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A very full weekend of racing with the Giro d’Italia, Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Tours, results and videos. No 2020 Paris-Roubaix – TOP STORY. Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel talk Roubaix. Tim Wellens to ride Flanders and Vuelta, Egan Bernal finishes his season, two more years for Geoffrey Soupe, Patrick Lefevere on João Almeida, Bjarne Riis unsure about the future, Lotto Soudal ladies team and Jan Bakelants ends his season due to positive Covid-19 test. Big read, big coffee.

top story
TOP STORY: No 2020 Paris-Roubaix
The 2020 Paris-Roubaix was under great pressure last week due to the number of corona infections in the north of France. ASO had plans to ban the public at the side of the road, but the option of cancelling the race was still on the table. “It is true that the current corona conditions are not evolving favourably, but for the time being Paris-Roubaix will continue. Also starting in Compiègne. We have not yet decided whether the public will be admitted,” Fabrice Tiano spokesman for ASO told Het Nieuwsblad last week.

The measures last week would allow a thousand people (including riders and team personnel) to be present in the Roubaix Velodrome. The situation in the department of Le Nord deteriorated further, and went from code red to rouge écarlate (deep red), the second worst qualification in France. At rouge écarlate, access to spectators would prohibited on the road side, including all cobblestone sections and in the velodrome. The corona virus is also a major problem in Compiègne, where the race starts. A third of the students at the local college tested positive for the virus.

Friday morning the final decision was made. Paris-Roubaix 2020 is canceled. Race organiser, ASO, announced via an official press release. The ‘Hell of the North’ was to be held on Sunday, October 25. “Appointment on April 11, 2021” ASO announced.

Covid-19 continues to dominate the world. The current corona figures in France are even more disastrous than in many other countries with bike races. After the Amstel Gold Race, it is the second one-day classic that has not survived the reformed calendar. For the first time Paris-Roubaix had a women’s version this year. The women will also have to be patient. It is the first time since the Second World War that a monument has been canceled.

ASO made this announcement on Friday:
“At the request of the Préfet du Nord, Préfet des Hauts de France and following the Health Minister Olivier Véran’s announcement yesterday, that placed the Lille Metropolitan area on maximum alert, the 118th edition of Paris-Roubaix (UCI WorldTour) and the 1st edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes (UCI Women’s WorldTour), originally scheduled to take place on the 25th October, will not be organised.

Paris-Roubaix, an incredibly popular event and one that is met with great enthusiasm every year, had already been postponed from its original 12th of April date following the containment measures put in place in spring to fight against the spread of COVID-19.

We would like to warmly thank the communities and event partners who supported us in this postponement as well as those who were, like us, delighted to see the Queen of the Classics even in the autumn.

We will see you on the cobblestones on the 11th April 2021 to celebrate one of the greatest monuments in world cycling.”

No Paris-Roubaix this year:


Giro d’Italia 2020
Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) put his French champions jersey across the finish line first on Stage 6. At the end of a tricky stage he was by far the fastest to win by lengths. Michael Matthews (Sunweb) was second and Fabio Felline (Astana) third. The Frenchman also took the lead in the points competition. João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) held his overall lead.

The break of the day consisted of Mattia Bais (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Filippo Zana (Bardiani-CSF), Marco Rapporti (Vini Zabù-KTM) and James Whelan (EF Pro Cycling). Deceuninck – Quick-Step were on the front of the peloton, but were not chasing, so the break took almost 9 minutes with 140 kilometres to go to the finish in Matera. The intermediate sprint of the day was won by Bais. Arnaud Démare took two points from the leader, Peter Sagan, who lost an extra point after a misunderstanding with his teammate, Maciej Bodnar. After the intermediate sprint in San Severino Lucano, BORA-hansgrohe came to the front to work with Deceuninck – Quick-Step. The German team quickly took 2 minutes off the lead with 90 kilometres to go.

The lead dropped, but BORA-hansgrohe decided to ease up with 40 to go as the difference was only 2 minutes. Before the 5 kilometre Galleria Millotta climb (6.9%), Almeida stopped to change radios and Brendan McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) crashed into him. Almeida was okay, and with the help of his teammates rejoined the peloton. On the Galleria Millotta, Whelan rode away from his three Italian companions. The Australian was first over the top with a lead of 0:30. Thomas De Gendt was ahead of the peloton. Whelan tried to hold out as long as possible, but was finally caught 13 kilometres from the finish. The peloton didn’t ride fast to the finish due to the headwind. With 7 kilometres to go, Sunweb hit the front. They were working for Michael Matthews and to keep Wilco Kelderman safe. Under 3 kilometres from the finish there was the 700 metre climb of the Via San Vito at more than 7%. Matteo Fabbro held a high pace for Sagan, but the Via San Vito did not cause any major problems. In the last kilometre there was still a large peloton.

Sagan was way too far back at the decisive moment. Démare was in the perfect place and finished bike lengths ahead of Matthews and Felline with an impressive sprint. Sagan had to settle for eighth. No changes in the GC rankings: Almeida has the pink jersey for one more day.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage Race Report’ and photo gallery HERE.

demare giro20

Stage winner and Maglia Ciclamino, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ): “Until the team meeting this morning, I thought today’s stage was a good one for me but after the demanding race we had yesterday and the advantage the breakaway riders had today, I wasn’t confident for a bunch sprint finish. Eventually it came down to a sprint. I suffered like hell in the short but steep hill but I recovered just in time. I told my team-mates to hide as long as we could. When I saw the false flat uphill in the last 200 metres, with the strength I had in my legs at that moment, I realised this was the perfect moment for me.”

Maglia Rosa, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I’m actually getting used to the Maglia Rosa, even though I don’t know how to describe this feeling. Hopefully, I’ll have it for a few more days. I was bumped in by another rider when I stopped to exchange my radio with a team-mate but I’m ok and I hope the other rider is fine too. I’m not worried about the possible crosswinds tomorrow. I have a very experienced team for that. I’m very relaxed even with the responsibilities of leading the race.”

6th on the stage, Andrea Vendrame (AG2R-La Mondiale): “Even though we arrived at the finish together today, the stage was difficult with little relief and lots of wind. In the sprint, I was in second position 300 meters from the line, it was perfect. But I hesitated a little when Démare started his effort. The rest turned a bit complicated for me with a false flat uphill finish. After my 4th place in the 4th stage, I am again in a good place and I hope that this will continue in the coming days. Starting with tomorrow when we will again have a sprint finish.”

8th on the stage, Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe): “The team did a great job today to control the breakaway and set everything for the finale but, unfortunately, after the last curve I found myself in an unfavourable position and I was unable to go for the sprint.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 6 Result:
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 4:54:38
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
3. Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana
4. Juan Sebastián Molano (Col) UAE Team Emirates
5. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-Up Nation
6. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
8. Peter Sagan (Slo) BORA-hansgrohe
9. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren
10. Jhonatan Narváez (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 6:
1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 22:01:01
2. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:43
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:48
4. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:59
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:01
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling at 1:05
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:19
8. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:21
9. Patrick Konrad (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:26
10. Rafał Majka (Pol) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:32

Giro’20 stage 6:


Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) won the bunch gallop into Brindisi on Stage 7 and he made it look easy again. Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) took yet another second place with Michael Matthews (Sunweb) in third. The pink jersey stayed with João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step). The cross-winds caused problems, but stage 7 ended in a bunch sprint. The other sprinters stood no chance against the flying Frenchman and his Groupama-FDJ lead-out men.

There was going to be echelons today and the chance of time losses. The stage started quietly with a break of four, who escaped in the first kilometre. Thomas De Gendt, Simon Pellaud and Marco Fverslagi were part of the break and Josef Černý managed to go with them. Fabio Mazzucco tried to jump over to the leading group on his own, but was pulled back by the peloton. After only 10 kilometres, the wind started make its mark. Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma hit the front and the peloton was split. Pello Bilbao, second overall, Harm Vanhoucke (fourth), Domenico Pozzovivo (sixth), Jakob Fuglsang (seventh) and Rafał Majka (tenth) were in trouble. In the front echelon of thirty men, the pink jersey Almeida, Kelderman (third), Nibali (fifth) and Kruijswijk (eighth), were all safe.

Arnaud Démare, Peter Sagan, Michael Matthews and Elia Viviani had not missed the boat either. The echelons also marked the end for the leading group, which was caught after 24 kilometres. The second group was getting bigger as the top riders managed to rejoin. Pellaud and Fverslagi, did not give up after they were caught and attacked again after 60 kilometres. They initially got no more than 20 seconds from the peloton, which was slowed by a crash. The escape attempt by Pellaud and Fverslagi was also doomed and after 86 kilometres the pair were again swallowed up by the peloton. Iljo Keisse, teammate of the pink jersey Almeida, led the peloton into the final 20 kilometres. The teams of the sprinters also came forward. Groupama-FDJ put their sprint train on the front for Arnaud Démare, who could win his third stage after successes in Villafranca Tirrena and Matera.

In the port city of Brindisi, the teams of the GC riders stayed at the front of the peloton to keep out of trouble in the winding streets. Jumbo-Visma did a lot of lead work for leader Steven Kruijswijk, who was looking sharp. At the start of the last kilometre it was then up to the sprinters. Groupama-FDJ took over control again. The French train drove up to the last five hundred metres on the front. At 150 metres from the line, Démare jumped with Sagan on his wheel. The French sprinter took the right side, next to the barriers, leaving little room for the three-time World champion to come past. Sagan didn’t have any answer to the speed of Démare. The Frenchman was a good length ahead of the others.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage Race Report’ and photo gallery HERE.


Stage winner and points leader, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ): “It was a sprint won with muscles. We’ve made it with authority, thanks to our collective strength. Jacopo Guarnieri cleared me the way when UAE Team Emirates tried to disturb our train. My team-mate Ramon Sinkeldam had a mechanical in the last kilometre and it took us only 200 meters to get reorganised with Miles Scotson taking over from him and Ignatas Konovalovas being still up there despite the enormous amount of work he has already delivered. It was a real sprint with all the top sprinters in contention, at the end of a very fast stage marred by echelons and crashes. It’s been a big day of racing!”

Maglia Rosa, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “The stage was very fast and nervous because of the wind, but I had a perfect team around me, who protected me and made sure I was always at the front, and thanks to them everything went smoothly today. I was a bit nervous at the start due to the echelons, because I don’t have that much experience of racing in these conditions, but when you have such a strong squad around you, you grow in confidence. I am delighted that I could keep the maglia rosa, but now a really hard weekend awaits, and I hope to have the same good legs to overcome the obstacles lying ahead.”

2nd on the stage, Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a very fast stage, very nervous as well and marked by many crashes. The guys did, once again, an excellent job today, and we were very well positioned for the sprint, which was a chaotic one. I was close to the victory but it just wasn’t the day today.”

3rd on the stage, Michael Matthews (Sunweb): “A break of four guys went straight from the line but all of the teams knew that it was going to be crosswinds straightaway within the first ten kilometres. Again our team did a great job to support Wilco all through the day and I still had a little bit of legs left in the finish to have a sprint and ended up third. I was pushed a little bit back in the last kilometre and managed to jump on another lead out, and I still had a good sprint to the finish. I think all in all, it was a pretty successful day.”

4th on the stage, Ben Swift (INEOS Grenadiers): “It was a really fast day. We knew it was going to be stressful and everybody knew the danger the wind could cause today. We missed the first split but because we were all together we knew we would come back. It gave us a bit of work to do but we were never in any danger. We came back and it was all about trying to have as easy as day as possible until the finale. I wasn’t planning on doing the big bunch sprints here, we’re looking after Tao and I was riding in the wind, keeping him in position, and that’s how I ended up where I did at the end – I was trying to look after him and get him to the front because we knew it was going to be stressful. So I found myself in a good place and thought, you know what, I’ll have a go – I feel quite good. If I’d have had that mindset a bit more, I might have fought a little more in the final, but the opportunity just presented itself. Unfortunately when the sprint opened, Gaviria sat up and let the wheel go so we had to come from quite far behind but I’m personally looking ahead to the harder stages, so to sprint like that on a flat day was quite encouraging.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 7 Result:
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 2:47:28
2. Peter Sagan (Slo) BORA-hansgrohe
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
4. Ben Swift (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
5. Álvaro José Hodeg (Col) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
6. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation
7. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
8. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren
9. Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè
10. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 7:
1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 24:48:29
2. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:43
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:48
4. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:59
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:01
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling at 1:05
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:19
8. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:21
9. Patrick Konrad (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:26
10. Rafał Majka (Pol) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:32.

Giro’20 stage 7:


Alex Dowsett, took the Israel Start-Up Nation’s first Grand Tour stage win on Stage 8. Dowsett was a part of the ‘Break of the Day’ in-front of a peloton that had decided on a day off. The British time trial specialist attacked on the finish circuit from the group of six and solo’d to the line. Salvatore Puccio (INEOS Grenadiers) was second at 1:15, with Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC) finishing on his wheel. João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) had an easy ride to hold the overall lead.

During the first hour of racing, a leading group of six riders was formed after about 30 kilometres. Simone Ravanelli (Androni Giocatolli-Sidermec), Joey Rosskopf (CCC), Alex Dowsett and Matthias Brändle (both Israel Start-Up Nation), Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal) and Salvatore Puccio (INEOS Grenadiers). They built up a lead of more than 10 minutes. Holmes took the mountain points at the top of Monte Sant’Angelo. Deceuninck – Quick-Step was in control. In the meantime it had become clear that the battle for the day’s victory would be between the escape riders. The lead increased again to more than 10 minutes.

The final action was started 30 kilometres from the finish with an attack from Dowsett. The Briton did not manage to escape. An acceleration by Puccio ensured that the leading group thinned out further. Only Holmes could follow the Italian, but Rosskopf managed to join a little later. Dowsett, Ravanelli and Brändle had to chase. The two groups got back together, then Dowsett tried again. The chase for the Briton got off to a slow start, so Dowsett started the 14.5 kilometre final lap with a 33 second lead. The ascent of La Chiesuola was going to be tough for the TT specialist. Dowsett reached the summit half a minute ahead of Puccio and Holmes. In the remaining 10 kilometres to the finish, Dowsett did not give up his lead and had time to celebrate his victory. Puccio won the sprint from the chasers and took second place. Holmes came in third, ahead of Rosskopf. The peloton finished after almost fourteen minutes. João Almeida remains in the lead on GC.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage Race Report’ and photo gallery HERE.

dowsett win

Stage winner, Alex Dowsett (Israel Start-Up Nation): “Since Israel Start-Up Nation stepped up to the WorldTour, we’ve been fighting for this victory. Today we had a plan to break away. Either Matthias Brändle or myself could have been the winner. It’s an incredible thing to have experienced, and a massive relief. Uncertainty is the nature of 2020 and I have no contract for next year. I still want to be a bike racer. It’s not really a job, it’s what I like to do and what I’m good at. I have my first baby on the way. It makes me worried but I’m looking forward to being a dad. It must be as emotional as winning today’s stage.”

Overall leader, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “Today was a quiet day, during which we could rest our legs for tomorrow, as nobody wanted to chase the attackers. The last seven days have been pretty hard and stressful, so the teams wanted to have an easier stage ahead of Sunday, which will be quite a hard day with a lot of climbing. It’s going to be an important stage for the general classification and I’m sure riders will go on the offensive in order to gain time, while I will try to defend my maglia rosa. Together with the team we’ve worked very hard in this past week and I’ll give my best to keep the jersey.”

2nd on the stage, Salvatore Puccio (INEOS Grenadiers): “I was in the break and I felt really, really good. I was checking the other riders and how they were pedalling. The only thing I was a bit scared about was Israel as they had two riders and they could play a good tactic. When Dowsett attacked the first time I tried to follow straight away because I knew he could double the advantage with a teammate behind. I tried to drop them on the climb, and at first I did drop a few guys but they were able to come back. They played it smart. It was good to take second position but it’s a shame for the team. We have tried every day to take a stage win. In four days I’ve been in the break twice. There are still 10 days to go so for sure I will try again.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 8 Result:
1. Alex Dowsett (GB) Israel Start-Up Nation in 4:50:09
2. Salvatore Puccio (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:15
3. Matthew Holmes (GB) Lotto Soudal
4. Joey Rosskopf (USA) CCC
5. Matthias Brändle (Aust) Israel Start-Up Nation at 2:10
6. Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 2:13
7. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb at 13:56
8. Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
9. Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates
10. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 8:
1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 29:52:34
2. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:43
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:48
4. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:59
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:01
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling at 1:05
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:19
8. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:21
9. Patrick Konrad (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:26
10. Rafał Majka (Pol) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:32.

Giro’20 stage 8:


Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) out-sprinted Jonathan Castroviejo (INEOS Grenadiers) at the end of a tough Stage 9. The ‘Break of the Day’ went all the way to the finish for a Portuguese win. João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick Step) held the overall lead going into the first Giro rest day.

Attacks followed each other in rapid succession, after 75 kilometres Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling), Eduardo Sepúlveda (Movistar), Ben O’Connor (NTT) and Jonathan Castroviejo (INEOS Grenadiers) took the lead. Larry Warbasse (AG2R-La Mondiale), Kilian Frankiny (Groupama-FDJ) and Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabù-KTM) managed to cross. On the Passo Lanciano, their lead had increased to more than 6 minutes. Visconti was the first over the top, overtaking Ganna in the mountains classification. After 121 kilometres, Mikkel Bjerg also joined the break after a chase of 30 kilometres, to close a 5 minute gap on his own. The Passo San Leonardo was next, on the climb of nearly 14 kilometres it started to rain again. After 154.7 kilometres, the leading group crossed the summit with a lead of almost 7 minutes, Visconti again took the most mountain points, increasing his total to 76 points.

In the run-up to the Bosco di Sant’Antonio, the peloton had reduced the difference to 4 minutes. On the climb the break split, Warbasse, Guerreiro, Frankiny, Castroviejo and Bjerg pushed on. In the peloton, Vincenzo Nibali had his Trek-Segafredo teammates increase the pace, which meant that many riders were in trouble. The Shark of Messina seemed to have his sights set on the pink jersey. Nevertheless, Nibali took his men off the front as the group was still quite large, after which Deceuninck – Quick-Step took control again. Despite the easing of the speed in the peloton, the five in the break had 3:30 at the top of the penultimate climb, 26.6 kilometres from the finish.

In the run-up, the teammates of Wilco Kelderman, third on the classification, and Steven Kruijswijk (eighth) also came forward and the other classification riders were ready. With the leading group 3 minutes ahead, the race could prepare for a battle on two fronts. In the last 6.5 kilometres, Warbasse opened the action in the leading group, but the others were immediately on his wheel. There was some more power behind Castroviejo’s attack, Guerreiro managed to connect. Castroviejo and Guerreiro prevented the others from returning and then got ready for the steep last kilometre, with stretches of up to 12%. The Portuguese rider turned out to be the better of the two, giving his EF Pro Cycling team the second victory of this Giro. Guerreiro also added the blue KOM jersey to his success of the day.

Wilco Kelderman, Jakob Fuglsang and Jai Hindley were the strongest of the classification riders. In the steep final section they took precious seconds on João Almeida, who kept the pink, Pello Bilbao and Vincenzo Nibali. Kelderman moved to second place on the overall at the expense of Bilbao, the Spaniard is now third. Domenico Pozzovivo is now fourth.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage Race Report’ and photo gallery HERE.


Stage winner, Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling): “It means a lot to me to win a stage at the Giro. This is only my second Grand Tour. After such a hard start today, I was happy to make the breakaway. Castroviejo was the strongest on the flat sections, so I knew I had to save some energy for the last kilometre that suited me well. João Almeida is like a little brother for me. We both raced for Axel Merckx’ team before. It’s fantastic to both have success and distinctive jerseys at the Giro d’Italia.”

Overall leader and Best Young Rider, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick Step): “I am so happy and very grateful to the whole team, because I wouldn’t have made it without them. I am delighted at the thought that I will start the second week of this beautiful race in the overall lead, it’s something I would have never imagined when the race got underway in Palermo, last Saturday. It was cold today and I struggled a bit with the low temperatures, but I kept believing in myself and gave everything, fighting also for my teammates, who worked so hard for me this week. I was prepared for all kinds of scenarios at the start of the stage, including losing the jersey, but I continued to believe and do my best, regardless of the conditions, which I think were a problem for everyone today. I am happy that I keep making my team and my country proud and I will keep giving it all until the end of the race.”

2nd on the stage, Jonathan Castroviejo (INEOS Grenadiers): “It was a super hard day and in the end the victory was not possible. With the cold and the rain I never felt super good out there. In the final I was on my limit. I tried from the bottom of the climb but Guerreiro rode well and I couldn’t drop him. I knew that in the sprint he was the faster rider. In the last 500 metres I expected more tailwind, but in the end it was a headwind and it was impossible to drop him. In the end I’m happy to be in the battle.”

3rd on the stage, Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m really proud of my performance today. The plan was to get ahead of the peloton so that Brandon could jump across in the final. I managed to bridge across to the breakaway and in the end we had a decent gap and I got the green light from Matxin in the team car to go for a result. I’m super happy I got the chance today and I think I made the most of it.”

5th on the stage, Larry Warbasse (AG2R-La Mondiale): “We got through an extreme day with cold and rain and a lot of climbing. The breakaway took a very long time to take shape. I knew that today if you were at the front it would be possible to win. Obviously, I’m disappointed, but I don’t see what more I could have done. The Giro d’Italia is my seventh Grand Tour and it’s the first time I’ve finished in the top five of a stage. Now I will enjoy the day off.”

8th overall, Patrick Konrad (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a very hard stage and, at times, really cold. Our main goal today was to finish sound and safe and avoid losing any time to the main GC contenders. Rafał and I crossed the finish line together, in a good position, so we can be satisfied with our day.”

9th on the stage and 6th overall, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana): “A very long day with a really fast start and from there on we went relative easily, Deceuninck tried to take over control from the second last climb on and Trek tried to put the pressure on. But my team made a really good job, protected me the whole day, stayed around me and made sure that we didn’t miss any moves. On the final climb it was my part, but also Fabio stayed a long time with me and worked perfectly for me. Today it was really important to stay warm and I tried it and then I knew, I had to wait for the final 3km. But it turned out that there was a lot of headwind on the last kilometres, so I didn’t really see any opportunity to try anything before the last few hundred metres. I was with all GC contenders and so I gave it my everything and made some time on the overall ranking. All in all, it was a good day for me and the team and I am happy with my results so far. It is a good way to go into the rest day like this, gaining some time on the GC and I think I showed again that I am on the climbs there, where I have to be, where I want to be. It is a good feeling. I hope that we will have some sunny days coming up.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 9 Result:
1. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Pro Cycling in 5:41:20
2. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:08
3. Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates at 0:58
4. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 1:16
5. Larry Warbasse (USA) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:19
7. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:32
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 1:38
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
10. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 9:
1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick Step in 35:35:50
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:30
3. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:39
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling at 0:53
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:57
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:01
7. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:02
8. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:11
9. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb at 1:15
10. Rafał Majka (Pol) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:17.

Giro’20 stage 9:


Gent-Wevelgem 2020
Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) out-sprinted a small group at the end of Gent-Wevelgem. Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) was second and Matteo Trentin (CCC) finished third. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), were watching each other and missed the final move.

Seven riders managed to form the leading group of the day: Mark Cavendish (Bahrain-McLaren, Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Alexander Konysjev (Mitchelton-Scott), Leonardo Basso (INEOS-Grenadiers), Julien Morice (B&B Hotel-Vital Concept), Kenny Molly (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles) and Gilles De Wilde (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise). 45.7 kilometres were covered in the first hour. Things were slow in the peloton, as top favourites Van der Poel and Van Aert saved their legs.

With 103 kilometres to go, Van der Poel had a flat tire. At the front; Johan Jacobs (Movistar) crossed from the peloton to the leading group. In the run-up to the first of three climbs of the Kemmelberg, the peloton started chasing the front group. From their maximum lead of more than 7 minutes, they still had about three. Under the leadership of INEOS-Grenadiers, a first selection was made on the Kemmelberg. A large group managed to split with Trentin in the lead. Both Van Aert and Van der Poel showed their form with impressive attacks. It was a very active Trentin who managed to make a gap with Pedersen, Sep Vanmarcke, Gianni Vermeersch, Mike Teunissen, Luke Rowe and Stefan Küng. They managed to take a lead of more than 1 minute in the run-up to the second climb of the Kemmelberg.

Van Aert again let his legs speak on the Kemmelberg. The leader of Jumbo-Visma put in a strong effort with Van der Poel on his wheel. In the foothills they were joined by Kasper Asgreen, John Degenkolb, Dylan Teuns and Bettiol. With 45 kilometres to go, everything was still playable. The difference between the nine front runners and the pursuers was only half a minute. From the behind Lampaert made the connection with the pursuers. Deceuninck – Quick-Step seemed to have drawn the Asgreen card. Lampaert almost immediately took the lead and thanks to a firm effort on the Baneberg, a large part of the gap was closed. With a small lead, Trentin, Küng, Teunissen, Vanmarcke and the other escapees, started the last time up the Kemmelberg, on the steep side of the hill. But the front group were like a mouse to a cat. With the prey in sight, it was again Van Aert with a firm effort. The Belgian rode to the front in one go, again with an equally strong Van der Poel on the wheel. Just before the summit, a new selection was formed.

A new leading group of fifteen riders headed for Wevelgem. One of the strongest riders of the day was without a doubt Küng. The Swiss rider tried a solo with 31 kilometres to go, but had to give up 5 kilometres later as he could not hold off the chase. In the large leading group everyone was waiting for a new attack. Deceuninck – Quick-Step had three riders, Van Aert still had Teunissen and Lotto Soudal was also in front with two men, Degenkolb and Florian Vermeersch. The good working relationship at the front made it impossible for any chasers to return to the front. With 5.5 kilometres to go, the first shot in the final was from Bettiol. The attack attempt by the Italian from EF Pro Cycling marked the beginning of a string of other attacks.

A new attack from Küng, 3.7 kilometres from the finish, was an interesting one. Van Aert jumped with Senechal and Bettiol on his wheel. They made a gap because Van der Poel did not want to take over. Thanks to the help of Trentin and eventually an effort from the Dutch champion, the gap was closed. Then it was Trentin’s turn, with Senechal and Bettiol on his wheel. The trio had a slight lead. Behind, Van Aert let it go after a short jump, and the three raced away. Under the red flag of the last kilometre, Van der Poel and Van Aert just looked at each other, the three ahead would be competing for the victory. A very strong Pedersen was able to close the gap with his last strength and eventually sprint for the victory.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Gent-Wevelgem Race Report’ with more photos HERE.


Race winner, Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo): “Three guys went from the group, and I hoped Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert would close it, but they didn’t. Then I managed to jump across, stay in the last wheel, and make my sprint from there. I like long sprints. They fit me better. It was a pretty hard race, especially in weather conditions like this, raining and then drying up, but I know how to handle this, so it was good for me. It’s definitely one of my biggest victories! I’m definitely learning more and more every time I’m racing, and today I tried to play it a little bit smarter than usual, and luckily it paid off. I had enough [energy] to jump across and also make a sprint, which was good. It was a decision that I had to make in a few seconds. The group started to slow down a little bit, and I said to myself, ‘Okay, it’s all or nothing.’ I had to make a decision and try. I knew I had to go alone, and hopefully, I could make it across. I might still end up fourth or even behind, but at least I had tried. Today it paid off, but maybe next time it will bite me in the ass, and then I’m out of top 10. I did well in Flanders two years ago, and now I’m showing I’m one of the guys that can win classics. It means a lot to me to win here. I missed the Worlds, and one of the reasons was to be ready for the classics. The whole team was awesome today. Before starting the classics, we had a good talk and decided that we would race every day like it’s the last race of the season. You never know what can happen, so every day it’s all-in. That’s how we’re going to race this Wednesday and again Sunday.”

2nd, Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I am happy with this result. Of course, a win would have been nicer, but when you think that I crashed today, then how tough the conditions were out there and the depth of the select group that battled out for victory, I think second is a solid result. I felt good throughout the day, we were very motivated to do something, and we kept attacking to shape the race, but one guy was stronger at the end. Nevertheless, we can draw a lot of confidence from this race, which is really important ahead of the final appointments of the season.”

3rd, Matteo Trentin (CCC): “It was a really hard race today although we probably all predicted that. I am happy with my race overall and the team did a good job in the opening part before the first time up the Kemmelberg and I was there with good legs. I tried to attack a lot of times and even, in the end, I felt strong enough to make that final move inside two kilometres to go, it’s just a pity Mads [Pedersen] could make it back across. However, at the end of the day, the best man won and he deserved it. It was a race where the guy with the best legs would win and that was him today. The final selection was really, really strong and everybody was fast so you couldn’t really predict who was going to win out of a group like that. We were all attacking each other because any move could have been the good one and actually when I worked with Mathieu [Van Der Poel] to close the gap to the group that went going into three kilometres to go, I thought my legs were maybe going to explode but in the end, I still had a little energy for one last kick. It’s a nice podium result and there’s still one race to go so, I feel good and actually even though I’ve been feeling good since the restart of the season, there have been some situations where I wasn’t there to contest the victory. Today I was and even though it wasn’t a win, I proved that the legs are there and that’s what all of these Classics are about ultimately.

15th, Jempy Drucker (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was brutal out there today. Fast racing but also very hectic and dangerous. There were crashes all over the place and unfortunately some of our guys have been involved. I felt quite good actually and tried to battle for a result in the end. I was up there when the bunch did split for the first time. But when Van Aert attacked, I was out of position and therefore missed the move. There was no chance to come back after that as all big teams had guys in front. Not the resulted I hoped for at the end, but at least I felt good sensations.”

Gent-Wevelgem Result:
1. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo in 5:19:20
2. Florian Sénéchal (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Matteo Trentin (Ita) CCC
4. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro Cycling at 0:01
5. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:03
6. John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal at 0:04
7. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
8. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:07
9. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:08
10. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-McLaren at 1:40.



paris tours
Paris-Tours 2020
Casper Pedersen (Sunweb) claimed his biggest success as a professional rider on Sunday as he dominated Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale) in a 2-man sprint on the Avenue de Grammont. At 24 years old, he brings Denmark a 4th success in Paris-Tours, two years after his teammate Soren Kragh Andersen, who couldn’t defend his chances in the finale due to a crash. Cosnefroy lit up the race in the vineyard tracks but Pedersen held on and out-sprinted him in the end. Joris Nieuwenhuis (Sunweb) finished 3rd from a small chasing group.

A 146-rider pack rolls out of Chartres with a tailwind to push them on the way to Tours. Evaldas Siskevicius (Nippo-Delko Provence), Elmar Reinders (Riwal Securitas), Petr Rikunov (Gazprom-RusVelo), Emiel Vermeulen (Natura4Ever-Roubaix-Lille Métropole), Sergio Martin (Caja Rural) and Mikel Aristi (Euskaltel-Euskadi) get away in the first kilometres of the race. The six attackers open a 3 minute gap at km 19 before Soren Kragh Andersen’s Team Sunweb and Benoît Cosnefroy’s AG2R-La Mondiale start controlling the bunch.

The gap reaches a maximum of 4:10 but riders from AG2R-La Mondiale, Sunweb, Uno-X and B&B Hotels-Vital Concept put the hammer down after the feeding zone. The peloton splits in four groups and the gap to the breakaway is down to 1:30 with 100km to go. But the pace then drops and riders who were originally distanced come back. There are about 100 riders in the main group and the gap to the breakaway increases again: 2:30 with 96km to go, and back to 3:30 with 87km to go.

The tension runs high ahead of the first climb of the day, in Goguette, to be immediately followed by the first vineyard track, 50km from the finish. The gap gets down under 2 minutes and the 2018 winner Soren Kragh Andersen drops out of contention due to a crash ahead of the main challenges.

Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) attacks in the first climb and the action is full on for the last 50km of racing through vineyards and over hills. Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale) attacks, again and again. Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) and Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) are also on the move but they can’t keep up. Casper Pedersen (Sunweb) is the only rider left with Cosnefroy as they face the fifth track, 28.5km away from the finish.

Arkéa-Samsic and Riwal Securitas drive the bunch but the gap is up to 40 seconds with 24km to go. Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) attacks from the bunch and four riders follow him: Joris Nieuwenhuis (Sunweb), Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic), Petr Vakoc (Alpecin-Fenix) and Romain Bardet. They trail by 30 seconds with 12km to go.

The chasers move closer and closer: 13 seconds with 6km to go. But Cosnefroy and Pedersen keep working together to make sure they sprint for victory on the Avenue de Grammont. The Dane rider leads the way and maintains a slight advantage on the line to claim the biggest victory in his young career. His teammate Nieuwenhuis dominates the sprint for 3rd with a delay of 30 seconds.


Race winner, Casper Phillip Pedersen (Sunweb): “Today went as planned from the beginning almost. We wanted a group to go but without AG2R and FDJ so that we weren’t forced to chase alone, which is exactly what happened. Six guys went away and we had Martin pulling on the front so that we could sit towards the front of the peloton. Coming into the gravel sections and climbs in the finale we were in a good position. Søren was one or two positions behind me and there was a squeeze in the bunch and unfortunately Søren crashed there. All we could do was to stay in the front and go away with the groups. I went in a counter attack with Cosnefroy and a few others. As we caught the breakaway Cosnefroy went full gas on the attack and I managed to bridge across to him over the top of the climb and we got away. From there we went all-in to keep the chasers behind us. I’ve been racing against him since U23 so I knew him and knew that if I could go with him over the hills it was a good situation. I invested a lot into pulling as we believed I could win the sprint against him if I was able to follow him on the climbs. Luckily that was exactly what happened and I’m really happy to take the win.”

2nd, Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale): “I’m disappointed with this second place because I really wanted to bring this victory back to the team. Casper Pedersen was just really strong and very fit. There was no opening. I did have fun though. The team took our responsibilities. We were enterprising throughout the race. From the first gravel section, we wanted to make a difference with Romain. We really attacked the race the right way and that’s why I’m so disappointed. It’s a great classics campaign coming to an end for me and I’m happy to finish the season on the podium.”

Paris-Tours Result:
1. Casper Phillip Pedersen (Den) Sunweb in 4:51:44
2. Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
3. Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Sunweb at 0:30
4. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
5. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
6. Petr Vakoč (Cze) Alpecin-Fenix
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. August Jensen (Nor) Riwal Readynez at 2:11
9. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Circus-Wanty Gobert
10. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ



Wout van Aert: “Cancellation of Paris-Roubaix is ​​a big disappointment”
Wout van Aert calls it a “great disappointment” that Paris-Roubaix has been canceled. “Roubaix is ​​one of my favourite races and I have worked very hard to be good up to and including Roubaix.”

“Now the season will be a week shorter and only a few goals remain, including the Tour of Flanders of course,” says Van Aert, who won Milan-San Remo, Strade Bianche and two stages in the Tour de France. “For me it is a small consolation that I have already achieved great victories and had a very good season.”

That he had dropped some races in recent weeks to be good in the coming races, he said. “I don’t want to let that go to waste now, so I am even more motivated to make something of Gent-Wevelgem and the Ronde. We hope that those races will continue with very good measures. I just assume that now and I try to focus on that.”

For the next edition of Paris-Roubaix, which should take place on April 11, 2021, he certainly sounds competitive. “Roubaix will be one of my big goals again in 2021.”

Wout on the cobbles:


alpecin fenix
Mathieu van der Poel: “The importance of Gent-Wevelgem and De Ronde is increasing”
Mathieu van der Poel would have made his debut in Paris-Roubaix on October 25. But he has to postpone that to April next year. “This is a great pity. Due to the cancellation, the importance of the other races only increases.”

“Obviously, the cancellation is a pity,” said Van der Poel in a press release from his team. “I was really looking forward to finally be able to finish the ‘Hell Classic’ for the first time. We would normally have planned a reconnaissance with the team next Wednesday. Paris-Roubaix was obviously marked with a dot and should become my fifth monument this season.”

“It is a pity that I will not be able to complete that list and will have to wait until 2021 to be able to ride this legendary race. Due to the cancellation, the importance of the upcoming races, with Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders respectively, will only increase. On the other hand, it appears that the choice to add Liège-Bastogne-Liège to my program was the right one.”

Mathieu van der Poel:


lotto soudal
Tim Wellens Combines Tour of Flanders and Vuelta a España
Tim Wellens wants to ride the Tour of Flanders (Sunday October 18) and the Vuelta a España (start Tuesday October 20). “But three days before a Grand Tour, a rider has to undergo a blood test. Because the Vuelta starts two days after the Tour of Flanders, I have to do that blood test in Belgium,” Wellens explained to Het Nieuwsblad.

“The team is still examining whether that is allowed. If we get permission, I’ll combine both races. If not, I choose the Vuelta. I absolutely want to do a Grand Tour to end the season with a good feeling.”

It turns out that it is not necessary to make a choice. The 29-year-old rider received the desired approval. “I have received permission from the UCI to have the mandatory blood test for the Vuelta carried out in Belgium,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “This allows me to combine the Tour of Flanders with the Tour of Spain, which starts the following Tuesday in the Basque Country.”

Tim Wellens:
Tim Wellens


ineos grenadier
Bernal: “I’m fully focused on next season”
Egan Bernal has finished his 2020 season. The 2019 Tour winner confirmed on Instagram that he will not compete again this year and is focusing on next season.

“I will not participate in competitions this season,” Bernal wrote. “After the health problems I had during the Tour, I am now 100% focused on my recovery and my return in 2021,” he says. “I’ve had a difficult time, but this has also given me motivation to work even harder to feel good on the bike again.”

Bernal left the Tour de France early last month due to problems with his knee and back. Bernal will not ride the Vuelta a España as Chris Froome and Richard Carapaz will be the leaders in the Spanish Grand Tour for INEOS Grenediers.

Egan Bernal:


Two More Years for Soupe at Total Direct Energie
Total Direct Energie has extended Geoffrey Soupe’s contract for two years. The Frenchman will remain with the ProTeam until the end of 2022.

Soupe is in his first year at Total Direct Energie. He signed a one-year contract last year when he came over from Cofidis, where he has been since 2015. During those years, the 32-year-old sprint lead-out man often helped leader Nacer Bouhanni to victories, Bouhanni left Cofidis for Arkéa-Samsic last year. There was no place for Soupe at Cofidis, which had fully committed to Elia Viviani and his regular lead-out men. At Total Direct Energie, Soupe is the sprint pilot for Niccolo Bonifazio.

Geoffrey Soupe, the best beard in the pro peloton:


Lefevere on the Future of João Almeida
João Almeida was destined to become a special domestique for Remco Evenepoel at Deceuninck – Quick-Step, but as Evenepoel had to give up any ideas for the Giro d’Italia, the young Portuguese rider took over his role – for the time being. “If he develops further in this way, he will not have to follow Remco’s trajectory,” said Lefevere.

Back in February, at the Volta ao Algarve, Patrick Lefevere spoke about the young Portuguese rider who had assisted Remco Evenepoel for a very long time on his way to victory at the Alto da Fóia. “We have been following him for a few years now,” said the manager of Deceuninck – Quick-Step. “Over the past two years, he has developed with Axel Merckx’s team (Hagens Berman Axeon). He did very well in 2018, but was disappointing last year.”

“We could wait another year, but his manager – he even has two – thought otherwise. I didn’t want to settle him for that one bad year either, so I gave him a two-year contract anyway. He worked strongly for Remco (on the Alta da Fóia), but he can do much more than you have already seen. He also has a good time trial in his legs.” Lefevere said in February. “We are working on a team around Evenepoel. The Giro (when is was still in May) will come a bit too early, although it is already performing above expectations. Although I want to be careful, because Almeida is Portuguese and this is the Tour of the Algarve. That of course gives extra motivation, and we shouldn’t forget that.”

But João Almeida continued to do well. After he already finished second in the young rider classification in Algarve, he did it again after the corona break in Burgos, behind Evenepoel, and he was the best youngster in the Tour de l’Ain. In the absence of Evenepoel, the climber who turned 22 in August, seized his chance in the Giro. He is the youngest rider for 41 years to ride in pink for four days.

The question now is whether Almeida is not too good to work for Evenepoel in the future. In a conversation with Het Laatste Nieuws, Lefevere will keep his options open. “We still don’t know what his ultimate potential is, and we don’t know his personal ambitions. He was in the squad around Remco, but it is not necessary for him to stay there. If he develops further in this way, he does not have to follow that process.”

João Almeida in pink:
giro20st5 Almeida


Bjarne Riis Unsure About the Future of NTT
NTT Pro Cycling is still fighting for a future, but there is no prospect of good news for the time being. The South African team is in danger of disappearing from the cycling peloton. “This team deserves a future”, Bjarne Riis told Sporza.

Main sponsor NTT will terminate the sponsorship. Last month, the team officially released all riders, so they can look for a new team even if they still have an ongoing contract. “What will our future look like? Honestly: I don’t know. We are working on it. It’s difficult, I have to admit. I can’t say much more. I hope our team has a future. This team deserves that too.”

The Dane, who has been team manager of NTT Pro Cycling since the start of this year, continues to hope for a miracle. “We have been in contact with potential sponsors all year round. We are still fighting for it. Whether the corona crisis is making things more difficult? The whole world is suffering. So yes.”

Bjarne Riis – Things not looking good:


lotto soudal
A Big Step Forward for Lotto Soudal Ladies
The Lotto Soudal Ladies Team will undergo some major changes in light of further professionalisation, optimisation and integration. The women’s team will become part of the vzw Belgian Cycling Talents, just like the Lotto Soudal Development Team has been already for several years. Kurt Van De Wouwer becomes sports manager with former Belgian champion Annelies Dom by his side as sports director.

“We want the women’s team, which was part of another non-profit organisation (vzw) up till now, to be part of the whole,” says Lotto Soudal General Manager John Lelangue, “so that we can truly speak of one joint project: the WorldTour team, the Development Team and the Ladies Team. The women’s team will become part of the vzw Belgian Cycling Talents, the structure above the Development Team of Lotto Soudal which has been very successful throughout the past years.”

“Kurt Van De Wouwer and his staff can offer years of expertise. With the U23 riders they set numerous top results the previous years and also this season they are on a roll. Annelies Dom, who rode four years for the Lotto Soudal Ladies, and recently ended her career as an active rider, becomes sports director in the team. She knows the ins and outs of the women’s peloton and with her experience as a rider she can further optimise the women’s team.”

Main sponsors Lotto and Soudal and all partners want to further extend their commitment towards women’s cycling the upcoming years, also when it comes down to financial support.

“The National Lottery has been investing in the women’s team for sixteen years and together with Soudal they are committed to keep doing that the next years,” confirms John Lelangue. “It’s our ambition, together with all our partners, to further professionalize the Ladies Team. All elite riders in the team will receive a proper salary. The team will have a total of ten riders who will all get the same material as the riders of the WorldTour team. We want to make the integration complete on all levels. For the performance for example, the women can rely on the wide range of expertise within the team, among other thanks to our cooperation with Energy Lab.”

“The past years we already did efforts to further integrate the women and to offer them more professional guidance. Lotte Kopecky, Julie Van De Velde and Jesse Vandenbulcke joined the WorldTour training camp in Mallorca past winter. That integration and professionalisation can only improve now we let the women’s team become part of the whole,” according to John Lelangue.

“Lotto Soudal is setting steps forward when it comes to wages, material, guidance and support for the women’s team. Lotto, Soudal and all partners and the entire staff want to keep investing in women’s cycling which has been in an upward spiral the past years, an evolution that we can only applaud. As a team we are committed to keep supporting women’s cycling and to continue the professionalisation. That’s why we will offer our Lotto Soudal Ladies all necessary support and opportunities.”



circus wanty
Jan Bakelants Puts an End to his Season After a Positive Covid Test
Bakelants had some mild symptoms on Friday when coming home from training, and immediately did a new PCR test. The medical team of Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans was informed Friday evening about the positive PCR test. Jan Bakelants was placed in isolation.

Bakelants was tested negative the evening before the Brabantse Pijl and didn’t have any symptoms on the day of the race or the day after. Bakelants was removed from the team and placed in isolation. The Belgian rider was selected for Ghent-Wevelgem, but will be replaced by Ludwig De Winter.

The priority of our team Circus-Wanty Gobert stays the health of the riders and the staff. As not one member of the team has been in contact with Jan Bakelants after his return home on Wednesday evening after the Brabantse Pijl and all PCR tests of Tuesday evening were negative, no members of the team will have to be placed in quarantine. Following the medical protocol of the UCI for the competition restart, the whole team (riders and staff) will be retested before the next participations in races.

Dr. Joost De Maeseneer – Head doctor: “Just like the rest of the team, Jan Bakelants tested negative on Tuesday, the evening before the Brabantse Pijl. Jan competed in the Brabantse Pijl without problems, before returning home on Wednesday evening. He trained normally on Thursday, without symptoms.”

“Jan trained alone again on Friday. When returning home, he had mild symptoms and did a new PCR test, which was positive. The health of Jan is good and the symptoms stay mild. Following the medical protocol of our team and the UCI, Jan will stay in isolation at home during at least seven days. He will not take part in races anymore in 2020.”

Jan Bakelants



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