EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!
All the latest cycling news for free
The 2022 Giro d’Italia Grande Partenza in Budapest announced – TOP STORY. Race reports from the Koppenbergcross with video, plus Taiwan National championships. Alberto Contador on the current generation, Remco Evenepoel 6th in gravel race and Patrick Lefevere talks Evenepoel 2022. Richard Carapaz team, Julian Alaphilippe for the Ardennes and Daniele Bennati is new Italian coach. Contract news: Elia Viviani, Omar Fraile, Hideto Nakane, Ben Turner, Álex Martín, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Kim Heiduk, Jesús David Peña and Matyáš Kopecký. No contracts for Martin Salmon and Erik Baska. Team news: Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Gazprom-RusVelo, Astana Qazaqstan, eolo-Kometa and BikeExchange. Race news: UCI Track Champions League and RideLondon Classique. So much EUROTRASH to get through.
TOP STORY: Giro d’Italia 2022 Starts in Budapest with Hilly Stage
The Giro d’Italia will officially start in Hungary in 2022. It should have happened in 2020, but the corona crisis postponed the Grande Partenza in Budapest for two years. Now the exact route of the three Hungarian stages has been presented, including an individual time trial on the second day in Budapest.
The first stage on Friday 6 May, will start in the Hungarian capital. The finish is after 195 kilometres on a hill summit in Visegrád. The second day on Saturday 7 May, there will be an individual time trial of 9.2 kilometres through Budapest. In the original plans for 2020, the Giro would have started with a time trial. Stage three on Sunday 8 May in Hungary takes the peloton over 201 kilometres from Kaposvár to Balatonfüred. This stage is made for the sprinters.
Next week, Giro d’Italia organiser RCS will announce the route for the 2022 edition. The sprint stages will be presented on Monday, followed by the hilly stages on Tuesday and the mountain stages on Wednesday. On Thursday, RCS will reveal where the final of the Giro will take place.
The 105th edition of the Giro d’Italia will welcome Hungary as the host nation for its Grande Partenza that will feature three stages, including an individual time trial. It begins on Friday, May 6 with the Budapest-Visegrád stage (best suited to sprinters). Then, on Saturday May 7, a 9.2 km individual time trial through the heart of Budapest follows. The last stage in Hungary will take place on Sunday 8th May from Kaposvár to Balatonfüred, on the shores of Balaton Lake and is one for the sprinters. Both the first and the second stages will start from Heroes’ Square. The riders will then transfer to Italy and, on Monday 9, the Corsa Rosa will observe its first rest day.
Stage 1, Budapest – Visegrád: 195 km – 900m
A slightly undulating stage through the plains to the north of the capital, skirting the Slovakian border, marked by the Danube, an imposing and constant presence in this area. The stage passes through several renowned towns such as Székesfehérvár and Esztergom with its imposing basilica. A challenging finish awaits the riders once they leave the banks of the Danube. From the centre of Visegrád, the route climbs at 5% for about 5km to the royal castle where the first Maglia Rosa will be awarded at the end of an increasingly narrow sprint.
Stage 2, Budapest – Budapest Tissot ITT: 9.2 km – 150m
A time trial entirely following a city circuit that stitches together the Hungarian capital from Pest to the historical centre of Buda. The start is located at the Heroes’ Square and heads straight for the Danube, which separates the two ‘souls’ of the city. A series of twists and turns mark the route until it reaches the riverfront and parades past the neo-Gothic parliament before crossing the Danube and following the parallel bank. Leaving the river behind, the final climb begins (with peaks of 14% in its first section) which, partly on cobblestones, leads to Buda Square where the finish line is located.
Stage 3, Kaposvár – Balatonfüred: 201 km – 890m
Stage to Lake Balaton, the sea of Hungary. After a first section of the stage in which the riders will approach the lake via a series of gentle undulations, they will reach Nagykanizsa and then Hévíz with its thermal lake. From there, they will ride through the Balaton region. The landscape is called the ‘Provence of Hungary’ and features ‘up and down’ volcanic hills that characterise the route. The last 50km take place along the coast with only the briefest of bumps at Tihany Abbey. The finish is almost without corners, and will set the stage for the race’s first bunch sprint.
X2O Trofee Koppenbergcross Men 2021
Eli Iserbyt won the 2021 Koppenbergcross on Monday. The European champion of Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal was in a class of his own in the mud and rain, he rode Toon Aerts (second) off his wheel and took the lead in the X2O Trophy standings. Lars van der Haar was third in the first X2O round.
Lars van der Haar was the first at top of the Koppenberg after the start, but in the field it was Eli Iserbyt who immediately took a gap. The European champion had Toon Aerts behind him and the two entered the second lap together. They didn’t split despite several attacks back and forth. A large chase group followed after the first lap at 15 seconds and after two laps at 30 seconds. That group was led by Toon Vandebosch and Lars van der Haar. At the start of the third lap of six, Iserbyt again attacked. This time Aerts had no response. The leader of Baloise Trek Lions also crashed, allowing his Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal competitor to increase his lead.
Going into the fourth lap, the difference was 26 seconds. Behind, in the pouring rain, Vandebosch and Van der Haar fought a duel for third place, which the Dutchman managed to settle in his favour. Meanwhile, Iserbyt also consolidated his lead over Aerts in the second part of the race. At the start of the last lap on the Koppenberg, Iserbyt had a 41 second lead on Aerts. The European champion, who will defend his title next week on the VAM mountain in Drenthe, took no risks for his eighth victory of the season. Aerts limited the damage at the line to 23 seconds, Van der Haar was third at 1:18.
3rd, Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions): “From the first lap I felt good, only a few rode faster, I am very satisfied. My legs were good, I’m glad I rode a nice cross. Yesterday (in Overijse), I felt good, but because of my fumbling I could never participate. Today I didn’t expect to participate, but I still felt good. Next week will be better rideable, that gives me a lot of confidence. If I could stand during the climbs, I could use my explosiveness. But Eli was also sitting very well today. It will be very difficult, but also very beautiful.”
X2O Trofee Koppenbergcross Men Result:
1. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal in 1:02:42
2. Toon Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions at 0:24
3. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 1:18
4. Corne van Kessel (Ned) Tormans-Circus at 2:41
5. Toon Vandebosch (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 2:47
6. Tom Meeusen (Bel) CX Team Deschacht-group Hens-containers Maes at 2:59
7. Lander Loockx (Bel) CX Team Deschacht-group Hens-containers Maes at 3:04
8. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 3:15
9. Jens Adams (Bel) Hollebeekhoeve Cycling Team at 3:36
10. Thijs Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions at 3:59.
X2O Trofee Koppenbergcross Women 2021
Clara Honsinger won the women’s Koppenbergcross 2021. The 24-year-old American champion made the difference on the Koppenberg and after an exciting duel with Denise Betsema managed to grab the victory in Oudenaarde. Kata Blanka Vas finished third.
The best start on the muddy Koppenberg was for Yara Kastelijn, Annemarie Worst and Denise Betsema. Behind them were Overijse winner Kata Blanka Vas, Lucinda Brand and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado who had to chase. But the cross was turned upside down in the first lap. Betsema took the lead and only a strong Clara Honsinger, Kastelijn and Vas stayed within 10 seconds. It was a struggle for the riders and due to the rain of the past few days it was also very slippery. Honsinger slipped, but the American continued to follow Betsema. It was a difficult cross for Brand, Alvarado and Worst. They could not connect with the leading quartet. At the front it was Honsinger who managed to break away from Betsema at the start of the third lap with an impressive climb of the Koppenberg.
On the technical sections, Betsema made up for it again, making the opening race of the X2O Trophy a real battle. At the start of the final lap, Honsinger again made a gap on Betsema. Not far behind, Vas had settled into third. The difference between the American and Betsema continued to fluctuate around 3 seconds in the final lap. Betsema had Honsinger constantly in view and seemed to catch her just before the final climb, but the 24-year-old American made another gap and didn’t give it away on the Koppenberg the last time. After more than 51 minutes it was Honsinger who claimed the victory, 11 seconds ahead of Betsema. Vas was more than half a minute behind in third. The rest were at more than 1:40.
Race winner, Clara Honsinger (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld): “At one point I wondered how many laps we had left. I think I could descend faster on certain sections. This allowed me to stay off my brakes for longer, and the climb really suited my power. The World Championship is a big goal on my calendar, but I am also happy to be here in Europe now and to ride beautiful crosses here. It was my first time on the Koppenberg, but it is so long and steep!”
Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “Clara climbed the Koppenberg faster. This was really that tough. This cannot be compared with any other cross. Really very tough… The victory was in sight for a long time and I would have liked to win to dedicate the victory to Jolien Verschueren, a former teammate of mine. But Clara was unfortunately really stronger. Clara climbed the Koppenberg a little faster. I hoped to get closer in the field and then go up and over it, but it was so hard. You then have to see it, and you can’t connect. That’s too bad. I am happy that I had a strong race. The form is good and I’ll take that with me to the next one. This is good for morale. This was the toughest weekend so far. If the form is good, that gives confidence.”
X2O Trofee Koppenbergcross Women Result:
1. Clara Honsinger (USA) Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld in 51:07
2. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:12
3. Kata Blanka Vas (Hun) SD Worx at 0:35
4. Yara Kastelijn (Ned) IKO-Crelan at 1:42
5. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 2:01
6. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 2:12
7. Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777 at 3:01
8. Fem van Empel (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 3:19
9. Hélène Clauzel (Fra) A.S. Bike Crossteam at 3:47
10. Perrine Clauzel (Fra) A.S. Bike Crossteam at 4:54.
Feng Victorious in Taiwan National Championships
In the road race of 160km, Chun-Kai Feng launched his attack early in the first 10km despite of a head wind. His bold tactic made the selection successfully. In the leading group of 5, Feng made the decisive move in the final 15km and claimed the goal medal with another title of Taiwan Champion in his career.
“I tried to push hard at the beginning part of the day. If I can split the peloton, I can better tell how my rivals’ condition is. We worked well in the leading group all day to keep the chasers at bay. I am happy that the race went as I planned and took this victory again by the end of the season.”
Alberto Contador: “A Golden Generation is Coming in Cycling”
Alberto Contador is impressed by the current generation of cyclists. The former Spanish cyclist, now 38 years old, expects that this will have an effect on the sport in general. “Cycling is experiencing one of its best moments ever,” he said.
Contador followed the past year closely as an analyst for Eurosport. In conversation with the Spanish newspaper Ultima Hora, El Pistolero says that he enjoys watching the racing. “There is a golden generation on the way in cycling. In every stage race or race we see a beautiful race, with the big names fighting for victory. This contributes to cycling making more of an impact. In addition, it attracts fans.”
“Women’s cycling is also booming, in terms of competition and media attention,” he continued. “In Spain, for example, we have Mavi García. She shows that a step forward has been taken in women’s cycling in Spain, but also worldwide. Many major professional teams have a women’s team and more and better competitions are added all the time. That will certainly motivate young cyclists.”
Contador also highlights two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar. “He dominates the Tour and is the man to beat, especially when you see what he showed last season. But every year the Tour is different and the competition different. For example, Primož Roglič had problems, so we have to see how he is in 2022,” Contador looks ahead. “But I see a very strong Pogačar. There is still room for improvement, but he is also becoming more confident with his results. And he shows a spectacular level when he goes for something.”
Contador impressed by Pogačar:
Remco Evenepoel Finishes Sixth in American Gravel Race
Remco Evenepoel finished sixth on Sunday in the Belgian Waffle Ride, a gravel race in the United States. The 21-year-old Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider didn’t ride the longest distance at the event, 178 kilometres, but the 111 kilometres.
Evenepoel finished after four hours and three minutes, taking thirteen minutes longer to complete the gravel race than the first to finish, American transgender athlete Molly Cameron. Mattia Cattaneo, Evenepoel’s Italian teammate at Deceuninck – Quick-Step, crossed the line in eighth.
Evenepoel was in the United States for a sponsor trip and added the gravel race in Kansas City. Evenepoel has some sponsorship obligations with his team’s bike manufacturer, Specialized in California.
Patrick Lefevere: Remco Evenepoel – Giro or Vuelta?
Patrick Lefevere still does not know whether Remco Evenepoel will ride the Giro d’Italia or the Vuelta a España next year, but he will have to do a deal with one of the two Grand Tours, Lefevere said in Het Nieuwsblad: “Before I do that with an organiser, I first want to know the course.” Evenepoel will not ride the Tour de France in 2022.
“We are still debating a bit in the team about what will be the best Grand Tour for Remco in 2022,” Lefevere continued. “I have my idea and initially thought of the Giro. But contrary to what some people think, I am not a dictator. I also listen to the DS’s and trainers before we make a choice at the first training camp in December.”
What is clear is that 21-year-old Evenepoel should make his season debut in Argentina. “I have signed a contract with the organisers of the Vuelta a San Juan, but I can add that the anti-COVID19 measures are greater than the contract. That organiser covers itself from here to Tokyo, in the event that it cannot continue due to COVID circumstances. It remains subject to change,” said Lefevere.
The Vuelta a San Juan is on the calendar from January 23 to 30. In his first two professional seasons, the Belgian super talent also started in the Argentine stage race. Evenepoel won in 2020 and is defending champion, as this year’s edition was cancelled.
Evenepoel in San Juan’20:
Richard Carapaz Sets Up New Continental Team
Richard Carapaz is busy setting up his own continental cycling team, according to various Colombian media. The Ecuadorian climber of INEOS Grenadiers hopes with his team to train as many South American cyclists as possible and to have them progress to the professional class.
According to cycling journalist Fabricio Tufiño Armas, several young Ecuadorian and Colombian riders will get the chance to prove themselves with the Carapaz team. The 2019 Giro winner can count on a lot of interest from potential sponsors. If it is up to Carapaz, we will see the team operating as a continental team in the peloton as early as 2022. In this way, 28-year-old Carapaz hopes to contribute to the further development of South American cycling, and in particular cycling in his home country of Ecuador. With his performances at the highest level, Carapaz managed to put cycling on the map in Ecuador.
In 2019, the climber was the first Ecuadorian to win a Grand Tour (Giro d’Italia), in 2020 he was second in the Vuelta a España and this year he took the Olympic road title and finished third in the Tour de France.
Carapaz team for 2022:
Julian Alaphilippe to Focus on the Ardennes Classics in 2022
Julian Alaphilippe will probably not be at the start of the Tour of Flanders next year, the French World champion hinted in conversation with RCM Radio. The reason: Alaphilippe will again focus on the Ardennes Classics in 2022. “It is difficult to be top in Flanders and the Ardennes,” said the Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider.
Alaphilippe participated in the past two editions of ‘Vlaanderens Mooiste’ and also played a leading role in the final. “Last year I really wanted to combine the Tour of Flanders and the Ardennes classics. I knew it was possible, but it’s not easy to be 100% percent. Participating for the win in Flanders and then still be top in Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège… That is difficult.”
The two-time World champion has to make choices and wants to appear in top form at the start of first Flèche and then Liège next year. “So next year I will focus on the Ardennes. These races are perfect for me, although I have discovered my love for the Tour of Flanders. The intention is to return there one day, in absolute top form, in order to take a shot at victory.”
In the summer, the Frenchman will focus on the Tour de France. Alaphilippe wants to try it again as a GC rider, after his fifth place in the Tour of 2019, but that is not yet for next year. “I’m not thinking about a general classification yet. I want to take a shot at stage wins at this stage of my career. I’m not making too many plans at the moment. I will only do that after exploring the most important stages.”
No Flanders in 2022 for the World champ:
Daniele Bennati Takes Over from Davide Cassani as Italian National Coach
Daniele Bennati is the new Italian cycling coach. The former rider of Lampre, Liquigas, Tinkoff and Movistar is the successor to Davide Cassani, who had been national coach since 2014, but the Italian cycling federation decided to change course this year.
Bennati was chosen ahead of Gianni Bugno, Filippo Pozzato, Davide Bramati and Maurizio Fondriest. Cordiano Dagnoni, who succeeded Renato di Rocco as FCI president in February, eventually decided to put Bennati forward as Cassani’s successor. Cassani was elected Italy national coach in 2014 and under his leadership several titles and medals were won on the track and the road. This year Sonny Colbrelli won the European championship in his own country and so Cassani was able to resign with a win.
For Bennati, it is his first major position in cycling since his retirement as a rider in 2019. The now 41-year-old Italian was a professional for almost twenty years and for many years was regarded as one of the better sprinters in the peloton. The Tuscan has won more than fifty races in his career, including stage victories in the Tour, Giro and Vuelta. Bennati can’t wait to start his new job, but also feels the pressure. “It is a big responsibility and it is an important function in Italian cycling. However, I have a good feeling about it and I’m really excited. I always had the ambition to become a national coach, but I did not expect it to come so quickly. I am ready for the challenge.”
The former rider is aiming high as national coach. “Over the years, Davide (Cassani) has done an excellent job, with four consecutive European titles and several medals at world championships. However, it has not been since 2008 that an Italian became World champion on the road,” Bennati refers to the world title of his former teammate, Alessandro Ballan. “The goal is to bring the rainbow jersey back to Italy.”
Elia Viviani Returns to INEOS Grenadiers from January 2022
Viviani happy to be returning back to INEOS Grenadiers
Elia Viviani has done ‘everything in his power’ to return to the INEOS Grenadiers – and is delighted to have signed a three-year deal that will take him through to the end of 2024 and the Paris Olympics.
The popular Italian raced with the team for three years, from 2015-2017, and says he always wanted to return one day.
“From the moment I left the team, I had in my head that one day I would come back – and now that day has come and I couldn’t be happier,” said Viviani.
“In my years away, I’ve never lost contact with the team – with Dave [Brailsford], Rod [Ellingworth], and with the Italian riders and coaches. I am really good friends with lots of the team members and especially Dave. I never missed an opportunity to speak with him at races about cycling, my team, my season, and this team. This feels like coming back to a family for me.”
In his time away from the team, Viviani won eight Grand Tour stages, including his maiden Tour de France stage in 2019. But the 32 year old has incredibly fond memories of winning races with the team including his first-ever Grand Tour stage win as a Team Sky rider at the 2015 Giro d’Italia.
“In my final year with the team in 2017 I won nine races, including Hamburg and Plouay. I also won my first Giro d’Italia stage in my first year in the team. That was a dream goal for me and it was thanks to this team that I won. It really feels like I can start again from that point.
“Next year the goal is to win as many races as I can because that’s the job of a sprinter. But I can also support the young group of Grenadiers and pass on my experience. I hope I can be an example to follow and an experienced guy around the incredibly talented young group that is being built.”
INEOS Grenadiers Deputy Team Principal Rod Ellingworth said: “We are delighted to be able to welcome Elia back to the team. We value him as an experienced rider who can win races, but also as a person. He brings so much to any group he is a part of, and we hope he can inspire, drive and educate our developing group of riders. Above all though, Elia is a racer, and we can’t wait to see him winning as a Grenadier.”
Viviani won Olympic track Gold in the omnium in 2016, dovetailing his road and track ambitions with the support of the team. It’s that level of support that is a major factor in his return to the team, as he looks ahead to Paris.
“My deal takes me to Paris 2024. I realised how important the Olympics are to me this year and I am privileged to be in a team that will support me. I look at how Filippo [Ganna] was able to perform on the road for the team this year and on the track in Tokyo. I also remember Rio 2016 like it was yesterday, and how the team helped me then too. That Gold medal also partly belonged to this team.
“I’ve had a tough two years and the Olympics gave me back what I’ve missed – the legs, confidence, conviction and belief in myself. My Bronze medal this year has given me the belief to step up to my level again.
“I think this is the best place for me to be at this stage in my career. I’ve done everything I can to come back and I feel proud as a person that I left on good terms and left something good here. Now that’s paid off.”
Omar Fraile Joins INEOS Grenadiers from 2022
The Basque breakaway specialist is looking forward to showing his team player attitude.
The INEOS Grenadiers are happy to announce that Omar Fraile will be joining the team on a two year contract from January 2022.
The Basque rider, like many of his Northern Spanish compatriots, is a climbing and breakaway specialist. His palmarès includes five mountain classification jerseys, two of which he collected at consecutive editions of the Vuelta a España, in 2015 and 2016.
This season saw him raise his arms in victory at the Spanish national road race championships, a result which he admitted has helped relieve some anxiety – having not had a victory for a while. The 183km hilly course provided Fraile with the opportunity of a late attack only a few hundred metres from the finish line, and out-sprinting his competitors
“My win at the Spanish National Championships this year was one that I worked really hard for. Normally I’m always the one working hard for my teammates, so when you have the chance to raise your arms and cross that finish line first, it’s always going to be super special,” Fraile says. “To then have the opportunity to wear your national champs kit for the next season, that’s pretty special and rewarding too.”
When asked what’s been his most meaningful victory there’s no hesitation to his response, it’s his stage win at the Tour de France. “My stage victory in the Tour de France is the one I am most proud of, it’s the kind of victory you dream about when you’re a kid. Every cyclist knows how special that race is,” he says. “But when I think of other victories I’ve had, winning at Itzulia [Basque Country], my home race, in front of my family and friends, that’s something you don’t forget either.”
Fraile’s other speciality is that of the ever loyal teammate, his commitment to ensuring he gives everything to help his leaders win is what has caught the attention of INEOS Grenadiers’ Deputy Team Principal, Rod Ellingworth: “Omar is a rider that has been on our radar for a while, he has shown time and again his versatility as a bike racer and his willingness to help and show unwavering support to his teammates. An attitude that fits so well with the INEOS Grenadiers’ ethos. We’re excited to have him on board for the coming season, I think he will be a great fit for the team.”
Fraile equals Ellingworth’s enthusiasm on becoming part of the team and having the chance to demonstrate just how much of a team player he is: “INEOS has always been the team that you dream of riding for, it’s always been the team that I’ve looked at and wanted to race for,” Fraile says.
“It’s a team where you see the riders really working together as a team, and that’s what I really enjoy doing, being there and working for my teammates. I think it’s going to be a good fit, and I’m really looking forward to working with everyone.”
Hideto Nakane Renews
EF Education-NIPPO is proud to announce the renewal of Hideto Nakane. With 10 seasons of professional racing experience, the 31-year-old continues to grow each season and is looking ahead to 2022.
As a rider from Japan who has raced on five continents, is learning English, and loves to ride in Italy, Nakane appreciates the team’s international culture. “I wanted to renew my contract with the team because there are so many great riders and staff from so many countries,” he said. “It is a global team, which means I can learn so much here and that interests me.”
Looking back on 2021, Nakane said he has grown significantly in his first season racing in the WorldTour. “I’ve improved how I train, how I recover, how I race, and my English. This will all help for an even stronger 2022.” Indeed, he wrapped up this past season on a high note, reaching the podium in both the Japanese National Championship Road Race and Time Trial, his best ever result in the two disciplines.
“Hideto has been a wonderful presence on this team. He’s not only someone we love racing with, but he’s got a great sense of humour and adds a lot of fun to this group,” said team CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “Our team is truly global. It’s one of the things I enjoy most about our riders and staff, and having Nakane represent Japanese cycling is important; we want to see more Japanese riders in the WorldTour and help develop talent outside pro cycling’s traditional hotbeds.”
Nakane has been an important member of our squad this season and helped teammate Hugh Carthy during the Vuelta a Burgos, in which Carthy won the final stage. “I was so happy for Hugh to win the final stage in Burgos and to have been part of it,” Nakane said. “That was my proudest moment of the season.”
For 2022, Nakane aims to carry on learning so that he can continue to support his teammates. “I am proud to race alongside such strong teammates and I want to work hard for them.”
Nakane has found a home with the team and sees a promising future. “I like how EF operates. I know I can continue to grow as a cyclist with this team, so that’s why I would like to work hard again with EF.”
Ben Turner Signs with INEOS Grenadiers
Up and coming British talent comes on board from January 2022
As part of INEOS Grenadiers continued recruitment of young talent we are delighted to announce that 22-year-old, Ben Turner will be joining the team from January 2022.
The young British rider has experienced a similar journey to his compatriot, Tom Pidcock, having lived in Belgium and raced in the professional cyclocross scene, before becoming part of the Trinity Racing team. He believes that his move to Belgium at the age of 17 has been part of his success, due to it being such a steep learning curve.
“I think most importantly moving to Belgium on my own, it’s about the life lessons that you experience, you don’t know much at that age. I didn’t speak the language either, it was a big jump, but in those situations you learn quickly,” Turner says.
Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, he appreciates coming from a part of the UK where cycling is prevalent. As an avid cyclist for most of his life, it was his father who introduced him to the cycling world, originally through BMX before they decided it would be best for him to move across to cyclocross due to how hazardous the BMX racing was.
“He took me to a BMX track when I was about seven and I did that for a long time. I was quite good at it, although I did keep crashing and breaking my bones so we moved over to cyclocross,” Turner says. “Then I got into the junior levels and was really good at cross, I was on the podium with Tom [Pidcock] at the Worlds.”
During his time in Belgium, Turner started to race road alongside cyclocross, a strategy that he believes is a good platform for success, and something that he’ll continue to do.
“Tom [Pidcock] and I have been speaking a lot about going back into the cross season, we’ve been speaking about it all year actually,” Turner enthuses. “We’ll start in December, it’s going to feel weird not having turned up to race in October, but I can’t wait, I’m really excited to start racing again.
“I think it leads really well into next year, into the Classics. It complements that racing really well, you can see it in riders like Mathieu [Van de Poel], Wout [van Aert] and Tom, so I’m excited to do that.”
Turner’s background in off-road racing has developed him into a punchy rider with a good turn of speed. “Coming from cross I’m probably a rider more tailored towards the Classics, races that are a bit punchy, I think that comes quite naturally from racing cross. I don’t want to say I’m an all-rounder, but I guess I can do a bit of everything.”
It’s an exciting time for British cycling, with a new wave of talent shining through, of which quite a few of them Turner will be teammates with next season. “The British youngsters in cycling are getting big now, I think there is a lot of strength and depth, if you look at INEOS there’s Tom and Ethan [Hayter] and Ben [Tulett] coming in as well, it’s really special to be a part of that.”
The team brings Turner on board as there is renewed focus on developing young talent, led by Deputy Team Principal, Rod Ellingworth who comments: “Ben has shown a real strength in character from a young age, it takes a lot of courage to move to a different country at the age of 17, and that kind of learning experience really helps young riders progress. I’m looking forward to seeing him grow within the team and think that he has the talent, experience and willingness to learn that will stand him in good stead for his first year in the WorldTour with us.”
Turner is excited about the next stage in his career, stepping up into the WorldTour, and is happy that it’ll be with the INEOS Grenadiers.
“What I’m most looking forward to about joining the team is just how big it is and the level it’s at,” he says. “Being a British rider you just want to be in this British team, it’s an honour to be part of it, especially going into my first year in the WorldTour, for that to be in the biggest team in the world is definitely something to look forward to. It’s a big step so when I think about what I want to achieve, it’s about learning a lot, that’s what you’re kind of there to do in the first year.”
Álex Martín, another talent of the Contador Foundation structures that jumps with the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team
The Catalan rider Álex Martín will make his professional debut next season with EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team. With the Barcelona rider, who like the Andalusian David Martín promotes from the U23 squad of the Contador Foundation, the team closes the composition of his squad for his second adventure in the ProTeam category. Martín (25 January 2000) is a rider with a climbing profile who this season has won the final general classification of the Volta a Galicia and finished sixth in the Giro Ciclístico della Valle d’Aosta.
“It was never clear to me that this opportunity would come my way. When Ivan Basso and Fran Contador told me their decision, it was an incredible moment. That also helped me to ride without any pressure”, says the youngster from Premià de Mar.
With this signing, for two seasons, Martin consummates his passage through all the sports structures that make up the Contador Foundation, whose discipline he entered through the Selection Campus held in Zaragoza in September 2017, coming from the Club Ciclista Mollet. In the junior team, he won the overall of the Tour de l’Ain, in France, as well as the prestigious Vuelta a Talavera and Vuelta al Besaya. In the U23 team, where he has remained for three seasons, he has had great performances such as his stage victory in the Volta a la Provincia de Valencia 2020 or his triumph in the Volta a Galicia overall.
Martín is the third cyclist, after Alejandro Ropero and Sergio García, to pass through all levels. Both the rider from Granada and the rider from Cadiz will now be his teammates in the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team. The Catalan has also competed with Alessandro Fancellu, with Arturo Grávalos and with the recently signed David Martín.
“It is really nice to look back and see how you have gone through all the categories, consuming stages, maturing athletically and mentally, developing your qualities. Within the Foundation we have had great help, with the support of people with a lot of experience in this sport and we have had the means to be able to develop. Personally, I never noticed a big change in the jump from one category to another, except in terms of resources, which always increases; at all times we had all the support and a very good atmosphere, very close”, he says.
What does Álex Martín expect from this first season? “Above all, I hope to adapt to the category as quickly and as well as possible and to give the team everything I can. I have managed to fulfil a dream, to reach the professional field, but I have to keep improving to have a long and successful career. For me it is a privilege to be able to make a living from something that is my passion. It is very difficult to turn your passion into your job and I have a great opportunity. Cycling is not a rosy world, you have to work very, very hard, but it’s my passion! I honestly haven’t thought anything about results. There’s a lot of work to do and I’ve only just arrived. A good place in a mountain stage is more realistic”.
Van Keirsbulck Stays with Alpecin-Fenix in 2022
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck has extended his contract with Alpecin-Fenix for one year. According to Het Nieuwsblad, it is a new one-year contract for the 30-year-old from West Flanders.
Van Keirsbulck was only picked up by Alpecin-Fenix last season in April. The Belgian team of the Roodhooft brothers signed him for the development team after he had been left without a place after CCC folded. Because there were several injuries in the team at the time, they needed Van Keirsbulck. Due to a new UCI rule, Van Keirsbulck was also allowed to race for the ProTeam in some races. Despite his late entrance, he still managed thirty race days in 2021. His best result was 21st place in the Classique Loire Atlantique (UCI 1.1). According to WielerFlits, Van Keirsbulck will race for the Alpecin-Fenix ProTeam in 2022 and so will compete in some WorldTour races.
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck:
German Under 23 National Road Race Champion Joins INEOS Grenadiers from January 2022
The INEOS Grenadiers are delighted to confirm the signing of the German under 23 national road race champion Kim Heiduk.
Heiduk, 21, has spent three years with Team Lotto – Kern Hause and enjoyed some impressive results across 2021, catching the eye of the team.
The Neo-pro has signed a two-year deal with the team and can’t wait to get started and continue his development as a rider.
He said: “As soon as I heard about INEOS’ interest, I knew it was the right team for me. It was an incredible feeling. I’m delighted to become a Grenadier.
“I’m a very disciplined rider and I’m focused on what I need to improve over the next two years. I believe I can be good in the Classics and I’ve had a lot of fun in those races. I see myself as a pretty good sprinter but I don’t know where I’ll be with the pros. It’s not very easy to win a race solo, so it’s good to have a sprint!
“I can’t wait to experience lots of different races next year. It will be all about discovery and development.”
INEOS Grenadiers Deputy Team Principal Rod Ellingworth said: “Kim had an impressive start to 2021 and all of our interactions with him have been extremely positive. He’s determined to learn and improve and he’s starting his professional career from a great place. We’re excited to see him push on next year and adapt to life as a Grenadier.”
Heiduk raced to the under 23 German road race title in May and enjoyed further impressive results in the opening part of the season, at the Tour of Rhodes, Tour d’eure-et-Loir and Orlen Nations Grand Prix.
“The first part of my year was very good,” explained Kim. “In all of my races, I feel that I had good results or did a good job for the team. But the second half has been tough – I crashed in Tour de l’Avenir and after a few days off, I got back into racing at the Deutschland Tour, but the legs weren’t quite there as I hoped. I then had a training accident with a car and a week before the worlds the doctor said my shoulder was still not ready to compete. Mentally, that was quite hard, but I’ve put that behind me now and I am enjoying my end to the season.”
Before signing his deal, Heiduk went for a training ride with the Grenadiers Development Sports Director Christian Knees in their native Germany. The pair have struck up a good relationship which has helped Kim integrate into the team.
“The first ride with Christian was great and we spoke a lot. He lives a few hours away from me so we’ve not been able to ride together much since but we’ve spoken a lot – we have contact nearly every day. I feel really comfortable and have nothing but good feelings about joining the team.”
Heiduk is also very thankful to Lotto – Kern Hause for their support over the last three years. “I was with the team for three seasons and I was very happy. They helped me feel confident and it was the right team for my development. I now feel the same about this next step and I can’t wait to start.”
Two-time U23 Vuelta a Colombia champion Jesús David Peña to make his WorldTour debut with Team BikeExchange
Young Colombian prospect Jesús David Peña will join Team BikeExchange for the next two seasons as a neo-pro, having shown his potential racing in Europe and at home in Colombia.
With second-place stage finishes at the prestigious Giro Ciclistico d’Italia and as a two-time winner of the Vuelta a Colombia U23 race, Peña has already displayed his talent at U23 level.
GreenEDGE Cycling has decided to invest in the 21-year-old, as the Australian outfit looks to continue developing young international talent, and with this, the squad is delighted to be able to deliver Peña with his first professional contract.
With a strong track record of talent coming out of Colombia, Team BikeExchange is eager to see what Peña can do given the right tools and environment to work in, with the team motivated to assist him in reaching his full potential as he makes the step-up into the WorldTour peloton in 2022.
Brent Copeland, General Manager on Peña: “We have been presented with this exciting opportunity and after analysing stats and data of Peña with our technical staff and having the opportunity to see some of his performances, we are happy to have him with us from next season. He is still very young, but from what we could see up to now, we believe that with our guidance he can be a solid rider for the future. Knowing the high competition in Colombia, if you win the Under 23 Vuelta a Colombia, it means that you certainly have the talent, and we will give him our all in our effort to support his development. Of course, he will need to adapt to his new life, but at GreenEDGE Cycling will give him all the tools needed to help him progress and there is no lack of experience in our team to offer this support. The first year will be important for him to get the right experience, to feel the atmosphere of being in a WorldTour team, learning as much as possible from all our experienced riders, but then from year two, we hope he can be a solid team player in various races.”
Jesús David Peña: “I am so excited; I am going to join a WorldTour team which has always been my dream. Doing it with GreenEDGE Cycling, which I have always followed, it makes it even more special. When the opportunity was presented to me, I didn’t hesitate a second and I took it straight away. Now, of course the hard part will begin, it won’t be easy to compete with the best cyclists in the world, but my motivation is extremely high and this for me is only a starting point. I will have to study, I will have to learn, I will have to focus on every single aspect to improve my performance. It’s a life changing opportunity for me and I can’t wait to move to Europe and begin this new adventure. I want to thank GreenEDGE Cycling for giving me this opportunity and I’ll do all I can to pay them back for the trust they are putting in me.”
Jesús David Peña
Date of birth: 8th May 2000 (21)
Joins Team BikeExchange: 2022
New Contract: 2022 & 2023
1st 2021 & 2019 U23 Vuelta a Colombia
2nd 2021 Giro Ciclistico d’Italia stage 7
2nd 2019 Giro Ciclistico d’Italia stage 5
Team Novo Nordisk sign Czech champion Matyas Kopecky
Team Novo Nordisk confirmed the signing of Czech U-19 road champion Matyáš Kopecký through 2023.
Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team today confirmed the signing of Czech U-19 road champion Matyáš Kopecký through 2023 with the focus firmly on development for the young all-rounder.
Kopecký missed out on double championship titles by only three seconds, after finishing in second place in the individual time trial only two days before the 18-year-old stormed to victory in the road race.
Born in Rotterdam but representing the Czech Republic due to his Father’s side of the family, Kopecký started cycling at the age of eight and quickly fell in love with the bike. Coming from an active family with both his brother and sister also riding at elite level, Kopecký started out racing cyclocross before switching to the road.
“Signing for Team Novo Nordisk is surely one of the best things to ever happen to me,” said Matyáš Kopecký. “I have dreamed of becoming a professional cyclist all my life, and now my dream is coming true. The hard work has paid off and I am more motivated than ever to ride my bike. This is a huge opportunity that I want to take with both hands.”
“Until last season I was primarily focussing on cyclocross, where I managed some nice results in youth categories. But this past season my focus shifted to the road. I managed to do well in some big U-19 stage races and also won the Czech national road championship. Competing on the road is now my full priority.”
First coming to the team’s attention at this year’s Talent ID camp in Caen, France. Kopecký quickly confirmed his potential with his results on the road at both the World and National Championships.
“Matyáš is new to the program,” began General Manager Vassili Davidenko. “He joined us at our Talent ID camp this summer and really impressed. We knew about his potential from his record racing cyclocross, but he blew us away less than two months after the camp by placing 18th in the junior world’s road race, winning the U-19 Czech nationals and coming so close to the double with second in the time trial.”
“We are all excited to welcome Matyáš to the Team Novo Nordisk family and to help him develop and reach his full potential. He is still very young, only 18-years-old and there will be a lot of work involved to help him reach the next level, but he is very determined and focused which is great to see and we are confident that we can help him every step of the way.”
Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was 15 years old. Kopecký has not let it hold him back. Fortunate to be surrounded by a strong group of supportive family and friends, his first thoughts were “what about my cyclo-cross race at the weekend?!”
Educating himself on how to manage and live with diabetes, it was only a short time after that Kopecký learned about Team Novo Nordisk and the amazing story of co-founder and CEO Phil Southerland and the inspirational athletes who compete around the world striving to change diabetes and carry their message of empowerment.
“After I was diagnosed, I immediately started to read everything on the internet about diabetes and cycling,” said Kopecký. “Quite quickly the name of TNN popped up. Me and, especially my Dad, read everything about the team and its goals. All the stories of the riders and also Phil Southerland were very special to read and taught me that everything is still possible, and that I do not have to give up on my dream of becoming a professional cyclist.”
“My first season will be a transition from the junior category to racing at professional level. This is a big step, so I do not have major expectations in terms of results. I want to make progress and be useful to the team, but I feel good and eager to get started.”
Martin Salmon to Leave Team DSM
Team DSM and Martin Salmon part ways. The 24-year-old German, who’s contract ends this year, confirmed to radsport-news.com. He did not say whether he would continue his career. “We’ll see if I continue my cycling career or start something completely new.”
Salmon has raced for DSM since 2017: first for the U23 team, then for the WorldTeam for two years. In his first season with the pro team, the German won the mountains classification in the Tour du Limousin and rode his first Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España, where he retired at the start of the third week. In his second professional year, a third place in the fourth stage of the PostNord Danmark Rundt was his best result.
Now it appears that Salmon may end his career, he was 5th in the junior World Championships in Richmond (2015).
Erik Baska Leaves BORA-hansgrohe After Five Years
Erik Baška’s time at BORA-hansgrohe is coming to an end after five years. The 27-year-old Slovak will leave the German WorldTour team at the end of this season. His future is still unknown.
On social media, BORA-hansgrohe said goodbye to Baška, who has been part of the team since 2017, but had to wins. Baška took his only professional victory at the Handzame Classic in 2016, when he was riding for Tinkoff.
Baška was European champion with the Under 23’s in 2015 and partly because of that earned a contract with Tinkoff. When that team ceased to exist a year later, he went with the Slovak enclave around Peter Sagan to BORA-hansgrohe. Now that Sagan is leaving, there is no room for Baška. TotalEnergies, the French team where the three-time world champion will compete in the coming years, also can’t take Baška. It is not yet clear which team Baška will ride for in 2022.
Erik Baška won the Handzame Classic in 2016:
Deceuninck – Quick-Step Wins UCI World Team Ranking
Our squad finished at the top of the standings for the third time in the last four years.
The Wolfpack enjoyed another exceptional season, during which they showcased their strength in depth and fantastic team spirit, making the implausible become reality many times, winning a plethora of races and cementing their position as the most successful squad of the century.
Between February, when we rolled out our campaign at the Tour de la Provence, and the Chrono des Nations, where we drew the curtain in October, the Deceuninck – Quick-Step boys racked up an astonishing 65 victories netted by 18 different riders – a unique performance among the World Tour teams – in 15 countries.
Grand Tours, Monuments, one-day and week-long races, the Wolfpack delivered everywhere and every time with frightening efficiency, the cherry on the top being put by Julian Alaphilippe, who for the second consecutive season triumphed at the World Championships.
A total of 15 641 points brought Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s third victory in four years in the UCI World Team Classification, an achievement that delighted CEO Patrick Lefevere: “I am very proud of the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team for taking this victory. It has been an exceptional year, with not only the number of victories, but also the quality standing out. There are so many great memories that it is hard to choose a highlight, and as much as anything let’s remember the riders and staff in the organisation that didn’t take victories themselves but worked very hard to make it possible for us to become the best team in the world for 2021.”
Gazprom-RusVelo Team for the Season 2022
The Russian UCI ProTeam Gazprom-RusVelo unveil team roster for the season 2022. Team Manager Dmitri Sedoun on the changes for the upcoming year:
“In order to increase the level of the team, we signed riders of various specialisations from different countries. All-rounders: Giovanni Carboni, Nicola Conci and the national road race champion of Czech Republic Michael Kukrle. Climbers to strengthen the team: Kevin Rivera, Jose Diaz and the young Andrea Picсolo with the potential to become a great GC rider. We also enforced the sprint unit with Matteo Malucelli, Alessandro Fedeli and Eirik Lunder who was our team trainee and performed well in the final part of the season.
We are certain that the internal competition within the squad and exchange of experiences and skills will be a benefit for our Russian riders and for the overall performance of the team. At this moment we can say that the roster for the season 2022 is completed,” — Dmitri Sedoun.
Ilnur Zakarin (RUS), Sergey Chernetskiy (RUS), Nikolay Cherkasov (RUS), Mathias Vacek (CZE), Artem Nych (RUS), Ivan Rovny (RUS), Pavel Kochetkov (RUS), Marco Canola (ITA), Petr Rikunov (RUS), Christian Scaroni (ITA), Denis Nekrasov (RUS), Dmitry Strakhov (RUS), Matteo Malucelli (ITA), Giovanni Carboni (ITA), Jose Manuel Diaz (ESP), Kevin Rivera (CRI), Andrea Piccolo (ITA), Michael Kukrle (CZE), Alessandro Fedeli (ITA), Niсola Conci (ITA), Eirik Lunder (NOR).
Alexandr Shefer returns to Astana Qazaqstan Team as Lead Sports Director
Kazakh specialist and one of the most experienced and successful directors in team Astana history Alexandr Shefer is set to return to Astana Qazaqstan Team as Lead Sports Director in the upcoming season of 2022.
During the last season Alexandr Shafer was collaborating with the Russian UCI ProTeam Gazprom – Rusvelo. Despite a valid contract for 2022, the teams have reached a mutual agreement about return of Alexandr Shefer to Astana Qazaqstan Team.
“I am really happy to reunite with Astana Qazaqstan Team after a year outside the project. I feel myself full of energy and inspiration ahead of the new season. I am grateful to the management of Gazprom – Rusvelo for the time I spent in this team, for the new experience I got there and for understanding and flexibility in the question of my return to Astana Qazaqstan Team. I really appreciate it. Well, the new season is coming, and the team will change a lot for the upcoming year, it is going to set the new ambitious goals and I am really looking forward to start working again side by side with Alexandr Vinokurov and all my teammates and colleagues I know for a long time,” said Alexandr Shefer.
“I am happy to see Alexandr, one of the key directors for Astana, coming back. The preparation towards the new season is in full progress and a lot of work is going to be done for the team to get ready for the new challenges and the new goals. I am sure that arrival of Alexandr Shefer will strengthen our Sports Director group and will help the team to come back on the winning way,” said Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.
Biagio Conte joins EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team as sporting director in 2022
Not only the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team squad is reinforced in view of the second season of the structure in the ProTeam category. The sports management of the professional team of the Contador Foundation also grows with the arrival of Biagio Conte for the next season.
The Sicilian, a professional cyclist between 1996 and 2003 and with extensive experience as a manager in both WorldTour and training structures, will be at the wheel of the brand new blue SKODA together with Stefano Zanatta, Jesús Hernández and Sean Yates. “I had the opportunity to work closely with Stefano Zanatta and Ivan Basso at Liquigas between 2010 and 2014 and I can’t wait to do it again,” he says.
“From my point of view the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team started the year as the team of Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso, but now it is simply the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team. And that is due to the great leap in quality that the team has made during its first season. It has done a formidable job, seen from the outside, and the results are there. The whole team has had a great performance during the year, but obviously the performance in the Giro d’Italia and Lorenzo’s victory in the Zoncolan have been very relevant in this growth”, reflects Conte.
As a cyclist, the man from Palermo (1968) was a very fast man who enjoyed his opportunities to show off and had no qualms about contributing, adding to and working on other riders’ successes by joining Mario Cipollini’s ‘il treno’. Conte was the first leader of the 1996 Vuelta a España, in which he won two stages, and in his career he also achieved a partial victory in the Giro d’Italia (2000) or in Tirreno-Adriatico (2001), without forgetting that he was on the podium in a monument such as Milano-Sanremo (1997), a race of great agonistic distance in which he was also fourth in 2001.
“The goal for 2022 can only be to confirm all that EOLO-KOMETA has done well.. The natural thing is to keep growing. You can’t think about winning the general classification of a grand tour, even if obviously your heart tells you that’s what you’d most like to do. It’s a time to keep your feet on the ground, work calmly and continue to build from the search for more achievable but no less important objectives. But never losing ambition. If in 2001 the EOLO-KOMETA won a stage in the Giro d’Italia, for example, why not fight for two victories in 2022,” he smiles.
Next season will be the first in which Conte will manage together Zanatta, Jesús and Sean all the riders of the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team in the professional ranks. “So far I haven’t managed any of them, but I know all the Italian riders well. Some of them, like Bevilacqua or Fortunato himself, were riders who rode for WorkService, my last team, in the junior category. Albanese, Lonardi, Maestri… They are also riders I know well,” he says.
The year 2021 is in its last months and in a few weeks the team will be back to work with its first winter training camp. “Now the guys have to rest and disconnect, because the work starts again right away and the goal has to be that everyone starts in the best conditions. The unity of the whole squad this year has been great and that has been one of the team’s differential facts, one of its strengths. The victories are individual, but behind them there is a great collective work where everyone has contributed. Gavazzi, for example, has contributed a lot with his experience. The objective is to start the year well and then it will be the road and the rivals that will tell, because winning has never been easy and the competition is always high”.
Italian Clothing Brand Alé Joins Team BikeExchange from 2022
Team BikeExchange are pleased to announce that the innovative Italian clothing brand, Alé, has signed a partnership agreement with the squad for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
The Veronese brand will join the Australian outfit from January 1st, 2022, bringing its textile expertise and its Research & Development laboratory, which has dressed numerous cycling champions over the years. The garments will be made from the PR. R and PR. S lines, with the fabrics, fits and cuts specifically designed by Alé to support Team BikeExchange riders to achieve their performance goals in the coming seasons.
Alessia Piccolo – CEO of APG (The company headed by Alé): “It’s with great pleasure that we announce the important partnership with Team BikeExchange. We will dress the team with our unmistakable design, providing them with the best textile engineering in the field of cycling clothing. Our Style Department is already working on the graphics, which will be impactful as always. While waiting to discover the new jersey design and the new 2022 line-up, I wish the whole team the best for their off-season preparations, and I can’t wait to start collaborating and winning together.”
Brent Copeland – Team BikeExchange General Manager: “We are very pleased to begin this new partnership with Alé; a brand that is investing heavily in our beloved sport, both in terms of marketing and continuous research and development of top-quality products. These two aspects are very important to us because they can support us in the continuous growth of our team, both in terms of international visibility and for the performance of our athletes. We are only at the beginning, but we expect to continue growing together for a long time.”
Event Preview: Historic Week for Cycling as UCI Track Champions League Heads into Inaugural Round
This Saturday, the Velòdrom Illes Balears in Mallorca, Spain will host the first round of the innovative new series. Key event information including start lists, broadcast partners, the race programme and more released today.
Saturday marks a new chapter in the history of track cycling as the inaugural season of the UCI Track Champions League gets underway. Seventy-two of the world’s greatest track cyclists, with 29 Olympic medals and 63 UCI Track Cycling World Championship titles between them, will go wheel to wheel at the Velòdrom Illes Balears in the first round of an innovative series set to elevate the sport to a new level of global prestige.
The UCI Track Champions League Super Launch Mallorca (round 1) will see four Spanish riders compete among a star-studded field. Spain’s Sebastian Mora – former UCI World Champion and six-time European Champion – is one to watch in particular in the Endurance Mens category. Local fans will also be able to cheer on Endurance riders Eukene Larrarte, Tania Calvo and Erik Martorell Haga.
Cycling fans will be able to access real-time rider data, powered by AWS, via live broadcasting during the race. Power, heart rate, cadence and other key metrics will all be on show, giving viewers unique insights into the athlete’s performance.
Televised worldwide courtesy of Eurosport, GCN+ and a host of international broadcast partners, round 1 of the UCI Track Champions League begins at 19:00 CET on Saturday.
The schedule is as follows:
19:00: Live broadcast begins
- Sprint / Men / First Round
- Keirin / Women / First Round
- Scratch / Women
- Sprint / Men / Semi-Finals
- Keirin / Women / Final
- Scratch / Men
- Sprint / Men / Final
- Sprint / Women / First Round
- Elimination / Women
- Keirin / Men / First Round
- Sprint / Women / Semi-Finals
- Elimination / Men
- Keirin / Men / Final
- Sprint / Women / Final
22:00: Live broadcast ends
Where to Watch Round 1
Each round of the UCI Track Champions league is available to watch on Eurosport, Eurosport Player and GCN+. Live coverage of round 1 will run from 18:45-22:00 CET on the discovery+ streaming service (selected markets*), GCN+, Eurosport and Eurosport.com (available to premium subscribers).
In addition, the league will be televised by a series of international broadcasters, including France TV, RTL (Netherlands), RTBF (Belgium), SBS Australia, Sky New Zealand, Claro Sports (Latin America) and RTVC (Colombia).
About Velòdrom Illes Balears
Located in the city of Palma, Mallorca, the Velòdrom Illes Balears benefits from a capacity of 6,607 (currently restricted due to Covid-19 regulations) and is one of Europe’s flagship velodromes. A regulation 250 meters in length and 7m wide, the track is banked at 43 degrees in its corners and 15 degrees on its straights.
The Velòdrom Illes Balears opened in 2007 and was first used to host the UCI World Track Championships that year. Since then, the track has become a staple for cyclists in the region, used regularly for both racing and training.
The venue forms part of the Palma Arena, a world-class multisport pavilion. Due to the pavilion’s size, versatility and top of the range facilities, the Palma Arena acts as host to a wide range of other sports, leisure and cultural activities. The island of Mallorca itself attracts thousands of cyclists to its roads every year and enjoys a strong cycling heritage, making Palma the perfect host for round 1 of the UCI Track Champions League.
The Sporting Format
The UCI Track Champions League is a league format where every round will feature the same race programme. Riders score points across the five rounds in either the Sprint or Endurance category. Each category has two different types of races in which competitors can accumulate points: Sprinters will race in both Sprint and Keirin while Endurance riders will race both Elimination and Scratch. 18 riders can take part in each category, totalling 72 riders — equal numbers male and female — to take part in the inaugural UCI Track Champions League.
The Sprint Category races:
Sprint: The Sprint race will see the first rider to cross the finish line after three laps of the track win. The first round will comprise six heats of three riders going head-to-head, with the six winners progressing on to the semifinals. Two heats of three riders will then determine the final two competitors to go for the win.
Keirin: The Keirin race is a massed start sprint over five laps. The first two laps of the track will be behind a Derny motorcycle to set the pace, leaving riders to sprint to the finish over the remaining three. Six riders will take part in three heats, with the top two riders qualifying for the final. In the final, six riders will compete for victory.
The Endurance category races:
Elimination: In the Elimination race the last rider across the finish line in every other lap will be eliminated from the race. The first lap will be a neutral lap and all 18 riders take part from the off.
Scratch: The classic Scratch race will be contested over a relatively short distance of 5 km to see the high-speed action start from the gun. All 18 will be vying for a podium position over 20 laps of the 250m track.
Points and RidersIDERS Rankings
Rankings within the UCI Track Champions League will be determined by points allocated to riders from their performance in each race (see below for example). Points will accrue in a ranking table and the overall winner in each of the categories will be the rider with the most points at the end of the series. At the end of each round the current leader will be awarded the UCI Track Champions League leader’s jersey to wear at the next round.
*Selected markets: Denmark, Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and United Kingdom.
Three-Day Extended RideLondon Classique Starts in Essex
The Essex region northeast of London will receive the first two stages of the RideLondon Classique next season. Previously a one-day race, this Women’s WorldTour race has been expanded to three days.
With the release of the Women’s WorldTour calendar for next season, it was announced that the RideLondon Classique (May 27-29) will return as a three-day race, putting the race on the agenda just before The Women’s Tour (June 6-11). Meanwhile, the route is also slowly taking shape. Essex will host the first and second stages of the new three-day road race, which will once again attract the best teams and riders in the World.
The first RideLondon Classique was in 2016, won by Kirsten Wild. In the years that followed, Coryn Rivera (now Coryn Labecki), Wild and Lorena Wiebes were added to the honours list. Last year the race was canceled due to the corona pandemic. The men’s race was already missing from the calendar for ’21: the organisation had not submitted an application to include the race in the WorldTour. The RideLondon Classique is on the calendar for Friday 27-Sunday 29 May.
Kristen Wild won in 2018:
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