The Vuelta a España has hit the high mountains and Primoz Roglič is in his pomp. All the news from Spain and the Benelux Tour with results and video. Nairo Quintana leaving Arkéa-Samsic? – TOP STORY. New UCI team ranking. Rider news: Greg Van Avermaet vaccine problem, end of season for Jakob Fuglsang, Remco Evenepoel sick, Elia Viviani to Astana, Rohan Dennis to Jumbo-Visma and Colombian team for the World Championships. Race news: Tour of Britain riders and no Tour de Yorkshire in 2022. Contracts: Movistar, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux and Deceuninck – Quick-Step. And an unusual birthday for Maurits Lammertink. Thursday EUROTRASH coffee.
TOP STORY: Arkéa-Samsic Surprised by Rumours of the Possible Departure of Nairo Quintana
Nairo Quintana is said to be on the verge of leaving Arkea-Samsic despite an ongoing contract. AG2R Citroën, BORA-hansgrohe and Bahrain Victorious are linked by Spanish sportspaper Marca to the Colombian climber. Team manager Emmanuel Hubert of Arkéa-Samsic is surprised.
After the Tour de France and the Olympics, Quintana traveled back to Colombia to prepare for the final months of the season. According to Marca, he is also thinking about his future at Arkéa-Samsic, where the leader has “no solid support” and cannot deliver top performances. Several WorldTour teams would be in the market to take Quintana at the end of the season.
That message has also reached the management of Arkéa-Samsic. “But he is still under contract until the end of the 2022 season,” said team boss Hubert to Le Télégramme. “He will ride with us next season. He just got back from Colombia and now in Monaco. I spoke to him recently on the phone and there are no problems. I do not understand these rumours. I am surprised.”
The 31-year-old Quintana has been racing for Arkéa-Samsic since 2020, after eight years as a leader at Movistar. With the French team he achieved seven victories. This year Quintana won a stage and the final overall in the Vuelta Asturias.
Vuelta a España 2021
Fabio Jakobsen celebrated his 25th birthday in style as he powered to his third stage win in La Vuelta’21, on Tuesday, at the end of Stage 16. The Dutch sprinter was momentarily dropped when UAE Team Emirates put the hammer down inside the last 60km, but his Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates made sure he could claim glory and make this edition of the Spanish Grand Tour his most successful stage race, after he took two wins in 2019. Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) perfectly handled the problems of the day.
After the second rest day, 161 riders return to action with a flat but tricky stage from Laredo to Santa Cruz de Bezana (180km). There was a fast start and there was a bad crash after 4km of racing. Among them, Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Enric Mas (Movistar) who quickly return to the bunch. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) required medical assistance with a knee injury but he resumed racing, as did everyone else involved in the crash. Five riders open a 1:14 gap after 9km: Stan Dewulf (AG2R-Citroën), Mikel Bizkarra (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Dimitri Claeys (Qhubeka NextHash) and Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo). DSM, Groupama-FDJ and Deceuninck – Quick-Step work at the front of the bunch and the gap never gets higher than 2:30. Giulio Ciccone eventually had to abandon after 100km. Sep Vanmarcke (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) also abandoned.
The speed increases on the only categorised climb of the day, the cat-3 Alto de Hijas (4.2km at 6.5%). With a gap down to under 1 minute, several riders attacked from the bunch. Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal) was the only one who managed to bridge the gap to the early attackers with 65km to go. UAE Team Emirates put the hammer down inside the last 60km. The peloton split and Fabio Jakobsen was among the riders off the back. But, on his 25th birthday, his Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates bring the Dutch sprinter back to the front group with 48km to go. The breakaway give their all on the ups and downs inside the last 20km. Vanhoucke is dropped with 14km to go, and the peloton only trail by 20 seconds. Dewulf eventually goes solo inside the last 10km. He is eventually caught 4.5km from the line. The battle for positioning is an intense one inside the twisty final kilometres. In the end, the Wolfpack prevail and Fabio Jakobsen sprints to victory, ahead of Jordi Meeus (BORA-hansgrohe) and Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates).
# You can read the full ‘PEZ Stage Report and Photo Gallery’ HERE. #
Stage winner, Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “This victory belongs to my teammates. They brought me back when I was dropped, kept me at the front, worked hard to reel in the breakaway and made sure I was where I needed to be for the final part of the stage, which featured several tricky parts. I am happy I could gift them the victory on this beautiful day. This time last year, I had no idea if I was going to be a bike rider again. I am extremely grateful to be here, able to fight for victory. I love the adrenaline this sport gives you, I love winning, and I love being part of the peloton and of this great team. To get my third stage here on my birthday, with the green jersey on my shoulders, it’s a dream. I’m over the moon, I really couldn’t be happier.”
Overall leader, Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “Even though on paper there was no big danger of loosing the jersey today, I admit that I didn’t feel great after the rest-day. So this stage was a perfect opportunity to warm up the engine before tomorrow’s hard stage. I knew the Lagos de Cavadonga and I’m convinced that the stage will be decisive for the general classification. It will certainly be a hard race from the start. I’m looking forward to it!”
7th overall, Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers): “I think the rest was welcome, we needed it, and this stage was good to get the legs going again. I would like [to attack Roglic]. I have nothing to lose, I don’t care to be fifth or tenth in the overall, but you need to have legs. In the Giro I was attacking from afar even as the leader, which shouldn’t be done, but I felt strong and I like to ride like that. Let’s see how I feel, if I feel good I’ll move. We have a very strong team. Yates is also very well, I see him very strong, the problem is that we have lost two riders. Pavel [Sivakov], Dylan [van Baarle] and [Salvatore] Puccio are doing a very good job to carry us, I don’t know if they are going to be at their best tomorrow. But let’s try it.”
2nd on the stage, Jordi Meeus (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a tricky final today, but the team really did a perfect job. We lost each other a bit over the last kilometre, but I still managed to stay up front. I was in a good position but I have to be honest, Jakobsen was just simply faster today. I think I can really mix things up in the sprints now. But the Vuelta is my first Grand Tour and I’m just lacking a bit of that final speed against riders who have some more experience. But this strong result definitely gives me more confidence for the near future.”
3rd on the stage, Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a fast race as always.The guys did a really good job on the front and we managed to split the pack and put on a bit of pressure, but there was still a long way to go. My positioning for the sprint was good but Jakobsen is in very good shape and hard to beat at the moment. Now we focus on the mountain stages where we’ll aim for another win.”
8th on the stage, Riccardo Minali (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I’m satisfied with this 8th place, because taking into account the circumstances it was probably the best possible result. It was not my best day after the rest-day, so I suffered a lot in the final 50 kilometre. With my teammates doing a fantastic job again to keep Odd Eiking and Louis Meintjes in the front, I managed to sneak in the sprint. My sprint wasn’t perfect, but I’m satisfied with my fourth top 10. Maybe there’s another sprint chance on Saturday, bur before, I’ll be with my teammates to battle for the defence of the red leader’s jersey!”
10th on the stage, Clément Venturini (AG2R Citroën): “The stage was gruelling with the wind and the climbs. Stan Dewulf was in the lead until the last few kilometres, so our hopes were with him. At the speed it was going and with the headwind it was really tough for him to hold off the whole peloton. The final was very technical. We tried to position ourselves as well as possible with the team and that made it possible to take a top-10 at the finish.”
Break rider, Stan Dewulf (AG2R Citroën): “It was one of the last opportunities for me, so I wanted to give it a try. We knew it was going to be difficult with just five, but we tried to play with the peloton. It didn’t work out, but we couldn’t have done more. That’s just racing,”
Vuelta a España Stage 16 Result:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:08:57
2. Jordi Meeus (Bel) BORA-hansgrohe
3. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange
5. Alberto Dainese (Ita) DSM
6. Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Rui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
8. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
9. Antonio Jesus Soto Guirao (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
10. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R Citroën.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 16:
1. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in 64:06:47
2. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 0:54
3. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 1:36
4. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar at 2:11
5. Miguel Angel López Moreno (Col) Movistar at 3:04
6. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious at 3:35
7. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 4:21
8. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 4:34
9. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 4:59
10. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 5:31.
Vuelta’21 stage 16:
Primoz Roglič took victory at Lagos de Covadonga after a crazy Stage 17 of La Vuelta that will go down in the history books. The battle was on from the start and the pace was relentless until the summit finish, where the Slovenian won 1:35 ahead of his Jumbo-Visma teammate Sepp Kuss. Roglič was the only one to follow Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) when the Colombian turned the race upside down with 61km to go. He then went solo with 7.5km to go. Roglič takes La Roja with a significant lead on Enric Mas (Movistar), only four days away from the finish in Santiago de Compostela.
The peloton faced an icon and a monster today with 185.8km of racing towards the summit finish at Lagos de Covadonga, atop a 12.5km climb with an average gradient of 6.9% and a maximum of 20%. The stage features some 3,500m of climbing and it inspires the attackers, who launch another crazy battle for the break. The first climb of the day, the Altu de Hortigueru (5.3km, 4.7%), was not enough to build a break, with the battle ongoing for more than 80km. A big group eventually went on the first ascent of the Cat-1 climb of La Collada Llomena (7.6km, 9.3%) but the situation was far from settled, with David De la Cruz (UAE Team Emirates) posing a GC threat in 14th place at 7:11. Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) attacked near the top of the climb and quickly bridged the gap. But Jumbo-Visma set a hard pace in the GC group and the gaps were still under a minute. The pace was too much for Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and he was distanced inside the last kilometre.
The overall leader of La Vuelta 21 got back on the downhill, halfway through the stage, when Olivier Le Gac (Groupama-FDJ) went solo ahead from the lead group. The chasers, including De la Cruz, were caught with 72km to go. Le Gac increased his lead to 55 seconds but he’s quickly caught when Egan Bernal’s INEOS Grenadiers up the pace on the second ascent of La Colla Llomena. Eiking was dropped again. Bernal attacked 5km from the summit, with 61km to go and only Primoz Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) could follow his move. Gino Mäder and Wout Poels drive the chase for Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious). Over the top, the first GC group, with Guillaume Martin, trailed by 45 seconds, and Eiking by 1:45. Roglič led the virtual overall. The gap increased to 2:20 on the downhill, before the collaboration of teammates from Bahrain Victorious, Cofidis and BORA-hansgrohe bring it down to 1:30 at the bottom of the final ascent. After a crash on the downhill, Eiking was more than 4 minutes behind. Roglič up’d the pace on the ascent and Bernal was dropped with 7.5km to go. The Slovenian solo’d all the way to the finish, while the Colombian was caught by the chasers inside the last kilometre of the climb. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) sprinted to 2nd place, 1:35 behind his leader, who takes La Roja with a gap of 2:22 on Enric Mas (Movistar).
# You can read the full ‘PEZ Stage Report and Photo Gallery’ HERE. #
Stage winner and overall leader, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “I really enjoyed this stage. It was a perfect day for me and for the team. Maybe this is my best stage in the Vuelta so far. Of course it’s a risk to attack at that moment, but I just wanted to follow Egan. We worked well together. On the final climb I went full throttle, also because of the great support from all the supporters alongside the road. Tomorrow we have to be there again. I’m in a good position in the general classification now, but the lead is never big enough. We have to stay sharp and keep riding as a team. I have every confidence in that.”
3rd on the stage and overall, Miguel Ángel López (Movistar): “Neither the attack nor Roglic’s pace caught me by surprise. He’s such a talented rider. At first, I tried to go with him and Bernal, yet I couldn’t bridge to them, and I thought I couldn’t continue alone and it wasn’t worth keeping my effort, because, as we saw, Egan would pay that near the end. If you’re not sure about your condition, knowing that there’s a 40km full-gas effort ahead, you can really pay, even more so considering there’s another important test tomorrow. We were going at full speed both at the front and behind, to either open the gaps or reduce them. It got over 2 minutes at some point, and we eventually started that last climb with 1:30. That’s why everyone was struggling so much into the climb, with no real gaps. There’s really important days still ahead – we’ll see how we get through them. I don’t know how Enric’s legs and mine will do tomorrow, but I think we did well today, keeping the front and together. Roglic completed a stunning performance, then it’s pretty much even between the rest. We’ll see tomorrow.”
6th on the stage and 2nd overall, Enric Mas (Movistar): “We’ve got over a really, really difficult day in a good way. It was such a demanding start, with no real early break forming – that big group went after the first climb, we had three riders there and they were actually neutralised, then Jumbo pushed so hard to catch any other attacks. Personally, I wasn’t expecting that move from Roglic. He was so strong today – we can only congratulate him for what he did. Other than Primoz putting a big gap on us, even if we can’t be really excited about it, I feel both Miguel and I can be more or less satisfied at this point. We’re still there, the other GC guys finished basically together, we’re back in 2nd and 3rd overall and we got through this tough, important day with a decent result.”
7th on the stage and 6th overall, Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers): “My idea today was to enjoy myself. And I was enjoying every kilometre, even if it was hard. I don’t like to just stay on the wheels, you often have to, but this is real cycling. I’ve been suffering a lot during this Vuelta and finally I had good legs. This is a revenge against myself. I’m happy to be part of this victory for Roglic because he was brave. He was leading the race and he went with me, and he was taking turns on the flat. He was the strongest today and I’m happy for him. Tomorrow, we’ll see, because I went deep today. We’ll see how we recover and how Yates is, because I also think he’s strong. And if we have legs, why not go again.”
9th overall, Felix Großschartner (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was quite hard from the beginning but the team did a good job to follow all the important attacks. INEOS set a good pace on the climbs, but then it started to rain and the roads became quite slippery. I still had Ben with me and he helped me to come back after my crash. It took a lot of energy, but just before the important climb, I had made it back to the chasing group. I know I did my best and I’m happy to still be in the top 10 overall.”
KOM, Romain Bardet (DSM): “It was a proper GC day. It must have been very interesting to watch on TV. We fought hard at the beginning for the breakaway. The pace was very high on the climb. There was not much we could do today. For sure, we did a good job for the team with Michael [Storer], Martijn [Tusveld] and Chris [Hamilton] at the front but I prefer when I’m able to decide myself and today I haven’t been able to score the KOM points I wanted so I’ll try again tomorrow.”
10th on the stage, Clément Champoussin (AG2R Citroën): “It was really tough with the climbs, as well as the technical descents in the rain. I tried to hold on as well as I could, then rode my own pace the last few kilometres so as not to explode. I was not well in the first stages but now things are getting better and better. I hope I can finish La Vuelta a Espana strongly. I have made progress compared to last year, especially on big set piece stages like today’s.”
Ex-overall leader now 11th overall, Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “Yesterday I said that I wouldn’t be disappointed if I couldn’t keep the jersey in this hard stage and I’m still thinking the same today. Those two weeks were fantastic and I’m very proud. Until today, luck have been on my side. Unfortunately I had back luck today, just before joining the group of favourites. I saw a crash in front of me and my wheel slipped on the very slippery surface. It is a pity, because without this time loss I would probably still have been close to the top 5 in the general classification tonight. The good thing is that I don’t have a bad injury. Of course I’m feeling stiff and we’ll have to wait until tomorrow before knowing how my body reacts to this crash. Louis and I are knocking on the door of the top 10 of the classification, so this is a nice goal for the coming days!”
Vuelta a España Stage 17 Result:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 4:34:45
2. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 1:35
3. Miguel Angel López Moreno (Col) Movistar
4. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
5. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious
6. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar
7. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
8. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorious
9. Louis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 2:29
10. Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 2:44.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 17:
1. Primoz Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 68:42:56
2. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar at 2:22
3. Miguel Angel López Moreno (Col) Movistar at 3:11
4. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious at 3:46
5. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 4:16
6. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 4:29
7. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 4:45
8. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 5:04
9. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 6:54
10. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorious at 6:58.
Vuelta’21 stage 17:
Benelux Tour 2021
Stage 1 of the Benelux Tour turned out to be a stage of echelons and a victory for Tim Merlier. After 170 kilometres through Friesland, starting in Surhuisterveen and finish in Dokkum, the leader of Alpecin-Fenix was the best of the front echelon of forty men. The big loser of the first day was Remco Evenepoel, who lost his place in the front group due to a mechanical and lost time.
The break of the day consisted of Guillaume Boivin (Israel Start-Up Nation), Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange), Julien Duval (AG2R Citroën), Arjen Livyns, Ludovic Robeet (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Logan Owen (EF Education-Nippo ) and Ward Van Hoof (Sport Flanders-Baloise). The maximum lead of the seven was just over 4 minutes, but the sprint teams held it together. The race passed along the Dutch coast was bound to be windy. The strong winds led to echelons on the open plains and the peloton split into several groups. The front echelon of about 50 men joined the leading group 30 kilometres from the finish. Shortly afterwards Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) was in the front group, but had problems with his front wheel, but because of the echelons there was no team vehicle behind him. The Shimano neutral service car took a long time and so he had to join the third group. Peter Sagan missed the split and then also crashed. The front group gained a lead of 1:20 on the second group, which now included Evenepoel. The front group included Tim Merlier, Kasper Asgreen, Mike Teunissen, Matej Mohorič, Wilco Kelderman, Christophe Laporte, Álvaro Hodeg, Phil Bauhaus, Oliver Naesen, Stefan Küng, Sonny Colbrelli and Tiesj Benoot and others. In the Golden Kilometre the group split: Mohoric, Asgreen, Teunissen, Benoot and Colbrelli fought for the bonus seconds.
Mohorič and Teunissen each took 4 seconds, Lukas Pöstlberger and Benoot won three seconds and Colbrelli took two seconds. At the start of the last lap, the Teunissen group was again caught by the first echelon. A minute and a half later, the rest of the peloton followed, with Remco Evenepoel as the top man. At the front, a few riders tried to get away the last lap round Dokkum, but no one could get away. The focus of various teams was for a sprint from the thinned out peloton. Colbrelli put Mohorič in the lead, but it was Pöstlberger who tried to avoid a sprint with an attack at 1.7 kilometres from the finish. The Austrian took a gap and started with a small lead in the final kilometre, but was caught in the finish straight. Hodeg started the sprint first, but it was Tim Merlier who jumped off his wheel to stay ahead of Phil Bauhaus and Álvaro Hodeg at the line. The Alpecin-Fenix rider is also the first overall leader of the WorldTour Dutch-Belgian stage race. The chasing group, including Evenepoel and Tom Dumoulin, crossed the finish line at less than a minute.
Stage winner and overall leader, Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix): “I had the feeling that I was never going to be lucky, but in the end I was. It was extremely hectic, I don’t know how, but it just worked. I had to do a sprint before that then I knew that I had to take part and not let myself be surprised at the crucial points. I felt good in the final, but it was difficult. There was also an attack, but Gianni (Vermeersch) was the ideal man for that. He could respond to everyone. In the end everything worked out and it is a nice victory for the team. I tried to follow a few men, but quickly found that I just had to do my own thing. I got through the last corner well, then it was just a matter of waiting and gambling. Fortunately I was able to come out well and win the sprint.”
2nd on the stage and overall, Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious): “I was on Merlier’s wheel, and unfortunately, I couldn’t pass him. He was the strongest today. I’m a bit disappointed because it’s too many second places for me. But in the end, I think it was a super good day for us, especially for our GC guys, and I hope we can do better in the next few days.”
Wilco Kelderman (BORA-hansgrohe): “I would say it was a good day for the team, excluding, of course, the unfortunate crash of Peter. Lukas and I made it to the first group, thanks to Daniel’s great work. We had a good race, I don’t think there was anything more that we could have done in the sprint finish. We finished in the small leading group and that was important.”
Benelux Tour Stage 1 Result:
1. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix in 3:32:20
2. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain Victorious
3. Álvaro José Hodeg (Col) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
4. Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
5. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
6. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
7. Max Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka NextHash
8. Stanisław Aniołkowski (Pol) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
9. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
10. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis.
Benelux Tour Overall After Stage 1:
1. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix in 3:32:10
2. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain Victorious at 0:04
3. Álvaro José Hodeg (Col) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:06
4. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
5. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain-Victorious
6. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) DSM at 0:07
7. Lukas Pöstlberger (Aus) BORA-hansgrohe
8. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:08
9. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
10. Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates at 0:10.
Stefan Bissegger doubled up on Stage 2 of the Benelux Tour. The Swiss time trial specialist of EF Education-Nippo was in a class of his own on the 11.1 kilometre time trial with start and finish in Lelystad. Bissegger finished with a time of 12:08, 15 seconds faster than Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) and took over the leader’s jersey from Tim Merlier.
The first serious time was for Brandon McNulty, with 12:39. However, the UAE Team Emirates time trial specialist was quickly knocked off the hot seat. It was Edoardo Affini who flew through Lelystad. The Italian recorded the fastest intermediate time of 7:28 and the fastest finishing time. With 12:23 he was 15 seconds faster than McNulty, with an average speed of almost 54 kph. Netherlands champion Tom Dumoulin lost 7 seconds to Affini and Jos van Emden 16 seconds, all in the top-ten of the standings, as did Søren Kragh Andersen. Remco Evenepoel lost 24 seconds to Affini and said afterwards that he was ill and was thinking of not continuing.
Stefan Bissegger posted a new top time of 12:08, 15 seconds faster than Affini. Everyone who came after that couldn’t beat Bissegger’s time. There were still good rides from Stefan Küng, Kasper Asgreen, Max Walscheid, Victor Campenaerts and Christophe Laporte. With five stages to go, they can all dream of a good final result. Sprinters Álvaro Hodeg, Phil Bauhaus and Tim Merlier also finished, but they were nowhere near the top. Bissegger was the only one who managed to go under 12:10. The Swiss rider was in the front group on Monday and now is the new GC leader. Asgreen is now second overall and Küng third.
Stage winner and overall leader, Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-Nippo): “I didn’t expect it, because I rode the time trial on my gut feeling. It was a very nice time trial, perfect for me. The course suited me well. I could give everything and luckily it was enough, but I had problems with my power meter today. I couldn’t connect it to my cycling computer. That’s why I rode the time trial by feel. My coach kept pushing me along the way, but I was surprised by the time and the big differences. Above all, I’m happy that it worked out. The first part of the time trial was very tough. You had to give it full throttle because there was a headwind from the sea. You then pedal very hard, but you don’t even go at 50 km/h… After the intermediate point it went very fast due to tailwind. To then race at more than 60 kph is a lot of fun, despite the pain. Last Friday I was hit from the side. My bike was broken and I mainly had pain in my wrist. I was scared that it would still hurt today, but I’m glad I’ve endured the pain for the past few days.”
2nd on the stage, Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma): “Of course I’m disappointed with the result, but not with how I rode my time trial. I think I set up a good time trial. I was hopeful that I could possibly win when other specialists proved slower. In the end, fifteen seconds is a lot. I really gave it my all, but there was one faster. To finish among the great specialists today gives me confidence and a good feeling towards the European Championship and World Time Trial Championships.”
Lukas Pöstlberger (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a very fast parcours with some technical corners. Going out there was a lot of headwinds, so having a good aero position was important, and on the way back it was just about putting the big gear and carrying all the speed. Wilco and I did really well and Bodi had a good race as well. We managed to save our GC position the best way possible and we look forward to tomorrow.”
Benelux Tour Stage 2 Result:
1. Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-Nippo in 12:08
2. Edoardo Affini (Ita) Jumbo-Visma at 0:15
3. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:20
4. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:21
5. Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka NextHash at 0:22
6. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:23
7. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) DSM at 0:24
8. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Qhubeka NextHash at 0:26
9. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis at 0:29
10. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:31.
Benelux Tour Overall After Stage 2:
1. Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-Nippo in 3:44:29
2. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:19
3. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
4. Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka NextHash at 0:21
5. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Qhubeka NextHash at 0:26
6. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis at 0:28
7. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious at 0:36
8. Luke Durbridge (Aus) BikeExchange at 0:38
9. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 0:42
10. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) DSM at 0:45.
Stage 3 of the Benelux Tour finished in Hoogerheide and was won by Taco van der Hoorn. The Dutchman from Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert was part of an early break and managed to beat his companions in an uphill sprint. The peloton was just too late. Stefan Bissegger remained the overall leader.
After Stefan Bissegger’s double win in Lelystad, the peloton in the Benelux Tour descended to the border region, in the region of the Brabantse Wal. On the program was a flat stage with start in Essen in Belgium and finish in Hoogerheide in the Netherlands. A bunch sprint between riders like Tim Merlier, Dylan Groenewegen, Caleb Ewan, Fernando Gaviria and Phil Bauhaus seemed a realistic scenario, given the relatively flat course. After barely ten kilometres in the saddle, a leading group of six riders was given a safe pass from the peloton. With Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) the leading group coloured a bit Dutch and the Belgians were also well represented thanks to Arjen Livyns (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB) and Thimo Willems on behalf of Sport-Vlaanderen Baloise. Speed riders Luke Durbridge (Team BikeExchange) and Mathias Norsgaard (Movistar) and former U23 world champion Samuele Battistella (Astana-Premier Tech) also sat in front. With Durbridge, the number eight in the standings (39 seconds from leader Stefan Bissegger) was in the early breakaway and so the peloton decided not to let go. The maximum lead at one point was three minutes, but the refugees did not get much more today. With 100 kilometres to go, the year-old Livyns decided to let himself down to the peloton, as he had accumulated a lot of points for the super combativeness. Mission accomplished and so we were left at the front with Van der Hoorn, Durbridge, Willems, Battistella and Norsgaard.
In the peloton we saw several riders from Jumbo-Visma, Lotto Soudal and EF Education-Nippo take the lead. Jumbo-Visma hoped to score today with Groenewegen, Lotto Soudal pulled the card-Ewan and EF Education-Nippo took the initiative for leader Bissegger. Remco Evenepoel also showed himself to be a model teammate for teammate and sprinter Álvaro José Hodeg with a few good headers. With 25 kilometres to go, the five front runners seemed like a bird to the cat as the difference had dwindled to just over one minute. And yet in the peloton it was all hands on deck to catch the escapees. In the last fifteen kilometres towards the finish in Hoogerheide there was some commotion in the peloton. First Kasper Asgreen punctured at a bad moment, followed by Ewan and Elia Viviani also had to deal with mechanical problems. However, Asgreen and Ewan managed to get back into the pack in time. Meanwhile, Van der Hoorn, Durbridge, Battistella, Norsgaard and Willems were still ahead. The difference kept fluctuating around half a minute in the last kilometres and the peloton seemed to be late. In the meantime we saw a heavy fall from Wilco Kelderman in the large group. At the front, the front runners had some difficult uphill sections to choose from in the last kilometres, but there was no question of a successful exit attempt and so we could prepare for a sprint. Van der Hoorn started the sprint from afar and managed to keep his fellow refugees behind him on the big plate. Norsgaard was second on a bike length, Durbridge had to settle for third. The sprint of the peloton was won by Peter Sagan, ahead of Bauhaus and Danny van Poppel, but it was for a distant place of honour.
Stage winner, Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “It is fantastic when a plan comes together! When analysing the parcours I discovered that this stage was perfect for a breakaway because of the small roads. At first, I missed the breakaway because I expected it to be formed on a large road instead of a small one. But thanks to the help of my teammates I managed to join the leaders. Actually the peloton could have known that it was dangerous to let us go, because the composition of our group was really strong. Riders like Durbridge are really powerful! But also tactically we were strong. We rode a good pace from the beginning and left something for the final. Our turns in the front were equally divided, so we used our energy optimally. I planned to make use of the little hill in the final kilometre to attack, but Battistella prevented me to do it. I wasn’t confident for the sprint, but thanks to good positioning and timing I managed to take the victory! I’m really happy!”
3rd on the stage and 6th overall, Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange): “You don’t get many opportunities to race for the win, so coming away without the win I am a little disappointed, but I am happy that we were able to stay away, and that we all committed. We had four of us really committing to the breakaway and that is the only way. I knew on the technical circuits there would be a chance that the breakaway could stay away. Many times, in this race if the breakaway goes early then it can stay away to the finish as it is super hard to chase the break on the technical finishing laps. We played the game with the peloton; we sort of rode easy for most of the day until 40km to go then we fully committed. Without the break fully committing we would have no chance. I was trying to stay away and get the jersey, but they ended up catching us right on the line. In the end I tried to go for the sprint and third was the best I could. So, it was another good day to be aggressive and we will give it another good go tomorrow. You always want to race for the victory.”
6th on the stage, Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe): “I felt well in today’s fast stage. It was important to stay at the front of the bunch as much as possible in order to avoid getting caught in any crashes. Unfortunately, Wilco went down, so that is a hit for us. The breakaway was close to getting caught but there were a few mechanicals in the finale, so the sprinter teams weren’t always pulling. I had good legs in the bunch sprint and we’ll try again tomorrow.”
Benelux Tour Stage 3 Result:
1. Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in 3:40:23
2. Mathias Norsgaard (Den) Movistar
3. Luke Durbridge (Aus) BikeExchange
4. Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
5. Thimo Willems (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Peter Sagan (Svk) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain Victorious
8. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
9. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
10. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo.
Benelux Tour Overall After Stage 3:
1. Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-Nippo in 7:24:54
2. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:19
3. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:20
4. Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka NextHash at 0:22
5. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Qhubeka NextHash at 0:26
6. Luke Durbridge (Aus) BikeExchange at 0:27
7. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis at 0:29
8. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious at 0:36
9. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 0:42
10. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:46
UCI Team Ranking
The International Cycling Union has up-dated the UCI Team Ranking. INEOS Grenadiers is still in the lead from Deceuninck – Quick-Step, but behind, UAE Team Emirates and Jumbo-Visma have switch positions.
INEOS Grenadiers is still the top team, but Deceuninck – Quick-Step has pulled back from 1,200 points to just 400 points behind. UAE Team Emirates is now the new third team in the standings with more than 9,000 points at the expense of Jumbo-Visma, which has now has 8,853 points. Alpecin-Fenix moves up again, from eighth to seventh and Astana-Premier Tech has dropped.
UCI Team Ranking (on 31 August 2021):
1. INEOS Grenadiers – 11,660 points
2. flag-be Deceuninck – Quick-Step – 11,261.2 points
3. UAE Team Emirates – 9,080.66 points
4. Jumbo-Visma – 8.853 points
5. Bahrain Victorious – 7,124 points
6. BORA-hansgrohe – 6,967 points
7. Alpecin-Fenix – 5,764 points
8. Astana-Premier Tech – 5,753 points
9. AG2R Citroën – 5,512 points
10. Trek-Segafredo – 5,046 points
11. Movistar – 4,859 points
12. Groupama-FDJ – 4,710 points
13. Israel Start-Up Nation – 4,609 points
14. BikeExchange – 4,300.33 points
15. Arkéa-Samsic – 3,708 points
16. Cofidis – 3,680 points
17. EF Education-Nippo – 3,380 points
18. Qhubeka NextHash – 3,177 points
19. Lotto Soudal – 3,095 points
20. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert – 2,898 points
21. TotalEnergies – 2,525 points
22. DSM – 2,384 points
Alpecin-Fenix is still the best ProTeam in the UCI Team Ranking. The Belgian team now stands at 5,764 points. The difference to the second placed Arkéa Samsic has become a little smaller. TotalEnergies, Uno-X and Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB are the next ProTeams in the standings.
Top Five ProTeams in the UCI Team Ranking (on August 24, 2021):
1. Alpecin-Fenix – 5,764 points
15. Arkéa-Samsic – 3,708 points
21. TotalEnergies – 2,525 points
24. Uno-X – 1,646 points
25. Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB – 1,591 points.
INEOS Grenadiers still top:
Greg Van Avermaet Thinks that the Covid Vaccine is Causing him Problems
Greg Van Avermaet cannot find his top form and the corona vaccine may be the reason. “Data proves that there is something wrong with my immune system. My body is fighting against an unknown opponent and that may be the vaccine,” the Belgian leader of AG2R Citroën told Het Nieuwsblad.
After a disappointing time trial in the Benelux Tour, in which he finished 104th at almost a minute and a half behind Stefan Bissegger, Van Avermaet is looking for the cause. He recently had a blood test. “The results are not really good. That is to say: nothing can be seen from the blood values. Perfect, as always, which is also my great strength, but other data proves that there is something wrong with my immune system,” he explained.
Before the Tour de France, Van Avermaet took the Pfizer vaccine with conviction. “But apparently it poses a few problems. I sleep well, train well and feel good, but I am missing three percent of my top form. I’m normally top-20 in this time trial,” he continued. “The good news is that I now know what’s wrong, but on the other hand, little research has been done into the effect of the vaccine on a sports body.”
“I’m going to see some doctors in the next few days and take their advice. If that means stopping racing this season, then so be it,” said Van Avermaet. In that case, the World championships in his own country and Paris-Roubaix are also at risk. “The World Cup makes no sense in this way. There are currently a lot of Belgian riders better than me and that’s why they deserve that selection more than I do.”
Van Avermaet not at 100%:
End of Season for Jakob Fuglsang After Crash in Benelux Tour
Jakob Fuglsang will not race again this season. The Danish Astana-Premier Tech rider crashed early on Monday in the opening stage of the Benelux Tour and was taken to hospital for examination. The doctors found a fracture in the shoulder blade and a broken collarbone. The 36-year-old Fuglsang had to end his Benelux Tour came to an end after a hundred kilometres.
Fuglsang will have an operation in Belgium for his broken shoulder blade and collarbone. The experienced climber, who has an expiring contract with his current team, will no longer pin a shirt number this season. Fuglsang wanted to use the Benelux Tour to prepare for the World championships in Belgium and the Italian autumn classics, with the Tour of Lombardy as the highlight, where he would defend his title.
Fuglsang was third in the Tour of Switzerland, eighth in the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var and ninth in Strade Bianche this season. Both the Tour de France and the Olympic Games ended in disappointment.
Following a crash Jakob Fuglsang has undergone successful surgery to stabilise a fractured left collarbone. “Jakob Fuglsang was forced to abandon the opening day of racing at Benelux Tour after crashing in the first half of the stage. He was transferred to hospital where X-rays confirmed non displaced fractures of the left collarbone and left scapular (trans-glenoid), in addition to the multiple superficial abrasions sustained in the crash. After evaluating treatment options, it was clear the best treatment option was to stabilise the fracture surgically and we are happy to report Jakob underwent successful surgery in Herentals, Belgium, yesterday. Unfortunately, this will mean the end of Jakob’s season as with only six weeks remaining of the 2021 season, he will not have the chance to recovery and regain race fitness before Il Lombardia,” said Astana – Premier Tech doctor Andrei Mikhailov.
Although disappointed to end his season due to injury, Fuglsang is motivated to recover well. “Being disappointed is an understatement. The season hasn’t been great as everyone knows, but after the Olympics I trained so hard and felt in good shape for the final part of the season, with Il Lombardia my main goal. It’s pretty sure that my season is done, that’s a hard one to swallow but something I have to accept. I want to thank our medical team which arranged my surgery immediately here in Belgium, so I can now start my recovery.” said Fuglsang.
No Lombardia for Fuglsang in 2021:
Sick Remco Evenepoel Thinking About Leaving the Benelux Tour
Remco Evenepoel hoped to have a good ride in the individual time trial of the Benelux Tour on Tuesday, but the Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider didn’t put up a winning performance. Afterwards, the Belgian let it be known that he felt sick. “I couldn’t eat anything until one hour before the time trial,” said Evenepoel.
Evenepoel hoped to do good business in the time trial, especially after he lost a minute in the echelon stage to Dokkum on stage 1 after bad luck. However, the Belgian was unable to put out his normal wattages and was well short of the stage victory. “I was able to hold it for the first three to four kilometres, but after that my legs ran empty because I had not absorbed enough energy. We hoped for an improvement before the time trial, but that was not the case.”
The question now is whether Evenepoel will appear at the start of the third stage of the Benelux Tour. “We are now looking at it day by day. If the situation continues to deteriorate, there is no point in continuing. We’ll see if I can keep down more food later. If that doesn’t work, I better get sick and recover towards next week,” the Belgian refers to the European cycling championships in Trentino.
Evenepoel hoped to do a good ride for the general classification. “The loss of time is not that bad, given the situation. It’s just never fun, since I had hoped to take back time today. That might still work for some guys, but the differences won’t be as big as hoped.” Evenepoel started Wednesday’s stage 3.
Evenepoel not 100% in the Benelux Tour time trial:
Astana and Alexander Vinokourov Working to Get Elia Viviani
Astana has been mentioned as a possible new team for Elia Viviani. The sprinter has the interest of Alexander Vinokourov, who recently returned to the team as manager.
In La Gazzetta dello Sport, Vinokourov confirmed his interest in Viviani, who is currently in his second season with Cofidis. The Kazakh former pro already inquired with the rider’s manager, Giovanni Lombardi, whether the Italian was free. He then made the sprinter a proposal for a two-year contract. Vinokourov claims the deal could be completed within a week.
Viviani won the French one-day race Cholet-Pays de la Loire this season and also took stage victories in the Tour Poitou-Charentes and the Adriatica Ionica Race. The Italian was previously associated with eolo-Kometa. His old team Deceuninck – Quick-Step is also thinking of the fast man from Cofidis, according to team manager Patrick Lefevere.
According to Vinokourov, the return of Vincenzo Nibali, now with Trek-Segafredo, is almost complete. Reportedly, the WorldTeam is also working on a contract with Gianni Moscon. The winner of the GP Lugano and two stages in the Tour of the Alps is currently racing for INEOS Grenadiers.
Stage win in the Adriatica Ionica for Viviani:
Rohan Dennis to Jumbo-Visma: “One of the leading teams in the peloton”
Jumbo-Visma has officially presented ‘dream acquisition’ Rohan Dennis. In June we already knew that the deal was as good as completed. The two-time World time trial champion from Australia is coming over from INEOS Grenadiers and signs a two-year contract with the Dutch team.
“I’m really looking forward to the new challenges,” Dennis said about his switch. “It is one of the leading teams in the pack in terms of innovation and development. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to race together with guys like Primož Roglič, Wout van Aert and again with Tom Dumoulin. It’s a big goal of mine to continue to contribute to winning Grand Tours and to get my own opportunities in the shorter multi-days.”
Dennis has a past in Dutch teams. “It will be a new chapter, but also a return to earlier years, when I was part of the Rabobank continental squad in 2011 and when I rode Cervélo, as a neo-pro in 2013. I am indebted to INEOS Grenadiers for the time that I spent there. It was a great period with great moments and achievements, which I would like to continue with Jumbo-Visma.”
Sporting director Merijn Zeeman said he has been in contact with Dennis for a long time. “He is a dream asset for me, who will provide great support, especially for our classification riders. But he will also regularly find himself in a position to aim for a final victory.”
“There are not many riders in the peloton who have his qualities. He is just a real reinforcement, which is extremely important in today’s top cycling. He’s someone with a really big engine, who can lead for miles, who can really reduce the pack uphill and do some really sensitive acceleration. And has a great time trial, with which he will often compete for the win.”
Rohan Dennis completed a year with Rabobank before turning pro at Garmin-Sharp in 2013. He left there in the fall of 2014, during the season, for a move to BMC. In 2019, he chose Bahrain Merida, but left there with disagreements in the middle of the season. Team INEOS picked up the time trialist at the beginning of 2020. With INEOS he won two time trials and played a leading role in the Giro victory of Tao Geoghegan Hart.
The next chapter for Rohan Dennis:
Colombian Team for the 2021 World Championships
Colombia has announced their riders early for the upcoming World championships in Belgium. Team coach, Carlos Mario Jaramillo, has picked four fast men and several climbers for the road race.
With Fernando Gaviria, Álvaro José Hodeg, Juan Sebastián Molano and Nelson Soto, the national coach has four sprinters. The only question is whether the course in and around Leuven is not too difficult for men like Gaviria, Molano, Hodeg and Soto. Of the fast men in the selection, Gaviria has the most experience in Belgian Classics. The 27-year-old of UAE Team Emirates has ridden Classics such as the Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem in the past and may well survive on a good day and gamble on a possible sprint for the World title. Gaviria is currently riding in the Benelux Tour, where he hopes to hone his form towards the World championships. He finished fourth in the opening stage to Dokkum.
Hodeg, who has been doing well for Deceuninck – Quick-Step in recent weeks, is also riding the Benelux Tour and finished third in Dokkum on Monday. Molano had to abandon early in the Vuelta a España a week ago due to a crash, but has been included in the Colombian World champs selection. National coach Jaramillo is also taking three climbers; Rigoberto Urán, Esteban Chaves and Sergio Higuita. José Tito Hernández is the eighth rider to be part of the selection. The 27-year-old rider of Team Medellin-EPM won the Tour of Colombia this season.
Colombian squad for 2021 World Championships:
José Tito Hernández
lvaro Jose Hodeg
Juan Sebastián Molano
Gaviria for the Worlds:
Star-Studded Startlist Revealed for 2021 Tour of Britain
British sporting heroes, Tokyo 2020 medallists, world champions and former stage and jersey winners will all feature in this year’s Tour of Britain (Sunday 5 – 12 September), the full start list for which has today been revealed.
Just days out from the start of the race and first-ever stage to take place in Cornwall, provisional line-ups for the 18 competing teams have been made public for the first time.
Among those competing are:
- Sprinter Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), winner of the most stages in modern Tour of Britain history
- Tokyo 2020 medallists Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo – Visma), Ethan Hayter and Rohan Dennis (INEOS Grenadiers)
- Reigning UCI road world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step)
- Former Tour of Britain stage winners Michal Kwiatkowski (INEOS Grenadiers), André Greipel, Alex Dowsett, Matthias Brändle (Israel Start – Up Nation) and Tony Martin (Team Jumbo – Visma)
- Cycling stars Marc Soler (Movistar Team), Dan Martin, Michael Woods (Israel Start – Up Nation) and Richie Porte (INEOS Grenadiers)
- Four of the race’s former ŠKODA King of the Mountains winners: Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin – Fenix), Lukasz Owsian (Team Arkéa – Samsic), Nic Dlamini (Team Qhubeka NextHash) and Jacob Scott (Canyon dhb SunGod)
- Five reigning national road race champions, four reigning time trial champions
20 different nationalities represented
Deceuninck – Quick-Step, the most successful team in modern Tour of Britain history, will be led by fan favourites Cavendish and Alaphilippe. The Manxman won the last three of his 10 stage victories in the race riding for the Belgian team in the 2013 edition, and returns to Britain after a spectacular Tour de France in which he won four stages and the points jersey.
Frenchman Alaphilippe, who will be easily distinguishable to roadside spectators owing to his world champion’s rainbow jersey, has been tipped by many to repeat the overall victory he achieved in the 2018 race.
Van Aert, winner of three Tour de France stages in July and silver medallist in the Olympic road race, spearheads Jumbo-Visma’s team. Alongside Kiwi climber and Grand Tour top-10 finisher George Bennett, Norwegian road race champion Tobias Foss and Australian all-rounder Chris Harper, van Aert is one of four riders in their squad who will make their Tour of Britain debuts in 2021.
INEOS Grenadiers, the world’s number one team, have once again named a strong team for the Tour of Britain, led by Londoner, Tokyo 2020 silver medallist and recent Tour of Norway winner Ethan Hayter. Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski and Welshman Owain Doull are both former Tour of Britain podium finishers; Kwiatkowski and Australian Rohan Dennis have also previously won stages of the UK’s biggest bike race. Richie Porte, third overall at the 2020 Tour de France, returns to the event for the first time since his 2010 debut.
Three Tour of Britain stage winners – André Greipel, Matthias Brändle and Briton Alex Dowsett – feature in Israel Start – Up Nation’s powerful line-up. The Tour will be one of the final races of Greipel’s prestigious 16-year career, during which time he has claimed over 150 victories. The German sprinter has remarkably won at least one stage in each of his four visits to the Tour of Britain, amassing seven victories in total. He is also one of only five men in modern race history to have won stages in England, Scotland and Wales. Brändle won back-to-back stages in the 2014 Tour, the first of which came in Exeter, which hosts the finish of stage two on Monday 6 September, while Essex rider Dowsett triumphed in our London individual time trial 10 years ago. Irish star Dan Martin and Canadian Michael Woods add to the team’s tactical options.
Other stars competing include trailblazer Nic Dlamini (Team Qhubeka NextHash), who became the first black South African to compete in the Tour de France in 2021, renowned stage race talent Marc Soler (Movistar Team) and 2018 British road race champion Connor Swift (Team Arkéa-Samsic).
In addition to INEOS Grenadiers, six other home squads will be in action at the 2021 Tour of Britain: Canyon dhb SunGod, Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling, Saint Piran, SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling, TRINITY Racing and a GB national team.
Canyon dhb SunGod’s six-man team includes Scott and Rory Townsend, winners of the ŠKODA King of the Mountains and Eisberg sprints jerseys in the 2019 race. The Cornish Saint Piran will make their Tour of Britain debut on home roads, with local rider Steve Lampier appearing in their six-rider squad. SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling’s roster for their second appearance in the race includes former Team Sky rider and paracyclist Will Bjergfelt.
Highly-rated Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling rider James Shaw is enjoying a fantastic season, having already finished fifth in the Tours of Slovenia and Norway, while TRINITY Racing’s line-up includes hotly-tipped Irish road race champion Ben Healy.
Tour of Britain race director Mick Bennett said: “The fact that we were unable to run the Tour of Britain in 2020 was enough to raise the excitement level going into this year’s event. Yet, combined with the truly spectacular and challenging route we’ve designed, the quality of this year’s start list makes me believe that we’re about to witness one of the most exciting editions of the modern race to date.
“We look forward to seeing the roads of Great Britain lined with spectators all the way from Penzance to Aberdeen, and I would encourage everybody planning to attend the race to respect their fellow spectators and, of course, the riders, as well as following local COVID-19 guidance. See you all next week – I can’t wait!”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider Mark Cavendish said: “It is always an honour to race on the home roads of the Tour of Britain. It is a race where I have always enjoyed success and I am really looking forward to racing with what I know will be a strong Deceuninck – Quick-Step team. It has already been a special year for me and riding the Tour of Britain will be a great way to see so many of the people who have supported me throughout.”
World champion Julian Alaphilippe said: “I am really looking forward to racing the Tour of Britain, which will be my last in the rainbow jersey, that I have been so proud to wear for the last 12 months. I had a successful race in Britain the last time I was there in 2018, and I know it will be a hard-fought race this time. It will be the perfect race for me to take on, ahead of the world championships. We come here with a strong team and will look to race hard, as we always do.”
Following the Tour’s opening stage in Cornwall, the route will take the riders for a gruelling day of racing in Devon that features 3,499m of climbing between Sherford and Exeter. Stage three sees Carmarthenshire host an 18.2-kilometre team time trial before the famous Great Orme in Llandudno hosts stage four’s hill-top finish.
A first-ever stage finish in Warrington is followed by an undulating cross-Pennine trek from Carlisle to Gateshead on stage six, which the finish taking place in the shadows of the award-winning Angel of the North sculpture. The race ends with two Scottish stages; the 2021 champion will be crowned in Aberdeen on Sunday 12 September.
The Tour of Britain is shown live and in full on ITV4, as well as in over 150 countries around the world, and attracts an annual roadside audience of over 1.4 million fans.
Mark Cavendish leads a star-studded startlist:
No Tour de Yorkshire in 2022
The Tour de Yorkshire will again not be held in 2022. The corona crisis and financial problems already ensured that the British stage race could not continue in 2020 and 2021, but now the local organisation and the ASO have put an end to the 2022 edition.
Many discussions preceded the decision to cancel the tour, but the decision is said to have been made with consultation. The reason mentioned: the impact of the corona pandemic, in combination with escalating financial challenges and the necessary lack of clarity. “That has led to a position that the event is not viable in 2022,” he race organisers said in a press release.
The financial problems have recently been reported in the media. Several Yorkshire local authorities were willing to make an additional contribution to finalise the budget, but Leeds, Kirklees and Calderdale were not yet in agreement. The ASO itself did not provide any additional support. The French organiser previously announced that it would not guarantee the possible loss that would be suffered.
CEO Yann Le Moenner responded to the decision on behalf of the ASO. “After two canceled editions due to the corona pandemic, and taking into account the economic factors, it has been decided by mutual agreement not to organise the Tour de Yorkshire in 2022. Anyway, the Tour de France and ASO will remain in contact with Yorkshire because of the fantastic Grand Départ in 2014 and the five successful editions of the Tour de Yorkshire. That certainly deserves a sequel.”
British Cycling’s Brian Facer is clear in his response. “Obviously this is very disappointing to anyone recognising the value the Tour de Yorkshire has on the region and cycling in Britain. I’m not only talking about the economic boost for Yorkshire, but also the people who are inspired to start cycling themselves,” he said. “The local authorities have done a fantastic job and deserve the compliments. We will continue to work with Welcome to Yorkshire and ASO to organise major cycling races in the future.”
The Tour de Yorkshire has been canceled for two years in a row due to the corona crisis. In 2019 Chris Lawless was the last winner of the stage race.
The fans loved the Tour de Yorkshire:
Taco van der Hoorn and Boy van Poppel Extend the Adventure with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
By winning stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia last May after a heroic solo effort, Taco van der Hoorn offered a historic success to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. His attacking style of racing, combined with his ever present smile, has earned the admiration of many cycling followers this season. Besides his fabulous feat on the Giro, he notably distinguished himself on the Benelux Tour, where he won a five-man sprint after a 160-kilometre breakaway. He left his mark on almost each of the races in which he took part, for example by fighting his heart out during 270 kilometres in Milan – San Remo or by winning the jersey of intermediate sprints on the Tour de Pologne. The 27-year-old rider from Wageningen will remain loyal to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux for another three years.
At the age of 33, Boy van Poppel has proven to be a great asset to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, both in the role of lead-out man and in the classics. In addition to his experience at the highest level which makes him an exemplary road captain, his speed allowed him to clinch the first top 10 in a bunch sprint of the Tour de France for the first time of his career. In addition, he finished 12th in Dwars door Vlaanderen, finished fifth in the Dutch championship, grabbed a top 10 on Dwars door het Hageland (7th), the Heistse Pijl (8th) and the Ronde van Limburg (8th). Boy van Poppel, who joined in 2020, continues the adventure with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux for an additional season.
Taco van der Hoorn: “I’m so happy with this extension that I can’t wait to scream from the rooftops! It’s a nice feeling to work with serenity for the coming seasons. In my eyes, this contract extension was all but logical. I love this team, not just for the role I have and the racing program it offers me, but also for its unique atmosphere. I feel at home here. Sacrificing myself for my teammates is part of my DNA, but I also had the chance to play my personal card, on the attack in the breakaways. The emotion triggered by my stage victory in the Giro will be forever engraved in my memory. I realise today what this means for the structure and for myself as well. I want to thank the team for trusting me.”
Taco van der Hoorn:
Boy van Poppel: “I am thrilled to receive the confidence of the team for the coming year. This team helped me reach my best level, at 33 years old, and made me feel at home even though I joined last year. Being a road captain on a growing structure is something special. I can help the youngsters by sharing my experiences and it is a rewarding mission for me. I am also looking forward to a new challenge alongside Alexander Kristoff. With the advices of our trainers and our nutritionist, we can get the most out of everyone regardless of their age, and I am proof of that. My best form allowed me to achieve great results this summer, on the Tour de France in particular. Reaching the Champs-Elysées is an unforgettable moment for me and I hope to share others next season with the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux family.”
Jean-François Bourlart (CEO): “We are very happy to rely on Taco and Boy for the future. We enjoy working with our riders for the long term, so it became obvious to us to extend these two riders. Taco has shown, in the Giro d’Italia and again this Wednesday on the Benelux Tour, that he is a specialist capable of turning breakaways into victory. Something that suits our team’s attacking style of racing and, I am sure, will bring us more unforgettable moments.”
“Boy van Poppel is a loyal teammate, a crucial part of the sprint train. Boy has also shown on the Tour de France that he is capable of positioning himself in the bunch sprints. In that sense, we are happy to rely on him in our squad for one more year, as he will be a major asset in leading Alexander Kristoff and our other sprinters towards, hopefully, many successes.”
Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager): “We were quickly convinced of the qualities of Taco van der Hoorn. He confirmed our impression of a great professional, with valuable knowledge that he enjoys sharing with the management and his teammates. Thanks to his commitment, he pushes everyone to perform at a higher level. His contribution is particularly welcome for our project, which is constantly developing. Taco is a hard worker who strives to improve every detail and make the most of his qualities. He has managed to find the balance between playing his own card and the interest of the team, which makes him an exceptional rider, that anybody would want. His profile will be a huge asset to us in the seasons to come.”
“Boy van Poppel’s contract extension is also more than deserved, as his professional attitude has translated into a big step forward this season. Boy brings his suggestions for improvements in nutrition or training, which shows just how motivated and committed he is. His qualities as a road captain are recognised by all. Boy performed at a high level this year, if we look at his achievements in the classics and on the Tour de France. Getting the best out of a rider as experienced as Boy and bringing him to a new level is a nice compliment for the performance team. The Dutchman is feeling good here so I am delighted that he continues to fulfil his important role in the sprint train and in the classics next season.”
Boy van Poppel:
Jason Osborne Joins Deceuninck – Quick-Step as Stagiaire
The UCI Cycling Esports World Champion will ride for the Wolfpack in a number of races until the end of the season.
Hailing from Mainz, the 27-year-old Jason Osborne has made a name for himself in rowing, becoming World Champion in the lightweight single sculls race in 2018 before adding a silver medal to his palmarès at the Tokyo Olympics, this time in the lightweight double sculls event.
In between, the German won the inaugural edition of the UCI Cycling Esports Championships, held over a 50km route featuring close to 500 meters of simulated elevation gain, among the riders he defeated being also some members of World Tour teams.
“For me, it means a lot to be a stagiaire here. I always wanted to make the transition to cycling, but with rowing being there it wasn’t possible to commit 100% to this. Now with the Olympics being over and it having been successful for me, I can focus on this. To start with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, the most successful team in the world, is the best opportunity I could get. They have shown that many great riders come out of the team and throughout the years they always did a great job in developing the riders who sported their jersey”, said Jason.
“Cycling has always been part of my training ritual in rowing. I have done a lot of base training on the bike since 2012, when I bought my first road bike, then over the years I became more passionate about it, did some races, got into the competitive side of the sport and tried to develop”, Jason continued. “I like time trials, but also hilly courses where you need to deliver an explosive effort on short climbs, the type of which is kind of similar to what you need to do in rowing. I am aware there are a lot of things I need to learn, but I want to take it one step at a time and see what I can achieve.”
“We have seen Jason’s physical attributes in his win at the Esports Worlds, and this was confirmed in the testing that we have done with him. We are curious how that will translate into racing. Moving into the pro peloton will be a process for him as he learns about the intricacies of the sport, as it would be for any young rider, and we will look to use our experience to help him with the transition”, said Deceuninck – Quick-Step head coach Koen Pelgrim.
Gutiérrez, Guarischi, Oyarbide, González stay with Movistar Team
Telefónica-backed squad signs new contracts with four members of its current roster; now has 13 confirmed names for 2022.
Following their announcement, two weeks ago, of a first signing for 2022 with young Australian Sarah Gigante joining the squad, the Movistar Team confirmed Monday that they’ve signed four contract extensions with current members of their women’s roster: Lourdes Oyarbide and Alicia González, who will remain with the Blues next year, plus Sheyla Gutiérrez and Barbara Guarischi, who will stay until the end of 2023.
The squad managed by Sebastián Unzué thus secure big teamwork assets and intelligent racers with González and Oyarbide, two of the ‘founding members’ of the Blues’ women’s program back in 2018, while they will also enjoy the experience and individual quality of Guarischi – four podiums in 2021 – and Gutiérrez – 2nd at two stages in Valencia.
The Movistar Team have now increased their list of confirmed members for 2022 to 13 names, the roster still to be finalised. The current lineup is: Katrine Aalerud (NOR), Aude Biannic (FRA), Jelena Erić (SRB), Sarah Gigante (AUS), Alicia González (ESP), Barbara Guarischi (ITA), Sheyla Gutiérrez (ESP), Sara Martín (ESP), Emma Norsgaard (DEN), Lourdes Oyarbide (ESP), Paula Patiño (COL), Gloria Rodríguez (ESP) and Annemiek van Vleuten (NED).
Barbara Guarischi: “Thanks to the team for these past two years together and for the confidence they give to me for the upcoming two. I’m so happy to be part of this team, this group of people so kind, humane. Their human quality has been a huge factory in my choice to stay. I believe in the strength of people together being way more valuable than each other’s individual abilities, and that’s a value also shared by this team. We’re doing things really well this year – it’s obvious that things are easier, that your legs and mind suffer less, when you have such strong talents, but we have grown so much as a team, too. We’re a group of friends who go racing every week, people who are willing to sacrifice themselves for each other to achieve the best results, and that’s why I’m so thankful to the team for being able to stay and this confidence. Let’s keep moving forward!”
Lourdes Oyarbide: “I’m really happy to continue with this team for another year. This project is growing so fast, year after year, and I think I’m being able to follow those footsteps as an individual. That’s why I want to thank them for the preserved confidence in me after these four years.”
Alicia González: “I’m so happy to continue here for yet another season, what will be my fifth year with has already become my second family. Both the riders I’ve been sharing teams with since 2018, or even earlier at other squads, and the ones who have recently joined make this a wonderful place. We’ve created a solid team, with a great atmosphere that makes it easy to work and progress. Ever since this project start we’ve seen the team grow and evolve, both as a team and as individuals. We race with ever more ambition and well organised, and the results keep coming. If we follow that path, 2022 will be another great year for us.”
Sheyla Gutiérrez: “I’m super excited to have signed for an additional two years. They’ve always trusted my quality in this team, believed in my potential, let me grow. As they say when you get married, they’ve helped me in sickness and health. I’m hopeful that all these bumps on the road, from a physical standpoint, are finally gone. I feel really strong, full of ambition and looking forward to what’s to come. I feel like I should end this season on a high note, but I’m even more confident about the upcoming ones. I’m happy to continue growing in this project, which was somehow born into a conversation Eusebio and I had so many years ago – which ended up becoming a real thing, the team that now has all of us together here.”
Sebastián Unzué: “For us, these are four crucial riders to have on board, people who help us consolidate and reinforce what we consider the core of this project. Alicia and Lourdes have been here since this team was created, and they are becoming more important every single year. Their race-craft has evolved, their physical performance has increased and they’re extremely reliable. Wherever they go, they’re always ready to help our leaders, and having committed riders like them with us is a huge advantage. Barbara is one of the most experienced riders in the team, whose importance is also growing every season with her great support to the team leaders and her ability to contest races. Her top speed helps us support Emma better at sprints, and her talent for cobbled classics, flat roads, approaches to race finishes, keeping the position, stage-races – she’s got that natural talent that makes her fundamental to our success. It was a priority for us to retain her for the foreseeable future.”
“On the other hand, Sheyla is a really important piece of this team, right now and for the future. The last two years don’t make justice to her quality and performance. As soon as she leaves her recent injuries and health issues behind, we’ll see her reaching her maximum potential. She’s got speed, winning instinct, is a huge asset in one-day races – supporting the team and hopefully contesting them in the future. We’ve got confidence she’ll reach big heights really soon. I want to thank all four of them for the confidence and enthusiasm they’ve always shown towards this project. Working with such committed people is one of the reasons for any success we obtain here.”
An Unusual Birthday for Maurits Lammertink
Maurits Lammertink celebrates his 31st birthday this Tuesday, but it is an unusual anniversary for the rider of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. Since his bad accident on June 22nd, in which he was run over by a scooter when walking on the pavement with his family, the Dutch rider resides in the rehabilitation centre of Enschede to recover from a cerebral trauma and a broken collarbone. The rider speaks about the progression he made and the prospects for the future, two months after several successful surgeries.
Maurits Lammertink: “The situation in which I am today contradicts my character and my habits. As a professional cyclist, I want to work hard to progress. Unfortunately, I have to accept a long and difficult recovery process. The desire to ride my bike is strong, but the consequences of my accident don’t enable me to do it yet.”
“With my physiotherapist, I train to lift my arm. I regularly visit my osteopath to keep my body in balance. Doctors say that my rehabilitation process follows a normal progress. Concerning my brain injury, it goes with ups and downs but the progress is visible. It is difficult to find words, to construct sentences, to read and understand a story. My family often laughs when I pronounce a word in a strange way or when I use a wrong word for a certain object.”
“Luckily, things are getting better. A couple of weeks ago, I could only read half a page of a book. Today, I can read five. This progress brings courage, to me and my family. I don’t know yet whether I’ll become the same person as before. But the doctors told us that I’ll be able live normally. And to ride my bike! I try to work out on the Elite rollers, and I even went out on a city bike in company of my family. There’s still a long way to go before our family bounces back from the accident and before I recover completely, but we are and stay courageous!”
Maurits Lammertink – Photo by Alessandro Volders/@cyclingmedia_agency:
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