Boom! Wout van Aert is back at the top in cyclo-cross, plus track racing form London. Deceuninck disappointed by Lefevere – TOP STORY. Other news: Fans allowed to Belgian cyclo-cross races, Mathieu van der Poel cross season, Tom Pidcock’s road season, Maurits Lammertink Unsure of the Future, Mark Cavendish to sign, Tim Declercq’s Kristallen Fiets award and Matej Mohorič Foundation. Team news: Lotto Soudal 2022 roster, Matthijs Büchli to be endurance rider, Jakub Mareczko to Alpecin-Fenix, Astana Qazaqstan team presentation, Winner Anacona stays with Arkéa-Samsic, NXTG by Experza women’s team, EF Education-NIPPO development team, Patrick Lefevere’s memories of a great 2021 season, 50 years of UAE, Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Ypres partner and INEOS Grenadiers new kit. Race news: Australian races to move, Flanders Classics own Gent-Wevelgem, Coupe de France 17 races, Eurométropole Tour date change and UCI Track Champions League cancels Tel Aviv event. Peter Sagan in Sportful for the next 10 years.
TOP STORY: Deceuninck CEO ‘a bit disappointed’ in Lefevere
Francis Van Eeckhout, CEO of Deceuninck, explains in conversation with Het Nieuwsblad why the company has opted for a four-year partnership with Alpecin-Fenix. A striking step, given that Deceuninck was the main sponsor of Patrick Lefevere’s WorldTour team for the past three seasons.
Van Eeckhout and Lefevere
Earlier this year, Deceuninck announced that they would leave as the main sponsor of the Quick-Step squad. Van Eeckhout and Lefevere are certainly not at odds and the CEO of Deceuninck looks back on the past period with pleasure. “You of the press will love that,” Van Eeckhout refers to Lefevere’s unvarnished opinions. “It’s not always easy with him, but Patrick certainly has a good heart.”
Lefevere announced this week that he did not blame Deceuninck. “We did not want to extend the collaboration – from our side. We were working on a project for five years. Deceuninck came at a favourable time, at the time just when we were struggling. They were a helping hand, but they got a lot in return. But they didn’t want to sign for five years now.”
Van Eeckhout sees this differently. “When we got into Quick-Step, we couldn’t start carefully. It was either become a main sponsor or done with the team. Don’t forget that certain riders had already received their notice by then. I am a bit disappointed in Patrick: he says that we had good years as a sponsor, but he forgets to say that we saved him. I am disappointed that he forgets that so quickly now that he has success with Evenepoel, Alaphilippe, Asgreen and co. Well, that’s life.”
Deceuninck is now fully focused on the new collaboration with Alpecin-Fenix, the team owned by the brothers Philip and Christoph Roodhooft. The fact that Alpecin-Fenix has its own women’s team, Plantur-Pura, is very important for the new co-sponsor. “We are charmed by the plan of the Roodhooft brothers. As a modern company, we want to participate in women’s cycling. Personally, I think that’s nicer, more gallant than the men’s race. We discussed that at Quick-Step, but Patrick is Patrick,” laughed Van Eeckhout.
Also important: Alpecin-Fenix currently mainly focuses on one-day races. “While Patrick is determined to win a Grand Tour, which is an expensive business. The budget of the teams that aim for this is twenty million more than that of the teams that do not. Without guarantees.” And then there is also the factor Mathieu van der Poel. Van Eeckhout: “I got to know him as a modest, down-to-earth young man. He is popular in the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Three important countries for us. Not many riders have that combination.”
Deceuninck also attaches great importance to cyclo-cross. “Cycling is not a world sport, but it ensures that you can support a rider for twelve months. Now we are left hungry from September to February, while it is important that the name of the company is also occasionally imprinted in people’s minds during that period. Cyclo-cross can take care of that.”
Deceuninck happy to be with Alpecin-Fenix:
Superprestige Boom Men 2021
Wout van Aert won the Superprestige cross in Boom on Saturday. The Jumbo-Visma Belgian didn’t wait for anyone and crossed the finish line with nearly 2 minutes in hand on Toon Aerts.
The Superprestige cross in Boom was all about the return of Wout van Aert and Tom Pidcock to cyclo-cross. Before the race, there was a big question mark over their heads, because after such a long period without riding cross, how could they compete again against Toon Aerts and Eli Iserbyt, who have been dominating in recent weeks?
It soon became apparent that the question marks were unnecessary, because Pidcock and Van Aert were immediately in the action. In the first lap they quickly asserted themselves at the front of the cross. Van Aert even dealt a blow to the competition on the first hill by being the only one to ride up it. Only Aerts was able to keep up with the Jumbo-Visma rider, but less than a minute later he slipped on the descent. The gap went from 10 seconds to a minute. Within 25 minutes the race was as good as over. Aerts and Iserbyt in fell back on the unleashed Van Aert. In the end, their deficit would rise to more than two minutes. The victory was undoubtedly for Van Aert, a crash in the penultimate lap did not change the result.
Behind Van Aert there was a battle for the overall in Superprestige. Ten riders competed in the last two laps for second place. For Aerts, Iserbyt and Quinten Hermans, the top favourites for the overall victory, it was a chaotic situation, because in an inattentive moment they could lose many precious points in a short period of time. Hermans would eventually lose the most points, he finished thirteenth and lost his second place in the standings. Iserbyt and Aerts made the battle more exciting. In the end, Aerts finished in second place, and is now two points behind the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider. Iserbyt came in fourth. Van der Haar was third.
Race winner, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “I didn’t expect this at all, of course not. I felt very good, so I was able to move quickly, then I suddenly saw that I had a big gap, because I did not see the fall of Toon Aerts. I thought I would make a difference with him. In the end I had to downshift a gear, but I still turned out to be faster than the rest. The crash at the end was because I was starting to get tired. I also had a nice lead, so it is dangerous to lose concentration. Oh well, it’s part of it. I don’t want to draw too many conclusions from today. I had a better start than hoped. I am pleased that training in the rain was not in vain. For Val di Sole I do have a scared heart. I’ve never been a snow king and it’s been years since I last raced in the snow.”
2nd, Toon Aerts (Baloise Trek Lions): “It’s unbelievable, actually. You knew he would quickly join the front, but he was very fast at the front. Maybe the tire pressure was a little too hard. The fall meant that I had to release definitively at the high pace that Wout was developing. For me it was a nice place as runner-up. You knew he would join the front quickly, but he was very quick up front. The fact that he continues immediately indicates a lot of self-confidence.”
3rd, Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions): “I don’t know what happened to me, but I didn’t get a foot ahead. I thought it was going to be a disaster. But in the second lap I felt more power. I drove back to the front, only one had already gone far. I didn’t fall, that makes a difference. But with all the mud on the course and that wind, it is very cold anyway. But I’m very happy with third place.”
4th, Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “The course suited him (Van Aert) well. On these courses he always finds a good track, where others cannot. I have to hope for a faster race if I want to compete with him. Next week (in Val di Sole) I hope to finish closer to him. The snow will be something new, so I’m curious how we will be then. I was very cold, with that splashing water. A difficult day for me, but still I tried to make the most of it. No, it wasn’t really my thing. In the final phase I wanted to pass Lars to still get on the podium, but I couldn’t anymore. Everyone made a lot of mistakes today, that’s how I saw Pidcock fall hard.”
7th, Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers): “It went pretty well. A seventh place is still a long way from winning, but it’s good if you look at my preparation. So I’m satisfied. There were just too many crashes. I got some scrapes. In that respect, the mud in Boom was not the ideal race to start my season, because you still have to get into the rhythm. I’ve never ridden in the snow, so I don’t know what it will be like. It only rains in Yorkshire, so I haven’t been able to train on it, haha.”
Adrie van der Poel (father of Mathieu): “Last week I told Toon Aerts’ father that Wout would win by one minute. I was right next to that, because it became two. We have been able to follow Wout in recent weeks, because he puts all his data on Strava. He did quite a lot of training work with a lot of cross training. We were able to match the clock that he would deliver a top performance. You have to observe the course. Very long tracks, very heavy, a lot of mud. As a road cyclist you can go much deeper on this course, you have a bigger engine.” What about Mathieu? “He is very calm at the moment. He cycles very little. He’s had a very tough season. He has chosen to take a very long rest period. Then we’ll see.”
Superprestige Boom Men Result:
1. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma in 56:29
2. Toon Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions at 1:40
3. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 1:48
4. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:52
5. Pim Ronhaar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 1:54
6. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 2:01
7. Thomas Pidcock (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 2:13
8. Mees Hendrikx (Ned) IKO-Crelan at 2:16
9. Thijs Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions at 2:22
10. Corne van Kessel (Ned) Tormans-Circus at 2:27.
Superprestige Boom Women 2021
Lucinda Brand won the Superprestige cross in Boom on Saturday afternoon. The cross rider from Dordrecht eventually stayed ahead of Inge van der Heijden and Denise Betsema.
With her victory in Boom, the World champion made her mark in the Superprestige. Before the start of the Superprestige cross in Boom, the difference between Brand and Annemarie Worst and Betsema was still one point, but on Saturday she extended her lead by two and five points respectively. In the mud of Boom, Brand had to work hard for her victory. Especially in the first laps Maghalie Rochette, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, Betsema and especially Inge van der Heijden were able to hang on, but towards the end of the race the World champion was alone. A mistake by Van der Heijden on the third lap certainly helped.
In the last fifteen minutes Brand was able to maintain her lead without too much effort. Her seventh victory in the last eight races, only missing out in Koksijde at the end of November. The battle for the podium in the final laps turned out to be more interesting. After bike problems halfway through the race, Betsema still managed to advance from sixth to third place. Before that she passed Fem van Empel, Rochette and Worst. In the last lap she still chased Van der Heijden, but the 777 rider held out.
Race winner, Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions): “I really had to get into my rhythm. When it’s cold, starting is even more difficult for me. I especially tried not to force it and luckily I had the time for that. When she made that mistake, I continued. It is then important to ride your own rhythm and not to wait. I could punch a nice hole. It wasn’t really an attack. When it’s that cold, you can really only go one pace. Just invest.”
Superprestige Boom Women Result:
1. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions in 47:24
2. Inge van der Heijden (Ned) 777 at 0:37
3. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:43
4. Maghalie Rochette (Can) at 0:59
5. Fem van Empel (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:04
6. Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777 at 1:18
7. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 1:38
8. Sanne Cant (Bel) IKO-Crelan at 1:53
9. Zoe Backstedt (GB) at 2:06
10. Aniek van Alphen (Ned) 777 at 2:24.
Archibald Delights Home Crowd in Action-Packed Third Round
A capacity crowd delivered a supercharged atmosphere amid explosive competition at the highest level of racing. All eyes now turn to tomorrow’s finale and the crowning of the series’ four inaugural champions.
After dramatic rounds in Mallorca and Lithuania, the intensity reached new levels tonight as the UCI Track Champions League reached its penultimate round. In the race to the top, the 72 world-class riders went into battle on the iconic boards of Lee Valley VeloPark for another evening of high speed action – the first round of a double-header grand finale.
In the Men’s Sprint League, Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) now leads by 14 points ahead of second placed Steffan Bötticher (Germany) and 46 ahead of Vasilijus Lendel (Lithuania). In the Women’s Sprint League, Emma Hinze (Germany) leads by just two points ahead of compatriot Lea Friedrich (Germany), with Kelsey Mitchell (Canada) in third – 27 points adrift. The Men’s Endurance League is led by Sebastian Mora (Spain) on 89 points, ahead of Gavin Hoover (USA) and Corbin Strong (New Zealand), second and third respectively on 84 points and 68 points. Local superstar Katie Archibald (Great Britain) extends her lead in the Women’s Endurance standings with 108 points, ahead of Annette Edmondson (Australia) and Kirsten Wild (Netherlands) on 73 and 72 points respectively.
Each of the four heading up the standings will wear the coveted UCI Track Champions League Leader’s Jersey in the grand finale tomorrow.
Over 5,000 fans packed the velodrome to welcome six local riders including track legends Ed Clancy and Katie Archibald alongside Sophie Capewell and Rhys Britton. Will Tidball and Josh Charlton, riding in the Men’s Endurance League, also joined in place of Tuur Dens and Jules Hester. 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 Three
Women’s Sprint League – Women’s Keirin Final
League leader Emma Hinze (Germany) missed out on a place in the final after she collided with close contender Lauriane Genest (Canada) in a high speed crash during the first heat. Whilst both riders were visibly shaken, they were able to compete in their next races. League rival Kelsey Mitchell (Canada) was also unable to qualify, having finished third in her heat. Germany’s Lea Friedrich capitalised on their absence, taking first place in the final ahead of Martha Bayona Pineda (Colombia) and Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) respectively in a fast sprint. Friedrich’s win saw her undo Hinze’s eighteen point advantage heading into the round in one fell swoop.
Lea Friedrich (Germany), winner of the Women’s Keirin Final, said: “There were two laps to go, I controlled the race and with one lap to go, I went really fast. It was an unbelievable feeling, it was really painful and a really hard race. I’m happy to have the points and now to the sprint race. It’s really close [the gap to Emma Hinze]. We go to the sprint race, then I will see the results.”
Women’s Sprint League – Women’s Sprint Final
The final saw German riders Emma Hinze and Lea Friedrich, first and second place in the Women’s Sprint league standings, go head-to-head. Having crashed out of the Women’s Keirin earlier in the night, Hinze needed to beat Friedrich to retain her leader’s jersey. The race began with a classic cat and mouse affair and progressed quickly to a fast-paced sprint. With a lap and a half to go, Hinze surged and held off Friedrich to take an impressive victory.
Emma Hinze, winner of the Women’s Sprint Final said: “I am really proud because after crashing in the keirin and managing to win. My body hurts a little bit but my head was still there and I wanted to win. I had some splinters in my ass that they took out after the race.”
Men’s Sprint League – Men’s Sprint Final
Steffan Bötticher (Germany) lined up alongside league leader Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) for the final after dominant performances in both the heats and semi finals. Bötticher led out from the front in a cagey build up, while Lavreysen kept his distance. The German launched with a lap to go but was unable to prevent Lavreysen latching onto his rear wheel as they hit the back straight. Lavreysen came round the outside to take the win in an exhilarating photo finish to the delight of the packed crowd.
Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands), winner of the Men’s Sprint Final, said: “It was a hard race. I expected Stefan [Bötticher] to be really quick. There was nothing easy about it, he did a really technical race. I did a really good build up and it was really hard to make a difference. I was lucky to have a slipstream in the last lap so I could get a little higher top speed. It feels good – it was only 3 points extra but every little counts.”
Men’s Sprint League – Men’s Keirin Final
Nicholas Paul (Trinidad & Tobago) led from the front, sitting right behind the derny as the race got underway. Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) occupied the last spot in the line, closely following his closest league rival Steffan Bötticher (Germany). As the derny departed, Botticher’s compatriot Maximilian Levy surged to the front, followed by Vasilijus Lendel (Lithuania). Lavreysen found himself too far back to truly contest the sprint that developed, while his rival Bötticher passed Lendel on the line for a valuable win.
Steffan Bötticher, winner of the Men’s Keirin Final, said: “It was a bit different. Harrie was at the back and the race went pretty fast early. He just moved and I could feel that he was maybe not that strong as in the sprint and I could hold him. If you go for more than a lap in third or fourth, you lose a lot of power. I also had the edge when it came to the finish line and I was fast enough to catch the win. I am the keirin king at the moment. I just hope that I have some good racing tomorrow again. I’m pretty happy to win here, it’s always special. I had a big victory here [in the UK] in the World Cup in 2013. It’s a big feeling to win here and hopefully I will have another chance tomorrow.”
Women’s Endurance League – Women’s Scratch
A cautious start to the Women’s Scratch saw the riders settle into a compressed peloton for the first half of the race. After ten laps of racing, the pace remained conservative, with race favourite Katie Archibald (Great Britain) sitting in towards the back of the bunch, in a race that was set to explode. The fuse was lit by veteran rider Kirsten Wild (Netherlands) who moved to the front with one lap to go, followed closely by Archibald – to the roar of the home crowd. Archibald took to the outside to pass Portugal’s Maria Martins and Kirsten Wild, but was unsuccessful in her attempt. Wild took the win, from Martins and Archibald – second and third respectively.
Kirsten Wild (Netherlands), winner of the Women’s Scratch, said: “I always think I remember everything and then actually it was like this: I always make the same mistake, starting too early in the front, but in the end it worked. I could accelerate to the final, normally I am too early but now I could still accelerate. I try not to think about [winning overall] – it’s quite an emotional feeling. I still see it day by day and I am still racing, I try not to think too much about it. There are still three races to go and it is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. One way, I’m happy that I am retiring as it’s my own choice – my body, my back injuries…. But then also it’s hard because cycling is a big part of my life, my everyday life, my social life, my whole life. So it’s also a bit of a strange feeling and a bit sad. I will miss this family and this feeling.”
Women’s Endurance League – Women’s Elimination
Anita Yvonne Stenberg (Norway), one of Katie Archibald’s main rivals, was eliminated early on in the race. Archibald, meanwhile, bided her time, staying close to the back and taking several risks across successive elimination laps – as the crowd cheered on. Maggie Coles-Lyster (Canada) was the next big name to exit early, as the British rider continued to risk it. With each lap, and each close call, the home crowd grew louder. With three riders left, Archibald rolled around the outside of Australia’s Annette Edmondson, leaving her to face off against the Women’s Scratch winner Kirsten Wild (Netherlands). Catching Wild out, Archibald attacked immediately, building a strong advantage. The crowd roared as Wild surrendered in the chase, leaving Archibald to take a comfortable win. A standing ovation followed from the capacity audience.
Katie Archibald, winner of the Women’s Elimination, said: “I really knew before we got on the start line, if I was going to do anything I would have to go as soon as possible, make it as long as possible. Speed endurance rather than speed. It was super special [winning in front of a home crowd]. It’s good but I felt a lot of pressure coming home. I’ve had a lot of really important experiences here, both early on in my career and some big successes. It means a lot to be here and I’m glad to deliver.”
Men’s Endurance League – Men’s Scratch
Early attacks led to an action-filled first ten laps in the Men’s Scratch. However with seven laps to go the pace steadied. The lull allowed Swiss rider Claudio Imhof to quietly go clear from the main bunch with an attack just six laps from the finish. Imhof’s lead then quickly grew to half a lap. With the crowd roaring in support, he maintained his advantage ahead of an uncooperative group and secured the win with three laps remaining. Trailing over a quarter of a lap behind, Kazushige Kuboki (Japan) and Sebastian Mora (Spain) came home in second and third respectively, long after Imhof crossed the line in celebration.
Claudio Imhof (Switzerland), winner of the Men’s Scratch, said: “It didn’t feel so good at the start but then I tried to really hang on the first five to ten laps. I knew I’d never win the scratch like this in the sprint, so I really made it a good moment to attack and really gave it a go all in. With the crowd here in London, it really reminded me of the Worlds at 2016 and to feel the atmosphere when you’re in front solo, it really gives you wings and it’s great. I had some real downs. I got eliminated first in Mallorca and I said I really have to take these chances – all the races that are still to go. I said to myself I want to win one and to do it here in London is really great.”
Men’s Endurance League – Men’s Elimination
The Men’s Elimination began with great anticipation from the crowd, as several British riders competed. Home favourite Ed Clancy (Great Britain) was the third to be eliminated, to the disappointment of the audience. New Zealand rider Corbin Strong, who was second place in the standings overall heading into round three, was the first big name to be eliminated – last across the line at the halfway point. With seven riders left the pace began to quicken as last of the Brits Rhys Britton exited the race. Leader’s jersey wearer Sebastian Mora (Spain) moved to the front with four riders left, but when numbers were reduced to the final three, it was Sebastian Mora who succumbed to the blistering pace and was eliminated. In the final lap, league rival Gavin Hoover launched a vicious attack against Alan Banaszek (Poland), who gave up from sheer fatigue. Hoover celebrated as he crossed the line in first place.
Gavin Hoover (USA), winner of the Men’s Elimination, said: “I knew I’ve been riding the eliminations well and my thought process was make every sprint and see what happens at the end. It’s amazing. I’ve been really consistent. I’m really happy with where that’s put me in the overall, but I also just really wanted to win. So to get one in the elimination where you’re the only one on the track is amazing.”
Archibald, Lavreysen, Hinze and Hoover Become Historic Champions of Track Cycling’s New Era
After four intense rounds at the highest level of competition, the cutting-edge new league crowns its first ever champions. A sold-out London velodrome witnessed a thrilling grand finale.
Four of the world’s best track riders were etched into cycling history tonight, as the UCI Track Champions League crowned its first ever series winners. After four gripping rounds of racing in three countries, Emma Hinze (Germany), Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands), Katie Archibald (Great Britain) and Gavin Hoover (USA) emerged victorious in the Men’s and Women’s Sprint and Endurance Leagues respectively.
In front of a sell-out crowd of over 5,500, the Women’s Sprint League came down to the wire on the night. After a strong start in Mallorca and convincing performances in Panevėžys, five-time UCI World Champion Emma Hinze came into the London double-header with an advantage of eighteen points over her compatriot and closest rival Lea Friedrich. A high-speed crash in last night’s Women’s Keirin heats reduced Hinze’s lead to just two points going into the grand finale. The German was undeterred however, and strengthened her winning margin over Friedrich on the night, who failed to reach the Sprint final and finished sixth in the Keirin.
Emma Hinze (Germany), winner of the Women’s Sprint League said: “I’m really proud that I take the jersey home because it was really close today and I didn’t know how the race would go and how much strength I can find in my body because I’m really, really tired. I think it was harder than the Olympics today because of two days of racing that much with fast races. I’m pretty proud, happy and really satisfied. Of course, my goal was to win but I didn’t know what to expect because I’ve never done it before. I knew it was going to be hard. I just try my best and I don’t think about the overall win, just heat to heat.”
In the Men’s Sprint League, nine-time UCI World Champion Harrie Lavreysen enjoyed a slightly more comfortable margin in this inaugural league. The Dutch star immediately stamped his authority on the league in Mallorca and produced consistent performances to maintain a convincing lead, despite challenges from Germany’s Stefan Bötticher. Tonight’s final round saw Lavreysen and Bötticher take one win each, leaving Lavreysen victorious overall.
Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands), winner of the Men’s Sprint League said: “It was really, really good. I’m really happy with the win. After the first heat, I knew I took the jersey for the overall win and that made it really, really special. And I think I’m unbeaten in two years now in the sprint so I really wanted to keep that streak. And I’m really happy with the result. Of course when you’re the World Champion, it’s not like you expect to win but I want to win and I think I feel bad if I don’t win it. Every event that I don’t win, I need to go in with a fresh mind otherwise I make mistakes. I didn’t think a lot about winning before starting this but after this, I’m pretty happy.”
Unstoppable performances across all four rounds earned double Olympic gold medalist Katie Archibald a convincing win in the Women’s Endurance League. The British rider lit the fuse in several explosive Scratch and Elimination races, and enjoyed roaring support from the London crowd this weekend. Tonight, Archibald secured her place in history with a victory in the Elimination and lifted her trophy in front of the British audience.
Katie Archibald (Great Britain), winner of the Women’s Endurance League said: “This title means a big deal, more than that – just how professional it has been, just how much support we’ve had, and the amount of amazing feedback I’ve had. This is year one, Discovery are locked in until 2029 – I just feel so confident that it’s going to go from strength to strength. I’m proud to have been backing it from day one. I would have really loved to go to Israel next week. But selfishly, it feels pretty good to do it here in the UK.”
The Men’s Endurance League on the other hand, was decided at the very last race of the series after a tight contest from start to finish that could have gone either way. In Mallorca, Corbin Strong (New Zealand) took two wins from two to open up a seemingly decisive lead. Lackluster performances in Lithuania however, coupled with a superb ride from Spain’s Sebastian Mora, quickly changed the shape of the overall standings. Mora entered round three wearing the leader’s jersey and retained it with a slim advantage over Gavin Hoover (USA) and Corbin Strong. In tonight’s round four however, things unravelled for the Spanish star, with relegation to fourteenth from the Scratch race for causing two riders to crash behind, ending his championship campaign. Gavin Hoover’s sixth and fourth place finishes on the night secured him the overall win.
Gavin Hoover (USA), winner of the Men’s Endurance League said: “I don’t quite believe it. I was just so excited to be here and get the invitation after the World Championships and I thought, no matter what happens, it’s a success. To win, it’s just incredible and at a new series which I hope is the future of track. I definitely didn’t expect it. I thought I could be competitive but I looked at the start list on the day and thought everyone could win so it definitely wasn’t expected.”
The four winners each received a miniature replica of the UCI Track Champions League trophy, crafted by the renowned GDE Bertoni – creators of the FIFA World Cup trophy. The original is 94cm tall, adorned with an LED strip and reflects the shape of the track. The four leaders’ names were engraved on the night.
Francois Ribeiro, Head of Discovery Sports Events said: “Tonight’s incredible finale is a breakthrough moment not just for Discovery Sports Events and fans around the world, but for the sport of cycling as a whole. To have two categories coming right down to the wire and the other two showcasing standout leaders at the top of their game, is a fitting way to end a game-changing first season. We’ve proven that our ambitious production, cutting-edge format and the world’s best riders is a formula that fills velodromes and thrills TV audiences. We now have a blueprint to take into the next season – and there is much more to come.”
Gilles Peruzzi, UCI Head of Track, Para-cycling and Indoor Cycling, said: “The delivery of this first series in the current global health context was far from an easy task, but the tremendous competitions the track cycling family has enjoyed over the four rounds of this kick-off season are just reward for the great efforts made by all stakeholders. The four 2021 Champions crowned tonight can be proud to be the first listed on the magnificent UCI Track Champions League trophy. Looking at their replica at home will undoubtedly be a great source of motivation to earning their spot for the 2022 UCI Track Champions League. Congratulations to them and to all participants, as well as to Discovery Sports Events for this magnificent inaugural series.We look forward to seeing you next year for more exciting track racing.”
The Story of Round Four
Women’s Sprint League – Women’s Sprint Final
Separated by just two points at the start of the night, German powerhouses Emma Hinze and Lea Friedrich were expected to line up against each other for the Women’s Sprint Final. Kelsey Mitchell (Canada) had other ideas however, and beat Friedrich by just 0.11 seconds in the semis to take her place against Hinze. The pair took a cautious and steady start, as Mitchell watched her rival closely. The Canadian made her move but was unable to outpace Hinze who took the victory on the line. The result meant Hinze extended her lead in the critical final race of the season.
Women’s Sprint League – Women’s Keirin Final
Lea Friedrich (Germany) survived a scare in the heats to reach the final and keep her hopes of the overall win alive, having taken second place from Japan’s Riyu Ohta by just 0.007 seconds in a photo finish. Slotted in behind the derny, her rival Emma Hinze was just behind. As the last two laps approached, Friedrich let Hinze assume the front. Visibly fatigued, both riders struggled to make an impact on the race itself however, as the final sprint unfolded. Friedrich crossed the line in last place, while Hinze, fourth place, punched the air in celebration as she confirmed victory overall. Ahead of them, Olena Starikova (Ukraine) finished first ahead of Kelsey Mitchell (Canada).
Men’s Sprint League – Men’s Keirin Final
League rivals Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) and Stefan Bötticher (Germany) both proceeded safely through their heats to reach the final. Bötticher, who had enjoyed great success in the Keirin throughout the season, led the line behind the derny, while Lavreysen sat in fifth position and attacked from the back with one lap to go. Both riders approached the line side by side for a dramatic photo finish as the crowd roared. Just 0.004 seconds separated the winner Stefan Bötticher from Harrie Lavreysen in second, closing the gap in the overall standings by three points. The leading pair shared a celebratory fist bump to the crowd’s applause.
Men’s Sprint League – Men’s Sprint Final
Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) secured his place in the Men’s Sprint final, and with it, victory in the overall standings. He lined up against Stefan Bötticher (Germany) – second place in the league – who looked to take two of two wins on the night. The German followed Lavreysen as the pair swept up and down the track at speed. With one lap to go, the sprint launched and the crowd gasped as Bötticher drew level with Lavreysen. The Dutchman was too strong though, and held him off to the line to finish his season with a victory.
Women’s Endurance League – Women’s Scratch
The Women’s Scratch began at a far faster pace than last night’s race. With 14 laps to go, Katie Archibald (Great Britain) decided to attack. Her move caused chaos in the group behind, with multiple gaps appearing between riders. The main bunch was clearly relieved to catch her four laps later, allowing the riders a brief opportunity to catch their breath. Spain’s Eukene Larrarte was to go next, and brought with her three other riders including Yumi Kajihara of Japan. A half lap lead soon developed before Kajihara attacked from the break. Kajihara continued solo to the finish line as a frantic bunch sprint began behind. Katie Archibald took second place, ahead of Maggie Coles-Lyster (Canada) and Annette Edmondson (Australia).
Women’s Endurance League – Women’s Elimination
Overall victory was already a mathematical certainty by the time Archibald lined up for the Women’s Elimination race. The battle for second place remained very close however, with Kirsten Wild (Netherlands), Maggie Coles-Lyster (Canada), Annette Edmondson (Australia) and Anita Yvonne Stenberg (Norway) all competing for the honour. Stenberg was the first of the four to be eliminated, taking her out of contention. Coles-Lyster followed with just six riders remaining, followed by Edmondson shortly after. Kirsten Wild, riding the very last race of her career, remained as the race reached its finale – securing second overall. As she had done the night before, Archibald outpaced her Dutch rival in the one vs one sprint to the finish. A standing ovation from the home crowd followed as Wild patted Archibald on the back.
Men’s Endurance League – Men’s Scratch
The race was immediately set alight by Portuguese rider Iuri Leitao, who attacked straight from the gun. He was quickly brought back by a fast bunch however. Local prospect Josh Charlton (Great Britain) was the next to go clear and built a lead of 100m, with ten laps remaining. The young Brit soon succumbed to fatigue and was caught with just four laps to go. The race went down to a final bunch sprint. After his breakaway heroics, Charlton crashed with Yacine Chalel (Algeria) at the back of the group with one lap remaining. In the chaos, Dutch rider Roy Eefting took first at the finish, ahead of Corbin Strong (New Zealand), who claimed an invaluable seventeen points in the fight for the overall lead. Meanwhile, Gavin Hoover claimed just ten points with a mid-bunch finish. League leader Sebastian Mora crossed the line just behind the American, only to be disqualified from the race by the commissaires for dangerous riding. The judge’s verdict placed Hoover in the overall lead with one decisive race left.
Men’s Endurance League – Men’s Elimination
After a dramatic Scratch, the Men’s Endurance League hanged in the balance. Gavin Hoover (USA) began the Elimination on ninety-four points, ahead of Sebastian Mora (Spain) on eighty-nine and Corbin Strong (New Zealand) on eighty-five.
In an explosive start, it was yesterday’s Scratch winner Claudio Imhof (Switzerland) who was eliminated first. Next up, among the big names to be eliminated, was Ed Clancy, who waved to a roaring crowd as he finished the last race of his career. Third in the overall standings, Corbin Strong (New Zealand) was eliminated with eight riders left, leaving Sebastian Mora (Spain) and Gavin Hoover in the running for top spot.
The pace increased, and as exhaustion kicked in, Mora found himself unable to contest the next elimination lap. He exited the race, giving Gavin Hoover the overall win. Hoover – now champion – was the next to leave the race. The Elimination culminated in a one vs one between Aaron Gate (New Zealand) and Iuri Leitao (Portugal), who took the win and blew a kiss to the crowd as he crossed the line.
The Final League Standings
Men’s Sprint League
1. Harrie Lavreysen (147 points)
2. Stefan Bötticher (133 points)
3. Vasilijus Lendel (72 points)
Women’s Sprint League
1. Emma Hinze (128 points)
2. Lea Friedrich (118 points)
3. Kelsey Mitchell (102 points)
Men’s Endurance League
1. Gavin Hoover (107 points)
2. Sebastian Mora (102 points)
3. Corbin Strong (93 points)
Women’s Endurance League
1. Katie Archibald (145 points)
2. Kirsten Wild (100 points)
3. Annette Edmondson (97 points)
Public Allowed to Belgian Cyclo-Cross Races, For the Moment
It was announced at the press conference of the Consultation Committee, that the public remains welcome at cyclo-cross races in Belgium. However, the events must be organised with crowd management.
The Consultation Committee met on Friday morning for the third time in three weeks. After cries for help from hospitals, the country’s government reviewed the corona measures and the results were discussed in a new press conference after. If it depended on the experts of the GEMS, the advisory group of medical experts, the Belgian cyclo-cross races would take place behind closed doors in the coming weeks. However, the government has disregarded that advice.
The Consultation Committee announced that the public would be allowed to attend outdoor events, although mandatory with a corona passport, face masks and must also have crowd control, so that there should not be too large groups together. That responsibility lies with the town Mayors.
Better with fans:
Van der Poel Working Towards Cyclo-Cross Season
In about two weeks we will see Mathieu van der Poel back in a cyclo-cross race. The Alpecin-Fenix Dutchman is ready to fire again after a long rest period. The big question is: does Van der Poel still suffer with his back? “I hear him less and less about that back. That is a good sign,” sports director Christoph Roodhooft told De Telegraaf.
Van der Poel first suffered from back pain during the Albstadt Mountain Bike World Cup in May. After his crash during the Olympic cross-country race, the pain intensified, forcing him to cut back on his road program and not have an ideal preparation for the World championships in Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
After his third place in a heroic edition of Paris-Roubaix he decided to take a long rest period, in the hope of making a full recovery. Roodhooft now announces that things are going in the right direction. “He does a lot of core exercises to strengthen his back. It’s looking good and as it develops, I’m assuming it won’t bother him in the long run. Mathieu and the rest of the team are well on schedule.”
Van der Poel went through a difficult period after his fall at the Olympic Games, Roodhooft said. “At a certain point he didn’t enjoy cycling anymore, because it was often a battle against the pain. The fact that he was not top at the World champs and in Paris-Roubaix made it difficult. The fall was a huge disappointment for Mathieu. He really suffered from that blow for a while and then the back problems followed.”
Van der Poel can now look ahead again and will be back in cyclo-cross in two weeks, starting with the World Cup in Rucphen on Saturday, December 18. The four-time world champion will then also participate in the crosses in Namen, Dendermonde, Diegem, Loenhout, Hulst, Herentals, Hamme and Hoogerheide. Van der Poel also focuses on the National Championships in Zaltbommel and the World championships in Fayetteville, America.
MvdP back to cross soon:
Coach Kurt Bogaerts Talks About Pidcock’s Program for 2022
Tom Pidcock may make his Giro d’Italia debut next season. According to his coach Kurt Bogaerts, the Italian race next year is the ideal Grand Tour.
Pidcock made his comeback in cyclo-cross in Boom’s Superprestige on Saturday, but Bogaerts is already looking ahead to the road season of the 22 year-old INEOS Grenadiers British rider in conversation with Het Nieuwsblad. “In principle, he will again ride Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and continue to the classics. A similar program as last season. With a Grand Tour, the Giro seems ideal. It’s too early for the Tour.”
Pidcock made his first appearance in the Vuelta a España after his gold Olympic medal in mountain biking last season, but is unlikely to return to the Spanish stage next year. “The Vuelta is not possible, because Tom makes a big goal of the mountain biking World championships at the end of August. He will be competing in July. After being Olympic champion, he also wants to become World champion. And to be honest: he prefers mountain biking. It is the sport that best matches his abilities.”
Pidcock returned to cross, after a long rest period, but has said he still suffers from his knee. “It’s not as bad as during the Vuelta, but it’s starting to play up again,” he told Velonews.
Pidcock said last month that he has been riding around with knee problems for most of the year. In the Vuelta the young Briton really started to suffer due to the knee, but after a rest period the problems seemed to have gone. It seemed, because in the weeks prior to his first cross in Boom, the pain had not completely disappeared. “I still have to work on my recovery,” said Pidcock.
“It is no longer as bad as in the Vuelta. I wouldn’t say the pain was unbearable then, but it wasn’t a good situation. It’s going a lot better now, but it’s starting to irritate and play up again. That’s not what you want, especially if you just want to focus on training. I have shown in recent years that you should not expect anything from me in the first crosses of the season. However, I am looking forward to it, much more than last year. I’ve had a good break and I’m motivated for the cross season.”
Pidcock – Looking forward to cross, but that knee:
Maurits Lammertink Unsure of the Future
Six months after his collision with a scooter, Maurits Lammertink still does not know whether he will ever be able to function normally again. The 31-year-old one-day specialist spoke to Tubantia. He suffered a skull fracture in the accident. Once transferred to the hospital, he suffered three brain haemorrhages and fell into a coma.
His rehabilitation is proving to be a long and arduous process. Lammertink is making slight progress, but he does not know whether he can ever become a professional cyclist again. “I can only accept it if I know where my ceiling is,” said the Dutch Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert rider who works on his recovery and mental capacity almost every day in the Roessingh rehabilitation centre in Enschede. “To be able to function in normal society, and in the cycling peloton. The question is, will I ever be able to do that again? I do not know. I keep training, keep working hard. I can’t do anything else. Time will tell what is possible.”
Lammertink was getting an ice cream in Hengelo in June when he was hit by a scooter. Ambulance personnel quickly arrived to provide first aid. He was taken to hospital with brain injuries. For some time it was feared for the life of the rider, who had suffered a skull base fracture, a broken jaw and a collarbone fracture. Six months later, Lammertink is still working on his rehabilitation every day. Due to the brain injury, he suffers from memory loss and mental fatigue, he also struggles with loss of strength in his hand and is virtually deaf in the left ear.
His team recently reported on social media that Lammertink was able to train again and made ‘incredible progress’. Aike Visbeek, performance manager at the team, said the rider can stay with medical clearance. It turned out to be a distorted picture. “I got congratulations here at the Roessingh, but I didn’t know anything about it. We will keep the team management informed of all developments, but we have not discussed a contract extension until now,” says the classic specialist. He wants nothing more than that, but alone it is far from that. “I love cycling for an hour or two, but you can’t call it cycling.”
Moreover, he has already fallen twice when he rode through the forest on a mountain bike. “Stupid stupid crashes, because I just couldn’t concentrate anymore. Towards the end of the ride I made simple mistakes due to the mental fatigue. It did end up on my shoulder, but luckily it wasn’t too bad.”
Cavendish and Quick-Step – Alpha Vinyl Agree on New Commitment
It is looking very likely that Mark Cavendish will race next year for Quick-Step – Alpha Vinyl. Patrick Lefevere informed Het Nieuwsblad that there is an agreement for one extra season. Cavendish only has to sign his new contract.
“We’re done,” Lefevere responded briefly but firmly. They are still waiting for the signatures, but they will follow very soon. On Monday, the Belgian team will leave for Spain for a training camp in Calpe, the best-known winter destination for professional cyclists. “And Mark is definitely one of them,” said Lefevere. “Only he is not allowed to fly after the collapsed lung he suffered in the Six Days of Gent. We are working on a solution by car or train.”
Hardly anyone doubted Cavendish’s longer stay with the Quick-Step squad, but behind the scenes negotiations were difficult. Lefevere wanted to force a breakthrough at the end of November, during the Six Days of Gent. “Otherwise it will be postponed again. I know he wants that too. Every time he hears someone from the team, he asks what I said,” said the outspoken team boss.
Finalising the negotiations was in the financial details. Where Cavendish wants a higher salary, Lefevere prefers to give him a bonus system. The future of Cavendish, who experienced a revival this year with four stage victories in the Tour de France. His sports career was also a point of negotiation.
Cav will stay with Lefevere:
Tim Declercq Receives Fourth Kristallen Fiets Award in a Row
The Kristallen Zweetdruppel for Best Belgian Domestique goes again to a Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider.
“El Tractor” was again chosen as the Best Domestique at the Belgian Kristallen Fiets ceremony. For the fourth consecutive year, Tim Declercq got the prestigious Kristallen Zweetdruppel trophy, making him the record holder.
This season, Declercq did an incredible job and played a quintessential role in many of the Wolfpack’s victories, as he spent countless kilometres at the front of the bunch, from February until October. His amazing work, commitment and effort were on display in the Classics, but also at the Tour de France, where the 32-year-old Belgian fought hard until Paris, despite an unfortunate crash, helping Mark Cavendish secure the green jersey.
“It’s a super nice reward and this Kristallen Zweetdruppel trophy acknowledges I did my job again well this season. I’m really happy to be the Best Belgian Domestique for the fourth year in a row. The competition isn’t getting easier. I take a lot of satisfaction from what I do. You need to know what you are capable of and what you aren’t. I know my body is made for this kind of work. Of course, everyone dreams of winning races as a young kid, but then when you realise that will be difficult you can quite easily make the choice to work for your teammates. That I can do this in one of the best teams in the world is just great”, said Tim.
Tim Declerq – Always ready to work:
Matej Mohorič Foundation
Matej Mohorič presented his long-planned foundation today at the Hotel Grof in Vransko. The purpose of the Matej Mohorič Foundation is primarily to help develop cycling amongst the youth in Slovenia.
Ever since becoming a professional cyclist, Matej has thought of ways to help and invest back into the local community and help others make it as a top cyclist.
The foundation will work closely with the Cycling Association of Slovenia, which strongly supports the project and confirmed future cooperation. Matej Mohorič and the President of the Slovenian Cycling Association, Pavel Mađonovič, also opened and signed this cooperation by signing the Letter of Intent.
At the press conference, Matej presented his new Foundation: “This year’s generation of young cyclists in national team is extremely strong and they have huge potential, so this was also a reason that this year is the right time to establish and start operating the Foundation. Primarily, I would like to help with my knowledge and experience. I will help in a way that I will join the youngsters in the preparations organised by the Slovenian national team. I will help with my knowledge, experience and financially, as it is an excellent investment to build a quality and a top program for the young cyclists. I hope that these guys will have about the same opportunity as other national teams in Europe and have an even better starting point. In one part, the Foundation will focus on juniors, and in another respect, I will try to help more locally, especially the more minor boys, for whom we will try to organise more races than there have been so far. With the help of the Slovenian Cycling Association and cycling clubs, we will look for those individuals who have a great desire to be involved in cycling but may not be able to afford it. We will provide them with cycling equipment to start training. In addition, we will join many events that promote cycling as a healthy way of life and recreation. We will try to bring this sport closer to local communities and inform children and young people that cycling can be an extremely healthy way of life and a healthy environment for socialising as an afternoon activity.”
The president of KZS, Pavel Marđonovič, said at the press conference: “It is a great pleasure for me that Matej will support the Slovenian Cycling Association or more specifically the youth national team. The youth category is significant for the continuation of a career. It is a period that is extremely sensitive to age, potentials are already being shown at this time, and this period is crucial to react at the right time and help young cyclists and guide them properly. We currently have 25 youngsters from 6 different clubs in the national team, and they all have the potential to follow Matej’s success. Matej was a Youth World Champion and U23 World Champion, he is one of the best cyclists in the world, and he is an outstanding analyst who delves into the details of cycling. So from this point of view, he is ideal and invaluable not only for financial support but also professional and motivational for young boys, professional staff, and liaisons.”
Matej Mohorič introduces his foundation:
Lotto Soudal Completes 2022 Team Roster with Cedric Beullens
The 24-year-old Belgian Cedric Beullens (Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-Waver) has signed a two-year agreement with Lotto Soudal. That way, the Belgian WorldTeam completes its roster for the upcoming new cycling season. Beullens has been part of Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise for two years, where the young Belgian showed his potential as a Classics rider with top twenty results in WorldTour races like Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Eschborn-Frankfurt. The 24-year-old Cedric Beullens is looking forward to an important step in his pro cycling career.
“To be honest, it hasn’t fully sunk in yet that I will defend the Lotto Soudal colours next season, but of course I am very happy with this transfer! Following two great years at Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, this is the right step in my career to further develop myself”, says Cedric Beullens. “Why the choice for Lotto Soudal? The Belgian team has a nice project, a good framework and I will be surrounded by a lot of youngsters and more experienced riders. Besides, I get the chance to play a role in the spring Classics, races in which I really want to evolve. I just love the atmosphere and the charm of the Flemish Classics.”
With the transfer of Cedric Beullens, General Manager John Lelangue completes the Lotto Soudal WorldTeam roster for 2022 as the focus shifts towards the new season preparations.
John Lelangue: “Completely in line with our vision, we complete our team for 2022 with another young Belgian talent Cedric Beullens. Cedric will strengthen the Classics squad and has proved this year that he can do well in the one-day races with among others a 17th place at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and a 12th place at Eschborn-Frankfurt. In 2019, he finished second at the Ronde van Vlaanderen for U23 riders, which again shows his potential for the Flemish Classics. At Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise, he has been able to develop himself over the past two years and we are looking forward to welcome Cedric at the team next season!”
Cedric Beullens already looks ahead to the coming two seasons at the Belgian WorldTeam.
“Last season, I already had a taste of some WorldTour races like Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Ronde van Vlaanderen. I feel that I have grown as a rider and I’ve also acquired more race insight. But at the same time, I realise that being part of a WorldTeam will be quite the challenge. But I’ve already shown that I have what it takes and I hope to confirm this the coming seasons. Therefore, I would like to continue to grow and become an important part of the Classics squad. In addition, it would also be nice to go for some own results and riding a Grand Tour also seems like a very enriching experience to me”, concludes Cedric Beullens.
Cedric Beullens to Lotto Soudal:
Matthijs Büchli Makes Switch to Become Endurance Rider
Olympic champion Matthijs Büchli, 28, will be part of the BEAT Cycling road team in 2022. After many national and international victories on the track, he felt he needed a new challenge to get the best out of himself. He now finds this stimulus in road cycling.
Büchli made his debut in the peloton, earlier this year, at the Craft Ster van Zwolle. His races on the track were usually no longer 1 kilometre, but this time he had to conquer the 194 kilometres that were waiting for him. Despite of the distance, he completed the race, which motivated him to continue this journey. “I already had some experience from my time in the junior and U16 categories, but it was nice to be back in a road race, for the first time in at least 10 years”, the Olympic champion said. “Even though I suffered quite a lot, I enjoyed every second of it.”
Since 2017, Büchli has been part of the BEAT Cycling track team. He was one of the first professional riders on the team, and he has won many races since then. He is a multiple time Dutch, European and world champion. Last summer, he added an Olympic gold medal to his palmarès, after winning the team sprint with the Dutch team. He had already won an Olympic silver medal in the keirin in 2016.
“I am very excited for this new adventure”, Büchli said. “The past 12 years as a track sprinter were great, but racing on the track began to feel quite monotonous. I have achieved almost all the goals that I set for myself, so it feels I have come full circle. I am really looking forward to retraining myself as an endurance cyclist, specially on the road, but I will keep an eye on the endurance disciplines in track cycling as well. It would be a nice challenge, to become a world champion in the sprint and endurance categories, but first I will focus on road cycling. I have found a lot of new energy, since I started training in a completely different way. I am excited to find out how far I can go, as I do not know where my limits are. But I do know that I can still improve a lot. Lately, it was starting to get harder to improve as a track sprinter. My body gave me the signals that it was getting harder to improve, every time I stepped into the gym.”
The transformation from a track sprinter into an endurance cyclist, is a big step. That is exactly why BEAT fully supports Büchli in his decision. “We are really excited that Matthijs has the courage to take this step”, says team manager Geert Broekhuizen. “In track cycling, he achieved almost everything that you can achieve, and now he basically has to start from scratch in road cycling. We have prepared this journey for Matthijs very well, and we will support him in his ambition as best as we can.”
Although he is officially moving to the BEAT road team, Matthijs may temporarily return to the BEAT track team, to compete in the UCI Nations Cup-events or other races, leading up to the 2022 Track Cycling World Championships.
Jakub Mareczko to Alpecin-Fenix for Two Years
Alpecin-Fenix has confirmed the signing of Jakub Mareczko. The Italian sprinter signed a two-year contract with the Belgian ProTeam, where he will become a teammate of Mathieu van der Poel, Tim Merlier and Jasper Philipsen.
The 27 year-old rider should be able to replace fast men Sacha Modolo and Roy Jans. The Italian raced at WorldTour level with Team CCC in 2019 and 2020 and then moved to Vini Zabù. “The team specialises in sprints and one-day races. I am convinced that coming here is a good choice for me,” Mareczko said through his new team. “It’s really special for me to have signed for Alpecin-Fenix because they have the know-how in sprint races and do great lead-outs.” The Italian sprinter is looking forward to 2022: “Next season will offer new opportunities to show my qualities.”
2022 Astana Qazaqstan Team Presented in Nur-Sultan
The official presentation of the 2022 Astana Qazaqstan Team roster has been held on Saryarka Velodrome in Nur-Sultan, the capital city of Kazakhstan.
29 riders from seven countries (Kazakhstan, Italy, Colombia, Spain, USA, Belarus, South Africa) will represent Astana Qazaqstan Team in its 17th cycling season.
Alexey Lutsenko from Kazakhstan (the winner of three races and seventh at Tour de France in 2021), Miguel Angel Lopez from Colombia (the winner of four races in 2021, third at Giro d’Italia 2018 and Vuelta a España 2018 with Team Astana), Vincenzo Nibali from Italy (the winner of all three Grand Tours, the winner of two Giro d’Italia and one Tour de France with Team Astana) and Gianni Moscon from Italy (the winner of two races and fourth in the dramatic Paris-Roubaix in 2021) were named among the leaders of the Kazakh team.
Astana Qazaqstan Team presented two neo-pro riders: Nurbergen Nurlykhassym of Kazakhstan (U23 Kazakhstan road race champion in 2021) and Michele Gazzoli of Italy (the winner of Gran Premio della Liberazione, fourth at the road race of the U23 Road World Championships in 2021).
The racing calendars of the leaders as well as of all other riders will be discussed and established during the first training camp of the team in Spain (from December 4th to 19th).
The famous Kazakh specialist Alexandr Shefer has been presented as the lead sports director of Astana Qazaqstan Team. Also, the Italian specialist Mario Manzoni joined the group of team sports directors.
The Kazakh project will step into its 17th cycling season with a new name, directly related to Kazakhstan – Astana Qazaqstan Team.
Qazaqstan is the most accurate and correct name of Kazakhstan in its English transcription. Qazaqstan is a kind of new brand of the state on the international stage, which is combining centuries-old traditions, language, culture and strategy of the country’s development in the today’s world.
“Despite a difficult transfer period, we managed to gather a strong and ambitious team, with a number of riders who are able to lead the whole team in the fight for big achievements in the next season. We lost some strong leaders, but at the same time, we gained other high-class riders. The team has a new face, but we remain the same Astana team, which is well known all over the world. The return of such riders as Vincenzo Nibali, Miguel Angel Lopez and Andrey Zeits will bring to the team some additional sport stability and confidence. The arrival of Gianni Moscone, Joe Dombrowski, David De La Cruz, Valerio Conti and other guys will help to expand our interests and set new goals. And, of course, a leader like Alexey Lutsenko is the face of the team, its base. I am really happy to see the U23 Kazakh champion Nurbergen Nurlykhassym in our team, I hope that he, as well as all our Kazakh riders will spend a good season. Besides this, with return of Alexandr Shefer we also strengthened the positions of our sports directors group, as well as many other positions among the team staff have been strengthened too. I am sure that the team that we presented today in Nur-Sultan on the eve of the thirtieth anniversary of independence of our republic will be successful in the new season and will get many victories under the new name Astana Qazaqstan Team,” said Alexandr Vinokurov, team General Manager.
“It is very symbolic that a few days before the big event, the thirtieth anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence, we are holding an official presentation of Astana Qazaqstan Team here in the capital of our country Nur-Sultan. Indeed, the team looks new in many ways, although it is still very recognisable. Most of its leaders are well known to all fans, while the new guys are known for their successful performances in other projects. The fusion of youth and experience, high motivation and the desire to reach the top are the ingredients that should be the key to success of the team in the new season. As the president of the National Cycling Federation, I am happy to see a large number of Kazakh riders in the team, to welcome newcomer Nurbergen Nurlykhassym and our honoured veteran Andrey Zeits! I wish a big success to the whole team in its 17th season!” said Nurlan Smagurov, President of Kazakhstan Cycling Federation.
The full roster of the 2022 season:
Leonardo BASSO (Italy); Samuele BATTISTELLA (Italy); Manuele BOARO (Italy); Gleb BRUSSENSKIY (Kazakhstan); Valerio CONTI (Italy); Stefan DE BOD (South Africa); David DE LA CRUZ (Spain); Joe DOMBROWSKI (USA); Yevgeniy FEDOROV (Kazakhstan); Fabio FELLINE (Italy); Michele GAZZOLI (Italy); Yevgeniy GIDICH (Kazakhstan); Dmitriy GRUZDEV (Kazakhstan); Sebastian HENAO (Colombia); Miguel Angel LOPEZ (Colombia); Alexey LUTSENKO (Kazakhstan); Davide MARTINELLI (Italy); Gianni MOSCON (Italy); Yuriy NATAROV (Kazakhstan); Antonio NIBALI (Italy); Vincenzo NIBALI (Italy); Nurbergen NURLYKHASSYM (Kazakhstan); Vadim PRONSKIY (Kazakhstan); Alexandr RIABUSHENKO (Belarus); Javier ROMO (Spain); Harold TEJADA (Colombia); Simone VELASCO (Italy); Artyom ZAKHAROV (Kazakhstan); Andrey ZEITS (Kazakhstan).
Alexandr SHEFER (Kazakhstan), Giuseppe MARTINELLI (Italy), Dmitriy FOFONOV (Kazakhstan), Bruno CENGHIALTA (Italy), Sergey YAKOVLEV (Kazakhstan), Stefano ZANINI (Italy), Mario MANZONI (Italy).
Winner Anacona has Another Year with Arkéa-Samsic, Team Now Complete
Winner Anacona will wear the Arkéa-Samsic kit next year. The 33-year-old Colombian, who has ridden in the past for Lampre-Merida and Movistar, is an important pawn in the French team as a confidant and domestique for leader Nairo Quintana.
Anacona has been racing for Arkéa-Samsic since 2020. The climber decided to go to France with his good friend Quintana, after years with Movistar. In his first year with the French team, Anacona had 49 race days, despite the corona pandemic, and was part of the Tour selection. This year he had to make do with 42 race days and didn’t ride the Tour. He did win the Trofeo Andratx in 2021.
Anacona, named after Dutch cyclist Peter Winnen, is happy that he can stay another year. “I am very grateful to Emmanuel Hubert (team manager) and the team leaders for this new opportunity. I hope to live up to expectations and assist the leaders on their way to good results. And if I get my chance, I hope to grab it. I can’t wait for the new season!”
Hubert has great confidence in Anacona. “He is a valued helper, but also has the ability to win races himself. This was proven again this year in the Trofeo Andratx. Winner was certainly eligible for a new contract, especially after his heavy crash during a mountain bike ride in the winter of 2020. He is our thirtieth and last rider for the new cycling season in 2022.”
The Arkéa-Samsic squad will be led by Nairo Quintana, Warren Barguil and Nacer Bouhanni, again in 2022. Newcomers are Hugo Hofstetter, Nicolas Edet, Simon Guglielmi, Michel Ries, Kevin Vauquelin and Alessandro Verre. Departures: Thomas Boudat, Diego Rosa and Bram Welten. Welten (Groupama-FDJ) and Rosa (EOLO-Kometa) already have a new team for 2022, Boudat so far has nothing.
Arkéa-Samsic will start the new season next year with thirty riders.
Patrick Lefevere Gets Into Women’s Cycling with NXTG by Experza
Patrick Lefevere is going to invest in women’s cycling. The employment agency Experza, of which the team manager of Deceuninck – Quick-Step is co-founder, is joining forces with UCI team NXTG Racing.
Last September, the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team manager made some statements when asked when he would start a women’s team, he replied. “If there are enough good riders in Belgium… But what should you start with? You first have to convince those women to become cyclists. I also don’t have the experience, time, money or desire to invest if I don’t know where I will end up. With all due respect, but I’m not the OCMW either, hey.”
The statements of Lefevere went wrong with Lizzie Deignan, winner of the first edition of Paris-Roubaix. “I always take everything he says with a pinch of salt,” said the British rider when she was asked about the statements. “So I’m not really disappointed or anything with what he’s said. Actually… I’m glad he’s not interested in women’s cycling, because we’re not interested in him either.”
In the weeks that followed, Lefevere said his statements had been taken out of context and a women’s team was a “track that we are of course investigating”. Now the 66 year-old team boss is actually getting into women’s cycling. “First of all I want to say that despite popular opinion I have nothing against women’s cycling. On the contrary. With Experza and NXTG I start an adventure in women’s cycling. Women’s cycling is growing very quickly.”
“However, at the moment I feel that there are not enough riders of a certain level for all the current WorldTour teams. That’s why I want to do it the other way around and start with the juniors and young riders, so that they have an environment to develop,” Lefevere explained. “That’s how I came into contact with founder Natascha Knaven-den Ouden and we started talking. We need to increase the pool of quality riders in the peloton. That’s how you grow the sport. That is how you make the sport more sustainable.”
Next season, Lefevere mainly wants to look around the women’s peloton. “We are testing the water in women’s cycling, so to speak. We talk to our current partners to see what they can or want to invest. Our ambition as Quick-Step – Alpha Vinyl (Deceuninck – Quick-Step this season) is to step in as quickly as possible and let women’s cycling grow organically from the base. We understand the importance of women’s cycling.”
“As the world’s most winning men’s team, we also want to become a winning team in women’s cycling in the long term. I thought a lot about buying into an existing squad, but it didn’t feel right. That’s why we do it the other way around. I don’t see it any time soon. We have long-term contracts with Deceuninck – Quick-Step with all our current suppliers. We now have to choose the right time to get in, but we also have to think about the budget,” said Lefevere.
NXTG founder Knaven-den Ouden is very happy with Experza’s support. “It is a company that has its feet firmly on the ground, but also shows a lot of ambition. At NXTG we are certainly ambitious but also realistic. For example, the step from the juniors at our own NXTG U19 Development Team to the elite is still huge for the women. There are very few who take the step without help. We are proud that Experza will help us give those girls a stage to grow further and make the most of their talents.”
The team of NTXG by Experza will consist of sixteen riders next season.
NXTG by Experza Team for 2022:
Amber Aernouts (Bel)
Maureen Arens (Ned)
Cassia Boglio (Aus)
Julia Borgstrøm (Swe)
Britt Knaven (Bel)
Senne Knaven (Bel)
Gaia Masetti (Ita)
Fien Masure (Bel)
Lone Meertens (Bel)
Yuli van der Molen (Ned)
Ilse Pluimers (Ned)
Maud Rijnbeek (Ned)
Eline van Rooijen (Ned)
Amelia Sharpe (GB)
Ally Wollaston (NZ)
Mylène de Zoete (Ned).
Women’s cycling is growing very quickly:
EF Education-NIPPO Welcomes Development Team
EF Education First-NIPPO are proud to announce the formation of our development team. The team will focus on fostering talent from far and wide in a supportive environment.
The team, which will ride as the EF Education-NIPPO Development Team, will work closely with its WorldTour counterpart to provide riders with opportunities to grow into — and flourish at — the WorldTour level.
“The idea has been developing over the years,” said Marcello Albasini, manager of EF Education-NIPPO Development Team. “We approached EF Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters to make an official development team, which he thought was a great idea because then they would have first choice of top athletes to then bring into the EF system.”
At this point, the roster has 15 riders from seven different countries. The team will race as a UCI Continental team based out of the United States.
While reaching the WorldTour takes years of hard work and persistence, it also takes opportunity. For this reason, the team will focus in part on developing riders from countries often underrepresented in the professional peloton.
“It’s very important that the team doesn’t identify with one specific nation, saying ‘it’s an American team’ or ‘It’s only Swiss’ or ‘It’s only Japanese.’ It’s very much an international team,” Albasini said. “We want to bring talent from around the world and bring them into the professional system. It will be an international team where everybody can learn from one another. It’s critical that they understand the difference around the world of what every athlete goes through to try to be a professional athlete.”
Because cyclists often struggle with the disparity between racing at the continental level versus the WorldTour level, the goal of the development team is to prepare riders for WorldTour racing without overwhelming them.
“We’ve got some really strong young guys that are at the point where they’re knocking on the door for turning pro. One of the guys turning pro with the EF Education-NIPPO WorldTour squad is a goal we have in the first season,” Albasini said.
Because the UCI allows for riders on a development team to race on their WorldTour counterpart team and vice versa, the development riders will have ample opportunities for mentorship and to experience the WorldTour firsthand.
“That means at certain races you could have two WorldTour riders and four continental riders racing in the same race together,” Albasini said. “We could send one or two of our top riders to the WorldTour team to work in a much higher or a much more professional environment to learn what it’s like before moving up.”
“I’m excited about the development team for a number of reasons,” EF Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters said. “I think it’s really important for riders to have a team where they can learn but not be in over their heads right away. Since we can move riders between squads, that allows us to bring real experience to the younger team, both on the roads and at dinner tables. And it’s important the team is focusing on developing athletes from countries that aren’t known as cycling hotbeds. It provides a great opportunity for riders to be noticed, and it allows us to spot talent that may have been overlooked. The educational and mentorship components are very important to us. We started as a development team years ago, so it’s fun to be part of this level of cycling again.”
Albasini noted that, historically, riders from a handful of countries tend to “get a lot more opportunities than certain countries. It’s a lot harder for countries like Japan, Poland, Ethiopia and Eritrea to get opportunities,” he said.
The young roster is not only international but also versatile.
“We’ve tried to make it a very complete squad. We’ve got young, up-and-coming sprinters with speed. There are a few really talented climbers so we’re all set in that department. We’ve brought on Classics-type riders. We made the decision of what we thought was a great combination of youth and experience, all the while making sure that it’s international,” Albasini said.
Cannondale will supply the team’s bikes and provide technical support. “Cannondale is proud to partner with a team that develops young riders and looks to expand cycling beyond traditional regions,” said Jonathan Geran, head of sports marketing at Cannondale.
Hagos Berhe, Ethiopia
Jonathan Bögli, Switzerland
Trym Brennsaeter, Norway
Fabio Christen, Switzerland
Oliver Wulff Frederiksen, Denmark
Masahiro Ishigami, Japan
Luca Jenni, Switzerland
Yusuke Kadota, Japan
Kevin Kuhn, Switzerland
Hijiri Oda, Japan
Atsushi Oka, Japan
Felix Stehli, Switzerland
Szymon Tracz, Poland
Yugi Tsuda, Japan
Ethan Villaneda, USA.
EF Education-NIPPO Development team:
Patrick Lefevere’s Memories of a Great 2021 Season
Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s CEO looks back on another successful year of the squad.
“At first, the 2021 season didn’t take off that well with several cancellations such as the Tour Down Under, Vuelta a San Juan and Tour Colombia. But from the moment we started racing, we won, beginning with the Classics. As a Belgian team the spring is very important, of course we are internationally orientated, but our riders still want to be in the Flemish races”, Patrick explains.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step deployed a strong squad in the northern Classics and took the victory in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with Davide Ballerini, the Classic Brugge-De Panne with Sam Bennett, as well as the E3 Harelbeke and the Ronde van Vlaanderen, both with Kasper Asgreen. “After that haul, you can say the Classics period had already been more than successful, but then Julian gave us another fantastic moment at the Flèche Wallonne.”
“Julian took three victories before the World Championships. Of course, I know that racing with the rainbow jersey on your shoulders isn’t easy, everyone watches Julian and nobody lets him ride. The opponents also didn’t become easier. Five years ago you didn’t have Van Aert, Van der Poel, Pogačar or Roglič. And if you look at the quality of wins you can say he did well: a stage in Tirreno-Adriatico, the Flèche Wallonne and the first stage of the Tour which brought us the yellow jersey. I rewatched that finale several times, as it was kind of unique. And then of course he put the cherry on the cake by retaining his world title.”
There were so many highlights, but it was also the year of the comebacks, who turned out to be very successful. “For Mark all the pieces fell into one puzzle. Normally he wasn’t going to do the Tour of Belgium, nor the Tour de France, but with the injury of Sam he had to step in. The way he wins and he keeps on winning brought a lot of emotions inside the team, but also from other people. When you hear during and after the Tour several people were crying in front of their television, you know what Mark and the team achieved touched many hearts. Also several production houses told me they thought it was a pity they weren’t there to film those unique moments.”
There were also the incredible stories of Fabio and Remco, who returned after injuries. “Everyone knows the miracle story of Fabio. We always kept believing he would come back as he’s so strong. The team always stood behind him and I think you can’t put into words what it meant to see him winning again. Fabio had face injuries, but with Remco you couldn’t see his injury. He also had a setback as he had to stop training at the beginning of the year, which was very difficult. Then the Giro came where we made the mistake to go with the story that was being created about him. It was a unique experience and we learned a lot from it. I think Remco is almost back to his old level, seeing how he came back to winning and showing what he did before – riding away from the bunch alone. With a good winter I believe he can make another step forward. Not to forget he turns only 22 in January.”
At the end of this incredible season, Patrick Lefevere’s team finished again at the top of the UCI classification. “I’m of course really proud. If you count everything together, we finished 151 times in the top three on an average of 260 race days, and then we don’t even count the world title of Julian and two kermesses, but which we don’t forget. Eighteen of our riders won a race, which is a lot. That has always been my tactic, it works and it’s one of the reasons why riders want to join the team. It’s the key to our success. But also the fact we have been calling ourselves The Wolfpack for a couple of years now is something that really lives inside the team, with both riders and staff.”
The long-term vision of winning a Grand Tour is still there. “We have several guys who can find their way in Grand Tours, and I’m thinking of Mattia, Fausto, Remco, Julian, and of course Ilan, who we welcome inside the team and who normally will be a guy for the three-week races in the future. Of course, a Grand Tour is unpredictable, 21 days where a lot of things can happen. You need a bit of luck as well. Only last year Almeida, who was a neo-pro back then, wore the Giro pink for 15 days and concluded fourth in the GC. I think it should also be possible for other guys. We’re one family that works together to be the best, every rider and staff member is important and I’m sure we’ll go full gas for it again next season.”
Patrick Lefevere happy with 2021:
Team Celebrates 50 years of UAE
Riders mark occasion with group rides in Abu Dhabi
It was a cause for celebration this week as events were held throughout the UAE to mark the 50th anniversary since the foundation of the young country.
Several members of the team were present at a group ride organised at the Hudayriat Island in Abu Dhabi, a designated island for cycling and recreation, along with children of the UAE Youth Academy.
There to represent UAE Team Emirates were Team Principal and CEO Mauro Gianetti and Chief Operating Officer Andrea Agostini who were joined by stars of the team including Matteo Trentin, Yousif Mirza and Davide Formolo.
Mauro Gianetti: “As we celebrate 50 years of the UAE we are very proud to be forming part of the sporting history of this country through promoting sport and a healthy lifestyle. In a short time the UAE has achieved so much on the world sporting stage and we look to the future with great optimism and desire to keep working towards growing cycling across the region and beyond.”
Matteo Trentin: “It’s nice that we can be here for this occasion and especially to ride with the kids for the 50th anniversary of UAE. The future is for them so if we can help to inspire them to get on a bicycle and make sport a part of their life it’s a very positive step.”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step and the City of Ypres Partner Up
Ypres wants to stimulate multi-day cycling tourism in their city in 2022.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step is happy to announce a new partnership with the city of Ypres. Located in the West Flemish part of Belgium and the start of the classic Gent-Wevelgem, Ypres wants to show itself and its surroundings as the perfect area for multi-day cycling trips. In 2022 this will be made in cooperation with The Wolfpack, as the city will use some communicational assets, including a video shoot with some of our riders, to show the many routes the Westhoek has to offer, for both sporty and recreational cyclists.
Emmily Talpe, the Mayor of Ypres, is extremely proud to partner up with this year’s best team in the UCI ranking: “The precarious health situation that we’re unfortunately still facing has given cycling a boost, both recreationally and sportingly. We won’t let that go. With the start of Gent-Wevelgem in our city, we’re already putting Ypres in the spotlight for the sporty cyclist and the many cycling fans. We’re very pleased to now also welcome The Wolfpack as a partner. Their riders will undoubtedly agree, both during their training rides or during their participation in the cycling race Gent-Wevelgem: Ypres is the ideal city to discover the beautiful cycling region of the Westhoek and Northern France.”
Also Patrick Lefevere, CEO of Deceuninck – Quick-Step, had a lot of things to say about what Ypres has to offer: “The team will help promote the cycling tourism in Ypres as we believe this partnership matches perfectly with our values. How the city of peace Ypres deals with the heritage of the First World War and the commemoration of the many victims is something the team also stands behind, as there’s more in the world than cycling and it’s good that we get reminded of that sometimes. We’re an international team, but we’re based in Flanders, the core place of cycling. Ypres is a beautiful city to cycle, which also invests in our sport, as it’s the start of Gent-Wevelgem. Our riders know the roads well, myself also as I live in Roeselare and some of our Flemish guys like to train here. It was a logical decision and we’re looking forward to working together with Ypres so that cycling lovers will want to come and see for themselves.”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step will also soon restart the Wolfpack Bike Experience to give the experience of a lifetime to anyone with a passion for the bike, with the roads around Ypres certain to be included in this.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Ypres:
INEOS Grenadiers feeling fast in Bioracer for 2022
The INEOS Grenadiers are proud to reveal their new kit for 2022, crafted by Bioracer. This is how fast feels.
Bioracer have designed, produced and created a kit like no other for the team for 2022. A kit designed to be raced in. A kit to feel the fastest in whether racing uphill, downhill, off-road or sprinting.
The new design, which includes a textured effect to the team’s iconic line on the back of the jersey and bold swathes of Flag blue and Brigade red, makes it the most striking in the team’s history. A fresh gradient on the arm, created using a velocity pattern composed of Grenadier Lambdas in a subtle reference to the How Fast Feels philosophy, sits alongside the globally recognisable INEOS “O” pattern, seen across the INEOS Sport family.
And it feels fast. Launched today by Richard Carapaz, Filippo Ganna, Ethan Hayter and Tom Pidcock, the kit is the epitome of Bioracer’s ethos and their dedication and approach to the pursuit of speed.
With over 30 years of innovation woven into every stitch, Bioracer created the kit in-house from start to finish. The Belgian company includes a design and print studio, protolab, motion speed centre, wind tunnel and several fully-owned production sites worldwide. The Grenadiers cannot wait to represent Bioracer on the road from January 1st.
The kit is available to pre-order now from the INEOS Grenadiers Store and the Bioracer shop, and goes on sale in January 2022.
Speaking when the new partnership was confirmed in September, INEOS Grenadiers Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “I’ve known Danny and Bioracer for a long time and always admired what they do and the way that they do it. I’ve always hoped and believed that we would work together one day so I am genuinely delighted that day has now come. The ethos that underpins their work is built around speed – pure and simple – with athletes right at the heart. We share a common sense of adventure, a desire to innovate and do things differently but above all a passion for the race and for racing. We look forward to writing a new successful chapter together and showcasing their brilliant kit on the road in 2022 with our Grenadier spirit.”
Bioracer CEO Danny Segers said: “Our growing ambition calls for a more active role in the spotlight. Together with the best Grand Tour team of the last decade, we will be continuously pushing the boundaries of cycling performance. The INEOS Grenadiers stand out in the international peloton all year round, so we will certainly see the Bioracer logo on stage many times. Playing a leading role in the revolution of speedwear, we will translate the developments for the INEOS Grenadiers into the cycling apparel of millions of Bioracer riders worldwide.”
Australian Races Moved to World Championships period Will We Get Another Spectacle on Willunga Hill in September?
The organisers of the Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race are still looking for a new date after both Australian races were canceled earlier this year. New rumours seem to point in the direction of the World championships period.
“I hear rumours that the Australian races would be moved to the period of the world championship,” Louis Cousaert told La Dernière Heure. The organiser of the Eurométropole Tour may also have to look for a new place on the cycling calendar after rumours about the relocation of the Benelux Tour.
The traditional Australian openers of the cycling season have not been run for two years due to the corona crisis. When the race was canceled in 2022, the organisers announced that they would do everything they could to secure a spot on the calendar. Other races may also be linked to this. The wish of the organisers may come true. There are rumours that the Australian races would continue in preparation for the World championships, which takes place from September 18 to 25 in Wollongong, Australia.
Because the riders will not be bothered by long journeys and bad weather, this period seems a suitable date to organise the races, although it remains to be seen whether we will actually get successors to Richie Porte and Dries Devenyns. Both veterans are the latest winners of the Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
Richie Porte on the attack in 2020:
Flanders Classics Becomes Owner of Gent-Wevelgem
After Flanders Classics entered the Gent-Wevelgem organisation in 2009, it will take full ownership of the event from 2022. In the context of the further development of Gent-Wevelgem, the older shareholders choose to step aside.
The two strongholds of the Gent-Wevelgem organisation, Luc Gheysens and Bernard Langedock, have brought the competition back to the highest level in recent decades. In addition, the organisers decided to expand Gent-Wevelgem with several international youth competitions. However, the shareholders now choose to leave the spring classic in good hands with a view to further developing the event.
“A lot has changed over the years, but we can look back with great pride on what we have achieved,” said the organisers of Gent-Wevelgem. “We have worked very well with Flanders Classics in recent years and are confident that the quality of the organisation and the individuality of the competition in and around Ypres and Wevelgem will also be preserved in the future.”
Despite the takeover, the race will not change in character in the coming years. “Together we have been building the Gent-Wevelgem brand in Flanders Fields for more than ten years,” says Tomas Van Den Spiegel, CEO of Flanders Classics. “We would like to thank the organisers for the constructive cooperation and trust. This collaboration and its result have ensured that Gent-Wevelgem has acquired a more than solid foundation that we will continue to appreciate.”
“Not only sporty, but also narrative, thanks to the history of Flanders Fields, which lifts the race to an even higher level. We are therefore looking forward to further promoting and representing one of the most unique races on the calendar internationally,” said Van Den Spiegel. Gent-Wevelgem 2022 will take place on Sunday 27 March between Ypres and Wevelgem. Marianne Vos and Wout van Aert were the last winners.
Coupe de France Will Have Seventeen Races in 2022
The Coupe de France will consist of seventeen rounds next year, one more than last season. The organisers of the Mercan’Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes has joined the cup competition.
The first round of the Coupe de France is traditionally the Grand Prix La Marseillaise at the end of January. The races such as the GP de Denain, Route Adélie de Vitré, Tro-Bro Léon, La Polynormande and Grand Prix de Fourmies are also part of the Coupe de France. The Tour de Vendée will be the final event.
This year the overall victory in the Coupe de France went to Dorian Godon. The AG2R Citroën rider was ahead of Elia Viviani (175 points) and Valentin Madouas (138 points) with 191 points. In the top 10 we also saw Bram Welten, Benoît Cosnefroy, Arnaud Démare, Pierre-Luc Périchon, Biniam Ghirmay, Jason Tesson and Baptiste Planckaert.
Godon regularly finish well in 2021, but also managed to win two Coupe de France races with Paris-Camembert and the Tour du Doubs. He also made it to the podium in the Classic Loire Atlantique.
Coupe de France 2022 – Calendar:
Grand Prix la Marseillaise (January 30)
GP de Denain (March 17)
Classic Loire Atlantique (March 19)
Cholet Pays de la Loire (March 20)
La Roue Tourangelle (March 27)
Route Adélie de Vitré (April 1)
Paris-Camembert (April 12)
Grand Prix Morbihan (May 14)
Tro-Bro Léon (May 15)
Tour du Finistère (May 21)
Boucles de l’Aulne (May 22)
Mercan’Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes (May 31)
La Polynormande (August 14)
Tour du Doubs (September 4)
Grand Prix de Fourmies (September 11)
Grand Prix d’Isbergues (September 18)
Tour de Vendée (October 2).
2021 winner – Dorian Godon:
Possible Postponement of the Benelux Tour Could Lead to Relocation of the Eurométropole Tour
The Eurométropole Tour would normally be held on September 3 next season, but a postponement of the Benelux Tour to August 29 to September 4 could change everything.
The Benelux Tour is currently scheduled on the calendar from 7 to 13 August, but today the news was announced that the race may be postponed. The reason for this is not yet known. “If the Benelux Tour actually takes place during that period, we will not be able to organise our race,” organiser Louis Cousaert told La Dernière Heure. “We have already received several requests from teams, so it would be a shame if we had to postpone our race.”
In the first instance, a one-week delay is being considered, the race would then be held on Saturday, September 10. “We are thinking of alternative solutions, but we are facing tough competition from other events.” Among other things, the Vuelta, the Tour of Britain and the Canadian classics are on the cycling calendar. The World championships in Australia will follow a week later.
The organisers is also looking at options for August and October. “At the moment we don’t have a specific date yet. I don’t even get an answer from the UCI. This is a very unpleasant situation,” says Cousaert.
Fabio Jakobsen won the Eurométropole Tour in 2021:
UCI Track Champions League Announces London Season Finale as Covid-19 Pandemic Cancels Tel Aviv Event
Round four in London will now be the inaugural league’s grand finale, as the Omicron variant forces removal of Tel Aviv from the 2021 calendar.
Discovery Sports Events and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) today announce that Tel Aviv will no longer host the final round of the inaugural UCI Track Champions League on December 11.
Following the Israeli government’s ruling that the nation’s borders are closed to all non-citizens, and with other countries adding movement restrictions in response to the new Omicron Covid variant and the threat it poses, the Sylvan Adams National Velodrome is now unable to fulfil its role as a host venue in 2021.
As a result, the league’s final round will take place in London, UK this weekend, with round three on Friday December 3 and the grand finale on Saturday December 4. The back-to-back sold-out rounds at the Lee Valley VeloPark are expected to offer a gripping finale to the innovative new series, with thousands of fans supporting their four local riders.
The league’s points scoring, final classification and total prize pool of €500,000 are unaffected.
François Ribeiro, Head of Discovery Sports Events, said: “It is with regret that we have been left with no choice but to remove Tel Aviv from this year’s calendar. We were ready to celebrate our four series winners at the Sylvan Adams National Velodrome, but the events of the pandemic have taught us the importance of adapting when necessary. We must be led by official government guidance from host countries and ensure the safety of our riders, staff and fans. Whilst this is disappointing of course given the quality of the event prepared by Sylvan Adams, it places even more focus on this weekend’s sold-out event in London which is now set to be a thrilling grand finale.”
Sylvan Adams, Event Promoter, Israel, said: “It is with regret that we were forced to withdraw from hosting this year’s Track Champions League Grand Finale. The new restrictions made it impossible to bring the riders, staff, and technical crews into Israel on December 11th. Until we know more about the nature of the Omicron variant, I believe Israel’s preemptive measures are prudent, and will ensure the safety and health of all concerned. I wish all of this year’s competitors good luck, and may the best four riders win!”
For more information about the league, please visit ucitrackchampionsleague.com.
Peter Sagan Signs a Ten-Year Deal with Sportful
Peter Sagan has been wearing a Sportful kit since 2015. The Italian clothing brand will remain loyal to him as he changes teams to TotalEnergies. Sagan has now made a deal for the next ten years. “I’m sure we’ll have even more fun in the next ten years,” said the Slovak.
After Sportful came with him to BORA-hansgrohe, they are now also going to TotalEnergies in 2022. Sagan not only drives around in their outfit for years, both parties also launched a clothing line together in 2018. In addition to cycling outfits, they have also designed everyday clothes.
Sagan himself is very happy with the new deal that binds him personally to the brand. “The relationship I have with Sportful goes beyond sports. It’s something very unique and special to me,” the three-time world champion emphasised. “The company has always shown that they believe in me and for that I can only be grateful. I am sure we will have even more fun in the next ten years.”
Dario Cromenese, manager at Sportful, is also very pleased with their long-term partnership. “It’s fantastic to have him with us and we know we’ll be able to do this for another ten years, along with other initiatives. It is both an honour and a privilege.” In addition to his deal with Sportful, Sagan also has one with Specialized. They will also join TotalEnergies and replace Willer Triestina.
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