinande (Bel) Deschacht-Hens-Maes at 1:47
8. Toon Vandebosch (Bel) Crelan-Corendon at 1:55
9. Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Spits CX at 2:13
10. Mees Hendrikx (Ned) Crelan-Corendon at 2:36.

 


X2O Badkamers Trofée – Kortrijk Women 2023
Fem van Empel won on her return after a short rest break. In the first part of the X2O Trophy Kortrijk, Lucinda Brand and Puck Pieterse offered her resistance, but on the fourth of six laps the World champion made her move. Brand came second, Pieterse third.

On Saturday, cyclo-cross fans could expect another duel between Fem van Empel and Puck Pieterse. While Pieterse made her return to cross last weekend, the World champion returned to competition in the X20 Trophy in Kortrijk. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado missed the urban cross in Kortrijk with a view to the World Cup Dublin.

Van Empel and Pieterse both started well. They hit the grass side-by-side and opened up a gap in the first lap. Lucinda Brand, Denise Betsema and Annemarie Worst limited the damage to a few seconds during the first passage and were able to return again in lap two. Sanne Cant and Blanka Kata Vas, who had started well, were already too far back to rejoin them again. Van Empel took the initiative at the front, Pieterse limited himself to following for the time being. The pace of the World champion was very high, because Brand, Betsema and Worst soon had to pass again. After Pieterse took over, Van Empel crashed. While she was sitting on Pieterse wheel, she took the wrong line and slid down and dropped back behind Brand. Brand was 5 seconds behind Pieterse after two laps. Van Empel almost made contact with the Baloise Trek Lions rider.

In the third of six laps, Van Empel joined Pieterse again, followed a little later by Brand, who attack when her two competitors went into the pits. She created a gap and made it through half-way solo. The following lap, Van Empel was able to close the gap, while Pieterse was left behind due to a slip. Not long afterwards, Van Empel also opened up a gap over Brand. In the penultimate lap, Van Empel extended her lead to secure her victory. The Jumbo-Visma rider remains undefeated in the current cyclo-cross season. She was at the start of eight cross races and won them all. Lucinda Brand took her third second place of the season in Kortrijk. Third place remained for Puck Pieterse.

Race winner, Fem van Empel (Jumbo-Visma): “In terms of the course, this was perhaps the most difficult to win. It was quite difficult to really get away here. Especially with the many straight stretches. The wind also played a role, especially at the start/finish the wind was really against us. Then there is always an advantage if you ride with several people. I fell a bit strangely. Of course it’s never nice when you lose your rhythm, but I tried not to worry too much and keep my focus as best as possible. Whether the damage from the fall is not too bad. I may be a bit stiff tomorrow, but with adrenaline in your body you can do a lot. You should never keep your legs still against Brand. Brand is a fighter. You can only cheer when you cross the finish line. I think it’s great how she is here again. The focus is more on the X2O Trophy and less on the World Cup and Superprestige. I have made choices before the season and I want to stick to them, so I will ride a large part of the X2O classification. We’ll see how it goes. Right now I’m just trying to focus on what’s next. I’m still young. I would prefer to race once per weekend. That’s why I’m skipping a few races, also because I want to focus on training for my development. Unfortunately, that comes with choices, I would have preferred to race everywhere. Where I start, I try to make the best of it.”

2nd, Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions): “It went really well, so I’m happy with that. This is only my third weekend, but I still feel like I’m getting better. I can keep shifting my attacks longer to persevere. If I can keep this up, I have a nice end-of-year period ahead. Fem and Puck both went into the pits, so I thought: I have to seize my chance, who knows, maybe they will look at each other. But in the end Fem came back quickly. I do have to hurry up a bit, but luckily not in triple speed. (Travelling to Dublin) Logistically, Amsterdam was the best option, because then I could go straight back home on Sunday evening. I’ll be on the plane at nine o’clock.”

3rd, Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck “Of course you don’t give presents during the race. But Fem won fairly, so I’m not pissed off about that. You can be angry with yourself, but it would be crazy if I was angry with her. It was a fast lap and a nice cross. It stayed together for a long time, which was nice for the viewers on television. We switched a bit at the lead, for a moment Lucinda had a gap, then Fem. But two laps from the end my chain was off. Then it was over for me, but I was still able to finish the cross well. Crossing is something different of course. It is more difficult to find moments of recovery. There are almost none. In mountain biking you have to ride uphill for three to four minutes, but on the descents you can keep your legs still. This is something completely different for your body, but I expect things to get better week after week. My peak this time will only be at the World Cup.”

X2O Badkamers Trofée – Kortrijk Women Result:
1. Fem van Empel (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 48:35
2. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 0:25
3. Puck Pieterse (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 1:05
4. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 2:05
5. Annemarie Worst (Ned) Cyclocross Reds at 2:20
6. Sanne Cant (Bel) Crelan-Corendon at 2:53
7. Blanka Kata Vas (Hun) SD Worx at 3:21
8. Anna Kay (GB) Cyclocross Reds at 4:23
9. Francesca Baroni (Ita) Hubo-Remotive at 5:00
10. Katerina Hladiková (CZ) Brilon Racing Team MB at 5:18.

 


Peter Sagan wins Beking 2023 Criterium
Tadej Pogačar finished second, followed by Mark Cavendish.

Peter Sagan ends his professional road career with another victory. This time it was the Monaco circuit that crowned him the winner. The Slovakian multiple champion livened up the third edition of the Beking by finishing first after 45 laps of the professional criterium, ahead of Tadej Pogacar in second and Mark Cavendish in third.

Peter Sagan commented immediately after his success: “It was great to race again with my colleagues and friends before starting a new chapter in my life. It was like a big party and I’m happy that all these fans and enthusiasts came to Monaco to spend a great day of cycling with their families. Beking is still young, but it shows the immense potential of sport in its role as an educator and social awareness-raiser, and I am really happy to play my part in this project.”

“It was fun,” said runner-up Tadej Pogačar. “There were really a lot of people today, so I’d say the organisers are going in the right direction, hats off to them. Beking once again proved to be a great event to promote cycling in all its aspects. I hope that we will be able to make it a tradition.”

Mark Cavendish, a new supporter of the Beking project, is already excited by the event’s international reach: “It was incredible, a very beautiful day,” said the Manx sprinter. “Riding with many of my colleagues here in Monaco for a good cause was amazing and that is what makes this event so special. The combination of cycling and sustainability is almost perfect as it’s one of the sports that is most sensitive to the issue. I am glad I was able to attend.”

The race started and finished at Port Hercule, which will host the Tour de France in 2024. The course was approximately 60km long and consisted of 45 laps of 1.3km each. The track included the last section of the F1 circuit, in the opposite direction, with the Rascasse bend, the 2 chicanes of the St Dévote pool and the Boulevard Rainier.

The first race of the day, the Pro-Am, was won by the team of Peter Sagan and Samuele Battistella who beat the runners-up Matteo Trenitin and Luke Rowe, 2nd, and Michael Matthews and Matteo Moschetti, 3rd.

“It has been a wonderful time, full of activities to organise, it has undoubtedly been a busy few months, but knowing that it all makes sense for our future, for a better way of life for our young people and for those who need concrete help through the associations we support, undoubtedly fills us with energy,” confirmed Claudia Morandini on behalf of CMT and AWE Sport, at the end of the third edition.

“Tonight is an evening among friends, with the sale of special pieces, the proceeds of which will be donated to the associations and projects we have chosen, through our association Beking and to Fight Aids. I am looking forward to announcing the amount and the destination of these funds,” Matteo Trentin, creator of the event, continues. “It was another beautiful experience of sport. We saw a lot of people along the route and this is a great reward for the effort we all put into organising and supporting this event. I have to thank all my colleagues for their confidence and commitment. I am really excited and ready to think about the next edition.”

“Beking Monaco is an event that supports charities through cycling while raising awareness of cycling as a synonym for sustainable mobility. The event, organised by CMT and AWE, is open to the public, and will take place on 26 November in Monaco, with a variety of activities under the banner of sport and solidarity.”

 


Peter Sagan’s Road Team for 2024: Reunited with Brother Juraj
Peter Sagan will compete in some road races for RRK Group-Pierre Baguette-Benzinol next year. The 33 year-old Slovak has retired from the highest level as a road cyclist, but that does not mean that he will no longer compete on the road all together.

In his bid to qualify for the Olympic mountain bike race in Paris, he is keen to sharpen his form with some road races. He will do this with RRK Group-Pierre Baguette-Benzinol, a Continental team from his home country of Slovakia. He will again work with his brother Juraj, who is a team sports director.

“In preparation for the Olympic Games, Peter will ride two stage races on the road, after which he will contest two more races after the Games,” Gabriele Uboldi, Sagan’s press manager, told Slovak Sport.

The three-time World champion is not interested in winning in the last road races he will compete in, he said earlier. “It’s about getting the miles in and improving my form. My goal is to have fun, do my best and try to qualify for the Olympic mountain bike race in Paris.”

Sagan still on the road in 2024:

 


Primoz Roglič Receives the Vélo d’Or After Three Years
It took three years, but Primoz Roglič received the Vélo d’Or 2020 on Sunday. He won the prestigious prize three years ago, but still had not received it.

The Slovenian, who will race for BORA-hansgrohe next year, was named winner of the Vélo d’Or three years ago. The tour rider won the Vuelta a España, Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the covid year of 2020 and, after a final upset, finished second in the Tour de France.

Roglič received the prize before the start of the second edition of the Beking criterium in Monaco. In the criterium, the initiative of Matteo Trentin, many top cyclists line-up for the charity event. As well as Roglic, there was also Trentin, Tadej Pogačar, Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan.

The riders have a criterium race, which takes place on the roads of the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Monaco. There is also a combined competition for professionals and amateurs, plus several cycling activities for children.

Roglič Vélo d’Or 2020:

 


Cian Uijtdebroeks: “Will I Stay with BORA-hansgrohe? I’m Not Going to Answer That.”
Cian Uijtdebroeks has responded to the rumours about his future. The young Belgian is linked to INEOS Grenadiers and Lidl-Trek, and others, while he still has a contract with BORA-hansgrohe. “A lot is said and written, but much of it is incorrect,” Uijtdebroeks told VTM.

Uijtdebroeks’ contract runs until the end of 2024, but according to GCN it is not at all certain whether he will remain with BORA-hansgrohe. The former winner of the Tour de l’Avenir and 8th in the Vuelta a España this year, has been receiving interest from Lidl-Trek and INEOS Grenadiers. Uijtdebroeks still has a contract with BORA-hansgrohe, but there is speculation about an early departure by the Belgian from the German team. Although, Ralph Denk, the BORA-hansgrohe team manager, knows nothing. “There is nothing on the table at the moment. It is a big advantage that he still has a contract until next year. I don’t know if he will eventually leave, but at the moment there is nothing going on.”

Now Uijtdebroeks himself has responded to the rumours. “A lot is said and written, but much of it is incorrect. I don’t have much to add at this point. There are a lot of rumours that I would leave, but we are certainly not working on that at the moment. I can’t say anything at the moment. I still have a contract until the end of 2024.”

“Would I stay with the team until next year? I’m not going to answer that. I have no comment on those matters at this time,” said Uijtdebroeks. He did elaborate on the interest. “That’s always fun. I see that as a compliment. Later we will see what, if anything, is a good decision. The arrival of Primoz (Roglic) does not change the situation at all.”

Cian Uijtdebroeks on the move:

 


Cian Uijtdebroeks Focuses on the Giro d’Italia in 2024
Cian Uijtdebroeks doesn’t want to say too much about his future, but is quite open about his main goal for 2024. “I am going for a classification in the Giro d’Italia,” he told Het Nieuwsblad.

Uijtdebroeks looks ahead to the 2024 Tour of Italy with the Flemish newspaper. “I’m going for a classification. That won’t be easy, because there are two time trials, but we are working on that. After my eighth place in the Vuelta a España, I now want to try to finish seventh or roughly fifth. The intention should always be to do a little better. But it is difficult to say now what is possible. I don’t know yet who will start. As soon as that is known, I can say what I’m going for. Maybe I shouldn’t say this in the press, but I want to try to aim for that top five. If I end up sixth, that’s not bad of course.”

The 20 year-old isn’t sure yet of his build-up to the Italian Grand Tour: “I will only discuss my precise program with the team at the end of December, but I would like to ride the Tour of Catalonia again. I have seen that there are some long climbs again.”

He may also at the start of Liège-Bastogne-Liège next year. “The race certainly appeals to me. It is the one-day race that suits me best. I saw that the race is on the calendar two weeks before the Giro. In principle I would have to be on an altitude training camp, but I might be able to ride Liège as preparation. I know I won’t win there, but it would be nice to ride among my fans and experience the atmosphere, but the Giro remains of course the most important thing.”

Uijtdebroeks for the Giro:

 


Santiago Buitrago Wants to Ride his First Tour de France
Santiago Buitrago hopes to ride the Tour de France in 2024. The 24 year-old Colombian, who won a stage in the Giro d’Italia two years in a row, believes the time is right to make his debut in the French Tour. “Now that Pogačar is a year older and is no longer eligible for the youth jersey, I can fight for the white jersey,” he said in conversation with Bici.Pro.

Buitrago rode two Grand Tours last season, the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España. He won a stage in the Giro last year, after a duel with Gijs Leemreize, he was the best escapee in the Queen Stage to Tre Cime di Lavaredo this year. In the spring he finished 3rd in the Saudi Tour, 3rd in the Ruta del Sol and 3rd in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. “The 2023 cycling season went better than expected. I am happy with the development of my career, I am getting stronger every year,” the Bahrain Victorious rider said.

Buitrago now also has his eyes on next season. “A few days ago the team called me to ask which races I would like to do in 2024. I didn’t beat around the bush and said that I would like to go to the Tour de France. I’ve done the Giro, I’ve done the Vuelta. I think it’s time to do the Tour. I want to see how it goes. Now that Pogacar is a year older and is no longer eligible for the youth jersey, I can fight for the white jersey.”

Santiago Buitrago to the Tour:

 


Brandon McNulty is Looking for a Specialty
Brandon McNulty has been a professional for six years, but still doesn’t know exactly what his specialty is. “I still feel like I’m trying to figure out what type of rider I am,” said the American in conversation with Velo and Cyclingnews. He does want to pay extra attention to his time trial next season with a view to the Olympic Games.

“I try to be a classification rider, but sometimes I do really good time trials and sometimes I’m also good in one-day races,” said McNulty. “Maybe next year will be an opportunity to discover other competitions than the big stage races of a week and such. I’m still trying to grow.”

“I definitely want to do one-day races next year. I’ve done Liège-Bastogne-Liège a few times, but once I was sick and another time there was a massive crash, so I’ve never really ridden well there. It’s the same story in the Tour of Lombardy. I would like to have a really good ride there.”

McNulty has good memories of Italy, as he won a stage in the Giro d’Italia this year. McNulty also calls his 4th place at this year’s World time trial championships “probably the second greatest moment” of his career. “It was a personal victory, because people always saw me as a time trial specialist, but in recent years that didn’t quite come true,” explained McNulty, who also became American time trial champion this summer. “It was very satisfying for me. We have also improved in the field of bikes, wheels, tires and the like. It’s nice to see that it’s paying off.”

Last season, McNulty rode more good time trials and so he has also set himself a big time trial goal for next year. He wants to score in the Olympic time trial in Paris. “Now that I have finally seen that I can time trial well, I want to go for that. Although the timing is difficult,” McNulty refers to the Olympic Games coming shortly after the Tour de France. There he expects to have to work again as Tadej Pogačar’s helper, because the American recently extended his contract with UAE Team Emirates until the end of 2027. “The Olympic Games are right after the Tour de France. If you do the Tour, you can end up doing well, but also badly. If you don’t do the Tour, you may not be as good as the others.”

Brandon McNulty still trying to find himself:

 


Giulio Ciccone Still Wants a Good Overall Finish in a Grand Tour
Giulio Ciccone has excelled as a stage winner for years, but the Italian climber does not yet have a very good track record when it comes to going for the overall in Grand Tours. The now 28 year-old Ciccone has not given up hope.

Illness, a crash or a bad day: Ciccone, as an overall rider, always has a problem in a Grand Tour. He has had great success as a stage winner, yet the Italian refuses to throw in the towel. In conversation with Bike Channel, he is still thinking about a good overall ranking in a three week race.

The only question is whether this would be in the Giro d’Italia or the Tour de France. Ciccone had to miss his home tour this year due to a covid infection. This year, the Tour de France will start from his home country of Italy. “Nothing has been decided yet,” Ciccone said.

Ciccone is less secretive when it comes to next year’s World championship in Zurich, Switzerland. “The course suits my capabilities. It’s a great goal to work towards. I have already said that to the team.”

Giulio Ciccone going for the overall?

 


Michael Woods Makes Giro d’Italia 2024 his Main Goal
Michael Woods was last at the start of the Giro d’Italia in 2018, but the now 37 year-old rider will participate in La Corsa Rosa next year. The Israel-Premier Tech rider made the statement this in an interview with Bici.pro.

Woods started the Tour of Italy in 2017 and 2018, but in the following seasons he always opted for the Tour de France and/or Vuelta a España. “But next year the Giro d’Italia is really a main goal again. I want to be in top shape at the start of this race.”

The experienced climber is also aiming for his favourite Ardennes Classics again next season, but he has not released much else about his race program. Woods is still under contract with Israel-Premier Tech for the next two seasons.

The Canadian can look back with satisfaction on the 2023 season. Woods won stage 9 of the Tour de France, finishing on the Puy de Dôme. He also finished second in the CIC-Mont Ventoux, fourth in the Flèche Wallonne, fifth in the Giro dell’Emilia and sixth in the Tour of Catalonia and Tre Valli Varesine.

The Giro for Woods in 2024:

 


Is David De la Cruz’s Career Over? Spaniard Still Without a Team
David De la Cruz has finished in the top 10 overall in the Vuelta a España and also won stages in Paris-Nice and the Tour of the Basque Country, but has his career now ended? The 34 year-old Spaniard still doesn’t have a team for 2024.

De la Cruz rode for Astana Qazaqstan for the past two seasons, but didn’t receive a contract extension for 2024. It is now nearly December and he still does not know whether he will be in the peloton in 2024. “The past few years have not gone as hoped. Not for myself, but also not for the team,” the rider looked back on the past years with the Spanish sports-paper Marca.

The experienced rider has not yet given up hope for a new team and hopes to find somewhere. “I am at my best in a thinned peloton and when I can work for an important classification rider.” De la Cruz was with Team Sky, working for top riders; Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal and with UAE Team Emirates he rode for Tadej Pogačar.

De la Cruz had his best years with Quick-Step and Team Sky. In 2016, the Spaniard had his final breakthrough with a stage win in the Vuelta a España. He also briefly wore the red leader’s jersey in the Vuelta of 2016 and finished 7th overall. This was followed by a stage win in Paris-Nice (twice), the Ruta del Sol and the Tour of the Basque Country.

Things have been less successful in recent seasons with Astana Qazaqstan, although this year he was 8th in O Gran Camiño and 12th in Paris-Nice. De la Cruz abandoned the Tour de France and left the Vuelta a España due illness.

The end of the road for David De la Cruz:

 


Estonian Sprinter Martin Laas Steps back to Continental level
We will no longer see Martin Laas sprinting in the biggest cycling races next year. After four seasons in the WorldTour, the 30 year-old Estonian switches to a continental team called Ferei Quick-Panda Podium Mongolia Team.

Laas has been a promising sprinter for years. The fast-finisher started his professional career in 2016 with the now defunct French team, Delko Marseille Provence KTM. After two seasons, he rode for the Continental Team Illuminate, before moving up to the WorldTour for four years, first with BORA-hansgrohe (2020-2023) and this year for Astana Qazaqstan.

During his pro career, Laas took 14 victories, winning in Malaysia, Japan and South Korea. He achieved his biggest victory in European in 2021, when he won a stage in the Arctic Race of Norway. Laas also finished the Vuelta a España twice. His new team is the Ferei Quick-Panda Podium Mongolia Team. The Continental formation has attracted three more Estonian riders for 2024: Gleb Karpenko, Oskar Nisu and Mihkel Raïm. Raïm is also a well-known rider: the 30 year-old rider has raced with Israel Cycling Academy and Burgos-BH previously.

Martin Laas down to Conti level:

 


Former U23 World Champion Romain Sicard Returns as DS
Romain Sicard had to end his racing career two years ago due to a heart condition, but the now 35 year-old Frenchman will return to the professional peloton next year as a team DS with TotalEnergies.

Sicard already gained experience this year as a DS with the Vendée U team, which is affiliated with the professional team TotalEnergies, led by former rider and team boss Jean-René Bernaudeau. In the last three seasons, eight riders from Vendee U stepped up to TotalEnergies, including Sandy Dujardin, Alan Jousseaume and Mattéo Vercher.

Sicard will soon also be promoted, but as team DS. The former rider is the direct replacement for Jan Valach. “I am very happy to be part of the TotalEnergies structure. At Vendée U I learned to work together and discover the philosophy of the team,” Sicard said in a press release.

“When Jean-René called me to strengthen the team, I didn’t hesitate for a second. I can’t wait to rediscover the team from a different perspective (Sicard rode for TotalEnergies and predecessors for eight years, ed.). I would like to pass on my experience. I would like to thank the team for their trust.”

As a cyclist, Sicard was predicted to have a great future. In the U23 category, the climber from the French Basque Country was in a class of his own, which was evident in 2009 with his overall victory in the Tour de l’Avenir and World championship title in Mendrisio, Switzerland. Sicard moved to the pros with top credentials, but never really managed to break through at the highest level. He only achieved one victory as a pro, in 2009, his first year as a professional, he won the Subida al Naranco.

Romain Sicard to be a DS:

 


19 Year-Old Spanish Cyclist Dies After Road Collision while Training
The Basque cycling federation announced the terrible news on social media last Friday. They said that 19 year-old Íñigo Díaz Sanchez died after a collision during training. Sanchez was taken to hospital, but the young rider died from his injuries.

“It is with great sadness that we have received the worst possible news. The family of more than 6,500 cyclists that make up the ETxF (the Basque Cycling Federation) would like to convey their deepest condolences and hugs to the family, friends and teammates of Iñigo Diaz Sanchez,” the Basque Cycling Federation announced on X (Twitter).

The accident happened last Thursday. Sanchez died during the night of Thursday and Friday morning.

Doluminik handiena Iñigo Diaz Sanchezen familiari, lagunei eta taldekideei (The deepest condolences to the family, friends and teammates of Iñigo Diaz Sanchez).

 


Team Jumbo-Visma to Become Team Visma | Lease a Bike from 1 January
From 1 January 2024, the three cycling teams of Team Jumbo-Visma will continue as Team Visma | Lease a Bike. Visma and Lease a Bike have signed a contract as title sponsors for an indefinite period.

European software company Visma has been the second title sponsor of the team for the past five years. Lease a Bike joined the team as a sub-sponsor on 1 January 2023. From the new year, both companies will adorn the chest of all riders, and Team Visma | Lease a Bike is a fact.

Managing director Richard Plugge is delighted with the two title sponsors. “We are delighted to confirm our new partnership agreements with Visma and Lease a Bike, two strong international companies that we already enjoy an excellent relationship with. These evolving partnerships are another big step forward, ensuring that we have the resources to further develop and improve as a team. Last year, we proved once again that we can grow and be successful together. This is also our common long-term goal.”

Merete Hverven, CEO of Visma: “I’m thrilled to confirm that we’re continuing our longstanding and successful cooperation with the best cycling team in the world, which will ride on as Team Visma | Lease a Bike. These incredible athletes have reached the top of their game through sheer grit, dedication and teamwork, values that resonate with Visma’s own, and that we are proud to be associated with. As one of Europe’s leading software companies, we will continue to provide the team with solutions that help them improve both their sporting and business performance.”

“Lease a Bike’s mission is to inspire people to go biking. For sports, for commuting and in everyday life”, says Ward Matser, Managing Director at Lease a Bike. “What better way to spread this message than through an extremely inspiring cycling team? We want to encourage people to live healthier and more sustainable lives and see Team Visma | Lease a Bike as a way to contribute to this. We are already successful in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Austria and we are expanding to other countries in Europe and to the USA. We believe in innovation, developing talent and doing things a little better every day. A vision we share with the cycling team.”

In addition to Lease a Bike, Pon will continue its partnership with the cycling team through the Cervélo, Škoda, Nimbl, Reserve Wheels, MAN and BBB Cycling brands as well.

On Thursday, 21 December, Team Visma | Lease a Bike will present its riders, main goals and new corporate identity to the media and partners at Move Amsterdam.

 


Jurgen Foré to join Soudal Quick-Step as Chief Operation Officer
Soudal Quick-Step would like to announce that Belgian Jurgen Foré will join the team as their new Chief Operating Officer.

The 53 year-old Foré, who hails from Eeklo, will fully join the team in January from Deloitte where he is a partner, having moved into the world of consulting in his 20’s, which led to him working with several large, multinational corporations and running his own company. Foré has also worked with Flanders Classics and Lotto-Dstny in the past, and having grown up in a cycling family, (his father Noël won Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix and Gent-Wevelgem), Jurgen has a deep passion and understanding for the sport, in which he still plays a vital part of coaching young riders and being involved in race organisation.

As part of his role as COO, Foré will carry out the daily management of the organisation, assist CEO Patrick Lefevere in general management, determining an operating budget, and with the search for sufficient funding from sponsors and other revenue opportunities. He will also oversee the sportive management of the team, such as taking decisions on race calendars, rider programs, and rider recruitment and retainment.

Speaking of his appointment, Jurgen Foré said: “I am excited because for me it is things coming together – I was a cyclist up to the age of 23, where life made me make some other choices. I went for a different professional career, in consulting, which means that I can now combine my love for cycling with my professional experience. I am passionate about getting the best out of a team and organisation, and it all comes together in this role, which is a unique opportunity that excites me.”

Of the appointment, Soudal Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere said: “I am delighted to have Jurgen on board. He is a man that has an impressive CV, that mixes both a love and knowledge of cycling, with business and executive acumen and experience. He will help to develop our team to be even more successful both as an organisation and a business, as well as sportingly, and I know everybody at Soudal Quick-Step is looking forward to working with him.”

Jurgen Foré:

 


Team dsm-firmenich Recruit Angus Stoneham to their Development Program
Team dsm-firmenich are thrilled to reveal that Angus Stoneham will join their Development program in 2024, with the young Brit set to wear the two-striped jersey through the 2025 campaign.

Hailing from the United Kingdom, Stoneham honed his skills in the British racing scene and made the step into the junior category in 2022. That initial season saw him find his feet with consistent and solid performances over a variety of terrain, including a brilliant stage win at the Junior Tour of Mendips where he went solo in the finale and managed to hold off the opposition. His second year in the junior category saw Stoneham ply his trade with Zappi Junior Race Team in 2023, where he took on a much more international calendar. After a solid start to the year, from July onwards he started to shine with two impressive stage wins and second overall at Bizkaiko Itzulia; and victory on the opening stage at Ronde des Vallées Juniors where he would go on to finish second on GC. Those were two of Stoneham’s main highlights, but he further backed up those results with several top five and ten finishes throughout the campaign, all of which give him confidence as he steps up to the U23 ranks with the Development program in 2024.

Stoneham said: “I’m really looking forward to joining Team dsm-firmenich next year. I really like and appreciate the development aspect of the team, and the way that the Development program is integrated into the Men’s program, with all of the same staff to help us – it’s not separated like in other teams. The team also have a good track record on developing people and there is a long-term plan in place, which is something I value. I’m looking forward to reaching new goals and pushing the limits to see what we can achieve together.”

Team dsm-firmenich head coach Rudi Kemna added: “Angus is a young and very talented rider who has all kinds of possibilities, and we’re excited to welcome him to the team for next season. Like with all young riders though, we want to work with him on a broader approach initially. Therefore, we want to focus on his general development on and off the bike together, rather than only working on specific skills or forming him into a specific type of rider just now; building a good base for the future.”

Angus Stoneham to dsm-firmenich Devo:

 


Tom Portsmouth is Looking Forward to Taking on the Professional Challenge
Tom Portsmouth (21) will evolve from 2024, for two seasons, within the professional Bingoal WB team. The young Britoin joined our development centre in 2023. After a difficult season due, in particular, to a heavy fall in Paris-Roubaix U23, Tom got back on the bike, after a long convalescence. His character and behaviour on the bike opened the doors to the professional world for him.

“I came to cycling later than most of my colleagues,” explained Tom Portsmouth. “I started with gymnastics, swimming and rugby. I thus learned my ‘job’ as a versatile athlete. I was able to learn lessons from each of these sports that I practiced during my years of development to apply them to cycling from my beginnings in 2016, when I first came to Belgium. I won my first race by starting in Bissegem, I always kept the trophy. Since that time, I have remained faithful to cycle racing in Belgium where I love to evolve on concrete roads or on the cobblestones of Flanders, which is, for me, the best place to build your abilities. The riders who have learned their trade on these roads are the only ones who can really describe the smell of the race.” The young Briton joined the ranks of the juniors of the ‘Spiderking Soenens’ team. “I had to combine my studies and my sport during all my young years. This taught me the crucial principle of discipline and planning, so that I could race with as little stress as possible while getting good academic grades.”

Tom quickly started the 2023 campaign within our pro group as part of the Tropical Amissa Bongo, the first race of the season. He had followed up with the Olympia’s Tour, the Tour of Sicily, the Carpathian Couriers Race. His momentum was stopped in a heavy fall with a hip fracture in Paris-Roubaix U23. After a long convalescence, he had returned to the peloton at the Flanders Tomorrow Tour. In particular, he ranked 19th in Paris-Tours U23.

“I broke my hip and my recovery was long; but I think I have crossed this difficult five-month milestone with determination, I learned a lot from this episode: I can use the patience and maturity I acquired in 2023. I also have a better understanding of winter training after speaking with several specialists in the field of physiology, including Jon Wiggins, our director of performance. I got to know myself better and it will serve me this winter. I know that I build myself year after year.”

Tom Portsmouth is, with Luca De Meester, one of the elements of our Development team to move towards our pro group. “My professional contract for 2024-25 with Bingoal WB is a key moment in my career as an athlete. I have a lot to learn: the UCI imposes a minimum two-year contract on neo-professional runners, which allows them to have a year to learn and develop, absorb the workload and move up a gear. And the integration into the pro core of Bingoal WB in 2023, at the Tour of Gabon and the Tour of Sicily, opened my eyes and prospects. I am, in any case, very proud of the trust that the team gives me, a confidence that allows me to fulfil my dream of making my passion a profession. This gives me a lot of enthusiasm, but I remain realistic that a complete program of professional races will have an impact on the body different from everything I have experienced in previous years. I can’t wait to take up the challenge.”

Tom Portsmouth to join the Bingoal WB team:

 


Paul Magnier to Turn Pro with Soudal Quick-Step
The 19-year-old has signed a contract until the end of 2026.

One of the most exciting prospects coming from the U23 ranks, Paul Magnier will ride for Soudal Quick-Step next season, having inked a three-year deal with the most successful team of the century.

A resident of Grenoble, the city where the first Tour de France yellow jersey was awarded in 1919, Paul became interested in the sport at the age of 13, and has since shown his credentials in both mountain bike and road cycling. Last year, as a junior, he picked up several wins, including a pair of stages at the prestigious Giro della Lunigiana, where he finished runner-up in the general classification and took home the points jersey.

In 2023, while riding at Continental level for Trinity Racing – where he was a teammate of Luke Lamperti, another young and promising rider who will sport the Soudal Quick-Step jersey next year – the Frenchman impressed at the Tour of Britain against World Tour riders, before powering to a solid third in the U23 race at the European Championships, which he added to another impressive bronze medal, won in 2022 at the Junior Mountain Bike Worlds held in Les Gets. Considering everything, it didn’t come as a surprise that our squad decided he has what it takes to make the step to the World Tour in 2024.

“I feel very excited and proud to be part of this fantastic team and I can’t wait to join Soudal Quick-Step for the first training camp in Calpe. This is a squad with an immense tradition when it comes to developing young riders, and as I love the Classics, I know I am in the right place. It’s incredible to be on the same team as Julian Alaphilippe, a two-time World Champion, who told me great things about the Wolfpack. I already got a warm welcome here and I love it. It’s also important for me that I will continue to ride the Specialized bikes, which I love, and I want to thank everyone for this fantastic opportunity”, said the 19-year-old.

Soudal Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere added: “We’ve been following Paul for quite some time now and he had a very impressive run in the junior and U23 ranks. He is very versatile and talented – as shown by his remarkable results across several disciplines – has a lot of potential, and at the same time, he is eager to learn and gain experience. These things make us excited and confident for the upcoming season.”

Paul Magnier turns pro:

 


Fortified in All Areas: Team Jayco AlUla Confirms its 2024 Men’s Roster
Team Jayco AlUla has confirmed its strengthened roster for the 2024 season, which sees six new additions, fortifying the team in all areas, by adding an extra layer of depth.

Double the speed
With the news of ‘pocket rocket’ Caleb Ewan returning to his roots, re-joining the Australian outfit in 2024, there’s no secret that the squad is searching for more sprint victories in major races throughout the coming season.

Joining Dylan Groenewegen as one of the fastest sprinters in the world, the pair will enjoy a parallel race programme, with both riders set to be given their own opportunities and dedicated lead-out trains to assist them throughout the demanding season. German powerhouse Max Walscheid is a welcomed addition in this area, set to boost the sprint trains, providing brute force and a crucial turn of speed in the finale.

“We have been working on our sprint lead-out group a lot the past year and have added extra strength to it for next season. To have two of the best sprinters in the world on the team, with Caleb and Dylan, it is important to have the right support group and we believe with our new rider signings, and the way our current riders have developed and gelled together this year, we will have one of the best sprint groups in the WorldTour peloton for the 2024 season.” – General Manager Brent Copeland.

Powerful engine room
With general classification success in stage races continuing as a major focus, the Australian outfit heads into 2024 with multiple options to tackle hilly races, with a now well-rounded group of climbers in the shape of Simon Yates, Eddie Dunbar, Chris Harper and Filippo Zana. This core climbing group will have an injection of talent as Australia’s next big hope Luke Plapp joins the ranks.

“Over the past couple of years we have created a solid climbing group, riders that can win in their own right but also support our leaders to go for overall general classification results in the biggest races. We have a lot of depth now in the team and with hugely talented riders joining us in 2024, we can only expect more in stage races and hilly one-day events. It is very motivating for all of us heading into the new season with this strength and many options to target results in the biggest races.” – Copeland

Looking forward to the future
Building on its foundations and looking to the future, Team Jayco AlUla is pleased to continue with various development projects by adding up and coming Italian talent Davide De Pretto, and Danish all-rounder Anders Foldager.

After helping to nurture its young debutants throughout 2023, the squad is delighted to have seen the progress of 2023 new recruits – Ethiopian climber Welay Hagos Berhe and German rider Felix Engelhardt – with both riders shining on the world stage. In his first year as a professional, Engelhardt picked up two victories and Berhe managed to climb with the world’s best and unleash his potential. With this, the team is confident that the environment it has created will be the perfect place for De Pretto and Foldager to transition into the WorldTour peloton.

Swiss phenomenon Mauro Schmid is another ‘up and coming’ talent that the organisation is thrilled to have onboard for the new season. Having already racked up a whole host of major victories at WorldTour level, including a Giro d’Italia stage win, it is easy to forget that Schmid is only 23 years old.

“We are really focusing on the next generation of riders; we have added a women’s development team and we are supporting Axel Merckx with the men’s development team, but we are also focusing on guiding and developing new talent within our WorldTour team set up. We saw this year that our youngest riders really stepped up and displayed the potential they have. This proves to us that we have a solid working environment to get the best out of young talent, we have a lot of older experienced riders within the team, and this is crucial in developing the next generation. Having the talent of De Pretto, Foldager but also Schmid, who is still a young rider, it will be very interesting to see what they can achieve in 2024 with the support of a WorldTour team.

Our preparations for 2024 are well underway and we believe that our men’s team roster is one of the strongest we’ve seen in recent years with these exciting new signings. As always, we want to say a huge thank you to our dedicated Team Owner Gerry Ryan, our passionate partners AlUla and Giant and all of our sponsors, who without, none of this would be possible.” – Copeland.

Team Jayco AlUla’s 2024 Roster: (30)
Welay Hagos Berhe (ETH)
Lawson Craddock (USA)
Alessandro De Marchi (ITA)
Davide De Pretto (ITA) *New Rider
Eddie Dunbar (IRL)
Luke Durbridge (AUS)
Felix Engelhardt (GER)
Caleb Ewan (AUS) *New Rider
Anders Foldager (DEN) *New Rider
Dylan Groenewegen (NED)
Lucas Hamilton (AUS)
Chris Harper (AUS)
Michael Hepburn (AUS)
Amund Grøndahl Jansen (NOR)
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN)
Jan Maas (NED)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Luka Mezgec (SLO)
Kelland O’Brien (AUS)
Jesús David Peña (COL)
Luke Plapp (AUS) *New Rider
Rudy Porter (AUS)
Blake Quick (AUS)
Elmar Reinders (NED)
Mauro Schmid (SUI) *New Rider
Callum Scotson (AUS)
Campbell Stewart (NZL)
Max Walscheid (GER) *New Rider
Simon Yates (GBR)
Fillipo Zana (ITA)

Team Jayco AlUla stats:
No. of riders: 30
No. of Australians: 11
No. of internationals: 19 (3x ITA, 3x NED, 2x DEN, 2x GER, 1x SUI, 1x ETH, 1x NZL, 1x GBR, 1x COL, 1x SLO, 1x IRL, 1x USA, 1x NOR)
Youngest rider: 21 De Pretto
Oldest rider: 37 De Marchi

 


No Postponement for La The Vuelta Femenina
The Vuelta Femenina was considering moving the 2024 edition to June, but will start on April 29, according to the Spanish sports-paper, AS.

Since the announcement of the Women’s WorldTour, the Tour of Spain for women has been scheduled for April 29th to May 5th, but several teams have requested that the stage race be moved in the calendar. The race organisers were talking about June, or even late in the season, in October.

According to AS sources, all those plans have now been scrapped and so La Vuelta Femenina will be held at the end of April. One of the main reasons for this lies with the (mainly foreign) TV channels, which cannot guarantee broadcasting time at other times of the year. Last season, the overall victory in La Vuelta Femenina went to Annemiek van Vleuten, after an exciting battle with Demi Vollering.

Vollering and Van Vleuten in la Vuelta’23:

 


Four Championships Awarded to Heusden-Zolder (Belgium)
The brand-new Sport Vlaanderen Heusden-Zolder – Limburg Velodrome will be hosting a series of Track European Championships in the coming years. The Union Européenne Management Board has awarded the velodrome, which was inaugurated a few days ago, the 2025 and 2028 editions of the Elite European Championships and the 2027 edition of the Juniors and Under 23 European Championships.

The Track events complete an action-packed programme that will also involve the Belgian velodrome with the start of the Time-Trials for the 2024 Road European Championships (11-15 September) and the adjacent BMX track, which has been awarded the 2027 BMX Racing European Championships.

Enrico Della Casa, President of the Union Européenne de Cyclisme: “We have enjoyed a close working relationship with Heusden-Zolder & Circuit Zolder for many years, particularly in BMX, and the creation of the new Sport Vlaanderen Heusden-Zolder – Velodrome Limburg complex will help to strengthen our link with one of the European territories where the passion and culture of cycling are deeply rooted.

With the support and backing of Heusden-Zolder, Sport Vlaanderen, the Province of Limburg, Belgian Cycling, Cycling Vlaanderen and Circuit Zolder, we have put together a four-year programme of high-level events that will bring many benefits to the region and our sport in terms of promotion, economic spin-offs and visibility, creating and strengthening the already close relationship between sport, tourism and economic development.

I would like to thank the Flemish Government, with minister of sports Ben Weyts, the Province of Limburg, with Governor Jos Lantmeeters, the major of Heusden-Zolder, with Mario Borremans and the National Lottery, with CEO Jannie Haek for their confidence, but above all for their strong commitment to the construction of the Sport Vlaanderen Heusden-Zolder – Velodrome Limburg structure, destined to become one of the benchmarks of European cycling excellence.

I would also like to thank Belgian Cycling, which, with its President Tom van Damme, has always supported our events with care and foresight, and Circuit Zolder, which, thanks to the passion of Marc Wauters, has played a fundamental role in the construction of the velodrome and the development of this ambitious but exciting programme.”

Tom van Damme, President of Belgian Cycling: “With the new track in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium finally has a state of the art-venue to host important international championships. Therefore Belgian Cycling is grateful and proud that the UEC chose the track in the province of Limburg to host these important European Championships. We are keen to welcome the best European track riders and are looking forward to see the members of the Belgian Cycling Team – both youth and elite – competing against them. This venue reinforces the ambition of Belgian Cycling to remain one of the leading federations in cycling.”

“We are very pleased that Circuit Zolder can further expand its cycling activities with several European Championships,” said General Manager Harry Steegmans proudly. “The brand-new velodrome provides a significant boost to the sport of cycling, and we aim to capitalise on this momentum. Hosting top events on both the track and BMX, is of great importance to us. Together with all our partners, we will work to make these competitions truly spectacular!”

The new track in Heusden-Zolder:

 


A Prologue, a Time Trial and Two Uphill Finishes in the 2024 Tour de Romandie
The stage start and finish towns of the 2024 Tour de Romandie have been announced. The Swiss tour will start with a prologue and will also have an individual time trial and two summit finishes. Details about the stages have yet to be revealed.

The race organisers have yet to announce the stage profiles and it is not yet clear how long the stages will be. The race starts on April 23rd and finishes on the 28th. The prologue will take place in Payerne. The next day a road stage will start and finish in Fribourg. Stage three is a mountain stage that starts in Fribourg and finishes in Les Marécottes, after a climb of 8 kilometres at 7.3%.

On day four there is another time trial, starting and finishing in Oron. Saturday’s stage 4 could be the decider, as the finish is uphill to Leysin. In 2017 Simon Yates won on this 4 kilometre climb at 7.2%. The final stage of the 2024 Tour de Romandie starts and finishes in Vernier. Last season Adam Yates won the Tour de Romandie. Matteo Jorgenson and Damiano Caruso were second and third.

Tour de Romandie 2024 Stage:
23/04 – Prologue: Payerne – Payerne
24/04 – Stage 1: Fribourg – Fribourg
25/04 – Stage 2: Fribourg – Salvan/Les Marécottes
26/04 – Stage 3: Oron – Oron (ITT)
27/04 – Stage 4: Saillon – Leysin
28/04 – Stage 5: Vernier – Vernier.

Romandie’23:

 


buycycle, Europe’s Leading Marketplace for Bikes, Expands to CA Market
The young, community-driven company is on track to make pre-owned bikes accessible to all

buycycle, the leading marketplace for high-value, pre-owned bikes, is expanding its business to the Canadian market. The bicycle market unit sales in Canada are expected to reach 1.67 million in 2028 and its expected revenue would result in a projected market volume of C$1.58 billion.

With over 15,000 pre-owned and refurbished bikes listed on its platform, and live in 31 countries, the fast growing startup is on a mission to connect buyers and sellers on a global scale. With guaranteed buyer protection, first class services, and insurance, buycycle provides a safe space for cycling enthusiasts to buy and sell their most treasured bikes from anywhere and at any time.

After establishing itself as the trusted market leader in Europe, buycycle is looking to replicate its success in the Canadian market by making pre-owned bikes accessible to all, as well as contributing to a circular economy in the mobility sector.

With prices up to 70% off, buycycle has something on offer for every cycling enthusiast out there. What really makes the platform stand out is that it makes the experience of buying and selling pre-owned bikes as easy, convenient, and safe as online shopping.

CEO and Co-Founder Theo Golditchuk explains: “Since we launched buycycle in 2021, rapid growth has followed. After expanding across Europe and seeing a surge in demand from the US, Canada naturally felt like the next step in our global expansion. We saw the need in the market for a platform where people can buy and sell their pre-owned bikes safely and conveniently. We are incredibly excited about our launch in Canada and hope to replicate the success we have witnessed in the US and Europe.”

buycycle’s mission is to build and connect a trusted community of bike enthusiasts across the world. buycycle believes that your next dream bike does not have to break the bank and can still provide the quality and performance desired. buycycle makes the process of buying and selling pre-owned bikes safe, easy, and convenient.

Buycycle comes to Canada:

 


Breaking The Hour: Filippo Ganna
With never-before-seen footage and insight, go behind the scenes of Filippo Ganna’s momentous UCI Hour Record attempt. Explore the development, testing and training it takes to break one of cycling’s most prestigious records.

 

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