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As we look towards the Giro d’Italia start on Friday, there has been load of action in the Eschborn-Frankfurt, Tour de Romandie and the Vuelta Asturias, results and video. Remco Evenepoel will not ride the Tour de France – TOP STORY. Rider news: Amy Pieters now conscious, Annemiek van Vleuten out with a broken wrist, Egan Bernal able to race within a month, Peter Sagan training, Julian Alaphilippe to the Tour? Laurenz Rex back and Biniam Girmay new contract. Race news from the 2022 Giro d’Italia. Team news: AG2R Citroën to Dunkerque, W52-FC Porto doping and video interview with EOLO-Komata’s Vincenzo Albanese. *** Stop the war in Ukraine ***


TOP STORY: Remco Evenepoel Clear On Tour Participation
Julian Alaphilippe had a serious crash in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and sustained injuries that will put him out of action for a while. It is not certain whether the Frenchman will be ready in time for the Tour de France. Remco Evenepoel, who was a guest on the Belgian television program Extra Time Koers, was asked whether he would replace the World champion in the Tour. “No, we are not going to do that,” replied the 22 year-old Belgian.

“We haven’t even thought about that yet and we won’t really,” said Evenepoel. “The plan is fixed. Klaas (Lodewyck, DS) said in an interview that last year we made the mistake of changing and switching plans too much. We keep the tight schedule with the appropriate altitude training and the Vuelta.”

Evenepoel will go to the Vuelta a España, which starts on August 19 in Utrecht. Until then, however, the winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège will not be sitting around doing nothing: “The Tour of Norway, the Tour of Switzerland, the Belgian Championship and then an altitude training camp. This is followed by the Clásica San Sebastián, the Tour of Burgos and then the Vuelta. It doesn’t make much sense to change the schedule, because all the races I’ve ridden were very intensive. From Valencia to Liège, everything was with very high average wattages and heartbeats. I need rest now.”

Now that Evenepoel has won in Liège, he is also looking at other monuments. “The Tour of Lombardy,” he says, when asked about the race he would like to win one day. In 2020, the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider had a serious crash in the Italian classic, after which he had to rehabilitate for a long time. “Not as revenge or anything, but because that is a race that you can compare with Liège. Even more difficult, so I’m going to have to get a little stronger for that. But especially the symbolism of still winning there would be nice.”

No Tour de France for Remco yet:

 


Eschborn-Frankfurt 2022
Eschborn-Frankfurt, traditionally held on Labor (Workers) Day, was won by Sam Bennett. The Irishman beat Fernando Gaviria and Alexander Kristoff in a sprint from a sizeable peloton. Danny van Poppel led-out Bennett and finished fifth.

Fifteen kilometres after the start in Eschborn, the riders crossed the line in Frankfurt for the first time, but first the hills had to be climbed. After the flat run-up, the Feldberg (11km at 4.8%) was the first ascent on the route. This was followed by the Billtalhöhe (2.6km at 6.2%), two times up the Ruppertshain (1.3km at 8.6%) and four times over the Mammolshain (2.3km at 8.3%). After the second pass of the last climb, 40 kilometres from the finish, it was all flat roads to the finish.

Five riders went on the attack from the start. Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-KTM), Johan Meens (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB) Juan Antonio López-Cózar (Burgos-BH), Jens Reynders (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Daan Hoole (Trek-Segafredo) gained a lead of 5 minutes. In the peloton, Alpecin-Fenix ​​and BORA-hansgrohe set the pace. The teams of Jasper Philipsen and Sam Bennett ensured that the escape had less than 2 minutes with 100 kilometres left. The peloton accelerated on one of the hills, initiated by the men of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. It led to a split for a while, but soon everything came back together. An attack attempt by Nils Politt was also short-lived. The gap to the break was further reduced by the attacks behind. First Rolland and Meens, and finally only Rolland remained, he was joined by Jonas Rutsch (EF Education-EasyPost), who jumped from the peloton. Eventually, Meens and Reynders were joined by Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo).

The peloton had everything under control and everything came together 40 kilometres from the finish. As there were no more hills, the peloton prepared for a bunch sprint. Alpecin-Fenix ​​and BORA-hansgrohe were in charge, then Bahrain-Victorious and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert also hit the front. It was BORA-hansgrohe that launched Sam Bennett at the perfect moment in the last kilometre. This was mainly done by Danny van Poppel. The Dutchman watched as Bennett finished off his work ahead of Fernando Gaviria and Alexander Kristoff. This is Sam Bennett’s first win in 2022.

Race winner, Sam Bennett (BORA-hansgrohe): “Today everything worked out perfectly! My last win was already 350 days ago and it was definitely about time to win a race again – I’m more than happy this worked out today. Right off the gun the team put their stamp on the race and worked very hard for me. Danny van Poppel did a great lead out in the end and the only thing I had to do was to bring it to the line. About 100km from the finish I had to deal with cramps but luckily I was able to recover before the fast finale in Frankfurt. I really want to thank everyone who believed in me!”

2nd, Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a hard day out there. The circuits were hard but I’m happy for this result given the high level competition and to finish behind a great rider like Bennett. I’m heading into the Giro where I want to be : I’ve opened the legs up a bit this week and I’m feeling good again after the clavicle fracture I had. I’m back in form with some good results and I hope for more in the Giro.”

3rd, Alexander Kristoff (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “It’s a pity that I couldn’t reward the team with a victory today, because my teammates did a fantastic job. We were prepared for several different scenarios, because our strong roster had opportunities in both a hard race on the climbs and in the sprint. I was well surrounded all day, I felt good and was never in trouble on the hills. So after the last climb we decided together that we would work for a sprint. Biniam Girmay helped me in the final 100 metres and by launching the sprint, but it was difficult to beat Bennett today and I finished third in the slipstream of a deserved winner. I am happy to return to competition with a podium after a rest period of ten days.”

Eschborn-Frankfurt Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) BORA-hansgrohe in 4:27:52
2. Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
4. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain-Victorious
5. Danny van Poppel (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe
6. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
7. Arnaud De Lie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
9. Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis
10. Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) TotalEnergies.

 


Tour de Romandie 2022
Ethan Hayter took a second stage win in the Tour de Romandie. The British all-rounder was the best in the prologue on Tuesday and then on Thursday he sprinted to victory on Stage 2 in Échallens. Jon Aberasturi was second, top favourite Fernando Gaviria had to settle for third. Rohan Dennis held the overall lead.

Stage 2 was probably a little easier than the previous day, as the only climb was La Praz (6.7km at 4.6%). After the summit there was still more than 80 kilometres to the finish, so a day for fast men like Fernando Gaviria, Patrick Bevin and Jon Aberasturi.

The race started without Rigoberto Urán, Matthew Holmes and Kevin Colleoni. Four riders soon broke away. Diego Lopez (Equipo Kern Pharma), Toms Skujiņš (Trek-Segafredo), Baptiste Planckaert (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and Nils Brun (Swiss national team) took a maximum lead of 3 minutes. Jumbo-Visma, the team of leader Rohan Dennis, and UAE Team Emirates controlled the peloton and kept the break within distance.

On one of the many uncategorised climbs, just under 40 kilometres from the finish, the leading group fell apart. Planckaert and Lopez couldn’t hang on and Brun and Skujiņš rode away from their fellow escapees. With a lead of 1 minute, the two remaining front riders started the last 30 kilometres of the stage, but it wasn’t enough to stay out of the peloton’s grasp. With 20 kilometres to go, Brun and Skujiņš were caught and the men of INEOS Grenadiers took control of the race. The British team tried to lift the pace on the last uncategorised climbs, hoping to drop the pure sprinters. First it was Laurens De Plus on the front, followed by Andrey Amador. The pace was too fast for many, including Ethan Vernon.

Fernando Gaviria, the big favourite for the stage victory, managed the last climb without any problems and was ready for a sprint from a large group. Israel-Premier Tech took the lead with 2 kilometres to go, but AG2R Citroën soon took over. This was also short-lived, as the INEOS Grenadiers riders timed their lead-out to perfection. Ethan Hayter was piloted superbly, going into the sprint first and convincingly beating all his competitors. With a finger to his mouth, probably in response to his critics, Hayter celebrated his second victory in the 2022 Tour de Romandie. Aberasturi was able to get involved in the sprint and was second, Gaviria had to settle for third. Quinten Hermans showed himself again in the final to finish sixth. Rohan Dennis is still in the lead on general classification.

Stage winner, Ethan Hayter (INEOS Grenadiers): “We knew [the stage victory] was possible but I didn’t know how I’d be after [the crash] yesterday. I rode my way into the stage and the team were amazing today. It’s probably my nicest win – they took it on and we were in position to take the race on like that. To finish it off with a win is amazing. I was really lucky yesterday. Obviously I crashed, but to come out with nothing broken and still be able to ride today was fortunate. It was planned to take the race on if I felt okay and obviously we did the same last 40km right at the start. We’d seen it already so we pushed down the descent and on the climbs as well. It wasn’t necessarily to get rid of riders, but maybe to put people under pressure because the climbs are good for me, and I recovered well before the sprint.”

Overall leader, Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma): “It was good for us that a group of four got away. We didn’t get any help controlling the race today, so Michel Hessmann rode in front all day. In the final, INEOS took over. There was a big acceleration on the last two climbs. We stayed with the team around Rohan until the last kilometre. For us, the day went well. I have seen a strong team.”

3rd on the stage, Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m really happy with the stage, It was a hard day for me with lots of climbing . I’m feeling good, I did almost everything right and the team worked well but sometime you win and sometimes you lose. After two months without racing third place was good for me. My mind is focused on the race ahead and also on the Giro d’Italia.”

4th on the stage and 9th overall, Aleksandr Vlasov (BORA-hansgrohe): “The first part of the race remained pretty much under control, but afterwards it became a little more complex, with some crosswinds and narrow roads. So everyone was trying to stay up front there. I think we did well to stay safe and be in a good position in the finale. I even took fourth place, and Felix finished ninth, so we’re in good form ahead of the mountainous stages.”

Tour de Romandie Stage 2 Result:
1. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 4:04:55
2. Jon Aberasturi (Spa) Trek-Segafredo
3. Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (-) BORA-hansgrohe
5. Sean Quinn (USA) EF Education-EasyPost
6. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
7. Nikias Arndt (Ger) DSM
8. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën
9. Felix Großschartner (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma.

Tour de Romandie Overall After Stage 2:
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Jumbo-Visma in 8:34:43
2. Felix Großschartner (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:14
3. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:18
4. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Victorious
5. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates
6. Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
7. Patrick Bevin (NZ) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:20
8. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:21
9. Aleksandr Vlasov (-) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:23
10. Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates at 0:24.

 

Patrick Bevin won the Third Stage of the Tour de Romandie. The Israel-Premier Tech rider had the fastest legs in the final. Rohan Dennis held the lead in the general classification.

The fourth stage of 165.1 kilometres had several hard climb. The battle for the right break saw a very active Rémi Cavagna, the Frenchman of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl broke away not long after the start with Frédérick Wandahl (BORA-hansgrohe), but the peloton did not let the duo go. Not long after, Cavagna tried again, this time the French champion had Krists Neilands (Israel-Premier Tech) and Nans Peters (AG2R Citroën). The trio worked well together and soon had a lead of almost 2 minutes. In the peloton, the pace was set by Jumbo-Visma for leader Rohan Dennis. The lead of the three grew to 4 minutes. Neilands was first on the climbs and he became the new KOM leader. INEOS Grenadiers took the lead in the peloton, cutting the lead of the three bit-by-bit. Peters pushed on for a while, but at 19 kilometres he was also caught.

The hilly terrain meant that a number of fast men were dropped. Fernando Gaviria and Ethan Vernon, among others, were unable to keep up with the pace. At the front they were waiting for the climb of the Sédelles (4.3km at 4.7%). The first attack on that climb came from Carlos Verona, but the Movistar rider was quickly caught. Then Gino Mäder and Marc Hirschi tried, but they too couldn’t get away, mostly due to INEOS Grenadiers and Israel-Premier Tech, who had fast men Ethan Hayter and Patrick Bevin ready for action and a sprint seemed to be on the cards again. Rein Taaramäe of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert tried to outsmart the peloton and took a nice gap on the descent to the last kilometre, but he couldn’t hold off the peloton. The last kilometre was quite chaotic. In the end it was Bevin, who won the Tour of Turkey earlier this month, who had the best sprint. Hayter was surprised and finished in second place, overall leader, Rohan Dennis, was third. Quinten Hermans finished fifth.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Patrick Bevin (Israel-Premier Tech): “I knew this was a stage where I could be there at the finish and I really wanted to win this sprint. What a day. For a long time, I actually thought they would stay away. I know how strong Krists is right now and I was happy to see him get up the road. He’s such a good teammate and he has done so much work for us. It’s great to see him in the KOM jersey now. All day long I was thinking about that last corner. It was all about that last corner. I cued up on the wheel of Ethan Hayter [INEOS] and it worked out perfectly. It simply couldn’t have gone any better. It’s not often that you have a plan in your head and you get to execute it like that. Today, it really worked out perfectly. It’s amazing.”

8th on the stage and 3rd overall, Felix Großschartner (BORA-hansgrohe): “The last hour was really hectic today. For us it was particularly important that we were always positioned in front and we managed to do that quite well. So thanks to the whole team for the great cooperation here. On the last climb there were a few attacks. Aleks and I tried to counter the most important moves and we succeeded with this. In the final sprint we tried to be at the front, and although it didn’t work out 100%, overall it was a good day and we are looking forward to tomorrow.”

Tour de Romandie Stage 3 Result:
1. Patrick Bevin (NZ) Israel-Premier Tech in 3:53:27
2. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
3. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Jumbo-Visma
4. Dion Smith (NZ) BikeExchange-Jayco
5. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
6. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious
7. Finn Fisher-Black (NZ) UAE Team Emirates
8. Felix Großschartner (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe
9. Nikias Arndt (Ger) DSM
10. Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl.

Tour de Romandie Overall After Stage 3:
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Jumbo-Visma in 12:28:06
2. Patrick Bevin (NZ) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:14
3. Felix Großschartner (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:18
4. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:22
5. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Victorious
6. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates
7. Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
8. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:25
9. Aleksandr Vlasov (-) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:27
10. Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates at 0:28.

 

Sergio Higuita won the Queen Stage 4 of the Tour de Romandie. The young BORA-hansgrohe rider beat team mate Aleksandr Vlasov in the sprint. Rohan Dennis is still the overall leader.

Brandon McNulty, Fernando Gaviria, Martijn Tusveld and Romain Combaud didn’t start the penultimate stage for various reasons. Due to Sunday’s final time trial stage, a lot of riders saw stage 4 as their last chance for a win.

The break of the day was large. A group of twelve riders broke away: Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Oscar Rodriguez (Movistar), Ivo Oliviera (UAE Team Emirates), Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Marco Brenner (DSM), James Knox (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal), Ion Izagirre (Cofidis), Raul Garcia (Equipo Kern Pharma), Filippo Colombo, Nils Brun and Yannis Voisard (Swiss National team). They managed to take a lead of 4 minutes. On one of the many climbs of the day, Bahrain-Victorious decided to take matters into their own hands. The team of Damiano Caruso, Wout Poels and Dylan Teuns set a fast pace. The escapees’ lead dropped to less than 1 minute, which caused an acceleration in the leading group. A new race situation arose with Vanhoucke, Knox, Izagirre, Skujins, Rogriguez and Brun staying away from the peloton.

The six had 3 minutes at 60 kilometres from the finish. The pace in the peloton was set by Gijs Leemreize of Jumbo-Visma, who controlled the race for teammate and leader Rohan Dennis. At Les Pontis (7.3km at 7.5%), the penultimate categorised climb of the day, Bahrain-Victorious, Groupama-FDJ, AG2R Citroën and INEOS Grenadiers lifted the pace again. The lead of the now only three riders, dropped further. After the summit of Les Pontis, the riders were able to catch their breath for a moment, but the road soon started to climb again. One by one riders were dropped, as Izagirre and Rodriguez were still off the front. At 9 kilometres from the finish, the first real attack came. Movistar’s Einer Augusto Rubio went up to and past the two front riders. The Colombian gained a 10 second lead, but got stuck there. The pace in the peloton was provided by Sepp Kuss, who dropped Dylan Teuns and Thomas, among others. Jumbo-Visma had everything under control, leader Dennis was climbing well to the finish. Rubio holding out at the front, with a lead of 13 seconds when entering the last 3 kilometres. One and a half kilometres from the finish, Marc Hirschi of UAE Team Emirates clearly wanted to take the stage victory and took teammate Juan Ayuso with him. Rubio’s attack ended just 400 metres from the finish. At the finish Colombian Sergio Higuita sprinted convincingly for the win, although teammate Aleksandr Vlasov came very close. Spaniard Ayuso was third. Dennis finished 11th at 3 seconds, but held the GC lead.

Stage winner, Sergio Higuita (BORA-hansgrohe): “I could barely keep up with the pace uphill. I suffered from hay fever, just like in the Tour of the Basque Country. I could hardly keep up with the pace because I was having difficulties with my breathing. I was able to hang on. We have a very strong team here in the Tour de Romandie. Aleksandr (Vlasov) is very strong, also in the sprints. Hopefully he can win the general classification tomorrow by doing well in the time trial.”

Overall leader, Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma): “It wasn’t 100% perfect today. I lost three seconds. It went better than expected. The team was really great. Honestly, they rode great, I couldn’t wish for a better team. They made it as easy as possible for me today, I really have to thank them. By riding our own pace we were able to neutralise attacks from other riders. That was also the plan in advance. The first flat six kilometres are in my favour (in the final TT), I have to take advantage of that. The climb is 25 to 26 minutes all in, hopefully it will be good enough. Pain, I was in a lot of pain then (in 2018 when the race climbed to Villars). I was riding my time trial bike at the time, maybe that was the wrong decision. We still have to see how we’re going to do it this time, we’ll let the computers do the work. I follow the team and their decisions.”

3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m very happy with this result and the way the team rode today, I think we worked well together. I had a mechanical in the middle and Finn did a great job to tow me back to the front and then when there was still a rider out in front at the end Hirschi put in a huge turn to bring it back. I tried my best in the sprint but 3rd was all I could get. It’s great to be in second now but it’s very tight and things could all change tomorrow and I could lose placing or potentially even gain one so we will see. Also to wear the best young riders jersey is really satisfying at a big race like this.”

4th on the stage and overall, Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën): “It went well today. Everyone was really good and committed to the cause of helping me for the best result possible. It was really windy so it was really difficult to make an aggressive move sadly. I made a mistake in the finish, I just got a bit blocked really, otherwise I thought I had the chance to win. Disappointed on one end, but at the same time super ready for tomorrow because I just have to stay calm, trust the good legs, and do the best time possible tomorrow.”

Tour de Romandie Stage 4 Result:
1. Sergio Higuita (Col) BORA-hansgrohe in 4:58:52
2. Aleksandr Vlasov (-) BORA-hansgrohe
3. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates
4. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
6. Michael Woods (Can) Israel-Premier Tech
7. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain-Victorious
8. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
9. Simon Geschke (Ger) Cofidis
10. Carlos Verona (Spa) Movistar.

Tour de Romandie Overall After Stage 4:
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Jumbo-Visma in 17:27:01
2. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 0:15
3. Aleksandr Vlasov (-) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:18
4. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën at 0:25
5. Luke Plapp (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:30
6. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:32
7. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:37
8. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:41
9. Simon Geschke (Ger) Cofidis at 0:42
10. Steff Cras (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:45.

 

Aleksandr Vlasov won the Tour de Romandie overall. The Russian started the day third on GC, but he won the Final Hilly Time Trial Stage 5 and knocked Rohan Dennis off the top spot. Dennis finished outside the top-20 and dropped to 8th in the final standing.


In the hilly time trial it was up to the GC riders to pull out all the stops, in the hope of the stage and especially the overall victory. The start was in Aigle, the finish was in Villars. After a flat six kilometres the climbing started: 10 kilometres at an average of 8%. Rohan Dennis started the day as overall leader, but Juan Ayuso, Aleksandr Vlasov, Ben O’Connor and Luke Plapp were still within 30 seconds.

There were a lot of riders who were no longer eligible for a good final overall result. Of them, Harry Sweeny (Lotto Soudal) was initially the best. After that, Marco Brenner (DSM) and Rémi Cavagna (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) also had the lead for a while. 20-year-old Antonio Tiberi was the first to set a serious time. He took almost a minute off Cavagna’s time. Tiberi would not be in the lead for long. Shortly behind him was Ion Izagirre, who had fallen earlier in the week and was looking for stage glory. He trumped Tiberi and was at the top of the board for a long time. There was a good time from Ethan Hayter, who rode to a provisional third best time, behind Izagirre and Tiberi. After Geoffrey Bouchard and Patrick Bevin got close, it was eventually Rein Taaramäe who dethroned Izagirre. The Estonian was in turn beaten by Thibaut Pinot. After Geraint Thomas, Sergio Higuita and Sep Kuss, among others, couldn’t get close to the Frenchman’s time, Steven Kruijswijk came in. The Dutchman, 19th overall before the start, was faster than Pinot at the intermediate point, but lost time in the second part of the test, but managed to take the lead.

Kruijswijk didn’t enjoy it for long, because Damiano Caruso, who started behind him, was just a little faster. Simon Geschke, who was 9th overall, caused a surprise by beating Caruso. At the intermediate point, the 36-year-old Geschke had clocked the best time. At the same point, Vlasov was 28 seconds faster than Dennis, which put the Russian virtually 10 seconds ahead of the Jumbo-Visma rider overall. Vlasov finished 31 seconds better than Geschke, who had been in the lead until then. Ayuso, the next to finish, did not come close to the BORA-hansgrohe rider. He set the 8th time. In the end, the young Spaniard kept that position, as Dennis had completely blown. The Australian finished outside the top-20 and was 8th overall, one spot behind Steven Kruijswijk, who was 5th on the stage results. Vlasov had won overall. Gino Mäder, who came in 3rd in the final time trial, took second overall, just ahead of Geschke.

Stage and overall winner, Aleksandr Vlasov (BORA-hansgrohe): “My goal today was to win the GC and I did my best and I am super happy with the outcome. Yesterday was a good day with my second place but it was sort of a warm up for today. I am already in good form and I was very concentrated on my goal in the time trial. Today’s stage was most important as my objective was of course to win the general classification. I was pretty confident and I just tried to deliver a good time and ride very strong in order to take the GC.”

4th on the stage and 6th overall, Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious): “I’m really happy with today, because it was a really good performance, and I’m happy for Gino too, finishing 2nd on GC. Without the bad luck yesterday, maybe it could have been even better, but that’s bike racing.”

8th on the stage and 5th overall, Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a brutal stage and I really suffered at the end. If I look at the race overall I’m quite happy. A week and a half ago I was still recovering from illness so to be back at a level where I can compete at a good level is something to be happy about and gives me confidence for the future. In general it’s been a good year and I keep improving so the goal is to go to every race and keep learning and getting better.”

10th on the stage and 5th overall, Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën): “It was not my best day of the week but I went as hard as I could in the time trial. Taking fifth overall, while battling for stage wins, it’s a solid result. I am happy with the work of the whole team and proud of my overall position. It’s a good sign, especially since this season I have always finished in the top-10 in the final classification of the stage races that I have finished. I will stay in Switzerland for a few days to rest and reconnoiter some Swiss stages of the Tour de France before leaving for a training camp in the Sierra Nevada (May 12th to 29th). My form and my results are in line with what I expected for this time of year. The next goal is to get on the podium in a stage race.”

8th overall, Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma): “I’m completely exhausted. I really had nothing left in the legs in the last part of the climb. It was just a fight. This week has taken its toll, it was fighting every day. It was a great week with the team. I want to thank them. They were very good this week, I want to thank them for the good work. It was a pleasure to race for them. They gave me all the support they could and it’s a shame I couldn’t finish it. I will never be a Grand Tour classification leader, but I think I fought too much in the first stage to get as much time as possible with a view to the last two days in the mountains. But in the end it’s a good test to see what I can do for Primoz (Roglič), if we go into the high mountains in the Tour de France or another Grand Tour.”

Tour de Romandie Stage 5 Result:
1. Aleksandr Vlasov (-) BORA-hansgrohe in 33:40
2. Simon Geschke (Ger) Cofidis at 0:31
3. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:36
4. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious at 1:04
5. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:05
6. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:07
7. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 1:25
8. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates
9. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 1:26
10. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën at 1:40.

Tour de Romandie Final Overall Result:
1. Aleksandr Vlasov (-) BORA-hansgrohe in 18:00:59
2. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:50
3. Simon Geschke (Ger) Cofidis at 0:55
4. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 1:22
5. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën at 1:47
6. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious at 1:51
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:52
8. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Jumbo-Visma at 1:54
9. Luke Plapp (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers at 2:08
10. Einer Augusto Rubio (Col) Movistar at 2:13.

 


Vuelta Asturias – Julio Alvarez Mendo 2022
Simon Yates won the Stage 1 of the Vuelta Asturias. Yates’ team BikeExchange-Jayco dominated the entire stage. Yates is also the first leader on the general classification.

The Vuelta Asturias started stage 1 in Oviedo for a hilly 168.9 kilometres. A leading group of five riders formed: Isaac Cantón (Manuela Fundación), Tomas Contte (Aviludo-Louletano-Loulé Concelho), Xavier Cañellas (Java Kiwi Atlántico), Jose Maria García (Electro Hier Europa-Caldas) and Peio Goikoetxea (Euskaltel-Euskadi). The five took a 3 minute lead on the peloton, which had been held up by a level crossing.

In the peloton, BikeExchange-Jayco gradually eat into the lead of the five. They were caught about 35 kilometres from the finish. The difficult course also took its toll and many were dropped. In what remained of the peloton, Yates still had a number of teammates. The Australian team took the initiative as the group was getting smaller and smaller.

At the foot of the final climb it was not Yates, but teammate Damien Howson who attacked. The Australian didn’t get too far away, he was the ideal springboard for his leader. Six kilometres from the finish, Yates decided to make his move. The winner of the 2018 Vuelta a España smoothly rode away. On the descent to the line, the Briton was able to hold on to his lead. Vincenzo Albanese (EOLO-Kometa) finished second, Alexis Vuillermoz (TotalEnergies) third.

Stage winner and overall leader, Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco): “First of all, I have to thank all of my teammates for the great work they have done all day long. In the finale, we kept the pace high to avoid some attacks and be in the top positions at the start of the last climb. Damien Howson made a move, got a gap and then I attacked over the top. The sensations are good, and the legs responded very well. Tomorrow is the Queen stage, and it would be nice to be able to win again, also because my goal remains to win the overall.”

Vuelta Asturias – Julio Alvarez Mendo Stage 1 Result:
1. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange-Jayco in 4:26:44
2. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa at 0:14
3. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) TotalEnergies
4. Jonathan Lastra (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
5. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) EOLO-Kometa
6. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
7. Damien Howson (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
8. Iván Ramiro Sosa (Col) Movistar
9. Joaquim Silva (Por) Efapel Cycling
10. Mikel Bizkarra (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi.

Vuelta Asturias – Julio Alvarez Mendo Overall After Stage 1:
1. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange-Jayco in 4:26:34
2. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa at 0:18
3. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) TotalEnergies at 0:20
4. Jonathan Lastra (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:24
5. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) EOLO-Kometa
6. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
7. Damien Howson (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
8. Iván Ramiro Sosa (Col) Movistar
9. Joaquim Silva (Por) Efapel Cycling
10. Mikel Bizkarra (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi.

 

Iván Ramiro Sosa won Stage 2 of the Vuelta Asturias on Saturday. The Movistar rider attacked on one of the day’s climbs, while leader Simon Yates couldn’t hang on. Lorenzo Fortunato fought back, but the Colombian had gone. Sosa is also the new overall leader.

After all the climbing in the opening stage on Friday, there were a lot of mountains on the stage 2 menu. A total of 202 kilometres, but the first 100 kilometres were fairly easy. Early in the stage there was a large leading group with Orluis Aular (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Jesús Ezquerra (Burgos-BH), Alessandro Fancellu (EOLO-Kometa), Txomin Juaristi (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Paul Ourselin (TotalEnergies), Vinicius Rangel Costa (Movistar), Vojtech Repa (Equipo Kern Pharma) and Michel Ries (Arkéa Samsic).

The climbing started to take its toll at the front, only Aular, Fancellu, Juaristi, Ourselin and Ries were left in the front group. In the peloton it was BikeExchange-Jayco who took the initiative. The team of GC leader Yates took care of the pace, so that the lead was not too big. At 23 kilometres, suddenly Yates had to let go. That was the signal for Iván Ramiro Sosa to attack. The Movistar rider got away and started a long solo. Lorenzo Fortunato was chasing behind. The group of favourites followed at less than 1 minute.

The chase was on between the Colombian Sosa and the Italian Fortunato. The EOLO rider was only 18 seconds behind going into the last 10 kilometres, but he couldn’t get any closer. Into the last kilometre, Sosa still had a lead of 20 seconds and it was clear that the victory would go to the Colombian. Fortunato was second at 11 seconds. Third place went to Igor Arrieta, who came very close to the Italian. A great solo from the Movistar rider, who won for the first time this season. The 24 year-old was also the new overall leader. Yates eventually crossed the line in 40th place, more than 11 minutes behind winner Sosa.

Stage winner and overall leader, Iván Ramiro Sosa (Movistar): “The legs today felt way better than yesterday. The Carabanzo climb was maybe too explosive, not so good for us, but things changed for the real better today. I’m so happy with the team’s work today – they were so strong and well coordinated. We got to the foot of the Acebo in perfect position, saw riders struggling all over the group, and I asked my team-mates to push as hard as possible – the work as impressive. We saw BikeExchange and Yates doing so strong yesterday, in what was already a demanding stage, but the situation was in our favour today. The pace was hard from the beginning, they had to work from early, and we were pretty much equal for the final climb. We were a bit down in morale after yesterday, but we knew we were strong, and could turn the tables today. We came here to Asturias with the aim of improving our form heading into the Giro, to do well in Italy afterwards. Now that we’ve got this lead, we have to defend it and continue this progression towards Italy.”

Vuelta Asturias – Julio Alvarez Mendo Stage 2 Result:
1. Iván Ramiro Sosa (Col) Movistar in 5:12:39
2. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) EOLO-Kometa at 0:11
3. Igor Arrieta (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma at 0:12
4. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar at 0:34
5. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
6. Mikel Bizkarra (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
7. Cristián Rodríguez (Spa) TotalEnergies at 1:08
8. Gotzon Martín (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 1:19
9. Sergio Samitier (Spa) Movistar
10. Kévin Vauquelin (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 2:03.

Vuelta Asturias – Julio Alvarez Mendo Overall After Stage 2:
1. Iván Ramiro Sosa (Col) Movistar in 9:39:27
2. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) EOLO-Kometa at 0:15
3. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:44
4. Mikel Bizkarra (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
5. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar at 0:48
6. Igor Arrieta (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma at 0:56
7. Cristián Rodríguez (Spa) TotalEnergies at 1:18
8. Gotzon Martín (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 1:48
9. Kévin Vauquelin (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 2:32
10. Joaquim Silva (Por) Efapel Cycling.

 

On stage 2 Simon Yates couldn’t hold the leaders, but on the Final Stage 3 he was back on form to take the stage win. Yates crossed the finish-line solo, but he was already well behind on the GC, Iván Ramiro Sosa kept his lead to take the final overall win.

Iván Sosa led the general classification after two stages, but a lot could still happen in the final stage from Cangas del Narcea to Oviedo. In the final the riders were faced with a very steep climb. The Violeo is just over 3 kilometres long and has an average gradient of 9.2%. It is an ideal place for a final skirmish for the overall victory.

Ibon Ruiz (Equipo Kern Pharma), Ángel Madrazo (Burgos-BH), Unai Iribar (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Roberto González (Java Kiwi Atlántico) attacked from the start. These four escapees managed to get away from the peloton, but they were never allowed much space. Due to the fast pace of BikeExchange-Jayco, the team of Simon Yates, the gap was limited to just under a 1:30. Before the last climb, the quartet was caught.

Then the race exploded. Yates, who couldn’t ride with the favourites yesterday, was led out by his teammates and then went into battle himself. Initially, Alessandro Verre (Arkéa-Samsic) was able to follow, but towards the top of the climb the Italian also had to let go and Yates crossed the summit alone. The British rider then only had the final 10 downhill kilometres to go. A chase group, including Sosa and two of his teammates, formed behind Yates, but it was not possible to catch Yates, who won the stage. With Sosa in that group he was assured of the final win.

Stage winner, Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco): “It was a good race today in the end. I had a little bit of a bad day yesterday, just with the heat. It was the first really hot race that I had done all year but today I bounced back very well, the legs felt good and the team rode really well again. They controlled all day, set me up well for the final attack on the last climb, so it all went to plan and now we are looking forward to the Giro, which starts already in five days.”

Final overall winner, Iván Ramiro Sosa (Movistar): “So happy about this victory! The team has helped me a lot over the last three days, also today. It was a fast race all day, with that tough finish — I think we managed our efforts well, keeping in mind that positioning and the lead-out into the last climb were key to achieve the goal we had in mind with the GC. All team-mates reacted well after the big effort from yesterday, even if today was an ‘easier’ one, just about controlling, following the moves. We were calm as Yates attacked, we could let him go as he wasn’t a threat to the overall result, so we just kept our own pace at the Violeo, kept the other rivals under control and finished this off. This victory gives us some joy and motivation heading into the Giro, where we hope to do well. We’re confident we can do well over the next three weeks.”

10th on the stage and 2nd overall, Lorenzo Fortunato (EOLO-Kometa): “Today’s goal was to win with Albanese. On the last climb Yates attacked and nobody was able to follow his wheel to the finish. Albanese got again a very good second place and I got a second position in the general classification, showing that we are at a very good moment. I’m happy, I have a very good feeling and a very high morale, and I believe that we can do great things at the Giro d’Italia.”

Vuelta Asturias – Julio Alvarez Mendo Stage 3 Result:
1. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange-Jayco in 2:47:08
2. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa at 0:37
3. Kévin Vauquelin (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
4. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) TotalEnergies
5. Alessandro Verre (Ita) Arkéa Samsic
6. Pelayo Sánchez (Spa) Burgos-BH
7. Callum Scotson (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
8. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar
9. Jonathan Lastra (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) EOLO-Kometa.

Vuelta Asturias – Julio Alvarez Mendo Final Overall Result::
1. Iván Ramiro Sosa (Col) Movistar in 12:27:12
2. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) EOLO-Kometa at 0:15
3. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:44
4. Mikel Bizkarra (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
5. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar at 0:48
6. Igor Arrieta Equipo (Spa) Kern Pharma at 0:56
7. Kévin Vauquelin (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 2:28
8. Gotzon Martín (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 2:46
9. Joaquim Silva (Por) Efapel Cycling at 3:04
10. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) TotalEnergies at 3:14.

 


Update Amy Pieters: There is consciousness now
The condition of Amy Pieters has changed. There is consciousness. This means that she can communicate slightly non-verbally. Amy recognises people, understands what is being said and is able to carry out more and more assignments.

Doctors cannot yet say what residual symptoms and remaining abilities Amy Pieters will have as a result of the brain injury.

The Dutch road cycling champion fell at the end of December during a training camp in Calpe. She lost consciousness and suffered severe brain damage. After a first life-saving operation in the hospital of Alicante, Amy Pieters remained in a coma for a long period. On January 6th she was transported from Spain to a hospital in the Netherlands.

Since mid February Amy Pieters has been following a specialised intensive neurorehabilitation programme at one of the member institutions of the EENnacoma network. This institution is working towards a suitable continuation of the rehabilitation process.

The family appreciates the enormous sympathy shown, but also asks everyone to respect the privacy of those involved.

Amy Pieters improving:

 


Van Vleuten Suffers Wrist Fracture in Training Crash
The Movistar Team regrets to inform that her leader Annemiek van Vleuten sustained a broken right wrist after a training crash on Thursday. The Dutchwoman successfully underwent surgery last night at the Rijnstate Hospital in Arnhem.

While no timeline has been set on Van Vleuten’s recovery, the doctors’ assessment on her fractures after surgery confirms a full recovery is to be expected. Annemiek’s approach to the Grand Tours in July (Giro d’Italia Donne + Tour de France Femmes) will not be compromised by the injury, either.

As the Movistar Team management remains committed to putting health before any sporting goals, no plans have been established on Van Vleuten’s return to racing. The Spanish races the Olympic champion was going to compete at in May (Navarra Classics, Itzulia Women and Vuelta a Burgos) are currently out of her schedule.

Van Vleuten and the Movistar Team wish to thank the medical team at Rijnstate for their quick arrangements to allow for a same-day surgery, which is expected to help with Van Vleuten’s recovery times.

Annemiek van Vleuten out of action:

 


Egan Bernal’s doctor: “He can race again within a month”
Egan Bernal will be able to race again within a month. That is what Colombian Sports quotes from the mouth of Gustavo Uriza, neurosurgeon at La Sábana, the clinic where Bernal was treated after his crash. Uriza called Bernal’s fractures “cured” in an online press conference.

“From the 120th day after the accident, I think Egan will be able to return to his maximum power, stand on the pedals and resume competition, in shape,” said Uriza last Wednesday, 95 days after Bernal crashed into a bus. “His coaches in Europe are the ones who have to give the green light. But as far as I’m concerned, he’s ready at that point.”

On Monday, January 24, the Colombia climber collided with a stationary bus at high speed while training in his home country. He ended up in the ICU with a broken spine, a broken right femur and a broken right kneecap. The 25-year-old INEOS Grenadiers rider also suffered multiple broken ribs, a perforated lung and chest trauma. He had to go under the knife several times and said he almost suffered a spinal cord injury.

A month after his accident, Bernal was able to ride a recumbent bike indoors again, two months after the incident he cycled outside for the first time. A few days ago it was already announced that the Colombian would complete the last phase of his rehabilitation in Europe.

Bernal back soon?

 


Peter Sagan Training for the Tour de Suisse and Tour de France
Peter Sagan has been given the green light by his team to start training again. The Slovakian leader of TotalEnergies had a bad spring and had to stop early. Now he is shifting his focus to the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de France.

Sagan faced a training delay at the beginning of this year after he was infected with the corona virus for the second (or third) time. After that, he was still unable to show much form. The triple World champion abandoned Tirreno-Adriatico, because he was sick again. Sagan also had to give up in Gent-Wevelgem and his team decided to keep him out of the Tour of Flanders. The last race he rode was the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe, where he climbed off on the second day.

TotalEnergies indicated that Sagan has not been 100% physically and mentally fit in the early stages of this season. In recent weeks, the medical staff has been investigating the reason. The French ProTeam does not say what exactly came of this. However, the results are that Sagan is allowed to train again.

“I am very happy that I can start training again. I would like to thank the entire team at TotalEnergies for their support during this difficult time. Especially Jean-René Bernaudeau, team doctor Louis Noisette and my coach Jens van Beylen,” said 32-year-old Sagan, who will go to a training camp in Utah in May. There he will prepare for his goals in the summer.

We should see Sagan in the summer:

 


Alaphilippe is racing against the clock: “The big question is whether Julian will be there in the Tour”
Julian Alaphilippe hopes to shine again in the Tour de France this summer, but the question is whether the World champion will be ready in time for the French race. The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider suffered several fractures during Liège-Bastogne-Liège. “We will do everything we can, but it will be a race against time,” said Patrick Lefevere.

In his weekly column in Het Nieuwsblad, Lefevere talks about Alaphilippe’s Tour opportunities. “Julian is recovering from a collapsed lung, a broken shoulder blade and two broken ribs, which have also been displaced. He is not allowed to move for three weeks, which is a torment for him. He will initially recover with his family in Ronse. He is not allowed to fly in his condition.”

“The big question is whether Julian will be there when the Tour departs in Denmark. We will do everything we can, but it will be a race against time. If, in the most favourable case, he is back on his bike in mid-May, he still has six weeks. The Tour starts on Friday 1 July, a week earlier than usual. That is of course not an advantage. Bonus: Julian is not one to gain weight easily.”

Lefevere does not intend to send Remco Evenepoel to the Tour (see TOP STORY), if it turns out that Alaphilippe does not get fit in time for La Grande Boucle. “A Tour with or without Alaphilippe makes a big difference, commercially and sportingly. What we are definitely not going to do is use Remco Evenepoel as a stand-in. As he himself indicated in Extra Time Koers: we stick to his schedule. Not the Tour, but the Vuelta.”

When will the World champ be back?

 


Laurenz Rex Returns to the Peloton
Laurenz Rex will return to the peloton on May 1 for the Eschborn-Frankfurt race where he will be in familiar territory, having been born in Marburg, near Frankfurt. Laurenz had suffered a heavy fall at Dwars door Vlaanderen (30/03) when he was in full condition to tackle the Tour of Flanders and, above all, Paris-Roubaix, where he was ranked 21st in 2021, during of his first participation. Wounded in the right shoulder in Flanders, he therefore had to sideline, death in the soul. Completely recovered today, he will present himself in Frankfurt and, from Tuesday, at the 4 Days of Dunkirk, with great motivation and an undisguised pleasure in finding a bib.

Laurenz Rex: “When I fell in Dwars door Vlaanderen, I didn’t immediately realise what I was suffering from. The exams very quickly revealed to me that my participation in Paris-Roubaix was frankly compromised. It was a big goal for me though. I was very disappointed. I had to go six days without a bike, unable to do anything because of my injuries, a dislocation of the right shoulder and collarbone and a fracture of the joint capsule. Honestly, I would have preferred to have a broken collarbone, which would have been easier to manage. I was then able to resume training gradually. Everything is now back to normal. I am very motivated to find the peloton.”

Job: “I tell myself, with hindsight, that falling is part of my job and that it will not be my last fall. But you have to know how to be strong and show that you know how to come back, keep the motivation, the will; I think it also trains a good runner. You always have to find the positives to move forward.”

Frankfurt-Dunkirk: “I am back in competition with two great races which will help me find the right rhythm. Eschborn-Frankfurt is a difficult race but I will try to give my maximum, even if I am, it is logical, in lack of rhythm and intensity of race; I certainly worked on this in training, but the race is always different. I will continue with the 4 Days of Dunkerque, a race in six stages which is very interesting for me. I think I will find all my means and my rhythm after two or three stages.”

Rex back racing:

 


Biniam Girmay Hailu Signs a New Long Term Contract
Biniam Girmay Hailu stays loyal to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. The 22 year old Eritrean rider signed a new long term contract with the Belgian team until the end of 2026.

Since his arrival in 2021, the rider from Asmara performed incredibly well. He entered cycling history by winning a silver medal at the U23 World Championships in Leuven and became the first African rider to win a major race thanks to his victory in Ghent-Wevelgem in March, at the age of only 21.

This historical success intervened two days after an impressive performance at the E3 Classic Harelbeke, his very first Flemish classic in which he finished fifth. One week earlier, he took twelfth place in Milano-Sanremo whereas he was participating in his first ever Monument.

Biniam Girmay combines his qualities of a classics specialist with his fast legs, who enabled him to win the Trofeo Alcúdia on his second race day of the season, before finishing three times among the best six riders in his first Paris-Nice. Last year, his leg speed also enabled him to defeat his competitors in the Classic Grand Besançon Doubs, his first victory on European soil.

His performances in season 2021 were crowned with the overall victory in the UCI Africa Tour, meaning that he was the African rider with most UCI points. He was also awarded the title of African cyclist of the year for the second time in a row.

This Sunday, Biniam Girmay will return into competition one month after his historical success in Ghent-Wevelgem, on the occasion of the classic Eschborn-Frankfurt, alongside four-time winner Alexander Kristoff.

Biniam Girmay Hailu: “Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux is my family, there’s no other place I would rather be. I’m as motivated as ever to defend the team’s colours until at least 2026. I feel happy in this team and that’s what counts most, because that’s what enables me to give the best of myself. There’s also this shared ambition, all team members head in the same direction with the aim of reaching new milestones each year. These dynamics push everyone to surpass themselves. Another factor that distinguishes Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux from any other team is its management. From the first day, the Performance cell listened to my needs and showed its confidence by establishing a tailored race program and a long term plan. They believed in my capabilities of performing in the most prestigious races and I’m very grateful for that. I’m convinced that my compatriots will be happy to hear that my future is intertwined with the team who gave me the opportunity to write important pages of African cycling history. It is a winning combination which will hopefully lead to many more unforgettable moments in the next years!”

Jean-François Bourlaert (CEO): “Continuing the adventure we started last summer with Biniam Girmay was a matter of course. We have always believed in his capabilities and his talent and this is probably what convinced him to join our project last year when he had to reorientate his career. From his first pedal strokes in our colours we have been able to welcome him as a family and at the same time offer him a long term plan and a performance oriented structure, thanks to our members, our experts, our technical partners etc. I was convinced that he would be the first African winner of a major classic. But he has been faster than our predictions, so much the better! We are proud that we can continue working with Biniam until at least the end of 2026. This offers us nice perspectives in line with our long term philosophy, which has always been based on long relationships with our partners. Let’s not forget that Biniam is only 22 years old and that we cannot cut corners in his development. I’m convinced that we can surround him with the right people and a good team and that Biniam and our other riders will offer us many more exceptional emotions!”

Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager): “I’m very proud on the rapid development of both the team and of Biniam Girmay! Thanks to our effort in terms of scouting we managed to create an excellent base for the future. Biniam presented himself as the precursor of this new generation of IWG riders. Biniam aspires to feel fulfilled in a professional environment more than anything else. The family atmosphere that we managed to preserve throughout the years thanks to the contribution of everyone, enables us to create an ideal performance climate. To guarantee the development of young talents such as Biniam, we balance our roster with the presence of very experienced riders. The mutual confidence we have built with Biniam has a positive influence on his performances. Next Friday, we start the second phase of the long term plan which we established with Biniam. He will be at the start of the Giro d’Italia, his first Grand Tour, with the goal of winning a stage and we especially want to get well through those three weeks. In the future, we will keep our focus on his development in the Flemish classics and the sprint. Together, with the management and the Performance cell, we have a clear idea of how we can reach the next steps with Biniam so we are looking to the future with confidence. Taking into account his young age, we consider it important to take time for his development. In name of the management I want to thank Biniam and his management for the confidence in our project.”

New contract for Biniam Girmay:

 


Giro d’Italia 2022: Not Long Until the Start from Budapest
The provisional entry list has been announced. Many of the best sprinters, finisseurs and GC riders will compete on the roads of the Corsa Rosa between Budapest and Verona.

With one week to go, the provisional entry list for the 105th Giro d’Italia, departing on Friday 6 May from Budapest, has been announced. Riders will battle across 21 stages of the Corsa Rosa, crossing the finish line at the Verona Arena on Sunday 29 May.

General Classification
Among the riders wanting to write their name on the Trofeo Senza Fine, in the general classification, are three previous winners of the Corsa Rosa: Vincenzo Nibali (2013 and 2016), Tom Dumoulin (2017) and Richard Carapaz (2019).

Noted contenders for the Maglia Rosa will also include: João Almeida (15 days wearing the Maglia Rosa in 2020), Simon Yates (4 stages at the Giro between 2018 and 2021 and who came third on the final podium in 2021), Miguel Angel Lopez (third in the Giro in 2018), Jai Hindley and Wilco Kelderman (second and third in the Corsa Rosa in 2020), Giulio Ciccone (two stages and the Maglia Azzurra in 2019), Esteban Chaves (second in 2016), Alejandro Valverde (who returns to the Giro six years after his podium finish in 2016) and Mikel Landa (three stages wins and a final podium in 2015). Other riders for the general classification are Emanuel Buchmann, Hugh Carthy, Pello Bilbao, Guillaume Martin, Romain Bardet and Tobias Foss.

Stage Hunters
Leading the ranks is the Dutch phenomenon Mathieu Van Der Poel, who will be making his debut on the roads of the Giro d’Italia and playing his cards in the sprints too. Also competing for stage wins are Attila Valter (who wore the Maglia Rosa in 2021), Biniam Girmay (the first African rider to win a classic at Gent-Wevelgem in 2022) alongside former Giro stage winners Alberto Bettiol (2021), Lorenzo Fortunato (2021), Davide Formolo (2015), Diego Ulissi (8 stages, the last one in 2020), Andrea Vendrame (2021), Alex Dowsett (2020), Josef Černý (2020), Enrico Battaglin (2018, 2014, 2013), Cesare Benedetti (2019) and Lennard Kamna.

Sprinters
With seven sections suitable for fast wheels, there will be many opportunities for some of the best sprinters in the world to compete for both stage wins and for the Maglia Ciclamino, including: Mark Cavendish (15 wins in the Giro), Arnaud Démare (5 career stages and the Maglia Ciclamino in 2020), Caleb Ewan (5 stages), Giacomo Nizzolo (twice winner of the points classification and one stage in the Giro in 2021) and Fernando Gaviria (Points Ranking in 2017).

 


Mark Cavendish to Ride the Giro d’Italia
Mark Cavendish will be at the start of the Giro d’Italia at the end of the week. The 36-year-old sprinter will attend an online Giro press conference with his Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team next Wednesday.

Cavendish had long been scheduled for the first Gran Tour of the season, but now his team has allayed the last doubts. This may also be an indication that Fabio Jakobsen will make his first appearance in the Tour de France this year. Team manager Patrick Lefevere still took into account a scenario in February in which Cavendish could also participate in the Tour.

What we now know for sure is that Cavendish will participate in the Giro in May. The Italian round now holds no more secrets for Cav. The experienced sprint bomber also participated in the Tour of Italy in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Cavendish was extremely successful on Italian soil in those years, with no fewer than fifteen individual stage victories and two team time trials. He also won the points classification in the 2013 Giro.

And now, nine years after his last Giro appearance, Cavendish is making his appearance in the Italian round again. The sprint trump card of Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl hopes to be successful again this year in the mass sprints, but it will certainly not be on a silver platter. The provisional list of participants also includes the names of Caleb Ewan, Giacomo Nizzolo, Fernando Gaviria, Alberto Dainese and Arnaud Démare.

Cavendish to Italy:

 


Michael Mørkøv Replaces Injured Ilan Van Wilder for the Giro
Michael Mørkøv replaces Ilan Van Wilder in Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s Giro d’Italia squad. The experienced rider announced in the Danish podcast Forhjulsir. The 37-year-old Mørkøv will pilot sprint leader Mark Cavendish for stage wins.

Mørkøv will not finish the Giro, he indicated in the podcast. The Dane will complete the first thirteen stages of the Italian tour as the last man of the Mark Cavendish lead-out train, before leaving the Giro. Mørkøv will also go to the Tour de France in the summer, where he will (presumably) assist Fabio Jakobsen in the sprints.

The fact that Cavendish can count on Mørkøv’s lead-out qualities in the Giro is a big boost for the Briton. Cavendish and Mørkøv have raced together three times this year: the UAE Tour, Minerva Classic Brugge-De Panne and Milan-Turin. In the UAE Tour, Mørkøv managed to pilot his sprint leader to a stage victory and the two riders also found the winning formula in Milan-Turin.

The British sprinter is not only counting on Mørkøv in Giro: Bert Van Lerberghe, Davide Ballerini, Josef Černý and Mauro Schmid are also part of Cav’s sprint train. Mauri Vansevenant and Andrea Bagioli complete the Giro selection of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl.

Michael Mørkøv to lead out Cavendish in the Giro:

 


Almeida Leads Team for Giro d’Italia
Emirati squad announce 8 riders for 105th Corsa Rosa

UAE Team Emirates have unveiled the team heading into the Giro d’Italia (6-29 May) with an exciting squad starting the race which begins from the city of Budapest, Hungary before crossing over to Sicily to begin the racing in Italy.

Leading the hopes the General Classification will be Portuguese talent Joao Almeida while Fernando Gaviria will lead the line in the of sprints. The line-up also packs multiple previous stage winners with Formolo, Gaviria, Richeze and Ulissi all registering victories in the past.

Almeida previously enjoyed a stint in the famous maglia rosa in 2020, finishing 4th on GC that year and 6th overall in 2021.

Joao Almeida: “This is a special race for me , I have great memories here and I’m excited to come back together with a great team looking for some good results together. The preparation for the Giro has gone really well. Since my last race I’ve been training at altitude in Sierra Nevada, Spain with some of my teammates and we have an excellent group assembled. Obviously my aim is to do a good GC but we also have Fernando for the sprints and many guys who have won here at the Giro before. We can’t wait to get it started.”

Team Manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Spa) will lead the squad alongside Sports Directors Fabio Baldato (Ita), and Marco Marcato (Ita) with Marco Marzano (Ita) joining for some stages. The team is composed of 8 riders:

Joao Almeida (Por)
Alessandro Covi (Ita)
Rui Costa (Por)
David Formolo (Ita)
Fernando Gaviria (Col)
Rui Oliveira (Por)
Maximiliano Richeze (Arg)
Diego Ulissi (Ita)

Fabio Baldato (Sports Director): “We’re excited to be coming into the Giro with a strong team. Almeida will be our man for the general classification and I think we have a team more than capable of supporting him. Gaviria is also back from injury and is looking good again so we’ll have that card to play in the sprint stages. We have huge experience among our line-up and we are motivated for what we hope will be a beautiful race.”

 


The Grenadiers are all in for Budapest’s historic Grande Partenza
It’s that time of year again, when Italy turns pink and the Grenadiers’ focus turns to Grand Tour racing. The first three week race of 2022 comprises 21 gruelling stages, contested across two countries, and a parcours peppered with the kind of brutal mountain stages so synonymous with the Giro.

This Giro team of Grenadiers will comprise of:

Richard Carapaz
Jonathan Castroviejo
Jhonatan Narváez
Richie Porte
Salvatore Puccio
Pavel Sivakov
Ben Swift
Ben Tulett

Here is what the team have to say about lining up next week to race the first Grand Tour of the year.

Richard Carapaz – rider:
“I have a nice memory of the Giro from when I competed in it when the race was in Israel, in Tel Aviv. To be over there in that country racing and to then win a stage in my first Giro is one of those great memories that I have of this race. It’s a race that I love, maybe my favourite race, so to win there was special. That stage I really remember.

“Then when I won the Giro d’Italia in 2019 it was something really special, above everything it was always a race that I wanted to compete in, so to win it was an incredible moment. It wasn’t just a significant win for me, it was also a significant win for my country. It had a big impact and started a new era in cycling for Ecuador. It also had an impact on me mentally, as it showed me that I had the ability to be a successful Grand Tour racer.

“A great characteristic strength that we have in this team is that we’re all in for winning the Giro d’Italia. Every Grenadier knows this is the goal, we all have that in common and want to deliver. I think when you have a team that is all behind the same goal, and with a team of riders who are so strong, who are ready to help each other, that is a real strength.”

Richie Porte – rider:
“I did my amateur days in Italy and that was like my cycling apprenticeship. Then I went to the Giro in 2010 as a neo pro and the next thing you know, I wore the pink jersey for three days. That was incredible and still some of the best memories of my career to be honest. It’s a privilege to go full circle and finish up at the Giro for my last Grand Tour.

“I’m 37 now but at the end of the day it’s just a number isn’t it? I know I can perform on my day – obviously off bike I have a family now which changes things but on the bike I’m going as well as I ever have. Going into this race, we’ve got a guy in Richard Carapaz who can win this race. It’s nice to go there with a rider you like, respect and hopefully help win the race. It’s so motivating.”

Rod Ellingworth – Deputy Team Principal:
“The team has shown already this year just how strong and competitive it can be. The younger riders have stepped up and surpassed the mark we originally set for them, and it’s been energising for every member of the team. Then the way the older riders are helping guide and encourage them, as well as still achieving results of their own, makes me incredibly proud. That mix of experience and energy, and a genuine enthusiasm to go all in for each other is our greatest strength as a team, and it’s proving to be successful.

“That’s why I’m looking forward to seeing what Richie Carapaz and this Giro team can do. It doesn’t feel that long ago that we saw Egan ride into the Piazza Duomo and take the pink jersey at last year’s edition, or with Tao the previous year. This race means a lot to our team, and I have every confidence that we are going to be lining up in Budapest with the ability and intense desire to win, just as much as we have done in any other edition. We’re set to take the race on.”

Our Giro d’Italia Team

Richard Carapaz – 28, Ecuador
Since winning the Giro in a breakthrough ride in 2019, Carapaz has gone on to solidify his reputation as one of the most exciting racers in the sport. Already a national hero, he became the first Ecuadorian to podium at the Tour de France with third place last year. His attacking style was showcased with Olympic Gold in the Road Race, before finishing second at La Vuelta. Heading into the race as team leader, he will be targeting his second Giro title this year.

Jonathan Castroviejo – 35, Spain
Lining up in Budapest to begin his 15th Grand Tour, Castroviejo brings an invaluable blend of experience and climbing skill. A selfless teammate, he has evolved from a time trial specialist to one of the best medium mountain support riders in the peloton. Often going above and beyond taking huge turns on the front, his steady support and calming presence will be key across the three weeks.

Jhonatan Narvaez – 25, Ecuador
A versatile talent, Narvaez will be required to call on all of his skills as he tackles a fourth successive Giro. A proud compatriot of Richard Carapaz, Jhonatan claimed an impressive stage win at the 2020 edition of the race. Not only does he possess a quick turn of speed, he is also comfortable in the crosswinds and can turn his hand to setting tempo in the mid mountains. Every team needs an impressive all-rounder like Jhonatan.

Richie Porte – 37, Australia
Racing his 17th Grand Tour in what is set to be his final season as a professional, Richie will head into the Giro full of focus. One of the very best stage racers of his generation, the Tasmanian has a sparkling palmarès featuring wins at some of the world’s biggest races. Most at home in the high mountains, he knows what it takes to race at the sharp end for three weeks, making him a huge asset to the team.

Salvatore Puccio – 32, Italy
With eight Giros already under his belt it’s safe to say Puccio loves racing at his home Grand Tour. He is also one of the most loved riders of the Grenadiers, with a blend of loyal, strong and selfless support riding that has seen him play a part in so much team success. A pro since the 2012 season, expect Salva to be putting that experience to good use, particularly on flatter terrain.

Pavel Sivakov – 24, France
With a 2019 top-10 Giro finish among his list of achievements, Pavel brings plenty of motivation into his sixth Grand Tour. Born in Italy, his young career has seen him grow into one of the sport’s strongest climbers on his day. His presence will be much needed when it comes to both the medium and high mountains. With wins at the Tour of the Alps and Tour of Poland, Pavel has shown he can ride well for himself or play a powerful team role.

Ben Swift – 34, Great Britain
Part of the team’s successful Giro win in 2020, Swift’s exceptional climbing and eventual 18th place finish flew slightly under the radar. A sprinter when he turned pro in 2009, the Brit has fully rounded out his talents as he’s gained experience. The two-time reigning British national road champion will provide key support across all terrains and is an unflappable presence in the team after 14 years of pro peloton experience.

Ben Tulett – 20, Great Britain
The youngest member of the Grenadiers lineup, Tulett makes his Grand Tour debut at this year’s Giro. The Brit has impressed greatly since turning pro two years ago, with bags of climbing potential. Already a stage winner this year at Coppi e Bartali, Ben will learn a lot more about himself across the three weeks, with a great opportunity to test himself in the mountains in a support role.

 


4 days of Dunkerque (May 3-8)
Oliver Naesen took third place in the 4 days of Dunkerque in 2017 and Clément Venturini won the race while riding for Cofidis.

Damien Touzé: “The second part of the season begins now after a very intense period of classics. I took off a few days after Paris-Roubaix but my feelings are still good. We are going to the 4 days of Dunkerque with a strong group around Marc Sarreau and Oliver Naesen. It’s a very animated race where no one team can lock everything down. There will be sprint finishes but also more selective stages and in particular the one to Mont Cassel where the general classification will be decided. It’s important to be active in the race. We are entering a period that I like with great Coupe de France rounds such as the Tro Bro Léon (May 15) as well as the French Championship, which is an important race on the calendar. And I have done quite well there recently (third in 2019 and in 2021).”

 


All W52-FC Porto Riders in Possession of Doping
The doping case surrounding W52-FC Porto is expanding. According to the judicial police of Porto, banned substances have been found in all ten riders of the continental cycling team, Correio da Manhã reports.

The news follows after it became known that W52-FC Porto team DS Nuno Ribeiro had been arrested. This happened in the context of Operation Prova Limpa, which aims to “detect prohibited methods and illegal substances that can falsify the sporting truth in professional cycling events”. In addition to Ribeiro, his right-hand man José Rodrigues has also been arrested.

W52-FC Porto rode the national stage race Grande Premio O Jogo last weekend, but the whole team did not start on the penultimate day. It is now known that several house searches have been carried out by the police. Doping substances were found in all ten riders of the team. Those riders were also subjected to a doping test, although the results are not yet known.

For the time being, Ribeiro and Rodrigues are suspects in this investigation, Expresso reports. Despite the doping case, the riders of W52-FC Porto came together again on Thursday. Team manager and main sponsor Adriano Quintanilha believes in the innocence of his riders, so he called everyone together for a training session. “I take the riders at their word,” he told A BOLA.

“They say they are clean and the blood and urine tests will be negative. If prohibited substances are found in their homes or hotel rooms, they must be held accountable. But I trust them and that’s why I wanted to bring them together. Then I’m only talking about the riders. I will not comment on Nuno Ribeiro and José Rodrigues, because I only know what is in the media,” said Quintanilha, who is looking for a new sports director.

Carlos Ribeiro:

 


An Interview with Vincenzo Albanese
I have a dream, a goal, a nail in my coffin. A victory.

Vincenzo Albanese tells: about himself, about the team, about that day when he saw his friend Fortunato win from a big screen…

 


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