The first road race of the season in Europe – Result and video from Valencia, plus cross action form Overijse and Hamme. Cyclocross World champs in danger – TOP STORY. Lots of rider news: Wout van Aert sign with Jumbo-Visma till 2024, Primož Roglič not at the training camp, Elia Viviani’s heart problem, Alejandro Valverde to retire, Wilco Kelderman to ride the Tour, Esteban Chaves to ride the Olympics, Arnaud Démare spring races, Tom Dumoulin taking time off, Giacomo Nizzolo’s spring program, Vincenzo Nibali race program for 2021 and no excuses for Iván Garciá. Race news: No Olympic cancellation, Tour of Valencia to run, UAE Tour riders, teams for the Tour de La Provence, Ruta del Sol, Ster van Zwolle and Volta ao Algarve postponed, Tour de Normandie and Circuit de la Sarthe canceled. Team news: Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux ready for 2021, Qhubeka ASSOS 2021 jersey and Movistar announce main goals for 2021. EUROTRASH coffee time.
TOP STORY: World Cyclocross Championships Uncertain After Covid Outbreak in Ostend
Could the World cyclocross championships on January 30-31 be in danger? The host city of Ostend is struggling with an outbreak of the South African variant of the corona virus. “The World championships are currently under discussion,” said Mayor Bart Tommelein.
Tommelein announces in De Zevende Dag that conversations are being held behind the scenes. “We are in consultation with the various organisers, Belgian Cycling, the UCI and Minister of Sport Ben Weyts. We have asked the virologists for advice and are looking at whether the measures should be further tightened.”
“No one will be on the World championships course without a negative corona test. If the World champs continue, we will have to strictly limit the number of people anyway,” said Tommelein. “The World championships are currently under discussion. We will look at how the number of infections evolves. We have to wait and see.”
Rik Debeaussaert, chairman of the organising committee, hopes for a happy ending. “We will continue and assume that the World championships will continue. We have taken very strict measures, everything is organised according to the rules against COVID-19. Everyone will also do a PCR test: riders, entourage, journalists and employees,” he told Het Nieuwsblad.
“The policy is also to have as few people as possible on our course. It will be safe. We have put in so much effort. Despite the fact that we are not allowed to host audiences and VIPs, we wanted to continue. For the love of the sport. It would be a shame that we see four years of work go to waste.”
Will the Worlds go ahead?
Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana 1969 – Gran Premi València 2021
With a sigh of relief the first road race the 2021 European season kicked off in the town of La Nucia, Alicante on Sunday. It was also the rebirth of a race which until 2005 was the Luis Puig Trophy. The finish had to be changed to Tavernes de la Valdigna, just an hour before the race started, due to the refusal of the Valencia City Council to have the finish in the capital of the region. This last minute change caused a cut of 52 kilometres, from 150 to 98 kilometres.
Samuele Zoccarato (Bardiani-CSF) and Grigoriy Shtein (Vino-Astana) were the first to attack as soon as they crossed the kilometre zero. Thanks to the control of the Kern Pharma team on the peloton, they didn’t last long. The high pace didn’t drop and so on the first ramps of the Coll de Rates there was already a few riders out the back of the peloton. Elie Gesbert (Arkéa-Samsic) took control of the situation. The French rider was joined by Miguel Ángel Ballesteros (Electro Híper Europa), but he could not follow his wheel, but Filippo Zana (Bardiani-CSF) was able to do shortly after. This all came to nothing after the descent, when the work of the Kern Pharma team, later helped by Arkéa-Samsic kept the race together and the speed high.
The high speed in the last 30 kilometres caused a split in the large group, leaving a group of 19 riders up front. The peloton fought to prevent the escape from gaining more than 30 seconds. With this move neutralised, there were no shortage of new attempts to break the race before the finish in Tavernes de la Valdigna. It was Lorrenzo Manzin of Total-Direct Energie who made good the lead-out from his teammates to win the first edition of the Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana 1969 and succeed Alessandro Petacchi after 16 years.
Race winner, Lorrenzo Manzin (Total Direct Energie): “It is clear that starting the year like this is not bad. Thanks to my colleagues who did a great job, and especially to the two Spaniards who have just arrived (Víctor de la Parte and Cristian Rodríguez) and who were in charge all day in this rather short and intense format. The teammates did most of the work in the final part to help me and put me back in a good place, and this victory rewards a great job from the team. The season has started well!”
5th, David González (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “The puncture on Rates (climb) was a shame, it forced the whole team to stop and we spent a lot of energy that would have been good for us in the final. All the teammates have done an incredible job, also in the last echelon where we were four riders of the team. Too bad I couldn’t finish it off, because they were ten out of ten. We are leaving with a bittersweet flavour because I saw myself with options to dispute.”
Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana 1969 – Gran Premi València Result:
1. Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) Total Direct Energie in 2:13:05
2. Mikel Aristi (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
3. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkéa-Samsic
4. Enrique Sanz (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
5. David González (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
6. Luca Pacioni (Ita) EOLO-Kometa
7. Mikel Alonso (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8. Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizanè
9. Rory Townsend (Irl) Canyon DHB Sungod
10. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi.
UCI Cyclocross World Cup Men – Overijse 2021
Wout van Aert won the last World Cup race of the season. In Overijse, the Belgian champion rode solo in the lead for more than half the race and hold off Mathieu van der Poel. Van Aert also took the overall victory in the World Cup for the third time in his career.
There was still something at stake for the men in Overijse. Wout van Aert was in the lead in the World Cup after four events with 125 points. However, he could not afford an off-day, as Mathieu van der Poel was only fifteen points behind. Van der Poel had two victories and would pass Van Aert with an equal number of points. Michael Vanthourenhout and Toon Aerts also had a chance for the overall victory.
From the start the race went straight up the Tenotsberg. Quinten Hermans and Laurens Sweeck had the best start, while the second part of the peloton was startled by a fall from Ben Turner and Cameron Mason, teammates of Tom Pidcock at Trinity, and Gosse van der Meer. Toon Aerts also started well and took the lead. However, Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel were not far away and took a gap in the first lap. At the first passage of the finish, Van Aert and Van der Poel had 9 seconds on Tom Pidcock, the first chaser. Behind; Aerts, Hermans, Michael Vanthourenhout and Gianni Vermeersch were together. At the end of the second lap, Van Aert rode away from Van der Poel, who was struggling with a flat tire. The Belgian champion was also not spared from bad luck, because he crashed in the third lap. Van Aert, however, was able to recover quickly and started the fourth lap with a lead of 10 seconds. Van der Poel continued to put his rival under pressure. Van Aert’s lead grew to more than 20 seconds at one point, on the sixth lap Van der Poel managed to get closer to 10 seconds to keep Van Aert in his sights.
Van der Poel could smell blood and got closer, to less than 8 seconds. A difficult passage through the mud slowed him down a bit. At the start of the penultimate lap, the difference was again 10 seconds. Due to a slip, the difference increased further to 30 seconds. Van Aert disappeared from sight of its main competitor. In the final section, the Belgian had no problems and secured the win. After his slip, Van der Poel was slowed a little, which meant that he eventually crossed the line more than a minute down. Tom Pidcock managed to shake off Michael Vanthourenhout in the last two laps and finished third.
Race winner, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “I was really looking forward to it. In the first two laps I immediately set a high pace. Then Mathieu took over to slow down the pace. However, I didn’t want to. I had a big gap because of his flat tire, but then I crashed. It was a tough cross where the incidents were decisive. Mathieu kept pushing, so I was never really comfortable. Only towards the end did I get a little more space. It was especially pleasant to be leader instead of the chaser. This victory makes me very happy. I don’t think I’m the outspoken favourite (for the World championships). Mathieu has already booked more victories. I am happy with the way I can go to the World Championships, but in principle he has more advantages.”
2nd, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “That flat tire was quite decisive for the rest of the race, I think. It was also a pretty bad time to get a puncture. Wout had a very strong start, but I was able to put myself on the wheel. Then I actually punctured while I still had to do the entire climb. That took a lot of strength. I had to recover from that. I was a little surprised after that that I could get back to six seconds. Then I made another mistake and then it was over. Wout was very strong today, so I wanted to get on the wheel. I was already surprised that I could get closer again because he was so strong the first two laps that I didn’t have much left. I actually came back fine, but after I made that mistake I was back to fifteen seconds. Then I started to lose focus a bit and I also made too many mistakes. What conclusions can I draw after today? Today I was a lot better than yesterday, but not yet what I want to be. I think I can be satisfied. I was able to defend myself well. I did notice in the second part of the cross that I might not be fresh enough to keep fighting, but I do think I can confidently move towards the World championships. There are no more psychological games needed between me and Wout. I think we both know our worth. I think it will be a challenge. What I have seen on images and photos, it looks like an incredibly handsome cross. So I’m curious what that will give.”
3rd, Tom Pidcock (Trinity): “I think it was okay. I am happy to have finished third and to be on the podium. It’s my last race in the Trinity jersey, so it’s a great way to end it. I was a bit tired, although it was better than yesterday in Hamme. I’m going to freshen up for next week this week and then I should feel better. It’s not the perfect course for me. It will undoubtedly be very fast. Now that I have some competitions in the legs, I think I will be in shape. Hopefully it will be enough for next weekend.”
UCI Cyclocross World Cup Men – Overijse Result:
1. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma in 1:05:57
2. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 1:03
3. Tom Pidcock (GB) Trinity at 2:07
4. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 2:24
5. Toon Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek at 2:49
6. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek at 3:26
7. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 3:35
8. Corné van Kessel (Ned) Tormans CX at 3:41
9. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Tormans CX at 3:57
10. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Credishop-Fristads at 4:12.
UCI Cyclocross World Cup Women – Overijse 2021
Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado won the last World Cup race of the season. In Overijse, she made the difference with Lucinda Brand in the final lap. As a result, the world champion went over Denise Betsema to second place.
The fight for the Women’s World Cup was already decided three weeks ago in Hulst. Lucinda Brand had taken an unbeatable lead over the competition in the first four races and therefore no longer had to worry about her win in Overijse. The battle for second place was still open, however, with a difference of six points between Denise Betsema and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado.
Puck Pieterse had a good start, but once in the mud, Marianne Vos and Alvarado took the lead. Betsema and Brand also joined them. Alvarado made a good impression and took a gap in the second lap, but Betsema managed to cross. Together they started the third lap, while Brand came up strong behind. Alvarado then crashed on a descent, but quickly recovered. In the meantime, Brand had joined the front, while on the same third lap Manon Bakker, third in Hamme on Saturday, caught the leading group. This is how Brand, Betsema, Alvarado and Bakker started the penultimate lap together. Betsema made to mistakes and lost her place in the front.
Brand and Alvarado turned out to be the stronger riders at the front and competed together for the victory on the fifth and final lap. The World champion managed escape and crossed the finish line with a 20 seconds lead. Brand took second place behind her, but still had to make a considerable effort to keep the strong Bakker at bay.
Race winner, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix): “We have all worked very hard for each other. Very nice that I can finish it then. I was lucky that I could still hold on to the ribbon, otherwise I would have been a bit further down. I was lucky there. We are more or less the same uphill. Downhill it came down to technique and I was the best today. Whether I am the best Alvarado a week before the World championships? I am not quite where I want to be after my training camp, but this already gives a great feeling.”
UCI Cyclocross World Cup Women – Overijse Result:
1. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix in 49:48
2. Lucinda Brand at (Ned) Baloise Trek at 0:20
3. Manon Bakker at (Ned) Credishop-Fristads at 0:21
4. Clara Honsinger (USA) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank at 0.34
5. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoa at 0:40
6. Sanne Cant (Bel) Iko-Crelan at 0:48
7. Anna Kay (GB) Starcasino at 0:56
8. Evie Richards (GB) Trek at 0:58
9. Kata Blanka Vas (Hun) at 1:15
10. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:21
X20 Badkamers Trofee Flandriencross Men – Hamme 2021
Mathieu van der Poel was the best in the Flandriencross in Hamme for the fifth year in a row on Saturday. The World champion crossed the line solo with a small lead over Wout van Aert and a large lead over Laurens Sweeck in third place.
In the Flandriencross, the riders got to see the results of their training camps for the first time in preparation for the World championship in Ostend next week. Van der Poel was the sharpest. The World champion immediately took the lead, but crossed the line after a lap with nine other riders on his wheel. After that, the large group was quickly rattled apart by an acceleration from Michael Vanthourenhout, but he had Van der Poel on his wheel. Van Aert, then in sixth position, had a chase on his hands.
The Belgian champion was 20 seconds behind Van der Poel for most of the race, the World champion had got rid of Vanthourenhout who then dropped down to finish in 8th place. In the last laps we saw the familiar duel between Van der Poel and Van Aert. Every time Van Aert seemed to get closer, Van der Poel took more distance. The Alpecin-Fenix rider took his victory in Hamme for the fifth year in a row, ahead of Van Aert and Sweeck. Eli Iserbyt, finished in 7th to hold his overall lead in the X20 Badkamers Trofee.
Race winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “I was very tired. This is not what it should be next week, but winning is certainly not bad. I think more riders felt tired. It was also smooth. I missed every corner that I wanted to do well. At the beginning I fell. My front wheel slid and hit the ground. Later I did that again. It was crazy slippy.”
2nd, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “I am satisfied because I got the most out of it. I made a lot of mistakes and hit the limit. I couldn’t really express my abilities on this course. In the first lap and a half I left it, I think. I tried to join, but that didn’t work and it is my own fault. I was surprised by the aggressiveness of my colleagues. When Van der Poel left I was in fifth position. That was too far. I have not been able to close the gap, although it was important for me to ride the right lines and keep the pressure high. I just didn’t get close enough to believe in it, Mathieu is better on this kind of course.”
X20 Badkamers Trofee Flandriencross Men – Hamme Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix in 1:05:22
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:07
3. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:00
4. Tom Pidcock (GB) Trinity at 1:05
5. Toon Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek at 1:06
6. Corne van Kessel (Ned) Tormans CX at 1:35
7. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:38
8. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:39
9. Felipe Orts (Spa) Burgos-BH at 2:04
10. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek at 2:35.
X20 Badkamers Trofee Flandriencross Women – Hamme 2021
Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado took the victory on Saturday in the Flandriencross for women. The World champion soloed to victory in Hamme ahead of Denise Betsema and Manon Bakker. Overall leader X20 Badkamers Trofee, Lucinda Brand, lost a lot of time on Betsema, but retained the lead.
If Betsema still wanted to take the overall victory in the X20 Badkamers Trofee, she had to make up time on Brand on Saturday in the Flandriencross. A difference of 58 seconds between the two with two races to go was possible, but Betsema would have to put in a big effort.
Betsema started well, while Brand, as is often the case, did not have a fantastic start. Betsema got Sanne Cant and Alvarado with her, but saw Brand quickly reconnect. She even managed to beat Betsema for 5 seconds in the standings after the first lap. First Betsema crashed, then Brand. A new situation arose at the front. After an acceleration, Alvarado took the lead. Little by little, she expanded her gap on first pursuers Cant and Bakker.
From behind, Betsema continued to advance in the final laps. In the last lap, the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider was again the first chaser behind Alvarado, although she would eventually fall short of threatening the World champion. Thanks to her second place behind Alvarado, Betsema did excellent business for the overall rankings. Brand was behind Bakker, in fourth place and lost a total of 24 seconds on Betsema.
Race winner, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix): “I am very pleased with that. I am certainly satisfied with the race. It gives me a lot of morale for next week. I was fine with the acidification, but was able to get the most out of it. I first wanted to see what my legs would be like. I fell first, then Denise and Lucinda went too. Then I suddenly had a few seconds. I felt it was my chance and I went for it. That worked out well. I’m going to have a good rest now, hopefully my legs will be just as good again tomorrow.”
2nd, Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “Everything is still possible, it’s great that I was able to grab a few seconds on Lucinda today. I had to pay for a few mistakes, but I’m glad I managed to get back to the podium. I fell a few times today. Once it went wrong in the descent and I flipped over. My front wheel was crooked after that and my chain was off. I also fell in the canal once more. But that is part of it. I like that course, It’s a nice circuit with the necessary climbing.”
X20 Badkamers Trofee Flandriencross Women – Hamme Result:
1. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix in 45:21
2. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:19
3. Manon Bakker (Ned) Credishop-Fristads at 0:25
4. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek at 0:44
5. Fem van Empel (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:51.
6. Sanne Cant (Bel) Iko-Crelan
7. Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777
8. Marion Norbert Riberolle (Fra) Starcasino at 1:01
9. Aniek van Alphen (Ned) Credishop-Fristads at 1:02
10. Yara Kastelijn (Ned) Credishop-Fristads at 1:19.
Van Aert with Team Jumbo-Visma until 2024
Wout van Aert and Team Jumbo-Visma have renegotiated his contract that was due to expire at the end of this year. The team extended it for three years until 2024.
“Also after ’21, I am a very proud member of Team Jumbo-Visma. I am very happy with that”, Van Aert said at the training camp in Alicante. “I really wanted to extend because I have become a lot better with this team. I think everyone has seen that I have made huge steps forward as a rider in recent years. I was always in shape when I needed to. I owe a lot to the team to be able to work towards my goals. The decision that I wanted to re-sign was made pretty pretty quickly in my mind. Of course there are other things that come into play and that required some time. The intention was good on both sides and I was confident that everything was going to be all right. I am very happy that I can pursue further successes in this familiar environment. I feel very good here and the past years have shown that I can do justice here. I don’t have to explain to you that there was more interest in me, but I have never had talks with another team. My goal was to extend the contract. We have become the best team in the world. It was best for me to stay. I am glad that it is done and I am relieved that I can speak out about it.”
The same goes for Managing Director Richard Plugge of Team Jumbo-Visma, who together with Merijn Zeeman had the final meeting with Van Aert in Alicante. “Wout is one of the big names, one of the big stars of cycling. He is the current number three of the world. For us it was important to keep him. There might have been other teams that were interested in Wout, but his intention was to sign from the beginning. We have helped him in his development and that is why he wants to stay. We quickly understood each other’s desire. Then the details took some time. I am very happy that we were able to keep him”, said Plugge.
Merijn Zeeman, Sportive Manager at the Dutch formation, is also pleased with the extension. “This is fantastic news for everyone on our squad and for our sponsors”, he said. “Wout has turned out to be a great trendsetter in cycling, a star I would say. He is someone who makes the sport more fun to watch. It is marvellous that he does this as a rider of Team Jumbo-Visma and that he will ride in yellow and black for years to come. We are very proud of that. We are also very grateful for the trust he has given us by choosing us and we are grateful to our partners who make this possible. For us as coaches, it is great to be able to work with such a personality and such a rider. This is a team that has been evolving continuously in recent years. This also applies to the team around Wout in the spring classics. I think last year’s analysis was that the support was insufficient. We are developing this. It will continue in the coming years to also become stronger in this area to give Wout the support he needs.”
Roglič Not at the Jumbo-Visma Training Camp
Primož Roglič is missing from the current Jumbo-Visma training camp in Spain. The Slovenian team leader did not travel to Alicante due to a corona infection in his home. The team doubts whether he will come to the first training camp.
Jumbo-Visma has their camp with the men, women and development team in a hotel in Alicante. The hotel has been booked only for the team to reduce the risk of corona infections. In February, Jumbo-Visma wants to go to Tenerife with a training group, where they can train on the Teide. The altitude camp will be run when the Canary Island is out of lockdown.
The Dutch WorldTour team will reveal its plans for the 2021 season. Jumbo-Visma is planning to go to the Tour de France with Roglič, Tom Dumoulin and Steven Kruijswijk. Roglič previously announced that he will start his season in Paris-Nice.
Roglič training at home in Slovenia:
Cause of Elia Viviani’s Heart Problem Found
The cause of the heart rhythm disturbance to Elia Viviani has been found. The Cofidis leader told Tuttobiciweb with relief. Viviani was admitted to Ancona hospital on Monday after experiencing heart problems during training. “I felt I had a heart rate of about 220 for 20-25 seconds and have to admit I was scared.”
Viviani immediately called the cardiologist who has been looking after him for ten years. “I explained the situation to him and he decided to have the cardiac arrhythmia investigated immediately, to understand where it came from. Several tests were performed from Monday, including a heart film, an ultrasound and a new electrocardiological check. In this way we tried to imitate what happened.”
“And we succeeded. I got a heart rate of 220 again like during that workout. At that moment ablation was performed,” explained the Italian sprinter. That is when the doctor blocks the disturbed electrical stimuli by making scars in certain places, according to the Heart Foundation. “As a result, things are now going well and the problem has been solved.”
Viviani first has to recover for 15 days. “I also have a chip under my left collarbone that registers my heart activity. I am optimistic and want to get back on the bike soon.” Viviani added: “I assume that my schedule can remain the same, with a start in the UAE Tour, then Tirreno-Adriatico and then the classics.”
Maybe better form for Viviani now?
Alejandro Valverde to Retire after 2021
Alejandro Valverde has once again announced that he wants to stop after this year. “In my mind this is my last year, but I am starting this season with great enthusiasm and all good intentions,” said the 40-year-old Spaniard.
Valverde wants to show itself this year. “And if I can achieve victories, that’s even better. But I start this season with the idea that it will be my last season. It will be a beautiful and special year. First, let’s see if we can organise all the races,” he said.
Last year, Valverde was still in doubt. His plan was to quit after 2021, but for a moment he held the door open for an extra season, before backing out. But first this season is just around the corner. Valverde will focus on the hilly classics, the Olympic Games and the Vuelta a España.
“My biggest goal is the Olympic road race. I want to be there, because it is also a very good year to race there. It will be difficult,” Valverde admits. “But I will keep training and fighting to be 100 percent in Tokyo.”
Final year for Valverde:
Tour Ride Not in Danger for Kelderman
BORA-hansgrohe team boss Ralph Denk does not expect the Tour de France to be a problem for Wilco Kelderman, who was hit by a car at the team training camp last weekend. The Dutch newcomer to the team was left with a vertebral fracture and a concussion.
“The Tour de France is not in danger for him,” Denk told Sport1. “Of course he will miss the race kilometres in February, but we hope that Wilco can get back on the bike in March. Then he still has enough time to prepare for the Tour.”
The team manager expects Kelderman not to be able to race for four to six weeks. “If he can then start his season without any problems, we’ll get off well,” said Denk. The Dutch GC rider made another training ride on Zwift on Tuesday.
Andreas Schillinger was also involved in the crash at the BORA-hansgrohe training camp. The German has some fractures to his spine. “You can see the impact of the collision on my chainring. If I imagine that would have been my head… I dare say the helmet saved my life,” Schillinger told Radsport-News.
Tour for Kelderman:
Chaves on the Olympics
Esteban Chaves hopes to participate in the Tokyo Olympics this year. “That is really a main goal for this season. It is the best thing you can experience as an athlete,” said the Colombian climber from Team BikeExchange in conversation with Revista Mundo Ciclistico.
The now 31-year-old Chaves also rode the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The Colombian finished 21st in the road race, three and a half minutes behind Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet. Chaves hopes to make it in to the five-man Colombian team again this year.
“I also asked the team and they give me the space to go to Tokyo if the opportunity arises.” Chaves is currently in Spain for a training camp and will pin on a number again in the Volta a Catalunya (22-28 March). Then he goes to the Tour of the Basque Country.
“We then make the decision with regard to a Grand Tour. The Giro d’Italia is an option, as is the Tour de France,” said Chaves, who has had some difficult years. In 2020 he showed his class at times, but winning a race turned out to be too ambitious. Nevertheless, Chaves looks back on 2020 with a good feeling. “The Tour went very well, especially at the start. I also started very strong in the Vuelta. It did confirm that I still have the talent. A lot of people continued to believe in me, but you are still looking for some kind of confirmation. I am still able to compete with the world top, now all the pieces of the puzzle still have to fit together.”
Chaves looking forward to 2021:
Arnaud Démare Spring Program
Arnaud Démare has announced his program for the start of the 2021 season. The French champion starts his season in the Tour of Valencia and takes some rest after Paris-Roubaix with a view to the Tour de France.
The Groupama-FDJ rider will compete in the Tour de La Provence and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne after the Tour of Valencia, before making his appearance in Paris-Nice. Démare hopes to shine further in Milan-Sanremo, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix.
The 29-year-old Démare will not participate in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Tour of Flanders this year. In the summer he will be the sprint leader in the Tour de France. Thibaut Pinot, normally the designated rider for a good classification in the Tour, is focusing on the Giro d’Italia this season.
Last year, Démare had a very successful season, with a total of fourteen victories. In the Giro d’Italia, he was the big winner in the sprints with victories in Villafranca Tirrena, Matera, Brindisi and Rimini.
Arnaud Démare spring races:
Tour of Valencia (3-7 February)
Tour de La Provence (11-14 February)
Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (28 February)
Paris-Nice (March 7-14)
Milan-Sanremo (March 20)
Gent-Wevelgem (28 March)
Dwars door Vlaanderen (31 March)
Paris-Roubaix (April 11).
Tom Dumoulin Takes a Recess
Tom Dumoulin has left the training camp of Team Jumbo-Visma to consider his cycling future at home. The Dutch rider won’t participate in races for the time being.
“I took the decision yesterday. And the team supports me in it, and it feels really good. It is really as if a backpack of a hundred kilos has slipped off my shoulders. I immediately woke up happy. It feels so good that I finally took the decision to take some time for myself. That says enough.”
Dumoulin about his decision: “I have been feeling for quite a while that it is very difficult for me to know how to find my way as Tom Dumoulin the cyclist. With the pressure that comes with it, with the expectations of different parties. I just want to do very well for very many people. I want the team to be happy with me. I want the sponsors to be happy. I want my wife and my family to be happy. And so I want to do well for everyone, but because of that I have forgotten myself a bit in the past year. What do I want? Do I still want to be a rider. And how?”
Nizzolo Announces Spring Program
Giacomo Nizzolo starts the new season in the Etoile de Bessèges, he said in conversation with Tuttobiciweb. The European champion will also focus on Milan-Sanremo and the Giro d’Italia.
In the Etoile de Bessèges (3-7 February), Nizzolo will complete its first race kilometres of 2021. The Italian sprinter will then compete in the Clásica de Almería, the UAE Tour, Paris-Nice and Milan-Sanremo. Nizzolo will also take part in several cobbled Classics.
“I will not contest them all, but I definitely want to ride Gent-Wevelgem. I will probably also participate in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.” As an Italian, Nizzolo also hopes to shine in the Giro d’Italia. “The ambition is to show that European jersey in my home country.”
The 31-year-old rider does not mention the Tour de France, although he previously announced that the Tour de France is also an option. Nizzolo, riding for Qhubeka Assos, was successful in the Tour Down Under and Paris-Nice last season. The fast man also managed to put the European championship in his palmarès.
Nibali Race Program for 2021
Vincenzo Nibali revealed his busy schedule for the season. Nibali will be at the start in both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France. The Sicilian also starts his season in the Tour of Valencia, after which he goes to France to contest the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var before completing five Italian races: Trofeo Laigueglia, GP Larciano, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-Sanremo and the Tour of the Alps. The last race before the Giro d’Italia, he starts in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Earlier, Nibali indicated that he would not go for the GC in the Tour de France. The rider wants to prepare for the Olympic road race during the Tour de France. In the Giro d’Italia, the Italian is going for a good final overall.
Vincenzo Nibali 2021 program:
Tour of Valencia
Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var
Tour of the Alps
Tour de France
Olympic road race.
Iván Garciá: No More Excuses
Iván García is preparing for his first season with the Movistar team. The 25-year-old classic specialist hopes to force his breakthrough this year. “I get the necessary support for the spring classics here and so, by the way, I can no longer hide behind excuses,” he told Spanish sports newspaper AS.
García raced for Bahrain McLaren in recent years, but will now ride for the team of Alejandro Valverde and Enric Mas in 2021. “I feel that the team is working on a kind of rejuvenation treatment and I am now part of that. I was also ready for a new challenge and a switch to Movistar.”
García will ride the Flemish classics, after which he will also ride one of the three Grand Tours. It is not yet known which that will be. “I was looking for a team like Movistar. I will now be able to count on support in the spring classics. Alejandro Valverde is the man for the climbing classics, I am there for races such as Flanders and Roubaix.”
The rider from Gijon, who has two professional victories to his name, hopes to cross the line more often this year. “I hope the hard work will pay off. It is very difficult to win races, but we will try. It is important to give 100%, so that we do not regret it later.”
Iván García in Paris-Nice’19:
Rumours about Olympic Cancellation are Incorrect
The Japanese government is still fully committed to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, the organisation of the global sporting event announced today in a press release. The British newspaper The Times previously reported that the Games in Japan cannot take place.
“The Japanese government has come to the conclusion behind closed doors that the Tokyo Games should be canceled due to the coronavirus,” an unnamed member of the Japanese government coalition told The Times. “The Olympics are doomed.”
“The goal now is to find a way to announce the cancellation without losing face. Nobody wants to be the first to say that, but the consensus is that it is too difficult. Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.” Japan would now like to focus on organising the 2032 Olympic Games, according to the British newspaper.
Nonsense, the organisation behind the event now says. “All involved parties, including the national government, the Tokyo city council, the organising committee and the IOC and IPC, are still fully engaged in the upcoming Olympic Games. We will do everything we can to make the Games as safe as possible.”
“The rumours about a cancellation are not true and only cause more division and fear among the athletes,” various officials told CNN. “The Games in Tokyo will continue.” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and IOC Chairman Thomas Bach also expressed their confidence in the continuation of the sporting event.
Tour of Valencia to Run
In Spain, many races have been postponed due to the corona virus, but the 72nd edition of the Tour of Valencia (3-7 February) will “continue”. The president of the Spanish cycling association, José Luis López Cerrón, announced on Saturday.
Cerrón spoke to Ángel Casero, the race director of the Tour of Valencia, on Saturday. “He has informed me that the organisation is working on the next edition and that the competition will take place,” Cerron told Sportpublic.
Strict corona measures are currently in place in the Valencia region and the question is whether President Ximo Puig will come with even stricter measures early next week. The contamination figures are also rising very strongly in Valencia, more than a week before the start of the Tour of Valencia.
The five-day stage race starts on Wednesday 3 February in Elche, ends four days later in Valencia and the riders will be presented with a mountain stage and individual time trial along the way. Top riders in this year’s race are Egan Bernal, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Alejandro Valverde, Simon Yates and Vincenzo Nibali, among others.
Valencia race organiser Ángel Casero:
Pogačar, Van der Poel, Froome, Ewan and Bennett for the UAE Tour
The UAE Tour can count on an impressive field of participants this year. The Middle East stage race is the first WorldTour race of the season due to the cancellation of the Tour Down Under. Mathieu van der Poel’s participation had already been confirmed, but Tadej Pogačar and Chris Froome have also confirmed their presence.
Pogačar was initially supposed to start his season in the Challenge Mallorca, but that race series on the Spanish island has been postponed. Froome was to make his debut for Israel Start-Up Nation in January, only that debut in the Vuelta a San Juan was canceled. The Brit is now making his first race kilometres in the United Arab Emirates.
Adam Yates, Filippo Ganna (both INEOS Grenadiers), Marc Hirschi, Fernando Gaviria (both UAE Team Emirates), Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe) will also be at the UAE Tour from 21 to 27 of February.
The organisation of the UAE Tour are yet to announce the route and the provisional list of participants. It is already known that all nineteen WorldTour teams and Alpecin-Fenix will participate.
Caleb Ewan will be at the UAE Tour in 2021:
Fourteen WorldTour teams in Tour de La Provence
The organisation of the Tour de La Provence can count on the presence of fourteen WorldTour teams this year, according to various media. Among others Deceuninck – Quick-Step, INEOS Grenadiers and Team DSM will be present.
Jumbo-Visma will not participate in the four-day stage race in France. World champion Julian Alaphilippe previously announced that he will start his season in the Tour de La Provence. Riders such as Arnaud Démare, Aleksandr Vlasov and Alexey Lutsenko will also be heading to the south of France. The Tour de La Provence starts on Thursday February 11 and ends three days later on Sunday February 14. The first stage (Aubagne-Six-Fours-les-Plages) of the French four days is the longest with 179.3 kilometres. The Queen Stage finishes at the Chalet Reynard ski station on the flanks of Mont Ventoux.
In 2020 the final victory went to Nairo Quintana. The Colombian was able to lay the basis for the overall victory on the flanks of Mont Ventoux. The Arkéa-Samsic climber was joined on the final podium by two riders from Astana: Aleksandr Vlasov and Alexey Lutsenko.
Participating teams for the Tour de La Provence 2021:
Deceuninck – Quick-Step
UAE Team Emirates
B&B Hotels p/b KTM
Total Direct Energy
Xelliss-Roubaix Lille Métropole.
2020 winner Quintana:
Ruta del Sol Postponed Due to Coronavirus
Due to the corona problem the Ruta del Sol has decided to cancel the next edition of the stage race in the month of February. The organisation has submitted a request to the UCI to move the Ruta del Sol to May 24-28.
Due to the current health situation in Spain and the new corona measures from the Andalusian government, the multi-day cycling race cannot take place from 17 to 21 February. The organisers has now informed the UCI and has also submitted a request that the Ruta del Sol be run this year from 24 to 28 May. It is expected that in a few months it will be possible to organise a stage race like the Ruta del Sol safely.
The UCI still has to agree to the request. Previously, the Challenge Mallorca and the Vuelta a Murcia already requested date change in Spain. These events also hope to be able to continue in May. This is also the case for the Volta ao Algarve.
Fuglsang in Andalucia yellow:
Tour de Normandie Canceled in 2021
The Tour de Normandie (2.2), which was to be held in March, has been canceled due to the global health situation. The seven-day stage race was also canceled last year.
Last year, the Tour de Normandie was canceled barely two weeks before the start of the race. Now the organisation has already decided in January to cancel the tour. “Due to the current health situation, the outlook for the coming weeks and all the limitations as a result, we have decided to cancel the race,” announced Arnaud Anquetil of the organising committee.
The organisation wants to prevent at all costs that the riders and employees of the 25 teams and the volunteers of the race are at risk. “Our organisation consists of volunteers who make a great effort that week. We don’t want it to be a risky week,” Anquetil said. As a result, the 40th edition of the tour will have to wait a year.
Ole Forfang won in 2019:
Circuit de la Sarthe Canceled in April
The organisers of the Circuit de la Sarthe has canceled the 2021 edition due to the corona crisis. The French stage race would have taken place from April 6-9. Last year, the Circuit de la Sarthe was also taken off the calendar due to the pandemic.
In a statement, the organisers point to the global health situation and the difficulties that the restrictions cause. “And then there are emergency measures that aim to reduce the risk of the corona virus spreading. Those are important issues. In addition, there are also financial interests for a voluntary association like ours, for which we are responsible.”
The last edition of Circuit de la Sarthe (UCI 2.1) was won in 2019 by Alexis Gougeard.
Ster van Zwolle Not Possible in March, Wants to Go to Autumn 2021
The Ster van Zwolle will not take place on 6 March. Organizer Jan van Ommen informed CyclingOnline. He is looking for a new date in the autumn for the race.
As a UCI 1.2 race, the Ster van Zwolle is part of the Holland Cup. It is traditionally the opener of the Dutch road season, but not this year. It is not yet known when the race can be organised in Overijssel. Last week, the Dorpenomloop Rucphen (UCI 1.2) also announced that it could not run on the original date of 14 March. The Brabant event is also looking for a new place on the calendar.
David Dekker, a professional with Jumbo-Visma this year, was the best in Zwolle and Rucphen last year. Not much later, the Netherlands went into lockdown due to the corona pandemic.
Zwolle winner David Dekker:
Volta ao Algarve Canceled in February, Possibly Now in May
The Portuguese cycling association has decided not to let the Volta ao Algarve take place next month. The stage race would have been held from February 17-21. The association, also organiser, has submitted a request to move the Volta ao Algarve to May 5-9.
Postponing the Tour of the Algarve (UCI 2.Pro) was a difficult but inevitable decision, the organisation wrote in a press release. The current health situation due to the corona virus in Portugal is so bad that the tour cannot take place in the short term.
The cycling association is doing everything in its power to organise the 47th edition of the Volta ao Algarve this spring. A request has been made to do so from May 5-9, but the teams and especially the UCI still have to agree. Last year, the overall victory in the Algarve went to Remco Evenepoel. Previously, the Volta ao Alentejo, a smaller stage race in Portugal, was also postponed due to the corona crisis.
Evenepoel in Algarve 2020:
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux is Ready to Start the 2021 Season
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will start the 2021 season, its first in the UCI World Tour, with a core of 29 riders. The full roster of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux for the 2021 season consists of 10 different nationalities and displays a balanced mix of highly experienced leaders and road captains as well as young talents. Despite its new status, the team remained faithful to its fundamental principles, offering a platform for nine Belgian talents while internationalising its squad.
This winter, the team welcomed nine new signings: Jan Hirt, Jonas Koch, Louis Meintjes, Riccardo Minali, Baptiste Planckaert, Lorenzo Rota, Rein Taaramaë, Taco Van Der Hoorn and Georg Zimmermann. With these additions, the team further enhanced its global reputation by snatching riders regarded as the most prominent figures in their respective countries and impressive pedigree of achievements in sprint finishes, classics and Grand Tours.
Supported by its faithful partners and new brands, the World Team offers an opportunity for cyclocrossmen to express themselves on the road, with Quinten Hermans (BEL) and Corné Van Kessel (NED) sharing their trade between Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux and Tormans Cyclo Cross Team for a second consecutive season. The fruitful partnership with local French club CC Etupes is also honoured with the presence of Jérémy Bellicaud (FRA) and Théo Delacroix (FRA), who are also the youngest members of the squad.
Jean-François Bourlart (General Manager): “When composing our effective for 2021 we opted for stability by building on our current team and reinforcing it. We understand that it is our first year in the World Tour, but we intend to play a role throughout the whole season, in the classics as well as the Grand Tours. That is why we complemented the group with riders who offer new profiles compared to the ones we previously had, with the likes of Louis Meintjes, Jan Hirt, Rein Taaramaë and Georg Zimmermann who are highly motivated to chase the overall classifications. We have definitely raised the level in every aspect of organisation, starting with our training camp. We planned workshops meetings for riders, we allowed partners joining us in order to take on board the remarks so that the equipment fully suit the rider’s needs and we have gathered a lot of information through our trainers’ analysis. The quality of training is high, I can feel we are all set for our first season in the World Tour, starting next weekend at La Marseillaise.”
The line-up for 2021:
Jan BAKELANTS (BEL)
Jérémy BELLICAUD (FRA)
Aimé DE GENDT (BEL)
Jasper DE PLUS (BEL)
Ludwig DE WINTER (BEL)
Théo DELACROIX (FRA)
Tom DEVRIENDT (BEL)
Odd Christian EIKING (NOR)
Alexander EVANS (AUS)
Quinten HERMANS (BEL)
Jan HIRT (CZE)
Jonas KOCH (GER)
Wesley KREDER (NED)
Maurits LAMMERTINK (NED)
Louis MEINTJES (RSA)
Riccardo MINALI (ITA)
Andrea PASQUALON (ITA)
Simone PETILLI (ITA)
Baptiste PLANCKAERT (BEL)
Lorenzo ROTA (ITA)
Rein TAARAMAË (EST)
Taco VAN DER HOORN (NED)
Corné VAN KESSEL (NED)
Kévin VAN MELSEN (BEL)
Boy VAN POPPEL (NED)
Danny VAN POPPEL (NED)
Pieter VANSPEYBROUCK (BEL)
Loïc VLIEGEN (BEL)
Georg ZIMMERMANN (GER)
The Sportive Direction:
General Manager: Jean-François BOURLART (BEL)
Performance Manager: Aike VISBEEK (NED)
Head Coach: Frederik VEUCHELEN (BEL).
Hilaire VAN DER SCHUEREN (BEL)
Steven DE NEEF (BEL)
Valerio PIVA (ITA)
Bart WELLENS (BEL)
Frédéric AMORISON (BEL)
Jean-Marc ROSSIGNON (BEL).
2021 Team Qhubeka ASSOS Jersey Revealed
Team Qhubeka ASSOS, Africa’s only UCI-registered WorldTour professional cycling outfit, is thrilled to present our iconic 2021 race jersey.
The unique ASSOS design was first presented to our riders earlier this week at a team training camp in Girona, Spain, ahead of what promises to be an exciting season. The vibrant elements of the jersey showcase our incredible partners but most importantly, to us all, bear the iconic Qhubeka hands (front and back) to reflect upon the story of our team’s desire to change lives through the bicycle, together with the Qhubeka Charity.
In 2021 Team Qhubeka ASSOS is set to compete in approximately 70 races over the course of 270 race days, broadcast around the globe, sharing the message that sport has to do good. The Qhubeka hand is the key symbol in illustrating that bicycle beneficiaries are receiving a hand up in their lives and in so doing are able to move forward.
This iconic feature is also a signal to current and future partners to put their own hands up in having the opportunity to join our team, as we continue to move forward in effecting meaningful change in the world.
Team Qhubeka ASSOS are scheduled to make their racing debut in the jersey at Étoile de Bessèges early in February while the plans for the jersey to be made available for sale to the general public will be communicated in due course.
Doug Ryder (Team Principal): “Our 2021 jersey is absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait to see our team race in it – we are thrilled with how it has turned out! The design is one that I’ve personally been involved in together with our partners at ASSOS, and we’ve paid special attention to showcasing the journey this team has been on. This jersey highlights the unique story that our team has to tell and it will be worn with immense pride. On the neck of the jersey, as well as on our vehicles, we carry the African proverb “Ubuntu” (I am because we are) to reflect that as a team you cannot exist in isolation. 2021 features the next bold step that we are taking together as a team and to have the Qhubeka hand so prominently displayed is deeply symbolic. Qhubeka has, incredibly, already distributed well over 100 000 bicycles and as a team we will ensure that we continue to make an impact in being a force for positive change to giving hope and opportunity.”
Roche Maier (ASSOS Board Member and Chief ASSOS Creative design Centre): “The historic colours of the ASSOS Werksmannschaft are black and white. The symbol of mission Qhubeka is a helping hand: simple, essential elegance. We are creating and building a team CI in line with the mission, it’s about the mission and not the ego of a sponsor. The idea is to keep and build upon this design and going forward simply replace the ASSOS second name with a bigger partner to join, fund & secure the bicycle changes lives into an even bigger, sustainable movement for the future. ASSOS is a small, precision-driven Swiss operation and Team Qhubeka depends on more helping hands. We welcome you all to join the movement.”
Mas and López to Tour and Vuelta, Valverde to Focus on Tokyo-Vuelta
Movistar has announced the main goals for their leaders in 2021. The Spanish team is counting on Enric Mas and newcomer Miguel Ángel López in the Tour de France. Both climbers also ride the Vuelta a España along with Alejandro Valverde. The experienced leader also focuses on the hilly Classics and the Olympic Games.
In the Giro d’Italia Marc Soler takes the lead for the general classification. Iván García will ride the Flemish classics, after which he will also race in one of the three grand tours. It is not yet known which that will be. García came from Bahrain McLaren this winter to take the role of leader at Movistar in the spring.
In addition, Movistar announced that it would come up with its own eSports team. Five men and five women go from Movistar’s Zwift Racing League team. A new Netflix series has also been announced with a glimpse into the team over the past year. In the spring of 2021, the second part of “El Día Menos Pensado” will be online.
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