Wout van Aert is showing his good form in the Tour of Britain – Reports, results and video, plus the Gullegem Koerse. Miguel Ángel López on his way back to Astana? – TOP STORY. Movistar Boss Unzué talks López. Alpecin-Fenix wants to know if Mathieu van der Poel can race. Elia Viviani to INEOS-Grenadiers? UCI team ranking and the Belgian team for the World championships. Contract news: Alexey Lutsenko, Odd Christian Eiking, Reuben Thompson, Michael Gogl, Julius Johansen and Hugo Page. Race news: DSM team for the Antwerp Port Epic/Sels Trophy, teams for the Grand Prix of Wallonia and the Nacht van Woerden canceled. Rein Taaramäe talks Vuelta and UAE Team Emirates Vuelta video. Thursday EUROTRASH coffee time.
TOP STORY: Astana an Option for Miguel Ángel López?
Will Miguel Ángel López return to Astana after one season? After his much-discussed abandonment the Vuelta a España, the Colombian may be on his way to the exit at Movistar and a comeback with the Kazakh team.
It is the usually well-connected cycling journalist Ciro Scognamiglio of La Gazzetta dello Sport who has reported the news. According to sports newspaper sources, there is a serious possibility that López will leave Movistar and return to Astana in 2022. With the Kazakh squad, the Colombian made his professional debut in 2015, won a Tour stage and took the podium in both the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta.
Not only López is associated with Astana (now with Premier Tech). The Kazakh team, where Alexander Vinokourov will return to the team management, is also interested in climber Joe Dombrowski. The 30-year-old American’s contract with UAE Team Emirates expires at the end of the season. Earlier this season, Dombrowski took the difficult stage to Sestola in the Giro d’Italia.
López back to Astana?
Tour of Britain 2021
Monday’s AJ Bell Tour of Britain Stage 2 in Devon was anything but a rainy day for Robin Carpenter (Rally Cycling) as the 29-year old Philadelphian rode into the race lead with an impressive solo victory in Exeter city centre as the race bathed in the south west sunshine.
Carpenter dropped breakaway companion Jacob Scott (Canyon DHB SunGod) with 25 kilometres remaining to take the victory by 33 seconds over British duo Ethan Hayter (INEOS Grenadiers) and Alex Peters (Swift Carbon Pro Cycling). Stage One winner Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) came home safely within the same group and now sits 22 seconds behind Carpenter, who is the first American rider to both lead the AJ Bell Tour of Britain and to win a stage of the race. Carpenter was part of a five-rider move with Scott, plus Nicolas Sessler (Global 6 Cycling), Will Bjergfelt (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) and Leon Mazzone (Saint Piran). The latter pair were distanced on the ŠKODA King of the Mountains climb of Rundlestone above Tavistock, with Sessler the next to go before Carpenter shed Scott on one of the numerous small climbs littering the stage.
With an advantage of more than four minutes as he powered on alone victory on Queen Street in Exeter looked assured but Jumbo-Visma took control and gradually brought Carpenter’s advantage down to under a minute. A strong lead-out in the final kilometre from INEOS Grenadiers’ Michal Kwiatkowski for teammate Hayter brought the 55-rider main group close but not enough to prevent Carpenter taking the overall lead. Hayter did move into the Sportsbreaks.com Points jersey while Jacob Scott extended his lead in both the ŠKODA King of the Mountains and Eisberg Sprints classifications. The race moves to Wales for stage three as the 18 teams face an 18.2 kilometre time trial between Llandeilo and the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Carmarthenshire. Van Aert has already spoken of the importance of the stage against the clock for his Jumbo-Visma team who won the modern Tour of Britain’s only previous team time trial stage in 2018.
Stage winner and overall leader, Robin Carpenter (Rally Cycling): “We had 40k to go, we had crested both of the last KoMs, we still had five minutes and there was tonnes of downhill. It seemed like a tailwind too so at that point there’s no chance to be caught. I was falling apart at the end but I made sure to be falling apart by myself. In the end leading the overall is great and it’s a big bonus but we’ll see about making it through the team time trial tomorrow with my team-mates. We were going to hit it hard anyway, We’ve got a couple of guys who are well suited to maybe go for the overall so we’ll do our best and we’ll see what happens but it’s going to be a challenge for sure.”
Tour of Britain Stage 2 Result:
1. Robin Carpenter (USA) Rally Cycling in 4:45:56
2. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:33
3. Alex Peters (GB) Swiftcarbon Pro Cycling
4. Max Kanter (Ger) DSM
5. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
6. Rory Townsend (Irl) Canyon DHB Sungod
7. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
8. Ethan Vernon (GB) Great Britain
9. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
10. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Qhubeka NextHash.
Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 2:
1. Robin Carpenter (USA) Rally Cycling in 9:19:33
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:22
3. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:26
4. Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar at 0:28
5. Alex Peters (GB) Swiftcarbon Pro Cycling
6. Rory Townsend (Irl) Canyon DHB Sungod at 0:32
7. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
8. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Qhubeka NextHash
9. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
10. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step.
INEOS Grenadiers produced an unstoppable ride to win the AJ Bell Tour of Britain’s Carmarthenshire team time trial Stage 3 on Tuesday, a result that moves Londoner Ethan Hayter into the race lead.
The British squad posted a time of 20:22 for the 18.2-kilometre course from Llandeilo to the National Botanic Garden of Wales, finishing 17.5 seconds faster than runners up Deceuninck – Quick-Step. Hayter takes a six-second lead over team-mate Rohan Dennis with stage one winner Wout van Aert a further 10 seconds in arrears, while overnight leader Robin Carpenter (Rally Cycling) drops to 12th overall, now 1:06 down. Behind INEOS Grenadiers and Deceuninck – Quick-Step were a further three UCI WorldTour teams; Team Jumbo Visma, Israel Start-Up Nation, and DSM, plus Alpecin-Fenix as the only other teams within a minute of the leaders.
With Stage Three being a team time trial there was no change in the other classifications with Hayter also holding the Sportsbreaks.com Points jersey while Canyon DHB SunGod rider Jacob Scott holds both the ŠKODA King of the Mountains and Eisberg Sprints jerseys. The race continues in Wales on Wednesday with stage four from Aberaeron on the Ceredigion coast to the Great Orme above Llandudno. The 210-kilometre (130.6-mile) stage ends with a spectacular ascent of the Great Orme’s Marine Drive toll road before tackling the 1.9km, 9.8% average climb that runs parallel to the famous tramway up to the finish.
Part of the winning team and overall leader, Ethan Hayter (INEOS Grenadiers): “It’s amazing, I’ve ended up in a few leader’s jerseys in the last few races now and it makes the racing great. You know to win the team time-trial is a really nice way to do it. Rohan [Dennis] and Kwiato [Michal Kwiatkowski] were the most experienced, and obviously guys like Richie [Porte] have done time trials hundreds of times so they took us out and started us as we meant to go on. It was quite a tough start, then everyone just did short turns and did what they could to hold the speed. Then we hit the last climb pretty hard and held it to the finish.”
3rd overall, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “I’m happy and proud of the way we rode. It is a pity that Pascal had the misfortune to have a puncture in the last kilometre and a half. We had a great plan. Gijs rode himself empty in the beginning in the service of the rest of the team. This allowed us to save some energy. Tony and I were the big engines. We did some intensive turns. We worked together very well. Personally I have been feeling really good here for three days. I am also very pleased with this time trial.”
Tour of Britain Stage 3 Result:
1. INEOS Grenadiers at 20:22
2. Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:17
3. Jumbo-Visma 0:00:20
4. Israel Start-up Nation at 0:43
5. DSM at 0:57
7. Movistar at 1:08
8. Ribble Weldtite at 1:09
9. Trinity Racing at 1:24
10. Arkea-Samsic at 1:28.
Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 3:
1. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 9:40:21
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:06
3. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:16
4. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:23
5. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
6. Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:38
7. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:49
8. Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation
9. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix at 1:03
10. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix.
Wout van Aert moved back into the AJ Bell Tour of Britain race lead after out-sprinting reigning World champion Julian Alaphilippe at the top of the Great Orme, Llandudno, on Wednesday’s Stage 4.
The duo finished on the same time with Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) 1 second further back, while overnight leader Ethan Hayter (INEOS Grenadiers) slipped back to second place overall – just 2 seconds in arrears on van Aert – after a great fightback in the final kilometre from the Brit. Van Aert now enjoys a 2 second lead on Hayter with Alaphilippe and his Deceuninck – Quick-Step team-mate Mikkel Honoré at 11 and 21 seconds respectively, before a dangerous trio of riders in Woods, Rohan Dennis (INEOS Grenadiers) and Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) all within 1 minute. Ethan Hayter retains the Sportsbreaks.com Points jersey thanks to finishing each stage so far in the top five while Jacob Scott (Canyon DHB SunGod) extended his lead in both the ŠKODA King of the Mountains and Eisberg Sprints classifications having once again infiltrated a breakaway.
The break, containing Scott and five others, was kept on a tight leash by the likes of Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma as the race made its way north alongside the Ceredigion coast as the AJ Bell Tour of Britain basked in a third straight day of sunshine and high temperatures. Into the Snowdonia National Park and several other riders, including Movistar’s Marc Soler, bridged across but with the likes of Van Aert and Alaphilippe determined to do battle on the Great Orme their days were numbered. Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar) initiated the fireworks on the ascent of the Marine Drive toll road around the Great Orme’s perimeter but was caught by the Jumbo-Visma led front group at 2 kilometres to go. As the punishing 23% gradient alongside the Great Orme’s tramway took its toll it was Woods and Alaphilippe that went clear but first Van Aert and then Hayter dragged themselves back into contention as the slopes eased. Honoré then started the final sprint with Van Aert jumping onto his wheel before edging out Alaphilippe as the two lunged for the line at the summit.
Stage five sees the peloton heading to Cheshire for a 152.2-kilometre (94.6-mile) stage that begins from the World-leading biotech campus of Alderley Park and finishes outside the famous Golden Gates in Warrington town centre. In a stage of two halves the race visits the Cheshire Peak District with a succession of climbs between Congleton and Adlington before a flat run in to Warrington, with bonus seconds at Eisberg Sprints in Wilmslow and Chelford during the closing stages likely to be fiercely contested.
Stage winner and overall leader, Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “It was painful for two kilometres. At the bottom of the final climb it was very steep. I set myself the goal to survive that tricky part. We knew Alaphilippe and Woods would be the biggest competitors today. When I was in the wheel of those guys, I knew I could rely on my sprint. I was also thinking about the general classification. When Julian attacked, I put in a good sprint. This was a very nice finish. I put this victory high on my list. It may not be the biggest race I have won, but I will be happy with the way I did it for a long time. I am very happy with this victory. I knew it was very important to be in a good position at the bottom of the climb. Woods attacked early. From that moment on there was nothing else to do but ride full speed to the finish. For me this was the most important stage of this tour. This has been a good test for me. On paper today’s course seemed to be just a bit too difficult for me. However, it turns out that with confidence a lot is possible. I tried to motivate the team all day long. They worked hard all day to put me in the best possible position at the foot of the final climb. I was able to go just over the limit to get this win. I had to dig really deep.”
2nd on the stage and 3rd overall, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “We did what we had to do and we discussed before the start. We checked the course, we stayed alert and went on the right track moment in the attack. But in the end, one man was stronger.”
Tour of Britain Stage 4 Result:
1. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma in 5:04:22
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:01
4. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:04
5. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:08
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:13
7. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:16
8. Simon Clarke (Aus) Qhubeka NextHash
9. Sergio Roman Martin Galan (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:27
10. Nicolas Roche (Irl) DSM at 0:29.
Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 4:
1. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma in 14:44:49
2. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:02
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:11
4. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:21
5. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:40
6. Rohan Dennis (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:44
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:56
8. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix at 1:13
9. Mark Donovan (GB) DSM at 1:34
10. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 1:38.
Gullegem Koerse 2021
Stan Van Tricht brought home Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s seventh victory in twelve years at Gullegem Koerse after he was the strongest from a three-man group that managed to stay clear of the bunch for just a handful of seconds and fight for the win at the end of an intense, full gas day of racing.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step was the main instigator of the 77th edition, sending stagiaire Jasob Osborne and Pieter Serry in a break that quickly opened up a one-minute gap over the peloton, from which another group, containing the team’s other stagiaire, Stan Van Tricht, went clear after 30 kilometres. A gap hovering around 30 seconds kept them separate until the last three laps, where the chasers managed to get across, adding more horsepower to the leading group. With the peloton closing in fast on the final lap, one rider went on the attack, but his action was a short-lived one, as he got pegged back just a couple of kilometres from the finish. That was the cue for Serry and Van Tricht to attack, only Ceriel Desal (Bingoal Pauwels) was able to join the Wolfpack duo. Under the flamme rouge, the trio led by 10 seconds, but despite having the bunch breathing down their necks, they held them off and fought for the win, which Van Tricht took after a powerful and impressive sprint.
Race winner, Stan Van Tricht (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “To tell you the truth, I was super happy just to be here, but now that I finished it off and got the victory, it feels incredibly special. This is a team victory, because the atmosphere and the mentality of Deceuninck – Quick-Step is what makes you a winner, I could see that after just a few races with them. I am happy that I could finish it off and also share the podium with a teammate, as Pieter was so strong today and at all times in all the big moves.”
3rd, Pieter Serry (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I am really happy that Stan could win today. He rode a great race and showed what a big engine he has when he managed to come across to our group after that frantic chase. Chapeau to him!”
Gullegem Koerse Result:
1. Stan Van Tricht (Deceuninck – Quick-Step)
2. Ceriel Desal (Pauwels Sauzen – Bingoal)
3. Pieter Serry (Deceuninck – Quick-Step)
Movistar Boss Unzué on López’s Vuelta Abandonment
Movistar boss Eusebio Unzué has responded for the first time on Spanish radio to Miguel Ángel López’s reactions in la Vuelta a España. The Colombian climber climbed off his bike angrily on Saturday, when he was third overall, but had been dropped by the GC contender’s group. “He was off his head,” Unzué told RTVE.
“I have never experienced such a situation in my career,” said Unzué. “But they are humans, and López couldn’t solve the problem that had arisen. He couldn’t close the gap on his competitors. The competition took advantage of the difference they made. Especially Bahrain Victorious, and that caused some frustration that he couldn’t control. López could also have told himself that he could go for sixth or seventh.”
“His attitude cannot be justified. But it’s clear that the frustration of not being able to compete with the best has led to this slump. He couldn’t help himself and let himself go. He has reached a point where he could no longer pedal. He was no longer there with his head,” sums up the team manager.
The team boss noted that his teammates were disappointed in the Colombian’s action. “They worked for three weeks to keep Enric Mas and him at the front. But it is true that he stepped up to the squad and apologised. He was aware that he had acted incorrectly,” Unzué said. “I think big mistakes have a purpose. Something happens so it can’t happen again. But I am sorry that Miguel Ángel has damaged the great image he had built in this Vuelta.” Unzué did not want to say much about possible consequences for the collaboration between López and Movistar. Before that, he wants to wait until the situation has calmed down.
López: From stage winner and 3rd overall to DNF:
Roodhooft: “What does Mathieu’s back say after an effort in race?”
Mathieu van der Poel will make his comeback on Sunday in the Antwerp Port Epic. The Dutchman has been struggling with back problems in recent weeks, but things are now going in the right direction. “Over the past few days, Mathieu has been cycling for up to four hours a day. That gives hope,” said sports director Christoph Roodhooft in conversation with Het Nieuwsblad.
Van der Poel was unable to train properly in recent weeks due to a hernia and obviously also couldn’t race. After his crash in the Olympic Games in Tokyo, he had to miss the mountain bike World championships and the Benelux Tour, among other things. For Van der Poel, however, things now look a lot better. Roodhooft: “Over the past few days, Mathieu has been cycling for up to four hours a day. That is hopeful. There is improvement.”
“In August, he had periods of constant lower back pain throughout the day. That is over. He does intensive exercises with physiotherapist David Bombeke, is being treated by a physiotherapist… His back allows him to cycle again.” Next Sunday, Van der Poel hopes to have good signals in the Antwerp Port Epic, Belgian one-day race, over 47 unpaved sections.
“There were several options to tackle the following weeks. Either he went on another altitude training camp, or he just kept it to (normal) training. But Mathieu himself did not like that. Also because of that uncertainty: a race is still something different than training. Don’t forget that it has been two months since the Tour de France that he has raced on the road. What does that back say after an effort in race? We want to learn that on Sunday.”
The question is also whether the Dutch all-rounder has the form to play a significant role in the final on Sunday. “Besides the back there is his condition. After that fall at the Games, he was never really able to train carefree again,” said Roodhooft. “It was always intermittent. Now two days, then three days, and never in full. That will leave traces. Moreover: Mathieu may be a rider who gets in shape very quickly, we are talking about a World champs. That’s another level.”
Van der Poel has expressed the ambition to participate in the World Championships later this month, but Alpecin-Fenix is keeping all options open. For example, there is the possibility that Van der Poel will be fit for the World championships, but will be at the start of Paris-Roubaix a week later. Roodhooft: “Although Mathieu makes it clear that he wants to do everything he can to compete in the World championships. He may be a Dutchman, but for him this is also a World champs in his own country. He doesn’t want to just let that go.”
It has been a long tome since the Tour de France:
Viviani with INEOS Grenadiers in 2022?
Elia Viviani had interest from Astana-Premier Tech, but the Italian will ride for INEOS Grenadiers in the coming seasons, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The Italian sprinter will soon be signing a three-year contract.
According to the Italian sports newspaper, Viviani’s move to Astana-Premier Tech was done, but the 32-year-old sprinter opts for a return to his old team INEOS Grenadiers. Viviani raced for the British team from 2015 to 2017 and took twenty victories during the time with the team. After three seasons, Viviani left for Deceuninck – Quick-Step.
La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Filippo Ganna has played a key role behind the scenes in Viviani’s imminent move to INEOS Grenadiers. Ganna has been racing for the team for several seasons, is very close to Viviani and has convinced his compatriot to sign. Viviani, who currently rides for Cofidis, will sign a three-year contract later this week. Viviani has not had a very happy time with Cofidis. The Italian was brought in as a big star two years ago by team boss Cédric Vasseur and it was planned he would give the team successes in the Tour de France, but he has only had a few smaller victories.
Viviani – Not many wins with Cofidis:
UCI Team Ranking
The weekly update of the UCI Team Ranking was issued on Tuesday. INEOS Grenadiers is still in the lead after the Vuelta a España and Benelux Tour, ahead of Deceuninck – Quick-Step. Jumbo-Visma is third, but has gained more points from the Spanish Grand Tour.
The Dutch team had a very successful Vuelta, as GC leader, Primož Roglič, took his third consecutive overall victory moving the team up to third. UAE Team Emirates has dropped to fourth. In the top-10; AG2R Citroën and Astana-Premier Tech switch places and Movistar now enters the top-10 at the expense of Trek-Segafredo. Alpecin-Fenix is still seventh.
UCI Team Ranking (on September 7, 2021):
1. INEOS Grenadiers – 12,722 points
2. Deceuninck – Quick-Step – 11,437.8 points
3. Jumbo-Visma – 11,121 points
4. UAE Team Emirates – 9,393.66 points
5. Bahrain Victorious – 9,174 points
6. BORA-hansgrohe – 7,130 points
7. Alpecin-Fenix – 6,169 points
8. AG2R Citroën – 6,061 points
9. Astana-Premier Tech – 5,833 points
10. Movistar – 5,783 points
11. Trek-Segafredo – 5,313 points
12. Groupama-FDJ – 5,055 points
13. Israel Start-Up Nation – 4,649 points
14. BikeExchange – 4,530.33 points
15. Cofidis – 4,008 points
16. Arkéa-Samsic – 3,861 points
17. Education-Nippo – 3,836 points
18. Qhubeka NextHash – 3,457 points
19. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert – 3,442 points
20. Lotto Soudal – 3,403 points
21. DSM – 3,080 points
Alpecin-Fenix is still the best ProTeam in the UCI Team Ranking. The Belgian team now has 6,169 points, with an over 2,000 point lead over Arkéa Samsic. TotalEnergies, B&B Hotels p/b KTM and Uno-X make up the top 5.
Top five ProTeams in the UCI Team Ranking (on 7 September 2021):
7. Alpecin-Fenix – 6,169 points
16. Arkéa-Samsic – 3,861 points
22. TotalEnergies – 2,565 points
23. B&B Hotels p/b KTM – 1,947 points
24. Uno-X – 1,801 points.
UCI top team:
The Belgian Team for the 2021 World Road Championships
The Belgian national coach Sven Vanthourenhout has announced the riders who will be at the start of the World championships in Flanders. Wout van Aert is the team’s leader for the road race on Sunday, September 26.
Van Aert is riding his second World championship on the road. Last year, at his first participation, the Jumbo-Visma rider came home from Imola with two silver medals. He was beaten in the time trial by Filippo Ganna, two days later it was Julian Alaphilippe who beat him to the top step of the podium. The Frenchman won the rainbow jersey after a 12 kilometre solo.
This season, Van Aert won Gent-Wevelgem, the Amstel Gold Race and the Belgian road race championships before the Tour de France. There he won a mountain stage, a time trial and the bunch sprint on the Champs-Élysées. He then traveled to Japan for the Olympics, where he took silver in the road race and finished sixth in the time trial. He is currently riding the Tour of Britain, where he won the opening stage.
Van Aert is the leader the Belgian World championships team it is built around the Jumbo-Visma rider. With Tiesj Benoot, Remco Evenepoel and Dylan Teuns, he has strong riders around him. Tim Declercq will mainly play a role in the first part of the race. Remarkably, the team has no riders from Lotto Soudal, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert and Alpecin-Fenix.
Belgium selection for the 2021 World Cycling Championships
Tiesj Benoot (DSM)
Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka NextHash)
Tim Declercq (Deceuninck – Quick-Step)
Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step)
Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck – Quick-Step)
Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo)
Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious)
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal) – reserve
Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) – reserve
Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroën) – reserve
Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Fenix) – reserve
Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) – reserve.
Elite time trial:
Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step)
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) – reserve.
Van Aert must be a favourite for the rainbow jersey:
Three More Years for Alexey Lutsenko with Astana
Astana Team is pleased to announce that the strongest Kazakh rider in the peloton, Alexey Lutsenko, will remain with the team for the following three seasons (2022-2024). The 28-year-old team leader will continue defending the colours of the national cycling project after nine successful years with the Kazakh WorldTour team.
“I am very happy to continue my professional career in our Kazakh Astana Team. During the years spent in the team, I have managed to become a leader, and for me this is both a responsibility and an incentive to continue to develop, to strive for new heights and every time to try to confirm my leadership position with new victories. This year, I managed to make a big step forward in the fight for the General Classifications both, at big week-long races like the Criterium du Dauphine and at the Grand Tours. My seventh place in the General Classification of the Tour de France motivates me to continue moving in this direction so, in the future, I will be aiming to fight not only for the top ten, but also for the podium. I will enter the new season together with the Astana Team with new ambitions and goals. I am sure that together with the team management and coaches we will be able to determine my main goals for the next seasons, after which we will do our best to achieve what we want,” – said Alexey Lutsenko.
Despite an injury sustained in the beginning of the year at Paris–Nice, Lutsenko has achieved a number of significant results this season. In June, Lutsenko claimed a solid win in the individual time trial at the prestigious stage race Criterium du Dauphine, also taking the second podium place in the General Classification. While in July, the Kazakh leader of the team excelled at the Tour de France, where he finished in a high seventh place in the overall standings, for the first time entering the top 10 at a Grand Tour. Lutsenko also stood on the podium at the one-day race Gran Premio Miguel Indurain.
His career in the Astana Team started in 2013 immediately after his historic victory in the road race of the U23 UCI Road World Championships. Throughout the past nine seasons in the Astana project, Lutsenko took 28 victories, including stage wins at the Tour de France, Vuelta a España, Paris–Nice, Criterium du Dauphine, Tour de Suisse and Tirreno–Adriatico.
“Alexey is a real team leader, who is not only winning and delivering high results, but who is also able to rally the team and lead it at the highest level races. This year, an important step forward was made at the Tour de France, and for the first time in 16 years, a Kazakh rider was among the best ten riders in the overall standings. Now Alexey is entering the age of the heyday of a professional rider, and I am very glad that we will continue this path together. There is a lot of work ahead, we will not stop there, but we will continue to move forward. Our team needs a leader like Alexey Lutsenko, and I am sure that in Astana, Alexey will have everything he needs to achieve the most ambitious goals,” – said Alexandr Vinokurov, 2022 Sports Team Principal.
Three more years for Alexey Lutsenko:
From Vuelta Red to EF Pink, Eiking to Join the Team
EF Education-NIPPO are proud to announce that Odd Christian Eiking will pull on our jersey in 2022.
Eiking has been racing professionally since 2016 and recently came to prominence at this year’s Vuelta a España where he wore the leader’s red jersey for seven stages. “It’s not something I ever imagined. I was hoping for a stage win but instead to have had the red jersey for so long, it was really, really amazing,” he said.
The Norwegian considers what leading a Grand Tour taught him. “It’s changed me as a rider. It gave me more confidence, seeing that it’s possible to stay with some of the best riders. I want to continue on this good path where I am now.”
For Eiking, continuing on this good path means finding new opportunities and new goals. “I need to be in a place where I can grow and develop and EF looks really great for me to develop. It looks like a really good group and I want to be a part of it,” he said.
In addition to leading the Vuelta, he finished second overall at the Arctic Race of Norway and seventh at the Clásica San Sebastián. The Norwegian is coming off of his best season to date and is highly motivated. “I’m excited to meet the team and to win races together. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”
Team CEO Jonathan Vaughters has had his eye on the Norwegian for some time. “I was watching him throughout the season. He was great in San Sebastian. He almost won the Arctic Race of Norway and then went to the Vuelta and had a great run in the leader’s jersey. Almost pulled off a top 10 overall. I watched it all. I was talking to his agent the entire time and an opportunity came up to pull the trigger on it and I did not hesitate,” Vaughters said.
The 26-year-old credits the sport with teaching him the value of discipline. “Cycling is a hard sport, of course. It’s a lot of hard work to get to the top of cycling – I’m not even at the top. To get to where I am now, it’s a lot of hard work,” he said.
Fortunately, Eiking isn’t one to shy away from hard work. “Every aspect of cycling motivates me, whether it’s riding, the good atmosphere within the team, or training outside. It really drives me, especially the competition,” he said. “To be able to travel and see different parts of the world while competing in the biggest races, that’s what really motivates me.”
When Vaughters realised just how keen Eiking was to show his potential, the CEO was enormously impressed. “He didn’t want to talk about a contract until he’d proven himself in races and I thought, ‘Damn, this guy’s got some guts to basically turn down a potential offer and want to show his worth first.’ Very few riders in his position would do that,” Vaughters said. “The fact that he wanted to prove himself, I feel like that’s an attitude that’s going to take him a long way.”
Eiking has always had a competitive streak. As a child, he grew up Nordic skiing, a common pastime given Norway’s snowy winters. “But when you see you’re not reaching the top, you have to find another sport,” he jokes. “Then I started cycling. Cycling was more my thing. I started because a few friends of mine started and I liked to be outside. I was a really energetic kid.”
While racing has taken him all over the world, his home roads remain his favourite. Picture towering glaciers, cascading waterfalls, mountains speckled with trees and rock, and colourful towns dotting the coast. “I really like to ride at home. I’m from Bergen and the landscape on the west coast of Norway is pretty spectacular. It’s where I grew up so I know all the roads. The nature and the roads are really special there,” Eiking said.
“I really look forward to getting started next year. I hope as a team we can win races together. I hope, of course, that I also will be able to win some races. To be on a winning team is great no matter what. It’s a really special feeling. I hope I can have a lot of that feeling next year and in the coming years.”
We hope so, too, Odd! Welcome to the EF team.
Eiking off to the pink.
Groupama-FDJ Keeps Climbing Talent Reuben Thompson
Groupama-FDJ has extended the contract of Reuben Thompson (20) for three seasons, until the end of 2024. The New Zealand climber will mature for another year in the development team before he moves to the top team in 2023.
“Reuben is an investment for the future,” said Yvon Madiot, team director of the Groupama-FDJ WorldTeam. “He won a real climbing race this year with the Giro Valle d’Aosta. He has to improve his learning process and, above all, make progress in the technical field. That’s why we chose to let him ride with the training team for another year to work on this. During the season, he will gradually be integrated into the WorldTeam, more than this year, to have him ready for 2023.”
For Thompson, it is a dream come true. “I feel very good at Groupama-FDJ. With the continental team I can develop in a great environment. I already knew I was a climber, but with the help of the team I worked on the classics and especially on racing in echelons. At the beginning of the year I couldn’t have been competitive in a race like the Baltic Chain Tour, but now I’m more than a climber. I want to keep learning next season to be really ready for the WorldTour.”
Thompson had participated with the Groupama-FDJ WorldTeam a few times this season. He rode the Tour of the Alps in the spring and the Vuelta a Burgos earlier this summer.
Michael Gogl to Alpecin-Fenix for Two Years
Alpecin-Fenix has announced the arrival of Michael Gogl (27). The Austrian rider of Qhubeka NextHash, sixth this year in Strade Bianche, signed a contract for two seasons, until the end of 2023.
“As you can imagine, I am very happy to come to Alpecin-Fenix,” said Gogl. “The team is doing great. I like to race attacking and the philosophy of the team suits me well. I am looking forward to this challenging step in my career. With this team I want to further strengthen the super strong classic team, especially in the one-day races,” said the Austrian.
Gogl is in his sixth season in the professional peloton, where he made his first appearance with Tinkoff in 2016, in the team with Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan. After a year he moved to Trek-Segafredo and with that team he finished eighth in the Amstel Gold Race in 2017. In 2020 he left for NTT Pro Cycling, the current Qhubeka NextHash. He has stood out for his good performances in the one-day races, especially Strade Bianche.
Michael Gogl in the Strade Bianche:
Young Talents Julius Johansen and Hugo Page Join Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
Thanks to the addition of Danish rider Julius Johansen (21) and Frenchman Hugo Page (20), Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux can rely on two young talents from 2022. The two men were one of the best riders in the junior category, the first one was even crowned World Champion in Bergen (Norway) in 2017.
This world title concluded the successful year 2017 in which Julius Johansen also won world titles on the track and the national title on the road and in the time trial, a performance the Danish rider repeated in the U23 category in 2020. The last couple of years, Johansen focused on the team pursuit Olympic Games in Tokyo, in which he won a silver medal with the Danish team last month. The Danes with Johansen have an excellent track record, because after a European title, they were also crowned World Champions in a new world record this spring, a performance which led to the distinction of « Sportive performance of the year » in his country. After two years with Uno-X Pro Cycling Team, the rider from Blovstrød will discover the World Tour with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux until the end of 2023.
Frenchman Hugo Page is also a key rider of his national team for several years. He received the confidence of his national coach to represent France at the upcoming U23 European championships, both in the road race as the time trial. The rider born in Chartres has three UCI victories on his palmarès: La Bernaudeau, the Tour des Portes du Pays d’Othe and a stage at the Tour du Pays de Vaud. Hugo Page has proven his time trial qualities by winning the Chrono des nationals in the national champion’s jersey. After his development with the continental team of Groupama-FDJ, he will start a new chapter with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux for the next two seasons.
Julius Johansen: “I’m on the eve of a major turn in my career. After devoting several years to the track, I will now turn my focus to road racing. Therefore, I wanted to join a team which could get the best out of me. I want to develop myself in the classics, one week stage races or be part of the team’s success in the sprint train for example. The team’s offensive race style with all riders receiving opportunities seduced me. I’m convinced that my role will enable me to show myself. The atmosphere radiated by the team appeals to me and I can’t wait to experience it from inside. Although I work hard and pay attention to each detail, the fun part of cycling is what is most important for me. I’ll prepare myself well this winter in order to be ready to start this new adventure with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in January. I already have some nice victories on my palmarès, but I’m convinced that I’ve still got a long and nice way to go!”
Hugo Page: “I can’t wait to learn and progress with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. A Belgian structure, in which a familiar atmosphere reigns, is with no doubt the best environment for the development of a young cyclist. The long term project of the team immediately attracted me, because the performance team had already a plan for me in mind. I want to take advantage of each opportunity to make progression, especially in the classics and time trials. Living at the performance centre of the French team taught me that I perform best when I’m surrounded by people who are close to me, who support me. So I’m convinced that I’m joining an environment in which I’ll be able to realise my ambition!”
Jean-François Bourlart (CEO): “We based our recruitment on two axes: on the one hand, on experimented riders with international class like Alexander Kristoff and Sven Erik Bystrøm, and on the other hand on young talents. I’m convinced that Julius Johansen and Hugo Page are part of this last category. They’ve shown that they were among the best riders of their generation, and we want to enable them to step up in our structure by offering them an environment adapted to their evolution, both in terms of performance as of coaching.”
Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager): “With Julius Johansen, we welcome a very talented rider. Even though his focus was on the track, he’s shown already excellent results on the road. At the age of 18, he won the general classification of the Olympia’s Tour and finished 5th in the Tour of Denmark. He will be a reinforcement for our team in individual and team time trials, but also for our sprint train. Our race programme will enable him to develop and to become a fixed value in our team. After Sven Erik Bystrøm, Julius is the second former world champion joining our structure. It reinforces our project, which is attiring the biggest talents of the sport. During his first season in the World Tour, we’ll help Julius progress step by step, and the attention he pays to details goes hand in hand with the plans we established for his development.”
“Also with Hugo Page our scouting team did a good job. The next French generation is again very rich in young talents and we’re happy to be able to start working with one of them. I discovered in him the ambition of Guillaume Martin, Biniam Girmay, Quinten Hermans, Lorenzo Rota or Georg Zimmermann, who broke through on the highest level within our structure. We want to achieve the same with Hugo, first by introducing his big engine in the classics and time trials, but also in short stage races and the sprint train. He has a character willing to progress, a young rider focused on his job. On the long term, I’m convinced that he can add stability to our team.”
Antwerp Port Epic / Sels Trophy – SEP 12
Bennie Lambregts – Team DSM coach: “Antwerp Port Epic is normally a very hard but exciting race with several gravel sections spread throughout the day. We could see one, or a group of attackers get away, or a reduced bunch might come to the finish and fight it out in a sprint. We have a mixed team at the race, with three riders from our Men’s program alongside four from our Development program, and it gives the guys a good chance to gain more experience. Tiesj is of course a specialist on this type of terrain and we have Casper who is in good form after the recent win at Ronde van Achterhoek. With the combination of the rest of the team who all enjoy this type of racing, I think we can ride an aggressive race as we search for a good result.”
Tobias Lund Andresen (DEN)
Tiesj Benoot (BEL)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Marius Mayrhofer (GER)
Vegard Stokke (NOR)
Casper van Uden (NED)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA).
The List of Pre-Entered Teams is Complete – Grand Prix of Wallonia 2021
20 teams make up the peloton for the 61st Grand-Prix de Wallonie (1.Pro), i.e. 9 UCI World Teams, 7 UCI Pro Teams, 4 UCI Continental Teams.
The complete list of pre-entered riders can be downloaded from the website by clicking on the image below!
See you on September 15 for an exciting race between Aywaille and the Citadel of Namur!
Nacht van Woerden Canceled Again This Winter
The night race in Woerden will be missing from the cyclo-cross calendar this winter. The organisers of the Utrecht cross had already canceled the 2020 edition and has now also canceled the 2021 edition early. Due to the current corona measures, there is too much financial uncertainty.
The decision was taken in consultation with the KNWU, the UCI, the municipality of Woerden, the Koeiemart project group and the sponsors. “Current regulations simply do not allow an event of our size at the moment. It is not responsible to wait any longer to make a decision, because then many financial risks will arise,” said chairman of the oganisers, Marien Groenendijk.
The ‘Nacht van Woerden’ is one of the few evening races in a cyclo-cross winter. The cross would have been held on Tuesday, October 26, 2021. Now we are looking forward to Tuesday, October 25, 2022. In recent years, Lars van der Haar has been the boss in his own province. The Woudenberger has won the past five editions of the men’s race.
Vuelta – Rein Taaramäe: “I had never experienced such a Grand Tour”
By winning the stage 3 of the Vuelta at Picón Blanco, Rein Taaramäe offered a prestigious victory to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. But on top of that, the Estonian’s success allowed the Belgian team to hold the leader’s jersey on a Grand Tour for the first time in its history. The 34-year-old rider, who joined this year, completed the tenth Grand Tour of his career in Santiago de Compostela, after three unforgettable weeks on Spanish soil.
Rein Taaramäe: “It was a memorable Vuelta, not only for the team, but also for me. In my career, I had the chance to ride in big teams, like Astana and Katusha. But I have never experienced something similar to these three weeks with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. I defended the leader’s red jersey for two stages and then defended our team leader. It was new for me. What we have accomplished together is the result of a massive hard work. The team hired Aike Visbeek as Performance Manager, who established high quality working methods. Our sports director Valerio Piva has worked with the best teams, he has invaluable experience. Together with the riders, we push each other to perform at a higher level. Because we don’t have superstars, but we make up for it with hard work and team spirit, and that makes us stronger.”
“Personally, I needed this stage victory because I know what my qualities are. Even today, at 34, I constantly feel the need to prove that I can win in big races. Achieving such success on a regular basis keeps me competitive at the highest level. In recent years, I was always at the front but in races where it’s hard to see me on the picture, so you tend to not realise what I’m capable of. Thanks to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, I can participate in the most prestigious events on the calendar and show myself. Opportunities like the Giro or the Vuelta this year have enabled me to do that and prove to the world what I can do.”
Rein Taaramäe in Vuelta red:
La Vuelta 2021 | UAE Team Emirates
Three weeks of exciting racing at @La Vuelta and we didn’t come away empty handed: a string of podiums, a special victory for Rafał Majka and an excellent team spirit as we #RideTogether towards our next targets.
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