EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

All final Tour de France news

The Tour de France finished on Sunday and it was the best Grande Boucle for years. Tadej Pogačar was a worthy winner, we look at his life so far – TOP STORY. Race results and video from the final four decisive stages of the Tour, plus Skoda-Tour of Luxembourg, Coppa Sabatini, Giro dell’Appennino and the Grand Prix d’Isbergues – Pas de Calais. Contract news from UAE Team Emirates, Cofidis and BORA-hansgrohe. 2021 World championships course unveiled, Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders for the Belgian national champs and Riwal sponsor for two more years. Bad news as Joop Zoetemelk has an accident. Monday Tour coffee time.


TOP STORY: There is only one top story – Tadej Pogačar
With a stunning ride in the penultimate time trial stage, the young Slovenian turned a 57 second deficit into a 59 second advantage, on his countryman, Primoz Roglič. Many things have been, and will be written about him, but here we have gathered the thoughts of people who have known him over the years.

His coach, Miha Koncilija remembers Pogačar as an exemplary child. “He was never difficult and listened well. Also for us as trainers he was a nice guy to have there. But initially we didn’t feel that Tadej had so much talent. I have to say, the whole generation from 1998 was very strong, much better than the average Slovenian batch. Tadej was much smaller and lighter than his peers and therefore always had to physically compete with them. He was not Remco Evenepoel, so to speak. He didn’t have anything special then. It was not until he was sixteen that Pogačar surfaced. That year he became national champion on the road with the juniors, in a strong field.”

Bogdan Fink, team manager of the Adria Mobil team, also saw something in the young Pogačar: “You already noticed it with the juniors, although Pogačar only managed to win one race in Slovenia, everyone agreed that we were talking about a potential world star. You could recognise this by his technique on the bike, the smooth pace, the way he cut corners, climbs at speed and how he accelerated in the sprints. None of it was perfect, but very good at a young age.”

Joxean Fernández spotted the talents of Pogačar. The Spaniard – better known as Matxin – was at that time a scout for the Quick-Step team, but later that year he was to become a team manager at UAE Team Emirates. His first job was to offer a contract to the young Slovenian, who immediately took it. “I first heard about him when he was in the juniors. In his last year as an U19 rider I made contact and we had the first conversations. In February 2017 I first met Tadej in the Istrian Spring Trophy. He did not win there, but he left a deep impression on me.”

Fernández did not hesitate for a second and was too fast for other WorldTour teams. Pogačar signed a pre-contract with UAE Team Emirates at the end of 2017, which meant that other team managers – who came looking for his signature in the spring of 2018 – were too late. “When I saw him for the first time there in Croatia, I immediately saw that he was already a very good rider at 18 years old. But at the same time I saw that he could still make a lot of progress. Tadej was smart and also proved to be one of the best U23 riders over the course of 2017. Followers of that category (U23s) agreed that he could become one of the best riders in the world. You could see that in everything about him.”

Pogačar’s first race for the Emirates team was the Tour Down Under. The young Slovenian finished in thirteenth place. Matxin was not surprised. “I’ll tell you a nice anecdote. Before that Tour Down Under, I made a bet with Neil Stephens. He was our sports director in that race. I told him that Tadej would take his first victory there. Neil bet on Jasper Philipsen, then also new to our team. In the end I lost that bet because Jasper won. Tadej did not get that chance, because he – faithful as he is – helped out leader Diego Ulissi.”

In Europe, Pogačar immediately took off with stage and overall victory in the Volta ao Algarve. Matxin adds: “That’s why I’ve always treated Tadej like a champion. He is a pleasant guy to deal with, super good as a person. He is good in our team and is never too bad to ride for others. Tadej is always nice and grateful, in fact he is the perfect cyclist. Whether he is more talented than Wout van Aert, Egan Bernal, Remco Evenepoel or Mathieu van der Poel? I do not think so. Everyone has their talent. Comparing them is a common mistake in our sport. Now enjoy everyone separately.”

You can read our PEZclusive interviews with Tadej Pogačar: At the UAE Team Emirates 2020 pre-season training camp (pre-Covid-19) HERE and Ed Hood’s chat with him in June 2020 (after the Covid-19 break) HERE.

The winner’s emotion:

 


Tour de France 2020
First and second at La Roche-sur-Foron, Michal Kwiatkowski and Richard Carapaz crossed the line in that order but celebrated the triumph together. It’s the first Tour de France stage victory for INEOS Grenadiers, coming after the last one in the colours of Sky by Geraint Thomas on L’Alpe d’Huez in 2018. Kwiatkowski’s last victory was the 2018 Tour de Pologne. This is the first Tour de France stage win for the 2014 World champion turned a domestique until the withdrawal of defending champion Egan Bernal.

150 riders started Stage 17 in Méribel. 32 riders managed to go clear before the intermediate sprint at Aime, 14km: Jonathan Castroviejo, Richard Carapaz, Michal Kwiatkowski, Dylan Van Baarle (INEOS Grenadiers), Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe), Nans Peters (AG2R-La Mondiale), Sam Bennett, Bob Jungels (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Rudy Molard, Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ), Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren), Alberto Bettiol, Tejay Van Garderen (EF Education First), Dayer Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic), Dario Cataldo, Nelson Oliveira, José Joaquín Rojas, Carlos Verona (Movistar), Simon Geschke, Matteo Trentin (CCC), Nicolas Edet, Jesús Herrada (Cofidis), Luis León Sánchez (Astana), Jasper de Buyst, Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Krists Neilands (Israel Start-Up Nation), Michael Gogl, Michael Valgren (NTT Pro Cycling), Nikias Arndt, Marc Hirschi, Soren Kragh Andersen, Nicolas Roche (Sunweb). B&B Hotels-Vital Concept, one of the six teams who weren’t represented at the front, pulled the peloton. Bennett won the intermediate sprint ahead of Trentin and Sagan to increase his lead in the points classification.

The sprinters lost contact on the climb to Cormet de Roselend (46km). At the top, 19 riders formed the front group, including Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-McLaren) who had bridged the gap by himself while Julian Alaphilippe and Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Lennard Kämna (BORA-hansgrohe), Romain Sicard (Total Direct Energie), Quentin Pacher and Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-Vital) had tried but failed to do so. Hirschi out-sprinted Carapaz to take 10 points in the KOM competition. They forged on and were eventually rejoined at the front by Edet, Kwiatkowski and Bilbao. Edet was first to get dropped 3km before the summit of Les Saisies (91km) where Hirschi out-sprinted Carapaz once again but the Frenchman from Cofidis made it back to the front just after the Swiss crashed as he tried to follow the Ecuadorian on the descent.

Up to col des Aravis (117.5km), Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) was the first top climber dropped by the yellow jersey group that had a 7:30 deficit at the bottom of the second last categorised climb. Edet was dropped again and passed by Hirschi. The Swiss neophyte was close (25 seconds) to making it across on the way up to col des Saisies but he eventually paid for the side effects of his crash. Carapaz could make the best of his offensive attitude in search of the polka dot jersey. In the Montée du Plateau des Glières, the INEOS duo (Carapaz-Kwiatkowski) dropped Bilbao 3.5km before the summit. Mikel Landa (Bahrain-McLaren) rode away from the yellow jersey group but he was brought back just before the summit as Pogacar attacked to score some KOM points.

Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) punctures on the gravel section of Plateau des Glières. It took him 20km to make it back to the yellow jersey group as the last 10 kilometres were looming and only two riders remained ahead of them. Carapaz and Kwiatkowski rode the last 27km together. They shared their celebration with the crowd in the last 800 metres. Kwiatkowski took the win while Carapaz moved into the lead of the KOM competition with two points more than Pogacar. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) made sure that none of Primoz Roglic’s rivals took the time bonus for third place so the Slovenian retained the yellow jersey with the same advantage over his three closest adversaries meanwhile Landa entered the top 5.

You can see more Stage 18 photos in the full ‘PEZ Race Report’ HERE.

Stage winner, Michał Kwiatkowski (INEOS Grenadiers): “That was some day. I can’t describe how grateful I am to the whole team and also to Richard. That was an incredible day for us and I will never forget that. I’ve had some nice moments in cycling but that was something else – a new experience – I’ve had goosebumps for the last I don’t know how many kilometres. The gap was so big that we were going to make it. Both of us we really enjoyed the last kilometres. It’s incredible. Egan (Bernal) was sad when he was leaving the race but he was wishing us good luck. Hopefully he enjoyed that on the television because that was some race. Collectively we tried in the last three days everything we could to be in the breakaway and win the stage and finally today – most of us we found the best legs ever I have to say. The way we rode with Richard was just incredible. We’re going to celebrate big time tonight. We all deserve it after so many stages. We put on some show today and for sure we have to celebrate that.”

Overall leader and 4th on the stage, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): “This was another fantastic team performance”, Roglic complimented his team. “All day we rode where we had to be and we were in constant control. It was very difficult with the sequence of climbs and the number of altitude metres. We did that well and we were still well represented in the end. We are one day closer to Paris, but we are still not there yet. We keep focusing on ourselves and we have to be ready if something unexpected happens in tomorrow’s stage. I feel good and I am very confident for tomorrow and Saturday’s time trial.”

2nd on the stage and KOM, Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers): “All the hard work we’ve put during these three weeks of racing and all the sacrifices we’ve made have finally paid off today. We are very happy of Kwiatkowski’s victory, and also of this polka-dot jersey I’m wearing. It’s been a great day. On the last kilometres, we just talked to congratulate ourselves. We fought hard from the start of the stage; we put a big effort to make the breakaway stick… And once we knew we are alone, the two of us, with a big gap, we just enjoyed the moment. Now that we have the KOM jersey, we will defend it with all the energy we have left on our legs and try to bring it all the way to Paris.”

3rd on the stage, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “I was completely cooked. It was such a tough stage. When they attacked on the final climb, I had to give in because the pace was too high. They had told me that I had to keep going because I still had to sprint to take the bonus seconds away from the competition. Together with Tom that worked out. So in the end I did not suffer for nothing. It was a great day for us. Having the four of us in the front makes it also a lot easier to counter attacks.”

2nd overall, best young rider and 5th on the stage, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “It was one of the toughest stages on the profile, and for sure it was hard. Jumbo did great job to control. I tried on the last climb, but it was not possible to drop my rivals. I didn’t have better legs than everybody else. I sprinted for the 3rd place, but it was not possible either. I’m thankful to my team and I’m happy about my performance. I don’t remember what Primoz told me… I think we were both happy nothing happened on the gravel section, because there were big chances of puncturing. I didn’t know Richie Porte had a puncture. We knew he was dropped… But now I know, and I’m glad he came back because it would have been unfortunate had he lost his place due to bad luck. I’m not really close to the yellow jersey. If Primoz has a super bad day, I may stand a chance… But actually I just hope to have a good day and secure my place on the GC.”

Points leader, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I am a bit tired, but happy with how the day went. I knew the start of the stage was going to be very important and my focus was on that intermediate sprint, where Bob did a great job and helped me bag in maximum points. Then I set my own tempo on the first climb, before dropping to the gruppetto, where the guys were once again fantastic and helped me make it to the end. It’s a nice buffer that I have in the standings with three days to go and it makes me a bit more optimistic, but it’s not over yet and I want to keep the focus and give my absolute best until the last stage.”

Tour de France Stage 18 Result:
1. Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol) INEOS Grenadiers in 4:47:33
2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers
3. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 1:51
4. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma at 1:53
5. Tadej Pogačar (Slov) UAE Team Emirates
6. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo at 1:54
7. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar
8. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren
9. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren
10. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Jumbo-Visma.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 18:
1. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma in 79:45:30
2. Tadej Pogačar (Slov) UAE Team Emirates at 0:57
3. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 1:27
4. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo at 3:06
5. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 3:28
6. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 4:19
7. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 5:55
8. Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Pro Cycling at 6:05
9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 7:24
10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 12:12.

Stage 18:

 

Soren Kragh Andersen became the fourth rider with two stage wins in the 107th Tour de France after Wout van Aert, Caleb Ewan and Tadej Pogacar. Boosted by his win in Lyon, the Dane went for another solo attack, but a longer one this time as he escaped a 12-man leading group including the three green jersey contenders Sam Bennett, Peter Sagan and Matteo Trentin with 16km to go.

147 riders took the start of Stage 19. Two non-starters: Jonathan Castroviejo (INEOS) and Michael Gogl (NTT). After breakaway attempts by stage 18 winner Michael Kwiatkowski (INEOS) among others, Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) rode away solo at 4km. A group of five chasers formed behind him: Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Geoffrey Soupe (Total Direct Energie), Cyril Barthe (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept), Dylan van Baarle (INEOS) and Max Walscheid (NTT), but they kept losing time on the French time trial specialist rather than getting any close to bridging the gap. Martin, 12th overall, was first to sit up as his presence at the front wasn’t exactly welcome by his companions. All riders in between were back in the pack after km 45 where Cavagna was timed three minutes ahead of the peloton.

At half way into the 166.5km long stage, Cavagna enjoyed 1:55 lead. The tailwind was less of a key factor and BORA-hansgrohe and Sunweb set a steady tempo at the head of the peloton. Cavagna was first joined by Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept), Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Luke Rowe (INEOS) after the intermediate sprint at 117.5km. A group of ten riders caught them and it was all together with 36km to go. 30km before the finish, another group was formed at the front, including arch-rivals for the green jersey Bennett and Sagan. The 12 were: Rowe (INEOS), Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe), Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale), Bennett and Dries Devenyns (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Greg van Avermaet and Matteo Trentin (CCC), Jack Bauer and Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott), Nikias Arndt and Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb). Three chasers combined forces: Edvald Boasson Hagen (NTT), Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) and Hugo Hofstetter (Israel Start-Up Nation). But they didn’t make it across.

Trentin was first to attack from the leading group. As soon as he was brought back, Andersen rode away solo with 16km to go. Stuyven tried to bridge the gap by himself but the Dane maintained a significant advantage as the three green jersey contenders marked each other. He soloed to victory while his team-mate Arndt tried to make it a 1-2 for Sunweb after the 1-2 by INEOS the day before but Mezgec delivered another stage podium finish for Slovenia. His compatriots Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar came safely home to retain the first two position in the overall ranking ahead of the much anticipated individual time trial to La Planche des belles filles.

You can see more Stage 19 photos in the full ‘PEZ Race Report’ HERE.

Stage winner, Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb): “The motorbike told me you have one minute and I realised in the last kilometre that I had the second win. The first one is of course magical, but today is even more crazy in my opinion; I’m speechless. First of all, Nicholas did a great job on the front the whole day. We were going for Cees with a sprint finish but the race developed, and it was my job to be represented in the attacks. Nikias was there so we planned that I would attack from the group and he would go for the sprint. The moment came after Trentin’s attack when it was super hard. I took the chance and I was lucky they let me go.”

Overall leader, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): “It was not really a recovery day. We began quite hard, with Bora chasing. At halfway it got easier, but then there were some attacks at the end which upped the pace. Anyway, it’s been another good day, another stage finished, and now I begin thinking of recovery for tomorrow. We did a reconnaissance of tomorrow’s time trial on its day. Of course, the final climb is very hard. It will be about being strong and giving it all. I will really consider changing bikes for the final climb until the last moment. It will depend on everything, on what the conditions are and such. After three weeks of racing, I pretty much know where I’m sitting and what my place will be on the ITT.”

2nd overall and best young rider, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “The beginning was super fast, they rode at a very fast pace on the front. On the final hills there were many attacks, but when this group of riders went away the peloton relaxed a bit. And I’m happy for that, because I think the roads were not adequate for a peloton racing. Everything is possible, but it would be unbelievable if I won the Tour de France tomorrow. The Mountains jersey? It’s an ITT, so I’ll go full gas from start to finish, like I do always. It’s not about making priorities. It doesn’t matter on which order we start tomorrow: it’s an ITT and everyone will be alone out there, fighting for himself. It’s a secret if I am going to swap bikes tomorrow [before the final climb]: if I tell now, everyone will know!”

5th on the stage, Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale): “We felt that there would be opportunities today. I was happy with the group that got away. There were only strong riders in front and a lot of the best sprinters in this Tour de France. It was quite a tactical game between Sagan and the Deceuninck Quick-Step for the green jersey. Søren Kragh Andersen took advantage of that. I had thought to attack in the last five kilometres, but he anticipated me. It’s a little frustrating but that’s how it goes.”

Green jersey and 8th on the stage, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “Today was supposed to be a dangerous stage, a critical day where it was about being mentally strong. I just tried to mark Peter, as that was the way I had to race, but I also have to say a massive thank you to the team, who did a fantastic job. Michael, Kasper, Dries – who brought me to the front at the right moment when that attack went – Tim, all the boys were amazing and I’m grateful to them. It’s nice to have the green jersey on my shoulders going into the final weekend of the race.”

9th on the stage, Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe): “I tried in every way possible today to go for the win and the team did its best to make that option happen. When we broke away with about 30km to go, the group grew to 12 riders and there were four teams I think that had two riders in there. As a result, it was impossible for me to respond to all the attacks on my own. Once again, we gave our best and I will certainly give it my all to try and win in Paris.”

KOM, Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers): “It’s been a very special day. I enjoyed wearing the polka dot jersey very much in a relatively easy stage. Tomorrow it’s a key stage for the King of the Mountains competition. We’ll race it like an authentic uphill time trial in the final climb.”

Tour de France Stage 19 Result:
1. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb in 3:36:33
2. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:53
3. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC
5. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Sunweb
7. Luke Rowe (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:59
8. Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:02
9. Peter Sagan (Slo) BORA-hansgrohe
10. Matteo Trentin (Ita) CCC.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 19:
1. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma in 83:29:41
2. Tadej Pogačar (Slov) UAE Team Emirates at 0:57
3. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 1:27
4. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo at 3:06
5. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 3:28
6. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 4:19
7. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 5:55
8. Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Pro Cycling at 6:05
9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 7:24
10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 12:12.

Stage 19:

 

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) time trialed his way to Tour de France overall victory at the age of 21 as he smashed all his rivals to win the individual time trial to La Planche des belles filles, including Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) who was touted as the eventual winner of the 107th edition. Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) and Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) rounded out the stage podium, meaning a move on to the final podium for the Australian.

First of the 146 riders to start Stage 20, a 36.2km individual time trial from Lure to La Planche des belles filles, German Roger Kluge led two other Lotto-Soudal riders, Frederik Frison and Caleb Ewan, onto the start ramp. Soon after them, Maxime Chevalier (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept), the youngest rider of the 2020 Tour, set a provisional best time until Nils Politt (Israel Start-Up Nation) dethroned him briefly before Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) was the first rider to clock in less than one hour: 57:54. David De La Cruz (UAE Team Emirates) set a second best time and a provisional best time up the hill before the KOM and GC contenders went in action.

Cavagna remained in the hot seat as the top guns entered the action. Local rider Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) set a provisional sixth best time that pleased the enormous crowd. After two hours and 53 minutes on the hot seat, Cavagna was ousted by Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma). In the fight for GC positions, Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-McLaren) rode a better race than Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), his rival for the tenth place. Dumoulin was next on the hot seat with what looked like the winning time. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) was on his way to overtake Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) in the overall with 3rd on the stage and a podium place.

The main fight for the yellow jersey between the two Slovenians turned to the advantage of Pogačar who already ahead of Roglič after the first 14km on the flat. The youngest of the two confirmed his superiority at all time checks and became the virtual leader of the Tour de France half way up the ascent to La Planche des belles filles. Roglič seemed to have hesitated before changing his bike at the beginning of the climb. He hadn’t saved his energy. He was below his expected level and lost almost two minutes, now 59 seconds down on Pogacar on the eve of the final stage in Paris. Pogačar is set to become the youngest winner of the Tour de France since the inception of the yellow jersey.

You can see more Stage 20 photos in the full ‘PEZ Race Report’ HERE.

Stage winner, overall leader, KOM and best young rider, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “I don’t know what to say. I think I’m dreaming. I’m really proud of the team. They did such a big effort. We were dreaming of the yellow jersey from the start and we achieved it. It’s amazing. It was not just me today, we needed the whole team for the recon. I knew every corner and knew exactly where to accelerate. Congratulations to all my team. I was listening to my radio in the first part but then on the climb I didn’t hear anything in the final five kilometres because the fans were too loud, so I just went full gas from the bottom to the top. My dream was just to be on the Tour de France and now I’ve won it. It’s unbelievable. To be here wearing the yellow jersey of the Tour de France still hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m speechless. There is still one day to Paris, but it’s hard to believe. The preparation this year was all focused on the Tour. It was a long period to prepare and it was well planned by my team – with the training camps, the training schedule during the lockdown, keeping the right mindset. I came into this Tour in good shape, unfortunately we lost a couple of teammates along the way but we didn’t give up, we stayed positive. The three weeks were just fantastic – every day we had a great atmosphere and good attitude in the team and it was a really amazing time. I tried to keep the mind relaxed and go with the flow stage by stage. We kept a good atmosphere on the bus before and after the stages. The kept my mind really focused and not stress through the 3 weeks, that was really important. Today was quite a different time trial. I thought beforehand that if I had a good day then probably I would be close to Roglic. He didn’t have the best day so I was able to make up the time.I didn’t know that I had won the jersey until after Roglic had crossed the line. I have a lot of respect for my rival and friend Primoz Roglič, I know he’s disappointed at the moment but I’m sure we will have many great battles in the future. I want to stay the same – stay humble, training hard, going to races with the same mindset and keeping up the good work that my team is doing. I need to thank my family and my girlfriend for supporting me every step of the way.”

5th on the stage and 2nd overall, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): “I didn’t have the legs to go faster today. I just couldn’t push harder. I couldn’t ride the watts I needed to win. I tried my best and gave it my all, but Tadej was just too strong. I knew what times Tadej was riding, but in the end it didn’t matter because my legs were not good enough to anticipate on that. But despite the disappointment, I think we rode a very strong Tour as a team. I want to thank the team for everything they have done for me over the past three weeks. I am proud of how we raced as a team and we need to take the positives out of it for the future.”

2nd on the stage and 7th overall, Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma): “This is quite a pity. Pogacar was of a different level than we were today. Primoz was feeling good this morning and he knew that he had to do a good time trial. It wasn’t his best time trial ever, but it certainly wasn’t his worst either. We’ve bounced on a strong Pogacar. The Tour victory slipped out of our hands. That is very disappointing. I did a considerable time trial myself. I didn’t ride very fast at La Planche, but before that I had some good pace. But it doesn’t matter anyway. It was neither for the stage win nor for the overall win. We did not see this one coming.”

3rd on the stage and overall, Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo): “I am over the moon. This feels like a win. This gives satisfaction. We came here without pressure. In the lockdown I still thought the Tour de France was never going to happen. This Tour I missed the birth of my second child. That has been a very big sacrifice. My wife thought that I should go to the Tour and that I should race well. If I dangled from the back, she would get angry. This is very sweet. So many years of disappointments, falls and dramas preceded this third place. Here we also had some drama, but the team gave me great support. It is no secret that I am leaving next year, but I am very grateful to them. I just had the world champion as a body guard. I did not see it coming. Primož Roglič deserved to win, but what Pogačar has done is incredible. Pogačar is a champion of the future.”

4th on the stage, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “It comes as a complete surprise. Primoz felt good. There was nothing that indicates that he wasn’t feeling great. During the time trial I already saw that he was riding his bike differently than usual. We have all worked very hard for it. And we have gone all in for the past three weeks. That it didn’t work out is very disappointing. For myself I can be satisfied with my time trial. I think this was the highest achievable for me.”

Points leader, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I’m still cautious. There’s one more day. I won’t celebrate until we bring the green jersey home, if we do… Today I’m just happy to finish inside the time limit so I can get to Paris. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. There’ll be two steps: the intermediate sprint and the final sprint. It’s a sprinter’s dream riding to the Champs-Elysées in the green jersey. If I could manage to win the last stage with the green jersey it would be amazing but everyone wants to win there.”

Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe): “I knew it was going to be a hard time-trial, so I rode at my own pace to make sure I was within the time limits. We have one more stage left, the most iconic of the Tour de France, and I think it is a dream for any rider, especially a sprinter, to win on the Champs-Elysées. We will give our best in Paris as well.”

Tour de France Stage 20 Result:
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slov) UAE Team Emirates in 55:55
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:21
3. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo
4. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 1:31
5. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma at 1:56
6. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:59
7. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren at 2:29
8. David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE-Team Emirates at 2:40
9. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 2:45
10. Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Pro Cycling at 2:54.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 20:
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slov) UAE Team Emirates in 84:26:33
2. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma at 0:59
3. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo at 3:30
4. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 5:58
5. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 6:07
6. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 6:47
7. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 7:48
8. Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Pro Cycling at 8:02
9. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 9:25
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren at 14:03.

Stage 20:

 

Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) claimed a well-deserved stage win ahead of World champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, after he imposed himself in prestigious cities like Rome, Dubai and Istanbul at the end of other national Tours. The last winner of the conclusive stage with the green jersey was Mark Cavendish in 2011. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) won his first Tour de France as well as the King of the Mountains competition and the best young rider prize.

146 riders started Stage 21 in Mantes-la-Jolie with Tadej Pogacar in the yellow jersey for the first time of his career. It was time to celebrate for the Slovenians and UAE Team Emirates. As the peloton entered the final loops in Paris, Neilson Powless (EF) was first to attack. Following several skirmishes, four riders managed to go clear with 42km to go: Greg Van Avermaet (CCC), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis), Conor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic) and Maximilian Schachmann (BORA-hansgrohe). Behind them, Sam Bennett won the sprint from the peloton for the fifth place in the intermediate sprint. The winner of the beautiful stage on the Ré island had secured the green jersey to become the first Irishman to do so since Sean Kelly in 1989.

The leading quartet that had not much more than 20 seconds lead stayed away until Swift was dropped with 7.5km to go, the other three were reeled in after a strong pull by Rémi Cavagna 4km before the finish line. Several teams including Sunweb and Lotto-Soudal geared up for the final sprint but Deceuninck – Quick-Step had the best organisation to deliver a perfect bunch gallop for Bennett despite a strong acceleration by Trek-Segafredo for Pedersen on his last day of racing in the rainbow jersey. Bennett timed his effort really well to fend off his opponents and get the best victory of his career so far.

You can see more Stage 21 photos in the full ‘PEZ Race Report’ HERE.

Stage winner and points competition winner, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I feel amazing, I can’t tell you how happy I am! I never thought I would be in this position one day. I grew up watching these Champs-Élysées sprints filmed from every angle and to do it myself now in the green jersey it’s unbelievable! It’s the best victory of my career. It’s something I will remember and treasure for the rest of my life, especially as I did it in the green jersey, which I never dreamed of winning. It was really fast and I was a bit nervous, but the boys flawlessly controlled the race and brought me to the front when it mattered. On the final straight, I let other riders come up, because I felt some headwind, and then I opened my sprint with 150-200 meters to go. As I came on the other side, I thought someone was going to come pass me, but it didn’t happen and I still can’t believe I won.”

Overall winner, KOM and best young rider, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “It’s unbelievable – really crazy. Even if I didn’t win – if I was second or even last – it wouldn’t matter, it would be still nice to be here. But this is just the top of the top. I cannot describe this feeling with words. Today was really special moment with my teammates. There was finally time to talk with them on the bike, and not just going full gas all day. A lot of respect for all the riders. Every single one of them congratulated me today, and I’m really thankful. This sport is really amazing. Since I arrived at UAE Team Emirates, I felt part of the family. I have many friends in the team and there has always been a good atmosphere with the riders and the staff. That’s also one of the main reasons why I recently renewed my contract with the team until 2024. UAE Team Emirates is a long-term project with some strong sponsors, and I am proud to be part of it.”

Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe): “As expected, it all came down to a fast bunch sprint. I was well-placed, in Sam’s wheel but in the end, he was faster and I took third. Everything is fine, the Tour de France is over and I’m happy to be here in Paris.”

Tour de France Final Stage 21 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 2:53:32
2. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
3. Peter Sagan (Slo) BORA-hansgrohe
4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAETeam Emirates
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
6. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
7. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
8. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation
9. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels – Vital Concept p/b KTM
10. Max Walscheid (Ger) NTT Pro Cycling.

Tour de France Final Overall Result:
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slov) UAE Team Emirates in 87:20:05
2. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma at 0:59
3. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo at 3:30
4. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 5:58
5. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 6:07
6. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 6:47
7. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 7:48
8. Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Pro Cycling at 8:02
9. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 9:25
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren at 14:03.

Stage 21:

 


Skoda-Tour of Luxembourg 2020
Great day for Lotto Soudal. John Degenkolb sprinted to his first 2020 win in Skoda Tour de Luxembourg. In a bunch sprint John was the fastest in Schifflange on Stage 3. The 31-year-old German preceded Eduard Grosu and Pieter Vanspeybrouck. It is his first victory for team Lotto Soudal.

Stage winner, John Degenkolb (Lotto Soudal): “We had something to make up after two difficult opening stages here in Luxembourg. Especially since Tomasz Marczyński and Harm Vanhoucke could not start this morning because of the isolation measures. That was a setback for Lotto Soudal and we only started the stage with four remaining riders. I was well protected end kept out of the wind by my teammates. We are working together so well. In the final kilometres Tosh Van der Sande did a tremendous job leading me out. I am so so happy with victory. It is nice to give something back to the team and the fact that this is my first win for Lotto Soudal makes it extra special. This win comes only 19 days after my crash in the opening stage in Tour de France. This victory is a sign that I was in a really good shape starting the Tour. The knee is getting better, at the moment I don’t feel pain anymore. There are still some chances left for the team in the next two stages, but not for me. I will support Tim, Tosh and Phil in the next stages. Tim is feeling better and better and can target the general classification. I am also selected for the world championships next week. This selection might come as a surprise for some, but today’s win is proof of my good form. The course in Imola does not suit my characteristics, so I will ride in a support role for Germany.”

3rd on the stage, Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “After the problems yesterday, the organisation tried their best to make the circumstances safe for us today. My sprint didn’t go as expected yesterday, but today, with a better feeling, I finished on the podium. All teammates worked for me, especially Loïc Vliegen in the final. He said he owed me something after the Tour de Wallonie. He brought me to the front, and kept the pace high in the final. In this way, I stayed in the front, and followed the sprint train of John Degenkolb when it passed me.”

Skoda-Tour of Luxembourg Stage 3 Result:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal in 3:35:43
2. Eduard-Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo Delko One Provence
3. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
4. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
5. Yevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana
6. August Jensen (Nor) Riwal Securitas Cycling Team
7. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. Jordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Lawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix.

Skoda-Tour of Luxembourg Overall After Stage 3:
1. Eduard-Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo Delko One Provence in 7:38:49
2. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:05
3. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:09
4. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:11
5. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè at 0:12
6. Rui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
7. Jordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:15
8. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:16
10. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert at 0:17.

 

Diego Ulissi put down a strong marker on Stage 4 of the Skoda Tour of Luxembourg, the veteran claimed the stage win in a reduced group sprint between four riders. After much work in the crosswinds early-on from the ever-present Oliveira twins, the puncheur went clear with 7km to go in a group containing fellow race favourite Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) before taking his second win of the race.

Stage winner and overall leader, Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates): “Today’s stage was very hard, we were fighting crosswinds all day. The team keep me out of trouble and set me up well on the last climb. I attacked with 10km to go with a group with Wellens. My legs are feeling great and I hope to hang on to the overall tomorrow. After the work the team did today I am confident about it.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Aimé De Gendt (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “My day started with stomach cramps and finished with a 2nd place, just behind the strongest and fastest rider of the race! Because of my stomach problems, I went to the team car and missed the first group in the crosswinds. We didn’t panic and stayed in the front of the bunch, counting on Jan and Loïc in the front. But in the end, the whole peloton was grouped again. We always had a teammate in the breakaway in the final, resulting in excellent results. Ulissi is a very strong contender for the final GC, but behind him the gaps are really small. We’ll give all we have to finish as good as possible. I expect a second game on the climb towards the finish tomorrow.”

Skoda-Tour of Luxembourg Stage 4 Result:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates in 4:45:23
2. Aimé De Gendt (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
3. Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
4. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:15
6. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
7. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Leopard Pro Cycling
8. Vadim Pronskiy (Kaz) Astana
9. Aurélien Paret-Peintre (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Andreas Kron (Den) Riwal Securitas Cycling Team.

Skoda-Tour of Luxembourg Overall After Stage 4:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates in 12:24:07
2. Aimé De Gendt (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert at 0:17
3. Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team at 0:19
4. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:21
5. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:31
6. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert at 0:34
7. Aurélien Paret-Peintre (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:38
8. Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Leopard Pro Cycling
10. Andreas Kron (Den) Riwal Securitas Cycling Team.

 

With second place at the finish of the Final Stage 5, Diego Ulissi has put the final seal on the success in the general classification of the Tour de Luxembourg. In the final stage (Mersch-Luxembourg, 177km), the UAE Team Emirates leader was bettered in the sprint by Andreas Kron (Riwal Securitas). The second spot was enough for Ulissi to win the race, with a margin of 25 seconds over Markus Hoelgaard (Uno-X Pro) and 27 seconds over Aimé De Gendt (Circus-Wanty Gobert). The Italian rider also won the points competition.

Final overall winner and 2nd on the stage, Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates): “I am very happy to have won the overall standings: three wins in five days, I couldn’t have asked for better for me and for UAE Team Emirates. Today’s stage was exciting, the course was challenging, with an important split in the final. The team worked well today at the head of the group. Too bad we didn’t win the stage, but that’s okay, with the overall win in the bag.
Now I’ll head to the World Championships full of confidence.”

7th on the stage and 3rd overall, Aimé De Gendt (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “Like planned, Xandro joined the early breakaway, and the team surrounded Jan and me very well. The race scenario was perfect for us, but unfortunately I missed the 2nd place in the general classification because of a second game. In the first intermediate sprint, I just missed the bonification seconds, and in the last sprint, I was closed in. On the final climb I was 10 meter behind the first group, and I only closed this gap in the last corner. It was too late to do a good sprint, and I saw how Hoelgaard passed me in the general classification thanks to his 3rd place in the stage. This podium is a nice bonus in my preparation towards the classics. For the first time, I did an altitude training camp, and I felt immediately good at my return home. Especially uphill I had a good feeling during this Tour de Luxembourg. Hopefully I can continue like this! On to the national championships.”

Skoda-Tour of Luxembourg Stage 5 Result:
1. Andreas Kron (Nor) Riwal Readynez in 4:08:42
2. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
3. Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
4. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
5. Petr Vakoc (Cze) Alpecin-Fenix
6. Clement Champoussin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Aime De Gendt (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
8. Franck Bonnamour (Fra) Arkéa-Samsic at 0:06
9. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix
10. Romain Hardy (Fra) Arkéa-Samsic.

Skoda-Tour of Luxembourg Final Overall Result:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates in 16:32:39
2. Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team at 0:25
3. Aime De Gendt (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert at 0:27
4. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:35
5. Andreas Kron (Nor) Riwal Readynez at 0:38
6. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert at 0:44
7. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:47
8. Clement Champoussin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:48
9. Petr Vakoc (Cze) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:50
10. Aurelien Paret-Peintre (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:54.

 


Coppa Sabatini 2020
Dion Smith won the Coppa Sabatini 2020. The fast New Zealander of Mitchelton-Scott took first place ahead of Andrea Pasqualon (Circus-Wanty Gobert) and Aleksandr Riabushenko (UAE Team Emirates) after a spicy uphill sprint.

The Coppa Sabatini was held again this year in and around the small town of Peccioli, located in the province of Pisa. The race consisted of a succession of larger and smaller local laps, with several climbs as possible attack points. After a climb of over a kilometre, the finish ramp was about 5%, after five local laps of 12.2 kilometres.

The organisation was able to show off today with the presence of Gianni Moscon, Nacer Bouhanni and Giovanni Visconti. Six riders quickly managed to form the early breakaway, with Florian Vermeersch, Yukiya Arashiro, Alexander Konychev, Ivan Rovny, Mulu Kinfe Hailemichael and Raffaele Radice.

Ten kilometres from the finish, the break was over and the peloton started the final kilometres towards Peccioli with a fairly large group. Circus-Wanty Gobert, the team of Andrea Pasqualon, winner of the Coppa Sabatini three years ago, was at the head of the peloton. In the final kilometres it was a coming and going of teams who wanted to pilot their sprinter to the best position.

27-year-old Dion Smith, in his second season with Mitchelton-Scott, turned out to have the most power at the finish. The former Wanty-Groupe Gobert rider defeated his former teammate, Pasqualon. This is the fourth time the Italian has finished on the podium of the Coppa Sabatini, after winning in 2017 and second places in 2013 and 2016. The race winner Smith has come out of the corona break very well as he finished ninth in Milan-Turin, and sprinted to sixth in Milan-San Remo.

Race winner, Dion Smith (Mitchelton-Scott): “I have to thank my teammates they did such an impressive lead-out into the climb and then I had two guys left for the climb. All I had to do was sprint with 200metres to go, so it was a perfect lead-out and luckily I had the legs to finish it off. This is my first professional win; I’ve been close with second and third places before, but this is my first win, so it is one of the best results I have had. I have to thank everybody for all their support and believing in me. The climb was hard and we did it many times, it was like the Muy in Belgium but here in Italy.”

2nd, Andrea Pasqualon (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “This was a big performance. Since I’m not a climber, I had to survive all day on this difficult and long renewed course. Also the hilly sprint wasn’t easy. After the work of Odd, Fabien and Simone during the race, Maurits brought me into a good position in the last corner. In order to not explode, I’ve chosen to go up the climb towards the finish at my own pace. Therefore, I had to start sprinting with 500 meter to go. On the right side of the road, I was able to pass everyone, except for Dion Smith. He was the strongest today, so I’m very happy about my 2nd place in this semi classic. After the bad luck and missed podium yesterday, I’m very happy to reward the work of the team today. I’m already looking forward to return my teammates the favour next Sunday at the Giro dell’Appennino.”

3rd, Aleksandr Riabushenko (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a very hard race: pretty long at 210km and very hot but it’s a race I know well and the final sprint suits my characteristic so I gave my best. It is the end of a long period of racing for me, so I am happy that I could recuperate fast after Tirreno Adriatico and to get a good result here.”

Coppa Sabatini Result:
1. Dion Smith (NZ) Mitchelton-Scott in 4:58:58
2. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Circus-Wanty Gobert
3. Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) UAE Team Emirates
4. Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
5. Mads Schmidt Würtz (Den) Israel Start-Up Nation
6. Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
7. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren
8. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
10. Carlos Barbero (Spa) NTT Pro Cycling.

 


Giro dell’Appennino 2020
Ethan Hayter (INEOS Grenadiers) sealed an emphatic first professional victory as he won Giro dell’Appennino from a reduced bunch sprint. The British rider out-sprinted Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates) and Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-Scott) to round off a consistent period of racing in Italy which saw him take four podium finishes in September.

Earlier in the race, the INEOS Grenadiers had worked hard to bring back the early breakaway, only for a counter attack to go clear. Carlos Rodriguez managed to join the break, but Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) attacked and went clear of the group and looked to spoil the sprinters’ day. However, Brambilla was brought back into contention with five kilometres remaining following hard work from Sebastian Henao and Gianni Moscon on the front of the bunch. This then positioned Hayter ideally, to sprint from the reduced lead group to record his first professional victory.

Race winner, Ethan Hayter (INEOS Grenadiers): “After Coppi Bartali and especially the third stage there, which was similar to today, I had some confidence coming in to these races, knowing I was climbing pretty well and getting better each race. It was great to finish off their work today, it was actually a tiny bit of a relief from pressure I had started to put on myself after these podium places and all the work they have been doing for me. They controlled the race from the start, making sure the right kind of break went away and then riding to keep the gap close enough and to keep us out of trouble at the front. Carlos got in the small group that attacked on the main climb, and Sebastian and Gianni did most of the pulling to get that group back, and then stop any more attacks going. They positioned me just where I wanted to be for the finish as well so I can’t thank them enough.”

2nd, Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates): “The race was tough, despite this we reached the final sprint in a group of about forty riders. Riabushenko got held up, so I got the green light from the team to play my cards. I tried to make the best sprint possible and this second place is a big boost for morale. I thank the team, from which I am receiving great confidence in this period.”

6th, Maurits Lammertink (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “Fabien and I were very active during the first race hour to follow the breakaway attempts. Because of the high pace, it took a long time before the breakaway was formed. So it was nice to have Fabien in the front, so we could ease down a little while. The peloton was scattered on the Bocchetta. I’m only racing for two weeks since my collarbone fracture, and tried to climb at a good pace. Together with Odd, I joined the first group 20 kilometre before the finish. I felt good, but I was too early at the front in the sprint. Because of the slight slope and the headwind, I fell back to 6th place. This performance is promising for the classics. It was hard work to get back to a good level after the lockdown and my collarbone fracture. Also last Thursday in the Coppa Sabatini I worked well for Andrea. I’m happy to get a good feeling back!”

Giro dell’Appennino Result:
1. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 4:35:38
2. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
3. Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Italy
5. Gotzon Martín (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
6. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Circus-Wanty Gobert
7. Marco Canola (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo
8. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren
9. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Vini Zabù-KTM
10. Marco Tizza (Ita) Amore & Vita-Prodir.

 


Grand Prix d’Isbergues – Pas de Calais 2020
Nacer Bouhanni won the Grand Prix d’Isbergues on Sunday. The French Arkéa-Samsic sprinter was the fastest of a compact peloton in the streets of Isbergues after 199 kilometres. Bouhanni had enough time to cheer, as Romain Cardis (Total Direct Energie) and Timothy Dupont (Circus-Wanty Gobert) did not threaten him in the sprint.

Bouhanni succeeds world champion Mads Pedersen on the honours list of the GP Isbergues (UCI 1.1). Two years ago, Philippe Gilbert won the one-day race in Northern France. It is his third victory of the season for the 30-year-old sprinter. In February he managed to win a stage in the Saudi Tour and the Tour de la Provence.

In the women’s race, the victory in the GP Isbergues went to Chloe Hosking, who beat Chiara Consonni and Lauren Kitchen in a bunch sprint.

3rd, Timothy Dupont (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “The peloton controlled the breakaway well, but I asked three of my teammates to lead the peloton in the final in order to close the gap. In the approach to the sprint, I counted on my experience for the positioning and sprint to the podium. I’m very satisfied, because this a first positive sign since the disappointing season restart. Since the Strade Bianche, I often have stomach problems. I feel that I’m powerful, but energy was lacking in the race finals. On the plus, my crashes at Milan-Torino and at the Antwerp Port Epic didn’t do good. Thanks to a course of antibiotics during my altitude training camp I feel a lot better. This could be the start of a nice series! If I recover well, the course of the national championships should suit me.”

Grand Prix d’Isbergues – Pas de Calais Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkéa Samsic in 4:31:46
2. Romain Cardis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
3. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
4. Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels – Vital Concept p/b KTM
5. Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis
6. Aksel Nõmmela (Est) Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles
7. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
8. Emiel Vermeulen (Bel) Natura4Ever-Roubaix Lille Métropole
9. Timo Kielich (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
10. Andre Carvalho (Por) Hagens Berman Axeon.

Isbergues’20:

 


UAE Team Emirates Want to Sign Majka to Help Pogačar
UAE Emirates is building a climbing team around Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar and in that quest are looking at Rafal Majka. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport sees in the Pole as the ideal road captain for the Slovenian.

Majka’s contract with BORA-hansgrohe ends this year. The 31-year-old climber has been racing for the German team since 2017, but has no commitment for 2021. Previously, Majka rode for Saxo Bank from 2011 to 2016, that team that later continued as Tinkoff.

The UAE Team Emirates team was unable to assist Pogačar in the tough mountain stages in this Tour. Climbers Fabio Aru and Davide Formolo gave up on the 9th and the 11th stage, after which David De la Cruz and Jan Polanc remained as his only help. By bringing in experienced climbers, UAE team hopes to be better prepared in the service of Pogačar next year.

Rafal Majka to UAE?


The 2021 World Road Championships Course Unveiled
The course of the 2021 World Road Championships was presented on Saturday in the Grote Markt in Antwerp, Belgium. It promises to be a tough championship, with a total of 2,562 vertical metres climbing over a distance of 267.7 kilometres. “We are getting a real Flemish course, at the very highest level.”

Bart De Wever, the mayor of Antwerp, unveiled the starting line of the World Championships on Saturday morning, together with UCI president David Lappartient and cycling greats Eddy Merckx and Johan Museeuw. The elite men, elite women and U23 men events will be run between 24 and 26 September 2021, and start in the Grote Markt, right in the centre of Antwerp.

With a neutralised start of 8 kilometres, the race will pass the most beautiful places in Antwerp. For example, the riders will travel along the Scheldt quays to the MAS (Museum aan de Stroom) and the iconic Antwerp Port Building, before returning to the centre. The official start is at Britselei/Amerikalei near the Old Court.

Via the Bolivartunnel and the A12 it eventually goes to Leuven. On the way, the race goes through Wilrijk, Kontich, Mechelen, Bonheiden, Keerbergen and Rotselaar. The elite men and women reach the local circuit in Leuven after 56 kilometres, the U23 take 62 kilometres. The elite men will first complete the smaller local circuit of 15.5 kilometres in Leuven.


Worlds’21 profile

In between, however, there are also two large circuits of 32.2 kilometres on the program towards Overijse. On this “Flandrien circuit”, the riders will take in six climbs, with the Smeysberg twice, the steep Moskesstraat (a cobbled road of 550 meters long at a maximum of 17%), the Taymansstraat, Bekestraat and the Veeweidestraat.

The race will probably be decided on the local 15.5 kilometre circuit in Leuven, with four possible sharp ramps. The riders will first have to cross the Keizersberg, followed by the Decouxlaan, the Wijnpers and the Sint-Antoniusberg. The finish line is on the gently sloping Geldenaaksevest.

“It will be a party for a week”, points out 1996 World champion and three time winner of Paris-Roubaix and De Ronde van Vlaanderen, Johan Museeuw. “The two phenomena (Wout van Aert and Remco Evenepoel) that we have today, have become winners. If you can organise the World Champs in Belgium the following year, there is nothing better. The course is made for Flandriens, riders who can win the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix.”

Worlds’21 course:


Deceuninck – Quick-Step to the Belgian National Championships
Former champion Yves Lampaert will be part of a strong eight-man team

Postponed to September, the Belgian National Championships are set to take place just two days after the conclusion of the Tour de France, on a hard 235.8km course between Halle and Anzegem. After a 104km-long loop featuring the iconic Muur-Kapelmuur, the peloton will take on several laps of an 18.8km circuit which will include two ascents of the Tiegemberg (750m, 5.6%), a climb used in many of the Spring Classics.

One of the three different Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders to have won the title since 2003, Yves Lampaert will be again on the start line next Tuesday. The 29-year-old became National Road Race Champion in Binche, two seasons ago, after a canny solo move inside the last kilometres, and will line up in Halle having enjoyed a solid return to competition this week at the Tour of Slovakia, where he finished in the top 10.

Tim Declercq and Dries Devenyns, two riders who again played an important role in the Wolfpack’s successful Tour de France, will also be in action, together with Iljo Keisse, Pieter Serry, Stijn Steels, Bert Van Lerberghe and neo-pro Mauri Vansevenant.

“A long and hard race awaits us. With the Muur early on the course and then seven laps of a lap featuring the Tiegemberg twice, it won’t be a walk in the park. We know that we don’t start as favourites, so we need to stay calm and focused and just see how the race will unfold before doing our move. The team is an experienced and motivated one and we hope we will get a good result at the end of the day”, said Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Klaas Lodewyck.

Tim Declercq:


Riwal Sponsor for Two More Years
The Riwal Securitas cycling team has received good news from the main sponsor. Aerial work platform company Riwal will remain as sponsor of the Danish ProTeam for the next two years. The company has been associated with the team since 2013 and will continue this collaboration until the end of 2022. Commercial manager of the team, Steffen Kromann, is pleased with the sponsorship deal. “Riwal is the backbone of our team and when we race in Europe we feel that Riwal is part of the team’s DNA. It is important that we have made this deal, especially in these stormy times that the pandemic has brought us.”

The Danish team has not said if all sponsorship for 2021 is in order yet. After second name sponsor Readynez got into trouble due to the corona crisis, Securitas was willing to step in as co-sponsor. “That helping hand has made it possible to guide the team through 2020,” the team said in a press release. The commercial manager is also positive. “With the support of Riwal and new deals on the way, there is reason for optimism.”

Riwal on the road for two more years:


Cofidis to Sign Xandro Meurisse
Xandro Meurisse will probably take the step up to the WorldTour in 2021. NTT Pro Cycling and Cofidis have made solid offers. According to WielerFlits, the French team is in pole position.

NTT Pro Cycling, the team of Victor Campenaerts, seemed to have the advantage for a long time in recruiting the 28-year-old Meurisse. But as the South African team’s survival is still in doubt, other options were explored. This is how Cofidis came up a while ago. The link between Meurisse and Vasseur’s team is of course Guillaume Martin. The two were teammates at Circus-Wanty Gobert from 2017 to 2019, the team that Meurisse is still a part of. Martin sees a good helper in Meurisse to assist him in the mountains.

Xandro Meurisse:


BORA – hansgrohe Signs Sprint Talent Jordi Meeus
The young sprinter Jordi Meeus has signed for both coming years with the German WorldTeam, and will become part of the BORA – hansgrohe sprint train.

“Jordi is a sprinter, but also someone who is able to take on a more subordinate role in the team. He will definitely receive his chances. But we’re planning to integrate him into our sprint train as a lead-out rider. He is able to fulfil both roles very well, and our tests with him have shown that he certainly has the potential to become one of the fastest riders in the peloton.”Dan Lorang, Head of Innovation.

“I’m extremely happy to have signed with BORA – hansgrohe. It is one of the best teams there is, and has offered me a fantastic opportunity. Three years ago, I moved to SEG Racing Academy, which was absolutely the correct decision to make. Now, I’m ready to take the next step towards a team that is similarly familiar, but at the same time works incredibly meticulously. Particularly in the area of sports science, I see this as a leading environment, and of course I’m hoping for a corresponding development over the next few years. I’m extremely motivated about this.”Jordi Meeus.

Jordi Meeus:


Zoetemelk Knocked off his Bike
Joop Zoetemelk, the 1980 Tour winner, was hit by a car today while cycling in Paris. The former cyclist was taken to hospital with several fractures, but according to his family was conscious.

Zoetemelk, who lives near Paris, was in the French capital because he was there for the last stage of the Tour de France. The Dutchman was taken to a hospital in Paris after his collision.

Joop Zoetemelk climbing l’Alpe d’Huez in 2018:

 

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