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EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

The 2020 season is here, at last. The women’s Tour Down Under, Nommay World Cup cyclocross and the men’s TDU Schwalbe Classic all the results and video. Alberto Contador tells Tour de France to look for harder climbs – Top Story. Other news: Marianne Vos successfull operation, Geraint Thomas, Primoz Roglič, Egan Bernal and Richard Carapaz for the Tour and no Tour for Arnaud Démare. Race news, doping, wild cards and Circus-Wanty looks forward to the new season. Plus Chris Froome video. Big Monday EUROTRASH.

TOP STORY: Contador advises Tour organisation to look for steeper climbs
Alberto Contador has seen the Ineos team dominate the Tour de France for the last few years, but the double Tour winner has an idea to increase the spectacle and possibly a winner from a different team. “It is important to look for steeper climbs. Then you get an individual battle between the best riders,” he argues in an interview with ProCycling.

Contador looks to the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España, where riders face steep climbs like the Mortirolo, Monte Zoncolan and the Alto de l’Angliru. “The higher the incline, the greater the chance of a man-to-man fight. The Giro and Vuelta have proven that it works.”

The cycling enthusiast has seen Team Ineos (previously Team Sky) dominate in the Tour for years. The British team won seven of the last eight editions of the French Grand Tour. “It is very difficult to make a difference if you have one team that is so much better. Team Ineos leaves just eight good riders at home.” And so Contador argues for even harder climbs with steeper inclines. “Lower percentages are more about the strength of the best team.”

Contador in l’Angliru:

UCI World Cup – Nommay 2020
Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) took the victory in Nommay ahead of World Cup leader Toon Aerts (Telenet-Baloise) with a crazy comeback. It looked like the World Cup leader was on his way to the won, but Iserbyt recovered (twice) and won. Belgian champion Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) finished third.

The fast start was for Thijs Aerts, who was followed by Laurens Sweeck and Lars van der Haar. Van der Haar’s smart team game was that Toon Aerts would let him take a gap, but the pursuers did not let the lead get too big. The World Cup leader then took the lead himself with Eli Iserbyt in his wheel.

Aerts and Iserbyt were clearly a step above the others on the technical and flat sections. A large group with Sweeck, Vermeersch, Vanthourenhout, Van der Haar, Pidcock, Hermans followed at half a minute, but nobody was able to cross. On the sixth lap Aerts managed to get rid of Iserbyt. The World Cup leader put his countryman under pressure and managed to shake him off. Due to small mistakes by Iserbyt, Aerts’ lead quickly grew to 20 seconds. Iserbyt didn’t give up, and managed to narrow the gap to 10 seconds with three laps to go.

With two laps to go, the difference was only 5 seconds and in no time Iserbyt was on Aerts. The smaller Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider was able to show his explosiveness and Aerts struggled to follow Iserbyt, but they were together at the start of the final lap.

On one of the short hills Aerts tried to ride away from Iserbyt. Little by little the World Cup leader got further away, but the pressure from Iserbyt remained the same. A slip from Aerts just before the finish was the moment for Iserbyt to go ‘full gas’ one last time. He turned onto the road section with a small lead and then won the sprint. The battle for third place was decided in favour of the Belgian champion, Laurens Sweeck. Lars van der Haar was fourth.

Race winner, Eli Iserbyt (Bel): “I had to go very deep. It was a very long race, but it was a course that was made for me. Toon was better in the first half of the cross and I had to watch my pace. I then jumped a few obstacles to get closer and I succeeded. On the road I felt that I was good, but in the end it wasn’t a sprint. The last time uphill, that was my great luck. He did not get up and therefore I could reconnect again, otherwise it would never have worked.”

UCI World Cup – Nommay Result:
1. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal in 1:07:13
2. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet-Baloise at 0:08
3. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:16
4. Lars Van der Haar (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions at 1:28
5. Thomas Pidcock (GB) Trinity at 1:46
6. Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Tormans-Wanty Gobert at 1:55
7. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Telenet-Baloise at 1:58
8. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Creafin-Fristads at 2:02
9. Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 2:04
10. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers at 2:07.


Santos Tour Down Under Schwalbe Classic 2020
Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) had an excellent start to the new cycling season. The Australian sprinter of won the Schwalbe Classic in Adelaide, a criterium race before the Tour Down Under. Ewan managed to out-sprint his close rivals Elia Viviani and Simone Consonni (both Cofidis) by more than a bike length.

The riders were able to test their form before the start of the Santos Tour Down Under in the Schwalbe Classic, formerly the People’s Choice Classic, a street race of 51 kilometres in Adelaide of 30 laps of 1.7 kilometres.

Manuele Boaro (Astana) was the first rider on the attack and the experienced rider took five other riders with him. The six leaders held off the peloton for a while, but were captured in time by the sprinter teams of home favourite Ewan, Viviani and Sam Bennett. Next it was Josef Cerny who saw his chance to grab some publicity. The CCC rider attacked 20 kilometres from the finish line and quickly took 20 seconds from the peloton. But Cerny was not strong enough to stay out front.

In the finalé Marc Sarreau and Max Kanter fell, but most of the sprinters managed to avoid any crashes. In the sprint no one was able to beat Caleb Ewan, who managed to take lengths from the others. Cofidis managed to second and third places with Viviani and Consonni.

Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) was fourth. Sam Bennett, the new Deceuninck – Quick-Step sprinter was nowhere to be seen. This is Ewan’s fourth victory in the pre-TDU race, after previous victories in 2016, 2017 and 2019.

Schwalbe Classic winner, Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal): “I started this season, I think, with a bit of pressure to replicate what I did last year or try to grow my wins on top of that. This is my first race of the season, usually, I’ve done some races before but I felt really good out there. I was pretty relaxed for the first half sitting down the back and then when I needed to go, I got up into position and that was it. I’ve only done five race days since the Tour de France last year, so it hasn’t been much and I was a little bit nervous coming into today; you never know how your legs are going to be after having so much time off racing. I’ve had five months off racing and I didn’t know how my legs were going to be but I’m happy with where my form is at.”

Santos Tour Down Under Schwalbe Classic Result:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal in 1:04:29
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
3. Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
4. Japser Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
5. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) EF Education First
6. Alberto Dainese (Ita) Sunweb
7. Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
8. Sam Welsford (Aus) Australia
9. Christopher Lawless (GB) Ineos
10. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT.

TDU Schwalbe Classic’20:

Women’s Santos Tour Down Under 2020
The opening Stage 1 of the Women’s Tour Down Under was won by Chloe Hosking (Rally Cycling). The Australian rider was by far the fastest in the bunch sprint. Hosking defeated Lotta Henttala (Trek-Segafredo) and Matilda Raynolds (Specialized) to become the first overall leader.

Well into the 116-kilometre stage to Macclesfield, it was anything but certain that it was going to be a bunch sprint. Sunweb and Trek-Segafredo took the lead in the pursuit of a lone leader, Brodie Chapman of FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope. Her lead was 2 minutes with 14 kilometres to go.

Chapman caught in the final kilometre, after which the sprint started. The Finnish rider, Henttala (who was Lotta Lepistö) went early, but couldn’t hold off the fast finishing Hosking, who passed her in the last few meters. Hosking has an overall lead of 4 seconds on Henttala and 6 seconds on Leah Kirchmann (Sunweb).

Stage 1 winner and overall leader, Chloe Hosking (Rally Cycling): “I am just so proud of the girls, it’s our first race altogether but you wouldn’t know it on the road. They were always there, when there was trouble in the wind they were rolling, and they did exactly what we planned in the finish which was just to keep the speed high and keep me out of trouble…we committed to our plan and we executed it. I had a tough year in the middle of the year last year, and it was a real struggle to find a contract, and Rally took a chance on me. I’m the first non-North American they’ve had in a long time, so I’m proud of how the girls rode today and I think it’s really promising. I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.”

Tour Down Under Stage 1 Result:
1. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Rally Cycling in 3:17:02
2. Lotta Henttala (Fin) Trek-Segafredo
3. Matilda Raynolds (Aus) Specialized Women’s Racing
4. Gracie Elvin (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
5. Peta Mullens (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer
6. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb
7. Liane Lippert (Ger) Sunweb
8. Lauren Kitchen (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
9. Arlenis Sierra Canadilla (Cub) Astana
10. Alexis Ryan (USA) Canyon-Sram.

Tour Down Under Overall After Stage 1:
1. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Rally Cycling in 3:16:51
2. Lotta Henttala (Fin) Trek-Segafredo at 0:04
3. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb at 0:06
4. Matilda Raynolds (Aus) Specialized Women’s Racing at 0:07
5. Gracie Elvin (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:08
6. Brodie Chapman (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
7. Nina Kessler (Ned) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank at 0:09
8. Anastasiia Chursina (Slo) Ale BTC Ljubljana
9. Juliette Labous (Fra) Sunweb at 0:10
10. Peta Mullens (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer at 0:11.

Stage 1 highlights:

Stage 2 of the Women’s Tour Down Under was won by Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott). The Australian champion defeated the USA champion Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo) as Liane Lippert (Sunweb) took third at the end a highly contested stage. Spratt took over the leader’s jersey from Chloe Hosking who dropped to 5th place on GC.

The second leg to Birdwood had a tough finalé with the ascent of Christmas Tree Ridge (1.7km at 5.7%) just 10 kilometres from the finish. This proved to be the ideal point for Spratt to put the pressure on, but last year’s winner of the Tour Down Under was not the first over the top of the final summit of the day, that honour went to Liane Lippert. The German Sunweb rider was the first to start the descent from Christmas Tree Ridge, followed at a short distance by Spratt and Winder. These three managed to get further away in the remaining kilometres, although Grace Brown (Mitchelton-Scott) managed to cross.

Spratt took the win in Birdword as Winder had to settle for second place, Lippert finished third. Spratt also took the overall lead with two stages to go.

Stage 2 winner and overall leader, Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-SCOTT): “Very, very, very excited. We had a solid team plan today, we knew it could be really hard in the final if we made it that way, and that’s exactly what we did. The girls did it perfectly into the climb, Lucy [Kennedy] did her job in the climb and split it into a group of five – we had three and five – and then we knew we just had to make it hard after that. I’m really excited that I could win that sprint in the end. After a great team effort it’s the best way to win.”

Tour Down Under Stage 2 Result:
1. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott in 3:04:27
2. Ruth Winder (USA) Trek-Segafredo
3. Liane Lippert (Ger) Sunweb
4. Grace Brown (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:02
5. Jaime Gunning (Aus) Specialized Women’s Racing at 0:13
6. Peta Mullens (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer 0:00:15
7. Rachel Neylan (Aus) UniSA Australia 0:00:18
8. Ella Harris (NZ) Canyon-SRAM
9. Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
10. Juliette Labous (Fra) Sunweb.

Tour Down Under Overall After Stage 2:
1. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott in 6:21:19
2. Ruth Winder (USA) Trek-Segafredo at 0:04
3. Liane Lippert (Ger) Sunweb at 0:05
4. Grace Brown (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:12
5. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Rally Cycling at 0:21
6. Jaime Gunning (Aus) Specialized Women’s Racing at 0:23
7. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb at 0:24
8. Peta Mullens (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer at 0:25
9. Juliette Labous (Fra) Sunweb at 0:27
10. Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope at 0:28.

Stage 2 highlights:

Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo) reversed the results on Stage 3 of the Women’s Tour Down Under. The American champion was first over the line in Stirling took the stage win and the overall lead from Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott). Liane Lippert (Sunweb) was second and Lauren Stephens (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) was third.

The peloton rode 109.1 kilometres from Nairne to Stirling, to finish on the Kywarra Climb. This climb tackled three times in the last 50 kilometres. The first attacks came early in the stage and several groups rode off the front in the first half of the race. After 60 kilometres the race came back together again. The attacks continued, but Mitchelton-Scott were in control as they wanted to help Amanda Spratt to a fourth overall win, although Trek-Segafredo had other ideas. At the second intermediate sprint, 35 kilometres out, Ruth Winder was faster and took a precious second back on her Australian opponent.

In the last 12 kilometres, Leigh Ann Ganzar (Rally) attacked and gained 50 seconds, but the American could not stay ahead and she was caught at 2 kilometres. Spratt was isolated and out of position, while Winder was put in the perfect place for the uphill sprint and swept to victory. Thanks to the ten bonus seconds, she pulled on the leader’s jersey.

Spratt finished in 10th and didn’t get any bonus seconds. Liane Lippert crossed the finish line in second place, took 6 seconds to moved into second place on 7 seconds with Spratt. Stage 4 is the final leg on a street circuit through Adelaide.

Stage 3 winner and overall leader, Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo): “My teammate Tayler Wiles, she was just leading me out perfectly. I was talking to her the whole time, we’ve been teammates for years and she’s helped me with so many wins, so every time I do I feel so grateful for her in the last 500 metres. The whole team the entire race was really active at the front covering things, making sure I was really safe until the circuits, which were pretty hard with Mitchelton-Scott destroying it on the times pretty much.”

Tour Down Under Stage 3 Result:
1. Ruth Winder (USA) Trek-Segafredo in 2:51:16
2. Liane Lippert (Ger) Sunweb
3. Lauren Stephens (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
4. Peta Mullens (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer
5. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Rally Cycling
6. Anastasiia Chursina (Slo) Ale BTC Ljubljana
7. Ella Harris (NZ) Canyon-Sram
8. Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
9. Rachel Neylan (Aus) Team UniSA-Australia
10. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott.

Tour Down Under Overall After Stage 3:
1. Ruth Winder (USA) Trek-Segafredo in 9:12:26
2. Liane Lippert (Ger) Sunweb at 0:07
3. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Rally Cycling at 0:30
5. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb at 0:33
6. Peta Mullens (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer at 0:34
7. Lauren Stephens (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
8. Juliette Labous (Fra) Sunweb at 0:36
9. Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope at 0:37
10. Ella Harris (NZ) Canyon-Sram.

Stage 3 highlights:

Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo) won the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under overall. The 26-year-old rider survived a game of bonus seconds on the final day to dethrone the three time winner, Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) as the overall winner. The Stage 4 victory in Adelaide went to Simona Frapporti (BePink).

The final stage of the Women’s Tour Down Under was set on the streets of Adelaide, a city centre criterium, but the battle for the overall victory had still to be decided. Due to the close differences in the GC rankings and the amount of bonus seconds available, so there was still a battle for the overall. The riders had three intermediate sprints during the stage, where three, two and one second could be won. Lotta Henttala (Trek-Segafredo) won the first intermediate sprint, but more importantly Amanda Spratt – third overall at 7 seconds – managed to take back two seconds.

At the second intermediate sprint, Liane Lippert (Sunweb) – second overall also at 7 seconds – showed speed to take 3 seconds. The American leader was also in there taking 1 second in front of Spratt, reducing the difference between Winder and Lippert to five seconds.

At the last intermediate sprint; it was Jaime Gunning (Specialized), Lauren Stephens (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) and Andrea Ramirez (Agolico-BMC) across the line, but these riders were no longer a threat to Winder’s leader’s jersey. Winder only had to finish safely in Adelaide, and the hope that the last bonus points went to the sprinters for the overall win.

Winder saw Frapporti sprint to victory, ahead of Stephens and Rushlee Buchanan (Vantage New Zealand). The American champion was the overall winner of the 2020 Tour Down Under. Lippert was second at 5 seconds, and Spratt had to settle for third place at 6.

Stage 4 winner, Simona Frapporti (BePink): “It’s always nice to win on the first stage race of the year. Coming from Italy, we were behind the locals in terms of condition but I was feeling very well today. So I took my chance. I’m sure my two brothers (Marco and Mattia Frapporti) who are professional cyclists too will be happy to hear that I’m a winner today. It’s important to start an Olympic year with a victory. It’s perfect for the confidence.”

2020 Tour Down Under overall winner, Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo): “It feels pretty crazy to win the Santos Tour Down Under. Team Sunweb and Mitchelton-Scott really put us under pressure. I’m really happy to pull it off. I’m still really excited after the stage I won yesterday. It’s such an incredible feeling. It’s not a single person’s sport. For every win, you need a strong team. I wish my team-mates could accompany me on the podium.”

Tour Down Under Stage 4 Result:
1. Simona Frapporti (Ita) BePink in 58:32
2. Lauren Stephens (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
3. Rushlee Buchanan (NZ) Vantage New Zealand National Team
4. Leigh-Ann Ganzar (USA) Rally Cycling
5. Jaime Gunning (Aus) Specialized Women’s Racing
6. Katia Ragusa (Ita) Astana
7. Brodie Chapman (Aus) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
8. Jessica Pratt (Aus) Canyon-Sram
9. Georgia Williams (NZ) Mitchelton-Scott
10.Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Ale-BTC Ljubljana.

Tour Down Under Final Overall Result:
1. Ruth Winder (USA) Trek-Segafredo in 10:11:07
2. Liane Lippert (Ger) Sunweb at 0:05
3. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:06
4. Lauren Stephens (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank at 0:17
5. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Rally Cycling at 0:30
6. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb at 0:32
7. Andrea Ramirez Fregoso (Mex) Agolico-BMC at 0:33
8. Katia Ragusa (Ita) Astana at 0:34
9. Jessica Pratt (Aus) Canyon-Sram
10. Peta Mullens (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer at 0:35.

Final stage 4 highlights:

Team Bahrain McLaren Celebrates its UCI WorldTour Debut by Bringing Cycling Fans Closer to the Team’s Vision and Riders
On the eve of Team Bahrain McLaren’s debut the team hosted an exclusive event at McLaren Adelaide at Zagame’s in Frewville. Cycling fans were given the opportunity to hear first-hand about the team’s unique vision from John Allert, Joint Managing Director, Team Bahrain McLaren, and join the team on a training ride down to Henley Beach…with an obligatory stop for an Adelaide flat white.

Local cycling fans were wowed by the team’s two gleaming McLaren supercars as well as the vibrant new Bahrain McLaren Le Col jersey and Merida bikes.

Allert, an Adelaide native until the age of 21 took the guests on a journey through McLaren’s 50 years of racing heritage, culminating with its headline-grabbing foray into the most elite level of pro cycling.

McLaren’s joint venture with Bahrain World Tour Cycling signals an exciting new era for the sport and fans. Also attending was high-profile Team Principal, Rod Ellingworth, having just arrived from the team’s training camp in Spain.

John Allert, Joint Managing Director: “Thirty-five years ago I watched McLaren’s iconic F1 cars race around the streets of Adelaide. To now be returning to my home-town for the debut of Team Bahrain McLaren at the 2020 Santos Tour Down Under – racing on two wheels instead of four – is a particularly special moment for me. Team Bahrain McLaren is the product of the efforts of many people, united by a vision to combine passion and technology to perform at the top level of elite pro cycling. Our journey as a new team starts in a city that is passionate about cycling – and particularly following the tragic fires of the last month we hope we can bring Australian sports fans something to celebrate.”

Rod Ellingworth, Team Principal: “Cycling has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, so arriving in Adelaide for the 2020 Santos Tour Down Under as the Team Principal of Team Bahrain McLaren, on the UCI WorldTour is an absolute privilege. But this is a team sport, that’s ultimately about the guys out there on the road. I and the rest of the support team are here to help the riders achieve the highest standard possible. This year will also be about learning the strengths of our riders and working to bring technology and new techniques to the sport I love. The whole team can’t wait to get stuck in – in Adelaide and beyond.”

Rafael Valls Ferri: “I’m really excited to start the new season with the new team in Australia. It’s a race that I know very well because this will be the 6th time I race it. My motivation is high; I’ve been training hard through the autumn and winter and I expect a good race. The welcome we have received from Adelaide’s passionate cycling fans is as good as any in the world.”

Team Bahrain McLaren line-up for Santos Tour Down Under 2020:
Marco Haller / Yukiya Arashiro / Santiago Buitrago / Domen Novak / Hermann Pernsteiner / Luka Pibernik / Rafael Valls Ferri.

Vos Successful Groin Injury Operation
Marianne Vos was successfully operated on for her groin injury, which had been troubling her for a long time. She has since left the hospital to recover at home.

It was recently announced that Vos rode her last cyclocross of the season at the Dutch championships in Rucphen. The seven-time world champion in cross has been struggling for a long time with a groin injury, caused by a node in the artery. In consultation with the medical team of her CCC-Liv team, it was decided to have the surgery performed as quickly as possible.

“Surgery went well and left hospital with a smile (and flowers😊). Feeling good and not much pain. Many thanks to #mmcveldhoven for the good care.” Vos said on Instagram. “Now the recovery process can start; careful and steady. Looking forward to build towards my goals later this year.”

Vos is expected to be back at full training again six weeks after the operation. Participation in the cyclocross World championships in Dübendorf in two weeks is not possible.

Marianne Vos winning a Tour of Britain stage:

Geraint Thomas Going for the Tour de France Again
Geraint Thomas is on the eve of his fourteenth professional season, in which the Welshman is fully committed to the Tour de France and the Olympic Games. “I want to go again for the Tour de France,” he explains. “Although this year it was also tempting to opt for the Giro d’Italia.”

“I want to go there one more time,” said Thomas, who will be 34 years old in May. “But I just wanted to go to the Tour de France again as a big hitter. Because at the end of the day the Tour is the Tour.”

A week after the Tour de France, the Tour’18 winner also wants success at the Olympic Games, where he hopes to ride the time trial and the road race. “The Olympic Games are soon after the Tour de France and there will also be a time difference. In fact, it should have been an extra week.” “But after the Tour de France I went straight to other games, such as during the Commonwealth Games in 2014. I think a good mindset can make a big difference.”

“I feel much better than last year,” Thomas said optimistically. “I started training in the past and I think I had twice as much free time as last year. I look forward to heading again and enjoying the race. Last year I could not enjoy it, because the entire season felt like a big fight.”

“I just have to go for it next season,” he concludes. “You’ve got to be in it to win it. That motivates me. To give everything I can to get in my best condition and when you get there do everything you can. Success for me is to achieve my best condition and then go for it.”

Geraint Thomas:

Primoz Roglič: Tour Favourite?
Primož Roglič sees himself as the big favourite for the overall victory in the 2020 Tour de France. Roglič will share the team leader position with Tom Dumoulin and Steven Kruijswijk at Jumbo-Visma. “I see no reason not to be optimistic.”

Roglič looks ahead to the Tour de France in an interview with Ciclo21. The Slovenian thinks it’s too early to talk about a precise division of roles between the leaders at Jumbo-Visma. “There are still a few months left. You can now speculate what you want, but everything will only become known when we are there and everyone knows where he stands and what he can do. Only when we know that can we start thinking about how we approach the situation and how we can get the best out of us.”

Roglič is not afraid that his team Jumbo-Visma will make the same mistakes as Movistar. The Spanish team also tried to win Grand Tours with three leaders. “I think we have a slightly higher level and if we can win the Tour or show great things, it will be because we managed to handle the situation well.”

“From my point of view and viewed from my position in the team, I can only say that we have all worked hard. It is not something that happens suddenly, but if you keep taking the right steps over the years, it will end in success.” With that in mind, Roglič answers the question of whether he himself is the big favourite for the overall victory in the Tour. “If you look at my results from the previous years, you can see that I have already won some races. That is why I see no reason not to be optimistic.”

There are many riders who are stronger climbers in the peloton. “But that is not something that worries me. The only thing I can influence is to improve myself. I therefore focus on that. If I can give myself one hundred percent and I reach my limit, I am satisfied. If it turns out that someone is faster or stronger, I simply feel proud that I could stay with him and then I can only congratulate him on being better.”

Primož Roglič – Vuelta winner:

Egan Bernal Focuses Entirely on the Tour
Egan Bernal is fully focused on the Tour de France, although he is also planning for the Olympic Games a week later, but he dreams of a second yellow jersey. “I don’t want to think about two races at the same time.”

Bernal had previously announced that he would miss the Giro d’Italia to be as fresh as possible at the start of the Tour de France. Last year the Giro was his main goal, but a broken collarbone sustained during training, put a spanner in the works. “Maybe next year or at a later time I will go for the Giro again, but this season there is not much time between the Giro and the Tour due to the Olympic Games. The climbs are very tough this time, so I have to appear fresh at the start,” said the Colombian in a video interview.

Many mountains in the Tour de France stage schedule, but the team time trial is missing, he notes. “It feels strange that there is no team time trial. During my first two participations there was always one. That is why it will be different. There are many mountains, heavy climbs, although they are not very long and not to great heights. Still, I expect a very tough race, which seems to be tailor-made for the climbers. Unlike last year, I now focus entirely on the Tour. Last year I maybe drove a little too many miles in the run-up to it.”

After the Tour, the Olympic Games in Tokyo are also scheduled for Bernal. “That will be an important competition for everyone. We all want to be there. After all, you race for your national team and I want to do well for Colombia. Yet the Tour is my biggest goal. I don’t want to think about two races at the same time, I want to be able to focus 100% on the Tour. The Games follow a week later, so if I finish the Tour in a good condition, I will no doubt be there.”

Tour winner Bernal:

Tom Dumoulin Looking for Explosive Legs
Tom Dumoulin is currently with his Jumbo-Visma teammates in Alicante, Spain for the first training camp of 2020. The 29-year-old is enjoying cycling again and is looking for improvement with performance manager Mathieu Heijboer. “I have to regain my explosiveness,” says Dumoulin in conversation with the NOS.

Dumoulin had a sharp uphill sprint in the past, as he showed in the Giro d’Italia (mountain stage to Oropa) and in the Vuelta a España (Cumbre del Sol) where he dropped Chris Froome. Dumoulin came to the conclusion that he had lost his explosiveness. “I trained slowly,” he said. “I did quite a few rides in training in the gray zone. I trained calmly, not even hard, but I was constantly riding fast. The result is that your maximum incentive is reduced.” Dumoulin therefore wants to train more on explosiveness. “I discussed that with Mathieu, I have to get back that explosive swoop. That was always a weapon.”
“I also won a number of races. That was my advantage over other GC riders,” Dumoulin suggested. His coach Heijboer adds. “It’s nice and tempting to ‘buzz’ all day long, but it’s not always wise. It can be an effective training method, but it can also break through and you will lose explosiveness.”

“And you do need that explosiveness to make a difference in the race,” said Heijboer. Dumoulin knows what to do to find his explosive legs. “Occasionally I have to train a little more intensively, with intervals and blocks. It is not necessary to go full gas all the time, it must be more black and white. It means that you can take it easy after a maximum effort.”

Dumoulin looking forward to race with Jumbo-Visma:

Richard Carapaz to Win the Giro and Ride the Tour in 2020
Richard Carapaz will not only focus on retaining the Giro d’Italia title next year, he also wants to ride the Tour de France. “In recent years I didn’t get the chance to ride the Tour. I think the time is right to do it now.”

Carapaz is very happy with his transfer to Team Ineos, he said in a team video. The Ecuadorian left Movistar after three seasons to sign a multi-year contract with the team of Tour winners Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal. “This is something I’ve been thinking about for several years and now I experience everything firsthand.”

“It gives me a great feeling and I know that I will now give everything. On the one hand because I am fit, but above all because I do not feel like an outsider. Now that I am part of this structure, I know what it’s like to be a professional cyclist.” He also talks about his goals for the new season. “Where I want to win with my teammates is the Giro d’Italia. Then I want to ride the Tour de France. That is a goal I set for myself this year.”

“In previous years I didn’t get the chance to ride the Tour, but I think the time is right to do it now. I think I am part of the best team at the start,” said the Ecuadorian. Team Ineos announced that Froome, Thomas and Bernal will be the three spearheads in the Tour, but Carapaz now seems to be joining possibly in a helping role.

But first Carapaz wants to contest and win the Giro again. “I was crazy about my success in Italy and that’s why I want to go back. I think I have grown up in the meantime, both sporting and mentally. That will be an additional benefit. After all, I now know what the Giro is and after two years I hope I can redo the performance of last year. I’m ready for it.” Carapaz starts his season in the Tour Colombia, along side Egan Bernal.

Giro winner Carapaz:

Arnaud Démare Makes his Debut in Vuelta, No Tour
Arnaud Démare will not be at the start of the Tour de France in 2020. The French Groupama-FDJ sprinter prefers the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España, according to his team via social media. This means that Démare will make its debut in the Spanish Grand Tour.

The 28-year-old Démare hopes to take a stage victory in the Vuelta, as he has won a stage in all the other Tours. The Frenchman previously won two stages in the Tour, while last year he won stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia. For Démare it is the first time that he will compete in two large rounds in one season. Démare will not participate in the Tour for the second year in a row. His team Groupama-FDJ is aiming for the final victory in July with Thibaut Pinot, who had to give up last year due to a knee injury.

Démare Giro’19 stage 10:

Tour of Oman 2020: Green Mountain Returns for the 10th Time!
The peloton and the Tour of Oman are ready to join their forces again with the 11th edition of the event to be held in the Sultanate in February. The riders will be based in the capital Muscat and explore the surrounding area with six stages from February 11th until the 16th. With a total of 911 kilometres of racing, the route highlights the variety of terrains and landscapes of the Omani territory.

The first stage will start from the inlands, in Rustaq, whose iconic castle dates back to the 12th century. The finish in Muscat is set in front of a symbol of modernity, the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, with a finale that always inspires attackers. The scenery will dramatically change with 170km along the seaside on stage 2, all the way to Suhar, where sprinters have a strong chance of battling it out for the win.

The long stage to Qurayyat and the much shorter one leading to the Ministry of Tourism should favour the punchiest riders looking to evaluate their form ahead of the Spring classics. The mightiest challenge of the 2020 Tour of Oman awaits the peloton on day 5, with the ascent up Jabal Al Akhdhar. The climb, known as “Green Mountain”, features on the route for the 10th year in a row. Stage 6 will also feature an usual setting with the traditional finish on the shimmering Matrah corniche.

Key points:
The six stages of the 11th edition of the Tour of Oman will be raced from February 11th until the 16th.
Ø As they ride through the capital Muscat and the surrounding area, riders will make the most of the varied terrains the Sultanate has to offer, from the seaside all the way up to Jabal Al Akhdhar.
Ø The peloton will tackle the iconic Green Mountain for the 10th time in the history of the race.

2020 route Tour of Oman:
Tuesday, February 11th, 1st stage: Al Rustaq Fort > Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (138 Km)
Ø Wednesday, February 12th, 2nd stage: Naseem Park > Suhar “Al Bahri Road” (167.5 Km)
Ø Thursday, February 13th, 3rd stage: German University of Technology > Qurayyat (190.5 Km)
Ø Friday, February 14th, 4th stage: Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex > Ministry of Tourism (120 Km)
Ø Saturday, February 15th, 5th stage: Samail > Jabal Al Akhdhar (Green Mountain) (150 Km)
Ø Sunday, February 16st, 6th stage: Al Araimi Boulevard > Muttrah “Al Bahri Road” (144.5 Km)

Tour of Oman 2020 route:

Full Route for 2020 Tour de Yorkshire Announced
The full routes for the 2020 Tour de Yorkshire and Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race have been unveiled at Leeds Civic Hall. Both routes will be the toughest in the history of the race and feature more climbing than ever before, including the Côtes de Buttertubs and Grinton Moor – both making their first appearances since the 2014 Tour de France – and the return of the infamous Shibden Wall.

New Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive James Mason greeted a packed press conference on Friday morning with the Amaury Sport Organisation’s Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme. Dame Sarah Storey and Skipton’s Pete Williams were among the professional riders in attendance, with Lizzie Deignan and reigning men’s champion Chris Lawless sending in special video messages from Majorca and Australia respectively.

The sixth edition of the men’s race will take place between 30 April – 3 May and form part of the inaugural UCI ProSeries. Its new 2.Pro classification remains the highest-possible status for a multi-day race outside of the UCI WorldTour. It encompasses all four corners of the county and takes in 160 villages, towns and cities along the way.

The Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race meanwhile, runs between 1-2 May and will once again be one of the most lucrative races in the sport.

Thursday 30 April – Stage One Men (176.5km):
The Yorkshire Coast Stage – Beverley to Redcar

The men’s race gets going in Beverley and proceeds to Hornsea before following the coastline in a northerly direction. The first intermediate sprint will be contested in Flamborough, and Filey and Robin Hood’s Bay both make welcome returns before the first mountains classification points are up for grabs on the Côte de Hooks House Farm. A second intermediate sprint will take place at Whitby Abbey, and once the riders have passed through Sandsend they’ll be faced – the Côte de Lythe Bank. Any riders that fall off the pace on there will have to work hard to get themselves back into contention before the action reaches a gripping conclusion in Redcar – the most northerly location the Tour has ever visited.

Friday 1 May – Stage Two Men, Stage One Women (both 124.5km):
The Three Peaks Stage – Skipton to Leyburn

The world’s top female riders join the action in Skipton and start in the morning with the men following in the afternoon. Both routes are identical and feature two intermediate sprints in the opening 35km. The first comes in Settle with the other following in Horton in Ribblesdale. The route then heads past the Three Peaks and Ribblehead Viaduct, and once the riders have exited Hawes, the Côte de Buttertubs will be immediately upon them. This rises to the highest point of the race and is one of two climbs that have not been visited since the 2014 Tour de France. The other is the Côte de Grinton Moor, and that fearsome double-header could see a few stragglers distanced before a fiercely contested finale in Leyburn.

Saturday 2 May – Stage Three Men (134km), Stage Two Women (114.5km):
The Heritage Stage – Barnsley to Huddersfield

The riders will loop around Barnsley Town Hall before heading out of town and the pace is likely to ramp up for the first intermediate sprint in Oxspring. Penistone and Holmfirth then both feature before the first categorised climb comes on the Côte de Netherthong. Then the two routes split. The women will immediately tackle the Côte de Hebden Bridge while the men commence an 18.6km loop which takes them into Todmorden and up a brutal climb bearing the town’s name. They’ll then drop back into Hebden Bridge and re-join the women’s route before following it all the way to the finish. The Côte de Leeming’s presence will prove taxing, but it’s the Côte de Shibden Wall where the fireworks are most likely to be seen. Any sprinters still in contention will fancy their chances in the second intermediate sprint at Bank Top, but there’s only likely to be a select bunch of stars who’ll still be in contention when the race reaches Huddersfield.

Sunday 3 May – Stage Four Men (177.5km):
The Yorkshire Classic – Halifax to Leeds

Halifax’s Piece Hall is a spectacular location for the start of this decisive stage for the men before they head into Brontë Country. Haworth’s quaint cobbled Main Street will feature prior to the opening intermediate sprint in Oakworth. The first of seven categorised climbs is then looming large, and the Côte de Goose Eye could catch a few riders unaware coming so early in the stage. The action then returns to Skipton before the next climb comes on the Côte de Barden Moor. Once that has been scaled it’s on to Burnsall where the riders hit the Côte de Skyreholme. Any stragglers that slip back on there will seek to regain parity on the subsequent descent into Masham, and then it’s back to Pateley Bridge before the riders head back up the Côte de Greenhow Hill. A second intermediate sprint will be contested in Ilkley before the race hits the infamous Côte de Cow and Calf. The final climb will then be fought out on Otley Chevin and the race then sweeps into the outskirts of Leeds via Kirkstall Abbey.

James Mason, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “It’s exciting for me to be involved with the Tour de Yorkshire for the very first time and this year’s routes look fantastic. Many of our county’s iconic climbs are included, and we’re particularly pleased to see Buttertubs and Grinton Moor making appearances after they were unfortunately cut from the World Championships route on account of the weather last September. Seeing the men and women tackle Shibden Wall will also be special, and we’re delighted to be bringing the race to so many new places as well. We’re lucky to have such a diversity of landscapes here in Yorkshire and these races will have something for every type of rider. I’m really looking forward to it and I’m sure we’re in for some really exciting action.”

Christian Prudhomme, ASO’s Tour de France Director, said: “Once again, the team at Welcome to Yorkshire have done a tremendous job in designing such a beautiful, challenging and varied route and I am looking forward to seeing how both races play out. They are both harder than ever before, and when you factor in the millions of fans that will be lining the route, we know that the 2020 edition will be one to remember.”

2020 Tour de Yorkshire Ride
And last but by no means least, it was revealed that the Tour de Yorkshire Ride sportive will be back for a fifth successive year in 2019. Leeds was unveiled as the start and finish location for the event which will be held on Sunday 5 May. 6,000 amateur cyclists will have the chance to ride some of the county’s most iconic roads just hours before the Tour de Yorkshire reaches its conclusion.

Entries for the 2020 Tour de Yorkshire Ride are now open at a special early bird rate and full details can be found at http://letour.yorkshire.com/sportive

Key points:
Both routes will be the toughest in the history of the race and feature more climbing than ever before.
Ø The Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race meanwhile, runs between 1-2 May and will once again offer equal prize money to the men, making it one of the most lucrative races in the sport.
Ø The sixth edition of the men’s race will take place between 30 April – 3 May. It encompasses all four corners of the county and takes in 160 villages, towns and cities along the way.

Route map:

Circus – Wanty Gobert – Tormans is Ready to Start the Road Season
Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans is preparing for its tenth season start in the second division on Spanish roads. The Belgian team was officially presented during the winter training camp on the Costa Blanca in the Albir Garden Resort (Spain). The 25 riders from six different countries compose the 2020 team of Circus – Wanty Gobert – Tormans. The team will be reinforced with Théo Delacroix, the French U23 champion, in August.

There’s a balance between the fifteen remaining riders from last year and the eleven newcomers, among whom four neopros. Jérémy Bellicaud, Jasper De Plus, Théo Delacroix and Alexander Evans will discover the professional environment. Boy and Danny Van Poppel will reinforce the team for the classics, like Jan Bakelants. Maurits Lammertink and Simone Petilli will join the climbers. Quinten Hermans and Corné Van Kessel will start their first road campaign in a Pro Team after their winter with the Tormans Cyclo Cross Team. The group of riders from general manager Jean-François Bourlart is still directed by Hilaire Van der Schueren, Steven De Neef, Sébastien Demarbaix and Jean-Marc Rossignon, and mainly trained by Frederik Veuchelen. Circus – Wanty Gobert – Tormans will discover the classics on the international calendar in 2020, like the Strade Bianche, Milan – San Remo, the GP Québec and the GP Montréal or the Tour of Lombardie, but focuses on becoming the best Pro Team in the World Ranking in order to acquire an automatic invite for all World Tour events in 2021.

Jean-François Bourlart (general manager): “In order to reach our goals we will adapt our strategy a little. We’ve been discussing with the sportive direction to optimise our programme and to make our riders shine. We’ll ride one of the best programmes of the teams of the second division; we’ll be at the start of 25 out of 37 World Tour riders. This is possible thanks to our loyal sponsors Wanty and Groupe Gobert, and the important addition of Circus and Tormans Group. Our 7 million budget approaches that of the World Tour teams. We don’t forget the contribution of the Want You Club, our business club that brings one sixth of our budget together. After a successful start of our new project, the Tormans Cyclo Cross Team, we’re working on a good beginning on the road as well during this important training camp.”

Hilaire Van Der Schueren (sport directeur): “Thanks to Tormans Group and Circus we had a busy winter. I want to thank them for their contribution, offering us a lot of possibilities in the future. One of the opportunities was the start of a new cyclocross team and the according extra publicity during the winter. I had an eye on Quinten Hermans, and thanks to the interest of Jan Tormans there was a possibility to launch a complete cyclocross project. Next to the Tormans Cyclo Cross Team we’ve been working on a road team with diverse capabilities. Our ten new riders bring a fresh breeze to the team and higher our chances on all terrains. In addition, we added Jan Bakelants to the team and I expect that he will push the team even further into the right direction.”

Jan Bakelants: “I hope to reborn in the colours of Circus – Wanty Gobert – Tormans. In my opinion, both the team and myself will benefit from this recruitment. I feel freed and I feel ready to give all I have for my teammates. I want to share my experience in the World Tour with them. I’ll go my own chance in several races, I’ll focus on the Ardennes classics. I want to thank the staff and my new teammates for the warm welcome at this training camp, my late integration in the team was good!”

Timothy Dupont: “My regularity is my strength and I think this is important as I sprint often against the fastest men in the world. But I’m hoping to take my first victory earlier in the season than last year, when I won a stage at the Tour of Wallonia in July. I want to be ready for my first races in Oman and in Saudi Arabia. I had a good feeling during the beach races, and this is confirmed during our training camp. A sprint training is planned the next days to set up our new sprint trains.”

Xandro Meurisse: “My race programme the next few months will be busy, which is rather positive considering the uncertain weather conditions for training in Belgium. I’ll start my season in France at the GP la Marseillaise and Bessèges, and I’ll continue with Murcia and the Tour of Algarve. I want to reach a top form at the Strade Bianche and the Ardennes classics, and continue until the Tour of Romandie. I increased the pressure on myself and made some necessary efforts to become a better rider.”

Danny Van Poppel: “I expect a lot from the upcoming season and I’m motivated to take some victories for Circus – Wanty Gobert – Tormans. Although this strategy is new for me, I want to contribute a lot to the chase for UCI points. I’m happy to have the support of my brother. We realised a couple of years ago with Vacansoleil under the direction of Hilaire Van der Schueren that it is special to race together as brothers and we’re convinced that we can achieve something special together in our new environment!”

The 2020 Circus – Wanty Gobert – Tormans team:
Jan Bakelants (Bel, 33), Jérémy Bellicaud (Fra, 21), Alfdan De Decker (Bel, 23), Aimé De Gendt (Bel, 25), Jasper De Plus (Bel, 22), Ludwig De Winter (Bel, 27), Thomas Degand (Bel, 33), Théo Delacroix (Fra, 20, joins the team 1st of August 2020), Tom Devriendt (Bel, 28), Fabien Doubey (Fra, 26), Timothy Dupont (Bel, 32), Odd Eiking (Nor, 25), Alexander Evans (Aus, 22), Quinten Hermans (Bel, 24), Wesley Kreder (Ned, 29), Maurits Lammertink (Ned, 29), Xandro Meurisse (Bel, 27), Yoann Offredo (Fra, 33), Andrea Pasqualon (Ita, 32), Simone Petilli (Ita, 26), Corné Van Kessel (Ned, 28), Kévin Van Melsen (Bel, 32), Danny Van Poppel (Ned, 26), Boy Van Poppel (Ned, 31), Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel, 32), Loïc Vliegen (Bel, 26).

2020 UCI WorldTour Races Wild Cards
RCS Sport has today announced its selection of wild card teams that will participate at four out of its six UCI WorldTour races: Giro d’Italia, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo, and Strade Bianche.

GIRO D’ITALIA (9–31 May) – 19 UCI WorldTeams and 3 wild cards (22 teams of 8 riders each):
UCI WorldTeams – 19

Wild Cards – 3

TIRRENO-ADRIATICO (11–17 March) – 19 UCI WorldTeams, 1 qualified by ranking position and 4 wild cards (24 teams of 7 riders each):
UCI WorldTeams – 19


Wild Cards – 4

MILANO-SANREMO (21 March) – 19 UCI WorldTeams, 2 qualified by ranking position and 4 wild cards (25 teams of 7 riders each):
UCI WorldTeams – 19

Qualified by Ranking – 2

Wild Cards – 4

STRADE BIANCHE (7 March) – 17 UCI WorldTeams, 1 qualified by ranking position and 5 wild cards (23 teams of 7 riders each):
UCI WorldTour – 17

Qualified by Ranking – 1

Wild Cards – 5

Will we see Mathieu van der Poel in Strade Bianche?

2019 Sees Sharp Rise in Cycling Doping Cases
The number of doping cases revealed in 2019 amongst cycling’s professional elites has nearly doubled in the span of one year. The MPCC takes it as a serious warning. Since the creation of our credibility barometer six years ago, cycling figures had never been this alarming.

A year ago, we were writing that data for cycling doping, from one year to the next, was not suggesting any real trend in the medium term, unlike other sports where an ever-increasing number of cases were revealed. This year, we’re noting a clear break with the recent past. This sudden increase was equally observed in men’s and women’s cycling, whether it was track cycling or road cycling (all things considered). While cycling had kept plummeting in the list of sports most affected by doping, it rose again from 13th to 5th in the span of just one year.

2019 was marked by Operation Aderlass, which revealed the existence of an international blood doping network involving several sports and most particularly cycling. It is not out of the question that further names are revealed soon in addition to the 7 known cases in our sport (6 men and 1 woman). This police operation — carried out in close conjunction with the investigators from WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) — alone does not explain the skyrocketing in the number of infractions. Furthermore, it served as a reminder that doping can spiral into all teams, including those committed to MPCC.

Two hypotheses are being used as explanation for those many doping cases in 2019: first, a renewed interest in doping; second, better targeted doping tests.

2019 was also marked by the decision to ban Russia from all major sporting events (Olympics and World Championships, notably) for four years over doping violations. Although this ban imposed by WADA — and contested by Russia — still needs to be confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, there is no country talked about so often on account of doping scandals in two different sports: athletics (21 doping cases and 9 cases of fraud from executives) and weightlifting (16 doping cases). Those two sports alone represent 60% of the procedures that were made public this year in Russia.

In the United States, American football (39 cases) and baseball (27 cases) combine to account for more than half of the damage done to the credibility of sport. The United States still ranks first in our standings for the 4th consecutive year while Italy, the most affected nation in Europe and overall 5th in our standings, has seen their number of procedures gone public cut by half in 2019, compared to the previous two years.

Sestriere, Embracing the Giro d’Italia and its Candidacy for the Alpine Ski World Championships
Cycling and skiing in Sestriere is the big topic discussed today at a press conference at the end of the first day of Alpine Ski World Cup competitions. On Saturday 30 May, the Piedmontese town will host the arrival of the Giro d’Italia for the eighth time at the end of the Giro’s final mountain stage which will probably be decisive for the General Classification, being the penultimate stage before the Milan time trial.

While excitement is already mounting about this year’s forthcoming cycling pinnacle, the event was also the ideal opportunity to discuss Sestriere’s candidacy to host the Alpine Ski World Championships in 2029.

The Sestriere stage, Stage 20, is the last mountain action of the Giro 2020: the final alpine test, part of which also takes the world’s best climbers into French territory. Featuring a vertical elevation of 5000m, it tackles the Colle dell’Agnello, Col d’Izoard, Montgenevre and the final climb to Sestriere. For many observers, this is the modern interpretation of the mythical Cuneo-Pinerolo stage – invoking the spirit of the legendary Fausto Coppi.

The Candidacy of Sestriere for the World Skiing 2029 – Skiing is an undeniably important part of the history of Sestriere; the Municipality having been founded in 1934 specifically to become an international ski resort. Time has confirmed this vocation: from the great events of the World Cup to the World Ski Championships in 1997 and up to the Turin 2006 Winter Olympic Games. Over the years Sestriere’s stature has grown more and more, launching millions of people into skiing. Today Sestriere is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, with a base at 2000 meters above sea level and most of the slopes above this altitude. This is certainly not a negligible detail given the sudden global climate changes.

“Sestriere is a town founded on skiing that thrives on tourism: a real snow industry capable of generating fun and employment with impact on the whole Piedmont Region and beyond. The ‘future with a great past’ is what has prompted the Municipality of Sestriere to apply for the Alpine Ski World Championships in 2029, thanks to the support of the Piedmont Region, that has always been at our side with challenges that have resulted in important works and investments throughout the territory, contributions which have clearly improved the tourism offer,” said the Mayor of Sestriere, Gianni Poncet.

“Sestriere hosting the finish of a stage of the Corsa Rosa for the eighth time also falls under the same profile. We, like all cycling enthusiasts, have high expectations for this 20th stage of the Giro d’Italia 2020, from Alba to Sestriere. A stage full of meanings that go far beyond the event itself and that qualifies Sestriere as a reference destination for many amateurs who choose to come and ride on our mountains. Over time, we have created many opportunities for enthusiast riders to experience emotions, and retrace sections of stages that have become epic thanks to the gesture of true champions. Above all the Gran Fondo Sestriere Colle delle Finestre, scheduled for July 19, and also a series of days to try out timed-climbing on roads closed to traffic, with the new 2020 Sestriere-Col Basset event.” concluded Mayor Poncet.

Paolo Bellino, CEO of RCS Sport, said: “The Giro d’Italia and Sestriere have a long history of collaboration that will, in 2020, see the Piedmontese city host a stage finish of the Corsa Rosa for the eighth time. RCS Sport’s relationship with Sestriere and the Piedmont Region goes beyond the Giro d’Italia, as demonstrated by the numerous other international events organised in this beautiful territory. I am sure that this relationship will continue for a long time. I wish the best of luck to the Mayor and the city for their important bid to host the Alpine Ski World Championships in 2029. We are proud to be partners of such an event at the highest international level that would give further prestige to Sestriere, Piedmont and all of Italy.”

“Great cycling and competitive alpine skiing: two events that are of absolute importance for our mountains and are opportunities for the development of the territory. Our ski resorts have already proven that they can host great sporting events and our skills in sporting events are an added value,” said the President of the Piedmont Region, Alberto Cirio, and the Regional Councilor for Sport, Fabrizio Ricca. “We want to build events that become development opportunities for the next few years, creating a calendar of appointments.”

Flavio Roda, President of the Italian Winter Sports Federation said that: “The Italian Winter Sports Federation expresses the utmost support for a candidacy which, if accepted, would enable our nation to maintain a leading role in the most important winter sports events in recent years after the 2021 Cortina World Championships and the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympics. Hosting an event of this magnitude would have a significant economic and media impact, allowing the Piedmontese resort to once again breathe the excitement of the great event, following the perfect success of the 2006 Olympics which are still alive in the memories of Italian and other fans. It should only be a matter of agreeing with the other nations which is the most suitable year, based on the International Federation’s considerations for major events.”

The speakers at the press conference in Sestriere with the Giro d’Italia winner’s trophy, the Trofeo Senza Fine:

2021 UEC Super Cycling European Championships
The UEC Super Cycling European Championships will Make Their Debut in 2021, a UEC delegation is visiting Minsk for the first edition.

The first edition of the UEC Super Cycling European Championships is taking shape. The city of Minsk (Belarus) is planning to host the event in 2021 (from 1st to 15th August). Today, UEC representatives went to the Belarusian capital to meet with the various bodies that will be involved in the organisation (Belarusian Cycling Federation, the National Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Sports and Tourism, the City of Minsk and Minsk Region) to examine technical and organisational details in view of the final agreement that could be signed in the next few weeks according the position of the parties.

The UEC Super Cycling European Championships concept is a large scale event that will host over two weeks in the city of Minsk and the Minsk region, the European Championships in six disciplines: Road (Juniors, Under 23 and Elite), MTB (Youth, Juniors, Under 23, Elite and Masters), Track Elite, BMX Racing (Challenge, Juniors, Under 23 and Elite), BMX Freestyle and Gran Fondo.

The UEC delegation, along with the President Rocco Cattaneo, the Vice Presidents Henrik Jess Jensen and Alexander Gusyatnikov and the Secretary General Enrico Della Casa, also made an in-depth visit of the facilities that will be staging the various competitions.

This event, which will be in the same format every four years, is without doubt a great opportunity for the host city since for two weeks approximately 5,000 athletes from 50 competing countries will take part in the races on the programme which will also have huge TV coverage all over Europe and outside Europe, thanks to an agreement signed between the UEC and Eurovision.
Over the years, the city of Minsk has hosted very prestigious sports events including an edition of the Track World Cycling Championships in 2013, two rounds of the Track Cycling World Cup (2017/2018 and 2019/2020), a Hockey World Championships, an Artistic Ice Skating European Championships (2019) and a Speed Skating Championships (2016) as well as the 2nd edition of the European Games, a multi-sport event which took place in June 2019.

Rocco Cattaneo, President of the Union Européenne de Cyclisme: “The creation of the UEC Super Cycling European Championships is a turning point in our Confederation’s activities. What may have seemed like an ambitious project a few months ago has today finally become a reality. This is an event which has significant financial benefits for the host city and its region. During this visit, we were able to see close up and appreciate the state and effectiveness of the various facilities in the city and we have a very professional and high level team of organisers which is a great guarantee for the first edition of the UEC Super Cycling European Championships. I would like to thank the Belarusian Cycling Federation and its President Natallia Tsilinskaya, the National Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Sports and Tourism and the City of Minsk as well as the organisations that have believed in this ambitious project from the beginning, the contractual details of which will be finalised in the next few weeks.”

Natallia Tsilinskaya, President of the Belarusian Cycling Federation: “It is a great honour and responsibility for Belarusian Cycling Federation to become a pretender for holding such a large-scale sporting event. Belarusian cycling will make a big step in the development of all cycling disciplines. Once again our country is ready to demonstrate its professionalism in preparation and holding of the most complex sports events.”

Natallia Tsilinskaya (President of the Belarus Cycling Federation), Enrico Della Casa (UEC General Secretary), Alexander Gusyatnikov (UEC Vice President), Rocco Cattaneo (UEC President), Victor Lukashenko (Vice President of the National Olympic Committee), Henrik Jess Jensen (UEC Vice President) and Sergeyi Kovalchuk (Minister of Sport and Tourism):

Chris Froome Looks Ahead to 2020
In his first interview of 2020, Chris Froome gives us the latest update on his training and recovery, his Tour de France focus, plus a ‘thank you’ message for the fans.

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