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The first professional bike race of the ‘new’ season was on Sunday, the fans didn’t get too close. Sad news from Saturday as Niels De Vriendt passed away during a race – Top Story. Lot’s of other cycling news: Race reports from the GP Vermarc Sport, Portugal and the Virtual Tour de France with video. Rider news from Bernal, Quintana, Carapaz, the Yates Brothers, Teuns, Ulissi, Agnoli, Garrison, Großschartner and Cozas. Team news from Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Total Direct Energie. No national championships in USA and UK. Race news: Québec and Montréal continue, Brussels Cycling Classic and Tour of Britain. Plus training camps, team and contract news and Peter Sagan cooks Italian. Another full EUROTRASH.

top story
TOP STORY: Death in the First Belgian Race
Niels De Vriendt died at the age of 20 on Saturday after several attempts at resuscitation. The Belgian amateur rider of VDM-Trawobo CT was taking part in the Wortegem-Petegem race. Help from the medical services, who were quickly on the scene, was of no avail.

De Vriendt was one of the participants in Wortegem-Petegem, for the first Belgian cycle race since the outbreak of the corona virus. The race was an initiative of the mother of Belgian champion Tim Merlier. In addition to Merlier, other professional cyclists were also at the start, such as Sep Vanmarcke, Otto Vergaerde and Jonas Rickaert.

After only thirteen kilometres, De Vriendt presumably had a heart attack. The Mobile Emergency Group was quickly on site to resuscitate the rider, but the help was in vain. The 20 year-old rider died on the circuit and the race was canceled.

No suspicious death of Niels De Vriendt
According to Luc Vander Meeren, the mayor of Wortegem-Petegem, an investigation by the local police revealed that there is no suspicions over the death of Niels De Vriendt, but an unfortunate fall with a fatal outcome. No autopsy will be done on the body unless the parents wish. “I have heard from local riders that Niels just fell. There was no contact with another rider, no third party was involved,” said Vander Meeren at VTM. “An unfortunate fall”.

Because no autopsy will be done, the question will remain whether De Vriendt first suffered a cardiac arrest and then fell, or whether he first fell and then suffered a cardiac arrest. “I’m afraid we’ll never find the right cause. Unfortunately for the parents, that remains a mystery forever,” the mayor concludes. Rumours that De Vriendt had COVID-19 have not been substantiated.

GP Vermarc Sport starts with a minute of silence for Niels De Vriendt
The organisation of the GP Vermarc Sport held a minute’s silence before the start on Sunday in memory of Niels De Vriendt.

The GP Vermarc Sport organiser, Marc Verbeeck, sympathises with the family of De Vriendt, who died much too young. “Losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to you as a parent. We want to make this event a tribute to all deceased children. We did indeed consult with the most important teams, among others. The tenor was clear: everyone wants to race today. As a statement of support to the affected family.”

Memorial photo of Niels De Vriendt by his VDM Van Durme-Michiels Trawobo team:

vermarc
GP Vermarc Sport 2020
Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck – Quick-step) soloed to a beautiful victory Sunday afternoon in Rotselaar, where the Grote Prijs Vermarc, the team’s first event since Paris-Nice in March, took place on a 15.4km-long circuit which made for some thrilling racing right from the gun.

A 14-man group snapped the elastic on the opening lap, with Pieter Serry and Stijn Steels representing Deceuninck – Quick-Step in the move which quickly gained a 1:30 gap over the peloton, where Dutch Champion Fabio Jakobsen and Sénéchal provided extra options to our team in case of a regrouping. Despite the leaders shedding riders out the back due to the fierce pace and having their advantage cut to a mere minute with 50 kilometres to go, the bunch couldn’t make the catch.

Instead of that, a counterattack group formed inside the final 30 kilometres and began to reduce the escapees’ advantage. Florian Sénéchal, Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix) and Victor Campenaerts (NTT Pro Cycling) were the trio who worked well together and bridged across on the last lap of the race. There wasn’t a moment of respite for them, as the skirmishes started almost immediately. Eventually, it was Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Frenchman who took off, seven kilometres from the finish, and went all the way to the line, where he celebrated his second victory in a Belgian kermesse, after the 2018 success at Textielprijs Vichte.

senechal

GP Vermarc winner, Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck – Quick-step): “This win gives me a lot of satisfaction. Even if it’s only a kermesse, it still means a lot to us to get the victory after showing our jersey and sponsors in the best way possible. They are all affected by the coronavirus, so it was important for everybody here at the Wolfpack to show them our support with this win. The race was really fast. It was the first one in a long time, so you can imagine that everyone was eager. The level was high. It was tough out there, I feel it in my legs, but at the same time, it was nice to get back to racing and see all the riders again and even some fans on the circuit”, the 26-year-old continued. “The shape is good, which makes me happy. During the past couple of months, we have always been in close contact with the team, the nutritionist, coaches, the sports directors, so I trained well and controlled my weight. All this helped me today, as I felt strong and very confident. Now it’s time for our Val di Fassa training camp and from there to the first official races of the second part of the season.”

2nd, Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix): “It went very well, I had a good feeling about training for a long time, but the race is always different. I am happy that the good feeling is confirmed. It was a long time ago and I was really looking forward to it. It was a countdown until we could race again. I expected that we could only race after the altitude training, but this was a nice stroke of luck. We have followed many measures from the team, we must ensure that we remain healthy ourselves and our environment. We are required to be tested by the team, which is a good thing. It happens regularly, about once every two weeks. It’s a bit weird, but it’s best for everyone now. We should be happy to be racing again and the people at home too. First I go in an altitude tent for a week and then with the team to the South of France on altitude training. Then I ride the Tour of Bulgaria.”

3rd, Victor Campenaerts (NTT Pro Cycling): “I think it was very well organised. A big thumbs up, especially if you compare it to how they messed up in Slovenia. Let’s hope that this is a good example for the coming races and that we can continue until the end of the season. It is a very difficult situation. If we were to do it here as in Slovenia, it would not be long before all races were cancelled. But I don’t just look at the race, I would like a mouth mask to be made mandatory. It may not be the very best protection, but it is a very little effort. I immediately started racing full on. I soon saw that Lotto Soudal and Deceuninck – Quick-Step wanted to play it on a sprint, but that didn’t seem like an interesting idea to me. We quickly drove away with a group and then it was full speed. My tank was completely empty after 2.5 hours. Many of my friends were not so happy with how I raced today. I think third was the highest achievable today. If I had raced with my head I could have won here. But I enjoy hurting the rest and they say you’re an asshole. That is possible in these races, but if we start seriously again then I have to race with my head and follow a tactic.”

GP Vermarc Sport Result:
1. Florian Sénéchal (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
2. Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
3. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) NTT Pro Cycling
4. Stijn Steels (Bel) Deceuninck – QuickStep
5. Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxeelles
6. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
7. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Lions
8. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
10. Corne Van Kessel (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert.

GP Vermarc’20:

uae
Rui Costa wins in Portugal
Triple UAE top-10 in first race in Portugal

Rui Costa won the opening time trial of the restarted Portuguese Cycling calendar, which returned to competition in Anadia, Aveiro. Costa’s fellow UAE teammates Ivo and Rui Oliveira also featured in the top placings, coming home in 4th and 7th place respectively.

With a time of 28.10 minutes, the 2013 world champion Costa was the fastest along the 22-kilometre course, held at the Velodrome of Sangalhos, in an individual event that marked the return of racing in Portugal. Rafael Reis (Feirense) was runner-up, three seconds adrift, while Spaniard Gustavo Veloso (W52-FC Porto) finished in third place, twenty-two seconds behind.

Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates): “I had a goal in terms of my performance and in the end I managed to stay within the limits I had set myself. I did a good time trial, and I felt strong out on the course. During the lockdown period I worked quite well and resuming racing with a win is always good for morale.”

Result:
1. Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) in 28:10
2. Rafael Reis (Feirense) at 0:03
3. Gustavo Cesar Veloso (W52-FC Porto) at 0:22
4. Ivo Oliveira (UAE Team Emirates) at 0:35
7. Rui Oliveira (UAE Team Emirates) at 0:59

Rui Costa TT:
costa

tour virtual
Virtual Tour de France 2020
Ryan Gibbons (NTT Pro Cycling Team) claimed victory in the men’s race of the opening Stage 1 of the inaugural Virtual Tour de France on Saturday. The South-African rider made the most of his sprinting abilities and Zwift’s power-ups to edge Pier-André Coté (Rally Cycling). NTT lead the general classification. Earlier in the afternoon, the young British rider, April Tacey outpowered Kristen Faulkner (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank) in the final sprint to earn her team, Drops Cycling, the overall lead ahead of Stage 2 tomorrow. Drops Cycling leads Tibco-Silicon Valley Banks by 71 points to 70.

A virtual pack of 144 riders took on stage 1 of the Virtual Tour de France on Saturday. Men and women were to cover 4 laps on a 9.1km circuit emulating the outskirts of Nice, where the Tour de France will start on August 29. A perfect ground for intense and thrilling racing as part of the solidarity events aiming to raise funds for charity partners.

Ladies ride first and Erica Magnaldi (Ceratizit-WNT) quickly shows her ambitions with an early move on this hilly route. She scores the first points for the Queen of the Mountain in the first lap. But Joscelin Lowden (Drops) out-powers her in the next two ascents. The two riders battle it out in the final ascent of the day, and Magnaldi pushes 11 watts/kg to edge Lowden right at the summit.

A small group gets back around them in the final 2km, setting a fast and furious run in to the line. The time-trial World champion Chloé Dygert (Twenty20) gets in the mix but she fades while the young British April Tacey (Drops) perfectly times her aero power-up to take victory on the line ahead of Kristen Faulkner (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank).

With Lowden also finishing inside the top 10 (8th), Drops lead the general classification with 71 points, just ahead of TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank (70 pts).

The men’s race starts right afterwards and Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) immediately puts the hammer down to lead the way to the first intermediate sprint. Dan McLay (Arkéa Samsic) and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (NTT Pro Cycling) try to break away one after the other but the bunch doesn’t let anyone go until the final showdown.

Edvald Boasson Hagen (NTT Pro Cycling Team), who had already displayed aggressive intents in the climbs, tries to anticipate the sprint but a raging bunch gets back to him… And his teammate Ryan Gibbons flies to victory, emulating April Tacey with a perfect use of the aero power-up. Nick Schultz (Mitchelton-Scott) finishes third ahead of Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix).

With Edvald Boasson Hagen holding on to 6th place, NTT lead the general classification with 80 points, just one more than Rally Cycling. Alpecin-Fenix are third with 72 points.

How to power-up to victory Power-ups proved essential on stage 1 and will be a major feature of the rest of the Virtual Tour de France. The aero power-up used by today’s winners makes them more aerodynamics for 15 seconds. The other power-ups available can improve a rider’s drafting, make him undraftable, reduce his weight or make him invisible.

Women’s Stage 1 Result:
1. A. Tacey (Drops Cycling)
2. K. Faulkner (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank)
3. C. van Den Broek-Blaak (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team).

Women’s Individual General Classification:
1. A. Tacey (Drops Cycling)
2. K. Faulkner (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank)
3. C. van Den Broek-Blaak (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team).

Men’s Stage 1 Result:
1. R. Gibbons (NTT Pro Cycling Team)
2. P.A. Cote (Rally Cycling)
3. N. Schultz (Mitchelton-Scott).

Men’s Individual General Classification:
1. R. Gibbons (NTT Pro Cycling Team)
2. P.A. Cote (Rally Cycling)
3. N. Schultz (Mitchelton-Scott).

The uphill challenges of Stage 2 of the Virtual Tour de France offered more thrilling racing as Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo) and Lauren Stephens (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank) dominated their rivals on Sunday. The Frenchman powered to victory ahead of Freddy Ovett (Israel Startup Nation) in the final sprint. NTT Pro Cycling maintain the overall lead with 130 points, ahead of Rally Cycling (90). Earlier in the afternoon, Lauren Stephens outsprinted her rivals in a 5-woman group also featuring her teammate Kristen Faulkner. With a total of 170 points, TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank will defend the yellow jersey on stage 3, next Saturday.

Stage 2 of the Virtual Tour de France brings together some 149 riders (89 men and 60 women) on Sunday afternoon as part of the solidarity events aiming to raise funds for charity partners. The 29.8km course features the Epic QKOM ascent for two thrilling races.

The women go first. Ellen Van Dijk sets a high tempo for Trek-Segafredo at the bottom of the climb and Elise Olsen, wearing the Maillot Jaune for Drops Cycling Team, is quickly struggling off the back. Erica Magnaldi (Ceratizit-WNT) accelerates in the climb to take the QOM points at the summit ahead of the Polka-dot Jersey Jossy Lowden (Drops Cycling Team). Magnaldi keeps going and opens a gap with Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) inside the last 10 kilometres.

A group of five riders gets together for the final run-in, as Lowden and two riders from TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank get back: Kristen Faulkner and Lauren Stephens. The latter enjoyed a perfectly timed aero power-up to dominate the sprint with an average speed of 51.4km/h in the final 500m. Lowden was second for Drops, ahead of Magnaldi.

TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank lead the overall classification with 170 points. Drops Cycling Team are second with 111.

Bernard shines, NTT hold on
The winner of the 2018 Tour de France Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) gets in action from the beginning of the men’s stage. With the Yellow Jersey on his shoulders, Louis Meintjes (NTT Pro Cycling Team) is at the front in the first climb, dominated by James Piccoli (Israel Startup Nation). Riders from EF Education First keep pushing after the summit of the Epic KOM but a strong group gets back together in the downhill, including Trek-Segafredo’s Julien Bernard.

Patrick Bevin (CCC Team) tries to get away with his “burrito” power-up in the last 500m. He quickly opens a gap but Freddy Ovett (Israel Startup Nation) closes on him and looks set to take the win until Bernard edges him right on the line.

NTT Pro Cycling retain the overall leadership with 130 points. Rally Cycling are second with 92. The battle returns on July 11 with stage 3 of the Virtual Tour de France.

Women’s Stage Result:
1. L. Stephens (Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) in 47:32
2. J. Lowden (Drops Cycling) at 0,206s
3. E. Magnaldi (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling) at 0,245s.

Women’s General Classification by Team:
1. Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
2. Drops Cycling
3. Canyon // SRAM Racing.

Men’s Stage Result:
1. J. Bernard (Trek-Segafredo) in 41:13
2. F. Ovett (Israel Start-Up Nation) at 0,038s
3. N. Edet (Cofidis) at 0,065s.

Men’s GeneralENERAL Classification by Team
1. NTT Pro Cycling Team
2. Rally Cycling
3. Alpecin-Fenix.

ineos
Egan Bernal: “Chris Froome has never been mad at me”
Egan Bernal denies that Chris Froome has become angry with him for statements made earlier. The 2019 Tour winner said in May that he is going to “waste no chance of winning the Tour” and that would have been wrong with co-leader Froome. “He was not angry,” said Bernal to El Tiempo.

Bernal’s statement could have been understood by Froome as if the Colombian wouldn’t want to work for his teammates, even if they were better in the coming Tour de France. “We talked about it then,” says Bernal. “Froome’s statements came out afterwards and people read that as if he was angry, but that was not the case.”

“He has never been angry with me about what I said,” said the defending champion. At the end of August he starts the Tour with Froome and Geraint Thomas. “We are friends and we all want to win. The important thing is that the team wins. We are Team Ineos and the team must win. Chris, Geraint and I are honest with each other. When we see that someone is better, it helps.”

“We can’t say I’m the leader now. If I have to work for Froome, I will. If he has to give up his chances for me, then I am convinced he does. Just like Geraint,” said Bernal.

Bernal, Froome and Thomas:
bernal froome thomas

arkea
Nairo Quintana in Training Crash
Nairo Quintana was slightly injured due to a collision with a car, it was reported on Twitter. The Colombian Arkéa-Samsic team leader was treated by a doctor.

Quintana was training on the road from Tunja to Motavita when a car performed a dangerous manoeuvre and knocked him to the ground. The mayor of Motavita, Mery Mozo, came to the scene of the accident and took photos of the shaken Quintana which she published on the Twitter.

Quintana will be on a charter flight from Colombia to Madrid on July 19 with a large number of Colombian cyclists on board.

“It seems, and we hope so, that it is nothing serious,” said Quintana’s manager Giuseppe Acquardo to La Gazzetta dello Sport. “He was hit on the knee and is now in the hospital to take X-rays. He was doing an uphill test and he was full throttle. In addition, a car hit him with a side mirror, which landed him on the ground.”

Quintana responded to the incident in a video on social media. “There was some concern, I had a car that accompanied me, but that car passed by and wanted to overtake me. I couldn’t see that car and was on the white line, and it hit me. I have minor abrasions and some pain in my right knee and my left thigh, where the mirror of the vehicle hit me. Now we have to wait for the results of the test to rule out further damage. In any case, I am fine and will come out better here.”

Arkea-Samsic say that no fractures were found during an examination in the hospital. Quintana has to rest for two weeks and is convinced that this forced rest will not affect his preparation for the Tour de France.

Crash for Quintana:
quintana

ineos
Richard Carapaz is Counting on a Colombian Charter Flight to Europe
Will Richard Carapaz be able to come to Europe before the start of the cycling season? An exit ban still applies to Ecuadorians. This causes some problems, but Carapaz is counting on the Colombian charter flight to Europe.

The Ecuadorian, who hopes to defend his title in the Giro d’Italia in October, has been negotiating with the Colombian government since last month. The outcome of these negotiations appears to be positive for the time being, reports El Comercio.

Carapaz is not the only Ecuadorian to board the Colombian charter flight. Other cyclists like Jhonatan Narváez, Jonathan Caicedo, Jefferson Cepeda and Alexander Cepeda follow in his footsteps.

Now that international air traffic in South America is practically none existent, it is also difficult to get to Bogotá. The Team Ineos rider is faced with a 982-kilometre bike ride from his Carchi residence to the Colombian capital. It is not known whether other Ecuadorian cyclists will accompany Carapaz.

Giro’20 for Carapaz?
carapaz

mitchelton
Yates Bros: Simon to Trek-Segafredo, Adam to Team Ineos
The Adam and Simon Yates brothers have been racing for Mitchelton-Scott since the beginning of their careers, but according to journalist Daniel Friebe, the brothers maybe splitting up to go to different teams.

In The Cycling Podcast, Friebe discusses the future of the British climbers. Simon is said to be of interest to the Trek-Segafredo team, while Adam has had an offer from Team Ineos. The British team made an attempt in 2014 to bring in the brothers.

The question is whether Adam is willing to race for Team Ineos, as he will then have to compete with riders like Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome (if he stays) and emerging talents like Pavel Sivakov and Iván Sosa.

The Trek-Segafredo team has three leaders for the grand Tours: Vincenzo Nibali, Richie Porte and Bauke Mollema. However, Simon Yates won the Vuelta a España two years ago and seemed to be on the way to Giro victory in 2018, but had a bad day on the road to Bardonecchia.

The Mitchelton-Scott team seems to be in a time of change. The Australian formation seemed to be taken over by Manuela Fundación, but the deal eventually fell through. The team is struggling with financial problems and cut salaries considerably, although the team will pay the riders in full again from August.

Going to different teams?
yates

bahrain
Some Freedom for Dylan Teun’s in the Tour
Dylan Teuns will be helping leader Mikel Landa of Bahrain McLaren to a good overall classification. “Maybe I get some freedom here and there, but the first intention is to drive in service,” Teuns told Het Laatste Nieuws.

“The team has a lot of ambition for the rankings with Landa and we intend to help him,” said last year’s stage winner. Teuns emphasises that he feels good with that role in the upcoming Tour. “We still have a strong team with Poels, Caruso and Bilbao.”

The Tour de France, Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo and Critérium du Dauphiné are on his program, and after the Tour the World championships (if selected), Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Flèche Brabant and Amstel Gold Race.

Teuns is out of contract with Bahrain McLaren and confirms that there is interest from other teams. It is said that three or four teams want to bring him in, but he can also re-sign. “I do not mention names, but there is interest,” says Teuns. “My first option is to stay, because I feel very good here.”

“Normally I would be a bit nervous in this situation,” he says of his expiring contract. “Then you would like to show yourself as soon as possible with good performance, but now that we can not race, I find it easier to put it aside.”

Dylan Teuns in the TT:

uae
Ulissi to Resume Season with Strade Bianche
Diego Ulissi will restart his season with the Strade Bianche, the UAE Team Emirates Italian rider announced on social media. The experienced rider will also be at the start of the Tour of Poland, followed by the Tour of Lombardy.

Ulissi – 31 on July 15 – will pin on a race number for Strade Bianche on August 1. The Italian was 21st in 2014, but is still waiting for success in the Tuscan classic. Ulissi does have better memories of the Tour of Poland. He managed to win the opening stage in 2013 over Madonna di Campiglio, two years later the rider finished sixth in the final classification. Last season he finished third in the Polish stage race, behind Pavel Sivakov and Jai Hindley.

Earlier it was announced that Ulissi will not participate in the Ardennes classics this year, as he will ride the Giro d’Italia. Ulissi will miss the Tour de France and Vuelta a España this year.

Diego Ulissi in the UAE Tour:
ulissi


Valerio Agnoli Still Looking for a Team
Valerio Agnoli was told last year that his expiring contract with Bahrain Merida was not going to be renewed. The now 35-year-old Italian subsequently did not find a new team for 2020, but refuses to hang up his bike. “I want to end my career in a beautiful way.”

For years, Agnoli rode alongside his compatriot, leader and friend Vincenzo Nibali. The two Italians rode for Liquigas, Astana and Bahrain Merida, but last year Nibali decided to move to Trek-Segafredo. Agnoli was left behind and had to look for a new team for 2020 at the age of 34.

“I never officially announced my farewell,” he told TuttoBiciWeb. “I still hope for a return to the peloton. I am in a difficult situation, but I want to finish my career in a different way.” According to Agnoli, it is an advantage that the cycling season is now halted by the corona crisis.

“The difference with my colleagues is not getting any bigger now, as the riders are currently unable to race. I am still training, hoping for a breakthrough.” Agnoli started his career in 2005 with Naturino-Sapore di Mare. He only took one individual pro victory: a stage in the Tour of Qinghai Lake.

Valerio Agnoli taking it easy:
agnolli

deceuninck
Ian Garrison Refused Travel to Amsterdam
Deceuninck – Quick-Step cannot rely on Ian Garrison. The young American wanted to fly from Atlanta to Amsterdam last Wednesday, but he was not allowed to board because of the European entry ban for Americans.

Garrison’s team confirmed to VeloNews that the 22-year-old rider is still in the United States. He hoped to gain access to the plane with a signed letter from Deceuninck – Quick-Step, saying that he had an essential occupation and had to travel for work, but that was not enough. Garrison should have presented a visa or residence permit.

The Belgian team is now looking for another option to get the WorldTour debutant to Europe before the season resumes. “This year I would be staying in Europe for the first time for an entire season,” says Garrison. “I was going to live in Girona, but eventually I traveled back when the corona virus started. I was in the middle of a visa application process when I went back to the US, so that’s why I don’t have one.”

Recently NTT Pro Cycling rider Ben King and Larry Warbasse of AG2R-La Mondiale were able to travel from the United States to Europe. They had the right papers to make the crossing. Will Barta (CCC) hopes to fly to France on July 12. He has a residence permit because he spent a long time in Nice last year.

Ian Garrison in Spain before…
garrison

bora
Felix Großschartner Bora-Hansgrohe Team Leader in Vuelta a España
Felix Großschartner will hope to prove himself this season as GC team leader. The Austrian climber will be the leader of Bora-Hansgrohe in the Vuelta a España in a few months (October 20-November 8). “And that is an enormous honour,” he told Oberösterreichische Nachrichten.

The 26 year-old Großschartner will contest two major Tours this year, as he will first participate in the Tour de France. The climber will be working for Emanuel Buchmannn and, possibly Peter Sagan in the French Grand Tour. In the Vuelta, Großschartner can race for his own account.

Großschartner will make his debut in the Tour de France this season, but has already been at the start of the Vuelta. Last year he finished 36th in the general classification, more than two hours from winner Primož Roglič. In recent years, Großschartner has shown that he has what’s needed for a classification rider.

He won the Tour of Turkey last year, finished fourth in the Tour de Romandie and finished fifth in the Tour of Guangxi. Großschartner rode a strong Paris-Nice (9th) this year, where he helped the final winner Maximilian Schachmann.

Felix Großschartner in Turkey:
Felix Großschartner

chozas
Bone Marrow Transplant for Eduardo Chozas
Eduardo Chozas announced on his sixtieth birthday that he has had a bone marrow transplant. “The doctors discovered a lymphoma a few years ago. This made my health worse and worse.”

Chozas is confident that all will be well. Chozas started his professional career early, forty years ago in the jersey of Fosforera-Vereco and then grew into an excellent climber and pure stage race rider. He also raced for large teams such as Reynolds, Kelme and ONCE.

Chozas won four stages in the Tour de France. In 1986 he won an Alpine stage to Serre Chevalier. The attacker also managed to finish in the Top 10 twice in the Tour de France, with the best result being sixth place in the 1990 Tour. He also won three more stages in the Giro d’Italia and twice the Ruta del Sol. After his career as a professional cyclist, Chozas became a commentator for the Spanish-speaking Eurosport. Chozas is also involved with his amateur team Avimosa-Chozas Team.

Eduardo Chozas in the Worlds’83:
chozas

deceuninck
Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Restart Season at Vuelta a Burgos
Sam Bennett and Remco Evenepoel will be in action later this month, at the five-day Spanish race.

More than four months after the season was stopped due to the coronavirus outbreak, our team plans to resume competition in Spain, at the 42nd edition of the Vuelta a Burgos (28 July-1 August). As soon as our Val di Fassa training camp – which is due to start next week – will conclude, seven Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders will travel to Spain for the testing race, which once again is set to feature the Picon Blanco and Lagunas de Neila summit finishes.

After hitting the ground running with the Wolfpack in Australia, where he claimed two wins, Irish Champion Sam Bennett will look to ease back into competition and build his condition for the major goals of the season at the Spanish race, which he looks very much forward to discovering in three weeks’ time.

“It feels great to know you are back to racing! As a matter of fact, it feels like the first day of school all over again. We didn’t have much of a season so far this year, so we are eager to do what we love the most again. Burgos will be a nice occasion to see how the form is and test myself. People miss cycling a lot and I’m sure everyone will be happy to have some racing again.”

Before 2020 was brought to a halt, Remco Evenepoel was in superb form and didn’t miss any opportunity to prove it. The 20-year-old Belgian raced Vuelta a San Juan and Volta ao Algarve and wrapped up the general classification at both events, scoring three stage wins in the process. Now, the European ITT Champion is back to the drawing board, as he looks to build a calendar that he hopes will bring him in a good condition at the start of the Giro d’Italia.

“Five months without racing is a long time, this situation has been completely new for all of us and we are curious to get back that racing feeling and see where we stand after all this time. It will be important to discover how the body reacts to this first event, to the hot temperatures and tough route, but the motivation is there, that I’m sure of. I have great memories from Spain, as last year it was here that I won my first one-day race, Clasica San Sebastian, and I can’t wait to pin on a number again and just be there in the thick of the action with the Wolfpack,” added Remco Evenepoel.

“All the guys on the team – riders and staff – are excited to start racing again. Many teams will recommence their season in Burgos, so we can expect a very strong field. We have two guys with whom we’ll try getting some good results there. Remco, who will have the support of João Almeida and Andrea Bagioli, and Sam, who can count on a strong lead-out train, consisting of Shane Archbold, Yves Lampaert and Michael Mørkøv. The course is a challenging one, but that doesn’t scare us, it just motivates us to show what we’re capable of, even more now after such a long break.” said sports director Geert Van Bondt.

28.07–01.08 Vuelta a Burgos (ESP) 2.Pro
Riders:

João Almeida (POR)
Shane Archbold (NZL)
Andrea Bagioli (ITA)
Sam Bennett (IRL)
Remco Evenepoel (BEL)
Yves Lampaert (BEL)
Michael Mørkøv (DEN)
Sports Director: Brian Holm (DEN) and Geert Van Bondt (BEL).

Bennett and Evenepoel to Burgos:
bennett evenepoel

total
Tour 2020: Total Direct Energie Presents Tour Longlist
Total Direct Energie has presented the pre-selection for the 2020 Tour de France. Nine riders, which initially consisted of ten, but Niki Terpstra has been removed from the pre-selection after he crashed heavily during training.

From the long list, Total Direct Energie must still lose one rider. With Lilian Calmejane, Jérôme Cousin, Fabien Grellier, Romain Sicard, Julien Simon, Geoffrey Soupe and Anthony Turgis, seven home riders have a chance of selection. Italian Niccolò Bonifazio and Rein Taaramäe from Estonia can provide foreign interest.

On June 11, the nine will leave for altitude in Font-Romeu in the Pyrenees, after which a decision will be made about the final selection. For Niki Terpstra, who announced on June 24 that his recovery is going well, Total Direct Energie does not seem to be closing the door yet. “You never know what can still happen. We all hope that Niki will return soon,” said sports director Benoît Génauzeau.

Initially, a recovery period of three months was assumed, after the experienced Dutchman suffered a concussion, a broken collarbone, broken ribs and a collapsed lung in mid-June.

Total Direct Energy Tour de France 2020 Team:
Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita)
Lilian Calmejane (Fra)
Jérôme Cousin (Fra)
Fabien Grellier (Fra)
Romain Sicard (Fra)
Julien Simon (Fra)
Geoffrey Soupe (Fra)
Rein Taaramäe (Est)
Anthony Turgis (Fra).

No place for Niki Terpstra:
terpstra

usa
American Road Championship Canceled
The American championships will definitely not run in 2020, due to the coronavirus, which is not yet under control in the United States.

USA Cycling announced that it has done everything possible, but that it is impossible to organise the American championships this year. “The challenges are insurmountable. We are not confident that the safety of participants, volunteers and employees can be guaranteed.”

“Although the American championships cannot take place, more and more local events are being organised. However, the American championships attract audiences from all over the country. That is also why we decided to cancel this event.”

Alex Howes and Ruth Winder are currently the American champions on the road. UCI regulations have allowed them to wear their jersey until the next U.S. Championship.

Alex Howes, champ for a bit longer:
Alex Howes


British Road Championships Canceled
No British road and time trial champion will be crowned this year. British Cycling has decided not to organise the championships this autumn, due to the corona measures.

Currently, there is still a ban on organising cycle races. That will continue until September 1. The federation, in consultation with the teams and local organisers, has indicated that it will not relocate any title races.

In addition to the British road championship, there will also be no mountain bike, BMX and cycle speedway championships in 2020. British Cycling hopes that the cyclocross and track championships will take place in late 2020 or early 2021.

The UCI previously announced that current champions may wear their jersey to the next championship: good news for Ben Swift, Alex Dowsett and double champion Alice Barnes. British Cycling director Rod Findlay indicates that the 2020 organisations will have a new chance next year.

Ben Swift keeping the jersey:
swift


Preparations GP Québec and Montréal Continue
The organisation of the Grand Prix of Québec and Montréal continues as usual with the preparations. Organisation chairman Serge Arsenault says he does take into account the latest developments. “We pay close attention to changes around quarantine periods and travel restrictions”.

Arsenault has planned the Canadian Classics to run on September 11 and 13, respectively, but the question is whether global travel restrictions allow getting a large peloton from Europe to Canada. “We are monitoring the situation and working according to the guidelines of the responsible authorities in Canada and Quebec. We also count on the support of the cities involved and our partners. We still believe that we can present two very high-level events in September, bringing together the best teams in the world,” said Arsenault in a press release.

One of the things the organisation has been working on is a charter flight from Europe and special hotels that are only intended for riders and staff. This is partly due to the UCI protocol regarding the coronavirus. “The health and safety of all people at our competitions are central. Every effort is made to ensure that everyone’s safety can be guaranteed at these editions,” says Arsenault. The organisation will give a new update in mid-July.

Michael Matthews (Sunweb), Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec 2019:
matthews

brussels
Teams for the Brussels Cycling Classic
The peloton of the Brussels Cycling Classic will consist of 22 teams, nine of which have a WorldTour license. This was announced by the race organisers. Ten ProTeams and three continental teams complete the list of participating teams.

With AG2R-La Mondiale, Bora-Hansgrohe, Cofidis, Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Groupama-FDJ, Jumbo-Visma, Lotto Soudal, Sunweb and UAE Team Emirates, nine teams of the highest level will be at the start. In addition, ten teams of the second level participate, including home riders from Alpecin-Fenix, Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles, Circus-Wanty Gobert and Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

The Dutch BEAT Cycling Club, Hagens Berman Axeon of team manager Axel Merckx and home team Tarteletto-Isorex complete the start list. Due to the new date of Sunday, August 30, the Brussels Cycling Classic will have to do without defender Caleb Ewan, who will be riding the Tour de France.

The course of the one-day race has slightly changed, because the finish has been moved back to the Belgium square at the Atomium. The race around the capital is 203 kilometres long and has ten climbs, including Rue de Ronquières, Alsemberg, Bruine Put, Menisberg and Keperenberg. The last hill is thirteen kilometres from the finish.

Teams:

britain
Isle of Wight to Host Tour of Britain 2022 Final Stage
The Isle of Wight will host the Tour of Britain – the UK’s biggest and most prestigious professional cycle race – for the first time ever in September 2022, following an agreement between race organisers and the Isle of Wight Council signed this morning (Saturday 4 July) that will see the final stage of the race taking place on the island.

It will mark the first time that the Tour of Britain has visited the Isle of Wight, providing a unique opportunity for residents and tourists to watch the world’s top teams and riders racing on the Isle, in front of a worldwide live television audience.

The news was announced this morning – Saturday 4 July – in a special ceremony on Ryde seafront, which also marked the start of The Great Tour, a 64-day, 6,700 kilometre charity fundraising cycle, from Ryde.

The Isle of Wight is no stranger to hosting cycle races – the pro-am, cross-Europe Sealink International stage race (1983), the Isle of Wight Classic (1985) and the Tour Series (2015) have all taken place – although 2022’s Tour stage there will be the biggest sporting event ever to take place on its roads.

Isle of Wight Council leader, Councillor Dave Stewart said: “Securing the Tour of Britain is a major coup for the Island and just what is needed to help boost the local economy after the devastating impact of coronavirus. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the stunning landscapes of the Island to an international audience, attracting spectators locally and from afar to enjoy world-class cycling. This event will support our economy through hotel stays or spending money in local shops and businesses. Just as the Isle of Wight is synonymous with sailing, so too I hope we can become a mecca for all things cycling with Tour of Britain and other exciting cycling events in the pipeline.”

“We are delighted to be officially confirming in two years’ time we will be bringing the world’s best cyclists to the Isle of Wight for the final stage of the Tour of Britain, in what I am sure will be one of our most memorable stages,” said Hugh Roberts, Managing Director of Tour of Britain organisers SweetSpot Group.

“The fact that despite this summer’s events we are working ahead with partners and planning the routes for 2021, 2022 and beyond shows that despite adversity, the Tour of Britain will continue to flourish. We hope that seeing this news will inspire more people and organisations than ever before to get behind and support our national Tour and to help us reach our goal of making the Tour of Britain the biggest stage race outside of the three Grand Tours by the end of the decade. This is just the start of our relationship with the Isle of Wight, and through events like the start of the 64-day Great Tour ride today we will be working with the Isle of Wight Council and partners to put the island firmly on the cycling map in the 2020s and helping people to ‘Ride the Isle’. I look forward to returning to Ryde and the Isle of Wight in September at the conclusion of The Great Tour having hopefully done a lot to create a legacy route around Britain’s coastline and raised awareness and funds for a variety of community, health and environmental causes, and look forward even more to September 2022.”

Stephen Park, Performance Director for the Great Britain Cycling Team said: “The Isle of Wight is well known for its sailing heritage and it’s also a brilliant place to ride a bike thanks to the unique and distinctive coastline and scenery, so I know the stage will be a landmark event in 2022’s sporting summer. While we will all miss watching this year’s Tour of Britain, it is great to see the organisers break new ground with a first trip to the island.”

The 2022 Tour of Britain is due to begin in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and finish with a final stage on the Isle of Wight. The exact date of the race will be confirmed next September following the publication of the UCI’s 2022 road cycling calendar.

Tour of Britain organisers SweetSpot and the Isle of Wight Council are also jointly exploring other opportunities in cycling for 2021 as a build up to September 2020 when the island will become the focus of the cycling world during the final stage of the Tour of Britain.

The Great Tour, a 64-day ride around the coastline of Britain is due to finish back in Ryde on Saturday 5 September, having completed an anti-clockwise loop of the English, Scottish and Welsh coasts to raise money for a variety of health charities. SweetSpot Group Managing Director Hugh Roberts is one of two cyclists aiming to complete the entire 6,700 kilometre route. For more information see www.thegreattour.co.uk.

With its mix of stunning landscapes and gruelling terrain, Councillor Wayne Whittle, Cabinet member for regeneration and business development, said the Island would provide a spectacular finale to The Tour of Britain, saying “The Tour Series was a huge success when it came to Ryde four years ago and the Tour of Britain promises to be even bigger and involve the whole Island. Estimates from other councils staging similar stages have shown up to a 40 per cent increase in visitor numbers and a £4 million economic boost to their local economy. Add to this the legacy of support for our Island’s cycling ambitions and it really is good news at a time we need it most.”

Following the postponement of this September’s Tour of Britain, the next edition of the Tour of Britain be in September 2021, starting in Penzance, Cornwall on Sunday 5 September and finishing in Aberdeen on Sunday 12 September. Full details of the 2021 race route will be announced in the autumn.

The Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event, giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their doorstep and helping to build a great cycling nation.

2019 Tour of Britain:
britain

Manuela Fundación
Manuela Fundación Looks at Other Teams After Mitchelton-Scott
Manuela Fundación does not seem to be finished with cycling yet. After the final break with Mitchelton-Scott, the Spanish charity told Spanish sports-paper AS that it is looking at a possible takeover of another team: “We know that some sponsors will stop with other teams and we will look into it.”

Does Fundación owner, Francisco Huertas, still feel like getting involved with cycling. “After everything that has happened, Huertas may have become tired of cycling and therefore decided to invest in other sports. We will see how the season progresses.”

The split with Mitchelton-Scott therefore seems to be definite, especially after the resignation of Shayne Bannan from the management of Mitchelton-Scott. According to the Spanish newspaper, Manuela Fundación has waived a lawsuit against the team, but the charity is still unsure about a lawsuit against Bannan. Bannan is said to have announced the acquisition of Mitchelton-Scott by Manuela Fundación, while it was not yet complete with GreenEDGE owner Gerry Ryan.

The final closure of the case is difficult to accept for Manuela Fundación, but is the best choice for now. “Having nothing is difficult,” they conclude. “But there are other teams on sale and we will appreciate the value for later. The good thing about Mitchelton-Scott’s option was that we could immediately take over the team.”

Will we ever see the jersey in the ProTour peloton?
manuela

deceuninck
Mauri Vansevenant to Turn Pro with Deceuninck – Quick-Step on July 15
The first Belgian in 36 years to win the Giro della Valle d’Aosta will join the team for the Val di Fassa training camp.

A contract that will see Mauri Vansevenant ride for the Wolfpack until the end of the 2023 season had already been negotiated last year, as was the arrangement of having him join the team and turn professional only upon finishing his Bachelor in Electromechanics. After his graduation, the next milestone immediately awaits the Torhout resident: turning professional.

“I wanted to finish school first,” the 21-year-old explained. “It’s not compatible with being a professional cyclist. I’m very happy to have my degree. For me it was a requirement. I’m comfortable now. It gives me certainty for the future. Sooner or later I’m going to need it.”

Before officially joining the Wolfpack, Mauri, the son of former pro Wim Vansevenant, already met with his new teammates on a few occasions, at the annual Calpe winter training camp, and more recently in the Flemish Ardennes, where the team gathered for an encounter with the parcours of Gent-Wevelgem and the Ronde van Vlaanderen. “It was really fun, but I’m more of a climber than a classics rider,” he added. “Last year I won the Giro della Valle d’Aosta with my U23 team EFC-L&R-Vulsteke. Riding uphill really suits me, I like those tough mountain stages. But the future will show which role will suit me best. First, there are still a lot of things I have to learn.”

Vansevenant will join his Deceuninck – Quick-Step colleagues for the team’s altitude training camp, his first activity as a professional rider. “I have got a lot of watching, listening and learning to do in the coming weeks. I’ll have to adjust to the level and the way of racing with the pros. I’m sure my teammates will help me. I feel good among the guys, there’s a good vibe in the Wolfpack. There are many Belgian riders, which makes it easy for me to integrate. They really pull me into the group. It’s a pleasure, a dream come true,” concluded the youngster.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere was obviously delighted in having Vansevenant join the Wolfpack: “Mauri did very well in the U23 category and showed his climbing skills multiple times. I’m happy to have him join the team. He is still very young so he will get the time to grow as a professional cyclist without any pressure. We don’t expect anything of him in the short term, just to steal with his eyes and to learn from the more experienced riders. He will be asked to help the team where needed; and if the opportunity presents itself to show his qualities in a mountain stage, we’re definitely not going to stop him.”

“Aside from the more experienced riders like Keisse and Devenyns, we have a very young team roster, with guys like Almeida, Bagioli, Evenepoel and now also Vansevenant. I hope to add a few youngsters to the team every year. This way we gradually rejuvenate the Wolfpack and prepare for the future,” concluded Patrick Lefevere.

New pro – Mauri Vansevenant:
Mauri Vansevenant

jumbo-visma
Team Jumbo-Visma to Train in Gerlos in Zillertal Arena
The riders of Team Jumbo-Visma will travel to Gerlos, Austria, in July for two weeks. In the Alps, riders like Dutch time trial champion Jos van Emden, Koen Bouwman and Timo Roosen will prepare for the upcoming races.

“We’re looking forward to having a big part of the team together again,” trainer Tim Heemskerk says. “It’s nice to be with the riders and staff after a period of solely training and preparing. In the past months, the riders have kept their shape at a good level. With this training camp, they can go on the road again together.”

In Gerlos, the riders will prepare for the restart of the season. “We will do specific training in preparation of the classics in August like Strade Bianche and Milano-Sanremo, but also for stage races like the Tour of Poland and the Vuelta a Burgos. The area of the Zillertal is the perfect training location because of the nice climbs and the possibilities to ride on flat roads,” Heemskerk explains.

Close to Gerlos, in the Zillertal Arena, you can find the villages Zell am Ziller, Wald-Königsleiten and Krimml-Hochkrimml. Zillertal Arena is known as an Alps hotspot in winter. In summer, the holiday region is perfect for active vacationers. There are terrific mountain-bike trails and in the Durlassboden Reservoir you can go swimming, surfing and fishing. Besides that, there are a lot of other summer activities and adventures.

Our team will stay in Hotel Schönruh. The family-run hotel is in the centre of Gerlos and is the perfect base for the training camp.

July training camp for Jumbo-Visma:
jumbo

ntt
NTT Pro Cycling Set for Lucca Training Camp Ahead of Season Resumption
Full WorldTour squad will travel to Italy for a training camp that will also play host to a special Mandela Day event.

NTT Pro Cycling will travel to Lucca, Italy, for a team training camp from 12-24 July, ahead of the resumption of the international cycling calendar.

Our full WorldTour squad, barring Japanese champion Shotaro Iribe who is currently at home in Japan recovering from surgery, along with a core group of support staff and senior management, including Bjarne Riis (Team Manager) and Douglas Ryder (Team Principal), will all travel to the camp.

Since the halt to proceedings following Paris-Nice in mid-March, our team have used the opportunity presented by the break to focus on a number of key areas in order to ensure that we are primed for when racing resumes.

Our team has a long history with Lucca as it’s the home of our NTT Continental team as well as a number of our riders and support staff. The Continental team will also have the opportunity to spend time with the WorldTour squad, and also provide key support during the camp.

“The time that we’ve been forced to spend apart has been very difficult for everyone, of course, but I must say the spirit in our group has been excellent. We’ve managed to stay connected and spent time all together on a weekly basis, together with our Continental team, sharing information, experiences and simply listening to one another. This has seen us work hard at fostering a cohesive unit away from racing, that I am confident will bear fruit when we get back out on the road again,” said Bjarne Riis, Team Manager.

“This camp will be the final step in that process as we sharpen our focus ahead of the resumption of the calendar, look ahead to the races to come and strive to make an impact both for the team and our fantastic partners. We have committed as a group to leave everything out on the road, fighting together for success and I am very excited for what opportunities lie ahead.”

During the course of the camp the Virtual Tour de France will be taking place and there will also be, as is our team’s tradition, a special celebration on 18 July for Mandela Day.

More information on this special event can be found here.

ntt

giro
Chef Sagan at the Giro d’Italia
After immersing himself in Italian culture at the Pinacoteca di Brera, the Slovak star of Bora-Hansgrohe gets busy in the kitchen and becomes ‘Chef Sagan’, preparing dishes of classic Italian cuisine.

sagan

From the Pinacoteca di Brera (Brera Art Gallery) To the Teatro Alla Scala, Passing by the Finest Fashion and Excelent Cuisine
Benefitting from years of education in many of the cultural excellencies for which Italy is world famous – including Art, Music, Food and Fashion – Peter Sagan is finally ready to demonstrate how expert he has become in Italy: Join him on a journey into the heart of the strengths of the Bel Paese – “the beautiful country” – giving visibility to Italian places and talents, from the Pinacoteca di Brera to the Teatro alla Scala, passing through the Ermenegildo Zegna atelier, and exploring Italy’s peerless culinary tradition.

Second Episode: Sagan in the Kitchen
In a typical Italian taverna Peter cooks and gives suggestions to his assistants. People eat a traditional Italian meal and are excited about it; it’s so well prepared and the sauce is so delicious, there must be a great Italian chef in the kitchen.

Peter is ready for the Giro d’Italia:

movistar
In Memoriam: Pep Toni Escandell
We’re deeply saddened to confirm the passing of our carer, Pep Toni Escandell, of natural causes on Saturday. He was 52.

Pep Toni, a charming person and a professional well respected by everybody in cycling, returned in 2020 to the Movistar Team after a long spell in Belgium’s Lotto Soudal, following a previous eight years (2004-2011) into the squads led by José Miguel Echávarri and Eusebio Unzué. His loss leaves a gaping hole to everybody in the Abarca Sports organisation, both personally and professionally.

All of Pep Toni’s team-mates wish to extend their sincerest condolences and support to all of his loved ones during this difficult time. May he rest in peace.

Pep Toni Escandell

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