The racing just gets better every week. All the reports, results and video from Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Healthy Ageing Tour. Jens Keukeleire still struggling with covid – TOP STORY. Race news: Where will Milan-San Remo finish? Tour of Valencia in April, Ruta del Sol in May, Tour de l’Avenir and Tour de l’Ain routes, Nokere Koerse riders, and Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge women’s race. Plus Richard Freeman guilty, contract for Daniel Navarro and Rohan Dennis: Race Day at Paris-Nice video. Monday EUROTRASH coffee time!
TOP STORY: Jens Keukeleire struggling with respiratory problems
Jens Keukeleire had to abandon Paris-Nice on Wednesday. “My breathing is blocking. I’m not getting enough oxygen. I wonder if that is a result of my corona infection from a year ago. In recent weeks, it has not actually gone well once,” Keukeleire told Het Laatste Nieuws. “Tests in the run-up to the Flemish opening weekend, which, among other things, measure the maximum volume of air that you can absorb, showed that there is something on the lungs, which makes me score 20 percent lower than last year.”
It was mid-March 2020, when Keukeleire tested positive for covid-19. For ten days he was feverish and tired. For the rest he remained asymptomatic. Fortunately, his fear of permanent heart problems turned out to be unjustified. According to the doctors, he would be left with no after effects. Keukeleire resumed training and racing, but he felt a little too soon. He made it to the start of the Tour, but results were not forthcoming.
“I don’t know if it should be linked to corona. I hope not. Our medical team is working on it. And sounds pretty positive. We now know there is something. Nothing dangerous or abnormal, they guarantee me. But it needs to be watched. And to be resolved. For the time being, I don’t really notice any progress. I don’t feel like things are getting better.”
Keukeleire does have an asthma history. “I was particularly bothered by this in my younger years. Since I turned pro, I’ve got it under control. But those respiratory problems are a phenomenon that I was already confronted with before my corona infection. You see it more often in asthma patients, was the first thing the doctors said. It could be related to certain allergies. Or simply: getting older, which makes it more inconvenient for you.”
Keukeleire hopes to be able to race normally sooner rather than later. “The team is aware of my situation and doesn’t put on any pressure. I am grateful to them for that. But I want to be able to do my job, help my teammates as I should. And later, in the Flemish spring races, I will get out everything I put in trained last winter. That is not possible now and that is a problem.”
Is corona causing problems for Keukeleir?
Sam Bennett took his second stage victory in Paris-Nice 2021 on Thursday. The Irish Deceuninck – Quick-Step sprinter was the fastest in Bollène on Stage 5, ahead of Nacer Bouhanni and Pascal Ackermann. Primož Roglič crashed, but finished without a problem to hold the overall lead.
The race wasn’t fast due to a head-wind and a certain amount of rider apathy. The average speed never went over 30kph, and the cold weather in the south of France didn’t help several riders had to put on extra clothing. At the first intermediate sprint in Vion, Jasha Sütterlin took 3 bonus seconds ahead of Maximilian Schachmann and Lucas Hamilton. Schachmann managed to get two seconds closer to Roglič in the GC.
With more than 70 kilometres to go, the Belgian riders joined forces and set up an echelon. Most of the top sprinters and favourites for the overall missed the move and had to chase for a while. Riders such as Philippe Gilbert, Oliver Naesen, Jasper Stuyven and Thomas De Gendt had got together, but were soon pulled back. The storm soon died down and the sprinter’s teams were able to form again at the head of the peloton. 35 kilometres from the finish in Bollène, there was a crash with leader Roglič and his teammate Tony Martin. The Slovenian was soon back on the bike, but for Martin it was the end of his Paris-Nice. Roglič’s Jumbo-Visma teammates waited for their leader and then pulled the race back together and the peloton got ready for a bunch sprint. In the finalé Deceuninck – Quick-Step tried a surprise, but the peloton was together in the last kilometre.
Bennett had the other sprint trains to contend with in the last kilometre, but he was in an ideal position and had the fastest legs. Bouhanni was on the wheel of the green jersey wearer, but couldn’t come past. Pascal Ackermann and Phil Bauhaus crossed the line third and fourth, European champion Giacomo Nizzolo was fifth. There were hardly any changes in the overall, although the difference between Roglič and Schachmann has narrowed to 31 seconds due to the bonuses. Brandon McNulty remained in third place.
Stage winner and points leader, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I was disappointed after the second stage, so to bounce back and win what was the last sprinters’ stage makes me very happy. It’s fantastic that Deceuninck – Quick-Step got two wins today, I’m delighted for Julian and really proud of the Wolfpack spirit that the entire team displays no matter the race or the circumstances. Big thanks to the entire team, I couldn’t have done it without them. They did again an incredible job, they were just perfect. That was an awesome lead-out and I’m super happy I could hold it to the line. Michael always gets me there and a lot of my results are down to him. When I’m on his wheel, I know that all I have to do is stay there and not panic. I did that again today and it feels great to get another win in this race I love so much.”
2nd, on the stage, Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic): “The form is there, but as a sprinter you always go for the win. I am really collecting places of honour this season, but the goal is always to win a race. It is of course frustrating to finish second, but that is the situation. I really have to emphasise the great work of my teammates. Clément Russo and Daniel McLay managed to put me in a perfect position today. I was so ideally placed for the sprint. It does give me the opportunity to improve my form a bit towards the coming races. I am thinking mainly of Milan-San Remo.”
3rd on the stage, Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe): “After we experienced some bad luck on the second stage, we were fully motivated to net a good result today. The course was something for the sprinters and we expected that the victory would be fought out in a bunch sprint. Our sprint preparations went a slightly awry and I had to start my sprint from slightly too far back. In the finale, Sam took off and I couldn’t follow him. I ultimately finished in third place, not a win, but still a podium. My form is good and we can definitely build on it during the next races. Now we’ll be looking to concentrate on the upcoming days here to still get the best out of the race as a team.”
Paris-Nice Stage 5 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 5:16:01
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
3. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
4. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain Victorious
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Qhubeka Assos
6. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
7. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
8. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
9. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
10. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux.
Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 5:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 18:42:41
2. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:31
3. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:37
4. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:40
5. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:41
6. Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar at 0:58
7. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) DSM at 1:04
8. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) BikeExchange at 1:08
9. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 1:11
10. Pierre Latour (Fra) Total Direct Energie at 1:12.
Primož Roglič took his second stage victory in Paris-Nice on Stage 6. The difficult finish in Biot proved too difficult for many of the sprinters. The Slovenian was too fast for Christophe Laporte and Michael Matthews. Dylan Teuns finished in fourth place.
Four riders didn’t start: Arkéa Samsic lost Maxime Bouet and Anthony Delaplace. Amund Grøndahl Jansen was missing for BikeExchange and Alpecin-Fenix lost to Louis Vervaeke. After 13 kilometres, Rémi Cavagna and Matteo Trentin caused the first serious attack. The strong pair were ahead of the peloton by 10 to 15 seconds, but after 32 kilometres, first Trentin and three kilometres later Cavagna saw that the escape attempt was pointless. On the first climb of the day, the Côte des Tuillières after 50 kilometres, a new leading group was formed. Anthony Perez strengthened his lead in the mountains classification and escaped together with Victor Campenaerts, Kenny Elissonde, Alexey Lutsenko, Jonathan Hivert and Julien El Fares. Elissonde was the best classified of the group at 31st, 2:24 minutes down on Roglič. On the second climb, the Côte de Mont Méaulx, the break had almost 3 minutes. After two hours of racing, third overall, Brandon McNulty, crashed and was unable to continue. Daniel Arroyave, Miles Scotson, Kaden Groves and Dries van Gestel also had to abandon during the stage. At the front, the leading group worked well together and on the Côte de Cabris and the Col du Ferrier, the six extended their lead to 4 minutes.
Perez crossed the KOM line first on all climbs and, with 60 kilometres to go, was the first of the leading group to be dropped. Before the first intermediate sprint, at 56.9 kilometres from the finish, El Fares was also dropped. The difference at this point was only 2 minutes. After the last climb, the Côte de Gourdon, a puncture finished Lutsenko’s hopes and the peloton got closer to the remaining escapees: Campenaerts, Elissonde and Hivert. With less than a minute, Elissonde jumped on the climb to the last intermediate sprint in Roquefort-les-Pins, to leave Campenaerts and Hivert. The Frenchman had 20 kilometres to go on his own. Behind; Jumbo-Visma set the pace, as the sprinter teams also moved up. At 14 kilometres from the finish, Jonas Rutsch crossed to Elissonde on his own. The sprinter’s teams first pulled in Elissonde and in the final kilometre also Rutsch. The last kilometre turned out to be too tough for the real sprinters, like Bouhanni and Bennett. Guillaume Martin led-out the sprint for Christophe Laporte, but Cofidis man was no match for Roglič who took his second victory.
Stage winner and overall leader, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “To win like this is something new again and I’m glad I could do it. For sure it was nice to see my family and get their support and to have the legs to win the stage today. It was just a full gas day, very hard from the beginning that’s why I’m also glad I won it. We’re all tired and it was beautiful that I could do it here. I have to deal with the change of courses and I don’t really care about it. For sure they will be two crucial stages like always at the end. I just expect full gas racing because they are quite short both of them so it will be pretty exciting. My focus is on myself, if I can stay focused with the whole team then it should be fine normally.”
2nd overall, Maximilian Schachmann (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a tough day and very hectic at the end. We tried to stay together and then ride at the front at the end, but I had to re-position myself too often. On the final climb I wasn’t able to find a good wheel to follow, and could have taken one of the corners a little better, so we weren’t able to do more today.”
3rd on the stage, Michael Matthews (BikeExchange): “We took control today; we knew it was a good stage for us and we tried to make it an easy of a sprint as we could. The boys did a great job but unfortunately, we came away with third. We gave it everything and tomorrow is another day. The next two days are pretty big climbing days, and we have Lucas Hamilton in great shape so we will support him 100% and see what he can do with the big boys on the final climb.”
6th on the stage and 7th overall, Lucas Hamilton (BikeExchange): “It was a hard day, we rode a really good race, we rode all day for Bling (Micheal Matthews) and in the end it was a close one. It was maybe a little bit too hard, but it was a good day for us, and we showed how strong we are. Unfortunately we didn’t get the win today but there’s always another race around the corner and tomorrow I think is an uphill finish so we will see.”
Paris-Nice Stage 6 Result:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 4:40:22
2. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange
4. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious
5. Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën
6. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) BikeExchange
7. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
8. Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
9. Sergio Henao Montoya (Col) Qhubeka Assos
10. Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Start-up Nation.
Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 6:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 23:22:53
2. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:41
3. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:50
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:51
5. Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar at 1:08
6. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) DSM at 1:14
7. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) BikeExchange at 1:16
8. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 1:21
9. Pierre Latour (Fra) Total Direct Energie at 1:21
10. Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 1:23.
Primož Roglič took his third stage victory in Paris-Nice on Stage 7. After 119.2 kilometres, the Jumbo-Visma rider was the first to top Valdeblore La Colmiane when he caught and passed the early break in the last metres of the stage.
The stage was supposed to start in Nice, but at the request of the mayor, the start was moved to Le Broc. The finish at the La Colmiane ski area was unchanged. The early break was keen to get started: Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Neilson Powless (EF Education-Nippo), Andrey Amador, Laurens De Plus (INEOS Grenadiers), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech), Julien Bernard, Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Sam Bennett, Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), David De la Cruz (UAE Emirates), Dylan Teuns and Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious).
Mads Pedersen wanted to be part of the break of the day, too, but missed the boat. The group didn’t hang about, as the first two hours of racing were covered at an average of 42.1 kph. The peloton didn’t take it easy as the lead never exceeded 3 minutes. In his hunt for the KOM jersey, Perez was first over all three climbs, making sure of the polka-dot jersey. Perez sat-up after gathering his points and was caught before the final climb. At the front, Lutsenko, Powless, Elissonde and Mäder were pushing on. In the first few kilometres they left the others of the escape, although Lutsenko realised that it was too much for him. From the peloton, Simon Geschke (Cofidis) started to try and cross to the front. The year-old German overtook several riders, but he never got there. With seven kilometres to go, Mäder put in another attack. Elissonde was dropped, another attack 2 kilometres later saw Powless in trouble. But on this first category climb, it was also a job for the Swiss rider to stay ahead of the chasers. By the time Mäder shook Powless off, the lead was already down to 40 seconds.
When Steven Kruijswijk started putting the pressure on 2 kilometres from the finish line, for Roglič, Mäder’s lead didn’t look good. Under the 1K banner, Tiesj Benoot jumped, but he was countered by the yellow jersey. With Maximilian Schachmann (BORA-hansgrohe) in his wheel he was powering towards Mäder. With just under 300 metres to go, Roglič put in his final effort. Schachmann did everything he could, but could not hold the Slovenian. Mäder also gave everything he had, but he couldn’t stop Roglič from pasting him about 25 metres from the line. Thanks to his third stage victory, Roglič has 52 seconds on Schachmann at the start of the final stage. Alexander Vlasov follows at 1:11. Tiesj Benoot.
Stage winner and overall leader, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “I told myself why not? There was a possibility and I took it. It was hard all day, especially at the beginning. Short but sweet as they say. In the end it was really tight but luckily I managed to come first on the finish line. It’s not really over. There is still another race and another challenge, a short stage again. It will be super hard and we need to focus again and do our job. It’s really not easy but luckily the boys are doing very well. It’s fun to race here.”
2nd on the stage, Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious): “Today was an absolutely awesome day for the team with Jack Haig moving up to 9th in the GC. We had Dylan and me in the breakaway, and from the beginning, I felt quite well, and I hoped to get relatively fresh to the final, and as soon as we hit the final slopes, it was just a 40-minute all-out effort, and unfortunately, Roglič caught me in the final and delegated me to second place, but I’m still super happy with my performance today, and proud to have done such a good job with all the team.”
3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Maximilian Schachmann (BORA-hansgrohe): “I am very happy about my third place and also very proud of the whole team. We rode a really strong race and I had great support. I took on the foot of the climb well and felt quite good in general. In the last 2 km I attacked again, but Roglič was still able to keep up. Ultimately, he was a bit fresher in the sprint, but this third place today almost feels like a win.”
4th on the stage and 6th overall, Lucas Hamilton (BikeExchange): “It was a really solid day, the boys did and awesome job. Roglic is just too good really, the guy from breakaway almost won. I tried to stay with Roglic the first time he attacked and I managed, but the second attack in the final metres I missed the moment and couldn’t really chase him back. I’m happy with the result today and have moved up a place overall but of course you always want more.”
Paris-Nice Stage 7 Result:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 3:09:18
2. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorious at 0:02
3. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:05
4. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) BikeExchange at 0:08
5. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:10
6. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) DSM
7. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 0:15
8. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
9. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:22
10. Jai Hindley (Aus) DSM at 0:27.
Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 7:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 26:32:01
2. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:52
3. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech at 1:11
4. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 1:15
5. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) DSM at 1:34
6. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) BikeExchange
7. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 2:06
8. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 2:07
9. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious at 2:10
10. Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar at 2:21
Primož Roglič lost his probable overall victory in Paris-Nice on the Final Stage 8. The Jumbo-Visma leader fell twice in the short final stage to Levens and finished well down. Last year’s winner, Maximilian Schachmann (BORA-hansgrohe), took the final overall classification, Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) won the final stage.
Early attack attempts, by Dylan van Baarle, Dylan Teuns and Rémi Cavagna were pulled back. But stage 8 was a day of bad luck: Maximilian Schachmann suffered a mechanical, while Primož Roglič and David Gaudu crashed. The overall leader had damage to the hips, but was able to continue. After the second time up the Côte de Duranus, two large leading groups had escaped. Cees Bol, Jonas Rutsch, Laurens De Plus, Edward Theuns, Stefano Oldani, Warren Barguil, Tim Declercq and Sven Erik Bystrøm were 1:15 ahead of the peloton. Within half a minute, a group including Luis Léon Sánchez, Omar Fraile, Simon Geschke, Michael Matthews, Matteo Trentin and Dylan Teuns followed.
On the last descent, about 30 kilometres before the finish, Primož Roglič was behind the peloton. The Jumbo-Visma rider had crashed for a second time and had to chase. BORA-hansgrohe quickly realised and lifted the speed in the peloton: Maximilian Schachmann was 52 seconds behind Roglič on the overall. Astana-Premier Tech and Aleksandr Vlasov (third at 1:11) also saw the opportunitie. The Slovenian in yellow was left alone in the chase after using up all his teammates. Despite help from Danny van Poppel, Nacer Bouhanni and Victor Campenaerts, Roglič was mainly dependent on himself. In the peloton Astana-Premier Tech and BORA-hansgrohe did everything they could to get further away from Roglič. With 13 kilometres to the finish, the difference was already more than a minute.
Bernard, Barguil and Bystrøm were the last remaining escapees to be caught by the elite group, which had 2 minutes on Roglič. At the front, all eyes were on Schachmann, the virtual leader. Vlasov attacked a kilometre before the top of the Duranus, but he had Schachmann and Ion Izagirre with him. Soon after the rest of what was left of the peloton rejoined. Vlasov and Izagirre, who were third and fourth overall, tried to play the team game in the last kilometres towards Levens, but Schachmann was not going to let them go. He did let Guillaume Martin, Gino Mäder and Krists Neilands ride away, but the three were pulled in by DSM.
Dylan Teuns tried to surprise the leading group in the sprint, but he was jumped on by Magnus Cort. The EF Education-Nippo Dane then held off Christophe Laporte in the sprint. Pierre Latour was third. Schachmann crossed the line in the same group to secured the final victory in 2021 Paris-Nice. Vlasov and Izagirre joined him on the final podium. A badly battered Roglič crossed the finish line more than 3 minutes down on the leading group. Three stage victories turned out not to be enough for the Slovenian to win Paris-Nice.
Stage winner, Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo): “It was perfect to finish like that. I could not be more happy. It was a very tense stage with that lap to do three times over. It was hard to predict, there were lots of breakaways, Roglic crashed twice and then we could do the sprint. It was very hectic in the last few kilometres as there was no train to keep the speed up and keep positions. You had to do it on your own. I had seen the finish coming around two times, I knew it was fast and there was a small corner before the finish. I thought that if I was first at that corner, nobody could come around so I tried to get to that corner first and nobody came around.”
10th on the stage and final overall winner, Maximilian Schachmann (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a crazy day. I have mixed feelings because Roglic crashed, he also crashed twice. I don’t know if it was his mistake. But I had a puncture before the first climb and I had to go deep to go back and nobody waited for me. Then Roglic crashed and we waited and suddenly he crashed again and there was a break ahead and we were going for the victory of the day. I don’t know if I can be happy, it’s not nice to win like that. It’s very difficult. Anyway it’s great. It was a goal to do it again and suddenly I’m on the podium again even if it’s a different scenario from last year. I don’t know what to say. I was improving. I came here from a training camp and I was feeling tired and I got better despite a cold. The team did a great job, I’m very proud of them. We’re going to enjoy it now.”
2nd overall, Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech): “It was a crazy day. I always tried to stay in front of the group. I had a crash but it was OK and finally it was a good day. It’s my first time on Paris-Nice so I’m happy with my performance and about the white jersey. I’m very happy with this. Now I will have a little rest and prepare for the Giro at a training camp in the Alps.”
4th overall, Lucas Hamilton (BikeExchange): “I am really satisfied, I think it has been a good week. This is my first race as the team’s sole GC leader and the boys really helped me a lot. Today it is obviously very disappointing for Roglic to lose yellow like that but for us to come out with fourth on GC and a couple of good stage results and a day in yellow; we are happy. When you finish fourth it means there’s always room for improvement and of course you look back, but I have a lot of racing ahead, there’s a big season coming up and so I’m looking forward to it.”
3rd overall and 7th on the stage, Ion Izagirre Insausti (Astana-Premier Tech): “The stage was really crazy with high speeds all day long, attacks and crashes on a dangerous route. We had a few crashes in our team and also Roglic crashed too. I am sorry for him to lose the race in this way, but that is a part of cycling. I hope he will recover soon. We tried to follow our strategy and our team did a great race. On the final climb we all were in front, working hard and trying to make a selection in the group and to try to isolate Schachmann. I attacked and also Aleksandr made some attacks but with that fast pace and on a profile like the one we had, it was impossible to distance him as he is really strong in this kind of finale. I am quite happy with my podium place. I mean this is Paris – Nice and it is a great race and a podium here is a big achievement. I am on the right way towards my biggest goals, my shape is good but I still hope to improve some things to be strong in my next races. In this race we rode really well together as a team and it was great to win the team classification!”
9th overall, Aurélien Paret Peintre (AG2R Citroën): “Today, Oliver Naesen, Ben O’Connor and Dorian Godon positioned me very well. The team took the race in hand; it was nice. We did what we had to do to ride for the win. Taking ninth place in the overall classification is a great satisfaction. The goal this morning was to get me back into the top-10 of the general classification. The AG2R Citroën Team was still very strong on this last day, so I am proud.”
Overall leader at the start of the day, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): “This was not the ride we had hoped for. I made some mistakes today. My left shoulder was dislocated in the first fall and then I fell again. I gave everything, but I couldn’t get into the first group. It’s a shame, but on to the next one. This is also part of the sport. We will definitely be back in the next races. I didn’t really think about the overall victory slipping out of my hands. It is always a fight with yourself. If you can, you did what you had to do. I gave everything. We are of course disappointed, but the world will not stop spinning. We must now look ahead. It could have been a lot worse. Fortunately, I will be okay in a few days.”
Paris-Nice Stage 8 Result:
1. Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo in 2:16:58
2. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
3. Pierre Latour (Fra) Total Direct Energie
4. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious
5. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
6. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) INEOS Grenadiers
7. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
8. Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar
9. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
10. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe.
Paris-Nice Final Overall Result:
1. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe in 28:49:51
2. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:19
3. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:23
4. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) BikeExchange at 0:41
5. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) DSM at 0:42
6. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 1:14
7. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious at 1:18
8. Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar at 1:29
9. Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 1:31
10. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorious at 1:32.
Tirreno Adritico 2021
Stage 2 of the Tirreno-Adriatico 2021 was won by Julian Alaphilippe. The World champion had the best finish in Chiusdino, although Mathieu van der Poel was close. Wout van Aert finished third, and remained the overall leader.
The leading group of the day formed after 8 kilometres. Simon Pellaud of Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec was one of the instigators, he was accompanied by KOM Vincenzo Albanese and John Archibald (both EOLO-Kometa), Marcus Burghardt (BORA-hansgrohe), Simone Velasco (Gazprom-RusVelo) and Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert). The peloton uninterested and so the lead of the six increased to about 5 minutes. The GC men put their riders on front of the peloton to keep the escape within distance. The lead remained around 4 minutes for a long time. With 50 kilometres to go, the race hit the hilly finalé and the lead of the break had now shrunk to 3 minutes. In the chase group it was not really fast, but Peter Sagan couldn’t hold on, but it was only his second day of racing of the season. After the Poggio alla Croce (6km at 5%), 35 kilometres from the finish, it was over for the early break. The race was now on after a surprise attack by Egan Bernal. The INEOS Grenadiers Colombian, together with Kasper Asgreen and Florian Vermeersch, managed to build a nice gap and so there had to be a reaction from the peloton.
It was up to defending champion Simon Yates to close the last gap on the Bernal group and the Brit strong enough to make the crossing. In his tracks there were a lot of top riders such as João Almeida, Sergio Higuita, Tim Wellens and Pello Bilbao, but the thinned peloton (with Van Aert and Van der Poel) was not far behind. At 500 metres they were together but there were problems at the back. Thibaut Pinot, the leader of Groupama-FDJ, had a particularly difficult time. It was too fast for the Frenchman, at the front Almeida, Yates, Pavel Sivakov and Mikel Landa were riding well. These four broke free on the Poggio alla Croce just before the KOM sprint, Yates was first over the top. The to the second group was 20 seconds. Overall leader, Van Aert, still had the support of Tobias Foss and Timo Roosen in the chase group of more than fifty men. Yates, Landa, Almeida and Sivakov continued to work well together and started the last 15 kilometres with 30 second in hand.
On the 7 kilometre final climb, at an average of 4%, it was up to the favourites to bring back the leaders. The four front runners started with a 15 second lead in the last 3 kilometres, then at two thousand meters from the finish, Sivakov tried to drop the others. The Russian was caught by Almeida, but he was also unable to ride away on his own. Just before starting the last kilometre, Almeida tried again and the second attack by the Portuguese rider turned out to be successful. Almeida started the last 500 metres with 10 seconds on the top men. This was not enough as Almeida was caught by the ‘Big Three’. Alaphilippe was ideally placed with 200 metres to go and held the others off to the line. Van der Poel was just too late to pas the World champion. Van Aert had to settle for third place. Tadej Pogačar and Alex Aranburu were fourth and fifth.
Stage winner and 2nd overall, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “We were in a perfect position with João at the front, which allowed me to stay focused on keeping my position. When it became clear he would get caught after Thomas’ forcing, I went and gave everything, full gas until the line. This first victory of the season is a relief for me. It’s never easy to win in the rainbow jersey and to do it at this race feels amazing”“I couldn’t have done it without them, so a big thanks goes to the guys. Kasper and Zdenek took care of me on the climb, while João’s attack made it easier for us in the final. The day was a hard one, but the team did an incredible job and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome, especially as it came in the same country where I won this beautiful jersey.”
3rd on the stage and overall leader, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “I didn’t ask other teams to work. Maybe our sports director did but I was quite confident that especially UAE Team Emirates would come to help, but on the climbs, with the attacks, I was never really afraid. I said to the guys to ride as fast as possible. We didn’t close it quickly but we kept the breakaway a short distance ahead of us. João Almeida survived for so long and it was a hard sprint. The upcoming stages will be very difficult to control but the short steep climbs should suit me well. But when it comes to Saturday with such a long uphill finish, I’m more in the unknown. Both stages will be crucial. Teams like UAE Team Emirates and Ineos Grenadiers will set up a mountain train but we have strong guys too. However, I’m confident because today’s stage was already quite hard and we managed it well.”
Tirreno Adritico Stage 2 Result:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 5:01:32
2. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
3. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
4. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
5. Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
6. Robert Stannard (Aus) BikeExchange
7. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
8. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo.
Tirreno Adritico Overall After Stage 2:
1. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma in 8:37:35
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:04
3. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:08
4. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:11
5. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 0:13
6. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën at 0:14
7. Robert Stannard (Aus) BikeExchange
8. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
9. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
10. Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech.
Mathieu van der Poel took his first Tirreno-Adriatico stage win on Stage 3, making up for the disappointment of the previous day. In Guild Tadino, the Dutch champion was too good for Wout van Aert and Davide Ballerini on the uphill finish.
Niki Terpstra joined forces with Davide Bais, Tobias Ludvigsson and Guillaume Boivin and later Mark Padun. Ludvigsson and Padun were the best placed riders in 73rd and 85th place, 9:22 minutes behind Wout van Aert. Their lead quickly increased to more than 8 minutes after 70 kilometres. Behind; Van Aert’s teammates set the pace in the peloton. After 105 kilometres, the peloton suddenly started to race. Arkéa Samsic increased the pace, but the large group stayed together. Mathieu van der Poel also put in some efforts, reducing the gap to the leading group to 6 minutes. With all this action Caleb Ewan was dropped and then got into the team car.
In the run-up to the only climb, the Poggio della Croce, the leading group lost ground again. Robert Gesink put in a lot of effort on the climb and brought the peloton to 3:28 from the breakaway. Jumbo-Visma didn’t want to do all work on their own and so gap went to 6 minutes again. The large group was not without a chance, but the five at the front had a nice lead.
Alpecin-Fenix and Deceuninck – Quick-Step started the proper chase and the gap came down steadily. Six minutes became five, four, three, two and one, 20 kilometres from the finish. Once the five escapees were within range, the gap remained stable between 30 seconds and 1 minute. With 3 kilometers to go, the last gap was closed by the teams of the strong men and the run-up to the final sprint could really begin. The ‘big three’ Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and Julian Alaphilippe were together, not for the first time. Zdeněk Štybar opened the action on the uphill finish and his teammate Alaphilippe let a gap appear. Van Aert closed the gap with Van der Poel in his wheel. The Dutchman then waited for the right moment to take the victory. In 1984 his father Adrie also won a stage in Tirreno-Adriatico, finishing in Ancona.
Stage winner and 2nd overall, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “My celebration on the finish line is something that came from a MotoGP rider, I can’t remember who exactly [Fabio Quartararo]. We found it on Instagram and I promised my teammates that I would try to replicate it. Yesterday I was, for sure, a bit angry with myself. I made a mistake in the finale. Today, I really wanted to win. My team did an amazing job bringing the first group back. The gap left by Julian Alaphilippe wasn’t something I expected. Wout van Aert reacted immediately. It was perfect for me. It could have been a weird situation but it turned out well. Milano-Sanremo will be another story. It’s not comparable to today’s stage victory, but for me, personally, this stage win comes as a good sign.”
2nd on the stage and overall leader, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “I think I missed out on the stage victory because of the gap left by Julian Alaphilippe to favour Zdenek Stybar. It was a surprise for everyone. I had to react to keep the possibility of winning the stage alive. Mathieu was on my wheel and I was at a point of no return. I led him out and he was in the perfect position. But I took a few bonus seconds, so it was not all negative today. Normally, it would be very difficult for me to retain the leader’s jersey tomorrow. This situation is completely new for me, but I’m ready to fight. My team is very strong and we saved some energy today. I’ll be hanging on as long as possible. I’ll try to not lose too much time when I’ll get dropped by the climbers and we’ll figure out tomorrow evening if I can still compete for the overall victory.”
Tirreno Adritico Stage 3 Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix in 5:24:18
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
3. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck – QuickStep
4. Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo
5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën
6. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7. Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Movistar
8. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
9. Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar
10. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation.
Tirreno Adritico Overall After Stage 3:
1. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma in 14:01:47
2. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:04
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – QuickStep at 0:10
4. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 0:19
5. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:20
6. Robert Stannard (Aus) BikeExchange
7. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – QuickStep
8. Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo
9. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe.
Tadej Pogačar seized Stage 4 and the overall lead in the Tirreno-Adriatico on Saturday. The 2020 Tour winner took over the leader’s jersey from Wout van Aert on Prati di Tivo. The Belgian defended himself on the final climb, but could not prevent Pogačar from riding away to victory. Pogačar was in battle with Simon Yates for the stage victory.
The toughest stage in this Tirreno-Adriatico climbed the Sella di Como, the Passo Capable before finishing on the final climb of Prati di Tivo. Benjamin Thomas (Groupama-FDJ), Marco Canola (Gazprom-RusVelo), Mads Würtz Schmidt (Israel Start-Up Nation), Mattia Bais (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) and Emil Vinjebo (Qhubeka Assos) made the early break of the day. The five quickly had a 9 minute lead, at this point UAE Emirates started pulling it back. Vinjebo was the first at the front to be dropped and Canola didn’t last much longer. Würtz Schmidt held out the longest, but on the final climb was caught. At the foot of the final climb, Mathieu van der Poel let the race go as expected. INEOS Grenadiers started to drive the peloton, but it was Giulio Ciccone who was the first to attack. His move started the action of the day with attacks from Pogačar, Nairo Quintana and Egan Bernal and some others. Wout Van Aert drove rode like a real GC leader and always managed to close the gap.
Eventually Van Aert had no answer for the Tour winner’s jump 5.5 kilometres from the finish, but then no one else could go with Pogačar, either. Van Aert kept on with his chase, but lost 45 seconds. Pogačar now has a 35 second lead over Van Aert. Van Aert saw Pogačar disappear from view on the final climb. Simon Yates went after Pogačar in vain, but the 22-year-old Slovenian had 6 seconds in hand at the finish. In the group behind, Sergio Higuita took third place, but he was 29 seconds down on Pogačar.
Stage winner and overall leader, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a really good performance today, close to my best performances uphill. I’m happy with my form and the win. It was very fast climbing from start to finish. I went early because attacking early was needed to gain more seconds. Doing so, you can fail but you can also gain a lot. It was a good decision to go early. I saw Simon Yates coming really close but he had to push a lot of power to come and catch me. I felt he was also at the limit and it would be very difficult for him. I kind of succeeded today but I’ll have another task to try and keep my advantage in the last three stages. It’ll be hard until the end but I have a good team and I’m ready to defend my leadership.”
2nd on the stage, Simon Yates (BikeExchange): “It was good today; I am off GC so we were only going for the stage. I tried to play the game, I tried to get other GC guys to bring back any gaps, bring back any guys that were trying to get away and in the end the mistake was trying to play the game for too long as Pogacar he was gone. I tried to go across and close the gap a little bit, but he was already long gone, I didn’t really get any time on him after the initial acceleration. It was tough to win the stage, but the sensations are good, so I am feeling quite happy. I am off the GC from stage two, but that is racing, sometimes you make mistakes, and I will make more in the future don’t worry. We will see how tomorrow goes now.”
7th on the stage and 9th overall, Matteo Fabbro (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a long and hard stage. They pulled hard at the front of the peloton to set a very strong pace on the penultimate climb while on the last one, INEOS-Grenadier went full gas from the bottom. I was together with Patrick in order to help him in that final ascent to the finish but he wasn’t feeling very good, so I took my chances.”
9th on the stage, 2nd overall and Maglia Ciclamino, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “I would have liked to hang on longer and get more support from the other teams but Tadej [Pogačar] started quite early and that was not in my favour. The pressure was on me and I had to pace for myself. I think I did the best I could. 35 seconds is a nice advantage for Tadej but there are three more stages. I’m looking in front of me, not behind yet and the next few stages should suit me. We’re still aiming at the overall victory and we’ll try until the end. The race is not over.”
Tirreno Adritico Stage 4 Result:
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 3:51:24
2. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange at 0:06
3. Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo at 0:29
4. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic at 0:31
6. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:35
7. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:42
8. Simon Carr (GB) EF Education-Nippo
9. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:45
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana-Premier Tech.
Tirreno Adritico Overall After Stage 4:
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 17:53:21
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:35
3. Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo
4. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 0:38
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic at 0:41
6. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:45
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:55
8. Simon Carr (GB) EF Education-Nippo at 1:03
9. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:12
10. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:25.
Mathieu van der Poel won Stage 5 of the Tirreno-Adriatico on Sunday. The Dutch champion finished in Castelfidardo after 51 solo kilometres. After a very exciting final, overall leader Tadej Pogacar, who nearly caught and passed Van der Poel, was second. Wout van Aert finished third.
55 kilometres were covered in a fast first hour. A very strong leading group had 3 minutes on the peloton. The leading group was: Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), Jonas Rickaert (Alpecin-Fenix), Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious), Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers). The lead was never more than 4 minutes. In the peloton, UAE Team Emirates, Jumbo-Visma and EF Education-Nippo set the pace on the local circuit of 23 kilometres. On each lap the wall to Castelfidardo (1.8km at 9.6%, max. 19%) was the biggest obstacle, but on the course there were more short and sharp climbs.
About 70 kilometers from the finish, the peloton split into pieces on one of the steel ramps, Mathieu van der Poel was at the front. All the big names responded with Tadej Pogačar, Wout van Aert, Alex Aranburu, Egan Bernal, Sergio Higuita and Mikel Landa. World champion Julian Alaphilippe was missing due to a mechanical problem, but was able to return on the descent with a group. The last early escapees were caught 57 kilometres before the finish, after which Bernal attacked. Only Higuita, Pogacar, Van Aert and Van der Poel could follow him, but the chasing group came back thanks to Bahrain Victorious. Van der Poel managed to slip away to take a gap of 20 seconds. Pogacar was in trouble due to his chain coming off, but the overall leader was soon back in the group of Van Aert.
There were dark clouds over Castelfidardo and as the rain started to fall the wind picked up in the final. Van der Poel took the only intermediate sprint of the day at 47 kilometres from the finish, he was 30 seconds ahead of Van Aert and Pogacar. In the elite group, where Alaphilippe was missing and Higuita had been dropped, the pursuit of UAE Team Emirates did not really get going, increasing Van der Poel’s lead to 3 minutes. At the start of the last lap MvdP still had a lead of more than 3 minutes. Fabio Felipe, Marc Soler and Alessandro De Marchi had counter-attacked, but they posed no threat. At 18 kilometres from the finish, Van Aert tried to isolate Pogačar on one of the climbs, but the Slovenian took over the attack and in turn jumped away from Van Aert. It was now a serious hand-to-hand fight on the final lap. Pogačar joined Felline and Soler, but rode away from them 10 kilometers before the finish. Half a minute later, Van Aert did the same to De Marchi. Pogačar was closing the gap on Van der Poel in the final; five kilometres before the finish, the difference was only 1:15. Van Aert was 30 seconds behind Pogačar.
Van der Poel was in trouble in the last kilometres, knowing that Pogačar was getting. At the foot of the final climb, the difference was only 48 seconds. The Slovenian pushed on towards the struggling Dutchman. Under the red flag of the last kilometre, the difference was only 15 seconds. That turned out to be enough for Van der Poel to win the stage. He crossed the finish line completely empty. Van der Poel hadn’t the strength to celebrate. Pogačar was stranded at 10 seconds, after his stage victory on Saturday he must now seem certain of the overall victory. His closest competitor, Wout van Aert, finished 49 seconds behind Van der Poel. Behind; the peloton had been completely split. In the overall rankings, Van Aert is now 1:15 minutes behind classification leader Pogacar. Mikel Landa is number three at exactly three minutes, followed by Egan Bernal at 3.30 minutes. A sprint stage is scheduled for Monday in Tirreno-Adriatico, followed by the closing time trial on Tuesday.
Stage winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “I was riding completely on empty in the last few kilometres. I was told that Pogačar was coming close but I wasn’t even able to listen. I just wanted to reach the finish as fast as I could. I’m happy with the win. I attacked from far away because I was cold and I felt good until 20km to go.”
2nd on the stage and overall leader, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “I attacked with the intention of widening my lead in the overall standings as much as possible, and I got an extra boost when I saw that my action had put Wout Van Aert in trouble. I had no thought to take Van der Poel back, but I almost managed to catch him: many compliments to Mathieu, once again he did a great ride, it was not easy to be in the lead for so many kilometres alone in this stage and in this weather. The advantage over Van Aert is certainly more comfortable than what I had this morning, I would be happy to start in the time trial with this situation but it’s still quite tight.”
3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “I was aiming for the stage win but you saw how the finale went and Tadej [Pogačar] was stronger than me and everybody else. I expected that Mathieu [van der Poel] would try early. He did an impressive effort. Tadej has definitely showed that he’s the strongest and he’s now too far in front of me on the GC. I’m in good position for getting second place overall. I’ll also try to win another stage but first of all I have to recover from this very hard race.”
10th on the stage and 5th overall, Matteo Fabbro (BORA-Hansgrohe): “We were expecting a hard stage but today was a brutal day. More than 200km long, going over the steep Castelfidardo climb five times, fast rhythm from the start. On top of that, there were strong winds, it was very cold and the heavy rain made the roads tricky and slippery. The guys did an excellent job in protecting Patrick and me. We were in the front when it mattered and were able to stay with the GC leaders when the attacks and splits happened. Unfortunately, Patrick crashed in a roundabout, so I had to give all I had to finish in a good position and try and possibly move up in the GC. It was a gruelling final lap but I’m happy with what we achieved.”
Tirreno Adritico Stage 5 Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix in 4:48:17
2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:10
3. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:49
4. Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech at 1:26
5. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 2:07
6. Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
7. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 2:18
8. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Israel Start-up Nation
9. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 2:25
10. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) BORA-hansgrohe at 2:45.
Tirreno Adritico Overall After Stage 5:
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 22:41:41
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 1:15
3. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 3:00
4. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 3:30
5. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) BORA-Hansgrohe at 3:54
6. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 4:30
7. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – QuickStep at 4:42
8. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 5:03
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 5:54
10. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange at 6:58.
Healthy Ageing Tour 2021
Ellen van Dijk took the lead in the Healthy Ageing Tour on Thursday. The 34-year-old Trek-Segafredo rider recorded the best time trial in Lauwersoog. Amy Pieters and Lisa Brennauer finished second and third at half a minute.
The time trial was supposed to start at 11am, but storm Evert caused a delay until 4pm, fortunately the storm died down and the race was allowed to run. The riders had to compete on normal road bikes, due to the weather conditions. Team cars were also not able to follow the riders who started every 30 seconds. Ellen van Dijk clocked the fastest time over the distance of 14.4 kilometres of 20:54. Van Dijk was 26 seconds faster than Pieters, the German time trial specialist Brennauer lost 30 seconds. Jolien D’hoore start the time trial as overall leader, but lost almost two minutes.
Healthy Ageing Tour Stage 2 Result:
1. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo in 20:54
2. Amy Pieters (Ned) SD Worx at 0:26
3. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT at 0:30
4. Emma Norsgaard (Den) Movistar at 0:36
5. Lisa Klein (Ger) Canyon-SRAM at 0:39
6. Joscelin Lowden (GB) Drops-le Col Supported by Tempur at 0:43
7. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-SRAM at 0:51
8. Teuntje Beekhuis (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:02
9. Anna Henderson (GB) Jumbo-Visma at 1:03
10. Daniek Hengeveld (Ned) GT Krush Tunap Pro Cycling at 1:05.
Healthy Ageing Tour Overall After Stage 2:
1. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo in 3:34:56
2. Amy Pieters (Ned) SD Worx at 0:23
3. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT at 0:25
4. Emma Norsgaard (Den) Movistar at 0:33
5. Lisa Klein (Ger) Canyon-SRAM at 0:39
6. Joscelin Lowden (GB) Drops-le Col Supported by Tempur at 0:41
7. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-SRAM at 0:45
8. Teuntje Beekhuis (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:02
9. Anna Henderson (GB) Jumbo-Visma
10. Daniek Hengeveld (Ned) GT Krush Tunap Pro Cycling at 1:05.
Lonneke Uneken won an exciting Final Stage 3 of the Healthy Ageing Tour. The promising SD Worx rider managed to put in an impressive solo on and around the VAM mountain, but the overall victory went to a struggling Ellen van Dijk.
The final day of the Healthy Ageing Tour was made up of countless passes over the VAM mountain. Jolien D’hoore, the winner of the opening stage on the TT circuit in Assen, was responsible for the first serious attack of the day. The strong SD Worx sprinter managed to achieve a maximum lead of 1:30 in and around Wijster on her own. After 20 kilometres, D’hoore was joined by four counter-attackers: Lonneke Uneken, Anna Henderson, Lauretta Hanson and Emma Norsgaard. With more than thirty kilometres to go, the favourites group consisted of only eighteen riders, partly due to a crash. The difference with the four escapees had now shrunk to 30 seconds. D’hoore and Hanson had meanwhile been dropped, but Canadian Karol-Ann Canuel managed to make the crossing to Uneken, Henderson and Norsgaard.
The final stage was held in very bad weather conditions, which meant that many riders had to abandon. In the group of favourites, overall leader Van Dijk still had a teammate, so that the difference in the final remained around 15 seconds for a long time. The problem for Van Dijk was SD Worx, the team of closest competitor Amy Pieters, had five riders in the thinned out favourites group. The experienced Dutchwoman had to be on her guard and was constantly bombarded by the women of SD Worx in the final. At the front, Uneken turned out to have a great day. The 21-year-old SD Worx rider managed to break away from the rest and quickly gained a lead of 1:30. Uneken partly benefited from the work of her SD Worx teammates, but also proved strong enough to maintain the lead. In the last 10 kilometres, Uneken managed to take more and more time. In the chasing group, the favourites for the overall victory mainly looked at each other, although a few accelerations of pace made the gap smaller. With fourteen kilometres to go, there was a reaction from the German Lisa Klein.
Uneken could dream of the overall victory as she was just under two minutes down overall at the start of the day and was in the virtual leader’s jersey as the group with Van Dijk was 3 minutes behind. Uneken had wings in the last kilometres, but lost some time in the final. The lead of the front rider went, due to a few attacks in the chasing group, back to two minutes and Van Dijk still had a chance of victory in the last kilometres. After one last climb of the VAM mountain, Uneken took the victory, as stage winner but not as overall winner of the Healthy Ageing Tour 2021. Van Dijk had enough left in the end, she benefited from the cooperation with a few other competitors and succeeded after an exciting final to secure the overall victory.
Final overall winner, Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo): “It really was a great ending, it was very hectic and cold. Controlling the race was not easy. At one point we were surprised that Lonneke (Uneken, the stage winner) was racing so far ahead. Then it was: ‘shit, now we have to drive’. I felt good throughout the race and the team was super strong, but I was so cold that I could hardly change gears anymore. Then you have a problem on the cobblestones. On the penultimate climb I was riding with too much acceleration and thus lost the contact with the group. But it remained exciting until the last climb of the VAM mountain. We only knew who had won after the finish. I have rarely been this cold during a race, but I am glad we raced. I also want to thank the organisers for the work.”
2nd on the stage and 3rd overall, Emma Norsgaard (Movistar): “Today it was savage! It was by far the hardest stage of the week. Maybe going on the breakaway from so early wasn’t the smartest idea (laughs), but the only thing I was thinking about was the GC, and leaving all out on the road. I really wanted to get on that overall podium. I could see the yellow jersey reaching out to us after that long move, but I just left it all out on the road until the end. I’m really happy about today and the week in general – I feel like this is a really great team to be part of and we did really well together, and in the end, this work is paying off and I’m just super happy. I can’t wait for the classics to come and hopefully more success in the upcoming races.”
Healthy Ageing Tour Stage 3 Result:
1. Lonneke Uneken (Ned) SD Worx in 3:32:13
2. Emma Norsgaard (Den) Movistar in 1:14
3. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT
4. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 1:29
5. Lisa Klein (Ger) Canyon-SRAM at 1:33
6. Amy Pieters (Ned) SD Worx at 1:35
7. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-SRAM at 1:40
8. Amber van der Hulst (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg at 2:20
9. Pfeiffer Georgi (GB) DSM at 2:54
10. Marta Lach (Pol) Ceratizit-WNT at 2:58.
Healthy Ageing Tour Final Overall Result:
1. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo in 7:08:38
2. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT at 0:06
3. Emma Norsgaard (Den) Movistar at 0:12
4. Lonneke Uneken (Ned) SD Worx at 0:20
5. Amy Pieters (Ned) SD Worx at 0:29
6. Lisa Klein (Ger) Canyon-SRAM at 0:43
7. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-SRAM at 0:56
8. Teuntje Beekhuis (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 2:42
9. Amber van der Hulst (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
10. Anna Henderson (GB) Jumbo-Visma at 2:50.
Uncertainty About Finish of Milan-San Remo on Via Roma
In addition to Paris-Nice, Milan-Sanremo may also have to avoid the finish town. Due to the corona measures in force, the local prefecture is investigating whether the finish on Corso Cavalotti could be used in Sanremo, Sanremonews reports. In that case, the Via Roma would be avoided.
For the time being, the arrival is still “normal” on Via Roma, but the prefecture also wants to keep other options open. For example, a finish on Corso Cavalotti, where Milan-Sanremo regularly finished in the 1990s, was proposed. This is to relieve the burden on the centre of Sanremo, as there is a ban on gatherings for residents. In addition, some of the shops in the centre should (temporarily) close in the finish zone. A disadvantage of a finish on the Corso Cavalotti is that the RAI’s television cars cannot be set up there. So there is some lack of space. The city council of Sanremo is still in talks with the prefecture and organiser RCS about a solution. The last thing they want there is for the finish to be outside Sanremo.
The Italian coastal town is also taking into account that ‘code red’ will be declared soon due to the corona situation. In that case, many of the shops in downtown Sanremo are obliged to close on weekends. This in turn provides space for “La Primavera” to finish on the Via Roma without any problems. If there is no ‘code red’ in the city of Sanremo on Saturday 20 March, the prefecture can still decide to close all shops in the centre between 2.30pm and 6pm so that the classic can finish in the area.
Looking forward to Sanremo:
Tour of Valencia Moved to April, Ruta del Sol in May
La Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana will take place this year from April 14 to 18, while the organisers of the Ruta del Sol are aiming for the race to be in May. The UCI has yet to officially confirm the news, as several postponed races are looking for a new place on the calendar.
The organisers of the Tour of Valencia were forced to postpone the race (originally February 3-7), given the corona situation in Spain and the Valencia region. Now they hope to organize the stage race in April. In 2020, Tadej Pogačar took the overall victory in the Tour of Valencia, ahead of Jack Haig and Tao Geoghegan Hart.
The 67th edition of the Ruta del Sol should take place from 18 to 22 May, the organisers told Ciclo21. Race director Joaquín Cuevas has now informed the start and finish cities about the new plans, although the last word is for the UCI, as it is responsible for the race calendar. The race will have to compete with the Giro d’Italia (8-30 May) in May, but the Ruta del Sol may well be an ideal preparatory race for the Tour de France. The Tour of Valencia is not affected by the Giro, but the final stage is on the same day as the Amstel Gold Race.
Pogačar – Winner in Valencia 2020:
Tour de l’Avenir 2021
The Tour de l’Avenir 2021 route has been presented. The Tour de France for U23 riders, is on the cycling calendar this year from 13-22 August. It starts with a prologue and on the third day there is a long team time trial. The finalé is in the Alps.
The 57th edition of the Tour de l’Avenir starts on Friday, August 13 in Charleville-Mézières with a five-kilometre prologue. After a stage to Soissons, a team time trial of 27 kilometres will follow on day three, which should mix up the general classification.
In the last four stages, the classification will be turned upside down again. In the sixth stage, the Côte de la Combe du Lac will be climbed twice in the final and the finish will be after a descent in Septmoncel. The seventh stage is only 100 kilometres long, but finishes on the Grand Colombier (17.3 km at 7.1%), which is climbed from Culoz.
The closing weekend also has two summit finishes. First, a very short 60 kilometre mountain stage to Saint-Jean-d’Arves, including the Montée de Bottières and the Col du Mollard, followed by a mountain stage to the Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard. In the middle of that stage is the Col d’Iseran with the summit at over 2,700 metres.
Last year, the Tour de l’Avenir was not held due to the corona crisis. The last winner was Norwegian Tobias Foss, who is now riding for Jumbo-Visma.
Tour de l’Avenir 2021 (August 13-22):
13/08, prologue: Charleville-Mézières – Charleville-Mézières (5km, ITT)
14/08, stage 1: Charleville-Mézières – Soissons (161km)
15/08, stage 2: Laon – Laon (27km, TTT)
16/08, stage 3: Château-Thierry – Donnemarie-Dontilly (152km)
17/08, stage 4: Provins – Bar-le-Duc (186km)
18/08, stage 5: Tomblaine – Bar-sur-Aube (151km)
19/08, stage 6: Champagnole – Septmoncel (138 km)
20/08, stage 7: Saint-Vulbas – Grand Colombier (100km)
21/08, stage 8: La-Tour-en-Maurienne – Saint-Jean-d’Arves (60km)
22/08, stage 9: La Toussuire – Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard (154km).
No Grand Colombier in the Tour de l’Ain 2021, Finish in Lélex-Monts-Jura
The Tour de l’Ain 2021 race route has been revealed. After the three-day stage race was upgraded last year as a training race for the Tour de France, it is now back in the familiar date at the end of July after the Tour. There will be no summit finishes.
The 33rd edition of the Tour de l’Ain has no stages longer than 150 kilometres. It starts with a flat stage to Bourg-en-Bresse, one for the sprinters. The second stage has a tough middle section with four climbs, but after the Col des Portes it is still 36 kilometres to the finish in Saint-Vulbas.
The final stage is short 125 kilometres, but difficult due to the climbs. The last of the five climbs is the Col de Menthières, with the summit at 22 kilometers from the finish. After a descent, the road continues for the last kilometers in the direction of Lélex-Monts-Jura, at an altitude of 900 meters, but still uphill. Last year the second stage was almost identical.
Last season, Primož Roglič showed his form in the Tour de l’Ain in the run-up to the Tour de France. The Slovenian finished second in the opening stage (behind Andrea Bagioli) and then won the stages to Lélex-Monts-Jura and the Grand Colombier.
Tour de l’Ain 2021 (July 29-31):
29/07, stage 1: Parc des Oiseaux – Bourg-en-Bresse (141 km)
30/07, stage 2: Lagnieu – Saint-Vulbas (136 km)
31/07, stage 3: Izernore – Lélex-Monts-Jura (125 km).
Roglič in 2020:
Line-up for the Nokere Koerse 2021
The organisers of the Nokere Koerse (Wednesday, March 17) have announced that thirteen WorldTour teams will participate in the next edition of the one-day race. The list of participants includes the names of Mark Cavendish and Sep Vanmarcke.
Nokere Koerse is counting on a mix of young and old this year. “It is a very international group, from thirty different countries, with both established names and emerging talents.” is how chairman Robrecht Bothuyne summarises the race line-up. “It will really be a battle of young versus experienced.”
Cavendish, Vanmarcke, Edward Theuns, Danny van Poppel, Jelle Wallays and Timothy Dupont are experienced riders who will be on the Nokere Koerse start line next Wednesday. Talented riders such as Jake Stewart, Tom Pidcock, Jordi Meeus, Jasper Philipsen, Jhonatan Narváez and Alberto Dainese will be challenging the established order.
AG2R Citroën, BORA-hansgrohe, Cofidis, Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Groupama-FDJ, INEOS Grenadiers, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, Israel Start-Up Nation, Lotto Soudal, Team DSM, Qhubeka ASSOS, Trek-Segafredo and UAE Emirates are the WorldTour teams who will participate in Nokere Koerse this year. In addition, there are also eleven ProTeams and one continental team (Tarteletto-Isorex) on the start list. In 2020, Nokere Koerse was canceled due to the corona crisis, a year earlier Cees Bol won ahead of Pascal Ackermann and Jasper Philipsen.
Bol in 2019:
Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge to have Women’s Edition
The Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge will have a women’s edition in 2022. This was announced by the organisers of the French one-day race.
The first Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge was run two years ago. After a race of 185 kilometres, with the Col des Aires and the Col de l’Homme Mort, Jesús Herrada took the victory on the Mont Ventoux with an impressive attack. In 2020 Aleksandr Vlasov was the best climber on the giant of a mountain. The organisers have new plans for the future, which also include the addition of a women’s race. It will take place for the first time in 2022, on the same day as the men’s race.
In 2016 the women rode up the Mont Ventoux. The finish of the third stage of the Tour de l’Ardèche was then on the Giant of Provence. After 95 kilometers, including the Col de Murs and the Côte de Blauvac, Anna Kiesenhofer was the first to cross the line. In addition, the organisers want to be part of the UCI ProSeries with the men’s race next season. Until now, the race has always been classified in the first category. The changes are supported by the main sponsor, the financial services provider CIC. It has extended its commitment to the event until 2023.
The Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge will be held this year on Tuesday, June 8. From the start in Vaison-la-Romaine, the race goes over the Col de la Madeleine (not to be confused with the famous col in the Tour), the Col de la Gabelle and the Rocher du Cyre via Sault to the Mont Ventoux. Once over the top, they descend to Malaucène and then ride up again from Bédoin. The race is 155 kilometers long. About 4,500 vertical meters have to be climbed.
Former Sky Doctor Found Guilty
Richard Freeman, the former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor, has been found guilty, after a drawn-out lawsuit, of ordering testosterone, for the treatment of riders.
Freeman was accused by the UK anti-doping agency (UKAD) of doping violations. The physician also had a charge from the General Medical Council, the British Order of Physicians, for ordering testosterone to treat riders. The General Medical Council accused Freeman of ordering testogel in 2011 to boost athletes’ performance. He is also alleged to have lied to cover up the order and misled an investigation by UKAD. There were a total of 22 charges against Freeman.
The Briton worked at Team Sky and British Cycling between 2009 and 2017 and has been at the centre of multiple controversies. The case started in February 2019 and has been shelved several times. The Manchester medical tribunal made a ruling last week.
The judge said, “The tribunal considers it proven that you, Dr. Freeman, placed and received the order, knowing or believed that it would be administered to an athlete to improve athletic performance. The motive for your action was to cover things up,” according to The Guardian newspaper.
The case is not finalised, as there are still to be hearings held that will raise the question of whether Freeman will be allowed to keep his license as a physician. The medical tribunal can also impose other, additional sentences and two more anti-doping charges are pending.
NEOS Grenadiers Statement After the Ruling
INEOS Grenadiers has released a statement regarding the Freeman case. Richard Freeman, the former Team Sky and British Cycling team doctor, was found guilty last Friday of ordering doping (testosterone) for the purpose of treating riders.
INEOS Grenadiers (previously Team Sky) has always denied doping use in the squad and does so again in a statement. “The team does not believe that any of our riders have ever used testosterone patches or any other banned substance. So far there has been no evidence that this ever happened or that a rider did anything wrong.”
“It is very clear that Richard Freeman has acted wrong and has failed to meet the ethical standards of a physician. We will continue to work with the UK anti-doping agency UKAD, as we have done in the process. We will not comment further,” the British team said.
Burgos-BH Confirms Signing Daniel Navarro
Daniel Navarro has been without a team for a while after his forced departure from Israel Start-Up Nation, but the 37-year-old Spanish climber appears to have found a new team in Burgos-BH. The Diario de Burgos reports that both parties are in conversation.
Navarro made his professional debut for Liberty Seguros in 2005 and also raced for Astana, Saxo Bank, Cofidis, Katusha-Alpecin and then Israel Start-Up Nation. The Spaniard was Alberto Contador’s right-hand man for a few years, but decided to try his own luck at Cofidis. Navarro had some good moments with Cofidis. In the Vuelta a España of 2014, he won a stage and finished tenth in the GC. In 2013 he finished 9th in the Tour de France. His also took victories in the Vuelta a Murcia and the Critérium du Dauphiné. In recent years, Navarro has mainly been riding for others. Last year he finished the Giro d’Italia in 48th place in the final classification. The team will try to prove itself again this season in the Vuelta a España.
Burgos-BH has confirmed that Daniel Navarro will strengthen the team immediately. The experienced climber says he is very happy. “I had the opportunity to speak to team manager Julio Andrés Izquierdo and I am excited about their project. I am happy with the trust. I think I can still ride very fast and I want to show that. The feeling during training is good. I take good care of myself and I am sure that I can still perform at a high level. The Vuelta a Espãna will start in Burgos this year, which is very special for the team. I am really looking forward to the calendar ahead and I am embarking on it with ambition,” said Navarro.
Team manager Izquierdo calls Navarro “a reinforcement” for his team. “He is a climber with a wealth of experience. He told me he would still like to race. I saw that he was very motivated and enthusiastic, which is very important. He can be there on the tricky days and help the younger riders. He will get back into action as soon as possible to get back to the rhythm.”
Rohan Dennis: Race Day at Paris-Nice
The man’s a winner – but in cycling you can’t win them all.
Grenadier Cam spent TT day with Rohan Dennis at Paris-Nice. Check out his routine & racer mentality with these behind the scenes highlights.
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