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EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

All the weekend racing news

Lots of race news from Gent-Wevelgem, Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, E3 Saxo Bank Classic and Brugge-De Panne – Reports and video. British Cycling in more doping allegations – TOP STORY. Race news: Tour de France to start in Bilbao, Adriatica Ionica Race moves dates, U23 Giro d’Italia a 2.2 race, starts and finishes of venues of the 2021 Tour of Britain and Veneto Classic in WorldTour. Team news: Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles new name and Fuglsang and Lutsenko to Basque Tour. Rider news: Sam Bennett on his Brugge-De Panne win, Fernando Gaviria and Jhonatan Narváez out, Harry Sweeny corona positive, Mikel Landa leaves Euskadi and Fabio Jakobsen racing soon? Deceuninck – Quick-Step behind the scenes at E3 Harelbeke video. Monday EUROTRASH coffee time.

top story
TOP STORY: More Doping Problems for British Cycling
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has started an investigation into the British Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD) after news came out that a cyclist under the care of British Cycling was caught in late 2010 with traces of nandrolone, a banned anabolic steroid, in his urine.

In an extensive report Nick Harris in the Mail on Sunday, UKAD is said to have told British Cycling that one of their riders’ samples contained the nandrolone threshold. According to an anonymous source quoted by the Sunday Times, the sample found the “lowest possible level” of nandrolone, prompting UKAD special to warn British Cycling and the rider in question, “because it could indicate a health problem or a contaminated dietary supplement.”

So, instead of UKAD investigating this case themselves to determine the cause of the anomalous sample – as the WADA Code required – they tipped off British Cycling’s management team, which was conducting their own investigation in secret. WADA points out that UKAD should be the authority to investigate the nandrolone test, and not British Cycling to conduct its own internal tests on the banned substance. The cyclist in question was preparing for the Olympic Games in London in 2012 under the banner of British Cycling.

The UK Anti-Doping Agency UKAD responded via the BBC to the case: “Sometimes amounts of a ‘threshold substance’ may be reported by the laboratory in a negative sample found to be below the threshold that requires an investigation. These are trace amounts that can sometimes occur naturally in the body. WADA’s guidelines are that these trace findings can be used to help who will be tested in the future and when, but do not automatically lead to an investigation.”

In a statement, UKAD Director Nicole Sapstead later said, “We refute any implication that speaking to a national sports federation about a sample containing traces of a threshold substance amounts to something inappropriate.”

The Mail on Sunday further reveals that in the years leading up to London 2012, British Cycling was authorised by the UK Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD) to conduct its own secret internal doping investigations on their cyclists. British Cycling’s management team, which in 2010 consisted of Dave Brailsford, Shane Sutton, Richard Freeman and Steve Peters, set up an in-house testing program using a private lab in an effort to get riders under the banner of test the federation with their consent.

The London Olympics were the most successful for British sport in no less than 104 years with a total of 65 medals, including 19 golds, of which 12 were for cycling. “Any allegation that a national sports association tests its athletes privately, in a non-accredited laboratory, to screen for a banned substance, must be thoroughly investigated,” WADA said.

The cloud of suspicion that hangs over British Cycling’s achievements during the 2012 Olympic Games in particular, is becoming increasingly gray. Dr. Richard Freeman was banned from the UK medical registry last week and is currently under investigation by UKAD for two possible anti-doping violations. Freeman was found guilty of ordering 30 bags of banned testosterone gel in May 2011 at Manchester Cycling Centre.

2010 management team, Brailsford and Sutton:
brailsford-sutton

 

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Gent-Wevelgem 2021
Wout van Aert won the 2021 Gent-Wevelgem. He won the sprint from a leading group of seven riders who had been off the front for a long time. Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos) and Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) were second and third.

wevelgem21

The peloton exploded due to the strong wind. Twenty riders broke free, including Sam Bennett, Wout van Aert, Sonny Colbrelli, Michael Matthews, Luka Mezgec, Giacomo Nizzolo, Matteo Trentin, Stefan Küng, Danny van Poppel and Timothy Dupont, they soon gained two minutes. The wind tore the peloton into echelons. Led by Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Alpecin-Fenix, the gap was narrowed to the Van Aert group. Zdenek Stybar, Davide Ballerini, Oscar Riesebeek and Luke Durbridge tried to cross to the leaders, but it was a hard job, in the end they had to drop back to the chasers. The difference fluctuated around 1 minute for a long time. The second time up the Kemmelberg, Van Hooydonck and Van Aert put the pressure on. Only Trentin, Colbrelli, Küng, Matthews, Bennett, Van Poppel and Nizzolo could follow. The nine worked well together and kept the pursuers at more than a minute. Due to the work from Alpecin-Fenix ​​and Deceuninck – Quick-Step, the gap was slowly reduced to under a minute.

The last time over the Kemmelberg was at 35 kilometres from the finish. The leading group stayed intact and saw the first chasing group within 55 seconds, but they did not get much closer. Just after the Kemmel Sam Bennett was in trouble. Twenty kilometres before the finish, the lead of the nine was still at 50 seconds. In the leading group, a tired Bennett and Van Poppel were dropped due to a sharp attack by Van Hooydonck. Only Van Aert, Küng, Trentin, Colbrelli, Matthews and Nizzolo could follow him with 15 kilometres remaining. The seven leaders had all the time for the final as the pursuers were no where in sight. The leading group continued to work well, partly due to a strong tailwind. Küng attacked 2 kilometres from the line, but that acceleration had little effect. Van Hooydonck then kept the pace as high as possible for Van Aert. Küng was the first to start the sprint, but was countered by a very strong Van Aert. The Belgian hit the front and didn’t let anyone come past him. He left European champion Giacomo Nizzolo and his fellow countryman Matteo Trentin in second and third place.

# Read the full ‘PEZ Race Report’ HERE. #

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Race winner, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “As a team we have continuously kept the focus on the wind and the echelons. You know that’s almost always the case in this race”, Van Aert said. “It soon broke open and I was in the right echelon with Nathan. We worked well together and kept control of the race. The confidence in the final sprint was there, of course. I have been encouraging Nathan all along to also survive the last time on the Kemmelberg. He did. That was really super strong of him. I knew I was going to need him a lot afterwards. In the last kilometre he took the lead. A top performance. Hats off to him.”

2nd, Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos): “It was a crazy race today with the bunch splitting really early. We found really good collaboration among the front group from the beginning of the action. In the end it was a really hard race, and the legs were tired, so it was a strange sprint, with a tailwind. I decided to take the sprint from last position, I don’t know if it was the right decision but that’s what I did and I did my best, so I am happy. This is an important result for our team and the Qhubeka Charity. Bicycles change lives, and it is so important for us to bring this message to such an important race as today.”

3rd, Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates): “The race was very good but tough. Together with the other guys in front we worked well pushing hard and making sure to not allow the pursuers to close the gap. The third place in the sprint always leaves a bit of a bitter taste in the mouth, I would have liked to win, but getting on the podium together with the strongest is still a good result.”

4th, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious): “Today was a super fast and long day at Gent Wevelgem. I’m happy with my condition but not so much for the result cause I tried to win or take a podium. With 50m to go, I had no power in the legs. I’m happy with this race, and it’s an important race for me, and now I can focus on the Tour of Flanders.”

5th, Michael Matthews (BikeExchange): “Before the race we had a really good meeting, Mat Hayman gave us a really good idea at around 70km into the race we would move to the front as a team and position ourselves for the crosswind. It worked, I think we got a split of around 25 guys and we had five guys there at that point. That worked really well and then we worked all through the race to try and keep things together and give me the best opportunity for the sprint in the final. There were seven of us left in the final for the kick and I didn’t have the legs to win the sprint unfortunately, but I gave it my best, the team did an awesome job today, so I’m looking forward to next weekend now.”

7th, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma): “This is really fantastic. We trained hard for this and made a lot of sacrifices. Then this is the ultimate reward. They were all fast men in the leading group, but I had full confidence in Wout and I did not doubt him. It is great that I was able to show myself now. I will go to next Sunday with a lot of morale. I didn’t have the impression then (when they first got away) that we were going to the finish, but the gap only increased. It was two minutes at one point. We just kept riding and drove on the climbs. Then it is difficult to come back. The first group was a little bit too big, but after the first time at Kemmel it went more smoothly. Wout said that I was not allowed to be dropped. I had a hard time there and was afraid I would be dropped, but I also didn’t want to leave Wout alone. They did not make it easy for me, but I knew when I was back that we were racing to the finish with this leading group. I felt that I lacked explosiveness on the mountains, but also that I recovered well and that I could also do my work afterwards. Wout is really a classy person. After such a tough race, sprinting isn’t easy, is it? I had told Wout that I was no longer feeling good, but then I saw Küng go and I went as fast as possible myself. That is how I took away his courage.”

Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I came to the start very confident after my win in Classic Brugge-De Panne and knew it was going to be a tough race, but it ended up exceeding all expectations due to the brutal winds that wreaked havoc and split the race with more than 150 kilometres to go. I found myself in a good position, it was the perfect echelon with a lot of the right guys, a mix of sprinters and Classics riders, which was a guarantee that people would pull and be really involved in this move. The gap was small in the beginning, but it then went over two minutes before hitting the hills and that was the moment our chances of making it increased. We all worked well together and we still had a good gap the first time up the Kemmelberg. I felt good on the climbs, although you could feel those hills sapping your energy, but the sensations I had changed the third and last time we tackled the Kemmelberg. I went a bit too much into the red and although I managed to hang in, I paid for this later as my legs were full of lactic acid. I also made a mistake, as I ate a lot during the race so I didn’t want to run out of fuel, but I overdid it and had too much in my stomach inside the final hour of racing, which everybody could see when I threw up. Because of this and the effort I put in during the day, it just happened and I ended up going from one extreme to another, as after this I was completely empty and had no more energy left. I felt a bit better after that moment, but my race was over so I just rode at my own pace until the finish. It’s the first time I found myself in such a situation, but in the end it’s something from which I will learn. It’s kind of disappointing, as I was really hoping I could get a good result, but it is as it is and it’s not something I could anticipate. As I said, it’s my fault but I’ll learn from this and take only the good things from this race, which is that I was in the front with the Classics guys, I felt good on the hills and in the echelons, could produce a solid ride until with 40 kilometres to go and did a lot of things the right way. All these things make me happy and give me a lot of confidence that in the future, when I would like to race more classics, I have what it takes to feature in the finale of these races. I would like to come back stronger here in Gent-Wevelgem and get to fight for victory one day.”

Trek-Segafredo not in Gent-Wevelgem due to positive corona tests
Trek-Segafredo were not at the start of Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday. After two positive corona tests within the team, the American WorldTour team has decided not to participate. Mads Pedersen could not defend his 2020 win. In a press release, the team said: “A member of the team tested positive on March 26. After that, all other close contacts went into isolation. The entire team then performed an additional PCR test. It turned out that another person was infected. We then decided to withdraw from Gent-Wevelgem. In the meantime, we will continue to test before we can safely return to racing.” It was already known, that BORA-hansgrohe would not be allowed to start. After Matthew Walls tested positive for corona on Thursday, the rest of the team must be quarantined.

Gent-Wevelgem Result:
1. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma in 5:45.11
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Qhubeka-Assos
3. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
4. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
5. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange
6. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
7. Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:03
8. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:52
9. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie at 0:54
10. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 1:25.

Wevelgem’21:

 

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Gent-Wevelgem Women 2021
Jumbo-Visma also won the women’s Gent-Wevelgem 2021 with Marianne Vos. After 141 kilometres, she was the first to cross the finish line in Wevelgem. Vos was the best in the sprint from what was left of the lead group.

The women’s Gent-wevelgem really started once the race it the hills. The first time up the Kemmelberg, the peloton split into two parts. A leading group of seventeen riders broke away from the rest, led by Elisa Longo Borghini. Defending champion Jolien D’hoore missed the boat, but was able to reconnection 60 kilometres from the finish. On the unpaved plugstreets there were no attacks in the peloton, so they were all together at the Kemmelberg. Again it was Longo Borghini who set the pace with Katarzyna Niewiadoma in her wheel. A group with Amy Pieters, Lotte Kopecky, Marta Cavalli, Marianne Vos and Ellen van Dijk did manage to close the gap much later, but the collaboration was not good, so a large chasing group was able to regroup. The Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma) broke away. She took a 25 second lead, but it didn’t last long when Trek-Segafredo chased her down at 21 kilometres from the finish. Longo Borghini was next to ride away with Soraya Paladin (Liv Racing).

The two Italian took a lead of 20 seconds on the pursuers, where Lizzie Deignan and Ellen van Dijk tried to stop things. The peloton was led in the final 10 kilometres by Valcar, BikeExchange, SD Worx and Canyon-SRAM which shortened the gap. Paladin was completely exhausted and Women’s WorldTour leader Longo Borghini knew it. The peloton came, despite interference from Trek-Segafredo and Liv Racing, to 5 seconds at the start of the last 3 kilometres. With her last reserves, Longo Borghini tried to stay ahead of the peloton, but it didn’t work. In the sprint, Marianne Vos went for a long one and no one could get past her. Belgian champion Lotte Kopecky (Liv Racing) was second, ahead of Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT). Vos’s win in Wevelgem was the first victory for the new Jumbo-Visma women’s team.

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Race winner, Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma): “It still has to sink in. When you see the images of happy teammates, it is fantastic. It was a tough and nervous race and continuous fighting. In the final there were also two leaders with a nice lead. But when your teammates work that hard, you want to finish it. Even if it was not a one-two-three. The roads here are not in favour of the breakaway, but we know that Longo is very strong and so is Paladin. That is why that gap was not closed just like that. I knew it was not going to be easy, but the team had confidence in me and I knew I had a chance. I tried to stay as calm as possible and to engage at the right time.”

Gent-Wevelgem Women Result:
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in
2. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Liv Racing
3. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT
4. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
5. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé BTC Ljubljana
6. Emilia Fahlin (Swe) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
7. Kristen Faulkner (USA) Team TIBCO-SVB
8. Sarah Roy (Aus) BikeExchange
9. Emma Norsgaard (Den) Movistar
10. Lauren Stephens (USA) Team TIBCO-SVB.

Wevelgem’21 podium (looking for free video):
wevelgem

 

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Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2021
Esteban Chaves won the Queen Stage 4 of the Tour of Catalunya on Thursday. The Colombian accelerated at seven kilometres from the finish and remained out of the grip of the chasers. Adam Yates finished with the group just behind Chaves to hold the leader’s jersey.

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Twelve riders escaped after a fast opening section of the race to form an early breakaway. Lennard Kämna, Antwan Tolhoek, Koen Bouwman, Clément Champoussin, Juan Pedro Lopez, Rigoberto Urán, Antonio Pedrero, Attila Valter, Joe Dombrowski, Thomas De Gendt, Sergio Samitier and Louis Meintjes, all good climbers. Kämna, thirteenth overall, was one and a half minutes from the leader’s jersey and was a danger to INEOS Grenadiers. The lead fluctuating around one and a half minutes for a long time. At the top of the Port de Toses, the first climb of the day, Koen Bouwman was the first over the summit. At the intermediate sprint in La Seu d’Urgell, De Gendt was first and the breakaway’s lead increased to 3 minutes. Shortly before El Cantó, Kämna attacked and took 2 minutes on the break. The group of favourites were at 3 minutes, due to the work of INEOS Grenadiers, mostly by Jonathan Castroviejo and Rohan Dennis.

Kämna was first on the second climb of the day. With a lead of 2 minutes, the brave Kämna started the almost 19 kilometre long final climb, but the GC group was now at ‘full gas’. Dennis did most of the work and ensured a first serious selection. Chris Froome, Marc Hirschi and Marc Soler, among others, were dropped early on. Kämna’s lead was shrinking, he had only 1 minute going into the last 15 kilometres. Not much later, Kämna was swallowed up by INEOS, which was still headed by Dennis. The Australian rode on the front until 8 kilometres from the top, then it was the turn of Richard Carapaz to set a pace which was fast enough to stop any attacks.

The British team had change their plan after a mechanical to Carapaz. They waited for the Ecuadorian and at that moment Steven Kruijswijk put in an attack. The Dutchman was not at full speed and was soon caught by Carapaz, who was now again in the lead. The attack came from Esteban Chaves with 7 kilometres to climb. His lead rose to 14 seconds in 4 kilometres of climbing. Enric Mas also tried to get away from the lead group, but the Spaniard’s attack turned out not to come to much, and the Movistar rider was dropped from the group soon after. Chaves was still about 15 seconds ahead of the group, but there hadn’t been any moves by Yates, Kuss, Woods and Valverde. But they had left it too late for the stage victory, as Chaves stayed out of the grip of the pursuers. Chaves started the last kilometre with a lead of more than 15 seconds, which was more than enough for the Colombian. It is the 31-year-old rider’s first victory in more than two years.

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Stage winner and 6th overall, Esteban Chaves (BikeExchange): “It was a really long way, but I had nothing to lose and everything to win. I was ninth on the GC so there was nothing to lose there, and I just had to try. It was hard because there was a lot of headwind and it was this type climb where you can save a lot of energy on the wheel, but it was a good move, I could stay in front and the legs were really well. The team worked really well to keep me in a really good position, myself, Simon (Yates) and Lucas (Hamilton) and so I tried, I thought why not. It is incredible, it’s like I said yesterday after these hard few months, few years, few months it’s like everything, it’s pay back, and it is a dream to start the season like this. I showed myself I can do it and I just need to keep working, keep believing and keep dreaming.”

4th on the stage and overall leader, Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers): “It was a really tough stage. We had to work hard, given the presence of Lennard Kämna in the early breakaway. Kämna was a dangerous man for the classification and so we had to ride even faster in the lead. Today it became clear again that we have a very strong team. The guys rode really great and managed to keep me out of trouble. I think we have enough lead in the standings now. From now on we can just defend and it is important not to run into anything anymore. The stages on Friday and Saturday are almost 200 kilometres long and very treacherous and technical. It’s important to stay out of trouble. In fact, the stage in Barcelona is one of the toughest stages of the season. From now on we will look at it day by day and hope to save as much energy as possible.”

3rd on the stage and overall, Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers): “It was a good day. We rode slightly old school really. We controlled it, protected the jersey, but with myself and Richie up there as well it was nice to have the numbers so we wanted to save as many guys as possible for the final climb. Rohan rode really well, Billy – AKA Carapaz, because there’s only one Richie! – rode really well, all the way until 3.5km to go. That was impressive. We had a really strong tempo all the way up. Chaves went and he’s obviously not a major threat on GC so we made sure he didn’t get too much of an advantage and it came down to a little sprint at the end. Personally it was nice to take third and a little time bonus as well, and we have all three top positions on GC now. Richie rode the last couple of kilometres on the front because he was cramping a little bit but obviously he was still really strong considering he had cramp! It’s been a great few days.”

8th on the stage and 5th overall, Wilco Kelderman (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was actually a good day for the team, with Lennard in front. Unfortunately, Ineos pulled very hard in the peloton and didn’t really give him enough of a gap. In the finale, I felt good, better than yesterday, so I was able to be in the front group. I’m happy with my legs and the feeling, so I’ll keep on moving.”

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 4 Result:
1. Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) BikeExchange in 4:29:47
2. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:07
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
4. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
5. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma
6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
7. Richie Porte (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic
10. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) BikeExchange.

Volta Ciclista Catalunya Overall After Stage 4:
1. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 14:14:15
2. Richie Porte (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:45
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:49
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:03
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe
6. Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) BikeExchange at 1:04
7. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:07
8. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo at 1:20
9. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 1:29
10. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange at 1:32.

Stage 4:

 

Lennard Kämna won Stage 5 of the Volta a Catalunya. He was part of a 40-man break in a stage with some hard climbs. After a solo attempt by Remi Cavagna and a load of attacks from other riders, the German broke away on the descent after the final climb, 10 kilometres from the finish. He crossed the finish line with a lead of 40 seconds on the chasers. Adam Yates held the lead.

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After 20 kilometres the escape attempts started on the climb of the Coll de Comions (7.7 kilometres at 5.2%). After a few skirmishes, a large group of 40 riders escaped the peloton with 83 kilometres to go, no one was a danger to the GC. INEOS Grenadiers kept the lead under control due to the presence of Steven Kruijswijk. Koen Bouwman took the first KOM. After that, Rémi Cavagna decided to try to ride solo to the line. Matej Mohoric, Thymen Arensman and Ide Schelling managed to join Cavagna. The escapees were kept at a distance of 3 minutes by Richard Carapaz, who was working for Adam Yates, Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas.

In pursuit of Cavagna, Arensman, Schelling and Mohoric, there was a group of Bob Jungels, Marc Soler, James Knox, David De La Cruz, Omar Goldstein and Attila Valter. This was too many for Cavagna, who went solo again. Steven Kruijswijk made an attempt to keep the difference with Cavagna small. With 50 kilometres to go Cavagna still had a lead of 40 seconds. A lead that he would increase to 1:50 in the next 17 kilometres. On the last climb of the day, the Port de Montserrat (7.5 kilometres at 6.7%) with the summit at 26 kilometres from the finish, Cavagna turned out not to be strong enough to make it on his own and a few riders joined him at the front. Three riders stirred at the top of the Port de Serrat. Lennard Kämna, Steven Kruijswijk and Carlos Verona tried to set up a joint attack on the last meters before the descent, although another group caught them including Rigoberto Uran. The Colombian attacked but was unable to get a gap. There was a partial regrouping, as only fourteen riders from the original break had a chance of victory.

Verona was the next to make a move with 20 kilometres to go. Behind the Movistar rider, the group still consisted of Kämna, Kruijswijk, Uran, Dan Martin, Edet, Gesbert and Reichenbach. Verona’s attempt was neutralised. With 7 kilometres to go, it was time for the next attempt and it was Lennard Kämna who went for it. Steven Kruijswijk tried to chase, but the German was flying. At 2 kilometres from the finish, the BORA rider had a lead of 30 seconds. The victory was his, the peloton was 2 minutes behind. Guerreiro finished second, Bizkarra third. Behind a group of fifteen riders crossed the finish line, including Steven Kruijswijk.

Kamna

Stage winner, Lennard Kämna (BORA-hansgrohe): “I’m very happy with this victory. Yesterday, I tried this already, but I went a little bit early. I didn’t have the best legs in the first part of the stage today and I just made it to the group. However, on the last climb I was feeling strong again, so I gave it another shot and I’m happy that in the end, it worked out. It’s a fabulous feeling – it’s my first race of the season and it’s great to be here in good shape and to take a victory. I had a really good feeling at the moment I attacked. Everyone was watching one another and they were a little annoyed that we weren’t working well, so it seemed the right time to try. There are a couple of stages still left, so we’ll always keep trying.”

4th on the stage, Dion Smith (BikeExchange): “It was hard to know which move to go with in the final, you just never know. There was one team EF with two guys, everybody else was on their own so nobody was really riding trying to get Cavagna back. I was on the limit, so I had to just choose my efforts wisely. A couple of guys then got away in the last kilometres and everybody was just looking at each other. I think I surprised myself a little bit because the whole time leading up to the climb I was suffering. Everyone was tired but there was a lot of good climbers, a lot of good guys. I tried to stay calm, and I managed to stay with the front which is good so I can take confidence.”

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 5 Result:
1. Lennard Kämna (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe in 4:29:13
2. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Education-Nippo at 0:39
3. Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:42
4. Dion Smith (NZ) BikeExchange at 0:44
5. Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation
6. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious
7. James Knox (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
8. Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ
9. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma

Volta Ciclista Catalunya Overall After Stage 5:
1. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 18:45:27
2. Richie Porte (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:45
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:49
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:03
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe
6. Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) BikeExchange at 1:04
7. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:07
8. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo at 1:20
9. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 1:29
10. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange at 1:32.

Stage 5:

 

Peter Sagan won his first race of the season. The ex-triple World road champion sprinted to victory in the penultimate Stage 6 of the Volta a Catalunya. Adam Yates kept the leader’s jersey.

catalunya

After the last tough mountain stages in the Volta a Catalunya, Saturday was a relatively flat stage to Mataro. A sprint was expected, but five escapees tried their best to upset the sprinter’s plan. Harold Tejada (Astana), Dmitrii Strakhov (Gazprom-RusVelo), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), Mattias Jensen (Trek-Segafredo) and Antoine Duchesne (Groupama FDJ) had a 4 minute lead on the peloton in the first part of the race. Mainly on the climbs, they extended their lead, but with DSM and BORA-hansgrohe in pursuit, they had no chance. Twenty kilometres from the finish, Strakhov was last to be caught. There was only the Alt El Collet that could cause any problems. The 3 kilometre climb with an average gradient of only 2.8% would probably not drop the sprinters. There were attacks from James Knox, Elie Gesbert and Wout Poels, but without any success.

Shortly afterwards Cavagna attacked. The Deceuninck – Quick-Step Frenchman would normally have had a good chance of winning the stage, but BORA-hansgrohe and BikeExchange were in pursuit and caught Cavagna. Several teams brought their fast men forward, but in the end it was Sagan who was the first to push his wheel over the line. The Slovak beat Daryl Impey and Juan Sebastian Molano, who finished second and third.

sagan

Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was our goal today to go for the stage win, so the plan was to control the race from the start. I’d like to thank all my BORA-hansgrohe teammates for their effort, they controlled from start to finish. It was a fast and great race today. I came here after Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo without a break and we had six hard stages here at the Volta Catalunya, so I’m a bit tired. I’m happy with this victory, it’s a good start to the season, especially after what I went through the two months before coming here. It wasn’t an easy period but it looks nice now. We have one last stage tomorrow, a short but fast one, and I think the teams fighting for the GC will control it. We’ll see however how it plays out.”

Overall leader, Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers): “It was good, it was the first day we didn’t have to work or pull or do anything really. It was about staying in position and staying out of trouble. It was a welcome rest, because like I’ve been saying for a few days, the Barcelona stage tomorrow is going to be super tough. We needed to save all the energy we could for tomorrow. Once you get to the circuit it’s relentless. You go up, then down a tricky descent. You don’t really get time to recover – then you’re already on to the next climb. It’s a real tough circuit. I’ve done it before so I know just how hard it is. The boys are looking good. We stayed out of trouble today and I think it’s going to be about more of the same tomorrow – trying to control the race.”

3rd on the stage, Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m pleased with the performance today. The team worked well as a group and got me over the final climb in a perfect position. I had to brake hard and lost position a little in the final kilometre. I got back up to speed and managed to get a result. It feels good to be back disputing sprints in Europe again and I’m hoping a win will come soon.”

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 6 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) BORA-hansgrohe in 4:23:18
2. Daryl Impey (RSA) Israel Start-up Nation
3. Juan Sebastian Molano (Col) UAE Team Emirates
4. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Qhubeka-Assos
5. Alexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo
6. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R Citroën
7. Max Kanter (Ger) DSM
8. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
9. Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-Nippo
10. Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Soudal.

Volta Ciclista Catalunya Overall After Stage 6:
1. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 23:08:45
2. Richie Porte (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:45
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:49
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:03
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:03
6. Esteban Chaves (Col) BikeExchange at 1:04
7. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:07
8. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo at 1:20
9. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 1:29
10. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange at 1:32.

Stage 6:

 

Thomas De Gendt won the Final Stage 7 of the Volta a Catalunya. The Belgian rode away from fellow escapee, Matej Mohoric, in the finalé and crossed the line solo in Barcelona. Adam Yates finished 9th on the stage to take the final overall victory.

catalunya 21 st7

The final stage in Barcelona was mainly about the climb of the Montjuïc, which had to be climbed six times. First the peloton had to take a lap around the Catalan capital and over the Coll de la Creu d’Ordal and past El Prat airport before returning to the city centre. After a very fast start, 32 riders got together to make the early break. With Marc Soler, James Knox, David De La Cruz, Ide Schelling, Luis Léon Sanchez, Rigoberto Urán, Matej Mohoric, Clément Champoussin, Dan Martin, Thomas De Gendt, Koen Bouwman and Louis Meintjes, there were a lot of strong riders and potential stage winners in the group. After the fast opening start, the peloton eased up and the lead of the escape group quickly increased. Entering Barcelona city centre, with about 40 kilometres to go, the difference had increased to 4 minutes. On the first of six climbs of Montjuïc, there was an acceleration from Hermann Pernsteiner of Bahrain Victorious, but he was quickly passed by De Gendt. The Belgian attacker managed to build up a nice lead, but was accompanied by Mohoric. These two riders started the last five laps in Barcelona with half a minute lead.

In the chase group the cooperation wasn’t so good, this allowed De Gendt and Mohoric, who worked well on the Barcelona roads, to take more time. The peloton was not interested in the stage victory and left it to the front of the race. In the meantime, De Gendt and Mohoric were able to further expand their lead. With three laps to go, the difference with the chase group had increased to 0:45. In the second group there was a lot of attacks, which suited the two front riders as they headed towards the final deciding lap. De Gendt was strong on the climb, but he had to pull out all the stops on the descents to stay close to Mohoric. The decision came in the last lap: De Gendt went full gas on the steepest part of Montjuïc and managed to knock the Slovenian off his wheel. This turned out to be the decisive moment of the stage, as De Gendt crossed the line solo.

This is De Gendt’s fifth stage victory in the Volta a Catalunya. In 2013 he was also the best in the final stage. In 2016, 2018 and 2019 there were also stage wins in Port Ainé, Camprodón and Calella. The group of favourites had to wait a long time for anything to happen. Movistar took over command of the peloton with a few laps to go. The Spanish team wanted to take another shot with Alejandro Valverde, who was 4ht overall. Led by Dario Cataldo, the group was reduced to about fifteen, but the most important classification riders were there. In the final there was an attack from Valverde, but the Murcian turned out not to have the legs to beat the group. After the last climb of Montjuïc, INEOS Grenadiers, with Geraint Thomas, took control and most of the classification riders eventually crossed the line in the same time. The big loser of the day was Sepp Kuss, who lost precious seconds and fell out of the top 10.

catalunya

Stage winner, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal): “I really like the Volta a Catalunya and with five stage victories under my belt, the race seems to suit me really well. I just like the terrain and the variety of stages. I was really disappointed that the race couldn’t take place last year due to the known circumstances. Fortunately, I’m back this year and I could grab another stage win. It is my ninth participation in this stage race and I am successful on almost every occasion. So you can state that the Volta a Catalunya really is a race made for me. In 2013, I also won the closing stage and it feels really special to win in an iconic city like Barcelona. I have to admit that I didn’t feel great the first few days into the stage race, but the past days, I could definitely feel some improvement. It turned out that I had a really good day today and that resulted in this nice stage win. In the descent of Montjuïc, Mohorič always took some advantage, but he kept letting me come back. I knew that I had to leave him behind on the climb because on the descent, he would be the better rider and I would have to settle for second place. When the Slovenian took the lead on the final ascent, I felt that the pace dropped a bit and I decided to attack. Then I hoped he would get dropped and not come back on the descent. Luckily I was able to open up a nice gap and ride solo to victory.”

Final overall winner, Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers): “It’s been a good week. We started off with big ambitions and we ended up 1-2-3 on GC. There’s not much more we can say really. It was the perfect team performance. Even today was a really tough day, especially with this climb. It’s a lot steeper and harder than I remember, but the team had it under control. It’s a really special day. We wanted to win the race but in the end we had three guys in really good positions. We worked perfectly together and we controlled the race from start to finish. Two years ago I was close, I just missed out on that win. Now to come back and take the top step is great, and it makes it more special to see my two team-mates on the other steps.”

2nd on the stage, Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious): “I came in good shape in this Volta a Catalunya with the goal to win a stage. I came close on 3 occasions, but it always slipped through my hands. It’s a little bit frustrating, but yeah, today was the most suited me, but De Gendt was just stronger. I could not do anything to hold his power. It’s still a good week of training before the Ardenne Classics. Amstel and Liege will be the two big goals; I hope to improve last year’s 4th place in Liege. I will recover now, and then I look forward to the next races.”

2nd overall, Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers): “It feels good to be back on the podium at a World Tour race. To be honest it was never really a goal at the start of the year to be going so well so early. But I’ve been working hard and each race I’ve felt better and better. The team here has just been incredible, as you’ve seen on the road. Morale is good and I’m enjoying racing with the boys. It’s unbelievable really to have a 1-2-3. It’s an amazing feeling. Everyone was communicating really well and we’ve got a lot of experience of defending the jersey. Today was the hardest day for sure – Movistar really attacked the race once we got on to the circuit. I was definitely in the hurt box for quite a few laps but I think everyone was. We stuck together well, had strength in numbers and were able to take morale off each other really and keep it under control.”

5th overall, Wilco Kelderman (BORA-hansgrohe): “I think we had a really successful Volta a Catalunya, two stage wins, and a good GC position. It was what we came for here and we achieved it. We had a good team spirit and we can be happy with our performance. As for today’s final stage, it was full gas from start to finish. I tried to stay with the main GC contenders and it was a good race as we finished together. I’m very happy with how my recovery is progressing after my accident in Lake Garda, it is much better than I expected, so I’m very happy with this.”

6th overall, Esteban Chaves (BikeExchange): “It is awesome, three guys in the top-10 overall and three guys in the first group today in the final. This circuit in Barcelona, I think it was harder today than the previous years, but the team worked perfectly. We covered the breakaway; everybody was super active throughout the race and everybody was super committed. I am happy for the results; it gives me confidence for my performance and for the coming races. It is unbelievable for us, for the team, but we deserved this. We worked really hard for this; this is not for free, we put a lot of effort in and this is the result and we need to enjoy it but we also need to keep working for the future.”

8th on the stage, 7th overall and white jersey, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “This final stage was a hard one, but I felt good today and I even tried to do something so I could move up the GC, but it wasn’t possible. In the finale, I remained attentive and followed all the big moves, and eventually I came home with all the other guys. It’s been a solid race for me and I draw a lot of confidence from it and the way we rode as a team, which bodes well for the future Being consistent across all kinds of stages – from the time trial to the high mountains makes me confident that other good results will follow this spring. I had a great time here and I’m happy with my third consecutive top 10 in a World Tour stage race and with taking home the white jersey.”

10th overall, Lucas Hamilton (BikeExchange): “I think this race is up there with the toughest one-week races that I have done. It was a final good day for us with Dion Smith and Tanel Kangert getting into the main breakaway. It just wasn’t meant to be in the end, that group didn’t stay away to the line but then we just drilled it on the final laps and so it was pretty hard all day. In the end, we had three guys there in the final group and finished with three in the top-10 and we can be happy with the whole week.”

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 7 Result:
1. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 3:06:10
2. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain Victorious at 0:22
3. Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ at 1:42
4. Sébastien Reichenbach (Sui) Groupama-FDJ at 1:46
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
6. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation
7. Marc Hirschi (Sui) UAE Team Emirates
8. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
9. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
10. Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën.

Volta Ciclista Catalunya final Overall Result:
1. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 26:16:41
2. Richie Porte (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:45
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:49
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:03
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe
6. Esteban Chaves (Col) BikeExchange at 1:04
7. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:05
8. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo at 1:20
9. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange at 1:32
10. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) BikeExchange at 1:35.

Stage 7:

 

coppi e bartali
Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali 2021
Ethan Hayter won Stage 3 of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, finishing in Riccione on Friday. The INEOS Grenadiers sprinter beat Shane Archbold and Nick Schultz at the end of a short stage of just under 140 kilometres.

After 20 minutes of racing, the ‘break of the day’ formed. Italians Edoardo Zardini, Andrea Garosio, Manuel Senni and Antonio Nibali were joined by Bask Garikoitz Bravo and Colombian climbers Einer Rubio and Alejandro Osorio. The lead of the seven escapees increased to 6 minutes, Osorio was the virtual leader for a short while, but the break was not allowed too much space. The men of Jumbo-Visma, for overall leader Vingegaard, controlled the race and reduced the lead before the foot of the Carpegna. On the flanks of the more than 4 kilometre long Carpegna it was still calm, but on the Villaggio del Lago it was time for the first attacks. Osorio was first over the top of the Villaggio del Lago with a lead of only two minutes. After only 40 kilometres, the leading group split. Zardini (Vini Zabù) and Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) headed off up the road. However, the two Italians were just something for the peloton to aim at, as they had caught the other escapees and were only 1 minute behind with 20 kilometres to go.

Zardini and Nibali were caught 8 kilometres out and there was going to be a bunch sprint from what was left of the peloton. Ethan Hayter was the first over the line. The Brit was too fast for New Zealander Archbold and Australian Schultz. For the 22-year-old Hayter, it is his first victory of the season and his second victory as a pro, he won the Giro dell’Appennino last year. Jonas Vingegaard held the overall lead.

hayter

Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I’m suffering from a cold since the end of Paris-Nice. It’s a pity that I don’t dispose of my full health and potential in this Volta a Catalunya, because the course really suited me this year and the weather circumstances are perfect. Luckily I’m feeling better every day, which I’ve shown today. It wasn’t easy to join the early breakaway, but it was important to try. In hard stages like these it is the only way to achieve a top result. But unfortunately the teams in the peloton decided to not give us freedom. I hope that my health keeps evolving in the right direction and that I can show myself again in the final stage, because the hilly circuit in Barcelona suits me!”

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Stage 3 Result
1. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 3:49:21
2. Shane Archbold (NZ) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Nicholas Schultz (Aus) BikeExchange
4. Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
5. Natnael Tesfazion (Eri) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
6. Orluis Alberto Aular Sanabria (Ven) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Eolo-Kometa
8. Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane’
9. Cristian Scaroni (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo
10. Simone Velasco (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Overall After Stage 3:
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma in 10:37:46
2. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:01
3. Nicholas Schultz (Aus) BikeExchange
4. Ivan Ramiro Sosa (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
5. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:03
6. Javier Romo (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:10
7. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:11
8. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:14
9. Kevin Colleoni (Ita) BikeExchange at 0:20
10. Sergio Henao (Col) Qhubeka-Assos at 0:31.

Stage 3:

 

Overall leader, Jonas Vingegaard won Stage 4 of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali on Friday. In San Marino, the Jumbo-Visma Dane was the strongest in an uphill sprint ahead of Javier Romo and Nicholas Schultz. He also won stage 2 to Sogliano al Rubicone.

On the first climb of the day, a leading group of four men formed, with Manuele Boaro, Abner González, Tzomin Juaristi and Edoardo Zardini. Eduardo Sepulveda was able to join them along with Guy Niv, Antonio Nibali, Alejandro Osorio, Xabier Azparren and Cristian Scaroni. Before the first big climb to San Marino, Johnatan Cañaveral and KOM Márton Dina also crossed to the front group. After the first big local circuit, the leading group came over the top with a 3 minute lead. On the second big lap, Movistar took control. The Spanish team had González up front, but were riding for Matteo Jorgenson. The young American was in 18th place after three days, 51 seconds behind leader Vingegaard. As a result, the early breakaway started with less than 2 minutes on the six smaller laps of 9.1 kilometres.

On the local laps, fourth overall, Iván Sosa crashed. The INEOS Grenadiers rider had a tough ride, but was able to return to the peloton. The difference to the peloton decreased and more riders were dropped. Only seven of the break started the last three laps. Due to several attacks, the peloton started the final climb in groups. Vingegaard, Romo and Nick Schultz were on the front on the uphill sprint. Mauri Vansevenant finished fifth, Ben Hermans seventh. Vingegaard retained the leader’s jersey and will try to defend it in the final stage to Forlì.

Vingegaard

Stage winner and overall leader, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma): “It is again a nice victory for me and the team. I could not have done it without the rest of the team. I knew I could win this stage. That is why I reacted on every attack in the final kilometres, also to stay in the front. In the sprint I finally had enough left to win the stage. Tomorrow I expect a heavy stage, but I will do everything to win the final classification.”

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Stage 4 Result:
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma in 4:26:37
2. Javier Romo (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
3. Nicholas Schultz (Aus) BikeExchange
4. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
5. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
6. Juan Ayuso Pesquera (Spa) Colpack Ballan
7. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:02
8. Natnael Tesfazion (Eri) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
9. Sergio Henao (Col) Qhubeka-Assos
10. Antonio Tiberi (Ita) Trek-Segafredo.

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Overall After Stage 4:
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma in 15:04:13
2. Nick Schultz (Aus) BikeExchange at 0:07
3. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:11
4. Javier Romo (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:14
5. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation at 0:15
6. Iván Ramiro Sosa (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:16
7. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:21
8. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:26
9. Kevin Colleoni (Ita) BikeExchange at 0:39
10. Sergio Henao (Col) Qhubeka-Assos at 0:43.

Stage 4:

 

Mikkel Frølich Honoré won the Final Stage 5 of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali. The Dane of Deceuninck-Quick-Step stayed ahead of his fellow countryman Jonas Vingegaard in the streets of Forli, who won two stage victories and overall victory.

In the final stage, seven riders escaped early in the stage: Mikkel Honoré (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani), Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), Ben Swift (INEOS Grenadiers), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-Up Nation), Alejandro Osorio (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Alessandro Fancellu (EOLO Kometa). They didn’t get a very big lead from the peloton, as Jumbo-Visma were in control. The team of leader Vingegaard never allowed the seven riders at the front more than 3 minutes. To have a chance of winning the stage, the early breakaway lifted the speed 50 kilometres from the finish. This was the end of the break for Jorgenson, Fancellu and Carboni. The lead then remained constant again around 2 minutes.

On the final climb of Rocca delle Caminate, an elite group with Vingegaard, Ben Hermans, Nick Schultz, Ethan Hayter, Mauri Vansevenant, Sergio Henao, Shane Archbold, Antonio Tiberi and Juan Ayuso chased down the leaders. With a short descent to the finish in Forli, Vingegaard and Honoré took off together. At 4 kilometres from the finish they had a lead of 20 seconds, enough time to fight for the stage victory. The faster Honoré stayed ahead of his fellow countryman in a sprint and took his first professional victory. Vingegaard was second on the stage and took the overall victory.

honore

Stage winner, Mikkel Honoré (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “We talked this morning that with two guys sitting in the upper part of the GC it should be all or nothing for us, so we were keen on trying something and going on the attack. The circuit was hard, but I went clear ahead of the first climb and was later joined by six other riders, together with whom I worked well. In the final part of the stage, we lost some guys and the gap came down rapidly, but I kept pushing, and even after getting caught on the last ascent I remained confident. That’s why I jumped together with Jonas on the technical descent and we immediately opened a consistent gap over the chasers. In the finale, I could get the victory and I have to say that it’s an incredible feeling to have my first win with the pros here in Italy. I want to say a big thanks to the team, because this perfect day wouldn’t have been possible without them.”

2nd on the stage and overall winner, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma): “My team did a really great job and caught the breakaway. That was really nice to see. Getting away with Honoré was perfect for me. That meant I didn’t have to parry any attacks from the select group and I could ride full speed ahead. I am very happy with this victory. This gives a lot of confidence for the upcoming races.”

3rd overall, Nick Schultz (BikeExchange): “I think overall it was success, we were able to achieve three podiums on stages and in the end I finished third on GC. After a really, really tough week of racing I think as a team we can be proud, everybody did a really amazing job, in particular in supporting me, so I have to be thankful to them. To be honest, I didn’t expect today to be as hard as it was, it was a tough day and it made it difficult to control and to sort of work out how to play the finale. But as a team today we couldn’t have done anything better, it was just the way the race evolved. It’s a little bit of a shame to drop down to third on the GC, but in the end it’s still a good result.”

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Stage 5 Result:
1. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 3:59:40
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
3. Shane Archbold (NZ) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
4. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
5. Juan Ayuso Pesquera (Spa) Colpack Ballan
6. Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) DSM
8. Javier Romo (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
9. Paul Double (GB) Mg.k Vis VPM
10. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation.

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Final Overall Result:
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma in 19:03:47
2. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:22
3. Nick Schultz (Aus) BikeExchange at 0:32
4. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:36
5. Javier Romo (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:39
6. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation at 0:40
7. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:46
8. Sergio Henao (Col) Qhubeka-Assos at 1:08
9. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Trek-Segafredo at 1:14
10. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) DSM at 1:18.

Stage 5:

 

e3
E3 Saxo Bank Classic 2021
Kasper Asgreen won the E3 Saxo Bank Classic in stunning style on Friday. The Dane had a long solo in the legs, but was caught by the chase group, but he then attacked 5 kilometres from the line and held out on his own until the finish. Florian Sénéchal completed the party for Deceuninck – Quick-Step with second place. Van der Poel was third.

e3

The peloton started without BORA-hansgrohe as the team had to deal with a positive corona test from rider Matthew Walls. After a very fast start, the early breakaway formed. Bahrain Victorious had Haller & Milan, and Movistar had Jacobs & Mas, plus Taco van der Hoorn, Julius van den Berg, Niki Terpstra, Jelle Wallays and Lindsay De Vylder, André Greipel, Alexys Brunel and Rasmus Tiller. On the way to La Houppe, the first of the climbs in the last 120 kilometres, the difference to the leading group was between 2 and 3 minutes as Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma led the peloton. Before the climb, Jhonatan Narváez crashed and Fernando Gaviria went over him, the race was over for both riders. The race went over La Houppe, the Kanarieberg and the Oude Kruisberg, after which the nervousness in the run-up to the Knokteberg increased. At that time, the escapees were still more than 2 minutes ahead.

On the Knokteberg Victor Campenaerts tested the opposition and he had the Belgian champion, Dries De Bondt, on his wheel with some others. The back door of the peloton was open and riders were dropped, the leading group lost half a minute. On the Kortekeer Quinn Simmons attacked. The young American rode off the front for a while, but was caught in the first metres of the Taaienberg by Deceuninck – Quick-Step. Zdenek Štybar and Kasper Asgreen took care of the first selection and Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel joined them. As expected, the passage of the Taaienberg did not disappoint. After Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s display of power, an elite group of nine was created, including Yves Lampaert, Florian Sénéchal, Matteo Trentin, Michael Matthews and Jasper Stuyven in addition to Štybar, Asgreen, Van Aert and Van der Poel. On the run-up to Berg Ten Stene, they picked up the released Milan and Van den Berg from the early breakaway, while Van Aert had to deal with a puncture. As a result, the Belgian fell back to the peloton. At 70 kilometres, the chasing group with Van der Poel descended on the break, so we had 19 men out front. On the Boigneberg, with 67 kilometres to go, Štybar first accelerated, after which teammate Asgreen rode away. The men from Deceuninck – Quick-Step eased off, so that the Dane could take some distance. On the run-up to the Eikenberg, the chasing groups came together. On the Eikenberg and over the top several riders tried to force the pace, but nobody got away. In the meantime, Asgreen was still on his solo ride with an 18 second lead as he started the Stationsberg.

Terpstra went after Asgreen on the Stationsberg. Van der Poel then took over from Terpstra, but had Van Aert and Štybar into his wheel. Stefan Küng brought the rest back, after that the favourites slowed down. Florian Sénéchal, Oliver Naesen, early breakaway Marco Haller, Gianni Vermeersch, Anthony Turgis and Markus Hoelgaard then counter-attacked and took 20 seconds in the run-up to the Kapelberg. At the Kapelberg the six riders were less than half a minute from Asgreen, who held his ground. The next slope was the steep Paterberg. There Van Aert accelerated and saw Štybar, Van der Poel and Greg Van Avermaet follow. However, the Belgian had to do the job alone, because the other three had a colleague up the road. On the Oude Kwaremont, Van Aert, Štybar, Van der Poel and Van Aert joined the six men in front of them, giving us ten pursuers after Asgreen. The strong Dane had a lead of 15 seconds. From the back, Yves Lampaert and Dylan wanted to cross van Baarle and just after the passage of the Karnemelkbeekstraat they were able to join the group of ten. Deceuninck – Quick-Step was well represented with three riders in the group and disrupted the chase. As a result, Asgreen was able to extend his lead to more than half a minute before the Tiegemberg, with still 20 kilometres to go. Just before the climb Lampaert lost his place due to a puncture. The Belgian fell back to Tiesj Benoot and Jasper Stuyven. Van Aert accelerated on the Tiegemberg and Van der Poel jumped on his wheel. The Dutch champion then pulled through, while the Belgian had to sit on. When Van der Poel looked back at the top, he saw Štybar, Sénéchal, Van Avermaet and Naesen.

The five counter-attackers – who became six with the arrival of Van Baarle – were within 10 seconds of Asgreen. The Dane was soon caught. Behind; Van Aert asked for help, but was not given much. There was good cooperation at the front, which made it clear that the winner would come from this group. Asgreen had already put in a lot of effort, but that didn’t stop him from attacking again at 5 kilometres out. Van Avermaet and Naesen tried to start the chase, but that didn’t work. Van der Poel also tried to ride away, but was chased by Štybar and Sénéchal. The battle was over. After a very good race and a solo of more than 50 kilometres, Asgreen took the victory after 204 kilometres and crowned the team work of Deceuninck-Quick-Step. Sénéchal sprinted to second place ahead of Van der Poel in third place. Asgreen became the second Danish rider to win the E3 Saxo Bank Classic after Søren Lilholt in 1990.

asgreen

Race winner, Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “Winning this makes me super proud and happy! Today’s result shows that these races that I love so much suit me and at the same time serves as confirmation of the hard work I put in during the winter. It’s a great day for me, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of this fantastic squad, to whom I am very grateful. My teammates were just unbelievable and showed again why we are the Wolfpack! We wanted to make the race really hard and we did it, and at the end we ripped off the rewards. I felt good today, and also in the weeks prior to the race. I also knew every part of the course, as I did a recon this spring, so I had a lot of confidence during the race. We wanted to win, we were not afraid to open the race early and I’m happy I could pull it off. To win here against the best Classics riders in the world means a lot for my morale ahead of the next big one-day races, especially after a day like this, when I was on the attack for more than 50 kilometres, got caught and still had enough to try again in the finale. I don’t know if I surprised the other guys in the group with my move, but I tried to use that traffic island to put some distance between them and myself so I could get a gap before they could react. I was aware I had one last chance and took advantage of it, knowing that in case it didn’t work out, we had Florian and Zdenek ready to pounce. Racing in this team is a dream come true for me and it feels amazing to play a part in a big race like this. I am happy for Kasper, he was incredible today, and happy for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, as the whole team was superb today. Our extraordinary collective strength was on show today in this beautiful but hard race, which bodes well ahead of the next classics. I’m also happy with my second place, it’s my best result in a World Tour race and it came at a great moment in the season.”

3rd, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “This was the highest achievable (3rd place). I think the strongest man in the race won. First he (Asgreen) raced for it for a long time and then again, and then he kept it is also full to the finish. Obviously supported by a very strong block. But I don’t think that detracts much from his performance. He also made a very strong punch last year in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. But what should you do with so many Deceuninck men? If you go get one, the other will attack behind your back. You just know that. I think I turned the course with him in the pursuit. We have had to do most of the work together. You know that if you are in the lead all the time with ten men on the wheel, you will not be able to unload those fresh men on the Tiegem. I had to go really deep there. Suddenly they pulled everything to a ribbon, a kilometre before the Taaienberg, and actually I sprinted to the foot to keep the wheel. I also skipped the exploration here, as I didn’t feel fresh enough. It is all very nice in those races themselves, but you only notice how hard that has been when you come back. I was good today, but not great.”

4th, Olivier Naesen (AG2R Citroën): “What a race! I am happy with my level of fitness for this race, but we came up against someone stronger than we were. It was a real pleasure to have the two of us working together at the front of the race. But I don’t think there was much more we could have done against Asgreen. When I saw him go, I knew I had to go too, but I couldn’t follow. With this fourth place, I am off to a good start for this period that will lead us next week to the Ronde Van Vlaanderen. I’m very motivated for what’s to come, starting on Sunday with Gent-Wevelgem where I already took third place in 2019.”

6th, Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroën): “It was a good day. I was really happy to be able to follow the best riders in the key moments. There were two of us in the final with Oliver, but we couldn’t follow Asgreen’s attack. Earlier on the Taaienberg it was important to stay calm and we were able to restore the situation. We are getting closer and closer to a very big result, and I have confidence for the races to come.”

10th, Marco Haller (Bahrain Victorious): “We were lucky to finish with a top ten. I made the early break, but in the end, it was quite a good place to be. When the first big splits were made at the back, the favourites were running up to me, and I was lucky to catch another move to survive the key sections. Unfortunately, on the last obstacle of the day, I missed the decisive move, but to come away with a top ten is nice. Obviously, you always dream for more, but there are still a few races to come, so we hope to keep that momentum.”

Break rider, Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “You might think that I’m smiling all day, but it’s actually my facial expression when I’m suffering! We already had to dig deep to form the breakaway, because it was composed of many strong riders. It’s only a couple of days since I rode 270 kilometre in the lead in Milan-San Remo, but this time, my task had a different angle. My presence in the early breakaway in Milan-San Remo was nice for the team, but today there was a bigger goal. The idea was to stay in front as long as possible with a strong breakaway and to achieve a good result. I don’t think I fully realised this, as an athlete you always want more. Haller finished in the top 10 after a long day in the break and I hoped to do the same. Actually, we were caught by the favourites a little too early. I still felt good at that moment and reacted on attacks from van der Poel. Afterwards, I didn’t move when six others tried to breakaway and in the end it was a wrong decision. I tried to help Loïc in the approach to the Paterberg, and therefore I start last at the bottom of the cobbled climb myself. I had to chase and only managed to join the group after the Karnemelkbeekstraat, more than 10 kilometre later. I joined forces with Loïc and Jonas in the chase behind the leaders. During the final 5 kilometre, I attacked several times, battling for 15th place. Actually, I didn’t rest for one moment today. So in the end I’ll have to conclude that I did a good race!”

Matthew Walls Positive for Covid-19: BORA-hansgrohe Unable to Participate in E3 Saxo Bank Classic
After Walls’ positive test result was received and confirmed by a second test, several PCR tests were carried out on all other team members yesterday, all of which were negative. Despite this, according to the instructions of the Belgian Cycling Federation, the team is not allowed to take part in today’s race.

E3 Saxo Bank Classic Result:
1. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:42:37
2. Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:32
3. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
4. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën
5. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
6. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën
7. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) INEOS Grenadiers
8. Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X at 1:28
9. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 1:30
10. Marco Haller (Aut) Bahrain Victorious.

E3 Classic’21:

 

de panne
Brugge-De Panne Women 2021
Grace Brown defied the sprinters in Belgium as she soloed to her first WorldTour victory in emphatic style at Brugge-De Panne.

The Australian made the decisive split of 13 riders in The Moeren crosswinds section with 35km to go, with the 28-year-old positioned at the head of the peloton thanks to impressive teamwork from 2021 new signings Teniel Campbell and Arianna Fidanza. With a host of sprinters in the group, Brown knew her best chance of victory was to go solo and with 10km she launched a stinging attack through a technical section of the course. The 2020 Brabantse Pijl winner quickly opened up a gap of more than 20 seconds as the group began to look at each other. Brown took full advantage of the hesitation behind as she held the chasers at bay and powered to a superb solo victory, her first in the women’s WorldTour.

de panne brown

Race winner, Grace Brown (BikeExchange): “I’m in shock really, because the first half of the race I didn’t feel like I was racing very well, but then I managed to get into the echelon. I was the only one of our team in that group and all the other top sprinters were there, so I knew that if I was going to have any chance I’d have to attack at some point. So I gave it a go, I didn’t think I’d pull it off, but I did! The gap got up to 20 seconds and it sort of held around there most of the time, I think it came down a little bit towards the end, but I just managed to hold on. Teniel and Ari did a really good job in the crosswinds, especially on the first local lap, that created the first split in the peloton and then I think all the other teams were ready for that point on the second lap and that’s when it split the second time. The girls were really helpful getting me into position just before that happened, so it was a good team effort.”

Brugge-De Panne Women Result:
1. Grace Brown (Aus) BikeExchange in 4:03:17
2. Emma Norsgaard (Den) Movistar at 0:07
3. Jolien D’Hoore (Bel) SD Worx
4. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Liv Racing
5. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
6. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Ceratizit-WNT
7. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Trek-Segafredo
8. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-SRAM
9. Amy Pieters (Ned) SD Worx
10. Julie Leth (Den) Ceratizit-WNT.

De Panne’21:

 

tdf
2023 Tour de France to Start From the Basque Country
The Tour de France will be celebrating its 120th anniversary to the day by setting off from Spain for the second time in its history, specifically from Bilbao, the capital of the province of Biscay, in the heart of the Basque Country. Although there were no Spanish riders among the trailblazers who took part in the 1903 edition, the Iberian contingent would go on to leave a glorious mark on the history of the race with seven winners and a total of twelve victories. Later on, the Grande Boucle started next door from five-time winner Miguel Indurain’s home in Navarre, in San Sebastián, on the coast of a region that churns out one cycling star after another.

The Basque Country has produced 21 Tour de France stage winners, amounting to almost a third of all Spanish victors (66) even though the region is home to just under 5% of the country’s population. From Federico Ezquerra, who opened their account in 1936, to Omar Fraile, who brought home a counter-attack on the climb to Mende in 2018, not to mention José María Errandonea, who won the first prologue in Tour history in 1967 and denied Raymond Poulidor the yellow jersey, Basque riders are a force to be reckoned with on the roads of the Tour, even when came up short in the pursuit of their objectives, as was the case of Joseba Beloki (with three consecutive podium finishes in 2000, 2001 and 2002) and, in more recent years, Mikel Landa (fourth in 2017 and 2020). The start in Bilbao may give up-and-coming riders such as Álex Aranburu, Ibon Ruiz and Iñigo Elosegui the opportunity to shine on home turf. It will be up to them to make the most of the opening stage beginning and ending in Bilbao and the second stage, which will also stay within the borders of the Basque country. Stage 3 will also get rolling from the Basque Country. The ardent Basque supporters, a regular sight on the Pyrenean slopes waving their ikurriñas and sporting orange Euskaltel–Euskadi jerseys, will turn out in force to cheer on their boys.

Basque Tour de France stage winners:
Federico Ezquerra: Cannes (1936)
Jesús Loroño: Cauterets (1953)
Luis Otaño: Bourg-d’Oisans (1966)
José María Errandonea: Angers (1967)
Aurelio González: Lorient (1968)
Miguel María Lasa: Verviers (1976) and Biarritz (1978)
José Nazabal: Vitoria (1977)
Julián Gorospe: Saint-Étienne (1986)
Pello Ruiz: Évreux (1986)
Federico Echave: Alpe-d’Huez (1987)
Marino Lejarreta: Millau (1990)
Javier Murguialday: Pau (1992)
Abraham Olano: Disneyland-Paris (1997)
David Etxebarria: Saint-Flour and Pau (1999)
Javier Otxoa: Hautacam (2000)
Roberto Laiseka: Luz-Ardiden (2001)
Iban Mayo: Alpe-d’Huez (2003)
Aitor González: Nîmes (2004)
Juan Manuel Gárate: Mont Ventoux (2009)
Ion Izagirre: Morzine (2016)
Omar Fraile: Mende (2018)

Tour de France stages held in the Basque Country and Navarre and their winners:
1949
Bordeaux > San Sebastian, 228 km: Louis Caput (FRA)
San Sebastian > Pau, 196 km: Fiorenzo Magni (ITA)

1977
Oloron-Sainte-Marie > Vitoria, 248 km: José Nazabal (ESP)
Vitoria > Seignosse-le-Penon, 256 km: Régis Delépine (FRA)

1992
San Sebastian, 8 km (prologue): Miguel Indurain (ESP)
San Sebastian > San Sebastian, 194.5 km: Dominique Arnould (FRA)
San Sebastian > Pau, 255 km: Javier Murguialday (ESP)

1996
Argelès-Gazost > Pamplona, 262 km: Laurent Dufaux (SUI)
Pamplona > Hendaye, 154.5 km: Bart Voskamp (NED)

Key points:
Ø
Bilbao, the most populous city in the Basque Country, will host the start of the 110th Tour de France on Saturday 1 July 2023.
Ø The peloton of the Grande Boucle already converged in Spain for the 1992 Grand Départ, which was also held in the Basque Country, specifically in San Sebastian. In addition to the Pyrenean stages that pass through the country now and then, nine Spanish towns and cities have hosted a Tour stage start or finish. Bilbao will join the club in 2023 as the show gets on the road with a loop stage. The second stage will also take place entirely within the borders of the Basque Country.

At the front, Iñigo Urkullu, President of the Basque government, and Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France:
tdf23

 

Adriatica Ionica Race
Adriatica Ionica Race Moves Dates to 15-17 June
The third edition of the cycling event shaped by former World Champion Moreno Argentin will be scheduled in three stages crossing three regions: Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto region and Emilia-Romagna, for the grand finale.

Adriatica Ionica Race, the stage race shaped by former World Champion Moreno Argentin, announced the new dates of the third edition to be held on June 15, 16 and 17, 2021.

After the year off due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ASD Sportunion organisers are back with a three-day format race, scheduled right before the Road Italian Championships in Imola and ten days ahead of the Tour de France.

The 2021 AIRace breaking novelty is a new prestigious territorial partner, as the cycling event will be supported by Emilia-Romagna Region, which will join in this alliance the Veneto and the Friuli Venezia Giulia regions.

Friuli Venezia Giulia will host the opening stage of the event on Tuesday, June 15th, while on Wednesday, June 16th the race will go through Veneto landscapes until the closing stage on Thursday, June 17th in Emilia-Romagna, where the Road National Championships will be held from June 18th to 20th. “Despite current difficulties, we are working on a new edition of AIRace2 said Moreno Argentin. The partnership with Emilia-Romagna is very valuable to us, considering their huge commitment to promoting the territory through cycling, and we are definitely pleased to establish this new cooperation”.

In its first two editions, the Adriatica Ionica Race showcased many young athletes with a bright future, proposing spectacular routes able to enhance this new generation of riders: the Belgian star Remco Evenepoel, Colombia’s Alvaro Hodeg and Ivan Ramiro Sosa and the latest overall winner, Ukrainian Mark Padun.

“In the upcoming weeks we will unveil the courses” added Argentin, “but I can already announce some gravel sections in the last stage, after the great show we enjoyed in 2019 exalting champions such as Philippe Gilbert and Sep Vanmarcke.”

Adriatica Ionica Race’s organisers announce the presence of gravel sections in the final stage:
Adriatica Ionica Race

 

giro u23
U23 Giro d’Italia a 2.2 Race in 2021
The Giro d’Italia for Under 23’s will be a one-off UCI2.2 race this season. The organisers wants to open the stage race to first-year elite riders, who were barely able to race last year as a result of the corona pandemic.

The organisers of the U23 Giro d’Italia, Nuova Ciclistica Placci 2013 and Communication Clinic, had submitted a request to the UCI to allow first-year elite riders from 1998 to participate. It was precisely this category that was hit hard by the corona pandemic last year and was hardly able to race.

For this, the organisation appealed to art. 2.1.007 from the UCI regulations, which provides scope for an extension of the age limits. That request was granted and the tour is now listed as a 2.2 race on the UCI calendar. The Giro d’Italia U23 starts on Thursday, June 3 and runs until Saturday, June 12.

Tom Pidcock took the overall victory in the Italian round last year. In addition, the Briton, who has been racing for INEOS Grenadiers since this season, won three stages.

pidcock

 

britain
Start and Finish Venues for the Tour of Britain 2021 Announced

● Seven new host venues to make their debut in this year’s race
● Edinburgh to host first-ever stage finish of the race on Saturday 11 September
● Two full stages will be held in Wales for the first time in race history (subject to COVID-19 conditions)
● Unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic to be celebrated daily as part of the race’s Ride for Heroes initiative

Seven new host venues will make their debut on the Tour of Britain route in 2021, race organisers SweetSpot and British Cycling have today announced.

Details of Stages Five, Six and Seven have been added to those previously confirmed for Cornwall, Devon and Aberdeenshire.

The Tour of Britain is scheduled to take place between Sunday 5 and Sunday 12 September 2021, starting at Penzance in Cornwall and finishing in the Scottish city of Aberdeen as previously announced.

Stage One, Sunday 5 September
Start, Penzance*, Cornwall
Finish, Bodmin*, Cornwall

Stage Two, Monday 6 September
Start, Sherford*, Devon
Finish, Exeter, Devon

Stage Three, Tuesday 7 September
Wales

Stage Four, Wednesday 8 September
Wales

Stage Five, Thursday 9 September
Start, South Cheshire
Finish, Warrington*

Stage Six, Friday 10 September
Start, Cumbria
Finish, Gateshead

Stage Seven, Saturday 11 September
Start, Hawick*, Scottish Borders
Finish, Edinburgh

Stage Eight, Sunday 12 September
Start, Stonehaven*, Aberdeenshire
Finish, Aberdeen*
(*indicates new venue for the Tour of Britain)

This year’s race is scheduled to take place following an absence of 722 days since the culmination of the 2019 Tour of Britain in Greater Manchester due to the cancellation of the 2020 event because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be the first edition of the race to be a part of the UCI ProSeries.

Commenting on the announcement, Hugh Roberts the Chief Executive of race organisers SweetSpot said: “We are excited to reveal more details of this year’s Tour of Britain and what is truly an epic route – one that will take us from the furthest tip of south west England, through Wales, and eventually finishing at one of the furthest points of north east Scotland. We want to make September not just about the world-class racing and superstar riders but also through our campaign, Ride for Heroes, to ensure it is a celebration of ‘all things British’ and make it an occasion for ourselves and British Cycling to thank all those who have worked tirelessly over the past year to ensure our wellbeing and safety. The SweetSpot team are determined that not only will there be great racing to enjoy but the Tour of Britain will also be way by which communities across the country can come together and show their appreciation for our COVID heroes over the past 12 months.”

British Cycling’s head of sport and major events, Jonathan Day, said: “Though the Tour of Britain as we know and love it today has evolved since its reincarnation in 2004, the foundations of the race have remained true – challenging and exciting routes, a peloton brimming with the world’s best teams and riders, and brilliant crowds. We pride ourselves on the Tour of Britain being the biggest and most prestigious cycle race in the UK. As we look ahead to its return after postponement in 2020 we’re sure that the riders on show – who will be going shoulder to shoulder from Cornwall to Aberdeen over eight days – will make this latest edition one of the most spectacular yet.”

Event organisers SweetSpot are working closely with British Cycling, the UCI and stakeholders across England, Wales and Scotland in order to monitor the public health situation in the UK and to meet any requirements in place for outdoor sports events in September to ensure that the Tour of Britain can take place safely.

Cornwall will welcome the Tour of Britain for the first time in history when it hosts the Grand Départ on Sunday 5 September. Stage One, which starts in Penzance, will end with a tricky uphill finish in Bodmin some 180 kilometres later.

The race will visit Devon for the 11th time in modern tour history on Stage Two (Monday 6 September). Sherford and Exeter will host the start and finish respectively, with a packed day of racing combing some of the county’s spectacular coastline with a challenging finale through Dartmoor National Park.

It is hoped that details of the two Welsh stages (Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 September) will be announced in the summer, if conditions allow, marking the first time that Wales has held two entire stages of the modern Tour of Britain.

In the north west of England Stage Five (Thursday 9 September) will start in south Cheshire, a day of racing that culminates in Warrington, which will make its event debut as a host venue, for a finish outside the town’s famous Golden Gates.

As previously announced Cumbria will welcome the return of the Tour of Britain for a third consecutive year with a stage (start location to be announced) that will finish across the Pennines in Gateshead, which hosted a stage start in the 2019 Tour.

The Tour of Britain will finish in Scotland for the first time since 2007 with the overall finish in Aberdeen, the final venue on the 2021 route to welcome the Tour for the first time. Scotland is due to host two stages of the race with Hawick hosting the Tour of Britain for the first time and the city of Edinburgh hosting its first ever stage finish of the race before the final stage begins in Stonehaven.

Together British Cycling and organisers SweetSpot will use each stage of the Tour of Britain this September to celebrate and show their thanks to Britain’s key workers and community heroes. Each day will play host to a special cycle ride at the start and finish giving the chance to show our appreciation to the unsung members of Britain’s cycling community.

The full routes of all eight stages of the Tour of Britain stages will be announced in the summer including information about the ŠKODA King of the Mountains and intermediate Sprints. ITV4 will continue to broadcast live flag-to-flag coverage of every stage, as well as a nightly highlights show, allowing fans in the UK to watch wherever they are.

With cycling enjoying a boom in the UK, and hundreds of thousands of new and returning cyclists taking to two wheels, there are a range sponsorship opportunities with the Tour of Britain for brands looking be associated with Britain’s biggest professional cycling event. Opportunities exist from title sponsorship of the Tour of Britain on a national level to regional level positions to support individual stages.

Tour of Britain:
britain

 

veneto
Pozzato Wants Veneto Classic in WorldTour Next Year
Filippo Pozzato has been increasingly involved in organising races in recent years. The former cyclist was responsible for the Italian championship last year and this year he is the man behind the return of the Giro del Veneto (UCI 1.1) and the Veneto Classic (UCI 1.1) in October and has great ambitions with those races in the future.

“We want the Veneto Classic to be included in the WorldTour next year,” he told Tuttobiciweb. “Due to the corona situation and the Olympic Games, we have chosen October this year. But in a normal year, our goal is to run the Giro del Veneto and the Veneto Classic at the beginning of September, about two weeks before the World championships and during the Vuelta.”

Pippo Pozzato, who has Johnny Moletta as his right-hand man, is also thinking of exploring the gravel roads in the Veneto region. “We have two races to get the most out of Veneto. For the Giro del Veneto we have a route through Padua, Vicenza and Verona in mind, while the Veneto Classic goes through Venice, Trevisio and Vicenza. But we are still discussing this with the municipalities,” explained the former winner of Milan-San Remo.

WorldTour for Veneto Classic:
veneto

 

bingoal
Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles New Name
Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles will from now on be known as Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB. The new sponsor Pauwels Sauces has decided to invest more in the project. Pauwels Sauces joined the team this year and after a few months decided to invest more in the team. “Pauwels Sauces is very pleased to become the second sponsor of this fantastic Belgian team. We see that the team is getting wider and that the sponsors are getting better and better in the spotlight,” the team said in a press release.

“The fact that the team gives a home to young talent and experienced riders who still like to be in the spotlight, is an important reason for Pauwels to sponsor this team.” Christophe Brandt, manager of Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB, is very happy with the news. “We are very honoured with the decision of Pauwels Sauces to further strengthen the support already present”

“Our start to the season was excellent, with in particular Timothy Dupont’s victory in the Ster van Bessèges and Ludovic Robeet’s victory in Nokere Koerse. We also have a lot of top-10 results, with ubiquitous riders. These very good results motivated Pauwels Sauces to invest more in our team,” said Brandt.

Ludovic Robeet (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles) won the 75th Danilith Nokere Koerse:
nokere koerse

 

astana 2021
Fuglsang and Lutsenko to Fine-Tune Ardennes Classics Preparation at Itzulia Basque Country
A change in program will see Jakob Fuglsang and Alexey Lutsenko forgo the Tour of Flanders to fine-tune their preparation for the Ardennes Classics at Itzulia Basque Country.

Whilst Fuglsang was originally scheduled to race the Tour of Flanders and line up at Itzulia Basque Country the following day, the decision has been made to prioritise the Spanish stage race in order to give the Dane the best possible lead up to the Ardennes Classics block of racing. Having recovered from his crash on the final stage of Paris-Nice, Kazakh road race champion Lutsenko will use the five-stage race to get back into the racing rhythm before lining up at Amstel Gold Race.

“We start every season with a plan but as is always the case, we need to make changes to our rider programs on a case by case basis. In collaboration with both riders, Jakob Fuglsang and Alexey Lutsenko, we have agreed that it is in their best interests to forgo the Tour of Flanders this year. With the Ardennes Classics a big goal for both riders, we believe Itzulia Basque Country provides the best preparation. Particularly for Alexey, who has been working hard to recover from his Paris-Nice crash, we don’t want to take the risk of racing on the cobbles and undoing his recovery” said Alexandr Vinokurov, Sports Team Principal.

The logistics of racing the Tour of Flanders and then starting the following day in the Basque Country, as originally planned, is difficult due to the current Covid-19 protocol.

“Logistically, it is very difficult to line up in Belgium and then start in the Basque Country the next day, as many riders have done in the past. The current Covid-19 situation has drastically reduced the travel options, and with the need to maintain team bubbles as much as possible, it was a logical decision. The Tour of Flanders is an important race for every WorldTour team so we look forward to lining up next Sunday with a young and motivated roster,” explained Yana Seel, Managing Director.

Fuglsang is looking to repeat his 2019 Spring when he finished fourth overall at Itzulia Basque Country, went on to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and stood on the podium at all three Ardennes Classics.

“Although I was looking forward to lining up at the Tour of Flanders for the second time in my career, we have decided it would be a little too ambitious to race in Belgium and start at Itzulia Basque Country the next day. At the moment, travel is more difficult and with the team’s current Covid-19 protocol, we didn’t want to take the risk. I will definitely return to the cobbles again in the future when I can focus 100 percent on the race, which is key if you have any ambition at the Tour of Flanders. The Basque race is one of the toughest stage races in the calendar so there is no better way to prepare for my first big goal of the season, the Ardennes Classics. In 2019, it proved to be the perfect race in the lead up to the Belgian racing block and I know I will benefit again from the hard days in the mountains,” said Fuglsang.

With his recovery in mind, Lutsenko will take things day by day as he looks to return to form ahead of the Ardennes. “I am feeling much better after my crash at Paris-Nice. I am still in recovery mode, but I feel ok and I am happy to race again. I plan to return at GP Miguel Indurain before lining up Itzulia Basque Country. First of all, I want to see how my recovery is going and how I am feeling in racing conditions. It will be an important race for me to prepare for the Ardennes classics, so I am coming to the Basque Country with the goal of building my form. I will keep going day by day and who knows, maybe I will see a chance to fight for a stage win. Of course, I will also look to help my teammates in the fight for the General Classification and I am really motivated to support the team,” added Lutsenko.

Lutsenko aiming for the Ardennes Classics:
lutsenko

 

deceuninck
Sam Bennett: “This is what I’ve been hunting for years”
Sam Bennett took his first one-day win in the WorldTour in the OxyClean Classic Brugge-De Panne. In De Panne, the Irish Deceuninck – Quick-Step sprinter beat Jasper Philipsen in the bunch gallop.

“Philipsen started early, but I felt that the wind was blowing. So I decided to wait a little longer. I didn’t look at anyone around me, I just wanted to do my own sprint,” Bennett said after his victory. The Irishman acknowledged that he was a bit nervous on the road. “There were too many road obstacles for such a bunch sprint. It’s a big and important race and everyone wants to be there, you have a lot of riders who are under pressure and who all want to get a good result. Then you cannot have that in the final. Still it was a great day.”

The peloton passed through the notorious De Moeren polder several times, but the peloton did not split into echelons. Bennett had actually enjoyed himself there: “It’s a great road to race on and there is always a lot happening. It’s a lot of fun if you have good legs, but less so if your legs are bad. It was very important to win here. Especially because I ride in a Belgian team. And for me personally, because this is my first one-day win in the WorldTour. I have been hunting for this for years and I am glad that it has now worked out.”

The BIG win for Sam Bennett:
bennett

 

uae
Fernando Gaviria Out for a Month with Wrist Fracture
Fernando Gaviria had an unfortunate crash in the E3 Saxo Bank Classic after tumbling over Jhonatan Narváez on his way to the climb of La Houppe. Afterwards, the UAE Emirates rider appeared to have caught his wrist.

In the fall, a piece of his scaphoid bone tore off, the team reported. The Colombian sprinter is expected to be able to resume his training quickly and will be on the sidelines for about a month.

Gaviria started the new season with the Clasica de Almeria and the UAE Tour. Then he drove an Italian block with Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo. After Brugge-De Panne, where he rode to fourteenth place, the E3 Classic was his second Flemish race this year.

Gaviria: “It’s not the kind of photo I’d like to publish but it also forms part of cycling (Instagram):”
gaviria

 

ineos grenadier
Jhonatan Narváez Also Has Broken Wrist at E3 Classic
Like Fernando Gaviria, Jhonatan Narváez suffered a wrist fracture in their crash in the E3 Saxo Bank Classic. Going towards the climb of La Houppe, Narváez fell and Gaviria went over him. Both riders had to abandon.

“We immediately realised that something serious was going on,” Servais Knaven, who was in the INEOS Grenadiers team car in E3 Classic, told Belgian media. “Narváez does not give up too easily. Examination in the hospital showed us that he sustained a fracture in the left wrist during that crash.”

The Ecuadorian will not ride Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders. “Two races in which he hoped to shine. He is also mentally affected by this injury, because he knows that his spring will be over immediately after that stupid fall,” said Knaven.

Jhonatan Narváez and Fernando Gaviria:
gaviria narvaez

 

lotto soudal
Lotto Soudal rider Harry Sweeny Corona Positive
Harry Sweeny tested positive for the corona virus. The Australian Lotto Soudal rider was supposed to start in Bruges-De Panne, but he had stomach problems. In the morning he had a PCR test and it turned out positive.

Lotto Soudal has isolated and quarantined Sweeny and his roommate Tosh Van der Sande in line with health protocols. The 30-year-old Belgian was, unlike his Australian teammate, at the start in Bruges-De Panne and finished in 78th place. He had a negative result from a quick test after the race. Van der Sande feels good and shows no further symptoms, the team says.

All riders and staff members of the team underwent more PCR tests. “Lotto Soudal will continue to conduct more corona tests in the coming period,” the team said.

Harry Sweeny in the Bredene Koksijde Classic:
sweeny

 

bahrain
Mikel Landa Must Give Up Involvement with Euskaltel-Euskadi
Mikel Landa is no longer chairman of the Fundación Euskadi, the organisation behind Euskaltel-Euskadi. The UCI forced the Spanish rider of Bahrain Victorious to give up his role because there would be a conflict of interest. Noticias de Navarra reported.

According to the UCI, there was a conflict of interest between the rider Mikel Landa and his position as chairman of Fundación Euskadi, which supports the ProTeam Euskaltel-Euskadi. He could cooperate with the Basque formation in races and such a situation is not in line with the regulations. That is why the Spaniard had to give up his position at Fundación Euskadi. His entourage does not share the position of the UCI, but accepts the decision.

Landa has been taking care of Fundación Euskadi since 2017. When the then manager Miguel Madariaga contacted him to take over the project, the Spanish rider did not hesitate for a moment. Since then, the project has grown into a professional team at ProTour level. Last year, the team also presented a new main sponsor with the Basque telephone provider Euskaltel.

The orange formation is hoping for an invitation to the 2023 Tour de France, which starts in Bilbao.
euskadi

 

deceuninck
Fabio Jakobsen: Racing Soon?
Fabio Jakobsen has given an update on his recovery on social media. The Deceuninck – Quick-Step sprinter is currently at training camp in Calpe, Spain. “Let’s keep the wheels rolling and hopefully my condition will be race ready soon!” Said Jakobsen.

“Calpe is definitely one of the best places to ride your bike! Have been blessed with lovely weather with rays and good company for training. I am extremely grateful that I could still spent time here and enjoy my rehabilitation,” said the 2019 Dutch champion, who is still recovering from his heavy crash in the Tour of Poland last August.

Last week, Jakobsen announced that he is getting married to his girlfriend Delore. Earlier, the Dutchman said he “sees light at the end of the tunnel” after his jaw operation in February.

Fabio Jakobsen Returns in Tour of Turkey
Fabio Jakobsen may make his return in the Tour of Turkey. “We hope that he can resume there,” said Patrick Lefevere in conversation with Het Laatste Nieuws.

The Tour of Turkey is on the calendar from 11 to 18 April. It means that the Dutchman returns to race seven months after his crash in the Tour of Poland. Whether he is ready for that? “Jakobsen spent a month in Spain with his girlfriend to train. His girlfriend drives a moped. That’s handy. But we’ll see what progress he makes.”

Fabio Jakobsen training in the Spanish sun (Twitter):
Fabio Jakobsen

 

deceuninck
Behind the Scenes at E3 Harelbeke
A flawless tactic and an amazing fighting spirit were the main ingredients of our third consecutive triumph in Harelbeke.

E3 Harelbeke it’s not just one of the hardest classics of the year, but also one of the best, with the attrition of climbs and cobbles lending to a different type of racing, that the Wolfpack loves so much. This was again on show Friday, at the 63rd edition of the Belgian World Tour race, when Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s cobble-bashers were on the top of their game, flattening the Taaianberg and putting Kasper Asgreen on track for his biggest victory to date.

This brought not just a spectacular win, but also some equally spectacular behind the scenes footage, which we invite you to watch now.

 

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