EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

All the weekend action

What a weekend! Paris-Roubaix, the men’s and women’s races were historic. All the news from the Hell of the North, plus the Giro di Sicilia, Sparkassen Münsterland Giro, Giro dell’Emilia and Hour Records for Joss Lowden and Daniel Bigham. Qhubeka NextHash uncertain – TOP STORY. Annemiek van Vleuten injured and Remco Evenepoel in Coppa Bernocchi. Race news: Tour Down Under canceled, European Track championships and RCS Sport’s 2022 calendar. Team news: Alpecin sponsor to end of 2025. Rider news: Zdenek Stybar with Quick-Step next season, David De La Cruz to Astana, De Gendt, Pasqualon & Van Melsen resign, Trixi Worrack retires, Mikkel Honoré injury update, Karl Patrick Lauk joins Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB and Allan Davis to be DS with Lotto Soudal. Onboard cameras at Paris-Roubaix. Big Roubaix EUROTRASH Monday coffee time.


TOP STORY: Future of Qhubeka NextHash Uncertain: Riders Can Look for a New Team
Things don’t look good for the Qhubeka NextHash team. The South African formation is financially in trouble and riders can now look for another team, even those who still have a contract in 2022 according to the team.

The South African team has been struggling financially for years and has flirted with the end of the line before. Last summer, team manager Doug Ryder managed to secure a new sponsor for the next five years with NextHash. NextHash is a company involved in blockchain, a system for storing data in a chain of data blocks, and crypto.

The cycling project seemed saved, but according to rumours, NextHash hardly pays much money. Last month it became known that the South African team was unable to pay the salaries for the month of August. Currently, two riders (Sjoerd Bax and Henok Mulubrhan) have been announced for next season and expiring contracts have not yet been extended, which is not surprising given the financial situation.

The team does not really want to go into the speculations, but has come up with a short statement. “Team Qhubeka NextHash is committed to ensuring the future of the team. We are working hard on a solution with our current and future partners. We have informed the riders and other people within the organisation of the current situation. They are free to look at other options if they wish.”

Doug Ryder is still optimistic about the future of the team. “We are working hard on a solution,” he told Velonews. “We are still looking for a new partner for 2022 and we are now working on a few options. We have been in talks with potential partners for months. The current situation (corona crisis) has not helped in our search, but we are now close to a breakthrough. We hope that we can arrange everything in time, so that we can race again in 2022. I am very positive and hopeful and we are working very hard on a solution.”

As to riders now being able to look for new teams, Ryder said: “That is part of the procedure. There is an agreement with the riders union CPA that you must inform riders about their contract status if you have not renewed contracts before September 30th. This says nothing about the stability of the team, or about the future.” Ryder also spoke about NextHash (a crypto company), who the team has a contract for the next five years. “NextHash would replace ASSOS as a co-sponsor this year, but from 2022 the company will be a shirt sponsor. They invest in our team, but that is not enough to operate as the main sponsor.”

Not looking good for Qhubeka NextHash:

 


Paris-Roubaix 2021
Riding his first Paris-Roubaix at the age of 31, European champion Sonny Colbrelli of Bahrain Victorious rode to glory on the André-Pétrieux velodrome as he out-sprinted his two breakaway companions, Florian Vermeersch and Mathieu van der Poel, two other debutants in the Hell of the North. The race was marked by wet and muddy conditions and the solo breakaway of another Italian, Gianni Moscon, who looked like having his grip on the race but was victim of a puncture and a crash in the finalé.

174 riders took the start of the 118th Paris-Roubaix. Riding his last race ever, Australia’s Mitch Docker (EF Education-Nippo) was involved in the first crash in the first kilometre along with Jonas Van Genechten (B&B Hotels-KTM). Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo), Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) and Max Kanter (DSM) managed to form a leading trio after 10km of racing but Trentin sat up while the peloton was very active. It was all together again at km 29. A group of 31 riders was formed at km 47: Florian Vermeersch, Harry Sweeny, Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal), Daniel Oss (BORA-hansgrohe), Davide Ballerini, Tim De Clercq (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Edoardo Affini, Timo Roosen, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Tom van Asbroek (Israel Start Up Nation), Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Tom Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Marco Haller, Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R-Citroën), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Stefan Bisseger (EF Education-Nippo), André Carvalho (Cofidis), Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates), Owain Doull, Gianni Moscon, Luke Rowe (INEOS Grenadiers), Florian Maître (TotalEnergies), Luke Durbridge, Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), Edvaldas Siskevicius (Delko), Nils Eekhoff (DSM), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka-NextHash), Imanol Erviti, Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) and Luca Mozzato (B&B Hotels-KTM). Doull and Küng were swallowed by the pack after a flat tyre and a crash respectively.

After Haller sustained a flat tyre, 28 leaders entered the first cobbled sector with an advantage of 1:50 over the peloton. At the exit of the sector 27, Walscheid, Rowe, Vermeersch and Eekhoff took the lead with 143km to go. After Rowe was dropped and Walscheid crashed on sector 24, Vermeersch and Eekhoff formed a leading duo with 127km to go. The Belgian and the Dutchman entered the Trouée d’Arenberg with an advantage of 40 seconds over their former breakaway companions and 1:40 over the favourites’ group. At the exit, van der Poel was accompanied by Guillaume Boivin, Sonny Colbrelli and Jorgenson while van Aert was timed at 20 seconds behind them. The Belgian national champion came across before the Pont Gibus. 83km before the end, Vermeersch and Eekhoff were reeled in by the 11 first chasers.

Vermeersch, Sweeny, Van der Sande, Roosen, Van Hooydonck, Van Asbroek, Philipsen, Van Avermaet, Bisseger, Moscon, Siskevicius, Eekhoff, and Walscheid formed a front group that split with 75km to go. Van der Poel attacked on the cobbled sector 15 with 70km yet to be covered. Vermeersch, Van Asbroek and Moscon rode away 63km out. Moscon went solo on the sector 12 with 52km to go. He had 1 minute lead over van der Poel, Boivin and Colbrelli at the 50km to go mark. Moscon was flying on the 5-stars iconic sector of Mons-en-Pévèle despite the mud remaining after the weather conditions became sunny. He had 1:20 lead over van der Poel, Vermeersch, Boivin, Van Asbroek and Colbrelli when he sustained a flat tyre with 29km to go. The Italian crashed on the cobbled sector 7. His advantage was reduced to 9 seconds, but went up again. Moscon was caught on the Carrefour de l’Arbre by Van der Poel, Colbrelli and Vermeersch who kept going without him. Moscon was then caught by the van Aert group within 5km to go while the leading trio was out of reach. Van der Poel entered the velodrome in first position. Vermeersch launched the sprint on the final bend. Colbrelli sprinted in the middle to beat his two companions by a very little margin.

# You can see the full ‘PEZ Race Report and Photo Gallery’ HERE. #

2021 Paris-Roubaix winner, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious): “This is my first Paris-Roubaix. I’m very happy because it was a legendary Paris-Roubaix with the rain. Gianni [Moscon] did 200km at the front, he was super strong. After Arenberg, I followed van der Poel. It was super difficult. After the crash in the first sector, I stayed at the head of the group I was in. In the finale, I did a super sprint. The Lotto-Soudal rider [Florian Vermeersch] surprised me but I jumped I think in the last 25 metres. That was close! In my dream races, Tour of Flanders is first and Paris-Roubaix is second. This is my year. I’m very happy.”

2nd, Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal): “I feel both disappointment and pride. For the moment, disappointment has the speaking overhand, but I know I can be proud of my performance. In the coming days, the feeling will get better and the deception will go away. Our goal was to be in the breakaway, at least if it was a big breakaway. We achieved that goal early in the race with three guys. There was a battle in front of the group to get a good position in the first sectors. I managed myself well but suddenly two guys crashed. From that moment, I said to the others: keep going, let’s don’t kill ourselves, maybe a group will come, and that happened. When Moscon went hard, I got dropped, but I was able to recover a bit. Colbrelli’s group came back, then I was over my bad moment and I felt good again. I found myself with van der Poel and Colbrelli at Carrefour de l’Arbre. I said myself: ok I’m riding for victory. I was with two guys who already won bunch sprints, so I had to attack. I did it two times. They came back. It came down to a sprint. I started at the right moment, but I got cramps everywhere and Colbrelli could jump over. I’m standing behind my choices I have no regrets. What I did, I’d do it again if I had the chance. The race definitely suits me but I never thought I’d be 2nd at my first Paris-Roubaix. I’m made for the classics, I’m kind of a heavy guy. The entrance to the velodrome was pure adrenaline, but actually I had it for the whole race. I was almost always in the front and first to hit the sectors. Lots of Belgian fans were screaming my name, I got goose bumps all along.”

3rd, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “I am proud to be on the podium at my first participation. My legs were just exhausted at the end. I was already on the limit for the last 30-40 kilometres. You hope the rest are broken too. But it was really over for me. It was difficult today. I’m happy with the race I ran. I was able to race the way I like to do it, on the attack. It was a nice race anyway. If I have to lose, I prefer to go down fighting. I’m happy with it. But apparently I was the most devastated of all. I think everyone’s back hurts now, but it hasn’t bothered me. It was incredibly tough, but this Paris-Roubaix is ​​one to be framed and never to be forgotten. I showed myself for the first time in Wallers and from there it hasn’t stopped. It was a very long final. In the end it took its toll. My head is not turned to the cross now. That’s going to take a while. I intend to go on holiday now.”

4th, Gianni Moscon (INEOS Grenadiers): “When you race at the limit, you also make mistakes. This race is one of the best races. I tried to attack from afar and gave everything. I just had some bad luck with that flat tire and then I was at the limit. If you do that, you also make mistakes. I fell, but didn’t lose too much time. Yet they came back from behind, and then I didn’t have the legs to go with them. I tried it again and that resulted in a fourth place. Who knows… You can’t say that now. I don’t know myself. The race is just like that. I don’t know exactly how much time I lost through those two things. It was very spectacular. I tried to put my cards on the table early, by attacking early, but it didn’t work out. Another Italian won, so congratulations go to him.”

5th, Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck – Quick Step): “I had three punctures, all in crucial moments. I just rode on the crown of the cobbles, but had three punctures. Despite coming after two punctures the moment Van der Poel went, I still felt great. Coming off the Wallers, I was second in the group, but then had that third puncture. It’s disappointing, because I had very good legs and could feel that I was able to keep going, even in these hard conditions. At the end of the day, it was a phenomenal race and I’m happy with my result and that I got to experience a wet Roubaix, but next time I hope to have more luck.”

7th, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “It was difficult for everyone, although I felt good in myself. We had strong guys up front. But when Mathieu accelerated, I was too far. That was my own fault. On the wet cobblestones I didn’t have the feeling I wanted. When I was in the wheels, I rode badly and I lost energy with that. I’m not 100 percent satisfied, but on the other hand I don’t think the victory was in it. A Roubaix like this is fun to experience, but I don’t like it more than a dry edition. It is extremely dangerous and you cannot race all day in front. It also has a lot to do with luck. I don’t think you’re going to see me for a while. It’s been a long season and I plan to take a long rest.”

19th, Baptiste Planckaert (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I was really looking forward to my first participation in Paris-Roubaix. The excitement was even more intense the last few days following the weather forecast. Because the chaotic races and difficult circumstances are not to displease me! I dodged all the obstacles until I eventually suffered a flat tire. Then, coming out of the Forest of Wallers, I had the opportunity to follow Colbrelli and anticipate. It was an opportunity to get ahead of the favourites, knowing they could look at each other at some point. In the end, the race never stopped and I struggled around 50 kilometers from the finish. I made a final attempt to catch up with the Van Aert group, but the tank was completely empty. Thanks to my perseverance and good feeding, I was still able to get a top 20 on the Roubaix velodrome. I barely had the strength to make it to the famous showers. I am proud of my performance on this epic race!”

Nils Politt (BORA-hansgrohe): “Actually, I had good legs today, but the conditions were extremely difficult and, on top of that, I think you also needed a bit of luck. I had to change bikes three times quite early in the race which meant that my chances in coming back to the front were practically nil. That’s a pity but I will be back hungry next year and maybe luck is on my side then.”

Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe): “Paris-Roubaix is hard by itself but today’s treacherous conditions made it truly extreme. It was a race of attrition where the key was to survive to the finish line. We knew that positioning would be fundamental and that being as close to the front as possible would be extremely important. We all worked hard to achieve it but, unfortunately, we got caught up in various crashes. I was also involved in one of them and hit the ground quite hard, on the right part of my body. I kept on racing afterward and gave it my all to get to the finish line. This was my last race in the BORA-hansgrohe colours and I truly wanted to finish the five years we spent together with the best result possible but today wasn’t the day.”

Paris-Roubaix Result:
1. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious in 6:01:57
2. Florian Vermeersch (Bel) Lotto Soudal
3. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
4. Gianni Moscon (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:44
5. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick Step at 1:16
6. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
7. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
8. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation
9. Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation
10. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain Victorious.

Roubaix’21:

 


Paris-Roubaix Femmes 2021
Elizabeth Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) delivered a supreme performance on a historic day, soloing to a maiden triumph in the André Pétrieux velodrome in the first edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes. The British star went for a very early move and covered the 29.2km of cobbles of the day on her own, alone off the front! Already a winner of Monuments like Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Ronde van Vlaanderen, world champion in 2015, also a winner of major one-day-races like La Course by Le Tour, the Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Strade Bianche Donne, Deignan survived all the traps of a muddy Hell of the North to take victory ahead of the Dutch icon Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) and her Italian teammate Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo).

A star-studded field with 129 participants took to the course in the early afternoon, with the recent World champions Elisa Balsamo (Valcar-Travel & Service) and many other contenders for the first ever edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes. It wasn’t raining at the start, but a strong wind blew from the South. It would push the riders on the first three sectors before the race turns west around km 50.

After a few breakaway attempts on the local circuit in Denain, the early attackers were caught ahead of the first cobbles of the day. An early crash led to the withdrawal of Marlen Reusser (Alé BTC Ljubljana) and Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//Sram), two of the heroes of the recent world championships in Flanders. As the field reached the first cobbles, from Hornaing to Wandignies (km 33.9), Elizabeth Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) went for a very early move, and nobody followed her. The British star, World champion in 2015 and a winner of most of the greatest races in the women’s calendar, said she came to the Hell of the North “as a fan”, and she made the most of this maiden participation at the front of the race, opening a gap of 2 minutes on the first sectors of the day. Movistar, SD Worx and Jumbo-Visma were among the teams most involved in the chase. Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) attacked on the cobbles leading to Bersée (55km to go), and the bunch exploded in Mons-en-Pévèle, the first 5-star sector of the day.

With the wet and muddy conditions, Elisa Balsamo was among the riders who go down. 13 riders remain in contention behind Deignan, with Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT) and Emma Norsgaard (Movistar) taking long turns at the front. The gap was down to 2:15 when Deignan hit one of the most demanding sequences of the day: Camphin-en-Pévèle (4 stars) and then Carrefour de l’Arbre (5 stars). The British champ survived a near-miss on the cobbles. Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo), Christine Majerus (SD Worx), Aude Biannic (Movistar) and Sarah Roy (BikeExchange) were not so lucky, going down as they try to follow an acceleration by Marianne Vos. The Dutch icon had a gap of 1:55 to bridge in 17km. As she exited the Carrefour de l’Arbre, with 15km to go, she had already cut Deignan’s lead to 1:15. But the Brit had enough energy left in the tank to ride to Roubaix on her own and triumph with a gap of 1:17 on Vos. Elisa Longo Borghini put another Trek-Segafredo rider on the podium at 1:47 as she narrowly fended off Lisa Brennauer at 1:51.

# You can see the full ‘PEZ Race Report and Photo Gallery’ HERE. #

Paris-Roubaix winner, Elizabeth Deignan (Trek-Segafredo): “At the start of the day, our two leaders were Ellen van Dijk and Elisa Longo Borghini and I was meant to be one of the last helpers. I knew positioning would be essential, and they had some problem ahead of the first cobbles. I was in the front and I took that speed onto the cobbles because I really had to sprint to be there. I looked behind me at the end of the cobbles and I had a gap. So I thought as long as I’m up front, they have to chase me. I rode at 75% until I had 1 minute and then I commit 100%. But I wasn’t thinking about victory until the end. We had such a strong team and as long as I was in front, it was an insurance policy. But it definitely wasn’t the plan. In men’s cycling, it’s classed as a Monument. We are getting more and more opportunities, and to be the first winner on such a race definitely has to be up there [among my greatest wins]. It was completely surreal [when I entered the velodrome]. This morning, I was here as a teammate, I never dreamed of winning myself, so to find myself alone after such an effort, it was an incredible moment. I really savoured that final lap. We are part of history now, there’s no going back.”

2nd, Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma): “Today, I have to be happy with second. We tried what we could and Lizzie Deignan had a very brave early attack. She gained a good advantage. From the moment I went in the finale, I knew it was gonna be very hard and I didn’t get closer than 1’15’’. At the start line, I felt the excitement from all the teams. And then, it was chaos in the first hour, to be up there. We all knew it was gonna be a big fight. My team did a great job to position me out of trouble. On the cobbles, it’s hard but it’s also about how you position. If you’re in the first five or six positions, it’s good, but you have to stay alert. Some of the sections were really slippery and muddy. Overall, it was great to do Paris-Roubaix, and once you’re racing you just give your best. And it was a fantastic feeling to get to the velodrome. I think maybe it had to be like this, with a first edition already with these conditions. The mud, the rain, it made it more epic.”

3rd, Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo): “Lizzie [Deignan] rode an incredible Paris-Roubaix and nobody deserves more than her to be on the top spot of the podium. She made history, we made history. It’s hard to acknowledge but it’s an amazing feeling. She attacked on instinct, because that’s how she is. The whole team were chasing behind after a crash, and all of a sudden we just heard she was at the front. It was a relief. Today, she had the sparkle in her eye. Audrey Cordon-Ragot also did a great race. And I tried to follow [Marianne] Vos when she attacked but I couldn’t, she was just too strong in the corners. The cobbles were very slippery today. I don’t know, I think I crashed three or four times and I always managed to get back in contention. We were told to never give up because Paris-Roubaix is like that. Paris-Roubaix is chaos and you just have to embrace it. Sure, I’ll be back! I would do that right now again! It’s been a nice race.”

Paris-Roubaix Femmes Result:
1. Elizabeth Deignan (GB) Trek-Segafredo in 2:56:07
2. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:17
3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:47
4. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT at 1:51
5. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé BTC Ljubljana at 2:10
6. Emma Norsgaard (Den) Movistar
7. Franziska Koch (Ger) DSM
8. Audrey Cordon Ragot (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
9. Marta Cavalli (Ita) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
10. Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (Ned) SD Worx.

Roubaix’21:

 


Giro di Sicilia 2021
Alejandro Valverde is back with a vengeance. The 41-year-old Spaniard won Stage 3 of the Giro di Sicilia by beating Alessandro Covi in an uphill sprint. The stage winner crashed just after the finish, but there didn’t seem to be much damage.

The first two stages ended in a sprint and there was no match for Juan Sebastián Molano, but on Thursday it was a completely different final. The general classification was overhauled in this 180-kilometre stage to Caronia. In the last 70 kilometres the riders crossed the difficult climb of Pollina (11.4km at 5.7%), the finish line was on a tough final climb of 3.6 kilometers at just under 6%. A break of eight riders quickly escaped the peloton, where we saw the Trek-Segafredo and Israel Start-Up Nation teams keep the gap in check. Damiano Cima (Gazprom-RusVelo), Paul Double (Mg.k Vis VPM), David González (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Ben King (Rally), Davide Orrico (Vini Zabù), Samuele Rivi (eolo-Kometa), Alex Tolio (Zalf Euromobil Fior) and Francesco Zandri (Work Service Marchiol Vega) had a maximum lead of just over 4 minutes, but the peloton did not let it go any higher.

The 4 minute lead was halved before the foot of the Pollina where the leading group exploded. Double apparently had something left and decided to go alone. In the peloton, most sprinters, including leader Molano, were dropped. Ábner Gonzalez rode ahead of his leader and Valverde and the young climber from Puerto Rico almost bridged the gap to the front riders. Only Double and King were still in the lead at that point. A few kilometres before the top, Double was joined by King, who managed to return from behind at his own pace. With a second attack, the American rode away from his British accomplice and was first to the top of the Pollina. It turned out to be King’s final effort and there was a regrouping on the descent of the Pollina. There was now a compact group heading towards the intermediate sprint in Castel di Tusa, where the riders could collect important bonus seconds for the overall victory. Movistar decided to take full control of the race just before the sprint, the Spanish team had confidence in their leader Valverde, who took 3 bonus seconds in the sprint, after a perfect lead-out from his teammates. After the sprint the speed was kept high to the foot of the last climb of the day, where the decision would be made in the battle for the stage victory. First it was up to José Joaquin Rojas to keep the speed high and with just over two kilometres to go Davide Villella took over.

Because of Movistar’s fast pace, no one thought about attacking. At 1.5 kilometres from the finish, Brandon McNulty made a move, but the American from UAE Team Emirates didn’t get away. An attack by a rider from Gazprom-RusVelo was also defused by Villella, who then led-out Valverde perfectly for the last hundreds of metres. The Spaniard was the first to start the sprint and dealt fairly easily with Covi and Jhonatan Restrepo. Valverde, who also took over the lead from Molano, but crashed just after the finish. The Murcian fell on a taped cable, but quickly got up and at first glance the damage appeared to be minor. In the general classification, Valverde is now 7 seconds ahead of Covi, Restrepo and Davide Gabburo follow at 9 seconds.

Stage winner and overall leader, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “So happy to have achieved this victory! We came here today with an aim at claiming the victory, and we succeeded – even if the end of the day was a bit unexpected. It was unfortunate to lost control of the bike over those cables, but I think it won’t be too serious. Let’s see how we sleep and how we tackle tomorrow’s stage. Above all, I want to thank all of my team-mates, because it was due to their effort that I could take this. It’s a victory that brings me so much peace of mind, knowing now that I’m doing OK. I’ve been able to train well these past few weeks, I recovered fast and I showed again today I’m fine. My goal, both here in Sicilia and in the next few days, is to gain some racing form to be up there for Il Lombardia. I know it will be hard, but the good thing is we’ve got an extra win to celebrate now!”

2nd on the stage and overall, Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m pleased but really I would have liked to have taken the first victory as a professional today. In the sprint maybe I should have hit out a bit earlier before the 2 corners in the last 100m but saying it now doesn’t change the result and it’s still a good second place behind a great champion like Valverde.Big thanks to my teammates and to the team who trusted me today.”

Giro di Sicilia Stage 3 Result:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 4:42:29
2. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
3. Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
4. Simone Velasco (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM
6. Cristian Scaroni (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo
7. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) eolo-Kometa
8. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates
9. Alessio Martinelli (Ita) Colpack Ballan
10. Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo.

Giro di Sicilia Overall After Stage 3:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 13:45:18
2. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:07
3. Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
4. Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizané at 0:09
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 0:12
6. Simone Velasco (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo at 0:13
7. Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
8. Alessio Martinelli (Ita) Colpack Ballan
9. Cristian Scaroni (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo

 

Vincenzo Nibali won the 2021 Giro di Sicilia. In the Final Stage 4, the 36-year-old Italian of Trek-Segafredo broke away from the other favourites with 22 kilometres to go and then rode solo to the stage win and overall victory. For ‘Lo Squalo dello Stretto’, it was his first success since his stage win in the 2019 Tour de France.

The last stage covered 180 kilometres from Sant’Agata di Militello to Mascali, a stage where a lot could still happen in the battle for the overall victory. After the start, the course went over rolling roads to the first big climb of the day, the Portella Mandrazzi. Via the climb to Castiglione di Sicilia, the route then went to the Sciara di Scorciavacca, the last climb of this stage. After the top there were still 17 kilometres to the finish. After a fast descent, there were still 7 flatter kilometres to the line.

It took a long time before a leading group made a serious gap, but after 64 kilometres a group with initially 7 riders got away. Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) was joined by Marco Brenner (DSM), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Edward Ravasi (eolo-Kometa), Joan Bou (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Riccardo Verza (Ointment Euromobil Fior). After that, Roman Kreuziger and Cristian Scaroni (both Gazprom-RusVelo) also got with the leaders. Movistar controlled the peloton and the gap with the leading group was kept between 1 and 2 minutes. On the Portella Mandrazzi, Chris Hamilton attacked from the peloton and managed to join his teammate Brenner and the other escapees just before the top. Before the 10 kilometre long Sciara di Scorciavacca, the attackers lead started to shrink. At the foot of the climb it was only 10 seconds.

On the climb a new leading group emerged with leader Alejandro Valverde, Alessandro Covi (second overall), Romain Bardet (5th) and Vincenzo Nibali (10th). At 22 kilometres from the finish, Nibali attacked and immediately had a nice gap. Because he was only 13 seconds behind on the overall, he quickly became the virtual leader. With 35 seconds on his pursuers, the Trek-Segafredo leader came over the top. On the last descent he had no problems and took the stage win and the overall win in Mascali.

Stage and overall winner, Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo): “It is special to win here, on the roads where I used to ride as a child. The feeling is just indescribable. I know these roads well, especially the final descent. Seeing friends and fans was great, I can’t find the words to describe what I feel now. Before today, it had been a while since I’d won my last race. Today I tried to get an advantage on the last climb, I heard on the radio that the gap remained constant, I knew the final descent well and tried to reach the finish line. This result gives me a real morale and confidence boost for Il Lombardia next week.”

2nd overall and 6th on the stage, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “I expected Nibali to attack. What I didn’t expect was when Nibali and Bardet attacked so early on in the stage. I knew they’d try but I didn’t go with them. I thought we had it more or less under control, but he climbed really well. When I saw that we couldn’t catch him, I just tried to make sure I didn’t lose 2nd place. Yesterday’s crash didn’t help. I was battered and bruised and I noticed it today, although I was better than I expected after the fall. I just have to congratulate Vincenzo. I’m coming back from a collarbone operation, and there’s still some pain, so I’m happy: happy to have won a stage and happy to finish 2nd overall against Nibali, Bardet, Covi, and everyone else here.”

3rd overall, 3rd on the stage and best young rider, Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m happy with this third place in the overall, particularly to be on the podium next to two huge champions of cycling. Obviously personally I would have liked to have won a stage after coming so close, but we got two with Molano so we leave the race very happy. I’m now really looking forward to the final races of the season.”

Winner of the points classification, Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates): “The truth is that I’m very happy to win the Maglia Ciclamino in this race. I’m grateful to my team for all the work they’ve done for me to reach this goal. At the end, there was a bit of uncertainty over whether I’d be able to retain it or not. Valverde could have won it as well, depending on his result today. We managed to get through two difficult days in the mountains. Today, it was particularly hard as it took two hours for the breakaway to go. The season is over for me and I’m glad to finish it this way.”

KOM, Cristian Scaroni (Gazprom-RusVelo): “Today it was a really hard day. We went full gas from the start. I wanted to try to win the stage and enter in the breakaway with my teammate Kreuziger. We did not win the stage but I am happy to have earned this jersey.”

Giro di Sicilia Stage 4 Result:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 4:24:29
2. Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:49
3. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM
5. Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
7. Simone Velasco (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo
8. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) eolo-Kometa
9. Thymen Arensman (Ned) DSM
10. David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates.

Giro di Sicilia Final Overall Result:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 18:09:50
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:46
3. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:49
4. Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:55
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 0:58
6. Simone Velasco (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo at 0:59
7. Thymen Arensman (Ned) DSM
8. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) eolo-Kometa
9. Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo
10. Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 1:03.

 


Sparkassen Münsterland Giro 2021
Mark Cavendish got his tenth victory of this season at the end of a fantastic day of racing. The 15th edition of the 188km German one-day race was cut to pieces by his Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates with around 100 kilometres to go, when our squad took the race by the scruff of its neck and turned things into their favour with a series of clinical attacks in the crosswinds.

Five of our riders made the resulting split and pushed a huge tempo that not only spelled the end for an earlier breakaway, but also kept the chasers at bay, dealing a big blow to many of the sprinters, who were caught on the back foot. Cavendish, Josef Cerny, Alvaro Hodeg, Iljo Keisse and Stijn Steels made sure the Wolfpack had the numerical advantage, and this allowed our squad to kick off attacks early.

Surprisingly for many, it was the Tour de France green jersey winner who made the first move, which further reduced the group with 30 kilometers to go. One by one, Cerny, reigning champion Hodeg and Keisse all tried their luck, forcing the others to do the work, an effort which took its toll on many of the riders in the front group. Two kilometers from the finish, four men jumped clear, and the Wolfpack had there both the Czech ITT Champion and Mark Cavendish. Josef did a monster lead-out for the Manxman, who opened his sprint with just 100 meters to go and sailed to a victory that put him into double-digits for the first time since 2016.

Race winner, Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It was a hard day, with bad weather and lots of wind. We forced a split at one point and worked that into our advantage, committing 100% to the effort. We wanted to make it a tough race and we did just that. In the final kilometres, we began attacking and four of us moved away. I had Josef with me and he did a great job, as did the entire squad. I am happy to get a win so late in the season and to add to the team’s tally.”

Sparkassen Münsterland Giro Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:11:52
2. Alexis Renard (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
3. Morten Hulgaard (Den) Uno-X
4. Josef Cerny (Cze) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:06
5. Niklas Märkl (Ger) DSM at 0:09
6. Rune Herregodts (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:12
7. Adriaan Janssen (Ned) Abloc CT
8. Alvaro Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:58
9. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:21
10. André Greipel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation at 1:33.

 


Giro dell’Emilia 2021
Primoz Roglič won the Giro dell’Emilia for the second time. The many top riders made for an attractive race, in which the Slovenian of Team Jumbo-Visma won on the final climb in Bologna.

The overture of a quartet of Italian autumn classics had a traditional course. Ten riders escaped. The peloton did not allow them to increase their lead too much. At the foot of the hill towards the Basilica of San Luca, which had to be climbed five times, the battle really started. Eight riders, including Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard, outflanked the original break of the day.

What followed was an exciting battle between the riders at the front. Roglič rode alertly and parried attacks from Remco Evenepoel, Joao Almeida, Michael Woods and Adam Yates, among others. In the last kilometre he attacked. The Slovenian then crossed the finish line solo for the win, his twelfth of the season. Team Jumbo-Visma’s victory tally is now at 41. If the Olympic time trial title of the Slovenian is included then it’s 42.

Race winner, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “It was a tough race. We were in control of the race all day. The whole team contributed to that. At about forty kilometers from the finish line, we came to the front with several strong riders. It was a good scenario that Jonas and I were there, and a little before that Sepp as well. We rode alertly all day and were in the places we wanted to be. I was able to follow every attack in the final phase. In the last few hundred metres I saw my chance and decided to attack myself. Luckily I had good legs and I was able to take the victory. Again I enjoyed the crowd along the side. That makes this victory extra nice. I have a lot of good memories of this climb and I’m glad I was able to add one today. Hopefully, I can return here in the future and fight for victory again. The focus now is on Milan-Turin and the Tour of Lombardy. I’m ready to end the season in a beautiful way.”

Giro dell’Emilia Result:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 4:54:26
2. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:03
3. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:05
4. Adam Yates (GB) Ineos Grenadiers at 0:10
5. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:28
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation at 1:23
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 1:45
8. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 1:46
9. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation at 1:50
10. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic at 1:59.

 


Joss Lowden Breaks Women’s Hour Record
Joss Lowden broke the World Hour Record for women on Thursday. The 33-year-old beat the old record of the Italian Vittoria Bussi on the cycling track in Grenchen, Switzerland. Lowden rode 48.405 kilometres in an hour.

Joscelin ‘Joss’ Lowden went for a trial run at the beginning of this year, Lowden ‘unofficially’ rode faster than the old record of Vittoria Bussi during a training session, but now wanted to take her shot at the official record.

During that training run, the time trial specialist rode 48.160 kilometres in one hour, which was more than a hundred meters further than Bussi’s official world hour record. That record has stood at 48,007 kilometers since 2018. Lowden was supported in her record attempt by her team Drops-Le Col. The British rider, recently eighth at the World time trial championships, was soon on a record schedule and managed to accelerate at the end. After 45 minutes she was at an average of 48.370 kilometers and Lowden had no intention of weakening towards the end and finished with a new record of 48.405 kilometres.

Joss Lowden:

 


Daniel Bigham Sets New British Hour Record
Daniel Bigham is the new holder of the British hour record. In his record attempt on the track of Grenchen, Switzerland, the 29-year-old track and road rider covered 54,723 kilometres, improving the old record set by Bradley Wiggins from 2015 by almost 200 metres. Bigham was not faster than the current World hour record set by Victor Campenaerts of 55.089 kilometres.

If Bigham had been faster than Campenaerts, the UCI would not have recognised his distance. To be allowed to attack the World hour record, as a rider you must be part of the Registered Testing Pool (RTP) of the UCI. This is the anti-doping system in which riders have to share their whereabouts and also build up a biological passport. This is mandatory for WorldTeam and ProTeam riders.

Bigham rides for Ribble Weldtite, a continental team. “In this case I would have to pay the costs for the RTP myself,” the British rider wrote on social media. “But participation in the RTP is only mandatory for the World hour record.” He officially attacked Wiggins’ British record and succeeded.

Daniel Bigham:

 


Van Vleuten Injured in Paris-Roubaix
Annemiek van Vleuten has broken her pubic bone in two places in a bad crash in Paris-Roubaix. The Movistar rider crashed on one of the cobblestone sections. Initially, she reported that she feared a broken shoulder and hip. “I can’t walk.”

Later, Van Vleuten, who was Olympic time trial champion earlier this year, sent a message on Twitter about the serious consequences of this crash: “No happy ending for 2021 for me. It was a stupid crash. I just wanted to get to the finish safely… The result is a broken pubic bone in two places and a long recovery in bed. Day vacation. Bye bye charging for new season. This has happened to me before but the energy is slowly running out.”

Her Movistar team later responded via Twitter with the following message: “It is so terrible to see Annemiek van Vleuten in pain and having to end her season in an abrupt way that she did not deserve. Not only has Van Vleuten been the best rider in the world in 2021. Her example has taken us, as a team and entire organisation, much further than we could ever dream of. THANKS.”

Van Vleuten was not the only rider to crash in Paris-Roubaix. Ellen van Dijk also hit the ground hard, but she did finish the race. “I almost passed out when I fell,” she later told NOS.

Van Vleuten on the road to Roubaix:

 


Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Coppa Bernocchi
Remco Evenepoel will lead the line for the Wolfpack next Monday.

Legnano, the site of the Lombard League’s resounding and game-changing victory over Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and his imperial army in 1176, will host the start and finish of the 102nd Coppa Bernocchi. The main difficulty of the 198km race will be the Morazzone climb, which will be part of a tough 16.7km circuit that the riders will tackle six times, before a long descent to the finish and three laps of a flat circuit in the city.

The Wolfpack, who tops the team victory classification for the tenth straight year with a staggering 63 wins so far, will be at the start with a squad consisting of Andrea Bagioli, Dries Devenyns, Remco Evenepoel, Fausto Masnada, stagiaire and UCI Esports World Champion Jason Osborne, Pieter Serry and Mauri Vansevenant.

“It’s our first time here and this is enough to motivate us. The race starts with a flat part before entering on a demanding circuit where the fireworks should happen. We’ll see what we can do there, and hopefully the weather will be a good one. The confidence is there, it’s one of our last races of the season, and we’ll do our best to get a nice result”, said Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Davide Bramati.

04.10 Coppa Bernocchi – GP BPM (ITA) 1.Pro
Riders:

Andrea Bagioli (ITA)
Dries Devenyns (BEL)
Remco Evenepoel (BEL)
Fausto Masnada (ITA)
Jason Osborne (GER)
Pieter Serry (BEL)
Mauri Vansevenant (BEL).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA).

 


Tour Down Under Canceled Again in 2022
The Tour Down Under has again been canceled for 2022. The Australian stage race, which is part of the WorldTour, cannot take place due to the strict corona measures and associated quarantine obligations. The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race will also not take place in January 2022.

The organisation of the Tour Down Under organises the Santos Festival of Cycling, an alternative stage race for Australian cyclists, from 21-29 January 2022. The plan is for the Tour Down Under to take place again in Adelaide and the province of South Australia in January 2023.

The traditional WorldTour opener was canceled at the beginning of this year, as was the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. That one-day race has been a classic in Australia for several years. Visit Victoria, which is involved in the organisation of the Great Ocean Road Race, said in a press release that the options are being examined to continue the race later in 2022. No further information on this will be provided.

Richie Porte remains the last winner of the Tour Down Under for another year. The women’s race was won by the American Ruth Winder. Dries Devenyns was the best in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race 2020.

The early cancellation of the Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race also raises questions about the late 2022 World Cycling Championships, which have been assigned to Wollongong in the Australian state of New South Wales. At the last World championships in Flanders, part of the program was presented in Wollongong. We will not know until later whether the event can actually take place in 2022.

No TDU for another year:

 


#EUROTRACK21, From Tokyo 2020 to Grenchen (Switzerland)
Two months after the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Elite Track European Championships which will take place at the Tissot Velodrome in Grenchen (Switzerland) from 5 to 9 October will be especially appreciated by fans due to the fact that no less than eleven Olympic gold medallists will be in the line-up.

The best Track riders on the European scene will be competing in the five days of racing, which is one of the first important meetings after the Games. Among the 306 registered from 26 countries, will be some of the best Track cyclists, and also on an international level including eleven Tokyo gold medallists: the Germans winners of the Olympic title in the
Team Pursuit Franziska Brauße, Lisa Brennauer and Mieke Kröger, the Briton Katie Archibald gold medallist in the Madison, the Italians who dominated the Team Pursuit Francesco Lamon, Simone Consonni and Jonathan Milan, the Dutch Jeffrey Hoogland, Roy van den Berg gold medallist in the Team Sprint and Harrie Lavreysen (Team Sprint and Sprint), as well as Shanne Braspennincx, Keirin Olympic Champion. Elisa Balsamo (Italy), new Road World Champion and multiple Track Champion, will be one to watch as well as the French Benjamin Thomas, Morgan Kneisky and Thomas Boudat, the Omnium Olympic Champion in Rio de Janeiro 2016 Elia Viviani (Italy), Roger Kluge and Pauline Grabosh (Germany).

Enrico Della Casa, President of the Union Européenne de Cyclisme: “Participation in the upcoming Championships in Grenchen is on a very high level and this event is eagerly awaited by the best specialists on our continent and their respective National Federations. After the great experience of 2015, we are going back to the Tissot Velodrome with one of the main events, and will have extensive media coverage thanks to our partnership with Eurovision (EBU) which will broadcast the event all over Europe and elsewhere. The Tissot Velodrome is undoubtedly a great asset for the European Track movement and the five days of racing will show how much the discipline is loved on a continent where sport and cycling go hand in hand. I would like to thank the Swiss Cycling Federation lead by the co-Presidents Franz Gallati and Patrick Hunger, the Director General Thomas Peter, the City of Grenchen and its Mayor François Scheidegger, the facility and all the team at the Tissot Velodrome, especially Peter Wirz, Juan Espasandin and Elena von Ballmoos, a great guarantee for the organisation, as well as all the volunteers for their commitment, professionalism and passion in preparing for this great sporting event.”

  • Information #EuroTrack21 – HERE.
  • Elite Track European Championships:

     


    RCS Sport’s 2022 Racing Calendar is Announced
    Strade Bianche and Strade Bianche Women Elite will open RCS Sport’s 2022 racing calendar on 5 March, followed by the Tirreno-Adriatico on 7-13 March. The Milano-Sanremo will be the first Monument Classic, taking place on 19 March, while the Milano-Torino will return to its original spring schedule on the 16 March, placed between the ‘Race of the Two Seas’ and the ‘Classicissima di Primavera’ with Il Giro di Sicilia on 12-15 April.

    The Giro d’Italia, meanwhile, will take place from 6-29 May. Il Gran Piemonte and Il Lombardia will take place on 6 and 8 October respectively.

    The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has officially confirmed the dates of the 2022 racing season. The complete RCS Sport’s calendar can be found below:

    • 5 March: Strade Bianche and Strade Bianche Women Elite
    • 7 – 13 March: Tirreno-Adriatico
    • 16 March: Milano-Torino. The oldest race returns to its original place in the spring calendar, providing teams and riders an additional prestigious race between the Tirreno-Adriatico and the Milano-Sanremo.
    • 19 March: Milano-Sanremo
    • 12 – 15 April: Il Giro di Sicilia
    • 6 – 29 May: Giro d’Italia. The 2022 Corsa Rosa will begin on Friday 6 May and observe an additional rest day, for a total of 3 in the race, given the 105th edition’s Grande Partenza from abroad.
    • 6 October: Gran Piemonte
    • 8 October: Il Lombardia

     


    Alpecin Remains Title Sponsor of Alpecin-Fenix Until the End of 2025
    Sponsor Alpecin and ProTeam Alpecin-Fenix, the team of Mathieu van der Poel, Jasper Philipsen and Tim Merlier, have extended their partnership by four years, until the end of 2025. The German shampoo brand will retain its position as the team’s first title sponsor.

    Alpecin wants to continue to support the team in its continuous development. In the coming years, the team of brothers Philip and Christoph Roodhooft aims to continue its activities in road cycling, mountain biking and cyclo-cross while strengthening its recent entry into gravel racing and eSports. “Two years ago, we were happy to convince Alpecin to join our young project. Today we are very proud that, despite the challenging times for everyone, we have been able to show Alpecin that we were worthy of trust,” Philip Roodhooft said in a press release.

    “The company has allowed us to grow by expanding our budget, but even more so by trusting our multidisciplinary approach. Together with Alpecin and our other partners, we have shown that it is possible to run a successful cycling team without having one of the WorldTour licenses. Our journey together will last at least another four years. We have had a successful season so far, but we are aware that we need to keep developing to remain successful. The support from Alpecin provides us with important stability that will facilitate this further growth.”

    After partnerships with the WorldTeams Giant-Alpecin and Katusha-Alpecin, Alpecin broke new ground last year. “We made a conscious decision to design it together with Alpecin-Fenix ​​and the special focus on the three disciplines cross, MTB and road,” said Eduard Dörrenberg of the shampoo brand. “The license was not decisive for us, but the atmosphere, the philosophy, the vision and the great work of the team. After two years of joint development, we are now looking forward to the next step in the coming years and many joint successes with international appeal.”

     


    Zdenek Stybar Will Race for Deceuninck – Quick-Step Next Season
    Zdeněk Štybar has extended his contract with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, which will continue as Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl next season, for a year. Team manager Patrick Lefevere announced in his weekly column in Het Nieuwsblad. Štybar has been racing for the Lefevere team since 2011, and during that period he has taken twenty victories.

    Štybar is one of the spearheads of Deceuninck – Quick-Step in Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, together with Kasper Asgreen, Davide Ballerini, Yves Lampaert and Florian Sénéchal. Of them, only the 35-year-old Czech had not yet re-signed, but that has now changed. “Last week we extended his contract by one year,” Lefevere wrote in his weekly column.

    Lefevere rejects that Štybar owes his contract to the fact that he is a compatriot of Zdeněk Bakala, co-owner of the team. “I sometimes hear that Zdeněk is lucky that he is a Czech, a compatriot of our owner Zdeněk Bakala. Trust me: one has nothing to do with the other. Bakala was in Belgium last week to attend the World championships, but he does not intervene in the contract discussion with Štybar,” the team manager assured.

    Zdeněk Štybar:

     


    David De La Cruz joins Team Astana
    Spanish rider David De La Cruz is set to join the Kazakh Team Astana where he will spend the two following seasons of 2022 and 2023. The 32-year-old is well-known as a strong climber and stage race specialist, finishing seventh in the General Classification of La Vuelta on three occasions, including the 2021 edition.

    “I am really happy to join Team Astana from the upcoming season. I didn’t have any doubts and made quite a quick decision when Alexandr Vinokurov came to me with an offer to join his team. I feel like Astana is the team that perfectly suits me, but at the same time, it is the team I suit as a rider. I really like the team’s style, its attacking character, ambitions, and its focus on the General Classification. So, I am sure that I will be able to fit in well with this team. Of course, I understand that the first season in a new team may not be easy, I will have to go through a certain period of adaptation, but I hope that it will be a short one and I will become an integral part of the group quickly. I am sure that together with the management we will be able to plan a good race program where I will have an opportunity to help the team to reach its important goals and where I will get a chance to achieve some personal results. Perhaps, I will have a chance to go for the General Classification at La Vuelta or even at the Giro, but, first of all, I am ready to follow the team strategy and the plans to achieve great successes together with Astana.” – said David De La Cruz.

    Alongside a few good podium places and some Top-10 results in the GC of various stage races, David De La Cruz has scored several important wins in his career. The Spaniard’s palmarès includes stage wins at La Vuelta (2016), Itzulia Basque Country (2017), Paris-Nice (2017, 2018) and Vuelta a Andalucia (2018).

    In the current season of 2021, De La Cruz took a strong second place in the individual time trial of the Spanish National Championships, was fourth in the General Classification of the Tour de Luxembourg, finished fifth at the Vuelta a Burgos, and impressed with seventh overall at La Vuelta.

    “David is an experienced and complete rider who can strengthen our team in terms of stage races. It’s not just about the Grand Tours, but also about week-long stage races. He looks strong in the mountains, he likes to attack, and he feels comfortable enough in the time trial races, where he is not only able to defend his positions, but also to gain time on the rivals. This is a good reinforcement for us, so we will be able to use David in team tactics at certain races, Grand Tours, but we are also ready to give him some freedom and chances to prove himself in those races that will fit his characteristics,” – said Aleksandr Vinokurov, 2022 Team Astana General Manager.

    David De La Cruz:

     


    De Gendt, Pasqualon & Van Melsen extend with IWG
    In 2022, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux can still rely on three solid elements of the last seasons, because Kévin Van Melsen (present since 2009), Andrea Pasqualon (2017) and Aimé De Gendt (2018) signed a new contract with the Belgian UCI World Team directed by Jean-François Bourlart.

    Since his arrival in the structure in 2018, Aimé De Gendt presented himself as a solid element for the classics campaigns. The 27 year old from Erembodegem took his first professional victory at the Antwerp Port Epic (2019) and finished on the podium at Le Samyn (2019 & 2020) or more recently at the Brussels Cycling Classic (2nd) and the Druivenkoers Overijse (3rd). He also distinguished himself by his offensive spirit in the Tour de France 2019, the first Grand Tour in his career, and was part of the eight rider squad which made it to Paris. Aimé De Gendt extends the adventure with the team until the end of 2023.

    In 2022 Italian rider Andrea Pasqualon will start his sixth season with the Belgian team, which he offered six victories. Pasqualon won the difficult Coppa Sabatini (2017), Grand Prix Plumelec (2018) and Tour du Luxembourg (2018), where he also won two stages. At the age of 33, he realised his dream by participating to his first Giro d’Italia in his career in 2021, after finishing three times the Tour de France with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. Confronted with the best sprinters in the world, Pasqualon finished ten times in the top 10 of Grand Tour stages, among which three in this year’s Tour of Italy. Pasqualon, recently 4th in Eschborn-Frankfurt, continues his history with the Belgian team for another year.

    Kévin Van Melsen, true symbol of the team, signs for next season and becomes involved with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux for a fourteenth year in a row. The helper from Lontzen is part of the structure since the start in 2009 and stepped up to the Pro Continental level in 2011, together with the team. He finished his first Tour de France in 2019 and will soon finish his first World Tour season at the age of 34. As an exemplary teammate he contributed to the collective victories of the Europe Tour classification in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and shone in service of his leaders in the latest Tour of Spain, red jersey wearers for nine days.

    Aimé De Gendt: “After six years as a professional cyclist, I have now my place in the peloton and I’m considered as a fixed value within Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. I attach a lot of importance to this familiar environment, which will be reinforced by strong riders such as Alexander Kristoff. This recruitment is another big step forward for the team and I wanted to be a part of this next stage. Since my arrival in the team, many investments have been made to progress in different areas. Equipment, nutrition or tools for our race preparation are a couple of examples. The race programme is also extended, but I appreciate that the team keeps showing interest in less famous races which all have their own charm. As a Belgian rider, I aim to show myself on home soil and we regularly received this opportunity this year. I want to end this season on a high and I can’t wait to continue in the next two years!”

    Andrea Pasqualon: “This team became my family since I joined it. This is, I think, the key to my success: to prove myself each season again in an environment in which I feel good. I know my qualities and I know in which races I can aim high. I realised many dreams with the team, winning a World Tour race is still on my bucket list. But at the same time I love to work for my teammates and I can’t wait to do this for Alexander Kristoff, for example in the spring classic which stay important to me. Participating to my first Giro this season was an extraordinary experience. I’m proud that we reached the highest level in cycling and want to continue writing this history together in 2022!”

    Kévin Van Melsen: “I stayed loyal to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux because my work has always been valued. This recognition means a lot to me and I’m even more honoured to receive the team’s confidence after the step up to the World Tour in 2021. Together, we climbed the ladder of the sport to be part of the elite of international cycling. This rise to the top brought us exceptional memories, and collective performances like at the Vuelta motivate me to continue giving the best of myself. The progress of the team raises interest of riders of great stature in the peloton, which shows the attractiveness of our project. I’m very happy to be rewarded for my efforts and to pursue my rich career one more year.”

    Jean-François Bourlart (CEO): “By extending the contracts of Aimé De Gendt, Andrea Pasqualon and Kévin Van Melsen, we reinforce the framework of our team. These three riders showed this season, the first one in the World Tour for them and for the team, that they are of great value on the highest level in cycling. We are delighted that a young talent like Aimé has become a solid element of our team for the classics. At the age of 33, Andrea shows an exemplary professionalism, which enables him to compete with the best riders in the world in sprints, like he showed this year in the Giro or recently in Frankfurt. And Kévin, he accompanied the ascendance of the team in his role as devoted team player, so it is not a hazard that he contributed to the collective success at our first Tour of Spain. These three riders reflect the progress made by our structure and they symbolise the values which we would like to transmit to the new riders which will reinforce our team in 2022.”

    Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager): “We attach a strong importance to experienced riders who are loyal to the team and strengthen the foundations of our project. These three riders progressed with our structure and they spread our team culture. Aimé De Gendt and Andrea Pasqualon showed fantastic performances this end of the season, reaching their usual high level. Aimé was inspired by Taco van der Hoorn and used his big engine to adopt a more offensive racing style. He was rewarded by strong podiums and we want to pursue this direction in the spring classics. The same counts for Andrea, a cyclist who races with his heart. We’re convinced that our performance team can maximise the abilities of the 33 year old.”

    “During this first season in the World Tour, it was essential that also exemplary teammates such as Kévin Van Melsen reached a higher level and he brilliantly lived up to the expectations. In the shadow, he contributed to the success of his leaders, often even before the cameras were switched on. He is there from the start, adding stability and experience to our project. Year after year, our team leaders were guaranteed to receive a great support, so his contract extensions always became an evidence.”

     


    Trixi Worrack Says Goodbye to the Pro Peloton
    After a career of just over twenty years, Trixi Worrack has decided to bring it to an end. The 40-year-old German, who can look back on a very successful career, has ridden for Trek-Segafredo for the last three years.

    Worrack won many great races: The Ladies Tour of Qatar, Primavera Rosa, Tour de l’Aude, Amgen Tour of California, Giro della Toscana and the Tour Feminin (2004 and 2010). She was also World champion in the team time trial five times. Worrack also finished second at the World road championships in 2006, behind a then very young Marianne Vos.

    Worrack has ridden for teams such as AA Drink and Canyon-SRAM in the past and has been with Trek-Segafredo since 2019. “At the beginning of the year I was already thinking about quitting. I knew 2021 would be my last year as a professional cyclist, but I’m not so quick to share this with the outside world. I recently turned 40 and it’s time to stop. This is the perfect time as I became a mother for the second time earlier this year.”

    “I really enjoyed my time with Trek-Segafredo and I want to thank the team for three great years. I will miss the girls, as well as traveling a lot. In 2016 I had a serious accident, but I didn’t want to stop yet. That wouldn’t have been a good decision. Now it’s completely different.”

    Trixi Worrack in the Tokyo Olympics:

     


    Mikkel Honoré Update
    The 24-year-old will finish his season early, following an injury which he incurred during a crash at the recent World Championships.

    Mikkel suffered the injury while riding for the Danish National Team during the World Championships road race held last Sunday, in Belgium. Medical examinations have shown a lesion of the ligament in the right wrist, and it has been decided that Mikkel will not be able to conclude the season. The injury will continue to be monitored by the Deceuninck – Quick-Step medical team in the coming weeks, in order to evaluate the best course of recovery.

    “I am of course sad to have to end my season this way, as I have felt strong all year. But the crash is something that happens in racing and I will take the advice of the medical team, and look to get myself in a good condition as soon as I can, in order to prepare for next year,” said Mikkel, a stage winner this season at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali and Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

    End of the 2021 season for Mikkel Honoré:

     


    Estonian Karl Patrick Lauk Joins Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB in 2022
    The Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB team is pleased to announce the signing of Estonian rider Karl Patrick Lauk (9/01/1997). He has ridden for Groupama-FDJ Continental since 2019 and stagieire for Fortuneo-Samsic and Astana. He won 10 times in 2021, notably the Grand Prix of Nogent-sur-Oise, the 4 Jours de As en Provence, the Tour d’Estonie (2 stages), the 3rd stage of the Tour de Rhodes as well as the Haut-Var.

    Karl Patrick Lauk: “I am very happy to join the Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB team in 2022. It is a great opportunity for me to join professionals. I can’t wait to join my teammates. I thank the team management for trusting me and opening the doors for me in 2022 to the greatest races in the world. My goal is to continue my progress, to continue my learning within the group and in contact with more experienced riders. I will serve the team and the leaders and I will play my card when I have the chance.”

    Christophe Brandt: “Karl Patrick Lauk is a rider that we have been following for three years. We particularly noticed him when he joined the Groupama-FDJ continental team. He was also a stagieire at Astana. However, he never had the chance to move up to the pro ranks. Karl Patrick is a winner, a striker. We want to give him a chance to finally discover the professional world, which we think is a good idea given his performance. We hope that he will do well in the program that we are going to offer him. It could be our pleasant surprise in 2022.”

    Karl Patrick Lauk:

     


    Allan Davis to be Sports Director at Lotto Soudal
    Allan Davis will join the group of Lotto Soudal sports directors in 2022. The 41-year-old Australian will mainly focus on the sprint group. But as a full-time sports director, with experience in all kind of races, he will be happy to apply his knowledge to the entire team.

    “I am very grateful for this opportunity to join such a professionally established structure such as Lotto Soudal, and I am profoundly motivated to implement my time and professional work ethic to the entire team”, said Allan Davis in a first reaction.

    The Australian was a professional rider for 12 years, in which he has taken some 30 victories. Among his best performances were his bronze medal at the World Championships (2010), a second place at Milan-Sanremo, gold and bronze at two Commonwealth Games and his overall victory at the Tour Down Under. After his cycling career Davis became head DS at Wiggle-High5. In 2021 he was sprint coordinator/DS at Israel Startup Nation. In between he took on the technical delegate job at the UCI.

    “Allan was my successor at the UCI, so I know him quite well and we were already in close contact for a while,” said Lotto Soudal general manager John Lelangue. “Allan has the right profile which goes along with Caleb Ewan and the sprint group. We believe in what Allan can and will bring to the team.”

    “I know Caleb quite well, but I will work for all the riders. I’ve started my research already. I would like to get to know all riders and staff. My Flemish is quite non existent, but with English, Italian, Spanish, quite good French you get everywhere in top level cycling. I cannot wait to start this new chapter,” concluded Allan Davis.

    Allan Davis is currently living in the Basque Country with his family now for 20 years. Prior Allan lived in Italy as a young cyclist where he first turned professional.

    Allan Davis in the Vuelta KOM jersey:

     


    #ParisRoubaix 2021 – Onboard: Relive a day in Hell from inside the pack!
    Riding his first Paris-Roubaix at the age of 31, European champion Sonny Colbrelli of Bahrain Victorious rode to glory on the André-Pétrieux velodrome as he out-sprinted his two breakaway companions, Florian Vermeersch and Mathieu van der Poel, two other debutants in the Hell of the North. The race was marked by wet and muddy conditions and the solo breakaway of another Italian, Gianni Moscon, who looked like having his grip on the race but was victim of a puncture and a crash in the money time.

     


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