Britain wants the Tour Grand Départ in 2026 – TOP STORY. Loads of other news: Wout van Aert is the Flandrien of the year, Jasper Stuyven not impressed with Evenepoel, Tiesj Benoot resigns from DSM, Óscar Sevilla not going to stop, Davide Rebellin back on his bike, Alejandro Valverde one more year, Vincenzo Nibali to ride five Monuments and Peter Pieters no longer Belgian track coach. Contract news from Wout Poels, Stijn Steels, James Shaw, Stan Van Tricht, Kristen Faulkner, Geraint Thomas, Jasper De Plus, Andrea Bagioli, Dmitriy Gruzdev, Artyom Zakharov and Kelland O’Brien. Team news: UCI Team Ranking, British Cycling Federation discredited, new Movistar staff, BikeExchange, B&B Hotels, EOLO-KOMETA, Team Novo Nordisk, UAE Team Emirates and USA Cycling. Race news: UAE Tour and Giro d’Italia Criterium. World champion Julian Alaphilippe publishes book. Thursday EUROTRASH coffee time.
TOP STORY: Great Britain Hopes to Get the Tour de France Start in 2026
Great Britain is a candidate to organise the start of the Tour de France in 2026. The Tour de France visited Great Britain twice and in 2014 Britain were also responsible for the Grand Départ of the Tour.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has confirmed Britain’s candidacy. The plan is to run stages across the UK in 2026, with routes through England, Wales and Scotland. The candidacy fits in with a larger plan of the British government, because in addition to the Tour start in 2026, the Britain also want to organise the Rugby World Cup for women in 2025 and they dream of the World Cup in 2030.
A total of 40 million pounds (47.5 million euros) will be made available for these ambitious plans. The last time the Tour visited Great Britain was in 2014. The 101st edition of the Tour de France was launched in Leeds. The first leg finished in Harrogate, stage two in Sheffield and the third and final leg across British soil took place between Cambridge and London. Also in 1994, the Tour circus went to Great Britain for stages to Brighton and Portsmouth, won by Francisco Cabello and Nicola Minali.
Nibali won in Sheffield Tour’14:
Van Aert wins Flandrien Award for Third Year
Wout van Aert is the Flandrien of the year 2021, awarded by Het Nieuwsblad. Van Aert beat Tim Merlier and Jasper Stuyven. The Flandrien of the year is voted for by the riders themselves.
Wout van Aert takes the award three years in a row. In 2019 there was barely a point difference with Remco Evenepoel, but last season and this year he towered above his opponents. And with those three in a row, he equals Philippe Gilbert between 2009 and 2011. Tom Boonen also won in three occasions. The record holder is Greg Van Avermaet who won six times, including five in a row.
He is counted among the ‘Big Three’ as wherever Wout van Aert appears at the start, he is among the favourites. Take the last Tour de France where he won the mountain stage with the double passage of the Mont Ventoux, the second time trial and the final sprint on the prestigious Champs-Élysées. It’s not often in cycling that a rider masters three such diverse races. But there was more: In the Tirreno he was on the podium and then he put Gent-Wevelgem on his palmarès and the Amstel Gold Race. He crowned himself Belgian champion and after the Tour he returned from the Olympic Games with a silver medal. After that he won the Tour of Britain and took silver at the World time trial championships. Van Aert finished with a top ten place in Paris-Roubaix.
Despite five championships medals, victories in the Tour of Denmark (two stage victories and final classification), a win in Druivenkoers, Brussels Cycling Classic and the Coppa Bernocchi, Remco Evenepoel received the least number of points of all nominees.
Flandrien 2021 Result:
1. Wout van Aert – 574 points
2. Tim Merlier – 361 points
3. Jasper Stuyven – 355 points
4. Jasper Philipsen – 337 points
5. Remco Evenepoel – 293 points
Paralympian Tim Celen won the Patrick Sercu Trophy, thanks to a world title and two Olympic medals. Tim Declercq was voted best teammate by his colleagues. He beat Jonas Rickaert and Nathan Van Hooydonck. The three ‘young Flandriens’ of the year are newcomers Steffen De Schuteneer, junior Alec Segaert and the promising Thibau Nys. Jolien D’hoore received a lifetime achievement award. The death of cyclo-cross rider Jolien Verschueren, who lost his battle against cancer this year, was also commemorated.
The cycling editors of Het Nieuwsblad chose Tadej Pogačar as Internationale Flandrien. The Slovenian was crowned for his second Tour victory and victories in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy.
Wout van Aert, Flandrien of the year for a third consecutive year. “It is an award that is chosen by colleagues, so I attach great importance to it. It still makes me happy. I have been back from vacation since today (Tuesday). I am here because I attach great importance to this award.” But what is the best cycling moment of 2021 for Van Aert? The Jumbo-Visma rider still remembers with pleasure his stage victory in the Tour, on the stage over the Mont Ventoux. “That was an extraordinary day that will stay with me for the rest of my career. I never thought it was within my power to win a mountain stage. The Ventoux is a mythical place and there were many Belgian supporters present, so it was very special. The picture was right.”
Flandrien again – Wout van Aert:
Jasper Stuyven Not too Impressed with Evenepoel
“Was there was a debriefing after the World championships? Yes. With everyone, except Remco. He didn’t think it was necessary,” said Jasper Stuyven in an interview with Het Nieuwsblad. “Too bad, because he thought it necessary to say things on TV.”
Tomorrow in the Antwerp, the Flandrien 2021 will be awarded, an organised by Het Nieuwsblad. In the run-up to this, the newspaper interviews a number of nominees. Jasper Stuyven is one of them, in addition to – top favourite – Wout van Aert, Tim Merlier, Jasper Philipsen and Remco Evenepoel. Stuyven was not kind to the latter in the interview.
Stuyven was not only talking about his great victory in Milan-San Remo, but also about the missed chance of the Belgian team at the World championships in Leuven, where he just missed a medal. And how he dealt with the first disappointment in the room together with roomie Wout van Aert. “There was another debriefing five days after the World championships, Stuyven said. “Online, through Teams. It took half an hour. An added value. With all World champs Belgians? Everyone, except Remco. He was aware, but didn’t think it was necessary. Too bad, because he did need to say things on TV. Things that have stuck with some of us.”
Earlier, Wout van Aert also gave his opinion about Evenepoel’s statements. The Belgian top talent said that he could have become World champion himself. “He still has to learn when to say things and when not to say things. Also a super strong rider – which he certainly is – should realise that some things should remain internal.”
Stuyven does not believe that Evenepoel could have become World champion. “In the first place, he should have ridden a different race. What he did now – ride full in the early break, gesticulate and be omnipresent until the final started – any sub-topper can do. But even if he had spared himself, he had never ridden away from Alaphilippe.”
The Leuven resident says for the sake of completeness that he could not have become World champion himself, even if he had to lose less energy during the race for Wout van Aert. “I had a great day, kicked my best values ever and maybe I could have followed Alaphilippe. But he still beat me in the sprint. But then I would have been on the podium.”
Jasper Stuyven at the Worlds finish:
Tiesj Benoot Resigns Early from Team DSM
Last summer Tiesj Benoot extended his contract with Team DSM (then Sunweb) until the end of 2022. But an irreparable rift has developed in recent weeks and the team and Benoot will go their separate ways for 2022. WielerFlits that both parties are around the table to split up early and Benoot is now looking for a new team.
The 27-year-old from Gent is not the first rider to split early with the German WorldTour team. Marcel Kittel (2015), Warren Barguil, Edward Theuns (2018), Tom Dumoulin (2019), Michael Matthews (2020), Marc Hirschi (2021) all now Tiesj Benoot is also about to leave Team DSM early.
Last summer there were already struggles between Benoot and the team management, but that was dispelled by sports director Rudi Kemna in an interview with WielerFlits. “There will always be minor internal frictions as we coach our riders to make them better. Not everyone always agrees right away. That doesn’t seem abnormal to me in relationships. Tiesj is mature enough to handle this,” Kemna said at the time.
Even though the peace seemed to have returned, it continues to rumble on at the German-Dutch WorldTour team, but there seems to be new struggles between the team and its Belgian leader. Benoot and Team DSM are about to part ways after this season.
New team for Benoot:
Óscar Sevilla Not Planning to Stop Yet
Óscar Sevilla may be 45 years old, but the Spaniard is not going to stop just yet. In conversation with El Colombiano, Sevilla said that he will continue for at least one more season. “I think I can still contribute a lot and I still love cycling.”
Sevilla made his professional debut in 1998, when he started his first year with Kelme. The climber quickly developed into a successful tour rider, with second in the Vuelta a España in 2001. Sevilla’s career took a major blow in 2006 as he was suspended for involvement with the Spanish ‘Operación Puerto’ doping scandal surrounding doctor Fuentes.
Sevilla returned to the pack after his suspension, but never got another chance with a top team. The Spaniard then embarked on a long ramble through continental teams. Sevilla moved to Colombia and can now call himself half Colombian. Sevilla is married to a Colombian woman, has been living in the South American country for years and also has Colombian nationality in 2012.
Despite his retirement age, Sevilla still enjoys some success on the bike. This year, riding for the continental Team Medellin-EPM, he finished second in the Vuelta al Tachira in Venezuela and third in the Joe Martin Stage Race. What is his key to success? “I’m still just as excited, that’s the key. I also feel good in my place within the team and I still love cycling.”
Sevilla is not thinking about stopping yet. “I don’t want a dream to suddenly become a nightmare, or feel like some kind of obligation. The moment I get up and feel that I can no longer give the same as before, it is time to stop. However, I want to race again next year and after that we will see what happens. At this stage of my career I want to enjoy myself. I still feel young, there is still a spark.”
Óscar Sevilla, still on the road:
Rebellin Back on the Bike: “I Don’t Know Yet if I Can Return to the Peloton”
More than a month after his bad crash in the Memorial Marco Pantani, Davide Rebellin is back on his bike. The 50 year-old Italian can ride the exercise bike, but is only at the beginning of his rehabilitation. “Will I still be back in the peloton? That is unclear at the moment,” Rebellin told OA Sport.
Rebellin crashed heavily in the Memorial Marco Pantani on Saturday, September 18. Work Service Marchiol Vega, the continental team that Rebellin is riding for this year, quickly announced that he was suffering from a broken tibia and a broken fibula. After the crash, the former classic winner was immediately taken to the hospital in Forlì and he ended his season.
However, the Italian has not give up and is now fully engaged in rehabilitation. The only question is whether he will be able to fully recover at 50. “I don’t know yet what to expect after my heavy smack. It is still unclear whether I can return to the peloton and pin a number on again.” One thing is certain: Rebellin will not give up.
“Cycling is my life, my passion. I don’t consider it a sacrifice at all and that’s why I’m still part of the pack. In addition, I still feel good physically and I am still competitive.” Rebellin made his debut as a professional cyclist in 1992, finished seventh in the Turul Romaniei this year, tenth in the Sibiu Cycling Tour and the Adriatica Ionica Race and twelfth in the Giro dell’Appennino.
Rebellin – Not giving up yet:
Alejandro Valverde: One More Year “And Then it’s Really Over”
Alejandro Valverde will be part of the cycling peloton next year, but the now 41-year-old Spaniard is not planning to postpone his retirement any longer. “I say it with absolute certainty: it will be my last year as a professional cyclist. So it has been nice,” he said in conversation with Radiogaceta.
The Movistar rider actually wanted to say goodbye this year, but because of the corona pandemic and good results in 2021, Valverde decided to continue for another year. The Murcian showed in his old age that he has not forgotten how to win. The 2018 world champion this year won the Gran Premio Miguel Indurain and stages in the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Giro di Sicilia. In the classics he achieved several places of honour.
Valverde hopes to look good again in 2022, in his last year as a professional cyclist. “I’m still racing at a good level, after twenty years in cycling, but my time has come. What more could I wish for? There’s no point in going on any longer. I want to enjoy my last season as a professional.” After his career, the Spaniard will move on to the technical staff of Movistar. “I enjoy working with young talents.”
But now everything is still dominated by his farewell year. Valverde does not yet have a view on his final program for 2022, but it is certain that he will not be at the start of the Tour de France. “I already have something in mind, but it’s not final yet. A Tour participation is in any case excluded. I hope to contest the Vuelta next year. Furthermore, we still have to evaluate whether the Giro d’Italia is an option. And what about the classics and the races in Spain?”
One last year for Valverde:
Vincenzo Nibali Will Start Five Monuments in 2022
Vincenzo Nibali will participate in the five cycling monuments next year, La Gazzetta dello Sport reports. According to the Italian sports paper, the almost 37-year-old Italian will participate in Paris-Roubaix for the first time.
Nibali announced a week ago that he wants to be at the start of Paris-Roubaix one day. “I’ve never ridden Roubaix, but maybe next year will be the right time.” La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that the Sicilian has an ambitious plan for 2022 and that is to participate in the five cycling monuments: Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy.
Nibali, who will compete again for Astana next year, has already won three cycling monuments in the past. In 2015 and 2017 he was the best in the Tour of Lombardy and in 2018 he surprised everyone in Milan-San Remo. Nibali has also been at the start of Liège-Bastogne-Liège several times, with a second place in 2012 and in 2018 he rode Tour of Flanders. It is still unclear whether Nibali will ride the Giro d’Italia again next year, or whether he prefers the Tour de France.
Busy 2022 for Nibali:
Peter Pieters No Longer Belgian Track Coach
For Peter Pieters, the World track championships in Roubaix was his last race as national coach of the Belgian track team. The contract of the 59 year-old Dutchman, father of Amy and Roy Pieters, will not be extended by Belgian Cycling. Much to the disbelief of Pieters himself.
With Lotte Kopecky’s gold medal, four silver medals and a bronze medal, the event in Roubaix was the most successful track World championships ever for Belgium. Nevertheless, in the run-up to the World championships, it was announced that Pieters would be leaving. According to the Belgian Cycling, the chemistry between him and the riders had disappeared. Moreover, Belgian Cycling wants better results.
“Well, it is what it is. It will all be better now, surely?” He responded to Het Nieuwsblad. “By the way, I have not heard why I have to leave. I wanted to continue until the Games in Paris. But talks for a contract extension kept getting postponed. They should have been more honest, I deserve respect. I don’t know what the future will bring for me. I still want to work with riders, but for the same money I will leave the cycling world.”
Pieters, once Dutch champion and winner of Paris-Tours, has been the Belgian national track coach since 2010.
Wout Poels to Continue with Bahrain Victorious
Bahrain Victorious is delighted to announce that Wout Poels will continue with the team next season.
Wout was part of this seasons Tour de France team that secured the team classification, three-stage wins and narrowly missed out on the climbing classification. He then followed it up, winning the Team Classification at Vuelta and supported Jack Haig, who managed a podium finish.
Wout Poels commented on remaining with the team: “I’m happy that in the end, we were able to find an agreement, and I can continue to ride with this team. Last season as a collective, we took some really impressive results. I feel at home as here. There is a good spirit between the riders and the staff that helps you focus on performing.”
Stijn Steels Remains a Member of the Wolfpack
The 32-year-old Belgian will continue with the most successful squad in the world also next season.
Stijn Steels has been a member of Deceuninck – Quick-Step since 2020, which at the time was a dream come true for the experienced rider. Now this dream will continue and is set to take him on the road with the Wolfpack until at least the end of 2022. The hard-working domestique, who also showcased his skills as a lead-out man several times during his two-year spell with the team, is always there, whenever needed, ready to get the job done and help his teammates, and will continue to do that in the team’s 20th season.
“It’s incredible to be part of this group, of this fantastic squad that just keeps on winning. The professionalism is so high, that it makes such a big difference to be a rider here or in another team. Everyone in the team, every staff member, tries to do his job in the best way possible and that gives you extra motivation to keep on performing. That’s the biggest strength here.”
“Together with Tim I went studying, and Yves I got to know a bit later as well. Becoming professional was our dream, and now being together in the same team, is just beautiful. I have been a professional rider for ten years now, I know what my job is, and working for the leaders of the team gives me a lot of satisfaction. I’m not a top sprinter myself, but I can do a lead-out, close gaps and make short accelerations. To keep on doing this with the Wolfpack is fantastic,” said Stijn Steels on renewing his contract.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere also shared his thoughts on this renewal: “Stijn showed what he’s capable of in the past two years, he knows exactly what his job is and is always leaving everything out there for the team. He’s already quite experienced and that’s also an advantage to have him as one of the helpers. Around the leaders of the team who have to finish it off on the line, you need teammates who are as important as their leader. We are happy to have Stijn with us for another year.”
James Shaw Joins EF Education-NIPPO
EF Education-NIPPO is pleased to announce the signing of James Shaw to our 2022 roster. The British rider is another powerful addition to the team’s Classics lineup.
Shaw wastes no time when you ask him about his focus for next season. “The Ardennes classics like Liège-Bastogne-Liège and things like that are for me. I think the short, sharp climbs in the late spring in the Ardennes.”
With a spate of results on the climbing stages in the 2021 editions of the Tour of Slovenia and the Tour of Norway, coupled with a strong showing in the Classics as an Under-23 rider, it’s evident Shaw knows his strength.
In addition to being a Classics specialist, Shaw appreciates the legacy of the storied races he so admires. “Those races really bring a great level of heritage and history and a past. They have a certain weight within the cycling culture so that appeals to me as well. It gives me extra motivation.”
It’s clear that cycling history is important to Shaw and he’s keen to be part of it. “Obviously, with the heritage of EF Education-NIPPO and the image that they have in cycling, it’s quite a proud moment to be able to join such a historic team. EF is a landmark in cycling and I’m pleased to be part of a great future in the sport and to contribute to a stronger foundation for the next generation to come along.”
Shaw considers himself a dedicated team player. “I really love seeing other people achieve and knowing that you’ve helped other people and being a part of the bigger picture as well. Don’t get me wrong, I love to win myself but to be part of an environment and to be really looking after the people as well, it’s something I really pride myself on.”
While Shaw admires the team’s focus on teamwork, he also is excited about the team’s approach to the cycling calendar. “The whole alternative aspect of cycling with the alternative race program. It seems like a really appealing concept and it’s something I felt represented myself as well. I’m someone who doesn’t always take the easiest route and go with the flow, but takes the alternative route and likes the adventure side of life as well. I’m a little bit different,” he says unabashedly.
In fact, his path to EF has been a little bit different. Team CEO Jonathan Vaughters explains. “James went into the WorldTour probably a little too young and just got lost in the mix and didn’t know how to fit in, didn’t adapt to their management style. And that’s really hard. Basically he had to restart his career from scratch at 22 years old. Luckily he’s a really smart and resourceful kid who just figured out how to bootstrap his way back into professional cycling and he’s shown since then, on his own two feet, that he has the ability to be competitive with the best in the WorldTour so this is his born again moment as a WorldTour rider. He’s going to go back though his new pro year all over again, only this time as a 25-year-old as opposed to as a 19-year-old.”
To say that Shaw is well acquainted with the ups and downs of being a cyclist is an understatement. “Bike racing has given me everything but it’s also taken everything away from me at the same time.” He pauses. “It’s given me a perspective on life really. I went professional in 2019 but the team sadly didn’t retain their professional status due to finances caused by the pandemic, so in 2021 I dropped down to continental level. It made me realise that maybe the world’s not always fair and you have to take opportunities when you can and enjoy them when they do come around because you can’t take them for granted.”
The tenacity that Shaw has shown over the past few years, says Vaughters, both as a rider and as a human, has made Shaw stand out. “Ninety-five percent of people in his position would have given up,” Vaughters says. “I have a high degree of respect for him that he didn’t give up, that he figured out a way to claw his way back in. He’s very clever that way, very resourceful.”
Vaughters sees obvious talent as well as unknown depths in Shaw. “I think he will immediately be good in hilly stage races, hilly Classics,” Vaughters says. “I think he’s a versatile rider, he’s a tactically astute rider, his time trialing is really good. As far as where he goes, I don’t really know because it’s a different project in that you’re helping a guy reboot his career. Where he ends up, hell, he could be one of the best in the world, I don’t know. I don’t think anyone really knows where his limits lie yet.”
“I’m grateful to the guys and the management who’ve put their faith in me to offer me this opportunity,” Shaw says. “I’m very grateful for that. I want to capitalise on that as much as possible and see what the next chapter is and see if it writes itself the way I hope it does.”
We’re excited for this next chapter, too, James.
James Shaw back in the WorldTour:
Stan Van Tricht Signs for Deceuninck – Quick-Step
The Belgian rider has inked his first pro contract with the leader of the UCI World Team Classification.
Stan Van Tricht, who turned 22 in September, is already familiar to the team, having spent a successful period with us as a stagiaire recently. This coincided with some impressive displays from the Leuven based rider, which were crowned by the victory that he took at the 77th Gullegem Koerse.
Before that, he collected a series of impressive results in a wide range of races – from finishing third overall at the Tour of Rhodes and runner-up in Coppa della Pace to seventh at the hilly Ronde van Limburg (where he was the only U23 rider to crack the top 10) and a stage podium in the Tour de l’Avenir, on both occasions showcasing his fast turn of legs.
Speaking of his two-year agreement in an exclusive video published on our social media channels, Stan Van Tricht said: “I was very happy when I found out the news. Once I had been here as a stagiaire I knew I wanted to stay with the Wolfpack. It has been a nice time where we won five out of the seven races that I took part in, including one for myself. In the coming years I am hoping to develop with this formidable team, race in the Classics and some other big races, and help the squad remain there at the top.”
Patrick Lefevere, CEO of Deceuninck – Quick-Step, was also happy with the capture of another promising young rider’s signature: “We obviously knew that Stan was a talented and strong rider, which is why we offered him the chance to trial with us. From the moment he walked in, he impressed us with his attitude and his work ethic. His win at Gullegem proves that he is very strong and we look forward to working on his development in the coming years.”
American Talent Kristen Faulkner Adds Raw Power to Team BikeExchange
American talent Kristen Faulkner will step-up to the WorldTour in 2022 as she joins Team BikeExchange on a two-year contract.
The 28-year-old only turned professional two years ago but has already demonstrated her raw talent, with several impressive and powerful rides, including a solo victory and third overall at this year’s Ladies Tour of Norway.
A former rower during her time at Harvard University, Faulkner started cycling competitively in 2017 alongside her job at a venture capitalist firm, before turning pro in 2020. She hit the ground running in her debut season, taking a stage win at her first race in Europe at the Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche.
GreenEDGE Cycling is excited to develop Faulkner’s talent and strength over the next two seasons and she will share a leadership role within the team, stepping up to WorldTour level with the Australian outfit.
Brent Copeland, General Manager on Faulkner: “With Kristen coming to join GreenEDGE Cycling, we believe we have found a very intelligent and talented rider that will fit very well into our team. She started to ride a bike quite late in her life, and her results give us lots of hope for her future as she has progressed very quickly. She is a strong rider and with her great determination we believe she can be a very valuable addition to the squad. She will of course need some time to adapt to the team, but we are excited to see how she can develop over the coming years.”
Kristen Faulkner: “Team BikeExchange has a lot of resources that will benefit me as I look to take my cycling career to the next level, and I look forward to joining a larger team where I can grow as a rider and as a leader. At this stage in my career, my goal is to improve as quickly as possible and to have fun. Team BikeExchange provides an environment where I can constantly learn, receive feedback, take risks, share opportunities, and race with experienced team leaders. Since I will be living in Europe away from my home in the U.S., I look forward to joining a community that has a positive, welcoming culture.”
“With new riders coming on board in 2022, the team is undergoing a lot of positive changes for next season. I’m looking forward to targeting some of the Spring Classics such as Flanders and Liege, as well as some of the summer stage races.”
“I spoke to several people, on and off the team, before making my decision to join, and everyone emphasised the positive team culture. I perform best when I am having fun and surrounding myself with people who make me smile. For me, a positive team culture is the foundation for high performance. I attended a team camp in Italy recently and was amazed by how friendly and welcoming everyone was, both the staff and the riders. Furthermore, many strong riders have come through Team BikeExchange, which says a lot about the team’s ability to develop talent. I have confidence in the directors and my teammates for next year. I am really excited to support each other and see what we accomplish together.”
Date of birth: 18th December 1992 (28)
Joins Team BikeExchange: 2022
New Contract: 2022 & 2023
1st 2020 Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche – Stage 4
1st 2021 Ladies Tour of Norway – Stage 1
3rd 2021 Ladies Tour of Norway – Overall
3rd 2021 GP de Plouay
Thomas and INEOS Grenadiers Almost have a Contract: “Difficult negotiations”
Geraint Thomas will soon sign a new contract with INEOS Grenadiers. The 35-year-old Briton said in conversation with Cycling Weekly that there is already an oral agreement. “It was a difficult negotiation. It has never taken this long,” said Thomas.
Thomas could count on the interest of several teams, including the troubled Qhubeka NextHash and Cofidis, but negotiations came to nothing. Rod Ellingworth hoped to keep Thomas in August, but also indicated that “if there is an attractive offer from other teams, we cannot keep him.” Both parties have now come to an agreement, although it took some time.
“I don’t want to announce it too loud yet, because I still have to sign. I don’t want to jinx it,” said Thomas, who will sign with Dave Brailsford’s team for two years. “I’ve known Dave since 2003 and of course we have a good relationship, but there are also other interests at play. Dave has to listen to his bosses and has a certain agenda, while I also have certain points of view and listen to my family.”
“In short, it was a difficult negotiation. It has never been this difficult, as a lot has happened behind the scenes. I had to separate the emotional and business aspects. I’m glad it’s almost finished. Then we can continue and I can focus on cycling again.”
For the 2018 Tour winner, it may well be the last contract extension of his career, as he will sign up until he is 37. “My professional career will be over in two or three years. That’s a crazy thought, but first I want to enjoy my last years in the peloton. And I only enjoy it when I am able to fight for victories. I sometimes think about the end of my career, but now I’m mainly busy with racing.”
Geraint Thomas to stay with INEOS:
Jasper De Plus Stops Racing
Jasper De Plus (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) hangs his bike at the end of the season, according to WielerFlits, who has heard from a reliable source. The East Fleming (24) did not have his contract with the team extended and, didn’t receive any other offers.
Hilaire Van der Schueren reached out to De Plus two years ago after a strong 2019. De Plus, who has always been known as a time trial talent, then won the Chrono des Nations for U23s and was second in the U23 Belgian time trial championships.
In two years with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert; a ninth place in the Belgian time trial champs was his best achievement. De Plus is not the only compatriot who will leave the team at the end of the year. Also veterans Pieter Vanspeybrouck, who will become sports director, and Ludwig De Winter will both end their careers.
Jasper De Plus:
Andrea Bagioli: “When Patrick said that he wanted to keep me, I agreed immediately!”
The 22-year-old will continue with the Wolfpack until at least the end of 2023.
During a turbulent 2021, our young Italian rider Andrea Bagioli went through a range of emotions, from the pain of a persistent knee injury that kept him off his bike, to the rollercoaster of a series of strong performances at the Vuelta España, but just missing out on an elusive stage win.
This week however has been a double cause of celebration for Andrea. On Tuesday evening he was proud to be awarded the Giglio d’Oro, a prestigious award that recognises the best young Italian talent. Coupled with this is the news that he will stay with Deceuninck – Quick-Step for two more years, in an agreement that will run until the end of 2023.
In an exclusive blog, Andrea reflected on his second year in the pro ranks, told us of his glee at agreeing to stay with the squad and his hopes for the future.
“When Patrick said that he wanted to keep me in the team, I agreed immediately! I am super happy to be staying for two more years because I think this is the perfect team to help me improve and develop as a rider. I have really enjoyed the two years I have spent here so far. The first year, with the initial impact of Covid, was very strange, and this year with my knee injury was hard, so I am really ready to give it my all for the next two years. I took my first win with the team at Tour de l’Ain, which was one of the first races after the lockdown. It was a big breakthrough for me and a super moment when I beat a big rider like Primoz Roglič in the sprint! Then I won again, at Coppi e Bartali, which made for a good initial season, and I would like to push on now to win some important races. I made my Grand Tour debut in the Vuelta later in the year, but was not able to finish it, which I managed to do this year.
The knee injury kept me off my bike for five months, which was a difficult time, and it was hard to come back to racing after so long. I had to stay one month completely confined to my bed with my leg straight – it was really hard to watch races like Romandie on television, but my family and the team kept my spirits up. When we decided that I would go to the Vuelta, I was not sure how I would be, after so long off the bike, but my ride in the Tour de l’Ain showed that my condition was good. I came so close to a stage win twice at the Vuelta, which I look back on with both pride and frustration. It was special to be up there, especially after the work that I put in after the injury, but when you are so close it is a pity. I will learn a lot from it though and I hope to put it right soon.
I am very proud to receive the Giglio d’Oro. The name translates to a golden flower, and it is awarded to the best young rider of the year. It is an important award for cycling in Italy and to be recognised is very special to me. They were not able to hold the ceremony last year, because of Covid, so everybody has been looking forward to this year’s event and it will be special. And then I have two years with Deceuninck – Quick-Step to look forward to. For sure I want to win some big races in that time and hope to take some Grand Tour stages. At some point I would of course like to ride the Giro, but I also want to help the team to win the important races, like the Monuments and the Classics.”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere was equally delighted to have reached an agreement with Bagioli: “Andrea has shown in the last two years that he is one of the most talented young riders around and now that we have an agreement with him, we are looking forward to seeing him develop. He has displayed a lot of heart and determination to come through a big injury so early in his career, and yet come back in the Vuelta and the Italian races so strong. Hopefully he will now have a clean bill of health and we can see him accomplish a lot.”
Dmitriy Gruzdev and Artyom Zakharov Stay with Astana Qazaqstan Team
Two Kazakh riders Dmitriy Gruzdev and Artyom Zakharov have renewed their contracts with Astana Qazaqstan Team for the next two seasons (2022 and 2023).
Dmitriy Gruzdev (35) is preparing for his 11th season with the Kazakh team, which he joined in 2012. Dmitriy is one of the most experienced active Kazakh riders in the peloton with eight Grand Tours, 17 Monuments and 7 Road World Championships to his name. Dmitriy Gruzdev is triple National and double Asian individual time trial Champion and this year, he represented Kazakhstan at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“The new contract with Astana Qazaqstan Team motivates me to keep on improving, to keep on providing my best for the team goals, to keep on working side by side with the team leaders, together achieving success. The last two years turned out to be a serious challenge for everyone but stepping into the new season I hope that everything will return to normal. I think I will be useful to the team in any kind of race; classics, stage races or Grand Tours,” – said Dmitriy Gruzdev.
Artyom Zakharov, who turned 30 today, joined team Astana in 2017. He is a track specialist who represented Kazakhstan in omnium at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, but at the same time Artyom gained good experience at the Northern Classic races and short week-long stage races.
The 2017 National road race Champion, this year Zakharov claimed the bronze medal in the road race behind his teammates Yevgeniy Fedorov and Yevgeniy Gidich.
“The last year turned out to be tense and nervous due to the continuing pandemic and the preparation for the Olympic Games which was also a bit difficult because of many restrictions. Due to my track preparation, for the Olympics and Track World Championships, I did not spend too much time on the road together with team Astana this year. In the upcoming season, I would like to concentrate on the road, on helping my team, on working for my personal results in any one-day race or a small stage race. Despite the fact I spent a lot of time on track, I was able to gain some important experience during these five years in the WorldTour, and I feel like it is the right time to use it to achieve something important,” – said Artyom Zakharov.
“Dmitriy and Artyom are very experienced riders, and we need them in our team to share this valuable experience with the new generation of Kazakh riders like Yevgeniy Fedorov, Gleb Brussenskiy and our neo-pro Nurbergen Nurlykhassym. Despite his age, Gruzdev is still improving and during the last two seasons, especially at La Vuelta in 2020 and the Tour de France in 2021, he proved to be an important team player. Zakharov is also a strong and very loyal rider, always ready to provide good help to the leaders both at the classics and stage races. In the upcoming season, I am expecting both riders to work hard for the most important team goals,” – said Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.
Team BikeExchange Add More Australian Talent with Olympic Track Medalist Kelland O’Brien
Team BikeExchange is proud to announce the signing of Olympic medalist Kelland O’Brien for the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The 23-year-old Australian claimed the bronze in the team pursuit event in Tokyo and will now turn his full attention to the road, stepping away from the track and into the WorldTour peloton with the Australian outfit.
The World and Commonwealth champion (Team Pursuit) has already displayed his great potential on the road, having finished second in the Australian road race championships and third in the time trial event earlier this year, and will now join fellow Australians at Team BikeExchange, who have taken the same pathway, transitioning from track racing to road racing over the years.
Brent Copeland, General Manager on O’Brien: “Of course, for us at GreenEDGE Cycling, it is always important to find young talent in Australia and we are confident that with Kelland we have found it. He proved it during the national championships this year and with the bronze medal during the recent Olympic Games in Tokyo he simply confirmed it. Now it is our turn to work with him and help him during his process of adaptation into WorldTour road cycling. He is young and he will need all the support he can get which we are confident in giving him, as this team has so much experience in this area. He will also be able to learn a lot from our current Australian riders who have made the same transition from track to road. Our Australian legacy is very important for us, and we believe Kelland has everything it takes to bring forward what our Team Owner, Gerry Ryan, has developed in the past decade.”
Kelland O’Brien: “It has been an incredible year so far for me. I had good results during national road race championships, the Olympic medal in Tokyo with the Australian national team, and now becoming a pro cyclist on a WorldTour team. I have been looking up to GreenEDGE Cycling in the last few years as an Australian rider, they are the team to be in and I am extremely excited to be joining them. I am glad that this opportunity has been given to me and it’s now my turn to take the most out of it and keep improving as a cyclist. I will be moving to Europe to Girona, Spain, where many other of my new teammates live and this will help me a lot, to adapt to the new lifestyle and I am confident this will be facilitating my new adventure. Of course, things won’t be easy, as joining a WorldTour Team needs maximum effort and lots of sacrifices, but I am sure Team BikeExchange is the right choice for me.”
Date of birth: 22nd May 1998 (23)
Joins Team BikeExchange: 2022
New Contract: 2022 & 2023
1st 2017 World Championships Team Pursuit – Gold
1st 2018 Commonwealth Games Team Pursuit – Gold
1st 2019 World Championships Team Pursuit – Gold
2nd 2021 Australian Road Race Championships
3rd 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games Team Pursuit – Bronze
3rd 2021 Australian Time Trial Championships
UCI Team Ranking: Deceuninck – Quick-Step Top WorldTour, Alpecin-Fenix Best ProTeam
Deceuninck – Quick-Step finishes at the top of the UCI Team Ranking for 2021. The Belgian team of Patrick Lefevere collected the most points this season, ahead of INEOS Grenadiers and Jumbo-Visma. Alpecin-Fenix will once again the best ProTeam and will be certain of starting in all top races, including the Grand Tours next year.
Last weekend the last 1.1 race (Ronde van Drenthe) was on the calendar. There are still some 2.2 races scheduled in the coming weeks, but this will no longer affect the UCI Team Ranking. Deceuninck – Quick-Step is now certain of first place. UAE Team Emirates, the team of Tour winner Tadej Pogačar, finished fourth. Bahrain Victorious finds itself in fifth place after an extremely successful season. Alpecin-Fenix, BORA-hansgrohe, AG2R Citroën, Groupama-FDJ and Israel Start-Up Nation follow them in the top ten. Outside the top ten, Movistar leads Trek-Segafredo and Astana-Premier Tech. Team DSM collected the fewest points of all teams in the WorldTour.
UCI Team Ranking (on 26 October 2021):
1. Deceuninck – Quick-Step – 15,641.21 points
2. INEOS Grenadiers – 14,998.66 points
3. Jumbo-Visma – 12,914.67 points
4. UAE Emirates – 12,355.66 points
5. Bahrain Victorious – 10,429 points
6. Alpecin-Fenix – 8.251 points
7. BORA-hansgrohe – 8,222 points
8. AG2R Citroën – 7,151 points
9. Groupama-FDJ – 6,715 points
10. Israel Start-Up Nation – 6,704.66 points
11. Movistar – 6,656 points
12. Trek-Segafredo – 6,593.66 points
13. Astana-Premier Tech – 6,469 points
14. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert – 5,571 points
15. Cofidis – 5,481 points
16. EF Education-Nippo – 5,362.33 points
17. Arkéa-Samsic – 5,000 points
18. Lotto Soudal – 4,704 points
19. Team BikeExchange – 4,686.33 points
20. Qhubeka NextHash – 4,368.66 points
21. Team DSM – 3,887 points.
Alpecin-Fenix is the best ProTeam in the UCI Team Ranking. The Belgian team of Mathieu van der Poel, Tim Merlier and Jasper Philipsen has collected 8,251 points with a big lead over their closest rivals; Arkéa-Samsic and TotalEnergies. Uno-X and B&B Hotels are the next ProTeams in the rankings.
According to UCI rules, the best ProTeam in the 2021 UCI Team Ranking must be offered a wildcard for every WorldTour event in 2022, including the three Grand Tours. The team that finishes second will receive an invitation for all one-day races in the WorldTour. This means that Alpecin-Fenix will again be sure of all major races next year, including the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España. Arkéa-Samsic will receive an invitation for all WorldTour one-day races.
Best five ProTeams in the UCI Team Ranking (on October 26, 2021):
6. Alpecin-Fenix – 8.251 points
17. Arkéa-Samsic – 5,000 points
22. TotalEnergies – 3,192 points
23. Uno-X – 2,848.17 points
24. B&B Hotels p/b KTM – 2,726 points.
Another top season for Patrick’s boys:
British Cycling: Top Cyclist Evaded Doping Control
The British Cycling Federation has again been discredited by a report in The Mail on Sunday. Last weekend, the British newspaper reported that a British cyclist rode away from a doping control in the run-up to the London Olympics in 2012. According to The Mail on Sunday, it was a ‘world class rider’.
This happened at a training camp, a few days before the start of the Olympics. Just before the rider in question wanted to leave for a training ride, he was visited by a doping inspector. The rider would have been somewhat annoyed by the arrival of the control and had no intention of co-operating immediately. It was eventually agreed that the rider would stay close to the controller during his training ride.
The tester drove behind the rider in a car, but at one point lost sight of the rider. An hour later, the rider did not return and the test was performed. A former anti-doping tester, who wishes to remain anonymous, called it “very worrying”. No further details are known about the incident. The information in question was only kept for a period of eighteen months, the British anti-doping agency UKAD reported.
It is certainly not the first time that British Cycling has been discredited. Earlier this year, Richard Freeman, the former doctor of Team Sky and the British Cycling Federation, was found guilty of ordering the banned doping drug testosterone while he was working for Sky and the Federation. The medical tribunal ruled that he would lose his license, as a result of which he can no longer practice his profession. Freeman decided to appeal.
Last week, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued a critical report on the state of affairs at British Cycling and the British Anti-Doping Agency. Both sides allegedly committed infractions in the testing of riders by engaging an unaccredited lab to test for performance-enhancing drugs, including nandrolone. This is against WADA rules.
However, the World Anti-Doping Agency has decided not to impose sanctions on British Cycling or UKAD, as those involved are no longer employed by the British Anti-Doping Agency. Measures have also already been taken to prevent such practices in the future, according to the WADA report. UKAD supports the World Anti-Doping Agency’s investigation.
Doctor Ibarguren and Coach Strengthen Movistar staff
Movistar team principal Eusebio Unzué has decided on a clean sweep of the technical staff. Unzué said in conversation with the Spanish newspaper El Pais that José Luis Arrieta no longer has a future as a sports director and the arrival of the Spanish team doctor José Ibarguren Taus and the Italian ex-pro and coach Leonardo Piepoli.
Spanish press already reported the departure of Arrieta. The 50-year-old Spaniard, a professional from 1993 to 2010 and sports director at Movistar since 2011, didn’t work on the final races of the season. Arrieta would no longer be working with Patxi Vila, Movistar’s sporting manager and the man responsible for the new course within the Spanish WorldTour team.
With a view to next season, the telecom backed team has decided to expand the technical staff with Ibarguren and Piepoli. Ibarguren comes over from Deceuninck – Quick-Step and has also worked for Saunier Duval, Lampre and Banesto in the past. Piepoli had a 14 year professional career with Refin–Mobilvetta, Saeco, Banesto and Saunier Duval, and became a cycling coach after he retired. Piepoli was banned for two years in early 2009 for using CERA, a form of EPO, after he was fired in 2008 by his then team Saunier Duval. As a former team doctor, Ibarguren had to testify in 2016 at the Mantova trial regarding doping practices of the Lampre team.
Iván Velasco, who raced for Euskatel-Euskadi in the past, has now been included in Movistar’s technical staff. As a specialist in biomechanics, data and aerodynamics, the Spaniard will hopefully improve the team’s time trial performance. Velasco previously held this position with the Astana team.
Piepoli in the Giro:
Tristan Hoffman Returns to BikeExchange as Team Leader in the Peloton
After a year of absence, Tristan Hoffman returns to the peloton. The 51-year-old former rider will become a sports director at Team BikeExchange, where he will work with Simon Yates and Michael Matthews. Last year Hofmann was told that there was no longer a place for him as a sports director at the then Bahrain-McLaren team, now Bahrain Victorious.
Hoffman wanted to return to cycling after his forced departure from Bahrain-McLaren, he told Tubantia. “I found it very difficult to watch a race on television this year. I was always there, now I was unemployed at home. Cycling is my life. I have tackled and done everything in the past year, but I have found that I prefer to be active in the race. And luckily I can do that.”
It feels unreal for Hoffman to get back to cycling, he continued. “There are 180 places in the peloton for what I do in the WorldTour, more than half drop out because it doesn’t fit and then that one spot opens up somewhere where they need a type like me. That’s fantastic isn’t it?” Especially the Australian mentality in his new team appeals to him. “Hard work and a little rougher. I also like the fact that English is spoken.”
Tristan Hoffman going to BikeExchange:
B&B Hotels Extends with Four Riders
B&B Hotels p/b KTM has extended four contracts. Jens Debusschere (32), Julien Morice (30), Jérémy Lecroq (26) and Cyril Barthe (25) will race for the French team next season. Morice has signed until the end of 2022, the other three will remain associated with the B&B Hotels team until the end of 2023.
The most experienced rider in the above list is Jens Debusschere, the Belgian champion of 2014. “I feel great in the team and, in addition to the good atmosphere, I have a very professional organisation around me. With colleagues, staff members and riders with whom I get on very well. Jérémy Lecroq and Luca Mozzato are two talented riders, whom I am happy to help on my favourite terrain.”
“I like working for a sprinter. Especially if it is someone who gives everything,” Debusschere continued. “But one of my goals for the next two seasons will be to sprint for myself again, as I was able to do in the GP Denain this fall (he finished tenth). Going into the final of a race with the feeling of being in it for the win is special.”
B&B Hotels has extended the contracts of three more current riders, but these will be announced at a later time.
Vincenzo Albanese, Mark Christian, Francesco Gavazzi and Edward Ravasi Extend their Contracts with EOLO-KOMETA
The 2022 project of the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team strengthens the structure that will face his second season in the ProTeam category with four renewals that join the ten riders who have contract in force for 2022, the two signings that have been confirmed up to date and the contract renewal for two seasons of the Italian Lorenzo Fortunato, finalised during the last summer.
Vincenzo Albanese, one of the most outstanding riders of this season, renews for two seasons, while the British Mark Christian and the Italians Francesco Gavazzi and Edward Ravasi extend their relationship with the team for one year.
The Portuguese Daniel Viegas; the Hungarians Erik Fetter and Márton Dina; the Italians Davide Bais, Alessandro Fancellu and Samuele Rivi and the Spaniards Sergio García, Arturo Grávalos, Alejandro Ropero and Diego Pablo Sevilla are the ten cyclists who had two seasons signed and, therefore, face 2022 in the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team.
To this base of fourteen riders must be added the already confirmed arrivals of the Italian Diego Rosa and the Spanish neoprofessional David Martín, the first two additions of the ProTeam structure of the Contador Foundation for the exciting next course, and the already renewed Lorenzo Fortunato.
The Future Lies in Youth for Team Novo Nordisk as Ceurens, Dunnewind & Ridolfo Turn Pro for 2022
2021 marked another year of progression for Team Novo Nordisk as three more riders come through the pipeline to make the transition from development team to the professional ranks.
2021 not only marked a significant milestone for the global diabetes community with the celebration of 100 years since the discovery of insulin. It also marked another year of progression for Team Novo Nordisk as three more riders come through the pipeline to make the transition from development team to the professional ranks.
Belgian sprinter Robbe Ceurens and Italian rouleur Filippo Ridolfo both impressed in stagiaire roles with the pro team at the back end of the season and are rewarded with neo-pro contracts for 2022 along with fellow devo, Dutchman Jan Dunnewind.
“It really is testament to the systems that we have built internally over the years,” said General Manager Vassili Davidenko. “That gives these athletes the opportunity and platform to develop, improve and make it to the pro team. The pipeline from Talent-ID to junior, to the development team and hopefully the pro team was a dream of ours in the beginning we have worked hard to make it a reality.”
“Year on year we have proven that as a system it works and now, we have three more riders coming through to take their chance. It’s very exciting. All three guys have had very solid seasons with the devo team and first Robbe at the Tour of Denmark and then Filippo at CRO-Race showed that they belong with the professional team by performing well as stagiaires.”
For 20-year-old Ceuren’s, turning professional is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication to his dream that began as a child growing up near Brussels in a family full of cycling enthusiasts, in particular his grandfather who was DS of a local team.
“I’m super happy that Team Novo Nordisk has given me the opportunity to sign a professional contract,” said Ceuren’s. “I’ve been riding competitively for 11 years now and I can’t actually believe I’m really turning pro next year, it’s a dream come true.”
“I’ve followed all the steps of the Team Novo Nordisk development pipeline. I started at the Talent Id camp, moved on to the junior team, then the development team. Now I can happily say I that I am joining the pro team. I hope I will adapt quickly to the pro level and try to achieve some results and thank the team for the opportunity and trust they have shown in me.”
Hailing from Udine amid the rolling hills of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, young Italian Ridolfo rides with a maturity and consistency that belies his 19 years, performing particularly well at the Five Rings of Moscow back in June and the Tour of South Bohemia in the Czech Republic.
He closed out 2021 by riding selflessly as a stagiaire in support of senior riders Andrea Peron and David Lozano at the CRO-Race in late September, producing positive daily performances that were met with a first pro contract at the finish line in Zagreb.
“Finally, it’s official that the next year I will be turning professional and this is fantastic!” exclaimed Ridolfo. “I’ve been working towards this and now it’s happening, of course it’s a big step, but I am ready for this and I will do my best to not waste this opportunity.”
“2021 has been a very good season with the development team, we raced a lot of important races and managed some good results. I want to thank everyone involved with the devo team for helping me progress throughout this season. I think all of these important races throughout the last year will help me to be ready for what’s coming up.”
Like Ceurens 23-year-old Dutchman Dunnewind has been through every step of the Team Novo Nordisk development pipeline and understands that the passage into the senior pro team comes not only with a raising of the game performance-wise, but also a higher level of responsibility that applies to training and the understanding that a neo-pro’s first season is as much about learning as it is results.
“I’m really happy that I will move up to the pro team next season,” said Dunnewind. “I will have to make an extra step in my training, but I’m ready for it and can’t wait to start building up to the new season.”
“In my first season I hope to learn a lot from the more experienced riders and aim to show the jersey in the race. I really enjoyed my time in the devo team. Everyone on the team is really close. It feels like a family. But I feel ready for the next step now.”
Benhamouda, Clancy, Irvine and Lozano renew for 2022 with Team Novo Nordisk.
Team Novo Nordisk confirmed the contract renewals of four key riders for the upcoming 2022 season.
Team Novo Nordisk confirmed the contract renewals of four key riders for the upcoming 2022 season with experienced veterans David Lozano and Stephen Clancy putting pen to paper alongside young Australian Declan Irvine and French sprinter |Mehdi Benhamouda.
That time of year has come around again. The air is getting cooler, days are getting shorter. The nights are drawing in, the autumn light is golden, and contracts are being renewed, old faces remaining, and new ones announced.
“It’s a busy time of year, that’s for sure,” began General Manager Vassili Davidenko. “We always have an eye on squad development, structure and planning for the future, but the business really gets done as we hit the off-season. These four guys are all important to Team Novo Nordisk, to our past, present and future and we’re very happy to have confirmed extensions with all four.”
“David is one of our leaders and most consistent riders and what he brings to the team is not just measured by results, but also what he gives the younger guys like Declan, who showed us in 2021 what he’s capable of and his progression this year has been a real positive.”
Experienced Irishman Clancy is looking forward to what will be his tenth year with the world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team and his commitment to carrying the team’s message of inspiring, educating and empowering around the world is what makes the 29-year-old an asset both on and off the bike.
“I am very happy to re-sign for 2022,” said Clancy. “After so long on the team it really does feel like home and it’s incredibly rewarding to be in a position to travel around the world racing my bike and changing diabetes. I am delighted to be able to keep on living the dream and be a part of this special team and community.”
Racing 8,900km over 55 days of competition in 2021, Spanish climber Lozano was once again one of the lynchpins of the team and also managed to fulfil a new mentor role for the development team at the Adriatica-Ionica race in Italy.
“I have been a part of the Team Novo Nordisk family since 2012 and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.” said Lozano. “It’s been a difficult year for us, 2021 didn’t yield the results we expected, at least not as consistently as we wanted, and I know from all my years here that we can turn that around.”
“One of the best things about this past season has been our team spirit, sticking together when times have been difficult, everyone committed to their jobs and also that we managed to race a full calendar despite the global situation with COVID.
“But I think the highlight for me was racing Adriatica-Ionica with the devo team as a road captain and experiencing that leadership role with the young guys who are on the way up was unforgettable. Trying to help them and teach them through the race is one of the best things I’ve ever done in my career.”
Declan Irvine was flying through the wet final stage TT at the Tour of Denmark, showing the form and determination that had characterised his season before disaster struck. Taking a tight downtown Copenhagen corner at speed, the 22-year-old slid out, bounced up a curb and broke his leg. Somehow, he managed to finish the stage.
“I am really excited to get back to racing with the team again in 2022,” said Irvine. “I had a breakthrough season this year that was cut short due to breaking my leg in Denmark. I am well on the road to recovery now, back on the bike and looking to continue on this upwards trajectory next season beginning with my first ever elite National Championships in January.”
A top ten finish on the final stage of Belgrade Banjaluka in April served notice that French sprinter Benhamouda was starting to come into form and the 26-year-old had high hopes of a result at the Tour de Hongrie. However, those hopes were dashed after a crash on stage three took Benhamouda out of the race and into the ambulance with a broken collarbone.
After a protracted period of recovery, the Carcassone native returned to competition with a series of races on home soil at Limousin, Besançon and Jura. Doing enough to secure an extension into 2022.
“It is great to know that the team has placed their trust in me for again for next season,” said Benhamouda. “I am very happy and looking forward to the challenge. As always, I will give my best and my motivation is very high for next season. My main goal is to achieve good results as I have done in the past and get myself and Team Novo Nordisk onto the podium.”
Memorable Team Camp in UAE to Celebrate 2021 End of Season Gathering in Abu Dhabi and Dubai
Less than a week into the ‘off-season’ and UAE Team Emirates are already laying the groundwork for 2022.
The team recently returned from a week long stay in UAE where they attended numerous community bike rides, children’s rides, sponsor events and team building exercises.
Other highlights included a visit to the Expo 2020 in Dubai and the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi.
A full gallery of the camp can be found here: www.uaeteamemirates.com
Throughout the week the team were given a warm reception and reminded of the good influence their efforts are having on the domestic sporting scene.
Cycling and the use of the bicycle continues to grow in the UAE in recent years with hundreds of kilometres of bike lanes across Dubai and Abu Dhabi and plans in place to construct a velodrome.
HH Matar Suhail Al Yabhouni Al Dhaheri (Team President): “It gives me great pleasure for our athletes to come back and see the effect they are having on the people and inspiring them to ride the bike and adapt sport as part of their lifestyles. The success of the team all over the world has motivated the people here to get active and we are seeing a really positive change which we are determined to continue and grow.”
Mauro Gianetti (CEO & Team Principal): “Every time we come back to UAE we are blown away by the reception. You can see what we are doing is getting more people aware of the importance of exercise and the fun of cycling so that’s already a victory for us. Also to see the new riders and welcome them to the UAE family was important, and I can already see that they are settling in well. It’s an international country and we are an international team so it’s a good mix of people and we have put together a really nice group.”
David Lipscomb Joins USA Cycling as DEI and Organisational Development Consultant
Lipscomb brings decades of DEI and organisational coaching expertise as USAC undergoes growth with emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion in sport and its organisation.
USA Cycling announces that David Lipscomb, CEO & Head Coach at CIS Training Systems LLC, will initially serve a one-year term as the organisation’s DEI and Organisational Development Consultant.
Lipscomb has spent over 25 years at the highest levels of cycling and martial arts, and brings more than 10 years of leadership and organisational development expertise. He was an early advocate of DEI initiatives, having been VP of Diversity and Inclusion for Sovereign Bank in 2009. In that role he authored the bank’s first-ever diversity playbook. Lipscomb recently conducted the first in an ongoing series of Cycling Inclusion Conference talks, conceived by USA Cycling and supported by cycling industry partners SRAM, Strava, Allied Cycle Works, Trek, Canyon, Vittoria, Hyperice, People for Bikes, Goodr, ZWIFT, Hinshaw Design Group, and The Inclusion Playbook.
Today Lipscomb is CEO and Head Coach of New York-based CIS Training Systems, a cycling performance organisation that focuses on coaching in the widest possible sense to drive personal, professional, and organisational performance and success. The goal of Lipscomb’s coaching methodology is to create training behaviours that go beyond the bike by breaking down mental and communication barriers, thereby surpassing individual and by extension organisational limitations.
According to USA Cycling’s CEO, Rob DeMartini, “David has both a deep understanding of our sport and extensive leadership development skills. The fact that he’s an outsider with this knowledge gives him the kind of objectivity and independence we need as an organisation to drive staff and leadership performance and commitment to DEI initiatives. He’s also frank and cuts to the chase, and that’s exactly what we need.”
Although officially an independent contractor, Lipscomb will serve as a member of the leadership team reporting to the CEO. He will remain in his role at USA Cycling for at least 12 months.
UAE Tour set to Open UCI WorldTour Calendar in February 2022
The UAE Tour, now in its fourth edition, will kick-start the UCI WorldTour calendar from 20-26 February 2022, starting and finishing in Abu Dhabi. 2021 edition of the UAE Tour won by 2 times Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar.
The Abu Dhabi Sports Council is pleased to confirm that the fourth edition of the UAE Tour, the one and only World Tour race in the Middle East, will begin on 20 February 2022, as ratified by the sports world governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). The race, organised in collaboration with RCS Sport, is set to kick-start the 2022 UCI WorldTour racing calendar, starting and finishing in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Next year’s race will cross a diverse mixture of landscapes – mountains, coastal and desert roads, as well as city streets, across its seven stages. The 2022 UAE Tour will build on the success of its previous three editions – won by world-class riders Primoz Roglič (2019), Simon Yates (2020) and most recently two-time Tour de France-winner Tadej Pogačar (2021).
Since its first edition in 2019, the UAE Tour continues to go from strength to strength, with this year’s edition hosting the full roster of 19 UCI WorldTeams for the very first time. Images from 2021’s race were broadcast across 200 countries, while domestically, the success of the one and only WorldTour race in the Middle-East has had an enduring effect on the sport of cycling in the region. Next year’s race coincides with another significant event for the nation – Expo 2020 Dubai – a world expo running from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.
HE Aref Hamad Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council,”The UAE Tour has come a long way from the post Covid pandemic to plan for the fourth edition of the UAE Tour. “After a challenging but successful 2021 UAE Tour amidst the Coronavirus pandemic we are now looking ahead to host the 2022 UCI WorldTour opener,” he said. “The 2022 edition coincides with the Expo 2020 Dubai and we are really excited to be part of this global event. Obviously we are looking for a bigger event and play a bigger role to portray the UAE as a global venue.”
Fabrizio d’Amico, Chief Operating Officer of RCS Sports and Events DMCC said, “The UAE Tour has gone from strength to strength year on year and has remained the one and only World Tour race in the Middle East. As we look ahead to the 4th edition, we could not have got here without the tremendous and unwavering support received by the leadership of the country and government entities which were crucial in executing the race during the outbreak or the pandemic earlier this year. We are honoured to work hand in hand with Abu Dhabi Sports Council to put this event on and thanks to their vision the race has cemented itself as one all top riders look forward to participating in. This is also a hugely exciting time for the UAE as they host Expo 2020 and we look forward to once again showcasing the beauty and capabilities of the UAE as a global sports organiser.”
Cycling fans can expect the announcement of the 2022 UAE Tour’s official route in January 2022. For more information about the UAE Tour, click here.
The 2022 UAE Tour’s official launch video is available here.
Tadej Pogačar won stage 3 and the UAE Tour’21 overall:
Cycling Superstars to Race First Ever Giro d’Italia Criterium at EXPO 2020 Dubai
Bernal, Sagan, Ganna and Viviani among the names set to race 30 laps of a 2.1km circuit in Dubai on 6 November.
RCS Sport announces the first ever Giro d’Italia Criterium, organised with the support of MadeinItaly.gov.it, Dubai Sports Council and Expo 2020 Dubai. The 30 lap short-format race will take place on 6 November on a 2.1km circuit in Dubai, as part of the Expo 2020 Dubai – the first World Expo ever hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, where the ‘Made in Italy’ campaign is showcasing Italian excellence.
Among the high-profile riders already confirmed on the entry list are 2021 Giro d’Italia winner and 2019 Tour de France yellow jersey Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers), three-time UCI Road Race World Champion Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe), winner of the Maglia Ciclamino (Points Classifications) of the last edition of the Corsa Rosa, nine-time Grand Tour stage winner Elia Viviani (Cofidis), 2021 Giro d’Italia winner of the KOM Classification Geoffrey Bouchard and the two-time UCI ITT World Champion Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers), winner of six stages of the Giro d’Italia.
Organised in collaboration with the Dubai Sports Council and Expo 2020 Dubai, the race will see riders tackle a criterium circuit in the shape of the Giro d’Italia’s ‘Amore Infinito’ infinity symbol. The race will take place near the Expo 2020’s Italian Pavilion – a centre showcasing the beauty of ‘Made in Italy’ products and experiences, where the Giro d’Italia trophy will be on display. The Pavilion will also host a ‘meet and greet’ session with the race’s competitors the day before the event, providing fans the opportunity to speak to their favourite riders. That evening, on 5 November, riders will also attend a gala dinner in celebration of the inaugural race, with a top rider sat at each table.
His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council: “It is a great pleasure for me to announce another high-profile cycling event to Dubai’s exciting sports calendar for 2021. We already host five international cycling events in Dubai every year, and the Giro d‘Italia Criterium will be a novel new addition, especially since it is taking place in Expo 2020 Dubai, where the world has come together for the greatest show in history. The Giro d’Italia Criterium is an exciting short-format race and it features top cycling stars like 2021 Giro d’Italia winner Egan Bernal, three-time UCI Road Race World Champion Peter Sagan, and, of course, Elia Viviani. So we are really excited about this one-off event. We are pleased to work alongside our long-time partners RCS to bring this event to our cycling fans, and to promote the many benefits of cycling as a sport and a recreation activity. Cycling has grown rapidly in Dubai and the UAE over the years, since we started with the Dubai Tour in 2014, and now the UAE Tour, and I am confident events like this will give a further boost to the popularity of this sport here.”
H.E. Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, praised the announcement of the organisation and establishment of the first “Giro d’Italia Criterium” at Expo 2020 Dubai, which confirms the UAE’s interest and keenness in sports and the organisation of events that contribute to encouraging the community to interact with sports and promote the modern style of a life full of happiness and positive energy for members of the community, stressing that the race will highlight the status of sports events and their distinctive presence within the Expo 2020 Dubai. The Giro d’Italia is a true expression of the sense we want to give to Expo: Connecting people, connecting minds and connecting countries,” said the Commissioner for Italy’s Participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, Paolo Glisenti. “Giro d’Italia puts together the beauty of our country, its landscapes, cities and villages and cycling as a factual prove of our tendency to explore, to travel, to know new territories. That’s the perfect spirit of Italy’s participation in Expo Dubai.”
“International sport is a key element of Expo 2020, and we are delighted to be hosting the first-ever Giro d’Italia Criterium with the Italian pavilion and RCS Sport,” said Kevin Brown, VP Events and Entertainment, Expo 2020 Dubai. “Our partnership with RCS Sport unites a shared purpose of international cooperation towards a healthier, happier and safer planet and is a fantastic addition to Expo 2020’s full sports, fitness and wellbeing programme.”
Paolo Bellino, CEO of RCS Sport, said: “For the first time we have managed, together with our partners the Dubai Sports Council, within an important event such as Expo Dubai 2020, to organise the first Giro d’Italia Criterium. This is also a way to export ‘Made in Italy’ to the world, with the support of the Italian Government. The winners of the four leader’s jerseys of the 2021 Giro d’Italia – Egan Bernal, Peter Sagan and Geoffrey Bouchard – will be at the start on Saturday 6 along with other great riders such as Filippo Ganna, Elia Viviani, Marc Hirschi and Lorenzo Fortunato. I am sure it will be a great show and a very important opportunity to promote Italian excellence, such as the Giro d’Italia.”
“There are three ‘hulls’ on the roof of the Italian Pavilion at Expo Dubai: one goes in the direction of strengthening the friendship between Italy and the Emirates, the other in promoting Italy and Made in Italy in the MENASA area, and the third goes towards the communication in the world of Italian innovation. MAECI – ICE’s support for the Giro d’Italia Criterium goes in all these directions because the Giro d’Italia is an icon not only of the beauty of the Italian territory, but also of the excellence of the technological clusters that are found along the entire Giro route. In addition, it is because the Italian bicycle industry is among the first in Europe for innovation and technology of materials and components, and we want to promote it in the world,” – says Carlo Ferro, President of ICE Agenzia.
World Champion Julian Alaphilippe Publishes Book
A book by World champion Julian Alaphilippe will be published in November. The book about the 29-year-old Frenchman, who won his second World title in a row at the end of last month, has been given the name ‘Julian, Regenboog (Rainbow)’.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step leader Alaphilippe discusses his career in the book. “He looks back on his first year in the rainbow jersey. But he tells, with an open mind, much more: about his cycling successes and his setbacks, about his youth and his family, about his wife (former cyclist Marion Rousse) and child, about his teammates and his team, about his passion for beautiful cars and exceptional timepieces,” according to the publisher.
The 192-page ‘Rainbow’ will be released in four languages. In addition to French, the book will also be available in Dutch, Italian and Spanish from next month, but not in English. To celebrate the launch of his book, Alaphilippe has planned a signing session in Kluisbergen-Ronse on Friday 29 October. He then signs autographs in the Hotond Café. Registration is required for this with publisher Borgerhoff & Lamberigts.
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