EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!
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So much to report in today’s EUROTRASH: All the World cyclo-cross championships, plus the Challenge Mallorca races and the GP La Marseillaise. Mathieu van der Poel has a bike ride – TOP STORY. Rider news from Brandon Rivera, Domenico Pozzovivo, Simon Clarke, Davide Rebellin, Jake Stewart and Nacer Bouhanni. Team news: Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, Bahrain-Merida, AG2R Citroën, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, INEOS Grenadiers and Nico Roche to be Irish national coach. Race news: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and La Verne Stage Race. Jumbo-Visma wishes the skating team good luck for the Winter Olympics. Monday coffee time.
TOP STORY: Mathieu van der Poel Has His First Bike Ride in Weeks
Mathieu van der Poel has cautiously started cycling again. After it was announced at the beginning of this month that the Dutch rider had to rest as much as possible to recover from his back problems, but he was on his home trainer on Saturday.
Van der Poel rode for 33 minutes at an average power of 178 watts, with a peak of 333 watts, according to his Zwift account. This was his first bike ride on Zwift since December 27. Since then, the Dutch Alpecin-Fenix rider rode outside on New Year’s Day, according to Strava.
During the Gullegem cyclo-cross race on January 4, Adrie van der Poel told Sporza that due to his son’s back problems, “training is not an option in the next few weeks.” A day later it was announced that Van der Poel would not take part in any cyclo-cross races this winter and that he had to skip the World championships in Fayetteville.
Van der Poel on Zwift this week:
World Cyclo-Cross Championships Men – Fayetteville 2022
Tom Pidcock won the men’s cyclo-cross World championship for the first time in his career. There was no holding the Brit on Sunday; he rode far away from all the other competitors. Lars van der Haar and Eli Iserbyt took the silver and bronze medals.
Lars van der Haar impressed with his quick start and Toon Aerts with his attack. A small, compact peloton crossed the finish line after the first lap. The group included all the usual stars plus Clément Venturini and Kevin Kuhn. Venturini turned out to be perhaps the biggest surprise for the men, because after 20 minutes the Frenchman tried to thin out the peloton with a solid turn on the front. The 28-year-old rider succeeded quite well. With 6 laps to go, ten riders remained in contention for the World title, including the 5 top favourites;
Tom Pidcock, Eli Iserbyt, Toon Aerts, Michael Vanthourenhout and Lars van der Haar, plus Daan Soete, Laurens Sweeck, Corne van Kessel, Kevin Kuhn and of course Venturini. A lap later, Pidcock decided his time had come for an attack. On the long climb, the Brit hit it hard: nobody was able to follow, Pidcock’s first attack was the winner. Iserbyt counter-attacked, but like everyone else, he quickly lost ground.
Behind Iserbyt and Pidcock, Venturini who was competing for third place with Aerts, Vanthourenhout and Van der Haar, tried again. The Frenchman swept up Iserbyt with the Belgians and Dutch on his wheel. The situation was that we had four Belgians, a Dutchman and a Frenchman unsuccessfully chasing a Briton who was getting further and further ahead of the group. Pidcock had taken a lead of 40 seconds, the battle for silver and bronze started behind the Briton. Van der Haar seemed to be the best of the six pursuers, as he put in a solid acceleration on the final climb two laps before the finish, only Iserbyt could follow. The Belgian was unable to get in front. A sprint would eventually decide who would grab the silver behind new World champion Pidcock. Van der Haar couldn’t drop Iserbyt, but in the sprint the Dutchman turned out to be faster than the Belgian.
Men World Cyclo-Cros Champion, Tom Pidcock (GB): “It was a super tough race. It was like war. Yet I saw an opportunity. It turned out well in the end. I think it might have been difficult to become world champion without Wout and Mathieu. Because they are not there, everyone expects it to get easier, which made it harder mentally. I had been in America for a week. That meant that the stress also built up. I couldn’t deal with it very well. Fortunately it has not all been in vain, I am curious what the rest of 2022 has in store.”
2nd, Lars van der Haar (Ned): “I met someone today who chose a better moment. I lost gold. This was the highest achievable after the situation that had arisen in the race. That jersey would have looked good on me too. No, I was really good today. I don’t think the Belgians can blame themselves. They kept popping gaps for me, sacrificing themselves for Iserbyt after Pidcock drove away, so the tactic is understandable. It was too much, wasn’t it? No kidding: I’ve had a really good season. I was really comfortable in my own skin.”
3rd, Eli Iserbyt (Bel): “I don’t think we did anything wrong. We’ve been knocked down. When Pidcock went, I thought wow and knew immediately what time it was. Just before that, we had tried with Toon Aerts, Michael Vanthourenhout and Laurens Sweeck, so we really did everything we could. I also saw from the beginning that Pidcock still had something. Maybe a shame I wasn’t right in his wheel when he went, but I don’t know if that would have mattered. It’s deserved. Pidcock is someone who certainly wants to ride cross and also always makes the cross when he participates, so I have to accept it and look forward. I’m also satisfied with this World championships. The organisation was great. In terms of audience, it was worth it. It is certainly an idea to return to the United States once every few years.”
World Cyclo-Cross Championships Men – Fayetteville Result:
1. Tom Pidcock (GB) in
2. Lars van der Haar (Ned) at 0:30
3. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) at 0:32
4. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) at 0:52
5. Clement Venturini (Fra) at 0:57
6. Toon Aerts (Bel) at 1:02
7. Jens Adams (Bel) at 1:06
8. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) at 1.16
9. Kevin Kuhn (Swi) at 1:36
10. Daan Soete (Bel) at 1:44.
World Cyclo-Cross Championships Women – Fayetteville 2022
Marianne Vos became World cyclo-cross champion for the eighth time in her career in Fayetteville on Saturday. The 34 year-old rider fought a duel with Lucinda Brand. In the sprint Vos had the better legs. Italy’s Silvia Persico gave Italy a bronze medal.
Lucinda Brand, the defending champion, and Marianne Vos, multi-champion were the top favourites for Saturday. In the opening lap, Brand put the pressure on to split the opposition. This turned out to be a successful tactic, after one lap the field was in pieces.
Brand, Vos and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado rode away from the opposition, the Italian Silvia Persico tried to follow the three Dutch women. Brand had no intention of easing off and kept up the speed on the second lap. Vos able to follow, but for Alvarado it was too fast and had to let Brand and Vos go. With four laps to go, Brand and Vos were in a fierce battle for the World title, while Alvarado and Persico duelled for third place. At the front, Brand did most of the work, but on the fast course it was not easy to ride Vos off her wheel. Brand tried to overpower her teammate, but only at the start the fifth lap Vos decided to do some work for the first time. Vos rode on the front with some reserve, in order to save energy for the final.
Vos was not tempted to attack until the penultimate lap. The multi-world champion tried to drop Brand on the long climb, but Brand was not going to give up. Vos couldn’t make the difference uphill, so she tried on the descent, again without success. The two Dutch women started the last lap together. Vos and Brand handed out a few little jumps in the last lap, but both were very evenly matched and so a sprint would decide the 2022/23 World champion. Brand started the sprint, but she turned out to be no match for the faster Vos who took her eighth cross World title. Brand had to settle for the silver medal. The bronze medal went to a very happy Persico, who took full advantage of a slip by Alvarado.
Women World Cyclo-Cros Champion, Marianne Vos (Ned): “I really can’t believe it. This is really unbelievable. You don’t often think about your career towards a World championships. I really can’t believe it. It was really very difficult. Lucinda is hard to beat and I knew that. She put pressure on during the race and I tried to. However, it was difficult to pull away, so I had to stay calm and do the right things in the final lap and focus on the sprint.” Has anything changed since her first rainbow in 2006? “Not much has changed. I just continued on the same footing and I try to do the right things. I also get a lot of support from my family and the team. I am really very grateful to be here now and to be World champion again.”
2nd, Lucinda Brand (Ned): “I did everything I could. I can’t blame myself. We know each other very well and she knows very well how to handle it. I know that too. But yes, she has a big weapon that I don’t have. At one point we almost stopped. Then I thought: if Marianne starts now, she will also have three meters. I also chose eggs for my money and tried to make a long sprint out of it. Maybe she will put the ceiling, but there was no stopping it. It was sometimes running and standing still towards the final. There were times when we wanted to push each other. Then you end up at a somewhat slower pace, but we certainly raced hard. Am I frustrated? Frustration is not the right word. Of course I prefer to race full throttle all the time, but this is also part of it. We know that about each other. I did everything I could and I have had a great season.”
3rd, Silvia Persico (Ita): “I didn’t expect this, although I secretly hoped for it. After my Italian title I believed in myself a lot more. I want to thank the entire Italian squad, my pro team and my trainer for the support. I was able to work towards this World championships in peace. During the race I didn’t give up and kept fighting until the finish. Bronze, I still can’t believe it. This means a lot to me. I have sacrificed a lot in recent months.”
World Cyclo-Cross Championships Women – Fayetteville Result:
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) in 55:00
2. Lucinda Brand (Ned) at 0:01
3. Silvia Persico (Ita) at 0:51
4. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) at 1:04
5. Yara Kastelijn (Ned) at 1:05
6. Manon Bakker (Ned)
7. Maghalie Rochette (Can) at 1:39
8. Hélène Clauzel (Fra) at 1:59
9. Inge van der Heijden (Ned)
10. Sanne Cant (Bel) at 2:12.
World Cyclo-Cross Championships U23 Men – Fayetteville Result:
1. Joran Wyseure (Bel) in 49:21
2. Emiel Verstrynge (Bel) at 13
3. Thibau Nys (Bel) at 0:33.
U23 Men Cyclo-Cross Champion, Joran Wyseure (Bel): “Normally my start isn’t that good, but I was pretty good today. In the second lap I decided to push hard on the climb, to see what it would bring me. I managed to get a few metres and my plan was to ride at my own pace throughout the race. My own pace was enough for the win. This is really not normal. I am very happy with this performance. At the Belgian championships (Middelkerke) Emiel was the strongest and I came third. Today the roles are reversed. I am happy for Emiel and also for myself.”
World Cyclo-Cross Championships U23 Women – Fayetteville Result:
1. Puck Pieterse (Ned) in 46:27
2. Shirin van Anrooij (Ned)
3. Fem van Empel (Ned) at 0:12.
U23 Women Cyclo-Cross Champion, Puck Pieterse (Ned): “I put everything on the last lap. It was a strange race. The three of us kept together well. No one managed to ride away. So I tried again on the long climb on the last lap, but that’s not where I made the difference. At that hill, just before a bend, I suddenly heard people shouting that I had a gap. Then I went full. It was so close. I had no idea at first that I had won. It’s really cool that the three of us are on stage. We knew it was possible, because we were all favourites. We just had no idea in what order that would be.”
World Cyclo-Cross Championships Junior Women – Fayetteville Result:
1. Zoe Bäckstedt (GB) in 41:16
2. Leonie Bentveld (Ned) at 0:32.
3. Lauren Molengraaf (Ned) at 0:57.
Junior Women Cyclo-Cross Champion, Zoe Bäckstedt (GB): “To be honest, I’m shocked. I had a pretty good season on the road and in the cross. But because of corona I was unlucky and missed the World Cup and had to miss the British national championship. However, it did ensure that I fought back stronger and could provide some extra fire today. I spoke to my coach before the race and I wondered: am I going to attack right away on the first climb? He said if I felt good I should go for it. I started the climb second, threw my cards on the table and rode up as fast as I could. Then I kept going. Every lap I went up the climb as hard as I could because I knew I could make a difference there. For the rest I had to check and make sure I wouldn’t fall. It was a pretty good day!”
World Cyclo-Cross Championships Junior Men – Fayetteville Result:
1. Jan Christen (Swi) in 43:11
2. Aaron Dockx (Bel) at 0:01
3. Nathan Smith (GB) at 0:01.
Junior Men Cyclo-Cross Champion, Jan Christen (Swi): “It was very tough. I knew Aaron might be stronger in the sprint, so I focused on the last lap and then tried to go all-in. In the end I took the win: I’m very happy. We had one goal this season and that was the World championships. I just wanted to win, that it worked is fantastic. I can not believe it.”
Grand Prix Cycliste de Marseille 2022
Amaury Capiot won the GP La Marseillaise on Sunday. The Belgian of Arkéa Samsic defeated the Dane Mads Pedersen and the Spaniard Francisco Galván in the sprint, after everything had come together on the last descent to the finish after an active race.
The French season started on Sunday with the GP La Marseillaise, a tough race over 174.5 kilometres in and around the city of Marseille with climbs such as the Pas de la Couelle, the Col d’Espigoulier, the Col de l’Ange, the Route the Crêtes and the Col de la Gineste. The finish is in front of the Stade Vélodrome, the home of football club Olympique Marseille.
Quentin Jauregui (B&B Hotels-KTM) and Eugenio Sánchez (Kern Pharma) were the first attackers of the day and were joined by Lindsay De Vylder (Sport Vlaanderen). More riders tried to jump across, but everything came together again. It was Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels-KTM), Louis Blouwe (Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces-WB), Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen), Danny van der Tuuk (Kern Pharma), Nicolas Debeaumarché (St Michel-Auber93) and Clément Carisey (Go Sport) who formed the next break. Van Poucke was dropped, while Jordan Jegat (U Nantes Atlantique) and Julien Amadori (Nice Métropole Côte d’Azur) were able to get across. The seven built up their lead and after 30 kilometres they had more than 7 minutes. Thanks to the work of Groupama-FDJ, AG2R Citroën and Trek-Segafredo, the lead was slowly reduced, Amadori was dropped.
On the Col d’Espigoulier, the lead of Gougeard, Blouwe, Van der Tuuk, Debeaumarché, Carisey and Jegat was less than 5 minutes. Jegat was next to be dropped. Leading up to the climb of the Route de Crêtes, EF Education-EasyPost and AG2R Citroën drove the pursuit. On the climb, Blouwe couldn’t hang on, while Alberto Bettiol attacked the peloton. The Italian was caught, but tried again moments later. The leading group fell apart and in the end Gougeard and Debeaumarché remained together at the front. Not only Bettiol made a move, so did Diego Ulissi. After the Italian had made an unsuccessful attack, he managed to get away with Sandy Dujardin. Ulissi and Dujardin picked up the dropped Van der Tuuk and rode to the two remaining attackers together with the Dutchman. In the peloton, Trek-Segafredo took over control with a 50 second gap to the front riders. The leading group broke up on the ascent of the Pas d’Ouillier. Van der Tuuk was the first to be left and then Debeaumarché, Dujardin and Gougeard lost connection from the front one by one, leaving Ulissi alone. With 30 kilometres to go, just before the top of the Pas d’Ouillier, Guillaume Martin attacked from the peloton. The Cofidis rider picked up Dujardin, Gougeard and Debeaumarché, while Alexis Brunel caught up. This group quickly gained ground on Ulissi and joined the Italian 20 kilometres from the finish.
UAE Team Emirates had the race under control with Brunel and Ulissi up front, 40 seconds ahead of the peloton. With 17 kilometres to go, the attackers started the Col de la Gineste (7.6 kilometres 3% average). Martin attacked at the start of the climb taking Brunel with him. The Cofidis rider was the better climber and quickly rode away from his compatriot to continue alone. Benoît Cosnefroy attacked from the peloton, which led to a reaction from several riders. Cosnefroy had the intention of forcing a reaction, but the moment he looked back, everything came back together again. Trek-Segafredo got it going again. Martin was 40 seconds ahead, while Brunel, Ulissi and Dujardin were caught again. The only remaining leader just couldn’t cope with the big peloton and was caught on the descent to the finish in Marseille. Then it was up to the sprinter’s trains. UAE Team Emirates took control again, while the other teams tried to position their fast men as best as possible for the sprint. Arkéa Samsic’s train came up on the finishing straight on the right side of the road, after which Amaury Capiot was put on Mads Pedersen’s wheel. For a moment the Belgian was in danger of being closed in, but he kept a cool head. Edvald Boasosn Hagen started the sprint, after which Pedersen passed him. It was Capiot who finally timed his spring perfectly. Capiot started the season strongly a week ago with second place in the Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana. The GP La Marseillaise is his first professional win.
Race winner, Amaury Capiot (Arkea Samsic): “The team did a very good job for me in the final of this edition of La Marseillaise. Maxime Bouetduring the last twenty kilometres the “regional” of the stage was a perfect guide for all of us on these roads that he knows by heart. I really want to salute everyone’s work, I am happy because this is my first success in the professional ranks. I am starting my eighth pro season and this was what I was looking for this year. Nairo, Warren and Nacer are the designated leaders to win the most races, but behind them there is also a group of riders including Connor, Dan or me and we can also win races. It’s good for the team to win with riders who are not leaders when they have their chance. Connor had carte blanche until the Crêtes, after that it was all for me. I would like to thank once again the whole team who supported me perfectly in the difficulties of the day. Everyone was exemplary in putting me in the right place before the sprint.”
Grand Prix Cycliste de Marseille Result
1. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkéa Samsic in 4:31:11
2. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
3. Francisco Galván (Spa) Kern Pharma
4. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) TotalEnergies
5. Benoît Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R Citroën
6. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Cofidis
7. Georg Zimmermann (Ger) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
8. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
10. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-EasyPost.
Challenge Mallorca – Trofeo Alcúdia: Port d’Alcúdia-Port d’Alcúdia 2022
The Trofeo Port d’Alcúdia, the second race of the Challenge Mallorca, was won by Biniam Girmay. The 21-year-old Eritrean of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert was the fastest sprinter of a large group after a race of more than 170 kilometres. Ryan Gibbons was second, ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo.
The Trofeo Port d’Alcúdia was held on the east side of Mallorca on the flatter roads of the Spanish island, with a tough final. On the first part of the route there were some short climbs, but later in the race was the Coll de Sa Batalla. There was a break of four: Mikel Bizkarra (Euskatel-Euskadi), Tuur Dens (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Yentl Vandevelde (Minerva Cycling) and Raul Colombo (Work Service Vitalcare Vega), they took a maximum lead of more than 5 minutes. In the peloton; BikeExchange were working for Michael Matthews. The Australian team had some help from Israel-Premier Tech, who had Giacomo Nizzolo and Rudy Barbier for the sprint.
With the approach of the finish, the lead of the four slowly decreased. The better climbers started to move forward, but the Coll de Sa Batalla (8.8km at 4.6%) didn’t prove difficult enough to thin the peloton by much. Some riders were dropped, but they started the last 20 flatter kilometres with a large group. With 15 kilometres to go, the last of the break was caught and the race prepared for a sprint. In the last 10 kilometres BORA-hansgrohe, Movistar and UAE Team Emirates took care of the work as they wanted a bunch sprint. And we also got a sprint after about four hours of racing. All eyes were on Nizzolo and Pascal Ackermann, but they turned out to be no match for Biniam Girmay. The promising Eritrean, crossed the finish line first. The Eritrean won the Classic Grand Besançon Doubs last year and second in the U23 World championships in Leuven.
Race winner, Biniam Girmay Hailu (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I am overwhelmed by this victory and the euphoria of all members of the team! It’s really nice to start the season like this and to continue our fantastic winning spirit from last fall. I started the year with a lot of confidence, but it’s fantastic that I was able to beat some of the world’s best sprinters here in my second day of racing. Before that I had to survive the long climb in the final. I really suffered, but thanks to the help of my teammates with the positioning I was able to start the sprint with good legs. I am grateful for their support throughout the race, we are a really close group. And I also want to thank the staff. I like the courses and pleasant weather conditions here in Mallorca, it is the very first time I visit this beautiful island. I hope to keep the momentum going in my next races of the Mallorca Challenge this Saturday and Sunday!”
3rd, Giacomo Nizzolo (UAE Team Emirates): “As expected, some teams pushed through on the last climb. It was really hard for the sprinters. In the final I was a little too far ahead of the sprint. Once I was in a good position again, I decided to start the sprint. I started the sprint early, too early. I’d rather have this than wait too long. I saw them doubting the lead of the pack and so I decided to start my sprint. That’s how it goes in sprints. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
2nd, Ryan Gibbons (UAE Team Emirates): “The original plan today was to ride for Ackermann but in the end the final corner with 700m to go was quite a bit sharper and narrower than we had anticipated and things changed. As we approached that final corner we got caught a bit out of position and he was boxed in and I had an open road so I tried to salvage something. I came a bit too fast, too late but happy to get second place. Yesterday the team was phenomenal with 1st and 2nd and we’re very confident for the next three races here in Mallorca.”
Challenge Mallorca – Trofeo Alcúdia: Port d’Alcúdia-Port d’Alcúdia Result:
1. Biniam Girmay Hailu (Eri) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in 3:50:48
2. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) UAE Team Emirates
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Israel-Premier Tech
4. Iván García Cortina (Spa) Movistar
5. Matis Louvel (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
6. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
7. Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis
8. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) UAE Team Emirates
9. Jesús Ezquerra (Spa) Burgos-BH
10. Lawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën.
Challenge Mallorca – Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana (Lloseta) 2022
Tim Wellens won the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana on Friday. After a tough race over the Puig Major, he was the strongest at the finish in Lloseta in a sprint from a seven-rider leading group. Alejandro Valverde was second, Simon Clarke third.
From Lloseta the course first went over the Coll de Femenies, then returning to Lloseta to climb the Coll de Orient, the Coll de Sóller and the Puig Major in the last 90 kilometres: with more than 3,000 metres climbing, it was going to be a tough day in the saddle.
Early in the race, a seven-man breakaway formed, including: Jacopo Mosca (Trek-Segafredo), Jokin Murguialday (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Julen Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Raúl García (Kern Pharma), Kevin Vauquelin (Arkéa Samsic), Sander De Pestel (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and initially Sven Burger (BEAT Cycling). The Dutchman had some bad luck and was dropped. Diego Rosa (EOLO-Kometa) chased for some time, but was also caught.
The six leaders took more than 4 minutes from the peloton in the first half of the race, as BORA-hansgrohe and Movistar controlled the peloton. In the second half of the race, the peloton started to pick up the pace and the gap to the leading group slowly narrowed. On the Sóller, Mosca and García tried to attack in the break, but the others managed to pull them back. Movistar took a big bite of the lead of the leading group. After Sóller, Murguialday and Van Pestel were no longer there, leaving Mosca, Irizar, García and Vauquelin at the front, while their lead narrowed more and more. At the foot of the Puig Major they had only 1 minute as the road started to go up. Mosca and Irizar struggled to keep up and in the end they had to let García and Vauquelin go. From the peloton, Ben Zwiehoff and Élie Gesbert tried to cross to the two escapees. At 6 kilometres from the top, García and Vauquelin were caught and Alejandro Valverde attacked. His attack then led to a lead group of nine riders, including Valverde, Enric Mas, Brandon McNulty, Emanuel Buchmann, Ben Zwiehoff, Simon Clarke, Tim Wellens, Kobe Goossens, Élie Gesbert and Warren Barguil. Mas then attacked and the Spaniard took Gesbert with him, while behind Zwiehoff and Barguil had to let go. The other six riders were able to catch Mas and Gesbert.
After his effort, Gesbert had a hard time and had to let the rest of the leading group go, but was able to catch up with Valverde, Mas, McNulty, Buchmann, Clarke, Wellens and Goossens. After Sóller there was still more climbing, so Gesbert had to leave a gap and eventually drop back to Zwiehoff and Barguil. On the next hill, 21 kilometres from the finish, Valverde attacked again. The 41-year-old got a gap, but was soon caught again. The attacks in the leading group came one after the other, as Mas, Buchmann and Clarke tried, but started the descent together to the finish in Lloseta for a sprint to decide the victory. Wellens and Valverde were equal in the final straight, with the Spaniard having to hold back just before the line as Wellens crossed it. The race jury discussed the final sprint, but came to the conclusion that no irregularities had occurred. For Wellens it was his fifth victory in the Challenge Mallorca. In 2017 he won the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana and the Trofeo Andratx-Mirador des Colomer. In 2018 he won the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana, in 2019 the Trofeo de Tramuntana Sóller-Deia.
Race winner, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “On the Puig Major the pace was very high, but I managed to hold on. Afterwards, there were some attacks, but nobody could get away. Because I knew the finish, I knew I had to be first or second after the final turn. I came out first and managed to hold it to the finish-line. I have felt very good since the moment we started racing here. During training, it might not have been that great, but after I had pinned those first numbers, I have felt very good.”
2nd, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “Wellens apologised, he said sorry when he came on the podium. There may be a reason for that. He really deviated from his line and went from right to left. I was riding next to him and if I could have continued I would have had some left. But when he saw me advancing, we went further and further to the left and I had to stop pedalling. The jury has decided that he was the winner, so there is nothing more to say. I just congratulate him on the win. The team was phenomenal these two days, fantastic – we were a bit unlucky with the crash of Gregor Mühlberger on the descent of the Coll de Sóller, but both Enric (Mas), myself and the rest of the squad did very well. It was my second day of competition and I was a close second. Honestly, I couldn’t wish for more at this point.”
Challenge Mallorca – Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana (Lloseta) Result:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 4:12:32
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
3. Simon Clarke (Aus) Israel-Premier Tech
4. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates
5. Kobe Goossens (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
6. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 0:14
8. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
9. Ben Zwiehoff (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:19
10. Felix Gall (Aust) AG2R Citroën at 1:52.
Challenge Mallorca – Trofeo Pollença-Port d’Andratx 2022
Alejandro Valverde won the Trofeo Pollença-Andratx on Saturday. On the uphill finish in Port d’Andratx, the veteran Movistar rider had the best final sprint. Brandon McNulty crossed the line in second place and Aleksandr Vlasov (BORA-hansgrohe) was third.
After a relatively easy start, the riders had a tough ride with the climbs of the Puig Major via the Coll de Femenías and then the Coll den Bleda, the Coll de sa Pedrissa and the Coll den Claret. With an uphill finish on a 1,900 metre climb with sections of up to 15%, this race was tailor-made for the puncheurs.
There were many attacks from the start, but due to the fast pace of the peloton it took a long time before the break of the day got together. After 35 kilometres, eleven riders managed to escape: Xabier Isasa (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Samuele Rivi (EOLO-Kometa), Davide Gabburo and Samuele Zoccarato (Bardiani), Mario Aparicio (Burgos-BH), Belgians Ruben Apers, Kamiel Bonneu (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Kasper Saver (Minerva), Pablo Alonso (Electro Hiper Europa), Raúl Rota (Manuela Fundación) and Christian Danilo Pase (Work Service Vitalcare Vega). In the run-up to the Femenías, the eleven escapees had a maximum lead of 3 minutes. The difference then remained stable for some time at around 2:30. Due to an acceleration on the Puig Major from Lotto Soudal, the peloton came a lot closer. On the descent, UAE Team Emirates also started to help the chase and slowly but surely the large group got their sights on escape.
After the descent from the Puig Major, the peloton was all together again just after the intermediate sprint at 87 kilometres, just before the climb of the Coll den Bleda. Soler attacked on the Bleda. Two years ago, the Spanish climber attacked here and won the race. Now his attack at 78 kilometres from the finish was short-lived. It remained restless in the peloton and on the climb of the Pedrissa the escape attempts quickly followed one another. Matthew Holmes, Andrea Pasqualon and Antonio Soto got together after the Pedrissa and came close to a 20 second lead. On the descent everything came together again. It remained unsettled as Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert and Movistar tried to control the race. On the climb of the Coll de sa Gramola, about 30 kilometres from the finish, Enric Mas attacked and had a few seconds lead before being caught. The peloton had thinned out considerably and consisted of only forty riders. In the last 15 kilometres Holmes tried again and was fighting for every second. However, he was caught at the foot of the final climb to Andratx. Then it was up to the explosive riders to go for the win. In the end, Valverde was the boss of the day. Brandon McNulty finished second, Aleksandr Vlasov was third.
Race winner, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “The whole team was excellent today. We tried to keep the race always as much under control as possible, and the team worked perfectly well. We had to tackle this Andratx climb at a strong pace to try and drop those faster legs still into the group. We succeeded at distancing Matthews, the strongest sprinter in the group, but I saw him trying to come back with 250, 300 meters to go, and that’s where I launched my sprint before he bridged back – and I could manage to take it. To me, every race will be a tribute already. I’m really thankful to the organisers for the recognition they gave me this morning at the start – I hope I was able to pay them back and thank them enough with this win. It’s the best way to bid farewell to this race, with two podiums, one victory – and now I’m already thinking about Valencia, the next one!”
“More than age, for me the key thing is that it’s already 20 years for me at the highest level in the pro peloton. It’s something so difficult to achieve, both physically and especially on the psychological standpoint, I’m really surprised to continue doing well. When I was younger, I stated that I thought I wouldn’t be in the peloton when I reached 34 – now I’m turning 42 in April, and I’m still racing, and winning. I want to offer this victory to two really important men. The first one is Egan Bernal. All of my support goes out to him, hoping that his recovery goes well and we can see him doing fine as soon as possible. And then, to Juan Carlos Unzué. His example of strength, optimism, fighting spirit over the last few months has been invaluable, to everyone in this team particularly. A big hug goes to both, hoping that we can see each other soon.”
2nd, Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates): “It was another super-hard day out there. I came to the bottom of the final climb in good position and then at 1km to go I tried to follow Valverde and then put in my own attack and it was just me him and Vlasov. It came down to a sprint and I didn’t quite have the kick to match Valverde but all things considered it was another good day for me and the team I think.”
3rd, Aleksandr Vlasov (BORA-hansgrohe): “The team worked together perfectly. We were at the front of the field all day and I’m really proud of the great performance that the guys put in. In the finale, Emanuel tried to bring me into a good position and I headed into the last climb in about fourth position. It’s really special to be on the podium in my first race with the Band of Brothers, and I want to say a big thanks to my teammates.”
Challenge Mallorca – Trofeo Pollença-Port d’Andratx Result:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 4:14:50
2. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates
3. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:03
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:06
5. Felix Gall (Aust) AG2R Citroën at 0:10
6. Simon Clarke (Aus) Israel-Premier Tech
7. Élie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
8. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:13
9. Kobe Goossens (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:19
10. Simon Geschke (Ger) Cofidis at 0:28.
Challenge Mallorca – Trofeo Playa de Palma-Palma 2022
Arnaud De Lie took his first professional victory. The only 19-year-old Lotto Soudal Belgian sprinter had the fastest legs in the Trofeo Palma, the last race of the Challenge Mallorca series. Juan Sebastián Molano crossed the finish line in second, Sasha Weemaes was third.
The last race of the Challenge Mallorca, the Trofeo Playa de Palma-Palma, is normally a day for the sprinters and everyone was looking forward to a duel between the fast men: Biniam Girmay (winner of the Trofeo Alcúdia), Pascal Ackermann, Giacomo Nizzolo, Michael Matthews and Matteo Moschetti. On the route the riders had to climb the Portol and the Coll de Sa Creu.
Four riders formed the escape of the day early in the race. Sergio Roman Martín (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) escaped with Xabier Mikel Azparren (Euskatel-Euskadi), Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH) and Isaac Cantón (Manuela Fundación) and had a lead of 5 minutes. UAE Team Emirates was doing the work in the peloton as they were interested in a sprint with their fast-men Ackermann, Ryan Gibbons and Juan Sebastián Molano.
With 40 kilometres to go, at the start of the Coll de Sa Creu (9.1km at 3.2%), the four were caught by the peloton. On the not too steep Coll de Sa Creu the peloton stayed together, so a bunch sprint was expected. On the flat circuit in and around Palma, a few riders tried to jump away, but the sprinter’s teams were not going to be surprised. Xabier Isasa (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Jokin Murguialday (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) were caught with 8 kilometres to go. In the last kilometres towards the finish the nervousness increased in the peloton. Four kilometres out, several riders crashed. De Lie was perfectly placed and was the fastest to the line. The 19 year-old rider took his first victory on his third day of competition as a professional.
Race winner, Arnaud De Lie (Lotto Soudal): “I am lost for words, it is just unbelievable to take my first pro victory during my third race as a professional cyclist. The team believed in my chances today. It didn’t cause stress, but I obviously wanted to do the best I could. Thanks to fantastic team work, I reached the summit of the final climb in a perfect position. Afterwards, my teammates rode their hearts out to keep me on the front rows of the bunch. I was also lucky with Michael Schwarzmann at my side, who guided me perfectly during the final kilometres. During the sprint, I chose the right wheels I suppose and I could take my first pro victory. I finished the job in the sprint, but this really is a team victory. My teammates assisted me perfectly in the final, from the run-up to the final climb until the line. I am very grateful for all the work they did today.”
2nd, Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates): “The team worked perfectly all day and controlling the race well. The lead out was great, Pascal left me in a really nice position to launch the sprint. I wanted to win for them today we came close but it wasn’t to be, but so well done to the young winner. We leave Mallorca with some good results under our belt and hope to continue the season like this.”
Challenge Mallorca – Trofeo Playa de Palma-Palma Result:
1. Arnaud De Lie (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 3:54:23
2. Juan Sebastián Molano (Col) UAE Team Emirates
3. Sasha Weemaes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
4. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
5. Luca Colnaghi (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè
6. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
7. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Israel-Premier Tech
8. Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè
9. Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
10. Max Walscheid (Ger) Cofidis.
Brandon Rivera Breaks Elbow – In Hospital with Egan Bernal
Brandon Rivera has been admitted to the same hospital as Egan Bernal after a training crash. The Colombian, like Bernal riding for INEOS Grenadiers in 2022, crashed during a training ride on Thursday and suffered a broken elbow and a dislocated shoulder.
According to the police, 25-year-old Rivera lost control of his bike and fell. With an injury to his elbow, which was not only broken but also dislocated, and a dislocation in the shoulder, he has come off better than his leader. Both INEOS riders were with the South American group of the team at training camp in Colombia, but are now at the Clínica Universidad de La Sabana in Bogota. It is unknown how long Rivera will be out of action.
Domenico Pozzovivo to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert
There is a good chance that we will see Domenico Pozzovivo in the peloton again next year. The 39-year-old Italian, who didn’t have a team for 2022 since Qhubeka-NextHash had to stop, is about to sign a contract with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, according to Tuttobiciweb. It would be a one-year contract for the final year of Pozzovivo’s career.
Pozzovivo would join three other Italians with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert: Andrea Pasqualon, Simone Petilli and Lorenzo Rota, and also Italian DS Valerio Piva. New sponsor, Vini Zabu is also Italian.
It is expected that Pozzovivo would ride the Giro and the Vuelta, but nothing is certain yet, but riding at least one Grand Tour would be very likely. Pozzovivo has achieved six top-ten places in a Grand Tour and thirteen victories in his career, since he turned pro in 2005.
Simon Clarke: “Three weeks ago I prayed for a chance”
Simon Clarke feared the end of his career for a while after Qhubeka-NextHash folded. “Three weeks ago I didn’t even have a team,” he looked back on a difficult period on his new team’s website.
“I was sitting at home in Australia with my head down, training hard and praying that I would get another chance. The moment I got that chance, I wanted to show that I could perform immediately and was ready to go for it,” continued a grateful Clarke.
The 35-year-old rider said he enjoyed the racing in Mallorca. “The first twenty or thirty kilometres I was really enjoying myself, enjoying being back in the peloton. I was just grateful for the opportunity Israel-Premier Tech gave me to continue my work. After that it was just a matter of racing as well as possible and picking the right breakaway. Fortunately, that worked out well and I was with it at the right time.”
Davide Rebellin Will End His Career this Year
Davide Rebellin is still racing in the professional peloton at the age of 50, but the Italian will stop as a professional cyclist at the end of 2022. The Italian told the Spanish sports paper Marca: “2022 will be my last year as a professional cyclist.”
Rebellin will soon start his thirtieth professional season. He started in 1992, when riders such as Wout van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel and Tadej Pogačar were not even born. In his first professional year, the Classic specialist finished 9th in the Tour of Lombardy, behind top riders; Tony Rominger, Claudio Chiappucci and Rolf Sørensen, riders who retired well over 20 years ago.
Rebellin won several Classics in his career; the Clásica San Sebastián, the Zurich Championship, the Amstel Gold Race, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and three times Flèche Wallonne. His best year was probably 2004, with wins in the Amstel, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Plus Tirreno-Adriatico (2001), the Giro dell’Emilia (2006 and 2014) and Paris-Nice (2008).
In 2009, Rebellin was banned for two years due of a positive doping test for CERA, a form of EPO, at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The Italian had to hand in his silver medal from the road race and after his suspension never raced for a top team again, although he still raced for the Polish CCC Polsat for a few years. Rebellin has raced for several smaller continental teams in recent years. Last season Rebellin rode for Work Service Marchiol Vega. He didn’t do to badly with a few podium places in smaller races, but in the Memorial Marco Pantani his season came to an end when he suffered a double leg fracture in a crash and there were doubts about continuing his career. The fifty-year-old is now fit enough to race again and will do so this year for Work Service.
“I didn’t want to end my career with a double leg fracture,” he told Marca. “I really want to compete in races, give the maximum and achieve good results. I am not only a cyclist, but also the father of my teammates. I want to pass on my experience and help them,” said Rebellin. Rebellin was supposed to ride the Trofeo Palma on Sunday, but was missing from the start list.
Good bye Davide:
Jake Stewart to Miss the GP La Marseillaise and the Etoile de Bessèges
Jake Stewart has been forced to postpone his season start. The promising Groupama-FDJ rider is ill and was unable to participate in Sunday’s GP La Marseillaise and also the Eloile de Bessèges. Stewart will now set his sights on the Volta ao Algarve (February 16-20).
The 22-year-old Classic specialist became ill last week at the team training camp. Stewart and the others in the team do not have the corona virus, he said via social media. “Fortunately, all corona tests turned out to be negative, but I do feel completely demolished. I will now return home to recover and then prepare for the Volta ao Algarve.”
Stewart is now forced to opt for a different run-up towards the spring classics. In 2021 he started his season in the GP La Marseillaise, followed by the Etoile du Bessèges, where he finished fourth on GC and took the white young riders jersey. The young Briton surprised last year in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad by finishing second in the sprint, behind winner Davide Ballerini. A few weeks later he finished sixth in Nokere Koerse.
Nacer Bouhanni Postpones Season Start
Nacer Bouhanni will not be on the start-line of the Saudi Tour next week. The French sprinter has not yet recovered from a fall last week during a training ride in Spain and has been forced to postpone his start to the season.
Bouhanni crashed during a training ride in Spain on Thursday 20 January and was unconscious for a short time. The sprinter suffered concussion and a cut to his eyebrow. His injuries had to be stitched and additional investigations were carried out at the Benidorm hospital, where his team was having their training camp at the time. The examination revealed a concussion.
Bouhanni should have started his season in the Saudi Tour, but he has not yet recovered enough to race. His team announced that they don’t known when he can return to the peloton. Winner Anacona is also not at the start of the Arab tour. The Colombian has tested positive for the corona virus and has to stay in quarantine.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to the Saudi Tour
First week of February brings our team’s first outing of the season.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl is set to race for the first time in the team’s 20-year history in Saudi Arabia. After a one-year hiatus, the Saudi Tour is back and will take place on a star-shaped course showcasing AlUla, one of the oldest cities in the Arabian Peninsula. Historically located at the crossroads of the Silk Road and the Incense Route, AlUla is also home to Hegra, the first UNESCO Heritage Site in the country.
Consisting of five stages, the second edition of the Saudi Tour will see the sprinters fight for victory on more than one occasion, but despite the numerous opportunities, the general classification will be out of reach for them, and that’s because of the presence of the difficult Harrat Uwayrid climb (4km and a 22% maximum gradient), which will make its appearance inside the final ten kilometres of stage 4.
Andrea Bagioli, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad champion Davide Ballerini, “El Tractor” Tim Declercq, Iljo Keisse – who is starting his final pro season – Vuelta a España stage winner Florian Sénéchal, Jannik Steimle and Bert Van Lerberghe will make up our squad for the five-day race, which starts next week.
“It’s the team’s first race of the year and the first time we are riding this stage. We go there with a strong team, capable of getting good results. Davide is capable of being up there in the bunch sprints, while Andrea can do something on the hard penultimate stage. We won’t hide the fact that we’d like to kick off our season with a victory, but it remains to be seen how things will unfold”, said Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Wilfried Peeters.
01.02–05.02 Saudi Tour (KSA) 2.1
Andrea Bagioli (ITA)
Davide Ballerini (ITA)
Tim Declercq (BEL)
Iljo Keisse (BEL)
Florian Sénéchal (FRA)
Jannik Steimle (GER)
Bert Van Lerberghe (BEL).
Sports Director: Wilfried Peeters (BEL).
Season Opener at Saudi Tour
Fred Wright and Santiago Buitrago lead the lineup at the 2nd edition of the Saudi Tour, kicking off the 2022 season for Bahrain Victorious.
Olympic champion, and World Record holder in Track team pursuit, Jonathan Milan will be fighting out the sprints for the 3 flat stages, with the help of the experienced Jasha Sütterlin. Ahmed Madan starts his season close to home while Polish riders, Gradek and Maciejuk will both debut for the team.
The Northwest region of Al Ula and its stunning landmarks will be the host of this years’ 5 stage race over 831 km. After winning the race in 2020 with our sprinter Phil Bauhaus, this edition is unlikely to see a sprinter win the overall with the inclusion of two demanding hilly stages.
Stages 1, 3 and 5 will probably be decided by bunch sprint unless crosswinds break the peloton. Being on the front of the peloton as a team will be crucial in those stages. Stage 2 is hilly with slight climb in the last 2 km that could reduce the peloton, while stage 4 will decide the GC with a 4km long climb at 9% avg. towards the end of the stage with last kilometre averaging a 16% incline.
Sports Director Franco Pellizotti: “We are ready to return to Saudi after 2 years when we were victorious. We have big expectations for this year as all riders are in good condition. Jonathan Milan will be our sprinter, while for the GC we will go with Santiago Buitrago and Fred Wright. We expect a lot of crosswind and in those situations, we need smart riders to navigate our team. All other rider will help our leaders. Being Bahraini, this is important race for Ahmed Madan. He’s in good condition after training camp and improved a lot in the last year.”
Fred Wright: “I can’t wait to start the season in Saudi it was a great experience being part of the team there two years ago. We have a strong group here and we’ve all put the hard work in on camp so I’m hoping for some good results.”
Ahmed Madan: “I’m feeling very excited to race Saudi tour, I have been preparing since December with the team in Altea training camp and I had another training camp in January, I’m ready to support my team mates and hopefully win some stages. It’s always special feeling to be racing so close to home with the race coars being almost what I’m used to in the training and having home fans is amazing”
Etoile de Bessèges – Tour du Gard (February 2-6)
Two riders from the AG2R CITROËN TEAM entered in this year’s Etoile de Bessèges – Tour du Gard have already won it: Lilian Calmejane in 2017 and Benoît Cosnefroy in 2020.
Greg Van Avermaet: “Like last year, I have chosen to return to racing at Etoile de Bessèges – Tour du Gard. Some of the stages really suit me. This gives me the chance to see immediately how well I am going and even to regain confidence with some results. We will see what we can do as the AG2R CITROËN TEAM. I had a good winter and I’m happy to be back in competition. I resumed training a week later than intended after having Covid, but it did not impact me. I will take advantage of the Etoile de Bessèges – Tour du Gard and the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol to get back into shape and be ready for the first WorldTour classics at the end of February.”
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
Both Remco Evenepoel and Fabio Jakobsen will be in action next week
After being postponed to April in 2021, Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana returns at the beginning of February this year as one of the early stage races of the season. The first three days will be the most important in terms of the general classification fight, with the peloton set to take on a total of 14 classified climbs. The toughest of these will come at the end of stage 3, Alto de las Antenas de Maigmo, at the bottom of which the riders will arrive having previously tackled a 3km stretch of gravel roads.
The last two days of the race – finishing in Torrevieja and Valencia – are expected to come down to a bunch sprint, although in the past the fast men’s plans got spoiled by the attackers, one of the most recent examples being Stijn Vandenbergh, who upset the sprinters on the local circuit in Valencia back in 2016, despite a plastic bag getting stuck in his rear wheel with just a couple of kilometres to go.
Next week’s race will mark Remco Evenepoel’s first presence in Spain since August 2020, when he captured the Vuelta a Burgos overall standings, taking what at that time was the fourth GC win of his career. The Belgian will be joined by another rider who has tasted success in Spain on several occasions – Fabio Jakobsen – a five-time stage victor and points classification winner at La Vuelta. Rounding out our team will be Mattia Cattaneo, Josef Cerny, Mikkel Honoré, Yves Lampaert and Olympic Madison Champion Michael Mørkøv.
“Looking at the team for Valencia, we can definitely get some chances, especially with Fabio, as some of the stages should end in a bunch sprint. But also with Remco, Mikkel and Mattia we can do something nice. The route is a demanding one, with two hard uphill finishes; one of these has a few kilometres of gravel roads, which will make things even more difficult. We would like to get a stage victory and, if possible, do a good general classification. But the race is tough and we know it won’t be easy”, said Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Tom Steels.
02.02–06.02 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (ESP) 2.Pro
Mattia Cattaneo (ITA)
Josef Cerny (CZE)
Remco Evenepoel (BEL)
Mikkel Honoré (DEN)
Fabio Jakobsen (NED)
Yves Lampaert (BEL)
Michael Mørkøv (DEN).
Sports Director: Tom Steels (BEL) and Rik van Slycke (BEL).
Contract Extension for Georg Zimmermann
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert has signed a contract extension with Georg Zimmermann. The Belgian WorldTeam extended the contract of the 24 year-old German until the end of 2024. Zimmermann has been racing for Jean-François Bourlart’s team since last season.
Zimmermann who started his season in the GP La Marseillaise is happy and motivated to start the season with a new contract. “I am convinced that there are few other environments in which the balance between professionalism and a good atmosphere is so well-balanced. While we train hard and spend a lot of time on all facets of the performance plan, we attach great importance to relaxation and having fun,” he said.
The German, who won a stage in the Tour de l’Ain last season, looks to the future with confidence. “Unlike last year, I didn’t have to deal with a single problem this winter, so I’m really looking forward to the start of my season in the GP La Marseillaise. It’s my first time at the start and according to what I’ve seen of the course, I really like it.”
Zimmermann hopes to be there right from the start. “Later this season I hope to be able to participate in my second Tour de France. My ultimate goal is to win a stage for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert in one of the three Grand Tours!”
According to Aike Visbeek, performance manager at the team, Zimmermann fits perfectly within the vision of the team and offers great added value. “He feels good with us and is always excellently prepared for his appointments, regardless of the role he has to play. As we are in full development with the team, I am delighted that we can continue to explore the limits of this talented rider in the coming years.”
Georg Zimmermann in the Tour’21:
Laurens De Plus Makes Comeback in the Etoile de Bessèges
Laurens De Plus will start the Etoile de Bessèges (2-6 February), his INEOS Grenadiers team announced via Twitter. It is the first race in ten months for De Plus. The last race for the Belgian was the Tour of the Basque Country in April 2021.
The INEOS Grenadiers rider broke through as a rider in 2019. With Jumbo-Visma he rode a strong Tour de France for Steven Kruiswijk, who finished third. De Plus was 23rd in the general classification. He also won the BinckBank Tour that year.
The now 26-year-old rider then had various problems; stomach problems, a hip injury and viral fatigue. In an interview with Wielerflits in December, he said that he needed rest. This meant that De Plus didn’t see much action for two years.
“Having fun again is the first goal. I will probably start riding bigger races again towards the summer. Maybe even a Grand Tour. But I want to show the necessary flexibility in the first months, at first I am aiming for smaller stage races.”
One of those smaller stage races is the Eoile de Bessèges, where De Plus will be at the start. INEOS Grenadiers starts with a very strong squad. Filippo Ganna, Richard Carapaz and Michal Kwiatkowski will ride the French stage race.
Nicolas Roche New Irish National Coach
Nicolas Roche is the new national coach of Ireland. The former cyclist, who retired at the end of the 2021 season after Team DSM did not offer him a new contract, has taken over the national coach’s job and will also be involved in Irish youth cycling.
The Irish cycling federation, Cycling Ireland, is proud to present the new national coach. From this position, 37-year-old Roche will have to prepare the country’s best cyclists for the European and World championships. The big goal on the horizon is the Olympic road race in Paris 2024. In addition, the ex-pro will have a role as a mentor in the junior and U23 selections.
“I am delighted to have been asked by Cycling Ireland to become part of the organisation in this way,” said Roche. “I fully support the ambition and vision and look forward to working with the athletes and staff ahead of the international events. I have also benefited a lot from the support of the federation in my career, and I would like to pass that on to the juniors and U23s.”
Roche will combine national coaching with his position as a consultant to the management agency that until recently handled his sporting career, Trinity Sports Management. Currently, Roche is participating in Dancing with the Stars Ireland.
Roche – Irish team manager:
No Molenberg in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
The route of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for men has undergone some minor changes, Het Nieuwsblad reports. The Molenberg, a traditional climb on the route, has been removed from the race. This will be replaced by two new climbs. There are also changes for the women’s race.
The reason that the Molenberg is missing has to do with road works. “They are still working, but we can include that climb in the Tour of Flanders on April 3,” said Wim Van Herreweghe of organisers Flanders Classics.
To replace the Molenberg, the Marlboroughstraat (900m at 4.4%) and the Biesestraat (820m at 3.8%) will be added to the route. This ensures that there are a total of thirteen categorised climbs, including the Muur van Geraardsbergen, and seven cobble sections. One of which is the Haaghoek, which is ridden three times.
The women will face nine climbs and five cobble sections in 128.4 kilometres. The final, unlike last year, is exactly the same as that of the men. From the Wolvenberg, 55 kilometres from the finish in Ninove, the routes are identical. Both races will also start in Gent.
Of course there will be no VIP tents on the route of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad due to the corona pandemic. Whether the public is welcome to watch remains to be seen. The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will be held on Saturday 26 February.
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad:
La Verne Stage Race March 25-27, 2022
Something wicked this way comes! Majestic Cycling presents The La Verne Stage Race March 25th-27th. This 3-day event will bring out the local and national talent to the stage in La Verne, California surrounded by the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains.
On March 25th, the event will kick-off with the Glendora Mountain Road time trial. This course is a 4-mile climb with 1,070ft elevation gain through the beautiful mountains. Once at the top, cyclists can take in the beautiful view of the San Gabriel Mountains and Mount Baldy.
On day two, March 26th, cyclists will ride from La Verne into Pomona, then into Bonelli Park, and once in the park, go up Heckler’s Hill. This dynamic challenge of the race allows cyclists to shave off time. Once out of the park cyclists will ride into San Dimas and race back to the finish line in La Verne.
On March 26th, our event will center around the La Verne Grand Prix Course (Criterium); a 1.4-mile course with a lot of room to maneuver to the front. This will be the final day and with 3 grueling days of racing, there are plenty of opportunities for cyclists to make their way to the top of the podium!
Majestic Cycling is proud to host this 3-day event. We will be hosting some great local food, product venders, as well as a Beer Gardens for Saturday and Sunday; along with a free kids race on Sunday. There is something for the whole family, so don’t miss out on all the action!
Go to www.bikereg.com to enter this event open to all categories! This is also a Western Collegiate Cycling Calendar Championship Race. If interested in becoming a vendor or sponsor, please call 909-297-6353 or email at [email protected].
Hotels & Code LVSR2022
Call Hotels Directly
Best Western San Dimas 909-592-0500
$133.00 Daily Rate for (TEAMS)
Holiday Inn Express San Dimas 909-305-2323
$149 for the King and $169 for the two beds throughout the weekend as well.
Airport Inn Ontario CA 909-983-3600
For your group the rate would be after tax $88.73
For All Elite & Pro riders Men & Pro Women 1/2 Please contact race director Alfie Sanchez for multiple rider discount at 909-297-6353 or email me at [email protected]
Primoz Roglic in Video: “Big Secret: I was Once a Ski Jumper”
Jumbo-Visma has wished the colleagues of the skating team good luck for the upcoming Winter Olympics in a video on social media. The main role in the video is for Primož Roglič. “It’s a big secret, but I was once a ski jumper,” he tells Steven Kruijswijk and Robert Gesink.
Later in the video, Roglič, as an expert on winter sports, gives the skaters of Jumbo-Visma tips. It contains references to previous events of the cycling team. The crashes of Roglič himself are mentioned, and the crash of the team in the Vuelta a España because there was water on the road. The heavy crash through the ‘Allez Opi Omi’ sign is also shown.
“And if it doesn’t work out in Beijing, you can always try another sport. Just like me,” Roglič concludes with a wink. The Slovenian was a talented ski jumper for many years. He won a world title in the juniors. After a serious crash in 2011, he had to stop. During his rehabilitation he started cycling, and the rest is history.
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) January 28, 2022
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