EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!
All weekend news
Another full EUROTRASH Monday. We catch up with the final exciting stages of the Tour of the Basque Country with reports, results and video. Patrick Lefevere not impressed by the Alpecin-Fenix team – TOP STORY. Lots of rider news from: Primoz Roglic, Tim Declercq, Romain Sicard, Scott Davies, Filippo Pozzato, Ellen van Dijk and Grace Brown. Team news: Tarteletto-Isorex, Delko and Cofidis. Race news from: Tour de France 2024/25, Amstel Gold Race, Vuelta Asturias route and Vuelta a España with Shimano till 2024. Plus 2021 GranFondo Stelvio Santini postponed and Fabio Jakobsen excited to be back video. Get the coffee on.
TOP STORY: Lefevere on Alpecin-Fenix
Patrick Lefevere was quite worked up about the Alpecin-Fenix racing tactics during the Scheldeprijs on Wednesday. “They didn’t do a single bit of work with the excuse that they had Tim Merlier in the chasing group.”
The manager of Deceuninck – Quick-Step understands that it is part of the game, but sees a pattern with Mathieu van der Poel’s team. “They eagerly play the part of a small ProContinental team along the way. It is true that they are pro-continental, but of course they are not small,” he wrote in his weekly column in Het Nieuwsblad. “It is simply a tactical choice of the Roodhooft brothers (team owners) not to take the step to the WorldTour. They make clever use of a regulatory gap that only benefits them.”
Those benefits include starting in all WorldTour races, as well as lower minimum salaries and licensing fees. “Now and then I would also like to say to organisers: thank you for the invitation, but we will not participate anyway. In addition: it is cheaper for the Roodhoofts (Alpecin-Fenix team owners) to bring in Julien Vermote than for me. While we are of course direct competitors. The Tour of Flanders and the Scheldeprijs have just made that very clear. At the moment there is simply no incentive for the Roodhoofts to take the step to the WorldTour. They have a guaranteed right to start anyway: if they accidentally fail to win the Europe Tour, then every organiser still wants Mathieu van der Poel to start. The only danger is that he will be injured for a long time. As we experienced with Fabio Jakobsen and Remco Evenepoel. I don’t wish it on them, but it would be a stress test for their ProContinental model.”
Finally: “I have all the respect for the Roodhoofts brothers. They complete a wonderful race with their team, which is an example for many people in the sport. But they shouldn’t make more of their ProContinental status than it is. An administrative trick, not a calimero excuse to leave the work in the race to the so-called big boys.”
The Alpecin-Fenix team gets an easy time?
Itzulia Basque Country 2021
Stage 4 of the Tour of the Basque Country was won by Ion Izagirre in Hondarribia on Thursday. The Astana-Premier Tech rider took the win after an exciting final, ahead of Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) and Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates). McNulty took the yellow jersey from Jumbo-Visma’s Primož Roglič.
The first attacks came soon after the start, but no one managed to take any kind of lead. After more than 80 kilometres we still had a compact peloton. Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Jefferson Cepeda (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) tried to start a break and quickly had a 3 minutes lead. O’Connor was the best on GC, the Australian was 31st at 4:21 behind Roglič. Martin, 36th at 4:50, was also a danger for the men of Jumbo-Visma, although the escapees had to get over the Jaizkibel and the Erlaitz. The advantage continued to fluctuate around 2 minutes on the run-up to the first of two final climbs. Before turning up the Jaizkibel, Movistar decided to lift the speed for Alejandro Valverde. The Spaniard, 5th on GC, seemed to be interested in the stage victory. On the climb, Bahrain hit the front to set the pace for home favourites Mikel Landa and Pello Bilbao. In the leading group, Lopez decided to shake things up, O’Connor was able to follow him, but it was too much for Cepeda and Martin. The Ecuadorian and Frenchman were caught by the group of favourites before the summit, O’Connor and Lopez started the descent of the Jaizkibel with a limited lead.
There was no real action on the Jaizkibel, but the riders were saving themselves for the steep Erlaitz (3.8km at 10.6%), with its summit 22 kilometres from the finish. The race split open completely on the Erlaitz. In the first metres, the last of the break were caught and it was now turn of the favourites for the stage and overall victory. Jakob Fuglsang was the first to attack, but the Dane was countered by Mikel Landa. The Basque managed to take a small gap and was joined by Brandon McNulty and Esteban Chaves. Roglič was in a chase group caught in the UAE Team Emirates game. His biggest danger, Tadej Pogačar, didn’t do anything as he had teammate McNulty at the front, so it was up to Jonas Vingegaard to limit the difference for his leader Roglič. The young Dane had a very good day and managed to close the last gap to Landa and McNulty in one go. There was now an elite group of about 15 riders at the top of the Erlaitz. Not far behind was Maximilian Schachmann, Richard Carapaz and Hugh Carthy. Once over the KOM line, Chaves attacked a second time. Pello Bilbao jumped on his wheel and the two climbers got some space from the pursuers. McNulty also decided to attack and the American, together with Emanuel Buchmann, Vingegaard and Ion Izagirre, managed to link up with Chaves and McNulty.
The second group mainly looked at each other. Pogačar had a teammate up front with McNulty and Roglič also had Vingegaard was in the front group, so it was up to riders like Carthy and Valverde to take the initiative in the chase, but the chasing group didn’t really get any closer. With 10 kilometres to go, the difference was more than 30 seconds. McNulty was third overall before the start of the stage, exactly half a minute from Roglič, and was now in the virtual leader’s jersey. Roglič didn’t seem too concerned about his yellow jersey. In the last kilometres to Hondarribia, the six took more time. With 1,700 metres to go we saw two attacks from Buchmann, but it was McNulty who managed to close the gap on the German. Then Chaves saw his moment and looked to be on his way to his second win of the season with a well-timed attack. It wasn’t to be as the others caught the Colombian on the line. In the sprint, Izagirre turned out to be just a bit faster than Bilbao. McNulty crossed the line third after an exciting final and grabbed four bonus seconds. The American was the new overall leader of the Tour of the Basque Country. Roglič is now at 23 seconds and Vingegaard is third at 0:28 from McNulty.
Stage winner and 9th overall, Ion Izagirre (Astana-Premier Tech): “The wind was coming from the front and we were all thinking about the final kilometres, for the sprint. Buchmann was the first to attack but Chaves made the good move to make a gap. I waited for Buchmann and McNulty to launch the sprint and I took their wheel. I waited because of the head wind. It was very, very tight but luckily I could win and I’m really happy. I truly thought Pello had won. He was coming from behind and he raised his arms so I really thought I had lost. I congratulated him and assumed that I was second. When the soigneurs told me that they were checking the photo finish I wanted to be careful and I didn’t wanted to celebrate. It feels really good after the time trial. I came here very motivated and to start by losing 1:10 in the TT on the first day was hard to accept. After Alex’s victory, winning again at Itzulia Basque Country feels really good. The team worked really well today with Oscar and Stefan controlling the situation in the group and Omar and Alexey trying to escape. Also Jakob was a great help for me at the end. I won the General Classification in 2019 but without a stage and now I am celebrating a stage win and it is a very special to me. I am just enjoying the moment. We still have two very difficult days ahead and the race is still open and many things can happen.”
2nd on the stage and 4th overall, Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious): “We played our cards in the best way, and I tried to go in cold-blooded in the last kilometre because Ion was waiting for the last moment, and I decided to go on his wheel. I doubt I started it fast from the left side, but then I had to change the way and go from the right side and then I was too late. I thought that I passed him at the last moment and thought that I took the win, but I watched the repetition on the TV screen just a minute later, and we checked the photo finish. Ion took the win just by just 5 centimetres. It is a long time that I’m waiting for the home win, but Ion is a great rider too. I am glad for him as we know each other for a long time and we were teammates before as amateurs and did a lot of races together. He deserves this victory, and we have to remember that we are here for the overall. Until the last stage on Saturday, we will have a big fight ahead of us. I just want to send a message to all the fans when you lose a victory for just 5 centimetres. Not only when you win. This is the sport, and these are emotions. Two Basque riders racing on the highest level, and I hope that all our fans enjoyed this race, and I believe there will be more similar moments at this race.”
3rd on the stage and overall leader, Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates): “For sure we were aiming for the stage win without thinking too much about the leader’s jersey, but I’m obviously happy with the result today. I feel good and ready to face the last two stages. Tomorrow could be another tricky stage, while Saturday will be an epic day. We’ll do our best to defend the leaders jersey.”
5th on the stage and 7th overall, Emanuel Buchmann (BORA-hansgrohe): “I felt pretty good today, better than on the previous stages here. And so I tried to counter the attacks that came on the last climb. That went pretty well and I managed to get into the small leading group. I attacked several times there to try to avoid the stage coming down to a sprint, but that didn’t quite work out. Nevertheless, I’m happy with my performance, and I’m now in 7th place overall.”
10th overall, Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious): “We tried a lot, and all of our team were very active, and we tried to make the race hard in the final, and then we played our chances with Pello and me, and we were close to the victory. I think the last stage on Saturday will be a crucial one and everything could happen at the Queen Stage. We have Pello now in a bit better position, and we will definitely fight in our way, our tactics and until the last kilometre of the race.”
6th on the stage, Esteban Chaves (BikeExchange): “I really wanted to do really well today. Today, this type of race, on paper suits me better and Saturday, and I know all the routes. I spent a lot of time with Imanol Iza up here, I feel like it’s home, I know all the roads really well. I tried in the final on the climb and I tried after the climb at the top, and I tried in the final again. Hats off to all the work the boys did today, I wanted to pay it back and it was really close. I did everything I could and more, I almost died! But this is what it is, this is cycling and it’s a beautiful thing and we need to be happy. Of course a little bit disappointed, but the important thing is to play the game.”
9th on the stage, Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I’m a happy man today. Astana didn’t seem to fancy an early the breakaway so this stage really turned into a fast one. The first two hours we kept riding 50 km/h and you could see everyone was suffering. I didn’t try to attack early in the race because I knew the last climb, the Erlaitz, was going to be a sufferfest as well. I was curious to know how I was going to perform here, against all those big names. At the end of the Erlaitz I had to let go the GC favourites but after the top I gave everything to close the again. I had to because I know I can sprint faster than all these lightweight climbers. I still felt strong, wasn’t dead at all. This made me able to finish ninth, not bad at all! I’m happy or myself but also for the whole team. But I’m not quite done here, I want to seize every opportunity to show myself. Either by winning a stage, or by winning one of the side rankings. The polka dot jersey interests me but we all know Pogacar isn’t a bad climber either. To wear this jersey one stage would already be very nice.”
Itzulia Basque Country Stage 4 Result:
1. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech in 4:17:07
2. Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
3. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates
4. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
5. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
6. Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) BikeExchange at 0:02
7. Patrick Bevin (NZ) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:49
8. James Knox (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
9. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar.
Itzulia Basque Country Overall After Stage 4:
1. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates in 12:25:21
2. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:23
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma at 0:28
4. Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 0:36
5. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:43
6. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:02
7. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:07
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:13
9. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 1:15
10. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 1:23.
Mikkel Frølich Honoré won Stage 5 of the Tour of the Basque Country. In Ondarroa, the Dane, together with teammate Josef Černy, gave Deceuninck – Quick-Step a one-two, after they had survived together from the early break.
It was not long before the early break was formed. Two riders from Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Josef Černy and Mikkel Honoré, along with Ide Schelling, Julien Bernard and Andrey Amador escaped. After a chase, Andreas Leknessund also joined them. The leading group posed no danger for the yellow jersey Brandon McNulty; the best classified of the six attackers was Bernard in 75th place, at more than 25 minutes. The group didn’t get much of a lead, because the peloton kept them within two to two and a half minutes. For several teams this was the last chance of success. It was in particular BikeExchange, EF Education-Nippo, Israel Start-Up Nation, Caja Rural and Euskaltel who all put a man on the front of the peloton. Eventually Astana also got involved in the chase. In the run-up to the Gontzagaraigana, after 115 kilometres, the difference started to decrease to less than 2 minutes.
On the Urkaregi, the last climb, Leknessund had to let his fellow escapees go, while the peloton accelerated uphill. In the second part of the 5 kilometre long climb, Schelling and Amador were also dropped, after which Bernard rode on with the teammates Černy and Honoré. From the peloton, Jesús Herrada tried to attack just before the top, but he didn’t get far. Alex Aranburu and Omar Fraile were more successful; the Basques of Astana plunged into the twisty, treacherous descent and took a gap. Bernard, Černy and Honoré still had a 50 second lead after the descent. It was still 20 kilometres to the finish.
Bernard, Černy and Honoré worked well together and kept a good pace, despite having been on the attack most of the day. Aranburu and Fraile got stuck at 40 seconds, with the peloton not that far behind. As the kilometres ticked by, the better it looked for the three remaining off the front. In the last 10 kilometres, Bernard stopped working, while Černy did most of the work. On an uncategorised climb in Mutriku, with 5 kilometres to go, Černy and Honoré rode away from Bernard, who couldn’t follow. Černy and Honoré rode a team time trial to Ondarroa, where Honoré won the stage and Černy was second for a Deceuninck – Quick-Step 1-2. Bernard escaped the peloton to finish third. Daryl Impey won the sprint of the big group. Nothing changed at the top of the rankings. Brandon McNulty will be the leader at the start of the final stage, with a lead of 23 seconds over Primož Roglič and 28 seconds on Jonas Vingegaard.
Stage winner, Mikkel Honoré (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It was our goal to be in the breakaway and once we got there, we worked very hard to remain as much as possible at the front. With our gap standing at one minute on the climb, it looked like a hard task, but we gave everything there and continued pushing. In the closing kilometres, I jumped on the short hill and waited for Josef at the top so we could go together to the line. He was incredible today and I want to point out that this isn’t my victory, but a win shared by the two of us, because I wouldn’t have made it without him. Getting to the line together with a teammate and celebrating a victory is one of the most beautiful things in cycling.”
Overall leader, Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates): “Today was tough with the wind and the speed but we did what we could to save energy. I guess I’m a little nervous but it’s been quite exciting to lead a race at this level. We’re in a really strong position with myself and Tadej in the mix for the GC. It could be rain tomorrow but my best results have always been in the wet which is surprising as I’m from the desert, so let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
7th on the stage and 2nd overall, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “Today was the least difficult day here in the Basque Country. Nevertheless, the pace was again very high. We were able to save some energy for tomorrow. That will be the decisive stage. Of course we will do everything we can to win this race tomorrow. We need a good strategy to make it difficult for the competition.”
10th on the stage and 5th overall, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “Today’s stage was a little less stressful than yesterday’s, but it was still a tough day: we faced challenging stages day after day, so tomorrow it will not be easy to deal with such a hard finish. It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow. Our goal is to ensure that the team manages to win and keep the leaders jersey. We hope to be able to defend it.”
2nd on the stage, Josef Cerny (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “A memorable day for us. When we went into the break, our goal was to make the most out of this opportunity and I’m happy with how things panned out in the end. We believed in ourselves, kept the pace high in the finale and delivered a great team effort. That’s why we can be proud of what we achieved, as it’s a day we’ll always remember.”
Ide Schelling (BORA-hansgrohe): “It wanted to try to make the break today. It wasn’t necessarily as hard as yesterday, but at the same time, it was far from easy. The group was very strong and we rode a hard tempo the entire day. Although our advantage was never that big, I think we nevertheless worked well together. On the last climb I was pretty much at the limit and when the two Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders attacked the legs were just not good enough to follow them. But it was a good experience to have.”
Itzulia Basque Country Stage 5 Result:
1. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 3:39:54
2. Josef Cerny (Cze) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo at 0:17
4. Daryl Impey (RSA) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:28
5. Simon Clarke (Aus) Qhubeka Assos
6. Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal
7. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
8. Julien Simon (Fra) Total Direct Energie
9. Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo
10. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates.
Itzulia Basque Country Overall After Stage 5:
1. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates in 16:05:43
2. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:23
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma at 0:28
4. Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 0:36
5. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:43
6. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:07
7. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:13
8. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 1:15
9. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 1:23
10. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:32.
Primoz Roglič has won the 2021 Tour of the Basque Country. The Jumbo-Visma Slovenian cracked Tadej Pogacar and Brandon McNulty of UAE Team Emirates. On the Final Stage 6, Roglič finished second, behind fellow escapee David Gaudu of Groupama-FDJ. Jonas Vingegaard completed the day for the Jumbo-Visma team by finishing second in the overall.
Movistar showed they meant business immediately on the Arribinieta, the first categorised climb of the day. The pace of the Spanish WorldTour team split the peloton into pieces. It was then up to Jumbo-Visma to control with Sam Oomen and Antwan Tolhoek. Tolhoek got away with Chris Juul-Jensen and Patrick Bevin on the second climb of the day. Tolhowk was the better on the steeper sections. In Azurki, Tolhoek was alone, but there were a number of counter-attacks from the peloton by Richard Carapaz, Enric Mas, Omar Fraile, Hugh Carthy and Ben O’Connor. Bevin was also able to reconnect. The escape put UAE Team Emirates on the defensive. The team of Pogačar and McNulty were on the front 80 kilometres from the finish, the leading group had a lead of 40 seconds. It turned out to be difficult for them to keep control of the race. On the next climb, new attacks followed each other in rapid succession. With Carlos Verona and Mark Padun, Movistar had a second rider and Bahrain-Victorious their first in the leading group. Guillaume Martin and Pierre Latour also managed to connect. For Valverde it was time to launch an attack. The 40-year-old handed out a first jump, but the other GC riders did not give him an inch. Mauri Vansevenant made use of the truce by launching an attack. The Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider was in eleventh place on the overall prior to the final stage, just 1:32 behind McNulty. The Belgian quickly made the crossing to the break.
Behind; Marc Hirschi and Oomen were next to make a move, then the leading group consisted of twelve riders with a 1 minute lead. The descent of the Elosua-Gorla caused more damage than the ascent. In the peloton, Astana briefly tore things apart: Roglič was with it, Vingegaard, McNulty and Pogačar were not. To close the gap, Pogačar had to ride ahead of McNulty until Hirschi came back. In the meantime, Carapaz, Bevin and O’Connor were off the front. The other escapees were then quickly joined by the small group from Astana and Roglič. UAE Team Emirates had 50 kilometres to go. At the front, Oomen, Tolhoek (Jumbo-Visma), Verona, Mas (Movistar), Fraile and Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech) joined forces to further distance McNulty and Pogačar to 40 seconds. On the ascent to Krabelin, the group with Pogačar and McNulty, where only Vingegaard, Esteban Chaves, Yates and Emanuel Buchmann were left, had to clear the gap as quickly as possible. With the Tour winner doing the chase work, the lead dropped to 20 seconds. Two kilometres from the top, the American finally cracked and UAE Team Emirates had to play the Pogačar card. In the leading group Roglič, Carthy and David Gaudu were left at the top with a lead of 30 seconds on Landa, Pogačar, Yates, Vansevenant, Valverde and Vingegaard.
In the last 40 kilometres, Roglič’s lead quickly increased to a minute, despite the good cooperation among the pursuers, where Vingegaard performed his job blocking. With the climbs of Trabakua and Usartza still to go to keep Roglič from the overall victory, Pogačar continued with the pursuers on the first of the two remaining hills. The lead of the three riders at the front remained intact. On the final climb to Arrate, the pursuers came back to 30 seconds, but it soon became clear that the overall victory would go to Roglič. The lead of the front group increased again after an acceleration by Gaudu. Carthy was dropped. In the final kilometres, the fight for the last podium place started. Virtual third placed Bilbao had to fend off Pogačar, Valverde and Yates, but failed. After an attack from Valverde, the Basque had to hand over the podium place in his home tour to the Slovenian of UAE Team Emirates, who in turn failed in his attempt to crack Vingegaard. The podium was set with Roglič, Vingegaard and Pogačar. The stage victory went to Gaudu. He took the stage victory ahead of his Slovenian escape companion.
Stage winner, David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ): “I was motivated to the bone. I am very happy. Winning this Basque stage is great. For me it is my first victory in the WorldTour that I didn’t get from the early break. And I was also sitting with the super strong Roglič. Class that he gave me the victory, because he already won the general classification. I participated every day, thanks also to the team. I would like to thank everyone again for their trust in me.”
Overall winner and 2nd on the stage, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): “This final stage went a lot better than the previous one in Nice. It was a short, but fun stage. That’s the great thing about those short stages. If they were a hundred kilometres longer, they might have become boring. Everything went well for us today, so I am happy to be here now. I love races in the Basque Country because it is always tough. We had fun from the first moment and achieved great results. We are here with a young and strong team. Jonas (Vingegaard) was very strong. A really great week.”
2nd overall and 6th on the stage, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma): “I have made a very big step this season. I am very happy to have finished second in the overall classification. I was disappointed not to win Thursday’s stage, but this performance makes up for everything. I would have signed for second place and the win in the youth classification in advance.”
3rd overall and 5th on the stage, Pogačar: “We hoped that the stage would go a little differently for us. We tried to control the race initially, but when Astana attacked they managed to build up a gap quickly, forcing Marc Hirschi and me to lead the chase, even though it was a little too late. We then arrived at the most challenging point of the stage, and Brandon got detached. It was then up to me to fight for the podium and I had to push really deep for 40km. It was one of the most demanding stages both mentally and physically that I have ever done in my career.”
7th overall and 3rd on the stage, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “It was a tough stage. It’s a shame I had to let Roglič go, because that would have made a difference. After that I felt better than I expected. I was able to finish well on the final climb. It was a great week, although the conditions are still not normal, I would like to thank the fans for their support again today.”
8th overall and 9th on the stage, Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious): “As expected, It has been a very hard race. All the formations, all the teams and their line-ups were really strong. I had a very good test at the first ITT stage. I wanted to win a stage here, but it wasn’t easy. I tried it on Thursday at the fourth stage. I’m thinking now about Giro d’Italia. The objective I think I’m good enough for the moment, and I believe things will get even better.”
13th overall, Emanuel Buchmann (BORA-hansgrohe): “That was a really brutal stage. We were hoping to do something in the finale to make up time in the general classification, but we weren’t able to follow the attacks on the descent and after that it wasn’t possible to close the gap to the front groups. It’s a disappointing day but we will definitely learn from what happened.”
Itzulia Basque Country Stage 6 Result:
1. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 3:05:43
2. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:34
4. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
5. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
6. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
7. Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 1:02
8. Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) BikeExchange at 1:05
9. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
10. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:53.
Itzulia Basque Country Final Overall Result:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 19:11:36
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma at 0:52
3. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 1:07
4. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:26
5. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:27
6. Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 1:28
7. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:33
8. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 2:17
9. Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) BikeExchange 0:02:38
10. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 2:59.
Primoz Roglic Recons the Tour de France Time Trials
Primož Roglič won the Tour of the Basque Country on Saturday, but there is no time to rest. The Slovenian, with sports director Grischa Niermann, explored both time trials of the upcoming Tour de France on Sunday.
Roglič was in the Saint-Émilion area on Sunday morning to explore the penultimate stage of the Tour de France. The Jumbo-Visma rider was not deterred by the bad weather to have a look at the roads between Libourne, the start of the time trial, and the finish town of Saint-Émilion, more than 200 kilometres from the Basque Country.
On July 17, the riders will ride an individual time trial of 31 kilometres. The stage could be decisive in the battle for the overall victory. Last year Roglič lost the yellow jersey in the last time trial, beaten his fellow countryman Tadej Pogačar who amazed the cycling world at La Planche des Belles Filles.
Later that day, Roglič and Niermann also explored the fifth stage from Changé to Laval to recon the 27 kilometre time trial, scheduled for June 30.
A wet Sunday in France for Roglic:
Minor Knee Injury for Tim Declercq
Tim Declercq will not be racing for a while. The 32-year-old Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider crashed in the Tour of Flanders and sustained a knee injury.
“The bursa above my patella tendon in the knee is torn. Fortunately, the tendon was not hit, so it should be able to dissolve with rest and a lot of ice. Normally I should be able to start training very carefully next week,” Declercq told Het Nieuwsblad. Due to the crash, Declercq also did not make it to the finish, which was eventually won by teammate Kasper Asgreen. The Danish champion was involved in the same fall, but was able to continue without any problems. Declercq’s sprint was already over after the Tour of Flanders. The plan is for the master domestique to ride the Tour de France this summer.
Top worker, Tim Declercq:
Former U23 World Champion Romain Sicard to Stop Due to a Heart Problem
Romain Sicard has been forced to put an end to his career. A heart condition has come to light for the 33-year-old Total Direct Energie rider, which means that he can no longer race at a professional level. Sicard was U23 World Champion in 2009.
“I have been watched more than usual for three years,” Sicard said through his team. “I was told around February 1 that I could not start the season. Then everything was still dark. I didn’t know what to expect. The past two months have been a very long time. It’s hard to feel in the dark and not have concrete answers. I didn’t get great news on Tuesday, but I do have confirmation now. I want to thank all the staff and riders who have supported me during this difficult time. From a human as well as a sporting point of view, I cherish great memories of my time with the team.”
For the rider from the French Basque Country, his professional career started in 2010, a year after he became the U23 World Champion in Mendrisio, Switzerland and won the Tour de l’Avenir. In his first four professional years, he raced for Euskaltel-Euskadi and rode the Vuelta a España and the Tour de France. Since 2014 he has raced for Jean René Bernaudeau’s teams: first for Europcar, later for Direct Energie and Total Direct Energie. He was one of the climbers in those teams and also a valued colleague: ‘someone who was appreciated by everyone.’
Team management emphasised that the health monitoring of riders works. “The studies are more extensive than before,” said Bernaudeau. “Tests by the French federation revealed a heart condition in Romain, which means that he can no longer be a professional cyclist. I heard the news while I was in the car and it came in hard. I was waiting for good news, but unfortunately it did not come, rather the opposite. When they said it was not good I was shocked. Romain is honest and reliable, who represents the spirit of the Basque Country.”
“He was a very important rider who could bring peace. He was U23 World Champion and rode the Tour de France seven times, that’s not nothing. He was part of our plans for the next Tour. But his health is paramount. I told him that real life is now about to begin.”
Calmejane gives Sicard heart: “You always gave everything without ulterior motives”
The fact that Romain Sicard had to end his career early due to heart problems, did not leave Lilian Calmejane unaffected. On his social media, the AG2R Citroën rider supports his former teammate.
Until his transfer to AG2R Citroën this winter, Calmejane was part of the team at Total Direct Energie at Sicard. He managed to win several races thanks to the help of the French Basque. In his stage victories in the Tour in 2017 and the Vuelta 2016 and his successes in 2017 in the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe and the Settimana Internazionale, Sicard was always by his side.
“I write these few words with emotion after the announcement of the farewell to my old teammate, but above all friend Romain,” Calmejane wrote. “We all walk a different path, but can recognise great people by their values. If we had to list all your qualities, an evening with a good meal and a good bottle would not be enough: so many good memories will pass by.”
“I will never forget that you were the architect behind so many of my victories, especially the one in the Tour. You were exemplary, tenacious, diligent, helpful and also full of talent. You always gave everything without ulterior motives. Sometimes it is thought that you missed that little bit of selfishness to achieve a prestigious victory after your world title in the U23s. But I don’t think you should regret anything, because you are a real man.”
“Everyone you know can only appreciate you and try to give back the love you gave. Things other than you initially thought will now undoubtedly come your way and your path. Keep your Basque heart warm, my friend!” Calmejane concluded.
Romain Sicard – U23 World champion 2009:
Successful Hip Surgery for Scott Davies
Scott Davies has not yet competed this season due to injuries, but there now seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. The 25-year-old Bahrain Victorious rider was successfully operated on his hip this week, he said via Instagram.
Davies managed to finish the Vuelta a España last year, but still has to complete his first race kilometres of 2021. The Brit has been suffering for a while, but has now taken a new step in his rehabilitation process. Davies will now have to slow down a bit, but can then continue working on his recovery. Davies switched to the pros in the winter of 2017, then raced for Dimension Data for two seasons. After two seasons with the South African team he moved to Bahrain Victorious. He is still looking for his first victory as a professional.
Filippo Pozzato in Training Accident
Filippo Pozzato crashed yesterday, after he had to swerve during a training ride due to a truck that was on his side of the road, he had a hard fall.
“Unfortunately I came off the road and fell while cycling through Veneto. I had to swerve for a truck, which came down a descent on my side of the road,” said Pippo Pozzato on his Instagram. “Fortunately, the consequences are not very big, except for some bruises and scrapes. I thank everyone who worried about me and messaged me.”
The attached photo shows that his bike suffered a lot of damage. The seatpost has been bent and the handlebars, wheels and gears were also damaged. The 39-year-old former winner of Milan-San Remo and two Tour stages also said: “I would like to ask everyone again to be more attentive and focused, because you can really endanger your own life and that of someone else.”
Ellen van Dijk to Miss Brabantse Pijl and Amstel Gold Race Due to Corona Infection
Ellen van Dijk will not ride the Brabantse Pijl on April 14 and the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday April 18. The Trek-Segafredo rider is infected with the corona virus, she announced via Instagram.
In the Tour of Flanders, Van Dijk felt that something was wrong. The 34-year-old rider fell ill after Flanders and now appears to be infected with the corona virus. Van Dijk is currently only struggling with flu symptoms. “I hope to get back on the bike as soon as possible.”
The Dutch rider will not be on the start line of the Brabantse Pijl and the Amstel Gold Race. After the South Limburg classic, two more important Walloon spring races are on the program with the Flèche Wallonne (Wednesday 21 April) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Sunday 25 April). Van Dijk managed to win the Healthy Aging Tour for a fourth time in March. Earlier this year she also finished ninth in Dwars door Vlaanderen and tenth in Strade Bianche.
No Amstel for Ellen van Dijk:
Grace Brown Will Not Defend her Brabantse Pijl Title
Grace Brown has decided not to ride the Brabantse Pijl this year. The 28-year-old Australian opts for a rest after a busy spring period, her BikeExchange team announced in a press release.
Brown won last year after a successful solo. She finished ahead of Liane Lippert and Floortje Mackaij in Overijse. Brown can look back on a successful spring, with a win in the Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, a second place in Nokere Koerse and a third place in the Tour of Flanders. Team BikeExchange is counting on: Lucy Kennedy, Ane Santesteban, Georgia Williams, Urška Žigart, Janneke Ensing and Moniek Tenniglo. “We will race with an open mind. For some riders it is the first race after a good training period,” said sports director Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas.
After a Change of Rules, Tarteletto-Isorex to Start with Nine Riders in Tour of Valencia
The Belgian continental team, Tarteletto-Isorex, will start with nine riders in the Tour of Valencia next Wednesday in Elche. “Thanks to a recent change in the UCI regulations,” said team boss, Peter Bauwens.
Minimum six riders per team, maximum nine are the recently amended UCI regulations about the number of riders that teams are allowed to send in both stage races and one-day races at ProSeries level and the organisers of the Tour of Valencia have made good use of the rules. Tarteletto-Isorex is happy to accept the offer. “Our boys have been able to race very little in recent months,” said Bauwens. “I did not hesitate to add two extra riders to the selection. We will certainly try to show ourselves.”
Ylber Sefa, Gil D’Heygere, Maxime De Poorter, Gianni Marchand, Lennert Teugels, Enzo Wouters, Brent Van De Kerckhove, Julien Van Den Brande and Alfdan De Decker are the men who will be traveling to Spain. Later this month the tour of Rwanda is also on the agenda for Tarteletto-Isorex. The Tour of Valencia starts on Wednesday in Elche and ends next Sunday in Valencia. Just like Tarteletto, other teams who can, will start with more than seven riders.
Delko Out of Tour of Valencia After Positive Corona Test
Team Delko will not be at the start of the Tour of Valencia next week. The French team made that decision after a positive corona test by one of the team members.
With Lotto Soudal, Movistar, Groupama-FDJ and Cofidis, four WorldTour teams should be at the start of the tour won by Tadej Pogačar in 2020. Originally the Tour of Valencia was scheduled for February 3-7, but the corona measures in Spain did not allow the race at that time. The new date is April 14-18.
No Valencia for Delko in 2021:
Cofidis Extends Sponsorship with Cycling Team
Good news for Cofidis cycling team: Credit bank and main sponsor Cofidis has decided to extend the sponsorship contract for another three years. Cofidis will pump even more money into the men’s team and invest in a new women’s team.
Cofidis has decided to invest an additional 1.5 million euros annually in the men’s team, according to a press release. From 2022, another one million euros will follow each year for its own women’s team. There were already plans to start their own women’s team from next season. Thierry Vittu is very happy with the new sponsorship agreement on behalf of credit bank Cofidis. “We share the same values with the Cofidis cycling team and many people know our company through cycling. Our sponsorship contract expired at the end of 2022, but it was a unanimous decision to extend the contract through 2025.”
Cofidis does not only want to be visible in men’s cycling, as they will also start a continental women’s team in 2022. Gaël Le Bellec, a former world champion in duathlon, has been appointed as the architect of the new set-up. It is Le Bellec’s task to put together a selection of about ten riders. Cofidis has become an indispensable part of the peloton. The team was founded in 1996 and has had a WorldTour license since last year. The team took a lot of good victories in the past with riders such as Frank Vandenbroucke, Sylvain Chavanel, David Moncoutie and Nacer Bouhanni.
Christophe Laporte winning in the Étoile de Besseges this year for Cofidis:
Rotterdam and The Hague for Tour Starts in 2024 or 2025
Rotterdam and The Hague are together as candidates for the start of the Tour de France in 2024 or 2025, both cities announced. Rotterdam also wants the finish of the last stage of the Tour Féminin 2023.
The idea is to start in 2024 or 2025 with a prologue in the streets of Rotterdam, followed by a stage start in Rotterdam and finish in The Hague. “We are joining forces to bring the Grand Départ to the Netherlands,” is the joint message of Mayors Ahmed Aboutaleb (Rotterdam) and Jan van Zanen (The Hague).
The bid is worth about 30 million euros and organiser ASO will come to the Netherlands in May to receive the bid. Both Rotterdam and The Hague have already organised the Grand Départ. In the Tour of 1973 the riders started with a prologue on the boulevard of Scheveningen, won by Joop Zoetemelk. In 2010, 37 years after the start of the Tour in The Hague, it was Rotterdam’s turn. There was a prolog time trial where Fabian Cancellara clocked the fastest time and wore the first yellow leader’s jersey. The Tour has started six times in the Netherlands, with Amsterdam (1954), Leiden (1978), Den Bosch (1996) and Utrecht in 2015.
Rotterdam wants to be big in cycling in the coming years and is also interested in the finish of the Tour Féminin in 2023. It is not yet certain whether there will be a multi-day Tour de France race for women in two years’ time. There are plans to come back with a multi-day race from 2022. Chantal Blaak hopes for the Tour Féminin in the Netherlands. “We already ride a lot of races that the men also do, but we still miss the Tour.” Rotterdam and The Hague also want to organise three other major races for women from 2022 in collaboration with the International Cycling Union.
Joop Zoetemelk won the prologue of the Tour de France 1973:
Amstel Gold Race Wanted to Finish in Maastricht’s Sint Pietersberg
Not the Cauberg, but the Sint Pietersberg in Maastricht was the desired finish location of the Amstel Gold Race, according to race director Leo van Vliet in the documentary ‘Amstel Gold Race, the Year that Everything Changed’ about the 2001 edition.
The alternative finish line came into the picture after the Amstel Gold Race course in 2001 was forced to change. Due to the foot and mouth crisis, the Belgian loop was removed from the course. As a result, climbs like the Halembaye also disappeared from the final of the classic. Since 1991 the Amstel Gold Race has finished on the Maasboulevard in Maastricht. “After the 2001 race, we realised that it was better to ride the final of a Dutch classic completely in Limburg,” said race director Leo van Vliet. “I wanted a bit more spectacle at the end, an uphill finish. We looked at the Sint Pietersberg, there you also have a nice wide road. But in the end that turned out not to be feasible. A few years ago, Natuurmonumenten came there, and they did not give permission for it.”
The finish on the Cauberg only came into view after Holland Casino was open to a new finish location. “We raced over the Cauberg in the final those years, but that was still quite a long way from the finish. And there was always grumbling from Holland Casino about accessibility and road closures. So I didn’t think it would ever work out. Until I heard Peter Michalides, director of Holland Casino say: ‘Then they better finish here.’ I immediately went to him and asked if he meant what he had said. Because I’ve been dreaming of that finish for years.”
The Dutch classic would finish on the Cauberg from 2003 to 2013. Because the last climb acted as the ultimate decider, the course became predictable. In addition, the location turned out to have limited space for the VIP village and the growing radio and TV facilities. That was the reason for moving the finish in 2014 to the current location in Berg en Terblijt. The documentary: ‘Amstel Gold Race 2001, the Year in which everything changed’ can be seen from Thursday 15 March on Dutch TV channel L1.
Philippe Gilbert attacks on the Cauberg in Amstel Gold Race 2013:
Vuelta Asturias Finish on Alto del Naranco
The route of the 64th Vuelta Asturias was presented this week. The Spanish stage race (April 30-May 2) again has three stages this year and the final stage takes the riders to the top of the Alto del Naranco.
The Vuelta Asturias was canceled last year due to the corona pandemic, but this year the tour is again on the program. Oviedo is the starting point for the 2021 edition. The opening stage crosses seven categorised climbs with a fast final to finish in Pola de Lena.
Stage two takes place between Candás and Cangas del Narcea and again it promises to be a tough finalé. Twenty kilometres from the finish line, the riders will start the climb of El Acebo (6.9km at 8.1%, with ramps of up to 20%), one of the most famous climbs in the Asturias region, followed by a fast descent to Cangas del Narcea.
The third and final stage starts in Cangas del Narcea, the finish in stage two. The route takes the peloton over the climbs of El Violeo (3.4km at 8.6%) and the summit finish of the Alto del Naranco (5.4km at 7.5%), just outside the city of Oviedo.
In 2019, the overall victory in the Vuelta Asturias went to Richard Carapaz. Previous winners have been: Federico Bahamontes, Erik Breukink, Abraham Olano, Miguel Induraín, Laurent Jalabert, Iban Mayo and Igor Antón.
Vuelta Asturias 2021 Stages:
Friday April 30 – Stage 1: Oviedo – Pola de Lena (185 km)
Saturday May 1 – Stage 2: Candás – Cangas del Narcea (191 km)
Sunday May 2 – Stage 3: Cangas del Narcea – Alto del Naranco (126 km).
Lot’s of climbing in Asturias:
Shimano Renews Agreement with Unipublic for Neutral Assistance at La Vuelta Until 2024
Shimano and Unipublic are proud to announce the extension of its collaboration, offering neutral race assistance service to all professional riders in La Vuelta and other prestigious Spanish road cycling races.
Beginning formally in 2001, Shimano and Unipublic have been working together for over 20 years to support the work of teams and riders in professional cycling races. Following Shimano’s recent agreements with the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia organisers, this renewal allows Shimano to become the official Technical Service provider in the most important cycling races of the World Tour, as well as the Olympic Games and World Championships. This means that UCI PRO Tour riders and their teams will be able to focus their efforts on strategy and performance, whilst Shimano will ensure that all riders can safely and successfully compete in races, even in the face of technical problems.
The blue cars and motorcycles and team of neutral service professionals at the newly formed Shimano Iberia will support riders competing in prestigious cycling events organised by Unipublic, such as La Vuelta and its women race, the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta as well as other prestigious races in which Unipublic / A.S.O. collaborates such as la Volta a Catalunya or the Itzulia Basque Country, amongst others.
Shimano Iberia began their 2021 tour just a fortnight ago in the Volta a Catalunya with a refreshed fleet of blue Shimano vehicles (6 cars, 2 motorbikes and the van-workshop) and all the material they use to ensure this service, which includes 30 neutral (Shimano-branded) bicycles with dropper posts for seat height adjustability, and 40 sets of Dura-Ace wheels for both disc brake usage and rim brake usage.
The general manager of La Vuelta, Javier Guillén, highlighted “the importance” of this agreement for Unipublic. “The different pieces that make up the gearing of a grand tour have to work like a clock and the technical assistance to the riders is, without a doubt, one of those key pieces. For us it is fundamental to benefit from the professionalism and experience of a company like Shimano, with whom we have more than 20 years of impeccable work in top level races”.
Eduardo Roldán, General Manager of Shimano Iberia, declared: “For us it is a great pleasure to be able to continue this project together with Unipublic and to develop this exciting work in such prestigious competitions as La Vuelta. It also allows us to continue to demonstrate our total commitment to cycling, both with teams and riders that we have seen progress over the last 21 years. And finally, we can’t forget the fans, who make this sport unique and whom we want to continue to thrill stage after stage”.
More information about La Vuelta: www.lavuelta.com
GranFondo Stelvio Santini: 2021 Edition Postponed Until September 12th
The ongoing pandemic has forced the organisers of the Granfondo Stelvio Santini to reschedule the 2021 edition until Sunday, September 12th. Santini Cycling Wear and organisers Unione Sportiva Bormiese took the decision to postpone the event for three months to guarantee a safer environment for cyclists and volunteers alike.
Because, despite some signs of improvement, the current situation relating to the spread of Covid-19 remains uncertain, Santini Cycling Wear and Union Sportiva Bormiese have taken the difficult decision to postpone the Granfondo Stelvio Santini from June 6th to Sunday, September 12th 2021.
“It was a really tough but necessary decision because the safety of our guests and all the volunteers at the centre has always been our first priority,” explained Paola Santini, Marketing Manager Santini Cycling Wear. “We have learned to be cautious over the last few months and so we have chosen to postpone our Granfondo by three months.”
Under normal circumstances, the Alta Valtellina event attracts 3,500 participants from over 45 countries, half of whom come from abroad. However, welcoming such a large number of people as well as their friends, family and coaches, would make staging the event safely problematic. Therefore, the date has been postponed and all participants entered for the June 6th event will automatically be added to the start list for September 12th.
“We are working to organise the Granfondo Stelvio Santini in line with the FCI’s Covid-19 prevention protocols and national regulations,” added Mario Zangrando of organisers US Bormiese, “to guarantee a standard that will ensure the safety of all involved.”
For further information: www.granfondostelviosantini.com
Fabio Jakobsen: “Excited to be back with the team!”
Ahead of the Tour of Turkey – his first race in more than seven months – Fabio Jakobsen sat down to talk about his recovery, how having the loved ones at his side made him stronger and helped him overcome every hurdle during this period, and the pure joy he feels when he is on the bike with his Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates.
The Dutchman gave an account of his first day of racing in more than eight months, at the Tour of Turkey
“Today was a really nice day. In the morning, when I pulled on the Deceuninck – Quick-Step jersey, I had a special feeling, which is difficult to put into words, especially as it came after so many months of watching my teammates race on TV. I love riding my bike and I missed it a lot, that’s why I am extremely happy to be here.
It was good for me to make my return with a short stage and get used again to being in a peloton. I must admit that in the beginning, when they went right and left and the bunch had to brake a couple of times, I got a bit scared, but afterwards everything was fine and I even went to the head of the peloton and stayed in Iljo’s wheel, who was pulling, as I just wanted to enjoy being at the front.
In the first part of the stage, many riders – some of my generation, but also some older ones – came to me to exchange some words and it was a very touching moment when they told me how happy they were to see me back and how they all wished me well. Now, after the stage, I checked my phone and I saw the messages I got from so many riders and fans, to whom I want to thank very much. It’s emotional to see all this outpouring of support on this special day.
The goal was to conclude the day, but even so I tried to help the guys whenever it was possible. Then, with ten kilometres to go, I got lost a bit and couldn’t be there for the team in the finale, but being able to conclude my first race in so many months makes me proud and gives me a lot of confidence that I will improve going into next week. I look forward to being of more help for my teammates in the coming stages and enjoy every single moment I spend here.”
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