All the race news from the Volta a Catalunya, Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali and the Minerva Classic Brugge-De Panne with video. Patrick Lefevere talks about Colbrelli’s cardiac arrest – TOP STORY. Rider news: Updates on Sonny Colbrelli, Stig Broeckx concerned about Amy Pieters, health problems for Tom Pidcock and Giacomo Nizzolo. Team news: Pidcock not on the Market, new AG Insurance-NXTG team, Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB sign Attilio Viviani and Trek-Segafredo wants Thibau Nys. Race news from Gent-Wevelgem and the BC Superweek pro cycling series goes on hiatus. *** Stop the war in Ukraine ***
TOP STORY: Patrick Lefevere on Colbrelli’s Cardiac Arrest: “Extra Screenings After Covid Infection is a Must”
Everything seems to be going well for Sonny Colbrelli, but his cardiac arrest may be a warning to others. Patrick Lefevere spoke to Nico Dick of WielerFlits: “Because I know what the consequences can be. You see it in society, why should it be any different in sports? In any case, it calls for caution.”
“I don’t have much contact with the rest of the peloton,” Lefevere said when asked if Sonny Colbrelli’s cardiac arrest resonates with riders and teams. “But I’m afraid for my team and my riders,” he said. “Because I know what the consequences of covid can be.”
Colbrelli missed Milan-Sanremo due to bronchitis, but had also been infected with the corona virus in January. “It calls for extreme caution,” says the team principal of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl. “Mind you, I’m not commenting on the Colbrelli case, maybe it doesn’t even have anything to do with it. But if someone gets sick with us now, we don’t take any risks. First he is inactive and before the rider in question resumes, he must undergo heart tests.”
“In my day, if you had a fever or the flu, you took a few aspirins and just rode on,” Lefevere said. “That’s how it went. But over the years I learned in Italy, first at GB-MG, later at Mapei, not to let sick riders race. They didn’t want that there, especially not with a fever. But with covid we are now going one step further. No one would have thought that the virus would have such an impact on our health.”
“For some it is on the lungs, for others on the heart, like with Tim Declercq. By the way, he was lucky, with an inflammation of the pericardium. For the same money it was fin de career. Some, such as Yves Lampaert, Julian Alaphilippe and Mattia Cattaneo, you notice that they have to take much longer than usual. Others don’t feel it at all. For others it comes in waves. One day they are better, the next they are back in bed.”
“That’s why we work differently now than before,” Lefevere confirmed. “After getting sick, our riders have to go to the cardiologist for the necessary tests. The situation calls for extreme caution. Look at society. Why should it be any different in sport? There are young riders who die in their sleep, footballers collapse on the field. There is also no age. That is why I advocate even more heart screening for young riders.”
Lefevere has been working with renowned cardiologist Pedro Brugada for over ten years. “We were indeed one of the first to take Brugada with the team three days a year to detect cardiac arrhythmias. That costs me a few cents, but no human life is worth not investing in. In the meantime we have also discovered a few, such as Gianni Meersman at the time and Zdeněk Štybar. Brugada is also arguing for even more screenings among young athletes and I fully support him in this.”
Lefevere wants more medical checks:
Volta a Catalunya 2022
The opening Stage 1 of the Tour of Catalonia, starting and finishing in Sant Feliu de Guíxols, was won by Michael Matthews. The BikeExchange-Jayco rider was too fast for Sonny Colbrelli and Quentin Pacher in an uphill sprint. Matthews is also the first overall leader.
The seven-day race started with a tough stage in and around Sant Feliu de Guíxols. With the Alt de Santa Pellaia (5.9km at 4%), Alt de la Ganga (3.5km at 4.1%) and Alt de Romanyà (5.8km at 4.5%) categorised climbs. After the Alt de Romanyà, with its summit at 25 kilometres from the finish, it went via a fairly fast, but not to be underestimated final to the finish in Sant Feliu de Guíxols. Several riders tried to escape, but it took more than 30 kilometres before six riders made the right move. Carlos Canal and Jesús Antonio Soto of Euskatel-Euskadi with Raúl García (Equipo Kern Pharma), Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH), Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost) and Marco Brenner (DSM). They eventually had a 3 minutes lead.
The teams with a GC rider were wary of the echelons along the Catalan coast. A first group of about 20 riders managed to split. Top favourites Simon Yates, Michael Woods, Michael Matthews, Pavel Sivakov and Daryl Impey were alert and Jumbo-Visma, with Steven Kruijswijk, Rohan Dennis and Robert Gesink, were also at the front. Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana missed it and were left to chase. Movistar and Arkéa-Samsic, the teams of Valverde and Quintana, had to chase in group two, hoping to pull it back together. The difference between the Yates-Kruijswijk group and that of Valverde and Quintana fluctuated around 1 minute for some time, but this got smaller and smaller. At about 50 kilometres from the finish there was a regrouping and calm returned to the peloton. This was the moment for six to attack for a new leading group. Alex Molenaar (Burgos-BH), Pieter Serry (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Jonas Hvideberg (Team DSM), Théo Delacroix (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost) build a nice lead of more than 1 minute. INEOS Grenadiers led the peloton.
The six riders off the front had started the Alt de Romanyà, the last climb of the day. Armirail rode hard, Serry, Delacroix and Hvideberg managed to hold on, but Molenaar had to let them go. Hvideberg was the first to reach the top to take the last mountain points of the day. The Norwegian started the wet and treacherous descent of the Romanyà, with Delacroix, Serry and Armirail on his wheel. However a regrouping was imminent. The thinned out peloton, led by Movistar, were moving at a very high pace towards the finish in Sant Feliu de Guíxols. In spite of the efforts of the four, they were caught due to the work of Bahrain Victorious with 7 kilometres to go. The bunch then prepared for the tough uphill sprint. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl took the lead in the final kilometres towards the bottom of the final climb. This was the signal for Richard Carapaz to jump.
The Ecuadorian was not sharp enough to get away, Matthews and Colbrelli were right on the wheel of the Olympic champion. Matthews was in an excellent position and managed to time his sprint to perfection. European champion Colbrelli chose the left side of the road, looked briefly on his way to victory, but ultimately proved no match for the much faster Matthews. After the finish, Matthews’ victory was overshadowed as Colbrelli collapsed after the finish line. The Italian was taken to hospital.
Stage winner and overall leader, Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco): “Firstly, I just want to say, I hope Sonny Colbrelli is ok. I found out after the finish what happened, it’s never nice to hear something like this after your victory and I’m wishing him a good recovery and I’m hoping he’s ok. From our side, the team did a great job. We went straight to the front once the breakaway went and took the race under our control and split it in the crosswinds ourselves. Then once we got caught, we still committed to the final to deliver me into the best position for the final sprint and I was able to finish it off.”
“It’s been a long time without a victory for me now, so to come back to a finish that I knew well from a couple of years ago, to now win again, it means so much. My wife and dog are here to support me today and it’s just so nice to cross the finish line and to be able to give my wife a massive hug. This course suits me quite well; a hard race and then an uphill sprint to the finish. I think knowing the finish from a couple of years ago also helped me. We have a really great team here, we have me for these sorts of finishes, we have Kaden Groves for the flat sprints, and we also have Simon Yates for the GC and the mountain stages, so we have all stages covered and we’ve started it off on the best note so far.”
3rd on the stage and 4th overall, Quentin Pacher (Fra) Groupama-FDJ): “When we went over the line for the first time, it allowed me to see it, but I had also watched it on TV three years ago. I realised it could suit me. This last long straight gave enough time to come back from behind and get a good position. On these uphill finishes, it can be launched from far, but you can also easily crack. It is not very simple to manage, you had to be patient. I managed to position myself correctly and when the sprint started, I was in the right place, on the wheel of Colbrelli. I am satisfied, this is my first podium in the WorldTour. I thought I could make it into the top-10, not necessarily onto the podium, but you have to believe in yourself and that bodes well for the next days. I didn’t know how I was going to be after Paris-Nice and Milan-Sanremo because overall fatigue is increasing, but the condition is good and I’m recovering well. I’m making the most of my condition and I hope it will last as long as possible.”
5th on the stage and 6th overall, Sergio Higuita Garcia (BORA-hansgrohe): “The stage was quite tough. We were unlucky in the crosswinds and with Jai’s crash, but good teamwork allowed us to avoid losing time in the end. I felt quite good over the last kilometres and so I tried to sprint for a good result. I’m quite satisfied with fifth place. It was a solid start for us here in Catalunya.”
Volta a Catalunya Stage 1 Result:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco in 3:47:11
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
3. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
4. Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
5. Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) BORA-hansgrohe
6. Mattias Skjelmose (Den) Trek-Segafredo
7. Simon Clarke (Aus) Israel-Premier Tech
8. Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
9. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
10. Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ.
Volta a Catalunya Overall After Stage 1:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco in 3:47:01
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 0:04
3. Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (Nor) DSM
4. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:06
5. Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:10
6. Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Mattias Skjelmose (Den) Trek-Segafredo
8. Simon Clarke (Aus) Israel-Premier Tech
9. Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Arkea-Samsic.
Kaden Groves won the Second Stage of the Volta a Catalunya. In Perpignan, the Australian was fastest in the sprint of the first echelon, which had split in the last 15 kilometres. Phil Bauhaus finished second and Hugo Hofstetter was third. Thanks to the bonuses, Jonas Hvideberg took the overall lead.
The stage started without Sonny Colbrelli, who suffered a cardiac arrest after the opening stage. Starting in L’Escala, going north to the Pyrenees on the border with France, crossing the Coll de sa Perafita, the Coll del Frare and the Coll dels Belitres. In France the route was flatter to the finish in Perpignan. The battle for the day’s escape broke out almost immediately, but the pace was high. Joan Bou (Euskaltel) and Adrià Moreno (Burgos-BH) were the first riders to get a gap and Jonas Hvideberg (DSM), third on the first stage and wearer of the mountain jersey, was also able to join them. The maximum lead of the three was more than 5 minutes after 55 kilometres, while BikeExchange-Jayco, the team of GC leader Michael Matthews, controlled the lead of the pack.
Around halfway Bahrain Victorious started to help, causing the gap to narrow. On the Coll de sa Perafita the escapees still had a nice lead and Hvideberg summited first. Bou was the first at the intermediate sprint in El Port de la Selva, where Hvideberg took a two-second bonus. With the Norwegian then taking the full loot in Llançà, he had turned his gap to Matthews in the general classification into a lead and could take the leader’s jersey at the end of the day. There was a crash on the climb of the Coll del Frare, involving Andrea Bagioli, and others, they were all able to continue. Then Bou was first on the second climb of the day. The three front riders still had a lead of almost 2 minutes at the top. There was also a crash on the Coll dels Belitres. Iván Sosa fell when he hit the rear wheel of the rider in-front. The Colombian climber was able to continue. Bou was also the first over the top of the Belitres, but because Hvideberg also took points, the Norwegian remained in the lead of the mountains classification. In the peloton, Mattias Skjelmose Jensen missed a turn and flew over a wall and fell a few meters down the ravine. Trek-Segafredo’s Dane was able to climb back up on his own. His teammates Antwan Tolhoek, Marc Soler and Roger Adrià were also involved in the fall.
Richie Porte had already abandoned by then. The Australian lost contact on the Belitres and gave up soon after. With 35 kilometres to go, the lead had shrunk to less than 1 minute and within 10 kilometres they were caught by the peloton. The pace was very high as Jumbo together with INEOS were leading. In the last 20 kilometres the wind started to pick up and the nervousness in the race increased. Due to the high speed, the first cracks in the peloton became visible. On a corner with several traffic islands, 15 kilometres from the finish, Simon Yates crashed, leaving the British GC rider a big job to get back to the front of the race. With the help of almost his entire team, he tried to return. Only GC leader Matthews and Kaden Groves remained in the front group. It was very important to the first echelon not to let the two large echelons behind it, where Yates had ended up in the third group, return. Movistar, Jumbo-Visma and Arkéa Samsic in particular did a lot of work. Jumbo-Visma had lost sprinter David Dekker, but mainly tried to keep their GC leaders safe. In Perpignan it came down to a sprint, in which Kaden Groves had the best final jump. Hvideberg crossed the finish line in the peloton and, thanks to the 5 second bonus he picked up, he took the overall lead.
Stage winner, Kaden Groves (BikeExchange-Jayco): “It was pretty tough actually [the run to the finish line], with some echelons splitting the bunch, but Michael and I were in the front and a lot of other strong teams like Movistar and Jumbo. We had Simon out the back and they were using that to their advantage to maybe put some time into him, so it was pretty full gas. The guys did such a great job all day riding in a good position and riding on the front, making sure the breakaway was close so it could be a sprint today, and also being in position for the corners before the crosswinds. I liked this stage, I picked this stage out to get the victory and I can’t believe I’ve got it and maybe later in the week we can have another sprint.”
Overall leader, Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (DSM): “It was another good day for me and the team here in Catalunya. We knew there was a chance I could take the GC jersey but we also didn’t know how other teams would react to it. I made quite a small break which then I knew I had a chance. We didn’t go too hard and I was able to save my legs and take the sprints I needed for the seconds. I also tried to stay as cool as possible and we could take some KOM points as well. We were caught inside 30 kilometres to go and we were then all in for making the first split in the echelons. I was able to get a good position for that with Henri helping me a lot to make the first split which was crucial to not lose any seconds. It’s an amazing day for me and the team and it shows that we’re here in a good way, and we can enjoy the last five days of racing. Tomorrow I’ll just try and enjoy the experience of being in the leaders jersey and everything around it.”
2nd on the stage, Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious): “Today was an expected opportunity for me in the sprint. We had a few climbs in the middle part, but everything came back together. Then in the final, we were good together, but with 15-20km to go, there were crosswinds and a split, but Dylan, Wout and I were in the first group that was getting smaller. I positioned myself well for the final sprint and came through second in the last corner. Today, I expected a bit of a tailwind and a fast finish, but when I started the sprint, it felt like a slight headwind, so, unfortunately, Groves came across me in the last 50m, and I’m disappointed I couldn’t get the win.”
7th on the stage and 2nd overall, Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco): “It was a pretty stressful day actually, and I think after yesterday everyone sort of knew we had quite a strong team here, especially for the crosswind sections. We were riding at the front, but everyone was coming up and fighting all day, I think it was a more difficult day than we expected. We’ve been fighting for this for a long time, and to be a part of Kaden’s first WorldTour victory is something special. We were close on the last stage of Tirreno, but just fell short, and today we were able to pull it off. I think with me winning yesterday and being able to do a lead-out in the leader’s jersey and my teammate winning, what more can we ask for?”
8th overall, Sergio Higuita (BORA-hansgrohe): “The beginning of the stage went quite ok today, but then when the wind started to get stronger, it got a lot more tense. The whole team was very well placed until the final few kilometres, but ultimately I was the only one who made the cut into the first group. It was a pity that Jai wasn’t able to bridge the gap to us. But I’m relieved to have safely gotten through another stressful day here in the Volta a Catalunya.”
Volta a Catalunya Stage 2 Result:
1. Kaden Groves (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco in 4:44:28
2. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain Victorious
3. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
4. Ethan Vernon (GB) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
5. Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates
6. Manuel Peñalver Aniorte (Spa) Burgos-BH
7. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
8. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
9. Henri Vandenabeele (Bel) DSM
10. Mattias Skjelmose (Den) Trek-Segafredo.
Volta a Catalunya Overall After Stage 2:
1. Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (Nor) DSM in 8:31:28
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:01
3. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Arkea-Samsic at 0:07
4. Mattias Skjelmose (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 0:11
5. Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates
6. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
7. Tobias Halland Johannessen (Nor) Uno-X
8. Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) BORA-hansgrohe
9. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
10. Sam Oomen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma.
Ben O’Connor won Stage 3 of the Volta a Catalunya. The 26-year-old Australian won on the Catalan climb of La Molina after a short solo. Juan Ayuso and Nairo Quintana were second and third a few seconds later. O’Connor also took over the leader’s jersey from Jonas Hvideberg. Tom Dumoulin abandoned.
With Jonas Iversby Hvideberg of DSM in the leader’s jersey, the peloton had to cover 161.1 kilometres. Mont-Louis (cat. 1) was after 80 kilometres and the Collada de Toses (cat. 1) was 30 kilometres from the finish, the summit finish was on La Molina (cat. 1). From the start the pace of the peloton was very high and no one managed to get away for a long time. After about 30 kilometres, four managed to break free. Mikel Bizkarra (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH), Casper Pedersen (DSM) and Simone Petilli (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) made up the break. With Pedersen in the break, DSM didn’t have to take control for the overall leader, Hvideberg. Movistar took it upon themselves to do the work for Alejandro Valverde, who won on La Molina in 2017 and 2018.
The four built up a lead of almost 8:30, as several riders in the peloton abandoned: Fausto Masnada (Quick-Step), Marius Mayrhofer (DSM), Jumbo-Visma leader Tom Dumoulin and stage 1 winner, Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) who had been vomiting. Movistar were still doing most of the work in pursuit. On the run-up to the second climb of the day, Toni Palzer of BORA-hansgrohe also helped with the chase. The lead stated to drop. Bizkarra turned out to be the strongest and was named the most combative rider of the day. After the Collada de Toses, three other teams took over: Jumbo-Visma, Israel-Premier Tech and BikeExchange-Jayco.
The four escapees rode on to the final climb, Bizkarra left his comrades behind at the foot of La Molina. Because there was a headwind, attacking was not easy. The Belgian climber Henri Vandenabeele (DSM) tried to get to the front of the race and he soon overtook the little climber of Euskaltel-Euskadi. Ben O’Connor then came up strongly from behind. He soon joined Vandenabeele, only to leave him behind soon after. At that moment, Simon Yates had sit up as he too was being sick on the bike like Matthews. The BikeExchange-Jayco team must have eaten something wrong. Behing O’Connor there was no organisation and attacking in the headwind proved to be no mean feat. Youngsters like Ilan Van Wilder, Juan Ayuso and Tobias Halland Johannessen tried, but nobody got away. As a result, the Australian AG2R Citroën rider was able to stay out of the grip of the other favourites and win solo. The first pursuers after him were at 6 seconds.
Stage winner and overall leader, Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën): “Luckily I was able to keep it up. I’ve had a difficult month because I’ve been very ill. To then come back and win right away is great! Every year I set a goal for myself to win somewhere, so it’s great that I can do that so early in the year. I was very confident after the first two stages, because I know I’m in shape. La Molina is a climb that suits me well. I had not expected a solo due to the headwind, I had hoped that a number of men would come along. In the end I had to fix it myself and was lucky enough to be able to keep it up. I think I can hold my own here in the mountains. I have to be smart on Thursday and see who will attack. I didn’t see what happened behind me, but I do think it’s up to other teams to make the race hard. This is a tricky race. I know that crazy things can always happen in that last stage in Barcelona, it’s a tough stage. But I will do my best and I am confident that I can secure the overall victory.”
2nd on the stage and overall, Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates): “It was hard to get clear on the last climb as there was a strong headwind but I think O’Connor timed it well so hats off to him for staying away. I tried two or three times but I couldn’t forge a gap, it’s a pity we couldn’t close him in the final, but we came close. It will be another hard day tomorrow but the legs are good so we’ll give it another shot.”
4th on the stage and overall, Sergio Higuita (BORA-hansgrohe): “Our first mountaintop finish was tough, but I think we put in a solid performance. The whole team worked to support Jai and me all day, and we were always in a good position, thanks especially to the help of Anton and Ben. We thought that it would be possible to win the stage with an attack from Jai or perhaps an uphill sprint with me. However, in the end, O’Connor was very strong and was able to keep enough of a gap between himself and us in the chase group. I came close to reaching a podium place in the uphill sprint from the reduced group. Having finished fourth on the stage and now sitting fourth overall, I think we can say that the legs were there today. Now we hope to recover well from today and we will see what will be possible tomorrow.”
Volta a Catalunya Stage 3 Result:
1. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën in 4:12:51
2. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 0:06
3. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa Samsic
4. Sergio Higuita (Col) BORA-hansgrohe
5. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain Victorious
7. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
8. Tobias Halland Johannessen (Nor) Uno-X
9. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
10. Damien Howson (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:09.
Volta a Catalunya Overall After Stage 3:
1. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën in 12:44:20
2. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 0:10
3. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa Samsic at 0:12
4. Sergio Higuita (Col) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:16
5. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
6. Tobias Halland Johannessen (Nor) Uno-X
7. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain Victorious
8. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
9. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:19.
Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali 2022
Mauro Schmid won Stage 1 of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali. In Riccione he beat Eddie Dunbar, who he had escaped with 20 kilometres from the finish. Ethan Hayter was third and Mathieu van der Poel crossed the line in fourth.
The route went up and down continuously in the foothills of the Apennines, and with riders such as Mathieu van der Poel, Diego Ulissi, Ethan Hayter and Geraint Thomas on the start list the race organisers would be happy.
The break of the day was established in the first kilometres. Simon Pellaud (Trek-Segaredo), Tom Paquot (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Gidas Umbri (Colpack Ballan) and Giovanni Bortoluzzi (Work Service) gained more than 4 minutes lead. On the Mondaino, the first climb of the day, Bortoluzzi was first. In the second hour of the race the peloton accelerated and the lead started to shrink. With 50 kilometres to go, Umbri was dropped and the remaining three had a lead of 1 minute. Bortoluzzi was also first on the Grotta di Onferno. After this climb, the leading group fell apart. Pellaud rode alone for some time, but at 34 kilometres from the finish the peloton was complete again. The steep Montefiore Conca was next.
On the Montefiore Conca, Eddie Dunbar attacked and the Irishman from INEOS Grenadiers came over the top first, ahead of Van der Poel and Dion Smith. A new leading group was formed at the head of the race with Dunbar and Mauro Schmid. The duo started the last 20 kilometres with almost 20 seconds on a first group with about 20 riders, the peloton had split to pieces. That first chasing group included Vincenzo Nibali, Tobias Foss, Thomas, Hayter, Jan Polanc, Ulissi, Marc Hirschi and Van der Poel. Dunbar and Schmid then extended their lead to over 40 seconds, with UAE Team Emirates in particular leading the chase. The escape managed to hold on to their lead to the finish in Riccione. Schmid was the first across the finish line, his first victory since his stage win in last year’s Giro d’Italia. Behind Schmid and Dunbar, Hayter won the sprint for third place. Van der Poel and Natnael Tesfatsion completed the top five.
Stage winner and overall leader, Mauro Schmid (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “The team was really strong and did a perfect job, keeping the pace quite high on the climbs in the final 50 kilometres, so we were always in a good position. We all knew it would come down to the steep climb inside the last 30 kilometres, I was sure that you need to be up there in the front. Dunbar went on the ascent, at which point I was suffering a bit, but I remained in the group and as soon as we crested the top, I attacked, having previously noticed everybody was looking at each other. I just went as hard as I could and nobody followed, and I soon closed the gap. Then we rode the last 20 kilometres together and we kept the pace high, taking out our advantage to almost one minute. I had confidence in my sprint, because I know that it’s good at the end of the day, and just waited as long as possible before kicking out. Today everything went perfect and we couldn’t have had a better start to the week. I think Italy is a good place for me. I like the roads and the terrain suits me quite well, and bringing it home today makes me very happy. Taking my first win with the Wolfpack it’s fantastic, I already felt good in Oman where I finished top 10 overall last month, but this success takes some weight off my shoulders and makes me really confident for the upcoming stages here at Coppi e Bartali.”
4th on the stage and overall, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “It was tough because the riding was really fast. I was in good shape on that last climb. After that it was a bit of a hope that they closed the gap. They were two strong riders in the lead, who also got away at a difficult moment in the race. I couldn’t help but hope they would close it. How do I feel now? Well, good. They rode really fast on the climbs and I’m happy with the feeling I had. On to tomorrow.”
Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Stage 1 Result:
1. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 4:12:58
2. Edward Dunbar (Irl) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:02
3. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:16
4. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
5. Natnael Tesfatsion (Eri) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
6. Thomas Pesenti (Ita) Beltrami-TSA-Tre Colli
7. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8. Matteo Sobrero (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco
9. Cristian Scaroni (Ita) Italy
10. Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates.
Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Overall After Stage 1:
1. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 4:12.58
2. Edward Dunbar (Irl) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:06
3. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:22
4. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:26
5. Natnael Tesfatsion (Eri) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
6. Thomas Pesenti (Ita) Beltrami-TSA-Tre Colli
7. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8. Matteo Sobrero (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco
9. Cristian Scaroni (Ita) Italy
10. Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates.
The Second Stage of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali was won by Ethan Hayter. The INEOS Grenadiers rider was the best after a tough hilly stage of almost 166 kilometres finishing on the Muro del Belvedere in Longiano. He was ahead of Matteo Sobrero (BikeExchange-Jayco) and teammate Ben Tulett.
The final took place on a local circuit of almost 23 kilometres, which included climbs to Roncofreddo (7.5km at 3.5%) and Bivio Monteleone (2.3km at 6.6%). The finish was on a third climb, the Muro del Belvedere (900 meters at 10%) with ramps of up to 15%. Before the local circuits, the break of the day had already started with: Julius van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost), Patrick Gamper (BORA-hansgrohe), Samuele Zambelli (Work Service Vitalcare Vega) and Edoardo Zardini (Drone Hopper-Androni Gioccatoli). They took a maximum lead of 5 minutes on the peloton, where Alpecin-Fenix set the pace. Mathieu van der Poel attacked on the first Bivio Monteleone, about 100 kilometres before the finish. He was eventually joined by teammate Oscar Riesebeek, Cian Uijtdebroeks, Omer Goldstein and Johannes Staune-Mittet, but that group was quickly pulled back.
Van den Berg, Gamper and Zardini held out the longest of the leading group. Behind them it was restless again with three laps to go, Van der Poel attacked with Riesebeek. A group with Diego Ulissi, Vincenzo Nibali crossed to the leading group, but again a regrouping followed, although the peloton was small. A succession of attacks meant that Mauro Schmid, Tuesday’s stage winner and GC leader, was dropped early. INEOS Grenadiers then took matters into their own hands, as they had Eddie Dunbar as the virtual leader and also aimed for stage win with Ethan Hayter. At the Bivio Monteleone for the last time, Hayter, like Erik Fetter, put in an attack but it didn’t hold. In the last 10 kilometres Van der Poel had to pay his previous efforts, as did Geraint Thomas. However, the Dutchman managed to fight back on the descent towards the final climb to the Muro del Belvedere. Andres Ardila had pulled away just before the climb, but got nowhere. Then it was Hayter who made the winning jump ahead of Matteo Sobrero and teammate Ben Tulett.
Stage winner and 3rd overall, Ethan Hayter (INEOS Grenadiers): “It’s really nice to get that first win of the year. I started my training quite late and had COVID in January to mix in with that, so I’ve been struggling a little bit in the longer races. Time trials are short efforts so I think you can get away with it a little bit but it meant I knew the form was there. Today’s stage was hard – really hard, all day. Alpecin rode and then Van der Poel attacked with 100km to go. Everyone panicked and started jumping but we always had guys there in the moves and we were on the front foot. We wanted to race aggressively today but as soon as the leader Schmid was dropped we had Eddie in the virtual lead. We decided then it was better just to control the race and G was so, so strong. I had to tell him to slow down at one point! Three of us attacked, me, Ben and Eddie, and formed a group of eight over the final climb just before the finish, so we had a little head start. UAE had to work to pull us back and we dropped Van der Poel, so it was perfect. There’s still three really hard days to go but we’re first, second and fourth on GC and there’s not many teams with numbers at the front. We have the team to control the race but if we didn’t, the three of us can take turns following moves. It’s perfect. Eddie and Ben are going really well too – well, the whole team here is to be honest. We’re hoping we can do the business.”
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “I still have to put in some hard work. Maybe it wasn’t the best day today, but all in all it was a good day. This stage was good training for me. I still have to gain some hardness in the races towards the upcoming classics.”
Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Stage 2 Result:
1. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 4:11:46
2. Matteo Sobrero (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco
3. Ben Tulett (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
4. Nicola Conci (Ita) Italy
5. Natnael Tesfazion (Eri) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
6. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
7. Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates
8. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) BORA-hansgrohe
9. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
10. Floris De Tier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix.
Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Overall After Stage 2:
1. Eddie Dunbar (Irl) INEOS Grenadiers in 8:24:40
2. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:06
3. Matteo Sobrero (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:14
4. Ben Tulett (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:16
5. Natnael Tesfatsion (Eri) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli at 0:20
6. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
7. Nicola Conci (Ita) Italy
8. Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates
9. Thomas Pesenti (Ita) Beltrami TSA-Tre Colli
10. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo.
Minerva Classic Brugge-De Panne 2022
Tim Merlier won the Minerva Brugge-De Panne Classic on Wednesday. After 208 kilometres the Alpecin-Fenix rider was the first to cross the finish-line in De Panne in the inevitable bunch sprint. He beat Dylan Groenewegen by a tyres width.
There were three early escapees: Dimitri Peyskens (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Jens Reynders (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), they took a lead of more than 7 minutes. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, BORA-hansgrohe and Alpecin-Fenix led the peloton in the chase. When the lead was down to around 2 minutes, the peloton eased off the chase as they didn’t want to bring them back too early. Battaglin was eventually caught in De Moeren more than 30 kilometres from the finish, the other two were caught soon after. Then it was up to the sprinter’s teams to keep the pace high.
Dylan Groenewegen’s BikeExchange-Jayco team wanted to be in control, but Trek-Segafredo, Lotto Soudal, Groupama-FDJ and DSM were also keen. Jordi Meeus punctured just before the final, but got back with difficulty. The finalé was chaotic, because no train could keep control. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl led the way, but Mark Cavendish was nowhere to be seen. Olav Kooij was the first to start the sprint, but he was too early. Dylan Groenewegen and Tim Merlier came past to finish side by side. A photo finish had to split the two sprinters and Merlier was given the victory. Nacer Bouhanni finished third, ahead of Max Walscheid and Kooij.
Race winner, Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix): “I really had to gasp. Every week a race on Wednesday please. I didn’t know if Olav Kooij was going to stay on his line, so I doubt a little too long. After that it was beautiful side by side with Dylan. Thought I had it, but it came up again and so I had to wait. Apparently it was just enough. It was indescribable. If you show images from the peloton… I am especially happy that I am safe at the finish, and that I won is twice as good. We knew the dangerous parts, but a fresh peloton is dangerous at every finish. It is also always difficult with the bike path, because sometimes you can’t help but ride on it. That is even more dangerous, because you also want to get off as quickly as possible. I am very happy with this victory. It’s my third of the season and my second in the WorldTour. I am proud of that.”
2nd, Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange-Jayco): “Of course, it was hectic, but it always is in sprinting and in the Belgian sprints it is always worse. We were in a really good position, it was a really good team effort, I was the whole final kilometres in the front, so I saved a lot of energy and in the end, Luka Mezgec did an amazing effort to put me in a good position. I was in a good position but Tim was a little bit stronger but that is the nice thing about sprinting. I don’t like it when I lose but that is sprinting, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Now we have second place, it is a nice second place but of course if you lose with a small gap, it is frustrating, but we are looking towards the next race.”
Sam Bennett (BORA-hansgrohe): “I’m really proud of how the we raced today as a team, in the end it was a question of my condition and my legs. We started pulling in the peloton pretty early and the guys did a great job for me. In the final it was super fast and hard, I’m still missing the final punch a bit to close gaps and accelerate again and again. Within the last kilometre there was a crash that caused a bit of chaos and I lost the wheel of Danny van Poppel who rode a fantastic finale for me. I’m sure a better result would have been possible on the wheel of Danny. We have some tough weeks behind us but when we keep riding like this results will click rather sooner than later!”
Minerva Classic Brugge-De Panne 2022
1. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix in 4:45:41
2. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
4. Max Walscheid (Ger) Cofidis
5. Olav Kooij (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
6. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
7. Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
8. Arnaud De Lie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
10. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain Victorious.
Sonny Colbrelli’s Condition Stable
Sonny Colbrelli’s situation is stable, the Bahrain Victorious team announced in a press release. The Italian collapsed immediately after the finish of stage 1 of the Volta a Catalunya on Monday and was taken to hospital after heart massage by the race medical team.
Colbrelli was transported to the University Hospital of Girona, where he was being monitored by the doctors. “After the sprint in the opening stage of the Tour of Catalonia, Sonny Colbrelli fell unconscious. He received further medical attention and was in stable condition when he was taken by ambulance to Girona hospital,” the press release read.
“His condition will be further investigated there. Bahrain Victorious would like to thank the organisers and medical teams for their support and assistance. Further updates will follow.”
The European champion, who has only just returned to the race after a period of illness, is conscious and can also talk and move, but is feeling bad, the team told various media.
*** Up Date ***
Tour of Catalonia: Sonny Colbrelli Suffered Cardiac Arrest
The organisers of the Tour of Catalonia has given more information about the health situation of Sonny Colbrelli in an official press release. The Italian collapsed immediately after the finish of stage 1. The Bahrain Victorious rider suffered a cardiac arrest, it now appears.
The European champion, who crossed the line in second place in Sant Feliu de Guíxols, suddenly lost consciousness almost immediately after the finish. “With convulsions that led to cardiac arrest. Rescuers then sprang into action and were able to turn the situation around with the help of a chest compressions and a defibrillator. The rider’s condition stabilised and he was taken to hospital.”
In the meantime, messages of support for Colbrelli have been coming in on social media. Remco Evenepoel wished him a speedy recovery. Michael Matthews, who beat Colbrelli on stage 1 on Monday. “Hope you’re okay buddy, I wish you a speedy recovery,” Matthews said on Instagram. Colbrelli responded: “Thank you so much. And congratulations,” for the stage victory.
Terrible scenes at the finish of Catalunya stage 1:
Stig Broeckx: “Everyone Around Amy Pieters Should Keep Hope”
Amy Pieters had a serious crash on December 23 during a training camp with the Dutch track team in Calpe. Since that day she has been in a deep coma. The accident of the Dutch champion has hit Stig Broeckx hard. The Belgian crashed in the 2016 Tour of Belgium after a motorbike drove into the peloton. For more than six months he was in a deep coma and there was hardly any hope. Now he is an example of positiveness and still making progress step by step.
Stig Broeckx has been
Stig Broeckx thinks that Amy Pieters’ accident is terrible. In an interview with Helden Magazine, he talks about the Team SD Worx rider. “I know Amy a little,” said Broeckx. “She is a year younger than me, while her brother Roy is a year older. We used to run into them when I raced in the younger categories in the Netherlands. I often think of her. Amy is no ordinary rider. On the bike she was someone who could suffer enormously. She will fight now too. But at this stage of a coma, you need care most of all.”
“Everyone around her must keep hope,” emphasised Broeckx. “During that period, my family furnished my hospital room as if it were my own bedroom. They put up posters, put up pictures and played ‘my’ music. As a result, they also felt more at home in the hospital. Friends also regularly came to visit.”
“Of course I can’t remember anything about that and I don’t know if I noticed it then. You don’t know what’s going on in your unconscious. But now I have the feeling that all this has been beneficial after all. I don’t know Amy’s current situation, so it’s hard to say anything about her. I can only tell about my process. Amy is a top athlete who has achieved a lot in cycling thanks to her character and mentality. They should never give up. Never say never…”
Amy Pieters still in a deep coma:
Tom Pidcock Out Until Stomach Problem Solved
It is still uncertain when Tom Pidcock will return to competition. His INEOS Grenadiers team first wants to know where the stomach problems come from that plagued the cyclo-cross World champion on Saturday in Milan-San Remo, and earlier also in Strade Bianche.
Pidcock was one of the favourites at the start of Milan-San Remo, but after the Turchino, he had stomach problems and on the Capo Berta he couldn’t hold on to the peloton. Some time later he gave up the race. Due to his problem, he had to make an emergency toilet stop, his sports director Kurt Bogaerts told Het Laatste Nieuws. “It wasn’t a stomach bug, but Tom had to go to the toilet suddenly. Even afterwards, his stomach did not feel one hundred percent healthy. There was no point in racing further.”
Earlier this month, Pidcock was unable to start Strade Bianche due to stomach problems, a similar problem to what happened in Milan-San Remo. In consultation with the medical staff, it was then decided to send the rider home to Manchester. After two days he recovered and traveled to Andorra to complete a planned altitude training camp. “The altitude training went smoothly. We were able to complete all training sessions as planned. On seven days, Tom trained for more than thirty hours and with the necessary intensity,” said Bogaerts.
There was no more stomach problems, but they played up again on Saturday in Milan-San Remo. “Maybe because you have to ‘fuel’ a lot in such a long race? The strange thing is that he doesn’t really feel sick,” his team director continues. The team takes complaints very seriously. The cause must be determined by means of blood tests. His next race should be Dwars door Vlaanderen (on Wednesday March 30), but that is now uncertain. “We are not going to make a race schedule until this problem is solved.”
Stomach problems for Pidcock:
Nizzolo Struggling with Fracture of the Wrist
Giacomo Nizzolo will have to take a time out. Israel-Premier Tech’s sprinter crashed in the final of Milan-Sanremo final on Saturday and had a CT scan on Monday. It turns out that Nizzolo suffered from a fracture of his left wrist.
For most of Milan-Sanremo, things looked promising for Nizzolo. The sprinter was able to follow the attacks and survived the climb of the Poggio, but then he fell. “It happened on a descent, in a hairpin bend of the Poggio. Although I immediately recovered, I was unable to catch up with Wout van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel and the rest.”
Nizzolo eventually reached the finish in 18th place, 21 seconds behind winner Matej Mohorič. The 33-year-old complained afterwards about a sore wrist and a CT scan was called for. Now that it clear that the Italian suffers from a fracture of his wrist, he will not race in the coming weeks.
His Israel-Premier Tech team will keep a close eye on the situation and put together an alternative program as soon as possible. However, Nizzolo will have to forget the spring Classics.
No Classics for Nizzolo:
Trek-Segafredo Manager Never Felt Like Pidcock Was on the Market
There is a good chance that Tom Pidcock will stay with INEOS Grenadiers. Pidcock’s contract expires at the end of this year with INEOS Grenadiers, and various teams have been making offers, including Trek-Segafredo. “Unfortunately, it seemed clear from day one that he would rather stay with INEOS,” team manager Luca Guercilena told VeloNews.
“He was the man on the market, the big boy. Of course we spoke with his agent about the possibilities for a transfer,” said Guercilena, who spoke with Pidcock at the cyclo-cross World championships in Fayetteville, USA. However, the Italian could not count on too much interest from Pidcock and his followers. “It never felt like he was actually on the market.”
BORA-hansgrohe and EF Education-EasyPost have also been interested in 22-year-old Pidcock. Rumour has it that BORA-hansgrohe would have offered a salary of five million euros per year. The cyclo-cross World champion and Olympic mountain bike champion, however, does not seem to agree. According to a VeloNews source, a deal between INEOS Grenadiers and Pidcock is “99% complete”.
Tom Pidcock will probably stay with INEOS:
Patrick Lefevere Presents Women’s Team: AG Insurance Main Sponsor
Patrick Lefevere presented his new women’s cycling team in Gent this week. As expected, the team manager of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl will collaborate with the Dutch NXTG Racing Team. AG Insurance will be the main sponsor until 2025 and the team will be known as AG-NXTG.
Lefevere said he was going to invest in women’s cycling earlier this year. The employment agency Experza, of which the team manager of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl is co-founder, is joining forces with UCI team NXTG Racing. “Women’s cycling is growing very fast. At the moment, however, I have the feeling that there are not enough riders of a certain level for all the current WorldTour teams,” Lefevere said at the end of December. “That’s why I do it the other way around and we start with juniors and young riders. By offering them an environment in which they can develop. That is how I came into contact with founder Natascha Knaven-den Ouden and we started talking. We need to increase the pool of quality riders in the peloton. That’s how you grow the sport. That is how you make the sport more sustainable.”
The existing NXTG team is a project of founder Natascha den Ouden, partner of ex-rider Servais Knaven. A lot will change within the team. For example, AG Insurance, a partner of the Belgian cycling federation for 25 years, will bring a new main sponsor on board who will provide substantial financial support. It is a longer term project as AG Insurance is committed to the team until 2025. The team already wants to be part of the Women’s WorldTour next year. From 2023 there will also be a junior and U23 team. “This makes it a unique project. We hope we are not the last team. We hope that we can be a source of inspiration for other top teams to create a development team in the future as well. I think that is the key in this entire project,” Den Ouden said at the press conference.
“We were looking for a women’s team to start from scratch and build real foundations,” added Lefevere. “Natascha’s project is a perfect fit. We have a track record ourselves when it comes to working with and training young riders. We will be applying the same philosophy with this team, giving young and talented riders a clear and sustainable path to develop themselves. In the spirit, culture and philosophy that define The Wolfpack’s day-to-day operations.” AG-NXTG will race under the new name and in the new outfits from Thursday in the Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne.
New sponsor for NXTG Racing Team:
Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB Confirms Attilio Viviani Signing
Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB has signed Attilio Viviani. EUROTRASH reported last week that the Belgian professional team was looking to sign Elia’s younger brother, but it is now official and he has a contract for 2022.
Team manager Christophe Brandt is pleased to welcome the 25-year-old Italian, who has been out of contract since the beginning of 2022, to his squad. “We are convinced that he will be an asset to our team, especially because of his talent as a sprinter. Attilio will strengthen our team in the context of the hustle and bustle of our program, especially in the 1.1 races on the Belgian calendar that he already knows.”
Viviani thanks Brandt on the team website for his trust. “I’m on the right track to reach my best level and be competitive in the sprints. My training is going very well and I am making rapid progress. I am a road sprinter. I like nervous races with a flat profile or with small climbs, cobblestones also suit me, unless they are as tough as in Paris-Roubaix.”
Viviani made the step to the pros with Cofidis in 2020, after he had been a stagiere with the team a year earlier. He then won the Schaal Sels in Merksem. In his first professional year he won a stage and a lot of top 10 places in La Tropicale Amissa Bongo. Last year he didn’t have any victories and his contract with Cofidis was not renewed.
Attilio Viviani to Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB:
Trek-Segafredo Wants Thibau Nys as a Stagiere
Trek-Segafredo will give Thibau Nys a try in the WorldTour this summer. The 19-year-old cross rider will be a stagiere with the team from August, and will probably move up to be part of the team in 2023.
The news was announced in a Het Nieuwsblad interview with Trek-Segafredo manager Luca Guercilena on Tuesday. Guercilena, who has been in contact with the Nys family for some time and also Trek is the main sponsor of the Nys Baloise-Trek Lions team. There will possibly be an arrangement whereby Nys can ride for his father’s team in the winter as he will be there until 2024, and for Guercilena in the summer. This seems to be why the American team has gone for a stagiere contract this summer. “Thibau will mainly get chances in one-day races, and can then concentrate on the cross again. We would like to give him a place in our WorldTeam from 2023, but the UCI rules are not really clear in that regard. We have a similar arrangement with Lucinda Brand and Shirin van Anrooij, but the rules are different for women than for men. Both Baloise Trek and Trek-Segafredo are UCI licensed and it is not clear what is and is not allowed. But we don’t expect this to be a problem.”
Guercilena will handle the U23 European champion with care. “Thibau is still very young and we don’t want to push him too much. Everything will be done in consultation with his staff, we do not want to skip a single step. And don’t destroy a nineteen-year-old boy, without going overboard. He should also reach his peak on the road in about five years.”
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Gent-Wevelgem (March 27)
Oliver Naesen: “The E3 Saxo Bank Classic and Gent-Wevelgem are two very beautiful classics. I’m looking forward to them, especially after missing Milano-Sanremo (sick), which is an important race for me. The E3 Saxo Bank Classic is the most difficult classic of the year and I think the series of climbs suits me well. In recent years I have always managed to be in the leading group, so I hope I can be there again. In Gent-Wevelgem, I am a little less in control of my destiny, but anything is possible in the sprint after such a long day (249km). I have a few questions about my form after the flu which forced me to abandon Paris-Nice, but I am motivated to achieve great things with the AG2R CITROËN TEAM.”
Trentin Returns to Lead Gent-Wevelgem Line-Up
Matteo Trentin will make his return after a crash at Paris-Nice to lead the squad at Gent-Wevelgem, one of the key classic races in the spring calendar. Pascal Ackermann also comes into the squad in fine form after his recent victory at the Bredene Koksijde classic.
The teams will be led by the Sports Director pairing of Fabio Baldato (Ita) and Aart Vierhouten (Ned) with Marco Marcato (Ita).
Matteo Trentin: “I’m pleased to say I’m coming back. After my crash at Paris-Nice I took some time off the bike and day by day I’ve started to feel better. I missed some training and am definitely not quite in top shape but I know these races well and I hope that experience can count for something. I stood on the podium at Gent-Wevelgem last year so I know it’s a race that can suit me if things go our way on the day. As a team we’re really motivated and excited for the next few weeks racing here in Belgium.”
Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields [1.UWT] – 27-Mar-2022:
Pascal Ackermann (Ger)
Mikkel Bjerg (Dan)
Alexys Brunel (Fra)
Matteo Trentin (Ita)
Rui Oliveira (Por)
Maximiliano Richeze (Arg)
Oliviero Troia (Ita).
Australians Baker & Roseman-Gannon Ready for their First Experience of Gent-Wevelgem
Team BikeExchange-Jayco women are back in Belgium ready to tackle this week’s Flemish Classics with Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday.
Italian Arianna Fidanza is back in action after a cruel crash in the closing metres of Nokere Koerse ruled her out of a top-10 finish.
The route for Gent-Wevelgem is slightly modified for 2022, with riders taking on 159km, including seven short and sharp Flemish hills. The steep and cobbled Kemmelberg is the final obstacle before the finale is played out on the flat roads into Wevelgem.
Team BikeExchange-Jayco Line-Up:
Jess Allen (AUS)
Georgia Baker (AUS)
Teniel Campbell (TTO)
Arianna Fidanza (ITA)
Alex Manly (AUS)
Ruby Roseman-Gannon (AUS).
Georgia Baker: “It’s my first time racing De Panne and Gent-Wevelgen. I’ve learnt a lot from the first half of the spring races and I’m hoping to bring those learnings and confidence into these next races as we ramp up to some bigger goals. We expect the wind to impact the outcome of both races, but we have a strong team so we hope to be there at the pointy end with as many riders as possible so we can fight it out for the win.”
Andrew Smith (Sport Director for Gent-Wevelgem): “This year’s edition has a slightly harder and longer route than 2021. The climbs are more concentrated, and we have an ascent up the steep side of the Kemmelberg, which will potentially make it more selective, even with some potential windy sections early on. We’ll enter the race with a two-pronged approach. We’ll attempt to get our protected riders Ruby Roseman-Gannon and Alex Manly as fresh as possible into the last 30km. We feel that Ruby has a good chance in the finish. Of course, with the new route we’re ready for potential crosswinds and other riders to take opportunities.”
Gent – Wevelgem in Flandres Fields – MAR 27
Phil West – Team DSM coach: “At Gent – Wevelgem, we need to be prepared for a tactical race as well as a purely physical one. Even though there might be less climbing than some of the other Belgian classics we’re sure it will still be a hard day. It will be important to be present in the front of the race and make sure we are represented in any splits and moves. Once we get to and over the first passage of the Kemmelberg, we need to be ready to go all-in until the final passage. Doing so in a good way as a team will lay the foundation for the final – where we aim to play our multiple cards.”
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Cees Bol (NED)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Niklas Märkl (GER).
Gent – Wevelgem in Flandres Fields – MAR 27
Huub Duijn – Team DSM coach: “The classic race that is Gent-Wevelgem has a bit of everything. This year’s race lacks the plug streets but makes up for it with the inclusion of the ‘Moeren’ and the Kemmelberg, which will be ascended twice. We have a team that can make use of all different aspects of this race, which gives us multiple options. We have to be attentive if there is wind in the Moeren, and we have riders that can be with the best over the Kemmelberg and through the hills. The race can be decided in a sprint as well and if that happens we will aim to put Lorena in a good position as our finisher for that scenario.”
Megan Jastrab (USA)
Charlotte Kool (NED)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Lorena Wiebes (NED).
John Degenkolb back in Wevelgem:
BC Superweek Pro Cycling Series Goes on Hiatus
BC Superweek members have made the difficult decision to put the professional cycling series on hiatus until 2023.
The events that make up BC Superweek require significant planning and resources, and as communities continue to navigate the impacts of the pandemic, there is still a great deal of uncertainty in regards to event sponsorship and international travel for race participants.
These hurdles make it difficult for race organisers to make the essential preparations to host a BC Superweek series this July. However, the City of Burnaby has indicated that it will host the Giro di Burnaby in some form this summer as an independent event.
The Tour de Delta, New West Grand Prix, Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, Giro di Burnaby, PoCo Grand Prix, and Tour de White Rock look forward to reconvening over the next 10 months with an eye on bringing world-class professional cycling back to the Lower Mainland in 2023.
BC Superweek is Canada’s biggest professional road cycling series and features more than $140,000 in prize money with nine races over ten days. The series is made up of the Tour de Delta, New West Grand Prix, Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, Giro di Burnaby, PoCo Grand Prix, and Tour de White Rock.
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