Everything Tour de France and the Settimana Ciclistica Italiana with results and video. UCI new tools for tech fraud – TOP STORY. Other cycling news: Quick-Step new name, Peter Sagan knee surgery, Edwin Ávila positive doping test, Alejandro Valverde and Vincenzo Nibali to Tokyo, Henok Mulubrhan contract, the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta 21 route, 2021 Elite Track European Championships and inside the Lotto Soudal team at the Tour de France video. EUROTRASH Thursday café au lait?
TOP STORY: UCI New Tools to Fight Technological Fraud
Following the introduction of magnetic tablets in 2016 and mobile X-ray equipment in 2018, the UCI will deploy a new backscatter system to combat technology fraud. The new technology will be used during the Tokyo Olympics, among other things.
The fight against technological fraud is an important point in the UCI Agenda 2022 action plan. The new backscatter system is a relatively compact and lightweight mobile device that can immediately visualise the inside of a bicycle and share those images with the rest of the world via a secure connection. The new technology will be used during the road, mountain bike and track competitions at the Tokyo Games. This technique is also used during the mountain bike World championships in Val di Sole and the road World championships in Flanders.
The fight against technological fraud is one of the tasks of UCI Innovation Manager Michael Rogers. “The UCI takes the fight against technological fraud very seriously. That’s why we keep innovating to further improve the effectiveness of our tests. Our new backscatter technology used in Tokyo is an important step forward in our drive to ensure we have the confidence of fans and all cycling stakeholders,” said the Australian former rider.
The UCI also said that in the first two weeks of the Tour de France, a total of 720 tests were carried out in the fight against technological fraud. All tests proved negative. Of all the tests, 606 were performed with magnetic tablets. The mobile X-ray equipment was let go in the 114 other tests. After each stage, at least the bikes of the stage winner and the jersey wearer will be screened. The other bikes are selected by the UCI on the basis of its information and intelligence, or are part of targeted anti-doping controls.
UCI still looking:
Tour de France 2021
In a race that favours attackers, Austrian national champion Patrick Konrad claim his first Tour de France stage victory in Saint-Gaudens after 37km of a brave solo. Only two Austrians have been Tour stage winners before: Max Bulla in 1931 and Georg Totschnig in 2005. Sonny Colbrelli and Michael Matthews rounded out the podium. Tadej Pogacar retained the yellow jersey.
14 riders in the lead
145 riders took the start of stage 16. Two non-starters: Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) and Amund Groendahl Jansen (BikeExchange). Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck – Quick Step) was the first man on the move after the flag off. Michal Kwiatkowski (INEOS Grenadiers) and Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) caught him 3.5km before the col de Port. The leading trio was brought back after 65km of racing. Jan Bakelants (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Chris Juul Jensen (BikeExchange) and Fabien Doubey (TotalEnergies) formed another leading trio at km 79. Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Patrick Konrad (BORA-hansgrohe), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis), Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroën), Sonny Colbrelli and Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Michael Matthews (BikeExchange), Alex Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech), Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels-KTM) formed a chasing group before the col de la Core. Konrad joined the three escapees at km 97, 4km before the summit, and crested in first position.
Konrad alone at Portet-d’Aspet
As Juul-Jensen had been dropped, Konrad distanced Doubey and Bakelants at km 132 with 4km left to climb up to Portet d’Aspet. Konrad crested first with an advantage of 20 seconds over Gaudu and Colbrelli but increased it on the downhill. He had a 40 second lead 25km from the finish. Nine riders were chasing the Austrian at 15km out.
Action in the yellow jersey group
Konrad remained calm with more than 1 minute lead with 10km to go. Gaudu put the pressure on up the last climb, the short but steep côte d’Aspret-Sarrat but the Austrian had too much of a gap. Périchon attacked from the chasing group on the hunt for second place but he was overhauled at the finish by Matthews and Colbrelli. Offensives at the head of the peloton involved most of the GC contenders in the last 10km of racing but it was no problem for Pogačar to control Guillaume Martin and Wout van Aert. A group of 15 riders powered strongly to the line by the Belgian champion with all the top 10 riders on his wheel.
# You can read the full stage 16 report and photo gallery HERE. #
Stage winner, Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I’m speechless, I can’t find the words to describe the feeling! Not only is it my first ever WorldTour victory, but it is also in the Tour de France, the world’s biggest cycling race. This victory goes to my family, my friends, to everybody that believed in me and, of course, to my team, BORA-hansgrohe. They always trusted in me, they always told me I had the talent and I had to fight for it. This win happened at the right moment, to win a stage here wearing the Austrian champion jersey makes me really proud. I have already been in the breakaway three times in this Tour, but I was always waiting until the finale. It wasn’t the best decision. We saw that when Mohoric won a stage he went really early, when Mollema won he also went really early. So, I told myself that if I found myself once again in that situation, I would be that rider. I gave it a try and I’m really happy it worked out and I had the legs to take it to the finish. When I crossed the last kilometre mark, I thought it was going to be painful again but, in the end, I had the time to celebrate. I really believed in it only in the last 500 metres when the sports directors passed me. I’m extremely happy and I think I can enjoy this moment.”
Overall leader, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a really hard day. We started with cold weather and a big group tried to break away. The first two hours were full-gas. Then we manage to ease up a bit, but afterwards the last kilometres were quite fast again. Actually, I don’t know what we were doing in that final acceleration. I was just following wheels. Anyway, it was a good warm-up for tomorrow. Tomorrow it’s the hardest day of the Tour, so let’s see. I did a recon of [the routes of] tomorrow and the day after, so I know the climbs. It would be better if I hadn’t seen them! [laughs] I’m not worried about the climbs, but I know it will be a very hard day.”
2nd on the stage, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious): “I’m happy with my performance today, but I’m also disappointed not to come away with the win. At one point, it felt like we had the gap under control, but Konrad was strong and managed to hold on.
I came here to win a Stage at Tour, and I think this was my best chance this year. I know that I can win these kinds of stages, and I will keep fighting to win a stage at the Tour.”
3rd on the stage, Michael Matthews (BikeExchange): “I think today was a good opportunity for a stage win for a rider like myself. Our plan was to go in the breakaway, and we achieved that. The plan was to get some points in the intermediate and we achieved that, but just came up short with the stage win. I think the whole team did a great job at the start to get two guys in the breakaway; myself and Chris Juul-Jensen. We keep bashing at the door to get that stage win and we will continue fighting for it. We had eight guys chopping off (when Konrad attacked) so I didn’t think that break would go, and I wasn’t feeling that good on the climbs today so I really wanted to back my sprint and hope that it would all come back together, but in the end one rider stayed away. I started my sprint early as there was a Cofidis rider in front, so I tried to bring him back in the sprint, but Colbrelli just came past me on the line. I am closer (to the points classification lead) but not close enough. Cavendish still has two more sprint opportunities in this Tour de France. If he wins them then that’s another 100 points so all this work I’ve been doing the last days could be all for nothing, but I am a fighter and I will fight all the way to Paris.”
8th on the stage, Jan Bakelants (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I wanted to get through the climbs at my own pace, without worrying too much about the group behind because you never know, if you wait for them, the cooperation probably wouldn’t have been good. Everything indicated that Konrad was very strong, because he managed to join us in the Col de la Core by himself. He did well in Portet-d’Aspet, attacking early just after I took my turn. I managed to follow him but had to let him go, without exploding thought. Unfortunately, I lost the opportunity to bring a podium. Today, I am happy with my race because I gave everything, but not with the result. Even if it is not the result I had hoped for, I am happy with my race because I gave everything, I defended the team jersey in front on my daughter Julia’s birthday.”
KOM, Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious): “Today I was thinking of going in the break if the possibility arouse, while keeping also an eye on my rivals to follow their moves. In the end none of us went on the break, so I have been able to save up my legs for the next two days. It has been a nice day, despite the bad weather. I hope to win tomorrow. I’m going to get in the break and try to battle up the final climb, also to collect some points for the KOM classification as this summit finish scores double.”
Points leader, Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It wasn’t a nice day, but it was enjoyable. I respond well to cold weather: it is as if I could breath easier in these conditions. It went well for me. Now there are two mountain top finishes to go in a row on which I hope to survive. As for the green jersey, there is nothing I can do in these kind of stages against guys who can climb and go for points in the intermediate sprints.”
Tour de France Stage 16 Result:
1. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe in 4:01:59
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 0:42
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange
4. Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra) Cofidis
5. Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
6. Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
7. Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo at 0:45
8. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
9. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:47
10. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 1:03.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 16:
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 66:23:06
2. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo at 5:18
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma at 5:32
4. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 5:33
5. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën at 5:58
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe at 6:16
7. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech at 7:01
8. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar at 7:11
9. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 8:02
10. Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 10:59.
Tour’21 stage 16:
Two years after he claimed his first Grand Tour stage victory in Andorra at La Vuelta and one year after he took his first Tour de France stage victory in Laruns, Tadej Pogacar imposed himself on Stage 17, the Queen stage of the 2021 Tour de France. The Slovenian out-sprinted Jonas Vingegaard and Richard Carapaz and extended his overall lead.
Six riders in the lead
145 riders took the start of stage 17 in Muret. After a first attempt by Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ), Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-KTM) was the first rider who managed to go clear. He stayed away for 13 kilometres. Lukas Pöstlberger (BORA-hansgrohe), Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Dorian Godon (AG2R Citroën) and Anthony Pérez (Cofidis) managed to get a gap at km 18. Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) and Maxime Chevalier (B&B Hotels-KTM) bridged the gap at km 30. Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo) rode in between for a while before he surrendered. A time difference of 8:20 was recorded at km 60. Van Poppel won the intermediate sprint at Bagnères-de-Luchon where Michael Matthews won the sprint in the peloton ahead of Mark Cavendish.
Perez, the enfant du pays on tour on Bastille Day
At the beginning of the ascent to the col de Peyresourde, Elie Gesbert (Arkea-Samsic) launched his captain Nairo Quintana. Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) went with them and Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) bridged the gap. Latour was the only one to stay away until the bottom of Val Louron where the deficit of the yellow jersey group led by UAE Team Emirates was reduced to 4 minutes. Perez rode away solo at the front 5.5km before the summit of the second climb of the day. He passed Val Louron 10 seconds before Godon. The two Frenchmen formed a special Bastille Day leading duo 22km before the finish with an advantage of 3:40 over the peloton. Perez, the enfant du pays, rode away solo again with 13.5km to go.
Pogacar with no help in the battle royale
Perez was brought back 8.5km before the finish line. Pogačar attacked and only Jonas Vingegaard and Richard Carapaz managed to hold his wheel. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) escaped from the chasing group to try and catch the leading trio. Pogacar did all the pacing at the front until Carapaz attacked 1.5km before the summit. The Ecuadorian didn’t drop the Slovenian. Vingegaard struggled to follow, he came back to contest the stage victory but Pogačar showed his superiority to put his mark on a prestigious win at the highest finish of the Tour de France.
# You can read the full stage 17 report and photo gallery HERE. #
Stage winner and overall leader, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates): “The team have worked really hard every day to defend the yellow jersey. Every day has been good for breakaways so every day we couldn’t really do much. Today was a good course to control the breakaway much better and the guys did a fantastic job. We were 50/50 to go for the stage or just defend, but everybody felt good and in the end we succeeded. [On the final climb] only me and Jonas [Vingegaard] worked together. I tried a couple of times to go clear, just because more time is better. In the end I just sprinted the last 150 metres. Jonas said to me, he thought Carapaz is bluffing and I knew it also. It was nothing unusual. This is the tactic in cycling. And then he tried to attack. But I really tried to catch him and just hold his wheel, but it was super hard. It was a fantastic day, to win in the yellow is something I cannot describe.”
2nd on the stage and overall, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma): “What a day. Second in the stage and second in the general classification. I’m very happy with that. I think Pogacar, Carapaz and I were evenly matched today. Carapaz didn’t cooperate with us. When he accelerated in the final kilometre, I initially wasn’t able to respond his attack. But luckily I was strong enough to fight back and out-sprint him on the line. I don’t think I could have beaten Pogacar. He is very strong and is in the overall lead for a reason. But I don’t regret my efforts. Hopefully I can survive tomorrow and then it looks good to finish on the podium in Paris.”
5th on the stage and overall, Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën): “I felt really good today and I’m proud of my performance. I tried to follow Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vinegaard but it was not possible. I did succeed in grabbing a few seconds in the general classification. For tomorrow’s stage, everyone will try to do their best … As was the case today. Tadej is a tone above. Tomorrow’s stage is short and the level of the rest of us fighting for places in the general classification is pretty equal. We’ll see if it’s possible to take some time.”
6th on the stage and overall, Wilco Kelderman (BORA-hansgrohe): “In the last corner of the final descent, I went wide and crashed. I thought I was going to make it, I was able to hold on with one leg on the gravel but my front wheel was blocked, so I tumbled and landed almost flat on my face. It wasn’t very nice, just before the last climb. It’s a pity, my legs were good and I was a bit interrupted. Emu was with me and helped me reach the GC group again just when the final climb started. I would say it was a good day, I held on to my position, and tomorrow will be another hard day where I will, hopefully, be able to battle for a better spot.”
14th on the stage and 15th overall, Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “It was a different stage than usual on this Tour de France, with a strong headwind and the control from the teams competing for the polka dot jersey. So the chances for the breakaway to make it till the end were slim, which is why I stayed in the yellow jersey group. I had a good feeling in the climbs, and the goal for me was to hang on as long as possible. This fourteenth place is a positive result in the end, on the eve of the last mountain stage of this Tour de France.”
Tour de France Stage 17 Result:
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 5:03:31
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma at 0:03
3. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:04
4. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:19
5. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën at 1:26
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:40
7. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 1:44
8. Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education-Nippo at 1:49
9. Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Education-Nippo
10. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 17:
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 71:26:27
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma at 5:39
3. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 5:43
4. Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Education-Nippo at 7:17
5. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën at 7:34
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe at 8:06
7. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 9:48
8. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech at 10:04
9. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 11:51
10. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 12:53.
Tour’21 stage 17:
Settimana Ciclistica Italiana 2021
Diego Ulissi won Stage 1 of the Settimana Ciclistica Italiana on Wednesday. In an up-hill sprint finish in Sassari, the UAE Team Emirates out-sprinted Alberto Bettiol, riding for an Italian team, and BORA-hansgrohe rider Giovanni Aleotti.
The Settimana Ciclistica Italiana is a brand new stage race on the island of Sardinia. The first stage covered 155.8 kilometres from Alghero to the city of Sassari. The first 40 kilometres had few notable obstacles, but after that it went up and down all day. Rudy Barbier, Simon Pellaud, Evaldas Šiškevičius, Luca Wackermann, Ibai Azurmendi, Rune Herregodts, Jonas Abrahamsen, Paolo Simion and Federico Burchio animated the race with a long break, but were caught one by one in the hilly final. On the up-hill finish in Sassari, Diego Ulissi was the strongest.
Stage winner and overall leader, Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a demanding stage, with a tough finish that saw many quality riders contending for the victory. Today I felt good and I gave my best, also trying to attack on the climb. The last 500 meters, being slightly uphill, were perfect for my characteristics. My legs are good and I hope for a great week together with the whole team: the team did a great job today, supporting me all the way.”
3rd on the stage and overall, Giovanni Aleotti (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was quite a good race and I’m satisfied with third place. I felt relatively good today and after the escapees were caught, I was able to make it into the first group on the road. The guys supported me well and in the last climb I still had Felix alongside me. In the finale, we tried to sprint for the win and in the end I managed to finish third, which is a solid result on such a stage.”
Settimana Ciclistica Italiana Stage 1 Result:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates in 3:40:31
2. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Italy
3. Giovanni Aleotti (Ita) BORA-hansgrohe
4. Felix Großschartner (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe
5. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Italy
6. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation
7. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Italy
8. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation
9. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
10. Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar.
Settimana Ciclistica Italiana Overall After Stage 1:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates in 3:40:21
2. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Italy at 0:04
3. Giovanni Aleotti (Ita) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:06
4. Felix Großschartner (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:10
5. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Italy
6. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation
7. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Italy
8. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation
9. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
10. Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar.
The Story Continues: Same Team, High Ambitions, New Name – Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
High-performing Alpha Vinyl flooring product range linked to the team in 2022.
Quick-Step, the reference in laminate, wood and vinyl floors, follows up on the announcement of an extended partnership with Patrick Lefevere’s team with some exciting news. Next season, the team’s name will officially be Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team.
After recently extending its partnership with Belgium’s top cycling team for another six years – until 2027 – long-time sponsor Quick-Step has exciting news to add. “We’re very pleased to continue our decades-long sponsorship of the Wolfpack, and also very excited to link our Alpha Vinyl flooring product range to the team through a new name”, asserts Ruben Desmet, President of Unilin Flooring, the company behind the Quick-Step brand.
Performance that resonates
“The Quick-Step brand is, of course, linked to laminate flooring solutions, but we offer much more – including high-quality vinyl flooring”, Desmet continues. “Market demand is booming for vinyl, and Quick-Step wants to dominate this market, like we do for laminate flooring. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl floors are rigid, 100%-watertight, ultra-strong vinyl flooring solutions that are almost indistinguishable from real wood or stone – and they can be installed on different types of surfaces, level or fairly irregular.”
Aligned in undisputed leadership
Under the sponsorship tagline “Designed to perform”, Quick-Step reinforces its passion for design and excellence in flooring – as well as in cycling. Just like the riders of the Wolfpack, Alpha Vinyl pushes the limits in a number of different domains.
“When it comes to performance, style, design and detail, Alpha Vinyl is a true leader in its category. With over 800 wins to its name, the soon-to-be Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Pro Cycling Team is clearly aligned in undisputed leadership”, Desmet says.
“Our shared values cannot be overstated”, states team CEO Patrick Lefevere. “Beauty, innovation, leadership and transforming dreams into reality: these values have been and continue to be key to success for both the team and for Quick Step. We are very enthusiastic about continuing our track record under the Quick-Step and Alpha Vinyl flag.”
After Withdrawal from the Tour Peter Sagan Successfully Underwent Knee Surgery
After his withdrawal from the Tour de France Peter Sagan underwent a small surgery at home in Monaco. The three-times World Champion is feeling well and will be able to be back on his bike soon.
“First of all, I’d like to thank the BORA-hansgrohe management, the team’s doctors, and in particular our Head Doctor, Christopher Edler, for their support and guidance since my crash on stage 3. Secondly, I’m so grateful for all the get-well messages that I received from my teammates, friends, and fans from all over the world. They are greatly appreciated. On stage 3, the chainring hit my knee and entered the skin above the patella, leaving a deep wound. We cleaned the wound as much as possible to prevent infection because of the dirt from the chain oil. However, after a few days, an inflammation developed in the bursa on top of the patella, and, unfortunately, I had to abandon the Tour. Also, I’d like to thank the doctors and medical staff at IM2S clinic in Monaco for performing an excellent surgery on such short notice and for their great cooperation with the team’s medical staff. I already feel a lot better and everything looks good so far.” – Peter Sagan.
“We did everything possible on site at the Tour but even antibiotic treatment couldn’t prevent an infection. The only option was to stop racing and get the bursa surgically removed. Luckily it was only superficial infection, and the knee joint is not involved in this at all. The surgery went well, and I think Peter will be able to start with light training again in a couple of days.” – Christopher Edler, Head of Medical.
Sagan’s Tour crash:
Edwin Ávila Provisionally Suspended After Positive Doping Test
Edwin Ávila has been provisionally suspended by the UCI. In a doping test, traces of boldenone were found in the Colombian Burgos-BH sprinter’s sample. Boldenone is an anabolic steroid.
The positive doping test of the 31-year-old Ávila was taken at an out-of-competition check on May 31st, a week and a half after he rode the Ruta del Sol, according to documents from the UCI. The international cycling union has not yet given any further explanation on the matter. Ávila will probably get the chance to request a B sample test.
Ávila has been riding for Burgos-BH since the start of this season. Before this, he rode for Israel Cycling Academy for three seasons. The sprinter also has a history with Illuminate and Team Colombia, and has nine professional victories to his name.
Nibali off to Tokyo
Vincenzo Nibali left the Tour and looking forward to Tokyo: “Experience is required there”. The Trek-Segafredo Italian rider announced in advance that he would leave the Tour de France on the second rest day to travel to the Olympic Games. In Tokyo, Nibali knows that his experience can come in handy.
In his last stage on the Tour, on the way to Andorra, Nibali was in the leading group. He was unable to make a difference on the final climb and eventually finished eleventh. Then he set his eyes on the Olympic road race in Tokyo. He will ride with Gianni Moscon, Giulio Ciccone, Alberto Bettiol and Damiano Caruso.
“We know that there are very strong riders at the start, who we have to take into account. But we have a team with different priorities. Damiano Caruso must not be forgotten. We have a compact group that can work well together,” expects Nibali, in conversation with Tuttobiciweb.
He does not yet know exactly what role the Shark will play. “The race is going to be very long and it won’t be easy to manage. Any role I can play is important. Whether at the beginning or at the end. During my first Olympics I had to open the race, but when the race exploded, my job was done,” he recalls.
“We must not forget that the Olympic Games are only held with five people per country. Experience is required there and even the day before the emotions can rise, for example if you can’t sleep. So you have to be careful and know how to dose everything,” said Nibali. He also mentions a favourite. “Wout van Aert is one of them, but he is not the only one.”
Vincenzo Nibali in blue:
Valverde Leader of the Spanish Team
Alejandro Valverde is the leader of Spain for the road race during the Tokyo Olympics. The Movistar rider, who is going for his fifth Games, is surrounded by the brothers Gorka and Ion Izagirre, Jesús Herrada and Omar Fraile. Ion Izagirre also does the time trial.
For Valverde, these will be his fifth Games, after he was also part of the Spanish team in Athens (2004), Beijing (2008), London (2012) and Rio (2016). Ion Izagirre also already has the necessary Olympic experience, after he also did both the road race and the time trial in Rio. In the time trial he finished eighth at the time, more than two minutes behind winner Fabian Cancellara. This will be their Olympic debut for Gorka Izagirre, Fraile and Herrada.
According to national coach Pascual Momparler, Valverde is a medal candidate. “We wanted to build a team around Valverde with riders who could not only beat him, but also jump in breakaways and compete until the finish. Because each country can only select a few riders, it will be a race with many possibilities. Every rider in our team has shown that they can perform well in races of more than 200 kilometres.”
Pello Bilbao has been designated as a reserve, should anything happen to one of the five other riders.
Spain for the Tokyo Olympic Games
Road race men:
Individual time trial men:
Valverde in National kit:
Henok Mulubrhan Steps Up to the WorldTour in 2022
We are delighted to announce that Henok Mulubrhan has signed his first professional contract and will join the Team Qhubeka NextHash WorldTour team from 1 January, 2022.
The 21-year-old from Asmara, Eritrea, makes the progression following two years spent with Team Qhubeka’s UCI Continental team based in Lucca, Italy.
2021 has proved to be an excellent season, so far, which has included placing second at Giro del Medio Brenta, third place on stage two of the under 23 Giro d’Italia where he also placed 17th overall on the general classification and a hugely impressive sixth at Giro dell’Appennino, among others.
Mulubrhan has also raced this season with our WorldTour team, as a member of our squad that competed at Trofeo Andratx and Trofeo Calvia.
He joins an illustrious list of riders including the likes of Daniel Teklehaimanot, Merhawi Kudus, Nicholas Dlamini, Ryan Gibbons, Stefan de Bod, Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg and others, that have taken the step from our team to the WorldTour and gone on to compete consistently at the very highest level.
Henok Mulubrhan: “I am very happy to receive my first professional contract. It was always a dream of mine to be a professional, from the age of 17 when I was racing with the Eritrean team. I need to thank my family for their support, particularly my father and my uncle. My Father always believed in me, he told everyone I will be a professional one day and supported me a lot. He came to every race I did and if he could get a visa, I know he would want to come to all my races in Europe too. My uncle did a lot to help me financially in my career, even now he still helps me. I need to thank them a lot but also to the whole Eritrean community, my fans, who always support and encourage me.”
“To the team, I am very grateful to the Qhubeka Continental team for the opportunity. With them, my dream changed from just being a dream to becoming a realistic goal. They gave me opportunity to experience racing in Europe and to increase my level. Thank you to Kevin (Campbell) and Daniele (Nieri) and all the Continental team staff and also to my teammates who helped me. Last year I lived, trained and raced with guys like Natnael Tesfatsion and Leonardo Marchiori. They turned pro from this team so it gave me a lot of motivation to train hard and keep believing I can do it too. Now I start from the beginning again, and it is time for a new dream as a professional. I want to start a grand tour, that is my next goal and after, in a few years my family dream is to see me win a stage in a grand tour. This is what I will work towards.”
Douglas Ryder – Team Principal: “One of the greatest pleasures that I have is seeing young riders taking the opportunity to establish themselves in our Continental team and then earning their spot to ride on the highest level with our WorldTour team. That is exactly what our team is about, to create hope and opportunity for a successful career as a professional cyclist and continue to inspire hope in others that their dreams can come true. Henok’s hugely impressed all of us; he’s not only ridden so well with our Continental team but also spent some time racing successfully with the WorldTour team. His hard work and adaptation to international racing is showing incredible improvements which we hope will go from strength to strength, and we look forward to playing our part in that journey to see him realise his dreams.”
The CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta 21 will have Four Stages and will Take Place Entirely within Galicia
The CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta 21 will take off from the Province of Ourense on the 2nd of September and will cover the region of Galicia for the first time ever in its history. The race, one of the most important in the women’s WorldTour calendar, continues to make its mark and will be adding a new stage to its route this year, bringing the total competition days to four.
The route was officially presented today at the Cabeza de Manzaneda Ski Resort, which will feature heavily in the race. This Galician site will host three of the race’s departures and one finish-line.
In total, these will be four very different stages, among them two very demanding mid-mountain stages, one 7.3 km mountain time trial and a final flat stage with an expected sprint to the finish-line in the Galician capital, Santiago de Compostela. This final stage will take place on the 5th of September, coinciding with the finale of La Vuelta 21 in the Plaza del Obradoiro.
The world’s best female riders will come together in the most important Spanish race in the women’s cycling calendar. Many of the favourites will do so to attempt to debunk German rider Lisa Brennauer, from the Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling team, and current winner of the race’s last two editions.
A Very Demanding Route
The CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta 21 will begin with a stage departing from the Cabeza de Manzaneda Ski Resort and finishing at the locality of A Rúa. An entire day within the Province of Ourense, whose route exceeds 118 km and involves overcoming Alto de Portela, a 1st category climb.
Cabeza de Manzaneda will consolidate its starring role by hosting the entire second day of the competition. The ski resort will be the location chosen for the race’s very first mountain time trial – A climb totalling 7.3 km, with an accumulated slope of 424 m.
The race will bid farewell to its third stage in the Ourense resort and head towards Pereiro de Aguiar. Almost 108 km of leg-breaking territory, featuring two climbs, of 3rd and 2nd categories, respectively. This is a classic Galician stage that will not give the peloton a moment of respite.
Lastly, as has become tradition over the years, the race will conclude with a sprint to the finish-line that, for the first time, will not take place within the main streets of central Madrid, but will instead leave As Pontes and end in Santiago de Compostela. The historic Plaza del Obradoiro will experience first-hand the final day of competing and will crown the two winners of La Roja. First, the winner of the 7th edition of the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta 21 and, a few hours later, the winner of the 76th edition of La Vuelta, who will also be crowned on the 5th of September, following a final battle against the clock that promises to be thrilling right up to the last second.
The 2021 Elite Track European Championships will be Held in Grenchen (Switzerland)
The Swiss Velodrome in Grenchen (Switzerland) will host the Elite Track European Championships from 5 to 9 October 2021.
Already the venue of the 2015 Track Elite European Championships, the modern Swiss facility is getting ready once again to welcome the continental event with the participation of over 300 riders from 25 countries for five days of racing where 22 titles will be awarded (11 events on the programme for the two categories).
Enrico Della Casa, President of the Union Européenne de Cyclisme: “We are very pleased to return to Grenchen with one of the most important events on our calendar and will do so with great enthusiasm. Over the last few weeks we have had various contact with certain National Federations to move the Championships, especially Lithuania who expressed an interest and above all a great potential for developing Track cycling above and beyond. I would therefore like to thank the Prime Minister, Ingrida Šimonytė, the Sports Minister, Jurgita Šiugždinienė, and her Deputy, Linas Obcarskase, the President of the Lithuanian Cycling Federation, Darius Levickis, and the General Secretary, Stasys Petrauskas. Together, we have launched a major project which could make Lithuania the main feature in a series of European events and initiatives in the near future. We will experience a unique and exciting event and I would like to thank the Canton of Solothurn and the town of Grenchen. Above all thank you to Swiss Cycling, a federation that was especially active last year, in a difficult situation during the health crisis and who successfully supported the organisation of the 2020 MTB European Championships in Monte Tamaro. Together with the Swiss Cycling Management, the Co-Presidents Franz Gallati and Patrick Hunger and the Director General, Thomas Peter, we have a strong relationship built on mutual respect and trust which will help us greatly with the success of future events. Special thanks to the Swiss Velodrome facility, managed by Peter Wirz and Juan Espasandin, for the enthusiastic welcome we always receive and who, with a confirmed and well-known track record in organising, will take care of all aspects of the Championships in one of the best venues in Europe, and not just for Track cycling.”
Thomas Peter, General Director of Swiss Cycling: “The European Championships are an important competition on the track specialist’s calendar. We are happy that we have been able to find a solution together with the UEC and Tissot Velodrome to give the riders the opportunity to compete in this event in Switzerland. We look forward to providing our experience and expertise in the organisation of cycling events.”
Peter Wirz and Juan Espasandin, Tissot Velodrome: “We are extremely happy and proud to have the opportunity to organise and host the Elite Track European Championships at the Tissot Velodrome, Grenchen. Our Team is eager and enthusiastic to start the organisation. We would like to give our special thanks to the UEC for their trust, support and honourable collaboration. Furthermore, we would like to thank Swiss Cycling for the excellent cooperation and the support. We are looking forward to welcoming the elite riders at our Velodrome in Grenchen and to see some thrilling race days.”
Euro Track champs:
Inside the Lotto Soudal team at the Tour de France: Episode 3
In our third episode of Inside the Team, Philippe Gilbert and Thomas De Gendt do a Q&A, you get an insight into what our mechanics are up to on a rest day and you can learn how our riders optimise their sleeping comfort.
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