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EUROTRASH Monday: Soudal-Visma in 2024? And All the Other Cycling News

The big stories of the weekend

A BIG EUROTRASH sack to empty this Monday: We wind-up the Škoda Tour de Luxembourg, plus the European road championships and the PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi 2023 – All the reports, results, rider’s thoughts and video.

Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step to merge? – TOP STORY.

Rider news: Racing with a defibrillator? “That is impossible”, Sepp Kuss doesn’t want to go to the Tour as leader, Miguel Angel López kidnapped and robbed, UCI asks the Swiss Federation why Küng was allowed to continue in the Euro TT After his crash, Patrick Lefevere on riders leaving Soudal Quick-Step, Gorka Izagirre reunited with his brother Ion, Felipe Orts leaves Burgos-BH and Richard Plugge: “Hessmann doping case forces us to take a good look in the mirror”.

Team news: Bahrain Victorious signs promising talent Max van der Meulen, Georg Steinhauser renews with EF Education-EasyPost and Bahrain Victorious extend Arashiro, Buitrago and Caruso contracts.

Race news: The Amstel Gold Race is in the hands of Flanders Classics organisers, GranPiemonte 2023 teams and route, the hidden treasures of the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships and the Adriatica Ionica Race canceled the day before the start.

Plus: Austin Aviators take on SLC Criterium video.

Monday EUROTRASH coffee time.


top story
TOP STORY: Jumbo-Visma to Merger with Soudal Quick-Step?
It seems that since mid-July, Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step have been in discussions about merging teams by 2024, according to several media sources. Richard Plugge will become the team’s CEO. Merijn Zeeman becomes head coach. Patrick Lefevere becomes a member of the team’s Supervisory Board. According to insiders, it is only a matter of time before this merger is completed.

It appears that the management of Jumbo-Visma started to talk to Zdenek Bakala, owner of Soudal Quick-Step during the Tour de France. After a meeting in Geneva with Bakala, a plan was hatched and the idea was also liked by the main sponsors of both teams in 2024, Soudal and Visma. Financially this would give the team the resources to compete with INEOS Grenadiers and UAE Team Emirates.

But there are many problems: Jumbo-Visma currently has 27 riders and Soudal Quick-Step 23 for 2024. Could a team work with Remco Evenepoel, Primoz Roglic, Jonas Vingegaard and Wout van Aert? Although Evenepoel has been courted by INEOS Grenadiers and Bahrain Victorious, Jayco–AlUla, Lidl-Trek and Movistar are interested in Roglič. There is also the problem of the bike sponsors (Specialized and Cervelo), equipment (Shimano and SRAM) and staff. Then there are also two women’s teams and the development teams. Then there is the question of two WorldTour licenses. But where there is money there is always a chance.

The story was first broken by Raymond Kerckhoffs of WielerFlits.

Soudal-Visma in 2024?
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Škoda Tour de Luxembourg 2023
Stage 2 of the Tour of Luxembourg was won by Jenthe Biermans. The Belgian was too strong for Søren Kragh Andersen and Tim van Dijke in a bunch sprint on a slightly uphill finish. Thanks to the bonus seconds, Kragh Andersen took the overall leader’s jersey from Corbin Strong.

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This was expected to be a sprinters’ finish on the second day of the Tour of Luxembourg. Although it was up and down almost all day, it was never really difficult. The finishing circuit around Mamer of 15.5 kilometres had to be completed three times and was flat.

In the early part of the stage there was an intermediate sprint, where Quinten Hermans took 3 and Pascal Eenkhoorn took 2 bonus seconds. Eenkhoorn was also in the first break of the day with Lennert Teugels (Bingoal WB), Elias Maris (Team Flanders-Baloise) and Mats Wenzel (Leopard TOGT). Before half through the race they were caught. Wenzel was in the next break with Luca Van Boven (Bingoal WB) and Bastien Tronchon (AG2R Citroën), they took a 3 minute lead, after which BORA-hansgrohe started working for their sprinter Jordi Meeus. The German team had reduced the difference to 1 minute, when Ben Healy attacked 55 kilometres from the finish. The Irish champion was accompanied by Ewen Costiou (Arkéa-Samsic) and Alexis Guerin (Bingoal WB). However, the attack was short-lived for Healy and Costiou who dropped back to the peloton, Guerin carried on. He eventually managed to join the three leaders, but that didn’t last long. Wenzel was dropped just over 40 kilometres from the finish.

The three held on until 15 kilometres from the finish. Tudor closed the last gap and took control. After the next descent, the Swiss team came off the front and the peloton was in one long line, this provoked an attack by Julian Alaphilippe. The Frenchman didn’t get away, but more attacks came. Richard Carapaz tried to escape, but no one managed to open a gap, so there would be a bunch sprint. Victor Campenaerts tried to surprise, but he was unable to open a gap. Then Søren Kragh Andersen. The Dane saw Tim van Dijke come next to him, but the Dutchman couldn’t pass, but Jenthe Biermans did. The Belgian Arkéa-Samsic rider sprinted to his second victory of the season after the Muscat Classic in Oman in February.

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Stage winner, Jenthe Biermans (Arkéa Samsic): “I am of course very happy. It is a nice victory. It is my second of the season and the second of my career. It has been a good season so far. Because of the rain and the course of the race. The fact that they were attacked halfway through the race was good for me. This made the real sprinters a bit more tired. Before the start we already knew that it was a good finish for me. It sloped slightly upwards, which I like. In the end, I timed my effort perfectly. I am very happy with this victory. The last corner, with one and a half kilometres to go, was very important. The team put me in a very good position, but I lost the wheel of my last man. I couldn’t find it again in the final kilometre, but Kragh Andersen attacked very early. I sat in the wheel and thought: I will come third. But they fell a bit silent, because it was a tough finish. In the last meters I had an extra sprint in my legs and was able to pass them. Tomorrow will be a bit too difficult for me, I think. I will focus on the final stage. It will be at the limit, it depends on how the classification riders race on the last day.”

Škoda Tour de Luxembourg Stage 2 Result:
1. Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Arkéa Samsic in 4:31:10
2. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Alpecin-Deceuninck
3. Tim van Dijke (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
4. Jordi Meeus (Bel) BORA-hansgrohe
5. Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Soudal Quick-Step
6. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Lidl-Trek
7. Alex Aranburu (Spa) Movistar
8. Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Dstny
9. Franck Bonnamour (Fra) AG2R Citroën
10. Rick Pluimers (Ned) Tudor.

Škoda Tour de Luxembourg Overall After Stage 2:
1. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Alpecin-Deceuninck in 8:21:59
2. Corbin Strong (NZ) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:02
3. Alex Aranburu (Spa) Movistar at 0:08
4. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:09
5. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Lidl-Trek at 0:11
6. Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Soudal Quick-Step at 0:12
7. Rick Pluimers (Ned) Tudor
8. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Lidl-Trek
9. Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Dstny
10. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step.

Luxembourg’23 stage 2:


Ben Healy won Stage 3 of the Tour of Luxembourg on Friday. The EF Education-EasyPost rider attacked a good distance from the finish and soloed to the line. Marc Hirschi and Dylan Teuns finished second and third, Søren Kragh Andersen lost his leader’s jersey to Healy.

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There was a lot of climbing to be done on day three in Luxembourg. A Cat-1 climb, three Cat-HC climbs and a tough last kilometre. The break of the day was made up of: Gilles De Wilde (Team Flanders-Baloise), Oliver Knight (Cofidis, trainee), Bastien Tronchon (AG2R Citroën), Rémy Mertz (Cofidis) and Mats Wenzel (Leopard TOGT). The two Belgians, the Briton, the Frenchman and the Luxembourger, had a lead of just under 4 minutes on the peloton. Not much happened on the first categorised climb, the Montée de Munshausen (3.3km at 4.5%), but about 30 kilometres later, on the first climb of the Montée de Niklosbierg (3.6km at 7.8%) was on the menu. The UAE Team Emirates riders increased the pace and the escapees were almost caught.

Tronchon was the strongest in the escapee of the day and helped to stay ahead of the peloton for a while. On the next climb of the Montée de Niklosbierg the first attack came from one of the favourites. It was the Irishman Ben Healy who went for a long range attack. Healy quickly caught the leaders, where only Tronchon could hold his wheel. Healy and Tronchon’s lead was not too big at the top, but they made more time on the descent and the flat kilometres to the third climb. The peloton was 50 seconds behind at the foot of the final climb of the Montée de Niklosbierg. Healy dropped Tronchon on the climb. Marc Hirschi set the pace in the peloton, but they didn’t really get close.

Jumbo-Visma then took control, Archie Ryan being the power-house, they got a little closer, but Richard Carapaz upsetting the chase for his teammate. Hirschi then managed to escape. Together with Dylan Teuns, he chased Healy, who had an 18 second lead going into the last 10 kilometres. Healy cracked a little, but the EF Education-EasyPost rider found a second wind and held on to solo to victory in Vianden. Healy is also the new overall leader. In the tough final kilometre, Hirschi beat Teuns in the battle for second place.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost): “We had two cards to play with me and Richard. Going long for me is my strength and we could use Richard behind if I got caught back. I just had the legs today to make it stick and Richard didn’t have to do anything. I don’t think anyone will ever admit to liking these stages. The rain’s never nice to ride in, but for sure I perform well in the rain. It doesn’t slow me down. Now, it’s all about trying to hold on to this jersey. I’m pretty confident in my TT and now I have a nice buffer going into tomorrow. We have a strong team to look after the jersey if I keep it tomorrow for the last stage as well, so I’m pretty confident.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates): “When the bunch reduced myself and Brandon tried to attack the group and I managed to slip away in he end. Healy was already far up the road and was the strongest today but I was happy to take 2nd. Tomorrow I’ll give my all in the time trial, the condition is very good so I hope I can do a strong ride.”

Škoda Tour de Luxembourg Stage 3 Result:
1. Ben Healy (Irl) EF Education-EasyPost in 4:16:33
2. Marc Hirschi (Sui) UAE Team Emirates at 0:15
3. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:18
4. Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Dstny at 0:37
5. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates
6. Archie Ryan (Irl) Jumbo-Visma
7. Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar
8. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:45
9. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) EF Education-EasyPost
10. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Jumbo-Visma.

Škoda Tour de Luxembourg Overall After Stage 3:
1. Ben Healy (Irl) EF Education-EasyPost in 12:38:34
2. Marc Hirschi (Sui) UAE Team Emirates at 0:19
3. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:24
4. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:43
5. Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Dstny at 0:47
6. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates
7. Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar
8. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step at 0:55
9. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) EF Education-EasyPost
10. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Jumbo-Visma.

Luxembourg’23 stage 3:


Victor Campenaerts won the penultimate Stage 4 time trial of the Tour of Luxembourg. Over 23.9 kilometres, the Belgian was just faster than Brandon McNulty. Ben Healy lost his overall lead to Marc Hirschi.

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The time trial started and finished in Pétange, with a rolling terrain. The course turned out to suit Pascal Eenkhoorn, because he was the first to set a serious target time. It was home rider Alex Kirsch (Lidl-Trek) who dethroned him. The Luxembourger was then in the hot seat for a while, until Victor Campenaerts came in. The Belgian was more than 30 seconds better than Kirsch.

Koen Bouwman, Felix Großschartner, Ilan Van Wilder also set good times, as did Diego Ulissi, but none of them came close to Campenaerts. Brandon McNulty had a better time at the intermediate point, but at the finish the American time trial champion was 1 second short. Campenaerts took the stage victory, this was his first time trial victory since March 2019, when he won the final time trial of Tirreno-Adriatico. There was also the battle for the overall. Ben Healy started the time trial in yellow, but lost time and the overall lead to Marc Hirschi, who was second overall. Hirschi has 2 seconds on Brandon McNulty and 3 seconds on Healy.

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Stage winner, Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Dstny): “Yesterday was a big disappointment for me, because I really wanted to do well here. The run-up to this race was not easy for me. My uncle, my godfather actually, Bob died just before the start of this race. It was very unexpected and, therefore, difficult for me and my father. He told me that there was no better way to honour him than to go to Luxembourg and win for him. So I am very happy that I was able to take this time trial victory with Bob in my head. It was very exciting at the end and it makes this victory even nicer because it was so close. Cycling is entertainment and winning by just one second makes it even more special. I focused less on it in recent years (time trialling), but of course I still have that experience and I was particularly focused on this time trial. My girlfriend Nel has supported me very well in recent months and I am very happy to take this victory, for her and especially for Bob.”

Overall leader and 7th on the stage, Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m very happy with my ride. We put a lot of work in for the time-trials this year in the team with a lot of testing and attention to detail for the TTs and I think we have made improvements. Tomorrow we will aim to defend the yellow jersey.I think we are in a good position to do it though we will have to be on our guard.”

Škoda Tour de Luxembourg Stage 4 Result:
1. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Dstny in 28:06
2. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:01
3. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:20
4. Felix Großschartner (Aust) UAE Team Emirates at 0:22
5. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step at 0:24
6. Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
7. Marc Hirschi (Sui) UAE Team Emirates at 0:27
8. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën
9. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Lidl-Trek at 0:32
10. Arthur Kluckers (Lux) Tudor at 0:41.

Škoda Tour de Luxembourg Overall After Stage 4:
1. Marc Hirschi (Sui) UAE Team Emirates in 13:07:26
2. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:02
3. Ben Healy (Irl) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:03
4. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:33
5. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step
6. Felix Großschartner (Aust) UAE Team Emirates at 0:37
7. Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:39
8. Ben O’Connor (Aust) AG2R Citroën at 0:42
9. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:45
10. Arthur Kluckers (Lux) Tudor at 0:56.

Luxembourg’23 stage 4:


Tobias Halland Johannessen won the Final Stage 5 of the Tour of Luxembourg. On the last climb of the day he had the best jump of a top group of escapees. Marc Hirschi was the final overall winner by 3 seconds over Brandon McNulty and 5 on Ben Healy.

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The final stage of the Tour of Luxembourg went from Mersch to Luxembourg City. The 177.2 kilometre stage was not the most difficult, but the final circuit, ridden three times, was a tough finale with very stiff penultimate kilometre. Marc Hirschi was defending a 2 second lead over his teammate Brandon McNulty. Ben Healy was just 3 seconds behind the Swiss rider.

After more than an hour of racing a break formed. The eight riders at the front were: Asbjørn Hellemose (Lidl-Trek), Marco Haller (BORA-hansgrohe), Alexandre Delettre (Cofidis), Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost), Juri Hollmann (Movistar), Andrea Bagioli (Soudal Quick-Step), Lennert Teugels (Bingoal WB), Krists Neilands (Israel-Premier Tech) and Ådne Holter (Uno-X). Of the escapees, Bagioli held out the longest, about 25 kilometres from the finish, after which, the GC men started to race. Richard Carapaz attacked with the hope that Hirschi would crack and Healy could take the final win. However, the opposite happened: Healy initially lost contact. The Irishman was able to return with a group of other riders, but at the intermediate sprint, Hirschi took 2 bonus seconds.

Carapaz attacked again, this time for the stage win. He had Alexis Guerin (Bingoal WB) with him and together the two gained almost 30 seconds on the peloton, where UAE Team Emirates controlled. Ten kilometres from the finish, the two were caught, after which Ewen Costiou (Arkéa-Samsic) went solo. A group including Valentin Madouas, Sam Oomen and Mauri Vansevenant managed to cross to Costiou. They would fight for victory on the last climb. Tobias Halland Johannessen managed to make a difference here. He then soloed to the finish. Eight seconds later, Alex Aranburu won the sprint for second place, ahead of Franck Bonnamour. Just behind this group, the fragmented peloton also finished. Hirschi finished on the wheel of his teammate McNulty and ahead of Healy to take the overall victory.

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Final overall winner, Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a very stressful stage. A big break went at the start which suited us but some of the other teams wanted to bring it back so it kept the speed high all day and it was hard. On the steep climb on the circuit I had to keep an eye on Healy as he was so close. In the end we kept the gap so I’m really happy. I had a very strong team with me who did amazing work and kept me relaxed even though Healy was so close. It’s a race that suits me well and I’m delighted to finally win here.”

3rd on the stage, Franck Bonnamour (AG2R Citroën): “It was an intense day with a difficult route. Nans (Peters) did a huge job throughout the stage, he was really strong. I anticipated a bit by being in a group of around fifteen riders in the final and we went to the finish together. I’m a little disappointed not to have won because I think I had the legs for it. But it’s still a podium; actually my first with the AG2R CITROËN TEAM. It’s always good to get a result, especially after having endured such a difficult season. I want to continue racing since I am in such good physical condition until the end of the year. I want to end on a positive note!”

Škoda Tour de Luxembourg Stage 5 Result:
1. Tobias Halland Johannessen (Nor) Uno-X in 4:07:25
2. Alex Aranburu (Spa) Movistar at 0:08
3. Franck Bonnamour (Fra) AG2R Citroën
4. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
5. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step
6. Ewen Costiou (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
7. Natnael Tesfatsion (Eri) Lidl-Trek
8. Sam Oomen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
9. Luca Vergallito (Ita) Alpecin-Deceuninck
10. Felix Gall (Aust) AG2R Citroën.

Škoda Tour de Luxembourg Final Overall Result:
1. Marc Hirschi (Sui) UAE Team Emirates in 17:15:11
2. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:03
3. Ben Healy (Irl) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:05
4. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step at 0:34
5. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:35
6. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:39
7. Felix Großschartner (Aust) UAE Team Emirates
8. Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:41
9. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën at 0:44
10. Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Dstny at 0:57.

Luxembourg’23 stage 5:


euro champs23
European Championships – Men’s Road Race 2023
Christophe Laporte is the new European road champion. The Frenchman went on the attack in the final lap and, after a thrilling final kilometre, narrowly managed to hold off the sprinting Wout van Aert and Olav Kooij. Arnaud De Lie and Mike Teunissen, who had sacrificed themselves for Van Aert and Kooij, finished in fourth and fifth places.

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After the start in Assen the riders covered 115 kilometres past Norg, Zuidlaren, Gieten, Borger and Westerbork to the finishing circuit. Before that they climbed the VAM mountain from two sides: Atteropad (500 meters at 6%) and Mount Vampad (200 meters at 12%). After this first crossing of the line, there were 6 circuits of 13.7 kilometres. This also included a third climb, the Dak van Drenthe, a new climb on the VAM course.

The ‘break of the day’ consisted of five riders. The European time trial champion Joshua Tarling and the second placed, Stefan Bissegger. They joined Rory Townsend (Ireland), Mathias Vacek (Czech Republic) and Norman Vahtra (Estonia). The five built up a 2 minute lead, but when they started the circuit at the VAM mountain they were in sight of the peloton. Bauke Mollema had to abandon the race after being involved in a big crash 115 kilometres from the finish. That crash had also caused a split in the peloton. Olav Kooij was in the second part, but it was all back together in less than 10 kilometres.

At the first passage of the finish, after the first two climbs of the day, the leading group had been thinned out to three riders. Tarling and Vahtra were dropped, so Bisseger, Vacek and Townsend were given more of a lead by the peloton, where the Danes and Belgians were working. The French attacked on the first circuits. Florian Sénéchal, Axel Zingle and Anthony Turgis all put the pressure on, although they didn’t managed to get away. Jaka Primožič (Slovenia) and Dušan Rajović (Serbia) did. With three laps to go, they were 22 seconds behind Bissegger and Vacek, who had dropped Townsend. The peloton was 20 seconds further back. On the Dak van Drenthe the peloton caught the two counter-attackers. Even after the climb there were attacks from Andreas Kron and Turgis again, but the Belgian team didn’t allow anyone to escape.

It was the Italians who took the lead about 30 kilometres from the finish and caught Bissegger and Vacek. The blue team kept going on the Atteropad. First with Mattia Cattaneo, then Matteo Trentin increased the pace and just before the top Filippo Ganna came through and kept it going. Wout van Aert and about 20 other riders were able to follow, but behind them it split. The Netherlands were also there with Olav Kooij and Mike Teunissen, who attacked on the Dak van Drenthe, but he was unable to create a gap. Christophe Laporte managed to get away and it was his Jumbo-Visma teammate, Kooij, who went after the Frenchman. When the Dutchman had just attacked there was a crash behind him, including Florian Vermeersch and Filippo Ganna. The Italian chased hard, but it would be hard to return to the front.

Kooij and Laporte were joined by Teunissen, Van Aert, De Lie, Kron, Mads Pedersen, Sandy Dujardin, Rasmus Tiller and John Degenkolb. They started the final lap together. Laporte tried again. The Frenchman took 15 seconds, but the pursuers kept working. The other Frenchman, Allen Dujardin, tried to disrupt the chase. At the foot of the VAM mountain, Laporte still had 12 seconds. At the start of the final kilometre, De Lie started his lead-out for Van Aert. Besides Van Aert, only Kooij could follow. The three almost caught Laporte at the top of the Atteropad. However, after the descent the Frenchman still had a gap. Van Aert managed to close that gap after jumping from De Lie’s wheel, but was unable to get past his Jumbo-Visma teammate. Kooij finished on Van Aert’s wheel. The European championship went to Laporte, the silver medal to Van Aert and the bronze to Kooij. De Lie finished fourth at 1 second and Mike Teunissen completed the top five.

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European champion, Christophe Laporte (France): “It’s still hard to believe”, he stammered after clinching the European title. “It was a gruelling race with a spectacular finish. I knew I had the best chance of winning when I got away. I don’t think I could have beaten Wout and Olav in a sprint. I felt good all day, so I decided to go for it. I attacked on instinct. It is excellent to wear the European jersey for a year now. I want to dedicate this victory to my family and also to Nathan Van Hooijdonck. I hope he’ll be proud to see me riding in this jersey.”

2nd, Wout van Aert (Belgium): “Christophe was just too strong. For a moment, I thought we were going to catch him. He was riding pretty strong and still had some energy left. He knows how to choose the right moment. It shows that we are all strong in Team Jumbo-Visma.”

3rd, Olav Kooij (Netherlands): “Christophe is a very strong rider. On days when he feels good, few riders can beat him. In the final, he rode very strong. He beat Wout and me on value and is the rightful winner. It is astounding that we have three riders from the team on the podium. It shows the strength of the team. Of course, I would have liked to take the title myself, but I am happy for Christophe.”

5th, Mike Teunissen (Netherlands): “The plan of the Dutch team was clear, keeping Olav Kooij in the forefront for the purpose of a sprint. The parcours was probably underestimated by many, the nervousness and several crashes finally isolated a group of ten strong riders. This situation was perfect for us. Collectively we rode a flawless race, but we had to deal with Christophe Laporte and a strong Belgian team. I can be satisfied about my contribution to our team performance. I am now looking forward with great ambition to several Walloon classics with my teammates of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty!”

European Championships – Men’s Road Race Result:
1. Christophe Laporte (France) in 4:15:51
2. Wout van Aert (Belgium)
3. Olav Kooij (Netherlands)
4. Arnaud De Lie (Belgium) at 0:01
5. Mike Teunissen (Netherlands) at 0:09
6. Rasmus Tiller (Norway)
7. Mads Pedersen (Denmark) at 0:13
8. John Degenkolb (Germany) at 0:15
9. Andreas Kron (Denmark) at 0:39
10. Florian Sénéchal (France) at 0:41

Euro champs’23 men:


euro champs23
European Championships – Women’s Road Race 2023
Mischa Bredewold is the new European road champion. The Dutch rider broke away from an elite group on the final lap and narrowly managed to hold out on the last VAM mountain. Lorena Wiebes completed the party for the Netherlands by sprinting to silver. Lotte Kopecky was third.

euro champs women 2023

The start of the women’s European road race championships was in Meppel, from there they race via Havelte, Vledder and Dwingeloo towards Beilen, then to Wijster and Drijber to the first passage of the VAM mountain. This climb has two-stages consisting of the Atteropad (approximately 500 meters at 6%) and the Mount Vampad (approximately 200 meters at 12%). After the first crossing of the line, there were five laps of 13.7 kilometres to cover.

The race had a very chaotic start. Part of the peloton had taken the wrong route, which meant that the riders had to stop not long after the start. There was some delay, but the race eventually got going. The opening hour was fast, even though there was a fair amount of wind, this didn’t lead to echelons, but it was too fast for some riders. There were also a few crashes due to the wet road surface in Drenthe. There were some break attempts, but no one really got a gap. Eventually Emilia Fahlin (Sweden) managed to open a gap, but before the final circuit, she was caught, so there was a large peloton on the VAM mountain. The Germany team took the lead, after which Lotte Kopecky tried to jump away, however the Belgian couldn’t get a gap. In the first full lap of five, several riders again tried to get away. The Netherlands team was also very active with Mischa Bredewold, Riejanne Markus and Loes Adegeest. Soroya Paladin (Italy), Elise Chabbey (Switzerland) and Jelena Erić (Serbia) did manage to escape on the VAM mountain at the end of the lap. The Dutch team had to chase.

Shirin van Anrooij, Markus, Adegeest and Floortje Mackaij, who had a puncture, settled on the front of the peloton and tried to close the gap. Three laps from the end they came within 17 seconds and the break looked to be over, but the difference increased again. A lap later, the Dutch women managed to put the trio in. With 30 kilometres to go everything was together. Just before the start of the penultimate lap, Katarzyna Niewiadoma accelerated on the Mount Vampad. It caused some splits, but most riders were able to return. From a large peloton there was then several attacks on the flat part of the course. First a group of seven including Riejanne Markus got away, then a group including Demi Vollering and Marlen Reusser. At the foot of the VAM mountain everything was back together. Reusser was the first to start on the Atteropad and had good go. Elisa Balsamo and Pfeiffer Georgi made the crossing, top favourites Demi Vollering and Lotte Kopecky were further back. On the Dak van Drenthe, Vollering ensured that an elite group connected with Balsamo, Georgi and Reusser. Also Lorena Wiebes. Balsamo crashed on the descent of the Dak van Drenthe.

It was not yet a foregone conclusion that the race would end in a sprint, because there were still quite a few escape attempts. Marlen Reusser, and others, attacked. The Netherlands had three helpers for Wiebes, with Vollering, Riejanne Markus and Mischa Bredewold. Bredewold still had something in her legs, because at the right moment she rode away from the group. The chase stopped behind, partly due to work of the Dutch women to mess up the chase. Bredewold soon had a nice lead. The difference increased to 30 seconds, but due to a strong Reusser, the gap quickly shrank. However, the Swiss rider had Demi Vollering in her wheel, who of course didn’t do any work. Reusser didn’t give everything and Emma Norsgaard came past. The Danish rider went alone after Bredewold, who started the Atteropad with an 11 second lead. The danger didn’t come from Norsgaard, as she fell back to the pursuers. Demi Vollering took the lead ahead of Lorena Wiebes, who came close. On the Mountvam, Lotte Kopecky and Lorena Wiebes were fast. But Bredewold held on and achieved the biggest victory of her career. Outgoing champion Wiebes was second and Kopecky third.

euro champs 2023 women

European champion, Mischa Bredewold (Netherlands): “I can’t believe it. It feels unreal that I take the European title. Bredewold responded enthusiastically. It was raining attacks. As a Dutch team, we wanted to make the race hard. As a result, I was in attack mode. Actually, the plan was not to make another solo attack in the last lap, but I saw a good moment and went for it. For a moment it crossed my mind that this was not the plan, but I reasoned that my teammates didn’t have to do the work because of my attack. I thought they would come over me on VAM Mountain, so I tried to cycle up as hard as I could. I knew that then the others would have to close the gap to me, so that my Dutch teammates could then use me as a springboard or lead-out. When I reached the cobbles, I heard that I had 10 seconds left. I looked back and didn’t see anyone. At that moment came the realisation that maybe I could take the title. This means a huge amount to me. Last year was really difficult at times. I have no words for the fact that I have taken such a big step this season and am already so far along in my development. It feels like I am living in a haze. I don’t realise yet that I have won the European title. This is a dream. It is simply bizarre that I am now European champion.”

2nd, Lorena Wiebes (Netherlands): “Actually on the penultimate time at VAM-berg, where it broke and when I was with the first. Then I thought: this is the ideal situation for us, especially because it was a surprise to me that she went on the attack. Your personal goal is to win, so you have somewhat mixed feelings. But ultimately the Netherlands has gold, that’s why we were at the start. The joy for Mischa will return soon. It often feels like it’s not quite right this year. Quite often this year I found myself sprinting for second or third place because a teammate was away. I knew that was my choice when I signed with SD Worx. I am happy with the steps I have taken this year and know what I can build on for next year.”

3rd, Lotte Kopecky (Belgium): “A bit of a mixed feeling. A podium is always nice, and when Bredewold rode away I had no choice but to stay seated. If I responded, another Dutch person would start. In the end the story would remain the same. Either I raced all the way for second place, or I did nothing and I gambled. In the end I was beaten on the finish line by Wiebes, so it was definitely for second place. They sat where they were supposed to sit and attentively followed important riders. They got the most out of it, I am very proud of that. I must honestly admit; I’m glad the season is over. I said last year that it was impossible. I’m going to use the same phrase now. The past season should not become a standard. We have to realise that it was very exceptional.”

European Championships – Women’s Road Race Result:
1. Mischa Bredewold (Netherlands) in 3:04:12
2. Lorena Wiebes (Netherlands) at 0:04
3. Lotte Kopecky (Belgium)
4. Pfeiffer Georgi (Great Britain) at 0:08
5. Silvia Persico (Italy)
6. Elise Chabbey (Switzerland)
7. Liane Lippert (Germany)
8. Anna Henderson (Great Britain)
9. Juliette Labous (France) at 0:11
10. Demi Vollering (Netherlands) at 0:13.

Euro champs’23 women:


PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi 2023
Arvid de Kleijn of Tudor Pro Cycling Team charged strongly ahead of the other frontrunners in a close bunch sprint to take the opening Stage 1 of the PETRONAS LE Tour de Langkawi 2023 from Kerteh to Kuala Terengganu.

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It was a sweet victory for the 29 year-old Dutchman, fondly known as ‘Little Gorilla’, who is making his maiden appearance with the Swiss-based team in the 27th edition of Asia’s ProSeries race. Saturday’s stage win saw De Kleijn emerging as overall race leader which earned him the PETRONAS Green Jersey as well as the KBS Orange Jersey as leader in the sprints classification.

Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team got off to a promising start with climber and two-time KOM jersey winner, Muhammad Nur Aiman Zariff taking the TOURISM MALAYSIA Polka Dot Jersey as leader of the mountains classification. Nur Aiman collected full points after winning the first KOM ahead of Thailand’s Sarawut Sirironnachai of Thailand Continental Cycling Team in the first KOM at Jerangau (74km) but took the second spot in the Cat-4 second climb at Sekayu.

For de Kleijn, today’s stage win was his fifth of the season in five different races, and in five different months. Before coming to Malaysia, the Dutchman won stages in Milano Torino (1.Pro), Deutschland Tour (2.Pro), Boucles de la Mayenne (2.Pro), and ZLM Tour (2.Pro). Sprinter Gleb Syritsa of Astana Qazaqstan came close to repeating his stage 1 victory of last year but in the end had to settled for third, behind Human Powered Health’s Sasha Weemaes.

Mongolian Tegshbayar Batsaikhan of Roojai Online Insurance took the BEAUTIFUL TERENGGANU White Jersey after emerging as the best Asian rider. The Mongolian was also picked as the BUBBLES 02 Most Combative Rider of the day. A total of 128 riders with 34 different nationalities from 22 teams lined up at the start point in front of Mesra Mall in Kerteh, which is hosting the race for only the second time.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Arvid De Kleijn (Tudor): “Winning the two jerseys today, the Petronas Green and KBS Orange jerseys was simply great. But it would be even nicer if I can keep the Green jersey right up after Stage 8. Scrambling towards the finishing line, at one point, I thought I’d lose out to (Gleb) Syritsa due to his superior sprinting power. But being small, I managed to slip through, and I know I had a lot of speed with me… I’m happy to beat him,”

2nd on the stage and 4th overall, Sasha Weemaes (Human Powered Health): “The boys did a perfect job today. It was a hectic final 25km but it was the perfect lead out. I waited for the first guy to start the sprint and took his slipstream. When I came next to him he was riding with me to the right side of the road so I lost a lot of meters.”

3rd on the stage and 4th overall, Gleb Syritsa (Astana Qazaqstan): “Well, perhaps I did a mistake in the sprint as I launched it too early. Everything went quite good in the final and my team worked pretty well, moving me into a good position for the sprint. But, after I started it early, I could not keep it to the end and two riders passed me just at the finish line. It’s a pity because I felt good all day long and our team did a phenomenal job in front of the peloton, chasing the break and helping me to save some energy. Anyway, it was just the first stage and some more opportunities will come in the next days. I will keep on fighting.”

KOM, Muhammad Nur Aiman (Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team): “Yes, that is my aim, I’ll do my best to achieve the target. I’m in good shape and will give my all to win the KOM jersey for the third time in a row. I’m keeping my eyes and focus on Stage 3, which will be hard but crucial for me and the team.”

PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi Stage 1:
1. Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Tudor in 4:25:48
2. Sasha Weemaes (Bel) Human Powered Health
3. Gleb Syritsa (-) Astana Qazaqstan
4. Mohamad Izzat Hilmi Abdul Halil (Mal) Malaysia
5. Enrico Zanoncello (Ita) Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè
6. Lorenzo Conforti (Ita) Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè
7. Carlos Canal (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8. Tomáš Bárta (CZ) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
9. Mohd Harrif Saleh (Mal) Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team
10. Nur Amirul Fakhruddin Mazuki (Mal) Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team.

PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi Overall After Stage 1:
1. Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Tudor in 4:25:38
2. Sasha Weemaes (Bel) Human Powered Health at 0:04
3. Tegsh-bayar Batsaikhan (Mon) Roojai Online Insurance
4. Gleb Syritsa (-) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:06
5. Sarawut Sirironnachai (Thai) Thailand Continental Cycling Team at 0:07
6. Tomáš Bárta (CZ) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:08
7. Pablo Castrillo (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
8. Simon Carr (GB) EF Education-EasyPost
9. Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:09
10. Joan Bou (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi.

Langkawi’23 stage 1:


GLEB Syritsa stamped his brute sprinting strength in the last 50 metres to take Stage 2 from Kuala Terengganu to Kota Bharu, his second career win in the PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi.

langkawi 23 st2

The 23-year-old Astana Qazaqstan Team’s top sprinter made amends for the mistakes of starting yesterday’s sprint from too far out which cost him the win, perfectly timed his sprint in Sunday’s stage to edge out Dutch sprinter Arvid de Kleijn, to take his second career win in the Tour.

With 300 metres to go, De Kleijn was locked in a close tussle with Syritsa who stayed firm on his wheel, and came in second but remained in the PETRONAS Green Leader’s Jersey with a close 0.02s ahead of the Russian. The Dutchman also kept the KBS Orange Sprinter’s Jersey on his back, accumulating 27 points to stay ahead of Syritsa who is now three points behind.

Italian Enrico Zanoncello (Green Project-Bardiani-CSF-Fanzaine), winner of this year’s Tour of Qinghai Lake (2.Pro), came third. De Kleijn conceded that Syritsa was the better man today, saying that he looks forward to more sprint battles with his close rival in the coming stages.

Meanwhile, the TOURISM MALAYSIA Red Polka Dot jersey changed hands with Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team’s Nur Amirull Fakhrudin Mazuki taking over from teammate Muhammad Nur Aiman Zariff, who is now second in the KOM standings. Nur Amirull took full points in both KOM zones in Setiu and Pelong, amassing four points with Nur Aiman a point behind.

The BEAUTIFUL TERENGGANU White Jersey remained with Roojai Online Insurance’s rider, Tegshbayar Batsaikhan as Asia’s Best rider, after completing the stage in seventh place. Meanwhile, Caja-Rural Seguros rider, Calum Johnston took the BUBBLES O2 Most Combative award following his 50km solo effort after the 90km mark.

langkawi23 st2

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Gleb Syritsa (Astana Qazaqstan): “Well, today everything went perfectly, and I learned from the lesson of yesterday’s sprint. The stage was quite easy, but the heat and high humidity made it a bit harder, especially for me as I prefer cool and rainy weather. However, once again the team made a great effort for me and I was able to save a lot of energy for the final and to come to the sprint quite fresh: every 15-20 kilometres my teammates provided me with some ice and cold water, it was important and kept me out of troubles in this weather conditions. I am really happy with my teammates as they were always next to me, supporting me, moving me safety through the peloton, but also controlling the race and chasing the break. So, my plan for the final was very simple: do not repeat yesterday’s mistake. And it worked pretty well.”

Overall leader and 2nd on the stage, Arvid de Kleijn (Tudor): “My team did a great job in leading me out, but with 200 metres to go, I tried hard but in the end, I felt I didn’t have it today. There’s more sprint battles in the coming days, and I’m looking forward to lock horns with Gleb again.”

KOM, Nur Amirull Fakhrudin Mazuki (Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team): “The strategy today was for me to do the breakaway and stay ahead, and give Nur Aiman a rest and prepare for tomorrow’s hilly stage, which suits well for pure climbers. It’s going to be crucial for us tomorrow and will give our best… we are hoping that our climbers like Jambaljamts Sainbayar, Nur Aiman and Jeroen Meijers stay in good shape for tomorrow.”

PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi Stage 2:
1. Gleb Syritsa (-) Astana Qazaqstan in 4:15:14
2. Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Tudor
3. Enrico Zanoncello (Ita) Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè
4. Daniel Babor (CZ) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
5. Davide Gabburo (Ita) Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè
6. Lorenzo Conforti (Ita) Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè
7. Raymond Kreder (Ned) JCL Team UKYO
8. Riku Onaka (Jap) JCL Team UKYO
9. Maikel Zijlaard (Ned) Tudor
10. Alessandro Iacchi (Ita) Team Corratec-Selle Italia.

PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi Overall After Stage 2:
1. Arvid de Kleijn (ned) Tudor in 8:40:46
2. Gleb Syritsa (-) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:02
3. Sasha Weemaes (Bel) Human Powered Health at 0:10
4. Tegsh-bayar Batsaikhan (Mon) Roojai Online Insurance
5. Simon Carr (GB) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:12
6. Enrico Zanoncello (Ita) Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè
7. Tomáš Bárta (CZ) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:13
8. Sarawut Sirironnachai (Thai) Thailand Continental Cycling Team
9. Jon Agirre (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
10. Tom Scully (NZ) EF Education-EasyPost.

Langkawi’23 stage 2:


>Racing With a Defibrillator? “That is Impossible”
Jumbo-Visma rider, Nathan Van Hooydonck, announced that he will have to stop cycling due to heart problems. An internal defibrillator (ICD) has now been fitted to the 27 year-old Belgian. Kris Van der Mieren, the doctor of the Belgian cycling federation, explained to Sporza why Van Hooydonck can no longer race.

“There is a consensus about it. Racing with a defibrillator is excluded. For example, if the defibrillator goes off while you are descending a mountain pass, you could fall and endanger yourself and the other riders,” Van der Mieren said. “If a football player receives a shock, he may fall to his knees, but he will not endanger himself or the other players. There are always people who can intervene.”

“In cycling it is much more specific, just like in other sports such as Formula 1 or motocross. These are sports where it is not possible for the same reasons.” So Van Hooydonck has no choice but to end his professional cycling career. The Belgian is not the first rider to have stopped racing due to heart problems, but Van der Mieren doesn’t want to draw any conclusions.

“We must certainly emphasise that such things also happen in other sporting disciplines. Athletics, swimming, football… But also outside the sports world. Such a condition in a well-known athlete reaches the media, but people who are less known and/or do not participate in sports do not talk about it. But the frequency is certainly comparable.”

Can top-level sports trigger the condition? “There could be many causes. Then we think of a viral infection or a congenital defect that has remained under the radar, but then there are indeed things that can trigger it. Intensive efforts can then be a trigger,” said the federal doctor. “I just don’t think this could have been determined earlier. Someone who races at such a level has been better screened than anyone else.”

Colbrelli to Van Hooydonck: “You are never alone”
Sonny Colbrelli can imagine Van Hooydonck’s situation better than anyone, as the former rider also recently had to stop due to heart problems. A defibrillator was also fitted to the Paris-Roubaix winner. Colbrelli wrote Van Hooydonck in a post on Facebook and has a personal message for the 27 year-old Belgian: “I understand what’s going on in your head right now. I recognise your pain and your only question: Why does this have to happen to me? I know what you feel in your hospital bed when people tell you that your career is over, but you don’t want to believe it yourself. But at times like that you have to be strong and think that we are still alive, while many cannot say that. Know that you are not alone and that you will never be alone. I wish you the best in your future life, Nathan,” wrote Colbrelli.

In a statement, Jumbo-Visma announced that Van Hooydonck was found to have an abnormality in the heart muscle after extensive examination in the hospital. That disorder almost killed him when he was in his car and on the way to the hospital with his pregnant wife. Van Hooydonck had an internal defibrillator (ICD) installed after the incident. This device can be used to correct cardiac arrhythmias, but professional cycling is no longer possible.

No more racing for Nathan Van Hooydonck, but he’s still with us:


Sepp Kuss Doesn’t Want to Go to the Tour as Leader
Due to his victory in the Vuelta a España, even more eyes will be on Sepp Kuss from 2024. His anonymity in the peloton now doesn’t exist. “But I can still be that same rider at the back of the peloton, but there will be more expectations from the outside world.”

“That will be different. But above all, I should not impose too many expectations on myself and keep going, as I have always done in the past,” Kuss said to WielerFlits at the Jumbo-Visma ceremony at the team’s service course in Den Bosch on Tuesday.

For years Kuss was a luxury domestique in the Dutch team. The American climber worked hard for all the overall victories in the Grand Tours, by Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard and when he won the 2023 Vuelta a España for himself. He had to perform at the top of his game for the first time for three weeks, Kuss has learned a lot about being a winner of a Grand Tour. “The mental part,” he said. “Riding in a race where you can lose everything. Normally I have nothing to lose, because I focus on my work and want to do it well. From that point of view you have nothing to lose, but being focused every day and getting the most out of every stage is not easy mentally.”

The defining moment in the Vuelta was the mountain stage to the Alto de l’Angliru in the final week, where Kuss managed to hold his leader’s jersey after Roglič and Vingegaard had distanced him. “Before the Angliru we were not sure that we would be the three strongest riders in the race. Until that moment we mainly raced against the competition, but then there were three of us… That surprised us all. You cannot plan that in advance, because we did not expect that situation. We therefore wanted clarity in this new situation,” Kuss said. After that mountain stage, the decision was made and the team supported Kuss and the team to take the full podium.

With a view to 2024, Sepp Kuss will also play a major role within Jumbo-Visma. As the winner of a Grand Tour he will have something to demand. The question is whether he wants to go to the Tour de France as a leader, in a team in which two-time winner Vingegaard and Giro and Vuelta winner Roglič will also race. “You can always have those aspirations,” Kuss says about wanting to win the Tour. “But I realise that the Vuelta is very different from the Tour. Then I’m talking about the dynamics of the race. The Vuelta is the perfect race. In the Tour it is much more nervous. There the transition stages are harder and the climbs are less steep. So that race is really different for me.”

Presently Sepp Kuss has no desire to be the leader in the Tour de France next year. He expects to be at the start again in his old role as a helper in the mountains. “Normally yes, but I also like to be played as a joker. That is also motivating for me, to work for a leader in this way and also to be able to race. I have certainly not lost the pleasure of serving.”

Kuss back to working in 2024:
vuelta23 st3


Miguel Angel López Kidnapped and Robbed
Miguel Angel López was kidnapped by three suspects on his farm last Thursday, after which he was also robbed. According to local police: “They detained him for three hours and stole his Ford truck, a cell phone and 800,000 Colombian Peso (about €190).” A Police colonel made a video announcement on Twitter (X). The crime took place in Boyacá, where López lives with his family. López joins a list of kidnapped Colombian cyclists.

López was provisionally suspended in July on suspicion of possession and use of prohibited substances in the week prior to the 2022 Giro d’Italia. A final decision will follow. ‘Sooper López’ is currently racing with the Medellín-EPM team where he won the Vuelta a Colombia earlier this year.

López has not had much luck recently:
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UCI Asks the Swiss Federation Why Küng was Allowed to Continue in the Euro TT After his Crash
The UCI has asked the Swiss Cycling Association what measures have been taken following the crash of Stefan Küng in the time trial during the European Time Trial Championships on Wednesday in Emmen.

A bloodied Küng crossed the finish line in Emmen. In addition to cuts, he also suffered two fractures in his hand, a crack in his cheekbone and a mild concussion after his crash into the barriers. Despite a broken helmet, Küng finished, but after he was examined and taken to hospital.

Since 2021, the UCI has had a protocol if there is, or s suspicion of, concussion. Riders must first be assessed for a possible concussion; if their helmet is broken or if they have had a serious crash. The UCI now wants to hear from the Swiss federation whether this measure was taken, according to the Danish Ekstra Bladet. In that case, there would have been a good chance that Küng wouldn’t have been allowed to continue racing after his crash. There may be consequences if the correct guidelines regarding concussion protocol were not followed.

Kúng finished, but should he have been allowed to continue?
euro TT 2023


soudal quick-step
Patrick Lefevere on Riders Leaving Soudal Quick-Step
Patrick Lefevere has provided some more information about the loss of riders from his Soudal Quick-Step team in his weekly column in Het Nieuwsblad. The manager discussed, among other things, the more difficult farewell to Tim Declercq, but also a strange situation with Mauro Schmid. “At the end of the season you spend fewer words saying goodbye.”

“Attentive cycling followers will have already noticed: there are many riders who are leaving our team this year. There are currently nine ‘certain’ departures, in addition to Dries Devenyns who is retiring from racing. We also had fifteen riders who have reached the end of their contracts, so it is logical that there is a lot of turnover,” Lefevere said in his column. “I could say that saying goodbye is never pleasant, but in practice it varies considerably from case to case.”

One of the more difficult ones is saying goodbye to workhorse Declercq. “Yes, that is with a heavy heart. I would have loved to keep him, he would have loved to stay, but there is a financial reality. Tim is in a certain salary range. He wanted to reduce his price slightly, but I didn’t like that. In my experience: a rider who earns less is a rider who will perform less. We were unable to reach an agreement and he received a nice offer from Lidl-Trek, a team that clearly has money.”

“We also have departures who are ‘ready for a new challenge’. Rémi Cavagna said that in so many words. Which in his case I also understand after seven seasons. He is close to Movistar, where he could race for himself in the Classics of the North. I have some more questions about that. I don’t want to say anything bad about Rémi who has been a very valuable force, but cobblestone Classics with his racing skills? I don’t see it right away.”

The Belgian manager also provides some more information about Schmid’s situation. “You sometimes lose riders who sign a contract for another team. Literally in the case of Mauro Schmid, who will move to Jayco-Alula after this season. After the World championships in Glasgow he disappeared off the radar. When trainer Koen Pelgrim asked why his data had not been loaded into our training program, he said that his Garmin was broken. It later turned out that he had been on a trip to Las Vegas for six days. At the end of the season you spend fewer words saying goodbye.”

Mauro Schmid Responded to Lefevere
Mauro Schmid responded to the allegation from Patrick Lefevere who implied that the Swiss rider was not serious about his profession. However, the rider was indeed training in Las Vegas, according to a Strava route that he posted on social media. The Strava file dates from August 18. The file shows that Schmid spent more than 3 hours on the bike that day and covered more than 94.1km. A week later, Schmid started in the Deutschland Tour, where he failed to do much, his best result was 17th in the prologue.



Gorka Izagirre Reunited with his Brother Ion After Two Years
Gorka Izagirre will be reunited with his brother Ion Izagirre in 2024. Cofidis has signed the 35 year-old Basque from Movistar, the Izagirre brothers will race together again next year.

Gorka, the eldest Izagirre, will be riding with the French team next year. “He will be an undeniable added value for the team and our young riders,” says manager Cédric Vasseur. “Gorka and Ion have always shined when they had the opportunity to race in the same team. Gorka will be valuable for Guillaume Martin in stage races and one-day races. He is professional and always motivated.”

It is a challenge for Izagirre himself, he says. “The feeling among the team and the riders is very good. For me it is a new team, a new country and a new language, but I will do everything I can to adapt. Ion has only said good things. My goal will be to help the leaders and do everything I can to achieve as many victories as possible.”

It is not the first time that Gorka and Ion Izagirre have raced in the same team, previously they were together in Euskatel-Euskadi (2010-2013), Movistar (2014-2017, 2022-2023), Bahrain Merida (2018) and Astana (2019-2021).

Ion will be with Gorka in 2024:
tdf23 st12


Felipe Orts Leaves Burgos-BH
Felipe Orts has announced his departure from the Burgos-BH team. The Spanish cyclo-cross champion will not race with the ProTeam after December 31 and will continue on his own from January 1, 2024. Orts has set up his own team to combine cyclo-cross, mountain biking and gravel.

The Orts off-road team will be called FORTS Team. He will announce at a later date which sponsors and staff will join his project. From the new year we will see Orts in new kit, where he makes the Spanish Cyclo-Cross Championship, the World Cup in Benidorm and the Cyclo-Cross World Championship his biggest goals.

For the time being, Orts is still in the purple of Burg0s-BH at the start of the cyclo-cross season. “First of all, I would like to thank Burgos-BH and express my appreciation for the last three years,” said the 28 year-old Spaniard. “The team has been very important to my career, and until the end of the year I will continue to defend the colours with all pride and respect, but I know the time has come to start a new project and develop myself in specialties like mountain biking and gravel, which are outside the focus of a road team.”

Orts will be back in his ‘home’ cross in Benidorm 2024:
benidorm orts


Richard Plugge: “Hessmann Doping Case Forces us to Take a Good Look in the Mirror”
Richard Plugge discusses the positive doping test of his German rider Michel Hessmann in more detail in his column in RIDE Magazine by WielerFlits. He explains, among other things, how the team views supplements, medicines and energy drinks.

“Wednesday, August 16, 2023 was a black day for our team,” Plugge wrote. “For the first time in ten years, we received the message that a rider from our team, Michel Hessmann, had taken a positive doping test. We have to look in the mirror ourselves, are we doing everything right?”

“Everyone involved in and with our organisation must be aware of everything. Germany has a doping law, so the public prosecutor’s office is automatically involved. Criminal law has the presumption of innocence, while disciplinary law reasons the other way around. It is up to the athlete to prove that he has done nothing wrong. If the test is carried out properly, there are two flavours, either it is conscious, or it is contamination from a supplement or other medicine,” Plugge explained.

In his column he goes into more detail about the way his team works. “It is therefore mandatory within our team to only use supplements and medicines that have been batch checked for doping substances, to minimise the risk of contamination. Many products contain remnants of other products.”

“In short, an athlete cannot simply take a supplement, drug or energy drink without knowing whether it has been tested beforehand. There can be a (in- or out-of-competition) doping control 365 days a year, the athlete must be sharp every day. That is part of cycling policy. Riders (the multiple winners or leader jersey wearers) are checked between thirty and 150 times per year. That is good and should remain that way. We stand for fair sport in which talents cross swords on equal grounds.”

RIDE Magazine is produced by Dutch cycling website WielerFlits.

Plugge talks about Hessmann and doping:
jumbo plugge


Bahrain Victorious Signs Promising Talent Max van der Meulen for 2025
Bahrain Victorious are delighted to announce the signing of the promising young Dutch cyclist Max van der Meulen for the 2025 season. Max will spend one season developing his skills and talents with the Bahrain Victorious under-23 development team, Cycling Team Friuli, before making his anticipated leap into the WorldTour.

His signing comes following a successful development period with Development Team dsm-firmenich. Bahrain Victorious is excited to provide him with the platform to evolve his skills further and fulfil his potential.

Max van der Meulen expressed his gratitude for his time with Team dsm-firmenich and his enthusiasm for the new chapter in his career, saying, “Firstly, I’d like to thank Team dsm-firmenich for the development they have given me up until this point in my career. I am extremely excited to get the chance to develop myself during the next couple of years within Bahrain Victorious. I am looking forward to next year with Cycling Team Friuli, where I will make my final steps in development before realising a lifelong dream, becoming a professional bike rider for Bahrain Victorious.”

This strategic signing reinforces Bahrain Victorious’ commitment to nurturing and supporting emerging talents in professional cycling.



Georg Steinhauser Renews with EF Education-EasyPost
“I want to race and perform at the highest level that I can possibly reach.”

Georg Steinhauser’s cycling career is just getting started. Two years after he made his WorldTour debut with EF Education-EasyPost, the twenty-one-year-old German has signed a new contract to continue racing with our team. Georg is eager to reach new heights with the teammates he now calls friends. He has learned a lot during his first seasons in the professional ranks.

“I enjoy racing and I want to race and perform at the highest level that I can possibly reach,” Georg says. “I am sure that if I do that I can also win some races. During my first years, I made some big steps performance wise and knowledge wise, so I am super happy to continue with the team.”

Georg has ridden to a number of impressive results during his first years as a pro. Highlights include a third-place on GC at the Route d’Occitanie-La Dépêche du Midi and second on a stage at the Tour of the Alps, where he came in just behind his EF Education-EasyPost teammate Simon Carr.

During his rookie year, Georg was still completing his apprenticeship to become a qualified metalworker, so 2023 was the first season when he could focus on racing full time. Along with his successes, Georg had to deal with some challenges on the bike. A nagging knee injury kept him out of some of the races he was most excited to ride. So did a few untimely sicknesses. This fall, Georg was in the shape of his life and raring to make his grand tour debut at the Vuelta a España when a bout of COVID struck him down. That was a hard blow to take. Still, Georg was encouraged by the progress he made during his preparations for the race.

“I’d had some small successes in the Tour of the Alps and the Route d’Occitanie, but for me the big success was actually the build up to the Vuelta, because I just got in such good shape,” Georg says. “It was just a shame that I could not show it in the race, but that is what it is. I know I can get there again.”

Now, Georg’s number one goal for the coming year is clear. He wants to ride his first grand tour.

“That would be awesome,” Georg says. “I want to see how I develop over three weeks and go through such a race.”

Georg also has his sights set on the Strade Bianche. He is a keen mountain biker, who goes off-road whenever he gets the chance. He would love to get his first professional win and knows he has the strength to ride with the best, whether he is racing for himself or his teammates. EF Education-EasyPost CEO Jonathan Vaughters is very glad to have Georg on the team. “Georg is still exploring his potential after his first year as a full-time cyclist,” Vaughters says. “His work ethic and talent are really going to start to show in the coming years.”

EF Education-EasyPost is where Georg feels at home. He enjoys working with the staff and being in such an international environment.

“At every race, we get great support and there is a great mix of different people and nationalities. The older riders help me and give me some tips. I just enjoy being at the races all of the time.”

Before he hangs up his bike at the end of this season, Georg has more racing on his schedule. This week, he is set to ride the Tour of Langkawi. He’ll then head home to his new apartment in Austria, where he and his girlfriend have moved to be closer to the mountains. Georg loves skiing in the winter, both alpine and cross-country, and ski-mo especially. He also wants to put his metalworking skills to use. He is excited to build some furniture for his new place. Before long, he’ll turn his attention to training again though. Georg Steinhauser is no longer a neo-pro. With his new contract, he is more motivated than ever.

Georg Steinhauser stays with EF Education-EasyPost:
Georg Steinhauser


Bahrain Victorious Extend Arashiro, Buitrago and Caruso Contracts
Bahrain Victorious is delighted to announce the contract extensions of Yukiya Arashiro, Santiago Buitrago and Damiano Caruso.

The Japanese cycling star Yukiya Arashiro joined the team in 2017, the inaugural season. Next year will be his 8th season with us: “I’m thrilled to continue working with a team that properly evaluates my work as a helper and respects my career. Professional racing has entered a new stage and is taking on a different dimension than in the past, but I believe that I still have something to contribute and that there are tasks which suit me the best, so I will continue to focus on each race one by one. I can’t wait to add one more racing season and enjoy one more year in the WorldTour.”

The young Columbian talent Santiago Buitrago, who turned pro with Bahrain Victorious in 2020, will stay on with the team for another two years and look to develop on his outstanding results that include two stage victories at the Giro d’Italia, a 3rd place in the Monument Liège-Bastogne-Liège, plus two wins at Saudi Tour and Vuelta Burgos: “I’m very pleased to extend my contract with the team. In the past four seasons, the team greatly helped me grow. I want to continue believing in the project that the team has with me. I hope I can keep giving the team as many successes as possible to repay the team’s trust in myself and achieve the targets together.”

Damiano Caruso will also continue with the team till 2025. Caruso has been integral to the team’s success over his five seasons and continues to prove himself as a GC contender. The experienced Italian climber has claimed two GrandTour stage wins, a 2nd place in the overall at the Giro d’Italia in 2021 and, more recently, 4th at the 2023 edition of the Giro d’Italia: “This extension of one year more is pure formality. We neither needed to discuss the option of staying or not with the team. I feel part of a project beyond the job of a professional rider because I feel part of a family that gratifies me as an athlete and person: mutual feeling with the management that extended my contract until 2025. I like thinking that Bahrain Victorious may be the team with which I will end my professional career as a cyclist.”



The Amstel Gold Race is in the Hands of Flanders Classics Organisers
The Amstel Gold Race, the Netherlands’ biggest Classic, will have a new organiser in 2025. Flanders Classics will take over from race director and organiser Leo van Vliet. The Dutchman will remain race director of the Amstel Gold Race in the coming editions and will retire in 2026.

Former rider Leo Van Vliet has been the man behind the one-day Classic for almost three decades. The almost 68 year-old Dutchman will remain the face of the Amstel Gold Race as race director in the coming editions and will at the same time work closely with Flanders Classics to ensure a smooth transfer. Van Vliet will retire in 2026 after thirty years of service. Nothing changes for Leontien van Moorsel. She remains race director of the women’s edition of the Amstel Gold Race.

The Amstel Gold Race Foundation wants to further expand the race with Flanders Classics. “Flanders Classics has an enormous track record in cycling-mad Belgium and knows better than anyone else how to set the pace in the rapidly evolving sports world,” the race organisers said a press release. “It is a progressive party that is constantly developing in the areas of innovation, sustainability and inclusivity.”

“Together with them we can further shape the beloved Amstel Gold Race for both pros and touring riders and the cycling festival for fans. We are very pleased that Leo will remain with us for the next three editions to set out the lines we have come to expect from him for almost three decades. Together we work with Flanders Classics to take the Amstel Gold Race to an even higher level.”

Leo van Vliet is already looking ahead to his impending retirement as race director. “When I took over the role from Herman Krott (the race director until 1996), he had organised no fewer than thirty editions of the Amstel Gold Race. I am now approaching that number; 2026 seems to me to be a wonderful time to stop. Then, just like Krott, I also have thirty to my name. I am incredibly proud of the development we have achieved in those three decades.”

“In all these years, organising a cycling race has become more complicated. Flanders Classics has proven itself as a high-quality organiser. Just as important is that they have the same passion for cycling. These two qualities ensure that I can confidently hand over my beloved Amstel Gold Race to them. But I haven’t left yet, we will work together in the coming editions and ensure a smooth transfer.”

Tomas Van Den Spiegel, the CEO of Flanders Classics: “This is a very important step for us. We further expand our international adventure with the Amstel Gold Race. Leo van Vliet has an incredible track record and we are very proud that we can continue to build on his success. Naturally, we will safeguard the individuality of this race and ensure the typical Amstel Gold Race character.”

Leo van Vliet to retire:


GranPiemonte 2023: A Challenging Route Through the Hills of Canavese
The 107th edition of the GranPiemonte, scheduled for 5 October, has been presented. 152 km from Borgofranco d’Ivrea to Favria with an open finale. Wout Van Aert, Alberto Dainese, Bauke Mollema, Fabio Felline and Ivan Garcia Cortina, winner of the 2022 edition, are among the big-name contenders on the national and international cycling scene announced at the start.


The 107th edition of the GranPiemonte presented by Crédit Agricole was presented today in Turin at the Grattacielo Piemonte, the headquarters of the Region. The plan for the day includes 152 km starting in Borgofranco d’Ivrea and finishing in Favria, all in the Canavese area. The route is divided into two parts: the first one is almost entirely flat, while the second one, after passing over the finish line, is wholly a succession of consecutive climbs and descents that could split the group in favour of those who will attack. In addition to the route, the 22 teams that we will see at the start of the race on 5 October have been announced, with the presence of 15 World Tour teams.

Fabrizio Ricca, Sports Councillor at Regione Piemonte, and Mauro Vegni, Director of cycling at RCS Sport, with the trophy of the GranPiemonte presented by Crédit Agricole

The ROUTE of GrandPiemonte Presented by Crédit Agricole
The 107th edition of the race is largely a flat ride from the start in Borgofranco d’Ivrea to just after the pass over the finish line in Favria, which marks the beginning of a 74km circuit. Past Castellamonte, the riders will negotiate a brace of consecutive ascents and descents. After a 7km climb to Colleretto Castelnuovo (3.4%), followed by a short descent and a 5.4% uphill to Faiallo (5.1km), the peloton descends into Pont Canavese and crosses the bridge over the Orco stream. Alpette, coming up, is the hardest climb of the race: it goes up an average 9% for nearly 5 km, with gradients touching 17% in the first part, on a relatively narrow road. After a high-speed descent into Cuorgnè, the route takes in the last climb leading to Pratiglione (4.4km at 3.4%). Past the summit, the finish is 13km away.

Final kilometres
The last 5 km are played out on relatively wide and essentially flat roads. Roundabouts, traffic islands and street furniture are the main impediments here. The home straight (200 m) is on 7 m wide tarmac.


Fabrizio Ricca, Sports Councillor at Regione Piemonte: “Piemonte is becoming the Italian home of cycling and this fact, as administrators, makes us truly proud. The history of this sport owes a lot to our region, but as councillor, I think that the future of competitive cycling should also be linked to our region. In fact, major events are not only a unique entertainment opportunity for citizens but also a driver of economic growth that, according to data, is every bit as good as other productive sectors. Investing in sport is synonymous with investing in our future”.

Mauro Vegni, Director of cycling at RCS Sport: “Like every year, we are renewing our special relationship with Regione Piemonte, whose territory has repeatedly been a starting and finishing location of our races. All these events can become a unique driver, if wisely guided, to showcase the world not only the sporting event but also the jewels of the territory. We have designed a tough and selective route that attracts some of the stars of world cycling to the start, one above all Wout Van Aert. I am looking forward to a great battle because among the riders announced at the start are important names such as Ivan Garcia Cortina, who won the Gran Piemonte in 2022, or Alberto Dainese, whom we saw achieving some important victories at both the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España”.

Livio Tola, Mayor of Borgofranco d’Ivrea: “After the start of the Giro d’Italia we will also host the GranPiemonte, for us it is a dream that continues. I am proud that Borgofranco d’Ivrea will host this great race because for us it is a further enhancement of the territory that follows the path taken in May with the Corsa Rosa. The GranPiemonte is a new opportunity and we want to seize it fully”.

Vittorio Bellone, Mayor of Favria: “We have never hosted a start or finish of a cycling race of this level and it is very important for us to be able to get involved. We are gearing up for 5 October to be a perfect day and for the whole world to appreciate our territories. Today I feel like mayor not only of Favria but of the entire Canavese region”.

The Teams of GranPiemonte PresentedRESENTED by Crédit Agricole:
22 teams, 15 UCI World Teams and 7 UCI Pro Teams, with 7 riders each



The winning sprint of Ivan Garcia Cortina in the 2022 edition:


gravel worlds 23
The Hidden Treasures of the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships
The races scheduled for 7-8 October will undoubtedly be exciting, but all around there will be a unique and wonderful territory to discover. The ideal setting for awarding the rainbow jersey

Less than 20 days and the entire area encompassing the municipalities of the province of Treviso and the Piave area and valley will be filled with thousands of cyclists for the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championship. On 7-8 October, the best athletes in the world will compete and have fun all along the Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.

The event will be the ideal opportunity to discover – for those who do not know the area – or to rediscover – for those who have not been here for a while – an area rich in history and art, combined with a unique scenario in the whole of Italy. The work of the winegrowers, in fact, has made these hills and landscapes highly recognisable and inimitable.

In the midst of nature, it’s nearly impossible to get over towns and villages, rich in charm and culture. Right from the start we immerse ourselves in historical places, the characteristic passage along the Piave riverbed, arriving at Ponte della Priula and Susegana and encountering the Castle of San Salvatore, built in 1245. We then descend along dirt tracks passing by the Castle of Collalto and entering the town of Pieve di Soligo for the first time. From there we fly towards Molinetto della Croda, an ancient water mill located in an important landscape area of the province of Treviso, the Lierza valley, along the road that connects the town of Refrontolo (the municipality which the monument belongs) to that of Rolle. The route then proceeds in the direction of Arfanta and reaches first the Cison di Valmarino and then the lakes of Revine; together with Tarzo, is part of a precious ecosystem for biodiversity and represents a natural heritage recognised and protected by the European Community. Enhanced by the Veneto Region as a Park of Local Interest and safeguarded by the lakeside municipalities through the Environmental Plan, rightfully enters the territorial boundaries of the ‘Prosecco Hills’ as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Leaving the lakes, we cross Tarzo and climb towards San Pietro di Feletto and Refrontolo. Once again we pass over Pieve di Soligo and begin a very technical stretch rich in history: with Palù di Sernaglia della Battaglia and Moriago della Battaglia.

Here, one fully enters history by crossing the Piave riverbed at the Isola del Morti. In this special place, on the bank of the Piave river beyond Montello, in the last days of October 1918, the offensive of the Battle of Victory led by the Arditi took place, which led to the end of the Great War. Thousands of young soldiers sacrificed their lives. The name of this place, now a marvellous garden along the Piave River, is due to the fact that the entire ground was covered with soldiers who had fallen in battle and the comrades advancing had to make their way through that spectral scenery. From here we proceed to the Prosecco Hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene and encounter the Strada del Prosecco and Via dei Colli, the oldest wine route in Italy. A fantastic adventure that then leads us to the final climbs of Collagù and San Gallo in Farra di Soligo, before swooping down in Pieve di Soligo.

It is precisely in Pieve di Soligo, capital of Quartier del Piave, that the finish line will be positioned to reward the second UCI Gravel World Champion. The town of Pieve di Soligo has numerous examples of Venetian palaces and villas, many of which have been listed by the Istituto Regionale Ville Venete, including Villa Chisini, Ghetti and Morona.

The mayor of Pieve di Soligo, Stefano Soldan, emphasised the importance of this event: “Hosting the 2023 edition of the UCI Gravel World Championship in the province of Treviso is a great opportunity for the entire Alta Marca Trevigiana area, first and foremost in terms of tourism, due to the large number of athletes and fans who will be travelling along the race route on 7/8 October to attend the event, which will have the good fortune of being followed worldwide and will further promote and qualify our territory”.

“Secondly,” continued the First Citizen, “the choice of Pieve di Soligo and the Quartier del Piave as the privileged location for the finish line testifies the great attention and passion that the territory has always reserved for cycling and its practice, thanks to the enthusiasm of fans and athletes who have always been committed to organising races or supporting this sporting practice, which today is the undisputed emblem of a way of experiencing sport, the landscape and tourism. I am convinced that this event definitively seals this territory’s propensity for hosting major events and a candidate for the UCI Bike Lab. My heartfelt thanks to the organisers and to all those who will honour us with their presence.”

Marina Montedoro, President of the Association for the Heritage of the Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, also expressed her opinion on the subject: “Hosting the UCI Gravel World Championship between Treviso and the Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene is a novelty that honours us deeply. As soon as we heard the news of the assignment of this high-level international race to the Alta Marca area, as an association we gave our support not only because a large part of the route crosses the Hills, but also because it is an event that registers significant numbers. Over 300 professional athletes from all over the world, including Australia, the United States, and Africa, in the men’s and women’s fields, will pass through our roads, along with the best, about 600, amateur cyclists who qualified during the 16 stages of the UCI World Series. Gravel is a steadily growing discipline that embraces an ever-growing audience of enthusiasts. This event, which winds its way through some of the most iconic places of our UNESCO World Heritage Site, will bring the territory itself under the national and international spotlight, from the Castle of San Salvatore to Pieve di Soligo, from the Molinetto della Croda to the Castelbrando fortress, from the Revine Lakes to the famous Ca’ del Poggio wall. A unique opportunity that combines sport, entertainment, passion and scenic beauty and that we could not fail to welcome with enthusiasm and commitment”.

The work of the winegrowers has made the Prosecco Hills a unique and fascinating place:
gravel worlds23


Adriatica Ionica Race Canceled the Day Before the Start
The Adriatica Ionica Race will not take place this year. The three-day stage race was supposed to start on Friday, but less than 24 hours before the scheduled start, the teams were told that the race would be canceled. According to sources from Tuttobiciweb, mistakes were made by organiser Asd Sportunion that led to ‘a whole series of problems’. These problems prevent the multi-day event from continuing.

The vast majority of the teams were already in Corropoli on Thursday, where the multi-day event would start. They were reassured by the organisation on Wednesday evening, despite the rumours already circulating that the race could not go ahead. On Thursday afternoon, race director Moreno Argentin announced from his home, by means of a video call, that the race could not go ahead after all.

The reasons given were problems with traffic, technical guidance and the absence of the UCI jury. According to Argentin, the fact that the UCI did not send jury members was due to a ‘political’ conflict with the Italian cycling federation. Previously, the race organisation and the cycling association had not reached an agreement about the TV rights for the race.

The Adriatica Ionica Race would be in its fifth edition this year. The first edition took place in 2018 and was won by Iván Ramiro Sosa. Mark Padun (2019), Lorenzo Fortunato (2021) and Filippo Zana (2022).

The first winner of Adriatica Ionica Race in 2018, Iván Ramiro Sosa:
Adriatica 2018


Austin Aviators Take on SLC Criterium
This video brings you to Salt Lake through the eyes of riders Joyce Monton and Eamon Lucas, two senior members of the Aviators squad.

Austin Aviators

For the Austin Aviators, it’s been a summer of race, rest, and repeat.

In this second installment of Vitus’ video series following the first-year professional criterium team, the Aviators land in Salt Lake City, Utah, for two back-to-back days of racing at the Salt Lake Criterium — a heater of a race both literally and figuratively. The sixth round of the American Criterium Cup brought 100-degree heat and a stacked field in both the women’s and men’s events.

This video brings you to Salt Lake through the eyes of riders Joyce Monton and Eamon Lucas, two senior members of the Aviators squad. Joyce, a Los Angeles-based pro who came to the US from the Philippines, has fought the odds to earn her place on the Aviators roster.

She came to the US shouldering a world of responsibility to work and help support her family in the Philippines. Bike racing, Joyce said, is not something normally in the cards for someone in her position — a dream, at best. Yet here she is.

“This is real, this is happening; it’s not a dream anymore,” Joyce said “Becoming a professional cyclist is such a privilege, especially for me because I come from nothing.”

Eamon, the de-facto road captain of the men’s squad, is a veteran bike racer with deep experience in the US and European peloton. He’s tasked with helping the men’s and women’s teams gel and passing on the knowledge he’s earned over a decade-plus in racing. “The [Salt Lake Criterium] is super important because we’ve finally clicked and found a lot of momentum, and when you’re on that progression it’s important to keep that momentum going Eamon said. “We’ve been together enough; and we have enough race days in the legs; and we’re fit enough to do what we want and have to do.”

Created by acclaimed filmmaker Angus Morton (Thereabouts, Outskirts), this short film looks at American professional crit racing through the lens of a seasoned pro and an up-and-comer.

Watch the video here:


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