EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

all the Olympic and other cycling news

All the news from the Tokyo Olympic road races with videos. It’s not all Olympics: Ethias Tour de Wallonie and the Klasika Ordiziako. How did the Dutch team loose the Olympic woman’s road race – TOP STORY. Brandon McNulty, Mike Woods and Karol-Ann Canuel talk Olympics. Race news: Montréal bids for World Champs, Simac Ladies Tour, Brussels Cycling Classic and Arctic Race of Norway. Rider news: Bernal to Burgos, contracts for Declercq, Goh, Vervaeke, eolo-Kometa stagieires, Bouhanni and five others. Deceuninck – Quick-Step support Belgian flood victims. A very full EUROTRASH Monday.


TOP STORY: How did the Dutch team Lost the Olympic Road Race?
Many eyes were focused on the Dutch national team coach, Loes Gunnewijk, after the woman’s Olympic road race. TeamNL’s tactics have been discussed and complaints were also made about the communication. “Yes, there was miscommunication,” Gunnewijk admitted to NU.nl. “The riders did not hear anything during the race, or at least too little.”

The Netherlands had four contenders for gold with Anna van der Breggen, Annemiek van Vleuten, Marianne Vos and Demi Vollering, but they only got silver. Early breakaway Anna Kiesenhofer surprisingly became the Olympic champion. Van Vleuten was second behind the Austrian, but thought she had won. She called the lack of important information amateurish.

“We tried to provide updates about the race information from the car, but in many places that was not possible,” said the national coach. “It was not entirely clear to the riders who was ahead. At a certain point in the final on the circuit we had the idea that the riders didn’t know, but we couldn’t do much without earphones. It’s not like we can ride next to the riders every minute.”

Gunnewijk did not want to comment on the agreements made afterwards. “You can agree on everything in advance and we have done that, but you will always have to look at the situation in the race,” she said. “It’s not all so black and white. You must not forget that the riders do not have a TV screen, they are in the race and it is all hectic. So it’s not as simple as it looks on TV.”

The KNWU’s coach doubts whether the Netherlands has gambled too much by starting with four possible leaders. “In retrospect it is easy to say: like this, like that. I think that the four strongest riders in the Netherlands just rode here and that they did everything they could. Although, of course, we came here with the aim of getting gold.”

Maybe more races without radios could add a bit of excitement?

Things didn’t go as planned:

 


2020-1 Olympic Games – Men’s Road Race
Richard Carapaz took the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo. At the end of 234 tough kilometres, the Ecuadorian crossed the line first on the Fuji Speedway circuit a minute ahead of Wout van Aert and Tadej Pogačar.

Elchin Asadov (Azerbaijan), Orluis Aular (Venezuela), Nic Dlamini (South Africa), Eduard-Michael Grosu (Romania), Michael Kukrle (Czech Republic), Juraj Sagan (Slovakia), Polychronis Tzortzakis (Greece) and Paul Daumont (Burkina Faso) made up the early break. They had a maximum lead of more than 20 minutes. Belgium and Slovenia set the pace in the peloton. The leading group thinned out on the first two climbs. Aular, Dlamini, Kukrle, Sagan and Tzortzakis were still out front on the Fuji Sanroku (14.5km at 6%) with a lead of under 10 minutes. The Italians put in an attack on Fuji Sanroku, dropping Alejandro Valverde 90 kilometres from the finish. Just after the first pass of the finish line, the race proper started.

The circuit was quite hilly and Italy made the race harder. Remco Evenepoel who attacked at 52 kilometres out. He took Eddie Dunbar and Vincenzo Nibali with him, but the peloton pulled the Evenepoel group back within 5 kilometres. The last remaining escapees, Kukrle and Aular, were also caught. A peloton started the steep Mikuni Pass (6.7km at 10.1%). Ties Benoot took thinned out the peloton. For Kelderman, Dumoulin, Evenepoel, Hart, Foss, Quintana, Valverde (again) and Nibali, the race was over. The pace of Mauri Vansevenant, who had relieved Benoot, left only twenty in the lead. The first serious attack came from Tadej Pogačar, 4 kilometres before the top of the Mikuni Pass. The first reaction came from Brandon McNulty and Michael Woods. About 15 seconds behind, an elite group formed with Wout van Aert as the engine. Primoz Roglič was missing.

Van Aert managed to keep with the chase group on the steep sections. The Belgian was with Alberto Bettiol, Adam Yates, Rigoberto Urán, Michal Kwiatkowski, Richard Carapaz, Mollema, Jakob Fuglsang, Maximilian Schachmann and David Gaudu. Kwiatkowski, Carapaz, Bettiol and Urán crossed to the Pogačar group, but they eased off. Just before the top of the Mikuni Pass, Van Aert, Mollema, Gaudu and Fuglsang joined the leading group. The eleven favourites were joined by Schachmann and Yates on the descent. McNulty and Carapaz were the first to put in a serious attack. They managed to take 25 seconds from the rest. Behind, the cooperation was not great. On the fast descent towards the last lap, McNulty and Carapaz were able to extend their lead. The chasing group seemed to have resigned itself to the bronze with 15 kilometres to go. Van Aert reduced the gap to under 20 seconds. The Belgian was doing most of the work.

With 7 kilometres to go, the lead of McNulty and Carapaz on the chasers was 14 seconds. That suddenly became 20 again as Carapaz rode McNulty of his wheel. Behind; there were attacks from Gaudu, Urán, Woods and Mollema. Turning onto the Fuji Speedway circuit, Carapaz had a 30 second lead, as the chasing group started fox for the silver and bronze medals. Carapaz extended his lead in the last kilometres and had plenty of time to celebrate his Olympic win. The sprint for second place turned out to be an exciting duel between Van Aert and Pogačar. Thanks to a good jump, the Belgian was just faster than the Slovenian Tour winner, giving him the silver medal. Pogačar took the bronze. Fourth place went to a strong Mollema.

# You can see the full PEZ Race Report and photo gallery HERE. #

Gold medalist, Richard Carapaz (Ecuador): “This is an incredible moment. I took advantage of the best moment there and I had a good companion on the downhill section. I already felt that I had good legs and that is why in the final I went on alone. This is unbelievable. All these feelings don’t even fit in my body, it’s really great. I’ve worked hard to be here and I’m enjoying it. This is something very big for me.”

Silver medalist, Wout van Aert (Belgium): “I had the legs to win, but both myself and Pogačar were targeted. I therefore think that, as things went now, I made the most of it. On the Mikuni Pass I chose to ride at my own pace, I knew I shouldn’t force it. I might not come back, but that’s how I thought I had to try. I tried to force something myself. While McNulty was blown back on his own, he (Carapaz) stayed ahead. Then you are the strongest. Of course he is a beautiful champion. But I am also satisfied. With our Belgian five, we carried out the tactics as we wanted. Then I’m happy to be able to give those guys a medal back.”

Bronze medalist, Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia): “It was one of the most challenging races I’ve ever ridden, because there was a completely different way of racing. It was also very hot and humid. From the last slope I really struggled, but I gave everything to still win a medal. They didn’t go for gold anymore. Only 2 kilometres from the finish did I give up, when I saw that Carapaz was no longer available. After that I concentrated on the sprint to still take silver or bronze. I felt an adrenaline rush and almost got the silver medal, but this is also great. All three of my teammates did a great job, but especially Jan Tratnik. When that group rode so far away, we had to take the initiative quickly. Tratnik then showed that he is in great shape. He is a must for every team.”

4th, Bauke Mollema (Netherlands): “The other men deserved the medals. I tried to sprint, but against Van Aert that is difficult. Pogačar was on his wheel and he tried to push me away. I knew I had to start the sprint from the front, but those guys are too fast for me, but it was a nice and tough race. It was really tough. The weather, heat and humidity make it super tough. It was a wear and tear. I don’t think the power levels were particularly high on the steep climb, but everyone was sitting bloc because of the heat. That is very different from what we are used to in Europe. In the middle of the race you already notice that you are warm, and then you still have a hundred kilometres to go… It was also a crazy course with that leading group that got 20 minutes. That’s why the race was checked for a long time, but I liked that. I don’t think I did anything wrong in the sprint, or that I could have beaten Van Aert and Pogačar.”

Remco Evenepoel (Belgium): “That’s great fun. We came to two leaders for a medal and we succeeded. It was a very tough and hot day, but I don’t think we should be dissatisfied. There was an attack and everyone was suffering. I wanted to punch a hole there, but suddenly other countries woke up. It wasn’t easy to get a gap. Maybe I lost percentages there for the Mikuni Pass, which wasn’t smart. But that’s an easy blessing in hindsight. We tried it that way, but it didn’t work. Charging the battery for Wednesday? I must say that the feeling was there. The recovery period between my attack and the start of the climb was short. As a result, I quickly reached the limit. My legs were turning well and when I felt it was going too fast, I immediately let it run. I then turned the switch to Wednesday. That time trial should suit me. It is very difficult, especially with the circuit. So now charge the battery and hopefully we will be on the podium with two on Wednesday.”

Olympic Games – Men’s Road Race Result:
1. Richard Carapaz (Ecuador) in 6:05:26
2. Wout van Aert (Belgium) at 01:07
3. Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia)
4. Bauke Mollema (Netherlands)
5. Michael Woods (Canada)
6. Brandon McNulty (USA)
7. David Gaudu (France)
8. Rigoberto Uran (Colombia)
9. Adam Yates (Great Britain)
10. Max Schachmann (Germany).

 


2020-1 Olympic Games – Women’s Road Race
Anna Kiesenhofer of Austria took the Olympic gold medal after being away for the whole day. Kiesenhofer soloed from the break to hold off the peloton. Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) took silver and Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy) the bronze.

The leading group was formed early. Anna Plichta, Carla Oberholzer, Anna Kiesenhofer, Vera Looser and Omer Shapira made the first selection. They managed to take a lead of 10 minutes. On the long climb of Doushi Road the leading group thinned out; it was too fast for many who were tailed off. The chase was slow to start, and the remaining three escapees, Kiesenhofer, Plichta and Shapira, had 9 minutes with 70 kilometres to go. At 64 kilometres from the finish there was a crash with Emma Norsgaard and Annemiek van Vleuten. After the bikes were untangled, both women were able to continue. With 61 kilometres to go, Demi Vollering took a gap, but Leah Thomas chased her down. Then it was Van Vleuten and Ruth Winder who gave it a go. Due to the attacks, the difference to the three leaders was reduced to 8:30.

At 57.7 kilometres from the finish, Anna van der Breggen made a move, causing more riders to be dropped by the peloton. After Van der Breggen, Van Vleuten gave it another go, this time taking a serious gap, Marianne Vos covered her attack. In 10 kilometres she had 1 minute, but the leading group were still 5 minutes ahead. With 41 kilometres to go, Kiesenhofer dropped Plichta and Shapira. Van Vleuten didn’t seem strong enough to close the gap to the front, and was stuck 5 minutes from the lone Kiesenhofer. After Lotte Kopecky, Katarzyna Niewiadoma, Christine Majerus and Olga Zabelinskaya tried to counter-attack, Van Vleuten was caught by Kopecky 25 kilometres from the finish, with the strongest of the peloton on her wheel. Kiesenhofer started the final 17.7 kilometre loop on the Fuji Speedway with 2 minutes on Plichta and Shapira and more than 4 minutes on the peloton. Plichta and Shapira were caught with 4 kilometres to go. This was all happening far behind Kiesenhofer, who caused a huge surprise taking the gold medal after a 137 kilometres long attack. For the 30-year-old Austrian it was he biggest win. Annemiek van Vleuten seized the silver after a late attack, Elisa Longo Borghini took the bronze. Lotte Kopecky was fourth.

# You can see the full PEZ Race Report and photo gallery HERE. #

Gold medalist, Anna Kiesenhofer (Austria): “It feels incredible. I couldn’t believe it. It’s still hard to comprehend. Even when I crossed the line, it was like, ‘Is it done now? Do I have to continue riding?’ Incredible. I was just trying to get to the line. My legs were completely empty. I have never emptied myself so much in my whole life. I could hardly pedal any more. It felt like there was zero energy in my legs. If you can tell more and more in interviews that you are an Olympic champion, you somehow start to realise it more and more. I think this is the heaviest medal I’ve ever had around my neck. In a road race, luck always plays an important role. I had the courage to attack and in the end I was the strongest of the escapees. The element of surprise certainly played in my favour. They would never have given a more famous rider that much lead. It was only when I crossed the finish line that I realised what I had achieved. Until then I was on the limit. Many people have made sacrifices for my cycling career. I am very happy that I can give something back with this medal. I am not aiming for a professional career on the road, but I would like to continue to commit to the time trial.”

Silver medalist, Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands): “Ruud, I was wrong, I didn’t realise it. I have mixed feelings: First of all I am very proud of my first Olympic medal. It might also be a silver medal with brilliance, because I felt really good today. My goal was to be at my best possible level and I think I succeeded. It may not be the result we hoped for, we hoped for gold, but personally I think I rode a good race, just like the whole Dutch team. Everyone looked at us, we knew it was going to be tough. If you then have three such leaders who ride for Marianne in the final to close the gap, all three of whom can also win the race… those sacrifices are really something to be proud of.”

Bronze medalist, Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy): “Today, I must tell the truth, I suffered a lot from the heat. At the start of the race, I did not expect anything, I promised myself only to leave everything I had on the road and so I did, so much so that in the final I ran more with heart than with legs. I think the Netherlands thought they had everything under control but an athlete who did a feat escaped them, she was on the run all day, we have to congratulate her. In the last few kilometres Annemiek left and I didn’t succeed: I saw the Dutch celebrate, in my opinion they thought they had won and they didn’t remember that Anna Kiesenhofer was still out front. In my small way I am happy to have made a good result for Italy, when I wear the national team jersey it is always an extra stimulus, I thank the Italian national team for their support during this week. In June during the Giro d’Italia I had a difficult moment, this medal is for my parents, my grandchildren and my boyfriend who have always been very close to me and supported me. I raced with them in my heart. I like to put my head down to work without making big claims.”

4th, Lotte Kopecky (Belgium): “I made one mistake, by not reacting to Longo Borghini’s failure. I felt good. But I should have reacted faster when Elisa Longo Borghini attacked. I tried to close the gap, initially came a little closer, but then got stuck. I was a bloc. I couldn’t do anything about it other than Kiesenhofer kept ahead. I did what I could to get things started. But if you’re not leading with four from the same country, I don’t know what’s going on in your head. The United States also had four riders in the front after the climb. The Italian women were also still represented by three. Then you just have to drive full. You can’t keep betting on multiple horses. If I was afraid of anyone in the leading group, it was Kiesenhofer. I once rode with her in the team at Lotto Soudal, she is a real fast rider. She saw that well. Not many people knew her. Giving Kiesenhofer ten minutes, that was an immense gift. Although I have to swallow this disappointment first. I think I deserved a medal. In any case, on the track I want to try to do at least one place better than today.”

5th, Marianne Vos (Netherlands): “I think an unexpected winner, but a very strong race from her. The leading group took a very big lead, but there was also a tough final that we also knew we had to start early to get closer. We did get closer and on most of them we did, but not on Kiesenhofer. We certainly underestimated Kiesenhofer’s strength. You just know that there is going to be an early leading group and that in itself does not have to be a bad scenario. Then you have to open the race afterwards and we did. But we didn’t get close enough. Without radios you know in advance that you will have to make do with the information from the side and from the car, and you try to absorb that as best you can. But Anna Kiesenhofer also rode very well. We rode really full behind, and we got a little closer, but not much. Today it was what it was. But afterwards it is easy, how you would have done it differently, that is clear.”

Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands): “We rode a tough race. The result is just a shame, so we’re disappointed. I don’t think anyone had written her on the list. I don’t really know her. We underestimated that, but to what extent can you do it wrong if you don’t know someone? It was very confusing anyway. The final was also confusing. At one point we thought, ‘that’s going well’ and we took back the Polish and the Israeli riders. And at that point, we raced our idea for the win. And in the end it wasn’t. That’s just a shame. It was a race without communication and the leading group took ten minutes at the beginning. You should actually count how many are coming back and how many are still ahead. We can go to the car to get information, so we did, but in the final you don’t do that anymore. There was also some confusion as I saw 1:35 on a board so according to our calculations it was good and then we would make it. But in the end it turned out that another number was from the front runners over those who were still there. It was just confusing from several sides. The engine wasn’t there much. And then something like that happens. That could have been done, but if you look at what we knew, we had calculated it correctly. We just didn’t have all the information. If we had all the information, we could have done more. Basically we said Marianne Vos would sprint and we would close the gap, and we did. In principle it turned out well. If that had been more, we would have done it just that little bit harder.”

Olympic Games – Women’s Road Race Result:
1. Anna Kiesenhofer (Austria) in 3:52:45
2. Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) at 1:15
3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy) at 1:29
4. Lotte Kopecky (Belgium) at 1:39
5. Marianne Vos (Netherlands) at 1:46
6. Lisa Brennauer (Germany)
7. Coryn Rivera (USA)
8. Marta Cavalli (Italy)
9. Olga Zabelinskaya (Uzbekistan)
10. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Denmark).

 


Ethias Tour de Wallonie 2021
Quinn Simmons took his first professional victory in the Tour de Wallonie Stage 3. In Érezée he out-sprinted Stan Dewulf with who he had ridden away with 3 kilometres from the finish. Simmons also takes the overall lead from Dylan Groenewegen.

Originally, the stage was supposed to start in Plombières, but the route was modified due to the recent flooding. The start was moved to the Signal de Botrange, the highest point in Belgium, the finish remained as planned in Érezée. The route went over the Côte de la Ferme Libert, the Côte de Wanneranwal, the Côte des Marcadènes and the Côte de Cielle. In the finalé two loops of 42.2 kilometres had to be completed with the Côte de Cielle and the Côte de Beffe as the deciding climbs. The race started with Dylan Groenewegen in the orange leader’s jersey, but with these climbs it was unlikely to finish that way. Loïc Vliegen and Laurenz Rex were the first riders at the top of the Côte de la Ferme Libert, the first climb of the day after 3.7 kilometres, and immediately managed to take a gap. Vliegen missed a bend and was caught. By the Côte de Wanneranwal, after 28.5 kilometres, everything was back together. But after this second climb there was yet another leading group.

Gianluca Brambilla, Dylan Sunderland and Maxim Van Gils pulled away and were joined by Lennert Teugels. The differences were small and soon the attackers were caught. It was difficult to get away in the first hour of competition. In the end an attack attempt by Florian Vermeersch, Thomas Joseph and Tom Van Asbroeck was successful. The peloton let them go, allowing the front riders to work on their lead. On the Côte de Cielle, after 73.3 kilometres, they had more than 6 minutes. That was enough and both Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Alpecin-Fenix, Trek-Segafredo and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert to put a man on the front of the peloton. The lead group was going well and went through the first passage of the finish, 10 minutes ahead of the fastest time schedule. On the Côte de Beffe, Trek-Segafredo pulled the peloton into a long line, causing several riders, including leader Groenewegen, to have problems.

Van Asbroeck dropped out of the leading group due to a puncture, after which Vermeersch dropped Joseph. The promising Lotto Soudal rider went on alone and started the last 42 kilometres with 2 minutes on the peloton. However, all the efforts on the hilly course started to take their toll and with 30 kilometres to go the only remaining escapee was caught. Not long after, Quinn Simmons attacked and took 6 men with him. Simmons saw his teammate Juan Pedro López, Benjamin Thomas, Quinten Hermans, Matthew Holmes, Dylan Sunderland and Valerio Conti join in. The seven attackers got a gap of 16 seconds, but were caught 20 kilometres from the finish. Tim Wellens was the next rider to try to get away. After the winner of the Etoile de Bessèges, it was Alessandro Covi who attacked. The Italian who was 9th in the 2020 Brabantse Pijl, had a handful of riders cross to him.

Covi tried again on the Côte de Beffe and Fernando Barcelo jumped on the Italian. Just before the top, more riders joined, while it was completely split. López rode hard on the descent. The Spaniard was with Matteo Fabbro, Odd Christian Eiking and Covi. The four rode on through the Ardennes hills to the final part of the stage, but were caught by the first chasing group. Three kilometres from the finish, Simmons went on the attack and had Stan Dewulf with him. It proved to be the decisive move of this lively third stage, as the chasers couldn’t pull them back. Simmons made a long sprint and managed to beat Dewulf. For the junior world champion from Harrogate in 2019, it was his first victory with the pros.

Stage winner and overall leader, Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo): “Finally! It’s been almost two years since the World Junior Championships in Yorkshire that I could win again. If it depends on me, I won’t give up that leader’s jersey. I wanted a tough race, then I would be at my strongest in the final. I asked my teammates at 60 kilometres from the finish to take charge of the race. They did that perfectly, although Intermarché-Wanty Gobert was also doing well. On the final climb Alex (Kirsch) set the pace just high enough. At 3 kilometres from the finish I attacked and got Stan Dewulf with me. I was confident that I could beat Dewulf. After a difficult stage, my sprint is quite okay. I turned it on in time and was able to hold him off. We came here without a clear leader, so I saw this as an opportunity that I didn’t want to miss. Of course I will defend it. Certainly the final classification is a goal. If it depends on me, I won’t give up the jersey.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Stan de Wulf (AG2R Citroën): “We worked well together, especially with Andrea Vendrame and Lilian Calmejane. I ended up with Simmons in the finale. He tried to attack me and then was caught back with 300 meters to go. But I was too close to the limit to pass him. He was simply going faster than me, but there are still regrets to have missed the victory by so little. I’m happy because my condition was not great the first two days. So this is a good sign. I spent three and a half weeks in Livigno (Italy) to prepare myself at altitude and now it is paying off. I hope to be able to achieve great results in the Tour de Wallonie as well as in the Arctic Race (August 5-8), and then in the Vuelta a España (August 14- September 5).”

Tour de Wallonie Stage 3 Result:
1. Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo in 4:07:19
2. Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroën at 0:01
3. Alexis Renard (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:13
4. Fernando Barceló Aragon (Spa) Cofidis
5. Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
6. Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:17
7. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:25
8. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Milan Menten (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
10. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkea-Samsic.

Tour de Wallonie Overall After Stage 3:
1. Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo in 11:03:27
2. Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroën at 0:03
3. Alexis Renard (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:19
4. Fernando Barceló Aragon (Spa) Cofidis at 0:23
5. Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
6. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:26
7. Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:27
8. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkea-Samsic at 0:31
9. Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:32
10. Juan Pedro Lopez Perez (Spa) Trek-Segafredo.

 

Dylan Groenewegen won his second stage victory on Stage 4 of the Tour of Wallonia. The sprinter of Team Jumbo-Visma won the bunch sprint with great power after a difficult stage.

The riders were again confronted with a hilly course. The whole day the course went up and down. The final climb at 10 kilometres from the finish as the toughest challenge. Several groups put their mark on the race, but a few kilometres before the finish the peloton pulled them all together.

The peloton then raced towards the finish line at high speed. Timo Roosen went to the front early on and manoeuvred Groenewegen into an excellent position. The rider from Amsterdam showed his class and was too fast for the competition. Afterwards, the amicable stage winner embraced his teammates with joy. Thanks to his victory Groenewegen starts in the final stage in the yellow points jersey.

Stage winner, Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma): “This is a victory that belongs to the whole team, it was a tough day. There was a lot of racing. I wouldn’t have thought that I could fight at the front here. My teammates encouraged me. They showed that they were one hundred percent convinced that I could win here. I survived the last climb, also because of the strong work of the team. Just like in the first stage my teammates did a great job. I am very grateful for that. The more I race, the stronger the good feeling gets. I am not yet at the top of my game, but I am close to my top shape.”

Overall leader and 5th on the stage, Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo): “I don’t think anyone would have thought it would take two hours for the break to get away. We thought it would be more or less a normal sprint stage, but it was full throttle for two hours. Halfway through the race there was a bit of panic when the peloton broke and we fell behind. The team was perhaps even more impressive than yesterday. I was in the best position on the last climb, that was the goal. After such a difficult day to control not losing time and finishing in the top 10 is really an achievement, especially since I’m not a sprinter and this was a sprint stage. Whether the hardest part of the race is over now? I don’t know. I haven’t looked at tomorrow. We have to race again, defend the jersey and as I said yesterday, anything that comes next is a bonus. If they race like they are now, the pressure is on me. When you see the guys pulling themselves inside out like this, you have no choice but to perform. Something can always happen, you can have a bad day, but if they go all-in, I have to go all-in.”

Jumbo-Visma sports director Addy Engels: “The riders made the race hard from start to finish. From the start the war was on. Dylan survived the tough final and was able to sprint to victory. The team did an excellent job. They made sure Dylan returned to the front after the last climb and they dropped him in ideal position in the last hundreds of meters. Pascal Eenkhoorn also finished in the first group. A great day for us as a team.”

Tour de Wallonie Stage 4 Result:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 4:55:16
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Qhubeka NexHash
3. Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates
4. Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
5. Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo
6. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
7. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkea-Samsic
8. Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal
9. Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
10. Milan Menten (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB.

Tour de Wallonie Overall After Stage 4:
1. Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo in 15:58:43
2. Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroën at 0:03
3. Alexis Renard (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:19
4. Fernando Barceló Aragon (Spa) Cofidis at 0:23
5. Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
6. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:26
7. Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:27
8. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkea-Samsic at 0:31
9. Eliot Lietaer (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
10. Fabio Van Den Bossche (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:32.

 

Visibly ecstatic, Fabio Jakobsen celebrated his 20th pro win in Quaregnon on Stage 5, where the 48th edition of the Tour de Wallonie came to a conclusion after an action-packed day, spiced up by cobbles and a string of short climbs, all inside the final 30 kilometres.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step were in the thick of the action with the likes of Josef Cerny and Florian Sénéchal, who rolled the dice from a fragmented peloton, trying to take advantage of the lack of collaboration between those that had made the selection over the top of Côte du Rossignol, a 600m hill averaging 7.7%. Then, as soon as everything came back together, Deceuninck – Quick-Step team rallied around Fabio Jakobsen and hit the front of the bunch, setting an unmatchable tempo inside the closing kilometres and delivering a faultless lead-out.

Coming off the wheel of a flawless Sénéchal with around 150 meters to go, Jakobsen launched the sprint down the right-side of the road, powering like a locomotive and putting several bike lengths into the riders who rounded out the podium on the way to his second victory of the week.

Stage winner, Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I need to thank my teammates, they gave me a perfect lead-out today and all I had to do was finish it off. Without them this wouldn’t have been possible. They were incredible, brought me in the perfect position with three kilometres to go and kept me there until the moment I opened my sprint. We showed again the Wolfpack spirit and that’s what made the difference today. I feel I’m becoming better day after day. I am happy with what I achieved this week, I didn’t expect it, but it’s a great result towards La Vuelta, where I look forward to returning after two years. There’s a saying that goes ‘after the rain, comes the sunshine’. Well, now I’m in the sunshine after a long time in the rain and I am extremely happy.”

Final overall winner, Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo): “This is crazy. I didn’t think I would win here. I had two goals this season. My first was to get a good result in the Strade Bianche and my second was to start the Tour de France, but in the Strade I fell and a few months before the Tour I crashed, so I stayed at home for months. The motivation to make something of this was therefore great. The boys did a fantastic job today. How they rode in the front all day in the wind is great. It has been a long time since an American won a stage race in Europe (Brandon McNulty, Giro di Sicilia 2019). Certainly in Belgium it is difficult to win, because we do not have this terrain in America. If you can win here, you can win everywhere. I want to be able to do a lot. Maybe in the future I will become a specialist, but for now I like to focus on my versatility.”

2nd on the stage, Rüdiger Selig (BORA-hansgrohe): “I think that was all we could get out of today because Jakobsen was just too strong. He also had three riders to help him in the finale. Apart from that, Matteo, Cece and Schwarzi protected me well the whole day. In the finale, Schwarzi unfortunately had a flat tire, but the work he did on the stage was really strong, and without him my podium place would not have been possible. All in all, we put in a good team performance, and with only four riders we can be happy that we pulled off such a result in the end. Here at the race, I’ve found that I was getting better and better every day. After four weeks off racing, it was slightly difficult the first few days, but after that I got into the swing of things and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store in the future.”

2nd overall, Stan Dewulf (AG2R Citroën): “I returned to racing at Tour de Wallonie after having not raced since June 20 at the Belgian Championships. I did do a three and a half week training camp in Livigno (Italy), but I still did not expect to have this condition after such a long period of training. I finished this Tour de Wallonie only 4 seconds from the overall victory; it’s a little and a lot at the same time! I might have needed a harder stage to try something, but that’s it. It’s motivating for the rest of the season. I will participate in the Artic Race of Norway (August 5-8) before the Vuelta a España (14 / 08-05 / 09). This will be my second participation in a three week tour. I hope that it will help me to be in good shape for the end of the season events, especially Paris-Roubaix.”

Tour de Wallonie Stage 5 Result:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:32:31
2. Rüdiger Selig (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
3. Milan Menten (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
4. Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
5. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkea-Samsic
6. Jake Stewart (GB) Groupama-FDJ
7. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
8. Rasmus Tiller (Nor) Uno-X
9. Nick van der Lijke (Ned) Riwal
10. Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal.

Tour de Wallonie Overall After Stage 5:
1. Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo in 20:31:13
2. Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroën at 0:04
3. Alexis Renard (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:20
4. Fernando Barceló Aragon (Spa) Cofidis at 0:24
5. Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
6. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:27
7. Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:28
8. Sean Quinn (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon at 0:31
9. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkea-Samsic at 0:32
10. Milan Menten (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB.

 


Klasika Ordiziako 2021
Luis León Sanchez won the Ordiziako Klasika. In Ordizia, the Astana-Premier Tech rider out-sprinted five fellow attackers, with whom he had escaped on the descent to the finish. He succeeds Simon Carr who won last year.

The 165.7km race took place over five local circuits through and around Ordizia, each lap featuring the Alto de Abaltzisketa (2.8km at 8.6%). The last two laps were made extra difficult with the climb of the Alto de Altzo. At the start of the race a leading group of five men escaped: Felipe Orts, Oier Lazkano, Márton Dina, Ibai Azurmendi and Xavi Cañellas. The five took 3 minutes on the peloton, where UAE Team Emirates, with Marco Marcato who has returned after a heart problem, and Astana were in control. On the first ascent of the Altzo, the breakaway fell apart. Lazkano continued solo, but the differences were small at the time.

At 45 kilometres from the finish, on the fourth climb of the Abaltzisketa, Lazkano was caught by the peloton and the race could start again. The peloton came over the top together; the decision would fall in the final lap of 35 kilometres. Just after entering the final lap, Mathias Norsgaard rode away to take a good gap. Norsgaard was caught on the last pass of the Altzo, but with Gonzalo Serrano Movistar also had the next attacker. The Spanish puncheur, who won the opening stage of the Ruta del Sol earlier this season, made a long sprint to the top and started the descent with a small lead. Nevertheless, he was caught again for the last climb of the day, the Abaltzisketa. Diego Rosa opened the debates on the final climb and initially the peloton let the Arkéa Samsic climber go. The gap was closed again on the climb. Several riders tried to get away from the greatly thinned peloton, including Óscar Rodríguez. Nevertheless, a small group with about 12 riders was the first to cross the top. From then on it was still 10 downhill kilometres to the finish.

On the descent the group split. Six riders broke away: Teammates Luis León Sánchez and Óscar Rodríguez of Astana-Premier Tech, Héctor Carretero (Movistar), Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), Roger Adrià (Kern Pharma) and Mikel Iturria (Euskaltel-Euskadi). In the finalé, several riders tried in vain to avoid a sprint. In the end, Sánchez was faster than Ayuso. Adrià was third. For Sánchez it was his first win of the season. He was previously second in the first stage of the Volta a Catalunya and third in the Gran Premio Miguel Indurain. For Astana-Premier Tech, this was the 10th win of the year.

Race winner, Luis León Sánchez (Astana-Premier Tech): “Well, I came here after a good break and I used it quite well to take a good rest both physically and mentally, spending some precious time with my family. Coming to the first race after a break is always a bit strange because you never know where you are compared to your rivals, even if you know that you worked hard at home. Anyway, I was motivated to fight for a win here and at the end of the day everything worked out pretty well. My teammates did an excellent job for me and in the final I was able to follow Oscar Rodriguez in a leading group. We worked well there, and this attack turned out with a nice victory for me. I am really happy with this success, and it really motivates me for the second half of the season.”

2nd, Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m pleased with how it went, the team did great work all day to get me to the last climb in a good position to attack. I would have liked to have won to repay the good work. We came here looking for the win but Sanchez was just that bit stronger in the end so well done to him. Next week I’ll do Clasica San Sebastian which will be my first World Tour race which I’m really excited about.”

Klasika Ordiziako Result:
1. Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech in 3:51:27
2. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates
3. Roger Adrià (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
4. Héctor Carretero (Spa) Movistar
5. Mikel Iturria (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
6. Óscar Rodríguez (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:08
7. Gonzalo Serrano (Spa) Movistar at 0:09
8. Michał Paluta (Pol) Global 6 Cycling
9. Julien Simon (Fra) TotalEnergies
10. Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Arkéa Samsic.

 


23-year-old Brandon McNulty Rides to Sixth Place in His First Olympic Games
On the first day of the Olympics, McNulty’s decisive move led him to a finish line sprint.

The Men’s Road Race kicked off the cycling events for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The riders headed to Musashinonomori Park to take on the 243-kilometre course. The race went to Mt. Fuji, gaining a total of 4,865 meters of elevation. The field of 128 riders competed on the first point-to-point course in Olympic history, passing through three prefectures as they traversed to the Fuji International Speedway.

Riding for Team USA, Lawson Craddock (Houston; EF Education – Nippo) and Brandon McNulty (Phoenix; UAE Team Emirates) took to the starting line. The race began with a ceremonial neutral start out of Musashinonomori Park, where rounds took a relaxed pace for 9.6 kilometres. Once the race started in earnest, a group of 8 riders attacked and got an early lead on the field. The lead group included representatives of South Africa, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, Romania, Venezuela, Burkina Faso, and Azerbaijan. The group would push their lead to over seventeen minutes at one point, but once the race passed the halfway mark, the peloton reeled the leaders in.

By the race’s second pass through the Fuji International Speedway, the field was all back together. As they started the climb towards Kagosaka Pass, McNulty’s trade teammate, Tadej Pogacar (SLO), attacked the field; with McNulty and Michael Woods (CAN) able to respond, the trio pulled away to form a slight lead of 15 seconds. The group of three was joined by powerhouses like Richard Carapaz (ECU), Wout van Aert (BEL), and Rigoberto Uran (COL) to form a group of 13, becoming the deciding move in the race. As the group marched up and over the pass McNulty attacked this group and pulled away, with Carapaz bridging to join him. The two worked together to build a lead of forty seconds on the remaining lead group. Before the five kilometres to go, Carapaz pulled away from McNulty and ultimately claimed the Olympic victory, the first in Ecuadorian history. McNulty ended up in a bunch sprint against van Aert and Pogacar and claimed fifth in the final standings. McNulty’s finish is the best showing the U.S. has had since Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo.) finished fourth in the Men’s Road Race in 2012 at the London Games.

When McNulty reflected on how this result ranks in the Olympic history books, he said, “Wow. It’s crazy. I think within the USA Cycling program, every year and every generation is getting closer to being kind of at the top of the sport. It’s a big honour for me to be the first big result of the Olympics in a while. It’s super, super big for me.”

Fellow American teammate, Craddock, stayed with the main group the final ascent but missed the lead group move with McNulty. Craddock crossed the line celebrating his teammate and is looking ahead to the Time Trial. “The experience was incredible. It was a pretty challenging race, and with the heat, it was a tough day. It sounds like Brandon [McNulty] had a hell of a ride. I think there’s a lot that we can be proud of today. Brandon’s showed that he’s had a bright future for quite a while now. I think today was just confirmation of that. I’m really proud to be his teammate and be with him over the last week. I’m excited to see where it goes from here for us.” He finished 80th on the day.

Brandon McNulty:

 


Mike Woods Kicks Off Day 1 of the Olympic Games with 5th Place in Men’s Road Race
Michael Woods continued to prove that he belongs in an Elite class of climbers on Saturday during the Olympic men’s road race, finishing the 234-kilometre race in 5th after a nail-biting sprint finish.

After over six hours of racing in 35-degree temperatures, Woods was part of a group of eight cyclists fighting to bridge the gap with eventual Olympic champion Richard Carapaz. With just 300-metres left in the race, Mike positioned himself and sprinted to the finish line where he was edged out of a podium spot.

Despite his goal of winning an Olympic medal, his race was a great improvement from the Rio 2016 Games where he raced with a fractured hip and finished in 55th. His performance also ranks as the second-best in Canadian men’s road cycling history after Steve Bauer’s silver medal at the Los Angeles Games in 1984.

“My goal was to try and get separation and attack on the final circuit, but I just wasn’t strong enough to get away,” said Woods post-race. “I have no regrets. I did all I could.”

Seeking redemption with the goal of a medal, Woods is already thinking about the Paris 2024 Games. “The Olympics are one of those races that really motivated me as a cyclist, and if Paris is a challenging course, I think I’ll for sure keep it going until then. That’s going to be a big goal of mine for sure.”

Helping propel Woods into the top-five finish were Canadian teammates, Guillaume Boivin, who made his Olympic debut in the event finishing 65th, and two-time Olympian Hugo Houle who finished the event in 85th.

Mike Woods:

 


Canuel Finishes 16th in Women’s Road Race at Olympic Games
It was another scorcher as the Canadian women raced the 137-kilometre road race that separated Musashinonomori Park and the Fuji International Speedway. The Canadian women fared well in the first half of the race but the peloton quickly became fragmented with Karol-Ann Canuel being the sole Canadian to hang on to the chase group until the very end. After over 4 hours of racing, she finished in 16th position, 2:20 minutes down gold medallist Anna Kiesenhofer of Austria.

“The course was really, really hard,” said Canuel. “The plan was for the three of us to try and conserve our energy until the top of that first long climb and to see after that. I think I was feeling the best at that point so the girls started helping me more by bringing me food and other things. After that, we wanted to see if we had any opportunities but it was hard with no communication and we didn’t know exactly the time gaps. So for me, I tried to play it smart.”

Alison Jackson, who was added to Team Canada’s roster last week, capped off her Olympic schedule racing into 32nd spot, while two-time Olympian Leah Kirchmann finished in 36th.

Both Canuel and Kirchmann will compete in the women’s Individual Time Trial on July 28th, while Hugo Houle will be representing Canada in the men’s race.

Karol-Ann Canuel:

 


Montréal bids for 2026 World Championships
Montréal wants to bring the 2026 World Championships to Canada. The driving force behind the bid submitted by the Canadian Cycling Federation to the UCI is the organisers of the WorldTour races in Québec and Montréal.

The plan is to host the World Championship in Canada in September, a week after the Québec Grand Prix and the Montréal Grand Prix. The French-speaking city has experience in organising a World championship. In 1974, Eddy Merckx got the better of Raymond Poulidor, Montreal was the first organiser of a World championships outside of Europe.

The route has already been planned. The local laps would include Park Avenue, Jeanne-Mance Park, Mount Royal, Olympic Park, Jean-Drapeau Park and Old Port. The race would also pass along the St. Lawrence River and through downtown Montréal city.

The World championships bid is led by Événements GPCQM. The organisation will also receive support from Cycling Canada and FQSC, the cycling federation of the province of Québec. The city of Montreal, the governments of Québec and Canada and the Montréal Tourism Office would also contribute, including financially.

Whether Montréal can host the World championships in 2026 will be announced this autumn. It will be decided by the UCI during the upcoming World champs in Flanders. In May last year, Axel Merckx announced that he hopes to bring the global championship to Portland, Oregon in the United States. Not much is known about that plan yet.

World Cycling Championships in the coming years:
2021: Flanders
2022: Wollongong
2023: Glasgow
2024: Zurich
2025: Morocco or Rwanda
2026: Not yet known

Montréal, no stranger to big races:

 


Simac Ladies Tour Stage Schedule
The Simac Ladies Tour has presented the complete route for the 2021 edition. The prologue in Ede and the stage from Zwolle to Hardenberg were already known. A time trial and three road stages have been added, the last two of which go over selective terrain in Limburg and around the Posbank.

The second stage with finish in Hardenberg is a tribute from the race organisers to Anna van der Breggen and Kirsten Wild, who will both retire at the end of this season. The organisers had already revealed that part of the course at the end of June. A day later, an individual time trial of 22.2 kilometres will be ridden with start and finish in Gennep.

From Gennep the peloton then moves to Limburg, where stages are on the program from Stramproy to Weert and from Geleen to Sweikhuizen. The longest stage will be run on the final day. From Arnhem the riders will ride more than 150 kilometres through the Veluwe to eventually finish on the Posbank.

The Simac Ladies Tour, part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour and until recently known as the Boels Ladies Tour, will be held this year from 24-29 August. With this course it hopes to be an ideal preparation for the World championships in Flanders in September.

Simac Ladies Tour 2021 route (24-29 August):
August 24, prologue: Ede – Ede (2.4km, start 12.15pm)
August 25, stage 1: Zwolle – Hardenberg (134.4km, start 11am)
August 26, stage 2: Gennep – Gennep (22.2km, start at 12.00)
August 27, stage 3: Stramproy – Weert (125.9km, start 11.15am)
August 28, stage 4: Geleen – Sweikhuizen (148.9km, start at 10am)
August 29, stage 5: Arnhem – Posbank (150.3km, start 10.00am).

Boels Tour, now the Simac Ladies Tour:

 


Brussels Cycling Classic twice over Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg
The Brussels Cycling Classic has been given a new look for the next edition. The organisers have included a double passage over the Muur van Geraardsbergen, the Bosberg and the Congoberg on the race course.

The Brussels Cycling Classic starts this year in the Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels. The finish returns to Houba de Strooperlaan. What is new is the route to Geraardsbergen for a double passage over the Muur, Bosberg and Congoberg. From Geraardsbergen, the peloton goes along the Brabantsebaan and the Rosweg, two new cobblestone sections, to the last climb: the Eksterstraat at 14 kilometres from the finish. Then it’s full speed to the capital.

“We are looking forward to the arrival of the city of Geraardsbergen and the Muur in the story of the Brussels Cycling Classic,” says Flanders Classics CEO Tomas Van Den Spiegel. “We deliberately opted for spectacle in and around Geraardsbergen during the final. With a double passage over the Muur-Kapelmuur, the Bosberg and the Congoberg, we may have a completely different Brussels Cycling Classic than we were used to in recent years.”

The Brussels Cycling Classic is scheduled for Saturday 28 August.

Always popular, the Muur-Kapelmuur:

 


2021 Arctic Race of Norway: In Finland and in the footsteps of Van der Poel
The Arctic Race of Norway is an event that people have deeply missed in 2020. Breath-taking landscapes lovers as much as cycling experts have a special feeling for the northernmost bike race. Since 2013, sprint finishes – made popular in Scandinavia by Thor Hushovd who won the inaugural edition and has been the race ambassador all along – as well as punchy and hilltop finales have delighted the fans by delivering unpredictable racing. In seven editions, Alexander Kristoff, Steven Kruijswijk, Sam Bennett, Silvan Dillier, Rein Taarämae, Danny van Poppel, Gianni Moscon, John Degenkolb, Dylan Teuns, Mathieu van der Poel, Bryan Coquard and Alexey Lutsenko have made the most of their respective skills. Some of them have come of age at the Arctic Race of Norway before going on for further conquests. Suspense often remains until the dying moments. Two years ago, the general classification was still unclear as the first riders crossed the finish line on the conclusive stage. Ultimately, Kazakh rider Alexey Lutsenko won the overall by a second, ahead of French national champion Warren Barguil. Elsewhere, if the general public didn’t know yet what cyclo-cross prodigy Mathieu van der Poel was able to achieve in road racing, the images of the Arctic Race of Norway broadcast worldwide announced in 2018 and 2019 what was going to spice up the first week of the 2021 Tour de France.

Van der Poel’s first of three stage victories took place in Kirkenes, near Russia. For the first time in its eight editions, the Arctic Race of Norway will cross a border to held stage 2 finish in Finland. For the first time also, the event will start in Tromsø, Northern Norway’s most iconic city and the finishing point for the 2014 and 2017 editions. The first stage, on Thursday 5 August, will take the riders to the east to complete a loop before leading back to the city. The riders will then perform three laps of an 8.6 km circuit. A categorised climb (1.2 km at 8%) with 2.5 km to go will stretch the peloton out before it reaches the finish line, where the victorious rider will write his name into the history books alongside those of Alexander Kristoff and Dylan Teuns, the two previous winners in Tromsø.

On the second day of racing, the Arctic Race will visit Nordkjosbotn for the first time. On a day of firsts, the riders will then make the Arctic Race’s inaugural foray outside Norway, with the last 12 km taking place in Finland. Earlier in the stage, the riders will skirt the Storfjord before entering a valley that steadily climbs to 500m of altitude at Kilpisjärvi. Despite four categorised climbs, this 177,6 km stage should be one for the sprinters unless the wind enables splits in the peloton.

The third day will have an air of déjà vu about it. Running from Finnsnes to Målselv, the 184.5 km route scheduled for stage three is almost identical to the one undertaken on 15 August 2015, during the third edition of the race. The only difference is that the peloton will ride the first loop on the island of Senja in the opposite direction to four years ago, when Belgium’s Ben Hermans emerged victorious. In 2021, this queen stage will offer five opportunities for the riders to collect climbing points, including the final ascent to a summit finish at the ski resort of Målselv (3.7 km at 7.8%). The battle for general classification places should play out on the climbs leading to the “Alpine Village”.

While the public may see the final stage of the Tour de France as nothing more than a stroll in the park for its participants, the same cannot be said for the Arctic Race. The fourth stage, 163,3 km of racing between Gratangen and Harstad, is tailor-made for the puncheurs. Gratangen will welcome the race for the first time. Taking place against a stunning backdrop of fjords, the first part of the final stage will see the riders scale three categorised climbs. The race will then conclude with an 8.4 km circuit in Harstad, which was also the setting for the climax to the very first edition of the race, won by local favourite Thor Hushovd. Fellow countryman Alexander Kristoff would also go on to win the first stage there in 2015. The 2021 winner will have to successfully negotiate three climbs up the hill of Novkollen (2km at 5,5%), before proving his strength on a final ramp to the finish line.

Route of the 2021 Arctic Race of Norway:
Thursday 5th August, stage 1: Tromsø – Tromsø, 142,4km
Friday 6th August, stage 2: Nordkjosbotn – Storfjord / Kilpisjärvi, 177,6km
Saturday 7th August, stage 3: Finnsnes – Målselv (Alpine Village), 184,5km
Sunday 8th August, stage 4: Gratangen – Harstad, 163,3km.

Key points:

  • The 8th edition of the Arctic Race of Norway will be held on 5–8 August 2021.
  • For the first time, the world’s northernmost race will venture outside Norway, with the finish to stage two taking place in the town of Kilpisjärvi in Finland.
  • The first two days will offer the sprinters the opportunity to show their prowess. The general classification will then be decided over the course of the weekend stages, with a summit finish in Målselv on Saturday and a climb to the line in Harstad on Sunday.
  •  


    Egan Bernal on the Start List of the Vuelta a Burgos
    Egan Bernal will be at the start of the Vuelta a Burgos in early August. The organisers of the Spanish stage race was proud announce the winner of the 2021 Giro d’Italia for this edition on 3-7 August.

    The Vuelta a Burgos (2.Pro) will be the last preparation race for Bernal for the Vuelta a España, which starts a week later on August 14. The leader of INEOS Grenadiers will be accompanied by Iván Sosa, Eddie Dunbar, Jhonatan Narvaez, Salvatore Puccio, Pavel Sivakov and Carlos Rodriguez. Sosa won the Tour of Burgos in 2018 and 2019. After his victory in the Giro, the Colombian said that the Vuelta a España is a big goal for him. “In the meantime I won a Tour and a Giro, so now I mainly want to focus on winning the Vuelta,” said Bernal.

    Bernal has not raced since the Tour of Italy. Just before he was to fly back to Colombia, it turned out that he was covid positive, forcing him to quarantine for a period.

    Last month, the climber, who is not riding the Olympics, had an audience with the Pope:

     


    Tim Declercq stays with Deceuninck – Quick-Step
    The powerful domestique signs for two more years with the Wolfpack

    Tim Declercq is already in his fifth season with the Wolfpack and has shown in all these years his impressive diesel engine, riding at the front of the bunch for countless kilometres in all sorts of circumstances and races.

    No matter what, there’s always one certainty – “El Tractor” showing his selfless effort while controlling the race and bringing his teammates closer to victory. This was on display also in the past three weeks at the Tour de France, where Tim did again what he does best, working tirelessly and contributing to the team’s spectacular haul of wins that made Deceuninck – Quick-Step the most successful squad of the 108th edition. Considering everything, it was only natural that he would continue with the squad where he made the step to the World Tour and feels at home.

    “I’m super happy that I can stay with the team of my heart. The confidence that Patrick shows me is really nice, especially the fact I could sign that quickly. When I’ve worked a lot during a race and it ends up with the Wolfpack winning, it gives me a lot of joy and I feel part of that victory. I’m satisfied with the role I have in the team and I feel appreciated for what I do, I know that this is where I can show my qualities. This is a professional team, but you also get a heart-warming family feeling, which helps you perform and motivates you to give absolutely everything. You are not just a rider here, most importantly, you’re a human being”, said Tim after signing a contract through 2023.

    Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere was delighted to have retained the valuable services of the 32-year-old Belgian: “Tim is a great asset for the team. He isn’t the kind of rider who will win a lot of races himself, but instead he’s the one who has a lot of influence in how the race evolves by controlling the breakaway. He always goes all-out for his teammates and is there when needed at all times, he’s really strong and very committed. I’m confident he will continue to be an important part of the squad in the next two seasons.”

    Power-house, Tim Declercq:

     


    Six-time Singapore champion Choon Huat Goh joins Team BikeExchange as stagiaire for second half of 2021 WorldTour season
    Team BikeExchange continues its global cycling development with the collaboration of the Singapore Cycling Federation. This new adventure, brought forward by GreenEDGE Cycling and its longtime General Manager Shayne Bannan, now High Performance Director for the Singapore Cycling Federation, will see its first results by seeing the first Singapore rider join the WorldTour cycling peloton. Six-time national champion Choon Huat Goh will join Team BikeExchange as a stagiaire, with the 30-year-old set to start with the team at the Tour of Slovakia in September.

    Brent Copeland – General Manager, GreenEDGE Cycling: “GreenEDGE Cycling is always trying to develop new global partnerships to support the growth of our sport.
    After previous synergies in Asia, this is another exciting partnership, and we are happy to work together with Shayne and the Singapore Cycling Federation to support the development of cycling in the region. I had the chance to finally meet Donaben at our Service Course and I can only wish him the best and suggest him to take the best out of this unique experience. For him it is a learning experience, and he has to be wise to take the most out of it for his personal improvement.”

    Dr Hing Siong Chen – President, Singapore Cycling Federation: “We want to nurture an eco-system where full-time riders are fully supported in the community and young riders see prospects in pursuing cycling as a career. This is our game plan to embark on an endeavour to consistently secure podium finishes at major games and be competitive with those in the region, and even internationally.”

    Choon Huat (Donaben) Goh – Stagiaire Rider, GreenEDGE Cycling: “I am grateful for getting this opportunity to ride with Team BikeExchange. It is a dream for every cyclist to be able to step up into a WorldTour scene and ride in the pro peloton. Of course, given that I come from a Southeast Asia country, a tiny dot on the world map, this opportunity means even more to me. I also hope this opportunity given to me will inspire more younger cyclists in Singapore. It has been a great start so far as I was greeted with a warm welcome from Brent Copeland and the staff members in the Service Course. They took me on a tour of the Service Course, and it was amazing to see the amount of support and equipment needed to run a WorldTour Team. I am looking forward to racing with the team and getting some racing exposure on how things are run at this level and do my best to support the team as much as I can. My first race will be Tour of Slovakia and I have about 6-7weeks to prepare myself. I will be based in Girona, and I look forward to meeting and training with some of the riders there.”

    Choon Huat (Donaben) Goh:

     


    Louis Vervaeke Leaves Alpecin-Fenix ​​for Deceuninck – Quick-Step
    Remco Evenepoel will have a new rider to support him in 2022. Patrick Lefevere will bring Louis Vervaeke on board. The 27-year-old climber was in the spotlight during the recent Tour of Italy. According to WielerFlits he will be on a two-year contract.

    Vervaeke was seen as one of the greatest climbing talents as a youngster. He won stages in the Tour de l’Avenir and the Tour de l’Isard, top races on the U23 circuit. Once as a professional, however, things didn’t go so well. After a few lost years at Lotto Soudal, Vervaeke hoped to relaunch at Team Sunweb in 2018, but that also turned out to be a setback. In the end he landed on his feet at Alpecin-Fenix. He rode an excellent Tour of Italy, including a 4th place in Sestola and a 20th on the final overall.

    It is expected that Vervaeke, who was competing in the Tour of Wallonia last week, will ride for Remco Evenepoel at Quick-Step – Alpha Vinyl for two-years.

    Louis Vervaeke in the Giro:

     


    Vicente Hernaiz, David Martín and Davide Piganzoli, stagiaires with the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team
    The U23 riders of the Fundación Contador Vicente Hernaiz, David Martín and Davide Piganzoli will compete for the rest of the season with the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team ProTeam as stagiaires. The three riders have been among the most outstanding of the formative structure directed by Rafa Díaz Justo.

    Vicente Hernaiz (Valladolid, November 28, 1998) is one of the most combative riders of the Spanish amateur peloton. He joined the U23 structure of the Foundation for 2020 and in this season and a half he has established himself as a very regular all-rounder.

    “In the end, racing as a stagiaire is fulfilling a big part of my dream of racing in the pros, even though I’m not yet a pro as such. When I was told that I was going to race with the ProTeam this year, it was a great moment of euphoria. It will be my first contact in that category; I do not know very well what to expect because it is a very different category to U23, where I already have a lot of experience. Now the goal is to find a good form to be as competitive as possible and give the maximum in what the team entrusts me. For the rest, as my director Rafa Díaz Justo says, ‘Enjoy’ and give the maximum”.

    David Martín (Seville, 19 February 1999) also joined the Foundation in 2020, backed by his great speed. In this season and a half Martín, whose origins in the sport of cycling are in mountain biking, has confirmed himself as one of the great sprinters in the amateur category.

    “I’ve had the same dream of becoming a professional cyclist since 2009. Cycling, first mountain biking and since 2018 with the road, has helped me to mature a lot as a person. As I’ve grown up I’ve realised what a great family and friends I have around me. Without them it would not have been possible to get to where I am. There have been difficult moments both in the family and personally, but this is a sport of endurance, of perseverance, and hard work is always rewarded. I would also like to thank each and every one of my teammates for this opportunity: they have done a tremendous and invisible job so that I could finish or fight for it. It’s only for them that I will give my maximum in every race”.

    Davide Piganzoli, on the other hand, is a newcomer to both the Foundation and the category. The Italian, born in Valtellina, had great performances against the clock as a junior, but in his first year as U23 he has also shown his quality both in the Spanish Cup (fourth in the Santikutz Klasika in Legazpi, no less) and in the Giro U23, in his first experience over so many days of competition: he finished tenth.

    “I’m very happy,” he says. “I’m very excited, especially after having suffered a bad day in the Giro del Valle d’Aosta. My dream is to be able to ride with the pros and I’m very happy to have the opportunity to do it already this year. It’s something that motivates me a lot and I’m looking forward to the day to enjoy it to the full”.

    With the important nuance that their experience will take place in a ProTeam structure, the second step within the teams according to the International Cycling Union, Hernaiz, Martín and Piganzoli join a list that started with Stefano Oldani and Alejandro Ropero in 2018, followed by the Hungarians Karl Adam and Vas Balazs in 2019 and continued last year (2020) with Arturo Grávalos and Eduardo Pérez-Landaluce.

     


    Arkéa Samsic Extends Contracts with Nacer Bouhanni and Five Other Riders
    Arkéa Samsic has extended Nacer Bouhanni’s contract for two seasons, the sprinter will be with the French team until at least the end of 2023. Amaury Capiot, Matis Louvel, Łukasz Owsian and Clément Russo also signed for two years. Anthony Delaplace extended for another year.

    Bouhanni is currently in his second season with Arkéa Samsic. Last season, he won four times for the team. This year he is still waiting for his first win, but he has already achieved a series of good results in the Tour de France. On stage 15 he left the Tour due to a crash.

    “Nacer was the best French sprinter in the Tour de France and showed that he can still perform at WorldTour level. He scored three podium places in the first week and in Fougères he narrowly missed first place. We want to continue writing our sprint story with him,” said the team manager of Arkéa Samsic, Emmanuel Hubert, about Bouhanni’s contract extension.

    Nacer Bouhanni:

     


    Deceuninck – Quick-Step Supports the People Affected by the Floods in Belgium
    This week, the Wolfpack can be followed at the Tour de Wallonie, a race taking place in a region that got affected by severe flooding last week.

    The seven Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders who are in action at the Tour de Wallonie have put their signatures on the team’s blue jersey, which will be auctioned until July 28. The profits will go to Red Cross Flanders, who is currently helping the people affected by last week’s natural disaster.

    Andrea Bagioli, Josef Cerny, Fabio Jakobsen, Yves Lampaert, Florian Sénéchal, Pieter Serry, Bert Van Lerberghe and the whole Wolfpack want to show their support for all the people whose life was changed by the floods and urges our fans to do the same, by bidding for this special jersey.

    The Red Cross is an independent voluntary-sector organisation. Falling under the umbrella of the Belgian Red Cross, Belgian Red Cross-Flanders forms part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Their mission involves three strands, namely to defend the interests of vulnerable people both at home and abroad, to be proactive in emergency-management and to care for vulnerable individuals.

    You can find all the details and bid for the jersey, here.

    Deceuninck – Quick-Step Tour de Wallonie team:

     


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