There might not be any racing to report on, but the wheels on the cycling world are still turning. Wout Van Aert has a go at the UCI – Top Story. Covid-19 makes most of the EUROTRASH news: Giro d’Italia to start at the end of May? We talk to Remco Evenepoel, Mathieu Van der Poel, Greg Van Avermaet and Diego Ulissi about the season. Plus big fines in Spain, canceled races, Nairo Quintana and Sergio Higuita in quarantine, AG2R-La Mondiale reduce activity, Bert Van Lerberghe recovery, Milano-Sanremo virtual experience, Bahrain-McLaren with Compex and video Wolfpack Inside the Tour Colombia. Keep safe and healthy out there.
TOP STORY: Wout Van Aert wants clarity: “UCI should be more prominent”
Wout van Aert asks why the UCI didn’t take the lead in the uncertain times of the corona virus. The leader of Jumbo-Visma says that the international cycling union must set an example. “I think the UCI should be more prominent. They are the only party who can say: We will suspend all competitions until a specific time,” Van Aert told Het Nieuwsblad.
“As long as that doesn’t happen, everyone just keeps training without having a goal. That makes no sense,” said Van Aert, who is also still training. “In this situation I could now start my rest period, but I dare not let the reins take off now, because it is still possible that I will still be able to ride Paris-Roubaix,” but not this spring.
Van Aert is in two minds over taking the spring classics to the autumn. “It goes without saying that you don’t like to drop big races such as Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Strade Bianche, even if they are raced at the end of October,” he says.
“But it would feel strange to completely change the calendar. If it turns out that we cannot race until May, I agree with the principle: What has been deleted, kept deleted and not postponed to another period,” said the ex-World cyclo-cross rider.
Cobbles in Autumn?
Giro d’Italia Now Wants to Start on May 29
The Giro d’Italia is working on a plan to start the Grand Tour on Friday 29th of May. This is reported by the website Cycling Opinions by journalist Raymond Kerckhoffs.
Race organiser RCS is said to be very cautious with the local authorities in Italy. “There is a three-week race on the drawing board, which would take place entirely within the Italian borders. ‘Il Grande Partenza’ in Budapest, the organisation has postponed to 2021. The coming Giro d’Italia should be an incentive that normal life after the corona virus can be resumed in Italy.”
A huge puzzle awaits the UCI to rearrange the cycling calendar. The International Cycling Union announced that the Grand Tours and the Monuments will be given priority. Races such as the Amstel Gold Race, Strade Bianche, Gent-Wevelgem, E3 Binck Bank Classic and the Flèche Wallonne could possibly be scheduled in the summer.
Will we see the Giro in 2020?
Remco Evenepoel: “Giro difficult to combine with Olympic Games in June”
Remco Evenepoel is one of the many riders who are currently uncertain about the future of his sport. In the documentary “I am Remco” by Het Laatste Nieuws, the second-year professional talks about the impact that the corona crisis has on him personally. “I’m not sure what to think or how to train,” said Evenepoel. The cancellation of the Giro leaves him with a dilemma.
Since the outbreak, his entire program has been called into question. “The coronavirus has a hold on us. Normally I would race Tirreno-Adriatico, but now I am at home and I try to finish the training as well as possible and not get sick myself. That virus gives us a feeling that you don’t really know what to think about it. And don’t really know how to train. Since everything has been canceled or transferred. But it is not yet certain to move forward.”
The 20-year-old has adjusted his training. “Actually, we train now like in winter. Endurance training and not intensive. It also makes no sense that we should train our necks now. When we really have to be back within a few weeks, we don’t want to start on our knees. But I also think everyone realises that it is important not to get sick yourself. And that the races are currently a side issue.”
It is possible that the Giro d’Italia will now be held a month later. “Then I honestly don’t know if that fits in my program,” said Evenepoel, who indicates that a Giro in June is difficult to combine with participation in the Olympic Games. “Even though I really want to start. But it is just that if you start shifting everything, everything else has to be shifted.”
The season started for Evenepoel with victories in San Juan and the Algarve, however excellent. “It was actually good that I have already won some races,” he notes. “I have already been able to win five victories, so that gives me a different feeling to enter this period now.”
Evenepoel in San Juan:
Van der Poel: “I was on track for Flanders and Roubaix”
Mathieu van der Poel was on track to peak in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, he told Sporza journalist Ruben Van Gucht. “I think we were on schedule for that. But nobody will know that now.”
Mathieu van der Poel should be starting the Tour of Flanders in two and a half weeks, and Paris-Roubaix a week later. However, the corona virus put an end to those races. Although it does not prevent the Dutchman from continuing his training. On Wednesday he added 220 kilometres to his training calendar. After finishing his cyclo-cross season with his third Elite World title, he started two and a half weeks later in the Volta ao Algarve. He made a good impression, although he did not win. Then he had to let Omloop Het Nieuwsblad pass due to flu and high fever. “A normal flu, no coronavirus had been detected fortunately.”
Van der Poel was asked where his condition is at the moment. “Of course we have a lot of figures from the training, but a real indication is only on the course. I had worked reasonably well in Spain, which was necessary after my illness after the Algarve. I had the impression that I was well on my way to peak for Flanders/Roubaix. The rest may have come too soon. But I think we were on schedule. But nobody will know that now.”
He hopes that the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix will be ridden at a later date. “And then maybe some Walloon classics to give every type of rider a bit of attention,” Van der Poel added. “I think everyone has their own Classics. It should be achievable, but I think it is going to be very difficult. But let’s hope it works.”
Van der Poel also responded to statements from his father Adrie, who stated that Mathieu can eventually also ride well in the World Time Trial Championships. “I’m busy enough now, so I don’t think I should take the time trial. This is possible in the future. I rode a very good time trial, especially in the Tour of Britain, but that is certainly not comparable to world level. I think I have the wattages, but if you are not among the best in aerodynamics, it will be very difficult.”
TT next for Mathieu?
€3000 Fine for Training Out Doors in Spain
Training outdoors in Spain is strictly prohibited. Anyone who is caught risks a fine of €3000. The idea is that there is a chance that a rider will fall and end up in the hospital, which costs a bed for a corona patient. It is an uncertain time for professionals.
Cycling in Spain is currently subject to a hefty fine, up to 3000 euros. You can only take to the streets for groceries and medicines. Anyone who decides to exercise and be injured in this case, has to fend for himself: sports insurance does not cover any kind of accident at the time of the corona virus emergency.
It is unclear for Spanish professional cyclists whether or not they are allowed to train outdoors, Gorka Izagirre spoke to the Basque newspaper El Diario Vasco. “We are in contact with the association of professional cyclists ACP and we were told that we can train outdoors, because it is our profession. But we don’t have an official document that gives us guarantees.”
Pedro Delgado, winner of the Tour in 1988, agreed with Izagirre on his social media: “I completely agree with Gorka. Those riders who are not professionals can stay at home. But a professional who only does sports should be able to keep his routine. Otherwise it would be a real disaster for your performance compared to riders from other countries.”
However, National Sports Council CSD is clear in the controversy surrounding the athletes and cyclists who want to train outdoors because they consider this part of their job. Athletes have to train at home, she said in the sports newspaper AS.
No training in Spain at the moment:
Postponement of the 2020 Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and La Flèche Wallonne
As part of the fight against the spread of Coronavirus (COVID19), Amaury Sport Organisation, with the agreement of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), has decided to not organise Paris-Roubaix (12th April), the Flèche Wallonne and the Flèche Wallonne Women (22nd April) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Liège-Bastogne-Liège Women (26th April) races on their scheduled dates.
In close collaboration with the UCI and with the assistance of the other parties concerned, the organisers have already begun working to try to organise new dates for these monuments, races to which teams, riders and spectators are deeply attached.
The cyclosportives Paris-Roubaix Challenge and Liège-Bastogne-Liège Challenge will also be postponed.
Flanders Classics Confirms: No Tour of Flanders on April 5
The Tour of Flanders has been canceled. The race organiser Flanders Classics announced on Tuesday. It is the first time since 1918 that the Tour will not be held.
“The Belgian government imposed a number of additional measures on Tuesday to combat the COVID-19 virus. The measures were extended to 5 April. This means that Flanders Classics is no longer able to organise the Tour of Flanders on the scheduled date,” the organisers explained in a press release.
“There are, of course, more important things than the course at the moment,” said Tomas Van Den Spiegel, CEO of Flanders Classics. “We hope that we will all succeed in creating a climate in the short term in which we can pick up our normal daily life.”
Flanders Classics is currently examining, together with the UCI and representatives of teams and riders, whether postponement to a later date this year is possible.
Amstel Gold Race: “The chance that the race will continue is very small”
The Amstel Gold Race, in over a month, has also become uncertain due to the coronavirus. The chance that the Dutch classic will be run is very small, organiser Roy Packbier told 1Limburg.
“We follow government decisions,” said Roy Packbier. On Monday, all measures regarding the coronavirus in the Netherlands were extended until Monday, April 6, which affects the Volta Limburg Classic. The Amstel Gold Race is scheduled for April 19. Packbier: “No measures have been announced after April 6. But we have to be honest, the chance that the Amstel Gold Race will continue is very small.”
The race organiser remains realistic, despite the sporting setbacks. “We all have a big problem and we have to solve that together. Then we can think about cycling again.”
2020 Tour de Yorkshire and Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race Postponed Due to COVID 19
As part of the fight against the spread of Coronavirus (COVID19), Welcome to Yorkshire and the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) have made the joint decision to postpone the 2020 Tour de Yorkshire and Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race.
The event is one of the best supported races in the cycling calendar but the safety of everyone involved from the athletes to the spectators must be the number one priority.
Following consultation with stakeholders and sponsors Welcome to Yorkshire held in depth and constructive discussions with both ASO and British Cycling (both TDY race partners) with all parties in agreement that this is the right and responsible course of action.
The sixth edition of the annual cycle race was scheduled to take place between 30th April and 3rd May 2020 but the developing situation with regards to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) means continuing with the event as planned simply became untenable.
A key factor in the decision-making process was the consideration of the additional burden that such a large-scale event places on the emergency services and local authority partners, at a time when their priorities are rightly elsewhere. It is important to reiterate that the overriding concern for all partners involved is the health and safety of the public at this time.
Peter Box CBE, Chair of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “The race is a great spectacle, but we all know that the health and well-being of everyone across the region, and the country, is frankly more important than a sporting event. Our attention now turns to supporting those tourism businesses across the region, many still reeling from the floods, during this unprecedented crisis.”
Welcome to Yorkshire, ASO and British Cycling are working with the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) to find alternative dates in the international cycling calendar for the race to take place.
Welcome to Yorkshire understands the impact that postponing the race will have on the tourism industry across the region. This early decision gives us the opportunity to focus our efforts on how we can support businesses at this time and continue to promote the region as a destination to visit going forward.
Quintana and Higuita Quarantined for Two Weeks
Nairo Quintana and Sergio Higuita are in preventive quarantine for the next two weeks. The two climbers returned to Colombia on Monday after Paris-Nice, where strong measures have been taken for returning residents because of the corona virus.
After his stage win, Quintana could return home a day earlier. “After I did my country a favour on Saturday, I will be quarantined preventively for the next fourteen days. They told me that when I returned to Colombia,” Quintana wrote on social media.
Colombia will now close its borders until May 30 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Quintana and Sergio Higuita returned just in time. “It was a fairly long journey,” Higuita told Zikloland. “We watched the news every hour. Most importantly, we respect the rules and respect everyone’s safety.”
“The government has taken action and we are the first to set an example,” said Higuita. “Of course I want to be with my family, but the coronavirus is a major public health problem.”
Quintana and Higuita in Paris-Nice:
Greg Van Avermaet shifts focus: “Hope for a spring feeling in the autumn”
Greg Van Avermaet has turned the button. The CCC leader takes into account that the spring Classics in March and April will be canceled due to the corona virus. He dares to think further. “If we can race again in late May, early June, I will be happy,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws. “I’ve clicked in my head: the Tour and the Olympics are my new main goals.”
“I plan to cycle every day. An hour or two, three, sometimes four. I don’t like to sit still anyway, and you are obliged to maintain your basic condition a bit, but this is not training,” said Van Avermaet, who says he was disappointed when the classics were postponed. “This should have been the best period of the year. I am especially sorry for all the efforts I have made. I spent months doing this and it was all for nothing.”
Many races have been canceled, but many hope to catch-up later in the year. Van Avermaet also wants to race in 2020. “I don’t know if it is possible, but in my ideal scenario we get a bit of a spring feeling in the fall. In August or September, I don’t care, but if we could still drive four or five classics in about three weeks, I would like that,” said the CCC leader.
Greg Van Avermaet:
Diego Ulissi: “There is a chance that the season will be canceled”
Diego Ulissi, like his colleagues in the peloton, hopes to be able to race again as soon as possible, but the UAE Team Emirates rider also takes into account a ‘worst case scenario’. “There is a chance that the season is over, now that many important races have already been canceled,” he said in conversation with the Italian newspaper Il Tirreno.
Ulissi has been back in Lugano, Switzerland since Sunday, where he has had an apartment for several years. The 30-year-old rider was trapped in the United Arab Emirates for the past few weeks as he and his UAE Emirates teammates were quarantined after the outbreak of the corona virus and the contamination of two team members.
Ulissi looks back on a difficult period, also because he was unable to attend the birth of his third daughter Anna in early March. “It was sixteen long and stressful days. Fortunately, I tested negative three times and I was allowed to go home, but my teammates Fernando Gaviria and Maximiliano Richeze are infected with the virus.”
The Italian puncheur can now make plans for the future again, but it is still unclear when the riders will be allowed to race again, as it is certain that the upcoming spring classics, stage races and the Giro d’Italia will not go ahead. “However, it is an inevitable decision,” said Ulissi. “We must now fight this terrible pandemic.”
“Professional cyclists are active everywhere and travel all over the world, which means we come into contact with many people and spread the virus. The risk of spreading is simply too great. Perhaps the entire season will be canceled, if that is good for our health. We have to take into account such a scenario,” said Ulissi, who calls on people to abide by the rules.
Reduced Activity for an Undetermined Period
The AG2R-LA MONDIALE cycling team is significantly reducing its activity starting on Tuesday and for an undetermined amount of time due to the measures taken to combat the epidemic of the covid-19 virus.
Vincent Lavenu, General Manager of the AG2R-LA MONDIALE team, said: “In view of the current health situation and the restrictive measures put in place by the French government, the time has come for responsibility and solidarity. Our cycling team will limit its activity by taking the necessary measures to protect the health of its staff and to contribute to the fight against the spread of the covid-19 virus. Only certain essential activities will be maintained at the Motte-Servolex site, the administrative headquarters of the cycling team.
The riders will observe a semi-rest period alternating between muscle building sessions and riding on their home trainers. This program will evolve with the evolution of the containment measures. We stand in solidarity with the companies that are forced to stop their activities as well as those people who are confined to their homes. We are extremely grateful and pay tribute to all the health care workers who are working on a daily basis to deal with the spread of the epidemic. We hope to find you all on the side of the roads when, united, we have overcome this ordeal,”
The AG2R-LA MONDIALE team has won three times since the start of the season with Benoit Cosnefroy (GP La Marseillaise, as well as general classification of the Etoile de Béssèges) and
Clément Venturini (French cyclo-cross championship). The team has also taken 33 top 10 places this season.
Bert Van Lerberghe: “I’m training almost pain free on the rollers now”
The Belgian talks about his road to recovery from the injury that halted his spring campaign.
With around 90 kilometres left in Le Samyn, Deceuninck – Quick-Step lead-out man Bert Van Lerberghe was involved in a crash, catapulting him into a ditch with a broken left collarbone as the unfortunate outcome, but the 27-year-old from Kortrijk is positive about his recovery and return to competition.
“I had surgery last Wednesday in Herentals. It went well and my collarbone is now almost back to normal. However, it turned out I also had a small fracture in my left elbow. Luckily, it’s not too bad and it didn’t require surgery, but up until today I can’t fully stretch my arm. I also bruised or fractured some ribs. The pain is bearable. I’m training almost pain free on the rollers now. My position on the bike is a bit different though, as I can’t fully stretch my elbow. But the good thing is I’m allowed to train on the rollers, which I did every day while watching Paris-Nice on TV and supporting my teammates.”
“In the meantime, I hope to put on as little weight as possible and not lose too much of my physical condition. By the end of the week I should be able to train outdoors, at least I hope so, after consulting with our sports directors. It’s a shame, because I think I was doing well. It’s a personal setback, but it could have been worse. It’s only a fractured collarbone and things will be fine after some rest and recovery. They’re going in the right direction at the moment and I always try to remain confident.”
Kuurne’20: Bert Van Lerberghe leads eventual winner Kasper Asgreen:
2020 Granfondo Gimondi Bianchi Called Off
Due to the national health emergency, particularly serious in Lombardy, the GF Gimondi Bianchi organisers have decided to cancel the event, planned on May 10th without asking for a new date: all cycling lovers getting together in Bergamo in 2021.
Granfondo Internazionale Gimondi Bianchi organising company G.M.S. officially announced the cancellation of the event planned in Bergamo on Sunday, May 10th. G.M.S. will not reschedule the race within the 2020 calendar, the appointment is therefore postponed to the next year in May.
“We hope the Covid-19 virus will be eradicated soon following to the tough restrictions imposed by the authorities and everyone organising mass events cannot escape hard decisions. Bergamo’s province was strongly affected by the virus, people are experiencing dramatic days. We cannot consider ourselves living in a different world; our decision is a due act”, so the organisers motivated the decision.
The choice not to go setting a new date is based on accurate assessments. “Even when the emergency will be over, the return to normality will take time. As we have always paid great attention to safety in our event, we can’t ignore this principle now under a calamity that calls us to the maximum respect for our fellow. We are confident that cycling lovers, especially those fond of our event, will endorse our decision”.
Those who have already registered will automatically be enrolled in the 2021 edition at a frozen price, even in case of increased participation fee for the next year. Meantime, Granfondo Gimondi – Bianchi has chosen to contribute with a donation to the Hospital Papa Giovanni XXIII in Bergamo, at the forefront facing the Coronavirus outbreak.
For further information: email@example.com, tel. +39 035.211721.
#Ridevirtual with the Milano-Sanremo Virtual Experience Ride the Last 57km of the Famous Spring Classic with Garmin Edge
On Saturday 21 March, from 11 to 18 CET, thanks to Garmin Edge and Tacx, riders will be able to enjoy a unique virtual cycling experience pedalling the last 57km of the Milano-Sanremo. From Alassio to Sanremo, participants will conquer the route’s most famous climbs – the ‘Tre Capi’, the Cipressa and the Poggio – before arriving at Via Roma in Sanremo. Registration and tutorial at https://www.garmin.com/it-IT/blog/milano-sanremo-virtual-experience-2020/
Milano-Sanremo is reborn in the virtual world, giving riders the chance to experience the last 57km of the Spring Classic from home. RCS Sport today announces the launch of the Milano-Sanremo Virtual Experience, created in partnership with Garmin Edge and Tacx.
This exciting collaboration presents an opportunity to experience one of world cycling’s greatest Classic Monuments through the power of modern technology.
How to Connect
To experience the last exciting kilometres of the Milano-Sanremo, all any rider will need is a compatible Garmin Edge cycle computer (such as the Edge 520, Edge 530, Edge 820, Edge 830, Edge 1000 and Edge 1030) which will host the track, and a new generation smart trainer such as a Tacx, or any other brand of interactive smart trainer with similar features, to connect with their bike.
To access the route, riders can simply enter the Garmin Connect portal (access is free), join the Milano-Sanremo Virtual Experience group (https://www.garmin.com/it-IT/blog/milano-sanremo-virtual-experience-2020/) and, from the group’s Calendar, click on 21 March. The rider will be guided in downloading the track to be installed on the Edge, which is ‘coupled’ with the smart trainer, and all set up ready to pedal on the exact same climbs and roads as the final part of the famous Spring Classic Monument!
Tacx Desktop App users can import the track onto their platform and ride in front of their screen (on computer, tablet or smartphone) in satellite map mode, making the virtual experience of Milano-Sanremo even more immersive.
All members of the Milano-Sanremo Virtual Experience group will receive automatic enrolment into a challenge where Garmin will give special recognition to those who ride the most kilometres in the week of 22-29 March – regardless of which downloaded courses they use.
RCS Sport will reward all those who participate in the Virtual Experience with a €10 discount for registering for the Gran Fondo Il Lombardia 2020.
In addition, fans who want to “win” the Giro d’Italia can connect to game.giroditalia.it and participate in all the quizzes and online games of the Corsa Rosa.
The route – last 57km of Milano-Sanremo
After the classic sequence of the ‘Tre Capi’ – Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta – the route faces two major climbs that have become hallmarks of the race in recent decades: the Cipressa (introduced in 1982) and the Poggio di Sanremo (1961). The Cipressa is just over 5.6km long with an average gradient of 4.1%. After cresting the Cipressa, riders will then begin their ascent of the Poggio, starting 9km from the finish line. The climb is 3.7km long with an average gradient of less than 4%, peaking at 8% shortly before the summit. The descent is extremely technical with a succession of hairpins, twists and turns. The final part of the descent enters the city of Sanremo before 2km of riding on long, straight urban roads. With 850m to go there is a sweeping left-hand bend on a roundabout before the route’s last turn, leading onto the home straight with 750m remaining.
Team Bahrain-McLaren Extends Partnership with Compex
Team Bahrain McLaren is pleased to announce that Compex will be our official muscle stimulators partner in 2020.
Compex is a Swiss brand that over a period of 30 years has become the world leader in portable muscle stimulators for improved performance and recovery in sports.
Our partnership with Compex allows our athletes to take advantage of their innovative technology through the Compex SP 8.0. Sonny Colbrelli is happy about the partnership in helping his performance “I’m really happy to have Compex onboard. It’s a reliable and excellent support both to perform and to recover better. In one tool we can work on activation, recovery and strength. I use it, especially after a long day of training. It’s the best choice for muscle recovery, to recover faster and better. Moreover, it is easy to use and carry with us during our travels. In this period in which there are no competitions, I do two sessions a day: one in the afternoon and the other in the evening. This serves me to keep the muscles active and recover better after training efforts. I use Compex even in the case of small contractors because I saw that it helps me a lot.”
Arno Bosman, Global Compex Expert, said: “Compex aim is to help improve the performance of the team and relieve muscle pain, so we work together with the Team Bahrain McLaren staff to integrate Compex in the daily life of the cyclists.”
Pascal Bily, Compex General Manager, said: “We’re delighted to extend our successful partnership with the Team Bahrain McLaren with the renewal of our commercial partnership, we look forward to helping the team train stronger and recover faster.”
The Wolfpack Insider: Tour Colombia – Part 1
During February’s Tour Colombia, Deceuninck – Quick-Step allowed cameras unprecedented access to their riders – Julian Alaphilippe, Alvaro Hodeg, Mikkel Honoré, Bob Jungels, Jannik Steimle, and Bert Van Lerberghe – and amazing staff, to bring you The Wolfpack Insider: Tour Colombia.
Over two special episodes you will see the highs and lows of an emotionally charged race, the grit and determination to race, the disappointment of losing and the team spirit and togetherness that make the Wolfpack so special.
The PEZ INSTAGRAM Take a look at our Instagram page for a live feed and giveaways straight from your phone: https://www.instagram.com/pezcyclingnews
The PEZ NEWSWIRE!
Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it on the homepage, just above the EuroTrash section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.