EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

All the weekend news

Loads of cycling news to get through. Joop Zoetemelk still not recovered – TOP STORY. Cyclo-cross race reports and results from Kortrijk, Besançon and the UCI Track Champions League. Other news: Wout van Aert looking forward to the cross, Corona measures in Holland, Tom Pidcock’s cross program, Wout van Aert going for the green jersey, Alejandro Valverde early program, Julian Alaphilippe to the Giro, Mark Cavendish out of hospital, Sergio Higuita for the Tour, Guillaume Martin against ketones, Velo d’Or for Tadej Pogačar and Gabriel Cullaigh looking for a team. Contract news from Bahrain Victorious, Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, BikeExchange, Alpecin-Fenix and UAE Team Emirates. Team news: Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux and BikeExchange Jayco. Race news: Tour de Pologne route, Vuelta a España in the Basque Country and Murcia and Dwars door Flanders. Bad car crashes for Johnny Carera and Beñat Intxausti. Plus ‘The Wolfpack Way’ book from the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team.
Monday EUROTRASH coffee time.


TOP STORY: Joop Zoetemelk Still Not Recovered
Joop Zoetemelk will celebrate his 75th birthday in a week, but will not in the best of health. More than a year after his cycling accident in Paris, the 1980 Tour winner, still does not feel the same. “I hardly have any strength in my hands,” Zoetemelk told De Telegraaf.

Zoetemelk was hospitalised last year after he was hit by a car in the centre of Paris while he was cycling. In the accident on September 20, the Dutchman suffered fractures to his left arm and right hand. Zoetemelk was told by the doctors that he can hope for a full recovery, but a year after the accident he is still very much affected by his injuries.

“I was pretty crumpled. The accident damaged my nerves in my injured arm. I can feel the tingling in my fingers and I hardly have any strength left in my hands.” It is hard for Zoetemelk that he is still unable to cycle or chop wood in his garden. “I used to be able to chop wood without any problems, but that ax has been lying motionless in the shed for months now. I miss cycling very much.”

“I had hoped that I would still be able to climb the French mountains. My condition was excellent until the accident, but not much is left of it now. Life is very hard for me right now. My body doesn’t want to anymore. I’m still sore from that accident. I was always optimistic, but now I have to face realistically that I have to take a big step backwards.”

Zoetemelk still hopes to make a full recovery, although there is little reason for optimism at the moment. The cycling champion finds it difficult to comprehend that, fourteen months after his accident, he is still not the same. “I’ve aged ten years in just a few months.”

World champion and Tour winner, Joop Zoetemelk on the Alpe d’Huez in 2018:

 


X2O Badkamers Trofee Men – Kortrijk 2021
Toon Aerts won the Urban Cross in Kortrijk on Saturday. The Baloise Trek Lions rider led from start to finish and crossed the finish line with a big lead over second and third placed Eli Iserbyt and Corne van Kessel.

After only two rounds of the X2O Badkamers Trofee, it is clear that the battle for the overall victory is between Aerts and Iserbyt. After Iserbyt won on the Koppenberg, Aerts won in Kortrijk. There is a big differences to the riders behind them. After victories in Gieten and Zonhoven, it was Aerts’ third victory of the season. While it was exciting in Gieten and Zonhoven for a long time, it became clear early on Saturday that Aerts would win in Kortrijk. After an aggressive opening section, he crossed the line solo after one lap, a few seconds ahead of pursuers Van Kessel, Vincent Baestaens and Diether Sweeck.

Laurens Sweeck and Michael Vanhourenhout had missed their start. In the case of Vanthourenhout, that was to be expected: he had to skip the previous cross weekend due to a bad cold. Later in the race he did make it through and he would eventually finish fifth, one place ahead of Sweeck. Aerts was showing that he was the best in the race, a good minute ahead of Vanthourenhout. He set the best time in all the laps. Little by little he widened his lead over Iserbyt, who had counter-attacked soon after Aerts rode away. From 10 seconds to 20 seconds and from 20 seconds to 30 seconds. At the finish the difference was 1:07.

Race winner, Toon Aerts (Baloise Trek Lions): “I suffered fantastically today, but I had a very good day. I had made two plans for this race beforehand. With the first plan I felt less good and I would limit myself to following, with the other plan I felt strong and I had to go for it. It became plan number two. I really gave up because I was riding for every second. The last lap I had to make sure I didn’t make any more mistakes, because I was really broken. When I crossed the finish line, I forgot to put my hands in the air. I must be in the spotlight now. But I just have to think like this: it’s better to lie in front than behind. Loenhout, Baal and Brussels are all tough crosses where I still hope to score.”

2nd, Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “I also have to choose this season. If I can win all the classifications that would be great, but the World Cup is the most important for me. After that I’ll see. After the World Cup there are also two rounds of the X2O Badkamers Trofee to ride, so the season still has a long way to go. Today I couldn’t find my way, so I played it safe in the end. I bumped into a stronger Toon Aerts. I was struggling too much. With the deep ruts and stones it was a treacherous race.”

3rd, Corné Van Kessel (Tormans-Circus): “Before the season I determined that my main focus would be on the races of the X2O Trophy. It is nice to achieve my first podium of the season here in Kortrijk, especially taking into account the level of riders here at the start. The circuit here in Kortrijk has always been very fast the previous years, so the hard conditions in this edition were a surprise for everyone. The heavy rainfall in the morning created a lot of mud, which dried up during the day and really stuck to the bike. But that’s how I like it!”

X2O Badkamers Trofee Men – Kortrijk Result:
1. Toon Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions in 57:32
2. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:07
3. Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Tormans-Circus at 1:39
4. Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Deschacht-Group Hens-Containers Maes at 2:06
5. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal
6. Diether Sweeck (Bel) Iko-Crelan at 2:31
7. Thijs Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions at 2:57
8. Lander Loockx (Bel) Deschacht-Group Hens-Containers Maes at 3:01
9. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Deschacht-Group Hens-Containers Maes at 3:43
10. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 3:53.

 


X2O Badkamers Trofee Women – Kortrijk 2021
Lucinda Brand won the Urban Cross on Saturday afternoon. After almost 50 minutes of cyclo-cross, the Baloise Trek Lions rider showed herself to be the better of Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado and Denise Betsema.

The city race in Kortrijk was the third in the X2O Badkamers Trofee series. The first two events went to Brand, and Saturday was the same result, however the World champion did not have her best start. From 13th position she had to fight back to the front. She succeeded on the second lap. With Alvarado, Betsema, Annemarie Worst, Anna Kay and Marion Norbert Riberolle, she was in first six riders of the race.

Kay, Riberolle and Worst dropped out of the front after an acceleration from Dutch champion Alvarado. Betsema went along with her, Brand was able to rejoin after a while. A battle between the three Dutchwomen was on the cards. Brand seemed to be the strongest of the three, despite her back start. She finally proved that in the final lap. With a strong acceleration she shook off Alvarado and Worst to won the Urban Cross for the third time in a row.

Race winner, Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions): “It was very tough today. I got stuck at the start due to a crash, after which I had the feeling that the whole peloton was passing me. Luckily I was able to move well, but it cost me lots of energy. I actually thought it was over early in the last lap, but then I fell. Luckily most of them are in the same situation as me. Now I’m going to take a quick shower, recover and leave so that we arrive at the hotel on time.”

X2O Badkamers Trofee Women – Kortrijk Result:
1. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions in 47:49
2. Ceyline del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:07
3. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:36
4. Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777 at 0:48
5. Anna Kay (GB) Starcasino CX Team
6. Sanne Cant (Bel) Iko-Crelan at 0:51
7. Marion Norbert Riberolle (Bel) Starcasino CX Team at 1:04
8. Kiona Rochette (Can) Crelan-Iko at 1:21
9. Clara Honsinger (USA) Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld at 2:25
10. Christine Majerus (Lux) SD Worx at 2:39.

 


UCI World Cup Men – Besançon 2021
Eli Iserbyt won the Besançon World Cup on Sunday. The Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider, leader of the World Cup, dealt with Toon Aerts after a blistering battle.

European champion Lars van der Haar decided not to make the trip to the northeast of France, but otherwise the usual suspects were present, including World cup leader Eli Iserbyt, Toon Aerts, Michael Vanthourenhout, Laurens Sweeck and Corné van Kessel. Just like in Kortrijk, the cross fans were spoiled with a duel between Iserbyt and Aerts. The two managed to escape after one lap and kept each other in check for a while. With four laps to go, the lead had risen to 30 seconds. In the chase, a strong Pim Ronhaar, the reigning U23 World champion, and Michael Vanthourenhout plodded through the mud. Toon Vandebosch and Laurens Sweeck also hoped for a podium place after the opening laps, but had to deal with bad luck. At the peak of the race, one of the two tenors would have to make the first real acceleration. On the heavy mud passages we saw a few attacks from Aerts, but Iserbyt refused to give in. The World Cup leader tried to give it some gas on the nasty climbs, but Aerts was not planning to just crack. The two Belgians did not give each other an inch and started the 5th and penultimate lap together. Vanthourenhout and Ronhaar, also engaged in a fierce battle for third place, followed a minute later.

With one and a half laps to go, Aerts felt his moment had come. The Baloise Trek Lions rider put in a strong attack hoping to create a final gap. Iserbyt had to give it his all to follow Aerts. The leader in the World Cup started to struggle, but managed to get back to Aerts’ wheel on the technical section. With a new attack on one of the climbs, mud devil Aerts seemed to ride away from Iserbyt again, but there was a new plot twist as Aerts crashed, so that Iserbyt took the lead again. Iserbyt started the last lap with a lead of 5 seconds, but could not prevent Aerts from getting on his rear wheel again. In a duel to the edge, it was important not to make any more mistakes. Iserbyt found his second wind, but Aerts also refused to throw in the towel. And so it remained exciting until the last metres.

Race winner, Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “Toon had a good day, but I also had good legs. It was a really difficult race, I let Toon do his thing along the way. Apparently he wanted to ride at his own pace, while I’m more of a sucker. I had to bend a bit after his first attack, but then I decided to take some risks in the technical zone. After Toon’s crash I was alone and then it was over. I know he’s going to get nervous if he can’t ride me off. He did have a good day, because he didn’t really crack. It was really hard, but luckily I had a good day myself. My plan was to follow Toon, then cut a gap in the last laps, but after Toon’s crash I had to go. It’s important to work out your own tactics and follow them. It was a very difficult passage and maybe he slipped. I don’t think it was on purpose. At least I hope so anyway.”

2nd, Toon Aerts (Baloise Trek Lions): “The two of us had a great battle. I tried to put pressure on Eli. I tried to ride at my own pace and I thought I was the better in a few places too. On the penultimate lap, I went all in to get a gap. It was really super slippery. I tried to get up again, but then got into a Formula 1 incident. Then I couldn’t move anymore. I am satisfied with my race. Shame about the crash, but oh well. This course is ready. I hope this is race here to stay and that I can win here one day.”

3rd, Pim Ronhaar (Baloise Trek Lions): “This is really unbelievable. I felt really strong today, but I didn’t expect to race to a podium place here. The idea was to be on the podium this season, but in a smaller cross. Now to do it in a World Cup… This is a cross for boys with a big engine and I do have a big engine. I like to stomp and I can ride a brisk pace over a long period of time. That’s probably why I came in third today. I like cyclo-cross specific courses. A sand, mud or climbing cross, I like that. There were also a lot of altimeters in the course today and that is good for me. Obviously the World championship is a big goal, but after this third place it is not the case that I will just become World champion. Today the form was really great and I just hope to continue. We will see what it will bring.”

UCI World Cup Men – Besançon 2021
1. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal in 1:03:47
2. Toon Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions at 0:10
3. Pim Ronhaar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 1:44
4. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:57
5. Corne van Kessel (Ned) Tormans-Circus at 2:19
6. Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 2:21
7. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Deschacht-Group Hens-Maes Containers at 2:27
8. Toon Vandebosch (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 2:31
9. Marcel Meisen (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix at 2:40
10. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 2:42.

Besançon’21 (no video yet, thank you UCI):

 


UCI World Cup Women – Besançon 2021
Lucinda Brand won the Besançon World Cup cross on Sunday. The World champion took the initiative in the first lap and then soloed to the win in muddy conditions. Canada’s Maghalie Rochette was second, ahead of Denise Betsema. Brand takes the lead in the World Cup after the victory.

For the first time, the cyclo-cross in Besançon, France is part of the UCI World Cup series. It should have happened last year, but then the corona virus put it on hold. Among the women, the top riders were World champion and World Cup leader Lucinda Brand, her main challengers Denise Betsema, Annemarie Worst and the young Puck Pieterse. Dutch champion Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, decided not to make the trip to Besançon. Also Yara Kastelijn was also not there due to an injury.

Home favourites Hélène and Perrine Clauzel had the best start on the typical French meadow course, including a few slopes, a bridge and a staircase. However, the two Frenchwomen were soon passed on the muddy and slippery course by Pieterse, who finished second in the World Cups of Overijse and Tábor this winter. Brand and Betsema also had a good start and moved forward in the first lap. Brand, in particular, clearly felt comfortable and took the lead. Betsema was initially in the wheel, but had to pass under the pressure of Brand. The World champion started the second lap with a 10 second lead on Betsema, Pieterse and Fem van Empel. Brand, already the best in the X2O Trophy in Kortrijk on Saturday, seemed to have gone for a long and successful solo. Behind it had to come from the ever regular Betsema and the young Van Empel, but the two riders of Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal couldn’t come closer to Brand in the remainder of the race. After two laps, the difference between the leader Brand and the first pursuer Betsema was 15 seconds, Van Empel had to concede a few extra seconds.

Brand also remained clear in the third lap and was able to systematically extend her lead over the next pursuers. The leader of Baloise Trek Lions was still in the lead, but behind Brand there were several position changes. Betsema was joined in the third lap by Maghalie Rochette. The Canadian had clearly got her steam up and left Betsema and tried to start the chase for Brand. Pieterse also managed to fight back in the battle for the podium places and suddenly had Van Empel and Betsema in her sights. Brand didn’t panic and started the fourth and final lap with a lead of 20 seconds and this turned out to be more than enough to keep Rochette away. Brand had enough time to make the victory salute and, after previous victories in Fayetteville and Tábor, took her third World Cup victory of the season. Rochette crowned a great race with a second place, Betsema was third on the podium again. She narrowly managed to stay ahead of Van Empel and Pieterse.

Race winner, Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions): “I was able to take the lead right away and that’s what you should do. I was able to take the lead right away and that’s definitely nice. In the first lap you want to choose your own lines. That ultimately results in the least stress. If you decided to temporise on this course, you lose your momentum. You have to maintain a good pace here, to get through the mud so well. So it was important to keep the focus. That is certainly not easy, but you should not stop here. I thought it was a really nice track. It’s nice that it was very muddy today and I’m glad it went so well. It’s nice to already have a good lead. I will of course not be there in Val di Sole (Brand will be on a training camp with her team), so it’s nice to have a buffer now.”

2nd, Maghalie Rochette (Specialized-Feedback Sports): “It took a very long time. It has always been a dream for me to make the podium in a European World Cup. I’ve won a World Cup in the United States before, but I’ve always struggled to perform in Europe. I am very happy that it works now. I am sometimes too enthusiastic and therefore too nervous, but I managed to stay calm during the cross. Stay in the zone, I had to do that. Hopefully I can show you a lot more!”

3rd, Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “I couldn’t find Saturday’s good legs. I had to go very deep early on. During the race I tried to keep up with Maghalie Rochette, but the power just wasn’t there today. I think I can be satisfied with a podium place, as it was still a long way to go for third place. I still had hopes to return at my own pace, but that was not possible. I think Lucinda was clearly the strongest today. I didn’t quite have my day, but it could have been worse. I gave everything and then you have to be satisfied.”

UCI World Cup Women – Besançon 2021
1. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 51:09
2. Maghalie Rochette (Can) Specialized-Feedback Sports at 0:26
3. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:34
4. Fem van Empel (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:37
5. Puck Pieterse (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:44
6. Inge van der Heijden (Ned) 777 at 1:21
7. Clara Honsinger (USA) Cannondale/Crossworld at 1:31
8. Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 1:40
9. Katie Clouse (USA) Cannondale/Crossworld at 2:10
10. Line Burquier (Fra) AS Bike Crossteam at 2:31.

Besançon’21 (no video yet, thank you UCI):

 


High Speed Intensity – Fans Treated to Adrenalin-Packed Show in Lithuania
A sold out velodrome and global TV audience witnessed explosive racing in Panevėžy, as rivalries and tension build across the Sprint and Endurance categories

After an electrifying debut in Mallorca, the UCI Track Champions League dialled up the intensity even further for round two. Seventy-two of the world’s top track cyclists took to the boards in Panevėžys to deliver another evening of action and unpredictability as rivalries across the field reached boiling point.

After dazzling performances in front of a sold out velodrome, Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) and Emma Hinze (Germany) retain their lead of the men’s and women’s Sprint League. In the men’s Endurance League, Sebastian Mora (Spain) now leads, while Katie Archibald (Great Britain) tops the women’s Endurance standings. Each will wear the coveted UCI Track Champions League Leader’s Jersey at round three at the Lee Valley Velodrome, London on December 3rd.

The Cido Arena welcomed a raucous crowd supporting the league’s trio of Lithuanian riders Simona Krupeckaitė, Vasilijus Lendel and Olivija Baleisyte. Fans were treated to a technology-driven spectacle breaking new ground in cycling, as TV viewers around the world tuned in via discovery+, Eurosport, GCN+ and a wealth of international broadcast partners.

The Story of Round Two
Women’s Sprint League – Women’s Sprint Final
Finalist Emma Hinze (Germany) lined up alongside Canadian challenger Lauriane Genest. The one-on-one duel began as a game of cat and mouse until Hinze attacked from the front with one lap to go. Gaining height from the banking, Hinze dived down and maintained her speed to fend off Genest all the way to the line.

Emma Hinze, winner of the Women’s Sprint Final, said: “It was hard racing tonight, the same as in Mallorca. I’m exhausted. The crowd is great – it’s a great place to ride. It feels good to extend my lead in the category and I’m proud to win this one again.”

Women’s Sprint League – Women’s Keirin Final
Lea Friedrich (Germany) took first place behind the derny to begin the race, closely followed by Canada’s Kelsey Mitchell. League leader Emma Hinze (Germany) began fourth but quickly moved to Friedrich’s wheel once the derny departed. Mitchell attacked early at the bell and quickly joined Hinze in pursuit of Friedrich, who held onto the lead to the line, hitting 71kph in the process. Hinze secured a valuable second place ahead of Mitchell on the line.

Lea Friedrich (Germany), winner of the Women’s Keirin Final, said: “The sprint race was not so good and this was the reason why I had so much motivation for the Keirin. Now I have won this race, I am really happy and I am really proud. It’s amazing to get my first win, it’s an amazing competition and a new feeling for me. I love the feeling here, I love the show and I am really proud.”

Men’s Sprint League – Men’s Keirin Final
Sitting behind the derny from the gun, Jeffrey Hoogland (Netherlands) took pole position ahead of Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) and Stefan Bötticher (Germany). Once the derny withdrew, local favourite Vasilijus Lendel (Lithuania) narrowly avoided a high speed collision above the blue line, regaining his balance to surge past Lavreysen with one lap to go – much to the crowd’s delight. The final sprint saw Lavreysen snatch the win however, followed by close rivals Hoogland and Bötticher as Lendel lost pace in the final meters. Whilst the win eluded him, Hoogland recorded the highest top speed of the night with a staggering 82kph in the heats.

Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands), winner of the Men’s Keirin Final, said: “It was a hectic Keirin. In the first three heats there were some dangerous parts so I thought for the final that I would go from the front and not make things unnecessarily difficult. It was a good final. I thought with two [laps] left that I could go to the front and do an easy build and a really fast last lap. I think it worked out perfectly. It feels good to have extended my lead in the sprint series. There is not a lot of pressure riding in the blue kit, but it’s nice to win in it, of course.”

Men’s Sprint League – Men’s Sprint Final
Nicholas Paul (Trinidad & Tobago) hit a staggering 77kph to win his Sprint Semi-Final against favourite Stefan Bötticher (Germany). Lining up against Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) for the event finale, Paul attacked early and gained several bike lengths over Lavreysen, but was reeled in by Lavreysen in the closing stages, with a dare devil move around the outside to win by the smallest of margins.

Harrie Lavreysen, winner of the Men’s Sprint Final, said: “At the start of this race, I was beginning to feel better and better and started to believe again that I could win the sprint as well. I think Nicholas Paul had a great ride, he surprised me. I felt like I could just get him at the end so I was really happy to still win. For sure the other riders can challenge me. A lot of them can. But for now, I’m on top and it feels good, very good.”

Women’s Endurance League – Women’s Scratch
A false start due to a mechanical issue for one rider left the group raring to go. On the restart, Katie Archibald (Great Britain) attacked two laps in and quickly gained 50 meters on the main bunch. With 11 laps to go, the Women’s Endurance leader was caught by the main bunch however. The race remained hectic until a final bunch sprint, which Archibald finding her second wind to take the win ahead of close rival Maggie Coles-Lyster and Japan’s Yumi Kajihara.

Katie Archibald (Great Britain), winner of the Women’s Scratch, said: “I was racing in Copenhagen last week and I practised some things. So when I practised going for the lap, I hated it, and I really didn’t want to do it. I tried to force myself, but I have not got the strength to go there myself. I think I need to work out being with the right people and choosing the right moment. From then, I was trying to reset. It was quite scary at the end because there were so many attacks going in. It feels good to extend my lead, yes, a bit less pressure for the high pressure one – the elimination.”

Women’s Endurance League – Women’s Elimination
The race began very quickly, which caught out veteran rider Kirsten Wild (Netherlands) – the first to be eliminated. Katie Archibald (Great Britain) survived an early scare shortly afterwards, surging past Eukene Larrarte (Spain) on the line. Local favourite Olivija Baleisyte (Lithuania) enjoyed a crowd pleasing race that saw her finish 7th. Katie Archibald continued her dominant form and out-sprinted rival Maggie Coles-Lyster (Canada) to avoid elimination with four riders remaining. Archibald then faced Anita Yvonne Stenberg (Norway) for the finale and comfortably distanced her before crossing the line.

Katie Archibald (Great Britain), winner of the Women’s Elimination, said: “I went in solely looking for Maggie [Coles-Lyster] who’s the other contender for the main overall right now. She’s been very, very strong so far. She was sat at the front for so long that I thought the only way for it was that I’m going to have to get to the front – and see if she gets trapped in that box. It didn’t work first time, it didn’t work second time, I could then see that she has gone all the way around so I just came in but that didn’t work either. So we get down to the final four and I’m like “ok, there’s a bit of room here”, I decided to focus. It was seriously hard, especially when she was coming under in the last minute, she had the run into the rider in front and I’m just like – “let’s go!”.”

Men’s Endurance League – Men’s Scratch
Leader’s Jersey wearer Corbin Strong sat in the wheels for the majority of the 20 lap race, saving energy towards the back of a strung out field. The pace ebbed and flowed before a final eighteen man bunch sprint that left Strong unprepared. Spain’s Sebastian Mora surged to win it on the line, ahead of Rhys Britton (Great Britain) and Gavin Hoover (USA).

Sebastián Mora (Spain), winner of the Men’s Scratch, said: “I think the race was very controlled, it looked very different from Mallorca. It was a good result, it is very important for the final result and I am looking forward to continuing. It feels very good to race in this event. It feels very different. I like the race, I like the UCI Track Champions League, and I think it’s very important for track cycling.”

Men’s Endurance League – Men’s Elimination
After a disappointing start to round two, Corbin Strong (New Zealand) needed a good result in the Men’s Elimination to retain his leader’s jersey. A mechanical issue for a rider led to a race neutralisation that unsettled the nerves of a fast-paced field. Rhys Britton (Great Britain), second in the Scratch, left the race early after the restart. Then, in a shock exit, Strong was eliminated shortly afterwards with several riders remaining. Gavin Hoover (USA) followed him. The race culminated in a one vs one between Men’s Scratch winner Sebastian Mora (Spain) and New Zealand’s Aaron Gate. Sebastian Mora claimed victory in the final sprint, and with it, the lead in the overall standings.

Sebastián Mora (Spain), winner of the Men’s Scratch, said: “I have won the Scratch, I have won the Elimination. It’s a different race but in the Elimination I tried to spend all of the time at the front to control the other riders. In the sprint it was very, very hard but my feelings here in Lithuania are very, very good. The people of Lithuania are fantastic. It feels great to win two out of two. It’s very difficult to win two races in one day. It’s a good day for me and I will try to continue this feeling for the next race. I think it will be difficult to win every time but for me it’s perfect.”

Race results
Overall league standings
Where to watch the UCI Track Champions League – round two

 


Wout van Aert: “The level of Eli Iserbyt has gone up seriously”
Wout van Aert will make his comeback to cyclo-cross in a weeks time. With the Superprestige cross in Boom and the World Cup round in Antwerp, Van Aert goes for a double weekend. What does he expect? “I take little into account. After my training camp I hope to gradually get better.”

“It is also a big question mark for me whether I will immediately participate for the prizes. I think I will certainly miss some rhythm in the beginning, but I hope to be great during the Christmas period,” he told Sporza at the Urban Cross in Kortrijk.

In recent weeks, the Jumbo-Visma rider has been following the cyclo-cross action. What strikes him is that there is often a battle for victory well into the final. “I enjoyed it and I am very curious how I will fit in. I think Eli Iserbyt’s level has gone up seriously. That’s impressive.”

Van Aert’s program runs up to and including the Belgian championships in Middelkerke. In less than a month he competes in twelve crosses. What Van Aert does next is not yet known, except for a team training camp. “Becoming World champion is always a main goal, but I already have three jerseys in my closet. Although it would be very nice to add one more, in cyclo-cross I have achieved everything in the meantime and my focus has shifted more to the road.”

And the Worlds in Fayetteville: “If necessary, I am willing to make sacrifices for that. That would certainly be with a heavy heart. It is a challenge to combine that, especially with the jet lag that comes with it,” concludes Van Aert.

Back to cross for Van Aert:

 


Tightened Corona Measures have Consequences for Cycling
The further tightened corona measures that the Dutch cabinet announced on Friday will take effect on Sunday 28 November and have consequences for cycling. The KNWU listed the most important consequences.

In general, an audience is not allowed at events in top sport and amateur sport. Training may also take place in the evenings. Corona support packages are extended and/or reactivated again. During the day, sports facilities, indoor and outdoor, for amateur sports may only be open between 5 am and 5 pm. The 1,5 meter measure does not apply during training sessions and competitions. For public areas at indoor sports facilities, such as canteens, changing rooms and toilets, a corona passport is mandatory for everyone aged 13 and over. At official sports facilities (inside or outside), wearing a face mask is mandatory and the 1.5-meter measure applies – regardless of whether a corona passport is requested at the door.

Sports outside an official sports facility is allowed in a group (maximum four people, excluding the trainer) after 5 pm, taking into account the one and a half meter spacing.

No fans in the Netherlands:

 


Rucphen World Cup to Run Without Fans
The tightened corona measures taken by the Dutch government means that there will be no public at the cyclo-cross in Rucphen, the eleventh round of the World Cup. Kees Kools, chairman of the cross, informed BN DeStem that the race will continue on Saturday, December 18.

The organisers have been living in uncertainty in recent weeks. “Are we going to ride with an audience or not? So, we may or may not build public and VIP tents. That discussion is now over,” Kools said. “The competition will continue on Saturday December 18, but without spectators and VIPs. The latter is a shame, but it is no different.”

Rucphen would have got a lot of fans as the race has both Mathieu van der Poel and Tom Pidcock on the start line. The race will miss out on that income now that the measure that no public is allowed at sports competitions has been extended. “But canceling the whole thing because we miss out on that ticket costs us almost as much money.”

According to Kools, there are still enough reasons to let the cross continue. “The event will be broadcast live on television. Which is good for the exposure of our sponsors. It is good for the image of the municipality of Rucphen. And we use it to build confidence for the future,” said Kools.

Next week, Flanders Classics, organiser of the World Cup, will discuss the contractual consequences, now that no public is allowed. Kools, meanwhile, is investigating the possibility of whether the cyclo-cross is eligible for government support.

Van der Poel will Rucphen without spectators:

 


Tom Pidcock’s 2021/22 Cyclo-Cross Program
In the run-up to the Cyclo-cross World Championships in Fayetteville, Tom Pidcock will ride a fourteen cross races. The British Olympic mountain bike champion will ride his first on Saturday 4 December, in Boom. In December and January he will be in the same races as Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert.

For Pidcock, the World title is the big goal this winter. “Fayetteville is a course with opportunities for Tom, we saw that at the World championship race,” his Belgian trainer Kurt Bogaerts told Het Laatste Nieuws. “If he makes the crossing to the United States, it’s not just to participate. His ultimate goal is to become World champion in three disciplines.”

“He will start in Boom with basic condition, with zero preparation for cyclo-cross. I don’t expect much from him, it’s been a long break. But he is really looking forward to it,” said Bogaerts. “We’ll keep racing because it’s good for him. But it’s not possible to be top all the time. The road season is becoming increasingly important. If there is also a Grand Tour in it, then he commits robbery on his body with a specific preparation for the cross.”

The all-rounder of INEOS Grenadiers will compete against Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert in Dendermonde, Diegem and Hulst. In the other crosses, Pidcock always encounters one of the two men of cross. Van Aert and Pidcock were also competitors several times in the last road season; in the Amstel Gold Race the Belgian was the better, while in the Brabantse Pijl the Brit was the strongest.

2021/22 Tom Pidcock Cyclo-Cross Program:
Telenet Superprestige Boom (December 4, 2021)
Antwerp World Cup (December 5, 2021)
Val di Sole World Cup (December 12, 2021)
Rucphen World Cup (December 18, 2021)
Namur World Cup (December 19, 2021)
World Cup Dendermonde (December 26, 2021)
Telenet Superprestige Heusden-Zolder (December 27, 2021)
Telenet Superprestige Diegem (December 29, 2021)
X2O Trophy Baal (January 1, 2022)
World Cup Holly (January 2, 2022)
Training Camp in Calpe
Trophy Hamme (January 22, 2022)
Hoogerheide World Cup (January 23, 2022)
Cyclocross World Championships Fayetteville (January 30, 2022).

Pidcock back to cross:

 


Wout van Aert Wants to Go for the Green Jersey Next Year
Wout van Aert wants to take a shot at the green points jersey of the Tour de France next summer. The 27-year-old rider of Jumbo-Visma said in an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws.

“Next season I would really like to go for the green jersey,” the Belgian road champion said. “Then that will also happen and we will draw up a plan that fits within the general team tactics. Even then that does not mean that I am by definition a ‘loose pawn’ and that the six others can concentrate on Primož Roglič.”

Van Aert does not feel so good to ignore his leader if necessary, but at the same time expects support from his team for his ambitions. “My point is: if I go green, I expect the team to support me in that. And would it also be a bit strange if I said: ‘Primož, I’m not helping you.'”

Van Aert has already appeared three times at the start of the Tour. In 2019 he didn’t due to an injury from a crash, the last two seasons he finished in the top twenty on general classification. He has since won six stage victories. Last season he won a mountain stage, a time trial, and the sprint on the Champs-Élysées.

Green for Wout:

 


Alejandro Valverde Announces Early 2022 Program
Alejandro Valverde has announced which races he will compete in next season in the run-up to the Giro d’Italia. The 41 year-old Movistar rider starts in Spain (Mallorca) before he heads to Italy for the Strade Bianche. He will then ride the Tour of Catalonia or the Tour of the Basque Country.

Valverde recently announced his participation in the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España, ignoring the Tour de France. “I’ll start in Mallorca, then Valencia, Murcia and Andalusia for Strade Bianche,” the Spanish veteran told Spanish sports paper Marca. “After that I’ll catch my breath and that’s why I don’t know yet whether I will do Catalonia or the Basque Country for the Flèche Wallonne and Liège. The Amstel is a bit in the middle, so I’ll do those races for the Giro. Each of these races is difficult to win, but in Liège, for example, you always have to pay attention if you want to have a chance and in the Flèche Wallonne you can’t make a mistake.”

2022 will really be his last year, Valverde confirms. According to the Spanish rider, nothing can change that. “It is 100% irreversible. It’s my last year no matter what. There are several reasons for this: I have raced at the highest level for many years and, although I really love my sport, in the end it is a huge sacrifice to be a professional,” explains the 2018 world champion on his decision to retire to. “The mental and physical effort is great. I’m 42 years old and we won’t stay here forever. You have to take care of your body.”

Valverde has high hopes for Enric Mas, second in the Vuelta last season, and Iván Sosa, who comes over from INEOS Grenadiers. “Enric looks much more experienced and confident. I think he is making important steps little by little. He will certainly do well. As far as Iván is concerned, we have high expectations for him. He already knows what it’s like to win, so here we will demand victories from him. He has a lot of quality. He won twice in Burgos and in 2019 he almost kept me from winning in Occitania. He will do well. Sosa is ready to lead the team.”

Alejandro Valverde preliminary program for 2022:
Challenge Mallorca (January 26-30)
Tour of Valencia (2-6 February)
Tour of Murcia (February 12)
Tour of Andalusia-Ruta del Sol (February 16-20)
Strade Bianche (March 5)
Tour of Catalonia (March 21-27)
Tour of the Basque Country (April 4-9)
Amstel Gold Race (April 10)*
Wallonne Arrow (April 20)
Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 24)
Giro d’Italia (May 6-29)
Vuelta a España (September 19 August-11)
*participation not sure yet

More wins for Valverde in his final season?

 


Julian Alaphilippe: “The Year I Ride the Giro d’Italia Will Definitely Come”
Julian Alaphilippe already has ridden the Tour de France five times and has also been at the start of the Vuelta a España, but the Giro d’Italia is missing from his race list. If it is up to the 29-year-old Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider, that will change in the coming years, he told Ouest France.

“I don’t know when it will be yet, but that year will certainly come,” Alaphilippe said in an interview with the French newspaper, in which he looks back on some highlights of his career and also looks ahead to the coming years. “It’s a race I want to do, I want to discover. In fact, I want to do all the races before the end of my career. So it’s part of my plans, yes.”

Alaphilippe has fond memories of Italy. He won his first world title in the country last year, in Imola. He also won Milan-San Remo and Strade Bianche, and has three victories in Tirreno-Adriatico to his name. His son Nino even got an Italian name. It is unlikely that he will contest the Giro next year: he recently announced that the classics and the Tour de France are his main goals in 2022.

The world champion of 2020 (Imola) and 2021 (Flanders) was also asked about his retirement year at the end of the interview. “Honestly, I don’t know either,” he replied. “I’m almost 30, but the day I start thinking about it, it’s going to taste bad. I know I still have a few years to go, will it be five, six, seven years? In any case, I’m still very motivated, that’s the most important thing.”

“The day when I feel I’m not on fire anymore, when I struggle to exert myself and enjoy myself in a race and when I don’t perform as well as I should, I’m not going to drag my misery into a race. I hope it comes as late as possible…”

Alaphilippe with an eye on the Giro:

 


Mark Cavendish Released from Hospital
Mark Cavendish is back home with his wife Peta Todd and two children, four days after his crash in the Gent ‘6 Days’. The British sprinter has since left Gent University Hospital, Het Nieuwsblad reports. Cavendish can now continue working on his recovery at home.

Cavendish had a bad cash during the closing madison of the Gent ‘6 Days’ last Sunday. Cavendish was able to get up again after attention from the medical staff, but walking took him a lot of effort. After being treated in his cabin in the track centre, the Briton was carried out of the Kuipke on a stretcher and taken to hospital into an ambulance.

He received further treatment at the University Hospital of Gent and spent the night in intensive care. Cavendish broke two ribs in the crash and also suffered a small collapsed lung. Both injuries have been treated with medication. Fortunately for the sprinter, things are going in the right direction again and so he was allowed to leave the hospital.

The 36-year-old Cavendish can now continue to rehabilitate at home with a view to the next cycling season. Cavendish is expected to ride for Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 2022, although the contract has still not been signed. Team boss Patrick Lefevere hopes to complete agreement in the coming days.

Cavendish is now at home recovering after the Gent 6:

 


Mark Cavendish Hopes to Start Training Again Soon
Mark Cavendish assumes that he will be back on his bike in January, getting ready for the new cycling season, after his crash in the Gent ‘6 Days’ were he suffered two broken ribs and a punctured lung. The 36-year-old British sprinter said in an interview with the English newspaper The Sun.

“As professional athletes, you know your body well enough to know what it means and what the recovery time is. We’re used to broken bones and lungs heal pretty quickly so I should be back in the saddle in a few weeks,” Cavendish told the British newspaper. “It might put my start to the season back a bit and I’ll be in pain for a while, but I’m healing well so it’s not too bad.”

Immediately after his fall, the British sprinter initially tried to hide the pain so as not to alarm his four children who were watching at the track side. “When I fell I knew I was injured and I was in bad shape. That scares you. But the kids were there and my instinct was to get up so they would know I was okay. I walked back to the cabins where we stayed and when they were gone I was taken to the hospital.”

The fall was caused by water on the track after a rider spilled a drink. “It was a freak accident,” the British rider continued. “The wheels slipped, starting a chain reaction that caused the crash. I ended up on top of a bike, broke my ribs and tore a hole in my lung. The hole is behind my heart, which makes it more difficult to check because it cannot be seen on X-rays. But I will survive.”

Despite everything, Cavendish is determined to overcome this setback and has no plans to retire anytime soon. He has his eye on next season’s Tour de France, but he rejects questions about breaking Eddy Merckx’s record number of stage victories. “My goal is to try and win as much as I can for as long as I can. There is no specific number I want to reach.”

When he retires from cycling, it will be time to put his family first after many years of training and racing abroad. “My family has been sidelined in my career for too long, so first and foremost I will do what’s best for them. But I have options and I have desires when it comes to what I do next. I’m not lucky to be a cyclist because I’ve worked hard and sacrificed all my life.”

“But every day I’m on the bike I feel lucky to be able to do what I love and I’m lucky to be in a position to choose what I want to do next in my career,” said the British sprinter.

Bad way to leave the velodrome:

 


Sergio Higuita Wants to Shine as a Tour Rider
Sergio Higuita hopes to shine as a GC rider in a Grand Tour next year, the Colombian said in conversation with ESPN. The 24-year-old Higuita will try to do this in 2022 with BORA-hansgrohe, his new team for the next three seasons.

Higuita has already ridden the Vuelta a España (2019) and the Tour de France twice (2020 and 2021). In his first Grand Tour, he finished fourteenth on the general classification, but Higuita is still waiting for his first top placing in a three week race. “I want to try again next season, compete for a general classification in a Grand Tour.”

The explosive climber hopes to take the next step as a GC rider with BORA-hansgrohe. There is no lack of self-confidence, as it turns out in conversation with ESPN. “I do feel that I have the physical qualities to do it. I am getting better every year and I think I should be able to perform well at BORA-hansgrohe over three weeks.”

Higuita, who has raced for EF Education-Nippo in recent years, will look back on the past season with mixed feelings. The Colombian took several good results in 2021 and rode a strong Tour looking for stage wins and as a domestique for Rigoberto Urán.

Sergio Higuita:

 


Guillaume Martin Speaks Out Against Ketones
The use of ketones has been under discussion for years. Some teams are in favour, others are against it. Guillaume Martin is against their use and is speaking out. “I am for a ban,” he told Cyclism’Actu.

Martin is part of the Cofidis team which is affiliated with the MPCC (the movement for credible cycling) and is against the use of ketones. “I personally don’t take them and my squad is part of the MPCC, which is in favour of a ban. But even before the MPCC took its stand, I had already decided for myself not to use it.”

“I hope and don’t think that there is currently heavy doping circulating in the peloton. However, you have to ask yourself: what about grey areas, such as the use of ketones, do they contribute to this? It is something that is not currently banned,” emphasised the French climber. “The question is: should there be a ban? I am in favour, but it is up to the UCI to make a statement. I don’t have all the data to say anything about the dangers and effectiveness of ketones.”

Martin is not the first rider to speak out about the use of ketones in the peloton. His compatriot Thibaut Pinot is also not a fan of its use. Pinot himself says that he has never thought of using substances that he believes are unethical. “I think I’m too scared and stressed out to mess with that nonsense. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.”

Earlier this year, the International Cycling Union called on cyclists to stop using ketones. According to the UCI, there is currently no scientific proof that ketones are performance-enhancing. Still, the UCI’s management committee has asked if additional research can be done on ketone use to see if it is actually performance-enhancing. There is division within cycling about ketones. Some professional teams are strongly against the use, while other teams – such as Jumbo-Visma – see no objection. The drug is currently not on the UCI list of banned substances and methods. Teams affiliated with the MPCC, the movement for credible cycling, are speaking out against ketone use. Ketones are the body’s own fuel, but are also used in the cycling peloton in exogenous form. “It is a legal food, but at the same time too little is known about the possible health consequences. That makes it a grey area. It is therefore not on the doping list, but if we receive questions from athletes, we advise them not to use ketones,” said the Dutch Doping Authority at the beginning of 2020.

Guillaume Martin not in favour of the use of keytones:

 


Velo d’Or 2021 Goes to Tadej Pogačar
Tadej Pogačar has won the 2021 Vélo d’Or. It is the first time the 23 year-old Slovenian has won the prestigious prize. Pogačar won the Tour de France for the second consecutive time last season and also took two Classic Monuments with Liège-Bastogne-Liège and il Lombardia.

Pogačar is the successor of his compatriot Primož Roglič, who picked up the prize in 2020. Roglič, who in 2021 was good for a third overall victory in the Vuelta a España and the Olympic time trial title, was second in the Velo d’Or this year. Wout van Aert, who has also had an excellent season, was third in the vote.

Mathieu van der Poel, Kasper Asgreen, Richard Carapaz, Mark Cavendish, Sonny Colbrelli, Egan Bernal, Annemiek van Vleuten, Harrie Lavreysen and Julian Alaphilippe were also nominated for the Vélo d’Or 2021. In addition to Roglič, Alaphilippe also received recognition. Just like in 2019 and 2020, the reigning World champion on the road won the Vélo d’Or for best French cyclist.

The Vélo d’Or is the annual prize of the French cycling magazine Vélo Magazine, which is associated with the Tour de France organisation and the sports newspaper L’Equipe. A number of international cycling journalists choose the best cyclist of the year.

Another trophy for Pogačar:

 


Gabriel Cullaigh is Looking for a Team
Gabriel Cullaigh fears he will no longer ride for a WorldTour or ProContinental team next year. The 25-year-old rider from Holmfirth in England, has not been offered a new contract by his Movistar team and is still without a team for 2022. “But I think I should at least try another year,” he told WielerFlits.

“I don’t have a real update, other than that of course I haven’t been offered a contract extension and that I’m still looking for a team, but my manager has tried hard.”

In 2017 Cullaigh started his career at SEG Racing Academy. He then rode for Team Wiggins, where he won the Rutland-Melton Cicle Classic. After two years, he signed with Movistar, where he stayed for two years. Cullaigh not seen any interest from the WorldTour and ProContinentale teams. “I don’t blame them: I have ridden few races and achieved few results.”

He thinks that most teams are already full for 2022, as the training camps will start soon. The Movistar rider also spoke about the other riders who do not yet have a contract: “I think they are also waiting to see if Qhubeka NextHash will continue.” He himself hopes that he will at least be considered by Qhubeka if that team continues next season. If not, Cullaigh still won’t give up. “I’ve had good conversations with a number of British continental teams so I will definitely continue with one of them next year.” He hopes that there he can find his good form again and achieve results. “I think I should give it a chance at least for another year.”

Gabriel Cullaigh – Still looking:

 


Domen Novak Continues with Bahrain Victorious
Domen Novak will race with the Bahrain Victorious team next season. The 26-year-old Slovenian all-rounder confirmed to WielerFlits. This will be Novak’s sixth season with the Bahraini WorldTeam.

Novak started his season in Italy with a few one-day races, where he appeared alongside leaders at Bahrain Victorious leaders Mikel Landa and Pello Bilbao. He then raced in the Tour of Catalonia, the Tour of the Alps and the Tour of Switzerland. At the Slovenian championship, he saw teammate Matej Mohorič take the national title and he crossed the line in 10th place.

Novak has started a Grand Tour four times, but not last season. In the second half of the season, the Slovenian rode the European Championship road race in Trentino and the World Championship road race in Flanders. He also saw his teammates Sonny Colbrelli and Stephen Williams race to victory in the Memorial Pantani and the CRO Race.

In il Lombardia, his last race of the season, Novak jumped in the early break. The Slovenian and the others in the break took more than 5 minutes, but were caught by the peloton with 55 kilometres to go.

Another year for Domen Novak with Bahrain:

 


Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec Signs Juan Diego Alba from Movistar
The Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec team has strengthened itself for next season with Juan Diego Alba. The 24-year-old Colombian climber comes from Movistar, where he made his professional debut last year. The team, which will be called Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli after the winter, also announced the arrival of Didier Merchan and Brandon Rojas. Alba is the most experienced rider of the three. The Colombian raced for Movistar in the WorldTour for the past two seasons. In 2019, his last season as a U23, he took a stage win in the Giro d’Italia U23 and finished in third place in the general classification behind Andres Ardila and Einer Rubio.

The 22-year-old Merchan comes from the Colombia Tierra de Atletas team and this is his debut as a professional cyclist. His new team Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec has called him a “complete rider with excellent climbing qualities”. Merchan was second in the Vuelta a Colombia-U23 last season and winner of the Giro del Medio Brenta and the Vuelta a Antioquia.

Rojas, the youngest of the three at 19, raced for Liga Bogota last season. According to his new team, he is a “talented rider with great prospects who is very strong in sprinting and time trial.” Rojas won the final stage of the Vuelta a Colombia-U23 in April. Just like Merchan, this will be his professional debut.

Juan Diego Alba:

 


23-Year-Old Italian Alex Konychev to Continue his Development with Team BikeExchange in 2022
23-year-old Alex Konychev has re-signed with Team BikeExchange for another year after turning professional with the squad in 2020.

The Italian neo-pro had a disrupted initial season as a WorldTour rider after suffering from COVID-19, but since recovered well and has settled his way into professional peloton throughout 2021, displaying his great strength and potential for the future, after some standout performances when assisting his teammates.

Brent Copeland, General Manager on Konychev:
“Konychev is still young, and we see a lot of potential in him. He is becoming more mature as a rider and as a person, and this is an important phase of his career. We will do everything possible to support his growth, and we are sure he will demonstrate his talent with strong performances already in the first few races of the new season. It’s a crucial moment for his professional career. He has only been with us for two seasons, but has already acquired the spirit of GreenEDGE Cycling and for us, this is also very important.”

Alex Konychev:
“I chose to stay in Team BikeExchange because, first of all, it is the squad that really believed in me and that offered me the contract to become a professional rider. After two years of gaining experience, I am increasingly convinced that it is a team where, not only can you work very well for others, but a team that also offers the best conditions to continue professional growth. For next season, I hope to be able to repay the trust that the team has given me, and this will also include the achievement of significant results.”

Alex Konychev:
Date of Birth: 25th July 1998 (23)
Nationality: Italian
Joined GreenEDGE Cycling: 2020
New Contract: 2022

 


Alpecin-Fenix ​​Signs Henri Uhlig
Alpecin-Fenix ​​has added Henri Uhlig to its U23 squad for next season. The 20-year-old German talent has a good sprint in his legs and can also handle shorter climbs. Last year he raced for Rad-Net Rose.

Uhlig started last season in Croatia where he finished second in the prologue of the Istrian Spring Trophy. In the last stage, the German proved his good form with another second place. After that he had a difficult period, but he was still fourth in the opening time trial of the Oberösterreichrundfahrt. At the German championships, he finished twelfth in the U23 time trial and rode the pro road race.

In the second half of the season, Uhlig, who wants to do well in the classics and the one-day races, did the Etoile d’Oir and the Tour Alsace, among other races. He also started the Deutschland Tour with the German team led by John Degenkolb and Jonas Rutsch. Uhlig also rides cyclo-cross, in 2020 he was 6th in the German U23 championship.

Henri Uhlig:

 


Yousif Mirza Joins UAE Team Emirates for Another Year
Yousif Mirza will compete for UAE Team Emirates next year, the 33-year-old rider from the United Arab Emirates told WielerFlits. Mirza has been part of the team since 2017 and is preparing for a sixth season at WorldTour level.

Mirza had 22 race days for UAE Team Emirates this year. Mirza started the season with national titles in time trial and road, before taking part in the GP Miguel Indurain and the Challenge Mallorca. In 2021 Mirza also rode the Ruta del Sol, Vuelta a Murcia, the Settimana Ciclistica Italiana and several autumn races in Spain, France and Italy.

Mirza is still waiting for his debut in a Grand Tour, although it is doubtful whether he will ever appear at the start of the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France or Vuelta a España, given the internal competition within UAE Team Emirates.

Yousif Mirza:

 


Vini Zabù Joins the Family of Partners of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux can rely on an additional partner for 2022. Indeed, Italian brand Vini Zabù joins the family of sponsors of the UCI World Team from Belgium. Vini Zabù is the Sicilian branch of Italian wine group Vini Fantini, which is historically involved in Italian and international cycling, lately as title sponsor of an Italian Pro Team since 2020. Vini Zabù will appear on the race kits of the riders of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, which will be unveiled in the beginning of 2022. Moreover, the products of the Italian organisation will be consumed throughout the season by the riders, staff and partners of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. The partnership was presented this Wednesday at Vini Fantini headquarters in Ortona, Italy, in the presence of CEO Jean-François Boulart, COO Maxime Segers, Sports Director Valerio Piva and Rider Lorenzo Rota and of the Sciotti family.

Vigneti Zabù is the Sicilian winery part of Fantini Group. The winery is located in the heart is the wine region: Sambuca di Sicilia, in The province of Agrigento. An extraordinary area untouched by factories and rich in oenology history with ancient vineyards of over 60 years old, Sambuca di Sicilia is a land of generations of vintners. With bright skies and the crystal-clear waters of Lake Arancio. Vigneti Zabù works in the area to preserve the nature and ensuring the highest quality of the grapes.

Led by Jean-François Bourlart since the takeover in 2001 of the amateur club VC Ath, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert has climbed the cycling ladder step by step. It competed at Continental level in 2008 before becoming Pro Continental in 2011, achieving success in the Amstel Gold Race 2016 thanks to Enrico Gasparotto and three overall victories in the UCI Europe Tour 2017, 2018 and 2019. In 2021, the structure acquired a World Tour license and compete in the most prestigious events, with a roster of thirty riders from eleven different nationalities. During its first year in the elite peloton, the team made resounding debuts in the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España with a stage victory in both Grand Tours, in addition to nine days leading the general classification of the Vuelta.

Jean-François Bourlart (CEO Intermarché Wanty Gobert): “We are delighted by this partnership with the great Italian group Vini Fantini, and in particular its subsidiary Vini Zabù. We have had a long love affair with Italy, not only because we have welcomed many Italian riders in our team, but also because of two key moments in our team’s history: the victory in the 2016 Amstel Gold Race thanks to Enrico Gasparotto, an Italian rider, as well as the magnificent success of Taco Van der Hoorn on our very first Giro d’Italia, which triggered then a series of victories for the team. In addition, our structure is renown for its friendliness and family aspect. We had the opportunity to taste the Vini Zabù products during our team building and share them with our partners during our end of season Gala, and they will greatly contribute to maintaining the family atmosphere! We look forward to defending the colours of Vini Zabù and helping them to further establish themselves in the Belgian and French market.”

Giulia Sciotti (Marketing Manager Vini Fantini): “After thirteen years of presence in Italian teams with the group Farnese Vini, we’re happy to start this unprecedented partnership with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. The team is omnipresent in breakaways and distinguishes itself by its combativeness. Nowadays, the team is recognised for its achievements in the most prestigious cycling events. Just like our group, the structure stands for a clean and honest sport as it is driven by passion and love for the job. The presence of the Vini Zabù logo on the team kits offers a great guarantee in terms of visibility for Vini Zabù on the sportive side, but also in commercial terms. Belgium is one of our major export partners, so it is a fantastic opportunity for our group to reinforce its position on the market.”

 


Strength in Diverse Talent: Team BikeExchange Jayco Women Confirm Roster and Goals for 2022
Team BikeExchange women, to be named Team BikeExchange Jayco in 2022, has confirmed its 13-rider roster for the next season, with the goal of using its diverse talent across the board, as it sees its most significant roster change since the team’s inception in 2012.

“The work done over this last year, working together with performance and technical team, has been very intense and I do believe that we have managed to put together the best line-up possible for the 2022 season,” General Manager Brent Copeland stated. “We have deeply analysed what has been done in the past and how we have to manage our future. Last season wasn’t the easiest for us, but with the talent and determination of our riders and staff members, we believe can step back up in the WorldTour ranking once again.”

Strength in diversity
2022 will see six new riders from four different countries join the Australian outfit with their attributes ranging from raw power to track speed and valuable racing experience.

The influx of different traits and abilities should allow the squad to be competitive in an array of races as it looks build on the 2021 season and develop into the future.

“Next year is really exciting for us as we have six new riders joining us, all with different strengths,” Head Sport Director Martin Vestby explained. “This is something that I think will be to our advantage, having a real variety of riders that can challenge for the victory from many different race scenarios.

In the past we have often had one or two main leaders, next year we will of course have leaders for certain target races but in general, we are known as a team that gives opportunities to more riders and will continue doing that.”

A mix of new and old
The shake-up sees just three core riders remain (Amanda Spratt 11th season, Jess Allen 7th season, Georgia Williams 6th season) with all other riders having spent one year or less with the squad. With this, it brings a flair of fresh motivation and enthusiasm as the Australian outfit begins its second decade within the rapidly progressing women’s WorldTour peloton.

With new rider ages ranging from 22 to 33-years-old, the squad is hoping this will go hand-in-hand, with the older wisdom in the team complimenting the youth.

“It is almost like a new, fresh start for us in 2022,” Martin continued. “We will see quite a big change to the roster compared to previous years and this is an exciting challenge for us, and I think it will make the whole team step-up a level.

The older riders in the team, like Spratt who has been here since 2012, will be able guide the new recruits and show them our team culture and riding style and likewise, they can learn a lot from the new riders and their ideas.

It will be really interesting to see how the six new riders can progress and develop with us in 2022, as they will all be making the step up into the World Tour with us. This is a big step for any rider, but we saw the likes of Teniel and Urška making great progression this season, and both were able to win UCI races in their first year with us.”

Team BikeExchange Jayco women for 2022:
Jess Allen (AUS, 28)
Ariana Fidanza (ITA, 26)
Amanda Spratt (AUS, 34)
Teniel Campbell (TTO, 24)
Alexandra Manly (AUS, 25) New rider for 2022
Georgia Baker (AUS, 27) New rider for 2022
Nina Kessler (NED, 33) New rider for 2022
Chelisie Tan Wei Shi (SIN, 31) New rider for 2022
Ruby Roseman-Gannon (AUS, 23) New rider for 2022
Kristen Faulkner (USA, 28) New rider for 2022
Ane Santesteban (ESP, 30)
Georgia Williams (NZL, 28)
Urška Žigart (SLO, 24)

2022 Team BikeExchange Jayco women’s squad stats:
No. of riders: 13
No. of Australians: 5
No. of internationals: 8 (1x NZL, 1x ITA, 1x TTO, 1x NED, 1x USA, 1x ESP, 1x SLO, 1x SIN)
Youngest rider: Ruby Roseman-Gannon (22)
Oldest rider: Amanda Spratt (34)
Average age: 27.7.

BikeExchange Jayco’s Amanda Spratt:

 


Tour de Pologne Full Route Revealed
Seven stages from Kielce to Krakow with a lot of unreleased tracks.

The 79th edition of the Tour de Pologne, UCI World Tour race, was officially presented today, during the live on TVP Sport. There, Czeslaw Lang explained in detail the seven stages of the Polish race that will take place from 30 July to 5 August 2022.

As in the previous edition, the riders will have to compete on a pretty varied and impressive route facing short, steep and decisive climbs, just like in the past but more than in the previous edition. The time trial will again be the key point of the race, although in 2022 it will be an uphill time trial. In addition there will be three stages for pure sprinters, two for climbers and one will suit the Classics specialists. A long and intense race is expected with a total of 1.226,7 kilometres across some of the most beautiful places in the country.
“The route will be very interesting. We will be riding on unprecedented and very difficult terrains, as we are introducing a new challenge – the uphill individual time trial,” declares Czeslaw Lang, Tour de Pologne General Director. “90% of the route of the Tour de Pologne 2022 was already set at the end of last year’s edition, which ended with Joao Almeida’s victory. In the following months we completed it and now we will work, as usual, to give a wonderful experience to the riders, teams and our passionate supporters,” he concludes.

The stages in detail
Stage 1 Kielce – Lublin
– The 79th edition of the Tour de Pologne UCI World Tour will start in Kielce, a big city with a glorious mining past, lying in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains. The first stage will be the first chance for the fast wheels. After 220 kilometres, the riders will face a slightly uphill finish with 300 metres at only a 4% gradient in the centre of Lublin, which was the departure city of the 2021 edition.

Stage 2 Chełm – Zamość – The second stage will unfold between Chełm and Zamość for a total of 203,9 kilometres and about 1200 metres elevation gain. These two cities together – also featured in the last edition of the race – represent Poland’s medieval and Renaissance cultural heritage with a rich history and architecture. Once again, the stage will favour the sprinters with a city circuit on paved roads.

Stage 3 Kraśnik, Powiat Kraśnicki – Przemyśl – Starting from Kraśnik and arriving at Przemyśl, the 229,7 kilometres long stage will be the first test for climbers. The route is characterized by the initial completely flat 190 kilometres and a very hard second part, where the circuit includes three climbs over a distance of 40 kilometres and a gruelling finale with the last ascent featuring sections of 14 to 15% gradients.

Stage 4 Lesko, Powiat Leski – Sanok – The 176,8 kilometres long stage four, will start from Lesko, a fourteenth-century city near the valley of San river, in the area characterised by the stretching ridges of Sanok-Turczan mountains. The undulating route, with various ups and downs, is quite suitable to the Classic’s riders, considering the final quite hard 500 metres before the finish line heading in the city centre of Sanok. Here the puncheurs will undoubtedly be the favourites.

Stage 5 Łańcut – Rzeszów – The 205 kilometres long stage five will start from Łańcut, famous for its homonymous castle, and promises to be hard and selective with a total of 2970 metres elevation gain. The route is characterized by several climbs which will select the peloton. The final 20-kilometre circuit around the city includes an unprecedented climb of 14% gradients before the finish in Rzeszów, a capital with a modern soul and a rich historic centre, also home to one of the most important Universities of Technology.

Stage 6 Szaflary – BUKOVINA Resort – The sixth stage will be a 15,4-kilometre individual uphill time trial between Szaflary and the BUKOVINA Resort. The route runs entirely on paved road with 415 metres elevation gain, a turning point in the entire race. For sure, here the riders will have a chance to make a difference on the GC.

Stage 7 Valsir, Skawina- Kraków – The 79th Tour de Pologne ends with a 175 kilometres stage with an elevation gain of about 1971 metres. The 7th stage will start from Valsir’s company, based in Skawina, a very charming town in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship, only 15 kilometres south-west of Krakow.

After two climbs in the first 40 kilometres and a slightly uphill route, the sprinters will have the opportunity to organise themselves in the final 30 kilometres leading up to the race finish. As a tradition, the 2022 edition of the Polish race will end up in the splendid setting of Krakow, a city of kings. Its historic centre has been recognised by UNESCO as one of the 12 most precious heritage sites in the world.

 


Vuelta a España Will Pass Through All Three Basque Provinces in 2022
The Vuelta a España will visit all three provinces of the Spanish autonomous region of the Basque Country next season. After the start in the Netherlands and the transfer to Spain, the race will first pass through Álava for a day and in the following days through Gizpuzkoa and Biscay. On that last day, the riders leave the cycling crazy region to continue in Cantabria to the west.

This was reported by the Spanish sports newspaper AS, which previously wrote about the return to the Basque Country. Now that the official presentation of the route of the upcoming Vuelta a España is getting closer and closer, the newspaper is reporting more details about the passage through the Basque Country. The fourth stage is said to start in Vitoria on Tuesday, August 23, and the route will lead to Laguardia. Race director Javier Guillén responds to the continuing interest of the provincial government of Álava in stages of the Spanish tour.

A day later, on Wednesday 24 August, the fifth stage starts in Irun and finishes in Bilbao. The irregular landscape on the edge of the Bay of Biscay offers opportunities for a tough route. Irún also volunteered for the Gran Salida last year, after the Netherlands withdrew due to the corona pandemic. Bilbao is the starting place for the sixth stage a day later (Thursday 25 August). From there, the route heads to Cantabria, where a finish is planned on the Pico Jano.

The final route of the 2022 Vuelta a España will be announced on Thursday, December 16 at the Palacio Municipal in Madrid. The Spanish tour starts on Friday 19 August with a team time trial through Utrecht, after which the peloton remains in the Netherlands for two more days. Also, the race will almost certainly return to the Extremadura region next year.

Vuelta a España in the Basque Country:

 


Dwars door Flanders 2022 Route
The route of Dwars door Vlaanderen 2022 was presented on Thursday in the Hippodrome of Waregem. The WorldTour race will again take place over thirteen climbs, but there are quite a few changes compared to last year. The race traditionally starts in Roeselare and finishes at the Schakelweg in Waregem.

The 76th edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen, which will take place on Wednesday March 30, 2022, is undergoing a small metamorphosis. “It is not that we have invented new hills, but the peloton is entering terrain that you will not encounter in Kuurne or in Harelbeke,” Guy Delesie, who as secretary of Waregem redesigned the course with Flanders Classics, told Het Nieuwsblad.

The 2022 edition is characterized by three ‘new’ slopes. Delesie: “They have been there for a long time, but they are never used in this way in the race. Then I think of the Zeelstraat in Zulzeke, which is unknown to the masses. Or the Stooktestraat in Berchem, which comes ten kilometres after the first Côte de Trieu. That is the road on which they ride down after the Paterberg in the Tour of Flanders. Well, we do it in reverse.”

“It is quite long uphill and relatively unknown. We wanted to get off too many familiar slopes that recur all too often.” And then there is also the Ladeuze, which this time is not ridden down but up. On this Flemish hill of 1200 metres at 5.6%, with a maximum gradient of 16%, the race may explode. The Ladeuze is less than 40 kilometres from the finish and could possibly the important climb of the race.

Two well-known slopes will no longer be on the course: the Kluisberg and Taaienberg. “We removed the Kluisberg for safety’s sake. The number of traffic elements is constantly increasing and many immovable islands have been added. For that reason, the cobblestones of the Stationsberg are not included. That descent is just a bit too dangerous to see riders fall there just before the Tour of Flanders,” says Delesie.

The (semi) Classic, won this year by Dylan van Baarle climbs thirteen slopes. In addition to the new climbs and the deletion of the Kluisberg, Taaienberg and cobblestones from the Stationsberg, the riders will race twice over the cobblestones of the Mariaborrestraat and the Steenbeekdries in Etikhove. A double portion of Côte de Trieu is again part of this one-day race.

In addition to the 76th edition for men, next year there will be the 10th edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen for women, which starts and finishes in Waregem. The women ride the final 90 kilometres of the men’s course. “They also get one and a half loops from the past Belgian championship in Waregem. The roads are relatively narrow, winding and continuously up and down,” according to Deleise. The last edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen for women was won by Annemiek van Vleuten. The women’s race is still at level 1.1, but the intention is to aim higher in the long term.

Dwars door Flanders:

 


The Region of Murcia Wants to Honour Alejandro Valverde with Special a Vuelta Stage
The Vuelta a España will race in Murcia next year and the region of southeastern Spain wants to honour its distinguished resident Alejandro Valverde, who will be ending his long career at the end of next season, with a special stage that is tailor-made for him, reports the Spanish sports paper Marca.

According to the paper, Murcia will have the race on its territory for one day with a stage finish. Reportedly, the finish of this stage is tailor-made for Alejandro Valverde, who will retire from cycling at the end of next season.

“You know more than I do with Marca, but it is clear that every stage in Murcia is going to be very beautiful,” said Valverde when told of the plans for his home region. “By the way, if it’s a finish that suits me, so much the better. It will be a huge incentive. I would love to win there.”

Valverde hopes to shine again in the Vuelta next season. In 2009 he won the Spanish tour and in 2003, 2006, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2019 he finished on the podium. In his farewell year, he wants to combine the Vuelta with the Giro d’Italia, but no Tour de France. The final route of the Vuelta will be announced on Thursday 16 December.

Valverde looking forward to his last Vuelta a España:

 


Johnny Carera In Intensive Care After Traffic Accident
Johnny Carera, the agent of Tadej Pogačar and Vincenzo Nibali, and other riders, is in intensive care after a serious traffic accident. Carera, who runs the management agency A&J All Sports with his brother, collided with a truck in his car on Friday evening.

Carera was driving near Agrate Brianza, 20 kilometers northeast of Milan, when his car collided with a truck traveling in the wrong direction, La Repubblica reported. According to eyewitnesses, the collision between the two vehicles was “very violent”. Carera was trapped in his car and the fire brigade had to be called in to free him. Carera was then taken to a hospital in Milan; he is said to have suffered head, back and limb injuries.

The truck driver, however, was unharmed. After the collision with Carera’s car and with another truck, he collided with a guardrail and came to a stop. The fire brigade had to smash a window to free the driver from his perilous position in the truck, whose engine was still running. The driver was taken to a hospital in nearby Vimercate for a check-up. He may have been guilty of excessive drinking, according to the Italian newspaper.

Update: The situation of Johnny Carera is concidered serious by the hospital in Milan. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the hospital has released a medical bulletin announcing that the manager of Tour winner Tadej Pogačar and Vincenzo Nibali, is in intensive care. In the medical bulletin, the hospital said that Carera has suffered serious trauma, with injuries that could lead to serious organ failure. “The clinical condition is very serious. He has been admitted to intensive care and placed in deep sedation.” Doctors are not yet able to provide a prognosis about Carera’s condition.

Johnny Carera runs the management agency A&J All Sports with his brother Alex Carera. Alex spoke to La Gazzetta. “The perforation of his left lung is especially serious. He has a collapsed lung, because his lung was hit by several broken ribs. Johnny can’t breathe on his own unless he is helped by the machines. He is therefore in an artificial coma.”

Pogačar with his agent, Johnny Carera:

 


Beñat Intxausti is Released from Hospital After Car Accident
Former cyclist Beñat Intxausti was involved in a serious traffic accident in Spain on Saturday evening. The Basque was the driver of a car that collided with a wall due to aquaplaning. According to Tuttobiciweb, the 35-year-old Intxausti, ex-rider of Euskaltel-Euskadi, Movistar and Team Sky, was en route with three other passengers on the highway to Madrid. He was not speeding, but due to water on the road, he lost control of the vehicle. The car then crashed into a wall. Intxausti, like two other passengers, were released unharmed, the Italian website reports. The fourth occupant was hospitalized with serious injuries.

After the Basque rider ended his career in 2019, he started working as a scout at the management agency A&J All Sports, the same agency owned by Johnny Carera who was also involved in a car accident.

Beñat Intxausti:

 


Deceuninck – Quick-Step Launches “The Wolfpack Way”
Get a unique behind-the-scenes look of The Wolfpack’s 2021 season.

2021 was another spectacular year for The Wolfpack. 65 victories topped off by another triumph in the UCI World Team Classification. Winning the Omloop, E3, De Ronde, and Flèche, taking victories and the green jersey at both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, conquering Olympic gold on the track, the Worlds on the road, and so much more.

All these beautiful moments were captured by the team’s photographer Wout Beel and are now published in ‘The Wolfpack Way’, in cooperation with Lannoo. In this book you can relive the whole season: the relaxed and funny moments, the full action ones during training and races, the triumphs and all the emotions that the riders and staff of Deceuninck – Quick-Step experienced.

The texts inside the book are translated into Dutch, English and French – all in one version.

Get your copy from Tuesday 30th November onwards on our webshop and enjoy this fantastic book!

 


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