EUROTRASH Monday: National Champs and Tour News!
Everything you need to know
National championships weekend and we try to include as many as possible – Road and time trail and all the latest Tour de France news.
NEOM City in Saudi Arabia could be Jumbo-Visma’s new sponsor – TOP STORY.
National championships news: As many results for the championships as we could. More on Thursday.
Tour de France news: No Tour for Chris Froome, Egan Bernal to ride the Tour, Peter Sagan prepares for his last Tour, ASO, UCI and CPA in talks to improve the Tour safety, DSM, Israel-Premier Tech, Intermarché-Circus-Wanty and Jayco AlUla Tour teams, Astana Qazaqstan new jersey for the Tour, Andreas Kron not ready for the Tour and Mark Renshaw to join Astana Qazaqstan for the Tour.
Rider news: Geraint Thomas aiming for la Vuelta, Juan Ayuso wants to shine in the 2024 Tour, Fabio Jakobsen on his way to Team dsm-firmenich and Magnus Cort to Uno-X.
Team news: Colby Simmons and Darren van Bekkum extended with the Jumbo-Visma Development Team, Menno Huising turns professional with Jumbo-Visma in 2025 and Jumbo-Visma Development Team signs Brennan, Pattinson and Smithson.
Race news: Giro Donne will go ahead, Denmark wants to be part of the WorldTour and TDU’24 stages.
Big Monday EUROTRASH coffee time.
TOP STORY: NEOM City in Saudi Arabia Could be Jumbo-Visma’s New Sponsor
Raymond Kerckhoffs writes in WielerFlits that the largest architectural plan in the world, NEOM City in Saudi Arabia, is looking into the possibility of taking over the main sponsorship of Jumbo-Visma from 2024. A source from the Middle East has suggested to WielerFlits that NEOM takes cycle sport very seriously and that they see the sponsorship of the World’s best cycling team as a unique opportunity.
NEOM City contains numerous cities, resorts and other developments. The intended area of the planned city is 26,500 km², about the size of Belgium. NEOM will stretch for 460 kilometres along the Red Sea coast. The project is largely financed by the Public Investment Fund, which invests funds on behalf of the government of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi development company set up to create NEOM claims the fund is contributing $500 billion to the plan. This mega project is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan to diversify the country’s economy to reduce dependence on oil revenues. Ambitious timetables call for a large part of the project to be built by 2030. The first part to be completed is the luxury island of Sindalah. The developer of NEOM aims to welcome the first guests in early 2024. That would also be the ideal time to start a major sponsorship project.
“Interesting,” is the reaction from Richard Plugge, the CEO of Jumbo-Visma, he claims not to have had any contact with NEOM. “Their interest in sponsoring our team is new to me. It is possible that one of our contact persons or agencies that we have engaged to find a new sponsor for us is in contact with this party. We get an update from them every so often. We are currently in serious talks with several international parties, but there is nothing concrete yet.”
Bahrain, UAE, AlUla… NEOM next?
The Dutch tax economist, Stijn Janssen, has lived in the Middle East for many years and is actively involved in several major deals in the sports world. “Naturally, NEOM sees the opportunities offered by Jumbo-Visma’s main sponsorship. It fits their profile exactly, following UAE Team Emirates and Bahrain Victorious, to become a superpower in the cycling world. Saudi Arabia is mainly looking for long-term deals. That in turn fits Jumbo-Visma, which is looking for a partner until the end of 2030 and has the ambition to continuously belong to the best teams in the world,” said Janssen.
“In cycling, the first steps have been carefully taken with the Saudi Tour, which is organised by Tour de France organiser ASO. And the AlUla tourist region has become the second sponsor of the Australian WorldTeam Jayco-AlUla. I think that NEOM is considering becoming the main sponsor of the best cycling team in the world.”
According to Janssen, Saudi Arabia wants to activate NEOM as part of its sports strategy in various areas. “The regime wants the NEOM to become a top destination for major sporting events. For example, NEOM will be the location of the 2029 Asian Winter Games. It was the first time that the Olympic family awarded an event to a city that is not yet really on the map. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been the most important person in Saudi Arabia since 2017, realises that sport is a fantastic tool to create new diplomatic relations, conclude new trade agreements, attract tourists and promote sport in general. as a focal point to create a position in international society. If you now talk to young Saudis, no less than 63% of Saudis are under the age of 30, you notice that there is confidence in these reforms and that they believe in a good future in their country.”
Is the future NEOM?
Belgian National Men’s Road Race Championship 2023
Remco Evenepoel won the Belgian road championship in Izegem on Sunday. The Soudal Quick-Step World champion was part of a leading group in the final, he rode away with Alec Segaert and then beat his companion in the sprint. Jasper Stuyven finished in third place.
After the start in Izegem in West Flanders, the race goes to Gullegem, Menen and Wervik towards the Heuveland for the Monteberg and the Kemmelberg, which had to be climbed three times, but the last ascent of the Kemmelberg was more than a 100 kilometres from the finish. Back in Izegem there were four local laps for the full distance of 230.7 kilometres.
There was an early break with Gianni Marchand (Tarteletto-Isorex), Rémy Mertz (Bingoal WB), Baptiste Planckaert (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Laurens Sweeck (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Tosh Van der Sande (Jumbo-Visma), Jelle Wallays (Cofidis) and Jordi Warlop (Soudal Quick-Step). But only Marchand, Van der Sande and Wallays would remain. There were a few favourites coming up. Wout van Aert and Yves Lampaert went to battle on one of the climbs of the Kemmelberg. Together with Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Dries De Pooter (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Dries Van Gestel (TotalEnergies), Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Dstny) and Sep Vanmarcke (Israel-Premier Tech) they make the jump to the front, where three riders had managed to hold out, for a leading group of eleven.
The peloton soon faced a gap of more than 2 minutes. Team Flanders-Baloise and Bingoal WB initially took charge of the pursuit, but later Soudal Quick-Step and Alpecin-Deceuninck, the teams of Tim Merlier and Jasper Philipsen, also came to help. It ensured that the lead was reduced to about 1 minute with about 60 kilometres to go. That was the signal for Wout van Aert and Yves Lampaert to carry on the move. The leading group split into several pieces, which fell back one by one to the peloton, except for Van Aert and Lampaert. They held out for a long time against the peloton, which was thinning out due to the high pace. An acceleration by Julien Vermote, who rode the last race of his career as a one-man team, also contributed to this. He was followed by the World champion Remco Evenepoel and Victor Campenaerts, but after a few kilometres everything came back together again.
Everything came together 30 kilometres from the end: Lampaert and Van Aert were caught and Remco Evenepoel made an attack. This led to an escape group of ten, with Evenepoel, his teammate Dries Devenyns, Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma), Stan Dewulf (AG2R Citroën), Christophe Noppe (Cofidis), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Jasper De Buyst, Victor Campenaerts and Alec Segaert (Lotto Dstny). The attackers were 30 seconds ahead of the peloton, where Alpecin-Deceuninck tried to close the gap. Evenepoel placed another attack just over 10 kilometres from the finish and Alec Segaert was able to follow. Benoot, Stuyven, Dewulf, Campenaerts and De Buyst were the next chasers as the peloton lost more and more ground. Evenepoel did most of the work and in the last kilometres it all came down to Evenepoel. This was no problem as the two stayed away. The World champion started the sprint from the front, but Segaert couldn’t get past and Evenepoel took the title. Jasper Stuyven won the sprint for third place.
Belgian national champion, Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step): “It was a long and hard day, which was complicated even more by the heat. I can’t say I felt good in the first part of the race, when we were in a perfect position, with Yves up the road, while Tim and myself remained in the peloton. It was only in the last two hours that I began feeling better, so I decided to try something, the first time in the final 30 kilometres, and then, with ten kilometres to go. That sprint was probably the longest one of my career, but as I still had something left, I trusted it and I’m glad of how it panned out after five hours in the saddle. To have two of cycling’s most beautiful and prestigious jerseys in my palmarès gives me a lot of pleasure.”
2nd, Alec Segaert (Lotto Dstny): “I didn’t dare to dream this, it was a fantastic week with also that silver medal at the Belgian ITT championships. This truly was a hell of a race with the heat as additional factor but thanks to the heat protocol of the performance department and the help of the entire team, I could cool down enough. With three Lotto Dstny riders in the front group, we created a good situation. In a tactical game, we needed to be attentive for attacks and when Evenepoel accelerated I had to go all out to follow but we eventually got a gap. Then it was a case of hoping to have something left in the tank to sprint. The goal was to tire out the world champion but after such a long and hard race – one of my longest rides so far – I had to compromise on explosivity. It is a pity but to be beaten by the world champion is not a shame.”
Belgian National Men’s Road Race Championship Result:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step in 4:52:08
2. Alec Segaert (Bel) Lotto Dstny
3. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo at 0:19
4. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
5. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Dstny
6. Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroën
7. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Dstny at 0:23
8. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex at 0:37
9. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel-Premier Tech
10. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Bingoal WB at 0:39.
Two jerseys for Evenepoel:
Netherlands National Men’s Road Race Championship 2023
Dylan van Baarle is the new Dutch road champion. The Jumbo-Visma rider attacked at the right time in the final and Olav Kooij was the perfect teammate behind and managed to neutralise top favourite Mathieu van der Poel.
In South Limburg, the race covered 220.4 kilometres, with several short climbs. The final lap of 19 kilometres had 180 metres of climbing with the Kollenberg (0.5km at 6.8%), the Stockselseweg (0.4km at 5.3%) and the climb on the Watersley Sports & Talent Park (600m at 5.3%). After the start there was a bit of a wait for the first serious attack, but after 15 kilometres two riders jumped away from the peloton. Olav Kooij together with Jasper Haest from VolkerWessels Cycling Team went on the attack. These two managed a lead of 15 seconds, but were caught again towards the Loorberg. Kooij and Haest attacked again and this time they, with three other riders, had more success.
Kooij and Haest were joined by Robert Gesink (Jumbo-Visma), Jochem Kerckhaert (BEAT) and Timo de Jong (VolkerWessels Cycling Team) and these five were allowed to go by the peloton. The lead quickly increased to 3 minutes. Jumbo-Visma were in the best position towards the final, with two riders at the head of the race. Alpecin-Deceuninck, the team of top favourite Mathieu van der Poel had no one with them. Alpecin-Deceuninck decided to take its responsibility in the pursuit of the five leaders, so it was up to Oscar Riesebeek, Mees Hendrix and Ramon Sinkeldam to keep the difference within limits. The break took a maximum of 4 minutes, but the lead of the five escapees was soon halved again. With 90 kilometres to go, the lead of Gesink, Kooij, Kerckhaert, De Jong and Haest had dropped to 3 minutes.
There was a problem for an organised pursuit due to the narrow roads, the high speed and the various hills, the peloton was now split into different groups. The attacks now came in rapid succession. Last year’s champion, Pascal Eenkhoorn was very active and Mathieu van der Poel also opened the attack, but it was Ide Schelling, Bart Lemmen and Frank van den Broek who managed to set up a successful counter-attack. These three went on the hunt for the remaining leaders Gesink, Kooij, Kerckhaert and Haest. Van der Poel was a bit caught up in Jumbo-Visma’s team tactics. The big favourite tried to get rid of his opponents, but his attacks were neutralised by the men of Jumbo-Visma. It looked like an attack from Van der Poel on one of the climbs, but he was unable to continue his effort and was caught again by a chasing group, including Eenkhoorn, Cees Bol, Dylan van Baarle and Gijs Leemreize .
On the penultimate climb of the local circuit, the top favourite tried again and this proved to be the impetus for a successful counter-attack. Van der Poel was shadowed by Marijn van den Berg and Dylan van Baarle, who were not prepared to work, but these three riders still managed to close the gap with the seven front riders. With just over 35 kilometres to go the group of 10 riders were together for the last lap of 19 kilometres: Van der Poel, Van Baarle, Van den Berg, Gesink, Kooij, Schelling, Lemmen, Frank van den Broek, Haest and Kerckhaert. These riders initially worked quite well together and managed to increase their lead over a chasing group. Nothing happened for a while until Van der Poel decided to unleash his jump again with 20 kilometres to go. The Alpecin-Deceuninck rider failed to drop Van den Berg and Kooij, and not much later the other riders also returned. The next move came from Frank van den Broek.
The 22 year-old of the Continental ABLOC team got away and the pursuers were not prepared to work for each other. Van der Poel also held back to spare his legs for a final attack. Van den Broek saw his chance and managed to gather 20 seconds. Ten kilometres from the finish he was passed by Dylan van Baarle, who had rode away from the group. Van Baarle’s lead quickly increased to 15 seconds. Van der Poel tried to cross to Van Baarle with a last acceleration, but he couldn’t get rid of Kooij. The sprinter then played the team game perfectly. Kooij did n’t help Van der Poel, knowing that Van Baarle was up the road. This turned out to be a decisive moment in the race: Van Baarle had flown and soloed impressively to his first Dutch title. Van Baarle had time to celebrate his title win. Kooij finished second, Van der Poel was third.
Netherlands national champion, Dylan van Baarle (Jumbo-Visma): “It is a dream to ride the Tour de France in red, white and blue. After a failed spring and a lot of bad luck, this is sweet. Things were going well at the Dauphiné, and I was able to connect the dots at the training camp in Tignes. I’m more than happy with this victory. I chose the right moment for my attack. Mathieu van der Poel had attacked so many times before, so I wasn’t surprised that he didn’t follow. When he goes full speed on the climbs, I can’t follow. So I had to be smart. I know very well what I can and can’t do. Olav had to try to follow Mathieu on the climbs, and he did. That’s very strong. And Olav was very strong in the lead group with Robert Gesink. Behind them, we were always riding with different guys. It was also a matter of teamwork because I would never have made it without help. This victory is also for my teammates.”
2nd, Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma): “It was a tough battle, also because of the hot weather. We rode attentively, and I’m glad I was part of the breakaway. Robert did an excellent job. We won as a team and rode as a strong block. It all worked out perfectly.”
Netherlands National Men’s Road Race Championship Result:
1. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 4:59:02
2. Olav Kooij (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:36
3. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:39
4. Bart Lemmen (Ned) Human Powered Health at 0:57
5. Jasper Haest (Ned) VolkerWessels Cycling Team at 1:04
6. Marijn van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-EasyPost at 1:40
7. Mick van Dijke (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 2:12
8. Frank van den Broek (Ned) ABLOC CT at 2:17
9. Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
10. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Intermarché-Circus-Wanty.
French National Men’s Road Race Championship Result:
Valentin Madouas is the champion of France. The 26 year-old rider crossed the line solo after a tough day. Rudy Molard was second for Groupama-FDJ, just under 2 minutes later. Julien Bernard was third.
The French road championship started in Hazebrouck. From there it went to Cassel for 15 local circuits. The Mont Cassel (1.5km at 4.4%) and the finish (1.2km at 7.3%) every lap for 224 kilometres.
A large leading group formed early on the tough course. There were eight riders from Groupama-FDJ: Bruno Armirail, Romain Grégoire, Thibaut Pinot, Rudy Molard, Quentin Pacher, David Gaudu, Valentin Madouas and Olivier Le Gac. Arkéa-Samsic had five: Ewen Costiou, Elie Gesbert, Anthony Delapace, Laurent Pichon and Mathis Le Berre. The rest of the group consisted of Pierre-Luc Périchon & Bryan Coquard (Cofidis), Aurélien Paret-Peintre, Nicolas Prodhomme & Alex Baudin (AG2R Citroën), Florian Sénéchal (Soudal Quick-Step), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) and Axel Laurance (Alpecin-Deceuninck Development). Julian Alaphilippe had missed the split and would also drop out from the peloton later. The co-operation at the front was not too good. Some riders attacked, others were dropped. The group split. Two riders managed to get away with 100 kilometres to go: Costiou and Grégoire. Many of early attackers went back to the peloton and a chasing group of five formed with Molard, Madouas, Gesbert, Le Berre and Dorian Godon, who had returned from behind. They joined the leading duo 80 kilometres from the finish.
The difference to the peloton quickly increased. Initially only Cofidis chased. Later, when it became clear that Aurélien Paret-Peintre and TotalEnergies rider Jérémy Cabot couldn’t make the jump to the front, Cofidis was helped by AG2R Citroën. The 2 minute gap 70 kilometres from the finish decreased. Several riders thought they could cross to the leaders. While Costiou and Grégoire had to let the front riders go, a few succeeded to get over. At 35 kilometres from the finish we had a leading group with Molard, Madouas, Gesbert, Le Berre and newcomers David Gaudu, Benoît Cosnefroy, Tony Gallopin, Julien Bernard, Clément Champoussin and Nans Peters. At the start of the penultimate lap, this group fell apart. Groupama-FDJ reacted and were left with three riders at the front: Gaudu, Madouas and Molard.
After 5 kilometres there were new developments. First Gaudu was dropped, then Molard couldn’t hang on. Madouas was solo with 20 kilometres to go, with a chasing group of Gallopin, Bernard and his teammate Molard, who didn’t cooperate. Madouas had a lead of more than 1 minute, but then disaster seemed to strike. Madouas quickly got a new bike and hardly lost any time. In the kilometres that followed, he took more time. Going into the last kilometre, he was 1:40 ahead of the pursuers. Less than 2 minutes after winning, Madouas’ teammate Rudy Molard crossed the finish line in second place. Julien Bernard was third.
French National Men’s Road Race Championship Result:
1. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 5:41:13
2. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:49
3. Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo at 1:57
4. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Trek-Segafredo at 2:13
5. Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 3:29
6. Élie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 4:05
7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 4:45
8. Matis Louvel (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 5:12
9. Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis at 6:19
10. Maxime Jarnet (Fra) Van Rysel-Roubaix Lille Métropole at 6:21.
French champion Valentin Madouas:
British National Men’s Road Race Championship 2023
Fred Wright took the first win of his pro career on Sunday. The 24-year-old Bahrain Victorious rider became British road champion. James Knox was second, Stephen Williams third. The British Road Championships took place in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire. There was a circuit of 18.5 kilometres with a lot of climbing, the final 400 metres had an average of slope 7.8%.
Three riders were away in the final: James Knox (Soudal Quick-Step), Stephen Williams (Israel-Premier Tech) and Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious). With 5 kilometres to go, Williams attacked, but was countered by Wright. Wright had a few seconds lead at the foot of the last climb and he managed to hold on to his lead to record his first professional victory, which he dedicated to his teammate Gino Mäder. He crossed the line with fingers pointing to the sky. James Knox crossed the finish line just seconds later, Stephen Williams took the bronze.
British National Men’s Road Race Championship Result:
1. Fred Wright (GB) Bahrain-Victorious
2. James Knox (GB) Soudal Quick-Step
3. Stephen Williams (GB) Israel-Premier Tech
4. Owain Doull (GB) EF Education-EasyPost
5. Samuel Watson (GB) Groupama-FDJ
6. Connor Swift (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
7. Mark Donovan (GB) Q36.5
8. James Shaw (GB) EF Education-EasyPost
9. Joshua Golliker (GB) Equipe continentale Groupama-FDJ
10. Harrison Wood (GB) Cofidis.
GB national champ – Fred Wright:
Irish National Men’s Road Race Championship 2023
Ben Healy is the National Champion of Ireland. The 22 year-old of EF Education-EasyPost broke away from an elite group 100 kilometres from the finish and won by 4 minutes from Rory Townsend. Sam Bennett was third.
The Irish championship was held over 164.3 kilometres. After a 35.4 kilometre run-up, there were six local laps with the Killylass climb each lap. On the first ascent, Healy split the race. Only fifteen riders remained, but this was still too many for Healy. At the start of the second lap, Healy attacked again, which led to a leading group of six. Only Sam Bennett, Ryan Mullen (BORA-hansgrohe), Rory Townsend (Bolton Equities Black Spoke), Dillon Corkery (CC Étupes) and Leo Doyle (ARBO-Headstart ON Fahrrad) could hold Healy’s wheel. The next time up Killylass, Healy went again. This time he was alone, with a 100 kilometres to go.
In the chase group, Mullen did most of the work to bring back the leader. At one point, after Corkery and Doyle were dropped, it was Townsend who attacked. Mullen had to let go, leaving Bennett with Townsend. The duo closed in on Healy: 15 seconds on the penultimate lap. Then Healy turned the power on again. Townsend dropped Bennett, but Healy was getting further and further away. Healy eventually crossed the line with a lead of over 4 minutes. Townsend was second, Bennett was third and was caught by teammate Mullen and Corkery.
Irish National Men’s Road Race Championship Result:
1. Ben Healy (Irl) EF Education-EasyPost in 3:37:53
2. Rory Townsend (Irl) Bolton Equities Black Spoke at 4:12
3. Sam Bennett (Irl) BORA-hansgrohe at 5:49
4. Ryan Mullen (Irl) BORA-hansgrohe at 5:50
5. Dillon Corkery (Irl) CC Étupes
6. Mark Dowling (Irl) at 7:06
7. Jamie Meehan
8. Darren Rafferty (Irl) Hagens Berman Axeon
9. Jesse Ewart (Irl) Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team
10. Leo Doyle (Irl) ARBÖ headstart ON-Fahrrad at 8:05.
Irish champion, Ben Healy:
Netherlands National Women’s Road Race Championship 2023
Demi Vollering is the new champion of the Netherlands. The SD Worx rider attacked on the final lap and, with a big difference, crossed the line solo in Sittard-Geleen. Lorena Wiebes sprinted to second place, ahead of Marianne Vos.
The NK on the road for women was just over 153 kilometres. After the start in Valkenburg, there was a 60 kilometre run-up, including the climbs of the Loorberg, the Kruisberg and the Trintelerberg. The circuit in Sittard-Geleen also contained a number of short, but tough climbs. The finish on the Heerlenerweg also hard. The lap of 18.5 kilometres had to be completed four and a half times. Long before the riders reached Sittard-Geleen, the race was already on. There was no early break, but there were attacks in the difficult opening section. Annemiek van Vleuten, the World champion, clearly wanted to make it a tough race and attacked several times. After the Kruisberg, where Van Vleuten also threw down the gauntlet, she rode away together with Demi Vollering. The two thought it was too early to continue and allowed themselves to be swallowed up again by a chasing group.
At that time there was no longer a real peloton. The race was completely split. With just under 100 kilometres to go, two riders broke away from the thinned peloton: Esmée Peperkamp (DSM) and Eva van Agt (Jumbo-Visma). Kirstie van Haaften tried to make the crossing, but ended up stuck between break and peloton. Peperkamp and Van Agt were more than 4:30 ahead of the peloton, where initially no team really took the initiative. Later, Marit Raaijmakers (Human Powered Health), Femke Markus and eventually Mischa Bredewold (SD Worx) started riding anyway. This ensured that the difference with 25 kilometres to go was reduced to under a minute. When things came to a halt again in the peloton, Demi Vollering opened the action. Her attack was neutralised, but the pace was high. At the end of the penultimate lap, Paulina Rooijakkers attacked, although she was replaced by Mischa Bredewold. The SD Worx rider didn’t get away, but there was a lot of damage at the back. A group of fifteen riders remained. Voller tried to get away, but she couldn’t make a gap. At the beginning of the final lap she got away and crossed to the front runners.
Peperkamp couldn’t hold on and Van Agt tried to catch them. That worked for a while, but soon Van Agt also had to let go. Van Vleuten tried, with Bredewold on her wheel, to make the jump to the leader of SD Worx, but she was unable to close the gap. The World champion fell back to the pursuers, where Jumbo-Visma was in the majority. They attacked alternately in an attempt to get back to Vollering. On one of the slopes halfway through the final lap, Annemiek van Vleuten made a frantic attempt to make the jump. It resulted in a thinning out in the chase group, where Riejanne Markus and Karlijn Swinkels took the lead ahead of Marianne Vos. It did not help. Vollering only got further away and eventually started with more than 1 minute on the closing climb. She was able to celebrate her first national road title. Behind her it was a battle for second place. Despite several failures in the last kilometres, it came down to a sprint on the final climb. Van Vleuten tried to make it a long sprint, but Lorena Wiebes had no problem. In the last hundred metres she sprinted off Van Vleuten’s wheel to second place. Marianne Vos took the bronze.
Netherlands National Women’s Road Race Championship Result:
1. Demi Vollering (Ned) SD Worx in 3:54:04
2. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) SD Worx at 0:58
3. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:00
4. Loes Adegeest (Ned) FDJ-SUEZ
5. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Movistar
6. Mischa Bredewold (Ned) SD Worx at 1:02
7. Pauliena Rooijakkers (Ned) Canyon//SRAM
8. Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Movistar
9. Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10. Ilse Pluimers (Ned) AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step at 1:07.
Kazakhstan National Men’s Road Race Championship 2023
After winning the Kazakh time trial title earlier this week, Alexey Lutsenko is now also the champion on the road. The 30 year-old all-rounder stayed ahead of last year’s champion Yevgeniy Gidich. For Lutsenko it is his third title on the road, after previous wins in 2018 and 2019. For his team Astana Qazaqstan it is the seventh title victory in a row, after Arman Kamyshev, Artyom Zakharov, Yevgeniy Fedorov and Yevgeniy Gidich also won the team.
Alexey Lutsenko won the road race (164 km) at the Kazakhstan National Championships, which finished in Taldykorgan. Lutsenko attacked solo from a leading group with some 20 km to go, opening a good gap, enough to finish alone and to become the new road race champion.
“It was a very good test of my form, and I am really happy with the race and with the way I was feeling during the whole day. With a week before the Tour de France it was important to check my conditions and looks like everything is going by plan. We attacked and broke away quite early, so he had to push hard and to stay away almost all day long, but we succeed. In the final I found a moment to go solo, it was a nice move for me, which brought me the title of the national champion. I am happy with my success at the National Championships and for me it will be a great honour to start the Tour de France in the jersey of the national champion of Kazakhstan”, – said Alexey Lutsenko.
A group of riders with Lutsenko, 2022 road race champion Yevgeniy Gidich and 2022 time trial champion Yuriy Natarov broke away clear after the first 20 km of racing, taking a good gap to the peloton. Later it was Gidich and Lutsenko together with Daniil Marukhin and Alexandr Semenov, who attacked again to create the decisive leading group. Alexey Lutsenko and Yevgeniy Gidich worked well together to keep the gap, while on the final lap Lutsenko counterattacked to win the race, while Gidich won the sprint for the second place.
Having the time trial title on Wednesday and winning the road race in Taldykorgan, Alexey Lutsenko became 2023 absolute national champion.
Parallel to the battle in the Elite category there was a fight among Under 23 riders, dominated by Astana Qazaqstan Development Team riders. The individual time trial champion Maxim Taraskin was leading the race for a long time, while closer to the final the chasing group caught him back. The attack of Nicolas Vinokurov, followed shortly after that, brought him the second consecutive U23 national champion title.
“Well, it was a tough day. I had a plan to make part of the first breakaway and after some time I was able to come across a group of some 20 riders. But later it was caught back. During the final part of the race I had cramps, so I was thinking it was over for me, but at the end of the day I’ve managed to deal with it. I knew I would lose in the sprint against the other riders if our group arrives to the finish all together, so I attacked with 5 km to go and being caught back I kept on trying, attacking again with 1.5 km to the finish line. This time it worked well, and I was able to arrive alone. I am so happy to get this back-to-back victory after a lot of bad luck and sickness during the first half of the season. So now I am really looking forward to continue wearing this beautiful national jersey, working hard to achieve the new goals”, – said Nicolas Vinokurov.
The Under 23 road race podium was completed by two more Astana Qazaqstan Development Team riders – Andrey Remkhe was second and Orken Slamzhanov was third.
Kazakhstan National Men’s Road Race Championship Result:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan
2. Yevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan
3. Daniil Marukhin (Kaz) Vino SKO Team.
Alexey Lutsenko – Champion again:
Belgian National Women’s Road Race Championship 2023
Lotte Kopecky is Belgian road champion for the third time. In Izegem in West Flanders, she was the fastest in a bunch sprint. Marthe Goossens, also the new U23 champion, took second ahead of Marthe Goossens. The route in Izegem was flat. From the start the riders rode towards Heuvelland and Kemmel, but unlike the men’s race, they didn’t climb the Kemmelberg and Monteberg. They did have two local laps of about 25 kilometres. Fenix-Deceuninck and AG Insurance-Soudal Quick Step were in control for their sprinters; Julie De Wilde and Marthe Goossens. Top favourite Lotte Kopecky was faced with a difficult task, because the SD Worx rider had no teammates.
Fenix-Deceuninck tried to split the race a number of times with Julie Van de Velde, but Kopecky, with almost the entire peloton on her wheel, was attentive to nip these attempts in the bud. The constant changes of pace ensured that no one could get away. Audrey De Keersmaeker, Amber Aernouts and Marieke Meert took their chance in the final lap. Sanne Cant went with them for Fenix-Deceuninck, this paralysed the pace at the front, after which the peloton pulled them back. Top favourite Lotte Kopecky had to close quite a few gaps herself in the final. Kopecky had to chase Sara Van de Vel with 3 kilometres to go. The Fenix-Deceuninck riders sometimes helped her with the pursuit of other riders as they wanted a sprint for De Wilde. Kopecky started the sprint 200 metres from the finish. She was so strong that Marthe Goossens and Julie De Wilde never came close.
Belgian national champion, Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx): “The race went better than I expected. It was perhaps an advantage that there was not one big block, so that other teams also had an interest in not letting certain groups break away. Every kilometre that the group was together, I was very pleased. I couldn’t respond to everything, I had to choose my moments. Sometimes I really felt like: ‘shit, now no one is going, now I really have to go myself’. It was a bit of a gamble for me: what can I ride and what I can’t? Those are efforts that I handle relatively well. That was not too bad. I thought: with every effort I make, I lose some of my sprint. But in itself I had the feeling that I had control over the race. I saw Fenix driving forward. I thought: I must be on the wheel here. But it was a headwind. If you are in the lead too early, it will be to your disadvantage. I think I was in the lead three hundred, three hundred and fifty meters from the line. That was too early to start the sprint. We had to wait for the two hundred meter sign.”
Belgian National Women’s Road Race Championship Result:
1. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SD Worx in 3:14:58
2. Marthe Goossens (Bel) AG Insurance – Soudal Quick-Step
3. Kelly Druyts Duolar-Chevalmeire
4. Julie De Wilde (Bel) Fenix-Deceuninck
5. Justine Ghekiere (Bel) AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step
6. Katrijn de Clercq (Bel) Lotto Dstny
7. Nathalie Bex (Bel) Duolar-Chevalmeire
8. Margot Vanpachtenbeke (Bel) Parkhotel Valkenburg
9. Julie Hendrickx (Bel) Lotto Dstny
10. Mieke Docx (Bel) Lotto Dstny.
British National Women’s Road Race Championships 2023
Taking on the challenging course around the town of Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Pfeiffer Georgi used both her racing nous and strong legs to take a brilliant win and become British national champion.
A former winner of the national title in 2021 and having finished second last year, Georgi was determined to get back on that top step this afternoon. Using all of her experience and tactical racing nous, Georgi combined that with strong legs throughout the afternoon and made a decisive group that would go on to fight it out for the win. Despite attacks on the run in, it was all together at the bottom of the final climb where Georgi danced on the pedals – putting the power down. Not looking back until she was in sight of the line, Georgi could sit up and celebrate a brilliant win and her second national title.
British national champion, Pfeiffer Georgi (DSM): “It was a really hard course today, constantly up and down. It was really attritional. A group of about seven of us were away for the last few laps. I wasn’t so confident on the climbs originally so I tried with one lap to go on the climb, and I felt strong there which gave me the confidence. I thought of Lincoln; I did the same thing there were I tested the waters. I wanted to keep it all together on the last lap and take those corners first on the descent to the climb, then go full gas. I believed in it but I’m still in shock; it’s really nice to win the title again.”
Georgi – GB champ:
Italian National Men’s Road Race Championships 2023
Simone Velasco is the 2023 national champion of Italy. On a course that was mostly up and down, he showed himself to be the strongest of a six-man sprint in Comano Terme. There was a run-up of more than 80 kilometres before the race was decided on a local circuit of 16.2 kilometres to be ridden 9 times. The Cavrasto climb (5.6km at 5.2%) was the main obstacle and a total of 3,730 metres of climbing.
The men of Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè were very active. When the first break got away from the peloton, the six consisted of Andrea Pietrobon, Mirko Maestri (Eolo-Kometa), Emanuele Ansaloni (Team Technipes #InEmiliaRomagna), Samuele Zambelli, Matteo Amella (Corratec) and Manuele Tarozzi (Green Project). The green team were not satisfied with just one rider in the leading group and so Luca Colnaghi and Filippo Magli (both Green Project), gave chase. Luca Colnaghi took his brother Andrea Colnaghi (ONEC Team) with them and the trio tried to cross. After a few kilometres they managed to catch the group and expanded the lead to 4 minutes.
The race slowly approached the local circuit around Comano Terme. In the peloton, Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) didn’t want the lead too increase much. He put his team on the front of the peloton to gradually reduce the gap. At the start of the first lap, the lead had already fallen to 3 minutes. Once on the local circuit, the climb to Cavrasto proved to be decisive for the race leaders. Attacks from the peloton from Samuele Zoccarato (Green Project), Lorenzo Rota (Intermarchè-Circus-Wanty) and Samuele Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan) on lap five ensured that only escapee Filippo Magli could follow. The thinned peloton, due to the work of Trek-Segafredo, was just over 1 minute behind the leaders.
With 3 laps to go, the four extended their lead to 2 minutes. For Filippo Baroncini (Trek-Segafredo), Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) and Matteo Sobrero (Jayco-AlUla) it was time to counter-attack. For a long time they were around 50 seconds behind the leaders, where Zoccarato was dropped. Three men in the lead. Three men in pursuit. The battle really started on the last lap. On the climb, Kristian Sbaragli (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates), Simone Velasco (Astana Qazaqstan) caught all the other escapees and then Lorenzo Rota attacked on his own at the head of the race. The little Italian couldn’t stay ahead and was caught on the descent. In a six-man sprint in Comano Terme, it was Simone Velasco who had the best kick. Lorenzo Rota sprinted to silver. Kristian Sbaragli completed the podium.
Italian national champion, Simone Velasco (Astana Qazaqstan): “It was a very tough race but as a team we managed to do it in a right way. We were always up there in front, working hard and controlling the situation. It started with Leonardo Basso, who worked absolutely impressive, pulling in front of the group and later all other guys helped and supported me a lot during the whole day. Also, Samuele Battistella made an amazing job in the break, allowing me to save some energy and to come quite fresh to the final. It was a great day for us as a team, we stayed united and focused. I am so happy and proud with this victory, but also with the way we spent this day together with my teammates. This victory is very emotional to me, and it gives me a great motivation to the future, to continue working hard pursuing the next big goals.”
Italian National Men’s Road Race Championships Result:
1. Simone Velasco (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team in 5:37:32
2. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Circus-Wanty
3. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Deceuninck
4. Filippo Magli (Ita) Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè
5. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6. Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:02
7. Filippo Baroncini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:17
8. Filippo Conca (Ita) Q36.5 at 0:47
9. Christian Scaroni (ita) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:48
10. Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:53.
Reusser, Vas and Majerus Take National Titles for SD Worx
SD Worx added three national championships to their list: Swiss Marlen Reusser, Hungarian Blanka Vas and Luxembourg Christine Majerus.
The Dutch team recently set a record of twenty consecutive victories in a row. The championship wins bring the team’s score to 43 wins for the season. Earlier this week, Vas and Majerus also took the time trial titles, as did Lotte Kopecky in Belgium.
Suisse National Women’s Road Race Championship Result:
1. Marlen Reusser (Sui) SD Worx in 2:58:24
2. Elena Hartmann (Sui) Israel Premier Tech Roland at 2:08
3. Elise Chabbey (Sui) Canyon//SRAM.
Hungary National Woman’s Road Race Championship Result:
1. Blanka Vas (Hun) SD Worx in 2:31:53
2. Petra Zsankó (Hun) Massi-Tactic at 0:41
3. Dorka Jordán (Hun) at 0:54.
Luxembourg National Woman’s Road Race Championship Result:
1. Christine Majerus (Lux) SD Worx in 2:10:29
2. Nina Berton (Lux) CERATIZIT-WNT
3. Marie Schreiber (Lux) SD Worx at 0:03.
Vas – Champion again:
Van Aert and Valter Fastest at National Time Trial Championships
Team Jumbo-Visma has two new national time trial champions. Wout van Aert took his third Belgian time trial title of his professional career on the streets of Herzele. Attila Valter won his second career national time trial title earlier in the day in Hungary.
Due to heavy rain, the entire Belgian field raced on a wet and slippery road. A local circuit of 20.8 kilometres had to be ridden twice, totalling 42 kilometres on a flat but technical course.
Van Aert was the virtual number one at all the checkpoints. At the finish line, he had a 49-second lead over his primary challenger, Alec Segeart. Remco Evenepoel crashed early in his time trial in one of the many corners.
“I felt like a fish in the water today for the first time in a long time”, said Van Aert after his victory. “After the Tour de Suisse, I had a few days off. Yesterday I got that good feeling back. That’s nice, but it’s even better to see it confirmed with good results. I did that today. I came here with a goal, and I achieved it. It’s nice to be back on the top step of the podium.”
During his race against the clock, Van Aert did not think about his rivals. “I just rode my race. On the second lap, I was informed that Remco had changed bikes. I didn’t take any excessive risks but I gave it my all. Of course, it is important that I didn’t crash today, but as I said, I came here with one goal. That was to win the national title. It is a great honour, and I am happy to wear this beautiful jersey again”, a satisfied Van Aert said.
Valter proved to be a class act in Hungary this afternoon. The 25-year-old became the Hungarian time trial champion for the second time in Debrecen. With an average speed of around 51 kilometres per hour, Valter was almost two minutes ahead of runner-up Daniel Szalay.
“The course has been the same for several years. It is very straight, with only three corners in 38 kilometres. You can always stay in your time trial position. That makes it a tough test. I had a lot of confidence going into the race and was looking forward to it. I am delighted to have won the time trial title and the jersey that goes with it”, Valter said.
The Hungarian is pleased with his progress in the discipline. “I am delighted with my time trials this year. The great thing about the similar national courses in recent years is that I can easily compare my performance. I am now at the best level I have ever had. This is partly due to my personal development and the material and coaching at Team Jumbo-Visma. I pushed myself to the limit today to see how far I could go. It is very important for me to improve my time trial”, Valter concluded.
Head of Performance Mathieu Heijboer was pleased to see Van Aert, Valter and Jos van Emden take the time trial titles. “The time trial is a discipline in which we invest much time and energy. Wout’s race against the clock was very well constructed. He got off the bike much better today than last week in Switzerland. He is capitalising on that good feeling. This is the Wout we want to see in the Tour de France”, Heijboer said. “We now have many national champions and the reigning world and Olympic champion in our team. That’s a good sign.”
Van Aert’s second victory of the season and Valter’s first took Team Jumbo-Visma’s tally to 40 wins in 2023.
Pogačar Blitzes Slovenian Time Trial as McNulty Storms to USA National Title Victory
Tadej Pogačar made a positive return to racing with victory at the Slovenian time-trial championships from Zgornje Gorje to Pokljuka (15.7km).
The 24 year old who is gearing up for the Tour de France put in a strong ride to clock a time of 29:43 with an average speed of 31.6kmph on the mountainous parcours, beating his previous course record from 2020 by a minute and a half.
Pogačar: “It’s a nice confirmation that the condition is pretty good. We’ve been working really well over the past months with the team to build up to these important next few weeks so I’m glad it’s going in the right direction.The road race on Sunday will be another nice outing in the build up up to the Tour.”
1.Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) 29:43
2.Marko Pavlic (mebloJOGI pro concrete) +5’14”
3.Anze Skok (Ljubjana Gusto) +6’30”
Brandon McNulty put on a big display at the US national time trial championships in Oak Ridge with the Phoenix native putting in a strong ride to win by 1:32 on the 34.9km course.
McNulty clocked a time of 40:39 with an average pace ok 50kmph, earning the 24 year old his opportunity to pull on the stars on stripes.
McNulty: “I’m super happy to take the win here. Since I knew that I was doing the Giro it has been on my mind to come back and put in a good ride at nationals and target it. I was really happy that I came out of the Giro with good legs and could take the title.”
Elsewhere there were medals for the Emirati squad with both Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark) and Sjoerd Bax (Netherlands) picking up bronze medals to add to the gold medal won by Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia).
1. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) 40:39
2. Will Barta (Movistar) +1’32”
3. Joey Rosskopf (Human Powered Health) +2.
Pogačar Slovenian time trial champ:
Asgreen back to winning ways
The Dane took his first victory of the season after a dominant display at the National ITT Championships
Kasper Asgreen is once again the best time triallist in Denmark. After being forced to miss last year’s edition due to injury, the 28-year-old returned at the start of the competition this Thursday and blitzed the individual time trial in Aalborg, held over a flat 39.6km course.
Victorious at the Nationals three years in a row between 2019 and 2021, Kasper showed from the very beginning of the race that he was a man on a mission, recording the fastest time at the first checkpoint and putting himself on track for a fourth success on home turf. At the next two splits, the man from Kolding kept increasing the lead, and thanks to a phenomenal average speed close to 52km/h, he took a comfortable victory after stopping the clock in 45:42.
“It feels great to win the ITT Nationals for the fourth time in my career. This success is more special than the others, because I had to fight and work hard in the last year or so to come back to my level, and this win is a confirmation of the good feeling I had in the last couple of weeks, both in training and races.”
“The course here in Aalborg was very much to my liking. I knew I was going pretty well from the start, and when I heard that I was 17 seconds ahead at the second split I got an extra boost of confidence that the win was within my reach, and kept riding hard. It’s really nice to cap off such a strong ride with a victory”, added Kasper, the 11th different Soudal Quick-Step rider to take a win this year.
Asgreen – Danish TT champ:
Cavagna Smashes it at the Nationals
Second victory in four years for the “TGV of Clermont-Ferrand” in the race against the clock
Rémi Cavagna put in a truly dominant ride Thursday afternoon in Cassel, taking his second gold medal at the National ITT Championships after the one of 2020. The “TGV of Clermont-Ferrand”, one of the pre-race favourites, gave absolutely no chance to his opponents as he delivered the 68th national title in Soudal Quick-Step’s 21-year history.
The penultimate rider to roll down the ramp, Rémi had a strong start, going through the first checkpoint just one tenth of a second behind the reigning champion. Cavagna, who came here after a solid outing at the Critérium du Dauphiné, ramped up the speed in the second part of the 31.3km course and set the fastest time at the remaining splits. Not even the final climb to the line, averaging 8.8% over 900 meters, could stop the 27-year-old from powering into the hot seat and to the win with a phenomenal time of 39:36, more than half a minute clear of the next rider in the ranking.
“It’s amazing! To have this jersey again means a lot to me. It’s an honour to wear the colours of my country in the time trials for the next twelve months, it’s something that makes me very proud. I knew the parcours suited me, I made some recons this week and was aware that on the final hill I needed to still have some power left, so I put in a solid ride from the beginning but kept some energy to increase the tempo there.”
“The fans were really incredible today, they made a fantastic atmosphere out there as they encouraged me from the start. This victory gives me extra motivation for Sunday’s road race, where despite the fact we will ride in just three, we are confident we can go for a good result”, added Rémi after his third win of the year.
Rémi Cavagna – French TT champ:
Almeida triumphs in Portuguese TT champs
Ivo Oliveira takes silver in Mogaduro
It was a UAE Team Emirates 1-2 in Portugal today as Joao Almeida and Ivo Oliveira put on a dominant display to fill the first two steps of the podium at the national time-trial championships.
Almeida had previously won the title in 2021 and goes into the road race on Sunday as defending champion. However, with teammates Rui and Ivo Oliveira by his side the Emirati trio will have several cards to play when it comes to going for the victory.
Almeida: “It was a really good day. I was surprised with my performance in the TT and my form is better than I expected. It was really warm out there today. We can be really happy with the performance of the team with first and second for me and Ivo. Now for Sunday the goal is to keep the jersey in the team it doesn’t matter who wins the race but as long as it’s one of us from UAE Team Emirates it’s good.”
1.Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) 38:51
2.Ivo Oliveira (UAE Team Emirates) +35”
3.Joaquim Silva (Efapel) +2’23”
Joao Almeida – Portuguese TT Champ:
Tsgabu Grmay and Urška Žigart Claim National Time trial Titles with Dominant Rides
Tsgabu Grmay and Urška Žigart have both won their national time trial championships with dominant rides against the clock, while Italian Matteo Sobrero also stepped onto the podium with a bronze medal ride.
Ethiopian Grmay kicked-off the day in style as he powered to his seventh national time trial victory as he returned to his home city of Mek’ele. The 31-year-old was back in his homeland for the first time in three years to race his national championships, and despite having to quickly adapt to the altitude in the Tigray Region, he was victorious once again.
Over in Slovenia Žigart retained her national time trial title with an impressive display over the 15.7km course. Fresh off finishing seventh overall at the Tour de Suisse earlier in the week, the 26-year-old continued her fine run of form to take her third national TT title by 1:43.
Meanwhile in Italy, former champion Sobrero stepped onto the podium again in the Italian time trial championships with a strong ride for third place in Sarche.
Tsgabu Grmay: “I’m so happy to win the race, it has been three years since I’ve come back here, the race was in Mek’ele, my city. It was hard with the altitude as I’ve been here just three days. The race was around 30km, and it was just good to see the people back and the races have started again after the hard time with the civil war. I’m so happy to be here to race the Ethiopian championships and to win and to be back in the Ethiopian champions jersey, I’m looking forward to wearing it again.”
Urška Žigart: “I’m really happy to keep the jersey for another year, I’m always really proud to wear the national colours. It was really hot today and I got a bit scared, I started quite fast, but luckily there was something left in my legs after the last few days of racing. I’m super happy with how it went today and I’m looking forward to keeping the shape for the races in July.”
Grmay and Žigart TT champs:
Pavel Bittner Powers to Czech U23 TT National Title in Tlmače
In the town of Tlmače, Pavel Bittner powered around the pan-flat time trial course, setting the timing sheets alight; becoming Czech U23 national champion as he crossed the finish line.
Having taken a seventh and sixth place respectively in the event in the last two seasons, Bittner was motivated to continue his upward trajectory once again. Riding to the pacing plan perfectly Bittner put on a dominant display of power over the almost 35 kilometre route. Using the experience of riding WorldTour level time trials throughout the season and knowledge gained from the team’s experts, Bittner flew around the course and claimed the title by over one minute and ten seconds to his nearest rival.
Speaking after the race, an elated Bittner said: “I’m really happy to finally pick up a TT win again, it’s the first one I can remember in a long time. The legs were on a high level in today’s hot race, just a few days after racing with the team at Suisse. It’s not an elite level title but I’m still proud of it and I hope I can battle that one out on Sunday’s road race.”
Pavel Bittner – Czech U23 TT champion:
No 2023 Tour de France for Chris Froome
Chris Froome is disappointed after missing out on selection for the Tour de France. The four-time Tour winner said he was ready for it. “Of course I am disappointed,” he told GCN. “The Tour de France has a special place in my heart. Physically I was ready, but unfortunately I was not able to show myself fully in the past races due to equipment problems.”
During the CIC-Mont Ventoux Challenge, Froome had to change bikes a number of times, while in La Route d’Occitanie he reportedly had more problems with his bike. Next year, the 38 year-old, who has a two-year contract, hopes for a Tour selection again: “I hope to return in 2024.”
No Tour for Froome this year:
Egan Bernal Will (Probably) Ride the 2023 Tour de France
Egan Bernal should start this year’s Tour de France. The Colombian climber is part of the INEOS Grenadiers Tour selection, according to Ciro Scognamiglio of La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Bernal last rode the Tour de France three years ago, but had to stop early due to back problems. In 2021 he preferred the Giro d’Italia-Vuelta a España and in 2022 he was recovering from a serious training accident when he hit a bus.
The 26 year-old Bernal, who was the first Colombian to win the Tour de France, had a very difficult period due to the crash and the rehabilitation, but this season he has shown some of his old self. He finished in the top 10 in the Tours of Romandie and Hungary and earlier this month he was 12th in the Critérium du Dauphiné.
For Bernal, it is not only his first Tour in three years, but also his first Grand Tour since the Vuelta a España in 2021. INEOS Grenadiers Tout team will probably also include climbers Daniel Felipe Martínez and Carlos Rodríguez.
Tour for Bernal?
Peter Sagan Prepares for His Last Tour
Peter Sagan will start his twelfth and final Tour de France next Saturday. Can he win a stage in his last Tour? “Oh well, the stars will have to be in the right position,” he said to Het Nieuwsblad during the Tour de Suisse.
“I don’t have to be the best to win, but I need luck and I need to be able to stay out of trouble,” Sagan explained. “Maybe I can still force something in the points classification. An eighth green jersey is not impossible, but with that new generation of riders it will certainly not be easy. I look at it day by day and after a dozen stages I’ll see if it’s worth fighting for.”
Who does the TotalEnergies rider think he will be up against? “I actually don’t even know who all starts. I like Jakobsen, Philipsen too. Who else? Is Cavendish coming? Caleb (Ewan) is also good. In the Tour there is always one that has just a little more momentum than the rest. Sometimes it is not even the sprinter’s fault, but the lead-out is more important. Someone like that can change your whole Tour.”
Sagan won the points classification of the Tour de France seven times. From 2012 to 2019, except in 2017, when he was disqualified. Can the record he set be broken? “Any record can be broken, but it will take them at least seven years. It won’t be easy, but that’s just right. It was only after my fifth green jersey that I started thinking about Zabel’s record (six times).
Sagan was unable to win a stage of the Tour de Suisse for the first time in eleven years. “It wasn’t my best Tour of Switzerland, was it? In that sprinter stage I finished fifth. Could be better, but definitely worse. At the same time, it was generally a sad Tour of Switzerland,” referring to the death of Gino Mäder.
Sagan’s last Tour:
ASO, UCI and CPA in Talks to Improve the Safety of Tour riders
Safety in bike races has been the head line news recently. Adam Hansen, presidents of the cyclists’ union CPA, is committed to making the Tour de France safer. He will be meeting with ASO and the UCI to improve the safety of the riders in the Tour.
Specifically two stages: stage 14 from Annemasse to Morzine les Portes du Soleil and stage 17 from Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc to Courchevel. The two Tour stages finish after a descent. The meeting is next Wednesday, Hansen said on social media.
Adam Hansen to talk with ASO and the UCI:
Team DSM Unveil Tour de France Squad
With just over a week to go until the Grand Départ in Bilbao, the peloton at this year’s Tour de France will take on an action-packed 21 days of racing, where a wide variety of parcours awaits. Team DSM today reveal their exciting eight-rider strong roster who are ready to fight on all fronts.
Getting underway in the Basque country, the proverbial heat will already be on with two challenging days right out of the block as the puncheurs and GC riders are expected to do battle over the tough climbs. The sprinters will get their chances on stage three and on their return to France the following day, before the very non-stereotypical tough early start continues with some hard days in the mountains to follow. The varied parcours continues before the opening week is rounded off with a climb to the top of the mythical Puy de Dôme ascent, where those looking to battle for the yellow jersey will come to the fore. Week two sees the mix of terrain continue as the peloton and race snakes its way from the west of France to the east, and a further flurry of mountains to close the weekend. Racing resumes after the second rest day with the only individual time trial of the event, before some days for the sprinters and breakaway artists while the last two mountain stages will see the GC riders duke it out one last time to decide the destination of the famous yellow jersey. The closing day in Paris gives the sprinters and teams who have braved the challenging three weeks one last shot of glory on the famous Champs-Élysées.
Heading to the race with lots of momentum after strong recent results and team performances, plus a combination of well thought out training plans and other specialist areas, the Men’s program will be rocking their new look as they take on their first race in our beautiful Team dsm-firmenich kit, emblazoned with the distinctive two-stripe design to reflect the team’s Keep Challenging philosophy.
Team DSM coach Matt Winston expressed: “We’re looking forward to getting underway at the Tour de France next week, and we head to the race with the goal of going for the GC and stage results as a team. We’ve got a good strong core GC group that have been working well together over the past few months with Chris, Kevin and Matt, who can support our GC finisher Romain over the mountainous terrain; and they showed in Tour de Suisse that they are in good shape. Likewise, we also have a core sprint group with Alex, John and Nils, with Sam as our sprint finisher for those fast finales. We will work together as one team like always though, with our climbing group supporting the sprint group on those flatter days and vice versa with the sprint group doing early work in the mountains. As for the route, we expect there to be fireworks already in the Basque Country with some difficult opening stages, before potentially a sprint on day three. The route then returns to France and through Romain’s home region, which will of course be special for him, followed by a variety of terrain where we can make our mark as a team throughout the three weeks before the big traditional finish in Paris.”
Romain Bardet (FRA)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Matt Dinham (AUS)
Alex Edmondson (AUS)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA)
Sam Welsford (AUS).
Bardet for the Tour:
Versatile IPT Squad Seeks Tour de France Stage Wins
Israel – Premier Tech will line up at this year’s Tour de France with a versatile team, once again seeking daily glory after last year’s milestone performance with two stage victories.
“We bring a strong team, ready to race aggressively, with the main goal of going for stage wins”, Sports Manager Rik Verbrugghe explains. “We all know that it’s hard to win a stage in the Tour, but I believe that each of our eight selected riders has what it takes to be victorious in this race. I would like to see the team race with the same attitude and eagerness as we did in the Giro d’Italia this year. If we can continue like this, racing opportunistically, I believe we will have a great race.”
Looking at the lineup, Michael Woods and Dylan Teuns will be the IPT leaders in the mountains, while last year’s stage winners Simon Clarke and Hugo Houle will keep an eye on the undulating stages together with Nick Schultz and Krists Neilands. Corbin Strong will make his Grand Tour debut and he can count on excellent support in the fast finishes from Guillaume Boivin, who’s also capable to fight for a stage win himself.
“Last year, we won two rather spectacular stages at the Tour de France, so the bar is high for us to exceed that result”, IPT partner Sylvan Adams says. “But the team we are sending this year is a strong one, and certainly can compete for stage wins. Our eight riders, including three Canadians, are a cohesive group, that have been training and racing together, most recently at La Route d’Occitanie, which served as a tune-up race for the Tour, where Mike Woods took the GC victory. I think our talented IPT squad will surprise some viewers this year. We are ready for an exciting Tour.”
Fresh off his overall victory in La Route d’Occitanie last week, Woods is eager to keep the momentum going at the Tour de France. Especially the Grand Depart in the Basque Country brings back good memories for the 36-year-old Canadian.
“I’m really excited for this year’s Tour de France. The course suits me quite well, especially the opening stages in the Basque Country. This is an area I’ve had a lot of success in with my two Vuelta a España stage wins both taking place there. I really enjoy racing in this area”, Woods tells.
“My big ambition is to win a stage and inspired by my Ottawa teammate, Derek Gee, I want to race a really aggressive race, trying to be as active as possible. The victory in La Route d’Occitanie gave me a lot of confidence. I’m really motivated and ready to race!”
After numerous strong performances in the recent months, IPT’s General Manager, Kjell Carlström, too, believes that the team will do well in its fourth Tour de France participation.
“It was a tough decision to select our Tour de France team this year but we feel we selected eight riders best suited to fulfilling our performance objectives. The fact that we had a difficult decision to make when looking at our long list shows the strength and depth of our rider group, and unfortunately we could not select everyone. We carefully looked at the necessary roles to fill when it comes to hunting for stage wins and chose our eight riders accordingly. The team is versatile and balanced and the guys can be impacting the race in almost any stage throughout the race. After the last few months of nice results, we’re eager to see what we can achieve in what will most certainly be a very competitive race.”
Guillaume Boivin (CAN), Simon Clarke (AUS), Hugo Houle (CAN), Krists Neilands (LAT), Nick Schultz (AUS), Corbin Strong (NZL), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Michael Woods (CAN).
Intermarché-Circus-Wanty reveals its roster for the Tour de France
On Saturday 1st of July, Intermarché-Circus-Wanty will start its sixth Tour de France in Bilbao, in the Basque Country. In order to shine, the Walloon World Team selected a solid and experienced team, with three Tour de France stage winners and several former jersey wearers.
In total, the 110th edition contains eight mountain stages among which four mountain top finishes, eight stages suited for sprinters, only one 22 kilometre time trial and three days out of the French territory in the Basque Country to start with.
The first yellow jersey will be distributed after a hilly stage around Bilbao with more than 3000 meters of climbing, followed the next day by another hilly stage with the Alto de Jaizkibel 20 kilometre before the finish. The peloton then heads to France for two opportunities for sprinters, followed by a first fight in the Pyrenees towards Laruns on day five.
Ski station Cauterets-Campbasque will be the theatre of the first mountain top finish on day six, preceded by the Col d’Aspin and the Col du Tourmalet. After two new opportunities for sprinters, the peloton will return to the Puy de Dôme for the first time in 35 years, with a summit finish in the Massif Central to conclude the first week.
The rest day in Clermont-Ferrand will be followed by three days for the strong riders, before reaching the Jura for a finish on top of the Grand Colombier on July 14th. Then, two stages with over 4000 meter of climbing in the Alps await the riders, with the first one finishing in Morzine after the downhill of the Col de Joux-Plane and the second one on top of Saint-Gervais – Mont Blanc, where the peloton will start the second rest day.
The only time trial opens the third week in the Haute-Savoie, containing the Côte de Domancy (2.5 km at 9.4%) as final part of the 22 kilometre stage. The next day, the seventeenth stage contains four major difficulties among whom the Col de la Loze, which is with its 2304 meters of altitude the roof of this edition, and the final climb to the Altiport de Courchevel to conclude this queen stage with more than 5000 meters of climbing.
The sprinters can then benefit of two opportunities before a final fight for the climbers in the Vosges on day twenty, a 133 kilometre stage finishing with the Col du Platzerwasel. Following the tradition, the 110th edition is concluded with a 21st stage on the Parisian circuit on the Champs-Elysées.
Thanks to his seventh place in the edition of 2022, Louis Meintjes achieved the first top ten of the Walloon team in the final classification. The South-African rider, who already finished twice on eight place before (2016 and 2017), will for the third year in a row receive the support of Georg Zimmermann, winner of the sixth stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné to Crest-Voland earlier this month.
For his debut in the Tour de France, Biniam Girmay will lead the selection in the sprint stages. Just like in his victorious sprint in de Tour de Suisse, he can rely on the experience of Adrien Petit and former yellow jersey wearer and stage winner Mike Teunissen. Last named won in the Tour of Norway last month, his first victory since the Tour of 2019.
With Rui Costa and Lilian Calmejane, the selection contains two other stage winners. The former world champion won three stages in the Tour and will participate for the eleventh time. Calmejane, winner in 2017 on Station des Rousses and polkadot jersey wearer, will be at the start for the fifth time.
Finally, Dion Smith returns to the Tour for the first time since he entered history in 2018, by becoming the first rider of his country and of the team of Jean-François Bourlart to wear a distinctive jersey in the most prestigious race in the world. The New-Zealander offered himself the honour to wear the polkadot jersey during three days.
The sportive direction of the team is assured by Aike Visbeek, Steven De Neef, Laurenzo Lapage and Pieter Vanspeybrouck.
Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager): “Our ambition for the Tour 2023 is to take our very first stage win and to finish in the top ten of the final classification. To achieve this, last winter we built a strong and experienced group around our leaders Biniam Girmay and Louis Meintjes. This group raced often together and this from our first races of the season on Majorca. In May, our preselection started a specific preparation with a collective altitude camp and two parallel race programmes. A larger selection benefited from this preparation, which enabled us to fill in the absences of Kobe Goossens and Rune Herregodts. We can head to Bilbao with confidence.”
“Our leader for the general classification is Louis Meintjes. With his seventh place last year, he obtained the first top ten of our history in the Tour de France. He will receive our full support to repeat this stunt in this edition. The mission of Biniam Girmay is to win a stage in the sprint. To increase our chances, we did the recon of several stages the past couple of months. We organised training sessions with the sprint train. It is also a priority for the long term development of Biniam Girmay to finish a race of three weeks for the first time in his career.”
“We’re pleased to be able to rely on the full strength of our road captain Adrien Petit again after a double injury in the first half of the season. He is an important element in our team, especially for Biniam Girmay who trusts him a lot. Last week he was reunited with Girmay and Mike Teunissen, which immediately led to a nice victory in the Tour de Suisse. In the same race, we appreciated watching the ambition of Lilian Calmejane, Rui Costa and Dion Smith, both on the attack and in service of the team.”
“Also in the Critérium du Dauphiné our riders showed that they were on track for the Tour de France with a brilliant stage win of Georg Zimmermann on Crest-Voland and seventh place of Louis Meintjes in the final classification. I have noted that three riders of our roster recently won, which shows our good dynamics and offers our group an extra motivation. I’m convinced that with these eight riders, we have cards to play for the stage win each day, no matter the parcours.”
Team Jayco AlUla Confirms its 2023 Tour de France Squad with Groenewegen & Yates
Team Jayco AlUla has named its strong and versatile eight-rider team for the 110thedition of Le Tour de France starting on Saturday, 1st July in Bilbao, Spain.
Five-time stage winner Dylan Groenewegen and former white jersey and two-time stage winner Simon Yates will lead the Australian outfit’s dual approach, as the squad targets both the sprint and mountainous stages.
Flying the flag in all potential bunch sprint finishes will be Groenewegen, the Dutchman who got the ball rolling early in the 2022 edition, with his impressive victory on stage three in Denmark.
The 30-year-old will have a fine-tuned support squad around him with Slovenian lead-out man Luka Mezgec, a former two-time TDF stage runner up, and fellow Dutchman Elmar Reinders, who is set to make his Grand Tour debut at the ‘Grande Boucle’.
Dylan Groenewegen: “I have had a good season with six wins and a good preparation going into this year’s Tour. I have been working really well and developing more with Luka Mezgec and the rest of the lead-out train and we’re confident heading into the race. The legs are good, the team is strong and of course it will just depend on the final metres of the stages, but we are arriving with the best possible preparation and a team to win. Last year it was really special to get a stage win so early on, on day three, and it would be really nice if we can do this again. I think it will be a good Tour, the team spirit is really high and after seeing the success we had at the Giro, everybody is super motivated.”
Yates, who skipped this year’s Giro d’Italia for the first time in six years, has his eyes fully focused on the Tour’s mountainous stages – no surprises there. With a hard and hilly start in the Basque Country, 2023 looks to suit the Briton’s racing style from day one, giving him a realistic chance to add more Grand Tour success to his extensive list of palmarès.
To assist the 30-year-old climber in the mountains will be Australia’s Chris Harper and American all-rounder Lawson Craddock, who will be in important support roles when the roads head north during the gruelling three weeks.
Providing the horsepower day in, day out on the flat and for positioning into climbs, the team will count on the ever-reliable Australian Luke Durbridge, who brings a wealth of experience, lining up for his ninth TDF along with Dane Chris Juul-Jensen, who is set for his sixth appearance.
Simon Yates: “On paper it looks really good and a course that suits me quite well, so I’m really looking forward to this year’s edition. I always love racing in the Basque Country, so to be starting there is very special. The narrow roads, the steep climbs, the amazing Basque fans, I think it is going to be really memorable. We have a well-built team and clear objectives, for me of course the goals are in the mountains. I had a different build up to the Tour this year with less racing and more training and I have good sensations, so we will see. As we’ll be targeting sprint stages with Dylan, it will be full on for us with a dual approach and everyone is very excited to get started. It’s the Tour, everyone wants to be a part of it, and every edition I start, is a real privilege.”
Starting in the Bilbao and heading north to cross the border into France on stage three, 2023 has the foundations for an exciting ‘Grand Depart’ that will test the climber’s legs from the get-go. Unlike other recent editions, the Pyrenees will make an appearance early on, as opposed to the Alps, and the first hill-top finish comes on stage six, making the opening week a potentially pivotal one for the general classification battle.
The limited number of time trialling kilometres, with only one race against the clock coming in at 22km in length, may also influence the overall classification fight. Culminating on the Champs Elysée before the final stage moves to Nice for 2024, one thing is for sure: it is all set to be a memorable edition.
Brent Copeland – General Manager: “It’s that time of year again, it’s time for the Tour, an event that we have of course been preparing for in great detail, and we are confident we have selected a well-balanced and strong team that can achieve the goals we have set out. We are looking forward to showcasing to our fans and our sponsors, who we are forever grateful to, for their continued support and belief in our team. It will be an exhilarating edition, particularly with the Grand Depart and the flow of the route this year. We have goals for both the sprints and in the mountains and we hope, like last year, we can come away with results that reflect the dedication and hard work that has gone into preparing for the event. It is one of the most intense and challenging races on the calendar from all aspects, and that is what makes it so special and those victories even sweeter.”
Mathew Hayman – Sport Director: “I am really looking forward to taking this team on the road at the TDF. Our two leaders, Simon Yates and Dylan Groenewegen, have both been very successful at the TDF in the past. To support them we have Chris Harper, who is new to the team this year and is lining up for his debut TDF, and will be there for Simon in the mountains. Dylan’s trusted lead-out man in Luka Mezgec and fellow Dutch rider Elmar Reinders. We then have some seasoned professionals and guys that have real experience and really know how to get through a workload at the TDF, both on the flat for supporting Dylan, and in the mountains to a certain extent supporting Simon. These are Lawson Craddock, Luke Durbridge and Chris Juul-Jensen, these kind of guys you need in a three-week tour, they’re very handy on all fronts. It is a great and well-balanced team and we’re ready to get started in the Basque Country.”
Team Jayco AlUla at the 2023 TDF:
Lawson Craddock – (USA) 3rd appearance
Luke Durbridge – (AUS) 9th appearance
Dylan Groenewegen – (NED) 6th appearance
Chris Harper – (AUS) Debut appearance
Chris Juul-Jensen – (DEN) 6th appearance
Luka Mezgec – (SLO) 4th appearance
Elmar Reinders – (NED) Debut appearance
Simon Yates – (GBR) 6th appearance
Team Jayco AlUla’s Tour de France Team Stats:
Youngest rider: Chris Harper (28)
Oldest rider: Luka Mezgec (34)
Tour de France debutants: Harper & Reinders (2x)
Most Tour de France appearances: Luke Durbridge (9x)
Total Tour de France appearances: (44x)
Astana Qazaqstan New Design of the Jersey for the Tour de France
Astana Qazaqstan Team presents the new design of its Giordana jersey which will be wearing by the riders at the 2023 Tour de France, which starts in Bilbao on 1st July.
The graphics used in the unique design combine the power of minerals and precious stones that the land of Kazakhstan is rich in.
The unique charm of the pattern, similar to the veins of mineral stones, comes from the colour affinity with the blue of the sky and the gold of the sun, as well as with elements of the flag of Kazakhstan.
The jersey which the Astana Qazaqstan Team riders will wear at the Tour de France, on the one hand, allows to emphasise the natural resources that Kazakhstan is famous for, and on the other, to celebrate the conclusion of a new partnership with KAZ Minerals and Freedom Broker, two leaders of the Kazakh economy in their fields.
The design of the jersey has been developed together with Albertdesign.
Andreas Kron: “I Felt that I Wasn’t Ready for the Tour”
Lotto Dstny rider Andreas Kron is not part of the upcoming Tour de France selection and opens up about why he will not be at the start of his 2nd Tour. “I felt that I wasn’t ready for the Tour”, explains the puncheur, “I am targeting a stage win at La Vuelta.”
After a strong spring campaign with amongst others a fourth place at the Amstel Gold Race, the Tour de France would be the next big goal of the Dane. “But I had to change my plans”, says the Lotto Dstny rider, “I don’t feel ready to participate and together with the team, it was decided to focus on other goals. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed my participation last year, especially with the start in my home country. It was fantastic but I am a sportsman and I don’t want to just ride, I want to get results. This wouldn’t be possible with my actual shape. At the start in Bilbao you have to be 100% and I’m not yet on that level. Now, there are eight Lotto Dstny riders at the start who are all ready to shine in the Tour.”
Kron crashed in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the final race of his spring campaign. “After that crash and the busy and tough spring campaign, I needed more time off the bike than anticipated”, he explains, “I had to reset both physically and mentally. That hindered me to have the best preparation for the Tour. I am really proud of my Ardennes Classics but it’s not easy to be in top shape every single race, to prepare yourself mentally and keep the focus. This requires a lot of your body not only physically, I needed time to recharge the batteries.”
The Dane stayed off the bike for two weeks after Liège-Bastogne-Liège. “After that I still needed two weeks to get back to a normal training modus. So I didn’t get the best amount of training but I was still hopeful for the Tour. The Tour de Suisse made it clear. I wasn’t ready to start, my shape just wasn’t good enough. It is better to train some more and shift focus towards La Vuelta. This team feels like a family to me and I enjoy coming to the races. I would love to be there in France but it is just not possible”, he stresses, “there wasn’t any pressure from the team and they give me all the time to get back to my best level. I really have to thank Lotto Dstny for their support.”
No Tour but La Vuelta instead. “To be honest, it wasn’t a difficult decision not to participate”, he concluded, “you don’t ride the Tour just for the sake of riding, you are riding the Tour amongst the best riders in the world, you want to be on top level and get results. I’m not able to do that at this moment. I am wishing the team all the best for the Tour and I will go on altitude training camp in Livigno with the other teammates. We are going to work hard, have fun and prepare for new goals. I hope to win in a stage in La Vuelta.”
No Tour for Andreas Kron in 2023:
Mark Renshaw to Join Astana Qazaqstan Team for the Tour de France
Astana Qazaqstan Team is happy to announce that former sprinter Mark Renshaw reinforces the team at the Tour de France as a sprint and lead-out consultant. The 40-year-old Australian retired four years ago from cycling and is known as one of the peloton’s most experienced lead-out men. For nine years he was the right-hand man to Mark Cavendish.
“I am really thrilled to return to the Tour de France with Astana Qazaqstan Team and Mark Cavendish as a sprint and lead-out consultant. After discussing the possibility to join Astana Qazaqstan Team with Alexandr Vinokurov and my ex-teammate Dmitriy Fofonov, I am really looking forward to bringing my skillset to help the team chase success. Our goal is to secure victories in the sprint stages, and I am eager to share my knowledge and experience gained as a lead-out rider and teammate of Mark Cavendish”, – said Mark Renshaw.
Earlier this season Mark Cavendish won his 17th stage in the Giro.
“Mark’s recent victory in the Tour of Italy is proof that he still possesses the speed, power, and determination needed to win grand tour stages. With the support of Astana Qazaqstan Team and the talented riders selected for the race, I am confident that he has what it takes to win in this year’s Tour de France. I cancelled other jobs in July which shows my confidence in him. As we prepare for the important sprint stages, I am excited to work with the team’s Sports Directors to develop effective tactics and strategies, analysing and breaking down sprint stages is something I absolutely love to do”, – continued Mark Renshaw.
“Mark’s career is already a big success, but I am excited to have the opportunity to help Mark finish his career on an absolute high and chase his 35th victory in the Grand Boucle”, – concluded Renshaw.
Renshaw to help Cavendish at the Tour:
Geraint Thomas Aiming for la Vuelta a España
Geraint Thomas will start the Vuelta a España for the second time in his career. The British rider announced the news in his podcast; Watts Occurring. The 37 year-old cyclist also hopes to in the action at the World championships in Glasgow, Scotland.
Thomas has only ridden la Vuelta once before in his career, in 2015, where he finished in 69th place overall. The INEOS Grenadiers rider want’s a better result this time and has already started his preparation. Thomas has scheduled an altitude training camp in July to prepare for his next big goal: the World Road Race Championships. The road race will take place on Sunday August 6, five days later Thomas will also ride the time trial. After the World championships, Thomas will set his sights on the Vuelta, which starts on Saturday, August 26 in Barcelona.
Thomas went for the overall victory in the Giro d’Italia in May and looked good for the win until the decisive time trial on Monte Lussari. He was beaten in the end by Primož Roglič.
Vuelta for Thomas:
Juan Ayuso Wants to Shine in the 2024 Tour
Juan Ayuso is one of the new big talents in cycling. The 20 year-old Spaniard finished third in the Vuelta a España in 2022 and seems to be back on track after his injury. “My goal is not to be the best Spaniard, but to be the best in the world.”
Ayuso spoke with Marca before the start of the Spanish time trial championship. “I feel good and have a lot of confidence for the rest of the season. It gave a lot of morale to win against guys like Wout van Aert and Remco Evenepoel (in the final time trial of the Tour de Suisse).”
Ayuso also stated that he has a new big goal in 2024. “If everything goes well, I think I should go to the Tour next year. I’d like to be there. The most important thing, however, is that I continue to develop. Next year I want to take another step and then maybe I will have the level to win the Tour.”
“It’s a motivation to be as good as Tadej Pogačar, that’s what I ultimately work for.” Ayuso is currently the most successful Spaniard in 2023, but that doesn’t affect him too much: “I’m happy now, but I know I can do much better. My goal is not to be the best Spaniard, but to be the best in the world.”
Ayuso wants to be the best:
Fabio Jakobsen on his Way to Team dsm-firmenich?
It is only a matter of time before Fabio Jakobsen signs a contract with Team dsm-firmenich. According to WielerFlits, the sprinter has made his choice and that he is about to sign for the Dutch team. Jakobsen will soon be the sprint leader of the team that helped Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb to success.
After six years with Soudal Quick-Step, Jakobsen will go from the Belgian team of Patrick Lefevere for the Dutch team of manager Iwan Spekenbrink. Lefevere mainly wants to build a round team around world champion Remco Evenepoel in the coming years. In addition, Lefevere also hopes to have a stronger team for the Flemish classics. Also with Tim Merlier the Belgian team has a top sprinter for the next two years. Plus Luke Lamperti, also a sprinter is rumoured to be going to Soudal Quick-Step.
With the arrival of Jakobsen, dsm-firmenich seems to have succeeded in getting a top Dutch rider. Olav Kooij and Jakobsen were priorities for Spekenbrink’s team. The team wants to go back to its roots as a sprint team. With the arrival of the Dutch top sprinter, Team dsm-firmenich can continue to build a sprint train around Jakobsen. In the team’s sprint squad for 2024, Tobias Lund Andresen, Pavel Bittner, John Degenkolb, Nils Eekhoff, Niklas Märkl and Casper van Uden are currently under contract. It is a fairly young core, with Eekhoff and Degenkolb mainly focusing on the Classics. Andresen, Bittner and Van Uden are all still very young and neo-pros. Märkl is focusing on a role as a lead-out, which he did in the Giro d’Italia when Alberto Dainese won. The Italian’s contract is finishing this year, just like Marius Mayrhofer and Sam Welsford, who said he is going to BORA-hansgrohe.
The next job for dsm-firmenech will be to build a good lead-out for Jakobsen, but lead-out men are scarce in the current transfer market. Someone like Danny van Poppel has just extended his contract. Other sprinters who have an expiring contract are Simone Consonni (Cofidis), Bram Welten (Groupama-FDJ), Boy van Poppel (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) and Jakobsen’s current teammates Florian Sénéchal and Davide Ballerini.
Jakobsen off to DSM:
Magnus Cort Leaving EF Education-EasyPost for Uno-X
It has been rumoured for some time that Magnus Cort would be going to the Uno-X team, now according to Danish and Norwegian media, the 30 year-old rider will be going to the Norwegian team. Cort will leave the American EF Education-EasyPost team.
Cort has been very successful with the American team. He won four stages in the Vuelta a España, a stage in the Tour de France and this year, the 10th stage of the Giro d’Italia.
Uno-X has developed steadily and is now one of the top 23 teams in the World and is preparing for its first Tour de France participation. Team manager, Jens Hauglandt, wants to step up at the next WorldTour cycle in 2026. With Andreas Leknessund, Haugland now has his top-men for the Grand Tours. Other strong riders within the selection are Alexander Kristoff, Rasmus Tiller and talents such as Søren Wærenskjold, Stian Fredheim and the twins Tobias and Andreas Halland Johannessen.
Magnus Cort going home:
Simmons and Van Bekkum Commit to Another Year with Jumbo-Visma Development Team
Colby Simmons and Darren van Bekkum have extended their commitment to the Jumbo-Visma Development Team for another year. The duo will have the opportunity to further develop their skills.
Van Bekkum (21) has been with the Jumbo-Visma Development Team for three years and has shown steady progress. “He still shows interesting things every time”, Head of Development Robbert de Groot said. “Every year, he makes steps forward. In addition, he is now one of the cultural guardians of the team. We look forward to seeing what he will do next year.”
The third-year U23 rider is excited about his extended stay. “For me, it still feels extraordinary to ride for this team. With my progress over the last few years, it’s clear that this is the best environment for me to develop. I am very proud of that and feel very comfortable here. Hopefully, I can move to the pros after next year.”
Simmons (19) will also stay with the Jumbo-Visma Development Team for another year. “We recognise his potential”, De Groot said. “He has a good training and race mentality and a positive personality. But he also needs another year with the U23s. We will make the most of that year with him.”
“I feel like I developed well within the team last year”, Simmons said. “I feel good on the team, which shows in the races. I still have room to grow tactically, and I believe the team can help me. So it was not a difficult decision for me to stay an extra year when this opportunity came up.”
Huising Turns Professional with Jumbo-Visma in 2025
Menno Huising has signed his first professional contract. The first-year U23 rider will move from the Development Team to the WorldTour squad of Jumbo-Visma in 2025. Huising has signed a contract until 2027. This makes him the first rider to coming through CyclingClassNL who turns pro.
Huising (19) is in his first year with the Jumbo-Visma Development Team. He immediately won the Flèche Ardennaise. “Although I haven’t been here that long, I’m very aware that I’m part of the best development team in the peloton”, Huising said. “Everything is in place to develop as a rider, but in a very accessible way. I am an eager learner, so I like using all the in-house expertise. At the same time, the squad has a familial feel about it. There could not be a better environment to step into the pro peloton. This feels like a childhood dream, and I am looking forward to riding in the WorldTour soon.”
Huising is the first CyclingClassNL rider to transition to professional cycling. In late 2021, the 19-year-old Dutchman was part of the first batch of riders in the joint training project between KNWU, NOC*NSF and Team Jumbo-Visma. He then made the move to the Jumbo-Visma Development Team. “We are very proud of this”, sportive director Merijn Zeeman said. “Menno has shown great promise over the past few years. He is fully developing, which will remain the main goal in the coming years. We believe he has a bright future in our team.”
In recent years, Martin Truijens, Head Talent Coach of CyclingClassNL, and Robbert de Groot, Head of Development at Jumbo-Visma, have closely followed Huising’s development. Truijens: “Menno benefited from our help for a year. During that time, he learned what it takes to become an excellent professional rider.”
After that last year in the junior category, Jumbo-Visma took over. “We quickly realised that he was a special rider”, De Groot said. “We are still in the process of discovering what he will excel at. Menno has a lot of natural cycling skills, but he can still improve in all areas. We will continue to work with him over the next few years, first in the development team and then in the WorldTour squad.”
Jumbo-Visma Development Team signs Brennan, Pattinson and Smithson
The 2024 Jumbo-Visma Development Team is taking shape. Three new riders will join the team: Jed Smithson, Tomos Pattinson, and Matthew Brennan.
With Jumbo-Visma, Brennan, Pattinson, and Smithson will enter the U23 peloton after rising through the junior levels. “These are three riders from the top of the junior peloton that we have scouted very carefully”, development director Robbert de Groot explained. “They are well-rounded riders who have already proven themselves. Tomos has experience on the track and in cyclocross, while Jed and Matthew have track backgrounds. With them, we have a good group of young riders that we are now starting to develop. It’s far too early to categorise them as certain types of riders, so we won’t do that just yet. Based on their performance, training data, and personalities, they have everything necessary to succeed as professionals.”
The trio are enthusiastic about their move to Jumbo-Visma, where all three have signed two-year contracts. “This is the best development team you can be in”, said Pattinson, who won the Liège-Bastogne-Liège junior race earlier this year. “I believe there is a lot for me to learn here. The team has specialists in all areas. There are seasoned coaches, and because of the racing schedule, we can compete against the best U23 cyclists in the world. I am looking forward to the next two years.”
“It’s all about development here”, added Brennan, winner of the Guido Reybrouck Classic. “There is a good and professional structure in place. When I visited the High Performance Centre in Den Bosch, I felt like a kid in a candy store. I am looking forward to developing in this environment. I’d also like to thank my current junior team Fensham Howes-MAS Design, without whom this probably wouldn’t have been possible.”
For Smithson, who added Nokere Koerse to his junior palmarès this year, the move to Jumbo-Visma is a dream come true. “Thanks to everyone who has helped me to get to this point. This is the best team in the world, and I have always hoped to end up here. Here I can maximise my potential and take the next step in my career. The team has helped many riders step up to the professional peloton. I want to be the next.”
Giro Donne to Go Ahead
The Giro Donne 2023 will take place. A few days ago, the Italian cycling federation FCI and Starlight, the organiser of the Giro Donne had a problem, but a solution was found.
Startlight had previously announced that it could not guarantee the television coverage due to financial problems. However, RAI, the Italian public broadcaster, has found a solution together with the Italian cycling federation.
The Giro Donne will start on June 30 with a prologue in Chianciano. Top riders such as Annemiek van Vleuten, Marianne Vos, Shirin van Anrooij, Juliette Labous and Marta Bastianelli should be on the start-line of the women’s Giro d’Italia.
Van Vleuten won last year:
Denmark Wants to be Part of the WorldTour
Five parties, including the municipality of Copenhagen and the Danish cycling federation, have submitted a preliminary proposal to the UCI for a top-level one-day event and received a positive response. The partners also wants to organise a one-day event as part of the Women’s WorldTour.
In addition to the Municipality of Copenhagen and the Danish Cycling Federation, Sport Event Denmark, Wonderful Copenhagen and the Municipality of Roskilde are also involved in the project. Together they want to bring the best riders to Seeland for at least the next three consecutive years from 2025. Copenhagen is also located on Zealand, Denmark’s largest island. Both the women’s and the men’s race would finish in the centre of the city. The start of both races would be in Roskilde. The final route has not yet been announced.
“With the commitment of the municipality of Roskilde to participate in the project as a starting municipality, we have a starting point for determining the route,” said Jesper Tikiøb, event manager of the Danish cycling federation. “We want to create a spectacular course that offers the best of the area.”
“We will use the winding country roads and the open spaces along our coastlines to make it an open course. We will design the final in the centre of Copenhagen with the greatest possible attention to safety and the public experience.”
The WorldTour Copenhagen, as the races are being provisionally called, has not yet been officially sanctioned by the UCI. Now that the draft proposal has been received positively, the five parties still have to come up with an official plan. This plan must be submitted by the end of October 2023.
New top races to Denmark:
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