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EUROTRASH Monday: Fantastic Flanders and All the Peloton News!

The men’s and women’s Tour of Flanders – Ronde van Vlaanderen were both raced in epic conditions, we have all the results, reports and video. Plus the Gran Premio Miguel Indurain and the Volta NXT Classic. Read what the riders think of the weekend’s races.

The fastest Tour of Flanders ever – TOP STORY.

Rider news: Worse injuries than first thought for Wout van Aert, Jasper Stuyven also out for the spring, Arnaud De Lie has Lyme disease, Nairo Quintana will not ride the Tour of the Basque Country, Demi Vollering surprised by SD Worx-Protime statement, Thibau Nys will not ride a Grand Tour in 2024 and Iván García Cortina responds to Wout Poels’ accusation: “Completely unfair”.

Team News: Soudal Quick-Step, dsm-firmenich PostNL and UAE Team Emirates to the Itzulia Basque Country.

Race news: Dwars Door Vlaanderen race doctor out of danger after collision with Soudal Quick-Step team car.

Plus: Finding Landismo video.

 

top story
TOP STORY: The Fastest Tour of Flanders Ever
Mathieu van der Poel made history with his victory in the Tour of Flanders. He is now a co-record holder on three wins, along with Achiel Buysse, Fiorenzo Magni, Eric Leman, Johan Museeuw, Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara, but he also holds the record of the fastest Ronde ever.

Even though it was a wet, cold and windy edition, the race was run at a record speed. After 6 hours, 5 minutes and 17 seconds, Mathieu van der Poel was the first to cross the finish line after 270.8 kilometres, this was an average speed of 44.48 kilometres per hour. He broke the previous record, set by Tadej Pogačar last year. The Slovenian also finished solo with an average speed of 44.08 kilometres per hour. A speed record was also set in this year’s Milano-Sanremo, it was won by another Alpecin-Deceuninck rider, Jasper Philipsen in a speed of 46.11 kilometres per hour.

Three Ronde wins and a speed record for Mathieu van der Poel:
Flanders 2024

 

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Tour of Flanders – Ronde van Vlaanderen 2024
Mathieu van der Poel was expected to win the Tour of Flanders, but the Alpecin-Deceuninck rider took an epic Ronde with solo effort in the Flemish rain, going solo from the Koppnberg. Surprisingly, Luca Mozzato (Arkéa-B&B Hotels) was second and Michael Matthews was third, but the Australian was declassed in favour of Nils Politt (UAE Team Emirates).

Flanders 2024

After the start in Antwerp, the first 100 kilometres of the 270.8 kilometres race, the peloton passes through Sint-Niklaas, Hamme, Haaltert, Herzele and Zottegem to reach the Flemish Ardennes, where the race will really start. The Lippenhovestraat and the Paddestraat are the first difficulties of the day after 104 kilometres of racing. The riders will then race over the usual finale of the Ronde van Vlaanderen. After 136 kilometres they take on the first passage of the Oude Kwaremont. From then on the climbs and cobbles come one after the other in quick succession. The Kapelleberg, the cobbles of the Holleweg, the Wolvenberg, the cobbles of the Kerkgate and the Jagerij, the climb of the Molenberg, the Marlboroughstraat, the Berendries and finally the Valkenberg all within 30 kilometres. The top of the Valkenberg is just under 90 kilometres from the finish. At that point the riders have completed 180 kilometres. After the Valkenberg, if you are still there, there is time to attack. This is possible on the Berg Ten Houte or the Hotond. After the Hotond it’s the Oude Kwaremont for the second time and then to the Paterberg. The first passage of the Paterberg always causes action as the Koppenberg is next on the horizon. “We have made the run-up to the Koppenberg more straight forward and we have eliminated the descent and sharp bend just before the ascent,” the organisers explained. The tough Koppenberg is the place where the favourites will make their mark. The Mariaborrestraat, Steenbeekdries and Traaiberg are another opportunity for attacks. Traaiberg is followed by the Hotond, then there are 10 kilometres to the Oude Kwaremont for the last time. The Oude Kwaremont is 16.7 kilometres from the finish. The cream should have already come to the top of the milk by this point and now is the time for them to make life hard for each other before their final chance, 13.2 kilometres from the finish on the Paterberg. The Paterberg is short at less than 400 metres and ideal for the more explosive riders. From the summit there are 13 flat kilometres to Oudenaarde. The wind can be strong on the run-in to the finish, tough for a solo rider, but if there is a group, then tactics will come into play for a sprint on the wide Minderbroedersstraat in Oudenaarde.

After 20 kilometres a group of eight made their escape: Bert Van Lerberghe (Soudal Quick-Step), Luke Durbridge & Elmar Reinders (Jayco AlUla), Damien Touzé (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale), Lionel Taminiaux (Lotto Dstny), Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Cofidis), David Dekker (Arkéa-B&B Hotels) and Jelle Vermoote (Bingoal WB). At first they were chased, but it suited the team’s of the favourites and so their lead was allowed to increase. Alpecin-Deceuninck and Lidl-Trek took control of the peloton for Mathieu van der Poel and Mads Pedersen and so the break soon had a lead of 4:20, but that was their maximum. There was a lot of fans at the roadside, this caused at least three crashes one looked particularly bad for a woman spectator.

Strangely, the first counter-attack came from Alpecin-Deceuninck, but Visma | Lease a Bike chased down Axel Laurence and then, with 110 kilometres to go, Matteo Jorgenson kept going. Pedersen also made a move, but everything calmed down again. On the Molenberg, 100 kilometres from the finish, there was more fireworks. Once again it was Pedersen, this time with Jorgenson and Van der Poel on his wheel. A very strong group broke away from them, which was a dangerous situation for the World champion. A group of Pedersen, Dylan van Baarle, Tiesj Benoot, Nils Politt and Oliver Naesen had a gap. The Alpecin-Deceuninck men didn’t allow the gap to get too big and then Van der Poel closed the gap on the Valkenberg with a strong effort. Pedersen wasn’t finished and went again, but he had Gianni Vermeersch on his wheel, MvdP’s teammate. Pedersen and Vermeersch stayed off the front and climbed Berg Ten Houte without any problems. In the peloton, Alpecin-Deceuninck were in control and kept the gap small. Stefan Küng, who crashed with spectators, was able to return. The rain and wet roads made the race very nervous in the run-up to the second passage of the Oude Kwaremont.

Oier Lazkano put the pressure on, on the Kwaremont, but Van der Poel closed the gap to Pedersen and Vermeersch. At the top, only Pedersen, Lazkano, Dylan Teuns, Laurence Pithie and Tim Wellens were still on the wheel of the World champion, after which a group including Jorgenson and Matej Mohorič was able to join them. The first time over the Paterberg the race was split, but the gaps were still small. In the run-up to the Koppenberg the groups of favourites came back together. Iván García jumped away and started the cobbles climb of the Koppenberg with a slight lead, but he had a mechanical problem and had to stop. Mathieu van der Poel came storming past with Matteo Jorgenson and Mads Pedersen behind him. The others were not so lucky and had to run up the climb. The pace that Van der Poel set on the Koppenberg was the decisive move of the day. Jorgenson had the World champion in sight over the top, but Van der Poel now had the bit between his teeth and took time on everyone. By the Traaiberg the lead was already 50 seconds on the American, who had to drop back to a group with Bettiol, Teuns, García, Wellens, Pedersen and Laurenz Rex.

The cooperation was not good and so Van der Poel over one and a half minutes with 30 kilometres to go. He still had the Oude Kruisberg/Hotond, Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg to tackle. Behind Van der Poel, the battle for the other podium places was on. On the Hotond, Teuns and Bettiol broke away, but they were nearly 2 minutes behind Van der Poel. The World champion had to endure booing and a beer shower the last time on Kwaremont. No problems on the Paterberg before the 13 flat kilometre to Oudenaarde. Van der Poel took his third victory in the Tour of Flanders, after his victories in 2020 and 2022. More than 1 minute behind Van der Poel, Bettiol and Teuns were racing for the podium, but there was a large group coming up from behind. In the finishing straight, Teuns and Bettiol started to play a game of poker, allowing the chasing group to catch them in the last 200 metres. Surprisingly second place went to Luca Mozzato (Arkéa-B&B Hotels), who had a big battle with Michael Matthews (Jayco AlUla). After the finish the race jury declassed the Australian for his ‘switch’ to one side. Nils Politt (UAE Team Emirates) was awarded third place.

# You can see the full ‘PEZ Race Report’ with more top photos HERE. #

Flanders 2024

Race winner, Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck): “Today was just survival. For me it has been the hardest Tour of Flanders I have ever done in these weather conditions. We did those last twenty kilometres with our eyes closed. I was so devastated that I didn’t think much. I have to think again about what happened. The rain made the cobblestone climbs difficult. Especially the Koppenberg, I slipped until reaching the top. Then I had created a good gap, but with the wind it was still far to go. I rolled as hard as I could. It was very difficult to find a good place to go. The team was fantastic. I said they had to stick together until the Koppenberg. I didn’t expect to be alone. The second time I passed the Kwaremont I was in the lead. Afterwards I didn’t have the best feelings, but I’m glad to have won again. My season has already been a success. I still can’t think about Roubaix. I’m completely fucked right now.”

2nd, Luca Mozzato (Arkéa-B&B Hotels): “It is a result that exceeds my expectations. If someone had told me this morning ‘you’re going to be in the top 20’, I would have been happy, and ‘in the top 10’ I would have signed up immediately. But on the podium… I think I made the effort at the right time. Everyone wanted to anticipate Van der Poel’s attack. In my head, the goal was to overcome as many hills in the first group as possible by managing my efforts. And that paid off in the final, because in the last 30 or 40 kilometres I was in pretty good shape. It was a race where everyone ended up ‘cooked’. We were lucky to catch Bettiol and Teuns in the final sprint and I am very happy with second place.”

3rd, Nils Politt (UAE Team Emirates): “I was already at the team bus and then the call came saying I was third. I’m super happy with this result, being on the podium of the Tour of Flanders is something special, this is my second time on a podium of a Monumentum after the one at the Paris-Roubaix. We deserved this result as a team because we rode very well today, with 4 riders in the top 12. For what concerns the sprint, I can say I was coming with speed and I had to brake a little bit. The commissaires took this decision, I feel also sorry for Matthews.”

7th, Oliver Naesen (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale): “Today I had exceptional legs and I am very happy with the result. I gave a lot to try to get out of the chasing group and inevitably I paid a little for it at the end with cramps in the sprint, which was the small disappointment of the day. The team did a great performance with Damien (Touzé) in the morning breakaway. Then I joined him with the group of favourites and he did a great job for me, Dries (De Bondt) also positioned me well at the foot of the second climb of the Kwaremont. From that moment on I felt like one of the best in the group of favourites, but Mathieu (Van der Poel) was already ahead. Throughout the race I told myself that between second and fifth would be my place, in the end there were seven. Not too far.”

8th, Dylan Teuns (Israel-Premier Tech): “On some occasions, at key moments, I was not in a good position or I caught a crash. But at the beginning of the race, with about 120 kilometres to go, when the big guys were leaving, I was able to stay further and further ahead and be up there in the right positions. And then, at Koppenberg, I had no choice but to stop, get off the bike and start running. I had never seen that before in another race. Teuns’ parting words after the finale left nothing open to interpretation. I’m still coming back, I want that place on the podium.”

9th, Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost): “This is cycling. I had a lot of bad luck today. The second time I fell in the Kwaremont and had to wait, but I am very happy with my teammates. They helped me all day. There was no way to beat Van der Poel today, but a podium would have been nice. Sorry, also for Dylan Theuns. We have ridden very well together and perhaps we deserved a better result, but it is what it is. Next Sunday there is another opportunity in Paris-Roubaix and we will take advantage of it.”

15th, Tiesj Benoot (Visma | Lease a Bike): “This was a very tough edition. The legs felt pretty good. Unfortunately, I had to deal with some bad mechanical luck. At the Old Kwaremont I made a mistake that caused my rear derailleur to take a hit. I was able to change it a little later. In the end Unfortunately I had a flat tyre. Otherwise maybe I could have fought for a place on the podium, but that’s the way it is. It was a very hard day. We tried as a team, but unfortunately the competition today was too strong.”

26th, Iván García Cortina (Movistar): “I feel a little helpless. In the Kwaremont they were passing me and I was not able to follow the wheels and in the Koppenberg I had no grip at all. I tried to go for the cleanest line, but I was skidding a lot and there was no way. I desperately tried to lower the pressure, because otherwise I was going to have a bad time later. It was better to be safe than sorry, because otherwise it would be similar on the new Kwaremont and Paterberg. When you see a top-10 so close, it makes you helpless, see how everyone passes you in the final part. Everyone is dead, but you a little more and you see how you go without strength. If the Koppenberg thing had not happened, I would have changed little, but I would have continued ahead a little more.”

31st, Matteo Jorgenson (Visma | Lease a Bike): “This was one of the most difficult days I have ever had on the bike. I did everything I could to win the race. I knew I had to follow Van der Poel and I gave everything to be on his wheel. Unfortunately, I had to let him go. I went full throttle to close the gap, but it just didn’t work. Then it was all over for me. Van der Poel rode very smart and strong today. He is the deserved winner. We fought as a team and did the best we could. I am proud of that fighting spirit.”

Tour of Flanders – Ronde van Vlaanderen Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck in 6:05:17
2. Luca Mozzato (Ita) Arkéa-B&B Hotels at 1:02
3. Nils Politt (Ger) UAE Team Emirates
4. Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates
5. António Morgado (Por) UAE Team Emirates
6. Magnus Sheffield (USA) INEOS Grenadiers
7. Oliver Naesen (Bel) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale
8. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Israel-Premier Tech
9. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-EasyPost
10. Toms Skujiņš (Lat) Lidl-Trek.

Flanders’24:

 

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Tour of Flanders – Ronde van Vlaanderen Women 2024
Elisa Longo Borghini won a tough women’s Tour of Flanders. The Italian champion of Lidl-Trek was the first over the finish line in Oudenaarde, after a lot of work by her teammate Shirin van Anrooij, who finished third, behind Kasia Niewiadoma. Top favourites Lotte Kopecky, Marianne Vos and Demi Vollering struggled in the final.

Flanders 2024

The 21st edition of the Tour of Flanders for women was a race of 163 kilometres, starting and finishing in Oudenaarde. The first climb of the day was 90 kilometres from the finish. The Koppenberg was 45 kilometres from the finish and was followed by the Steenbeekdries, the Stationsberg, the Traaiberg, Oude Kruisberg/Hotond and the final section with the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg and the flat finale to Oudenaarde.

After just 10 kilometres there was a big crash. Among them was Marlen Reusser (SD Worx-Protime) and Lizzie Deignan (Lidl-Trek), who both had to abandon and were taken to hospital. Meanwhile, a leading group of five broke away at the front of the race, including Justine Ghekiere (AG Insurance-Soudal), Mieke Docx (Lotto Dstny), Gladys Verhulst-Wild (FDJ-SUEZ), Josie Talbot (Cofidis) and Elena Pirrone (Roland). They got a 3 minute lead. The peloton was soaking wet. Elisa Longo Borghini crashed, but was able to return. The favourites had to wait for the Koppenberg to attack, while Ghekiere held out the longest of the early break. On the Koppenberg the race was split. Marianne Vos took the lead and made it over the top with seven others. Behind, almost all the riders had to run on foot, which caused them to lose a lot of time. Among them was Lotte Kopecky and Dutch champion Demi Vollering. They had to chase the leading group of Vos, Longo Borghini, Lorena Wiebes, Puck Pieterse, Karlijn Swinkels, Silvia Persico, Kasia Niewiadoma and Letizia Paternoster.

On the Traaiberg the gap was 25 seconds between the two front groups. In addition to Kopecky, Vollering, Shirin van Anrooij, Fem van Empel, Pfeiffer Georgi and Léa Curinier were also in the chase, with the SD Worx-Protime expected to do the most work. At the front there was Swinkels who set the pace for teammate Persico. On the Oude Kruisberg/Hotond the gap was smaller and Vollering tried to cross, but Longo Borghini and Niewiadoma chose to attack and made Vollering give up. Because the pace eased at the front, the Dutch champion was able to make contact again just before the Oude Kwaremont. Shirin van Anrooij also returned; she immediately took the attack with Swinkels and surprisingly they took a 30 second lead. It went quiet in the favourites group because Vos and SD Worx-Protime looked at each other. Kopecky was able to return to the favourites group, just before the foot of the Oude Kwaremont. That was 45 seconds behind Van Anrooij and 15 seconds behind the escaped Pieterse. It was difficult to climb in the pouring rain, but Van Anrooij came over the top in the lead.

Pieterse and Swinkels were unable to close the gap, which meant that the group with Vollering, Vos and Kopecky could almost close on the Paterberg. Van Anrooij didn’t stop on the Paterberg, while Pieterse was caught by the pursuers. Vos and Vollering had a difficult moment, allowing Niewiadoma and Longo Borghini to pull away. They were Van Anrooij’s first pursuers at the top. Longo Borghini closed the gap to her teammate in the lead, with Niewiadoma on the wheel. This meant there were three leaders and five chasers. The difference between those groups gradually increased to more than 20 seconds, but there was no slowing at the front. That didn’t happen, because Van Anrooij, Longo Borghini and Niewiadoma continued to work well. As a result, everything was decided in the final kilometre. A poker game started between the three at the front. Niewiadoma stopped working, but Lidl-Trek put Van Anrooij on the lead. She started the sprint, after which Longo Borghini finished with a strong jump in a battle with Niewiadoma. Van Anrooij finished third. The sprint for fourth place was won by Vos, ahead of Kopecky and Pieterse.

Flanders 2024

Race winner, Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek): “Winning this race means a lot to me. I would like to thank my coach Paolo Slongo, my husband Jacopo Mosca and the entire Lidl-Trek team for the support they have given me today. The girls were amazing today, as always, as was the support from the staff in the car. I had a small accident and a puncture and fell, and they supported me in a super way. In the end finishing first and third in a race like this is incredible. This victory is also for Lizzie. She fell on the first set of cobbles and unfortunately broke her arm, so we hope we can put a smile on her face. I like hard races, but I’m not necessarily a very fast cyclist, but in these scenarios, when the race is long and people are tired, what comes out is your efficiency and the freshest one almost wins and I still felt good at the end. In the last three kilometres, I knew that we still needed to push hard and that we couldn’t play “the game” yet. But, in my mind, I knew what I had to do. I said to myself, ‘You feel good, win this!’ However, Shirin was incredible today, coming back and attacking right away. I kept reminding her that with 30 seconds you can win Flanders because we were roommates this week, and I showed her a little bit from when I won in 2015 and they told me that if you leave Kwaremont with 30 seconds you can win. and that’s why I kept telling her that. However, SD Worx rode hard until the end from there, so the gap became smaller and smaller. Then in Paterberg I heard from the car that she was just going and she was making it difficult because the numbers are always good for us. Finally we were in the group of three with Kasia, who I knew was also really looking forward to going, and we were able to reach together the goal. Shirin was waiting for me and we know that our strength as a team is how fast we run so well as a team and this is something we planned together. We started our day with mutual trust and everyone did an amazing job. We are back to our full potential as a team. I am a different cyclist and this is a totally different victory than the first one I achieved here. I am wearing the tricolor shirt, I am a more mature woman. I was just a little girl when I won in 2015 and now I can realise more and am more conscious of what I am achieving. Every victory is special because nothing can be taken for granted in cycling or in life.”

3rd, Shirin van Anrooij (Lidl-Trek): “I’m certainly not disappointed, I think third place is very good for me. The goal was to win with the team and we won. It was very hard. I expected that too. Although I made it even more difficult for myself by being too far away in Koppenberg and having to do a long chase. Of course I attacked too, but I really enjoy it when it’s a really hard race. The rain and the distance made it more fun. I understand it might look crazy on TV, initially I thought Kasia had closed the gap, but in the end it was the right tactic. I was actually going through that myself. I really trust the tactical decisions of Jeroen Blijlevens and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg from the car. On the one hand, I was thinking about winning, especially when I still had a lead after Paterberg. I wasn’t expecting it at all, but it quickly became clear that I had to wait for Elisa and Kasia. Then I realised that I had to wait for Elisa, because she was the fastest. You don’t know if I could have stayed ahead and in the end we won, which for us is the most important thing. There are two of us on the podium, so it has been a very successful day.”

4th, Marianne Vos (Visma | Lease a Bike): “It was a very hard race. At Koppenberg we overtook with a good group, but at Paterberg I had to suffer. Van Anrooij made a good attack and Longo Borghini and Niewiadoma were also very strong. Of course, one hopes to achieve it. After that we were back in the race, but the gap didn’t really close. The best three were ahead.”

5th, Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime): “I was not far enough in front for the Koppenberg, that was partly due to circumstances because I was pushed a bit, but it was also partly my own fault. I had to set foot because they went off the bike in front of me and on the Koppenberg there is no room to pass them. With that, a very strong leading group was gone and we were running behind. I then tried to ride as hard as I could to get Demi Vollering back in position. Eventually I tried to set the pace as high as possible in the chasing group so we could rejoin. That succeeded, but cost a lot of strength. So it gives a double feeling. It’s a shame we couldn’t get more out of it, but I’m going to turn the knob around quickly and focus on the next goal: Paris-Roubaix.”

8th, Demi Vollering (SD Worx-Protime): “It’s a huge shame. Especially when you see how strong we still rode as a team in the end. Only we were constantly behind after the Koppenberg. Luckily Lorena Wiebes was able to limit the damage and with her we were still represented at the front. But Lotte and I missed the battle on the Koppenberg because we had to get off our bikes. In the end, I wasted a lot of energy in the chase. We completely drained ourselves. When you’re two or three in front, you can play the game. Now it was important not to give up and to keep believing in it. When you see how Lotte still came back and kept fighting and also went full in the last kilometre … There was more in it. I had hoped to just be there on the Paterberg, but this was a maximum effort for me. There was just nothing more in it because I had already used up so much energy. Too bad, I hope to win this one day.”

Tour of Flanders – Ronde van Vlaanderen Women Result:
1. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Lidl-Trek in 4:16:04
2. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon//SRAM
3. Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Lidl-Trek
4. Marianne Vos (Ned) Visma | Lease a Bike at 0:09
5. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SD Worx-Protime
6. Puck Pieterse (Ned) Fenix-Deceuninck
7. Silvia Persico (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
8. Demi Vollering (Ned) SD Worx-Protime at 0:15
9. Letizia Paternoster (Ita) Liv AlUla Jayco at 1:40
10. Karlijn Swinkels (Ned) UAE Team ADQ.

Flanders’24:

 

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Gran Premio Miguel Indurain 2024
Brandon McNulty (UAE Tam Emirates) won the 33rd Gran Premio Miguel Indurain. In an exciting final, the American was too fast for Maxim Van Gils (Lotto Dstny) in the sprint. Oscar Onley (dsm-firmenich PostNL) was third at 2 seconds.

Indurain 2024

The GP Miguel Indurain on Saturday is a one-day race for the climbers. Obviously named after five-time Tour winner, legend Miguel Indurain. In the final, the riders had two difficult circuits, with the Alto de Eraul (3.9km at 5.1%), Alto de Muru and Alto Ibarra. There was a early break of 7: Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH), Luis Leidert (Lidl-Trek Future Racing), Txomin Juaristi (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Xabier Mikel Azparren (Q36.5), Javier Serrano (Polti-Kometa), José María García (Illes Balears Arabay Cycling) and Julius Johansen (Sabgal/Anicolor). The lead group was thinned out as the race went on. Bol was the strongest on the climbs. Only Leidert, Juaristi and Johansen were able to hold Bol, the others were dropped. In the peloton the pace was set by Israel-Premier Tech for Woods and Williams.

UAE Team Emirates also worked in the chase in the last 40 kilometres and this ended the break’s chances. Bol, Johansen and Juaristi were caught before the last 30 kilometres, and the attacks started in the peloton. Nans Peters, Jefferson Alexander Cepeda, Andrea Bagioli, Jon Barrenetxea, Oscar Onley, Igor Arrieta, Pablo Castrillo, Stephen Williams and Paul Double escaped through the rain. This break didn’t last long. The final was very hard due to the route and the rain. Brandon McNulty of UAE Team Emirates attacked in the last 10 kilometres and soon had 15 seconds.

On the short, but very steep Alto Ibarra, Maxim Van Gils jumped away from the other chasers and crossed to the American. On the steepest section, Van Gils went up too and then passed McNulty, to cross the summit ahead of the American. On the dangerous descent McNulty managed to catch Van Gils again. The Belgian then decided to save his energy for the sprint, but McNulty had something left to take the victory. The 25-year-old McNulty took his fourth victory of 2024. Van Gils had to settle for second place, Oscar Onley came third ahead of Ion Izagirre and Ireland’s Archie Ryan.

GP Indurain 2024

Race winner, Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates): “I made the move on the last long climb and then still had a gap on the last kicker. I was caught by Van Gils and thought that I was done but came back on the downhill. It’s been a super year so far and I’m hungry for more. We have Itzulia starting on Monday so looking forward to that and the confidence is up after this one.”

Gran Premio Miguel Indurain Result:
1. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates in 4:55:48
2. Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Dstny
3. Oscar Onley (GB) dsm-firmenich PostNL at 0:02
4. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Cofidis at 0:06
5. Archie Ryan Irl) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:08
6. Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:16
7. Clément Champoussin (Fra) Arkéa-B&B Hotels
8. Steff Cras (Bel) TotalEnergies
9. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
10. Fernando Barceló (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

GP Indurain’24:

 

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Volta NXT Classic 2024
Alpecin-Deceuninck won the Volta NXT Classic for the second year in a row. Timo Kielich gave the team the victory in Eijsden. He beat Pascal Eenkhoorn in a two man sprint. Kielich’s teammate, Henri Uhlig was third.

NXT Classic 2024

The Volta NXT Classic is a semi-classic in Limburg, previously the Volta Limburg Classic, but is basically the same race. The race is made up of many climbs and turns, the race promised to be tough. Last year’s winner, Kaden Groves was on the start line along with Pascal Eenkhoorn, Hartthijs De Vries and Frank van den Broek were on the start line.

The race was 190 kilometres long with 2,979 metres of climbing. The peloton covered more than 40 kilometres in the first hour, so an early escape didn’t materialise. Fourteen riders did escape, but some teams had missed the move so it was brought back. Soon after, 9 riders did get away: Tomas Kopecky (TDT-Unibet), Mathijs Paasschens (Lotto Dstny), Tobias Bayer (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Francesco Busatto &amp, Simone Gualdi (Intermarché-Wanty), Gianluca Brambilla (Q36.5), Johan Meens (Bingoal WB), Frank van den Broek (dsm-firmenich PostNL) and Mike Schuch (Parkhotel Valkenburg), they took a maximum lead of 2 minutes. Almost all major teams were represented in the leading group, with the exception of Israel-Premier Tech Academy, who chased.

The lead fluctuated around two minutes for a long time, but 70 kilometres from the finish the front runners were about to be caught. There were several counter-attacks from Pascal Eenkhoorn, Harm Vanhoucke and Joseph Blackmore. Last year’s winner, Groves was in trouble at the back. Eenkhoorn was strong enough to cross to the leaders, who were still away, on his own. On the Camerig, Brambilla went solo, however, this was very short-lived, because after a few kilometres Brambilla was caught. Huub Artz was the next to attack and joined the leading group before going solo. Artz lead grew to 30 seconds, but he was joined by the chasers with 30 thirty kilometres to go. Also the second group, led by Visma | Lease a Bike wasn’t far behind.

The front group included Bayer, Timo Kielich, Henri Uhlig (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Artz, Busatto, Gualdi (Intermarché-Wanty), Eenkhoorn, Vanhoucke (Lotto Dstny), Jelle Johannink, Tomáš Kopecký (TDT-Unibet), Brambilla (Q36.5), Meens (Bingoal WB), Blackmore (Israel Premier-Tech Academy), Van den Broek (dsm-firmenich PostNL) and Schuch (Parkhotel-Valkenburg). This group was split on one of the many Limburg climbs. Artz, Brambilla and Kopecký were in trouble, but early escapee, Van den Broek, jumped away. Soon after he was caught, he made another attack on Mheerelindje at the same time as Eenkhoorn. The Lotto Dstny rider managed to drop Van den Broek with 15 kilometres to go, but Alpecin-Deceuninck were chasing behind. Eenkhoorn was unable to extend his lead to more than 10 seconds. With 10 kilometres to go, Eenkhoorn was joined by Kielich and they extended their lead to 20 seconds. Eenkhoorn started his sprint before the last corner, but was no match for Kielich on the slightly uphill, cobbled Diepstraat. Eenkhoorn was third last year and was now second. Alpecin-Deceuninck’s Henri Uhlig took third place.

NXT Classic 2024

Race winner, Timo Kielich (Alpecin-Deceuninck): “That’s what we stand for as a team, attacking races. It’s really great to win, especially in a 1.1 race and especially the way we raced. We can be proud of that. We always had someone with us and were always in the race. In the final we also had three riders in a leading group of eight. We rode a super good race. I had been doing well in recent weeks and this was a great opportunity to race for victory. The course is very suitable for aggressive racing. There were two of us and Eenkhoorn did not want to ride anymore in the last kilometres. I tried to pace myself as best I could until the last kilometre. Then we started playing poker. The wind was at my back and I was able to sprint from the wheel. I know that I have a good sprint in my legs after a difficult race. That came in handy.”

2nd, Pascal Eenkhoorn (Lotto Dstny): “He really is the deserved winner. I gave it my all, but it wasn’t enough. Alpecin-Deceuninck was very strong along the way with three riders in the final. That’s just part of the race. I know he is fast and so I decided not to take over the last kilometres in order to save energy. But yes… I tried to be the first through the last corner, but he was just too fast in the sprint. Of course it’s a shame when you’re so close, but I tried everything. I also rode solo for a while, but I couldn’t do it anymore. Then it stops.”

Volta NXT Classic Result:
1. Timo Kielich (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck in 4:31:53
2. Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Lotto Dstny at 0:02
3. Henri Uhlig (Ger) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:07
4. Francesco Busatto (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty
5. Johan Meens (Bel) Bingoal WB at 0:09
6. Jelle Johannink (Ned) TDT-Unibet
7. Tobias Bayer (Aust) Alpecin-Deceuninck
8. Joseph Blackmore (GB) Israel Premier-Tech Academy
9. Frank van den Broek (Ned) Development dsm-firmenich PostNL
10. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Dstny at 0:12.

Volta NXT Classic’24:

 

visma
Worse Injuries than First Thought for Wout van Aert
Wout van Aert suffered several fractures from his crash in Dwars door Vlaanderen, but the injuries were much worse than first thought. It was first announced that the Belgian of Visma | Lease had broken his collarbone and seven ribs, now it has been announced that he also broke his sternum.

Van Aert crashed on Wednesday with 67 kilometres to go in the Dwars Door, on the descent towards the Kanarieberg, at high speed. Mads Pedersen, Jasper Stuyven and Biniam Girmay were also involved. It was immediately clear that Van Aert was in a bad way. The Belgian had serious grazes on his back and lay on the road moaning and crying in pain. He was then taken to hospital. At the hospital, a broken collarbone was initially diagnosed, as well as several broken ribs. According to HLN, this involved nine bone fractures: collarbone, sternum and seven ribs.

It is still unclear exactly how much time Van Aert will need to recover, said his Visma | Lease a Bike team, but his spring Classics are over: Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. The Amstel Gold Race will also be too soon and his Giro d’Italia will be in question.

Wout will be out for a while:
Dwars Door Vlaanderen 2024

 

lidl trek
Jasper Stuyven Also Out for the Spring
Lidl-Trek’s Jasper Stuyven also crashed on Wednesday in Dwars door Vlaanderen along with Wout van Aert and others. Stuyven wrote on social media. “I worked really hard in the classics for two years to get back to my top level.” The Belgian broke his collarbone and was taken to hospital.

The 31 year-old rider has successfully undergone surgery, but any thoughts of winning, or even riding the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix are out of the question this year. “I would like to thank everyone for the expressions of support. I hope to recover quickly after my operation,” he wrote on Instagram. “I would like to thank the Claes family for their help and quick work. I will now take the time to recover as optimally as possible.”

It is a very bitter pill for Stuyven, as he competed at a very high level this spring. “My spring is suddenly over and that is of course a huge blow. I worked hard for two years in the classics to get back to my top level. After many training camps and sacrifices, I was able to compete in finals again this year. In fact, I may have been in the shape of my life. I now sincerely hope that Lidl-Trek can continue the good trend in the next races.”

It is still unclear how long Stuyven will be out of action and when he will be allowed to train again, let alone when he can wear a shirt number again.

Jasper Stuyven: ‘I may have been in the shape of my life’
Gent-Wevelgem 2024

 

lotto
Lotto Dstny Finds a Possible Cause of Arnaud De Lie’s Recent Poor Form
Arnaud De Lie has struggled with his form in recent weeks. Since his crash in Le Samyn he has not been 1000%, but it seemed to be something more than the crash. The Lotto Dstny rider appears to have Lyme disease, according to blood tests.

Lyme disease is caused by a tick bite, from a tick infected with a bacterium. This infectious disease is controlled with antibiotic treatment for at least ten days. “It may be the reason why Arnaud could not perform at a high level in recent races,” Lotto Dstny reported on social media. “He has now started treatment with antibiotics. We wish you a speedy recovery, Arnaud!”

It is currently unclear how long he will be out of competition. The 22 year-old power previously decided to end his spring, as he was unable to reach the same level after the Le Samyn crash and abandoning Paris-Nice. De Lie also no longer works with trainer Jeroen Dingemans. Gaëtan Bille, who raced for the Lotto team, will take over, Het Nieuwsblad reported.

De Lie out with Lyme disease:
Le Samyn 2024

 

movistar
Nairo Quintana Will Not Start the Tour of the Basque Country
So far, Nairo Quintana’s return to the WorldTour has not gone to plan. The 34 year-old Colombian will now not start the Tour of the Basque Country (April 1-6), a race he won in 2013.

Quintana suffered from crashes in the Tour of Catalonia. The winner of the Giro d’Italia (2014) and Vuelta a España (2016) came down in the sixth and seventh stages of the Catalan tour. Quintana suffered no fractures and was looking forward to the Tour of the Basque Country. His Movistar team has now announced.: “Nairo will continue his recovery process and will not start in the Basque Country. We wish you a speedy recovery, Nairo!”

He started his comeback with the Colombian Championships and then rode the six-day Tour Colombia and hasn’t shown much in other races The Movistar rider was supposed to ride the O Gran Camiño, but a covid infection stopped that.

More problems for Quintana:
Catalunya 2024

 

sd worx
Demi Vollering Surprised by SD Worx-Protime Statement
Demi Vollering was ‘surprised’ by her SD Worx-Protime team statement on Wednesday. She said to NU.nl. In the statement, Erwin Janssen, the team manager of SD Worx-Protime, discussed Vollering’s departure. He said that the team had made a ‘generous offer’ to the Dutch champion, but that she had not responded.

“I was a bit surprised by the team’s statement,” Demi Vollering said. “But I’m not going to talk about that too much now. There will be plenty of questions about my future in the near future. I want to focus on all the competitions to come this year, starting on Sunday with the Tour of Flanders. I’m not thinking about saying goodbye right now.”

On Wednesday, prior to Dwars door Vlaanderen, sports director Danny Stam informed GCN that Vollering will not race for SD Worx-Protime in 2025. He said it was a “matter of budget” that they could not keep Vollering. “You have to make choices as a team and at a certain point something or someone can leave. But I think it is clear that we cannot keep two riders of that level in our team,” he referring to Vollering and Lotte Kopecky, who previously signed until the end of 2028.

In a statement, Erwin Janssen then responded to the news that Stam had released. “We made Demi a generous offer and indicated that this could be responded to before a certain date. Vollering’s management has not responded to this. That is why we assume that Vollering will leave the team at the end of the year. But the reports that we recently spoke to Demi or her management about this are not true.”

Demi Vollering leaving or staying with SD Worx-Protime?
romandie23 st2

 

lidl trek
Thibau Nys will Not Ride a Grand Tour in 2024
Thibau Nys will not make his Grand Tour debut in 2024. The 21 year-old Lidl-Trek rider was on the team’s longlist for the Giro d’Italia, but HLN reports that “in consultation with the sporting management and the performance cell, it was decided that the Tour of Italy was a bit too much for Nys.” The Tour and the Vuelta were also never an option.

Prior to the cyclo-cross World Championships, Nys had spoken about his road program in conversation with WielerFlits. “After the World championships I will take another two weeks of rest, and then I will have a nice build-up to the Tour de Romandie. I want to score there right away. After that, nothing is set in stone yet. I expect to do a number of stage races such as the Tours of Norway and Hungary, where I just want to participate and win. The Giro is also a possibility, but I’m not blind to that. If it comes, it comes. But I personally don’t think so.”

After the Tour de Romandie, where Nys finished second in a bunch sprint last year, he will compete in the WorldTour Classic Eschborn-Frankfurt. After the Tours of Norway and Hungary, the Baloise Belgium Tour, the Belgian Championship and the Tour de Wallonie will follow, repeating his race schedule of 2023. The Bretagne Classic in Plouay on August 25 should be the last event on the road before the focus returns to cyclo-cross.

Nys still wants to continue combining road and cross, so he has a limited road program. “I see myself working in this for a long time, but I hope to approach it in different ways in the coming years. For example, it may be that after the cyclo-cross World Championships I immediately move on to the road and only take a rest later. But I could just as well come into cross earlier and immediately extend my road season to cyclo-cross,” Nys said to WielerFlits in January.

A win for Nys in Norway’23:
norway23 st2

 

movistar
Iván García Cortina Responds to Wout Poels’ Accusation: “Completely Unfair”
Wout Poels was not happy with Iván García Cortina, the Spaniard of Movistar is said to have punched Poels during the Tour of Catalonia. Cortina has now responded to the Dutchman’s accusation in conversation with sports-paper AS.

What exactly happened in the last Tour of Catalonia? “During the penultimate day, there was a technical descent in the course after thirteen kilometres,” Wout Poels began his story in the AD podcast In Koers. “Everyone wants to sit in the front, so it was crowded. Then Iván Cortina from Movistar intervened just before the top. He sat up and delivered a punch to my upper arm.”

“He hit me really hard and it hurt quite a bit. So I then had a big argument with him. I asked why he did that. He said it’s always the same song with me. But I never ride him uphill, because he’s usually already ridden down it. We often criticise organisers because the courses are not safe and then you have a rider who just really throws a punch. That is not possible.”

Iván García Cortina told his story at a press conference in the run-up to the Tour of Flanders. “What happened in the Tour of Catalonia was completely unfair, because of the way the judges acted. And because ultimately it was their word against mine.”

The Spaniard then explains what exactly happened according to him. “At the top of a mountain pass I was behind the first rider of Soudal Quick-Step. In order not to drive the riders of this team into the ditch, I gave them some space at the first corner. At that moment, when I came out of the corner, I had to push hard to regain my position.”

“There was a rider from Bahrain Victorious, with Poels behind him. When I wanted to pass them, Wout suddenly started sprinting so that I wouldn’t pass them. I then touched his steering wheel at a speed of 40 miles per hour. I wasn’t very happy with it.”

After the incident, Poels decided to file a complaint with the competition jury. “He got away with a fine of 300 Swiss Francs and some UCI points deduction. That was a bit disappointing,” said the Bahrain Victorious rider.

Iván García Cortina has his say:
Iván García Cortina Kuurne 2024

 

soudal quick-step 2024
Soudal Quick-Step to Itzulia Basque Country
Remco Evenepoel and Mikel Landa team up for one of the hardest and most beautiful events of the season
29-Mar-2024: Itzulia Basque Country is one of the World Tour stage races where our team has tasted success on many occasions in the past, winning eleven stages and three distinctive jerseys; the most recent of these was brought home by Remco Evenepoel, who topped the youth classification at his only presence there, back in 2022.

The Belgian Champion, who so far this season has won four races, will return at the start together with Mikel Landa. The experienced Basque, who finished runner-up last year at his home race, comes at the start of the 63rd edition after a solid outing in Volta a Catalunya, where he racked up three podiums on his way to second overall. Rounding out the seven-man Soudal Quick-Step team for Itzulia Basque Country will be Gil Gelders, James Knox, William Junior Lecerf, Pieter Serry and Louis Vervaeke.

“I’m looking forward to returning to racing in the Basque Country. It’s a beautiful area that I’ve enjoyed racing in, in both Itzulia and Clasica San Sebastian, and as always it will be a very challenging parcours against a strong field. I’m especially looking forward to racing with Mikel in his home region, knowing that the local fans are so knowledgeable and passionate about cycling”, said Remco ahead of his third stage race of the season.

The race gets underway on Monday, from Irun, with a hilly 10km individual time trial finishing on a steep 10% ramp, and continues with five hard stages comprising more than twenty classified climbs. By far, the most difficult of these will be the sixth and last stage, held around Eibar, where seven ascents – including the gruelling Krabelin (5km, 9.6%) – crammed in just 138 kilometres can turn the race on its head and even change the yellow jersey wearer.

“We have a very strong line-up for next week’s race, with Remco and Mikel, together with a couple of young guys but also some experienced helpers, so the feeling is good going into the race. Itzulia is a tough event, one of the hardest of the season, and you need to pay attention the whole time and be at your best level to fight for a top result. We are ready to give our all as we aim for the best possible GC result next Saturday”, added Soudal Quick-Step sports director Klaas Lodewyck.

01.04–06.04 Itzulia Basque Country (ESP) 2.UWT
Riders:

Remco Evenepoel (BEL)
Gil Gelders (BEL)
James Knox (GBR)
Mikel Landa (ESP)
William Junior Lecerf (BEL)
Pieter Serry (BEL)
Louis Vervaeke (BEL)

Sports Director:Davide Bramati (ITA), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL) & Geert Van Bondt (BEL).

Evenepoel and Landa to the Basque Country:
soudal quick-step 2024 Landa Evenepoel

 

dsm postal
Itzulia Basque Country – APR 01 – 06
Phil West – Team dsm-firmenich PostNL coach: “The Basque country is a great location for bike racing and so we look forward to Itzulia this year and the motivated fans that go hand in hand with races in the Basque country. For Itzulia we have a strong group of climbers in Warren Barguil, Oscar Onley, and Gijs Leemrieze, so we come with the ambition towards GC here, but of course, we will also race hard for day results on the hilly stages throughout.”

Line-up:
Warren Barguil (FRA)
Romain Combaud (FRA)
Gijs Leemreize (NED)
Enzo Leijnse (NED)
Emils Liepins (LAT)
Oscar Onley (GBR)
Martijn Tusveld (NED).

Oscar Onley to the Basque County:
cro race 22

 

uae
Ayuso leads squad for Itzulia Basque Country
UAE Team Emirates will set sights on their next objective with the Itzulia Basque Country in Spain from 1-6 April.

The team packs a squad filled with climbing talent in what is traditionally deemed as being one of the hardest races on the World Tour calendar.

Prior to ‘La Itzulia’ the team will take-on the one-day classic nearby in Navarra with the GP Miguel Indurain on 30 March.

Juan Ayuso: “This will be my very first Itzulia and I’m pretty excited to be racing there. It’s a big race with a lot of history and one I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. The passion for cycling in the Basque Country is amazing and something us riders really feed off of. I had a good block of training in Andorra and feel like I’m coming into the race in good shape. The team is very strong with a strong climbing focus and we will be aiming for some big results.”

Itzulia Basque Country [2.UWT] – 01-Apr-2024 / 06-Apr-2024
Juan Ayuso (Spa)
Igor Arrieta (Spa)
Isaac Del Toro (Mex)
Finn Fisher Black (NZ)
Brandon McNulty (USA)
Pavel Sivakov (Fra)
Marc Soler (Spa)

UAE

 

Dwars door Vlaanderen
Dwars Door Vlaanderen Race Doctor Out of Danger after Collision with Soudal Quick-Step Team Car
The 2024 Dwars door Vlaanderen 2024 was full of crashes. As well as the crash with top favourites Wout van Aert and Mads Pedersen, two cars in the men’s race were also involved in a serious collision. The race doctor was taken to hospital, but is now out of danger according to Het Laatste Nieuws.

On the road between Kluisbergen and Ronse, the race doctor’s car collided with a Soudal Quick-Step team car. The doctor was on his way back to the convoy after being delayed by the Van Aert, Pedersen, Jasper Stuyven and Biniam Girmay crash. As a result of the collision, the doctor’s car ended up in a ditch. The fire brigade was needed to free the doctor from the damaged car, after which he was taken to hospital. The driver of the Soudal Quick-Step car was uninjured.

The men’s race of Dwars door Vlaanderen was not affected by the collision, but the women’s race was on the same route, so due to the emergency response to the accident, the race was neutralised for a while so that a diversion could be arranged.

The race doctor was hospitalised, but is out of danger:
Dwars Door 2024

 

soudal quick-step 2024
Finding Landismo
Mikel Landa is a name that transcends cycling, especially in his home region.

Ahead of Itzulia Basque Country, Mikel welcomed our cameras into his home, to explore the stunning region where he lives, to meet his family and his friends and to help understand how this boy from Álava would grow into the phenomenon and the philosophy that is known as Landismo.

This special video gives unprecedented access to Mikel, who tells us the story of how he became a professional cyclist, and the personality that some many cycling fans find magnetic. Insight from his family and friends also show the affection and esteem in which he is held.

 

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