EUROTRASH Monday: The 2024 Season Starts Down Under!
All the latest cycling news
The 2024 season has started! All the news from Australia: The Women’s Tour Down Under and the Down Under Criterium. Plus the Belgian and Netherlands cyclo-cross championships – Reports, results and video.
Patrick Lefevere: “Evenepoel is not inferior to Pogačar, Roglič and Vingegaard” – TOP STORY.
Rider news: Julian Alaphilippe to ride the Giro d’Italia, unfit Caleb Ewan unsure for Tour Down Under, Ilan Van Wilder will get opportunities with Soudal Quick-Step, Shari Bossuyt will not appeal against doping suspension, Ben O’Connor returns to the Giro d’Italia and Sam Bennett starts his season in France.
Team news: BORA-hansgrohe puts an end to the Uijtdebroeks case, Visma | Lease a Bike Women wants to win a Grand Tour in the future, Ryan Kamp colours more Italian with FENIX as first shirt sponsor, Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team unveils 2024 kit, Peter van Petegem to be Bingoal-WB sport and business development manager and MAAP announces sponsorship of Lifeplus-Wahoo.
Race news: ASO and Golazo to support the organisation of the 2025 World championships in Rwanda, Belgian star Remco Evenepoel opens season at Figueira Champions/Casino Figueira and the Classica Comunitat Valenciana 1969.
Bonzer coffee time, cobber!
TOP STORY: Patrick Lefevere: “Evenepoel is not inferior to Pogacar, Roglic and Vingegaard”
Remco Evenepoel is facing, probably his most important year in his cycling career. The Belgian is preparing for his debut in the Tour de France. Patrick Lefevere, the team boss of Soudal Quick-Step, has a lot of confidence in his rider. “He should not be inferior in terms of quality,” Lefevere told WielerFlits at the team’s media day.
Remco Evenepeol will have to compete against Jonas Vingegaard, Tadej Pogačar and Primoz Roglič for victory in the coming Tour: “He should not be inferior in terms of quality,” Lefevere believes. “Remco has become a classic, is World champion on the road and in the time trial and has won the Vuelta where the top 10 of the Giro were present. He had to leave the Giro last year because of corona, but I don’t think they were done with him yet. He actually took the Vuelta afterwards, because that was not on his program. I have confidence.”
Evenepoel himself does not exaggerate too much; “a stage win would be great”, but Lefevere does not hide his ambitions. “A stage win or the classification? Both of course. You normally don’t finish high in the rankings without a stage win. Few riders have won the Tour without a stage win. Everyone knows I like to win. The day this is no longer the case, I better stop. That will not happen.”
Lefevere also spoke to WielerFlits about the failed merger between Soudal Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma. “I am happy to be here with my own team. And especially for the people around me. I am someone who is very loyal to his staff. There are people who have been with me for 25 years. To have to deliver it in a certain way would be very painful. But we don’t live with blinders on. Good and bad mergers happen every day in society. But we’re not going to know and we don’t need to know. I managed to post it. It was not such a turbulent period for me. Our owner Zdeněk Bakala is a very honest person. I never felt like meetings were happening without me.”
Patrick Lefevere and his probable successor, Jurgen Fore at the Soudal Quick-Step 2024 team presentation in Calpe, Spain:
Santos Tour Down Under – Women 2024
Race reports thanks to TDU
New Zealand track and now road sensation Ally Wollaston claimed a debut Women’s WorldTour major prize by winning Ziptrak Stage 1 of the new 2024 UCI season.
Wollaston, 23, barnstormed across the Maryvale Road, Athelstone finish line to beat a super fast bunch to earn her team AG Insurance Soudal a perfect start to the new year. Wollaston’s efforts earned her a hat trick of wins on her most successful Women’s WorldTour day, including the Santos ochre leader’s jersey, the stage win, and the Ziptrak sprint jersey. Wollaston beat Liv Jayco AlUla’s Georgia Baker to the Fox Oval finish line with Italy’s Sofia Bertizzolo, 26, (UAE Emirates) earning a precious third placing on equal time just ahead of Kristyna Burlova.
“I’m really proud of being patient and backing myself,” Wollaston said. “Once I committed to the sprint I thought, oh hell, I could actually win this but it wasn’t until the final few metres for sure.”
Wollaston said she had trained hard in heated settings in New Zealand in a bid to acclimatise before coming to Adelaide and it paid off in 36C heat. Wollaston last year upstaged the superstars of the Santos Tour Down Under at the Criterium Classic in the streets of Adelaide after winning New Zealand’s Criterium championship. The day’s work probably finished as planned for most riders and their teams – a bunch sprint finish – as Italy’s Katia Ragusa entertained fans early on.
Ragusa had a brilliant start, winning the efex Queen of the Mountain jersey after riding powerfully in the breakaway during her team debut for Human Powered Health. However, Ragusa’s day turned sour when she was forced to stop albeit briefly for a puncture and a wheel change during the fast Gorge Road descent into Campbelltown. However, after the intermediate sprints and Queen of the Mountain polka dot jersey were decided Matilda Raynolds (Bridgeland) launched an audacious solo counterattack 58km from the finish line. The 36-year-old set the nervous chasing bunch alight with the gap closing to 56 seconds with about 30km to go after it blew out to almost two minutes.
Raynolds was swallowed up by the breakaway group inside the final10km as it appeared that a bunch sprint was what the contenders were aiming for before the Czech Republic’s Burlova from Lifeplus Wahoo was rewarded with the Zwift young rider’s jersey on the podium. And as teams were organising their sprint trains for the first time in the new Women’s WorldTour season Hyundai Stage 3 favourite Sarah Gigante (AG Insurance-Soudal) dodged a couple of nasty crashes near the back of the race. In a beautiful gesture, the entire peloton, fans, and officials commemorated the life of Australian cyclist Melissa Hoskins who died tragically late last year. A minute’s silence was observed for Hoskins at the Hahndorf start line before the start gun was fired to signal the 2024 Women’s WorldTour season was underway.
12km: Ziptrak Sprint 1 – Adelaide Road, Echunga
Australia’s WorldTour outfit Liv Jayco-AlUla ensured the nation’s newest road champion Ruby Roseman-Gannon earned the first bonus of the new season by taking out the Ziptrak Sprint 1 at Echunga with teammate Georgia Baker who was tipped as a potential stage winner close behind, followed by UAE Team ADQ’s Dominika Wlodarczyk.
29.7km: efex Queen of the Mountain 1: (Category 3) Hawthorn Climb: Hawthorn Road, Echunga
Italian breakaway rider Katia Rugusa (Human Powered Health) earned maximum points ahead of Coop Repsol’s French gun India Grangier and Bridgelane’s Matilda Raynolds.
49.3km: Ziptrak Sprint 2 – Onkparinga Valley Road, Woodside
Rugusa was again dominant at Woodside, beating Raynolds at Woodside.
58.1km: efex Queen of the Mountain 2: (Category 3): Kenton Valley Climb: Kenton Valley Road, Lobethal
Ragusa wasn’t going to let this one slip, after doing a lot of work during the breakaway to earn a healthy 10 points for her QOM efforts. The Italian made sure the efex QOM jersey was hers to keep at the start line for the Health Partners Stage 2 Glenelg to Stirling on Saturday.
93.7km: Race Finish – Maryvale Road, Athelstone: Time: 2hr 32min 37sec
Stage Winner – Ally Wollaston (AG Insurance Soudal)
All the Jerseys:
Santos Leader’s Jersey – Ally Wollaston (AG Insurance Soudal)
efex Queen of the Mountain – Katia Rugusa (Human Powered Health)
Ziptrak Sprinter’s Jersey – Ally Wollaston (AG Insurance Soudal)
Zwift Young Rider’s Jersey – Kristyna Burlova (Lifeplus Wahoo)
Most Competitive – Matilda Raynolds (Bridgelane).
Santos Tour Down Under – Women Stage 1 Result:
1. Ally Wollaston (NZ) AG Insurance-Soudal in 2:32:37
2. Georgia Baker (Aus) Liv AlUla Jayco
3. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
4. Kristýna Burlová (CZ) Lifeplus Wahoo
5. Gladys Verhulst-Wild (Fra) FDJ-SUEZ
6. Francesca Barale (Ita) dsm-firmenich PostNL
7. Roxane Fournier (Fra) St Michel-Mavic-Auber93 WE
8. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ-SUEZ
9. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Canyon//SRAM
10. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Lidl-Trek.
Santos Tour Down Under – Women Overall After Stage 1:
1. Ally Wollaston (NZ) AG Insurance-Soudal in 2:32:27
2. Georgia Baker (Aus) LIV-AlUla-Jayco at 0:02
3. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) UAE Team ADQ at 0:06
4. Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Aus) LIV-AlUla-Jayco at 0:07
5. Katia Ragusa (Ita) Human Powered Health
6. India Grangier (Fra) Coop-Repsol at 0:08
7. Dominika Wlodarczyk (Pol) UAE Team ADQ at 0:09
8. Matilda Raynolds (Aus) Team Bridgelane
9. Kristyna Burlova (CZ) Lifeplus Wahoo at 0:10
10. Gladys Verhulst Wild (Fra) FDJ-SUEZ.
TDU’24 stage 1:
Denmark’s Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig claimed Health Partners Stage 2 of the Santos Tour Down Under with a punchy finish at Stirling on Saturday.
The 28-year-old FDJ-Suez gun won the longest Santos Tour Down Under women’s stage in history with 104.2km between the Glenelg beachside start and the finish at Stirling in the picturesque Adelaide Hills. “Plan A was to sprint for (teammate and reigning Santos Tour Down Under champion) Grace Brown,” Ludwig told TV Seven Plus. “We had it all figured out and how we were going to do it, but Grace didn’t feel good and we had to change the plan and it’s now time to celebrate. It’s so good to be in Australia where my boyfriend (WorldTour rider Miles Scotson) comes from and it’s awesome.”
After winning a stage of the Tour de France in 2022, the victory has put Ludwig in pole position to claim the Santos Tour Down Under title. The Women’s WorldTour’s Hyundai Stage 3 from Adelaide to Willunga Hill on Sunday suits Ludwig. Friday’s stage winner and Santos leader Ally Wollaston relinquished the ochre jersey to the Dane after Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ) finished second at Stirling ahead of Australia’s reigning road champion Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Liv AlUla Jayco). Bertizzolo also claimed the Ziptrak sprint jersey while Human Powered Health’s Italian Katia Ragusa kept the efex Queen of the Mountain jersey after a fine day in the saddle. Bertizzolo is just two seconds behind Ludwig and one second ahead of Roseman-Gannon.
Temperatures in Stirling hovered around 24C which suited the riders after Friday’s searing 35C. The peloton reached speeds of up to 85 kph, with Henrietta Christie from Health Powered Health forced out of the race after a crash on Friday. AG Insurance Soudal attacked about 72km from the finish line with Australian Sarah Gigante at the front. It was a fitting return to the big stage for Gigante, who described her form as the best it has been starring at the Santos Festival of Cycling in 2021. Team Bridgelane worked hard early and mirrored Friday’s opening stage when a solo attack from Matilda Raynolds saw the Australian team take the spotlight.
Come Saturday it was time for Raynolds’ teammate Haylee Fuller to hit centre stage. She was the first rider to test what the potential end of the race would feel like as she crossed the Stirling finish line for the first of the three circuits. Lidl-Trek then heaped pressure on the peloton as the race approached the second efex Queen of the Mountain finish. The team looked at keeping three-time Santos Tour Down Under champion Amanda Spratt in good shape for a fitting finale. ARA Australian Cycling Team’s Emily Watts also attacked hard to open up a 29-second gap 12.4km out from the finish, but the peloton caught the 23-year-old Australian seven kilometres from Stirling. Watts, however, was rewarded with the Yamaha most competitive rider’s jersey.
12.4km: efex Queen of the Mountain 1: (Category 1) Cherry Gardens Hill
Human Powered Health’s Italian gem Katia Ragusa took out her third QOM win since claiming the pair during Ziptrak Stage 1, earning maximum points. Ragusa claimed 20 points and held onto the QOM podium before the Stirling finish.
35.7km: Ziptrak Sprint 1 – Mawson Road, Meadows at Meadows Bakery
The challengers were nervous and took what seemed an eternity to earn bonus seconds.
UAE Team ADQ’s Dominika Wlodarczyk used every sinew to pip Australia’s Roseman-Gannon (Liv Jayco AlUla) while Ruth Edwards (Human Powered Health), the 2020 Santos Tour Down Under champion, took third place in a long race to the bonus seconds line.
53.4km: Ziptrak Sprint 2 – Strathalbyn Road at Mylor Oval, Mylor
Poland’s Wlodarczyk earned the maximum three-second time bonus ahead of Australia’s Ruby Roseman-Gannon and US rider Lily Williams from Human Powered Health. Roseman-Gannon provisionally moved within three seconds of race leader Ally Wollaston (AG Insurance Soudal) until the Kiwi gave up her leader’s jersey. Wollaston is 31 seconds behind Ludwig.
82.9km: efex Queen of the Mountain 2: (Category 2) Stirling Climb
Ragusa was too good and will wear the polka dot jersey for the Hyundai Stage 3 on Sunday.
The Italian easily powered away at Stirling in what should have been an end-of-race dress rehearsal at the same place 21.3km later.
All the Jerseys:
Overall Stage Winner – Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Suez)
Santos Leader’s Jersey – Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Suez)
efex Queen of the Mountain – Katia Rugusa (Human Powered Health)
Ziptrak Sprinter’s Jersey – Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ)
Zwift Young Rider’s Jersey – Francesca Barale (Human Powered Health)
Most Competitive – Emily Watts (Australian National Team).
Santos Tour Down Under – Women Stage 2 Result:
1. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ-SUEZ in 2:54:28
2. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Canyon//SRAM
3. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
4. Francesca Barale (Ita) dsm-firmenich PostNL
5. Heidi Franz (USA) Lifeplus Wahoo
6. Alexandra Manly (Aus) Liv AlUla Jayco
7. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Lidl-Trek
8. Ruth Edwards (USA) Human Powered Health
9. Sarah Gigante (Aus) AG Insurance-Soudal
10. Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Aus) Liv AlUla Jayco.
Santos Tour Down Under – Women Overall After Stage 2:
1. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ-SUEZ in 5:26:55
2. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) UAE Team ADQ at 0:02
3. Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Aus) Liv AlUla Jayco at 0:03
4. Dominika Włodarczyk (Pol) UAE Team ADQ
5. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Canyon//SRAM at 0:04
6. India Grangier (Fra) Coop-Repsol at 0:08
7. Francesca Barale (Ita) dsm-firmenich PostNL at 0:10
8. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Lidl-Trek
9. Lieke Nooijen (Ned) Visma | Lease a Bike
10. Nienke Vinke (Ned) dsm-firmenich PostNL.
TDU’24 stage 2:
Sarah Gigante delivered a major WorldTour title to her new team AG Insurance Soudal as promised at the Santos Tour Down Under Stage 3 on Sunday.
The 23-year-old Australian forced her rivals to crack on the way atop Willunga Hill to take the Tour Down Under General Classification and a Hyundai stage 3 win which started in Adelaide. Gigante’s victory was emphatic considering she bounced back from several setbacks including myopericarditis – inflammation of both the heart muscle and the pericardium and broken bones from bike crashes.
Her former team Movistar released her from her contract in 2023 before she signed with the new WorldTour outfit in December.
“I only raced one race last year, but I have been going out there every single day and doing training sessions,” Gigante said. “I’m back in great form and I’m with my old coach Dylan Lindsay and I went from the very bottom of (Willunga Hill), my teammates helped me, I was out of position, but they drove me up to near the front (of the peloton). As soon as the road went upwards, I went.”
Gigante’s win capped off a successful WorldTour for the team. It started with New Zealand gun Ally Wollaston claiming the Ziptrak Stage 1 and the Santos leader’s jersey on Friday. Wollaston relinquished the jersey to FDJ-Suez’s Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig on Saturday before Gigante’s claimed overall honours. The Kiwi was doing her fair share of the work to get the Australian into shape before the Willunga Hill climb. But before Gigante’s emphatic victory, Liv AlUla Jayco’s tactical nous saw national road champion Ruby Roseman-Gannon was the provisional leader. She earned three bonus seconds when she claimed the first Ziptrak preme sprint which saw her on equal time with overnight race leader Ludwig (FDJ-Suez).
The pressure was on Ludwig and her team as Roseman-Gannon earned another bonus second to take the overall lead when she finished third in the second Ziptrak sprint of the day at Aldinga Beach. But UAE Team ADQ’s Dominika Wlodarczyk was on her game too when she took maximum bonus seconds at Aldinga Beach to take the equal provisional lead alongside Roseman-Gannon. That smart intermediate sprint tactic turned the race on its ear, but Gigante quashed those feint hopes atop Willunga Hill.
The Hyundai Stage 3 Adelaide to Willunga Hill also conquered two significant milestones. The stage departed for the first time from home base – the Tour Village in Victoria Square, Adelaide and it was also the first time the race finished atop Willunga Hill. Just 10 seconds separated Ludwig (FDJ-Suez) and six riders including Roseman-Gannon who was sitting third overall before Sunday’s stage. Ludwig’s main contenders for the Willunga Hill climb included, three-time Santos Tour Down Under champion Amanda Spratt, and Gigante were only 20 seconds behind the flamboyant Dane. The Danish superstar is the highest ranked UCI rider at the Tour Down Under, after finishing seventh in 2023.
With about 70km before the finish, three riders Stine Dale (COOP-Repsol) Haylee Fuller (Team Bridgelane) and Lucie Fityus (ARA Skip Capital) attacked but they were no immediate threat to the main GC contenders. The trio opened a gap of 49 seconds before the peloton had enough as Ludwig rode comfortably as her strong team kept the Dane out of trouble. Gigante was patient before the main peloton flew into the Willunga township which signalled the business end of the race was about to kick off. Spratt’s Lidl-Trek team kept the three-time Santos Tour Down Under in good shape led by Lauretta Hanson’s domestique duties Aldinga beach approached but Gigante was far too strong in the end.
3.8km: efex Queen of the Mountain 1: (Category 1) Belair Road at Belair Family Health Centre, Belair
Italy’s Katia Ragusa (Human Powered Health) claimed her third major prize of the stage race at Windy Point which was part of the race route for the first time in history. Ragusa earned 37 points and was at that point, 26 points clear of second placed Health Partners stage 2 winner Cecelie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Suez).
49.1km: Ziptrak Sprint 1 – Main Road at Willunga Show Hall, Willunga
Reigning national road champion Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Liv AlUla Jayco) claimed a timely bonus by winning the first sprint of the day. Roseman-Gannon at that point was on equal time with the then race leader Ludwig.
66.8km: Ziptrak Sprint 2 – Esplanade at Snapper Point, Aldinga Beach
UAE Team ADQ’s Dominika Wlodarczyk became a thorn between Australia’s Liv AlUla Jayco team to claim the three second bonus ahead of teammates Georgia Baker and Roseman-Gannon.
93.2km: efex Queen of the Mountain 2: (Category 1) Old Willunga Hill Road, Willunga Hill
Sarah Gigante did untold damage to the chasing bunch at the top of Willunga Hill before earning the title.
All the Jerseys:
Santos Tour Down Under Champion – Sarah Gigante (AG Insurance Soudal)
Hyundai Stage 3 Winner – Sarah Gigante (AG Insurance Soudal)
efex Queen of the Mountain – Katia Rugusa (Human Powered Health)
Ziptrak Sprinter’s Jersey – Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ)
Zwift Young Rider’s Jersey – Nienke Vinke (DSM-Firmenich POSTNL)
Yamaha Most Competitive – Stine Dale (Team COOP-Repsol)
Santos Tour Down Under – Women Stage 3 Result:
1. Sarah Gigante (Aus) AG Insurance-Soudal in 2:30:38
2. Nienke Vinke (Ned) dsm-firmenich PostNL at 0:16
3. Neve Bradbury (Aus) Canyon//SRAM at 0:27
4. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Lidl-Trek
5. Dominika Włodarczyk (Pol) UAE Team ADQ at 0:46
6. Victorie Guilman (Fra) St Michel-Mavic-Auber93 WE at 0:47
7. Ella Wyllie (NZ) Liv AlUla Jayco
8. Maud Oudeman (Ned) Visma | Lease a Bike
9. Rosita Reijnhout (Ned) Visma | Lease a Bike
10. Julie Van de Velde (Bel) AG Insurance-Soudal.
Santos Tour Down Under – Women Final Overall Result:
1. Sarah Gigante (Aus) AG Insurance-Soudal at 7:57:33
2. Nienke Vinke (Ned) dsm-firmenich PostNL at 0:20
3. Neve Bradbury (Aus) Canyon//SRAM at 0:33
4. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Lidl-Trek at 0:37
5. Dominika Włodarczyk (Pol) UAE Team ADQ at 0:44
6. Victorie Guilman (Fra) St Michel-Mavic-Auber93 WE at 0:57
7. Ella Wyllie (NZ) Liv AlUla Jayco
8. Julie Van de Velde (Bel) AG Insurance-Soudal
9. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ-SUEZ at 1:02
10. Nicole Frain (Aus) Australia.
TDU’24 stage 3:
Down Under Classic 2024
Jhonatan Narvaez won the Down Under Classic in Adelaide, Australia. The Ecuadorian of INEOS Grenadiers held off the peloton with a small leading group.
The Down Under Classic is not an official UCI race, but the criterium is held annually a few days before the start of the men’s WorldTour stage race, the Tour Down Under. The field of participants is mostly the same as in the six-day race. Sprinter Caleb Ewan won five of the last six editions, but not this year. Jayco AlUla didn’t have to control the race, and it showed, as it was a chaotic criterium, with many attacks. In the end, a group including Jhonatan Narvaez and Natnael Tesfatsion escaped off the front. The peloton misjudged their attempt, although it still came quite close in the final kilometre. Narvaez was the fastest of the leading group for the win.
3rd, Isaac Del Toro (UAE Team Emirates): “I feel really good after that. It’s my first time racing with the team and I’m trying to enjoy it all and take it all in as much as possible. It’s one of the biggest dreams just to be here so to pick up a nice result on day one is beyond expectation. We’re really looking forward now to the big race next week.”
Down Under Classic Result:
1. Jhonatan Narvaez (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers in 1:01:33
2. Natnael Tesfatsion (Eri) Lidl-Trek
3. Isaac Del Toro (Mex) UAE Team Emirates
4. Harry Sweeny (Aus) EF Education-EasyPost
5. Gil Gelders (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step
6. Oscar Onley (GB) dsm-firmenich PostNL
7. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain Victorious
8. Laurence Pithie (NZ) Groupama-FDJ
9. Daniel McLay (GB) Arkéa-B&B Hotels
10. Corbin Strong (Aus) Israel-Premier Tech.
Down Under Classic’24:
Belgian National Cyclo-cross Championships – Men 2024
On Sunday Eli Iserbyt won the Belgian professional cyclo-cross championship for the first time in his career. The Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider went solo in the final laps for the win. Joran Wyseure was second, Michael Vanthourenhout third.
The Cyclocross Championships promised to be an exciting race, but without Wout van Aert at the start, so there was no top favourite. Eli Iserbyt, Laurens Sweeck, Thibau Nys, defending champion Michael Vanthourenhout, all had a chance of victory. Nys and Vanthourenhout didn’t start well in the mud, unlike Niels Vandeputte, Sweeck and Iserbyt. Iserbyt went for it in the first lap.
With Vandeputte and Sweeck in his wake, Iserbyt opened a small gap, although Toon Vandebosch, Quinten Hermans and Joran Wyseure were not too far behind. Nys and Vanthourenhout were in the next group with Lander Loockx and Jens Adams. But at the end of the first lap everything was together again. There was a leading group of 10 riders. This included Wyseure, who took the initiative in the second of seven laps. First he escaped with Nys. When the two were brought back, he went again with Nys and also Vanthourenhout. After two laps, the three had a lead of almost 10 seconds over the seven pursuers, where Iserbyt had taken the lead. He got closer, but at the front his teammate Vanthourenhout also accelerated. Nys was in trouble, but Wyseure managed to follow.
At the end of the third lap, Nys was able to come back, as was Iserbyt who then went with Wyseure. Not much later, Nys and Vanthourenhout made the contact again. This looked to be the four that would battle for victory. Sweeck tried to cross from the chasing group, he couldn’t get close. In the leading group it was mainly Iserbyt who did the work. This resulted in him breaking away from the others on the 5th lap. He had 11 seconds on Wyseure and Nys at the end of the lap, Vanthourenhout followed a little further back. The gap looked bridgeable at that moment, but in the penultimate lap Iserbyt put the foot on the gas. He extended his lead over Wyseure and Vanthourenhout, the first pursuers, to 30 seconds. Nys the best was now at 50 seconds. In the final lap, Iserbyt’s victory was not in danger. The 26 year-old had won several Belgian titles in the younger categories, but he had not been successful in the elite and U23 categories. He beat Wyseure, who had dropped Vanthourenhout in the final lap. finished third this year. Nys had dropped to 6th place.
2024 Belgian champion, Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “There are still goals this season, but I can enjoy this. I’ve been in a daze since half of the cross. It was choosing lines and focusing. It was also stone cold. It’s nice that I can tame the demons for once, because I have already been tamed a lot myself. At the beginning of the race I was a little too hot and got I was not in my rhythm. When I started to get a little colder, it was fine. First Michael had a strong attack, then I chose my own lines and put everyone under pressure. I felt on the track that they were no longer able to choose a position. Then I thought that everyone was through it, that was the moment for me to move. Thanks to Michael Vanthourenhout. We have a lot of support for each other, we lift each other to a higher level. It hasn’t been easy for him, just like me in recent weeks. Luckily it comes up at the right time. There are still goals this season, but I can enjoy this. Tomorrow my home cross in Otegem is five minutes from my door, ideal.”
2nd, Joran Wyseure (Crelan-Corendon): “I felt very strong, I had a super day like in Fayetteville. For a moment I thought I could fight for the win, but when Eli went, I quickly realised that he was stronger. He may have even been riding around with some left. The circumstances suited me. I was laughing in the camper beforehand, especially when some rain still fell. It was all good for me. It is a day not to be forgotten.”
3rd, Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “If I wish it for anyone, it is Eli. I already knew before the cross that it was an Eli course, so it is nice that the jersey remains in the team. He was the best today, I think. I think Joran (Wyseure) also had a very good day. He also took initiative at the beginning of the race. But you felt that things were going faster two per hour when Eli took over on the straights. Then you also saw that he eventually built up a big lead. This is very important to me. I’ve kept it quiet for a while, but since Wednesday I’ve had some stomach flu. I was at the start here with a lot of doubts. I certainly didn’t expect to play a role up front, so in that respect I am very satisfied. I surprised myself. Yesterday evening it was not yet certain that I would be at the start. It went well and it turned out to be a very nice day for the team. It is important that Eli won and that we will be at the start next year with two very nice jerseys.”
Belgian National Cyclo-cross Championships – Men Result:
1. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) in 1:02:28
2. Joran Wyseure (Bel) at 0:25
3. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) at 0:37
4. Niels Vandeputte (Bel) at 1:00
5. Jens Adams (Bel) at 1:06
6. Thibau Nys (Bel) at 1:31
7. Toon Vandebosch (Bel) at 1:54
8. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) at 2:07
9. Quinten Hermans (Bel) at 2:14
10. Lander Loockx (Bel) at 2:47.
Belgian cross champs’24:
Netherlands National Cyclo-cross Championships – Men 2024
Joris Nieuwenhuis won the Netherlands cyclo-cross title on Sunday in Hoogeveen. His teammates; Pim Ronhaar and Lars van der Haar were second and third.
Mathieu van der Poel missed out the cyclo-cross National Championships this year in Hoogeveen. All eyes were on the Baloise Trek Lions riders: Joris Nieuwenhuis, Pim Ronhaar and defending champion Lars van der Haar. Nieuwenhuis got off to the best start. Once on the mud he had Mees Hendrikx on his wheel, but the Crelan-Corendon rider crashed. Van der Haar was able to pass, Pim Ronhaar and Ryan Kamp were held up. This gave Nieuwenhuis a small gap, but he didn’t make his move yet, Van der Haar and then Ronhaar were soon with them. After less than 1 minute of racing, the three top favourites were at the front. The trio didn’t stay together for long. Nieuwenhuis continued to apply pressure, causing Van der Haar to lose a few meters. Ronhaar passed him and when the defending champion lost his bike, he lost contact for good, so there would be a battle between Nieuwenhuis and Ronhaar.
Ronhaar had a gap, but eventually managed to close it. In the second lap it was Nieuwenhuis who took the initiative. He also did that in the next laps, until Ronhaar slipped halfway through the race. Nieuwenhuis saw his chance. He persevered and was almost 10 seconds up after four of the eight laps. In the subsequent laps, Nieuwenhuis extended his lead. With 2 laps to go, he had almost 40 seconds on Ronhaar. Lars van der Haar, still in third place, was at more than 1:30. The title holder would have a podium place, because Ryan Kamp and Tibor Del Grosso, in 4th and 5th place, were not in sight. The title went to Nieuwenhuis. After his second place last year, he was now number one. Ronhaar finished in second place, Van der Haar third. Behind them, Kamp and Del Grosso fought for fourth place. Kamp came out on top, but Del Grosso was the best U23 with his 5th place.
2024 Netherlands champion, Joris Nieuwenhuis (Baloise Trek Lions): “I had a really great day, I also know that I have to do it this way if I want to have a chance. It was also my intention to leave on a good note. Then I know that afterwards I can ride my own lines and do my own thing. That’s how it happened. I could already hear something happening behind me, but I couldn’t see exactly what was going on. Fortunately, it didn’t bother me. I didn’t give it my all, I was just trying to figure out what Pim was like. I did put some pressure on him, yes. My intention was to keep the pace high, while still feeling comfortable. Did I immediately know it was inside when I had a gap? No, because I had one good passage, but then it could also be that Pim just had something there and he just comes back. And in any case, I never want to immediately think: this has arrived. It was only the last half lap that I thought: I have 45 seconds, now I can enjoy it. It is very cool that I can now race in red, white and blue.”
2nd, Pim Ronhaar (Baloise Trek Lions): “I believed in the title for a long time, until Joris pulled away from me actually. In the first lap I had to close a damn gap because someone crashed in one of the first corners. That took quite a lot of energy, but when I was there, I felt very strong. I felt like I was stronger. But just as I was about to place my attack, Joris placed his. And it was just better. So yeah, I just got knocked on value. Finally he rides away for a minute. Then Joris is simply the best. He simply raced faster, in terms of technique and on the straights. Second place was the highest achievable today, so he can now lead the entire week in Spain. It was awarded to him and I said beforehand: if I can get the most out of it, I will be satisfied, whether that results in a first, second or third place. I’m not really going to cut back during the week. After Benidorm I will drive to Hoogerheid, after which I will do little for a week. Then it’s a blast in Tabor.”
3rd, Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions): “There were two better. I had a good day, I had good legs, it was a nice course, but there were two better. I can’t make much more of it. I already knew on Friday, during the reconnaissance: if you want to win, you will have to go past Joris Nieuwenhuis. This course is tailor-made for him. There are few real power strokes, it’s a lot about technique. And a very hard running section has been added. That’s what Joris is so good at. Last year he may have lost the National Championships to me in a bit of a lame way. I was very happy with that, but this year he really, really deserved to win. He has shown that he is really worth it. Tomorrow we will go to Spain with the boys. We will train there and take part in Benidorm (World Cup). Then we go to Tábor. I don’t need to take extra rest towards the World champs, I actually feel good. Last week I had a very bad day in Zonhoven, today I had a good day. It’s always difficult to measure, because I couldn’t compete for the win, but I felt like my legs were fine. I’m just on schedule for the World championships.”
Netherlands National Cyclo-cross Championships – Men Result:
1. Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) in 1:01:47
2. Pim Ronhaar (Ned) at 0:53
3. Lars van der Haar (Ned) at 2:28
4. Ryan Kamp (Ned) at 3:13
5. Tibor Del Grosso (Ned) 3:32
6. Mees Hendrikx (Ned) at 3:52
7. Stan Godrie (Ned)
8. Luke Verburg (Ned)
9. Klaas Groenen (Ned)
10. Koen van Dijke (Ned).
Netherlands cross champs’24 podium (still looking for video):
Julian Alaphilippe Will Ride the Giro d’Italia
Julian Alaphilippe will not be at the start of the Tour de France this year. The French favourite of Soudal Quick-Step is taking a different line in 2024 and will ride the Giro d’Italia for the first time. “It has been in my head for a while,” he told L’Équipe.
After starting the Tour de France in 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2023, Alaphilippe is now, for the first time in his career, riding the Giro d’Italia. “It is not a non-selection and it is not a punishment at all. Riding the Giro has been in my head for a while,” the double World champion explained. “It is of course strange to miss the Tour, but I am satisfied with my goals and a possible participation in the Olympic Games in Paris. It is a chock-full season and so you have to make choices and stick to them,” he said.
In the first Grand Tour of the season, Alaphilippe will be up against another Giro virgin: Wout van Aert. The Belgian of Visma | Lease a Bike is also aiming for stage victories. Tadej Pogačar will also be riding his first Giro, but will be going for the overall, but will take stage wins if they come his way.
Alaphilippe has announced his spring program. The Frenchman starts his season in the Tour Down Under, then back in Europe he will ride the opening weekend’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, followed by Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders.
Julian Alaphilippe’s Race Programme:
16-01 – 21-01 Santos Tour Down Under
24-02 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
02-03 Strade Bianche
31-03 Tour of Flanders
04-05 – 26-05 Giro d’Italia.
Alaphilippe to the Giro:
Unfit Caleb Ewan Unsure for Tour Down Under
Caleb Ewan didn’t win the Down Under Classic, as he usually does. The Australian sprinter is ‘not 100% fit’, his team sports director, Matt White told GCN.
The Down Under Classic is the criterium before the Tour Down Under, but it is one that Ewan has won five times in the past six editions, including last year.
Before the Classic in Adelaide, Ewan was not feeling well, after which the team decided it was better to rest and shift the focus to the Tour Down Under, which starts on Tuesday. Ewan had a difficult training day on Friday and apparently gave up in the heat.
“Yesterday it was more than forty degrees Celsius and Caleb was not feeling 100 percent fit. That’s why we thought it would be better to let him rest a bit until the real WorldTour race starts. We will continue to monitor the situation, as Caleb plays an important role in our plans for next week. Hopefully he recovers well, we will make a decision on Sunday afternoon.”
Luke Durbridge and Lucas Hamilton are said to be in the area. “But we want to give Caleb the opportunity to be ready.” The Tour Down Under will be Ewan’s first official race for Jayco-AlUla, after his transfer from Lotto Dstny at the end of 2023.
Ewan not 100%:
Ilan Van Wilder Will Get Opportunities with Soudal Quick-Step
Ilan Van Wilder will lead Soudal Quick-Step in several race this year, the 23 year-old rider announced earlier this week in conversation with Sporza. “A nice combination of personal opportunities and help,” Van Wilder said.
The Belgian rider looked ahead to next season at the Soudal Quick-Step media day, where spoke of his program for the first months. Van Wilder starts his season in the Challenge Mallorca. “After that I will have a great opportunity for a classification in the UAE Tour. Then follows Paris-Nice with Remco (Evenepoel). We are starting with a good team. It is a main goal to do very well there.” Van Wilder will then again ride for himself in the Tour of Catalonia and Tour de Romandie. “At Soudal Quick-Step I get a nice combination of my own opportunities and help. I find a good balance there. It is built up every year and I try to take a step every year. That works well.”
In the summer of 2024, Van Wilder hopes to make his debut in the Tour de France and assist Remco Evenepoel in the overall classification. “That has not yet been determined. I am in the large preselection. Let’s hope so. There are a lot of strong guys. I really see a strong team for the Grand Tours.”
Van Wilder had a good 2023 season, he finished third in the Trofeo Serra and third in the Volta ao Algarve, in May he finished twelfth in the Giro d’Italia, but the Belgian only really impressed in the autumn. He won the Deutschland Tour and Tre Valli Varesine in a period of just over a month.
Ilan Van Wilder’s Race Programme:
24-01 Trofeo Calvia
25-01 Trofeo Port D’Alcudia – Port D’Alcudia
26-01 Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana
27-01 Trofeo Pollença – Port d’Andratx
28-01 Trofeo Playa de Palma – Palma
19-02 – 25-02 UAE Tour
03-03 – 10-03 Paris-Nice
18-03 – 24-03 Volta a Ciclista a Catalunya
23-04 – 28-04 Tour de Romandie.
Van Wilder is looking forward to 2024:
Shari Bossuyt will Not Appeal Against Doping Suspension
Shari Bossuyt Will not appeal against the two-year doping suspension. She made the announcement on Instagram. The Belgian rider maintains her innocence.
“On December 4, I received the decision from the AFLD (anti-doping agency) with a proposal for my suspension,” Bossuyt stated. “As expected, they have proposed a two-year ban. They confirm and acknowledge the fact that the contamination was not intentional. But we cannot, as with Toon Aerts, prove the source of the contamination. For that reason, they cannot limit the punishment further. It is precisely at this point that the whole thing frustrates me enormously! There is no humanity or nuance, nor deliberation. Explain to me how an athlete can be able to prove contamination by food,” said Bossuyt.
“By putting all the pieces of the puzzle together one by one, we now almost know for sure where the contamination came from. But unfortunately we cannot officially prove this. This requires official reports. These reports can only be issued by official bodies, such as the Food Safety Agency, or after a full study by a laboratory or university. Unfortunately, such studies cost a lot of money and take a lot of time.”
The high costs of such studies are also one of the reasons for Bossuyt not to appeal against her suspension. “I don’t have the strength or the money for this. The feeling of fighting a losing battle, the sleepless nights due to constant worrying and the financial suffering of having to spend tens of thousands of euros on an already lost cause, made me decide to leave it at that…”
Bossuyt is having a hard time mentally because of the whole situation, she says. “I am a 23-year-old girl who was able to turn her hobby into her profession. I am not a doping sinner and have never considered taking any. I will keep repeating this until the day comes when everything is cleared up. No one seems to realise how much impact this has on someone’s mental health. My Olympic dream has been destroyed and I have to walk around every day with the label of ‘doping sinner’. It’s almost unbearable. Fortunately, I find support from the people who really listen to me, who believe me. In the meantime, I will continue to exercise, because it does me good. I will prove that I will come back stronger!”
Bossuyt tested positive after she won the third stage in the Tour of Normandy on March 19, 2023. Because her Canyon//SRAM team has a zero tolerance policy, she was placed on inactive status, but she maintained her innocence. Cyclo-cross rider Toon Aerts also tested positive for letrozole metabolite and was eventually suspended for two years.
Shari Bossuyt accepts a two year ban:
Ben O’Connor Returns to the Giro d’Italia and Sam Bennett Starts the Season in France
Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale has announced the programs for the first half of the season for several riders. The French team revealed that Ben O’Connor will ride the Giro d’Italia in May and Sam Bennett will start his season in the Tour de la Provence.
For O’Connor it will be his fourth Tour of Italy. In 2018 he made his Grand Tour debut in the Giro, but didn’t finish. In 2020 he finished 20th overall and took a stage win. O’Connor hasn’t been back to the Italian Grand Tour since, riding the Tour de France three times, with a 4th place and a stage win in 2021. O’Connor’s full race schedule before the Giro d’Italia is not yet fully known, but he will ride the Vuelta a Murcia (February 10th), the Clásica Jaén (February 12th) and the UAE Tour (February 19-25th).
Ben O’Connor’s Race Programme:
11-02 Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia “Costa Calida”
12-02 Clásica Jaén
19-02 – 25-02 UAE Tour
04-05 – 26-05 Giro d’Italia
Sam Bennett, who joined from BORA-hansgrohe, will start his season in February with the Tour de la Provence (8-11th February). Then, like O’Connor, he will go to the UAE Tour. In March, the Irish sprinter will contest Paris-Nice (March 3-10th).
Sam Bennett’s Race Programme:
08-02 – 11-02 Tour de la Provence
19-02 – 25-02 UAE Tour
03-03 – 10-03 Paris-Nice
In 2024, five Belgians will race with Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale. Dries De Bondt makes his debut for the French team in the Etoile de Bessèges (31st January – 4th February). He will then be at the start of the Ruta del Sol and the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Sander De Pestel starts earlier, with the Classica Communitat Valencia 1969 (January 20th) and Ruta de la Ceramica (January 21st). He will then start the Etoile de Bessèges.
Oliver Naesen will be in action in the Ruta del Sol from February 14th. He will then ride the Opening Weekend of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Gianluca Pollefliet has the UAE Tour, Grand Prix de Denain (March 14th) and Classic Loire Atlantique (March 16th) on his program. Stan Dewulf underwent surgery for a narrowed femoral artery in December and will return to racing later, but hopes to be at the start of the Giro.
Ben O’Connor to the Giro:
BORA-hansgrohe Puts an End to the Uijtdebroeks Case
The transfer of Cian Uijtdebroeks caused a lot of discussion and disruption for all concerned. BORA-hansgrohe has now drawn a line under the case, after an internal investigation into alleged bullying behaviour. “We really haven’t found anything,” sports manager Rolf Aldag emphasised at the team’s press day.
Uijtdebroeks was involved in a transfer ‘controversy’, after Visma | Lease a Bike presented the young Belgian as a new team member. Uijtdebroeks and his management believed that he was free to sign for another team, but BORA-hansgrohe didn’t agree. The problems between the various parties have now been sorted out. An agreement has been reached between Uijtdebroeks, his former team BORA-hansgrohe and his new team Visma | Lease a Bike. The UCI has also agreed to the transfer. “This was a bad thing for the team and for the sport. There is now a solution and we want to leave it at that. But we do take this matter seriously,” Aldag told Het Laatste Nieuws.
It was suggested that Uijtdebroeks may have been bullied at BORA-hansgrohe. “You don’t want that in your team. We have investigated that. We have spoken to all our riders, but we really haven’t found anything,” the German former rider emphasises. “That of course says nothing about the emotion that Cian felt. I’m just saying that we didn’t find any indication that he was being excluded or bullied. What still bothers me is: if something happened in the Vuelta, why didn’t he immediately put it on the table?”
The Cian Uijtdebroeks case is finished:
Visma | Lease a Bike Women Wants to Win a Grand Tour in the future
The Visma | Lease a Bike men’s team won the Giro, Tour and Vuelta last year. The women’s team also has great ambitions when it comes to the Grand Tours. “We hope to win one of the Grand Tours in the coming years,” said sports technical manager Rutger Tijssen.
The riders of Visma | Lease a Bike Women, this year are mainly going to the Grand Tours with ‘learning ambitions’. “Our biggest goal is one in the long term,” Tijssen refers to winning a Grand Tour in the coming years. “This year we will collect information for the future, but at the same time we also set the bar high. Perhaps we can achieve a podium in one of the big tours this season.”
On paper, Riejanne Markus is the main candidate within Visma | Lease a Bike Women for a podium finish in a Grand Tour. The 29-year-old time trial rider was fourth in the Vuelta a España last year. Next year she will contest the Vuelta again (April 29th-May 5th), after which she will participate in the Tour de France Femmes in August.
By 2024, Visma | Lease a Bike also wants to show in the spring Classics. “We are at the start of the spring classics with great ambitions. We want to start the competitions with well-structured plans, with the aim of over performing and achieving podium places at a number of Classics. It will come as no surprise that the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in particular have our attention. We will appear there, just like at the Amstel Gold Race, with a strong selection and aim for the highest possible goal: winning.”
In the meantime, talent development is still a top priority for the team, Tijssen emphasiSes. “This year we hope to see that the young talents continue to grow and that their learning curve continues. One of the important spearheads of Visma | Lease a Bike is to train future winners. We do not immediately expect the young riders to win, but we hope to see growth, development and potential every year.”
Riejanne Markus to lead the Visma | Lease a Bike women’s team:
Ryan Kamp Colours More Italian with FENIX as First Shirt Sponsor
Ryan Kamp is no longer riding in the black oufit he has been wearing for the past week and a half. In the meantime, with FENIX, a first shirt sponsor has arrived. Clothing manufacturer Alé and shoe supplier Sidi provide even more Italian input.
Colnago and Campagnolo initially ensured that Ryan Kamp could remain a pro rider – on an individual basis. He did so in black kit for the past few races, but that will change from Sunday on. In the Dutch championship, Kamp will race in “Verde Comodoro,” the iconic FENIX colours.
FENIX, which produces innovative materials for interior design, already indicated on Jan. 1 that they wanted to help in the start-up of the Italian project around Kamp. Over the past week, everything came to an accelerated conclusion. Ryan remains an individual rider, but thus gains a first jersey sponsor.
“As an Italian brand, we are proud to support this new FENIX project. It has an innovative approach and relies on Made-in-Italy partners. We are excited to be part of the development and growth of this young and talented rider,” said Stefano Mion, CEO of Arpa Industriale, the company that developed the innovative FENIX materials for interior design.
The project around Ryan Kamp is getting even more Italian, because in addition to FENIX, shoe supplier Sidi and clothing manufacturer Alé, that made the iconic Verde Comodoro outfit in just one week.
Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team Unveils 2024 Kit
Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team is thrilled to reveal the cutting-edge 2024 race kit, a testament to our commitment to #RacingTheFuture. Embodying the essence of our inaugural season’s premium design, this year’s official team kit boasts a sophisticated and sleek colour palette.
Drawing inspiration from our team’s resolute dedication to advancing the future of cycling, the second-season kit showcases a darker aesthetic with a captivating thermo-regulating pattern adorning the back. Neon accents add a dynamic touch, ensuring that our cyclists stand out with added visibility during intense racing scenarios.
This kit represents not only a progression in design but also a symbol of our unwavering pursuit of excellence in cycling.
Q36.5 Pro Team 2024 Kit in Detail
The official 2024 Pro Team Cycling kit features Q36.5’s most advanced and sustainable RaceWear pieces: the signature R2 Jersey and Gregarius Ultra Bib Shorts. Two staples of Q36.5’s RaceWear line that have helped the team master the most difficult and challenging races and kept their body temperature at the ideal 36.5ºC – at all times.
The Q36.5 logo takes centre stage on the front of the jersey, proudly accompanied by our esteemed partners UBS, SCOTT, and SRAM. The sleeves boldly showcase the Breitling logo, exuding a sense of daring sophistication, while the upper rear shoulders display the SCOTT logo.
Embarking on our mission of #RacingTheFuture, the back panel of the jersey becomes a canvas for our team’s vision, firmly anchoring our purpose in the peloton. As a testament to innovation, Q36.5’s revolutionary body-mapping and thermoregulation technology thread seamlessly through the entire Pro Team Collection.
The lighter grey backdrop of the jersey is complemented by the logos of UBS, Mercedes Benz, and Breitling, creating a harmonious design that underlines our powerful collaboration. Neon accents on the inside of the sleeves and side panels not only add a vibrant touch but also enhance visibility in the peloton, making our team unmistakable amidst the racing frenzy.
Nick Zukowsky will continue to don the distinctive Canadian National Champion jersey whilst Giacomo Nizzolo’s jersey is adorned with alternating sleeves featuring the European Champion and Italian National Champion bands. Finally, former Irish National Champion Rory Townsend’s jersey pays homage to his roots with the Irish flag bands gracefully adorning the sleeves, while Negasi Haylu Abreha will sport the Ethiopian National Champion bands as a former road National Champion of Ethiopia. This year’s kit is not just a uniform; it’s a vibrant narrative of individual and collective achievements, intertwining style and purpose on the cycling stage.
“Our team truly enjoyed their first-season wearing Q36.5’s technical apparel in the toughest cycling conditions culminating in 200 race days. The fact that the riders found comfort, durability, and technical functionality in Q36.5 apparel during such extensive race days speaks volumes about the quality and reliability of the brand. Enduring various weather conditions and rigorous cycling environments while maintaining comfort is crucial for optimal performance, and Q36.5 delivered on all fronts. Our 2024 team kit builds on this year’s incredible design showing increased investment from our partners and visual awareness for our riders in the neon accents whilst in close combat in the peloton,” said Doug Ryder, General Manager Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team
With only 110 grams, the Q36.5 R2 Pro Team Jersey is extremely lightweight, breathable and super fast-drying, combining 4 proprietary fabrics, produced using 70% recycled yarns and 11 patterns, all strategically placed to allow for maximum aerodynamics and thermoregulation.
The Q36.5 Pro Team Bib Shorts are equally lightweight, with 175 grams, and sport the brand’s Super Moulded Chamois, Tubular Strap System and Leg-band Finishing, all developed by their in-house R&D team for optimal RaceWear benefits and power transfer. Made from 100% recycled yarns, and like Q36.5’s entire line sourced and handcrafted within a 350 km radius of their Bolzano headquarters, they’re bringing sustainability and performance cycling clothing to the next level. UBS logo is featured on the right side of the bib short while the Q36.5 logo takes up the left side. The new model is completed with neon accents in the back that compliment the look and feel of increased visibility of the jersey.
Luigi Bergamo, CEO and Head of R&D Q36.5 explains the concept behind the new kit: “It’s inspired by our Body Mapping studies and based on our core principles of progress and innovation, our second-season Pro Team Race Kit was developed to help our athletes go beyond their own limits. We’re extremely proud to see the team’s riders benefit from our products and bring performance cycling to the next level. Together we are #RacingTheFuture.”
The goal for our second season on the road is to build on the momentum created in our 1st year and move up the world rankings through developing more depth and quality in our talented riders to be more competitive and win more races. By leveraging areas like performance analysis and technical enhancements to continuously adapt and improve while living our mission of #RacingTheFuture.
The 2024 Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team kit is available to purchase here.
Welcome to Peter van Petegem! Sport and Business Development Manager
Peter van Petegem (53) joins Bingoal WB as Sport and Business Development Manager. Peter intervenes in the sporting field by sharing his long experience with riders. He is also involved in development and contacts with partners.
Peter van Petegem: “I am very happy and very proud to join the Bingoal WB team. I have been active in the insurance field for many years and I have long wanted to get involved with a cycling team to bring my experience. I certainly remained in the field of cycling, after my career, in particular with my two sons Axandre and Maurits who are young riders, with the Flanders Classics, with my Primus Classic. The Bingoal WB project gives me the opportunity to immerse myself in the heart of a team. The objective is to grow, both on a sporting level and in the area of contacts with partners and public relations. So I will be on the field very often to tell our runners that we are there to be in front, to give everything to try to win. It’s in my DNA, I’ve always done everything to win. I also want to open new doors to help the team grow further. I think the prospects are very broad.”
Christopher Brandt: “It is a great pleasure to now be able to count on the expertise of Peter van Petegem. We have known each other for many years, we rode in the same team and we remained in close contact. Peter’s experience is very important for our rapidly developing structure, both on a sporting level and in terms of relationships with partners.”
Former professional rider (1992-2007), Peter van Petegem notably won the Tour of Flanders (1999, 2003), Paris-Roubaix (2003), the Grand Prix de l’Escaut (194), the E3 Grand Prix (1999), the Omloop Het Volk (1997, 1998, 2002), the Three Days of De Panne (1999, 2002). He received the bike from Cristal in 2003. He was also sports director at Gamin-Cervelo in 2011.
Management Bingoal WB 2024
Christophe Brandt: CEO/General Manager
Peter Van Petegem: Sports and Business Development Manager
Mattijs Dachy: General management
Sports management: Christophe Detilloux, Olivier Kaisen, Alessandro Spezialetti, Julien Stassen, Jean-Denis Vandenbroucke; Jon Wiggins (performance director).
Peter van Petegem working with Bingoal-WB:
MAAP Announces Sponsorship of Lifeplus-Wahoo
Melbourne apparel brand to outfit British women’s team with race kit, training wear and off-bike apparel
2024 sees the debut of MAAP in the pro peloton as apparel sponsor of British Women’s Continental Team Lifeplus-Wahoo. Bringing their signature design aesthetic, MAAP will be providing the team with race kit, training wear and off-bike apparel, this latest venture marking the continuation of MAAP’s pursuit to progress the sport through its product and the programs it supports.
Existing at the intersection of performance and purpose, MAAP and Lifeplus-Wahoo represent two organisations challenging convention in cycling. Their partnership marks a commitment not only to drive the team’s performance but also to play their part in propelling the sport of professional women’s cycling to the next level.
Lifeplus-Wahoo has been a long-standing feature of the British and European cycling scene. Starting as a domestic team and evolving through various guises, they are now one of the leaders in the current crop of Continental teams. Their strong performances last season will see them return to battle it out with WorldTour teams throughout 2024 including at the Tour de France Femmes.
Tom Varney, Lifeplus-Wahoo General Manager: ”As we head into our 9th season as an independent women’s team, it’s truly special to be able to partner with MAAP, a brand we see as the market leader in cycling apparel. We’ve felt reinvigorated by their support, not only by the fresh kit design but also their commitment to our founding principles of fostering a supportive environment for our riders to flourish no matter their age or background.”
As well as outfitting the team, MAAP will also be lifting the lid on what it takes to make it in the world of women’s professional cycling through an exclusive series of behind-the-scenes content. With women’s cycling consistently deprived of the attention it deserves, the series will show the level of determination, complexity and desire on the show is no different to the men’s side of the sport and look to correct the current imbalance.
Oliver Cousins, MAAP co-Founder and co-CEO: ”We’re honoured to be sponsoring the Lifeplus-Wahoo professional women’s team. The team’s values, focus and commitment to the progression of women’s cycling is truly inspiring. For us at MAAP, this is not just a commitment to excellence in cycling; it’s a vital investment in the empowerment of women in sports. We want to foster athletic prowess as well as actively propel the sport forward by cultivating a more equitable future in the world of cycling.“
Lifeplus-Wahoo will be appearing in their new kit for the first time January 12th at MAAP’s home WorldTour race, the UCI Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia. MAAP will be hosting a pop-up experience where fans can get exclusive access to an accompanying Lifeplus-Wahoo capsule featuring the replica race jersey, bibs, off-bike tees and accessories.
The pop-up will be running from the 13th to the 21st January, find out more information about at adl2024.com. The Lifeplus-Wahoo capsule will then be made available to purchase to all from January 16 at MAAP.cc and select partners.
ASO and Golazo Support the Organisation of the 2025 World Championships in Rwanda
The 2025 World Championships in Rwanda will not only be organised by a local committee. The cycling federation of Rwanda has appointed experienced organisers ASO and Golazo to support. It is the first time that the Cycling World championships will be held in Africa.
“We are honoured to help guide this historic sporting moment for Africa,” says Bob Verbeeck of Golazo. “We have been active in East Africa for more than ten years. In recent years, our activities in Kenya have gained momentum. This is the next big step in developing our presence in Africa. In addition to the current office in Nairobi (Kenya), Golazo will open a second branch in Kigali, Rwanda.”
Cycling association FERWACY and the Rwandan ministry of sport issued a bid and experienced organisers ASO and Golazo emerged as the winners. The ASO is the behind the Tour de France (and many other races) and Golazo organises the Baloise Belgium Tour, the Renewi Tour and the X2O Bathrooms Trophy cyclo-cross series.
ASO and Golazo will assist the local organisers in the field of sports technical aspects, the side program, communication and promotion. “We are so happy with this historic moment,” said association chairman Samson Ndayishimiye. “Not only for our country but for the entire continent. We are ready to get started together with Golazo and ASO and deliver great championships.”
The 2025 World championships are scheduled for September 21st-28th, with Rwanda’s capital Kigali as the centre. “Don’t put a sprinter on your forecast, because with Mount Kigali, the infamous Mur de Kigali and especially the cobblestone slope in the last two kilometres, this is a very tough course,” said Christophe Impens of Golazo.
“The elite men will flirt with the 5,000 altitude metre mark at an altitude of over 1,400 metres. We are also impressed by the quality of the roads and the available infrastructure. Kigali has all the ingredients to present a high-quality World Cup to cycling fans.”
ASO to help the Worlds in Rwanda:
Belgian Star Remco Evenepoel Opens Season at “Figueira Champions/Casino Figueira”
Belgian Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step), one of the biggest names in world cycling, will start the season in Portugal at “Figueira Champions/Casino Figueira”, on February 10th, a race where he will also make his debut. The current world time trial champion will cycle through the 14 parishes of the Municipality of Figueira da Foz, where the hotels are all practically full, for a weekend that has all the conditions to make it memorable.
The number three in the international ranking and Belgian long-distance champion, Remco Evenepoel, will be one of the standout figures in the classic that has risen to class 1. Pro of the UCI ProSeries circuit and that will certainly bring a lot of people to Figueira da Foz to see live and applaud the young 23-year-old global star. The municipality’s hotels, especially those in the city, are almost fully booked, reflecting the mobilisation generated by the event.
In a field that will exceed 150 runners – which will include the 10 already confirmed Word Tour teams, plus the four ProTeams and the nine invited Portuguese teams, in a total of 23 teams, a few more names that will appear in this group are starting to become known.
The Basque Mikel Landa (Soudal Quick-Step), Remco’s colleague, is one of the notable runners who should take part in Figueira da Foz and it is also the Portuguese that the attention is directed to, with the confirmations of João Almeida, Rui Oliveira and António Morgado, UAE Team Emirates trio. Rui Costa, making his debut in the colours of EF Education-EasyPost, is another confirmation and it seems that there is a strong possibility that Rúben Guerreiro, from Movistar Team, will also be present, a World Tour formation that will be present, for the first time, at “Figueira Champions/Casino Figueira”.
In Figueira da Foz, the world cycling festival begins on the 9th, Friday, with the Presentation of the Teams from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. It will be on Avenida 25 de Abril, next to the departure location, at the Clock Tower. This moment will feature a presentation by the Giro D’Italia speaker, Stefano Bertolotti and a guest DJ, who will guarantee lots of joy and excitement. According to Carlos Pereira, general director of the event, “this presentation will be something unprecedented and never done before in our country. Furthermore, this will be the first great opportunity for the public to see the stars of the world squad. We will be excited and it will be a moment where we hope to have a strong support from the public, to applaud and watch each of the 23 teams present and their stars take the stage”.
The classic, the following day, is guaranteed to be broadcast live on the Eurosport channel (from 3 pm to 5 pm) and Sport TV (start, first half hour of the race and the last three hours).
The Granfondo “Casino Figueira Champions Day”, a competition aimed at amateurs, closes this weekend on the 11th, Carnival Sunday. Registration is still open, but ends on January 21st and so far more than a thousand participants are guaranteed. Among them will be Sean Kelly with number 1 and Marco Chagas, two former professional runners who will cycle alongside everyone passionate about the sport.
Remember that ten WorldTour formations are confirmed in the “Figueira Champions / Casino Figueira” squad: Lidl-Trek (United States of America), Alpecin-Deceuninck (Belgium), Team dsm-firmenich PostNL (Netherlands), Astana Qazaqstan Team (Kazakhstan), Arkéa-B&B Hotels (France), Intermarché-Wanty (Belgium), Movistar Team (Spain), EF Education-EasyPost (United States of America), Soudal Quick-Step (Belgium) and UAE Team Emirates (United Arab Emirates). Also confirmed are four ProTeams, which are the Tudor Pro Cycling Team (Switzerland), Equipo Kern Pharma (Spain), Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spain) and Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (Spain). The nine Portuguese teams are all invited.
Classica Comunitat Valenciana 1969
The Challenge Mallorca, the Ruta del Sol and the Vuelta a Murcia are all traditional Spanish spring races, but the Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana 1969 has been around for a long time. This one-day race has a long history and an impressive list of winners.
As the name suggests, the first edition of the Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana 1969 was in 1969. At that time the race was called the Gran Premio de Valencia (Trofeo Luis Puig). The win in that opening edition went to Carlos Echeverría, who rode for Kas-Kaskol for almost his entire career. In 1970 the victory also went to a Spaniard, seven-time Vuelta stage winner Ramón Saéz, but Belgians then dominated the race.
From 1971 to 1975, a Belgian was the winer. Frans Verhaegen, followed by Eric Leman, Gustaaf Van Roosbroeck and Eddy Peelman, who won twice in a row. At that time, Peelman was the record holder in terms of the number of victories, but in the early 1980s, Noël Dejonckheere bettered him. Dejonckheere won three times. Peter Van Petegem (1996), Andrei Tschmil (1998, he was Belgian at that time) and Arnaud De Lie (2023) have all won, giving Belgium eleven victories.
The number of Dutch victories is limited to two. Mathieu Hermans was at the party in 1988, Tom Cordes in 1989. Last year, WielerFlits spoke to Hermans about his victory in the Trofeo Luis Puig, as the race was called. “You really wanted to win the Trofeo Luis Puig,” said the man from North Brabander. “Luis Puig was a big name. He was the UCI president until his death in 1990, after which Hein Verbruggen succeeded him.”
Before Hermans, Bernard Hinault (1986) won, and many more top riders followed. Sean Kelly, Laurent Jalabert, Mario Cipollini, Alessandro Petacchi, Óscar Freire and Erik Zabel. The German won three times (1997, 2000, 2001), putting himself level with Dejonckheere. They are joint record holders.
Petacchi, winner in 2003 and 2005, looked like he might join the record holder, but in 2006 the race disappeared due to lack of sponsors. Fifteen years later, the Club Ciclista La Marina revived the Trofeo Luis Puig, now with the name Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana 1969. In 2021 and 2022 the race was a UCI 1.2 category event, but in 2023 the step was made to 1.1. level. Arnaud De Lie was the winner last year, maybe one day he will be a big bunch winner like Petacchi and Zabel.
Winners of the Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana 1969 (previously Trofeo Luis Puig):
1969: Carlos Echeverría (Spa)
1970: Ramón Sáez (Spa)
1971: Frans Verhaegen (Bel)
1972: Eric Leman (Bel)
1973: Gustaaf Van Roosbroeck (Bel)
1974: Eddy Peelman (Bel)
1975: Eddy Peelman (Bel)
1976: Tomas Nistal (Spa)
1977: Domingo Perurena (Spa)
1978: Francisco Elorriaga (Spa)
1979: Antoine Gutierrez (Fra)
1980: No race
1981: Noël Dejonckheere (Bel)
1982: Reimund Dietzen (W. Ger)
1983: Noël Dejonckheere (Bel)
1984: Noël Dejonckheere (Bel)
1985: Enrique Aja (Spa)
1986: Bernard Hinault (Fra)
1987: Pello Ruiz Cabestany (Spa)
1988: Acácio da Silva (Por)
1989: Mathieu Hermans (Ned)
1990: Tom Cordes (Ned)
1991: Andreas Kappes (Ger)
1992: Sean Kelly (Irl)
1993: Laurent Jalabert (Fra)
1994: Adriano Baffi (Ita)
1995: Mario Cipollini (Ita)
1996. Peter Van Petegem (Ger)
1997: Erik Zabel (Ger)
1998: Andrei Tchmil (Bel)
1999: Mario Cipollini (Ita)
2000: Erik Zabel (Ger)
2001: Erik Zabel (Ger)
2002: Sergei Ivanov (-)
2003: Alessandro Petacchi (Ita)
2004: Óscar Freire (Spa)
2005: Alessandro Petacchi (Ita)
2006–2020 No race
2021: Lorenzo Manzin (Fra)
2022: Giovanni Lonardi (Ita)
2023: Arnaud De Lie (Bel).
The 2024 Classica Comunitat Valenciana 1969 – 20th January:
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