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Lots of news concerning Ukraine – TOP STORY. Race reports from Le Samyn and Trofeo Laigueglia with results and video. Rider news: Vincenzo Nibali ill, Victor Campenaerts in pain, Primoz Roglič early success and Tim Declercq still out of action. Team news: Patrick Lefevere critical of imitation Strade Bianche, Money problems at Astana and riders for Strade Bianche, Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico. Race news: 2022 Giro d’Italia wild cards. Plus Jarrad Drizners update and UAE Tour winning team honoured by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince. *Stop the War in Ukraine*
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TOP STORY: Yaroslav Popovych Makes Emotional Appeal: “We need a lot of help”
Sports director Yaroslav Popovych has made an emotional appeal to his followers on Instagram for help to his home country of Ukraine, which is currently fighting an invasion by the Russian army.
The 42 year-old Trek-Segafredo DS was working in the UAE Tour last week, towards the end of the race war broke out in his native country. “The last three days I hardly slept, when I knew what was going to happen. An attack from Russia. I cannot believe it. Since then, the news has been uninterrupted to find out exactly what is happening, how many people are dying and how many people are suffering.”
“I hardly ever ask for help, but now… If you can help us, that would be great,” says a motivated Popovych. The former pro tells a story about how a Polish friend picked up a family who had fled before the war at the Ukrainian/Polish border and brought them to safety.
“We need a lot, such as food, clothing and medical supplies. If you want to help the Ukrainian people, search the internet for an aid organisation in your country. Tomorrow we will send the first items in a large truck to Ukraine from Italy (where he lives) and we want to do that every three days.”
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Le Samyn 2022
Matteo Trentin won Le Samyn on Tuesday. In the finish town of Dour, the Italian of UAE Team Emirates was the strongest rider of a leading group of eight men. Frenchman Hugo Hofstetter was second, Belgian Dries De Bondt third.
After the Flemish road season opened last weekend, the Walloon season started with Le Samyn on Tuesday. The one-day race from Quaregnon to Dour over cobbles and some nasty climbs was the first round of the Exterioo Cycling Cup, the renewed competition that used to be called the Bingoal Cycling Cup.
Early in the race a leading group of six was formed. Sam Welsford (DSM), Nickolas Zukowsky (Human Powered Health), Jente Boons (BEAT), Kasper Saver (Minerva), Sander Lemmens (Tarteletto-Isorex) and current European and French beach racing champion Samuel Leroux (Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Métropole) got a gap of more than 4 minutes in the first hour. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl and Uno-X initially controlled the peloton.
At halfway the peloton lifted the speed and the lead of the six slowly but surely started to come down. At 93 kilometres, just after the first cobbles, there was a massive crash. The leading group was only 2 minutes ahead at that moment and with 81 kilometres to go, Rune Herregodts and Stijn Daemen counter-attacked. Through the first passage of the finish, the leading group had 1 minute on Herregodts and Daemen, the peloton followed more than half a minute later. Lemmens and Boons had problems for a while. Halfway through the first local lap Lotto Soudal came to the front as the other teams kept an eye on things. On the Côte des Nonettes, the peloton was stretch out.
At 58 kilometres from the finish it was all over for Lemmens and Boons and there were only four left off the front. Herregodts and Daemen were also caught without ever being able to catch the break of the day. At the start of the penultimate lap, the lead of the four was only 45 seconds. Various teams handed out small attacks, but we had to wait for the first real attack. After Lemmens and Boons had to get off before, Saver also broke away at 46 kilometres from the finish. Stan Dewulf then tried to set up a new attack, but in the run-up to the Côte de la Roquette it fell quiet again. On the climb, Oliver Naesen led the pack and once at the top Matteo Trentin took over and the action was about to start. Victor Campenaerts also made an impression. It caused the peloton to split and a strong group of about twenty got away, including favourites such as Merlier, Dewulf, Campenaerts and Trentin. Initially Naesen was also there, but he bad luck. At 32 kilometres from the finish, Dewulf and Laurence Pithie took a small lead. Josef Černý, Loïc Vliegen and Campenaerts jumped to the two front runners, but at the start of the final lap the large leading group came back together.
At 22 kilometres from the finish, the leading group fell apart again: Dries De Bondt, Dewulf, Černý, Bert Van Lerberghe, Vliegen, Campenaerts, Trentin, Hugo Hofstetter and Dries Van Gestel broke away. The other attackers were caught by the peloton, which was close. On the cobbles of the Roquette, Trentin pushed hard and the Italian continued efforts on the Chemin de Wihéries. Staring the last 10 kilometres there was a crash in the peloton, with Szymon Sajnok and August Jensen coming down. Tim Merlier ended up in the verge and could barely stay upright in the ditch. Last years winner had to chase with help from Edward Planckaert. The front riders still had a half-minute lead at 3 kilometres from the finish, and it looked like one of them would win. With 2 kilometres to go, Dewulf tried to get away, but the rest was on him. In the final kilometre Campenaerts jumped, but he couldn’t escaped. Dewulf then tried again, but Campenaerts jumped on his wheel. In the end there was going to be a sprint finish and Matteo Trentin had the best shot. Hofstetter came second, De Bondt third. Behind the eight leaders, Rasmus Tiller beat Arnaud De Lie in the peloton sprint for ninth place.
Race winner, Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a really good race, extremely hard and aggressive from start to finish. As a team we knew we didn’t want it to finish in a big bunch sprint as there were some fast finishers there. Attacks really started from about 50km out, first I went away in a group of 25 and it gradually got narrowed down to just a few of us. I think today I really tried to make the race instead of following and it worked out well for me in the end.”
2nd, Hugo Hofstetter (Arkea-Samsic): “I made a lot of effort in this race and in the end, the two who did the most were 1st and 2nd. In the sprint, I got a little bit locked in at 100 metres. I had to stop for a while, then I went back up very fast, but it wasn’t enough to win. I lost the first place at that moment. I had to stop pedalling, I lost a few centimetres at the time, and when I can launch, I manage to come back up really hard but it’s not enough. I don’t know if I was stronger than Mattéo Trentin because he also made a lot of effort and he tried to be clever too. It’s always difficult to say that I would have won without the fact that I was locked in. Today it’s Mattéo who wins, I finished second. He was the strongest. That’s it. In any case, I am satisfied with my race. I made a lot of efforts, I was at the front. I was on the offensive, and that is what I am most satisfied with today in this Samyn Grand Prix.”
6th, Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal): “A sixth place at Le Samyn is obviously not what we came for, but Le Samyn never disappoints. It think we rode an attractive race with the team and we made it pleasant to watch for the fans. In the end, it became a long final, but being part of the breakaway that made it to the finish, I gave my all to obtain the highest possible result. I was suffering a bit from pain in the ribs after crashing at the Omloop, but I think it’s safe to say Matteo Trentin was the strongest rider today.”
10th, Arnaud De Lie (Lotto Soudal): “I’m really happy to start the races in Wallonia like this. We delivered another solid team performance today and personally, I almost won the bunch sprint. An icon like Philippe Gilbert doing the lead-out for me gave me goosebumps. A little earlier in the race, I was part of a sizeable front group which formed on one of the cobbled sections. With four Lotto Soudal riders, it was a good situation but unfortunately there wasn’t the best understanding within the group so it split again. I then focused on the peloton sprint at the end to obtain a nice result, which succeeded.”
Le Samyn Result:
1. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates in 4:49:29
2. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
3. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
4. Loïc Vliegen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
5. Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroën
6. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7. Dries Van Gestel (Bel) TotalEnergies
8. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
9. Rasmus Tiller (Nor) Uno-X at 0:04
10. Arnaud De Lie (Bel) Lotto Soudal.
Le Samyn des Dames 2022
Emma Norsgaard won Le Samyn des Dames. The Danish rider was the strongest rider in the sprint, after the Dutch Shirin van Anrooij and the Italian Vittoria Guazzini were caught in the last hundred metres.
In the run-up to the first passage of the finish in Dour, the peloton stayed together, until the cobble sections of La Roquette and Chemin de Wilhéries. There the large group split and the front group took a 30 second lead. Before the passage of the finish after 47 kilometres everything was back together. On the first local lap, Grace Brown (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) attacked and the Australian took a 40 second lead. On the final lap the peloton accelerated and Brown’s lead started to shrink. At the Chemin de Wilhéries, 13 kilometres from the finish, Alice Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) counter-attacked and with 10 kilometres to go she joined the Australian time trial champion. Barnes sat on Brown’s wheel for a moment and then went on her own.
On the Côte des Nonettes the peloton exploded with 10 kilometres to go the British rider was caught. Then Shirin van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo) jumped and Vittoria Guazzini (FDJ) got on the wheel of the 20-year-old Dutch road and cyclo-cross rider. Behind; Movistar worked hard for leader Norsgaard, together with Valcar. FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope defended the escape. Van Anrooij pulled hard on the cobbles of the Chemin Belle Vue, but Guazzini clung to her rear wheel. The peloton was never far away and in the last kilometre the difference was small. Trek-Segafredo and FDJ tried to disrupt the final sprint and Van Anrooij and Guazzini looked like they would have the win. But, both were caught in the last hundred metres, after which Norsgaard had the best sprint. Consonni crossed the line second and Guazzini was third.
Race winner, Emma Norsgaard (Movistar): “It feels super, super nice to be able to finish this off in such a way. The team worked so hard for me, already on Sunday with Aude sacrificing herself for me and all the team-mates helping me for that podium in Hageland, and being able to take the win here, in my third race, is the best way to pay them back. The finish could have been a stressful one, with those two girls at the front, but I knew that I had some strong team-mates taking care of the gap and I tried to keep myself composed, head down, ‘stay calm, it’s going to be fine, just seek for your distance and go for your sprint’. And in the end, it was perfect! It’s a really nice way to get the season started with this Opening Weekend, full of results for the whole team here in Belgium. Now it’s time to catch some air and get back to the really big classics starting with De Panne and Gent-Wevelgem. It’s going to be ‘full gas’ from there for a month, and I’m looking so much forward to it.”
Le Samyn des Dames Result:
1. Emma Norsgaard Bjerg (Den) Movistar in 2:36:17
2. Chiara Consonni (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
3. Vittoria Guazzini (Ita) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
4. Susanne Andersen (Nor) Uno-X
5. Clara Copponi (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
6. Maria Van ‘T Geloof (Ned) Le Col Wahoo
7. Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
8. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-SRAM
9. Shari Bossuyt (Bel) Canyon-SRAM
10. Laura Tomasi (Ita) UAE Team ADQ.
Trofeo Laigueglia 2022
The Trofeo Laigueglia 2022 was won by Jan Polanc. The UAE Team Emirates Slovenian of UAE Emirates was first over finish-line in Laigueglia after an entertaining race along the Ligurian coast. UAE Team Emirates dominated the final: Alessandro Covi was second and Juan Ayuso third.
No Gazprom-RusVelo team, which has temporarily lost its license due to sanctions by the UCI over the Ukraine war. From the start there were several escape attempts and after more than 30 kilometres, five riders managed to get away: Gil Gelders of Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB was accompanied by four Italians; Lorenzo Roda (Biesse-Carrera), Ricardo Tosin (General Store Essegibi F.lli Curia), Jacopo Cortese and Francesco Carollo (Mg.K Vis-Color for Peace-VPM).
In the peloton it was Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè and Trek-Segafredo, who won this race last year with Bauke Mollema, who set the pace. The lead never grew more than 5 minutes. After UAE Team Emirates and INEOS Grenadiers started to help, the lead started to come down. Shortly after the early break had been caught, more than 50 kilometres from the finish, a new leading group formed with 21 riders, including David Gaudu, Eddie Dunbar, Richie Porte, Carlos Rodriguez Jan Bakelants, Quinten Hermans, Davide Formolo, Alessandro Covi, Diego Ulissi and Juan Ayuso. UAE Team Emirates, INEOS Grenadiers, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert and Astana Qazaqstan all had several riders, while Trek-Segafredo had missed the move. The four local laps, each containing the Colla Micheri (2.6km at 6.3%) and Capo Mele (2km at 3.4%) were still to come and so it was up to the men of Bauke Mollema to chase, while UAE Team Emirates drove hard at the front. The difference hovered around 45 seconds for a long time. Meanwhile, INEOS Grenadiers had taken command of the leading group and UAE Team Emirates responded by attacking.
The technical descent of the Colla Micheri caused problems for Gaudu, Formolo, Dunbar and Samuele Battistella who all crashed. Richie Porte further thinned out the leading group on the penultimate Capo Mele; only Ulissi, Ayuso, Covi, Rodriguez and Lorenzo Rota could follow him. Jan Polanc managed to cross from the chase group, so that UAE started the last lap around Laigueglia with three men in the leading group. Polanc tried to take advantage on the Colla Micheri, but a strong Rota closed the gap. He couldn’t shake Ayuso and Covi, so the three of them started the descent. On the section towards the last Capo Mele, Rodriguez and Polanc almost got away, but Rota set the pace so high at the front that it failed. The UAE teammates tried several times to get rid of the Italian of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, but each time Rota responded. UAE Team Emirates then chose to push the pace. Polanc took advantage and jumped away. For a moment Rodriguez seemed to react, but Ayuso and Covi were on his wheel to defend their Slovenian teammate. The UAE Team Emirates party got even better, as Covi and Ayuso came in second and third. Rota had to settle for fourth place.
Race winner, Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates): “I felt good all race, and we knew that Covi is one of our fastest guys. So we worked in the breakaway with the idea of getting him to the finish in a small group. I was released in the final, but was able to come back on the descent and saw that they held back. They looked at each other in the leading group, so I decided to go for it and it worked out well. I would like to dedicate this victory to my family. I’m normally a servant who doesn’t win often, but now that I’ve had the chance it feels very special.”
Trofeo Laigueglia Result:
1. Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 5:22:00
2. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 0:01
3. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
4. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert
5. Carlos Rodriguez (Spa) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:08
6. Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis at 0:23
7. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:31
8. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10. Clement Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën.
UCI Takes Measures: Licenses of Russian and Belarusian Teams Withdrawn
The UCI has announced a series of measures related to the current situation in Ukraine. Russian and Belarusian national teams are no longer allowed to participate in competitions, the licenses of Russian and Belarusian teams (including Gazprom-RusVelo) have been revoked and all Russian and Belarusian competitions have been removed from the calendar.
The UCI Management Committee met on Wednesday in an extraordinary session to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the measures the UCI intends to take in this regard. “The UCI reiterates its deepest concern about the situation in Ukraine and strongly condemns the aggression of the Russian and Belarusian governments and their non-compliance with the Olympic truce. The UCI wishes peace to be restored as soon as possible and calls for respect for Olympic values.”
The UCI has decided to offer its support to the Ukrainian cycling community and open its education and training center in Aigle to Ukrainian athletes. “In this regard, the UCI is in permanent contact with the National Federation of Ukraine. The president of the UCI together with the president of the European Cycling Union (UEC) will meet with the Ukrainian national federations this weekend at the UEC Congress in Denmark to determine the procedures to come to the aid of the Ukrainian cycling community.”
In addition, the UCI decided to apply the decisions taken by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on February 28 to cycling. “The UCI, which remains a politically neutral organisation, regrets that their government’s decisions may affect Russian and Belarusian athletes, but it is necessary to stand firm in the defence of Olympic values.” In light of the current situation, the UCI has taken a series of measures.
1. The Russian and Belarusian national teams and/or national selections will not be allowed to participate in events on the UCI international calendar with immediate effect.
2. The UCI team status will be revoked from all teams of Russian or Belarusian nationality and the UCI will not consider further applications for UCI status from teams from these two countries. The withdrawal of UCI team status concerns the following teams:
- UCI ProTeam Gazprom-RusVelo
- UCI Continental Team Vozrozhdenie
- UCI Track Team Marathon-Tula Cycling Team
- UCI Continental Team CCN Factory Racing (BLR)
- UCI Continental Team Minsk Cycling Club (BLR)
- UCI Women’s Continental Team Minsk Cycling Club (BLR)
3. The UCI will remove all Russian and Belarusian events from the UCI’s international calendar for 2022 and will not consider any new entry requests. The following events are involved in the cancellation of the UCI International Calendar
- Moskow Grand Prix 1: Class 2 track event (20-21 May 2022)
- Granfondo Moskow: UCI Granfondo World Series Event (May 21-22, 2022)
- Moskow Grand Prix 2: Category 2 track event (May 22, 2022)
- Grand Prix Saint Petersburg: Category 2 track event (May 26-29, 2022)
- Five Rings of Moscow: Category 2.2 road race (June 8-12, 2022)
4. The Russian and Belarusian national championships are also removed from the UCI international calendar.
5. The use of all emblems, names, acronyms, flags and anthems associated with Russia and Belarus is prohibited in all events on the UCI international calendar. The jerseys of the Russian and Belarusian national champions are therefore prohibited.
6. Bids from Russian and Belarusian candidates for the organisation of UCI events will not be considered.
7. The UCI prohibits organisers of events on the UCI international calendar from inviting Russian and Belarusian club teams, regional teams or mixed teams.
8. The UCI will not appoint Russian or Belarus international commissaires for events on the UCI international calendar until further notice.
No General Ban for Russian and Belarusian Athletes
Russian and Belarusian licensees may participate with their teams in events on the UCI calendar provided they are registered with a team that is not Russian or Belarusian. Russian and Belarusian riders may also participate in competitions if individual registration is allowed. Any entry by Russian or Belarusian athletes must be neutral and organisers are requested to withdraw any reference to Russia or Belarus and replace it with a neutral reference or designation.
The decision not to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from all international events is based on achieving a balance between all interests, the UCI said. “In particular, it is about taking into account the contractual rights of the riders and teams involved, and not unjustly punishing teams that are not Russian or Belarusian. The UCI asks organisers, spectators and participants to respect Russian and Belarusian riders in competitions in which they are allowed to participate.”
All measures apply with immediate effect to both Russia and Belarus and relate to all categories and disciplines. They will remain in effect until further notice.
No racing for Gazprom-RusVelo:
Drone Hopper-Androni Backs Andrii Ponomar and Ukraine at Trofeo Laigueglia
The Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli riders wore a different race jersey on Wednesday morning when they signed the start list of the Trofeo Laigueglia. They all wore a modified replica of the Ukrainian championship jersey of their teammate Andrii Ponomar with the hashtag No War printed on it.
Ponomar didn’t ride in the race himself, but the Italian team wanted to express its support for the 19-year-old Ukrainian. “We have expressed our solidarity with Andrii Ponomar and his nation. We consider Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shameful,” said Gianni Savio, Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli’s team manager. “We hope that this absurd war will soon end and that the Ukrainian people can once again live in peace and freedom.”
Out of respect for the victims of the war in Ukraine, a minute of silence was also observed before the race. The race left without Gazprom-RusVelo, which was to participate, but no longer has a license due to the measures taken by the UCI. The UCI withdrew the license of all Russian teams on Tuesday, including Gazprom-RusVelo. The Russians Sergei Chernetski and Nikolay Cherkasov, the Czechs Michael Kukrle and Mathias Vacek (the winner of the sixth stage in UAE Tour) and the Italians Giovanni Carboni, Nicola Conci and Alessandro Fedeli, were unable to start.
Gazprom-RusVelo, which previously lost French sponsor LOOK, has not yet commented on the UCI’s revocation of its license. The team, which is funded by a largely Russian state-owned gas company, has not yet released any details about their plans for the future.
Drone Hopper standing up for Ukraine:
Andrei Tchmil Getting Ready to Fight Against Russia: “If They Want, the Russians Will be Here Soon”
The war in Ukraine is also affecting the life of Andrei Tchmil. The former winner of Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix lives in Chisinau, Moldova, bordering Ukraine. “The border is close by. What happens in Ukraine almost happens here,” Tchmil said in an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws.
Russian-born Tchmil, who previously had Moldovan and Ukrainian nationality and was naturalised as a Belgian in the late 1990s, says he is close to the war zone. “At the moment it is quiet. I have to be honest. I personally don’t feel in danger. But I took my wife and our one-year-old son to Romania on Sunday morning. My wife was in unbelievable anguish.”
“I thought it would be better to take her far out of the danger zone, 250 kilometres from here, on the other side of the Romanian border. What do you do when you have a small child at home? My wife is also pregnant with our second child. That’s why I brought them to safety.” Tchmil himself plans to stay in Chisnau, where he has been running a small bicycle factory for years. “I have things to do. The factory will open again on Monday morning. I can’t leave here to do nothing elsewhere.”
However, due to the current war situation in Ukraine, the local bicycle sector is on the brink. “We no longer sell bicycles, nobody orders a bicycle anymore. We have no contracts, no future. I keep my people employed because I don’t want to let anyone down. And I hope nothing happens to us. We are a ship adrift. We try to set a course, but we can’t.” The situation is very precarious and could escalate in the coming days and weeks.
“Chisinau is located 185 kilometres from Odessa (an important port in Ukraine). We are 75 kilometres from Transnistria, where Ukraine has an important military airport. The Russians will be there on Monday. For me the situation is very complicated. The border is close. What happens in Ukraine is happening almost here, in Moldova. Moldova cannot go to war. We don’t have an army. Moldova is neutral. It could just happen that someone decides to take Transnistria, 45 minutes from here.”
Tchmil has already had contact with Johan Museeuw and Peter Van Petegem. “A lot of people have called me. I tell them: where can I go? My wife and I counted, we have eight cats and two dogs. We spent 800 euros to get them registered, vaccinated. Our cats and dogs are fine to take them too, if I want to leave. Then I take my Belgian passport and come to Belgium. But for now I will stay here.”
Tchmil decided last Sunday to call an old acquaintance: Johan Museeuw. “We used to fight many wars on the bike, but now I’m in the middle of a war, Andre told me. I live in the border area a hundred kilometres from where there is fighting. And they’re moving up,” said a visibly shaken Museeuw in a video on his Facebook page.
“As someone my age, that makes you quiet for a while. I’ve been in contact with Andrei for the past few years and now he calls you and says: ‘Johan, I’ll give you three kisses, because I don’t know if I’ll still be there tomorrow.’ Then the hair on your arms stands up. I hope that nonsense stops there. Andrei, thanks for the call. And I really hope from the bottom of my heart that we can keep calling each other.”
Australian Cycling Federation: “No Russian and Belarusian Teams Allowed at the World Championships for the Time Being”
Australia’s governing body for cycling, has stated that due to the war in Ukraine, no Russian or Belarusian national teams will be admitted at this stage to the Road World Championships to be held in Wollongong in September.
The cycling federation joins the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), which have urged international sports federations and organisers to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes from sports competitions. “We all want peace and Russia’s immediate withdrawal from Ukraine,” AOC CEO Matt Carroll said in a statement.
“We urge our affiliated sports organisations not to invite teams or athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus or to withdraw any invitations already made – and to withdraw Australian athletes and officials from sporting events to which Russian or Belarusian athletes and officials participate,” Carroll said in a statement released by the AOC.
AusCycling supports the decisions of the IOC and AOC about the Russian and Belarusian events and national teams, the association said. “We have reviewed our competition schedule and there are no events in either country that our athletes were planning to compete in. The only domestic event that could involve teams from those countries is the World Road Championships in Wollongong in September.”
The federation will continue to monitor developments closely and discuss the situation with the UCI and other relevant authorities. “But at this stage and in line with the approach of the IOC, AOC and other Australian sports, no Russian or Belarusian national teams should be allowed to participate.”
No Russians and Belarusians at the Worlds:
LOOK Cycle Breaks With Gazprom-RusVelo Due To War In Ukraine
LOOK Cycle is ending its collaboration with professional team Gazprom-RusVelo due to the war in Ukraine. Since the start of this season, the French bicycle brand had a multi-year cooperation agreement with the Russian ProTeam.
LOOK Cycle announced the news in a short statement. “We, LOOK Cycle, see sport as a means of uniting peoples and have always supported and will continue to support athletes of all nationalities. We join the many athletes who call for peace. That said, in light of the recent shocking and unforgivable news, we have decided to end our technical support and partnership with the Gazprom-RusVelo Cycling Team.”
This winter, the French brand took over the role of bicycle supplier from Colnago, which has supplied bikes to the Russian team for many years.
Gazprom-RusVelo not on LOOK bikes:
Decisions Made by the UEC Extraordinary Management Board Meeting
The Union Européenne de Cyclisme Management Board met today in an extraordinary meeting by
video conference to discuss the current situation in Europe.
In view of the upcoming UEC annual Congress planned on Sunday 6 March in Odense (Denmark), at the meeting the UEC Vice-President Alexander Gusyatnikov (Russia) and the UEC Management Board Member Natallia Tsylinskaya (Belarus), in agreement with all the Management Board, said that they would not be taking part in the Congress next Sunday, along with the National Federation delegations of Russia and Belarus.
Enrico Della Casa, President of the Union Européenne de Cyclisme: “In the difficult circumstances that we are currently experiencing, sport must play an even greater role in spreading a message of peace and condemning all forms of violence. We are in constant contact with the Union Cycliste Internationale regarding any future decisions that we will naturally agree to and implement. However, we hope that the situation will have been resolved when our events start with the BMX European Cup in Verona (Italy) on 2 April. I would like to thank Vice-President Gusyatnikov and Management Board Member Tsylinskaya, as well as the leaders of the Federations of Russia and Belarus, for their sensitivity and responsibility shown by their decision to not take part in the UEC Congress next Sunday. We stand behind all the people affected by this dramatic situation, especially all the athletes who are also suffering the consequences.”
No further comments will be made following this press release.
2019 UEC Road Championships Alkmaar – Junior Men Road Race champion Andrii Ponomar of Ukraine:
Cycling Canada Statement on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Cycling Canada joins the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in strongly condemning the aggression of the Russian and Belarusian governments and their non-respect of the Olympic truce.
We count ourselves among the UCI members who appealed to the UCI for strong measures and were pleased to see the organization’s statement yesterday confirming the sanctions that will be imposed with immediate effect. Cycling Canada would also like to extend its support to the Ukrainian Cycling Federation and all those impacted by the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine.
In line with the current UCI sanctions, Cycling Canada will prohibit participation from Russian and Belarusian national teams (as defined by the UCI) at all UCI international competitions on home soil, including the upcoming UCI Track Nations Cup, scheduled from May 12-15 in Milton, Ontario. Additional measures may be adopted as we continue to monitor the situation.
Vincenzo Nibali Uncertain for Upcoming Italian Races
It is unknown whether Vincenzo Nibali will appear at the start of the Trofeo Laigueglia (March 2) and Tirreno-Adriatico (March 7-13). The Italian who competes for Astana Qazaqstan Team is struggling with an inflammation of the tonsils, SpazioCiclismo reports.
The 37-year-old Nibali continues to struggle with his health, because he had already tested positive for the corona virus two weeks ago. The Italian had to miss the Spanish stage race Ruta del Sol. Nibali has now fully recovered from his corona infection, but due to an inflammation of his tonsils, the winner of the three Grand Tours has to slow down again.
Nibali and his team will decide in the coming days when he can race again. It seems to be a race against time for Tirreno-Adriatico. Nibali started his season at the beginning of February with the Tour of Valencia, his only race in 2022 so far. The Sicilian finished in sixteenth place on the general classification after five stages.
Bad start to the season for Nibali:
Victor Campenaerts Not Completely Pain Free at the Start of Le Samyn
Victor Campenaerts was not completely pain-free at the start of Le Samyn on Tuesday, after a crash on the Holleweg during the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
Campenaerts does not rule out the possibility that he has a fracture, but according to the Belgian there is no reason for concern. “I think I fell on a cobblestone. We had a scan and there are no dislocations. It may be that there is a break, but it’s such a straight break that you can’t do anything wrong with it.”
“The only danger is that, if you exercise a lot, irritation can arise. However, that is not the case with me. I can exercise without any problems. It might hurt a little, but otherwise my legs already hurt,” he said before the start of the first Walloon race of the season.
Campenaerts impressed last Saturday in his first big race of the year. In Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, despite a crash and a mechanical problem, he finished fifth in the group behind winner Wout van Aert. The hour record holder showed well at the head of the race in the final.
Campenaerts – Riding with a fracture?
Primoz Roglič Enjoys Team Success at Season Debut
The 2022 cycling season has started for Primož Roglič. The Jumbo-Visma Slovenian was at the start of a race for the first time this year in France at the weekend, in the Faun Ardèche and Faun Drôme Classic. “It was very beautiful and very tough,” he told WielerFlits.
With a 26th place in Ardèche and 28th place in Drôme, Roglič wasn’t going for the victory, although that was not the primary goal for these races. “Yesterday and today (Saturday and Sunday) were very difficult. This is definitely what I need. It has been a good decision to have these two race days in the lead up to Paris-Nice.”
Teammates Jonas Vingegaard and Sepp Kuss, who also made their season debut, did win. Kuss finished third in the Ardèche Classic on Saturday and Vingegaard soloed after an attack in the final in the Drôme Classic. Roglič was naturally up to date with the performance of his teammates. “The guys I train with a lot are doing well here, so I’m happy too. It is a pleasure to see those good performances.”
Roglič in Ardèche:
Tim Declercq Out of Action for the Flemish Spring
Tim Declercq will not be able to ride the Spring Classics. After the Belgian contracted covid and an inflammation of the pericardium at the beginning of February, he can now start training again, but he doesn’t expects to participate in the Flemish classics in March and April. El Tractor told Het Laatste Nieuws.
Declercq’s problems started shortly after the Saudi Tour, where he finished fourth. He was unable to train for more than two weeks due to covid and the inflammation of the pericardium. “In total I will not have cycled for seventeen days. That is almost as long as my traditional winter break,” said the 32 year-old rider.
Although Declercq is now completely healthy again and says he can “get back to work,” because of his long break he no longer sees the chance to be fit in time for his beloved cobble classics. “If you know how long it takes to build up back to the high level of international cycling, it becomes difficult,” said Declercq, who thinks Paris-Roubaix is possible. “Depending on my condition, there may be a very, very, very slim chance that I will still make it to Paris-Roubaix. Because this year, exceptionally, that competition will be organised a week later. But that will rather be with a mini peak.”
“The question is whether I will make it to the selection at 70 to 80 percent, a very difficult task in our team anyway,” the rider of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl reflects on the possibility that he will be there in the Hell of the North. “The most important thing is that I’m okay again and can build up to the second part of the season. To the Tour, I hope. That will now be my new main goal.”
Quick-Step missing ‘El Tractor’:
Patrick Lefevere Critical of Imitation Strade Bianche
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl will be at the start of the Strade Bianche on Saturday with strong riders such as Julian Alaphilippe and Kasper Asgreen. The race on the ‘white roads’ of Tuscany pleases team manager Patrick Lefevere, but he is bothered by the copying behaviour of other race organisers. They also increasingly send the riders over unpaved paths. “Then organise a mountain bike race,” the team manager said to VTM.
Lefevere cites the gravel section in the third stage of the Tour of Valencia as an example, where Remco Evenepoel lost the leader’s jersey to Aleksandr Vlasov. “Maybe Evenepoel should have let go there due to the distance, but I don’t think that belongs in road cycling,” Lefevere added. “Riding uphill with a gear of 32-30, that’s mountain biking. As there is only one Paris-Roubaix, there must only be one Strade. Everything else is a decoction.”
Initially, Lefevere did not think too positively about the Strade Bianche. “I have to be honest, the first two years I was really against the Strade. But when I experienced it myself, I noticed how beautiful this race is,” said the boss of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, who also spoke about Evenepoel’s performance in February of this year. “Everyone assumes that Remco has to win everything, but that is not the case. In Valencia he met a good Vlasov. That’s no ordinary Smurf, is it? Plus Vlasov is 26, Remco 22. In the Algarve I think he was the strongest, especially in the time trial, and he also raced smart.”
Lefevere not happy with gravel:
Money Problems at Astana Qazaqstan
The riders of Astana Qazaqstan have not yet received a salary this year. They are still waiting for the January money and the February salary (which should be transferred between February 28 and March 5) has not yet been received. Sources inform VeloNews.
It is not the first time that payment problems have arisen at Astana. In 2018 and 2020, riders and staff members also had to wait longer for their wages. One of the sources tells VeloNews that the Kazakh team, which was founded in 2006 after the demise of Liberty Seguros, does indeed have more frequent payment problems at the beginning of the year, but that this is due to a slow start-up of the administration. In that case, there would be no need to panic.
However, the political instability in Kazakhstan means that the arrears are more noticeable this time around. Aleksandr Vinokourov’s team found itself in uncertain waters in January after large-scale protests broke out in the home country. Although the state owns and sponsors the cycling team, the team at the time declined to comment on the possible implications of these developments.
Money problems again at Astana:
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Tom Dumoulin and Tiesj Benoot to Strade Bianche
In the UAE Tour, Tom Dumoulin impressed with a strong third place in the flat, 9 kilometre time trial, but the Jumbo-Visma leader lost a surprising amount of time on the two uphill finishes. At Jebel Jais he had to give up 5:04, and in the final stage at Jebel Hafeet he lost 4:42 to stage winner Tadej Pogačar.
“It is clear that Tom still needs extra competition rhythm,” said sports manager Merijn Zeeman of Jumbo-Visma. “He was in good condition, but uphill he couldn’t kick the power he wanted yet. In Colombia he worked well during his altitude camp and was able to finish his and our schedules well.”
“The UAE Tour was his first race since the Benelux Tour at the beginning of September,” Zeeman continued. “We already saw in 2019 that he still has to get that rhythm in the first races of the year. In the first part of the season, he rides all the way to the Giro d’Italia. With the Strade Bianche this weekend, then the Tour of Catalonia, Amstel Gold Race and an altitude training camp, he still has a good program towards the Giro start in Budapest.”
Zeeman expects a strong Dumoulin in the Strade Bianche on Saturday who can form a couple with Tiesj Benoot. “In 2017 Tom was fifth in Strade Bianche,” recalls Zeeman. “That year Benoot also rode a great final. Tom is really looking forward to this race and is super motivated for it. Benoot has already won this classic in Siena in 2018. In the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad we saw that he is in good shape. We are therefore looking forward to the Strade.”
Tom Dumoulin in Strade Bianche 2018:
Michael Matthews set for ‘dream’ debut at Strade Bianche
Australian Michael Matthews will make his Strade Bianche debut this weekend as the experienced sprinter headlines Team BikeExchange-Jayco’s assault on the gravel roads of Tuscany.
To work around the team’s strategy, there will be a strong variety of riders including Italian trio Matteo Sobrero, Kevin Colleoni and Alexander Konychev. Climbers Tsgabu Grmay and Jan Mass will help the team during the steep and hilly parts of the race, while Sam Bewley will work to protect and support the squad with his added horsepower.
The 184km undulating course in the Tuscan hills will see the peloton face 11 gravel sectors, with the last stretch of white roads coming with 10km to go. The race then finishes with its traditional sting in the tail as riders tackle the steep climb into the iconic Piazza del Campo.
Team BikeExchange-Jayco Line-Up:
Sam Bewley (NZL)
Kevin Colleoni (ITA)
Tsgabu Grmay (ETH)
Alexander Konychev (ITA)
Jan Maas (NED)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Matteo Sobrero (ITA)
Michael Matthews: “It’s always been a dream of mine to do Strade Bianche, for a lot of years I have been pushing to be able to start this race. In the past I always ended up training and focusing for Paris-Nice preparation instead, so it wasn’t possible to do Strade. It is such an iconic race, here in Tuscany with all the white roads up and down through the Tuscan hills and I am really looking forward to starting the race. I have had really good preparation, everything went to plan, I just had a small break due to Covid when I was in altitude for a training camp, but I now feel good and I am looking forward to getting this next racing block under way.”
Gene Bates (Sport Director): “We enter Strade Bianche with Michael Matthews as our leader for this edition. It will be his first experience in this unique race, but we are confident that he is well trained for it and with his riding characteristic, we can expect a good performance from him. Strade is a tricky race, and we will have to work in the best way possible as a team, always be focused and make sure we are always well positioned throughout the whole race. For us this an important race and we will give it our best to take home the best result possible.”
2022 Strade Bianche – Race Details:
Saturday, 5th March: Siena – Siena : 184km
Michael Matthews debut in Strade Bianche:
Bahrain Victorious to Take on the Gravel Roads of Strade Bianche
The Italian WorldTour spring races are coming soon. The opener is the iconic Strade Bianche scheduled on Saturday, March 5th, with start and finish in the medieval Tuscan town of Siena.
The essence of this race is embodied in its name: ‘Strade Bianche’ literally means ‘white roads’ in Italian, as the 184km route includes 11 sectors of gravel roads, for a total of 63km and representing 34.2% of the whole course.
The race is also known as “Europe’s most southern northern classic” due to the traditional unpaved and dust ancient farm tracks running through the stunning landscape of Tuscany hills on an undulating course, with punchy climbs. The final is fascinating and brutal, with the riders facing the legendary and steep Via Santa Cristina climb to arrive in the Piazza del Campo square, famous for the Palio horse event.
Strade Bianche is the favourite race of a few of our riders, including our leaders Matej Mohorič at his fifth participation and Pello Bilbao, who started last year for the first time. The Spaniard was 10th and immediately showed a good feeling with the challenging course, which usually fits the climbers and riders at ease when it comes to being skilled in riding the bike on unpaved terrain, like former mountain bike racers or cyclocross specialists, as Heinrich Haussler is. The Australian participated in this event only once. He was at the start of the second edition of the race back in 2008 when the name was “Eroica” but stopped at the feed zone after three flat tyres: “Apart from that year, then I’ve never ridden Strade Bianche, mainly because it didn’t fit it in the program. I’m super excited to do it this year because it is very similar to the Classic racing style, with unpaved roads and cyclocross gravel. I’m looking forward to that: we can rely on great equipment, so we have only to be focused on our performance and race strategies. I must admit I have no idea what to expect. Obviously, race has changed completely over the last fourteen years. I’ll be there to help our guys, Pello and Matej, to keep position because the final is super hard, with that punchy climb at 500m to go”.
A rider of our team still has to write his name in the roll of honour of this race that is only at his 16th edition but already is built up like a Monument.
Gorazd Stangelj, Team Bahrain Victorious Sports Director: “We will aim to show our potential as a team, trying to take the best result as possible. Our leaders, Bilbao and Mohorič, not only have the right skills to perform well in this kind of race, but I have to say they really enjoy riding it. They started this season by putting on strong rides and having good shape. Pello is coming from a good third place in GC he took recently at UAE Tour. The teammates who support them – Tratnik, Haussler and Pernsteiner – equally have a good feeling with this kind of route. Especially in the first part of the race, they can also take advantage of the work of our two young climbers, Edoardo Zambanini and Alejandro Osorio, both at their first appearance at Strade Bianche. The crucial sector Monte S. Marie starts at 43 km to go but to achieve a good result on such a race, besides good legs you also need right positioning and the support of the team always play a key role. If windy and wet, the weather conditions can make the race even harder”.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to Strade Bianche
World Champion Julian Alaphilippe will make his fourth consecutive outing at the Italian one-day race.
Running its 16th edition this year, Strade Bianche sticks to the course that has made it a fan favourite since 2007. Starting and finishing in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Siena, famous for its dirt roads, rolling hills, steep gradients, picturesque landscapes and one of the best finish venues in the sport, Strade Bianche will once again see the riders take on more than 60 kilometres of sterrate on their way to glory in Piazza del Campo, one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares.
Winner here in 2019 and runner-up last season, Julian Alaphilippe will return at the start of the 184km competition together with a strong and experienced Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team. Also Kasper Asgreen will be back on Tuscany’s famous gravel roads, one week after a pair of solid outings at the Opening Weekend, where the Wolfpack once again took a victory. Dries Devenyns, Mikkel Honoré, Mauro Schmid – the winner of last year’s famous Giro d’Italia sterrate stage – Pieter Serry and Louis Vervaeke complete our squad for the first Italian World Tour race of the season.
“Strade Bianche is a race we love, one of the most beautiful and toughest on the calendar. We were always protagonists there and the team is motivated to do it again and get a good result Saturday, when we’ll be at the start with a solid squad. We are proud to have the World Champion in our ranks, it will be great to see the rainbow jersey on those roads, and this only adds to the motivation we have,” said sports director Davide Bramati.
05.03 Strade Bianche (ITA) 1.UWT
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA)
Kasper Asgreen (DEN)
Dries Devenyns (BEL)
Mikkel Honoré (DEN)
Mauro Schmid (SUI)
Pieter Serry (BEL)
Louis Vervaeke (BEL)
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA) and Klaas Lodewyck (BEL).
Alaphilippe to Strade Bianche:
Pogačar leads squad for Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico
Almeida and McNulty star in Paris-Nice line-up
With the season in full-swing, UAE Team Emirates head into an exciting period of racing starting on the white roads of Tuscany with Strade Bianche on March 5 and continuing with the ‘race of the two seas’ Tirreno-Adriatico from March 7-13. Meanwhile in France, a strong squad will contest the ‘Race to the Sun’ : Paris-Nice from 6-13 March.
Fresh from his victory at the UAE Tour, Tadej Pogačar will lead the team in Italy for Strade Bianche and Tirreno Adriatico, while Joao Almeida and Brandon McNulty will head a double-pronged attack at the GC at Paris-Nice.
Pogačar: “After the UAE Tour we stayed there for a few days more and now we’re back in Europe and ready and hungry for the next races. I raced quite a lot in Italy last year and it’s somewhere I really enjoy. The reception from the ‘tifosi” is always special , and the food is amazing too. It’s no secret that Strade is a race I really like and would love to win, but we’ll also have Covi who is on great form and experienced guys like Ulissi too so we’re well covered. Tirreno-Adriatico was a big victory in my career last year and one I hold dear, I’m excited to go back there. They have changed the race format a little bit from last year but as always it will be long and hard stages every day.”
The team in Italy will be under the direction of Team Manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Spa) and Sports Directors Andrej Hauptman (Slo) and Manuele Mori (Ita), while Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) and John Wakefield (RSA) will guide the team in France.
Strade Bianche [1.UWT] – 05-Mar-2022
Mikkel Bjerg (Den)
Alessandro Covi (Ita)
Maximiliano Richeze (Arg)
Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
Tadej Pogačar (Slo)
Marc Soler (Spa)
Diego Ulissi (Ita)
Tirreno-Adriatico [2.UWT] – 07-Mar-2022 / 13-Mar-2022
Pascal Ackermann (Ger)
Mikkel Bjerg (Den)
Davide Formolo (Ita)
Rafal Majka (Po)
Tadej Pogačar (Slo)
Marc Soler (Spa)
Maximiliano Richeze (Arg)
Paris-Nice [2.UWT] – 06-Mar-2022 / 13-Mar-2022
Joao Almeida (Por)
Alexys Brunel (Fra)
Finn Fisher-Black (NZ)
Brandon McNulty (USA)
Sebastian Molano (Col)
Jan Polanc (Slo)
Matteo Trentin (Ita)
Race Preview: February 28 – March 8
Strade Bianche – MAR 5
Matt Winston – Team DSM coach: “We’re excited for Strade Bianche which is a unique race in a beautiful part of Italy. With several rolling climbs combined with short and punchy efforts, plus the numerous gravel sections, it is always a hard day out in the saddle for the peloton. We go to the race with a team looking for opportunities, where we will ride together as a unit and race aggressively, aiming to bring our key riders into the front for the crucial moments so that we can save as much energy for the hard final back to Siena.”
Romain Bardet (FRA)
Marco Brenner (GER)
Romain Combaud (FRA)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED)
Martijn Tusveld (NED)
Strade Biance Donne – MAR 5
Huub Duijn – Team DSM coach: “Strade Bianche is a special race and although it hasn’t been on the calendar for that long, it is already a classic. Next to the short and steep Tuscan climbs there are the challenging white gravel roads, which make for a tough afternoon of racing. To go well here you need a bit of luck, but even more so good teamwork is important, so that you’re in the right position for the difficult moments. Like in other classics, we want to use our strength in depth, as we have multiple riders that we think can do well here. We also want to race aggressively and through that stay out of trouble, creating numbers in the front coming into the final of the race.”
Léa Curinier (FRA)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Franziksa Koch (GER)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Grote prijs Jean – Pierre Monseré – MAR 6
Bennie Lambregts – Team DSM coach: “The route for GP Monseré has changed this year to a real classic Flemish course, with narrow roads, cobblestones and four climbs in the 50 kilometre circuit that will be completed four times. We start the race with a mixed team made up of our Men’s and Development program riders, with Pavel and Casper [van Uden] getting the chance to gain experience in what we expect to be a tough race. We want to race offensively in order to get to the final so we can then play multiple cards. It’s a good race in which the younger riders can learn how to position and fight for their place in peloton, and from this process we go for a good performance and result as a group.”
Pavel Bittner (CZE)
Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (NOR)
Marius Mayrhofer (GER)
Tim Naberman (NED)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Casper van Uden (NED)
Sam Welsford (AUS)
Bloeizone Elfsteden Fryslan – MAR 6
Boris Zimine – Team DSM coach: “After our two good Team Camps during the winter, everybody is excited put a jersey back on and start racing together again. We expect it to be a nervous race with lot of open roads and changes in direction and if there is wind the it can be a really brutal day. If the weather conditions are more calm, then it can end in a sprint but with it being the first race of the year, we still expect it to be a hard and aggressive race. Our goal for the day is to focus on learning to stay together and work well as a team, which will be the priority. This kind of race is really interesting for the development of the guys and with some good teamwork, we hope to show ourselves well at the front.”
Patrick Eddy (AUS)
Bart Hordijk (NED)
Lorenzo Milesi (ITA)
Oscar Onley (GBR)
Joris Reinderink (NED)
Pepijn Reinderink (NED)
Hannes Wilksch (GER)
Paris-Nice – MAR 6-13
Phil West – Team DSM coach: “Stage racing continues for us at Paris-Nice and we are looking forward to getting stuck in. It’s a race that offers a varied parcours over the eight stages; with days for the sprinters, a time trial, plus also stages for the puncheurs and climbers. As in previous years, we need to be attentive and switched on in the opening stages as the weather conditions can often split the race up. We will take it day-by-day with our approach, looking for stage results through attacking and offensive racing, whilst also working with our sprint block on the flatter days, with Cees as our finisher for them. We want to continue with our good style of racing and show our Team DSM jersey at the head of the race.”
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Cees Bol (NED)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Nico Denz (GER)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Andreas Leknessund (NOR)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA)
Tirreno-Adriatico – MAR 7-13
Matt Winston – Team DSM coach: “We’re looking forward to continue our Italian block of racing at Tirreno-Adriatico. The race provides something for everyone with time trials, days for the sprinters and stages in the hills, some of which include typically hard Tirreno-Adriatico ‘muros’. We will focus on the sprint days with Alberto as our finisher there, while in the climbing stages we will look to protect Romain. We have a team that has come out of their first races of the season in good condition and we’re looking forward to being part of some exciting racing throughout the week.”
Thymen Arensman (NED)
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Romain Bardet (FRA)
Alberto Dainese (ITA)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED)
Florian Stork (GER).
John Degenkolb to Paris-Nice:
Paris-Nice (March 6-13)
Aurélien Paret-Peintre is taking part in Paris-Nice for the third time. In 2021, he took 9th place in the overall general classification. Ben O’Connor finished 12th. It will also be his 3rd participation.
Clément Champoussin: “After a good winter, I am satisfied with my start to the season. Apart from the crash during the first stage of the Etoile de Bessèges – Tour du Gard, I was present every day of that race. Not being able to participate in the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var (positive for covid-19) was a disappointment and a setback. However, I reassured myself this past weekend at the Faun Ardèche Classic (6th) and I can look forward to what’s next. This is my first participation in Paris-Nice. The beginning of the week does not necessarily suit me, but the last mountainous weekend around Nice makes me want to perform well. I have always dreamed of racing one of the most beautiful races on the calendar at home. I hope to be in good shape to enjoy myself racing on my training routes.”
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to Paris-Nice
The 80th edition has a bit of everything for everyone and takes place between 6-13 March.
Created in 1933, Paris-Nice was at that time one of the earliest races of the French calendar. Back then, the leader’s jersey was blue with a gold strip – a nod to the sky, sea and sun that had made the city such a picturesque gem – and the stages used to exceed 300 kilometres. As the years went by, also the race changed: it was called Paris-Côte d’Azur and Paris–Nice–Rome in the ‘50s, the half-stages were introduced, the time trial became a regular feature, bonifications were awarded and the leader’s jersey turned green, then orange, then all-white, before finally becoming yellow in the first years of the 21st century.
This will be the prize for which the riders present in the Yvelines department Sunday morning will fight over the eight days of the 80th edition. The first stages bring opportunities to both the sprinters and the puncheurs, but could turn into a big test for the GC men, as the peloton will take on some windswept roads that are very likely to wreak havoc. In Montluçon, a short but hilly individual time trial with a last stretch featuring 14% ramps promises to create more gaps ahead of a tough weekend that will include a summit finish atop Col de Turini (14.9km, 7.3%) and the iconic Col d’Èze (6km, 7.6%).
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl has always been among the main protagonists at the “Race to the Sun” and will aim to have again a strong showing, as we come to the start in Mantes-la-Ville with a team consisting of Fabio Jakobsen – the most successful rider of the season so far – Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert, Michael Mørkøv, Florian Sénéchal, Zdenek Stybar and Mauri Vansevenant.
“Paris-Nice is never an easy race. We can expect bad weather and echelons next week, but that won’t impact our motivation. We have a team capable of controlling on the flat and setting up Fabio for the sprints, and this will be our main goal. Concerning Mauri, he comes here without any kind of pressure; he has a free role and we’ll just see how things turn out for him”, said sports director Tom Steels, himself a former winner of multiple stages at Paris-Nice.
06.03–13.03 Paris-Nice (FRA) 2.UWT
Fabio Jakobsen (NED)
Iljo Keisse (BEL)
Yves Lampaert (BEL)
Michael Mørkøv (DEN)
Florian Sénéchal (FRA)
Zdenek Stybar (CZE)
Mauri Vansevenant (BEL).
Sports Director:Wilfried Peeters (BEL) and Tom Steels (BEL).
Fabio Jakobsen to Paris-Nice:
Strade Bianche (March 5) / Tirreno-Adriatico (March 7-13)
Greg van Avermaet will race the Strade Bianche for the twelfth time since 2010. He finished second in 2015 and 2017. It will be his eleventh participation in Tirreno-Adriatico, which he won in 2016.
Michael Schär: “The Strade Bianche is the race with the most beautiful finish of the season. It’s a wonderful race that I love. My form is improving, and I hope to be able to contribute to a good team performance. I’ll then continue on to Tirreno-Adriatico where we will have a team capable of aiming for the general classification with Geoffrey Bouchard and Bob Jungels, but also to win stages with Greg Van Avermaet and Benoît Cosnefroy, who have both shown good general form this past weekend. I intend to help them and continue to progress for the rest of the classics season.”
Clément Berthet and Benoît Cosnefroy to discover Strade Bianche
Clément Berthet and Benoît Cosnefroy, who took third Sunday of the Faun Drôme Classic, will compete in the Strade Bianche for the first time. “I can’t wait to compete in this race that I have always loved watching on TV. I’ll then continue with Tirreno-Adriatico which I will also race for the first time. The form is good, and I hope to be able to achieve great things,” said Benoît Cosnefroy.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to Tirreno-Adriatico
Julian Alaphilippe, Mark Cavendish and Remco Evenepoel will all be in action for the Wolfpack next week.
The organisers of Tirreno-Adriatico have decided to break with tradition and drop the San Benedetto del Tronto individual stage for the 57th edition, one which will also lack a mountain top finish. In addition to the new route, the “Race of the Two Seas” has a new date and will now end on the same day as Paris-Nice, six days before the season’s first Monument, Milano-Sanremo.
A 13.9km ITT will kick off proceedings before two days suited to the sprinters and a visit to Tuscany, where a series of short but steep climbs promise to break the race. Despite the steep gradients, the gaps are expected to not be significant by the time the peloton will take on the race’s sole mountain stage, featuring a double ascent of the gruelling Monte Carpegna, a 6km climb averaging 10%, which in the final kilometers kicks up to 12% before a fast descent to the finish. The last stage will consist of a flat circuit in San Benedetto del Tronto, giving the sprinters one more opportunity to take a victory.
The most successful French rider in the history of Tirreno-Adriatico, Julian Alaphilippe is set to be again at the start, making it the third time in four years that the reigning World Champion will ride the Italian event. Joining the rainbow jersey owner will be Ronde van Vlaanderen winner Kasper Asgreen, Davide Ballerini, Mark Cavendish – the man who netted the team’s first World Tour victory of the season at the UAE Tour – Josef Cerny, Remco Evenepoel, who just last month took his second overall triumph in three years at the Volta ao Algarve after a dominant ride, and Mikkel Honoré.
“It’s a nice but hard parcours, which gives chances to all types of riders. For the sprints we have Mark, a multiple stage winner here, but also Julian and Remco can bring some good results next week. Despite the presence of the time trial on the opening day, the big gaps between the general classification guys should come on the Carpegna, which is a tough climb that we know from Il Giro. Coming into the race, we are confident, have a lot of motivation and we are ready to take it one day at a time and see how things go”, said Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Davide Bramati.
07.03–13.03 Tirreno-Adriatico (ITA) 2.UWT
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA)
Kasper Asgreen (DEN)
Davide Ballerini (ITA)
Mark Cavendish (GBR)
Josef Cerny (CZE)
Remco Evenepoel (BEL)
Mikkel Honoré (DEN).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA) and Klaas Lodewyck (BEL).
Giro d’Italia 2022, The Wild Cards are Announced
The wild cards of the teams that will participate in the 105th edition of the Giro d’Italia – scheduled from 6 to 29 May – have been announced. In addition to the 18 UCI WorldTeams and Alpecin-Fenix (best 2021 UCI ProTeam) – which accepted the invitation as an eligible team – the other three teams invited will be Bardiani CSF Faizanè, Drone Hopper – Androni Giocattoli and Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team.
Team Arkea-Samsic, which had the right to chose whether or not to participate in the Corsa Rosa (second best UCI ProTeam in 2021), declined their invitation, leaving room for a third wild card chosen at the discretion of the organisers.
Giro d’Italia, 6-29 May, 22 teams (18 UCI WorldTeams and 4 UCI ProTeams) of 8 riders each
18 UCI WorldTeams
AG2R CITROEN TEAM
ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM
BORA – HANSGROHE
EF EDUCATION – EASYPOST
GROUPAMA – FDJ
INTERMARCHÉ – WANTY – GOBERT MATÉRIAUX
ISRAEL – PREMIER TECH
QUICK-STEP ALPHA VINYL TEAM
TEAM BIKEEXCHANGE – JAYCO
TREK – SEGAFREDO
UAE TEAM EMIRATES
1 qualified by ranking
3 wild card
BARDIANI CSF FAIZANÈ
DRONE HOPPER – ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI
EOLO-KOMETA CYCLING TEAM
Giro d’Italia 22: we are IN
Fran Contador, General Manager: “This is the news of the year for us, the best and the most awaited. The whole team is very motivated and looking forward to the day of departure from Budapest!”
Ivan Basso, Sport Manager: “I’m so happy to have gotten the invitation to the Giro d’Italia: the race I dreamed of racing, the race I dreamed of winning, the race I won, the race that last year projected us into a new dimension. Thanks to the organisers, thanks to our sponsors who have allowed us to set up a team that last year did great things and that this year will do even better.”
Alberto Contador: “For us it is a great satisfaction, we are very happy to be able to have this invitation. For the team it is also a relief because we have the season based, above all, on the Giro d’Italia. We are a new, young, fresh team…which took part in the Giro last year and I think we did very, very well. I think that this year we can improve the performance of the previous year and be great protagonists. On a personal level, it is a race that is close to my heart and the fact that I can experience it with my own team is something special. We continue with all our energy to prepare the team 100% and do a great Giro d’Italia.”
Thanks to all.
Medical Update Jarrad Drizners
Jarrad Drizners has had a successful surgery on the injuries he sustained at a crash in the sixth stage of the UAE Tour. He suffered an abdominal trauma due to the crash. There were concerns about possible additional injuries, but the surgery ruled that out. Drizners will further recover in the hospital in the United Arabic Emirates until he can travel home. A doctor of Lotto Soudal and a doctor of the UAE Tour are with him at the hospital.
Jarrad Drizners recovering:
UAE Tour Winning Team Honoured by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince
The meeting came just days after the recent success at the UAE Tour, and the Crown Prince was keen to pass on his congratulations to the team.
Mauro Gianetti (Team Principal & CEO): “Firstly I’d like to thank HH Sheik Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan for his time and his warm reception to UAE Team Emirates. As a team we are travelling the world representing this nation so to be recognised for our efforts is something very special. What we are doing as a team goes far beyond winning races, we are also working to create a culture of sport and healthy lifestyle across the UAE through the use of the bicycle.”
Tadej Pogačar: “It was very nice to meet him. He said he had been following the race and supporting us and we chatted a bit about the growth of cycling in the UAE . Every time we come back here we see more cycling infrastructure and more people on bikes so you can really feel the change. We all worked really hard for the UAE Tour victory so to be recognised and congratulated by him is quite special.”
Team Principal Mauro Gianetti, Tadej Pogačar and his UAE Team Emirates teammates were graced by a very special guest in Abu Dhabi last week when they had the honour of meeting Sheik Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi:
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