Now the Giro d’Italia is worried about no ‘Tiffosi’ on the route – Top Story. News from the other Grand Tours: Vuelta a España and Tour de France, plus the Vuelta a Burgos and the Tour de l’Avenir. Rider news from Mark Cavendish, Primož Roglič, Peter Sagan, Nairo Quintana, Elia Viviani, Chris Froome, Egan Bernal, Miguel Ángel López, Jasper Philipsen, Rémi Cavagna, Alessandro De Marchi, Iván García Cortina and Yves Lampaert. Other news: French National championships, EF Education First, Bora-Hansgrohe training camp, Ridley wants to stay in the peloton, US Olympics, Tour of America’s Dairyland and Maryland Cycling Classic postponed, David Moncoutié talks doping. Sad passing of Roger Decock and Henk Steevens. Loads of Monday EUROTRASH news.
TOP STORY: Race Director Mauro Vegni wants Giro d’Italia with Spectators
Mauro Vegni, race director of the Giro d’Italia, is busy preparing for the 2020 edition of the Italian Tour. The big question is whether there can be an audience at the event. “We consciously have only one scenario ready and that is a Giro with an audience,” says Vegni in conversation with Tuttobiciweb.
The organisation of the Tour de France is, according to Roxana Maracineanu, the French Minister of Sport, busy writing scenarios where less people can be present on the race. There is a good chance that other French races will experiment with limited spectator access.
Vegni is also thinking about a slimmed down Tour of Italy, but, like colleague Christian Prudhomme, hopes for the presence of spectators. “However, it is up to other authorities to come up with rules and protocols,” the Italian refers to the UCI and local authorities. “We will then have to follow these rules.”
Vegni realises the danger of a massive influx of cycling fans and wants to prevent a new spread of the coronavirus. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the race director will soon have a meeting with the Italian Minister of Sport about this year’s Giro d’Italia (October 3-25).
Vegni will also soon announce the new route for the 103rd edition of “La Corsa Rosa.” The riders will start in Italy after dropping out of Budapest in Hungary. “We have yet to make a choice between Sicily and Calabria. Furthermore, not much will change on the course.”
A Giro without the ‘Tiffosi’ – Unthinkable!
Vuelta Boss Optimistic
Javier Guillén, race director of the Vuelta a España, is hopeful about running the Vuelta a España this year. The Spanish stage race is scheduled for the end of October on the revised calendar. “I am very optimistic and I see a good future of the Vuelta,” Guillén told Sport.es.
Guillén says that there is work to be done. “We must adhere to the hygienic protocol that is used. Organisationally it is very complicated, because there is a new hotel every day and a new city every day. In addition, meetings are not yet possible.”
He still looks to the future with positivity. “Fortunately, we don’t have to reinvent ourselves, because we already live in the ‘new normal’. The sport loses its soul and essence without an audience, but there are means to solve that,” predicts Guillén. “Let’s hope there are fewer restrictions on public gatherings in October, because then we can count on fans along the way.”
Vuelta boss Javier Guillén with past winners Zoetemelk and Jansen:
Florence Want’s the First Grand Départ in Italy
Florence has expressed the ambition to organise the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in the near future. According to the mayor, the Tuscan city wants to do this in collaboration with the Emilia-Romagna region. It would be the first Grand Départ in Italy.
At a meeting, Mayor Dario Nardella talked about the plans. Gaining the Tour start is one of the ways to breathe new life into Florence. “Our desire is to bring major international sporting events to the city. I am also thinking of working with Emilia-Romagna to organise the Olympic Games in 2032.”
“Emilia-Romagna has started the candidacy for the Grand Départ in recent weeks. That would be a historic event. The Tour de France has already started in many countries outside France, but never from Italy. By joining the forces of two regions, such as Tuscany and Emilia-Romagne, we have a very strong candidacy for a Tour de France start in the coming years.”
Florence: A nice place for a Tour start:
Tour of Burgos Hopes to Present Mountainous Course Soon
The question is whether the Tour of Burgos will be held this year, but the organisation is still busy with the final preparations. According to the local Diario de Burgos, the riders will be presented with two mountain stages.
On the revised UCI calendar, the Tour of Burgos is scheduled from July 28 to August 1, but local politicians are holding back. “We will be talking shortly to make a decision about whether or not to continue the race,” said Lorenzo Rodríguez, vice president of the Provincial Council of Burgos, over a week ago.
“We will weigh the pros and cons, but it is not an easy decision,” said Rodríguez. It is still not clear whether the cycling event can continue, but the organisation is still working out the final route. It promises to be a tough tour with a difficult opening stage and two mountain stages.
The first stage has a Classic finalé with a finish at Alto del Castillo (900 meters at 6.1%), just outside the centre of Burgos. Last year Giacomo Nizzolo sprinted to victory here, while riders such as Francesco Gavazzi and Mikel Landa have also won here.
The second stage will finish in the streets of Villadiego, perhaps after a relatively flat stage through the interior of Burgos. The third stage finishes on the slopes of the steep Picón Blanco, the final stage ends as usual at the top of Lagunas de Neila. It is still unclear where the finish of the penultimate stage will be.
Sosa wins in the fog of Burgos:
Tour de l’Avenir Shortened to Six Days
The Tour de l’Avenir has been moved up by one week on the calendar and shortened to six days. The start of the young riders Tour is now scheduled for August 14.
Originally, the race would have started on August 7 with a prologue in Charleville-Mézières and end nine days later in Bourg Saint Maurice. Now the tour appears to have been moved to August 14-19. For the time being, only the new dates have been announced. So it remains to be seen what the stage schedule will look like.
Last year Tobias Foss won the final classification of the Tour de l’Avenir, after having already signed a contract with Jumbo-Visma for 2020 earlier in the season. The Norwegian seized the lead on stage 8 to the Col de la Loze and then defended his leader’s jersey in the last two days.
Tobias Foss in Valencia’20:
Cavendish to Ride the Tour?
The Bahrain McLaren team hoped to rejuvenate the career of fast-finisher Mark Cavendish’s career, but the British sprinter cannot prove himself now that the cycling season has been halted due to the corona virus. The big question is whether Cavendish will participate in the Tour de France at the end of August.
These are the words of Rod Ellingworth, Bahrain McLaren’s team manager. “Cavendish is not sure of Tour selection. We have made an appointment for the season. If Mark wins races again, he’s good enough to take part in the Tour,” Ellingworth told the PA news agency. “The latter unfortunately no longer applies since we have hardly raced. It is now much more difficult for Mark to show that he is back at a reasonable level. His opportunities have shrunk,” said Ellingworth, who previously worked as a performance manager at Team Sky.
The manager also speaks with respect about his countryman. “He is technically one of the best sprinters in the world. If he has the right shape, he can also win without a train. Mark brings a lot, is very focused and can set goals like no other.” Cavendish rode the Saudi Tour and UAE Tour in the Middle East this year.
The thirty-time stage winner in the Tour was also not selected last year, when he was with Dimension Data. His current team Bahrain McLaren hopes to shine in the 2020 Tour de France especially with Mikel Landa and Wout Poels, two riders who may be able to ride for a good GC position.
One last Tour for Cav?
Roglic to Focus on the Tour first, Then Maybe the Vuelta
Primož Roglič is fully focused on the Tour de France (August 29-September 20) this year, but Jumbo-Visma’s Slovenian rider doesn’t rule out a Vuelta ride. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, anything is possible, but I focus completely on the Tour first,” he told El Tiempo.
Roglič hopes to become the first Slovenian winner of the Tour de France in a few months’ time, although he will have to share the lead with Tom Dumoulin and Steven Kruijswijk. “We want to perform as well as possible as a team. In cycling it is quite simple and fair if you are the best rider, especially in the mountains.”
“We want to win the race as a team with the strongest rider,” said the Jumbo-Visma rider earlier this month. The all-rounder now mainly thinks of the Tour de France, but one month after the Tour, the 75th edition of the Vuelta a España (October 20-November 8) is on the program and Roglič is the reigning winner of the Spanish tour.
The Slovenian does not yet know whether he will defend his title. “It is extremely difficult to come up with a detailed program now. We don’t even know if the Tour will run this year. I would like to defend my title in the Vuelta, but I am now on the Tour. We will see what happens next and whether it is possible.”
In the run-up to the Tour de France, Roglič will ride the Tour de l’Ain (August 7-9) and the Critérium du Dauphiné (August 12-16). The rider also hopes to add two more altitude training camps to be completely ready for the three-week stage race. Roglič finished fourth in Paris two years ago, more than three minutes down on overall winner Geraint Thomas.
Vuelta winner looking at the Tour first:
Peter Sagan To Ride Giro and Miss Some Classics
Chances are that we will not see Peter Sagan in some great classics this autumn. Slovak media reports that the Bora-Hansgrohe rider will also ride the Giro d’Italia after the Tour de France. As a result, Sagan misses the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Normally, Sagan would ride the Spring Classics, then appear at the start of the Giro d’Italia and also contest the Tour de France in the summer. Now that the calendar has undergone a big change, the three-time world champion also has to make choices. The choice seem to fall in favour of the Giro – where he makes his debut. In addition to the Ronde and Roubaix, Sagan can also forget Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Amstel Gold Race, Gent-Wevelgem and the Three Days Bruges-De Panne.
Sagan will probably start in Milan-San Remo (August 8), followed by the Tour de France (August 29-September 20) and the Giro d’Italia (October 3-25). This means that Sagan will complete 42 larger round stages in a span of 58 days.
No Roubaix this year for Sagan:
Nairo Quintana On the Way to the Tour de France
Nairo Quintana rides the Tour de l’Ain and the Critérium du Dauphiné in preparation for the 2020 Tour de France, which is the main goal of his season. The leader of the Arkéa-Samsic team has been on the final podium of the French Grand Tour, but he has never won.
Quintana is currently in his home country of Colombia, but he should travel to Europe in mid-July to prepare for the second part of the season. In a video by AS, he confirmed that he will ride two races before the Tour de France; the Tour de l’Ain and the Critérium du Dauphiné. “These are the races we have on the calendar for the main goal,” said the Colombian.
“We will continue to work hard,” Quintana added. “We want to continue the way we started the year and start the Tour de France in top shape.” Quintana had good performances at the start of the season including the national championships and victories in the Tour de La Provence and the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var. In Paris-Nice, he won the stage to Valdeblore La Colmiane and finished sixth overall.
Nairo Quintana Schedule:
Tour de l’Ain (7-9 August)
Critérium du Dauphiné (August 12-16)
Tour de France (August 29-September 20).
Nairo Quintana stage 3 win in Provence:
Elia Viviani Hopes for a New Date for Milan-San Remo
Milan-San Remo will be held on Saturday, August 8, according to the new UCI calendar, but Elia Viviani hopes the classic will take place two weeks later. “I have more time to prepare myself,” said the sprinter from Cofidis in conversation with La Gazetta dello Sport.
The UCI received a proposal a few weeks ago from the Italian cycling federation for the Italian cycling calendar. The most important changes: the Italians hope to organise the Tour of Lombardy (currently on October 31) on August 8, while Milan-San Remo moves on to August 22.
However, the international cycling union has not yet given the green light. Viviani is an advocate of moving Milan-San Remo. “This means that riders can prepare better. The race will therefore take place one week before the start of the Tour de France. That is also an advantage. I am for,” said the European champion.
Viviani will still have to tinker with his program for the remaining racing months, the Italian is waiting for the latest calendar changes. “One thing is certain: it is not possible to start in Milan-San Remo. If the race ends on August 8, driving some smaller races ahead of San Remo is an option.”
“I am thinking of the Route d’Occitanie in early August. Should Milan-San Remo be postponed to August 22, the Tour of Poland is again an option. Although the organisers there seem to opt for a difficult course. In short, it is a real puzzle.”
Euro champ, Elia Viviani:
Froome Doesn’t know How He, Bernal and Thomas Will Work in the Tour
Chris Froome still does not know how Team Ineos will start the Tour de France with three leaders, the four-time Tour winner said in an interview with Sky Sport. “Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas and I will be there, but I don’t know how we will split it,” said Froome.
However, Froome does not foresee any problems when the British team rides with three captains on the ship. “We are all professionals and above all friends. We know that we have to work together and that we must respect the goal: to win for the team. We all want to win, that is clear. But the most important thing is that the team wins.”
So it seems that the early departure from the team by Froome, of which there has been a lot of speculation recently, is no longer there. “I am working towards the Tour and can say that I am at a good level. The lockdown was very difficult for me and everyone, but I got used to riding on the rollers. Sometimes up to seven hours a day. Now I can work another two months to be ready for the Tour.”
Ineos – Top heavy at the Tour:
Contador thinks Bernal Will One Day will do the Giro-Tour Double
Marco Pantani is the last rider to win the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in the same season, more than twenty years ago. Alberto Contador knows from his own experience how difficult it is to repeat this daring feat, but has confidence in Colombian Egan Bernal.
“I think Egan Bernal will follow in Pantani’s footsteps and win the double one day,” said the Spaniard in conversation with La Gazzetta dello Sport. In the past, Contador tried to win the Giro and Tour in one season, but never managed to reach his top level in the French Tour. “It is not impossible, however.”
“It is important to be part of a strong team,” said Contador, who also made a shot at the magic double five years ago. The attacking climber won the Tour of Italy, but came no further than fifth in the final classification in the Tour. “You shouldn’t waste too much energy in the Giro.”
“I then had to compete against a very strong Astana team, led by Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa. I was always alone when they attacked, so I had to waste an unnecessary amount of energy. I then paid the bill in the Tour.” Contador is also looking at Team Ineos and Jumbo-Visma. “These teams are strong enough to do it, although you also have to take into account the interests of the different leaders. Miguel Induraín, Marco Pantani and Lance Armstrong were clear leaders, Team Ineos now has three potential Tour winners with Bernal, Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome.”
Contador backs Bernal:
Bora-Hansgrohe Interested in Miguel Ángel López
Miguel Ángel López still has a contract with Astana, but according to L’Equipe, Bora-Hansgrohe is interested in the Colombian climber. López, 26, started his professional career with the Kazakh WorldTour team five years ago. It is no secret that Astana is facing financial difficulties, early this year the team still had trouble paying salaries on time. The result: riders and staff had to wait a long time for their January and February salaries, which reportedly led to some unrest.
In early April, the team also decided to pay riders and staff less salary in the coming period, in response to the corona crisis and no races. López would like to have more financial security, according to L’Equipe, and therefore opt for a new employer. The climber has been very successful in the Astana outfit in recent years: He won the Tour of Switzerland in 2016 and two years later he managed to podium places in the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España. He also won the Tour of Catalonia, the Tour Colombia 2.1 and this year a mountain stage in the Volta ao Algarve.
Miguel Ángel López in the Vuelta’19:
Jasper Philipsen Focuses on Vuelta and Classics
Jasper Philipsen will make his first appearance in the Vuelta a España this season. The strong sprinter had to tinker with his program after the outbreak of the coronavirus, but remains focused on the Tour of Spain. “I will also drive several classics,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws.
Philipsen, 22, was looking forward to the Flemish Spring Classics, but the corona crisis threw a spanner in the works. “I will normally ride the Vuelta and some one-day races that do not overlap on the cycling calendar.” This means that the UAE Emirates rider will not participate in the 2020 Tour de France.
“It’s a tough Tour and the team is more focused on a good standings with Tadej Pogačar. Alexander Kristoff is the man for the sprints. So I probably won’t be at the start.” For the Classics, Philipsen has a choice of races such as Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo, the Canadian classics and Gent-Wevelgem.
The Scheldeprijs is also an option, as it takes place six days before the start of the Vuelta (October 20-November 8). Philipsen wasn’t expected to start the Tour of Flanders (October 18) and Paris-Roubaix (October 25).
Jasper Philipsen at the 2019 Tour:
Cavagna Wants to Ride the Tour de France
In almost four years, 24-year-old Rémi Cavagna has become one of the strongmen at Deceuninck – Quick-Step. However, the Frenchman has never started in the Tour de France, but Cavagna hopes to change that this year. “I would love to ride the Tour de France.”
Cavagna wants to secure a place in the Tour de France selection in the service of Sam Bennett and Julian Alaphilippe. “If I can ride the Tour de France, I will mainly ride for my teammates,” he hinted to L’Equipe. “I want to know how this race feels.”
In recent years, Cavagna has already raced the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España, not without success, because in the Vuelta the Frenchman won the nineteenth stage to Toledo last year. And although Cavagna is willing to ride one of these tours again, his heart goes out to the race in his homeland. “That is the dream. In addition, the Tour goes past my home (Clermont-Ferrand). So I know the roads and would like to be part of that adventure.”
The fourteenth stage, which starts from Clermon-Ferrand, could be interesting for Cavagna due to the hilly final around Lyon. As a domestique, the rider will not be blinded by his own chances: “If the opportunity arises, I will of course do everything I can to win a stage.”
Rémi Cavagna Vuelta’19 stage 19 win:
De Marchi Doubts on Season Restart
Alessandro De Marchi occasionally has doubts about the resumption of the cycling season this autumn, said the experienced Italian CCC rider to Tuttobiciweb. “There is a autumn calendar that guarantees many races, but I have to be honest: I am slightly pessimistic,” said De Marchi.
“I hope that the data that is now there will be confirmed,” the 34 year-old continues. “It is good that we as athletes have a privileged position, but there is a family behind everyone and it is important that everyone goes back to work.”
De Marchi says he has reservations about racing at the end of the year. “But I try to keep that pessimism in me at bay, but it is inevitable,” he admits. “The coronavirus is a problem that affects the entire world. I hope that we will quickly get a reference point when the season can start again, because that is also important for the teams.”
At CCC, De Marchi is directly affected by the crisis. The salaries have been cut considerably and the main sponsor will almost certainly leave after this season. “I don’t have a contract for next year either. But I don’t worry. I have known Jim Ochowicz for many years and I am confident. I can count on him, even though he’s in trouble now. It is a snowball effect.”
Alessandro De Marchi:
Iván García Has a Good the Future
Iván García Cortina will soon have to decide where his future lies. The Spaniard is currently racing for Bahrain McLaren, but his contract ends this year. “I feel good within the team, but I have great offers in my pocket,” said García on the Eurosport program La Montonera.
García, 24, made his debut for the Middle East WorldTour team in early 2017. The strong rider has grown into an excellent professional cyclist. He won stage in Paris-Nice at the beginning of this year. “I have to sign a new contract this year, fortunately I have some nice offers in my pocket.”
“I’m having a good time at Bahrain McLaren, but I still have to sort everything out. I actually wanted to wait for the Tour de France, but we have to take action now. It is a risk to wait a long time, as teams may drop out. I have to make a decision now, otherwise I may fall by the wayside.”
García hopes to challenge the most important cobbled classics this year. The fast Spaniard hopes for a good performance in Paris-Roubaix. Last year he made a strong impression in the Hell of the North classic, but he had to deal with mechanical problem at a crucial moment.
Iván García Paris-Nice’20 win:
Yves Lampaert Receives Offers
Yves Lampaert is a sought after rider for next season. The Deceuninck – Quick-Step Classics-man ends his contract this year and has announced that several teams have contacted his management. Team boss Patrick Lefevere has not yet talked about a contract extension, Lampaert told Het Laatste Nieuws.
“I am at the end of the contract, so that is not very favourable,” Lampaert outlines the situation. “Fortunately I have already ridden a good race in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (second behind Jasper Stuyven) and I had a good year last year. I’m certainly not worried, but it would have been less stressful if everything was normal.”
The 29 year-old from West Flanders has not yet had contact with his current employer about a contract extension. “I personally haven’t talked to Patrick about it yet. I don’t know if my managers have already spoken to him, but I do know that my managers have contacts with other teams who can already look ahead,” said Lampaert. He did not mention which teams are involved.
“It is still quite early, if it had to be a normal season. I hope that I will know a bit more by August and that I have already signed somewhere if necessary,” said the third placed rider at Paris-Roubaix last year. He certainly would like a longer stay at Deceuninck – Quick-Step. “I prefer to stay, but you never know what happens or what is on the way. The market is going to be very special this year and it is difficult to make predictions at the moment.”
Yves Lampaert leading Het Nieuwsblad:
Plumelec Mayor Does Not like the French Championship
The French championships normally take place from August 20-23 in Plumelec, but Mayor Stéphane Hamon does not feel like hosting a cycling party by then. “I don’t want to have a new outbreak of the coronavirus on my conscience,” he told French media.
Hamon previously considered it too premature to set a date for the French road championship. “So far, concerns and priorities have been in managing the health crisis. Their future is uncertain for many companies and measures are being extended further for the elderly.” Hamon called for the championship to be postponed.
The Frenchman prefers a month later. “It is forbidden until 1 September to organise events with more than 5,000 spectators. The French Championship is an event with more than five thousand spectators. So the title battle cannot take place in August, so don’t be mistaken about that.”
“We just have to be sensible now: the French championships are canceled.” Hamon does not believe in a French championship behind closed doors. “I’ll say it again: I’m not going to organise a national championship without strict security measures and guarantees. The city council feels the same way.” The mayor is afraid of a new outbreak of the coronavirus in northwestern France, as the other French cycling races in August – think of the Tour de l’Ain, the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge and the Critérium du Dauphiné – take place in the east and south of France. This means that riders have to travel a lot to get to Plumelec.
Hamon is clear to the French press, although no final decision has yet been made on the French championship. Marc Madiot hopes as a team manager and chairman of the board for a favourable outcome. “There is still a lot of uncertainty, the cycling calendar is not yet final. We must now be pragmatic. Much can still happen in the coming months, both positive and negative.”
No French champs?
Vaughters: “EF Education First will not disappear as a sponsor”
Team manager Jonathan Vaughters has made it clear on Twitter: EF Education First is still the main sponsor of WorldTour team EF Pro Cycling after this season. Rumours have it that the company will disappear from cycling, but Vaughters paints a completely different picture.
EF Education First, a company specialising in language courses and travel, has been hit hard by the corona crisis. The company had previously had to lay off many employees. “As a result, we have to take cost-saving measures,” Vaughters said earlier.
EF Pro Cycling negotiated salary reductions with employees and riders of the team in mid-April. “We consult with them on an individual basis,” said Vaughters. “We need their signature and willingness to make this work.” However, a search for a new main sponsor is not necessary.
Vaughters reacts strongly to the news that EF Education First would withdraw as a sponsor. “Dear journalists. It might be good to talk to people who are close to the team before publishing bullshit. Is EF Education First about to leave cycling? No. Are we interested in additional sponsors to get out of this misery? Yes.”
Vaughters emphases that it is not easy to survive as a cycling team. “It is a difficult situation for many people. We need to make some major cuts. And so we are also looking for new sponsors for the future. But EF will not leave cycling.”
The EF team in Colombia:
Bora-Hansgrohe Training Camp in Ötztal, Austria
From mid-June, Bora-Hansgrohe will be preparing for the return of the season with its first training camp. In order to ensure that the camp remains as safe as possible, a team-specific Corona Protocol has been specially devised, with the riders also being divided into groups. Ötztal offers perfect conditions for this, as accommodation is offered both in the valley as well as above 2,000m altitude.
“First and foremost, we are all very happy that things are finally commencing again. This camp serves as a type of prelude to the return to everyday life for all of us. We have two months to prepare for our first races, so the training camp is ideal and everyone is very motivated. Our partnership with Ötztal is really paying dividends, because they did everything they could to make this camp possible. We have perfect conditions, both at altitude and in the valley. Therefore we can offer tailored programs for our athletes, so that they’ll all be able to return to top form in August.” – Ralph Denk, Team Manager
“For the team, it is, and has always been, our aim, even before the Corona crisis, to offer a responsible and sustainable approach to healthcare for our riders and staff. The Corona pandemic has presented us with new challenges, but it does not lead us to question these values. Instead, we are expanding upon them with new concepts that we have introduced to adapt to our new circumstances. The basis of these concepts lies in infection prevention through hygiene and behavioural regulations, well thought-out control over work processes and contacts, and clearly regulated medical measures such as targeted Covid-19 testing.” – Jan-Niklas Droste, Team Doctor
“We are very pleased that Team Bora-Hansgrohe will soon commence training in Ötztal and prepare in this location for the race-intensive late summer. The team will be surrounded by the cycling attractions which sit right on our doorstep: the Timmelsjoch, which at 2,509 meters, is Austria’s highest road border crossing, the Rettenbachferner with its average gradient of 10.5% and a length of 13.5 kilometres, and the Ötztal Glacier Road, which climbs to 2,830 meters, and even surpasses the famous Cime de la Bonette in France. We are looking forward to gaining insights into the daily training routine of professional riders and are glad that, despite the intense preparations which they will be undertaking, there will still be time to pay a visit to Bike Republic Sölden, the James Bond World 007 Elements, and other attractions. We look forward to welcoming the entire team with our spectacular mountain scenery, hospitality and hopefully good weather.” – Oliver Schwarz, CEO Ötztal Tourism.
Ridley and Eddy Merckx Want to Stay in the Peloton
Bike producer Belgian Cycling Factory, the company behind the brands Ridley and Eddy Merckx, calls it premature that they would step away from cycling. Four teams ride on BCF frames and have an expiring contract. The bike maker would like to extend this, despite the corona crisis. “It is in our own interest to stay in the pack,” said the marketing manager.
Four professional teams ride Ridley and Eddy Merckx bicycles with Lotto Soudal, Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles, Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise and AG2R-La Mondiale. All four have an expiring contract with Belgian Cycling Factory, which may have reduced the sponsorship budget due to the crisis. “We are still negotiating with each of those teams,” manager Thibaut Norga told Het Laatste Nieuws.
“As with any negotiation, the modalities and amounts are reviewed, but it is not true that by definition we are going to cut heavily. Which is not to say that we will continue with the four teams or that the contracts will all remain the same. It is about new negotiations, nobody knows in advance how they will end.” said Norga.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, Belgian Cycling Factory has frozen payments to Lotto Soudal and AG2R-La Mondiale. The company does not want to think about quitting as a partner of professional teams. “We need heroes and signboards to display the product,” says the marketing manager. “In addition, we also need the direct feedback from the riders to continue to evolve in terms of technology. So it is definitely our intention to stay in the pack.”
Ridley (and Eddy Merckx) to stay in the peloton:
USA Cycling to Announce Olympic Long Team for Tokyo Games
The announcement will be livestreamed with host Steve Schlanger and special guest Patrick Dempsey.
USA Cycling will announce their Olympic Long Teams for the Road, Track, and Mountain Bike disciplines on June 2, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. MDT. The announcement will be livestreamed on the USA Cycling website. The show will be hosted by Steve Schlanger, a veteran broadcaster who’s done play-by-play for NBC for the Cycling World Championships and will have special guest Patrick Dempsey, the Honorary Captain of the Olympic Cycling Team and avid cyclist.
“We’re excited to announce our long team. Having a platform for our athletes to shine, and giving our audience the chance to engage with them is a new opportunity for USA Cycling,” said Jim Miller, the Chief of Sport Performance. “We believe we had a good team that would have competed in Tokyo this year. With an extra year to prepare we believe we will have a great team.”
The show will be produced by Dragonfli Media and feature hosting duties and a number of special guests all being piped in remotely from around the country. Long-time NBC Cycling and Olympics announcer Steve Schlanger will anchor the show with a special appearance by actor, director, and Honorary Olympic Cycling Team Captain, Patrick Dempsey. But the true stars of the show will be the athletes with five of the named athletes being interviewed remotely about their emotions in making the team and the challenges and opportunities surrounding an Olympics now taking place in July and August, 2021.
The event will also be promoted and available through media outlets like the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, Bicycling, VeloNews, and CyclingNews.
Visit USACycling.org for more information on the athletes, events and membership programs, and follow @USACycling across all channels for the latest on Team USA.
Kristin Armstrong – Olympic Games 2016 ITT women
ToAD 2020 Postponed Until June 2021
With great regret and disappointment, ToAD partners, staff, host cities and sponsors have made the difficult decision to postpone the 12th edition of Tour of America’s Dairyland presented by Kwik Trip until June 17 – 27, 2021.
“While Wisconsin has slowly started to re-open, our collective ability to determine how best to keep our generous series sponsors, amazing racers, dedicated staff, and loyal fans healthy and safe as COVID-19 evolves remains incredibly uncertain” said ToAD Executive Director Bill Koch.
“ToAD has built our reputation and success the past 11 years by delivering world class bike racing and outstanding community celebrations, and we promise to build upon that success into the future.”
Koch noted rider, host community, and sponsor support has been unwavering as ToAD staff and host communities continued to monitor, plan and held onto hope that a 2020 series would be possible. “We are incredibly grateful to everyone for their patience as we continued to monitor, plan and held onto hope that we could make 2020 possible. Focusing now on an even greater 2021 is the best path forward.”
Riders who took advantage of early on-line registration will be offered the option of a credit for next year or a refund if they so choose. ToAD features criterium-style bike races daily in different communities. Last year more than 100,000 spectators attended the series which featured more than 5,000 entries from nearly 1,000 racers including professionals, Olympians, and amateurs. About 70 percent came from outside of Wisconsin including 15 countries.
“Together with our host communities and sponsors, we cannot wait to welcome our riders back to Tour of America’s Dairyland in 2021,” Koch said. “ToAD 2021 will truly be a celebration of racing, wellness and community.”
US’s Top One-Day Race Maryland Cycling Classic Postponed to 2021
Today race organisers of the newly created Maryland Cycling Classic along with State, City and Baltimore County partners announced the event’s postponement until 2021 due to COVID-19 related health and safety concerns. Organisers also announced UnitedHealthcare (UHC) has signed on as the presenting sponsor of America’s top one-day professional cycling event and remains committed to supporting in 2021.
“Baltimore and the State of Maryland can gain confidence that while we’re postponing this event because it’s the right thing to do, we’ll be back bigger and better in 2021,” said Maryland Cycling Classic’s Chair John Kelly, also an event sponsor and President of Baltimore-based Kelly Benefit Strategies. “Despite the current environment, the team here at Maryland Cycling Classic is excited and proud to have secured support from UnitedHealthcare, as well as a host of other great corporate and community partners. The future is bright. We look forward to playing a major role in boosting the economy and profile for Maryland, the City of Baltimore and Baltimore County next year.”
One of only two U.S. races with the prestigious UCI Pro Series designation, the Maryland Cycling Classic was originally scheduled for September 6, 2020. The UCI, cycling’s international governing body, will announce its 2021 calendar later this year with the event’s date announced at that time.
“UnitedHealthcare’s partnership with the Maryland Cycling Classic provides a fantastic opportunity to bring elite cycling to Baltimore while promoting a healthy lifestyle,” said UnitedHealthcare’sChief Executive Officer – Mid Atlantic Region Joe Ochipinti. “While large gatherings are not permitted right now, we look forward to presenting this unique international sporting event to the millions of people we serve across Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region when it safely kicks off next year.”
Like many other major events around the world, the Maryland Cycling Classic is challenged by the current unknowns around COVID-19 and health and safety concerns while staging an outdoor, free, public event with large crowds.
“The great state of Maryland remains a beacon for world-class events,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. “We’re looking forward to hosting this international sporting event in 2021, while keeping public health and safety at the forefront of our planning. Maryland has deep roots in cycling and this race will mark a new era for the sport in our state.”
“We fully support the decision to postpone the Maryland Cycling Classic race until 2021, under the circumstances,” said Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. “Baltimore City eagerly looks forward to hosting a great event next year when residents, participants, and fans alike can enjoy this exciting event safely.”
The race, which is slated to start in Baltimore County and finish in the City of Baltimore,
will attract some of the world’s best cyclists, including Tour de France riders, Olympians, World and National Champions. The weekend-long celebration will include community and lifestyle events.
“I commend the organisers of the Maryland Cycling Classic for taking this difficult, but necessary decision to aid in Maryland’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said. “Baltimore County looks forward to celebrating our region’s assets and working together to ensure a safe and successful 2021 race.”
“While we’re obviously disappointed with the decision to postpone this year, we have a lot of good news to share from sponsors like UnitedHealthcare to the enormous support and endorsement for 2021 by the State of Maryland and City and County of Baltimore,” said Terry Hasseltine, President, Sport and Entertainment Corp. of Maryland. “This is an internationally sanctioned event with top athletes from 30 countries that will put the international spotlight on Baltimore and the state of Maryland with the race broadcasting on television worldwide. We were expecting up to 100,000 spectators roadside, so, our perspective on social responsibility has to be our key indicator.”
“I’m very excited to see UnitedHealthcare and other sponsors stepping up to support cycling during this time. I think their commitment to the sport will get us through this difficult period and it’s nice to know they believe in our sport,” said Gavin Mannion, the winner of the 2018 Colorado Classic and who races professionally for Rally Cycling, one of the top U.S.-based professional teams. “As an American athlete, it’s exciting to have a UCI Pro Series one-day event in the U.S. Since I’ve been a pro cyclist, the U.S. has had some very high-level stage races, but always seemed to lack in the one-day department, so, I’m already looking forward to next year.”
The event is owned by Sport and Entertainment Corp. of Maryland in conjunction with Maryland Sports Commission. Medalist Sports, Inc. are the event managers and affiliated-partner King of the Mountain Sports Marketing is the sponsorship, marketing, and communications agency. The groups have combined to develop and execute more than 50 world-class cycling events. The group has a combined 100+ years of experience including Olympic Games and World Championships.
“In addition to the solid partner commitments for the inaugural event in 2020, operationally we had made significant progress toward host venues, route options, team invitations, and broadcast strategy,” said Chris Aronhalt, Owner/President of Medalist Sports. “We share in the disappointment with the worldwide fans and all who celebrate the sport of cycling, but we also recognise the challenges that the pandemic has presented. Postponement is the best decision for the future of the Maryland Cycling Classic, as well as the Baltimore community. The future is bright, especially with UnitedHealthcare’s support.”
More information can be found at www.marylandcyclingclassic.us.
Moncoutié on the Armstrong Era
Lance Armstrong has been in the news again due to the two-part documentary on ESPN. Former teammate Tyler Hamilton watched the documentary with mixed feelings, now it is David Moncoutié’s turn to look back on a black period in cycling history in conversation with Cyclism’s Actu.
The now 45-year-old Moncoutié has always said that he never used doping. “As a result, I couldn’t compete for victory in a Grand Tour or a Classic. I turned pro in 1997 and in those years it was difficult to finish big cycling races without doping. Things went better after the Festina affair (during the 1998 Tour).”
“I felt that less was used, especially within the French teams.” Moncoutié was known as a talented climber for many years and finished thirteenth in the 2002 Tour. “I also felt competitive at the time, but from 2003 things went the wrong way again and I decided to change my goals and go looking for stage wins.”
The French climber quickly grew into a dangerous stage winner. As a Cofidis rider, he won two Tour stages and achieved several successes in the Vuelta a España with four stage victories and four mountain jerseys. “As a clean rider it was just difficult to ride for GC rankings in big races.”
Moncoutié talks of the 2002 Tour. “I really competed for a classification that year, tried to hook up my car every day, but the difference with Armstrong was still very big. Without doping, we would have had a completely different game.” However, the Frenchman is not frustrated eighteen years later. “In the circumstances I have managed to build a nice career. I have no regrets,” said Moncoutié, who ended his career in 2012 and is now an analyst for Eurosport.
Tour of Flanders Winner Roger Decock Dies at 93
Former cyclist Roger Decock died on Saturday night at the age of 93 after a short illness, reported Het Nieuwsblad. Decock was the oldest surviving winner of the Tour of Flanders. He won De Ronde in 1952.
The highlight of the Belgians career was his victory in the Tour of Flanders, in which he defeated Loretto Petrucci and Briek Schotte. The luckily for the three was that just before the finish solo leader, Louison Bobet, suffered from a mechanical problems.
His win in the Tour of Flanders was not the only major victory in Decock’s career, which would last from 1949 to 1961. In 1951 he managed to win the final overall classification of Paris-Nice. The Scheldeprijs and the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen are also on his palmarès.
Jean Forestier is now the oldest surviving winner of the Tour of Flanders. The Frenchman won in 1956 and is currently 89 years old. Decock spoke to Het Nieuwsblad about his first Tour de France (he would ride the Tour twice in total), in which he saw Dutchman Wim van Est fall into a ravine during the descent of the Col d’Aubisque. “He was wearing the yellow jersey then. I was fifth. In the race to Tarbes, Van Est and I were on the top of the Aubisque. On the descent Wim slipped at the first two turns, but on the third… He flew 70 metres down the ravine,” said Decock.
“I tried to inform everyone that Van Est had fallen badly, but nobody stopped,” he continued. “Until my sports director Sylvère Maes stopped and asked what I was doing there. I told him that Van Est was down there, that he needed urgent help. Maes told me it would be all right and I had to race on. I lost 25 minutes waiting, but I didn’t care. I found a person in need more important.”
1952 Tour of Flanders winner Roger Decock:
Former Tour Rider Henk Steevens Passed Away at 88
Former cyclist Henk Steevens passed away. The Limburger, who turned 88, rode the Tour once in 1953 alongside his fellow countrymen Jef Janssen and Jan Nolten. Steevens’ son Chris announced the death of his father.
After his victories in the GP of Aachen and the Grand Continental Prize of Hanover, Steevens was selected for the Dutch team in the Tour de France in ’53. Steevens was the youngest rider in the team of Kees Pellenaars at the age of 21, who said that he came to learn. On the first day, Steevens was immediately unlucky with a nail in his tire. In addition, he lost his watch. However, his team leader promised to provide a new one.
Steevens’ main task was to do the team work, so he had to not waste too much time. In the fifth stage he crashed, but was able to reach the finish despite a lot of pain. His participation in the French tour would last until the sixth stage. The young rider, too far behind, reached the finish in Le Mans and had to leave the race. Afterwards, it was found he had a torn muscle.
The Limburger would never return in the Tour. In 1954, although he was part of the pre-selection for the French race, this time Pellenaars left him out of the final squad. Big successes came from Steevens, who hung up his racing bike at the age of 23. After his active sports career, he became a sports director at Driessen Stoffen-Optilon, among others, and remained a well-known name in the region where he came from.
Henk Steevens at the Tour:
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