EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

All the latest Tour news

All the excitement from the Tour de France with reports, results and video. Lefevere has not heard from Bennett – TOP STORY. Rider news: Bob Jungels operation, Vincenzo Nibali in the Italian team for the Olympic Games, Bert Van Lerberghe and Geoffrey Bouchard extend contracts. Team news from the 2021 Giro d’Italia Donne, Qhubeka NextHash, Movistar extends sponsorship through 2023 and new website for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. A very full EUROTRASH Thursday.


TOP STORY: Lefevere has not heard from Bennett: “He shows little respect for me”
Patrick Lefevere has once again spoken strongly about Sam Bennett. The Irish sprinter had to miss the Tour de France due to a knee problem, although the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team manager doubts that. Lefevere has not heard from Bennett in over a week. “He shows little respect for me,” said Lefevere.

“I sent him a WhatsApp message last weekend and he replied: ‘I’m on my bike’. So I thought he would call me after that, but I haven’t heard from him again,” the team boss told the Belgian press: “Yes, sorry, I’m the boss, he has to call me, I don’t call him. He will be paid until December 31st and I am adhering to the contract correctly, but you have to be two to fulfil a contract.”

Lefevere finds it all disrespectful of the Irishman, who managed to win the Tour de France green jersey last year. It is not yet known when Bennett will return to action. “Hopefully for him he still races. If he doesn’t, I don’t have to pay him anymore, of course,” said Lefevere. “Hopefully he still races for us, otherwise it will cost money.”

The manager of Deceuninck – Quick-Step will now not contact his sprinter, who will leave after this season for his old team BORA-hansgrohe. “I don’t think he’s still on his bike and hasn’t gotten off it once to be able to call. After the training, he could call me and explain himself what was going on.”

Lefevere still thinks that Bennett returning to the German team is ‘the worst of all’. “That says a lot about Sam. After barely fourteen months, he signs with that team again because he can earn some more money. In February of this year, he already decided to sign there, even though that is officially not allowed according to the rules. Sorry, I have little respect for such practices.”

Bennett not popular with Lefevere:

 


Tour de France 2021
Belgium’s Tim Merlier won the first bunch sprint of the Tour de France on Stage 3 just like at the Giro d’Italia two months ago. It was a 1-2 with his team-mate Jasper Philipsen while Nacer Bouhanni rounded out the podium in a crash-marred finalé which also reshuffled the overall classification. Mathieu van der Poel retained the Maillot Jaune after leading-out his victorious team-mates.

Five riders in the lead
180 riders took the start of stage 3 in Lorient. Jelle Wallays (Cofidis), Michael Schär (AG2R Citroën), Ide Schelling (BORA-hansgrohe), Maxime Chevalier and Cyril Barthe (B&B Hotels-KTM) escaped in the first kilometre of racing. They took a maximum advantage of 3:15 at km 13. A heavy crash at La Trinité-sur-Mer (km 37), forced Robert Gesink (Jumbo-Visma) to withdraw while Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) remained on the ground for a while with an injured shoulder. He made his way back to the peloton with the help of his team-mates Luke Rowe, Dylan van Baarle and Jonathan Castroviejo as the race was at Auray (km 49). With 100km to go, Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ), Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin-Fenix) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) led the pack 2 minutes behind the leading five riders.

Ide Schelling back in the lead of the KOM competition
Schelling took the lead of the KOM classification as he soloed to the top of the Cadoudal climb in Plumelec, after which he sat up to wait for the peloton. Wallays, Schär, Chevalier and Barthe remained at the front. Chevalier also sat-up with 13km to go as the peloton was 40 seconds behind. A crash occurred in the peloton 12km before the line. It split the peloton with riders like Lopez, Gaudu, Madouas and Cavendish being forced to chase behind. 10km before the line, Roglic also came down. His team tried to help him to come back to the main peloton, but it was mission impossible. Another crash hampered Tadej Pogačar later on, as well as Arnaud Démare who was unable to contest the sprint.

A 1-2 for Alpecin-Fenix
Van der Poel powered to the finish line in the role of lead-out man for his two sprinters, Merlier and Philipsen who rode into the last kilometre in perfect position. Behind them, Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan went down on the last bend with 200 metres to go. Merlier preceded Philipsen on the line for a 1-2 for the Belgian squad that retained the Maillot Jaune with Van der Poel for the second day.

# You can read the full stage 3 report and photo gallery HERE. #

Stage winner, Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix): “This is the biggest victory of my career so far – a dream come true. After my victory in the Giro d’Italia I was already very happy, and now I’ve won a stage at the biggest race of the world. I just can’t believe it. You saw how Mathieu [van der Poel] did the lead out? He just loves to do it. Jasper [Philipsen] did an excellent job in the last 700 meters and I only needed to take off with 150 meters to go. I was surprised I didn’t have anyone on my wheel, but I heard there was a crash… so I guess that’s why. This Tour has already been a success for us at Alpecin-Fenix. We are very happy with these two stages and Mathieu’s Yellow jersey. I hope to reach Paris and fight for the victory in the Champs-Elysées.”

Overall leader, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “I felt very good today. I wanted to help my teammates today if I could, although I also had to focus on defending the yellow jersey. The final kilometres were super hectic, with a lot of crashes. I like leading out and I wanted to be on the front as much as possible in order to keep my guys safe. My team actually likes to make the final kilometres as fast as possible in order to avoid the fight for the position within the bunch. I’m happy I can give something back to my teammates, who are always working for me. When I peeled off with one kilometre to go, I focused on following Alaphilippe because there is only a small gap between us on the GC. It’s special to wear this yellow jersey in France. It is pretty unique, pretty big. It’s unbelievable what the team just did today. This Tour has already been a success for us. Everything that comes afterwards is a bonus.”

6th on the stage and 2nd overall, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It was a pretty complicated stage, a super nervous one. There have been quite a lot of damages. I’m happy to have reached the finish line in one piece. We’ll evaluate with the team what has happened to us today. In the finale, we still had Davide Ballerini who was well positioned but I’ve seen Sagan crashing with Ewan, we were riding at 70kph so I’ve had to avoid them. It was a mentally demanding day that required a lot of focus. I’m happy it’s over.”

6th overall, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates): “I did stay on the bike, but it was not a good day. There were too many crashes again. It was a really hectic stage. To be honest, I don’t really know where anybody is: it was such a chaos that I don’t know where anyone finished. I only know that I am wearing the White jersey… and also that I lost time at the finish.”

10th on the stage, Max Walscheid (Qhubeka-NextHash): “Once again, I hope everyone who went down is okay, I didn’t speak to Simon yet. In the first case, I am happy that I didn’t go down and I am also proud of our teamwork. I am happy to finish in the top 10, which is something we can really build on. I think we showed good legs and if we keep progressing, more will be possible, but for today, I think we did a great job as a team.”

KOM, Ide Schelling (BORA-hansgrohe): “I’m happy to gain the polka dot jersey back. It was my third stage out of three in the breakaway and I could say it was by far the easiest. Straight from the gun, I went away with four more riders who were kind enough to let me take the point in the first KOM. After I got the jersey and my mission was completed, I went back to the peloton and see what I could do for my teammates. I hope everybody is doing well after this hectic and crash-marred finale. It’s never nice to come back to the bunch and see your teammates hit the ground. For me personally, it’s incredible to be wearing such a jersey in my first Tour de France. It was a dream that came true on the first stage, unexpected, and it’s still difficult to realise it’s happening.”

Break rider and most aggressive rider, Michaël Schär (AG2R Citroën): “I am happy with this award. The four breakaway riders deserved it because we rode in wonderful harmony, and we all worked well together. Maybe if the fifth rider had stayed with us, we could have gone further and raced for the win because we were only caught five kilometres from the finish line. After our woes during the first stage, I hope that this will put the whole team going in the right direction and that we will still be able to make an impact.”

Crash victim, Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe): “We were expecting a nervous and tense stage but this one became absolutely hectic after the intermediate sprint. I was feeling well, the guys, and especially Niels, did a fantastic job in keeping me safe and positioning me for the sprint. I was in a very good place in the final stretch to the finish line, ready to contest the stage, but, unfortunately, I crashed with Caleb Ewan. I managed to get up, ride my bike and cross the finish line but, of course, it wasn’t the way I wanted. I hope all riders involved in the day’s crashes are OK.”

Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) will not start stage 4 due to a displaced complex fracture of the right collarbone and will undergo surgery in Monaco: “I don’t remember too much of the crash as it all happened in an instant. I remember that I wanted to start my sprint quite early in the chicane. We began sprinting on the left and when I started my sprint, I saw that the guys on the front were closing to the right so I had to stop my effort and then hope for it to open up again. When all of this happened, I came next to Peter Sagan and we were quite close on the wheel. And when Merlier went against the right, I touched the wheel… Pretty soon, I realised my Tour de France was over. Usually when you crash, you don’t feel too much pain because of the adrenaline rush. But straightaway, I was in a lot of pain and as the medical staff were pressing on my collarbone, I felt it clicking so I immediately knew something wasn’t right. It’s my first time I’ve broken a bone. They told me it is broken in four spots and I need to have surgery to put it back into place. Out of all the bones you can break, I think a collarbone fracture is maybe the easiest to recover from. Unfortunately, this is a part of cycling. I need to let it heal and make plans for the future. There should be plenty of time to let it heal towards La Vuelta, so hopefully this can still be a goal of mine this year. Obviously, a lot of the team was built around me so it is really hard to be out of the race so soon. But the guys are all really strong and they can definitely show something the coming weeks.”

Tour de France Stage 3 Result:
1. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix in 4:01:28
2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
4. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
5. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
6. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
7. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
8. Cees Bol (Ned) DSM
9. Anthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies
10. Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka-NextHash.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 3:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix in 12:58:53
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:08
3. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:31
4. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:38
6. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:39
7. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar at 0:40
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic
9. Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies at 0:45
10. Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo at 0:52.

Tour stage 3:

 

Mark Cavendish claimed his 31st stage victory at the Tour de France, three less than record holder Eddy Merckx, five years after his last one and six years after he won in Fougères. Nacer Bouhanni and Jasper Philipsen rounded out the podium in the bunch sprint finish of Stage 4. Mathieu van der Poel completes the four days of the race in Brittany with the Maillot Jaune ahead of the first individual time trial.

Périchon and Van Moer in the lead
177 riders took the start of stage 4 in Redon. One non-starter: Caleb Ewan. His team-mate Brent Van Moer (Lotto Soudal) was first to attack at km 10. Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis) reacted to make it a leading duo that got the green light of the peloton. Their maximum advantage was 2:50 at km 38. Taking over from Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Kristian Sbaragli set the pace for a long time for the Alpecin-Fenix team of race leader Mathieu van der Poel. In the second half of the race, Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) helped to stabilise the time gap around 2 minutes.

Van Moer takes the intermediate sprint
Van Moer out-sprinted Périchon at the intermediate sprint in Vitré (km 114) on the same line where the Route Adélie finishes every year. The peloton was only 1:20 behind. With 15km to go, the difference was down to 30 seconds as INEOS Grenadiers lifted the speed after taking over from the sprinter’s teams. Van Moer rode away solo 14km before the finish and gave it all to try and fend off the peloton. The Belgian rider increased his lead to 1 minute under the banner of the 10km to go.

At the eleventh hour
Van Moer got reeled in with 150 metres to go. It looked like Philipsen was going to make it three in a row for Alpecin-Fenix but Cavendish came out of the box at the very end to write his fairy tale in Fougères, the place where he won in 2015. He was the last rider selected by Deceuninck – Quick-Step as a substitute to last year’s green jersey winner Sam Bennett. Cavendish, 36, is also back in the green jersey he won in 2011 while Van der Poel retains the Maillot Jaune.

# You can read the full stage 4 report and photo gallery HERE. #

Stage winner, Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I’m in shock, even more than when I got word that I would do Le Tour this year. Just being here is special, because I didn’t think for one moment I would come back to this beautiful race that I love so much. I’m in complete disbelief, I don’t know what to say. So many people didn’t believe in me, but these guys did and continued to do it. When you have the World Champion and green jersey wearer giving everything and sacrificing himself for you, then Michael who played it so smart and remained calm at all times, it just motivates you to do the best. It was a hectic finale, and we had to throw our initial plan to the wind and adapt, but the guys did a flawless job and delivered me perfectly. They were absolutely brilliant and all I can say is a massive thank you! Before today, my last Tour win with the team had been in Fougères, so to raise my hands again here for another win is just… I don’t know, it’s the kind of stuff that makes everything even more perfect. You couldn’t have written this thing. I’ve won so many races in my career and this one definitely is one of the best. I am so grateful to Patrick, to my coach Vasilis, to everyone in the squad. It’s hard to imagine how this team is if you’re from the outside, but believe me, this really is a Wolfpack and I am incredibly happy to be part of it.”

Overall leader, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “I enjoyed the yellow jersey very much today. There was a nice weather and lots of spectators on the roadside. Of course we would have liked to win the stage. We worked hard for our sprinters, but it doesn’t always work out like planned. [Brent] Van Moer is such a strong cyclist. We knew what he was capable of because we had seen his performances in other races, like the Critérium du Dauphiné. What a strong ride he pulled off today! Tomorrow’s ITT is one for the specialists. I will try to do my best to keep the yellow jersey, but it won’t be easy. Wout van Aert, for instance, is a very strong time-triallist. TTs are something I don’t work that much on.”

2nd on the stage, Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic): “This is a real shame. By the time I had an opening, it was already too late. We had to take a bend just before the finish and then only saw the finish 50 metres in advance. In the intermediate sprint I was already beaten by Cavendish and here again at the finish. But we came with Arkéa-Samsic for the stage win, so I’m not happy with a second place. There are now six opportunities left, including the Champs-Élysées, in which I will give everything. I will try to recover tomorrow, with a view to the flat finish in Châteauroux. I was especially relieved that I was not involved in a crash.”

5th on the stage, Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe): “My crash yesterday was hard and I still had knee pain today but it was gradually getting better in the final 35km. The team did a fantastic job in keeping me in position in the tricky part, especially Nils and Daniel. The last 5km were again hectic because Van Moer was still in front. I found myself a bit out of position and didn’t have enough time to recover positions in the last kilometre, so I started my sprint from further back. However, it was a good effort, I feel optimistic about the upcoming days and I will, obviously, keep fighting.”

6th overall, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates): “Today’s stage was much easier than the yesterday’s, even if it still was a fast race. There was a little stress on the bunch, but it was much better. Until I hadn’t crossed the finish line I was focusing on today. Right now, I am already thinking of the ITT. I’m pretty excited about it. I saw the route on Thursday, before the Grand Départ. It is a hard course, it suits to powerful riders. You have to know when to push and when to rest in order to get a good result.”


9th on the stage, Boy van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “My brother Danny had a problem with his bike so he I understood I had to get ready to sprint myself, which is why I received the support of Loïc Vliegen, Jan Bakelants and Jonas Koch to negotiate the final. I was in very good position in the wheel of Mads Pedersen, but his lead-out man Stuyven took too much time to start the sprint and we found ourselves boxed in. Without that, I’m convinced the top 5 was possible. But I’m happy, I just finished in the top 10 of the biggest race in the world.”

20th overall, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “Today was not our best day. I’m covered in abrasions from head to toe. Fortunately, the medical examination showed that nothing is broken. Everything is still in one piece, so I will continue. Fortunately I can continue the Tour. It was a stressful final. I am not the right person to blame the organisation for this. You don’t want anyone to lie on the ground. You train so hard for a certain goal. This bad luck cannot be calculated in. It is now a matter of getting through the next few days. We will continue to fight for it no matter what.”

KOM, Ide Schelling (BORA-hansgrohe): “Today I had little rest day and took it easy in the peloton. Seeing how the break panned out, I’m very happy of that decision. As for the KOM competition, I only have 5 points right now, so the situation can change so much in the mountains. I take it day by day for the moment. We will see what happens when the climbs come.”

Last man to be caught, Brent Van Moer (Lotto Soudal): “After Caleb [Ewan]’s crash yesterday, we don’t have a sprinter on the team anymore. Therefore, we have changed our plan and we are aiming at breakaways now. I was lucky to make the break today. Although I knew it was going to be difficult to reach the finish line first, I kept going because I always give my 100% on the bike and fight until my last breath. On the final 15 kilometres, my teammates told me over the radio I had a chance of winning, and that gave me some extra energy. The last climb was a bit too much for my legs. Shame I was only 200 meters shy of victory!”

Tour de France Stage 4 Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 3:20:17
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
3. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange
5. Peter Sagan (Svk) BORA-hansgrohe
6. Cees Bol (Ned) DSM
7. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
8. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
9. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
10. André Greipel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 4:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix in 16:19:10
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:08
3. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:31
4. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:38
6. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:39
7. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar at 0:40
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic
9. Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies at 0:45
10. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:52.

Tour stage 4:

 

Tadej Pogačar routed his rivals in the 27.2km individual time trial Stage 5 from Changé to Laval on Wednesday to reaffirm his status as the odds-on favourite to win the 2021 Tour de France. The Slovenian rider followed up his momentous victory in the final time trial of the previous edition on La Planche des Belles Filles with another flash of brilliance and sent a clear message to his opponents, while Mathieu van der Poel went deep into the red in the finalé to keep hold of his yellow jersey by just 8 seconds over Pogačar. Swiss rider Stefan Küng, the European champion against his clock, produced a rock-solid performance, but still finished 19 seconds behind the UAE Team Emirates leader, who blasted round the course at an average speed of over 50km/h.

Dane Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo–Visma) came in third ahead of his leaders Wout van Aert in fourth and Primož Roglič in 7th, whereas other favourites such as Julian Alaphilippe, 14th at 1:11, and Geraint Thomas, 16th at 1:18, were left reeling after the first major test of this edition.

Bjerg sets the tone
The start of the time trial, held under ominous clouds, was a roll call for the riders injured in the previous stages. Tony Martin, a shadow of the cyclist who won the World championship against the clock four times, put in a decent time of 35:33, while four-time Tour winner Chris Froome had to work hard to post a time of 36:20, just ahead of Marc Hirschi at 36:28. Young Dane Mikkel Bjerg, a three-time U23 time trial world champion, made the strongest impression among the early starters and moved into the hot seat with a time of 33:01.

Rain on the parade
At this point, the sky opened up, boosting the prospects of the provisional leader and stopping his rivals from going all out. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) crashed and was forced to jump onto a new bike with bloodied knees. Swiss rider Stefan Bissegger, who won a somewhat shorter time trial in Paris–Nice last spring, came close to the Dane but, unable to take serious risks, came up 22 seconds short. Another Dane, Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–Nippo), scored a near-miss, 6 seconds down, as the roads slowly dried up, buoying the hopes of the favourites.

Küng takes control
Bjerg had already occupied the “Kiss and Cry” area for over two hours when Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) finally bumped him from the hot seat by 6 seconds. However, the Italian’s hopes were short-lived: one of the big favourites, Stefan Küng, put an impeccable performance to vault over Cattaneo by 36 seconds and take over the lead with a time of 32:19. At an average speed of over 50km/h, it seemed enough to grab the stage win unless one of the overall favourites still had an ace up his sleeve. Two other Danes, Jonas Vingegaard and Kasper Asgreen, came out with all guns blazing, in sharp contrast to Primož Roglič’s metronomic effort.

Pogačar crushes the opposition
Meanwhile, Geraint Thomas, still suffering from the after-effects of a dislocated shoulder, was already conceding 25 seconds at the first intermediate time check (km 8.8). Vingegaard finished the stage 8 seconds down, with Asgreen at 18 seconds down and Roglič 25 seconds behind the leader, whose time seemed almost unassailable. Almost: Tadej Pogačar clocked one best intermediate time after another (leading by 10 seconds at km 8.8 and 17 at km 17) and blitzed the time trial to remind everyone that he is the man to beat in this edition. The Slovenian was 22 seconds clear of Wout van Aert and 40 seconds ahead of Julian Alaphilippe on Wednesday evening, with other favourites such as Rigoberto Urán and Richard Carapaz already over a minute down.

# You can read the full stage 5 report and photo gallery HERE. #

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates): “Today was a really good day for me. I didn’t make any mistakes and the weather conditions really suited me too. I had checked out the course and new about the climb at the end, so I focussed on pacing myself with the perfect rhythm right until the finish. My goal was to avoid losing time, but I actually managed to gain time on my GC rivals which is great. I’d love to have the yellow jersey, but for now Mathieu [Van der Poel] looks nice in it, so it’s fine! I’m very happy to wear the white jersey also. I’m just really happy and excited about the rest of the Tour.”

Overall leader and 5th on the stage, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “I surprised myself today. I have to thank the team. We worked until midnight to get the best position on the bike. It was one of my best days on the bike. I was able to push myself beyond my limits today and I’m proud of what I did. I saved some energy for really force myself toward the end. I need to keep something in the tank. When I said yesterday I would lose the jersey, it was not a lie.”

3rd on the stage, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma): “I can be very satisfied with my time. I’m close to the top. I don’t see myself as a pure time trial specialist. I have done some good time trials this year. I didn’t expect that I would set a top time in this race. It’s also positive that Primoz feels better step by step. I hope he recovers fully and quickly. In any case, the right form is there.”

4th on the stage and 3rd overall, Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “I didn’t expect Pogacar to take the win. But you can’t call it a surprise anymore. I gave everything and made no mistakes along the way. After a few kilometres I noticed I didn’t have the legs needed to win today. I did not have the surplus. The disappointment now prevails. I had hoped to be closer to the day’s victory.”

7th on the stage and 10th overall, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “It was hard today. I really gave everything. I don’t feel in great shape and I’m covered in abrasions from head to toe. Step by step I feel a little better. We will continue to give everything as a team every day and then we will see how far we can go. I am proud that I gave everything today. That’s all I can do.”

9th on the stage and 25th overall, Richie Porte (INEOS Grenadiers): “It was a good performance. It was nice to get a dry run at it, it’s cleared up a bit. Sitting there watching on the bus the weather wasn’t the nicest, especially for the poor guys who went out in the rain. For me the weather was fine, I changed the wheel before the start as the wind picked up after the recon. I’m not in the spot that I’d like to be because of the crash on stage one that I got caught up behind, but it is what it is. I’m not sure the other teams are going to give me any breathing space anyhow, but it’s a good tactical card to have. At the end of the day, I’m here for Carapaz or G if needs be, I know what my job here is at this race.”

14th on the stage and 4th overall, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I didn’t have a good day. I immediately felt that and rode so that I wouldn’t lose too much time. I liked the course and was hoping for a better time, but in the end it’s the legs that do the talking. I’m not disappointed, it is as it is. So far, it’s been an incredible Tour de France for our team and we hope more opportunities will come along the way so we get to savour other memorable moments together.”

16th on the stage and 12th overall, Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers): “I think I rode the best TT I could, I went out a little too conservative – it’s what I had really. Obviously, I didn’t feel 100% but I don’t wart to bang on about that, I tried to do what I could and it wasn’t enough really. The Dauphine time trial was definitely in my mind and I knew on this course there was no real room to recover if you went out too hard as there weren’t too many downhill, so I tried to ride a bit more flatline. I think it was decent enough pacing, but not enough power. I woke up this morning and felt terrible, but once I got going and loosened up it was better. It’s just one of those things that you have to crack on and deal with – just keep fighting I guess.”

13th overall, Wilco Kelderman (BORA-hansgrohe): “Of course, I am disappointed today. After the strong TT in Dauphiné I thought I could be ranked higher today. We had to adapt my TT position slightly because of the wound on my elbow, but, unfortunately, that certainly didn’t help since I also felt I was sitting a little twisted on the bike. Anyway, it is what it is, and I am not looking for excuses. My power output was ok, and we have to analyse where I lost time. But, I am still optimistic because I know the shape is there. Our focus will now immediately switch to the first mountain stages this weekend.”

Tour de France Stage 5 Result:
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 32:00
2. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:19
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma at 0:27
4. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:30
5. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:31
6. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:37
7. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:44
8. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:55
9. Richie Porte (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers
10. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech at 1:00.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 5:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix in 16:51:41
2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:08
3. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:30
4. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:48
5. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech at 1:21
6. Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies at 1:28
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo at 1:29
8. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma at 1:43
9. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:44
10. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 1:48.

Tour stage 5:

 


Bob Jungels Operation
Bob Jungels underwent two lower limb surgeries last week to treat the external iliac endofibrosis that prevented him from competing in the Tour de France.

“It’s always a shame to be home and not participate in the races, but I’m glad we identified the reason for the problem that had crippled me for a long time. I know that I will be inactive for at least eight weeks and that it will be necessary to be patient because it will be a long road. I’m in good spirits and I’m motivated. I will do everything to find my best sensations and prove that I have not lost my qualities. I look to the future. I would like to thank Drs Corten, Stocks and Lauwers who performed the surgeries,” Bob Jungels said.

Bob Jungels crash in Amstel Gold Race:

 


Nibali in the Italian Team for the Olympic Games in Tokyo
Vincenzo Nibali has been included in the Italian squad for the Tokyo Olympics. National coach Davide Cassani announced the complete selection for the road race and the time trial and has made room for Nibali. This will be his fourth participation in the Games.

In addition to ‘The Shark of Messina’, Damiano Caruso, Gianni Moscon, Alberto Bettiol and Giulio Ciccone will also be at the start of the road race in Japan. Classics specialist Bettiol will also ride the time trial, the national coach confirmed to RAI Sport. Italy has two places in the time trial and had already allocated a place to World time trial champion Filippo Ganna.

Ganna is registered by the Italians as a track cyclist, but is allowed to compete in two cycling events. This gives Cassani the opportunity to include an extra climber in his road team.

At the beginning of this month, it seemed that Nibali would be excluded from the Olympic selection. “In 2016 Nibali went to the Olympics as a Giro winner, now his situation is a lot less rosy,” Cassani said at the time in conversation with La Gazzetta dello Sport. Now he takes Nibali anyway.

Nibali in an Italian jersey:

 


Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile – JUL 2-11
Albert Timmer – Team DSM coach: “The Giro d’Italia parcours is a really interesting one and offers something for every type of rider; with sprints, summit finishes, rolling stages and time trials. We have a really strong line-up for the race that can compete on the varied terrain, where we’ll aim for stage results, our main goal for this year’s race. There is a lot of confidence within the team after our strong recent performances and wins, and we’ll look to continue that here. With Coryn as our captain, she’ll be able to use her experience to guide the team through the tricky stages and what should be an exciting ten days of racing.”

Line-up:
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Coryn Rivera (USA)
Lorena Wiebes (NED).

Sprints for Coryn Rivera:

 


Team BikeExchange Name In-Form Squad Ready for Battle at the 2021 Giro d’Italia Donne
Team BikeExchange today announced its powerful and attack-minded six-rider squad for the 2021 Giro d’Italia Donne, starting on Friday, 2nd July in Fossano.

The team lines-up for the 10-day stage race with two-time podium finisher Amanda Spratt as the leader, with the triple Australian champion aiming for another top GC showing in Italy.

Team BikeExchange at Giro d’Italia Donne 2021:
Grace Brown (AUS)
Janneke Ensing (NED)
Sarah Roy (AUS)
Ane Santesteban (ESP)
Amanda Spratt (AUS)
Georgia Williams (NZL)

Spaniard Ane Santesteban will provide valuable support in the mountains while Brugge – De Panne winner Grace Brown and Australian champion Sarah Roy give the team extra firepower in the hills and on the flat.

The experienced Janneke Ensing comes into the race in strong form, with reigning New Zealand champion Georgia Williams capable of tackling all terrains across the 10 days of racing.

Brent Copeland (GreenEDGE Cycling General Manager): “The Giro d’Italia Donne is one of our main goals of the year and is always a special race for Team BikeExchange, it is a race which we invested a good amount of time and resources into getting the team to the start in the best condition possible in order to get the results the women deserve. The selection of this year’s team was by no means an easy task as the riders are so well prepared, thanks to the great work of the technical staff and coaches we feel we have put the most competitive team together for this event. Not only do we have our goals set on the general classification with Amanda Spratt, but we feel the rest of the riders on the team will have opportunities to bring home some great results. With it being one of the most exciting stage races in the women’s WorldTour calendar, we are certainly going to give our utmost to make for some excitement in the race. As always, a huge thanks for the endless support of Gerry Ryan for the women’s team and last but not least we are ever so grateful to the organisers for the effort they make in order to get the event running during these challenging times and we are looking forward to some great racing.”

Amanda Spratt: “I’m really looking forward to the Giro! We had a really great altitude camp in Livigno with the team in preparation for the race, so the morale is high and I think the form from everyone on the team is very high at the moment. We were able to do some really specific work targeting some key stages and I’m sure that will pay off come race time. I have great memories from the Giro. Of course, last year ended badly with the crash, but before that I was on the final GC podium both times. I know it’s a race I can do well in and that I generally become better throughout the tour too. We also have Ane Santesteban and Grace Brown who I think can also do well in the overall, so I think we can aim to have good numbers at the top and play the game in the finals. The route for this year’s Giro is much more similar to the route of two and three years ago with a true mixture of stages that can suit all riders. We have the two hard mountain top finishes that will definitely sort the GC, but everyone knows in the Giro to expect the unexpected so I am sure some of the stages that may look easier on paper will also play a big role. The team in any race is so important but in a race like the Giro I have so many great memories from working together so well with my teammates. And it is not just the riders. Our staff work so hard to prepare us optimally both before the race and during it. It’s a hard race for everyone, but when you can achieve great results together it’s truly special. We have a great team for the Giro with a good mix of riders and I would love to see all my teammates take an opportunity for a win. I’m confident we can do well.”

Martin Vestby (Head Sport Director): “We go to the Giro Donne with a strong team aiming for a top GC result and our ambition is to win stages. I really like this year’s Giro route, it has a bit of everything with a crucial first four days for the GC riders, with a fast TTT start and a mountain finish on the second day. The hilly time trial on day four will set the GC before the last mountain stage on day nine. There are also some stages mid-race where you can’t relax. The Giro is one of the biggest women’s races of the season. Both riders and staff have put in some extra effort for the best possible outcome and we are aiming high. It is never easy to win, but we are well prepared and have a team with great form. It’s important that we are up there fighting for the top places and that everyone leaves it all out there. We are excited to race for victories.”

 


Introducing Team Qhubeka NextHash
We are delighted to announce a hugely exciting five-year partnership with NextHash, that will see the company assume the position of co-naming partner of our UCI WorldTeam with immediate effect, henceforth to be known as ‘Team Qhubeka NextHash’.

Team Qhubeka NextHash, Africa’s UCI WorldTour team, will be presented to the international sporting world for the first time, tonight, as the team takes to the stage for the 108th Tour de France in Brest, France.

The multi-year agreement shows an alignment of our respective core values; for NextHash it is about people, relationships and reputation and for Team Qhubeka we are about people, purpose and performance.

NextHash is a global entity comprised of several units that combine the traditional financial industry with brand new digital class assets, by harnessing the power of blockchain technology.

NextHash aim to make the digital, crypto and financial world accessible to all perfectly aligns with our team’s mission to provide a platform and an opportunity to those in need everywhere.

The current rapid evolution of the digital financial industry is extremely exciting. As a team that has always embraced the power & potential of technology, we are delighted to begin this journey with NextHash. Together we look forward to creating a market place for cycling in the digital medium based on shared value.

Douglas Ryder, Team Principal: “I am incredibly happy to welcome NextHash , our official cryptocurrency and blockchain partner, into our family of partnerships and into our team name for the remainder of 2021. The whole sports industry is moving towards a digital universe and this long term partnership will help us innovate and develop new and interactive approaches to engage with our fans. We look forward to being ahead of the curve with the latest technologies to offer our fan community new experiences.”

Ana Bencic, CEO NextHash: “NextHash is delighted to be partnering with Team Qhubeka to create ‘Team Qhubeka NextHash’ – competing at the highest level of professional cycling, the UCI WorldTour. As well as being a world class cycling team, Team Qhubeka NextHash has at its heart a social purpose that chimes perfectly with our own business. Using technology to enable communities is central to our mission at NextHash – we believe in making the digital, crypto and financial world accessible to all, across geographic and social boundaries. NextHash will work hand in hand with Team Qhubeka to socially and environmentally responsibly bring our products and services to a huge new audience through this amazing global sport and team. I look forward to our teams working together to build future successes, on and off the road, and take this opportunity to wish our riders every success at the 2021 Tour de France.”

About NextHash:
NextHash brings a new class of digital assets and securities to the financial industry, utilising the power of blockchain technology. Operating several brands, NextHash has built a state-of-the-art platform for easy access crypto trading to users, investors, clients and newcomers to the digital world of security tokens. The NextHash Group has established a global presence – with offices in Europe, North America and Asia – to secure financial licenses in key jurisdictions, and compliance with the latest directives to address worldwide financial markets.

 


Bert Van Lerberghe Extends Contract with Deceuninck – Quick-Step
The 28-year-old Belgian stays with the Wolfpack for two more years.

Bert Van Lerberghe became a member of Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 2020 and has now added two more years to his deal, which will see him ride with the Wolfpack until at least the end of 2023. A pro since 2015, Van Lerberghe took several strong results during his spell with the most successful team in the world, including top 10 finishes at Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

“I’m super happy. It’s a nice feeling that Patrick and the team showed me their confidence, which I am motivated to repay. I feel so good with the Wolfpack, so this was a logical decision for me. I hope I can still make some progress in the coming years, to become better and continue to try to do a good job. During the past two seasons I learned a lot, the team really became a second family for me and I have enjoyed the experience so far. I’m looking forward to continuing my story with the Wolfpack.”

CEO Patrick Lefevere shared the happiness of this new deal, which sees the team continue to build on a solid squad for the next few years. “Bert is a really strong rider and put on display his fantastic work and selfless effort on many occasions. With him we have a very good rider for the lead-outs, but he can also go for some personal results whenever possible. He is still very keen to learn and improve his skills, and we are happy to continue helping him progress in the future.”

 


Geoffrey Bouchard Extends Contract Through 2023
Geoffrey Bouchard, 29, has extended his contract with the AG2R CITROËN TEAM for two more seasons.

He has been wearing the colours of the team since 2019. “We are happy to continue our story for two more years with Geoffrey, who we signed when he was still racing as an amateur. Since then, he has brought us great satisfaction particularly by winning the King of the Mountains in the Vuelta in 2019, and then most recently this past May at the Giro. I know he will give us many more happy times,” Vincent Lavenu, General Manager of the AG2R CITROËN TEAM said.

Geoffrey Bouchard: “I am very happy to continue this adventure with the AG2R CITROËN TEAM. This two-year extension is a great sign of their confidence in me which is a reward for how well my season started. I have stood on the final podiums at the Grand Tours as King of the Mountains, first at the Vuelta a España (2019) and then the Giro d’Italia (2021). Now I am aiming for a victory in the races to come.”

In his three Grand Tour participations, Geoffrey Bouchard has won the King of the Mountains at the Vuelta a Espana (2019) and the Giro d’Italia (2021).

Geoffrey Bouchard in the Giro:

 


Telefónica Extends Blues’ Sponsorship Through 2023
Movistar company, the brand most identified with cycling in Spain and Latin America, renews contract with Blues for two more years after great success together since 2011.

Telefónica announced on Friday the extension of the partnership agreement linking them with the Movistar Team through to the end of 2023, which sees the only Spanish cycling team in the WorldTour (men and women) extending its decorated history for an additional two years.

Movistar has been the team’s main sponsor for the last 11 years, keeping alive the legacy of a legendary organisation in Spanish cycling, which will reach 43 seasons in the pro peloton in 2022.

Throughout these 11 years supported by Telefónica, the Movistar Team has covered more than 3,500,000 kilometres and 3,000 days of racing around the world, wearing the white M, blue-coloured jersey at the front of one of the sports which offers best visibility to sponsors and reaches further into the heart of the territories it rides through.

During this long span, the team has achieved significant sporting success: they’ve been the best squad in the UCI WorldTour for four consecutive years (2013 to 2016), won three Grand Tours (2014 + 2019 Giro / 2016 Vuelta), stepped onto the podium of GTs 12 times; won 12 team prizes at three-week stage-races; claimed two individual World titles (Valverde, 2018 + Costa, 2013), an Hour Record (2015) and 27 National Championships.

309 individual victories in five continents have been notched up by the Blues, both in the biggest WorldTour classics and in the most important stage-races.

Alejandro Valverde (a three-time UCI World No. 1 in his years under Telefónica’s sponsorship, as well as podium finisher in all three Grand Tour) has been the rider with most victories for the Movistar Team since the sponsorship started.

The Movistar Team’s sponsorship by Telefónica generates great return on investment for the Movistar brand in all territories. The team’s reach across its digital channels in 2020 was 95 million people.

Cycling has gathered audiences of more than 60.7 million spectators in Spain, with more than 1,600 hours of broadcast and an advertising return estimated in 200 million Euros. The Tour de France is the most watched cycling event, with almost one million viewers every stage in 2020 (8.3% share).

Movistar is the brand most associated by the public with cycling in both Spain and Latin America, a key for this sport to keep growing around the world as a professional activity, a sustainable vehicle and a symbol of healthy lifestyle.

Eusebio Unzué, General Manager of the Movistar Team: “For us it remains a huge pride, more and more after all these years, to enjoy such a long-standing support from Telefónica. It’s already more than a decade with the company by our side, showing us their support in many aspects that go well beyond what could simply be a sponsorship. With them, both our team and cycling as a whole have taken a big step forward towards a fully digital approach this sport needed. We’ve been able to get this sport closer to people with a great audiovisual effort launched by Telefónica. New support on the technological side, with Telefónica Tech now on our jersey as a core part of the team, is helping us bringing the latest advancements into the science of cycling for this team to keep moving forward. And we’ve made significant improvements in aspects that get this sport closer together with society. Equal opportunity, with a women’s squad that enjoys the best infrastructure and hasn’t stopped bringing us joy for the last four years, as one of the best teams in the world. Also, our commitment to make this world more inhabitable, with sustainability initiatives we’ve been carrying out for the last few years. And so many other aspects which Telefónica continues to make possible with its support, a big effort to modernise this beautiful sport that is cycling.”

Rafael Fernández de Alarcón, director of Brand, Media, Investigation and Partnerships of Telefónica: “Movistar Team is a big part of our family. Being able to support this team in their efforts, their victories, their technological transformation, is one of the things that really five sense to our commitment with sports. Telefónica and its brand, Movistar, want to remain the biggest reference of sports partnerships in Spain, and announcing this extension today really makes us happy and proud. We can’t wait to see the team take the start of the Tour de France, and we’re confident the team will do well both in the ‘Grande Boucle’ and the remainder of the season.”

Other than great sporting results, Movistar’s commitment with cycling has made for significant improvements in the whole sport:

The women’s Movistar Team was created in 2018 with the aim of building the first-ever fully-professional women’s cycling team in Spain, with equal infrastructure and opportunities to the men’s outfit. In just three years, the Blues have soared to 2nd place in the UCI World Ranking, with big names such as Annemiek van Vleuten and Emma Norsgaard, both within the top 10 riders in the world. On the other hand, Telefónica also fosters different cycling-for-all projects, such as the ‘Women in Bike’ program by the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation, with more than 50,000 riders involved.

Through their partnership with the cycling team, several technological projects have been put in place that put into perspective Telefonica’s capabilities as a company. Since 2017, Telefónica’s data unit supports the Movistar Team’s performance staff to improve the team’s technical knowledge. It was only this week that Telefónica Tech joined the jersey, the holding property of the Telefónica group featuring a broad offer of technological services and solutions in Cybersecurity, Cloud, IoT, Big Data or Blockchain.

One of the most resounding initiatives carried out by Telefónicas has been creating audiovisual products for the public to better understand this sport. The last partnership cycle has seen documentaries being released on the team’s 40 years and the career of Alejandro Valverde, as well as two seasons of the series on the team’s Grand Tours, available on Netflix and acclaimed by fans and media alike.

The cycling team is currently developing a project that aims at making them become the first 100% sustainable WorldTour cycling team. The initiative, fully aligned with Telefónica’s sustainability strategy, allows for future collaborations between the two entities with reinforce their image as a company with these values.

One of the most recent projects put in place has been the Movistar eTeam (early 2021). The team’s third branch, composed by 5 men and 5 women, is representing the team and brand in the growing landscape of esports and virtual cycling. The first few months of the eTReam have brought them more than 1,720,000 content views on social media.

The support to awareness campaigns that seek to improve mutual respect between cyclists and drivers have always followed the same motto: #RodamosJuntos (‘We ride together’).

 


Check Out Our Brand-New Website!
On the verge of setting off for the Grand Départ of the 2021 Tour de France, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert is thrilled to introduce its brand-new website, completely revamped and redesigned, fully ergonomic and quick to access!

Displaying the colours of the team, our new website will allow you to get to know our riders, our staff, our partners, our business club, and to follow even more closely the achievements of the team on a daily basis.

Developed in collaboration with 4c.media, the website will soon be available in three languages: English, French and Dutch.

The best? The URL address remains the same! Visit us now and check our brand new look online!

 


The PEZ INSTAGRAM
See our Instagram page for a quick fix on your phone: https://www.instagram.com/pezcyclingnews


The PEZ NEWSWIRE!
Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it on the homepage, just above the PEZ Shop section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.


Any comments drop me a line, email address: alastair@pezcyclingnews.com or Twitter. And check the PezCyclingNews Twitter and Facebook Page.

 

EuroTrashlatest newsNow on pezRace Newsrider newsTeam Newstour21