The sun is setting on the 2021 season, but we still have some racing: Giro del Veneto and the Coppa Agostoni with video. l’Alpe d’Huez in the 2022 Tour de France TOP STORY. UCI team rankings and Eddy Merckx on Tadej Pogačar. Rider news: Remco Evenepoel to ride Chrono des Nations, Filippo Ganna to attempt World hour record and DSM didn’t offer Roche a contract. Contract news: Lawson Craddock, Maximiliano Richeze, Matej Mohorič, Sonny Colbrelli, Yuriy Natarov, Yevgeniy Gidich, Iván Sosa, Sebastian Henao, Leonardo Basso, Yukiya Arashiro, Pello Bilbao, Mikel Landa, Hermann Pernsteiner, Rafa Valls, Fred Wright and Georg Steinhauser. Race news: Marion Rousse director of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift and Santini clothing for the Tour de France. Team news: End of the road for Delko, five riders leave Bahrain Victorious, BikeExchange ends negotiations with Premier Tech, Pedal With Pogačar and behind the scenes at Paris-Roubaix with INEOS Grenadiers. Giant EUROTRASH coffee time.
TOP STORY: l’Alpe d’Huez Returns to the Tour de France on French Holiday
After four years of absence, l’Alpe d’Huez returns to the route of the Tour de France. Today (Thursday), ASO will present the Tour de France 2022 route to the many invited guests in the Palais des Congrès in the heart of Paris. Various sources have confirmed that the Alpine climb with 21 hairpin bends will be climbed on the French holiday of Thursday 14 July. It will be the setting for one of the important mountain stages in the upcoming Tour.
The last time l’Alpe d’Huez appeared in the French Grand Tour was in 2018. Geraint Thomas won the stage ahead of Tom Dumoulin, after Steven Kruijswijk had been on a long solo. Dumoulin was disappointed that he was unable to get the best out of the sprint against Thomas due to a slipping gear. Previously, l’Alpe d’Huez was on the Tour course almost once every two years, but recently ASO has not stuck to that schedule. According to WielerFlits Courchevel may not be visited by the Tour de France again next year, but in 2023. This normally means that there will be another finish on the steep Col de la Loze. Colombian Miguel Ángel López won on the Col de la Loze for the first time in 2020.
Dutch corner returns in 2022:
Giro del Veneto 2021
Xandro Meurisse was the winner of the Giro del Veneto 2021. After an exciting final in Padova, the Belgian managed to deal with Matteo Trentin, who was also second in the Coppa Agostoni on Monday. Alberto Dainese crossed the line in third place.
The last two Italian autumn classics take place this week in the Veneto region. On Wednesday the Giro del Veneto was making its return. The start was in Cittadella, for a hilly course over 169 kilometres. The finish was after a relatively flat final in Padova. The UCI 1.1 race had six tricky climbs, the last of which – Il Roccolo (1.6 kilometres at 9.9%) – could be the decider, but would it be enough for the sprinters to be dropped?
With Alessandro Covi, Marc Hirschi, Matteo Trentin, Diego Ulissi, Alexey Lutsenko, Elia Viviani, Odd Christian Eiking and Petr Vakoč, there were enough riders at the start to make it a good race. The early break was formed by eight riders: Mattia Bais (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Simone Bevilacqua (Vini Zabù), Giacomo Garavaglia (Work Service Marchiol Vega), Luka Pajek (Team Hrinkow Advarics Cycleang), Niccolò Salvietti (Mg.k Vis VPM), Matteo Zurlo (Zalf Euromobil Fior), Matteo Baseggio (General Store Essegibi F.lli Curia) and Marco Grendene (Beltrami TSA). The eight leaders had 3 minutes on the peloton at one point. As the kilometres passed, the lead grew smaller, partly due to the hard work of the men from Astana-Premier Tech and UAE Team Emirates. The escape had thinned out considerably and consisted of Bevilacqua, Bais, Garavaglia and Zurlo with about 60 kilometres to go. Gredene, Pajek, Salvietti and Bassegio were dropped and caught by the peloton. Not much later, Bevilacqua, Bais, Garavaglia and Zurlo were also pulled back and then a thinned out peloton raced to Il Roccolo, the most important and also the last obstacle of the day. Astana still set the pace and it was up to Samuele Battistella, the U23 champion in Yorkshire, to thin the group. The young Italian also paved the way for an attack by Lutsenko, but it was Alessandro Covi who was the first to throw in an attack. Lutsenko was on the lookout and managed to join him at his own pace.
Marc Hirschi was the next UAE Team Emirates rider to try and the Swiss had a strong Lutsenko with him. The Kazakh rider patiently waited for his moment and just before the top of Il Riccolo, Lutsenko put in his attack. Hirschi managed to follow Lutsenko and they started the short, winding descent of Il Riccolo, followed by a chasing group that included Covi, Lorenzo Rota and Ben Tulett. However, the race situation changed completely after Hirschi’s crash. The Swiss rider crashed on the descent of Il Riccolo leaving Lutsenko alone in front. The Kazakh was soon joined by Rota and with more than 20 kilometres from the finish, another seven riders followed Rota. Lutsenko, Covi, Rota, Tulett, Xandro Meurisse, Jonathan Restrepo, Kevin Colleoni, Davide Formolo and Simone Velasco formed the lead group. The cooperation was far from good and so more riders were able to cross to the leaders.
Fast men like Matteo Trentin, Diego Ulissi and Alberto Dainese took the opportunity to join then on the flat final towards Padova and the group became even bigger. The pace wasn’t too fast, so Ulissi decided to try it on his own. Sensing the danger, Davide Gabburo and Tulett jumped on Ulissi’s wheel, but this attempt was short-lived. With 8 kilometres to go, it was up to Trentin to make the action, but the experienced Italian wasn’t allowed to go for the win either. A second attack from Trentin, together with Restrepo and Meurisse, managed to create a gap and the three attackers started the last 2 kilometres with a good 10 second lead. In the chasing group, Colleoni gave his all for teammate Dainese, but the young Italian was unable to bridge the gap, but everything was still to play for in the last kilometre. The chasers were just too late and so it was time to sprint between Trentin, Meurisse and Restrepo for the win. In the Coppa Agostoni, Trentin was beaten by Lutsenko and again he was beaten by a, on paper, slower rider. Trentin started sprinting early and basically did an ideal lead-out for Meurisse. The Belgian remained calm and managed to come past his Italian opponent. For the 29-year-old Alpecin-Fenix rider, it is his first UCI victory of the season. Earlier this year he won the Stadsprijs in Geraardsbergen, a kermesse race for elite riders with a contract.
Race winner, Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin-Fenix): “I was very motivated to finish the season on a high.” “When Restrepo attacked, I was immediately on the wheel. I must say that I skipped a few turns after that. I knew that with Ben Tulett and Kristian Sbaragli we still had two riders in the chasing group. We just had to try something as it’s hard to beat guys like Dainese in the sprint.” “In the last kilometre I decided to follow Trentin’s wheel. That turned out to be the right move.” “Trentin started his sprint with 250 meters to go. I know I’m not slow when I have to sprint with a small group, but this comes as a little surprise. This win is very important. There are a lot of good riders who never win a race in their career. I manage to win almost every year.” “I had a difficult start, but I always gave myself fully to the service of the team. It’s really nice to finish with a win.”
2nd, Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates): “I think as a team we executed the tactics almost perfectly, just a pity Marc crashed in the downhill. After that myself, Ulissi, Covi and Formolo took it in turns to go on the attack and I managed to get up the road and finished second, again. It’s frustrating as it’s second time this week, but we’ll give it another go on Sunday.”
Giro del Veneto Result:
1. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 3:54:11
2. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
3. Alberto Dainese (Ita) Italy National Team
4. Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
5. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) eolo-Kometa
7. Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
8. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
9. Simone Velasco (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo
10. Davide Orrico (Ita) Vini Zabù Brado KTM.
Coppa Agostoni 2021
The 2021 Coppa Agostoni was won by Alexey Lutsenko. The 29-year-old Astana-Premier Tech rider out-sprinted Matteo Trentin in the streets of Lissone. Behind; Alessandro Covi won the sprint from a group of 18 riders for third place. Lutsenko succeeds Aleksandr Riabushenko, who beat the Kazakh in the previous edition.
Several riders tried to escape, but those attempts all failed. Because of so many attacks, the peloton was pulled into a long ribbon several times in the first hour of the race. Just before the riders crossed the finish line for the first time, after 37.5 kilometres, seven riders managed to get away. The best rider of the seven was Thomas Champion (Cofidis), although he had two strong riders with him; Lorenzo Fortunato (eolo-Kometa) and Filippo Fiorelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè). Floris De Tier (Alpecin-Fenix), Simone Bevilacqua (Vini Zabù) and Continental riders Federico Burchio (Work Service Marchiol Vega) and Francesco Carollo (Mg.K Vis VPM) completed the early break.
In the peloton, Movistar and Astana-Premier Tech were working for Alejandro Valverde and Alexey Lutsenko. They held the seven leaders to a maximum of 3 minutes. After 90 kilometres, Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) crossed to the seven leaders, which took 10 kilometres. Where Rota joined, Burchio was dropped. Movistar and Astana-Premier Tech continued to work well and managed to pull the last escapees back on the circuit with the Colle Brianza at 53 kilometres before the finish. Shortly after the early escape was caught, Simon Geschke tried his luck. But he didn’t get much space. Many riders were dropped due to the pace of Movistar, who had a lot of confidence in Valverde. After Geschke was brought back, his Cofidis teammate Rubén Fernández tried on the Colle Brianza. At the summit everything was back together and the riders descended to Lissole, the last climb of the day. Alpecin-Fenix dropped off leader Ben Tulett with Valverde, Lutsenko, Matteo Trentin, Alessandro Covi, Rémy Rochas and Ben Hermans.
Tulett kept attacking towards the top which was too fast for Trentin, but the Italian was able to return on the descent. About 25 seconds later, a second group followed, including Kristian Sbaragli (Alpecin-Fenix), Fortunato and Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert). With more than 10 kilometres from the finish, Trentin tried to exploit the group. He rode away on a downhill section, Lutsenko saw the danger. The two made a cunning escape and despite Valverde’s frantic efforts with the five behind, they were unable to give a good chase. That was partly thanks to good interference from Covi. Due to the lack of co-operation, the third group came back to them, but they were unable to close the gap to the leading duo. Trentin was in the lead and waited a long time for the sprint. When Lutsenko went, the Italian didn’t look back and the Kazakh won.
Race winner, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech): “I am so happy with this win. Two years I ago I took second and today I was concentrated the whole time. I think I learned from the mistakes in the past. In the finale, we worked well together and then I waited until the final metres to launch my sprint. I had good legs and I am happy that everything worked out. Tomorrow I will take it easy before having my last race for the season.”
2nd, Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates): “We did a good race to place myself and Covi in the final selection. In the end I just mis-judged my sprint a bit and Lutsenko got the jump on me, which in that situation is almost impossible to close down. It was just a split second but in that scenario it makes the difference and he was very strong also. On the plus side I can feel the legs are very good. Of course I’m disappointed not to win, but really focussed now on the remaining races.”
Coppa Agostoni Result:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech in 4:19:44
2. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
3. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:12
4. Simone Velasco (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo
5. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) eolo-Kometa
6. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
7. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
8. Ben Tulett (GB) Alpecin-Fenix
9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
10. Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec.
UCI Team Ranking
The International Cycling Union issued an update of the UCI Team Ranking on Tuesdays. The order of the eight highest ranked teams remained unchanged. Just like a week ago, Deceuninck – Quick-Step leads the standings, ahead of INEOS Grenadiers and Jumbo-Visma.
Among the top-8, there have been quite a few shifts in the past week. Movistar and Israel Start-Up Nation moved up one place and are now ninth and tenth, while Trek-Segafredo dropped two spots to eleventh. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert had a good week and rose two places. Groupama-FDJ, Arkéa-Samsic and Lotto Soudal also step up the ladder.
Just a few more weeks and the 2021 cycling season is over. All WorldTour races have now been held and the last race from the ProSeries is on the agenda on Saturday with the Grand Prix du Morbihan. The last .1 races on the calendar are the Giro del Veneto (13 October), the Boucles de l’Aulne, the Chrono des Nations, the Veneto Classic (all 17 October) and the Ronde van Drenthe (24 October).
UCI Team Ranking (on October 12, 2021):
1. Deceuninck – Quick-Step – 15,591.21 points
2. INEOS Grenadiers – 14,888.66 points
3. Jumbo-Visma – 12,914.67 points
4. UAE Team Emirates – 12,091.66 points
5. Bahrain Victorious – 10,429 points
6. BORA-hansgrohe – 8,222 points
7. Alpecin-Fenix – 8.209 points
8. AG2R Citroën – 6,938 points
9. Movistar – 6,656 points
10. Israel Start-Up Nation – 6,634.66 points
11. Trek-Segafredo – 6,593.66 points
12. Groupama-FDJ – 6520 points
13. Astana-Premier Tech – 6,296 points
14. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert – 5,398 points
15. EF Education-Nippo – 5,362.33 points
16. Cofidis – 5,181 points
17. Arkéa-Samsic – 4,972 points
18. Lotto Soudal – 4,704 points
19. BikeExchange – 4,686.33 points
20. Qhubeka NextHash – 4,368.66 points
21. DSM – 3,832 points.
Alpecin-Fenix is still the best ProTeam in the UCI Team Ranking. The Belgian team is now at 8,209 points. The difference to the second placed Arkéa-Samsic is currently 3,237 points. TotalEnergies, Uno-X and B&B Hotels are the next ProTeams.
Best five ProTeams in the UCI Team Ranking (on October 12, 2021):
7. Alpecin-Fenix – 8.209 points
17. Arkéa-Samsic – 4,972 points
22. TotalEnergies – 3,041 points
23. Uno-X – 2,772.17 points
24. B&B Hotels – 2,530 points.
Eddy Merckx: “Often heard about ‘the new Merckx’, but with Tadej Pogačar we are there”
Eddy Merckx has praised Tadej Pogačar. The 23-year-old Slovenian won Il Lombardia on Saturday, after he also successfully defended his title in the Tour de France earlier this year and put Liège-Bastogne-Liège on his palmarès. “He has no weaknesses,” Merckx said in an interview with TuttoBici.
The Belgian is now 76 years old and is regarded as the best cyclist of all time. Merckx tells his story during an event of shoe sponsor DMT. Next to the living legend is the rising star himself. “I have often heard that the new Merckx has risen, without those riders meeting the conditions,” said Merckx. “But with Tadej, I think we’re really there this time. He is only just 23 years old and he has already won the Tour de France twice. That is really unbelievable.”
“I already understood that he had something special when he won three stages in the Vuelta a España in his first year as a pro,” Merckx continued. “The last of these was with a solo of 37 kilometres, with the entire Movistar squad on his tail. And this year in the Tour, he smashed the competition in the Le Grand Bornand stage, finishing with them minutes behind. He has the mentality and quality of a great champion. They have no weaknesses.”
That is why Merckx also thinks that Pogačar can become the best rider of his generation and possibly his successor. “Tadej is only at the beginning of his career. I think he can do better than I could in some races. He is 23 years old and has already achieved thirty professional victories, all in a grand way. At 24 I hadn’t won the Tour yet, he has already won two. We will surely enjoy the great champion that he is for many years to come; it will do this sport good.”
However, the Belgian warns the youngster. “I can only tell him to keep his feet on the ground. Because every year he starts from scratch and every year he will have to prove that he is the strongest. But he knows that very well. He has a great team around him that can help him a lot and arrange everything down to the last detail. Tadej is a complete racing rider. If he continues to do what he does, he will win the Tour, Vuelta a España and Giro d’Italia much more often.”
Many see Merckx as the greatest rider ever. His honours list is impressive and unparalleled. The Cannibal won the Tour five times in his career, the Giro five times and the Vuelta once. In the grand tours he was good for a total of 64 stage victories, 34 in the Tour. That record was matched last summer by Mark Cavendish. Merckx was also World champion three times and won nineteen Monuments.
However, the reigning Tour winner remains modest. “I’ve heard from a lot of people that I’m the new Merckx, but it’s simply impossible to win as much. Honestly, I don’t know what to say to him. I’m even a little nervous sitting next to such a legend. Eddy has really won everything in his career. It’s hard for me to win Milan-San Remo once, let alone seven…”
“It is better not to think too much about the future,” the Slovenian said. “I just want to enjoy the moment and my great season. It may well be that in the future I will have some bad years, that I will win less. It is therefore wise not to think about records. Of course I want to win more races, but I also know how to deal with defeats.”
The UAE Team Emirates rider still has enough dreams to realise for the coming years. “I finished third in the Olympics this year, but I’d like to take a shot at a gold medal in the future. I also want to be World champion one day and win the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España,” said an ambitious Pogačar.
Merckx and the ‘new Merckx’ – Tadej Pogačar:
Remco Evenepoel Stretches his Season with Chrono des Nations
Remco Evenepoel should have ended his season after Il Lombardia, but the 21-year-old Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider has added another race to his program. On Sunday, he will make his first appearance in the Chrono des Nations.
According to team manager Patrick Lefevere, Evenepoel’s wish was to ride the 44.5 kilometre time trial in the French Vendée. “It was not the intention, but he may have been offered a nice starting premium. And why not, if he still feels like it? We simply send a carer and mechanic along,” the 66-year-old team boss of Deceuninck – Quick-Step told Het Nieuwsblad.
The Chrono des Nations is on the calendar for Sunday. In 2019, Dutchman Jos van Emden defeated Italian Filippo Ganna and his teammate Primož Roglič. Last year the race was canceled due to the corona pandemic.
TT for Evenepoel:
Filippo Ganna Considers World Hour Record Attempt in 2022
Filippo Ganna will attack the World hour record of Victor Campenaerts. In La Gazzetta dello Sport, the two-time World time trial champion hints at an attempt this coming summer. “The track has something special. Once you see that, it won’t let you go,” he said. The 25-year-old Italian is a four-time World pursuit champion and current Olympic team pursuit champion.
The subject came up after Ganna said he was testing the hour record after this year’s Giro d’Italia. The INEOS Grenadiers rider completed a total of 117.5 laps for half an hour. His average after 30 minutes was 57.5 kilometres per hour. Campenaerts set his record in 2019 on the famous track in Aguascalientes, Mexico. In one hour, the Belgian set the new record at 55.089 kilometres.
“I did a test on the Montichiari track, after an altitude training camp after the Giro d’Italia,” he said in a video during the Trento Festival of Sport. “The test only lasted thirty minutes and after that I was really broken. I now understand that you have to plan everything very well and it requires an incredible effort. We’ll have to look into it in the future, I’ll talk to the team about it later. That will be in January. Maybe I’ll attack next summer. Let’s hope that one day I can uncork a good bottle of rosé to celebrate my successful World hour record attempt.”
Ganna for the hour:
DSM Didn’t Offer Roche a New Contract
Nicholas Roche announced last week that he would stop racing. The 37-year-old Irishman came to that decision in August, but before that he received bad news from Team DSM. The German team didn’t want to renew Roche’s contract for 2022. “I was really pissed off at the team.”
Roche was a strong road captain with the German team in recent years. At the end of 2018, the Irishman joined what was then Team Sunweb. “I had the feeling that I could be of value for a few more years,” Roche told the NOS. “That’s why it was a shock that they didn’t want to continue with me. But the team opted for younger riders.”
“In July and August I was really pissed off with the team. At the Olympics in Japan I could only turn the switch and I made the decision to stop. Then I did some television work and found out that maybe I’d rather watch the race than ride in it myself. I like cycling, but if you feel that you have to stop.”
Nico Roche in Vuelta’19 red:
Lawson Craddock Leaves EF Education-Nippo for a New Adventure
Lawson Craddock is closing the door on EF Education-Nippo after six seasons. The 29-year-old American announced via Instagram that he will ride for another team next year, but it is still unclear where his future lies.
Craddock started his professional career in 2014 with Giant-Shimano, but after two seasons signed a contract with Cannondale-Drapac. The American grew into a reliable team rider who himself regularly managed to hit the front, although he has only managed to take one professional victory. Earlier this year, Craddock won the American time trial championship. “It is difficult for me to put into words what the team has meant to me, but it is now time to start a new chapter in my career. It was great to be part of a great family. It’s sad that I’m leaving now, but I can’t wait to be part of a new environment soon,” Craddock wrote on Instagram.
Craddock rode the Vuelta a España in his last year for EF Education-Nippo. In the Spanish tour, he played a crucial role in the third stage victory of his Danish teammate Magnus Cort. Craddock also participated in the Tokyo Olympics and the World championships in Flanders.
Craddock happy with Magnus Cort’s stage 19 Vuelta win:
Richeze Without a Team
Maximiliano Richeze hopes to be active in the peloton next year, but for the time being has no team for 2022. UAE Team Emirates decided not to extend his contract. “I have the intention to continue, but there is nothing concrete for the time being,” the Argentinian said in conversation with BiciGoga.
Richeze was one of the best sprinters in the peloton, but says he has had a difficult year. “We looked in vain for results, but things got better at the end of the season. I got better and better and so slowly managed to get back to my old level.” Richeze managed to pilot Juan Sebastián Molano to two stage victories in the Giro di Sicilia.
It turned out not to be enough for a contract extension. “I have already spoken with other teams, but there is no concrete proposal on the table yet. The intention is to continue. I’m not thinking about quitting yet, but it could just be my last year. If this is indeed the end, then I want to say goodbye in my own country (with the national team). And I will do that in the Vuelta a San Juan.”
Richeze gives himself a few more weeks to find a new squad. The experienced rider turned pro in 2006 and has raced for CSF Group-Navigare, Lampre-Merida, Quick-Step and UAE Team Emirates. His palmarès include victories in the Giro d’Italia, Tour of Switzerland, Tour of Turkey, the Vuelta a San Juan and the Tour de Langkawi.
Maximiliano Richeze – Winner in San Juan:
Matej Mohorič and Sonny Colbrelli Renew Contracts with Bahrain Victorious
Bahrain Victorious are pleased to announce the contract renewals of Matej Mohorič and Sonny Colbrelli in multi-year deals. Both winners of their national championships had stellar seasons in 2021.
Matej Mohorič secured two stage wins at the Tour de France and became only the 102nd rider to win a stage at all three grand tours: “I’ve been a long-standing rider with this team and always trusted the project. This year I think we finally proved that we are one of the best teams in the world. We have definitely got great support as a group of riders from all the staff, and we work hard to be here. After a great year, It’s never crossed my mind to change the environment I work in, and I’m very happy with the team and feels like a second family to me. It takes hard work to get to the level we performed at this season, and I’m confident we can continue this in the future and try and win bike races.”
Sonny Colbrelli had a monumental season, winning the first wet Paris-Roubaix in 20 years, securing the European Championship, the GC at Benelux Tour, and multiple stage wins: “I’m happy to continue and stay in a team that is like a family to me. I’m one of the few riders wearing this jersey since 2017, the very first season, debuting in the WorldTour with Bahrain and arriving up to this stunning season. I can say I grew up with this group, and I must be more than thankful. I’m now where I am, also due to the support and trust that I’ve always felt. Mainly, I want to thank His Highness Shaikh Nasser for the ongoing support in good and bad times. Feeling his faith, it’s something that makes me so proud. I’m honoured to continue wearing this team’s jersey for more years, aiming to take further prestigious successes together.”
Milan Erzen, Team Managing Director: “We are really happy to have Matej and Sonny remain part of the Bahrain Victorious family. They have shown incredible dedication this season which shows from their amazing results. We hope to continue working hard and having more success in the coming seasons.”
Yuriy Natarov and Yevgeniy Gidich Renew with Astana Qazaqstan Team
Two Kazakh riders Yuriy Natarov and Yevgeniy Gidich have signed a new two-year agreement with Team Astana (Astana Qazaqstan Team from 2022) for the next two seasons of 2022 and 2023.
Yuriy Natarov joined Kazakh team in 2019, when he took his first and so far only professional victory, winning the General Classification of the Tour of Almaty. In 2021, Yuriy finished his first Grand Tour and won a bronze medal in the individual time trial of the Kazakhstan National Championships.
“The new contract with the team gives me great motivation and a desire for further growth and progress. This season I managed to make my debut in a Grand Tour, at La Vuelta, and this experience turned out to be very valuable and perfectly timed for me. Participation in the Vuelta a España inspired me, so I am sure that in the next two seasons in Astana Qazaqstan Team I will be able to make a serious step ahead. There is a huge amount of work to be done, but I am ready for it,” said Yuriy Natarov.
Yevgeniy Gidich moved to the Astana project in 2018 and during his first three seasons, Gidich scored a set of valuable results: he was third in the General Classification of Tour of Croatia in 2018, taking a stage win in the following year, he won the road race of the Asian Road Championships-2019, was seventh at Coppa Bernocchi in 2019, and finished third at a stage of Saudi Tour in 2020.
Yevgeniy’s best result in the current season was second place in the Kazakhstan National Championships road race.
“This last season has turned out to be far from what I expected. However, this year I have become stronger and more experienced, so I am optimistic about the new season in Astana Qazaqstan Team. I am determined to do everything possible to reach the level that will allow me to take an important step forward in my career. I am grateful to the team for their trust, and I will make every effort to justify it,” said Yevgeniy Gidich.
“In these past years in the WorldTour, the riders gained good experience and learned a lot. Not everything always went smoothly and the situation with the pandemic also intervened, but we still recognise the progress of both Yuriy and Yevgeniy. Both riders have reached the age when experience and solid work should turn into a result. We hope that a new two-year contract will give them the chance to move ahead. I am happy that the guys remain in the team, where they will have all the conditions to achieve success, both for the team and personally,” said Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.
Iván Sosa to Join Movistar Team Next Season
Colombian signs two-year contract, becomes Telefónica-backed squad’s sixth male signing for 2022.
The Movistar Team confirmed Wednesday it has reached an agreement for the next two seasons (2022-23) with Iván Sosa (Pasca, Cundinamarca, COL; 1997), a current member of the INEOS Grenadiers squad.
Iván thus becomes the sixth addition to Eusebio Unzué’s men’s outfit for next year, after the previous announcements of Óscar Rodríguez, Max Kanter, Alex Aranburu, Oier Lazkano and Gorka Izagirre.
Sosa, a really talented climb, has got, despite being just 23 years of age, a good five years of pro experience on his shoulders. His palmarès features more than a dozen UCI victories, including two overall titles in the Vuelta a Burgos (2018-19), with three consecutive victories atop the Lagunas de Neila; the 2021 Tour de La Provence, with a mountain-top finish win at the Chalet Reynard / Mont Ventoux; the Queen stage of the 2019 Route d’Occitanie, ahead of Alejandro Valverde; and GC victories in one-week stage-races like the Adriatica Ionica Race or Romania’s Tours or Sibiu and Bihor.
Iván Sosa: “I’m so proud to be joining the Movistar Team. I’m really excited to join my new team-mates and start getting things done with these great group of people. I’m joining with all the willingness to show the kind of rider I am, support my team-mates and keep some good consistency. I hope to bring them joy and satisfaction with my work, and hopefully our years together are full of happiness and success, which is what everyone wants.”
Iván Sosa in Provence:
Sebastian Henao and Leonardo Basso Sign with Astana Qazaqstan Team
Colombian rider Sebastian Henao (28) and Italian rider Leonardo Basso (27) will join Astana Qazaqstan Team in the upcoming season with Henao signing one-year contract (2022) and Basso signing a two-year deal (2022 and 2023).
Sebastian Henao turned pro in 2014 after a set of notable results in the Colombia racing circuit. In eight years as a professional rider, Henao has proved himself as a strong and loyal team player with a lot of Grand Tour experience, especially at the Giro d’Italia with five participations to his name.
Third place at Le Tour de Langkawi (2015), fifth place in the overall standings of Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali (2016), sixth place at the Arctic Race of Norway (2016) and eighth place in the General Classification of the Vuelta a Burgos (2018) and Volta ao Algarve (2021) can be named among his best results.
“Honestly, I am really excited to come to Astana. This is a new step for me, a change which I am really looking for to keep on improving as a professional rider. I would like to thank Alexandr Vinokurov for a chance to become a rider of team Astana. I am looking forward to join the team, to see my new teammates, to wear the new jersey, to ride the new bike. I think Astana is the team which can suit me perfectly and I will try to do my all to reach the best possible results together,” said Sebastian Henao.
Leonardo Basso turned professional in 2018, choosing classic and one-day races as his main specialisation. In the past four years, Basso has ridden 60 one-day races with fifth place at Coppa Bernocchi, seventh at Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli, and ninth at Trofeo Palma and Trofeo Campos amongst his career highlights.
“I am really happy to ride for Astana Qazaqstan Team from the next season. This is one of the biggest and oldest teams in the WorldTour and there were many champions who were competing in the jersey of Astana during its long and great history. So, it is a pleasure for me to join this team for the next two years. I am grateful to Alexandr Vinokurov for trusting in me and I hope to repay this trust on the road with my work and dedication. I will give my best to help the team to reach its biggest goals. I am ready to help the leaders to win as much as possible in the upcoming season,” said Leonardo Basso.
“We are looking for reinforcement in our team both for the Grand Tours and classics, and I think that these two riders can suit us in the best way. We know Sebastian Henao as a good helper, very experienced in the Grand Tours and stage races, so he can play an important role for our leaders. Also, Leonardo Basso in just a few years has gained some good experience in the Northern Classics, while we are going to work on improvement in this direction. I would like to welcome Sebastian and Leonardo to Astana Qazaqstan Team and I am looking forward to start working with them ahead of the new season,” said Alexandr Vinokurov.
Sebastian Henao to Astana Qazaqstan:
Bahrain Victorious Renew 6 Riders’ Contracts
Bahrain Victorious is pleased to announce that Yukiya Arashiro, Pello Bilbao, Mikel Landa, Hermann Pernsteiner, Rafa Valls, and Fred Wright have renewed their contracts.
Yukiya Arashiro has been a formidable domestique in Grand Tours, completing Giro d’Italia and Vuelta: “I’m delighted to continue to work with this year’s highly successful team for the next season. I want to make use of my experience and contribute to the team. I am excited about a bright 2022 season!”
Pello Bilbao managed a top ten finish this season and is looking forward to more results next year: “For me, it’s a great experience to be part of this team, especially this year. Maybe for me personally, this year it wasn’t the best with super results. But being involved with the team is what I’ve enjoyed a lot, and be involved with the amazing results. Behind all these great results is one of the best atmospheres between the riders and the super nice staff. So I’m proud to be part of this team for another two years and continue to grow as a cyclist together with Bahrain.”
Mikel Landa joined the team in 2020 and secured the team’s highest finish at Tour de France: “I’m really happy to continue racing with Bahrain Victorious for the next two seasons. For me, I was never in doubt as I feel at home in this team. I have great support from all the riders and staff, who are committed to achieving the best possible results. I want to thank all the staff and my teammates for everything over the past two seasons, and I’m looking forward to the next two seasons.”
Hermann Pernsteiner is looking forward to further experience on the road since his transition from MTB: “The team got like a second family for me. Since I changed from MTB, I am in the team now. I got the chance to develop as a rider, so I am happy to extend my contract. Due to my late change to road cycling, I can still improve physically and tactically. I will continue to work hard to achieve great things with the team.”
Fred Wright completed his first Tour de France this year is excited about the future: “It’s been an unforgettable two years. I feel like I’ve really found my place in the team. This year has been such a successful year, and we can definitely continue that momentum in the next two years. I can’t wait to be part of it!”
After a first year with the team affected by the crash out from the Tour de France, the experienced Spanish climber Rafa Valls came back this season hugely contributing to the successful Giro d’Italia: “I am delighted to renew another year with Bahrain Victorious, mainly because I feel like a family. We have created a group of friends, who believe and work for the same objective, and in the races, we translate that into results. Secondly, I’m pleased to be part of this project that, over the years, has been growing very fast and achieving great results. I hope that 2022 can further increase my experience, and I’m looking forward to helping the team grow even more.”
Georg Steinhauser Signs with EF Education-Nippo
Georg Steinhauser will join EF Education-NIPPO in 2022, marking his WorldTour debut.
Steinhauser is coming off of another stellar season, boasting a third place at U-23 Il Lombardia, second place on GC at the Tour of Bulgaria, a stage win at the Giro Ciclistico della Valle d’Acosta-Mont Blanc, and a second place on the final stage at the Tour de l’Avenir.
Though only 19-years-old, he also lists among his race results a stage win at the Oberosterreich Juniorenrundfahrt, the GC win at the Ain Bugey Valromey Tour, and the King of the Mountains jersey at the LVM Saarland Trofeo.
Steinhauser’s diverse skills make him a well-rounded stage racer. “I go quite well over the mountains. My time trials are not too bad. I prefer long and hard races, especially stage races. I like that they don’t depend on just one moment and I think they suit me better as a rider.”
Not only has Steinhauser committed himself to professional cycling, he will also continue to be a full-time student through the entire 2022 season. He has had to learn to balance his ongoing metal work apprenticeship with racing and training. “I work everyday from 7am to 12:30pm. In the afternoon, I’m out on the bike. That’s how I manage it. It’s a bit busy,” he says matter-of-factly.
Team CEO Jonathan Vaughters is not only impressed with Steinhauser’s results so far, but he also sees a lot of growth in the young rider’s future. “Georg is, I think, potentially the most talented Under-23 rider in the world right now,” Vaughters says. “That doesn’t mean that he’s the best Under-23 rider in the world right now. The thing to understand about Georg is that his father was a professional cyclist and his father was very insistent that Georg finish his schooling before he dedicates himself to cycling which is actually very rare in the world of cycling. Georg has been sort of a part-time cyclist and has a very limited race schedule because he’s had to complete his trade school. I basically came to an agreement with his agent and his dad that we are going to allow him to complete his studies. Of course he’s going to race with the team, but there are going to be moments where if he needs to have a little time away to complete schoolwork, and we’re going to work with him on that.”
Steinhauser realises that his full schedule may not have allowed him to reach his full potential yet but, he says, “I’m proud that I could achieve so many goals this year even though I’m working half the day and training half the day and still be able to ride at the front of a race.”
Vaughters agrees, saying, “Don’t underestimate him. I think maybe his talent will be a little bit slow in surfacing because of the fact that he’s still working on being a student but make no mistake. I think he ends up being on a slower trajectory but I think he ends up being one of the top stage racers in the world.”
In some ways, coming to EF will make racing and training easier for Steinhauser. “Everything will be way more professional and organised than it is at the Continental level. Also, I never really thought about things like nutrition. I’ve just been riding on feeling. I think I can learn a lot in this area.”
Learning is important to the young German. He worked hard in school to become fluent in English, telling his teachers, “The only thing I really needed in school was English. Math, I didn’t need that complicated stuff but English I had to use so it made sense for me to learn.”
Continuing to learn is among his main goals for the 2022 season. “I’m very excited to ride beside my teammates and learn from them. I want to make as few mistakes as possible. Even in the moments when things aren’t going well, I still see the good and find opportunities to learn. I want to improve from year to year, from season to season, but it’s definitely a goal to win races.”
This deep appreciation for learning and reflection is part of the reason why Steinhauser wanted to come to EF. “The name EF says it all: Education First.”
Another reason why he signed for the pink team? “This team is about innovation. They are not working with old technology and gear. Instead, they’re racing gravel and being open-minded. I don’t feel like you can compare them to ‘normal’ teams. With EF, I feel like I have a new point of view of cycling.”
We love your perspective, Georg, and we can’t wait for next season.
Marion Rousse Appointed Director of the Tour de France Femmes Avec Zwift
The world of women’s cycling is eagerly awaiting the unveiling of the itinerary of the first edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift on 14 October at the Palais des Congrès in Paris. The eight stages scheduled from 24 to 31 July 2022 will be announced by Marion Rousse, who has been appointed director of the event by Amaury Sport Organisation. The 2012 French cycling champion, who retired from professional competition in 2015, became a consultant for France Télévisions, and since 2019 has also taken part in race organisation as the deputy director of the Tour de la Provence.
Marion Rousse, Director of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift: “When I was a little girl, I watched the Tour de France on television with admiration, and when I started my career, I suspected that I would never have the opportunity to race in it. So, of course, I was very proud to be asked to take charge of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, especially because we want to do our utmost to make it a dream for little girls to participate. Women’s cycling has come a long way in recent years, partly thanks to A.S.O., but it still lacked a reference stage race with real media coverage. Now that I have accepted this mission, I intend to invest myself so that it becomes a ritual among the public… and for a long time because this is not about launching a race for two or three editions.”
Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France: “If the event is to become the premier race for women’s cycling, it was obvious to call on the best ambassador of this sport, known and appreciated by the general public as well as the experts. And her immediate enthusiasm to join us confirms the momentum behind the creation of the event.”
More information on www.letourfemmes.com
Santini Goes Yellow: The Tour de France to Wear Made in Italy
Santini Cycling Wear and A.S.O. are delighted to announce a new agreement making the Italian brand official partner to the Tour de France from 2022 to supply the prestigious Yellow Jersey and the other official jerseys for the elite multi-stage road race. The sponsorship deal also includes the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift and L’Étape du Tour.
Monica Santini: “This agreement shines out in the portfolio of partnerships our company has built up over its 50-plus years in the professional cycling world.”
From 2022, the Santini Cycling Wear story will be inextricably linked with that of the King of the Grand Tours: the Italian company has been announced as official partner to the Tour de France. The new deal with A.S.O. (Amaury Sport Organization) means Santini will now supply the leader jerseys for the Grande Boucle, the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift and the amateur riders competing in the L’Étape du Tour.
“Signing this agreement was a hugely emotional experience for us and we are genuinely thrilled to announce this partnership with the Tour de France” commented Santini Cycling Wear CEO Monica Santini. “It marks the continuation of a relationship with A.S.O. begun with the sponsorship of La Vuelta and followed on with the Deutschland Tour. Now we have also added with the most important race on the international cycling calendar to our tally.”
The announcement marks the start of a glittering chapter in the story that Santini has been writing since 1965 thanks to the constant commitment of Pietro Santini, his daughters Monica and Paola, and the Italian company’s entire team. Santini’s research and innovation consistently produces superior quality technical wear designed to meet the exacting needs of pro and amateur cyclists alike as well as supporting the leading international cycling events.
As with the rest of its products, Santini will be making all of official jerseys worn by the Tour de France leaders as well as the women’s edition of the Grande Boucle at its facility in Lallio, just outside Bergamo, Italy, guaranteeing these elite athletes the very finest in Italian quality.
The company will also be making the official replica jerseys that will be on sale to the public as well as the jerseys worn by the amateur riders during the L’Étape du Tour.
Yann Le Moënner, CEO of A.S.O. declared: “We are glad and proud to welcome Santini on the Tour de France. A new chapter has opened itself for the leader jerseys of La Grande Boucle thanks to this historic brand of cycling equipment. It will offer high-performance products with creative designs to both the elite of world cycling and the regular amateur riders who will once again be present on all the events organised by A.S.O.”
The agreement is for five years.
Watch the story of the partnership between Santini and A.S.O. in this video:
End of the Road for Team Delko
Delko ceases to exist. Paris-Tours was the last race for the French UCI Continental team last Sunday, manager Benjamin Giraud confirmed to DirectVelo on Monday. The team misses the last races for the Coupe de France, the Grand Prix du Morbihan and Boucles de l’Aulne.
The decision to stop was made at short notice, says Giraud. “But I wanted to wait for our final race before making it public. I didn’t want the riders to have a hard time for the Tour de Vendée and Paris-Tours. By the way, we had a good week and we ended on a positive note, which is good. I informed the staff and the riders on Sunday morning when the news started to leak.”
Next weekend, the team will not appear at the start of the Grand Prix du Morbihan and the Boucles de l’Aulne. “From a sporting point of view, these races would not have brought us much. The riders who could have shined in these races haven’t raced in a while and would not have been very competitive. So it’s not that bad. Money is the string of war, and economically the plow was at its worst.”
The team ended its existence with some nice results, with the second place of Eduard Prades in the Tour de Vendée and the ninth place of Julien Trarieux in Paris-Tours. “Given the circumstances, it was already good to be able to go to Paris-Tours. We finished with a big race and we did a good job, I think that’s great. It’s better to end up like this than to half-heartedly try to make it to the end of the season.”
After the team saw some important sponsors disappear last winter, a long-term solution was sought. It didn’t come. Partly due to financial problems, the team said goodbye to Clément Berthet, who left for AG2R Citroën, and Biniam Ghirmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and some staff members during the season. The team also rode fewer races to save money.
In the summer, the search for new partners continued. Several names were on the list, but the efforts didn’t pay off. Recently, the team management decided to throw in the towel. This ends the existence of the team, which entered the professional peloton in 2011 as La Pomme Marseille, which eventually became Team Delko via Delko Marseille Provence and Nippo Delko One Provence.
The last Roubaix for Delko:
Wout Poels and Five Other Riders Leave Bahrain Victorious
Bahrain Victorious and Wout Poels will part ways at the end of this season. The team announced on social media that the contract of the 34-year-old Dutch climber will not be extended. The team also says goodbye to Kevin Inkelaar, Eros Capecchi, Scott Davies, Marco Haller and Marcel Sieberg.
Poels has raced for Bahrain Victorious for the past two years, having previously raced for Vacansoleil-DCM, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step and Sky. The Dutchman didn’t win in the jersey of the Bahraini team. He was sixth in the Vuelta a España last season and he wore the polka dot jersey in the Tour de France this year to eventually finish second behind Tadej Pogačar in the mountains classification.
Inkelaar was also in his second season with the team. In the corona year 2020, the young Dutchman was thirteenth in the Settimana Internazionale. Due to a positive corona test at the start of the Volta a Catalunya and an injury, it took a long time before he could make his season debut this year. Bad luck was after him, as he suffered several rib fractures in a fall in the Bretagne Classic.
On Twitter, the team says goodbye to six riders: “It was a pleasure, we wish you all the best for the future.” It is not yet clear where Poels and Inkelaar’s future lies. Marco Haller is now known to leave for BORA-hansgrohe for three seasons. Marcel Sieberg says goodbye as a professional rider and joins the team management of DSM.
Team BikeExchange Ends Negotiations with Premier Tech
The expected partnership and sponsorship deal between BikeExchange and Premier Tech is now off. The team and the packaging equipment manufacturer could not agree on the ownership terms.
Premier Tech is still a sponsor of Astana-Premier Tech, but the Kazakh team and the company announced in August that they will part ways at the end of the year. Premier Tech was expected to join BikeExchange in 2022 and take a 50% stake in the team. According to sources, the decision not to have the deal go through was made almost two weeks ago. Gerry Ryan will now continue to financially support the men and women of the WorldTeams through his various business interests, with Giant reportedly joining the squad as a bike sponsor in place of Bianchi.
The failure of the talks means that Jakob Fuglsang and Hugo Houle will not switch to Team BikeExchange. Both are linked to Premier Tech, as are former Canadian rider and sports director Steve Bauer and former Astana team manager Yana Seel.
Premier Tech are now looking for another squad. CEO Jean Bélanger told La Presse last month that his company could partner with Team BikeExchange, Israel Start-Up Nation, Qhubeka-NextHash or Rally Cycling. Time is running out, however, with the WorldTeams registration deadline set for October 15th. It’s understood that the Canadian sponsor wants to invest approximately five million euros in a team, but wants an equity stake in the team in return. Bélanger claimed he had been approached about sponsorship by “about fifteen” teams. However, it appears that few are willing to loose ownership of the squad in a deal.
It now looks like Jakob Fuglsang and Hugo Houle will ride for Israel Start-Up Nation in 2022. The Dane and Canadian seemed to be heading for Team BikeExchange, but this fell through in the end. Fuglsang and Houle sign a three-year contract until the end of 2024.
Fuglsang (36) and Houle (31), still racing for Astana-Premier Tech this year, were named as Team BikeExchange’s newest additions as they are linked to Premier Tech and the packaging equipment manufacturer was behind the scenes in talks with Team BikeExchange about a sponsorship deal. It now appears that Israel Start-Up Nation could be co sponsored by Premier Tech next year, which would explain the transfers of Fuglsang and Houle. The Dane will sign with the Israeli team for three years, as will Houle.
Fuglsang, who has had a great season in part due to injuries, hopes to win big races again in 2022. “I believe I still have it in me. Of course the upcoming Tour de France, with the Grand Départ in Copenhagen, is a main goal. I believe it is good to breathe fresh air. I can contribute to future successes with my experience,” said the man who won Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy in the past. Houle is a strong all-rounder who has ridden for AG2R La Mondiale and Astana in the past. This year he became Canadian time trial champion. “After four years at Astana, a new challenge now follows. I can’t wait to join the squad. I want to thank Sylvan Adams (Team Principal of Israel Start-Up Nation) for this opportunity. I am sure that I can still grow as a rider.”
Adams is happy with his latest acquisitions. “Jakob is a proven winner and he is in fact the replacement for Daniel Martin, who will retire from racing after this season. And as for Hugo Houle… I raced him when he was a junior. He has developed into a very good professional cyclist. He now returns ‘home’ and will race together with his Canadian friends Michael Woods and Guillaume Boivin.”
New team for Fuglsang:
Pedal With Pogačar
UAE Team Emirates Invites Local Community to Join One-Day Festival of Cycling in Abu Dhabi
This month UAE Team Emirates are returning to the UAE and will be hosting Pedal with Pogačar, a unique community cycling event in partnership with ADNOC and TrainYas.
Open to everyone, from the experienced rider to budding young cyclists on training wheels, UAE Team Emirates and ADNOC are offering the community a chance to ride alongside the reigning Tour de France Champion, Tadej Pogačar, and his teammates in a one-off exclusive event in Abu Dhabi.
The cycling festival will be held at Yas Marina Circuit, featuring a competitive Crit Race*, followed by an open-to-all community ride-along around the track, plus other activities including kids’ coaching clinics.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and ride alongside some of the best riders in the world and there will be opportunities for photos and autographs. All participants will receive a medal and have the opportunity to win cycling prizes, merchandise, signed jerseys and UAE Team Emirates team kits.
The Pedal with Pogačar event will run from 8am-12pm, Saturday 23 October at Yas Marina Circuit. Competitive races will start from 8.30am and from 10am, the track will open up for a FREE community family ride along with the team. Coaching clinics will also be held by the Emirati squad for non-cyclists and young beginners.
This community event is free and open to everyone over the age of six with no pre-registration required. For the race element, there is a nominal AED 55 entry fee and pre-registration is required*. All participants will need to show a green Al Hosn pass to enter the venue.
*For more information or to register for one of the races CLICK HERE.
Wettest race of the year?! Behind the scenes at Paris-Roubaix 2021 INEOS Grenadiers Off-Script
Join us behind the scenes at Paris-Roubaix 2021 and Michal Golas’s last race 🥺, and hear from Kwiato, Luke Rowe, Dylan van Baarle and the rest of the team in the latest episode of INEOS Grenadiers Off-Script.
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