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The Giro d’Italia is warming up nicely – All the action from Italy, plus the Tour of Hungary, Grand Prix du Morbihan and Tro-Bro Léon with video. Another year for Mark Cavendish – TOP STORY. Other news: Julian Alaphilippe update, Jasper Stuyven extends contract, Zoe Bäckstedt to EF Education, Patrick Lefevere on gambling advertising, Soudal CEO on Gilbert and Degenkolb, contracts for Romain Bardet and Juliette Labous, Jumbo-Visma interested in Eddie Dunbar, Movistar wants Carlos Rodriguez, Sven Erik Bystrøm knee injury, Ilan Van Wilder back on the bike, Alberto Contador on Juan Pedro López, cyclo-cross project Tormans and Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl will not happen, Vuelta a España special jersey for Dutch stages and Valkenburg aan de Geul get an award. *** Stop the war in Ukraine. ***


TOP STORY: Mark Cavendish Wants to Add Another Year and Not Necessarily with Quick-Step
If it depends on Mark Cavendish, the almost 37-year-old sprinter will be in the peloton next year. The chance that he will be with Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl is in doubt. ‘Cav’ has been offered to several teams by his management.

A year and a half ago, Mark Cavendish nearly finished his professional career. The fast-finisher struggled (twice) with the Epstein-Barr virus and was unable to win for three years. Patrick Lefevere turned out to be a last minute saviour and gave Cavendish a one-year contract. After exactly 1,159 days without a win, Cavendish thanked his team manager with a victory in the Tour of Turkey. It was the start of a strong comeback, with four stage victories and the green jersey in the Tour de France. The result was a contract extension for a second year, but the relationship has become somewhat murky in recent months.

Tour de France
One of the reasons is that Fabio Jakobsen was put forward at the end of last year as the team sprinter for the Tour de France and Cavendish would ride the Giro. This was later adjusted by Lefevere. “A lot can still happen,” said the team boss. “Look at last year. Whoever is in the best shape will go to the Tour.”

Sports director Brian Holm described what was going on. “Nothing is certain yet. Fabio is first on the list, but that is also because Cavendish decided to sign quite late. We even thought for a moment that he would stop.” What Cav also didn’t like was that ‘the team’ didn’t talk to him about participating in Milan-San Remo, when Alaphilippe couldn’t start. He is, however, a former winner of the Primavera.

In the meantime, Cav is riding the Giro d’Italia, where he is surrounded by a strong team: Michael Mørkøv (abandoned), Davide Ballerini and Bert Van Lerberghe, and the others, he is getting a particularly strong lead-out in the Giro. Cavendish immediately thanked Hungarian soil with a stage win. Whether that increases his chances of a possible Tour participation remains to be seen.

2023
Lefevere recently indicated that he was looking for an alternative for the almost 37-year-old Briton. “I really want to have a Belgian sprinter in the ranks again,” he told La Dernière Heure in mid-April. Referring to Tim Merlier, who will soon end his contract with Alpecin-Fenix. Whether that statement is the reason, but Cavendish has instructed the management agency he works with to explore the market with a view to a contract for 2023. WielerFlits learned from several sources that the sprinter has been proposed to a number of top teams in recent days. Undoubtedly to be continued.

2023 for Cav?

 


Giro d’Italia 2022
The sixth stage of the Giro d’Italia was won by Arnaud Démare. The Frenchman managed to pass Caleb Ewan in the final sprint, although the difference was not visible to the naked eye. A photo finish showed that the Frenchman turned out to be the better of the Australian by a few millimetres.

For the second day in a row, there was little enthusiasm for an early break. Pascal Eenkhoorn and Bauke Mollema took off from the start, but it turned out to be nothing serious. While they were chatting, the two Dutchmen were caught, but no further attacks were forthcoming, even the Italian wildcard teams held back. Thomas De Gendt and Dries De Bondt set the pace at the front of the peloton, although the first kilometres were ridden at an easy pace.

After more than 20 kilometres, there was an attack from the peloton. It was Diego Rosa who made the move. The 33-year-old Italian climber from EOLO-Kometa went on a long, brave and lonely ride. The peloton let him go and Rosa’s lead quickly rose to 5 minutes towards the top of the only climb of the day. At the summit, the lone leader took 3 mountain points. KOM, Lennard Kämna, the first of the peloton for 2 points. Rosa was still alone at the intermediate sprint in Vibo Valentina, where the Italian took the full 12 points. Then we had three riders from Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli. The Italian team decided to go into battle just before the intermediate sprint, in the hope of getting off the front. Filippo Tagliani, Eduardo Sepúlveda and Simone Ravanelli were the attackers who went through the sprint in that order, taking the points away from the riders with ambitions for the points classification. Of the fast men, only points jersey wearer Arnaud Démare and his biggest challenger Biniam Girmay were really interested in the intermediate sprint. The young Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert rider pushed his wheel over the line just ahead of Démare for 4 points, the Frenchman had to be satisfied with three. The Drone Hopper trio were caught. Rosa still had a lead of around 4 minutes.

The sprinter’s teams were not concerned as Rosa still had more than a 100 kilometres to cover to the finish in Scalea. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) took care of the lion’s share of the work at the head of the peloton and Groupama-FDJ, Démare’s team, also put two men on the chase. Eventually Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl took responsibility, aiming for a sprint with top favourite Mark Cavendish, but they didn’t take the now tired Rosa too early. The sprint teams let the Italian struggle on for a bit for tactical reasons, but with 28 kilometres to go, Rosa’s solo ride came to an end and we could then prepare for another bunch sprint finish. In the last 10 kilometres the lead-out trains came forward and the fight started for the best positions. Israel-Premier Tech took command under the 2 kilometre banner, hoping to pilot Giacomo Nizzolo to victory. They had taken the lead too early and were swamped by Groupama-FDJ. It was Ewan who shot out of the heaving mass and looked to be on his way to victory, but Démare turned out to have an extra gear in his legs. The Frenchman came next to the Australian and had a final jump. It was not clear after the finish who had crossed the line first. A photo finish had to decide the winner and the judges finally came to the conclusion that Démare was the first to push his wheel over the line. A dissatisfied Cavendish was third. Biniam Girmay and Nizzolo filled the top-5.

# See more photos in the full PEZ ‘Stage 6 Race Report’ HERE. #

Stage winner and points leader, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ): “I’m not used to sprint from behind. I want to underline the great work of my team. I launched with a slight delay after Michael Mørkøv and Mark Cavendish went at 500m to go. I knew Cavendish would keep the door closed on the left hand side so I had to go to the right, also Caleb Ewan. I knew I was fast but I’ve thought it would be too tight. I threw my bike, which is something I instinctively do when I train behind my father’s scooter or with my cousins. I feel privileged to have two lead out men with Jacopo Guarnieri and Ramon Sinkeldam. When one of them is missing, I can count on the other one and it’s even better when I have the two of them like today. It’s my goal to win the points classification but I know how hard and long a Grand Tour is. The key is to remain humble.”

Maglia Rosa, Juan Pedro López Perez (Trek-Segafredo): “I believe every day is different at the Giro. Tomorrow I’ll give 200% to defend the Maglia Rosa. I will not give up. This morning I spoke with Alejandro Valverde who I admire a lot. Moreover I went to the Movistar team bus to congratulate José Joaquin Rojas who became a dad last night but is still here racing the Giro.”

2nd on the stage, Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal): “The team did what they had to do today and dropped me off perfectly. That way, I could start my sprint when I wanted to. It looked very good but in the end I just got beaten by an inch on the line. Of course, I’m really disappointed to just miss out on the stage victory. But we need to take away from today that it could have gone our way as well. The shape and the team are there and of course I am keen on taking revenge.”

4th on the stage, Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “Even though my profile is more adapted to harder races, I also appreciate pure sprint stages like today. In the final 20 kilometre the battle towards the sprint was very exciting and tough. It was extremely nervous, many risks were taken and crashes avoided. My teammates guided me to the front for the final 700 meter, enabling me to rival again with the fastest sprinters. During the sprint I had to break several times, and in the end I was defeated by Démare, Ewan and Cavendish, who were the fastest today. I really loved this battle and I’m already looking forward to the next one!”

2nd overall and KOM, Lennard Kämna (BORA-hansgrohe): “Today was quite an easy day for us and I think it did me good to just turn my legs and recover a little. Tomorrow will be super hard and I’m expecting a tough race but I will try to survive as long as possible. I can’t say for sure right now whether the blue jersey will be a definite goal but we’ll just have to see how it goes.”

7th on the stage, Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën): “It was a very quiet day. In the final, the team worked well for Lawrence Naesen and for me. Lawrence was designated to do the sprint but the final was nervous and at the time of launching, he was no longer on my wheel. It still means we grabbed a top-10, it’s good for the team on bunch sprint finishes. My form will continue to improve over the days. Good stages are coming for the breakaways. Tomorrow there will be a good opportunity for the team and we will fight to seize it. Great things are still to be done at this Giro d’Italia.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 6 Result:
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 5:02:33
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
3. Mark Cavendish (GB) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
4. Biniam Girmay (Eri) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Israel-Premier Tech
6. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain-Victorious
7. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën
8. Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
9. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa
10. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 6:
1. Juan Pedro López (Spa) Trek-Segafredo in 23:23:40
2. Lennard Kämna (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:38
3. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:58
4. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange-Jayco at 1:42
5. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 1:47
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:51
7. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 1:54
8. Pello Bilbao Bahrain-Victorious at 1:56
9. Richie Porte (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers at 2:04
10. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 2:06.

Giro’22 stage 6:

 

Koen Bouwman won Stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia. In Potenza, the Dutchman of Jumbo-Visma was the best of a leading group of four men. He beat countryman Bauke Mollema and Italian Davide Formolo in the sprint, while his teammate Tom Dumoulin finished fourth. Bouwman also took the lead in the KOM classification.

Michael Mørkøv did not sign-on this morning. Mark Cavendish’s Danish lead-out man had a fever during the night. With Juan Pedro López in the pink jersey for the third day, the stage got underway. There was a fierce battle for the break of the day, with a particularly fast pace. Attacker Thomas De Gendt tried, Van der Poel made several escape attempts and KOM Lennard Kämna also gave it a go. As he was second on GC, the German was not allowed any space by Trek-Segafredo, the team of pink jersey López.

On the Passo Colla, the first climb of the day, Wout Poels attacked and was the first over the top, collecting the first points for the mountains classification. There were many attacks until the long climb of Monte Sirino, but no break was successful. The escape finally came about after 70 kilometres. Four Dutchmen were in front with Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious), Tom Dumoulin and Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo). The others were Davide Villella (Cofidis), Diego Camargo (EF-EasyPost) and Davide Formolo (UAE). The peloton slowed, allowing the seven escapees to get away. The leading group had 5 minutes at the top of the Monte Sirino, where Bouwman was the first over the top for 40 mountain points. The Dutchman was the best-placed of the break and when the lead increased to over 5:30, he was in the virtual pink jersey. The race lost more riders: Movistar lost to Sergio Samitier. EF Education-EasyPost saw Owain Doull give up and Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè had to continue without Samuele Zoccarato. On the descent to the foot of the Montagna Grande di Viggiano, the third climb, Villella took a curve badly and ended up in the grass. The Italian was able to get back on the bike and take his place in the leading group. On the second category climb, with an average of 9.1%, the steepest slope of the day, Poels was the first escapee to be dropped, followed a little later by Villella and Camargo. We were now left with Formolo, Dumoulin, Bouwman and Mollema. Camargo was able to fight back.

Bouwman was first at the summit of the Montagna Grande di Viggiano, putting him in the lead of the KOM. On the descent, Villella was also able to return to the front. On an uncategorised climb on the way to La Sellata, Bouwman tested the opposition with an attack. Mollema went with him, but the duo did not get away. Dumoulin attacked several times on La Sellata, but Formolo always brought the others back. Due to the moves of the strong Dutchman, Villella and Camargo were dropped from the leading group. At 28 kilometres from the finish, Dumoulin attacked again. Formolo and Mollema were able to get to him, but Bouwman had to leave a gap. This was the moment for Mollema to launch a counter-attack. Bouwman was distanced again, but Dumoulin and Formolo were able to return. Then it was Formolo who tried. Dumoulin and Mollema joined him a kilometre from the top, while Bouwman was also able to rejoin at his own pace. The new KOM took the full points on La Sellata, ahead of Formolo who was also interested in the points. Formolo then tried to pull away again on the descent, but Dumoulin closed the gap. These four attackers were together in the valley. At 7 kilometres from the finish there was still a climb and again Mollema attacked. Bouwman and Formolo pulled him in and Dumoulin also got back to the front. The 2017 Giro winner then took the lead in the service of Bouwman. Just before the top Mollema tried again and Bouwman and Formolo jumped on his wheel. As with Mollema’s previous attack, Dumoulin couldn’t follow.

Formolo tried again just after the top, but again Bouwman was on him. Mollema was also able to join. At 3 kilometres from the finish, Formolo tried again, but in vain. Suddenly Dumoulin was with them again. As a result, the four of them started the final kilometre, of which the last 350 metres were at about 8%. Dumoulin took the lead, with Formolo, Bouwman and Mollema on his wheel. Bouwman started a long sprint and shook Mollema and Formolo off his wheel. The 28-year-old rider maintained his effort to the finish line and took his first Grand Tour victory. The GC riders lifted the speed on the last climb and crossed the finish line almost 3 minutes after winner Bouwman. It was mainly INEOS Grenadiers, the team of Richie Porte, Richard Carapaz and Pavel Sivakov, that had controlled the second half of the race. Juan Pedro López kept the pink leader’s jersey.

# See more photos in the full PEZ ‘Stage 7 Race Report’ HERE. #

Stage winner and KOM, Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma): “I don’t have any words to describe how happy I am. Winning a stage in a Grand Tour is unbelievable. I didn’t think of my two previous losses when I was away at the Giro. When Tom [Dumoulin] came back with 2km to go, I asked him to ride hard so nobody could attack. It was such a big chance in my career; I’m super happy to have made it. As soon as I came back after being dropped in the climb, I believed it was possible to win and in the end it was. It was important for us to do something nice after the disappointment of Etna. It’s nice that Tom switched to a new tactic today. We’ll see more from him in breakaways and the ITT in Verona on the last day. My victory here will last forever. Wearing the Maglia Azzurra tomorrow will be the cherry on the cake. I like fishing and today I caught a big fish.”

Maglia Rosa, Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo): “Our goal was to support Mollema, so we didn’t have to take the responsibility to lead the peloton. It was my first time in this part of Italy; I only knew the course from the roadbook. Tomorrow it’ll be another hard stage in Naples. I’m very happy to wear the Maglia Rosa already for two days, three maybe, I don’t remember… I enjoy every moment. It was a hard stage today, especially at the beginning but not a climbers’ stage. That’s why the GC riders wait for the Blockhaus on Sunday. Our team’s goal is clear: we want to do GC with Giulio Ciccone.”

2nd on the stage, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo): “It was super tough. It started at the start and then it went full throttle for sixty, seventy kilometres. Then we got into the break with seven men. I didn’t ride too fast, because we were also in the peloton to defend the pink jersey. In the end it was a good situation for us. I felt good but I knew Bouwman was fast. It was not possible to beat him in the sprint, but I gave everything.” “It was a nice break with so many Dutchmen. We know each other very well. It was nice to be up front with these guys, but it’s a shame I couldn’t finish it.”

3rd on the stage, Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates): “Today was a day for the breakaway and we decided I would try. In the final I tried to get away on the climb, I tried again on the descent but it just wasn’t to be. Jumbo had two strong guys there and it made it hard to get away solo. It’s always nice get the win of course, but I can say I tried my best. We take this result and go for it again tomorrow with Gaviria, but tomorrow I’ll probably stay in the bunch after a long day today.”

4th on the stage, Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma): “There is no rider in the peloton who deserves it more than Koen. I wasn’t planning on going in the breakaway at all. I wanted to give myself some extra days to find the right legs. By chance I ended up in the breakaway because I wanted to protect Koen’s break. Suddenly we had a gap and I was in the breakaway. It was great that it worked out this way.”

18th on the stage, Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “It was a special day for me, in my native region, and a particularly difficult stage because of the very intense start. The rude and long battle for the breakaway on undulating roads stretched the peloton out for many kilometers. That’s why I had to stay concentrated, but I felt a certain emotion on these roads I know so well since I covered them so many times as a young kid. My form is good after this first week. I think that my goal to finish in the top ten of the general classification remains realistic. I’ll have to limit the damage on days I feel less good. Winning a stage? We’ll see, my priority remains the GC but why not try in a stage such as on Sunday towards the top of Blockhaus.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 7 Result:
1. Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 5:12:30
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:02
3. Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
4. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:19
5. Davide Villella (Ita) Cofidis at 2:25
6. Lennard Kämna (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 2:59
7. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa
8. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates
9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
10. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 7:
1. Juan Pedro López (Spa) Trek-Segafredo in 28:39:05
2. Lennard Kämna (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:38
3. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 1:02
4. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange-Jayco at 1:42
5. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 1:51
6. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 1:58
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:59
8. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 2:00
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 2:06
10. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers.

Giro’22 stage 7:

 

Thomas De Gendt won Stage 8 of the Giro d’Italia. In Naples, the Belgian was the best in the final sprint from a small leading group. He beat Davide Gabburo, Jorge Arcas and Harm Vanhoucke with whom he was part of a sizeable early break. Mathieu van der Poel was also part of the break and finished in seventh place, just behind Biniam Girmay in fifth. Juan Pedro López held the pink jersey.

The battle for the break of the day started immediately after the start. There were many attacks and a group managed to get away. Other riders tried to cross, including Mathieu van der Poel. This first escape attempt was short-lived, after which Van der Poel tried again. A group of counter-attackers crossed from the peloton and joined the Dutchman.

The break was: Andrea Vendrame, Lilian Calmejane (AG2R), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Fabio Felline, Harold Tejada (Astana), Wout Poels, Jasha Sütterlin (Bahrain Victorious), Davide Gabburo (Bardiani-CSF Faizanè), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Simone Ravanelli, Edoardo Zardini (Drone Hopper), Mirco Maestri, Samuele Rivi (EOLO-Kometa), Biniam Girmay (Wanty), Thomas De Gendt, Sylvain Moniquet, Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal), Jorge Arcas (Movistar), Mauro Schmid (Quick-Step), Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Trek-Segafredo) and Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates). This created a leading group of 21 riders, from fourteen different teams. Eight teams were not at the front, including Jumbo-Visma, they initially tried to get Edoardo Affini and Pascal Eenkhoorn across to the break. INEOS Grenadiers, BORA-hansgrohe, EF-EasyPost, Groupama-FDJ, Israel-Premier Tech, BikeExchange-Jayco and DSM also didn’t try to get in the break. Guillaume Martin was the most dangerous rider up front, he was just over 4 minutes behind the pink jersey, so the break was kept within a safe distance by Trek-Segafredo for the leader Juan Pedro López. Other teams helped Trek-Segafredo, especially Bahrain Victorious and BORA-hansgrohe. Sütterlin came back from the break to the peloton to help his leaders Mikel Landa and Pello Bilbao. On the circuit with the climb of the Monte di Procida, it soon proved too difficult for pure sprinters like Caleb Ewan and Mark Cavendish, who would also have felt the previous stage in their legs. The escape rode ahead of the peloton for a long time between 2 and 3 minutes.

At 46 kilometres from the finish, the race was suddenly shaken by an attack from Van der Poel on the climb of Lago Lucrino. Several riders in the leading group were surprised by this move. Girmay and Schmid were the first to respond, after which the others were also able to return. Calmejane, Tejada, Zardini and Maestri were unable to hold on. Four riders then counter-attacked. Gabburo, De Gendt, Vanhoucke and Arcas took a gap on the others, with Van der Poel and Girmay now having to chase. Van der Poel and Girmay had the strong Schmid with them. Together with Poels and Martin, they were the first pursuers behind the four leaders, who started the last 20 kilometres with a 30 second lead. De Gendt had the best palmarès at the front. The 35-year-old attacker has had victories in all three Grand Tours; Gabburo, Vanhoucke and Arcas were still waiting for their first professional victory. The foursome managed to maintain their lead of 30 seconds, while cooperation was not great with the pursuers. The front riders started to look at each other in the finalé, allowing the chasers to get closer. In the final 2 kilometres Van der Poel and Girmay had their sights on them again and the race was ready for an exciting finish. Van der Poel and Girmay were too late and the winner would come from the four at the front. Vanhoucke started the sprint for teammate De Gendt, who finished the job off. The experienced rider had a strong sprint and took the victory. Gabburo was second, Arcas third. Vanhoucke was happy in fourth place. The peloton crossed the line three minutes after De Gendt. In the final, Lennard Kämna tried to take Juan Pedro López out of the pink jersey the day before the tough stage to the Blockhaus, but the Spaniard was alert. Both riders crossed the line in the big group.

# See more photos in the full PEZ ‘Stage 8 Race Report’ HERE. #

Stage winner, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal): “I won races in previous years but I’ve felt it’s become harder and harder to be in the good breakaway. I only managed to do it for the third time this year. There are always good riders up there. Today, again, it was the case with Mathieu van der Poel and Biniam Grmay. We also knew that everyone would look at them; normally everyone looks at me. We took advantage of that. I’ve had bad luck and bad shape in the last two years. Today I proved that I’m still able to win races. It was a really nice circuit today – something like a championship but I can only talk about the Belgian championship because I’ve never won the Europeans or the Worlds. I think it’s nice to do it in a Grand Tour. It felt like a classic today. It made for an attractive racing, not exactly what people expected.”

Maglia Rosa, Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo): “Tomorrow, for sure, I’ll give 100% to defend the Maglia Rosa. If I keep it, I’m happy; if I lose it, I’m happy anyway. Yesterday and today, the strategy was to follow Lennard Kämna if he’d attack. Tomorrow, we’ll see. If the Blockhaus is as hard as what Giulio Ciccone told me in Sierra Nevada, it’ll be amazing.”

4th on the stage, Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal): “He already said he was going to be the fastest, so you trust him. Thomas had been riding strong all day. He was constantly on the climbs. He asked me to attack, but I was completely a bloc in his wheel. It was a really strong break. I actually didn’t expect it to turn out like this, because there were really strong men behind us. I heard that Van der Poel, Poels and Guillaume Martin were behind us, they are also strong. It wasn’t such a good start to the Giro, but I think it makes up for a lot here. We were with three people in the break of the day (Sylvain Moniquet also). It is wonderful that we can finish it like this.”

5th on the stage, Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “This was an incredible day! I’m very satisfied with my performance today. My Grand Tour debut is a journey of discovery. I’m impressed about what I was capable of today after such a hard day yesterday. We rode full gas from start to finish. In the final it was difficult tactically, because everyone was watching Mathieu van der Poel and myself. I’m happy to achieve another good result for the team. In addition, I won important points in the battle for the maglia ciclamino. Today I seized a nice opportunity and I’m convinced that more will come in the next two weeks…”

6th on the stage, Mauro Schmid (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “From the start. It’s never easy when the group is this big. Almost everyone cooperated well, except guys who had someone good in the standings. They try to disturb you a bit. However, it was clear pretty quickly that we would make it to the finish. I followed Mathieu up the steep climb, but the other guys came back. They then attacked on the flat and we looked at each other for a little too long. Two guys from Lotto Soudal sat at the front and they worked well together. I tried to attack a few times, but the gap was too big. In the last descent I was in fourth or fifth position when there was a big gap to Mathieu. It was hard to get back to him. We might have had a chance to return, but it was impossible.”

KOM, Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma): “It was a gruelling day. It was mainly nervous. Maybe it didn’t seem like it was going very fast on television, but there was a nasty pace on every climb. Wearing something like this in a grand tour is nice. It’s the first time I do this mountain (Blockhaus), we will see how it goes tomorrow if I have good legs I will try again of course I want to take points for the mountains classification and defend my jersey but I would rather have a second stage win.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 8 Result:
1. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 3:32:53
2. Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè
3. Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar
4. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:04
5. Biniam Girmay (Eri) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:15
6. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
7. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
8. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:33
9. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
10. Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan at 2:56.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 8:
1. Juan Pedro López (Spa) Trek-Segafredo in 32:15:31
2. Lennard Kämna (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:38
3. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:58
4. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 1:06
5. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange-Jayco at 1:42
6. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 1:47
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:55
8. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 1:58
9. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 2:00
10. Richie Porte (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers at 2:04.

Giro’22 stage 8:

 

Jai Hindley won Stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia finishing on the Blockhaus. The BORA-hansgrohe Australian was the best of the favourites group after the 191 kilometre mountain stage and the steep final climb. He beat Romain Bardet and Richard Carapaz in a sprint from six riders. Top favourite Simon Yates was dropped and lost a lot of time. Pink jersey Juan Pedro López was also unable to stay with the best, but he kept his jersey.

From the start in Isernia, the stage went straight uphill through the Apennines. On the Vallico Del Macerone (3.1km at 5.7%) there were many attacks, which included KOM Koen Bouwman, Mathieu van der Poel and Gijs Leemreize. They did not get away. Diego Rosa of EOLO-Kometa managed take a gap and picked up the most mountain points on the Riomero Sannitico (9km at 6.7%).

Behind Rosa, two chasing groups merged on the climb to Roccaraso (7.3km at 6.1%). This resulted in a leading group of nine. Besides the Italian, there were also Joe Dombrowski (Astana Qazaqstan), Natnael Tesfatsion, Eduardo Sepúlveda (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli), Filippo Zana (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Felix Gall, Nans Peters (AG2R Citroën), Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost) and James Knox (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl). In the early part of the stage Pello Bilbao crashed again, but he was able to return to the favourites group. In the peloton, Trek-Segafredo was in control for the pink jersey Juan Pedro López. The escapees had a lead of about 5 minutes, which brought Felix Gall close to the pink jersey. The Austrian was the best placed rider in the escape at 6:48. After the first three climbs, there was a quiet period in the race, because all eyes were on the very tough final with a double climb of Blockhaus. First the Passo Lanciano (10.5km at 7.4%), followed by the uncategorised San Valentino in Abruzzo Citeriore (6.2km at 4.9%) and the final climb to Blockhaus (13.7km at 8.5 %). Well before the Lanciano, it was INEOS Grenadiers that put a man on the front. Jonathan Castroviejo single-handedly cut the lead of the front riders. Before the foot of the Passo Lanciano it became clear that the co-operation in the leading group was not good. Knowing that the pack was getting closer, Peters and Tesfatsion jumped away. Sepúlveda and Rosa made the crossing on the Cat 1 climb, after which Rosa and Tesfatsion broke away together. They had a gap on the rest of the escapees and Rosa was first over the Passo Lanciano. He was now ahead of Koen Bouwman in the KOM classification. Sepúlveda, Peters and Dombrowski followed at 50 seconds and the peloton at 3 minutes. On the fast descent Tesfatsion crashed when he misjudged a corner and had to ride into the grass. In the peloton there was bad luck for Wilco Kelderman just before the San Valentino in Abruzzo Citeriore. He switched bikes and had to rejoin on his own, but it took him a lot of effort. At the front it was all over on the San Valentino for Rosa, who was dropped by Dombrowski. Behind him were UAE Team Emirates and INEOS Grenadiers in the favourites group. Those teams pulled in the American just before the Blockhaus, which resulted in a battle of favourites on the final climb.

Tom Dumoulin and Tobias Foss had to let go early, putting a good Gc position out of the question, while Giulio Ciccone had an off day in his home region. The Italian had to drop out early and it was game over for Simon Yates too. Just under 12 kilometres from the finish, the British favourite, who was struggling with knee problems, was unable to keep with the pace. Kelderman was also missing at the front and Koen Bouwman was dropped at 10 kilometres. All this happened thanks to the work of INEOS Grenadiers. It also too fast for Sam Oomen, after which João Almeida also looked to be in trouble. Juan Pedro López bumped wheels with Oomen and had lost contact with the group. As a result, the Spaniard lost his rhythm for a while, but was still fighting to keep his overall lead. Richie Porte led the way, ahead of Richard Carapaz, Romain Bardet, Mikel Landa, Alejandro Valverde, Domenico Pozzovivo, Vincenzo Nibali, Jai Hindley, Thymen Arensman, Emanuel Buchmann and a struggling Almeida. Five kilometres before the finish, the difference to López was 30 seconds and to Yates 2 minutes, and those differences kept getting bigger. At 4.5 kilometres out, Carapaz made an attack, which only Bardet and Landa could follow. Hindley, Almeida, Pozzovivo, Nibali and Valverde kept the difference close, but that group also exploded due to the high pace. Two kilometres from the finish, Almeida, Pozzovivo and Hindley returned to the leading trio. An acceleration by Bardet ensured that the earlier leading group came back together, as Landa and Carapaz followed. The Frenchman wanted to keep the pace up, but Almeida, Hindley and Pozzovivo didn’t give up either. They came back, so we would have a sprint of six riders for the stage win. Hindley led the sprint and held off a fast finishing Bardet and Carapaz. Juan Pedro López managed to keep his pink jersey with a strong sprint in the last hundred metres. His lead is now 12 seconds over Almeida and 14 seconds over Romain Bardet. The top 8 are within 1 minute of each other.

# See more photos in the full PEZ ‘Stage 9 Race Report’ HERE. #

Stage winner, Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe): “It’s been a while since I last got my hands up in the air. It’s nice to be back at that level. Last year wasn’t really the sweetest. I had quite a lot of illness and crashes. A year ago I had to pull out of the Giro with a saddle sore. So it’s pretty sweet to get the win today, especially here in the Abruzzo where I spent six months as an amateur, riding over Passo Lanciano many times. I wasn’t feeling explosive today; I rode my own tempo. Joao [Almeida] was probably in the same situation as me. When we came through, he was super strong, actually. I was suffering, just trying to survive. We’ve been lucky that they played cat-and-mouse at the front. We came with high ambitions as a team with three leaders. I wouldn’t write anyone off at this point of the Giro.”

Maglia Rosa, Juan Pedro López Perez (Trek-Segafredo): “I came close to the grass [8km before the finish]. After that I had to keep my mind focused. I needed to push to keep my tempo and try to stay another day in the Maglia Rosa. I felt good but my problem was the bad luck. My dream was to stay in pink for the rest day and now it’s real.”

2nd on the stage and 3rd overall, Romain Bardet (DSM): “I knew I started this Giro in good shape. On the other hand, I also didn’t know the level of the others, but it seems that I am among the best here. That’s good to see. I’m especially pissed that I didn’t win today. That’s hard to accept. Honestly, I felt good the whole climb. It was quite difficult, because there was a lot of wind and I had a mechanical problem a little earlier in the stage. That cost me some energy, but my legs were still good. On the last climb I knew INEOS Grenadiers was going to try something and it was especially necessary to stay in the wheel of Richard Carapaz. Then I could follow him if he wanted to attack. With Carapaz and Landa we were in the top three today, but we didn’t work together enough to the top. We didn’t match. It’s a pity that the three of us can’t ride for the win. I tried not to push too hard just before the last corner, because I knew I would be the fastest in the sprint. I stayed on Carapaz’s wheel, but Hindley took a three-length lead in the corner. I didn’t expect it to be so short after that last corner.”

3rd on the stage and 4th overall, Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers): “I can say I’m satisfied. The team has worked hard to make it a solid climb. I’m never happy to lose, but we’re aiming for a bigger goal. At least the feeling was good. We continue the fight. Now we need to develop our plan further. But you can say that I am satisfied.”

4th on the stage and 7th overall, Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious): “In the end, the stage was good for us, despite some crashes, not only for me but also for Pello and Buitrago. But I was in the front with the best of the day, which is a good signal. We are still there, and everything is clearer, and we see which riders are stronger. We’ve got more stages to go through, and we will see day by day. We knew that today was a key stage and Ineos would go hard to make big gaps in the overall. We wanted to be in the game, but a lot of problems for us in the second climb of the day. I had a crash after Yates (Bike Exchange) had a puncture and then, due to that, made a movement which made me and Buitrago crash quite hard. We then also had Mikel crashing going downhill, so we had a few problems to fix during the day. So despite this, we can be happy with the day and Mikel arriving in the first group. I wanted to be with him for longer, but I wasn’t that useful and just kept my rhythm. Luckily we can fix everything over the rest day with the support of the best masseurs and osteopaths to bring us back to 100%.”

5th on the stage and 2nd overall, João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates): “I was not feeling so good all day. I was suffering a lot but I managed to save the situation. I’m happy I could finish with the front group, I was on the limit but I looked around and saw that everyone was struggling too. In the end it was a great race today and I suffered through and made the best of it.”

6th on the stage and 8th overall, Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I’m very satisfied with this sixth place! This morning, I imagined finishing among the ten best riders but in the end my result exceeds my expectations. In 2017 I already finished sixth on this same finish, but then I was a lot further away from the victory. Today, I believed in the stage win, even though I was not the most explosive rider in the leading group. The race scenario was perfect for me, we raced on our limits until the final kilometre. Thanks to this performance I am again one step closer to my main goal which is a top ten in the final classification. We were leading the team classification after eight race days, a new experience for the team in a Grand Tour, and we showed that we perform strong collectively in the mountains with four riders in the peloton of favourites halfway through the final climb. In 2022 we continue to break records and I’m determined to contribute to this!”

Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco): “We’ll see if I keep fighting. We’ll have a rest day first and then we’ll see how the recovery goes, but I don’t know if I’ll continue. That injury caused me a lot of problems, but it wasn’t my only problem today. I was again bothered by the heat. That’s just the way it is. I did give everything. That’s it… I still had the hope that I could do something, but I’ve just had a lot of pain since the stage to Etna. But as I said, my knee problems weren’t the only problem today. So…”

Giro d’Italia Stage 9 Result:
1. Jai Hindley (Aus) BORA-hansgrohe in 5:34:44
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM
3. Richard Carapaz (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
4. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious
5. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:03
7. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:16
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:34
9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:46
10. Thymen Arensman (Ned) DSM at 0:58.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 9:
1. Juan Pedro López (Spa) Trek-Segafredo in 37:52:01
2. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:12
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 0:14
4. Richard Carapaz (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:15
5. Jai Hindley (Aus) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:20
6. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 0:28
7. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:29
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:54
9. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:09
10. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 1:22.

Giro’22 stage 9:

 


Tour of Hungary 2022
The Second Stage of the Tour of Hungary was won by Fabio Jakobsen. The Dutch sprinter of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl was the best after a chaotic final sprint. Stage 1 winner, Olav Kooij had a serious crash in the final kilometre.

On day two, a bunch sprint seemed inevitable. The stage was flat and there were many fast men at the start. After the start from Karcag, the riders rode in an enormous arc towards the nearby finish town of Hajdúszoboszló. A sprint battle was expected between between Fabio Jakobsen, Dylan Groenewegen and Kooij in the yellow jersey.

The break of the day formed quite quickly: Filippo Baroncini (Trek-Segafredo), the reigning U23 world champion, Samuele Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan), Péter Kusztor (Novo Nordisk), Iúri Leitão (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Alessandro Monaco (Giotti Vicotria-Savini Due), David Per (Adria Mobil), Jens Reynders (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Edoardo Zambanini (Bahrain Victorious). The lead was more than 3 minutes. Due to the work of Jumbo-Visma and Quick-Step Alpa Vinyl in the peloton, the breakaway’s lead was cut. With 60 kilometres to go, the seven leaders, Kusztor had been dropped, only had 1:30. The wind was favourable for echelons. The groups formed more than 50 kilometres from the finish and the lesser riders were left behind. A first group of about 50 riders managed to get away in the windy conditions, partly due to the hard work of Jumbo-Visma and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl. Most of the top sprinters survived the battle, as did the riders with ambitions for the overall victory. The biggest absentee at the front was Dylan Groenewegen. The BikeExchange-Jayco sprinter found himself in a second group and had to chase. His teammates tried to close the gap, but lost more and more ground. Also the early escape was caught.

The first group had by now been well and truly formed. Early break rider, Reynders was still in the front group and, after collecting bonus seconds, was the virtual leader. That was short-lived, however, as Reynders had to deal with a mechanical and saw his yellow dream shattered. The lead group now rode at a full gas to the finish, towards the last intermediate sprint of the day, where Elia Viviani managed to take full points. There was going to be a bunch sprint, but with a smaller group than previously thought. Then the second group, including Groenewegen, managed to catch the front group. The Dutchman immediately moved up and with 3 kilometres to go, he was in an ideal position to win the stage. BikeExchange-Jayco’s sprinter only had to deal with Kooij, Jakobsen and Viviani.

In the fast and winding final, several teams tried to get a sprint train going. It was BORA-hansgrohe who took the lead with 800 metres to go. Due to an enormous crash, several fast men hit to the ground. Yellow jersey Kooij was there and could forget a second stage victory. Jakobsen was ahead of the crash and still had his Quick-Step Alpa Vinyl teammates in the final hundreds of metres. Jakobsen sprinted at the right time and managed to stay ahead of Rudy Barbier and Sasha Weemaes. Reynders is now in the overall leader thanks to the bonus seconds collected during the day, he managed to take the lead from Kooij, who not only had to give up the yellow leader’s jersey: the young Dutchman was not able to finish due to the crash and was taken to hospital. Kooij will not appear at the start of the third stage on Friday.

Stage winner, Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “We were very motivated after yesterday. I felt good, despite this being my first race in four weeks, and was keen on showing this. The guys did a great job and I’m on the top spot of the podium thanks to them. They put in a great effort, rode incredibly in the crosswinds and took care of me on a stage that wasn’t easy at all due to the heat and speed. The peloton was nervous, but we remained calm, and my team made sure we were there when it mattered in the tense finale. Stan and Florian put me in a perfect position with 200 meters to go and all I had to do was unleash my sprint and take the win. I’m happy and I hope more opportunities will come for the Wolfpack this week.”

Tour of Hungary Stage 2 Result:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 3:59:20
2. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel-Premier Tech
3. Sasha Weemaes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
4. Itamar Einhorn (Isr) Israel-Premier Tech
5. Max Kanter (Ger) Movistar
6. Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
7. Simon Dehairs (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
8. Marius Mayrhofer (Ger) DSM
9. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel-Premier Tech
10. Patrick Konrad (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe.

Tour of Hungary Overall After Stage 2:
1. Jens Reynders (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise in 8:33:52
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:04
3. Olav Kooij (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
4. Elia Viviani (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:05
5. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:08
6. Sasha Weemaes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:10
7. Matthew Walls (GB) BORA-hansgrohe
8. Filippo Baroncini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9. Márton Dina (Hun) EOLO-Kometa
10. Joey Rosskopf (USA) Human Powered Health at 0:12.

 

Fabio Jakobsen won Stage 3 of the Tour of Hungary. The Dutchman, who was also the best in the second stage on Thursday, was fastest in the bunch sprint. Rudy Barbier was again second, Sasha Weemaes finished in third place. Thanks to his stage victory, Jakobsen also took over the leader’s jersey from Jens Reynders.

After two bunch sprints, in which Olav Kooij and Fabio Jakobsen respectively triumphed, the Tour of Hungary continued on Friday with a 154 kilometre stage between Sárospatak and Nyíregyháza. Again a sprint was expected, but this time it would be without Kooij, who crashed hard on Thursday and had to abandon. Arvid de Kleijn was no longer there for the same reason. The leader’s jersey was worn by Jens Reynders (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise).

In the rainy and hilly start, Reynders’ teammate Aaron Van Poucke, KOM, attacked together with four other riders. Once the Belgian had taken the points on the first and only categorised climb of the day, he dropped back into the pack. Emil Dima (Giotti Victoria-Savini Due), Ricardo Alejandro Zurita (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli), Alessandro Fancellu (EOLO-Kometa) and Keegan Swirbul (Human Powered Health) had a lead of more than 2 minutes. At about 80 kilometres from the finish, they were suddenly caught. The foursome had to stop at a closed railway crossing. But after the peloton had also been brought to a halt and the train had passed, the break was given their lead of 1:30. After that, little happened except for a crash by Matteo Moschetti (Trek-Segafredo), who had finished fifth in stage 1 and 2. The Italian was able to continue.

In the peloton, the pace was set by Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl and INEOS Grenadiers, which had fast-man Elia Viviani. Led by these teams, the gap was slowly but surely narrowed, until they were caught 15 kilometres from the finish. A bunch sprint would decide the stage victory. In the sprint, Jakobsen was again the fastest. Frenchman Rudy Barbier of Israel-Premier Tech was second, just like the previous day. The Belgian Sasha Weemaes finished, ahead of David Dekker, again in third place, exactly the same result as the day before. Jakobsen took over the leader’s jersey from Reynders.

Stage winner and overall leader, Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “This is another team win. Iljo did a very good job at the front, controlling the breakaway the entire day, while the other guys kept me sheltered and made sure we stayed together when things became hectic. In the finale, as some teams passed us, I tried to follow Florian, then we lost each other a bit and got boxed in, but we remained confident we could find each other again and that’s what we did. After Florian peeled off the front, I surfed some wheels until 200 meters to go, and despite the wet roads, I could finish it off, which makes me happy. The yellow jersey comes as a nice bonus after this victory, which is good for the confidence following a month with no racing.”

Tour of Hungary Stage 3 Result:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 3:25:55
2. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel-Premier Tech
3. Sasha Weemaes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
4. David Dekker (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
5. Max Kanter (Ger) Movistar
6. Matthew Walls (GB) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Simon Dehairs (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
8. Marius Mayrhofer (Ger) DSM
9. Iúri Leitão (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10. David Martin (Spa) EOLO-Kometa.

Tour of Hungary Overall After Stage 3:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 11:59:41
2. Jens Reynders (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:06
3. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:08
4. Elia Viviani (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:11
5. Sasha Weemaes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:12
6. Matthew Walls (GB) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:16
7. Filippo Baroncini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
8. Márton Dina (Hun) EOLO-Kometa
9. Krists Neilands (Aus) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:18
10. Joey Rosskopf (USA) Human Powered Health.

 

Dylan Groenewegen won Stage 4 of the Tour of Hungary. The Dutchman beat Fabio Jakobsen after 177 kilometres in a bunch sprint. Rudy Barbier was third. Jakobsen held the overall lead.

The first three stages of the Tour of Hungary were almost flat, but the fourth stage did contain some climbing. During the day there were several hills. The last categorised ascent, a 900m gradient at 6.3%, was 25km from the finish. It was expected that the stage would eventually end in a bunch sprint.

The break of the day featured four riders. The new addition to Alpecin-Fenix, cyclocross rider Toon Vandebosch, was joined by Emil Dima (Giotti Victoria-Savini Due), Josu Etxeberria (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise). Van Poucke had the mountains jersey and was mainly concerned with the KOM points. He was first on all three categorised climbs and secured the overall win in the mountains classification. Vandebosch took 9 bonus seconds, which put him in the top ten of the GC. The escapees would not win the stage, because the peloton kept the four close. Israel-Premier Tech and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl – especially Iljo Keisse – ensured that the four never got more than 2 minutes. In the final, the pace was increased in the peloton, where BORA-hansgrohe now also lent a hand. As a result, the break was recaptured just after the last climb.

On an uncategorised climb that followed, BORA-hansgrohe took the lead. There were also some skirmishes, but in the end everything was together and it came down to a sprint. In the last kilometre, Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl took the initiative. Fabio Jakobsen was dropped off perfectly, but Dylan Groenewegen came out with a lot of speed and won by a few lengths. Rudy Barbier finished third. Jakobsen remained in the lead in the general classification. However, it is unlikely that he will still be at the top after Sunday’s final stage. The last stage of the Tour of Hungary finishes on a climb of more than 12 kilometres at 5.6%.

Stage winner, Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange-Jayco): “The legs were really good the whole week but the results were not there, so today we made a new plan. It was a hard final with the two small climbs, and the team did an amazing effort for me. I have no voice because of all the screaming! It was fantastic job and I’m really happy with my team-mates who got me into a great position. With 200m to go I had really good legs to sprint, I went and I saw nobody. Today we used everyone. In the last days we mixed things up and got boxed in, and today we had freedom. The whole team was really strong and I could sprint for the win. The speed was really high in the bunch and on the climbs, but I could stay in the bunch and the team got me to the front. It’s a really important win, it’s been a difficult season, we had two wins with the sprint train already but after that we had a lot of sickness and I also crashed [here], but today we had a bit of luck.”

2nd on the stage and overall leader, Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “It can’t be a prize every day. The legs are sometimes good, sometimes not so good. That was the case today. The team did a perfect job, but I just didn’t have the legs today. They were a bit empty due to the high pace on the last climb. However, second is also a good result. I’m happy with how this race is going so far.”

Tour of Hungary Stage 4 Result:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco in 3:59:15
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
3. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel-Premier Tech
4. Sasha Weemaes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers
6. Timo Kielich (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
7. Max Kanter (Ger) Movistar Team
8. Henri Uhlig (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix
9. David Dekker (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
10. Itamar Einhorn (Ist) Israel-Premier Tech.

Tour of Hungary Overall After Stage 4:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 15:58:50
2. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:10
3. Jens Reynders (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:12
4. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:16
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:17
6. Toon Vandebosch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
7. Sasha Weemaes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:18
8. Matthew Walls (GB) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:22
9. Filippo Baroncini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
10. Márton Dina (Hun) EOLO-Kometa.

 

Antonio Tiberi won the Queen Final Stage 5 of the Tour of Hungary on Sunday. The Italian Trek-Segafredo rider managed to pass the escaped Eddie Dunbar in the battle for the stage victory. The Irishman from INEOS Grenadiers finished second, but claimed the overall victory.

In the final stage of the Tour of Hungary, for once there was no sprint finish. The fifth and last stage finished on a real climb. In Miskolc the riders gathered for the final stage and it was uphill from the start. The race really started on the final climb to Gyöngyös. A good 12 kilometres of climbing at 5.6%, with peaks of up to 8%.

The early break was formed by Jens Reynders (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Nicolas Dalla Valle (Giotti Victoria-Savini Due), Tilen Finkšt (Adria Mobil), Ádám Kristóf Karl (Hungarian nat team), Umberto Marengo (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli) and Sergio Roman Martín (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA). The peloton did not intend to give the escape too much space, given the presence of Reynders in the leading group. The Belgian was 3rd on GC after four stages, 12 seconds behind leader Fabio Jakobsen, and so was a danger for the overall victory. It was Nicolas Dalla Valle (Giotti Victoria-Savini Due) who started the final climb to Gyöngyös with a 1 minute lead. Reynders still managed to join Dalla Valle, but they were caught at 11 kilometres from the top. Alessandro Monaco, teammate of Dalla Valle, then attack, but he didn’t hold out either.

BORA-hansgrohe, Astana Qazaqstan and INEOS Grenadiers rode on the front. Up to 3 kilometres from the finish the peloton was still fairly large, but after that the gradients rose even further and an elite group emerged. Ben Turner set a very high pace and this led an attack from Eddie Dunbar. The Irishman from INEOS Grenadiers accelerated 2 kilometres from the finish and immediately opened a gap. He started the final kilometre with a minimal lead over Antonio Tiberi (Trek-Segafredo) and Oscar Rodriguez (Movistar). Dunbar looked like he would to claim the stage victory, but Tiberi managed to pass Dunbar with a final acceleration in the last 25 metres before the finish. Tiberi won the stage, but the Italian was well behind on the general classification. Dunbar was the overall winner. In March he also won the final classification of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali.

Stage winner, Antonio Tiberi (Trek-Segafredo): “I am very, very happy with this pro win. I lost a lot of time in the second stage, it was very windy, and for the GC I am sad for this, but very happy for the win. All day I didn’t feel so good. I started well, but after one hour I started to feel not good, and I stayed in the peloton all day with the guys. In the start of the climb, I was quite behind and didn’t feel good, but after I started to move up with the guys, and when Dunbar attacked, I was still behind, but also tried to move up and started passing guys and then caught him I think in the last 50 meters. I did this climb last year and finished 3rd, so I knew that in the last 1.5kms is the most important point, and this is where Dunbar attacked, and I also attacked here more or less.”

Final overall winner and 2nd on the stage, Eddie Dunbar (INEOS Grenadiers): “I’m happy to win GC but I really wanted to win the stage today. It was just 40 metres too long I think. It would have been nice to finish it off after the good job all the guys did today – Ben, Kim, Elia and Andrey, they all rode super well. It would have been nice to get the hands in the air but I think we can be happy with a GC victory today. It’s another step in the right direction. The last four days went really good. I was hoping to do the Giro d’Italia this season, but coming back from that disappointment I stayed on it and I kept my condition good. To come here and leave with a GC victory is good for me and the team. You’ve seen Elia all week – he was sprinting, but then to come and do a job like that in the final. Also Kim who is a young rider, he did super for the first bit of the climb. But look, I think rider of the day for me was Ben Turner. He’s just come from a serious classics campaign, probably a standout rider in the classics, and to do that today on a climb of that length, and split the field like he did – chapeau to him.”

5th on the stage and 4th overall, Edoardo Zambanini (Bahrain Victorious): “It was a very nice stage today. It was a challenging course due to the elevation. The peloton controlled the race. Thanks to my teammates, I was well-positioned, and they helped me save energy throughout the day. I tried to give all on the final climb and stay in the front until Dunbar’s attack at 2km. Then I didn’t give up and could take a good 5th place.”

Points winner, Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “I’m very happy, we had a good race here, we rode as a Wolfpack and we now leave from the Tour of Hungary with a good feeling. Two stage wins and the green jersey – which is the cherry on the top – make for a strong week, which gives us a lot of confidence and motivation to work for our next goals of the season.”

Tour of Hungary Stage 5 Result:
1. Antonio Tiberi (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 4:39:31
2. Eddie Dunbar (Irl) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:02
3. Óscar Rodríguez (Spa) Movistar at 0:23
4. Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:25
5. Edoardo Zambanini (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious
6. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:31
7. Niklas Eg (Den) Uno-X at 0:32
8. Krists Neilands (Aust) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:41
9. Patrick Konrad (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:48
10. Anthon Charmig (Den) Uno-X at 0:55.

Tour of Hungary Final Overall Result:
1. Eddie Dunbar (Irl) INEOS Grenadiers in 20:38:43
2. Óscar Rodríguez (Spa) Movistar at 0:23
3. Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:28
4. Edoardo Zambanini (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:29
5. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:35
6. Niklas Eg (Den) Uno-X at 0:36
7. Krists Neilands (Aust) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:43
8. Patrick Konrad (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:50
9. Anthon Charmig (Den) Uno-X at 0:59
10. Kamiel Bonneu (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 1:01.

 


Grand Prix du Morbihan 2022
Julien Simon won the Grand Prix du Morbihan. In Grand-Champ, the experienced French rider crossed the line with a small lead after a late attack in the final kilometre. Alexander Kristoff won the sprint for second from Jake Stewart in third.

The Grand Prix du Morbihan (previously the Grand Prix de Plumelec), the eighth round of the Coupe de France, was held on Saturday. From Grand-Champ, the race first made a long loop of 86 kilometres, followed by two large circuits of 20 kilometres and seven small laps of 8.4 kilometres around the Breton town. Alexander Kristoff, Bryan Coquard and Arnaud De Lie, who returned to the peloton after his crash in the opening stage of the Four Days of Dunkirk, appeared at the start. Early in the race, a leading group with six men was formed, including: Jesse de Rooij (Bike Aid), Peio Goikoetxea (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Álex Jaime (Kern Pharma), Paul Hennequin (Nice Métropole), Samuel Leroux (Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Métropole) and the Canadian Carson Miles (Premier Tech U23). They took a 6 minute lead in the first hour, while the WorldTeams, Groupama-FDJ and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert controlled the peloton.

At the start of the local laps, the lead had fallen to 3 minutes. On the second big circuit the difference was only 40 seconds when Goikoetxea tried it alone. The Spaniard saw Leroux return. However, the differences were no longer great and the last escapees were caught on the first of seven small circuits. New attacks were not long in coming and with 50 kilometres to go, Harry Sweeny and Ivo Oliveira got away. The two had a maximum of 1 minute. Sweeny and Oliveira were able to hold out together for a long time, but in the final local laps the lead quickly disappeared. Just before the start of the final lap, Oliveira was dropped. Sweeny was not left alone for long, because 8 kilometres from the finish Alexandre Delettre was able to cross from the pack to the Australian. Sweeny and Delettre still had a small lead going into the last kilometre, but were caught. At that moment the peloton was preparing for a final sprint. Julien Simon had a surprise attack up his sleeve. The 36 year-old rider of TotalEnergies went hard and managed to hold on to his effort until the finish. There he stayed ahead of the sprinting group with Alexander Kristoff, Jake Stewart and Amaury Capiot at the front.

Race winner, Julien Simon (TotalEnergies): “It feels good. Since I came to TotalEnergies, I have not necessarily been successful. I felt like I had been coming back from the Four Days of Dunkirk. I felt good in the final, I felt a moment of buoyancy as I got closer to the finish. It’s great to win in front of the family, I’m touched.”

Alexander Kristoff (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I’m happy that I could sprint for the victory and reward the efforts of my teammates. All eyes were on us, they did an admirable job all day long. It was a difficult final for my characteristics and with this new podium finish, I made the best of it. Julien Simon benefitted well from the final 1.5 uphill kilometers to anticipate the sprint, because he attacked before I felt ready to start my final effort. Most of the riders of our roster returned to competition after a training period and we’ve already shown that we’re ready to pursue our good performances of the spring. Our eyes are on a next victory and if you ask my, I’d prefer to take it sooner than later. I’m looking forward to my first participation to the Tro Bro Léon this Sunday, my only experience on unpaved roads are the plugstreets in Gent-Wevelgem and the gravel sections of the GP de Plouay. Our line up contains a former winner and experienced riders, so I’ll line up in the best conditions!”

Grand Prix du Morbihan Result:
1. Julien Simon (Fra) TotalEnergies in 4:24:58
2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
3. Jake Stewart (GB) Groupama-FDJ
4. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkéa Samsic
5. Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels-KTM
6. Eddy Finé (Fra) Cofidis
7. Clément Venturini (Fra) AG2R Citroën
8. Flavien Maurelet (Fra) St Michel-Auber93
9. Florian Vermeersch (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Jonathan Lastra (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

 


Tro-Bro Léon 2022
Rain played a significant role in the thirty-eighth edition of the Tro Bro Leon and the storyline of a nervous race, requiring riders to demonstrate their endurance, resistance, luck, clarity and agility. Hugo Hofstetter (Arkea Samsic) won the race ahead of Luca Mozzato (B&B Hotels-KTM) and Connor Swift (Arkea Samsic).

As the rain poured down, Marc Sarreau (AG2R Citroën), Martin Urianstad (Uno-X Pro), Morné Van Niekerk (St-Michel-Auber 93) and Charles-Etienne Chrétien (Premier Tech U23) broke away as the peloton exited Porspoder (16km). Their lead peaked at 6 minutes at the beginning of the first dirt sector (44km) at the end of the first hour.

It stopped raining briefly at Saint-Divy when the TotalEnergies team was the first to start the chase at Km 70. The gap progressively shrank, falling to 4:25s at the beginning of the sixth of the 29 dirt sectors (“ribinou”), where many riders who suffered punctures.
Marc Sarreau broke his rear wheel with 90 kilometres to go. But he regained his position in the leading group, whilst Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) accelerated hard on a series of dirt sectors that caused several punctures and crashes. The UAE-Team Emirates team paid a heavy price for their bad luck, with Mikkel Bjerg and Rui Oliveira retiring from the race. On the seventh dirt sector, Anthony Turgis attacked and formed the lead group with defending Tro Bro Leon winner Connor Swift (Arkea Samsic), Arnaud De Lie and Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal) before a peloton of some 60 riders formed again. The race of the leading riders was still troubled by the punctures of Morné Van Niekerk and Martin Urianstad, with 71 kilometres to go. They regained their spots in the lead group before Marc Sarreau was dropped on the thirteenth dirt sector on the Kervidot climb. Team TotalEnergies accelerated several times with Anthony Turgis and Niki Terpstra, whereas Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) was dropped and then retired. With 55 kilometres remaining, the breakaway held onto a 50 second lead from the peloton, led by Arkea Samsic, which until then had avoided any bad luck.

Using their collective strength, the Breton team made a difference in the strategic “La Ferme” ribin. Clément Russo and Connor Swift took sixteen riders with them. After several accelerations, the defending winner of the Tro Bro Leon, Connor Swift accelerated with 26 kilometres to go. His teammate Laurent Pichon caught him three kilometres later in ribin 23 at Mescleguer, followed in the next dirt sector by 2021 Paris-Roubaix runner-up, Florian Verneersch (Lotto Soudal), and Luca Mozzato (B&B Hotels-KTM). Stan De Wulf (AG2R Citroën) was also in this group, but he crashed before the junction. Fifteen kilometres from the finish, Baptiste Planckaert (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), third in the 2021 Tro Bro Leon, tried to counter-attack with Hugo Hofstetter (Arkéa Samsic) but suffered a puncture. Hofstetter re-joined the front of the race just as Florian Vermeersch got a flat tyre. The leading group then consisted of the three Arkea-Samsic riders and the Italian Mozzato. On the second pass of the “La Ferme” ribin, Laurent Pichon fell victim to a puncture. He re-joined the race with the chasing group at 30 seconds. The battle for the victory came down to Hofstetter, Mozzato and Connor Swift. The French rider won the sprint ahead of his Italian counterpart to take his first victory of the year. Up until today, he had finished on the podium seven times since the beginning of the season.

Race winner, Hugo Hofstetter (Arkea-Samsic): “Since the beginning of the season I was sure of my strengths. I knew it was a matter of time. Last year my team made the difference by toughening up the race in the same farm sector. This year we followed the same game plan. We knew where we were going. Our numerical superiority made the difference. In the final run, despite my cramps, I believed in myself and I did sprint for the win.”

Tro-Bro Léon Result:
1. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic in 5:07.15
2. Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels-KTM
3. Connor Swift (GB), Team Arkea-Samsic at 0:09
4. Arnaud De Lie (Bel) Lotto-Soudal at 0:30
5. Samuel Watson (GB) Groupama-FDJ
6. Matis Louvel (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
7. Laurent Pichon (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
8. Morné Van Niekerk (SA) St-Michel-Auber 93
9. Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R-Citroën
10. Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJ.

 


Julian Alaphilippe Update
Following his crash at last month’s Liège–Bastogne–Liège, the World Champion has undergone further examinations at the hospital in Herentals.

These examinations have revealed that the pneumothorax that he suffered as a result of the crash three weeks ago has completely healed, meaning that Julian is now able to resume light training on a set of Tacx rollers.

His condition will continue to be monitored before any further decisions and a program for his return to racing is decided on.

Everyone at Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl would like to thank the team at Herentals for the care shown to Julian.

The World champ on the way back:

 


Jasper Stuyven Extends Contract with Trek-Segafredo for Three Years
Jasper Stuyven will ride for Trek-Segafredo for the next three seasons. According to Het Nieuwsblad. The Belgian and his team have agreed on a three-year extension and will announce this later.

In 2014 Stuyven made his debut as a professional for the American team, which was then still called Trek Factory Racing. In the years that followed, Stuyven gave his employer several big wins, including Milan-San Remo in 2021. This year, in his ninth season for the team, the Belgian did not drive Milan-San Remo due to illness. Afterwards he was fourth in Gent-Wevelgem and seventh in Paris-Roubaix.

Jasper Stuyven to stay with Trek-Segafredo:

 


Welcome, Zoe Bäckstedt
We are proud to announce that current road and cyclocross junior women’s world champion, Zoe Bäckstedt, will race for EF Education-TIBCO-SVB as a trainee beginning August 1, 2022. The 17-year-old currently races for Acrog-Tormans, a cyclocross development team based in Belgium.

Bäckstedt has amassed considerable race results despite her youth and is an incredibly versatile rider. In the 2021-2022 cyclocross season, she won an outstanding 10 races, including the junior women’s world championship and the cyclocross European women’s junior championships. On the road in 2021, she won the junior women’s world championship as well as the individual time trial stage in the Watersley Ladies Challenge. This season she won two of the three stages, the overall classification, and the points jersey at the EPZ Omloop van Borsele. The young rider has also raced track, having claimed gold medals in the individual pursuit, team pursuit, and Madison at the 2021 European junior track championships.

The world of high-level bike racing is a familiar one to Bäckstedt, who was raised in a family of accomplished cyclists. Her mother, Megan Hughes, raced both on the track and road beginning in the mid-1990s and is a former British national road champion. Father Magnus Bäckstedt hails from Sweden and has a long list of impressive results, including a 1998 Tour de France stage win and winning the 2004 Paris-Roubaix. Her older sister, Elynor, is currently racing in the Women’s WorldTour.

Linda Jackson, founder and owner of EF Education-TIBCO-SVB, believes that Bäckstedt and the team are a perfect fit. “As the current junior world champion in both road and cyclocross, Zoe is clearly very talented,” Jackson says. “Our goal is to support her overall development and nurture her growing talent. I am so excited at the prospect of what we are going to achieve together.”

With EF Education-TIBCO-SVB racing a full road calendar while encouraging its riders to race on dirt and gravel, including the Life Time Grand Prix series, the team’s joyful embrace of multi-disciplined riders appeals to Bäckstedt. “I’m so excited to be joining Women’s WorldTour team EF Education-TIBCO-SVB as a trainee and I can’t wait to start racing for them later this year. I love their multi-discipline approach to cycling,” she says.

“Plus I’m looking forward to wearing the best kit in the peloton,” Bäckstedt continues. In a nod to the 2004 comedy film Mean Girls, she adds, “On Wednesdays—and everyday—we wear pink!”

Zoe Bäckstedt to EF:

 


Patrick Lefevere: “To Think About a Jersey with Gambling Advertising Abroad and Without in Belgium”
Patrick Lefevere has responded to the ban on gambling advertising in Belgium in his weekly column in Het Nieuwsblad. “Napoleon Games represents just under twenty percent of my budget, it’s no small thing if that were to go through,” said the manager of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl.

“These are great gifts that we as a sports sector receive from politicians: after the social security contribution has been adjusted, they are now also going to take away our sponsors. As if the budgets are not under enough pressure after two Covid years,” wrote Lefevere.

Napoleon Games, a gambling company, is one of the major sponsors of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl. “They represent just under twenty percent of my budget. We have an ongoing contract with them up to and including 2024. It would be no small thing if a line were to be drawn through that.”

“In the Netherlands, the legislation on gambling advertising has just become more liberal, in Belgium it is banned. So they have to think about different branding in the Netherlands and in Belgium,” said the team manager. Lefevere has already thought of a possible solution. “It is a track that we do not rule out with us: one Quick-Step jersey for the races in Belgium, one with betting advertising for abroad.”

“Ultimately, we only race one in five competitions in our own country. If Napoleon Games is open to that, that is negotiable. Of course we will respect the law,” concluded Lefevere.

No Napoleon Games in Belgium:

 


CEO Soudal: “With the Money for Gilbert and Degenkolb we Should have Done Something Else”
Dirk Coorevits, CEO of Soudal, looked back on his years as sponsor of Lotto Soudal in an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws. 2022 is the last year that Soudal will sponsor the team of manager John Lelangue. “We want to do better at an international level,” said Coorevits.

“We have had good years with the team. But we expected more from that internationally,” said Coorevits, honestly. “If Tim Wellens wins in Spain at the beginning of the season, the average Spaniard will not have heard much about it. Neither does the average Italian and Frenchman. We get far too little visibility in those countries.”

Lately there has been a rejuvenation at Lotto Soudal, which, according to the CEO of Soudal, also has drawbacks. “Our team takes care of the young people, of the flow of Belgian riders. We stand behind that. But that does not give enough international impression. That’s why we have to do something different. If you have other riders, you have the chance to gain greater fame with them.”

Coorevits also pointed out another problem within Lotto Soudal. With Caleb Ewan, according to him, there is only one spearhead in the team. “He falls regularly, unfortunately. If you only have one spear point, and it falls, you have a problem. Ewan must not fall, he must win. That is the disadvantage of Lotto Soudal, that there are too few strong riders. And that the rejuvenation started too late.”

In addition, the transfer policy of the Belgian team was also mentioned. Two major transfers, Philippe Gilbert and John Degenkolb, did not bring enough, according to Coorevits. “Too little for the contracts they have received. We should have done something else with that money. I know, it’s easy to talk. Gilbert broke his knee, you wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”

Patrick Lefevere previously announced that Soudal will be the main sponsor of his team. Coorevits himself did not want to confirm this to Het Laatste Nieuws. “This year we are still sponsor of Lotto-Soudal. The Lottery has been told that we will no longer renew after this year. They thought it was necessary. We do not. We are not renewing our contract because we believe we can do better internationally.”

‘With the money for Gilbert and Degenkolb we should have done something else’:

 


Team DSM build on strong foundations with first contract extensions and renewals in Men and Women programs
Team DSM are delighted to reveal today the contract extensions of Romain Bardet and Juliette Labous – as the team looks to build on strong foundations for the coming years.

A leading light in the men’s peloton, Bardet has reinvigorated himself since joining the team with stage and GC wins, and at the time of publication is currently sat in 10th place at this year’s Giro d’Italia. Alongside Bardet’s extension, Labous, much like her compatriot Bardet, will lead the charge for the team in search of top results in the overall classifications at some of the biggest races in the years to come. Bardet and Labous will ride in the team’s distinctive two-striped jersey until at least the end of 2024.

Romain Bardet (FRA)
Finding a new lease of life upon joining Team DSM at the start of the 2021 season, the experienced Bardet returned to winning ways, taking stage successes for the team at Vuelta a Burgos and Vuelta a España last year while the Brioude-born rider has already claimed overall victory at this season’s Tour of the Alps. Settling into the team quickly, Bardet’s work ethos and team-player attitude shines through, happy to share his knowledge and experience with those around him, while also being willing and open to listen and work closely with the team’s specialists – something that has proven fruitful in his time with the team so far. Looking ahead, Bardet and Team DSM aim to continue building on the good foundations laid so far in the coming years, fighting for more great results together.

Bardet said: “I’m super happy to continue the journey with the team. It feels super natural to stay; I made some great steps here, it’s really the right environment for me. I like the culture inside the team, how we are racing and the trust and confidence from and in the team. It was quite obvious that I wanted to stay here longer and continue, so I’m really happy to be here another two years.”

Team DSM head coach Rudi Kemna added: “On the bike, everyone can see Romain is a top-class rider. We believe that in the last year he has made really big progress in his level with the team, and we’ve been able to bring him towards the top of the GC even more. Romain is a real team player, and he works excellently with us. Off the bike he is vocal and is important to help motivate the team and those around him. In a positive way, he is also critical about the idea of ‘topsport’. By that, he asks us questions which we really have to think about, creating an open and honest discussion. That in turn, helps us to bring each other to a higher level. Looking ahead, we will have a continued focus on the overall classifications and stage hunting at highest level races with Romain.”

Romain Bardet:

Juliette Labous (FRA)
Into her sixth season with Team DSM, Labous is a culture carrier, fitting in well with the team’s ethos and vision; always wanting to push herself to take the next step. A strong all-round rider, Labous has tasted success against the clock where in 2020 she claimed the French tricolour as national time trial champion. Not only strong in the individual events, Labous has proven to be a great part of the support block but also someone who can take good results when in the role of finisher on behalf of the team. Whether that be in one-day races such as Liège-Bastognè-Liège or taking a tilt at the overall classification, with second place at The Women’s Tour and seventh at the Giro d’Italia Donne in 2021 notably strong results. Despite her relatively young age of 23, Labous already has a wealth of experience with the team and some strong foundations that together, they will continue to build on in the future.

“I am super happy to renew my contract with the team for even longer,” expressed Labous. “Since I have been with Team DSM I have always improved steadily. I feel at home in the team environment, and I think the philosophy really fits me and this is just going be the continuity of the work we’ve done together since 2017. I want to keep improving physically to reach big goals in the short term, but mostly with a focus on the long term. The team and I want to develop my GC abilities with the goal of competing for the very best results in races like the Giro or Tour de France. This gives me a lot of confidence and motivation and I really want to work hard and in the right ways, thanks to the expertise we have with our staff, to get the most out of myself that’s possible. The updated contract gives me a lot of serenity in my preparation and training until the end of 2024, which will be an important Olympic year moreover, and it will hopefully help me perform even better. I’m grateful for the team’s trust and I am looking forward to continuing our journey.”

Team DSM head coach Rudi Kemna said: “Ever since Juliette has joined the team; we’ve been really impressed with her commitment and way of working. She fits in well with the team’s vision and brings a lot of added value to us both on and off the bike. Our communication is always on a high level and we’re able to discuss things openly. On the bike, we’ve already made a lot of steps with her in terms of her development, such as her climbing and time trialling, and we want to continue to grow with her in the coming years. With Juliette we see a real focus on the GC where she can use those qualities and attributes to great effect, fighting for top overall results in some of the biggest races in the Women’s peloton in the years to come.”

Juliette Labous:

 


Jumbo-Visma is Interested in Eddie Dunbar
Eddie Dunbar’s contract ends with INEOS Grenadiers, but he can count on the interest of several teams. It was announced yesterday that BikeExchange-Jayco would like to sign the Irishman, Het Nieuwsblad now reports that Jumbo-Visma is also looking for his signature. The Dutch team has not yet confirmed that it would like to have Dunbar on their roster.

Dunbar has been riding for INEOS Grenadiers since September 2018. This year, the 25 year-old rider gave his current team the overall victory in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali. It was his first win with the pros. In the U23 category, he won the Tour of Flanders in 2017.

As far as Dunbar is concerned, Jumbo-Visma appears to be only at the stage of interest. With Dylan van Baarle, who currently also rides for INEOS Grenadiers, the switch is much closer. Van Baarle is about to sign a three-year contract with Jumbo-Visma.

Eddie Dunbar:

 


Movistar Wants INEOS Grenadiers’ Carlos Rodriguez
Movistar has expressed an interest in Carlos Rodriguez according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The 21-year-old Spaniard is currently in his third season with INEOS Grenadiers.

Rodriguez turned pro with INEOS Grenadiers in 2020, at the age of 18. This year he made his breakthrough with good rides in the Tour of Valencia (third), the Ruta del Sol (fourth) and the Tour of Catalonia (fifteenth). In the Tour of the Basque Country he recorded his first professional victory, by winning the fifth stage to Mallabia.

Movistar is said to be very interested in the talented climber from Andalusia. However, the contract of Rodriguez, who should to be making his debut in the Vuelta a España at the end of this year, with INEOS Grenadiers will continue until the end of 2023. It is not known whether Movistar wants to attract him after that or for next year.

Carlos Rodriguez to Movistar?

 


Sven Erik Bystrøm is Struggling with a Knee Injury
Sven Erik Bystrøm currently can’t ride his bike. The Norwegian rider who has been riding for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert since the start of this season is struggling with a knee injury as a result of overload. “I’m doing everything I can to be back as soon as possible, but it’s hard to say when. I hope for good news after the weekend,” he wrote on social media.

Bystrøm was brought into the squad this winter along with his compatriot and good friend Alexander Kristoff to strengthen the classic core. The 30-year-old rider, U23 world champion in 2014, can ride for the team, but also has good result in his legs. In February he finished ninth in the final standings of the Volta ao Algarve.

Sven Erik Bystrøm out for the moment:

 


Ilan Van Wilder Back on the Bike
Ilan Van Wilder should have been riding the Tour of Italy at the moment, but the young Belgian is at home with a broken jaw after a crash in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. However, he is already back on the bike. “It is also the intention to go on an altitude training camp in the Sierra Nevada from 20 May to 6 June,” Van Wilder told Het Nieuwsblad about his plans.

He also has a new race program. “I’ll start again in the Baloise Belgium Tour or – if things go really well – in the Tour of Switzerland. This is followed by a new altitude training period with the team in Livigno, to work towards the Tour of Poland and perhaps also the Vuelta. That is not yet one hundred percent certain,” said Van Wilder, who believes that it is “really time” for a Grand Tour: “That will do my development very well.”

Lately, things haven’t been going well for the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider. “It’s unbelievable what I’m going through: knee surgery in November. Then corona, then a fall in Catalonia. I was supposed to go on an altitude camp, but that didn’t take place after a flu epidemic in the team. Finally I got ready for the Giro – I can say I was in the best shape of my life – and then I break my jaw in the Liège-Bastogne-Liège.”

“Last year there was that hassle with DSM (Van Wilder wanted his contract with DSM to be terminated). Now I’ve lost another six weeks. Every time something happens that just doesn’t work. It has to stop and it will stop. I feel like this injury is a turning point, that all bad luck is finally over.”

The difficult period at DSM has also strengthened him, said Van Wilder. “Mentally I have become rock hard in the meantime. That period at DSM was hell. So I can put into perspective what is happening to me now. I admit: last season – or at least the second half of it – was mentally the most difficult period of my life. Put any rider in my place and three quarters give up or get depressed.”

“Every morning I got up in the dark, with no purpose, no perspective for the future. Exactly the opposite of what a top athlete needs. You think: WTF am I supposed to train for five hours now? Why? And yet I did it. I haven’t given up. When the team still fielded me in two races in September, they were surprised themselves at how good I was. And because I reached a level, I was still able to make the switch to Quick-Step. I came out of it well and I owe that to myself.”

Ilan Van Wilder:

 


Alberto Contador: “Juan Pedro López is a textbook example for us”
Juan Pedro López was the proud owner of the pink leader’s jersey in the Giro d’Italia. The 24-year-old Spaniard is following in the footsteps of Alberto Contador, the last Spanish wearer of the pink in the Tour of Italy. “But that’s not the nicest thing I think of López’s jersey,” El Pistolero told WielerFlits about him.

The young climber comes from the Fundación Alberto Contador. The former top rider recalls a memory. “What I can still clearly remember from our first meeting is his perseverance. Every year we organised selection competitions on our campus in Pinto, from which we then form a youth team,” explained Contador.

López himself is from Lebrija. It is located in Andalusia, in the south of Spain. Pinto is located just below the capital Madrid, about six hundred kilometers to the north. “The first year that JuanPe participated, he did not make the selection. He really hated that, but he made it clear to us then that he really wanted to. A year later we saw him again and he did make the selection.” It characterises his perseverance.

That fact happened more than seven years ago. Coincidence or not, López is the first Spaniard in the pink jersey since Contador himself. That was in 2015, the first year that his young compatriot reported on campus and sent back to Andalusia. “I’m proud that Juan Pedro is the first Spaniard in pink after me, but that’s not the nicest thing I think about this situation.”

“That is the fact that we have been able to accompany López in his journey that has brought him where he is today,” said Contador, now 39. “JuanPe went through our junior team, then the U23 squad and another year with our main team, which then still competed at Continental level. Our goal is to train riders ourselves from our campus to EOLO-Kometa. Juan Pedro is therefore a textbook example for us.”

López in pink:

 


Cyclo-cross Project Tormans and Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl Will Not Happen
The cyclocross team that was announced by Jan Tormans and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl doesn’t seem to be going to happen. Het Nieuwsblad reports that the collaboration will come to an end because Tormans Group would not bring in enough financially.

Last winter, news was released about the deal. Tormans’ cyclocross team would separate from Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert and join Patrick Lefevere’s Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl team. However, a few Tormans-Circus CX riders, including leader Quinten Hermans, were not enthusiastic. In addition, U23 world champion Joran Wyseure and Emiel Verstrynge have now left for Alpecin-Fenix.

In February, Jan Tormans, the sponsor of the Tormans CX team, was still convinced that the project with Lefevere would succeed. Even if a top rider like Quinten Hermans would not go along. “Our project will still go ahead. That would be a great pity, because I would like to keep that family together. And I assume that it will work. But even without them, we continue. There are plenty of riders in this world,” he told us.

Now that the project of Tormans CX and Quick-Step is not going to happen, according to Het Nieuwsblad, Jan Tormans would like to continue with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. The current collaboration of both parties will run until the end of 2022. There is a chance that Tormans will then remain affiliated with Bart Wellens’ cyclocross team as a sponsor, because Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert planned to continue racing in 2023. Even if Tormans were to leave.

Tormans not with Quick-Step:

 


Vuelta a España Presents Special Leader’s Jersey for Dutch Stages
In 100 days, the 77th edition of the Vuelta a España will start in Utrecht, the Netherlands. To kick off the campaign with many activities, a peloton led by Joop Zoetemelk brought a unique red jersey from Breda and via ‘s-Hertogenbosch to Utrecht.

The red jersey handed over to Mayor Sharon Dijksma by the last Dutch winner of the Vuelta (in 1979) is unique in several respects. Designed by Mattijs van Bergen, it contains the logos of the cities involved (Breda, ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Utrecht) and provinces (Utrecht and North Brabant). The leader in the general classification of the Vuelta will wear this jersey on Dutch soil.

It is the first time in the history of cycling that a leader’s jersey is designed and used especially for a host country. “It will take a while before La Vuelta Holanda starts, but the activities are already starting. La Vuelta lives in Utrecht, North Brabant and throughout the country and it shows. Let’s all enjoy the run-up to this iconic event,” said Mayor Dijksma.

Javier Guillén, the race director of the Vuelta, was present in Utrecht: “This was a unique foretaste, in which everything comes together that makes the Netherlands so suitable for an event like La Vuelta. Beautiful cycling environments, cyclists of all ages and enthusiasm for everyone. I can’t wait until we can finally get started.” Zoetemelk adds: “It was an honour to lead the pack and to be able to hand over this special jersey.”

A special Vuelta jersey:

 


Valkenburg aan de Geul Receives Prestigious Quality Mark from the ASO
Valkenburg aan de Geul has been awarded the ‘Tour de France Cycle City’ label by the ASO, the organisers of the Tour de France. The quality mark is awarded to municipalities that take steps to support bicycle use. Only municipalities that have ever hosted the Tour de France or the Tour de France Femmes can receive the label.

Valkenburg, which had the Tour de France in 2006, was awarded ‘four bikes’, the highest possible category of the ‘Tour de France Cycle City’ label. Copenhagen and Paris were the only other cities to receive such a high rating. “The municipality provides a bicycle infrastructure, makes enough budget available to develop daily bicycle traffic and has installed bicycle sheds in strategic locations for both the short and long term,” ASO wrote in a press release about Valkenburg.

In 2006 the Tour peloton went from Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg to the centre of Valkenburg, with a passage over the iconic Cauberg in the last kilometres. While Matthias Kessler won the stage, Erik Dekker had a serious crash, which ended his career.

In 2024 or 2015, Valkenburg also wants to welcome the Tour de France again, in collaboration with Rotterdam and The Hague, who together have officially applied for the start of the Tour de France in one of those years. Rotterdam is the only Dutch city that also has a ‘Tour de France Cycle City’ label. In total there are 108 municipalities with the quality mark.

Valkenburg aan de Geul:

 


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