Missing the Tour de France? We all are. Good news for Mitchelton-Scott – Top Story. Race reports from the Virtual Tour. Clarification on the Manuela Fundación from Gerry Ryan. Rider news from: Geraint Thomas, Egan Bernal, Remco Evenepoel, Nairo Quintana, Jasper Stuyven, Romain Bardet, Anthony Turgis, Jefferson Alexander Cepeda, Jakob Fuglsang, Koen de Kort, Sep Vanmarcke, Richard Carapaz and Jhonatan Narvaez. Team news form Lotto Soudal, French national team, AG2R-La Mondiale, Bora-Hansgrohe, Groupama-FDJ, Deceuninck – Quick-Step, NTT and Movistar. Race news from Milan-Sanremo, Tour of Portugal, Colorado Classic, BinckBank Tour and the E3 BinckBank Classic. Plus US Pro Cycling and Patrick Lefevere talk covid-19. We finish with Peter Sagan singing opera. Monday EUROTRASH coffee time.
TOP STORY: Mitchelton-Scott Guaranteed Until the End of 2022
The future of Mitchelton-Scott seems to be secure until the end of 2022. Sports director Matthew White said in a podcast by Australian SBS that owner Gerry Ryan is committed to the men’s and women’s WorldTour teams.
Several members of the team informed Velonews that more will soon be known about the future of Mitchelton-Scott, which has been involved in an acquisition soap with the Spanish Manuela Fundación in recent weeks. Gerry Ryan personally brushed that deal off and said goodbye to team manager Shayne Bannan, who was instrumental in those negotiations. Brent Copeland, meanwhile, has been recruited as his replacement.
According to sports director White, peace has returned to Mitchelton-Scott. “The big difference is clearly the commitment of Gerry Ryan. Everyone in the organisation, from young to old, knows that if Gerry says something, it will happen. There were a few weeks when the story with Manuela Fundación played out that there were many questions about the foundation. It was a shaky period. We knew nothing about the sponsor, and nothing about the man,” referring to Francisco Huertas. “It is a foundation that does not yet exist. That’s why Gerry Ryan’s current assurance for the next two years is reassuring.
This certainty also allows Mitchelton-Scott management to renew contracts and attract riders. White does not think that many changes will take place. “Our teams will have about the same setup in the coming years. Little will change among the riders or the staff.”
More wins for Mitchelton-Scott in 2020:
Virtual Tour de France
The Queen Stage 5 of the Virtual Tour de France has seen Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv) claim summit victories on Saturday. NTT Pro Cycling placed all four of their riders in the top 7 of the stage to increase their lead on the general classification. In the women’s race, Moolman-Pasio took the win ahead of the wearer of the yellow jersey Sarah Gigante, followed by her teammate Lauren Stephens. Their team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank opens a massive overall gap on the eve of the final stage, on the Champs-Élysées circuit.
French star Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), American climber Katie Hall (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team), Australian ITT World champion Rohan Dennis (Team Ineos)… 150 riders (88 males and 62 females) are part of the pelotons riding stage 5 of the Virtual Tour de France on Saturday, as part of the solidarity events aiming to raise funds for charity partners. They take on 22.9km with a massive climb replicating on Zwift the slopes of the infamous Mont Ventoux.
The women go first and Kirsten Wild (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team) enjoys the opening flat stretch to show her power, already pushing 628 watts in the intermediate sprint. The Dutch rider then lets the pure climbers steal the show in the final 14 uphill kilometres. The pace is hard from the bottom and the British rider Dani Christmas (Lotto-Soudal) momentarily opens a gap before Sarah Gigante’s Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio’s CCC-Liv reel her in.
With the support of her husband Carl Pasio (a renowned mountain-biker) to hydrate herself, Moolman-Pasio makes a move inside the last 6km and only Gigante manages to follow her with the yellow jersey on her shoulders. Keeping up with the solid reputation she built on Zwift in the recent weeks, Moolman-Pasio eventually takes the win with a 23” gap to Gigante. Lauren Stephens (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) finishes 3rd, trailing by 1’53”.
With two riders on the podium, Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank tops the overall standings with 409 points on the eve of the final stage. Drops Cycling have 252 points and Canyon//SRAM Racing are third with 247.
Woods vs NTT
The men’s race is also up to a flying start. Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale) dominates the intermediate sprint. Then it’s up to the best climbers as Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling Team) tears the race into pieces. Riding from their team’s headquarters in Lucca (Italy), Domenico Pozzovivo and Louis Meintjes (NTT Pro Cycling) are the last ones to follow the Canadian rider. Their teammates Stefan De Bod and Ben O’Connor are also in the front positions, alongside Eddie Dunbar (Ineos).
Woods keeps going and his consistent effort around 7 watts/kg is too much for every one. He goes solo in the last 3km to take victory ahead of three NTT riders: Pozzovivo, Meintjes and the youngster Stefan De Bod. Ben O’Connor completes this collective performance with a place of 7th.
NTT’s efforts are rewarded with a strong lead on the general classification: 391 points for the African team, while Rally Cycling have 219. EF Pro Cycling are third with 175 points on the eve of the Champs-Élysées parade.
Woman’s Stage Result:
1. A. Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv) in 57:13
Men’s Stage Result:
1. M. Woods (EF Pro Cycling) in 46:04
Virtual Tour de France 2020 – Stage 5 – Highlights:
The 6th and final stage of the Virtual Tour de France has seen victories from Will Clarke (Trek-Segafredo) and the wearer of the yellow jersey Lauren Stephens (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank). The Australian rider, Clarke out-sprinted Filippo Ganna (Ineos) and the men’s yellow jersey Ryan Gibbons, whose team NTT Pro Cycling dominates the overall standings at the end of this first edition. In the women’s race, the American team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank sealed the overall victory.
Hello Paris! The sixth and final stage of the virtual Tour de France brings together 147 riders (63 women and 84 men) for six circuit laps (6.6 km) on the famous Champs-Élysées course, reproduced on the roads of Zwift as part of operations Solidarity Tour de France to raise funds for charitable organizations. Among the participants, Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) has already achieved success in Paris by winning La Course by Le Tour in 2014.
The women’s peloton quickly entered the Parisian roads and immediately imposed great intensity thanks to the intermediate sprints contested on each lap. Already seen the day before on the slopes of Mont Ventoux, Dani Christmas (Lotto Soudal) is also showing its advantage on completely different terrain: the British impose a tempo at more than 5 watts / kg from the first kilometers. It is still there, with a power of more than 8 watts / kg, to lead the last two intermediate sprints.
A group of 23 contenders appears in the last lap, with the prospect of a royal sprint on the Champs. And in this great game, Lauren Stephens (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) did honor to her yellow jersey by offering herself a prestigious victory, with a peak of 13.1 watts / kg in the final sprint!
This stage victory confirms the dominance of Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank in the overall standings. The American team won the first edition of the virtual Tour de France with 499 points, ahead of Team Twenty20 (306 pts) and Drops Cycling (292 pts).
The men’s race follows a similar format, with an increasingly intense pace over the laps. The yellow jersey Ryan Gibbons finds himself at the head of the peloton at mid-race, with an average power of 5.4 watts / kg in the first 25 kilometers.
While the four-time winner of the Tour de France Chris Froome (Ineos) competes from the heights of the Teide volcano in the Canary Islands, the Belgian Gijs van Hoecke (CCC Pro Team) shines in the intermediate sprints. The intensity of the efforts gradually reduced the peloton: there were 34 riders for the last lap.
Bruno Armirail and Benjamin Thomas (Groupama-FDJ) try to get out 1km from the line to surprise the sprinters. They are finally taken up by Edvald Boasson Hagen (NTT Pro Cycling Team), regularly placed in the top 5 of the last stage of the Tour de France on the Champs-Élysées. But the Norwegian must once again bow, with Will Clarke (Trek-Segafredo) winning ahead of Filippo Ganna (Ineos) and Gibbons.
NTT Pro Cycling Team largely dominates the general classification of this first edition with 500 points. Rally Cycling follows with 267 points and Trek-Segafredo completes the podium (232 points).
Women’s Stage Result:
1. L. Stephens (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank) in 56:38
Men’s Stage Result:
1. W. Clarke (Trek-Segafredo) in 51:44
Gerry Ryan: “Manuela Fundación could have sponsorship, but not ownership”
A month ago, team owner Gerry Ryan ended the takeover of his Mitchelton-Scott team by the Spanish Manuela Fundación. The Australian businessman was unable to agree to the terms of the agreement.
In mid-June, it was announced that Mitchelton-Scott was rebranded as Manuela Fundación and riding new black-pink jerseys. Negotiations were conducted on behalf of the team by General Manager Shayne Bannan and Financial Director Alvaro Crespi. But when team manager Ryan looked at the paperwork, he realised that the Spanish foundation would also own the team. A few days later it was announced that the deal was over.
“I wasn’t fully involved in the deal and when I went to look at it… it wasn’t the deal I thought it was. I decided, no, they can have sponsorship but not ownership,” said Ryan in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald. Francisco Huertas, chairman of Manuela Fundación, has never spoken. “Bannan did that. I had no correspondence apart from a few emails with the top man.”
According to Ryan, the problem was that everything was done via teleconference service Zoom. “What happened, he had a team of advisors and I think many things were misunderstood in translation about what they were looking for and what we were looking for. I got to the conversation pretty late. The deal was basically done, but had not yet received my blessing. In the end I pulled the plug.”
Earlier this month, it was announced that Mitchelton-Scott replaced its management. Bannan and Crespi, who were involved in the talks with Manuela Fundación, were replaced by Brent Copeland and Darach McQuaid. “Bannan decided to leave because it had collapsed. Shayne was very straight forward and said ‘I’ve brought the team to this level and I think it probably needs a fresh look and a new direction’.”
Unused clothing going cheap:
Two Stage Races for Geraint Thomas in the Run-up to the Tour
Geraint Thomas is warming up for the Tour de France with the Tour de l’Ain (August 7-9) and the Critérium du Dauphiné (August 12-16). “After the Dauphiné, I will explore a few more Tour stages,” according to the 2018 Tour winner.
This means that the Team Ineos rider will start the Tour de France with eight race days. “The team will start the season on August 1, but I will race for the first time during the Tour de l’Ain.” The last stage, with the finish on the Grand Colombier, is very similar to the 15th stage in the Tour de France.
“That’s why I choose the Tour de l’Ain,” said Thomas, who will then participate in the Critérium du Dauphiné. The 34-year-old rider managed to win this important preparation race two years ago. “After the shortened version of the Dauphiné, I will explore a few more Tour Rides. And then it is only a week until the Tour start.”
Thomas does not start as an absolute leader in the Tour de France (August 29-September 20), as he has to share the lead with defending champion Egan Bernal and four-time winner Chris Froome. The latter has indicated that he will leave Team Ineos for Israel Start-Up Nation next season.
How will the Tour go for Thomas?
Bernal on the 2020 Tour de France
Egan Bernal, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas will probably start the Tour de France with Team Ineos at the end of August. The question is whether the British team can function with three leaders. “We are professionals and will not do stupid things,” Bernal said to Velonews.
Bernal is the reigning Tour winner, Thomas won the Tour two years ago and Froome is a four-time winner of the most important event of the season. They all have the ambition to win the Tour de France. Nevertheless, Bernal believes in good cooperation. “I get paid to race for Team Ineos and not Egan Bernal. We are well aware that Team Ineos must win the Tour. That’s what it’s all about. We will not do bad things with the result that the team is eliminated for the Tour victory. We are professionals and we know how to win the Tour. We are friends and understand each other well.”
Froome and Bradley Wiggins showed in 2012 how not to do it, but Bernal is not afraid of miscommunication and internal tensions. “The solution is simple. It is up to the team to determine, based on the last results, whether we start with one leader, leave with two leaders or work with a protected rider.”
“I am willing to help Froome or Thomas if necessary. I am sure that they are also in it. The decision will ultimately fall into the race itself. It is a matter of patience.” On Sunday Bernal flies to Europe with other Colombian riders. In the run-up to the Tour (August 29-September 20), Bernal will ride La Route d’Occitanie, the Tour de l’Ain and the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Evenepoel Will Not Ride Druivenkoers and Brussels Cycling Classic
Remco Evenepoel will bridge the period between the European Time Trial Championships in Plouay (August 24) and Tirreno-Adriatico (September 7-14) with an extra altitude training camp, Het Laatste Nieuws reports. This means that he will not participate in the Druivenkoers and the Brussels Cycling Classic.
The Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider opts for an extra altitude training camp ahead of the World championships in Switzerland and the Giro d’Italia. Evenepoel will now miss the Druivenkoers and the Brussels Cycling Classic, but will still participate in the Belgian time trial championships in Koksijde next month (20 August).
The Latest News announces that Evenepoel does not have to participate in the road race in Anzegem (September 22), where the riders compete for the national road title. Belgian Cycling uses an exception measure. This means for Evenepoel that he can continue to focus on the World Cup on the road, even after the World Time Trial Championships.
Evenepoel is currently with his Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates in the Italian Val di Fassa. The young rider is preparing in the Dolomites for the restart of the cycling season. Evenepoel restarts in the Tour of Burgos, followed by the Tour of Poland and the Tour of Lombardy.
What will 2020 bring for Remco?
Quintana Resumes Season in Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge
Nairo Quintana has decided to still participate in the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge, his team Arkéa-Samsic reports. The climber’s race will be held on Thursday, August 6.
It was previously announced that Quintana would participate in the Tour de l’Ain (August 7-9) and the Critérium du Dauphiné (August 12-16) for the Tour de France (August 29-September 20). However, the Colombian climber is starting his season with the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge.
The peloton has been warned, as Quintana already dominated the slopes of Mont Ventoux before the corona break. The riders rode in the Tour de La Provence to the ski station Chalet Reynard, a few kilometres below the summit of Mont Ventoux, but Quintana still managed to cycle behind its opponents.
The provisional list of participants also features the names of Richie Porte, Bauke Mollema, Romain Bardet, Miguel Ángel López and Fabio Aru. Last year, the victory went to Jesús Herrada (Cofidis). The Spaniard is also present this year.
Quintana wins in Provence:
Stuyven Races from Burgos to Paris-Roubaix
A busy autumn program for Jasper Stuyven. The Trek-Segafredo rider, who has extended his contract until the end of 2022, will start in the Tour of Burgos on July 28 and continue until the end of October. Then Paris-Roubaix is his last race on October 25.
Between Burgos and Roubaix we see the classic leader of Trek-Segafredo in action in the Tour of Poland, the Tour de France, the BK cycling, the Cyclassics in Hamburg, Gent-Wevelgem, the Scheldeprijs, the Tour of Flanders and the Three Days Bruges-De Panne.
“I hope to resume the season how I ended it, and especially with some good results in the classics,” says Stuyven, who won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad at the end of February. “But I also want to participate and hunt for the victory in other big games.”
Stuyven joined Trek Factory Racing in 2014. He is currently the rider who has been the longest employed by the WorldTour team from America. “I am very happy that I can continue racing here, because I feel at home in this team. We are not only colleagues, but also friends outside the bicycle.”
“I have known Trek for a long time when I was still in the training team. It is nice to be the longest sitting rider. That shows that I am happy here and that I feel valued and respected.”
Jasper Stuyven 2020 Program:
Tour of Burgos (July 28-August 1)
Tour of Poland (August 5-9)
Tour de France (August 29-September 20)
Belgian road champs (September 22)
Cyclassics Hamburg (October 3)
Gent-Wevelgem (11 October)
Scheldeprijs (October 14)
Tour of Flanders (October 18)
Three-day Bruges-De Panne (October 21)
Paris-Roubaix (October 25).
Het Nieuwsblad winner – Jasper Stuyven:
Bardet On Teammate Latour
AG2R-La Mondiale will start the Tour de France with two leaders at the end of August. Romain Bardet will have to share the leadership with Pierre Latour. “The team now has several cards to play with. That is only good,” Bardet told L’Equipe.
Bardet should have made his debut in the Giro d’Italia this year, but the cycling calendar was completely overhauled due to the corona crisis. “It was a big blow to cycling and therefore also to AG2R-La Mondiale. It is the reason that I will still participate in the Tour this year, at the request of the team. I think it is no more than normal.”
“I am also a real racer and I don’t like to be at home during the Tour. It is also the best preparation race for the World championships in Switzerland,” said Bardet, who has already been on the Tour podium twice in the past. In 2016 he finished second behind Chris Froome, a year later he finished third.
This year he will have to share the leadership with Latour, who won the white young rider’s jersey. “We cannot speak of a specific hierarchy. In 2020 it is good to start the Tour with several pawns. We complement each other well and will not get in each other’s way. We don’t have to bear the course either.”
Both riders seem to be busy on the contract front. Latour may choose a new adventure with Total Direct Energie, while Bardet has been linked to Team Sunweb. “I’ve already thought about my future, but nothing has been decided yet. The season has not even started yet.”
Bardet to sign with Sunweb:
Turgis With Total Direct Energie to the End of 2022
Anthony Turgis will continue to race for Total Direct Energie for two more years. The 26-year-old Frenchman’s contract with the ProTeam was expiring at the end of this year, he made his debut for Direct Energie in 2019.
Turgis had two victories last season, he was the best in the French one-day races GP Marseillaise and Paris-Chauny. He also finished second behind Mathieu van der Poel in the semi-classic Dwars door Vlaanderen.
After four seasons at Cofidis, Turgis immediately left his mark at Direct Energie. “I quickly felt comfortable with the team, which really helped me to have a good season,” he said. “We trust each other, so there is no reason for me to leave now.”
Chances are that the rider, from a suburb of Paris, will ride the Tour de France this year. He is part of the pre-selection. “I am also very interested in the Flemish classics. That is a goal that we have all set together. I hope to be at my best level there.”
Anthony Turgis – Second to Mathieu van der Poel in the Dwars door Vlaanderen:
Jefferson Alexander Cepeda Stuck in Ecuador
Richard Carapaz and Jhonatan Narvaez have already made the trip to Europe, but fellow countryman Jefferson Alexander Cepeda is stuck in Ecuador. The Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec rider hopes to make the flight to Europe as soon as possible.
The 22-year-old Cepeda recently obtained a visa, but the promising climber was not allowed to leave the country. His Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec team sent the wrong document to the Ecuadorian embassy. “We are now looking for a solution,” Cepeda told EFE news agency.
The rider now hopes to send the correct document as soon as possible. Cepeda is also trying to enlist the help of the Ecuadorian embassy in Italy so that he can fly to Europe this Monday. “I would like to train in the Sierra Nevada, followed by some races in Italy and France.”
However, there is a chance that Cepeda will have to stay in Ecuador even longer, hoping to board a plane to Europe at the end of July. The promising rider managed to get into the spotlight last year during the Tour de l’Avenir as he won the final mountain stage to Le Corbier.
Cepeda is not the only rider of Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec not allowed to leave his home country. Kevin Rivera is not allowed to leave Costa Rica, because the European Union will not let travellers in from the Central American country because of the corona virus. Several people from Costa Rica are working on get Rivera to Europe in time.
Jefferson Alexander Cepeda – Tour de l’Avenir stage winner:
No Lotto Soudal Riders in the European Championship in Plouay
National coaches cannot rely on riders from the Lotto Soudal team for the European Cycling Championship. Due to current corona measures, the Belgian team does not want to remove its riders from the team bubble. “At the European Championship, all nationalities are mixed together. With all due respect for the work of the union and the good intentions and concerns, but you automatically break the bubbles and we don’t want that now,” the team told Het Nieuwsblad.
The European Championship is planned this year from August 24-28 in Plouay, France, but riders such as Tim Wellens, Philippe Gilbert, Thomas De Gendt and John Degenkolb will be missing. They are all due to ride the Tour de France, which starts on August 29 in Nice.
The UCI protocol also states that riders must be tested twice for the coronavirus before they can start, six and three days in advance. After those tests, riders should stay in bubbles. “It’s simple. Once tested, you will stay in your personal bubble and keep aloof at home. Training is allowed, but taking part in a barbecue or going to a restaurant is no longer possible,” said Thomas De Gendt.
Team doctor Philip Jansen of Deceuninck – Quick-Step warns the teams who are fully responsible for testing their own riders. Many teams are looking for laboratories in many countries that deliver good and fast work. In addition, the question is how quickly a test result is received. The costs are also high. “Two tests per rider per race. A test costs forty euros and shipping to the test labs costs another fifty euros,” said Jansen.
No Lotto Soudal riders in Plouay:
Voeckler: “Can’t ask riders to skip the Tour because of Tokyo”
Thomas Voeckler foresees problems if the Tour de France 2021 is not brought forward, because then the Tour will collide with the Olympic road race in Tokyo. “Fair? It is a more than complicated situation,” the coach of the French team told RMC Sport.
“The Olympic Games course is for climbers and the best climbers will also ride the Tour de France,” says Voeckler. “To ask them to skip the Tour in favour of a possible result at the Olympics is almost impossible. That is a great sacrifice. I don’t think I can ask riders that.”
Voeckler explains: “The riders will express their preference themselves. Everyone dreams of the Tour and the Games, but during the Tour you have three weeks to show. And at the Olympic Games only the first three places count,” says the former cyclist.
Organiser ASO has already tried to move the Tour de France, but for the time being the Grand Départ in Copenhagen refuses to participate. “If it remains as it is now, it will be extremely problematic,” says Voeckler. “It makes sense when the best riders ride the Games. So we will have to find a solution.”
French national coach Thomas Voeckler:
AG2R-La Mondiale Offers Three Riders Stagieire Contracts
AG2R-La Mondiale will have three riders from the Chambéry CF training team as stagieires in the rest of the season. Anthony Jullien, Antoine Raugel and Simon Verger are the three, according to DirectVelo.
Jullien (22), the oldest of the three, was a stagieire with the French team last season and was able to participate in the Brussels Cycling Classic, the GP de Fourmies and the Tour de l’Eurométropole. He was also second in the French U23 Championship in 2019 and ninth in the U23 edition of Paris-Tours.
Verger, also 22 years old, stood out last year with the placings in Paris-Roubaix (7th), the French Time Trial Championship (8th) and the Chrono des Nations (6th). Raugel (21) is the youngest of the three, but has repeatedly shown his form, he was also a cyclo-cross rider and was fifth in the U19 category at the European Championship in Pontchâteau (2016).
The three stagieires will join AG2R-La Mondiale on 1 August.
Bora-Hansgrohe Selection for the Tour of Burgos
The Bora-Hansgrohe team has made a provisional selection for the Tour of Burgos. The German formation will have Rafał Majka as the GC leader, Lennard Kämna and Felix Großschartner will also start their season in the north of Spain.
There are two tough mountain stages in Burgos. The organisation has chosen to finish on the Picón Blanco, while the final stage will again end this year on the flanks of Lagunas de Neila. Kämna and Großschartner may also be able to ride a good classification.
The selection also includes climber Matteo Fabbro, Jay McCarthy, and hard rider Lukas Pöstlberger and sprinter Martin Laas. The Spanish stage race starts in a week.
Bora-Hansgrohe for Tour of Burgos (July 28-August 1):
Matteo Fabbro (Ita)
Felix Großschartner (Aust)
Lennard Kämna (Ger)
Martin Laas (Est)
Rafał Majka (Pol)
Jay McCarthy (Aus)
Lukas Pöstlberger (Aust).
Rafał Majka leads Bora-Hansgrohe in Burgos:
Groupama-FDJ has seven names on paper for the Tour of Burgos. The French team names Arnaud Démare, mainly for the sprints, and climber David Gaudu, who finished fourth in the UAE Tour before the corona break.
The team management has confidence in Démare, because the 28-year-old Frenchman can count on a real sprint train with Jacopo Guarnieri, Ignatas Konovalovas, Miles Scotson and Romain Seigle. There are two potential sprint stages in Villadiego and Roa de Duero.
Groupama-FDJ for Tour of Burgos (July 28-August 1):
Arnaud Démare (Fra)
David Gaudu (Fra)
Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita)
Ignatas Konovalovas (Lat)
Miles Scotson (Aus)
Romain Seigle (Fra)
Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned).
It was previously announced that Deceuninck – Quick-Step will have Remco Evenepoel and Sam Bennett in Burgos. Movistar has a strong team with Alejandro Valverde, Enric Mas and Marc Soler.
Sprint wins for Arnaud Démare:
Sprint Training in Val di Fassa
Fabio Jakobsen talked of his preparations at the team’s get-together in Italy and the first races of August.
It’s been a week since Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders and staff members travelled to Val di Fassa, in the Italian Dolomites, for our altitude training camp in preparation of the next part of the altered 2020 season. The mountainous terrain offers ideal training grounds for those who love undulating roads, but meanwhile, also the team’s sprinters and lead-outs have been put to work.
“Riding uphill helps building the general physical condition of the non-climbers too. We have to make sure that they are ready and fit for the first races so that’s what we are doing here. These nice Dolomites climbs are not only ideal training ground for the climbers, but the sprinters get their advantages as well. Aside from the regular, longer training rides, the sprinters are offered specific training sessions to improve their explosiveness and top speed, like motor-pacing or 30-second intervals. You can’t have an altitude training camp without mountains,” explained team trainer Koen Pelgrim.
“But again, it’s good for our sprinters too to let them ride uphill now and build up their general physical condition. They will benefit from this in the coming months. When they get back home after the training camp, they will get a more sprint specific training program for those last couple of days before the races. And, of course, it will be vital to recover well after these two and a half weeks in Val di Fassa.”
One of those sprinters is Dutch Champion Fabio Jakobsen. The 23-year-old showed his great form early in the season, with stage wins in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and the Volta ao Algarve and an emphatic victory in the GP Jean-Pierre Monseré, the team’s last one-day race before the enforced corona break.
“I am glad to be able to say that I’ve already won a couple of races,” he said. “I’m happy with how I was doing; it reassures me to have those victories. I’m now looking forward to showing something in my first upcoming races, the Heistse Pijl and the Tour de Pologne. It’s been a while, but I’m still the same guy who I was in March so it can’t all be gone. We’re four months later, but I have the same goals for the postponed races.”
Val di Fassa is a climber’s paradise, but the altitude training camp offers a good opportunity to the sprinters and classics riders to improve their physical condition which they build up in the past few months. “It’s definitely good for our physical condition,” continued Jakobsen. “I mostly join the others for my training rides, that is the group with the sprinters, lead-outs and classics riders. Sometimes we simulate sprints or we do some specific sprint training sessions and strength exercises in the gym. We’ve also done some motor-pacing on the flat roads in the valley, but at the end of the day we had to get back to the hotel, an 11km climb. Of course, there’s a lot of uphill riding involved in these weeks, with some really tough climbs for me, but it’s excellent for our general physical condition.”
“I will focus even more on my sprint training when I get home,” Fabio added. “Getting stronger in general and building up physical condition is the idea of this training camp. The conditions are excellent, both the weather and the views. A summer training camp with the entire team is something we’ll probably never experience again. It’s nice in a way and I enjoy it. Of course, the corona outbreak is a terrible and sad thing, but I try to focus on the advantages. There was never a complete lockdown in the Netherlands, so I could train outside and visit my family. That was nice, because in a normal season I never get to spend so much time with them.”
Fabio Jakobsen sprint training:
Jakob Fuglsang Does Not Rule Out Early Departure from Astana
Jakob Fuglsang has been extremely successful in the Astana jersey, but the 35-year-old climber does not rule out an early departure. “My big dream is to race for a Danish team next year, given the Tour start in Denmark,” said Fuglsang.
The rider looks to his compatriot Bjarne Riis, who is currently in charge at NTT Pro Cycling. “I don’t know what’s going to happen to NTT, but Bjarne may be able to attract a Danish main sponsor. It would be fantastic to ride for a Danish team in 2021. That’s my dream,” Fuglsang told Tv2.
One problem: Fuglsang is still under contract with Astana next season. “Something strange has to be done. I think I should talk to team manager Alexander Vinokourov about terminating my contract if Bjarne succeeds in bringing in a Danish sponsor. Only, it is something that is not at all on at the moment. I don’t know if I will end my career in Astana or if I will race for a Danish team.”
The Danish climber looks like he may extend his contract. “We are now talking to team manager Alexander Vinokourov,” says Moreno Nicoletti, Fuglsang’s agent and the man who is currently in talks with Astana’s leadership. “We are very close to a contract extension through 2022,” he told Tuttobiciweb. The 35-year-old Fuglsang still has an ongoing contract until 2021.
Carapaz and Narvaez Now in Andorra
Richard Carapaz and Jhonatan Narvaez can now start training in Europe. The Team Ineos riders flew last Wednesday from the Ecuadorian capital Quito to Madrid. They have now traveled to Andorra from the Spanish capital.
In the Principality of Andorra, Carapaz and Narvaez can prepare at altitude for the restart of the season. The Tour of Burgos is already planned for the Giro winner at the end of this month, followed by the Tour of Poland. Then Carapaz will defend his title in the Giro d’Italia, probably with his younger countryman by his side.
Like the Colombian cyclists, Carapaz stayed at home in Ecuador during the corona crisis, but due to the various travel restrictions, the question was whether they could return in time. Because Spain admitted foreign athletes early, Carapaz and Narvaez were able to make the flight this week. This weekend there will be a flight with many Colombian athletes, including the top cyclists.
Carapaz and Narvaez training in Andorra:
Koen de Kort Does Not Want to Stop Just Yet
Koen de Kort is 38 years old when he starts the Giro d’Italia in just over two months. The Dutchman is in the autumn of his career, but he doesn’t want to think about quitting yet. “I’m not done cycling yet.”
And so there is a good chance that De Kort will still be riding in the peloton next season, he said to Bureau Sport. “I’m negotiating to continue for a while. Trek is one of the options. I’m having a good time here.”
However, the Dutchman remains careful. “I assume that I will be in the peloton next season, but of course you never know until the contract is signed,” he continues. “I still like it a lot and I really feel that I can contribute something. If it is not all ready, by the time we start racing, I will prove that during the races that I can still do that.”
“And on the other hand, if it is not so, and I have to stop, I have had a very good career. But I’m not going to assume that for the time being,”said De Kort, who is in his fourth season at Trek-Segafredo.
This season, the Giro d’Italia is the main goal of De Kort, where he wants to lead Vincenzo Nibali to the overall victory together with Pieter Weening. “I’m really looking forward to it. I think it would be very nice to participate again for such a victory and the final classification. That’s really my focus.”
“That’s what I’m doing with training,” he ends. “No lead-outs and sprints, but a lot of uphill training. Training that I can also ride on the front if necessary.”
Koen de Kort in the Tour:
Erik Breukink: “Casartelli accident was a turning point in cycling safety”
It is exactly 25 years ago that Erik Breukink was involved in the crash in the Tour stage to Cauterets, which killed Fabio Casartelli. The former professional cyclist now calls the Italian’s fatal accident a tipping point in the safety of cycling.
Casartelli’s fatal accident on July 18, 1995 threw a black veil over the Queen stage to Cauterets. The young Italian, who would have celebrated his 25th birthday a month later, crashed in the descent of the Portet-d’Aspet. He had hit a concrete barrier with his head, without the protection of a helmet. He died shortly afterwards.
“Certainly in flat stages, many riders almost always wore a helmet afterwards. However, this often did not happen in the mountains,” said Breukink in a conversation with NU.nl. However, it would take until 2003 before the UCI introduced the helmet requirement. A few months earlier, in Paris-Nice, the Kazakh Andrej Kivilev had died of a crash without wearing a helmet.
“When you look back now, it seems very strange. But cyclists even went on strike when the UCI wanted to oblige helmets,” said former Dutch professor who rode for Panasonic, PDM, Once and Rabobank, among others. “Those things used to be very heavy and it just wasn’t comfortable in the heat. Only later were helmets made of lighter material that were more pleasant to wear.”
According to him, cycling is always a danger. “There are still occasional serious accidents. Just think of Bjorg Lambrecht, who fell into a ditch against a concrete pipe and died. Most of the time, if you fall into the ditch, you don’t have any problem with it, but he was unlucky enough to fall against that concrete thing. Just like Casartelli was unlucky with that concrete block.”
The Casartelli Monument:
Patrick Lefevere Estimates Damage by Corona as €3 to #4 million
Patrick Lefevere expects to have lost several million euros at the end of the year, due to the coronavirus, with Deceuninck – Quick-Step. The next three months must be raced, but if the virus leads to cancellations again, it will be a different story.
Lefevere currently estimates the loss of direct income at €1.3 million. “But the year is not yet over. I will only be able to draw up the total balance on December 31. The damage is expected to have risen to three to four million euros,” he said in an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws. He calculated that amount on the basis of a three-month cancelation.
A second economic lockdown would have fatal consequences, the experienced team manager predicts. “If corona paralyses everything again, then we are completely in the shit. You don’t tell any businessman in the world that he should invest without getting anything in return. Sponsors will not continue to pay for our beautiful blue eyes, I fear.”
His sponsors remain loyal to him for the time being. In April, it was announced that Deceuninck will respect the current sponsorship contract until the end of 2021. The Flemish company did, however, give a blow to the arm with regard to a possible extension. Lefevere: “But it shouldn’t stop there. I sincerely hope that there will be a follow-up.”
Sep Vanmarcke on EF Education First
Sep Vanmarcke contract ends with his EF Education First team, but if it is up to him, he will also be riding for the American WorldTour team next season. “My preference at the moment is to sign up.”
“At the moment, however, all conversations about this have stopped. I don’t hear much from my management. Not about our team and not about other teams. Apparently other teams are interested. I wait patiently,” Vanmarcke told Het Nieuwsblad.
EF Education First must continue to exist. Although Vaughters emphatically distanced himself from the rumours that his team was in severe weather, the rumours in the peloton persist.
Vanmarcke does not know, but can imagine that sponsor EF Education First is going through difficult times. “Sponsor Education First sells training and travel. So they are full in the corner where the blows fall. I have no idea what the team is doing now.”
Vanmarcke has confidence in a good outcome. This is also because the Classics rider has experience with previous sponsor problems. “I have experience, yes. Rabobank quit, Belkin quit, Garmin merged with Cervelo, Cannondale… So now it’s half a question again. Honestly, everything has worked out well before. I assume it will be like this again. I have never rushed into it as little as now.”
Vanmarcke currently resides in Livigno, where he finishes the season’s restart. For Vanmarcke this will be in the Tour of Poland, after which he will also ride the Binckbank Tour and Gent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Plus the Canadian races and the European Championship are on his program, but for that last race he has to be selected.
Sep Vanmarcke in Paris-Nice’20:
Movistar Team warms up for 2020 season reboot
Nine of the Blues’ ladies get together in Pamplona on Sunday 19th, just before the start to their ‘new’ season in the Navarra Classics, while eleven men’s team members continue preparations in Pyrenees.
Few days before kicking off their ‘new’ season with the women’s Navarra Classics (Thursday 23rd – Friday 24th), after nearly five months away due to the worst of the still-ongoing health crisis, the Movistar Team is gathering a portion of both its men’s and women’s programs with two training camps in Pamplona and the Pyrenees.
Right next to the headquarters of the Telefónica-backed squad, and before the first three races on home soil – Durango will complete the ‘opening weekend’ for the Blues on July 26th— a nine-woman contingent from the Sebastián Unzué / Jorge Sanz-led squad will get together to fine-tune details before a packed summer calendar. Barbara Guarischi, Katrine Aalerud, Jelena Erić, Alicia González, Eider Merino, Alba Teruel, Sheyla Gutiérrez, Lourdes Oyarbide and Paula Patiño are the riders called up for the training camp.
Further north, and over 2,000 meters above sea level, an eleven-man group has been training for the last ten days and will remain together until just before the Vuelta a Burgos (July 28th – August 1st). The list includes Alejandro Valverde, Enric Mas, Marc Soler, Davide Villella, Imanol Erviti, Dario Cataldo, José Joaquín Rojas, Antonio Pedrero, Lluís Mas, Nelson Oliveira and Carlos Verona.
An altitude camp to improve their form right before the big races loom, all into a tight, 100-day schedule.
Problems for Milan-Sanremo
New problems for the organisation of Milan-Sanremo. Various municipalities have indicated to organiser RCS that they cannot guarantee the closure of several major motorways.
It is due to the large crowds on some motorways. Many tourists use these roads during the summer holidays, such as Via Aurelia, to get to their holiday destination. An additional disadvantage is that Milan-Sanremo is scheduled on a Saturday, the busiest day of the week. Municipalities in the province of Savona therefore think that safety can no longer be maintained.
“I have a lot of respect for the sacred Milan-San Remo cycling race, but this is an absurd situation,” Giancarlo Sanepa, mayor of Borghetto Santo Spirito, told SavonaNews. “Normally we already have many problems on these roads during the summer and now with the corona virus and the organisation of Milan-Sanremo these problems will not be alleviated.”
“It is not possible to continue pressing the same lemon,” he continues. “We already have a thousand problems to deal with. September would be a much better date to host Milan-San Remo.”
The RCS, the police and the province of Savona will carry out a number of (road) inspections in the Savona area in the coming period to pass judgment. Milan-Sanremo is now scheduled for August 8.
On the road to Sanremo:
Tour of Portugal New Date
The Tour of Portugal has found an alternative date (September 27-October 5) for the next edition. The stage race was initially on the calendar from July 29, but was moved due to complications surrounding the safe organisation of the race.
The UCI has new dates for the Tour of Portugal and the plan has already been introduced to Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the President of Portugal. A conversation has already taken place between the government, the president of the Portuguese cycling federation and the director of the Tour of Portugal.
The Tour of Portugal should have been one of the first multi-day UCI races after the resumption of the cycling calendar. At the end of June, the Portuguese cycling federation presented a corona protocol.
In the run-up to the Tour of Portugal, the riders can still gain a racing rhythm in the Troféu Joaquim Agostinho. The race was supposed to start on Saturday, but several members of the organisation had to be quarantined after a corona infection. The race now lasts only two days and will be ridden – after consultation between the organisation, the national cycling federation and the local authorities – on September 19 and 20.
Tour of Portugal to run:
BinckBank Tour 2020 Proposed Course
The route of the BinckBank Tour 2020 was presented in Castle Limbricht in Sittard-Geleen. The Belgian/Dutch race starts on Tuesday September 29 in Blankenberge and ends on Saturday October 3 in Geraardsbergen.
Initially, the BinckBank Tour would take place from August 31 to September 6, but as you know, the corona crisis has led to a thorough redesign of the cycling calendar. Less than a month later than planned, it is still possible to race in the Low Countries, although we are talking about a shortened edition this year.
Race director Rob Discart explains. “As an organisation, we naturally follow the evolution around COVID-19 closely. For our competition we come with a specific protocol in line with the guidelines of the Belgian and Dutch governments as well as in accordance with the advice provided by the UCI.”
The opening stage on Tuesday 29 September is on flat roads from Blankenberge in West Flanders to Ardooie in West Flanders. The next day an 11 km long individual time trial will follow in Vlissingen in the Netherlands. The province of Zeeland is also the setting for the start of the third stage. Philippine is the starting place, the East Flemish Aalter the finishing location.
Along the way there are two loops of 18km in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, while the organisation will also use the Sluiskil tunnel south of Terneuzen. The end of this stage is formed by three local circuits with an arrival in front of the town hall.
On Friday 2 October, the peloton will travel through Limburg. The riders start in Riemst in Belgium, the finish is at the Tom Dumoulin Bike Park in Sittard-Geleen in the Netherlands. It promises to be an interesting final with the Golden Kilometre, a triple bonus sprint in the full final, at the legendary Cauberg in Valkenburg.
The final stage of the BinckBank Tour has a classic finish in the East Flemish cycling city of Geraardsbergen. The Walloon Brabant Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve serves as the start of a stage for the first time in the history of the Belgian/Dutch stage race.
After a long run on wide roads, the riders reach the tough local circuit in and around Geraardsbergen, which they will climb four times. The riders can make a difference on the Denderoordstraat, the Bosberg and of course also the mythical Muur van Geraardsbergen. Just like in previous years, the finish is on the Vesten.
BinckBank Tour 2020 stages:
29/9 – Stage 1: Blankenberge – Ardooie (151.7 km)
30/9 – Stage 2: Vlissingen (individual time trial) (11 km)
01/10 – Stage 3: Philippine – Aalter (165.7 km)
02/10 – Stage 4: Riemst – Sittard-Geleen (195.4 km)
03/10 – Stage 5: Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve – Geraardsbergen (185 km).
2019 winner Laurens de Plus:
Harelbeke Start and Finish for the E3 BinckBank Classic
The E3 BinckBank Classic will continue to start and finish in Harelbeke for at least another five years. The city has put 1.25 million euros on the table for this. “The race is very important for our city as a day event and crowd puller,” councillor of Sport Dominique Windels told Het Nieuwsblad.
The city council and the organisation of the E3 BinckBank Classic negotiated for a year about the contract that will keep the race in Harelbeke. Other cities would also like to see the classic start or finish. However, the E3 BinckBank Classic remains with its roots.
Windels: “It is a condition that Harelbeke remains in the name and in all communication. If that decreases, we will also reduce our financial support.” Despite the interest of other major cities, the E3 BinckBank Classic remains loyal to Harelbeke. “We were born here and being faithful is in our DNA,” said Marc Claerhout, the race manager.
One thing is already certain for next year: the course will change name again. “Our partner BinckBank will soon change its name to Saxo Bank. So we are changing our name again,” said Claerhout. The next edition of the cobbled classic will be held on Friday, March 26, 2021.
Zdeněk Štybar won the last edition in 2019:
Colorado Classic Doubles Down on Support for Women’s Racing, Even as 2020 Edition
Despite its fierce commitment to creating a safe live racing model and advancing the sport of professional women’s cycling, the Colorado Classic® presented by VF Corporation today announced that their four-day race will not take place this year, citing COVID safety concerns.
Instead, the race organisers are doubling down on championing support of women’s racing under their #WeRide umbrella, and are proud to announce the #WeRide for Women fundraiser and virtual ride. This campaign is intended to financially support the teams who would have attended the Colorado Classic, many of whom rely on competition and prize money to support their livelihoods. For the next two weeks, fans, industry, and sponsors will have the opportunity to donate to the #WeRide Team Development fund — which will be directly distributed to women’s race teams — and join the teams on a Zwift ride on July 29th.
For months, the organisers behind America’s premier women’s event worked tirelessly with State, County and City organisations, health authorities, and the sports governing bodies to create protocols and processes that ensure the health and safety for everyone.
The resulting COVID mitigation plan and new race format — one that eliminated crowd gathering, amplified their innovative live streaming model and prioritised health and safety — would have made live professional racing possible, in a context similar to other professional sports that have re-started competition. But as new COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Colorado, and throughout the nation, the decision was taken in consultation with teams, riders and all race partners that canceling the race and eliminating all risk of contributing to the COVID spread was the correct path forward.
“We had great confidence in the COVID-19 mitigation plan we had developed for the race, and we were well on our way to becoming the first professional women’s bike race to be held in the U.S. since the onset of the COVID pandemic,” said Lucy Diaz, CEO of RPM Events Group LLC.
“However, as the pandemic appears to be spiking again across the U.S., and after discussion with our various stakeholders, we feel it is the most prudent decision to cancel the race for 2020. We would only hold the race if we thought it was a safe, healthy environment for the athletes and that all stakeholders felt fully comfortable to move forward. At this time we do not have full confidence from all stakeholders, so we will pivot our energy and efforts to continue to support the women’s peloton through our other initiatives.”
Since reimagining its entire business model in 2018 by foregoing its men’s race and focusing 100 percent on women, the Colorado Classic recognised that a four-day event alone wouldn’t be enough to bring about social change and have a lasting impact on the sport of cycling.
Instead, they developed a platform that celebrates the sport and athletes while creating meaningful connections in the community and business worlds. Built on the fundamental pillars of creating opportunity, fostering empowerment and demonstrating equity, the Colorado Classic launched a host of initiatives to amplify women’s voices, foster corporate dialogue among partners and the community, and bring world-wide exposure to women athletes through storytelling.
These initiatives included an ongoing Business in Sport Webinar Series to educate and inform female athletes of all disciplines about matters like branding, marketing, sponsorship and media training and a collection of conversations with leaders in both sports and business through the Breakaway Dialogue Series. VF Corporation, together with the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, hosted the first one on Wednesday, July 15th and this series will continue with partners FirstBank and Gates Corporation throughout the summer.
Even without the four days of racing, Colorado Classic’s sponsors remain committed to the event and its mission. FirstBank committed the initial funds of $10,000 to make the Team Development Fund a possibility and will continue their commitment despite the cancellation.
The #WeRide for Women fundraiser will run between now and August 1, and the campaign culminates in a virtual community ride on Zwift on July 29th. Led by retired Olympic Silver Medalist and World Champion, Mari Holden, this virtual ride is open to the public and will include riders from each of the 2020 Colorado Classic invited teams. Donations are optional but encouraged. All funds will be divvied out to the teams in August.
“This was an incredibly hard decision, but it was the right one to make. We are so grateful for all of our partners who have supported us this year and continued to believe in our mission. It has been an extraordinary year, with extraordinary challenges, and it has taken a complete effort from everyone to find a way forward,” said Ken Gart, Chairman of RPM Events Group.
Learn more about the #WeRide for Women campaign at https://www.coloradoclassic.com/zwift And stay up to speed on all things related to the Colorado Classic at www.coloradoclassic.com and via social media: @coloradoclassicpro on Instagram and Facebook.
NTT Pro Cycling in Yellow on Mandela Day
● Louis Meintjes to don yellow jersey on queen stage of Virtual Tour de France
● Team members to join Laureus Sport for Good on two 67-minute Zwift rides to celebrate Mandela Day
● Funds and awareness raised for the Sport for Good Response Fund
NTT Pro Cycling will celebrate Mandela Day (18 July) in truly unique fashion as the holders of the yellow jersey going into the penultimate stage of the first-ever Virtual Tour de France.
In Saturday’s fifth stage, South Africa’s Louis Meintjes will wear the yellow jersey (maillot jaune), with the iconic Mont Ventoux summit finish set to provide the fireworks, ahead of Sunday’s final that finishes on the Champs-Élysées. He’ll be joined by Stefan de Bod, Domenico Pozzovivo and Ben O’Connor.
As a purpose-led, performance-driven and technology-enabled team, NTT Pro Cycling has wholeheartedly embraced the opportunity to race in the virtual world, and our approach has been as focused for the event as for any other race we compete in.
This has paid dividends from as early as the opening stage where South African champion Ryan Gibbons took line honours, and NTT Pro Cycling hasn’t relinquished the yellow jersey since. After four stages we also currently lead the standings in the team, points and young rider classifications.
This 5th “queen” stage of the event falls on the same day as the former President of South Africa’s birthday; and it is day in which citizens around the world are urged to devote 67 minutes to honour the former statesman’s legacy.
In previous years NTT Pro Cycling has celebrated Mandela Day by wearing unique orange helmets during the Tour de France. This year our riders’ Zwift avatars will carry an orange 67 on the “number plate” area on the back of their bib shorts, to go with orange helmets and other elements.
In addition, we will proudly pay tribute to Nelson Mandela’s legacy as we join Laureus Sport for Good for two 67-minute Zwift rides on Mandela Day. The Peloton for Good will be raising funds for young people across the world affected by the Covid-19 pandemic through the Sport for Good Response Fund.
On the day two rides – 10h00 CET and 19h00 CET – will see Laureus Ambassadors and Academy members including the likes of Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Sean Fitzpatrick, Daley Thompson, Steve Waugh and a host of others all involved in an event that is to be broadcast live.
For NTT Pro Cycling the Japanese champion Shotaro Iribe, South African champion Ryan Gibbons along with Nicholas Dlamini and Ben King will be among our riders taking part in the event.
Members of the public are encouraged to join us and to celebrate Mandela Day as part of their 67 minutes to “do good”.
Douglas Ryder, Team Principal, NTT Pro Cycling: “After four stages the team has started really well, consolidating on the opening weekend that saw a victory for Ryan Gibbons. Being a points race it’s all about depth and quality but it’s one of the hardest hours of racing you can do. This weekend is critical for us, leading four competitions, but ultimately we’d like to win the yellow jersey and the first ever Virtual Tour de France. Having key technology partners for a team like ours we love this stuff. We love technology, connecting with fans in different ways and this is a great opportunity to do just that.”
“The queen stage up Mont Ventoux will likely be decisive, plus it is Mandela Day, such a special day for this team. We hope that Louis can be right up there fighting for a victory with his teammates, and with Ryan Gibbons winning the first stage in a sprint perhaps he can bookend the race with a win on Sunday, which would be just epic for us. Ultimately we want to get as many riders in the top-10 to secure as many points as possible, and try to make history by winning the first ever Virtual Tour de France.”
“One of the dreams of this team was that we will stand on the podium in Paris, let’s hope our first step in that journey is to be on the podium of the Virtual race come the end of the weekend.”
Louis Meintjes: “I’m really, really looking forward to stage five of the race. It’s going to be a very tough one climbing up Mont Ventoux, it’s very steep and it’s going to take a bit of time to get to the top! It should be a good race and I’m looking forward to it.”
“It’s also exciting to be wearing the yellow jersey again being the leading team and gives us some real extra motivation. Hopefully that will be the spur to deliver another good performance as it’s Mandela Day.”
“Our team’s first ever stage victory at the Grand Boucle was on this day in 2015 courtesy of Steve Cummings, so this is a very special day for us all, and it’s an excellent chance to shine the spotlight on a day that has such meaning for our team, South Africa and people around the world.”
Cycling Event Task Force Releases “Race Management Guidelines for the COVID-19 Era” Report
The newly-formed Cycling Event Task Force, an informal and diverse group of U.S.-based pro cycling leaders and stakeholders, today announced the publication and release of its findings and recommendations regarding the operation of elite bicycle racing events during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Providing augmented tools and guidelines for international and national-level race organisers, the detailed report builds upon documents previously published by the Union Cycliste International (UCI) and USA Cycling and encompasses required medical, civic, race management, athlete and team protocols during this unprecedented time. The report also includes suggested guidelines for fan engagement, sponsorship, marketing and communications as well as an executive summary highlighting a number of key findings. The complete report can be viewed here.
“The industry is learning how best to safely and effectively adapt to the fluid impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been life-changing as we know; however, the experience has also highlighted the leadership, innovation and resiliency of the sport’s community,” said Chris Aronhalt, Task Force co-founder and President and owner of Medalist Sports, one of the leading event management companies in the sport the past 30 years. “During these challenging times, cities, counties and their respective public health agencies appreciate an extensive and proactive plan which integrates state and local guidelines, as well as best practices of the industry. Public safety must be the top priority, with strong consideration provided to budget, necessary resources, as well as general optics.”
All cycling events necessarily interact with multiple governmental jurisdictions, each of which may have differing, overlapping or contradicting guidelines with respect to handling COVID-19 issues. The Task Force emphasises a common-sense, open and proactive approach on all levels with local governmental and health officials.
“All events should establish a formal position for a high-level medical coordinator or COVID-19 ‘Compliance Officer’ – and that person should be involved in all strategic decision-making around the event,” says Dr. William Apollo, a Pennsylvania cardiologist and another member of the Task Force. “Clear power and the ability to modify or even cancel aspects of the event should be invested in that officer and the health professionals involved in the event.”
While acknowledging some of the guidelines may be repetitive or redundant, the Task Force strongly recommends all medical guidelines be widely publicised and distributed to all participants, stakeholders and spectators via all available methods. The event plan should be consistently well-communicated and transparent to all involved – and organisers should acknowledge that plan improvements and modifications may need to be made continually.
“Now, more than ever, public transparency and regular communication about events is critical – to all participants, stakeholders, governmental jurisdictions, media and the public, especially moving into 2021,” said Lucy Diaz, CEO of RPM Events in Denver, Colorado.
Current World Tour racer Ben King of NTT Pro Cycling and a winner of two stages of Vuelta a España is currently preparing for the August restart of the pro calendar. As a committee member, he emphasises the critical distinction between managing an actual bike race versus the risks involved in a major public event: “It’s one thing to quarantine a group of 150 riders and maintain reasonably safe and low-risk conditions. I think that can be done. But when you consider thousands of people coming from various locations to squeeze together and watch a race, to stay in hotels and eat in restaurants, and so on – that can be a much bigger risk, and more difficult to effectively manage. With a well-thought out plan, these events are still possible and can provide exciting racing to spectators.”
The Task Force conducted several detailed discussions and interactive forums over the course of May and June 2020 in order to create a comprehensive list of suggested guidelines. Considering the fluidity of the current situation, many of the guidelines are structured for 2021.
“The goal was to assemble a group of individuals with in-depth and diverse knowledgeable perspectives in various medical and event management areas as well as evaluate public and sponsor perception,” said Steve Brunner, co-founder and Chairman of the group and President of KOM Sports Marketing, who has recently been working on the inaugural UCI Pro Tour-sanctioned Maryland Cycling Classic for 2021. “Everyone checked their ego at the door and participated because of their passion for cycling. We all desired to define best practices for the return to safe and healthy bike racing for organisers, athletes, sponsors and spectators. I want to thank the group for their participation and contributions.”
Rich Hincapie, an owner of an elite pro road racing team as well as three Hincapie Gran Fondos (mass participation events) added: “We have to let governmental officials, athletes, teams, sponsors and spectators know on a regular basis that we are learning and adjusting as we go along. And, most of all, that everything we do is focused on the safety of the event.”
Members of the Cycling Event Task Force include: Charles Aaron (Owner, Circuit Global Sports); Dr. William Apollo (Director, UPMC Pinnacle Sports Cardiology Center); Chris Aronhalt (President, Medalist Sports); Kathryn Bertine (Founder, Homestretch Foundation); (Task Force Chairman) Steve Brunner, (President, KOM Sports Marketing); Dave Chauner (CEO/Founder, World Cycling League); Chuck Hodge (Chief of Racing Events, USA Cycling); Lucy Diaz (CEO, RPM Events); Rich Hincapie (President, Hincapie Sportswear/ Gran Fondos); Chris Horner (retired pro cyclist and NBC Tour de France commentator); Jeff Huber, (PA, St. Anthony’s Hospital); Ben King (Team NTT pro cyclist); Kristin Labonte (President, Breaking Limits); (Task Force Secretary) Steve Maxwell (Editor, The Outer Line); Kelly Staley (Former VP, AEG Worldwide) and Mike Weiss (President, Gateway Cup, Big Shark Cyclery).
Peter Sagan Sings the Amore Infinito for the Giro d’Italia
After immersing himself in Italian culture at the Pinacoteca di Brera, preparing classic Italian cuisine as ‘Chef Sagan’ and become an elite tailor in the atelier of Ermenegildo Zegna for Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan, the Slovak star of Bora-Hansgrohe has now become an opera tenor, singing a typical Italian aria in the shower and then stepping onto the stage of the main opera house in Milan.
From the Pinacoteca Di Brera (Brera Art Gallery) to the Teatro Alla Scala, Passing by the Finest Fashion and Excellent Cuisine
Benefitting from years of education in many of the cultural excellencies for which Italy is world famous – including art, music, food and fashion – Peter Sagan is finally ready to demonstrate how expert he has become in all things Italian. Join him on a journey into the heart of the Bel Paese – “the beautiful country” – giving visibility to Italian places and talents, from the Pinacoteca di Brera to the Teatro alla Scala, passing through the Ermenegildo Zegna atelier and exploring Italy’s unrivalled culinary tradition.
Peter is ready for the Giro d’Italia.
Fourth Episode: Sagan Opera Tenor
Where: Teatro alla Scala. The scene begins with Peter in the shower, after his training, and he’s humming a typical Italian aria. He is preparing for the big day.
The scene changes and Peter walks into the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan. He reaches the Teatro alla Scala. He feels ready for his debut.
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