The national cyclo-cross championships from Belgium and The Netherlands – Results and video. Terrorist threat could stop the Saudi Tour – TOP STORY. Rider news from Nairo Quintana, Ben Tulett, Danny van Poppel, Alexander Kristoff, Edoardo Affini, Bryan Coquard, Peter Sagan, Simon Clarke, Dylan Groenewegen, Benjamin Thomas and Sebastián Mora. Team news: EasyPost joins EF Education, Premier Tech back in the WorldTour and youthful ambitions for AG2R Citroën. Race news: Paris-Nice and the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. Plus Johnny Carera home and Peter Sagan shows off his new kit. Big Monday EUROTRASH cyclo-cross coffee time.
TOP STORY: Terror Threat Could Endanger Saudi Tour
According to Zikloland, the Saudi Tour, which is scheduled from 1 to 5 February, is not yet certain. Due to a terror threat, there is no guarantee that the ASO event will take place in three weeks time.
The doubt has to do with the explosion of a car during the Dakar Rally a week ago. One of the support cars exploded in front of the hotel. Driver Philippe Boutron, who was behind the wheel, was seriously injured. The French foreign minister announced it was a terror attack.
A terror threat is not new in Saudi Arabia. The country is engaged in a fierce battle with Houthi rebels from Yemen. In 2021, they carried out more than 20 terror attacks on Saudi Arabia. Some of those attacks were aimed at attracting the attention of the World press, as is possibly the case with the Dakar Rally.
The coming weeks will show whether it is safe enough to run the Arab race. The Dakar Rally is continuing for the time being.
Will there be a Saudi Tour in 2022?
Belgian Cyclo-Cross Championships 2022
Wout van Aert won the 2022 Belgian cyclo-cross championships on Sunday. The Jumbo-Visma rider was in a class of own, second placed Laurens Sweeck was at more than a minute. Van Aert, who rode his last cross of the season in Middelkerke, took his fifth Belgian championship title.
Wout van Aert shot off the starting blocks in Middelkerke and was at the front of the leading group on the first beach passage, with Toon Aerts on his wheel. Quinten Hermans followed in third place and there was already a gap on the first lap to Daan Soete, Laurens Sweeck and Jens Adams. Eli Iserbyt had a very bad start and was even further behind and would later retire. On the second lap Van Aert put the pressure on again and no one could react. Hermans and Aerts looked at each other and were already 15 seconds behind after two laps. Sweeck and Adams were then able to join Hermans and Aerts and the battle for the silver and bronze medals was completely open.
It was sand specialist Sweeck who attacked from the chase group, Hermans was the only one who could follow. The difference to Van Aert at the end of the seventh lap had already grown to more than a minute. Sweeck was able to ride away from Hermans, who still had to watch out for Michael Vanthourenhout, Gianni Vermeersch and Jens Adams behind. Aerts was unable to follow the trio. With a lead of 1:21, Wout van Aert started the final lap. Sweeck took second place and Hermans held his ground behind him for bronze. Adams was fourth, Vermeersch fifth and Vanthourenhout sixth.
Belgian Champion, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “This fifth title means a lot to me. I started as the favourite, which is not easy. On paper, you can only lose. Today I tried to use it to my advantage and I think I did. The legs were good from the start. In the second lap I saw my chance to get away from the rest of the field. Then it was important to stay focused and not make any mistakes. I enjoyed the past few weeks and rode some nice cyclocross races. From tomorrow the focus will fully be on the road season. I’m proud to retain the national jersey.”
2nd, Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “There is improvement and that looks good for the coming weeks, My start was not too good. I felt I was coming into the race well, but I would have liked to have started a little better and followed a little longer. Racing faster was not possible, but the bird had started flying fairly quickly. I think it was half a game with two. It was a nice duo to drive to the medals together. He (Hermans) made some mistakes then and after that I didn’t hesitate anymore. You try not to drop the classifications, but that took the toll of a busy season. Everyone dreams of that (a rainbow jersey), it’s no different for me. Gold is realistic, but you don’t get it as a gift. The World championships gives us more opportunities now without Wout and Mathieu, which is a unique opportunity.”
Belgian Cyclo-Cross Championships Result:
1. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma in 58:11
2. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:19
3. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Tormans-Circus at 1:27.
Dutch Men Cyclo-Cross Championships 2022
Lars van der Haar won the 2022 Dutch national cyclo-cross championships. The European champion had no opposition in Rucphen, as he took the decisive gap on the others in the first lap. Corné van Kessel was second and Mees Hendrikx took third and the U23 title.
Top favourite Lars van der Haar had the best start and knew that this was necessary to put pressure on early. Corné van Kessel followed in second position. Behind the two top contenders were Ryan Kamp, Mees Hendrikx and Pim Ronhaar who would fight it out for third place. European champion Van der Haar continued to expand his lead. Van Kessel was his biggest challenger, but he is still recovering from a crash in Baal’s X2O Trophy last week. In Rucphen it soon became apparent that Van Kessel was unable to keep up with Van der Haar’s pace.
In pursuit of the leader, Van Kessel was joined by the strong Hendrikx, who soon dropped the Tormans-Circus rider. The 21-year-old Hendrikx did not get much closer to Lars van der Haar in the last three laps. He also had to keep Van Kessel, who had found his second breath, at a distance. The difference hovered around 5 seconds in the battle for the silver. For Van der Haar there was no problems and was on his way to his third Dutch title, having won in 2013 and 2014. Since then Mathieu van der Poel has been the best every year, but due to his back injury, his cyclo-cross season is over. The duel for second place was the most interesting in the final lap, as Van Kessel joined Hendrikx as he passed the start-finish line. The experienced rider caught and dropped the IKO-Crelan rider to secure the silver medal. Hendrikx took the third step on the podium and the U23 champion’s jersey.
Dutch Champion, Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions): “I felt that I could really only lose here. I was going to divide my race into sections. The last two laps I was able to slow down a bit, just race at my own pace. It was clear, I could see exactly where my competitors were racing. I think I was actually better in the European Championships than today. I’m mainly training very hard now and focusing on the Worlds. Getting another jersey would be really special.”
Dutch Men Cyclo-Cross Championships Result:
1. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions in 1:02.05
2. Corné van Kessel (Ned) Tormans-Circus at 0:51
3. Mees Hendrikx (Ned) IKO-Crelan (U23 Champion) at 0:58.
Dutch Women Cyclo-Cross Championships 2022
Marianne Vos convincingly won the Dutch women’s cyclo-cross championships. The 34-year-old Jumbo-Visma rider took the initiative early in the race and rode solo to victory from the second lap. This is the seventh Dutch title for Vos. Lucinda Brand was well behind in second, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado finished third.
The best starts in Rucphen came for top favourites Lucinda Brand and Marianne Vos. They immediately had a gap with Denise Betsema, Puck Pieterse, Annemarie Worst and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado. The initiative lay with World champion Brand on the fast, but wet course. After the first lap, Betsema was able to join and the chasing group returned. Notably absent from that group was Pieterse, who had a problem and later crashed. In the second lap it was Vos who took matters into her own hands. Betsema was also in the lead for a while, but slipped on the slope and had to get off the bike. Vos took full advantage and immediately rode away for 10 seconds and the Jumbo-Visma rider soon had a lead of about 20 seconds in no time. Brand was chasing alone, she shook off the rest and tried to close the gap to Vos.
After three of the six laps, the difference 19 seconds, in favour of Vos. Vos, who was Dutch champion in 2017, rode an almost flawless race and kept Brand behind her, she also fell which didn’t make her pursuit any easier. Alvarado able to join Brand, but they were no measure of Vos. Brand and Alvarado came a little closer in the final lap. The battle for silver went to the World champion in the last lap. She rode further and further away from Alvarado, who took bronze. Fem van Empel was crowned U23 Dutch Championship, beating Shirin van Anrooij in a sprint.
Dutch Champion, Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma): “I suddenly made a small gap and it was still far, but you would like to try to expand such a lead, I was somewhat surprised. At that time it was a large group and I didn’t feel like I was making a strong attack. I already knew then that I had to try to ride my own course. After that it flew to pieces. But I was not allowed to fall silent, because I already saw Lucinda Brand coming. I had hoped and somehow I had the will to try. But today we succeeded and that is very nice. I was working on this race today and I’m really happy that it worked out. It is very special. When you see the competition, this is a hard-fought title. I punched a hole early on and then you have to make a decision. It was quite technical and wetter than the previous race. Then you shouldn’t make mistakes.”
Dutch Women Cyclo-Cross Championships Result:
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 51:15
2. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 0:19
3. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:32
4. Fem van Empel (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal (U23 Champion).
The Other Cyclo-Cross National Championships
1. Sanne Cant
2. Marion Norbert Riberolle
3. Laura Verdonschot
1. Line Burquier
2. Hélene Clauzel
3. Amandine Fouquenet
1. Joshua Dubau
2. Yan Gras
3. Fabien Doubey
1. Silvia Persico
2. Eva Lechner
3. Sara Casasola
1. Jakob Dorigoni
2. Filippo Fontana
3. Nicolas Samparisi
Great Britain, women
1. Harriet Harnden
2. Annie Last
3. Anna Kay
Great Britain, men
1. Thomas Mein
2. Cameron Mason
3. Joseph Blackmore
1. Blanka Kata Vas
2. Regina Schmidel
3. Dorka Jordán
1. Zsolt Búr
2. Benedek Szekely
3. Gabor Cser
1. Lucía González
2. Aida Nuno
3. Sofia Rodriguez
1. Felipe Orts
2. Kevin Suarez
3. Iván Feijoo
Czech Republic, women
1. Kristyna Zemanová
2. Tereza Vanicková
3. Nikola Bajgerova
Czech Republic, men
1. Michael Boros
2. Jakub Toupalik
3. Adam Toupalik
1. Elisabeth Brandau
2. Lisa Heckmann
3. Stefanie Paul
1. Marcel Meisen
2. Janick Geisler
3. Yannick Gruner
1. Alessandra Keller
2. Rebekka Estermann
3. Lise-Marie Henzelin
1. Kevin Kuhn
2. Lars Forster
3. Timon Rüegg
1. Christine Majerus
2. Isabelle Klein
3. Suzie Godart
1. Scott Thiltges
2. Raphaël Kockelmann
3. Ken Conter
1. Caroline Bohé
2. Caecilie Christoffersen
3. Mie Pedersen
1. Simon Andreassen
2. Gustav Fredrik Dahl
3. Karl-Erik Rosendahl
1. Nadja Heigl
2. Nora Fischer
3. Fiona Klien
1. Daniel Federspiel
2. Moran Vermeulen
3. Philipp Heigl
1. Dominika Wlodarczyk
2. Antonina Bialek
3. Zuzanna Krzystala
1. Marek Konwa
2. Patryk Stosz
3. Pawel Bernas
1. Ana Sá Santos
2. Joana Oliveira
3. Leandra Gomes
1. Mario Costa
2. Bruno Silva
3. Vitor Santos
1. Maria Larkin
2. Darcey Harkness
3. Roisin Lally
1. Christopher McGlinchey
2. Sean Nolan
3. Darnell Moore
Nairo Quintana Prefers Vuelta Over Giro in 2022
There is a chance that Nairo Quintana will skip the Giro d’Italia this year. The Colombian Arkéa-Samsic leader looked to be planning to combine the Giro with the Tour de France, but his manager Giuseppe Acquadro hints at a Tour/Vuelta combination for Quintana.
Acquadro said in conversation with Spanish journalist Javier Ares that there is a good chance that Quintana would not ride the Giro d’Italia. The 31-year-old climber won the Italian tour in 2014 and finished second in 2017.
After it was announced that Arkéa-Samsic could ride all three Grand Tours in 2022, the way was clear for the Giro-Tour combination for Quintana. Last year, Arkéa-Samsic tried to get a wildcard from RCS, as the Colombian was eager to return after his successful years in Italy.
Arkea-Samsic has not yet confirmed Quintana’s schedule, but according to his manager, he prefers the Vuelta this season. He won la Vuelta with Movistar, in 2016. Quintana will start in the Tour de France, which is of the highest value to his French team.
Giro or Vuelta for Nairo Quintana?
Ben Tulett: “We can learn a lot from the Giro of Remco Evenepoel”
Ben Tulett is 20 years old, but has already had two seasons in the pro peloton. The top British talent moved from Alpecin-Fenix to INEOS Grenadiers this winter. “My ambition is to become one of the leading classification riders,” he told Rouleur.
In his new squad, Tulett has plenty of young compatriots from whom much is expected in the future. INEOS Grenadiers has a new generation of British top riders including Turner, Ethan Hayter and Tom Pidcock. “I think our traits are about the same, but I switched from cross to the road a little earlier than Tom,” Tulett said of Pidcock.
“I am now completely in the transition to becoming a real road racer, where I mainly want to focus on riding tours, races with mountain stages.” However, he says he will take his time, referring to Remco Evenepoel and the pressure the Belgian faced in the 2021 Giro. “I think we can learn a lot from Remco’s Giro. That was a good example of why we have to be careful with my development.”
“We should not rush anything and take everything as it comes. I don’t want to miss or skip any steps. There are riders who have success for two or three years and then are burned out. We don’t want that, we want a long and successful career,” explained the young Brit.
This attitude also influences his program. “I’ll go to some races to really perform, to really try to ride for the win, but there will also be races where I’m mainly going to be a domestique and learn. Next year it is important that it is a mix of both.”
Danny van Poppel On the Spring Classics
After two seasons with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, Danny van Poppel will be with BORA-hansgrohe this year. The German team hopes to have attracted the ideal lead-out rider for Sam Bennett with Van Poppel, but the 28-year-old Dutchman also gets the space to do his own thing. “I can take my own chance in the classics,” he said in conversation with CyclingOnline.
The strong sprinter will start his season in the Middle East in a month. “We will go to Mallorca with the team on a training camp on January 13. After that I’ll be home for about five days and then the season will start on February 1 with the Saudi Tour. Then we will ride the UAE Tour on February 20th. I’m really looking forward to it,” said Van Poppel, who then hopes to show well in the Spring Classics, with the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix as highlights.
Van Poppel will not ride the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. “I’m skipping the opening weekend. I go to Paris-Nice and then to all those classics. I can take my own chance in the classics, I’m going for that one hundred percent.”
About his role as a sprint lead-out rider: “I’d rather win fifteen races as a lead-out for Sam.” After he will assist Sam Bennett, the sprint leader at BORA-hansgrohe, as best as possible. “In the stage races up to the Tour I will join as lead-out for Sam Bennett. You never know how a race will go. If he has a puncture or whatever, then it is quite possible that I will be forced to go for my own chances in a stage. But there are also races in which he doesn’t ride, you often don’t know how a race will go.”
Van Poppel is looking forward to working with Bennett. “I can win a few races, but not fifteen. I’d rather win fifteen races as a lead-out for Sam than sprint in the top fifteen times between four and seven. You can also find satisfaction in contributing to the victory. You can now also see that many teams are investing in a lead-out train, such as Michael Mørkøv from Quick-Step gets a lot of praise. That’s how I want to try to develop myself as a lead-out in my own way.”
Danny van Poppel:
Alexander Kristoff On the Start of the New Season
Alexander Kristoff will again go for the Classics and the Tour de France in 2022, but with his new Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux team. He told Norwegian TV2 what his goals are for the next season. “The most important thing is that I’m going to win races again.”
Kristoff went to Gran Canaria on his own at the end of December for a training camp. “I feel like I’ve been training well lately. I’m on schedule, I haven’t gotten sick this winter,” said the Norwegian. His goals in 2022 are the classics and the Tour de France, which he did not ride last year. “Last year I also got the flu towards the Classics, which ruined my form a bit. I was better in the autumn. But the most important thing is that I will win races again this season.”
The Norwegian rider won only two races in 2021, a disappointing result for him. “Last year was not good enough. I now feel the motivation and the pleasure to continue for a few more years,” said Kristoff.
Alexander Kristoff Program for 2022:
Challenge Mallorca (January 26-30)
Tour of Valencia (February 5-9)
Tour of Algarve (February 16-20)
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (26 February)
flag-be Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (February 27)
Tirreno-Adriatico (7-13 March)
Milan-San Remo (March 16)
E3 Saxo Bank Classic (March 25)
Gent-Wevelgem (27 March)
Dwars door Vlaanderen (30 March)
Tour of Flanders (April 3)
Paris-Roubaix (April 17)
Tour of Switzerland (12-19 June)
Tour de France (1-24 July)
Road World Championships (September 25).
Edoardo Affini Dreams of a Giro Stage Win and the Italian Time Trial Title
Edoardo Affini said in an interview with the Gazzetta di Mantova that his plans for next season are to achieve victories. He mainly refers to a Giro d’Italia stage win and the Italian time trial championship. Affini should get more rest in the spring because Jumbo-Visma has strengthened the Classics team.
“I will have a lighter schedule this year, as the squad has been strengthened for the one-day races. I will be more rested at the start of the races that I do ride, so I will have an important role,” said the Italian. He will start his season in the Tour of Valencia, after which he will also ride the UAE Tour and Tirreno-Adriatico. “I think it’s a shame that there is a different finish than the traditional individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto.”
Affini’s main goal in 2022 is to be able to win back, something that was not possible in 2021. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a time trial or not. A stage in the Giro d’Italia would be the best, I’ve been dreaming of that for a long time. Last year I was already close,” he referred to his second place in the first and thirteenth stage. “I also showed that I can be fast in a bunch sprint, so I have several ways to win a race. I also want to become Italian time trial champion.” Last year the rider from Monteva finished second behind Matteo Sobrero.
Edoardo Affini Program for 2022 (so far):
Tour of Valencia (February 5-9)
Tour (February 20-26)
Tirreno-Adriatico (7-13 March)
Milan-San Remo (March 19)
Gent-Wevelgem (27 March)
Tour of Flanders (April 3)
Tour of Italy (6-29 May).
Edoardo Affini on the attack in the Giro’21:
Bryan Coquard On his Transfer to Cofidis
Bryan Coquard left B&B Hotels p/b KTM this winter after four seasons for a return to the WorldTour with Cofidis. For the 29-year-old French sprinter, who dreams of a stage win in the Tour de France, it was a necessary step.
“It is important to develop myself in the WorldTour, to have a stable program at a very high level every weekend,” Coquard told Cyclism’Actu. “I needed this rest: to be sure of my agenda and not depend on invitations. Even though I don’t regret my four years at B&B Hotels – I knew it was a risk when I signed there. But at this age (29) it was important to take the step and develop in the WorldTour. That’s why the Cofidis project appealed to me as soon as we talked about it.”
Last season, for the first time as a professional cyclist, did not get to win. If it is up to the French sprinter, that will change this year. “I hope the Bryan Coquard of 2022 will raise his arms again, last year was clearly a very difficult season with many falls and injuries. It was the first season with the pros where I couldn’t cheer and that was hard to bear, a real frustration. Until the end of the season I believed in it, and it didn’t work out. I want to blossom at the highest level and win as often as possible.”
Coquard is confident that his chances will come and is enthusiastic about the sprint train. The season cannot start soon enough for the sprinter. “I’m very impatient, I’m really looking forward to it and most of all I’m really excited to start this season. I already had the chance to do two training camps with the team and my integration went very well. I can’t wait to pin a jersey number on. Now we are going to Spain to improve my fitness and the season will start for me at the end of January with the GP La Marseillaise.”
Later in the year, the Tour de France is an important goal. “Of course my life goal is to win in the Tour. I’ve been close to it several times, so I’m a firm believer that I can do it and I hope it will be this year. However, I still have a lot of work to do and a full agenda, with races like Paris-Nice, Milan-San Remo and the Amstel Gold Race… I have a lot of important races before the Tour, so now I’m mainly focused on the start of the season, and after the Brabantse Pijl in April I will be able to focus 100% on the Tour.”
Peter Sagan on TotalEnergies
Despite catching the corona virus, Peter Sagan is looking forward to the start of the new season. The 31-year-old Slovak is starting his first season with the French TotalEnergies team, after racing for BORA-hansgrohe for five years. “I’m very aware that this team got me to score points, with a view to gaining WorldTour status,” said Sagan.
However, those points have not always been a certainty in recent years. The many victories that Sagan took at the beginning of his career have not been forthcoming in recent years. “In 2020 I only got one win, but that was because of the pandemic. I don’t want to draw any conclusions from that,” he explained to Algemeen Dagblad.
“No, if I’ve learned one thing from all those years of cycling, it’s that if you stay focused, success will come naturally. It takes willpower, of course, but I know I have it. If I don’t win one day, I’ll just try again the next. I also don’t worry too much about what people say, because that can be very destructive.”
However, Sagan’s season is not a disaster if he doesn’t score big wins himself. As long as he manages to be an important link in the collective, the season can also be successful. “I don’t just have personal goals. I think we can perform well in the Flemish classics, because there is a strong group around guys like Anthony Turgis, Niki Terpstra, Edwald Boasson Hagen and Adrien Petit. And then myself.”
Sagan want’s to win for TotalEnergies:
Simon Clarke Close to Deal with Israel-Premier Tech
Simon Clarke seems to have secured a place with a WorldTeam for this year. The 35-year-old Australian looked that he would be one of the victims of the loss of Qhubeka NextHash, but it is rumoured that he is close to signing a one-year contract with Israel-Premier Tech.
Cyclingnews reports that the Australian said last month that it would be ‘difficult to find a team’. “The first difficulty is to find a WorldTeam that still has a spot at all, because of course there are the UCI limits. A large part of the teams are already full because of this, so even if they are interested, they do not have the option of taking another rider.”
According to the rider, the financial aspect of paying for an extra rider was also an important hurdle. After contacts with several teams, reportedly including Cofidis, it seems that Clarke has a second chance with a contract nearing completion with Israel Premier-Tech. According to sources, a final decision is expected in the coming days.
Clarke off to Israel?
Dylan Groenewegen Returns to the Tour de France in 2022
Dylan Groenewegen will return to the Tour de France this summer. His new team BikeExchange-Jayco has given him the assurance that he can start in the most important race of the year and that he can expect enough support from his team in the sprints during the Tour de France. He has not been in action in the Tour since 2019 with his previous team Jumbo-Visma, partly due to the team’s classification ambitions.
The certainty of being able to start again in the Tour de France was one of the main reasons why the now 28-year-old Groenewegen switched teams at the end of last year. At Jumbo-Visma, due to the yellow ambitions with Primož Roglič, Jonas Vingegaard and Steven Kruijswijk and the free role for Wout van Aert, he was also not eligible for the selection for the Tour de France this year.
“I love the Tour and am very happy that I can return to this race again this year,” Groenewegen told WielerFlits. “I have had my best successes in the Tour. As a sprinter you want to perform on that big stage. My biggest challenge is to fight for the stage wins there again.”
Groenewegen has won four stages in the Tour. In 2017 he was fastest in the final stage on the Champs-Elysées. In 2018 he managed to win two stages, while a year later – despite a bad crash in the first stage to Brussels – he was also successful in the stage to Chalon-sur-Saône.
Groenewegen has now completed his first training camp with BikeExchange-Jayco. The atmosphere in the Australian team appeals to him. “I am happy with the choice I made. They will do everything they can to support me in the bunch sprints and they are already fully engaged in that. You notice that they think about everything that comes with a sprint. They show a lot of confidence towards me. That makes me feel good. It also feels refreshing to work with a new trainer, with new insights.”
Groenewegen will start the season on February 1 in Saudi Tour. Then the UAE Tour, Paris-Nice, the Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne and Gent-Wevelgem are on his program. In April he will get a month to build up towards the Tour de France. He then should ride the Tour of Hungary and finally, depending on the route, either the Tour of Slovenia or the Criterium du Dauphiné or the Tour of Switzerland as the last preparation for the Tour de France.
Dylan Groenewegen Program for 2022:
Saudi Tour (1-5 February)
UAE Tour (February 20-26)
Paris-Nice (6-13 March)
Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne (March 23)
Gent-Wevelgem (27 March)
Tour of Hungary (11-15 May)
Critérium du Dauphiné (June 5-12) – To be determined
Tour of Switzerland (12-19 June) – To be determined
Tour of Slovenia (15-19 June) – To be determined
Tour de France (1-24 July).
Dylan Groenewegen for the 2022 Tour:
Benjamin Thomas on Transfer to Cofidis
Benjamin Thomas has moved to Cofidis after four years at Groupama-FDJ. In an interview with L’Équipe, he talks about the ambitions of the team and himself. “It’s exciting, it’s a new challenge for both me and the team.”
“We have a great team behind us ready to support us everywhere. The aim is to improve all aspects, from equipment to clothing. We have to work on the details. This is not only going to be useful for a time trial specialist like me, but also for the riders who ride for the general classification. With Guillaume Martin and Ion Izagirre we have two in the team,” said the 26-year-old rider.
2021 was a successful season for the Frenchman. He won the National time trial championships, World points champs and took bronze in the Tokyo madison. Thomas wants to continue to grow as a rider in 2022. “Second place in the time trial of the Etoile du Bessèges and in a stage of the Tour de Suisse made me think. If I make some more steps as a road racer, I can also go for a good classification. Cofidis’ offensive style suits those goals.”
Track and Road Rider Sebastián Mora Signs with Manuela Fundación
Manuela Fundación, who nearly took over Mitchelton-Scott last year, has been able to strengthen their Continental team with Sebastián Mora. The 33-year-old Spaniard, who has been a World champion on the track, comes from WorldTour team Movistar.
Mora, who has won six European and one World track championships in his career, after two seasons was told that there was no place at Movistar for him in 2022. The experienced Spaniard has now found a new team; Manuela Fundación. The team currently has thirteen riders, including Isaac Cantón, ex-Burgos-BH, will also ride with them this year.
The continental team is headed by Emilio Rodríguez, Fran Puñal, José Manuel Moreno and José Vicente Bonillo. In the Clàssica CV in Valencia (January 23, 2022), Manuela Fundación Continental will make her debut in a UCI competition. Manuela Fundación is a Spanish non-profit organisation led by businessman Francisco Huertas and his wife Maria Angustias González.
EasyPost Joins EF Education as Naming Rights Partner
USA-based shipping platform ascends to naming rights partner of EF Pro Cycling, team to ride as EF Education-EasyPost in 2022 and beyond
EasyPost, which joined the EF Pro Cycling team as a partner and supplier at the Tour de France in 2021, will become a naming rights partner of the team starting this season. The team will ride as EF Education-EasyPost in 2022 and beyond.
EasyPost’s mission is to remove the technical complexities of logistics so customers can grow their businesses. The company, founded in 2012 as the first RESTful API for shipping, has thousands of customers shipping billions of dollars worth of packages annually.
Jarrett Streebin, EasyPost founder and CEO: “There was never a question where we’d get involved when we looked at cycling. I’ve followed JV’s work since Argyle and sideburns. He leads the world in his commitment to ethical cycling and pushing the boundaries of human performance. JV has also led cycling in his approach to nutrition and technology. In the same manner, EasyPost leads its industry in reliability and technology. So we’re excited to combine forces with the greatest American cycling team.”
Jonathan Vaughters, EF Pro Cycling CEO: “From a sporting perspective, it’s absolutely wonderful to have Jarrett and EasyPost as part of the team. We align on the performance goals of the team, and how to get there together. EasyPost is a company built on innovation and efficiency, much like how we run our team; we’re always looking to improve in every way possible. We have a really good group of riders and staff, and we’re going to keep getting better, thanks to EasyPost. The business element of the partnership is something I’m excited to see us work on as well. Our job is to get the EasyPost name out there and recognisable as they expand their business and introduce EasyPost’s innovative and fast-growing business to the world.”
EasyPosts’ 10,000+ enterprises range in size from public companies to enterprise businesses, and EasyPost’s single integration allows businesses to streamline, automate, and gain end-to-end control of their shipping process with its suite of flexible solutions. Some of the biggest names in retail trust EasyPost for its reliable, cost effective, and innovative approach to shipping. EasyPost integrates global carriers like UPS, FedEx, and DHL in order to bring customers a seamless experience.
All told, the EF Education-EasyPost cycling team moves more than 2,000 packages per year out of the Spain “Service Course,” shipping items such as team kits, bicycles, and enough components to service more than 200 bikes. Speed and efficiency are crucial for a cycling team, be that on the road or at the headquarters.
NIPPO, the team’s co-naming partner in 2021, remains a partner with the EF Pro Cycling organisation and is a co-naming partner on the EF Education-NIPPO Development team.
EF Education joined by EasyPost:
Premier Tech is Back on the WorldTour
In line with its commitment toward cycling, Premier Tech starts the year on a strong footing and announces the beginning of a partnership with the Cycling Academy. As of the 2022 season, Israel Start-Up Nation will become Israel – Premier Tech. This announcement, which is the result of many months of reflection and discussions, marks Premier Tech’s return to the highest level of the sport. It comes on top of the ones made at the end of 2021, namely the creation of the Premier Tech U23 development cycling team and the partnership with UC Nantes.
This four-year partnership aligns with the long-standing commitment of the company toward cycling. Thus, Premier Tech reiterates its promise to support the development of Canadian and international professional cycling.
This vision is also shared by Sylvan Adams, team owner and Israeli-Canadian businessman: “This team is where Canada is most represented, with five of the six Canadians riders competing in the World Tour. We couldn’t think of a better fit than Premier Tech — an international Canadian-based company—, for our co-title sponsor. I am proud that Jean Bélanger and I are taking this common passion for cycling toward new heights.”
Israel – Premier Tech has set ambitious goals for its initial season, as it capitalises on the success of the team during the 2021 season. Indeed, after only two seasons on the World Tour, it reached the tenth global rank. Through this collaboration, Premier Tech will continue to pave the way for young Canadian cyclists aiming at a professional career. Premier Tech is excited to join forces again with riders Hugo Houle and Jakob Fuglsang, and Steve Bauer as sports director.
Premier Tech decided to take its time before beginning a new chapter on the WorldTour. “We wanted to find the right fit and forge a strong and long-term partnership. From the moment I started conversations with Sylvan Adams, whom I have known for years, it was clear we saw things in a common and shared vision. Through the course of our discussions, that feeling just got reinforced and lead us to make this announcement today,” said Jean Bélanger.
Jakob Fuglsang will still have Premier Tech on his jersey in 2022:
30 Years and Youthful Ambitions
The AG2R CITROËN TEAM, represented by manager Vincent Lavenu, and cyclists Benoît Cosnefroy, Paul Lapeira, Aurélien Paret-Peintre and Greg Van Avermaet, raised the curtain today in Paris to present the team and launch the 2022 season, along with André Renaudin and Bruno Angles, respectively CEO and Deputy CEO of AG2R LA MONDIALE, and Vincent Cobée, CEO of CITROËN.
Vincent Lavenu, General Manager of the team: “In 2022, our team is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary. It is essential to continue to look to the future by continuing the momentum that has motivated us since 1992. Our story is above all a human adventure where everyone, riders, members of the management, as well as partners, have contributed to making, 30 years later, this AG2R CITROËN TEAM determined to shine on all the roads of the world. In 2021 we enjoyed a lot of satisfaction with 12 wins including a stage victory in each of the three grand tours. We are proud also to see the riders from our training team become authentic champions and seasoned professionals. In 2022, our riders, supported by an especially professional coaching staff, and with the support of loyal and involved partners, will aim to achieve an even fuller and more fruitful season with the same enthusiasm and freshness that have driven us for 30 years.”
André Renaudin, Managing Director of AG2R LA MONDIALE: “Soon we will have spent a quarter of a century of partnership with the Vincent Lavenu team. What a great adventure and how many emotional moments we have shared! And what pride for our entire corporate body, our directors, policy holders and employees, to see the riders and the members of the management wearing our colours. We have confidence in the new generation of athletes to continue to embody our values of solidarity and performance. For this new season, we remain united by the same ambition: to see the team and our riders win great victories together and to climb on the podiums of the biggest races!”
Vincent Cobée, Managing Director of CITROËN: “We are very proud to be part of this sporting adventure alongside AG2R LA MONDIALE and Vincent Lavenu’s cycling team. The first year of our partnership was full of emotion, and the team performed very well, notably with remarkable victories at the three grand tours. It confirmed its position as the first French team on the world stage. For this new season, we are confident in the potential of the team and can be even more ambitious. Without a doubt, 2022 will be a landmark year. Not only will the team celebrate its 30th anniversary, but we will also provide them with the C5 X, the new flagship of the Citroën range. Innovative, the C5X is the perfect representation of the Citroën philosophy, it brilliantly achieves the synthesis between the elegance of the sedan and the utility of the station wagon. I’m sure it will be an asset in supporting the team’s efforts at the biggest races of the season.”
29 riders make up the 2022 squad, from 9 nations: France, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the United States, Finland, Australia, and Austria:
Primoz Roglic and Egan Bernal on the Paris-Nice Start List
After the Paris-Nice 2022 route was presented on Wednesday, the organisers also announced the participation of two top riders. Primož Roglič and Egan Bernal will be at the start of the eight-day race in March, race director François Lemarchand told L’Équipe.
In the previous edition of the Race to the Sun, Roglič won three stages and the Jumbo-Visma seemed to be heading for the overall victory. However, due to a crash in the final stage, he lost a lot of time and ended in 15th place. Bernal last rode the French multi-day event in 2019, the Colombian was too strong for his compatriot Nairo Quintana and Michal Kwiatkowski and took the win.
The Paris-Nice organisers also announced the four ProTeams who are participating in 2022. Alpecin-Fenix and Arkéa Samsic automatically qualify for all WorldTour competitions. In addition, the French teams B&B Hotels – KTM and TotalEnergies will also be present.
Crash ruined Roglič’s 2021 Paris-Nice:
Top-level Teams Confirmed Participation for 73rd Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Gran Premi Banc Sabadell
A total of 23 teams have confirmed their participation in the VCV 2022, breaking down to 15 WorldTeams and 8 ProTeams. The event will take place in less than a month, from February 2nd to 6th, being the first major cycling event of season 2022.
In total 23 teams have confirmed participation for the 73rd Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Gran Premi Banc Sabadell, held from February 2nd to 6th, being the first major cycling event of the 2022 season. A top-level participation list is guaranteed, as in total 15 WorldTeams and 8 ProTeams will be seen in the start line. Among the participating teams Groupama FDJ with their cyclist Stefan Küng, winner of the general classification of VCV2021, will be seen during this year’s edition defending his title from last year. Having said this, this years edition will be celebrated during its typical dates in February, and not in April as during VCV2021.
The following WorldTour teams can be identified from the stage one start in les Alqueries: Groupama FDJ (FRA), Ineos Grenadiers (GBR), DSM Team (NED), Jumbo Visma (NED), Israel Start-Up Nation (ISR), AG2R Citroen (FRA), Bahrain Victorious (BHR), Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team (BEL), Intermarché-Wanty (BEL), Astana Kazakhstan (KAZ), Team Bikeexchange (AUS), Movistar Team (ESP), UAE Emirates (UAE), Trek-Segafredo (USA) and Bora-Hansgrohe (GER).
These 15 WorldTour teams will be accompanied at the start of VCV 2022 by eight leading category ProTeams, being Kern Pharma (ESP), Gazprom RusVelo (RUS), Euskaltel Euskadi (ESP), Burgos BH (ESP), Caja Rural Seguros RGA (ESP), B&B Hotels (FRA), Human Powered Health (USA) and Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB (BEL).
This top-level start list of the 73rd Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Gran Premi Banc Sabadell will guarantee great cycling moments during all the five stages of the event, straight from the beginning on February 2nd with stage one start in les Alqueries through to February 6th with stage five finish in Valencia. Also, VCV2022 will provide one of the last opportunities to watch live the cycling legend Alejandro Valverde on the roads of the Valencian Community, and it will also provide a great opportunity to witness the presence of the promising young Valencian cyclist Juan Ayuso, as well as the stars of the international cycling teams such as Remco Evenepoel, Matej Mohoric, Jack Haig or Jakob Fuglsang.
In short, top-level cycling teams and cyclists will take over the roads of the Valencian Community, a race that will be televised to more than 200 countries. The VCV2022 will guarantee an international cycling scenery not to be missed. In addition to VCV2022, on Sunday, February 6th the start of the VCV Féminas 2022 will be witnessed, as during previous years. A race that will bring together the best women cyclists and teams, defending their positions along the same last stage route as the VCV2022. The winners of VCV Féminas will be rewarded with the same economic prices as the winners of the VCV2022.
Teams for the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2022:
Israel Start Up Nation
Quick Step Alpha Vinyl
UAE Team Emirates
Caja Rural Seguros RGA
Human Powered Health
Bingoal Pauwels Sauces.
Cycling Manager Johnny Carera Finally Home After Accident
Johnny Carera has returned home after 44 days in hospital. The manager of Tadej Pogačar and Vincenzo Nibali, among others, was involved in a serious traffic accident at the end of November. Carera was kept in an artificial coma for a while, but is now on the mend.
Carera announced via his social media that he is no longer in the hospital. “The rehabilitation is still a long way off, but I am optimistic,” said Carera. “I also want to thank everyone who has supported me, I am really overwhelmed by the amount of messages. I’ll be back to my old self soon!”
Johnny Carera home:
My New, 2022 Team TotalEnergies Kit by Sportful – Peter Sagan
Peter Sagan and Team TotalEnergies have released their new team kit for the new season. The French team kit has a white jerseys with blue, green, and red, the shorts are blue. Niki Terpstra, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Anthony Turgis join Sagan for the Classics.
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