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EUROTRASH Monday: The Peloton Hits the Flemish Cobbles!

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The ‘real’ 2024 road season has started with men’s and women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. We also have the UAE Tour, O Gran Camiño, Faun-Ardèche Classic and Faun Drôme Classic – All with video, race reports, rider quotes and results.

Wout van Aert happy with his new training: “But important to get even better”TOP STORY.

Rider news: Mathieu van der Poel’s spring Classics: From Milano-Sanremo to Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Lefevere/Alaphilippe ‘soap opera’ rumbles on, Domenico Pozzovivo signs for VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè and Victor Campenaerts has an idea to get his clothes back.

Team news: Patrick Lefevere gave Gianni Moscon a minimum contract and Yana Seel joins the women’s UAE Team ADQ.

Race news: Subsidence problems for the Paterberg.

Coffee time!

 

top story
TOP STORY: Wout van Aert Happy with His New Training: “But Important to Get Even Better”
Wout van Aert should be happy with his Opening Weekend. Third in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, first in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, but the Visma | Lease a Bike leader believes it can get even better. “That is important, because de Ronde is much harder than this,” Van Aert said at the press moment.

Why did you go from so far out?
“The plan was to try from far away. Those climbs across the border are really difficult. As a team we were able to make it difficult for the rest. The race really exploded there. It wasn’t necessarily my intention to get away with four, but the legs were good. It actually came naturally. It could have been different, with more teammates, but this was a good situation.”

Were they the perfect guys to sit up front with after that?
“Yes, I must say that Tim Wellens was very strong. And at Oier Lazkano you have to throw a coin in and it will keep moving. So they were indeed the best possible companions.”

Did you had any doubts about trying to get rid of one of the two?
“No, they were very strong companions and it was good to stay together. In the hilly zone we climbed the climbs hard. We were able to take a big lead there. The tailwind also made it beneficial to just keep riding together. Laurence Pithie was a different situation. He wasn’t turning properly. At that moment it is difficult to estimate whether he really could not have done better or whether he was playing catch-up. So I wanted to let him go.”

You are the first team ever to dominate Opening Weekend two years in a row. What does that say about your team?
“It is a very nice start like last year, where we also got off to a great start. At the end you naturally feel some pressure to finish it. That makes me proud that it was actually successful. I am very happy to see that everyone is reaching a good level. That gives confidence for the coming weeks.”

And do you now feel some peace, now that you already have a classic under your belt?
“I’m just very happy with this victory. It’s a nice victory. It also looks good on my palmarès. And I am indeed already looking further ahead to try to get another 1% better.”

Did you expect to be this good at this point in the season?
“No, not. Today I am especially happy that I really recovered well from yesterday. I might even have better legs than I had yesterday. That’s always a good sign. This means that the shape is OK if you do it two days in a row.”

Are you convinced that your approach will work to be in even better shape in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix?
“I was good today, my body recovered well and was even better than yesterday. That feeling is important. And yes, my preparation. It is different. I’ve already done a few events this season. It’s the first time I’ve done it like this. Now I’m going to Tenerife for three weeks and we will try to find that last percent there.”

How much more needs to be added towards de Ronde and Roubaix?
“I think I can get even better. But that is always relative and difficult to express. The training approach is designed in such a way that we can improve just a little bit. The Tour of Flanders is much tougher than these races. So it is important to get a little better.”

Won’t it give you a contradictory feeling if you have to watch Strade Bianche and Milan-Sanremo from the couch with these good legs?
“Yes and no. When I look at the race later, it will certainly… hurt, that’s saying a lot. But I will automatically think ‘maybe this or maybe that’. But I also have the experience that training always makes me better. Not many races per se. I want to try this new approach. We’ll see if it pays off. I will certainly be held accountable for it too. But we believe in it. The Giro is also coming after the spring. So we’ll just stick to our plan and then we hope that it will pay off.”

Wout wants to get better:
Kuurne 2024

 

HN
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2024
Jan Tratnik won the 2024 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. For a long time, a leading group of six, with three men from Visma | Lease a Bike, looked to be fighting for victory, but a large group came back to the front in the finale. Tratnik escaped with Nils Politt and beat the German in the sprint. Wout van Aert sprinted to third place.

Het Nieuwsblad 2024
Het Nieuwsblad 2024

Not long after the start, a leading group of 9 formed. Lars Boven (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Frank van den Broek & Sean Flynn (both dsm-firmenich PostNL), Jelle Vermoote (Bingoal-WB), Sander De Pestel (Decathlon-AG2R), Elias Maris (Flanders-Baloise), Samuele Battistella (Astana), Alexis Gougeard (Cofidis) and Manlio Moro (Movistar) built up a lead of 5 minutes. Due to the high speed set by Visma | Lease a Bike’s men the peloton got closer to the 9 escapees and some riders were in trouble. A group of 23 riders split in the chase for the leading group. At 130 kilometres from the finish, there were 32 riders in the lead, including Arnaud De Lie, Kasper Asgreen, Jonathan Milan, Jasper Philipsen, Tom Pidcock and Wout van Aert. Wout had four teammates with him: Eduardo Affini, Matteo Jorgenson, Christophe Laporte and Tiesj Benoot, but Dylan van Baarle had missed the move. Matej Mohorič, Julian Alaphilippe, Tim Wellens and Stefan Küng were also no in the front group. Küng’s Groupama-FDJ team led the chase, but they couldn’t stop the gap from steadily increasing. Seventy kilometres from the finish, the leading group, Affini had a puncture and was now missing, had 40 seconds. The lead increased even further, before the action on the Wolvenberg.

It was Matteo Jorgenson who attacked, which caused quite a few problems. It was then Laporte’s turn to put on the pressure. There was now only Pidcock, Toms Skujiņš, Gianni Moscon, De Lie and Van Aert off the front with Jorgenson and Laporte. Van Aert made it hard on the Jagerij and it was Moscon who was dropped. He dropped back to the second group, which included Asgreen, Philipsen and Milan, but they were eventually swallowed up by the peloton. There were more accelerations from the Visma | Lease a Bike men at the front. Just after the Molenberg, 40 kilometres from the finish, Laporte escaped with Pidcock. It was Skujiņš who closed the gap with the other three on his wheel. There was also some attacks in the peloton. First Victor Campenaerts tried to get away, then Mike Teunissen had a go. Neither could get away. The difference to the leaders had increased to more than 1 minute.

When the leaders started to climb the Berendries, it was Skujiņš who made a move. Van Aert tried to jump with him, but couldn’t catch the Latvian and dropped back to Laporte, Jorgenson, De Lie and struggling Pidcock. Skujiņš had 30 kilometres to go to the finish. The Lidl-Trek rider must have decided it was too much and eased back at the top of the Berendries. The five pursuers joined him and the six of crossed the summit of the Vossenhol together. Laporte briefly tried again with Skujiņš, but Pidcock pulled them back. Van Aert was next. Once again it was Skujiņš who was immediately on the wheel of van Aert. Twenty-one kilometres from the finish, there was a crash in the peloton with Florian Sénechal, Asgreen and Alaphilippe. At the front, Matteo Jorgenson attacked from the rear of the group and Pidcock, Skujiņš and De Lie were all too slow to react. Jorgenson opened a huge gap in no time. He had nearly 30 seconds at the start of the Muur van Geraardsbergen.

Just behind the leaders, the peloton, led a strong Tim Wellens, almost caught the escape group. Pidcock at that point was being dropped. At the foot of the Bosberg, the last climb of the day, Jorgenson had a 15 second lead over Van Aert, Laporte, De Lie, Skujiņš and Wellens. The peloton followed less than 10 seconds. From the peloton, Iván García Cortina was the first to join Van Aert’s group and it was also the Spaniard who closed the gap to Jorgenson. Van Aert then tried to get away, but he couldn’t. An attempt by Wellens also failed due to Laporte’s chase work. Tratnik, who returned with a group of riders, including Van Baarle, jumped away with Nils Politt. Behind them there was no immediate chase and the two pulled away with a nice lead. Lotto Dstny returned to the chase group to take the lead for De Lie. At 3 kilometres from the finish the lead was 15 seconds. That 15 seconds turned out to be enough and it was Politt pulled the pair away in the final kilometres. He had Tratnik on his wheel into the final straight. The Slovenian took full advantage and sprinted to victory by 3 full seconds. Politt settled for second place. Behind; it was Wout van Aert who won the sprint in the peloton for Visma | Lease a Bike to take first and third.

Omloop 2024

Race winner, Jan Tratnik (Visma | Lease a Bike): “This was probably the biggest win of my career. In the past, I did not often compete in the classics, so I did not have much experience in these kind of races. Given our strong team for the classics, I took the role of domestique today. So I was surprised to end up in the lead in the final. This was a win for the whole team. We kept believing throughout the race. It was one of those races that never fell into its fold and anything could happen. In the beginning of the race I missed the good breakaway of Wout, Christophe and Matteo. Thanks to good team play at the front, I had little to worry about in the chasing group. When it all finally came together on the Bosberg, I decided to launch my attack. I felt that might be the moment of the race. I was a bit worried about my sprinting ability, but Politt launched early, which gave me the opportunity to pass him.”

2nd, Nils Politt (UAE Team Emirates): “I knew there was some strong sprinters in the group so I was happy to be out front and take 2nd place. Our plan was that Wellens would do something on the Muur and I would cover behind and the plan worked pretty well. In the sprint I went from the front and was already quite empty but it was better to take 2nd than nothing from today so I’m happy. Then when his group came back I followed Tratnik and went with him. It’s nice to start the season like this in the first big race for me of the year.”

3rd, Wout van Aert (Visma | Lease a Bike): “We knew we could count on several riders of ours in this race. We dared to take initiative and that was rewarded. Before the Kapelmuur, we tried to play out our surplus in the leading group by having Matteo attack. Behind us, the peloton also came very close, but we knew Jan and Dylan were also in there. That gave me peace of mind. We actually had the advantage throughout the race. This was a very fine win.”

6th, Laurenz Rex (Intermarché-Wanty): “We were present at the decisive moments in the beginning of the race, until a group surprised us with more than 100 kilometre to go. Despite this setback, we stayed calm and united. We could rely on the experience of Adrien Petit or Mike Teunissen and the advice from our sports directors to handle this difficult moment and to never give up. And the team was exceptional to close the gap to the leading group. We probably also had this bit of luck you often need in the unpredictable races like the Flemish classics. The encouragements from the sports directors through the radio, when I thought we were in a lost position, pushed us to make a last effort to make the junction with the favourites and race for the podium. This sixth place in a World Tour classic bodes well for the next races, starting with Le Samyn on Tuesday, a race that suits me well.”

# More photos in the full PEZ ‘Race Report’ HERE. #

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Result:
1. Jan Tratnik (Slo) Visma | Lease a Bike in 4:31:37
2. Nils Politt (Ger) UAE Team Emirates at 0:03
3. Wout van Aert (Bel) Visma | Lease a Bike at 0:08
4. Oliver Naesen (Bel) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale
5. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Visma | Lease a Bike
6. Laurenz Rex (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty
7. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Lidl-Trek
8. Thomas Pidcock (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
9. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Tudor
10. Arnaud De Lie (Bel) Lotto Dstny.

Omloop’24:

 

HN
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Women 2024
Marianne Vos won the women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday. The leader of Visma | Lease a Bike was too fast in a sprint from a group of four, beating Lotte Kopecky, Elisa Longo Borghini and Shirin van Anrooij.

Omloop 2024

After the men’s race, the women’s race followed. Lotte Kopecky was the top favourite, but also Demi Vollering, Lorena Wiebes, Elisa Balsamo and Marianne Vos were there.

It took a while for a lead group to form, it consisted of three riders: Marieke de Groot (Proximus Cyclis CT), Ana Vitória Magalhães (Bepink-Bongioanni) and Rotem Gafinovitz (Hess Cycling Team). Later, Marieke Meert (VolkerWessels) and Maaike Coljé (Arkéa-B&B Hotels) also joined them. The five early escapees built up a lead of almost 7 minutes. The five held on for a long time, but 30 kilometres from the finish the lead started to decrease. At 27 kilometres from the finish they still had 30 seconds. Behind; Lotte Kopecky started to accelerate and then Elisa Longo Borghini went into action. The Italian champion passed the early escapees and rode 10 seconds ahead of the peloton for a long time. There SD Worx checked for Lotte Kopecky. Longo Borghini started to climb the Muur van Geraardsbergen with a small lead, but at the top she was joined by Kopecky, Marianne Vos and her teammate Shirin van Anrooij. A quartet got together behind with Demi Vollering, Puck Pieterse, Thalita de Jong and Kasia Niewiadoma. They were 20 seconds behind at the foot of the Bosberg and it took a long time before there was an attack.

In the end it was Kopecky who accelerated. Vos got on her wheel, while Van Anrooij was at a small gap, while Longo Borghini was a bit further back. Over the top, Van Anrooij returned, followed a little later by Longo Borghini. There was four leaders until Longo Borghini missed out. Kopecky closed the gap, then Vos and Van Anrooij followed and then made an attempt about 6 kilometres from the finish, but Vos was watching. The Lidl-Trek riders tried to tire their opponents and immediately after Longo Borghini returned, she went again. It was Van Anrooij who ran into trouble. Eventually she did return and attacked again. Vos managed to follow, while Kopecky seemed to have difficulty in bringing back the two Dutchwomen. The women of Lidl-Trek continued to attack for a while, but when they started the last kilometre, there was still four riders left. Van Anrooij tried a late attack, but Kopecky and Vos were on the wheel and would fight it out together. Vos proved to be the fastest in the sprint. The Dutch woman won convincingly, in her first participation in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, by several lengths over Kopecky. Longo Borghini came third.

Omloop 2024

Race winner, Marianne Vos (Visma | Lease a Bike): “This victory means a lot to me. To be able to start the new season like this, I never dared to dream beforehand. That it was also my debut in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad made it even more beautiful. It was a very tough race, everyone knew how strong Kopecky was. On the road she showed she had a set of good legs. It was clear she was going to try to attack on the Kapelmuur and on the Bosberg. So it was all hands on deck to follow her there. In the end, I hoped I would have an extra gear in the sprint. Fortunately, that was the case. It’s very nice to see how my family, my girlfriend and my friends sympathised with this story. It was a long road to be back here, but I was able to prepare optimally for this start of the season. I am very happy.”

2nd, Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime): “I did everything I could and rode quite a good race, but Marianne was just faster in the end. I have reached a point where I am no longer satisfied with second place. I did everything I could to make the difference. Lidl-Trek played it well by attacking in turns. I continuously had to pull the chestnuts out of the fire. If I don’t do that, I’m riding for second place anyway. I rode quite a good race, but I had hoped for more of course. Marianne was just faster in the sprint. She was strong and then you know it’s going to be tough to drop her. As a rider, I am happy for her that she is acting at this level again. I have a lot of respect for her. This was the first classic of the season. We rode a good race. There will normally be some more percentages extra in the coming time. I will give my best in the Strade Bianche and hope to do one more place better.”

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Women Result:
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Visma | Lease a Bike in 3:27:15
2. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SD Worx-Protime
3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Lidl-Trek
4. Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Lidl-Trek
5. Thalita de Jong (Ned) Lotto Dstny in 1:08
6. Demi Vollering (Ned) SD Worx-Protime
7. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon//SRAM
8. Puck Pieterse (Ned) Fenix-Deceuninck
9. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) SD Worx-Protime at 1:53
10. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Lidl-Trek at 2:08.

Omloop’24:

 

kuurne
Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne 2024
Wout van Aert has taken his first Classic victory of the 2024 season. The leader of Visma | Lease a Bike defeated Tim Wellens and Oier Lazkano in a three-man sprint in the final of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. The three had raced for more than 80 kilometres off the front.

Kuurne 2024
Kuurne 2024

On the second day of the ‘opening weekend’ all eyes were on Kortrijk (Kuurne) for the start of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and the finish on the Brugsesteenweg. There was 196 tough kilometres to race with a total of 13 climbs on the menu, the last 7 in 30 kilometres.

Due to the strong headwind in the first 2 hours of the race, an early break took a long time coming. The wind didn’t invite attacks, but on the fourth climb of the day, Dries De Bondt (Decathlon-AG2R), Jasper De Buyst (Lotto Dstny), Fran Miholjevič (Bahrain Victorious), Luke Rowe (INEOS Grenadiers) took their chance. They soon had a lead of 3 minutes. The first hours of racing were very nervous and there were many crashes, including favourites Gerben Thijssen and Biniam Girmay, Jordi Meeus and Per Strand Hagenes. They were all able to continue, but Thijssen wasn’t looking too good. In the peloton Visma | Lease a Bike had taken control. Would they make first climb of the day, the Hameau des Papins, difficult. The Visma men held back until the next climb, Le Bourliquet, to really put down the power. It was Wout van Aert who started the battle, due to his acceleration the peloton split into several pieces. Riders at the back, including Jasper Stuyven (Lidl-Trek) and Luke Lamperti (Soudal Quick-Step) were in trouble.

At the front Visma | Lease a Bike was the best represented. In addition to Van Aert, they also had European champion Christophe Laporte, Dutch champion Dylan van Baarle and Matteo Jorgenson. There was also Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step), Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty), Toms Skujins (Lidl-Trek), Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Dstny), Pierre Gautherat (Decathlon-AG2R), Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious), Dylan Teuns (Israel-Premier Tech), Oier Lazkano (Movistar), Tim Wellens (UAE Team Emirates) and Laurence Pithie (Groupama-FDJ). This was a solid group of favourites. On the cobbles of the Mont Saint-Laurent, Van Aert decided that that group was still too large. In the gutter, only Lazkano, Wellens and Pithie managed to go with the Belgian. At the top of the climb, Van Aert wasn’t sure if this was the ideal situation and sat on the back of the group for a moment. The other three were ready and willing to work. The 20 seconds lead they had on the cobbles, soon expanded. Van Aert must have decided it was a good move and started to work. On the final climb of the day, the Côte de Trieu, the Visma | Lease a Bike leader put in an attack. This was too much for Pithie, who was distanced and Lazkano was also in trouble, but the Spanish champion fought his way back. This left three at the front with 69 flat kilometres to race to Kuurne.

The lead continued to increase. Behind there was a counter-attack by Jorgenson and Mohorič, who were later joined by the dropped Pithie, but they were stuck at just under 2 minutes. The chase group was at between 3 and 4 minutes. It looked very much like the winner would come from the Wellens-Lazkano-Van Aert trio. The leading three worked together for a long time. The tailwind in the final made sure the speed was high. Lazkano, who was probably the weakest on paper, continued to take his turns, on the advice of his Movistar DS, Jürgen Roelandts. Wellens attacked stealthily on the left side of the road four kilometres from the finish did things get a bit messy. However, tried an attack on the inside of a section of street furniture, but Van Aert was able to respond, while it took Lazkano a bit longer to fight his way back to the other two. Due to Wellens looking at Van Aert, Lazkano was back in with a (slim) chance. Just after the last bend, the Spanish champion made his expected attack. He started the sprint for Wout van Aert, who quickly caught Lazkano’s wheel. Van Aert then made a sharp final jump and Wellens couldn’t come past him before the line. After Jan Tratnik’s victory in Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Van Aert topped off a perfect ‘opening weekend’ for the Visma | Lease a Bike team. Also Jonas Vingegaard and Marianne Vos added their victories to the team’s successful weekend.

Kuurne 2024

Kuurne winner, Wout van Aert (Visma | Lease a Bike): “It is a nice victory, it is very rewarding. It was a hard race, but I had two good companions. When I felt we had a tailwind in the final I knew there was a good chance that the strongest would survive after the hilly zone. The pace was super high, I felt it was going to split. It was the logical tactic for us. When we took the lead with four I knew we had a good chance to stay ahead. With three men it is difficult to surprise, it was a good situation. I was confident that I could respond to attacks and finish in the sprint. I am very happy with our performance this weekend. It’s great to start the Classics like this. We did well as a team. It’s good for my confidence, but the upcoming Classics will be very different.”

2nd, Tim Wellens (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a very good race for me. We rode away in the hilly area and then we always kept working. I was thinking about how I could win the race against Wout, but I didn’t see many scenarios. That side (of the road island) was not necessarily faster. On the contrary, I think it was even a little longer. But it was more difficult to sit on the wheel straight away. On the other hand, beating Wout on the flat is not easy. So second was the highest possible. It was a very good weekend for the team, with Nils (Pollit) finishing second yesterday and me today. I didn’t expect to be in such good shape, because I hadn’t trained very intensively. According to my trainer, I’m not in top shape yet, but it certainly felt that way during the race. That gives confidence for what is yet to come. It was a strong headwind. So I knew that I shouldn’t start the sprint first, but now it is not the case that I am stranded on half a wheel.”

3rd, Oier Lazkano (Movistar): “I tried to go for the win, but Wout and Tim were very strong. They just kept accelerating. It was also unlikely for me to be on the road with those champions. Normally you only see them on television. I wanted to continue working together. You can’t do that, not participate. Then they start attacking you. It is better not to play your cards until the end. But there was nothing left in my legs. These are beautiful races that I always wanted to ride. I also wanted to do well here. Fortunately I had the support of sports director Jürgen Roelandts. He knows the roads here best and was one of the strongest riders of his generation. He makes you feel a bit at home here.”

# More photos in the full PEZ ‘Race Report’ HERE. #

Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne Result:
1. Wout van Aert (Bel) Visma | Lease a Bike in 4:21:01
2. Tim Wellens (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
3. Oier Lazkano (Spa) Movistar
4. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Visma | Lease a Bike at 1:23
5. Nils Eekhoff (Ned) dsm-firmenich PostNL
6. Emilien Jeannière (Fra) TotalEnergies
7. Luke Lamperti (USA) Soudal Quick-Step
8. Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Lotto Dstny
9. Marius Mayrhofer (Ger) Tudor
10. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Lidl-Trek.

Kuurne’24:

 

uae tour23
UAE Tour 2024
The Fourth Stage of the UAE Tour, finishing in Dubai Harbour, was won by Tim Merlier. The Belgian of Soudal Quick-Step was the fastest again in the bunch sprint. Arvid de Kleijn finished second and Olav Kooij was third.

UAE Tour 2024

For the fourth stage, the UAE Tour was in the City of Dubai. The route was mostly run between the high buildings, but the peloton also went into the desert to the Al Qudra Cycle Track. The wind could possibly cause chaos and echelons during the stage, but a bunch sprint was very likely. The stage didn’t have any climbs.

The break of the day formed early and it was Mark Stewart again. The British Team Corratec-Vini Fantini rider, who is leading the sprint and intermediate sprint classifications, was joined by Harm Vanhoucke from Lotto Dstny. This suited the sprinter’s teams and the difference quickly increased to more than 4 minutes. Stewart and Vanhoucke never really had a chance of a stage victory. Stewart was there to take points for the sprint and intermediate sprint classification. He had no problems with the intermediate sprints and then dropped back to the peloton after a good days work. Vanhoucke rode on by himself before he was caught 50 kilometres from the finish by Alpecin-Deceuninck, Jayco AlUla and dsm-firmenich PostNL. The sprinter’s teams didn’t have to make too much effort to catch Vanhoucke. The pace in the peloton was not too high and a sprint after 168 kilometres was guaranteed.

In the last 10 kilometres, the sprint trains tried to control the peloton. In the last 3 kilometres there was a crash in the peloton, involving 10 riders, with Pascal Ackermann as the most well known victim. The German of Israel-Premier Tech would not be able to sprint for victory. The men of Alpecin-Deceuninck started sprint preparation, but their intended sprinter, Kaden Groves, didn’t appear. Kooij decided to be the first to start early, but he was soon passed by Merlier, who managed to keep De Kleijn behind him. Kooij finished third. Fabio Jakobsen was again not really involved and finished 6th. Dylan Groenewegen, Sam Bennett and Mark Cavendish were nowhere.

UAE Tour 2024 stage 4

Stage winner, Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step): “It would be nice to win all four flat stages but the other sprinters will make it hard for me. But I already won two stages here. I’m looking forward to more but it’s not easy. My team-mate Ilan Van Wilder crashed but I avoided it. My team-mates put me in a good spot. It looks like the train is on the rails. Because the wind was co)ming from the left side, I saw Olav [Kooij] going and luckily I found my way and from there it was straight forward to the line. We rode yesterday for Ilan and we show every day that we are a very strong team. Bert Van Lerberghe and I know each other since we were 12 years old. It’s a nice story. Last year we came together in this team. I’m happy to have a god lead out man.”

Red jersey, Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates): “Nothing really changed since we set the strategy for this race. It’s just a little bit different for me to be the rider in the lead. It’s pretty special and Dubai is a special place to be in for this. During the first part of the stage, it was pretty relaxed so I took time to look at the buildings but further on, I stayed focused with my team-mates to stick together as a team. I always have Vegard [Stake Laengen] close to me in case something wrong happens. Once we reached the last kilometres, I felt relieved and stress free. It’s a very nice race to be in this position. It’s a shame not to win the bunch sprint in Dubai like last year but our priority remains to win the overall.”

UAE Tour Stage 4 Result:
1. Tim Merlier (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step in 4:01:47
2. Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Tudor
3. Olav Kooij (Ned) Visma | Lease a Bike
4. Stanisław Aniołkowski (Pol) Cofidis
5. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Corratec-Vini Fantini
6. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) dsm-firmenich PostNL
7. Jarne Van de Paar (Bel) Lotto Dstny
8. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain Victorious
9. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Movistar
10. Oded Kogut (Isr) Israel-Premier Tech.

UAE Tour Overall After Stage 4:
1. Jay Vine (Aus) UAE Team Emirates in 11:41:31
2. Ben O’Connor (Aus) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale at 0:11
3. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:13
4. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step at 0:21
5. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 0:22
6. Max Poole (GB) dsm-firmenich PostNL at 0:31
7. Tobias Foss (Nor) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:33
8. Simon Carr (GB) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:36
9. Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates at 0:37
10. Attila Valter (Hun) Visma | Lease a Bike at 0:39.

UAE Tour’24 stage 4:

 

Stage 5 of the UAE Tour was won by Olav Kooij. The 22 year-old Visma | Lease a Bike Dutch sprinter was the fastest in the bunch sprint in Umm Al Quwain. He beat Tim Merlier, who had a slow puncture, and Sam Welsford. Jay Vine retained the red leader’s jersey.

UAE Tour 2024

From the start in Al Aqah, there was nothing to split the peloton in the fifth stage of the UAE Tour. There was a climb early in the stage, but the strong headwind held back any attackers. Three riders still tried to get away: Jacopo Mosca (Lidl-Trek) and Lennert Van Eetvelt and Harm Vanhoucke (both Lotto Dstny), took a lead of 6 minutes.

Van Eetvelt was the best placed overall and was able to collect bonus seconds during the stage and was virtual leader before they were caught A bunch sprint was going to decide the stage, although Mosca tried to win solo. There was a lot of headwind on the wide finish, but Kooij won after a photo finish. Merlier was fast, but was sprinting on a soft tyre.

UAE Tour 2024

Stage winner, Olav Kooij (Visma | Lease a Bike): “It’s never easy to get it right. I came out of the last roundabout quite well. When Mark [Cavdendish] launched the sprint, I was hoping to find a little gap and I did. On the line I didn’t know because Tim [Merlier] was very close and on the other side of the road. I had to wait a bit to know. I’ve made good base to my condition in the winter. I didn’t get any sickness or injury. I had a win at Clasica de Almeria to come here in the UAE with confidence. This is the team where I started in the development team. I feel very comfortable here. The performance level of this team is very high. In races like this, we come with the team committed to sprints and we’ll do it at the Giro d’Italia also this year.”

Red jersey, Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates): “I came to the UAE Tour with a lot of training in the legs. Today it wasn’t super stressful but always something can happen. Past the last corner, everyone was rushing to the front. I enjoyed being in the lead today even more than yesterday. Riding at the front in the last ten kilometres is the less scary place and it’s always exciting to race ahead of bunch sprints. I was trying to keep myself safe and me being safe, it also helped our two riders set to go for the sprint. It’s good to be in the Red Jersey for another day.”

Green jersey and 2nd on the stage, Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step): “It was a very close one like last year with Caleb Ewan. My back tyre was a bit flat at the end. With 6km to go, I felt the pressure was gone. We don’t ride tubeless so we had to make a decision, change bike or try like that. At the end, I tried but I told the guys I’d only try to get some points for the Green Jersey but with 200 metres to go, I saw I might as well win and I went all out. The Green Jersey was a goal, we’ll try to defend it. Last year I had the green jersey to win the last sprint stage and I hope it’ll be just the same tomorrow.”

UAE Tour Stage 5 Result:
1. Olav Kooij (Ned) Visma | Lease a Bike in 4:08:38
2. Tim Merlier (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step
3. Sam Welsford (Aus) BORA-hansgrohe
4. Simone Consonni (Ita) Lidl-Trek
5. Milan Fretin (Bel) Cofidis
6. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain Victorious
7. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jayco AlUla
8. Tim van Dijke (Ned) Visma | Lease a Bike
9. Kaden Groves (Aus) Alpecin-Deceuninck
10. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) dsm-firmenich PostNL.

UAE Tour Overall After Stage 5:
1. Jay Vine (Aus) UAE Team Emirates in 15:50:09
2. Ben O’Connor (Aus) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale at 0:11
3. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:13
4. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step at 0:21
5. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 0:22
6. Max Poole (GB) dsm-firmenich PostNL at 0:31
7. Tobias Foss (Nor) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:33
8. Simon Carr (GB) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:36
9. Lennert Van Eetvelt (Bel) Lotto Dstny at 0:37
10. Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates.

UAE Tour’24 stage 5:

 

Tim Merlier won the Sixth Stage of the UAE Tour. The fast-finisher of Soudal Quick-Step beat Arvid de Kleijn and Phil Bauhaus in a bunch sprint. For Merlier it is his third victory this week. Jay Vine remains the leader.

UAE Tour 2024

Day six of the UAE Tour was another one for the sprinters. The peloton had to race from the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum to Abu Dhabi Breakwater, a stage of 138 kilometres.

There was an early break of three. Juan Pedro López (Lidl-Trek), Eddy Finé (Cofidis) and Marco Murgano (Corratec-Vini Fantini) escaped soon after the start. A little later Alpecin-Deceuninck chose to chase the escapees. Jonas Rickaert and Henri Uhlig rode at the head of the race together and the lead decreased to 1 minute. They held on to that lead for a while, but the last escapees were caught 12 kilometres from the finish. In the last kilometres several teams brought their sprinters forward. Jayco AlUla, Astana Qazaqstan, who had to do without Mark Cavendish, and Soudal Quick-Step were present. It ended up being a chaotic sprint, without any real lead-outs. Gleb Syritsa was one of the fast-men who started a long sprint, but he could not maintain his speed. Tim Merlier once again timed his sprint perfectly and took his third victory in the UAE Tour. Arvid de Kleijn again took second place. Phil Bauhaus finished third.

UAE Tour 2024

Stage winner and Green jersey, Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step): “The guys brought me in good position when the road was a bit narrow. From there it went really fast. I was a bit surprised to see that we were already in the last kilometre. There was a bit of space to move up with 700 metres to go. Bert [Van Lerberghe] delivered me just on time. I didn’t find his slipstream anymore but I went all in as we were coming to the right. It’s nice to finish it off. It’s a very nice feeling to be the first guy to win three stages in a single UAE Tour, looking at all the sprinters who were here in the past and now. It makes me really proud.”

Red jersey, Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates): “I didn’t see any dangerous point today really. It reminded me of not so long ago when I was commuting by bike to go to work in Australia. You got that feeling of riding through red lights it was very cool to have a look at the buildings and stuff. Today was not super hard, but it’s going to be a big day tomorrow. I’ll have to consume about 4000 calories, maybe a bit more, so I had to do fuelling today for tomorrow, on the bike, after race and this evening, just to keep my stomach ok. I don’t know if we’ll have to set a defensive tempo tomorrow. Looking at this stage in previous years, it’s really up to people who have to make up time that haver to make the race hard, so I expect Decathlon-Ag2r and Soudal Quick-Step to speed up from the lower slopes. It shouldn’t be all up to us. We have some good riders. Mikkel [Bjerg] is really strong. To have him as far as possible up the climb with us will be useful. It’s also probably going to be the hottest day of the week tomorrow. It’ll be about responding, not losing time. As long as I keep McNulty’s wheel in front of mine, it should be fine.”

3rd on the stage, Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious): “Every day we made improvement with our lead out and today was the best team effort and I’m also happy I could bring a podium home. I mean, it was difficult to win here, and also, I have to say I was missing the speed a little bit in the end to have the kick for the sprint and was tired from the last days. But yes, I think we can be happy with the podium, I mean, Merlier was again the strongest today, and so I am happy to finish third. It’s also a good morale boost for tomorrow, as we have Pello in a good position for the GC, so I hope he can make a podium as well.”

UAE Tour Stage 6 Result:
1. Tim Merlier (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step in 3:02:14
2. Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Tudor
3. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain Victorious
4. Milan Fretin (Bel) Cofidis
5. Gleb Syritsa (-) Astana Qazaqstan
6. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jayco AlUla
7. Jarne Van de Paar (Bel) Lotto Dstny
8. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Movistar
9. Juan Sebastián Molano (Col) UAE Team Emirates
10. Simone Consonni (Ita) Lidl-Trek.

UAE Tour Overall After Stage 6:
1. Jay Vine (Aus) UAE Team Emirates in 18:52:23
2. Ben O’Connor (Aus) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale at 0:11
3. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:13
4. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step at 0:21
5. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 0:22
6. Max Poole (GB) dsm-firmenich PostNL at 0:31
7. Tobias Foss (Nor) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:33
8. Simon Carr (GB) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:36
9. Lennert Van Eetvelt (Lotto Dstny at 0:37
10. Mikkel Bjerg Den) UAE Team Emirates.

UAE Tour’24 stage 6:

 

Lennert Van Eetvelt is the final winner of the 2024 UAE Tour. The young Belgian of Lotto Dstny won the Final Stage 7 on the climb of the Jebel Hafeet and also took the final overall by 2 seconds from Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) who was third on the stage. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) finished second on the stage and was third overall.

UAE Tour 2024

The UAE Tour finish line of the 7th and final stage was at the top of Jebel Hafeet, in the interior of Abu Dhabi. The race would be decided there on Sunday. The final climb was just under 11 kilometres long and rises at an average of 7%, with some ramps at over 10%. In the past, Tadej Pogačar (three times), Adam Yates (twice) and Alejandro Valverde have won here.

Four riders wanted to start the decisive climb with a lead and formed the break of the day. Mark Stewart Corratec-Vini Fantini) was there again and Silvan Dillier and Jonas Rickaert (both Alpecin-Deceuninck) joined him. German climber Emanuel Buchmann (BORA-hansgrohe) was the fourth rider. The peloton let them gain a lead of 6 minutes. In the peloton, the pace was set by UAE Team Emirates for overall leader Jay Vine and 3rd overall Brandon McNulty. The lead of Stewart, Dillier, Rickaert and Buchmann got smaller and smaller due to the crosswind. The wind split the peloton into several echelons more than once. Sixty kilometres from the finish, an initial elite group of about 30 riders managed to escape, but the dropped riders were able to get back to the front group. A little further into the finale there was another promising attempt, but this was also nipped in the bud.

It was an almost complete peloton at the foot of Jebel Hafeet. The early escapees started the first sections 1 minute ahead and this was the signal for the best climber in the leading group, Buchmann, to go. He joined by Dillier for a while, but he eventually cracked and continue at his own pace. In the peloton riders were being dropped. Ben O’Connor previously won the first mountain stage to Jebel Jais and made no secret of his ambitions. He told his teammates of Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale to thin things out and this turned out to be the death blow for the two leaders of UAE Team Emirates. McNulty let go very early and with just over 7 kilometres to go it was also too fast for Vine. The Australian red jersey wearer was dropped from a group of about 30 riders. Ben O’Connor, 2nd overall was well placed for the win, but Ilan Van Wilder, Pello Bilbao and Max Poole were still there. Buchmann set a particularly good pace and held up well. Five kilometres from the finish, his lead was still 1 minute.

We had to wait for an attack from O’Connor, but it was Bilbao who took the lead. This inspired other riders to attack, but the better climbers kept an eye on each other. Due to the many accelerations in the group of favourites, Buchmann’s lead disappeared. The German was caught with just under 3 kilometres to go. Bilbao, who had jumped away, was the first to pass Buchmann. It looked like the Spaniard was on his way to victory, but Lennert Van Eetvelt, Ilan Van Wilder and Michael Storer closed the gap. In the flatter penultimate kilometre, the pursuers returned, but Van Eetvelt had other plans. The young Belgian of Lotto Dstny had something left and jumped away from Van Wilder and Storer and this turned out to be the decisive move. Van Eetvelt not only won the stage, but also managed to gain enough lead in the final kilometre to overtake O’Connor on the GC. The Australian pulled himself inside out in the final metres to limit the damage, but he lost 22 seconds at the finish to stage winner Van Eetvelt, who also took 10 bonus seconds. This turned out to be enough for a double. The difference between Van Eetvelt and O’Connor after seven stages was barely 2 seconds.

UAE Tour 2024

Stage winner, overall and best young rider winner, Lennert Van Eetvelt (Lotto Dstny): “Before the climb there were echelons and I got stuck in a second group. I had the feeling I lost the race there, but luckily we came back into the first group just before the Jebel Hafeet. I felt I had good legs on the climb and I really wanted to take out the maximum. I attacked with two kilometres to go, as I didn’t want to have any regrets afterwards. I really couldn’t believe it when I saw the gap was growing. Taking home the victory is unbelievable. After the finish I also heard I won the general classification with only two seconds, it’s just fantastic.”

2nd on the stage and 3rd overall, Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious): ”It was a really strange day, super intense racing, and maybe I was too excited in the last climb. I was feeling really strong, I wanted to go for the victory, for my Birthday for my teammates. They did an incredible job today. I destroyed all the team just to save my a**, just to try and comeback, they did an incredible job. I wanted to dedicate the victory today for them, to my kid and also for me on my birthday. But it was not possible, no, I raced with my heart and not so much with my head. In the end, in the critical moment, I couldn’t follow the best wheel. I just needed to be focussed, stay second in the stage, take the bonus and fight for the options of the podium. Okay, after an intense seven days of racing, we are on the podium. Yesterday was also a good stage with Phil. So it’s not bad, no?. I’m happy with the attitude the team showed during all the race and especially today they were incredible. I enjoyed racing here once again and I hope the spectators also enjoyed the intense race.”

Green jersey, Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step): “I didn’t expect Lennert Van Eetveld to win the UAE Tour. But we knew that echelons could dictate the scenario of the race and some riders paid the price. As for myself, I’m really happy and proud of what I’ve achieved here with three stage wins and the Green Jersey for the second year in a row. I’d like to come back to the UAE Tour for sure.”

Black jersey, Mark Stewart (Corratec-Vini Fantini): “I really enjoyed the UAE Tour so I didn’t want to finish it without enjoying one last breakaway even though I didn’t need to score any more points for the black jersey. I wanted to go up the road and have some fun. With 7’ lead, I knew the dynamics and what was going on behind with lots of wind. But at some point I thought we could go for the stage win. But that was too hard. I’ve made a lot of friends in the bunch this week. To make a breakaway one day is maybe easy but to do for four days with some of the best riders in the world is pretty special.”

UAE Tour Stage 7 Result:
1. Lennert Van Eetvelt (Bel) Lotto Dstny in 3:38:28
2. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 0:22
3. Ben O’Connor (Aus) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale
4. Michael Storer (Aus) Tudor
5. Attila Valter (Hun) Visma | Lease a Bike
6. Carlos Verona (Spa) Lidl-Trek
7. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step at 0:27
8. Brandon Smith Rivera (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:38
9. Einer Rubio (Col) Movistar
10. Bart Lemmen (Ned) Visma | Lease a Bike at 0:47.

UAE Tour Final Overall Result:
1. Lennert Van Eetvelt (Bel) Lotto Dstny in 22:31:18
2. Ben O’Connor (Aus) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale at 0:02
3. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 0:11
4. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step at 0:21
5. Attila Valter (Hun) Visma | Lease a Bike at 0:34
6. Michael Storer (Aus) Tudor at 0:36
7. Max Poole (GB) dsm-firmenich PostNL at 0:55
8. Brandon Smith Rivera (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:00
9. Carlos Verona (Spa) Lidl-Trek at 1:09
10. Bart Lemmen (Ned) Visma | Lease a Bike at 1:13.

UAE Tour’24 stage 7:

 

gran camiño
O Gran Camiño 2024
Joshua Tarling won the Stage 1 time trial of the O Gran Camiño 2024. The 20 year-old European TT champion beat Darren Rafferty and Pablo Castrillo, the INEOS Grenadiers rider also took the overall leader’s jersey. There are no time differences due to the strong gusts of wind, only the result of the time trial counts.

O Gran Camino 2024

Due to the strong wind in Galicia, it was decided before the start of the time trial, partly due to a crash by David Gaudu during the reconnaissance, that there would be no times taken for the overall, the riders would only ride for stage victory, so many decided to take it easy, especially as the last part of the route was treacherous. It was also decided that normal racing bikes would be used. The riders had to cover 14.8 kilometres from A Coruña, on mainly flat roads, there were three short climbs. Joey Rosskopf was the first to set a serious time, although Ethan Hayter and Wilco Kelderman soon beat him. The Dutchman was in the lead for a long time.

In the end it was the surprising Xabier Mikel Azparren of Q36.5 who displaced the Visma | Lease a Bike rider. Tarling came in nearly a minute faster than Azparren’s time. Rafferty took 2nd place, ahead of the surprising 23 year-old Spaniard Pablo Castrillo (Equipo Kern Pharma), with Will Barta in 4th. Kelderman was now sixth. Egan Bernal, Carlos Rodríguez and defending champion Jonas Vingegaard took no risks to finish down on Tarling. Everyone will be at the start of stage two on the same time.

O Gran Camino 2024

Stage winner and overall leader, Joshua Tarling (INEOS Grenadiers): “I would have preferred to show my new Pinarello time trial bike here, but that will be for the next one. I’m happy but also tired. It was an extremely tough and tricky time trial due to the wind. The last four kilometres in particular were more difficult than during the reconnaissance. In the beginning the wind was against us, but it was also very windy on the way back. Even the descent was tough. There was no easy part of the course, which makes it a very tough time trial. We are extremely strong. Everyone is on fire within the team. Egan Bernal, Ethan Hayter, Carlos Rodríguez, we are all fine and in good condition. So we have good chances this week.”

O Gran Camiño Stage 1 Result:
1. Joshua Tarling (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 18:21
2. Darren Rafferty (Irl) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:42
3. Pablo Castrillo (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma at 0:48
4. Will Barta (USA) Movistar at 0:55
5. Xabier Mikel Azparren (Spa) Q36.5 at 0:58
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Visma | Lease a Bike at 1:02
7. Raúl García Pierna (Spa) Arkéa-B&B Hotels at 1:05
8. Andrea Piccolo (Ita) EF Education-EasyPost at 1:09
9. Carlos Canal (Spa) Movistar
10. Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:14.

O Gran Camiño Overall After Stage 1:
1. Joshua Tarling (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 18:21
2. Darren Rafferty (Irl) EF Education-EasyPost
3. Pablo Castrillo (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
4. Will Barta (USA) Movistar
5. Xabier Mikel Azparren (Spa) Q36.5
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Visma | Lease a Bike
7. Raúl García Pierna (Spa) Arkéa-B&B Hotels
8. Andrea Piccolo (Ita) EF Education-EasyPost
9. Carlos Canal (Spa) Movistar
10. Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol) INEOS Grenadiers.

O Gran Camiño’24 stage 1:

 

Jonas Vingegaard won the first road stage of the O Gran Camiño. The Dane of Visma | Lease a Bike crossed the finish line of Stage 2 solo and is also the overall leader.

O Gran Camino 2024

The opening time trial of O Gran Camiño was not part of the overall due to the wind. Stage 2 from Taboada to Chantada (151.2 kilometres) was hit by heavy rain. The wet roads and showers were a problem for the peloton all day. There were also four climbs. The Alto Paradela and Alto Sonan, both Cat.3, then the Alto de San Pedro de Licora, Cat.2. climbed twice. It is 5.2 kilometres long at 6.1%, so not too difficult.

It took 40 kilometres for a break to form: Tiago Antunes (Efapel Cycling), Jorge Arcas (Movistar), Enekoitz Azparren (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Xabier Azparren (Q36.5), Davide Bais and Andrea Pietrobon (Polti Kometa), Sebastian Berwick (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), José Manuel Díaz (Burgos BH), Frederico Figueiredo (Sabgal/Anicolor), Alex Molenaar (Illes Balears Arabay Cycling), Embret Svestad-Bardseng (Arkéa-B&B Hotels) and Davide Uriarte (Equipo Kern Pharma) made the escape, but they were never given much of a lead. The young Spaniard Xabier Azparren and Dutchman Molenaar had a lead of 45 seconds on the Alto de San Pedro de Licora (Cat.2), but Visma | Lease a Bike was setting a fast pace in the peloton. Wilco Kelderman was working hard on the front for Vingegaard.

Just under 4 kilometres from the top, 6.7 kilometres from the finish, Vingegaard took off his rain jacket and launched his attack. He soon closed the gap to Molenaar, but the two-time Tour winner was unable to get away from all his opponents. A surprisingly strong Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) and Jefferson Cepeda (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) joined him. The big problem for Vingegaard was that the top of the climbs were not hard enough to get away. Twenty seconds after the first three, Groupama-FDJ and EF Education-EasyPost chased for leaders Richard Carapaz and David Gaudu. Less than 1 kilometre from the top, Cepeda and Bernal had let go. The two couldn’t respond when Vingegaard placed an attack. At the top of the climb he still had 3 kilometres to go to the finish, but the road was flat. Ex-Tour winner Bernal won the sprint for second place ahead of Cepeda, and not far behind, Vingegaard’s teammate Cian Uijtdebroeks was 4th.

O Gran Camino 2024

Stage winner and overall leader, Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Visma | Lease a Bike): “I am very satisfied with this win. Because of the cold and the rain, it was anything but pleasant today. Nevertheless, we still managed to put in a strong team performance. The guys rode very strongly, so I’m happy that I could reward their work with a win. They deserved it. I like to race in Galicia, even though it wasn’t the best weather conditions. This was my fourth stage win here, although this one was definitely not easy. With Bernal I had a tough competitor for the stage win. In terms of form, I am already where I wanted to be. I’m looking forward to the next stages.”

8th on the stage and 10th overall, Matteo Fabbro (Polti Kometa): “The team wanted us to be at the front of the breakaway, it was achieved with Davide and Pietrobon, and everyone else was helping me, close to me in the bunch. On the last two climbs they put me in a perfect position and then it was a matter of legs. I tried to follow the best, I held with the favourites and I was able to fight for the top-10 in the sprint. I think I can be happy with the result, in my first day of competition really with Team Polti Kometa.”

O Gran Camiño Stage 2 Result:
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Visma | Lease a Bike in 3:50:03
2. Egan Bernal (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:24
3. Jefferson Alveiro Cepeda (Ecu) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
4. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Visma | Lease a Bike at 0:40
5. Lenny Martinez (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
6. Alex Molenaar (Ned) Illes Balears Arabay Cycling at 0:46
7. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Polti Kometa
9. Raúl García Pierna (Spa) Arkéa-B&B Hotels
10. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) EF Education-EasyPost.

O Gran Camiño Overall After Stage 2:
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Visma | Lease a Bike in 3:49:53
2. Egan Bernal (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:20
3. Jefferson Alveiro Cepeda (Ecu) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:30
4. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Visma | Lease a Bike at 0:50
5. Lenny Martinez (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
6. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Movistar
7. Alex Molenaar (Ned) Illes Balears Arabay Cycling
8. Raúl García Pierna (Spa) Arkéa-B&B Hotels
9. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Polti Kometa.

O Gran Camiño’24 stage 2:

 

Jonas Vingegaard also won Stage 3 of the O Gran Camiño. After a crazy start, in which he briefly went on the attack himself, he managed to catch the break in the finale and won the stage. The Dane strengthened his lead in the race with one stage to go.

O Gran Comino 2024

The third day was a hilly stage from Xinzo de Limia to Castelo de Ribadavia. There were four climbs, three were of third category and one second category. It was an excellent stage for the attackers, as the fourth stage would be a battle between the GC men.

It was thought that Visma | Lease a Bike was going to control the stage. Jonas Vingegaard had the leader’s jersey and could save his strength for the final stage. However, this didn’t happen. On the Alto de Estivadas, the leader of the race attacked. The Dane managed to surprise some of his opponents and a group of 10 got away. In this group, Vingegaard had help from teammate Wilco Kelderman. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Richard Carapaz, Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) and Jefferson Cepeda (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) were all also there. The group of 10 had a gap of 30 seconds on the peloton. In the run-up to the second climb of the day, the leading group didn’t increase the gap. The peloton was able to close the gap little by little. At the foot of the Alto Albergueria they were all together.

It was David de la Cruz (Q36.5) who tried to get away. The Spaniard managed to open a gap and waited to see if anyone would join him. Six other riders came across. Andrea Piccolo (EF Education-EasyPost) chased the lone escapee and took Jokin Murguialday (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Pablo Castrillo (Equipo Kern Pharma), Victor Langelotti (Burgos-BH), Asier Etxeberria (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Joaquim Silva (Efapel Cycling) with him. At 80 kilometres from the finish the lead was more than 6 minutes, but this would not be enough to stay away from the peloton. At the foot of the last climb the lead had shrunk to just under 1 minute. In the end it was Jonas Vingegaard, who attacked on the last climb of the day. The Dane was on his own and heading for the remaining escapee: Pablo Castrillo. The two joined forces and started the final descent together. It was too difficult for the Spaniard to hold the leader’s wheel. Vingegaard rode the last 10 kilometres solo to the finish for his second victory in a row.

O Grand Camino 2024

Stage winner and overall leader, Jonas Vingegaard (Visma | Lease a Bike): “Carapaz was the one who started attacking after the mountain sprint. We had a nice gap pretty quickly and the collaboration was excellent. I definitely gave it a chance and would see what it would bring in the end. It was another very tough day. The guys did an excellent job of keeping the leading group within shot. Then I took the risk to attack and luckily I was able to keep my lead until the finish. It’s another tough ride (stage 4). We will have to come up with a good plan to stay out of trouble. It is the last stage so we will do everything we can to secure the jersey.”

O Gran Camiño Stage 3 Result:
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Visma | Lease a Bike in 4:03:14
2. Carlos Canal (Spa) Movistar at 0:29
3. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
4. Gotzon Martín (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
5. Guillermo Thomas Silva (Uru) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
6. Joan Bou (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
7. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Q36.5
9. Raúl García Pierna (Spa) Arkéa-B&B Hotels
10. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Movistar.

O Gran Camiño Overall After Stage 3:
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Visma | Lease a Bike in 7:52:51
2. Egan Bernal (Col) INEOS Grenadiers in 1:13
3. Jefferson Alveiro Cepeda (Ecu) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 1:15
4. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Visma | Lease a Bike at 1:35
5. Lenny Martinez (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
6. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:37
7. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Movistar at 1:38
8. Raúl García Pierna (Spa) Arkéa-B&B Hotels at 1:40
9. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) EF Education-EasyPost
10. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:41.

O Gran Camiño’24 stage 3:

 

Jonas Vingegaard also won the Final Fourth Stage of O Gran Camiño. The Dane of Visma | Lease a Bike also won the first two stages and is the final overall winner. Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) was 2nd on the stage and overall. Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost) was 3rd on the stage and Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) was 4th on the stage and 3rd overall.

Gran Camino 2024

Bad weather conditions continued to plague O Gran Camiño. After the neutralisation of the time trial, the fourth and final stage also had to be shortened. The riders didn’t have to climb the Alto de San Xiao because the descent was on a narrow road and due to the rain and wind, the organisers decided not to take any risks. So after the Alto de San Cosme, the peloton had to ride to the final climb, Monte Aloia. This is the same climb as the Alto de San Xiao, only now they rode to the summit finish. The American Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), who lost his chance of a good overall place earlier in the race, lit the fuse early. On the first climb of the day, the Alto Cruceiro do Monte, he attacked with Javier Romo (Movistar) and Wilco Kelderman (Visma | Lease a Bike). The group didn’t work, so Powless continued on his own.

Eric Antonio Fagundez (Burgos-BH), Asier Etxeberria (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Joaquim Silva and Pedro Pinto (Efapel Cycling), Rafael Reis (Sabgal/Anicolor) and Walter Calzoni (Q36.5) counter-attacked and closed the gap, they had a lead of 4 minutes on the Visma controlled peloton. In the final the rain was harder and so the TV coverage was minimal. In the run-up to the final climb, only Calzoni, Silva and Fagundez remained at the front, but Visma | Lease a Bike pulled them back. In the last 3 kilometres all the escapees were caught and Vingegaard went on the attack. Lenny Martinez couldn’t bridge the gap, but he moved up to 2nd place overall and took the young rider jersey from Cian Uijtdebroeks.

Gran Camino 2024

Stage winner and final overall winner, Jonas Vingegaard (Visma | Lease a Bike): “I am very satisfied with the past week. Everyone did a fantastic job. With three stage wins and the overall victory, we can speak of an almost perfect O Gran Camino. The only less positive thing is the weather. Very unfortunate that we had to finish in these tough weather conditions,”

O Gran Camiño Stage 4 Result:
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Visma | Lease a Bike in 3:27:20
2. Lenny Martinez (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:16
3. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:45
4. Egan Bernal (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:48
5. Jefferson Alveiro Cepeda (Ecu) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:49
6. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Visma | Lease a Bike at 0:57
7. Javier Romo (Spa) Movistar at 1:04
8. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Polti Kometa at 1:10
9. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:11
10. Raúl García Pierna (Spa) Arkéa-B&B Hotels.

O Gran Camiño Final Overall Result:
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Visma | Lease a Bike in 11:20:01
2. Lenny Martinez (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:55
3. Egan Bernal (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 2:11
4. Jefferson Alveiro Cepeda (Ecu) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 2:14
5. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Visma | Lease a Bike at 2:42
6. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-EasyPost at 2:48
7. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 2:58
8. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Movistar at 2:59
9. Raúl García Pierna (Spa) Arkéa-B&B Hotels at 3:01
10. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Polti Kometa.

O Gran Camiño’24 stage 4:

 

faun22
Faun-Ardèche Classic 2024
Juan Ayuso won the Faun-Ardèche Classic in France on Saturday. After a hilly final, the UAE Team Emirates rider was the strongest of a four-man group. In the sprint he beat Romain Grégoire and Mattias Skjelmose, who had to settle for second and third places.

Faun Ardeche 2024

The Faun-Ardèche Classic had a nice field of participants at the start with Juan Ayuso, Felix Gall, Romain Bardet, Mattias Skjelmose and Valentin Madouas. It was a hilly course of 169.5 kilometres with the Côte du Pin (9.9km at 4.3%) and the steep Val d’Enfer (1.6km at 10.3%) were the two big obstacles. It wasn’t long after the start in Guilherand-Granges for the break of the day to form with Frenchman Antoine Hue (CIC U Nantes Atlantique) and the Norwegian Fredrik Dversnes (Uno-X Mobility).

Then another Frenchman of the Continental team Nice Métropole Côte d’Azur went on the attack. Melvin Crommelinck crossed and made it three in the leading group. The maximum lead was almost 7 minutes. After the first crossing of the finish line, the gap had come down to 6 minutes. In the second lap, the favourites put their men pawns on the front and reduced the lead halfway through the race to just over 2 minutes. Lidl-Trek, Groupama-FDJ, UAE Team Emirates and Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale took care of the chase.

The three escapees didn’t give up and they managed to lift the pace a little and Antoine Hue was dropped and they were caught in the Val d’Enfer. With 40 kilometres to go, a group of about 70 riders was still together. The riders had to cross the Saint-Romain-de-Lerps and Val d’Enfer one more time. On the Saint-Romain-de-Lerps it was Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek) who took the lead. The Dane opened a small gap, but soon had Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), Romain Grégoire (Groupama-FDJ) and Felix Gall (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) on his wheel. The four left the rest of the peloton further and further behind them. On the Val d’enfer, the four were still together. The 21 year-old Grégoire was distanced, but quickly managed to connect again. Several attacks turned out to make no difference and so it was going to be a sprint in Guilherand-Granges. The peloton came very close, but it was Juan Ayuso who took the victory. Romain Grégoire and Mattias Skjelmose finished second and third.

Faun Ardeche 2024

Race winner, Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates): “The race went really well. It was quite a hard one and the team did a great job with Bax pulling the bunch all day and then Novak getting me in position for the climb. Arrieta covered well in the group behind also. I didn’t want to start the sprint from the front but I was hearing in the radio that they were coming from behind so I opened it up early. The guys came past me initially but thankfully I managed to haul them back and take the win. We’ll aim to go for another good result tomorrow.”

Faun-Ardèche Classic Result:
1. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates in 4:23:34
2. Romain Grégoire (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:01
3. Mattias Skjelmose (Den) Lidl-Trek
4. Felix Gall (Aust) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale
5. Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Dstny at 0:08
6. Kevin Vermaerke (USA) dsm-firmenich PostNL at 0:07
7. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty at 0:06
8. Jordan Jegat (Fra) TotalEnergies at 0:05
9. Aurélien Paret-Peintre (Fra) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale at 0:04
10. Igor Arrieta (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 0:03.

Faun-Ardèche’24:

 

faun drome22
Faun Drôme Classic 2024
Marc Hirschi of UAE Emirates won the Drôme Classic on Sunday. The Swiss rider crossed the line solo, after breaking away from a leading group of six. His teammate Juan Ayuso took second place and Belgian Maxim Van Gils of Lotto Dstny finished third.

Faun Drôme 2024

The peloton had to cover 189 kilometres. In the finale there was the Côte des Roberts (1.6km at 8%) and the Côte de Grane (1.7km at 5.5%) were the main climbs. The last kilometre was also uphill.

After the starting, a leading group of three quickly escaped, consisting of Alexander Konijn of Nice Métropole Côte d’Azur, Noah Detalle of Bingoal WB and Antoine Hue of CIC U Nantes Atlantique. With 56 kilometres to go, just before the final started, the three were caught by the peloton. Lidl-Trek increased the pace on the Col de la Grande Limite. Not much later, Skjelmose and Ayuso went on the attack, splitting the peloton. The pair were joined by Van Gils on the descent. Behind this a trio there was Hirschi, Warren Barguil (dsm-Firmenich PostNL) and Bastien Tronchon (Decathlon AG2R).

On the Côte des Roberts, the pursuers joined the leaders, so there was a group of six ahead. The peloton’s deficit had now increased to well over 1 minute. During the climb of Plateau de Soulier, Skjelmose had a hard time and had to let the leading group go. However, he managed to rejoin 10 kilometres from the finish. With just under 5 kilometres to go, Hirschi attacked on the flat. The Swiss rider opened a nice gap and started the final kilometre with a lead of more than 10 seconds. The pursuers couldn’t do enough and Hirschi rode to victory. Ayuso completed the party for UAE Team Emirates by finishing second. Behind them, Van Gils sprinted to third place.

Faun Drome 2024

Race winner, Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates): “I took my chance. This victory is good for confidence. Yesterday the legs weren’t so good, but today they were a lot better. It was a beautiful race. This course is perfect for me. I don’t race in France often so I was happy to be at the start here. He was the leader (Ayuso). He attacked very strongly. I had to wait and see how the legs reacted to that acceleration. In the end I was able to join the leading group without having to ride because Ayuso was in the lead. Ayuso kept his legs still and Skjelmose was already very tired, so there were actually only three riders in the chase. I knew it was my chance. I immediately took a few seconds and that was enough.”

Faun Drôme Classic Result:
1. Marc Hirschi (Sui) UAE Team Emirates in 4:41:28
2. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 0:05
3. Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Dstny at 0:08
4. Warren Barguil (Fra) dsm-firmenich PostNL at 0:12
5. Mattias Skjelmose (Den) Lidl-Trek at 0:15
6. Bastien Tronchon (Fra) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale at 0:25
7. Paul Lapeira (Fra) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale at 1:05
8. Corbin Strong (NZ) Israel-Premier Tech at 1:07
9. Benoît Cosnefroy (Fra) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale at 1:21
10. Dorian Godon (Fra) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale.

Faun Drôme’24:

 

Alpecin 2024
Mathieu van der Poel’s Spring Classics: From Milano-Sanremo to Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Mathieu van der Poel has announced his program for the spring Classics. The World champion will appear in almost every top Classic.

Van der Poel starts his road season in Milan-Sanremo, so he will miss Strade Bianche again. He has been training in Spain for some time now, to be good at the Classics and he starts with La Primavera, which he won last year. He will then ride all the major spring Classics on the weekend. In addition to the E3 Saxo Classic, Gent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, MvdP returnS to the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

It is a big challenge to be in top form in all the monuments and the other major spring races, but it is very important to Van der Poel to show his rainbow jersey as often as possible. He hopes to win his fourth monument in La Doyenne and the current final should suit him. However, he will have to deal with Remco Evenepoel and Tadej Pogačar. Van der Poel has repeated several times that he considers this unrealistic. His participation is currently ‘To Be Determined’, so it is yet to be officially confirmed.

Mathieu van der Poel Spring Race Schedule 2024:
Milan-Sanremo (Ita)
E3 Saxo Classic (Bel)
Gent-Wevelgem (Bel)
Tour of Flanders (Bel)
Paris-Roubaix (Fra)
Amstel Gold Race (Ned)
Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Bel).

All the Classics for Mathieu:
super8 classic

 

soudal quick-step 2024
Philippe Gilbert’s wife Answers Marion Rousse: “Patrick just says what many people think”
Patrick Lefevere qualified his harsh statements against Julian Alaphilippe, but that is not the end of the story. Philippe Gilbert’s wife, Bettina Pesce, is now also making herself heard on social media and lashing out, not at Lefevere, but at Rousse.

In a double interview in HUMO, Lefevere was hard on Alaphilippe. “Too many parties, too much alcohol… Julian is seriously under the spell of Marion Rousse (his partner). Maybe too much. Julian is a young dog full of energy, you should let him cross in the yard every now and then. And you must also say: this far and no further. There is still a naughty little boy inside him,” he said.

There was a lot of commotion after these statements by the Belgian manager. Rousse felt attacked and responded on social media with a statement. Lefevere felt compelled to respond himself and qualify his statements. That seemed to be the end of the matter, but Bettina Pesce, wife of former Quick-Step rider Philippe Gilbert, feels she had to respond to Rousse’s take on the situation.

“This is what they call the other side of the coin, Marion,” she begins her post on Instagram. “And then Patrick only tells part of your husband’s story. It would be better to keep it a bit low profile… Patrick just says out loud what he thinks and what many people around you think. He pays his rider a fortune and then he also owes his boss something. That’s just how it works.”

She added: “You live to talk bad about people from behind your microphone, while you can hide in the studio. And if you have to take responsibility, you are never at the appointment. Your message is a good reflection of what really affected you, and that is your image,” Pesce said.

tdf22st12
Bettina Pesce and Philippe Gilbert

Lefevere Regrets his Words about Alaphilippe: “When I see what it caused, that was not the intention”
Patrick Lefevere responded again to his statements about Julian Alaphilippe and the trouble that followed. He spoke to VTM and admitted that he may have made a mistake. “When I see what it caused, that was certainly not the intention.”

According to Lefevere, the intention was not to insult his leader: “It was an interview of two to three hours and that passage was two minutes.” Does he regretted his statements. “Regret? When I see what it caused, yes. Because it certainly wasn’t the intention. It’s not like we had already drunk three bottles of wine, two or three glasses at most.”

According to Lefevere, Alaphillipe and he evaluated at the end of 2022. “Class alone is no longer enough, we also have to work hard. In the past you didn’t have top riders like Wout van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel and Tadej Pogačar,” the conclusion of that conversation would have been according to the director. The French puncheur is said to have promised Lefevere again before last winter that he would work hard. “Give me one more winter. Then I’m going to prove that I can get back to standard. If that is not the case, then I have to draw my own conclusions,” the rider said, according to his team boss.

Regarding the accusation against Marion Rousse, Lefevere indicates that he may have used the wrong words. “I didn’t say anything special about them. On the contrary, at that moment it might have been a good thing that she wasn’t there. But as always, it is misunderstood.” According to the team boss, the controversy is over. “I insisted on being here (the Omloop press meeting) because the atmosphere was a bit tense. I can put it all in place and I hope he (Julian Alaphilippe) can too.”

Marion Rousse and Julian Alaphilippe at the pre Omloop training ride:
omloop2024

 

bardiani
Domenico Pozzovivo Signs for VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè
It took a long time, but Domenico Pozzovivo has found a team for 2024. The 41 year-old Italian climber is returning to one of his old teams, as he has signed for one year with VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè.

Domenico Pozzovivo’s cycling career was hanging by a nail for a long time and the Italian looked to be finished. In October, in conversation with WielerFlits, he indicated that quitting was a serious option. “There aren’t many conversations. It’s definitely possible that I’ll quit. Honestly? I still have the legs and the motivation to continue, but if that doesn’t work, I’ll stop.”

Four months further on and it appears: Pozzovivo is certainly not ready to stop being a professional cyclist. The pocket climber still has a twentieth professional season, wearing the kit of the team where it all started for him: VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè. Pozzovivo rode for the Italian team from 2005 to 2012 and had his first successes there.

Roberto Reverberi, the team manager of VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè, is very enthusiastic about Pozzovivo’s return. “Domenico will play a crucial role as a mentor and guide to the younger riders within the team. He is incredibly professional and still races at a high level after all these years. We are happy and proud that he can end his career for the team where it all started. The circle is round.”

“It looks like a movie script, but it has finally become reality,” Pozzovivo himself is over the moon. “I am returning to the team where I took my first steps as a professional cyclist nineteen years ago. This brings with it a lot of emotions, but I also feel an enormous urge to pass on my experiences. I have to thank Bruno and Roberto Reverberi for the opportunity they gave me.”

Pozzovivo back with Reverberi:
pozzovivi

 

lotto
Victor Campenaerts has a Crazy Idea: “Email to [email protected]
Victor Campenaerts started the Opening Weekend with a crazy idea. The Belgian of Lotto Dstny has been in Spain in recent weeks and only raced the individual time trial of five kilometres in the Ruta del Sol, in Spanish spring sunshine, but he didn’t get that weather in the Opening weekend.

Rain and strong wind were predicted and so the former time trial specialist will probably come home to a rude awakening. Het Laatste Nieuws writes a funny story, because Campenaerts has come up with an idea: “I plan to wear four layers of clothing, which I will take off one by one as the race progresses. In the hustle and bustle it is impossible to hand over every piece of clothing to the support vehicle, so I will always throw my excess clothing to the fans.”

But the Belgian would like to have the clothing back after the race. He is afraid that he will run out of winter clothing before the really big races on the calendar, at the end of March and the beginning of April. So, Campenaerts has come up with a plan for his lost clothes.

“I will have a ticket sewn into all my clothes with this email address: [email protected]. The people on the side of the road who pick up my clothes can email me and we can agree how I will get the clothes back. In exchange, they receive a coffee and a voucher for a cycling jersey with my signature at the end of the season, when I no longer need that clothing.”

No luck for the fans with this jacket:
Omloop 2024

 

soudal quick-step 2024
Patrick Lefevere Gave Gianni Moscon a Minimum Contract
Patrick Lefevere has spoken more about Gianni Moscon joining his team in his weekly column in Het Nieuwsblad. The Soudal Quick-Step manager explained how Moscon was close to the end of his career and how he managed to get the Italian into his team. “Specialized sent an email with a number of concerns.”

“After all the big stories of the past week, can it be about sports? About the gamble I took on the transfer market? Despite everything, I am a believer in Gianni Moscon and I am certainly happy that he is finally driving for our team,” Lefevere started his column.

Lefevere first stated that Moscon was offered to him every year, but there was never enough money. “This fall Lombardi came back with Gianni Moscon. That was actually a ‘no’ in advance because my budget was completely gone. But Lombardi, as a good salesman, told a whole story: Gianni only wanted to race for our team. It was either that or quit as a rider and become an apple farmer in Italy.”

“Long story short: I made Lombardi an dishonourable proposition. I was able to offer Moscon the contract of a newcomer. So the minimum. No one could believe me, but I really do that with red cheeks. It is the same story as with Mark Cavendish: you know that you do not pay a rider what he is intrinsically worth.”

“Of course: Moscon is a rider with a reputation. A short fuse on the bike, just like I had. It was not an item for me, sponsor Specialized did send an email with a number of concerns. As good Americans, they must of course guard their image. We also discussed behaviour during the intake interview, but I am not worried. I have now come to know Gianni as an atypical Italian. Never the big word at the table, rather a calm character next to the bike.”

Lefevere also said that if Moscon performs well, his salary will increase. “His first races of the season were difficult, but after two years of struggling, that is not abnormal. If Gianni finds his best form again with us, following the example of Cav, I will be a happy manager. And the agreement has been made: if performance is good, we will also do something about the minimum contract.”

Moscon on minimum wage:
Omloop 2024

 

uae adq
Yana Seel Joins the Management of the Women’s UAE Team ADQ
Yana Seel has found a new challenge in cycling. Until the end of 2023, she was Chief Business Officer at Lotto Dstny, after first laying the foundation for the new Astana-Premier Tech. She now brings her expertise to the women’s peloton, where the 39 year-old Belgian with Kazakh roots will work as Head of Business and Communications at UAE Team ADQ.

She will take on a new position within the team, where her responsibilities lie with business development, marketing and communication. “The decision to join this team was made after much thought and research. Over the last six years I have been able to build up experience in cycling and prove my qualities in all aspects of developing the business model in cycling.”

Seel is looking forward to her new challenge, she says. “This team not only has the ambition to be the best at what they do, they are also strongly committed to achieving their goals in areas such as integrity and respect. I also hold these two values in high regard. I am happy and proud that I can start this new adventure.”

Melissa Moncada is the boss behind UAE Team ADQ and she is very happy with the arrival of Seel. “She is a perfect fit for our core values and mission, which is dedicated to strengthening leadership opportunities for women. Yana’s years of experience ensure a significant impact. Not just within women’s cycling, but across the industry. The insights and strategies she has from men’s cycling will take us to new heights.”

Yana Seel to UAE Team ADQ:
Yana Seel

 

flanders
Subsidence Causes Problems for the Paterberg
Due to a subsidence, the road to the Paterberg is currently closed to traffic. And this may also have consequences for the upcoming Flemish spring Classics. “We fear that vibrations could cause even more ground subsidence,” Public Works Councilor Willem-Jan Baert told Het Nieuwsblad.

Due to a subsidence at the top of the Rampe, there is a problem for cycle races that go to the Paterberg. From that road the riders descend the Middelloopstraat to the steep cobblestone-strewn slope. However, due to ground subsidence, the road is currently closed to traffic. The ground has completely disappeared on one side for 50 metres.

“For now, only the side has slipped away,” Baert points out. “The road itself is still intact. But we are closing the road because we fear that vibrations could cause even more subsidence. The lock is also gone. It is located meters lower, so it is not safe. We have received the contractor’s quote and he promises that everything will be ready when the E3 Saxo Classic passes here. That is on March 22. The Tour of Flanders is a week later.”

For the time being, plan A does not appear to be in jeopardy. “If everything is safely restored, there is no problem. If the contractor is not ready, there is a plan B. The course then continues to take the next road. A walk around the block, so to speak. They then have to take a sharp bend where the earth has now disappeared up to the asphalt. That’s where things have to be put in order first, so that the bend can be taken safely.”

“If there are still problems, the bend will be safely closed off with concrete blocks, because that road is the only way to the foot of the Paterberg. But let’s assume that plan A succeeds. There is a good chance that the riders will experience inconvenience during E3 explorations. We already know that. We have to assume that everything will be fine for the important cycle races that will take place there. But it is clear that there is stress for everyone who has to deal with it.”

Subsidence problems for the Paterberg:
flanders20

 

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