EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!
All the news from an exciting Paris-Roubaix weekend and the Giro di Sicilia with results and video. Patrick Lefevere on the Monuments in autumn – TOP STORY. Other news: David Lappartient talks about the Flanders and Roubaix move. Rider news: Nacer Bouhanni still in shock after collision and Eirik Lunder returns to Team Coop. Race news: Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift and Flèche Wallonne teams and riders. Team news: Bianchi R & D Collective launched and Quick-Step plants trees. *** Stop the war in Ukraine. ***
TOP STORY: Patrick Lefevere on the Monuments in Autumn: “Personally, That is Not Necessary for Me”
UCI boss David Lappartient is toying with the idea of reforming the WorldTour calendar to such an extent that he wonders whether the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix would not be better to take place in the autumn (interview below). As a season finale, even. Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl manager Patrick Lefevere doesn’t like the idea. “Let him first remove races from the calendar,” the Belgian told WielerFlits.
Due to the covid pandemic, Paris-Roubaix had to change from the traditional date in the second weekend of April last year. “A place on the calendar was found out of necessity in the autumn,” Lappartient said. “That move to October 3 has not made the competition any less attractive.”
“On the contrary, this was one of the most heroic editions of l’Enfer du Nord in history. I spoke about this with organiser ASO. They indicated that there would never have been any consideration before to change the Paris-Roubaix date. Now they are very different. In the future, that creates many more possibilities.”
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl organised a press conference on Thursday afternoon and Lefevere spoke about this idea. “Everyone knows I’m an old fashioned guy, so I wouldn’t change it,” the team manager laughed. “Maybe the two covid seasons were a bit special. But if he does, Lappartient will have to cut the calendar first.”
“There are so many races in August, September and the beginning of October. It is almost impossible to ride all races. Everyone knows that the season starts more or less in January. From Omloop Het Nieuwsblad to Liège-Bastogne-Liège is the first part, then everyone works towards the Tour de France and the third part is beautiful, including the World champs and the Tour of Lombardy.”
That doesn’t have to change for Lefevere; he emphasises that it is his personal opinion. “I’m just happy that both races are now back in the spring. We are used to this, here we train like crazy in the winter. Everyone is always nervous to start the first race. Everyone plans altitude training camps and all teams have been calculating for years how they can best get their riders in shape during certain periods. That requires sacrifices.”
“Once the classic period is over, I think the whole peloton will be happy that they don’t have any pressure for a while. Mentally, that rest is also welcome. I think everyone is just happy that these two monuments are now back in the spring.”
Roubaix back to Autumn?
Paris-Roubaix – Men 2022
INEOS Grenadiers triumphed in Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix after completing an excellent team race that was sealed by its Classics leader Dylan van Baarle with an impressive solo effort. The Dutchman launched his winning move with 19 kilometres to go, on the Camphin-en-Pévèle cobbled sector, dropping his break companions Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious), Tom Devriendt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl). Second and third at the finish line was Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), who were on the back foot all day after INEOS had split the race before the race hit the cobbles.
169 riders took the start of the 119th edition of Paris-Roubaix to race 257,2 kilometres between Compiègne and the Vélodrome André Pétrieux in Roubaix. It was a hectic start, with 48.8 kilometres covered in the first hour, during which many riders tried and failed to establish a break. It was at kilometre 47 that the bunch split in two groups. INEOS Grenadiers led the charge at the front, along with EF Education-EasyPost, BORA-hansgrohe, Bahrain Victorious and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, while many favourites were caught off guard and forced to chase. Amongst them, two out of the three podium finishers from 2021, Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), along with Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), Kasper Asgreen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Alexander Kristoff (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) and Jumbo-Visma duo Christophe Laporte and Wout van Aert.
The gap between the two groups reached 1:15 after 60 kilometres of racing, and was held around that mark until the first cobbled sector, 36 kilometres later. With cobbles came chaos: Pedersen and Asgreen crashed behind before sector 30 (Troisvilles to Inchy, 96.3km), while at the front it was INEOS Grenadiers’ Filippo Ganna who punctured at sector 29 (Viesly to Quiévy, 102,8km), hampering his team’s efforts to dominate the race. The real carnage, though, came at sector 27 (Saint-Python, 110.1km), when a huge crash took down most of the front group, leaving Niki Terpstra (TotalEnergies) alone in the lead. The Dutchman was brought back at sector 25 (Haussy, 123.7km) by most of his former break companions. The gap between the two main groups was still around 1 minute.
A solo attack by Jens Reynders (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) at sector 24 (Saulzoir to Verchain-Maugré, 130.6km) failed due a puncture. Soon after, after 146 kilometres, five riders broke away: Davide Ballerini (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious), Casper Pedersen (DSM), Tom Devriendt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and Laurent Pichon (Arkéa-Samsic). This led to disagreements that spelt the end for the skirmish. After a 105 kilometre long chase, the first bunch was brought back by the second one at the 152 kilometre mark, just ahead of sector 20 (Haveluy to Wallers, 153.7km).
The Trouée d’Arenberg (161.9km – 2.3 km), cobbled sector number 19, took its toll on Ballerini and Pedersen, who got dropped from the front group as the gap for Mohoric, Devriendt and Pichon increased beyond the two minutes. Only 50 riders survived in the main bunch at sector 14 (Beuvry-la-Forêt to Orchies, km 192). Into sector 13 (Orchies, km 197), Jumbo-Visma’s Nathan Van Hooydonck sped things up with his leader Wout van Aert on his wheel. Out of this move came the 12-strong favourites group that would play out for victory along with the three cyclists who were up the road. The favourites group contained: Mathieu van der Poel, Guillaume van Keirsbulck (Alpecin-Fenix), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Ben Turner, Dylan van Baarle (INEOS Grenadiers), Yves Lampaert, Florian Sénéchal (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Adrien Petit, Taco Van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates).
At sector 12 (Auchy-lez-Orchies to Bersée, 203.1km), an acceleration by Van Baarle took Trentin, Van der Hoorn and Van Keirsbulck out of contention. Into sector 11 (Mons-en-Pévèle, 208.6km), Pichon was dropped from the break due to a puncture and Sénéchal lost contact with the favourites group. Coming out of sector 9 (Pont-Thibault to Ennevelin, 218km), Mohorič suffered a puncture and left Devriendt alone in the lead. After many attacks, Mohorič broke clear from the favourites again, along with Lampaert, with 29 kilometres to go. Behind, Van Baarle gradually pulled himself back to their wheels. The three, along with Devriendt, formed a 4-man group at the head of the race, while Van Aert and Küng started to chase behind.
Van Baarle waited until sector 5 (Camphin-en-Pévèle, 237.3km) to launch what would become his winning move. Mohorič and Lampaert tried to counter, but failed to pull him back. Lampaert crashed at sector 2 (Willems to Hem, 249km) after hitting a spectator. Mohoric was then caught by Van Aert, Küng and Devriendt, who had managed to hold the pair. On the velodrome, they sprinted for the remaining podium places. Van Baarle’s had already taken the top spot for INEOS Grenadiers.
The average speed of 45,8kph was the fastest ever edition of Paris-Roubaix and the first victory for INEOS Grenadiers and its previous incarnation, Team Sky at the Hell of the North.
# You can see the PEZ ‘Roubaix Race Report’ and ‘Photo Gallery’ HERE. #
Roubaix winner, Dylan van Baarle (INEOS Grenadiers): “I am still buzzing with my performance today. The feeling when I came to the Velodrome was just amazing – I can’t put it into words. I had never experienced what it was like to be the first guy here. I knew the feeling of being the last guy, though, as I was OOT last year. I got goosebumps when I saw Dave [Brailsford, Ineos Grenadiers’ Team Principal] on the finish line, cheering full gas, as if he was alone in the velodrome. Servais [Knaven, Ineos Grenadiers’ DS] told me on the radio to enjoy myself as much as possible – and so I did. We had been chasing a big win in the cobbled classics for ages, and had fallen short a few times before my victory today. The whole team has put a lot of effort into this, testing equipment and so on. This happened because of that.”
For starters, we wanted to be focused on the start. There were some crosswinds and you could find yourself on the back, as happened to Wout van Aert and many other favourites. We knew beforehand that we had to see who was there after Arenberg to decide how to play our cards into the final. At that point Michal Kwiatkowski told me that I was super strong, that he would help me whatever it takes… and that’s what he did. Later on, all the favourites started attacking each other and Ben Turner told me he was completely empty. I asked him to take a gel and try to set me up for an attack. He did it perfectly and I broke away. It was quite painful to come back to the head of the race. But once I did it I could recover for a little bit, and I felt I was the strongest. I just had to go before the Carrefour de l’Arbre sector and hope for the best – and that’s what I did.”
“The World Championships last year were really important for me. Dutch national coach Koos Moerenhout gave me such confidence ahead and during the race. He told me I had to believe more in myself. I listened to his words – and see what happens. All of a sudden, I was up there in the Worlds and I made a click. I got a silver medal there, and I won today after building up for this the whole Winter. You can’t follow anyone in Paris-Roubaix. You just have to focus on your own race, to be at the right moment at the right place. Cycling has changed a lot over the last couple of years. Guys attack earlier and earlier to make the race hard. And that’s my favourite way of racing: to get everyone on their knees before the crucial moments come. My best strength is long-range efforts. I haven’t thought where to place the Paris-Roubaix winner trophy. For sure it will get a very nice place at home, next to my silver medal on the Worlds. Maybe I need to find a table that is strong enough to hold it…”
2nd, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “I am not disappointed to be the runner-up because it was a big surprise to feel this good on the race. In the final, Stefan [Küng] and I could drop the other favourites and catch most of the people up the road… yet Dylan [van Baarle] kept putting time into us, so I guess he was the strongest today. I’m very happy to be on the podium. After the race it is always easy to regret things, but it’s hard to choose the best moment to attack, to pick the right wheel. Also, the mechanicals issues I had meant I spent a bit more energy than expected. Besides that, I would say everything went alright for me today. I was not well positioned when the peloton split, but some of my teammates were – so we didn’t have to work neither at the front nor at the back, and I could remain calm at the back. When we took on the cobbles, I punctured and damaged my wheel. It took half an hour of chaos to chase back. As for the final part of the race, I missed Christophe [Laporte] there – he had some bad luck and was out of contention, and it’s a shame because we would have had more options to play had he been there in the end.”
“Everything felt a bit different coming into the race. But, once in the race, it all felt normal – and I quickly got back to my old habits. I focused on how to win this race and stay out of trouble, trying to find the right moments. It was easy to turn myself into the normal way of thinking. It was a collective decision for me to race here – the team, the staff, the team’s doctor, my own doctor, my trainer, and myself. It was about how I felt training. I missed one week of training and, when I resumed, I felt quite tired after every ride. But it got better and that’s why I decided to enter on the last minute.”
3rd, Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ): “It was a really hard and tactical race today. To react all the time was not easy. I had had to stop for a nature break and that’s why I was behind when the peloton split after 47k. By the time the group were organised to chase, the first bunch had a minute over us. After going through all that happened today, it is nice to be at least on the podium. This is a big achievement at my favourite race I did a really big step up this year. I’ve been riding on a different level – also mentally. I’m really confident that I can actually follow the best and be part of the race until the final. I can also be calm at the beginning of the race, because I know now that the races are very long. You can feel the confidence of the team when your teammates do their best for you. They worked so hard all day long, they were so strong, and I wanted to pay them back in a way by landing a good result. We have a very good group and a very good dynamic at Groupama-FDJ. The big win is missing but if we keep trying, it will eventually come. I had told my teammates on the team bus that today it was important to fight back every time we had an upset. Hats off to Olivier Le Gac in particular – he helped me countless times today. I owe them a beer tonight! This race is really important for our team. Both our Sports Director and our GM won it. It’s the biggest one-day race in France. We are French team, with a French sponsor, and this is the highlight of our schedule after the Tour de France. I’m proud to represent the team on the podium. I didn’t feel pressure – they just believed in me, even when we were on the back foot and had to turn around the situation.”
4th, Tom Devriendt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “It was THE day of my life! A fourth place in a Monument, that’s crazy! By racing in the front I made the surprising split in the beginning of the race and I stayed out of trouble when a lot of riders crashed on the first cobble sections of the day. When I saw the acceleration of Matej Mohoric with 100 kilometer to go I didn’t hesitate to follow him. We were the strongest riders in the breakaway an it was a pity that I couldn’t benefit of his work in the front anymore after he punctured. When I was leading alone I chose my own pace, knowing that I needed to save some energy for when I would by joined by the favorites. It was the first time that I raced for the victory in such an important classic and I really had to dig deep. I especially had a difficult moment when Dylan van Baarle accelerated, I still had to survive two cobble sections. In the final I was living in the moment and it was only in the last kilometer that I really realized that I was racing for a top five in Paris-Roubaix. I gave everything in the sprint and I’m so happy with the result!”
5th, Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious): “I can’t say I was unlucky today, but I could do without that puncture. Maybe, I could stay at the front much longer because we were getting along together and collaborating with the rider in front alongside me. I wanted the podium for myself and the team, as we did a great race today, but at the sprint in the velodrome, I was without legs and energy left. More than this result was impossible to take today. I had Sonny in my mind all day long. I wanted to take a victory for him. We will try again next year, maybe with him.”
6th, Adrien Petit (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I gave the best of myself an I’m o happy with this sixth place. My performance is part of the remarkable success of the team, especially Tom Devriendt rode a very strong race. I gave everything to stick with the group behind my teammate, on the velodrome I was confident because I always won sprints in chasing groups in the past. After my ninth and tenth places in previous editions it is a fantastic feeling to approach the podium even more in this event which means so much to me!”
9th, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “I was really empty. It was a bit of hanging and strangling. This is certainly not what I had hoped for, but it was also a separate race. I didn’t really panic. I didn’t know if we were going to come back, but I never panicked. I sat from behind, but didn’t really go to the side. And suddenly half of it (the peloton) was gone. We did come back in a good situation thanks to good team work, but I didn’t have the legs today either. My spring wasn’t that long. Everything I’ve ridden was a bonus. This is already much more than expected. I had hoped for a nice Roubaix, but I’m happy with what I was able to get out of it. I was really empty at the end. The last 30, 40 kilometres kept fighting, but it was on character.”
10th, Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “I did a perfect race. It was hard and full gas from the beginning, but I fought and did my best, managing to be part of that strong group with 50 kilometres to go. Then, as soon as I sensed an opportunity, I accelerated, and things went really well once the group formed. I began hoping and thinking of a podium. Despite being a bit on my limit on the Carrefour de l’Arbre, I was confident and feeling that a top 3 was reachable, really within my grasp. What else can I say? When the crash happened, I tried to save it, but there was nothing to be done, and I hit the ground. I remounted and continued the race, but despite coming home in tenth place, the disappointment is huge thinking of what could have been.”
14th, Jordi Meeus (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was more or less always full gas from sector to sector and there wasn‘t any time to think. It was good to be in front in the beginning, but when the favourites closed the gap and attacked little later, I didn’t have the legs to follow. After the sicknesses I had to go through this spring, I have to, admit I am happy with my performance. Of course, we aimed for more as a team, but personally I can be satisfied with the result. The sprint on the Velodrome was special. I was a little boxed in first, but still was able to win it.”
22nd, Nils Politt (BORA-hangrohe): “In the beginning we did everything right and have been three of us in the big group. I also had good legs and before Arenberg I attacked to avoid the stress there. That worked out well and I was in the group of favourites after. But when Van Aert made his first move, Van Avermaet dropped in front of me, and a hole opened. There was brief hesitation and the gap got bigger. That’s a pity because there was more possible today.”
Paris-Roubaix – Men Result:
1. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) INEOS Grenadiers in 5:37:00
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 1:47
3. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
4. Tom Devriendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
5. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain-Victorious
6. Adrien Petit (Fra) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 2:27
7. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
8. Laurent Pichon (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
9. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 2:34
10. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 2:59.
Paris-Roubaix – Women 2022
The second women’s Paris-Roubaix was won by Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo). The Italian champion finished solo on the Vélodrome André Pétrieux in Roubaix, after attacking more than thirty kilometres from the line. Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) won the sprint for second place, just ahead of Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo).
The second edition of Paris-Roubaix for women, the first held in the spring, started without Marianne Vos. The runner-up in last year’s edition had to miss this year’s race due to a positive covid test. Elizabeth Deignan, the winner in October 2021, was also not there, because she is expecting her second child. With Lotte Kopecky, Ellen van Dijk and Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, there were still plenty of favourites.
Five riders managed to escape on the Denain circuit. Katie Clouse (Human Powered Health), Tanja Erath (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB), Gaia Masetti (AG Insurance-NXTG), Amalie Lutro (Uno-X) and Leonie Bos (Parkhotel Valkenburg) gained a lead of about 2 minutes. At the start of the first of seventeen cobblestone sections, after 43.3 kilometres, they still had 1 minute. Marta Cavalli had already hit the asphalt. The French rider, who won the Amstel Gold Race last week, was able to continue, unlike Julie De Wilde, who had also crashed. The leading group thinned out from five to three on the 3,700 metre first section. Lutro, Masetti and Erath were left at the front. Erath eventually went solo. The German didn’t have much of a lead. The peloton, often led by Ellen van Dijk, was getting closer and eventually caught her. Van Dijk was just behind the pack at that time, because she had a puncture. Later in the race, this would also happen to Elisa Balsamo and the unfortunate Marta Cavalli. In her attempt to return to the group, Balsamo used the ‘sticky bottle’ for a bit too long and was disqualified.
Cavalli and Van Dijk managed to get back. With 53 kilometres to go, Lotte Kopecky and Marta Bastianelli pushed on at Auchy-lez-Orchies – Bersée. Fortunately for Trek-Segafredo, Lucinda Brand was on hand, and managed to make the jump to the duo off the front. The three held out for a long time, but there was a large group behind. After another counter-attack from Alice Barnes (Canyon//SRAM), it all came together again. Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) saw her chance at this point. The Italian champion took off on the Templeuve section. She soon had a lead of about 30 seconds on the peloton, where SD Worx led the chase. On the next section, Lotte Kopecky accelerated, creating a chasing group of: Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo), Chantal Van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx), Marta Bastianelli (UAE Team ADQ), Emma Norsgaard (Movistar), Pfeiffer Georgi, Floortje Mackaij (both DSM), Marta Cavalli and Grace Brown (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope).
The nine got within 12 seconds of Longo Borghini, but the Italian stretched her lead. At Camphin-en-Pévèle, 20 kilometres from the finish, a regrouped peloton was eating into her lead. Borghini almost fell in a corner, but she held off a group with Kopecky, Cavalli, Van Dijk and Brand. After a few other riders managed to join these four, it was again the same quartet that rode away on the Carrefour de l’Arbre. As there were two Trek-Segafredo riders in the chasing group, a chase didn’t really get going. Borghini had about 40 seconds by this point. When Elise Chabbey, Mackaij and Van den Broek-Blaak returned, the gap came down again. Van den Broek-Blaak in particular did a lot of work for Kopecky. In the end it was not enough. Longo Borghini kept her lead and finished solo on the velodrome in Roubaix. Behind her it came down to a sprint for second place. Kopecky just edged out Brand on the line, so there were two Trek-Segafredo riders on the podium.
Roubaix winner, Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo): “That was pure instinct to attack. I saw the break was caught and I thought it was a good move to be on the front and to put Lucinda in the best position to just follow me, and make SD Worx chase. Therefore I just went full on from there. The beginning of the season was not ideal, I had sinusitis and I couldn’t really breathe. I had to step back in order to move forward. I skipped Amstel and Brabantse Pijl because I had to take antibiotics. I wasn’t supposed to come here, so I had no pressure. But I did everything good this winter, and I was just sick for the entire Spring and I couldn’t perform the way I’m supposed to. As soon as I got healthy, I performed well. Surely the weather conditions were completely different but it wasn’t an easy race. It was lots of dust on the road and on the cobbles. I tried to go alone, because then I can choose my lines. It was different but not any safer. It’s Roubaix, that’s it! Entering the velodrome is an amazing feeling. It’s like going through the Dantesque hell, and then all of a sudden you’re in paradise, and you can really enjoy it. I still don’t really believe in it.”
2nd, Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx): “We were still in full control of the race, but in half a second the situation had completely changed. Suddenly we were behind and had to go full steam ahead. It was a situation that we were not able to rectify, which is why we are now disappointed,””Lucinda didn’t go full speed and our goal was to put the other teams under pressure. I did my turn to keep the lead but also got the signal not to throw my strength too much.””In no time the situation was completely turned around,””We suddenly had to chase.””That’s understandable because we were so dominant in all the previous races. Then you know the competition is leaving all the work to us,””The teammates of Longo Borghini did a good job of hiding. We tried to ride full speed, but couldn’t close the gap. That’s a shame, but Elisa was also strong today.””The disappointment dominates. My legs were good and we could have held the race in our hands. Unfortunately, it was not to be today.”
3rd, Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo): “The whole week I thought about entering velodrome, how cool it would be. But then I was really focused! I tried to think about the sprint, it was super hard to beat Lotte [Kopecky] even though she was tired. I think getting 3rd was the highest possible position for today. The first part was chaotic. When Ellen [van Dijk] had a puncture, that was quite bad, because it was early on the cobblestones. When she was nearly back, I went in the breakaway with Lotte. And we still had a good team behind, so that was perfect. We basically kept all the numbers up front. For me, it was ideal to just be in this group, with no pressure. We came back together, Elisa went, and we never saw her back. I definitely enjoyed! It was hurting, but it was also fun, I really liked it. Let’s recover a little bit but I’m definitely coming back.”
8th, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx): “In the end, this was the highest we could achieve. We were dead broke. I had the idea we were in the race well and that everyone was doing their thing. We had it under control, until Longo Borghini went on the attack. Actually, there was nothing wrong, but we couldn’t close the gap. Then you can say she was just the strongest.”
Paris-Roubaix – Women Result:
1. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 3:10:54
2. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SD Worx at 0:23
3. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
4. Elise Chabbey (Swi) Canyon//SRAM
5. Marta Cavalli (Ita) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
6. Floortje Mackaij (Ned) DSM
7. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
8. Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (Ned) SD Worx at 0:32
9. Pfeiffer Georgi (GB) DSM at 2:22
10. Sandra Alonso (Spa) Ceratizit-WNT.
Giro di Sicilia 2022
Fran Miholjević was the surprise winner of the Third Stage of the Giro di Sicilia on Thursday. The 19 year-old Croat of the Friuli ASD team was part of the early break and managed to stay out of the grip of a thinned peloton in the final on a difficult course. Miholjević is also the new overall leader with one stage to go.
With Caruso in the leader’s jersey, the peloton started the third and penultimate stage of the Giro di Sicilia. On day three, the riders were not presented with any tough climbs, but the route went up and down all day. The final was also not easy and looked to have been designed for the stronger punchers of the race.
The break of the day was formed by six riders: Fran Miholjević (Cycling Team Friuli ASD), Alessandro Iacchi (Team Qhubeka), Federico Burchio (Work Service Vitalcare Vega), Martin Svrček (Biesse-Carrera), Veljko Stojnić (Team Corratec) and Matteo Furlan (D’Amico-UM Tools) joined forces and had a lead of 4 minutes from the peloton. Furlan was the first to drop out with about 70 kilometres to go, the 23 year-old Italian wasn’t feeling well. The remaining five leaders continued to work well, without Furlan, and the lead fluctuated around 4 minutes. Due to the strong headwind, the pace was not too high. In the large group, Bardiani-CSF Faizanè and Astana Qazaqstan had a man on the front for the chase. Fifteen kilometres to the finish, the difference was still 1:30. Ten kilometres from the finish, Miholjević saw his moment come and put in a well-timed attack for the stage victory. Stojnić, Burchio and Iacchi couldn’t follow, Svrček had already been dropped and caught by the peloton. The group had already thinned out considerably due the wind. Leader Caruso put the pressure on in the bunch, this turned out to be the start of a serious acceleration in the group of favourites.
A first group of about 25 riders, including Caruso, Vincenzo Nibali, Domenico Pozzovivo and Louis Meintjes, managed to get away. The men of the Italian national team decided to take control of the race, bolstered by the stage victories of Matteo Malucelli and Caruso earlier this week, and started to chase the solo Miholjevi. However, son of former pro rider Vladimir Miholjević managed to hold on to his lead in the final kilometres. The promising rider had plenty of time in the last kilometre to celebrate the biggest win of his career, so far. The stunned Miholjević’s lead was more than half a minute at the finish, which means he is the new overall leader in the Giro di Sicilia. Canadian Pier-André Coté won the sprint for second place, ahead of Filippo Fiorelli.
Stage winner and overall leader, Fran Miholjević (Cycling Team Friuli ASD): “Today is a dream coming true. When the race started, I knew that if a breakaway could make it to the end, it would have been in this stage. I did my best to get in it, and it’s still unbelievable to me that I managed to do it. Until this race, I was just watching them racing in TV after the trainings. Actually they raced with my father, so I think I have a lot of respect for them. It’s just unbelievable and makes the victory even more incredible. For sure, tomorrow I’m going to honour the jersey and try to stay with the best. Anything that comes after today is just a bonus.”
2nd on the stage, Pier-André Coté (Human Powered Health): “I see every single day as an opportunity to perform for either me or my teammates. We go out there every day racing as hard as we can and we try to be opportunistic every chance we get. I made a selective group of around 20 guys when I felt my back tire getting soft. Pat was really the MVP after Antonio’s bike change. He kept me focused and calm, directing me step-by-step on how to make it back to that front group. I just had to trust him and pedal hard, it was truly amazing. I shot for it and saw 300m to go and I just thought, ‘this is going to be painful for a while now, but I have to hold it to the line’.”
Giro di Sicilia Stage 3 Result:
1. Fran Miholjević (Cro) Cycling Team Friuli ASD in 4:54:07
2. Pier-André Coté (Can) Human Powered Health at 0:41
3. Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè
4. Nicola Venchiarutti (Ita) Work Service Vitalcare Vega
5. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan
7. Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
8. Valerio Conti (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan
9. Georg Zimmermann (Ger) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
10. Alessandro Fedeli (Ita) Italy.
Giro di Sicilia Overall After Stage 3:
1. Fran Miholjević (Cro) Cycling Team Friuli ASD in 13:01:14
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Italy at 0:18
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:22
4. Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè at 0:23
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:24
6. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo at 0:28
7. Alessandro Fedeli (Ita) Italy at 0:31
8. Nicola Conci (Ita) Italy
9. Jefferson Alexander Cepeda (Ecu) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
10. Edgar Andres Pinzon (Col) Colombia Tierra de Atletas-GW Bicicletas-Shimano.
Sicilia’22 Stage 3:
Damiano Caruso won the Final Stage 4 of the Giro di Sicilia and the overall. The Italian climber was the strongest of the favourites and was the first to cross the finish-line on the Etna volcano.
The best stage of the 2022 Giro di Sicilia was saved for the end with Etna as the last climb of the race. The start was in Ragalna and then clockwise around the volcano, to the double ascent of the Contrada. After the Contrada climb for the second time, the final climb to Etna awaited, with the finish at the site of Piano Provenzana. In total, about 3,500 metres of climbing.
A long battle for the day’s beak started from the kilometre zero, and it wasn’t until well into the second hour that a group managed to escape. Filippo Fiorelli (Bardiani-CSF), Michael Belleri (Biesse), Rafael Pineda, Germán Gómez (Colombia Tierra de Atletas), David Martin (EOLO-Kometa), Pier-André Coté (Human Powered Health), Stefano Gandin (Corratec), Nicola Venchiarutti (Work Service Vitalcare Vega) and Matteo Zurlo (Zalf Euromobil Fior) were able to take 3 minutes. In the final 50 kilometres the break’s lead started to shrink. On the second time up the Contrada, Pineda and Gómez attacked, while the other escapees were caught up one by one. The Colombians started the climb of Etna together. On the volcano, overall leader, Miholjević was dropped from the peloton. The day after his stage victory, the 19-year-old Croat, son of former professional cyclist Vladimir Miholjević, was unable to hang on.
Gómez was the strongest at the front and went solo. In the final 10 kilometres, he was caught. Then the battle between the GC riders could begin. It was Damiano Caruso who opened the action, only Vincenzo Nibali and Jefferson Cepeda were able to go with him. Eventually, Louis Meintjes and Kenny Elissonde were able to catch the three up front. Seven kilometres from the finish, Nibali tried, but the Italian was unable to escape the others. In the end, Caruso put in the decisive attack with 1.4 kilometres to go. The climber, who normally rides for Bahrain Victorious, but was with the Italian national team in Sicily, cracked Nibali and Cepeda and headed for a double of stage and overall win.
Stage, final overall and points winner, Damiano Caruso (Italy): “It’s amazing to be the winner of this beautiful race, in my region and with the jersey of the National Team. I want to thank my team that gave me the permission to be here and the Italian Federation for the support. I prepared this race with the maximum commitment and I took the result that I was aiming for. I’m really happy, I was focused on winning the Etna stage when the race started. It means a lot to me. I know the final climb really well, so it was an advantage for me. With 7km to go I tried to go clear to test my rivals, but I knew that the last 2km, with the steepest part, would have been decisive. At the finish line I celebrated a lot, I was overjoyed because I could see many friends of mine among the fans. So many people came here to see me on Etna. I dedicate this victory to my family and to everyone working for me, they deserve it.”
2nd overall, 3rd on the stage and best young rider, Jefferson Cepeda (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli): “It was a really hard day, but I knew the stage and I was aware it would have been though. I had a training camp in altitude to be ready for this race. Now I go away from this Tour of Sicily really satisfied, this second place in the GC gives me much confidence for my next goals. This white jersey will allow me to go to the Giro with more faith in my ability. I will keep on training to get there in my best shape and fight for a stage win.”
2nd on the stage and 3rd overall, Loujs Meintjes (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I’m quite happy with how I felt today. I wasn’t feeling that good the first days, when I started here in Sicily. It’s a pity Domenico wasn’t feeling good today, I think that his legs may have been better than mine. I’m sorry for him, it’s not the best for the team but luckily we can still come back from Tour of Sicily with some good result. This result helps with the preparation. I’m really happy I came here and that I can go away with some more motivations.”
4th on the stage and overall, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan): “I think it was a very good test for me after the training camp at altitude and in the run-up to the Giro d’Italia. I also feel that I am on the right track. I did the maximum I could today and in general I couldn’t do more during these four days. So I’m quite happy with my form and my result. I congratulate Damiano Caruso on this great victory. I’m happy that another Sicilian won this race.”
KOM, Stefano Gandin (Team Corratec): “We started with the goal to try to keep the jersey. We knew it would have been really hard, and it was. When we caught the early breakaway, I saw we had a chance. I would like to thank my teammate, Stojnic, that helped me going clear. I told myself ‘I have to give everything until the second KOM and take as much points as I can’. Yesterday I was really tired, but today I felt better. I had good legs, I recovered well. I’m really happy for my team, my teammates and myself.”
Giro di Sicilia Stage 4 Result:
1. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Italy in 4:01:47
2. Louis Meintjes (SA) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:05
3. Jefferson Alexander Cepeda (Ecu) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli at 0:10
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:17
5. Diego Rosa (Ita) EOLO-Kometa at 0:50
6. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo at 0:57
7. Nicola Conci (Ita) Italy at 2:06
8. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa at 2:18
9. Antonio Nibali (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan at 2:20
10. Luca Rastelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè at 2:22.
Giro di Sicilia Overall After Stage 4:
1. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Italy in 17:03:09
2. Jefferson Alexander Cepeda (Ecu) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli at 0:29
3. Louis Meintjes (SA) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:31
5. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo at 1:17
6. Nicola Conci (Ita) Italy at 2:29
7. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa at 2:41
8. Edgar Andres Pinzon (Col) Colombia Tierra de Atletas-GW Bicicletas-Shimano at 2:45
9. Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan at 2:52
10. Antonio Nibali (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan at 2:57.
Sicilia’22 Stage 4:
David Lappartient: “Flanders and Roubaix to Move to the Autumn? Why not!”
UCI president David Lappartient is open to radically reforming the WorldTour calendar in the coming years. One of the possibilities that the Frenchman suggests is to end the cycling season in the autumn with the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Lappartient spoke to WielerFlits reporter Raymond Kerckhoffs.
Lappartient points to the past two seasons in which the layout of the calendar had to be adjusted due to Covid-19. “Paris-Roubaix was always on the second Sunday in April,” explained Lappartient. “Last spring, however, the event was banned by the local authorities due to the Corona situation in northern France. Out of necessity, a place on the calendar for Paris-Roubaix was found in the autumn. That move to October 3 has not made the race any less attractive.”
“On the contrary, this was one of the most heroic editions of ‘l’Enfer du Nord’ in history. I spoke about this with organiser ASO. They indicated that there would never have been any consideration before to change the Paris-Roubaix date. Now they are very different. In the future, that creates many more possibilities.”
Due to all the relocations of race during the two corona seasons, Lappartient has recently held talks with some organisers and teams about a thorough reformation of the calendar.
Lappartient: “End the season with the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix? That’s something we couldn’t imagine in the past. Now I ask myself: why not? Wouldn’t that open up possibilities in the calendar when we organise these two, perhaps the two largest, monuments at the end of the year.”
According to the UCI president, everything is possible in the calendar format at the moment. “We have now distributed the WorldTour licenses to the organisers for 2023, 2024 and 2025. The document that the organisers have received states that they are assured of WorldTour status, but the date when the race will take place is something that is still open for discussion. The organiser does not own a fixed date on the calendar.”
A primary reason why Lappartient wants to reform the calendar is to avoid overlapping WorldTour races. “But”, he indicates, “a reorganisation of the calendar will certainly also be discussed. Most organisers now understand that a change of date can also offer possibilities and opportunities. We used to stick to certain dates, because we had been planning the calendar in this way for years. How we will implement the reform is still unclear. But all parties in cycling have indicated to us that they are open to considering changes.”
The dates of the three Grand Tours are in principle not up for discussion. Lappartient: “It could be that a Grand Tour might be postponed one or two weeks, but broadly it will remain the same. The Tour de France will be organised in July. The Giro d’Italia will continue to take place before the Tour de France, while the Vuelta a España will have its place after the Tour. We will not change the frame of the calendar regarding the Grand Tours. You cannot open the season with a Grand Tour, while at the end of October you cannot close the season with it due to the weather conditions in the high mountains.”
Calendar changes by Lappartient?
Nacer Bouhanni Still in Shock After Head-On Collision with Pedestrian
Nacer Bouhanni had a serious crash in the second stage of the Tour of Turkey when a pedestrian walked onto the course and collided with the peloton. The Frenchman broke a vertebra in the neck. “I am still in shock of the violence with which I was slapped head-on on that gentleman,” Bouhanni wrote on his Instagram.
“We were racing at about 55 km/h when it happened, so I couldn’t react more,” the Frenchman continued. “I just have the image in front of me, which keeps coming back, where I see two people in front of me on the road. It really is a nightmare. Really, I’m at a point… I’m not used to writing such a text on my social media, but I really can’t understand how this could have happened!”
Bouhanni finds the situation mentally very difficult. “I thought the worst until I arrived in Paris,” said the Arkéa-Samsic rider, thanking several people for their support and help. “Now my recovery will take a very long time, because I broke my first cervical vertebra (between the spine and the head).”
Eirik Lunder Returns to Team Coop After Gazprom-RusVelo Suspension
Eirik Lunder will finish the season with the continental Team Coop. The 22-year-old Norwegian was under contract with Gazprom-RusVelo, but that team has been suspended by the UCI due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Lunder previously rode for Team Coop.
Lunder rode for his home country team until August 2021, after which he joined Gazprom-RusVelo as a stagiere. He also rode the Tour of Antalya for the Russian registered team this spring. After that, the war in Ukraine began and the team was suspended. Currently, the team, which has changed the name from Gazprom-RusVelo to Professional Cycling Team on social media, is still looking for a new title sponsor.
“After a lot of uncertainty in the last few weeks, I am happy to have found a team,” Lunder wrote on his social media. “For the rest of 2022, I’m taking a step back to my previous team, Team Coop. I would like to thank the RusVelo team for their belief in me. I want to thank all the staff and riders. It’s been a tough few weeks that no one saw coming.”
“I also want to thank General Director Renat (Khamidulin) very much for everything he has done for the riders in the last weeks to find a solution. I’ll see you on the road,” concluded Lunder. In 2021 Lunder won a stage and the overall in the Polish stage race Dookoła Mazowsza (UCI 2.2).
Eirik Lunder back to Team Coop:
Tour de France Femmes Avec Zwift D-100: The Final Preparations are Underway
Sandra Levenez, Marion Rousse, Évita Muzic, Aurore Amaury, Kate Veronneau
Marion Rousse: “Excitement and Concentration”.
The director of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift has been busy since last October with her new duties. She is also aware of the historical significance of this maiden edition, which the female cycling champions have long-awaited. The challenge needs to be fine-tuned for the riders and the organisers. “We will have our expectations, and there will be excitement, but we will maintain our concentration in the 100 days leading up to the start of the race. Just like the riders who are in full preparation for the battle to wear the leader’s Maillot Jaune at the end of stage one, at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe, we are moving toward our goal of preparing the most beautiful stage possible for them. The first stage on an iconic Tour de France circuit will be a perfect launch into the next seven stages as the peloton sets off on its quest for the coveted Maillot Jaune. The public will continue to discover great champions”.
Web Series: Up Close and Personal with the Champions
Long before they are due to appear on television next summer, the champions have begun to open their doors, agreeing to shares their views about the upcoming Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. A dozen have welcomed a film crew that takes viewers of this series of portraits into the heart of their daily lives: in Brittany with Audrey Cordon-Ragot, in the Piedmontese village of Ornavasso to gather the insights of Elisa Longo-Borghini, in Girona in Spain where Kasia Niewiadoma and Cecilie Utrup Ludwig have set up their training camp, and of course in the Netherlands to meet Queen Marianne Vos. The pilot episode was released as a sneak preview before all episodes are aired weekly, starting on 22 April.
For its part, Zwift is celebrating these last 100 days before the start by launching its #NewRules campaign and competition for its community to win a trip to France. The campaign aims to promote the event and, more notably, the women who make it possible. Kate Veronneau, Director of Women’s Strategy at Zwift Inc. said: “This first edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift will showcase the incredible strength and personality of the women’s professional peloton in the world’s biggest cycling event. It is a crucial step in promoting women’s racing to a wider international audience, which is essential to support our collective mission to elevate women’s cycling and inspire the next generation of champions. We look forward to the world watching the women on 24 July.”
A Race Broadcast in 190 Countries
The Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift benefits from a broad coverage, with a broadcast in France by France Télévisions, and an international relay thanks in 190 countries thanks to the Eurovision network. Concerning the national broadcast, France Télévisions will provide nearly 20 hours of live coverage of all of the event’s eight stages. Laurent-Éric Le Lay, Director of Sports at France Télévisions, expresses his pride to provide extensive coverage of the race: “The Tour de France Femmes is an event that has been eagerly awaited, not only by the riders but also by the public. For eight days, Tour de France enthusiasts will be able to extend the celebration of the Tour and appreciate women’s cycling, thanks to France Télévisions’ coverage.”
The First Yellow Jersey at the End of the Champs-Elysées
The opening stage, which follows the historic circuit of the Champs-Élysées, will mix prestige and difficulties. The peloton will have to deal with the many tiring re-accelerations that the 82-kilometre course will feature. They will need strength and daring to avoid a mass sprint, just like Anna Van der Breggen did in 2015 during La Course by Tour de France with FDJ. Franck Perque, Sporting Director of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, sees this stage as “an opportunity for the sprinters in the peloton to claim the leader’s Maillot Jaune. However, beware of the race conditions that could make the stage tricky. Unfavourable weather conditions like wind or rain could favour an outsider”.
Évita Muzic: “Ambition and Impatience”
After a difficult start to the season due to an injury sustained in a crash at the end of last season, 2021 French road cycling champion Évita Muzic returned for the Brabantse Pijl. She is now looking forward to July: “With 100 days to go before the start of the race, we are looking forward to the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope will approach the race with ambition. It’s a huge goal for me, especially as a rider in a French team. The main objective is to wear the leader’s Maillot Jaune, and the first stage is a great opportunity to start the Tour for the team. A mythical avenue and a demanding course that I hope will give us opportunities to excel”.
Ø The 1st edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift will kick off on Sunday, 24 July, in front of the Eiffel Tower, for 12 laps of a circuit in the heart of Paris, just until the Champs-Élysées. Over the eight stages that will lead the peloton to the Super Planche des Belles Filles, all the champions will find an ideal terrain to show what they are made of.
Ø Greeted at the Arc de Triomphe by the Centre for National Monuments, Marion Rousse, director of the event, Zwift, title partner, France Télévisions and the EBU, official broadcasters, as well as all the sponsors and communities presented the framework of the event, in the presence of reigning French champion, Évita Muzic.
The End of the “Balaf” Era
It has been six years since the up-and-coming rider Julian Alaphilippe was only spotted by the most experienced of observers and came close to a major exploit the day he discovered the Mur de Huy. In 2015, the newcomer finished runner-up to the master, Alejandro Valverde, who won the third of his five victories at the top of the Chemin des Chapelles. Since then, the two kept improving and sharing the Flèche Wallonne spoils, except in 2020 when Marc Hirschi took top honours, on a Wednesday in September when neither the Spaniard nor the Frenchman participated! Last year, after a breath-taking final, “Alaf” won for the third time, while “Bala” finished 3rd, for his eighth podium result on the Flèche Wallonne. Time goes by, but for their last duel in the Flèche, the “Balaf” duo is still at the top of the bill. The champion from Murcia doesn’t want his final season to be a farewell tour. Even though his season hasn’t, so far, been the most flattering of his career, Valverde already has three victories in 2022 to his credit and a runner-up result in the Strade Bianche, which wouldn’t be realistic for an ageing pre-retiree. The world champion has already won a stage on the Tour of the Basque Country and rarely makes miscues when preparing for his races. The two Flèche Wallonne specialists should still be able to break late in the race.
However, Valverde and Alaphilippe’s hold on the Flèche Wallonne is not guaranteed. As in most cycling circles, the Slovenian camp’s rise to power could also involve conquering the Ardennes. If Primoz Roglič, 2nd in 2021, will not come to the Flèche Wallonne this year, Tadej Pogačar should not have any qualms after his victory in Liège last year. His near-absolute domination in 2022 on the Italian roads (Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico), leaves little doubt about his ability to excel if he takes the measure of the tricky last kilometre. Many riders want to mix it up with the Slovenian ogre and the established leaders in the big puncher’s race. Ineos Grenadiers has a near-complete team of contenders: Thomas Pidcock took an encouraging 6th place in his first go in 2021, Michal Kwiatkowski just won the Amstel Gold Race for the second time and finished third in 2014, Dani Martinez recently won the Tour of the Basque Country, and Carlos Rodriguez won a stage at the age of 21 and is an expected future Spanish champion. The French delegation could also create a stir, considering the recent results of Valentin Madouas (3rd in Flanders) and Benoit Cosnefroy (2nd in the Amstel Gold Race). Warren Barguil, who picked up a stage on the Tirreno-Adriatico, and won the Grand Prix Miguel Indurain, has four top-ten finishes in the Flèche Wallonne (4th in 2020). It will be a complete field at the bottom of the Mur de Huy.
25 Teams, The Leading Riders:
Team BikeExchange – Jayco : Matthews (Aus), Grmay (Eth)
Bahrain Victorious : Poels (Ned), Teuns (Bel), Caruso (Ita)
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team : Alaphilippe (Fra), Evenepoel (Bel)
Lotto Soudal : Wellens, Gilbert (Bel)
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux : Pozzovivo (Ita), Bakelants (Bel)
Alpecin-Fenix : Meurisse (Bel), Stannard (Aus)
Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise : Herregodts, Van Poucke (Bel)
Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB : Mertz (Bel)
AG2R Citroen Team : Cosnefroy, Champoussin, Paret-Peintre (Fra)
Groupama-FDJ : Madouas, Gaudu, Molard (Fra)
Cofidis : I.Izagirre, Herrada (Spa)
Team Arkea-Samsic : Barguil (Fra), Anacona (Col)
TotalEnergies : Latour, Vuillermoz (Fra)
B&B Hotels-KTM : Bonnamour, Koretzky, Rolland (Fra)
BORA-hansgrohe : Higuita (Col), Hindley (Aus), Vlasov
Ineos Grenadiers : Pidcock, Thomas (Gbr), Kwiatkowski (Pol), Martinez (Col), Rodriguez (Spa)
Israel-Premier Tech : Woods (Can), Fuglsang, Schmidt (Den)
Astana Qazaqstan Team : Lutsenko (Kaz), De la Cruz (Spa), Nibali (Ita)
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team : Johannessen (Nor)
Movistar Team : Valverde, Mas, Aranburu (Spa)
Jumbo-Visma : Benoot (Bel), Vingegaard (Den)
United Arab Emirates
UAE Team Emirates : Pogačar (Slo), Hirschi (Che), Soler (Spa), Ulissi (Ita)
Trek-Segafredo : Mollema (Ned), Ciccone (Ita), Kamp (Den)
EF Education-Easypost : Uran (Col), Powless (Usa), Padun (Ukr)
Ø Alejandro Valverde and Julian Alaphilippe have won the Flèche Wallonne eight times between them and remain undefeated on the Mur de Huy since 2014. “Bala” and “Alaf” meet for the last time on the Ardennes Classics, as the former Spanish world champion has decided to retire at the end of the 2022 season.
Ø The two Flèche Wallonne experts will face stiff competition on Wednesday, April 20th on the final metres of the 86th edition. Tadej Pogačar has made the Ardennes campaign his last races before immersing himself in the preparation of the Tour de France while the Ineos Grenadiers team will be in force behind Thomas Pidcock.
Ø As for French concerns, recent races have seen riders like Benoit Cosnefroy and Valentin Madouas rise to the level of the best, just like Warren Barguil who already performed well in Huy.
Valverde in 2019:
Bianchi R & D Collective Launched
Race & Develop Athletes to Focus on Gravel, Cyclocross and Mountain
Bianchi, the iconic Italian brand, recently introduced a new collection of racers and mentors called the Bianchi R & D Collective. The R & D Collective, which stands for Race and Develop, is a collection of elite level athletes representing multiple cycling disciplines, all brought together by Bianchi to share their passions for racing and growing the sport of cycling. The ensemble cast of six privateers spans the full spectrum of ages, geographies, and racing experience, with the primary focus of the program being on gravel racing. From an 18-year-old Texas high school student to a 51-year-old New England cyclocross legend, they all share a passion to compete at the highest level, but also have a common bond and desire to inspire and develop other athletes in all things cycling.
“Bianchi is deeply invested in the future of our sport, its athletes, and the greater cycling community,” said Pat Hus, CEO of Bianchi USA. “We selected athletes to join our mission based on their accomplishments on the bike, but more importantly based on their story and what they are doing to make a difference in cycling.”
The team lineup includes three world-class coaches that are currently mentoring and training over two hundred athletes across the country in all areas of cycling. Another athlete manages the largest Bianchi dealership in Colorado and is working every day to develop and grow the sport. Yet another is using her influence and various platforms to recruit and inspire other women to share in her passion for racing. Lastly, the youngest rider on the team is an aspiring athlete who is in development and is becoming a serious influencer in his own right with his peers in high school and throughout his home state of Texas.
Joining Bianchi in support of the Collective are other Italian-based brands – Castelli Cycling, Kask Helmets, Koo Eyewear, fi’zi:k Saddles and Shoes, and Crank Brothers. The entire Collective will be racing throughout the weekend at the Sea Otter Classic at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, CA. The race schedules for each athlete vary and are specifically targeted at key regional races as well as other major national events such as the Belgian Waffle Rides, Unbound Gravel, Steamboat Gravel and Big Sugar.
These athletes comprise the Bianchi R & D Collective:
Adam Myerson – A New England cyclocross legend, Adam is one of our “developers”. In addition to numerous road, crit and cyclocross National Championships and Pan Am Championships, Adam has years of coaching and event management experience with his Cycle-Smart program.
Brian McCulloch – Another “developer”, Brian brings a long and successful road racing career with him to teach and motivate his athletes at Big Wheel Coaching. Brian is a past winner of the Belgian Waffle Ride and his racing knowledge is only matched by his desire to get the best out of others.
Bjørn Selander – Yet another coach, Bjørn is a former World Tour racer with loads of road and cross experience to pass on to the next generation. Bjørn coaches members of Minnesota Junior Cycling and will focus on gravel and cyclocross.
Jake Peterson – While he’s 27 years old, Jake can be considered one of our “developing” racers who will be leaning on the experience of his elder teammates. Jake manages the C3 Bike Shop, on of Bianchi’s strong retailers on Colorado’s front range. Look for Jake to use this opportunity to jump into more prestigious races and longer distances.
Whitney Post – The winner of last year’s Sea Otter Gravel Race and overall BWR Triple Crown of Gravel, Whitney juggles her professional career with her passion for racing. While a somewhat recent convert to cycling, Whitney brings an enthusiasm and energy level that is hard to surpass.
Wesley Haase – Our youngest member, Wesley represents the next generation of cycling hopefuls. He may be still be in high school, but Wesley is already thinking of passing his cycling passion to those younger and less fortunate. Wesley has added gravel racing to his NICA and TMBRA xc racing.
The R & D Collective was introduced at the 2022 Sea Otter Classic where the entire team raced together for the first time in several disciplines. Whitney Post rode to a hard-fought 2nd place finish in the Open Pro Gravel race.
Bianchi is one of the most historic and prestigious brands of bicycles in the world. Over 135 years strong, the company started in Milan in 1885 with Edoardo Bianchi, and today embodies the best of what Italy can offer to the world – distinguishing design, innovation, and technology. Bianchi USA is part of the Grimaldi Industri Group and F.I.V.E Bianchi and has distribution and sales in more than 50 countries around the world. Grimaldi Industri is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and is the parent company of the Grimaldi Industri AB Group with over 1100 employees across the globe.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Plants More than 3000 Trees in France with CO2logic
The profits of the latest auction of a special Samsonite suitcase will also go to the #ItStartsWithUs project.
To celebrate the collaboration with Samsonite and the 106th edition of De Ronde, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl auctioned a special suitcase last week, with the signature and portrait of Kasper Asgreen. The profits netted 610 euros which will go directly to the #ItStartsWithUs reforestation project in France, giving an extra push in the right direction for the climate.
With this amount and the profits of last year’s auction of a beautiful Tarmac SL7, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl co-financed one of the first Label Bas Carbone projects in France together with CO2logic. The project was labeled successfully starting in 2022 and enabled the reforestation of 2.9 ha in Saint-Jean-Sur-Vilaine, a village located in northwestern France. More than 3000 trees have already been planted using different tree species as sessile oak, beech, wild apple trees and tulip tree, which will improve the local biodiversity and the provision of food for the local fauna such as small mammals, wild boars and deer.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl wants to thank all the fans and their partners for the big support. Stay tuned for upcoming projects for our climate, because #ItStartsWithUs!
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