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EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

All the weekend cycling news

The Vuelta a Burgos and the Arctic Race of Norway both finished this weekend – Reports, results and video. Patrick Lefevere reconsiders his Bennett statement – TOP STORY. Rider news: No Vuelta for Tadej Pogačar, contracts for João Almeida, John Degenkolb, Pascal Ackermann, Biniam Girmay Hailu, Marc Soler and Anna Henderson. Michal Golas and Ben Gastauer to retire. UCI suspend German coach. Team news: Premier Tech to leave Astana and Qhubeka NextHash in the 2022 WorldTour with limited budget. Race news: Il Lombardia from Como to Bergamo. Plus Bahrain Victorious fitness challenge for Vuelta España. Happy Monday EUROTRASH coffee time.

top story
TOP STORY: Patrick Lefevere: “What I wrote about Bennett’s return was inappropriate”
Patrick Lefevere has reconsidered his recent comments in his weekly column in the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. The Deceuninck – Quick-Step team boss returns to his harsh words towards Sam Bennett. “I’m not too big to admit that I’ve been overthinking my statements about Sam Bennett,” Lefevere said.

Lefevere wrote, among other things, that the return of the sprinter to the BORA-hansgrohe team can be compared to a victim of domestic violence. “My opinion of him remains unchanged, but what I wrote about intimate partner violence in the context of his return to BORA was not appropriate,” he now says. “Mea culpa. In the whole discussion around Bennett, I will choose my words more carefully from now on and I prefer to remain silent.”

Bennett will not race for his team this season. “A recent scan shows that he will need knee surgery, with a three to four month rehabilitation period. He will therefore no longer race for our team,” Lefevere said.

Patrick Lefevere: ‘what I wrote was not appropriate’:
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Vuelta a Burgos 2021
Conserving energy for the tough Picón Blanco climb, the DSM team protected Romain Bardet throughout Stage 3 before a perfectly timed attack saw Bardet go solo and take a spectacular stage win and the overall lead.

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The Vuelta Burgos peloton faced their first mountain test over 173 kilometre long parcours from Busto de Bureba to Espinosa de los Monteros, taking on the famous Picón Blanco climb and its stinging nine percent average gradient for eight kilometres.

It was a fast start to the stage, with an early six rider breakaway, but they were eventually brought back and a new four rider group formed out front. Those ahead quickly built up their advantage which peaked at over 7 minutes, before the peloton began to increase the pace and start the chase, with all the Team DSM riders focused on saving energy for the tough finalé. The gap to the break came down but they still lead the bunch by 3 minutes at the foot of the Picón Blanco, where DSM moved forward en masse to get a good position for the start of the climb, with Denz, Alberto Dainese and Chad Haga doing some strong work.

Flanked by Thymen Arensman, Martijn Tusveld and Chris Hamilton; Romain Bardet was shepherded as the steep gradients began to bite and the peloton thinned down Bardet launched a probing attack, thinning the bunch down even further before those behind closed him down into the headwind. A tactical battle ensued with more attacks, and a strong duo broke clear. Biding his time in the peloton, Bardet took advantage of a hiatus in pace and bridged across to those ahead with a stinging attack before pushing the pace and going solo at the front. Holding onto a 15 second advantage over the top of the climb, Bardet used all of his descending skills and increased his lead on the sinuous 15 kilometre long downhill. A small mishap saw Bardet slide out around one of the corners but he remounted his bike and continued to push hard all the way to the finish, having enough time to sit up and celebrate; taking his first win in Team DSM colours. It’s a result that also sees Bardet take the lead in the GC standings with two testing stages to go.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Romain Bardet (DSM): “We knew it was maybe the hardest climb of the week so we wanted to try something as a team,” smiled a jubilant Bardet at the finish. “The guys put me in a really good position at the bottom of the climb and I really had good legs today. We came here for day results and the goal was to win a stage so we’ve done that. I felt that I could jump and go on my clear own on the climb, as we knew I was good on the downhill. Then I got that stupid crash because I went a bit too fast around the corner but I managed to get back on my bike as soon as possible, and I made it to the finish. It was a really nice climb, with some really steep roads but it was pretty tactical with the headwind so I decided to wait until the last moment to do my attack. We’ll take it day by day now. Tomorrow is a good opportunity for Alberto in the sprint and then we’ll see if we can defend the jersey on Saturday.”

2nd on the stage and 3rd overall, Domenico Pozzovivo (Qhubeka NextHash): “Today was a stage that suited me better than the first two windy stages. On the last climb we did some great work, together with Fabio, it was just Bardet that got a jump on Landa and me at the top and we know that he is very strong on the downhill. I tried to avoid taking too many risks on the downhill. Me, Landa and Nieve tried to come back on Bardet but he was very strong, even on the flat sections. Finally, I was happy to come in 2nd with a good sprint because that is not my best skill. We look forward now with confidence in our shape for the final mountain stage and also to the Vuelta a España.”

3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Mikel Landa: “Well, I didn’t feel so good at the climb, and unfortunately, we had a front wind, but as I know this climb very well, I managed my efforts, and I finished in a good position.”

Vuelta a Burgos Stage 3 Result:
1. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM in 4:14:14
2. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Qhubeka NextHash at 0:39
3. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
4. Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) BikeExchange
5. Tobias Bayer (Aut) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:50
6. Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain Victorious
7. Fabio Aru (Ita) Qhubeka NextHash
8. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech
9. David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates
10. Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech.

Vuelta a Burgos Overall After Stage 3:
1. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM in 11:44:38
2. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 0:45
3. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Qhubeka NextHash at 0:58
4. Fabio Aru (Ita) Qhubeka NextHash at 1:00
5. David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates
6. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën
7. Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain Victorious at 1:05
8. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:07
9. Santiago Buitrago Sanchez (Col) Bahrain Victorious at 1:33
10. Jaakko Hänninen (Fin) AG2R Citroën at 1:45.

Burgos’21 stage 3:

 

Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) claimed his second victory of the week on Stage 4 of the Vuelta Burgos in a thrilling sprint finish on a day which took the riders from Roa to Aranda de Duero (149km).

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The wind played a factor as UAE Team Emirates worked to control the breakaway of five riders who were swept up with just under 7km to go. Molano, with the support of teammate Matteo Trentin, navigated the final kilometre, with Trentin jumping early forcing a reaction from the other sprinters before Molano came roaring past in the last dash to the line to win by a fraction. The win marks the 15th career win for Molano and the 23rd victory of the season for UAE Team Emirates. The podium was rounded out by Jon Aberasturi (Caja-Rural-Seguros RGA) and Vincenzo Albanese (eolo-Kometa), with Matteo Trentin coming in for 4th. Romain Bardet (DSM) continues as race leader with David De La Cruz moving up to 3rd place, 1 second off the lead heading into the final day.

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Stage winner, Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates): “Myself and Matteo were both up front for the final so we knew we would have cards to play. Aberasturi got a good jump and I instinctively reacted and just came through for the win. The team worked all day on the front and showed a lot of faith in me to deliver the sprint. There was a lot of stress in the early stages with the wind but we controlled it well and it all came back together. We have David up on the GC now too so our focus will be for him tomorrow.”

Vuelta a Burgos Stage 4 Result:
1. Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates in 3:20:28
2. Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
3. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) eolo-Kometa
4. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5. Jordi Meeus (Bel) BORA-hansgrohe
6. Marc Sarreau (Fra) AG2R Citroën
7. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
8. Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar
9. Itamar Einhorn (Isr) Israel Start-up Nation
10. José Rojas (Spa) Movistar.

Vuelta a Burgos Overall After Stage 4:
1. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM in 15:05:06
2. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 0:45
3. David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 1:00
4. Fabio Aru (Ita) Qhubeka NextHash
5. Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain Victorious at 1:05
6. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:07
7. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 1:08
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Qhubeka NextHash at 1:18
9. Santiago Buitrago Sanchez (Col) Bahrain Victorious at 1:41
10. Jaakko Hänninen (Fin) AG2R Citroën at 1:53.

Burgos’21 stage 4:

 

Hugh Carthy won the Final Stage 5 of the Vuelta a Burgos finishing at Lagunas de Neila. The British EF Education-Nippo climber was the strongest of a favourite group after an attacking battle on the tough final climb. He finished ahead of Einer Rubio and Simon Yates. The overall victory went to Mikel Landa, who finished sixth and pushed Romain Bardet out of the leader’s jersey.

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Six riders managed to escape the peloton: Gonzalo Serrano (Movistar), Marcus Burghardt (BORA-hansgrohe), Lawson Craddock (EF Education-Nippo), Sep Vanmarcke (Israel Start-Up Nation), Álvaro Cuadros (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Mikel Bizkarra (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and took 5 minutes. DSM, Bahrain Victorious and BikeExchange led the chase in the peloton. On the final climb to Lagunas de Neila (12km at 6.2%) the difference quickly decreased. Eight kilometres from the top of Lagunas de Neila, the lead of the six leaders was only 1:30 with the hardest part of the climb yet to come. The last 5 kilometres was nearly 10% and the last kilometre at 11.3%. It was Bahrain Victorious that put an impressive train on the front of the favourites group. It was an acceleration from Mark Padun, who picked up the last escapees. The work of the Ukrainian and his team was at the expense of classification leader Romain Bardet, who was dropped from the elite group more than 2 kilometres from the top. Padun had a gap of over 10 seconds on a small favourites group led by INEOS Grenadiers.

Jay Vine managed to make the jump to Padun just before the last kilometre along with Santiago Buitrago of Bahrain Victorious. Hugh Carthy, Einer Rubio and Egan Bernal managed to close the gap in the steep final kilometre. Bernal attacked, causing the rest quite a bit of pain. Rubio and Carthy – who, like the INEOS rider, no longer played a major role in the standings – followed and then rode away from Bernal. With a long effort it was then Carthy who claimed the stage victory. Behind him, Einer Rubio and Simon Yates finished in second and third place, ahead of Egan Bernal and Jay Vine. Mikel Landa, who started the final stage in second place, finished sixth and took the leader’s jersey from Bardet. The Frenchman lost a lot of time and dropped to sixth place. Fabio Aru was second at 36 seconds, Padun finished third at 43 seconds.

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Stage winner, Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo): “I wasn’t really feeling that great to be honest. I was at the back all day and towards the end I was moving up, little by little, gaining places in the peloton. As the race ascended the 10% ramps of Lagunas de Neila in the closing kilometres, the peloton at last had the remaining trio of the break in their sights. Passing under the kilometre to go marker, a handful of favourites began their accelerations, a rash of attacks unleashed. With 600 meters to go, Carthy found himself climbing with just a few others. As the finish line drew nearer, he persevered. “On the final climb, something changed and I was able to surprise them.”

Final overall winner and 6th on the stage, Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious): “It’s very good to be on the top of the podium again after the crash and injury. We started the stage with the goal of a stage win. We tried to do it hard on the last climb. The stage win is really hard, we tried with Mark and with Santiago also, at the end we kept the GC with us, and we are happy for the result. We have a really strong team here, and we tried to do our best. Now I am feeling very good before Vuelta a Espana. I knew my legs still need some weeks more to be in the best shape. Day by day, I think we are approaching our goal.”

2nd overall and 8th on the stage, Fabio Aru (Qhubeka NextHash): “I am really sorry about the crashes over the last few days in our team. On the 2nd day Emil (Vinjebo) crashed and broke his collarbone, now he will miss the Vuelta. Yesterday also, Pozzo (Domenico Pozzovivo), he broke his knee, this is really terrible for us. Sander Armee also went home but we hope he can recover soon and Reinie (Janse van Rensburg) also crashed yesterday, so this has been very bad for our team. But today we still had four guys in the race, and I have to say thank you to Bert-Jan (Lindeman), Reinie and Dylan (Sunderland). They really helped me a lot all day and to arrive in the climb in the first positions. Even though Reinie crashed yesterday he was still so strong today. So, in the end I am really happy about the result we could achieve. When we made the decision to skip the Tour de France, and changed my calendar, I went to Lugano and Sibiu Tour and I was able to find a good feeling on the bike again. I could start attacking again, I could race the race, and I was able to fight in the race. I missed this feeling so much in the last three years and this was really hard for me. So, these last few results, also with 2nd in GC at Vuelta a Burgos against very good riders, this gives me a very good feeling and I am so happy about it. Now I will have some easy days with the family and be ready for the next goals.”

3rd overall and 9th on the stage, Mark Padun (Bahrain Victorious): “It’s quite a nice week for the team and for me first of all. We are not in the first position of the stages, but two riders in the Top 3 of the general classification is an amazing result, and also the team classification. I am quite happy to be part of this team. I started this race not having the best legs possible, but day by day, it’s been growing, and today it’s actually quite good.”

6th overall, Romain Bardet (DSM): “I suffered from the crash two days ago. We wanted to control the race today. The guys did a great job, but on the final climb I suffered from the consequences of the crash. That’s why I had to fight to the finish to get the best possible result. But we had a good race as a team and can go to the Vuelta with confidence. We showed our commitment again, raced from the front and controlled the race. Unfortunately, Romain was in trouble on the final climb and lost time. But overall I think we can be satisfied with the way we raced with the group. We have taken good steps.”

Vuelta a Burgos Stage 5 Result:
1. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo in 3:23:53
2. Einer Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar at 0:05
3. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange at 0:07
4. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:13
5. Jay Vine (Aus) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:14
6. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 0:16
7. Santiago Buitrago Sanchez (Col) Bahrain Victorious at 0:29
8. Fabio Aru (Ita) Qhubeka NextHash at 0:38
9. Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain Victorious at 0:39
10. Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:44.

Vuelta a Burgos Final Overall Result:
1. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious in 18:30:00
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Qhubeka NextHash at 0:36
3. Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain Victorious at 0:43
4. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:49
5. David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 0:52
6. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 0:54
7. Einer Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar at 0:58
8. Santiago Buitrago Sanchez (Col) Bahrain Victorious at 1:09
9. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 1:22
10. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 1:40.

Burgos’21 stage 5:

 

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Arctic Race of Norway 2021
Markus Hoelgaard, the last man to have won a stage at the Arctic Race of Norway before the covid outbreak, is also the first to do so as the race returned. The Norwegian from Uno-X counter-attacked the climbers at the very end to solo to victory in the streets of Tromsø while top sprinters Alexander Kristroff and Bryan Coquard rounded out the podium of Stage 1.

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111 riders took the start of stage 1 in the 8th Arctic Race of Norway in Tromsø. Gleb Brussenskiy (Astana-Premier Tech), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-Citroën) and Alex Colman (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) were the first riders to make a move. As the peloton let them go, they enjoyed an advantage of 4:10 after 15km of racing. Tor Andre Aase Vabø (Team Coop) caught them after a solo chase but the peloton led by B&B Hotels-KTM maintained the gap below 2 minutes at half way into the race. Brussenskiy went by himself to grab KOM points at Katfjordeidet summit with 52km to go while attacks started to take place at the head of the pack. 30km before the end, the bunch was just 1 minute adrift.

Gougeard dropped his breakaway companions and forged on despite a strong chase and lots of offensives at the head of the peloton. BORA-hansgrohe, Intermarché-Wanty Gobert and Astana were the most active teams. They put an end to Gougeard’s effort with 11.8km remaining. In the second of three passages atop Holtevegen summit, Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic) tested his legs, followed by Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies), but it was Kristian Aasvold (Team Coop) who managed to go clear, firstly joined by Samuele Battistella (Astana), who still have some energy in the final sprint to be the best young rider. Barguil who said on the eve of the race that GC could be shaped on stage 1 went for it again in the last ascent to Holtevegen. Pre-race favourite Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) reacted, so did Giro d’Italia stage winner Victor Lafay (Cofidis).

Hoelgaard counter-attacked after the three climbers gave an indication on who to look for on the Queen stage to Målselv on Saturday. Homeboy Andreas Leknessund, racing for the Norwegian national team, was close to bridge the gap with 2km to go but the final rush of the Uno-X rider prevented anybody from catching up with him, the same way he rode to victory two years ago on the conclusive stage in Narvik. It was a 1-2 for Norwegians as Kristoff, also racing for the Norwegian national team on this occasion, crossed the line 2 seconds later, before B&B Hotels-KTM’s Coquard. After the great show of the opening stage, the Arctic Race of Norway will head to a foreign country for the first time ever as stage 2 will finish in Kilpisjärvi, Finland.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Markus Hoelgaard (Uno-X): “My goal was to try and win a stage again. I did it on the first day so now the pressure is off, so now it’ll be all about trying to keep the jersey. I couldn’t wait for the sprint so I went at the top of the last climb. I saw [Andreas] Leknessund took a corner badly so I went full gas in the downhill to get a gap and it worked out. I’m super happy. It’s very special for me to win again in this race. I have great memories from before. To win again is unbelievable. I think I have good chances on GC. At least I hope so, I’ll try to defend the jersey tomorrow and then on Saturday it’ll be all about the legs in the last climb. The GC is a big goal for me.”

Arctic Race of Norway Stage 1 Result:
1. Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X in 3:11:29
2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Norway at 0:02
3. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
4. Antonio Jesus Soto Guirao (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
5. Kristian Aasvold (Nor) Team Coop
6. Antonio Angulo Sampedro (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
7. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
8. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R Citroën
9. Aimé De Gendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
10. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux.

Arctic Race of Norway Overall After Stage 1:
1. Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X in 3:11:19
2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Norway at 0:06
3. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM at 0:08
4. Kristian Aasvold (Nor) Team Coop at 0:09
5. Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:10
6. Antonio Jesus Soto Guirao (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:11
7. Antonio Angulo Sampedro (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:12
8. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
9. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R Citroën
10. Aimé De Gendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux.

Arctic Race’21 stage 1:

 

Estonia’s Martin Laas of BORA-hansgrohe upset Stage 2 favourite Alexander Kristoff in a bunch gallop in Kilpisjärvi, Finland, but the second place enabled the Norwegian to move into the overall lead, equal on time with his compatriot Markus Hoelgaard who will face the opposition the climbers like Odd Christian Eiking, Warren Barguil and Ben Hermans in the Queen stage to Målselv on Saturday.

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110 riders started stage 2 in Nordkjosnbotn, heading to Kilpisjärvi, Finland, for the first ever stage finish abroad. A group of five leaders was formed quickly after the flag off, including one Norwegian, Fredrik Dversenes (Team Coop), and four Belgians: Oliver Naesen (AG2R-Citroën), Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin-Fenix), Cedric Beulens (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Ceriel Desal (Bingoal Pauwels Sauce-WB). The peloton trailed by 3 minutes after 38km of racing. Pulling at the head of the pack, Uno-X, the team of race leader Markus Hoelgaard, made sure the gap wouldn’t go over 3:30. With less than 50km to go, the front group slimmed down as only Naesen, Janssens and Dversenes remained at the front with an advantage of 2 minutes.

While Janssens focused on the intermediate sprints, Dversenes gave it all for the mountain prize and won the three KOM sprints, taking all 9 points up for grabs. He took over from Gleb Brussenskiy (Astana-Premier Tech) in the popular salmon jersey with an advantage of 1 point. Naesen was brought back by the pack before the intermediate sprint located right on the border between Norway and Finland. Hoelgaard tried to take the opportunity to extend his lead in the overall ranking but he was denied by Laurent Pichon (Arkea-Samsic), third behind Janssens and Dversenes. Janssens and Dversenes were reeled in with 2km to go. Israel-Start Up-Nation seized the reins of the peloton, having designated France’s Rudy Barbier as their sprinter, rather than Rick Zabel. Kristoff got a nice lead out from the Norwegian national team, especially Sven-Erik Bystrøm and Andreas Leknessund, but Laas came out of the box very late as there was a slightly head wind to finish. With 6 seconds bonus, Kristoff had enough to be on par with Hoelgaard and take the lead on GC.

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Stage winner, Martin Laas (BORA-hansgrohe): “It’s the biggest victory for me and I’m glad it happens in Finland. It’s still 1500 kilometres from home in Estonia but it’s still a neighbour country. It was a very tough sprint with a bit of headwind and it was slightly downhill. Honestly with 5km I felt cramps and I wasn’t sure if I could sprint or not but in the end, it worked really well. Rudi [Selig] brought me to 300 metres to go. From there I just followed some wheels. In the last 150m, I launched my sprint. I saw from the left side that I was faster than Kristoff. I was quite sure I was gonna pass him but in the end it was quite close. I’m lucky to have a good lead out here. Today was basically the only opportunity for us to take a victory. We played all the cards we had.”

Overall leader and 2nd on the stage, Alexander Kristoff (Norway): “Two days in a row in the second place… I wish I had managed to win both but that’s life. Today it was even closer than yesterday. Tomorrow I don’t think I’m gonna win but maybe on Sunday I’ll have one last opportunity. It’ll be a hard stage also but I’ll try. Today I lost by very few centimetres. He [Martin Laas] came from quite far back. Because of the slightly head wind, it was maybe a smart choice but he also took the risk to be boxed in as he was a bit too far at the back. My Norwegian team brought me very well in the last 500 metres so I cannot complain about the support I got. It was very good. The three young guys from Lillehammer impressed me these last two days. I’m glad I have the chance to do this beautiful race with the national team. At the end it was just my legs not holding off. I was pretty disappointed actually but at least I’m getting closer.”

3rd on the stage, Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “This was rather a hard sprinter stage. Despite the high pace in the peloton, the early breakaway resisted well. So two of our riders worked to chase them down in the final. I felt good and found an excellent position to start the sprint, but I waited a little too long. My last meters were fast and I came close to the victory, but I can be satisfied with this podium spot. As the best teams in the world aren’t here, the race is more open which I like. Tomorrow, we’ve got new chances with Odd!”

Arctic Race of Norway Stage 2 Result:
1. Martin Laas (Est) BORA-hansgrohe in 3:56:14
2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Norway
3. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
4. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
5. Manuel Peñalver Aniorte (Spa) Burgos-BH
6. Arne Marit (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Tom Devriendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
8. Bram Welten (Ned) Arkea-Samsic
9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) TotalEnergies
10. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM.

Arctic Race of Norway Overall After Stage 2:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Norway in 7:07:33
2. Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X
3. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM at 0:08
4. Kristian Aasvold (Nor) Team Coop at 0:09
5. Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:10
6. Antonio Jesus Soto Guirao (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:11
7. Laurent Pichon (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
8. Dries Van Gestel (Bel) TotalEnergies at 0:12
9. Antonio Angulo Sampedro (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
10. Axel Zingle (Fra) Cofidis.

Arctic Race’21 stage 2:

 

Like in 2015, Ben Hermans won the Queen Stage 3 to Målselv and moved into the lead, ahead of Odd Christian Eiking and Victor Lafay. With a slim advantage, the Belgian from Israel-Start Up-Nation hopes for a better outcome than six years ago.

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107 riders took the start of stage 3 in Finnsnes for what was considered the Queen stage with the finish in the ‘Alpine village’ of Målselv and the Prime Minister Erna Solberg in attendance. After a very active start and several skirmishes, a group of five riders went clear off the peloton: stage 2 winner Martin Laas (BORA-hansgrohe), King of the Mountains Fredrik Dversnes (Team Coop), Jens Reynders (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Xabier Azparren (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Julien Duval (AG2R-Citroën). Duval passed the first intermediate sprint at Gibostad (km 22) in first position. Dversnes extended his lead in the KOM competition as he crested all four category 2 climbs ahead of his breakaway companions. The leading quintet approached the last 50km with its maximum advantage of 3 minutes.

It was clear that race leader Alexander Kristoff wasn’t going to defend his jersey. However, his Norwegian national team combined forces with Intermarché-Wanty Gobert to bring the breakaway back. At the 20km, Arkea-Samsic and Uno-X started to help. Laas was the first breakaway rider to surrender with 11km to go as the deficit of the peloton was down to 1:05. Duval was next to let Dversnes, Reynders and Azparren go. Dversnes and Azparren were the last escapees to be reeled in, at the bottom of the 4-km long uphill finish. Antonio Soto (Euskaltel-Euskadi) launched the first attack from the bunch but Seb Berwick (Israel-Start Up-Nation) brought the peloton back to him with 2km to go. Local star, Andreas Leknessund (Norwegian national team) led-out before Eiking made his move 1.3km before the finishing line. Lafay reacted and Hermans came across. Best young rider Samuele Battistella (Astana-Premier Tech) was close to joining them but had to settle for fourth as the leading trio emerged. Hermans was the strongest in a tight finish with Eiking. Meanwhile Hermans moved into the leaders jersey.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Ben Hermans (Israel Start-up Nation): “If you are the favourite, there is a lot on your shoulders. I put my teammates in the lead, with a pace that was even harder than I could follow. The other favourites followed my team and went over their limit, while I was right on my limit. Then I made the difference in the sprint. I knew that other guys who were there are more explosive than me. That’s why I started at 95% of my ability at 500 metres from the finish, almost full. I was able to keep that up after the last corner. With good legs it is then difficult to be overtaken. It’s also nice that I already knew this finish. This is very nice, because I played that finish in my head many times. It was so surprising that I won then. It’s nice to do it again. If you’re a favourite, a lot will fall off your shoulders after a win. That’s why I’m happy to take this victory for the team. I was the favourite for days before, but I knew Eiking was in good shape. Warren Barguil was good too, so it’s not easy to finish. Eiking came past it, but not over it. I went on for the last 500 metres. If I wait longer to 250 metres, Eiking is more explosive. I wanted to wear him down, when he may have thought I was going all out. That’s a gamble. In Sardinia I lost that way, and now I’ve won it.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “It was very close, but I can’t change anything about it anymore. It’s a pity to miss the stage victory by only a couple of centimetres, but anything is still possible in the general classification. I namely remember a very strong performance from Rein Taaramäe in 2015, taking the final victory from Ben Hermans in the final stage. Back then, the Belgian rider was already the strongest on Fjellandsby Summit. During the sprint today I hoped that he would slow down in the final meters, but he was very strong until the finish line. In retrospect, I should have started my sprint earlier, when the road was still going up. But as I said, tomorrow it will be hard again so we will grab this new opportunity. Either way, the support of my teammates is perfect!”

Arctic Race of Norway Stage 3 Result:
1. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation in 4:14:28
2. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
3. Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis
4. Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:12
5. Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Delko at 0:19
6. Kristian Aasvold (Nor) Team Coop
7. Andreas Leknessund (Nor) Norway
8. Antonio Jesus Soto Guirao (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
9. Pelayo Sanchez Mayo (Spa) Burgos-BH
10. Torstein Træen (Nor) Uno-X at 0:22.

Arctic Race of Norway Overall After Stage 3:
1. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation in 11:22:03
2. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:04
3. Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis at 0:06
4. Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:20
5. Kristian Aasvold (Nor) Team Coop at 0:26
6. Antonio Jesus Soto Guirao (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:28
7. Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Delko at 0:29
8. Andreas Leknessund (Nor) Norway
9. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkea-Samsic at 0:32
10. Jacob Eriksson (Swe) Team Coop at 0:36.

Arctic Race’21 stage 3:

 

Ben Hermans and his Alpecin-Fenix team controlled the Final Stage 4 perfectly to take home the trophy of the Arctic Race of Norway he missed out on six years ago. Odd Christian Eiking had to settle for second place as he could only gain 2 seconds, half of what he needed, over the race leader on the uphill finish in Harstad where Philipp Walsleben outclassed Niki Terpstra for the stage win. Best young rider Victor Lafay rounded out the podium of the 8th edition of the northernmost bike race.

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106 riders took the start of the fourth and last stage of the 8th Arctic Race of Norway in Gratangen, for the grand finalé in Harstad. 9 riders took off early: Erik Resell (Uno-X), Aimé De Gendt (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert), Niki Terpstra (TotalEnergies), Thomas Champion (Cofidis), Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix), Alexandre Delettre and Michael Edouard Grosu (Delko), Ceriel Desal (Bingoal Pauwels Sauce WB) and Tore André Vabø (Team Coop). The maximum lead allowed by Israel-Start Up-Nation was 2:30 half way into the stage. The Euskaltel-Euskadi team was eager to bring the breakaway back as the peloton reached the finishing circuit in Harstad. The time difference was down to 1 minute with 22km to go as Resell kept the speed high at the head of the peloton. Grosu was reeled in 20km before the finish, followed by Desal and Vabø. Champion lost contact with the front group with 14km to go. Walsleben upped the tempo with 10.5km remaining, with Torjus Sleen (Uno-X) in-between as Israel-Start Up-Nation seized the reins of the bunch, after which the time difference went from 30 seconds back to 1 minute. Henok Mulhubran (Qhubeka-NextHash) tried his luck with 6km to go, but it was Terpstra and Walsleben who formed a leading duo 5km before the finish.

Terpstra and Walsleben had 25 seconds lead with 2.5km to go with the final uphill yet to come. They managed to stay away and Walsleben had what it takes to sprint to the win ahead of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix winner. Delettre held off the peloton to finish third of stage 4. Eiking gave it all to finish with the same time as the Frenchman and 2 seconds ahead of the peloton. In the end, Ben Hermans, who already won stage races like the Tour of Oman and the Tour of Austria, concluded the Arctic Race of Norway with no hiccups, after his victory in the Queen stage.

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Stage winner, Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix): “Of course I’m very satisfied. It was really hard. We made it a hard race today. When I’m in such a group, from the beginning I immediately start thinking of the stage victory. But in the end it was a lot of suffering. I was a bit surprised that I was the strongest of the front group but it made me happy. It was hard to deal with Niki Terpstra because he’s very strong. He’s very heavy so normally I’m better than him uphill but Terpstra is still Terpstra so you never know. He didn’t want to pull in the last kilometres. It made it even harder for me. But I still had the impression that I was stronger than him up the hill so I had to keep the pace high, then I made a perfect sprint. It could be a very special victory because my plan was to quit professional cycling at the end of this year. I don’t know if I’ll reconsider it after this win… Obviously, I’m still pretty good.”

Final overall winner, Ben Hermans (Israel Start-up Nation): “It was really under control until we reached the local laps. It was all about positioning before the last climb but the boys of my team kept me in the front. They also did a perfect job in controlling the race before with not pulling too hard and not closing the gap. We were lucky that three guys from the breakaway were still at the front. I only had to match Lafay and Eiking in the sprint. I got a gap to Eiking. I’m not as explosive as he is. Luck was on my side. There were only two seconds, not more. It’s a nice stage race to add to my list of victories. Pro Series are of a high level. I’ve very happy with this win. I didn’t come for anything less.”

2nd overall, Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “The race was so exciting and again, the result is not in our favour. I was good and the team did a fantastic job, so it’s a pity that we’re not rewarded with a victory. They put me in a perfect position to achieve an excellent result. I won the bunch sprint by a nice margin, so in retrospective I think that I should have been more confident. I could have asked my teammates to be more offensive and to close the gap with the breakaway. But with Aimé in the breakaway we also had a very nice opportunity to win the stage and achieve a big success for the team! The victory slipped through my fingers twice but it only fires me up more to fight in my next races!”

2nd on the stage, Niki Terpstra (TotalEnergies): “It’s been a while since I managed to do this. Riding a final is the best thing there is. I felt good. We rode off quite easily and I saw that it was a free beautiful group. We worked well together. Instead of going ‘double’, I said we had to ride on a long ribbon, like a team time trial. That is much more efficient and it takes less effort for everyone, but we go faster. Because we rode a tight pace all day, the peloton didn’t get much closer in the end, and in the final we were able to stay ahead. It makes a difference that no one was in the overall standings, but I also noticed that there were teams in the peloton that had missed the move. But we couldn’t do more than just ride fast and hope you have enough lead, because alone you are not going to make that difference. On the circuit we realised that it was going to get serious. On this circuit it was obvious. There are two super steep Cauberg (style climbs) in it and I felt good. You notice that on those climbs. Then the group still has to be as small as possible, but unfortunately another one remained. Walsleben was simply a bit better. The first moment across the line is a bit of a disappointment, because you were close, but I’m super happy that I was able to ride a final again. It’s been a while since I was able to do that That’s the most beautiful thing there is. That’s what I live for and I enjoyed it. I had that kick again today and I’m happy with that.”

Points winner, Alexander Kristoff (Norway): “I think it was a nice race. With the great weather we’ve had, of course it was beautiful. The stages were hard. There was one sprint stage [stage 2], I wish I had won it but it was very close. Today I was hoping for a bit more but it was really harder than last time I won here. I think it was actually the hardest stage of the whole race. Overall, for me it was a positive experience even though I didn’t win. The green jersey means I’m still up there and hopefully I’ll be a winner again in my next race.”

KOM; Fredrik Dversnes (Team Coop): “It’s a big thing for me to win the climbers’ jersey in the Arctic Race of Norway. It’s my first time up here. It’s good for our team to get such a result. We showed ourselves how good we can ride together. 500 kilos of salmon [the prize for the KOM], we have to split it! It’s too much for myself. It’s never bad to win a jersey and I hope it’ll be a career booster for me.”

Arctic Race of Norway Stage 4 Result:
1. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix in 3:41:40
2. Niki Terpstra (Ned) TotalEnergies
3. Alexandre Delettre (Fra) Delko
4. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
5. Erik Nordsaeter Resell (Nor) Uno-X at 0:19
6. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
7. Axel Zingle (Fra) Cofidis
8. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
9. Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis
10. Petr Vakoc (Cze) Alpecin-Fenix.

Arctic Race of Norway Final Overall Result:
1. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation in 15:04:02
2. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:02
3. Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis at 0:06
4. Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:20
5. Kristian Aasvold (Nor) Team Coop at 0:26
6. Eduard Prades (Spa) Delko at 0:29
7. Andreas Leknessund (Nor) Norway
8. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:32
9. Jacob Eriksson (Swe) Team Coop at 0:36
10. Torstein Træen (Nor) Uno-X at 0:50.

Arctic Race’21 stage 4:

 

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Tadej Pogačar Will Not Ride la Vuelta a España
Tadej Pogačar will not be on the start line of the Vuelta a España this year. It had long been rumoured that the Slovenian would combine the Tour de France with the Spanish Tour, but after his second Tour victory in a row and his participation in the Olympic Games, UAE Team Emirates has decided not to take him to the Vuelta.

“I’m back on my bike after a great couple of weeks,” Pogačar said in a video posted on social media. “I took some rest after Tokyo and with the team decided not to ride the Vuelta a España after all. It’s a shame, but I’m sure I’ll be back in the Vuelta soon.” In 2019, he finish third in his Vuelta debut and win three stages.

Pogačar will make his comeback in the peloton in the WorldTour race Bretagne Classic-Ouest France in Plouay (29 August), after which he will ride the European Championships in Trento (12 September) and the World Championships in Flanders (26 September). At the end of the season, the Slovenian top talent will ride the Italian classics, most likely including the Tour of Lombardy (October 9).

No Vuelta for Tadej Pogačar:
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Almeida Signs for UAE Team Emirates
Portuguese talent pens 5-year deal.
João Almeida has agreed terms to join UAE Team Emirates starting from 2022 season as part of a three year deal which will see him in the UAE colours through to 2027.

The 23 year old from Caldas de Rainha has had a strong and consistent 2021 with a top-10 finish in every stage race he has competed in this season (all World Tour level) , with a notable third-place podium finish at the UAE Tour and 6th place at the Giro d’Italia.

Almeida is also the current time trial champion of Portugal and represented his nation at the Olympics in Tokyo in both the road race and the time trial.

Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Team Manager): “Almeida is a rider we’ve known for many years since he was a junior and we are delighted to welcome him to UAE Team Emirates. João is a cyclist of great quality and we have no doubt that he will be a strong pillar in the team. He’s a hugely talented and versatile rider and I’m sure we’ll enjoy many great successes together with him in our squad. Our aim is to strengthen the team year by year and we have full confidence that João will bring great things to the group, both as an athlete and as a person.”

Almeida: “I am really looking forward to this new chapter in my career and in my life.
I feel like the move to UAE Team Emirates is coming at the right time and I’m sure I will be happy on this new adventure. The team is growing every year and I can’t wait to be a part of it. I am quite a thoughtful person by nature and I find myself already dreaming and visualising about the future and I’m super excited about it.”

João Almeida:
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dsm
John Degenkolb Returns to Team DSM
Having spent five successful seasons with the team from 2012 to 2016, John Degenkolb is set to return home to Team DSM, signing a contract that will see him ride in the team’s distinctive two keep challenging striped jersey once again until at least the end of 2024.

The team had some of their great highlights in their Degenkolb era, taking two incredible Monument victories in 2015 at Milano – Sanremo and Paris – Roubaix, alongside ten Vuelta a España stage wins, the points jersey at the same race and stage success at the Giro d’Italia; just to name a few of his 36 victories with the team. Returning to Team DSM in 2022, Degenkolb aims to put his wealth of experience into effect as part of the team’s sprint train and classics block, while also being part of the group that hunts stage success in Grand Tours.

On joining Team DSM Degenkolb expressed: “I had a great time with the team previously and we have always remained good friends as I made my journey through the peloton. Their development over the years is impressive. The team is about honesty; they deliver everything they promise and they expect the same the other way around, which makes them unique. They are driven, forward thinking and wholeheartedly focused on the commitment of doing things together – with colleagues on and off the bike. I really believe that this is the perfect approach to get the best out of our potential and bring home results in a sustainable way. I’m really looking forward to re-immersing myself back into this culture, integrating into the sprint train and the classics block, and being part of the group that hunts stage results in a Grand Tour. Personally, I also have the ambition to grow into the role as a road captain and the team is the perfect place for me to do that.”

Team DSM head of coaching Rudi Kemna added: “We’re delighted to have John back in the team with us. We really enjoyed our time together before and we’re looking forward to building on that in the coming years. Someone of John’s experience is crucial for both the hectic moments in a race, but also to help to push each other to be better outside of the race. As part of our sprint train and classics block, John will strengthen our capacity, guiding the team as we fight for results throughout the season. We believe he can also share his knowledge from his years in performing at the highest level of cycling with our talented young riders, helping to set a strong example for them and be an important culture carrier.”

John Degenkolb:
John Degenkolb

 

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Ackermann Set to Join UAE Team Emirates
German sprinter signs on 2-year deal.

Pascal Ackermann has put pen to paper on a deal which will see him in the colours of UAE Team Emirates next season, with the new contract running until the end of 2023.

The 27-year old already has 35 career wins to his name and is keen to build on that success with the Emirati squad.

Ackermann: “I am absolutely thrilled to wear the UAE jersey next year. This step will be a special one in my still young career. The team I will be part of is something unique in cycling. I would like to thank everyone who made this step possible and gave me the confidence to achieve common future goals. Success is always teamwork, and so I would like to say already today that I will take each and every one of the team on a hopefully unique journey to many successes. At the same time, I have always been a team player and will certainly also put myself in a role to work hard for the others when situations require. Also I am convinced that, with the help of my teammates, staff and management, I will be able to develop as a rider in a way that will reveal new facets of myself. I’m ready to start this new journey.”

Mauro Gianetti (CEO & Team Principal): “Pascal is a hugely talented rider and we are delighted to have him join our squad. We know he is capable of great things and we look forward to working towards many successes together with him in our team. We are building a group of riders who can work well together in a good environment both on and off the bike and we believe a rider like Pascal can enrich the team also with his human qualities which is very important.”

Pascal Ackermann:
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Eritrean Biniam Girmay Hailu Joins Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
Biniam Girmay Hailu reinforces Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux with immediate effect. This Monday, the rider from Eritrea will make his debut with the shirt of the Belgian team on his shoulders at the Tour de Pologne. Girmay Hailu is the second rider from the African continent racing with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux next to Louis Meintjes. The young talent from Eritrea was formed at the Centre Mondial du Cyclisme in Aigle and was crowned the junior African champion in all road disciplines. The 21 year old is known as one of the only riders who were able to beat Remco Evenepoel in the junior category. Meanwhile, he also showed his talent in the pro ranks. Biniam Girmay’s entry in the professional category was a big success. At the age of eighteen, he won stages and podium spots at both the Tropicale Amissa Bongo and the Tour du Rwanda. He improved these results in 2020 in the colours of DELKO, before showing nice performances on the European territory. He was defeated by Loïc Vliegen at the Tour du Doubs and also nearly took the victory at the Trofeo Laigueglia. This season, he confirmed that hilly courses suit him well by finishing 7th at the Royal Bernard Drôme Classic, 9th at the Trofeo Laigueglia or 6th at La Roue Tourangelle. Biniam Girmay Hailu signed a contract until the end of 2024 and will defend the colours of the Belgian team starting from this Monday.

Biniam Girmay Hailu: “I’m a fan of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux for a long time already. I turned professional two years ago and the team also reached a new milestone in its development recently by stepping up to the World Tour. I want to progress at the same rhythm of the team, that’s why I’m happy to receive this long term opportunity. I already tasted the good atmosphere and the special spirit, on and off the bike, a true Belgian team. I’ve got a particular affinity with Belgium, because I remember my victory against Remco Evenepoel at Aubel-Thimister-Stavelot as if it were yesterday and because I love all Belgian classics. I already discovered the Flèche Wallonne, but I can’t wait to race the other ones. I’m dreaming of Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France. I feel ready for the World Tour and I’m very motivated to perform and to win!”

Jean-François Bourlart (General Manager): “We’re following Biniam Girmay Hailu already since his time at the Centre Mondial du Cyclisme, because he’s shown his exceptional talent in the junior category, for example by defeating Remco Evenepoel in a duel. It is our priority to integrate young talents in our project in order to build to future. We’ve chosen to invest on the long term in this rider from Eritrea, to make him gain experience an offer him the possibility to become a classics champion.”

Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager): “Several teams were following this incredible talent, so we’re pleased to welcome him in our structure. The recruitment of Biniam Girmay is an investment in the future. This spring, the rider from Eritrea has shown that he’s ready for the next step in his career, the World Tour. We discussed about his development and we established a long term plan. His programme will be adapted to his development. On the short term, we want to prepare him for the U23 World Championships in Leuven. He already met his new teammates and we got to know his good and calm personality better, but he especially has a strong winner’s mentality!”

Biniam Girmay Hailu:

 

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Soler Announced for UAE Team Emirates
Catalan rider joins on 2-year contract

UAE Team Emirates continue to strengthen their squad for the future with the signing of Marc Soler who will join the team starting from 2022.

The 27-year old from Vilanova i la Geltrú is the latest rider to commit his future to the team alongside João Almeida and Pascal Ackermann who have already been confirmed to join.

Soler’s palmarès highlights his impressive record in stage racing: winning the overall at Paris Nice in 2018 along with stage wins in major World Tour races such as the Vuelta España in 2020 and a recent impressive solo victory at this years edition of the Tour de Romandie.

Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Team Manager) : “It’s no secret that Marc Soler is one of the finest riders in the pro peloton and we believe he carries all the key attributes and the racing mentality to fit in well to this team. He’s an attacking rider, a fighter, and his personality and mental qualities are things that make him unique. He has his own distinctive racing style and character and we are excited to bring him on board into a team where I believe he will adapt to very well.”

Soler: “I’m very pleased to be joining UAE Team Emirates and looking forward to the new adventures and challenges ahead. I’m coming here with a lot of excitement and with desire to work hard and enjoy this new chapter. After 7 years at Movistar I think now is a good time in my career to look for new challenges and I thank them dearly for all our years working together and wish them all the best for the future. I’m ready for this new step.”

Marc Soler:
romandie

 

jumbo-visma
Henderson Remains with Team Jumbo-Visma Women Through 2024
Anna Henderson has extended her contract at Team Jumbo-Visma Women. The British talent, who won her first professional victory last week, will commit to the Dutch team until at least the end of 2024.

Henderson already had a contract until the end of 2022, but that commitment has been extended. The 22-year-old rider is having a strong season. During the spring classics, she proved to be an indispensable rider in the finals for leader Marianne Vos, among others. In addition, she also went for her own chances in a number of races. She finished third in the Baloise Ladies Tour and recently she won two stages and the final classification in Tour de Belle Isle and Terre – Kreiz Breizh.

Henderson is looking forward to the coming years with the black and yellow formation: “I am super excited to spend the next three years in a really good environment and with people who really believe in me. I have already learned a lot this season. Tour de Belle is the highlight of this season so far for me, considering my first pro win and the way the team performed there. Gent-Wevelgem was also an important moment for the team and me. That race was a big step in the development of us as a team. I hope I can help Team Jumbo-Visma to become the best team in the world. With this team I want to reach the top. That is the goal.”

Team manager Esra Tromp is proud and delighted to connect Henderson to the team for longer. “In the past few months Anna has made a huge development, which we are all very proud of. Anna is a very nice rider to work with. Her positive attitude, inquisitive nature and drive are wonderful to see and very inspiring. I am very happy that we will continue to work with Anna on our common goals in the coming years.”

Anna Henderson:
jumbo henderson

 

ineos grenadier
Michal Golas Announces Retirement
Michal Golas has announced his retirement as a professional cyclist. The 37-year-old Pole hangs his bike up after 16 seasons in the professional peloton.

Golas started in 2007 with Unibet, the team of Hilaire Vanderschueren. He joined Vacansoleil in 2009 via Collstrop and Amica Chips. In 2012, he signed for Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, where he raced for four seasons and has spent the last six seasons with Sky, INEOS and INEOS Grenadiers.

His palmarès includes the Polish national title in 2012 and the Championship of Flanders in 2015. He rode the Tour de France in 2014 and 2015 and was part of the selection that helped Chris Froome to the overall victory in the last edition. Golas also rode the Giro four times and the Vuelta three times.

Michal Golas:
basso

 

ag2r cirtoen
Ben Gastauer to Retire at the End of the 2021 season
After 12 years with the AG2R CITROËN TEAM, Ben Gastauer, 33, will end his career at the end of the 2021 season due to a pelvic floor problem which is hampering his ability to compete at the top level.

“Ben Gastauer came from our training centre and has spent his entire career with the team. He is a rider who is appreciated by everyone and who has been an essential element in many great team successes such as our Tour de France 2014 team classification victory. His excellent fitness level, his loyalty, and his kindness will leave a lasting impression of his time in the team. I wish him a successful post-cycling career and that he will take as much pleasure in his family life as he did in his professional career,” Vincent Lavenu, General Manager of the AG2R CITROËN TEAM, said.

Ben Gastauer: “My pelvic floor problem has handicapped me since mid-April. I couldn’t sit on a bike for two months and still have pain today. I spoke to Vincent Lavenu about my willingness to hang up the bike. He is giving me the gift of letting me finish my career at the Tour du Luxembourg (September 14-18), in front of my family and friends. It will be a great way for me to end my career. It is rare to have a whole career riding on the same team and I am very happy to have had this opportunity. We accomplished great things together, notably the podiums for Jean-Christophe Péraud and Romain Bardet at the Tour de France, which will remain my fondest memories.”

Ben Gastauer spent 12 years, from 2010 to 2021, with the team. He completed the 2009 season at Chambéry Cyclisme Formation. He has won 3 professional victories (Luxembourg national champion for individual time trial in 2012, and the winner of a stage and the general classification of the Tour du Haut Var in 2015).

Ben Gastauer:
Ben Gastauer

 


UCI Suspends German National Coach Patrick Moster Until the End of 2021
The UCI has suspended German cycling coach Patrick Moster until December 31 for his inappropriate comments during the men’s individual time trial at the Tokyo Olympics. Moster has agreed to his suspension.

The UCI Disciplinary Commission had already suspended Moster on a provisional basis because his comments were discriminatory and contrary to the basic rules of decency and Article 12.4.017(d) of the UCI Regulations. Moster admitted to the disciplinary committee that he had broken the rules and agreed to impose a suspension until December 31, 2021. Until then, he is not allowed to participate in any competition in any capacity. The UCI emphasised in a press release that the punishment of the disciplinary committee is in addition to the measures taken by the German federation.

Suspension for German National coach Patrick Moster:
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Premier Tech to Withdraw as Co-Title Sponsor at the End of 2021
Canadian company Premier Tech will leave Astana – Premier Tech at the conclusion of the 2021 season, stepping away as the team’s co-owner and co-title sponsor after a five-year partnership. The Kazakh shareholders will continue as the sole owner and title sponsor of the team.

Acknowledging the significant investment and contribution from Premier Tech as a partner and more recently, co-owner, over the past five years, Astana – Premier Tech Managing Director Yana Seel said: “We have been very fortunate to have Premier Tech with us since the beginning of the partnership in 2017. Premier Tech’s support has been instrumental, and we were proud to have them with us for some of the team’s most important moments including multiple Tour de France stage wins and Monument victories. Although we envisaged a long-term collaboration between Premier Tech and our Kazakh shareholders as co-owners, unfortunately it has not been possible to align the respective visions for the team’s future. As such, Premier Tech will conclude their investment at the end of this season. I want to thank Jean Belanger and the Premier Tech community for their support and passion for the team, particularly for their unwavering commitment in the last two seasons amidst the covid-19 pandemic. We look forward to ending the season together on a high and achieving the best results possible”.

“Planning is underway for next season, and we expect to communicate further on the team’s future in the coming weeks.”

Premier Tech President and CEO Jean Belanger said: “Although it is disappointing for Premier Tech to end its collaboration with Kazakhstan, it has been fantastic to be involved in the project since 2017. We were excited to step up as co-owner and co-title sponsor of Astana – Premier Tech at the start of the season and forge a new direction for the team alongside the Kazakh shareholders. Unfortunately, it has become clear in our ongoing discussions and planning for the future that we do not share the same vision and we have been unable to come to an agreement that works for both parties. Premier Tech is committed to the sport of cycling and will announce in the near future the next phase of its presence in the peloton and WorldTour scene”.

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qhubeka
Qhubeka NextHash in the 2022 WorldTour with Limited Budget
There are now no doubts about the survival of Qhubeka NextHash (formerly NTT Procycling) into the 2022 season. WielerFlits has confirmed from a good source that the South African team will be part of the WorldTour in 2022, albeit with the same – limited – budget as this year.

A new major sponsor has not yet been secured by team manager Douglas Ryder, but there is now certainty that the team will also be part of the WorldTour peloton in 2022 with the same budget as this year. In other words, just like 2021, 2022 will also be a transition year for the South African team. That in itself is good news for the riders. Not only for the five riders: Victor Campenaerts, Sergio Henao, Sean Bennett, Connor Brown and Mauro Schmid who still had ongoing contracts, but also for the guys who’s contracts expire at the end of the year.

Henok Mulubrhan, 21-year-old Eritrean is moving up from the Continental training team to the Qhubeka NextHash WorldTour team.

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lombardia
Il Lombardia to be Raced from Como to Bergamo on October 9
The last Classic Monument of the season this year will start from Como and will end in Bergamo. The last winner was Jakob Fuglsang while the last rider to conquer the race in Bergamo was Esteban Chaves, in 2016.

After four editions that ended in Como, Bergamo will host the finish line of the 115th edition of Il Lombardia presented by eolo, which will start from the city of Como. The Classic of the Dead Leaves, scheduled for Saturday 9 October and organised by RCS Sport, closes the season of great international cycling.

All the details and the route of the last Classic Monument of the year will be revealed in a press conference to be held in September.

Esteban Chaves won Il Lombardia in 2016 in Bergamo:
Colombian's rider Esteban Chaves (C) of Orica-Bikeexchange team reacts after crossing the finish line to win the Il Lombardia Named Sport behind Italy's rider Diego Rosa (L), second place and Colombian's rider Rigoberto Uran Uran of Cannondale-Drapac pro C.T. at the third place, 1 October 2016. ANSA / MATTEO BAZZI

 

bahrain
Bahrain Victorious Fitness Challenge for Vuelta España
Bahrain Victorious invites fans to take on 30 minutes of fitness a day during the Vuelta España from 14th August – 5th September.

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The challenge follows from the team’s exclusive crypto art jersey worn on the sign on stage at Tour de France that highlighted some facts around Obesity and Diabetes and the positive effect sports such as cycling can have on reducing the risks associated with these diseases.

The aim is to encourage people to take on the daily challenge to improve their health and wellbeing through 30 minutes of any physical activity – just over 2% of a day!

The team’s partners have backed the challenge, and through the Bahrain Victorious Strava club, participants who complete their 30 minutes of activity over the week will have the chance to win a range of prizes, as a Merida Scultura frame, a signed ALÉ jersey, an Elite SUITO T interactive turbo trainer, a Rudy Project helmet Boost Pro and Sunglass Tralyx Black M-Smoke, one set of wheels Vision Metron SL “Team Replica”, a FSA handlebar K-Force Carbon + stem K-Force Light, a Prologo saddle Scratch M5 PAS, a Hyperice Hypervolt, one Snap On 100th original kit with screwdriver, ratchet, sockets in carrying case and signed F1 merchandise offered by Bahrain International Circuit.

To find out more and sign up to the Strava Club visit: http://bahraincyclingteam.com/vueltachallenge/

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