EUROTRASH Monday: Emperor Evenepoel in Liège and All the Peloton News!
The latest news
World Champion, Remco Evenepoel showed us again how special he is, but we missed the battle with Tadej Pogačar. All the race reports, results and video from Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Tour of the Alps and Alejandro Valverde wins his first gravel race.
Bruyneel thinks US Postal and Jumbo-Visma share similarities – TOP STORY.
Rider news: Update on Tadej Pogačar’s injury, Mathieu van der Poel ambassador of Lamborghini Antwerp, Mareille Meijering joins Movistar, Marlen Reusser extends contract up to 2024 with SD Worx and Femke Beuling joins EF Education-TIBCO-SVB.
Team news: Team statement on Lennert Van Eetvelt.
Race news: Estopa’s Song ‘Corazón sin Salida’ Will be the Official Song of La Vuelta’23.
And the sad news of the passing of Chris Baldwin.
TOP STORY: Bruyneel Thinks US Postal and Jumbo-Visma Share Similarities
Johan Bruyneel is persona non grata after he received a lifelong suspension for organising the systematic doping program within US Postal. He tells his story again in an exclusive interview with HLN. He draws a parallel between his old team and Jumbo-Visma.
The Belgian ex-team manager explains that if he could change anything about the past, he would gladly remove the arrogance from himself and the US Postal team. “We paid the price for that. As a winning team, we were so focused on the Tour that we lived in a bubble that we created ourselves. We won the Tour once and then twice. And from then on there was never a plan B. We had to win. Not winning was not an option.”
“Especially our American sponsors steered us in that direction. I went along with that. We had to put aside everything that would distract us from winning,” continued Bruyneel. “We had conflicts with the media, media meant distraction. That didn’t fit our tunnel vision. We became arrogant. Because we won and kept winning, we naturally got into a position where no one wanted to see that happen again. Jumbo-Visma will also be in such a situation.”
The Belgian does not insinuate anything with this, he makes it clear in the interview. “In the past they have all played by the same rules. So it was in every generation: Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault, LeMond, Indurain, Pantani, Armstrong. Today I think doping is as good as gone. If anything, it’s minor. Nothing that gives a five or ten percent advantage. Everyone plays by the same rules. If Jumbo-Visma now specialises in altitude training, sophisticated nutrition, training, recovery, aerodynamics, then everyone is trying to get to the same height. That’s always the case, that’s part of competition.”
Liège-Bastogne-Liège – Men 2023
Following his victory in his first appearance in La Doyenne last year, current World Champion Remco Evenepoel won his second straight Liège-Bastogne-Liège. After a first attack up the Côte de la Redoute, the Belgian rider rode his final rival Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers) off his wheel with 30 kilometres to go and powered solo all the way to the Quai des Ardennes. It’s the fourth time in the race’s history that a World Champion took back-to-back victories, the second one in the rainbow jersey, after Ferdi Kübler (1952), Eddy Merckx (1972) and Moreno Argentin (1987). On top of that, this was Evenepoel’s first triumph in the rainbow jersey. Pidcock was 2nd at the finish line, with Bahrain Victorious’ Santiago Buitrago in 3rd to claim Colombia’s first-ever podium in La Doyenne. The much-anticipated duel between Evenepoel and UAE Team Emirates’ Tadej Pogacar didn’t happen as the Slovenian crashed 84,5 kilometres into the race and suffered fractures to the left scaphoid and lunate bones.
172 riders took the start in the 109th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, which was held over a 258,1 kilometre course from Liège to Bastogne and back. There were three non-starters: Samuele Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan), Sam Oomen and Tosh van der Sande (Jumbo-Visma). Six riders escaped as soon as the flag dropped: Jason Osborne (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Lars Van den Berg (Groupama-FDJ), Georg Zimmermann (Intermarche-Circus-Wanty), Fredrik Dsvernes (Uno-X), Simone Velasco (Astana Qazaqstan) and Johan Meens (Bingoal WB). Shortly after, another five went clear from the bunch: Mathis Le Berre (Arkea-Samsic), Paul Ourselin (TotalEnergies), Alexandre Balmer (Jayco-AlUla), Ruben Apers (Flanders-Baloise) and Hector Carretero (Equipo Kern Pharma). Both groups merged after 12 kilometres for an 11-strong break that Soudal Quick-Step and UAE Team Emirates were happy to let go.
With the break building a lead of 4:55 after 46 kilometres into a strong headwind, the bunch wanted an easy ride to Bastogne before hitting the hills on the way back to Liège’s Quai des Ardennes. Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) crashed out of the race along with Mikkel Honore (EF Education-EasyPost) after 84,5 kilometres, leaving La Doyenne without one of his two main favourites. The Slovenian suffered a wrist injury as a result of the crash. BORA-Hansgrohe and EF Education-EasyPost cooperated with Soudal Quick-Step at controlling the break, which had an advantage of 3 minutes with 100 kilometres to go. As the climbs began to add up, the front group was reduced to just five riders: Osborne, Van den Berg, Zimmermann, Velasco and Ourselin. Behind: Jumbo-Visma’s Jan Tratnik powered away from the bunch at the base of the Côte de Wanne (173,1km), with Groupama-FDJ’s Valentin Madouas and INEOS Grenadiers’ Magnus Sheffield trying to follow him, but failing. The Slovenian rider bridged back to the break with 65 kilometres to go, by when the peloton had brought the lead down to 1:15 and it started to rain.
Despite several attacks from Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Pavel Sivakov (INEOS Grenadiers), Soudal Quick-Step kept control of the race, reducing the bunch down to 40 riders by the base of the Côte de la Redoute (224,2km). It was up this climb that the last two riders remaining at the front, Tratnik and Velasco, were reeled in. Just 300 meters shy of the summit, Evenepoel took off from his teammate Ilan van Wilder’s wheel. His acceleration could only be matched by Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers). With 30 kilometres to go, up the Côte de Cornemont, Evenepoel rode Pidcock off his wheel, paving his way for a first victory in the rainbow jersey. The World Champion quickly built a lead of 1:10 by the top of the Côte des Forges (234,8km). From then on, it was a race for the podium between his rivals. Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost) and Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) managed to get away from a 20 strong group on the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons (243,8km) and Pidcock joined them shortly after. Evenepoel made it to the finish line with time to celebrate his second victory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Pidcock and Buitrago beat Healy to earn their places on the podium.
Race winner, Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step): “Today’s was a super tough race on very hard conditions. It’s amazing to make two out of two in Liège. The first Liège was a surprise, but this second one was a goal. It’s always special to win a race like this one, especially in this jersey. I wanted to have this picture in order to hang it framed at home. My team was super strong and controlled from the start along with UAE until Tadej crashed and we had to control ourselves. We worked perfectly and I had to finish it off. Our Plan A was to attack in La Redoute and Cournemont, and plan B was getting a gap atop the Roche-aux-Faucons. Ilan [van Wilder] put a very fast pace up La Redoute. When I looked back and saw there were only five riders behind me, I understood the pace was very high and that I would go away if I could attack. From then on, it was all about racing full gas to the finish. I kept it safe on the last descent, though, in order to avoid a scare. This victory is very good for myself and for my team going into the Giro. We had some bad luck in this Classics period. We were all super motivated for today as we knew we could win, and we made it with a great display of teamwork. This Liège is a very big achievement for us. Now it’s all about recovery and building up even further for the Giro. I send my best wishes to Tadej. It was sad to hear he had crashed. I hope he is well and that he will have a quick recovery.”
2nd, Thomas Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers): “I can’t be disappointed after my first podium in a Monument. We all knew that Remco Evenepoel was going to attack where he attacked. Later in the next climb he was pushing too hard and my legs were getting heavier and heavier. I could either try to follow him, go really deep and maybe get away with nothing, or wait and try to get the second place. As for my Classics campaign, there were some downs like missing Sanremo because of the crash in Tirreno. But, on the positive side, winning Strade Bianche and getting two podiums afterwards was not bad at all. This is my first podium in a Monument, and I can feel pleased about that. I knew I was on a good condition today. Liège-Bastogne-Liège is a race I would like to win, and I feel confident I can pull it off in the future after my performance. Remco was just stronger today, and very hard to follow. I can be happy with my second place.”
3rd, Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious): “On paper, our leader for today’s race was Mikel Landa. Being able to play my own cards has been surprising to me. Even if I am always prepared for the best, it’s hard to get my head around the fact that I have landed a podium here. Remco was just too strong – we couldn’t follow him even if we knew he was going to attack. Coming into the finish, I knew Pidcock was the fastest on a sprint, but you never know how things would turn out after 250 kilometres. I tried to anticipate him by sprinting far out, with 300 meters to go, yet he overtook me. I didn’t know I was the first Colombian in the Liège-Bastogne-Liège podium! I watched this race on TV back when I was a kid, and it was one of my favourite Classics. I felt privileged the first time I ever participate here, in 2020, even though I couldn’t finish. Making it to the podium is unbelievable, and I feel so honoured to share this podium with Remco Evenepoel and Tom Pidcock. This result is such a big motivation coming into the Giro d’Italia, which is my biggest goal for this first half of the season.”
4th, Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost): “This is of course super nice, but considering the past few weeks I am disappointed with this fourth place. If you had told me this two weeks ago, I would have thought you crazy. I may have gone a little too early in the sprint, but I saw that they were looking at each other. So I had to try it. Hopefully in the future I can compete for the victory in these kinds of races.”
8th, Patrick Konrad (BORA-hansgrohe): “I found out this morning that today would be my 7th participation in this race. I really like this race and we also had better weather conditions than expected. At the beginning my legs were not super fresh after the Tour of the Alps but during the day it got better and better. First we wanted to ride for Aleks but then he crashed before the final and I was then alone in the bigger group. I wanted to force a sprint because I knew I was the fastest in my group. In the end I was happy to take a top 10 finish in this Monument, I think it’s quite a nice result.”
Patrick Lefevere (Soudal Quick-Step manager): “There will be a huge number of critics who make another podcast, and then say that (the win is because) Pogačar has crashed. Last year we also had a difficult spring, and now we are here again. He wins again and this was an announced victory. This was the plan, on top of la Redoute. We had extensively explored that new piece, and yes, this was actually planned. The team had a lot in common. Those men trained on Mount Teide for three weeks. People don’t always see that, but they’ve only been home for four days due to training camps, altitude training and competitions. That’s the new trend, and I don’t think it’s going to change. This is a huge boost. You always want confirmation. You know you trained well, but you still want confirmation of what you feel.”
Liège-Bastogne-Liège – Men Result:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step in 6:15:49
2. Thomas Pidcock (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:06
3. Santiago Buitrago (Col) Bahrain Victorious
4. Ben Healy (Irl) EF Education-EasyPost at 1:08
5. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:24
6. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 1:25
7. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 1:37
8. Patrick Konrad (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:48
9. Mattias Skjelmose (Den) Trek-Segafredo
10. Marc Hirschi (Sui) UAE Team Emirates.
Liège-Bastogne-Liège – Women 2023
Demi Vollering (SD Worx) capped off her Classics campaign with a triumph on Sunday, as she claimed victory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège ahead of Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo). This is Dutch star’s fifth victory of the season out of 8 days of racing. She also took a historic treble with the Amstel Gold Race, last Sunday, Liège on Sunday and La Flèche Wallonne Femmes in between. She also won Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2021, Vollering emulates Anna van der Breggen, who achieved the same string of victories in 2017 and is the SD Worx sports director. Third on the podium, Marlen Reusser (SD Worx) adds to the Dutch team’s dominance this spring.
The 135 rider peloton started from Bastogne just after 8:30am. The first rolling part had Séverine Eraud (Cofidis) lead the first break of the day. The French woman opened a gap of 2:25 after 30km of battle, but the peloton react and the solo attacker is caught at the bottom of the first climb of the day, the Côte de Mont-le-Soie (summit at 51.7km).
Eva Van Agt (Jumbo-Visma) was first over the top and led the peloton to the Wanne, Stockeu and Haute-Levée climbs. The ‘wall’ of Stockeu (1km at 12.5%), climbed for the first time in the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes, a star-studded group of attackers got on the move with 77km to go. Marlen Reusser (SD Worx), Amanda Spratt (Trek-Segafredo), Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//Sram), Esmée Peperkamp (DSM) and Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma) open a gap of 20 seconds on the climb. Annemiek van Vleuten’s Movistar team reacted to control the attackers’ lead around 1 minute over the Côte de la Haute-Levée (70.8km) and Col du Rosier (84.9km). Niewiadoma lost touch with the lead group due to a rear wheel puncture on the climb up the Col du Maquisard. As she dropped back to the bunch, her Canyon//Sram team up the ante and bring the gap down to 25 seconds at the summit (97.6km). Onto La Redoute, the gap was up to 40 seconds. And Reusser immediately showed her power to drop her break companions on the ascent (1.8km at 9.4%), to quickly head to the Côte des Forges via the demanding roads of Cornémont. Movistar’s Annemiek van Vleuten and Liane Lippert tried to react. But their rivals matched their accelerations while Reusser kept pushing at the front.
Into the last 15km, the Swiss rider faced the final ascent of the day, the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons (1.3km at 11%) with a lead of 40 seconds. Trek-Segafredo reacted and six riders went over the top together in the lead: Reusser, Demi Vollering (SD Worx), Elisa Longo Borghini & Gaia Realini (Trek-Segafredo), Elise Chabbey (Canyon//Sram) and Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar). On the next climb, towards Boncelles, Longo Borghini and Vollering dropped their rivals, who were joined by Riejanne Markus (Jumbo-Visma). The Dutch star and the Italian started the last 5km with a gap of 23 seconds on their chasers. They would fight for the win Liège. The two of them looked at each other in the final kilometre, until Longo Borghini opened the sprint with 150 metres to go. There is no holding Vollering on her way to a historic treble, following her triumphs in the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne Femmes, just like her trainer and sports director Anna van der Breggen did in 2017. Reusser sprinted to third place.
Race winner, Demi Vollering (SD Worx): “It’s super special to win all three [Amstel, Flèche and Liège]. You can see with Tadej Pogacar [who had to abandon the men’s race] it’s a very thin line. I’m super grateful for the whole team, for how we raced and that I was able to finish it off. We’ve had a good flow since Lotte Kopecky won the Het Nieuwsblad and we stayed on a winning cloud. Normally, I don’t feel too much pressure but I was pretty nervous today. I did not sleep good last nigh, I was just thinking about what I needed to do. Then you try to tell yourself to keep calm. I was nervous again before the last climb but once on the climb I forgot the nerves and I was on the flow again. Last year, before the Tour de France, I switched to Anna [van der Breggen] as a trainer. She really motivates me to learn about myself. Sometimes, when I have a question, she tells me: ‘I think you already know the answer.’ I may be looking just for confirmation and she pushes me. And you see now I trust what I’m capable of in the races.”
2nd, Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo): “I’m a bit emotional to be on the podium after the job the team did. There was always blue around me. Amanda Spratt was in the breakaway, Lucinda Brand and Lizzie Deignan were always positioning us, Gaia [Realini] was up there and the lead-out to La Roche-aux-Faucons, with Amanda and Shirin [van Anrooij], was crazy. I managed to take a small gap and then I could pace myself pretty good and keep up with Demi [Vollering]. She’s outstanding at the moment, SD Worx are very strong, but I’m sure we’ll be able to face them once our team is fully healthy. We had a good Ardennes campaign with two third place with Shirin van Anrooij in Amstel and Gaia Realini in Flèche, and me second in Liège. We have such a strong team with many cards to play and this is our strength. I’m still recovering from Covid. There are days that I feel better than others, and today I felt great. Maybe I misplayed the finale a bit but I also didn’t want the others to come back. You see your teammates, struggling, giving their heart out for you and you want to give them a good result.”
3rd, Marlen Reusser (SD Worx): “I had a tough week, so I was a bit worried that my legs would not be good. To my own surprise, I was in the breakaway of six riders and felt I was riding better and better. After I was left alone on the Redoute, it was still super far to the finish. I knew I couldn’t keep this up. Fortunately, Demi took over. With a first and third place in the results, we rode another perfect race.”
Liège-Bastogne-Liège – Women Result:
1. Demi Vollering (Ned) SD Worx in 3:50:47
2. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
3. Marlen Reusser (Sui) SD Worx at 0:22
4. Riejanne Markus (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
5. Elise Chabbey (Sui) Canyon//SRAM
6. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Movistar
7. Gaia Realini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:25
8. Liane Lippert (Ger) Movistar at 1:24
9. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Canyon//SRAM
10. Niamh Fisher-Black (NZ) SD Worx.
Tour of the Alps 2023
Gregor Mühlberger won Stage 4 of the Tour of the Alps. Movistar’s Austrian was part of the early break, he escaped the front group with Torstein Træen (Uno-X) and Giulio Pellizzari (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) and beat them in the sprint. Despite a climb in the final, there was no battle between the favourites. Tao Geoghegan Hart kept his leader’s jersey.
The penultimate stage of the Tour of the Alps was very tough and especially at the start. Right after the start in Rovereto, there was the Passo Sommo (15.7km at 7.3%). After this difficult start there were hardly any flat roads. The Lago Santa Colomba (5.6km at 7.1%) was still in the first half of the stage and then it went up in steps to a plateau, which eventually led to the Passo Pramadiccio (9.7km at 6.1 %). From the top of the last climb it was still 15 kilometres to the finish in Predazzo.
In the difficult first part of the stage, a large and strong leading group formed. Simon Carr & Stefan De Bod (EF Education-EasyPost), Gregor Mühlberger, Antonio Pedrero, Óscar Rodríguez & Sergio Samitier (Movistar), Patrick Konrad (BORA-hansgrohe), Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën), Marco Frigo (Israel-Premier Tech ), Giulio Pellizzari & Henok Mulubrhan (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), Torstein Træen (Uno-X), Damien Howson and Mark Donovan (Q36.5) managed to break away from the peloton and gain a lead of more than 4 minutes on the peloton. INEOS Grenadiers set the pace in the bunch, but had no interest in closing the gap. The best rider overall at the front, Træen, was more than 5 minutes in the general classification. Because Euskaltel-Euskadi started to work in the peloton, the lead narrowed, but the front riders still had a big lead at the start of the Passo Pramadiccio. With a 4 minute margin, it seemed likely that the winner would be fron the front group.
Samitier was the first to make a move, after which Mühlberger took over the attack. The Austrian was joined by Pellizzari and then by Træen, who took the lead in the leading trio. Meanwhile, there was also action in the peloton. Mikel Bizkarra (Euskaltel-Euskadi) went on the attack and had Matthew Riccitello (Israel-Premier Tech) with him. This escape didn’t go far as INEOS Grenadiers soon brought them back. Later Bizkarra would go again, but under the leadership of Thymen Arensman, he didn’t get far. With the front riders, Pellizzari left his two fellow escapees 5 kilometres before the top. The 19 year-old was first on the Passo Pramadiccio, 18 seconds ahead of Mühlberger and Træen. Pellizzari started the wet descent alone, but the chasing duo was able to connect again in the first kilometres of the descent. The three would then ride to the finish together. So a sprint would decide the stage. Mühlberger started first. The Austrian made a gap with Pellizzari on his wheel when the sprint started and crossed the line first with a big difference. Træen was second, Pellizzari third. The peloton of favourites came at 3:22 seconds of the three. Tao Geoghegan Hart remained in the lead on general classification.
Stage winner, Gregor Mühlberger (Movistar): “Winning after such a long draught was great. When I joined Movistar in 2021 I had a really bad season, but they kept believing in me and I hope to have paid them back with this first victory with this jersey. Today I was impressed by Pellizzari, competing at this level in such a tough stage at 19 of age is really something. He showed he was probably the best in the breakaway today, and he has a great future. All of us in the team tried to get in the breakaway today except for Ivan Sosa. Getting in was really hard for me, I was a-block, but I managed to bridge across, and we made a good breakaway group and collaborated really well. In 2021, after joining Movistar, I had meningitis, I spent one week at the hospital and for five weeks after I didn’t know whether I would recover, and I would be able to race on a bike again. My beloved people were so close to me, and so was the team, and thanks to them I am here competing today. I am happy to be competing at this Tour of the Alps, it’s an amazing race, the organisation is super. Great roads, not so much stress, there’s no better way to proceed towards the Giro.”
Overall leader, Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers): “It was a maintenance day for Team INEOS Grenadiers and Tao Geoghegan Hart, who retained the Melinda green jersey with only one stage to go in this Tour of the Alps. Today we were lucky with the weather because, despite the forecast, it only rained at the end. I am happy for Gregor, who hasn’t won in almost 1000 days; he deserves this satisfaction. The race was decided in the first 15 km, with the uphill start, which we administrated thanks to the strength of our team, which once again proved its form. When a team puts itself at the disposal of a leader who shows he has the legs to win, it brings out resources that sometimes he doesn’t even know he has. Having a quality relationship with your teammates gives you something extra. Tomorrow we will race using the same approach that’s proven successful so far. We know that there will be opponents who will leave everything on the road, and we’ll try to stay united and not let the pressure get to us, with the aim to punctuate this wonderful week in the best possible way.”
Tour of the Alps Stage 4 Result:
1. Gregor Mühlberger (Aust) Movistar in 4:16:53
2. Torstein Træen (Nor) Uno-X
3. Giulio Pellizzari (Ita) Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè
4. Patrick Konrad (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:40
5. Stefan de Bod (SA) EF Education-EasyPost
6. Óscar Rodríguez (Spa) Movistar
7. Marco Frigo (Ita) Israel-Premier Tech
8. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R-Citroën
9. Mark Donovan (GB) Q36.5 Pro Cycling
10. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar.
Tour of the Alps Overall After Stage 4:
1. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 15:41:54
2. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:22
3. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious at 0:28
4. Jefferson Alexander Cepeda (Ecu) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:36
5. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) EOLO-Kometa at 0:38
6. Lennard Kämna (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:45
7. Aleksandr Vlasov (-) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:49
8. Pavel Sivakov (Fra) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:56
9. Santiago Buitrago (Col) Bahrain Victorious at 0:58
10. Felix Gall (Aust) AG2R Citroën at 1:20.
Alps’23 stage 4:
The Final Stage 5 in the Tour of the Alps was won by Simon Carr. The British rider held off his teammate Georg Steinhauser in Brunico. Tao Geoghegan Hart and his INEOS Grenadiers team made sure of the overall victory.
The final stage in the Italian Alps should nave been one of the toughest stages in the race, with the climb of the Passo Lavazè (9.6km at 8.3%) immediately after the start and the Riomolino (7.8km at 8.2%) 20 kilometres from the finish.
On the Passo Lavazè, a large leading group including Antonio Pedrero, Joe Dombrowski, Matteo Fabbro, Luca Covilli and Valentin Paret-Peintre escaped the peloton for a 1 minute lead, but was then caught by the peloton in the valley. Not long after that, the ‘break of the day’ did get away. Paret-Peintre was there, as were his teammates Nicolas Prudhomme, Geoffrey Bouchard and Andrea Vendrame. Other top riders were Luis Léon Sánchez, Antonio Nibali, Juri Hollmann, Matteo Fabbro, Florian Lipowitz, Simon Carr and Georg Steinhauser. They were soon 3 minutes ahead of the pack. With only the climb of the Riomolino to go, it looked like there would be two races, one for the stage up front and another for the overall behind.
Carr was not taking any chances and attacked at the foot of the Riomolino. His lead was more than 30 seconds at the summit. In Brunico, Carr won comfortably, taking his second professional victory. The GC riders certainly didn’t go into battle on the final climb. Max Poole and Matthew Riccitello give it a try, but Thymen Arensman kept the peloton in line and thus his leader Geoghegan Hart safe. They arrived in Brunico without any problems. With two stage victories in his pocket, the Briton was also the overall winner of the 2023 Tour of the Alps.
Stage winner, Simon Carr (EF Education-EasyPost): “I’ve been in the breakaway more this week than in the peloton. That’s why I was quite tired this morning before the start of this stage. When we were on the road, I was surprised by the legs I had. I’m very happy to finish it here. This morning the team thought we would have a good chance of winning the stage if we had several riders with us. We succeeded, because Georg Steinhauser was also very strong today. He was also in the first escape.”
Final overall winner, Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers): “It was a fantastic week for me and the whole team, and we showed once again what we are made of in this fifth and final stage. I don’t see this victory as a way of proving anything to the team about my role for upcoming races: I believe that in cycling and in life what you give – sooner or later – comes back to you. The team worked hard for me these past several days, as I have done for them on so many occasions in the past. The important thing is to be one collective. I am particularly pleased to have won this race by always remaining fully in control, by never taking big risks, and also by managing my energy well. The Tour of the Alps was as I remembered it: a fantastic race, well organised – perfect in terms of hospitality and logistics.”
3rd overall, Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious): “I’m super happy. The day was relatively straightforward. Ineos controlled all day, and they had such a strong team here that it was quite hard to do anything against them. We’ve ridden well here all week, including Santi and me, which is a good sign for the Giro next month.”
3rd on the stage, Matteo Fabbro (BORA-hansgrohe): “I was part of the first breakaway already but Ineos chased us back. We tried again and eventually were able to go clear. Florian and me worked together very well and there was good commitment in the group. Carr was super strong today, we weren’t able to follow but I think we can be happy with the podium today and the race in general.”
5th overall, Lorenzo Fortunato (EOLO-Kometa): “I felt good, I felt better every day, and every day my confidence for the Giro d’Italia has grown. I saw that the team performed very well because it wasn’t just me going strong: and that, for the goals we have, is very important. Now I’m going to go for the Vuelta a Asturias trying to keep growing and maybe get some results. And then, off to the Giro d’Italia. With lots and lots of confidence.”
6th overall, Lennard Kämna (BORA-hansgrohe): “We can be very happy with our week here at the Tour of the Alps. We worked well together as a team. I’m in good form and I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead. For me, a short recovery phase is now on the agenda before we start fine-tuning ahead of the Giro.”
Tour of the Alps Stage 5 Result:
1. Simon Carr (GB) EF Education-EasyPost in 3:43:28
2. Georg Steinhauser (Ger) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:53
3. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) BORA-hansgrohe
4. Florian Lipowitz (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:55
5. Johannes Kulset (Nor) Uno-X at 1:21
6. Luca Covili (Ita) Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè at 2:09
7. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 2:40
8. Txomin Juaristi (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
9. Valentin Paret-Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 2:50
10. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën at 3:00.
Tour of the Alps Final Overall Result:
1. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 19:29:50
2. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:22
3. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious at 0:28
4. Jefferson Alexander Cepeda (Ecu) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:36
5. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) EOLO-Kometa at 0:38
6. Lennard Kämna (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:45
7. Pavel Sivakov (Fra) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:56
8. Santiago Buitrago (Col) Bahrain Victorious at 0:58
9. Felix Gall (Aust) AG2R Citroën at 1:20
10. Torstein Træen (Nor) Uno-X at 1:34.
Alps’23 stage 5:
Alejandro Valverde Wins his First Gravel Race
Alejandro Valverde may have retired as a professional cyclist, but he has not forgotten how to race. The 42-year-old Spaniard won the first gravel race of the year for Movistar’s special gravel team on Sunday.
Valverde crossed the finish line solo in a new gravel race in Berja (Almería) that is part of the UCI Gravel World Series. There were 97 difficult kilometres on the route with 2,400 metres of climbing. Valverde finished four minutes ahead of Ismael Esteban Agüero and Cameron Mason.
With his victory in this race which is part of the UCI Gravel World Series, Valverde also automatically qualified for the Gravel World Championship, which will be held in the Veneto, Italy, on the weekend of 7 and 8 October.
Medical Update on Tadej Pogačar
During Liège-Bastogne-Liège the UAE Team Emirates made this announcement: Dr. Adrian Rotunno (Medical Director): “Tadej suffered fractures to the left scaphoid and lunate bones. The scaphoid will require surgery which he will undergo this afternoon with a specialist hand surgeon here in Genk.
Then later, this update: Dr. Adrian Rotunno (Medical Director): “The surgery on Tadej’s scaphoid was successful and he will travel home tomorrow (Monday) for recovery and rehabilitation.”
On Sunday evening around 7.30 pm, Pogačar was allowed to leave Genk hospital. “The operation was successful,” spokesperson Jurgen Ritzen of the Oost-Limburg Hospital told Het Nieuwsblad. “The team doctor of Pogačar asked a doctor friend after the fall of his rider. That doctor advised to have the rider operated in Genk, because we specialise in hand surgery here. We wish Tadej Pogačar a smooth recovery.”
It is not yet known how long Pogačar will have to rest, but it has been suggested it could be four to six weeks due to the broken bones in his hand and wrist.
Tadej on Zwift soon?
Mathieu van der Poel Ambassador of Lamborghini Antwerp
It’s no secret that Mathieu van der Poel is a huge fan of fast cars. It is therefore a small step for the Dutchman to become an ambassador for Lamborghini Antwerp. And also the proud owner of a Lamborghini.
On Instagram Van der Poel posed in front of a brand new Lamborghini. Automobili Lamborghini is an Italian luxury sports car manufacturer owned by Audi. In 1963, the spiritual father Ferruccio Lamborghini showed his very first car at the Turin Motor Show.
The Italian manufacturer of luxury sports cars also gave Van der Poel a Lamborghini Urus S as a gift. This is one of the fastest SUVs in the world and reaches a top speed of 305 kilometres per hour.
It is no surprise that Van der Poel is a real enthusiast of cars. Through his passion, the 28 year-old rider also got to know his current girlfriend Roxanne Bertels during a Porsche meeting in Finland. At the time, the Belgian was still working in the marketing department of the German car manufacturer.
Mareille Meijering Joins Movistar Team
28 year-old Dutchwoman signs two-season contract with Telefónica-backed squad as of May 1st, becomes Blues’ 16th rider for 2023; looks forward to bring her all-around talent in only her first full-pro season.
The Movistar Team adds on Thursday another piece to one of the most balanced rosters in the UCI Women’s WorldTour with the signing of Mareille Meijering (De Bilt, Utrecht, NED; 1995). The Dutchwoman will join the Sebastián Unzué-led outfit as of May 1st -her contract expiring at the end of the 2024 season-, and is already training with her new team-mates in the Netherlands, the Blue camp for the Ardennes classics located in Maastricht this year.
Meijering is currently covering only her first season fully devoted to bike racing. Holder of a Master of Science in Finance and Economics, Mareille has so far combined her work as a teacher in the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and the Utrecht University and involvement in the private sector with a long amateur career in cycling, with some good results at national level.
Having completed in 2022, with continental outfit Multum Accountants, her first WorldTour events outside the Netherlands, such as the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Gent-Wevelgem or the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (19th), 2023 has seen a quick breakthrough from Meijering. She was 10th overall in the UAE Tour, rode with the top contenders in Valencia (10th) and stayed at a very high level in Binda or Nokere. Her talents and results have earned her the Blues’ confidence to become their 16th member for this year.
Mareille Meijering: “It’s been a very fast rollercoaster for me! If you would have told me half a year ago that I would join the team, I would not have believed it. Last year, it was really just an adventure to race WorldTour events next to being a full-time teacher. This year I could focus a lot more on training, racing and especially resting, by not having to work full-time anymore, and it made a huge difference already. I’m looking forward to see how much more progress I can make when I can fully focus on cycling. I’ve been cycling on an amateur level for quite a long time, but I don’t have a lot of experience in the WWT peloton. I still have a lot to learn in that and that’s also what I hope to do in the remainder of this season and next year; learn from the best, work with the best (riders and staff), develop myself and make progress both physically and tactically to be able to reach the top in the future. I think this team provides a very good environment to do that.”
Sebastián Unzué: “Despite Mareille having started her full-time commitment to cycling relatively late, she’s got a ‘full life’ of experience in racing on her shoulders, from her racing in the Netherlands, and she’s got all skills and experience needed. She’s yet to know almost all big races, but her progression over the last year and a half fully focused on bike racing makes us hope she’ll become a great rider. Her initial goal should be to learn as much as possible and become a great support to our leaders – she’s also one who defends herself really well in all terrains, she’s good on the bike, has a lot of racecraft -which is so important in the classics-, and we want to offer her all the means and the right atmosphere so she can grow. We don’t know yet how far she will reach, but she’s got loads of potential – she’s already improving the overall level of our team and she’s got clear ideas in mind. She’ll reach far in a top team. She’ll have to take great sacrifices with this new challenge, but she’s ready for it and is super motivated to give it her all from day one.”
Mareille Meijering joins Movistar:
Marlen Reusser Extends Contract Up to 2024 with Team SD Worx
Marlen Reusser has extended her contract with Team SD Worx by one year. In the Olympic year 2024, the 31-year-old Swiss rider will defend the colours of the Dutch WorldTour team for the third consecutive year. Her 2024 season will largely be focused on the individual time trial at the Olympic Games in Paris.
Reusser looks back on her switch to Team SD Worx in 2021 with great satisfaction. In her first season in the team of sports manager Danny Stam, she immediately managed to win the gravel stage in the Tour de France Femmes. She also became that year for the second time European time trial champion, while finishing third in this discipline at the World Championships in Wollongong. Last spring, she showed her strength in the classical work with a stunning win in Gent-Wevelgem.
Reusser had no doubts about extending her contract with Team SD Worx: “I am enjoying myself in this team. I am still learning here how to perform better. In the races we really race as a team, while in the preparation for the races we build that team spirit. It is precisely by always racing as a team that we often make the difference. Furthermore, in terms of racing style, I have learned a lot in the last year and a half. It was therefore my wish to continue with Team SD Worx in the important year 2024 for me.”
“We are very satisfied with Marlen,” indicates Danny Stam. “It is nice to see how she is developing in the classics. She has made steps in this field as well by improving tactically. Besides her own win in Gent-Wevelgem, she has also had a big part in the team’s successes in the other classics this spring. Next year, after the classic spring, Marlen can focus completely on the time trial. We will support her optimally in this.”
Reusser confirms that the Olympics in Paris are an important goal for her. “After the spring I am going to concentrate completely on the time trial. First there is the Olympic time trial in Paris. Then I will focus on the time trial at the World championships that will take place in my home country of Switzerland in Zurich in September. Those are going to be two major goals. I am also happy to face those challenges in the time trials with Specialized, because I have a very good feeling on those bikes.”
Femke Beuling Joins EF Education-TIBCO-SVB
Dutch former speed skater to make her road debut at la Vuelta Femenina.
EF Education-TIBCO-SVB are pleased to announce that Femke Beuling has signed with the team. The 23-year-old will make her professional road racing debut at la Vuelta Femenina next month.
Femke spent three years as a professional speed skater, becoming the junior world champion in the 500 meter event in 2018. During her skating career, cycling became a consistent component of her training, one that she found herself enjoying more and more. When a persistent foot injury led Femke to reconsider her future as a speed skater, she turned her sights to bike racing, knowing that the explosive power she had developed on the skating track would serve her well in the peloton.
“Last summer, when I knew the extent of my foot injury, I focused more on cycling and on racing,” Femke says. “I was really enjoying that. I started to properly train for bike races. I felt an improvement every time I did a race. So when I decided to quit speed skating, I was really sure that I wanted to see how far I can go on the bike.”
She’s certainly off to a great start. Femke has been racing domestically in the Netherlands this season and in four races, she has claimed two wins and another two podiums. She knows exactly how she achieved these results.
“Definitely my sprint is my strength as a cyclist. The explosiveness, the power.”
Linda Jackson, team founder and owner, cites Femke’s power as part of the Dutchwoman’s appeal.
“When I received an email from Femke’s agent last September about a Dutch speed skater he was working with, I was instantly intrigued,” Linda says. “She fits the mold of the type of rider we like to target. She is an accomplished person outside of cycling. She is relatively new to cycling with tremendous potential, and I could see the determination she had to succeed in cycling. Within days of that email, we had invited her to our December training camp in California. Femke instantly fit in well with the team. She has a wonderful personality and a confident demeanor. Her bike skills are great, and we witnessed her powerful sprint. Great sprinters are hard to come by, so we decided to invest early and bring her onto the team. We are looking forward to working with her as she enters the WWT peloton.”
Though she loves being an athlete, Femke appreciated seeing how her teammates all had interests beyond racing and this helped her decide to join the team.
“The team invited me to the camp in California last December, so I met everyone then. I really didn’t know what to expect but it was really fun to ride with them. I think the team has been missing a dedicated sprinter so I’ll fit in well. And the group is such a nice mix of different people from different countries. I saw everybody working on their own personal development as well, like the women who study or those who draw really nicely and things like that. In speed skating, there were a lot of people who didn’t study or do anything besides speed skating. And that makes your world really small.”
Femke’s world is anything but small. In addition to her past as a top level speed skater and her new chapter as a pro cyclist, she recently earned her bachelor’s degree in medicine.
“It took me some extra time to finish my degree and sometimes the balance between studying and skating was challenging but it was really good for me to do something besides speed skating. To be focused on something else and not to think about only training, just to switch your mind to something completely different. I knew I wanted to study and medicine was something I always found really interesting. My goal is that it will be a few more years until I dedicate myself to medicine because I plan to be busy with cycling first.”
Femke’s first race with the team will be la Vuelta Femenina, a seven-day stage race across Spain beginning on May 1st. We can’t wait to cheer her on.
Team Statement on Lennert Van Eetvelt
On Friday 21 April, Lotto Dstny was informed by its rider Lennert Van Eetvelt about an “alleged breach of anti-doping laws” during the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var on 19 February. “We have talked to our rider and medical staff and are confident in a good outcome”, the team says, “but we are following the established procedures and therefore put Lennert on non-active for the time being, pending further investigation.”
The substance referred to in the dossier is an authorised substance, found in a nasal spray that is freely available and authorised in competition, if mentioned during a control and when its use is in accordance with the package leaflet.
“My world was turned upside down for a moment yesterday”, says Lennert Van Eetvelt, “no rider wants to receive such a letter. I also don’t really understand what happened. At the doping control, I clearly mentioned that I was taking the nasal spray, as I have already done before in my career. I am not aware of any wrongdoing and hope this is just a mistake and this nightmare will end soon.” Lennert took the nasal spray in consultation with his medical supervisor.
On Saturday morning, Van Eetvelt sat down with the team’s board of directors and explained the situation, together with the team doctor. “We had a good consultation, listened to what happened to him and we are confident in a good outcome”, the team stated. “The team applies a strict zero-tolerance policy and therefore Lennert has been put on non-active. We want to stress that this is in no way a conviction but merely the application of the MPCC (Mouvement pour un Cyclisme Crédible) guidelines. It also gives Lennert time to substantiate his case in the best way possible.”
Lennert Van Eetvelt will not make any further comments and the press is asked to respect his privacy.
Lennert Van Eetvelt:
Estopa’s Song ‘Corazón sin Salida’ Will be the Official Song of La Vuelta’23
This Thursday, both the band and the name of the official song of La Vuelta 23 were revealed at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell – 70th Conde de Godó Trophy. The song ‘Corazón sin salida’ by Estopa will accompany the peloton during this year’s edition of the race, that will depart from Barcelona on the 26th of August and conclude in Madrid on the 17th of September.
At the presentation held today, the members of Estopa declared: ‘We’re thrilled to sing the official song, as we’re both very nostalgic about La Vuelta and huge cycling fans.’ The brothers, José Manuel and David Muñoz, both from Cornellà de Llobregat (Barcelona), expressed their satisfaction at being able to link their artistic work to one of the Spain’s most important sporting competitions, and hope that it will become one of the summer’s most popular songs.
For David Escudé, the Councillor for Sports for the Barcelona City Council, the city that will house the race’s official departure, ‘it’s an honour to have the official song of La Vuelta 23 be from one of Barcelona’s most popular, best-selling bands of all time. Estopa is a shot of joy and optimism and the song “Corazón sin salida”, in particular, conveys intense emotions and fits in perfectly with the spirit of La Vuelta.’
With a trajectory of over two decades behind them, Estopa is one of the most popular and admired bands in Spanish music. With their first record ‘Estopa’ (1999), the Muñoz brothers (David, the singer, and José Manuel, the guitarist) sold 2 million copies, setting the record for the highest-selling debut album in Spain. It was also incredibly successful in South America. The more than 6 million records sold throughout their career have consolidated Estopa’s status as the predecessors of urban rhumba and as an inspiration for new generations. Estopa is the very essence of Barcelona’s rhumba, and its strong ties to the city make this partnership all the more perfect.
Their style, a combination of flamenco and urban rhumba, has become their calling card throughout their lengthy career and connects them to some their own greatest musical inspirations. In fact, they grew up singing along to Camarón and Los Chunguitos, are huge admirers of such singer-songwriters as Joaquín Sabina and Joan Manuel Serrat and are also sometimes influenced by the rock of Extremoduro, rap and even hip-hop.
Javier Guillén, the General Director of La Vuelta, reminded attendees that, ‘a leading city such as Barcelona needed a leading band for its official song.’ He added that, ‘Estopa, much like La Vuelta, is an important reference within our country, which makes this partnership ideal. Through this song and the official video, we’ll showcase Barcelona’s best sights to the world, as well as one of our country’s most emblematic bands.’
‘Corazón Sin Salida’, An Ode to Emotions and Optimism
Even though ‘Corazón sin salida’ was forged during lockdown, it is an energetic song that compares the average person’s race against time with a team time trial or a mountain stage, as happens during any stage of La Vuelta, tying in perfectly with the spirit of the race. This single, which formed part of their record ‘Fuego’, the latest by the Muñoz brothers released in 2019, projects freshness, ingenuity, lyricism, imagination, humour and all the carefree confidence that has characterised the Catalan duo since their early days.
In fact, its original video, directed by Fran Gas, is happy and colourful. In order to make it, all the musicians had to participate live from their own lockdown locations. Now, this song will be the star of another video: the official video of La Vuelta 23, that will be presented in the month of June and will begin to be broadcast on the various RTVE channels, coinciding with the start of the Tour de France 2023.
- More information about La Vuelta 23: www.lavuelta.es
Rest In Peace Chris Baldwin
We were very sad to hear of the death of Chris Baldwin last week at only 52 years of age. Chris passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in his sleep on April 12 of a heart attack. Chris was the press officer for TT1, then Astana and then back to Team Novo Nordisk. He was always helpful in any way could and always had a good story to tell, in his own unique way.
A good guy who will be missed by many. Everyone at PEZ sends their condolences to his family and many friends.
You can read Ed Hood’s interview with Chris HERE.
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