EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!
Free to read cycling news
We have been spoilt for choice this weekend with the Tour de Suisse, Baloise Belgium Tour, Slovenia Tour and La Route d’Occitanie – La Dépêche du Midi, all the results and video. Van der Poel will not fight with Van Aert for Tour green – TOP STORY. Rider news: Richard Carapaz to EF Education-EasyPost, Philippe Gilbert’s last Tour, no Tour for Vanmarcke – Van Gils and Vermeersch possible, maybe no Tour for Kasper Asgreen and Alexander Kristoff could go to Uno-X. Team news: Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert strengthens with Laurenz Rex, DSM’s Pavel Bittner and Casper van Uden promoted to WorldTour and SD Worx altitude training in Brides-les-Bains. Race news: Canadian road champs return to Alberta, UCI removes Tour of Guangxi from 2022 calendar and UCI demands commitments from RideLondon Classique. Plus A. Dugast opens new production facility in Oldenzaal. *** Stop the war in Ukraine. ***
TOP STORY: Van der Poel Will Not Fight with Van Aert for Green
“No, I’m not going to get involved in the battle for the green jersey,” Mathieu van der Poel told RIDE magazine. “It takes away a lot of freedom, while I want to fully focus on stage wins. Maybe this is something for teammate Jasper Philipsen.”
In an interview for RIDE with former green jersey winners Frank Hoste and Eric Vanderaerden that Mathieu van der Poel and the green jersey came up. Hoste said that Van der Poel would be no match for Van Aert in the battle for the points competition.
“Mathieu is a bit more explosive than Wout, but the latter is stronger and above all… more resilient,” said Hoste. “Look at their field duels a few years ago. I remember races in which Mathieu broke away on the second lap and took 15 seconds in no time, but Wout kept fighting and at the finish the difference was still the same 15 seconds. Conversely, Van der Poel throws in the towel much faster. When he feels he can’t win anymore, he loses and says ‘Fuck, better tomorrow’. That is his full right, but to get the green jersey, you have to be alert for three weeks. You have to fight for every point.”
We presented Hoste’s statements to the leader of Alpecin-Fenix. “It is no secret that Wout has a lot of resilience,” Van der Poel agrees. “And I don’t deny that three weeks of fighting for that green jersey is a heavy mental load. It also takes away some of the freedom. I will therefore not interfere in that battle in this Tour, but I want to fully focus on stage victories. Don’t forget that Wout already has a few Grand Tours in his legs. I think he can handle that combination more easily.”
Van der Poel carefully puts his teammate Jasper Philipsen forward as a potential candidate for green. “I don’t know if it will be a goal for Jasper. But it is something he must be able to handle. He crosses the cols quickly enough to occasionally grab some extra points in the intermediate sprints in a difficult stage. But I’m definitely not going to try it this year.”
No green for Van der Poel:
Tour de Suisse 2022
Aleksandr Vlasov won Stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse and took the overall lead. The BORA-hansgrohe climber crossed the line first in Novazzano. Remco Evenepoel was the loser of the day: the Belgian couldn’t hang on in the finalé and lost more than 2 minutes to the other GC men.
The puncheurs had the fifth stage, from Ambri to Novazzano, in their thoughts. In the first half of the stage, the Monte Ceneri (5.2km at 6.0%) was the only obstacle, but the second half made up for it. The final loop of 27.9 kilometres in and around Novazzano was very tough. The steep Pedrinate (2.4km at 8.2%) had to be climbed three times and would cause the damage. From the last passage there was 8.4 kilometres to the finish, where the last 2 kilometres went up at about 6%.
Before the start, the news trickled in that Jumbo-Visma would not be making an appearance due to multiple corona infections within the team. Adam Yates, leader of INEOS Grenadiers, also had to leave for the same reason. DSM’s Cees Bol, Søren Kragh Andersen and Casper Pedersen were also positive in the corona test before the start and had to withdraw. Although the team decided, in consultation with the race organisers and the UCI, to stay in the race.
The first attack was not long in coming. Silvan Dillier (Alpecin-Fenix), Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies), Johan Jacobs (Movistar) and Claudio Imhof (Swiss National Team) tried from the start. The four had to work really hard to take a good the lead, after Alexander Kamp of Trek-Segafredo was able to join them, the peloton let the group go. This happened after about 20 kilometres of racing. The peloton watched them take a 7 seven minute advantage. This turned out to be too much for the Lotto Soudal men. The Belgian team put two riders on the front of the peloton working for Andreas Kron. EF Education-EasyPost, which was very active on Wednesday in the stage won by Daryl Impey, also started to get involved in the chase. This reduced the difference. With 100 kilometres to go, the five leaders still had just under 6 minutes. However, this did not seem enough with what was still to come. Once on the local circuit, the real climbing could begin. A first selection soon followed in the leading group: Kamp, Dillier and Turgis turned out to have the strongest climbing legs, for Jacobs and Imhof it was too fast. Dillier was the best of the remaining front riders and dropped his escape companions one by one. Turgis was the next rider to let go, and 40 kilometres out, Kamp was also gone. In short, Dillier was riding well on the difficult course around Novazzano, but also looked to be nearly finished with his break.
With 30 kilometres to go, the difference to the group of favourites had shrunk to just over 1 minute. There was no trace of the yellow jersey wearer in the chasing group. Stephen Williams was not having the best day of his career, and had to retire quite early. Dillier kept pushing hard, but the Alpecin-Fenix rider had no chance. At 15 kilometres from the finish, the Swiss rider was caught by the first group containing the overall favourites. Remco Evenepoel was also in this group, although the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl leader had some difficult moments in the heat. Evenepoel couldn’t hang on 20 kilometres from the finish, on one of the steep climbs, but managed to return to the front with the help of his teammates. This was a bad sign for the Belgian, especially because the race was yet to explode. Evenepoel’s return turned out to be no more than a final effort and on the last climb of the Pedrinate, the Belgian’s lights went out for good. Just before the top of the Pedrinate, Andreas Leknessund attacked, but the stage winner in Aesch was quickly countered by Jakob Fuglsang. The Dane pushed on and managed to thin out the front group to about 15 riders. Most of the top riders had survived the selection. On the descent, Tom Pidcock and Maximilian Schachmann managed to get away for a while, but they were not at full speed and were caught again. It was mainly a matter of waiting for the last 2 uphill kilometres to Novazzano.
Fuglsang had other plans and attacked, taking advantage of a moment of hesitation on the part of the chasers. The 37 year-old Dane, winner of the Mercan’Tour Classic two weeks ago, started the last climb to the finish with a nice lead. However, it was not enough to stay out of the grip of his competitors, as Aleksandr Vlasov managed to get back to Fuglsang with an impressive jump. Geraint Thomas went with Vlasov and Schachmann and Neilson Powless also managed to get with them. Vlasov, Thomas, Powless, Schachmann and Fuglsang then looked at each other, but the chasing group wouldn’t catch them and so there would be a sprint for the win. Schachmann started, but was outflanked by Fuglsang and Vlasov. The Russian managed to sprint the Dane off his wheel and stayed ahead of Powless in the final metres. Fuglsang was third, Thomas fourth and Diego Ulissi completed the top 5. Schachmann couldn’t do anything in the last meters and only crossed the finish line in 9th. We had to wait for Evenepoel to arrive. The 22 year-old tried to limit the damage, but lost more than 2 minutes to stage winner Vlasov. This is a major blow to Evenepoel, who hoped to aim for the final podium. For stage winner Vlasov, this victory is a welcome boost towards the Tour de France.
Stage winner and overall leader, Aleksandr Vlasov (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a tough race especially on the circuit. We tried to be always well positioned in the peloton and when the group of favourites became smaller, we still had four riders at the front. This allowed me to save a bit more energy for the finale. Many thanks to my teammates because they did a really strong job in these difficult weather conditions. In terms of the GC, we still have some important and difficult days ahead of us, but we will try to defend the jersey until the end. The fact that I also took the jersey today means more work for the team, but we have many strong riders here and we will give it our all.”
4th on the stage and 3rd overall, Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers): “It was a hard day, a hot day, Luke started riding when a big break looked to go away, and we wanted to try and keep it together for Tom in the final, but it was just a super hard day, a hard circuit, harder than expected really. Then we had three of us there in the finish and we tried to play the numbers, I followed Vlasov; it would have been nicer to have a bit better legs, but in the end fourth was all I had. I think Vlasov definitely has some good condition so it will be hard to take the jersey off of him, but who knows, we go into the proper mountains tomorrow, some proper altitude so we’ll see how things go.”
Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “It got harder lap by lap. It was a bit similar to the first stage. Back then I had the right legs, today they weren’t very good. It certainly wasn’t bad either, but I certainly wasn’t good enough to follow the best riders. There are still two tough stages to go. I keep fighting, even with the time trial in mind. However, it is now clear that I should not lose any more time. I could handle a fast pace, but they started to climb full on those sharp ramps. And that just didn’t work today. Van Wilder and Masnada brought me back, but I had forgotten that last climb. That was really a downer. I thought we would drive to the finish and on that climb I might have been able to bite through. But when I realised that we had to climb that Pedrinate again, I had a bit of a hard time. Two minutes is a lot, but I’m going to keep fighting to get some time back. Nothing is lost, even if certain men are very strong.”
Tour de Suisse Stage 5 Result:
1. Aleksandr Vlasov (-) BORA-hansgrohe in 4:30:28
2. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-EasyPost
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Israel-Premier Tech
4. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
5. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:05
6. Felix Großschartner (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:06
7. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
8. Sergio Higuita (Col) BORA-hansgrohe
9. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
10. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:09.
Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 5:
1. Aleksandr Vlasov (-) BORA-hansgrohe in 22:16:56
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:06
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:07
4. Andreas Kron Lotto Soudal at 0:14
5. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:16
6. Sergio Higuita (Col) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:28
8. Felix Großschartner (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:40
9. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:43
10. Andreas Leknessund (Nor) DSM at 0:44.
Suisse’22 stage 5:
Nico Denz won Stage 6 of the Tour de Suisse. The German went with an early break and came first at the top of the Moosalp after 18 kilometres of climbing. In a sprint from five, Clément beat Champoussin by a small difference. Nothing much happened among the favourites. Jakob Fuglsang took the lead in the general classification.
On stage six the peloton went into the high mountains. First the Nufenenpass (21.6km at 5.0%), followed by the final climb, the Moosalp (18.0km at 6.0%). The most important developments occurred before the start. There were many corona infections with some entire teams leaving the race. Aleksandr Vlasov should have started in the leader’s jersey after his stage win on Thursday, but he was one of the positive cases. Jakob Fuglsang took over the overall lead.
There were 93 riders left for the 179.3 kilometre stage. Eleven riders took off early: Clément Champoussin (AG2R Citroën), Fausto Masnada (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Roland Thalmann (Swiss National team), Nelson Oliviera (Movistar), José Herrada (Cofidis), Andrea Pasqualon (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ), Nico Denz (DSM), Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo), Dion Smith (BikeExchange-Jayco) and the Brent Van Moer (Lotto Soudal). Michael Matthews also managed to cross on his own. The lead of the twelve was more than 5 minutes, when they started the Nufenenpass. At the top, the difference was even bigger, despite Astana Qazaqstan putting a lot of effort into the chase. As a result, the peloton thinned out to 40 men. Only Dion Smith dropped out at the front. Because the peloton initially slowed down on the descent, the eleven leaders started the Moosalp with more than 5 minutes lead. Matthews won an intermediate sprint, which meant that he would take over the points jersey from Andreas Leknessund. On the last climb, Michael Matthews was the first to break out of the leading group. In the first kilometres the speed went up because of an attack from Denz. Pacher, Simmons and Masnada joined in, giving us four front runners. Pacher soon had to pass and then Simmons was also dropped. Denz and Masnada remained, with the Italian taking care of most of the work. Meanwhile there was little action in the peloton, there was an attack by Alexey Lutsenko, but the Kazakh’s attempt came to nothing.
At the front the pace was apparently not high enough, because 4 kilometres before the finish two riders came back in front: Herrada and Champoussin. Masnada wanted to get rid of all three of his companions and put in a blistering attack at 3 kilometres. Champoussin and Denz were able to follow and Herrada got back later. At this moment Remco Evenepoel had to let go of the other GC riders, just like yesterday. Stefan Küng was also unable to follow. Before that, there had been an attack by Maximilian Schachmann, who escaped with Jakob Fuglsang. But, the attempt came to nothing. Simmons joined the front riders in the final kilometres, after which the American was the first to start the sprint. Champoussin got past the Trek-Segafredo rider and looked like he was on his way to victory. But he had not counted on Denz, who crossed the line with a last minute jump next to the Frenchman. The DSM rider turned out to have won by the smallest of margins. In the peloton, besides a jump from Felix Großschartner, there was not much to see. The top men still fought out a sprint for 8th place. Geraint Thomas showed himself the fastest. Jakob Fuglsang held the lead.
Stage winner, Nico Denz (DSM): “The start was a bit strange with so many riders dropping out but we were still super motivated to race. I tried to be in the break early and bridged across to the guys in front. I felt really good all day and had a huge help from the car with ice and water all day to cool down and stay hydrated – this was key for me today. On the last climb I just knew I had to follow, it was also a headwind too. I dug deep to stay in the front and when we got to the flatter part I thought that this really could be for me. For the sprint I got some really good information from Wilbert in the car knowing what it would be like. I knew I had to come late with the steep part – actually I almost waited too long. But I’m really happy that it came good for me and to take this incredible win. There’s no words to describe how big this is to me.”
Overall leader and 10th on the stage, Jakob Fuglsang (Israel-Premier Tech): “Tomorrow will be a different story for sure. The mountain specialists have to make some time up before the time trial. That also applies to me. I don’t know whether a one second advantage over Geraint Thomas will be enough.”
2nd on the stage, Clément Champoussin (AG2R Citroën): “I saw straight away that I was passed on the finish line by Nico Denz during this sprint for victory. Unfortunately, I wasn’t missing much to win, it’s a shame because I had a good sprint. I just followed the wheels during this last climb with my current physical condition, it was the best option for me to play for the win. I still lack a bit of rhythm, I only returned to competition on May 31 at the Mercan’Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes, after my crash during the Tour of the Alps.”
9th on the stage and 3rd overall, Sergio Higuita (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a good day for the team, especially after what happened to us today. There were so many emotions and also disappointment after Alex and Toni had to leave the race, but with today’s outcome that changed somewhat. We were focused on the race and in the end it came down to the last climb. We tried to drop the other GC favourites, and Felix and I rode strongly, but Ineos Grenadiers controlled the race very well. Nevertheless, we both had good legs and reached the finish in good time and we are very happy with that. We definitely want to fight for everything here at the Tour de Suisse.”
Tour de Suisse Stage 6 Result:
1. Nico Denz (Ger) DSM in 5:11:14
2. Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën
3. José Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
4. Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo
5. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:11
6. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:33
7. Roland Thalmann (Swi) Switzerland at 1:46
8. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 2:14
9. Sergio Higuita (Col) BORA-hansgrohe
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Israel-Premier Tech.
Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 6:
1. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Israel-Premier Tech in 27:30:30
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:01
3. Sergio Higuita (Col) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:10
4. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:26
5. Felix Großschartner (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:34
6. Andreas Leknessund (Nor) DSM at 0:46
7. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:49
8. Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal at 1:00
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 1:07
10. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ.
Suisse’22 stage 6:
Thibaut Pinot won Stage 7 of the Tour de Suisse. The Frenchman of Groupama-FDJ was part of the early break and managed to take the win it on the final climb to Malbun. Sergio Higuita took over the overall lead from Jakob Fuglsang.
Many riders left the Tour of Switzerland on Friday due to the corona virus, on Saturday two riders didn’t start due to positive tests: Quentin Pacher and Marco Haller. They would miss the mountain stage from Ambri to Malbun (12.8km at 8.4%), where the finish was at 1,522 metres. Before that, the peloton also had to cross the Lukmanier pass (18.0km at 5.5%), the climb of Flims (5.2km at 6.2%) and to St. Luzisteig (3.0km at 7%).
Before the Lukmanier pass, nineteen men had escaped: Paul Ourselin & Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies), Thibaut Pinot & Lewis Askey (Groupama-FDJ), Fausto Masnada & Ilan Van Wilder (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) Clément Berthet, Nicolas Prodhomme & Clément Champoussin (AG2R Citroën), Michael Matthews & Jack Bauer (BikeExchange-Jayco), Gianni Moscon & Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan), Nelson Oliveira & Óscar Rodríguez (Movistar), Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal), Gavin Mannion (Human Powered Health), Yannis Voisard (Swiss National team) and Ion Izagirre (Cofidis). The leading group fell apart on the Lukmanierpass. Pinot and Berthet rode off the front, while a few riders had to pass at the back. Fourteen men got together on the descent. Shortly after the climb to Flims, with 50 kilometres to go, they had a 4 minute lead. Burgaudeau, the best classified rider in the leading group (17th), was at 4:36 behind Jakob Fuglsang. For that reason, Israel-Premier Tech led the pack.
At the foot of the climb, the front riders still had 3:30. Early on the climb, Izagirre and Lutsenko rode away from their fellow escapees. The Spaniard then dropped the Kazakh, who was caught and left behind by Thibaut Pinot. It became a duel at the front between Izagirre and Pinot. The peloton was mainly led by BORA-hansgrohe and INEOS Grenadiers. There were attacks by Remco Evenepoel. However, the young Belgian was pulled back by overall leader Jakob Fuglsang. Pinot caught Izagirre and immediately left him behind, Daniel Felipe Martinez hit the front of the peloton hard. Only Fuglsang, Geraint Thomas and Sergio Higuita could hold him. Higuita then placed an attack to which the other two did not immediately have an answer. Fuglsang took the lead in the chase, but in the last kilometre Thomas jumped from his wheel. The Briton came close to Higuita, but the Colombian had enough time to become the new overall leader. Pinot had already crossed the line as the stage winner. The Frenchman finished ahead of Óscar Rodríguez and Lutsenko. Izagirre was in trouble in the final kilometres.
Stage winner, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ): “This is a great victory for me. I have recorded the stage in my diary in capitals. I just want to win races, the rest doesn’t matter. I’m still here to win, I’m more comfortable than before my crash at the Tour de France in 2019, I had to believe in myself. It was so hot that I didn’t want to go into the red at the beginning of the climb, but I got into a rhythm and eventually everyone who started too hard paid the toll. My tactics were good. My start to the week was complicated, but yesterday (Friday) I was able to follow the leaders again and I had the legs to participate. That gave me confidence. So today (Saturday) I told myself that I would have a good chance of winning if I was in the break. It is inevitable that it will be about the Tour, now that we only have 15 days left. Expectations will be high. But I am confident in myself, I will rest well. The most important thing for me is to raise my arms.”
Overall leader and 4th on the stage, Sergio Higuita (BORA-hansgrohe): “We knew that the last part of the climb was particularly steep after a short flat section and so our plan was to attack with Felix and then with Max. Felix, however, didn’t feel so good in the finale. After Fuglsang went and Thomas followed him, I launched my attack. I knew that I am not a time trial specialist, so I had to get valuable seconds here before tomorrow’s stage. It will be hard to compete with Thomas, who is a time trial specialist, but we will give it our all again tomorrow and do our best.”
7th on the stage and 3rd overall, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Qazaqstan): “Of course I expected someone to try something, but I hoped that the three of us would stay a little longer. Then Higuita attacked and G (Geraint Thomas) stuck to my wheel. I did everything I could to stay close to Higuita… We expect a lot of attacks. Dani (Daniel Felipe Martínez) was incredible, the whole team actually. I went after Higuita from too far, which caused me to blow up a bit. After such a long effort, I kind of misjudged how long five hundred meters was. I’ve worked hard. The goal was to get to the Tour in the best possible shape and I’m on track for that. Now I just have to avoid everyone.”
Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “Yesterday it didn’t run the way I wanted, today it ran a lot better. It was only in the last three kilometres that I had to find my own rhythm, because Fuglsang, Thomas and Higuita wanted to fight it out for the general classification. But otherwise I am very satisfied. I think I got the best out of it. Also in terms of power it was a lot better compared to yesterday. Now I hope that I can dive into the top ten again, so that I can end the week with a good feeling. We’ll just go full on Sunday and then we’ll see, but Stefan Küng is also strong. I think he has a little more chance than me. But I’ve already beaten him once this year, so I’m going to remember that. Thomas, me and Küng will be the favourites. After that a month without competition. Also because I feel… I am already on forty racing days, which is quite a lot. And I want to start very fresh at the Vuelta, which was perhaps a little less the case here. Those are all things you learn. Start the Vuelta as fresh as possible, go a lot at altitude, train a lot uphill, and then make the best of it.”
Tour de Suisse Stage 7 Result:
1. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 5:06:39
2. Óscar Rodríguez (Spa) Movistar at 0:25
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:38
4. Sergio Higuita (Col) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:19
5. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:30
6. Nicolas Prodhomme (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 1:40
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Israel-Premier Tech at 1:48
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 1:59
9. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 2:09
10. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-EasyPost at 2:19.
Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 7:
1. Sergio Higuita (Col) BORA-hansgrohe in 32:38:38
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:02
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:19
4. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-EasyPost at 1:16
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 1:37
6. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 2:09
7. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 2:19
8. Bob Jungels (Lux) AG2R Citroën at 2:31
9. Felix Großschartner (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 2:47
10. Andreas Leknessund (Nor) DSM at 2:59.
Suisse’22 stage 7:
Geraint Thomas is the final overall winner of the 2022 Tour of Switzerland. The British rider finished second in the Final Stage 8 time trial and pushed Sergio Higuita out of the leader’s jersey. The time trial in Vaduz was won by Remco Evenepoel who held off Thomas and Stefan Küng.
The last stage of the Tour de Suisse was an individual time trial over 25.6 kilometres through and around Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein. The route first went clockwise along the banks of the Rhine with no climbing until Eschen. From then on it was bit more difficult. The split times were taken at 12.9 kilometres. Via Mauren, Nendeln and Schaan, the course then went back to Vaduz, where the finishing times were taken. Sergio Higuita was the last man off as leader, but Geraint Thomas was the better time trialist on paper.
Before Higuita and Thomas would battle for the overall victory, 79 other riders would complete their time trial. Including quite a few time trial big-guns, such as Chad Haga and Dylan van Baarle. With 29 minutes and 51 seconds for Haga and 29 minutes and 31 seconds for Van Baarle, they set the first target times. When the GC riders started, these times were not too important. Bob Jungels, Maximilian Schachmann, Felix Grosschartner, Daniel Felipe Martinez would all go under the time of Haga and Van Baarle. Despite their good times, they did not stand a chance of the stage victory. Stefan Küng, Remco Evenepoel and Thomas were the top favourites.
Evenepoel would be the first to go under 29 minutes with a time of 28 minutes and 26 seconds. Only Küng looked to be able to beat the young Belgian. The first part of the course was made for the Swiss rider, he reached the intermediate point 2 seconds faster than Evenepoel. In the second part he lost a lot of ground and was not going to win the time trial. The stage victory would go to the Belgian. Classification riders such as Thomas, Higuita and Powless could not match Evenepoel’s time. Thomas came very close though. The INEOS Grenadiers rider was 3 seconds short at the finish. Due to his strong time trial he rode Higuita well out of the leader’s jersey for the overall win. Higuita held on to second place ahead of Fuglsang.
Stage winner, Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “It’s a beautiful way to finish it off like this. It was close in the end, but I had the fastest bike and I’m happy and proud to win against so many very good riders. I learned a lot this week – which was one with ups and downs and with many difficulties – including on the days I lost time, where I missed some freshness. In the last two stages I began feeling better, the shape was improving, so I focused on this time trial, knowing I had a chance. It was quite hard today with the heat, but I could keep the power despite these conditions, sticking to my pace plan, and I’m delighted I could pull it off. This result in a World Tour ITT is a big step in my career and an important win ahead of next week’s National Championships, where I’ll go motivated and with a good morale.”
Final overall winner and 2nd on the stage, Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers): “[The win] is super nice actually. I was second here back in 2015. I was second going into the TT there as well but (Simon) Spilak overtook me and I lost that by five seconds. It’s super nice to win here – it’s something I’ve always wanted to do – especially after that narrow loss. It’s really nice to win such a big race and such a hard race. With the weather, for sure it’s the hottest race I’ve done consistently. Especially with the heat you had to be conservative and not be aggressive too early. It’s super hard racing. Obviously the stage (Aleksandr) Vlasov won in Mendrisio was a really hard day, but they’ve all been tough to be fair! [It was about] consistency and always being up there in the right place. We lost our leader in (Adam) Yates which was unfortunate. To rally and do what we’ve done has been super satisfying.”
2nd overall, Sergio Higuita (BORA-hansgrohe): “I knew it would be hard today. The gap between the best placed GC riders was not that big and the course was more suited to the time trial specialists. I did my best and in the end it was enough for second place overall. I am happy with my result here, because to be able to wear the yellow jersey on the last day and take a podium place in the GC is really nice and gives me extra motivation for the next races. We were a bit unlucky that some of our riders unfortunately had to drop out due to illness, but thank you to everyone who was still able to support me here until the end.”
Tour de Suisse Stage 8 Result:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 28:26
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:03
3. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:11
4. Daniel Felipe Martínez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:28
5. Bob Jungels (Lux) AG2R Citroën at 0:33
6. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:39
7. Felix Großschartner (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:55
8. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:59
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Israel-Premier Tech at 1:02
10. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:05.
Tour de Suisse Final Overall Result:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 33:07:09
2. Sergio Higuita (Col) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:12
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Israel-Premier Tech at 1:16
4. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-EasyPost at 2:10
5. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 2:25
6. Bob Jungels (Lux) AG2R Citroën at 2:59
7. Felix Großschartner (Aust) BORA-hansgrohe at 3:37
8. Daniel Felipe Martínez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 3:39
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 3:42
10. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 3:45.
Suisse’22 stage 8:
Baloise Belgium Tour 2022
Jasper Philipsen won the bunch sprint of Stage 2 of the Baloise Belgium Tour. After more than 175 kilometres the sprinter of Alpecin-Fenix was the fastest on the slightly uphill finish in Knokke-Heist. Danny van Poppel (BORA-hansgrohe) was second and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) third. Fabio Jakobsen was unable to sprint in the final metres.
Six men made up the break of the day: Yentl Vandevelde (Minerva), Jacob Relaes (Tarteletto-Isorex), Theo Bonnet (Geofco-Doltcini Materiel Velo.com), Yoeri Havik (BEAT), Nick van der Meer and Daan van Sintmaartensdijk (VolkerWessels). Their lead fluctuated between 1 and 2 minutes for a long time, as sprinter teams Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl, Alpecin-Fenix and Trek-Segafredo settled on the front of the peloton. Before the leading group reached the finish town of Knokke-Heist for two laps of 19.2 kilometres, Bonnet had to drop out. He had to let go when his fellow escapees started to go for the intermediate sprint.
In the final, BORA-hansgrohe also lent a helping hand in the pursuit. As a result, the difference to the leading group was under 1 minute. Overall leader Mads Pedersen had some bad luck, but a quick wheel change allowed him to return. At the front, Havik, Vandevelde and Relaes survived the longest. Van Sintmaartensdijk won the intermediate sprint. Going into the last lap on the coast, the difference was just over 20 seconds. That gap was closed during the Golden Kilometre. The first bonuses were for the break, but in the second sprint Quinten Hermans took full points. The last bonus sprint went to Florian Sénéchal, from Dries De Bondt and Axel Zingle.
Now it was up to the sprinters’ trains. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in particular took charge, as did Arkéa-Samsic. In the run-up to the finishing straight, it was chaos. No sprinters got a perfect lead-out. Mads Pedersen took the lead early on the boulevard of Knokke-Heist, but he was passed in the last uphill metres by Jasper Philipsen and Danny van Poppel. Fabio Jakobsen also tried to sprint, but Jasper Philipsen was faster and the Dutchman had to ease off and finish 7th. In the general classification, Mads Pedersen kept his lead, partly thanks to his 3rd place. Jasper Philipsen and Tim Wellens are second and third going into Friday’s individual time trial.
Stage winner, Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix): “It was a very hectic sprint. We rode relatively calmly all day. That is, everyone is fresh at the end. That made it difficult to be in a good position in the final. This is a period we have been working towards. I wasn’t sure of my form after the altitude training, but it’s not too bad. I am satisfied with the shape. Hopefully it will also be a good sign towards the Tour. It will raise awareness (the covid cases), especially among riders and teams. It would be a shame if someone dropped out towards the important races. I don’t have to think about it much myself, you don’t see when you get an infection. But it’s something to keep in mind.”
2nd on the stage, Danny van Poppel (BORA-hansgrohe): “Well, the last kilometre was frantic. It was almost impossible to stay together with all the people moving from side to side. Unfortunately, Sam lost my wheel at one point and after that he said in the radio, I should sprint for myself. I was quite far back to be honest, but there was a lot of headwind and most of the guys went too early. I was sitting in the wheel of Philipsen and almost surfed to second.”
4th on the stage, Arnaud De Lie (Lotto Soudal): “There were no trains. I was also alone. When turning into the finishing straight I was in about 15th position. All in all, that’s a bit too far, I realise that. But I was on the wheel of Fabio Jakobsen, one of the best sprinters in the world and with the best train anyway. But Fabio suddenly fell silent (due to a flat tyre), so I couldn’t get any further than positioning myself. I didn’t really sprint today. Ah, it was one big chaos in the finalé. I have to look at the images again, but I don’t think anyone had a train. Certainly not me. With a teammate you may be able to straighten something out in those last hundreds metres. Anyway, in such a super technical final you need more luck than experience. I wasn’t that lucky today. There will be opportunities for the team in the coming days. Starting with the time trial tomorrow. That will be a great test for Tim Wellens. Myself? It will be my first time trial ever as a pro. I will definitely go à bloc, just for the fun of it. I’m not strong enough to participate for a good result.”
Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 2 Result:
1. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix in 3:48:42
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe
3. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
4. Arnaud De Lie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Sasha Weemaes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Alberto Dainese (Ita) DSM
7. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
8. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
9. Stanisław Aniołkowski (Pol) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
10. Gerben Thijssen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux.
Baloise Belgium Tour Overall After Stage 2:
1. Mads Pedersen (Bel) Trek-Segafredo in 7:37:57
2. Jasper Philipsen (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:06
3. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:12
4. Danny van Poppel (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:14
5. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
6. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:17
7. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
8. Florian Sénéchal (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
9. Loïc Vliegen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:18
10. Axel Zingle (Fra) Cofidis at 0:19.
Belgium Tour’22 stage 2:
Yves Lampaert won the individual time trial Stage 3 of the Baloise Belgium Tour on Friday. The 31-year-old Belgian of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl was faster than Mads Pedersen and Daan Hoole over the 11.8 kilometres between Scherpenheuvel-Zichem and Avenrode. With his victory, Lampaert moved up to 2nd place in the standings. The leader’s jersey remains on Mads Pedersen’s shoulders.
The stage started near the Mariapark in Scherpenheuvel. The first kilometres were on relatively large roads, but from halfway the route was more technical and in the last 2 kilometres there were six bends and three traffic islands.
The hot seat was briefly occupied by Irish champion Ryan Mullen, Florian Vermeersch and Lasse Norman Hansen. The Dane couldn’t enjoy his leading position for long, because Dutch neopro and time trial talent Daan Hoole was faster. He was in the lead until Belgian champion Yves Lampaert appeared on the course. The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider was already slightly faster than the young Dutchman on the course, after which he more than doubled his lead at the finish. After the Belgian, six more riders followed, each of whom didn’t meet Lampaert’s time. Mads Pedersen also couldn’t touch the Belgian, but he retained the leader’s jersey.
There were two more Belgians who had hoped to play a role in Friday’s time trial. Victor Campenaerts and Rune Herregodts conceded 11 and 15 seconds respectively on Hoole at the intermediate point, but they had hoped for more in the second part. That just didn’t happen, because both riders had to deal with chain problems. Oscar Riesebeek, Jordi Meeus and Tim Wellens finished in the top-10.
Stage winner, Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “It feels great to get my first victory of the season, and the fact that I did it with this jersey on my shoulders makes it even more special. I am happy to be on the top spot of the podium after a frustrating spring, and I hope I won’t stop here as we take on the second part of the season. Today it wasn’t easy. It was very hot, the course had some technical parts and I suffered towards the end, but I am delighted I could pull it off. It’s quite the confidence-boost ahead of the National Championships, but until then we focus on the remaining stages of the Belgium Tour, where we have options for some more good results.”
Overall leader and 2nd on the stage, Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo): “I knew there were some fast guys and it’s never easy to win a time trial. To lose to Yves is okay, I can be happy with that. This is good preparation for the Tour de France. We worked a lot on the attitude on the time trial bike, with all kinds of new equipment. This was actually the first serious test. Unfortunately I couldn’t wear my new speed suit, but that will come in Copenhagen (where the Tour de France starts). We found a very quick set-up. Tomorrow will be a tough day, especially with the heat. It was already warm, but tomorrow it will be above 30 degrees. I survived the first few days, but tomorrow is past my limit. It could be the end in the leader’s jersey. If I crack tomorrow, I’ll be happy after a first, third and second place. I will do my best to keep my leader’s jersey. I’m not going to let go, but I want to keep fighting to the finish. It will be hot and heavy for everyone and maybe I’ll have a good day. It’s a very bad situation (covid), two weeks before the start of the Tour. It is very difficult. I hope everyone recovers quickly. We are now very strict with all measures. Face masks, keep your distance. Hopefully we can limit the number of positive cases in this way.”
Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 3 Result:
1. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 13:39
2. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 0:07
3. Daan Hoole (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:10
4. Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:12
5. Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Uno-X at 0:14
6. Florian Vermeersch (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7. Aaron Gate (NZ) Bolton Equities Black Spoke Pro Cycling at 0:16
8. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo
9. Jordi Meeus (Bel) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:17
10. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:19.
Baloise Belgium Tour Overall After Stage 3:
1. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo in 7:51:43
2. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:10
3. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:24
4. Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:25
5. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:28
6. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
7. Axel Zingle (Fra) Cofidis at 0:38
8. Florian Sénéchal (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:43
9. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:46
10. Danny van Poppel (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:48.
Belgium Tour’22 stage 3:
The difficult Fourth Stage of the Baloise Belgium Tour was won by Quinten Hermans. The Belgian was the fastest of a strong leading group on the Mur de Durbuy, which had formed early in the race. Mauro Schmid is the new leader.
Immediately after the start in Durbuy, the riders were sent on a local circuit of 39.7 kilometres, with six difficult climbs. The Champs des Hêtres (2.1km at 2.7%) and Côte de Petit Somme (2.2km at 5.8%) were fairly early in the circuit. After 10 kilometres of relative calm, there was the Côte de Bende (2.6km at 4.3%). The real final started with the three climbs of the Côte de Hermanne (2.2km at 5.8%), Côte Grand Houmart (1km at 4.9%) and the Mur de Durbuy (1.2km at 6.2%), at 11.5, 7.6 and 1 kilometre from the finish.
It took a while before an early break got away. In the end, five men escaped: Tobias Lund Andersen (DSM), Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel-Premier Tech), Marco Tizza (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB) and Quentin Jauregui (B&B Hotels-KTM) got a 2 minute lead. With more than 80 kilometres from the finish, the race was already split. This was mainly done by Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, supported by Lotto Soudal. Victor Campenaerts, Tim Wellens, Quinten Hermans, Lorenzo Rota, Mauro Schmid and Rasmus Tiller rode away from the peloton. Overall leader Mads Pedersen had missed the move and this saw Wellens become virtual leader. The six crossed to the leading group in one go. Once there, most of the early escapees were dropped one by one, but De Bondt held out. Because Rasmus Tiller had to pass, there were now six front riders.
The difference to the thinned chasing group fluctuated a bit. Partly due to the efforts of Pedersen, the gap sometimes narrowed again, but in the long run the time loss of the peloton grew considerably. When the lead was 6:30, it became clear that the winner of both the stage and that of the final overall would be at the front. A lone attempt by Jasper Philipsen behind and the work of Uno-X could not change anything. First in the Golden Kilometre, where Wellens lost a few seconds to Hermans and Schmid was now virtually 6 seconds from the lead. With about 4 kilometres to go, De Bondt made an attack. Campenaerts had to pass, but was able to come back when De Bondt was caught, things fell silent for a while. The six sprinted on the Mur de Durbuy for the stage win. In that sprint Hermans showed himself the fastest, putting Schmid and Wellens into second and third places These two are on the same time on the general classification, but Schmid will start the final stage with the leader’s jersey. The hundredths of a second in the time trial were decisive.
Stage winner and 3rd overall, Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “This win means a lot to me. It’s been a long time since I won on the road. First we wanted to send someone along with the break who wasn’t too far. But they also rode on our wheel a little bit – not illogical of course – so then we had to go to plan B and that was halfway through the race full with the whole team. That worked out well. Everyone really did a fantastic job. I have to say a special thank you to Lorenzo (Rota). I didn’t feel like I had to go super deep to take those seconds. Then you feel that you have good legs, but I just wanted to grab those seconds. Valerio (Piva, DS) already called the times a bit and then I already realised that it was impossible to go for the final classification, but yes, every second is taken. Maybe something else will happen tomorrow. I already lost the Tour of Wallonia once when I was on the same second, so I’d rather have a second too much than too little. I think Schmid really wanted to go for the win. I think everyone wanted to go for the win of the day. It’s the Tour of Belgium after all. A stage victory is always a bonus, tomorrow something can always happen. A crash or something stupid. Then you already have that victory in your pocket. At times I just want to get my chance. Today I think I proved that I am worth it. If you perform things like today, you can also force more with different teams. That just makes it easier.”
2nd on the stage and overall leader, Mauro Schmid (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “I knew it could be very close in the end and it would come down to the bonifications at the finish and in the Golden Kilometre if we stayed together. We did a good job as a team, with me in the break and the other guys controlling what was happening in the bunch behind on a hard and incredibly hot day. I tried to save the legs a bit for the finalé, but I felt the effort on the last climb, where I knew Quinten would be strong. When I noticed Tim was dropped, I searched for the last ounce of energy to gain as much time as possible, and I’m happy I got rewarded with the leader’s jersey. We’ll see what we can do on the last stage, but the plan is to try to defend this jersey and help Fabio go for the win.”
3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “But with the Golden Kilometre tomorrow we still have something to work hard for. We will certainly work out a plan for that. I felt very good today and so we decided to start early. Victor (Campenaerts) really did a great job for me and helped us stay ahead. The classification was our main concern, but of course I also really wanted to win the stage. The two seconds that I was able to get in the Golden Kilometre were a nice bonus. Everyone went all out in the final. It’s a shame that it now turns out to be such a race of seconds.”
Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 4 Result:
1. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in 4:19:39
2. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
3. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:04
4. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:06
5. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:29
6. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7. Mark Donovan (GB) DSM at 2:20
8. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 2:22
9. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 2:27
10. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix.
Baloise Belgium Tour Overall After Stage 4:
1. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 12:11:41
2. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
3. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:08
4. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:41
5. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:05
6. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 1:50
7. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 2:08
8. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 2:13
9. Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 2:33
10. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 2:36.
Belgium Tour’22 stage 4:
Mauro Schmid has won the 2022 Baloise Belgium Tour final overall. In the Final Stage 5, attacker Tim Wellens challenged the Swiss rider, but Schmid held out. Fabio Jakobsen sprinted to victory in Beringen and completed the victory for his team.
Although the final stage to Beringen looked to be one of the least interesting stages of this Baloise Belgium Tour, the last kilometres were very hectic. Lotto Soudal and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl raced through the Golden Kilometre, in which 9 bonus seconds could be won, as if their lives depended on it. With Wellens and Schmid on the same time on the general classification, the Baloise Belgium Tour would be decided here. The Golden Kilometre was 7 kilometres from the finish. To start the battle between the classification riders once more, an early break had to be caught. It had only escaped halfway through the stage. Timo de Jong, Kobe Vanoverschelde, Ludovic Robeet, Angelo Van den Bossche, Martin Urianstad and Jonas Abrahamsen made up the group.
The six at the front held out for a long time, but 10 kilometres from the finish they were finished. Lotto Soudal’s blistering pace made it impossible for many to hold on. Once they arrived at the Golden Kilometre, Victor Campenaerts and Arnaud De Lie led out for Wellens, who then took 6 bonus seconds. But in the second part of the Golden Kilometre, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl restored order: Schmid also managed to grab 6 bonus seconds, so that nothing changed in the general classification. The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl and Lotto Soudal men were then burned out, so the sprinters of Alpecin-Fenix (Jasper Philipsen) and BORA-hansgrohe (Sam Bennett) seemed to have an advantage in a sprint in Beringen. In the last kilometre Bennett was dropped off at the front, but he saw Jakobsen pass. The sprinter from Heukelum completed the party for his team. Philipsen and Thijssen were second and third.
Stage winner, Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “The general classification was more important and the team went for it today, because they had faith in me that I could do the sprint on my own. The last lap was like a criterium and I was in a good position at all times as we got closer and closer to the finish. Then, with 100-150 meters to go, I launched my sprint and I got this victory that I really wanted and which gives me a lot of confidence for the next races.”
Final overall winner, Mauro Schmid (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “The team did a great job the whole day, keeping me in a good position. Michael’s experience was important, his presence in the Golden Kilometre helped me take home the overall win. At the first sprint I made a small mistake and I thought that was it, I had lost it, but I remained calm and took back those seconds at the next two sprints. Winning a stage race for the first time in my career feels special. Everybody believed in me, including Fabio, who sacrificed his lead-out for this. There was some pressure on my shoulders today, but I managed it and I’m happy with this success. It’s another important step in my career, one for which I am grateful to the team.”
2nd overall, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “Of course I am disappointed to be so close to winning the Baloise Belgium Tour. As a team, we would fully go for the overall victory and we did everything we could to enter the Golden Kilometre in a perfect position, which we also did. Arnaud De Lie launched me perfectly towards the first sprint, where I took three seconds. The goal was to go full for the first sprint and then focus on the wheel of Schmid. It looked very good after the first sprint but it went wrong towards the second sprint. That move of Lampaert did cost me the overall victory but his disqualification does not change anything of course. You might also say that I lost the Belgium Tour in the time trial or the Ardennes stage… In any case, it was a really exciting battle and really entertaining to watch for the fans. Losing with such a small gap is never nice but as a team we can be proud of how we raced during the Belgium Tour and this gives confidence for what’s to come.”
3rd overall, Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “Closing the eight second gap with the race leader with bonus seconds was not a realistic scenario, so together with the sports directors we decided that I would devote my efforts fully to Gerben Thijssen in this final stage. One day after the impressive collective performance, I was very motivated to work for our young sprinter. Battling with the robust riders of the sprint trains of other teams is not easy for a rider of 60 kilogram like me. The third place of Gerben makes me a proud teammate. I feel fulfilled at the end of this week thanks to my stage win and the 3rd and 4th place of myself and Lorenzo in the final classification.”
3rd on the stage, Gerben Thijssen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I wanted to show what I’m capable of in the sprint today, especially after my disappointing tenth place in Knokke-Heist. It was a weird race today, because of the several different goals of the other teams. In the end, the race ended in a bunch sprint and once more I could benefit from fantastic preparing work of my teammates. We determined the corner with 2 kilometre to go as an important point, because of the headwind afterwards. Loïc Vliegen, Quinten Hermans and Boy van Poppel brought me to the front at the right moment, enabling me to sprint for the stage victory against some of the best sprinters in the world. In hindsight, I should have been more daring on the last roundabout to start my sprint in a better position, but this third place makes me confident that in the future I’ll be able to rival with these top sprinters. I’m very happy with this confirmation ahead of the Belgian championships!”
Arnaud De Lie (Lotto Soudal): “It was just logical that I would help Tim today because there was a good chance we could still win the overall classification and eventually we came very close. I launched Tim towards the first sprint, where he immediately took three seconds. The legs exploded a bit after that effort so I didn’t really see what happened afterwards. I still tried to be in the mix for the final sprint but I was a bit boxed in after the team had worked all day long.”
Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 5 Result:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 3:47:03
2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
3. Gerben Thijssen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
4. Sam Bennett (Irl) BORA-hansgrohe
5. Max Walscheid (Ger) Cofidis
6. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkéa Samsic
7. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
8. Alberto Dainese (Ita) DSM
9. Sasha Weemaes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel-Premier Tech.
Baloise Belgium Tour Final Overall Result:
1. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 15:58:40
2. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
3. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:12
4. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:45
5. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:09
6. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 1:54
7. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 2:12
8. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 2:34
9. Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 2:37
10. Aaron Gate (NZ) Bolton Equities Black Spoke Pro Cycling at 3:03
Belgium Tour’22 stage 5:
Slovenia Tour 2022
The Second Stage of the Tour of Slovenia was won by Dylan Groenewegen. The BikeExchange-Jayco sprinter managed to survive the hills and sprinted to his fifth victory of the season in Rogaška Slatina. Rafał Majka is still the leader overall.
The 174.2 kilometre stage, which started in Ptuj, went over hilly but manageable terrain. After more than 40 kilometres followed the first and only categorised climb to Kresnica (2.3km at 3.6%). The peloton then continued south towards the intermediate sprint in Šentjur and the first time through the finish in Rogaška Slatina.
The break consisted of six riders: Carlos Canal (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Aljaž Jarc (Adria Mobil), Vid Jeromel (Cycling Team Kranj), Marti Marquez (Equipo Kern Pharma), Pavol Rovder (Dukla Banska Bystrica) and Adam Stachowiak (HRE Mazowsze Serce Polski). They didn’t get much space from the sprinter’s teams. The maximum lead in the first hours was just under 2 minutes, but by the time they started the final 100 kilometres, the difference had been halved. Unsurprisingly, Alpecin-Fenix and BikeExchange-Jayco were setting the pace. The lead kept fluctuating around 1 minute in the kilometres that followed. In the peloton everything was under control and there was no need to accelerate, not even when the Czech Vojtěch Řepa tried to cross to the leading group. The Equipo Kern Pharma rider succeeded and so the Spanish team now had two riders in the front group. However, Equipo Kern Pharma could not enjoy the situation for very long, because with about 50 kilometres to go the escapees were caught.
This was a sprinter’s stage, but the course was by no means flat on the way to the finish. That became clear at about 50 kilometres from the finish. The peloton broke up on a short but steep climb. The men of Bahrain-Victorious, with Matej Mohorič as the main rider, saw this as an ideal point to try to drop the sprinters. After an acceleration of the pace, the peloton was reduced to about 40 riders. Tim Merlier was no longer there: the Belgian Alpecin-Fenix rider was unable to survive the climbs. From that moment on Merlier had to chase, but Groenewegen and Ackermann managed to survive the selection and still had a view of the stage victory. The Merlier group tried to rectify the situation in the last 40 kilometres, but was stuck at 1 minute. In the first group work was mainly done by Bahrain-Victorious, while BikeExchange-Jayco kept their powder dry for the sprint. The Australian team was able to get a real sprint train gong for their leader Groenewegen in the last kilometres. The blue shirts never really got the upper hand in the last 2 kilometres, but luckily for the Australian team, Groenewegen started his sprint in a good position and had some powerful pedal strokes. The 28-year-old Dutchman won the sprint, ahead of Lionel Taminiaux of Alpecin-Fenix and Ackermann.
Stage winner, Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange-Jayco): “We timed it really well. Into the final corner I was a bit boxed in, so that was hard, I couldn’t follow Luka in that corner and he had to wait before pulling again, so that was really hard for him, also for Campbell. It wasn’t perfect, but Luka made a really smart move to make some space for me, and I could follow the other riders and find some space to sprint, and that was enough. We did a lap before so we saw the finish and knew what was coming. The guys did an amazing job all day, especially when Bahrain started pulling in the climbing zone. It was a really hard stage so thanks to my team-mates for this victory.”
Overall leader, Rafał Majka (UAE Team Emirates): “Today we tried to win the stage with Ackermann. He got a good third place and we kept the leaders jersey so it was close to a perfect day. For sure tomorrow we’ll try and go for the win with Tadej, the stage passes not far from his house and we’ll go all in for him.”
Slovenia Tour Stage 2 Result:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco in 4:12:51
2. Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
3. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) UAE Team Emirates
4. Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè
5. Luca Colnaghi (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè
6. Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan
7. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa
8. Michele Gazzoli (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan
9. Matevž Govekar (Slo) Bahrain-Victorious
10. Mattia Bais (Ita) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli.
Slovenia Tour Overall After Stage 2:
1. Rafał Majka (Pol) UAE Team Emirates in 8:14:51
2. Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:06
3. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:08
4. Vojtěch Řepa (CZ) Equipo Kern Pharma at 0:55
5. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa at 0:58
6. Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan
7. Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè
8. Nicola Conci (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
9. Luka Mezgec (Slo) BikeExchange-Jayco
10. Joel Nicolau (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.
Slovenia Tour’22 stage 2:
Stage 3 of the Tour of Slovenia was won by Tadej Pogačar. On the climb to Svetina, with the summit about 20 kilometres from the finish, the Slovenian and his teammate Rafal Majka broke away from the rest of the field. On the short final slope, Pogačar then dealt with Nicola Conci, who had returned to the UAE duo on the descent. The two-time Tour winner also took the overall lead from Majka.
The third stage between Žalec and Celje was a repeat of the stage won by Tadej Pogačar last year. The general classification was expected to change again, with the climbs to Lipa (5km at 6.8%) and Svetina (5.6km at 7.5%).
The climb to Svetina in particular would decide the stage, with its summit at just 20 kilometres from the finish. The last 2 kilometres (at 7%) to Celje, Slovenia’s third largest city, were also quite uphill. It was a day for the climbers, but with Dylan Groenewegen there was a sprinter in the first leading group. The winner of yesterday’s stage wore the red points jersey, but was not the rightful owner. He was level with Rafal Majka who wore the yellow as leader of the GC. Groenewegen snuck into the early break and picked up some points in two intermediate sprints. After Groenewegen had got points, the Dutchman dropped back. A few other riders also fell back into the peloton. At the front three men remained. Alan Banaszek (HRE Mazowsze Serce Polski), Lucas De Rossi (China Glory) and Samuele Zoccarato (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), who had also been leading the pack for a while. At 60 kilometres from the finish, they were still about 3 minutes ahead of the peloton, where UAE Team Emirates were in charge.
Just before the decisive climb to Svetina started, the front riders were caught. There was still more than 75 kilometres to race on now wet roads. At the foot of the climb, Pogačar took the lead, while Rafal Majka settled on his wheel. Initially, Domen Novak, Matej Mohorič and Sean Bennett were able to follow, but after a while they had to let the duo of UAE Team Emirates go. Pogačar and Majka came up, Mohorič followed after 30 seconds in third, but later dropped back into a group of about 15 riders on the wet descent. There, the Bahrain Victorious rider started to lead ahead of his teammate Novak, second overall.
Because Pogačar and Majka didn’t take too many risks on the dangerous descent, they lost some of their lead. Once down, the gap to the pursuers had shrunk considerably and Nicola Conci (Alpecin-Fenix) even managed to make the jump across. On the flat kilometres leading up to the final climb, the three extended their lead again. Early on the 2 kilometre climb, Pogačar accelerated. Conci was initially able to hold on, but in the end it was too fast for the Italian, who had been a Gazprom-RusVelo rider at the beginning of this season. Pogačar rode to victory relatively easily and took over the green-yellow leader’s jersey from his teammate Majka. Conci managed to catch up with Majka and finished second on the stage.
Stage winner and overall leader, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “As a team we have worked perfectly to keep the situation under control. On the climb, Rafal and I decided to attack together and it was enough to create a margin on the chasers. The descent was very slippery, also due to some rain that had fallen; I knew it would be difficult to ride it hard, Conci recovered well and at that point we knew we had to move intelligently on the last hill. It went well, I’m very happy to have got the win.”
Slovenia Tour Stage 3 Result:
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 3:27:09
2. Rafał Majka (Pol) UAE Team Emirates at 0:11
3. Nicola Conci (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:14
4. Luka Mezgec (Slo) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:36
5. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa
6. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain-Victorious
7. Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè at 0:37
8. Fernando Barceló (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
9. Luca Chirico (Ita) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli at 0:41
10. Joel Nicolau (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:43.
Slovenia Tour Overall After Stage 3:
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 11:41:58
2. Rafał Majka (Pol) UAE Team Emirates at 0:07
3. Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:55
4. Nicola Conci (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix at 1:10
5. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa at 1:36
6. Luka Mezgec (Slo) BikeExchange-Jayco
7. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain-Victorious
8. Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè at 1:37
9. Joel Nicolau (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 1:43
10. Vojtěch Řepa (Cze) Equipo Kern Pharma.
Slovenia Tour’22 stage 3:
The Fourth Stage of the Tour of Slovenia, a stage with an uphill finish, was won by Rafal Majka. The UAE rider rode away on the final climb together with Tadej Pogacar and received the victory as a gift from his leader.
The fourth stage of the Tour of Slovenia was the ‘Queen Stage’. The finish was at just under 1,200 metres altitude, after a climb of more than 8 kilometres, but before that there were three climbs on the menu. The ones to Jesenovo (2.8km at 6.9%) and Trojane (2.4km at 8.2%) followed soon after the start, the climb to Črnivec (10.6km at 5.9%) comes after 100 kilometres. But the decision would probably fall on the re-asphalted climb to Velika Planina (8.2km at 7.6%).
Nine men escaped at the start of the stage: Lionel Taminiaux (Alpecin-Fenix), Samuele Zoccarato (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Xabier Mikel Azparren (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Umberto Marengo (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli), Iván Cobo (Equipo Kern Pharma), David Per (Adria Mobil), Viktor Potocki (Ljubljana Gusto Santic) and Francesco Carollo (Mg.K Vis-Color for Peace-VPM) got a 4 minute lead. In the peloton, UAE was working for their leader and the big favourite for the stage win: Tadej Pogacar. After the Črnivec, when the break still had about 3 minutes, Bahrain-Victorious took command of the peloton. In their hands the nine quickly lost a lot of time. At one point Bahrain took a different tack and sent Jan Tratnik ahead. Initially, the Slovenian took off with Matteo Sobrero and Nicola Conci, but in the end he made the jump to the leading group. Tratnik immediately attacked and took some of the original escapees with him. UAE was now on the defensive, but received the support of EOLO-Kometa. Tratnik’s attack was neutralised and the final climb was started with a compact peloton.
The first kilometres were set by UAE, but with 6 kilometres to go, the men of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA lifted the pace. They were soon countered by Rafal Majka and Tadej Pogačar and the UAE duo left the peloton. It soon became clear that one of them would win the stage. The two were able to ride the last kilometres relatively at ease. Finally they crossed the line next to each other, cheering. Pogačar gave the victory to Majka. The battle in the rear was more interesting. Domen Novak, third overall, was dropped from a group including Vincenzo Albanese, 5th overall. Conci was not there either. At the finish Novak had just enough left to keep his third place, just ahead of Albanian.
Stage winner and 2nd overall, Rafał Majka (UAE Team Emirates): “I am very happy with this victory. I want to thank Tadej and the whole team. We got through the last climb well knowing that Tadej could do better than everyone here, but he still left me the stage win. We have won three stages and we are leaders of the General Classification. Every day we give our best trying to stay in control of the race be as good as we can for Tour de France.”
Slovenia Tour Stage 4 Result:
1. Rafał Majka (Pol) UAE Team Emirates in 3:53:52
2. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
3. Fernando Barceló (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:22
4. Alex Tolio (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè at 0:24
5. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa
6. Vojtěch Řepa (CZ) Equipo Kern Pharma at 0:28
7. Sean Bennett (USA) China Glory at 0:33
8. Edward Ravasi (Ita) EOLO-Kometa at 0:43
9. Robert Stannard (Aus) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:52
10. Jon Agirre (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma at 0:55.
Slovenia Tour Overall After Stage 4:
1.Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 15:35:44
2. Rafał Majka (Pol) UAE Team Emirates at 0:03
3. Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-Victorious at 1:56
4. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa at 2:06
5. Vojtěch Řepa (CZ) Equipo Kern Pharma at 2:17
6. Nicola Conci (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix at 2:41
7. Paul Double (GB) Mg.K Vis-Color for Peace-VPM at 2:56
8. Joel Nicolau (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 3:04
9. Fernando Barceló (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 3:16
10. Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè at 3:47.
Slovenia Tour’22 stage 4:
Tadej Pogačar won the Final Stage 5 of the Tour of Slovenia in Novo Mesto. The UAE Team Emirates rider defeated Matej Mohorič in a sprint after a stage of 155.7 kilometres. He also sealed the overall victory.
The SloveniaTour ended with a traditional final stage to Novo Mesto, a city of 25,000 inhabitants located in the south of Slovenia on the river Krka. In the final there was a very difficult climb to Trška Gora (2km at 9%) with the summit at 9 kilometres from the finish. This could thwart the plans of the sprinters and was an ideal point for one last attack.
Daniel Turek (Team Felbermayr-Simplon Wels), Unai Iribar (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Aljaž Jarc (Adria Mobil), Ukko Iisakki Peltonen (Global 6 Cycling), Adam Jordan (Ljubljana Gusto Santic), Andrej Černe (Cycling Team Kranj), Adam Stachowiak (HRE Mazowsze Serce Polski) and Etienne van Empel (China Glory) formed an early break of eight riders. The peloton allowed the lead to increase to a good 4 minutes, but at one point the BikeExchange-Jayco men took control of the race. The Australian team had ambitions with Luka Mezgec. Thanks to the great work of BikeExchange-Jayco, the lead of the break was cut. With 35 kilometres to go they only had 1 minute. This proved insufficient and before the foot of the Trška Gora (2km at 9%) there was a regrouping. It was now the time for the better climbers in the peloton, especially Tadej Pogačar. The Slovenian accelerated several times on the steepest sections and rode his opponents off his wheel, except Matej Mohorič.
The Milan-San Remo winner had to pull out all the stops to follow, but he held Pogačar over the top of the climb and managed to manoeuvre himself into a good position. One problem for Mohorič: he was in a ‘UAE sandwich’ again as Rafał Majka managed to join them. Mohorič, Majka and Pogačar worked well together on the flatter kilometres and managed to stay out of reach of the pursuers. This was a disaster for Mezgec, who crossed the top of the climb in fourth place, but he tried to rectify the situation in the kilometres that followed. The fast BikeExchange-Jayco man came very close, but after a furious chase, he was stuck at about 5 seconds and eventually had to throw in the towel. Mohorič, Majka and Pogačar would be fighting for the victory in Novo Mesto. Mohorič was the first to start the sprint, but Pogačar had no intention of handing out another present and went past him.
Final overall and stage winner, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “Today’s goal was to defend the leader’s jersey. Uphill the pace went up a lot, there was some gaps and so I tried to counterattack and reach the brow of the hill as fast as possible. There were three of us to lead the race, downhill we tried not to take too many risks and get to the sprint. In the sprint I did my best to repay the whole team with success for the great work done during the whole week.”
3rd overall, Domen Novak (Bahrain-Victorious): “I kept 3rd place in the overall ranking, and I am satisfied. Today, the stage was not easy. I knew the last ascent since this is my hometown, and I enjoyed it immensely in front of the home fans. Before this race, I knew I had good legs, as I always have after grand tours. However, the truth is that I felt tired in the second half of this race due to past Giro, and I had to repeat in my head that I am capable of being one of the first three… and I succeeded. I still have problems with taking over the responsibility of a leader. I’m slowly becoming more self-confident. It needs a few years to mature. For some, 21 years are enough, but some of us need more time.”
2nd on the stage, Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Victorious): “On the downhill, I didn’t want to take a risk, and later we came in the final together. I thought I might even win, but in the last meters, Tadej showed his strength in the sprint, and he deserves this win.”
Slovenia Tour Stage 5 Result:
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 3:42:35
2. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain-Victorious
3. Rafał Majka (Pol) UAE Team Emirates at 0:03
4. Luka Mezgec (Slo) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:26
5. Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan
6. Nicola Conci (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
7. Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè
8. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa
9. Antonio Jesús Soto (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
10. Fernando Barceló (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.
Slovenia Tour Final Overall Result:
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 19:18:09
2. Rafał Majka (Pol) UAE Team Emirates at 0:12
3. Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-Victorious at 2:32
4. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa at 2:42
5. Vojtěch Řepa (CZ) Equipo Kern Pharma at 3:10
6. Nicola Conci (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix at 3:17
7. Paul Double (GB) Mg.K Vis-Color for Peace-VPM at 3:32
8. Joel Nicolau (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 3:40
9. Fernando Barceló (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 3:52
10. Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè at 4:23.
Slovenia Tour’22 stage 5:
La Route d’Occitanie – La Dépêche du Midi 2022
Arnaud Démare won the opening Stage 1 of La Route d’Occitanie. The Frenchman was the fastest of the pack in a chaotic sprint, ahead of Pierre Barbier and Elia Viviani. Démare also took the first leader’s jersey in the French race.
The four-day Route d’Occitanie, the successor of the former Route du Sud, started simply, started with a stage for sprinters like Arnaud Démare, Elia Viviani and Niccolò Bonifazio. On the route there were the Cote de Luby-Betmont (2.1km at 5.8%), Cote de Saint-Elix-Theux (1.2km at 7.1%) and the Cote de Pujaudran (2km at 6.2%), the sprinters had to be able to survive this. Once at the top of the final climb, it was 25 kilometres to the finish in L’Isle Jourdain.
But first the sprinter teams had to keep an early break in check. Óscar Cabedo (Burgos-BH), Léo Danès (Team U Nantes Atlantique), Jean Goubert (Nice Métropole Côte d’Azur) and Dutchman Wesley Mol (Bike Aid) managed to get a maximum lead of over 2 minutes. However, as the finals approached, that difference narrowed. At more than 100 kilometres from the finish, the lead was only one minute, which of course was not enough for the four escapees to avoid a sprint. In the peloton, the speed was not at ‘full gas’, and the break increased their lead again to more than 2 minutes. It was still well over a 100 kilometres to the finish and the sprinter’s teams didn’t want an early regrouping. That only came in the last hour of racing, with 30 kilometres to go. Geoffrey Soupe and Cyril Gautier tried to get away in the last 20 kilometres, but the bunch wanted a sprint finish.
In the final, the nervousness among the sprinter’s teams rose and the pace lifted towards the last kilometres. Groupama-FDJ pulled the peloton into a thin line, but in the very hectic final it turned out to be no easy task to keep leader Démare at the front. The fast Frenchman started his sprint in a good position, partly due to the great work of his lead out-man Bram Welten. Démare started a long sprint and had enough power to hold off Pierre Barbier. Elia Viviani finished in third place. For the 30-year-old Démare it is his fourth victory of the season. The Frenchman was very successful in the Giro d’Italia last month, with three stage wins. La Route d’Occitanie is Démare’s first race since the Tour of Italy.
Stage winner and overall leader, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ): “Everyone wanted to manage their efforts because the heartbeat could go high very quickly. We saw that the bunch wanted to go slow because everyone was struggling with the heat. Everyone did a great job again, especially Lars who didn’t have an easy day. Hats off to him. For me, it was a return to competition. I needed a big break after the Giro because I was tired, and it was difficult to get the engine back again. I was planning to do it on this Route d’Occitanie ahead of the championships. So I’m happy to win, it’s great!”
La Route d’Occitanie – La Dépêche du Midi Stage 1 Result:
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 4:13:55
2. Pierre Barbier (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers
4. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Métropole
5. Max Kanter (Ger) Movistar
6. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Cofidis
7. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) TotalEnergies
8. Léo Bouvier (Fra) Bike Aid
9. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën
10. Jon Aberasturi (Spa) Trek-Segafredo.
La Route d’Occitanie – La Dépêche du Midi Overall After Stage 1:
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 4:13:45
2. Pierre Barbier (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM at 0:04
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:06
4. Jean Goubert (Fra) Nice Métropole Côte d’Azur at 0:08
5. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Métropole at 0:10
6. Max Kanter (Ger) Movistar
7. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Cofidis
8. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) TotalEnergies
9. Léo Bouvier (Fra) Bike Aid
10. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën.
Route d’Occitanie’22 stage 1:
Roger Adrià won Stage 2 of La Route d’Occitanie. In the tricky final section of the ultra-short stage, which was shortened to just 36 kilometres due to the extreme heat, the Spaniard from Equipo Kern Pharma was the fastest on the uphill finish. Michael Valgren was second, Max Kanter third. Thanks to his victory, Adrià also takes over the leader’s jersey from Arnaud Démare.
Due to the shortening of the route, the start of the second stage was not in Graulhet, but in Belmont-sur-Rance. The finish line was in Roquefort-sur-Soulzon. The riders first had to climb the 4 kilometre long Côte de Tiergues at just under 5% average. From the top of this hill there was another 4 kilometres to the foot of the last climb of the day. This climb, which was also good for the last 1.9 kilometres of the stage, went up at an average of 4.5%.
Almost immediately after the official departure there was an attack by Niki Terpstra. Jasper Levi Pahlke (Bike Aid) and Tristan Delacroix (Nice Métropole Côte d’Azur) gave chase, but failed to reach the TotalEnergies Dutchman. While the chasing duo was recaptured after about 18 kilometres – Terpstra was still in the lead with more than a minute on the pack. Equipo Kern Pharma in particular set the pace. Entering the last 10 kilometres, when the climbing started, Terpstra had less than 30 seconds. In the first uphill kilometres he was caught by the front of the peloton. There was some skirmishes, but because the Movistar men were pulling hard, no one really managed to get away. Alan Jousseaume (TotalEnergies) among others tried. Everything stayed together and even on the final slope no one managed to get away due to the high pace. So it was going to be a sprint. Michael Valgren went early, but Roger Adrià came out strong and crossed the line first, ahead of Valgren and Max Kanter. The Spaniard took his first professional victory and rewarded the hard work of his team. Adrià also is the new overall leader.
Stage winner and overall leader, Roger Adrià (Equipo Kern Pharma): “I am very happy with my first win as a professional, it has been a feeling that I have not had for a long time and I have felt a great emotion. It’s been a difficult year for everyone because we weren’t finding our place, but we’ve kept working and trusting that we have the necessary level to be among the best. The Kern Pharma Team has been top ten and I would not have been able to achieve it without my colleagues.”
32nd on the stage and 2nd overall, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ): “It was an unusual race today and it was very intense with this forceful finish. We still applied, I passed at the five kilometre mark, but I was fully in the sprint to be able to do something.”
125th on the stage and 8th overall, Nairo Quintana (Arkéa Samsic): “Today’s stage was shortened due to the extreme heat, we only covered the last thirty-five kilometres. It rolled very fast. I crashed in the final, another rider came to “touch” me and I crashed. I got up quickly, Dayer immediately gave me his bike so I could quickly rejoin the peloton without wasting any time. My colleagues have been very important. I hope tomorrow is a very good stage. Regarding the fall, I have superficial injuries to my elbow. I hope that tomorrow everything will be really good and that I can achieve a beautiful stage as I had planned.”
La Route d’Occitanie – La Dépêche du Midi Stage 2 Result:
1. Roger Adrià (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma in 42:42
2. Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-EasyPost
3. Julien Simon (Fra) TotalEnergies
4. Max Kanter (Ger) Movistar
5. Axel Mariault (Fra) Team U Nantes Atlantique
6. Michael Woods (Can) Israel-Premier Tech
7. Filippo Baroncini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
8. Jonas Gregaard (Den) Uno-X
9. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) EF Education-EasyPost
10. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën.
La Route d’Occitanie – La Dépêche du Midi Overall After Stage 2:
1. Roger Adrià (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma at 4:56:27
2. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
3. Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:04
4. Julien Simon (Fra) TotalEnergies at 0:06
5. Max Kanter (Ger) Movistar at 0:10
6. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën
7. Óscar Pelegrí (Spa) Burgos-BH
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa Samsic
9. Cyril Barthe (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
10. Valentin Paret-Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën.
Route d’Occitanie’22 stage 2:
Michael Woods won Stage Three and took the overall lead of La Route d’Occitanie from Roger Adrià. The Canadian showed himself to be the strongest in the ‘Queen Stage’ to the ski resort of Les Angles. Carlos Rodríguez led the way for a long time with Woods and eventually finished second.
The third and toughest stage of La Route d’Occitanie was coloured by a leading group of four: Jokin Murguialday (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Nans Peters (AG2R Citroën), Ignatas Konovalovas (Groupama-FDJ) and Igor Arrieta (Equipo Kern Pharma). They only had a small lead, partly because Arkéa-Samsic and INEOS Grenadiers kept the pace tight in the peloton. It was an impossible mission for the foursome to hold out on the Col de Jau (20.8km at 5.3%), Col des Hares (11.1km at 6.2%) and the final climb to Les Angles ski resort (2.7km at 6.8%).
Arrieta held out the longest. He rode alone in front of the peloton for a while and was eventually caught with 30 kilometres from the finish as the Col des Hares started. This is where INEOS Grenadiers put Laurens De Plus on the front. The group gradually thinned out. When Arkéa-Samsic took over from INEOS and the pace lifted even more. Riders started to go out the back. It also went too fast for Pavel Sivakov and Jesús Herrada. Nairo Quintana was hoping to finish it off, but INEOS rider, Carlos Rodríguez, put in a blistering acceleration. Quintana tried to follow, but cracked. Only Michael Woods could follow the Spaniard. Behind the duo up front, Quintana, Alejandro Valverde and Cristián Rodríguez got together. The three didn’t work well together and they were soon joined by another threesome: Herrada, Mattias Skjelmose Jensen and Jonas Gregaard.
Later Michel Ries and Nicolas Edet from Arkéa-Samsic also returned and started to ride for Quintana, but the difference to the two at the front was already more than 1 minute at that point. Woods and Rodriguez came through an intermediate sprint, where Woods took three bonus seconds and Rodríguez took two. In the last uphill kilometres towards Les Angles, Woods took the stage victory by a big margin, as well as the lead in the general classification. The Spaniard lost almost a minute in about 2 kilometres and was almost caught by the pursuers and only just finished in second place.
Stage winner and Overall leader, Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech): “It is great to see the team performing in different races at the moment. In Switzerland, Jakob Fuglsang is doing great, and, personally, I am very happy to win here. We will do everything to keep the jersey and win this race. The team has a good chance.”
La Route d’Occitanie – La Dépêche du Midi Stage 3 Result:
1. Michael Woods (Can) Israel-Premier Tech in 5:23:35
2. Carlos Rodríguez (Spa) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:11
3. Jesús Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 1:12
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
5. Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 1:34
6. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) EF Education-EasyPost at 1:35
7. Jonas Gregaard (Den) Uno-X
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa Samsic
9. Cristián Rodríguez (Spa) TotalEnergies
10. Michel Ries (Lux) Arkéa Samsic at 2:26.
La Route d’Occitanie – La Dépêche du Midi Overall After Stage 3:
1. Michael Woods (Can) Israel-Premier Tech in 10:19:59
2. Carlos Rodríguez (Spa) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:16
3. Jesús Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 1:21
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:24
5. Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 1:47
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa Samsic at 1:48
7. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) EF Education-EasyPost
8. Jonas Gregaard (Den) Uno-X
9. Cristián Rodríguez (Spa) TotalEnergies
10. Nicolas Edet (Lux) Arkéa Samsic at 2:39.
Route d’Occitanie’22 stage 3:
The Final Stage 4 of La Route d’Occitanie went to Niccolò Bonifazio. After an exciting echelon stage, the Italian defeated Matteo Moschetti and Max Kanter in the sprint. Michael Woods came through the stage unscathed for the final overall win.
On the fourth and final stage, the riders crossed the Col Notre-Dame (6.9km at 5.7%) and Côte d’Espezel (3km at 5%), but a bunch sprint seemed a realistic and inevitable scenario. The top of the last climb, Les Talus de Nailloux à Cintegabelle (1.5km at 4.3%), was 30 kilometres from the finish.
Three riders decided early in the stage to go off the front. Maxime Urruty (Nice Métropole Côte d’Azur), Nurbergen Nurlykhassym (Astana Qazaqstan) and Winner Anacona (Arkéa-Samsic) joined forces. The lead of the three escapees quickly increased towards 2 minutes. On the Col Notre-Dame, three riders counter-attacked with Niki Terpstra (TotalEnergies), Damien Touzé (AG2R Citroën) and Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost). Urruty, Nurlykhassym, Touzé and Terpstra may have hoped to stay out of the peloton’s grip, Anacona was mainly concerned with the KOM jersey. The Colombian was second in the mountain’s classification before the start of the final stage, but managed to pull himself into the mountain’s jersey on the Col Notre-Dame, as he was the first to the top. Anacona then let himself be caught by his fellow escapees, to start the Col d’Espezel.
Also on this climb it was Anacona who managed to take the full points, and was ensured of the mountain’s classification win. The five front riders seemed to be working on a waste of energy. With 80 kilometres to go, the lead was only 3 minutes. In the peloton, Israel-Premier Tech, leader Woods’ squad, received support from the men of Groupama-FDJ and Movistar and it looked like a run-up to a sprint, but that was not counting the men of Uno-X. The Norwegian team decided to shake things up with 70 kilometres to go. A first group of thirteen riders managed to escape. Of the classification riders, leader Woods, 2nd Carlos Rodriguez, 5th Mattias Skjelmose Jensen, 6th Nairo Quintana and 7th Jonas Gregaard were at the front. Jesús Herrada and Alejandro Valverde, 3rd and 4th in the standings, had been surprised again and had to chase. The other top 10 riders: Odd Christian Eiking, Cristián Rodríguez and Nicolas Edet were also in the same situation. The first group was on its way to the five leaders.
With 57 kilometres to go, Urruty, Anacona, Nurlykhassym, Touzé and Terpstra were caught and now the first group consisted of 19 riders, although Touzé and Healy were dropped on one of the many uncategorised climbs. Behind we saw a frantic attempt by Valverde, Herrada and Rodriguez to make a comeback and with success. In the front group, the collaboration had been lost, so that the three Spaniards were able to rejoin. The storm had died down and the first group rode in a controlled fashion to the last kilometres. INEOS Grenadiers decided to lead the first group as the British team with Elia Viviani had a possible stage winner. The Italian had survived the selection and on paper was perhaps the fastest finisher in the leading group, especially because Démare was somewhere at the rear of the bunch. INEOS Grenadiers was, however, quite challenged by the men of TotalEnergies, which also had a fast man with Niccolò Bonifazio. Viviani had a dream lead-out from his teammates, but was outflanked by Bonifazio and Matteo Moschetti. It was Bonifazio who, with a last jump, on the left side of the road and close to the barriers, managed to pass a slowing Viviani and Moschetti. The 28-year-old Italian took his first victory of the season. Moschetti had to settle for second, Max Kanter was third and Viviani only fourth. Michael Woods crossed the finish line safely in the group for final win of La Route d’Occitanie 2022. This is only the first time that Woods has won a multi-day stage race.
Final overall winer, Michael Woods: “This is the first stage race I have won in my career. I’m really happy with the result and really pleased with the teamwork. I always felt protected. We had Cole [Kessler] riding at the front at the start of the race and then Guy [Sagiv] and Taj [Jones] did an amazing job putting me in position in the crosswind. Carl [Fredrik Hagen] did great to be in that small group at the end and just help me and be with me for the rest of the race. I’m really happy and I’m really excited for the Tour de France now!”
La Route d’Occitanie – La Dépêche du Midi Stage 4 Result:
1. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) TotalEnergies in 4:13:48
2. Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
3. Max Kanter (Ger) Movistar
4. Elia Viviani (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers
5. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Métropole
6. Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
7. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
8. Jonas Gregaard (Den) Uno-X
9. Jesús Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
10. Kim Heiduk (Ger) INEOS Grenadiers.
La Route d’Occitanie – La Dépêche du Midi Final Overall Result:
1. Michael Woods (Can) Israel-Premier Tech in 14:33:47
2. Carlos Rodríguez (Spa) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:16
3. Jesús Herrada (Spa) Cofidis 1:21
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:24
5. Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 1:47
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa Samsic at 1:48
7. Jonas Gregaard (Den) Uno-X
8. Cristián Rodríguez (Spa) TotalEnergies
9. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 3:41
10. Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan at 4:48.
Route d’Occitanie’22 stage 4:
Richard Carapaz to EF Education-EasyPost, Not Movistar or INEOS Grenadiers
A strange transfer appears to be in the works, reports Velonews. Richard Carapaz will move from INEOS Grenadiers to EF Education-EasyPost at the end of the year. The 29-year-old Olympic road champion from Ecuador has ridden for the British team for the last three seasons, from 2023 he will ride for the American team of Jonathan Vaughters.
Carapaz is one of the few top riders that is free on the market. After his current squad INEOS Grenadiers agreed a five-year deal with both Egan Bernal and Tom Pidcock and it also looks like Adam Yates will extend his contract, the climber was looking for a squad that would give him the assurance of a leading role in the Grand Tours.
The Ecuadorian has been a regularly on the podium in recent years. After winning the Giro d’Italia in 2019, he was second in the 2020 Vuelta a España, third in the 2021 Tour de France and recently second in the Giro again. This autumn, Carapaz will once again focus on the Vuelta a España, which will start on August 19 in Utrecht.
At EF Education-EasyPost, the competition to ride the Grand Tours is a lot less intense. Rigoberto Urán has been the leader for the tours there for years, but the 35-year-old Colombian is getting older. Two GC riders were also recruited last year, Esteban Chaves and Mark Padun.
In addition to these three riders, of which both South Americans have an expiring contract, Vaughters falls back to Hugh Carthy for the tours. Carapaz will also be a welcome reinforcement for the hilly classics and one-week races. In addition to various talents, the team is mainly relying on Neilson Powless and Ruben Guerreiro. The Ecuadorian would be the absolute leader among the Americans. The transfer is remarkable, because EF Education-EasyPost is far from certain of a WorldTour license in 2023, 2024 and 2025.
For a long time it seemed that Carapaz would opt for a return to Movistar. He left there in 2019 after his manager Giuseppe Acquadro got into a fight with Movistar team manager Eusebio Unzué. Enric Mas also has an expiring contract with the team. The Spanish cyclist was also offered to a number of teams earlier this season. It is not clear at the moment what the consequences of the failure of the Carapaz deal will be for Mas.
Carapaz off to EF?
Philippe Gilbert Preparing for His Last Tour de France
Philippe Gilbert is getting ready for his last Tour de France. In his last year as a pro, the Walloon rider from Lotto Soudal wants to show himself again in the three-week stage race. It will be his twelfth participation in the French race.
Gilbert said in conversation with Belga that he wants to race for his team, but also that he still has ambitions of his own. “I plan to work for Caleb Ewan, but I’m also motivated to show myself,” he said from the Tour de Suisse, where he is currently riding. “With my experience I can be a great help to the team. Now I am looking forward to the start in Copenhagen.”
In addition to Gilbert, Tim Wellens, Florian Vermeersch, Brent Van Moer, sprinter Caleb Ewan and Andreas Kron are also said to be sure of a place in the Tour team. The names of the last riders will be announced after the national championships. Ewan’s regular lead-out Jasper De Buyst, Frederik Frison, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Michael Schwarzmann, Harry Sweeny and Maxim Van Gils are the final candidates.
Last Tour for Gilbert:
No Tour for Vanmarcke, Van Gils and Vermeersch Possible
Sep Vanmarcke will not participate in the 2022 Tour de France, because he wants to prepare for the one-day races in autumn, according to Het Laatste Nieuws. The Belgian newspaper also says there is a good chance that Maxim Van Gils and Florian Vermeersch will be there in July.
Lotto Soudal will make the final decision on Monday regarding the final selection for the Tour. At the moment only Caleb Ewan is sure of a spot in the squad. It seems likely that Ewan’s regular lead-out Jasper De Buyst will also travel to Copenhagen, but Van Gils and Vermeersch also have a good chance, according to HLN. For both it would be their debut in La Grand Boucle. Van Gils recently rode the Critérium du Dauphiné, Vermeersch was riding the Baloise Belgium Tour last week.
Tim Wellens, Philippe Gilbert, Brent Van Moer, Frederik Frison, Andreas Kron, Michael Schwarzmann, Harry Sweeny and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg are the other candidates for the Belgian team. The latter, Van Rensburg, had to miss the Baloise Belgium Tour due to illness.
Israel-Premier Tech will go to Copenhagen without any Belgians. In addition to Vanmarcke, Ben Hermans, Jenthe Biermans and Tom Van Asbroeck are also missing from the selection, which is formed around Jakob Fuglsang and Michael Woods. It is not yet known whether Chris Froome will be starting. The Briton had a revival in the Mercan’Tour Classic, where he finished eleventh, but then had to retire in the Critérium du Dauphiné.
No Tour for Vanmarcke:
Possibly No Tour for Kasper Asgreen
There is still a question mark whether Kasper Asgreen will be able to start in the Tour de France, writes Het Laatste Nieuws. The flesh wound in his knee, which he sustained when he crashed in the final of the third stage of the Tour of Switzerland, is worse than initially thought, according to the Belgian newspaper.
Asgreen finished the third stage, but did not start stage 4 on Wednesday. The Dane of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl was taken to Belgium, where the hospital in Herentals is investigating whether there is any underlying damage. The Tour de France starts in just over two weeks. It is uncertain whether Asgreen will ride the opening time trial on July 1 in his own country, the Tour starts in Copenhagen.
No Tour for Asgreen?
Alexander Kristoff has Uno-X Proposal in his Pocket
Alexander Kristoff is having a successful first season for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, although the question is whether the now 34-year-old Norwegian will also ride for the Belgian team next year. Kristoff has a proposal from Uno-X in his pocket, Het Laatste Nieuws reports.
The strong sprinter-cum-classic rider could sign with the Norwegian formation of team manager Jens Haugland for three years. Uno-X has been racing on a ProTeam license for several years and has been making good progress in recent years with promising youngsters such as the brothers Tobias and Anders Halland Johannessen, Anthon Charmig, Rasmus Tiller and Torstein Træen.
With Kristoff as leader, figurehead, road captain and mentor, Uno-X undoubtedly hopes to take another step. The winner of Milan-San Remo (2014) and the Tour of Flanders (2015) has shown several times this year that he is absolutely not finished yet. Kristoff has won the Clásica de Almería, Scheldeprijs and a stage in the Tour of Norway this season. He has also collected several podium places.
What is the future for Alexander Kristoff:
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Strengthens with Laurenz Rex
Laurenz Rex will race for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert next year according to Het Nieuwsblad. The German-speaking Belgian comes from Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB. It is not yet clear for how long Rex has signed with his new team.
The 22-year-old Rex rode for Wallonie-Bruxelles Development in 2019 and 2020. He then made the switch to the main squad of Christophe Brand’s team. Rex comes into its own especially in the cobbled classics. Last year he finished 21st in Paris-Roubaix, this year he was 16th in Gent-Wevelgem.
According to Het Nieuwsblad, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert would also have liked to take Sylvain Moniquet from Lotto Soudal, but that has not happened. Moniquet would opt for a longer stay with his current team. Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën) is said to be close to a switch to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, the Belgian newspaper wrote earlier.
Development Team DSM’s Pavel Bittner and Casper van Uden Promoted to the WorldTour
After steady progress season-on-season, Team DSM are delighted to announce that Pavel Bittner and Casper van Uden will be promoted to their Men’s program as of August 1st this year; becoming the 13th and 14th riders respectively to make the step up to WorldTour level after coming through the ranks of the Development program since its inception in 2017. Both riders will wear the team’s distinctive two-striped jersey until at least the end of the 2024 season.
Pavel Bittner (CZE)
Off the back of a strong junior career where he took back-to-back Czech road race titles alongside several other top results, Bittner joined Team DSM’s Development program in 2021. Finding his feet quickly at U23 level, he claimed an emotional win in his home stage at Course de la Paix while riding for his national team which he followed up with some strong results in the sprints with the Development program at Course Cycliste de Solidarnosc when he was the team’s finisher, and where he was also an integral part of leading out Van Uden to two stage wins. This year has seen Bittner continue his development and further show his versatility; helping the Development program to wins at Tour de Normandie while also impressing when riding alongside the Men’s program over tough and punchy terrain such as his ninth place at a hard-fought, hilly edition of Rund um Köln.
Click here for quotes and reaction from Bittner and coaching staff.
Casper van Uden (NED)
Now into his third season with the Development program, Van Uden has made steps year-on-year with the team; continually growing as an athlete and as a person. Like many, Van Uden’s 2020 season was short due to the pandemic, but he impressed in the races he did and was part of the team’s TTT success at Ronde de l’Isard. Last year saw Van Uden have a “breakthrough” season, taking an impressive two sprint wins at Course Cycliste de Solidarnosc where he ended third on GC. He followed that up later in the season with a superb win after a tough day of racing at Ronde van Achterhoek and a battling second place at Paris-Tours U23 where he “won” the bunch sprint behind future teammate Iversby Hvideberg. Continuing this upward trend, Van Uden has gained a lot of experience riding alongside the Men’s program in races such as the Saudi Tour and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne in 2022, which has helped him to take three sprint wins: two at the Tour de Normandie and one at Tour de Bretagne, after some superb work by the team. Furthermore, a brilliantly earned fourth place at a brutally hard edition of Scheldeprijs hints at Van Uden’s more rounded ability and potential for the classics in the future.
Click here for quotes and reaction from Van Uden and coaching staff.
Casper van Uden:
Team SD Worx Altitude Training in Brides-les-Bains ahead of the Grand Tours
Team SD Worx has signed a partnership with Brides-les-Bains. The charming town in the French Alps is known for its thermal baths and is an ideal base for an altitude training session. Demi Vollering, Lotte Kopecky, Lonneke Uneken, Niamh Fisher-Black, Blanka Vas and Anna Shackley will prepare themselves here for the Giro Donne and Tour de France Femmes. The team stays here in the 3 Vallées at an altitude of over 2000 metres.
Brides-les-Bains is located at the foot of the popular Les 3 Vallées area and is known for its thermal water, spa, health cures and healthy food. The Alpine village now also presents itself strongly as a friendly cycling destination for men and women.
Brides-les-Bains is also called the cycling basecamp in Les 3 Vallées, because many climbs start from here. Thus, you start here the climbs to Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens and you can climb the Col de la Loze from two sides. The foot of the Col de la Madeleine and the climb to Valmorel are also just around the corner.
The famous car-free Col de la Loze is the spearhead of the renewed cycling strategy of Brides-les-Bains. On this 2304 metres high ‘new’ col, Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic fought a bitter duel in the 2020 Tour de France. And Brides-les-Bains organises here its own cyclosportive Col de la Loze Challenge annually in July. The third edition will take place this year on July 17.
In addition to their training sessions, the riders of Team SD Worx will also visit the thermal baths of Brides-les-Bains to enjoy a relaxing massage. There will also be a tour with hydrogen e-bikes, which is part of the area’s environmentally friendly strategy. Team SD Worx has been the best team in the UCI ranking in the women’s peloton for many years.
“Ahead of the two most important tours of the year, the Giro Donne and the Tour de France Femmes, this is an important altitude training stage”, Anna van der Breggen points out. The Olympic champion and two-time world champion on the road has been Team SD Worx’s sports director since this year.
“High altitude training courses are an increasingly important part of the preparation for the big races”, Van der Breggen continues. “Thanks to Brides-les-Bains we can stay above 2000 metres in Les 3 Vallées, while from the valley you can take on several long climbs. This is ideal for us, as we are staying here for three weeks and then the variety in the training routes is welcome. With the Col de la Loze, which is specially built for cyclists and where you won’t find any car traffic, we are at the foot of an ideal col for some training. Furthermore, we can use the thermal baths in Brides-les-Bains, which provides a good moment of relaxation on rest days.”
Team Sd Worx will stay in Brides-les-Bains until 21 June.
Canadian Road Championships Return to Alberta for First Time in Twelve Years
The Canadian Road Championships for Junior, Elite and Para athletes are returning to Edmonton, Alberta from June 23-27, where over 300 athletes from all over the country will be looking to secure Canadian titles in the Time Trial, Road Race and Criterium over four days of racing.
“We are thrilled to be able to bring the Canadian Road Championships back to Western Canada. Last held in 2010, we know that Edmonton will deliver some challenging and exciting courses for our athletes which will no doubt put the spotlight on some great performances,” said Jolène Dupuis, Cycling Canada’s Events & Officials Manager. “The organisers are encouraging the larger cycling community to participate by including an Urban Gran Fondo during the Championship weekend that is open to riders of all ages. Creating opportunities like this for the community is a great example of what Cycling Canada is working to promote and achieve through its events.”
The Championships will begin on Thursday, June 23, with the Individual Time Trial for all categories, which will be held in Beaumont on the outskirts of Edmonton, over distances ranging from 12.86 to 48 kilometres.
Saturday and Sunday will see the Road Race titles awarded, where riders will be completing a 14.4-kilometre loop around the city of Edmonton, with the race starting and finishing in front of the Alberta Legislature Building. Eight different para-cycling categories will kick off the competitions on Saturday, completing between 28.8 and 72 kilometres, followed by Junior women (73 km) and men (116.8 km) in the afternoon. On Sunday, the U23 and Elite fields will compete together, with the women racing 116.8 kilometres, while the men will tackle 11 loops of the course for a total of 160.6 kilometres.
The event will conclude on Monday with the fast-paced Criterium races for Junior, U23 and Elite athletes, taking place in Edmonton’s Old Strathcona district with an exciting Whyte Avenue finish. Junior athletes will be competing for 30 to 45 minutes in the early afternoon, while Elite races will be held in the evening for a total of one hour each.
All age groups are expected to be highly competitive, with prominent athletes such as double 2021 national champion Alison Jackson (Liv Racing-Xstra), 2021 U23 champion Ruby West (Jukebox Cycling) and Olympians Derek Gee (Israel Cycling Academy), Michael Foley (X-Speed United) and Ariane Bonhomme set to compete. With the men’s title up for grabs, Human Powered Health’s Pier-André Côté should be a strong contender, as well as 2017 Canadian champion Matteo Dal-Cin (Toronto Hustle) and Benjamin Perry (WiV SunGod). Select U23 riders might mix up the cards as well, including 2021 Canadian champion Carson Miles (Premier Tech U23 Cycling Project) and recent Giro Giovani stage winner Riley Pickrell (Israel Cycling Academy), to name only a few.
The women’s competitions are expected to be as fierce as Jackson will be looking to defend her titles against athletes such as Marie-Soleil Blais (Team Farto – BTC), Pan American Games medallist Maggie Coles-Lyster (DNA Pro Cycling) and former Junior national champion Simone Boilard (St Michel – Auber93 WE). On the para-cycling side, Paralympians Marie-Ève Croteau, Charles Moreau, Joey Desjardins, Marie-Claude Molnar, Keely Shaw and Shelley Gautier will be onsite and looking to add 2022 Canadian champion to their long list of accomplishments.
Full event information can be found here, while results will be uploaded here during the week. Media requiring an accreditation to the event are asked to fill out the registration form before Monday, June 20.
The 2021 Canadian Road Championships in Beauce, Quebec:
UCI Removes Tour of Guangxi from 2022 Calendar
Just like last year, the UCI WorldTour for men concludes with the Tour of Lombardy, while the women do so with the Tour of Chongming Island. Originally, the idea was to end the season with the Tour of Guangxi, just like before corona in 2020. However, the UCI has announced in a press release that the men’s and women’s edition has been cancelled.
Both events, a stage race for the men and a one-day race for women, will not take place, because the organisers of the Tour of Guangxi are still dealing with measures in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the end of the 2022 road cycling year will be on Tuesday 18 October. On that day, the last stage of the relocated Tour de Langkawi will take place. That UCI ProSeries race is from 11 to 18 October in Malaysia.
This means that teams involved in the promotion/relegation battle, up to and including the Tour de Langkawi, can take points at the last minute. The first eighteen teams in the three-year ranking will receive a WorldTour license from the UCI, provided they meet the other criteria, for the years 2023, 2024 and 2025.
The UCI announced in the same press release the WorldTour calendar for 2023. The Tour of Guangxi will then be the last WorldTour race of the season, from October 12-17. The new season will start with the Santos Tour Down Under (January 17-22).
Unlike this season, the three Grand Tours in 2023 will start again on Saturday. The Giro d’Italia is scheduled for May 6-28, the Tour de France for July 1-23 and the Vuelta a España for August 26-17 September. Paris-Roubaix has its old place back, between the Tour of Flanders and the Amstel Gold Race.
Calendar UCI WorldTour 2023 Calendar:
Santos Tour Down Under (January 17-22)
Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (January 29)
UAE Tour (February 20-26)
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (25 February)
Strade Bianche (March 4)
Paris-Nice (5-12 March)
Tirreno-Adriatico (6-12 March)
Milan-San Remo (March 18)
Tour of Catalonia (20-26 March)
Classic Brugge-De Panne (22 March)
E3 Saxo Bank Classic (March 24)
Gent-Wevelgem (March 26)
Dwars door Vlaanderen (March 29)
Tour of Flanders (April 2)
Tour of the Basque Country (April 3-8)
Paris-Roubaix (April 9)
Amstel Gold Race (April 16)
Flèche Wallone (April 19)
Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 23)
Tour de Romandie (April 25-30)
Eschborn-Frankfurt (May 1)
Giro d’Italia (6-28 May)
Critérium du Dauphiné (4-11 June)
Tour of Switzerland (11-18 June)
Tour de France (1-23 July)
Clásica San Sebastián (July 29)
Tour of Poland (29 July-4 August)
BEMER Cyclassics (20 August)
Benelux Tour (August 21-27)
Vuelta a España (26 August-17 September)
Brittany Classic-Ouest-France (September 3)
Grand Prix de Québec (September 8)
Grand Prix de Montreal (September 10)
Tour of Lombardy (October 7)
Gree-Tour of Guangxi (12-17 October).
2023 season to finish in Guangxi:
UCI Demands Commitments from RideLondon Classique TV Broadcasts
The RideLondon Classique is unsure of its Women’s WorldTour license for next season. Last month, the organisers of the three-day stage race only offered a live TV broadcast of the last stage, instead of every stage. For the time being, the UCI has classified the race in the ProSeries class.
By not offering a live TV broadcast of each stage, but only of the last stage, the women’s race did not meet the requirements of the UCI. According to the UCI, it constituted “a violation of the regulations and the specifications that every organiser of the UCI Women’s WorldTour must observe. First of all, it is an unacceptable lack of respect for the teams and riders taking part in the race.”
Therefore, the UCI Management Committee decided to make the entry of the British race on the Women’s WorldTour calendar for the 2023 season conditional on firm commitments regarding live television broadcasting of all stages. In the meantime, the Management Committee has decided to enter the RideLondon Classique into the ProSeries class for the 2023 season.
A final decision on the status of the race will be made at the UCI Management Committee meeting in September.
RideLondon missing from the WorldTour due to a lack of TV:
A. Dugast Opens new Production Facility in Oldenzaal
A. Dugast prepares for the future. The Twente tire manufacturer of entrepreneur Richard Nieuwenhuis has moved from Deurningen to a new 1,200 m² building in Oldenzaal, where it has room to expand.
The company shares the premises with Vittoria, which has owned the brand since last year and now has its Northern European headquarters in Oldenzaal. The new office will be made completely energy neutral, with solar panels, modernised heating and insulation.
The ambition is to double the annual production. They want to do this by purchasing new machines and hiring more staff. There are currently seven people employed. The inner and outer tyres are almost entirely produced in the Netherlands (with the exception of sewing the tires together). This starts with the weaving of the cotton, which takes place in Oldenzaal. Then the cotton is cut and the tape is folded and glued. The stamps on the tires are still done manually with an ink pad.
The tires are very popular with cyclo-cross and track cyclists. Several World cyclo-cross champions achieved success with A. Dugast, as the many champion jerseys on the wall prove. Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert are racing on tyres from Vittoria on the road and on tyres from Dugast in cross. In addition, A. Dugast supplied the tyres of the gold medalists in the team sprint event during the past Olympic Games.
The PEZ INSTAGRAM
See our Instagram page for a quick fix on your phone: https://www.instagram.com/pezcyclingnews
The PEZ NEWSWIRE!
Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it on the homepage, just above the PEZ Shop section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.