Paris-Nice might not be having the best of weather, but at least it’s still on the road! All the reports, results and video from France. Wout Van Aert talks coronavirus – Top Story. In other cycling news: No Tour of Catalonia for Mathieu van der Poel, but Tom Dumoulin will be, Flanders Classics ready for cancellation, Sunweb for Bevrijdingsronde van Drenthe, Colorado Classic host communities, teams for women’s Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège and GF Gimondi in Doubt. Big EUROTRASH new look Thursday.
TOP STORY: Wout Van Aert: “We adapt, but it is not easy mentally”
The corona virus is spreading through-out the World and as a result, teams and riders must constantly adjust their schedule. “There are worse things in the world than the occasional change in plans,” said Wout van Aert. “But still: races are often won mentally and the preparation depends on that. Being a top-class athlete is not easy to have to knock over last minute.”
The Jumbo Visma leader spoke to VTM-Nieuws about the double setback of the past few days. “The Strade Bianche was a goal. After having been on the podium for the past two years, I had set my sights on it. The cancellation was a first setback. Then we turned towards Paris-Nice: with Mike Teunissen, Amund Grøndahl Jansen and myself, three riders from the Spring Classics would be added to the selection. I was looking forward to it, but it became the next sacrifice.”
Van Aert understands the decision taken by Jumbo Visma to stay away from the French stage race. “I don’t know enough about the dangers. Of course I would prefer to race, but I am especially happy that the team management is not blindly tackling it and seeing the dangers. After all, we don’t want to get stuck somewhere. A quarantine would really only kill our spring. That’s why I respect the team’s decisions.”
Van Aert is now training in Girona, Spain, together with Maarten Wynants. If everything goes to plan, he will ride a few smaller one-day races in the run-up to the important block of races including: E3 BinckBank, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. “Do I fear for the top classics in my own country? I think that one-day races are a little different from the stage races where you sleep in hotels. In any case, I try to keep the moral high.”
Because a constantly changing schedule is not always easy mentally, Van Aert admits: “Of course there are much worse things than that. But still; races are often won mentally and there is preparation attached to it. Being a top athlete is not easy to have to knock that last minute. In that respect, the guys who race Paris-Nice this week have an advantage.”
Van Aert looking forward to he cobbles:
Stage 2 of Paris-Nice on Monday was split to pieces, with Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT) the winner in Chalette-sur-Loing. The Italian beat Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) from the lead group after 166 kilometres. Top men Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) crashed and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) punctured and both lost time on the overall classification.
Soon after the start, Jonathan Hivert (Total Direct Energie), KOM leader, and José Diaz (Nippo-Delko-One Provence) escaped and in the pouring rain they took more than 3 minutes advantage. Hivert collected the most points on the three climbs of the day, strengthening his lead in the mountains classification. Diaz won the intermediate sprints. At 60 kilometres from the finish and the escape was finished, due to the open countryside and the echelons.
The front group looked like it would stay together to the finish, but 10 kilometres from the finish everything was blown apart again. Schachmann was partly responsible for the echelons, along with Vincenzo Nibali, Jasper Stuyven, Mads Pedersen, Peter Sagan, Pascal Ackermann, Felix Großschartner, Sergio Higuita, Giacomo Nizzolo, Nils Politt, Krists Neilands and Mads Würtz Schmidt. Bora-Hansgrohe was looking for a second stage win in a row as Sagan led Ackermann out in the last kilometre, but the German started his sprint too early. Nizzolo passed Ackermann for stage win. The yellow leader’s jersey remains on the shoulders of Schachmann, who saw Dylan Teuns and Tiesj Benoot lose time. Nizzolo and Stuyven move up to second and third place on GC.
Stage winner and 2nd overall, Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT): “It was really stressful today as we didn’t expect the rain so it was even harder to have it. I’m feeling good since the beginning of the season. We had very good results with the team and they did a good job for me today. What can I say except that I’m looking forward to the next stages. I knew Bora-Hansgrohe had to pull for the GC so I tried to save as much energy as I could and in the end, of course, Ackermann was the sprinter to watch and I took his wheel. I hope we can continue like this.”
Overall leader and 8th on the stage, Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I didn’t have a particularly good day today. I didn’t expect the rain, so it was really cold and difficult in the beginning and then got hot with all the clothing. I’d like to thank the guys that supported me well and brought me to the front several times. In the crosswinds, my legs opened up again and I was riding really well, and was able to make it up to the front. Peter then put in a huge effort to split the field, and in the end, I was up there with Felix, Pascal, and Peter. Felix and I tried to do a lead-out, but today it didn’t quite work out enough to get us the win. We did a very good job today and I extended my lead in the yellow jersey but we certainly will not take anything for granted because I saw that other competitors were also strong today.”
2nd on the stage, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It would have been great to top off today’s incredible team effort with a win but that’s racing. We were in the front when it mattered, we had an excellent position in the finale but victory slipped away on the line. Thanks to the squad for their work today.”
5th on the stage and 4th overall, Sergio Higuita (EF Pro Cycling): “Today I was feeling really good and the team did a great job working to help me, they were all really attentive at every moment keeping an eye on the rival teams, and in the end Sep and Tom really helped me in the crosswinds to make sure I didn’t lose time to the leader, Schachmann and we even picked up some bonus points towards the points jersey. I’ve been in other races where I’ve arrived in the sprint group, therefore I go in with a bit of confidence but in the end I didn’t have the strength to win, but I feel like I didn’t do bad with the riders who were there. I think that tomorrow is going to be another tough day where there will be splits in the bunch from the crosswinds, but in general I’m feeling good and strong, these kinds of stages are some of the most difficult for me and for me to be feeling this good gives me confidence heading into the mountains.”
Fabien Doubey (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “It was again a nervous day because of the wind, the rain and the cold. The breakaway never had more than 3 minutes of advantage, and Bora worked to bring the breakaway back with 60 kilometre to go. We knew that the course was exposed to the wind and that there was a risk of crosswinds. Unfortunately I was caught behind the crash of Quintana. With Andrea Pasqualon we tried to bridge the gap to the first group, but we never came closer than 50 meter from them. We limited the damage. I’m very happy about my feeling, which is getting better day by day. Another nervous day is awaiting us. Afterwards, we’ll have to listen to our legs in the time trial and in the climbs. I’m confident, and I can’t wait for the battle in the climbs! But we need to stay concentrated for tomorrow’s stage, and stay in the front as good as possible. The positioning isn’t easy in a World Tour race, but I want to continue my good performances.”
Paris-Nice Stage 2 Result:
1. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT in 3:49:57
2. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
4. Nils Politt (Ger) ISU Nation
5. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling
6. Mads Schmidt Würtz (Den) ISU Nation
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:03
8. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
9. Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. Krists Neilands (Lat) ISU Nation.
Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 2:
1. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe in 7:22:06
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT at 0:15
3. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo at 0:21
4. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling at 0:23
5. Nils Politt (Ger) ISU Nation at 0:25
6. Mads Schmidt Würtz (Den) ISU Nation
7. Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:28
8. Krists Neilands (Lat) ISU Nation
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
10. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Sunweb at 0:38.
Stage 3 of Paris-Nice on Tuesday was won by Iván García (Bahrain-McLaren). The Spaniard was the fastest finisher in La Châtre, beating Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Andrea Pasqualon (Circus-Wanty Gobert) and Cees Bol (Sunweb) into the lower places after a chaotic sprint. Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) held the overall leader.
The big question is, will Paris-Nice finish next Sunday in Nice, as the corona virus keeps spreading through France. At the start of the longest stage of this year’s race at 214 kilometres, it looked to be another day for the sprinters due to the flat course, the terrible weather conditions were also going to make a difference. There was also a strong headwind at the start, so the speed was low. Tom Devriendt (Circus-Wanty Gobert) decided to go on a solo adventure and had almost ten minutes on the peloton at one moment.
At the first intermediate sprint in Châtillon-Coligny, Giacomo Nizzolo, stage 2 winner and second overall, took two bonus seconds, reducing his gap on Maximilian Schachmann to 13 seconds. At the front; Devriendt continued to ride at a steady pace, but could not prevent the lead from shrinking. At 40 kilometres from the line the difference was only 3 minutes. And with 30 to go, the sprinter teams captured Devriendt. In the peloton there were a few crashed and echelons, but the race still together with 20 kilometres to go.
World champion, Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) wanted to pick up bonus seconds at the second and final intermediate sprint in Saint-Août. After the sprint, Deceuninck – Quick-Step took over control with Julian Alaphilippe on the front and tried to cause echelons. Even with strong riders like Kasper Asgreen and Yves Lampaert they failed in their plan, but Richie Porte lost his place. Due to the high pace set by Deceuninck – Quick-Step, the other teams joined in as they sped towards the last kilometre.
Six kilometres from the finish, Niki Terpstra and Bryan Coquard were involved in a crash. At the front, no team was able to provide an ideal lead-out, which resulted in a very chaotic sprint on the streets of La Châtre. Deceuninck – Quick-Step were working hard for Sam Bennett for the win, but the Irish champion crashed heavily in the last 100 meters after a clash with Hugo Hofstetter and Caleb Ewan. Peter Sagan was placed well with 200 meters to go. The Slovak looked to be going for the win, but the triple World champion was unable to get near García.
Stage winner, Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain McLaren): “It’s amazing. It’s a race I really like so it’s a nice victory. I was surprised to beat Peter Sagan. I managed to find the right place to go. I went full gas. I suffered in the rain like everybody else. But I really like these conditions. Hopefully, it’ll go on.”
Overall leader, Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “The race essentially had two parts. The first half was pretty relaxed, everything was under control and Juraj did a particularly good job there. Just before the final, it became very hectic, with the field splitting, and at the end of all of this, Peter finished second in the sprint. I was able to keep my lead in the overall standings, but tomorrow is the time trial, which will cause changes in the overall standings, but of course we will do our best there, and I’ll try to defend the jersey as long as I can.”
2nd on the stage and 10th overall, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Third stage and third day of racing in cold and rainy conditions. Although it was easier at the beginning, there was a lot of tension and nerves in the final kilometres. Most of the sprinters found themselves without many teammates in the final stretch, so it was more of an individual battle. Unfortunately, I was at the front quite early and I wasn’t able to keep the pace to the finish line but I took a strong second place. Max was also well protected and finished in the leading group, keeping the yellow jersey.”
3rd on the stage, Andrea Pasqualon (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “I’ve chosen for Sagan’s slipstream, but because of the headwind everybody waited a long time to start their sprint. Garcia Cortina was the first one to start his final effort, and maybe I also had to begin my sprint earlier. I had good legs and my sprint was fast. The weather circumstances were better than the previous days, but the nervousness remained the same. Everybody wanted to stay at the front. Tomorrow will be different. I want to test my shape in the time trial, even though I know it’s good!”
Crash victim, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I lost some skin and needed those stitches, because when I went into the barrier, I hit the metal part, but luckily, everything else seems pretty ok. In the beginning, as I was lying on the road and there was a bit of shock, as I had no idea how serious it was, but it’s a good thing nothing is broken. I will continue the race and start Wednesday’s individual time trial. I’m quite happy it will be a short stage tomorrow and I hope things will turn around for me at some point.”
Paris-Nice Stage 3 Result:
1. Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Bahrain McLaren in 5:49:55
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Circus-Wanty Gobert
4. Cees Bol (Ned) Sunweb
5. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
6. Rudy Barbier (Fra) ISU Nation
7. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
8. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT
9. Mads Schmidt Würtz (Den) ISU Nation
10. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale.
Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 3:
1. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 13:12:01
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT at 0:13
3. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo at 0:24
4. Mads Schmidt Würtz (Den) ISU Nation at 0:25
5. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF at 0:26
6. Nils Politt (Ger) ISU Nation at 0:28
7. Krists Neilands (Lat) ISU Nation
8. Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:31
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
10. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:36.
Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb) won the Paris-Nice individual time trial Stage 4. On the slightly more than 15 kilometre test around Saint-Amand-Montrond, the Dane stopped the clock after 18 minutes 51 seconds, the fastest time of the day. Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished second to retained the yellow jersey.
Jonathan Hivert (Total Direct Energie) was the first rider down the start ramp. The Frenchman finished in 21:32, not fast enough to be a problem. Other early starters such as Tom Devriendt (20:53) and Ben O’Connor (19:54) were faster. Alexis Gougeard, Pierre Latour and Jan Tratnik also led the race for some time, but it was Thomas De Gendt (19:04) who set the bar high.
Renowned time trial riders such as Lawson Craddock, Richie Porte and Bob Jungels lost time, Victor Campenaerts also couldn’t match the time of De Gendt. The holder of the world hour record was 4 seconds short. Pello Bilbao was looking fast, the Spaniard was three seconds faster than De Gendt at the middle point, but he could not hold his lead until the finish. After Bilbao, 36 more riders had to come in and things started to look brighter for De Gendt, but he wouldn’t win. Kasper Asgreen was slightly slower than the Belgian at the intermediate point, but the Dane managed to turn his deficit into a lead at the finish. He put 19:03 on the board and took the fastest time by eight-tenths of a second. But there were more fast men on the course.
Julian Alaphilippe had a similar split as Asgreen, but had to give in to his Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammate in the second part by almost 30 seconds. Søren Kragh Andersen was faster by 3 seconds and added more in the second part. With no less than twelve seconds, the Sunweb rider took the fastest time and was the first to go under nineteen minutes with 18:51.
Dylan Teuns, last month winner of the time trial in the Ruta Del Sol, again seemed to be riding fast against the clock and was 1 second faster at the intermediate point than Kragh Andersen. However, he would eventually lose a lot of time, more than 30 seconds in the second part. There were ten more riders to come in, including overall leader Maximilian Schachmann. The German Bora-Hansgrohe rider, last year’s winner of the opening time trial in the Tour of the Basque Country, was the last rider to start and set the fastest intermediate time, 7 seconds faster than Kragh Andersen. However, the leader lost time on the Dane, who won the stage victory. Schachmann was just under 6 seconds short, but finished second.
Schachmann had an excellent day and now has a 58 second lead over Kragh Andersen, who moved to second position thanks to the victory. In third place is Felix Großschartner, another Bora-Hansgrohe rider. The Austrian is 1:01 off the yellow jersey. Nils Politt is at 1:05 and Sergio Higuita at 1:06 in fifth place.
Stage winner and 2nd overall, Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb): “To be honest it’s a big relief, I finally got my TT victory so I’m really happy. I almost can’t believe it but I was really aiming for it today. I did my best and my legs felt good, so I’m really happy with the outcome. I don’t like really straight TTs; I also want some hills, technical parts and tempo shifts so it was a super good parcours for me.”
Overall leader and 2nd on the stage, Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was a bit of a day of mixed feelings – the satisfaction of extending my overall lead and the slight disappointment in missing the stage win. At the top, I could see I was leading. I wanted to improve on my performance in Algarve two weeks ago, where I kept a steady pace throughout the stage, while here I went all-in on the climbs. I think Kragh was excellent today – really fast – and I was very close, so I’m satisfied. I extended my overall lead but I will fight until the end, as much as I can in order to defend the yellow jersey. I have already checked the climbs, I know what lies ahead, it will be hard but I think there is a chance.”
4th, Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren): “Today I was really motivated to do a great job in the TT. It’s in the last three years that I started to work on TT seriously when I have seen that I have good possibilities. This year I was feeling I have to achieve my important goal – to win my first TT. Already in Andalusia, I was quite close, only 3″ behind Dylan, and Today I just went to win the TT because I knew that the parcours was perfect for me. In the end, 15” seems an important gap, but when another possibility arrives, I will try to go for the win. This is a really important discipline for me. Also, I am very motivated being with a new team because I know that we have all the resources to continue working on this and we are going to achieve the goals. I am happy with the result today.”
3rd overall, Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I’m happy with my performance today because I’m now third overall. But I will continue to support Max, with the plan being to protect him over the next stages and to try to defend his jersey. He is in very good shape and has a lead of almost one minute. There are certainly many difficult stages ahead of us, and there are also many strong riders in attendance here, but we have a good chance now.”
10th on the stage, Lawson Craddock (EF Pro Cycling): “It was definitely an intense course, there were two climbs right off of the back and then by the time you got to the descent it was basically three kilometres full gas to the finish, so not much pacing involved I would say, it was about ripping it up the climbs and recover on the descents then holding to the end. I wouldn’t say I’m overly satisfied with my result, I think the days are over for me when I can be happy with just a top 10, but I think for me it’s kind of a good way to start to work on that process of getting into the zone for a TT and figuring out exactly what works best for me and gives me something to work off of for the time trials coming up. I don’t think I was feeling the last few days more than anyone else in the peloton, I think it was just one of those days where the very top guys were a step above everyone else and then the rest of the peloton was all bunched up into pretty small time gaps, so that leaves your margin for error pretty low on days like today. At the end of the day you want to win and you’re kinda disappointed when you don’t or don’t come close to what your expectations were going into the day, but you just have to take what you can from the race and keep progressing, and the most important thing for us was for Sergio to have a good time trial that sets him up well for rest of the race. So now I’m just going to turn my focus on that and help him achieve the best possible result.”
22nd overall, Fabien Doubey (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “I started my time trial well, on the dynamic first part, a course suiting me well. By starting very fast, I tried to gain as many seconds as possible. But I was in troubles in the second part. It’s still good result for me. I didn’t really work for time trialling, by adapting my position or by regularly training on the bike like the specialists do. I maybe should invest more in this discipline in order to limit the damage, but I stay satisfied about my performance. My feeling is still excellent. On Thursday a long and rough day is awaiting us. Then we’re heading to three hilly stages, suiting me better than the war in the crosswinds!”
Paris-Nice Stage 4 Result:
1. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb in 18:51
2. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:06
3. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:12
4. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:13
5. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:15
6. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) NTT at 0:17
7. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb at 0:18
8. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:26
9. Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJ at 0:27
10. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Pro Cycling at 0:29.
Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 4:
1. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe in 13:30:58
2. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:58
3. Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:01
4. Nils Politt (Ger) ISU Nation at 1:05
5. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling at 1:06
6. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-McLaren at 1:10
7. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Sunweb at 1:11
8. Mads Schmidt Würtz (Den) ISU Nation
9. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT at 1:15
10. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb at 1:16.
No Tour of Catalonia for Mathieu van der Poel
Mathieu van der Poel is training again in Spain. “Of course his condition is slightly less than a year ago, but that makes sense,” said team manager Christoph Roodhooft. The Van der Poel program for the coming weeks is not yet 100% fixed. What is certain: he will not ride the Tour of Catalonia.
Part of the Alpecin-Fenix team will fly back to Belgium on Thursday and will start in the Ronde van Drenthe next Saturday. Included in that team will be Belgian champion Tim Merlier and Italian Sacha Modolo. Like Van der Poel, Modolo has also recovered sufficiently.
Van der Poel will fly back to Belgium on Saturday. “How is he doing? Reasonable. He is not yet in perfect shape, but that is only logical,” said Roodhooft from Benicasim, the team’s training base in Spain. “Mathieu has been sick for a full week, but that is not a disaster. It will be a few weeks until the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.”
A number of things are not going well. “Not just because of the flu, but also because of the corona virus. Strade Bianche wasn’t for Mathieu, but perhaps Milan-San Remo, not in top form, but to participate. Both we as a team and Mathieu were looking forward to his debut in the Primavera. Earlier, he should have ridden the Omloop. These are things that we cannot control, but that are part of the life of a top athlete.”
They are not yet clear at Alpecin-Fenix about Van der Poel’s program for next week. With Nokere Koerse, the GP Denain and Bredene Koksijde Classic there are a number of options. But it is for the team to wait and see how the situation with the corona virus continues to evolve. What is certain: unlike earlier reports, Van der Poel will not start in the Tour of Catalonia, the team management confirmed. The E3 BinckBank Classic, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, respectively, may follow.
When will we see the real MVDP:
Tom Dumoulin: “I hope to return to Catalonia, but nothing is certain at the moment”
Tom Dumoulin hopes to start racing for Jumbo-Visma for the first time in the Tour of Catalonia (23-29 March). Although the question of whether the race will continue is going on as the corona virus continues to spread in Europe. “I hold my heart for what is to come,” said Dumoulin in an interview with De Telegraaf.
Dumoulin has been training on the Spanish Island of Tenerife for almost two weeks, preparing for his first race of 2020 on the well-known volcano El Teide. Dumoulin was initially to start his season in the Tour of Valencia, but this was not possibly due to a parasite in his intestines. Dumoulin was starting to feel more and more like a cyclist. “I felt really great in December, I was going like a train that month. At that time I was very confident and looking forward to the new season, but in January this year it got worse,” he looked back on a period of physical misery for the first time.
Dumoulin was hoping for more: “I had a bit of a plan in mind and I really wanted to ride the Tour of Valencia. I also didn’t feel like a dog, but I just wasn’t able to act as a top athlete.” He went to see a nutritionist with his problem. “We initially thought of some sort of food intolerance, but I continued to suffer from intestinal cramps and fatigue. I missed about twenty percent in energy. On the plane to Spain I had to go to the toilet every ten minutes. I then decided to go home immediately.”
Not much later the actual problem came to light. “After examining my stools, I found that I was suffering from a parasite,” said Dumoulin, who had to follow an antibiotic course for the following weeks. “Things have really been moving in the right direction in the last two weeks. The most important thing is that I am happy again.”
Dumoulin looks forward to the Tour of Catalonia, because he wants to make his debut for Jumbo-Visma in the seven-day stage race. The big question, however, is whether we will have a 100th edition of the Catalan competition this year, since the Spanish government has decided to keep all sports competitions behind closed doors until 5 April. The coronavirus causes uncertainty in the peloton, Dumoulin emphasises. “I hope to return to Catalonia, but at the moment nothing is certain. I expect a very crazy spring. For most riders, it is very frightening in this uncertain situation. My advantage is that there has been no clear plan for my return for almost a year. Maybe I will get the best out of this period.”
Tom Dumoulin in Jumbo-Visma colours:
CEO Flanders Classics: “We take into account cancellation classics”
Various cycling races around the world have been postponed or canceled due to the corona virus. Cycling races are also under pressure in Belgium. Flanders Classics, organiser of six major spring races, also takes into consideration that races could be canceled into account.
“I think it’s normal for us to worry,” said Tomas Van Den Spiegel, CEO of VTM. “We must not pretend that nothing is wrong. We are also preparing for a large number of scenarios. We owe that to ourselves and all stakeholders of cycling. With regard to the major events, there are no additional guidelines from the government, we are waiting for that. At the same time, we can take preventive measures anyway. This goes from hand gel to setting safety parameters and possibly closing the cyclists park. We are also working on crowd management. ”
Van Den Spiegel shares the concern, but he also says that it is mostly waiting for him. “We also just have to listen to the people who know more about it. Then I mainly look at the Ministry of Health and virologist Marc van Ranst. We now have a time frame from a few weeks to our competitions. It is difficult to estimate what will happen. We have to keep our finger on the pulse every day, try to anticipate and adjust ourselves if necessary. ”
“When we look at what is happening in neighbouring countries, we can only take cancellations into account. For the time being, we will continue to work to ensure that everything is ready if we can still race. It would have major economic consequences, but that should not be our counsellor. We are not going to wait until the last day to make a decision.
In the coming weeks, Flanders Classics is organising: Gent-Wevelgem (29 March), Dwars door Vlaanderen (1 April), Ronde van Vlaanderen (5 April), Scheldeprijs (8 April) and the Brabantse Pijl (15 April).
Deceuninck – Quick-Step in Greece for Training Camp
New training ground for six of the team’s riders
João Almeida, Andrea Bagioli, Davide Ballerini, Ian Garrison, Alvaro Hodeg and Pieter Serry are currently in Greece for a training camp under the guidance of trainer and multiple Greek national champion Vasilis Anastopoulos and will spend a total of eleven days in the Loutraki area, a coastal town on the Gulf of Corinth, where training conditions are perfect according to Anastopoulos.
“It really is an ideal place for training. The roads are good and with very little traffic. That’s a big advantage. It’s also a quiet area. Moreover, the weather conditions are excellent, we have sunny weather with temperatures between 16 and 23 degrees.”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step are the first World Tour team that have traveled to Greece for a training camp. With the gap that has opened up in the team’s calendar, a unique opportunity to explore new horizons has presented itself, says Anastopoulos: “It’s only appropriate for an international team like ours to discover new places and less known cycling countries. So, we decided to stage a training camp in Greece for the first time in the team’s history.”
Having organized multiple camps in the area with his former team, Anastopoulos sees nothing but benefits for the six riders joining him in his homeland. “I know all the roads and their data. It really is an ideal place for training. You can find everything in the region, a variety of flat roads but also hills and climbs. In one of the coming days we’ll go from sea level to 1300 meters altitude.”
It goes without saying that six riders with different profiles and season goals require a different training approach. “We have prepared a mixed program for our riders. Some days we will work on flat sections with Alvaro and Davide. Some other days we’ll put to work our climbers, who are preparing the Volta a Catalunya, while the other guys are preparing for Nokere Koerse. Almeida has just come back from injury so we’ll take it easy with him in these first few days. But they are all excited to discover Greece and a different training ground. It’s something new for them. Of course, me being a local I know the country and the language, so that helps a lot. Another big advantage is the presence of two of our main technical partners, Specialized and Shimano, through their local distributors, and the photographers of MBike, who are joining us during the training rides. Shimano Greece will provide us with a technical support car during our stay in Loutraki, a huge help”, concluded Anastopoulos.
Bevrijdingsronde van Drenthe – MAR 14
Roy Curvers – Team Sunweb coach: “We head to this race with a nice mix of riders from our Men and Development programs. It gives our young riders the opportunity to learn from their older WorldTour colleagues in a hectic race like Bevrijdingsronde van Drenthe. With the cobbled sections and narrow climbs of the VAM-berg it is a race that is really suitable for our team. We have lots of different cards to play, with several guys who can finish well in a sprint or reduced sprint. This gives us an opportunity to ride aggressively and we want to be active at the front throughout the race.”
Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (DEN), Enzo Leijnse (NED), Jarno Mobach (NED), Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED), Casper Pedersen (DEN), Jasha Sütterlin (GER), Casper van Uden (NED).
Asbjørn Kragh Andersen in Het Nieuwsblad:
CCC Team Returns to Racing at Ronde van Drenthe
CCC Team will return to the start line this Saturday at Ronde van Drenthe, where the team’s young riders will have the opportunity to take on the cobbles.
“We are happy to return to racing at Ronde van Drenthe. This has been a complicated time and it is clear the evolving COVID-19 situation will continue to have an impact on professional cycling. Our priority throughout this time has been the health and safety of our riders and staff. At a one-day race, where the team has more control over the environment, we believe we can take the necessary precautions to race in a safe environment for all parties. Of course, we all want to race and we will be glad to see the CCC Team jersey back on the start line,” CCC Team President Jim Ochowicz said.
CCC Team will line up at the one-day race with a diverse and motivated roster, including Polish champion Michał Paluta, Sports Director Steve Bauer explained.
”Ronde van Drenthe is a great race to test our riders’ form going into the important cobblestone Classic season. This race has all the elements and demands of a Dutch “Paris-Roubaix” with its forested cobble sections. Our goals will be to build our team cohesion and go for the win. Some of the riders in the group have experienced this race before which will help us to devise our strategy. The team is certainly motivated to race hard with the recent race calendar adjustments”, Bauer said.
Kamil Małecki returns to racing after a strong start to his first season at the WorldTeam level.
“After starting my season with Etoile de Besseges and Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia, I came back to Poland and continued training. I felt really good at those races and I did a good job afterwards to improve my shape and stay healthy. The parcours is unique as one open or cobbled section can change the scenario for the entire race. From the profile, it looks like the route is perfect for sprinters so the teams with fast guys in their rosters will be controlling the race. I expect the race will be particularly hard as with quite a few races cancelled, teams will send strong rosters,” Małecki said.
Polish National Champion Michał Paluta is also looking forward to testing his legs in The Netherlands.
“I started my season with two stage races in France and after a short break, I have focused on building my shape for the upcoming Classics. With Ronde van Drenthe, I will start the next part of the season so I hope that I will have strong legs. Looking at the parcours, I think there are many scenarios for this race soit’s good that we will have such a diverse roster. We will have to tackle cobble sections, short climbs, and a flat finish. As always, I’m happy to race in my Polish champions jersey,” Paluta added.
Ronde van Drenthe (14th March)
Josef Černý (CZE), Kamil Gradek (POL), Kamil Małecki (POL), Michał Paluta (POL), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL), Łukasz Wiśniowski (POL), Georg Zimmermann (GER)
Sports Director: Steve Bauer (CAN).
Polish National Champion Michał Paluta:
The Colorado Classic® presented by VF Corporation Announces 2020 Host Communities
The August race will course through Snowmass Village, Avon, Boulder and Denver.
The Colorado Classic® presented by VF Corporation today announced the four cities that will host the prestigious race this summer. At a press event at the Colorado State Capitol, race organisers and State Governor Jared Polis welcomed Snowmass Village, Avon, Boulder and Denver as the host communities for the 2020 race.
Held August 27-30, 2020, the Colorado Classic is the premier women’s road race in the Western Hemisphere and North America’s only stand-alone women’s professional stage race. After a successful 2019 debut as a women’s-only race, organisers will continue to provide unheralded financial support, global exposure and competitive opportunities for the best female cyclists from around the world, while also showcasing some of the most scenic surroundings Colorado has to offer.
While the courses have yet to be finalised in each location, the four-day event will follow iconic Colorado routes featuring tough climbs, premier gravel roads, spectacular sprints and fan-favourite circuits. With public events held at each location, the race will truly be a four-day, family friendly celebration of health, fitness, community and of course, some Colorado pride.
“We are thrilled to have such a strong line-up of communities for the 2020 event. Each market offers a notable connection to pro cycling, an ideal landscape for competitive racing and a strong commitment to bringing unique and engaging events to their community.” said Lucy Diaz, CEO of RPM Events Group, LLC. “Each partner also aligns with our mission to advance women in sports and we are excited to work together to build out programming around each race stage that celebrates the athletes and engages the community.”
“We are happy to support the Colorado Classic as it continues to build momentum as the pinnacle event for women’s cycling in North America,” added Cathy Ritter, director of the Colorado Tourism Office. “The latest race route will not only create a challenging course for these top women cyclists, but showcase some of the most beautiful landscapes in Colorado.”
The 2020 Colorado Classic host cities are:
– August 27th, Snowmass Village. The race will kick off in the mountain town of Snowmass Village, approximately 200 miles west of Denver. Surrounded by many of Colorado’s most beautiful mountain peaks, this town is home to world class skiing and snowboarding in the winter, as well as some of the top whitewater rafting, fly fishing, hiking, and events that North America has to offer in the summer. The race course here will be a dynamic one with screaming descents, punchy hills, two larger climbs with gravel sections and a climb to the finish line! 10 out of the 60 miles will be on gravel.
“Snowmass Village is a world renowned destination for biking,” says Rose Abello, Tourism Director, Snowmass Tourism. “We were recently designated as an IMBA Gold-Level Ride Center for our mountain biking, and we look forward to shining a light on our fabulous road riding by having pro women enjoy Snowmass and the area.”
– August 28th, Avon. For the second stage, the race returns to Avon, at the base of Beaver Creek Resort and eight miles west of Vail. Where the city may be lacking in oxygen, it makes up in generosity. At the 2019 event, the crowd-sourced “Bonus Cash Prime” — benefitting the winning rider and a local non-profit — raised an impressive $10,000, one of the largest in history of women’s cycling.
“The Avon community and our partners Beaver Creek and Bachelor Gulch welcome the return of the Colorado Classic this year. We are thrilled to host this amazing race that features top female athletes from around the world.” Mayor Sarah Smith-Hymes.
After last year’s riveting race action and surprise winner, the course will again be a hybrid. Part fast and flat criterium, and part mountain stage with grades up to 14%, the final descent and run for the finish line will be epic.
– August 29th, Boulder. On the third day, the race will travel to the cycling mecca of North America: Boulder. Just 30 minutes outside of Denver and tucked into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder has it all: acres of vast open space, mountainous terrain and a quaint cityscape with a rich foodie and university culture.
“We’re pleased to host the third day of the Colorado Classic,” said City Manager Jane Brautigam. “Boulder has a long history of professional cycling and is home to many of the world’s top cyclists. This is an excellent opportunity to see elite athletes competing on the Front Range and showcasing Boulder’s amazing community.”
While Boulder hasn’t hosted a professional road race since 2014, many racers call Boulder home, and the community is expected to be out in large. For the race action, organisers have designed a route with something for every type of racer. The course will feature nine miles of rolling gravel roads, one steep climb, and a potential for a sprint finish.
– August 30th, Denver. The Mile High City has been a generous host for the finale of the Colorado Classic for the past three years, and continues to be a fan-favourite. Large crowds flock to the state capital to watch riders zoom by dozens of times before one final fast-and-furious dash to the finish line.
“It is an honour for Denver to once again support and host the grand finale of the Colorado Classic,” said Rachel Benedick, Executive Vice president of Sales & Services at VISIT DENVER. “We are proud to be a part of this trailblazing, world-class women’s race, and we look forward to welcoming the riders and fans for another exciting event and finish in The Mile High City.”
For this year’s stage, the course will be a nod to its predecessor, the USA Pro Challenge. As riders battle for the last remaining bonus seconds or stage glory, the Denver Circuit is sure to offer an exhilarating sprinter and spectator-friendly finale.
The full routes in each community will be released in the coming months, including key details for riders and spectators about start/finish locations, mileage, circuit laps, elevation changes, sprints and Queen of the Mountain (QOM) climbs.
Race fans are encouraged to see the action live by visiting these wonderful communities. However, for those unable to travel, the Colorado Classic will once again offer free start-to-finish TV streaming coverage to showcase the world-class racing and its surroundings.
To learn more about the Colorado Classic, visit www.coloradoclassic.com or follow @coloradoclassicpro on Instagram and Facebook.
Teams Selection for 2020 Flèche Wallonne Women and Liège-Bastogne-Liège Women
Ardennes classics’ organisers selected the teams for the next the Flèche Wallonne Women (April 22nd) and the next Liège-Bastogne-Liège Women (April 26th).
The 23 following teams are selected for both races:
Alé BTC Ljubljana (Ita)
Canyon //SRAM Racing (Ger)
CCC – Liv (Pol)
FDJ Nouvelle – Aquitaine Futuroscope (Fra)
Mitchelton Scott (Aus)
Movistar Team Women (Esp)
Team Sunweb (Ger)
Trek – Segafredo (USA)
Continental Women Teams:
Bigla – Katusha (Sui)
Boels Dolmans Cycling Team (Ned)
Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team (Rus)
Lotto Soudal Ladies (Bel)
Parkhotel Valkenburg (Ned)
Valcar – Travel & Service (Ita)
Ceratizit – WNT Pro Cycling Team (Ger)
Astana Women’s Team (Kaz)
Charente – Maritime Women Cycling (Fra)
Doltcini – Van Eyck Sport UCI Women Cycling (Bel)
Team Arkéa (Fra)
Team Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank (USA)
Aromitalia – Basso Bikes – Vaiano (Ita)
Chevalmeire Cycling Team (Bel)
The following team is selected for the Flèche Wallonne Women :
Massi – Tactic Women Team (Esp).
The following team is selected for Liège-Bastogne-Liège Women :
Hitec Products – Birk Sport (Nor).
GF Gimondi Suspends Registrations as the Event is in Doubt
The organisers of the event to be held in Bergamo on Sunday, May 10th, are concerned by the unfolding of the COVID-19 outbreak. “We must verify whether the conditions exist and make a decision quickly”
The significant spread of the COVID-19 virus (Coronavirus) recorded in the last few days in the Bergamo area has led the 24th Gran Fondo Internazionale Felice Gimondi Bianchi organisers to the decision of temporarily suspend the registrations for the event to be held on Sunday, May 10th.
“This is a due and responsible act” – explained Giuseppe Manenti, head of GM Sport organising company – “seeing how the outbreak is affecting some of the areas crossed by the event. We believe that sport can’t remain a world apart in front of a similar emergency.”
There are still more than two months to the Bergamo competition, loved by Italian and foreign cyclists for the quality of its organisation “but that’s part of the reason why we need to ponder our decisions” – Manenti said. “We are used to offer the maximum level of safety to our participants, and this implies the employment of a significant number of people, largely volunteers, and adequate equipment. We have to consider the risk that large groups of assistants may be called urgently to carry out higher priorities on the day of the event, putting us in the position of not being able to guarantee the usual safety standards.”
GM Sport will take the next few days to assess the situation and make a final decision, that could possibly lead to the cancellation of the event, as already happened to other similar competitions in Italy: “We will act with the greatest sense of responsibility” – Manenti concluded – “evaluating every possible solution to protect our loyal participants. We were not lucky in 2019, due to bad weather, and we are even less this time, in the edition in which we wanted to celebrate the Gimondi legend. But I am sure that Felice would be sharing our feeling: every priority should be reserved for those whose health is affected at the moment.”
GF Gimondi roads helicopter view:
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