A great weekend of racing in the Giro d’Italia, all the fun from Italy with video. Plus the Antwerp Port Epic, Rund um Köln and Veenendaal-Veenendaal. Marc Sergeant talks Lotto Soudal – TOP STORY. Rider news: Nairo Quintana and Peter Sagan prepare for the Tour de France, Patrick Lefevere interested in Ramon Sinkeldam, Thibaut Pinot for the Tour de France KOM and Diego Ulissi extends with UAE Team Emirates. Team news: Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to the Tour of Norway, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert about to resign Quinten Hermans and Israel-Premier Tech signs Derek Gee. *** Stop the war in Ukraine. ***
TOP STORY: Sergeant on Lotto Soudal: “Now fourth team in Belgium”
Lotto Soudal is going through difficult times. The Belgian team is currently in a bad situation in the UCI Team Ranking and is fighting relegation. Former team leader manager Marc Sergeant: “I can imagine that some people within the National Lottery will find that a disgrace,” he said in an extensive interview with Het Laatste Nieuws.
Sergeant, who was told last summer that his contract – after nineteen years as a sports director, sports manager and sports adviser – was not renewed, is looking at it with regret. “In the winter I heard that they had to run a season à la Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to get by. A mission impossible. In January and February, they often won, but when it came to the marbles in the classics, it was over,” says Sergeant.
“Victor Campenaerts was very good in the races up to two hundred kilometres. If it is longer, you will see his light go out live on the TV. He also lacks control. In the corner before the Haaghoek he rode on the inside, while you have to sit on the outside. Those on the inside have to start almost from a standstill, while the riders on the outside turn up the Haaghoek at 40 km/h. Shame. Fortunately, there was also Arnaud De Lie, a godsend thanks to Kurt Van De Wouwer, but you can’t expect such a young guy to make it on his own…”
It is certainly not the first time that Lotto Soudal has had a hard sporting time. Sergeant: “As a team manager I always made sure that we could stay in the WorldTour. Sometimes it was ‘with the heels over the ditch’, but in 2011 we even won that classification. Then it was the best team in the world, now it is the fourth team in Belgium and the relegation is imminent. I can imagine that some people within the National Lottery will find that a shame.”
“The Tour is no longer a certainty either. Organiser ASO first gives its wildcards to the French teams and then there is often only one place left… If three Belgian teams already start, they might as well give the last wildcard to the Norwegian UNO-X from a publicity point of view… It does, it hurts me when I see how the team is doing.”
On Caleb Ewan:
Lotto Soudal is largely dependent on Caleb Ewan in its pursuit of UCI points. The Australian sprinter has to ensure the necessary victories again this season. Ewan still has a contract until the end of 2024 with manager John Lelangue’s team, but it didn’t look like that at all last year. Sergeant goes back to the 2021 Giro. “During the first bunch sprint of the Giro, the lead-out for Caleb had failed. Not nice, but Caleb took that badly. He didn’t even eat with his teammates anymore. When I arrived in Italy after five days, I saw a ‘plow of loose sand’.”
“The sports directeurs didn’t know anymore either. Mario Aerts said he had lost two kilos due to the stress. The Giro didn’t even have to go on for Marc Wauters… I then took Caleb aside for an hour. After half an hour of complaining from him, I said, ‘It’s clear to me: you have to change teams.’ He said, ‘My girlfriend says that too.’ I said, ‘It’s okay, we’ll sort that out, but first you are going to make the best of it in this Giro and be friendly to your teammates.’ The next day he apologised to the group and the next sprint was the prize. Three months later, he extended his contract.”
Former Lotto Soudal team manager Marc Sergeant:
Giro d’Italia 2022
Stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia, finishing in Genova, was won by Stefano Oldani. After a stage for the escapees, the Italian defeated his county-man Lorenzo Rota and Dutchman Gijs Leemreize. This gives his Alpecin-Fenix team their second stage victory in this Giro. Juan Pedro López held his pink jersey for another day.
The battle for the break of the day erupted from the start, but the attackers didn’t get a free pass from the peloton. Mathieu van der Poel was very active, as were all his Alpecin-Fenix teammates, but the first escape attempts by the Dutchman were nipped in the bud. A group with Pascal Eenkhoorn and Pieter Serry then managed to get away from the peloton, but this also turned out not to be the right move. After 50 crazy kilometres the pace was still high and there was a complete peloton heading towards the first intermediate sprint of the day. It was no surprise to see the men of Arnaud Démare, the leader of the points classification, on the front. Groupama-FDJ managed to pilot their sprint leader to first place, ahead of Fernando Gaviria and Simone Consonni. The peloton then slowed.
The big break of the day:
Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën), Valerio Conti (Astana Qazaqstan), Mathieu van der Poel, Stefano Oldani, Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix), Santiago Buitrago, Jasha Sütterlin (Bahrain-Victorious), Davide Gabburo, Luca Covilli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Matteo Sobrero, Lucas Hamilton (BikeExchange-Jayco), Wilco Kelderman, Cesare Benedetti (BORA-hansgrohe), Edoardo Zardini (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli), Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost), Vincenzo Albanese (EOLO-Kometa), Lorenzo Rota, Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Gijs Leemreize, Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma), Michael Schwarzmann (Lotto Soudal), Will Barta (Movistar), Davide Ballerini (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Nico Denz and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo).
These 22 adventurers were the correct combination, and they were gone. With most team represented, the break was allowed to go, although Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè and Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli, the two Italian ProTeams, had surprisingly missed the boat. The Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè riders had to work in the peloton in the hope of rectifying their mistake. The difference kept hovering around the 1 minute and so Luca Covili and Davide Gabburo – two riders from Bardiani – and Edoardo Zardini for Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli tried to cross. The three Italians succeeded after a kilometre-long chase and so we now had 25 off the front at to the top of the Passo del Bocco, the climb where Wouter Weylandt tragically died. At the top of the climb, Mollema was first, for 9 KOM points, followed by Eenkhoorn and Ballerini. The peloton, led by Trek-Segafredo for pink jersey wearer Juan Pedro López, was 5 minutes behind at the top of the Passo del Bocco. Trek-Segafredo didn’t want to give the leading group too much time. The best placed rider in the leading group at the start was Wilco Kelderman at 11:02 from leader López. The lead kept fluctuating around 5 minutes, but it was clear that the stage winner would come from the front group.
After the descent of the Passo del Bocco, where race director Mauro Vegni paid tribute to the late Weylandt, the leading group rode steadily to the second climb of the day, the La Colletta (9 km at 4.3%). Halfway up the climb Lorenzo Rota decided to shake things up. The Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Italian rode away from his fellow escapees and was in the lead over the top of La Colletta. On the descent Rota was joined by two counter-attackers: Stefano Oldani and Gijs Leemreize. These three worked well together to pull away from the group. The difference to the chasing group, containing the biggest favourites for the stage victory, quickly grew to 30 seconds. This was a perfect situation for Alpecin-Fenix . The Belgian team had someone off the front with Oldani, so their top man, Van der Poel could hide on the other wheels. The cooperation in the chase group was completely gone, as a result of which the lead of the three became increasingly larger. Rota, Leemreize and Oldani started the last climb of the day, the very tough Valico di Trensasco, with a 1 minute lead. The better climbers came forward on the Valico di Trensasco. Lucas Hamilton, Kelderman and Mollema managed to split the second group. Van der Poel managed to hang on in the first kilometre of the climb, but soon hit his limits and had to let one rider after the other go. With a Van der Poel in trouble, Alpecin-Fenix had to completely rely on Oldani. The Italian rode to the top of the Valico di Trensasco together with Rota and Leemreize. The Mollema-Kelderman group came a little closer, but still followed at more than half a minute.
The chasers were not able to bridge the gap on the flat kilometres to Genova. Rota, Oldani and Leemreize even managed to extend their lead again towards a minute. This was more than enough to stay out of the grasp of the first chase group and they would be safe to fight it out in the final. Going into the last 2 kilometres, the three started a game of poker. Leemreize tried a surprise move in the last kilometre and took a gap, but Oldani and Rota pulled back the young Dutchman. Leemreize looked finished after this attack, but tried to take the victory with a long sprint. Oldani was ready for him and sat on the wheel of the Jumbo-Visma rider and then started his own sprint for the line. Rota tried his hardest to come back to the Alpecin rider, but couldn’t get past him and so Oldani took his first professional victory in Genova. Rota finished second, Leemreize was third after a tough battle. Less than a minute after Oldani, Mollema won the sprint for fourth place, ahead of Buitrago and Kelderman. Van der Poel rode in just before the peloton.
# See more photos in the full PEZ ‘Stage 12 Race Report’ HERE. #
Stage winner, Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix): “With Lorenzo Rota, we often joke and we told each other to cooperate and we’d see at the end who’d be the strongest. I’ve tried to think the less possible before the final sprint and it worked out. Our plan was to not make the same mistake as in Naples when Mathieu [van der Poel] was alone at the front. At the end of the day, we were the only team with three riders in the lead group. Obviously, I was working for Mathieu, bringing him bottles and gels. I accompanied the move and we got a gap, then it went as it went. Had we remained all the escapees together, a lot of riders would have watched Mathieu. He hugged me strongly after the race. It’s fantastic to learn from a great champion like him. Winning here confirms that Milan-Sanremo is a race I can win in the future with getting stronger because I can hold on quite well on the climbs. It’s definitely the race of my dreams.”
Maglia Rosa, Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo): “Stefano Oldani got very good results when we raced together in the Fundacion Contador. I had a lot of fun with him. The groundwork was good with us and he takes advantage of it today. I take it day by day. Every day I feel more tired. But I also enjoy it more and more every day. Sometimes today my team-mates asked me if I needed water or gel. I didn’t want to say yes because it meant they had to go and grab stuffs at the team car but it’s part of the responsibility of being a leader to do it. The Maglia Rosa doesn’t change anything in my life. I’m the same person as three years ago and I’ll be the same next year, trying to enjoy my life with a smile on my face.”
2nd on the stage, Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “This twelfth stage suited me well and I was happy to be part of the breakaway with Rein Taaramäe. A more hilly final would probably even have been better for me, but I’m happy that I was in the mix for the victory and offer the team a new result. In our leading trio I knew that Gijs Leemreize had to go from far. His attack was painful for the legs after more than 200 kilometre, but with Stefano Oldani we managed to get back rapidly. I wanted to stay in the slipstream of Oldani as long as possible and pass him at the right moment. But he was just faster. I’m of course disappointed to miss the victory, but I look on the bright side. We’re only halfway though this Giro and my feeling is getting better day by day. More opportunities to embellish our Giro before the finish in Verona will come!”
6th on the stage, Wilco Kelderman (BORA-hansgrohe): “We knew that today would be a day for the break. I wanted to go for the stage win and we also had a good chance of doing that successfully. I didn’t really expect the attacks to start so early and so it was a bit of a surprise when Oldani, Rota and Leemreize broke away from our group. In retrospect, we may have started too late to bring the trio back and in the end I was only able to fight for fourth place. But I made up a lot of time in the GC today and am now in 13th place.”
8th on the stage, Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën): “Today, the team’s objective was to place at least one rider in the breakaway. We finally broke away after 70 kilometres of racing following the intermediate sprint. We rode very hard all day. During the last climb, I found myself with too many teams to deal with, and it was more difficult to manage. It’s another top-10, but I wanted to win. The legs are good so I hope to get closer to victory in the next few days.”
Giro d’Italia Stage 12 Result:
1. Stefano Oldani (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix in 4:26:47
2. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
3. Gijs Leemreize (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:02
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:57
5. Santiago Buitrago (Col) Bahrain-Victorious
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
8. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën at 1:44
9. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 1:49
10. Ignatas Konovalovas (Ita) Groupama-FDJ at 2:55.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 12:
1. Juan Pedro López (Spa) Trek-Segafredo in 51:19:07
2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:12
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 0:14
4. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates
5. Jai Hindley (Aus) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:20
6. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 0:30
7. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:31
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:54
9. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:11
10. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 1:24.
Giro’22 stage 12:
Arnaud Démare won Stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia. After a leading group with four had been caught in the last kilometre, the French leader of the Groupama-FDJ team took his third Giro’22 victory in Cuneo in a bunch sprint. Phil Bauhaus was second, Mark Cavendish third. Juan Pedro López finished with the peloton and kept the pink leader’s jersey.
The thirteenth stage started in the iconic (for road cycling) finish town of Milan-Sanremo – Sanremo. The peloton followed the final of La Classicissima in the opposite direction, but the climbs of the Poggio and the Cipressa were left out. The route headed north to the Colle di Nava, the only serious climb of the day. The stage finished in Cuneo via the Po Valley, this would be the last chance for the sprinters for some the time.
The race started immediately with attacks from the peloton. A group of seven rode away, but Groupama-FDJ, Arnaud Démare’s team, was not happy and closed the gap. After about 10 kilometres a leading group of five riders was formed and was allowed to get away: Julius van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost), Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma), Nicolas Prodhomme (AG2R Citroën), Filippo Tagliani (Drone Hopper) and Mirco Maestri (EOLO-Kometa). Tagliani, who is involved in the battle for the intermediate sprints and Fuga Bianchi classification, won the first intermediate sprint ahead of Van den Berg and Eenkhoorn. When the road on the Colle di Nava started to climb, Tagliani was gone. The other four crossed the summit with a 6 minute lead. Eenkhoorn was first, ahead of Prodhomme, Maestri and Van den Berg. The Giro lost Romain Bardet. The DSM French climber, fourth on the general classification, had been sick yesterday and was unable to continue the race.
The leading group continued to work well together and as the kilometres ticked by, things started to look more and more hopeful for the foursome. At 40 kilometres from the finish, the escape still had a 4 minute lead and it wasn’t going to be easy to bring them back. The sprinters’ teams continued to believe in their chance, but they had to work hard for it. In the last 20 kilometres the wind also played a role. The peloton split, with Richie Porte and Simon Yates, falling behind along with other riders. The battle for the stage victory would be exciting, because at 10 kilometres from the finish the difference had fallen to less than 1 minute. Would the escapees make it, or will the victory go to a sprinter? In the last 2 kilometres the four up front started to think about the victory and not everyone wanted to take their turns on the front. At 1.4 kilometres out, Van den Berg jumped away, but Eenkhoorn closed the gap with Maestri and Prodhomme on his wheel. Under the 1K banner they only had 9 seconds, which wasn’t enough. Maestri made a last attempt, but the Italian was passed by the fast finishers with Démare taking his third 2022 Giro stage win.
# See more photos in the full PEZ ‘Stage 13 Race Report’ HERE. #
Stage winner and points leader, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ): “I’m truly exhausted. Seldom I sit on the ground after a race but today it’s been very demanding. We’ve had to use team-mates earlier than we expected, and some other teams too. Had we been only one team chasing, we wouldn’t have caught the breakaway. Normally I like this kind of false-flat uphill finish but today I didn’t enjoy it much because I was lacking freshness due to the hard chase. We’ve caught the escapees only 500 or 600 metres before the line, but in the last 10km I thought it would end up like this because of the false-flat uphill. It’s already a successful Giro for us. Now one more win or one less win wouldn’t change much. It’s all about enjoying it as a team.”
Maglia Rosa, Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo): “I don’t know what happened to Romain Bardet. I just heard through the radio that he had pulled out. He was one of the strongest men here with a strong team. Tomorrow, for sure, I’ll give everything like every day. Everyone knows that Superga is super hard. Maybe some GC guys will try to do something. When I arrived to the Giro, I didn’t think of the GC, I wanted to try and win some stage and work for the team. Now I keep living my dream. I still don’t believe in this.”
2nd on the stage, Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain-Victorious): “I think there is one more chance for sprinters, so maybe I can do one place better next time.”
3rd on the stage, Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “It was not an easy stage and we had to make sure it was a sprint at the end of the day. We had to get over the climb and chase the leading group, who had a nice lead. The boys showed tremendous commitment, but also a lot of strength and determination. They worked hard all day, beyond their job description. The final was tough, and when I went into the last kilometre I knew I was a little bit behind, but I gave everything I had and did the best sprint I could. I am proud of the boys and their great work.”
9th on the stage, Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën): “It was a very fast day. We wanted to place a rider in the breakaway because all scenarios were possible today. Nicolas (Prodhomme) managed to get into the right one. I hoped for him that it would go to the end and that he could take the victory for the team. In the final, the sprinters’ teams were going full steam ahead and we ended up with the bunch sprint. Lawrence (Naesen) positioned me well to get the best possible place but my legs were pretty cooked after yesterday’s breakaway. It’s a nice top 10.”
13th on the stage, Barnabás Peák (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I had the opportunity to sprint today, because our GC leaders had no trouble in reaching the finish line in the first group. The peloton went really fast in the final 100 kilometre, we rode at a speed of over 60 kilometre per hour to reduce the 7 minute gap to the breakaway. I have to say that we had a big advantage to ride comfortably downhill thanks to our aerodynamic bikes and tubeless Continental tires. It is the first time that I race longer than ten days in a row. The staff really helps us with recovery and we can maintain a good daily rhythm. I still feel pretty good and I hope can keep this feeling longer. Since our arrival in Italy and the Etna stage the intensity was never reduced. La Grande Partenza already seems such a long time ago. After this race I’ll probably realise what a dream it was to make my Grand Tour debut in my home city. I came here to help Biniam Girmay in stages like these, together with Aimé De Gendt and Loïc Vliegen. After Bini left us, we managed to motivate each other again thanks to our good atmosphere. We want to race aggressively and defend the chances of our GC riders, who are doing incredibly well in this Giro.”
Romain Bardet (DSM) abandoned: “I’m really disappointed to leave the race like this – we’ve all worked really hard to get here and invested a lot to be in the best possible shape. I felt really sick yesterday during the stage and it hasn’t gotten any better. We tried all we could to continue but today I had nothing left in me to get through the day. It’s really disappointing but we have a great team here and I’m confident they will continue this Giro in a good way with great spirit and hopefully some more good results. I wish them all the best.”
Giro d’Italia Stage 13 Result:
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 3:18:16
2. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain-Victorious
3. Mark Cavendish (GB) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
4. Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
5. Alberto Dainese (Ita) DSM
6. Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
7. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
8. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Israel-Premier Tech
9. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën
10. Tobias Bayer (Aust) Alpecin-Fenix.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 13:
1. Juan Pedro López (Spa) Trek-Segafredo in 54:37:23
2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:12
3. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates
4. Jai Hindley (Aus) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:20
5. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 0:28
6. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:29
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:54
8. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:09
9. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 1:22
10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:23.
Giro’22 stage 13:
Simon Yates won Stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia. The 29-year-old BikeExchange-Jayco rider rode away from a group of favourites on the last climb of the day. Earlier in the day, a large group of top men had split off the front, due to BORA-hansgrohe. Richard Carapaz is the new leader in the general classification, Juan Pedro López couldn’t hold the front group in the finalé.
The first attack of the day came from Mathieu van der Poel, but no one wanted to go with him and after 10 kilometres out front, the winner of the Tour of Flanders was caught. Then there were many attacks by different riders, without success. Simon Yates, Lennard Kämna, Mauri Vansevenant, Harm Vanhoucke, Magnus Cort and Diego Rosa were very active. Rosa took 9 points for the KOM on the first categorised climb of the day. There was then a big battle to get into the escape of the day. At 95 kilometres from the finish, after about 50 kilometres of racing: Nans Peters (AG2R Citroën), Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix), Joe Dombrowski (Astana Qazaqstan), Filippo Zana (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Ben Zwiehoff (BORA-hansgrohe), Diego Camargo (EF Education-EasyPost), Diego Rosa (EOLO-Kometa), Ignatas Konovalovas (Groupama-FDJ), Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal), Iván Sosa (Movistar), James Knox (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates) finally formed a leading group.
At first it was INEOS Grenadiers who set the pace for the peloton, but the BORA-hansgrohe riders took the initiative. After the intense battle to make the day’s break, Tom Dumoulin abandoned the 2022 Giro d’Italia. The 12 leaders didn’t get a big lead due to the pace by the BORA team. At just under 80 kilometres from the finish, on the circuits around Turin, the lead was only 1 minute. The route of the 14th stage had been called a ‘mini World champs’. The combination of the difficult route and the pace of BORA-hansgrohe meant that the peloton kept getting smaller and smaller. When they went through the finish, the peloton was completely shattered by the high speed, only Richard Carapaz, Pavel Sivakov and Simon Yates were still there. A number of top GC men were able to rejoin, but not all. João Almeida had to close the gap on his own to the group of favourites, where pink jersey wearer Juan Pedro López was still there. Other big names like Alejandro Valverde and Thymen Arensman had completely missed the move. A new leading group emerged with Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan), Mikel Landa & Pello Bilbao (both Bahrain Victorious), Wilco Kelderman, Emanuel Buchmann, Jai Hindley (all BORA-hansgrohe), Jan Hirt & Domenico Pozzovivo (both Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco), Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) and João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates). The second group, included Arensman and Guillaume Martin, crossed the finish-line 36.5 kilometres from the finish 3 minutes down.
The pace in the leading group was provided by Kelderman. At 32 kilometres from the finish, on the Superga, his team mate Hindley, who won at Blockhaus, put in the first attack. Only Carapaz, Nibali and López could follow the Australian. They didn’t continue the move, so that the rest of the leading group, without Hirt, were able to rejoin. Towards the end of the Superga, Carapaz decided his moment had come, the Ecuadorian jumped away from the leading group. This acceleration was too much for the pink jersey and López was dropped. Carapaz quickly gained a lead of 30 seconds. In the second group, the pace was set by BORA-hansgrohe and Bahrain Victorious, as they still had two riders in the first group. At the foot of the Colle Della Madalena, 15 kilometres from the finish, Carapaz’s lead was still 20 seconds, but this was cut on the climb due to an attack by Nibali. The Shark of Messina, along with Hindley, chased down Carapaz. Hindley, Nibali and Yates all eventually got to the front. The four shot down towards the last climb of the day, the Parco del Nobile. Pozzovivo was just under 15 seconds from the leaders. Nibali was the first to put an attack. The next was from Yates, who immediately took lead. The BikeExchange-Jayco rider clearly had the freshest legs. Yates was able to keep that lead for the victory in the streets of Turin. Hindley sprinted to second, ahead of Carapaz, who is the new overall leader. López finished just in the top-10, at more than 4 minutes.
# See more photos in the full PEZ ‘Stage 14 Race Report’ HERE. #
Stage winner, Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco): “There was really a fight for the overall and I was a passenger, looking for a stage win. I had to play to it my advantage. There were three guys stronger than me on the climb, I had to choose my moment to attack and I did that well. I’ve had a knee problem and it’s still not 100% resolved. 90% of my riding uphill is out of the saddle and I wasn’t able to push that way on the pedals. In the past few days, I’ve been thinking of pulling out of the Giro. Today I feel like I’m back to where I wanted to be. It’s a pity I can’t fight for the overall victory anymore. This win gives me morale back, maybe I can fight for some other stages.”
Maglia Rosa and 3rd on the stage, Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers): “It’s been a pretty hard day. Bora-Hansgrohe rode aggressively in a downhill and some of my team-mates got stuck behind. Tomorrow it’ll be a very different race with much more mountains. We’ll have to defend. Compare to when I first took the Maglia Rosa three years ago, I have more experience and a team that supports me. The last week will be very competitive and pretty complicated.”
2nd on the stage and overall, Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a pretty crazy day. We had a bold plan, and tried to isolate the other GC riders early. The team was just phenomenal today. I’m admittedly a little disappointed that I couldn’t get the win in the end, but I have to say a huge thanks to the whole team for their amazing support. Carapaz didn’t look overly strong at the beginning, so I was surprised when he launched his attack. I thought he went a bit too early, so I waited patiently and then I was able to catch up, along with the group. We worked well together and saved a lot of energy as a result. When we reached the first climb, I knew we were all going to go full throttle, and Nibali looked strong so I thought he might try something there. But I waited for the right moment and when he took off I was able to follow him. It was a crazy descent down to the finish and after that, I ended up taking second on the day and now in GC. I’m proud to be part of this team and thanks again to the guys for the excellent support.”
4th on the stage and 8th overall, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan): “Luckily I’m also making a nice jump in the standings. It was a very hot day, and BORA-hansgrohe went incredibly fast. That made it difficult to find the right time to eat, especially because it went up and down all the time and never stopped. That makes me very happy. Of course I went full for the stage win, but I knew it was going to be difficult against the rest. I did lose a few minutes on Etna, but I was still seen by the rest as too dangerous to let go.”
6th on the stage and 3rd overall, João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m satisfied with my performance today. I was chasing for a lot of the stage and it was hard, but I think that it was the same for everyone today. The gaps in the overall classification are still quite small so everything is possible, we just need to keep fighting. Tomorrow is going to be another hard stage so we look ahead to that.”
5th on the stage and overall, Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “It was a stage of rare brutality! Not only because of the succession of climbs with high percentages, but also because of the heat and the constantly intense pace. At 60 kilometres from the finish, there were only about ten GC riders left at the front of the race, and I managed to conclude this tough battle with a very good 5th place. I’m also currently fifth overall, which is a good sign ahead of the third week. I haven’t been able to fully satisfy the tifosi for the past few years due to bad luck and physical problems, but now I’m back!”
Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) abandoned: “It didn’t work anymore. The body is finished, it is empty. I’m not moving forward. I get no power, no power on the pedals. It just isn’t there. At the moment I have no other answer. Of course I knew I didn’t have the best legs. Fortunately I rode a nice time trial and had a nice day in the leading group with Koen Bouwman. But despite the fact that my level was far from good, I had resolved to do everything I could and in any case finish nicely in Verona. But that just isn’t the case. My body is exhausted and that’s a big disappointment. I try to pick myself up every morning because I want to make the best of it even though I know I’m not riding well. I tried to cheer myself up. And I even thought: maybe I can still participate in the break. But that just wasn’t the case.”
Giro d’Italia Stage 14 Result:
1. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange-Jayco in 3:43:44
2. Jai Hindley (Aus) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:15
3. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:28
6. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:39
7. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:51
8. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious
9. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:10
10. Juan Pedro López (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 4:25.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 14:
1. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers in 58:21:28
2. Jai Hindley (Aus) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:07
3. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:30
4. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:59
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 1:01
6. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 1:52
7. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:58
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan at 2:58
9. Juan Pedro López (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 4:04
10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 9:06
Giro’22 stage 14:
Giulio Ciccone was the winner of Sunday’s mountain Stage 15 in the Giro d’Italia finishing in Cogne. The Trek-Segafredo climber, who rode the last 18 kilometres solo, was the best of a leading group of 25 riders. This is Ciccone’s third stage win in the Giro. There was no problems for Richard Carapaz’s pink jersey. Only Guillaume Martin managed to get time on the rest of the favourites.
The big battles of the day came in the first 80 kilometres of the stage. After the hard day in Turin, many riders knew that a break would have a chance on the mountainous road to Cogne. Due to some nervousness in the peloton, there was a crash in the peloton early in the stage. Among the fallers was the pink jersey Richard Carapaz, but there was no problem. Due to the many attacks at the front, several groups got away including Harm Vanhoucke, Lennard Kämna, Sylvain Moniquet, Alessandro De Marchi, Sam Oomen, Mauri Vansevenant and Giulio Ciccone. But all those attempts were pulled back by the peloton.
Before the first climb of the day, a large leading group, consisting of 25 men, escaped. Among them Mathieu van der Poel, Dries De Bondt, Julius van den Berg, Koen Bouwman, Sam Oomen, Gijs Leemreize, Thymen Arensman, Martijn Tusveld and Bauke Mollema, along with David De la Cruz, Santiago Buitrago, Hugh Carthy, Iván Ramiro Sosa, Giulio Ciccone and Davide Formolo. Before Pila-Les-Fleurs (12.2km at 6.9%), the leading group had gained a 4 minute lead from the INEOS Grenadiers led group. Carapaz’s team kept the gap small; Arensman was closest on the overall at 11:47. Bouwman was not happy with the speed in the leading group and went solo in the hunt for KOM points. With a lead of 50 seconds, the stage winner in Potenza came over the top to take 40 mountain points. The peloton followed 5 minutes after Bouwman. After a long descent, Bouwman had a short ride in the valley before the Cat 1 climb to Verrogne (13.8km at 7.1%). Van der Poel and Tusveld rode a fast descent and joined Bouwman just before the climb. The three had 1:30, after which the group behind exploded on Verrogne. Ciccone, Buitrago and Antonio Pedrero got together and joined Tusveld and Van der Poel 8 kilometres from the top. Bouwman, who was now the KOM, had done enough and after a double attack from Ciccone, Van der Poel and later also Tusveld were dropped. Ciccone, Buitrago and Pedrero were left out front, although Carthy came across before the top. Rui Costa was close behind, but was struggling. In the peloton, there was an attempt by UAE Team Emirates to pick up the pace on the Verrogne, but INEOS Grenadiers countered.
Then it was Guillaume Martin, one of yesterday’s losers, who attacked. The Frenchman ended up in a group with the dropped Arensman. The final climb to Cogne (22.4km at 4.3%) had steep sections especially in the first 8 kilometres. Six riders started that climb, because Tusveld and Costa managed to join on the descent. This was about 6 minutes ahead of the favourites group with the pink jersey. Ciccone used the steep opening section of the final climb to split the leading group. He succeeded and only Carthy could follow him. At 18 kilometres from the finish, Ciccone managed to shake off Carthy. In no time the Italian had a 40 second lead over Carthy and Buitrago, while also widening the gap to the peloton to more than 8 minutes. Little happened on the final climb in the elite group. INEOS Grenadiers set the pace, but there were no attacks. At the front Ciccone extended his lead. Five kilometres from the finish, he had a lead of more than 1:30 on his only pursuer, Buitrago. Bahrain’s Colombian climber crossed the finish line in second, ahead of Antonio Pedrero and Hugh Carthy. Martijn Tusveld was in fifth place, more than 4 minutes from Ciccone. The favourites group crossed the finish line just under 8 minutes after the stage winner. Guillaume Martin managed to take 1:46 minutes back on the other competitors with his attack. The Frenchman is now in the top 10 overall. The pink jersey remains on the shoulders of Richard Carapaz.
# See more photos in the full PEZ ‘Stage 15 Race Report’ HERE. #
Stage winner, Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo): “It’s a nice suffering. This win has arrived after a difficult period in which I’ve been really unlucky. After a month long training camp with Juan Pedro Lopez, I was convinced that he’d do a great Giro. It’s been a great satisfaction for the team but also a bit strange to see him with the Maglia Rosa and I saw in him the carefree Giulio Ciccone of 2019. I’ve had a big blow on the Blockhaus. It was even more difficult because I was at home but I knew I could do something later on if I’d stay focused. Today in the last ten kilometres, I’ve had many things going through my mind but I enjoyed the support of the crowd. That was a feeling I’ve been missing for a long time but it’s back now.”
Maglia Rosa, Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers): “It’s been kind of a crazy stage. It’s gone fast until the first climb. We’ve tried to maintain the breakaway close enough. The truth is that the last week will be decisive. The fatigue of the past few days will count. There are hard stages to come. It gives us a great morale because this is my terrain. It’s better to defend than attack. We’re separated by just a few seconds on GC but it looks to me like a considerable advantage already.”
2nd overall, Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe): “It looked like the others in the group of favourites didn’t want to have such a hard day today, to recover somewhat after yesterday’s hard stage. Maybe it wasn’t so exciting on TV in the GC group, but that’s how it is sometimes in a Grand Tour. Nonetheless, it was by no means an easy day and the rest day can’t come soon enough! The last climb was not hard enough to try anything there. If it had been steeper, then it might have looked different. But overall, we’re happy that Emu and I were able to maintain our GC placings.”
2nd on the stage, Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious): “It was another day in the breakaway, and it was really hard to get away. Finally, Ciccone was too strong, and I ended up in second place. Obviously, I’m disappointed not to have won the stage, but it is also an important second place for me. Let’s see if there are other opportunities in the last week.”
Giro d’Italia Stage 15 Result:
1. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 4:37:41
2. Santiago Buitrago (Col) Bahrain-Victorious at 1:31
3. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar at 2:19
4. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-EasyPost at 3:09
5. Martijn Tusveld (DSM) DSM at 4:36
6. Luca Covili (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè at 5:08
7. Natnael Tesfatsion (Eri) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli at 5:27
8. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
9. Gijs Leemreize (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
10. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 6:06.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 15:
1. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers in 63:06:57
2. Jai Hindley (Aus) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:07
3. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:30
4. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:59
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 1:01
6. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 1:52
7. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:58
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan at 3:00
9. Juan Pedro López (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 4:04
10. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 8:02.
Giro’22 stage 15:
Antwerp Port Epic 2022
Florian Vermeersch has added the 2022 Antwerp Port Epic to his palmarès. The 23-year-old Belgian of Lotto Soudal was the strongest of a leading group of six riders in the final of this gravel race, part of the Exterioo Cycling Cup. He left Gianni Vermeersch and Thibau Nys behind in Antwerp.
Over a total distance of 182 kilometres there were 28 kilometres of cobbles and 36 kilometres of gravel. With three sections remaining in the last 10 kilometres, the 2022 edition promised to be a true spectacle.
After several attempts, six riders managed to form the break of the day. Sven Burger (BEAT Cycling), Eamon Lucas Franck (EvoPro), Jacob Relaes (Tarteletto-Isorex), Tom Sexton (Black Spoke), Stijn Siemons (Geofco Doltcini) and Roel van Sintmaartensdijk (Volkerwessels CT) joined forces, but they didn’t get much of a lead. Sexton and Franck were dropped. Jens Reynders and Milan Menten then jumped to the foursome. There was a lot of crashes in the final of the race. Also, two members of the original early break missed a turn and hit the tarmac hard. Not much later the escape was over. Just over 40 kilometres from the finish, the peloton, which consisted of 40 riders, pulled the leading group back. Several attacks followed, but all those groups didn’t get much space from Alpecin-Fenix, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert and Lotto Soudal. Led by Gianni Vermeersch, who won this race in 2020, five more riders managed to force a break from the peloton. Vermeersch’s teammate Timo Kielich jumped after them, as did namesake Florian Vermeersch, Adrien Petit, Jens Reynders and Thibau Nys. Now all the top teams had a rider up front, the pace dropped in the peloton, allowing the six to go for the win.
Kielich tried on the last gravel stretch, but Nys jumped on his wheel. They made a good gap, but Kielich was not allowed to continue with the U23 European champion. Several attacks followed, always with Nys and Gianni Vermeersch. Florian Vermeersch kept closing the gap, after which he attacked himself. Gianni Vermeersch and Nys were together, but the collaboration soon came to an end. After that Florian Vermeersch was uncatchable, although he made a mistake 2 kilometres from the finish by taking the outside bend on the main road. Gianni Vermeersch tried to get to him in the last hundred metres, to no avail. For Vermeersch it was his first professional victory. Last year he was second in Paris-Roubaix.
Race winner, Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal): “I can’t really believe it yet that I won my first pro race. The plan was to open the race quite early and make it a hard day on the bike. That worked out pretty well because it was a real battle of attrition. This was a strong team performance today because with five Lotto Soudal riders in the peloton, we had the race well under control. In the end I was part of a six-man breakaway and thanks to the right composition, we quickly realised we were going for the win.”
Antwerp Port Epic Result:
1. Florian Vermeersch (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 4:17:22
2. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:05
3. Thibau Nys (Bel) Baloise-Trek Lions at 0:13
4. Jens Reynders (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:17
5. Adrien Petit (Fra) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
6. Timo Kielich (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:26
7. Gerben Thijssen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 3:19
8. Arnaud De Lie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Milan Menten (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
10. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux.
Rund um Köln 2022
Nils Politt took the win in the Rund um Köln on Sunday. The German classics specialist of BORA-hansgrohe crossed the finish line solo in his home race, after he broke away five kilometres from the finish from a leading group that also included teammate Danny van Poppel, who was second and Nikias Arndt, third of DSM.
Early in the race there was the Oberbergischer Kreis hills. There a large leading group of about 25 riders broke away from the peloton. There were several favourites, including Dylan Groenewegen, Jasper Philipsen, Danny van Poppel and Nils Politt. Their lead fluctuated between 2 to 3 minutes.
The finalé was opened up by three riders at 60 kilometres out from the finish. BORA-hansgrohe riders Van Poppel, Politt and DSM rider Nikias Arndt broke away from the leading group on one of the many hills. They managed to take a 1 minute lead on the pursuers. On the Bensberg (1km at 6%) there was an attack from behind. The collaboration in the leading group came to a halt at that stage. Van Poppel and Politt tried to drop Arndt, but they were unsuccessful. They also had to lift their speed, because the pursuers came within 20 seconds. Their teammates did a good job of slowing the chase.
Partly because of this, the difference rose again towards 45 seconds in the last 10 kilometres. At just under 5 kilometres from the finish, BORA-hansgrohe exploited their numbers in the leading group. Politt attacked in the streets of Köln, after which Van Poppel left the work to Arndt. The Dutchman hoped to cross on his own, but did not want to bring Arndt back to the front. So he held back and the winner was announced. On a bridge, one and a half kilometres before the finish, Van Poppel drove away from Arndt. He couldn’t catch the soloing Politt, but he did leave Arndt stranded in third place. The sprint for fourth was won half a minute later by Dylan Groenewegen, ahead of Sam Bennett and Jasper Philipsen.
Race winner, Nils Politt (BORA-hansgrohe): “It’s always been a dream to win Rund um Köln one day, today this dream finally came true! We were able to make the race hard, jump in the group of the day with six riders and so play our cards. We raced super strong as a team and ultimately managed to take the double win with Danny in 2nd.”
Rund um Köln Result:
1. Nils Politt (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe in 4:28:21
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:13
3. Nikias Arndt (Ger) DSM at 0:18
4. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:48
5. Sam Bennett (Irl) BORA-hansgrohe
6. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
7. Tom Bohli (Swi) Cofidis
8. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
9. Pavel Bittner (Cze) DSM
10. Ryan Mullen (Irl) BORA-hansgrohe.
Dylan Groenewegen won the Veenendaal-Veenendaal Classic for the fourth time in his career. The BikeExchange-Jayco rider was the fastest in a bunch sprint in this fourth round of the Exterioo Cycling Cup. Gerben Thijssen was second and Arnaud De Lie third.
Not long after the start in the centre of Veenendaal, five riders escaped. Rick Pluimers (Jumbo-Visma), Stijn Appel (ABLOC CT), Sven Burger (BEAT Cycling), Michael Garrisson (Hagens Berman Axeon) and Tim Marsman (Metec-Solarwatt). The five took a good 4 minutes lead from the peloton were BikeExchange-Jayco who took control. The race exploded at 60 kilometres from the finish. The Jumbo-Visma men suddenly hit the front out of nowhere, because they didn’t have the fastest sprinter with Timo Roosen. Under their impulse, a group of about thirty riders split off the front, but top favourites Dylan Groenewegen and Arnaud De Lie had no problems. Despite the help of Alpecin-Fenix, everything came together again 10 kilometres later. The will to continue riding with all those fast men was not so great. Lotto Soudal and BikeExchange-Jayco took back control, making it easy to prepare for the bunch sprint. They started to accelerate a bit at the front, so that Burger was dropped.
At 11 kilometres from the finish, the escapees were caught, and there was then a rather chaotic sprint preparation. Per Strand Hagenes, Thimo Willems and Julien Vermote tried to avoid a sprint, and Lotto Soudal tried to take advantage of the crosswind to start an echelon. But in the end it was Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert who brought her sprinter Gerben Thijssen perfectly towards the last 300 metres. Groenewegen had chosen the right wheel and started his sprint early. Thijssen couldn’t get past and third, Arnaud De Lie, had to come from too far out. Hugo Hofstetter remains in the lead with 40 points in the Exterioo Cycling Cup, Arnaud De Lie is at 5 points behind the Frenchman thanks to his third place.
Race winner, Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange-Jayco): “We were here with a young group of riders, most of them had a long break, but we positioned well all day long, and especially in the last corner I was in the perfect spot. I am glad of this result, I am happy, the team is happy, especially because everything went as planned. We are on the right track.”
2nd, Gerben Thijssen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I’m satisfied with my second place behind a champion such as Dylan Groenewegen. My teammates did a perfect lead out, but he was just faster. With 1 kilometre to go I still has three teammates in front of me and just like I asked them before the race, Boy van Poppel made sure that I was in second position in the last corner. It had goosebumps when I saw how my teammates were giving all they had for me. This makes me so proud, it’s just a dream to be part of this team. The last two years I felt like I could never really go all out, this makes me so emotional.”
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco in 4:32:40
2. Gerben Thijssen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
3. Arnaud De Lie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
5. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
6. Sasha Weemaes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Pierre Barbier (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
8. Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
9. Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Human Powered Health
10. Jordi Warlop (Bel) B&B Hotels-KTM.
Nairo Quintana to Ride La Route d’Occitanie Before the Tour de France
Nairo Quintana will only contest La Route d’Occitanie in the run-up to the Tour de France (1-24 July), L’Équipe reports. The Colombian will not participate in the Critérium du Dauphiné or the Tour of Switzerland.
Quintana will start for the first time in La Route d’Occitanie (16-19 June) after his abandonment in the Tour of Turkey. The 32-year-old climber of Arkéa-Samsic had been recovering in recent weeks from injuries sustained when he fell in the Turkish stage race. Quintana abandoned on day five with “severe abrasions to the back and the entire left side of his body,” his French team said.
Quintana, who started the year with overall victories in the Tour de La Provence and the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var and top 5 finishes in Paris-Nice and the Tour of Catalonia, can now look ahead again. The rider hopes to be ready in La Route d’Occitanie in less than a month for his main goal this season: the Tour de France.
Quintana was the best in the final classification of La Route d’Occitanie in 2012 and 2016, when the race was still known as the Route du Sud. This year’s four-day stage race consists of two flat stages, one hilly stage and a stage for the real climbers. This year, in addition to seven ProTeams and five Continental teams, eight WorldTeams are taking part in La Route d’Occitanie.
Nairo Quintana Tour build up:
Peter Sagan After Rest, Now in Preparation for Tour
After a long rest, Peter Sagan is now preparing for the Tour de France. The Slovakian of TotalEnergies has been training at altitude in Utah, America, after his spring campaign didn’t happen. “We have done a whole series of tests. We could not find a specific cause for his problems,” his trainer Jens Van Beylen told Het Laatste Nieuws.
“Peter felt tired, he had pain in his legs, after training and after the races. He had never felt that,” said Van Beylen about Sagan’s performance in the spring. “We decided that Peter was still feeling the aftermath of a corona infection in late December, early January. Call it a post-corona syndrome.”
At the beginning of April, the three-time world champion started the Circuit de la Sarthe, but he quickly gave up. What followed was a long period of rest, during which Sagan took a vacation. His trainer calls it a reset. “Peter had to get out physically and mentally. We have monitored the symptoms and Peter has maintained a good foundation.”
Now Sagan has been on an altitude training camp with Daniel Oss for over a week in Utah, where he will stay until June 5. The Slovak will also go mountain biking. “The intensity will be stepped up in the coming weeks. The signs are promising. But of course we have to make reservations for how he will perform in competitions again, with tempo changes and high intensity,” said Van Beylen.
The first races that Sagan will ride are the GP Canton Aargau and the Tour of Switzerland, in the run-up to the Tour. “The goal is for him to perform at maximum performance again. He is a newcomer to the squad and he has not yet been able to prove himself or make his mark. That causes frustration for him, more than for us. There is no pressure with us. He is incredibly ambitious. He has a very great perseverance to achieve what he wants to achieve. If he can train 100% again, he will compete for the green jersey.”
The Tour for Sagan:
Lefevere Interested in Sinkeldam
Patrick Lefevere has expressed his interest in Ramon Sinkeldam in his weekly column for Het Nieuwsblad. The team boss of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl is looking for a good last man for the sprint train. “Because it is a very specific position and because Michael Mørkøv does not have eternal youth,” he said.
The 33-year-old Sinkeldam rides for the French Groupama-FDJ team, where he plays an important role in Arnaud Démare’s sprint train. The Dutchman is currently riding the Giro d’Italia and has been very successful with his French sprint leader. Sinkeldam managed to pilot Démare to three stage victories in the Italian tour, in Messina, Scalea and Cuneo.
Sinkeldam’s contract with Groupama-FDJ will expire at the end of this season and Lefevere has already contacted the Dutchman’s management. “As said, we are still looking for an additional lead out. Because it is a very specific position and because Michael Mørkøv does not have eternal youth. Sprint lead-out man is a kind of bottleneck profession in the peloton, if you are looking for a good one. The scouting is difficult.”
“When recruiting new riders, you request training data, look at the bio-passport and together with your gut feeling you usually have a good idea of what meat you have in the cockpit. That is not enough for lead-outs: you have to watch videos and analyse sprints really deeply. Because it is not because the sprinter does not win that the pilot has not done his job well. The reverse is equally true. But even if you’ve done all your homework, it remains to be hoped that the chemistry between sprinter and last man is somewhat right. More than for any other job in the race, the following applies to the lead-out: ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’.”
If Sinkeldam moves to the Belgian team, he will have to ride in the sprints for Fabio Jakobsen and Tim Merlier from next season. Merlier is expected to sign a contract with Soudal – Quick-Step, the successor to Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl. That also almost certainly means the end of Mark Cavendish at Quick-Step. The Briton is now being offered to other teams by his management.
Ramon Sinkeldam going to Lefevere?
Thibaut Pinot Wants to Go for the KOM Jersey in the Tour de France
Thibaut Pinot has his eye on the polka dot jersey of this summer’s Tour de France. The French climber does not yet know whether he will be able to fight for the general classification, but he thinks the mountains classification is a good goal.
Pinot will return to the Tour de France this summer after a one-year absence. He was last at the start of the Tour in 2020, but his participation that year turned out to be a disappointment and a crash caused persistent back problems. “A victory in the Tour is always nice,” said the French rider, who last took a stage victory in 2019, in conversation with AFP news agency. “I have never won the mountain jersey. I’ve been dreaming about this jersey since I was a kid.”
Between now and the start of the Tour, Pinot still has some work to do and next month he will be at the start of the Tour of Switzerland. “The Tour of Switzerland will give me a lot of answers. Physically I expected some answers from the Tour of the Alps and the Tour de Romandie, I got them. It remains to be seen if I will be able to find my place at the front of the pack and put my shoulders against the others.”
KOM for Thibaut Pinot:
Diego Ulissi Extends Contract with UAE Team Emirates
Diego Ulissi has been mentioned in association with the new cycling team of Davide Cassani, but according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the 32-year-old Italian will soon extend his contract with UAE Team Emirates.
Ulissi has gone for a longer stay with his current team, reports the Italian sports newspaper. The experienced Italian has been racing for UAE Team Emirates for a long time and has been very successful for the team in recent years. Ulissi was the best in the GP Industria this season and has had top results in the GP La Marseillaise, Ster van Bessèges, Trofeo Laigueglia and the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali.
Ulissi, who is currently in the Giro d’Italia, has been mentioned in recent months as a possible rider for Davide Cassani’s new squad, a new Italian ProTeam in the near future. Cassani wants to start the season in 2023 with a ‘Made in Italy’ team: a team with Italian sponsors, bicycles and riders. A line can now be drawn through the name of Ulissi. Matteo Trentin, another strong rider with UAE Team Emirates, also appears to be extending his expiring contract.
Diego Ulissi to stay with UAE
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to the Tour of Norway
Remco Evenepoel will lead the team at the 11th edition of the Scandinavian race
Taking place from 24 until 29 May, the Tour of Norway will get underway from beautiful Bergen – the host of the 2017 World Championships – with a hilly stage concluding on a 2.1km climb averaging 8.4% where the GC contenders are expected to emerge for the first time. Their second and most important opportunity of the week comes two days later, in Stavsro – in the form of a brutal 12km climb boasting a 16.8% maximum gradient which should be decisive in the fight for the orange jersey – despite the presence of a hilly local circuit that will be tackled in Stavanger on the final stage.
The sprinters will have three opportunities (Geilo, Kristiansand and Sandnes) to shine and go for the points classification and the blue jersey at this edition, although a question mark remains on the first of these stages due to the presence of a long climb in the first 70 kilometres, where some teams could try to drop the fast men.
The youngest rider in the last 54 years to win Liège–Bastogne–Liège, Remco Evenepoel will return to action for the first time since triumphing at “La Doyenne” one month ago, together with a strong Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl squad that is set to include 2021 Flanders victor Kasper Asgreen, French Champion Rémi Cavagna, Josef Cerny, Zdenek Stybar and neo-pro Ethan Vernon.
“Norway is not an easy race. Those two uphill finishes are really hard and we can expect some significant gaps there. We’ll see what Remco can do on those two ascents, he’s our man for the GC and will have a good squad to support him. Concerning the bunch sprints, we’ll try to be in the mix with Ethan, who proved earlier this season in Catalunya what he can do. The confidence is there, the determination is there, so we can’t wait to get things underway in a couple of days,” said Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Tom Steels.
24.05–29.05 Tour of Norway (NOR) 2.Pro
Kasper Asgreen (DEN)
Rémi Cavagna (FRA)
Josef Cerny (CZE)
Remco Evenepoel (BEL)
Zdenek Stybar (CZE)
Ethan Vernon (GBR).
Sports Director: Tom Steels (BEL).
Kasper Asgreen to Norway:
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Close to New Deal with Quinten Hermans
Quinten Hermans seems to be extending his contract with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. The 26-year-old rider, the surprising second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, is now having final talks with team manager Jean-François Bourlart.
Bourlart gives the latest state of affairs in conversation with Het Laatste Nieuws. “It looks good. The conversations are no longer about the dire competition from other teams, but rather about the classic dots and commas. Of course, finances play a role. But Quinten received a nice proposal from us. He himself is very satisfied and would like to stay.”
Hermans’ future had been shrouded in mystery in recent weeks. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl and Alpecin-Fenix were said to be interested in the cross rider. “It is of course indisputable that we would like to continue working with Quinten, because we are convinced that he can still make great strides and that our team is the best match for his development,” said Aike Visbeek, performance manager at Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, know in April.
Hermans already showed good things on the road this spring. His second place in Liège-Bastogne-Liège stands out, but the climber also sprinted to a top 6 position three times in the Tour de Romandie. He also finished ninth in the French one-day race La Route Adélie de Vitré.
Quinten Hermans, 2nd in Liège:
Israel-Premier Tech Gives Derek Gee a Contract to the End of 2025
Israel-Premier Tech has announced Derek Gee will be in their squad for 2023. The 24-year-old Canadian has been riding for the Israel Cycling Academy training team this season and signs a pro contract until the end of 2025 with the WorldTeam.
Gee is in his first season with Israel Cycling Academy. Earlier this year he rode with the professional team in the Gran Camiño and Milan-Turin. In the Spanish stage race he finished 5th in the final time trial. “We are delighted that Derek Gee has signed a three-year contract. That is a sign of our confidence in him and in his qualities,” said team manager Kjell Carlström.
“He has an impressive background as a track cyclist, which has given him a great foundation for the road. After his great performance in Gran Camiño, we knew we had to seize this opportunity to attract him to Israel-Premier Tech,” said Carlström, who also previously welcomed Italian Marco Frigo for 2023.
Gee, who has already won thirteen national track titles, would like to develop further as a time trialist. “My experience with the team has been great so far. That time trial in Gran Camiño gave me a lot of confidence to continue. I still have a lot to work on, but the prospect of potentially competing for victory in top-level competitions is a huge motivation for me,” said the Canadian. “I’m still looking for my other strengths, and that’s why I’m doing a lot of different types of competitions this year.” It is not yet known whether Gee will ride for a WorldTeam in 2023.
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