The Flemish cobbles will be bereft of riders and fans on Sunday, lot’s of other cycling news in EUROTRASH. Olympic games and World championship causing problems – Top Story. No racing till July, Dauphiné postponed, Ciccone sells yellow jerseys. Naesen, Bettiol, Evenepoel, Garrison and Aevolo talk coronavirus. Thomas, Bernal and Buchmann talk Tour. Plus news from Flanders, Contador, Riwal Readynez, Giro and Vuelta clash, Geminiani wants the Tour, Aru out of contract, Vuelta a Madrid wants to move, Meganck dies, virtual riding with Circus-Wanty, Cavendish and EF Pro Cycling, The Cyclists’ Alliance appoints ethics officer and we finish with video of Flanders 2019. Keep safe!
TOP STORY: New Dates for the Olympic Games
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo organisation have reached an agreement to hold the 2021 Olympic Games from July 23 to August 8. According to the IOC, these dates prevent friction with the sports calendar and minimise the logistical challenges faced by the organisation.
The organising committee targeted a similar timeframe as this summer’s deferred Games so that existing plans for the event can be maintained as much as possible. Current qualifications and qualifying events can also be completed with this schedule. The IOC had earlier announced that teams or athletes who had already qualified will retain that status for 2021.
There is a problem for cycling with these dates as the Olympic Games will overlaps with the Tour de France 2021 for a few days. The 2021 Tour is to start on Friday, July 2nd and ends three weeks later on Sunday, July 25th. How this will affect the Tour will be known once the dates for the cycling events are known.
Tour/Olympic date clash?
Greg Van Avermaet: Tour/Olympic Overlap in 2021
Greg Van Avermaet does not expect that in 2021 he will have to choose between the Tour de France and the Olympic Games. The Olympics will start on July 23 next year, which means that the Tour and the road race of the Games may overlap. The Olympic champion told Het Laatste Nieuws that he expects ASO to request a new Tour date.
“I don’t think the Tour will overlap with the Games,” he predicts. “It is logical that the Tour moves on the calendar and that ASO has the Tour start one week earlier. If they don’t, they will shoot themselves in the foot,” said Van Avermaet.
Another option is for the IOC to adapt. “I count on the IOC and the federations to consult carefully about the current calendars. The UCI announces that it is in close consultation with the IOC. The IOC could adjust its schedule.” The cycling events could take place late in the schedule.
Olympic champion – Greg Van Avermaet:
Tour director Prudhomme: “No Tour de France behind closed doors”
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme doesn’t want a Tour de France without an audience. Due to the outbreak of the corona virus, it is still unclear whether the most important stage race in cycling can be organised.
The French minister of sport recently called it an option to keep the Tour behind closed doors. Competition organizer ASO doesn’t like that idea. The Tour boss said that at Sports Auvergne, where he was a guest to respond to the postponement of the Criterium du Dauphiné.
“The Tour de France is holding on to its date for the time being (June 27 to July 19, ed.). But of course everything depends on the evolution of the pandemic. France is the most important term in the term Tour de France. The health situation of our country is paramount,” says Prudhomme.
“I only want one thing and that is that the Tour de France can be organized. Not because it is the Tour, but because dropping the Tour would mean that our country would be in a catastrophe. And of course nobody wants that. But there will certainly not be a Tour behind closed doors,” said the Tour Director.
The ASO will postpone a final decision for as long as possible, but we should know by May 15 at the latest. Prudhomme added that there is also talk of shifting the Tour to another date. Yesterday it was announced that the international cycling federation UCI has been canceled all races until at least June 1.
UCI Extends ‘No Racing’ until June 1
The UCI has announced that there will be no races held in May. A few weeks ago, the International Cycling Union decided to cancel all races in April. However, the UCI today (Wednesday) – after consultation with the AIOCC, AIGCP and the CPA – decided to cancel all cycling events until June 1. The cycling union will continue to talk to various partners within cycling in the coming weeks.
It has been decided to set up a working group with members of the UCI, the CPA and the AIGCP. Within this working group, the contracts of riders and the situation of cycling teams will be examined in this difficult and uncertain time. The UCI once again announces that it is planning to reschedule the Giro d’Italia and the canceled Classics in an alternative calendar. UCI president David Lappartient said earlier that “it is not easy. We try to find the best solutions together, but in all reasonableness.” The UCI has received 450 requests for postponement.
Plugge and Lefevere Not Happy with World Champs Program
The International Cycling Union (UCI) presented the final program for the 2020 World championships in the Swiss cities of Aigle and Martigny. The World championships takes two weekends this year and Richard Plugge and Patrick Lefevere are not very happy with that.
The Jumbo-Visma team boss is not amused with the UCI’s decision to spread the World championships from Sunday, September 20 to Sunday, September 27. “Incredible from the UCI. Serious organisers can use that first weekend to still have a race take place.”
“Set the time trial on Wednesday and skip that mixed team relay” Plugge is clear. Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Patrick Lefevere is also not a fan of the team race. Several organisers hope for a new place on the cycling calendar now that several races have been canceled. For example, the UCI is trying to reschedule the most important spring classics and the Giro d’Italia.
“However, it has to be within limits,” UCI president David Lappartient said. “It’s not easy, I am currently talking to the teams, organisers and of course the riders. We try to find the best solutions together, but in all reasonableness. In the first place, we want to protect the greatest treasures of our sport,” Lappartient refers to the grand tours and monuments. “We will make sure that we have a nice calendar at the end and can rediscover the passion for cycling.”
2020 World ChampionshipsProgram
Sunday, September 20 – Time Trial for men (46km)
Monday, September 21 – Time trial for U23 men (39km)
Monday, September 21 – Time trial for women (34km)
Tuesday, September 22 – Time trial for juniors women (22km)
Tuesday, September 22 – Time trial for junior men (27km)
Wednesday, September 23 – Team Mixed Relay (25km)
Friday, September 25 – Road race for juniors women (69km)
Friday, September 25 – Road race for U23 men (162km)
Saturday, September 26 – Road race for junior men (130km)
Saturday, September 26 – Road race for women (130km)
Sunday, September 27 – Road race for men (244km).
The Critérium du Dauphiné Postponed
As part of the fight against the spread of COVID-19, the Union Cycliste Internationale, along with all the involved parties, have taken the decision “to prolong the suspension of cycling competitions until 1 June 2020, and until further notice.”
The organisers of the Critérium du Dauphiné, in agreement with the UCI, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region and other involved parties, have decided to begin working to reschedule the race, originally scheduled to start from Clermont-Ferrand on the 31st May and run through to the 7th June. The organisers would like to thank the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region and all of the race partners for their understanding and their support as they work towards finding a new date for one of the most greatest races in the international cycling calendar.
Giulio Ciccone Auctions Yellow Jerseys for a Respirator
Giulio Ciccone is auctioning his two yellow jerseys for charity in the fight against the corona virus. The Trek-Segafredo rider wants to use the money to buy a respirator for the local hospital in Chieti, where Ciccone was born 25 years ago.
Ciccone was in yellow for two days in the 2019 Tour de France, after he managed to take the lead in La Planche des Belles Filles from an early escape. Ciccone has decided to sell the coveted jerseys to the highest bidders in order to help fight the virus. The Italian is also auctioning two more jerseys from his Trek-Segafredo team, hoping to raise even more money for Chieti’s local hospital. The goal is to raise €10,000. “We have currently raised €5,000. I am counting on the amount to rise,” said Ciccone on Monday.
With more than 12,000 deaths and more than 100,000 infections, Italy is the worst hit country in Europe. In recent days, however, there has been cause for cautious optimism as the number of infections decreased. Also, fewer hospital admissions are being registered. However, there is still a complete lockdown.
Giulio Ciccone in yellow:
Naesen: “My French team mates are going crazy”
Oliver Naesen hopes that the Tour de France will continue later and that a few more Classics will be raced in the autumn. The 29-year-old Belgian spoke to Sportwereld and also talked about his French team mates who are not allowed to leave their homes and his expiring contract with AG2R-La Mondial.
Oliver Naesen’s contract runs until December. “As a Classic rider, I actually wanted to wait until between the Classics and the Tour to discuss my contract. Because the good contracts are signed before the Tour. Nothing has changed for me. Ideally, I would simply renew my contract.”
In a number of cycling teams some of the staff are technically unemployed and riders have give up part of their wages out of solidarity with the employees. Oliver Naesen doesn’t really like that. “Solidarity sounds nice in the newspaper, but everyone has their bills to pay at the end of the month,” he said. “No, I am certainly not ready to give up part of my wages.” And the East Flemish does not have to worry about that for the time being. “We have been told by the team that everyone who is permanently employed will continue to receive their wages.”
As for the cycling calendar this summer and autumn, Naesen lives in hope. “Via Radio Peloton I hear that they are counting on programming the spring Classics in the autumn. All my hopes are focused on that, but it’s waiting for the UCI to announce a new calendar. The Tour? The start is still twelve weeks away. I really hope he continues.” And if that is the case, he expects that with Romain Bardet will be the leader. “Romain was only to ride the Giro. I haven’t talked to him about that yet, but I can’t imagine he wouldn’t want to ride the Tour now.”
Naesen naturally has a lot of French teammates at AG2R. “I am in a Whatsapp group with them and I can tell you that the French are going crazy. They are currently not allowed to train outside. All they can do is ride the exercise bike for an hour and a half. That is good for once, but if that situation continues for longer, those men will go crazy.”
Bettiol Separated from Girlfriend and Family for Weeks
After winning the 2019 Ronde van Vlaanderen, Alberto Bettiol received an improved contract and moved from the Italian town of Castelfiorentino, near Firenze, to the Swiss town of Lugano, 400 kilometres away. What he didn’t know that in 2020 he would be separated from his girlfriend and family for a long time.
“I am in good health. In quarantine, of course,” said Bettiol in an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws. “Only I haven’t been to Italy for more than a month. The last time I was there after the Ster van Bessèges. Even before Paris-Nice I returned to Switzerland. And after the Ruta del Sol I returned here. Now I can no longer leave Switzerland. Even if I got permission to enter the country from Italy, I wouldn’t be allowed to leave Switzerland.”
“Well, I now live the life that many people lead, I think. But of course that was not the plan.” During Paris-Nice, the situation in Italy got worse day by the day. “When the decision to lock the country was made, it was already too late for me to return quickly. But I’m making the most of it here. I think positively: I am safe here and healthy. This also applies to my girlfriend and family in Castelfiorentino. They follow the rules and don’t go anywhere. In the meantime, we hope for a vaccine. And on the beautiful weather that is coming, to get the virus down.”
Bettiol has many friends in Lugano, one is Vincenzo Nibali, his neighbour. “Coming together is not possible at the moment, but he and his wife do take care of me. Sometimes they bring me bread or cake. Gasparotto, Ulissi, Nizzolo and Pozzovivo also live nearby. It is also difficult for them. But it is not that bad.” Less pleasant is that the Tour of Flanders will not take place on Sunday. “I was doing well. I won the time trial in the Ster van Bessèges. I was ready to return to Flanders to defend my title. I hope that we will succeed later this year, that we get another chance because I left my heart there.”
Evenepoel Corrected by Virologist Van Ranst
Remco Evenepoel does not always find the current corona measures in Belgium equally clear. He wonders whether he can still visit his girlfriend, with whom he does not live. Meanwhile, the well-known virologist Marc Van Ranst responded with a very clear answer.
Like his colleagues, Evenepoel will also be sidelined in the coming weeks due to measures against the spread of the coronavirus. “We live in crazy times”, the Belgian rider wrote earlier. “But we have to accept it and listen to what the government tells us to do. Unfortunately no competitions in the near future, but everyone’s health is the only priority now. Be sensible, stay safe and see you soon.”
However, according to Evenepoel, the measures taken by the government are not always clear and the Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon and the well-known Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst contradict each other. “One says that you can visit your sweetheart and the other not,” he wrote on his social media Sunday afternoon. “I live literally a hundred meters from my girlfriend and we don’t know clearly what is and what is not possible. Both only at home and exercising, only…”
That same evening, the vice world champion times of Deceuninck-Quick Step received an answer from Van Ranst, who is a professor at KU Leuven. He commented on Twitter: “Which part of ‘stay in your room’ is so difficult to understand? Either you live together, and then there is nothing wrong. Either you love living with another family, and then you can write her a love letter from your own room.”
Nevertheless, the National Crisis Center (NCCN) in Belgium seems to leave room for partner visits. In the list of frequently asked questions you will find under ‘What if you do not live under the same roof with your partner?’ The answer: “The new measures state that you must limit contact to your family and possibly one extra person. So you can still visit your partner. Of course, don’t do it if you yourself are sick or show symptoms.”
Evenepoel not only missing his training:
Thomas: “The Tour de France, not the same without fans”
Geraint Thomas is not in favour of a Tour de France without an audience. The 2018 Tour winner said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. Race organiser, ASO, recently announced that it was working on an edition of the Tour without spectators because of the corona crisis.
“The Tour is not the same without fans,” said Team Ineos leader. For Thomas, health and safety are at the top in this uncertain period. “As soon as it is possible, I want to race again. But I emphasise: only when it is really possible.”
“I can understand the discussion about whether or not the Tour will continue,” admits the Welshman. “I also realise that it is” just “sport, but there are also many jobs at stake. In any case, health must have the highest priority. It is a difficult choice.”
The Tour de France is on the calendar from June 27 to July 19. Organizer ASO wants to make a decision in mid-May about the big event. The French Minister of Sport indicated that serious consideration is being given to a stripped-down Tour, without the Départ village and without fans at the start and finish locations.
Bernal Thinks it Might be Better to Postpone the Tour
Geraint Thomas is not in favour of a Tour de France without an audience and his teammate, Egan Bernal, said in an interview with the Colombian cycling federation that maybe the 2020 Tour de France should be canceled. “It might be better to postpone the Tour,” said the reigning French Grand Tour winner.
Bernal is also looking at the lack of preparation period towards the Tour de France. “We are all touched by this mandatory rest period. There may now be riders who cannot properly prepare for the Tour and will not be ready for it. It may be better to move the Tour anyway. I hope that the Grand Tours will continue this year, for sponsors and cycling. It is a serious blow if it does not go on, but we just have to wait and see. One thing is certain: the virus will one day have to disappear. At some point we have to continue,” said Bernal. The Colombian has been very active with social media campaigns in recent days, hoping that his countrymen will respect the lockdown and not take to the streets. The Team Ineos rider is currently training indoors a little on the exercise bike.
“I decided with my trainer to take some rest. After a few months of training, it is not so bad to sit on the exercise bike for only two hours a day.” The emergency measures in his home country of Colombia are currently running until April 13.
Egan Bernal- 2019 Tour winner:
Buchmann and Denk Prefer Tour Behind Closed Doors
“A Tour de France behind closed doors, it wouldn’t be the same. But it depends so much,” said Emanuel Buchmann, fourth in last year’s Tour. “Better a Tour without fans than no Tour,” Denk confirms. “Football also takes place behind closed doors with high fines for those who come to watch.”
The Tour de France is just about the only sports event of the coming months that will – for now – stick to its original start date (June 27), with the support of the French government. Only they are not yet sure how they want to approach it. One option is to run the Tour behind closed doors, without an audience. Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal, the last two winners, are not very enthusiastic.
Emanuel Buchmann would like to race without an audience. “It wouldn’t be the same. Cycling lives on emotions and supporters. But you also have to say that a lot depends on the Tour. We are all motivated for the Tour de France, with or without spectators. And without fans it is still better than no Tour,” the German climber told Sport Bild.
Buchmann’s team manager Ralph Denk also shares this opinion. “In football, matches are also held behind closed doors. Why couldn’t that not be a solution for the Tour? If, for example, a visit to the Tour would costs you €20,000, then you think twice and better to watch your TV.”
Emanuel Buchmann following Egan Bernal:
Mayor of Oudenaarde Wants De Ronde in Autumn
The Mayor of Kluisbergen does not like a Tour of Flanders in October, but in Oudenaarde they still hope that ‘Flanders’ Most Beautiful’ can be held in 2020. “We are only a partner, but it should be possible if a good date is available is,” said Mayor Marnic De Meulemeester.
“I think the chance is small, if not non-existent,” said Philippe Willequet, Mayor of Kluisbergen. In addition to the Oude Kwaremont, the municipality in the Flemish Ardennes also has the Paterberg on its territory, the two steep ramps in the final of the Flemish Monument. In conversation with Sporza, De Meulemeester sounds a lot more optimistic. “Our attention should now be on the corona crisis,” he begins his account. “De Ronde is rightly canceled, but I hope that the race will be postponed and hopefully still run in the autumn. If conditions allow, health comes first.”
“I know that the Belgian cycling federation, Flanders Classics and the UCI are taking serious steps. I assume those conversations are still ongoing. Whether it is practically feasible? A new date must be set that everyone agrees on. It may be a feat, but the Ronde is the Ronde. A Monument,” said De Meulemeester.
The Mayor realises that he does not have the last word. “It is not up to me to determine whether De Ronde will continue, we are only a partner. However, it should be possible if a good date is found. Many people will then be happy. I am thinking of a Tour of Flanders in September, October or even a little later.”
Contador: “Teams must have a choice of which races they want to ride”
The rearrangement of the calendar keeps the cycling world guessing. The challenge of cramming an entire season into three months seems impossible. In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Alberto Contador argues for teams to choose which races they still want to ride.
Spain has been hard hit by the corona crisis. Logically, Contador is concerned. “It is a situation we could not have imagined. Fortunately, my family is fine, but we’re nervous. Pinto (his home village) is very close to Valdemoro, which has a large hospital and many deaths. This is incomparable to previous tragedies. Now we are fighting an enemy that no one can see.”
Bike races are suspended until further notice. Contador expects to reschedule the calendar when the season resumes. “Cyclists are not cars, they cannot compete every week. It may be necessary to let the teams choose which events they want to participate in.”
Contador has started training on his Instagram account. “I organised a series of cycling training courses for everyone. Three days a week: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 7:00pm,” he explains. “I do training courses there without a technical language, so that everyone understands. I invite everyone to participate.”
Train with Contador at home:
Riwal Readynez Riders Layed-Off Until June 9
The Riwal Readynez cycling team will not be active until after June 9. The Danish based team announced via Instagram that all employees will be suspended until June 9, in order to be able to make use of government support.
“The economic consequences of the corona crisis are significant for many. Also for a professional cycling team, like ours. We have decided to temporarily fire all our riders and employees until June 9, 2020.” The measure has been in force for the riders since March 9, but now it also applies to other personnel. During this period, riders and employees may not have work-related contact with each other.
“This action will allow us to apply for a share of the Danish state aid package for companies and to receive an economic benefit in the form of pay compensation,” said the team. “It is still uncertain when races will be organised again. When this happens, we will follow the recommendations of the Danish authorities closely.” In 2020 Riwal Readynez is a ProTeam, the second division of professional cycling.
Giro d’Italia Possible in August?
In Italy, it is still hoped that the Giro d’Italia can still be ridden in 2020. Now that a Grande Partenza seems unlikely in late May or early June, an opportunity is being considered later this year. Italian Federal President Renato Di Rocco (also vice-president of UCI) said to Spazio Ciclismo that a Giro is currently considered a serious option in August.
Di Rocco said in a conference call with organisers, teams, and riders that there are currently three options to resume the calendar: July 1, July 15, and August 1. This means that the international cycling union takes into account that no races can be held in the coming months. There is currently a stop until the end of April.
“It is a puzzle that necessarily requires a lot of patience and wisdom, as there is little space and the races in the first three months of the season have to be repositioned in the last three months,” said Di Rocco, who takes into account that the riders need a month to get in shape again. This means that preparatory events may already be scheduled in June.
If it is not possible to ride the Tour de France in July, a shift from La Grande Boucle to August is an option. If the Tour can be held in July, there would be room for the Giro in August. This means that the Vuelta (which is currently planned from August 14 to September 6) must move up.
Di Rocco hopes that competitions will not be held without an audience. “It will be an extraordinary opportunity, especially for Italy, to start over after a period of compression. Staying at home for a month or two is extremely difficult for everyone. I think a rebirth can be a moment of passion and enthusiasm. The riders should then be applauded.”
A Giro d’Italia without the Tifossi, not possible:
Spanish Cycling Federation will Protect the Vuelta
Italian Federal President Renato Di Rocco said this week that a Giro d’Italia in August is a serious option, much to the dismay of his Spanish colleague José Luis López Cerrón. “As the Spanish cycling federation, we will always protect the Vuelta a España,” he told Spanish sports newspaper AS.
Di Rocco said in a conference call with organisers, teams, and riders that there are currently three options to resume the calendar: July 1, July 15, and August 1. This means that the International Cycling Union takes into account that no races can be held in the coming months. There is currently a stop until the end of April.
If it is also not possible to ride the Tour de France in July, a shift of the French stage competition to August is an option. If the Tour can be held in July, there would be room for the Giro in August. This means that the Vuelta (which is currently planned from August 14 to September 6) must move up.
López Cerrón, as chairman of the Spanish cycling association RFEC, does not agree to this. “I called Di Rocco about his statements, but he explained to me that the statements are incorrect. He wants to organise the Tour, Vuelta and Giro one after the other. In any case, we will always protect the Vuelta.”
“The Giro has to look for an alternative place on the calendar, the Vuelta does not …” Javier Guillén, the course director of the Vuelta, is holding on to the plans as presented earlier.
Geminiani: “A Tour de France can have a healing effect”
Raphaël Geminiani is now 94 years old, and was a rider in the 1940s and 1950s and participated in the first Tour de France after World War II in 1947. He spoke to the French sports newspaper L’Equipe saying that organising the Tour de France can heal just like 73 years ago.
Geminiani was the team manager for Jacques Anqueltil, Luis Ocaña and Jan Janssen, and was a professional cyclist from 1946 to 1960. In 1947 he rode his first Tour de France. “I have never seen so many people together as at the start in Paris,” he remembers. “They were all very happy people. The Tour made us forget the war. That’s why I hope the Tour can take place this summer.”
Geminiani, however, sees an important condition. “This virus should not only be controlled, but also gone,” he said. “This voluntary detention affects us. It is mentally hard to wear. We have to heal this.” The Tour could help with this, according to Geminiani. “It gives us stability again and makes us live again.” The start of the Tour de France is planned for June 27. ASO wants to make a solid decision by mid-May.
Will we see the yellow jersey in Paris this year?
Aru: No Contract for 2021
Fabio Aru has been unable to show his good form now that a corona pandemic is raging in Europe. “I am thinking of my expiring contract, of course, but I am not obsessed with it,” Aru said to TuttoBiciWeb.
For the 29-year-old Aru, 2020 is the season of truth, but the former winner of the Vuelta a España can’t do anything about it. “It would be hypocritical if I said I don’t think about it. It is a difficult situation, but it is not an obsession. I am not in control myself. I refuse to complain.”
“I think much more about the victims of the coronavirus. To the people who have lost family members. We have to think about all those affected,” said Aru, who also wonders if the 2020 Tour de France will take place? The Italian is gloomy. “I just can’t imagine it.”
“Cycling is really a global sport as we have teams from all over the world. Which teams will soon be able to travel safely? Which riders can make the trip to France in July? A Tour without an audience is not cycling. Then cycling loses its beauty.”
Aru training in January:
Garrison: “bigger than all of us”
The US National ITT Champion talked about his Deceuninck – Quick-Step debut and the pandemic that led to the cycling season being suspended for an indefinite period.
Everything is well here in Georgia, where the restrictions aren’t as bad as in parts of Europe and we are still able to spend time outdoors. Life is pretty much normal for now in a way. The roads are really quiet, although people are out walking in the nice weather we are having, but the shops are closed and it is quieter.
I was in Europe at our Greek training camp when things started to develop in the US and they were talking about closing the airports and not letting people in or out. Alvaro and I were the two guys from the Americas at the camp and we didn’t want to get stuck in Europe as we saw things were getting worse. We waited a little bit and saw that more and more flights were getting cancelled and we made the call with the team that we needed to go back, and a day later I went from Athens to Heathrow and then to Atlanta. Now that I a home I am having some fairly normal days, doing the rides and work-outs that are part of my program.
It’s quite strange to work without a goal in mind, because we just don’t know when racing will begin again, or what our program will be. I am just grateful that I can enjoy being out on the bike, as I am aware that some people don’t even have that and are stuck inside. It is definitely a shift in mindset but I have plenty to be grateful for. I can work without specific targets – when I am racing, I like to have certain goals but I also really like riding my bike – so I don’t need a reason to ride or train. I am able to switch my brain and just enjoy it.
Leaving Greece was really sad and we were disappointed to leave. I didn’t know what to expect from it with it being a new location, but we got in to the flow things and were really enjoying it. We stayed in a small hotel and were eating together, with the family running the place making us some really good food and looking after us. It was a really nice environment and we didn’t really want to leave. There was a mixed group of riders as far as skill sets and nationalities, with me, Alvaro, Pieter, João, Andrea, and Davide, but it was a great atmosphere as well as tough training.
Getting to know all of the guys on the team has been different to anything that I have experienced, being an American and one of the younger guys in the squad, but with each experience it gets a little easier.
I gave myself this year in my head to get integrated and learn, but even then, I was definitely nervous when we met at the training camp. Like I say though, each time it gets a little better and a little better and I am finding my place in the team. I have spent some time in Girona with Brandon McNulty to train and get used to Europe a little more. The area is great for cycling, with lots of other cyclists around there.
Before this unexpected break, I got to ride La Provence, Ardèche, Drôme Classic, and GP Monseré. I have really enjoyed it so far and I learned a lot from each race. The first time I arrived at the race and went on the team bus I was nervous and I just tried to get all of the details right and do my job to the best of my ability. As far as the race it wasn’t too different, but part of it was not knowing what to expect and seeing how things work, but all of racing boils down to going on your bike and racing. The intensity in the big European races is harder, but racing for a domestique team in the US is different than racing for Deceuninck – Quick-Step. In a way, some things are easier, because the jersey is given a little more room and I can move through the bunch easier, but it is still hard racing. It is hard to describe it as an experience, but it has a different feel. Part of it is a language thing and not always hearing American voices, but there is a different feeling in Europe, that I am sure I will get used to.
The future is hard to predict right now, as we don’t know when racing will begin again. It is a little frustrating, having just got started. But stuff happens and this is much bigger than us or just me. It is very different from saying that I have a knee problem or something, we are all in this together and it is something that none of us have ever experienced before, a challenge that the whole world has to overcome. It is bigger than all of us and it is kind of stupid to say that I am frustrated, but I am looking forward to joining my teammates and racing again, whenever that will be.
Mirza Upbeat Ahead of Tokyo 2020 Postponement
I have come to terms with the fact that the 2020 cycling season is looking very different than normal because of the coronavirus crisis. All major sporting events around the world have been postponed including this summer’s Olympic Games, which I believe to be a wise decision.
Postponing is an important word in that sentence. They haven’t cancelled the Olympics; they’re just changing the date. Tokyo 2020 was such a huge goal of mine and has been for a number of years but this target hasn’t changed, it just means that the dates have been pushed back. It’s something that has obviously disappointed me in the short term but it’s a decision I agree with.
There is no better feeling than representing your country at the Olympic games and I am very proud to say that I competed at Rio in 2016. The whole experience was amazing – the Olympics is supposed to be a celebration of 4 years of hard work and training and a chance to show everyone your talents and inspire others. If the Olympics had gone ahead this summer, I don’t think it would’ve been fair or appropriate.
Many of us have been in lockdown now for several weeks and restricted in what we can do and how we can train. I am still training hard whilst in isolation on the bike indoors, but nothing matches being on the track and doing the real thing.
It’s very important, as professional sportsmen, that we stay active and don’t let our fitness levels drop during this time. Riding the bike indoors and with double sessions most days, is a great way to break up your day, help time go quicker and stay fit and healthy.
During this lockdown and isolation period, one thing I am grateful for is that I am getting more time to spend with my family – something I wouldn’t have been able to do if the season was going ahead as normal. The life of a pro cyclist means travelling the world, racing in amazing places and being looked after by team staff but you can be away from your family for months at a time so I’m trying to make the most of this time by ourselves.
It’s incredibly important that all UAE residents stay positive and listen to the sound advice being given by the UAE government. I encourage everyone to #StayHome and stay safe.
Ageing Out Riders Given an Extra Season Because of COVID-19
In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak halting all domestic and international bike racing for the indefinite future, Aevolo Cycling will become a U-24 development squad in 2021.
The extension is for one season and hopes to ease the burden on riders who would have been ageing out at the end of this season.
“I hope this gives the 22-year-old riders some relief mentally,” Aevolo Sports Director Michael Creed said. “This pandemic isn’t their fault and I don’t want them tempted to come back too soon and put themselves in situations that could potentially get them sick.”
Gage Hecht and Tyler Stites have been with Aevolo since its inception in 2017. During that time, they have turned into leaders on and off the bike, showing incredible progression all while racking up impressive results. Both 22 years old, they would have aged out of the Aevolo development program without little to no opportunities to race in 2020.
“All of the Aevolo athletes came into the 2020 season with high aspirations and solid preparation,” co-director Jono Coulter said. “We were high key pumped to see what they could achieve both in the USA and in the team’s first foray in Europe. Extending the opportunity for our athletes who would have otherwise aged out in 2021 allows everyone in the program to focus on their loved ones and their own health, without the burden of jeopardising community health aiming for as yet uncertain end of 2020 sporting goals.”
Vuelta a Madrid Wants to Move From May to September
La Vuelta a la Comunidad Madrid will not take place from 7-10 May due to the measures regarding the coronavirus. That has been announced by organiser Federación Madrileña de Ciclismo. It is hoped to move the stage race based in the Spanish capital to September.
Following the measures in Spain, where a lockdown is in effect due to the spread of the coronavirus, the organisation of the Vuelta a la Comunidad de Madrid (UCI 2.1) has already postponed the event.
The Spanish cycling federation has submitted the cancellation to the UCI. In addition, a request was made to change race to 17-20 September. The international cycling union is setting up an alternative cycling calendar, in which (some) canceled races may take place in the autumn.
Last year the overall victory went to Clément Russo from Arkéa-Samsic:
Journalist André Meganck Dies
Belgian cycling journalist André Meganck died of cardiac arrest on Sunday. For years the Belgian worked on manyGrand Tours, World Championships and Classics, and was a fixture of TV companies BRT, VTR and Sporza commentary booths, where he supplied the reporters with information.
Meganck, who turned 72 on December 11, described himself as “a living travel agency”, but he was much more. In addition to assisting his colleagues with reporting and technology, he was also their driver, he got riders in front of the microphone as quickly as possible and was able to draw from an impressive network of contacts. “André’s chrono”, where program time measurements of broadcasts became a household name. He was the man you would spot behind the riders on the Belgian TV interview podiums getting the whole thing together.
According to four-time world champion time trial Fabian Cancellara, Meganck was very close to the cyclists. “In a way, you could call him the father of the peloton,” the Swiss rider wrote in the book ‘Meesterfixer’ (Master Fixer), which Meganck released four years ago. “Any professional rider of any level, not only in Belgium but in the entire international peloton, knew him. And that for someone who didn’t even get on TV.”
André Meganck – RIP:
Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans will compete in the Spring Classics… Virtually with BKool and Elite
The spring with classics was shaken up by the COVID-19 pandemic. Health is essential during this period, in which Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans will compete in the spring classics… virtually! Thanks to the online platform BKool and Elite smart trainers, our riders will be able to ride the final of each of the spring races at home, in respect with the precautionary guidelines for public health. But even better, each fan or cyclist will have the opportunity to join our riders to pedal virtually on the day of the classics.
BKool is a simulator and virtual training software that offers the possibility to ride online on the courses of the main races of the international cycling calendar. The Paterberg, the Old Kwaremont, the Kemmelberg, the Mur of Huy, the Cauberg, or the Redoute are some of the difficulties which each cyclist can climb with our riders, from their living room.
The most seasoned users accomplishing the rides with our riders, can attempt to win official Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans goodies: cycling kit, accessories, bottles, … but also presents offered by our partners like Circus, Morgan Blue, Elite, Bryton, Northwave, 3Action, Santic, BBB, etc.
Don’t hesitate to join us: the premium membership is free the first month! Subscription and information: https://www.bkool.com/en
This Wednesday, April 1st, fans will have the opportunity to join our riders for the final of Dwars door Vlaanderen, for a ride on the last 35.8 kilometres of the final rehearsal before the Tour of Flanders, with for example Côte de Trieu and Nokereberg. At 10AM, cobble specialists Aimé De Gendt, Kevin Van Melsen and French U23 champion Théo Delacroix will be ready to ride. At 4PM Loïc Vliegen, Ludwig De Winter and Maurits Lammertink will tackle the Flemish semi classic.
Frederik Veuchelen (Performance Coach Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans): “During this lockdown period, it’s important to stay in a good shape. Certain riders, like the Belgian and Dutch ones, are privileged, because they are allowed to train alone or by two on the road following their national regulations in force. Others, like the residents of France, Italy or Spain have to stay at home. But anyway, caution prefers everybody to stay at home, in order to avoid risks. The BKool simulator, coupled to our Elite home trainers, offers the possibility to recall the final of the classics and to train virtually on the toughest difficulties. In this way, our riders can stay in shape and accomplish the hours on the home trainer in a nicer manner. It is also a perfect solution for bringing our riders and our fans together on the bike. They can challenge each other, offering intense training incentives!”
* 1/04: Dwars door Vlaanderen (10AM CET – 4PM CET)
* 5/04: Ronde van Vlaanderen (10AM CET – 4PM CET)
* 8/04: Scheldeprijs (10AM CET – 4PM CET)
* 12/04: Paris-Roubaix (10AM CET – 4PM CET)
* 15/04: Brabantse Pijl (10AM CET – 4PM CET)
* 19/04: Amstel Gold Race (10AM CET – 4PM CET)
* 22/04: Flèche Wallonne (10AM CET – 4PM CET)
* 26/04: Liège-Bastogne-Liège (10AM CET – 4PM CET)
Classics indoors for the Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans team:
Cavendish Introduces the Team Bahrain McLaren Ride as One Series on Zwift
We are delighted to announce the launch of the Team Bahrain McLaren // Ride As One Series, presented by Merida and Bapco. To kick things off, Mark Cavendish will be leading our first group ride on Thursday, April 2nd at 5pm CET / 4pm GMT / 8am PST.
Cav will take riders on a flat-ish 60mins ride at moderate pace for the first 50mins, and then who knows what will happen.
The star sprinter will also be rolling out our virtual team jersey for the first time. Plus, Cav will be streamlining it all on Instagram Live, so you can interact with him there too.
The #RideAsOne series takes place every Thursday at the same time, with Ivan Cortina featuring on April 9th.
All are welcome, so get involved.
How to Join the Team for (Virtual) Rides and IG Live Social Hours This Spring
This spring, EF Pro Cycling is offering a menu of virtual rides and Instagram social hours to stay close to our fans and the rest of the cycling world. As we’ve seen over the last few weeks, online connectivity has become even more integral to daily life, helping people stay in touch with one another.
Over the coming weeks, fans will be able to join us on the [Zwift] roads and gravel, or drop into an Instagram live social hour with Alberto Bettiol, Rigo, or Jonathan Vaughters. We’ll also bring you some new content with tips, recipes and how to look after yourself… from home.
“We’re all in this together, and that’s the most important thing, that we support each other through times like these.” Rigo Urán says. “That’s why we want as many people to join us online and ride together or come join us on Instagram for some social hangouts. It’s important that we all stay in contact and reach out to one another during these tough times, to remind each other how great it’s going to be when we’re able to see each other out on the roads again.”
Urán is not the only one appreciating being able to connect virtually with our cycling community, Alex Howes is also looking forward to spending time with fans online and hoping that we can all inspire one another to stay active: “Our goal at EF Pro Cycling has always been to inspire people to get out there and come together so that we may all learn a thing or two about each other and the world we all share.”
“We all have our own reasons for racing but in so many ways, we do it for the fans. We dig deep for those cheering from the sides of the road and the friends and family watching back at home. These little digital get-togethers are as much for us as they are for you. In this time of isolation, we all need to come together (virtually of course!) and remind each other that this too shall pass, and that adventures on the open road are not just a dream, but a reality we’ll all see soon enough.”
We will host standing group rides on Zwift Tuesdays from now through May, and our social hours on Instagram Live Fridays through May as well. We’ll also join some of our friends at Rapha and Cannondale (as well as others) for virtual rides and Instagram takeovers.
“We’ve had the best fans for as long as I can recall,” team CEO Jonathan Vaughters said. “We aren’t able to see them on the roads this spring, but hopefully we can take this as a time to engage and connect with people and the sport differently.”
Stay up to date by checking out our schedule below. We will be adding more events over the coming weeks here.
Tour of Flanders still on next Sunday
Of course, the real Tour of Flanders has been postponed for the time being in line with the guidelines issued by the government to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. Nevertheless, we have found an alternative for the Tour of Flanders this Sunday – with the first virtual edition ever, as well a radio play featuring 104 years of Flanders Finest.
DeRonde2020, the lockdown edition
The event that all of Flanders is more passionate about than any other will not take place on Sunday 5 April. This prompted Flanders Classics and Belgian national sports broadcaster Sporza to go in search of an innovative alternative that is equally thrilling for both fans and cyclists. Although it is currently forbidden to cycle in groups and has been for a little while now, they will be announcing the very first virtual edition of Flanders’ Finest for professional cyclists today: DeRonde2020, the lockdown edition. Because you can still cycle on your home trainer.
Flanders Classics developed a unique concept in collaboration with technology partners Bkool and Kiswe. Not only that, the participating teams also contributed their part to this wonderful initiative. The teams were not only more than willing to join in, they are what’s more doing so entirely free of charge.
After a 1 hour race, the 2020 winner will be crowned. In a closed tour reserved exclusively for professional cyclists, 13 pros will be competing during the last 32 km of the Tour of Flanders – on their home trainers. Thanks to Kiswe we will be able to watch the riders tackle a virtual Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg in real time on the Bkool platform. The parcours has already been uploaded onto Bkool’s digital platform.
Follow the Tour of Flanders social media channels and find out where to watch this unique event.
The Officially Unbelievable Ronde van Vlaanderen
This year, the Tour of Flanders will not be held once, but twice. Visit Flanders, Cycling in Flanders, Flanders Classics and Sporza joined forces to create a radio story: The Officially Unbelievable Ronde van Vlaanderen. In collaboration with Het Geluidshuis and Bowling Brands, they will transport cycling fans to an era of unwritten, thrilling cycling history – just as if you were listening to the commentary to a genuine, live cycling race.
This will, without a doubt, be the most exciting Ronde ever – because it is so much more than just another race. Get ready for a story with some incredible plot twists, featuring cameo appearances by heroes from one hundred years of cycling history such as Eddy Merckx, Johan Museeuw, Fabian Cancellara, Mario Cipollini, Briek Schotte, Bradley Wiggins, Fausto Coppi and the Van der Poel family. It is a race into which a full century of anecdotes and tales having to do with the Tour of Flanders have been incorporated, and in which both male and female riders participate: Marianne Vos, Yvonne Reynders, Jeannie Longo and Annemiek van Vleuten will also be competing alongside the male cyclists.
Don’t miss this unique storytelling concept and tune in this weekend. Rob Hatch and Matt Stephens will take you along on the virtual 2020 Tour of Flanders with exceptional live commentary. The story can be listened to on www.cycling-in-flanders.cc.
We hope you enjoy yourself at the Tour of Flanders this weekend!
ToAD Registration Fee Updates and Coronavirus
We at ToAD are monitoring closely the coronavirus situation. As of today, we remain committed to having a safe and great ToAD starting June 18. But, like many entities and events, we’re watching developments closely. We’re committed to providing you with a prompt update should we need to make any changes in ToAD plans. But for now, we’re a go on June 18.
Because the situation is so fluid right now and some may be hesitant to commit to travel and event plans, we want to provide you with flexibility in making your registration decision. Effective immediately we have eliminated all scheduled online registration fee increases. You can register online for ToAD through 12:00 pm PDT, Monday, June 15 when online registration closes with no increase in series or base daily race fees.
Additionally, should you register and then decide by June 1 that you no longer feel comfortable travelling or participating, we will transfer your registration payment toward your ToAD 2021 registration.
For those flying to ToAD, we advise you to fully understand your chosen airline’s change and cancellation policy before booking. Some airlines have waived rules and fees. We would hope more would do so.
● Please keep ToAD marked on your calendar.
● Know you can register anytime between now and June 15 when online registration closes without worrying about any fee increases.
● Know that if you register and then change your mind by June 1, we’ll transfer your registration and apply your payment toward ToAD 2021.
● Wishing everyone good health!!!
The Cyclists’ Alliance (TCA) Appoints a Dedicated Ethics Officer
The Cyclists’ Alliance (TCA), the only international independent cyclists’ union, has appointed Judith van Maanen to the newly created position of Ethics Officer, commencing immediately.
The voluntary role will focus on establishing the extent of rider complaints; guiding riders through relevant regulations, codes and applicable law; and navigating them through various stakeholders involved in the process such as the UCI Ethics Commission, National federations or local police.
The Ethics Officer will act as the first point of contact for all new complaints and queries from riders before supporting them from start to finish.
Moreover, she will help educate riders on what TCA considers as a breach of professional codes, to drive greater awareness and understanding of when to utilise TCA support and for what purpose.
Iris Slappendel, Founder of the TCA commented: “Recent news and developments in women’s cycling make it transparent that the sport needs significant change to its culture. Judith is an experienced Legal Counsel and an avid amateur cyclist with a detailed understanding of women’s cycling. Our case-work regularly deals with routine mistreatment and sexual harassment of riders, so this role will be hugely important as we make our next step to support as many riders as possible.”
The appointment follows the news that TCA were awarded a Rapha Foundation Grant of $75,000 to help deliver a new seven-point plan to revolutionise the compensation and culture of professional women’s cycling.
The TCA undertakes regular member surveys, which enabled them to make specific recommendations to the UCI and national governing bodies on how to handle complaints, and suggested changes in certain processes in order to protect the rights of all participants. This contributed to the improved UCI Ethics Code, which gave riders more options for reporting issues and a stronger enforcement of codes of conduct for elite sport (as supported by national federations).
However, such codes only work in practice where they are enforced, monitored and where people are held accountable for non-compliance. TCA provides support for riders, enabling them to feel more comfortable opening up about abusive situations and mistreatment.
Judith van Maanen:
De Ronde van Vlaanderen 2019
The Tour of Flanders is the biggest race in the World to many Belgians (the Flemish speaking ones), and it will be sorely missed this Sunday. De Ronde didn’t run through the first world war, missing 1915 to 1918, but didn’t miss a year during German occupation in the second world war. Over 100 years of unbroken competition. Here is a great video from last year:
The PEZ INSTAGRAM Take a look at our Instagram page for a live feed and giveaways straight from 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 EuroTrash section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.