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EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

All the weekend cycling news

The UCI has no problem with dropper seat-posts – TOP STORY. All the race action from Milano-Sanremo, Grand Prix de Denain, Bredene Koksijde Classic, Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Per Sempre Alfredo with video. Plus Roger de Vlaeminck talks. Rider news: Stomach problems for Tom Pidcock, Chris Froome starts season, Mathieu van der Poel’s program, injuries for Lennard Hofstede, Matteo Jorgenson and David Gaudu. New contracts for Jasper Philipsen, Lars van der Haar and maybe Attilio Viviani. Jan Ullrich auctions bike to help Ukraine. Team news: Bahrain Victorious, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, UAE Team Emirates, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, BikeExchange-Jayco, AG2R Citroën and DSM to Volta a Catalunya. Other news: UCI want to know more about the Astana financial investigation, The Wolfpack Insider: Paris-Nice video and the Paris-Nice media figures. *** Stop the war in Ukraine. ***

top story
TOP STORY: UCI Confirms No Problem with Dropper Seat-Post
After the finish of Milan-San Remo, everyone was talking about the dropper post of winner Matej Mohorič. The Slovenian of Bahrain Victorious used mountain biking technology on the descent of the Poggio. The UCI announced on Sunday, through a press release, that the use of a dropper post is allowed.

The International Cycling Union approved the use of a dropper post in road cycling in 2014, but riders and teams must comply with article 1.3.013 of the UCI regulations. The UCI says the following about article 1.3.013:

The UCI Equipment Commission approved the use of dropper seat-posts in road cycling competitions in 2014. Their use is subject to the minimum 5cm setback rule of article 1.3.013 of the UCI Regulations, ie, when the dropper seat-post is set to its highest or lowest setting, the saddle setback must be in full compliance with article 1.3.013.

But what do we actually mean by a dropper post? Dutch cycling website, WielerFlits asked Gerben de Knegt, the national coach of the Dutch cyclo-cross and mountain bikers. “About five or six years ago it made its entrance into mountain biking. About 95% of all mountain bikers ride it. During the descents in the cross country, you can’t do without it. It’s also simple: with a button on your handlebars you can lower the seat-post and raise it again.”

“A big advantage, because you lower your centre of gravity on the bike. This puts more weight on your rear wheel, giving you better control of your bike. You can therefore go through the bends faster and you are more aerodynamic. A dropper post also weighs only 200 grams more than a normal seat post. In addition, the bike does not lose any stiffness, which is often noticed.”

Mohorič is sure: thanks to the dropper he was able to win Milan-San Remo. “The dropper post makes descending much safer than the super tuck, I can say that. You have more control. And you ride faster with it. It’s nice to be able to adjust your saddle position so easily. I think that is the future of cycling.”

The dropper post worked for Mohorič:
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Milano-Sanremo 2022
The break of the day was caught at the bottom of the Poggio and the race was on. After four attacks from Tadej Pogačar, Matej Mohorič who went for the solo win on the Poggio descent. The Bahrain Victorious rider held off the chasers for the win. Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) was second and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) was third.

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The first attack came as soon as the start flag dropped. The peloton didn’t make much effort and we immediately had the ‘Break of the Day’. A group of eight riders: Yevgeni Gidich and Artyom Zakharov (Astana Qazaqstan), Filippo Tagliani and Ricardo Alejandro Zurita (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli), Samuele Rivi and Diego Pablo Sevilla (EOLO-Kometa), Filippo Conca (Lotto Soudal) and Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF Faizane) made up the escape. Four Italians, two Kazakhs and two Spaniards made the escape. Jumbo-Visma put Jos van Emden on the front of the peloton to set the pace as the break took a good 5 minutes. In the first hour the race covered 45.7 kilometres. With 200 kilometres to go to the finish in San Remo, the breakaways’ lead hit 6 minutes. At the head of the peloton Van Emden had been the engine, the 37 year-old Dutchman had been responsible for the pace of most La Primavera to that point.

On the Passo del Turchino, Van Emden received some help from Rein Taaramäe of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, as he set the pace on the descent. At 115 kilometres out, there was the first big crash, although no favourites was involved. The race carried on with Van Emden still setting the pace. The pace started to lift as the peloton was getting close to the first of the three Capi, the Capo Mele. Trains formed for good positions at the start the three climbs. On the third Capo, the Capo Berta, there was no more cooperation in the break. For the five leaders that remained, the lead came down to less than 4 minutes. In the peloton, Tom Pidcock, one of the pre-race favourites, was dropped on the climb of the Capo Berta. Just before the Cipressa, Peter Sagan had to deal with a chain problem and had to change bikes, this was bad timing for the Slovak. The front riders had a lead of 2 minutes at the foot of the Cipressa, where the speed went up yet another notch in the peloton. UAE Team Emirates were seen at the front for the first time, as Davide Formolo set a very tough pace. Fabio Jakobsen had to let go of the peloton, the Dutch sprinter was unable to hold the pace. The peloton by now had thinned out to about 30 riders. To the foot of the Poggio, it was UAE Team Emirates at the front of the bunch with Tonelli and Rivi still holding them off.

When the race turned up the Poggio, it was Christophe Laporte, with Wout van Aert on his wheel, who accelerated. The last two escapees were immediately caught. All the favourites were perfectly positioned. Diego Ulissi then took the lead, with Tadej Pogačar in his wheel. Eight kilometres from the finish, the Slovenian decided it was time to attack. Van Aert was immediately on his wheel, and when Van der Poel joined them, the pace dropped again. Pogačar went again, but the acceleration was not enough to shake his competitors off his wheel. Third attack from Pogačar again wasn’t fast enough. The same was also the case for Primož Roglič’s move. It was Søren Kragh Andersen who made the first real gap. The Dane had Pogačar with him and Van der Poel and Van Aert managed to join. On the descent of the Poggio the rest of the group caught them. Matej Mohorič showed his descending skills and took a small lead. The Slovenian took a lot of risks and stretched his few seconds lead to a handful. Mohorič managed to hold his gap to the finish. Anthony Turgis made a desperate attempt behind and got very close, but it wasn’t good enough. Van der Poel finished in a very good third place. Pogačar finished fifth, Van Aert eighth.

# See more photos and video form Milano-Sanremo in the ‘PEZ Race Report’ HERE. #

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Race winner, Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious): “We had a plan through the whole winter to use a seat post experienced in mountain-biking, but much lighter. Since the Poggio has a very technical descent, it suits me, so I was open to the idea, but I wanted to try it first in training. I was surprised how fast I could go. Therefore I was looking forward to the race. I crashed behind Julian Alaphilippe at Strade Bianche. I hurt my knee very badly. A ligament was inflamed. But I’m very stubborn. I didn’t give up. I was finally able to do some proper training on Wednesday and I was always telling myself that the other guys were also having problems like sickness. On the downhill of the Poggio, I was super focused the whole time. I went off-road when I attacked but I jumped back on the road. The second time I slipped both wheels and I lost lot of time there as well. On the flat I dropped my chain on last corner. Maybe I pushed too much and I should have kept some energy but I’m glad I could pull it off.”

2nd, Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies): “To climb on the box at the podium ceremony is already a good thing. But once again, first place was in reach. I’m a little bit disappointed but it’s a reward for the day of the team. Peter Sagan got a mechanical so some riders were asked to wait to bring him back. Then the race was very hard and a group was formed with the strongest riders. Milano-Sanremo is a superb race. The more we get close to the finish, the harder it is. I hope I can win one day.”

3rd, Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “Even if I was not supposed to race, I’m still disappointed. Maybe the big favourites were in the sprint for third place, it’s a pity we couldn’t sprint for the victory today. Milano-Sanremo is a very difficult race to win. Suddenly, Mohoric had a gap. I didn’t expect he would. There was Pogacar on his wheel. We all know that Matej can do quick descents but I thought the group was big enough to close the gap. He deserves the win as well. There was also a lack of cooperation behind. We were three riders with Pedersen and Van Aert who really tried to close the gap. We need one or two teammates to close it for us. I hope I’ll come back for winning but I’m getting older and this is a missed chance again.”

4th, Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco): “It was definitely much faster on the Cipressa than other years, as we expected, UAE wanted to make it a hard final, I think to eliminate everyone’s teammates so it didn’t come down to a bunch sprint. They seemed to do that, I think they got a group of 30 of us over the Cipressa and on the Poggio, Tadej just continued to attack, but I think the wind didn’t favour him too much and we could all pretty much stay there. Mohoric went on the descent and I think whoever was on the wheel, let the wheel go and he got a gap and then the motorbikes dragged him away. For me it was more just about letting the big favourites fight it out and then see what I could do in the final. Today the accelerations were easier for me to follow, the high speed on the Cipressa was a bit harder, but the stop – start on the Poggio was actually better for me today. When Mohoric went on the descent I was maybe four wheels behind him, and I couldn’t fit around the guys to follow him unfortunately. When you have all the favourites in that big bunch, I sorted of expected them to fight it out and to bring the bunch back to fight for victory, but these days in cycling you never know what each other is going to do and nobody wants to bring each other to the line. In the end it was just a bit of a mess, nobody really wanted to fully commit to bring Mohoric back.”

5th, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m happy: we showed a great team performance, racing proactively. Congratulations to my teammates and congratulations to Matej Mohoric, he deserved the victory: before the race, he told me not to try to follow him downhill and I replied that I was aware that it would be very difficult to follow him, since I know that he is crazy when the road goes down and also having noticed that he had a seat post dropper to launch even better. In fact, when he overtook me downhill, I saw that he was already taking big risks, drifting and even coming off the road, so I didn’t dare follow him. What we have done today as a team is an excellent sign for the next races and for the Milan-Sanremo editions that we will race in the next few years. It was a very fun Classic. Now three days of rest await me, then I’ll start preparing my next appointments.”

8th, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “When Mohorič left, I knew it was dangerous. Once down, only Mathieu and I seemed to want to ride for the win. Obviously I’m disappointed. I think I wasted too much energy in responding to Tadej Pogačar’s attacks on the Poggio. I was happy that I could answer his attacks. It was always very hard. Once he’s (Mohorič) got ten metres, you know it’s dangerous. When we came down, it was over. Was I not getting enough support after the descent? Gee, no. You know that there are already many who are thinking of a podium place. That is their right. However, I prefer to go down fighting. I raced, together with Mathieu (Van der Poel), to win, but that didn’t work anymore. In conclusion, I shot my best arrows following Pogačar on the Poggio.”

11th, Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa): “Great, great team. Great Rivi and Sevilla, who were in front for the entire race. Great all of them. And then, yes, great also the finish: I didn’t manage to enter the ten, but I’m the first Italian and I’m too happy. This race is beautiful, I’ve been watching it and dreaming about it since I was a kid: to have been there in front is wonderful.”

12th, Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I’ve been looking forward to participating in Milano-Sanremo for years and it was an incredible experience. I think it was probably one of the fastest and toughest finals in a long time. Thanks to the support of our teammates, Alexander, Lorenzo and I could start the final in perfect circumstances, because they kept us out of the wind and out of troubles from the start and helped us with food and drinks. A couple of strong teams didn’t have a top sprinter in their roster, so we could imagine that they would start a big battle on the Cipressa. So it was a fierce positioning game towards the foot and starting in the top five helped me to survive well. I gave everything on the Poggio, I was totally empty in the downhill. It was amazing to finish twelfth in my first participation in Milano-Sanremo, I am very happy!”

Break rider, Samuele Rivi (Eolo-Kometa): “I’m tired, I’m finished. It was a beautiful day because I lived it up front, and I like being in a breakaway because you can live the race better and enjoy it more. We thought we’d have a bigger advantage, but at the same time we thought we’d be caught sooner: instead we got along well and arrived at the beginning of the Poggio. Beautiful, anyway: now I have to think about recovering because I’m really finished.”

Milano-Sanremo Result:
1. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain Victorious in 6:27:49
2. Anthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies at 0:02
3. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
5. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
6. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
7. Soren Kragh Andersen (Nor) DSM
8. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
9. Jan Tratnik (Slo) Movistar at 0:05
10. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:11.

Sanremo’22:

 

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Grand Prix de Denain 2022
The 63rd edition of the Grand Prix de Denain was won by Max Walscheid of Cofidis. The German sprinter was second in Nokere Koerse on Wednesday and was the fastest in a sprint from a large group. Dries De Bondt finished second, Adrien Petit third. Primož Roglič rode well on the cobbles, but finished out of the top ten.

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Top riders Primož Roglič, Jonas Vingegaard and Daniel Felipe Martínez were all on the start line to test themselves on the northern French cobbles that will feature in the 2022 Tour de France. There were no cobbles in the first 100 kilometres, but after that the tough sections came one after the other. The last stretch was just over 12 kilometres before the finish.

Five riders managed to escape the peloton. Niki Terpstra (TotalEnergies), now 37, was joined by Floris De Tier (Alpecin-Fenix), Milan Frenten (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Emiel Vermeulen (Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Métropole) and Yoann Paillot (St Michel-Auber93). The peloton let them go and the lead went over 5 minutes. Terpstra, De Tier, Frenten, Vermeulen and Paillot had 3 minutes when they hit the first cobble section: 1,700 metre long Haspres-Thiant. On the next section from Monchaux-sur-Écaillon to Miang-Quérénaing, the leading group exploded. Vermeulen was the first rider to be dropped, followed by De Tier. Terpstra, Paillot and Frenten increased the pace a little more. The peloton led by the men of Jumbo-Visma, was getting closer and closer. The pace increased more and more, both for the front runners and the peloton. With 60 kilometres to go, four riders tried to cross from the peloton. Amaury Capiot (Arkéa-Samsic), Maël Guégan (Team U Nantes Atlantique), Lars Saugstad (Uno-x) and Julien Amadori (Nice Métropole Côte d’Azur) got together and soon caught Hugo Page (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and early escapees De Tier and Vermeulen. This chasing group was 1 minute behind the leaders with 50 kilometres to go.

Forty kilometres from the finish there was a crash in the peloton. Several riders fell and Lennard Hofstede was the biggest victim and had to give up. In the meantime, Paillot couldn’t hold Terpstra and Frenten. Thirty kilometres from the finish, the two up front were caught. INEOS Grenadiers took the lead just before turning into the ninth cobbled section. Ben Turner put the pressure on and only four riders were able to follow: Magnus Sheffield and Jhonatan Narváez, two of Turner’s teammates, Damien Touzé and Primož Roglič. These five riders soon had 20 seconds on a chasing group led by Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, who had missed the move.

Turner, Sheffield, Narváez, Roglič and Touzé started the 1,800 metre long Aversnes-le-Sec-Hordain, the last cobbled section of the day, with a 30 second lead. With 10 kilometres to go everything was still to play for, but initially there was not really a well-organised chase in the chase group. The sprinter’s teams managed to organise things in time and reduced the difference to the five leaders. After a crazy chase, the break was swallowed up under the last kilometre flag and we were going to have a bunch sprint. It was Adrien Petit started the sprint after a chaotic preparation, but the strong Frenchman of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert went too early and was passed by Walscheid in the last hundred metres. The 28-year-old German, who finished second in Nokere Koerse on Wednesday, managed to pull in Petit and keep De Bondt away. It is Walscheid’s first (individual) victory since February 2020, just before the outbreak of the covid pandemic.

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Race winner, Max Walscheid (Cofidis): “We raced really perfectly today as a team. I’m so glad I was able to finish it too. We took control early on. In the final Piet (Allegaert) did a very good lead-out. He brought me forward for the last 500 metres. After that it was just giving everything and going full throttle. It was a difficult situation (catching the break). I was a bit afraid that we would be late. However, I have to thank the guys from Wanty. They rode full and went completely for the sprint. I’m really happy for the team. We also scored a lot of UCI points today. It is important to continue this now.”

3rd, Adrien Petit (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “When we realised that the cobble sections didn’t provoke an important selection and that the wind didn’t blow in the right direction, we chose to play my card. My teammates did a great job to reduce the gap with the five leaders in the final, I didn’t want to disappoint them. In the final hundred meters I came from the back and used my speed to launch my sprint. I probably started my effort too early because I think I had the legs to win, but I’am happy that I would reward the team with this podium. I lost the habit of focusing on a result for myself as I really love my job as a lead out rider. Last winter, we thoroughly reflected on whether it was preferable to add this GP de Denain to my programme in view of Paris-Roubaix or to accompany Alexander Kristoff in the Italian classics. In the end, I’m happy that all of this resulted in such a nice result, in front of my home crowd!”

Grand Prix de Denain Result:
1. Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Cofidis in 4:42:24
2. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
3. Adrien Petit (Fra) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
4. Pierre Barbier (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
5. Marc Sarreau (Fra) AG2R Citroën
6. Sandy Dujardin (Fra) TotalEnergies
7. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkea-Samsic
8. Samuel Leroux (Fra) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Meropole
9. Robbe Ghys (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Bram Welten (Ned) Groupama-FDJ.

Denain’22:

 

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Bredene Koksijde Classic 2022
Pascal Ackermann won the Bredene Koksijde Classic on Friday after a race of more than 200 kilometres. Hugo Hofstetter was second and Tim Merlier was third.

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There were a few tough climbs halfway through the Bredene Koksijde Classic, such as the Kemmelberg and the last hard 60 kilometres, but a bunch sprint was expected in Koksidje. Five riders attacked early: Patrick Gamper (BORA-hansgrohe), Adrien Petit (Intermarché -Wanty-Gobert), Karl Patrick Lauk (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Kasper Saver (Minerva Cycling) and Thibau Verhofstadt (Tarteletto-Isorex), they managed to build up a good lead of several minutes, even though the first hour of the race was run off at almost 50 kph. In the Heuvelland their lead started to shrink. This was partly due to the speed of the peloton that also included some attacks. Dries De Bondt, Mauro Schmid, Rasmus Tiller, Barnabás Peák and Victor Campenaerts were among the riders who managed to get away from the peloton. Top favourite, Tim Merlier was even in trouble at one point.

After the Heuvelland he came back and all attacks were neutralised. The five leaders still had about two minutes. Starting the last local laps, the peloton had the break in sight. The five fought on for a long time, but were caught at 7.5 kilometres from the finish, after which the preparations for a bunch sprint began. The control was not good in the preparation. Merlier, among others, lost his train and De Lie who got into trouble. Both managed to sprint, but neither of them would take the victory. That went to Pascal Ackermann, who went for a long sprint and was able to keep it going until the finish line.

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Race winner, Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m so happy with this win. My shape has been really good the last few weeks but just something was missing to take a big result, I think I was just waiting a bit too long to open the sprints, so today I said I would go long and it worked out really well. I have good memories from this race – I won it a few years ago. It’s been a hard few weeks racing but I’m looking forward to my next race next week in De Panne. My shape is as good as it’s ever been so I’m looking for more big results with the team. We are one team, so I try and give everything for them and then today I got it all back with the victory. All I can say is thank you for my teammates.”

2nd, Hugo Hofstetter (Arkea-Samsic): “I came back, back to Ackermann, but I think I’m mainly paying for my fall in Nokere. I’m still in pain, but I bit my teeth again and gave the maximum. I suffered during the race and also at the finish. Without a fall, I think it was possible to pass. Normally I should be happy, but now I’m disappointed because I was constantly improving. One thing is for sure, I have a lot of confidence, especially for the upcoming races.”

3rd, Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix): “If you can’t develop your full peak power, it’s hard to win. Although my chain came off on the first pass over the Kemmel. Luckily they let me get back on. And during the second passage over the Kemmel, Victor Campenaerts attacked, but I agreed with Dries De Bondt that he would close the gap. He did perfectly, by the way. After that we had the race completely under control, I thought. I raced along in the Moeren, but the wind was not ideal to make a further selection and that’s where things went wrong today. First I lost a few men due to a fall a few kilometres from the finish. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, among others, an important pawn. In the end there were still Taminiaux and De Bondt to bring me, but in the last two corners everything went wrong. I had to brake in the penultimate corner. In itself I was still well placed when I started, but when a competitor hit my shoe two hundred metres from the finish, I had to hold back again. Only for a fraction of a second, the tension of the pedals went off for a moment, after which I had to switch on again. In terms of speed it was good, I came pretty close, but if you can’t keep your peak power in such a sprint, it’s difficult… Obviously I wouldn’t have come here for third place, but to win. I will consider this good training. On Wednesday there will be a second chance in the Oxyclean Classic in De Panne. Hopefully I will take my third of the season there.”

Bredene Koksijde Classic Result:
1. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) UAE Team Emirates in 4:29:30
2. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
3. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
4. Sam Welsford (Aus) DSM
5. Gerben Thijssen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
6. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
7. Søren Wærenskjold (Nor) Uno-X
8. Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels-KTM
9. Arnaud De Lie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl.

Koksijde’22:

 

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Trofeo Alfredo Binda 2022
The Trofeo Alfredo Binda was won by Elisa Balsamo on Sunday. The Trek-Segafredo World champion was the best in the Italian Women’s WorldTour race finishing in Cittiglio after almost 142 kilometres. The Italian won the sprint from a small peloton, ahead of Sofia Bertizzolo and Soraya Paladin.

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An attempt by Gulnaz Khatuntseva (Roland Cogeas Edelweiss), Michaela Drummond (Bepink) and Giorgia Vettorello (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo) was stopped due to the race being neutralised. Two cars that were not part of the race had collided with each other on the course. The organisers neutralised the race and took a short detour, after which the race was resumed.

Khatuntseva, Drummond and Vettorello regained their 30 second lead at the start of the four local laps in Cittiglo, but the trio were caught early. The local laps of 17 kilometres had climbs of the Casale (0.8km at 7%) and Orino (3.6km at 4%). On the penultimate lap, Erica Magnaldi (UAE Team ADQ) tried to go solo, but her effort was cancelled by Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig. The Danish climber went on the attack 25 kilometres before the finish, but she also couldn’t hold out. SD Worx rider Marlen Reusser was the next to make a move. Going into the final lap, Ludwig, Elise Chabbey and Elisa Longo Borghini joined Reusser, but there was a lack of co-operation and so everything came back together. A compact peloton started the last time up the Orino. Marta Cavalli made several attacks, which stretched the peloton, after which Liane Lippert also attacked.

Cavalli and Lippert were the instigators of a leading group of six, including Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, who attacked on the descent to Cittiglio, but this group was also unable to stay ahead. Trek-Segafredo then decided to keep the pace of the favourites group for World champion Elisa Balsamo. In the final straight it was Van den Broek-Blaak who tried to play a surprise. The Dutch rider of SD Worx started the sprint early, but it was too early, because in the slightly uphill finish she was passed by Balsamo, Sofia Bertizzolo and Soraya Paladin for a complete Italian podium in the Trofeo Binda.

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Race winner, Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo): “We, the Trek Segafredo team, decided to stick together to try to launch Longo Borghini on the Orino climb – declared Balsamo after the race – but as she wasn’t able to make a difference, we aimed for the sprint. Here in Cittiglio, the road to the finish line is on a slight slope so I left the sprint as late as possible and it worked out. I am delighted; to win wearing the rainbow jersey is fantastic; there were large crowds here today and my family was here too. The Trofeo Binda is a great race, the outcome is always open and uncertain. For me, this is the best start ever to the season; I know that I can improve a lot on the climbs without losing speed.”

Trofeo Alfredo Binda Result:
1. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 3:36:29
2. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
3. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Canyon//SRAM
4. Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (Ned) SD Worx
5. Elena Cecchini (Ita) SD Worx
6. Coryn Labecki (USA) Jumbo-Visma
7. Elise Chabbey (Swi) Canyon//SRAM
8. Silvia Persico (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
9. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
10. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) SD Worx.

Trofeo Alfredo Binda’22:

 

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Per Sempre Alfredo 2022
Marc Hirschi’s first race of 2022 was also his first win of the year. The Swiss UAE Team Emirates rider had surgery on his hip last winter and had to postpone the start to his season until Sunday, but he won Per Sempre Alfredo on his comeback. Hirschi went solo in the final and managed to keep his lead on the descent towards the finish.

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Last year Per Sempre Alfredo was won by Matteo Moschetti from a bunch sprint, but this year the route of the one-day race was considerably tougher. The final lap to be ridden three times also meant a triple climb of the Collina. This 3.6 kilometre climb, with an average rise of 6.1%, was expected to be the decider of the day. The top of the last climb was just under 10 kilometres from the finish. The early break of the day consisted of just two riders: Colombian Didier Merchan (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli) and Lorenzo Milesi (Italy National Selection), who normally rides for the DSM training team. Behind them was Federico Burchio (Work Service Vitalcare Vega) trying to get across. For a long time Burchio was 2 minutes behind the leading duo, who were 6 minutes ahead of the peloton. On the Montecarelli (5km at 4%), just before halfway, Milesi left his escape partner, Merchan. Slowly but surely Milesi’s lead on the pack dwindled, and he was caught with just under 40 kilometres to go. Then the final race really began.

There was then an attack by Cian Uijtdebroeks (BORA-hansgrohe), Marco Tizza (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB) and Filippo Fiorelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè). They took off on the penultimate descent of the Collina and got a lead of about 20 seconds. Three more riders joined: Uijtdebroeks’ teammate Patrick Gamper, Tizza’s teammate Kenny Molly and Marco Canolo, who, together with some of his teammates, rode for the Italian national team, not for their presently banned Gazprom-RusVelo team. The six started the last climb of the Collina with a lead, but were caught further up the climb. From the group only one rider managed to get away: Marc Hirschi. The Swiss rider, who was making his comeback after having surgery on his hip last winter, had to hold out against the pursuers on the descent. He succeeded and took his first win of 2022. Behind Hirschi, Dion Smith sprinted to second place, Rémy Mertz completed the podium.

alfredo22

Race winner, Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m really delighted with this win, it means a lot. I’ve worked so hard together with my team over the past months to come back and it makes me really happy to do it like this. I have to thank my team for their confidence and for all the work they’ve done in getting me to this point. Watching the team achieving everything they have this season was huge motivation while I was on the sidelines and it feels great to be back with them in the peloton again.”

Per Sempre Alfredo Result:
1. Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates in 4:23:38
2. Dion Smith (NZ) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:03
3. Remy Mertz (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
4. Alessandro Fedeli (Ita) Italian National Team
5. Thomas Pesenti (Ita) Beltrami TSA Tre Colli
6. Luc Wirtgen (Lux) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB at 0:04
7. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) BORA-hansgrohe
8. Andrea Garosio (Ita) Biesse-Carrera
9. Nicola Conci (Ita) Italian National Team at 0:07
10. Kevin Colleoni (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:15.

Per Sempre Alfredo’22:

 

belgium
Roger de Vlaeminck Spoke Before Milan-Sanremo
Winner of many races, including ‘La Classicissima’ three times, Roger de Vlaeminck spoke to Nico Dick of WielerFlits before Saturday’s Milan-Sanremo: “How many are they going to sprint on Via Roma? It depends on how fast Tadej Pogačar and Wout van Aert race up the Poggio. Because the Poggio, that’s not a mountain, is it? If they ride a brisk pace, they take the better sprinters with them. Only when they attack on that steep part, they are gone”, said De Vlaeminck.

De Vlaeminck always gives his honest opinion, and he starts with how he was annoyed by the many crashes in the Nokere Koerse last Wednesday. “Cruel, man. Please do me a favour and write that down. How many times have they fallen in that women’s race in Nokere now? That is due to a lack of helmsmanship! And then I come back to the cross. Why don’t they do a number of cyclo-cross races in the winter? It shouldn’t be about five or six, if they don’t like it. But they are going to benefit so much from it. I mean that right, huh. I hope they read it.”

And now to Milan-San Remo, Roger. Tadej Pogačar and Wout van Aert are the top favourites. Agree?
“Yes. But with a caveat. I’m afraid the Poggio isn’t tough enough to make a difference. It’s not really a mountain. That is a few minutes of pace, with a passage of two, three hundred meters where it is a bit steeper. And that is the only place where the non-climbers suffer. If Pogačar goes all out there, only Van Aert can follow.”

As Pogačar dominated the races in recent weeks, are you sure that Van Aert will be able to follow?
“But of course. As I said a moment ago, the Poggio is not a real mountain. Wout should always be able to do that. If he has to release from Pogačar there, I will be very disappointed. No, my gut says that’s impossible. And when they attack full, the two of them race to the finish. Thanks to their technical skills, they should not be afraid on the descent either.”

In contrast to last year, Van Aert did not go all out in the preparation. In Paris-Nice he let it run for a day. That would give him extra freshness in the rest of the spring. Perhaps you think there…
“Be silent! I do not get it. And yes, I can get nervous about that. The more you suffer, the better you get. Went too deep last year? I speak from experience, right? I used to train 350 kilometres, three days before the Tour of Flanders. Well, then you can attack again at the end of a race. Come on, they don’t want anything from me, huh. But I don’t believe in that story of freshness. Rest, that doesn’t count.”

As for Pogačar. If he can’t drop Van Aert on the Poggio, shouldn’t he try on the Cipressa?
“No, that makes no sense. There, Van Aert’s helpers will ride at a fast pace and the leader himself will also be alert. That’s how I would do it anyway. And he will never be dropped there, because of it not being steep enough.”

How important can Primož Roglič be in relation to Van Aert?
“He has to keep pace on the Poggio as long as possible with Van Aert on the wheel. But then he shouldn’t have a bad day, like during the final stage in Paris-Nice. Another scenario is that he jumps with Pogačar and then sticks to the wheel and says that Wout is coming behind. But I repeat: it is ‘just’ the Poggio. Pogačar is not going to hurt Wout there.”

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl takes Fabio Jakobsen. A good choice, now that Alaphilippe is out?
“I think so. Those who can sprint must compete in Milan-San Remo. Again, if they go fast and there’s thirty, forty men left, he should be able to do it. This also applies to other sprinters, such as Jasper Philipsen. And Jakobsen is in shape, isn’t he? He must not be in shape for Liège-Bastogne-Liège, hey. It must be top notch now.”

There are voices that perhaps they should have taken Evenepoel with Quick-Step…
“But no you… Remco has to ride Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy. The descent of the Poggio, with all that twisting and turning, is – for now – nothing for him. To do that, he must first overcome the fear of falling. I think that will take a while.”

Finally: it became known that Mathieu van der Poel would also be at the start. Will you give him a chance?
“I just spoke to someone from his close entourage. He has worked well the past few weeks, I understand. I told him to hide in the belly of the pack until the foot of the Poggio. Don’t kick too many steps, so that he can start the climb with reserves and then see how far he gets. I wonder if he’s going to do it that way.”

Roger de Vlaeminck winning the 1979 Milan-Sanremo:
sanremo79

 

ineos
Stomach Problems for Tom Pidcock in Milan-San Remo
Tom Pidcock started Saturday as one of the favourites in Milan-San Remo, but the British all-rounder proved unable to follow the peloton on the Capo Berta. The INEOS Grenadiers rider in the end had to stop.

Pidcock, who was in the finalé of ‘La Primavera’ last year, was unable to battle due to stomach problems. “Tom was not feeling too well,” sports director Matteo Tosatto told Velonews. “He started having stomach problems after the Turchino and immediately said he was having problems and having a particularly bad day.”

The 22-year-old Pidcock did not have the best preparation for Milan-San Remo as he had to miss Strade Bianche due to stomach problems and has not raced since. In Milan-San Remo, Pidcock hoped to kick-start his season again, but his return turned out to be a disappointment.

INEOS then had to rely on Elia Viviani, Filippo Ganna and previous winner Michał Kwiatkowski. Viviani and Ganna were not strong enough to hang on, but Kwiatkowski managed to follow the top riders on the Cipressa and Poggio. Tosatto: “Elia and Filippo felt a bit ill after Tirreno-Adriatico and were unable to train for two to three days. Filippo was able to hold on up the Cipressa, but the pace was too high after that.”

“Michal did ride a great race, especially when you consider that he doesn’t have Paris-Nice or Tirreno in his legs. Michal was disappointed afterwards, as an AG2R Citroën rider crashed in front of him. He lost touch with the front group. He was very pleased with his form, but not with the course of the race. Still, he can gain a lot of confidence from this with a view to the coming classics.”

Problems for Pidcock in Sanremo:
sanremo22

 

israel premier
Chris Froome Starts Season in Coppi e Bartali
Chris Froome, the four-time Tour winner, who is yet to race in 2022 due to a knee injury, will make his comeback on Tuesday in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali. His team Israel-Premier Tech announced on its website.

Froome had been struggling with various physical problems for some time, when his knee started hurting last winter. Trying out sports such as walking and swimming were to blame. “It was not an ideal start to the year, because I was dealing with that injury. But I’ve worked hard to get my fitness back on track,” said Froome. “Fortunately, it was only a minor setback.”

“I am looking forward to starting my 2022 season with Coppi e Bartali as the first race. Racing in Italy is always a great experience and I can’t wait to see my teammates again.” It is not yet known what Froome’s program will look like after Coppi and Bartali (March 22-26). This will be decided in the next two weeks.

Froome racing again:
tdf21st5

 

alpecin fenix
Mathieu van der Poel Also Wants to Ride the Amstel Gold Race
Mathieu van der Poel said in an interview after Milan-San Remo that he would also like to ride the Amstel Gold Race. “I’ve gotten pretty impatient.” Van der Poel finished third in Milan-San Remo behind Matej Mohorič.

Originally, Van der Poel was only going ride the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in April, after the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali and Dwars door Vlaanderen in March. The Dutchman ​said to AD about a possible participation in the Amstel Gold Race: “Would I have to take it easy? I have become quite impatient.”

Van der poel will race in Italy next Tuesday and he is satisfied with his level in Milan-Sanremo. “In addition, I don’t have any problems with my back, that’s the most positive thing.”

Van der Poel’s provisional program:
22-03 Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali
30-03 Dwars Door Vlaanderen
03-04 Ronde van Vlaanderen
10-04 Amstel Gold Race
17-04 Paris-Roubaix
06-05 Giro d’Italia
01-07 Tour de France.

Mathieu van der Poel back on track:
sanremo22

 

jumbo-visma
Broken Bones for Lennard Hofstede
Lennard Hofstede suffered serious injuries in a crash in the final of the Grand Prix de Denain. He broke his pelvis and his right ankle in three places. It was his first race after he was sidelined for months by his Jumbo-Visma team because he refused to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

In the Grand Prix de Denain, Hofstede crashed 47 kilometres from the finish just before entering the first cobbled section of the last circuit. He was in the middle of the pack when a few riders fell in front of him. Hofstede had no where to go, while riders also crashed into him from behind. He remained on the side of the road for a while before being taken to hospital.

Hofstede should have opened his season in the Minerva Classic Brugge-De Panne, which is scheduled for March 23. However, Jumbo-Visma needed him in the Grand Prix de Denain due to the number of injuries and corona infections.

Hofstede was not welcome at the team’s training camps in December in Girona and in January in Alicante, because he was not vaccinated. He was also initially not listed by his team in early races year. It was only after a meeting on 2 March that he received permission from the team to compete again. “We are currently in a different phase of the pandemic than at the beginning of the year,” manager Merijn Zeeman explained. It is not yet clear how long Hofstede will be out of action.

Lennard Hofstede:
san sebastian

 

movistar
Hamstring Injury for Matteo Jorgenson
Matteo Jorgenson will not be in action for the time being. The Movistar rider has to rest for a few weeks after an examination showed he has torn his hamstring in a crash in the second stage of Paris-Nice.

“Unfortunately, an MRI today confirmed I will have to take a period of forced rest,” Jorgenson said on his social media. “After my fall during the echelons in the second stage of Paris-Nice, I knew that I had strained my hamstring at the myotendinous junction (where the muscles join the tendons). It got more painful every stage, but after coming back in the general classification during the fifth stage, I still felt the pain. That was a mistake.”

“My medical team is asking for at least a few weeks of rest to see what that does,” said the 22-year-old American, who has taken two third places this year. “I am devastated after I reached a very high level physically this winter and had a good start to the year. I will work hard in my physical therapy to get back to that level.”

Matteo Jorgenson:
mallorca22

 

groupama
David Gaudu Out for at Least Three Weeks with Broken Spine
David Gaudu will not be in action for a while. The Frenchman crashed during the second stage of Paris-Nice and, as it turned out, broke a vertebra. He will not race for the next three weeks, according to the Groupama-FDJ team site.

“Due to his crash in Paris Nice, David Gaudu has undergone new examinations this week, even though the X-rays taken during the race showed nothing abnormal,” said team doctor Jacky Maillot. “The new studies have revealed a fracture in the spinous processes of the T5 vertebra. David Gaudu is currently resting and will not race for at least three weeks.”

Gaudu also commented. “I fell during Paris-Nice, in the stage to Orléans, in the echelons. A rider fell in front of me and I couldn’t avoid him. I had a lot of pain in my back, but it slowly but surely went away. On the morning of the time trial, X-rays were taken, which showed nothing. With the team we decided to continue, because I wanted to show myself in the last weekend.”

“In the end, on Saturday, we decided not to ride the next day because the pain was still there. This week the MRI showed a small fracture. My schedule already said I was off this period, so I’m taking a few extra days off before I start training again. It’s nothing to worry about,” said Gaudu, who will have to miss the Tour of the Basque Country. The Walloon classics do not seem to be in danger for the time being.

David Gaudu out:
algarve22

 

alpecin fenix
Jasper Philipsen: Two Years More with Alpecin-Fenix
Jasper Philipsen has extend his contract with Alpecin-Fenix. According to Het Nieuwsblad, the 24-year-old sprinter from Limburg has verbally agreed with the management of the Belgian ProTeam about a contract until the end of 2024.

Philipsen is currently in his second season with Alpecin-Fenix, having previously been with Hagens Berman Axeon and UAE Team Emirates. Under the direction of the Roodhooft brothers, the sprinter managed to take eleven victories. Philipsen won the Scheldeprijs, two stages in the Vuelta a España, Eschborn-Frankfurt and two stages in the UAE Tour at the beginning of this season.

Alpecin-Fenix ​​previously also resigned lead-out man Jonas Rickaert until the end of 2025. In recent years, he has proved to be an important helper for Philipsen and the other sprinter, Tim Merlier. Merlier’s contract also expires at the end of this season. Mathieu van der Poel is also signed until the end of 2025.

Two more years for Jasper Philipsen:
uae tour 22 st1

 

baloise trek lions
Lars van der Haar Extends Contract with Baloise Trek Lions
Lars van der Haar has extended his contract with Baloise Trek Lions. The 30-year-old rider, current Dutch and European cyclo-cross champion, is now under contract with the team of Sven Nys until the end of 2024.

Van der Haar sees no reason to look for another team. “I feel good in the team and I don’t see any reason to change. I already indicated to my manager at the end of last season that I would like to stay at Baloise Trek Lions. The team also showed that they wanted to keep me. The talks were quickly concluded. We both wanted to get on with each other, so there was soon time to chat.”

Van der Haar has just finished an excellent cyclo-cross season. “With my European and Dutch title, a silver medal at the World championships and victories in Tábor and Gavere, I have had one of my best years in the elite category. I take satisfaction in delivering these achievements against yet another generation. I will try to maintain this level in the coming seasons and always set new goals.”

“Since Jim Aernouts left, I am the oldest rider in the team. I like to assist young riders like Thibau Nys and Pim Ronhaar with advice. From my own past I learned that those tips can be very valuable to learn from. I also do that with Lucinda Brand and Shirin van Anrooij, after my course reconnaissance just before their race. With Shirin, for example, you notice that she picks up on those tips, I like that.”

Van der Haar spoke about his knee problems: “My knee surgery a month ago went well. On Tuesday I went for a check-up and they prescribed me an extra week of rest. For example, yesterday I trained my left leg in the gym – for the difference in muscle mass – and that caused a slight reaction today. Hopefully the training delay will be limited to a week. In any case, it was a good decision to go under the knife just before Oostmalle, otherwise the loss would have quickly increased in the spring.”

Dutch and European champ – Lars van der Haar:
dutch champs22

 

bingoal
Attilio Viviani Might Sign for Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
Attilio Viviani, who rode for Cofidis for the past two years, is still looking for a team for 2022. He previously said he wanted to continue at WorldTour level, but now he seems willing to take a step down. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB, under certain conditions, is an option for the Italian.

In January, Viviani was looking for a team and he announced that he had already had talks. At the time, he also stated that he still had ambitions. “I feel like I’ve had two good years riding against top level riders. It’s a world that I loved right away and where I want to keep racing to get the most out of myself. I want to continue racing at WorldTour level.”

Attilio Viviani, the brother of Elia Viviani, won the Schaal Sels in 2019. A year later he was the best in a stage of La Tropicale Amissa Bongo. He did not take any victories in 2021.

Attilio Viviani won the 2019 Schaal Sels/Johan Museeuw Classic in Merksem:
viviani

 

germany
Jan Ullrich Auctions Tour Bike to Help Children in Ukraine
Jan Ullrich is trying to raise money for the ‘Heart for Children Foundation’. This international organisation has launched a relief effort for children and women in Ukraine after the attacks by Russia. Ullrich contributes by auctioning a 1998 Tour bike, which he has autographed.

“I am now auctioning a special bike from my career for the Heart for Children Foundation, which equips relief transports and supports sick children and orphans in Ukraine,” Ullrich said on his social media. It concerns a bike from the Tour de France of 1998, in which Ullrich initially wore the yellow jersey, but lost it on the stage to Les Deux Alpes. In the end, Jan finished second in Paris, behind Marco Pantani. “This is a tailor-made product for the Tour de France 1998. With signature of course.”

“The terrible war in Ukraine and the unimaginable suffering of the people are terrifying the whole world. We are all in shock, my heart is also bleeding,” the German said in a video message. “Please help with your offer to at least alleviate some of the suffering and hardship in Ukraine.”

ullrich

 

bahrain
Bahrain Victorious to Volta a Catalunya
Bahrain Victorious is back at the Volta a Catalunya this year as the event hosts its 101st edition!

The World Tour race renowned as the third oldest cycling stage race in the world takes our riders on a route that starts in Sant Feliu de Guíxols 172.2 kilometre stage and finishes on the following Sunday in the Catalan capital with an exhilarating 138.6-kilometre circuit and navigation of the six final climbs at the iconic Castell de Montjuïc.

After tasting success in Ruta del Sol, Wout Poels will be looking for more of the same as the team head east to the capital of Catalonia. Joining Poels is Phil Bauhaus and Santiago Buitrago, both of whom have picked up early season stage wins in the Tirreno Adriatico and The Saudi Tour respectively. Alongside the three aforementioned riders, we have Sonny Colbrelli, Jack Haig, Hermann Pernsteiner and Dylan Teuns competing.

Phil Bauhaus and the field of sprinters will be zeroing in on Stage Five in particular as the longest stage of the week, clocking in at 206.3-kilometres, sees the racers go through Vilanova i la Geltrú – a stage that may end up pivotal in the general classification.

With a strong lineup on show, confidence is high. Here’s the thoughts of the Sports Director Xavi Florencio: “This Volta a Cataluyna is like last year’s as it’s suited to the climbers as two of the stages have long climbs and they both end in the mountains. We also have likely two or three stages where we will be expected to arrive in the sprint and the other two [stages] coming in the form of a breakaway.”

We have a strong team, especially for the mountain stages, but we also have an opportunity on the flat sections with Sonny [Colbrelli] and Phil [Bauhaus] so our goal is to win one stage in the Volta a Catalunya and to push for general classification podium!

bahrain

 

wanty
Volta Catalunya — Louis Meintjes targets good GC alongside Jan Hirt
From Monday to Sunday, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will participate for the seventh time in the Volta Catalunya (2.UWT, 21-27/03). The first Spanish event on the World Tour calendar is made of seven stages with no time trials, including two summit finishes in the heart of the Pyrenees.

The 101st edition kicks off with a hilly stage in the province of Girona, followed the next day by a 200 kilometre crossing towards Perpignan, on the other side of the Pyrenees. Two summit finishes will welcome the riders on the third and fourth days. On Wednesday, the peloton will head towards the ski resort of La Molina (12.1km at 4.5%), at 1695 meters altitude, then the next day that of Boí Taüll (13km at 6%) whose summit just about exceeds the 2000 metres.

After these two days in the Pyrenees, the riders will head towards the coast for a transition stage, the longest of the event, leading to Vilanova i la Geltrú. They will complete a 167 kilometre circuit around the Costa Daurada on day six, before the traditional closing stage around the Catalan capital, where the Alto de Montjuic (2.4km at 4.7%) features in each of the six Barcelona local circuit laps.

The selection of the Belgian WorldTeam will notably rely on Tour of Oman winner Jan Hirt. The Czech resumes competition since the UAE Tour at the end of February, along with the South African Louis Meintjes, 17th in the stage race in the Emirates. Alongside them are Belgians Jan Bakelants, Tom Devriendt and Laurens Huys, Frenchman Théo Delacroix and Italian Simone Petilli. These seven riders will compete under the direction of Pieter Vanspeybrouck and Frederik Veuchelen.

Louis Meintjes: “On paper, the Volta Catalunya is a race that suits me, but I’m yet to get a good result here so far. I want to change that this week. The fact that there is no time trial this year is a good thing for me, I also hope that the rainy conditions forecasted this week will materialise as little as possible. I know the climb of La Molina quite well since it featured often in the previous editions, as well as the start of the stage 4 near Andorra, where I live. Undoubtedly, these third and fourth stages will be important for the GC, but the last day in Barcelona is just as decisive. It is often the scene of numerous attacks which have led to an upheaval in the final classification. After the UAE Tour, I was able to continue improving my condition in training, so I hope to claim a good GC alongside Jan Hirt this week.”

Selection:
Jan Bakelants
Théo Delacroix
Tom Devriendt
Jan Hirt
Laurens Huys
Louis Meintjes
Simone Petilli.
Sports directors: Pieter Vanspeybrouck and Frederik Veuchelen.

Louis Meintjes to lead in Catalunya:
wanty

 

uae team
UAE Team Emirates set for Catalunya and Coppi & Bartali
Strong team heads to Spain as Hirschi makes return in Italy.
UAE Team Emirates continue a packed calendar with strong teams across many races over the coming days and weeks: all eyes will be on the Volta Catalunya in Spain from 21-27 March, while in Italy the team will take on Coppi & Bartali 22-26 March and GP Industria & Artigianato on 27 March.

uae

The squad for Volta Catalunya is packed full of climbing talent and will be under the supervision of Team Manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez who will be accompanied by Manuele Mori (Ita) and Simone Pedrazzini (Ita).

Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Team Manager): “We have a great team here for Catalunya with a lot of character and quality. Joao Almeida will be a key reference point for us while Marc Soler will also be on home roads and given his chance to show himself in front of a local crowd. George Bennett will be another vital player in the hills and young Juan Ayuso who races his first WT stages race is very motivated will be very important without a doubt. Rui Costa brings experience, he knows how to read the race well and a knack for being present in the decisive moments. For the sprints and the flat terrain we’ll count on the skills of Molano and Rui Oliveira.”

Marc Hirschi will make his long awaited comeback at the Coppi & Bartali, in a team spearheaded by veteran Diego Ulissi and the in-form Alessandro Covi. Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) and Marco Marzano (Ita) will guide the team in Coppi e Bartali and Gp Industria & Artigianato.

Marc Hirschi: “After many months of rehabilitation and training I can’t wait to get back to racing. I’ve been preparing at altitude in Sierra Nevada and I can see from my numbers and sensations on the bike that I am back in good shape. Obviously racing is totally different and I know it might take some time to fully return to my top level but just to be back in the peloton and back in the team atmosphere is something I’m so happy about. I feel very excited to be coming back.”

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya [2.UWT] – 21-Mar-2022/27-Mar-2022
Joao Almeida (Spa)
Juan Ayuso (Spa)
George Bennett (NZ)
Rui Costa (Por)
Sebastian Molano (Col)
Ivo Oliveira (Por)
Marc Soler (Spa).

Settimana Internazionale di Coppi & Bartali [2.1] – 22-Mar-2022/26-Mar-2022
Camilo Ardila (Col)
Alessandro Covi (Ita)
Diego Ulissi (Ita)
Marc Hirschi (Swi)
Yousif Mirza (UAE)
Jan Polanc (Slo)
Joel Suter (Swi).

uae

GP Industria & Artigianato [1.Pro] – 27-Mar-2022
Camilo Ardila (Col)
Alessandro Covi (Ita)
Diego Ulissi (Ita)
Marc Hirschi (Swi)
Davide Formolo (Ita)
Jan Polanc (Slo)
Joel Suter (Swi).

uae

 

quick-step-alpha
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to Volta a Catalunya
The last WorldTour stage race of the month takes place between 21-27 March

One of the oldest stage races in the world, Volta a Catalunya comes with plenty of changes from last year’s edition, but at the end of the day, it will once again favour the climbers, even more than in 2021, as the individual time trial is absent from the route of the 101st edition.

Following nine consecutive years, the peloton won’t depart anymore from Calella, which has been replaced by Sant Feliu de Guixols. One day later, Perpignan will make a return after 67 years, while the summit finishes of Vallter 2000 and Port Ainé tackled last year make way for La Molina and Boi Taüll, the ski resort that was last used two decades ago and which will take the peloton above 2000 meters. But if some things change, others remain the same, and the race will once again conclude in Barcelona, where the famous Montjuic climb – set to feature six times – will be the main attraction.

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s team for the seventh World Tour event of the season will be a mixture of youth and experience, as it will comprise Andrea Bagioli, Dries Devenyns, Tour of Oman runner-up Fausto Masnada, Pieter Serry, Ilan Van Wilder, neo-pro Ethan Vernon and Louis Vervaeke.

“We have a strong team for the Volta a Catalunya, featuring several riders who can go for a good result. As always, there will be a lot of climbing next week, especially on stages three and four – which will be the most important for the general classification – but there should be some opportunities also for breakaways and bunch sprints, and for the latter, we have Ethan, who can try to get involved. Concerning the overall standings, Fausto and Ilan will be our two guys, they come here with a lot of motivation and confidence,” explained Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Geert Van Bondt.

21.03–27.03 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (ESP) 2.UWT
Riders:

Andrea Bagioli (ITA)
Dries Devenyns (BEL)
Fausto Masnada (ITA)
Pieter Serry (BEL)
Ilan Van Wilder (BEL)
Ethan Vernon (GBR)
Louis Vervaeke (BEL).
Sports Director:Brian Holm (DEN) and Geert Van Bondt (BEL).

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bikeexchange jayco
Team BikeExchange-Jayco Heads to Catalunya with Multi-Pronged Attack
Stage hunting is on the agenda for Team BikeExchange-Jayco as the team heads to the Volta a Catalunya, which starts on Monday, March 21st.

Fresh off the back of a stage win and an outstanding ride to second place overall at Paris-Nice, Simon Yates has been recovering from a mild non-Covid related illness in the wake of the French race, and will arrive in Spain looking to continue building on his early-season form.

Michael Matthews, who will come into the race straight after tackling Milan-San Remo, will target stage wins, as will young sprint talent Kaden Groves, who recently took his first WorldTour podium at Tirreno-Adriatico.

The team goes to Catalunya with an experienced and diverse line-up that will provide support across all seven stages, with Michael Hepburn, Damien Howson, Chris Juul Jensen and Callum Scotson all part of the seven-rider formation.

The opening day’s stage, which starts and finishes in the coastal town of Sant Feliu de Guíxols, serves up a hilly parcours as does Stage 2, before the race heads into what will surely be the definitive third and fourth stages in the mountains. A flat Stage 5 – the longest of the race at 206.2km – will offer the sprinters a clear chance to fight for the win, with the race finishing up with two mid-mountain stages that could provide further drama in the overall battle for victory.

Team BikeExchange-Jayco Line-Up:
Kaden Groves (AUS)
Michael Hepburn (AUS)
Damien Howson (AUS)
Chris Juul Jensen (DEN)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Callum Scotson (AUS)
Simon Yates (GBR).

Kaden Groves: “I feel like my shape’s continued improving with every race we’ve done, and I’m heading to Catalunya hungry to get a result. We’re going there with a really strong team, and I’m excited about testing myself against the best once again. There are a few different stages that could offer us opportunities, and especially with the range of talent we have I think we can go there with our confidence high. Coming off the back of Milano-Torino, it was a disappointing end to the race for us obviously, but I’ll just use that as more motivation here!”

Gene Bates (Sport Director): “We head to Catalunya with a very strong team, and see some good opportunities for stage wins throughout the week. Simon is recovering well after his superb performance at Paris-Nice, and we’ll be targeting those key mountain stages with him. There are some days that could also really suit Michael Matthews, and with Kaden Groves growing in confidence and experience this season and with the form he’s shown, we’re expecting him to have an opportunity to get a result here too.”

Simon Yates to Catalunya:
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Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (March 21-27)
Forced to retire after three stages of Paris-Nice, suffering from the flu, Ben O’Connor will make his return to competition at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.

Clément Berthet: “I am looking forward to the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya to see where I am. My return to racing was sluggish at the UAE Tour. I felt that I was missing a few kilometres in my legs after having tendonitis in my right knee, which I contracted at the end of January. After two big weeks of training, I can now say that my injury is behind me, and the right sensations are coming back. We have a great team at the start, with Ben O’Connor in particular, who will be ready to take his revenge after being forced to retire from Paris-Nice. I will do everything to stay with him as much as possible on the climbs. I hope to improve my condition further in order to be ready for the Classic Grand Besançon Doubs (April 15) and the Tour du Jura (April 16), two home races that are close to my heart.”

Clément Berthet is competing in his first professional race in Spain.

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Volta Ciclista a Catalunya – MAR 21-27
Luke Roberts – Team DSM coach: “Stage racing continues for us at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya as we take on a varied parcours throughout the week. With a mix of flat stages, rolling terrain that suits the breakaway specialists and versatile sprinters, plus some tricky mountain top finishes, we expect some exciting racing. It’s a good race for us to continue our development and sharpen our race craft with the younger block we have here. Throughout the week we want to ride well as a unit and create opportunities for ourselves through good teamwork and aggressive racing, taking a day-by-day approach.”

Line-up:
Marco Brenner (GER)
Romain Combaud (FRA)
Mark Donovan (GBR)
Marius Mayrhofer (GER)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Florian Stork (GER)
Henri Vandenabeele (BEL).

Tour de Normandie – MAR 21-27
Bennie Lambregts – Team DSM coach: “Tour de Normandie is a beautiful and tough seven day stage race, where almost every day takes place on a classics style parcours. If the typical spring Normandie weather is also in the air, with a lot of wind and rain, then it is a very challenging and demanding race. We take to the start with a strong team where our aim will be to hunt for stage success throughout the week. All of our riders can compete well on this terrain and in the conditions we expect to face, which is typified by tough local circuits and echelons. With some good offensive riding and teamwork, we hope for a good week in Normandie.”

Line-up:
Tobias Lund Andresen (DEN)
Pavel Bittner (CZE)
Patrick Eddy (AUS)
Enzo Leijnse (NED)
Tim Naberman (NED)
Casper van Uden (NED).

Mark Donovan to Catalunya:
Mark Donovan

 

uci
UCI Asks Astana for Information About Judicial Investigation
The UCI has asked Astana Qazaqstan for more information about the judicial investigation into its financial department, Abacanto SA. The finance section is being investigated by the Luxembourg public prosecutor, because criminal offences may have been committed. The UCI says it was not aware of this.

“The UCI has in no way been informed of the investigation, which was recently reported in the media,” the UCI told Velonews. “The UCI has immediately asked the team for information and will require additional information in case the investigation also leads to further proceedings. The UCI understands that the investigation is, or was, directed against individuals following the filing of a return by the team’s financial service, Abacanto SA. We are monitoring the situation closely.”

Abacanto SA is charged with violations under Article 140 of the local Penal Code: forgery, misuse of company assets, breach of trust, money laundering and fraud. The court in Luxembourg is currently hearing several witnesses on the case. This case is said to have opened as early as January 2021.

Alexander Vinokourov himself denies any involvement, but documents show otherwise. In addition, a remarkable spending pattern can be seen in Astana Qazaqstan’s accounts.

Payment problems at Astana Qazaqstan also recently came to light. Several riders and employees had not yet received a salary for January and February in March. The team blames this on unrest and the new government of Kazakhstan. “The UCI knows that there were problems with the payments at the start of the season. The UCI is monitoring the team’s situation to ensure it is resolved as soon as possible.”

Nothing to do with Vino:
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The Wolfpack Insider: Paris-Nice
This year’s “Race to the Sun” was one of mixed emotions for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl. From the joy of seeing Fabio Jakobsen win after an intense day in the crosswinds and Mauri Vansevenant fight tooth and nail for a good GC at his maiden participation to the sorrow of having our riders drop out from the race one by one due to illness – we captured everything on camera last week.

But we didn’t stick just to that, and on top of the usual race and inside the car footage that you see in every cycling video nowadays, we focused on the daily activities of the team behind the team, our amazing staff members without whose hard work and dedication we wouldn’t be at the top.

So ahead of a big weekend of racing, sit back and watch our behind the scenes special – The Wolfpack Insider: Paris-Nice!

 

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