The Clásica San Sebastián was the highlight of the weekend, but there was also the Tour de l’Ain, Heylen Vastgoed Heistse Pijl and the Circuito de Getxo, all with video. Patrick Lefevere has spoken out of turn – TOP STORY. Tour de Burgos teams. Rider news: Thibaut Pinot returns to racing, Tadej Pogačar signs to 2027, Jonas Vingegaard and Jordi Meeus to 2024, Clément Berthet with AG2R Citroën and Luke Plapp with INEOS Grenadiers. Team news: Metec sponsor to the end of 2023, Peter Sagan and Pascal Ackermann to leave BORA-hansgrohe, Fabio Jakobsen’s incredible comeback, Andrea Bagioli motivated and confident and Davide Cassani not Italian coach. Race news: Arctic Race of Norway route. Jumbo-Visma present Tour de France documentary.
TOP STORY: Patrick Lefevere Causes Uproar Over Sam Bennett Comments
Patrick Lefevere extensively discussed mental problems in cycling in his weekly column in Het Nieuwsblad. This came after the situation of gymnast Simone Biles, who withdrew from the Olympics due to mental problems. Lefevere also looks at his Irish Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider. “To me, Sam Bennett is the epitome of mental weakness,” he wrote.
“I’ve never had unstable people in my team, but I did have special people. In the current squad you have Rémi Cavagna. He is certainly not the nervous type, as his hobby is fishing, but he sometimes suffers from stress. Some say that Remco Evenepoel can’t ride a bike, but Rémi didn’t even dare to accept a water bottle or raise his hands if he won. It’s between the ears. Tim Declercq is a super smart guy, but he cramps when he is allowed to ride for his own success. Last but not least, you also have Sam Bennett. To me, he is the epitome of mental weakness. Leaving BORA-hansgrohe and seeing everyone there that he was being bullied and almost depressed and bankrupt, but coolly returned fourteen months later. It is the same as women who still return home after partner violence.”
Lefevere is trying to make a point, but the tough talking Belgian should have picked a better analogy. Mental illness and domestic physical abuse are serious problems, not to be used in a cycling/sports context. One would hope Lefevere realises that.
Lefevere has already spoken out about Bennett’s departure to BORA-hansgrohe. The Irish sprinter, for example, spoke about knee problems before the Tour de France, but the team boss questioned that. “I can’t prove he doesn’t have knee pain, but I’m starting to think more and more that it’s more performance anxiety than just pain,” Lefevere said. He also felt that Bennett showed little respect for him. “In two months they should not come and say that they are tired”
Lefevere doesn’t stop there: Deceuninck-Quick-Step has a rider who has yet to compete at the Olympics. “Our biggest medal hope has yet to start. Michael Mørkøv rides the team race on the track, a discipline in which he became world champion last year,” he explains. “I’m a cool lover of cycling at the Games, but give my riders the chance for personal prestige. We also have a mechanic in Japan. Good for me, but in two months they should not come and say that they are tired, as footballers dared to say to their employers after the European Championship.”
Maybe a bit more thought, Patrick:
Clásica San Sebastián 2021
Neilson Powless (EF Education-Nippo) out-sprinted Matej Mohrič (Bahrain Victorious) and Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck – Quick-Step). EF set the win up for Powless with an attack from Simon Carr to spearhead the winning break of five riders. A late crash split the group and Powless won the sprint in San Sebastián.
With predicted rains, winding roads, six categorised climbs, and multiple previous winners at the start line, the 41st edition of the Donostia San Sebastian Klasikoa was never going to be an easy win. The peloton let a sizeable breakaway go clear but never gave them much more than a minute’s advantage. Simon Carr, sensing the time was right, made his move on the penultimate climb with just over 40 kilometres remaining in the race. The Brit stayed clear for a further 20 kilometres until four chasers, teammate Neilson Powless, Matej Mohorič, Mikkel Frølich Honoré and Lorenzo Rota caught him. The gap not only stayed open, but grew thanks to Carr’s efforts. It was a game of cat-and-mouse in the final 10 kilometres as the leaders alternately attacked and caught each other. On a tight bend Honoré overshot and hit a wall and caused Rota to crash. Mohorič and Powless stayed up right and pushed on to the finish. Honoré was up quickly and chased down the two leaders in time for the sprint.
Mohoroč went for a long sprint, but Powless managed to pull level and push his front wheel over the line just ahead of the others for his first professional win.
# You can see the full PEZ Race Report HERE. #
2021 Clásica San Sebastián winner, Neilson Powless (EF Education-Nippo): “I was watching the map on my Garmin. I think the guys in front of me were maybe too focused on the situation in the race and not so much the road. I could see it was a sharp corner coming up that they ended up crashing in. In the end I was just happy to keep it upright and stay as fresh as possible for the end. I’m just so happy to have taken it in San Sebastian with a director in the car who’s a local and every time I’ve raced in the Basque Country it’s just been incredible with the fans so I’m super happy to win in front of such enthusiastic crowds.”
2nd, Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious): “Today was a tough race as always at the one-day classics. Roads were very wet and slippery because of the rain. We had to be at the front, especially at the descents, and we managed to do a split with Mikel Landa, me, Mark Padun, and Stevie Williams at the first part. Mikel attacked at the steep climb but didn’t get enough advantage to stay away. So I counter-attacked at the descent and went away with some other guys. We managed to be in advantage before the last climb. Over that ascent, I went over with the best guys. I misjudged one corner and almost crashed at the last descent, but happily with any consequences. Then I stayed with the leaders, and we fought at the sprint to the finish line. I took second place. I think Powless was stronger today, so I am happy with the result. It was the best I could’ve done today. It is a pity I didn’t win, but hopefully next time.”
3rd, Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I came here after some time since my previous race, and although I felt good in training, you never know how it will go in a race. But the legs were there today and got in that move after the Erlaitz, and we rode full gas believing in our chance. After the final climb, things were looking good for me, but I crashed when Mohoric went too fast in a corner, and had to spend a lot of energy to return to the front. Then, in the sprint, I started maybe a bit too late, so there is some disappointment, but at the same time I am happy with my first podium in a World Tour one-day race, it’s something from which I can draw a lot of confidence.”
4th, Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I don’t really know which feeling is dominating. The team was strong and worked really well. We’re very happy about the results, but we also know that a podium spot might have been possible if we had been more lucky. Of course we know that bad luck is part of the sport. I was very confident today. The collaboration in our group was good, I didn’t loose too much time on the last climb and I attacked twice downhill. We were descending at full speed when we reached the dangerous corner and I couldn’t avoid the rider crashing ahead of me. My arm will have a check up in hospital, but I don’t expect any problems and I’m confident that I’ll feel better in a couple of days. I’ll turn my focus to the Tour de Pologne, where we’ll attack again with our strong team. Afterwards, I’ll have a well deserved rest period in order to be ready to tackle the Italian one day races at the end of the season.”
EF Education-Nippo team CEO, Jonathan Vaughters: “Love this guy. A humble, honest, genuine, thoughtful, and truly kind human being. First and foremost. And a rock-solid bike rider too boot. Congrats.”
EF Education-Nippo DS, Juan Manuel Garate: “Our team worked hard from start to finish, it was a real team effort. Julien El Fares and Jonathan Caicedo were unable to make the difference even though they tried to attack. When Simon Carr got away and on the top of Erlaitz we rethought our plans. We decided to have Simon work hard to make sure the gap stayed open. We’ve spoken repeatedly about the finish with Neilson Powless, and he came good for us in the end. It’s a very important win for us. I think we’re all feeling pretty emotional because of the sheer scale of what we’ve achieved. It’s so difficult to win anything in cycling, especially in a race like this, so this will bring us good energy for the Vuelta a España and the rest of the season.”
Clásica San Sebastián Result:
1. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-Nippo in 5:34:31
2. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain Victorious
3. Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
4. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:30
5. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 1:04
6. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
7. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
8. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
9. Gianni Moscon (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo.
Woman’s Clásica San Sebastián 2021
Olympic TT champion took a long-awaited ‘txapela’ with Miek-esque exhibition at Murgil climb, finishes off crucial job from Blue team-mates to claim Telefónica-backed squad’s 29th success in 2021, sixteenth for the women’s outfit.
Only three days after notching up her second medal, and first Olympic title, at the Tokyo 2020 time trial, Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) wanted to offer her ‘Spanish family’ another moment to remember after so many days of joy this season. And together, they claimed a famous victory at the 2nd Clásica San Sebastián (UCI Women’s WorldTour), held under the Basque rain and over a tough 140km course with four categorised climbs.
At the second ascent, Jaizkibel, a dangerous, six-woman breakaway forced the Telefónica-backed squad to give their very best to chase them down. The work by Gloria Rodríguez, Sara Martín, Alicia González, Lourdes Oyarbide and Jelena Erić was crucial to reduce the 2-minute gap to a stone’s throw in barely 20km, with Martín making a big final effort to get Van Vleuten to the foot of Murgil with Cordon Ragot (TFS) in their sight. Annemiek overtook the Frenchwoman and crested the last climb (10km to go) with 45 seconds, more than enough, despite a late scare into the last downhill, to claim her seventh win this year. Van Vleuten, back in the lead of the WWT ranking, will now enjoy some days of rest before tackling the final part of a season she will never forget.
Race winner, Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar): “More than a win by me, it’s more of an amazing victory from the whole Movistar Team. The girls showed what we’re made of, and I’m so proud of their professional, committed work today. We stayed composed after that dangerous breakaway went at Jaizkibel, we came back together after the climb and did things right to bring them to a reachable distance. I was so tired and jet-lagged, I couldn’t sleep much during the last two days, but with my team working so hard, I really had to do my best to finish it off. So – my first ‘txapela’, finally! I always came 2nd at the Emakumeen Bira, never won it, and I was so jealous. I love the Basque Country, racing here is always nice. Racing was made harder by the rain, gaps were formed easily, and everyone raced quite well, so it really made for a hard race. Can’t be happier about what my team-mates did today.”
Woman’s Clásica San Sebastián Result:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Movistar in 3:53:37
2. Ruth Winder (USA) Trek-Segafredo at 0:36
3. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Alé BTC Ljubljana at 1:35
4. Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Liv Racing
5. Evita Muzic (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
6. Brodie Chapman (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
7. Pauliena Rooijakkers (Ned) Liv Racing at 1:38
8. Audrey Cordon Ragot (Fra) Trek-Segafredo at 1:52
9. Erica Magnaldi (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT
10. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo.
Tour de l’Ain 2021
Alvaro Hodeg is the 15th different Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to notch up a win this year, getting the better of all his rivals on Stage 1 of the Tour de l’Ain. The race went from Parc des Oiseaux to Bourg-en-Bresse, over 141 flat kilometres.
The Wolfpack was at the head of affairs Thursday afternoon as soon as the peloton exited the neutral zone, keeping the gap of the three escapees in check at all times before gradually increasing the tempo and reeling them in with around 16 kilometres to go. In the closing kilometres, our team remained at the front, drilling the pace for Alvaro Hodeg, who entered the finishing straight in third position, guided by two teammates.
In the final 150 meters of the stage, the 24-year-old came off the wheel of Jannik Steimle and unleashed a huge burst of speed, easily holding off Nacer Bouhanni (Arkea Samsic) and Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels). For Hodeg, this was his 15th victory in the pro ranks, one which netted him the lead in both the general and points classifications of the French race and is only the second Colombian rider in history to win a stage at the Tour de l’Ain.
Stage winner and overall leader, Alvaro Jose Hodeg (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I want to thank the team, they were incredible and showed again that you never win alone, it happens because an incredible group of riders are committed and put in a huge effort for you. They controlled the stage, remained calm even when things became hectic, brought me in a perfect position under the flamme rouge and all I had to do was just sprint at the right moment and cap it off. I am so happy with this victory, one which I want to dedicate to my family and team, who have always been by my side.”
Tour de l’Ain Stage 1 Result:
1. Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 3:04:57
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
3. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
4. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) TotalEnergies
5. Jason Tesson (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
6. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
7. Florian Vermeersch (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Emmanuel Morin (Fra) Cofidis
9. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R Citroen
10. Dries de Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix.
Tour de l’Ain Overall After Stage 1:
1. Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 3:04:47
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkea-Samsic at 0:04
3. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM at 0:06
4. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) TotalEnergies at 0:10
5. Jason Tesson (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
6. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
7. Florian Vermeersch (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Emmanuel Morin (Fra) Cofidis
9. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R Citroen
10. Dries de Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix.
After Minali’s 6th place in the flat opening stage, Stage 2 of the Tour de l’Ain (2.1, 29-31/7) was even more successful for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. 136 kilometre with four categorised climbs were on the menu. A duo escaped from the peloton after the start in Lagnieu and before the first slopes of the Col de Corlier. Many breakaway attempts succeeded each other, leaving only a small amount of riders in the peloton on the plateau between this climb and the top of the Col de Ballon.
Neo pro Théo Delacroix attacked on the downhill, before being caught with 45 kilometre to go by a group of around 50 riders with Jan Hirt and Georg Zimmermann. Somewhat later, the German rider followed the example of his teammate on the slopes of the Col d’Ordonnaz. However, when his attack was neutralised, he missed a breakaway of five riders. The fifteen remaining chasers worked well together in the descent of the Col de Portet, with the top situated at 1001 meter of altitude, but didn’t manage to close the 20 second gap to the leaders. Except for Georg Zimmermann, who bridged to the leaders in the final 4 kilometre. He defeated his five breakaway companions with a long sprint in the streets of Saint-Vulbas. The 23 year old German rider took his first pro victory and also becomes the new race leader.
This Saturday, the Tour de l’Ain will be concluded by the queen stage between Izernore and Lélex Monts-Jura. This third stage is a succession of descents and ascents, like the Côte de Giron (3.7km at 7.4%) and the Col de Menthières (9.1km at 6.3%). The last named climb is the last of five categorised climbs with the top situated 22 kilometre before the finish. However, the 12 final kilometre towards Lélex Monts-Jura are also uphill.
Stage winner and overall leader, Georg Zimmermann (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “Of course I’m more than happy with my first professional victory! I took advantage from our excellent teamwork in the beginning of the stage today. After a neutralised attack on the final climb of the day, I was mad at myself for missing the successful breakaway of five riders. With 4 kilometre to go, I saw an opportunity to bridge the 20 second gap on my own. I felt really strong, but I had to recover from this effort. There was not much time, because we entered the final kilometre. As it started to rain a little, I wanted to go first through the final tight corner. It was still far to the finish line, but I gave all I had and managed to stay ahead to take my first pro win and the leader’s position! The level here is high, so it will be a big challenge to defend the leader’s jersey in the queen stage. I’ll need at least the same legs as today, but I’m confident that we’ll ride a good race as a team tomorrow. I’ve been here several times and I like the region and the courses. Each year, the Tour de l’Ain is a goal for me and today I was victorious!”
Tour de l’Ain Stage 2 Result:
1. Georg Zimmermann (Ger) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in 3:05:42
2. Michael Storer (Aus) DSM
3. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4. Rémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis
5. Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
6. Georg Steinhauser (Ger) Germany U23
7. Jose Manuel Diaz Gallego (Spa) Delko at 0:18
8. Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 0:22
9. Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo
10. Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies.
Tour de l’Ain Overall After Stage 2:
1. Georg Zimmermann (Ger) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in 6:10:29
2. Michael Storer (Aus) DSM at 0:04
3. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:06
4. Rémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis at 0:10
5. Georg Steinhauser (Ger) Germany U23
6. Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
7. Jose Manuel Diaz Gallego (Spa) Delko at 0:28
8. Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 0:32
9. Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies
10. Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën.
After being set up well and protected by the team, Michael Storer attacked solo and triumphed over the climbs at the Tour de l’Ain for Team DSM on Saturday.
The final day of racing at the Tour de l’Ain saw the peloton take on the Queen stage of the race, with around 2,800 metres of climbing packed into 120 kilometres of racing. It was a fast start with multiple attacks at the head of the peloton before eventually a large group escaped. With some dangerous riders in the breakaway group, the DSM team came to the front of the peloton and started pacing, looking to reel in the break. The group ahead splintered, leaving a now seven rider group out front, leading by 50 seconds with 35 kilometres to go. Tackling the penultimate climb of the day, and the last categorised one of the race, the team did a good job to keep Michael Storer safe before the pace increased at the front and the group thinned down as riders dropped one-by-one.
Approaching the top of the climb, the yellow jersey was dropped and Storer found himself in an elite group of six. Sensing a lull in pace, Storer launched a well timed attack over the top of the group, forging on clear at the front of the race alone. With the five chasers looking at each other, the Team DSM rider managed to build up a 20 second gap going onto the descent, an advantage he held starting the uncategorised climb to the line. Riding a steady tempo for the final 12 kilometres of uphill, Storer continued to increase his lead over the chasers as they squabbled behind. Having enough time to sit up and celebrate, Storer raised his arms aloft, celebrating a well-earned win for the team; securing the GC victory at the same time too.
Stage and final overall winner, Michael Storer (DSM): “I can’t believe it, coming across the finish line I was very emotional. I’ve been waiting four years for a victory. I’ve worked so hard for the past four years, improving every year and the team has been behind me all the way. It’s a long process and we always knew it was possible, but to make it happen on the day is a whole other thing. We had a really good plan, had really good discussions with the guys and we knew exactly the way to win this bike race – it went perfectly. The guys went completely full in for me. We have a super young team here, with two guys from our Development program, and I’m so so happy to win today and finish it off for the team.”
2nd on the stage, 4th overall and best young rider, Andrea Bagioli (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “Today’s stage was quite hectic. The peloton fragmented early, and I made it in the front group together with Shane and Jannik, who were of great help. Then we got caught, but I continued to feel good and followed all the important moves. The final 30 kilometres were really hard, with those climbs and the effort we had to put as we tried to bring that one rider up the road back, but I felt good enough to go for second at the end of the day. It’s just my second race after five months and to be in the mix and so close to the podium is a great result that motivates me for the next races.”
7th overall, Georg Zimmermann (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I expected a hard race, but it was even harder than what I could imagine! It was really exhausting. The other teams challenged us by racing full gas from the start. After 70 kilometre I didn’t have any teammates left, but I’m grateful for what they’ve done for me. Especially Théo and Jan performed well and gave everything they had. I had the same good legs as yesterday but it was not enough. Six riders were stronger on the final climb, so I can’t have regrets. After the final climb there was no cooperation in the chasing group, so there was no chance of coming back and consequently, 7th in GC was the best possible outcome. Yesterday was a huge success, so I’m really happy. I’m proud of how I managed this new experience as starting the final stage in the leader’s position. I kept calm and I didn’t mess up completely, which brings me a lot of confidence for the future. This is my best GC result in a pro race so far and I’ll be taking this experience to the future. I’m not thinking about tomorrow yet, because I want to enjoy this. I’ve been really focused for a long time now coming from the Tour de France, but I know that once I’ll feel relaxed again, I’ll start to prepare for the Tour of Germany. I’m really motivated to participate at my national tour for the first time and I’ve been dreaming about a good performance there. The final stage is Nürnberg is only 150 kilometre away from home so I’m looking forward to it. After injury at the beginning of the season and breaking my scaphoid at the Tour de France, I’m so happy that my worst season so far might be turning into my best season ever!”
Team DSM coach, Wilbert Broekhuizen: “At the start of the stage, just after the first downhill the bunch split in two. There were 22 guys up the road and we were not there. It was a really dangerous breakaway so Felix, Florian and Marco brought back the group so the race started again. From that point it was all in control with Henri and Michael. We made the plan that Michael should attack on the first category climb, and he attacked at two kilometres from the top, just like our plan. From there he just kept pushing and brought it home to the finish. I’m really proud of how the guys worked today, pulling back that dangerous group and then riding to the plan well. In the end it’s a great and well deserved victory for Michael and the team.”
Tour de l’Ain Stage 3 Result:
1. Michael Storer (Aus) DSM in 3:02:46
2. Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:43
3. Mattias Skjelmose (Den) Trek-Segafredo
4. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:45
6. Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën
7. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Arkea-Samsic at 1:23
8. Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9. Dmitrii Strakhov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
10. Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal.
Tour de l’Ain Overall Final Overall Result:
1. Michael Storer (Aus) DSM in 9:13:09
2. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:55
3. Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 1:01
4. Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:15
5. Mattias Skjelmose (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 1:17
6. Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 1:23
7. Georg Zimmermann (Ger) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 1:29
8. Rémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis at 1:39
9. Georg Steinhauser (Ger) Tirol KTM Cycling at 1:46
10. Jose Manuel Diaz Gallego (Spa) Delko at 1:57.
Heylen Vastgoed Heistse Pijl 2021
Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma) has taken his first victory of the season. After an attractive edition of the Heistse Pijl, Eenkhoorn proved to be the strongest of a front group of three at the finish.
After a first breakaway of five riders had escaped from the peloton, a group of about twenty riders moved into action. Eenkhoorn was part of this group on behalf of Team Jumbo-Visma and was joined shortly afterwards by Dutch champion Timo Roosen.
When it became clear that the group containing Eenkhoorn and Roosen would battle for the win, Eenkhoorn went on the attack. Together with the Belgians Yves Lampert and Jonas Rickaert the Dutchman rode to a comfortable lead. In the last few hundred metres, Eenkhoorn turned out to be the fastest of the three. After Eenkhoorn’s triumph, Team Jumbo-Visma’s victory tally now stands at twenty-seven this season.
Race winner, Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma): “It was quite a tough race today. The plan beforehand was to aim for a sprint with Dylan. However, we also kept in mind that it could become a tough race. We anticipated this well and we went along with the attractive race behaviour. In the sprint I was well positioned. I could start my sprint from the back. That’s why I had the highest speed by far, allowing me to finish it off.”
Jumbo-Visma DS; Maarten Wynants: “We wanted to take our responsibility to control the race. However, because only three World Tour teams were at the start here, it was difficult to achieve this. We knew we had to react to possible attacks at the right moment. Pascal was immediately on his wheel when the first group crossed over to the front of the race. Timo then also joined them. So we had some strong guys in the front. Pascal then got away with two strong riders. When it came to a sprint, I was confident that Pascal would win. He won the sprint by a large margin. A nice day for the team.”
Heylen Vastgoed Heistse Pijl Result:
1. Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 4:17:07
2. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:01
4. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:12
5. Jens Debusschere (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
6. Matthew Bostock (GB) Canyon DHB Sungod
7. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
8. Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:21
9. Rory Townsend (Irl) Canyon DHB Sungod at 0:35
10. Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:41.
Circuito de Getxo – Memorial Hermanos Otxoa 2021
Giacomo Nizzolo won the Circuito de Getxo on Sunday. The Qhubeka-NextHash European champion was the best in the Basque one-day race after more than 193 kilometres. He beat Giovanni Aleotti (BORA-hansgrohe) and Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) in an uphill sprint.
Twelve riders made the escape group of the day: Vincenzo Albanese (eolo-Kometa), Cesare Benedetti (BORA-hansgrohe), Dayer Quintana, Thomas Boudat, Matis Louvel (Arkéa-Samsic), Jérôme Cousin (TotalEnergies), Mathias Norsgaard, Lluis Mas (Movistar), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), Antonio Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), Antonio Soto (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates). They never got more than a 2 minute lead.
It was Caja Rural-Seguros RGA and Qhubeka NextHash who led the chase and narrowed the gap to under 1 minute. Fifty kilometres before the finish, the leading group split on one of the climbs as was the peloton. Wilco Kelderman and Ide Schelling were amongst the riders who hit the front at this point. BORA-hansgrohe took the initiative and tried to get to the leading group. Up front it was Mohoric, Albanian, Norsgaard and Trentin who survived the longest. The elite group including Kelderman, Giacomo Nizzolo, Gianluca Brambilla, Giovanni Aleotti, Patrick Konrad and Alessandro Covi followed through the finish with 33 kilometres to go at more than 20 seconds. The front runners came to a standstill, and the chasing group was able to make the connection just before the steep Pike Bidea (2.2km at 9.4%), the biggest obstacle in the final 20 kilometres. The Puerto Rico champion, Abner González, was the first to attack from the favourites group, taking Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) with him. They crossed the summit together, but not much later Aleotti and Ciccone managed to cross.
The climbers hadn’t managed to drop Nizzolo, the European champion joined the leading group on the descent, together with Covi. Schelling also managed to return, so there were seven leaders. BORA-hansgrohe was the only team with more than one rider. Luis Léon Sánchez also came close, but the seven let the Spaniard struggle at 15 seconds. Schelling thought it was his moment with 6.7 kilometres to go. He put in an attack and immediately got a gap. Buitrago and Nizzolo counter-attacked, but Aleotti jumped after them. Nevertheless, Nizzolo, with Buitrago and Aleotti in his wake, managed to close the gap with the Dutchman at 4 kilometres out. The quartet then pushed on towards the finish on the Alto de Aiboa Gane (900 meters at 6.7%) in the streets of Getxo. Schelling did a lot of work for his fast Italian teammate. Buitrago who started the sprint at 200 meters from the finish, but it was Nizzolo timed it right and won with ease, ahead of Aleotti and Buitrago.
Race winner, Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-NextHash): “I’m super happy. Last year I came second here and that’s why I really wanted to win. The race was very difficult to control, because everyone wanted to attack, so I had to attack myself. As a result, I used up a lot of energy, but in the final I still felt good. That makes me very happy. I would like to thank the team and the Basque fans. It’s always special to have them there and I love that.”
2nd, Giovanni Aleotti (BORA-hansgrohe): “We had a pretty good race today as we all worked together the whole time and the team did a next to perfect job. With 50k’s to go we were able to chase down the break, split the bunch and go full gas into the final climb. The team supported Ide and me and kept us safe till that point so we could save a lot of energy for the finale. On the last kilometres, the two of us were able to share the work and make it a hard race for the others. As Ide got caught he gave everything for me to lead me into the final ascent. Unfortunately, Nizzolo was just too strong but I am still very happy with my second place and I am super thankful for the support of the whole team.”
3rd, Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious): “I’m very happy today, and it is the first podium I gave to my team. It was another very hard race, but the team did a great job after yesterday’s race at San Sebastian. Matej Mohorič did a great job for me today in the last lap and at the climb before going into the final lap, and he put me in a very good position to achieve such a good result. In few days, Vuelta Burgos starts, and I am looking forward to it.”
Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious): “After yesterday, today was another race for us, and we decided to give a chance to our younger writers as they are going well, so we raced offensively. I was on the attack most of the day, but I was quite tired after yesterday’s effort, so I tried to ride strong, so the other guys in the group behind had an excuse not to ride and save energy, so they have left something for the final. I am happy that Santiago went strong in the final and took third place in the end, and I think that our guys can look forward to Burgos and Vuelta España. My plans are to go to the Tour of Poland next week, and then with Bink Bank Tour, I will start my preparations for the World Championships.”
Circuito de Getxo – Memorial Hermanos Otxoa Result:
1. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Qhubeka-NextHash in 4:12:24
2. Giovanni Aleotti (Ita) BORA-hansgrohe
3. Santiago Buitrago (Col) Bahrain Victorious
4. Abner González (PR) Movistar at 0:12
5. Ide Schelling (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe
6. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
7. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:54
8. Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 1:04
9. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
10. Antonio Jesús Soto (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 1:26.
Vuelta a Burgos – AUG 03-07
Matt Winston – Team DSM coach: “Stage racing continues for us at the tough Vuelta a Burgos which has a mixed bag of terrain, including a flatter stage, some punchy days in the hills and a tricky mountain top finish. We go to the race with a strong team that’s looking forward to some good racing, where we will look to be active and attentive every day during the race, and go for our sprint opportunities with Alberto when they arise.”
Thymen Arensman (NED)
Romain Bardet (FRA)
Alberto Dainese (ITA)
Nico Denz (GER)
Chad Haga (USA)
Jai Hindley (AUS)
Martijn Tusveld (NED).
Return to a long awaited Vuelta a Burgos, always special for the Fundación Contador
How could we not look forward to each edition of the Vuelta a Burgos with impatience, if on its roads a nascent project achieved one of its great victories? The Monte Zoncolan of the Giro 2021 will always be impregnated in the memory of the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team and in the same way the sprint of Castrojeriz on August 8, 2018 where the Italian Matteo Moschetti was faster than anyone else. A peculiar race, in a certain artisanal sense, with a very careful organisation and characteristic routes that have turned the winding Castilian routes of broken asphalt and small villages, the Roman city of Clunia, the natural bridge of the river Nela in Puentedey, the orography of Las Merindades or the lake complex of Neila, a paradise in the Spanish Iberian System, into icons. The Vuelta a Burgos is an incentive, a motivation, and also a longing.
The British Mark Christian, the Hungarian Márton Dina, the Italians Vincenzo Albanese and Francesco Gavazzi and the Spaniards Sergio García, Alejandro Ropero and Diego Pablo Sevilla form the seven with which the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team starts. A seven in which there are riders with more than enough experience in the race, where they have fought for the breakaways or where even they have obtained some partial victory.
Special mention goes to Francesco Gavazzi. The EOLO-KOMETA captain feels great appreciation for this race, in which he won the first stage of this 2018 edition so special for the Foundation, also with a finish in the surroundings of the castle of the capital of Burgos. The cyclist from Valtellina was the fastest in a battle between Astana and Sky, and wore the first purple leader’s jersey. Special also for Márton Dina, who in Burgos faced his first big stage race with the then continental structure two seasons ago, and year after year has taken steps forward despite the adversities of crashes.
“I’ve always enjoyed the Vuelta a Burgos, of which I have fond memories of a stage victory. This year will again be a race with a high level, with several WorldTour teams that will make achieving results always more difficult. We’re going with a young team that will undoubtedly try to assert itself and get a good result, although it won’t be easy. Personally, I’m in a good condition to fight for it. Or at least try it. In the Settimana Ciclistica Italiana I have achieved a good pedal stroke after a period of work and I arrive well to a race that has days that suit me well and in which I am usually strong”, says Gavazzi.
“For me, the Vuelta a Burgos is a very special and tough race in which the heat is also very important. Last year I expected a bit more from myself, but with time the final result didn’t displease me so much. On the first day I crashed, I lost time and I told myself that I had to improve my first day’s management. It was a great memory to be able to ride in the breakaway on the Picón Blanco stage. The climb is really hard and I lost all my energy there. This year it’s uphill and downhill. I don’t know what the descent is like, and no doubt the climb will be very selective, but the race situation I think will be a totally different story”, says Dina for his part. “It would be nice to be in the breakaways or to be able to fight for one of the secondary classifications. And of course we have two riders like Gavazzi or Albanese who are in a position to fight for the sprints, because the Burgos stages are not the typical sprint stages and the stages that are supposed to be flat are never really flat and there is always the option of the wind”.
Thibaut Pinot Returns After Four Months
Thibaut Pinot will make his comeback in the race next month in the Tour du Limousin. The French rider of Groupama-FDJ made this known via social media. His last appearance was the Tour of the Alps in April.
Pinot will make his return to the peloton on Tuesday, August 17, in the French four-day Tour du Limousin. He will then also appear in the Tour Poitou-Charentes (24-27 August), the Classic Grand Besançon Doubs (3 September), the Tour du Jura (4 September) and the Tour du Doubs (5 September). “It’s time for my return and it’s 100% French,” the French climber wrote on social media.
Since his fall in the opening stage of the Tour de France last year, Pinot has struggled with his constitution. For months, he underwent a course of treatment to regain his full physical strength. Initially he would go to the Giro as a leader, but due to his persistent back problems it was decided that he would not participate. He then took an indefinite break to put his problems behind him.
Pogačar Signs New Deal with UAE Team Emirates
Tour de France Champion renews through to 2027
UAE Team Emirates and Tadej Pogačar have put pen to paper on one of the longest contracts in the history of professional cycling, with the 22-year old set to stay with the Emirati outfit through to 2027.
Pogačar first joined the squad in 2019 and since then has gone on to win 29 professional races including two Tour de France titles, a monument victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and most recently an Olympic Bronze medal.
On the return journey from his Olympic success in Tokyo, Pogačar paid a visit to the UAE where he met with Team President HE Matar Suhail Al Yabhouni Al Dhaheri who congratulated him on his successes and cemented the exciting new deal. His success has not only inspired those around him but has sparked a new interest in cycling throughout the UAE.
HE Matar Suhail Al Yabhouni Al Dhaheri (Team President): “We are delighted to have Tadej with us for the upcoming years. Tadej is helping to transform the way people think about cycling and the bicycle in UAE. We are very proud of him and all that he and the team are achieving. To have sporting champions like Tadej representing our nation echoes the message and our mission : which is to encourage our people to practice sport and live healthier lifestyles. We are already seeing improvements and we can see more people using the bike and enjoying exercise which is an important step for our country.”
Tadej Pogačar: “I’m really happy to be able to commit my future to the team and stay here for the next years.I feel at home here, it feels like a big family. This team is a really good fit for me and I am fortunate to say that I have not only found colleagues but friends. I’m excited for the years ahead and what they will bring, hopefully more success for me and for the team. I hope we are inspiring lots of kids to ride bikes.”
Mauro Gianetti (CEO & Team Principal): “We have been building a squad of young talents for the future and Tadej has been an integral part of that process since the beginning. We have seen him grow from a teenager to a young man and what he has achieved has been fantastic. He is inspiring not only his teammates but a whole new generation of young cyclists in UAE and around the world.”
Mauro Gianetti (CEO & Team Principal), Tadej Pogačar and HE Matar Suhail Al Yabhouni Al Dhaheri (Team President):
Vingegaard With Team Jumbo-Visma for Next Three Years
Jonas Vingegaard will stay at least until the end of 2024 with Team Jumbo-Visma. The twenty-four-year-old Dane is in his third season with the Dutch formation and sees his development of recent years rewarded with a new contract.
Vingegaard is having a strong season. He managed to win a stage in the UAE Tour, won two stages and the general classification of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, finished second in the Tour of the Basque Country and earlier this month also finished second in the general classification of the Tour de France.
The young Dane is looking forward to his future with the team of director Richard Plugge. “I am very happy to extend my contract with the team. So far our cooperation has been successful and hopefully we will continue to achieve good successes in the future. I feel good here. That made it an easy and natural choice to stay longer with the team.”
Sportive director Merijn Zeeman is happy and proud to have Vingegaard tied to Team Jumbo-Visma through 2024. “Jonas has been riding for this team for three years now. We work together every day to become better. It is great to see a talent develop and grow within the team. We are confident that we will continue to achieve great performances together.”
BORA-hansgrohe Retains Jordi Meeus for the Long Term
The Belgian rider has extended his contract early until the end of 2024. Patrick Gamper and Martin Laas have also extended their contracts by one year each.
“I am very pleased that we have been able to extend our contract with Jordi early on. He has developed exceedingly well in his first year as a professional and has had an important role in lead-outs. However, he has also won races himself. We see a lot of potential in him, and are aiming to build him up as a sprinter over the coming years. So he will be racing more often for results as of next season. We’d also like to give Patrick Gamper the opportunity to race for results himself. Up until now, he has predominantly been a helper, and he will continue in this role in the future, but not only that. We’re also aiming to support him in taking the reins himself. As for Martin Laas, I can say that he has become a very reliable rider and an important support in lead-outs. He will maintain this role and bring his experience to different sprint trains. There will be races in which Martin will also be our sprinter at times, but his focus is predominantly on lead-outs.” – Ralph Denk, Team Manager.
“It’s really great to see how much confidence the team has in me and I’d particularly like to thank Ralph Denk for that. I am very happy that I’ll be able to continue my development together with BORA-hansgrohe. The environment here is ideal for me. One could already see that this year, because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to manage my step up to the WorldTour so well. I am really keen to improve and I know that BORA-hansgrohe is the right team for me. We’ll see where the journey goes, as a sprinter, one always has lofty goals, but I’m still young and I’ll be taking it one step at a time.” – Jordi Meeus.
“Making the step to the professional ranks in 2020 was certainly not easy because of the Covid situation. Nevertheless, I’ve been able to develop well and was very well received at BORA-hansgrohe. I think that I fit with the team quite well and I’m really looking forward to developing as a rider. The support that I’ve received is perfect and the upcoming years will demonstrate to what extent I’ll be able to keep improving.” – Patrick Gamper.
“My first two years at BORA-hansgrohe have been a great experience for me, so I’m very happy to be able to ride as part of this team for at least another year. I would like to thank Ralph Denk for his support, but also the entire team. It seems like a lot will be changing in 2022 and it’s nice to see that the team continues to have confidence in me. I’m sure that I’ll be able to support the guys well in the coming season. Riding for BORA-hansgrohe is a really great experience.” – Martin Laas.
Clément Berthet to Race with the AG2R CITROËN Team Starting on August 1st
Clément Berthet, 24, under contract with Delko since the beginning of the season, joins the AG2R CITROËN Team starting on August 1stcolours through the 2024 season, following a tripartite agreement with the rider, the Delko team, and the AG2R CITROËN Team.
Clément Berthet: “If you had told me at the start of the year that I would end up on a UCI WorldTour team, especially at AG2R CITROËN, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s a legendary team, a big name in the peloton, and I’m really very happy. I am grateful to the Delko team for giving me my chance and allowing me to join AG2R CITROËN in the middle of the season. I am a mountain biker and this is my first professional year on the road. I consider myself a climber who packs a punch. I also like time trialing. I will be able to rely on very experienced riders and staff. It will allow me to improve very quickly. I can’t wait to wear my new colours.”
Born 2 August 1997
Lives in Montfaucon (Doubs)
5th in the general classification for the U23 Mountain Bike World Cup in 2019
13th in the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenges 2021
14th in the French National Time Trial Championships 2021.
Vincent Lavenu: “We worked closely with the rider, his agent, and his team to make this transfer in the middle of the season. Clément Berthet is a very versatile, young, and talented climber-rouleur. He doesn’t have a long history on the road but has already shown great things. He’s a big talent to work with, and we’re happy to welcome him.”
Clément Berthet is the third recruit that the AG2R CITROËN Team has announced following the two AG2R CITROËN Team U23 riders Paul Lapeira and Valentin Paret Peintre who have signed for two and three seasons, respectively, beginning on January 1, 2022.
Upcoming Australian Talent Luke Plapp Signs with INEOS Grenadiers
From August the team welcomes Plapp as a stagiaire ahead of his neo-pro contract starting with the team from 2022
The Australian national time trial (TT) champion, whose time trialling prowess has already captured the interest of many WorldTour teams, joins INEOS Grenadiers as a stagiaire from the 1st August.
Plapp in his short career has already made a mark in the time trialling world, taking second in the junior time trial World Championships in 2018, he backed up that performance by taking the Australian national time trial title last year in the U23 race, and then again this year when he stepped up to race at elite level.
Currently about to compete in Tokyo on the track for his national team, his sights are set on going for gold before he makes the transition over to his new European base, to start the next chapter in his fledgling cycling career with the INEOS Grenadiers.
“It’s the team [INEOS Grenadiers] that everyone dreams of going to, it’s one I especially dreamt of going to, then when everything was signed it felt kinda crazy that it’s all going ahead,” Plapp says.
For young Australians the track is the most trodden pathway to becoming a supported cyclist and moving up the ranks to professional, and for Plapp it’s been no different.
“I look at other cyclists who have had great success and transitioned from track to road,” Plapp says. “You look at how G [Geraint Thomas] went from track to being a Grand Tour winner, and this is what gave me the encouragement to stick at the track seeing how that can then translate into success on the road.”
The Australian is a self-confessed ‘sports nut’, and has received guiding influence from the likes of swimming multi-gold medallist Libby Trickett, and was lucky enough to be in a sports focussed school where a number of his classmates are also forging their own paths within professional sport. But instead of swimming or Australian Football, it was the aerodynamics of the TT that lured him in.
“I love the aerodynamic stuff on the road. I’ve got really stuck into the TTs and the way the sport is going at the moment. I enjoy going for that extra 1%, and watching the numbers it generates.” The road is where his passion truly lies, and the move to Europe is going to be a learning curve for him, not only in the style of racer he’ll become, but also the different terrains racing in Europe involves.
Director of Racing, Rod Ellingworth, believes that Luke Plapp will be a great fit to the team and is on a voyage of discovery as to where his strengths will complement the team dynamic: “We’re delighted to have Luke join us for 2022. It’s been a tough period over the last 18 months for promising young riders to really be able to demonstrate their potential, due to the lack of racing available across the U23 category, especially riders from the Oceania region. But, we’ve been impressed with what we have seen so far. Here at the team we have a history of developing track riders into world class road racers, like what we have done with Bradley and Geraint. We look forward to Luke coming on board after the Olympics to start his time with the team in preparation for the 2022 season.”
Plapp will have the chance to race some of the European races left this season, although exactly which races are yet to be confirmed. “I haven’t done a whole lot of racing over in Europe, so for example I haven’t raced the cobbled races, but based off what I know about myself as a rider so far, the medium punchy climbs, up to about 20 minutes long, and the TTs are what suit me, I think I’ll be an all-rounder,” Plapp explains. “But that’s what the first few years are all about, getting to know what you’re going to be good at, and what suits me and the kind of role I can play in the team.”
Australian Talent Luke Plapp:
Metec Main Sponsor Until the End of 2023
Metec has extended the contract as main sponsor of the cycling team for two more years. The manufacturer of street furniture stays with the Dutch continental team of manager Michel Megens until the end of 2023. Currently the team is called Metec-SOLARWATT, but in recent years the team was known as Metec-TKH. The history of the team from Tiel goes back fifteen years, but only since 2012 has it been active with a UCI continental license. This season, Sjoerd Bax gave the team four victories in UCI competitions. Bax rode to silver at the Dutch National Championships.
“The sponsorship of the cycling team provides Metec with a lot of continuity and brand awareness. The team sometimes seems like Michel’s toy, but in reality this sponsorship goes much further. When you put money into something, you want to see something in return. The cycling team is an excellent showcase for Metec,” says Arjan Elfring, commercial director.
Metec team until the end of 2023:
Changes at BORA-hansgrohe: Peter Sagan and Pascal Ackermann Leave at the End of the Season
The departure of Sagan and Ackermann heralds a significant change that was guided by strategic decisions. The successful path that the team has taken in the past is still to be continued. BORA-hansgrohe wishes both riders the very best and a successful future.
“I would firstly like to say that both riders are important parts of our team and we have been able to celebrate many successes together over the past years. For this, I am grateful. There are different reasons why we are parting ways now. As far as Peter is concerned, we were in negotiations until the end. Of course, I can’t disclose details, but both sides worked constructively on solutions and we both wanted to proceed into the future together. However, we have also developed as a team, and we aim to continue this development. We have already made some strategic decisions and ultimately, Peter decided that there is another option available to him that is more in line with his ideas. I have full respect for that. Nevertheless, it is a great shame, because Peter is part of our success story and has contributed much to our development. All of us at BORA-hansgrohe will always be grateful for that. Pascal also had an offer from us. He turned pro with the team and I think we also contributed a lot to developing him into one of the best sprinters in the peloton. We would have loved to continue working with Pascal, but he decided it was time for something new. A change of pace can sometimes be important, I can understand that, but I would have preferred him to take on the coming years with us. I am sure that these will be exciting years for BORA-hansgrohe, because we are now entering a phase of change. We are constantly re-evaluating, because standing still means going backwards. We did not achieve all of our goals last year, for various reasons, but our standards are very high. This is the reason we have already started to reorganise ourselves for the future. More about that will be revealed in the coming weeks. I would like to wish Peter and Pascal the very best for their sporting futures, but first of all we will try to achieve one or two victories together for BORA-hansgrohe this year.” – Ralph Denk, Team Manager.
“Today, I would like to announce that a cycle is closing in my professional career and that I will not renew my contract with BORA-hansgrohe beyond the end of the 2021 season. I would like to express my appreciation to Ralph Denk, Willi Bruckbauer, the team sponsors, all my teammates, and the entire staff of BORA-hansgrohe for their support and their confidence in me during these five seasons. We have achieved so many things and even in difficult times, we stuck together. I think that we weren’t just teammates, we were part of a big family. I have no doubt that the five seasons I spent in BORA-hansgrohe were among the most prolific of my career and some of my most memorable moments happened during that period. I became the first rider to claim three consecutive World Championships, I had the honour of winning Paris-Roubaix. I scored my 100th professional victory while wearing the BORA-hansgrohe colours, I won my record-breaking seventh green jersey in the Tour de France and my first ever ciclamino jersey in the Giro d’Italia. However, after a long and thorough discussion with my own management and under a mutual agreement with BORA-hansgrohe, we came to the decision that it would be best if my cycle in the team came to a close and that a new chapter opened in my career. Change is part of life and growth. I’m sure BORA-hansgrohe will continue to be successful and I wish them all the best in the coming seasons.” – Peter Sagan.
“I am very grateful for the time that I’ve spent with the team. It has been the most formative of my still young career as a professional rider. I am particularly grateful that the team gave me the space to develop into a sprint captain. That’s not always easy to come by. I will especially remember the moments during the 2019 Giro, where I won the ciclamino jersey. And also my victory at Eschborn-Frankfurt, these are moments that you don’t forget. However, the career of a professional cyclist is limited. And during this time, I’d like to gain further experiences and to continuously develop myself. That’s why I’ve decided to take a different path, a decision that was anything but easy for me. I would like to thank the entire team, but especially my teammates, who have always believed in me. I wish you all the very best.” – Pascal Ackermann.
“That a small team like ours was able to sign the current World Champion Peter Sagan five years ago was not only a dream come true for myself and a true sensation. It was also the best thing that could happen to us as a team and as a sponsor. We experienced significant sporting success and numerous memorable moments together with Peter. He has been an inspiration to all of us and a great brand ambassador for BORA. But no matter how big the successes were, as a person, Peter has never changed, he has remained a humble person, friendly and respectful. Peter is a friend of our company and our people, and he will always remain so. Pascal turned pro in our team at 22 years of age, and it has been impressive to see how fast he became a leader. He remained the friendly and open person who was always a very welcomed guest at our events and appreciated by our partners. Like Peter, a perfect ambassador for BORA. Personally, I feel sorry that both will be leaving the team, but the BORA family says a big thank you and sends all the best for their future. We are known for hospitality, and this also means that in the future, Peter and Pascal will always be welcome at BORA.” – Willi Bruckbauer, Founder and CEO BORA.
“On behalf of the entire Hansgrohe Group, I would like to extend a sincere thanks to Pascal Ackermann and Peter Sagan for their many sporting successes and unforgettable moments. Both have been an important part of the impressive progression of the BORA-hansgrohe pro cycling team. We wish both riders all the best for their future careers.” – Hans-Jürgen Kalmbach, Chairman of the Executive Board, Hansgrohe SE.
New suit for Peter Sagan next year:
Fabio Jakobsen’s Incredible Comeback at the Tour de Wallonie
Deceuninck – Quick-Step took two victories at the Belgian race, both netted by the 24-year-old Dutchman, who returned to winning ways after a long and arduous recovery.
“We can look back at a successful Tour de Wallonie”, sports director Geert Van Bondt says. “We took two wins out of five stages. For the GC we maybe had some higher expectations, but also there we can conclude that maybe the parcours didn’t suit us 100%. The guys came back after an altitude training camp and then it’s always a bit unpredictable how their bodies will respond. But we are really happy with how they raced.”
The big goal at this year’s Tour de Wallonie was to get Fabio in the mix at the bunch sprints again. “Fabio really wanted to sprint and that’s what he did. He did the Tour of Turkey and the Dauphiné, the latter a very hard race. In Wallonie, the primary objective was to do as many sprints as possible with Fabio, and to get his body used to the short hard efforts again. The last stage had a really hectic final, with a lot of turns, roundabouts which cost a lot of effort, but he showed he’s ready with his shape.”
After claiming two victories, the whole team was extremely proud and emotional. “It’s incredible. After such a long recovery, getting back to sprinting and in the first place wanting to sprint again and then taking home two wins gave us all goosebumps. Fabio is a really open, down-to-earth person who knows what he’s doing. During his comeback he had multiple operations that made him take some steps back every time. But Fabio just took it day by day, step by step. He always kept calm and he took the right steps at the right time, surrounded by all the people that supported him throughout.”
“He adjusted his training to his recovery, so all his wounds could heal. But then of course it’s always a big desire to come back and win again. We went for it all together, and seeing Fabio win was really emotional, as those images and what he has been through comes back to your mind. He wanted to return and win, he already knew what he needed to do to reach the top when he came into the team as a neo-pro. His perseverance and tenacity are incredible.”
“We tested the lead-out now also with La Vuelta in mind. You can only improve it by racing as much as possible together. The order of the riders is being decided and they can feel what they can do during the race. Mostly during the last five kilometres before the sprint we don’t say anything anymore through the radio, or if something really needs to be repeated. The most important is our powerpoint in the morning, where we show the riders all the difficult parts, the corners, the climbs. That can also be repeated when we reach a certain point. But for the lead-out itself everyone already knows where to start and what they need to do. It’s something automatic, you can only train it by doing races together”, Van Bondt explains.
Fabio will now head to the Vuelta, just his second Grand Tour, with a powerful morale-boost after his outing in Wallonie. “Especially the last win gave him a lot of confidence, showing that he has a good form. There were other good sprinters in the Tour de Wallonie, so it’s fantastic he could win twice. In the Vuelta there will be several sprint opportunities, and we all hope Fabio can take a victory.”
Fabio Jakobsen win in Wallonie:
Andrea Bagioli: Motivated and Confident for the Coming Months
After a solid return to competition in Wallonie, the Italian looks forward to the next appointments of the season.
“I’m super happy after the Tour de Wallonie, because my level was pretty high after five months without any racing. It wasn’t easy to come back in the bunch, but I think I did a good race. Everyone had a lot of emotions with Fabio, who won again after almost one year since the Tour de Pologne. That was such an incredible moment and I’m happy I could be there. The team worked hard, gave everything in the lead-out and we were all happy we could help him take two victories”, Andrea said of his first outing since the month of March.
A long recovery
After a great start to the season, which saw him take a beautiful solo victory at the Drôme Classic, the Italian was ruled out of competition for almost half a year following a crash in Trofeo Laigueglia.
“I had some pain in my knee and the doctors told me that I couldn’t ride my bike for ten days, then I tried again to go on the bike but I still felt the pain and they decided to do a small operation. After that I had to stay off the bike for four weeks, then I could start on the rollers again. Mentally it was super hard, especially after the first two weeks. I watched a lot of Netflix and played on the PlayStation, because I couldn’t do much more. I also watched my teammates on TV, and when they were racing in Romandie at the time I was recovering, I knew just how much I wanted to race again.”
“My family and my girlfriend kept me motivated and helped me throughout that period, they kept me calm and told me I would be able to come back, as well as the team. My father rides his bike and my brother Nicola is a professional cyclist as well so everyone in my family loves the sport. My girlfriend too. Everyone watches it.”
Beautiful memories from France
The team is in action this week at the Tour de l’Ain, where they took a win as early as the opening day, after Colombian Alvaro Hodeg capitalised on his teammates’ excellent work in Bourg-en-Bresse.
“I still remember it well, I passed Primoz Roglič in the last 50 metres, that was an incredible feeling. After the finish they all congratulated me, it was super special. Only five months before I watched Roglič on television, and then I raced against him and won. The most important goal during the Tour de l’Ain for me is to improve my form again towards the next races. If there’s an opportunity to win a stage, I’ll do my best.”
Being only 22 years old and having already won three races, Andrea still has a lot of other dreams. “I won smaller races until now, not World Tour. My goal is to win a World Tour race and my biggest dream is to win a Monument. I’ve already learned a lot of things since I came into the team, I’m young and I still have a lot of things to get more experienced in. In just one year I’ve learned a lot, this is the perfect team for a young rider to improve, step by step. There are still a couple of months left until the end of the season and I’m determined to help the Wolfpack and make the most out of every opportunity I’ll get.”
Andrea Bagioli win:
Cassani No Longer Italian National Coach
The Olympics seem to be Davide Cassani’s last event as national coach of the Italian cycling team, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Gianni Bugno, currently chairman of the CPA cyclists’ union, may be his successor.
The early departure of Cassani from Tokyo has prompted Italian media to speculate about the future of the national coach. It was expected that he would also be present as a staff member at the velodrome for the track events, which start in Japan after the weekend. According to La Gazzetta, there is talk of an intervention by the Italian cycling federation, or dismissal. FCI president Cordiano Dagnoni says that Cassani’s return trip was already planned. “Due to the special rules of these Olympics, you have to return to your home country within 48 hours of your own discipline,” he told the newspaper.
“Unfortunately, it was not possible to keep him with us in Tokyo for the track races that start on Monday. Looking ahead, I want to wait for the evaluations scheduled for the end of August in Val di Sole,” said Dagnoni. Cassani himself also reacted to the situation after his return. “I’m calm about it, but I think it’s good if we talk about it first. I did not hear the Federal President’s comments because I was on my way. We’re going to talk to each other like decent people before making statements about it. We will also talk about my role,” the national coach told ANSA news agency.
According to the pink sports newspaper, Gianni Bugno is named as Cassani’s successor as national cycling coach. The 57-year-old Bugno, a two-time world champion, has served as the chairman of the CPA since 2010. Tuttobiciweb suggest that Davide Bramati, at present a DS with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, has also been put forward.
Arctic Race of Norway 2021: Barguil and Kristoff Vs Next Generation
Alexander Kristoff and Edvald Boasson Hagen to pass the baton to the new generation of Norwegian talents.
A dedicated fisherman himself, Warren Barguil loves the atmosphere of the Arctic Race of Norway. He returned in 2019 to avenge himself for the misfortune of his crash the year before. He took the lead on top of Storheia but missed out on the overall victory by one second due to a split at the eleventh hour on the final stage in Narvik. In June this year, he questioned about the course of the northernmost bike race with the idea of finally being crowned in a competition that is close to his heart.
The queen stage to Målselv suits him but the former French champion and King of the Mountains in the 2017 Tour de France won’t be the only favourite of the eighth edition of the ARN. Ben Hermans, the only stage winner in the “Alpine Village” (in 2015) up to date, will lead Israel Start-Up Nation with the aim of an overall success this time around. No less than 11 teams will line up in Tromsø after having taken part in the Tour de France: Astana-Premier Tech with former u23 world champion Samuele Battistella, AG2R Citroën Team with classics star Oliver Naesen, Bora-Hansgrohe with road captain Juraj Sagan, Cofidis with Giro d’Italia stage winner Victor Lafay, Qhubeka NextHash with brave heart Nic Dlamini, TotalEnergies with Spanish climber Cristian Rodriguez and Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert matériaux with Norway’s Odd Christian Eiking, the Storheia stage winner two years ago, Uno-X pro cycling teal with Markus Hoelgaard who claimed the last stage in Narvik the following day.
Shall sprinters get an opportunity or more, Alexander Kristoff, racing under the colours of the Norwegian national team, will face a fierce competition in the presence of Christophe Laporte (Cofidis), Martin Laas (Bora-Hansgrohe), Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), Dan McLay (Team Arkea-Samsic), Rudy Barbier (Israel Start-Up Nation), Clément Venturini (AG2R Citroën Team), Edouard Michael Grosu (Delko), Manuel Penalver (Burgos-BH) and Juanjo Lobato (Euskaltel-Euskadi).
Besides Kristoff, Edvald Boasson Hagen is the other Norwegian hero in contention. He’s yet to impose himself at the Arctic Race of Norway. In his only participation so far, he came second to Kristoff in Harstad in 2015. Both will assess the level of their succession as the country has plenty of young riders likely to take over. Andreas Leknessund, 22, will make his debut along with Kristoff but he knows the event for having had a first taste in 2017 with the Heroes of Tomorrow’s organised by Equinor… in Tromsø, his hometown! Søren Wærenskjold, 21, second in the Norwegian championship for ITT, has a lot of power in store to combine forces with Hoelgaard and Torstein Træen who finished fifth in the Tour d’Alsace in France last week. Erik Lunder, 22, recently won the Dookola Mazowsza overall in Poland for Team Coop while his team-mate Tord Gudmestad, 20, took two stages after he became the u23 Norwegian champion for road racing.
Since 2013, the Arctic Race of Norway is a springboard for future champions.
Team Jumbo-Visma Opens the Virtual Doors of Their Own Digital Theater to Present Tour de France Documentary
As the first sports team in the world, Team Jumbo-Visma opens its own digital theater. A 3D environment where fans can experience content, like they are used to in a movie theater. And what better way to launch this innovative concept than with the documentary ‘Plan B, the fall & rise’ of the teams 2021 Tour de France? The story about how a dramatic first week turned into the teams best Tour the France performance ever with a second place in the GC and 4 stage wins.
In the Team Jumbo-Visma theater, the cinema experience is replicated in the best possible way. This means, for example, that cycling fans have to buy a ticket for fixed time slots and that the light setting during the documentary is different than during the walk-in. Visitors also have the option of watching the documentary full-screen for the most optimal experience.
With the Team Jumbo-Visma theater, the team looks further than only this Tour de France documentary. The ambition is that in the future, the digital environment can also be used for viewing parties, (team)presentations, seminars and other digital experiences.. To be able to create the most unique experience for cycling fans, further expansion of (interactive) functionalities will be examined.
Richard Plugge, general manager of Team Jumbo-Visma, is happy with the launch of the new concept: “This is another step of bringing our fans closer to the team. The Team Jumbo-Visma Theater will give us a lot of opportunities to share content in a unique way with our fans. Our documentary Plan B is a nice first step to launch the theater. After last years success of the Continue the Ride and this years Ride With Us campaign, this is a great new way to interact with our further growing fanbase.”
Fans can book their tickets for the Tour the France documentary in the Team Jumbo-Visma Theater at https://planb.teamjumbovisma.com. Shows will run from August 6th till August 22nd.
The digital experience has been created by our creative and digital partner TDE.
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