EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

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Another busy EUROTRASH Thursday with race reports from the Itzulia Basque Country and the men’s and women’s Scheldeprijs. Mathieu van der Poel talks after his Flanders win – TOP STORY. Rider news: The end of Sonny Colbrelli’s career? Alejandro Osorio sacked and no Ardennes Classics for Max Schachmann. Race news: 2022 Amstel Gold Race, Deutschland Tour route, teams for the men’s and women’s Paris-Roubaix and Giro di Sicilia and route for the women’s Tour of Andalusia. Team news: BORA-hansgrohe extends with Cesare Benedetti and USA Cycling signs with LOOK and Corima. Plus UEC and Eurovision renew until 2029. *** Stop the war in Ukraine ***


TOP STORY: Mathieu van der Poel: “Experience important? You have to have the legs above all”
More than two hours after his second victory in the Tour of Flanders, Mathieu van der Poel spoke at the winners press conference. “I would not have dared to predict this on March 17, no.” Van der Poel was first in the Sporza studio at the Tour of Flanders Center: “In the meantime, I am immensely hungry,” he said eating a hamburger.

About the poker… How much further could the finish have been before Dylan van Baarle passed you? “The finish was where it was. So that doesn’t matter. Poker is always played in a denouement like this, I think. In the last kilometre nobody immediately goes full speed with a competitor on the wheel. Today was no different.”

Your third sprint duel in as many years. How stressful is that? “I don’t feel any stress. There is only the focus on the sprint. Also today I was very calm. The only goal at that point is to try to engage at the right time. I managed it well.”

Did you learn anything from your sprint defeat from last year? Something that has helped you now? “I didn’t make any mistakes in the sprint last year. Sometimes you do everything as it should be, but the other is stronger and you get beaten. That was the case with Kasper Asgreen then.”

Experience is important, they say. “Ah, I also came fourth here on my first participation. Despite bad luck on the way. You must have the legs. As Pogačar had by the way. He has once again proved today what a talent he is.”

Are you now completely back to the level you should be on? Or are you missing something? “I am at my best level, yes. I don’t think I’m missing anything. This might even be my best Tour of Flanders powerwise. Thanks to Pogačar. He was impressive on the climbs.”

Is this victory more beautiful than your first, when you beat Van Aert? “It’s hard to compare. Although today the satisfaction is very great. On the one hand, because this edition was with an audience. That makes it more special. On the other hand, because I worked very hard to come back.”

Barely two and a half weeks ago, you decided to ride Milan-Sanremo. Since then you finished third there, you won a stage in the Coppi e Bartali and you won both Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Ronde. Did you dare to predict this? “Of course not. Although I knew that my level was okay. That’s what my data indicated. But racing is different from training. So no, don’t think about that. But it is and remains a nice reward for the hard work.”

It has been 1981 since two more Dutchmen were on the podium of the Ronde. Then there were even three. Do you think this is special? “Winning is special anyway. And I wholeheartedly wish Dylan that podium place. We know each other. He was my roommate at a World championships a few times. It’s nice to have him on the podium.”

Back to Tadej Pogačar again. That is a Tour winner who can win the Tour of Flanders. Conversely, can a Tour of Flanders winner also win the Tour? Or transform into a all round rider in the long run? “No, I do not think so. Once again, Tadej is incredibly talented. He proved that again this week.”

Can Tadej Pogačar also win Paris-Roubaix? “Yes. Although I am convinced that he will come into its own in the Tour of Flanders, with the many climbs. Roubaix is ​​completely flat. But he can certainly win it.”

Has he taken over the role of Wout van Aert today? “Wout would certainly have been there in the final. That’s why I’d rather ride this race with him than without him. And it is true that today Pogačar was a grateful companion. Those are men who race, from afar. It is also the fairest way to get to the final with the best riders. But it would indeed have been even more special with Wout. Hopefully he will get fit for Roubaix.”

Now the Amstel Gold Race and Paris-Roubaix follow. Is Liège-Bastogne-Liège still an option? “It’s not completely certain yet, but as you know there is a real chance that I will ride the Giro. Then Liège is too much. After Roubaix I take a few days of rest and then I leave for Denia on an altitude training camp (in the special Hotel Syncrosfera, where rooms simulate high altitude), as I did in the weeks before Milan-Sanremo.”

Thanks to Nico Dick of WielerFlits for the transcript of the interview.

De Ronde No.2 for Van der Poel:

 


Itzulia Basque Country 2022
Primož Roglič won the Stage 1 Time Trial of the Itzulia Basque Country. The Slovenian Jumbo-Visma rider was the last to set a time in Hondarribia and beat Remco Evenepoel by 5 seconds and Rémi Cavagna by 16. Roglič is the first overall leader.

The Tour of the Basque Country started with a short, difficult individual time trial of 7.5 kilometres at the beach of Hondarribia. With Remco Evenepoel, Pello Bilbao, Julian Alaphilippe, Daniel Felipe Martínez, Jonas Vingegaard and Sergio Higuita, there were several top men at the start. The big favourite was Primož Roglič, who was last down the start ramp as last year’s winner.

Colombian Daniel Alejandro Mendez (Equipo Kern Pharma) was the first rider off, but didn’t do much for the stage victory. Ben Tulett, who recently took his first professional victory in the Settimana Coppi e Bartali, set the first target time with 10:09, but the big guns were yet to come. His teammate Adam Yates set the bar even higher with a time of 10:06. Another INEOS Grenadiers teammate, Geraint Thomas was even faster. The 2018 Tour winner turned out to be good for the top time at the finish, so far. Thomas only beat Yates by sixteen hundredths of a second. Aleksandr Vlasov was also well on his ride, but the BORA-hansgrohe leader was twenty-three hundredths of a second short of Thomas at the finish. Rémi Cavagna, the French time trial specialist of Quick-Step Alpa Vinyl turned out to be just 2 seconds faster than Thomas. The next riders: David Gaudu, Emanuel Buchmann and Carlos Rodriguez couldn’t get near the Frenchman’s time. Julian Alaphilippe, who is making his comeback in the Tour of the Basque Country after a covid infection, had to change bikes and crossed the finish line for a final 52nd place. Jonas Vingegaard, who was second in the final GC last year, recorded a time of 10:08, 4 seconds slower than Cavagna, keeping his chances for the overall victory.

Only Remco Evenepoel and Primož Roglič would be able to threaten Cavagna for the stage victory. Evenepoel took off like a rocket and was 8 seconds faster at the intermediate point than Adam Yates. Evenepoel continued his effort to the finish to be the first rider under 10 minutes with a time of 9:53, which was 11 seconds faster than his teammate Cavagna. Roglič managed to get close Evenepoel’s fast split time, the Slovenian lost half a second to his Belgian rival at the split and did not shy away from the risks on the many sharp bends. Roglič managed to swap his deficit for a lead of 5 seconds. An exceptionally strong Roglič starts his hunt for a third overall victory in the Tour of the Basque Country. Evenepoel took second place, Cavagna, Thomas and Adam Yates complete the top 5.

Stage winner and overall leader, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): “I’m super happy with this victory. It was not an easy time trial, held on a technical course with many corners. I had good legs today and could fight until the end. I enjoyed the crowd and the atmosphere. This was a ten-minute effort, so there are no big differences yet. Of course it is always better to be ahead than behind, but this doesn’t mean much. It is just the beginning.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “I knew it was going to be a hard time trial, with some technical parts, but I did everything that I could and rode as fast as possible. I don’t have any regrets, because just one guy was better than me today. I am a bit disappointed, as I came here with a good condition and wanted to win, but I am confident other opportunities will come this week.”

6th on the stage and overall, Aleksandr Vlasov (BORA-hansgrohe): “After my second place at GP Indurain last week, I came to the Tour of the Basque Country in good shape. The time trial was quite technical but I put in a solid performance to finish sixth in a talented field of riders. This now puts me in a good position for the upcoming stages and I’m looking forward to an exciting week here in the Basque Country.”

52nd on the stage after a bike change, Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “I am happy with my performance. I rode well, but unfortunately had to change bikes. I want to have fun on the bike again this week, after a long period of inactivity. The goal is to become even stronger with a view to the Ardennes races. In addition, I will help Remco (Evenepoel) in his pursuit of a good classification.”

Itzulia Basque Country Stage 1 Result:
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 9:48
2. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:05
3. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:16
4. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:18
5. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
6. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:20
8. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Cofidis
9. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
10. Ben Tulett (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:21.

Itzulia Basque Country Overall After Stage 1:
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 9:48
2. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:05
3. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:16
4. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:18
5. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
6. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:20
8. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Cofidis
9. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
10. Ben Tulett (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:21

 

Julian Alaphilippe won Stage 2 of the Itzulia Basque Country. In Viana, the World champion won the bunch sprint after the last of the early break, Ibon Ruiz was caught only 500 metres from the finish line. Primož Roglič the overall leader.

The second stage was the longest day in the saddle for the rider at 207.9 kilometres. The stage had three tough climbs, the last, the Aguilar Gaina was 30 kilometres from the finish in Viana. There was an opportunity for the sprinters, but due to the absence of the top fast-finishers a break had a good chance.

Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH), Ibai Azurmendi (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Ibon Ruiz (Kern Pharma) took a 5 minute lead on the peloton as Jumbo-Visma led the peloton for overall leader, Roglič. About halfway through the stage, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl joined in with the work and the lead started to shrink. At the start of the Aguilar Gaina, the last climb of the day, the lead was down to 1 minute. The peloton then eased off so as not to bring back the break too early. On the climb, Mauri Vansevenant attacked, but the gradients weren’t stiff enough to put the others in trouble. After the climb, Amezqueta, Okamika, Azurmendi and Ruiz stretched their lead to 2 minutes. There was a lack of an organised chase behind, and there was chance for the break to go for the stage victory. In the last 15 kilometres, the four leaders also started to think they might battle for the win and so the poker game started.

Twelve kilometres from the finish, Ruiz attacked, after which the other three looked at each other. Okamika counter-attacked, but to his frustration, Amezqueta and Azurmendi didn’t want to work. Okamika, Amezqueta and Azurmendi could see Ruiz ahead of them as the peloton had started to chase again. The large group first swallowed Okamika, Amezqueta and Azurmendi and in the last kilometre Ruiz was also caught. In the final 500 metres, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl worked hard to position Julian Alaphilippe as best as possible for the sprint before the World champion finished the job, taking his first win of the season.

Stage winner, Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “I like racing in the Basque Country. The amazing fans and the hard course make for a great race every time, these being just some of the reasons that made me happy to return here after three years. I didn’t have the best start to the season, but I came with a lot of motivation at the start and this victory gives me a lot of satisfaction. The team was incredible today, they all did a perfect job keeping me protected the entire day and chasing down the attackers. Then Remco was perfect, pushing a huge tempo in the final kilometre and leaving me ideally placed at the right moment on this technical finale. My goal here was to take a win and now that I did it, I will try to return the favour to Remco and help him in the next stages.”

Overall leader, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): “This was probably the easiest stage of this week. I enjoyed the sun and the crowd; the people are very enthusiastic here. For tomorrow I expect a tough stage with short, steep climbs. We’ll have to be very focused, and I’ll give everything to compete with the best.”

3rd, Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “My teammates did everything they could to help me today. We knew that the slightly uphill finish in Viana suited me. The final was exciting, but in the end the peloton timed well and we could sprint for the victory. Remco Evenepoel rode a very high pace in the final kilometres, so behind it was a real battle for the back wheel of Julian Alaphilippe. I managed to start my sprint a few positions behind him and to achieve my first podium in a World Tour event. A top three in this Tour of the Basque Country is a nice accomplishment, because this event is highly rated as there’s always a good level of riders. I’m happy about my performance in the sprint and I will try to do the same in the next stages. Who knows, with a better positioning, doing better than this third place is conceivable.”

Itzulia Basque Country Stage 2 Result:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 5:04:35
2. Fabien Doubey (Fra) TotalEnergies
3. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
4. Hugo Houle (Can) Israel-Premier Tech
5. Orluis Aular (Ven) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
6. Gotzon Martín (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
7. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
8. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9. Remco Evenepoel (Belgium) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
10. Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Soudal.

Itzulia Basque Country Overall After Stage 2:
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 5:14:23
2. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:05
3. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:16
4. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:18
5. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
6. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama – FDJ at 0:20
8. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Cofidis
9. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
10. Ben Tulett (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:21.

 

Pello Bilbao beat the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl tandem of Remco Evenepoel and Julian Alaphilippe on Stage 3 of the Itzulia Basque Country. After a lead-out from Evenepoel for Alaphilippe, the Bilbao got his wheel across the finish line ahead of the World champion.

The third stage in the Tour of the Basque Country had to cross the Opellora, 1.1km at 13% with ramps of 17-18% and the longer Ozeka, 3.6km at 7.4% with sections of 15-17%. Three riders broke away early; Hugo Houle, Jan Polanc and Cristián Rodríguez took about a 5 minute lead on the peloton.

About 60 kilometres from the finish, Polanc and Houle would have to give up and let the strong Rodríguez go. The Spaniard still had a lead of 2:30 on the Opellora with 30 kilometres to go. The weakening Rodríguez was pulled back just after the top of the final climb, due to an acceleration from Adam Yates on Ozeka. The INEOS rider had all the top favourites on his wheel after his attack. With sixteen GC riders at the front, the speed eased off. Sepp Kuss and Emanuel Buchmann had missed the move.

In the final kilometres to the finish there was another attack by Pello Bilbao, but he was pulled back by Remco Evenepoel who was doing the lead-out for teammate Julian Alaphilippe. At 1.5 kilometres out, the Belgian hit the front and Alaphilippe started his sprint at 300 metres. There seemed to be no problem for the French World champion, until Bilbao came off his wheel in the last metres for the victory.

Stage winner and 5th overall, Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious): “It was a tight one. It’s an incredible feeling. So great to win here in my home place. All the victories are special, but this one at home is something I had been waiting for a long time, especially after I was so close last year. This victory also has a particular value considering the riders behind me. When you take a win in front of the World Champion, better than this is impossible. I want to dedicate it to my wife and the baby coming.I knew that Alaphilippe was the strongest at the sprint and the only solution to try to win was to fight for his wheel and try to beat him in the last meters. It was difficult to split the group earlier. I tried to attack in the last 6km to go, and some others tried on the final climb, but no one could jump away. The sprint was slightly uphill, so probably that gave me more chance to beat the World Champion on the line.”

7th on the stage and overall leader, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): “I was suffering, but I came in with the classification riders. We’ll see how it goes in the coming days. It’s always tough in the Basque Country. Thursday’s stage may be a little less difficult, because it will be war on Friday and Saturday. It’s great that the two of us were there. He (Jonas Vingegaard) too can win this race. We are from the same team and he is very important to me. To grab this overall victory we will need each other. We are also not the only team here with two classification riders. If someone puts his attack here at the right time, he can make big differences.”

3rd on the stage and overall, Aleksandr Vlasov (BORA-hansgrohe): “Today was a pretty tough and also chaotic day but I felt pretty good. The guys supported me well especially in the first part of the race and brought me in a good position before the treacherous narrow roads. Before the final, I tried to follow the other GC riders and ahead of the sprint I was pretty well positioned. In the end, that was enough for third place on the stage as well as in the GC. So I’m very happy with my performance today.”

Itzulia Basque Country Stage 3 Result:
1. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious in 4:35:24
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
3. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) BORA-hansgrohe
4. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
5. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar
6. Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies
7. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
8. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Cofidis
9. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
10. Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Education-EasyPost.

Itzulia Basque Country Overall After Stage 3:
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 9:49:47
2. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:05
3. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:14
4. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:18
5. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:19
6. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
7. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Cofidis at 0:20
8. Daniel Felipe Martínez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:21
9. Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies at 0:25
10. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:28.

 


Scheldeprijs Men 2022
Alexander Kristoff won the men’s edition of the Scheldeprijs on Wednesday. The Norwegian won the race solo after 200 kilometres. Danny van Poppel won the bunch sprint for second and Sam Welsford was third.

Unlike the women’s race, the men’s split into echelons. The strong southwest wind completely tore the field apart. A group of seventeen riders managed to make it to the first echelon. Most of the sprinters were among them: Tim Merlier, Jasper Philipsen, Alexander Kristoff, Sam Bennett, Jordi Meeus, Ryan Mullen, Danny van Poppel, Cees Bol, Edward Theuns and Dan McLay. Søren Wærenskjold, Sam Welsford, Casper van Uden, Gerben Thijssen and Rüdiger Selig were also there.

Quick-Step Alpa Vinyl was not there at all. In the remainder of the race they tried to close the gap between the second echelon, which also contained Arnaud De Lie, and the first echelon for sprinter Fabio Jakobsen. That didn’t go well, one moment they were at 40 seconds, the next it had risen again to one and a half minutes. Not everyone was able to hold their position in the front group and towards the end of the race, Wærenskjold, Cees Bol and Gerben Thijssen were dropped. This did not make much difference as BORA-hansgrohe was well represented in the first echelon and the cooperation was good. With 20 kilometres to go it became clear that the first echelon would fight for the victory. The gap to the second group had increased to more than 2 minutes. That also made for some poker games up front. Mullen and McLay made an attempted escape, but they didn’t get very far.

A little later Meeus also tried and it became clear that BORA-hansgrohe wanted to use their numbers in the leading group and that Alpecin-Fenix ​​wanted a sprint. Both failed in their plan. The first echelon fell apart completely in the last kilometres, but the men from BORA-hansgrohe were not happy and Alpecin-Fenix ​​failed to get a sprint due to a clever attack by Kristoff in the last 6 kilometres. The Norwegian gradually built up his lead and it became clear that everyone behind him had nothing left. Van Uden and McLay counter-attacked, but it was too late. Kristoff gave his team a second classic victory, after Biniam Girmay won Gent-Wevelgem last week. Just behind the Norwegian, Danny van Poppel and Sam Welsford finished in second and third place.

Race winner, Alexander Kristoff (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I felt good from the start and once the selection in de crosswinds was made, I never really had to dig deep anymore. I pushed hard in the breakaway to make sure there was no opportunity for other riders to come back. As the other represented teams in the front shared this intention, I was quite confident that we would stay ahead. It was a pity that Gerben Thijssen crashed in the first group, because he protected me well in the beginning of the race. The last lap was tactical with several attacks and I had to react three times to close a gap. In the end I accelerated myself on the cobbles of the Broekstraat, hoping to get away with two or three riders. But nobody followed, I gave everything I had and I won! This is a special victory for me, because it is the first time in thirteen years that I won solo and could enjoy the final kilometre. The team attaches a lot of importance to the Flemish classics, so I’m happy to offer them this success. We knew that we were well armed for the classics and we are proud of what we achieved so far. We work well and we pay attention to details. These small and valuable investments came together and lead to success in Ghent-Wevelgem and this Scheldeprijs. Our season might be a success already, but I’m convinced that Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will only get better and better from now on!”

2nd, Danny van Poppel (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was quite hectic from the beginning because everybody knew that the start would be already decisive. Therefore, three crashes happened in the neutralisation. As expected, the group went on the first narrow part, and we managed to be up there with four guys. Of course, everybody was looking at us then and we had to work a lot, but when the gap was coming down to 30 seconds everybody was collaborating to don’t allow the second group to come back. In the end the rain made it even harder, and we didn’t expect the others to attack first. We covered some moves but when Kristoff went everybody was looking at each other. It was difficult for me, because I am fast, but there were even faster guys, so I had to play poker a little. I am really happy with this second place, and I think we rode really well as a team today.”

8th, Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix): “Since Paris-Nice I no longer have that ideal feeling. Never experienced this, a whole race, almost the full 200 kilometres from start to finish, full driving: that was the first time in my career I guess. The first echelon came about pretty quickly, after that it was just going full out all day long. We pay for that in the last kilometres. It would have been better if there had been an extra man, but it goes so fast in echelon formation that before you realise it, you evolve in such a situation. Tim and I both had a chance to win, we did what we had to do by being there. But we had to give away too much ourselves to win. Each time we had to plug those gaps, and when Kristoff turned on, we looked at them (BORA-hansgrohe). They were the most numerous… But yes, everyone was on the limit. Kristoff was the strongest. I don’t think I could finish a sprint at the end. The best remained and my legs were completely broken. On the one hand, that makes it a disappointment, but we have nothing to blame ourselves. After my illness and crash in Paris-Nice, I never found that feeling from the beginning of the season. That’s a shame, but luckily there are still great races to come.”

Scheldeprijs Men Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in 4:06:02
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:24
3. Sam Welsford (Aus) DSM
4. Casper van Uden (Ned) DSM at 0:26
5. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
6. Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis at 0:28
7. Daniel McLay (GB) Arkéa Samsic
8. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
9. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
10. Ryan Mullen (Irl) BORA-hansgrohe.

 


Scheldeprijs Women 2022
Lorena Wiebes rounds out a strong team display to take victory at Scheldeprijs, her second win at the race in two years and the 40th professional win of her career. Having taken the lead in controlling the race all day, the team set Wiebes up into a strong position coming into the final kilometre to finish off the job convincingly and win by more than a bike length.

The day got off to a wet and nervous start with a few crashes in the peloton early on but the team staying clear of any issues. With around 100 kilometres to race the day’s breakaway eventually went clear with just three riders going up the road. Team DSM took control of the chase behind and held the gap at just a few minutes before eventually closing the gap coming into the final 10 kilometres.

It was all back together inside 5 to go as all eyes turned towards a bunch sprint. It was at this point a large crash happened midway down the peloton but thanks to strong positioning from all the team, no one was impacted. The team pushed on at the front with Wiebes in tow before she powered home to an impressive win at the finish.

Race winner, Lorena Wiebes (DSM): “We hoped for echelons today but the wind was not perfect to break it up in this way. A group of three went in the break early and we controlled it with Esmée behind. At all the important points today we were in good position. Then in the final lap Esmée, Elise and Léa did everything to close the gap after which Megan did a great job to position Charlotte and I into the final kilometres. I followed Charlotte in the last part, made a small mistake in the final straight but found her again and was able to finish off the teamwork. I’m happy to take this team win!”

Scheldeprijs Women Result:
1. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) DSM in 3:21:56
2. Chiara Consonni (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
3. Rachele Barbieri (Ita) Liv Racing Xstra
4. Georgia Baker (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
5. Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Movistar
6. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Trek-Segafredo
7. Julie de Wilde (Bel) Plantur-Pura
8. Letizia Borghesi (Ita) EF Education-TIBCO-SVB
9. Anna Trevisi (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
10. Charlotte Kool (Ned) DSM.

 


Possible End of Career for Sonny Colbrelli
Sonny Colbrelli will not be allowed to race in his home country Italy in the future – if he returns as a racing cyclist, reports the French sports newspaper L’Équipe. Italian law prohibits top athletes with a defibrillator – such as Colbrelli – from participating in competitive sports.

Under this law, introduced in 2017, athletes with a defibrillator are no longer allowed to participate in competitions in Italy. The question is whether we will see Colbrelli again in the peloton, within sports medical circles there is no chance in a return. The Italian collapsed after the first stage of the Tour of Catalonia last month. A medical team rushed into action and managed to bring the 31-year-old Italian back to consciousness with the help of a heart massage and a defibrillator.

Colbrelli was then taken to hospital in Girona where several examinations were carried out to determine the cause of his heart rhythm disorder. The European champion has now undergone a successful procedure in Italy in which a subcutaneous defibrillator was implanted. This defibrillator should remedy his arrhythmias.

However, it is not allowed to participate in sports competitions in Italy with such a device. Colbrelli’s story is reminiscent of Christian Eriksen’s. The Danish footballer had a heart attack at the last European Championship and had to leave his Italian club Internazionale after having a defibrillator implanted under the skin. Eriksen returned to Great Britain, where he now plays football again for Premier League club Brentford.

If Colbrelli wants to return to the peloton in the future, he will not be able to ride any Italian races, including any European or World championships on Italian soil. The UCI also doesn’t normally go against a country’s national law.

Kris Van der Mieren, sports doctor and affiliated with the Belgian Cycling Federation, spoke with Het Nieuwsblad about Colbrelli and that he will only be able to race outside Italy. “Colbrelli will have to undergo a medical examination again,” said the sports doctor. “It will only be possible to obtain a license if there is a clear go from sports cardiology. My gut feeling is that this is going to be a big problem. Not only does Colbrelli endanger himself, but also his fellow riders.”

A football player who goes into cardiac arrest on the field and then has a defibrillator fitted, will not harm his teammates. However, a cyclist who falls at high speed in a race can cause a major crash and endanger not only himself, but also other riders. No doctor would ever want something like that on his conscience. In addition, a defibrillator can be affected in the event of a severe impact, such as a fall in a race.

Van der Mieren also refers to the guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology, a European professional association of cardiology. It advises patients with an implanted defibrillator not to participate in sports where there is a risk of collision. If the UCI follows these guidelines, Colbrelli’s career is over.

Should we see Sonny Colbrelli back in the peloton?

 


Bahrain Victorious Part Ways with Alejandro Osorio
Bahrain Victorious have terminated their agreement with Alejandro Osorio following multiple contract breaches. The team wishes Alejandro the best for his future.

It appears that after the Colombian repeatedly violated his team’s corona rules, Bahrain Victorious decided to terminate the contract. Osorio rode for the WorldTour team for just three months.

Team manager Milan Erzen said: “It didn’t stop at one thing. We cannot accept what he has done. Riders and staff have been put in difficult situations by him. This has mainly to do with our corona rules. We gave him a warning, but every time he made the mistakes again. For example, he stepped outside his bubble during race days. That is why we have decided to terminate his contract.” Bahrain Victorious sent a letter to the UCI last week, after which his contract was immediately terminated.

The 23-year-old Osorio had eight race days for Bahrain Victorious this season. A 53rd place in the fourth stage of the UAE Tour turned out to be his best result.

Alejandro Osorio:

 


Max Schachmann to Miss the Ardennes Classics
The German champion and last year’s third-place finisher at Amstel Gold Race must take a longer break than initially expected after leaving Paris-Nice. A comeback is planned for May.

“After Max had Covid-19 at the end of January and was forced to drop out of Paris-Nice due to an infection, his return has unfortunately taken longer than expected. He hasn’t been able to train adequately for a longer period of time and accordingly we’ve had to postpone his return to regular preparation as well. He is currently feeling better from day to day, which gives us hope that he will be able to start again in May. However, this date depends on his development over the next few weeks in training. We will certainly not use Max in races again until he is suitably ready to participate.”Dan Lorang, Head of Performance

“What can I say. Of course, it’s very frustrating and completely not what I had imagined this spring. But you have to face the facts and it just doesn’t make sense to race right now. After my Covid-19 infection in January, I was performing at a good level before Paris-Nice, but then the next setback followed. I’ve been back doing regular training for a few days now. It would be nice if I could get back into the racing action soon, but one can’t have too high expectations there either. It will certainly take some more weeks to reach my top form.”Maximilian Schachmann

Schachmann out till May:

 


Amstel Gold Race 2022

Amstel team news below, more added as it comes in.

*** You can see the ‘PEZ Amstel Gold Race Preview’ HERE. ***


 


Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to Amstel Gold Race
Last year’s Flanders winner Kasper Asgreen will make his debut at the Dutch Classic.

Amstel Gold Race is this Sunday, and will once again put on the table a tasty parcours comprising more than thirty climbs. Chief among them is the Cauberg, the iconic hill that is set to be tackled three times, the last of the ascents coming inside 25 kilometers to go.

But although Cauberg (800 meters, 6.5%) will play a huge role in the outcome, or at least is expected to do that, it won’t be the only climb that will shape the race, Geulhemmerberg and Bemelerberg – both featuring in the last 20 kilometers – promising to add plenty of salt and pepper to the fight between the contenders.

Having completed Ronde van Vlaanderen as the team’s top finisher, Kasper Asgreen will continue his Classics campaign at Amstel Gold Race, where he lines up for the first time in his career. Andrea Bagioli, who has recently captured his maiden World Tour win on the final stage of the Volta a Catalunya, will be another rider taking part in the Dutch Classic for the first time in his career, as will Davide Ballerini, Jannik Steimle, and Stan Van Tricht.

Rounding out Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s team for the 254.1km Amstel Gold Race – which the Wolfpack has won on two occasions (2015 and 2017) – will be Florian Sénéchal and Zdenek Stybar.

“We start with confidence, although we had to make some changes in our roster due to the race taking place this year on the weekend Basque Country finishes. The condition of the guys is improving after being sick this spring, which is an encouraging thing. We’ll look especially to Kasper and Andrea, who was a bit sick after his Catalunya stage win, but now is healthy again. We hope to feature in the finale, especially as some of the riders will have a free role and can do something on a hilly course like this”, said Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Geert Van Bondt.

10.04 Amstel Gold Race (NED) 1.UWT
Riders:

Kasper Asgreen (DEN)
Andrea Bagioli (ITA)
Davide Ballerini (ITA)
Florian Sénéchal (FRA)
Jannik Steimle (GER)
Zdenek Stybar (CZE)
Stan Van Tricht (BEL).
Sports Director: Wilfried Peeters (BEL), Geert Van Bondt (BEL) and Rik van Slycke (BEL).

Kasper Asgreen for Amstel:

 


Amstel Gold Race (April 10)
Mikaël Chérel: “This is my tenth participation in the Amstel Gold Race and I am still happy to take part. This year, the race was placed between the Tour of Flanders (April 3) and Paris-Roubaix (April 17). So, the level will be even higher than usual. It is launching two weeks of Ardennes classics with La Flèche Brabançonne (April 13), La Flèche Wallonne (April 20) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 24) where my objective will be to support our leaders as well as possible, in particular Benoît Cosnefroy. The Amstel Gold Race is a race that suits him perfectly, even if I am nostalgic for the years with the arrival at the top of the Cauberg. It would have been even better for him then. I will make sure to position him in the best place possible throughout the race. These are very small roads and with the experience I have gained in the past years, I know them by heart.”

 


Ardennes Classics Get Closer as Amstel Gold Line-Up Announced
The classics season are in full swing and UAE Team Emirates will continue the busy racing period with Scheldeprijs (6 April) followed by the Amstel Gold Race (10 April). Marc Hirschi makes an exciting return to the Ardennes at Amstel Gold race in a young team captained by the experienced Matteo Trentin. The team will be overseen by Sports Directors Fabio Baldato (Ita), Aart Vierhouten (Ned) and Marco Marcato (Ita).

Marc Hirschi: “To be back in the team and in the rhythm of the racing again after months on the sidelines feels great. The win in Italy was great for the confidence and I had good legs recently in GP Indurain on the climbs so I think the shape is where it needs to be for a good Ardennes campaign. Our team is strong so we have quite a few cards to play in the final, it’s a good situation to be in.”

Amstel Gold Race [1.UWT] – 10-Apr-2022
Juan Ayuso (Spa)
Alexys Brunel (Fra)
Finn Fisher-Black (NZ)
Marc Hirschi (Swi)
Sebastian Molano (Col)
Ivo Oliveira (Por)
Matteo Trentin (Ita).

 


Amstel Gold Race – APR 10
Pim Ligthart – Team DSM coach: “The Amstel Gold Race is one of the biggest races in the Netherlands and it is a special race with a challenging route. There are a lot of twisting and turning, small roads, with a lot of steep short climbs; making for a hard day in the saddle. With a change of parcours in the final, the climbs follow each other up faster than in previous editions and because of that, the race can open up even sooner than before. We bring a strong team with high ambitions to the start in Maastricht. The Ardennes have been a goal for Søren and the team, however he fell sick towards the end of last week and is still recovering. We have to see how he feels in the next few days before making the final decision on his race participation this weekend.”

Line-up:
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Nico Denz (GER)
Mark Donovan (GBR)
Marius Mayrhofer (GER)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA).

Amstel Gold Race – APR 10
Huub Duijn – Team DSM coach: “As a Dutch team, and with the Keep Challenging Center in Sittard not too far from the start and finish, we can call this a home race. It’s a tough one and takes place on a tricky parcours, with the well-known climbs of the Keutenberg and Cauberg plus many more, where the can split up. That is something that plays to the strengths of our riders as we have lots of options. We bring a strong team to the start, and we want to show our jersey in the final when the important attacks begin, riding well as a group to be present at the front. We aim to be there in the final where the race will be decided on the Cauberg.”

Line-up:
Léa Curinier (FRA)
Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Floortje Mackaij (NED).

Mark Donovan to ride Amstel:

 


Team BikeExchange-Jayco women to go on the offensive looking for that first European win of 2022 at Amstel Gold Race
Team BikeExchange-Jayco women turn their attention to the next phase of one-day racing in northern Europe, with the hilly Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, as they look to race on the offensive and take their first European victory of the season.

With an aggressive racing style in mind, the Australian outfit recruits its climbing prowess for the relentlessly hilly event, in the shape of former podium finisher Amanda Spratt and Ane Santesteban. Giving the team a strong support base and an option, should the 128.5km event come down to a fast finish, will be all-rounders Georgia Williams, Chelsie Tan Wei Shi, Alex Manly and Arianna Fidanza.

The eighth edition of the women’s event returns to a traditional route with no less than 19 climbs, including four ascents of the famous Cauberg as the peloton tackle three local finishing laps around Valkenberg. The iconic Dutch race traditionally opens up the Ardennes week of racing, however, due to French elections, Amstel Gold Race and Paris-Roubaix have switched places on the calendar for the first time in history.

Team BikeExchange-Jayco Line-up:
Arianna Fidanza (ITA)
Alex Manly (AUS)
Ane Santesteban (ESP)
Amanda Spratt (AUS)
Chelsie Tan Wei Shi (SIN)
Georgia Williams (NZL)

Amanda Spratt: “I have great memories from Amstel after finishing 3rd in 2018. This year we go back to the traditional beginning of the course before finishing with the loops around the Cauberg. I like the toughness of the course and know we will have several key moments to be in the front. I expect it to be an aggressive race where having numbers at the front will be important and I think the team we have on the start line are capable of being there.

So far, I think everyone has shown they are strong but with a bit more luck and positioning in key moments, we can be offensive and in the important moves. The last couple of years have come to the final Cauberg but I think with how aggressive the racing has been this year there is a possibility of a different scenario.

I feel like every race has been an improvement for me. After talking to the doctors, I’ve had to realise that I still have some way to go before I am back in my top form, so patience is key but it’s promising for me to see improvements. I really killed myself at Flanders to the point where my legs literally had no power left in them so I am hoping after some easy days my body can soak it all in and I can lift another level for Amstel.

Either way it’s a race that I am passionate about and love so I think you can always bring your ‘A Game’ and suffer that little bit more. I can’t wait to see what we can do as a team.”

Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas – Sport Director: “The team has been riding really well together in Belgium, they’ve missed a bit of luck in getting a top result but the team we have for Amstel is strong and well suited to the hilly races like Amstel Gold. Hopefully on Sunday we can be well represented at the front, race aggressively to get into the key moves and if the riders are in the right moves we have a good chance of getting a top result.”

2022 Amstel Gold Race details:
Sunday, 10th April: Maastricht to Valkenburg, 128.5km

 


Former podium finisher Michael Matthews vying for the top step at the 2022 Amstel Gold Race
Former podium finish Michael Matthews lines-up for Amstel Gold Race more motivated than ever after taking confidence from getting a win under his belt already this season. The 31-year-old has come close to winning Amstel Gold Race on multiple occasions and is vying for that top step of the podium in this year’s edition of the hilly Dutch classic.

After finishing in third, fourth and fifth place previously, plus multiple other top-15 results, the Australian knows the race well and it is one that suits his strengths, as demonstrated by his consistent results. With this string of near misses, it leaves Matthews with a sense of unfinished business as he returns to the race, leading a strong but mixed, Team BikeExchange-Jayco outfit.

The Volta a Catalunya stage winner will have fellow Australian’s Luke Durbridge and Alex Edmondson alongside him, coming straight from a big block of racing at the Flemish Classics, along with local rider Jan Maas, plus fast finishers over relentless terrain, Luka Mezgec and Dion Smith. 21-year-old Alex Balmer will make his debut appearance at the race, lining up for his second event of the season after a delayed start to 2022.

The lengthy 249.7km race follows a fairly traditional route, featuring a total of 33 short and steep climbs with the majority of the race taking place on laps around Valkenburg, cresting the famous Cauberg three times, with the final ascent a common launch pad for the last chance launch to victory.

Team BikeExchange-Jayco Line-up:
Alexandre Balmer (SUI)
Luke Durbridge (AUS)
Alex Edmondson (AUS)
Jan Maas (NED)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Luka Mezgec (SLO)
Dion Smith (NZL).

Michael Matthews: “I feel like my form is good this season and after getting a victory in Catalunya it has given me more confidence and motivation. The Belgian classics were also good and I had good sensations there but I’m really looking forward to putting on a number and racing Amstel on Sunday.

It’s a race I really like, I think it suits my characteristics and I’ve had some good consistent results there in the past. It’s a race I really want to win, last year I was fourth, which is always a hard position to finish in, so I have that extra motivation for this year’s race. The racing all season has been super fast and aggressive and I think looking at how the peloton raced in the cobble classics, Amstel will be no different, so we all need to be alert, ready to suffer and I’m ready to try and get the victory.”

Mat Hayman – Sport Director: “It’s been since 2019 that we’ve ridden the full, traditional Amstel Gold Race course, so it’s a bit different to be going back to that after a few years. One year the race was cancelled and then last year we raced around the laps, so it’s good to be back on the traditional course and with the new final not finishing up the Cauberg, it makes it an exciting race.

We were fourth last year and Michael has always been around the mark in this race. It’s one of his favourite races, so we’re definitely very motivated for this race, he’s shown great form last weekend and he showed great form at Milan-San Remo.

When you’re that close to the best riders, you’re always hoping that you can win the race and that will be our goal on Sunday. We’re coming in with a strong team and we’ve got a bit more of a crossover with where this race now sits with it changing with Paris-Roubaix, we have more of the ‘classics riders’ in the team as well.”

2022 Amstel Gold Race details:
Sunday, 10th April: Maastricht to Valkenburg, 249.5km

Michael Matthews:

 


Bahrain Victorious to Amstel Gold Race
This Sunday the 254.1km Amstel Gold race takes the classics riders to Limburg in the Netherlands, which marks the start of the more hilly classics. Starting in Maastricht, the riders will climb over 3,460 vertical meters before finishing in Valkenburg. Last year’s edition saw team leader Matej Mohorič finish in the top ten.

The course features an array of punchy climbs that will be featured more than once as riders loop back across the parcour. The Geulhemmerberg and Cauberg climbs are where the selection of favourites will be made. Finally the riders will take on the final climb up the Bemelerberg, where they will have just over 7km to the finish, with a likely reduced bunch sprint for victory.

Sports Director Gorazd Štangelj: “We have a big team at the race with really strong guys. During the race, we will need to decide how to play our cards with the guys. What we’ve seen in the pass is that the selection is coming earlier in the race and we think it will be an aggressive race, so we will want to be aggressive too. We’ve got four guys capable of making it on the podium, so expectations are to be there and fight to win the race. We’ve also got to make sure we are not chasing the race and responding at the race.”

 


Deutschland Tour 2022 Presents a Demanding Course
For the first time, Germany’s largest bike event begins with a prologue, and on top, the Deutschland Tour will feature a mountain-top-finish. The UCI ProSeries race takes place from August 24 to 28 and runs from the centre of Germany to the south. Riders compete on 710 kilometres and tackle more than 11,000 meters in altitude.

This year’s Deutschland Tour runs from Weimar in Thuringia, a city with a unique historical and cultural heritage in Germany, to the south-western metropolis of Stuttgart. The course design demands for all-round qualities. A short prologue benefits the powerful riders, a sprint finish on the first stage is followed by a highly selective finish lap the day after. Climbers will be happy about the 12 kilometres ascent up to the famous Schauinsland mountain, while the puncheurs want to turn everything around on the hilly and steep course of the final day.

Prologue: Weimar (2.7 km)
The opening day is short but spicy. Running through the city centre of Weimar, the course is only 2.7 kilometres long and not too technical. It clearly favours the explosive riders, and only a small gap will decide over the red leader’s jersey.

Stage 1: Weimar – Meiningen (171 km)
The first stage starts in Weimar and runs over 171 kilometres through the southern part of Thuringia to the city of Meiningen. The peloton must pass the mountains of the Thuringian Forest in the stage’s middle part. But given the long and flat run-in to the finish, a final sprint is expected.

Stage 2: Meiningen – Marburg (199 km)
The longest day of this year’s race leads from Meiningen to Marburg. Running from the East to the West of Germany, this stage goes straight through the centre of Germany. Not only the distance but also several steep climbs in the last hour of racing will see a selective group competing for the stage win. A local lap in Marburg includes two ramps shortly before the finish that might encourage late attacks and splits in the field.

Stage 3: Freiburg – Schauinsland (150 km)
Time has come for the first mountain-top-finish of the revived Deutschland Tour. The race visits the Black Forest and includes one of its iconic climbs – the Schauinsland. The penultimate race day starts in Freiburg, the first German host city of the Tour de France ever, and takes a big loop that includes the Kaiserstuhl, the Rhine River on the French-German border and the southernmost point the new Deutschland Tour has visited so far. The climbing festival begins with a short, but selective ascent on tiny and steep roads – it’s just the opening for the real challenge. 12 kilometres of climbing up to the mountain station of the Schauinsland which is on 1,200 meters above sea level.

Stage 4: Schiltach – Stuttgart (188 km)
After the mountain-top-finish the day before, the final stage presents another 3,100 meters elevation gain. Running from Schiltach in the Black Forest to Stuttgart, the course design reminds on a demanding classic. The climbing begins shortly after the start line, and it won’t stop until the region of Stuttgart is reached. The Deutschland Tour 2022 will be decided on 3 local laps which include the Herdweg climb, known from the 2007 World Championships and the Deutschland Tour 2018. Featuring a gradient of up to 16% the Herdweg will see the final attacks before the winner is crowned in the city centre of Stuttgart.

With the finale in Stuttgart the Deutschland Tour remembers its first edition. In 2018, Nils Politt celebrated his first pro win in Stuttgart which was followed by a Tour de France stage win and the overall win of the Deutschland Tour last year. Besides Politt, the last two winners of Milano-Sanremo Jasper Stuyven and Matej Mohoric prevailed in the previous editions of Germany’s most significant bike race.

Deutschland Tour 2022:
Prologue (August 24): Weimar, 2.7 km
Stage 1 (August 25): Weimar – Meiningen, 171 km
Stage 2 (August 26): Meiningen – Marburg, 199 km
Stage 3 (August 27): Freiburg – Schauinsland, 150 km
Stage 4 (August 28): Schiltach – Stuttgart, 188 km

 


High Noon in Roubaix
Overlapping trajectories, different yet complementary pedigrees, career highlights filled with flashes of brilliance and epic showdowns are what defines the long-running duel between Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert, one of the most gripping rivalries on the current cycling scene. After the debate on their talent in cyclo-cross, the conversation has now moved on to which of the two cobble-gobblers has the most voracious appetite. The Dutchman leads so far thanks to two victories in the Tour of Flanders (2020 and 2022) and third place in his Paris–Roubaix debut in 2021. Van Aert clearly has some catching up to do, but a large share of the blame for his mediocre results to date can be pinned on his bad luck in the cobbled races. Just last Sunday, he was forced to sit out De Ronde due to a bout of COVID-19. Even if he manages to recover in time for Easter Sunday, will the Belgian champion have what it takes to withstand Van der Poel’s onslaughts, which buried his chances in 2021 after he got caught up in another rider’s crash in the Trouée d’Arenberg? Fans of squabbles and wobbles on the cobbles will be licking their chops at the prospect of a two-way fight, but there are a bunch of riders determined to tear up the script and snatch the win from under the Jumbo–Visma and Alpecin–Fenix team leaders’ noses.

The pundits’ first instinct is to turn towards Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team, which is banking on a four-pronged offensive with previous podium finishers Zdeněk Štybar and Yves Lampaert as well as Kasper Asgreen and Florian Sénéchal. A quick flashback to last October also reveals another serious contender in the shape of Florian Vermeersch, the leader of the other big Belgian team, Lotto Soudal, who stole the show at the tender age of 22 with second place in the velodrome in his first participation, a performance that brought back memories of Tom Boonen bursting onto the stage with third place in 2002. The youngsters may be ready to seize power, but old rockers never die. It would be foolish to write off former winners Peter Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet or other tough cookies such as Alexander Kristoff and Jasper Stuyven. There is also an opening for Ineos Grenadiers to reach the pinnacle of the cobbled races. Filippo Ganna and Dylan van Baarle, second in the Tour of Flanders last Sunday, will spell double trouble for the competition. The French are pinning their hopes on Christophe Laporte, now racing as Jumbo–Visma’s back-up leader following his sixth place in 2021, and Anthony Turgis, swelling with ambition after finishing second in Milan–San Remo a few weeks ago.

25 teams, main contenders:

Australia
Team BikeExchange–Jayco: Durbridge, Matthews (AUS) and Mezgec (SLO)

Bahrain
Bahrain Victorious: Mohorič (SLO), Haussler (AUS) and Wright (GBR)

Belgium
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team: Lampaert (BEL), Štybar (CZE), Asgreen (DEN) and Sénéchal (FRA)
Lotto Soudal: Vermeersch, Campenaerts and Van Moer (BEL)
Alpecin–Fenix: Van der Poel (NED), Philipsen, Merlier (BEL) and Dillier (SUI)
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux: Kristoff (NOR) and Petit (FRA)
Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB: Dupont, Menten (BEL) and Aniołkowski (POL)
Sport Vlaanderen–Baloise: Herregodts and Marit (BEL)

France
AG2R Citroën Team: Van Avermaet, O. Naessen and Dewulf (BEL)
Cofidis: Walscheid (GER) and Vanbilsen (BEL)
Groupama–FDJ: Le Gac (FRA) and Küng (SUI)
TotalEnergies: Sagan (SVK), A. Turgis (FRA) and Boasson Hagen (NOR)
Team Arkea-Samsic: Capiot (BEL), Hofstetter (FRA) and McLay (GBR)
B&B Hotels – KTM: Debusschere (BEL), Gougeard and Jauregui (FRA)

Germany
Bora–Hansgrohe: Politt (GER) and Archbold (NZL)

Israel
Israel-Premier Tech: Vanmarcke (BEL) and Schmidt (DEN)

Kazakhstan
Astana Qazaqstan Team: Felline (ITA) and Gruzdev (KAZ)

Netherlands
Jumbo–Visma: Van Aert (BEL), Laporte (FRA) and Teunissen (NED)
Team DSM: Degenkolb (GER) and Eekhoff (NED)

Norway
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team: Tiller (NOR)

Spain
Movistar Team: García Cortina and Erviti (ESP)

United Arab Emirates
UAE Team Emirates: Bjerg (DEN) and Ackermann (GER)

United Kingdom
Ineos Grenadiers: Van Baarle (NED), Ganna and Viviani (ITA)

United States
EF Education–EasyPost: Bisseger (SUI), Keukeleire (BEL) and Langeveld (GER)
Trek–Segafredo: Stuyven (BEL), M. Pedersen (DEN) and Theuns (BEL)

Key points:
Ø
One of the scenarios that could unfold in the 119th edition of Paris–Roubaix is a duel between the two cobble-gobblers who look set to dominate the northern classics in the 2020s: Mathieu van der Poel, who claimed his second Tour of Flanders last weekend, and Wout van Aert, still on the hunt for his first Monument on the cobblestones.

Ø The Belgian champion is not the only rider from his country eager to replicate Tom Boonen’s exploits a decade after their illustrious predecessor’s last triumph. The 2021 runner-up, young Florian Vermeersch, will be looking to fish in troubled waters, as will seasoned veterans such as Zdeněk Štybar, Kasper Asgreen, Peter Sagan, Alexander Kristoff and Greg Van Avermaet.

Ø Flying the flag for the host nation, Christophe Laporte and Anthony Turgis will be looking to translate their sparkling form into concrete results.

 


Pais-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift: Who Will be the New Queen of the Cobbles?
Seven months after the inaugural triumph of Lizzie Deignan, the women’s Hell of the North will crown a new champion. Pregnant, the British star will not be at the start of Denain, Saturday April 16, but her Trek-Segafredo team still comes with an armada to crush the cobbles. The American squad had shone with collective strength in the fall. In the spring, they return with Frenchwoman Audrey Cordon-Ragot (8th last year), accompanied this time by the young world champion Elisa Balsamo, who has had a string of successes since joining Trek-Segafredo this season (Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Classic Brugge-De Panne and Gent-Wevelgem), as well as the powerful Ellen van Dijk (a winner of the Ronde van Vlaanderen) and the cyclo-cross star Lucinda Brand.

Such a strike force seems very necessary to contain the renowned contenders who are rushing to put their name on the list of winners of the Queen of the Classics. Impressive on the muddy cobblestones last year, especially in the Carrefour de l’Arbre and Mons-en-Pévèle sectors, Marianne Vos wants to add more glory to her legend by trying to grab one of the rare major events that has been missing from a winning record recently enriched with an eighth world title in cyclo-cross. The leader of the Jumbo-Visma will face other specialists who had quickly taken the measure of the Hell of the North last year: Lisa Brennauer (4th), accompanied by Maria Confalonieri within the Ceratizit-WNT team; Marta Bastianelli (5th), very consistent this year on the cobbles; the gifted Danish Emma Norsgaard (6th); the young German Franziska Koch (7th), alongside the Dutch sprint prodigy Lorena Wiebes for DSM; and Marta Cavalli (9th), whose partner Grace Brown shone last weekend on the cobblestones of the Tour of Flanders.

Last fall’s top 10 was rounded out by the experienced Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, leader of an SD Worx team that fell slightly short for their first on the cobbles leading to Roubaix. Spring has allowed the Dutch team to once again display their collective strength, in the wake of Lotte Kopecky. After winning the Strade Bianche, the Belgian champion has just tamed the Tour of Flanders thanks to the excellent support of Van den Broek-Blaak. Can they do the same on the road to Roubaix?

24 teams, the main participants:
Australia
Team BikeExchange-Jayco: Arianna Fidanza (Ita)

Belgium
Plantur-Pura: Sanne Cant (Bel)

France
Arkéa Pro Cycling Team: Lucie Jounier (Fra)
Cofidis Women Team: Victoire Berteau (Fra)
FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope: Grace Brown (Aus), Marta Cavalli (Ita)
St-Michel Auber 93: Simone Boilard (Can)
Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime: Arianna Pruisscher (Ned)

Germany
Canyon//Sram Racing: Elise Chabbey (Sui)
Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team: Lisa Brennauer (Ger)

Great Britain
Le Col-Wahoo: Maria Martins (Por)

Italy
Valcar-Travel & Service: Chiara Consonni (Ita)

Netherlands
AG Insurance-NXTG Team: Mylène de Zoete (Ned)
Liv Racing Xstra: Valerie Demey (Bel)
Parkhotel Valkenburg: Femke Markus (Ned)
Team DSM: Lorena Wiebes (Ned), Franziska Koch (All)
Team Jumbo-Visma: Marianne Vos (Ned), Coryn Labecki-Rivera (USA)
Team SD Worx: Lotte Kopecky (Bel), Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (Ned)

Norway
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team: Susanne Andersen (Nor)

Spain
Movistar Team Women: Emma Norsgaard (Den)

Switzerland
Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad: Tamara Dronova-Balabolina

United Arab Emirates
UAE Team ADQ: Marta Bastianelli (Ita)

United States of America
EF Education-Tibco-SVB: Letizia Borghesi (Ita)
Human Powered Health: Mieke Kröger (Ger)
Trek-Segafredo: Elisa Balsamo (Ita), Audrey Cordon Ragot (Fra)

Key points:
Ø In the absence of Elizabeth Deignan, who is pregnant, the Trek-Segafredo team is counting on an armada led by world champion Elisa Balsamo and Frenchwoman Audrey Cordon-Ragot to win again in the Roubaix velodrome.

Ø Spring star Lotte Kopecky leads an impressive SD Worx to tame the cobblestones of the Hell of the North after winning the Ronde van Vlaanderen.

Ø Marianne Vos, Lisa Brennauer, Marta Bastianelli, Emma Norsgaard… The pioneers who shone in the fall of 2021 are coming back to battle it out in the spring of 2022.

 


2022 Il Giro di Sicilia Teams Announced
19 teams to start, the 2021 winner Nibali and the runner-up in the last Giro d’Italia Caruso among the riders expected at the start. The four leader jerseys are unveiled.

The list of the teams that we will see at the start of the third Il Giro di Sicilia EOLO, scheduled from 12 to 15 April and organised by RCS Sport in collaboration with Regione Siciliana, has been announced.

There are three teams of the UCI World Tour category, Astana Qazaqstan Team, Intermarchè-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux and Trek-Segafredo, to which will be added four UCI Pro Teams, eleven UCI Continental Teams and Daniele Bennati’s Italian National Team.

Among the names announced at the start with great ambitions are those of Vincenzo Nibali, multi Grand Tour winner who won the past edition of this race; runner-up at the 2021 Giro d’Italia Damiano Caruso – who will ride with the Nazionale Italiana – Giro d’Italia stage winners Domenico Pozzovivo and Chad Haga, Under 23 World Champion Filippo Baroncini, Diego Rosa, Louis Meintjes, Andrii Ponomar, Benjamin King and Boy Van Poppel.

This year’s race follows a varied route suited to the characteristics of every type of rider: sprinters, finisseurs and climbers. Less than a month later, the island will welcome the ‘Caravona Rosa’ of the Giro d’Italia, which will arrive from Hungary, with Sicily hosting the rest day and the first two stages on Italian soil after the Grande Partenza.

Il Giro di Sicilia EOLO, 12-15 April (19 formations of 7 riders each: 3 UCI WorldTeams, 4 UCI ProTeams, 11 UCI Continental Teams and the Italian National Selection):

ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM
INTERMARCHÉ – WANTY – GOBERT MATÉRIAUX
TREK – SEGAFREDO
NAZIONALE ITALIANA
BARDIANI CSF FAIZANÈ
DRONE HOPPER – ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI
EOLO-KOMETA CYCLING TEAM
HUMAN POWERED HEALTH
EF EDUCATION – NIPPO DEVELOPMENT TEAM
BIESSE-CARRERA
COLOMBIA TIERRA DE ATLETAS GW SHIMANO
CYCLING TEAM FRIULI ASD
D’AMICO UM TOOLS
GIOTTI VICTORIA SAVINI DUE
MG.K VIS COLORS FOR PEACE VPM
TEAM CORRATEC
TEAM QHUBEKA
WORK SERVICE – VITALCARE – DYNATEK
ZALF EUROMOBIL FIOR

The official start list will be announced in the upcoming days. For more information on the race, including routes, jerseys and sponsors, visit the site by clicking on this link.

Il Giro di Sicilia EOLO Official Leader Jerseys
The leader jerseys of the Il Giro di Sicilia EOLO are produced with SITIP garments and designed by GOBIK.
Maglia Giallo Rossa (Yellow/Red), leader of the General Classification, sponsored by Regione Siciliana
Maglia Ciclamino (Cyclamen), leader of the Points Classification, sponsored dedicated to Made in Italy
Maglia Verde Pistacchio (Green), leader of the Gran Premio della Montagna (KOM), sponsored by Enel Green Power
Maglia Bianca (White), leader of the Young Riders Classification, born after 01/01/1997, sponsored by ENIT – Agenzia Nazionale del Turismo

 


The First Edition of the Elite Woman Cycling Tour will have Three Stages and Will Include the Participation of the Best of the International Women’s Squads
Deporinter has announced the route of the three stages that will include the premiere of the women’s Cycling Tour of Andalusia for elite professionals that will take place between May 3 and 5 next. Three stages with approximately 358 kilometres, with six scoring ports along the route. It is the first and only event of the highest level of women’s cycling protected by the UCI in Andalusian lands.

The best international cycling runners will meet in Andalusia, for the first time in history, thanks to the I Ruta del Sol Vuelta Ciclista Andalucía Elite Women, which has become the only event on the women’s international calendar supported by the International Cycling Union (UCI) in Andalusian lands.

What will be the first female elite Andalusian cycling race will surely offer a great sporting spectacle thanks to an attractive and more than complete route divided into three stages that will run through the provinces of Malaga, Cádiz and Granada, with a total itinerary of more than 350 kilometres, where hardness and technique will be mixed with the unique environment of the Andalusian Autonomous Communitykilometres

The first stage will run along roads in the provinces of Granada and Malaga. It will have 105.5 kilometres, starting from Salobreña and ending in the Axárquico municipality of Arenas. The start will be given at 12:30 noon, with steps through Carchuna, Calahonda, Motril, Almuñécar, La Herradura. Already in the province of Malaga, through the municipalities of Nerja, Torrox, Algarrobo, Vélez-Málaga and final in Arenas. The day will feature two mountain passes; one of the third category, that of La trench, and the decisive port of Arenas, which will be crowned less than a kilometre from the finish line.

The second stage will begin in the capital of Malaga in the area of ​​the athletics stadium and will end in Mijas. It will be 118 kilometres that will run along the Costa del Sol visiting the towns of Alhaurín de la torre, Estación de Cártama, Pizarra, Álora and Coín. The day will have two scoring ports, the first of them the Alto de la Mesa of second category and the Puerto de la Mar located two kilometres from the finish line.

The final stage will start from the town of Fuengirola and will take the participating cyclists to the town of Castellar de la Frontera in the province of Cádiz. It will be almost 139 kilometres crossing the entire western part of the Costa del Sol passing through Mijas, Marbella, Estepona, Casares and Gaucín. That day will also feature two mountain passes, Puerto de la Cruz and Hacho de Gaucín.

The I Ruta del Sol Elite Women has the endorsement and experience of Deporinter, the organising company of the Vuelta Ciclista Andalucía Ruta del Sol, which in 2022 reached its 68th edition in the men’s category. In this way, Deporinter will place Andalusia on the national and international sports scene through women’s cycling; At the same time, it will make it possible to publicise the environments that the departure and arrival municipalities of each stage have. The test can be followed through the small screen in more than 70 countries.

 


BORA – hansgrohe Extends Contract with Cesare Benedetti
The 34-year-old rider, who has been part of Ralph Denk’s team since 2010, has extended his contract by one further year with the squad from Raubling. This will bring the seasoned road captain into his fourteenth year with the team next season.

“Cesare is the last active rider who has been with me in the team since the beginning. In all these years, he has always sacrificed himself for our team and his teammates and has played an important role in several team successes. Cesare is key for our team, not only because he is a very good helper, but also because he has an opinion and shows it. He may not necessarily be a classic leader, but he is definitely part of the soul of BORA – hansgrohe. I have often said that his stage win at the Giro d’Italia was one of the most emotional victories for me as a team manager, on a par with Peter’s win at Paris-Roubaix. I am convinced that as long as Cece continues to enjoy his job as a professional cyclist, he will be able to maintain his level of performance. And so he’ll be able to continue to be an important pillar within our team. That’s why I’m very pleased that we have been able to extend his contract early on.”Ralph Denk, Team Manager

“During our training camp in Mallorca in January, Ralph joined us for a bike ride and while we were riding together, he asked me how long I still wanted to ride my bike. I answered that I would like to do it as long as I can at a good level, as long as I can be useful at contributing to the team’s cause. For me, the most natural and instinctive thing to do is to continue my career in this team and I am very glad and thankful that Ralph still wants me on board. There are still some young riders who are keen to listen and learn and I will be happy if I am able to give a little help along their process of development. At the same time, despite being almost 35 years old, I’m still working to develop and to get better. The 2022 season is still ongoing and at the beginning, but I can already say that in 2023 I would like to keep up the good work and be helpful to the team in every requested race or race situation. I still have some dreams, one of them is winning a Monument with one of my leaders. We were close to winning Sanremo with Sagan in 2017 and I was also close to seeing Formolo on the highest step of the podium in Liège in 2019. Maybe before the end of my career, one of my teammates will be able to give me this big satisfaction.” – Cesare Benedetti

Another year for Benedetti:

 


USA Cycling Signs LOOK Cycle and CORIMA for Multi-Year Track Sprint Equipment Partnership
USA Cycling chooses iconic brands for seven year technical partnership as the federation cements its commitment to success on the track

LOOK and CORIMA are pleased to announce a multi-year technical partnership with USA Cycling and its USA Track Sprint Program, as the American Federation puts renewed focus into the historically successful program. Through this new partnership, USA Cycling will leverage the storied French brand’s decades of experience at the highest level of track racing.

“Partnering with USA Cycling is an important milestone for LOOK and CORIMA,” says Federico Musi, CEO, LOOK Cycle Group. “We are excited to support the USA Cycling Development program to nurture future young talent and bring the passion of cycling to a larger audience. Our technical experience in carbon manufacturing and aerodynamics will help the U.S. team chase medals at our home Olympic Games in Paris and on to their home Olympics in Los Angeles.”

The new collaboration represents a turning point for the American Federation and an additional prestigious milestone for LOOK and CORIMA, as they collectively prepare to take on the world in the forthcoming Olympic Games in Paris, France with the partnership extending through the Olympics in Los Angeles, California. The program intends to cover a full slate of international and domestic racing, including the UCI Nations Cups and the UCI World Championships, as a foundation for their Olympic objectives.


USA Cycling riders from left to right: Josh Hartman, Dalton Walters and Kayla Hankins

“Investing in our track sprint program is one of our leading priorities at USA Cycling”, notes Brendan Quirk, CEO, USA Cycling. “We have a history of international success in the discipline and we’re excited to bring it back in full force over the coming years. Our first step in our heightened commitment to sprint was bringing Erin Hartwell on board to coach our athletes and manage the program. The next critical step was finding an equipment sponsor who could give our riders every advantage possible.”

“With LOOK and CORIMA, we know we have cutting edge bikes, wheels and pedals that give our riders the decisive advantage they need when putting out the incredible watts you see in sprint. We’re elated about this partnership and look forward to the journey ahead.”

Together, LOOK and CORIMA bring an unrivalled wealth of experience to the partnership and will serve as the technological cornerstone of the USA Cycling Track Sprint team. Having spent more than two decades at the forefront of frameset and wheel design, their history and reputation have long been attached to track cycling. Athletes supported by LOOK and CORIMA have earned 18 Olympic titles and 49 total medals from Atlanta 1996 through to Tokyo 2021.

American sprint cyclists will pilot the flagship LOOK T20 sprint chassis equipped with Corima Monobloc 4 and 5 spoke front wheels, Disc C+ race wheels, and LOOK’s unique KEO Blade Track pedals. The squad will also ride the LOOK 895 Vitesse, 875 Madison and AL464 framesets and Corima WS-1 wheels for development programming and training.

“For years, I’ve looked on with genuine adoration at the national teams and international athletes that have had the privilege to ride LOOK bikes and CORIMA wheels at the highest level of competition” Erin (Erv) Hartwell, National Sprint Director, USA Cycling says. “If ever allowed to handpick a bike to outfit a national program to compete against the world’s best, LOOK and CORIMA would be my first choice every single time.”

“It’s impossible to succeed in this sport without world-class equipment underneath our athletes. The support of LOOK and CORIMA gives me the confidence that our program now has the professional tools required to build a team to go head-to-head with the world elite in track cycling.”

 


UEC and Eurovision Renew Their Partnership Until 2029
The partnership between the Union Européenne de Cyclisme and Eurovision for the broadcasting of the Elite European Championships (Road, Track, MTB, Cyclo-Cross, BMX Freestyle Park and Racing) has been renewed from 2022 to 2029.

The renewal of the agreement, signed yesterday by the UEC President Enrico Della Casa and the EBU Director General Noel Curran &amp: the Eurovision Sport Executive Director Glen Killane, continues the relationship between the UEC and EBU which started in 2016.

Up to now, EBU members that have already agreed to broadcast the UEC European Championships are: VRT & RTBF (Belgium); RAI (Italy); NOS (Netherlands); NRK (Norway); TVP (Poland); RTV (Slovakia); SRG/SSR (Switzerland).

Enrico Della Casa, UEC President, said: “The renewal of the agreement with Eurovision Sport for 2022-2029 will allow us to continue a project started in 2016 by the President at the time, David Lappartient, which over the last few years has helped us to grow considerably in terms of the quality of events offered, world coverage and the visibility of our sport and sponsors. I wish to thank Eurovision Sport for its commitment in supporting our events and its passion in facing a future which looks set to be particularly intense with many challenges and innovations.”

Frédéric Sanz, Eurovision Sport Head of Cycling, said: “Eurovision Sport is delighted to continue its long-term partnership with the UEC. The close, daily relationship with the European federation since 2016 and our shared vision to develop further European Cycling Championships are undoubtedly the key factors for future success.”

The annual events programme for the period of the new agreement include:
• UEC Road European Championships 2023, 2024, 2025, 2027, 2028, 2029
• UEC Track European Championships 2023, 2024, 2025, 2027, 2028, 2029
• UEC Mountain Bike European Championships 2023, 2024, 2025, 2027, 2028, 2029
• UEC BMX Racing European Championships 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025, 2027, 2028, 2029
• UEC BMX Freestyle European Championships 2023, 2024, 2025, 2027, 2028, 2029
• UEC Cyclo-Cross European Championships 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028, 2029

Eurovision to cover Euro Champs:

 


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