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EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

As you would expect, the coronavirus is the Top Story as the UCI stops all racing until at least the 3rd of April. We hear what that means for De Ronde, Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France. We catch up with the final stages of Paris-Nice with results and video action. Giro d’Italia postponed and Redlands cancelled. Some good news: Tiesj Benoot happy at Sunweb, UAE Team Emirates ends quarantine, Sunweb extend with Joris Nieuwenhuis, Laurens ten Dam joins Specialized, but bad news as Michael Woods breaks femur and Ramon Sinkeldam talks about quarantine. Keep healthy out there.

TOP STORY: Flemish Minister for Sport: “Ronde van Vlaanderen does not seem feasible”
The Tour of Flanders is still on the UCI calendar, but for how long? Flemish Sports Minister Ben Weyts already hinted that after Milan-Sanremo, the second monument may also not go ahead.

Yesterday it was announced that in Belgium, due to the coronavirus, there will be no racing until at least April the 3rd, by decree of the government. As a result, a lot of top races have been suspended, including the Three Days Bruges-De Panne, E3 BinckBank Classic, Gent-Wevelgem and Dwars door Vlaanderen. The Tour of Flanders is scheduled for April the 5th and will stay on the calendar for the time being, but it is not inconceivable that this race will also be canceled.

“Let’s be honest: I don’t think it will be feasible. That a whole peloton from all over the world would settle in Flanders a few days after that April 3,” Ben Weyts, Flemish Minister for Sport, told the Flemish radio station Radio 1. “This is a liquid situation, but we also have to show a sense of responsibility.” Only through the years of the First World War, until 1918, the Tour of Flanders was not held.

According to Tomas Van den Spiegel, organiser of Flanders Classics, “we have to be realistic. You cannot impose measures until April 3 to organise the largest ‘folk festival’ in Flanders on April 5. We have to assume that the Ronde will not go through this year, but we are confident that a new date can be found.”

No Flanders in 2020? Watch 2019 again:

ASO expects cancellation of Paris-Roubaix: “Perfectly logical”
Can Paris-Roubaix take place on Sunday April 12? Christian Prudhomme does not want to give false hope, the boss of race organiser ASO told radio station RMC: “All sports are currently being canceled. I don’t think much will change in April. And that makes perfect sense.”

The seventh stage of Paris-Nice is the last cycle race on European soil for the time being, as measures have been tightened with regard to the corona virus and virtually all sporting events have been canceled. The big question now is when the riders can race again. Prudhomme is more optimistic about the Tour de France (June 27-July 19), as he commented: “It is still more than a hundred days until the start of the Tour. The hunger for the race will be immense once activities are resumed.”

Paris-Roubaix 2019:

The UCI takes strong measures faced with the development of the coronavirus
Based on the assessment made by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the current situation related to the COVID-19 epidemic, and the restrictive measures taken by a number of countries within Europe and beyond prohibiting, in particular, gatherings and movement of people, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) today announces a series of decisive measures with the aim of ensuring the maximum protection of health of all those involved in cycling events and sporting equity between participants

Not wishing to contribute to the spread of the virus and with the aim of ensuring sporting equity in its competitions, the UCI, after several crisis meetings held at the end of last week and over the weekend, has taken the following measures:

• The safety of athletes being a priority mission of the UCI, organisers are expressly requested to cancel any cycling event on the UCI International Calendar in territories identified at risk by the WHO;

• Suspension of all classifications for all events on the UCI International Calendar, across all disciplines, from 15 March 2020 and until further notice but at least until 3 April 2020. By freezing the points during the period indicated, the UCI is preserving sporting equity for the athletes;

• With regard to the qualification procedure for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which … is still ongoing for mountain bike, BMX Racing, BMX Freestyle and para-cycling road, the UCI has taken the decision to ask respectively to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) that the qualification period is stopped retroactively as of 3 March 2020. Here again, with this strong decision, the UCI ensures sporting equity when it comes to the awarding of Olympic quotas.

These important decisions are guided by the desire of cycling’s world governing body to ensure, as far as possible, the health security of cyclists, teams, organisers, partners, media and all concerned people, including the public, as well as fair competitions for athletes and their teams (commercial, and national in the case of the Olympic Games). Concerning the UCI International Calendar, the UCI has registered to date over one hundred postponement and cancellation requests, and the list is growing daily. For when it comes to professional road cycling, the UCI consulted with the bodies representing the organisers (AIOCC), teams (AIGCP) and riders (CPA).

Concerning the Olympic and Paralympic qualification procedure for cycling events that are ongoing, the situation to date is the following: considering the uncertainty surrounding the spread of the virus, maintaining the qualification periods initially planned (11 May 2020 for BMX Freestyle, 27 May for mountain, 1st June for BMX Racing and 7th of June for para-cycling) would have resulted in unfairness between nations. The UCI has therefore decided to propose to the IOC and IPC to stop the procedure as of 3 March, in view of the fact that up until that date, no nation had been prevented from travelling to events.

This decision is guided by the fundamental principle of equal treatment for all athletes, and the importance of preventing these same athletes having to make incessant changes to their competition programmes and training plans. The constantly changing health situation also makes the possibility of building an alternative calendar for postponed events uncertain, despite the possibility of extension until June 30, 2020 granted by the IOC to all International Federations.

Moreover, it should be made clear that 70% to 85% of the qualification events for these disciplines have already been held, and the classification taken into account, therefore represents a true sporting value. By taking this action, our Federation ensures the integrity of our athletes as well as equality of treatment of all nations and does not contravene the principles of the qualifying systems of the Olympic movement.

The request has been presented to the IOC and the IPC, in order to allow publication of the Olympic rankings and quotas of the remaining disciplines as soon as possible.

Concerning requests for postponement of events, the UCI will communicate at a later stage the possible reallocation of new dates, according to the possibilities offered by the UCI International Calendar but without any guarantee.

In addition, concerning UCI staff, we have taken measures conforming to the Swiss Federal Council’s new directives adopted on 13 March 2020. We have therefore decided to close the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC) buildings in Aigle, which house our Federation’s headquarters, to the public. For the 120 staff members working for the UCI and the UCI WCC we have put in place a business continuity plan by activating home office work from Tuesday 17 March 2020.

Finally, the UCI repeats that it places its full confidence in the competent authorities to contain the spread of the virus, and for its part continues to play its role as the governing body for cycling for our sport’s families with the dual priority of health protection and sporting equity. In this period of uncertainty, the International Federation will continue to monitor the situation closely and to take appropriate measures in the interests of our sport. It calls on the solidarity of everyone to get through these difficult times.

The UCI has the final word:

Paris-Nice 2020
Niccolò Bonifazio won Stage 5 of Paris-Nice on Thursday. The Italian from the Total Direct Energie team managed to sprint past the unfortunate Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Merida) in the last meters. Tratnik was on the attack all day and seemed to be on his way to victory. The leader’s jersey is still on Maximilian Schachmann’s shoulders.

Ryan Mullen, Alexis Gougeard, Jan Tratnik and Anthony Turgis made up the break of the day. Their lead reached a maximum of 7 minutes. Turgis took most of the KOM points on the Côte de Busset and the Côte de Cheval Rigon in the first 40 kilometres. In the peloton Lotto Soudal and Cofidis led the way for Caleb Ewan and Elia Viviani. As a result, the lead was getting smaller.

At 30 kilometres from the finish, the difference had already been reduced to 2 minutes, and it looked like the expected bunch sprint finish would happen. However, there was a sudden acceleration from the peloton on the slightly curving roads on the way to the finish. Julian Alaphilippe tried to make the crossing to the two remaining leaders: Gougeard and Tratnik.

The Frenchman was pulled back by the overall leader Maximilian Schachmann. The next attack came from Bob Jungels, Jasper Stuyven, Nikias Arndt, Kasper Asgreen and Pello Bilbao, but this attempt also died. At the front; Tratnik had something left, and dropped Gougeard.

Lotto Soudal were hammering on the front for Ewan, but an amazingly strong Tratnik managed to hold on to his lead of 20 seconds into the last 5 kilometres. The Bahrain-McLaren Slovenian rider seemed to be on the way to a well-deserved victory, especially after a puncture for Ewan.

The sprinter’s teams were getting dangerously close to Tratnik, who after a whole day on the attack started to lose time. The Slovenian was managing to stay out of the grip of the fast-men, but the stage took a few meters too long. It was Bonifazio who jumped past Tratnik ahead of Iván García Cortina and Peter Sagan in the last metres.

Stage winner, Niccola Bonifazio (Total Direct Energie): “For the team, it was an important day. Paris-Nice is an important objective in the season and I worked very hard in the winter. I only rode eight races and I was missing a little beat of racing pace in the first stages here but today I felt very well and I looked for a good positioning. I started my sprint with 100 m to go and I won. Thanks for the team and for everyone. It’s a small gift for my family and all the Italians who are confined to their homes.”

Overall leader, Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Today was the longest stage of this year’s race, and actually also one of the hardest. The first 120km or so were not particularly difficult, with the tempo not being so demanding. However, the final 15km, with the constant attacks, were really hard and very fast. However, the guys supported me in these moments really well, and like over the past few days, did a fantastic job. Peter took another podium place, and we didn’t lose any time in the general classification, so we’re coming ever closer to our goal here.”

3rd on the stage, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “When the bunch was about to reach the escapee in the final straight I found myself a bit boxed in. Bonifazio had space, timed his sprint well and took the victory. I would have liked to finish the day with a win but I did my best. On the other hand, we were successful in our GC goals and both Felix and Max didn’t lose any seconds which was important today.”

6th on the stage, Andrea Pasqualon (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “It was a long stage, with a very strong breakaway. The 70 final kilometres were very fast in the peloton as well, because if we wanted a sprint, we had to ride. I’ve given all I had, but I didn’t really have a good feeling today. Maybe because of the bike or position switch after the time trial. The team worked well, especially Meurisse, Doubey and in the final Boy Van Poppel. Considering my day and the final, this is not a bad result. I finished 6th, among the best sprinters in the world… Tomorrow, a rough stage is awaiting us. But with a better feeling than today, I can maybe follow on the climbs and be present in the final.”

Break rider, Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-McLaren): “It was the longest stage, and I knew if I waited in the bunch, I wouldn’t get a chance to win. I took my chance in a breakaway, and my legs were really good. I collaborated with the guys in the breakaway really well and in the last 30-40 km to go, I increased the speed. I gave my all and attacked even more, but in the end, I missed a stage win by 30 meters. I am really disappointed. I will take this as an experience, and hopefully, a win will come soon.”

Paris-Nice Stage 5 Result:
1. Niccola Bonifazio (Ita) Total Direct Energie 5:18:02
2. Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
5. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) ISU Nation
6. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Circus-Wanty Gobert
7. John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal
8. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
9. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
10. Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 5:
1. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe in 18:49:00
2. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:58
3. Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:01
4. Nils Politt (Ger) ISU Nation at 1:05
5. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling at 1:06
6. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-McLaren at 1:09
7. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Sunweb at 1:11
8. Mads Schmidt Würtz (Den) ISU Nation
9. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling at 1:15
10. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb at 1:16.

Paris-Nice’20 stage 5

Sunweb’s Tiesj Benoot won Stage 6 and moved into second place overall. On the final climb, the Belgian crossed over to his teammate, Søren Kragh Andersen, and then soloed to the finish in Apt. Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) crashed, but kept the overall lead.

On the second climb of the day, before the long breakaway made its move, World champion Mads Pedersen, Winner Anacona, Stefan Küng, Alexis Gougeard, Nicolas Edet and Anthony Perez joined forces, just after the summit of the Col de Murs. Romain Bardet also managed to cross to them. Küng was the best overall rider in 27th place at 3:33.

On the Côte de Gordes, the third climb of the day, the seven escapees were 1:30 ahead of the peloton. Just after the leading group started the final 50 kilometres, Bardet and Edet attacked and they quickly left their fellow escapees. On the fifth climb, the Côte de Caseneuve, Søren Kragh Andersen, winner of the time trial and second overall, attacked out of the peloton and picked up the others from the break. At the top of the Côte de Caseneuve, the Dane was within 20 seconds of Bardet and Edet and eventually caught them. In the peloton; Deceuninck – Quick-Step was doing the chase work to hold the leaders to less than a minute as they started the last 30 kilometres. The last climb of the day, the Côte d’Auribeau, would start in 14 kilometres.

On the climb, Kragh Andersen dropped Edet and later Bardet. The difference to the peloton at that moment was only 20 seconds. From what was left of the peloton, Vincenzo Nibali accelerated with Tiesj Benoot, teammate of Kragh Andersen on his wheel. Nibali was 11th overall, Benoot 7th, but it was Benoot who crossed to his Sunweb teammate on his own. Kragh Andersen could still be of value to Benoot, but at the top of the last climb the Belgian was on his own. On the climb, a favourite group had emerged, including Julian Alaphilippe, Sergio Higuita and the yellow jersey, Maximilian Schachmann.

The chase group didn’t try too hard and Benoot was able to extend his lead. With 5 kilometres to go, the Belgian had already taken a half minute lead. Felix Großschartner and Bob Jungels tried to cross together, but they were caught again and Benoot was on his way to victory.

Schachmann misjudged a right-hand bend and ended up on the barrier, but was up quickly and continue on his way to cross the finish line 40 seconds behind Benoot. In the sprint for second place, Michael Matthews defeated Sergio Higuita. Schachmann held the overall lead, at first he was 40 seconds down, but in the results he was given the same time as the group that included Sergio Higuita, Felix Großschartner and Michael Matthews. Benoot is now in second place at 36 seconds. Sergio Higuita is third at 1:01, with Großschartner in fourth on the same time. Michael Matthews jumped from tenth to fifth.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Tiesj Benoot (Sunweb): “It was a really hard day, full gas from the start, Quick-Step immediately started to pull from the start of the stage. I knew it was a good situation for me; I had really good legs. I like the days where you have to push all day and today was a day like this. We came into the final in a really good situation. I went in the counter attack with Nibali and I felt I still had something left so I went full gas to Søren. After he did his pull, it was only ten kilometres to the finish. I’m really happy to get a win for the team today. We did really good preparation with some really nice time gaps earlier in the year. We’ve put a lot of effort into the team with the classics guys here. Unfortunately, we cannot ride the classics this year but I’m sure in the future we can achieve some nice things there.”

Overall leader, Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I crashed with about 800 metres to go but I’m well. The race was full on and the guys were going full gas down. I had a small gap and came back but I think I was a bit too fast. I made a mistake but managed to get back on my bike. I still have the yellow jersey and tomorrow will certainly be a tough stage but I felt good in the last long climb. Today we rode a bit defensively but there is no doubt tomorrow will be all out.”

2nd on the stage and 5th overall, Michael Matthews (Sunweb): “It was different than we expected, we thought a bigger break might go, especially in the crosswind section at the start. After the breakaway established itself, Quick-Step took control which was good for us. It meant we didn’t have to ride and we could save as many guys to help us in the final. With around 50 kilometres to go we sent Nikias up the road to make a stepping stone for Søren, to attack across to him. Søren was alone for a while before Tiesj then went across to him, and he could stay away solo to the line to take the win. I was able to hang with some of the best climbers to do a good sprint in the finish for second place. All in all it was a really good day for us, I think we showed we’re a really good and strong team as a unit. First and second on a stage like this, you can’t really ask for much more.”

5th on the stage, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I am very happy that we have come this far. A top 10 ranking in the rankings is nice, but not exceptional. Given the circumstances I just want to have fun, race, attack and not think about the tactics. All day We were in control. We wanted to win the stage, but that does not work every time. Saturday is another stage with a very complex final I know that it will be difficult for me against better climbers like Sergio Higuita and Nairo Quintana, but I want just have fun by racing up front. It’s a fun playground to end Paris-Nice.”

16th on the stage and 11th overall, Fabien Doubey (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “I’m very happy with my stage. I knew that it would be difficult to follow the best climbers on the final circuit, and I limited the damage. With Xandro, we managed the final well, but Aimé De Gendt and Andrea Pasqualon accomplished fantastic work before. For one moment I tried to follow the big groups, but when I saw Deceuninck-Quick Step controlling, I’ve chosen to save my energy. In the end it was a good decision, because we raced from A to Z today. In the final I tried to anticipate downhill with Nibali, but without success. Another mountain stage is awaiting us. I want to defend my 11th place in the general classification. If one would have told me that I would figure in the top 15 of Paris-Nice, I would have signed with both hands. Especially knowing that we added the race last minute to our programme. It will be a finish for pure climbers, but I want to be in the mix with the best and give all I have until the top.”

14th on the stage, Xandro Meurisse (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “I was a bit scared, because the start was very fast and the breakaway wasn’t gone on the first climb yet. But in the end, I had a good feeling and I was never in difficulties. I felt better and better. On the last climb I was still hoping for a top 10, but I came a little too short on the mur at the entrance of Apt. But I’m especially happy to have my good feeling back after five difficult days. We have another day with nice goals ahead of us. We’ll have to defend the top 15 of Fabien, and why not climb in the top 10. I’ll fight until the finish trying to gain some positions in the general classification.”

Paris-Nice Stage 6 Result:
1. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Sunweb in 3:57:02
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb at 0:22
3. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling
4. Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
5. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
9. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 6:
1. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe in 22:46:24
2. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Sunweb at 0:36
3. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling at 1:01
4. Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb at 1:10
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:18
7. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:29
8. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:30
9. Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Pro Cycling at 1:52
10. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 2:04.

Paris-Nice’20 stage 6

Maximilian Schachmann is the final overall winner of the 2020 Paris-Nice. The Bora-Hansgrohe rider had just enough seconds in the bank to hold onto his lead on the final climb to Valdeblore La Colmiane on nearest challenger, Tiesj Benoot (Sunweb). Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) won Stage 7 and moved up to sixth overall.

Anthony Perez and Benoît Cosnefroy attacked from the line. Several riders joined them, including Tiesj Benoot, Sergio Higuita, Michael Matthews, Vincenzo Nibali, Rudy Molard, Thibaut Pinot and Julian Alaphilippe from the overall top ten. After 20 kilometres, Alaphilippe and Perez rode on with Aurélien Paret-Peintre, Thomas De Gendt, Nicolas Edet and Alberto Bettiol.

At the top of the Col de Vence, the first climb of the day after 34.5 kilometres, the lead of the six attackers was almost at 3 minutes. At this point Alaphilippe was in the virtual yellow jersey. Edet meanwhile was collecting KOM points on the climb. On the way to the Col de la Sigale, the second climb, the lead of the leading group fluctuated between 2 and 3 minutes.

At the summit, after 79.5 kilometres, Edet was first again, securing the win in the mountains classification. Also on the Côte de Saint-Antonin, the French Cofidis rider was first over the top. Perez then drop out from the front group and the remaining five escapees started the last 40 kilometres with a 3 minute lead. 25 kilometres from the finish, on the way to the 16.3 kilometre long climb to Valdeblore La Colmiane, the lead of the leading group shrank to under 2 minutes for the first time, leaving Alaphilippe, who was at 2:04 from leader Maximilian Schachmann, was no longer the virtual leader. Thanks to Bora-Hansgrohe and Arkéa-Samsic, who had Nairo Quintana, the leading group started the climb with a lead of 1:20.

Once the road to Valdeblore La Colmiane started, it showed that De Gendt and Alaphilippe were the best at the front. De Gendt left Alaphilippe and with 15 kilometres to go his lead had shrunk to 1:10 on the peloton, where only fifteen riders remained. Winner Anacona and Guillaume Martin put in a lot of work, but De Gendt’s lead had risen to 1:30, but with 9 kilometres to go. The chase group, which was first led by Schachmann’s teammates and later by Nibali, did not get any closer. Bardet made an attack 7 kilometres from the finish and the lead dropped to 40 seconds.

In the last 4 kilometres the attack then came from Quintana. The Colombian shot off up the climb leaving behind a group with Nibali, Benoot, Schachmann, Pinot and Higuita. Within a kilometre Quintana was with De Gendt, whom he left broken. Quintana soloed his way to the victory, after winning on Mont Ventoux and the Col d’Eze earlier the season. Behind; Benoot made a full on attempt to win Paris-Nice, but the 36 seconds on Schachmann was too much. Schachmann took the overall win from Benoot and Higuita.

Stage winner, Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic): “I always try to win stages with some elegance. The team worked a lot to make it back on the break and then I did what I had to do. There was nothing I could do for the GC. I crashed badly and l lost too much time that day. Day after day I finished with the best and I wanted to win before the race ended to bring a little joy to this team and this is a gift for the whole team for the job done. Now I’m going to go back to Colombia to stay with my family.”

Final overall winner and 6th on the stage, Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It’s such a great feeling to win Paris-Nice but this was a very, very hard day. Felix Großschartner, Patrick Konrad and Michael Schwarzmann did a brilliant job today, they controlled the race by themselves. The finale was really hard for me, especially the last 3km were, honestly, very painful, like going through hell. But right now, I’m in heaven and every small pain in my legs is worth it. This is the fourth year of my professional career and this victory is certainly my biggest success so far and one of the most important steps. It feels so great because my whole life people were doubting I could be a GC rider and it was always my dream. Here I am now, having won one of the most prestigious one-week stage races.”

4th on the stage and 3rd overall, Sergio Higuita (EF Pro Cycling): “It’s a beautiful race that I think went really well; the first few stages with Sep, Tom and Bettiol, who are Classics guys, and they gave me amazing support helping me move through the peloton a lot easier, these really were difficult stages for me. I’m not a big rider and to be around those guys and learn from them was great, they were stages where we could have lost a lot of time and we didn’t. I also learnt from the time trial day about how to better prepare myself, then the last couple of stages have been hard, especially yesterday, it was a day of big battles between us, like today as well, but in the end I just felt like I didn’t quite have it in me to make the move in the final kilometres, but I’m happy we made the podium. In general though it’s been a good start to the season for me from the national championships through to today. Now I’m scheduled to rest which was always my plan to take some time out after this race, and so now I’ll head home to Colombia because it’s been full gas since January and I’m starting to feel that amount of intense workload of the past few months. Especially since Tour Colombia I’ve been training heavily because I knew that this race was going to be a great opportunity for me. So now it’s about resting for a bit before getting back to training and hoping that everything sorts itself out and we find a solution quickly with the virus so everyone can get back to racing again soon.”

11th overall, Fabien Doubey (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “I supposed that the final climb would be too long for me, but I tried to follow the high pace of Akréa Samsic as long as possible. When I had to let go, I waited for Xandro, in order to go with him to the finish as fast as possible, resulting in an 11th place in GC. I showed this week that I’m an all-round rider. I followed well in the crosswinds and I was offensive in my preferred medium mountains. I said yesterday already that I wanted to sign for a top 15 with both hands. We can be proud on our achievements, for example the 3rd place of Andrea Pasqualon. I want to thank all riders and staff. Because of this forced break, I’ve got some time for recovery before a new training period. As I started my season earlier for cyclocross, this break is not inconvenient. We will follow the situation, so I’m ready for the restart!”

Xandro Meurisse (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “It was again a hard stage, both on the flat and on the climbs the pace was kept high. This was probably due to the power of the early breakaway. But we survived well. The final climb was the first long climb of the season. Fabien tried to follow the favourites, but later he was caught by my group. The two of us worked together really well. We gave all we had for Fabien’s general classification. Personally, I’m happy to conclude this week with a good feeling. Even though it’s a pity that I had bad legs the first couple of days. Otherwise, I think I was also capable of finishing in the top 15. There’s a lot of uncertainty and different information about the continuation of our race programme. On the one hand, we should prepare for the worst, but on the other hand, we need to take advantage of our good condition to be ready for the restart. There’s one certainty: we’re thankful for our last minute participation and we’re very happy about our achievements this week!”

Paris-Nice 2020: Official Communication
After consultation with the relevant authorities, The Union Cycliste Internationale and the Ville de Nice, the organisers of Paris-Nice have decided that 7th stage, finishing at Valdebore la Colmiane, will be the last of the race. This decision, taken as part of the fight against the spread of the Coronavirus, means that the final stage in Nice is now cancelled.

Paris-Nice Stage 7 Result:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa-Samsic in 4:27:01
2. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Sunweb at 0:47
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:56
4. Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Pro Cycling
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
6. Max Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:58
7. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 1:19
8. Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Pro Cycling at 1:22
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:32
10. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 7:
1. Max Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe in 27:14:23
2. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Sunweb at 0:18
3. Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Pro Cycling at 0:59
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:16
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:24
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa-Samsic at 1:30
7. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 2:03
8. Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Pro Cycling at 2:16
9. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 3:39
10. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 4:36.

Paris-Nice’20 stage 7

RCS Sport 2020 Giro d’Italia Date Postponed
In response to the spread of the coronavirus the Hungarian government has declared a state of emergency. This prohibits the organisation of mass events and makes it impossible to organise international events.

As a consequence, the Organising Committee of the Giro d’Italia’s Hungarian stages declared that the Giro’s start could not be held in Hungary at the originally scheduled time. All parties have agreed that they are determined to work together to enable the Giro d’Italia to depart from Hungary at a later time.

RCS Sport, having taken note of the international and national situation, announces that the date of the 2020 Giro d’Italia is thereby postponed.

The new date will be announced no earlier than 3 April when the provisions of the D.P.C.M. (Decreto del Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri della Repubblica Italiana – Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic) of 4 March 2020 will end, and only after having consulted with the appropriate representatives of the Italian Government, local and territorial authorities and Italian and international sports institutions.

This might be the closest we will get to the 2020 Giro:

2020 Redlands Bicycle Classics Canceled
Throughout the past week, the Redlands Bicycle Classic Organizing Committee has remained steadfast in our desire to host the Classic in April. Unfortunately, the ever-increasing risks associated with widespread Coronavirus (COVID-19) have led us to a decision that undoubtedly will be disappointing to many, although we are confident it is appropriate under these unique circumstances.

Considering the latest information, projected timelines, expert analysis, and after consultation with the leadership of our host cities of Redlands, Highland and Yucaipa, we have jointly decided that the 2020 Redlands Bicycle Classic should not occur.

Ultimately, the health and well-being of everyone associated with the event, including the citizens of our local communities led us to this difficult decision.

I would be remiss if I did not publicly thank our entire organising committee and the liaisons with our local government entities for their tireless efforts. In order to continue to provide the world-class bicycle race you have become accustomed to; our plan is to return in April 2021.

As COVID-19 continues to impact the lives of people everywhere, we appreciate you understanding our decision. The lives of those affected by this outbreak are far more important than our event. Therefore, please keep them in your thoughts and prayers and we’ll see you next year in Redlands.

Redlands action:

Tiesj Benoot: “New team has had a positive influence”
Tiesj Benoot was eighteen seconds short of the overall win in the 78th edition of Paris-Nice, but the Belgian of Team Sunweb certainly does not leave the French race empty-handed. Benoot won a stage and the green points jersey. “And second is my best result in a multi-day stage race,” he told Sporza.

Benoot made a shot at the final victory in the last kilometres of the final stage, but the 26-year-old rider didn’t manage to take enough of a lead over the overall leader and the final winner. Maximilian Schachmann. The big question is whether Benoot waited too long to make his ultimate attack. “The second place was the highest possible,” he is convinced.

“I also thought of an earlier attack myself. I quickly got a nice lead after my acceleration, but I came to a halt afterwards,” said Benoot, who says he has become a better rider with Sunweb. “I refined some details on the training camp and took a step forward this winter.” Benoot has absolutely no regrets about his choice to go to the German WorldTour team. “My new team has had a positive impact. I made the right choice, which was not without doubt from the outside world. It’s nice to end the first part of the season like this.”

Unfortunately for Benoot, he will not be able to show his top form in the coming weeks, because the European cycling races have been canceled due to the corona virus. “It is a pity that I cannot go to the classics with these legs, but it is not the end of the world either. Other riders will curse more. I finished second in Paris-Nice and won a stage. It’s already great for me,” said Benoot, who will soon be trying to plan his further program. “I would initially ride the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but no decisions have been taken yet.”

Tiesj Benoot won Paris-Nice stage 6:

Michael Woods Breaks Femur
Michael Woods broke his thigh in a fall in stage 5 of Paris-Nice, the EF Pro Cycling team announced in a press release. The Canadian climber was operated on Thursday in the Lyon hospital.

33-year-old Woods crashed less than 50 kilometres from the finish. The explosive climber had to be taken to Lyon hospital, where the doctors found a broken femur. Woods will be transferred to his home town of Girona after surgery. EF Pro Cycling stated: “We will support Michael during his rehabilitation.” The American also lost Lawson Craddock from Paris-Nice. The American had a headache during the stage and was transported to the finish by ambulance. The climber/time trialist was then examined by a doctor from ASO, but Craddock was found to have no further symptoms of the coronavirus. He will also return to his home base in Girona.

Michael Woods winning in Torino:

UAE Team Emirates Ends Voluntary Quarantine
With the negative results of the third and final block of testing and the quarantine period now at an end, the Emirati team have decided to return to Europe.

This observation period was necessary to be sure of non-contagion for negative riders and staff, and also to allow the time to show the positive results of the others. These measures were to protect the health of loved ones at home, fellow teammates and the wider cycling community.

The cases that have proved positive in the meantime will remain in the UAE, where they will remain in the best of care in hospital. Their health is good and under control.

For privacy reasons, no further details will be released at this time.

Sinkeldam on Quarantine
Ramon Sinkeldam and his teammates from Groupama-FDJ were quarantined in the United Arab Emirates for ten days. The Dutchman was locked up in the hotel, together with team leader Arnaud Démare. The outbreak of the coronavirus in the peloton of the UAE Tour caused a lot of uncertainty. “We were only frustrated one evening after the second test,” said Sinkeldam to AD.

“It was two o’clock in the morning when there was a knock on the door,” Sinkeldam said of the night in which it became clear that the UAE Tour would be stopped immediately, two days ahead of schedule. “We heard that the race had been canceled immediately and that we would be tested for corona at five o’clock. So we were in the hallway a few hours later.”

Sinkeldam and Groupama-FDJ tested negative, but were not allowed to go home because the coronavirus was found in the Gazprom-RusVelo team on the same floor. Although that was not yet known. “Nobody told us why. It was total chaos. My Italian teammate Jacopo Guarnieri had walked onto the bus, which left for the airport and escaped that way,” explains Sinkeldam.

“Miles Scotson was in a hospital in Dubai. He had become ill a few days earlier. But really sick. It all went past him. We said again and again: you should test him for corona. That didn’t happen. When he felt a little better he was allowed to go home. Without being tested,” explained the Dutchman.

The uncertainty caused boredom for Sinkeldam and Démare, but not immediately to frustration. “I couldn’t blame anyone. We were frustrated one evening, after the second test. It was negative again, but we still were not allowed to go home, even though they had promised something else. Then we sneaked across the hall from room to room to rob the minibars. That night we really drank a lot. Even Arnaud doesn’t normally drink a drop.”

Despite the ten-day quarantine period, during which the riders did exercises and were able to cycle on an exercise bike, Sinkeldam still feels fit. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, it was unclear when it would be possible to race again. “I should have ridden Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo then the classics and the Giro. I have no idea if they will continue, but I say: it is not as dramatic as it seems. Whenever we start: I am ready.”

Ramon Sinkeldam:

Team Sunweb Extend Contract with Joris Nieuwenhuis
Team Sunweb are delighted to announce that Joris Nieuwenhuis has extended his contract, riding in the team’s colours until the end of 2022.

A former U23 cyclocross World Champion, Nieuwenhuis made an impressive start to his pro career on the road with Team Sunweb Men’s program in 2019. At only his second WorldTour race with the team, he finished fourth on a testing stage five at the Tour of California, following up with a strong second place on stage three at the Tour of Norway soon after. Nieuwenhuis continued his combined cyclocross-road program through the winter, his second season riding cyclocross in the elite ranks. His consistency earned him a solid tenth overall in the eventual World Cup standings, with his season highlight a third place at the Dutch national championships.

“I’m happy to stay with Team Sunweb because I believe that this is the right place for me to make some good steps and progress in the future,” explained Joris Nieuwenhuis. “I’m really looking forward to doing the classics with the team, not only to experience the races themselves but also because I think we have a strong and powerful group of classics guys. I like how both me and the team think and work together; combining a cyclocross and a road season isn’t easy but together we make it work in a good way.”

Team Sunweb head coach Rudi Kemna added: “We’re really happy to have extended our contract with Joris for the next two years. We have a good relationship with him; cooperating and working well together since he joined Development Team Sunweb in 2017. As a former U23 World Champion he is a talented cyclocross rider but he is also very strong on the road too. We believe that in the future Joris can reach a really high level in the classics. It is an area that we want to work with him, helping him to develop and fulfil his potential, alongside continuing his progression in cyclocross.”

Joris Nieuwenhuis:

Laurens ten Dam Joins Specialized!
Dutch cyclist, Laurens ten Dam, is one of the very best climbers in the world, finishing top ten in the Tour de France and Vuelta a España during his career. But this season, Laurens is climbing a new mountain, and we’re proud to say, he’s doing it with Specialized.

Laurens is saying goodbye to the World Tour and taking his magnetic personality and love of riding to new challenges in the gravel scene. Laurens first discovered gravel back in 2016 while living in Santa Cruz, CA, just a short ride over the hill from Specialized’s headquarters in Morgan Hill. Laurens was immediately hooked, incorporating local gravel events to prepare for World Tour racing.

Laurens is the perfect fit for Specialized. Like us, he wants to ride fast, but it’s the community and lifestyle that has drawn him to gravel. He’s started his own events, LtD Gravel Raid and LtD Gravel Fest, which we are also proud to support, as well as pioneering his own gravel movement with Live Slow, Ride Fast.

“Now that I am finally retired from the World Tour, I can choose my own equipment. I am proud to partner with Specialized, who I believe make the best bikes in the world. With their California roots, I think Live Slow, Ride Fast is a perfect match!” – Laurens ten Dam
Laurens will be in action throughout Europe, but also will be seen riding key global events like Dirty Kanza and Belgian Waffle Ride in the USA. This season you can find him aboard his Specialized Diverge, Roubaix and Tarmac, as well as using Specialized helmets and tires, with Roval wheels.

To learn more about Laurens, Live Slow, Ride Fast, his events, podcasts, films and travel in 2020, click here.


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