The Vuelta a España is in full swing and we have results, reports and video from the last three stages, plus the Egmont Cycling Race. Back pain for Mathieu van der Poel – TOP STORY. Astana continues in 2022, Vincenzo Nibali to Astana? Greg Van Avermaet hopes to ride the Worlds and Remco Evenepoel confronts the Tour of Lombardy. Contracts for: Rémi Cavagna, Felix Gall, Sarah Gigante, Axandre Van Petegem and DSM. Race news: Start list for the Deutschland Tour, Wout Van Aert and Mark Cavendish to Tour of Britain and Tadej Pogačar to Euro Champs. Get the coffee!
TOP STORY: Van der Poel Struggling with Back Pain
Mathieu van der Poel recently had to cancel his altitude training camp in Livigno, Italy because of back problems. According to Christoph Roodhooft, sports director at Alpecin-Fenix, there is no reason to panic. “There is certainly nothing alarming going on, but there must be a turnaround in the coming days,” he said to Het Nieuwsblad.
After MvdP’s crash during the Olympic mountain bike race in Tokyo, Van der Poel went to Italy for an altitude camp in Livigno, to prepare for the next part of the season. However, Van der Poel returned earlier than expected due to back problems. “He has problems with his lower back”, Roodhooft now says.
“Riding at ease is possible, but of course that’s not training. That is why we have decided to stop the camp. You can’t keep muddling on.” The back pain is not a direct result of the heavy fall that Van der Poel had during the Olympic MTB competition. “He had some trouble before. That pain already manifested itself in the first World Cup he rode (Albstadt).
Roodhooft cannot yet put his finger on the problem. “Whether it has to do with the transition from road bike to mountain bike? We assume not. Research shows that there is no structural problem. We assume that nothing will change in his program, although we can talk differently in three days.”
The Mountain Bike World Championship in Val di Sole, starting with the short track race on August 26, is Van der Poel’s next race. In Italy he hopes to take revenge with a first World title in mountain biking. Two days after the cross-country race, the Benelux Tour is his next road race.
Has the Olympic crash caused more problems?
Vuelta a España 2021
Ten years after his first Grand Tour victory, on La Farrapona, Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) was the first rider to win a Vuelta stage on the summit of Picon Blanco, on Monday. The Estonian surged to victory from the breakaway group on Stage 3 and also took La Roja. Enric Mas (Movistar) gained a few seconds on the rest of the GC contenders, but Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) is still ahead of his rivals.
The peloton started from Santo Domingo de Silos with 183 riders as Alexander Cataford suffered a broken collarbone at the end of stage 2. It took 15km before eight attackers manage to make the break of the day: Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën), Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH), Tobias Bayer (Alpecin-Fenix), Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Antonio Jesus Soto (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) and Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates).
The gap was up to 5:05 as Kenny Elissonde (Trek Segafredo) took 3 KOM points on the first climb of the day, the cat-3 Puerto del Manquillo (km 39.2). No teams helped Primoz Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma in the peloton. The lead got up to a maximum of 9:05 and with 50 kilometres to go, the peloton were still at 8:20, with the Picon Blanco to finish the stage. The attackers first had to climb the Alto de Bocos (cat-3). At the summit, Bayer took 3 KOM points and 3 bonus seconds. Mikel Landa’s Bahrain Victorious team upped the pace on the climb and the gap decreases to 4:25. Calmejane attacked his breakaway companions inside the last 15km. The Frenchman was 14 seconds ahead of his chasers as he hit the first slopes up Picon Blanco (cat-1): 7.6km with an average gradient of 9.3% and a maximum of 18% on the final slopes. The peloton were now at 3:30.
Calmejane was reeled in with 6.5km to go. He tried again but it was a Dombrowski acceleration in the last 5km that made a proper difference, with only Taaramäe and Elissonde able to follow him. Taaramäe counter-attacked with 2.5km to go and eventually wins 21 seconds ahead of Dombrowski. Among the GC contenders, David de la Cruz (UAE Team Emirates) and Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers) try to shake things up a few times inside the last 3km. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) was the main victim of these accelerations. Enric Mas (Movistar) eventually finished 3 seconds ahead of his rivals.
# You can read the full ‘PEZ Stage Report and Photo Gallery’ HERE. #
Stage winner and overall leader, Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “This victory is not completely unexpected, as I was feeling really good and as I discussed for a long time about this opportunity with our smart sports director Valerio Piva yesterday evening. I won stages in the Giro and the Vuelta before, but I was dreaming about knowing how it feels to be a leader in a Grand Tour. I was pretty close this spring in the Tour of Italy when Joe Dombrowski won the stage. Also when I took the Giro stage victory in 2016, the American rider was present in the breakaway. I’m 34 so not many opportunities will come across anymore. That’s why I started the stage with a clear mission this morning. The stage win was possible today because I really believed in myself. Our breakaway was composed of eight strong riders and I considered Elissonde and Dombrowski as the most dangerous contenders. It is not the first time I was in this situation and this experience made me stronger. The biggest question was whether the peloton was hungry for the stage win or not. This is fantastic, I’m going to enjoy this a lot the next days!”
2nd on the stage, Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates): “I thought today’s stage could offer good opportunities for a breakaway, being similar to the stage that I won this season in the Giro d’Italia. The GC teams didn’t seem too worried, so I believed I could play my cards for a good result, also because we reached the last climb with a good gap we knew we were going for the win. I am a bit disappointed to have taken second place: maybe I was too aggressive on the final climb, but my intention was to take advantage of the steepest sectors of the ascent to get away. Taaramae today was very strong, I gave my best, now I will try to take advantage of other opportunities that this Vuelta will offer.”
4th on the stage and overall, Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën): “There was the possibility of playing on two fronts. I knew the climb was steep and I’m in good shape. I tried my luck by anticipating the rest of the break, but I spent a lot of energy and never had more than 15 seconds advantage. Rein Taaramäe put in a huge performance. That consoles me a lot since I know him well. But of course I would have preferred to win the stage and take the jersey! I have come a long way after a difficult year. I am happy with this fourth place which is a good start to this Vuelta for the AG2R Citroën team. It’s by seizing all the opportunities like I was able to do today that we’re going to win.”
5th on the stage and overall, Enric Mas (Movistar): “That builds confidence. This climb means we know that our team can perform very well on a finish like this. And all our men are now good in the standings. That creates trust. And I could grab a few seconds. They are few, but good seconds. I think the team has done a good job. As the lead of the escape group grew, our intention was to stay at the back of the peloton. We didn’t go specifically for the stage win anymore, because we started the Picón Blanco more than three minutes behind. It would have been different if that had been a minute. Then of course we would have tried.”
6th on the stage and overall, Miguel Ángel López (Movistar): “The plan was not to lose any time and we did. Alejandro Valverde showed himself well in the last kilometres. That gives a good and positive feeling. On to more.”
7th on the stage and 3rd overall, Primoz Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): “It went fine on the road and I am satisfied. There was a lot of wind on the climb, which even made it a bit cold. Especially after the heat of the last days it took some getting used to. The fact that we have lost the jersey is actually good for us. It was a steep and tough climb, but the result does not say much. There are still many tough stages to come.”
13th on the stage and overall, Fabio Aru (Qhubeka NextHash): “I had a really good feeling and am happy about the result from today. I lost a few seconds in the final 200m but nothing significant that will make a difference. We did a really good power in the last climb, compared to last week in Burgos we were a lot faster and there was also more wind today. I was happy to be among the GC guys, it gives me a lot of confidence for the next days. I’m thankful to my team because we were together and at the front in the last kilometres before the climb. The spirit of Ubuntu we have here in our team is so strong, I couldn’t have done anything without them today, they really helped me a lot.”
Green jersey, Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix): “It was great to ride in green even though you don’t look at yourself, so you can’t see it. It was a long day on the bike and the end was quite hard. We were lucky we could take it easy and finish in time while saving energy for tomorrow’s sprint hopefully.”
Vuelta a España Stage 3 Result:
1. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in 5:16:57
2. Joe Dombrowski (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:21
3. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo at 0:36
4. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 1:16
5. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar at 1:45
6. Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar at 1:48
7. Primoz Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
8. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
9. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
10. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 3:
1. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in 9:25:44
2. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo at 0:25
3. Primoz Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:30
4. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 0:35
5. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar at 0:45
6. Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar at 0:51
7. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:57
8. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
10. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 1:09.
Vuelta’21 stage 3:
Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) was the strongest in Molina de Aragon, on Tuesday, to power to victory ahead of Arnaud Démare on Stage 4 of La Vuelta 21. On the uphill finish, the Dutch sprinter claimed his third Grand Tour stage win, a couple of years after he snatched the first two in Spain. Jakobsen almost lost his life in a terrible crash during the 2020 Tour de Pologne. His painful recovery process was awarded with a spectacular victory. Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) retained La Roja.
The 182 riders who finished on Picon Blanco on Monday all return to action for stage 4. Three riders went on the attack as soon as the flag dropped. Burgos-BH’s Carlos Canal and Angel Madrazo make the break of the day alongside Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Joan Bou. The peloton let them go and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux pulled the bunch while Rein Taaramäe made history as the first Estonian rider to wear the leader’s jersey on the roads of La Vuelta. The gap hit a maximum of 4:35 before the sprinters’ teams moved to the front to cut the attackers’ lead. Alpecin-Fenix were the first to react with 100km to go, two days after Jasper Philipsen won the first bunch sprint of La Vuelta 21. Groupama-FDJ and Deceuninck – Quick Step joined in the work at the front of the bunch and the gap came down to 1:15. Philipsen took 10 points in the intermediate sprint in Alcolea del Pinar (62.9km to go).
The early attackers were eventually caught with 13km to go, after 150km at the front of the race. Tension was high and Taaramäe crashed inside the last 3km, which allows him to retain La Roja. Alpecin-Fenix and Groupama-FDJ were the most active teams inside the uphill last kilometre. Démare led the way into the last 200 metres, but Jakobsen powered past the Frenchman to take his third win since his return to competition after the crash that almost took his life in August 2020.
# You can read the full ‘PEZ Stage Report and Photo Gallery’ HERE. #
Stage winner, Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “This is a dream! I want to thank my family and the team, my second family, because they are the reason I am here. It’s the most beautiful victory of my career and I can’t thank everybody enough for what they did for me. It’s been a long road since last year, and to be here, a Grand Tour stage winner again, makes me incredibly happy. The finale was hectic, as it always happens when you have a bunch sprint. Luckily, I had both Styby and Bert with me, and after the latter took me to the front I opened my sprint and I guess I just had a bit more in the legs. I feel that after this win my comeback is complete and the circle is now closed after everything that happened last year. I feel great, I am at a good level and I’m happy to be here with the team and have the green jersey, which I will try to keep for as long as possible.”
Overall leader, Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “This was incredible! We enjoyed this day a lot. It was fantastic to see my teammates leading the peloton the whole day. Of course I would have preferred to end the day without a crash, but luckily it was more fright than pain. I’ll continue defending the jersey the next days. Tomorrow we’ll need to be attentive for wind and echelons. The day after, positioning on the foot of the steep and short climb towards the finish in Cullera will be crucial. We’ll defend this beautiful jersey as long as possible!”
7th on the stage, Jordi Meeus (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a pretty easy start, with the breakaway group distancing itself from the peloton pretty quickly. The race became slightly nervous at 50 to 30 km before the finish because there were some crosswinds. In the end, however, nothing significant happened. Everyone then waited for the sprint preparations and the last 25 km went quite fast. In the sprint itself, we got a bit lost in the lead-out. The guys worked well together, but ultimately we didn’t manage to pull it off as we had planned. And I lacked the necessary punch in the end to fight for the win. I’m not super happy with seventh place, but it’s still a good start.”
10th on the stage, Riccardo Minali (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I’m happy to finish again in the top 10 of a stage. Although it wasn’t without difficulties. The team worked well for Rein all day, so I had to do the positioning towards the sprint on my own. I was a bit boxed in, in the final kilometre but then found a gap so I could pass several riders in de last 500 meter. I can be happy with this result and especially with my feeling. This is promising for the next sprints.”
Best young rider, Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers): “I am very happy. I was sprinting at full speed to not get dropped when I heard that Jakobsen had won and I think it’s very good because he is an example of not giving up. The whole squad has great respect for him for what he has done. In the last kilometres, the wind came from the side and although it was not strong enough to break the group, it went fast. We hadn’t planned on trying anything, but we were warned that we had to be vigilant and well positioned. I think that the time that Yates and Carapaz have lost is not very much because it is La Vuelta, we are at the end of the season, and anything can happen, the route is quite hard and it is very hot, which causes me fatigue.”
Vuelta a España Stage 4 Result:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 3:43:07
2. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
3. Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo
4. Alberto Dainese (Ita) DSM
5. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange
6. Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis
7. Jordi Meeus (Bel) BORA-hansgrohe
8. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
10. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 4:
1. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in 13:08:51
2. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo at 0:25
3. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:30
4. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 0:35
5. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar at 0:45
6. Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar at 0:51
7. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:57
8. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
10. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 1:09.
Vuelta’21 stage 4:
Already a winner on stage 2, Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) was the fastest again on Stage 5, powering to another success in Albacete after 184.4km of racing. The Belgian sprinter edged Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Alberto Dainese (DSM) on the line. Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) crashed on the run in to the last 10 kilometres and lost La Roja to Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), who only has a 5 seconds lead on Primoz Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) ahead of stage 6’s summit finish at Alto de la Montaña de Cullera.
182 riders were in the peloton as it rolled out from Tarancon heading for Albacete. Three attackers go at km 0: Pelayo Sanchez (Burgos-BH), Oier Lazkano (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Xabier Mikel Azparren (Euskaltel-Euskadi) make the break of the day. Their lead quickly rises to 3:50 after 7 kilometres. Rein Taaramäe’s Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux set the pace in the bunch until the gap hits a maximum of 7 minutes with 120km to go. Jasper Philipsen’s Alpecin-Fenix are the first to react. Fabio Jakobsen’s Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Arnaud Démare’s Groupama-FDJ joined in and the gap quickly dropped to 3 minutes.
The peloton trail by 2 minutes as they enter the last 50km. GC teams move to the front, wary of potential echelons due to crosswinds. Two riders remain at the front as Pelayo Sanchez is dropped with 34km to go. Oier Lazkano eventually pushes on alone with 21km to go as Xabier Mikel Azparren couldn’t follow. The peloton eventually reels the last man at the front with 15km to go. A massive crash split the bunch with 9km to go. Taaramäe is among the riders caught behind while Romain Bardet (DSM) was badly injured, but eventually rode on. Alpecin-Fenix took control of the bunch in the final kilometres and Jasper Philipsen delivers the victory, his second in La Vuelta’21, ahead of Fabio Jakobsen and Alberto Dainese (DSM). Rein Taaramäe loses 2:20 at the line. Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) is now the new overall leader of La Vuelta with 5 seconds on Primoz Roglič on the eve of the summit finish on the Alto de la Montaña de Cullera.
# You can read the full ‘PEZ Stage Report and Photo Gallery’ Here. #
Stage winner and pointe leader, Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix): “This was exactly the scenario we had in mind. It makes it even more beautiful when you look at the last five kilometres, where we were there with the whole team. It’s great that we were able to finish it together. I couldn’t do the sprint I wanted there (stage 4). To win today is great. It allows us to turn the page and really enjoy the team. I’m not really thinking about having the green at the end of the Vuelta yet, but of course it’s great to try to have the jersey every day. We’ll see how far we can get. To win the next sprint in the green jersey? That would be a dream. Yesterday it didn’t bring me much luck, but hopefully I will succeed in the next sprint”
Overall leader, Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo): “I didn’t see the crash, because I was in the top-10 at the time. But this is not the way I wanted to take the jersey. We know in cycling that when there is wind there are risks. You can also lose the jersey in an echelon, so you have to be careful. Still, I don’t like it and it’s not enjoyable, but in the end it’s no different – it is what it is. It’s incredible to wear this jersey as the leader of a Grand Tour. After the Tour and the Olympics I took it easy. The team asked me if I could go to the Vuelta and just watch it day by day. And look! That’s cycling. It is unbelievable.”
7th on the stage, Jordi Meeus (BORA-hansgrohe): “Until the last 30km everything went pretty calmly, but then it became particularly nervous and hectic due to the crosswinds. Then the crash happened. Before the finale, the guys put me in a very good position, but in the end it was just too hectic to fight for a top placing. I tried to follow different wheels and pass some riders in the last 100m, but in the end, just like yesterday, I finished seventh. Honestly, I’m not super satisfied with that result, and we will try again on the next sprint stages. But thanks to the whole team for the support today.”
Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “Again, it was a lucky crash, I’m almost ok, even my cloth was in one piece. Actually, it was a bad idea to be in a good position because the crash happened near the front and the guys at the back passed but I was up there and it took some minutes to go again. Two days in the red jersey, that was good for me. It was nice to experience that and I’m not so sad to lose it. I would have lost it tomorrow or the day after so it’s not a big deal. It was really nice. We’ll see day by day but I think I can defend the polka-dot jersey more than the leader’s jersey.”
8th overall and best young rider, Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers): “I think it is a team effort from the car to each rider who does the work at the beginning of the stage. We saved the day, that’s what matters. There was a lot of headwind and when we turned it was supposed to turn sideways, but it wasn’t enough to break the peloton. You had to stay calm and try to have men in the end. The crash was right next to me, but I was very focused on going in front and I didn’t notice.”
11th on the stage, Damien Touzé (AG2R Citroën): “It was a tense day with wind and the risk of echelons. We got caught in the big crash in the final and I had to make a big effort to get back to the front. The sprint was fast and complicated. I now hope to make it into the top 10.”
Vuelta a España Stage 5 Result:
1. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix in 4:24:41
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Alberto Dainese (Ita) DSM
4. Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates
5. Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis
6. Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Jordi Meeus (Bel) BORA-hansgrohe
8. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
9. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Qhubeka NextHash
10. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 5:
1. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo in 17:33:57
2. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:05
3. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 0:10
4. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
5. Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar at 0:26
6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:32
7. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
8. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
9. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 0:44
10. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorious at 0:45.
Vuelta’21 stage 5:
Egmont Cycling Race 2021
This Tuesday, the seven riders of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at the start of the Egmont Cycling Race (1.1, 17/08) in Zottegem were inspired by Rein Taaramäe’s success at the Tour of Spain. The previously named GP Stad Zottegem is known as a demanding race suited for fast classic riders. The rainy circumstances were an extra difficulty in this 86th edition.
Despite this six riders attacked in the beginning of the race. The Lange Munte, Berendries or Lippenhovestraat were some of the difficulties which could do damage to the peloton during the first big loop of 101 kilometre. When the peloton began to chase the six leaders, the elimination started from the back. In addition, the rain turned the roads in Zottegem to a slippery ice skating track, eliminating several riders in crashes. Unfortunately also Jonas Koch was a victim of a crash in the final 5 kilometre. But Danny van Poppel could still rely on 18 year old trainee Dries De Pooter, who always raced at the forefront, and on Baptiste Planckaert, who tried to avoid a sprint with 20 kilometre to go. Van Poppel finished off Planckaert’s lead out with a powerful sprint to take his first victory of the season after several 2nd places in Dwars door het Hageland or the Volta ao Algarve.
Race winner, Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I like this kind of difficult Belgian races. After a controlled start, I was happy that the race was opened on the local circuit. It increased my chances, because a difficult sprint with a reduced peloton suits me really well. My teammates reacted on breakaway attempts, so I could focus on the final sprint. Our trainee Dries De Pooter positioned us well before the cobbles and I also owe a lot to Baptiste Planckaert. He was really strong and brought me to a position from where I only had to sprint to the line. As I was feeling good, I managed to finish it off. I’m happy that I can give the team a goodbye present but I hope that more will follow!”
Egmont Cycling Race Result:
1. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in 4:31:51
2. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) TotalEnergies
3. Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
4. Christophe Noppe (Bel) Arkéa-Samsic
5. Jens Reynders (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Jens Debusschere (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
7. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces-WB
8. Maurice Ballerstedt (Ger) Jumbo-Visma Development Team
9. Gil D’Heygere (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
10. Joshua Huppertz (Ger) Team Lotto-Kern Haus.
Astana Team Set to Continue in 2022
The Astana team’s future in the WorldTour peloton is secured for 2022 with the team’s Kazakh shareholders confirming they will continue as team owner and title sponsor for the upcoming season.
Alexandr Vinokourov has been reappointed as Sports Team Principal for the 2022 season and will oversee the rider and staff recruitment and sporting operations.
With preparations underway for the team’s 17th year in the peloton, announcements regarding rider contract extension and new rider signings will be made in the near future.
Talks Between Vincenzo Nibali and Astana at an Advanced Stage
Vincenzo Nibali is currently racing for Trek-Segafredo, but has been linked with the Astana squad in recent months. Alexander Vinokourov, who will return as team principal in 2022, has told La Gazzetta dello Sport that both sides are close to an agreement.
The now 37-year-old Nibali also rode for Astana between 2013 and 2016 and achieved his greatest successes, including winning the Tour de France (2014) and the Giro d’Italia (2013 and 2016). Should Nibali sign a contract with Astana, he will be reunited with sports director and confidant Giuseppe Martinelli. “Nibali? Yes, we are close to an agreement. I am sure that in a new and calm atmosphere we can put together a good team,” Vinokourov said.
Vinokourov was relieved of his position as leader of the WorldTour team just before the Tour de France, but has since been reappointed as Sports Team Principal for 2022. The now 47-year-old Kazakh will be responsible for attracting riders and staff members and the sports activities, now that the team is a certainty for next season. It was recently announced that Premier Tech of Canada, would no longer be a co-owner and named sponsor of Astana-Premier Tech at the end of the year. The company and the Kazakh shareholders of the WorldTeam were unable to agree on the team’s vision for the future. Premier Tech is said to have withdrawn as co-sponsor and co-owner of the team due to a discussion around Alexander Vinokourov.
Nibali was successful with Astana:
Van Avermaet Hopes for World Championships Selection
Greg Van Avermaet has been a regular at the World Championships since 2007, but the question is whether he will also be there this year in his own country. With Wout van Aert, national coach Sven Vanthourenhout is counting on one clear leader and the competition is fierce for the other places. “I will have to enforce my selection,” he said in conversation with Het Nieuwsblad.
The 36-year-old Van Avermaet managed several places of honour in the spring, with a third place in the Tour of Flanders as the highlight, but in recent months the AG2R Citroën rider has been looking in vain for his best legs. The last Tour de France turned out to be a disappointment. Van Avermaet resumed competition in the Tour du Limousin after three weeks. “This is a new competition for me. My trainer and I thought it was a good idea to ride this course. Otherwise I would have had six weeks of only training before the Benelux Tour (30 August-5 September).”
“The Tour du Limousin route is more hilly than, for example, Poitou-Charentes and there is no time trial either. So it is an interesting race.” After the Tour du Limousin, Van Avermaet hopes to perform well in the Benelux Tour and Paris-Tours. The World Championships in Leuven is also a race that the Belgian has ticked in his agenda. The only question is whether Van Avermaet will be there in his own country, given the competition. “It is true that I am not a certainty at the moment. I will have to enforce my selection, but for myself I mainly want to find the good feeling on the bike. Since the Dauphiné I have never felt really great. If I find the good feeling again, that World champs selection will also come,” said Van Avermaet.
Flanders: Best result so far in 2021 for Van Avermaet:
Evenepoel Enters into ‘Confrontation’ with Tour of Lombardy
The next race on Remco Evenepoel’s program is the Druivenkoers on August 26, but the Belgian is also looking closely at the Tour of Lombardy. Last Sunday it was exactly one year ago that Evenepoel had a serious crash in the Italian race. Nevertheless, the rider is ‘just’ at the start of the autumn classic this year.
In an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws, Evenepoel looked ahead to the Tour of Lombardy. In a little less than two months, the rider will return to the scene of the accident: last year he had a serious crash on the descent of the Colma di Sormano, after misjudging a bend on the descent and went over a wall and into the ravine.
Evenepoel did not think about it too long last Sunday. “That makes no sense. After my return home from Denmark I emptied my suitcases and went cycling to clear my mind. I’ll have to face the show again someday. The faster the better. So I will return there on October 9th.”
Evenepoel does not immediately have the ambition to achieve a good result in the race of the falling leaves. “But to absolutely win the mental wrestling match. I have no idea how I will react once I get there. Do I start with a tight feeling? And does that paralyse me a bit during the race? Or will I rather cycle around liberated and dare to take the necessary risks? We’ll see.”
Many questions and no answers yet, but Evenepoel is looking forward to the next edition of the Tour of Lombardy. “I’m certainly looking forward to turning the page. Did the incident change me as a person? I may have shrunk a few centimetres,” the Belgian responds with a joke. “No not really. Although I look at things differently now. It doesn’t hurt to let go every now and then. And enjoy… A steak with fries. Like any normal person.”
Rémi Cavagna Extends with Deceuninck – Quick-Step
The Frenchman will stay with the team until at least the end of 2023.
Rémi Cavagna joined the Wolfpack in 2017 and has since turned into one of the best time trialists in the world, the victories he got at the French Championships, Tour de Romandie or Tour de Pologne serving as testimony to his prowess against the clock. The Frenchman’s appetite for long solo efforts has netted him memorable wins also at the Vuelta a España, Tour of California and the Road Nationals, where just two months ago he was crowned champion after an entire day spent in the breakaway.
Back home after an excellent Tour de Pologne, where besides his stage victory in Katowice he also helped Deceuninck – Quick-Step win the team classification, Rémi put pen to paper, adding two more years to his contract with the most successful squad in the world.
“I couldn’t be happier! Staying with this fantastic team is like a dream that goes on and on. I always dreamed of riding for the Wolfpack and having the opportunity to be here and improve in this environment is incredible. I’m proud to ride in my French National Champion jersey for the number one team in the world. I want to thank Patrick Lefevere for the confidence and also the staff, because they too are an important part and one of the reasons this squad is so strong. Deceuninck – Quick-Step is a team that always goes for the win and I hope to contribute with some more victories in the future,” said the 26-year-old, whose next race will be the Deutschland Tour.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere was equally delighted at having retained the services of the French Champion: “We know Rémi since his U23 days and we have always believed in him, not only because his potential was obvious, but also because he’s hard-working and always with his feet on the ground, giving his everything for the team and keen on becoming better. To have him on the team for the next two years gives us a lot of pleasure and we look forward to seeing more great things from him.”
Felix Gall signs for two years
Austrian rider Felix Gall, 23, who currently rides for Team DSM, has committed to two seasons with the AG2R CITROËN TEAM starting January 1, 2022. Felix Gall will be the first Austrian rider to join the AG2R CITROËN TEAM since its creation in 1992.
Felix Gall: “After five years in the same structure, I needed something new. I am happy to join the AG2R CITROËN TEAM and to continue my progress. It’s a great challenge, discovering another way of working, another culture. When I see how successful Ben O’Connor has been this year, it gives me a lot of confidence in my choice. I hope I can take part in a Grand Tour and win a stage there. I like tough races. I am the type of climber who can excel on routes where there are a series of difficult climbs.”
Born 27 February 1998
Junior Road World Champion in 2015
22nd at the Critérium du Dauphiné 2021
Vincent Lavenu: “Felix Gall is a rider who we have followed for several seasons. He was junior world champion, which validates an international level from the youth categories. He is a climber, able to support his leaders far into the mountain stages or to play his own card as well. He is young and has a good margin for improvement.”
After Paul Lapeira (2 years) and Valentin Paret-Peintre (3 years), both from the AG2R CITROËN U23 team, Clément Berthet, who joined the team from August 1 through 2024, and Antoine Raugel (2 years), Felix Gall is the fifth rider to sign for the AG2R CITROËN TEAM.
The news: The first Austrian
Gigante: Movistar Team continue to strengthen their future
20-year-old Australian, an Olympian in Tokyo + three-time elite national champion, signs three-year contract with Blues, becoming the Spanish outfit’s first signing for 2022.
The Movistar Team announces Wednesday that Sarah Gigante (Melbourne, VIC, AUS; 2000), a current member of Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank, has signed a three-year contract with the Telefónica-backed squad, through to the end of the 2024 season.
A Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Geography student at Melbourne University, Gigante’s lightning progression has seen her becoming one of the biggest up-and-coming talents in the WorldTour. Skilled for many different terrains and notably talented for time trials, the 20-year-old has already got three Australian elite titles to her name: one at the road race, in 2019, and two time trial championships, in 2020 and 2021 consecutively.
Despite multiple injuries sustained in early 2021 – she broke her collarbone, elbow and fibula at a crash during Flèche Wallonne – Gigante was still able to take part in her first Olympic Games in Tokyo, taking 11th place in the time trial – which she led for a good portion of the event.
Sarah Gigante: “I’m incredibly excited to be joining the Movistar Team next year, for so many different reasons that I can’t even list them all! The top drawcard is definitely the squad of awesome riders that I will have the privilege of calling my teammates. I am sure I will be able to learn an incredible amount from the more experienced cyclists and it will be fun to help them smash out wins while hopefully also developing my own racecraft and strength alongside the other up-and-coming riders. I have been a fan of Annemiek van Vleuten in particular for so many years and it feels quite surreal to think that we will be teammates very soon! I still remember lining up to get a photo with her in Belgium just two years ago.
“I love attritional races the most, and especially look forward to any time we venture into mountainous terrain. I really enjoy time trialling too, and have focused quite a lot on that discipline over the past two years. I love that the Movistar Team has such a flexible squad that seems to be able to excel in so many types of races. I think I will fit well inside the team for this reason, as the idea of adapting to different and exciting roles, races and situations really appeals to me.
“I am currently studying linguistics and geography at the University of Melbourne. I studied full-time for my first two years, but dropped down to two subjects per semester in 2021 so that I could focus more on my cycling as well and not stress myself out. I like having this balance, as studying gives me extra goals that I can focus on and it means that not quite everything in my life is focused on cycling. I love the sport so much that if I didn’t do uni, I’d probably be thinking about my bike 24 hours a day! I also really enjoy what I’m studying, especially when it comes to linguistics, so in general, it doesn’t seem like much of a chore to me. I love learning!”
Sebastián Unzué: “Sarah is one of the biggest under-23 prospects in the whole international peloton right now. She’s a really well rounded athlete, who defends herself brilliantly against the clock, who loves the mountains, and one whom I think will be a huge asset to the team from day one. Our initial goal with her must be to help her out and guide her so she can become the best rider she can be – in that respect, I think that having her riding alongside big leaders, such as Annemiek or Emma, will be really positive for her progression. Hopefully, the road to 2024 will see her growing strong and establishing herself as one of the biggest names in the sport.”
Van Petegem Strengthens Jumbo-Visma Development Team
Axandre Van Petegem will ride for the Jumbo-Visma Development Team the next two years. The nineteen-year-old Belgian will ride the rest of the 2021 cycling season as a trainee for the Team Jumbo-Visma development team.
Van Petegem, son of former professional cyclist Peter Van Petegem, comes over from the Belgian Home Solutions-Soenens Cycling Team. Tomorrow, the new trainee will be at the start of the Egmont Cycling Race on behalf of the Jumbo-Visma Development Team.
For Van Petegem, signing with the development team of Team Jumbo-Visma is a dream come true. “This year I got to know the team during a few training moments. The first impression was good. After the first training camp in the Ardennes I was allowed to go to the training camp in Slovenia. I get along very well with the riders of the team and the coaching here is top, so I am happy to sign a contract with this team. In the coming years I hope to develop further here.”
Head of Development Robbert de Groot is happy with the recruitment of Van Petegem. “Axandre is an interesting rider who is not yet known to the general public. He has relatively little training in his legs, but has recently impressed during some training periods with our team. We are going to give Axandre all the time he needs to develop and we are convinced that he will do great. We look forward to working with him.”
Axandre Van Petegem:
DSM Strengthen Roster with Jonas Iversby Hvideberg and Frederik Rodenberg Madsen
Strengthening their classics block and sprint group respectively as they continue to chase results, Team DSM are excited to announce that the talented duo of Jonas Iversby Hvideberg and Frederik Rodenberg Madsen will join the team next season, riding in the team’s colours until at least the end of 2023.
Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (NOR)
Iversby Hvideberg has progressed steadily throughout his career so far, picking up good results in one-day classics in his early years at U23 level, with a third-place finish at Paris-Tours in 2019 a highlight. 2020 saw this trend continue, where a photo finish at the Norwegian championships saw him finish second place in the elite race. Using that motivation, Iversby Hvideberg went into the U23 European Championships confident, taking home the title under some grizzly conditions. A team player who’s happy to get his elbows dirty in support of the team, Iversby Hvideberg’s attitude and hard-working spirit will be a great asset to Team DSM’s growing classics group as the team chase success.
Iversby Hvideberg said: “I’m really looking forward to joining Team DSM next season. We had good talks together about a plan for my development and the team has a nice program for me which will help me to adapt to the demands of racing at the WorldTour over the next few seasons. It’s also nice to have the chance to be in a team with Andreas [Leknessund] again, as we’ve raced together since the junior ranks, and he’s told me good things about the team. I’m also excited to be part of a team with many different nations and cultures, with the riders and staff, where I’ll be able to learn and develop both on and off the bike.”
Team DSM head of coaching Rudi Kemna added: “We’re excited to welcome Jonas onto the team for next season. He’s a talented rider who we look forward to working closely with towards his development. Someone who at U23 level and earlier this year at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, has shown he can handle a hard day in the saddle, Jonas will predominantly bring value to our classics group, but his powerful attributes can also be useful for our lead outs. We believe that in the future we can take some nice results in the classics with him, but firstly we want to focus on his general development and help take him to the next step.”
Jonas Iversby Hvideberg:
Frederik Rodenberg Madsen (DEN)
Combining track and road so far throughout his career, Rodenberg Madsen has tasted success in both disciplines. A former Danish junior and U23 champion in the road race, Rodenberg Madsen has shown prowess with his fast-finishing ability and speed, picking up the win at the U23 Eschborn-Frankfurt alongside several national races in Denmark. A powerhouse, Rodenberg Madsen is also at home on the boards, forming an important part of the Danish Men’s Team Pursuit squad that won several UCI track World Cup events in 2019 before becoming World Champions in early 2020 in Berlin. Recently, he has continued to show his abilities on the track winning a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics in the same event. Looking ahead to the future, Rodenberg Madsen’s powerful attributes will fit in well with the team’s sprint block.
Rodenberg Madsen said: “From the first talks I had with Team DSM, it was clear that both of our ambitions were closely aligned and I immediately felt like this was a team I wanted to be a part of. I think this is the perfect environment for me to develop myself in and I am really looking forward to getting stuck into the sprint and lead out train. Team DSM has so much history and experience so it will be great to learn and continue to develop myself here with them. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into that process with the best in the world.”
Team DSM head of coaching Rudi Kemna continued: “Having combined track and road, Frederik is a really powerful rider and was part of the Danish Team Pursuit squad that took silver at the recent Olympics in Japan. With those attributes, he will fit in really well with our sprint group where we want to work with him as part of the lead out and potentially as the team’s finisher on occasion, but we also to improve him as a rider generally. From our first talks with Frederik it was clear that his motivations were aligned with ours; with that attitude we think he will relish being a part of our highly ambitious environment.”
Frederik Rodenberg Madsen:
Prominent Start List for the Deutschland Tour
German cycling fans had to be patient: it took almost 700 days before international men’s pro cycling returns to Germany’s streets. A prominent provisional start list for the Deutschland Tour is the reward for the long waiting time. From August 26, 132 riders will fight for stage wins and the overall victory of the Deutschland Tour 2021 on the way from Stralsund to Nuremberg.
Ackermann, Bauhaus, Degenkolb, Greipel, Zabel – the names of the riders who line-up in Stralsund reads like the who’s who of the German sprint. Even if the motivation in their home race is particularly high, the German stars do not stay among themselves. They face the likes of Mark Cavendish and Alexander Kristoff, among others. With his four stage wins at this year’s Tour de France, Cavendish has achieved a true masterpiece. During the last Deutschland Tour, Kristoff once again showed how much he loves winning in Germany.
Two Germans among the top favourites
Politt vs. Degenkolb – from a German perspective that could be the showdown for the red jersey. Nils Politt returns to racing after the Tour de France. Three years ago, he celebrated the long-awaited first pro win at the final stage of the Deutschland Tour in Stuttgart – but the overall victory was short of 3 seconds. This year, his stage win at the Tour de France might give the tailwind to secure the red jersey.
The route profile also suits John Degenkolb, who rides for the German national team. For the 32-year-old, the Deutschland Tour 2021 is a very personal matter: the GC is made on the classic stages in Thuringia and Franconia – the two regions in which the Monument winner grew up. Above all, the grand finale in Nuremberg is full of souvenirs for Degenkolb: He won here in 2015 and made history as the last stage winner of the Tour of Bavaria.
Tour de France names in Germany
In addition to sprinters and classic specialists, the Deutschland Tour will also be a meeting of prominent stage race riders. Emanuel Buchmann is coming back to the only German stage race this year. With Ben O’Connor and Peio Bilbao, the fourth and ninth places in the Tour de France are just as much in the line-up as João Almeida, who has just won the Tour de Pologne with an impressive performance. The Deutschland Tour will also be a racing comeback for the four-time winner of the Tour de France, Chris Froome. And it’s a very special kind of comeback: for the first time since the Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2017 in Düsseldorf, the Briton is back in Germany.
German offspring among big names
The Deutschland Tour is also a springboard for local talent. The entire current Bundesliga podium with Jon Knolle, Dominik Bauer and U23 champion Kim Heiduk is announced. In addition, Felix Gross celebrates the career leap into the WorldTour on the Deutschland Tour and ride the first race for his new team.
Kasper Asgreen – Deutschland Tour’19 stage 3:
Belgian Star Wout Van Aert to Make Tour of Britain Debut in 2021
Tokyo 2020 Olympic medallist and six-time Tour de France stage winner Wout Van Aert will make his Tour of Britain debut this September.
The Belgian star is the second rider confirmed for this year’s Tour, which starts in Penzance, Cornwall, on Sunday 5 September. Van Aert will lead the Dutch Jumbo-Visma team at the UK’s biggest cycle race off the back of winning the prestigious final stage of the Tour de France on the Champs-Élysées in Paris and claiming silver in the Tokyo 2020 road race within the space of six days last month.
The 26-year-old already possesses a decorated palmàres, having won the prestigious Milan-Sanremo, Strade Bianche, Gent-Wevelgem and Amstel Gold one-day races, as well as three UCI world cyclo-cross titles.
His participation in the Tour of Britain reiterates Team Jumbo-Visma’s support of the race. In recent years, the world’s number three-ranked team have selected the likes of Primoź Roglič (runner up in 2018, two-time Grand Tour winner and Tokyo 2020 time trial gold medallist), Tom Dumoulin (third place in 2016 and Tokyo 2020 time trial runner-up), Dylan Groenewegen (four-time Tour de France stage winner) to compete in the event. The remainder of their six-man squad for the Tour of Britain will be announced in due course.
Wout Van Aert to the Tour of Britain:
Legendary sprinter Mark Cavendish confirmed as first rider for 2021 Tour of Britain
Mark Cavendish, the greatest sprinter of all time, has today been confirmed as the first rider for this year’s Tour of Britain (Sunday 5 to 12 September).
The Manxman, who has won more stages of the modern Tour than any other rider – 10 – will lead his Belgian Deceuninck – Quick-Step team at the UK’s biggest race.
Cavendish has previously started the 11 Tours of Britain, finishing nine, and led the race for two days during the 2007 edition. A world champion on both road and track, he equalled Eddy Merckx’s long-standing record of 34 stage victories in the Tour de France and won the race’s prestigious points competition in July.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step are the most successful team in modern Tour of Britain history, having won the race twice – courtesy of Nick Nuyens (2005) and Julian Alaphilippe (2018) – and claimed 22 stage victories since 2004.
The remainder of their six-man squad for the Tour of Britain, as well as those of the other competing teams, will be announced in due course.
Mark Cavendish said: “It is always an honour to race on the home roads of the Tour of Britain. It is a race where I have always enjoyed success and I am really looking forward to racing with what I know will be a strong Deceuninck – Quick-Step team. It has already been a special year for me and riding the Tour of Britain will be a great way to see so many of the people who have supported me throughout.”
Mick Bennett, Tour of Britain race director, said: “We always pride ourselves on the quality of riders we attract, and the participation of Mark Cavendish in this year’s Tour of Britain will no doubt whet the appetite of the British public. He’s a true great of our sport – something he has proved once again throughout his unforgettable 2021 season – and I cannot wait to see him on the start line in Penzance.”
The Tour of Britain is shown live and in full on ITV4, as well as in over 150 countries around the world, and generates widespread media attention, making it the perfect opportunity for brands to reach a truly global audience. Partnership opportunities are available for the 2021 race, ranging from title sponsorship of the event through to jersey naming rights. For more information visit sweetspotgroup.co.uk/sponsorship-opportunities.
Cavendish to the Tour of Britain:
Tadej Pogačar Lands in Trento: The European Champs Turn Yellow
Winner of the last two editions of the Tour de France, the 22-year-old Slovenian phenomenon will show off in Trentino from 8th to 12th September: the continental championships keep adding champions to their start-list.
Another stage race giant is about to head to Trento for UEC Road European Championships in Trentino (Northern Italy) from September 8th to 12th, 2021: Slovenia’s Tadej Pogačar is set to feature among the greatest stars of the Continental event.
The Slovenian has won the last two editions of the Tour de France and showed his immense talent also in one-day races, winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2021 and achieving an Olympic Bronze medal in Tokyo.
Pogačar is a champion who loves to attack, and that is exactly what he might have to do to shake up the plans of the puncheurs in the Trento circuit, and maybe even before, on the ramps of the Monte Bondone, the highlight of the in-line section of the Elite Men’s course.
The presence of eclectic talents such as Pogačar and Evenepoel brings an added tactical dimension to the race. The limited distance of the Elite Men Road Race route of Sunday, August 12th (179,2 Km) could make it more adapt to daring long-distance moves, something certainly in the style of Pogačar.
An exceptional climber and a talented time trialist, it is hard to find weaknesses in the 22-year-old rider from Komenda, central Slovenia. Pogačar will also participate in the European time trial, the 22,4km test of Thursday, September 9th, suitable for time trial specialists, providing another opportunity for Slovenia to aim big following the gold medal of Primoz Roglic in the Olympic Time Trial.
Wednesday, September 8th
09:15 – Junior Women Individual Time Trial – 22,4 km
10:45 – Junior Men Individual Time Trial – 22,4 km
14:30 – Team Relay – 44,8 km (2 giri del circuito di 22,4 km)
Thursday, September 9th
09:15 – U23 Women Individual Time Trial – 22,4 km
10:45 – Elite Women Individual Time Trial – 22,4 km
14:15 – U23 Men Individual Time Trial – 22,4 km
16:00 – Elite Men Individual Time Trial – 22,4 km
Friday, September 10th
09:00 – Junior Men Road Race – 107,2 km
13:50 – Junior Women Road Race – 67,6 km
16:30 – U23 Women Road Race – 80,8 km
Saturday, September 11th
09:00 – U23 Men Road Race – 133,6 km
14:15 – Elite Women Road Race – 107,2 km
Sunday, September 12th
12:30 – Elite Men Road Race – 179,2 km
Tour champ, Tadej Pogačar to the Euro champs:
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