As we build up to the final Monument of the season; Il Lombardia, there has been a load of racing – AJ Bell Women’s Tour, Tre Valli Varesine, Binche-Chimay-Binche – Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke, Milano-Torino and Coppa Bernocchi all with reports and video. Allan Peiper says goodbye to cycling – TOP STORY. Race news: Teams for Il Lombardia and Paris-Tours. Rider news: Oier Lazkano, Ben Healy and Nicholas Roche & Matteo Pelucchi retire. Team news: Movistar to wear La Passione, DSM & BORA-hansgrohe staff changes, Marc Reef to Jumbo-Visma and Binche fête le vélo with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. Video: The legends of Flanders – 2021 UCI Road World Championships.
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TOP STORY: UAE Team Emirates’ Allan Peiper Says Goodbye to Cycling
Allan Peiper said goodbye to cycling in Paris-Roubaix on Sunday. For several years now, the 61-year-old Australian sports director of UAE Team Emirates has been battling cancer and he can no longer combine that fight with a job in bike racing.
Peiper informed Het Nieuwsblad that he made the decision to stop two weeks ago. “I have less energy because of the treatments. I feel in my reflexes and concentration that I have to resist doing my job. It was the time to step aside,” said the DS, who led Tadej Pogačar to his first Tour de France final victory last year from the team car.
On Sunday, the former rider of Peugeot and Panasonic, said goodbye to his sport. “Saying goodbye to the riders and colleagues were moments when I had an extra hard time last week. Also during the race, but Roubaix is a race in which you must not lose concentration for a moment. I think it’s fantastic to be able to retire after such a heroic race. The race has captivated my whole life, but now I look forward to the rest of my life.”
Allan is one of the nicest guy’s you could meet, we wish him well:
AJ Bell Women’s Tour 2021
Former world champion Marta Bastianelli claimed her first-ever AJ Bell Women’s Tour stage victory in Banbury, Oxfordshire, on Monday following a perfectly timed sprint at the end of Stage 1.
Bastianelli (Alé BTC Ljubljana) managed to pass Chloe Hosking (Trek-Segafredo) and FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope’s Clara Copponi in sight of the line to take the win and the race’s first leader’s jersey of 2021. The 2007 World Champion headed into the final corner on Banbury’s South Bar Street in third position but on the gently rising road to the finish line it was Bastianelli who powered to the line. Victory was the first for an Italian rider at the AJ Bell Women’s Tour since Stage Two of the inaugural edition in May 2014. Top Brit was Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) in sixth while defending champion Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) finished 40th, 26 seconds down, after working for team-mate Hosking in the sprint. Bastianelli also takes the Sigma Sports Points jersey while Nina Kessler (Team TIBCO Silicon Valley Bank) holds the Eisberg Sprints jersey and Demi Vollering (SD Worx) took the ŠKODA Queen of the Mountains.
Stage winner and overall leader, Marta Bastianelli (Alé BTC Ljubljana): “It’s a very nice win for me. There are lots of people, lots of babies, for me it is good, because I think of my daughter. There was a crash with 1km to go, and luckily I did not crash but I am sorry for those that did. I started the sprint in third position, and for me it was the maximum because my coach has seen me win sprints from there. The sprint was not easy because it is a little bit tougher and uphill, and I think it is not for the sprinters, but for me it is a good race and a good day.”
AJ Bell Women’s Tour Stage 1 Result:
1. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé BTC Ljubljana in 3:44:41
2. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Trek-Segafredo
3. Clara Copponi (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
4. Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Spa) Movistar
5. Elena Cecchini (Ita) SD Worx
6. Hannah Barnes (GB) Canyon-SRAM
7. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) Liv Racing
8. Josie Nelson (GB) Team Coop Hitec Products
9. Amy Pieters (Ned) SD Worx
10. Leah Kirchmann (Can) DSM.
AJ Bell Women’s Tour Overall After Stage 1:
1. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé BTC Ljubljana in 3:44:31
2. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Trek-Segafredo at 0:04
3. Nina Kessler (Ned) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
4. Clara Copponi (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope at 0:06
5. Sarah Roy (Aus) BikeExchange at 0:07
6. Alison Jackson (Can) Liv Racing at 0:08
7. Demi Vollering (Ned) SD Worx at 0:09
8. Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Spa) Movistar at 0:10
9. Elena Cecchini (Ita) SD Worx
10. Hannah Barnes (GB) Canyon-SRAM.
Dutchwoman Amy Pieters (SD Worx) claimed the fourth AJ Bell Women’s Tour stage victory of her career in Walsall on Tuesday’s Stage 2, as debutante Clara Copponi moved into the race lead after a dramatic finale.
Pieters won from a 10-rider group who broke clear inside the final 10 kilometres of racing, and took advantage of support from team-mate Demi Vollering to out-sprint Copponi (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope). Movistar Team’s Sheyla Gutierrez took third. Overnight race leader Marta Bastianelli (Alé BTC Ljubljana) finished within the peloton, 46 seconds behind the leaders, and conceded the AJ Bell blue jersey to Copponi, who is making her debut in the race in 2021. Copponi and Pieters are level on time, while only six others are within 10 seconds of the race lead going into Wednesday’s individual time trial in Atherstone, North Warwickshire. After setting off from Walsall’s Victorian Arboretum in wet conditions the peloton tackled 10 laps of a 10-kilometre circuit featuring the climb of Barr Beacon on every lap. The penultimate lap brought multiple attacks, with the race-winning move going clear and building a lead of half a minute on the run back to the finish in Walsall town centre.
British rider Pfeiffer Georgi (DSM) went clear in the last kilometre, leading through the final turn on to the Lichfield Street finishing straight, but with only a handful of metres’ of advantage over the fast-charging Pieters and Copponi. Georgi held on to take fifth and top Brit on the day, moving her up to eighth overall, just 10 seconds off the overall lead. Behind the leading 10, Lorena Wiebes (DSM) led in the main field. The Sigma Sports Points jersey also changes shoulders from Bastianelli to Coppponi while Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM) took the ŠKODA Queen of the Mountains jersey. Team TIBCO Silicon Valley Bank’s Nina Kessler retains the Eisberg Sprints jersey having won two of the day’s intermediate sprints.
Stage winner and 2nd overall, Amy Pieters (SD Worx): “It was a hectic final. I think the whole day was pretty hectic. There was still a small gap after the last corner but I thought I just need to start to sprint. It was an urgent sprint but it went well at the end. “The whole day was really aggressive, I think that we were the only ones attacking. We kept attacking with the team and at the end we went away and it was a really good group and luckily we made it.”
AJ Bell Women’s Tour Stage 2 Result:
1. Amy Pieters (Ned) SD Worx in 2:38:03
2. Clara Copponi (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
3. Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Spa) Movistar
4. Audrey Cordon Ragot (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
5. Pfeiffer Georgi (GB) DSM
6. Elise Chabbey (Swi) Canyon-SRAM Racing
7. Maaike Boogaard (Ned) Alé BTC Ljubljana
8. Aude Biannic (Fra) Movistar
9. Juliette Labous (Fra) DSM
10. Demi Vollering (Ned) SD Worx.
AJ Bell Women’s Tour Overall After Stage 2:
1. Clara Copponi (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope in6:22:34
2. Amy Pieters (Ned) SD Worx
3. Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Spa) Movistar at 0:06
4. Demi Vollering (Ned) SD Worx at 0:09
5. Juliette Labous (Fra) DSM at 0:10
6. Elise Chabbey (Swi) Canyon-SRAM
7. Aude Biannic (Fra) Movistar
8. Pfeiffer Georgi (GB) DSM
9. Nina Kessler (Ned) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank at 0:38
10. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé BTC Ljubljana at 0:40
Demi Vollering moved into the AJ Bell Women’s Tour race lead after a dominant performance in the race’s first-ever individual time trial Stage 3 in Atherstone, North Warwickshire, on Wednesday.
The Team SD Worx rider was the only rider to go under the 24-minute mark for the 16.6-kilometre test, with her time of 23:18 beating nearest challenger and newly crowned UCI Hour Record holder Joss Lowden (Drops-Le Col s/b Tempur) by 1:04. Vollering holds a dominant gap of 1:09 over Juliette Labous (DSM), who was fifth on the day. Overnight leader Clara Copponi (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine) finished 11th on the stage and slipped to third overall, 1:19 off the pace. Lowden moves up to sixth overall and top British rider, 1:47 back on the lead, with fellow Brits Alice Barnes (8th) and Pfeiffer Georgi (10th) also in the top ten. The other race classifications remain unchanged with Copponi in the Sigma Sports Points jersey, Nina Kessler (Team Tibco Silicon Valley Bank) in the Eisberg Sprints jersey, and Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM) retaining the ŠKODA Queen of the Mountains jersey.
Stage winner and overall leader, Demi Vollering (SD Worx): “The start was uphill so I knew I could win it or I could lose it there if I didn’t go full gas. The first 4km I went all out and the middle part was the hardest part. There was a lot of headwind after the first half of the time trial, which made it really hard. The last part again full gas, everything out. It would be nice of course, but first to recover, so we will see. We have a good team for it, so I am curious to see how the rest of the week will go.”
AJ Bell Women’s Tour Stage 3 Result:
1. Demi Vollering (Ned) SD Worx in 23:18
2. Joscelin Lowden (GB) Drops-le Col Supported by Tempur at 1:04
3. Leah Kirchmann (Can) DSM at 1:05
4. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-SRAM at 1:08
5. Juliette Labous (Fra) DSM
6. Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (Ned) SD Worx at 1:09
7. Abi Smith (GB) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank at 1:20
8. Veronica Ewers (USA) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank at 1:21
9. Anna Shackley (GB) SD Worx at 1:25
10. Hannah Barnes (GB) Canyon-SRAM Racing at 1:27.
AJ Bell Women’s Tour Overall After Stage 3:
1. Demi Vollering (Ned) SD Worx in 6:46:01
2. Juliette Labous (Fra) DSM at 1:09
3. Clara Copponi (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope at 1:19
4. Amy Pieters (Ned) SD Worx at 1:22
5. Aude Biannic (Fra) Movistar at 1:33
6. Joscelin Lowden (GB) Drops-le Col Supported by Tempur at 1:47
7. Leah Kirchmann (Can) DSM at 1:48
8. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-SRAM at 1:51
9. Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (Ned) SD Worx at 1:52
10. Pfeiffer Georgi (GB) DSM at 1:53.
Tre Valli Varesine 2021
Alessandro De Marchi won the Tre Valli Varesine on Tuesday. In the final, the Israel Start-Up Nation rider out-sprinted his compatriot Davide Formolo. Tadej Pogačar, who animated the race early, finished third.
This was the 100th anniversary edition of the Tre Valli Varesine. Starting in Busto Arsizio, the riders raced on two different circuits through and around Varese, on a course very similar to that of the 2008 UCI Road World Championships. The first circuit, with the climbs of Montello and Casbeno, had to be completed eight times. The long second circuit, which was ridden twice, also included the climbs of Morosolo and Casciago.
The early break came about in two stages: Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal) and Erik Fetter (eolo-Kometa) took off and Robin Plamondon (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Giulio Masotto (Vini Zabù) joined them a little later. The four escapees had a lead of almost 4 minutes. In the run-up to the first circuit around Varese, the lead started to shrink and when the difference was only 1 minute, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) attacked. In the third of the eight laps, the duo closed in. At the front, Plamondon and Masotto were dropped, leaving Holmes, Wellens, Pogačar and Fetter. On the fourth lap, four riders went after the leading group: Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-Nippo), Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) and Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates). At the end of the lap they got to the four up front. Then Holmes and Fetter were also dropped from the leading group, by then all the early escapees had disappeared. With Urán, Rota, Wellens, Oliveira and the UAE pair of Pogačar and Formolo, a group of strong riders were in the lead.
Behind them, Astana-Premier Tech, AG2R Citroën, INEOS Grenadiers and Trek-Segafredo ensured that the gap never exceeded 1 minute. Without Wellens, the leading group started the long, second circuit, which had to be covered twice. A new situation soon arose, with Aurélien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Andreas Kron (Lotto Soudal) joining Urán, Rota, Oliveira, Pogačar and Formolo. In the peloton, Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) tried in vain to get away, while Pogačar had a puncture and dropped out of the leading group. With half a minute lead, the remaining seven attackers started the last long, tough circuit. Urán dropped back to the peloton to help his teammate Sergio Higuita. In the last 10 kilometres De Marchi and Formolo rode together, followed by a chasing group including Pogačar, Oliveira, Benoît Cosnefroy, Paret-Peintre, David Gaudu and Rota. With 2 kilometres to go, De Marchi and Formolo’s lead was almost 30 seconds, making things look good for the leading duo. Formolo tried to get rid of De Marchi on the uphill, but he wouldn’t crack. In the end, De Marchi turned out to be the better of the two and the Italian won the Tre Valli Varesine’s 100th anniversary edition. Behind De Marchi and Formolo, Pogačar was ahead of Cosnefroy in the battle for third place. De Marchi succeeds Primož Roglič, who was the last winner in 2019. Last year, due to corona, the Italian one-day race with the Coppa Agostoni and the Coppa Bernocchi was brought together into one race, the Grande Trittico Lombardo.
Race winner, Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-Up Nation): “Very sweet, especially because so many people had written me off and said that I was finished. What happened today was a bit of revenge. Showing everyone that I am not too old. That I still have what it takes. Those were long months, I did everything possible to speed the recovery and try to be back to my best – and today it all came together, making it a SUPER day. With a day like that, you just have to be brave and to believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to put your cards on the table. Many guys today were thinking that it was time to be smart, don’t ride, don’t follow, don’t spend energy, but on this day, you just have to be courageous and believe in yourself.”
2nd, Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates): “Today was a really hard and very long race. I tried several times to break away and raced each lap as if it were the last, giving my all. In the end, everything was decided in a two-man sprint but I had nothing more in the legs to give.”
3rd, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “We knew it would be a tough race and we immediately tried to be protagonists and get in the moves. I attacked early and together with Davide we worked well together. After the unfortunate puncture I managed to get into the group of pursuers and so we started protecting Formolo who was in the lead. In the end we took home a second and third place so we can be satisfied.”
Tre Valli Varesine Result:
1. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Israel Start-Up Nation in 4:47:04
2. Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
3. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:38
4. Benoît Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R-Citroën
5. Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal
6. Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education-Nippo
7. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
8. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
10. Aurélien Paret-Peintre (Fra) AG2R-Citroën.
Binche-Chimay-Binche – Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke 2021
Danny van Poppel won Binche-Chimay-Binche for the second time in his career, he also won in 2018. The Dutch Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert rider didn’t wait for the sprint and took the win impressively with a late escape.
The route of the 198.6 kilometre long one-day race consisted of two courses. From Binche, the riders first rode a long loop to Chimay. After that, calf biters like the Petit Poggio and the Wall of Thuin were driven back to the starting point for a shorter loop of 16.2 kilometres, which had to be completed four times. As usual in Wallonia, it went up and down constantly, and the wind often had free play on the open, wide roads. The only cataloged obstacle was the ascending cobblestones of Pépinière, just under 900 meters from the finish.
After a lively early phase a leading group of seven men was formed and took a maximum of 4 minutes on the peloton, which started chasing early. The leading group lost three men, leaving only Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin-Fenix), Ceriel Desal (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Dries Van Gestel (TotalEnergies). Their lead was then only 45 seconds. When the peloton caught sight of the leading group at 60 kilometres from the finish, the race ignited and several riders tried to make the jump across. At the second passage of the finish, Janssens, Desal, Van Poucke and Van Gestel were still in the lead, although Van Poucke had to let go not long after. At the end of the second lap, Van Gestel also dropped out from the front, leaving only Janssens and Desal. But their lead was only small at 12 seconds.
From the peloton, Kobe Goossens (Lotto Soudal) and Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) attacked and with 30 kilometres to go, they joined Janssens and Desal. With 30 kilometres to go, Turgis crashed. Janssens pulled over when the leading group started the last lap of 16 kilometres. Goossens and Desal defended a lead of 20 seconds. Desal held out for a long time at the front, but with 15 kilometres to go he had to let Goossens go. Goossens didn’t stay ahead for long, because at 13 kilometres out, Kevin Vauquelin was able to join and then the French rider continued alone. Behind; Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma organised the chase and with 5 kilometres to go Vauquelin was caught. It looked like there would a bunch sprint finish, but Danny van Poppel thought otherwise. Before the finish, on the uphill cobblestones of Pépinière, the sprinter attacked and thundered to victory.
Race winner, Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I wanted to win for the team because we are at home, and for Lulu (De Winter) today. Since I met him he has always talked to me about this beautiful city of Binche and this race in particular. I knew the final having won here in 2018 and we can say that I won almost the same way. I would like to thank my teammates who helped me to earn this victory, another highlight in this magnificent season. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux has given me all the confidence since I came here in 2020 and it is thanks to them that I have been able to remain consistent and deliver the best season of my career so far. I still have Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours on the program, but I made this race my big goal. I am very happy with this victory.”
Binche-Chimay-Binche – Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke Result:
1. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in 4:44:45
2. Rasmus Tiller (Nor) Uno-X at 0:03
3. Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:05
4. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:07
5. Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroën
6. Christophe Noppe (Bel) Arkea-Samsic
7. Milan Menten (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
8. Daan Hoole (Ned) SEG Racing Academy
9. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
10. Vegard Stokke (Nor) DSM.
Primož Roglič is ready for this Saturday’s Tour of Lombardy. The Slovenian won on the climb of Superga after a duel with the equally strong Adam Yates.
Milan-Turin, the oldest cycling classic of the year took place on Wednesday. The first edition was in 1876, when Paolo Magretti was first across the line. After being the warm-up race for Milan-San Remo last year, won by Arnaud Démare, Milano-Torino has returned to its old course. The riders would climb to the Basilica of Superga twice, over a distance of 4.3 kilometres, with an average slope of 9%, with a section of 14% halfway through.
In Magenta, a suburb of Milan, the start was given for the 102nd edition of the old Classic. With world champion Julian Alaphilippe, Primož Roglič, João Almeida, Michael Woods, Tadej Pogačar and Adam Yates, the start-list had many stars. The early break was formed by Oier Lazkano (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Kevin Vermaerke (DSM), Marco Frapporti and Davide Orrico (Vini Zabù), Joan Bou (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Juri Zanotti of Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè. The six escapees had a lead of almost 4 minutes, but were soon caught. The Superga climb is normally the decider in Milan-Turin. In the direction of Turin, with the hills of Monferrato to the left and the snow-capped peaks of the Alps to the northwest, the wind appeared to be favourable for echelons. The big guns decided to stir things up and a first echelon of about thirty riders formed. Most of the favourites were there, but some teams had to chase. Deceuninck – Quick-Step was well represented in the front group with World champion Alaphilippe, Almeida, Fausto Masnada, Dries Devenyns, Pieter Serry and Mauri Vansevenant. Roglič, Pogačar, Woods, Alejandro Valverde, Marc Hirschi and Chris Froome had also survived the first selection. Adam Yates, Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali were not there and so INEOS Grenadiers, Arkéa-Samsic and Trek-Segafredo led the peloton. With 40 kilometres to go, the difference had increased to about 50 seconds, but the race was not over.
In the first group, the cooperation was not great and so the lead decreased noticeably. There was a regrouping just before the foot of the Superga, but thanks to the work of Deceuninck – Quick-Step the front riders started the climb with a 20 seconds lead. On the climb, Yates tried to go away, with Quintana in his wheel, but the others were not holding back. Masnada went full out to thin the front group, but couldn’t stop Yates from rejoining. At the front, the pace was brisk, but not too fast, allowing more and more riders get in the front group. Quintana, Pavel Sivakov and David Gaudu caught the first group, as did Matteo Fabbro, Aleksandr Vlasov and Diego Ulissi. Just before the top, Vansevenant attacked. The Belgian managed to take a gap and his teammates tried to neutralise things in the chasing group. It was now up to the men of UAE Team Emirates to chase. Vansevenant extended his lead on the descent of the Superga to just under 15 seconds, but this was not enough. At the foot of the Superga the difference was still 20 seconds. Yates took the lead and caught the tired Vansevenant. Roglič, Pogačar, Woods, Almeida and Valverde followed Yates, for Alaphilippe it went too fast.
Yates set the pace and managed to put his competitors in trouble. Valverde and Woods were the next riders to be dropped and Pogačar and Almeida also had a hard time. Only Roglič was still on the wheel of the strong Yates, but with less than 3 kilometres to climb, it looked like Roglič would be Yates’ next victim. The Briton rode away meter by meter from the two Slovenians and Almeida, but Roglič turned out to be the only opposition. Roglič sensed his chance and the Jumbo-Visma rider crossed to Yates in one go. Yates and Roglič started the last uphill kilometre together. The Briton took care of the lion’s share of the work and didn’t seem to care about his Slovenian rival. Roglič then again grimaced on Yates’ wheel, but took the lead with 800 metres to go. The lead over Pogačar, who in turn had dropped Almeida, was enough for the win to be fought between Yates and Roglič. Yates tried to jump twice in the final metres, but couldn’t get rid of Roglič.
Race winner, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “It was a tough race again, fortunately, my legs were good. I’m happy I was able to add a win to my season total. The conditions were good. However, the wind made it quite tough. The battle in the course started early. Today’s field of competitors was very solid. That resulted in a tough final. I was initially happy to follow. Fortunately, I had some power left to place a decisive acceleration that ultimately helped me to victory. I have to compliment the whole team. We fought together and started early to control the race. We were alert during the echelons. This victory can be defined as a real team effort. It’s important to recover quickly now. Saturday’s race presents another nice challenge. I’m eager to finish my season with a victory. The Tour of Lombardy is my big goal of this block of Italian one-day races. It’s a monument. The rest speaks for itself. We will do our best as a team to start the race as good as possible. We’ll see if we can compete for the win again on Saturday. For now, I’m going to enjoy this victory and then I’m going to focus on the next race.”
2nd, Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers): “I had a good ride, but in the end the strongest guy won. The last few races, the Vuelta and then Emilia I kinda waited and you know Primoz, he just goes – like 500m to go, really explosive, so it’s hard to beat him, and in the end he still had the legs to beat me. In the end, he was the strongest guy in the race. Early on, big thanks to the guys as we got caught out a little bit in the wind. We were in a good position, but then a few guys from other teams dropped the wheel, so we were caught out and had to do a big chase. In the end we caught back up and I tried to do my thing on the last climb, I did the best I could but in the end not good enough. We’ll try again on Saturday. Lombardia is a big goal, the condition is there, I just need to pull it out of the bag. One more race on Saturday, hopefully I will be on the top step of the podium this time.”
3rd, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “The team did a very good race today, we were in the front at the right moment and gave our best. Once we split the peloton, we rode full gas and tried to make it really hard for the others. The final climb was extremely difficult and I would have loved to follow Roglic and fight for the win, but it wasn’t possible. Finishing third is a good result and an important boost of confidence for Il Lombardia, where we are motivated to conclude the season on a high note.”
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 4:17:41
2. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:12
3. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:35
4. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
5. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:48
6. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
7. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic
10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:56.
Coppa Bernocchi 2021
Remco Evenepoel was again unleashed on Monday afternoon, taking the win in Coppa Bernocchi at the team’s first ever participation there, after a stunning 140 kilometres in the break. The Belgian was among the six riders to attack before the first lap of the hilly circuit, which revolved around the Piccolo Stelvio climb, and had Fausto Masnada for company in the move that halfway through the race managed to put four minutes between them and the peloton.
On paper, the bunch looked to be favoured by the parcours, which flattened out in the last 30 kilometres, but the escapees worked well together and maintained their gap as the kilometres ticked off. In the run-in to the last ascent of the day, Evenepoel took off only to be seen again at the finish. With Masnada covering attacks behind, the 21-year-old went into time trial mode and opened a small margin on the other escapees, which he increased to one minute by the time he arrived on the flat circuit in Legnano.
Unfazed by the pouring rain which seemed to have travelled from Roubaix to Lombardia, Remco demonstrated again calmness and determination as he produced another incredible exhibition which at times looked effortless. Coming into the final kilometre, Evenepoel had more than two minutes in hand, plenty of time to celebrate his eighth victory since the month of June, and Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s 65th of the year, the first Belgian rider since Rik Van Looy in 1958 to triumph at the Coppa Bernocchi.
Race winner, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “We were a bit surprised that we went that early, because we were expecting a bigger group to be at the front. I had Fausto with me and we worked very well together with the rest of the guys and pushed a steady pace on the climbs. When the gap reached four minutes, we pretty much knew it was our race. With the final part of the course being flat, I attacked before the last climb of the day and from there on I went all-out until the finish. I am happy with this victory, a team one, as it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Fausto.”
2nd, Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m happy with this results even though I was really hoping to take my first victory. But Evenepoel was the strongest today so I have to be pleased with how I did. The important thing was to try today : the weather was pretty vicious with the torrential rain so I attacked early and I think I made the best of the situation.”
3rd, Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “We came here without a sprinter, so we decided to make the race hard. The opening kilometres were really fast, as everybody wanted to be in the front. We attacked before the first lap of the hilly circuit and formed a strong breakaway. On the final climb, Remco attacked and an acceleration was all he needed to go solo. Then, on the last lap, he had a big gap so I too attacked to be on the podium, and finished third, which feels good. It’s just my third race since returning from injury and I am happy to see the results are coming after all the hard work I put in.”
Coppa Bernocchi Result:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:26:13
2. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 1:49
3. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:50
4. Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech at 2:25
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 2:26
6. Antonio Puppio (Ita) Qhubeka-NextHash at 2:55
7. Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates at 8:27
8. Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizané
9. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) TotalEnergies
10. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis.
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Aleksandr Vlasov and Alexey Lutsenko to Lead the Team at Il Lombardia
Astana – Premier Tech heads to Il Lombardia, known as the Race of the Falling Leaves, with a strong team captained by Aleksandr Vlasov and Alexey Lutsenko.
The route for the final Monument of the year will see a change compared to last year, where Jakob Fuglsang took an impressive win while teammate Aleksandr Vlasov took a strong third place. 239 brutal kilometres from Como to Bergamo await the riders, where Alexey Lutsenko will take on the race for the first time in his career.
The iconic climb, Ghisallo, will be the first ascent to tackle before hitting Roncola, Berbenno, Dossena, Zambla Altan and Passo di Ganda before reaching the finish line in Bergamo.
Last year Vlasov rounded out the podium and is looking forward to this year’s route:
“I have really good memories of Il Lombardia. Taking third in a Monument is something special and last year it was an incredible race. This year, we are back to the normal date, not like last year where we rode it in August. So, at least, the weather will not be as hot as last year and now, we have the route changed from Como to Bergamo. I am looking forward to it but the race has a really strong start list, we will see what will happen but I am motivated to give my best to reach yet another good result”.
Sports Director Stefano Zanini sees the second part of the race as the decisive one:
“The first 90 kilometres shouldn’t be a problem, we go over the Ghisallo from the other side than last year but then the second part of the race, after Lecco will be brutal. The decisive moment will be for sure on the last two climbs as then with 30 kilometres to go, the course runs towards the finish line on a fast but not technical road. Of course, we miss Jakob but that’s cycling. Nevertheless, Aleksandr showed incredible form last year and also Alexey is currently in a good shape”.
Rider roster: Manuele Boaro (ITA), Samuele Battistella (ITA), Rodrigo Contreras (COL), Fabio Felline (ITA), Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ), Matteo Sobrero (ITA), Aleksandr Vlasov (RUS).
Sports directors: Giuseppe Martinelli (ITA), Stefano Zanini (ITA).
Preview Lombardia: At the Top of his Form, Lorenzo Rota “Knows Rvery Nook and Cranny”
For the second consecutive year, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert will line up at the start of the last Monument of the season. During the 2020 season which was disturbed by the pandemic, the Belgian team discovered Il Lombardia (1.WT, 9/10) in the heart of summer.
Even though the Classic of the falling leaves returned to its traditional place on the calendar this Saturday, the start and finish villages have been swapped for this 115th edition. Like it was for the last time in 2016, the peloton will start in Como for 239 kilometer towards Bergamo. The parcours was entirely renewed, and from the seven categorized climbs, only the famous Madonna del Ghisallo is still on the parcours. The climb will be the first difficulty of the day for the riders after 30 kilometer, followed by a flat part next to the Lake Como.
The riders arrive soon close to Bergamo, but before entering the city, they make a detour with the six remaining difficulties. In this loop of 150 kilometer, they first encounter the Roncola (9.4 km at 6.7 %), then the Berbenno (6.9km at 5%), followed by more than 20 uphill kilometers towards the summits of Dossena (11.1km at 6.1%) and Zambla Alta (9.8km at 3.3%). The downhill then brings the riders to the foot of the Passo di Ganda (9km at 7.1%), who precedes the short final climb Colle Aperto (1.3km at 7%). The top of this last one is 3 kilometer before the finish in the Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII.
This Tour of Lombardia is a special event for Lorenzo Rota and Simone Petilli, who live in the region of the race. Rota finished 18th in his fifth participation last year and aims to shine in his native town Bergamo after solid performances on Italian soil this season. He will be able to rely on Petilli, who also knows the roads very well as an habitant of a neighboring village of Lake Como. The team can also rely on the experience of Belgian rider Jan Bakelants, who participated nine times in this Monument, but also on red jersey wearers in the Tour of Spain Odd Christian Eiking and Rein Taaramäe. Czech rider Jan Hirt and South-African rider Louis Meintjes will add their climbing talent to the team directed by Valerio Piva and Steven De Neef.
Lorenzo Rota: “Not one kilometer of the parcours contains secrets for me. I know each corner of the streets, which is an important factor in Il Lombardia. There are several technical and dangerous descents where I can take advantage of my parcours knowledge and downhill abilities. Make a difference or make up for lost time downhill is one of the possibilities this Saturday. Rain can even reinforce my advantage, but the weather forecast shows nice circumstances for the final of this difficult race. Two long and difficult climbs animate this final and I can’t wait to race on the Passo di Ganda, on of my favorite climbs in training. It is difficult to predict my chances, but it is certain that I will give all I have to achieve a good result for the team; And I know that I can rely on strong teammates!”
Valerio Piva (Sports Director): “We know that the Monuments are difficult races and that performing in these events is a synonym of prestige for the riders and the team. We did our utmost to prepare ourselves, and we can count on a leader at the top of his form. In my opinion, a top 10 for Lorenzo Rota is realistic. The same counts for Taaramäe, who showed last Wednesday in Milano-Torino that he prepared this race well. Lorenzo didn’t only show his physical strength the last couple of months, but also his intelligence and strong tactics. He will maybe make the choice to anticipate attacks of the main favorites if he feels that it is necessary. Maybe this will happen downhill, because he is one of these modern riders able to make a difference on these important parts of the parcours. This Thursday, he shared his knowledge about the parcours with his teammates during the recon. I expect Jan Bakelants and Simone Petilli to accompany our leaders in the final, after Odd Eiking, Jan Hirt and Louis Meintjes accomplish their job of protection and following big moves in the beginning of the races.”
Odd Christian Eiking
Steven De Neef.
Team BikeExchange Aiming High at Il Lombardia
Team BikeExchange men are aiming to end the 2021 season on a high as they take on the fifth and final Monument of the year, Il Lombardia.
Giro d’Italia podium finisher Simon Yates will lead the squad as he comes in fresh off the back of an attacking ride at the six-day CRO Race last week, while Tour of Hungary winner Damien Howson and Czech Tour Nick Schultz will add valuable support alongside veteran Mikel Nieve.
The ever-reliable Chris Juul-Jensen comes into the fold after riding Paris-Roubaix last weekend, while neo-pro Kevin Colleoni will get his first taste of the ‘Race of the Falling Leaves’. The experienced Andrey Zeits will complete the seven-rider line-up, making his fourth appearance in the Italian one-day classic.
The 115th edition of the race will see a new route as the peloton travel 240km from Como to a challenging finale in Bergamo. The 2021 race will take in six climbs and 4500 meters of elevation, with the short, but steep Colle Aperto coming inside the final 5km.
Team BikeExchange at 2021 Il Lombardia:
Kevin Colleoni (ITA)
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN)
Damien Howson (AUS)
Mikel Nieve (ESP)
Nick Schultz (AUS)
Simon Yates (GBR)
Andrey Zeits (KAZ)
Simon Yates: “I go to Il Lombardia after competing at the CRO Race last week, which allowed me to find the race pace again and improve my condition. I expect a very selective race, both because of the length of the race and because of the very demanding course, especially now that we are at the end of the season. The list of starters for this Monument is really strong and I expect a great battle as always.”
Matthew White – Head Sport Director: “We would like to finish off the season with a top result in the last Monument of the year. Simon Yates will be our best option and we are aiming for the podium. We have a very strong team, and everyone will have an important role, whether it is being in certain moves to keep us on the front foot or positioning our leaders, every role will be important to the success of the day. For sure the race will be aggressive and the other factor that always affects a race of this distance is the weather. Il Lombardia is one of the hardest one-day races on our calendar, and this year is no different. I expect a very selective race and, after the recon, I think that the last climb before descending to the finish will be decisive. As usual, in the last hour of racing, we will see who the strongest riders in the bunch are.”
Il Lombardia 2021 Race Details:
Saturday, 9th October: Como to Bergamo, 239km
Bahrain Victorious to the Last Monument: Il Lombardia
The Classic of the Falling Leaves returns to its usual autumnal slot on Saturday, 9 October. According to the alternation between Bergamo and Como as start and finish cities, the 2021 edition of Il Lombardia will see the peloton facing a new 239km demanding course from Como to Bergamo.
Six climbs for a total of 4,400 meters of elevation and the explosive hill of Bergamo Alta in the finale await the riders before the traditional flat finish in the centre of the city.
A Monument that suits a rider like Dylan Teuns, who was 3rd in 2018, is competing for a 4th time. The Belgian will be the leader of Bahrain Victorious, lining up with 5 out of 7 riders that participated in Gran Piemonte on Thursday. They will be joined by the experienced Mikel Landa as road captain and Matej Mohorič co leader. The Spaniard is at his 9th appearance, while the Slovenian Champion rode it only once in 2018, and he will try to have his opportunity, backed by a good shape in this last part of the season. Stevie Williams, fresh from his first victory as a pro, boosted by the GC win, demonstrated to be in top form too and will be co leader. It will be the debut in the Classics for the young Welsh climber, who is looking forward to riding his first Monument race to aim to a solid result with the support of his teammates. Santiago Buitrago is also a debutant at Il Lombardia. The Colombian will give precious help on the climbs and eventually entering on a breakaway, as Hermann Pernsteiner will do. Save energy ahead of the final will be crucial. Therefore, one of the main tasks will be protecting the leaders throughout the day, and Domen Novak often showed his essential help.
Alberto Volpi, Bahrain Victorious SD: “It will be a very demanding and tough day in the saddle. The course will make an important selection without any doubt. The start list includes strong riders, and we also have a lineup of all respect. We want to excellently perform as we did throughout this season, to end it at our best. We are confident because we have good riders, and we’re sure that they can honour this prestigious race. The team spirit will count too, and this group has it for sure”.
Bahrain Victorious lineup for Il Lombardia:
Santiago Buitrago, Mikel Landa, Matej Mohorič, Domen Novak, Hermann Pernsteiner, Dylan Teuns, Stevie Williams.
Il Lombardia – OCT 9
Luke Roberts – Team DSM coach: “This years Il Lombardia will see a parcours change over recent years, with the start in Como and finish in Bergamo. The traditional Madonna di Ghisallo climb will be taken in the opposite direction and feature after around just 30 kilometres of racing. The series of climbs throughout the race will come to a total of 4500 metres of elevation gain over the 239 kilometres, making an extremely tough race. Our line up of climbers have shown good form and good team work in recent races and we will aim to continue this trend with the goal of putting Romain in contention for a top result here as our finisher.”
Thymen Arensman (NED)
Tiesj Benoot (BEL)
Romain Bardet (FRA)
Mark Donovan (GBR)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Andreas Leknessund (NOR)
Michael Storer (AUS).
All Systems Go for UAE Team Emirates at Il Lombardia
As the 2021 season draws to a close, attention will turn to Il Lombardia on 9 October as ‘the race of the falling leaves’ marks the most important of the Autumn classics. The squad will go into Lombardia with several options with Pogačar, Hirschi and local riders Ulissi and Formolo all capable of a big result on the roads from Como to Bergamo.
Pogačar: “It’s going to be my first Lombardia. We did the recon and it’s a beautiful place, with hard roads. It will be a tough race, that’s for sure. I feel like it’s a beautiful way to end what has been a really great season.”
Il Lombardia [1.UWT] – 09-Oct:
Davide Formolo (Ita)
Marc Hirschi (Swi)
Rafal Majka (Pol)
Brandon McNulty (USA)
Tadej Pogačar (Slo)
Jan Polanc (Slo)
Diego Ulissi (Ita).
AG2R Citroën with Cosnefroy and Champoussin in Il Lombardia
AG2R Citroën is counting on Benoît Cosnefroy and Clément Champoussin in the Tour of Lombardy on Saturday. Cosnefroy finished fourth in Tre Valli Varesine last Tuesday, Champoussin rode to the top 20 in the Giro dell’Emilia and Milan-Turin.
Cosnefroy (25) has been in excellent shape since the summer with victories in the Bretagne Classic and Tour du Jura. He also finished second in La Polynormande, won a bronze medal at the European Championships in Trento and was fourth in Tre Valli Varesine on Tuesday. Champoussin, stage winner in the past Vuelta a España, ride well in the last Italian autumn Classics.
The 25-year-old Aurélien Paret-Peintre, tenth in Tre Valli Varesine, will also ride on Saturday, as will attacker Geoffrey Bouchard, the Finnish climber Jaakko Hänninen, the American Lary Warbasse and Clément Berthet. The latter will be part of the AG2R Citroën team from 1st August. The promising climber recently signed a contract until the end of 2024 and will make his appearance in the Monument.
Berthet (24) is in the team due to his recent results in Italy. In the Giro dell’Emilia he finished in 21st place just outside the top-20, in Tre Valli Varesine he did even better with a 15th place.
AG2R Citroën for Tour of Lombardy (Saturday 9 October):
Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Il Lombardia
World Champion Julian Alaphilippe will headline our squad for Saturday’s event
07-Oct-2021: Il Lombardia will be the last race of our team this year, and the Wolfpack will be hoping to get a good result before bringing down the curtain over a season that so far has brought 65 victories, 25 of which came at World Tour level.
Scheduled this Saturday, the Italian Monument comes with a revamped 239km route for its 115th edition, which will start from Como and end in Bergamo. The iconic Madonna del Ghisallo will be the first climb of the day, and will be followed later in the race by the Roncola, Berbenno, Dossena, Zambia Alta and Passo di Ganda for a total of 4500 vertical meters. In case a small group will enter in the final five kilometers, Colle Aperto and its vicious double-digit gradients could be used as springboard to victory by the riders still having enough left in the tank.
Runner-up here in 2017 at just his third participation, World Champion Julian Alaphilippe returns at the start of Il Lombardia for the first time in four years, and will lead a very strong Deceuninck – Quick-Step team that will also include João Almeida, former Piccolo Giro di Lombardia winner Andrea Bagioli, Dries Devenyns, Remco Evenepoel, Fausto Masnada and Pieter Serry, a top 10 finisher at the race back in 2013.
“We go into our final race of the season with a lot of motivation. The parcours is tougher than in the past and we expect a hard race, but we believe in our chances of getting a nice result. As you can see, the team is a solid one, comprising guys who racked up many good results in the past couple of weeks. We have several cards to play and we hope to be in the mix at the right moment on Saturday”, explained Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Davide Bramati.
Paris-Tours 2021: The Heroes are Ready for More
They want more. Less than a week after a historic edition of Paris-Roubaix moved to the autumn for the first time, the classics season ends this weekend with Paris-Tours and presents itself in this unprecedented calendar as an ideal opportunity for redemption and revenge. After the Flemish cobbles of the World Championships and the slippery cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, it is on the vineyard trails that have been part of the programme of the classic for the past three years that the champions will battle it out. And they are not just any champions! Florian Vermeersch excelled in Leuven, finishing on the U23 time-trial podium before he rode another stellar race on the cobbled sectors and then at the Roubaix velodrome, where he came close to becoming the youngest winner of the modern era (2nd). Hungry for more, the 22-year-old could get his first professional victory before the end of this season. To do that, he will have to surprise or dominate some of last Sunday’s standouts, which include Christophe Laporte (6th), Tom Van Asbroeck (8th), Anthony Turgis (13th), Sep Vanmarcke (23rd), Jasper Stuyven (25th and winner of this year’s Milan-San Remo). Or some big names who didn’t do well, like Arnaud Démare and Stefan Küng with Groupama-FDJ and Greg Van Avermaet in the AG2R-Citroën Team jersey, who is a former Paris-Tours and Paris-Roubaix winner!
Two riders who have been able to exploit the vineyard roads, the defending race winner, Casper Pedersen from Denmark and his compatriot-teammate Soren Kragh Andersen, will also be among the favourites for the win. There are also serious candidates who did not take part in this year’s edition of Paris-Roubaix. That is the case for Valentin Madouas, who was in good form in the Classic Loire Atlantique (2nd) after participating in the conquest of Julian Alaphilippe’s rainbow jersey and sprinters Pascal Ackermann, Nacer Bouhanni, Danny van Poppel (winner of Binche-Chimay-Binche) and Bryan Coquard.
Paris-Tours Espoirs: Riders to watch
In its current form as a classic for the under 23s, Paris-Tours Espoirs is celebrating its 25th anniversary. And among the riders who have followed Franck Perque on the list of winners are world champions, namely Thor Hushovd (1998 winner) and Tom Boonen (2000); Tour de France stage winners like Samuel Dumoulin (2001), Tony Gallopin (2008), Mike Teunissen (2014) and Jasper Philipsen (2017); and a Paris-Tours elite winner, Jelle Wallays (2010). No one knows how successful the contenders for this 79th edition will be in a few years, but some already have impressive credentials. British rider Askey Lewis, who finished 5th in this year’s World Championships, is already a favourite, as is Danish rider Johan Price-Petjersen, who last month won the World and European time trial championships. Outsiders like Louis Barré, 4th on Liège-Bastogne-Liège Espoirs and 7th in the European championships, or Valentin Retailleau, who won a stage in the recent Tour de Bretagne, will also be watched closely.
Main contenders (as of 06/10):
Lotto-Soudal: Vermeersch (Bel), Sweeny (Aus)
Alpecin-Fenix: Philipsen (Bel),
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux: D.Van Poppel, Van der Hoorn (Ned)
Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise: Herregodts (Bel)
Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB: Dupont (Bel)
AG2R Citroën Team: Van Avermaet (Bel), Jungels (Lux)
Groupama-FDJ: Démare, Madouas (Fra), Küng (Swi)
Cofidis: Laporte (Fra), Drucker (Lux)
TotalEnergies: Turgis, Petit (Fra), Terpstra (Ned)
Team Arkea-Samsic: Bouhanni, Riou (Fra), Swift (Gbr)
B&B Hotels p/b KTM: Bonnamour, Coquard, Lemoine (Fra)
Delko: Siskevicius (Lit)
St Michel-Auber 93: Tesson (Fra)
Xelliss-Roubaix Lille Métropole: Vermeulen, Levasseur (Fra)
Bora-Hansgrohe: Ackermann (Ger)
Team DSM: Kragh Andersen, C.Pedersen (Dan), Bol (Ned)
Israel Start-Up Nation: Vanmarcke, Van Asbroeck (Bel), Hofstetter (Fra)
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team: Tiller (Nor)
Jumbo-Visma: Teunissen, Groenewegen (Ned)
Equipo Kern Pharma: Berrade, Galvan Fernandez (Esp)
Euskaltel-Euskadi: Bizkarra (Esp)
Trek-Segafredo: Stuyven, Theuns (Bel).
Ø The 115th edition of Paris-Tours, which starts on Sunday morning in Chartres at 11.40 am, will be contested on a 212.3 km course, including nine vineyard paths in the last 50 km, for a total of 9.5 km.
Ø Among the contenders for the title, former winners like Casper Pedersen, Soren Kragh Andersen, and Greg Van Avermaet will have to contend with one of the heroes of Paris-Roubaix, Florian Vermeersch (2nd), who showed what he is capable of in his first participation.
Young, Strong Rouleur Lazkano Joins Movistar Team
21-year-old Basque to jump into WorldTour with Telefónica-backed squad in 2022; inks three-year contract.
The Movistar Team announced Tuesday a fourth signing to their men’s team for the 2022 season: Oier Lazkano (Vitoria-Gasteiz; 1999), a current member of the Caja Rural-Seguros RGA squad. The Basque will thus join Óscar Rodríguez, Max Kanter and Alex Aranburu in the list of names already confirmed by the Telefónica-backed squad. Lazkano has signed a three-year contract, until 31st December 2024.
Lazkano’s signing secures the Eusebio Unzué-led squad the services of one of the biggest young powerhouses in Spanish cycling. An indomitable, tireless character, he’s spent most of his first two pro seasons into countless breakaways, showing courage and strength. He even got a first pro win in his neo season, 2020, with a brilliant success at a stage of the Volta a Portugal in Viseu.
This 2021 season, Oier has been a consistent feature in Caja Rural’s WorldTour lineups, enjoying appearances in the Itzulia, San Sebastián and La Vuelta, which he covered 19 stages at, only leaving on the final weekend with stomach problems. Called up to the Spanish national teams for the UCI Nations Cup rounds in Poland and the Czech Republic, Lazkano also enjoyed a good level at the recent Tour of Luxembourg, notably featuring in the hilliest stages, 10th on the final day.
Oier Lazkano: “It’s certainly what you could call a ‘home team’ it always makes you incredible excited to defend such significant colours. I think that we should wait and see how far I can reach, only time will tell. However, I’m sure that I will continue growing as a rider in the upcoming years, and my goal is to be a big asset for the team and learn as much as possible from them. Everything I know from the riders and team staff make me feel they’re good people to learn from. I feel like working hard and doing things right will make this new task really easy and I can be a good rider in the future.”
Oier Lazkano to Movistar:
Ben Healy to Join the Team
Ireland’s Ben Healy is set to make his WorldTour debut with EF Education-NIPPO for the 2022 season.
With so many races cancelled, postponed, and reconfigured due to the pandemic over the last two years, Healy is the first to say he hasn’t been able to race as much as he would prefer. Nonetheless, he has remained consistent with training and his palmarès reflect this with wins at the Giro Ciclistico d’Italia (the Baby Giro), the Ronde de l’Isard, and both the Irish road and U23 time trial championships, in addition to a slew of top ten stage and overall results, all since the pandemic began.
While his results are certainly impressive, the 21-year-old rider knew it would be a massive leap to move up to the WorldTour, which is why he felt EF Education-NIPPO was the right team to guide him through this transition.
“When I started to talk with the team, it was clear the team had a plan for me,” Healy explains. “That meant so much to me. It wasn’t just, ‘Yeah, he’s got a few decent results, might as well just sign him.’ There was thought behind where I’d fit into the team.”
EF Education-NIPPO CEO Jonathan Vaughters explains why Healy will be such an asset to the team. “His skill set is he knows how to get in breaks that make it to the line and he knows how to win out of those breaks once he’s in them. There aren’t that many guys that have that skill set. That’s the skill that Ben’s shown over and over again in the U23 races.”
While Healy is keen to advance his cycling career, he was drawn to EF in part because of the team’s deep sense of camaraderie. “I don’t want to be going to a team just doing my job. I don’t want to be riding around for a paycheck. I want to be a part of a team. I’d like to go and be on the bus and have a laugh with everyone. I see this within the team and that’s something that really appealed to me.”
Healy has forged his own route to get to where he is today. He has never worked closely with his national cycling body or ridden for any of the bigger U23 teams. “I feel like a lot of the time I’m a bit of an underdog going into a race. That’s just given me the hunger to carry on with it.”
Racing the Tour de l’Avenir in 2019 is the perfect example. “I didn’t even get a team, I managed to scrape my way onto the UCI mondial team and I was going there for experience. I managed to pull off a stage win. That feeling of ‘I’m really here to be competitive’ was such a nice feeling and having the title of being the youngest person ever to win a stage was pretty cool as well.”
Vaughters took notice of Healy’s competitive nature, saying, “I do see him in the light of a guy who can win races. That doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be periods where he has to work for other people. He has a good nose for how to win a race. That’s why we’re hiring him.”
Though Healy considers himself an all-rounder, many of his results have come from the medium mountains. “The 15 to 30 minute climbs, when it’s just a hard day out, I normally do pretty well when it’s really grim like that.”
Healy looks forward to getting the 2022 season underway. “Stepping up to this new level will be a new challenge and a new way to race. I just want to learn everything and try to pick up as much as I can from these big names that I’ll be teammates with. I’m very excited for it. And the equipment and the kit aren’t too bad either!”
We like your enthusiasm, Ben, and we think you’ll look great in pink.
Ben Healy to EF:
Nicholas Roche Announces Retirement from Professional Cycling
Having spent 17 years in the men’s peloton, the last three of which were with Team DSM, Nicholas Roche is set to hang up his wheels at the end of the 2021 season.
Roche turned professional in 2005 and has spent an incredible 17 years riding at the highest echelons of the sport. Taking an impressive 12 wins throughout his career including two stages at the Vuelta a España, Roche has also started a mind-boggling 24 Grand Tours, completing a remarkable 22 of them. He’s also ended the Vuelta in fifth and sixth place on GC, alongside numerous other top 15 places in the overall classification at the Vuelta and Tour de France.
Upon joining Team DSM in 2019, Roche helped the team to some strong results throughout the year before claiming a brilliant second place on stage two of the Vuelta; a result which saw him move into the race leader’s jersey for the team, something he had done previously in 2013. Sharing his wealth of experience with the team’s riders throughout his three years in Team DSM, Roche has contributed to several victories, particularly at the 2020 Tour de France where he was an important member of team’s successful campaign there. 2021 has seen Roche spend his final season riding strongly in support of others, while also still showing good legs himself with hard-fought and hotly contested stage podium finishes at the Tour of the Alps and Giro d’Italia.
Roche said: “After 17 years and over 1270 professional races days, with a lot of great memories, it is time for me to retire and look to a new horizon. My last race was the Irish championships, at home, with my friends and family. Cycling is my life and it has brought me so much over the years. It has allowed to meet and work with some incredible people and travel to some of the most remote and fantastic places on this planet. It was an experience to also work with Team DSM and it was very different to all the teams in the past. I continued to learn a lot with them and I really enjoyed being the “big brother” of the younger guys in the team. Spending another four days in the red jersey at the Vuelta in 2019 will always be a special memory. I want to thank you all, everyone who is reading this, for the incredible support I received during my cycling career. Thank you!”
Team DSM head of coaching Rudi Kemna added: “Nicholas has had a long and very successful career, and we were happy to have been a part of that for the last three seasons. Joining the team in 2019, his experience in the peloton has been really valuable for helping to guide our younger crop of riders, whether that be helping with positioning in the bunch, to showing them how to conduct themselves in off the bike activities. Nicholas has also shown a good level too in his time with us, helping the team to some strong results and we’ll always fondly remember his stint in the red jersey for us at the Vuelta in 2019. From everyone at Team DSM we wish Nicholas all the best and good luck with what’s next.”
Nico Roche leading the Vuelta a España 2019:
Pelucchi Proudly Calls Time on His Career
Matteo Pelucchi has announced that 2021 will be his final one as a professional, as he ends his career racing in Italy to bring the curtain down on a career spanning more than a decade.
Pelluchi (32) lines up alongside close friend and compatriot Giacomo Nizzolo for the Coppa Bernocchi on Monday, after which his final race will be Gran Piemonte on Thursday, 7 October.
The Italian joined Team Qhubeka NextHash at the start of 2021 having previously ridden for the likes of Bardiani, Androni and Bora-HansGrohe, and having made his debut in 2011 at Pro-Continental level with Geox-TMX Transformers.
While a double-stage winner at the Tour de Pologne, Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour de Langkawi, it was his victory at the 2011 Clasica de Almeria and a second-place finish on stage 6 of the 2015 Giro d’Italia riding for IAM Cycling, that will rank among his best memories.
Matteo Pelucchi: “I’ve decided to end my career after 11 years as a pro. It’s been a good career and I think the right time to stop, and to start thinking about something else. I feel like this is the right time, I’m in a great team and I leave cycling with an amazing experience that I had with Team Qhubeka NextHash. That means that I end it feeling happy; I am very close with Giacomo and the team’s mentality and celebration of the Ubuntu spirit is something that I will take into the future with me, always.”
“I’m happy because as a rider I realised my dream, which was to win some good races and in the process I was able to experience every single emotion across the sport. This is something that I’ve really come to appreciate in the last few years, that it’s not only about results but also every feeling that we have on the bike, be it a win or the pain from a crash, or the help for your teammates and the spirit in the group, or now that I will stop. Cycling has given me a range of emotions that I’m not sure you could have in “normal” life and for that I am extremely grateful and proud. This is something that I will never forget. I would like to thank every single person I have worked with over the years, and I hope that I have been able to repay them with that loyalty too. Finally, to my family and friends, I want to express my gratitude for all of your support as I’ve lived my dream.”
La Passione and Movistar Team Become Partners in 2022
In 2022, the premium cycling apparel brand, La Passione Cycling Couture, will be a technical partner of the Movistar Team, the longest-standing cycling structure and a member of the UCI WorldTour / Women’s WorldTour.
During the next season, the team of cycling legend Alejandro Valverde, emerging talent Enric Mas, and two of the biggest stars of women’s cycling, Annemiek van Vleuten and Emma Norsgaard, will be wearing technical cycling clothing designed and produced specifically by La Passione.
“As many people already know, I have been passionate about cycling since I was a child. Therefore, I am extremely proud to announce that this agreement has been finalised. After this period of continuous growth that our company has enjoyed in recent years, we felt that the time had come to start a new chapter for La Passione by entering the professional sports world as a partner of an important World Tour Team. We chose the team with the longest tradition. During our first meetings with Eusebio Unzué and his staff, we noticed the desire to create a path of common growth under a profile of high-performance products and the story of our partnership” explains Giuliano Ragazzi, Founder and CEO of La Passione. “We’ll consider the feedback we receive from athletes and the performance department as a precious asset because it will be crucial for improving our products even more. All the innovations deriving from this feedback will be available every day to the people who choose to wear La Passione garments, who will also be able to take advantage of very advantageous prices through our Direct-to-Consumer business model.”
Eusebio Unzué, General Manager for the Movistar Team: “For us, two main goals have always been tried to achieve when we chose who to join forces with when it comes to any sort of equipment: boosting our performance, and aiming at those pieces to look great. In that sense, I feel like we’re going to reach an optimum level in both respects with La Passione. It is a strong new brand with a very defined personality, as the Movistar Team is. These are two appealing brands working together to offer to the fans the most stylish cycling clothes.”
“La Passione really show, across their whole range of products, to care about how both their brand and our main sponsors will be presented to the world, and their fabrics are built in the best possible way for our riders to feel comfortable, well protected against the elements and as much aero as possible, a growing concern in a sport which always tries to get the fastest in every aspect of the equipment. We’re really looking forward to enjoying their clothing as of 2022!”
The products developed by La Passione always have an unmistakable style united with the best technology. We value being able to produce bib shorts, jerseys, jackets, and high-performance bodysuits for road riding or time trials that allow cyclists to express their talent and achieve important results, but it is certainly an incredible privilege to do that while the products are also being tested and developed further to meet the needs and requirements of professionals.
“We also plan to develop a shared storytelling tradition by explaining the heritage of a team founded in 1980 while also creating new stories that will feature the new athletes. In addition, the Movistar Team is one of the first that believed in developing an important section for women cyclists and, in this area, La Passione will provide an important contribution.” continues Yurika Marchetti, Co-Founder of La Passione.
The minimalistic style of La Passione is destined to emerge clearly in the new design of the 2022 race kit, which will be presented in the near future.
Team DSM Confirm Coaching Structure for 2022
Team DSM are happy to announce that Huub Duijn, Pim Ligthart, Marcel Sieberg and Boris Zimine will join their coaching staff for the 2022 season. Duijn will work with the Women’s program, Ligthart and Sieberg are brought in to coach the Men’s program and Zimine the Development program. After two years of working closely with the Development program, next year will see Roy Curvers take on new responsibility in the team to focus solely on Team DSM’s Men’s program.
Working with select groups of riders to streamline their development within a given specialism, Team DSM look to build three solid blocks of riders – sprint, classics and GC – with tailored training, expertise, innovations and coaching to do so. Curvers’ new role will utilise his years of experience of racing in the peloton to develop the team’s sprint block as they continue on their mission to build a world class sprint train. Phil West also takes on a new focus with the team’s classics block, whilst Matt Winston continues to work closely with the development of the GC block.
Team DSM head of coaching Rudi Kemna said: “We are really looking forward to bringing in some new faces and fresh ideas for the 2022 season; Huub, Pim, Marcel and Boris all bring great energy to our coaching group and we believe we can build something really strong with their addition. We have been working within these three specific blocks for some time now, and have learned a lot from doing so with a more tailored approach across the board. Bringing both Roy and Phil into these new roles further fine tunes our coaching structure, and we are confident that we will see results both on and off the bike as a result.”
As we welcome new coaches on board, we also say farewell to one of our colleagues, Marc Reef. Marc has been a fantastic colleague to many and has developed alongside the team as it grew to the highest echelons of our sport. We would like to thank Marc for all of his hard work and dedication throughout the ten and a half years that he has spent with the team, helping us to countless successes and memorable moments. Marc remains a great friend of the team and we wish him the best of luck in his new challenge.
Wilbert Broekhuizen, Roy Curvers, Huub Duijn, Bennie Lambregts, Pim Ligthart, Luke Roberts, Marcel Sieberg, Albert Timmer, Hans Timmermans, Phil West, Matt Winston, Boris Zimine.
Ambitious Reef Gets Seat in Team Jumbo-Visma Team Car
Marc Reef (35) will start as a coach at Team Jumbo-Visma this coming cycling season. Yesterday it was announced that the resident of the Dutch city of Oldenzaal will leave Team DSM after more than ten years of service. Merijn Zeeman, sportive director of Team Jumbo-Visma, is convinced that Reef is a reinforcement for the Dutch World Tour squad. “Marc is an inspired and committed coach, who is also tactically strong. In addition, he is a nice person and a good team player”, said Zeeman, who worked with the coach in the past.
Reef signed for two years with the team of Richard Plugge. “I want to continue to develop as a coach. I think a new environment can contribute to that. After a number of intensive meetings, I am convinced that I will find such an environment at Team Jumbo-Visma”, he said. “I want to thank Team DSM for their trust and for giving me a chance to start my career as a coach. During that period, including many highlights, I learned a lot. However, now the time has come to take the next steps.”
Reef will meet several old friends at Team Jumbo-Visma. “I already worked together with a number of riders and staff in the past. I look forward to working intensively with them and the rest of the team to bring out the best in everyone. We have a team that can fight for the win wherever we start.”
BORA – hansgrohe and Enrico Poitschke Go Separate Ways: Rolf Aldag to Become New Sports Director
After more than 10 years of successful collaboration, in which countless successes were achieved and we built up the team together, BORA – hansgrohe will be bringing new impetus in the sportive management of the team. The 53-year-old Aldag brings with him wide-ranging experience and will be in charge of the sportive agenda of the Raubling-based WorldTeam from 2022.
“This was probably the most difficult decision for me in the last 10 years, because I owe Enrico a great debt of gratitude. We worked our way up together from the third division to the WorldTour, going through pretty much all the highs and lows imaginable, and I will always have fond memories of these shared times. In the last few months, however, I have become more and more aware that if we want to develop further as a team, we will likely also need a change in sportive management. It’s not that I’m not happy with the results – we’ve all done a good job together over the past few years – but cycling has changed and we have to adapt to those changes to keep up. During the long time we have been together, many routines have crept into the sportive management that are incredibly difficult to change. That’s why I have decided to break new ground here. We have many young riders in our ranks and we’d like to build them up strategically and systematically. To this end, we have defined clear goals over the recent weeks and redistributed tasks internally. As far as the sportive management is concerned, we are in the final stages of our planning.”
“Rolf brings vast experience to our team and I am very happy that I was able to inspire him with our project. I had already indicated that we’d like to use the changes that have been initiated this year to further develop ourselves in different areas. Strategically, the sportive management was a key area for us following departure of Enrico Poitschke, and I think the solution we have found is an optimal one. Rolf was instrumental in the success of HTC-Highroad, he was technical director at Omega Pharma-Quickstep, he has been involved in women’s cycling and he has helped Dimension Data move up to the WorldTour, making cycling popular in Africa. I think one can see that cycling is his passion and that is something which connects us. Even from our first talks, we held the same vision regarding the direction we want to take BORA – hansgrohe in the future. In addition, Rolf has worked intensively with Specialised in the past and that is also an important factor for us. He will take over the sportive management of the team and will also be able to assist us thanks to his experience in material development. For me, Rolf is a clear asset to BORA – hansgrohe by virtue of his extensive experience, technical know-how and commitment.” – Ralph Denk, Team Manager
“Of course, I am disappointed and the decision came as a surprise to me. I have built up the team together with Ralph Denk over the past ten years and I believe that we have done a very good job together. However, Ralph would like bring new impetus in the future and this decision must be accepted. Nevertheless, I will keep the past years in my memories, because despite the high level of commitment that was expected, there were undoubtedly wonderful moments – our first Tour de France appearance with Leopold König, the stage victories in the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta, and successes in the Tour with Peter, Lennard, Nils, Patrick and Emu. Of course, our victory at Paris-Roubaix in 2018 was outstanding. I am proud that all these successes also bear my signature. Cycling is my passion and we will see in which form I will continue to be connected to it.” – Enrico Poitschke.
“I am very much looking forward to my new role at BORA – hansgrohe and am pleased to see the trust that Ralph Denk has placed in me. The team has been an integral part of the international cycling scene for over a decade and is constantly growing. The reliability of its partners and the long-term thinking of the team management were very important factors in my decision to become part of BORA – hansgrohe. Ralph has managed to bring together a very talented group of riders for 2022. Now it’s about forming a successful team with these athletes, the sportive management as well as the coaches, which will inspire cycling fans with an attacking riding style. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Enrico, because thanks to his continuous good work in the past, it’s now possible for us to tackle new goals at an absolute world class level.” – Rolf Aldag.
Bike Day – October 24th, Binche Fête le Velo!
On October 24th 2021, Binche fête le vélo with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux!
For the fourth time, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux invites its fans for its “Bike Day”! On October 24th 2021, the Main Square in Binche will be transformed in a festive village with the presence of several riders.
Ride in company of the team (parcours of 50 and 80 kilometre accompanied), participate to the animations of our partners, assist to demonstrations and mechanical workshops, visit the team bus or meet our riders on the occasion of the team presentation or autograph session.
Subscribe to participate to the free and guided rides* of 20, 50 and 80 kilometre through our online form:
12h00 : opening of the village « Binche fête le vélo »
From 12h00 : start of the free rides (20, 50, 80km)
13h00 : first start of the guided group ride of 80km
13h30 : second start of the guided group ride of 80km
14h00 : start of the guided group ride of 50km
15h00: first cyclocross initiation for kids
16h00: second cyclocross initiation for kids
From 13h00 : opening of the partners village
From 13h00 : several demonstrations, bike tests, …
From 13h00 : demonstrations and mechanical workshops with the mechanics of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert
17h00 : official team presentation of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert and autograph session
Covid Safe Ticket required
*The organisation declines any responsibility in case of an accident at the Bike Day.
The legends of Flanders | 2021 UCI Road World Championships
Relive the elite road races at the 2021 UCI Road World Championships in Flanders, Belgium with this special video that tells the stories behind the rainbow stripes.
Historic, thrilling, and emotional… the 100th anniversary of the UCI Road World Championships were an edition to remember. Watch this video to get a unique insight into what it means to become a UCI Road World Champion.
More info on the 2021 UCI Road World Championships: https://www.uci.org/race-hub/uci-road…
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