UAE Tour and the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var up next – Riders and news from both races. Fabio Jakobsen might ride the GP Monseré – TOP STORY. Rider news: No Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne for Peter Sagan, Diego Ulissi training again, Miguel Ángel López to race in April and teams for the Vuelta a España 2021. Race news: The Women’s Tour postponed, BC Superweek canceled and teams for the Route Adélie de Vitré. Plus Richie Porte cyclist of the year, Felipe Orts wants to ride Belgian and French one-day races, Niels Vandeputte signs for Alpecin-Fenix, Mike Teunissen in hospital and Negasi Haylu Abreha: The rider who can’t go home. EUROTRASH Thursday coffee time.
TOP STORY: Fabio Jakobsen to Possibly Ride the GP Monseré
The organisers of the GP Monseré Tweeted yesterday. “Deceuninck-Quick – Step has added Fabio Jakobsen and Mark Cavendish to the provisional list of participants. We hope to see you here guys!” However, according to team boss Patrick Lefevere, the chance that Jakobsen will start is minimal. “Too early,” he said.
Jakobsen won the first race of the Bingoal Cycling Cup last year. He is currently working hard on his rehabilitation, but the chance that he will be already be at the start of the GP Monseré on March 7th is minimal, according to Patrick Lefevere. “He just had another operation. The stitches will not come out until February 25th. Then 7 March will come really too early,” said Lefevere. “He also has insufficient training in his legs. The intention is that he will do a training camp for another month. After that, we hope to gradually give him a taste of competition.” According to Lefevere, Jakobsen has ended up on the provisional list of participants because it has to be submitted very early to the organisers. However, it will be a while yet before he will be on the start line.
Jakobsen winning the GP Monseré:
No Omloop and Kuurne for Peter Sagan
Peter Sagan will not be on the start line of either the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, his BORA-hansgrohe team confirmed. The team does not want to take any risks with the Slovakian leader, who recently announced he had caught the corona virus and had to stay in quarantine.
BORA-hansgrohe wants first to investigate any damage caused by the corona infection. He has had mild complaints, but the team wants to be safe than sorry. Moreover, Sagan, together with brother Juraj Sagan and Erik Baska, are still in Gran Canaria. There, the three Slovaks contracted the corona virus during a training camp.
It is not yet known when the classic head of BORA-hansgrohe will return to competition. Sagan’s spring program also included Milan-San Remo, the E3 Saxo Bank Classic, Gent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. The Flemish Opening Weekend is scheduled for 27 and 28 February. The last time Sagan drove the Omloop en Kuurne was in 2017.
Late start to the 2021 season for Sagan:
Diego Ulissi Set to Resume Training
Italian given the green light after follow-up tests.
The results of the cardiac biopsy carried out on Diego Ulissi on January 21 at the Riuniti hospital in Ancona, Italy excluded congenital cardiomyopathies and confirmed an older myocarditis, likely of viral origin, whose etiological agent has not been identified.
The biopsy found the absence of risky arrhythmias for the athlete during the electrophysiological study, which will allow for the progressive resumption of training. In any case, a periodic monitoring period will follow before confirming any definitive return to racing.
Ulissi ready to race:
López to Start the Season in the Tour of the Alps or Tour de Romandie
Miguel Ángel López’s debut for Movistar may be postponed till April. Team boss Eusebio Unzué has announced that the Colombian climber will only start his season in the Tour of the Alps or the Tour de Romandie. Both stage races will be held in April.
The plan was for López to make his debut in the Volta a Catalunya at the end of March, but Unzué told Señal Colombia that this is not possible. The Colombian climber, who jumped from the Astana team during the winter, had to miss the first training camp with Movistar a month ago due to a covid-19 infection. According to Unzué it will be decided in the short term in which race ‘Superman’ López will start, based on recent training data. The Tour of the Alps (April 19-23) and Tour de Romandie (April 27-May 2) are mentioned as possible options.
López is on the team list for the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España for this season. In both tours he will share the lead with Enric Mas. Alejandro Valverde will also ride the Vuelta.
‘Superman’ to race in April:
La Vuelta’21: Teams Selection
The organisers of La Vuelta have chosen the teams that will take part in the 76th edition of the Spanish Grand Tour. La Vuelta 21 will start on Saturday the 14th of August and finish on Sunday the 5th of September, from Burgos to Santiago de Compostela.
In accordance with UCI rules, the following 19 UCI WorldTeams are automatically invited to the race:
AG2R Citroen Team (FRA)
Astana – Premier Tech (KAZ)
Bahrain Victorious (BHR)
Bora – Hansgrohe (GER)
Deceuninck – Quick-Step (BEL)
EF Education-Nippo (USA)
Groupama – FDJ (FRA)
Ineos Grenadiers (GBR)
Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux (BEL)
Israel Start-Up Nation (ISR)
Lotto Soudal (BEL)
Movistar Team (ESP)
Team BikeExchange (AUS)
Team DSM (GER)
Team Qhubeka Assos (RSA)
Trek – Segafredo (USA)
UAE Team Emirates (UAE)
Furthermore, Alpecin-Fenix (BEL), leader in the 2020 classification of UCI ProTeams will take part by right in La Vuelta 21.
In addition to these 20 teams, the organisers have awarded the following wildcards:
Burgos – BH (ESP)
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (ESP)
Euskaltel – Euskadi (ESP)
More information about La Vuelta: www.lavuelta.com
Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux Enthusiastic About the Vuelta Route
For the first time in its history, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will be at the start of the Vuelta a España in 2021. This Thursday, February 11th, the organisation unveiled the route of the third and last Grand Tour of the calendar, which this year is exclusively scheduled within the Spanish borders. Amaury Sport Organisation wanted to create a cultural theme around this “Vuelta de las Catedrales”. The race will start on August 14 with a prologue of 8 kilometres in front of the Cathedral of Burgos and will end after three weeks, on September 5th, again with an effort against the clock of 33 kilometres. This year, the city that received the privilege of closing the Vuelta is Santiago de Compostela. By doing so, the organisers took a break with the tradition of the criterium in the streets of Madrid.
In addition to these two individual time trials, the route includes seven mountain stages, six flat stages, four medium mountain stages and two hilly stages. The flat stages are mainly concentrated in the first week around the province of Burgos, but the contenders for the general classification will have no opportunity to rest on their laurels. Indeed, they will have to cope with a constant risk of echelons and the finish of the third stage, considered a flat one, will be atop Picon Blanco.
From northern Spain, the peloton will then head to the Mediterranean coast in the northeast for a first mountain stage. On the seventh day, the new ascent of the Balcón de Alicante will be the arena of the first explanations in the mountains. Just before the first rest day, the peloton will face another summit finish atop the famous Alto de Velefique, the first of three hors catégorie climbs. After the second rest day, the peloton will head to Asturias, with finishes at the ruthless Lagos de Covadonga (seventeenth stage) and for the first time at the Alto d’El Gamoniteiru (eighteenth stage). Now that the entire route has been unveiled, the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux performance team is able to refine its plans in the fight for the red jersey and stage victories.
Aike Visbeek (Performance manager): “At first glance, this Vuelta route makes me very enthusiastic. By choosing not to go through the Pyrenees, Andorra and hold the royal sprint in the capital, the organisers have decided to push aside certain elements of tradition. But one thing remains certain: the parcours promises a real spectacle. Small gaps between the favourites can produce three exciting weeks. This balanced course will offer opportunities for climbers, sprinters and puncheurs to shine. There are especially opportunities for this last category and for our team, Andrea Pasqualon has the qualities and could certainly take advantage of this. As for the general classification, there are several options available to us, but a decision will be made later in the season. With Jan Hirt and Louis Meintjes, for example, we have two excellent assets. For what will be our first Vuelta, we want to support one of our talented young climbers so that he can gain valuable experience. We are convinced that, in our team, we have the arguments to take advantage of this diverse course, which whatever happens will favour the more complete riders.”
UAE Tour: Provisional Riders List Announced in Full
From the 21st to 27th February, the third edition of the UAE Tour will play host to some of the greatest riders in the world. Download the provisional entry list in full below. Breitling, the official timekeeper for the race’s third edition, will provide the winner of each of the UAE Tour’s seven stages, and the overall GC victor, with the new Breitling Endurance Pro – read on for more details.
Adam Yates solos to victory on Jebel Hafeet at the 2020 UAE Tour
The UAE Tour race organisers, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, are pleased to today unveil the race’s provisional entry list in full. The list – available to download below – features some of the greatest riders in the sport of cycling, with strong battles expected for the leader’s Red Jersey, sprinter’s Green Jersey and individual stage victories.
The GC contenders
As previously announced, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) will again go head-to-head with 2020 UAE Tour-winner Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers) at this year’s race. Four-time Tour de France-winner Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) will also be in attendance and will be looking to put in a strong performance as he continues his spirited comeback from injury. Joining him in the GC battle will be a host of experienced team leaders including multiple Grand Tour-winner Vincenzo Nibali (Trek Segafredo), Giro d’Italia and Tour de France podium-finisher Rigoberto Uran (EF Education – Nippo) and former World Champion and Vuelta a España-winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team).
There’ll be plenty of other riders to watch in the General Classification as exciting young prospect Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) will be making his first appearance at the UAE Tour alongside João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), fourth-place finisher at the 2020 Giro d’Italia. Rafal Majka (UAE Team Emirates) will join them for his second UAE Tour, and will no doubt aim to improve on his fifth place overall at last year’s edition. The 2020 UAE Tour’s third-place finisher meanwhile, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana – Premier Tech) will also be in the fight for the leader’s Red Jersey as he returns for the race’s third edition.
The list of GC-hopefuls doesn’t end there however. Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) will ride the UAE Tour after ending his 2020 season with a solid 6th place finish at the Vuelta a España. Teammate Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) – 10th place finisher at the 2020 Tour de France – will race alongside him. Bora – Hansgrohe, meanwhile, will also be riding with two potential GC contenders at the race – Patrick Konrad (8th place at the 2020 Giro d’Italia) and Emmanuel Buchmann (4th place at the 2019 Tour de France). Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), 9th place at last season’s Giro d’Italia, will also be in contention for a top 5 finish.
Caleb Ewan in UAE green
The Green Jersey Contenders
The UAE Tour’s well-earned reputation as a sprinter’s ‘world championship’ has once again attracted some of the fastest finishers in the sport of cycling for the race’s third edition. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) will ride the race for the third year in a row after taking the Green Jersey in 2020’s edition and two wins from two on the iconic Hatta Dam uphill finish. Racing alongside him at the first WorldTour event of the season will be UAE Tour stage victor and Tour de France Green Jersey winner Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), also riding his third edition. Also confirmed is last year’s opening stage winner Pascal Ackermann (Bora – Hansgrohe), who will look to repeat his success as he returns for his second UAE Tour this February, and Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), a stage winner in the race’s first edition.
The provisional entry list also includes 5-time Giro d’Italia stage-winner and 2019 UAE Tour Green Jersey-winner Elia Viviani (Cofidis) as well as Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos) – twice winner of the Giro d’Italia’s Maglia Ciclamino. Strong finisher Luka Mezgec (Team BikeExchange) and 22-time Grand Tour stage-winner Andre Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation) will also start. The German powerhouse will be riding his first UAE Tour.
Ones to watch
Away from the fight for the Red and Green Jerseys, time trial ace Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) makes his UAE Tour debut this February, following a sensational 2020 season in which he took four stage victories at the Giro d’Italia and an ITT World Champion’s Rainbow Jersey. The Italian rider will no doubt target Stage 2’s 13km ITT. Swiss rider Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) will also ride the race for the first time. The 2020 Tour de France stage winner and Road World Championship Bronze medalist at Imola will be keen to impress after signing for UAE Team Emirates at the start of the new year. Hirschi will be one to watch on some of the tour’s punchier stages.
Last, but certainly not least, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) will ride his first UAE Tour. He’ll be starting the race on strong form, having recently taken his fourth Cyclo-cross World Championship title at Ostend, Belgium.
UAE Tour – Valerio Piva: “Ready For This First Test”
The Castle of Al Thafra is the decor for the World Tour season this Sunday. After the cancellation of the Tour Down Under and other races on Australian soil, the UAE Tour (2.WT, 21-27/02) received the honour to open the World Tour this year. The only race of this level in the Middle East takes place from February 21st to 27th. The seven stages cross deserts and cities of the seven Emirates on rolling roads. The wind often plays a role in the Middle East, but probably the two mountain top finishes and time trial will be the decisive factors for the overall classification of the seven day event.
The tour starts with a flat sprint stage, followed by a 15 kilometre time trial in the Al Hudyriat bike park. The third stage ends with the Jebel Hafeet climb (10,6km at 6,9%) and the fifth stage leads towards the top of the Jebel Jais (21,5km at 5,4%) in the north of the country. The penultimate stage visits the famous artificial archipelago Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, before one day later the successor of Adam Yates will be known in capital Abu Dhabi. Last season, the Briton was declared the overall winner after only five stages, because the final two days were suspended because of the emergence of the Covid pandemic. The races finish around 16h30, but a time difference of 3 hours between Abu Dhabi and the Central European Time has to be taken into account.
On his 29th birthday, Louis Meintjes will make his debut in the colours of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. Next to the South-African, also climbers Jan Hirt and Simone Petilli will start their season in the Middle East. In contrary, Rein Taaramäe has already a proper race rhythm after the GP La Marseillaise and the Etoile de Bessèges. Italian sprinter Riccardo Minali, Dutchman Wesley Kreder and Belgian rider Kévin Van Melsen will also pin numbers for the first time this year, aiming for good results in the flat stages. The duo Valerio Piva and Aike Visbeek will make their debut as sports directors for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in the United Arabic Emirates.
Valerio Piva (Sports Director): “We have a strong and motivated line up for this first World Tour race of the season. Riccardo Minali is in a good shape and will receive the support of Wesley Kreder and Kévin Van Melsen during the flat stages. With Jan Hirt, Louis Meintjes, Simone Petilli and Rein Taaramäe we’ve got the necessary assets for the two mountain top finishes. After the first three days, including the time trial and the Jebel Hafeet climb, we’ll have an idea about the general classification. Based on this, we’ll decide who will be our protected rider in case of crosswinds at the end of the week. Many top riders will be at the start in the Middle East, but just like for our riders, it will be a first test for everyone. So it’s difficult to set precise goals. With his time trial capabilities, I hope Rein Taaramäe will be able to surprise me in the overall classification. With the GP La Marseillaise and the Etoile de Bessèges, which also contained a time trial, behind his back, the Estonian rider is already one step ahead of the others. Everyone is looking forward to start racing, so it promises to be a nice battle!”
Kévin Van Melsen.
Sportive Direction: Valerio Piva and Aike Visbeek.
Valerio Piva and his troops:
Viviani Racing in the UAE Tour After Heart Test
Elia Viviani kicks off his cycling season on Sunday in the UAE Tour. During the winter, the Cofidis sprinter underwent several heart examinations after suffering from a cardiac arrhythmia. He wants to use the seven-day tour to work on the sprints with the team.
Viviani underwent several electrophysiological examinations in January to find the cause of his cardiac arrhythmia. Afterwards, the Italian had to recover. Then he took part in a training camp in Almería with part of the team. In that week he was on the bike for more than thirty hours, after which he got the green light to start in the UAE Tour. In the sprint stages he will be assisted by Kenneth Vanbilsen, Nathan Haas, Fabio Sabatini and his brother Attilio. He replaces Simone Consonni who is struggling with a knee injury.
“All lights for my return are green,” Viviani said via his team Cofidis. “I rested for a few days before resuming training. I feel good and I am happy that the problem has been resolved. I am ready to make my comeback in the race. Of course it is too early to have high ambitions for the UAE Tour, but I want to see where my limits are and where I stand compared to my competitors. It will be an interesting test and a great way to gain rhythm for Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.”
In the mountain stages to Jabel Hafeet and Jebel Jais, Cofidis is counting on Rubén Fernández, who finished nineteenth in Provence last week, and Rémy Rochas.
Cofidis for the UAE Tour 2021:
Rubén Fernández (Spa)
Nathan Haas (Aus)
Rémy Rochas (Fra)
Fabio Sabatini (Ita)
Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel)
Attilio Viviani (Ita)
Elia Viviani (Ita).
Adam Yates and Martínez Make their Debut for INEOS Grenadiers in UAE Tour
INEOS Grenadiers has announced which riders will start in the UAE Tour on Sunday. Among the seven names are Adam Yates and Daniel Martínez, who will be racing with the British team for the first time.
Yates came from Mitchelton-Scott this winter and is the defending champion in the Emirates tour. A year ago, the Briton was the winner after five days, after the last two stages were canceled due to some corona infections. Martínez left EF Pro Cycling after three seasons and appears for the first time at the start of the seven-day race. In addition to Yates and Martínez, Andrey Amador, Brandon Rivera and Luke Rowe also make their season debut.
Two riders have already raced this season. Iván Sosa rode the Tour de La Provence last week, where he won the stage to Mont Ventoux and the final overall classification. World time trial champion Filippo Ganna already in action in the Étoile de Bessèges and triumphed from an early break on stage 4, and a day later he also won the final time trial.
INEOS Grenadiers for the UAE Tour 2021:
Andrey Amador (CR)
Filippo Ganna (Ita)
Daniel Martínez (Col)
Brandon Rivera (Col)
Luke Rowe (GB)
Iván Sosa (Col)
Adam Yates (GB).
Adam Yates to defend his UAE Tour win:
UAE Team Emirates’ announce squad for UAE Tour
Home team fully focused on key early season objective.
UAE Team Emirates have named their 7 riders for the first big goal of the year: the UAE Tour. The Emirati team go into the race eager for strong results after a good showing in 2020 where Tadej Pogačar won a dramatic stage 5 before going onto to win the Tour de France later that year. This years race will run from 21-27 February and will feature seven days racing including four flat stages, two mountain stages and an individual time trial.
The team goes into the race with a dynamic squad who will focus on stage victories, while also eyeing up the overall title with Tadej Pogačar, and with Fernando Gaviria to lead the line in the sprints.
Team Manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Spa) along with Sports Directors Andrej Hauptman (Slo) and Marco Marzano (Ita) will lead the following riders :
Tadej Pogačar (Slo)
Davide Formolo (Ita)
Jan Polanc (Slo)
Mikkel Bjerg (Den)
Rafal Majka (Pol)
Fernando Gaviria (Col)
Maximiliano Richeze (Arg)
Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Manager) : “Our aim will be to pick up where we left the race last year: with a victory. Whether it’s the GC or a stage or both, we are searching for that first win of 2021 and to achieve it on home soil would be fantastic. We’re on home territory and we know that all eyes will be on us but it’s something we’ll use as further motivation. Pogačar will be our leader but the reality is it’s a squad that can adapt to any situation and we will have different cards to play, especially on the climbs. Gaviria has a good track record here also and will be our main man for the sprint finishes.”
Tadej Pogačar: “It’s my first race of the season so I’m excited to get started and get back competing again. My preparation has gone really well. We’ve been on Mount Teide training at altitude over the past few weeks with a good group and done a quality block of training with a great atmosphere. I was thrilled to get the stage win here last year. Obviously it will be a bit of a different atmosphere this year but we are all really motivated to race and give our all in the UAE colours. Between holidays and training camps I have spent a lot of time in the UAE lately and I can say that the UAE Tour is a race I would really love to win someday. If it can be this year then that would be great.”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step to UAE Tour
João Almeida and Sam Bennett will lead the line for the team at the year’s first World Tour race.
One of the best sprinters of last season, during which he claimed a total of seven wins and the prestigious Tour de France green jersey, Sam Bennett is ready to return to action, more than three months since his last outing at the Vuelta a España. Supported by a strong cast, including Shane Archbold, Iljo Keisse and Michael Mørkøv, the 30-year-old Irishman will look to be in the mix on the flat, with four of the race’s seven stages expected to come down to a bunch sprint.
“It’s been a good winter and I am looking forward to starting the season. You always wait for the first race to see where the condition is, so Sunday can’t come soon enough. There will be plenty of sprint opportunities and I hope to do good, although I expect some stiff competition. The team had a great start to the season in France last week and it would be nice if we could continue that – it’s what we want”, said Sam.
João Almeida will be another rider to kick off his campaign in the Middle East. A revelation of the complicated 2020 season, when he made his debut at World Tour level and impressed with a series of spectacular results, including fourth overall and a 15-day spell in the famed Giro d’Italia maglia rosa, João can’t wait to pin a number again.
“It feels good to finally start the season. I’m excited about going to the UAE and discovering this race. I don’t know exactly where my form is, you never know after the winter, but I will take it day by day and see how things go”, Almeida explained.
The young Portuguese, together with Mattia Cattaneo and Fausto Masnada, is set to lead Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s ambitions on the Jebel Hafeet and Jebel Jais summit finishes.
“We have a strong team for the first World Tour race of the year, an event which will be made even more interesting by the presence of an individual time trial, something rare in the UAE. In Sam – who had a great first season with the Wolfpack – we have a guy who can fight for results on four stages, with Michael and Shane there for him and Iljo as team captain, a very strong rider capable of controlling the race. For the mountains, we have three riders – João, Mattia and Fausto – all strong guys, so overall we are excited to go there”, explained Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Geert Van Bondt.
21.02–27.02 UAE Tour (UAE) 2.UWT
João Almeida (POR)
Shane Archbold (NZL)
Sam Bennett (IRL)
Mattia Cattaneo (ITA)
Iljo Keisse (BEL)
Fausto Masnada (ITA)
Michael Mørkøv (DEN)
Sports Director: Klaas Lodewyck (BEL) and Geert Van Bondt (BEL).
Bahrain Victorious Ready for First WorldTour Race
Thursday, 18th February 2021 – The third edition of the seven-stage UAE Tour will see all 19 UCI WorldTeams set to start the race between the 21st to 27th of February.
The Bahrain Victorious line-up will be led by Wout Poels and Jack Haig, off the back of strong performances at Tour de la Provence. They will compete against some of the biggest stars in cycling, such as 2020 Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar, four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome and last year’s winner of the UAE Tour Adam Yates.
This year’s edition of the race features four flat stages for the sprinters, two climbing stages and a 13km individual time trial, which will be critical at deciding the GC. The race will start in the town of Al Ruwais through Abu Dhabi and move through four more of the seven independent city-states of the UAE before finishing back in Abu Dhabi.
Alongside Wout and Jack, the team is strong, with Damiano Caruso starting his first race after a top ten finish at last year’s Tour de France in support of our GC contenders, and Phil Bauhaus will battle it out for the sprint stages after his impressive win on the final stage of the Tour de la Provence. It will also be Jonathan Milan’s first WorldTour race and an exciting test for the 20-year-old Italian eyeing the ITT on Stage 2.
Sports Director Franco Pellizotti commented on the importance of the race: ” We have a strong team for the first WorldTour race of the season. It’s an important one for Bahrain, being in the Middle East. However, It’s an important race for all the teams being the first WorldTour race, which shows with the team line-ups.”
Regarding the team strategy, Pellizotti said “We’ve structured the team for all types of stages. Bauhaus is showing good form after his win at Tour de la Provence, and there are four stages for him to fight for with the support of Fred Wright and Jonathan Milan. We then have an ITT on Stage 2, an important stage for the GC and a good test for Milan. For our leaders, Wout is in good shape after his fourth place overall at Tour de la Provence and Jack is a great climber who is capable of a good result. We also have Caruso, who is a good climber and time trialist and has had two good training camps at Altea and Teide, and so we can expect a good race from him.”
Team Bahrain Victorious’ line-up for UAE Tour:
Phil Bauhaus / Damiano Caruso / Jack Haig / Gino Mäder / Jonathan Milan / Wout Poels / Fred Wright.
The Women’s Tour Postponed
Organisers of the Women’s Tour, SweetSpot Group, have announced that the upcoming edition of the race scheduled for 7 to 12 June 2021 will be postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
SweetSpot are working with the UCI and British Cycling to re-arrange the Women’s Tour for later in 2021 and have requested alternate race dates of Monday 4 to Saturday 9 October* from the sport’s governing body.
The Women’s Tour, which forms a part of the prestigious UCI Women’s WorldTour, will start in Oxfordshire at Bicester and finish with a stage from Haverhill to Felixstowe in Suffolk. SweetSpot are working with all the regional stakeholders in the 2021 Women’s Tour to accommodate them within the re-arranged race.
SweetSpot will announce full details of the 2021 route in the summer once alternative dates are confirmed.
Commenting on the announcement Race Director Mick Bennett said, “We are obviously disappointed to be postponing the Women’s Tour from June but hope that by aiming to stage the race in October we can give the teams and public something to look forward to at the tail end of the summer.”
British Cycling Head of Sport and Major Events, Jonathan Day, said: “We know just how important the Women’s Tour is for our teams and riders, and it’s been fantastic to see the race go from strength to strength over recent years, becoming a mainstay of the British sporting calendar. We are working closely with SweetSpot and the UCI to confirm the proposed date change and look forward to welcoming the world’s best riders to the opening stage in Oxfordshire later this year.”
Cllr James Reeder, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Public Health and Prevention, said: “Whilst it is disappointing to hear that the race has been postponed until later in the year, I can completely understand why this decision has been taken by the race organiser SweetSpot. The council fully supports their decision given the challenging situation with coronavirus in the UK at present. The health and safety of all communities, competitors and partners involved in a such well-attended public event must be the priority and we look forward to putting on a fantastic spectacle with SweetSpot and all our partners later in the year.”
Cllr Letitia Smith, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for Communities, Tourism and Leisure added: “We completely support the decision to postpone the Women’s Tour until later in the year. This continues to be a challenging time, and it goes without saying that the health and wellbeing of participants, spectators and – of course – people in general remains the number one priority. This will give us something to look forward to, and no doubt all our local communities and businesses will be as supportive and celebratory as ever, if not more.”
The postponement follows the exciting news at the start of February that organisers SweetSpot are working with Eurosport and the Global Cycling Network to produce live TV coverage of the race for the first time in 2021.
The Women’s Tour continues to look for a headline sponsor for 2021 and beyond. With cycling enjoying a boom in the UK, and hundreds of thousands of new and returning cyclists taking to two wheels, partnership opportunities for brands looking to target a healthy national audience and to be associated with the world’s leading women’s professional cycling race are available at all levels and on a regional level to support individual stages.
Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var FEB 19-21
Michiel Elijzen – Team DSM coach: “Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var will be a demanding stage race that takes place over three days, where every stage sees the bunch faced with a lot of elevation gain. We go to the race with a young and motivated group of riders, including debuts for Marco, Henri and Kevin; alongside Michael and Martijn who bring the experience of racing at the highest level. Looking towards the parcours we hope to ride an aggressive race and focus on the learning processes, setting out to achieve good day results within the team.”
Marco Brenner (GER)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Martin Salmon (GER)
Michael Storer (AUS)
Martijn Tusveld (NED)
Henri Vandenabeele (BEL)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA).
UAE Tour FEB 21-27
Luke Roberts – Team DSM coach: “Our main focus at UAE Tour will be on stage results, in particular the sprint stages, where there will likely be four opportunities for the fast men in the peloton. Cees will be our guy for the sprints and we have a solid train built around him with road captain Nikias using his experience to guide our sprint group. The race also contains a short TT and two mountain top finishes where our young climbers Thymen and Mark will be out to see how far they can go.”
Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Thymen Arensman (NED)
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Cees Bol (NED)
Alberto Dainese (ITA)
Mark Donovan (GBR)
Florian Stork (GER).
DSM ready to go:
Pinot Domestique at the Tour des Alpes
Groupama-FDJ has announced the team’s selection for the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var. Thibaut Pinot and David Gaudu are the most prominent names. Pinot is at the start in a helping role, while Gaudu chases a stage win.
Pinot has fond memories of the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var. Two years ago he managed to add the race to his palmarès. For the 30-year-old rider it will be his first race since his early abandonment in the Vuelta. “I am happy to be making my comeback here and to be able to pin a number again. I’m not going to play my card, I’m here to help the squad. My preparation was not ideal due to the cold winter, so I mainly have to make my miles. I hope to mean something to the team in this difficult tour.”
“It is nice to return to the competition, especially in France,” Gaudu said via the team press release. “It’s a tough race but I’m looking forward to it, especially as they have announced three days of sunshine. I worked well in the winter and I had a good feeling about the training sessions. We have a solid team that is adapted to the profile of the round. We are ready to work together again. The level of the list of participants is very high, but we do not lack ambition in such competitions.”
For the 24-year-old climber, who won two stages last year and finished eighth in the Vuelta a España, gaining rhythm is paramount. He is also aiming for a stage win with the team. “In that respect, the stage with the finish on the Mur de Fayence could be a great opportunity for me. It’s a stage that I’ve touched on.” Apart from Rudy Molard, everyone in the selection comes into action for the first time this season. For Valentin Madouas, who recently extended his contact until the end of 2024, his preparation for the hilly classics starts here.
Groupama-FDJ for the flag-fr Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var 2021
Bruno Armirail (Fra)
David Gaudu (Fra)
Simon Guglielmi (Fra)
Valentin Madouas (Fra)
Rudy Molard (Fra)
Thibaut Pinot (Fra)
Sébastien Reichenbach (Sui).
David Gaudu looking for wins:
Fuglsang and Izagirre in Tour du Var
Astana-Premier Tech will have two leaders in the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var (UCI 2.1). Jakob Fuglsang and Gorka Izagirre will be the Kazakh team’s top men for the southern French stage race.
For Fuglsang, the three-day race is his first race of the season. The Danish one-day specialist is building up to a busy spring that starts in Strade Bianche, the Tour of Flanders, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Gorka Izagirre rode the Tour de La Provence last week. He finished 31st. With Omar Fraile and Harold Tejada, the Astana-Premier Tech team has two more strong climbers. Manual Boaro, Fabio Felline and Hugo Houle complete the selection.
Astana-Premier Tech riders for the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var 2021 (19-21 February):
Manual Boaro (Ita)
Fabio Felline (Ita)
Omar Fraile (Spa)
Jakob Fuglsang (Den)
Gorka Izagirre (Spa)
Hugo Houle (Can)
Harold Tejada (Col).
Fuglsang to lead Astana:
INEOS Team for Tour du Var
INEOS Grenadiers has an impressive roster for the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, including Tao Geoghegan Hart, Geraint Thomas, Tom Pidcock, Rohan Dennis and Pavel Sivakov.
For Hart, Dennis, Pidcock and Sivakov, the Tour du Var will be their first race of the season. For the Giro winner and Dennis, it is also the first race since the last Giro d’Italia. Pidcock will make his debut for INEOS Grenadiers after finishing the cyclocross winter with Trinity Racing. In addition to those riders, Jhonatan Narvaez and Dylan van Baarle will also be part of the team.
Last week INEOS Grenadiers managed to finish with two riders on the final podium in the Tour de La Provence: Iván Sosa won, while Egan Bernal finished third. Michal Kwiatkowski finish second in the Star of Bessèges.
INEOS Grenadiers for the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var 2021 (19-21 February):
Dylan van Baarle (Ned)
Rohan Dennis (Aus)
Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB)
Jhonatan Narváez (Ecu)
Tom Pidcock (GB)
Pavel Sivakov (Rus)
Geraint Thomas (GB).
Tao Geoghegan Hart back in action:
Arkéa-Samsic Start with Nairo Quintana in the Tour du Var
Nairo Quintana will pin on a race number this Friday. The Colombian, who has been recovering from a serious knee injury for several months, makes his return to the peloton in the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var.
Last year Quintana won the French stage race after he seized power in the on the Col d’Eze stage. Quintana beat Romain Bardet and Richie Porte in the overall competition, but is the Colombian be strong enough to defend his title. From Friday he will be joined by newcomer Miguel Eduardo Flórez, Élie Gesbert, Diego Rosa, Romain Hardy, Lukasz Owsian and the strong Belgian sprinter and classic cyclist Amaury Capiot.
Arkéa-Samsic riders for the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var (19-21 February):
Amaury Capiot (Bel)
Miguel Eduardo Flórez (Col)
Élie Gesbert (Fra)
Romain Hardy (Fra)
Lukasz Owsian (Pol)
Diego Rosa (Ita)
Nairo Quintana (Col).
Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var
Nans Peters: “I finished the 2020 season on November 8th at the Vuelta a España. So I needed to shift my usual time when I stop racing and take a total break from the bike. I started training on the bike again on December 20th and the January training camp in Spain allowed me to work on my base mostly. I’ve always started my racing season a bit late so I don’t have a problem with that. I know that compared to riders who have been racing for three weeks already, I will certainly be a little short on racing form. The Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var has three difficult stages, and that doesn’t displease me at all because I like aggressive races. Last year I finished second at the top of Mont Faron. I am happy to be back in competition. My goals for the year are simple: raise my arms in victory as often as possible, regardless of the race. I want to be in good shape for the Tour de France, of course, but that means doing well at the highlights that come before which will be the Volta a Catalunya (March 22-28) and the Tour de Romandie (April 27-May 2).”
In 2020, Nans Peters was the team’s rider to compete in the most race days. He raced 65 days or 10,419 kilometres.
A week of rest for Lilian Calmejane
The victim of a crash on Saturday during the third stage of the Tour de la Provence, Lilian Calmejane, who suffered a slight head trauma with a major bruise on his face, must take a one-week rest period. His return to racing will be decided by how quickly the contusion to his right shoulder heals.
UAE Team Emirates Line-up for Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var
Testing three-day race in the Alps next stop for Emirati squad.
UAE Team Emirates will take aim at their next race, the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var [2.1] in France from 19-21 February. The team will call on the experience of David De La Cruz and Rui Costa to lead the squad as they go in search of the first victory of the 2021 campaign.
Director Sportif duo Fabio Baldato (Ita) and Simone Pedrazzini (Swi) will lead the following riders:
-Camilo Ardila (Col)
-David De La Cruz (Spa)
-Joe Dombrowski (USA)
-Rui Costa (Por)
-Ryan Gibbons (RSA)
-Cristian Muñoz (Col)
-Aleksander Riabushenko (Blr)
David De La Cruz: “We have three intense stages with lots of climbing and fierce competition also. On paper we have a balanced team with options for the GC with myself and the chance of stage opportunities through Gibbons and Costa. Preparations have gone well. This race will be part of my build-up to Paris-Nice and Volta Catalunya. I’ve had a good block of training at altitude at Mount Teide with the team and I’m excited to finally pin the race numbers on again and get the 2021 season started.”
Four WorldTour Teams in Route Adélie de Vitré
The organisation of La Route Adélie de Vitré has announced the participating teams in the 26th edition. The French one-day race will have four WorldTour teams at the start with AG2R Citroën, Groupama-FDJ, Cofidis and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert.
In addition to the quartet of WorldTour teams, 13 ProTeams also participate. These are Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, Arkéa-Samsic, B&B Hotels, Bingoal-WB, Burgos-BH, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Delko, Equipo Kern Pharma, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Gazprom-RusVelo, Rally Cycling, Total Direct Energie and Uno-X. Two French continental teams, St Michel-Auber 93 and Xelliss-Roubaix Lille Métropole, complete the field. A peloton of 133 riders will start in the Brittany region on April 2, 2021.
Last year, the Route Adélie de Vitré (UCI 1.1) was canceled due to covid-19.
Marc Sarreau was the last winner in 2019:
BC Superweek Pro Cycling Series Canceled for 2021
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, BC Superweek has postponed the annual professional cycling series until July 2022 at the earliest.
The decision to postpone the event another year was not made lightly by BC Superweek members, but the safety of athletes and spectators is their top concern. The series is an important annual tradition for cyclists and communities alike, and BC Superweek wants to continue to provide race opportunities for the next generation of cyclists.
“Amid the pandemic, there was a lot of deliberation among the BC Superweek members about the status of this year’s series. The well-being of everyone involved was the top consideration, and the members look forward to bringing the series back once it is safe to do so,” said BC Superweek Series Director Mark Ernsting.
Because the races that make up BC Superweek require significant planning, the uncertainty of the coming months makes it difficult for organising teams to make the necessary arrangements normally required at this time.
By making professional cycling accessible to communities, BC Superweek annually attracts tens of thousands of spectators. While showcasing professional athletes at a grassroots level, the series is also a great opportunity to engage its communities and for future generations of cyclists to get involved.
BC Superweek members also respect that many businesses and partners are affected by the economic impacts of the pandemic, and unable to make sponsorship commitments at this time. Fortunately, many regular sponsors spoke positively about potentially supporting future BC Superweek events.
Individual city budgets for next year are in preliminary discussions as well, so BC Superweek members hope to be able to confirm the status of the 2022 series later this fall.
The Tour de Delta, New West Grand Prix, Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, Giro di Burnaby, PoCo Grand Prix and the Tour de White Rock wish everyone a safe and healthy 2021.
BC Superweek canceled:
Richie Porte Voted Australian Cyclist of the Year
For the first time in his career, Richie Porte has been awarded the Sir Hubert Opperman Medal. The Australian cyclist of the year award. The 36-year-old rider finished third in the Tour de France last season. He also gave Trek-Segafredo the victory in the Tour Down Under, a race that is very important in Australia. This was more than enough to award him with the “Oppy” for the first time in his cycling career.
Grace Brown was named the best female cyclist of the year. She took second place in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the victory in the Brabantse Pijl. Steph Morton won the prize for best track rider of 2020. Nathan Hart, Matthew Richardson and Thomas Cornish won this prize for the men after they won World Cup bronze in the team sprint.
Australian cyclist of the year:
Felipe Orts Wants to Ride in Belgian and French One-Day Races with Burgos-BH
Felipe Orts has finished his cyclocross season and can now focus on a road campaign with Burgos-BH. “I hope to compete in as many one-day races as possible in Belgium and France in April, May and June,” said the 25-year-old Spaniard.
Orts spoke with Zikloland on the past cyclocross season. “I can be happy with my season. I managed to collect a lot of top 10 places in the Belgian crosses, which is a huge step forward. I have shown myself at the very highest level. In the fast and technical crosses I was close to the world top, in the difficult cyclocross races I still miss some power to go along.”
Orts, who again managed to take the Spanish cyclocross title in January, now has the opportunity to catch his breath. “Normally I only take a few days off after the cross season, but now I will rest a little longer. So it is actually an advantage for me that many cycling races have been postponed. Cyclists always want to race, but whether it is wise…”
The Spaniard, who will be on the road for Burgos-BH, will not start his road season until April. “I still have to sit with the team management to plan my season. It is clear that I want to be top in the months of April, May and June. I really want to participate in classics in Belgium and France. That’s the kind of races I do best.”
Spanish cross champ – Felipe Orts:
Niels Vandeputte Signs for Alpecin-Fenix
Niels Vandeputte has signed a professional contract with the Alpecin-Fenix team. The 20-year-old cyclocross rider will be a professional from 1 March 2021. As a neo-pro, Vandeputte, who joins the Alpecin-Fenix development team on the road, signs for two years.
Vandeputte promises to be a big cyclocross star as he proved last weekend with a third place in the X2O Trophy cyclocross race in Brussels. Since 2015 he has been riding for the youth teams of the Roodhooft brothers. “It’s not big news for us that Niels is going to be a professional,” said the team management. “In his junior years we already agreed with Niels and his parents about a professional contract, but when he was ready for it. That could be as a promise during or after his period.”
“When the Belgian championship cyclo-cross for U23 in Middelkerke was canceled, we decided to sign the contract,” said the Roodhooft brothers. “We believe in its potential. But there is absolutely no pressure on his shoulders next season. He is still young and at the beginning of a learning process. It is important that he continues to do what he likes.”
Vandeputte will ride the cyclocross races of Sint-Niklaas and Oostmalle this weekend, after which a rest period will follow. “Then I will build up to the road season with the Alpecin-Fenix training team. I can ride great races with that team. That is also an ideal preparation for next winter,” he explained.
“I still like cyclocross the most. In recent years I have started to enjoy racing on the road more and more, but I started because I wanted to cross through the woods,” said Vandeputte. “I don’t see myself combining cyclocross and road in the short term as Mathieu does now.”
Mike Teunissen in Hospital
Mike Teunissen has spoken from the VU Medical Center in Amsterdam about his bad training crash. It seems his spring will be lost. The Jumbo-Visma rider sustained an upper leg injury. “My teammates saw the crash and say it was pure bad luck. I hit a stone that was hard to see and crashed,” he explained.
“I see myself as an optimistic person and a good bike handler, but in recent days I have started to doubt about both,” said Teunissen via Instagram. “Last year was already tough, but I now have to deal with another setback due to a crash during the training camp in Tenerife.”
“Further medical examinations in the Netherlands has shown that I need a few weeks to recover. Hopefully I will soon find the strength to be back fighting again.” Jumbo-Visma fear that Teunissen will miss the spring Classics, which he would have play an important role in the team for leader Wout van Aert. The exact injury of 28-year-old Teunissen is still being investigated, but it is not a fracture according to the latest reports.
Mike Teunissen in hospital:
Negasi Haylu Abreha: The Rider Who Can’t Go Home
Every morning when the Ethiopian road race champion, Negasi Haylu Abreha, wakes up he has no idea whether his family are alive. He has no way of being able to call home or message them immediately to check.
The 20-year-old Team Qhubeka (UCI Continental team) rider is currently living in a shared apartment in Lucca, Italy, now anxiously waiting for the cycling season to come around again. But he really just wants to see his family.
Negasi, who in 2021 will ride his second year with the Team Qhubeka Continental team, is from Mek’ele, the main town in the region of Tigray, Ethiopia. It’s a region that’s seen conflict arise between national government forces and the region’s ruling party, following an outbreak of hostilities in early November. It’s a situation that’s continued unabated, which at the time of writing has seen the United Nations declare its concern over a potential humanitarian crisis in the region.
This conflict arose on 4 November 2020, the exact same date that Negasi travelled from Bologna to Rome after the conclusion of racing for the season for the NTT Continental cycling team. He was returning home to his family after his first full season with the team having shown tremendous promise.
Once in Rome he was set to catch a flight to Addis Ababa and then an onward connection to Mek’ele. After arriving and waiting to board his flight he received a phone call from Team Manager Kevin Campbell, who had been at home scrolling through the news feed on his phone and taken note of the reported tensions arising in northern Ethiopia.
After further investigation and attempting to contact the Ethiopian embassy to get clarity on the current situation, it was clear that the people from the region of Tigray were to be cautious as all domestic flights to the region were cancelled immediately. If Negasi had boarded his flight he would have been stranded in Addis Ababa and there was major concern that his safety could be at great risk. It was agreed that it would be better to wait until there was more information regarding the situation, and only return home when safe to do so.
This decision created an immediate situation at the airport as Negasi’s luggage had already been loaded onto the Addis Ababa-bound flight and required one of our team’s staff members, Martina Alessandri, explaining the situation to airport officials over the phone. The youngster then opted to sleep in the airport, hoping to get onto the first flight back to Bologna; however, as the ticket office only opened after 6am he eventually was only able to return later that afternoon.
Negasi returned to the team house in Lucca, alone, as all of his teammates had already left for home, and stayed until the end of the month, at which point the rental agreement for the premises came to an end. With the situation over a return home to Ethiopia still unclear he moved indefinitely into the apartment of another staff member, Damian Murphy, until there was an option for him to be hopefully be reunited with his family.
That has never happened so he will wait now until early March when the team house is available again to join his Continental teammates for the start of their 2021 season. His hopes of a return home on hold, indefinitely.
In His Own Words
It is very difficult (to stay in touch with my family) because all the network coverage in Tigray has been shut off. I am sometimes able to call my mom on a Sunday. We keep the calls very, very short. It is usually “Hello Negasi, we are okay, everyone is fine and we love you. Ciao.” My mother told me to never ask more about the situation over the phone out of fear for their safety.
I am very scared for my family and friends. I only see pictures of what might be on social media or what people send me. I know the places in the pictures from my home region, and I can see the death, destruction and poverty happening there now.
For sure it’s difficult (for me at the moment). I have stress for my family but also, I am very grateful and happy because I have people around me from the team that are helping me a lot. The team give me a place to stay, provide all my food and make sure I am always able to train. I am still motivated to train because I know If I can be successful, I can help my family more.
I am very happy to be in this team. They are like family to me now: Kevin, Martina, Oksana, Damian – everyone, they all help me a lot. The team has provided me with a big opportunity.
If I wasn’t a bike rider I would be in Ethiopia now where it would be dangerous and a very difficult life. In my region and hometown many people are dying every day. Maybe it is between 500 – 700 people who are dying every day.
There is no food or water, they have closed everything. There are no shops and businesses open. My parents can do nothing. My brother is older than me, he is a hairdresser but he cannot work now. I have three younger sisters, normally they should be in school, but all the schools are closed. With the help of a friend I was able to send them some money last year.
But for now they all do nothing, they just survive.
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