EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

Will the 2020 Tour de France get to Paris and the Champs-Élysées – Top Story. National championships weekend, results and video. Race news: Tour team announcements, European championships preview, Deutschland Tour 2021 route and Binche-Chimay-Binche canceled. Contract news from Adam Yates, Jake Stewart, Jasper Philipsen, Nathan van Hooydonck, Lotto Soudal, Sunweb and Mitchelton-Scott. Covid news: Ineos, Astana, AG2R-La Mondiale and CCC-Liv all affected. Team announcements from INEOS Grenadiers, NTT and Team Novo Nordisk. We finish with video of UAE Team Emirates recon stage 12 Giro d’Italia in Cesenatico. Monday EUROTRASH time.

TOP STORY: Two corona cases, and the entire team is removed from the Tour
The 107th edition of the Tour de France will start in less than a week. In order to ensure that the biggest cycle race runs as smoothly as possible, the organisation will test as much as possible for possible corona infections. If there are two corona suspicions or infections within a team, the complete squad will be removed from the French Grand Tour.

ASO have published an eighteen-page document, in which all corona measures and protocols are described. On the basis of this document, the organisation can decide to remove a team from the Tour de France, if there are two corona suspicions.

This concerns riders and/or staff members within one team and the Tour organisation will intervene if members of a Tour team has multiple serious symptoms. The race will continue as usual, even if a team has to leave the Tour. This is an important role for the Tour doctors and the various team doctors, according to the document.

The team doctors must ensure that riders complete a health form every day, both before and after a stage, in order to identify any health problems. This information will then be shared with the Tour doctor and a special corona manager appointed by the Tour organisation.

The document also shows that the riders and staff members will all be in their own team bubble from 29 August. For example, teams in a hotel have their own floor or wing available and only repeatedly tested team staff have access to a team bus. In addition, staff should always wear a mouth mask.

Press conferences will be held online and riders are not allowed to have any kind of contact with cycling fans. Other people who are part of the Tour entourage will be tested for the corona virus before the Tour, and also on the rest days on 7 and 14 September. There will also be a mobile test lab and emergency nurses.

In the ASO’s corona protocol, there is a points system. Penalty points are also awarded on the basis of the completed health form. Fever, coughing and breathing problems are good for four penalty points. Sore throat, sinus problems or abnormal fatigue count for two points, while headache, diarrhoea and nausea score one point.

A rider or staff member who scores 3-5 points represents a “moderate risk” and may be tested. A corona test is compulsory for 6 penalty points or more.

Sunweb’s Iwan Spekenbrink agrees: “Otherwise we will not make it to Paris”
The corona measures and protocols in the Tour de France are clear. If two people within a team are struggling with multiple serious symptoms of the corona virus, the entire team is removed from the Tour. “This is reality,” says Sunweb team manager Iwan Spekenbrink.

In a video on the NOS website, Spekenbrink says that the whole principle is built on the fact that the bubble must remain clean. “Or as clean as possible, because completely clean may not even work. And what you don’t want is for a virus to spread in the bubble. Because when that happens, we just know that the French government will shut down the event.”

Due to the protocols announced by ASO, it may just be possible that within a team two people test positive for the corona virus and that a high placed GC rider would then have to go home. “But if you don’t, you can be sure that the event will not make it to Paris,” said Team Sunweb’s manager.

Spekenbrink has seen the perception around the professional peloton change in recent months. “Everyone has been happy for a long time that we are going to race again and the moment you start cycling again, you see that the scale is shifting: now we are again worried that this is not exactly right, or that perhaps it should have been different. And be glad that we are already concerned about that. In March we thought that cycling should not be done at all. So a lot of progress has already been made.

Tour boss, Christian Prudhomme, practising what he preaches:

Bahrain McLaren Announces 2020 Tour de France Squad
Team Bahrain McLaren and its partners are pleased to announce that Mikel Landa Meana will lead its team of eight talented riders at the 2020 Tour de France, commencing in Nice on 29th August. Mikel, who finished 4th at the 2017 Tour, is a multiple stage winner at Grand Tours, having previously won stages at both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.

Team Bahrain McLaren, originally conceived by His Highness Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad in 2016, underscored its ambition to win the Tour by appointing Rod Ellingworth as Team Principal in 2019, and welcoming a raft of proven Grand Tour riders to its already strong line-up.

Rod Ellingworth, Team Principal, said, “The Tour de France is the biggest moment of the year in cycling and I’m proud to say the entire team has done a great job getting us Tour ready; we are where we need to be, and I’m optimistic about what we can achieve. This year’s parcours is very well suited to Mikel, and his form is strong. The group we have chosen to support him represents our riders who are most suited to the parcours and Tour-ready. The past few months have been challenging for all riders to be race fit, and it’s a credit to all of our guys that we had such a strong line-up to choose from.”

Mikel said, “The Dauphiné and Vuelta a Burgos were both tough races and timely rehearsals for the Tour de France. I’ll be starting this Tour in very good shape, and I am greatly motivated by how I’m feeling, as well as the strength and quality of my teammates who’ll be supporting me on the road. Together, as a team, we can achieve a lot.”

Gorazd Štangelj, Sports Director, said “Our team motto is ‘Ride as One’ and that’s what we’re going to do for Mikel at this year’s Tour. Mikel and his teammates have been incredibly focussed on this moment. We’ve put a lot of time and analysis into picking each rider against our GC ambition. We’ve done all we can to prepare, and now the whole team is ready.”

The Team Bahrain McLaren 2020 Tour de France squad comprises:
Mikel Landa Meana (Spain, 30, 5th Tour)
Wout Poels (Netherlands, 32, 8th Tour)
Pello Bilbao (Spain, 30, 2nd Tour)
Damiano Caruso (Italy, 32, 6th Tour)
Rafael Valls (Spain, 33, 5th Tour)
Marco Haller (Austria, 29, 5th Tour)
Matej Mohoric (Slovenia, 25, 2nd Tour)
Sonny Colbrelli (Italy, 30, 4th Tour).

Team Sunweb add power to Tour de France lead-out with Casper Pedersen
With the Tour de France starting next Saturday in Nice, France, Team Sunweb make a change to their roster, bringing in Casper Pedersen to replace Jasha Sütterlin. Broadening their horizons to the opportunities that the race brings, the team look to strengthen their lead-out train with the addition of Pedersen in support of sprinter Cees Bol.

Team Sunweb’s Tour de France coach Matt Winston said: “We have a few races under our belts since the restart and we have seen that there is a lot more control in the peloton, meaning that there look to be slightly less chances for the break. In theory that means that our chances in the sprints increase and we want to adapt to that, bringing specific qualities to our roster based on the development of these chances. We believe that adding Casper’s power, who is in great shape at the moment, to the lead-out increases our chances of bringing home a result from the sprints. Whilst still going for our chances in the breakaways with guys like Tiesj, Søren and Marc, we are confident that this will increase our chances for a stage result.”

Tour de France line-up:
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Tiesj Benoot (BEL)
Cees Bol (NED)
Marc Hirschi (SWI)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Nicholas Roche (IRL).

Will Roche be the Sunweb GC man:

CCC Team taking versatile team to target Tour de France stage wins
CCC Team will line up at the Tour de France with a strong and versatile roster to target stage wins when the Grand Tour gets underway next Saturday, 29 August.

The experienced team features four Tour de France stage winners in Greg Van Avermaet, Matteo Trentin, Ilnur Zakarin, and Simon Geschke, alongside road captain Michael Schär, breakaway specialist Alessandro De Marchi, and Tour de France debutants Jan Hirt and Jonas Koch.

CCC Team President Jim Ochowicz said the team is focused on delivering stage wins as the primary goal. “It is a great feeling to be heading to the Tour de France again in a year where we didn’t know if it would be possible. It will be a Tour like no other with the lack of racing in the lead up adding an additional element to what we expect will be a great race. Tour de France stage wins are not easy to come by but we have selected our strongest eight riders to line up in Nice, half of whom are past stage winners which gives us a lot of confidence ahead of the race. Ilnur Zakarin will have freedom to see what he can do on the General Classification and we will support him as much as possible but ultimately, our focus is on arriving in Paris with at least one stage win to our name,” Ochowicz said.

Head Sports Director Steve Bauer outlined the key responsibilities within the versatile eight-rider roster. “Greg Van Avermaet and Matteo Trentin are multiple Tour de France stage winners and have time and time again demonstrated their ability to win at the highest level of racing so it’s no surprise they are our clear leaders for the Tour de France. Michael Schär is one of the most experienced riders in the peloton and will be lining up for his tenth Tour de France so he will be our road captain. He’s a great all rounder who has the capability to go in breakaways and support our leaders in key moments of the race. Jonas Koch will make his Tour de France debut so it is an exciting time for him. He is another all rounder and a vastly improved rider in the time he has been with us, and someone who can support Greg and Matteo as well as taking a chance for himself if the right opportunity comes his way,” Bauer explained.

“For the mountain stages, we have Ilnur Zakarin, Simon Geschke, Jan Hirt, who is also making his Tour de France debut, and our breakaway specialist, Alessandro De Marchi. These four are our strongest climbers and the riders who really have a chance to be in small breakaways that can go to the finish line. We know that this is a demanding edition of the Tour de France so it was important to choose riders who can be up there and race aggressively on the hilly stages. There will, of course, be some stages that are a pure General Classification battle and are very controlled but we always see a few of those key breakaway stages and it will be important for our riders to be there when it matters and our strength will prevail.”

Alessandro De Marchi (ITA) – Four participations
“I’m happy to be back at the Tour de France. It’s really important for many reasons but especially because everyone knows how I ended my season last year with the crash there. So, it is important to be back to start where I left off. It is the biggest race of the season and with everything that has happened this year, I am really happy we can race. The main goal is, as every year, to try to find a good breakaway and go for the stage win. We have a team that can be strong in different situations so I will be ready to support Greg, Matteo, and Ilnur and also pursue my own opportunities. It is important that we are at the start and feel ready to enjoy the race. We are made for racing so we need to enjoy this chance to be at the Tour de France even more than we normally do.”

Simon Geschke (GER) – Seven participations
“I’m very much looking forward to the Tour de France. My form is good and I’ve been getting better and better with each race since I started on August 1, which is always a good sign. I hope I will peak during the Tour as it is the big goal of my season. Similar to last year, I want to play an important role in the breakaways especially the medium to hard mountain stages in the second and third weeks. I just hope I will get to that point smoothly as it has been a very nervous season so far with a lot of crashes. Of course, I’m excited to be racing there like every year but this year, I am also relieved the Tour will happen because I know how important it is for cycling that it goes ahead so we can have a platform for the sponsors. So I hope everything will go smoothly.”

Jan Hirt (CZE) – First time racing
“I’m super happy to be on the start of my first Tour de France. I have only three days of racing before the Tour de France because of my crash at Tour del Ain but I feel ready. I may miss a bit of the race rhythm at the beginning but I think I will quickly get it back in the legs in the first stages and after I expect to feel really good, because my training numbers have been very good. I would like to help the team to achieve best results as possible and I will fight also for stage victory. I’m very excited to be at the start of the Tour de France and I’m happy and grateful the team has put this faith in me.”

Jonas Koch (GER) – First time racing
“It has always been a dream of mine to compete in the Tour de France so it is incredible that it is coming true now. I am very grateful that the team has the faith in me and my performances to select me in the squad. My goal will be to give our captains the best possible support. I want to show myself in the breakaways, of course, as well as enjoy the spirit of the Tour de France as much as possible.”

Michael Schär (SUI) – Nine participations
“I am looking forward to the Tour de France. During the lockdown, this was the race that gave me extra motivation to train hard. Every year it feels special to be at the Grand Depart. The Critérium du Dauphiné was the perfect preparation race and my shape is where I want it to be ahead of the Tour. We will have team goals and I also have some individual goals so I am up for any challenge and simply ready to race.”

Matteo Trentin (ITA) – Five participations
“With everything we have been through this year, the biggest race of the year is now on our doorstep. I think we are ready and we will have a strong team. I haven’t studied the route in detail but I know the stages in Nice well, especially the first stage as I train there three times a week. So, the first stage will be interesting but I think the second stage is too hard for me. Then we will see day by day. This year’s Tour de France is the hardest of the three Grand Tours so it’s going to be a tough race. I feel ready and I’m looking forward to start racing.”

Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) – Seven participations
“I’m feeling good and I’m excited to get to Nice and start the Tour de France. We all know it’s going to be a different race and everyone is lining up without many race days in the legs so it’s hard to know what to expect but so far, I’ve been happy with my form. I think every day will be even more of a fight than ever, for both the stage wins and General Classification, so we’re in for a tough race. But that suits me and I think there are a few stages that are good for me. We have a strong team with a lot of experience and I think we can work well together to achieve the team’s goals. This will be my last Tour de France with Continuum Sports so it will be a special one for me and I’m even more motivated to get a good result.”

Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) – Three participations
“It has been an unusual experience and preparation but I have done my best to be in good condition for the Tour de France. My legs are good and I am looking forward to racing. The plan is just to dive into the race and keep going day by day and I think many decisions and goals will form within the first week. I am really happy that the Tour de France is happening. It’s crucial for the sport and all of the teams so I am looking forward to getting to Nice and start racing.”

Sports Directors: Steve Bauer (CAN), Fabio Baldato (ITA), Piotr Wadecki (POL)

Can Ilnur Zakarin make a Tour impression:

Kruijswijk Misses Tour due to Fractured Shoulder, focus on Giro
No Tour de France for Steven Kruijswijk this year. The intended leader of the Jumbo-Visma team is too injured after he dislocated his shoulder in the Dauphiné. Kruijswijk will now focus on his recovery and hopes to ride the Giro d’Italia later this year.

“Unfortunately, the consequences of my fall turned out to be more serious than hoped,” says Kruijswijk. “To my great disappointment, I cannot participate in the Tour de France due to a fracture in the shoulder and the many scrapes. I will now first work on my recovery and then I will focus on the Giro d’Italia as a new goal. I wish the team a lot of success in the Tour and I am very disappointed that I cannot be part of it.”

Kruijswijk’s crash on the fourth stage on a descent which was very steep and strewn with gravel. There were also many holes in the road. The result is that Jumbo-Visma has to make do with one leader less. Primoz Roglic, who also came out of the Dauphiné with some scrapes, and Tom Dumoulin will now share the lead. Amund Grøndahl Jansen replaces Kruijswijk in the Jumbo-Visma Tour team.

Jumbo-Visma had initially not designated a classification rider for the Giro d’Italia. Laurens De Plus, who will leave for Ineos after this season, was given a free role, but the emphasis will mainly be on sprint leader Dylan Groenewegen. After the much-discussed crash in the Tour of Poland, he has been sidelined for the time being. With Kruijswijk, Jumbo-Visma has a new leader in Italy.

Giro not Tour for Steven Kruijswijk:

Emanuel Buchmann Optimistic
Not only at Jumbo-Visma and Team Ineos there are doubts about the physical condition of other team’s leaders. BORA-hansgrohe is also waiting to see the recovery of Emanuel Buchmann, 4th in the Tour’19, who crashed in the Dauphiné. “I still have some back pain,” he said.

Buchmann is optimistic about his recovery. “I go better on the bike than when I am running, so I have done some simple training in recent days,” the German leader explained. “It gets better and better every day. At the moment the focus is on physiotherapy, but I am optimistic that everything will be in order for the Tour de France.”

Buchmann crashed during the fourth stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné on the same descent as Steven Kruijswijk. The Dutchman suffered a fracture in the shoulder and will miss the Tour. It looks like Buchmann will be able to make it to the Tour de France, which starts in Nice on Saturday.

Emanuel Buchmann on the wheel of Bernal:

Pauwels Not Going to the Tour de France
Serge Pauwels is a regular at the Tour de France, but the CCC rider will not participate in the most important race of the season this year. Pauwels has suffered from a viral infection for a while. “I now feel fit again, but the Tour is impossible.”

The 36-year-old Pauwels underwent a corona test three days before the Tour de l’Ain. “It was negative, but I did have a viral infection,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. The experienced climber therefore had to pass for the Tour de l’Ain and the Critérium du Dauphiné.

“I feel fit again. I have one last test on Thursday. If it is good, I can start training again. But because I have no competition in the legs, the Tour has become impossible.” This means that the series of five Tours in a row for Pauwels comes to an end.

“I should have ridden the Tour and the Vuelta this season. Now that will probably only be the Vuelta,” says the rider, who is at the end of his contract with the ailing CCC. “Whether I will still be a rider in 2021? In any case, that is the intention. I view it positively. The peloton is getting younger. Then I think there is also more need for experience.”

Serge Pauwels:

Primoz Roglic Slow Recovery
Primož Roglič is currently in Tignes recovering from his crash in the penultimate stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné. The Slovenian hopes to be fit in time for the Tour de France, but is not feeling great at the moment.

“Yesterday I did some cycling on the exercise bike,” he said on Instagram. “I actually thought I would feel better right now after my crash on Saturday. Let’s wait the next days, but I remain optimistic.”

Primož Roglič:

Spanish National Road Race Championships 2020
Luis León Sánchez (Astana) became Spanish road champion at the age of 36. Jesús Herrada (Cofidis) looked to be on his way to a third national title, but was passed by Sánchez in the last kilometre, due to a mechanical problem for Herrada.

Last year’s winner, Alejandro Valverde, was not on the start line in Jaen, but there was no lack of top class riders. There was an early breakaway of nine riders: Ángel Madrazo, Diego López, Xavier Cañellas, Alvaro Trueba, Eusebio Pascual, Javier Chacón, Miguel Ángel Fernández, Víctor Martínez and Albert Torres who took a maximum lead of two minutes.

The heat and the tough roads of southern Spain thinned the leading group, and at one point Torres alone in the lead, but just under 60 kilometres from the finish his move was over. A very active Óscar Sevilla (43) tried to make the race hard, as García and Ruben Fernández also came to the front.

The final was chaotic, as no team was able to take control. Movistar was seriously weakened by the non-starting of Valverde, Enric Mas and Marc Soler, and others, so that the smaller teams had their chance. Gustavo César Veloso tried it alone, but the experienced rider could not really get away.

It turned out to be very difficult for any attackers to secure a lead on the local circuit in and around Jáen as the men of Kern Pharma took over in the chasing group, now considerably thinned after a lot of climbing and attacks.

With 27 kilometres to go, the race started the final lap. The front group consisted of about thirty men, all other riders had been dropped or abandoned. There were some attacks in the last 15 kilometres, but the top men were waiting for the last climb (7.1 km at 5.3%) towards the finish in the town of Baeza.

Vicente García de Mateos and Fernando Barceló put in a big effort with just 7 kilometres to go. The lead of these riders rose to a maximum of 15 seconds, but this turned out not to be enough to stay out of the grip of the big guns. Barceló, who managed to take a few meters on García de Mateos on the climb, was passed by teammate, Jesús Herrada.

Herrada, looking for his third Spanish title, went with an impressive attack up to and past his Cofidis colleague and had a nice lead for the finish. Gorka Izagirre, teammate Luis León Sánchez and Iván García all had to try to match Herrada’s acceleration, but he seemed on his way to victory, but Sánchez was not going to be satisfied with silver or bronze.

The 36 year-old Astana rider, gave chase and eventually managed to get to Herrada for a two-man show-down for the Spanish title, but Herrada suddenly had his feet spinning in fresh air as his chain broke. Sánchez took full advantage and his first road title with the pros.

Gorka Izagirre completed a good day for Astana by finishing second, while Vicente García de Mateos (Aviludo-Louletano) managed to take the bronze. Bad luck Herrada had to walk the last hundreds of meters and finished outside the top-10.

2020 Spanish national road champion, Luis León Sanchez (Astana): “I am so happy to win the title of the national champion in the road race. After many attempts and podium places, finally, I did it! I want to thank my team for staying here next to me! Today Oscar Rodriguez worked a lot to help us to keep the race under control, and also Gorka Izagirre was so strong today and in the final he provided me a great support! It was a very hard race, difficult to control with a lot of attacks. I was staying in the group, waiting and waiting for the best moment. When Jesus Herrada went away, I decided to follow him. Once I caught him, I waited until some 500-600 meters to go and gave my all to the finish line. It is a great feeling to become the National Champion and I will be proud and happy to wear the jersey of the Spanish Champion during the next year all around the world.”

2nd, Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Astana): “The truth is the race was very hard. We were three in the race and everyone was watching on us. It was not easy to control the race, but we managed to do it! Oscar Rodriguez did absolutely incredible job today for Luis Leon Sanchez and me. In the end Luis Leon was able to realise his chance and to win. It is a beautiful victory! Also, I am pretty happy with my second place!”

Spanish National Road Race Championships Result:
1. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana in 4:24:20
2. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 0:15
3. Vicente Garcia de Mateos Rubio (Spa) Aviludo-Louletano
4. Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:22
5. Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
6. Fernando Barcelo Aragon (Spa) Cofidis at 0:24
7. Urko Berrade Fernandez (Spa) Kern Pharma
8. Diego Rubio Hernandez (Spa) Burgos-BH at 0:27
9. Samuel Blanco (Spa) Supermarcado Froiz at 0:32
10. Gustavo Cesar Veloso (Spa) W52-FC Porto at 0:39.

Netherlands National Championships 2020
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpechin-Fenix) won the Dutch road championship for the second time in his career. The 25-year-old ​was the big favourite and more than lived up to expectations on the VAM mountain in Drenthe. Van der Poel turned it into a knockout race and at 43 kilometres from the finish, rode away from the competition, who only saw him again after the finish.

Due to harsh weather conditions in Drenthe, the laps were reduced from 27 to 25 and the predicted rain caused quite a few riders to climb off. A first attempt by ten riders, including Mathieu van der Poel, David van der Poel, Pascal Eenkhoorn, Danny van Poppel and Julius van den Berg, but they didn’t get much of a gap.

Bert-Jan Lindeman, Pascal Eenkhoorn, Lennard Hofstede (all Jumbo-Visma), Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix), Stef Krul (Metec-TKH) and Alex Molenaar (Burgos-BH) did manage to escape. The lead on the peloton grew after nine laps to 1:30, and at that point Martijn Budding, Jesper Asselman, Sven Burger, Koen Bouwman and Nils Eekhoff tried to cross.

Behind; the race split apart. Over the top of the VAM mountain the race came back together after 12 of the 25 laps, although there was only fifty riders left in the race. The attacks that followed were controlled by Riesebeek for Van der Poel and Jumbo-Visma. Nils Eekhoff then managed to take a 20 second lead, but Mathieu van der Poel didn’t want to give him any more time. He closed the gap himself with Pascal Eenkhoorn, Ramon Sinkeldam, Koen de Kort, Jos van Emden and Corné van Kessel on his wheel.

Arvid de Kleijn, Pascal Eenkhoorn, Bert-Jan Lindeman and Oscar Riesebeek chased behind. The pace was mainly kept high by Alpecin-Fenix, but a chasing group including Jan-Willem van Schip, Koen Bouwman and Taco van der Hoorn was getting closer. Van der Poel did not let that happen: on the second short climb he shot away, but he had a strong group on his wheel.

Eenkhoorn did not help the top favourites and so the group returned. Jumbo-Visma tried to keep things together and not to let Van der Poel win. The leader of Alpecin-Fenix ​​saw this differently and attacked again at 43 kilometres from the end, this time on the cobbled climb to the finish. Eenkhoorn and Van Kessel tried followed.

Van der Poel took almost a minute in one lap. Jumbo-Visma had to take the lead but couldn’t get any closer. A counterattack by Eekhoff and Eenkhoorn also had no effect and Van der Poel got further away and take his win after 182.5 kilometres. The battle for silver was settled three laps before the finish when Nils Eekhoff, who got rid of a tired Pascal Eenkhoorn. The bronze medal went to Timo Roosen of Jumbo-Visma, 3 minutes behind Van der Poel.

2020 Netherlands national road champion, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “I had a pretty good day today. It was very difficult and you didn’t get a moment of rest. It was one of the most difficult races I have ever done. It looked like a junior race. That was also to be expected. If you don’t race in front it is ten times as difficult. It was a really difficult race. In the end I knew it would be hand to hand. They had surplus, but in the end it was everyone for himself. I placed my attack because I saw a group with even more Jumbo-Visma riders coming back, so I wanted to shake the tree. It’s a very fair lap, but it was very difficult to race against those yellow men. Let’s hope I’m closer to my top form now. In Italy it wasn’t good enough, but maybe I needed those races to get to this shape. Especially white pants, that’s what we do it for. A championship is very important to me. I already indicated that in advance. That jersey has prestige and I’m very happy that I can wear it again. If I recover well, it is possible at the European Championship. We start to win. It is a course that must suit me. I hope that I will recover well from this effort and then a lot will be possible. There are a lot of good riders at the start, but we also have a strong Dutch block ourselves. I’m looking forward to that”

Netherlands National Championships Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix in 4:25:23
2. Nils Eekhoff (Ned) Sunweb at 1:31
3. Timo Roosen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 3:08
4. Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 3:17
5. Jos van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 3:19
6. Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Riwal Securitas at 4:08
7. Corné van Kessel (Ned) Circus-Wanty Gobert at 4:15
8. Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 4:21
9. Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 4:23
10. Peter Schulting (Ned) VolkerWessels-Merckx at 4:25.

Dutch champs’20 podium:

Italian National Championships 2020
Giacomo Nizzolo won the Italian road championship in the Veneto region. The NTT Pro Cycling sprinter survived a tough 253 kilometre race and then finished it off in the sprint from a small group.

Former pro Filippo Pozzato had planned an interesting course in Veneto between Bassano del Grappa and Cittadella. On the local circuit, the climb of La Rosina was meant to split the race, with the final steep climb of Salita Della Tisa to be the decider.

A select group remained after more than 250 kilometres, but failed attacks by Diego Ulissi, Andrea Bagioli, last year’s champion Davide Formolo and Vincenzo Nibali didn’t stay out front. In the sprint that followed, Nizzolo proved to be the strongest, ahead of Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-McLaren). Nizzolo will start the Tour de France next week in the Italian tricolor.

2020 Italian national champion, Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling): “It has been a great day. We were only two in the race from NTT, Samuele and me, and he did a perfect job. We did the perfect race and I am so happy to get the jersey again. I feel really proud now, I hopeI can enjoy the time I will have in the Italian jersey at the Tour de France and also the rest of the year that follows.”

3rd, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-McLaren): “Too bad. I really wanted to win this title. I think I proved how much I cared about it. I opened the sprint from distance, trying to surprise my rivals, but I’ve got headwind and unfortunately, I couldn’t finish it off with a better result. I’m afraid for my teammates because I was hoping to repay them with a win. They were great at supporting me today. It’s another podium at the National Championships, I will try again.”

Italian National Championships Result:
1. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling in 5:48:37
2. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren
4. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
6. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
7. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC
8. Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
9. Giacomo Garavaglia (Ita) Kometa Xstra
10. Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates.

French National Championships 2020
Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) become French cycling champion for the third time in his career on Sunday. The leader of Groupama-FDJ was the best of the remaining three in a hotly contested finalé. He beat Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept-KTM) and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) to the silver and bronze.

The French championship in Grand-Champ, located in the Brittany region and not far from European Championship epicentre Plouay, only started on the last lap. Julian Alaphilippe managed to get away on the hilly final lap, but the leader of Deceuninck – Quick-Step was unable to complete the solo.

Sprinter Arnaud Démare and Bryan Coquard attacked and joined Alaphilippe deep into the final, who tried it one more time in the final kilometre. That attack was countered by Démare and Coquard, who then started sprinting for the French tricolor. The sprinter from Groupama-FDJ, winner of the Tour de Wallonie last week, took the title. In 2014 and 2017, Démare also French road champion. Last year Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) wore the champion jersey.

2020 French national champion, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ): “Solidarity was the key word today, we witnessed a tight-knit team. From start to finish, we never get divided. We were attacked from all sides but we remained united, the team was very strong. We were able to keep up the pace, first with the young guys from the Conti who did a great job, then with the more experienced guys. They all did a tremendous job. I was a little bit doubtful entering the last lap, especially since there were a lot of them in front. They may have looked at each other a bit but above all, when our time trialist Benjamin Thomas started to pull, we gained seconds and seconds. We went through the corners with a good speed and I thought we were going to close the gap quite quickly. That’s what happened. We all knew Julian was going to attack. Before he attacked, the bunch was already scattered. I knew it was going to be tough but Anthony Roux told me: if Julian attacks, follow him.”

French National Championships Result:
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 5:38:27
2. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept-KTM
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
4. Clément Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:05
5. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Team Total Direct Energie
6. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
7. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
8. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9. Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale.

Bystrøm Crowned Norwegian Road Race Champion
28-year old takes the title in photo finish

Sven Erik Bystrøm took his first victory in UAE Team Emirates colours by winning the Norwegian National Road Race Championships. Bystrøm took the win by hair from Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (Uno-X) in a three man sprint to the line.

Working together with his teammate Alexander Kristoff, the former under-23 World Champion Bystrøm built up a gap of over 1 minute on the chasing group behind, before beating his fellow escapees in the dash for the line. Kristoff led home a chasing group to claim 6th place, 1:22 behind.

Bystrøm: “For me it was a special win. I have been 2nd before and the difference from winning is huge. I’m really happy to be on the top of the podium again. Also I want to thank Alex Kristoff for the way he was riding. We shared the work and we were able to bring home another national champion jersey to our team.”

Norwegian Road Race Championships Results:
1. Sven Erik Bystrøm (UAE Team Emirates) in 5:02:41
2. Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (Uno-X)
3. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Lotto Soudal)
6. Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) at 1:22.

Norway podium:

Asgreen Crowned Danish Champion
Our rider soloed to a beautiful victory, adding to the individual time trial title conquered last year.

Kasper Asgreen took his second win of the season, almost six months after his remarkable Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne success, at the end of a great day of racing in Middelfart, where this year’s Danish Championships were held.

Coming off a strong Critérium du Dauphiné, Kasper lined out at the start together with Mikkel Honoré and defending champion Michael Mørkøv, thus giving Deceuninck – Quick-Step several cards to play on the hilly course that presented plenty of opportunities to attackers. The 198km race was full gas from the beginning and abounded in attacks that ripped the peloton to pieces long before the final laps. One by one, our riders tried their luck and despite being joined by others or reeled in by the bunch, managed to reduce the pack to two dozen or so men.

Eventually, the key move came 15 kilometres from home, when Kasper Asgreen zipped clear from a twelve-man group featuring both his teammates and was joined only by Andrea Kron (Riwal Securitas). With Michael Mørkøv shutting down moves from behind, the two expanded their margin to twenty seconds, before Kasper rode Kron off his wheel under the flamme rouge, arriving at the finish arms aloft and beaming with happiness. A couple of seconds later, Mørkøv sprinted from the chasing group to take third and make it two Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders on the podium.

“The race was very hard. We had a lot of showers, the course was tricky, and to add to all this, the action started early, with 80 kilometres to go, when some teams decided to put pressure on the peloton. Our team stayed calm and attacked only with 50 kilometres to go. Then I escaped together with Kron and accelerated in the last kilometre, opening a gap on that technical part in the city”, said the first Danish rider in the last 24 years to hold both road race and ITT titles at the same time. “This victory makes me so happy! A big thanks to my teammates, we rode perfectly and I couldn’t have done it without them. I can’t wait to ride in this nice jersey!”

Kasper Asgreen:

Bob Jungels wins record-breaking sixth ITT national title
The 27-year-old Luxembourger became the 11th different Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to score a victory this year.

Bob Jungels produced another solid display at the National Championships and won the time trial for the sixth time in his career, after 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019. The outright favourite at the start of the race which this year took place in Mamer, Bob clocked a winning time of 26:19, beating Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo) and Kevin Geniets (Groupama-FDJ) by a huge margin, of more than 40 seconds.

The course was 21 kilometres in length and consisted of two laps of a rolling circuit featuring two short but punchy climbs. Jungels went fast as soon as he rolled down the ramp, a flying ride seeing him record the fastest time at the intermediate checkpoint and set the early mark for success, his first of the season.

“Every title at the Nationals is special, but this one feels more special, because we didn’t know if we would race again this year, so every race we do and every victory we get is important. To win another ITT title is nice and it makes me proud that I could deliver it for the team and I will now end the season with this jersey on my shoulders. I rode a very good time trial, I am happy with my condition and now I’m looking forward to Sunday’s road race,” said Bob after claiming Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s 25th win of the year.

Jungels TT champion again:

National Time Trial Title for Van Aert
Wout van Aert has prolonged his Belgian national time trial title in Koksijde. In the 41.6 kilometre long time trial, the winner of Milan-Sanremo clocked a time of just over fifty minutes. He was 30 seconds faster than Victor Campenaerts and over a minute faster than Frederik Frison.

For Van Aert, it is his fourth victory of the season after his successes in Strade Bianche, the Primavera and the first stage in the Criterium du Dauphiné. Van Aert’s national title is Team Jumbo-Visma’s fourteenth victory in 2020.

Van Aert started fast in Koksijde and systematically expanded his lead every lap. “A national title is always something very special,” he said. “This is a very nice title. I am really proud of this. It was far from easy. It was a power course and much more technical than I expected. It had some tricky corners. You constantly had to be careful and stay focused. And certainly also ride the ideal line. The plan was to have some power left in the last lap, but to be honest, I mainly did it on determination. Luckily, I had already taken a good lead after my fast start. I knew exactly what I was doing. If you then hear from the team car and also from people on the side of the road that you are in the lead, it certainly gives you extra morale.”

Van Aert will now focus on the Tour de France. “Above all, I hope to be able to show my Belgian tricolore in more than one race,” he referred to his crash one year ago. “The goal for me in the Tour remains the same: to help the team leaders. But if the opportunity arises in one of the stages, I will definitely try to win again.”

Wout van Aert:

Pello Bilbao is the New Spanish ITT Champion
Team Bahrain McLaren is proud to celebrate the victory of Pello Bilbao at the Spanish ITT Championship today.

The 30-year old talented rider clocked a winning time of 1:03:32 on the 45km demanding course from Cazorla to La Iruela, beating Luis Leon Sanchez (+0:36) and Gorka Izagirre (+1:36) and taking his first National Time Trial title, after he was second last year.

Pello Bilbao comments: “This victory was one of the goals of this season. It wasn’t easy at all to take it, as it was very hot with almost 40 degrees and it was really hard facing more than an hour effort. But I came here to take the first ITT victory and I was motivated. Although some difficulties I was focussed and motivated until the finish line. Everything went right and as we planned.”

“I dedicate this win to all Team Bahrain McLaren. It was the perfect scenery after the lockdown and all the hard period we went through, as we were forced to stay at home and try to stay motivated. A huge thank you to our SD and coaches that supported us. And now I’m even more motivated for the next great aim we have as a team that is Le Tour de France.”

Pello Bilbao:

Juliette Labous storms to elite French TT title
Rolling down the ramp in Locmine, Juliette Labous and her French compatriots were set with a tough and testing 28 kilometre long route through the countryside with several small climbs to contend with throughout the race.

Rain and wind exacerbated the testing course but Labous was undeterred and quickly settled into her rhythm as she left the start house. Passing through the intermediate time check Labous was just 11 seconds down on pre-race favourite Cordon-Ragot. Heading into the second half of the course Labous caught the rider who started one-minute ahead of her, Biannic. The duo would enter a battle on the road as each surged past each other, before Labous eventually got ahead of her compatriot and stayed ahead – with a perfectly paced ride.

Coming into the drag to the line, Labous gave it her all while maintaining her TT tuck, powering across the line, setting the fastest time of the day; finishing the course in 41 minutes and 13 seconds.

A nervous few moments awaited for Labous as Cordon-Ragot was the last rider on the road but much to Labous’ delight, the former winner crossed the line five seconds down, crowning Labous as the elite French TT champion.

“I’m just super happy to take the title,” explained Labous at the finish. “The last few years I was a bit disappointed every time, especially last year when I struggled in the heat. This year I’m just really happy to finally get it. I felt really good today and I just focused on the pacing plan. I didn’t ask for the time at the split because I knew I would focus too much on calculating what needed to be done, so I just kept my head down and gave my all. It was quite hard too because I had to pass a lot of riders, so it wasn’t easy to take the best lines then. I just stayed focused and gave it everything until the finish line. I had to wait a few minutes to know but then people told me I had it; I’m just super happy. I’m also really happy because we worked a lot with the team this year, had a really good material plan and the pacing plan was also on point. So I’m really thankful for the team and the efforts we all put in; it’s really nice for both me and the team.”

Speaking about Labous’ win, Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans said: “It’s a really well deserved win. Juliette’s been close to this title a few times in the past few years and now she’s managed to take it. It’s partly a teamwork job too because she had the best materials possible and a really good pacing plan; as was shown by her taking back 15 seconds in the second half of the course. At our team altitude camp in Kühtai, Juliette also had her TT bike with her and had been training with this effort in mind. All in all, I think everything worked out perfectly and Juliette can be proud of this title.”

Juliette Labous:

Gradek and Černý Crowned Polish and Czech National Time Trial Champions
Kamil Gradek and Josef Černý secured CCC Team’s first victories of the season today after winning the titles at their respective national time trial championships.

Gradek, who took the silver medal at the Polish Time Trial Championships in 2019, went one better this year, powering around the 44-kilometre course to step onto the top of the podium ahead of the defending champion Maciej Bodnar (BORA-hansgrohe).

Łukasz Wiśniowski rounded out the podium positions in Poland, securing third place around one minute behind his CCC Team teammate.

Meanwhile, Černý reclaimed the jersey he won in 2018 after showing his time trialing prowess out on the 40-kilometre course at the Czech Championships to secure the 2020 title, ten seconds ahead of last year’s winner Jan Bárta (Elkov-Kasper).

Kamil Gradek: “Winning this race and taking the jersey was a big personal goal of mine for this year and I am so happy to have been able to reach it. I knew it would be a nice opportunity for me to try to go for the title and I felt good so I am really pleased with the result and also to finish ahead of Bodnar, who is always a favourite, for the first time. It was a new course and it was definitely a fast one which allowed me to show my power and my average speed was 52kph. I felt good coming into the race and I felt like I could win today. It’s always easy to say that, but over the last month, I have really been preparing for this race. I had some good training kilometres and some good racing from Burgos and Tour de Pologne in my legs so I was positive and I am thankful that I was able to finish it off. I want to thank the team for helping me to prepare for this race and to get the win for the team is a nice feeling too.”

Josef Černy: “I am really happy to be the Czech time trial champion again. After Tour de Wallonie, it was a long trip to get here and I was only about to arrive just not too long before the start. It was a different course so I just did a quick recon lap and then warmed up on the rollers and then it was time to race. Without the team and having someone in your radio, it can be difficult to know how you are really going and at first, I felt quite stiff after racing really hard in Wallonie. But then on the second lap, I started to get into more of a rhythm and increased my speed. We didn’t have any time checks and it was only a difference of ten seconds in the end between first and second but it was a really fast race and my average pace was 51kph. It will be nice to wear the skinsuit again so I’m looking forward to doing my next time trial in the Czech colours. Now, I’ll have the road race on Saturday. I think it’s going to be a tough race so we’ll see what I can do there.”

Kamil Gradek and Josef Černy:

Rémi Cavagna is the new French ITT Champion
A superb ride in Grand-Champ netted the 25-year-old his first national title.

Rémi Cavagna became the second Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to win the gold medal at the French National Time Trial Championships, seven years after Sylvain Chavanel took the spoils. Just like then, the event was held in Bretagne, this time the small town of Grand-Champ playing host to the competition which had Rémi among the late starters.

Second at the first checkpoint in Plumelin, after just 5.3 kilometres, Cavagna turned up the gas and rode at a fierce tempo on the 43.6km rolling course, setting the reference time at the next two splits, in Camors and Brandivy. At the finish, he went straight into the hot seat, with a stunning time of 54:42, courtesy of an impressive 47.82kph average speed.

His only threat came from Benjamin Thomas (Groupama-FDJ), but the defending champion – despite posting the best time at the first intermediate checkpoint – couldn’t reverse the deficit and concluded the race six seconds behind our rider. At the end of the day, a combination of strength, amazing determination and panache helped the “TGV of Clermont-Ferrand” ride his Specialized Shiv to glory and deliver the 57th national title in the history of Deceuninck – Quick-Step.

“I came here after the Critérium du Dauphiné and I felt the shape was there, so I had a good feeling and a lot of confidence at the start. I knew that Thomas would be my biggest rival, but I remained at all times in control and in the last two kilometres I gave everything, it was almost like a sprint”, an elated Cavagna said. “I love racing against the clock and this time trial was the biggest goal of the season, so winning it makes me very happy. I’m very proud at the thought of having this beautiful jersey for the next 12 months and I want to enjoy it and honour it in the races I’ll get to wear it.”

French TT Champ – Rémi Cavagna:

2020 Road European Championships: From Monday, Four Days of Great Cycling in Plouay
Everything is ready in Plouay (France) for the 2020 edition of the Road European Championships that will begin on Monday 24 August with all the Time-Trial races.

Located in the heart of Brittany in Morbihan, the city of Plouay has always had close links with cycling with more than 80 editions of the Bretagne Classic Ouest-France, a race registered on the UCI World Tour calendar, the GP de Plouay – Lorient Agglomération Trophée WNT for Women Elite (both scheduled on 25 August) and the UCI Road World Championships in 2000.

Over the four days of racing, 13 titles will be awarded: Juniors Road and Time-Trial, Under 23 and Elite (Men and Women) and the Mixed Relay.

With regards to participation in the Road race on Wednesday 26 August, watch out in the Men’s races for the Olympic gold medallist in Rio de Janeiro 2016, Greg van Avermaet (Belgium), the Norwegian 2017 European Champion, Alexander Kristoff, the French sprinters, Arnaud Demare and Nacer Bouhanni, the current MTB and Cyclo-Cross European Champion, Mathieu van der Poel, who will be leading his national team from the Netherlands, the German bronze medallist last year Pascal Ackermann, and the Italian, Matteo Trentin (gold medallist in 2018), the British, Mark Cavendish and Tom Pidcock, and the Time-Trial double European Champion, Victor Campenaerts (Belgium).

In the Women’s Elite, the national team to beat will be the Dutch with the current European Champion, Amy Pieters, the Olympic Champion, winner of the 2016 European title in Plumelec, Brittany, Anna van der Breggen, the World Champion Annemiek van Vleuten, the multiple Olympic and World Champion, Marianne Vos (2017 European Champion) and the young Lorena Wiebes. As well as the Dutch champions, the 2018 European Champion, the Italian, Marta Bastianelli, the Dane, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, the former British World Champion, Elizabeth Deignan and the Pole, Katarzyna Niewiadoma.

No Viviani in Plouay:

Deutschland Tour 2021: From the Baltic Coast to Franconia
The route of the Deutschland Tour is set earlier than ever before. The course of the four stages is already known a year before the pros fight for the prestigious red jersey. After passing through Germany’s southwest at the premiere of the new Deutschland Tour and the middle of Germany last year, the tour now also visits the north (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) and the south (Bavaria). With its third edition since the premiere, the tour will have already seen 10 federal states.

“The Deutschland Tour connects: the north with the south and the eastern with the western federal states. This route will present Germany in all its diversity in summer 2021. From the holiday region on the Baltic Sea passing places worth seeing and low mountain ranges, such as in Thuringia, to the Erlangen-Nuremberg metropolitan region. We have a year full of anticipation ahead of us, in which the fans can already explore the pro-route on their bikes,” says Claude Rach, Managing Director of the Gesellschaft zur Förderung des Radsports.

Deutschland Tour – four stages with an open outcome
The route concept of the upcoming event will again provide exciting sport. A concept that is successful and has attracted a record number of the world’s best teams and professionals last year. From the north to the south the terrain offers a lot of variety, with climbs in the southern Harz, Thuringian Forest and Franconian Switzerland.

“The Deutschland Tour remains true to its recipe for success as a classic tour. Four exciting stages which outcome the pros will have in their own hands. Only one thing is quite certain: It will be another seconds game that will only be decided on the last few kilometres in Nuremberg,” says Fabian Wegmann, Sports Director of the Deutschland Tour.

The Deutschland Tour 2021 will take place in the second half of August running over four stages from Thursday to Sunday. The exact date will be announced by the World Cycling Federation in autumn.

Dein Ride – Fans test the professional route ahead of the pros
400 fans will test the course this week. Together with former professionals such as Marcel Kittel, Jens Voigt or Fabian Wegmann, the amateur athletes ride the original route of the Deutschland Tour 2021 from Thursday to Sunday. Another campaign with which Germany’s largest cycling festival puts the fans in the spotlight, pushing for cycling enthusiasm.

1st stage: Stralsund-Schwerin (191 kilometres, Thursday)
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is the host for the start of the Deutschland Tour. With the Hanseatic city of Stralsund the tour starts on the coast for the first time. On the way to the sprint classification in Rostock, the route runs through the Baltic Sea region. Part of the coastal premiere is that the elevation profile often only brings the riders to sea level on the first day. 191 flat kilometres have to be covered on the way from Western Pomerania to Mecklenburg to the state capital Schwerin. In the second part of the route, many changes of direction, narrow roads and open terrain prepare an exciting finale. The last 15 kilometres in the Schwerin city area will challenge the teams who expect a Sprint Royale near Schwerin Castle for the first stage decision.

2nd stage: Sangerhausen-Ilmenau (185 kilometres, Friday)
The second day starts in Saxony-Anhalt. Eleven years after Sangerhausen hosted the German Road Cycling Championships, the district town south of the Harz Mountains is once again the focus of professional cycling. Shortly after the start, the riders are challenged from the highest point in Kyffhäuser, the Kulpenberg. A historic moment is planned for half of the stage: the international field of the Deutschland Tour passes the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial. Shortly afterwards, Weimar, a centre of Germany’s cultural heritage, is reached. Between Weimar and the stage destination in Ilmenau, the stage profile is more suited to classic riders. Constant up and down makes it harder for early breakaways and rewards late attacks. A selective final awaits the decision of the day in Ilmenau: two finish laps of 7 kilometres each have to be completed. The finish straight is slightly uphill. While a mass sprint is likely on the first day, the second stage rather awaits the arrival of a larger group.

3rd stage: Ilmenau-Erlangen (191 kilometres, Saturday)
The start of the Deutschland Tour weekend is uphill. From the start in Ilmenau it goes directly into the Thuringian Forest. In the Frauenwald district, the highest point of this year’s tour is reached at over 780 meters. The early uphill will encourage attacks, but the day will be still long. The route leads through southern Thuringia to Upper Franconia. The state border between Thuringia and Bavaria is passed three times before the Coburg region is reached. In medieval Seßlach, riders can expect historical flair with cobblestones, half-timbered houses, ramparts and city gates. The stage continues towards Central Franconia without any topographical difficulties. But the final promises excitement: the finish lap in Erlangen is 12 kilometres long and includes an ascent on the Rathsberg. Pros with hopes of the overall standings can use this to set themselves apart from the sprinters. Because the fast riders rely on the 1,000-meter-long straight to the finish line on Luitpoldstrasse.

4th stage: Erlangen-Nuremberg (160 kilometres, Sunday)
The last stage has true final status. With only 160 kilometres, but peppered with 2,000 meters of altitude, the terrain in Middle Franconia is used perfectly after the start on the market square in front of the Kunstpalais Erlangen. No less than 13 climbs in Franconian Switzerland, some with inclines of up to 20%, put a classic stamp on Sunday. Hellings, like those from the Flemish classics, with steep climbs and descents welcome the aggressive riders. But in addition to strength, they also require constant concentration and knowledge of the route. If you want to win the Deutschland Tour 2021, you have to be active on the final day. After the selection in the middle part of the stage, the final to Nuremberg is flat again. At the end of the tour in Nuremberg there are three laps of 5 kilometres each on the program. On the well-known race loop course in the old town of Nuremberg, a group will probably make the tour victory among themselves. Only those who still have power reserves on the final meters of the Deutschland Tour 2021 can hope for the red jersey of the overall winner at the finish in front of the Nuremberg Opera.

Key points:
The Deutschland Tour 2021 runs over four stages from the Hanseatic city of Stralsund to Nuremberg.

Ø Next August, the 727-kilometre tour will stop in four federal states.

Ø Half of the tour runs symbolically in the eastern federal states, the other half in the western part.

More information about Deutschland Tour on

No Binche-Chimay-Binche in 2020
The Walloon one-day race Binche-Chimay-Binche, also known as the Mémorial Frank Vandenbroucke, has been canceled for this year. Due to the corona virus, local politicians have decided to cancel all upcoming events.

The 33rd edition of Binche-Chimay-Binche was scheduled for Tuesday, October 6, but the event is now canceled. The organisation is now focusing on the 2021 edition. Tom Van Asbroeck won last year.

Van Asbroeck in 2019:

British rider Adam Yates signs for the INEOS Grenadiers
INEOS Grenadiers are excited to announce the signing of Adam Yates on a two-year deal.

Yates will ride for the team from January 2021, strengthening the squad’s British Grand Tour contenders.

One of the leading talents in the sport, the 28 year old has repeatedly demonstrated his considerable talent, both in one-day and stage races, during seven years in the pro ranks.

The INEOS Grenadiers Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “I’m really delighted that Adam is finally joining the team. It feels like the timing is just right as he enters the prime of his career and we embark on a new era as the INEOS Grenadiers.”

“As a global team with a British heart, Adam’s no-nonsense British character is a perfect fit. He knows how to win and his gritty, determined and resilient approach are exactly the attributes we are looking to foster as we assemble the new INEOS Grenadiers to be built on purpose.”

Yates began the 2020 season with a commanding victory at the UAE Tour, while fourth place at the Tour de France in 2016 displayed his Grand Tour capabilities at the sport’s highest level.

Adam Yates said: “The prospect of riding for a British team is one that I am extremely excited about. I’ve witnessed the rise of cycling in the UK during my career and I think this has been spurred on by success of British riders and this team.

“It is an exciting opportunity and one that I feel has come at the right time.”

“My results in week-long races and one day races have been really solid but I would like to take that consistency to Grand Tour racing with the INEOS Grenadiers and see where it takes me.”

Jake Stewart Goes WorldTour
Jake Stewart will transfer from the Groupama-FDJ U23 team to the WorldTour squad. The 20-year-old sprint talent from Britain has signed a contract that will keep him with the French team until the end of 2022.

The announcement of the transfer comes shortly after the Tour du Limousin, in which Stewart competed for the final victory until the last stage. The young Briton is still part of the U23 team, but due to the new UCI rules, he is also allowed to participate in a few races with the professional team this season.

The Groupama-FDJ WorldTour team has already used Stewart several times this year. Early in the season he rode the Volta ao Algarve and the Tour de l’Ain and now in the Tour du Limousin he took his chance: twice second on stages and finishing second overall.

Jasper Philipsen on the way to Alpecin-Fenix
It looks like Alpecin-Fenix will be taking on a new sprinter. The chance that Mathieu van der Poel’s team will soon strengthen itself with Jasper Philipsen, is said to be increasing. A week ago, Philipsen indicated that he was leaving UAE Team Emirates.

Several top teams are said to be interested in Philipsen, but according to WielerFlits, Alpecin-Fenix ​​is in pole position to capture his signature. The Roodhooft brothers made an attractive proposal to Philipsen and he, in turn, would like to race the Spring Classic with Mathieu van der Poel.

For Alpecin-Fenix, this would be the biggest transfer of recent years, after the arrival of Tim Merlier. And perhaps a signal that the team is continuing to work towards the WorldTour in the future. Philipsen, still only 22, is said to be one of the biggest up and coming talents. He has a strong sprint in his legs and is expected to be able to win in the Classics.

Philipsen became a professional at the age of 19 with Hagens Berman Axeon, Axel Merckx’s team, then he moved to UAE Team Emirates. He raced a full program in 2019, won a stage in the Tour Down Under, plus a lot of podium places. Last week he won a stage in the Tour du Limousin, his only victory so far in 2020.

Jasper Philipsen:

Team Jumbo-Visma adds Van Hooydonck to classics core
Nathan van Hooydonck will strengthen the selection of Team Jumbo-Visma from 2021 onwards. The Belgian joins the Dutch World Tour formation for two seasons and will assist Wout van Aert and Mike Teunissen in the classics.

With Van Hooydonck, sportive director Merijn Zeeman signed a rider who has been followed by Team Jumbo-Visma since the U23 category. “We were looking for a strong rider who could strengthen our team around Wout and Mike in the classics. Nathan, with his talents, is the right rider for that. In addition, his time trial capabilities come in handy in team time trials or in a sprint train. We look forward to seeing him next season.”

The 24-year-old Van Hooydonck takes a new step in his career with his transfer. “I’m happy to get this opportunity from Team Jumbo-Visma. This really feels like a new chapter in my career. I am really looking forward to my first moments with this team. The classic period is a very important period for me. I hope to develop myself in the classical work. I also want to continue to make progress in the time trial discipline. The past few years have shown that Team Jumbo-Visma is developing well on all fronts. Then it’s nice to be part of such a team. For me, this is the team to take further steps as a cyclist.”

Nathan van Hooydonck:

Andreas Kron signs with Lotto Soudal
Team Lotto Soudal has reached an agreement with 22-year old Andreas Lorentz Kron and look forward to working with the young Danish cyclist over the next two years. Kron currently rides for UCI ProTeam Riwal Readynez and will step up to the WorldTour in the 2021 cycling season. Andreas Kron, who was, two days ago, in front with Zdeněk Štybar and Stan Dewulf in the final of the queen’s stage of Tour de Wallonie, is still pinching himself.

“The WorldTour has always been the ultimate ambition. I have a foot in the door now and have two years to prove myself. I don’t pretend to think I have made it. The hard work starts now and the challenge is for me to show I can progress as a rider,” said Andreas Kron. “It’s a big step and I’m still young, but I think it’s a good moment in my development after 4 years with Riwal. Lotto Soudal has a big focus on my development as a rider and person as well, which is also the reason why I went in that direction. They seem to have a solid plan for where to go, and it matches very well with where I see myself.”

Kron is a multifunctional rider, performing well on road as well as on the track. The last years he proved to be a specialist on hilly courses. Last year he finished second in Tour of Belgium’s queen’s stage behind Victor Campenaerts and ahead of Remco Evenepoel. In the first part of the 2020 season, the Danish rider won the Young Rider classification in the Saudi Tour. Kron likes the hard work.

“I saw him finishing 5th at last year’s Road World Championship in Harrogate in tough and bad weather circumstances. He showed to be a rider with character,” said Lotto Soudal General Manager John Lelangue. “We’ve been watching Andreas for a while. While this is a big step for him now, we as a team will provide him with the best possible support to continue his positive development. Andreas made us clear that he wants to excel in the hilly classics and the week-long stage races. We will give him the necessary time, but we are confident that he will show soon what he is capable of,” concluded John Lelangue.

Andreas Kron:

Sunweb Strengthen Sprint Group with Bol, Dainese and Eekhoff renewals
Team Sunweb are thrilled to announce the contract renewals of three of their sprint talents; Cees Bol, Alberto Dainese and Nils Eekhoff. Bol and Eekhoff have both renewed their contract with the team through to the end of 2022, while Dainese will race in the team’s colours until the end of 2023.

Cees Bol (NED)
A successful first season with the team in 2019 saw Bol take three wins and numerous top tens throughout the year. The Dutchman began 2020 in great fashion taking a commanding win on the uphill drag to the finish in stage three of the Volta ao Algarve before netting two top-five results in the sprints at Paris-Nice before the season was halted. More than just a fast finisher Bol has the power required to stamp on the pedals over the cobbles, as was proven at the start of the year when he made the select group over the top of the Oude Kwaremont at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Building for the future, Bol wants to continue to develop his sprint abilities but also improve over the cobbles, strengthening the team’s strong classics block.

Cees Bol:

Alberto Dainese (ITA)
A neo-pro with the team in 2020, Italian fast-man Dainese got his first taste of WorldTour racing at the season opener in the Tour Down Under. With a stacked field of strong sprinters, Dainese secured two top ten finishes, including a fifth place on the final day – a sign of things to come. Third at Race Torquay followed before Dainese sprinted to a resounding win at the Herald Sun Tour on day one, opening up his and the team’s winning account for the year, with a powerful finish. Arguably Dainese’s most impressive result was yet to come when he sprinted to a great third place on the final day of racing at the Tour de Pologne against some strong WorldTour opposition. Driven to succeed and improve, Dainese’s competitive edge and mentality is more than apparent, with the youngster never truly satisfied unless he is crossing the line with his arms in the air. Looking ahead, Dainese wants to continue to grow with the team and take many more victories in the future.

Alberto Dainese:

Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Having made his way through the ranks of Development Team Sunweb, Eekhoff made the step up to the Men’s program in 2020 after a fine 2019 season which saw him take three wins and several other strong results throughout the year. The opening part of 2020 has seen Eekhoff work as a committed teammate, helping in the lead outs, with the young Dutchman part of stage winning squads at both the Volta ao Algarve and Paris-Nice. The former Paris-Roubaix Espoirs winner packs a punch himself and as he’s proven in previous seasons, is more than capable of taking strong results in the sprints and classics too, with his recent impressive second place at Dwars door het Hageland testament to that. Eekhoff is excited to continue to grow within the team and further develop his abilities on the bike.

Nils Eekhoff:

Kangert Two More Years With Mitchelton-Scott
Tanel Kangert will race for Mitchelton-Scott in 2021. The experienced Estonian has signed a two-year contract. Kangert’s task is to support Simon Yates in the Grand Tours.

The 33-year-old Kangert started his professional career in 2008 with AG2R-La Mondiale and then raced for Astana from 2011 to 2018 and in recent years for EF Pro Cycling. The climber won the Abu Dhabi Tour and a stage in the Tour de Suisse in his career, but is mainly known as a domestique.

At Mitchelton-Scott, he will be the right-hand man of Simon Yates, who extended his contract for two seasons this week. “I received a call from the team a few years ago, but eventually the contact didn’t come to anything. However, I have always looked at Mitchelton-Scott with interest,” Kangert said in a press release.

“I really see myself as a servant for the big laps, but in the smaller stage races I can go for a result. I am not the best climber in the peloton and I am not known as a time trial specialist, but I am a good all-rounder. I really hope to win another Grand Tour as a team.”

“I am not at all interested in fifth or sixth place, if I know that my teammate can win.” That last statement should sound like music to DS Matt White. “Tanel has a lot of experience. It is great that Simon will soon be able to count on someone with so much experience. Tanel has already been through everything.”

Tanel Kangert in Liege’19:

No Italian championships for Team Ineos
Leonardo Basso has tested positive for Covid-19, although he shows no symptoms. Teammates Ganna, Puccio and Moscon, who trained with Basso, also have to be quarantined.

“Aside from visiting a local medical center for knee treatment eight days ago, Leonardo Basso has stayed at home in Asolo with his girlfriend,” said a press release. “He’s been training alone for the past ten days.”

“Leonardo tested negative on Tuesday. He stayed at home and did not join the team at their hotel for the past few days. He did explore the time trial with Filippo Ganna and he started training together with Filippo also Salvatore Puccio and Gianni Moscon. Today he turns out to be positive.”

In accordance with protocols, the four are now quarantined for two weeks. And that also applies to four members of staff. Team Ineos will also support Basso in the coming period in tracing contacts with friends and family.

Michal Golas and Leonardo Basso in the 2019 Bank Tour:

Houle Corona Positive
Astana rider Hugo Houle tested positive for the corona virus last week. The Canadian has no symptoms of Covid-19. Due to his positive test, Houle had to be quarantined and he missed the Tour of Lombardy and the Giro dell’Emilia.

Houle told Canadian website LaPresse that he was in good shape and that he had no symptoms. The 29-year-old rider has to wait for his next negative corona test. The positive test was reported last Thursday, before Lombardy, after he took a mandatory UCI test on Wednesday. Should Houle’s next corona test be negative, then he can prepare for the Bretagne Classic Ouest-France and the Tour Poitou-Charentes next week in France. Later this year he hopes to ride Tirreno-Adriatico and the Giro d’Italia.

Before his positive test last week, Houle rode Strade Bianche and the Tour of Poland. He tested negative at that time.

Hugo Houle:

Warbasse Corona Positive, AG2R Removed Three Riders from Tour du Limousin
Larry Warbasse has tested positive for the corona virus. His team, AG2R-La Mondiale, said the American, who has no symptoms, will be quarantined. The French team decided as a precaution to remove three riders from the Tour du Limousin: Geoffrey Bouchard, Ben Gastauer and Axel Domont.

The three riders rode the penultimate stage of the Tour du Limousin, but did not appeared at the start of the final stage to Limoges. Last Saturday, Bouchard, Gastauer and Domont rode the Tour of Lombardy together with Warbasse.

AG2R-La Mondiale also announces that Domont, Bouchard and Clément Champoussin, who all rode the Tour of Lombardy, would not ride the French road championship.

Larry Warbasse with UCI’s David Lappartient:

Van der Heijden turns out to be ‘false positive’
“How reliable are the PCR tests?” That is what Inge van der Heijden wonders after she tested negative last Friday, suddenly positive on Wednesday and negative again yesterday. “Although I will not ignore the positive test and respect the quarantine measure.”

You prepare for the national championship, and it turns out that you tested positive for Covid-19 a few days earlier. So no championships, but quarantine. For Van der Heijden’s teammates, Yara Kastelijn and Aniek van Alphen, the Dutch championship were also a ‘no go’.

“I tested negative on Friday last week,” explains Van der Heijden on her Instagram page. “And although I showed no symptoms of infection, I suddenly tested positive on Wednesday, to my great disappointment. In consultation I decided to have an extra PCR test done yesterday and the result was negative again. As I expected, actually.”

Van der Heijden will not ignore the positive test and is in quarantine, but she also expresses her displeasure. “I find it very disturbing that apparently there are regular false positive tests. But that means there may also be false negative tests. This is about the National Championship on the road and as a cyclist that is not the most important thing, but I am worried about the coming cross season when it comes to classification races, because if you miss one cross, your classification will quickly be destroyed.”

Inge van der Heijden with Riejanne Markus:

Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Bretagne Classic
The event created in 1931 will run this year its 84th edition-

The last World Tour one-day race of August, Bretagne Classic (248.7 kilometres) will be based again around a circuit, which is different than the traditional one but by no means easier. The three climbs sprinkled over the 13.65km-long lap – Côte du Lézot (1.4km, 3.9%), Monté de Lann Payot (1.3km, 2.6%) and Côte du Pont-Neuf (1.5km 4.2%) – will come in quick succession and are expected to split the peloton and force the riders to dig deep into their resources.

Newly-crowned French ITT Champion Rémi Cavagna, Colombian sprinter Alvaro Hodeg, Iljo Keisse, Florian Sénéchal – who showed a very good condition at the Tour de Wallonie, which he finished in fourth place – Stijn Steels, neo-pro Jannik Steimle and Bert Van Lerberghe are the seven Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders who will be at the start of the hilly French race next Tuesday.

“Bretagne Classic always has a different parcours, so it is difficult to say which will be the key moments. What we know is that we have to pay attention to the very narrow roads and the wind, which can easily split the peloton. It should be a race of attrition, so it won’t be a surprise if a small group arrives on the last lap. We have several cards to play and we look forward to this appointment,” explained Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Geert Van Bondt.

25.08 Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France (FRA) 1.UWT

Rémi Cavagna (FRA)
Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (COL)
Iljo Keisse (BEL)
Florian Sénéchal (FRA)
Stijn Steels (BEL)
Jannik Steimle (GER)
Bert Van Lerberghe (BEL).
Sports Director Geert Van Bondt (BEL).

Remi Cavagna:

Belstaff announces partnership with INEOS Grenadiers
British heritage brand Belstaff is pleased to announce it will become the official outfitter for British cycling team, INEOS Grenadiers, at this year’s Tour de France. This follows yesterday’s announcement of the eight riders making up the Tour de France team and name switch from Team INEOS to INEOS Grenadiers.

Last month, Belstaff became the official outfitter of the Grenadier, the new 4×4 vehicle designed, engineered and manufactured by INEOS Automotive, and this will now be extended to the world’s most successful cycling team.

The team will wear Belstaff clothing at official Tour de France events from August 26th, with a future ambition to build a bespoke off-bike collection for the team.

INEOS Grenadiers CEO Fran Millar said: “Belstaff is an iconic British brand who have a long and rich pedigree in racing. Belstaff is already providing the clothing for the Grenadier, so this was a natural progression as we begin to race as the INEOS Grenadiers for the first time. We look forward to developing the partnership as we work on future collaborations that are built for purpose – a British racing heritage brand supporting the needs of a modern day racing team.”

The prestigious clothing brand, founded in 1924, is synonymous with enduring style and function, and no stranger to cycling. In the 1930s, Belstaff produced capes for cyclists, which is where the modern waterproof jackets – race capes – get their name.

Belstaff CEO Helen Wright adds: “For almost a hundred years Belstaff has outfitted adventurous spirits and individuals who set out to push the limits of their being. Cycling has an incredible history of grit and determination which is reflected in our own. We’re proud to support INEOS Grenadiers, a team of winners from across the world who have stood on the podiums of the sport’s biggest races through their own tenacity.”

The brand is preparing a durable capsule collection that will be worn by the team at official events. The first collection will launch in August in Nice, in the lead up to the 2020 Tour de France.

L’Avenir Partners with Africa’s Top Cycling Team
NTT Pro Cycling is delighted to confirm that L’Avenir Wine Estate is to be the official wine partner of our team for the season.
This partnership consolidates L’Avenir’s Sports Development Project and involvement in South African cycling through the Pedalling for Pebbles campaign at the Cape Town Cycle Tour. “As the first African team to participate in the Tour de France in 2015, NTT Pro Cycling exemplifies L’Avenir’s slogan, Proudly South African, with a touch of French flair,” explains Advini South Africa Managing Director, Naretha Ricome.

As a technology-enabled, performance-driven and purpose-led team, NTT Pro Cycling races for something far greater than just success at the very highest level. The team races to mobilise people in Africa to move forward with bicycles through their relationship with the Qhubeka Charity. “Shared values are a cornerstone of this partnership; not only in terms of excellence and innovation, but with the deeper purpose of catalysing sustainable development in South Africa,” explains Ricome.

As a Stellenbosch specialist of quintessentially South African Chenin Blanc and Pinotage, L’Avenir will be the sole wine sponsor of NTT Pro Cycling for the team’s full calendar which includes the Tour de France, the sport’s biggest race, getting underway in late August in Nice.

“We have 29 riders in our team from 14 countries and we see technology as a 30th rider in the way it enables to make more informed, better decisions, quicker. Moreover, we ride for a higher purpose, to make a difference in the lives of those less privileged creating hope and opportunity. Alignment in terms of innovation, international impact and ambitious development goals all make for a very exciting partnership and we can’t wait to celebrate together, on the world’s biggest stage,” explains NTT Pro Cycling team principal, Douglas Ryder.

Team Novo Nordisk Announces a Multi-Year Extension with Novo Nordisk for the World’s First All-Diabetes Professional Cycling Team
Global healthcare company Novo Nordisk announced a historic extension to its partnership with Team Novo Nordisk, extending its commitment to the first-ever all-diabetes professional cycling team for three more years. The new extension will run through 2023, which will include both the 100th anniversary since the discovery of insulin and celebrate Novo Nordisk’s 100th year anniversary as a company. Team Novo Nordisk is composed of 16 professional athletes from 12 countries, a development team, a Talent ID pipeline with over 70 young athletes from 25 countries, and nearly a dozen ambassadors all living with type 1 diabetes.

“We truly have the most supportive and engaged sponsor in bike racing. Through our partnership, we have worked hard to deliver value and impact to the world over the past eight years. As the world knows, this year has seen one of the biggest crises in recent times, so we feel extra fortunate that they committed to an incredible three-year extension,” said Phil Southerland, Co-Founder and CEO of Team Novo Nordisk. “I am so humbled by their support and eternally grateful that together we will continue to change diabetes for years to come!”

In December 2012, Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk partnered with the professional cycling team Team Type 1 to create Team Novo Nordisk based on the shared mission to inspire, educate, and empower people around the world affected by diabetes.

“Novo Nordisk is an amazing company that truly embodies the values and mission of this team. They are fully committed to supporting people living with diabetes and helping them achieve their dreams,” exclaimed Southerland.

Racing as part of the International Cycling Union (UCI) ProSeries, the team aims to increase diabetes awareness with the world’s dedicated cycling fans while also bringing a new audience to cycling through the extensive diabetes community. Currently racing in its eighth season, the new contract will ensure Team Novo Nordisk continues for at least 11 years, extending its place as the longest continuously running American-registered professional cycling team.

“Thanks to Novo Nordisk’s enduring commitment, we have been able to grow this team into a world-class project that competes against the best in the world. With a three-year runway, we can really focus on long-term growth and development of our athletes and the impact that they have on our global diabetes family,” said Phil Southerland. “We are proud to be part of Novo Nordisk’s Changing Diabetes® initiative. Every day, we provide the diabetes community with heroes and show the 463 million people around the world affected by diabetes what may be possible.”

“We are proud to extend our partnership with Team Novo Nordisk until the end of 2023. Team Novo Nordisk is a role model for many children and adults living with diabetes, and is showing to the world how continuous innovation is enabling people with diabetes to live their dreams. With this, our partnership will include both the 100 year celebration of the discovery of insulin as well as the 100 year anniversary of Novo Nordisk as a company,” said Camilla Sylvest, Executive Vice President, Commercial Strategy & Corporate Affairs at Novo Nordisk.

Southerland was personally moved by Novo Nordisk’s willingness to renew early on their current sponsorship and commit to a multi-year deal during such unprecedented times.

“It is through Novo Nordisk’s ongoing commitment to supporting people with diabetes and helping them live their healthiest lives that this team exists. I’m eager to grow, inspire the next generation of heroes living with this condition, and motivate the youth of the world to get active. We know the bike serves as a powerful tool and platform for changing the health of the world.”

About Team Novo Nordisk
Team Novo Nordisk is a global all-diabetes sports team of cyclists spearheaded by the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team. In 2012, Phil Southerland, co-founder and CEO of the team, and global healthcare company Novo Nordisk, came together to create Team Novo Nordisk, based on a shared vision to inspire, educate, and empower people around the world affected by diabetes. For more information, go to

About Novo Nordisk
Novo Nordisk is a leading global healthcare company, founded in 1923 and headquartered in Denmark. Our purpose is to drive change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic diseases such as obesity and rare blood and endocrine disorders. We do so by pioneering scientific breakthroughs, expanding access to our medicines and working to prevent and ultimately cure disease. Novo Nordisk employs about 43,500 people in 80 countries and markets its products in around 170 countries. For more information, visit, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube.

Video: Recon day stage 12 Giro d’Italia in Cesenatico
Good results don’t come without hard work and preparation. While some of our squad are racing at Tour du Limousin, Conti and Dombrowski are doing their homework ahead of the Giro d’Italia with some stage recons.


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