With the 2022 road season on the horizon we have a packed EUROTRASH Monday. New Chinese Continental team – TOP STORY. Race reports from the Australian road championships and UCI World Cup cyclo-cross in Flamanville. Rider news: Knee surgery for Van der Poel, Pogačar to ride Dwars door Vlaanderen, Van Avermaet waits for Covid Booster, Evenepoel starts in Spain, Kruijswijk to the Tour, Alaphilippe starts in France, Nibali Roubaix debut, Fuglsang to ride Flanders, Mäder to the Tour, McNulty for la Vuelta, Dumoulin to Colombia, Zabel to the Giro, Gesink non-selection for Tour, Trentin On Pogačar, Richeze continues with UAE, Jungels rediscovered, Bagioli in the Giro, Boudat to Conti level, Rolland in the gym and Vingegaard Danish cyclist of 2021. Team news: Cassani Working on a New Team, Bernaudeau: race to win, Arkéa-Samsic twice refused to buy a WorldTour license, Lotto Soudal targets, three Bingoal riders injured, new Corratec team and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux presentation. Race news: Uno-X wants Tour wildcard, Valencia Queen Stage, Catalonia wildcards, Saudi Tour route and Bernie Eisel reveals the 2022 Tour of the Alps video. Big coffee time.
TOP STORY: Maarten Tjallingii Starts Chinese Continental Team
Maarten Tjallingii will lead a new project in the peloton, according to WielerFlits. The ex-pro of LottoNL-Jumbo, together with Amaël Moinard (ex-Cofidis and ex-BMC), has created a new Continental team in China. The goal is to train talents from the Asian country with experienced professional cyclists to become professionals.
Eleven riders have been contracted by the team, so far, and has also appointed Frenchman Lionel Marie as sports director. Also joining the team is Xianjing Lyu, the 23-year-old rider has been regarded as the greatest talent from China in recent years. At a young age, he finished fifth in the Tour of Hainan (2.HC) and third in the Tour of Fuzhou (2.1) in 2018. A year later he finished second in the Asian Road Championship, losing in a sprint of two to Yevgeniy Gidich of Astana Qazaqstan. Then Lyu recorded his biggest victory to date: he took the final classification in the Tour of China II (2.1) and won a mountain stage in Tour of Quanzhou Bay (2.2) two months later. In the Tour of Fuzhou of the same year, he finished fourth. Many teams, including SEG Racing Academy, tried to bring him to Europe, but the climber disappeared. In 2020 he won gold in the U23 race in the MTB cross country Asian Championships.
As a mountain biker, he had impressed at U23 level, but the Chinese government kept Lyu under the radar at home. Now he gets another chance with Tjallingii’s team, which will work closely with Han Feng and Yuan Yuan of the Chinese Cycling Federation. Thanks in part to pros with WorldTour and ProTeam experience, the talented Chinese has the opportunity to improve his skills. In the Chinese races he rode with some European riders, it was found that he is not a star at descending and riding in a peloton.
The new Continental team will ride under the name China Glory Cycling Team. At the moment, Tjallingii and Moinard are working out the final details, but the registration with the UCI has already been approved. The team will start with a block in China, followed by a number of European races in the summer and finish with a block in China. In addition to climber and mountain biker Lyu, five more Chinese riders have been added for the time being. They are a little less known. Another four Chinese talents may also sign.
There is also a Dutch feel to the team. In addition to Tjallingii, who was is putting the team together, the experienced Reinier Honig (ex-Vacansoleil-DCM) and Etiënne van Empel will also be active for the team. Until recently, the latter was a professional with the Italian Vini Zàbu team. Also joining the team is Sean Bennett (who had a contract with Qhubeka NextHash for 2022), Willie Smit (ex-rider of Burgos-BH and Katusha-Alpecin) and Lucas Di Rossi (DELKO).
China Glory Cycling 2022 (provisional roster):
Sean Bennett (25) USA
Lucas Di Rossi (26) Fra
Etiënne van Empel (27) Ned
Reinier Honig (38) Ned
Xianjing Lyu (23) Chi
Biken Nazaerbieke (27) Chi
Willie Smit (29) RSA
Hayden Strong (24) NZ
Changquang Xu (24) Chi
Ming Xue (21) Chi
Chao Zeng (22) Chi
Changsheng Zhang (23) Chi.
Australian National Men’s Road Race Championship 2022
Luke Plapp is the Australian road champion for 2022. The 21-year-old neopro of INEOS Grenadiers rode a solo of 30 kilometres for the win in Buninyong. James Whelan took the silver, the bronze medal went to Brendan Johnston.
A few days after the Australian time trial championship, won by Jumbo-Visma’s Rohan Dennis, the riders were ready for the road race championships in Buninyong, near Ballarat in Victoria. Eventual winner, Plapp, nearly didn’t start, as he was not allowed to leave Tasmania earlier in the week after a close corona contact. This prevented him from defending his time trial title during the week. The new addition to INEOS Grenadiers managed to get to the start and won the race. Initially, Whelan, now riding for Team BridgeLane, looked to be on his way to the title.
Whelan, former EF Education-Nippo rider, quickly built a nice solo lead. Plapp sensed the danger and counterattack. The Australian time trial champion of 2021, rode away from the peloton and soon had Whelan in his sights. On the last climb of the day, Plapp caught and passed Whelan. Plapp just had to solo the remaining kilometres to Buninyong and had plenty of time for his victory salute and start his career with INEOS Grenadiers in the best possible way. Whelan managed to hang on to take the silver medal behind Plapp, Brendan Johnston was good for bronze. With Luke Durbridge, Chris Harper and Benjamin Dyball finished in the top-10.
Australian champion, Luke Plapp (INEOS Grenadiers): “I couldn’t have wished for a better start. It was a shame (Plapp was unable to defend his 2021 title due to a corona contact), but to make up for it in the road race… It’s a fantastic feeling. It had been a dream for a while. I really enjoyed myself. You learn from your mistakes and I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. I think I learned from last year’s championship. I managed to keep my patience today.”
Australian National Men’s Road Race Championship Result:
1. Luke Plapp (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers in 4:52:04
2. James Whelan (Aus) Team BridgeLane at 0:45
3. Brendan Johnston (Aus) at 1:50
4. Kane Richards (Aus) ACA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast at 3:13
5. Drew Morey (Aus) Team BridgeLane
6. Alastair Christie-Johnston (Aus) Team BridgeLane
7. Luke Durbridge (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
8. Mark O’Brien (Aus)
9. Chris Harper (Aus) Jumbo-Visma
10. Benjamin Dyball (Aus) Team UKYO at 3:19.
UCI World Cup Cyclo-Cross Men – Flamanville 2022
Eli Iserbyt took the win in the Flamanville World Cup on Sunday with a strong show. In Normandy, the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal cross rider was in a class of his own, as the competition followed at a minute. Toon Aerts crossed the line in second, Michael Vanthourenhout in third.
Toon Aerts got off to a good start, but the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal trio Toon Vandebosch, Laurens Sweeck and Eli Iserbyt also had a good start. Aerts was chased by a quartet of the red-black team led with Michael Vanthourenhout. Corné van Kessel, Joshua Dubau and Aerts completed the seven in the lead.
Sweeck and Iserbyt, who is already the overall win in the World Cup, tried to take advantage of the team’s large contingent, but they were unable to create a gap. Meanwhile, Dubau and Vandebosch struggled to keep up with the other five. In the third lap of eight, Iserbyt chose to go early which forced Aerts and Vanthourenhout to chase. Aerts had to do all the work alone, but saw Iserbyt disappear. After three laps the difference was 22 seconds and Iserbyt managed to extend that lead. Behind him, Aerts’ pace was not fast enough, so Vanthourenhout went after his teammate. But the Baloise Trek Lions leader got back to Vanthourenhout.
There was nothing to be done about Iserbyt in Normandy. With three laps to go he had a lead of 41 seconds over his two pursuers. That later became three, as Sweeck joined Aerts and Vanthourenhout. In the final section it also became a man-against-man fight, which Aerts decided in his favour. Iserbyt didn’t hang about in the final, adding a sixth World Cup win to his season total. He had previously won in Waterloo, Iowa, Overijse, Koksijde and Besançon. Aerts and Vanthourenhout joined him on the podium.
Race winner, Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “It was a course tailored to my needs and I felt very good from the start. In the reconnaissance it was very slippery, but the course dried up a bit. Because of my lead I was able to choose my lines calmly and that is best of all. I wanted to run a clean race. I felt very strong, I was able to generate a lot of power and I quickly got the right rhythm. I knew I wasn’t super bad, but now I have a good feeling. A win is always important and good for the cup. I hope I’m on the right track towards the World championships. I’ve also been a little less deep than the rest for two weeks. It also felt like I was driving around like in Hulst. It was great, I didn’t have a lot of stress. That does something extra (having spectators) It gave me wings. Hopefully we can do that again in Belgium soon.”
2nd, Toon Aerts (Baloise Trek Lions): “I could make the difference there. I started on the grifo (tyres), but in the corners it was slippery and I sometimes lacked some grip. I was able to go full throttle on the slippery sections and there I could make a difference. I’ve been training a lot on content this week and not very much on intensity. After the Christmas period I did miss some content. I’ve been doing longer workouts, so I was less explosive in the early stages. But in the end it went well. Now I have another week of cross-specific training planned and then we’ll see how I am for the World championships next week.”
3rd, Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “I think it started to rain on the penultimate lap. That did affect the course and I needed rhinos (tyres). Toon put me under pressure and that’s why I couldn’t change, but then – half a lap later – he was too far away to overtake him. I should have changed immediately, but didn’t have enough time. I chose to wait, although I think this was the best I could get out of it. I raced up to my limit. I let Eli ride away for a while, but Toon couldn’t close it. Then I focused on second place and I just didn’t manage to do that.”
UCI World Cup Cyclo-Cross Men – Flamanville Result:
1. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal in 1:01:51
2. Toon Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions at 0:59
3. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:12
4. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:39
5. Kevin Kuhn (Swi) Tormans-Circus at 1:44
6. Jens Adams (Bel) Hollebeekhoeve at 1:46
7. Corné van Kessel (Ned) Tormans-Circus
8. Toon Vandebosch (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 2:10
9. Joshua Dubau (Fra) Peltrax–CS Dammarie-lès-Lys at 2:13
10. Timon Ruegg (Swi) Cross Team Legendre at 2:17.
UCI World Cup Cyclo-Cross Women – Flamanville 2022
Fem van Empel won the cyclo-cross World Cup in Flamanville, France on Sunday. The Dutch Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider was the best after an exciting battle with compatriot Puck Pieterse. Blanka Kata Vas was third.
In the absence of a large number of top riders, Inge van der Heijden had the best start in Flamanville, while Eva Lechner, Fem van Empel and Puck Pieterse were not far behind. Blanka Kata Vas started a little slower, but moved quickly up on the first lap. Van Empel and Pieterse quickly managed to create a gap at the front. Behind them, Vas, Van der Heijden and Italian champion Silvia Persico formed the first chase group. On the technical course, where the public was welcome for the first time in a long time, the trio managed to cross over to the leading duo. That happened just before the first passage of the start-finish. On the second lap, Pieterse, as the leader in the U23 classification of the World Cup and 3rd in the general classification, took matters into her own hands. She rode away from Van Empel by 3 seconds and put 15 seconds into Vas. The duel between the two Dutch riders remained exciting, as Van Empel kept the pressure on.
At the front, the pace dropped a bit for Van Empel, so that third placed Vas was able to make up some time, but the gap was too big for the Hungarian to close the 20 second gap. Pieterse and Van Empel took turns in the last laps, but couldn’t shake each other off. It came down to the last lap in Normandy. Van Empel put pressure on the steps, but Pieterse fought back on to the wheel of Van Empel. Pieterse attacked up the hill, but Van Empel reacted and so the race would be decided by a sprint. On the uphill finish, Van Empel seemed to take the lead, but she was surprised by Pieterse, she had started early, but couldn’t make it to the finish. Van Empel took the win on the line. This is her second World Cup victory of the season, after her victory in Val di Sole.
Race winner, Fem van Empel “We (Puck Pieters) made a plan together last night to get away, because we slept in the room together and knew that today was our chance to win. I knew that my sprint is one of my strong points. I had to count on that. Puck and I are evenly matched and she was a bit ahead, but it was uphill and there were every opportunity. She started sprinting at the bottom of the bar earlier, but I saw that she wasn’t there yet. And you only have to cheer at the finish. At the start of the race, Puck jumped the beams in front of me and I was always on a gap. After that it’s every man for himself, but we give each other that. You don’t leave anything behind. Puck now definitely has the World Cup jersey (U23) so we can both be happy. This win is very important. I am happy with my second win. I never expected this before the season.”
2nd, Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Fenix): “Fem deserved it. It was very tough in the last hundred meters. The finish should have been a bit earlier. Fem came over strong and deserved the win. Normally you can get over it faster with the bars go, but now you lost a lot of speed. It saved me some energy that I could jump, but I didn’t gain much time.”
UCI World Cup Cyclo-Cross Women – Flamanville Result:
1. Fem van Empel (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal in 53:39
2. Puck Pieterse (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
3. Blanka Kata Vas (Hun) SD Worx at 0:23
4. Inge van der Heijden (Ned) 777 at 1:29
5. Silvia Persico (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service at 1:33
6. Hélène Clauzel (Fra) A.S. Bike at 1:50
7. Manon Bakker (Ned) Plantur-Pura at 1:53
8. Eva Lechner (Ita) Starcasino CX at 2:00
9. Marion Norbert Riberolle (Bel) Starcasino CX at 2:05
10. Alicia Franck (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini at 2:35.
Knee Surgery for Mathieu van der Poel
Mathieu van der Poel, who recently announced that he would not ride any cross races this winter, had surgery in Herentals hospital. According to his Alpecin-Fenix team, it was a minor surgery on the knee.
Van der Poel will not be competing in any cyclo-cross this winter due to a lingering back injury, but his operation in Herentals is a different problem altogether. Alpecin-Fenix has since announced that the reigning World champion has undergone surgery on his knee, a minor surgical procedure. Van der Poel crashed during training in Lichtaart at the end of November and injured his knee. “In a previous crash, a tear had appeared in the capsule of the kneecap. And as a result of that tear, scar tissue had formed in which a hardened strand rubbed against the bone,” the team said.
“At the moment it was painless and didn’t bother him, but going forward now is the right time to proactively remove this. That is why Van der Poel was operated on last Saturday and now, after checking with Dr. Toon Claes, a positive evaluation followed. This operation was separate from the back injury from which Van der Poel is currently recovering.”
Another setback for Van der Poel:
Tadej Pogačar to Also Ride Dwars door Vlaanderen
It was already known that Tadej Pogačar would ride the Tour of Flanders this spring, but it has now become clear that the two-time Tour winner will also start in Dwars door Vlaanderen, reports Het Nieuwsblad. Dwars door Vlaanderen will be held on Wednesday 30 March, the Wednesday before Flanders.
“We are extremely happy to welcome another Tour winner to our race. It has been quite some time,” said organiser Guy Delesie. In recent history, Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde rode Dwars door Vlaanderen. Valverde finished eleventh in 2018. Last year the victory went to Dylan van Baarle.
For Pogačar, the Flemish races he contests are suitable for getting him used to racing on cobblestones. In the first week of the Tour de France, the riders also face a stage of cobblestones. Pogačar is not so inexperienced on the stones: in 2018 he finished 15th in the U23 version of the Tour of Flanders.
Paris cobbles are not the same as Roubaix cobbles:
Greg Van Avermaet Waits Until After Roubaix for Covid Booster Vaccine
No booster shot for Greg Van Avermaet for the time being. The leader of AG2R-Citroën has decided to wait until after the classics. “Last summer I was vaccinated. I didn’t really like that in the Tour de France, among other things. I don’t want to make that mistake again.”
“I no longer reached my level in the summer of 2021,” said Van Avermaet during the media day in Denia. “And that was not due to my age, because four weeks before that I was racing finals. So something else was going on. I think I chose the wrong time for my second vaccination: just before the Dauphiné, after a tough training period and just before a tough race.”
“As a top athlete you have to choose your moments well. With me, that shot undoubtedly had a negative impact on my body, so that I was missing a few percent.” Van Avermaet even wanted to abandon the Tour de France. “But the team didn’t want me to leave the Tour. Then you will of course continue to follow their wishes. That’s what happened to me. It was only in the period around Paris-Roubaix (October) that I reached a better level again.”
As for the booster shot, the former Olympic champion no longer wants to take that risk. “I have now decided to wait until after the Classics. That seems to me to be the best solution.” Van Avermaet wants to return to his old level this year. “In concrete terms, that means finals. My career has been built on that: constantly achieving a high level with the occasional peak. I believe I can still do that.”
No 3rd vaccine till after Roubaix for Van Avermaet:
Evenepoel Ready to Kick Off the Campaign in Spain
The Belgian will ride Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana next month.
Spain has always been good to Remco Evenepoel. In his very first pro year, the Belgian soloed to an astonishing victory at the Clasica San Sebastian, becoming one of the youngest riders in history to triumph in a major one-day race. Then, one year later, he convincingly won the Vuelta a Burgos thanks to an impressive display on the two summit finishes of the race, Picon Blanco and Lagunas de Neila.
He will now return to Spain for the first time since that triumph, one year and a half later, at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. The 72nd edition of the event taking place between 2-6 February will mark Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s first outing of the season in Europe, and the soon to be 22-year-old Belgian is excited to get things underway.
“I’m happy to be going to Valenciana. I like riding in Spain, the weather and the fans are great, and I had success there as early as my first pro season. Clasica San Sebastian still ranks as one of my best wins, and the Vuelta a Burgos victory one year later was a confirmation that I can do good in week-long stage races.”
“I can’t wait to get the season started. I had a good winter preparation and I feel more relaxed than last year. I hope to have a solid year, as I look forward to improving, to making more steps in the right direction, and getting some wins here and there. The atmosphere is great in the team and we will try to keep things going this way and win races as we always do”, said Remco, who won 22 races so far since joining the Wolfpack at the beginning of 2019.
Evenepoel ready for 2022:
Steven Kruijswijk: “The Tour is the Race You Don’t Want to Sit at Home in July”
Steven Kruijswijk will ride the Tour de France again this season. Although it seemed a serious option to contest the Tour of Italy in a team with contenders such as Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard, Kruijswijk again preferred the Tour. “The Tour is always the race for me: you don’t want to sit at home in July,” he explained to NOS.
“You can focus everything on that Giro, certainly personally that would have been a better choice. But I’ve been with this team for so long… I know that the team has been trying to win the Tour for years. I want that myself. I wouldn’t want to miss that if it happens this year,” the 34-year-old rider continued.
Kruijswijk is realistic about his place in the pecking order within the team. “I know there are guys in this team a step higher than me, but I want to be part of it. And the team also wants me to be a part of that, because I can be of value to win the Tour.” It is not yet entirely clear in what role he will try to be of value to the team. “The Tour is not the most realistic race for me to win,” he said about his own possibilities. “But I can think of a lot of things that I can get.”
“Primož and Jonas have a chance to win the Tour, but we also have a very good competitor, which they won’t just ride off. So we will also have to approach it differently, a bit more tactically, and maybe that will also give me more freedom and opportunities.”
Kruijswijk for the Tour’22:
Julian Alaphilippe to Begin Season on Home Soil
For the second year in a row, the World Champion will kick off his campaign at the Tour de la Provence.
It’s been a good winter for Julian Alaphilippe. L’Equipe awarded him the Vélo d’Or Français and Champion des Champions trophies in recognition of his impressive 2021 season, and the two training camps he took part in together with his Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl teammates gave him a solid foundation for what the Frenchman hopes will be another successful year.
Winner of back-to-back World Championships, Julian will get his season underway in February, at the seventh edition of the Tour de la Provence, a race he lit up last year. Resplendent in his rainbow jersey, Alaphilippe delivered a spectacular and complete performance at the four-day event – attacking from the distance on the opening day, playing a vital role in the Wolfpack’s lead-out train and putting in a gutsy ride on the slopes of Mont Ventoux en route to a morale-boosting second in the overall classification.
“First and foremost, I want to enjoy my second year in the rainbow jersey. Having it gives me extra motivation to fight for victory in the biggest races on the calendar. I will start the season again in Provence, I liked it there last year and I’m happy to return next month to this beautiful race, in front of my home fans.”
“My season will continue in Italy, with Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo, before switching to the Ardennes Classics in April. These are races that suit me and where I want to do good. Liège–Bastogne–Liège will be the biggest goal in the first part of the year, is a race I love and hopefully I will be up there again, fighting for victory”, said the World Champion.
Vincenzo Nibali to Make Paris-Roubaix Debut
Vincenzo Nibali will definitely ride the Giro, the Tour and the five monuments in 2022. The Italian rider will be seen for the first time in Paris-Roubaix in the colours of Astana Qazaqstan.
The 37-year-old rider has a busy schedule for 2022. Nibali’s season starts in the Tour of Valencia. He then returns to his home country for Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo, where he won in 2018. In April he will face three Classics with the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. As in 2021, he will ride the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France. After the two Grand Tours, Nibali will close the season with the Tour of Lombardy, which he has won twice.
“I don’t want to say what my main goal is this season. There are certainly important races that I don’t want to miss and in which I want to play a major role, but the competition is unbelievable and it’s getting harder and harder to win. I will have to choose my moments,” he told CyclismActu.
Nibali had previously indicated that he would like to be at the start of Paris-Roubaix, and that wish is now becoming reality. The stage over the cobblestones of Arenberg in the 2014 Tour will play its part in this. The victory in that spectacular stage went to Lars Boom. Nibali finished third and managed to stay ahead of the likes of Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara. The Italian also took the final general classification.
Vincenzo Nibali 2022 Race Schedule:
Tour of Valencia (2-6 February)
Tirreno-Adriatico (7-13 March)
Milan-Sanremo (March 19)
Tour of Flanders (April 3)
Paris-Roubaix (April 17)
Liège-Bastogne-Liège (24 April)
Tour of Italy (6-29 May)
Tour de France (1-24 July)
Tour of Lombardy (October 8).
Cobbles in the 2014 Tour:
Jakob Fuglsang Will be at the Start of the Tour of Flanders
Jakob Fuglsang will once again participate in ‘Vlaanderens Mooiste’ in the 2022 season, six years after his first participation in the Tour of Flanders. The Danish climber announced during the Israel-Premier Tech media day.
Fuglsang, now 36, started the Tour of Flanders in 2016. The Dane finished with a 25th place, just over one minute behind winner Peter Sagan, a good result. This year Fuglsang will once again be tackling the Flemish cobblestones. Last year he was supposed to participate in ‘De Hoogmis’, but his ride was canceled at the last minute.
Fuglsang starts 2022 in a new squad, in the past he has won big races like Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy and hopes to start this year with good results. “I also want to get off the starting blocks right away. I didn’t have the best season of my career last year, but I want to show that it was just a one-off.”
“I want to show that I still have it in me, that I am still capable of winning races.” Fuglsang will focus on Strade Bianche in the spring and hopes to shine in the Ardennes races after the Tour of Flanders.
Spring Program for Jakob Fuglsang:
Tour of Valencia (2-6 February)
Ruta del Sol (February 16-20)
Strade Bianche (March 5)
Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali (March 22-26)
Tour of Flanders (April 3)
Amstel Gold Race (10 April)
Flèche Wallonne (April 20)
Liège-Bastogne-Liège (24 April).
Jakob Fuglsang wants to win in the spring:
Gino Mäder Will Ride the Tour in 2022
Gino Mäder sees his strong 2021 season rewarded with a selection for the Tour. He will share the leadership with Jack Haig and Damiano Caruso. For Mäder it is his debut in the Tour de France.
With a fifth place in the general classification of the Vuelta, a stage victory in the Giro and other places of honour, Gino Mäder had a strong season in 2021. The 25-year-old rider proved that he can participate in Grand Tours and his Bahrain Victorious team saw that too. “We will have an incredibly strong team in the Tour,” he referred to Haig and Caruso.
“I don’t feel any more pressure from the team than last year, although they want me to get results. However, no one wants it more than me, I am very hard and critical of myself. I believe the team will give me a role in the Tour that suits me,” he told Cyclingnews. In the 2021 Vuelta, Mäder finished 5th, but also helped teammate Jack Haig to 3rd place on the podium. The two will again be at the start of a Grand Tour together in the Tour.
In preparation for the Tour, Mäder will ride the Ruta del Sol, Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie and the Tour of Switzerland. The Tour of Switzerland is familiar territory for Mäder, last year he won the final stage. This year he starts with strong ambitions. “I have the feeling that if everything goes according to plan and I feel the way I feel now, then I can ride a good classification. Maybe even the overall victory.”
Brandon McNulty Looking for Opportunities in la Vuelta
Brandon McNulty will contest two Grand Tours in one season for the first time this year, but it remains to be seen whether he will be allowed to ride for his own chances in either of those two races. He will start alongside Tadej Pogačar in both the Tour and the Vuelta. The American secretly hopes that he will achieve success in the Spanish three-week race, he said at the UAE Team Emirates press day.
“Of course, if Tadej is leading the Vuelta, I will have to ride for the team, but it would be nice if I could have a little more freedom. It’s at the end of the season when everyone is a little more tired, so we’ll have to wait and see how things play out during the race. I really hope I get some chances,” says McNulty, after it had been suggested that Pogačar may not be able to go full in the Vuelta a España after a tough Tour. However, as far as the Tour de France is concerned, the 23-year-old rider has few personal ambitions. “Tadej has won the Tour the last two times, so everyone will ride for him there. Perhaps there are still some possibilities in the time trial, but for the rest it is all hands on deck for Tadej.”
Prior to the Tour de France, there are still the shorter stage races. “I’ll focus on the Tour of Algarve, then I’ll do Paris-Nice and then the Tour de Romandie, where I’ll always have some freedom. I’ll have to see how it goes, but in Romandie I’m going for the best possible end result,” McNulty looks ahead.
Brandon McNulty looking for glory:
Tom Dumoulin Starts Season with Altitude Camp in Colombia
Tom Dumoulin will go on an altitude training camp in Colombia in the run-up to the new season. In the Medellín area, Dumoulin will prepare for the first race of 2022, the UAE Tour, together with teammate Koen Bouwman. Taco van der Hoorn has already traveled to Colombia with Jan-Willem van Schip and teammate Jan Hirt to the same area.
All the riders have become interested in a training camp in Colombia by Annemiek van Vleuten and she has sent them all information about training in the South American country. The Olympic time trial champion has already been to Colombia twice for a training camp at altitude. More and more riders are finding Colombia an alternative to the altitude training camps at the start of the season, when in Europe only Tenerife is suitable for a training camp due to the weather conditions.
Medellín airport is located at an altitude of 2142 metres and everything is well above 2000 metres. In the spring of 2019, the Tour of Colombia took place near the city of 2.6 million inhabitants. Before and after the race, various top riders such as Chris Froome, Julian Alaphilippe and Bob Jungels also stayed on an altitude training camp in the vicinity of Rio Negro.
“Colombia is an ideal place to start the season,” Froome told De Telegraaf at the time. “The atmosphere, the climate, the good roads and the pleasant temperature at high altitudes. If you do an altitude camp in Europe in January or February in Tenerife or Sierra Nevada, you run the risk of ending up in the snow.”
After the training camp in Colombia, Dumoulin first rides the UAE Tour, then the Strade Bianche, Tour of Catalonia and Amstel Gold Race, after which he prepares via an altitude training camp in Tenerife for his main goal of 2022: the Giro d’Italia.
Dumoulin heading for the altitude:
Rick Zabel with Giacomo Nizzolo to the Giro
Rick Zabel rides an extremely busy spring. The fast German will mainly race alongside his new leader Giacomo Nizzolo, but also thinks of a success for himself. “I see no reason to hide if I’m having a good day and the course suits me,” said Zabel.
The 28-year-old Zabel knows that he can’t always be the leader. “If I have eighty race days in a season, I would be happy if I had five opportunities for myself,” he told Radsport-news.com. “In a good season, that’s maybe ten chances. But when Giacomo is at the start, there is no discussion. Then we ride for him.”
Together with Matthias Brändle and Alex Dowsett, Zabel forms Nizzolo’s little train and they will ride in the Giro d’Italia. “The first impression is positive, but we first have to prove it in a race,” the son of former top sprinter Erik Zabel said. “I still have some hope for the Tour de France. All I know is that the team there wants to ride for the standings and sprinters really don’t have a chance. But if we win ten times with Giacomo in the spring, we might still have a chance. Last year we actually also had the Giro on our program with André Greipel, but in the end we went to the Tour.”
Rick Zabel Early 2022 Season:
Tour of Valencia (2-6 February)
Clásica de Almería (February 13)
UAE Tour (February 20-26)
Tirreno-Adriatico (7-13 March)
Milan-San Remo (March 19)
Gent-Wevelgem (27 March)
Tour of Turkey (10-17 April)
Eschborn-Frankfurt (May 1)
Giro d’Italia (6-29 May).
Rick Zabel to the Giro:
Robert Gesink About Non-Selection for Tour
Robert Gesink has ridden the Tour de France ten times, but there is a real chance that he will not be there this year. The 35-year-old is not among the first six names that are already certain of a place in the Jumbo-Visma Tour team. “That was a tough moment,” Gesink told NOS about how the news of his non-selection came to him.
“Certainly after what had happened,” he continues, referring to the collarbone fracture he sustained in the last Tour de France, the two extra surgeries that were involved due to bacterial infections and the corona infection he recently contracted. “The battery was still charging from the setback and then it was over. Ultimately, when you take stock at the end of the year, there is one race that stands head and shoulders above the rest. It would have been disastrous if my last moment in the Tour had been, that I would go home on a stretcher on day three,” Gesink emphasises his disappointment. “But of course we have a very strong team, which has been strengthened again on all fronts. Then it will be more difficult to fight for every spot,” he said realistically.
When asked about the possibility that he can still take one of the last two spots, Gesink answers hesitantly. “In itself… You never know how a cow catches a hare, especially not in cycling. But of course you also have to be realistic. Let’s put it this way: the certainty is the Vuelta this season,” said the Andorra-based rider.
Gesink starts his season in the Tour of Algarve. After the Portuguese multi-day race, the Drome Classic, the Tour of Catalonia, the Tour of the Basque Country, the Tour de Romandie and the Tour of Switzerland. In the autumn, he will start the Vuelta.
Maybe no Tour for Robert Gesink:
Trentin On Pogačar
After winning just once in 2021, Matteo Trentin hopes for a more successful season in 2022. The Tour of Flanders is one of his goals, he said at the UAE Team Emirates press day. He also expects his teammate Tadej Pogačar to be at the front.
“We haven’t seen any weakness from Tadej so far, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes it to the final of the race. Saying he will win Flanders is another story, but I won’t be surprised if I see him in the final,” Trentin said, when asked about Pogačar’s chances in Flanders.
The Italian himself says about that race that it is higher on his list than Paris-Roubaix. “As far as Paris-Roubaix is concerned, I have to be honest: I’ve never actually raced a final there. I never really competed for the win or thought it could be my day. For some reason Roubaix is a race that keeps failing, maybe it’s just not the right type of race.”
“In Flanders I often had to work for others, especially during my time at Quick-Step. Last year I was pretty good, but I got a flat tire,” the 32-year-old rider looks back. Flat tires were a problem for him last year, but more often than not: “I was always in the classics, but because of punctures I often dropped out, so the next goal is to avoid punctures, get more tires.”
Matteo Trentin wants a better 2022:
Maximiliano Richeze to Continue with UAE Team Emirates
Maximiliano Richeze’s career seemed to be over after last season, as his contract with UAE Team Emirates was not renewed, but the Argentinian may now stay with the team. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that the 38-year-old sprinter may continue with the team for six months, but he would leave after the Tour of Italy.
Richeze turned pro in 2006 and since then raced for CSF Group-Navigare, Lampre-Merida, Quick-Step and UAE Team Emirates. With the latter teams, he was a valued lead-out man, who guided top sprinters such as Marcel Kittel and Fernando Gaviria to numerous victories. He himself won in the Vuelta a San Juan, Tour de Suisse and the Giro d’Italia.
Six months for Richeze:
Bob Jungels: “I Have Rediscovered the Fun”
Bob Jungels has had a difficult year, but is now looking forward with hope. After undergoing two surgeries for a narrowing of his femoral artery halfway through last season, he has now fully recovered. “My legs hurt in a normal way again,” he told L’essentiel in Luxembourg.
“I had to start from scratch again, but the fitness came back very quickly. I immediately returned to the Tour de Luxembourg (mid-September) and my body responded well. The values I see in training also give me a lot of confidence for the new season,” he said hopeful. “For me and the team, it was important to see that the problem was solved.”
Mentally things are going a lot better with Jungels. “It was very tough mentally, even more than physically,” said the AG2R Citroën rider, who has been hindered by his injury since 2018. “But I have rediscovered the fun, for example by mountain biking with friends. The passion is back. I have never lost faith in my own abilities, but it is very difficult when you know that something is not right. Mentally I had a block, but now I’m really happy again. I can smile again.”
Next season, the 28-year-old rider hopes to be able to race as a leader again. “I hope I still have a leadership role within the team, but as I don’t know exactly what my form will be like, I’m going to be careful. In any case, I get the freedom (especially in the first races) to see if I can get back to my old level. After that, I hope to win races again.”
Jungels will start his season in the UAE Tour at the end of February. He then participates in the Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders. It is not yet known which races he will ride in the run-up to Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour de France, which are also on his program.
Bob Jungels on the way back:
Andrea Bagioli Dreams of Participating in the Giro
Andrea Bagioli wants to achieve more victories and participate in the Giro in 2022, he said in an interview with La Provincia di Sondrio. In all likelihood, the Italian will start his season in the Ruta del Sol, or Tour of Andalusia.
The 22-year-old rider has already proved in the past that he does not need many race days to be in shape. In 2021 he won his second race of the year, the Drome Classic. The Italian managed to stay ahead of Daryl Impey and teammate Mikkel Honoré for a solo win. After that, Bagioli had a difficult start to the season due to a crash and a persistent knee injury. “Last year was very tough with my knee injury, I had to stay out for four months.”
In the second half of the season, Bagioli came back into action and once again proved what he can do. He achieved several top 10 finishes in the Vuelta and with a second, third and fourth place, he showed what he is capable of.
“Now I’m with the team in Spain in Calpe. When they proposed to me to stay with the team, I immediately accepted it. I think this is the perfect team to continue to grow and improve as a rider. I would like to ride the Giro next year, also to contribute to the team to win important races together.”
Thomas Boudat Step Back to Continental Level
Thomas Boudat has found a new team with the continental Go Sport Roubaix Lille Métropole. Boudat did not receive a new contract offer from his previous Arkéa-Samsic team.
Boudat is best known for track riding, where he has already won several titles. He became World champion in the omnium in 2014 and he also has four European titles. The French sprinter finished second in the 2021 GP Cycliste La Marseillaise (1.1 level), the victory went to Aurélien Paret-Peintre. He also took some places of honour in smaller races, such as an eighth place in the GP Jean-Pierre Monseré, which Tim Merlier won.
The French Go Sport Roubaix Lille Métropole team now has eleven names on its roster, including Evaldas Siskevicius, Clément Carisey and Belgian Emiel Vermeulen.
Pierre Rolland Has Been in the Gym this Winter
Spending a lot of time in the gym is one of the adjustments Pierre Rolland made with a view to the new season. In an interview with La République du Center he talked about his preparation and about enjoying the time he has left on the bike.
“The foundations for the upcoming season must be solid. I changed two or three things in my preparation so that my year will be very consistent. I want to maintain my peak shape as long as possible. This winter I worked a lot in the gym, I spent a quarter or even a third of my training there. This allows me to anticipate injuries and build up a very large muscle mass,” said the 35-year-old rider.
Rolland is aware that he is now getting older and that he is no longer able to reach the level he used to get. “I know that I am closer to the end of my career than to the beginning, but it is not yet an issue to set an end date,” said the Frenchman. “I’ve had a great career. However, it is not over yet and I have to enjoy my work as a professional rider.” In 2021 Rolland managed only one win. The rider of B&B Hotels won the sixth stage of the Tour du Rwanda, which finished on Mont Kigali.
The program for the French rider is not yet fixed. In all likelihood, he will start his season in the Etoile du Bessèges (February 2-6). He is also thinking of Paris-Nice (6-13 March), which will pass through his native city of Orléans this year. “For the team, the goals are Paris-Nice and the Critérium du Dauphiné, just like the Tour de France, if we are selected. We are waiting for the approval of Christian Prudhomme and ASO.”
Pierre Rolland winter gym:
Jonas Vingegaard Danish Cyclist of 2021
The Danish cycling federation has declared Jonas Vingegaard the best cyclist of 2021. The Jumbo-Visma rider was the GC leader for Jumbo-Visma in the Tour de France last year, after Primož Roglič had to give up, and he finished second overall.
The 25-year-old Vingegaard had a very successful 2021 which did not escaped the notice of the Danish Cycling Federation. The climber was named the best Danish cyclist of the year. Vingegaard started winning early in 2021. In the UAE Tour he won the mountain stage to Jebel Jais, ahead of top riders such as Tadej Pogačar, Adam Yates and João Almeida. Vingegaard won two stages and the general classification in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali and was second behind his teammate Roglič in a tough edition of the Tour of the Basque Country. He then had his big breakthrough in the Tour. Vingegaard was second in the general classification after a strong race and was only beaten defending champion Pogačar.
Vingegaard will again compete in the Tour de France this year. Six Jumbo-Visma riders are already certain of a place in the selection for the upcoming Tour de France. There are three leaders with Roglič, Vingegaard and Wout van Aert. Roglič and Vingegaard aim for a good final classification. Jaakko Hänninen was also put in the spotlight. The 24-year-old AG2R Citroën rider was named the best Finnish rider of the year. Hänninen, who won the bronze medal at the 2018 U23 World championships, finished tenth in 2021 in the French Classic Alpes-Maritimes race.
Jonas Vingegaard – Danish cyclist of 2021:
Davide Cassani Working on a New Team
Ex-rider, Davide Cassani, is working on a new Italian cycling team in 2023. The former Italian national coach is busy behind the scenes to set up an Italian ProTeam, he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The now 61-year-old Cassani hopes to find the right sponsors in the near future to set up an Italian ProTeam. Cassani takes Alpecin-Fenix, the team of the brothers Christoph and Philip Roodhooft, as an example. The intention is to start the season in 2023 with a ‘Made in Italy’ team: a team with Italian sponsors, bikes and riders.
The name of Matteo Trentin, currently riding for UAE Team Emirates, is being circulated as a possible figurehead of the new team. However things are not yet that far advanced, first Cassani must ensure that the financial situation correct. “But when I talk about cycling, I always notice a lot of interest. We are aiming for a budget between 10 and 12 million euros.”
Cassani emphasises that this is a long-term project. “The ultimate goal is to make the step to the WorldTour. It’s not like after a year we say: ‘okay, we’ll stop’.” Cassani has already set a deadline for his project: the Italian gives himself until the end of April to arrange everything. With Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè, Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli and EOLO-Kometa, there are currently three Italian professional teams in the peloton.
Davide Cassani working on a new team:
Jean-René Bernaudeau: “We Start in a Race Like Roubaix to Win”
TotalEnergies has great ambitions for the Flemish spring, says manager Jean-René Bernaudeau in a team video. He believes that his riders have the qualities to always go for the win. “In the Flemish classics, we belong to the best three or four teams in the world,” said the Frenchman.
“With Edvald Boasson Hagen, Niki Terpstra, Daniel Oss, Maciej Bodnar, and leaders like Anthony Turgis and Peter Sagan, we cannot start without the ambition to win. Take Paris-Roubaix for example: we’re going to ride there to win. That does not mean that this will necessarily happen, but we will be active.”
According to Bernaudeau, Peter Sagan, who came from BORA-hansgrohe with Oss and Bodnar last winter, also provides new impetus within the team. “Before the new season, there is a certain excitement. The arrival of Peter, his kindness, his charisma and the group around him make us very excited. We feel that something is about to happen.”
The fact that Sagan has not reached his old level in recent years is no reason to dampen Bernaudeau’s enthusiasm. “We’re not in business, we’re in sports. Cycling is a sport of intuition, and Peter has often done improbable things,” he expresses his confidence in Sagan, who became infected again with the corona virus in preparation for the season.
Bernaudeau has hopes for Sagan:
Arkéa-Samsic Manager: “I Had the Opportunity to Buy a WorldTour License Twice”
Emmanuel Hubert told L’Équipe that he has twice refused to buy a WorldTour license. “I wanted our philosophy to be respected.” The Arkéa-Samsic manager is also honest in the evaluation of his key riders.
“I’ve had the opportunity to buy a WT license twice, but I declined. I wanted our philosophy to be respected, which is to earn that license from a sporting point of view. We’ll know in a few months if I was right or if I missed the right car.” The direct competitors for a license appear to be primarily Lotto Soudal, Cofidis, TotalEnergies and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux although Lotto Soudal CEO John Lelangue is said to not be concerned about their license.
To collect enough points for their license, Arkéa-Samsic will mostly have to count on Nairo Quintana, Nacer Bouhanni and Warren Barguil. Hubert spoke about his riders: “Warren (Barguil) is so passionate about the sport, but he often approaches it the wrong way. He looks at it all too often from a “have fun” side. I understand him and I can’t blame him, but today there is a lot of money at stake. We sometimes forget to remind him that he has the legs to make the top 5 of the Tour or to win a classic like the Flèche Wallonne,” Hubert told CyclismActu.
Hubert indicated that Quintana had to adapt when he joined the French squad. In addition to logistical adjustments, these were also sporting concerns. “He was just a little different at Movistar, he didn’t find the same self-sacrifice in his teammates. To succeed, Nairo needs to have a team that is really committed and there needs to be four or five teammates who are exclusively there for him.”
The manager was also honest about Bouhanni. “Normally he should bring us about ten wins a year, so we hired him. I’ve been talking to him about it recently and he’s aware of it. On the other hand, with a bit of luck he could have won a stage in the Tour last year,” referring to a second and two third places.
Barguil – Too much ‘have fun’?
Lotto Soudal Announces Plans for 2022: Ewan Targets Sanremo, Gilbert the Ardennes and Vermeersch the Cobbles
During the annual press day of Lotto Soudal the plans of the team leaders were announced. Sprinter Caleb Ewan aims for stage wins in Giro and Tour again, Philippe Gilbert hopes to end his career in style and will be present in all the hilly Classics and Florian Vermeersch hopes to excel in the Flemish Classics.
Caleb Ewan (5 stages in the Tour de France and 5 stages in the Giro d’Italia on his palmarès) targets the Tour and Giro yet again this year. “I really appreciate that the team is giving me the confidence again to go for stage wins in those big races”, says the Australian top sprinter. “Last year the guys did a great job helping me get two stage wins in the Giro. I was unlucky in the Tour, but I am ready to show myself again this year amongst the best riders in the world.”
Also in cycling monument Milan-Sanremo Caleb Ewan hopes to achieve a good result. “My two earlier second places prove that I can come a long way in Milan-Sanremo. The team has helped me to prepare myself perfectly this winter, so I believe that we can deliver a top performance this year again.”
Races for Caleb Ewan:
Saudi Tour, UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-Sanremo, Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields, Giro d’Italia, Tour de France.
In his last year as a professional rider, Philippe Gilbert focuses again on the races he has excelled in throughout his career. “I am very motivated to end my career in a positive way”, says the winner of 4 out of 5 cycling monuments. “It is nice to be able to do all the races in which I have had so many good moments once again. If I see how hard we have worked with all the team and everyone around it, I think we will have a very nice spring season.”
Races for Philippe Gilbert:
Challenge Mallorca, Tour de Provence, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Le Samyn, Paris-Nice, Milan-Sanremo, Tour of Catalunya, Volta Limburg Classic, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Brabançonne, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Florian Vermeersch, second in last year’s Paris-Roubaix, looks forward yet again to the cobbled Classics. “Last year’s Paris-Roubaix was a dream, a wonderful day”, says the 22-year old rider, who recently prolonged his contract at Lotto Soudal until 2024. “Although Paris-Roubaix of 2021 is not even that long ago, I am very eager once again for the spring classics of next season. I think everything is there in our team to make it a good one. I will be doing most spring Classics this year, although we will be monitoring very closely how fit I am. Depending on that, some races may be left out of my actual calendar.”
Races for Florian Vermeersch:
Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Le Samyn, Strade Bianche, Nokere Koerse, Bredene Koksijde Classic, Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, E3 Saxo Bank Classic, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Brabantse Pijl, Paris-Roubaix, Vuelta a España.
Victor Campenaerts returned to Lotto Soudal this winter. He left as a time trial specialist and came back as a Classic rider. “This year I will focus mainly on the Classics with a status just under the monuments. Le Samyn, Dwars door Vlaanderen: those are races fit for me. But also in the biggest races I hope to achieve great results with the team. We are here with a very young and eager team, and I am looking forward to race together with them.”
Races for Victor Campenaerts:
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Le Samyn, Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Bredene Koksijde Classic, E3 Saxo Bank Classic, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Brabançonne, Paris-Roubaix.
For Thomas De Gendt this year, again it is all about the tough days in stage races. “A lot of hard work has been put in with the team until now”, says the winner of stages in all three week stage races. “The atmosphere at camp is very positive, I am looking forward to race again. Paris-Nice, the Tour of Catalunya and also the Giro d’Italia are all races where I have shown myself. Hopefully this year I can do it again.”
Races for Thomas De Gendt:
GP la Marseillaise, UAE Tour, Paris-Nice, Tour of Catalunya, Giro d’Italia.
Whenever the road rises, Andreas Kron is in his element. The 23-year-old Danish rider won stages in Catalunya and Suisse last year and will focus on the hill Classics and a possible Tour debut this year. “The team places a lot of confidence in me and I am very motivated to return their trust with good results. I am confident that not only me, but the whole team will have a very good season.”
Races for Andreas Kron:
Challenge Mallorca, Jaén Paraiso Interior, Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Tour de l’Ardeche, Drôme Classic, Strade Bianche, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Brabançonne, Flèche Wallon, Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Brent Van Moer was a stage winner in last year’s Dauphiné. This year his first targets are the Classics. “Nokere Koerse, Dwars door Vlaanderen, the Flèche Brabançonne: those races suit me and I want to show myself there. The team sticks together very well and I feel that we will achieve nice things.”
Races for Brent Van Moer:
Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Le Samyn, Strade Bianche, Nokere Koerse, Bredene Koksijde Classic, Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, E3 Saxo Bank Classic, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Flèche Brabançonne, Paris-Roubaix.
For Tim Wellens the hill Classics remain his favourite terrain. “I am doing the races that I love to ride and that suit me best. As always, I hope to be good from the start of the season. But my main goals will come after Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.”
Races for Tim Wellens:
Challenge Mallorca, Jaén Paraiso Interior, Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Omloop het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Volta Limburg Classic, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Brabançonne, Flèche Wallon, Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Arnaud De Lie goes into his first pro season with good hope. Without pressure he can get acquainted with the Classics at Lotto Soudal. “It would be nice to be able to ride the Ronde van Vlaanderen in my first year as a pro. My participation will depend on how I react on my first pro races. Anyhow I am very happy with the chances I get at the team and the plan that we have made together.”
Races for Arnaud De Lie:
Challenge Mallorca, Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Le Samyn, GP Jean-Pierre Monseré, Nokere Koerse, Bredene Koksijde Classic, Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Scheldeprijs.
Three Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB Riders Injured
Quentin Venner, Milan Menten and Tom Paquot were injured in a crash at a training camp in Spain. The three riders of Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB were involved in a high speed crash. Venner has been diagnosed with a fracture in the lumbar vertebra.
The team informed WielerFlits that ‘an unfortunate movement with the mobile phone’ preceded the crash. Tom Paquot was one of those involved, but he got away with a few scrapes. That in contrast to 23-year-old Venner, who has suffered a fracture in his lower back.
Milan Menten has again suffered a hamstring injury. It may be a tear in the hamstring muscle. “I’m going to keep it quiet for the next four days on the training camp here, because I don’t want to mortgage my season by a stupid fall. That after a winter in which everything went perfectly,” he said.
Italian Corratec Team is a Reality
The recently established Team Corratec has great ambitions. Team manager Serge Parsani wants a ProTeam license with his Italian team next year. This year Corratec will debut in the peloton with a Continental license.
The most famous Corratec riders this season are the Serbs Dusan Rajovic and Veljko Stojnić, who had professional experience with Delko and Vini Zabù. In addition, nine Italians, José Pitti from Panama, Oscar Téllez from Colombia and Preslav Balabanov from Bulgaria are part of the team.
“After spending a few years with the family, I am very happy to be back. Cycling has always been my world,” former cyclist Serge Parsani, now 69 years old, told Tuttobiciweb. “I will mainly work behind the desk, but with the same enthusiasm as when I was a rider and then a mechanic. We have brought a serious project to life and found a group of riders who will give us great satisfaction.”
According to Parsani, the team still has to grow. “I don’t want to hide our ambition. That is to make the leap next season in the category. We are aiming for ProTeam status,” he said. “We know very well that we have a lot of work to do. We have to focus on the season with the boys, led by Francesco Frassi. On the other hand, we must continue to build on this project. It’s a big challenge, but I’m ready to take it on.”
In the Vuelta al Tachira (UCI 2.2) in Venezuela, Team Corratec, sponsored by the German bicycle brand of the same name and based in Tuscany, will make its first appearance in the peloton. Last year Vini Zabù rode on Corratec bicycles.
Corratec race frame:
Presentation 2022: J.F. Bourlart: “Pursue the Dream of Winning Big Races”
During its official presentation held in Albir (Alicante) this Friday, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux unveiled its ambitions for the 2022 season to the press and partners. The team led by Jean-François Bourlart is heading for its second year as a World Team, with a squad of 29 riders from twelve different nationalities.
Jean-François Bourlart (CEO): “Each year, we aspire to reach a milestone while keeping our feet on the ground, because we know where we come from. The secret of our success is that we have remained a united group over the years, like a family whose sights are set in the same direction. Everyone shares the same values, whether it’s staff, riders or partners, and that’s what makes us strong. We start 2022 with the same dream that has driven us since the launch of our project, which is winning big races, while remaining realistic. As a Belgian World Team, we have the ambition to shine in the classics and that is why we have recruited, among others, a rider of the caliber of Alexander Kristoff. We want to influence the finals more and get as close as possible to the podiums. The team had great moments in the Giro and the Vuelta, now we want to do the same in the Tour de France. The first week, featuring great stages in Denmark, northern France and Binche, drives us to display great ambitions. ”
“Last year, the arrival of title partner Intermarché alongside our historical partners helped us in making this leap to the World Tour level. Intermarché has truly felly in love with cycling after a first year with us and now wishes to become a major actor in the peloton in the years to come. Together, we want to continue to grow this project, from this year the support of the Belgian subsidiary is associated with the French. And this ambition does not stop at the World Tour because the wish is, in the long term, to extend the structure with women’s and continental development teams. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux is the first Walloon team in the World Tour and that is why we want to be a driving force for the Walloon Region. Thanks to fundraising at the end-of-season Gala, we have released a budget for youth teams who replied to our call for projects. It’s about helping these clubs, mentoring young riders and identifying talent. It is also the role of a World Tour team to get them on the bike and offer them dreams.”
Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager): “We have planned this season with a clear strategy and suitable preparation. We want to be front and center during the classics, which is why our core has been strengthened in quality. We also focused our attention on the sprint trains dedicated to Alexander Kristoff, Biniam Girmay and Gerben Thijssen. This is an area we want to improve in 2022, to bring us closer to victory. With Lorenzo Rota and Quinten Hermans, we also have solid arguments for the Ardennes classics. The motto for this season will be the same as the previous year, meaning continue our progress. This progress takes place on several fronts: nutrition, equipment, the Performance team, the investment in preparation with training camps. This requires many changes. Thanks to the friendly atmosphere that reigns in the team, these changes are greatly facilitated. We are lucky to have a close-knit group, supervised by a strong sports management with great experience. We are aware of our means, and with humility we will try to do even better than in 2021.”
Alexander Kristoff: “I’m heading to this new season with a great feeling. The atmosphere in the team is very different from what I have experienced in the past, the riders and the staff are close together and I already feel very good there. I like the equipment and I can’t wait to compete in my first races. I am also delighted to finally be part of a Belgian team, a country that I love and that I consider my second homeland. I like the project led by Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, which has shown me its total confidence. Of course, with the responsibilities comes a certain pressure, but it’s something I’m used to. My first objective will be to shine on the classics, for that I want to reach my form in March. The Tour de France will of course be important for me, and also the Worlds because the route suits me.”
Taco Van der Hoorn: “I have great memories of 2021, with my victories in the Giro d’Italia, the Benelux Tour and the Omloop van het Houtland. The stage victory at the Giro, especially, is a moment that will be difficult to replicate as it meant so much to me and to the team. What made this magnificent success possible was the trust the team placed in me. I was selected for the Giro, then they identified the third stage as a potential opportunity for a breakaway and I received the support of the team to take on this role. We also have the best equipment, and the preparation was ideal thanks to the altitude training camps. Doing as well as 2021 will be a big challenge. But I do not intend to change my plans because I dream of other great victories. Winning breakaways requires having luck on your side, for the same price my 2021 victories fail a kilometre from the finish. I am ready to slip into the breakaways again in 2022, but also to help my teammates as much as possible.”
Gerben Thijssen: “From the first contact with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, I immediately felt the confidence it places in me as a sprinter. I was welcomed with open arms during the first two training camps, I even had fun while building the form for this season. In this family atmosphere, I am convinced that I can flourish because I feel transformed. I will have many opportunities to express myself, with the support of my new entourage and the advice of riders like Alexander Kristoff, I can’t wait to pin my first IWG shirt at Etoile de Bessèges”
Biniam Girmay: “My silver medal at the Worlds in Leuven turned out to be a turning point for my country but also for my career. From now on, the expectations will be high and the motivation too. This season, the big goal will be the Giro d’Italia, my very first Grand Tour. I have a very good race program with several monuments in particular, and I will take advantage of Alexander Kristoff’s experience in a race like Milan-San Remo, which he has won in the past. I have felt at home since I joined Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux and the atmosphere, both friendly and professional, allows me to progress serenely. I’m ready for my debut at the Mallorca Challenge.”
Louis Meintjes: “The team gave me their trust from the first days and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted this new start in 2021. Since then, I have done everything to reward this trust and it has resulted in a fine performance in the Tour de France. At the Vuelta, without the bad luck, the top 10 seemed within my reach. I approach 2022 with renewed ambitions, the target will be to achieve good results, whatever the event. My attention will be mainly focused on the general classification of the Grand Tours, and a top 10 on the Tour de France would be the perfect scenario.”
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 2022:
Bystrom Sven Erik
De Gendt Aimé
Van der Hoorn Taco
Van Kessel Corné
Van Melsen Kevin
Van Poppel Boy
De Neef Steven
Van der Schueren Hilaire
Uno-X Applies for Tour de France Wildcard
Uno-X wants to go to the Tour de France next year. The Norwegian ProTeam, which previously announced that it would like to be part of the WorldTour in 2023, has requested a wildcard for La Grand Boucle. Since French teams such as TotalEnergies and B&B Hotels p/b KTM are also in the running for the last two places in the Tour, the chances of selection is small.
Team manager Jens Haugland: “It’s not very likely, so we have low expectations,” he realistically told Feltet.dk. “But we have the dream, and I think we deserve it. A rider like Lasse Norman Hansen deserves to ride the prologue in Copenhagen. In addition, all cycling crazy Norwegians and Danes want as many compatriots as possible to start in Denmark.”
The team had a strong 2021, but saw riders leave at the end of the season. Markus Hoelgaard (Trek-Segafredo), Julias Johansen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Johan Price-Pejtersen (Bahrain Victorious), Frederik Rodenberg and Jonas Hvideberg (both DSM) made the step to the WorldTour.
In the meantime three riders also returned from that level: Jonas Gregaard (Astana-Premier Tech), Niklas Eg (Trek-Segafredo) and Lasse Norman Hansen (Qhubeka NextHash). At the same time, the twin brothers Anders Halland Johannessen and Tobias Halland Johannessen, the winner of the 2021 Tour de l’Avenir, moved up from the training team.
Tobias Halland Johannessen:
Queen Stage of the Tour of Valencia Finishes on an Unpaved Climb
This year’s Tour of Valencia has a Queen Stage with an uphill finish over unpaved sections. On the Alto Antenas del Maigmó, the overall classification of the stage race will probably be decided, the organisers announced on Thursday.
The last part of the Antenas del Maigmó climb, which has an average gradient of 10%, is unpaved. In total there is a 3 kilometre stretch on gravel roads to the top of the climb. “We had been looking for a climb with a finish on unpaved roads for several years now,” said course designer Paco Benitez. “And we finally found one. It will be spectacular.”
The first stage also has a lot of climbing, with the second category Torralba del Pinar climb just before the final. On the second day it goes up and down constantly, but this stage seems suitable for the stronger sprinters. Then the Queen Stage is on day three, followed by two stages for the sprinters in Torrevieja and Valencia,
The organisers announced the 23 participating teams at the beginning of February. Remco Evenepoel, Jakob Fuglsang, Vincenzo Nibali, David De la Cruz and Alejandro Valverde will be on the start line.
Tour of Valencia 2022 (2-6 February):
Stage 1: Les Alqueries – Torralba del Pinar (166.7 km)
Stage 2: Bétera – Torrent (172.1 km)
Stage 3: Alicante – Antenas del Maigmó (155.1 km)
Stage 4: Orihuela – Torrevieja (193.1 km)
Stage 5: Paterna – Valencia (92.0km).
Teams for Valencia:
Tour of Catalonia Gives Uno-X a Wildcard, Alpecin-Fenix Missing
The organisers of the Tour of Catalonia has announced seven wildcards for this year. The most notable squad to receive an invite is Uno-X. It is the first ever WorldTour race for the Norwegian team. Alpecin-Fenix automatically received a wildcard, but declined to ride the Spanish race.
In addition to Uno-X, which impressed last year with an attacking style, Gazprom-RusVelo and Arkéa-Samsic are also invited and of course the four Spanish ProTeams: Burgos-BH, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Equipo Kern Pharma and Euskaltel-Euskadi. A total of 25 teams are at the start of the Volta a Catalunya, because the eighteen WorldTeams are obliged to participate. The WorldTour stage race will be held from March 21-27. The route of the Tour of Catalonia was presented in November, including two mountain stages to La Molina and the Boí Taüll ski station.
Teams for Catalunya:
Saudi Tour: Vertical Climb Towards the Sky in Alula
A novelty is looming in the yet recent history of major bike races held in the Middle East – since the beginning of the 21st century – as the Saudi Tour will get to know its outcome on a very steep climb on the eve of the grand finale. The technical director compares the ascent to the Skyviews of Harrat Uwayrid to the Angliru of La Vuelta! The 4km long climb includes 2.7km at 12% and a part with a gradient of 22%, leading to a lunar style plateau that offers stunning views over the valley of AlUla, the hub of the second edition of the event supported by the government of Saudi Arabia.
There is still an unchanging tradition in the Middle East races and the beginning of the international cycling season: it’s party time for the sprinters. Three out five stages suit them, the first, third and fifth, in a rhythm that refutes monotony. The 2022 Saudi Tour will kick off at Winter Park, the starting point for many of AlUla’s flagship experiences, including nature and adventure, arts and visits to Hegra, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, transport to Harrat Uwayrid to observe the oasis, landscapes and concerts of renowned world stars. Winter, which runs from mid-October to mid-March in Saudi Arabia, is the highlight of the visitor season for its pleasant climate (5° at night, 17° to 25° in the day time).
These are the conditions forecast for Stage 1, which is the longest of the Saudi Tour, over almost 200km. It’s also the most scenic one. The route will be special because of 7.5km sector of gravel wide road (8 metres) where the riders will be filmed in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It will be the place for the bonus sprint of the day, two other intermediate sprints being contested on every stage. “It can be windy”, technical director warned. “Stage 1 has 1 200 metres of elevation. 80% of the course is false flat but the last 20km are pan flat.”
Stage 2 is set to be “a terrain for strong men”. A beautiful finale is promised, not only because of the breath-taking landscape. Following many ups and downs, the pan flat last 500 metres will come after 1.7km of climbing at an average gradient of 9%. It makes it a decisive stage for the overall classification. Stage 3 – a smoother one – will take the riders from Tayma Hadaj Well – one of the biggest wells of Saudi Arabia – to AlUla Old Town, in front of the castle, at the end of 1km long straight line. The same finish will be repeated on the conclusive stage.
The most anticipated Stage 4 to the Skyviews of Harrat Uwayrid offers the contrast of a pan flat road before the last 40km. The riders will see the mountain from far out without knowing how to approach it. “The finale is superb and really very hard”, the organisers described.
Ø The second edition of the Saudi Tour, a 2.1 stage race on the UCI calendar sanctioned by the Saudi Arabia Cycling Federation, will feature five stages, including three suitable for sprinters, from 1st to 5th February.
Ø The route, located in the northern part of the country around the wonders of AlUla, is more demanding than in 2020, due to a 22% gradient climb towards the Skyviews of Harrat Uwayrid.
Ø The stages of the 2022 Saudi Tour:
Stage 1: Winter Park – Winter Park, 198km
Stage 2: Taibah University – Abu Rakha, 163.9km
Stage 3: Tayma Hadaj Well – AlUla Old Town, 181.2km
Stage 4: Winter Park – Skyviews of Harrat Uwayrid, 149.3km
Stage 5: AlUla Old Town – AlUla Old Town, 138.9km
Ø The 16 teams selected
The eight selected UCI WorldTeams:
Bahrain Victorious (BRN)
Bora – Hansgrohe (GER)
Lotto Soudal (BEL)
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team (BEL)
Team BikeExchange – Jayco (AUS)
Team DSM (NED)
UAE Team Emirates (UAE).
The five UCI ProTeams selected:
B&B Hotels – KTM (FRA)
Team Arkéa – Samsic (FRA)
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team (NOR).
These 13 teams will be joined by the first three teams of the 2021 UCI Asia Tour:
Kuwait Pro Cycling Team (KWT)
Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team (MYS)
Vino SKO Team (KAZ).
Bernie Eisel Reveals the 2022 Tour of the Alps: “Open and Unpredictable with a Stunning Background”
The former Austrian rider revealed the Euroregional race’s course to be “Challenging and beautiful. Climbers will show off, but many will have the chance to shine.”
Bernie Eisel would have hardly had the Tour of the Alps on his calendar during his racing days. Once a key domestique to fast men like Mark Cavendish and GC leaders like Chris Froome, the Austrian became a well-respected TV presenter at Eurosport after finishing his racing career and has now joined the technical staff of the BORA-hansgrohe team.
Highly regarded as a road captain in the pro peloton, Eisel is now equally impressive for his sharp analysis in front of the TV cameras. The Austrian unveiled the key racecourse sections as well as the inherent beauty of the Tirol-Südtirol/Alto Adige-Trentino Euroregion during video previews of the five-stage 2022 Tour of the Alps (April 18-22, 2022).
Eisel rode all five stages from the start in Cles, Trentino to the grand finale in Lienz, Tirol. “I was impressed by the setting and the views. The course passes through incredible venues, starting with Melinda’s apple orchards and crosses peaks and valleys full of charm. The route is varied, challenging, and fascinating. It may be because I’ve taken the number off my back, but this was arguably the most beautiful ride I’ve done in a long time.”
On a technical level, the Austrian predicts an open race with opportunities for riders with different abilities, though a climber is expected to succeed Simon Yates in the race’s list of winners. “There aren’t any impossible climbs or prohibitive elevations, but there’s no doubt that the winner of the Tour of the Alps will be a strong climber.”
“The race’s highest point is the Passo Rolle, at just over 2000 meters high. The stage finishes are often characterised by shorter and more explosive climbs, which will give opportunities to punchy riders, not only pure climbers.”
Eisel has closely followed the recent evolution of the Tour of the Alps, thanks to an increasing level of participation and a different mindset by the riders taking part in it.
“The TotA took over from the Giro del Trentino as the dress rehearsal for the Giro d’Italia, but now you can view it as a standalone race. The Tour of the Alps is a significant victory for any rider; this is also reflected in the growing media coverage,” Eisel said.
“I’m a really big fan of shorter stages and racing at lower elevations, thus avoiding the risk of having a stage canceled or needing a plan B to stay down low and maintain the race’s technical aspects. As demonstrated in previous editions of the Tour of the Alps, short stages also succeed in keeping the race open – there’s always an opportunity to upset the standings and fight for the jersey until the final day.”
The five stage preview videos featuring Bernhard Eisel will be published on the Tour of the Alps’ official digital channels. The first episode, which highlights the opening stage from Cles to Primiero/San Martino di Castrozza, is already available online on the Tour of the Alps’ official website, Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram channels.
2022 Tour of the Alps’ Program:
Monday, April 18th
Stage 1: Cles-Primiero/S. Martino di Castrozza, 160,9 Km
Elevation Gain: 2950 m.
Tuesday, April 19th
Stage 2: Primiero/S. Martino di Castrozza-Lana, 154,1 Km
Elevation Gain: 3200 m.
Wednesday, April 20th
Stage 3: Lana-Niederdorf/Villabassa, 154,6 Km
Elevation Gain: 3050 m.
Thursday, April 21st
Stage 4: Niederdorf/Villabassa-Kals am Groβglockner, 142,4 Km
Elevation Gain: 2400 m.
Friday, April 22nd
Stage 5: Lienz-Lienz, 115,9 Km
Elevation Gain: 2300 m.
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