As we count down to Sunday’s Tour of Flanders we have all the reports and results from the Dwars door Vlaanderen and the GP Industria & Artigianto with video. Hero of last weekend, Biniam Girmay, has his say – TOP STORY. Rider news: Five year deal for Tom Pidcock, Egan Bernal back on the road, wage rise for Biniam Girmay, Tim Declercq returns and Tom Van Asbroeck injured. Race news: Tour of Flanders news and teams, Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift teams and Six Days of Amsterdam for one evening. Team news: Ex-Gazprom-RusVelo continues to look for new sponsor and Gorillas new sponsor of Jumbo-Visma. Plus ‘Ride with Egan’ fan Zwift ride and the sad loss of podcaster Richard Moore. *** Stop the war in Ukraine ***
TOP STORY: Biniam Girmay Made History in Wevelgem
Fifth in the E3 Harelbeke Saxo Bank Classic and the win in Gent-Wevelgem. Biniam Girmay definitely put Africa on the cycling map last week. “This is an important moment for my country and continent,” he said to the gathered press in Wevelgem.
“This is special for me and for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, but also for African cycling,” Girmay said at the press conference. “I am not the first Eritrean professional. You know Teklehaimanot. And I was already on the podium of the U23 World champs. But this victory in a Classic is different, bigger. The passion for cycling in Eritrea is huge, but we only know the Grand Tours and some Classics. Today’s race was not live on TV, but my family and friends must have followed it online.”
Girmay was originally down to ride the French semi-classic La Roue Tourangelle after E3 Harelbeke, before returning home to Eritrea. It wasn’t until Friday evening that those plans changed. He didn’t really know what awaited him. “I had only seen some images on my phone and on television. Fortunately, I received many directions along the way, from teammates and from the team car via the radio. I received all the information through the earphones. If there was a climb, or if there were gravel lanes coming up. Ten kilometres before such a section I got an update. When I wasn’t in a good position, they told me to move. Teammates brought me forward on the crucial passages. On the first climbs I was surprised a few times. I didn’t feel comfortable either, but then it got better and better.”
When he escaped in the final with Stuyven, Laporte and Van Gestel, Girmay started thinking about a podium place: “To win? No, even going into the last kilometre I was alone with the podium in my head. Laporte is one of the fastest men in the pack. Until we got to the 400 metre sign. That’s when I first dared to think about winning. My best sprint is 250 metres. That is why I entered into it at that time. I didn’t want to wait any longer, for fear of not getting any more space. I just closed my eyes and kept going.”
Girmay was asked whether he could postpone his departure to Eritrea for another week, so that he could ride the Tour of Flanders. “I have already made my schedule in December. I have been here for three full months and miss my wife and daughter. I have to go home, also to recharge the batteries. And I will be celebrating my 22nd birthday there. I can also prepare perfectly for the Tour of Italy in my home country. Then I come back to Europe. On May 1, I will start in the Eschborn-Frankfurt. After that, the Giro d’Italia is on the menu, one of my biggest goals of the season. Winning a stage would be great.”
After his big win on Sunday, the team had a special press conference in the hotel Zuidwege in Zedelgem on Monday, Biniam Girmay had this to say:
“What happened this Sunday was an incredible experience. In the evening, I celebrated my victory with the team. All of them were happy to see me win, some even more than me. The messages with congratulations arrived by the thousands, and so do interview requests from over the world. I’m expecting a big party at my arrival in Eritrea, not only to celebrate my victory but also to honour the multiple African titles won by my compatriots last week. I also have to go back to my country to see my nearest, it is important to have them close to me.”
“I start to realise what happened to me yesterday. Not many riders had the chance to win such a classic at my age. Compared to the World Championships in Leuven, winning Ghent-Wevelgem is even more significant for the African continent. Because it is an Elite event, against the best riders in the world. The support of my team was decisive in the realisation of this historical event. As I never participated in Ghent-Wevelgem before, I didn’t have points of recognition. I relied on the instructions of my sports directors from the first to the last kilometre. They guided me towards the road to victory and the perfect scenario came true. When I saw the 300 meter sign, I was confident in my sprint. Starting my effort with 250 meter to go might have seemed a little early, but for an explosive rider like me it was a perfect distance.”
“In my eyes, a family atmosphere is paramount for my well-being. It is one of the reasons making me feel good within Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux and I wish to stay as long as possible. The dynamics in the team are in constant growth. We progress together as a family and we saw yesterday where our project can bring us. Now, it’s been three months since I haven’t seen my wife and my girl, it is important that I take care of them. Together with the team, we established a nice race programme which led to a fantastic success. This planning did not include the Tour of Flanders and I don’t intend to change it. I’m still young, I will have other opportunities to include more cobble classics in my programme in the future and that’s my wish. ”
“I will now focus on my preparation for the Tour of Italy, my first Grand Tour. At home in Asmara, I can train in optimal conditions at 2400 meter of altitude. Until now, I was spared of physical problems and crashes, my condition is good. Our goal in the Giro will be completing our main objective, winning a stage.”
Dwars door Vlaanderen Men – A travers la Flandre 2022
Mathieu van der Poel has shown he is over his back problems in the Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday in the run-up to Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. The Alpecin-Fenix rider beat Tiesj Benoot in a two-man sprint. The pair has escaped from a leading group of eight in the finalé.
Before the start, all eyes were on Mathieu van der Poel, the injury comeback rider and Tour winner Tadej Pogačar, who was making his debut in the Flemish classics. There were many attacks in the early part of the race, but after more than 30 kilometres, a break of five managed to escape: Nils Politt (BORA-hansgrohe), Johan Jacobs (Movistar), Kelland O’Brien (BikeExchange-Jayco), Aaron Verwilst (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB).
Their lead went up towards the 5 minutes mark at the start of the hilly section of the course. Alpecin-Fenix was in control behind. At 90 kilometres from the finish, the Belgian team was already putting the pressure on. UAE Team Emirates for Pogačar kept the race together. Another attack, on the Kortekeer, came from Mick van Dijke, his attempt was the starting signal for a series of attacks. Gianni Vermeersch, Florian Vermeersch, Mick van Dijke and Jens Debusschere all crashed. At Berg ten Houte, INEOS Grenadiers accelerated with Tom Pidcock and Ben Turner; Van der Poel, Victor Campenaerts, Stefan Küng and Tiesj Benoot responded. They quickly took 30 seconds. Trek-Segafredo, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, TotalEnergies and DSM had missed the move, as had Pogačar, but the chase didn’t go too well. Zdenek Stybar tried to cross on the Kanarieberg, but he couldn’t. Just before the top, Pogačar was more successful; the Slovenian made a gap and went solo on his way towards the six. Pogačar could nearly see the lead group, but there was accelerated and the Tour de France winner was stuck.
After the Knokteberg the race started to come together. The Van der Poel group caught the early break 48 kilometres from the finish as a group including Pogačar, Søren Kragh Andersen, Greg Van Avermaet, Bryan Coquard, Valentin Madouas and Jan Tratnik got away from the peloton. The six followed at 25 seconds behind the eleven leaders and after the Mariaborrestraat the difference was 30 seconds. At Ladeuze, Benoot continued to put the pressure on in the leading group. Of the early escapees, only O’Brien and Politt survived. The chasing group had lost more and more ground. On the cobblestones of Doorn, Pogačar, Tratnik and Madouas managed to pull away, but that was still about 40 seconds from the leaders. In the end they would not get to the front. At the front it was Van der Poel who tested his legs again at Nokereberg, 20 kilometres from the finish, but everything came together again in the leading group. Campenaerts used a quiet moment to get away. He picked up a dangerous gap, but the rest knew not to give the World hour record holder too much space. In the last 15 kilometres the cobblestones of the Herlegemstraat and the climb of the Holstraat were still to come.
A fast pace was set, but no one got away. Shortly after the summit, Campenaerts put in another attack. Turner and Küng were not right on his wheel and Pidcock was also unable to close the gap. Benoot and Pidcock did managed to close the gap with a big effort. At that moment everything was on again, as Van der Poel had made it back. At 3 kilometres out, Campenaerts and Benoot rode away again. The Belgian couple threw themselves into the technical final, but Küng, Pidcock and Van der Poel did not give up in the tough finalé. A regrouping followed 2 kilometres from the finish. Benoot and Van der Poel then chose the right moment to attack, 1,500 meters from the finish. The Belgian of Jumbo-Visma joined the Dutchman of Alpecin-Fenix, but must have know that he was going to be second. In the sprint there was no match for Van der Poel, who won his second Dwars door Vlaanderen. Benoot was second and Pidcock sprinted in behind for third. Pogačar eventually finished tenth.
Race winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “I was good today, but certainly not great. I certainly didn’t feel the strongest in the leading group. Tom Pidcock and Tiesj Benoot certainly made an impression, but I was always with what I had to do. Maybe the team opened it a little too early, because we quickly lost riders. But I’m glad I could finish it. I think I raced the perfect final. In the last ten kilometres it was difficult to control. I did try to make the necessary effort, especially when Pidcock, Benoot and Campenaerts were gone. That was a really big effort to get them back. I’m glad I did, although it did hurt. I wasn’t planning to sprint that far, but I saw that I had a gap after the last corner. My legs were full, and I could still see Tiesj’s front wheel up close, so I thought he might get over with a long sprint. But afterwards I timed it well. And Tiesj was very strong and certainly deserved second place. That’s a different race (Tour of Flanders), especially the distance. I was good today, but certainly not great. Now I will rest for Sunday, because that will be necessary to go with the best.”
2nd, Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma): “I played all or nothing in the final. Victor Campenaerts first attacked on the top of the Holstraat, I expected that because he went there a lap earlier. Then I got away with two men about three times, but we were always caught. After that I played all or nothing. I didn’t see anyone on my wheel, but a corner later Mathieu was there… I could choose not to participate, but by participating I still had the best chance of winning. If he had made a mistake once, for example, that’s why I took it. It’s good to see that I was close. A moment of doubt in the group and I win. But in general I have a good feeling. The E3 Saxo Bank Classic and Gent-Wevelgem have brought me a step forward. That was the depth I was looking for, so towards Sunday (the Tour of Flanders) this is a boost. I think Mathieu is always part of that when he starts, especially after today. It is difficult for me in such a 1-on-1 final against him, but in the Ronde we have Wout van Aert and Christophe Laporte back. So I’m going to Sunday with confidence.”
3rd, Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers): “I’m happy with the podium. It’s a massive improvement from Sunday. I felt really good. I was enjoying the racing there at the end and getting stuck in. Anyone in that group could have won today. It’s just cat and mouse in the end. I think that was just the last move and the elastic snapped. Every other move someone closed it, and just that time Stefan hesitated a bit. And that was it. Ben pulled and I won the sprint. [Sunday] will be similar that it will be full gas like this, but with another 100km added on. It will be a long, hard day, but hopefully if I have legs like today I’ll be happy with that.”
4th, Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal): “I felt really good in a race which I had been looking forward to for quite a long time. When the acceleration came on Berg Ten Houte I couldn’t wait any longer and everyone had to play their cards. The group worked together really well and eventually we went into the final with eight riders. I think I was amongst the strongest riders in the breakaway and hoped of course that my attacks would last until the finish. But unfortunately, it wasn’t to be today. I would have loved to be on the podium and did everything in my power but I just couldn’t win the sprint from Pidcock. Maybe fourth place is a bit of a disappointment, but the main thing I remember from today is that I felt really good. De Ronde? It’s still a lot more kilometres than today so we’ll have to see if we can do something there. But today’s performance really gives me a boost.”
5th, Nils Politt (BORA-hansgrohe): “This result not only means a lot to me, but to the whole team. I knew it will be tricky going through Waregem after the start and attacked there. The group worked well together, and we rode always a good tempo. It was important to make it over Trieu before the chasing group caught us. After that point I knew everything is possible today. Even I was at the front for a lot of kilometres, my legs in the final were still better than expected. Of course, I had to poker a little and had only a few bullets left, and I missed the decisive move due to that. But this result, and also my performance today, was really important to get some confidence back.”
9th, Jan Tratnik /Bahrain Victorious): “Today was a totally new parcour for this race which I did in 2019… I don’t have so much experience with Belgium Classics. It was quite stressful, so when the first group went, I was a bit too far behind. Then I said I need to attack if I want to try and join them, but it was a bit too late. I then found myself in the middle with Tadej (Pogačar), and we worked really good, and then we sprinted for what I think is the top ten, so I’m really satisfied. I’m also looking forward to Sunday, especially as we will have Matej, who is in really good shape, and I’m looking forward to helping him try and win Tour of Flanders.”
10th, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a really good experience. At a key moment there was a crash and I got caught behind. I missed the front group and tried to come back with an effort but they were too strong. I tried many times and in the end to get back to the front but that’s racing. It was a good race. I should have been closer to the front when the move went but I feel for sure I’ve learned a lot. In the first hour there were big fights for the original breakaway so I got the feeling of how hectic these races can be on the narrow roads. I’m excited for Sunday.”
Dwars door Vlaanderen Men – A travers la Flandre Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix in 4:05:39
2. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:01
3. Thomas Pidcock (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:05
4. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Nils Politt (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
6. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
7. Kelland O’Brien (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
8. Ben Turner (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:12
9. Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-Victorious at 2:08
10. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates.
Dwars door Vlaanderen Women – A travers la Flandre 2022
The fifth edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen for women was won by Chiara Consonni. The Italian rider of Valcar-Travel & Service was the first to finish after 120 kilometres around Waregem. Consonni won the bunch sprint from a thinned out peloton, ahead of Julie De Wilde (Plantur-Pura) and Elise Chabbey (Canyon//SRAM).
There were many attacks from the start, but no escape attempt had a chance of success. After the Kanarieberg, where several favourites tried to make a move, Brodie Chapman was the first to get away. The Australian FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope rider took a 1 minute lead. Georgia Baker and Juliette Labous gave chase on the Ladeuze climb and joined Chapman with less than 40 kilometres to go to the finish. Their lead was not very big and the gap was closed on one of the cobblestone sections by a group from the peloton.
Floortje Mackaij attacked and took the very strong Chapman with her. They were almost caught 20 kilometres before the finish, but they managed to build up a lead of 30 seconds. A counter-attack by Elisa Longo Borghini, followed by an attack by Lucinda Brand caused a regrouping. A compact but thinned peloton went into the last 8 kilometres towards the finish at Waregem. Movistar tried to keep the pace high, but it was Ellen van Dijk who tried to escape in a technical section towards the finish. The European champion took risks which stretched the peloton. In the end the race was going to come down to a bunch sprint and Chiara Consonni won a chaotic final battle.
Race winner, Chiara Consonni (Valcar-Travel & Service): “I only believed in a group sprint at the top of the last climb. Trek-Segafredo was very strong on the last cobbled sections. I stayed there in the background and tried to keep following. Eventually I ended up in the first group. In the last straight I knew I had to do my best. I also know that I have a good sprint in my legs, so I’m really happy. In the last kilometres there were a lot of attacks, from Van Dijk and also Canyon-SRAM. They didn’t want a sprint. But I knew I had to stay ahead. After that I was able to do my sprint.”
Dwars door Vlaanderen Women – A travers la Flandre Result:
1. Chiara Consonni (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service in 3:06:40
2. Julie de Wilde (Bel) Plantur-Pura
3. Elise Chabbey (Swi) Canyon//SRAM
4. Pfeiffer Georgi (GB) DSM
5. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
6. Rachele Barbieri (Ita) Liv Racing Xstra
7. Marie Le Net (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
8. Shari Bossuyt (Bel) Canyon//SRAM
9. Arlenis Sierra (Cuba) Movistar
10. Karlijn Swinkels (Ned) Jumbo-Visma.
GP Industria & Artigianto 2022
Diego Ulissi won the GP Industria in Italy on Sunday. After a hilly race of 192 kilometres, the experienced UAE Team Emirates rider was the best of a select group, ahead of Alessandro Fedeli (Italian National Team) and Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin-Fenix).
The hilly circuit round Larciano was on the menu four times in the last 100 kilometres. The Fornello (1km at 9.9%) and the San Baronto (8.6km at 3.5%) would decide the race. After the last climb there was a descent of 7 kilometres to the finish.
In the run-up to the tough finalé, it took a long time before an escape group managed to get away. In the end; Italians Michael Belleri (Biesse-Carrera) and Giulio Masotto (Corratec), plus Romanian Jozsef-Attila Malnasi (Giotti Victoria-Savini Due) made the break. Soon after Connor Sens (Mg.K Vis-Color for Peace-VPM) and Matteo Freddi (Beltrami TSA-Tre Colli) joined them.
They started the four local laps with a 2 minute lead, but were caught after the second Fornelli-San Baronto by about thirty men. Nine of them escaped with Marc Hirschi, Gianluca Brambilla and Andrea Vendrame included, but on the descent a regrouping followed. It came down to the last climbs of the Fornello and the San Baronto, where there were many attacks. In the end it was Hirschi and Nicolas Edet who crossed the top together, with a small lead over the chasers. Vincenzo Nibali managed to close the gap on the descent and took a few riders with him. Among them Diego Ulissi, who then won the sprint in Larciano, ahead of Alessandro Fedeli and Xandro Meurisse.
Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates): “It feels amazing to take my first win of the season and to do it here in front of a home crowd is even more special. My teammates played a great role and really worked hard for me so hats off to them. We are working really well together in this group and the results are showing on the road. I’ll take a short break now and build up to the next block of racing. With really high motivation after the victory today.”
GP Industria & Artigianto Result:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates in 4:31:10
2. Alessandro Fedeli (Ita) Italy
3. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
4. Natnael Tesfazion (Eri) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
5. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën
6. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
7. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
8. Antonio Tiberi (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9. Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates
10. Alessandro Verre (Ita) Arkea-Samsic.
Tom Pidcock signs five-year contract with the INEOS Grenadiers
Tom Pidcock has extended his long-term commitment to the INEOS Grenadiers – making it his home for the next five years.
The 22-year-old British Olympic gold medallist, cyclo-cross world champion and all-round road racer is excited to continue his development as a Grenadier.
Pidcock said: “INEOS Grenadiers is the right team for me. It’s become my home over the past year and it’s incredible to think it’s the team I grew up dreaming of joining. To have the trust of the team and INEOS is an amazing feeling. With the quality of staff and riders I’ve met and raced alongside, it’s been clear since day one that there’s no better team in which to spend the next five years of my career.
“INEOS Grenadiers have backed me all the way, across every discipline I’ve raced in. I couldn’t have asked for better support leading up to my mountain-bike Olympic gold and cyclo-cross world title. For my future goals – chasing Monuments, world titles, and one day a Grand Tour – this is definitely the best place to be.”
INEOS Grenadiers Team Principal, Sir Dave Brailsford said: “Tom’s an incredibly talented bike racer but what sets him apart is his versatility. Already an Olympic gold medallist, cyclo-cross world champion and proven winner on the road, he’s at the heart of an exciting new generation of young riders who’ve grown up riding multiple disciplines and love full-on racing. I admire the values he brings to his racing, which fit perfectly with those of the INEOS Grenadiers. Given he is so young, easy going and fun, the intensity and determination he has is remarkable and he gives his all every time he gets on a bike.
“The length of the relationship we’ve agreed with Tom gives us the opportunity to enable his ambitious, multi-disciplined goals, while giving him the benefit of learning from the wisdom and experience of his many champion teammates. I’m very excited about what we can achieve together.”
Long contract for Tom Pidcock:
Two Months after Accident, Egan Bernal is Back on the Road
Egan Bernal is cycling outside on his bike again two months after his serious accident. He shared photos on social media showing him riding his racing bike near the Colombian capital Bogota.
“The happiest day of my life,” the winner of the 2019 Tour de France and the 2021 Giro d’Italia wrote in a message with the photos. “After two months and twenty broken bones, I am here and looking forward to more. See you on the road!”
Bernal collided with a stationary bus on January 24 and was seriously injured. Since then he has undergone several operations, but he has been getting better. After three weeks he was on an exercise bike and now on the road.
Out on the road:
Wage Rise for Biniam Girmay
Biniam Girmay will have a significant wage rise after his victory in Gent-Wevelgem. His Belgian Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team will triple his salary, so that he will earn almost a million euros a year, more with bonuses, according to Cyclingnews.
Girmay is currently paid €300,000 per year. His new contract, which will earn him a salary of €900,000, which will last until 2024 and will make the Eritrean rider one of the central riders for the Classics for the team. The signing of the contract will take a while, as the 21-year-old Girmay is currently in Eritrea. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Jean-Francois Bourlart, the team manager of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, will speak with Alex Carera, the manager of Girmay, in the meantime. The new contract would then most likely be sealed in early May, when Girmay returns to Europe for the Giro d’Italia. On May 1, he will ride Eschborn-Frankfurt.
New contract for Biniam Girmay:
Tom Pidcock Not Yet 100%
Tom Pidcock had not fully recovered from the stomach problem when he returned to the peloton in Gent-Wevelgem, which forced him to leave Milan-San Remo early this month. The British all-rounder crossed the finish line in 67th, almost two minutes behind Biniam Girmay, but was happy to have finished the race. “It was a very tough day. Of course, it’s a classic, those are really tough races,” Pidcock said after his first Gent-Wevelgem. “It was a tough day, but I’m happy with how it turned out for me. In any case, I’ve finished and that’s a good sign for the future.”
The 22-year-old cyclo-cross world champion was in the front group for much of the race, but lost contact as the peloton approached the final climb of the Kemmelberg with just under 40 kilometres to go. Unlike Milan-Sanremo he made it to the finish. He said: “I was suffering. I felt great the first time on the Kemmelberg and then it just wasn’t there. It’s a good start, and it gives me a good foundation. I went full throttle, even when I had been dropped I still went full throttle to see how far off I am. I’m still a long way from it, but I have to see it positively.”
Pidcock is pleased with his form, only his stomach still causes problems. “I can no longer absorb the carbohydrates at the end of the race and that bothered me. I don’t know when I’ll be my normal self again. We are doing what we can and we hope it will be as soon as possible.”
The cause of his stomach problem is still being looked for. “We don’t know exactly. My liver doesn’t process things very well. It just needs time to heal. I’ve had a lot of trouble with it in the past. I did a blood and urine test, it was high fat. To be honest, I don’t know the details. It’s not normal, we’re doing everything we can to fix it.”
Pidcock not back to full fitness yet:
Tim Declercq On His Return to the Peloton
Tim Declercq made his comeback to the peloton on Wednesday, after being side-lined due to corona and an inflammation of his pericardium. Earlier, the Belgian had announced that he would have to miss the entire Flemish spring, but he was back in Dwars door Vlaanderen. “It is also a mystery to me where I actually stand,” Declercq told Het Laatste Nieuws.
“Of course it has been a far from ideal preparation,” said Declercq, who has been on training camps in Calpe and Mallorca, where he passed fitness tests. “Everything is going well in training, but that is not a competition yet. I will certainly not have the real hardness of the races yet. And the explosiveness, which is already a bit of a problem anyway, still needs some work.”
Declercq will take on his old, familiar role in Dwars door Vlaanderen. “My task will traditionally be to drop off the leaders in the right place at the right time. And then see where exactly the tank is emptying. I hope I can do my bit for the team, but I don’t know if I will make such a huge difference.”
It has not yet been decided whether Declercq will also start in the Tour of Flanders next Sunday. “That knot will only be cut after Dwars door Vlaanderen. If it turns out that I am only eighty to eighty-five percent, I pass. Of course it would be great to be able to ride De Ronde, but only if I can be of added value to the team.”
Work horse Tim Declercq back in harness:
End of Spring Hopes for Tom Van Asbroeck Due to Blood Clot in Arm
Tom Van Asbroeck has had to forget the 2022 spring Classics. The Israel-Premier Tech rider has a blood clot in his right arm as a result of a recent crash. Van Asbroeck will undergo treatment in the coming weeks to sort out the problem. The 31-year-old sprinter can train carefully, he is not allowed to race because of the risks. The medical staff of his team are closely following the rider’s recovery and is preparing a plan for his return to the peloton.
Van Asbroeck started the season in the Tour de La Provence and then raced the Flemish opening weekend. He was then 17th in Le Samyn. In Paris-Nice he abandoned early because of signs of a respiratory infection. In Nokere Koerse he was again 17th. After that he also started in Bredene Koksijde and the E3 Classic.
No spring Classics for Tom Van Asbroeck:
Tour of Flanders 2022
You can see the ‘PEZ Tour of Flanders Preview’ HERE.
# More Flanders team announcement will be added up to the race start. #
Watch the most comprehensive live & ad-free coverage of the Tour of Flanders 2022 on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results & more – plus stream original and exclusive cycling documentaries. Watch it all with GCN+ on any device.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to Ronde van Vlaanderen
Kasper Asgreen headlines our line-up for the second Monument of the season.
The only team in the modern era to have won Ronde van Vlaanderen eight times, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl will travel to the start of the 106th edition with a squad led by none other than the defending champion Kasper Asgreen, who last year took the victory in spectacular fashion.
Third at Strade Bianche earlier this season and a solid performer last week at E3 Harelbeke, Kasper will wear bib number one in Antwerp, where he will have around him a strong team that is set to include also Tim Declercq, Yves Lampaert, Florian Sénéchal, Jannik Steimle – who’ll get to ride a Monument for the first time in his career – Zdenek Stybar and Bert Van Lerberghe.
One of the longest and toughest one-day races of the whole year, Ronde van Vlaanderen will feature 18 climbs, including the Molenberg, Koppenberg and its viciously steep gradients which have a history of putting many riders into difficulty, Taaienberg, Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg. The last two will be tackled in quick succession in the last 25 kilometers, from the top of the Paterberg – which averages an insane 12.3% over just 360 meters – only 13 kilometers separating the riders from the finish in Oudenaarde.
“De Ronde is one of the best races in the world, but at the same time, one of the toughest. Looking over the course there aren’t that many changes, so we know what to expect. The difference is, of course, the team that is not on full strength, with all the sickness that has struck us. But despite this, we have the belief that on Sunday we will play a part in the race.”
“Kasper showed he’s one of the best out there at the moment. We have Florian and Jannik, who also proved they are ready, even though Florian had a lot of bad luck in the past races. Tim, Yves, Zdenek and Bert know the parcours, they are experienced, so even with some condition they can handle the course and do something good. Of course, it goes without saying that we aren’t the big favourites for this race. We will have to ride smart to get a good result, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t confident”, said Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Tom Steels.
03.04 Ronde van Vlaanderen – Tour des Flandres (BEL) 1.UWT
Kasper Asgreen (DEN)
Tim Declercq (BEL)
Yves Lampaert (BEL)
Florian Sénéchal (FRA)
Jannik Steimle (GER)
Zdenek Stybar (CZE)
Bert Van Lerberghe (BEL).
Sports Director: Wilfried Peeters (BEL), Tom Steels (BEL) and Rik van Slycke (BEL).
Kasper Asgreen again?
Line-up Lotto Soudal for Ronde van Vlaanderen
‘De Hoogmis’, ‘Vlaanderens Mooiste’ or just the Ronde van Vlaanderen. One of the most important days of the year for any Belgian. Discover the Lotto Soudal line-up for the race in the video below.
Trentin and Pogačar Headline Flanders Squad
UAE Team Emirates will continue their northern classics campaign taking on the second monument of the year the Ronde van Vlaanderen/Tour of Flanders (3 April).
The team will be overseen by Sports Directors Fabio Baldato (Ita), Aart Vierhouten (Ned) and Marco Marcato (Ita). The experienced campaigner Matteo Trentin will serve as road captain for an exciting squad which includes Tadej Pogačar who comes into the classics group for the first time this year.
Tadej Pogačar: “I’ve really been looking forward to coming to Flanders.
The history and passion for cycling in Belgium is unique and I can’t wait to be a part of it. What do I expect? The shape is good and hopefully we can be near the front, but I’m under no illusions about the cobbles: I know this is a different kind of racing than normal.But I’ll try to soak it all in and enjoy as much as possible. My teammate Matteo Trentin knows these classic races as well as anyone, so we’ll look to his experience in the team for sure.It’s a bit of a step into the unknown but one I’m very excited for.”
Matteo Trentin: “I’m still coming back to top shape after the crash but I’m optimistic for Flanders. I know the race well and that counts for a lot in the classics. I think Tadej can also perform well here, it’s a different style of racing but he can adapt well. It’s a pleasure to ride with him and I have no doubt he’ll be strong. I believe we have a group that’s capable of doing good things. Hopefully we can get as many of our guys as possible deep into the final, then anything is possible.”
Ronde van Vlaanderen – Tour des Flandres [1.UWT] – 03-Apr-2022:
Mikkel Bjerg (Dan)
Alexys Brunel (Fra)
Matteo Trentin (Ita)
Rui Oliveira (Por)
Tadej Pogačar (Slo)
Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
Oliviero Troia (Ita).
Ronde van Vlaanderen Men – APR 3
Phil West – Team DSM coach
“With all the elements we have seen in the Classics so far, De Ronde is certainly going to be the ultimate fight. The longest cobbled classic and with the most climbs and cobbled sectors will mean for sure only the best riders will come together for the finish in Oudenaarde. Again we will look to how we sit as a team and come into those key sectors and climbs in a front position, bringing John into contention for battle in the final 100 kilometres of the race where the climbs and sections then come thick and fast.”
John Degenkolb (GER)
Nico Denz (GER)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (NOR)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA):
Ronde van Vlaanderen Women – APR 3
Huub Duijn – Team DSM coach: “Flanders always is a special race with a special feeling. This year with the crowds back at the side of the roads, we are really looking forward to the typical Belgian atmosphere. The race is well known for its many famous climbs and cobbled sections and we will look for opportunities in the race, needing to be well-positioned at the right moments, going in any attacks or moves as they go. Flanders is an honest race so in the end, the strongest will always end up at the front. We want to show the team colours and be there when it matters.”
Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Charlotte Kool (NED)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Lorena Wiebes (NED).
John Degenkolb to Flanders:
Julian Alaphillipe Training on the Tour of Flanders Course
Julian Alaphilippe is not (yet) on the start list of Sunday’s the Tour of Flanders, but was seen training on the course on Tuesday. Together with Kasper Asgreen and others of the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team, the World champion was spotted on the Oude Kwaremont. It raises the question whether Alaphilippe will or will not ride De Ronde.
Alaphilippe lives in Ronse, so it does not mean that he will be on the start line in Antwerp. The Frenchman didn’t included the Tour of Flanders in his program, because the combination with the Walloon classics would be too hard. However, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl is currently struggling with several injuries and could well need Alaphilippe in Flanders. Florian Sénéchal fell in Gent-Wevelgem and Tim Declercq only returns now in Dwars door Vlaanderen after corona and an inflammation of his pericardium. Whether this means that we will see Alaphilippe at the start on Sunday will probably be announced on Thursday afternoon at 4pm, when his team holds a press conference.
*** See above, the World champion is not riding Flanders. ***
Alaphilippe looking for motorbikes on the course:
Peter Sagan Won’t Start the Tour of Flanders
Don’t look for Peter Sagan has decided in consultation with his team, TotalEnergies, not to ride the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. The French sports newspaper L’Équipe reported the news on Monday. Sagan’s next race should now be the Circuit de la Sarthe (April 5-8).
TotalEnergies has had little success with Sagan so far, having been brought in as the new big man by the French team for this year. The three-time world champion became infected with the covid virus for a second time at the beginning of this year and fell behind in his training. Then he fell ill in Tirreno-Adriatico. Sagan recovered for Milan-Turin and finished fifth, but in the following classics he was not seen much. According to TotalEnergies, Sagan is currently struggling with races over 200 kilometres, according to L’Équipe, so it has been decided to skip the Tour of Flanders, a race he won in 2016.
Sagan will have some tests to see whether the rider is not suffering from some physical ailments. Sagan should be racing next a week: the team want him to ride the Circuit de la Sarthe.
No Flanders for Sagan:
Quinn Simmons Uncertain for Tour of Flanders
Quinn Simmons might not be at the start of the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. Trek-Segafredo’s young American was ill after Tirreno-Adriatico and is currently struggling with his form. Simmons will make the decision on Wednesday, after Dwars door Vlaanderen, with regard to his participation in ‘Vlaanderens Mooiste’.
Simmons impressed in the Tirreno-Adriatico, the American went home with the mountain jersey after a very attacking race. However, after the Italian stage race, the classic became ill. “And that’s not a good way to prepare for the classics, you really have to be 110% to be in the first group.”
In the E3 Saxo Bank Classic and Gent-Wevelgem Simmons did his best, but he had to stop early. “It’s nice to be able to help, but that has to happen in the final and not in the first hundred kilometres. It’s a bit frustrating, but I owe it to the team and the boys to at least give everything.” Simmons has doubts and wonders whether he should appear at the start of the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. “We will decide after Wednesday whether or not I should ride. If I haven’t made any progress by then, there’s no point. It is a decision that we will take together. Hopefully all goes well on Wednesday. If not, I will return to Girona to train a bit and get ready.” Simmons is still thinking about the Amstel Gold Race and Paris-Roubaix. “It is still three weeks until Roubaix. It makes no sense to start in De Ronde and then get off after a hundred kilometres.”
Quinn Simmons not 100%:
Tour of Flanders Will Finish in Oudenaarde Till 2028
The Tour of Flanders will finish in Oudenaarde for the next 6 years. The organisers announced on Tuesday that it has a new deal until 2028. ‘Vlaanderens Mooiste’ will finish in Oudenaarde for at least another six years. Flanders has finished in Oudenaarde since 2012.
Flanders Classics and the city of Oudenaarde have come to an agreement. “This is very important for the city. The Tour of Flanders provides great tourist interest throughout the year,” said Mayor Marnic De Meulemeester at a press conference. “All figures show that this is a major asset for Oudenaarde: for our tourism sector and for our catering businesses.”
“Visitors come from all over because we are the city where the Tour of Flanders finishes,” says De Meulemeester. Tomas Van Den Spiegel, CEO of Flanders Classics, is fully committed to sustainability this year. On a green Tour of Flanders: “We deploy green teams that help clear up waste, use reusable cups and there are extra waste islands with clear signage. But we really hope that the many supporters themselves set a good example.”
Since 2012, we have seen Tom Boonen, Fabian Cancellara (2x), Alexander Kristoff, Peter Sagan, Philippe Gilbert, Niki Terpstra, Alberto Bettiol, Mathieu van der Poel and Kasper Asgreen triumph in Oudenaarde. Among the women there has been success for Judith Arndt, Marianne Vos, Ellen van Dijk, Elisa Longo Borghini, Lizzie Deignan, Coryn Labecki, Anna van der Breggen, Marta Bastianelli, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak and Annemiek van Vleuten.
Oudenaarde to keep the Flanders finish:
Tour de France Femmes Avec Zwift: The 24 Teams Selected
The organisers of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift have selected the teams for the first edition. The start will be given from the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Sunday 24 July and the finish judged at the Super Planche des Belles Filles in the Haute-Saône department on Sunday 31 July after eight stages.
In accordance with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) regulations, the fourteen UCI Women’s WorldTeams automatically entered are:
Canyon / / SRAM Racing (GER)
EF Education – Tibco – SVB (USA)
FDJ Nouvelle – Aquitaine Futuroscope (FRA)
Human Powered Health (USA)
Liv Racing Xstra (NED)
Movistar Team Women (ESP)
Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad (SUI)
Team BikeExchange – Jayco (AUS)
Team DSM (NED)
Team Jumbo – Visma (NED)
Team SD Worx (NED)
Trek – Segafredo (USA)
UAE Team ADQ (UAE)
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team (NOR)
Furthermore, the three best 2021 UCI Women’s Continental teams will participate by right at the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift:
Ceratizit – WNT Pro Cycling Team (GER)
Parkhotel Valkenburg (NED)
Valcar – Travel & Service (ITA)
The organisers have invited the seven following teams:
AG Insurance – NXTG Team (NED)
Arkéa Pro Cycling Team (FRA)
Cofidis Women Team (FRA)
Le Col Wahoo (GBR)
Plantur – Pura (BEL)
Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime (FRA)
St Michel – Auber 93 (FRA)
Six Days of Amsterdam Returns for One Evening
The Six Days of Amsterdam returns next week for one evening. On Friday evening, April 8th, various track riders will participate in the D6Cycling Night, a new track race on the UCI calendar.
The schedule for April 8th is a combination of top sport and festivities. Many Dutch and foreign riders will be at the start. Yoeri Havik, Jan-Willem van Schip, Roy Eefting, Gavin Hoover (winner of the new UCI Track Champions League), Lily Williams and Tessa Dijksman have already said they would ride.
D6Cycling has a full program on April 8th. The reception will be from 5.30pm followed by a Kids race. After this, the Scratch and Points Race will be held for both men and women. The main menu of the evening are the Elimination Races and the Madison Race for the men.
From 1932, the Amsterdam Six Days was a household name within track cycling. But due to a lack of sponsors and the limited possibilities of the Velodrome in Sloten, the 6 days couldn’t be run in 2017. The Belgian team of Kenny De Ketele and Moreno De Pauw won the last edition of the Six Days of Amsterdam in 2016. Danny Stam is the record holder with four overall victories.
Yuri Havik – Vincent Hoppezak
Roy Eefting – Luca Felix Happke
Jan Willem Van Schip – Philip Heijnen
Mel van der Veekens – Maikel Zijlaard
Gavin Hoover – Yanne Dorenbos
Dominik Weiss – Justin Weder
Jules Hesters – Tuur Dens
Sebastian Juul – Silas Falko
Anders Fynbo – Arne Birkemose
John Croom – Eamon Lucas
Christos Volikakis – Noel Luijten
Facundo Lezica – Denis Rugovac.
The last winners in Amsterdam – Kenny De Ketele and Moreno De Pauw:
Former Gazprom-RusVelo Continues to Search for a New Sponsor
The former Gazprom-RusVelo team has given itself longer to find a new title sponsor. After the professional team lost its license as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the team initially gave itself until March 27th to come to a solution. For the time being, the riders are training in neutral shirts and also participate in races with their national teams.
In connection with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the International Cycling Union decided on March 1 to revoke the license of Gazprom-RusVelo. That hit the team hard. “This was shocking news for everyone in our international squad, especially given the good start to the season with two wins. We were ready to participate in the Trofeo Laigueglia and other competitions in neutral shirts without logos and under neutral team status, but the UCI did not allow us to do this,” the team wrote on social media today.
On March 3, the team management met with the UCI, where the team was assured that it can start racing again as soon as a new main sponsor has been found. Since then, the team said goodbye to Gazprom Germania, the German branch of the Russian natural gas company Gazprom. “We would like to thank Gazprom Germania for their constant support from 2016. It was a successful story in the development of our team. Over the years we have had numerous victories, have become very recognisable and have helped many riders to become pros.”
Now, however, it is time to move on, the team continues. The team name on social media has since been changed from Gazprom-RusVelo to Professional Cycling Team. “The team has been based in Lonato del Garda, Italy for ten years, and this year the team consisted of 21 athletes from six different countries. In these challenging times of searching for a new team sponsor, our riders continue to train in neutral shirts and also participate in races with national teams. Alessandro Fedeli was second in the GP Larciano and Mathias Vacek won in the Czech Republic.”
“We are convinced that politics should be kept out of sport,” the team said, “and that sport should be a platform for the unity of peoples. Cycling and our team in particular could be a messenger of peace. We stand for peace in the world and do not support wars. We will continue to look for a new title sponsor. Together with a new team partner, we can immediately start racing under a new name and decide together which country will represent our international team.”
Training in white:
Gorillas new co-sponsor of Team Jumbo-Visma
As of 1 July 2022, Team Jumbo-Visma welcomes online delivery service Gorillas as a new team partner. From the start of the Tour de France in Copenhagen, the logo of the instant delivery service will be visible on the jerseys of all Team Jumbo-Visma cycling teams. The sponsorship contract runs for two and a half years.
Team Jumbo-Visma does not hide its ambition to be the best. The organisation’s slogan is not for nothing: winning together. The partnership with Gorillas – partly the result of an intensified cooperation between Jumbo Supermarkets and the online delivery service – enables Team Jumbo-Visma’s sports teams to further develop themselves and reach their goals.
Logo on cycling jerseys
From 1 July 2022 to 1 January 2025, Gorillas will be Team Jumbo Visma’s official
co-sponsor. The red and white logo of Gorillas will be placed on the professional cyclists’ jersey. It will be visible for the first time during the 2022 Tour de France, in addition to the logos of Jumbo, Visma, HEMA, Skoda and Cervélo.
Richard Plugge, managing director of Team Jumbo-Visma: “The cycling team has a natural link with Gorillas. For us it’s all about saving time on the bike as well. Just like Gorillas, we are innovative and ambitious. Gorillas delivers your groceries in cities within minutes, saving time for the consumer. In addition, cycling is green, healthy and the solution for the congested inner cities; a message that cycling carries and Gorillas expresses. We will proudly ride with Gorillas’ logo on our jersey from the start of the Tour de France this summer. This way, we can contribute to global awareness for the online shopping service. It is a wonderful combination.”
“We want to keep growing, also in the Netherlands”, said Sadik Cevik, general manager of Gorillas Netherlands. “It is therefore precious for us to be associated with Team Jumbo-Visma. A top sports organisation that represents professionalism and performance suits us. As an instant grocery delivery service, in which our riders play an important role, it feels like a logical match to connect with this successful cycling team that enjoys worldwide exposure.”
Gorillas and Jumbo Supermarkets
Jumbo Supermarkets and Gorillas announced last week that they will further strengthen their partnership signed earlier this year. The co-sponsorship of Team Jumbo-Visma is part of this collaboration.
Bernal Continues Remarkable Recovery and Takes to Zwift to Thank Fans for their Support
To thank fans for all their support over the last few months, Egan Bernal will be doing a ‘Ride with Egan’ fan Zwift ride this coming Saturday (2nd April) at 10am Colombian / 5pm CEST / 4pm BST.
Since his training accident in January, the messages of support from around the world and his determination to get back racing has been driving the Tour de France champion in his recovery. Bernal is all in and focussed on his rehab journey and wants to be able to ride alongside fans virtually until he can see them back at races in person.
Bernal, who recently got back on his bike on the roads near his home in Colombia, said: “This has been, and still is, the biggest challenge I’ve ever had to deal with in life, and to be able to be back on my bike already so soon after my accident is something that I have been dreaming about for the last few weeks. I can’t describe how happy it has made me. But not being at the races I miss the fans and the support and energy they all give me, that’s why I want as many as possible to come join me on Zwift this Saturday and for us to ride along together for an hour.”
LINK TO ZWIFT RIDE HERE.
Richard Moore of The Cycling Podcast Passed Away
Richard Moore passed away suddenly on Monday. Born in 1973, the Scotsman was active as a rider at the Commonwealth Games in 1998, but gained fame mainly as a cycling journalist after his sporting career. In recent years, he was best known as the host of The Cycling Podcast, a popular cycling podcasts.
Moore worked as a journalist for a variety of media, including Cycling Weekly, Rouleur, Cyclingnews and Procycling. He also published regularly in English and Scottish newspapers such as The Guardian and The Herald. He has also written several well-known cycling books, including Slaying The Badger about the Tour de France victory of Greg Lemond in 1986, where he defeated Bernard Hinault and In Search of Robert Millar, where he looks at the life of the Scottish top cyclist.
He hosted The Cycling Podcast on a weekly basis, which grew into the most listened to cycling podcast. On Sunday he was working at Gent-Wevelgem. Everyone at PEZ send their condolences to his family and friends.
The PEZ INSTAGRAM
See our Instagram page for a quick fix on your phone: https://www.instagram.com/pezcyclingnews
The PEZ NEWSWIRE!
Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it on the homepage, just above the PEZ Shop section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.