All the excitement of the UAE Tour and the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, plus the last cyclocross races of the season with results, reports and video. Ex track rider new Olympic committee chair – TOP STORY. Rider news: Remco Evenepoel and Sam Bewley training again, more on the Marc Hirschi and DSM split, Guillaume Martin extends with Cofidis, Romain Bardet for Classics and Giro/Vuelta and Davide Rebellin signs contract. Race news: Milano-Sanremo on the Primavera, teams for Dwars door Vlaanderen, riders for the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, 24 races request postponement and ToAD hosts final weekends in the Echelon Racing League. Richard Carapaz: Origins of a Racer video. EUROTRASH Monday coffee time.
TOP STORY: Former track rider is new chair of the Olympic Games organising committee
Former track cyclist and speed skater Seiko Hashimoto is the new chair of the Tokyo Olympic Games Organising Committee. She succeeds former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who decided to step down last week after several misogynistic statements.
Hashimoto was already deeply involved in the Olympics as Secretary of Olympic Affairs. “It was a difficult decision to step down as a minister for the Olympics. There are still five months until the Games and they have to be held in a safe way.” It is up to Hashimoto to ensure that this runs smoothly.
“I want to develop a system that will allow the Japanese people and the rest of the world to be sure that the Olympics are being kept safe,” said Hashimoto. It is up to the new chairman to increase the support for the Olympic Games among the Japanese population.
Hashimoto was a track cyclist in the past, but was better known as a long track speed skater. For example, she won Olympic bronze in the 1,500 metres during the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville. As a speed skater and cyclist, she participated no less than seven times in the Olympic Games.
Her predecessor Mori recently decided to leave after calls for his departure had grown louder. The former Prime Minister of Japan had said, among other things, that women keep talking during meetings and expressed his irritation about this. Mori quickly apologised, but the storm did not abate.
UAE Tour 2021
Mathieu van der Poel won Stage 1 of the UAE Tour on Sunday. The Dutch champion survived an echelon stage and was part of an elite group in the final and turned out to have the fastest legs in Al Mirfa. David Dekker finished in second place ahead of Michael Mørkøv.
From the start the speed was high and the peloton soon split into groups. The first part of the race was shaped by the echelons and at the front riders like Mathieu van der Poel and defending champion Adam Yates were there. Soon after, the race was back together for the first time, as the riders had to deal with a change in the wind. The groups behind had the chance to rejoin the front. The stage seemed to be going towards a bunch sprint, but the men of Deceuninck – Quick-Step saw another opportunity to tear the peloton apart with 110 kilometres to go.
Tour winner Tadej Pogačar, defending champion Adam Yates and João Almeida were the most important classification riders in the first group, while Jumbo-Visma’s David Dekker, Fernando Gaviria and Elia Viviani had also survived the first battle. Van der Poel was once again with the first echelon, but Caleb Ewan had missed the split. The difference between the first two echelons quickly increased to almost a minute. The front group reached the first intermediate sprint and Almeida managed to take the 3 seconds bonus with a view to a possible overall victory.
The first group consisted of 26 riders. Several teams had three men at the front:
Tadej Pogačar, Mikkel Bjerg, Fernando Gaviria (UAE Emirates), Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers), Mathieu van der Poel, Roy Jans and Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Fenix), Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious), Elia Viviani, Rubén Fernández and Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis), João Almeida, Shane Archbold, Mattia Cattaneo, Fausto Masnada and Michael Mørkøv (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Neilson Powless (EF Education Nippo), Alexys Brunel and Anthony Roux (Groupama-FDJ), Riccardo Minali (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Omer Golstein (Israel Start-Up Nation), David Dekker and Chris Harper (Jumbo-Visma), Mattias Skjelmose, Emīls Liepiņš and Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo).
UAE Emirates, Alpecin-Fenix, Cofidis, Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Trek-Segafredo were the dominant teams. Behind; several teams tried to chase, but the difference kept increasing. Riders like Wout Poels, Sepp Kuss, Alejandro Valverde and Vincenzo Nibali were in a second or third echelon. Four-time Tour winner Chris Froome was in a fourth group. In the chasing group, BORA-hansgrohe worked the hardest, hoping to bring sprinter Pascal Ackermann and climber Emanuel Buchmann back to the front, but they had missed the boat. With 30 kilometres to go, the difference between the first two groups was almost 3 minutes. The first stage couldn’t have gone any better for Pogačar, Yates and Almeida.
The winner of the stage had to come from the front group of now more than 20 riders. Almeida was the first rider to throw his cards on the table and was joined by Vermeersch, Fernández and Powless. However they were soon caught again by the Danish locomotive Bjerg, who sacrificed himself completely for his sprint leader Gaviria. Deceuninck – Quick-Step didn’t give up and sent Cattaneo up the road. Unlike Almeida, the strong Italian managed to get a gap. With 4 kilometres to go he had a maximum of 15 seconds, but UAE Team Emirates kept the brave Cattaneo in their sights.
With 2 kilometres to go, Gaviria closed the last gap with a strong effort. However, the pursuers also managed to connect before entering the last kilometre and the inevitable sprint. Van der Poel turned out to be the fastest, ahead of a strong Dekker and the Dane Mørkøv. Van der Poel, who indicated before the start of the UAE Tour that he had no goals himself, also took the first leader’s jersey.
Stage winner and overall leader, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “I said I was coming here as a lead-out man but today I had good legs from the beginning. I was able to catch the group that went away after the first intermediate sprint and the wind made the race very hard, which played in my favour. I finished it off in the sprint but I didn’t expect this win at all. It means a lot to me to start my road season the same way I finished my cyclocross season.
2nd on the stage and overall, David Dekker (Jumbo-Visma): “Normally second place might be a disappointing result, but this is my first race for Jumbo-Visma. It is also my first race at WorldTour level. The difference with Van der Poel was also visible. So I am satisfied with this second place. It was important for me to keep an eye on the fast guys, Fernando Gaviria and especially Van der Poel. I knew Deceuninck – Quick-Step would attack in the final. It was important to be in the right position. I had help from Chris in the last two kilometres. Then it was a matter of choosing position to see if I was strong enough for the sprint. Today I also showed that I can do more than just sprint, but for now I am definitely focusing on sprinting.”
3rd on the stage and overall, Michael Mørkøv (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It was a good start of the season, really encouraging for the next stages. We knew we were going to have crosswinds all day long and were focused to be at the front and make sure we don’t get caught out. The team did a superb job, putting in a solid effort and giving it their all, for which I am grateful. It’s thanks to them I got those bonifications, which could end up being very important, as the UAE Tour is the kind of race where every second counts. We are content with the way things went today and at the same time we are hoping for more next week.”
6th on the stage and 5th overall, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a really hard stage with the wind, but in the end our team did a super good job with four guys in the front group. Sadly we missed the stage win but I think we showed that we are strong and up for the fight. We were there at the front and we’ve set ourselves up well for the next few days.”
UAE Tour Stage 1 Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix in 3:45:47
2. David Dekker (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
3. Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
4. Emils Liepins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
6. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
7. Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8. Chris Harper (Aus) Jumbo-Visma at 0:03
9. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
10. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step.
UAE Tour Overall After Stage 1:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix in 3:45:37
2. David Dekker (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:04
3. Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:06
4. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:07
5. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:08
6. Emīls Liepiņš (Lat) Trek-Segafredo at 0:10
7. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
8. Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9. Chris Harper (Aus) Jumbo-Visma
10. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick Step.
Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var 2021
Bauke Mollema won the opening Stage 1 of the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var on Friday. After a climb of eight kilometres to Gourdon, the Trek-Segafredo rider was the first to cross the line just ahead of Greg Van Avermaet and Valentin Madouas, to also take the overall lead.
The first day of the three-day race went from Biot to the Col de Gourdon, a 7.8 kilometre climb which had to be climbed three times. The stage started with a circuit through the Alpes Maritimes, followed by two shorter laps of 26.1 kilometres around the final climb. In the first phase of the stage, a leading group of five men was formed: Otto Vergaerde and Tom Wirtgen of Alpecin-Fenix and Bingoal-WB were the instigators of the break, they were joined by Óscar Cabedo (Burgos-BH), Flavien Maurelet (St Michel-Auber93) and Jérémy Leveau (Xelliss-Roubaix Lille Métropole). The five took a maximum lead of 6 minutes as Trek-Segafredo and INEOS Grenadiers set the pace in the peloton. After 50 kilometres, the lead slowly started to decrease. At the foot of the first climb of the Gourdon, the lead was only 2:30.
On the Gourdon, Leveau had to let go, while Dylan van Baarle led the peloton with his teammates from INEOS Grenadiers. On the eight kilometre climb, Andrea Mifsud counterattacked. The young rider from the Swiss Racing Academy was off the front for a while, but was caught again on the second climb of the Gourdon. On the climb, Vergaerde rode away from his companions Wirtgen, Cabedo and Maurelet, but a thinned peloton was already on his heels. Before the summit, all the attackers had been caught with just over 25 kilometres to go.
On the descent several riders tried to get away, including Oliver Naesen. However, the peloton grouped together for the final climb of the Gourdon. A small group including Valentin Madouas, Ben O’Connor, Krists Neilands and Quentin Pacher broke away, after which Pacher went on alone. The B&B Hotels rider initially held a small lead, but was caught in the last 3 kilometres. After that it was Groupama-FDJ who took the lead. The stage was decided on the steep final kilometre. Bauke Mollema started his sprint at more than 300 metres from the line, but managed to keep his long effort until the finish. Greg van Avermaet was second , ahead of Valentin Madouas in third. In the group of 25 riders behind, there was almost all other important GC contenders.
Stage winner and overall leader, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo): “I knew I had to start early. The last climb was not super tough, but the last 800 metres was steep. I explored here and I knew this climb very well. I knew I had to go early. I had the strength for it, but I didn’t want to get boxed in and loose positions. The team has worked great. They kept me in the front all the time. I got a great lead-out and started at 350 to 300 metres. It was a long sprint, but I made it.”
2nd on the stage and overall, Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroën): “I’m happy even if it’s always better to win. It was a tough finish that I didn’t know, made for punchers and climbers. The legs are definitely there, and the team did a great job getting me positioned. Mollema started the sprint 600m from the finish, I stayed on Ciccone’s wheel and a gap formed. This kind of race, with a lot of vertical gain, is ideal for perfecting the condition for the classics. Taking some good results along the way is always good for the morale of the team and for my own.”
Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var Stage 1 Result:
1. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo in 4:50:20
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën at 0:01
3. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
4. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
5. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
6. Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R Citroën
7. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
9. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ.
Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var Overall After Stage 1:
1. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo in 4:50:19
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën at 0:02
3. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
4. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:03
5. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
6. Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R Citroën
7. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
9. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:06.
Stage 2 of the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var was won by Michael Woods. On the steep final climb in Fayence, the Israel Start-up Nation rider was the best ahead of Bauke Mollema and Jhonatan Narvaéz. Woods also took over the leader’s jersey from Mollema.
The finish was just after the Mur de Fayence, a short but very steep slope. In sunny conditions, the attacks started immediately, but it took a while before a group was allowed to stay away. After 20 kilometres a break of seven men got together. Astana’s Hugo Houle joined up with the Delko pair of Clément Berthet and Biniam Ghirmay Hailu, Víctor De la Parte (Total Direct Energie), Cyril Barthe (B&B Hotels), Dylan Kowalski (Xelliss-Roubaix Lille Métropole) and Andrea Mifsud (Swiss Racing Academy). Berthet was the best placed overall in 56th place at 1:37 to yellow jersey Bauke Mollema. For the first climb of the day, the Côte des Marjoris after 57.6 kilometres, their lead was 4 minutes.
The lead fluctuating around 4 to 5 minutes over the Les Marjoris and the Col de Mons, the second climb of the day. After 100 kilometres, the Mur de Fayence was climbed for the first time. Then there were two local laps of 33 kilometres, in which the escapees were pulled back little by little. On the local circuit, there was a crash in the peloton. Pierre Latour, Anthony Turgis and Nans Peters all came down. Latour had to abandon. It was mainly a matter time before the break was caught and the final climb where the expected decision would be made.
On the ascent towards Fayence, Vuillermoz was the first to make a move, but his effort was too soon. Greg Van Avermaet did not survive either. Woods looked to be the strongest and when he increased the pace, no one could follow. Overall leader Mollema wasn’t far behind on the final climb and finished second just behind Woods. He was unable to hold the overall lead and now the Trek-Segafredo rider is now at 1 second.
Stage winner and overall leader, Michael Woods (Israel Start-up Nation): “These are the kind of climbs I love. This was great. This is my first race for my new team and they immediately helped me fantastically. I also had very good legs. INEOS Grenadiers and Trek-Segafredo did the job, my team was able to protect me well and push me off from the front. I knew this climb from Paris-Nice and these are the kind of climbs I love. I knew I had to go full and it is great to be able to win for the team now. Tomorrow will be a very difficult stage, especially with the climb of Col de la Madone. I’m going to give everything to keep it yellow.”
2nd on the stage and overall, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo): “It was a tough day. It was up and down the entire stage. It’s a shame to lose the leader’s jersey by a second, but Woods was stronger today. He took off and I was on his wheel, but I couldn’t go. He deservedly won. I am happy with the feeling. It doesn’t often happen that in consecutive stages they get first and second. Tomorrow’s ride will be even tougher than the last two days. I’ve been looking forward to that for a long time. I know every mountain from training. Hopefully we can make some changes to the rankings tomorrow.”
Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var Stage 2 Result:
1. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation in 4:16:54
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:02
3. Jhonatan Narvaez Prado (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:04
4. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:07
5. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Total Direct Energie at 0:10
6. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
7. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën at 0:11
8. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 0:13
9. Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal WB
10. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) INEOS Grenadiers.
Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var Overall After Stage 2:
1. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation in 9:07:15
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:01
3. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:07
4. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:10
5. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën at 0:11
6. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 0:13
7. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
8. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9. Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal WB
10. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic.
Gianluca Brambilla won the Final Stage 3 and the overall victory of the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var. The Trek-Segafredo Italian was part of a large leading group in the mountainous stage, that started and finish in Blausac. He crossed the finish line solo after 136 kilometres and managed to take enough time on Michael Woods for the overall win.
The final stage was dominated by a breakaway of sixteen riders. The break included Rudy Molard, Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ), Nans Peters (AG2R Citroën), David De la Cruz (UAE Team Emirates), Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers), Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), Martijn Tusveld (DSM), Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin-Fenix) and Simon Clarke (Qhubeka Assos). Seven of them were within half a minute of overall leader Michael Woods. The leading group had more than a minute on the Israel Start-Up Nation led peloton over the Cat 1 climb of the Col Saint-Roch. On the second major climb of the day, the Col de Braus, De la Cruz distanced himself from his fellow escapees. He was accompanied by a select group: Brambilla, Geoghegan Hart, Madouas, Molard, Janssens, Tusveld, Alexis Vuillermoz, Julien El Farès and Bruno Armirail. They put the pursuers at about 50 seconds and the peloton at 2:30.
The leading group was more than dangerous, because Rudy Molard was fourth overall at 10 seconds from Woods and was the virtual leader on the road. He was kept ahead by teammates Armirail and Madouas and the peloton didn’t come any closer. The difference between the two groups at the foot of the Col de la Madone (14.6 km at 6.3%) was 2:45. Armirail turned out thinned out the leading group on his own. Only Madouas, Molard, Hart, Brambilla and Gorka Izagirre could follow him. An acceleration from Hart at 34 kilometres from the finish had little effect. In the peloton, Israel Start-Up Nation managed to split the peloton with only the favourites left. Armirail pulled over four kilometres below the summit, which was the signal for Madouas to attack, only Brambilla could go with him. The Woods/Mollema group followed at that point at about a minute and a half. Woods turned out to have strong legs as he came over the top of the Madone at 50 seconds from Brambilla and Madouas.
The Italian and the Frenchman worked together for the mostly downhill last 25 kilometres towards Blausac. Hart, Izagirre and Molard followed at 15 seconds and at 50 seconds the group with Woods, Mollema and Quintana, and others. The pace slowed in the elite group, and the difference grew towards 1:10. In the last 15 kilometres there was an uncategorised climb, in which Brambilla managed to drop Madouas. Brambilla proved unapproachable as he rode 35 seconds ahead of Madouas, Molard and Hart and kept the Woods group at 45 seconds.
The last 8 kilometres were on wide roads and downhill. The group with Woods and Mollema couldn’t catch the group of Madouas, Molard, Hart and Ben O’Connor. Brambilla also stayed out of their grasp to win by 13 seconds ahead of Hart and O’Connor and 18 seconds ahead of the Woods group. Brambilla had the stage and the overall victory. Michael Woods had to settle for second place, 5 seconds behind, with Bauke Mollema at a further second.
Stage winner and final overall winner, Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo): “Today’s stage was very difficult and tough, but I knew how to get into the leading group. I was able to play smart in the leading group. Groupama-FDJ mainly did the work, with three strong riders, but I had a problem with my radio. I knew nothing about the situation. Fortunately Gregory Rast (DS) came next to me in the final with the support car. He said that I had to give everything and let everyone go to go for the stage victory and the classification. To be honest, I only thought about the stage victory and not the general classification, but now I have everything in. I would like to express my thanks to the team management for their faith in me in recent years, even in times when things were difficult. I always give 100 percent for the team and always have. This is my way of paying them back. I’ve been living near here, in Monaco, for four years now and I know the roads well. My next race is the Trofeo Laigueglia, also close to home. We will see how that turns out.”
8th on the stage and 2nd overall, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo): “Our tactics worked perfectly. I was expecting a crazy day, especially with this course. It went up and down all day, a real mountain stage. We were lucky that we still had Brambilla in the standings, just like Giulio Ciccone. Before the start, our tactic was to send them into the big groups, because then we didn’t have to chase. That worked perfectly, because he didn’t have to ride in the leading group. This allowed him to wait for the Col de la Madone. Behind; Israel Start-Up Nation had to do all the work. That was a perfect situation for us, and the best possible outcome to end this week. It is great to start the season like this, with a podium place and a stage win. The team is also doing well. We have won two of the three stages, the green points jersey and two riders on the podium. All in all, a perfect tour for us. Hopefully we can continue like this.”
3rd on the stage and 6th overall, Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën): “It was a stage with no downtime, very difficult. You had to be smart not to waste energy too soon. I was tailed off towards the top of the Col de la Madone. When I came back to the front, I managed to get into what I thought was the front group, but I didn’t know Brambilla was still ahead. Luckily, I didn’t win the sprint because I would have raised my arms as if I had won. I’m really happy with my first two races and the atmosphere in the team.”
Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var Stage 3 Result:
1. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 3:43:32
2. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:13
3. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën
4. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
5. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:18
7. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa Samsic
10. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation.
Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var Final Overall Result:
1. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 12:51:00
2. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation at 0:05
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:06
4. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:09
5. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:11
6. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën
7. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:13
8. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:18
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa Samsic
10. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:26.
Sluitingsprijs Oostmalle Men 2021
Laurens Sweeck won the Sluitingsprijs in Oostmalle to put an end to the cyclocross season. The leader of Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal crossed the line solo to take his fifth victory of the season. Quinten Hermans and Lars van der Haar took second and third.
Quinten Hermans, Toon Aerts and David van der Poel started well. Hermans turned out to be the best and went solo. Only Laurens Sweeck and Van der Poel were able to catch up with him in the third lap. It wasn’t going fast enough for Sweeck, and in the third lap he dropped Hermans and Van der Poel. The difference was about 10 seconds at the start-finish. Van der Poel fell further back after a crash, while Eli Iserbyt and Michael Vanthourenhout also had a bad day.
Sweeck had a good day, he rode further and further away from Hermans in second place. Niels Vandeputte, who has signed a professional contract with Alpecin-Fenix, Lars van der Haar and Jens Adams would be fighting it out for third place. Behind; Toon Aerts was also catching up. The last lap was a victory lap for Laurens Sweeck, who took his fifth win of the season. Quinten Hermans was second and Lars van der Haar was third holding off Adams and Aerts.
Sluitingsprijs Oostmalle Men Result:
1. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Credishop-Fristads
2. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Tormans CX
3. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek
4. Toon Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek
5. Jens Adams (Bel) Hollebeek Hoeve
6. Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
7. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal
8. Jim Aernouts (Bel)
9. Daan Soete (Bel)
10. Diether Sweeck (Bel).
Sluitingsprijs’21, still looking for (free) video:
Link to Sporza here: https://sporza.be/
Sluitingsprijs Oostmalle Women 2021
Denise Betsema won the last cyclocross of the season on Sunday. The Pauwels Sauces-Bingoal rider was in a class of her own in Oostmalle. Halfway through the cross she managed to shake off Sanne Cant. Third place went to Inge van der Heijden.
Sanne Cant started the last race of the season well. The Belgian champion had Denise Betsema and Inge van der Heijden on her wheel. Annemarie Worst had to chase and Aniek van Alphen dropped out with bike trouble. At the front Cant and Betsema had the best legs. The Pauwels Sauces-Bingoal rider gained a lead on Cant and continued to expand her gap. At the start of the fifth lap, the difference was about 17 seconds. That lead then grew steadily towards 30 seconds, giving Betsema plenty of time to celebrate the victory. Sanne Cant finished second in the final cross and was joined on the podium by Inge van der Heijden.
Race winner, Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “The goal was to win today. The form is good, the course is nice, and so I aimed for a nice ending. It is good that it works out like this. I first checked who was good, then accelerated and made the gap. I really felt so good in the sand… I’m going to work in the summer to be able to pedal a bit harder by next winter, but that smooth pedalling frequency is also a bit of my trademark. So I don’t want to abandon that completely.”
Sluitingsprijs Oostmalle Women Result:
1. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal
2. Sanne Cant (Bel) Iko-Crelan
3. Inge van der Heijden (Ned)
4. Aniek van Alphen (Ned) Credishop-Fristads
5. Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777
6. Alicia Franck (Ned)
7. Loes Sels (Bel)
8. Fem van Empel (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal
9. Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita)
10. Marthe Truyen (Bel).
Sluitingsprijs’21, looking for (free) video:
Ethias Cross Men – Waaslandcross Sint-Niklaas 2021
Eli Iserbyt won the Waaslandcross in Sint-Niklaas on Saturday. This was the European champion’s first win for eleven weeks. He was joined on the podium by Toon Aerts and Michael Vanthourenhout.
It was a sunny day in De Ster recreational park in Sint-Niklaas, but there was a bad crash right at the start. David van der Poel and Ryan Kamp were the biggest victims, but both managed to rejoin the race. At the front, the riders were waiting for no-one. Toon Aerts and Michael Vanhourenhout were the fastest from the gun. However, getting a gap proved difficult in the last Ethias Cross of the season. Laurens Sweeck, Aerts, Vanthourenhout and Iserbyt raced away from the others at the start of the third lap. Lars van der Haar, Jens Adams, Corné van Kessel and Niels Vandeputte eventually managed to join the leaders.
There was not eight leaders for long as Aerts put in the first attack, followed a little later by Sweeck, but it was Iserbyt who was by far the best man. He attacked with Van Kessel on his wheel with teammate Sweeck. He finally managed to make a gap in the sand section. At the bell for the last lap, his lead was 19 seconds. Barring mistakes he had the victory in the bag, but there would be a battle for second place. Iserbyt made no more mistakes and raced to his seventh victory of the season. The other podium places were claimed by Aerts and Vanthourenhout.
Race winner, Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “I’m glad that I have the good feeling again in the last weekend of the season. They rolled out the red carpet for me, so I could give everything at the end of the race. We had a very strong team and we were always under control. My feeling in the race was that Toon Aerts was slightly better than the rest, but I kept a low profile at the start of the race. In the end I still have to finish it and that worked. A good start to the closing weekend. After my injury I was a bit frustrated. You sometimes saw that in my interviews. I am not an easy person; winning is part of my game. If I don’t win then, I get easily irritated. I am glad that I have the good feeling again.”
Ethias Cross Men – Waaslandcross Sint-Niklaas Result:
1. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal in 57:36
2. Toon Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek at 0:14
3. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:21
4. Corné van Kessel (Ned) Tormans CX at 0:23
5. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Credishop-Fristads at 0:26
6. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek at 0:28
7. Jens Adams (Bel) Hollebeek Hoeve at 0:45
8. Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 1:06
9. Joran Wyseure (Bel) Acrog-Tormans BC/CX at 1:10
10. Timon Rüegg (Sui) Cross Team Legendre at 1:11.
Ethias Cross Women – Waaslandcross Sint-Niklaas 2021
Denise Betsema won the Waaslandcross in Sint-Niklaas on Saturday. The Pauwels Sauzen rider won the penultimate international cyclocross of the season by dropping Annemarie Worst and Sanne Cant halfway through the race.
Starcasino rider, Eva Lechner, took the lead in the first lap, but it didn’t last long. A group of twelve riders hit the sand for the first time. Here Sanne Cant started to thin out the group. Partly thanks to a mistake by Anna Kay, the four-time winner was a few seconds ahead at the end of the opening lap. Annemarie Worst and Denise Betsema soon connected with the Belgian champion. Apparently things weren’t going fast enough for Betsema and she attacked. Her acceleration was quickly reciprocated by Worst, but Cant had trouble getting back. She stayed within range for a while, but it was once again a Dutch rider who would win.
The sand sections just before the finish clearly suited Betsema. Halfway through the race she took a few more seconds on the beach, this was how she won the race. The Pauwels Sauces-Bingoal rider rode away from her competitors. Fem van Empel came up from behind and briefly joined Cant, who could no longer keep up with the Dutch duo in the front. The 777 rider continued to put pressure on Betsema in the remainder of the cross. Worst was got close to Betsema at certain times, but the frantic attempts did not bring Worst her second victory of the season. Betsema remained clear and was able to take her seventh victory of the season.
Race winner, Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “This is just a great bonus. I felt that I was getting better and better. Of course you hope for a peak at the World champs, but then I had an injury. The shape was just there and you can see that again today. I think the season can last a little longer… I felt very strong, I tried to accelerate a few times. The first time Annemarie came back, later I was able to punch a gap. The difference remained quite small until the end, so that was very exciting. The victory is a great bonus, also with a view to next season. But first the bike is put aside and there is time for other things.”
2nd, Annemarie Worst (777): “It was riding against the wind and against Denise. It was a difficult circuit, you actually ride through the wind for everything. That made it tough. During the last lap I noticed that it was just a bit too long for me. My form is just not like the past years, and then I notice that Denise is just a little bit stronger now. It was a completely different season than the previous years. It was especially difficult mentally. I entered the season with an injury, but I was actually good right away. After the European Championship it became less and I decided to focus on the World championships. I just rode well there (silver). Nevertheless, I am certainly not satisfied with my season. I hope for good preparation, so that I can participate again next year.”
Ethias Cross Women – Waaslandcross Sint-Niklaas Result:
1. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal in 44:31
2. Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777 at 0:22
3. Sanne Cant (Bel) Iko-Crelan at 0:40
4. Fem van Empel (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:57
5. Anna Kay (GB) at Starcasino CX at 1:44
6. Manon Bakker (Ned) Credishop-Fristads at 1:44
7. Eva Lechner (Ita) Starcasino CX at 2:17
8. Aniek van Alphen (Ned) Credishop-Fristads at 2:51
9. Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Baloise Trek at 3:03
10. Alicia Franck (Bel) at 3:12.
Remco Evenepoel Training on the Road Again
After months of rehabilitation, the Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider, Remco Evenepoel, was given the green light to train on the road again. Earlier this month Evenepoel was allowed to ride the home trainer after an investigation had shown that the fracture of his pubic bone had recovered sufficiently. On Friday he trained on his bike on the road. “I can finally train on the road again,” he says in a video on social media. “I have been really looking forward to this moment. I’ve been jumping, singing and dancing all morning because I’m so happy. It’s not going to be a long ride – just an hour and a half – but I’m going to enjoy every second. Hopefully everything feels good and I can train outside every day.”
More than six months ago, Evenepoel broke his pubic bone in the Tour of Lombardy. During the Deceuninck – Quick-Step on-line team presentation, he said that he was still struggling with the aftermath of his fall and that it would take a little longer before he could return 100% on the bike. Team manager Patrick Lefevere recently announced that the Giro is the earliest race that the Belgian rider would be able to participate. “It starts without any pressure. It remains to be seen how his body reacts to a three-week stage race.”
Evenepoel on the way back, again:
Marc Hirschi and Team DSM Split Due to a Breach of Trust
Marc Hirschi decided to leave Team DSM suddenly in early January, after signing a contract with UAE Team Emirates. The Swiss rider has not said anything about his much-discussed transfer, but according to Algemeen Dagblad, Hirschi did not want to depart from the squad, but that team management saw him “as a risk – both for the reputation of the team itself and for the sponsors.”
“I can’t say much about it,” Hirschi said when asked about the background of his transfer. According to Blick, it was about money, and the French paper L’Équipe said that Hirschi was no longer comfortable within the structure of Team Sunweb.
However, Hirschi did not want to leave the team of manager Iwan Spekenbrink at all, the Algemeen Dagblad reports. The split was forced by the team’s management due to a lack of confidence. According to AD, the rider was seen by the team management as a risk, both for the reputation of the team and for the sponsors.
Hirschi had not been transparent and would not provide the information that Team DSM requested for specific questions. It is unclear exactly what he did. In view of the agreements made with Hirschi and his manager Fabian Cancellara, Team DSM cannot say anything about it. Hirschi and Cancellara don’t want to say anything about it either.
Marc Hirschi now with UAE:
Bewley Training Again After Prolonged Wrist Injury
Sam Bewley can get back on the bike. The 33-year-old New Zealander has been given the green light to start training again after struggling for months with the consequences of a wrist fracture in the Tour de France.
“It is finally allowed, after three long months I can go back on the road,” Bewley said on social media. The BikeExchange rider crashed in the stage to Île de Ré and had to abandon. Afterwards it turned out that his left wrist was broken. Since it was an uncomplicated fracture, surgery was not necessary at first. After persistent pain, Bewley had an operation in December, because the fracture turned out not to have knitted together properly. During the operation, a piece of bone from his hip was inserted into his wrist. That recovery has now been completed. Last month, Bewley hoped for a comeback in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, which will be held at the end of March.
Guillaume Martin Extends Contract with Cofidis
Guillaume Martin is about to renew his contract with Cofidis. According to L’Équipe, the 27-year-old is planning on extending his contract. The news will be released before Paris-Nice.
Martin is entering his second season with Cofidis. After four years at Wanty-Gobert, he made his debut last year with the French WorldTour team, where he soon became a leader. Martin finished 11th in the Tour de France. He also finished third in the Critérium du Dauphiné and won the mountain classification in the Vuelta a España. This year, Guillaume Martin had to postpone the start of his season by a week, because he crashed during a training camp in January and is still recovering from injuries to knee and ribs. At the end of February he starts his season in the Ardèche Classic (27 February) and the Drôme Classic (28 February).
Bardet Goes for Classics and Giro-Vuelta
Romain Bardet will not be at the start of the Tour de France this year, L’Équipe reports. The 30-year-old climber will focus on the classics, the Olympic Games in Tokyo and the combination of Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, according to the French sports paper.
Romain Bardet will make his debut for manager Iwan Spekenbrink’s WorldTour team in a week. Bardet will pin a number on for the first time in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, followed by the Strade Bianche. After the Tuscan classic, Bardet remains in Italy for Tirreno-Adriatico. The Frenchman will not participate in Paris-Nice this year. After Tirreno-Adriatico, the hilly classics may follow. The Giro d’Italia will be his first Grand Tour with Team DSM. Bardet wanted to make his debut in the Italian tour last year, but after the outbreak of the corona pandemic, plans were changed and he went to the Tour. This year he opts for the Giro d’Italia. After the Olympics he will go for the Vuelta a España.
Rebellin Signs with Italian Continental Squad
Davide Rebellin turns 50 in August, but the former winner of the Amstel Gold Race, the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège can still be seen in the peloton for another season. Rebellin told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he has signed a contract with the continental Work Service-Marchiol, an all Italian team. Last year, the team was seventh in the Trofeo Matteotti with Paolo Totò and seventeenth in the Sibiu Tour with Raul Colombo. Reportedly, Rebellin will make his debut for the team in the one-day race Trofeo Laigueglia on Wednesday, March 3.
It seemed that Rebellin would ride for the continental Cambodia Cycling Academy this year. The Italian posed in that team’s outfit, but earlier this month it was announced that he still had not signed a contract. The team has had negative news for the past few months and there are reportedly problems with the equipment, circumvention of the regulations and internal conflicts.
Another year for Davide Rebellin:
112th Milano – Sanremo: La Classicissima Returns for Primavera
On Saturday 20 March, ‘La Classicissima di Primavera’ will follow a slightly altered route: the Turchino Pass (blocked by a landslide) will be replaced by the Colle di Giovo, with no substantial change to the traditional route’s elevation. After the descent to Albisola, the route follows the Via Aurelia and then faces the three Capi, Cipressa and Poggio, before the classic finish on Via Roma.
Spring is back and ‘La Classicissima’ returns with it. On Saturday 20 March, the 112th edition of the Milano-Sanremo will take place, following the classic route with one alteration. The riders will not tackle the Passo del Turchino as it is currently inaccessible due to a landslide. The route will instead pass over the Colle di Giovo climb, then descend onto the Via Aurelia to Albisola. They’ll then follow the traditional course for the remaining 112km, climbing the three Capi before reaching Cipressa and Poggio and arriving on Via Roma for the race’s iconic finish. The total race distance will be 299km.
The Final KMs
Following the Cipressa climb (5.6km with an average gradient of 4.1%) the riders will be faced with a very fast and challenging descent that leads back to the SS 1 Via Aurelia. At 9km from the finish, the ascent of Poggio di Sanremo begins (3.7km long with an average gradient of less than 4% and a maximum of 8%, reached just before the crest of the climb). On the climb, the road is slightly narrower, with four hairpin turns in the first 2km. The asphalt-paved descent that follows is extremely technical, narrow at points and features a succession of hairpins, twists and turns all the way up to the junction with the SS 1 Via Aurelia. The final part of the descent enters the city of Sanremo. The last bend, leading onto the home straight, is 750m from the finish line.
Paolo Bellino, CEO and General Manager of RCS Sport, said: “The previous edition of the Milano-Sanremo was held on an unusual date and took place over an unprecedented route. The results were very positive for the sport, for the media and from the audience’s point of view too. It highlighted the strong interest around La Classicissima and the level of excitement from fans all over the world that look forward to the event each year. This year, for the 112th edition of the race, we have decided to bring the Milano-Sanremo back onto its “classic” route in the Liguria region. So most of the route will remain as it has traditionally been; with the Aurelia, the Tre Capi, Cipressa and Poggio before the arrival on Via Roma, but we will not be able to visit the Turchino for technical reasons. What is certain is that this edition will witness the greatest riders in international cycling putting on a show on roads that have become legendary thanks to La Classicissima.”
Wout van Aert edges past Julian Alaphilippe on the line at 2020’s Milano-Sanremo:
Twenty-Five Teams for Dwars door Vlaanderen
On Wednesday March 31, the cobbles specialists will fight for victory in the Dwars door Vlaanderen. In just over a month, the Flemish race is counting on all nineteen WorldTour teams and six ProTeams. Last year, the event was canceled due to the corona crisis.
Dwars door Vlaanderen is a WorldTour race and so all teams of the top level will be at the start. Alpecin-Fenix and Arkéa-Samsic are also sure to participate as the best ProTeams of 2020. The wildcards go to B&B Hotels p/b KTM, Total Direct Energie, Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles and Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise. A complete list of riders will be announced at a later date.
Mathieu van der Poel is the last winner of Dwars door Vlaanderen. The Dutchman beat Anthony Turgis, Bob Jungels, Lukas Pöstlberger and Tiesj Benoot two years ago in a sprint from a small group. The organisers also announced that eight of the nine Women’s WorldTeams will participate in the women’s version of Dwars door Vlaanderen. Twenty continental teams will also participate in the Belgian classic, won by Ellen van Dijk in 2019.
The winning break in 2019:
Jasper Stuyven Up Against Big Names in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Jasper Stuyven will have a hard job in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, where he will try to defend his win of last year on Saturday 27 February. On the road to Ninove, the 28-year-old rider will up against a lot of top riders, looking at the provisional start-list.
Last year, Stuyven took the win for his Trek-Segafredo team, by beating Yves Lampaert in the final sprint after 200 kilometres. He returns this year to defend his title, accompanied by the 2019 World Champion Mads Pedersen, and fellow countryman Edward Theuns. Deceuninck – Quick-Step missed out on the victory last year and is looking for the victory this year. In addition to Lampaert, the team also brings reigning World champion Julian Alaphilippe, Zdeněk Štybar (the winner in 2019) and Kasper Asgreen to the start.
Lotto Soudal started the season well with Tim Wellens, who won the Étoile de Bessèges earlier this month. Wellens will join forces in the Omloop with Philippe Gilbert, the winner in 2006 and 2008. AG2R Citroën will have the brothers Oliver and Lawrence Naesen, who will be joined by Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet, the winner of the opening classic in 2016 and 2017. Sep Vanmarcke (Israel Start-Up Nation), another past winner, is also on the provisional start-list.
Bahrain Victorious starts with Dylan Teuns, Sonny Colbrelli and Heinrich Haussler. INEOS Grenadiers debuts Tom Pidcock. With Søren Kragh Andersen, Team DSM took the third place on the podium last year. He will have Tiesj Benoot and newcomer Romain Bardet at his side. Victor Campenaerts heads to Gent with Qhubeka Assos, while UAE Team Emirates leads with the duo of Matteo Trentin and Alexander Kristoff. Among the ProTeams there will be Terpstra, Boasson Hagen, De Bondt, Meurisse and Dillier.
See the provisional stat-list HERE.
24 Races have Requested Postponement for this Season
To date, 38 men’s and women’s races are not held on the original date this season. Of these, 24 prices asked for a postponement until later this year. The others will not take place before 2022. The UCI announced this in a press release on Friday.
The UCI assesses the requests of the 24 competition organisations that have asked for postponement, in close cooperation with the various parties involved. In determining the new dates, the overall coherence of the UCI calendar and the general interest of the sport are taken into account, the association reported. The dates will be announced by the end of March at the latest.
All postponed and canceled races are listed on the UCI website.
Better no fans than no races:
ToAD Proudly Hosts the Final Weekends in the Inaugural Echelon Racing League
Tour of America’s Dairyland proudly hosts the final weekends in the inaugural Echelon Racing League (ERL) season!
March 6-7 (Amateur, including Handcycle)
March 11-14 (Pro and Handcycle)
As we all yearn for a return to IRL (in real life!) racing this summer, the ERL provides an opportunity to test your formerly “off season” fitness virtually on our actual ToAD course profiles!
Amateur weekend (March 6-7), all Cat 1-Novice and our handcyclists will race on our Manitowoc and Wauwatosa Village courses (Great recon opportunity for these two new courses!).
The ERL is being staged on the RGT platform and you can race for free! FREE!
Our Pro (invite only!) weekend is (March 11-14; YES, 4 DAYS OF RACING!). Our handcyclists will join these Pro Women and Men on Saturday and Sunday (March 13-14) again for the dedicated handcyclists race!
A reminder to our handcyclists: any of you can race the Pro weekend races. This is your invite from all of us at ToAD, ERL, USA Cycling and RGT!
The Pro/Handcycle weekend dates of March 11-14 will be hosted by some very familiar voices! Plan to join the friends you’ve come to know and love, like Brad Sohner, Todd Busteed, Frankie Andreu, Tom Schuler and Bill Koch along with many special guests!
Times of the specific events can be found below! Looking forward to seeing many of you race, watch, listen or likely some combination of these all! For more details on the “livestreaming” of the March 11-14 weekend, check out the Facebook pages of ToAD, Echelon Racing League and USA Cycling, follow races on YouTube or simply contact us here at ToAD.
Richard Carapaz: Origins of a Racer
Family. Hard work. Adventure. Racing.
Join us for an intimate look at Richard Carapaz’s life in Ecuador and what drives his winning mentality in this short film.
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