EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!
All the latest news
The Giro d’Italia is finished and we hear what the winner Egan Bernal has to say – TOP STORY. No rest from racing as we go straight into the Critérium du Dauphiné with reports, results and video. Rider news: Nibali to Astana-Premier Tech, Laporte to Jumbo-Visma, three years for Kopecky at SD Worx, Viviani to eolo-Kometa, Trek-Segafredo wants Hoelgaard, Bettiol extends with EF Education-NIPPO, more riders extended with the AG2R Citroën, Lowden to attack World Hour Record and Gilbert race schedule. UCI team ranking. Race news: Teams for the Tour de Suisse and Baloise Belgium Tour, Saint Petersburg Nations Cup and new Date for the European track championships. Plus Giro video from INEOS Grenadiers and UAE Team Emirates. Coffee time!
TOP STORY: Egan Bernal Talks About his Giro Win
Egan Bernal, spoke about his Giro d’Italia win in the press conference afterwards the podium presentations: “This releases a lot of emotions after the two difficult years that I have had. Admittedly, the period after my Tour victory was tougher than winning the race itself. But now I’m back in the game.”
After the long podium presentation, the Colombian was happy to answer the questions from the gathered press in Milan.
You were quite emotional at the finish of the stage. What does winning the Giro mean to you?
“Call it an explosion of emotions. I have a hard time describing it. But it mainly has to do with the difficult period I went through after my victory in the Tour de France in 2019, now almost two years ago.”
Can you tell us a bit more about that?
“Look, winning the Tour de France is every young rider’s dream. That was no different for me, but it has turned my whole life upside down. I won the Tour at a very young age (22),and that has had a huge impact, also in Colombia. I didn’t know what to do with my life anymore. I was completely lost, as was the motivation to keep working hard. I trained, but otherwise I was no longer the same Egan as before my Tour victory. This was partly due to a number of changes in my private situation. Later on, back problems were also added. They prevented me from proving what I was worth. But I fought back and now I’m back in the game. I am again at my best level and the hunger and motivation to win even more is great.”
How did you finally enjoy cycling again?
“The part of our team manager Dave Brailsford has been important in this. Last year, after my abandonment in the Tour, the two of us went to a restaurant and had a nice dinner. Stay calm and… have fun, he told me. ‘Indulge yourself, that is your great strength,’ he added. I have listened. And that fun, I found it again in this Giro d’Italia. Even if that was a silly bonus sprint (the sprint against Evenepoel).”
What moment did you enjoy the most in this Giro?
“There were several beautiful moments. I remember the Strade Bianche stage to Montalcino as a great experience, but perhaps today I enjoyed the voice of my coach most, who was in the support car during the time trial. He gave me the reassurance I needed throughout the ride.”
In retrospect, what was your most difficult moment?
“Without a doubt yesterday’s stage (Saturday), When Damiano Caruso attacked. It all went very quickly in that phase. Fortunately I still had a few teammates with me. Jonathan Castroviejo, among others, has played an important role. And Dani Martínez of course, who I could count on every day.”
What now? It is said that your goal is not to win a particular Grand Tour multiple times, but do you prefer to win Tour, Giro and Vuelta once and then retire to Colombia to become a journalist?
“In the meantime I have won a Tour and a Giro, so now I mainly want to focus on winning the Vuelta. That’s right. And yes, it is also true that in the past I thought about a job as a journalist, but now I mainly think about a life at home with my animals: my three dogs, a cow and the chickens. Together with my girlfriend and my family. I really don’t need that much to be happy. Happiness is in the small things, certainly not in the material things.”
Can you win the Tour and the Giro in the same year, do you think?
“That’s not for me, I’m afraid. For example, I am now completely empty. I don’t even think I could start in the Tour de France.”
A happy Egan Bernal:
Critérium du Dauphiné 2021
On his day, Lukas Pöstlberger (BORA-hansgrohe) is one of the fiercest attacker to resist a raging bunch and he proved it again on Stage 2 of the Critérium du Dauphiné, claiming victory in Saugues after an impressive solo attack in the final 18km. The Austrian baroudeur spent the whole day at the front and maintained a gap of 11 seconds on the line with Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) finishing second again, this time ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
Stage 1’s winner Brent Van Moer (Lotto Soudal) couldn’t keep up with the blazing pace up the final climbs and lost his yellow and blue jersey to Pöstlberger, who leads a stage race for the first time since he fended off the bunch on stage 1 of the 2017 Giro d’Italia. Among the 146 riders starting from Brioude, many attackers wanted to be part of the breakaway of the day. After 10km of battle, Lukas Pöstlberger (BORA-hansgrohe) initiated a move backed by Anthony Delaplace (Arkea-Samsic), Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal), Shane Archbold (Deceuninck – Quick Step) and Rob Power (Qhubeka-Assos). Trek-Segafredo and Bahrain Victorious led a hard chase but they eventually let the break go after 20km and the gap jumped from 10 seconds to 5:25 at km 38. INEOS Grenadiers send Andrey Amador and Dylan van Baarle to the front of the bunch to control the gap.
The peloton moved closer on the first climb of the day, the cat-1 Col de Peyra Taillade (km 52.3). Holmes was first over the top, already matching Brent Van Moer’s tally in the lead on the KOM standings. The INEOS-led bunch summit with a delay of 3:45. Holmes takes 2 more KOM points on the Côte de la Vachellerie (km 78.1) and the leaders crossed the finish line for the first time (km 84,3) with a lead stabilising around 3:50. The rolling terrain takes its toll on the attackers and Power is distanced by his companions with 62km to go. He abandons later in the stage. The gap is still up to 3:20 and Bahrain Victorious starts working at the front of the bunch to bring the gap down to 3 minutes at the bottom of the third categorised climb of the day, Côte d’Auvers (4km at 4.1%). Holmes took one more KOM point on his way to wearing the polka-dot jersey on the podium at the end of the day.
Pöstlberger and Archbold, who spent three seasons together with BORA, escape on a downhill section with 35km to go. The Austrian went solo with 18km to go while the peloton seriously up the pace. The gap was down to 2:20 and the chasers push even harder on the Côte de la Forêt de Pourcheresse. Marco Brenner and Felix Gall try to go one after the other for DSM, but INEOS Grenadiers set a stifling pace. The yellow and blue jersey Brent Van Moer (Lotto Soudal) was dropped with Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) just before the final 10 kilometres, as is Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates). Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën) and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) try to open gaps on the Côte de Masset but a 40-man peloton get back together, only to see Pöstlberger take the win 11 seconds ahead of Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious), 2nd for the second stage in a row.
Stage winner and overall leader, Lukas Pöstlberger (BORA-hansgrohe): “I knew my shape is really good after my last training camp. When I received the performance plan of the race two weeks ago, I already had in mind to go for it at one of the first two stages. There are not many sprinters here and therefore, it is a little easier for breakaways to survive. I really suffered a lot the last 6 kilometres, but I did it. It is an incredible feeling to grab a stage win here and almost unbelievable to start tomorrow’s stage in Yellow. I already look forward to that, it is one of my biggest successes for sure.”
2nd on the stage and overall, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious): “I’m not so happy, as I’d prefer to change the colour of the jersey to yellow. But this is cycling. It’s another second place, and I’d like to thank my team for their support, but today was just a really strong breakaway, and Pöstlberger was very strong. There are other opportunities for me, and I will try again tomorrow, but this is Dauphiné, and it’s never easy. But for sure, I will try tomorrow for another stage.”
8th on the stage, Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroën): “I am satisfied. The sprint could have been better, but I’m glad to have survived the last climb. At seven kilometres long, it was not really made for a rider like me. I am taking away some good lessons on a day like this. I did not expect the breakaway to go to the end because we were riding a good tempo all day. I have not participated in the Critérium du Dauphiné for 5 years, but it’s definitely one of the most difficult races of the season. There will be very hard stages all week, but it remains one of the best ways to get into shape for the Tour de France.”
Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 2 Result:
1. Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe in 4:25:20
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 0:11
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
4. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
5. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
6. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) DSM
8. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën
9. Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
10. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ.
Critérium du Dauphiné Overall After Stage 2:
1. Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe in 8:38:32
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 0:12
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
4. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:24
5. Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
6. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-Nippo
8. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
9. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
10. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) DSM.
Dauphiné’21 stage 2:
After finishing 2nd behind the breakaway riders in the first two stages of the Critérium du Dauphiné, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) made the most of the uphill finish in Saint-Haon-Le-Vieux on Stage 3. Alex Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech) opened the sprint from far out, but the Italian all-rounder was prompt to react and overtake the Spanish puncheur on the line. The young American Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) came 3rd, showing his strength on the eve of the individual time-trial. Lukas Pöstlberger (BORA-hansgrohe) finished at the front to narrowly hold on to the yellow and blue jersey. Tomorrow’s stage will shake the general classification ahead of the mountainous challenges.
The uphill start saw two riders break away at km 1.5: Omer Goldstein (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Loïc Vliegen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert). Lukas Pöstlberger’s BORA-hansgrohe controlled the break and the gap didn’t get higher than 3:20 after 54km. Goldstein had already taken the first KOM point of the day atop the Côte d’Allègre (km 29.4). He also led the way through the intermediate sprint in Viverols (km 65.8) and over the second categorised climb of the day, the cat-3 Col des Limites (km 83.9). Michel Ries (Trek-Segafredo) worked with BORA-hansgrohe to control the gap but the intensity picked up on the way up and down the Col des Limites. The gap decreases to 45 seconds on the downhill, but no splits appeared in the bunch and the calm returned in the valley, not for too long. The gap goes up and down from 30 seconds to 1 minute and a half, as many teams try to position their leaders at the front of the peloton ahead of the finale. The peloton only trail by 35 seconds as they entered the last 30km. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) had a mechanical with 29km to go but he quickly got back to the bunch while Vliegen went solo at the front of the race.
The Belgian baroudeur was eventually caught with 22km to go. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) had a crash 7km later. His Cofidis teammates dropped back to help him return to the bunch despite the very hard pace set by INEOS Grenadiers at the front. Michal Kwiatkowski led the way inside the final kilometre for the British squad. Alex Aranburu jumped with 300m to go but Colbrelli was immediately on his wheel. The Italian all-rounder had the strength to overtake the Spanish rider in the final uphill metres while Brandon McNulty finished 3rd ahead of Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo).
Stage winner and 2nd overall, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious): “Finally, a victory. I’m very happy. In the last 10 kilometres, it was very fast and hard to fight for position. In the final kilometre, it was 6-7%, and I followed Kwiatkowski. Then 200 metres Aranburu jumped, and I followed. The last two days were very difficult with the breakaway. Today the team gave me great support in the final, and I was able to take the victory!”
Overall leader, Lukas Pöstlberger (BORA-hansgrohe): “Today I was really tired from the effort yesterday. I went on the roller before the stage and actually thought it’s ok, but after a while I felt really empty in the race. But my team did a great job to control the race and they brought me well protected to the last kilometre. I wanted to lead out the sprint then but was too tired and in the end happy to don’t loose any seconds on that uphill stretch. Tomorrow will be kind of a mission impossible, but we’ll see how the legs are and for sure try our best again.”
2nd on the stage and 3rd overall, Alex Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech): “The last kilometre was pretty crazy. It was pretty tough. We all went two by two from each team so it was not organised at all. I was going from one side to the other to try and catch some wheels. I saw I was a little ahead so I decided to start my sprint because in the first two stages I was closed in a bit in the sprints. When I saw the opportunity, I went for it but I came up a bit short in the last stretch. My legs are good though. After the altitude camp in Teide I had some doubts but the truth is I am feeling better day by day so I’m happy. Tomorrow we have the time trial, then we have some hard stages in the mountains and we have to be strong for the General Classification. I think we will have to work hard but we will see what happens with breakaways too.”
3rd on the stage, Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates): “The last few kilometres of the stage were quite chaotic with a lot of fighting to be at the front. The team tried to stay together towards the head of the bunch and I followed. After the last turn I surfed the wheels and a gap opened up on the right and it ended up being a really good sprint for me so I’m quite happy with it.”
5th on the stage, Wilco Kelderman (BORA-hansgrohe): “The defended the jersey, that was most important today. In the end I was positioned quite well and realised everybody is pretty tired already, therefore, I decided to give it a go and launched my sprint with 350 m to go. In the end I took fifth which gives me a lot of confidence for the upcoming days.”
6th on the stage, Clement Venturing (AG2R Citroën): “I had this stage marked as a good opportunity for me because I liked the profile a lot, but I did not think it would be quite so hard at the end. I was missing some energy in the last meters. The last kilometre was very hot and hectic. Dorian Godon was on the left, and I was blocked on the right. I tried to sneak through, but I did not manage to do it. It was a finish for really strong riders.”
Break rider, Loïc Vliegen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “Strangely enough, as there were only two of us at the front, the peloton gave us only a little advantage. We also faced a strong wind. But I did not give up, as we were about to be caught, I attacked again. The prize for combativity had become my goal today, because getting on the podium after a day at the front is always a pleasant moment. I take only positive from today, also the form is improving day by day. There are still some very tough stages on this Critérium du Dauphiné, and I fully intend to try again. I am thinking particularly of the day after tomorrow with the hilly course towards Saint-Vallier.”
Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 3 Result:
1. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious in 3:56:36
2. Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
3. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates
4. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe
6. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R Citroën
7. Carlos Barbero (Spa) Qhubeka Assos
8. Clément Russo (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step.
Critérium du Dauphiné Overall After Stage 3:
1. Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe in 12:35:08
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 0:02
3. Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:18
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
5. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:23
6. Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM at 0:24
7. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe
8. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
9. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) DSM
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma.
Dauphiné’21 stage 3:
Whether as a puncher, time-trial specialist or general tough cookie, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) displayed the full array of his qualities to win the Stage 4 of the Critérium du Dauphiné, on a 16.4-km time-trial over rolling terrain between Firminy and Roche-La-Molière. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) started much better, but the Kazakh made the difference over the more difficult second part of the route to win, with a lead of 8 seconds over his team-mate Izagirre, who put himself in an excellent position for the challenges to be tackled in the mountains this weekend. Lukas Pöstlberger (BORA-hansgrohe) also impressed, only conceding 23 seconds at the finish, as did Thomas. The Austrian keeps hold of the Yellow and Blue Jersey by just 1 second.
Portuguese champion against the clock Ivo Oliveira (UAE Team Emirates) kicked off proceedings at the beginning of the afternoon. He was soon followed by the Czech Republic champion Josef Cerny (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and then German champion Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma), who produced a fine time to beat: 22:35, an average speed of 43.572 km/h over rolling terrain. He was soon ousted thanks to a surprising performance from Harry Sweeny (Lotto Soudal), who beat him by 7 seconds at the finishing line. The young Australian’s time withstood the assault from Chad Haga (DSM), but the qualities of Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) made a big difference on the second part of the route. The Danish rider led Sweeny by 15 seconds at the intermediate check point (after 7.5 km) and improved his advantage to 35 seconds at the finish, after 16.4km, at an average speed of 44.966km/h with a time of 21:53. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) started even better, leading by 4 seconds after 7.5 km, but the young American fell short of the best time at the finish by 3 seconds. The intensity grew as the pretenders for the general classification got to grips with the stage, in particular Richie Porte (INEOS Grenadiers), already a time-trial winner in the Dauphiné in 2017, who started extremely well, posting an intermediate time of 9:19, just 3 seconds better than McNulty. The Australian continued his effort and took the lead at the finishing line, thanks to a time of 21:51. He was the first rider on the day to exceed 45km/h average speed; 45.034km/h.
Basque rider Ion Izagirre (Astana-Premier Tech) moved ahead of him with a time of 21:44, an average speed of 45.276km/h, thanks to a very fast performance on the second part of the stage. Trailing Porte by 9 seconds at the intermediate check point, in the end he finished 7 seconds ahead of him. After starting like a cannonball, Wilco Kelderman (BORA-hansgrohe) slipped into 2nd place on completion of the stage, with a time of 21:48. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) finished even stronger than his team-mate Izagirre: 21:36 at an average speed of 45.556km/h. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) produced the best start, leading Lutsenko by 9 seconds after 7.5km, but the Welshman was not able to keep this pace up over the full distance, finishing with a time of 21:59, 23 seconds behind his Astana rival. Overall leader, Lukas Pöstlberger (BORA-hansgrohe) surprised everyone by taking 9th place, also 23 seconds behind the stage winner. The Austrian kept hold of his Yellow and Blue Jersey thanks to a lead of just 1 second over Lutsenko.
Stage winner and 2nd overall, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech): “It’s perhaps a surprise victory, but I gave it my all and we’ve been working a lot on the time-trial bike. I want to thank the team, who gave me lots of strength and motivation. It was a perfect route for me, going up and down all the time. I’m one second behind the Yellow and Blue Jersey and the Dauphiné isn’t over yet. Tomorrow is a good stage for me and there are plenty of mountains this weekend. I’m going to try my luck tomorrow. After that, the Tour de France will be the main event, but I’m also aiming for the Olympic Games and this victory will give me lots of confidence, even if I’m taking it one stage at a time.”
Overall leader and 9th on the stage, Lukas Pöstlberger (BORA-hansgrohe): “This was the TT of my life. Looks like yellow really gives you wings. When I saw the course this morning, I was happy because it had technical parts and uphill sections to push but no real flat part that favoured the TT specialists. I took a lot of risk in the downhills to save power for the uphill parts. I also still could push a big gear in the last crosswind part, I think that was key. But in the end, I am really surprised to still keep the jersey. We’ll have to watch out tomorrow about the bonus seconds, but there is a chance to defend yellow one more day.”
5th on the stage and 6th overall, Ilan Van Wilder (DSM): “I’m very happy. After my time-trial in Romandie, I felt confident to do good. I felt good today. The course suited me. The uphill sectors were good for me, I could push a lot of power and then rest on the downhills. I think I did a good TT. I’ll try to do my best every day and see how far I perform in the mountains.”
Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I certainly cannot complain about my performance because I did not concede much time on the competitors for the GC, even though this course was far from ideal for me. I spent many hours training on the time trial bike and it made the difference today. I felt a good chunk of power in my legs which is an important indicator of form. This performance is certainly good for the confidence, as we are about to tackle the climbs which will come thick and fast in this Dauphiné. Tomorrow, the wind can be a deciding factor, and I know I can count on my teammates who have helped me get through every obstacle smoothly so far.”
Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 4 Result:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech in 21:36
2. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:08
3. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:09
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:12
5. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) DSM at 0:13
6. Richie Porte (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:15
7. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma at 0:17
8. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:21
9. Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:23
10. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers.
Critérium du Dauphiné Overall After Stage 4:
1. Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe in 12:57:07
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:01
3. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:09
4. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:13
6. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) DSM at 0:14
7. Richie Porte (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:16
8. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:24
9. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:32
10. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën at 0:34.
Dauphiné’21 stage 4:
Astana-Premier Tech to Sign Vincenzo Nibali?
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Astana-Premier Tech team is in pole position to attract the Vincenzo Nibali for next season. Nibali is currently with Trek-Segafredo. The 36-year-old Nibali is currently in his second season with the American-Italian team of Luca Guercilena, but this collaboration has not yet been too successful. The Sicilian has never managed to win in the Trek-Segafredo kit.
The Italian sports newspaper writes that there are two options on the table for Nibali. Astana-Premier Tech would be interested in him and probably has the best chance to bring in the Italian. Nibali rode for Astana between 2013 and 2016, when he achieved his greatest successes, including wins in the Tour de France (2014) and the Giro d’Italia (2013 and 2016).
Should Nibali signs a contract with Astana-Premier Tech, he will be reunited with sports director and confidant Giuseppe Martinelli. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, a switch to Deceuninck – Quick-Step is also not out of the question, although many riders are currently associated with the Belgian team.
Where next for ‘The Shark’?
Christophe Laporte to Join Jumbo-Visma
From 2022, Jumbo-Visma will have Christophe Laporte as part of their team. The 28-year-old Frenchman is considered a fast-finisher, but he will mainly be joining the team to strengthen the classic core around Wout van Aert. According to WielerFlits, Laporte is about to sign a contract with the Dutch team.
Sports director Merijn Zeeman makes it no secret that Jumbo-Visma is committed to strengthening the classic core this year during the transfer period. The Dutch team wants to attract two riders who are of the level of Mike Teunissen, in support of leader Wout van Aert. Christophe Laporte is the first. With the Frenchman, Jumbo-Visma managed to catch one of the bigger fish available on the market for the cobbled classics.
Laporte showed himself frequently in the finalés of the Flemish classics last spring. He was second in Dwars Door Vlaanderen behind Dylan van Baarle, eleventh in the Tour of Flanders and thirteenth in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The Frenchman was one of the revelations of this spring. He can also be used as a sprinter. Laporte recently won the Circuit de Wallonie and finished ninth in the gravel of the Tro-Bro Léon, the race he won in 2018. He will also ride the Tour de France this summer.
The Frenchman will celebrate his 29th birthday in December. He has been a professional since 2014. During all eight seasons he has ridden for Cofidis and taken nineteen professional victories to date.
Christophe Laporte winning in Wallonie:
Lotte Kopecky Signs for Three Years at Team SD Worx
Lotte Kopecky will ride for Team SD Worx as of 1 January 2022. The Belgian champion has signed a three-year contract with the world’s best women’s cycling team. “It is an enormous challenge for me to be part of the team that dominates almost all races”, says the 25-year old Kopecky.
Sports manager Danny Stam had his eye on Kopecky for some time. “You can see that Lotte has made considerable steps in recent years,” said Stam. “She is an all-round star who can handle increasingly tough competitions. She impressed me last spring in the Strade Bianche, where she only lost due to a puncture at a very bad moment. I think Lotte can develop even further in our team. With her, we also have a good core for the Flemish races in the spring of 2022. Next year, with Chantal Blaak, Amy Pieters, Demi Vollering and Lotte, among others, we will spark further success.”
Kopecky made her choice quickly when an offer came from Team SD Worx. “When the best team in the world asks you to join, you feel honoured of course. This season I also have a very good feeling with Team Liv Racing, but I also have to look at my future. I know that with Team SD Worx, I will always be surrounded by a strong team. What appeals to me in Team SD Worx is that the team always attacks. It is a team that has a lot of charisma in the peloton. What also appeals to me is that the team does not always go into the races with a fixed plan, but often adjusts its tactics according to how the race develops.”
The fact that main sponsor SD Worx is originally a Belgian company and has its headquarters in Antwerp also pleases the Belgian Kopecky. “Of course it’s nice for me that this international team has a Belgian flavour. The first talks with sports manager Danny Stam felt really good. I hope to be able to make some great steps in the Team SD Worx colours in the years to come.”
Kobe Verdonck, CEO SD Worx: “We are very much looking forward to Lotte’s arrival and are convinced that she will shine in our team. To be honest, as a sponsor she had been on our wish list for a while. She has talent on the road, on the track and in the field and has stood out many times in different types of races. The fact that she wears the Belgian champion’s jersey on the road and in time trials is obviously a bonus. We are sure she will be able to develop her talent even further and we are proud that we can contribute to this as the main sponsor of this fantastic team.”
Danny Stam is convinced that Kopecky still has that potential. “Lotte is only 25 years young and proves to be very versatile in cycling. That offers opportunities. For example, this summer she will compete during the Madison at the Tokyo Olympics together with Jolien D’hoore, who is currently defending the Team SD Worx colours but will retire at the end of the season. I am happy that we have been able to bring Lotte to our team, both in terms of sport and publicity for our main sponsor SD Worx, because various other teams have also shown an interest in her.”
Elia Viviani to eolo-Kometa
A signature is not on the contract yet, but if we are to believe La Gazzetta dello Sport, the eolo-Kometa team will have the services of Elia Viviani next season.
Viviani was attracted to Cofidis for a lot of money in early 2020, but the collaboration has not as successful as hoped. In the jersey of the French WorldTour team, Viviani was only successful in Cholet-Pays de la Loire. Also in the recent Giro d’Italia, the fast Italian was unable to take a win. According to La Gazzetta, eolo-Kometa will be the new team of the 32-year-old sprinter who hopes to be able to win the omnium title at the Olympics again this year. Apparently brother Attilio Viviani is not moving to the team of Ivan Basso and Alberto Contador. Simone Consonni and Fabio Sabatini will not make the switch either.
Elia Viviani not had much success with Cofidis:
Trek-Segafredo Wants Markus Hoelgaard
Markus Hoelgaard has interest from Trek-Segafredo for next season, reports Betsson. According to the Norwegian medium, it is almost certain that Hoelgaard will exchange Uno-X for the American WorldTour formation after this season.
Hoelgaard has been in the spotlight this spring at Trek-Segafredo. For example, the 26-year-old Noor became eighth in the E3 Saxo Bank Classic. He also signed on behalf of the small Uno-X team for places of honour in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (fourteenth), the Amstel Gold Race (nineteenth) and the Brabantse Pijl (28th).
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert and INEOS Grenadiers have reportedly also expressed interest in management, but Hoelgaard appears to be opting for Trek-Segafredo. There he becomes an important link in the spring team around leaders Jasper Stuyven and Mads Pedersen.
Hoelgaard, who was second in the Tour de Luxembourg last year and second in the Arctic Race of Norway in 2018, has previously raced for the Etixx-Quick-Step training team and the Norwegian continental teams Coop and Joker-Icopal. He has been under contract with Uno-X since 2019, where he has a contract until the end of 2022.
Alberto Bettiol Extends with EF Education-NIPPO
For Alberto Bettiol, EF Education-NIPPO is a second family. The 27-year-old Tuscan began his career with the outfit in 2014, when Cannondale was the title sponsor. He has since developed into one of the most exciting racers in the sport. During his early years, he earned a series of good results in one-day races, before spending a year away in 2018. He then returned home in 2019 and won his first monument and first professional race: the Tour of Flanders. Now, after a scintillating Giro d’Italia, in which he won the race’s longest stage with a brilliant solo attack over the hills near Stradella and rode like a lion for Hugh Carthy, he has signed a contract to stay with the team for seasons to come.
“I still would like to win more races,” he says. “I want to win more important races, and with my help to win a Grand Tour. I was close to it with Rigo three years ago. I think we can do it. I will fight myself to get more victories, but also for the team to get a big Grand Tour win.”
Alberto’s fondest cycling memory already occurred in Paris, on the evening he first raced onto the Champs Élysées.
“It was the first time that Jonathan Vaughters met my mom and my dad—in the embassy of America in France,” he says. “My real family met my second family, EF, with all the happiness I still had from finishing my first Tour.”
The feeling that he is a part of a family is important to Alberto Bettiol. “I need to have around me people who trust me, like this team trusts me,” he says. “That’s why I decided to stay. Our fight, our commitment, our goals are difficult to get, but we can do it together. I need the support of all the team.”
With his teammates, Alberto has a special role to play. He is a leader, with the power to win monumental races and change the course of events in grand tours. The other riders look up to him and follow his example. Every time he clicks into his pedals, he has to earn their support. “I am sure I give 100 percent on the road every time,” he says.
But Alberto is a friend to his teammates first. Cycling is a very hard sport, and he knows how to put racing into perspective.
“Sometimes, we forget how lucky we are and how thankful we have to be to all the staff with us. And sometimes we forget that it is just a bike race. Especially when you are under pressure, you sometimes see only darkness. If I can help my teammates to laugh and not think about the dark, I am happy to do that,” he says.
Alberto hopes his exploits on the road can bring comfort and excitement to everyday people, too. After his stage win at the Giro, he encouraged the audience to give a thought to the victims of the Mottarone cable car accident and their families and dedicated the victory to his former agent Mauro Battaglini, who passed away last year and was like a second father to him.
That is something he thinks he can do within the larger EF family as well, which he says, “is not just made by the cycling team but also the thousands of staff.”
Alberto rides for them, and for all of his fans in Italy and around the world. The next seasons are going to be very exciting for him, as he is just coming into his prime.
We’re happy and proud that Alberto Bettiol is one of us.
Alberto Bettiol wants to keep winning:
Dorian Godon, Aurélien Paret Peintre and Clément Venturini extend their contracts
Dorian Godon, Aurélien Paret Peintre and Clément Venturini have extended their contracts with the AG2R CITROEN Team. Godon started with the team in 2019 while Paret Peintre and Venturini joined in 2018. Godon and Paret Peintre extend 3 years through 2024 and Venturini 2 years through 2023.
“It’s always a good feeling to continue our adventure with talented riders. Dorian has finished his studies in physiotherapy while being a professional cyclist with beautiful skills as a puncheur. Since Aurélien joined the Chambéry Cyclisme Formation, he has continually proved his qualities. He has matured, progressed, and shown that he could continue to progress and improve, especially in stage races and races with a rugged profile. Clément has brought us some great satisfaction, both as a two-time French Cyclocross Champion in our colours, and by having a lot of punch and speed at the end of races. He loves the team and shares our mentality,” General Manager Vincent Lavenu explained.
Venturini to stay with AG2R Citroën:
Joss Lowden is going to Attack World Hour Record
Joscelin ‘Joss’ Lowden will attack the World Hour record for women in September. At the beginning of this year, the British rider of Drops-Le Col rode “unofficially” faster than Vittoria Bussi’s current record, but now officially wants to take a shot at the record.
In February, Lowden’s trainer Sean Yates and partner Dan Bigham announced that she had set a new world record in training for an individual pursuit. In one hour she rode 48.160 kilometres, which was more than a hundred metres further than Bussi’s official World Hour Record of 48,007 kilometres, set in 2018.
Lowden’s record attempt will take place at the end of September at the BMC cycling track in Grenchen, Switzerland. “I am very happy to have the support of Le Col, which allows me to give it a try. It’s a big project, quite an undertaking, and certainly something I wouldn’t have thought about without all the help,” said Lowden. “It’s great to see it all come together later this year.”
Joscelin ‘Joss’ Lowden:
Philippe Gilbert to Ride the Elfstedenronde on Sunday
After several weeks of intensive training, Philippe Gilbert will again pin a race number next Sunday. The Walloon classic specialist from Lotto Soudal is taking part in the Eleven Cities Tour.
The Elfstedenronde is a UCI 1.1 race with start and finish in Bruges. The provisional list of participants also includes Tim Merlier, Mark Cavendish, Davide Ballerini, Sep Vanmarcke, Dylan Groenewegen and André Greipel. Two years ago the victory went to Merlier. In 2020, the race was canceled due to the corona crisis.
After the Elfstedenronde Gilbert will start in the Baloise Belgium Tour (9-13 June) and the Belgian road championships in Waregem on June the 20th. 38-year-old Gilbert hopes to be ready for the Tour de France. The three-week French Grand Tour starts on Saturday, June 26 in Brest. The Lotto Soudal rider, who has had a difficult spring, had an encouraging performance in Tro-Bro Léon just before his training period. In the French one-day race he finished 11th.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Tour de Suisse
Julian Alaphilippe will lead the Wolfpack at the 84th edition of the race.
Six weeks after concluding another successful Ardennes Classics campaign, which saw him claim a third-career victory at Flèche Wallonne and a sixth Monument podium in Liège–Bastogne–Liège, Julian Alaphilippe will pin on a number again for what will be his Tour de Suisse debut, where he’ll line-up following an altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada.
The race, taking place between 6-13 June, will feature almost 18 000 meters of vertical climbing, two individual time trials (on the opening and on the penultimate day), several opportunities for the puncheurs and sprinters, but also some rough days in the mountains that will play a big role in the final outcome, including one that will take the peloton over Oberalppass, Lukmanierpass and Gotthardpass, in the heart of the Alps.
Joining the World Champion on Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s team for the 20th World Tour event of the season will be Mattia Cattaneo, Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Alvaro Hodeg, Jannik Steimle and Mauri Vansevenant, the winner of this year’s GP Industria i Artigianato.
“The Tour de Suisse is one of the best and hardest week-long stage races, and this year is no different, with several testing stages and a lot of climbing. Julian is our leader, and will have a strong support from Mattia, Dries and Mauri, but also Tim, who will be there to control the race whenever needed. We’re happy to have Jannik start again a World Tour race after his crash in Nokere Koerse, but also Alvaro, who can be an option in case some of the stages will come down to a bunch sprint, which won’t be easy. Overall, there are a couple of opportunities for us to take some good results, so we’re quite confident going into the race”, said Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Rik Van Slycke.
06.06–13.06 Tour de Suisse (SUI) 2.UWT
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA)
Mattia Cattaneo (ITA)
Tim Declercq (BEL)
Dries Devenyns (BEL)
Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (COL)
Jannik Steimle (GER)
Mauri Vansevenant (BEL).
Sports Director:Geert Van Bondt (BEL) and Rik van Slycke (BEL).
UAE Team Emirates Names Squad for Tour de Suisse
GP Canton d’Argovie Gippingen | Tour de Suisse
With the Tour de France less than a month away, UAE Team Emirates will set their sights on Switzerland this week as the team embarks on a block of racing which takes in the one-day classic Grosser Preis des Kantons Aargau [1.1] on June 4, followed by the prestigious Tour de Suisse (UWT) which runs from 6-13 June.
The team will aim to build on its strong track record at Grosser Preis des Kantons Aargau, with the Emirati squad having won the race every year since 2017.
The team follows with Tour de Suisse where they will look to home favourite Marc Hirschi and the experience of Rui Costa, a three time former winner of the race.
Sports Directors Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) and Simone Pedrazzini (Swi) will lead the team for Grosser Preis des Kantons Aargau, while Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) will join the squad for the Tour de Suisse.
-David De La Cruz (Spa)
-Rui Costa (Por)
-Ryan Gibbons (RSA)
-Marc Hirschi (Swi)
-Sebastian Molano (Col)
-Cristian Muñoz (Col)
-Oliviero Troia (Ita)
Hirschi: “It’s exciting to be coming back to the Tour de Suisse. It’s a race we missed last year since it was cancelled so to have it back on the calendar again is great news. Before coming here I’ve been at Sestriere with the team training at altitude. I’m feeling good and it’s always special and a privilege to be racing on home roads. We have a strong team with lots of options so we’ll aim for success.”
Astana – Premier Tech targets Tour de Suisse Podium
Astana – Premier Tech is heading to Switzerland aiming for a podium spot with leader Jakob Fuglsang when the eight-stage race gets underway on Sunday.
The Danish rider will return to the race for the first time since 2018, when he finished second overall.
“After my result in 2018, it is nice to return to the Tour de Suisse, a race I have good memories from. I finished second overall in 2018 and it would be great to repeat it with another podium spot and maybe a stage win”, – says Jakob Fuglsang.
After altitude training camp in Tenerife for the final preparation ahead of the Tour de France, the 2020 Il Lombardia winner feels ready to start the second part of the season.
“I have been in Teide and had a good altitude camp with our Tour de France line up and I’m feeling good after some weeks of intense training sessions. The eight-stage race will kick off my second part of the season and I hope to put in a good performance. We will see how my legs are coming from a race break and altitude camp”, – adds Fuglsang.
Sports Director Bruno Cenghialta returns to racing after guiding the Giro d’Italia squad to a fourth place overall and is confident in the Kazakh-Canadian team at the Tour de Suisse.
“We are coming to Switzerland with a strong line-up. Jakob Fuglsang, Hugo Houle, Omar Fraile, Stefan De Bod and Manuele Boaro are coming straight from our altitude camp in Teide, where they had an intense but good training period. We only have good memories of the Tour de Suisse, Jakob finished second overall in 2018 and with Lopez we were able to win this race in 2016”, – says Bruno Cenghialta.
As every year, the eight-day WorldTour race is also the final test for the upcoming biggest Grand Tour on the race calendar, the Tour de France.
“We are aiming for another podium spot this year, which won´t be easy as, like every year, the best of the best are lining up at this race as it is the final test ahead of the Tour de France”, – adds Cenghialta.
The 84th edition will again be a battle between the best climbers, tackling climbs and passes like the Gotthardpasses, Oberricken or Oberalppass on their way from Frauenfeld to Andermatt with two individual time trials on stages 1 and 7.
Tour de Suisse, 6 – 13 June.
Manuele Boaro (ITA), Stefan De Bod (RSA), Omar Fraile (ESP), Jakob Fuglsang (DEN), Yevgeniy Gidich (KAZ), Hugo Houle (CAN), Jonas Gregaard Wilsly (DEN).
Sports Directors: Bruno Cenghialta (ITA), Sergey Yakovlev (KAZ).
Tour de Suisse – JUN 6 – 13
Marc Reef – Team DSM coach: “As is traditional for this race, the Tour de Suisse features a challenging parcours with some very hard days in the saddle, including a hilly time trial and changeable weather conditions which we need to be prepared for. We will look to our chances in the GC with Tiesj, and assess and look day-by-day where our chances are to go for them. For the hilly and flat stages we can count on the strong support of Jasha, Romain and Søren, while on the climbs we have our young but strong trio of Andreas, Thymen and Mark.”
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Thymen Arensman (DEN)
Tiesj Benoot (BEL)
Romain Combaud (FRA)
Mark Donovan (GBR)
Andreas Leknessund (NOR)
Jasha Sütterlin (GER).
Tiesj Benoot to the Tour de Suisse:
Tour de Suisse (June 6-13th)
Mathias Frank: “I still have three races, at home, in Switzerland, before finishing my career as a professional cyclist at the Swiss National Championships (June 20). It’s a very special feeling, a little unreal. I am excited, and I know that I will experience some beautiful emotions. I am pleased to have made the decision to put an end to my career at important races, and that Vincent Lavenu and the staff have accepted my request. The Tour de Suisse will be a wide open race, with a mountainous course, and I will put myself at the service of the team while being ready to seize my luck if there is an opportunity. My fifth place at the Mercan’tour Classic after being in a breakaway has given me confidence. I lived five beautiful years with the AG2R LA MONDIALE and now AG2R CITROEN. I remember most fondly the Tour de France in 2017 alongside Romain Bardet where we really made an impact in the race, combined with the family atmosphere and really friendly relations within the team.”
UCI Team Ranking
INEOS Grenadiers is top of the UCI Team Ranking. The UCI has made a new update to the 2021 Team Ranking this week and the British team managed to get even further ahead of Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma thanks to a successful Giro d’Italia.
Last week the difference was 27 points, now INEOS Grenadiers’ lead over Deceuninck – Quick-Step has grown to more than 900 points. Jumbo-Visma is still third and UAE Team Emirates has also held its place. Bahrain Victorious and Team BikeExchange have both moved up.
Bahrain Victorious was unexpectedly second in the Giro d’Italia with a strong showing from Damiano Caruso, making a jump from eight to five on the UCI ranking. Team BikeExchange, third in the Giro with Simon Yates, is doing even better and rises from twelfth to eight. Alpecin-Fenix and BORA-hansgrohe have lost a place.
The big loser in the ranking is Trek-Segafredo. The team of Vincenzo Nibali, Jasper Stuyven and Bauke Mollema was seventh in the standings last week, but now finds itself down in tenth place. Astana-Premier Tech and Arkéa-Samsic are also doing well.
UCI Team Ranking (on June 1, 2021):
1. INEOS Grenadiers – 8,066 points
2. Deceuninck – Quick-Step – 7,127 points
3. Jumbo-Visma – 5,476 points
4. UAE Team Emirates – 4,574 points
5. Bahrain Victorious – 4,264 points
6. Alpecin-Fenix - 4,039 points
7. BORA-hansgrohe – 3,752 points
8. Team BikeExchange – 3,616 points
9. AG2R Citroën – 3,466 points
10. Trek-Segafredo – 3,408 points
11. Astana-Premier Tech – 3,255 points
12. Movistar – 3,197 points
13. Israel Start-Up Nation – 3,127 points
14. Groupama-FDJ – 3,104 points
15. Cofidis – 2,451 points
16. Arkéa-Samsic – 2,337 points
17. Qhubeka ASSOS – 2,324 points
18. Lotto Soudal – 2,208 points
19. Total Direct Energy – 1,802 points
20. Team DSM – 1,747 points
21. EF Education-Nippo – 1,565 points
22. Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB – 1,266 points
23. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert – 1,136 points
Alpecin-Fenix has been the best ProTeam in the UCI Team Ranking for a long time. The Belgian team is now on 4,039 points. The difference with Arkéa-Samsic is, just like last week, more than 1,600 points. Total Direct Energie, Bingoal Pauwels Sauces-WB and Caja Rural-Seguros RGA are the next ProTeams.
Best five ProTeams in the UCI Team Ranking (on June 1, 2021):
6. Alpecin-Fenix - 4,039 points
16. Arkéa-Samsic – 2,337 points
19. Total Direct Energy – 1,802 points
22. Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB – 1,266 points
24. Caja Rural-Seguros RGA – 1,135 points
INEOS grenadiers in the lead:
Nine WorldTour Teams Start the Baloise Belgium Tour
In the run-up to the 90th edition of the Baloise Belgium Tour, the organisers have revealed which teams will compete for the overall victory from 9 to 13 June. All Belgian professional teams will be present when the race starts in Beveren. A total of nine WorldTour teams will make an appearance, including Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Lotto Soudal, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, Jumbo-Visma, and DSM.
In total there are 22 teams of 7 riders at the start. With Caleb Ewan, Sam Bennett, Pascal Ackermann, Dylan Groenewegen, Cees Bol, Giacomo Nizzolo, André Greipel, Timothy Dupont, Nacer Bouhanni and Bryan Coquard. Classic names such as Philippe Gilbert, overall winner in 2011, Yves Lampaert, Zdenek Stybar, Davide Ballerini, Sep Vanmarcke and Niki Terpstra have also been announced.
The first stage takes the riders from the Waasland to the Flemish Ardennes. According to the organisers, this is not a warm-up, because in the final a challenging circuit awaits the riders, including the climb of the Berg ten Houte several times. A short individual time trial is planned for the second day in Knokke-Heist. On that stage the riders get a taste of a part of the course of the World Time Trial World Championship, which will be held in mid-September, between Knokke-Heist and Bruges.
In the third stage, the riders will race on rolling roads from Haspengouw to Flemish Brabant, where the finish is in the town of Scherpenheuvel-Zichem. The fourth stage is seen as the Queen stage as the riders are faced with eight climbs, including the Thier du Moulin and the Muur van Huy. In the final the difference could be made on Les Kimones, a climb of two kilometres with an average rise of 6.7%. The Tour ends with a stage to Beringen.
Participating teams Baloise Belgium Tour 2021 (9-13 June):
Deceuninck – Quick-Step
Israel Start-up Nation
Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
B&B Hotels P/B KTM
Team Novo Nordisk
Total Direct Energy
Baloise Trek Lions
2019 Baloise Belgium Tour winner Remco Evenepoel:
Saint Petersburg Replaces Newport in Nations Cup
Saint Petersburg is organising a round of the UCI Track Cycling Nations Cup, the replacement for the World Cup, from 8 to 11 July. The International Cycling Union UCI announced in a press release. The event in the Russian city replaces the race in Newport, UK, which was canceled due to corona measures.
With the entry of Saint Petersburg, the Nations Cup will keep its original three round format. The first round in Hong Kong has already been held, although this race was not attended by some teams. The UCI is still looking for a new date for the Nations Cup round in Colombian Cali. This round was scheduled for June 3-6, but the event was postponed at the request of the organisation. The UCI hopes to come up with a new date for this race soon.
New Date for the 2021 Elite Track European Championships
Following the cancellation of the Elite Track European Championships initially planned from 23 to 27 June 2021, the Union Européenne de Cyclisme has rescheduled the event on the UCI calendar on the second week of October 2021 (to be confirmed from 5 or 6 to 9 or 10 October).
As the COVID health crisis is continuing, and above all due to the current procedures for travelling between various countries, moving the Championships to October will enable national teams to better manage transfers and give enough time for the new organiser to prepare the event properly.
Regarding the venue, the Union Européenne de Cyclisme is in contact with some National Federations to work out the best solution, which will be announced in the next few days.
How the 2021 Giro d’Italia was Won | INEOS Grenadiers Behind the Scenes
Re-live all the highs and lows from our Giro d’Italia journey and watch how Egan Bernal won his second Grand Tour following a phenomenal team performance across three weeks.
Video: Giro d’Italia 2021
Wins, Leaders jerseys, stunning debuts, crashes but most importantly: FANS!
We had it all at this Giro d’Italia in what was an intense and beautiful 3 weeks in Italy.
Thank you all for the support!
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