The Giro d’Italia rumbles on under the threat of Covid-19, but with great racing. We have results and video from Italy and the Scheldeprijs. Tom Boonen talks about the Van Aert/Van der Poel conflict – TOP STORY. The bad news form the Giro, but also the good news form the Tour of Flanders. Deceuninck – Quick-Step to become Elegant – Quick-Step for de Ronde, no fans on the Vuelta a España mountains, Serge Pauwels retires, Fabio Jakobsen facial bone transplant, Gazprom extends sponsorship and no La Vuelta Junior in 2020. A full EUROTRASH Thursday.
TOP STORY: Tom Boonen on the Wout and Mathieu controversy
The dissatisfaction of Wout van Aert with the tactics of Mathieu van der Poel became quite obvious after Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem. According to Tom Boonen, the criticism from the Jumbo-Visma rider was not necessary.
“There was only one person who looked at me all the time. Apparently, he wanted me to lose rather than win the race himself. I am talking about Van der Poel,” Van Aert said after Gent-Wevelgem. Boonen, who himself has won the Flemish Classic three times, did not think the swipe from Van Aert at Van der Poel necessary, he writes in his column in Het Laatste Nieuws.
“Just because Van Aert is currently a fraction stronger than the rest does not mean that they just have to let him go. It’s that simple,” Boonen pointed out. “It makes sense that he is being shadowed, that is what his current status entails. And certainly when the shadow work comes from one of the other top favourite, Van der Poel. I am convinced that he was also racing for the win.”
Boonen determined that if Van der Poel wanted to win, Van Aert couldn’t escape him. “That realisation was very strong in him. In a final such as the one in Gent-Wevelgem, five to ten seconds of doubting whether that small moment when you escape your responsibility and look at others to blast a gap, to ride yourself into that loss is enough. So Van der Poel did what he had to do with not only Wout in sight.”
According to the former World champion, no gifts are handed out in the pro peloton. “Covering the matter with the mantle of love was the smartest thing Wout could have done. Recognise that this can be the sporting state of affairs for a rider with a favourite label. Anything better than looking back in the finishing straight and letting yourself drop, because it all gets too much for you. If he cannot change there, he will lose races even more often.”
Van der Poel and Van Aert have been rivals for a long time:
Giro d’Italia 2020
Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) waited fifteen months for a win, but he won an impressive Stage 10. Sagan was part of an early break, rode away from his last escape companion to solo to the finish. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) was second and overall leader, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) was third.
Michael Matthews (Sunweb) and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) both tested positive for covid-19, four members of Mitchelton-Scott staff also tested positive and so the Jumbo-Visma and Mitchelton-Scott teams decided to pulled out. Lawson Craddock (EF Pro Cycling) also didn’t start.
Off the front there were strong riders like Sagan and two stage winner Filippo Ganna and his teammate Tao Geoghegan Hart, but this escape was short-lived. Sagan was keen to sneak into the early break, so he and Ganna attacked again. The two front runners together started the steep climb in Chieti. It was the three-time World champion who was first, followed by Ganna and several riders who had jumped from the peloton. On the descent there was a regrouping at the front. Sagan and Ganna were joined by Simon Clarke, Ignatas Konovalovas, Ben Swift, Giulio Ciccone, Dario Cataldo, Jhonatan Restrepo, Nicolas Edet, Stéphane Rossetto and Davide Villella. In the peloton; Groupama-FDJ were on the front. Arnaud Démare did not want his biggest competitor for the purple points jersey, Sagan out of his sight. The difference continued to fluctuate around 30 seconds for some time. At one point, the French team managed to get within 20 seconds of the leading group. With 90 kilometres to go, the Démare team suddenly gave up, knowing that it had become impossible to pull the leading group back, and the difference increased to 4 minutes.
The lead group was down to only seven riders: Sagan, Ganna, Swift, Cataldo, Restrepo, Clarke and Villella. They worked well together. In the peloton UAE Team Emirates were working for Diego Ulissi. The difference to the break got smaller and smaller, but the leading group started the climb of the Colonnella with a decent lead. Cataldo decided to attack. Swift was immediately on the wheel, Sagan, Restrepo and Villella were also able to catch them. Ganna and Clarke couldn’t, although the Italian World time trial champion managed to return on the descent. In the peloton, UAE Team Emirates were helped by NTT Pro Cycling, who were working hard for Domenico Pozzovivo, reducing the gap to 1 minute. With 30 kilometres to go the sky opened and there was heavy rain storm causing a treacherous final to Tortoreto. Just over 20 kilometres to go, Pello Bilbao attacked. The Bahrain-McLaren Spaniard was not scared of the risks on the descent and this caused quite a bit of nervousness among the other classification riders. Pozzovivo suffered a puncture and had to chase.
The break only had 30 seconds lead and this was the signal for Sagan to jump on one of the steep sections and only Swift was able to follow him. Bilbao had joined the dropped riders: Restrepo, Cataldo, Ganna and Villella and tried to close the last gap on the two leaders. In the group of favourites we saw an attentive Wilco Kelderman and Almeida, along with Jakob Fuglsang and Vincenzo Nibali. Harm Vanhoucke was on a bad day and had to let go of the other GC men and was overtaken by Pozzovivo. After a frantic chase, the little Italian managed to rejoin the other overall contenders, who were still 30 seconds behind Swift and Sagan.
Sagan and Swift were not waiting, but were nearly joined by Bilbao just before the last climb, the Tortoreto Alto. Sagan decided he had to go solo and left Swift and also rode further away from Bilbao. In the chasing group pink jersey wearer, Almeida, decided to test his competitors on the steep climb, but it was Pozzovivo who counter and after his chase, he still had enough in the tank. Sagan was the first to reach the top of Tortoreto Alto, Bilbao was 15 seconds later, the other classification riders followed at 20 seconds with more than 10 kilometres to go.
On the fast descent of the Tortoreto Alto, Fuglsang had to deal with a flat tyre at the wrong moment and had to limit the damage after a wheel change. Sagan started the last seven relatively flat kilometres to the finish with a 30 second lead. The lonely Slovak suffered for another seven kilometres, but no one was able to catch him. Sagan had plenty of time at the finish to make his first victory salute in more than a year. Brandon McNulty finished second at 19 seconds behind the stage winner. Almeida took third place, with the bonus seconds. Kelderman crossed the line in eighth place, Fuglsang lost more than a minute.
You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage 10 Race Report’ and photo gallery HERE.
Stage winner, Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe): “I’m very happy with this victory which also has a special meaning to me since it is my first one ever at the Giro d’Italia. My previous victory was last year at the Tour de France, so I had to wait a bit to get this result. The team and the fans had their expectations, so I owed them a victory. I was on the podium a lot of times but there is a big difference between first and second place. We knew that going in the breakaway would be important today but I can guarantee you it wasn’t easy at all. It was very hard, it took a lot of effort and I think the escapees today were the ones with the best legs. On top of that, once our group was formed we had to work hard for a long time because the peloton, with Groupama-FDJ in front, also tried hard to bring us back. It took us a long time to build an advantage. In the final climbs, especially the last one, I knew I had to give it my all because I needed to have a gap and then make sure I didn’t crash in the last descent. I lost a bit of time there and in the final 7km it was important to go on the limit because behind me there was a group of 10-15 riders that certainly wanted to catch me.”
Overall leader and 3rd on the stage, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It was a hard day at the office, but I made it with the help of this tremendous team, who rode so hard for me and without whom I wouldn’t be where I am now. I felt good, despite the cold temperatures and the rain, and when Bilbao went, we remained calm and focused, and just did our homework, which concluded in bringing him back in the final kilometres. Third after such a stage is a nice result, it feels good to get another podium at this beautiful race. The four seconds I got on the line isn’t that much, but every second counts and can prove important when all is said and done. I don’t know how far I can go with this pink jersey, I’m just honoured to have it on my shoulders for more than a week and I’ll just continue to take it day by day and see where that takes me.”
2nd on the stage, Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates): “I got a puncture on one of the steep climbs and I had a long chase back on. It was a reduced group and no one had a teammate so I knew that if I could get a jump on the group then I could stay clear and that’s exactly what happened. I knew I was close to Sagan – the stage win would have been nice but also second place on the stage is incredible. Every day is possibly the last day here, so everyone is all-in everyday. We hope to continue but safety is the most important thing for all the riders and also all of Italy.”
4th on the stage and 9th overall, Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT Pro Cycling): “The whole team did a good job (today). We wanted to reduce the peloton in the first categorised climb of the last section, but I was unlucky with a problem with my front wheel, luckily I could get back to the peloton with the help of Ben and Louis. I felt very good and then I tried to do something in the last few kilometres but I did that big effort to come back, so I’m happy to be in the fight.”
Maglia Azzurra, Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling): “I tried to follow Sagan in the breakaway but it was incredible! He’s Peter Sagan and the strongest won today. I’ve been trying to go away to look for KOM points but it wasn’t necessary for keeping the Maglia Azzurra. I didn’t feel I was at 100% of my capacities so I took it easy in the finale. I’ll wait for the mountain stages to target more points.”
Maglia Ciclamino, Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ): “We know very well Peter Sagan’s ability to win points classifications by going in breakaways. That’s what he did today. Hats off to him because it was a really big stage. We have tried to bring the break back but at some stage we decided to stop wasting strength because our primary goal remains tomorrow’s sprint. With Sagan, I have a very strong rival for the points classification.”
Giro d’Italia Stage 10 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Slo) BORA-hansgrohe at 4:01:56
2. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:19
3. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:23
4. Ben Swift (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
5. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb
6. Rafał Majka (Pol) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling
10. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 10:
1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 39:38:05
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:34
3. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:43
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling at 0:57
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:01
6. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:15
7. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb at 1:19
8. Rafał Majka (Pol) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:21
9. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:36
10. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-McLaren at 1:52.
Giro’20 stage 10:
Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) added Stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia to his Palmarès. In Rimini he was the fastest in the bunch sprint for the fourth time this Giro. Peter Sagan was second, Álvaro José Hodeg third.
A leading group with five escaped: Marco Frapporti (Vini Zabù-KTM) joined forces with the Bardiani couple Fabio Mazzucco and Francesco Romano, Mattia Bais (Androni) and Sander Armée (Lotto Soudal). They were able to take a 4 minute lead from the peloton, where the sprinter teams Groupama-FDJ for Démare, Cofidis for Viviani and UAE Emirates for Gaviria set the pace. The lead for the five fluctuated between 3 and 4 minutes. At the first intermediate sprint Romano beat Frapporti, Sagan beat Démare for 1 point. After the sprint, the road went up the Monte San Bartolo, where Bais took 3 points. With 70 kilometres to go the sprinter teams started to increase the speed. Both Groupama-FDJ and UAE Emirates put several men on the front.
After 144 kilometres, at the intermediate sprint, the lead had been cut to 2 minutes. Romano took the three points after Frapporti started his sprint too late. On the climbs after the sprint, Armée and Bais rode away from their escape companions. Just over 20 kilometres from the line, Bais was dropped by Armée, who was now solo off the front. The difference was still under 2 minutes with 15 kilometres to go, Armée’s chances started to look possible, but his lead quickly diminished. At 6 kilometres from the finish, the Belgian was caught. Israel Start-Up Nation led the peloton into the last 5 kilometres. In the last 3 kilometres UAE Team Emirates came to the front, but it was Groupama-FDJ who were in control with 2 kilometres to go.
Démare was sat perfectly with Fernando Gaviria and Peter Sagan on his wheel. In the last two hundred metres the French sprinter started his jump as Sagan opened his effort. Démare won his fourth stage victory in this Giro. Sagan finished second, ahead of Álvaro José Hodeg.
You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage 11 Race Report’ and photo gallery HERE.
Stage winner and points leader, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FJD): “It was the first perfect sprint of this Giro for me, even though it’s the fourth win and we weren’t in the right position at the entrance of the finishing town. But the sport directors and coaches of the team had prepared the finale very well so we knew where we’d go. When I launched my sprint, it was at very high speed again. Since I got my second stage win, everything is just a bonus, and the pleasure we take from winning together as a team is extraordinary.”
Overall leader and best young rider, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick Step): “It was quiet until the final kilometres, when it became very hectic as many riders began jostling for position. The main goal was to avoid any incidents and bring the jersey home, which I did after another excellent job of my teammates, who were great again. It was a good day for us, with Alvaro on the podium and the maglia rosa still in the team, and hopefully I will keep it also after stage 12, which will be very tough.”
2nd on the stage, Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe): “There was no surprise today and this flat stage came down to a fast bunch sprint. The team did again a very good job, in the final kilometres we were in the front parts of the group and after the last left bend, I entered the long straight stretch well positioned. I did my best in the sprint but it wasn’t enough to take the victory.”
3rd on the stage,Álvaro José Hodeg (Col) Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I am happy with this result, but I would have liked to win. The team did a great job for me and it’s thanks to them that I could get involved today and get this podium in what was a messy final. Another guy was faster, but we will keep believing and try again next time.”
11th overall, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana): “It was quite an easy day for us, the most important thing was to be up there as the race headed into the finale, and to be careful on the last corners in Rimini, as they were quite dangerous with this speed the race headed into. But my teammates protected me once again very well. We finished inside the first group and stayed all out of any troubles. Therefore, it was all in all a good day for us.”
Giro d’Italia Stage 11 Result:
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 4:03:52
2. Peter Sagan (Slo) BORA-hansgrohe
3. Álvaro José Hodeg (Col) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
4. Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
5. Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation
6. Nico Denz (Ger) Sunweb
7. Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
8. Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal
9. Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
10. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 11:
1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick Step in 43:41:57
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:34
3. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:43
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling at 0:57
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:01
6. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:15
7. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb at 1:19
8. Rafał Majka (Pol) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:21
9. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick Step at 1:36
10. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-McLaren at 1:52.
Giro’20 stage 11:
Caleb Ewan won the Scheldeprijs on Wednesday. The fast Lotto Soudal rider won the bunch sprint in Schoten at the end of 174 kilometres. The Australian beat Pascal Ackermann, who was later declassified after an illegal move in the sprint. Niccolò Bonifazio (Total Direct Energie) was secondBryan Coquard (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept)
It took some time for the break of the day to form. Nathan Van Hooydonk (CCC) and Elmar Reinders (Riwal Securitas) tried to get away with an early attack, but the Belgian/Dutch duo got a maximum of 20 seconds ahead of the peloton. The two rode a lap in the lead before being caught again. In the end eight riders managed to escape. Mark Cavendish (Bahrain-McLaren) was accompanied by Piotr Havik (Riwal Securitas), Luc Wirtgen (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles), Michael Schär (CCC), Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana), Lewis Askey (Groupama-FDJ), Christopher Juul-Jensen (Mitchelton-Scott) and Travis McCabe (Israel Start-Up Nation).
The eight leaders never had more than a minute and a half lead, but were in the lead for most of the race. On the final lap, Havik went solo to stay ahead of the peloton, but his brave attempt could not prevent him from being caught 8 kilometres out. The teams prepared for the expected bunch sprint. Despite the wind at the front, Deceuninck – Quick-Step were on the front of the peloton 2 kilometres before the finish. However, leader Bennett was trapped in the last metres after Ewan started his jump. Alexander Kristoff led-out the sprint for Jasper Philipsen, but it was the Australian pocket sprinter who crossed the finish line first. The sprint was marred by a switch from Ackermann, this caused the Norwegian August Jensen to crash. The German was disqualified afterwards, so Niccolò Bonifazio and Bryan Coquard were second and third.
Race winner, Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal): “I felt really good. I started my sprint a little bit earlier than I was thinking of doing, but I was able to keep my speed and nobody came closer. For me the sprint wasn’t too bad as I was in front and my team always did a super good job. I was all day out of trouble, even in the sprint. I only saw on TV that they crashed behind me. It’s always a quite crazy sprint. I wanted to be up the front, out of trouble and that’s what the team did for me. This is probably one of the biggest sprint classics. I haven’t won one of these classics before, so it’s super nice. Moreover it’s the first time that I’ve done this Scheldeprijs. I wanted to come here and we were really motivated. I know it’s really important for the team to have a big win in Belgium. So, I’m super happy that I could deliver that for them. We haven’t had a win in a classic of this level for a long time in the team. So, they’re going to be very happy. As it’s my first time here and now my first win, I am super happy to have this on my palmarès now.”
2nd, Niccolo Bonifazio (Total Direct Energie): “Wait, have I actually finished second or third? Ah, second. That is of course a very good result for me and the team, because in these kind of competitions we don’t often compete for the victory. Together with De Panne, this was my main goal of the autumn, so I must be very happy about this. I was focused on the men of Deceuninck – Quick-Step. I was following them in the last kilometres. I started my sprint at the appropriate distance. Ewan was too strong, so I have to accept this result. On to De Panne now! The Tour was perhaps a bit too tough for me. In the mountains I have serious problems, I always had to start sprinters days with heavy legs. I actually never really got involved because I didn’t feel fresh. I was happy that I reached the finish. Here I was much fresher and I was perfect for a good result.”
3rd, Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept): “What a surprise! I already rode to the bus because I thought I had finished fourth, but this is of course even more fun. I had lost my teammates a kilometre from the end, so I just had to do my best. Then this is certainly not a bad result. So I shouldn’t have been disappointed, and I wouldn’t have been disappointed even with that fourth place. I recovered well from the Tour and felt good today.”
Mark Cavendish (Bahrain-McLaren): “I still want to keep racing. There was talk that there might not be any more racing. Because I don’t have a team for next year myself, I suddenly realised that Gent-Wevelgem might well be the end of my career. I just have my heart on my sleeve. Here in the Scheldeprijs I achieved my first professional victory. I was really looking forward to this race. I love to race in Belgium. I am really happy that this race continued. That it has been more difficult for several years? That is relative. 80% of the riders never win a race. I’m just trying to give something back to cycling. Of course I would like to win, but it is about more than just winning. We’ll see what happens next, but I really hope to be able to race next year.”
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal in 3:34:38
2. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Total Direct Energie
3. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
4. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
5. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
6. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Arvid De Kleijn (Ned) Riwal Readynez
8. Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
9. Itamar Einhorn (Isr) Israel Start-Up Nation
10. Romain Cardis (Fra) Total Direct Energie.
Joint RCS Sport-UCI Announcement Regarding the 11th and 12th October Testing Campaign
In accordance with the Giro d’Italia health protocol, developed in the framework of the Union Cycliste Internationale’s (UCI) rules for the return of the road cycling season in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, and compliant with the measures of the Ministry of Health of Italy, all teams (riders and staff) were tested on the 11th and 12th October. A total of 571 tests were performed:
● Two riders, one each from Team Sunweb and Team Jumbo – Visma, tested positive for Covid-19 and were entrusted to the respective teams’ doctors who ordered their isolation measures
● Six staff members, four from Mitchelton – Scott, and one each from Team AG2R-La Mondiale and Team Ineos Grenadiers, tested positive for Covid-19 were entrusted to the respective teams’ doctors who ordered their isolation measures.
Mitchelton-SCOTT Withdraws from the Giro d’Italia
Mitchelton-SCOTT, in agreement with RCS Sport, has withdrawn its team from the current Giro d’Italia following the results of the first rest day RT-PCR tests.
Following two rounds of negative COVID-19 test results on Friday and Saturday, the team was notified of new positive results from testing conducted on Sunday evening.
Upon receiving the results, Mitchelton-SCOTT immediately withdrew its team from the race and will focus on the health of its riders and staff and their safe movement to areas of quarantine.
Michael Matthews and Steven Kruijswijk tested positive for Covid-19:
Elegant – Quick-Step to Ronde van Vlaanderen
World Champion Julian Alaphilippe will make his debut at the Belgian Monument this weekend.
Four weeks after capturing the world title in Imola, Julian Alaphilippe will bring down the curtain over his memorable season at one of the biggest and most important races of the year, Ronde van Vlaanderen. Prior to the 104th edition of this race, the Frenchman won Brabantse Pijl, sprinting to victory from a select three-man group that got away in the last 20 kilometers and becoming just the fourth World Champion in history to win the Belgian semi-classic.
Runner-up at last year’s edition, where he turned heads with his incredible ride, Danish Champion and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne winner Kasper Asgreen returns at the start together with Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Yves Lampaert, Florian Sénéchal and Zdenek Stybar, the Czech a three-time top 10 finisher at Ronde van Vlaanderen, who will make his eighth consecutive appearance here.
Our squad – leader of the UCI World Team Ranking – will race as Elegant – Quick-Step on Sunday at the fourth and last Monument of the season, with all seven riders set to wear the kit displaying the temporary new name of the team.
The 243.3km course between Antwerp and Oudenaarde features 17 hills, including the famous Taaienberg, Koppenberg, Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg, some of which have maximum gradients exceeding 20% that will offer the ideal launch pad to those willing to make the difference long before the finish that comes some 13 kilometers from the top of the last climb.
“It’s going to be quite a strange feeling to race De Ronde in October, but it’s still one of the most important events out there and we’re ready for this challenge. The parcours has been shortened and not having the Muur-Kapelmuur, which has always played an important role in the race, will make things a bit different, but on the other hand, there’s plenty of terrain to try and do something. We have a strong and motivated team; for Julian it will be the first time here, he has Dries by his side to guide him, and we’ll just see how that goes, but also the other guys can play an important role, especially as they are all coming here with a lot of ambition and determination to do a good race”, said Elegant – Quick-Step sports director Tom Steels.
18.10 Ronde van Vlaanderen – Tour des Flandres (BEL) 1.UWT
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA)
Kasper Asgreen (DEN)
Tim Declercq (BEL)
Dries Devenyns (BEL)
Yves Lampaert (BEL)
Florian Sénéchal (FRA)
Zdenek Stybar (CZE).
Sports Director: Wilfried Peeters (BEL), Tom Steels (BEL).
Ronde van Vlaanderen
Romain Bardet will take part in the Ronde van Vlaanderen for the first time. In 2018, he participated in Dwars door Vlaanderen.
Julien Jurdie: “We are approaching this Ronde van Vlaanderen with a lot of desire to do well. It will be a special race, in a special atmosphere, at a particular time of the season. It will be the last classic of the season instead of when it usually takes place in the spring. There will be some excitement at the start and the competition will be at a very high level. With Oliver Naesen, we have a great card to play. We hope he will finally have some success as he has had several crashes in recent weeks. Without having crashed at Gent-Wevelgem, he would certainly have fought to the end with the best. We have a good team to support him in a race where all scenarios are possible. There will be an additional symbol with the presence of Romain Bardet who will compete in his last race with us at le Ronde. With this act, we recognise again Romain’s value, since he wants to wear our colours one last time to support Oliver, in one of the most difficult races in the world, which is typically more meant for cobblestone specialists. There will surely be some excitement during the briefing and at the start.
Kristoff leads UAE Team Emirates Classics Squad at Tour of Flanders
After a 3rd place podium at last year’s Tour of Flanders or ‘Ronde Van Vlaanderen’, Alexander Kristoff will be hungry to build on his success and will count on a young, dynamic team to help him.
Allan Peiper (Aus) will direct the team, supported by his colleague John Wakefield (RSA):
Ronde van Vlaanderen – Tour of Flanders [1.UWT] – 18-Oct-2020:
– Tom Bohli (Sui)
– Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor)
– Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
– Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
– Marco Marcato (Ita)
– Ivo Oliveira (Por)
– Rui Oliveira (Por)
Kristoff: “I’m still building up to my top shape. The level of racing has been very high. I felt pretty good but just didn’t feel super on the climbs at Gent-Wevelgem, but it’s only my second race back since the Tour so I expect better next week at Scheldeprijs and Flanders.”
Ronde van Vlaanderen
Michiel Elijzen – Team Sunweb coach: “We bring a really strong team to Ronde van Vlaanderen and motivation within the group after Casper and Joris’ strong first and third places at Paris-Tours at the weekend. We need to be attentive throughout the day and make sure that we’re in any dangerous moves before the finish, getting riders ahead of the race in the pre-final. Tiesj and Søren have both shown recently that they have continued their good form out of the Tour de France and they will aim to be up there fighting at the end of the day. However, in the finale we also want to use our numbers to our advantage like we’ve done in recent races, so that we have multiple options to play and can race aggressively.”
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Tiesj Benoot (BEL)
Cees Bol (NED)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED)
Casper Pedersen (DEN).
Paris-Tours winner, Casper Pedersen:
Deceuninck – Quick-Step to become Elegant – Quick-Step for Ronde van Vlaanderen
Elegant is Deceuninck’s newest window concept.
Don’t look for the Deceuninck logo on the Deceuninck – Quick-Step Cycling Team kits during the upcoming Ronde van Vlaanderen. On Sunday, 18 October, at the 104th edition of “Vlaanderens Mooiste”, the team’s outfits will show Elegant – Quick-Step! Elegant is Deceuninck’s ultimate window concept, a series that amazes through its technicality and design. No race more suited than the Ronde van Vlaanderen, the most iconic of the Flemish cobbled classics, to witness the launch of Deceuninck’s Elegant series in collaboration with our team, which has always aimed at displaying its quality and achieving the best possible results during the classics season.
On 18 October, this year’s high mass of cycling in Belgium, we will enjoy the same support from our trusted partners shown on our familiar blue and white kits, yet forming a unique, one-off team name: Elegant – Quick-Step! Francis Van Eeckhout (CEO Group Deceuninck) explains: “As a Belgian multinational we are beyond proud to be able to introduce our new Elegant window concept in collaboration with the team by temporarily changing the name into Elegant – Quick-Step. As main sponsor we find it very important to include our riders and the team in this product launch for one of the most beautiful races of the cycling season. It makes the bond between us, the team and Deceuninck, even more profound. The pursuit of perfection and the focus on excellence in our activities are only a few principles we have in common.”
Patrick Lefevere, CEO of Deceuninck – Quick-Step, states: “A partnership is about helping each other to realise common goals. It’s been a special season and we’re both trying to make the best of it in the given circumstances. I consider it a privilege to be able to work with Deceuninck on this project and help them launch the Elegant window concept. I hope we can do honour to this unique jersey on Sunday and together enjoy an unforgettable edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen.”
More about Elegant
With Elegant, Deceuninck launches the ultimate window concept. The series amazes through its technicality and variation in frame depths and sash types. It shows a unique design never before seen on the market. The profiles were made sleeker and more modern, resulting in a truly unique look. Elegant’s design, 100% recyclability and the Deceuninck ThermoFibra and Forthex reinforcement technology have already been internationally awarded. Elegant achieves the highest class in air, water and windproofness. On top of that there’s a clear synergy in look and feel with Deceuninck Aluminium.
The High-Altitude Finales of La Vuelta’20 Will Take Place Without Public
Access will be restricted to the public at all high-altitude finales and in some transit mountain passes of La Vuelta 2020.
The organisation of La Vuelta, in coordination with health authorities and the government delegations of all territories crossed by the route of the 75th edition of the race, have agreed to apply a series of restrictions to some departures, finish-lines and mountain passes, limiting the amount of public that may attend.
La Vuelta deeply regrets that the current epidemiological situation in Spain does not allow the adequate conditions required for the public to be present at those points. The race will take place without its usual commercial and advertising activities, such as the Parque Vuelta and the advertising caravan, in order to avoid any unnecessary crowds.
The reduced group of organisation personnel, media, sponsors, teams and state security forces that will travel with La Vuelta 20 will be subject to strict sanitary protocols. The organisation will also rigorously enforce a maximum capacity control in all restricted race areas. The team parking area, a space that is usually open to the public in order to allow fans to get closer to the riders will be completely closed-off to the public in order to guarantee the protection of the athletes and of the personnel working with their respective teams.
The following mountain passes will be cut and have restricted access:
ARRATE MOUNTAIN PASS
LA LAGUNA NEGRA. VINUESA
COL DU TOURMALET
ORDUÑA MOUNTAIN PASS
ALTO DE MONCALVILLO
ALTO DE LA FARRAPONA. LAGOS DE SOMIEDO
ALTO DE L’ANGLIRU
MIRADOR DE ÉZARO. DUMBRÍA
ALTO DE LA COVATILLA
These restrictions, already important today, may be modified in accordance with the evolution of the situation over the coming days. The organisation of La Vuelta will use its different social media channels, as well as its official website, to announce any updates. Meanwhile, it has launched a communications campaign in order to make fans aware of the need to enjoy La Vuelta from home this year. The objective is to avoid any type of crowds surrounding the event, by respecting the criteria established by the national and autonomous health authorities at all times, with whom we maintain constant and uninterrupted communication, just as we have always done.
More information about La Vuelta: www.lavuelta.com
Serge Pauwels calls time on 15-year career
Serge Pauwels will call time on his career as a professional cyclist at the end of the season after 15 years at the top level of the sport, the last two of which were with CCC Team.
Pauwels was sidelined due to a non-Covid viral infection as the 2020 season recommenced in August, following which a mild case of myocarditis was detected during his recovery period. Having now recovered from both, Pauwels has made the decision to retire from racing as the end of the 2020 season draws near.
Serge Pauwels, whose career highlights include a stage win and the General Classification win at the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire and 13 Grand Tour participations, is excited for the next chapter.
“I have had an amazing career spanning the past 15 years and when I look back, I have nothing but good memories of my time as a professional cyclist. There are few people who can say they love their job and cycling has been much more than that for me, it really is a passion and I’m looking forward to staying involved in the cycling industry following my retirement. After tests revealed a suspicion of myocarditis, I’ve spent the last few months resting which has given me the time to decide what I want to do moving forward. I’m happy to have now been given the green light from a health perspective but I’m almost 37-years-old and I feel this is a good moment to call time on my career. If I was in the early years of my career it would be a different story but I can look back now and say that I have achieved everything I wanted to so, I think this is the right time to retire. I have my family to think about and I can’t wait to spend more time with them, as I have been able to since the interruption in the season back in March,” Pauwels said.
“I’m not sad. I’m not the kind of rider who needs one last lap of the Champs-Elysées or anything like that. I’m more excited to look ahead and see what the future holds. I want to thank everyone who has played a role in my career, from my teammates to the staff, and my family and friends. It really has been an unforgettable ride and I feel lucky to be stepping away on my own terms.”
Although Pauwels has been given the green light to resume a normal training load, a return to racing at this time in the season is not possible, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa explained. “Serge Pauwels was initially sidelined with a non-Covid viral infection back in August. Further testing revealed a myocarditis, a non-ischemic inflammatory heart muscle disease, which requires rest to heal on its own. So, Serge has spent the last few months resting and just going on coffee rides. Serge underwent follow up tests last week which fortunately indicated that the myocarditis has healed, in which case a return to training and racing would be on the cards,” Dr. Testa said. “Unfortunately, with very few races left in the season, Serge simply won’t have the time to train and build up to race-ready form before the final Classics or the Vuelta a España. It’s a shame that Serge cannot celebrate his career one last time on the road but the most important thing is that his recovery was successful.”
Fabio Jakobsen Recovers from Facial Bone Transplant
Fabio Jakobsen has spoken again on social media. The 24-year-old rider underwent surgery last week in which bone was removed from his pelvic floor and placed in his upper and lower jaw. “The operation went well,” he wrote.
Jakobsen was the biggest victim of a horror crash in the Tour of Poland on August 5. The Deceuninck – Quick-Step sprinter sustained serious injuries and was kept in an artificial coma for some time. He is now rehabilitating. “The most important thing now is to let the transplanted bone heal as well as possible. My hip and mouth still hurt, but it gets better every day.”
In his post on social media, he celebrates four years together with his girlfriend. “Thank you for taking care of me, especially during this difficult period. Thank you for all the messages I have received! It motivates me to make the most of it and to try to return as strong as possible.”
Fabio Jakobsen in better times:
Gazprom Extends Sponsorship Agreement with Gazprom-RusVelo
Gazprom and the Russian cycling team Gazprom-RusVelo extended the sponsorship agreement.
The team was founded in 2011 and since 2016 has been backed by the major player on the European energy market — Gazprom. The new sponsorship contract is valid for four years until the end of 2024.
“We value our cooperation with a reliable partner of the team — Gazprom. This year we, as probably everyone, have faced unforeseen difficulties, but with the constant support from our title sponsor we managed to keep developing our project. The UCI ProTeam has competed in the maximum possible number of international races. The same applies to our development team, we provided our young Russian riders with an international racing calendar including races such as: Giro d’Italia U23, European and World Road Cycling Championships. The track members of Gazprom-RusVelo who are leaders of the national team and who are among the strongest riders in the world continue preparation for the postponed Olympic Games. The new four-year sponsorship agreement makes us confident in the future of our project” — General manager of Gazprom-RusVelo Renat Khamidulin.
THE 10TH EDITION OF LA VUELTA JUNIOR COFIDIS WILL TAKE PLACE IN 2021
● Guaranteeing the health of students, parents and teachers is the maximum priority for the organisers, who have decided to postpone the celebration of the project’s 10th edition to 2021.
● The initiative, led by the financial entity as a main sponsor of La Vuelta, has already trained over 225,000 children between the ages of 8 and 12.
● It is an educational and sports project, whose main objective is to encourage healthy eating habits, sports practice and road safety among young children.
The current situation, a result of the pandemic and the health crisis provoked by the COVID-19 virus, has led to a change of priorities in Spanish schools, aimed at preserving the health of their students and avoiding the outbreak of the virus and its consequent spread. This same need to ensure the wellbeing of the students, parents and teachers has led the organisers to make the decision to celebrate the 10th edition of La Vuelta Junior Cofidis next year.
The first leg of this renowned, well-established educational project, held every year parallel to the Spanish tour, will take place on the 14th of August, 2021 with the city of Burgos as its protagonist. The city will host the Official Departure of the 76th edition of La Vuelta, coinciding with the 8th centenary of its cathedral.
Cofidis leads the project of La Vuelta Junior Cofidis as a main sponsor of La Vuelta. This initiative involves over 25,000 boys and girls each year from all over Spain, aged between 8 and 12. It is both an educational and a sports project whose main objective is to encourage healthy eating habits, sports practice and road safety among young children. Also collaborating in the project are the Professional Cyclists Association (ACP), the Sports Council’s Young Sports Foundation, Unipublic (organiser of La Vuelta), the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) and the Alberto Contador Foundation.
Through the Cycling Workshops, children learn about and put into practice values such as respect, effort and teamwork. After this initial theoretical phase, over 1500 boys and girls are selected to participate in one of the 10 La Vuelta Junior Cofidis stages. In each leg, participants complete the final kilometre of flat La Vuelta stages, experiencing for one day one of the greatest dreams of any professional cyclists.
The program’s previous edition featured the incorporation of the Alberto Contador Foundation to the group of companies that promote this project, as well as the launch of the road safety campaign, led by Luis Ángel Maté (Cofidis team cyclist) and the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT).
More information about La Vuelta Junior Cofidis: www.lavueltajuniorcofidis.com.
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