The 2020 Tour de France has started and what a start! Lotto Soudal lose two top riders – TOP STORY. All the race news from the Tour, La Course, European Champs, Druivenkoers, Memorial Marco Pantani and Brussels Classic. Team news from Lotto Soudal, Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Lotto Soudal, BORA-hansgrohe and AG2R-Citroën. Contract news form Bahrain-McLaren, Équipe Paule Ka, Sunweb and Total Direct Energie. Injury news from Circus-Wanty and a song for the 2020 Vuelta a España. Tour EUROTRASH!
TOP STORY: John Lelangue: “A lack of respect for a champion like Degenkolb”
The first stage of the Tour de France 2020 went dramatically bad for the Lotto Soudal team. The Belgian squaud saw two important riders leave the race – John Degenkolb and Philippe Gilbert. Gilbert broke his kneecap in one of the many crashes and a battered Degenkolb finished outside the time limit.
Degenkolb was involved in one of the many crashes during the race, which left him trailing. The German finished the stage, but crossed the finish line out of the time limit. Degenkolb crossed the finish line in Nice 17:58 after Alexander Kristoff, the time limit was set at 15:50.
The race jury was relentless and decided to take the unfortunate German off the race. According to team manager John Lelangue, a rider like Degenkolb deserves more respect. “John did his best to finish the first stage. It is not that he deliberately rode slowly, to attack in the following days.”
“When you hear that after such an incident filled stage he crossed the finish line barely two minutes late and be disqualified… That is a lack of respect for a champion like Degenkolb.” The strong sprinter had X-rays taken after the stage, but has not suffered any fractures after the stage in and around Nice.
Degenkolb will have to rest for the coming period, as he suffers from fluid accumulation around the knee joint. His teammate Gilbert will be out for even longer with a broken kneecap. Lelangue: “It remains to be seen how Gilbert will recover from this. It was a tough day. In 27 years I have never seen such an opening stage with so many falls.”
Tour 2020 over for Degenkolb:
Tour de France 2020
Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) won the first bunch sprint of the 2020 Tour de France on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice at the end of Stage 1, beating world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Cees Bol (Sunweb). It’s his fourth stage win in the Tour de France after two in 2014 and the conclusive stage in Paris in 2018. The 33 year old is the second Norwegian to take the yellow jersey after Thor Hushovd.
176 riders took the start of the 107th Tour de France in Nice. Michael Schär (CCC), Cyril Gautier (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) and Fabien Grellier (Total Direct Energie) rode away from the peloton right after the flag off. They reached the finishing line for a first passage after 38.5km with an advantage of 2:40 over the peloton that experienced a first crash involving top sprinter Sam Bennett. His team-mate Julian Alaphilippe slipped in a wet downhill at km 65 and fought his way back afterwards while Russian rookie Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadier) struggled for a while at the back after a serious crash.
The peloton slowed down to wait for the injured riders and avoid further damages. Sivakov crashed again after he made it across. More crashes occurred and affected top sprinters Caleb Ewan and Giacomo Nizzolo. Grellier was the first breakaway rider to get reeled in. Schär and Gautier who passed the côte de Rimiez in that order got caught at km 98. The regrouped peloton slowed down due to the rainy conditions. It enabled Nizzolo and Ewan to come back. Astana broke the gentleman agreement but as Omar Fraile sped up in a downhill, Miguel Angel Lopez lost the control of his bike and bumped into a traffic sign. The Colombian got back on.
The peloton rode slowly until Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale) launched an attack with 22km to go. He got reeled in 13km before the end. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) was caught in a crash with 3km to go. It was a 5km long straight line on the Promenade des Anglais. Kristoff had no lead out but he followed Peter Sagan before he timed his effort at perfection to give no chance to Pedersen and Bol to overtake him.
Stage winner and overall leader, Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates): “I couldn’t dream of a better start. This is a dream come true with not only the stage win I was aiming for but also the yellow jersey. In the last kilometre, I was alone but I felt strong and I was sitting on Peter Sagan’s wheel for a long time. I still had the legs to finish it off even though my run in to the Tour de France hadn’t been great. I crashed a few days ago. It’s an amazing moment for me at the age of 33. It means a lot for my career and my kids.”
2nd on the stage and overall, Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo): “It was pretty hard actually. This is my first Tour, so I actually realised today that the average speed is quite high the whole day. The peloton stuck together as a unit today and took it easy on the tricky downhills. On the bike you could actually see how much oil was on the road so it was nice to see the peloton stand together and decide to [descend] together and start racing again at the bottom. For me to finish second was super nice, the boys did a really good lead-out, but I lost them a little bit. Now that I was this close, I would have really liked to make the win, but I think I can be happy with a second place. Of course, I’m racing to win so I’m a little disappointed, but I can also be happy. It’s super nice to start my first Tour, the only thing I could hope for more was obviously the win. I’m happy with how the boys did the sprint for me today and how we’re going together.”
3rd on the stage and overall, Cees Bol (Sunweb): “In hindsight maybe it was a bit too early but I really got to sprint full gas for the line, and Kristoff was just faster,” explained Bol at the finish. “Overall I’m actually really happy to be in the mix and the confidence grows because of this. In the last kilometres my team did a really good job to support me and we were always in a good position and safe. For sure a sprint is always hectic, but with the support of my team it was not too crazy. I’m not too disappointed with third but it’s a bit of a mixed feeling; it’s my first race in a long time but it’s my first podium at the Tour de France. I think now already we can look back on some things that we can do better and I think we’ll be close more often in the coming sprints.”
4th on the stage and overall, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It was a dangerous day with the roads being very slippery. I tried to do my best and stay safe, but in the final I didn’t make the best decision. When Michael went, I let another rider slot in thinking he will go early, but that didn’t happen, so I dropped the speed and had to accelerate again, but it was too late. It’s a pity, because I had good legs, but I’m confident other opportunities will come next week.”
5th on the stage and overall, Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a very hard stage with a crazy finale. The last 5km were all the way headwind, the bunch was very nervous, a big mess. Sprints like this one with headwind are always a lottery and I think you also need good luck at times.”
Break rider, Michael Schär (CCC): “It wasn’t really the plan to go in the breakaway but we had a plan to be active at the start. I was looking for bigger groups but I followed the first move and that was the one that stuck. I knew the rain would make it unpredictable racing and it wasn’t easy with the downhills. I was actually feeling very comfortable, very confident with my tires and my tire pressure was perfect. I could see the peloton wasn’t giving us any margin so the only thing to go for was the KOM jersey. I misjudged the first climb and did a bad sprint and the second one, I won. Then I thought it would be possible to have it but because we were on the same points, we had to sprint to the finish line to be the first over the line to get the jersey. This is something I don’t like to do because I was in the spill with the sprinters in the worst possible position where the mess starts. With 3km to go, they went down and Colbrelli went down hard in front of me and I could brake but it was so slippery so my wheel went sideways and I went over my handle bars. I have almost no bruises but my rip is hurting now so we will see tomorrow.”
Tour de France Stage 1 Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff Nor) UAE-Team Emirates in 3:46:23
2. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
3. Cees Bol (Ned) Sunweb
4. Sam Bennett (Ire) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
5. Peter Sagan (Slo) BORA-hansgrohe
6. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
7. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling
8. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept p/b KTM
9. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
10. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 1:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates in 3:46:13
2. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 0:04
3. Cees Bol (Ned) Sunweb at 0:06
4. Sam Bennett (Ire) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:10
5. Peter Sagan (Slo) BORA-hansgrohe
6. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
7. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling
8. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels – Vital Concept p/b KTM
9. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
10. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo.
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick Step) took his fifth Tour de France stage victory in Nice after he launched a strong and well timed attack in the last climb at the end of Stage 2. He out-sprinted debutant Marc Hirschi (Sunweb) on the line and paid a tribute to his late father. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), the third breakaway rider, rounded out the podium. The Frenchman who led the Tour de France for fourteen days last year is back in the yellow jersey.
173 riders started stage 2 in Nice as Philippe Gilbert (Lotto-Soudal) and Rafael Valls (Bahrain-McLaren) were unable to compete due to a fractured kneecap and femur respectively. Attacks started after the flag. It put Peter Sagan and Lukas Pöstlberger, (Bora-Hansgrohe), Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale), Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Michael Gogl (NTT) and Matteo Trentin (CCC) in the lead. After winning the intermediate sprint at km 16, Trentin had a flat tyre so the front group was reduced to seven riders. They enjoyed three minutes lead after 30km of racing. UAE Team Emirates seized the command of the peloton en route to col de la Colmiane, the first category 1 climb of the 107th Tour de France.
Cosnefroy attacked 1.2km before the top of La Colmiane. He reached the summit alone and formed a leading quartet with Perez, Gogl and Asgreen on the downhill. As the front group of seven reunited, Jumbo-Visma took over from UAE Team Emirates at the helm of the peloton. The Arabic squad decided to set the pace again in the ascent to col de Turini where the time difference went up to 3:30. Sagan lost contact with the breakaway group up the hill. Perez out-sprinted Cosnefroy at the top while the peloton was timed with a deficit of 2:20. Yellow jersey holder Alexander Kristoff was no longer part of the pack, neither was runner up, world champion and white jersey holder Mads Pedersen.
The six leading riders got reeled in at the beginning of the ascent to col d’Eze with 40km to go. Nicolas Roche (Sunweb) passed first at the top. Critérium du Dauphiné winner Dani Martinez (EF) crashed in the downhill but made it back to the pack on the finishing line with one lap of 17.5km to go. Alaphilippe attacked with 13km to go. Hirschi (Sunweb) went across to him while Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) crashed after touching the back wheel of Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos). Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) counter-attacked and rejoined Alaphilippe and Hirschi at the front. Yates took the 8 seconds bonus at the top, before Alaphilippe and Hirschi with an advantage of 20 seconds over the peloton. They kept the same gap until the red flame of the last kilometre and contested the win. Alaphilippe out-sprinted Hirschi while Yates crossed the line in third place. Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) and Sergio Higuita (EF) took the first two places of the peloton.
Stage winner and overall leader, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I wanted so much to get a stage victory for my late father. This was my main goal coming into the race. Everything that comes from now on is a bonus, but I wanted this victory for him and knowing that I got it makes me so happy. Having Kasper in the breakaway put us in the perfect position, as we could wait for the final climb. Then Dries pushed a steady tempo on Col d’Èze, before Bob took over on Quatre Chemines. This incredible effort of my team was instrumental in the victory I got. Winning in the Tour always feels special. It’s true that this is my fifth victory, but it always is a different feeling. It means a lot to win here and to be in yellow. Le Tour is the biggest race in the world and wearing this prestigious jersey is always an honour. I’m not here for the overall, but we’ll try to respect the maillot jaune and defend it for as long as possible. I can tell you I will enjoy every single moment I’ll spend with it on my shoulders.”
2nd on the stage 3rd overall and best young rider, Marc Hirschi (Sunweb): “When Alaphilippe attacked on the last climb I wasn’t directly on his wheel and I was a bit scared that I might blow up, but I knew if I came to his wheel that it was flat on the top and I could recover a bit,” explained a buoyant Hirschi at the finish. “I was on the limit and just needed to recover a bit so didn’t do too much work, otherwise I would completely explode. I knew that when I went over the top I could also do some work with them and I think Yates had the most pressure for the GC. I was on Alaphilippe’s wheel at the finish but he was just too strong in the sprint. For me it’s really nice to have this jersey. At the first moment I was a little bit disappointed because I was so close to yellow, but in a few minutes I’ll be really happy about it. I’m really happy with how my shape is and I’ve made some more good progress since the Dauphiné. Already now the Tour is a success for me because I get to wear the jersey but we’ll try and go for another day success later in the race.”
3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): “It was a really hard day out, even the climbs at the beginning were being ridden at a solid pace and you could feel the fatigue as we came onto the climb the first time, you could see there were a lot of people suffering, just like me. There were already two up the road and when they went it was still quite early and Jumbo-Visma were riding quite a hard pace anyway. So, I waited until the little steep bit and jumped across and tried to work straight away. In the final I got away with the two guys, we started working well towards the end, and yeah, I was never going to win that sprint, was I? So, I think third was the best I was going to come out of that situation. It was a block headwind and I ended up on the front, not a good scenario for me there, but like I said, I was probably never going to be winning that sprint anyway, they’re both faster than me. So, I can be happy with third.”
KOM, Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale): “The polka dot jersey is a dream. It wasn’t the goal at first, but it became the goal over the course of the day. I’ll savour this moment. I was in a breakaway of rouleurs, who escaped when it was flat. The ascent of Col de la Colmiane went well enough, and I was able to grab the points at the top. It was more complicated on the Turini where my breakaway comrades gave me a hard time. I am not the best climber in the peloton, but I will fight to defend this jersey. We’ll see how far that takes me.”
Break rider, Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a long day but a good one. I had to fight to get more points for the green jersey and I think we did a good job for that in the intermediate sprint. I’m happy Emu finished with the main group and we’ll continue giving our best every day.”
Tour de France Stage 2 Result:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:55:27
2. Marc Hirschi (Swi) Sunweb
3. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC at 0:02
5. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling
6. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
7. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana
8. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
9. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
10. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro Cycling.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 2:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in8:41:35
2. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:04
3. Marc Hirschi (Swi) Sunweb at 0:07
4. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling at 0:17
5. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
6. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott
7. Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers
8. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic
10. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis.
La Course by Le Tour de France avec FDJ 2020
Britain’s Lizzie Deignan (Trek Segafredo) made the best of her current form and perfect teamwork to outwit title-holder Marianne Vos and world champion Annemiek van Vleuten and win La Course by Le Tour de France avec FDJ on Saturday. The 2015 world champion, supported by team-mate Elisa Longo-Borghini, surged on the line to narrowly upstage Vos while unheralded Dane Demi Vollering (Parkhotel Valkenburg) finished third. Poland’s Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon) was the 6th member of the decisive breakaway launched by van Vleuten in the second ascent of the 96-km circuit around Nice.
The initial ascent of Cote de Rimiez started to skim the peloton as the pace was high until the top, where Luxembourg’s Christine Majerus (Boels Dolmans) led the way and collected three points in the KOM classification.
Former world and European champion Maria Bastianelli (Ale BTC Ljubjana) of Italy was among the first riders to call it quits while Spain’s Sheyla Guttierez, the Movistar leader, was unable to keep in touch with the front of the bunch, led by most of the favourites.
In Aspremont, at the top of the long 16-km climbing stretch, the pack had lost nearly half of the 137 riders at the start.
The technical descent to Nice split the peloton even more, as rain started to pour, and a group emerged, including Elsa Longo-Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), Chistine Majerus, Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon), Lotte Kopecky (Lotto Soudal), Cecile Ludwig (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine) and Anna Henderson (Sunweb). The six briefly led the chase by 40 seconds before the regrouped main bunch caught them in the outskirts of Nice.
At the start of the second ascent, Annemiek van Vleuten decided to take the reins and raised the pace significantly. Lizzie Deignan was the first to take her wheel, followed by her Trek Segafredo team-mate Longo-Borghini, Marianne Vos, Niewiadoma and Dane Demi Vollering (Parkhotel Valkenburg). The six held a minute’s lead at the top of the climb and 1:20 in Aspremont. Deignan tried to attack early in the descent as Van Vleuten stayed at the back and Niewiadoma led the way downhill, as she had done in the first lap, followed by Vos and Deignan.
At the bottom of the climb, the six led the pack by 1:30 and were left to battle it out for victory.
With three current or former world champions in the break, the finale was an exciting one even if the slight headwind made it difficult for van Vleuten to surge and avoid a sprint finish. She tried to with 2 km left but was reeled in. Longo Borghini also tried her luck but she was also brought back by Vos. A last attempt by the Dutch world champion under the red flame was also quashed. Vos counter-attacked and looked set for victory but Deignan timed her sprint to perfection to beat her on the line. The Briton had previously finished second in La Course in 2017 while both Vos and van Vleuten had won the race twice before and were denied a treble.
Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo): “I’m really relieved that I won it. What a great overall performance by the team. Every one of my team-mates did a great job today. This is phenomenal because sometimes when you train hard and you don’t win you get frustrated and then when it comes at last, you’re really relieved. The period is pretty good for me. It’s pretty special because I’m close to home and I can’t wait to talk to my husband my daughter on the phone.”
La Course by Le Tour de France avec FDJ Result:
1. Elizabeth Deignan (GB) Trek-Segafredo in 2:22:51
2. Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv
3. Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
4. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-Sram Racing
5. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott
6. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:07
7. Emilia Fahlin (Swe) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope at 1:50
8. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Valcar-Travel and Service
9. Soraya Paladin (Ita) CCC-Liv
10. Liane Lippert (Ger) Sunweb.
European Women and Men’s U23 Road Championships 2020
In Plouay it’s Annemiek Van Vleuten’s day. In the Men’s Under 23 win by the Norwegian Hvideberg.
Annemiek Van Vleuten won in Plouay (France) the title of Road European Champion in the Women’s Elite category.
The current Dutch World Champion triumphed in a head-to-head sprint with the Italian Elisa Longo Borghini, bronze medallist in the Road race at the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympic Games. The Pole, Katarzyna Niewiadoma finished third.
The Netherlands and Italy were the countries who controlled the race right from the start pushing forward their riders who took the lead. In the final stages, a group of ten riders remained in front. Just before forty kilometres from the finish, Elisa Longo Borghini, Annemiek Van Vleuten et Katarzyna Niewiadoma made a breakaway, followed soon after by another Dutch rider, Chantal Blaak.
Several breakaways were made in the last lap, the last by Elisa Longo Borghini at approximately two kilometres from the finish. Annemiek Van Vleuten did not leave any gap for the Italian and achieved a decisive win in the final sprint, winning the first European title of her career.
The Men’s Under 23 race was held in the morning and also featured numerous breakaways, especially by Debaumarche (France) and Kulset (Denmark), then by three other riders Geßner (Germany), Repa (Czech Republic) and Van den Berg (Netherlands), who lead a strong attack. In the final stages, 15 riders caught up the leading men.
In the last few kilometres, when a sprint between the eighteen attackers seemed to be on the cards, the Norwegian Hvideberg broke away from the leading group, followed by the Dane Charming and the Czech Repa. These three riders then battled for the title in torrential rain with a sprint clearly won by Jonas Iversby Hvideberg ahead of Charmig and Repa.
European Women Road Championships Result:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) in 2:50:46
2. Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy)
3. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Poland) at 0:05
4. Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (Netherlands)
5. Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France) at 2:29
6. Lisa Brennauer (Germany) at 3:27
7. Lotte Kopecky (Belgium)
8. Marianne Vos (Netherlands)
9. Elena Cecchini (Italy)
10. Amy Pieters (Netherlands).
Annemiek van Vleuten:
European Road Championships 2020 – Final Day
The 2020 Road European Championships finished in Plouay (France) with a win by Germany in the Mixed Relay. The team including Lisa Brennauer, Mieke Kroger, Lisa Klein, Miguel Heidemann, Justin Wolf and Michel Hessmann rode the 54.6 kilometres of the circuit (27.3 km for the men’s trio and 27.3 for the women’s) in 1:14:14 at an average speed of 44.120 km/h.
Second place at 26 seconds for the Swiss (Kathrin Stirnemann, Marlen Reusser, Elise Chabbey, Claudio Imhof, Stefan Bissegger and Robin Froidevaux), third for Italy (Vittoria Bussi, Elena Cecchini, Vittoria Guazzini, Liam Bertazzo, Edoardo Affini and Davide Plebani).
In the morning, the Dane Kasper Andersen won the title of Junior European Champion after a very close sprint in which he won in the photo-finish beating the Czech Pavel Bittner and the Belgian Arnaud De Lie. The race did not include any long breakaways due to the very fast pace and the fact that the teams of sprinters completely controlled every move. A group sprint was therefore unavoidable and was won by the 18-year-old young Dane.
In the Women’s, the race developed around the tactical control between Italy and the Netherlands. The two national teams were the most active throughout the entire race, swiftly reacting to each breakway and controlling the main peloton, reduced to around thirty riders.
In the closely fought sprint, Eleonora Gasparrini gave an incredible performance, winning the race ahead of the Belgians Marith Vanhove and Katrijn De Clercq.
In the 2020 Road European Championships final medals table, the Netherlands came in first place with three gold medals and two silver, in front of Italy (3 gold medals, 1 silver and 3 bronze) and Germany (2, 1 and 1).
The German Mixed Relay Team:
Sénéchal solos to victory at Druivenkoers
Frenchman becomes 12th different Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to win a race this year.
Florian Sénéchal confirmed his strong condition, which in the past weeks netted a fourth overall at Tour de Wallonie and a podium finish in the Bretagne Classic, and notched up an impressive victory at the 60th edition of an exciting Druivenkoers Overijse.
One of the team’s main cards at the start, together with Davide Ballerini, the 27-year-old joined a counterattack launched with 50 kilometres to go, a move that saw five men join the original breakaway, which had animated the 194km-long race from the outset. The newly-formed ten-rider group enjoyed a one-minute lead over a depleted peloton going into the final laps of the circuit that featured three climbs, including the Schavei, a regular presence at Brabantse Pijl.
While Davide Ballerini tracked a strong attack of Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Florian responded with ease to an acceleration coming from the Dutchman’s teammate, Dries De Bondt. Just like that, they opened a promising gap on their former companions, who got swept by the small bunch, that in the meantime had managed to bring back Ballerini and Van der Poel. De Bondt tried again on the steepest section of Schavei, only for Sénéchal to jump on his wheel and put in an attack of his own, that dropped the Belgian before the top.
On the short technical descent, Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Frenchman extended his advantage and was left with plenty of time to celebrate his first official victory of the season (following last month’s GP Vermarc), one that rewarded his aggressive way of racing and superb form shown since the competition resumed at the end of July. Davide Ballerini made it two Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders in the top 10, after concluding the race in fourth place.
Druivenkoers winner, Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It’s a nice victory after my disappointment in Plouay. I knew I was strong so that gave me a lot of confidence. Our team had a lot of bad luck recently, with many injuries, and winning this race is good for the morale and motivation. I talked with Davide before the start and decided on a strategy that would see me attack and him stay fresh for the sprint-“
The Frenchman, who on Sunday will be again on the start line, for the Brussels Cycling Classic, continued: “When De Bondt went, I followed him and together we made it to the front group, but things didn’t stop there and he attacked again on the last lap. I jumped on his wheel, we rode together full gas and maintained a good gap on the chasers. Then, on the last climb, I preferred to attack instead of waiting for the sprint and gave everything there. I can’t tell you how happy I am to finish it off for the team!”
Druivenkoers – Overijse Result:
1. Florian Sénéchal (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:37:32
2. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:08
3. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:15
4. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
5. Sean De Bie (Bel) Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles
6. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
7. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. Nick van der Lijke (Bel) Riwal-Securitas
9. Jasper Philipsen (Ned) UAE Team Emirates
10. Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe.
Memorial Marco Pantani 2020
After 199km the Astana rider Fabio Felline sprints to his first win of the season, taking the victory after a demanding day in the saddle, while Manuele Boaro represented Astana Pro Team in the day’s breakaway.
The 17th edition of the one-day race took the riders from Castrocaro Terme e Terra del Sole over almost 200 kilometres to Cesenatico. The circuit included three times the climb Montevecchio before the race headed towards the final laps.
The race was marked by many attacks and counter attacks. Manuele Boaro was quite active at the front of the race, presenting the Astana Pro Team colours.
On the final laps, the breakaway was caught and a bunch sprint was set up. The Kazakh team started to form their lead-out for their sprinter Fabio Felline. In an exciting and fast finale, the Italian rider sprinted to his first win of the season.
Memorial Marco Pantani winner, Fabio Felline (Astana): “What can I say, it is such a relief to take this win. My last win was some time ago, therefore I am so happy to have won today. I want to say thanks to the team for doing such an amazing job, bringing me into position. But also to our main sponsor Samruk-Kazyna for their trust in me. It was a long and demanding day, but we worked very well together and took control of the race. Heading into the finale, the guys brought me into position and I waited for the perfect moment to go and then I just went. I am super happy with my result as it shows that all the hard work of the last few months has paid off. I had a change in my program after my crash at Strade Bianche, we changed my race calendar and taking the win here gives me confident for my upcoming races as well.”
5th, Andrea Pasqualon (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “Contrary to the Trofeo Matteotti last Saturday, I felt good today. Simone and Jan worked very well to close the gap with the leaders. As I was one of the only fast riders remaining in the peloton, my competitors kept an eye on me. This didn’t make it an easy final for me. With 20 kilometre to go, I bridged towards the leaders. Unfortunately we were caught and I burnt some energy before the sprint.”
Memorial Marco Pantani Result:
1. Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana in 5:05:25
2. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
3. Alexandr Riabushenko (Belarus) UAE Team Emirates
4. Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
5. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Circus-Wanty Gobert
6. Carlos Barbero (Spa) NTT Pro Cycling
7. Simone Velasco (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo
8. Alessandro Fedeli (Ita) NIPPO DELKO One Provence
9. Raffaele Radice (Ita) Sangemini Trevigiani Mg.k Vis
10. Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè.
Brussels Classic 2020
The victory in the Brussels Classic 2020 went to Belgian champion Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix). He was the first to cross the finish line at the Atomium in the Belgian capital after 203 kilometres.
Jan-Willem van Schip (BEAT), Julien Duval (AG2R-La Mondiale), Jasha Sütterlin (Sunweb), Loïc Vliegen (Circus-Wanty Gobert), Cedric Beullens (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Julien Van den Brande (Tarteletto-Isorex) made up the break of the day. The maximum lead for the six was 4 minutes.
As the hilly section approached 50 kilometres from the finish, BORA-hansgrohe took the initiative in the peloton. The gap to the front runners was reduced to 1 minute. In rainy conditions, Pieter Serry tried to escape, but he did not get away. Pim Ligthart, Cyril Lemoine, Emmanuel Morin, Tom Wirtgen and Alex Mengoulas succeeded. They pursued the break, but were caught on the Bruin Put climb.
After the Menisberg, a new foursome of Serry, Dries De Bondt, Julien Vermote and Mikkel Honoré tried to cross over to the Van Schip group. With the peloton chasing, they connection with the leaders at 21 kilometres from the finish. A general regrouping followed, after which a bunch sprint seemed inevitable.
Jasper Philipsen, one of the contenders in a sprint, opted for an attack in a soaking wet finalé. He had Aimé De Gendt and Ilan Van Wilder with him, which forced Alpecin-Fenix to chase. A cloudburst over Brussels did not make the final any easier for the riders.
The sprinter teams tried to put their fast-finishers in ideal positions on the front. Deceuninck – Quick-Step first took control of the sprint for Davide Ballerini, after that Arkéa-Samsic came forward for Nacer Bouhanni. In the end the Frenchman saw Belgian champion Tim Merlier come alongside in the final straight line. The Alpecin-Fenix leader crossed the line first, ahead of Ballerini and Bouhanni.
Brussels Classic winner, Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix): “It is special that I can still take a victory in the Belgian tricolor after the corona break. Now I am going to Tirreno-Adriatico, hopefully I can also win a stage there. I came together with Jonas Rickaert asked to sit in front, after the penultimate corner. I was not sure whether I should sit down or stay seated, but Jonas knows exactly what to do. I am grateful to him for that. In the sprint I thought I was going a bit too early, but it fell neatly into its fold. When Bouhanni came with his train I thought: all or nothing. I was able to get out well, punch a hole and hold on to it. It was very slippery, but I thought it was not too bad all in all. It certainly wasn’t to my disadvantage, but I did think back to last year for a while. Then I was alone, now I still had men around me. I am really a sprinter who must be brought to the line. They did a great job today.”
2nd, Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “The team was really great, all the guys pulled for me and made sure of bringing back the breakaway. The final was a bit dangerous with the rain and those roads, and I was maybe a bit too far when the sprint started and paid for that. I am disappointed because I had the legs and wanted to win. On the other hand, I’m happy that there’s nothing serious after that crash. That corner shouldn’t have been there, but fortunately I am ok and can continue my preparation for the next races”
3rd, Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic): “It was very dangerous. The finish was just before a bend, and there was also a white line on the road. We arrived at tremendous speed and threw ourselves into the corner. There my front wheel slipped on a very wet stripe. It was very dangerous after the finish, because at full speed we could not make that turn. I was racing at full speed at that moment and at the last moment I turned my head, out of reflex. I didn’t want to go into the gates with my face full. Now I have problems with my neck. Tomorrow I’m going to have X-rays because I also have trouble breathing.”
Break rider, Loïc Vliegen (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “I enjoyed this day in the breakaway. We formed a nice six rider group, and I expected to stay in the front for a long time. I wanted to wait for the final 60 kilometre to accelerate and disturb the plans of the peloton. But the rain changed my ideas, because the nervousness in the peloton caused an acceleration. We had to fight hard to keep our advantage around 1 minute. We played and we lost, but I’m ready for the Tour du Doubs next Sunday.”
Brussels Classic Result:
1. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix in 4:48:39
2. Davide Ballerini (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
4. Florian Vermeersch (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
6. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Lawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Romain Seigle (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
Change of Tour de France Staff at Team Lotto Soudal
After a PCR test, specific to SARS-Cov-2, revealed two non-negative cases, Team Lotto Soudal decided to send home two members of staff, as well as their roommates. Safety remains priority number one.
Despite all efforts made by all staff and riders in the weeks prior to the Tour de France, two tests did not give the desired negative result. A first test, six days prior to the race, was negative for all riders and staff. The second test, performed on Wednesday 26 July, gave one positive and one suspicious result. For this reason, in order to protect the health of the team and the race, these two staff will not be allowed to continue. As a safety measure, and to respect the Covid-19 Measures Tour de France Protocol, their risk contacts will leave the race as well.
After months of intensive training, Lotto Soudal is still very motivated to perform well in this Tour de France. The team hopes the two involved recover well and that this Tour de France can go till Paris with healthy people.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Settimana Coppi e Bartali
A young six-man team will take on the four-day Italian race (1-4 September).
A hilly morning stage suited to attackers but also to some sprinters will open the 35th edition of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali next Tuesday, before the traditional afternoon team time trial, which can be split in two: a flat 5.8km section followed by a more testing second part, that will see the road rise all the way to the finish.
A testing circuit around Sogliano Al Rubicone, punctuated by several climbs that will culminate with an uphill finish, and a day that will have as main attraction the tough Monte Carpegna ascent will see the general classification contenders emerge before a mouth-watering final stage in Forli. There, in the city that Cesare Borgia conquered five centuries ago during his futile campaign of unifying Italy, a leg-sapping circuit featuring the Rocca delle Caminate (3.5km, 6.4%) will be tackled seven times.
João Almeida and Andrea Bagioli, who have put in several remarkable outings this year that produced a series of impressive results at the Volta ao Algarve, Vuelta a Burgos, Tour de l’Ain or Giro dell’Emilia, will be at the start in Gatteo, part of a very young Deceuninck – Quick-Step squad that will also include Mikkel Honoré, James Knox, Pieter Serry and another neo-pro, Mauri Vansevenant.
“We can’t wait to see our youngsters in action next week at this race which awaits us with several challenges, from the team time trial to the hard climbs that could create significant gaps between the overall contenders. We are going there pressure-free but with the same desire and motivation to get a good result, so we’ll just take it day by day and see what happens,” said Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Davide Bramati.
01.09–04.09 Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali (ITA) 2.1
João Almeida (POR)
Andrea Bagioli (ITA)
Mikkel Honoré (DEN)
James Knox (GBR)
Pieter Serry (BEL)
Mauri Vansevenant (BEL).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA) and Brian Holm (DEN).
Jack Haig Joins Team Bahrain McLaren
We are thrilled to announce that Jack Haig has signed with Team Bahrain McLaren on a three-year deal.
The 26-year-old Australian, who is renowned for his climbing ability, will play a key role in Team Bahrain McLaren’s rider line-up and future. Jack began his cycling journey on a mountain bike, winning the u23 National Champions, before turning his attention to road cycling. In 2016 he stepped up to the UCI WorldTour level making his debut at the Vuelta España the same year. Jack’s first big win came just one year later on stage 6 of the Tour of Pologne and last year he claimed 4th overall in Paris Nice.
Everyone at Team Bahrain McLaren is excited by the opportunity to help Jack realise his full potential as a world-class athlete. Jack is a talented rider with meticulous attention to the details that make the difference; what’s more, he’s team orientated, approachable and determined.
“I’m extremely excited to be joining Team Bahrain McLaren in 2021”, said Jack Haig. “Although the team is still somewhat in its infancy, the people within the organisation possess an extraordinary amount of drive, talent and expertise which make this such an exciting opportunity to be a part of”, Haig said.
Haig added, “After five wonderful years at Mitchelton Scott I am ready for this new challenge and contributing to the journey of Team Bahrain McLaren”.
Rod Ellingworth, Team Principal, said “We want every one of our riders to push themselves and find out how good they can be. In Jack’s case, he’s shown us his potential, so I see an exciting future ahead of him. But to achieve the sort of success we want for our riders, it’s down to every member of the team to pull in the same direction. That’s the sort of culture we have been building at Team Bahrain McLaren. I look forward to working with Jack and helping him achieve his personal goals.”
We welcome Jack’s arrival and look forward to building on the success the team has already delivered in its debut year.
Lizzy Banks Extends with Équipe Paule Ka
We are pleased to announce that Lizzy Banks will continue to ride in the colours of Équipe Paule Ka. Having joined the team in 2019, the British rider has excelled as part of our squad, producing several memorable results, including a stage win at the Giro d’Italia Femminile, a series of top ten performances in one-day races, including this year’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, as well as several top ten finishes in stage race general classifications. She most recently took a highly impressive second place in the WorldTour race, Grand Prix de Plouay, a testament to the British rider’s continuous development within the team.
Lizzy Banks remarks about her contract extension: “Since joining this team, I have noticed significant physical and tactical development, but I still have more room to progress in both areas, and Équipe Paule Ka is the best place for me to continue along this path. I love being able to pass on what I’ve learnt to my younger teammates, and we have a fantastic core group of riders here. I’m keen to continue what we started together earlier this year, when we were working together brilliantly as a team. In addition, having Paule Ka come on board and commit until 2024 shows the ambitious nature of this team. I am incredibly grateful to them for their support and am very excited to embark upon a new chapter in professional cycling that will merge our sport with the fashion scene. I am also delighted that Leah Thomas has extended her contract with the team as well. We work very well together in races, and we ride with a similar attacking style. I’m sure that together with our amazing teammates, we will create something very special in the upcoming races.”
Team owner Thomas Campana reflects on Lizzy’s contract extension: “She’s a very good example of what the team stands for. We signed her two years ago, as a rider without significant experience on the European circuit. However, it was clear that she had set goals and a lot of motivation, and she has since found her home in our very ambitious and young group, which is fantastic to see. She is one of those riders who is key to driving the spirit within our team, and so we’re very excited to see her extend her contract for the next two seasons. The team will continue to assist her as much as possible to become the highly-successful rider that she’s on the path to becoming, and we’re confident that she’ll be able to achieve this goal.”
Lotto Soudal Extends Ridley’s Contract
Never change a winning team. With that in mind, the Belgian bicycle manufacturer Ridley and Lotto Soudal headed for the negotiations. Given the – on both sides – great satisfaction with the current partnership, the result followed swiftly: a contract up to and including 2022.
“Both Ridley and us share the same vision of cycling,” said Lotto Soudal General Manager John Lelangue. “Performance, quality and continuous research and development. In short, we aim for the best there is on the market.”
“We have been sponsoring Lotto Soudal for 13 years,” says Jochim Aerts, CEO of Belgian Cycling Factory, the parent company of Ridley. “In 2005 they gave us a chance at the highest level. Together we immediately won three stages in the Giro and the Tour that first season, thanks to Robbie McEwen. A year later our first Green Jersey was a fact, the start of a fantastic and long-term partnership.”
Ridley and Lotto Soudal collected 319 victories over those years, more than half of them on their flagship, the Ridley Noah Fast. The sprinters bike was therefore manned by top sprinters such as Robbie McEwen, Andre Greipel and, since last year, Caleb Ewan.
“Sponsoring a WorldTour team is not only important for brand awareness,” says Jochim Aerts, “but Lotto Soudal is also essential for the development of our racing bikes. That is why we are extremely proud that we can extend our contract for a further two years.”
BORA and hansgrohe Extend with Ralph Denk Until 2024
Both flagship German companies will remain as the respective main and title sponsors of the team from Raubling. Particularly in these difficult times, this makes a strong statement about Ralph Denk’s team as well as the sport of cycling.
“It makes me proud to be able to continue to count on the support of our two most important sponsors, because it is also a testament to our hard work. We have already achieved a great deal in recent years, and in a very short period of time at that. This would not have been possible without BORA and hansgrohe. I would like to thank them both for this. I think we have created an environment that, on the one hand provides riders with the opportunity to bring out their best performances, and on the other hand, also offers our partners a professional platform through which to achieve their marketing goals. This multi-year commitment now also provides us with a security of planning that is necessary to embark upon the next steps in our development as a team. We are currently working on what exactly those steps will entail. In any event, my big dream is a Tour de France victory, and we would also like to win the WorldTour in the next few years. We still have a lot of work ahead of us yet.” – Ralph Denk, Team Manager.
“For BORA, the sponsorship was quite the windfall from the very beginning. We made a conscious move to go against the mainstream when we decided almost six years ago to become the main sponsor of a professional cycling team. After careful consideration, we were convinced that this suited us, is authentic, and achieves our marketing goals perfectly. There are many parallels between BORA as a company and the team of Ralph Denk: we remain deeply connected to our home region, yet possess an international orientation, we are constantly developing and at times embark upon unconventional paths, we recognise and provide chances, we do not shy away from competition, and we pursue our goals efficiently and with great passion.
And our success has proven us right on both sides. At BORA, we have been conducting regular monitoring since 2015 and have clearly noticed that brand awareness has multiplied, that we are growing much faster and stronger in markets with a connection to cycling, and that the group of people interested in cycling in particular has a much clearer picture of BORA and our products. “Never change a running system,” they say, however, to keep the system running on both sides, long-term planning security is vital, particularly in times when planning security is a more important concept than ever before.
That’s why we decided to extend our sponsorship commitment early, until the end of 2024. This will allow the team to continue to consistently develop, and also gives us the opportunity to benefit from sponsorship as a sustainable multiplier in our strategic marketing planning. We are also looking forward to further developing our highly successful cooperation with our partner, Hansgrohe.” – Willi Bruckbauer, founder and CEO of BORA.
“We can look back on what’s been an incredibly successful partnership with BORA and Team BORA – hansgrohe. In our four years together, we have reached significant achievements on both a sporting and personal level, and that’s why we have decided to take this next step together. With the extension of our sponsorship, we reiterate our confidence in the team and its management. Our most important goal was to make hansgrohe and our innovative products for the bathroom and kitchen even more well-known across the globe. The positive effects on our brand and our consistently pleasant cooperation with the team to this day are factors that have undoubtedly confirmed our decision. Our common vision with BORA is to become number one in professional cycling this coming season. The drive to give one’s best, to deliver top quality and to operate sustainably connects not only our brands, but also our team. I am therefore looking forward to a strong Tour and wish the guys all the best!” – Hans Jürgen Kalmbach, CEO of Hansgrohe Group
Team Sunweb Allow Michael Matthews to Continue Career Elsewhere
Team Sunweb are developing and building for the future, aiming to become stronger in width. One of their goals includes the formation of strong, dedicated blocks of riders for the one-day races and sprints, to create options for different scenarios in the finales.
Michael Matthews, still under contract until the end of 2021, indicated that the team’s tactical approach to the sprints and classics – a more varied method, which takes advantage of the team’s increased collective strength – doesn’t precisely fit his athletic profile nor his preference of being the team’s targeted fast finisher. The team’s evolution of tactics for classics and sprints made Matthews request to look for new opportunities after 2020 elsewhere. The team decided to cooperate on the move.
Michael Matthews said: “The team is very ambitious and increasingly want to work with a broader collective of riders deeper in the finales of classics and sprint races. Those tactics do not ideally fit with my ambitions and specific strengths to sprint for the wins. For that reason, I decided to ask permission to investigate opportunities to look for a different team and I appreciate that Team Sunweb was open for this.
“I always have been very happy with the team’s professional environment and the wealth of knowledge that they have. I hope that I can find a similar environment in my next team. Through the years we have achieved amazing things together which I am very proud of, these memories will stay in my mind forever and I am very thankful to the team for that.”
Team Sunweb’s Iwan Spekenbrink said: “We are now in a position where the composition of the team has changed, and we want to exploit that broadened collective strength in the classics and the sprints. We respect that Michael has been open about his view on our goals and tactics in relation to his own specific strengths. Michael is an incredibly gifted rider; he is ambitious, we’ve really achieved great things together and he has been a good fit to the team. All of this combined made us decide to respond favourably to his request to search for opportunities elsewhere.”
Niki Terpstra Will Stay with Total Direct Energie in 2021
Niki Terpstra has extended his contract with Total Direct Energie for one year. The 36-year-old Dutchman joined the French ProTeam in 2019 and his contract expired at the end of 2020. Thanks to his new contract, Terpstra will also be a rider with Total Direct Energie in 2021.
The French team says that Terpstra is “more motivated than ever” now that he has recovered from his heavy crash in June. “He will race with the knife between his teeth, with the desire to shine in the classics at the end of the season,” he said. “The contract extension is therefore no coincidence. He remains fully integrated in our project.”
Terpstra made his comeback in the peloton two weeks ago in the Tour de Wallonie, exactly two months after the training accident. Terpstra is currently riding the Tour Poitou-Charantes in France. All this in build-up to the autumn and the Flemish classics.
The Sick Bay of Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans Doesn’t Get Empty
The season restart was not without troubles for Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans. The Belgian team had bad luck, even before the first race, as Maurits Lammertink broke his collarbone during the recon of the Strade Bianche. With the Dutch rider recovering after an operation, other riders crashed with varying consequences. The most affected rider was Quinten Hermans, who missed the polkadot jersey at the Criterium du Dauphiné because of a crash in the downhill. He tore two muscles in his forearm and was operated to eliminate the hematoma around the muscles. On Friday evening, the cyclocross rider was taken to hospital with an infection. He will be operated a second time this Saturday.
The Breton week wasn’t more successful, as Fabien Doubey, Boy Van Poppel and Xandro Meurisse crashed. The three riders avoided fractures, but suffer other injuries. Fabien Doubey, who crashed at the Bretagne Classic, injured the head of his radius and his ribs, just like Boy Van Poppel. Xandro Meurisse was involved in a big crash at the European championships and has several bruises and burnt skin. The trio was forced to take some rest.
Yoann Offredo, who had an ankle operation during the off-season, can still not train intensively and will not race anymore this season. His situation possibly requires a new operation and several months of immobilisation. The French rider will find comfort in a new role as a consultant for France television during the evening programme of the next Tour de France.
Quinten Hermans: “Because of the big hematoma at my forearm, it lasted several days and medical examinations before the torn muscles were discovered. The hematoma was removed operationally, now I have to wait until the muscle fibres re-form. Unfortunately, nine days after the operation, I don’t feel a rapid improvement. The doctors don’t know how long the recovery process will take. I’m still not able to stretch my arm. This means that limit my training to strength training, running and roller training. I can’t wait to return back on the road!”
Maurits Lammertink: “After my operation, I soon returned on the road for easy training sessions. Thanks to many physio sessions, my shoulder is gaining power and mobility. Meanwhile, I’m training intensively again and I’m waiting for a positive signal at my next doctor visit on the first of September to restart the competition. I hope to receive a green light to participate at the Tour du Doubs, it would be a nice birthday present! I will finally be able to start my second season half!”
Fabien Doubey: “Because of my crashes at the Strade Bianche and the Bretagne Classic, I didn’t reach the level I hoped for at the restart of the competition. After several physio sessions, I rode my bike for the first time this Friday since my crash on Tuesday. For now, my recovery is going well, although my elbow is still in pain on a rough road surface. I don’t have contusions anymore, and my hips are in place again. It is a pity that I’m not able to race this weekend, but I prefer to give my injuries the necessary time to heal. I’m especially happy that I don’t have fractures. I’m hoping to be ready again for the Tour du Doubs!”
Boy Van Poppel: “Because of my crash at the Bretagne Classic, I have contusions and bruised ribs. At first, I wanted to withdraw from the start list of the Druivenkoers Overijse and the Brussels Cycling Classic, but finally I’m not in pain on the bike, and I want to be there for the team at these important races. I hope the pain will decrease soon, a good sign for my recovery process!”
Xandro Meurisse: “I’m suffering too much after my crash at the European championships last Wednesday, so I won’t be able to start at the Druivenkoers Overijse. It’s a pity, because I was very motivated for this race I won in 2018. My lower back is in a lot of pain, and I will take the time to let heal my abrasions at my elbow and hip.”
Yoann Offredo: “I’m going through a difficult period. My three big crashes last year resulted in an ankle operation, and since then my situation didn’t evolve in a right way. As soon as I start training more intensively, my tendon cracks. If you’re used to train 30 hours per week, and from one day to another you can’t walk anymore, it isn’t easy. Not physically, but also not mentally. With daily care and rehab, I’m fighting to recover my health and trying to walk again. I’m dreaming about continuing my life as a professional athlete. My next visit at the doctor in three weeks will bring a definitive answer. Before, I will be a consultant for French television in the evening programme of the Tour de France. I’m happy to shift my focus from my rehab to something different the upcoming weeks.”
AG2R-Citroën in the Peloton Until 2025, Budget of 23 Million Euros
The future of the AG2R-Citroën cycling team, as the team will be known from 2021, is assured up to and including 2025. Partly due to the arrival of the car manufacturer as a new co-sponsor, the French WorldTour team can count on an annual budget of 23 million euros.
With the increased budget AG2R-La Mondiale, as the team is currently called, has already made the necessary purchases. Greg Van Avermaet and Bob Jungels, among others, have already been hired for 2021 in the hope of moving to the front of the peloton, with an emphasis on the Classics.
Team manager Vincent Lavenu says that in 2022 there will be significant investments in the team. In addition, the team wants to take steps based on training, performance management and technology.
“We are proud to be able to start a new chapter in the history of AG2R Citroën,” said Lavenu. “We have found an excellent co-sponsor together with our title sponsor AG2R La Mondiale. Citroën has proven to be an ideal teammate for a team that wants to keep growing. I can’t wait to start our collaboration.”
André Renaudin (director AG2R), Vincent Cobée (director Citroën) and Philippe Chevallier (director AG2R-Citroën):
Il Lombardia Statement
We would like to clarify that we have been contacted by CADF earlier this week to discuss the incident surrounding Remco Evenepoel’s crash at Il Lombardia earlier this month.
As has already been stated publicly, the item that was captured being removed from Remco’s pockets was a small bottle containing nutrition products and was removed in order to help him to be placed more comfortably by medical staff on the stretcher. We have reiterated this to CADF and we will continue to cooperate with their enquires if needed.
With regards to the transmission of data, we would also like to clarify that data such as live location is transmitted by the Velon device that was installed on bikes during Il Lombardia by Velon in partnership with the race organiser. The devices allow everyone, including the fans, to track and see rider data live in the race.
We are confident that this will put an end to any further speculation surrounding the incident.
‘Como un Atleta’, By Carlos Baute, Official Song of La Vuelta 20
Como un atleta, by Carlos Baute, will be the official song of La Vuelta 20. The Venezuelan singer takes over from Alicante rapper Arkano and joins the long list of performers who have provided the soundtrack to the Spanish tour, ever since Sheyla and B. Devotion made the peloton dance to ‘Singing in the Rain’ in 1977.
With Carlos Baute’s participation in 2020, it will be the fourth time that a Latin artist sings the race’s official song. The first to do so was Cuban artist Gloria Estefan, with Conga, in 1987; seven years later, in 1994, Brazilian quartet Uakti did the same with Earth; and finally, Mexican artist Patricia Manterola, livened up the race with her iconic Que el ritmo no pare in 2002. “To be a part of something as major as La Vuelta is a great opportunity and an honour. La Vuelta is an event that represents hard work, overcoming challenges and has always been closely linked to music. I remember the great songs that have been part of La Vuelta’s official song history and I’m so happy to become a part of that lucky group”, confessed Carlos Baute.
Como un atleta is a happy, “danceable” song with a positive message. Accompanied by Latin rhythms, the lyrics talk about facing the problems life throws at us and overcoming them in order to continue growing, just as if we were athletes trying to overcome obstacles.
The official La Vuelta 20 video and the song’s videoclip will begin to be broadcast on the various RTVE channels starting this Sunday as a promotional preview of the race over the coming months and will be the introduction to the race’s broadcasting once La Vuelta officially begins on the 20th of October in Irún.
Carlos Baute, born in Caracas (Venezuela), has lived in Madrid for many years and will close the 75th edition of La Vuelta with his live performance once the 18th and final stage has come to an end, on the 8th of November, in Madrid.
● Como un atleta, by Venezuelan artist Carlos Baute, will be the song to accompany the peloton of La Vuelta 20 from its official departure in Irún on the 20th of October to the grand finale in Madrid on the 8th of November.
● It will be the first time a Latin artist sings the race’s official song since 2002, when Mexican artist Patricia Manterola sang Que el ritmo no pare.
● The official La Vuelta 20 video and the song’s videoclip will begin to be broadcast on the various RTVE channels starting this Sunday.
● More information about La Vuelta: www.lavuelta.com
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