EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!
The weekend's cycling news
Milano-Sanremo, Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Per Sempre Alfredo, Bredene Koksijde Classic and the South African Championships – Reports, results and video. Paris-Roubaix in danger? – TOP STORY. Teams for the Volta Catalunya and Brugge-De Panne. Race news from the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Tour de l’Abitibi and Eschborn-Frankfurt. Patrick Lefevere and Ralph Denk disagree, Sepp Kuss with Jumbo-Visma till 2024, Jannik Steimle injury update, Richard Freeman struck off and video of the emotion of Pogačar’s victory at Tirreno-Adriatico. Monday EUROTRASH coffee time.
TOP STORY: Paris-Roubaix Region Goes into Lockdown for Four Weeks
The question is whether we will see a duel between Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert in Paris-Roubaix this spring. The Hauts-de-France region, in which finish city Roubaix is located, has to be in lockdown for four weeks. Paris-Roubaix is on the calendar for April 11.
From Friday at midnight, 16 departments in France went into lockdown again. This will take at least four weeks and so the next edition of Paris-Roubaix may be jeopardised. The inhabitants of the departments must stay within a radius of ten kilometres from their home. Non-essential stores will also be closed. The measures apply, among others, to the region of Hauts-de-France, the region of Paris-Roubaix. The cobblestone classic was also canceled last year due to the corona measures. It remains to be seen whether there will be special regulations to allow the organisation of the race on April 11.
U23 Paris-Roubaix Canceled
The Under 23’s Paris-Roubaix has been canceled due to the new measures in the fight against the corona virus. The race was to be held on Sunday, May 16, two months after the elite race, the French website DirectVelo reports, based on a press release from the race organiser VC Roubaix Lille Métropole, that the decision to cancel the cobbled race would have been taken before the announcement of a four-week lockdown for the Hauts-de-France region, where the race is being held. A postponement until later in the season was not considered, so the event will not take place, just like last year.
Due to the cancellation, Tom Pidcock remains the last winner of the U23 Paris-Roubaix for another year. The Brit, who now rides for INEOS Grenadiers, put the win in his palmarès in 2019 after an impressive solo.
Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) jumped away from the bunch to avoid a mass sprint after the favourites failed to split the lead group on the Poggio. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) finished just behind the strong Belgian to complete the podium.
With 2 kilometres to go, Jasper Stuyven made the winning move. He was joined for a while by Soren Kragh Andersen (DSM), as the hot favourites watched each other with top sprinter Caleb Ewan, who had managed to stay with them up the Poggio. The much anticipated attack up the climb by World Champion Julian Alaphilippe wasn’t decisive enough and he was pulled back by the main contenders. Caleb Ewan and Wout van Aert rounded out the podium, with Peter Sagan and Mathieu van der Poel in fourth and fifth place.
Eight riders animated the race with a breakaway launched after 3 kilometres: Filippo Tagliani & Mattia Viel (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Andrea Peron & Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordisk), Mathias Norsgaard Jørgensen (Movistar Team), Nicola Conci (Trek – Segafredo), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani CSF Faizane) and Taco Van Der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), who was the last rider to be caught by the peloton on the Cipressa, 24km before the finish and the start of the main action of the day.
2021 Milano-Sanremo winner, Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo): “This is the best victory of my career, I absolutely did not expect this victory. We knew that on the Poggio everyone was waiting for the big explosion [of the peloton]. I managed to stay in the front group. At the top of the hill, I decided that I would attack and give it all or nothing, rather than finish between 5th to 10th place. There were no helpers left in that group, but the big 3 [Van der Poel, van Aert, Alaphilippe] were there, I knew they would look a little bit at each other. The one who’d close the gap wasn’t going to win. After the downhill, I could go on the left side and put a big gear on. I handled thirty seconds of big pain. I saw Soren [Kragh Andersen] was coming. It was nice to get a bit of help. He kind of attacked and put me on the limit but he was at the limit too. I had to believe in my chances until the end. They were coming from the back. It was the hardest final meters of my career, but I’ve won other races in a similar way. It’s one of my strengths, to stay out front if they give me the gap. Winning a Monument this way is really nice. It’s normal that pre-race favourites were designated, based on how those three were riding. If I had to go one against one of them, there was a big chance that they were stronger than me. I said in a lot of interviews that they’re strong and fast but that doesn’t mean I’m on the start line of a race to just finish fourth. That’s my approach to every race. If you believe in yourself, they’re not unbeatable, that’s the right mentality for winning.”
2nd, Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal): “I am very disappointed. Although it is a very good result. It is a confirmation to me that one day I can win this race. On the Poggio I received confirmation that I was good. Before this race, I practiced on efforts and climbs of this duration, so I knew I could follow attacks. It would have been nice to have an extra rider from the team in the group, so he could hold it together. Normally I would have been the fastest, but now it was a lottery. I had to take a risk. I did that too, but I waited too long for the end.”
3rd, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “Surprising how many riders we were still together on the Poggio. Both Julian Alaphilippe and myself tried, but apparently that wasn’t enough to cause separation. I also had chances in the sprint. After a fast descent, Jasper Stuyven made the perfect move. After that it was difficult to chase. I didn’t want to sacrifice my sprint chances right away by taking all the initiative. Of course I was also quite targeted. In the sprint itself it was not easy to position properly. Caleb just beat me, but we have a nice winner. I myself have to be happy with that podium place. My sprint was not perfect anyway. I started a little too late because of that I still had to go around Mathieu. This is a race where many factors play a role. More than physical, there is also tactics involved. The races that are coming are different and the legs felt very good. I had recovered from the Tirreno-Adriatico.”
4th, Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a bittersweet Milano-Sanremo for me. On the one hand, I’m happy because I’m feeling better and my form is gradually improving, although there is still work to be done to reach a top level. On the other hand, I’m a bit angry because it was another Milano-Sanremo where I missed the chance to get a victory. We worked very well throughout the day, everybody in the team put in a great effort. When the attack was made on the Poggio, a small group went away and I was in the one right behind, together with other strong riders. We didn’t respond to the attack, either because we couldn’t or because we felt we would bridge the gap on the descent. In fact, the two front groups merged and it was clear we would go for a fast sprint finish. I gave my best in the sprint and finished fourth.”
5th, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “I don’t think I made a mistake anywhere. I had to make choices. I hoped to get on the wheel with a long sprint, but then a few more men came over me. I was really on my gums. When there was attacks, I was in the front. But the pace was too fast to stay away and the group was still too big. That is why it was of no use to me to accelerate even more. We had already passed the toughest part by then. It was real gambling in the end, but I still think the strongest man won. If you can maintain that pace at this stage of the race, you are the deserved winner. I would like to win Milan-San Remo myself. I still have a number of years, but today we see again that it is not the easiest classic to win.”
Break rider, Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “This is a special race, so it was a unique feeling to ride in the front for such a long time. Especially the final part along the beautiful Côte d’Azur will remain in my memories. We weren’t given a big advantage, but thanks to our good cooperation and the backwind, we managed to stay in the front for quite a long time. At the end, I gave everything I had left. It was nice to be able to attack on the Cipressa. I expected the peloton to fly past me, but it wasn’t that bad. This means that I was climbing at a decent pace, despite the tiredness. But after 270 kilometres, everyone was probably exhausted. I’m happy about my feeling in Paris-Nice and this Milan-San Remo. On to the Belgian classics!”
1. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo in 6:38:06
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
3. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) BORA-hansgrohe
5. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
6. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange
7. Alex Aranburu (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
8. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious
9. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) DSM
10. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie.
Trofeo Alfredo Binda – Comune di Cittiglio 2021
Trek-Segafredo’s Elisa Longo Borghini’s attacking style won her the Trofeo Alfredo Binda on Sunday. The Italian champion crossed the line solo in the Italian Women’s WorldTour classic, after riding the last 25 kilometres on her own. Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) won the sprint for second place at 1:42.
The peloton stayed together in the first part of the race. There were attack attempts from Marta Bastianelli (Alé BTC Ljubljana), Pauliena Rooijakkers (Liv Racing) and Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segafredo), but they were unable to get a lead on the hilly course. The complete peloton started the last four local circuits around Cittiglio, each 17.6 kilometres, with the Via Sciareda (0.8 km at 8.4%), Chiesa Nuova di San Vittore and the Orino (3.1 km at 4.4%). A second attack by Rooijakkers was more successful. She took a half minute lead together with Tatiana Guderzo. Marta Cavalli and Audrey Cordon-Ragot crossed, but two laps before the finish the race regrouped. A second group escaped from which Anouska Koster attacked, but she was also caught. Elisa Longo Borghini put in a very strong attack on the penultimate Orino climb. Marianne Vos, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Kasia Niewiadoma, Mavi García and Soraya Paladin were unable to hold her and were at 10 seconds.
At the penultimate crossing of the finish line, the difference between Longo Borghini and her pursuers was 15 seconds. The remaining peloton followed at almost 1 minute. The Italian champion was looking good and continued to expand her lead. At the foot of the last climb to Orino, the gap was 30 seconds and getting bigger. Longo Borghini crossed the line solo. With her victory in the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, she is now the new leader in the Women’s WorldTour. More than a minute and a half behind, Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) won the sprint for second place from the chasing group. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) was third.
Race winner, Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo): “Jasper said it was all or nothing for him and that thought inspired me. I knew the course very well. The tactic of the team was for me to attack because we also had Lizzie Deignan on hand as a good sprinter. And when I was in the lead myself, I was reminded of yesterday’s Milan-San Remo. I thought: sometimes you have to play poker. If there is an opportunity to attack, I will always go for the attack. For the men, Milan-San Remo is the spring classic and for us it is the Trofeo Binda. I am therefore also very happy with this victory.”
2nd, Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma): “Of course you always want to win, but Longo Borghini was the strongest today. When she attacked, I still tried, but I had to pass. We had five behind her, but we didn’t get any closer. Then you know that it will be second place. We were on the right track, we didn’t miss the boat once, so I was able to save myself a little longer and I was able to start fresh in the final. That also gives a certain pressure and motivation to do well and to reward the team for their work. And we succeeded. We always race to win, but we can be satisfied with the level we are at now and with the teamwork. This gives confidence for the coming weeks Longo Borghini was too strong today. Marianne has tried several times and has given everything.”
Trofeo Alfredo Binda – Comune di Cittiglio Result:
1. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 3:43:29
2. Marianne Vos Jumbo-Visma (Ned) at 1:42
3. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
4. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon SRAM
5. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Liv Racing
6. Mavi García Alé BTC Ljubljana
7. Elisa Balsamo (Spa) Valcar-Travel & Service at 2:46
8. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) Liv Racing
9. Emilia Fahlin (Swe) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
10. Floortje Mackaij (Ned) DSM.
Second place for Marianne Vos:
Per Sempre Alfredo 2021
The very first edition of Per Sempre Alfredo (UCI 1.1) was won by Trek-Segafredo’s Matteo Moschetti. After a race of 162 kilometres, he was the fastest in a sprint finish in Sesto Fiorentino. There was a big crash just before the finish.
A front group had a lead of 1:30 after the three climbs. The second group, including sprinters Jakub Mareczko and Andrea Guardini, managed to close the gap with the leaders in the valley towards the Croci di Calenzano climb at 75 kilometres from the finish. A compact peloton climbed the Croci di Calenzano, where nothing happened. After the descent there was still more than 60 kilometres to go, consisting of local circuits around the finish town of Sesto Fiorentino. Trek-Segafredo, DSM and Vini Zabù set the pace and were looking for a bunch sprint. There was a big crash in the finalé which eliminated big names such as Mareczko, Enrico Battaglin, Filippo Fiorelli and Matteo Malucelli.
Moschetti missed the crash and took the bunch sprint. For the young Italian sprinter this was his first victory of the season. He beat Mikel Aristi (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Samuele Zambelli (Italy). Per Sempre Alfredo is a new 1.1 race on the UCI calendar and should not be confused with the Trofeo Alfredo Binda for women. The race takes place in the province of Firenze, Tuscany region, and is a tribute to the legendary ex-cyclist and national coach Alfredo Martini, who was born exactly a hundred years ago near Sesto Fiorentino.
Per Sempre Alfredo Result:
1. Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 3:48:10
2. Mikel Aristi (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
3. Samuele Zambelli (Ita) Italy
4. Jon Aberasturi (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
5. Luca Colnaghi (Ita) Italy
6. Giovanni Lonardi (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè
7. Stefano Gandin (Ita) Zalf Euromobil Fior
8. Tommaso Nencini (Ita) Italy
9. Natnael Tesfatsion (Eri) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
10. Marius Mayrhofer (Ger) DSM.
Per Sempre Alfredo’21:
Bredene Koksijde Classic 2021
Tim Merlier added the Bredene Koksijde Classic to his palmarès on Friday. In the seaside resort of Koksijde, the Alpecin-Fenix fast-man was the strongest in the sprint from a leading group of just under thirty riders. Mads Pedersen finished second, Florian Sénéchal third.
The pace was very high from the start. Andreas Leknessund, European U23 time trial champion last year, and Ludwig De Winter were the first attackers, but they were soon caught. Then the peloton broke into several large echelons. After 40 kilometres everything came together again. 56 kilometres had been covered in the first hour. Alpecin-Fenix, Delko and Uno-X kept the pace high, which again led to splits in the peloton, although everything came together again before entering the Heuvelland. After the first passage of the Kemmelberg, a group of thirteen riders escaped. Pedersen was the biggest name, the former World champion had teammate Alex Kirsch. BORA-hansgrohe also had two men with Nils Politt and Lukas Pöstlberger. Qhubeka Assos was best represented with Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Lasse Norman Hansen and Max Walscheid. Florian Sénéchal, Rui Oliveira, Andreas Leknessund, Tom Van Asbroeck, Edward Planckaert and Benjamin Declercq were the others.
After the second time up the Kemmel, a chasing group got together, including Jake Stewart and Tim Merlier. Timothy Dupont and Mark Cavendish had missed the boat. The sixteen chasers were at 50 seconds. The leading group crossed the line for the first time 33.9 kilometres from the finish, they nearly missed a turn, but they managed to hold on to their lead. Kirsch was the first to be dropped after working hard for Pedersen. 26 kilometres from the finish, Pöstlberger attacked the leading group. The Austrian managed to take a 20 second solo lead. Meanwhile, the chasing groups came together and Pöstlberger was fighting a peloton that included Pedersen, Merlier and Stewart. In the last lap Pöstlberger held on bravely. In the chase, Josef Černy worked hard for his teammate Florian Sénéchal and in the end with 1.5 kilometres to go, Pöstlberger was caught. Jonas Rickaert led-out his leader, Tim Merlier, who started a long sprint. The Belgian managed to hold off Mads Pedersen and Florian Sénéchal to take the victory.
Race winner, Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix): “We actually raced behind the scenes all day. In the beginning I was really not good. The legs immediately soured when it fell apart in the echelons. On the first passage of the Kemmelberg I thought I was well positioned, but apparently I was far too far back. Then I thought, oops, the race is over. Then I heard that we had someone at the front after all. And the second time around Kemmel, I knew I must be well positioned now. If something pulls away now, it may well be over. I thought we would get to the leading group quite quickly then, but it took us almost a hundred kilometres to get there. I knew that if we hooked up, I would still have the legs. We actually had a larger group and it didn’t always turn out as it should. But I’d rather come from behind than sit there all day at the front. Because it was a long way off and we didn’t have the wind completely in the gap. I had to engage, because I did not know whether that lead-out from Deceuninck – Quick-Step was going to stop the legs or not. If they got up to speed from behind, it was definitely over. Now I was fully engaged. I saw that I had a few lengths, I went even deeper and I hoped that the finish would come quickly.”
2nd, Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo): “There was a lot of wind, but not enough in the beginning. Everyone tried to sit on the front, but the group was too big. It broke on the Kemmelberg and from that moment on we raced to the finish. Sprinting was the plan? Actually, I wanted to try something. I was here to prepare for the classics and the plan was to ride a hard final, not just to wait for the sprint. That’s why I tried something earlier to continue with the leading group. If it turned out to be a sprint, I would see how it would go. All in all it was a beautiful day. Whether Merlier was the fastest today? If he wasn’t the fastest, he wouldn’t have won. I don’t know if we would have stayed away otherwise. The race turned out as it happened, it is the way it is. For the next time we may have to take a closer look at the road book.”
Bredene Koksijde Classic Result:
1. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix in 4:13:43
2. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
3. Florian Sénéchal (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
4. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation
5. Eduard-Michael Grosu (Rom) Delko
6. Stanisław Aniołkowski (Pol) Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles
7. Max Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka Assos
8. Bram Welten (Ned) Arkéa Samsic
9. Nils Politt (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
10. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM.
Bredene Koksijde Classic’21:
South African TT Championships 2021
Ryan Gibbons put in a storming ride to win first place at the South African Time Trial championships in Swellendam.
Having being the hot favourite heading into the event, Gibbons handled the pressure well, completing the course in a time of 51:24, 1:14 faster than his nearest rival and former UAE Team Emirates stagiaire, Matthew Beers.
This result underscores the good form of Gibbons heading into the road race which takes place on Sunday, where he will be hoping to defend his title.
Ryan Gibbons (UAE Team Emirates): “Obviously I’m delighted with this result and it bodes well heading into the road race on Sunday. It wasn’t in my original plan but the opportunity was given to me by the team to come back and race the championships and I grabbed it, so having the chance to defend my title is quite exciting. After some good results at the African Championships and also after today I’ll be a marked man and it won’t be easy, as I’ll also be racing alone against many teams with large squad numbers. It won’t be a simple task but I’m confident with my condition and aiming to defend my road title on Sunday.”
South African TT Championships Results:
1. Ryan Gibbons (UAE Team Emirates) at 51:24
2. Matthew Beers at 1:14
3. Kent Main (ProTouch) at 1:47.
South African Road Race Champion
Marc Pritzen, from the Qhubeka ASSOS continental team, raced to victory at the South African road race championship in Swellendam, South Africa. Pritzen took the win ahead of Willie Smit (Burgos-BH), with a well-timed attack in the final stretch of the 178km race. It was an impressive all-round team performance, with Nicholas Dlamini claiming the bronze medal for Team Qhubeka ASSOS. Pritzen’s road race title comes after he already claimed the u23 time trial title on Friday. With the elite and U23 categories being combined for the road race, today’s victory meant the 21-year-old from Benoni will proudly be able to show off the national jersey in all UCI events this year, as he joins Team Qhubeka in Europe for the remainder of the season.
Marc Pritzen – Rider: “It was a really awesome day today, we had quite a bit of wind, which played a big factor. The race didn’t go as planned, but we are very happy with how it panned out, with me claiming the win and Nicholas Dlamini also finishing on the podium. It was an unreal feeling crossing the finishing line today, and I would just like to thank Team Qhubeka ASSOS for all the support.”
Volta Ciclista Catalunya (March 22-28)
During the training camp in Catalunya, our riders previewed the last forty kilometres of the 3rd stage (March 24) of the Volta Ciclista Catalunya, which will finish in Vallter 2000. Their training ride was 181 kilometres with 3586 meters of climbing.
François Bidard: “The Volta Ciclista Catalunya is a difficult race that I love. I was at the UAE Tour, and even if that race does not necessarily match my strengths, I was happy to return to the atmosphere of the competition and get back into a race rhythm. I recovered well and the training camp in Catalunya with the team allowed us to string together many training rides in super weather conditions. We have even been able to reconnoiter the final of the stage that leads to Vallter 2000. I cannot wait to be there.”
A first for Champoussin and Hänninen
After finishing second at the Faun Ardèche Classic and 4th at the Trofeo Laigueglia, Clément Champoussin will participate for the first time in the Volta Ciclista Catalunya, which will also be his first WorldTour race of the season. Jaakko Hänninen, who has been a professional since August 2019, will also be participating in the Spanish race for the first time.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Volta a Catalunya
The Wolfpack is ready for one of the oldest stage races in the world
The 100th edition of the Volta a Catalunya, scheduled for next week, will be a mountainous affair, the insanely hard course giving almost no moment of respite for the peloton. The two summit finishes to Vallter 2000 and Port Ainé, an 18.3km rolling individual time trial around Banyoles and the exciting Montjuic circuit in Barcelona on the last stage, replicating the course of the 1973 World Championships, will stand out as the main difficulties at the first Spanish World Tour event of the year, where also the bonifications at the finish will make for some exciting racing.
Having finished in the top 10 both races he started this season, the UAE Tour and Tirreno-Adriatico, João Almeida will lead Deceuninck – Quick-Step at the seven-day Volta a Catalunya, which will start from Calella for the ninth edition in a row. French ITT Champion Rémi Cavagna, who came close to his first win of 2021 last week in Paris-Nice, will join the young Portuguese on the team, which will also include Josef Cerny, Dries Devenyns, James Knox, Fausto Masnada and Pieter Serry.
“We have a strong and very motivated squad and we aim to do a good general classification with João. He was up there in the Middle East and then in Tirreno-Adriatico and we hope the trend will continue in Catalunya,” explained Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Klaas Lodewyck. “The parcours is very hard, and the Vallter 2000 and Port Ainé climbs will make for some significant gaps in the standings, but at the same time, also the ITT can play a big role in the final outcome. We must not forget about the hilly circuit on the last day, because it’s usually raced full gas and even there a lot can happen. Overall, we expect it to be a very demanding race, but we are confident in our chances of getting some nice results.”
22.03–28.03 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (ESP) 2.UWT
João Almeida (POR)
Rémi Cavagna (FRA)
Josef Cerny (CZE)
Dries Devenyns (BEL)
James Knox (GBR)
Fausto Masnada (ITA)
Pieter Serry (BEL).
Sports Director: Klaas Lodewyck (BEL) and Geert Van Bondt (BEL).
UAE Team Emirates Take Aim at Vuelta Catalunya Exciting Line-up for Spanish Stage Race
After victory at Tirreno-Adriatico just last week, UAE Team Emirates will head into their next World Tour stage race full of confidence as they prepare for La Vuelta Catalunya (March 22-28).
Team Manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Spa) will lead the squad alongside Sports Directors Simone Pedrazzini (Swi) and Aurelio Corral (Spa):
-Camilo Ardila (Col)
-David De La Cruz (Spa)
-Joe Dombrowski (USA)
-Rui Costa (Por)
-Marc Hirschi (Swi)
-Brandon McNulty (USA)
Matxin Fernandez (Team Manager): “I think it’s a very exciting team we’re bringing. After the great success of Pogačar in Tirreno-Adriatico last week the team is as motivated as ever to go out and do a good race in Catalunya. We have huge quality in the squad with a mix of young talents alongside more experienced guys. With the depth of the riders we have here we’ll aim for the GC, but we will also be challenging for wins on every stage possible. This will be the first time we’ll see Marc Hirschi racing in the UAE colours. We’re hoping that he can achieve great things with us. With his class and talent for sure it strengthens the team.”
Yates and Hamilton Spearhead Team BikeExchange’s GC Ambitions at Volta a Catalunya
2018 Vuelta a España Champion Simon Yates and recent fourth place Paris-Nice finisher Lucas Hamilton, will lead a strong Team BikeExchange outfit at next week’s 100th edition of Volta a Catalunya, hungry for the general classification victory.
Alongside the duo, bringing a wealth of experience in the hills, will be two-time Grand Tour podium finisher Esteban Chaves and 2021 signing Tangel Kangert; who will both make their season debuts at the WorldTour event.
With a mixture of stages ranging from an individual time trial to the high mountains and rolling sprint stages spread throughout the seven-days, the roster is packed with diverse talent.
Adding strength and depth to support the team’s GC ambitions is American rider Brent Bookwalter and Australian rider Callum Scotson, whilst New Zealander Dion Smith gives the squad a strong option for any potential sprint finishes.
Team BikeExchange at Volta a Catalunya:
Brent Bookwalter (USA)
Esteban Chaves (COL)
Lucas Hamilton (AUS)
Tanel Kangert (EST)
Callum Scotson (AUS)
Dion Smith (NZL)
Simon Yates (GBR).
Simon Yates: “I had a change of plan, originally I was only going to do Tirreno and then Tour of the Alps but in Tirreno I felt like I missed some racing, some race rhythm, so it looked like a good idea to come and race Catalunya to try and find that intensity and take another step forward. We have a very strong team there so I think as a group, as a team, we can do a good ride. I had good form in Tirreno so we will see what we can do.”
Lucas Hamilton: “I am looking forward to racing Catalunya, it is in the region that I spend a lot of time training, so I look forward to getting stuck in. I have never done this race but from all accounts it looks really tough, so I’m happy to try and get another good stage race under the belt soon after Paris-Nice. I learnt a lot riding the GC for the first-time last week and now I’m really looking forward to carrying that momentum into Catalunya and having another crack and we will have a really strong team in the climbs.”
Julian Dean – Sport Director: “Our main goal is the general classification and we will go in with a dual approach with Lucas and Simon. Obviously, Lucas has shown some good signs recently, performing well at Paris-Nice so he deserves that opportunity. Simon is adding some more racing to his programme, so he is joining us for Catalunya and will give us that extra firepower and options for the GC. We also have Chaves who is coming in for his first race of the season and will be important support for those guys. We have a massive amount of depth coming to this race in general so will definitely have to be aggressive and make the most of the depth of our team. The time trial will be a really crucial day and our approach will be really based on the outcome of that. We also have the stage to Vallter 2000 and then Port Aine on stage four, and I think that will be the real critical stage with all those climbs coming back-to-back and the accumulation of the days before.”
A Young Line-Up to Rock the Race at Volta a Catalunya
With a young roster featuring five out of seven riders 25 years old or younger, Astana – Premier Tech is ready to rock the race and show its potential at the oldest week-long race in the UCI WorldTour calendar Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, from 22 – 28 March.
After the race was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic, Volta a Catalunya returns to the UCI WorldTour calendar to celebrate a record 100th edition of a week-long race.
With the team’s more experienced leaders preparing for their biggest goals of the season elsewhere, Astana – Premier Tech is coming to Catalunya with a young and, at the same time, ambitious roster, which, first of all, will be hunting stage wins.
“We are bringing a good, young squad here, who can show some really nice performances both in the General Classification and in the stages. We have Harold Tejada, who is a very talented young rider, who could fight for a high position in the overall standings. But also, we have riders like Vadim Pronskiy or Stefan De Bod, young and ambitious, who will be aiming for stage wins. Of course, our Spanish champion Luis Leon Sanchez is a big favourite for a stage win as he is coming to Catalunya in a great form after Paris-Nice. The race is going to be a tough one, from the very first stage until the final, but for us, the main goal there will be stage hunting,” – says Bruno Cenghialta, Sports Director.
Stefan De Bod (RSA), Merhawi Kudus (ERI), Vadim Pronskiy (KAZ), Oscar Rodriguez (ESP), Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP), Harold Tejada (COL), Jonas Gregaard Wilsly (DEN).
Sports directors: Bruno Cenghialta (ITA) and Sergey Yakovlev (KAZ).
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya – MAR 22 – 28
Luke Roberts – Team DSM coach: “We’re looking forward to racing in Catalunya and the 100th edition of the race with our main goal for the week to target good stage results. There are some possibilities for Max in the sprint and it’s also likely that some of the stages could go to the breakaway where we will aim to be active with our guys. For Chad, Chris and Jai it is a semi-home race, as they’re based in Catalunya during the season. Chad will be eager for the stage two time trial and Jai looks to be in quite good shape after performing well in Paris-Nice, ready to test himself on the two mountain top finishes which will ultimately decide the GC.”
Thymen Arensman (NED)
Chad Haga (USA)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Jai Hindley (AUS)
Max Kanter (GER)
Nicholas Roche (IRL)
Michael Storer (AUS).
Team Qhubeka ASSOS Seeking Opportunities at Volta Ciclista a Cataluñya
The 100th edition of Volta Ciclista a Cataluñya gets underway in Calella tomorrow. Team Qhubeka ASSOS will field a team that will be on the hunt for opportunities throughout the race. The race has multiple climbing stages and includes an individual time trial.
Our climbing trio of Robert Power, Sander Armée and Kilian Frankiny will look forward to testing their prowess on the climbs in the region. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg will provide a sprint option for us. All-rounder, Sean Bennett, and the neo-pro duo of Connor Brown and Karel Vacek complete our roster.
Kilian Frankiny- Rider: “I have already done the race twice, and I have good memories. I won my first pro race in the team time trial in 2018. The following day, I had a chance to ride with the best young rider jersey, which was nice. It was one of my best experiences so far. It’s always a tough climber race, with a strong starting lineup. The stages are similar every year… So I know the parcour a bit and I know what’s coming up next week. It will be a heavy week of racing. We have a balanced team, with some strong climbers and youngsters. We can take some chances, in the breakaways or a late attack, when the other big teams are looking at each other, we can surprise them and show some good teamwork. I’m really looking forward to the race.”
Alex Sans Vega – Sports Director: “Our main goal is to try and win a stage and we will focus on the general classification with Robert Power. We are not in the favourites for a GC result, but Rob feels motivated so we are going to see what happens and how far we can go. It’s always a hard race, with long stages, and lots of climbing. We have two stages (three and four) which are for the GC contenders, but the rest of the days are good opportunities for breakaways. It’s our plan to be represented in every big breakaway and to try and gain a stage win. We also have Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, should it come down to a sprint. The team are motivated and the good dynamics in the team will give us the motivation to fight.”
Team BikeExchange to kick-off Belgian Classics block at Brugge-De Panne
Team BikeExchange return to Belgium this week ahead of a block of Classics action as they take on the 45th Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne on Wednesday. The one-day race typically comes down to a bunch sprint and the team is armed with a number of fast finishers in the shape of Luka Mezgec, Kaden Groves and Amund Grondhal-Jansen. The experienced Jack Bauer and Alex Edmondson will marshal the squad through the characteristic twisty Belgian roads while second year pros Alexander Konychev and Barnabas Peak continue to get a taste of classics racing.
Jack Bauer (NZL)
Alex Edmondson (AUS)
Kaden Groves (AUS)
Amund Grøndahl-Jansen (NOR)
Alexander Konychev (ITA)
Luka Mezgec (SLO)
Barnabás Peák (HUN).
Jack Bauer: “I always look forward to the Belgian block of racing, it’s one of the hardest, most competitive blocks of the year, but very enjoyable at the same time and racing that I really look forward to. Of course starting with De Panne, it’s not a race of the same level as E3, Wevelgem or Flanders, but it’s still a pretty hard race in its own right, so it’s a good option for me and the rest of the boys to find our rhythm and the feeling of the peloton again after Tirreno, Paris-Nice or San Remo. So we’ll look to get things started on Wednesday and it should be a good chance for our boys with a fast finish, Mezgec and Groves, those style of riders, so we’ll go and play our cards and hope for a good result.”
Mat Hayman (Sports Director): “De Panne is the first in the series of races back in Belgium after ‘Opening Weekend’ and we come here with a strong team for these races that are coming, racing all the way through to Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. It’s a good chance to get back into the routine of racing here. The race starts in Brugge and we head towards the coast, so there’s a chance of wind. There will be lots of typical Belgian racing, so it will be aggressive and we have a couple of fast guys on the team, so if it does come down to a sprint we have some options there. The main thing will be getting back into that mindset after racing either at Tirreno-Adriatico or Paris-Nice, getting back into the routine that we will need for the rest of the cobbled classics.”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne
Sam Bennett and Alvaro Hodeg will be in action for the team at the Belgian World Tour one-day race
Our team has always enjoyed racing in the Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne. Back in the day when it used to be a stage race, the Wolfpack took the spoils on four occasions with three different riders. Then, after it morphed into a one-day event, two more victories followed, the most recent of these last October, when Yves Lampaert attacked and soloed to victory at the end of a day controlled by our team, who placed three more riders in the top 10.
For the 45th edition of the Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, how it’s now called, which takes place Wednesday on a 203.9km flat course, Deceuninck – Quick-Step will look to Sam Bennett – a winner of four races so far this season – and Alvaro Hodeg. The two fast men will be supported by a strong and experienced cast consisting of Iljo Keisse, Michael Mørkøv, Florian Sénéchal, Stijn Steels and Bert Van Lerberghe.
“De Panne is a beautiful race, but also a challenging one, especially if there’s wind, which is often the case in that region. We are going there with a good team, comprising riders who have displayed a strong condition in both Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico. Because of the narrow roads and the wind which can make it really hard and split the bunch, it will be important to stay close to the front and focused all the time. This being said, we’re really looking forward to this race,” explained Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Tom Steels.
24.03 AG Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne (BEL) 1.UWT
Sam Bennett (IRL)
Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (COL)
Iljo Keisse (BEL)
Michael Mørkøv (DEN)
Florian Sénéchal (FRA)
Stijn Steels (BEL)
Bert Van Lerberghe (BEL).
Sports Director: Wilfried Peeters (BEL), Tom Steels (BEL) and Rik van Slycke (BEL).
New Schedule for the VCV 2021
VCV’s 72nd edition will take place from the 14th to 18th of April (2021) after being postponed from last February due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
The Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Gran Premi Banc Sabadell 2021 has announced the new event dates. The 72nd edition of the VCV was originally scheduled for February, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation it was postponed to a later date, together with other 70 cycling events. Now it’s confirmed that the event will take place next April. The race will start from Elche on Wednesday, April 14th and will finish in Valencia on Sunday, April 18th. The race itinerary will be the same as scheduled for the month of February and the best cyclists on the international peloton will be taking part in the 72nd edition of the VCV.
The VCV 2021 will follow all the safety protocols established by UCI and the local authorities, this in order to create a safe race environment for the cyclists and the teams. In order to achieve a safe event environment, the organisation will not publish any specific communication regards to the stage and routes to avoid overcrowding of cycling fans along the route.
The Tour de l’Abitibi Postpones the 52nd Edition
The 52nd edition of the Tour de l’Abitibi, scheduled for July 12 to 18, 2021, and the Tour de la Relève, which were supposed to take place on July 17 and 18, 2021 in Rouyn Noranda, are postponed until next year, due to the current situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
The risk assessment, the health measures to follow in an international event and the uncertainty of financial support are some of the reasons explaining this decision. The organisation of the Tour de l’Abitibi favours the safety of the riders, volunteers and local population, to the holding of this edition.
The health measures and organisational changes required to minimise the risks of the virus spreading, while complying with the government’s and the International Cycling Union’s recommendations were analysed. It seems very difficult to follow some of these measures due to unique features of the Tour de l’Abitibi, such as teams’ accommodation in schools and meals served in the cafeteria, to name a few.
“It represents a tremendous workload for the organising committee. Also, these measures would have quickly discouraged the volunteers from getting involved. The Tour de l’Abitibi must remain a flawless event, locally valued and of international reputation,” said the Tour de l’Abitibi president, Suzanne Fortin.
Besides the 2021 to 2026 agreement with Amos, Rouyn-Noranda and Val-d’Or, the funding of international sporting events is, to this day, still uncertain. Such a wide-ranging event requires careful planning, over several months. The uncertainty concerning the health measures that will apply in July jeopardises the commitments of a regular planning schedule.
“The risks of the event becoming a source of new virus outbreaks was also an issue for us. Out of respect for our valued partners and the population in general, who are always behind us, year after year, the decision to postpone, once again, the 52nd edition was the one to be made,” mentions Mrs. Fortin.
The organisation of the Tour de l’Abitibi is currently looking into the possible opportunities to locally share its expertise and equipment for the summer season. Discussions are to come in order to analyse the various options.
LE TOUR CYCLISTE DE L’ABITIBI INC. C.P. 2054, Val-d’Or (QC), J9P 7H6, Canada www.tourabitibi.com
Economic impact for the region
The activities of the Tour de l’Abitibi and the Tour de la Relève annually attract 156,000 spectators, 17,000 web viewers from 45 countries, more than 200 participants and 500 volunteers. They provide undeniable national and international exposure for Abitibi-Témiscamingue. A study conducted in 2017 reveals an economic impact of $ 1.2 million for the region, specifically in the host cities.
The next edition of the Tour de l’Abitibi should take place from July 11 to 17, 2022, in Amos. As a Nations Cup event, the Tour is holding the highest level of sanction awarded by the ICU. The reputation of this competition has reached beyond our borders. It ranks among the most important junior races in the world. Approximately 150 riders take part in the Tour de l’Abitibi each year.
Tour de l’Abitibi Postponed:
Eschborn-Frankfurt and ŠKODA Velotour Postponed to September 19th
Together with the cities of Eschborn and Frankfurt am Main, the Gesellschaft zur Förderung des Radsports has decided to postpone the anniversary editions of the UCI WorldTour race Eschborn-Frankfurt and the sportive event ŠKODA Velotour to September 19, 2021.
Despite all confidence and an adapted event concept, the implementation on the traditional date, May 1st, cannot be guaranteed. Six weeks ahead of the event, reliable planning is challenging, because major events are still prohibited in Germany due to the pandemic. The new date of the event, September 19th, was determined together with the host cities of Eschborn and Frankfurt am Main. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) today also confirmed this postponement date.
Claude Rach, Managing Director of the Gesellschaft zur Förderung des Radsports: “Unfortunately, May 1st comes a bit too soon this year for the German Classic. It is not yet the time for such a diverse event as Eschborn-Frankfurt, that includes around 5 000 amateur riders of the ŠKODA Velotour. From today it is exactly 6 months until September 19th. We are confident that we will then celebrate an anniversary with all the ingredients that make up the German Classic.”
Claude Rach continues: “I would like to thank the authorities and the UCI for their flexibility and support in finding a new place in the calendar. We will try to offer the pro riders the best dress rehearsal for the world championships, because one week after Eschborn-Frankfurt the world championship road race will take place this year.”
David Lappartient, President of the UCI: “I am pleased that despite the difficult health situation we are currently going through, it has been possible to find a solution for Eschborn-Frankfurt to go ahead this year. This postponement means that the German Classic can make its return to the UCI WorldTour after being cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is good news not only for German cycling, but also for followers of our sport in general. I would like to thank everyone involved in this favourable outcome for their collaboration, especially the cities of Eschborn and Frankfurt, as well as all stakeholders of professional road cycling.”
Adnan Shaikh, mayor of the City of Eschborn, supports the decision: “We are not yet at the finish on our way back to normal. There is a very big question mark as to whether the anniversary celebration of Eschborn-Frankfurt would be possible on May 1st. Looking ahead to September, we are much more optimistic that we will be able to welcome the star riders together with the participants of the ŠKODA Velotour and the spectators back in Eschborn.”
Markus Frank, City Councilor and Head of the Department of Economy, Sports, Public Safety and Fire Prevention of the City of Frankfurt, adds: “The German Classic belongs to the sports city of Frankfurt and especially for its anniversary, the race deserves a celebration with everyone. In the coming weeks though we will focus to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Only then can we open up to an event-summer. The new date is firmly planned for this: the 60th anniversary will be celebrated on September 19th.”
In addition to the UCI WorldTour race, the 20th ŠKODA Velotour, the races of the Süwag Energie Junior Cup and the “kinder + Sport mini tour” will be postponed to September. Related questions are answered on www.eschborn-frankfurt.de and www.skoda-velotour.de.
No beer until September:
Lefevere: “BORA Boss Bruckbauer Wants to Buy Deceuninck – Quick-Step”
BORA-hansgrohe is very interested in Remco Evenepoel. Willi Bruckbauer, founder of team sponsor BORA, even wants to go so far as to buy up Deceuninck – Quick-Step. Patrick Lefevere revealed in his Het Nieuwsblad column.
Lefevere announced last month that 26 riders in his team are at the end of their contract. Only Yves Lampaert, Mauri Vansevenant, Julian Alaphilippe and Remco Evenepoel have options to sign up until 2024. According to the team manager many other teams are looking to sign his riders. “The self-proclaimed king of the hunt is Ralph Denk of BORA-hansgrohe. He sends my riders contract proposals directly, on official team stationery. Legal? Maybe just, but it is beyond the moral case.”
Lefevere talks of a meeting with Denk in a 4-star hotel in Brussels in January, where the German asked for the price to take over Deceuninck – Quick-Step. “He explained that Willi Bruckbauer, the boss of BORA, wanted to bring in Remco. The shortest route was apparently to buy the entire team. It was serious, because he also wanted to know what role I still saw myself playing in that organisation. As they say: you are free to ask, so I have calmly explained the context.”
Lefevere told Denk that Deceuninck – Quick-Step is 70% owned by Zdeněk Bakala, so that he has the deciding vote in a takeover. “Moreover, it is my ambition to continue with the team myself and I talk about this with my sponsors. The deadline I still have in mind today to get that done is March 31. I think I said: if I fail, then you will be the first to hear. Turns out that patience is not Mr. Denk’s greatest virtue.”
The following month, Lefevere received a phone call to ask if he had already thought about the proposal. “And in the meantime he is on plan B with individual contract proposals for Remco and co. Maybe that’s all normal in his world.”
Ralph Denk: “Never Talked About a Takeover with Lefevere”
Ralph Denk, BORA-hansgrohe’s team manager, however, refers this to the realm of fables. “We never talked about buying up the team,” Denk said in conversation with the Spanish sports newspaper AS. “If Patrick wants to increase the pressure on his sponsors with such stories, this may be his strategy. It is true that we spoke with each other.” In his column, Lefevere mentioned a meeting with Denk in a 4-star hotel in Brussels in January.
Denk has a different story. “We did indeed talk to each other and about the future of his team. Patrick told me the future did not look bright. I then asked him what Remco would do if the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team would stop. He then told me about an option and also involved two other riders to put it in perspective. We have never talked about an acquisition. It is ridiculous, because according to the UCI regulations I am not allowed to own two WorldTeams at all,” said Denk, who did ask Lefevere about the status of Evenepoel. “All nineteen WorldTeams are interested in Evenepoel. However, Patrick discovered him and so I decided to approach him first. He informed me that he would negotiate if there was no future for Deceuninck – Quick-Step,” according to Radsport-News.
“I don’t think it’s neat that he now turns the situation around and presents things differently. I don’t normally experience this with business partners and colleagues. I have heard that he now has a new sponsor and that is only good for cycling. So Remco stays with Lefevere and that is the end of it for me. I think it is important to be honest and therefore not to do anything behind his back, but the other way around is not the case. We have to talk again soon, as I am angry.”
Remco, a wanted man:
Kuss in Team Jumbo-Visma Colours Through 2024
Sepp Kuss and Team Jumbo-Visma will stay with each other for at least three more years after the current cycling season. The 26-year-old American announced that this afternoon in a chat session with fans and cycling enthusiasts.
“I’m really happy to extend with the team. For me, over the past three years, it has felt really comfortable for me,” Kuss said. “Everybody on the staff and all the riders make Team Jumbo-Visma a very nice environment for me. The special thing about the team is that everybody understands me as an athlete and, more importantly, as a person. That way we get the most out of each other. I always get opportunities and that helps me stay motivated. We are always striving for something big at this team and that’s really exciting and really special. So I hope to continue that and keep making some good memories.”
Sportive director of Team Jumbo-Visma, Merijn Zeeman, is very pleased with the extended stay of the rider who has achieved great victories in the Tour of Utah, the Vuelta and the Dauphiné. “Sepp is one of the best climbers in the peloton. He has grown into a rider who takes his own chances, but he is also super important in supporting the leaders. He is increasingly becoming a leader himself and we will guide him in discovering his limits in the upcoming years.”
Jannik Steimle Will be on the sidelined After Suffering Several Injuries
Following his crash in the closing kilometres of Nokere Koerse, Jannik Steimle was taken to the hospital where he underwent a detailed examination to determine his condition. It was immediately revealed that the 24-year-old had suffered an AC luxation of his right shoulder, which will require surgery. At the same time, Wednesday’s incident left Jannik, who was making just his fifth outing of the season, a fractured rib, a minor pneumo and concussions. Fortunately, the CT scan he had showed no cerebral lesions. Jannik remained in hospital overnight to be observed.
Jannik Steimle was moved to the hospital in Herentals. After further examination by the surgical team there, it was decided that because of the specific nature of the fractures in his shoulder, it should not be operated on. The medical team will therefore take a more conservative approach to his treatment and subsequent rehabilitation. No time has yet been set recovery.
We would like to put on record our thanks and appreciation to the staff at the hospital in Oudenaarde for the care and attention afforded to Jannik immediately after his accident.
Former Sky Doctor Struck Off Medical Registry
Richard Freeman, the former Team Sky and British Cycling physician, has been banned from the Register of Physicians. The medical tribunal ruled that his license be taken away, which means that he can no longer practice his profession. Last week Freeman was found guilty of ordering the banned doping substance testosterone.
The behaviour of former sports doctor Freeman and his registration in the medical register are fundamentally incompatible. The tribunal has therefore determined that removal from the medical registry is the only correct sanction to protect patients, maintain public confidence in the profession and send a clear message to Freeman that such behaviour is inappropriate for a registered physician, according to The Guardian.
The case against the former doctor has been ongoing for two years. He is said to have ordered Testogel in 2011 to promote the performance of athletes. He is also said to have lied about the order and misled an investigation by the anti-doping agency UKAD. Last week, the medical tribunal ruled that Freeman had “placed the order and received, knowing or believing that it would be administered to an athlete to enhance athletic performance.”
Video: The emotion of Pogačar’s Victory at Tirreno-Adriatico
What a blast! The race of the two seas didn’t disappoint: overall win, stage victory, mountains classification and young rider jerseys. Take a look back on the memorable week that was Tirreno-Adriatico:
The PEZ INSTAGRAM
See our Instagram page for a quick fix on your phone: https://www.instagram.com/pezcyclingnews
The PEZ NEWSWIRE!
Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it on the homepage, just above the PEZ Shop section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.