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EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

Eddy Merckx thinks there is no respect for Giro on new calendar – Top Story. The Tour de France seems to be the most talked about subject at the moment. 2020 Worlds to Qatar? Vuelta without fans, Strade Bianche on closed circuit, Giro route announced in June, Tour of Britain postponed, Froome to change team, Québec and Montréal not worried, Evenepoel to miss Liège for Giro, Nibali to ride Roubaix, Roglic on Dumoulin, Lotto Soudal test riders for Corona Virus, Gavazzi home and Mattia Cattaneo’s favourite climbs video.

top story
TOP STORY: Eddy Merckx thinks there is no respect for Giro on new calendar
Eddy Merckx believes that the UCI should show more respect for the Giro d’Italia when organising the new calendar. The cycling legend thinks that too many Classics are planned during the Italian Tour. “Some of those great Classics should have been programmed during the Tour,” Merckx said to Tuttobiciweb.

“Overlap of races was inevitable,” he adds. “Eight racing months have to be run in ninety days. But I think the Giro has not been treated well, no respect has been shown. No one will deny the importance of the Tour, both economically and in the media, but other events that have made history also deserve respect on the calendar.”

“We have to try something, for the teams and the fans, but also for the sponsors. Otherwise cycling will threaten to collapse,” said Merckx. “Many teams run the risk of falling if they no longer races, while sponsors also risk leaving. Waiting and doing nothing would be worse for everyone. We must pay close attention, but an attempt must be made. That is why it is good that the UCI has proposed a calendar.”

The 74-year-old Merckx, who himself won the Giro five times, is not in favour of racing without an audience. “Roadside fans give the race character. But in such cases you can organise competitions without an audience at the start, at the finish and on the side. The problem is whether sponsors and local authorities agree.”

Giro – The greatest show on earth:
merckx giro

UCI World Cycling Championships in Qatar in November?
It seems more and more likely that the UCI will move the World road championships. According to Het Nieuwsblad, a World championship at the end of September in Switzerland is a “no go”. So the World championships could be organised sometime in November in Qatar.

On the current UCI calendar, the World Cycling Championships from September 20-27 are planned in Aigle and Martigny, close to the headquarters of the International Cycling Union. Reportedly, not every Swiss canton is eager for such an event in the country during the corona crisis. In addition, it is still unclear whether the Alpine country will have opened its borders to foreigners by then. There is also the financial difficulties of the local organisation, so that the UCI already seems to put a mark against the World champs in Switzerland. Peter Van den Abeele (Deputy Sports Director at UCI) previously announced that he would await a decision from the Swiss government at the end of May.

Several organisers of other competitions are looking with interest at the impending decision of the UCI. The Belgian championships could possibly be organised on September 22 or 23 in Anzegem, provided the World championships are moved. A possible move for Paris-Roubaix to September 27 could also be the result of a World champs change.

Qatar – Not as cold as Yorkshire:

Vuelta Without Fans Not Unfeasible, but Also Not Desirable
The 75th edition of the Vuelta a España will take place this year from October 20 to November 8, although many virologists anticipate a second corona wave in the autumn. Vuelta boss Javier Guillén sounds optimistic, but at the same time is also realistic when talking to Spanish media. “We are ultimately not sure whether the Vuelta will continue.”

Guillén is busy preparing for the upcoming edition of the Tour of Spain with its eighteen stages and start in the Basque town of Irún. “We are now busy with organisational and economic matters, but we are also thinking about safety.”

“All companies are affected by the corona crisis, including our partners. They have already taken measures, but are still willing to sponsor the Vuelta. We really have to adapt to the new situation,” said Guillén, who is thinking about an alternative Vuelta, perhaps without an audience. “Although that is not desirable.”

“It is not unfeasible, but it goes against everything that top sport stands for. However, I prefer a Vuelta with less audience if there is no alternative.” If the Vuelta continues at the end of October, the riders may have to be quarantined for two weeks prior to the race. “That is a problem for the foreign participants,” says Guillén. “However, I do believe in an exceptional position for these riders.”

A Vuelta without fans:
vuelta toro

strade bianche
Strade Bianche on Closed Circuit?
Italy has been hit hard by the corona virus, but hope is now looming on the horizon and corona measures have eased. However, the question is whether the Tuscan Classic Strade Bianche can continue on Saturday, August 1.

Tom Van Damme, the president of the Belgian cycling federation and one of the architects of the new WorldTour calendar, is optimistic. “In Italy they are convinced that it will work,” he said in conversation with Het Laatste Nieuws. “But we are well aware that the conditions under which this may be possible have not yet been determined.” Van Damme takes into account a Strade Bianche without fans. “That is possible, just like a race on a closed circuit. A course can be adjusted. The premise is that nothing is normal this year. Then let’s save what can be saved. And do what we can do. Organisers will have to adjust.”

“Can athletes experience their sport together? I hope so. If there is no contact, the team sports are canceled. We will soon have to consider what can and cannot be done. Should there be testing, should riders be quarantined? Are other measures required? We don’t know that yet,” said Van Damme.

The Mayor of Siena decided that the Palio di Siena, the famous horse race held annually in the city centre, cannot take place on July 2 and August 16. Siena is also the finish of Strade Bianche, after a tough climb to Piazza del Campo.

Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) finishing in Siena 2018:
strade bianche

giro legends
Giro Will Present New Course at the End of June
We will know what the new course of the Giro d’Italia will look like by the end of June. Paolo Bellino, general manager of organiser RCS, announced on RaiSport. The start in Hungary has been canceled, so the autumn 2020 edition will only be on Italian soil.

Due to the corona crisis, the Giro d’Italia was canceled on its original date, with the Grande Partenza last weekend in Budapest. The UCI has decided to move the three-week stage race to October 3-25. This clashes with the Vuelta a España for five days and almost all major classics.

RCS had some comments about the calendar. For example, the organisation is disappointed that Paris-Roubaix on October 25 coincides with the final stage of the Giro. “It is a complicated calendar and an unreal year for sports and cycling,” said Bellino.

“The Giro has not been canceled or moved since World War II. I think it is important to focus on going through this Giro now, we are working hard to make that possible,” said the RCS Director, who also has several other WorldTour races. “We want to ride all Italian classics in August. Then the riders who want to go to the Giro or who are preparing for the World championships will come for eight days to Tirreno-Adriatico (September 7-14).”

In any case, the preparations are already underway. “We are working on announcing the new Giro d’Italia at the end of June. It will be a full Italian edition and we will come soon with the analyses of the course,” Bellino promises. Defending champion Richard Carapaz and Vincenzo Nibali have already pledged their participation in the Giro. RCS hopes to come up with more names that will start in October.

Carapaz to return in 2020:

The Tour of Britain postponed to September 2021
Following detailed consultations with British Cycling, regional stakeholders, sponsors and partners of the race, organisers of the Tour of Britain have decided to postpone the forthcoming edition of the Tour of Britain (6-13 September), with all parties in agreement on this course of action.

The exciting route planned for September 2020, featuring a first ever visit to Cornwall and an overall finish in the city of Aberdeen, will instead take place in the race’s September 2021 position.

The decision has been taken in light of the ongoing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes continuing with the planning and organisation of the 2020 race impractical. Across the UK there are significant doubts around the potential to stage large-scale public events and gatherings such as the Tour of Britain as early as September and while any form of social distancing remains in place and there isn’t a vaccine available, people’s health and safety must come first.

Local authority partners across Britain remain under considerable pressure with their priorities rightly elsewhere and so would not be able to contribute fully to the planning of the event, whilst also not being in a position to maximise the social, economic and community benefits that hosting a stage of the Tour of Britain brings to their area.

We pride ourselves on the Tour of Britain being the biggest and most prestigious cycle race in the UK, attracting over 1.5 million spectators to the roadside and inspiring many thousands of people of all ages to get on their bikes and to cycle more.

Holding the Tour of Britain behind closed doors or with extensive social distancing rules would not only be immensely impractical, but would rob our venues and spectators of these opportunities and go against everything that cycling, as a free-to-spectate and accessible event, stands for.

By moving this year’s planned route to September 2021 our venues and partners will be able to enjoy a full 12-month build up to the race and once conditions allow we look forward to engaging communities across all eight stages, from Penzance to Aberdeen, which we are sure will make the 2021 Tour of Britain a wonderful occasion for all and part of our continued pledge to make Britain a great cycling nation.

In the meantime we will be working with our local authority partners to explore the ways in which the Tour of Britain and its planned venues can still be celebrated this September and look forward to announcing those plans in due course.

We would like to thank all of our stakeholders, partners and fans for their understanding and patience, and look forward to bringing the Tour of Britain back bigger and better than ever in September 2021.

The provisional dates for the 2021 Tour of Britain are 5 – 12 September and will be confirmed in the coming months by the sport’s governing body the UCI.

The full route for the race, which had already announced as visiting Devon, Warrington and Cumbria during its eight stages, will be announced later in the year.

Follow the Tour of Britain on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or via the event’s official website at tourofbritain.co.uk.


Movistar is interested in Chris Froome
Chris Froome’s name is being mentioned in Spain, according to Ciclo21. Movistar is interested in the services of the four-time Tour winner. The Briton may leave Team Ineos halfway through this season as two teams seem to be interested in taking him.

Froome’s contract ends with Team Ineos this year and there has been no talk of an extension yet. The 34-year-old rider has indicated that he wants to go for a fifth overall victory in the Tour de France, but he is anything but certain of the leadership at Ineos this year, with defending champion Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas in the team. Apparently Froome has had conversations with other teams for next season. As the Tour has moved to the end of August due to the corona crisis, the option of a mid-season transfer has also come to light. Reportedly, two teams have made an offer for a summer change (in August) or a transfer after the end of the season.

The 34-year-old Tour rider has had interest from the Spanish Movistar team and manager Eusebio Unzué. Ciclo21 reports that Telefónica, the owner of Movistar and the WorldTour team, has recently taken over the British company Liberty, making it part of the World’s biggest telecommunications company. Attracting Froome would be a publicity, commercial and sports coup for Movistar. All parties must agree to an interim transfer.

Chris Froome – Sitting pretty:

Israel Start-Up Nation Also Interested in Chris Froome
Israel Start-Up Nation is also in the race to sign Chris Froome, Israeli Sport5 says. Team owner, manager and investor Sylvan Adams would be prepared to invest heavily to bring in the four-time Tour de France winner. Froome’s salary, said to be five million euros, would be one of the reasons for Adams to significantly increase the budget within the team. On Thursday it was revealed that Froome is thinking of leaving Team Ineos, midway through or after this season.

Sylvan Adams would go far to get Froome, but the Israel Start-Up Nation with thirty riders is already full. If the 34-year-old Briton switched this year (in the transfer window at the beginning of August), then a rider will have to be sacrificed. In that case, Froome could start in the Tour de France on behalf of a new team.

Froome would be Tour top man at Israel Start-Up:

Froome to Stay with Ineos in 2020
Team Ineos has no plans to let Chris Froome leave during the current season. A reliable source within the team has announced, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport. “No, he will stay with us in 2020.” La Gazzetta dello Sport links Froome to Bahrain-McLaren, where Rod Ellingworth, former performance manager at Team Sky, is in charge. Wout Poels, Mikel Landa and Mark Cavendish are also old teammates. The Italian sports newspaper also considers a transfer to UAE Team Emirates, but it has a strong focus on youth, so less likely.

Froome to leave Brailsford:
froome brailsford

Geraint Thomas Looking at the Third Week of the Tour
For Geraint Thomas, everything revolves around the Tour de France (August 29-September 20), the British rider said in conversation with Eurosport. The 2018 Tour winner expects tough final. “I think a lot of riders will explode in the third Tour week.”

The riders want to get back to racing and many have been on Zwift and other on-line racing. “Strangely enough I have enjoyed the past period,” said Thomas, who recently fathered a son. “I was able to spend time with him, which is normally not possible at all. Also, not much changed in my life.”

“My daily routine consists of training, eating and recovering. I hardly eat out and have very little contact with people. I have family and friends living in Cardiff, but I don’t live there anymore,” said Thomas. What does the 2018 Tour Winner actually expect from the upcoming edition? “The first ten days will not be a problem, but in the last week many riders will experience a slump. Riders who have had a good preparation are less likely to explode.”

Thomas training hard for the Tour:
thomas beer

Nairo Quintana: First the Tour, Then the Ardennes Classics
Nairo Quintana hopes to finally win the Tour de France this year, but the Arkéa-Samsic climber is not only looking at the French Tour. “After the Tour I will also participate in the Ardennes classics,” says the 30-year-old Quintana in the Eurosport program La Montonera.

Quintana had an excellent start to the 2020 season, with victories in the Tour de la Provence and the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes and du Var. The former winner of the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España also won the last race in Europe before the outbreak of the corona crisis: the seventh and last stage of Paris-Nice at Valdeblore La Colmiane.

The Colombian climber is now preparing for the Tour de France. “It is not an easy situation. I’m not exactly sure about the shape. Some colleagues train five hours a day, other riders take it easy. We don’t all train equally hard.”

Quintana predicts an unpredictable Tour. “We just have less time to prepare. We may not be able to train intensively and race in the run-up to the Tour. I don’t know how my body will react in the third week of the Tour.” Quintana wants to contest two races before the Tour (August 29-September 20).

Quintana – 2020 Paris-Nice stage 7:

Wout van Aert to Take his Chances on the Hard Days of the Tour
Wout van Aert hopes to score in the 2020 Tour de France. The Belgian thinks that he will get opportunities. “Then it is more fun for me to give everything for the other men the days before and after,” he said to Het Laatste Nieuws.

Despite the significant calendar change, the Jumbo-Visma team sticks to the early proposed selection for the Tour. Team manager Merijn Zeeman said earlier that the Tour team will not change much, with classification men Tom Dumoulin, Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk going for the overall victory.

“I hope to help the boys to victory,” said Van Aert about his role. “Tony Martin and I are the heavier guys and will have to do flat work. Last year I tasted success in the Tour myself, if that opportunity arises then I can take my chance in the more difficult stages or the sprint from a smaller group. That’s the beauty of the team, that those opportunities arise. Everyone sees that as something positive.”

Zeeman confirms the free role of Van Aert in more difficult stages during the Tour. “That’s for sure, that’s how we look at things like this. It’s quite something if Tony Martin and Wout van Aert want to ride for the leaders. You will not get much more luxurious. You have to reward those men. We have already made a plan about this and we are going to execute it in this way,” said the sports director.

Tour’19 stage win for Van Aert:
van aert tour 19

Rigoberto Urán Focusing on the Tour de France Again
Rigoberto Urán finished second in the Tour de France three years ago and the Colombian is again focusing on the French Tour this year. The EF Pro Cycling rider is already looking ahead to the upcoming edition of the French race with sports newspaper Marca. “I expect a more open race this year.”

Urán hopes to improve in seventh place in France last year. “I expect a fun and special edition of the Tour, as there are many contenders for the overall victory. The top riders will be less predictable. In the run-up to the Tour, we have fewer race kilometres in our legs.”

The Tour rider mainly looks at the most important race of the season, but will also participate in some races after the Tour. “I still have doubts between the Vuelta a España and a few one-day races.” The climber is also thinking about the World championships, although the UCI might move the event from Aigle and Martigny to the flat roads of Qatar.

Urán crashed heavily in the Vuelta a España last year, but feels fit again after a long period of rehabilitation. On stage 6, Urán had a massive crashed at high speed and broke his left collarbone, shoulder blade, some ribs, a few vertebrae and also suffered damage to his lung. The rider had surgery in a Barcelona hospital and received daily physical therapy at home to strengthen his shoulder. Urán made his comeback in Tour Colombia 2.1 early this year and finished 58th overall. As a domestique he was important for his teammate and later final winner Sergio Higuita.

Rigoberto Uran, always popular:

Fabio Aru Ready to Show What He’s Worth
Fabio Aru wants to prove himself this autumn, if the season can be resumed. The Italian climber from UAE Emirates told Casa Sky Sports: “If we can compete again, I will be ready to show what I am worth.”

Aru acknowledged that he was in a difficult situation in March, partly because of his expiring contract with UAE Emirates and the difficult period he had been through for the past two years. “My recovery took months and I had prepared well for Tirreno-Adriatico, the classics and the Tour de France. That everything is now quiet is a bigger problem than the sport.”

In recent weeks, Aru has trained with Vincenzo Nibali, Diego Ulissi and Alberto Bettiol. All in the run-up to the planned season resumption in early August. “It is going to be very strange,” Aru thinks. “We only have three racing months, but it is important to start with the necessary precautions.”

“Now there are still two months to prepare, which can also be done in modern ways,” referring to virtual races. “This allows us to get in good shape and we will all be at the same level in the future. It will be an intense season, but teams have a lot of riders for the busy schedule.”

Little is known about Aru’s program. He initially aimed for the Tour and the Olympic Games this year. “It will be difficult to do two Grand Tours, maybe the Tour and the Vuelta because there is still time between them. But if you go to the Tour, you can forget the Giro.”

Fabio Aru – Training for the Tour:

Québec and Montréal Not Worried
The organisation of the Canadian WorldTour races in Québec and Montréal is not afraid that this autumn’s editions will be influenced by the Tour de France and Tirreno-Adriatico. Serge Arsenault, chairman of the organisation, said in a statement.

The Grand Prix of Quebéc and Montréal will keep their fixed dates on the reformed UCI cycling calendar, September 11 and 13, respectively. Due to the corona virus, the cycling union has planned the Tour de France (August 29-September 20) and Tirreno-Adriatico (September 7-14), at the same time as the Canadian races.

Arsenault thinks the hilly classics in Canada have already proven their worth on the calendar. “That should guarantee that we have a strong field at the start,” he says. “That’s why the new calendar is designed that way, and the routes of Québec and Montréal are tailor-made for the classic riders. I believe that riders with those characteristics come to us and want to win.”

“Of course we have to keep thinking about the health and safety of the riders, the public and everyone else involved. That remains in the first place,” Arsenault emphasises. “We do not intend to underestimate the situation and the risks of the coronavirus. We will continue to monitor the global situation.”

Matthews winning in Quebec:

Kreuziger Wants a Tour Stage Win
Roman Kreuziger was 34 years-old last week, but he’s still keen on winning. “I want to win another stage in the Tour de France before the end of my career,” Kreuziger said in the NTT podcast Unclipped.

Kreuziger started his professional cycling career in 2006 at Liquigas and has since won some big races. He has won the Tours of Romandy and Switzerland and the Amstel Gold Race seven years ago. However, there is still something missing from his palmerès: a stage victory in the Tour de France.

The NTT Pro Cycling rider has finished fifth, twice eighth and tenth in the Tour, but is still waiting for that one stage victory. “I have already won a stage in the Giro d’Italia,” Kreuziger referring to his stage victory at Alpe di Pampeago. “It was really fantastic. I also want to triumph in the Tour before the end of my career.”

Kreuziger often raced on his own account, but was also regularly a loyal domestique to leaders such as Alberto Contador, Esteban Chaves and the Yates brothers; Adam and Simon. “I have always put a lot of energy into a classification, but I also worked for leaders. I also want to be on the podium again.”

Seven years since the Amstel win:
amstel 13

Evenepoel to Miss Liège for Giro
Remco Evenepoel not thinking about what the cycling spring could have looked like, but focuses on the start of the postponed Giro d’Italia. “A Grand Tour is currently important for my development.”

At the start of the season, Evenepoel had set his sights on participating in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but now he has to be patient for at least a year. The Walloon classic will be held on October 4, while the Giro d’Italia will start the day before. “I will miss Liège with a heavy heart,” he said in an interview in Het Nieuwsblad. “But within the team, everyone quickly agreed that the Giro was the best choice. Three weeks of racing to participate in the overall victory, I want to know what that is and how it feels. That is important for the coming years.”

He also had his eye on the Belgian championships, which has been postponed to September 22, in the middle of the World championships. “To be honest, I think it’s quite ridiculous. Although I also understand that there is a ban on mass events in Belgium until 1 September. I am committed to it, because it is a Belgian championship that should suit me, the local lap in Anzegem is quite tough. But to put that on a Tuesday during the World championships? We may not know everything at the moment and the World championships will also get a new date.”

UCI reportedly plans to move the World championships, which would be held in Aigle-Martigny, to November and the Middle East. Evenepoel: “I would be sorry if it goes Qatar. The course in Switzerland is beautiful. A rare opportunity for climbers or Tour riders. For me it was always one of my big goals. Should it not go ahead in Switzerland, I hope they will return at least one of the following years. In Qatar, it will be a billiard surface course anyway. If the World championships goes to Qatar, that means I will be focusing on the time trial.”

Evenepoel responded to statements from Eddy Merckx. The five-time Tour winner recently recognised the talent of the young Belgian in the media, but made a critical comment that “he will have to eat a lot of sandwiches.” “Eddy Merckx has the right to say someone in his place,” said the Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider. “Look at his career, there is nothing in between or to add. I’m not going to worry about it. I know that I am doing well, the team is satisfied with what I have done so far. That is the most important.”

Merckx and Evenepoel:

trek segafredo
Vincenzo Nibali Wants to Ride Paris-Roubaix at Least Once
Vincenzo Nibali has never been at the start of Paris-Roubaix, but the Italian hopes to participate in the cobbled classic. “I am not made for Paris-Roubaix, but I definitely want to give it a try,” he told Tuttobiciweb.

Nibali has already a fine classics palmarès. The Italian has won the Tour of Lombardy twice and was the best in Milan-San Remo in 2018. The Sicilian has also ridden Liège-Bastogne-Liège and was at the start of the Tour of Flanders one time. “However, I never had time for Paris-Roubaix. It was simply not possible in terms of the calendar.” As a Grand Tour rider, Nibali mainly focuses on the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España. “But I would like to participate in Paris-Roubaix, even though I am not a cobblestone specialist.”

Nibali’s first real acquaintance with the Northern French cobbles went smoothly. In the 2014 Tour, the riders were presented with a very wet cobblestone stage to Arenberg. The stage was won by the strong Lars Boom, but the Dutch cobblestone specialist only managed to escape from Astana riders Jakob Fuglsang and Nibali in the final section. Nibali was impressive on the cobblestones in the yellow jersey, finished third on the stage and won the Tour de France that year. This year Nibali will focus on the Giro d’Italia, hoping to be the winner for a third time. Paris-Roubaix clashes with the final day of the Giro.

Nibali on the cobbles in 2014:
Arenberg Porte du Hainaut - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Lars Boom (Ned-Team Belkin-Pro Cyclingteam) - Vincenzo Nibali (Ita-Astana Pro Team) - Fabian Cancellara (Zwi-Trek Factory Racing Team) pictured during stage - 5 of the 101th Tour de Fance 2014 - from Ypres (Ieper- Belgium)- Arenberg Porte du Hainaut - PDV/VK/Cor Vos © 2014

Roglic on Dumoulin Joining Jumbo-Visma
Primož Roglič hopes to fight for the overall victory in the Tour de France with Jumbo-Visma this year. The Slovenian has never thought about leaving the Dutch WorldTour formation, even though Tom Dumoulin was recruited as a new Tour rider in the winter. “It is good to have as many strong riders on board as possible.”

The Slovenian winner of the Vuelta a España spoke to AD. “I never thought about leaving the team at the time. We haven’t raced together yet, but Tom is a nice guy. As a team, we want to perform as well as possible. In cycling it is quite simple and fair if you are the best rider, especially in the mountains. As a team we want to win the race with the strongest rider.”

Roglič is not afraid of an internal competition. “We have a selection on paper, but hopefully we can ride a few more races in practice to see how it goes. If I am not good enough to win the Tour later, I will just ride in service. It’s also nice to be part of the winning team.”

The ambition of Jumbo-Visma is to win the Tour de France with one of the three GC riders – Roglič, Dumoulin or Kruijswijk. The selection also includes Wout van Aert, Laurens De Plus, Robert Gesink, Sepp Kuss and Tony Martin.

Jumbo-Visma – A team looking for big wins:

Van Avermaet and Trentin to Go for Tour Stage Wins
CCC team DS Fabio Baldato has revealed part of the plans for the team leaders. Ilnur Zakarin will go to the Tour de France as a classification rider and possibly combine it with the Giro or the Vuelta. Greg Van Avermaet and Matteo Trentin ride the Tour in preparation for the Classics.

“You might do the Tour and the Vuelta one after the other, but I see the Tour and the Giro a bit more difficult for me. Someone who is really in shape could try it,” Baldato said to Spaziociclismo. “Unfortunately this is not the year you can plan in advance.”

Zakarin will ride the Tour and will likely contest another Grand Tour afterwards. “That could be possible, but we have not yet discussed that with the team leaders. Ilnur has continued to train in recent weeks, he is already in good shape. And then we have Van Avermaet and Trentin going for the classics.”

“They ride the Tour first, but like many other riders, they cannot go to extremes in the Tour because of those classics. So they are aiming for stage victories,” said Baldato, who excludes Van Avermaet and Trentin from la Vuelta. “If you also do the classics after the Tour, from the Amstel Gold Race to the Tour of Flanders, you won’t have much left for three weeks of Vuelta.”

Considering the dire situation of CCC, Baldato expects a lot from his riders. “We have to look aggressive right away and try to get results, also because of the team’s economic difficulties. Everyone wants to have a good contract for next year.”

Trentin going for Tour stages:

lotto soudal
Lotto Soudal Test Riders for Possible Corona Virus Antibodies
Lotto Soudal has had some riders tested to see if they have been infected with the corona virus. The virus may have an effect on the functioning of the heart, so the team wants to avoid all risks.

The riders have been examined for the presence of antibodies, which show whether they have been infected with the corona virus. The tests were carried out in the Gent Energy Lab, reported Het Nieuwsblad. “As a precaution, we subject every rider with antibodies in his body to an extra cardiovascular examination. Riders are top athletes and demand a lot from their bodies. We want to avoid any risk,” explained team physician Jens De Decker.

De Decker says that all riders they have examined so far have tested negative.

All okay at Lotto Soudal so far:

Pierino Gavazzi Home After 2 Months in Hospital
Good news from the north of Italy. Former rider Pierino Gavazzi was hospitalised with the corona virus for almost two months, but was finally allowed to go home on Wednesday. Gavazzi, 69, the father of former pro Mattia Gavazzi, won Milan-San Remo exactly 40 years ago.

Gavazzi was in critical condition for a long time in the hospital of Ome, in the north of Italy. The former top sprinter and classic specialist had serious lung problems. “On Monday March 16, we received a call from the ambulance service. They had taken my father to Ome (east of Bergamo),” Said Mattia Gavazzi. “They picked him up at half past three and he went to the clinic around eleven o’clock because it was so busy. He was oxygenating there for a few hours. He was then tested positive for the coronavirus. He was fighting. The situation was very critical, so we were prepared for the worst. I did feel that he had not lost the will to fight.”

Gavazzi – who has been struggling with his health for several years – started his career in 1973 and ended his career at the age of 41. He recorded his greatest victory on March 16, 1980, by defeating Giuseppe Saronni and Jan Raas in Milan-San Remo. He was also Italian champion three times and won five stages in the Giro d’Italia.

Gavazzi – Sanremo 1980:
Pierino Gavazzi

Mattia Cattaneo’s Favourite Climbs
In the absence of the Giro d’Italia this month, we talked with the former winner of the U23 race about the climbs he loves the most, what makes them so special and his best memories from the times he tackled them in training or races. Video by ©La Pédale.


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