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There was so much racing at the weekend, is there enough coffee? Race reports and video from UAE, Algarve, Andalucia, Valencia and Alpes-Maritimes. Patrick Lefevere has WorldTour ambition for his women’s team – TOP STORY. Rider news: André Greipel enjoys retirement. Race news: Giro di Sicilia route, Eurométropole Tour Circuit Franco-Belge again, RCS Sport spring races teams and economy boost after the 2021 UCI World championships in Flanders. Team news: No Giro d’Italia for Nairo Quintana. Plus ‘Major Taylor: Fastest Cyclist in the World’ to open at Indiana State Museum and the master and the apprentice video from the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team.

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TOP STORY: Patrick Lefevere Has WorldTour Ambition for Women’s Team in 2023
Patrick Lefevere said in his column for Het Nieuwsblad that in an ideal world the association with Tormans would become the continental team of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl. He also spoke about his vision for women’s cycling.

The Belgian manager said that his team is also getting into trouble due to the positive covid tests. In the UAE Tour, Ilan Van Wilder and Josef Cerny had to drop out at the last minute. “If people can drop out at any time and you have to ride three programs at the same time, you will run into problems even with a core of 31 riders,” he wrote. As a solution, Lefevere is looking to his colleagues at Jumbo-Visma and Team DSM, who have integrated a continental-level training team. “That way you can train promising riders and transfer them to the A-team for specific non-World Tour races.”

“In the ideal world, the construction with Tormans will become our continental team. He would then help fill in the cyclo-cross section in the winter and also act as a breeding ground,” he said in his column. “At the moment, the Tormans box already contains sports director Bart Wellens and a good soigneur and mechanic whom they – rightly – would like to keep. Then you are already at three full-time positions and there is still no one to race.”

“Tormans could be a great project and I hope we get it done, but at the moment the women’s team NXTG is my priority. For the time being, that is not yet in the World Tour, but that is our ambition for 2023.” The Belgian also talked about the rising minimum wages in women’s cycling. “Don’t get me wrong: there are many excellent riders who are more than worth that and much more, but you are also going to structurally overpay many young, novice pros.”

Lefevere also referred to UAE Team Emirates, who have bought the women’s team Alé BTC Ljubljana. “But what we are doing now – growing to the WorldTour with promising riders – I think is a much nicer and healthier concept.”

NXTG on the way to the WorldTour:

 

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UAE Tour 2022
Jasper Philipsen won the opening Stage 1 of the UAE Tour on Sunday and is also the first leader on general classification. The Belgian sprinter was the fastest from the bunch in Madinat Zayed after 184 flat kilometres. Sam Bennett (BORA-hansgrohe) and Elia Viviani (INEOS Grenadiers) were second and third, Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange-Jayco) fourth.

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Five riders made the early break in the first WorldTour stage of the year. Wildcard teams Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè and Gazprom-RusVelo each had two riders in the break: Luca Rastelli and Alessandro Tonelli for the Italian team, Pavel Kochetkov and Dmitry Strakhov for the Russians. Xandres Vervloesem (Lotto Soudal) joined the leading group. The lead of the five grew to over 4 minutes. The sprinter’s teams, especially BikeExchange-Jayco and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, didn’t let the advantage get much bigger and for a long time, the gap fluctuated between 2 and 4 minutes. Fifty kilometres out, the difference was reduced to 1 minute and the escape was caught 20 kilometres from the finish. It was not all that exciting on the wide roads through the desert towards Madinat Zayed. The only incident of the race was a crash by Rick Zabel, but he was able to continue.

The pace was slow throughout the stage, slower than the slowest time schedule, but 15 kilometres from the finish, the speed picked up as the various sprint trains got organised. Many teams had taken their sprint leaders to the Emirates and so it very busy for a good spot at the front of the pack in the wide final kilometres. BikeExchange-Jayco led into the last kilometre, but was unable to put Dylan Groenewegen at the front. Jasper Philipsen was taken forward by his lead-out man Jonas Rickaert, after which the Belgian sprinted along the barriers to victory. Sam Bennett and Elia Viviani took second and third places. Dylan Groenewegen was stuck behind Philipsen for fourth place.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix): “It was a pretty fast finish and we could see the line from very far away. We managed to make our way to the front and go for the sprint. This morning I was not confident at all and this was the first race of the season for me. It’s a really nice feeling to win against such a big list of top sprinters. This victory makes this a really great start to the season. Everything went perfectly. We had a tailwind at the end. When it’s a headwind, you can gamble and come later, but today we knew the speed was high. I’m happy we could find a gap, so I could sprint as I wanted. To be first on the line was a great feeling. I started my career with UAE Team Emirates but I couldn’t race here until I changed team in order to focus more on sprinting and riding the classics. It’s a great race here with a very high level of sprinters. It’s important to start the season well in the UAE.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Sam Bennett (BORA-hansgrohe): “Because my form isn’t quite at 100% yet, we didn’t have such high expectations today. Our goal was to work on our lead-out and learn how to best ride together. We took a bit of a risk, and started the lead-out late, but it worked out very well in the end. The guys did a great job in a stressful situation, and this performance is of course very confidence-boosting for us. I think our performances will only get better from here. We can be really pleased with how things went today. Thanks again to the team for their amazing work and for putting their trust in me.”

UAE Tour Stage 1 Result:
1. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix in 4:42:34
2. Sam Bennett (Irl) BORA-hansgrohe
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers
4. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco
5. Emils Liepins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo
6. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
7. Max Kanter (Ger) Movistar
8. Olav Kooij (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
9. Tom Devriendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
10. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) UAE Team Emirates

UAE Tour Overall After Stage 1:
1. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix in 4:42:24
2. Sam Bennett (Irl) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:04
3. Dmitrii Strakhov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
4. Elia Viviani (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:06
5. Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizané
6. Xandres Vervloesem (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:08
7. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:10
8.Emils Liepins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo
9. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10. Max Kanter (Ger) Movistar.

UAE Tour’22 stage 1:

 

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Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta 2022
David Gaudu won the Second Stage of the Volta ao Algarve. After 182.4 kilometres he crossed the summit finish first in Fóia. He won a crash disrupted from Sergio Higuita and Tobias Foss. The Frenchman is now the new overall leader.

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On the second day of the Volta ao Algarve, the finish was on the climb to Fóia, with 8 kilometres of climbing at 6%. Not long before that, there was a second category climb of the Picota. The break of the day was: Unai Iribar (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Nicolas Zukowski (Human Powered Health), Tomás Contte (Aviludo-Louletano-Loulé Concelho), César Martingil & César Martingil (both Rádio Popular-Paredes-Boavista) and João Matias (Tavfer-Mortágua-Ovos Matinados). The five riders took a maximum lead of 3 minutes. As the two final climbs got closer, this gap narrowed further and further to the leaders.

At just over 50 kilometres from the finish there was a crash in the peloton. This included Tom Pidcock and Lars van den Berg. While the British rider was okay, the Dutchman, who also fell yesterday, had to abandon and was taken to hospital. There was a fear of a hip fracture. Meanwhile, Ion Izagirre (Cofidis) also had to retire. With just under 30 kilometres to go, the peloton caught the front riders. One of the early escapees, Iribar, jumped away again, although he was soon brought back. Next there was an attack from Warren Barguil and Délio Fernández (Atum general-Tavira-Maria Nova Hotel). The INEOS Grenadiers train pulled them back.

The British squad, with Geraint Thomas working hard, set the pace for most of the Picota and Fóia. Five kilometres from the finish Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl took over with Louis Vervaeke on the front. He pulled the group for Remco Evenepoel until 2.5 kilometres from the finish. Stefan Küng then took command for his leader David Gaudu, but because of the headwind it was relatively easy on his wheel. Nothing happened, until a rider from Efapel attacked just before the 1K banner. The Portuguese rider had a good gap, but he couldn’t keep it going in the last metres, so there was a sprint with a thinned out group. Sergio Higuita looked to be on his way to victory, but hit Tobias Foss when overtaking. Both riders crashed, after which David Gaudu took the victory. Samuele Battistella was second, Ethan Hayter was third.

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Stage winner and overall leader, David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ): “I waited, waited, and saw they were going wide in the last corner. I tried to turn inside as much as possible and managed to avoid the crash to my left. I was launched and I was able to cross the line first. I was in front when the crash happened, so I think I still would have won anyway. It was a sprint with some lactic acid involved, and I thought a lot about Valentin Madouas as we did this kind of effort in our training camp. It proved useful for me in this final. I am very happy I won and I think it will do everyone good. The team was great, I want to say a big thank you because they did an incredible job. Whether it was Fabian for nearly sixty kilometres, Olivier who gave his absolute best, or Stef who pulled in the final… Everyone is committed and it’s nice to see.”

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Stage 2 Result:
1. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 4:50:51
2. Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:01
3. Ethan Hayter (GB9 INEOS Grenadiers
4. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates
5. Daniel Felipe Martínez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
6. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
7. Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
8. Georg Zimmermann (Ger) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
9. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
10. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux.

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Overall After Stage 2:
1. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 9:47:20
2. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:01
3. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
4. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
5. Daniel Felipe Martínez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
6. Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
7. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
8. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Trek-Segafredo at 0:08
9. Thomas Pidcock (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:17
10. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) INEOS Grenadiers.

Algarve’22 stage 2:

 

Fabio Jakobsen won Stage 3 to go with his stage 1 victory. The Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl rider was the best sprinter in the uphill finish in Faro, ahead of Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) and Bryan Coquard (Cofidis).

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The break of the day soon formed: Txomin Juaristi (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Rafael Lourenço (Atum General-Tavira), Rafael Silva (Efapel), Afonso Eulálio (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor), Afonso Silva (Kelly- Simoldes-UDO), Nicolas Saenz (Tavfer-Mortágua-Ovos Matinados) and Samuel Caldeira (W52-FC Porto). The seven quickly had more than 4 minutes on the peloton and that grew to over 6 minutes. Groupama-FDJ controlled the leaders for David Gaudu. Alpecin-Fenix ​​and Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl also helped to reduce the lead. The Cat4 climb to Bengado, with the summit 25 kilometres from the finish in Faro, was the last hurdle. The leading group split at the front. Afonso Silva, Afonso Eulálio and Txomin Juaristi survived the longest, but were caught just before the top. Most of the sprinters in the peloton managed to survive the climb, including Fabio Jakobsen and Tim Merlier.

Eulálio went in a new escape attempt with Fabio Costa and Hugo Nunes. They were given some space by the sprinter’s teams for a while, but 10 kilometres from the finish they were caught. The fast men were then put into position. Jakobsen briefly lost his train in the final kilometre, but quickly found his lead-out men. In the uphill finish it was the Dutchman who came off Bryan Coquard’s wheel. He passed the Frenchman next to the barrier to cross the line first. Tim Merlier was on Jakobsen’s wheel and stayed there for second place.

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Stage winner, Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “Winning is always nice. Even though we missed Tim Declercq, who is out with gastrointestinal problems, we still went for it and the guys did a perfect job, for which I am grateful. They were there the entire day, setting the tempo in the bunch and making sure I was protected all the time. Coming into the last roundabout, I was ideally placed, just behind Bert, and at 200 meters to go, I decided to open my sprint. I knew there was an uphill drag to the line, but I felt good and had the power to maintain the speed all the way to the finish. Considering where I was this time last year, taking my fourth win in just three weeks feels pretty special. These victories help me build my confidence for the big goals that I have later in the season.”

2nd on the stage, Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix): “I was there in the final and I’m happy about that, but I came across a strong Fabio Jakobsen. It would have been possible, because when Fabio started I had the feeling that I could beat him. But I just missed the speed of my punch because Coquard wanted to be on Fabio’s wheel. I lost some speed as a result. It was only my first sprint of this season, because I didn’t really participate in the first stage. We are now going to work towards the next races.”

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Stage 3 Result:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 4:54:51
2. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
3. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Cofidis
4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
5. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
6. Clément Russo (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
7. Jordi Meeus (Bel) BORA-hansgrohe
8. Michele Gazzoli (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan
9. Colin Joyce (USA) Human Powered Health
10. Leangel Linarez (Col) Tavfer-Mortágua-Ovos Matinados.

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Overall After Stage 3:
1. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 14:42:11
2. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:01
3. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
4. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
5. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
6. Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
7. Daniel Felipe Martínez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
8. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Trek-Segafredo at 0:08
9. Thomas Pidcock (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:17
10. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:18.

Algarve’22 stage 3:

 

Remco Evenepoel impressively seized the lead in the Volta ao Algarve on Stage 4. In the long time trial to Tavira, the Belgian rider set the fastest time of 37:49. Evenepoel took the stage and overall lead from David Gaudu.

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Saturday’s long time trial of 32.2 kilometres was from Vila Real de Santo António to Tavira. The expectation was that the differences would be big on a course that seemed tailor-made for the specialists. Joe Dombrowski, Jokin Murguialday and Michele Gazzoli had the fastest times for a while, but it was Yves Lampaert who set the first target time with 42:20. His time didn’t last long, as Rafael Reis, who had started 4 minutes later, was faster than the Belgian national champion. The Portuguese clocked 41:15 and sat in the hot seat for an hour.

It was then Geraint Thomas with 41:14 and Daan Hoole with 39:27 and then Stefan Küng in 38:47. The reigning European champion didn’t set the winning time. Remco Evenepoel had already set the fastest time at the first intermediate point. In the end he stopped the clock at 37:49, almost a minute faster than Küng.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “I am very happy. We had a great bike and a great plan today, and that was to push hard until the top of the climb, because we knew how important that first part of the course would be. The guys in the car believed in me, gave me the right indications all the time and I am thankful for their help. I am proud of how things unfolded today. Taking into account everything – the way I felt, my performance – this was one of the best time trials in my career and I hope to keep the level the whole year, especially after this big boost of confidence. Now I am in yellow, but Sunday should be very hard and I’m sure some of my rivals in the GC will want to try something. But we have a strong and motivated team, and hopefully I will keep yellow after Malhão.”

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Stage 4 Result:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 37:49
2. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:58
3. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:06
4. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma at 1:11
5. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 1:25
6. Thibault Guernalec (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 1:27
7. Daniel Felipe Martínez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:30
8. Daan Hoole (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 1:38
9. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 2:09
10. Connor Swift (GB) Arkéa Samsic at 2:12.

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Overall After Stage 4:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 15:20:01
2. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:06
3. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates in 1:25
4. Daniel Felipe Martínez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers in 1:30
5. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ in 1:43
6. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma in 1:51
7. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 2:08
8. Thibault Guernalec (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
9. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) INEOS Grenadiers at 2:37
10. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 2:40.

Algarve’22 stage 4:

 

The Final Stage 5 of the Volta ao Algarve was won by Sergio Higuita. The BORA-hansgrohe rider beat his Colombian countryman Daniel Felipe Martínez in an uphill sprint. Remco Evenepoel, fifth on the stage, was the final overall winner.

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The fifth and last stage of the Volta ao Algarve on Sunday was a mountain stage of more than 170 kilometres from Lagoa to the finish on the Alto do Malhão. Evenepoel started the final stage with a lead of just over a minute over Ethan Hayter. The last 40 kilometres had the climb of Alte and a double passage of the Alto do Malhão.

Nineteen men soon escaped and formed the early break: Tom Pidcock, Lukas Pöstlberger, Georg Zimmermann, Yves Lampaert, Oscar Riesebeek, Dries De Bondt and Pascal Eenkhoorn were all off the front. At one point the lead was 3 minutes, but there was no panic in the peloton. With about 90 kilometres to go, there was a crash in the leading group involving Pidcock and Riesebeek. Riesebeek came off worst, but Pidcock was able to continue and take his place in the leading group again, the Alpecin-Fenix ​​rider had to stop. After a flatter section, some riders saw their chance to attack. De Bondt, Zimmermann and Ivo Oliveira got together started the first passage of the difficult Alto do Malhão (2.6km at 9%). The action started in the peloton in the run-up to the Alto do Malhão. The favourites for the GC were 1 minute behind on the first steep sections of the big climb of the day. INEOS Grenadiers decided not to wait and so it was up to Daniel Felipe Martínez, fourth overall at 1:30 from Evenepoel, to attack. The moustachioed Colombian accelerated twice, but Evenepoel was unimpressed and followed. Martínez made sure with his attacks that Evenepoel was isolated with 20 kilometres to go. This was only for a short time as a strong Lampaert managed to return and almost immediately put himself at the front of the group in order to neutralise any attacks. With a favourites group of about 20 riders, De Bondt and Zimmermann were caught before the start of the second passage of the Malhão. Evenepoel’s overall victory seemed safe, but there was still a stage victory up for grabs at the top of the Malhão.

Lampaert went deep in the kilometres before the final climb and Johannes Staune-Mittet, who normally rides for the Jumbo-Visma Development team, also made an impression for Tobias Foss. However, they were unable to prevent a large chasing group, including the dangerous Ethan Hayter, from rejoining just before the start of the Alto do Malhão. As a result there was a large group at the beginning of the Malhão. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl set the pace for Evenepoel. Due to the headwind, it was a long wait for one of the top riders to make a move. Evenepoel went to the front at 1.3 kilometres from the finish, David Gaudu, Brandon McNulty, Martínez and Sergio Higuita followed the Belgian. These five rode wheel to wheel under the last kilometre banner. Evenepoel tried again, but the leader lacked the explosiveness to loose his rivals. McNulty had another attack in store, but the American was no match for the Colombian. Martínez and Higuita were able to outflank McNulty and fought a fierce battle in the last metres. Martínez initially kept Higuita behind him, but the Colombian champion of BORA-hansgrohe managed to pass Martínez with a final acceleration. McNulty crossed the line in third place, Gaudu was fourth and Evenepoel was fifth in the day’s results. The Belgian was the final overall winner of the tour, ahead of McNulty and Martínez.

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Stage winner, Sergio Higuita (BORA-hansgrohe): “I am super happy with this win today. After my crash two days ago, I was extra motivated because I felt I had lost a win there. Today we gave it our all and finally it paid off. Big thanks to the whole BORA-hansgrohe squad for their effort the whole week. Today I was there in the finale and first I thought about attacking on the last 300m, but again it was quite windy, and I decided to wait for the very last moment. My timing was right, and I was able to pass Daniel. This is my second victory for BORA-hansgrohe, but my first together with the team as I was racing alone in Colombia. Therefore, this is a special day for me.”

Final overall winner, Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “It feels amazing to get another GC victory for the team and I can’t tell you how happy I am that I could bring it home after a hard week of racing. The whole team did a tremendous job, not just today, when they protected me and rode at the front, but the entire week, so I want to thank them for that. This is the Wolfpack spirit and we showed it again, and we can be proud with what we achieved here. My opponents attacked me today, but I had good legs – although I could feel the effort of Saturday’s time trial – and that’s why on the last climb I pushed a high tempo. Then in the final 200 meters, when I was sure of my success and the others began sprinting on that flat part, I took the time to celebrate my win. Now I will go home and prepare for Tirreno-Adriatico, a beautiful race I am eager to discover.”

3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates): “Coming into this week the plan was to go for the GC and finishing on the podium was definitely a goal. All credit to Evenepoel, he put in a good ride. The guys from the team did an awesome job looking after me and the racing was really good all week. I emptied the tank on that last climb today and managed to move up a place on the GC so no regrets. I’ll take a little bit of a break now and build up to the next big goal which will be Paris-Nice.”

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Stage 5 Result:
1. Sergio Higuita (Col) BORA-hansgrohe in 4:14:53
2. Daniel Martinez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
3. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:01
4. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
5. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:09
6. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma at 0:22
7. Jay Vine (Aus) Alpecin-Fenix
8. Federico Figueiredo (Por) Glassdrive Q8 Anicolor at 0:40
9. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates at 0:42
10. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers.

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Final Overall Result:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 19:35:03
2. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 1:17
3. Daniel Martinez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:21
4. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:39
5. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 2:00
6. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma at 2:04
7. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 2:16
8. Thibault Guernalec (Fra) Arkéa-Samsic at 2:41
9. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates at 3:31
10. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) INEOS Grenadiers at 3:38.

Algarve’22 stage 5:

 

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Vuelta a Andalucia – Ruta Ciclista del Sol 2022:
Stage 2 of the Ruta del Sol was won by Alessandro Covi. The Italian started the sprint early on the steep final slope to Alcalá la Real and managed to hold off Colombians Miguel Ángel López and Iván Ramiro Sosa. He also took the leader’s jersey from Rune Herregodts.

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This was a difficult stage with a lot of climbing. In the final, first the Alto de Las Grajeras (8.1km at 3.6%) and the Puerto del Castillo (5.7km at 4.6%), after which the finish would be on the Alcalá la Real (3.4km at 6.3%). This climb had a very steep final kilometre of 11.5%. There would be a showdown for the GC men.

Three riders managed to get away: Gotzon Martín (Euskaltel-Euskadi), José Félix Parra (Equipo Kern Pharma) and Kamil Małecki (Lotto Soudal). Later they were joined by Jon Barrenetxea (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Diego Pablo Sevilla (EOLO-Kometa) to make a leading group of five. The break gained a lead of more than 4 minutes. That lead was eaten into by the peloton, which slowly but surely got closer. There was a crash, the main victim was last year’s overall winner: Miguel Ángel López. The Colombian eventually managed to return to the peloton. On the Puerto del Castillo, the peloton caught sight of the four leaders, Pablo Sevilla had been dropped. Barrenetxea attacked, but Parra jumped on his wheel. Both riders were soon caught. A large peloton, where Rune Herregodts was trying to hang on, headed for Alcalá la Real.

On the first part of the climb, led by INEOS Grenadiers, the pace was fast, which was too much for Herregodts who lost his leader’s jersey. There were no attacks, that only happened in the last kilometre. It was Wout Poels who made the first move, but the Dutchman of Bahrain-Victorious was soon caught by Alessandro Covi, he was the first to turn onto the cobblestone section in the last hundred metres. Behind him there was an acceleration from Miguel Ángel López, who wasn’t bothered by his earlier crash, the Colombian was unable to catch Covi after collision with Gonzalo Serrano. The UAE rider, who won the Vuelta a Murcia last weekend, was the first to cross the line and is also the new overall leader.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates): “In the last kilometre I followed the move of Poels and when I saw him slowing up a bit I saw my moment to strike. I suffered a lot in the last few metres but I’m so happy to be able to take this win for the team, and repay their hard work. I’m in a good bit of form at the moment: I worked hard over the winter and managed to lose a bit of weight and I’m just making the most of the good legs I have at the moment and enjoying my cycling. I have the yellow jersey now which is exciting, and I know it will be hard to defend but I’m just going to keep trying hard and take it day by day.”

Vuelta a Andalucia – Ruta Ciclista del Sol Stage 2 Result:
1. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates in 3:57:46
2. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:02
3. Iván Ramiro Sosa (Col) Movistar at 0:04
4. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain-Victorious
5. Steff Cras (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Carlos Rodriguez (Spa) INEOS Grenadiers
7. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
9. Simon Clarke (Aus) Israel-Premier Tech
10. Cristián Rodríguez (Spa) TotalEnergies.

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol Overall After Stage 2:
1. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates in 9:15:01
2. Ander Okamika (Spa) Burgos-BH at 0:05
3. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:08
4. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:10
5. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
6. Simon Clarke (Aus) Israel-Premier Tech-
7. Steff Cras (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Cristián Rodríguez (Spa) TotalEnergies
9. Iván Ramiro Sosa (Col) Movistar
10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux.

Ruta del Sol’22 stage 2:

 

Magnus Sheffield won Stage 3 of the Ruta del Sol. After more than 150 kilometres from Lucena to Otura, the 19 year-old American from INEOS Grenadiers was first over the finish line. In the final he rode away from a group of top men.

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Gazprom-RusVelo and Human Powered Health had to withdraw due to covid cases. There was an all-Spanish escape on the third day of the Ruta del Sol: Euskaltel-Euskadi had two riders with Ibai Azurmendi and Xabier Isasa, they were joined by Jon Barrenetxea (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Juan Antonio López (Burgos-BH). The quartet’s lead steadily grew towards 3 minutes, but leader Alessandro Covi’s UAE Team Emirates narrowed that gap. Up front, Azurmendi and Isasa survived the longest. In the run-up to the final, the Alto de Cacin (7.6km at 3.9%) and an uncategorised climb at more than 6% had a lot of climbing, on that last climb they dropped the others. For a while the two Basques stayed ahead, but Lennard Kämna made the jump from the pack and went past the front riders. The German had several climbers with him, including Simon Yates, this was 32 kilometres before the finish, Eddie Dunbar, Mikel Landa and Miguel Ángel López, were joined by Mauri Vansevenant, Cristian Rodriguez and Ben O’Connor not much later.

The seven rode away from the thinned out favourites group. Everything came together due to the work of Movistar. Yellow jersey wearer Covi was there, but was isolated and so the attackers saw opportunities. A battle was fought for the pendulum, but no group really managed to get away. Bahrain Victorious then set the pace. It didn’t go very fast, so a chasing peloton could get closer. At 2.5 kilometres from the finish, the leading group split due to a crash on a bend, this made for an uncontrolled final. Magnus Sheffield reacted on a slightly uphill stretch to an attack from Kämna and went straight past the German. The INEOS Grenadiers rider immediately had a gap that couldn’t be closed. Behind him, Simon Clarke sprinted to second place, ahead of Stan Dewulf.

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Stage winner, Magnus Sheffield (INEOS Grenadiers): “It feels unbelievable to be able to get my first professional win this early in the season. The team plan before the stage was to try put me in the best position in the final KM’s and to try see how I could sprint. However, the race blew apart on the last climb but we had five guys in the front group which played out perfectly. I haven’t won a bike race since my first year as a junior and I haven’t had many opportunities to show the progression I’ve made the past couple years. It all happened so fast but I knew I couldn’t let up the last hundred metres. This win makes all the hard work and sacrifices I’ve made the past couple years all worth it and I feel like I can use this as confidence going into the classics.”

3rd on the stage, Stan Dewulf (AG2R Citroën): “I have mixed feelings. I am very satisfied with my form for my return to racing this season, but a little disappointed to miss out on the victory. You never know how the sensations are going to be after an altitude training course (Stan Dewulf trained 18 days in Sierra Nevada from January 25 to February 12) so I am reassured. It gives me confidence for the first classic races that are coming. That’s what we came here to build towards with the team. Ben O’Connor is well placed in the general classification (14th) and we will work for him during the last two stages so that he gets the best possible result.”

Vuelta a Andalucia – Ruta Ciclista del Sol Stage 3 Result:
1. Magnus Sheffield (USA) INEOS Grenadiers in 3:54:37
2. Simon Clarke (Aus) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:03
3. Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroën
4. Ben Turner (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
5. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-Victorious
7. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange-Jayco
9. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana Qazaqstan
10. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl.

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol Overall After Stage 3:
1. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates in 13:09:41
2. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:08
3. Simon Clarke (Aus) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:10
4. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
5. Steff Cras (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain-Victorious
7. Cristián Rodríguez (Spa) TotalEnergies
8. Iván Ramiro Sosa (Col) Movistar
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
10. Carlos Rodriguez (Spa) INEOS Grenadiers.

Ruta del Sol’22 stage 3:

 

Wout Poels won the Fourth Stage of the Ruta del Sol. In Baza, the Dutchman defeated Kazakh Alexey Lutsenko in a sprint-with-two, with whom he had ridden away from a strong leading group in the final phase. Poels also took over the leader’s jersey from Alessandro Covi.

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The peloton faced a tough stage on the fourth day. The start was in Cúllar Vega and from there the riders first climbed the Alto de Purche, followed by the Puerto de Blancares. Then after a long intermediate section there was the Puerto de Gorafe, 50 kilometres from the finish. Before the finish there were two more hills, one 10 kilometres to go.

Several riders tried to break away before the first climb: Mikkel Frøhlich Honoré, Greg Van Avermaet, Taco van der Hoorn, Rune Herregodts and Jenno Berckmoes were off the front for a short time. At the start of the Alto de Purche everything was back together. On the climb the peloton split, with GC leader, Alessandro Covi, fell behind and a large strong leading group with five men from the top 10 formed. Second overall, Miguel Ángel López (Astana Qazaqstan) had two teammates with Alexey Lutsenko and Harold Tejada, sixth Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) sat on the front with Mikel Landa, Damiano Caruso and Wout Poels, while seventh Cristián Rodríguez (TotalEnergies), eighth Iván Sosa (Movistar) and tenth Carlos Rodriguez (INEOS Grenadiers) were on their own. Simon Yates (BikeExchange), Mauri Vansevenant (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën) and Jefferson Cepeda (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) were also in the leading group. For a long time, the lead of the break hovered around 1 minute as UAE Team Emirates for leader Covi, and BORA-hansgrohe tried to limit the damage, but on the climb of the Puerto de Blancares the attackers slowly but surely started to get further away. On the Puerto de Gorafe, the last climb of the day, the lead had risen to more than 3 minutes, making it clear that the stage winner and new overall leader would come from the front group.

On the first of the last two hills, Lutsenko, Caruso and O’Connor pulled away and Yates jumped after them. The moment Rodriguez joined, Yates attacked, but López brought everything back together. Fifteen kilometres from the finish, Lutsenko tried again and this time Poels went with him. Poels, eleventh on GC, was not the best rider for Lutsenko (20th overall) to take to the finish, but the Kazakh nevertheless did his turns on the front. O’Connor tried several times to cross to Lutsenko and Poels in vain. By the last 10 kilometres the lead had risen to almost 30 seconds and the two would not be caught before the finish. Poels took a long sprint and held off Lutsenko. 18 seconds later, Vansevenant won the sprint from the chase group. Poels won the stage and also took the leader’s jersey from Covi.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious): “A nice but hard day! We had four riders up in the front the whole day and everyone worked perfectly together. In the final phase I still had good legs and followed when Lutsenko went, and in the sprint I could finish it off. Really happy with the win and another hard, last day tomorrow. So let’s see what we have left in the tank!”

2nd on the stage and 9th overall, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan): “In the end I just missed some energy in the legs. It was a very intense stage and we all had to work a lot to keep the gap to the peloton. Also, after my win at the Clásica Jaén all these days I did not feel that good and, definitely, I missed some freshness at the finish. However, it was a good try to bring the team another victory. There were many attacks on the first climb and in a moment I decided to follow a group of riders and Harold Tejada also was up there, while in a few seconds Miguel Angel Lopez joined us as well. I came in front to pull the group and to open a gap to the peloton and it worked well. Later, we worked really hard all together in our group to keep the advantage. It was a tough race, but together with Harold and Miguel Angel we stayed together in the group and step by step our advantage was growing up. With some 15 kilometres to go I saw a few riders attacking from our group. In a moment when we caught them back I decided to attack and only Poels was able to follow me. We opened a small gap, so I thought it could be a chance to fight for a stage win. But, at the end of the day I finished second. Tomorrow we have the final stage with an uphill finish. So, tomorrow me and all our team will ride 100% for Miguel Angel to help him to win the General Classification. It won’t be easy as there are many strong climbers here in the peloton, but we are motivated to do our best for our team leader.”

Vuelta a Andalucia – Ruta Ciclista del Sol Stage 4 Result:
1. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-Victorious in 3:56:52
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan
3. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:18
4. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange-Jayco
5. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious
6. Cristián Rodríguez (Spa) TotalEnergies
7. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain-Victorious
8. Iván Ramiro Sosa (Col) Movistar
9. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën
10. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana Qazaqstan.

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol Overall After Stage 4:
1. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-Victorious in 17:06:49
2. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:10
3. Cristián Rodríguez (Spa) TotalEnergies at 0:12
4. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain-Victorious
5. Iván Ramiro Sosa (Col) Movistar
6. Carlos Rodriguez (Spa) INEOS Grenadiers
7. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:21
8. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën
9. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:24
10. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:27.

Ruta del Sol’22 stage 4:

 

Wout Poels is the final overall winner of the 2022 Ruta del Sol. The Bahrain Victorious rider had no problems in the difficult final Stage 5, with an uphill finish, and managed to hold on to his leader’s jersey. The final stage was won by the German Lennard Kämna, who was the strongest rider from a large leading group.

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The last stage had a summit finish, but before that it went over the Puerto Fuente del Gallo (6.7km at 5.9%), Puerto de Tiscar (5.4km at 5.9%), La Iruela (2.2km at 9%) and the Alto de Iznatoraf (2.6km at 8.4%) to the foot of the final climb. The finish was on the top of the Chiclana de Segura climb (7km at 5%).

Several riders tried to break away and after a few skirmishes, nineteen riders managed escape: Jhonatan Narvaez, Biniam Girmay, Simon Clarke, Benoît Cosnefroy, Stefano Oldani and Lennard Kämna were amongst the front group and so Bahrain Victorious and the other GC teams controlled the peloton. The difference kept fluctuating around a minute and they didn’t get much more than that. In the peloton there was now a very fast pace and riders were being dropped. Also at the front there was now only four riders left with Clarke, Kämna, Oldani and Senne Leysen. With 80 kilometres to go, the first escapees were caught by a group containing the most important riders for the overall victory. After a new acceleration by the chasers, the last survivors of the early break were pulled in.

A new leading group was not long in coming: this time with seventeen riders. Clarke, Oldani, Girmay and Kämna were again present, as were former yellow jersey wearer Alessandro Covi, his UAE teammates Matteo Trentin and Jan Polanc, stage winner Magnus Sheffield, Gonzalo Serrano, Emanuel Buchmann, Floris De Tier, Lorenzo Fortunato and Daniel Navarro and others. In the peloton it was up to Bahrain Victorious to keep the escape group within range. Mikel Landa once again did the work for Poels and the lead of the seventeen attackers continued to fluctuate around one and a half minutes. Poels’ yellow jersey was not in danger. Covi, the best placed rider in the leading group, was already more than 6 minutes behind the Dutch leader. The front riders were given little space as BORA-hansgrohe decided to lift the pace on the penultimate climb of the day, the Alto de Iznatoraf. Buchmann attacked and Fortunato and Jimmy Jannssens went with the German climber, the other leaders couldn’t or didn’t want to go with them. However, Buchmann, Fortunato and Janssens break didn’t last long and with 30 kilometres to go it was all together again. There was a battle on two fronts on the final climb. The stage victory would go to one of the front riders, behind there was a fight for the overall victory.

On the Chiclana de Segura climb, Nelson Oliveira, after a final turn on the front from Trentin, pulled through. The Portuguese rider didn’t get away and an attack by Kämna didn’t do much either. Movistar tried to use its dominance in the leading group by attacking, but the group only really split after a second jump from Kämna. The German rode away from his fellow escapees and started the last 3 kilometres with a small lead. It turned out to be a decisive moment in the race, as Kämna managed to extend his lead. The BORA-hansgrohe rider did not look back and took his first victory of the season in Chiclana de Segura. Behind Kämna, Fortunato sprinted to second place, Covi was third. In the group of favourites it was a long wait for any action, but in the last kilometre a duel for the overall victory developed. Carlos Rodriguez managed to thin out the group in the steep final kilometre, but dropping Poels turned out to be impossible. In the end Poels eventually managed to secure the overall victory quite easily.

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Stage winner, Lennard Kämna (BORA-hansgrohe): “I’m super happy to take this win today! The team did a really good job today and especially Emanuel and Frederik have worked very hard in the breakaway so I could launch the decisive attack on the last climb. After my break last year it’s the perfect start into a new season and I’m really looking forward to the next races.”

Final overall winner, Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious): “I love this race, I like racing in Spain. I like the atmosphere and the people following the race. Moreover, I was already second in this tour. I am really very happy. What are my further goals this season? I want to win as many races as possible, although I don’t do that very often in my career. However, I now have two wins in my pocket.”

Vuelta a Andalucia – Ruta Ciclista del Sol Stage 5 Result:
1. Lennard Kämna (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe in 3:43:05
2. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Eolo-Kometa at 0:04
3. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:10
4. Magnus Sheffield (USA) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:12
5. Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar at 0:25
6. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:26
7. Stefano Oldani (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:27
8. Simone Velasco (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:29
9. Floris De Tier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:39
10. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar at 0:49.

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol Final Overall Result:
1. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain Victorious in 20:51:27
2. Cristian Rodriguez Martin (Spa) TotalEnergies at 0:14
3. Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:15
4. Carlos Rodriguez Cano (Spa) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:19
5. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:20
6. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious at 0:22
7. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroen at 0:26
8. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:32
9. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan at 0:34
10. Ivan Ramiro Sosa Cuervo (Col) Movistar at 0:39.

Ruta del Sol’22 stage 5:

 

valencia22wst1
Setmana Valenciana-Volta Comunitat Valenciana Fémines 2022
Elisa Balsamo won Stage 1 of the Tour of Valencia for women in a sprint from a thinned out peloton in Gandia on Thursday. The World champion beat Ruby Roseman-Gannon (BikeExchange-Jayco) and the Anouska Koster (Jumbo-Visma) into second and third places.

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The first stage of the four-day Setmana Valenciana Fémines, the Tour of Valencia for women, started in Tavernes de la Valldigna and finished in Gandia. In the 114 kilometre stage, the peloton was presented with several short climbs. The summit of the final climb, the Alto de Barx (5.9km at 4.8%), was 15 kilometres from the finish.

Several riders tried to get away early in the race, but there was never a large group. Antri Christoforou (Farto–BTC), from Cyprus, was the only one who managed to get more than 30 seconds, at one point, her lead was 50 seconds. Before halfway, on the Alto Serra Grossa, Christoforou was caught. She was replaced by Erica Magnaldi (UAE), who also went solo. The Italian took almost 2 minutes, but her attempt would eventually also fail. At the Alto de Barx she was caught by her teammate Mavi García, the Italian Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) and Annemiek van Vleuten. These three left Magnaldi.

Two more women joined the trio at the front: Cavalli’s teammate Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Ane Santesteban (BikeExchange-Jayco). These five was chased by a small peloton where Ellen van Dijk and Elisa Longo Borghini mostly set the pace. Partly due to the two Trek-Segafredo riders, the five were caught again. Van Dijk then continued to lead for World champion Elisa Balsamo who skilfully finished it off after Longo Borghini gave her a lead-out. The Italian also took the first leader’s jersey.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo): “A debut like that was in my dreams, but not really in the day’s expectations. Last night, in the pre-race meeting, Ina (Teutenberg, director) raised the possibility of such a finish. A lot would depend on my ability to hold out on the last climb. And then the team would do the rest to allow me to sprint. Ina’s prophecy came true, and my teammates did an impressive job. It was a perfect day!”

2nd on the stage and overall, Ruby Roseman-Gannon (BikeExchange-Jayco): “I’m still a bit in shock. The first ride with the team in Europe and the whole team rode incredible. Teniel, Ari, Georgia and Nina positioned us perfectly into the critical points. Alex and I made it over with the second bunch and Ane was with the climbing group, which took the pressure off us. Trek was keen to chase so it looked likely it would come back together, which was perfect for Alex and I. We gave it all we had and came fourth and second, but we are hungry for that top step. I think we can take a lot of confidence from this stage into the rest of the tour. Ane has great climbing legs and we will be working hard for her in the next few days.”

Setmana Valenciana-Volta Comunitat Valenciana Fémines Stage 1 Result:
1. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 3:00:30
2. Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
3. Anouska Koster (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
4. Alexandra Manly (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
5. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
6. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Canyon//SRAM Racing
7. Karlijn Swinkels (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
8. Silvia Zanardi (Ita) Bepink
9. Grace Brown (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
10. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope.

Setmana Valenciana-Volta Comunitat Valenciana Fémines Overall After Stage 1:
1. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 3:00:20
2. Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:04
3. Anouska Koster (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:06
4. Alexandra Manly (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:10
5. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
6. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Canyon//SRAM Racing
7. Karlijn Swinkels (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
8. Silvia Zanardi (Ita) Bepink
9. Grace Brown (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
10. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope.

Setmana Valenciana’22 stage 1:

 

Ellen van Dijk won the Stage 2 of the Tour of Valencia for women on Friday. The European champion was faster than fellow escapee Soraya Paladin (Canyon-SRAM) in Cocentaina after a long sprint. The two had ridden away from the peloton in the finale.

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Shortly after the start, Jeanne Korevaar was the first to escape, but was soon caught. Halfway through the stage there was an attack attempt by Elisa Longo Borghini, Elisa Chabbey and Grace Brown, but that was also countered. Shirin van Anrooij, Juliette Labous, Katarzyna Niewiadoma and Marie Le Net had more success. The four had a 1 minute lead, from which World champion and overall leader Elisa Balsamo had been dropped on the hilly middle section. The Van Anrooij group did not last very long. Floortje Mackaij made another attempt with Niewiadoma, but it was the BikeExchange-Jayco team that closed the gap. They aimed for a sprint in Cocentaina, but Trek-Segafredo and Canyon-SRAM had other ideas. Fifteen kilometres from the finish it was Longo Borghini and Chabbey who again escaped, but once again they were caught.

Ellen van Dijk was the next to try. The European champion was joined by Soraya Paladin, another Canyon-SRAM rider. There was no real chase behind and they increased their lead to a minute. Paladin left most of the work to Van Dijk, but she was playing a tactical game. The peloton, led by Annemiek van Vleuten, came close, but not close enough. Van Dijk then started the sprint far from the finish. She held the lead and didn’t let Paladin come past in the last 200 metres for her first victory in the European championship jersey. Not long after the winning sprint, the two leaders, Marta Bastianelli was third, ahead of Van Vleuten.

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Stage winner and 2nd overall, Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo): “It was once again a really fantastic day of teamwork. We had Shirin in the break before Elisa [Longo Borghini] set up really good attack on the descent. Then, when we reached the hill, the race really exploded. It was a really hard part of the race and then when everybody came back together, I thought, ‘this is the moment to attack’ so I wanted to make my move, but [Soraya] Paladin was kind of doing the same and, in the end, we went together.”

Setmana Valenciana-Volta Comunitat Valenciana Fémines Stage 2 Result:
1. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo in 3:20:47
2. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Canyon//SRAM Racing
3. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) UAE Team ADQ at 0:03
4. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Movistar
5. Silvia Zanardi (Ita) Bepink
6. Mavi García (Spa) UAE Team ADQ
7. Nadia Quagliotto (Ita) Bepink
8. Marta Cavalli (Ita) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
9. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
10. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo.

Setmana Valenciana-Volta Comunitat Valenciana Fémines Overall After Stage 2:
1. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Canyon//SRAM Racing in 6:21:11
2. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:02
3. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon//SRAM Racing at 0:06
4. Silvia Zanardi (Ita) Bepink at 0:09
5. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
6. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
7. Grace Brown (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
8. Alexandra Manly (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
9. Elise Chabbey (Swi) Canyon//SRAM Racing
10. Juliette Labous (Fra) DSM at 0:14.

Setmana Valenciana’22 stage 2:

 

Annemiek van Vleuten won the mountain Stage 3 with an uphill finish in Vistabella del Maestrat. The Movistar leader broke away on the penultimate climb to eventually cross the finish line with a good lead. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) is second overall at 1:05

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The third day of the Setmana Valenciana Fémines was the toughest of the race. From the start in Vila-Real the road started to climb almost immediately. The first big climb of the day was the Alto Remolcador. Then after a long descent, the terrain remained undulating until the foot of the long climb of the Alto Collao, about 25 kilometres from the finish. Immediately after the summit, the race hit the final climb of the day, the Vistabelle del Maestrat.

Before the start of the Alto Collao, a leading group of four riders had formed, with Silke Smulders (Liv Racing Xstra), Marie Le Net (FDJ), Alexandra Manly (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Matilde Vitillo (Bepink). The group had more than 1 minute, but was caught on the Collao. Movistar then lifted the pace to bring leader Annemiek van Vleuten into position. She attacked and came over the top of the Collao with a lead of 20 seconds. From there she slowly but surely extended her lead. Van Vleuten was gone and didn’t have any problems on the 7 kilometre final climb to Vistabella del Maestrat. In addition to taking the stage victory, she also leads overall by over a minute.

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Stage winner, Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar): “I knew that with 17 kilometres to go it got steeper on the penultimate climb, with a gradient of 7% while the next part was 5%. That, combined with a headwind, made it easier for the other riders to sit on my wheel. I was a little hesitant to attack from that far, but then again I thought that the longer the effort, the better it would be for me. I asked Paula (Patiño) to set the pace, Katrine (Aalerud) then took over and at the 7% part I went and after that only Mavi García, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Marta Cavalli were left with me. I went into the gap and took advantage of a steeper corner and thought now would be the time to give them a try and make life miserable for them. And so I was alone! It was perfect because otherwise it would have been easier for them to follow my wheel in the next part. Something I’m good at is time trialling towards the finish and I tried to do that before the end of the climb and the following climb. With two kilometres to go, however, the support car came to coach and encourage me, and that gave me goosebumps. I have every confidence that we can defend this tomorrow. We still need to be super focused for tomorrow, but we can also count on some help from sprinters teams. One more day and hopefully we can take home the orange leader’s jersey.”

Setmana Valenciana-Volta Comunitat Valenciana Fémines Stage 3 Result:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Movistar in 4:07:46
2. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope at 1:07
3. Marta Cavalli (Ita) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope at 1:51
4. Grace Brown (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope at 2:27
5. Mavi García (Spa) UAE Team ADQ at 2:28
6. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 2:37
7. Ane Santesteban (Spa) BikeExchange – Jayco
8. Juliette Labous (Fra) DSM
9. Elise Chabbey (Swi) Canyon//SRAM Racing
10. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon//SRAM Racing at 2:39.

Setmana Valenciana-Volta Comunitat Valenciana Fémines Overall After Stage 3:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Movistar in 10:29:02
2. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope at 1:05
3. Marta Cavalli (Ita) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope at 1:57
4. Grace Brown (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope at 2:31
5. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 2:34
6. Mavi García (Spa) UAE Team ADQ at 2:38
7. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon//SRAM Racing at 2:40
8. Elise Chabbey (Swi) Canyon//SRAM Racing at 2:41
9. Silvia Zanardi (Ita) Bepink at 2:43
10. Juliette Labous (Fra) DSM at 2:46.

Setmana Valenciana’22 stage 3:

 

Annemiek van Vleuten won the sixth edition of the Setmana Valenciana Fémines. The 39 year-old Movistar rider finished safely on the Final Stage 4 to Valencia. Marta Bastianelli was the fastest in a bunch sprint.

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The final stage was relatively short, 118 kilometres from Sagunt to Valencia. After two local laps around Sagunt, the race headed inland and then turned towards Valencia city. The only climb of the day was the Alto de l’Oronet (5.7km at 4.5%, max. 10.4%) with the summit at 30 kilometres from the finish.

After a nervous start where several riders crashed, two riders managed to set up an early break. Lija Laizane (Eneicat-RBH Global) from Latvia was joined by the British rider Danielle Shrosbree of CAMS-Basso. The peloton let them go, but did not intend to give them too much space. Laizane and Shrosbree’s lead went up to 1 minute, but from then on they were held in check. On the steepest sections of the Alto de l’Oronet, the last climb of the race, there was an acceleration from Grace Brown from the peloton. The Australian, riding for the French FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope team, crossed to the early breakaways, Laizane and Shrosbree. Brown had to give chase again not much later, after an unfortunate clash with Shrosbree. Brown was soon back on her bike and caught Laizane for a second time, not much later she managed to shake the Latvian off.

Brown now had the difficult task of riding a solo of more than 20 kilometres against the sprinters’ teams. Entering the last 10 kilometres, Brown was caught and the peloton could prepare for a bunch sprint. Van Vleuten got through the stage unscathed and only had to finish in the peloton and so didn’t involved with the sprint. European champion Ellen van Dijk took the lead in the last kilometres in front of World champion Elisa Balsamo who was eager for a second sprint victory in Valencia. Balsamo started the sprint first, but took the lead too early and was eventually overtaken by Marta Bastianelli. The Italian of UAE Team ADQ took her second victory of the season. Earlier this month she won the Vuelta CV Feminas. Van Vleuten was safe in the bunch to take the overall win.

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Final overall winner, Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar): “It was super helpful to have all the team around me today. It makes easier to keep things under control in days like this one. We never panicked; we started riding immediately when Grace Brown left, kept it under two minutes and it was fine. It was really a team effort today. I can see that the team is stepping up compared to last year. For some of the riders here, it was the first time defending a GC lead. I can see now that my team-mates are getting more and more experienced, having won other similar races like Ardèche, so it’s good to see that the team is more able to defend a jersey and know how to do it. If you realise that it’s only four-and-a-half months ago that I crashed so badly in Roubaix, and left only my crutches behind in mid December – to be able to already do this… it’s so nice to start the season this way. It’s also nice to take the pressure off my shoulders, to show that both myself and the team are back. It’s also a Spanish race, which makes it for a bigger goal for the team. It’s nice to start here in the sun than in classics temperatures, also doing it in a little bit more relaxed way. You can work for four days with the team, keep learning, processing goals – which is important to take lessons for the Giro and the Tour de France. All in all, a great way to start my 2022 season! (Regarding what she wrote on her jersey for today) Our soigneur Gary Baños died one year ago today, so that’s why I had Gary on one arm and then #StayStrongAmy on the other one, for Amy Pieters, who is still in hospital. I just wanted to think of both of them and dedicate my jersey to them. I look so much forward to racing with Emma in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad! it’s super cool to go with her, with her talent for the sprint and on a route with shorter hills than here, but it’s also nice to be meeting the whole team again so soon and get into the rhythm for the classics.”

Setmana Valenciana-Volta Comunitat Valenciana Fémines Stage 4 Result:
1. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) UAE Team ADQ in 2:56:23
2. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
3. Susanne Andersen (Nor) Uno-X
4. Georgia Baker (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
5. Sarah Roy (Aus) Canyon//SRAM Racing
6. Silvia Zanardi (Ita) Bepink
7. Karlijn Swinkels (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
8. Valentine Fortin (Fra) Cofidis
9. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) DSM
10. Martina Alzini (Ita) Cofidis.

Setmana Valenciana-Volta Comunitat Valenciana Fémines Final Overall Result:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Movistar in 13:25:30
2. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope at 1:00
3. Marta Cavalli (Ita) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope at 1:57
4. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 2:29
5. Grace Brown (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
6. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon//SRAM Racing at 2:35
7. Elise Chabbey (Swi) Canyon//SRAM Racing at 2:36
8. Silvia Zanardi (Ita) Bepink at 2:38
9. Mavi García (Spa) UAE Team ADQ
10. Juliette Labous (Fra) DSM at 2:46.

Setmana Valenciana’22 stage 4:

 

alpes
Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var 2022
Lotto Soudal rider Caleb Ewan won the First Stage of the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var in a bunch sprint. In a tough and technical final, Lotto Soudal guided its sprinter perfectly towards the finish. Florian Vermeersch delivered Caleb Ewan in perfect position into the final straight line and the Australian rewarded all the hard work of his teammates with his second win of the season. Anthony Turgis and Nacer Bouhanni finished second and third, respectively. Ewan is also the first leader of the three-day stage race in southern France.

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The Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var got underway with a hilly opening stage between Saint-Raphaël and La Seyne-sur-Mer. Lotto Soudal immediately took the initiative and kept the early breakaway of four within reach. The crucial part of today was situated at the Côte du Mai, a steady climb with the summit at twelve kilometres from the finish. After several attacks, the peloton was strung out but didn’t fully split. In a technical final, Lotto Soudal took up the gauntlet and kept Caleb Ewan perfectly on the front rows of the bunch. Thanks to his teammates, the Australian reached the finishing straight in ideal position. Ewan took the opportunity with both hands and launched his impressive sprint to take the stage win.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal): “We knew this stage was going to be a tough one. Even for me, it was a bit of a mystery whether I would survive the climb or not. But I felt really good today and the team just did a great job. They controlled the race and protected me perfectly leading into and on the climb. Due to the steady pace, the attacks didn’t go far and going into the descent with around five of my teammates gave me that extra boost to finish it off. I’ve already shown this season that I got stronger uphill and that I am developing as a rider. I am really happy with the shape I am in. It really was a successful test for what’s to come. We have a very strong team for this race. Tim targets a nice spot on GC so now it’s my turn to help my teammates. Tim already did an impressive lead-out today so he is clearly in great shape.”

Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var Stage 1 Result:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal in 4:14:44
2. Anthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
4. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën
5. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo
6. Kevin Geniets (Lux) Groupama-FDJ
7. Anthony Maldonado (Fra) St Michel-Auber93
8. Alexis Renard (Fra) Cofidis
9. James Shaw (GB) EF Education-EasyPost
10. Damien Touzé (Fra) AG2R Citroën.

Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var Overall After Stage 1:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
2. Anthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
4. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën
5. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo
6. Kevin Geniets (Lux) Groupama-FDJ
7. Anthony Maldonado (Fra) St Michel-Auber93
8. Alexis Renard (Fra) Cofidis
9. James Shaw (GB) EF Education-EasyPost
10. Damien Touzé (Fra) AG2R Citroën.

Alpes’22 stage 1:

 

After Caleb Ewan won the opening stage on Friday, his Lotto Soudal teammate Tim Wellens took the victory on Stage 2 of the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var. The 30-year-old Belgian had to dig deep to catch Nairo Quintana – who launched a solo attack at the foot of the Col d’Eze – in the closing kilometres. Eventually, Tim Wellens joined the Colombian at less than three kilometres from the finish. In a two-man sprint, Wellens proved to be the fastest and powered to the stage win and leader’s jersey, which he takes over from his teammate Caleb Ewan with one stage to go.

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With the yellow jersey on his shoulders, Caleb Ewan started stage two of the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, which saw the peloton tackle plenty of climbs in the hinterland of Nice. Lotto Soudal controlled the race perfectly, as it exploded at around 30 kilometres from the finish on the Col de Châteauneuf de Contes. After that, the riders raced to the foot of the Col d’Eze in a furious pace. It was Caleb Ewan amongst others, who guided Tim Wellens excellently to the start of the famous climb, with the summit only a few kilometres from the finish in La Turbie. Shortly after the bunch hit the first steep slopes, Quintana launched a powerful attack. Tim Wellens paced his effort and limited his losses to around 15 seconds. With about seven kilometres to go, the Belgian shook off Guillaume Martin and went looking for Quintana. In the flatter final kilometres, a man-to-man battle saw Wellens take the advantage. In the closing kilometres, Wellens joined Quintana and beat the Colombian in a two-man sprint to take his second victory of the season.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “It was definitely not an easy stage but just like yesterday I felt really good and with the way the team worked tirelessly, it was just a joy to race like this. They brought me towards the foot of the Col d’Eze just perfectly. I started the climb in ideal position but when Quintana launched his attack, I didn’t have an immediate answer. I realised he went a little too fast so I needed to pace my effort and I could eventually make up ground a bit later. To be honest, I was struggling on the plateau just after the summit but when I finally caught Quintana, I think that I broke his morale a bit. I knew the finish all too well because I live just a couple of kilometres away in Monaco. Of course we are going full for the overall win but tomorrow’s longer climbs are not in my favour. I expect that Arkéa Samsic will go full and try to make it as hard as possible for us. In theory it’s quite simple: I just need to follow Quintana’s wheel. However, I will do everything I can to take home the overall win.”

Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var Stage 2 Result:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 3:46:00
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa Samsic
3. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:25
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:27
5. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
6. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Trek-Segafredo at 0:30
7. Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal at 1:27
8. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) TotalEnergies
9. James Shaw (GB) EF Education-EasyPost at 1:31
10. Mathias Bregnhøj (Den) Riwal at 1:33.

Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var Overall After Stage 2:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 8:00:43
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa Samsic
3. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:26
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:27
5. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
6. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Trek-Segafredo at 0:31
7. Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal at 1:27
8. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) TotalEnergies
9. James Shaw (GB) EF Education-EasyPost at 1:32
10. Kevin Geniets (Lux) Groupama-FDJ at 1:33.

Alpes’22 stage 2:

 

Nairo Quintana is the overall winner of the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var. The Colombian rode his opponents, including Tim Wellens, off his wheel on the Final Stage 3 to Blausasc and soloed to the stage and overall victory.

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Tim Wellens started the last stage of this French race in the leader’s jersey, but Nairo Quintana was on the same time at the start of the stage and was looking for the overall victory. The stage between Villefranche-sur-Mer and Blausasc was very challenging, with the Col d’Eze (9.8km at 4.8%), Côte de Berre (5.9km at 6.4%) and the Col de Saint-Roch (6.5km at 6.4%) to climb.

On the flanks of the Col d’Eze, the first climb of the day, the race exploded. A leading group with fifteen riders escaped on the climb. Thibaut Pinot and Michael Storer (both Groupama-FDJ), Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën), Anthony Perez (Cofidis) and Roger Adrià (Kern Pharma) were part of the strong group. In the considerably thinned peloton, it was up to the men of Lotto Soudal to chase for yellow jersey wearer Tim Wellens. Arkéa-Samsic clearly had other plans: the French team of Nairo Quintana who left the work to Lotto Soudal, but Quintana was clearly waiting for his moment and the Colombian’s moment came on the flanks of the Col de Saint-Roch (6.5km at 6.4%).

In the leading group, Pinot turned out to have the strongest climbing legs and after good preparation work by teammate Storer, he took off alone. Pinot was chasing the stage victory, but Quintana wanted to take a shot at the overall victory. The man who won the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, stepped hard on the pedals with 3 kilometres to climb. Wellens had to let him go, but the Belgian tried to limit the difference at his own pace, knowing that there was still a long descent to the next climb. Quintana rode with a solid rhythm, passing and dropping riders as he climbed. Wellens’ biggest challenger was able to make the most of his descending abilities down the Col de Saint-Roch and quickly bridge the gap to leader Pinot. Wellens was trying to save his leader’s jersey and managed to get into the chasing group, with Guillaume Martin and Storer on the descent.

With about 20 kilometres to go Quintana and Pinot were in the lead, but with only 20 seconds on the chasing group with Wellens, Martin, Storer and Alexis Vuillermoz. Everything was still to play for. Quintana had no intention of letting Wellens return, so he dropped Pinot. Quintana was alone and undertook an all-or-nothing attempt to take the overall victory. Among the pursuers, the main focus was on Wellens, who had to do the work on his own. The Lotto Soudal leader was not strong enough to bridge the gap to Quintana. Wellens’s powers slowly drained away and this gave Quintana wings. The Colombian came over the top of the uncategorised Col de Nice (2.6km at 4.8%), one minute ahead of Martin, the Wellens group followed at 1:15. The last kilometres were a victory parade for Quintana. In Blausasc he had plenty of time to make the victory celebration for his stage and overall victory. Guillaume Martin crossed the line in second place at 1:30 after Quintana. Not much later Vuillermoz won the sprint for third place, ahead of Pinot and Wellens, who had to give up his yellow leader’s jersey. Quintana is the big winner in the general classification, ahead of Wellens and Martin.

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Stage and overall winner, Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic): “I am very happy. We already tried it on Saturday in the stage to La Turbie and today we made an attempt as well. I knew I had to do it today and I did it. The team rode really well. I knew the route well, because I’ve been living in Monaco for a while, so I had the confidence to try it. I’m in really good shape at the moment. Now we just have to enjoy it. My next goal? I now hope to perform well in Paris-Nice.”

5th on the stage and 2nd overall, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “As we expected it became a tough day right from the start, but once again the team did a tremendous job. We were in control until a few kilometres from the top of the Col de Saint Roch, where Quintana attacked. We knew beforehand that it would be very difficult to follow the Colombian up the mountain, but just like yesterday I hoped to catch him on the descent. I knew the roads really well, so I went full gas. However, Quintana also knew the area so I couldn’t make up much time. It proves that he was really strong today. When Guillaume Martin attacked from our chasing group, I didn’t have the legs to respond. I had to put in a lot of effort earlier on because everyone looked at me to do the chasing. I quickly shifted focus on retaining my 2nd spot on GC, which succeeded. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the overall win, but I will especially remember the collective strength Lotto Soudal showed these past three days. Even if Caleb and I won, it wouldn’t have been possible without impressive teamwork from the whole squad. I had to push huge watts to get the win on Saturday so I am really satisfied with my form. I am really looking forward to the opening weekend, where we want to deliver another strong collective performance with the team.”

Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var Stage 3 Result:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic in 2:55:17
2. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 1:21
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:30
4. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) TotalEnergies
5. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Michael Storer (Aus) Groupama-FDJ at 1:37
7. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën at 2:25
8. Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën
9. Remy Mertz (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
10. Romain Combaud (Fra) DSM.

Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var Final Overall Result:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic in 10:56:01
2. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:30
3. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 1:48
4. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 2:50
5. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) TotalEnergies at 2:57
6. Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal at 3:52
7. James Shaw (GB) EF Education-EasyPost at 3:56
8. Kévin Geniets (Lux) Groupama-FDJ at 3:58
9. Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën
10. Romain Combaud (Fra) DSM.

Alpes’22 stage 3:

 

germany
André Greipel Enjoys Retirement
André Greipel ended his cycling career last season. After sixteen years as a professional, in which he recorded 158 victories, he waved goodbye to his own fans during the Sparkassen Münsterland Giro. In conversation with WielerFlits, he said that he can proudly look back on his career, but also that the decision to stop was the right one.

The German was present as a VIP at the Tour of Antalya, the first race since his retirement. “Beforehand I thought it would be crazy to be here on the sidelines, but it feels good. It is a confirmation that I made the right choice,” said Greipel.

In the future, the 39-year-old hopes to get more involved in cycling, but how is still an open question. “I really, really want to stay a part of the cycling world, but most of all I want to find out what I want. I take my time for that,” he explained.

He is already taking his first steps in cycling as he is currently working with eyewear and helmet manufacturer UVEX. “Ten years ago, that really was a leading high-performance brand. It’s a fun challenge to get them back into professional cycling. I also find it very interesting to learn about this; what is important in sport, facts about safety, and so on.”

A happy Greipel:
tdf21st20tt

 

sicilia22
Il Giro di Sicilia 2022 Route Announced – The Appetiser for the Giro d’Italia
From 12 to 15 April, the island will host the four stages of Il Giro di Sicilia Eolo. Less than a month later, it will then play host to the first stages on Italian soil after the Giro d’Italia’s Grande Partenza from Hungary.

The four stages of Il Giro di Sicilia Eolo 2022 were presented today at the Sicilian regional headquarters in Catania, in the presence of the representatives of the municipalities of Milazzo, Palma di Montechiaro, Realmonte, Caltanissetta, Piazza Armerina, Ragalna and Linguaglossa. This year’s race follows a varied route suited to the characteristics of every type of rider: sprinters, finisseurs and climbers. Less than a month later, the island will welcome the ‘Caravona Rosa’ of the Giro d’Italia, which will arrive from Hungary, with Sicily hosting the rest day and the first two stages on Italian soil after the Grande Partenza.

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From left Manlio Messina, Paolo Bellino and Nello Musumeci

“With Il Giro di Sicilia and the Giro d’Italia” – states the President of the Sicilian Region Nello Musumeci“this spring will be the season of great cycling for our island. After the victory of Nibali in 2021, and the success of the public, we are ready for this new edition of the competition. With great determination, the regional government wanted to bring this ancient race back to life, and the results are now there for all to see: participation, quality of the riders, return of image, tourism promotion. Sporting events like these, in fact, are a key to making our region appreciated all over the world and also attracting new tourist flows. In addition, they represent a vehicle for encouraging basic sports practice, necessary to combat phenomena such as childhood obesity and improve the health of the population, as well as being useful for the individual training of new generations”.

“Once again this year” – states the Regional Councilor for Tourism and Sport, Manlio Messina“the historic cycling race will make our island a protagonist, allowing us to promote its beauties in Italy and around the world. The Musumeci government continues to believe with conviction in this great sporting event which, after its pause due to the pandemic, had already brought cycling champions back to Sicilian roads last autumn. With the 2022 edition we are giving continuity to a competition that has its roots over the years: the race returns in the spring and will see athletes of absolute international level at the start. It will be an exciting show, a sort of preview of the Giro d’Italia that allows us to continue to focus decisively on sports tourism, a market segment with great potential. In addition to the Giro di Sicilia and the Giro d’Italia, finally, in collaboration with RCS, we will soon give life to the first edition of a major international event linked to sports tourism”.

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Sicilia 2021 – Vincenzo Nibali

Paolo Bellino, CEO of RCS Sport, said: “The union with the Sicilian Region has been consolidated for some years now. Together we wanted to bring back to the island not only Il Giro di Sicilia but also the Giro d’Italia which this year will see the region become a protagonist with the first two Italian stages after the Grande Partenza from Hungary. We still have in our minds the great victory of Vincenzo Nibali over Alejandro Valverde – in the last edition held in October – testifying that great riders love this race. From 12 to 15 April with Il Giro di Sicilia and then from 9 to 11 May with the Corsa Rosa, the whole island will be able to take in great cycling and show the world – through television images – all its beauties”.

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Stage 1 – MILAZZO – BAGHERIA
The route is wavy, curved and undulating. With the exception of a few kilometres after the start, the stage is played out on the ss. 13, which runs along the northern coast of Sicily. A short, manageable climb up to Tindari after 30 km will be the only topographical impediment, along with a short, steep ascent to Termini Imerese, where sprint points will be up for grabs. A fast final stretch will lead to a bunch sprint.

Final kilometres
With 3 km to go, the route leaves the ss 113 and enters urban Bagheria. With 2,400 m to go, the route takes a left-hand turn followed by a right-hander, leading to a wide bend of nearly 1 km on a broad road. There is one last bend leading into the large home straight (350 m), on tarmac. The final kilometres are on a slight incline (average gradient, 1.5%).

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Stage 2 – PALMA DI MONTECHIARO – CALTANISSETTA
This challenging stage undulates continuously along wide roads, through the inland. Mazzarino, Barrafranca and Enna are the only three urban areas along the route. Here, the roads are narrow at points. KOM points are up for grabs in Enna, at the top of the climb leading to the town centre. The stage finale is played out on wide and well-paved roads, with a short climb leading all the way to the finish, in Caltanissetta.

Final kilometres
The route leaves the trunk road, heading for the town centre. The last 3 km ascend slightly with mild gradients (less than 2%). The home straight (500 m) is on wide tarmac.

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Stage 3 – REALMONTE – PIAZZA ARMERINA
The stage has a very wavy profile. There are no major climbs, but a steady succession of longer and shorter ascents and descents, and just two urban areas along the route. The stage passes through Canicattì, on narrow roads at points, and then takes an uncomplicated pass through Caltagirone. The intermediate sprint will be contested here, at the top of a short ascent. The stage finale runs on a slight incline all the way to Piazza Armerina.

Final kilometres
In the last 3 km, the route ascends at an average 5% gradient to reach Piazza Armerina, and levels out in the final 1,500 m, with just two undulations that lead to the closing 200 metres on flat roads. The home straight is wide, on tarmac.

sicilia22 st4

Stage 4 – RAGALNA – ETNA (Piano Provenzana)
This high mountain stage has nearly no pause for breath past mid-course. The first part is played out on the road that runs around Etna, through Biancavilla, Adrano, Bronte, Maletto and Randazzo. Here, the route starts to climb up the volcano, circling it at a higher altitude, along the sp. Quota Mille. The route takes a technical descent through Linguaglossa, all the way to Piedimonte Etneo, and then tackles the first “Superior” climb of the stage, leading to Contrada Giuliana. Then comes a technical descent through Milo and Santa Venerina, all the way to Giarre. After the intermediate sprint in Mascali, the route takes in a second, different, and somewhat harder ascent to Contrada Giuliana. A short false-flat down after the categorised summit leads to the closing climb (18 km), which starts in Fornazzo.

Final kilometres
The closing climb (18.0 km) ascends along the eastern side of the Etna, following a constant succession of hairpins, beside more or less recent lava streams. The mean gradient is 6.0% (considering a short downhill stretch past the fork leading to the Rifugio Citelli), with slopes averaging 9% over the last 3 km (and especially around -2,000 m), and topping out at 11% with 1.5 km to go. The home straight (50 m) is on 6.5 m wide asphalt road.

sicilia22 map

 

Eurométropole
Eurométropole Tour Back to Old Name: Circuit Franco-Belge
After ten years, the Eurométropole Tour will return to its old name of the Circuit Franco-Belge, as it was known until 2010. In between, the race was also called the Tour de Wallonie-Picarde for a year.

The choice of the original name was announced by the Royal Cazeau Pédale, the club that has been organising the race for years. After months of searching, a co-organiser was found to ensure the future of the event. This new partner, sports company Golazo, should provide a new breath and a new dynamism. The Circuit Franco-Belge is part of the Exterioo Cycling Cup (formerly Bingoal Cycling Cup) this year and will be the tenth and penultimate round of the calendar on Wednesday 10 August. All races, including the Circuit Franco-Belge, are broadcast on RTBF, VRT/Sporza and Eurosport.

Eurométropole’21 was won by Fabio Jakobsen:
eurometropole

 

RCS
2022 RCS Sport Spring Races: Team Lists Announced
RCS Sport has today announced the list of teams that will participate in its spring UCI WorldTour races for the 2022 season.

The wild cards of the Giro d’Italia and the list of the teams for Milano-Torino and Il Giro di Sicilia will be announced in the coming weeks; those of Il Lombardia and Gran Piemonte will be communicated at a later time, after evaluating the season results of the teams that will request participation.

STRADE BIANCHE (5 March) – 17 UCI WorldTeams, 2 qualified by ranking and 3 wild cards (22 teams of 7 riders each):

17 UCI WorldTeams
AG2R CITROEN TEAM
ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM
BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS
BORA – HANSGROHE
EF EDUCATION – EASYPOST
GROUPAMA – FDJ
INEOS GRENADIERS
INTERMARCHÉ – WANTY – GOBERT MATÉRIAUX
ISRAEL START-UP NATION
JUMBO-VISMA
LOTTO SOUDAL
MOVISTAR TEAM
QUICK-STEP ALPHA VINYL TEAM
TEAM BIKEEXCHANGE – JAYCO
TEAM DSM
TREK – SEGAFREDO
UAE TEAM EMIRATES

2 qualified by ranking
ALPECIN-FENIX
TEAM ARKEA – SAMSIC

3 wild cards
BARDIANI CSF FAIZANE
DRONE HOPPER – ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI
EOLO-KOMETA CYCLING TEAM

TIRRENO-ADRIATICO (7–13 march) – 18 UCI WorldTeams, 2 qualified by ranking and 5 wild cards (25 teams of 7 riders each):

18 UCI WorldTeams
AG2R CITROEN TEAM
ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM
BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS
BORA – HANSGROHE
COFIDIS
EF EDUCATION – EASYPOST
GROUPAMA – FDJ
INEOS GRENADIERS
INTERMARCHÉ – WANTY – GOBERT MATÉRIAUX
ISRAEL PREMIER TECH
JUMBO-VISMA
LOTTO SOUDAL
MOVISTAR TEAM
QUICK-STEP ALPHA VINYL TEAM
TEAM BIKEEXCHANGE – JAYCO
TEAM DSM
TREK – SEGAFREDO
UAE TEAM EMIRATES

2 qualified by ranking
ALPECIN-FENIX
TEAM ARKEA – SAMSIC

5 wild cards
BARDIANI CSF FAIZANE
DRONE HOPPER – ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI
EOLO-KOMETA CYCLING TEAM
GAZPROM-RUSVELO
TOTAL ENERGIES

MILANO-SANREMO (19 March) – 18 UCI WorldTeams, 3 qualified by ranking and 4 wild cards (25 teams of 7 riders each):

18 UCI WorldTeams
AG2R CITROEN TEAM
ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM
BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS
BORA – HANSGROHE
COFIDIS
EF EDUCATION – EASYPOST
GROUPAMA – FDJ
INEOS GRENADIERS
INTERMARCHÉ – WANTY – GOBERT MATÉRIAUX
ISRAEL PREMIER TECH
JUMBO-VISMA
LOTTO SOUDAL
MOVISTAR TEAM
QUICK-STEP ALPHA VINYL TEAM
TEAM BIKEEXCHANGE – JAYCO
TEAM DSM
TREK – SEGAFREDO
UAE TEAM EMIRATES

3 qualified by ranking
ALPECIN-FENIX
TEAM ARKEA – SAMSIC
TOTAL ENERGIES

4 wild cards
BARDIANI CSF FAIZANE
DRONE HOPPER – ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI
EOLO-KOMETA CYCLING TEAM
GAZPROM-RUSVELO

Not long till Sanremo:
sanremo

 

worlds21
€27.4 Million Boost to Economy after the 2021 UCI Road World Championships in Flanders (Belgium)
Host cities Knokke-Heist, Bruges, Antwerp and Leuven welcomed 1 million unique visitors during the UCI Road World Championships week, including over 100,000 foreign visitors. The UCI Road World Championships fans stayed in Flanders for an average of 4.5 days and the event delivered a total boost of 27.4 million Euros to the Flemish economy. However, in addition to the economic return, there was also the UCI World Championships’ huge impact on visibility, reputation and society. A number of new studies and reports into the impact of the UCI Road World Championships shed some light on that.

Packed streets and hills, spectators lining the course and an inimitable ambiance: in September 2021, the international media were impressed over that week of the UCI Road World Championships centenary in Flanders. The road race was coming home, enticing lots of people out of their homes and many visitors to Flanders and the four host cities. A handful of studies and substantiated reports now confirm that the 2021 UCI Road World Championships were indeed the epicentre of the cycling world during that period, both for the Flemish and for visitors from neighbouring countries and beyond.

Economic Return
UCI assessment of the Events Economic Impact Report conducted by professional services firm EY revealed that the four host cities Knokke-Heist, Bruges, Antwerp and Louvain registered 1.5 million visitors during the week of the event. EY’s study shows that if we take into account those that went to see it in several cities, the event had over 1 million unique visitors.

10% came from abroad, mainly from our neighbouring countries the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom and Germany. 30% of them had never visited Flanders and were pleasantly surprised by what the region has to offer as a destination. 83% are also considering returning to Flanders. 90% of the international visitors say that they will recommend Flanders as a holiday destination to family, friends and acquaintances.

On average, visitors stayed 4.5 nights there, which is above average for Flanders accommodation figures. The event’s visitors spent a combined total of just under 36 million Euros during their stay in Flanders. The majority of the spending went on accommodation, food and drink, and transport. In total, the UCI Road World Championships delivered a gross added value of €27.4 million to the Flemish economy.

Reputational Impact
The effect on the image of Flanders as a tourist destination is many times greater thanks to the enormous worldwide media attention that the 2021 UCI Road World Championships attracted. 208 million TV viewers in 113 countries, and tens of millions of viewers via the social media platforms did not just get to watch the cycling footage but also the stunning images of the historic art cities and the Flemish coast. Furthermore, the Flandrien loop in Flemish Brabant shed light on a relatively unknown but wonderful cycling area, namely the Druivenstreek.

Societal Impact
Domestic and international visitors, as well as the inhabitants of the four host cities themselves, appreciated the event, giving it an average score of 7.3 out of 10. This is shown by the impact study performed by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in cooperation with the University of Utrecht. Inhabitants who attended the event or one or more preliminary stage activities or the side programme, gave it an 8.4 average score. Approximately 15% of the interviewed inhabitants said that they felt inspired to do more cycling or exercising themselves.

A study by sustainability partner Deloitte already emphasised the results of the robust efforts to reduce the impact on the environment. Direct and indirect (Scope 1 and 2 of the study) CO2 emissions were reduced by 52%, thanks to its use of electric vehicles, biodiesel and green energy. The use of vacuum toilets alone saved about 350,000 litres of water. 24.7 tons of waste was collected during the event, 29% of which was recycled. The extensive promotion of public transport led to more than 62,000 extra train journeys.

In addition, the accessibility and inclusivity of the event was a special point of attention, by offering facilities for people with a disability and by organising a para-cycling competition, by involving vulnerable and underrepresented groups as volunteers at the event or by setting up campaigns for a more inclusive sporting environment for all. And last but not least, these were the first ‘smoke free’ UCI World Championships, in cooperation with Kom op tegen Kanker (Belgian cancer charity).

worlds21

Legacy
The organisation of a major international sporting event such as the World Championships also contributes to the promotion of cycling in the broadest sense. At the initiative of Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters, ‘De Grote Versnelling’ (The Great Gear) was founded in partnership between the Flemish Government, Flemish Provinces and Association of Cities and Municipalities. Together with a large number of stakeholders from different groups, it encourages an exchange of knowledge and cooperation in order to achieve a quantum leap for cycling.

For David Lappartient, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) President “These studies confirm the fantastic racing and wonderful event that the UCI Road World Championships proved to be. It also confirms that this annual UCI event creates an economic and positive reputational impact for the region and also contributes to more inclusivity, accessibility and sustainability in society during and after the event. Flanders 2021 created a fantastic atmosphere to mark the 100th anniversary of the UCI Road World Championships! I would like to sincerely thank and congratulate Flanders, the volunteers and the organising committee for their warm welcome and hard work to make this event a memorable moment for the entire cycling community and one that left its mark on the cycling world.”

Co-Chairs of the local organising committee WK2021, Wim Tack and Christophe Impens: “The UCI Road World Championships is the first event in Flanders on this scale that in addition to the main activity – organising a road race – also fully commits to various other, often long term, goals like sustainability and broader cycling development… However, it also allows us to showcase a great many innovations that we have introduced (in competition organisation, crowd management, fan zones, volunteering, activations, etc), which also lay a strong foundation for future events.”

“The 100th anniversary of the UCI Road World Championships was a brilliant promotion for Flanders as an international destination for cyclists, the cradle of cycling. As well as our athletic prowess, we can also demonstrate our organisational strength to the world,” says Flemish Minister of Sports Ben Weyts. “The acquired knowledge will contribute to the development of future (top) events in Flanders.”

“The UCI Road World Championships was the perfect occasion to give the world a taste of Flanders. And it is clear that it was savoured! This impact study proves what we already knew: these championships were above and beyond expectations. Flanders is and continues to be the home of road racing, but we also introduced the world to its unique nature and inimitable art cities. Even those people who are not fans of cycling, were able to get to know our attractions. The foundations have been laid for putting Flanders on the national and international map as an absolute bucket-list destination for the coming years,” says Flemish Minister of Tourism Zuhal Demir.

worlds21

 

arkea
Arkéa-Samsic Not Riding the Giro d’Italia
Arkéa-Samsic has confirmed that the team will not start in the Giro d’Italia. According to team manager, Emmanuel Hubert, it can be concluded that the first Grand Tour of the season does not fit in this year’s roadmap for promotion to the WorldTour.

Arkéa-Samsic was the best ProTeam in the UCI ranking after Alpecin-Fenix ​​at the end of 2021 and, after Qhubeka-NextHash stopping, it is entitled to a place in all three Grand Tours. Team manager Hubert had announced in December that his team would skip the Giro d’Italia or the Vuelta a España with a view to points for the UCI ranking, we now know it will be the Giro. “We have a lot of respect for the Giro, for the RCS company and its history, but unfortunately we will not be riding this Grand Tour this year,” said Hubert.

“2022 is indeed a key season in the history of the Arkéa-Samsic team, and our team management has mapped out a strategy to achieve our goal of reaching the WorldTour. In any case, it is clear that I, like many of my riders, would like to see the team participate in the Giro in the future. Our appointment is not for this year and it was not an easy decision, but I am convinced that in the very near future the paths of the Giro and Arkéa-Samsic will cross.”

No Giro for Quintana:
provence22st3

 

indiana
‘Major Taylor: Fastest Cyclist in the World’ to Open at Indiana State Museum
“Major Taylor: Fastest Cyclist in the World,” an interactive experience examining the life and career of champion bicycle racer and Indianapolis native Marshall “Major” Taylor, will open March 5 and run through Oct. 23 at the Indiana State Museum. The exhibit is free with paid museum admission.

The experience will take visitors into the training room to learn how Taylor developed his speed and agility through a regimen of exercise and diet. They will discover the pervasive racism that Taylor battled on and off the track – including being denied food and accommodations – and hear from great contemporary cyclists Justin Williams and Indiana University graduate Rahsaan Bahati about how Taylor’s story has the power to inspire a new generation of Black riders.

“Major Taylor: Fastest Cyclist in the World” will offer many opportunities for visitors to create and discover. Visitors will be able to tinker with bikes and bike parts and test their skills and times on stationary bikes. They’ll also learn about bicycle design and find out about the city’s “invisible riders” who commute by bicycle because they have no car. Plus, they’ll get to see Taylor’s bicycle, on loan from the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame in Davis, California, along with many artifacts from the museum’s collection donated in 1988 by his daughter Rita Sydney Taylor Brown, including trophies, scrapbooks, letters and postcards.

“Half a century before Jackie Robinson, Major Taylor was breaking barriers as a champion cyclist,” said Cathy Ferree, president and CEO of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. “His achievements are all the more remarkable given the racism he faced in Indianapolis and elsewhere. Our hope with this exhibit is twofold – that Major Taylor is appropriately remembered and honoured for his achievements and that we can help Indianapolis continue to build a bicycle culture that would make Major Taylor proud.”

Taylor was born in Marion County in 1878. He earned his nickname because he wore a military uniform when he performed tricks and stunts outside an Indianapolis bike shop to attract business. He was a world-class bicycle rider while still in his teens but moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1895 to escape Indianapolis’s “whites only” tracks.

In 1898, Taylor won 29 races, finished second nine times and third 11 times, and by that time had racked up seven world records. In 1899 and 1900, he won the world sprint championships. He was only the second Black man to win a championship in any sport. (Boxer George “Little Chocolate” Dixon was first.) From 1901-1903, he had 113 first-place finishes and was second 48 times.

Kisha Tandy, the state museum’s curator of social history, is the curator for “Major Taylor: Fastest Cyclist in the World.” She said the remarkable story of this champion cyclist and trailblazer “should inspire us to talk and think about who rides bicycles, test our athletic skills, tinker with bike design and mechanics or just discover the joy of riding free and going where we like.”

Good background on Major Taylor is available at:

https://www.majortaylorindy.org/

http://www.majortaylorassociation.org/who.shtml

https://majortaylorclub.com/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=645935&module_id=265047

https://cascade.org/learn-major-taylor-project/history-marshall-major-taylor-fastest-man-world

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-unknown-story-of-the-black-cyclone-the-cycling-champion-who-broke-the-color-barrier-33465698/

“Major Taylor: Fastest Cyclist in the World” is made possible with the generous support of Institute of Museum and Library Services, OneAmerica Foundation, OrthoIndy Foundation, Barnes & Thornburg LLP and Indiana Humanities.

The attached photo is of Major Taylor’s bicycle, on loan from the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy of the Indiana State Museum:
major taylor

 

quick-step-alpha
The Master and the Apprentice
During the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team training camp in January training camp in Calpe, Tour de France legend Mark Cavendish sat down for a chat with our neo-pro Ethan Vernon, the 21-year-old Brit who impressively won a stage at the prestigious Tour de l’Avenir last season.

Hear what they both had to say ahead of them riding together for the first time, at the UAE Tour – the race that kicks-off the World Tour calendar.

 


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