Yet another full bag of EUROTRASH: Giro/Vuelta double for Alejandro Valverde – TOP STORY. Wout van Aert’s cross program, Italy’s stolen bikes returned, Tom Dumoulin to ride a Grand Tour in 2022, Chris Froome suffered from Bilharzia, Giro boss challenges Pogačar to Giro-Tour double, Sonny Colbrelli voted best Italian rider of 2021 and Yvon Madiot looks back on the season. Rider news: Mark Padun leaves Bahrain Victorious, Jérôme Cousin retires, Bahrain Victorious extends contract with Damiano Caruso, Erik Baska joins Slovakian Conti team, Martijn Budding returns to Riwal, Charlie Quarterman without contract, two more years for Tsgabu Grmay, Mattia Cattaneo resigns, two more years for Chris Juul-Jensen, Sjoerd Bax to Alpecin-Fenix and Ane Santesteban till 2023. Team news: Xstra Digital Storage sponsor Liv Racing and Movistar reforestation project. Race news: Vuelta a España returns to the Basque Country, no Tour Colombia in 2022, Tour of Catalonia 2022 mountain stages, AJ Bell Tour of Britain grows TV audience and European Road Championships’ media value set in nearly 50 million Euro. Plus Sarah Gigante recovering from heart problems, Joris Nieuwenhuis missed Tábor cross due to Corona, Davide Formolo’s slow World Hour record and Wout van Aert NFT’s Go For €47,000. Big coffee time.
TOP STORY: Giro/Vuelta Double for Alejandro Valverde in His Final Year
Alejandro Valverde will ride the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España in 2022, his last year as a professional cyclist. The 41-year-old Spaniard started the Tour of Italy once before: in 2016 he finished third in the final overall. Valverde will not ride the Tour de France next year.
The Movistar rider previously announced that he was no longer interested in a Tour participation, but Valverde will be in the Giro in his last year, six years after his first and so far only Giro participation. In 2016 he had a successful ride, winning a stage and finishing third on GC, behind overall winner Vincenzo Nibali and runner-up Esteban Chaves.
During his farewell year, Valverde will also focus on the Ardennes Classics, followed by the Giro participation. In the autumn, the Murcian hopes to shine one more time in the Vuelta. Valverde won the Spanish stage race in 2009 and was on the podium in 2003, 2006, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2019. Valverde announced his program during an event organised by Movistar, he will later map out his final program towards the Ardennes Classics and the Giro.
Giro/Vuelta for Valverde in his final year:
Cyclo-Cross Program for Wout van Aert
Wout van Aert has set out his cyclo-cross program up to and including the Belgian championship in Middelkerke, with 12 races in five weeks.
Van Aert will start his season on Saturday 4th December with the Superprestige in Boom and then the World Cup in Antwerp a day later. The weekend of 11 and 12 December has the combination of Essen and Val di Sole. This is followed by a Jumbo-Visma team training camp near Girona, so he skips the weekend with the World Cup rounds in Rucphen and Namen. In the following two weeks, the Belgian champion rides six races in eight days. Herentals will follow on January 5th as the last preparation for the Belgian championship in Middelkerke.
“This is my final program up to and including the Belgian championship. What will follow after that has not yet been decided.”
Wout van Aert Cross Program:
December 4: Boom (Superprestige)
December 5: Antwerp (World Cup)
December 11: Essen (Ethias Cross)
December 12: Val di Sole (World Cup)
* Jumbo-Visma training camp in Sant Feliu de Guixols, Spain.
December 26: Dendermonde (World Cup)
December 27: Heusden-Zolder (World Cup)
December 29: Diegem (Superprestige)
December 30: Loenhout (X20 Trophy)
January 1: Baal (X20 Trophy)
January 2: Holly (World Cup)
January 5: Herentals (X20 Trophy)
January 9: Middelkerke (Belgian Championship).
Wout back to cross this winter:
Stolen Bikes Returned to Italy
The 22 bikes belonging to the Italian squad that were stolen during the World championship on the track in Roubaix and recovered five days later by Romanian police have been taken to Italy. Italian federation president Cordiano Dagnoni confirmed to La Gazzetta dello Sport. “They’re all there, only a few wheels are missing.”
The 22 bikes, including the gold ones of the Italian pursuit squad, were locked at the Hotel Mercure in Lille, on the night of October 22 to 23. The bikes had been put in a van to be returned to Italy, but in the morning they were no longer there. Five days later, the bicycles were recovered by the Romanian police during a police raid.
Now the bikes are back in Italy, confirmed federation president Dagnoni. “Our mechanics loaded them up on Monday and left immediately,” he told the Italian newspaper. “Now they are in Italy, in Montichiari. They are all there, only a few wheels are missing.” Among the bikes were twelve of the Pinarello Bolide model, used by the pursuit team that became both Olympic and World Champions.
Back home in Italy:
Tom Dumoulin Doesn’t Rule Out a Grand Tour in 2022
In mid-December, Jumbo-Visma will go to Girona for a first training camp for the 2022 season. There, the season’s race schedules of all riders will be discussed with the team DS’s and coaches. In an interview with Helden Magazine, Tom Dumoulin said that he certainly does not rule out riding a Grand Tour in 2022.
“I became a cyclist to get the most out of myself,” said Dumoulin, who finished second in a 10K running race in Maastricht on Sunday. “I still think that trying to get results is the best thing there is. It doesn’t make me happy if I just have to race ahead of others. Then I can also be a great value to the team on 95% of my ability. Just the feeling that you can perform well at 95%, that doesn’t match my level of ambition. I want to go for that 100%. I want to ride for results for myself and of course I want to win. In which races? We’ll see in December. But I certainly don’t rule out Grand Tours. I continue to find that very challenging and I know that I can be very good at that.”
In the extensive interview, Dumoulin also looked back on the difficulties he experienced last winter. “After a month of rest I was still not fit. I was so tired that I started preparing for the new year. Then you keep cycling in the hope that it will get better on its own. However, it only got worse. In January I couldn’t even last two hours cycling. Then I was all over. I felt sick and miserable for the rest of the day after such a ride. I lay on the couch for hours. My body had completely pulled on the brakes at that point. When you feel so weak, you lose the total joy of cycling. I even started to hate it. I had no choice but to cut the knot and quit in January. I couldn’t go on like that.”
Wasn’t the most important thing that you had to regain control of your own life? “Yes, I needed that period of time to find out that this was bothering me. Those few people who want to have their picture taken with me in the city, give me an occasional interview or sponsor obligations, I have no problem with that. I have come in sackcloth and ashes because since 2017 I have the feeling that I am being lived. All the people around me want to get the most out of me. That’s not wrong, because that’s what I want too. They just want to achieve that goal by creating a whole environment around me with the best experts in all areas who determine what is best for me. Everyone wants to contribute with the best will in the world to make me better. Hardly anyone thought about what and how I actually wanted it. Choices were made for me almost continuously, so that I could no longer indicate which direction I thought best. That often felt very oppressive.”
Tom Dumoulin happy again:
Chris Froome Suffering from Bilharzia Again
Chris Froome had a disappointing first season for Israel Start-Up Nation, but according to team boss Sylvan Adams there is a logical explanation. The four-time Tour winner turned out to have Bilharzia, a parasitic worm disease.
After the Tour de France, it became clear that Froome was suffering from Bilharzia, also known as Schistosomiasis. This is a parasitic worm disease that is often contracted by swimming or paddling in tropical fresh water. It is not the first time that Froome has suffered from Schistosomiasis. Earlier in his career, he was also diagnosed with it, but he eventually recovered completely.
“Chris was completely blocked during the last Tour,” Adams told Velonews. “He told me he was on his most difficult Tour and that he was using a lot of energy.” However, Froome feels a lot better after a course of antibiotics. “He has now recovered and had a good end to the season. His numbers have improved and we believe we will see the old Chris again in the Grand Tours next year.”
Despite a few lean years, Froome still has faith in his own abilities. “After what I’ve been through, there is no guarantee that I can win the Tour for a fifth time. However, it is and remains my goal. And whether it is in 2022, 2023 or 2024… I will keep working towards it until it turns out that it is no longer possible. I am still in my rehab process. I see perspective, even though there is still a long way to go,” Froome said at the end of October.
A better year in 2022 for Froome:
Giro Boss Challenges Pogačar to Giro-Tour Double
Mauro Vegni, race director of the Giro d’Italia, has challenged Tadej Pogačar to try to win both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France in 2022. The last time a rider managed to do that was Marco Pantani in 1998.
Vegni suggested in conversation with La Gazzetta dello Sport that it doesn’t matter how many times a rider wins the Tour, because “there is little else to prove” after the first title. “I don’t think winning the Tour three or four times makes much difference to a rider’s career. If you win it once, you have proven that you are a great rider and there is little left to prove,” said the race director, who likes to see Tadej Pogačar take up the challenge of the ‘double’.
Twelve times in the history of cycling, the Giro and the Tour have had the same winner in the same season: in 1949 and 1952 (Fausto Coppi), in 1964 (Jacques Anquetil), in 1970, 1972 and 1974 (Eddy Merckx), in 1982 and 1985 (Bernard Hinault), in 1987 (Stephen Roche), in 1992 and 1993 (Miguel Indurain) and in 1998 (Marco Pantani). Chris Froome was the last rider to make a serious attempt to win the Giro and Tour in the same season in 1998.
“It’s a shame that nobody seems to have the ambition to win the double Giro-Tour,” Vegni continued. “If I’m not mistaken, Pantani was the last to succeed. So maybe it’s time for a rider to add his name to that roll of honour.”
Giro/Tour double for Pantani in 1998:
Sonny Colbrelli Voted Best Italian Rider of 2021
Sonny Colbrelli was voted the best Italian cyclist of 2021 on Tuesday. The Italian was National and European champion on the road in 2021 and ended his season with a memorable win in Paris-Roubaix.
The 31-year-old spoke at the presentation of the Giglio d’Oro, the Golden Lily, of “an unforgettable season. But I am already thinking about the future, although I have not yet finalized my program for 2022,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I think Milan-San Remo will be my first target,” said the strong sprinter. “And after that I would like to return to the Giro d’Italia, even if it is a tough and difficult tour. I haven’t raced the Giro since 2016, I’ve never raced there in a Bahrain kit and the first stage is ideal for me. There the first pink jersey will be awarded. I will also aim for the classics and I would like to defend my Italian and European title, just like my victory in Roubaix.”
Colbrelli is the 48th winner of the Giglio d’Oro, last year Filippo Ganna took the honours. Two years before that, the prize went to Elia Viviani.
Sonny Colbrelli – Top Italian:
Yvon Madiot Looks Back on Groupama-FDJ’s Season
Groupama-FDJ managed to win 22 races this year, but sports director Yvon Madiot is not satisfied with the past year. “I give us a 6 out of 10, a tight pass. Why? We didn’t win in the Grand Tours and the Tour was very mediocre,” said an honest Madiot.
Groupama-FDJ; the team of Arnaud Démare, Thibaut Pinot and Stefan Küng, won mainly the smaller races in 2021 and that stings Madiot. “I could have said 5 out of 10, but I’ll give us a six because we’ve won quite a few races this year. And yet, we were left empty-handed during the Grand Tours. We showed good things, but we were looking for a stage win and we didn’t succeed.”
“The icing on the cake is not there: a memorable victory. Whether in the Tour or during the Classics. We miss that one big victory. A stage win in the Tour and the world might have looked completely different. It is therefore clear to me that we have not had a very successful season. Certain things clearly didn’t go well,” said Madiot.
Groupama-FDJ had ‘the misfortune’ that sprint leader Arnaud Démare had a slightly less season, despite nine victories, including a prestigious victory in the autumn classic Paris-Tours. GC leader Thibaut Pinot had another season to quickly forget due to physical problems, but there were good performances of Küng and climber David Gaudu.
Madiot doesn’t feel like making an apology. “Due to the absence of Thibaut, we were not always able to put together our strongest team, but then it is up to other riders to come out of the shadows and perform. We came to the conclusion that we don’t have many riders who are capable of winning at the highest level. When our leaders face problems, it is difficult for us to perform.”
Lewis Askey, Quentin Pacher, Michael Storer and Bram Welten are new to Groupama-FDJ in 2022.
Mark Padun Leaves Bahrain Victorious
Mark Padun will leave Bahrain Victorious, the Ukraine climber announced on his social media. Padun has ridden for the WorldTour squad for the past four years, but will ride for another team in 2022.
“I want to thank Bahrain Victorious for the past four years. It is the team where I started my professional career,” said Padun. “I have had many successes here and have had unforgettable moments with the riders and the staff. Now a new chapter in my career begins for me, with a different team that will be announced later.”
INEOS Grenadiers has been mentioned as a possible new squad for Mark Padun, but also has Astana Qazaqstan and EF Education-Nippo.
Jérôme Cousin Retires
Jérôme Cousin has put an end to his career as a professional cyclist. The 32-year-old French rider of Team TotalEnergies announced via social media. After eleven professional years, the rider thinks it’s enough and it’s time for a new challenge.
“2021 was my last professional season and the beginning of the rest of my life,” Cousin said on Instagram. “I loved the challenges, the buddies, the team spirit and sometimes that tranquility that I liked so much. I have discovered my body in all its states thanks to cycling, the most beautiful sport that will accompany me for the rest of my life. I want to thank all the beautiful people who accompanied me, supported me and helped me. I will never forget it.”
Cousin started his professional career with Team Europcar in 2011, after combining road with track in both the juniors and the U23. At the 2007 junior European Championships, the Frenchman took silver in the pursuit and the team pursuit. A year later he finished second in the pursuit at the U23 European Championship in Pruszków. In his last year as a U23 rider, he took the mountains classification in the Ronde de l’Isard.
Cousin raced for Team Europcar in his first five professional years and won the Tour de Normandie during that time. He also finished second in the Etoile de Bessèges and made his debut in the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España. After two-seasons with Cofidis, he returned to the old nest in 2018. That year he won the stage to Sisteron in Paris-Nice by holding off his escape companion Nils Politt and a chasing peloton.
Bahrain Victorious Extends Contract with Damiano Caruso
Bahrain Victorious has extended their commitment with Damiano Caruso, La Gazzetta dello Sport reports. The 34-year-old Italian had already signed up until the end of 2023 last month and has now signed a contract until 2024.
Caruso has been well known as a top domestique, but this year he had a breakthrough as a leader. In the 2021 Giro d’Italia, he was given freedom to ride for the GC after the retirement of Mikel Landa. Caruso was the revelation of the Italian tour, as he finish second overall behind Egan Bernal. Caruso also won the last mountain stage to Alpe Motta.
The experienced climber also won a tough mountain stage last season in the Vuelta a España, finishing on the Alto de Velefique, after an impressive solo ride. In the Spanish tour he was also of value to leader Jack Haig, who finished third overall.
“The renewal of my contract was a formality after such a great season, the best of my career so far,” said Caruso in October after his first contract extension. “I believe that if something works well, you shouldn’t want to change it. I probably had the best year as a pro rider with this group and in this team. I am therefore more than happy to be able to extend my adventure at Bahrain Victorious.”
Erik Baska Joins Slovakian Conti Team
Erik Baška will leave the WorldTour after six seasons. The 27-year-old Slovak, who has been riding for BORA-hansgrohe, is returning to his continental team Dukla Banska Bystrica, where he raced in 2013 and 2014.
At the beginning of this month, BORA-hansgrohe announced the departure of Baška. The compatriot of Peter Sagan was part of the team for five seasons, after he made his debut at the highest level with Tinkoff. “I have spoken with several teams and I chose Dukla for several reasons,” he explained on the website of his new team. “After talks with Martin Fraňo (team manager) and before that assistant coach Maroš Kováč, we agreed on the plans.”
Those plans fitted in well with Baška’s ambitions in cycling and the team’s capabilities. “There were a number of factors that made me choose Dukla. In the first place the programme, the environment, more competition days and also more freedom as a leader. I believe in a win-win situation for both parties. The past two years I struggled with health problems and I couldn’t take much for my own chance. BORA is a strong team and I was more of a helper for other strong riders. The goal for next season is to win races again.”
Sports director Fraňo is enthusiastic about his new acquisition. “He is one of the fastest riders in the world and has enormous potential. He was unable to make the expected steps last season and did not get any opportunities as a leader. With us he gets plenty of opportunities to show what he has to offer. He is at his best, we have high expectations for him. He will also be a role model for the young riders and he can count on our full confidence.”
Young Erik Baska gave Tinkoff his first pro win in Handzame
Martijn Budding Returns to Riwal Cycling Team
Martijn Budding will race again for Riwal Cycling Team next year. The 26-year-old Dutchman, who had to leave BEAT Cycling, rode for the Danish team for a year in 2020.
In 2019 Budding managed to arouse the interest of Riwal Securitas (as it was known then), after several victories, including the Tour of Rhodes and Kreiz Breizh Elites and places of honour including in Veenendaal-Veenendaal, when riding for BEAT Cycling. He eventually got a chance with the Danish formation and managed to win a professional contract again. However, due to financial problems within the team and the corona pandemic, it became a season to quickly forget.
Budding decided not to wait for the future of the ailing Riwal Securitas and re-signed a contract with BEAT Cycling. However, after a year with the Dutch team, Budding makes the move again back and so he will ride again next season for the Danish, now Continental, team. “It feels good to be back,” Budding said in a Riwal press release.
“I want to continue the development I started in 2019. I was racing well then, but unfortunately the corona pandemic put an end to that. I’m really looking forward to racing for Riwal again. They have a good race schedule and I believe I can improve a lot as a rider. In the last months of 2021 I was able to ride quite a few races and I hope to build on that next year.”
Budding hopes to improve his sprint in the winter months. “But I also want to work on my explosiveness on shorter climbs. I’m pretty good at that too and it’s a good combination to have during races. However, I especially want to further sharpen my sprint. I believe I still have a lot to offer.” Budding will also race alongside his compatriot Elmar Reinders next year, who previously decided to extend his contract with Riwal.
Charlie Quarterman Still Without Contract
Times are tough for Charlie Quarterman. The British professional learned during the season that his contract with Trek-Segafredo was not being extended and the 23-year-old still has no team for next season.
“A bit late to the game, but that’s 2021 season done, also my time with Trek-Segafredo done. Quarterman wrote on social media on Tuesday. The 2019 British U23 time trial champion kicked off his season with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, but crashed there and was sidelined for two months due to concussion. He would not return to the peloton until the Tour de Romandie.
“It’s been a rough year, starting in really good form but with a nasty concussion in the first race and not getting back into racing until May, I was on the back foot. I started to find the rhythm after this but since the middle of the season I knew I was out of a contract at the end of the year, so fighting the stress whilst trying to perform at this level when opportunities came was tiring work. It was really full on from July until October in that sense both physically and mentally so I really needed that rest in the end. No news to share yet however.”
He has no news about a new team at the moment. “In the meantime I can only thank the people that are close to me off the bike for helping me to not explode (completely), I couldn’t have continued turning my legs in circles like that without you, so thank you.”
Charlie Quarterman, still looking for a team for 2022:
Grmay Boosts Team BikeExchange’s Support Squad as He Re-Signs for Two More Seasons
Multiple Ethiopian champion Tsgabu Grmay has committed to two more years with Team BikeExchange, after consistent riding and selfless teamwork with the squad over the past three seasons.
The 30-year-old has been a valued and important support rider for the Australian outfit over the years and has gone from strength to strength, but with a lot of potential still inside of him.
After completing seven Grand Tours, Grmay’s wealth of experience has helped the team to many great results, with GreenEDGE Cycling please to continue supporting the talented Ethiopian as he signs on for his fourth season.
Brent Copeland, General Manager on Grmay: “We are happy to be able to keep working with a collaborative rider such as Tsgabu. He is a real team player and with his help and commitment we will continue to bring lots of support to our climbers during the busy WorldTour season. He is part of our family and he had some difficult moments during the past months, but we have always supported and put full trust in him, and we are sure he will keep pushing and giving his best to help GreenEDGE Cycling reach many successes.”
Tsgabu Grmay: “I’m so happy, lucky and proud to be part of this team and after three years I’m sure to say that it’s really a special team for me and why I was looking forward to renewing my contract. It hasn’t been an easy year for me with too many up and downs and I must say that the team continued to support me all the time, through all the good and bad times! I really appreciated the support of the team, and this was one more reason to stay in this family. For the coming years, I’m very motivated to do good racing and focusing on my climbing skills. I’m sure that I can improve more and achieve better results as well as helping my GC leaders.”
Date of Birth: 25th August 1991 (30)
Joined GreenEDGE Cycling: 2019
New Contract: 2022 & 2023
1st Ethiopian Time Trial Championships (6x)
1st Ethiopian Road Race Championships (3x).
Mattia Cattaneo: “I Dream of Being One of the Best TT Riders in the World”
The Italian has extended his contract with the Wolfpack until the end of 2023.
In the two years since he joined Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s ranks, Mattia Cattaneo has impressed with the dedication and hard work that he has put in for his teammates, as well as the consistent progress of his own personal performances. Such has been that progress that the likeable 31-year-old has been awarded a new two-year contract with the UCI World Team Ranking winner, meaning he will stay with the team through to the end of 2023.
Speaking of the agreement, Mattia said: “I am super happy and proud to continue with the team. The Wolfpack is a unique squad in cycling, and it is a pleasure to ride with them and work for the team. I give my support to the leader in the race, and they have been good in giving me my own opportunities.
I think that it is hard for people to understand the team and how it works. You can see from outside that everybody has a close relationship and what the Wolfpack means, but when you are inside it is even better than you would expect. It is why I am happy to help the captain for the hard days in the Grand Tours and in certain races, but I know they will work for me in some specific races and help me try to get results.
My first experience at the Tour de France earlier this year was an unbelievable one. To be able to ride this race was a super big goal for me. It was a great race where I was able to take 12th on the GC, and to help Cav and Julian get stage wins – it went better than could be expected. I hope that in the next two years I can ride it at least one more time and maybe I could try to take a top 10.
I am proud of how my TT has progressed. I love the discipline and my next goal will be to improve as a specialist, and I have been doing some work with the team and with Specialized to look at how I can improve. Hopefully in the next two years I can progress even more and look to score some more TT victories – I dream of being one of the best TT riders in the world. It will be super hard, but I took 5th and 8th in the time trials at the Tour de France and I think it is possible to improve, to be one of the top 5 riders in the world. I would love to wear the jersey of the Italian National Champion, but it is a bit difficult because the number 1 is the best in the world! But I will for sure try to close the gap on Ganna.”
The delight at Cattaneo’s new deal was shared with Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere, who said: “It is a big thing for us to have Mattia stay with us for the next two years. He is an incredibly talented yet humble guy, who will work all day for his teammates. We have also seen his individual qualities, with some strong climbing performances, especially at the Tour de France, and that he is improving all the time as a time trial rider. So, on several fronts, we are really looking forward to working with him for two more years.”
The ‘Joker’ Juul-Jensen Commits to Two More Seasons with GreenEDGE Cycling
Super domestique Chris Juul-Jensen will begin his seventh season with GreenEDGE Cycling in 2022, as he signs on for two more years, continuing to be one of the important foundations of the team’s engine room.
Since joining the Australian outfit back in 2016, the Danish rider has been a crucial team player, utilising his wide skillset on and off the bike, to help deliver the squad to numerous victories ranging from hilly Grand Tours stages to flat one-day races.
The 2018 Tour de Suisse stage winner will be a key member of the squad in 2022 as well as a role model and mentor for the younger up-and-coming riders.
Brent Copeland, General Manager on Juul-Jensen: “We are happy to keep working together with Chris, a very intelligent rider who always helps the team in many different races and situations, not only while racing on his bike, but also supporting the team off the bike and delivering constructive feedback. We count on his full support and commitment to stay with GreenEDGE Cycling, his determination is what we need to continue our journey.”
Chris Juul-Jensen: “It was an obvious choice for me to renew with Team BikeExchange. I have spent six fantastic years with the team surrounded by many incredible colleagues. They are what I enjoy the most on this team and what motivates me every time I pin on a number. We win and lose together; we stick together always. This is what creates the passion and the hunger to go out and race hard. I can’t wait to go out and win races with the team next year.”
Date of Birth: 6th July 1989 (32)
Joined GreenEDGE Cycling: 2016
New Contract: 2022 & 2023
1st Tour de Suisse stage 4 2018
1st Tour of Denmark GC 2015
2nd Japan Cup 2016
7th Strade Bianchi 2017
Sjoerd Bax on his Transfer to Alpecin-Fenix
Sjoerd Bax has spoken about his transfer to Alpecin-Fenix. The 25-year-old Dutchman makes the switch to the pros after seven years at Continental level. “I am really happy that I can race for Alpecin-Fenix next year,” said Bax via the team.
“It’s a nice step up for me,” continued the Metec-Solarwatt rider, who was second at the Dutch National Championships and won the Alpes Isère Tour this year. “I hope I will be able to develop further with the team, especially in the hilly races and climbs that are close to my heart.”
Bax initially signed a contract with Qhubeka NextHash for 2022, but since the South African team still does not have their finances in order, the riders were released. Alpecin-Fenix, which had also previously contacted Bax, offered him a contract again and he agreed.
Santesteban Commits to Two More Seasons, Feeling at Home with Team BikeExchange
Team BikeExchange is pleased to confirm that Ane Santesteban will continue for two more seasons, feeling at home with the squad, having found her feet within the Australian outfit, performing consistently throughout her debut season.
The 30-year-old climber has been a key support rider for Team BikeExchange leader’s, particularly in the hilly, mountainous races but has also stepped up a level herself physically and tactically, with a stand-out performance at the recent Tour Cycliste Feminin de l’Ardeche.
With changes to the women’s team roster for the 2022 season, the squad believes that Santesteban will be an important role model, guiding the new additions.
Brent Copeland, General Manager on Santesteban: “We are very pleased to keep working with Ane for the upcoming two seasons. Ane only joined GreenEDGE Cycling last year, but she adjusted to our team spirit straight away. We have really high expectations of her and believe that her experience and characteristics make her one of the riders in the team that can really help us to achieve important results in many races throughout the year.”
Ane Santesteban: “I am really happy to be staying for two more years with the GreenEDGE family. I found a really good group in which everyone can give their best and I feel at home now with the team. I think my season went well and I improved a lot towards the end of the year, so I am looking forward to continuing to develop with the team and see what we can achieve together and how I can personally develop further.”
Date of birth: 12th December 1990 (30)
Joined Team BikeExchange: 2021
New Contract: 2022 & 2023
1st 2020 Setmana Ciclista Valenciana – Mountains Classification
2nd 2021 & 2020 Spanish Road Race Championships
3rd 2021 Tour Cycliste Feminin de l’Ardeche GC
7th 2020 Giro Rosa GC
9th 2018 Giro Rosa GC
1st 2013 Spanish Road Race Championships
Xstra Digital Storage New Sponsor and Shareholder in Liv Racing
The name of the women’s Liv Racing team will change next year. Due to the arrival of a new sponsor, Xstra Digital Storage, the Dutch team will be known as Liv Racing Xstra in 2022.
Xstra Digital Storage is a Dutch company, specialising in high-quality computer components and products for data storage, based in Oosterhout. Xstra was previously also the name sponsor of the Kometa team of Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso, but last year the company left as a sponsor.
In 2022, the company will join forces with Liv Racing. Xstra even becomes a shareholder of the team. “In recent years I have followed with great interest the rapid development of women’s cycling,” said John Rasmussen, CEO of Xstra.
“This partnership not only puts Xstra on the map in a positive way, but we, as a shareholder, are also making an attempt together with the team management to introduce a new financial structure in cycling. By creating broad financial support, we make the business model behind a cycling team healthier and future-proof.”
Team manager of Liv Racing Xstra remains Eric van den Boom. “With the new, additional partnership, we are building on our heritage and, above all, we are very much focused on the future,” he says. “It is our goal to grow to the absolute world top, and that in our own, recognisable way that fits the past of our team. Educate cycling talents and be successful together in the most important competitions. That’s what it’s about.”
Liv Racing Xstra will have to do without leader Lotte Kopecky in 2022, she leaves for SD Worx. Also Pauliena Rooijakkers and Soraya Paladin (both to Canyon SRAM) are leaving, as are Eva Buurman (TIBCO-SVB), Amber van der Hulst (Parkhotel Valkenburg) and Quinty Ton (GT Krush Tunap).
LIV Racing, but no Kopecky:
Movistar Team Launch Navarra Reforestation Project: 1,000 Trees Planted in Sangüesa
Telefónica-backed squad – including general manager Eusebio Unzué and big names like Alejandro Valverde and Enric Mas – contributes to preserve home region’s ecosystems with tree planting effort, in collaboration with Forestmatic, Life Terra and Volvo.
Committed, since 2020, to leaving behind a planet greener that the one they’re carrying their professional activity out at, the Movistar Team held in Sangüesa (Navarra, northern Spain) an event which they look forward to reaffirming their intentions. The Telefónica-backed squad will plant 1,000 trees in the area, with a small portion of the seedlings sowed in the presence of general manager Eusebio Unzué and top riders from the Blue outfit: Alejandro Valverde, Enric Mas, Lourdes Oyarbide and Sara Martín.
At a previously abandoned terrain, next to the road connecting Sangüesa with the nearby town of Sos del Rey Católico and over 1 ha (2.5 acres) of terrain, species as diverse as holm oak, walnut, Phoenician juniper or turpentine tree will be planted. Those arboles, agreed upon with regional and local authorities, are intended to increase the ecosystems’ resilience and biodiversity.
It is estimated that the project will sequestrate around 200 tonnes of equivalent carbon dioxide (CO2) over the next 40 years. That would allow the Movistar Team offsetting, and actually turning into a positive impact, the activities carried out during their last pre-pandemic season, 2019, where the first calculation of their carbon footprint was recognised by Spain’s Ministry for Ecological Transition, with 176 tCO2e.
Contributors to the project include, other than Abarca Sports – the society under which the Telefónica-backed squad develops its activities – three other actors, Those are Forestmatic, a greentech startup connecting brands and businesses with verified, tree-planting projects, through a data-rich platform capable of tracking every single tree; Life Terra, an EU supported foundation with a mission to restore our connection with the Earth and to enable people to take impactful climate action now; and Volvo Cars España, official sponsor and car provider of the Movistar Team, whose sustainable mobility solutions have supported the day’s event. A special mention goes to the Regional Government of Navarra, with their LIFE-IP NAdapta-CC Project, and the City Council of Sangüesa for making this happen.
Other than contributions from the team itself, a portion of the expenses for this initiative have been paid through charity auctions the squad launched during the second half of the 2021 season. The most relevant, which took place during Paris-Roubaix, collected nearly €9,000 with signed jerseys of both the women’s and men’s teams at the famous one-day classic in France.
Vuelta a España Returns to the Basque Country in 2022
According to the Spanish sports newspaper AS, the Vuelta a España will visit the Basque Country again next year. The region will host the final Grand Tour of the season for at least two days.
Race director Javier Guillén wants the riders to race in Álava in the fifth stage, one of the seven traditional provinces of the region for the Basques. Also a stage will start in Bilbao, either from the San Mamés football stadium of Athletic Bilbao, or in front of the Guggenheim Museum. The finish of the second Basque stage would be in Cantabria.
In Cantabria, a region west of the Basque Country, the aim is to have the peloton finish on the Pico Jano in the Liébana valley, a climb of just over 3 kilometres at 6.4%. The climb does not have an asphalt surface, but will have before the start of the 77th. The final kilometre is 13%.
The last time the Vuelta a España ran on Basque soil was in 2020, with a Gran Salida in Irún. The complete route of the Vuelta 2022 will be announced in Madrid on the evening of December 16. The 2022 Vuelta will start on Friday, August 19, 2022 with a team time trial through Utrecht, after which the Spanish Tour will remain in the Netherlands for two days. Also, the race will almost certainly return to the Extremadura region next year.
Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar on Vuelta’19 stage 13 from Bilbao to Los Machucos Monumento Vaca Pasiega:
No Tour Colombia in 2022
The Tour Colombia will not take place in 2022, Mundo Ciclistico reports. Last year the tour was canceled due to the corona pandemic, now the lack of financial resources is the problem. The organisers are now aiming for the 2023 edition.
The Colombian cycling federation (FCC) decided, after a meeting, to take the plunge. After a cost-analysis, the federation concluded that it is not financially possible to organise the event in 2022. The race saw the light of day in 2018 (as the Colombia Oro y Paz) and has become a popular event for South American and European riders.
With financial support from the Colombian government, the organisers managed to get big stars such as Julian Alaphilippe, Rigoberto Urán, Nairo Quintana and Fernando Gaviria to the start-line. However, the national government of Colombia is now unable to make a financial contribution in times of corona.
The Tour Colombia was scheduled from 8 to 13 February. The last edition was in 2020 and was won by Sergio Higuita. In 2019 the overall victory went to Miguel Ángel López, Egan Bernal won the very first edition in 2018.
Sergio Higuita in 2020:
Tour of Catalonia 2022 Mountain Stages to La Molina and Boí Taüll
The organisers of the Tour of Catalonia has presented the route of the next edition of the Spanish stage race. The race (March 21-27, 2022) will have two mountain stages next year, respectively to La Molina and the Boí Taüll ski area.
The 101st edition of the Tour of Catalonia starts with an opening stage to and from Sant Feliu de Guíxols. Calella has been the usual starting town of the Catalan stage race since 2012. Stage two starts in L’Escala for the first time. The stage ends in the French city of Perpignan, the last time the race visited Perpignan was in 1955.
The third stage is the first real climb, as the riders will finish on the climb to the ski village of La Molina in the Spanish Pyrenees. In the past we saw big names like Joaquim Rodríguez, Dan Martin and Alejandro Valverde triumph here. Stage four is the queen stage of the tour, with start in La Seu d’Urgell and finish in Boí Taüll, not an unknown climb in the Tour of Catalonia. The will not go to Vallter 2000 or Port-Ainé next year. Then there are stages to Vilanova i la Geltrú, Cambrils and Barcelona on the program. The final stage in Barcelona has become a classic. At the beginning of 2022, the organisers will present the full route.
2022 Tour of Catalonia (March 21-27):
21/03 – Stage 1: Sant Feliu de Guíxols – Sant Feliu de Guíxols
22/03 – Stage 2: L’Escala – Perpignan
23/03 – Stage 3: Perpignan – La Molina
24/03 – Stage 4: La Seu d’Urgell – Boí Taüll
25/03 – Stage 5: La Pobla de Segur – Vilanova i la Geltru
26/03 – Stage 6: Salou – Cambrils
27/03 – Stage 7: Barcelona – Barcelona.
2022 overall winner Adam Yates:
AJ Bell Tour of Britain Grows TV Audience in 2021
The 2021 AJ Bell Tour of Britain, the first edition of the UK’s most prestigious cycle race in two years owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, enjoyed significant TV growth during September’s comeback event that was won by Wout van Aert.
In addition to the roadside crowd of over one million spectators across the eight stages, ITV4’s flag-to-flag live coverage of the Tour, held between Sunday 5 and 12 September, was watched by an average daily audience of 423,000 – a 31% increase from the 2019 edition. This year’s race was the fourth in event history to be shown live and in full on ITV4, producing over 40 hours of original programming, plus repeats, for UK viewers. In total, the race reached 2.6m viewers for its ITV4 live shows, eight per cent higher than its previous edition.
Hugh Roberts, chairman of race organiser SweetSpot, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the TV audience results from this year’s AJ Bell Tour of Britain. We are thankful to have such loyal support from our broadcast partners, most notably ITV and Eurosport, as well as our fans all over the world.
“Being able to run such a thrilling race, one that stretched from Cornwall to Aberdeen, in September was a privilege after what has been the most challenging years for everyone involved in the events business. We are now looking to build upon this for the 2022 race next September.”
In total, 15.9m people worldwide watched the race, helped by the race’s partnership with Eurosport and the Global Cycling Network (GCN). During race week, the Tour benefitted from 1,787 hours of coverage around the world, generating £48.3m of net sponsorship value for partners, according to analysis by YouGov Sport.
The AJ Bell Tour of Britain also enjoyed significant growth across its digital platforms during the 2021 race, with over 4.5m video views during race week on the Tour’s channels. Over 1.6m of those came from a clip of Team Jumbo-Visma rider Pascal Eenkhoorn handing his bidon to roadside spectator and talented junior rider Xander Graham during the race’s seventh stage between Hawick to Edinburgh. The video is the most-watched clip in modern Tour of Britain history.
Next year’s AJ Bell Tour of Britain will take place between Sunday 4 and 11 September. Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire will host the Grand Départ, before the Isle of Wight welcomes the race for the first time ever when it stages the finale on day eight.
Wout van Aert winning the AJ Bell Tour of Britain stage 8:
2021 European Road Cycling Championships’ Media Value Set in Nearly Fifty Million Euro
A media analysis conducted by Nielsen certifies the success of last September’s event in Trentino: the estimated media value multiplied the investment by over thirty times.
Do you remember the European Road Cycling Championships held from 8th to 12th September in Trento? Can you recall the exciting final day with over fifty thousand spectators cheering for Italian Sonny Colbrelli, winner in Piazza Duomo ahead of Belgian Remco Evenepoel?
Recognised by the UEC (Union Européenne de Cyclisme) as “the best European Championship ever organised so far”, the Trento event has left plenty of memories and emotions that did not fade even after two months. The huge impression of the event was further strengthened by the media analysis run by Nielsen Media Research (NMR) that estimated the event’s media impact and value.
The presentation held today, Tuesday, November 16th at Palazzo Geremia, the main site of the Municipality of Trento, displayed the study’s result to the authorities, media, partner companies and stakeholders. The speakers were Trentino’s Sports and Tourism Assessor Roberto Failoni, the Mayor of Trento Franco Ianeselli, the President of the UEC Enrico Della Casa, Trentino Marketing CEO Maurizio Rossini, Trento Monte Bondone Valle dei Laghi Tourist Board President Franco Aldo Bertagnolli and the President of Trento Eventi Sport (the sports company in charge of the organisation) Renato Villotti.
The European Road Cycling Championships “Trentino 2021” took place from September 8th to 12th: five days of competition with 13 titles up for grabs (6 men’s, 6 women’s and one mixed). A total of 768 athletes representing 39 Nations competed. There were 439 team coaches and accompanying people, and 130 media representatives on site. A total of 1967 accreditations were handed out, a number that also includes the 72 people of the Eurovision (EBU) TV production team.
The impact of the European Championships is proving to be equally important, considering the thousands of sportspeople who followed the competitions “live” and the extensive program of 22 side events that entertained the city before and after the competitions. The overall data on hotel occupancy shows an increase of 20% in the city of Trento compared to the same period in 2020 and +15% in the surrounding areas, with an estimated turnover of 2.3 million euros just considering the teams’ stays.
The research by Nielsen unequivocally confirmed the scale of the success achieved. Compared to an investment of 1.6 million euros (including organisational costs, professional fees, bidding fees and communication), the result produced, according to Nielsen study, states in 48,494,868 euro the media value generated by the event, multiplying the value of the investment by more than 30 times.
The major television audience played a decisive role in achieving such important values. 15 broadcasters connected live, 71 Countries covered in Europe and Asia, 20 hours of total production, of which 17 live. Almost 14 million hours of broadcasting were viewed (exactly: 13,977,777, compared to 9,971,011 in the 2020 edition and 11,031,661 in 2019) The total broadcast hours were 229:41:34 (vs 2020: 143:58:23; vs 2019: 101:34:10) of which 55:47:14 on Eurosport Pan-Europe.
The Countries with the most viewing hours were in order: Italy, Belgium (share 35.9%), France, Netherlands, and Poland. The number of viewers who tuned in on the event for at least one minute of broadcasting time is 23,404,202 (vs. 2020: 14,198,424; please note that the reach is calculated by defect, as the data was not provided by all broadcasters).
The outcome was particularly pleasing also for the partner companies (Coop, Umana, Itas Assicurazioni, Dolomiti Energia, Cassa Centrale Banca, Suzuki, Melinda). The aggregate performance of the event’s top sponsors sets the economic value produced at 6,223,314 euro (Nielsen QI Value). Note that this result refers only to the organisation’s partner brands. If UEC and its partners (Alè and Vittoria) were added, the overall result would certainly be much higher.
Web and TV played the main part in highlighting the role of the partner companies in the event. Italy, Belgium, France, UK and Russia were the five countries with the greatest impact on IQ value.
In addition to Nielsen’s data, the public’s appreciation was confirmed by the audience that the European Championships collected through digital communication. It is also worth noting that the event keeps growing after its conclusion: for example, Instagram followers at the end of the event were 3,000, while two months later (update 15 November) they are close to 9,800. A result to which the production of Instagram Reels is making a decisive contribution, with 3,474,794 views.
Sonny Colbrelli beating Remco Evenepoel in Trento:
Sarah Gigante Recovering from Heart Problems
Sarah Gigante has to take it easy for a while yet. The 21-year-old Australian is recovering from Myocarditis and Pericarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle and the pericardium, which is usually caused by a virus. “I really feel a lot better now, but I have to approach it carefully,” she said via her team TIBCO-SVB.
The promising rider did not feel well last summer, a few days after the Tokyo Olympics. “Sarah suffered from severe chest pain in early August and had to be admitted to the hospital in Girona. It was a very bad and scary period for Sarah and her family, friends and teammates.” Gigante was admitted several times over the following weeks and months, but initially the doctors were unable to make a diagnosis.
In the end, the rider turned out to be suffering from an inflamed heart muscle and pericardium, also known as Myocarditis. “I’ve had a really tough few months. I never expected this to happen to me. It was not nice to go through this alone at first, but luckily I can count on a great circle of friends.” Gigante has been helped in recent months by her mother, brother and teammate and roommate Kristen Faulkner.
In October it was finally possible for Gigante to fly from Spain to her home country of Australia. She can now train carefully, but is not taking any risks. “It will be a while before she can train fully again. However, we are especially happy that Sarah is doing well again. It’s always scary to hear when someone has heart problems, and we were very concerned. However, she can now smile again and that is great to see,” reports TIBCO-SVB.
Gigante will not race for the American team next year, as she previously signed a three-year contract with Movistar. The Australian is a top talent, at a young age she was Australian champion on the road and time trial.
Sarah Gigante should been racing for Movistar:
Joris Nieuwenhuis Missed Tábor World Cup Due to Corona
Joris Nieuwenhuis missed the start of the Cyclo-cross World Cup in Tábor on Sunday. The father of the DSM cross rider tested positive for the corona virus last week, after which Nieuwenhuis took no risks and did not travel to the Czech Republic.
Eurosport commentator Thijs van Amerongen said that Nieuwenhuis’s father had tested positive for the corona virus. Earlier this week, the 25-year-old Dutchman had taken his father with him to the Jaarmarktcross Niel. In order not to run any risk, Nieuwenhuis decided not to start in Tábor. Nieuwenhuis is expected to return to the field again next week during the Koksijde World Cup. The sand classic is on the program on Sunday 21 November.
How Few Meters Can You Ride in an Hour?
Davide Formolo is the protagonist in a remarkable video circulating on social media. The Italian from UAE Team Emirates made a special World Hour Record attempt: how few meters could he ride in an hour, without getting off his bike?
Formolo did his very best and eventually reached a distance of 918 meters in sixty minutes. That is good for an average speed of 0.92 km/h. Together with Formolo, cyclist Maria Vittoria Sperotto (A.R. Monex Women’s Pro Cycling Team) also made an attempt and she also reached 918 meters.
The old record stood at 1,070 meters and was set two years ago by former cyclist Bruno Zanoni, who finished last in the 1979 Giro d’Italia. He took over the remarkable record from Gilberto Simoni, who set a distance of 1,071 meters .
Formolo and Sperotto’s record attempt took place on October 30 at the Rino Mercante Velodrome in Bassano del Grappa and was broadcast live on the Facebook page of La Repubblica delle Biciclette. Fragments are now circulating more often on social media.
There is also an official World record for standing still and that went into the books in 1986 after the American David Steed stood still for 24 hours and 6 minutes. His range of motion was 15 centimeters, back and forward.
Wout van Aert NFT’s Go For €47,000
Wout van Aert sold his three biggest victories as NFT’s: Non-fungible token. People could bid on the three digital artworks via an online auction. In total, this yielded 47,000 euros.
A non-fungible token (NFT) is a digital certificate of ownership via blockchain, the technique we also know in relation to Bitcoin, among other things. NFT is a way of linking ownership to digital objects and thus it is possible to become owner of digital artworks through an auction.
In the case of Van Aert, it was about his ‘three greatest victories’ as a cyclist: two stage victories in the 2021 Tour de France; over the Mont Ventoux and the one to Paris and his victory in Strade Bianche. There were many bids for the works of art. His victory in Paris yielded €14,822.80, Mont Ventoux €15,598.88 and his victory in Strade Bianche €16,603.10.
Van Aert and his Jumbo-Visma team receive a percentage of the original sale and 10% if the works are sold on later.
Van Aert in Strade Bianche
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