No cyclo-cross Worlds for Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel – TOP STORY. Reports and video from the X2O Badkamers Trofee in Herentals. Rider news from Wout van Aert, Amy Pieters going home, Remco Evenepoel and Cian Uijtdebroeks early season, Guillaume Martin to Giro and Tour, Thibaut Pinot to the Giro, Ilnur Zakarin’s last season, Peter Sagan has corona again, no team for Attilio Viviani and Danish riders in training crash. Race news: 2022 Giro d’Italia and Paris-Nice. Team news: Le Col-Wahoo women’s team, INEOS Grenadiers adds Dan Bigham to staff, Specialized team bikes, Giant, Liv & CADEX join BikeExchange-Jayco, Gazprom-RusVelo on LOOK bikes and Corima wheels and Enrico Poitschke joins Bahrain Victorious. Big coffee EUROTRASH Thursday.
TOP STORY: No More Cross Races and Worlds for Mathieu van der Poel This Season
Mathieu van der Poel will not take part in any cyclo-cross races this winter. The 26 year-old Alpecin-Fenix Dutchman is struggling with back problems and wants to make sure of his recovery. He will also miss the cyclo-cross World championships in Fayetteville at the end of January. It is unclear how long the reigning World champion will be sidelined. “We will not put a date on that,” he said.
Van der Poel is resigned to the fact that he will have to let his back recover, although he is of course disappointed. “I can’t say much about it, it’s no different. Because of that back pain, I have not reached my desired level since the Tour de France and I just want to get rid of that. The only remedy turns out to be a longer rest period and it would therefore be stupid to interrupt this period again and still try to make it to the World championships. We all agree on that. Even if it is very sour – I have participated in the cyclo-cross World championships ten times in a row. Not being able to defend my jersey in America is a real downer.”
He does not yet know how long he will be sidelined and what the consequences will be for the spring Classics. Van der Poel has long struggled with back problems, which were exacerbated after his crash during the Olympic mountain bike race. After that he still won the Antwerp Port Epic, he was eighth at the World road championships and third in Paris-Roubaix. “I’m not worried about the further course of my career, but of course it frustrates me at the moment that I don’t know how long the rest period will last. We only set a date and goals if we can do so in a substantiated manner. Until then, I’ll do what I can.”
The management of the Alpecin-Fenix team have full confidence in his recovery, however long that may take. “We want to optimise the healing process and that is not possible if there is time pressure with a view to a possible participation in the World championships in Fayetteville,” said Christoph and Philip Roodhooft. “Hence the decision not to compete on the cross bike this season. Medically there is no news to report. Mathieu respects the prescribed rest and the injury is monitored by the medical staff and the treating specialist.”
“Speculations about whether it will take weeks or months are not based on anything,” the Alpecin-Fenix Roodhooft brothers continue. “It is currently impossible to predict how quickly the swelling will disappear. The treating doctors agree that it will effectively disappear with rest. And that’s the most important thing, both for Mathieu and for the team. He will only start his road season when the injury is over and when he has been able to prepare properly. At the moment it makes no sense to put a date on it. We will only do that if it makes sense.”
Wout van Aert: “The Cycling World Needs a Rider like Mathieu”
Prior to the X2O Trophy cross in Herentals, Wout van Aert reacted to the news that Mathieu van der Poel will not ride any cyclo-cross this winter. “It is very unfortunate that Mathieu is no longer active in the competitions and that he is struggling with that injury,” said the Jumbo-Visma rider about his eternal competitor.
“I wish him the best from here, and I hope he can be back soon. I think the cross is missing him and that the cycling world in general needs a rider like Mathieu,” said Van Aert on Wednesday. When asked, he adds that the news does not change his decision not to participate in the cyclo-cross World championship in the United States.
Van Aert will defend his Belgian title on Sunday, but that does not mean that he will take it easy in Herentals. “I don’t race with the brakes on. It is a home cross, even if there is no crowd. I’m at the start and then I always give everything. First try to win this cross today, then I have three days to recover before Sunday.”
Philip Roodhooft: “No One Can Predict How Fast Mathieu’s Process Will Go”
Philip Roodhooft wants to temper the pressure around Mathieu van der Poel’s rehabilitation. The Alpecin-Fenix team manager has further explained the decision to end the World champion’s cyclo-cross season. “We have decided on the advice of the specialists to rest until the injury has healed,” he told Sporza.
“The only thing we can do logically is to give him time to let the injury heal,” said Roodhooft. Much has been said and written about Van der Poel’s back injury. “Unfortunately, we hear from everyone that he has been suffering from this for years. But that is not the case. Mathieu has been suffering from back pain for a few months now. It is an intervertebral disc that is swollen. The only remedy for that is rest. There was that rest period after the road season, but it turned out not to be long enough.”
Van der Poel’s worst crash was during the Olympics in the mountain bike race, but the back pain was already an issue before that. “In the Tour of Switzerland he suffered for the first time, and since the Tour he has not reached his top level. It also hinders him in training. You can say that he should have done this or that sooner, but that injury is evolving,” explains Roodhooft.
“Right now we’ve come to the point where it has to be 100% cured. Only then can we look further. No one can predict how fast that process will go. We don’t think that’s the most relevant at the moment. Does it take weeks? Will it take months?” the manager wonders. “But we are consciously not involved in that. Mathieu will soon be 27 and we still have a long way to go. It is important that it heals properly. We will try to be successful with the rest of the team.”
Earlier Adrie van der Poel Said He Wanted Mathieu to Stop Racing Cross This Winter
The cyclo-cross in Herentals yesterday (Wednesday) was on Mathieu van der Poel’s program, but his back injury is still bothering him and father Adrie is clear about a possible comeback. “If it depends on me, he won’t be racing this winter,” said Van der Poel senior.
“It makes no sense anymore. If he starts again, he will force himself again and we will not be a step further or closer,” Adrie said in conversation with Het Nieuwsblad. On New Year’s Day, the cyclocross World cyclo-cross champion announced that, after a few days of inactivity, he had got back on the bike for a training ride. Sixty kilometers in about two hours. After his abandonment in Heusden-Zolder, Van der Poel decided to skip the Loenhout and Hulst crosses and has now announced he will not race any more cross this winter.
No repeat cross title for Mathieu in 2022:
Le Col & Wahoo Combine to Co-Sponsor Leading UK Based UCI Women’s Pro Cycling Team
New name, exciting ambitions, still the best looking kit in the pro-peloton. Today, the Le Col Wahoo team – formerly known as DROPS Le Col s/b Tempur – launches, developing the next generation of female cycling talent and helping to colour the road with some of the very best international cyclists. Ahead of the 2022 UCI season, the new look team launches with grand ambitions to continue the work towards the UCI Women’s World Tour, with the fastest kit and latest performance technology.
The team will continue to be directed and managed by Tom and Bob Varney, the force and founders who set up the original Drops team in 2015. Since then, the team has gone from strength to strength, and celebrated one of their best seasons last year, which included supporting Joss Lowden to break the UCI Women’s Hour Record in September.
Having supported the team for a number of years, technical apparel brand Le Col announced last year that they would be trebling their investment in the team. They will continue to bring their aerodynamic expertise and with the help of the riders, develop the fastest women’s kit possible, along with a full kit package for the season.
Yanto Barker, the founder of Le Col explains “For 2022 we are taking our partnership and support of the team to the next level – we have been developing some of the most advanced cycling kit possible and with the help of key riders in the team ensuring that this technology enables our riders to ride faster and further. Together with Wahoo we will aim to ensure our backing not only supports the team, but inspires the cycling community and encourages more women to race bikes.”
This is Wahoo’s first headline sponsorship of a professional cycling team and a standout message that they are continuing to invest in women’s cycling to really help grow and develop the sport.
“Wahoo’s partnership with the team is in direct alignment with our core values,” says Wahoo CEO Mike Saturnia. “These athletes demand the best equipment in order to allow them to reach top form, and come into each race fully prepared. The Wahoo KICKR indoor training ecosystem, ELEMNT GPS computers, TICKR heart rate monitors, and Speedplay pedals are the best equipment available, and will greatly enhance all of the athletes performance this season, and for years to come.”
Mike goes on to further explain the partnership; “In parallel with the original mission of the Drops professional cycling team, Wahoo’s purpose is to build the better athlete in all of us, and nowhere is that better displayed than with this partnership. Women’s racing provides some of the most exciting bike racing for viewers and it deserves a much bigger platform to exhibit the riders talents and skills. We aim to aid the team in qualifying for the Tour de France Femmes in 2022 and share their ambition of becoming a World Tour team in 2023. Together we can bring women’s cycling to a larger audience and inspire new generations of female cyclists.”
Tom Varney, Co-Founder and General Manager of Le Col Wahoo said: “We’re delighted to see both Le Col and Wahoo come together to back the team’s development and move us towards our goal of being the best in the world. We believe both Le Col and Wahoo are leaders of their respective fields and their support will be integral to the team and its riders getting to the WorldTour in 2023.”
For more information on Le Col Wahoo, please visit: www.lecolwahoo.com
X2O Badkamers Trofee Men – Herentals 2022
Wout van Aert won the X2O Badkamers Trofee in Herentals on Wednesday. On his home ground, the Belgian champion of was unbeatable again. Tom Pidcock and Toon Aerts had to let Van Aert go and were more than a minute behind.
The best start in Herentals came from Wout van Aert, who started from the front row. He was followed by Toon Aerts, Tom Meeusen, Tom Pidcock and Michael Vanthourenhout. Eli Iserbyt and Lars van der Haar had a less good start and had to chase.
Aerts, Van Aert and Pidcock went over the first ski hill with a lead. Behind; Meeusen, Vanthourenhout and Corné van Kessel formed the chasing group, but they were soon got caught from behind. On the second lap, Van Aert rode away from his competitors. Pidcock tried to close the 5 second gap with a strong effort, but he couldn’t. Aerts and Pidcock were unable to put pressure on Van Aert, and so he had a lead of 22 seconds at the start of the fourth lap of nine. Vanthourenhout and Sweeck followed at 44 seconds. Van Aert, who will be defending his Belgian title on Sunday, was able to put enough pressure on them and kept going further away.
Behind the leader, Pidcock, who won on Tuesday in Gullegem, tried to ride away from Aerts, but it wasn’t easy. The duel took place within 50 seconds of Van Aert. The Jumbo-Visma rider simply went too fast and started the last 2 laps with a 1:09 minute lead over Pidcock. Aerts followed 10 seconds later and was heading for third place. Van Aert could start thinking about his victory salute early for his eighth victory from nine races this season. Last weekend he lost for the first time due to chain problems, but he took revenge in Herentals. In the finalé, Aerts seemed to have a chance of second place, but Pidcock held the Belgian off with an extra effort. This was just over a minute behind Van Aert. Michael Vanthourenhout finished fourth, Lars van der Haar fifth.
Race winner, Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “The tactic for today was pretty clear. In the first lap, the competition fought for the bonus seconds linked to the classification. Then I decided to increase the pace. I structured my race so that I could go full speed on the ski hill. I’m glad that tactic worked out well. I made a few mistakes along the way, so there is still room for improvement. At those moments in the race, I blame myself. It’s nice that I can finally celebrate the win in front of my family in my hometown. In consultation with the team, I decided not to ride the World Championships in Fayetteville. This was the intention from the beginning, but we have now made the decision. It creates essential preparation time for my goals on the road in the classics spring. That is what I will focus on after next Sunday.”
2nd, Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers): “It was a tough race. I said beforehand I would be tired and I couldn’t get my heart rate up in the race. Kurt Bogaerts (coach) said that he was surprised that I was on the podium. Toon really put me under pressure. It was a strange race, but luckily I get that duck.” Pidcock will not ride the British cyclo-cross championship this weekend.
3rd, Toon Aerts (Baloise Trek Lions): “I tested the legs and they passed. It was a rabbit and not a derny. I had to constantly keep a gap. Sometimes I would get two seconds closer, and then he would ride away for two seconds. I caught sight of him in the closing stages, but it wasn’t easy to get over. The explosiveness had also gone a bit. It was first to have him come over, but he had his Wout van Aert legs back and I had my Toon Aerts legs. I wanted to follow him as long as possible, but he was really strong and sprinted away on the running section. I wanted to go really deep for once. That is only good towards Sunday.”
X2O Badkamers Trofee Men – Herentals Result:
1. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma in 1:02:45
2. Tom Pidcock (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:06
3. Toon Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions at 1:07
4. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 2:02
5. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 2:12
6. Jens Adams (Bel) Hollebeekhoeve at 2:17
7. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Deschacht-Group Hens-Containers Maes at 2:46
8. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 3:31
9. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 3:44
10. Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Tormans at 4:27
X2O Badkamers Trofee Women – Herentals 2022
Lucinda Brand convincingly won the X2O Badkamers Trofee in Herentals. The World champion took the initiative on the second lap and took a nice solo win. Denise Betsema finished in second place. Annemarie Worst beat Sanne Cant in the battle for third place.
Denise Betsema was one of the fastest on the shortened course in Herentals. She immediately had a gap on the others, which consisted of Annemarie Worst, Manon Bakker, Sanne Cant, Lucinda Brand, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado and Maghalie Rochette. Due to early setbacks, the game for Alvarado was soon over. She had to run for a long time to the pits and looked despondent, but the Dutch champion did not give up. On the second lap, Brand and Cant were able to join Betsema. The World champion took command and put pressure on the other two. Betsema left a gap and Cant lost the contact due to chain problems. It was again a battle between Brand and Betsema, second and first in the X2O Trophy.
Brand didn’t let it grow and went into the fourth lap of six with a 22 seconds lead. A lap later the difference was about the same. However, there was no indication that Brand would surrender to Betsema. The battle for third place was between Worst and Cant, who is getting better and better now that the championships are just around the corner. Going into the final lap, Brand had widened her lead to 32 seconds and was heading to her sixteenth victory of this season. The battle for third place was decided in the final. Cant made a mistake on a descent and lost Worst.
Race winner, Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions): “Nice that I can still race to a nice gap. I didn’t think I could turn the switch so easily. I thought it was going to be a mental day, but it went just fine. It’s bizarre. I wasn’t in the start, so I wanted to limit the damage but it’s nice that I can still race to a nice gap. I can’t sleep continuously. But I’m going to take it very easy. I have to get on my bike, otherwise it won’t work at all, but there is no real training towards the Dutch National Championships.”
2nd, Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “I’m not super happy. I lose a lot of seconds and I also had a flat on the last lap. I noticed that from the track, right after the post. Then it is not easy and you lose extra seconds. It was a really long stretch. The descents with a flat tire are also very difficult. I have tried to leave everything intact, but have not been able to sprint, for example. I’m really disappointed, because I lost a lot of seconds. It is now very close. The next cross in the X2O Trophy is fortunately late. We can now recover nicely. I go back to the island (Texel) and cycle out there for a while. I will also take a day of rest to start fresh at the Dutch National Championships in Rucphen.”
3rd, Annemarie Worst (777): “At one point we came to ride together. Sanne (Cant) tried to close the gap to Denise. It was exciting and she rode well. Too bad she couldn’t take over often, but that doesn’t matter. The last two laps the feeling was good, the first lap unfortunately not quite. I didn’t get into my rhythm. But the last lap again. The shape is coming back and I’m happy with that.”
X2O Badkamers Trofee Women – Herentals Result:
1. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions in 49:58
2. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:49
3. Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777 at 0:59
4. Sanne Cant (Bel) IKO-Crelan at 1:15
5. Maghalie Rochette (Can) at 2:08
6. Manon Bakker (Ned) IKO-Crelan at 2:16
7. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix) at 4:28
8. Clara Honsinger (USA) Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld at 4:45
9. Madigan Munro (USA) Trek Factory Racing at 5:11
10. Karen Verhestraeten (Bel) at 5:26.
Wout van Aert Will Not Ride the 2022 Cyclo-cross World Championships
Wout van Aert will miss the 2022 cyclo-cross World Championships in Fayetteville. The Belgian confirmed after his victory in the X2O Trophy in Herentals on Wednesday to Sporza. “I’m going to ride my last cross of this winter on Sunday,” referring to the Belgian cyclo-cross championships.
“It is a question that has come back for a long time and it has always been the intention not to race the World championships. Of course there was great enthusiasm, but we have now decided to stick to the initial plan and to prepare for the road season after Sunday,” said Van Aert. That he has won eight of his nine crosses to date made the decision difficult. “That makes it a little less easy for me in the champs, but it is always a difficult choice to miss such a great race. My goals are also in the spring and I am now concentrating on that,” said the Jumbo-Visma leader, who travels to Spain after the Belgian Championships for a training camp with the team.
Cross is still my first love. But we think it will be difficult to do both,” he refers to the combination of the World championships and the spring Classics. “We have thought about it carefully and hopefully it will pay off. That journey is not the only problem. This year it is a bit more special than usual, because you will extend the season for three weeks longer and you will specifically prepare for the World championships. And I now have four weeks extra time to be optimally prepared for spring. That is what we are going for.”
“It was a harder choice than I expected. But it is wise to stick to the plan anyway,” added Van Aert. “It has been considered and thought about together. Always starting as a favourite also costs energy. The World champs is completely different from adding a competition to your program. It gives extra room to shift the focus. Hopefully it will give me something extra for the spring, and it will give me something extra to really get better in the most important races.”
“It makes a difference for the week after the World championships. Where you would otherwise quickly think about the road, you will now suffer more from jet lag and the journey. Now I can close a chapter on Sunday and join the process to prepare for spring with my teammates,” said the Jumbo-Visma classics rider.
No 2022 cross Worlds for Wout:
Amy Pieters Breathing Independently and Returns to the Netherlands
Amy Pieters will be transported from Spain to the Netherlands on Thursday, her SD Worx team announced in a press release. The Dutch cyclist, who has been in an artificial coma since December 23 after a bad crash, is now breathing independently.
“The sedation has been reduced,” said SD Worx in the communiqué. “Other than that, her situation is stable but unchanged. Only when the rider wakes up can the medics get a first impression of the consequences of the crash.”
The transfer of Pieters to the Netherlands will be handled by a specialist team from Eurocross, a Dutch emergency centre that specialises in, among other things, worldwide personal assistance. The transfer will be by plane.
In the crash on December 23, 2021, when she was training with the Dutch track team, Pieters lost consciousness. She was then operated on in the hospital of Alicante to relieve the pressure on her brain.
We all hope for Amy Pieters:
Probably No Strade Bianche for Wout van Aert
Wout van Aert will most likely skip the Strade Bianche next spring, Het Nieuwsblad reports. Instead of the Italian gravel race he won in 2020, the Belgian would opt to ride Paris-Nice. This choice is so that he would be fresher at the start of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
“In recent years, we have not yet succeeded in winning a cobblestone monument with Wout, so perhaps we should turn a different stone and approach the run-up differently,” said sports director Merijn Zeeman. “Milan-Sanremo will be his first big appointment. Then Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, the Ronde and Roubaix follow. De Strade is no longer part of his list of priorities, because the date is difficult.”
It is not yet entirely certain where Van Aert will start his season, but it looks like the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (26 February) will be the first race on the road.
No ‘White Roads’ for Wout in 2022:
Evenepoel to Start Season with the “Tour of Valencia or UAE Tour, Or Both”
Remco Evenepoel has to go back to the drawing board. The Quick-Step – Alpha Vinyl rider was supposed to start the new season in the Vuelta a San Juan, but the Argentine stage race is canceled for the second consecutive year. Team boss Patrick Lefevere mentioned the possible options to Het Nieuwsblad.
Lefevere spoke of the disappointment of the San Juan cancellation. “Just like last year, the puzzling can start again to offer the riders the opportunity to race as soon as possible. I’m holding out that no more events will be lost. Then I think in the first place of the Saudi Tour and the UAE Tour. Let’s hope these races hold up.”
The riders and team staff will have to think again to plan new programs. Evenepoel would have ridden the Vuelta a San Juan and the Volta ao Algarve, but that is no longer an option. The team is now thinking of a start to the season in the Tour of Valencia (2-6 February) and/or the UAE Tour (20-26 February). “Either one of the two. Or both,” said Lefevere.
According to Lefevere, the UAE Tour is a good first test for Evenepoel. “The UAE Tour is like the World championship for Tadej Pogačar. The sheikhs would rather he win there than in the Tour, so to speak. It is the very first WorldTour race, which also has a strong line-up. Then Remco immediately knows where he is in relation to the others. Two stages end uphill and there is a time trial.”
On January 6, Quick-Step – Alpha Vinyl will start their second training camp in Calpe, which will run until January 14. “It will become more clear there,” Lefevere adds.
Remco ready for 2022:
Cian Uijtdebroeks Makes Professional Debut in the Challenge Mallorca
Cian Uijtdebroeks will race his first kilometres as a professional at the end of January in BORA-hansgrohe kit. The 18-year-old Belgian makes his debut as a professional in the Challenge Mallorca. Sports director Jean-Pierre Heynderickx told Het Nieuwsblad.
Initially, the plan was to make Uijtdebroeks debut in the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina, that plan has now gone out the window. The promising rider will now have his baptism of fire on the Spanish island of Mallorca. From 26 to 30 January, five one-day races are scheduled on the largest island of the Balearic Islands.
“He will ride a few races there. Because they are all individual competitions, you can start one day and not the next,” said Heynderickx. Two more races will follow on Spanish soil: the Tour of Murcia (February 12) and the new race in Jaén on Monday February 14.
New pro Cian Uijtdebroeks:
Guillaume Martin to Combine Giro and Tour in 2022
Guillaume Martin will ride the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France next season, his Cofidis team told Le Télégramme. It is the first time that the French climber will contest the Giro.
The 28-year-old Martin also rode two big tours in the past two years, but then those were the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España. In 2021 he managed to finish in the top-10 in both stage races: in his home round he finished eighth and in the Spanish round ninth.
Martin has never raced the Giro d’Italia before. Just like in last year’s Tour and Vuelta, he will go for a general classification, according to team manager Cédric Vasseur. “He is able to do the same in the Giro,” referring to a top 10 finish. Vasseur thinks Martin is even close to a top 5. Martin will probably start his season in the GP La Marseillaise (30 January).
Thibaut Pinot: “I Dream of Pink, Because Yellow is Too Big”
Thibaut Pinot has had a difficult 2021. The Frenchman had his sights set on the Giro d’Italia last season, but he was injured at home for a long time. “It was endless months, in which I suffered mentally,” he now says about that time.
“It was the time of the Giro, which I should have ridden. There were races on television every day. Everything you do at such a moment reminds you of your situation. When you look on Twitter, turn on your television, whatever – you always come across cycling. And everyone told me they hoped to see me again in the Vuelta. I answered positively, but I already knew in May that that would not be possible,” the Groupama-FDJ rider looks back.
Nevertheless, Pinot, who mainly suffered from back problems since his crash in the Tour de France in 2020, still raced in the autumn. It is not yet known what is on the program for him next season. Sports director Marc Madiot previously hinted at a Tour participation, but Pinot himself says he would like to wear pink again in the Giro.
“When I turned pro, I made a list of goals. I’ve got almost all of them now. I have already crossed off the following dreams: To become French champion, to win a stage in all three Grand Tours and to be victorious in the Tour of Lombardy. Now only the pink in the Giro remains. It’s the only thing I’m missing. When I was a kid, the Tour yellow jersey always seemed too big to me, so I’ve been dreaming of the pink ever since.”
Thibaut Pinot hoping for pink:
Ilnur Zakarin Will End his Career in 2022
Ilnur Zakarin is preparing for his last season in the peloton. The 32-year-old Russian, who rides for Gazprom-RusVelo, has announced via his Instagram page that he will retire at the end of 2022.
“I’ve been thinking about how to say this for a long time,” Zakarin began on social media. “It’s important to describe your feelings sometimes. I want to make it clear how important this is to me right now. As a cyclist I wanted to make my mother and father proud. I decided to train more and more often and harder and not to give up. That’s what I was always told by my first coach: only by working hard, there is a chance to succeed.”
“At one point Vika (Zakarin’s wife) came into my life and then the most beautiful dream began. I took my first victories as a cyclist, then started training even harder and there was even more success. It felt like a dream, with its ups and downs. I wanted to stay in that dream, but at some point I woke up and started to think more and more about a life after the bike.”
Zakarin feels the time has come to say goodbye, but first he will push himself to the limit for one more season. “I dream of spending more time with my family. I just want to see my kids grow up every day and do other interesting things. So 2022 is my last season as a professional cyclist. However, I will do everything in my power to perform this year.”
Zakarin had a doping suspension from 2009 to 2011, and was given the opportunity in 2013 to be a professional at RusVelo. Zakarin then put himself in the spotlight with Katusha and in the winter of 2014 he signed a contract with the WorldTour team. In his first year for Katusha he won the Tour de Romandie. Zakarin was one of the better climbers in the peloton. In 2016 he won a Tour stage finishing in Finhaut-Emosson and a year later he finished fifth in the Giro d’Italia and third in the Vuelta a España. The Russian looked to be one of the top men in cycling, but was never able to fully meet expectations. In 2018 he was ninth in the Tour and in 2019 he won a mountain stage in the Giro d’Italia, but it turned out to be his last big win.
2022 – Last season for Zakarin:
Peter Sagan Positive for Corona
Peter Sagan has tested positive for the corona virus. The TotalEnergies Slovak rider announced via social media. Last year, Sagan had a corona infection during a training camp in the Canary Islands, for which he had to postpone the start of his season.
Sagan’s brother Jaraj is also positive for the corona virus. “My brother Juraj and I have taken corona tests and unfortunately they were positive. We have symptoms related to the virus and we are following the guidelines of the appropriate authorities. I’ll keep you posted,” said the 2015, 2016 and 2017 World champion, who moved from the BORA-hansgrohe team to TotalEnergies.
It is not the first time that Peter Sagan has tested positive for the corona virus. Last February, the 31-year-old rider struggled with a corona infection during a training camp in Gran Canaria, as did his brother Juraj and their teammate Erik Baška. All three showed mild symptoms. Due to the infection, Sagan had to be quarantined and his preparation for the new season was disrupted. He had to miss the Flemish opening weekend and Strade Bianche.
Sagan was able to start his season in Tirreno-Adriatico and then was fourth in Milan-Sanremo. In the weeks that followed, he won a stage in the tours of Catalonia and Romandie. He then won a stage in the Giro d’Italia, where he also took the points classification. He also won the Slovak National Road Championship and the Tour of Slovakia.
In 2022, the Classics and the Tour de France are again his main goals: “First of all I want to prepare well for the classics and since I’m in a French team, the Tour de France will be an important goal. And of course the World champs” He was originally supposed to start the new season with the Vuelta a San Juan, but the Argentine race has been cancelled.
Covid again for Sagan:
Attilio Viviani: “I Want to Continue Racing at WorldTour Level”
Attilio Viviani is still without a team. The younger brother of Elia Viviani did not have his contract with Cofidis renewed, but still hopes to find a place elsewhere for 2022. “I have talked to some teams, but nothing is concrete yet,” the Italian said in an interview with SpazioCiclismo.
INEOS Grenadiers, the squad his brother Elia will be racing with next season, has not been one of the teams Attilio has spoken to after being told in December that he would have to leave Cofidis after two seasons. “INEOS already has 31 riders. So that has never been an option. If they still need a helping hand, I would go there immediately, but they are already full,” he responds when asked if he could not follow his brother to the British team.
It is not only the limited number of places per team, but also the disappearance of entire teams that makes Viviani see his chances shrink. “Since Qhubeka had few young riders and sprinters, that might have been interesting. But they stoped, just like Vini Zabù and Delko. Many riders are therefore left out,” he said disappointed.
Despite the difficulties Viviani is currently experiencing, he remains confident in his own abilities. “I am ready to be a sprint leader. This year I had less opportunity to do so than last year. And with sprints, the more often you do it, the better it gets. This in turn leads to more opportunities. But last year I’ve been more concerned with helping others than achieving results myself. The fact that I can now submit fewer results makes it difficult to get a spot somewhere,” he explained.
Although he does not rule out anything in advance, the 25-year-old is not yet thinking of a return to the Continental level. “I feel like I’ve had two good years riding against top level riders. It’s a world that I loved right away and where I want to keep racing to get the most out of myself. I want to continue racing at WorldTour level.”
Danish Riders Hit in Training Crash
For some Danish riders, New Year’s Eve was a day to forget. During a training ride, they were hit by a motorist. Riwal rider Alexander Salby broke his collarbone.
Anthon Charmig, professional rider at Uno-X next season, Riwal riders Alexander Salby and Søren Vosgerau and amateur rider Morten Gadgaard were training in the rain on December 31, when they were hit by a motorist in Silkeborg. The driver of the car suddenly turned right and across the bike path to enter a gas station, Feltet.dk reports. “The car hit Gadgaard’s front wheel, which then hit Søren,” Salby recalled. “They both went over the front of the car into a parking lot, where they slid a few feet on the ground, until they hit a wall.”
Gadgaard and Vosgerau sustained abrasions in the accident, while Salby suffered a broken collarbone from the collision. Charmig was able to avoid the accident and escaped unscathed. Salby doesn’t think the foursome could have done anything differently. “The only thing was that we could have ridden in bright colours. But three of us wore taillights. Would he have seen us if we had worn bright colours? We didn’t have time to do anything. It happened so quickly. I don’t feel like we went too fast. We weren’t speeding through the city.”
After the accident, several people who were at the gas station came to help. An ambulance and a police car also arrived on the scene. Salby said the driver of the car was ‘shocked’. “He asked how we were doing. He said he hadn’t seen us at all. He repeated that many times. Søren and Gadgaard had their backs against the wall at the time, Gadgaard in particular was in a lot of pain.” According to Salby, he and his fellow riders were lucky. “It’s a miracle compared to how hard the others were hit by the car and the somersault they did. Given the situation, we got off lightly.” The driver of the car is at risk of a driving ban.
Bad start to the year for Alexander Salby:
Giro Boss Vegni: “I really don’t understand that Caruso will not be in the Giro”
Damiano Caruso was the revelation in the Giro d’Italia last season. The experienced climber started the round as a domestique, but finished second on GC. However, the Italian will not participate in La Corsa Rosa this year, his Bahrain Victorious team is fully behind Mikel Landa and sending Caruso to the Tour. Giro boss Mauro Vegni doesn’t understand.
The Middle East team would like to take a shot at overall victory in the Italian tour this year. Mikel Landa will be the leader and this has consequences for Caruso. The 34-year-old rider was interested in riding the Giro, but he is part of the Tour selection. “There is no logic to keep Caruso out of the Giro selection,” said Vegni in conversation with Corriere della Sera.
According to the Giro d’Italia boss, it is a lack of respect towards Caruso and the Italian race. “It is above all an insult. We are talking about a rider who has discovered himself in our race as a leader, as someone with leadership qualities. He could have shown that again this year. I don’t understand,” said Vegni.
Caruso is not the only Italian from Bahrain Victorious who will not participate in the Giro. Sonny Colbrelli also dreamed of the pink jersey, but Bahrain Victorious has other plans for the European champion. Vegni has a hard time understanding. “If you don’t aim for the overall victory, it is perfectly possible to combine the Giro and Tour.”
Vegni will also have to do without Filippo Ganna this year, the man who won two time trials in the previous Giro. “However, I do understand INEOS Grenadiers’ choice not to take Ganna to the Giro. He has already honoured our race enough and it is good that they are now taking different paths,” concludes Vegni.
The 105th edition of the Giro d’Italia starts on Friday, May 6 in Budapest and ends on Sunday, May 29 with a time trial starting and finishing in Verona.
No Caruso in the 2022 Giro:
Paris-Nice 2022: Balance and Variety
It is only natural for a race that will stage its 80th edition in March to have finally found the right balance and Paris-Nice makes everything it can to keep it while improving it slightly every year. While the Race to the Sun used to be reluctant to test riders too harshly in the early season, it does no longer hesitate to provide a varied and, yes, balanced program. There will be something for every taste, even the most demanding ones, on the menu on offer from March 6 to March 13 between Mantes-la-Ville and the Promenade des Anglais.
While the Yvelines department will host the first big stage race of the season for the 13th time in succession, the area still holds enough twists and turns to surprise the riders once more. The aim is again not to make it too easy for the sprinters and the windswept sectors around Houdan should be ideal for skirmishes while the Breuil Bois Robert bump, 6 km from the finish line, could be a perfect launch-pad for a last-ditch attack.
The question for the next two stages is the same as usual when the peloton rides across the plains of the Parisian Basin, the Beauce and this year Indre and Creuse, a region not visited since 1996 –– bunch sprint or echelons? The weather will decide, bearing in mind that the wide finish of stage 2 in Orleans might suit sprinters more than the finale in Dun-le-Palestel, where stage 3 will end after 44 km of a hilly circuit.
Allier will host the traditional mid-week individual time trial, a short and bumpy 13.4-km course between Domerat and Montlucon and a steep last stretch with percentages reaching 14 pc.
The compact TT will sketch the outlines of the final GC and they should become clearer the next day in what could be the main course of the edition, a gruelling 188.8-km stage between St Just-St Rambert, 19 km outside of St Etienne, and St-Sauveur-de Montagut in Ardeche. With a 3,350-metre elevation and three 1st category climbs – the familiar Croix de Chaubouret (9.8 km at 6.6 pc), Cote de Saint-Romain-de-Lerps (6,5 km at 7.3 pc) and col de la Mure (7.6 km at 8.3 pc) –, the day could lead to the most unexpected and exciting scenarios.
The race will head for the Mediterranean on the Friday for the longest stage this year between Courthezon and Aubagne, just outside Marseille. With another 2,900 meters in elevation and the ascent of the tricky Espigoulier pass shortly before the final descent, the stage will be a perfect warm-up for a traditionally demanding last weekend.
In the past few years, Paris-Nice has gone to altitude on the Saturday and the race is returning to the Turini Pass (14.9 km at 7.3 pc) three years after a stage that crowned two Colombians, Dani Martinez for the day’s honours and Egan Bernal for the GC. The last climb will be the highlight of the day since only one minor ascent, the Coursegoules climb, features on the course that day.
Sunday will hopefully see a return to the Promenade des Anglais with a familiar-looking course, spiced with a major modification. Col d’Eze, the stage of many memorable Paris-Nice finishes, will be tackled for the first time by a different road, shorter but also steeper, bringing the percentage of the climb from 6.1 pc to 7.6 pc. As we said before, more of the same but…
Paris-Nice 2022 stages
Sunday, March 6th, stage 1: Mantes-la-Ville > Mantes-la-Ville, 159,8 km
Monday, March 7th, stage 2: Auffargis > Orléans, 159,2 km
Tuesday, March 8th, stage 3: Vierzon > Dun-le-Palestel, 190,8 km
Wednesday, March 9th, stage 4: Domérat > Montluçon, 13,4 km (time trial)
Thursday, March 10th, stage 5: Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert > Saint-Sauveur-de-Montagut, 188,8 km
Friday, March 11th, stage 6: Courthézon > Aubagne, 213,6 km
Saturday, March 12th, stage 7: Nice > Col de Turini La Bollène-Vésubie, 155,4 km
Sunday, March 13th, stage 8: Nice > Nice, 115,6 km
22 teams selected:
In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale rules, the following eighteen UCI WorldTeams are automatically invited to the race:
AG2R Citroën Team (Fra)
Astana Qazaqstan Team (Kaz)
Bahrain Victorious (Brn)
Bora – Hansgrohe (Ger)
EF Education – NIPPO (Usa)
Groupama – FDJ (Fra)
Ineos Grenadiers (Gbr)
Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux (Bel)
Israel Start-Up Nation (Isr)
Lotto Soudal (Bel)
Movistar Team (Esp)
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team (Bel)
Team BikeExchange – Jayco (Aus)
Team DSM (Ned)
Trek – Segafredo (Usa)
UAE Team Emirates (Uae)
Furthermore, the first two teams in the 2021 classification of UCI ProTeams will take part by right in Paris-Nice 2022.
Team Arkéa – Samsic (Fra)
The organisers have invited the following teams:
B&B Hotels – KTM (Fra)
INEOS Grenadiers Adds Dan Bigham to Coaching Staff
INEOS Grenadiers has added Dan Bigham to its coaching staff. The 30-year-old Briton, who broke the British hour record at the beginning of October, has been appointed as race engineer by the British WorldTeam.
INEOS Grenadiers has said that Bigham has been brought in as a staff member and not as a rider for the new season. The Briton, who is active in road and track cycling, has raced for the continental Ribble Weldtite team in recent seasons. In 2021 he rode the Tour of Slovenia and the Tour of Britain. He also appeared at the start of the individual time trial and the Mixed Relay during at the 2021 World championship in Flanders. In October he improved the British Hour Record to 54,723 kilometres in Grenchen.
The WorldTeam is looking forward to working with the winner of several British National Championships on the track. “His time trial work and his top aerodynamic performance make Dan one of the most respected engineers in the cycling world,” the team said on its website. Bigham may have a role in guiding Filippo Ganna if the Italian decides to attack the World Hour Record this year. At the moment the record with 55.089 kilometres, set by Victor Campenaerts.
Dan Bigham to work with INEOS Grenadiers:
Revealed! The New 2022 Tarmac SL7 Team Colourways!
New Bikes for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, SD Worx, TotalEnergies, and BORA-hansgrohe
The December migration of the professional peloton to the warm, dry roads of southern Spain took place once again in 2021. The team’s goals go well beyond hours in the saddle at these camps. It’s an opportunity meet new teammates, plan race schedules, learn about new equipment, and get Retül bike fits. In short, this is truly the kick-off for the 2022 season.
These December camps are critical for Specialized. From our product teams, to our Retül Fit experts, Specialized attends every camp to ensure our riders have all they need to find success in their upcoming season. Of course, this is also our first look at the teams in new kits and on their new team bikes.
“Most of the bikes and equipment we make are developed hand in hand with these athletes. We help these riders perform at their best, and in turn, they help us develop the very best products. It’s a proven method for us and a close working relationship is critical to success.” Scott Jackson, Leader of S-Racing.
Giant, Liv & CADEX Join Team BikeExchange-Jayco as Technical Partners Through 2024
A new decade has now begun for GreenEDGE Cycling, to be named Team BikeExchange-Jayco in 2022. With this, both the men’s and women’s teams are pleased to announce new technical partners. The men’s team is sponsored by Giant, the world’s leading cycling brand. The women’s team is now supported by Liv, the only comprehensive cycling brand in the world dedicated solely to women.
The announcement comes as the Australian outfit presents its fresh and vibrant new look, incorporating the well-known brand colours of Giant for the men’s WorldTour team, and for the first time in the squad’s history, a separate identity for its women’s WorldTour team, integrating Liv’s standout aubergine brand colour.
The partnership with Giant Group, the parent company of Giant, Liv and CADEX brands, marks a milestone for the Australian registered team as it embarks on its 11th season in the WorldTour peloton. Team BikeExchange-Jayco is honoured to race with CADEX’s full range of innovate performance components, which includes Wheelsystems, saddles, handlebars and other accessories. The team will also work closely with the brands to test and develop next-generation products.
The team is excited to get the 2022 racing season underway with Giant, Liv and CADEX and welcome eight new riders from seven different countries to the men’s team and six new riders from four different countries to the women’s team.
The men’s roster will introduce new recruits; Alexandre Balmer (SUI), Lawson Craddock (USA), Dylan Groenewegen (NED), Jan Maas (NED), Kelland O’Brien (AUS), Jesús David Peña (COL), Matteo Sobrero (ITA) and Campbell Stewart (NZL). This influx of diverse strengths and abilities, ranging from the pure sprint speed of Groenewegen to the time trial prowess of Sobrero is important for the squad, as it looks to challenge in, not only the highest level WorldTour races, but achieve widespread wins across the board. The eight new recruits will join returning riders, including Vuelta a España champion and Giro d’Italia podium finisher Simon Yates and Tour de France stage and green jersey winner Michael Matthews.
The women’s squad will see its most significant roster change since the team’s inception in 2012, by welcoming Georgia Baker (AUS), Kristen Faulkner (USA), Nina Kessler (NED), Alexandra Manly (AUS), Ruby Roseman-Gannon (AUS) and Chelsie Tan Wei Shi (SGP). The six new recruits will work alongside returning team leader and two-time Giro Rosa podium finisher, Amanda Spratt, ready for her 11th season with the squad.
Gerry Ryan, Team BikeExchange-Jayco Owner: “It seems like yesterday that we began this adventure into WorldTour cycling with the first ever Australian professional cycling team, and now we already find ourselves going into the second decade of GreenEDGE Cycling, but then again, as they say, times flies when you are having fun while hard at work! Time has passed by very fast, and the excitement and commitment is still the same as it was on day one. We are proud to be able to begin this new decade with the partnership of Giant, Liv and CADEX. It makes us proud to partner with Giant as they re-join the men’s WorldTour peloton, it means that what we have done in the last decade and what we are bringing forward with our staff, led by our General Manager Brent Copeland, is the right route to follow. We will continue with the same spirit that has characterised us during the last ten years as we begin this new and exciting era.”
Brent Copeland, Team BikeExchange-Jayco General Manager: “We are very pleased to welcome Giant and Liv onboard, Giant as our technical partner for the men’s team and Liv as our technical partner for the women’s team. Not only are they brands that put a huge amount of time and energy into innovation and technology, but the passion that they bring to the team is something that we have really felt and value greatly.
Working with brands that leave no stone unturned is very important for us and already the support that they have given the team, and the number of resources they have provided us with, has been incredible and it brings a lot of excitement. Our partnership has started with strong common goals, and we will do all it takes to reach these goals together. We begin the 2022 season with confidence and motivation, and we are looking forward to this great journey.”
Giant Group: “The Giant brand has been at the forefront of professional road racing for over two decades, and we’re excited to make our return to the WorldTour with Team BikeExchange-Jayco. The strength of their program and our shared dedication to excellence make this partnership a great fit,” said Phoebe Liu, chief branding officer of Giant Group, which includes Liv, Giant, and CADEX brands. “We’re also elevating Liv’s commitment to women’s pro road racing with the addition of Team BikeExchange-Jayco women’s team, as we now support two teams that will be racing Liv bikes and gear in the women’s WorldTour.”
Team BikeExchange-Jayco Equipment Details:
TCR Advanced SL Disc
Propel Advanced SL Disc
Trinity Advanced Pro TT
Rev Pro Helmet
Pursuit TT Helmet
Men’s Giant TCR Advanced SL Disc:
Langma Advanced SL Disc
Liv Rev Pro Helmet
Attacca TT Helmet
Women’s Liv Langma Advanced SL Disc:
Gazprom-RusVelo Will Compete on LOOK Bicycles in the Season 2022
Gazprom-RusVelo announces a multi-year partnership deal with LOOK Cycle and CORIMA Wheels.
The team will deploy the exceptionally stiff and reactive 795 Blade RS Pro Team, the ultralight 785 Huez RS Pro Team, and the ultra-stiff, fully integrated 796 Monoblade Pro Team for time trial stages. The bikes will be fitted with LOOK KEO BLADE Cromoly and TI pedals and feature wheels from CORIMA’s aerodynamic, carbon MCC and WS ranges.
General Manager of Gazprom-RusVelo Renat Khamidulin on a new team partner: “First of all, I would like to thank Сolnago on whose bicycles we have competed for nine seasons. It was not just a sponsorship contract, but also a warm friendship and close work with maestro Ernesto Colnago. Now it’s time for a new chapter in the history of our team, and we are glad that next season we will be competing on the bicycles of the world-known French manufacturer — LOOK. This change adds motivation to each of us. We have already started working together with LOOK and I am certain that it will be a beneficial collaboration and we will achieve great results together.”
Sponsoring Manager of LOOK Cycle Raphael Jeune said: “LOOK Cycle Group and Corima wheels are proud to announce a partnership with Gazprom-RusVelo, a team competing within the UCI ProTeam category. Having been pedal partner since the creation of Gazprom-RusVelo and sharing the same objectives and ambitions, it only feels natural that the two entities have come together to create a history based on performance. Our goal is to make our colours shine throughout the world.”
Enrico Poitschke to Bahrain Victorious
Enrico Poitschke will be working as a DS at WorldTour level in the new season. The 52 year-old German former professional rider left BORA-hansgrohe, but his name has been listed among Bahrain Victorious staff members on the UCI website for this year. The team has yet to officially announce the appointment.
Poitschke will join European champion Sonny Colbrelli, newcomer Luis León Sánchez, Jasha Sütterlin and Phil Bauhaus at Bahrain Victorious. The German ex-pro rider of Milram and Wiesenhof left BORA-hansgrohe this winter after years of service. The German WorldTeam has made many changes in the team management this year and attracted Enrico Gasparotto, Bernhard Eisel, Torsten Schmidt and Rolf Aldag.
Enrico Poitschke to Bahrain:
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