EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!
Cycling news up-date
We catch up with Paris-Nice and the first stage of Tirreno Adriatico and the Healthy Ageing Tour with reports and video. Richard Plugge not happy with Remco Evenepoel – TOP STORY. Rider news: Peter Sagan starts his season, three year contract for Giulio Ciccone, contract offer to João Almeida and ban for Raúl Alarcón. Team news: UCI Team Ranking. Race news: Amstel Gold Race to run, Ourense host the CERATIZIT Challenge, Giro di Sicilia and youth Gent-Wevelgem canceled and teams for the Maryland Cycling Classic. Thursday coffee time.
TOP STORY: Plugge responds to Evenepoel’s statement on Groenewegen
Richard Plugge responded sharply to a recent statement by Remco Evenepoel. The Belgian stated in an interview with Humo that no one from Deceuninck – Quick-Step would talk to Dylan Groenewegen when he returns to the peloton. This has not gone down well with the Jumbo-Visma manager.
“Evenepoel’s response is part of the problem,” acording to Plugge. “It is better to think carefully before making a statement in the media. He should know that,” Plugge told Het Laatste Nieuws.
Patrick Lefevere, manager of Deceuninck – Quick-Step, has filed a liability claim against Jumbo-Visma. Wrongly, says Plugge: “Dylan has deviated from his line. He’s been banned for that and in a normal world you can’t be punished twice for the same offence. The consequences for Fabio Jakobsen are not all on Dylan Groenewegen’s plate. These also lie with the organisers. The question is whether Lefevere would not be better off knocking on their door.”
After the much-discussed incident in the Tour of Poland, in which Fabio Jakobsen was seriously injured, Groenewegen received serious threats. For example, a noose was sent to his house. The police kept a close eye on Groenewegen’s home for weeks.
Although Dylan Groenewegen and Fabio Jakobsen have already had contact with each other after the incident, it has still not come to a meeting between the two. “We have to wait for the right time,” said Richard Plugge in his conversation with Het Laatste Nieuws. “That is mainly due to Fabio.”
Stage 2 of Paris-Nice 2021 was won by Cees Bol. The Dutch sprinter of DSM was the best in Amilly after 188 kilometres. He beat Mads Pedersen. Michael Matthews finished third and took over the leader’s jersey from Sam Bennett.
The first attack came after 25 kilometres. Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix) and Sander Armée (Qhubeka Assos), their lead increased to 4 minutes. On the only climb of the day, the Côte des Granges-le-Roi, Armée won for De Bondt. In the peloton, mountain jersey carrier Fabien Doubey took the last point, strengthening his lead in the mountain classification. A 100 kilometres from the finish, Trek-Segafredo started to set up echelons to break the peloton. Steven Kruijswijk was one of the riders who missed the split, but luckily the race came back together. The intermediate sprint was won by Michael Matthews. Seventy kilometres to go, Deceuninck – Quick-Step tried to split things, forcing the race into two groups. Most of the favourites were at the front, except Kruijswijk again and Thomas De Gendt, they had to chase hard in the find to regain the front, a chase of 15 kilometres.
In the second intermediate sprint, André Greipel beat Matthews and Nils Politt. George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) crashed and had to wait for a new helmet. Soon after, Senne Leysen and Alexis Vuillermoz also hit the tarmac. The Frenchman had to abandon. At the start of the last 10 kilometres there was another crash, this time it was Gregor Mühlberger and Daniel Arroyave, both were able to continue. Trek-Segafredo took control for Mads Pedersen with 3 kilometres to go. Groupama-FDJ, Deceuninck – Quick-Step and BORA-hansgrohe were also in attendance for the fast finalé. At 1.5 kilometres there was a right turn, after which DSM took over for Bol. In the last kilometre Pedersen was well-piloted in the final straight, but the Dane was beaten by Cees Bol. Pedersen and Matthews were second and third behind Bol. Matthews took the leader’s jersey from Sam Bennett, due the bonus seconds gained during the stage and at the finish. Matthews leads by 4 seconds ahead of Pedersen and Bennett.
Stage winner and 4th overall, Cees Bol (DSM): “It’s the best feeling there is. I had a bit of a struggle at the start of the season and wasn’t too good until now but we kept believing and today I got superb help from my teammates. We smashed it. We went well through the last corner, and were close to being boxed in but Nils recognised the moment and kept the door open for me and from there I was in a good wheel. Trek did a good lead out but I started my sprint in the right moment and had enough power to make it to the line. It’s a good boost for the confidence after we didn’t do too well yesterday but today we showed what we’re capable of as a team. It gives us confidence for the next sprint stages but also for on other days where we’ve got chances with other guys in the team.”
Overall leader and 3rd on the stage, Michael Matthews (BikeExchange): “I came here to try everything I could. With the breakaways not really going, it gave us opportunities to go for the intermediate sprints, take seconds back and take the jersey. I knew I wasn’t the fastest guy here so I tried to position well and sprint as best I could and, in the end, today I was third. There was time bonuses for the third place and so I got it and will get to wear it tomorrow in the time trial. It is nice that the hard work from the last two days pays off and I can pull on the yellow jersey for the team. The team were positioning me all day to make sure I could get up for all the intermediate sprint and also for the final sprint, so it is a really good day for us. To be wearing the jersey at least for one-day, I am really looking forward to that. It is amazing, everybody is fully committed to the plan and I am just trying to execute it as best I can and I will try my best with every opportunity, I get to pay them back. I haven’t done a time trial yet (this season), everything has been going well with my time trial training so hopefully I do a good TT tomorrow and continue with the jersey.”
5th on the stage, 3rd overall and green jersey, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It was a crazy finale and I just couldn’t get to the front. Then, after the last corner I was waiting and waiting, but it turns out I waited too much and the line came quicker than expected. I sprinted from too far back and couldn’t fight for victory, which is a shame, as the legs were there. The team was good again, we are confident and we’ll try again over the next days.”
Paris-Nice Stage 2 Result:
1. Cees Bol (Ned) DSM in 4:27:59
2. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange
4. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
5. Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
6. John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal
7. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
8. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain Victorious
9. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
10. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation.
Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 2:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange in 8:19:23
2. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 0:04
3. Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
4. Cees Bol (Ned) DSM
5. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:08
6. André Greipel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:11
7. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) DSM at 0:12
8. Florian Vermeersch (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo at 0:13
10. Ben Swift (GB) INEOS Grenadiers.
Stefan Bissegger won the Stage 3 individual time trial on Tuesday. The young Swiss EF Education-First rider was fastest over the 14.4 kilometre course beating Rémi Cavagna and Primož Roglič. Bissegger also took the yellow jersey from Michael Matthews. Roglič moved up to 3rd place overall, 6 seconds behind Bissegger and Cavagna, who are both on the same time.
Rohan Dennis (INEOS Grenadiers) set the first fast time. The two-time World time trial champion set a time of 17.47 minutes. His teammate Dylan van Baarle was 1 second slower, while Patrick Bevin and Steven Kruijswijk finished at 7 seconds. Søren Kragh Andersen was the first rider to go under Dennis’s time at the intermediate point. The Dane continued his strong effort and was more than two seconds (17.44) faster at the finish line.
Primož Roglič was faster than Kragh Andersen and Dennis. Thanks to a very good ride, the Jumbo-Visma leader managed to take four seconds (17.40) from the fastest time and was the best of the GC riders. Time trial specialist Rémi Cavagna (17.34) took the hot seat from Roglič, but the French champion had to give it up to the 22-year-old Stefan Bissegger of EF Education-Nippo who finished 83 hundredths faster than Cavagna’s time, at an average speed of 49,179kph over the less than flat course.
Brandon McNulty also finished in the top 5. The American clocked 17.43, just behind Roglič. Tiesj Benoot was among the favourites of the late starters, but the Belgian lost 47 seconds to Bissegger. Mads Pedersen and Michael Matthews rode a strong time trial, but could not prevent Bissegger from passing them on the overall. The Swiss rider is the new wearer of the yellow jersey. Cavagna is second, in the same time as Bissegger. Roglič is third at 6 seconds.
Stage winner and overall leader, Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-Nippo): “I worked a long time for this. I’m quite young, but I think I could show that I’m here. The time trial is really my thing, I come from the track. Short courses like this one are good for me. It’s nice to come here and take the win. I train a lot on the TT bike so I can handle it pretty well. It definitely makes me happy. It’s one of the biggest races of the early season and the first yellow jersey of my career, it’s really nice to be in that situation.”
2nd on the stage and overall, Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): The time trial went well. I’m pleased with my result. Near the end, I had to brake while trying to overtake another rider [Sbaragli]. But I had a blast today. Sure, I could have done things better here and there, but now our focus is on getting a second sprint victory with Sam, the fastest man in the pack here. And if I manage to slip into a breakaway…
Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I was just trying to make the time limit and save the legs for another day. I did not want to waste some energy here. Now I will get through tomorrow and try to win Thursday, as I was disappointed not to be up there yesterday. I looked where the sprints are tomorrow and they’re on climbs so it won’t be doable. For now it’s just trying to go through the next stage and we’ll see. But the green jersey is not an objective for the moment.”
Paris-Nice Stage 3 Result:
1. Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-Nippo in 17:34
2. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:06
4. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:09
5. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) DSM at 0:10
6. Rohan Dennis (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:13
7. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
8. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers at 0:14
9. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:16
10. Patrick Bevin (NZ) Israel Start-up Nation.
Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 3:
1. Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-Nippo in 8:37:11
2. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:06
4. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:09
5. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange
6. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) DSM at 0:10
7. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 0:12
8. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis at 0:13
9. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:14
10. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:15.
Primož Roglič won Stage 4 of Paris-Nice, finishing in Chiroubles. The Slovenian was the best on the seven kilometre final climb to cross the line solo and take the overall lead.
It didn’t take long for the break of the day to form. KOM Fabien Doubey, Oliver Naesen, José Joaquin Rojas, Julian Bernard, Oscar Riesebeek and Anthony Perez were together for a long time. Doubey was there for the mountain points and today there were 40 points on offer. Doubey had the Col des Chèvres (2.3 km at 7.6%) and Col de la Pistole (3.1 km at 6.6%). The difference to the peloton, led by EF Education-Nippo, had increased to more than 5 minutes. On the Côte de Croix de Montmain (3.6 km at 5.4%), the third climb of the day, it was Perez who again managed to gather the most mountain points. The Cofidis rider virtually took over the mountain jersey from Doubey. On the Coté de la Roche de Solutré (4.1 km at 5.5%) also went Perez.
Primož Roglič had big plans and let his teammates control the race. At the foot of the Mont Brouilly (3 km at 7.7%), with 70 kilometres to go, the difference was just over 3 minutes. Around this time Doubey was dropped from the leading group. Doubey was caught on the Col de Durbize and in the peloton the non-climbers and sprinters were in trouble. Overall leader Bissegger also had a hard time, but managed to hang on. The five were still out-front on the Mont Brouilly. In the peloton Laurens De Plus was the first to make a move, but the Belgian INEOS Grenadiers rider was soon contained by Jumbo-Visma. Steven Kruijswijk and George Bennett increased the pace which was too much for leader Bissegger and Alexey Lutsenko. The favourites had been thinned out.
Bernard was first to the top of Mont Brouilly, followed at a minute by the GC group. In the fast descent of the Brouilly there was a crash by Tao Geoghegan Hart and David Gaudu. Both riders crashed in a corner and had to chase with 20 kilometres to go. Even before the final climb in Chiroubles, Rémi Cavagna felt his moment come. The Frenchman who missed the stage win yesterday at 83 hundredths of a second was keen to win today. Cavagna and Luis León Sánchez tried to chase Bernard, who with 10 kilometres to go was still one minute ahead. Cavagna and Sánchez started the 7.2 kilometre final climb 15 seconds behind Bernard. Sánchez was soon on his own, after Cavagna had a bike problem. On the steepest parts of the final climb, Jumbo-Visma decided to take over with George Bennett working hard for Roglič. The lead of Bernard and Sánchez was holding up as Quentin Pacher attacked 5 kilometres from the top, but was countered by Ben O’Connor. Roglič still had Kruijswijk, who was able to hold a good pace for his Slovenian leader. The difference between the two leaders and the group of favourites was 20 seconds.
With less than 4 kilometres to climb, the riders had ramps of 12% and Sánchez dropped Bernard. In the chase group there were attacks from Pierre Latour and Michael Matthews, but no one managed to take the lead. 3 kilometres from the top, Roglič made his move. The Jumbo-Visma leader put distance into the others, although Matthews tried to close it down. The Australian blew up and Roglič was in no danger. The Slovenian eventually crossed the finish line with a lead of 12 seconds and took over the leader’s jersey from Bissegger. Maximilian Schachmann crossed the line second.
Stage winner and overall leader, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “I’m definitely happy about the result. Yesterday was a nice one also. I proved to myself that we were working good. I’m super happy we have two wins for the team today. It was a hard day but it was a stage for me definitely. It was beautiful that I had the legs to finish it off. It’s a long way to Nice but we deserve it, we have a strong team and we are optimistic going into the next stages. We’ll see what the result in Nice will be.”
2nd on the stage and overall, Maximilian Schachmann (BORA-hansgrohe): “Primož attacked at the perfect moment and I couldn’t quite follow. I thought the last 3 km would have been steeper actually. Maybe I didn’t have the confidence and I should have tried to keep up. But I am very happy with the result. Primoz has a very strong team around him here and it will be hard, but the atmosphere here in the team is good and of course we will try and continue to do our best.”
3rd overall, Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a very intense day, quite sharp and steep climbs but I had really good legs. I had problems positioning in the last climb before the sprint. I went relatively too early and I didn’t have the acceleration I needed. I’m happy with my form now. I sure came for the overall and it’s nice to be on track for that for sure. After today, it’s obvious Roglic is in quite a good form as well but we will see how the next big days go.”
Paris-Nice Stage 4 Result:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 4:49:36
2. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:12
3. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
4. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) DSM
5. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech
6. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) BikeExchange
7. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:16
8. Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
9. Pierre Latour (Fra) Total Direct Energie
10. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech.
Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 4:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 13:26:40
2. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:35
3. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 0:37
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:41
5. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:43
6. Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar at 0:58
7. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) DSM at 1:05
8. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) BikeExchange at 1:09
9. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 1:11
10. Pierre Latour (Fra) Total Direct Energie at 1:12.
Tirreno Adriatico 2021
Wout van Aert took the Stage 1 victory and the overall lead in the 2021 Tirreno-Adriatico. The Jumbo-Visma rider started his sprint early on in Lido di Camaiore and was fast enough to hold off Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates).
Jan Bakelants (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Simone Velasco (Gazprom-RusVelo), Guy Niv (Israel Start-Up Nation), Vincenzo Albanese, Samuele Rivi and Davide Bais (all EOLO-Kometa) made up the break of the day. The six had a maximum lead of just over 3 minutes on the peloton. Bakelants was interested in the KOM jersey, he collected the most points at the first mountain sprint, but at the second passage the Belgian was beaten by Albanese. Albanese also took the third and fourth climbs to claim the KOM jersey. In the peloton; Alpecin-Fenix for Tim Merlier, Cofidis for Elia Viviani and Lotto Soudal for Caleb Ewan, kept the lead fluctuating around 2 minutes for a long time. The escapees were caught in time for the sprinters to prepare for the bunch sprint. In the finalé several teams tried to put their lead-out trains on the front.
Fernando Gaviria had a good lead-out in the finishing straight, but was passed by Van Aert. The Jumbo-Visma rider attacked so hard that he held everyone off to the line. Ewan was second and Gaviria eventually crossed the line in third.
Stage winner and overall leader, Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “I’m surprised to win but it was the plan this morning to go for the sprint. I specifically trained for it yesterday, and also in Tenerife. Cyclo-cross is good practice for the explosive finishes but I was a bit worried about a lack of speed in the legs. I will focus on the overall classification of the Tirreno-Adriatico, then I’ll have a few days to recover afterwards and of course, after last year’s win, I’m looking forward to trying to win Milano-Sanremo again. Coming here I was convinced that my shape was good. This win is good for the head and for the spirit of the team. I started my sprint at the right moment and I managed to keep my speed until the finish. I didn’t really expect to win today in such a fast sprint against Caleb Ewan. I was thinking of taking some time bonuses. I’m really happy and proud to finish off the work of the team.”
3rd on the stage and overall, Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates): “The guys did a good job to get me into a good position, but we arrived at the front just maybe a little bit too early and Van Aert got the kick. My form is getting back to where I want it and we’ll take confidence from this first sprint with the aim to get an even better result next time.”
4th on the stage and 6th overall, Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën): “A great result for the team. It was a quiet day, we stayed together as a team in the peloton. In the last kilometres, Nans Peters did a very good job to bring me up into the first positions. Then in the last kilometre, I took Gaviria’s wheel, and he’s a very good wheel to follow usually. In the end, I finished in fourth place for the stage. It’s great for the AG2R Citroën Team’s morale for the rest of the race.”
Green jersey, Vincenzo Albanese (EOLO-Kometa): “I’m happy, I’m happy because it was not easy to get this green jersey. Which by the way, on our shorts looks great on us. You know what? On that climb there were the signs that indicated the meters that were missing to the GPM: 500, 300, 200, 100. And on all those signs there was the writing Eolo, sponsor of the race. Then I said that I had to win it by force, at all costs: because Eolo is us. Last night we had a meeting, in which Ivan asked us for a change of pace to crown the work done so far. I think we all showed that we understood his words.”
Tirreno Adriatico Stage 1 Result:
1. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma in 3:36:17
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
3. Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates
4. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën
5. Luka Mezgec (Slo) BikeExchange
6. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
7. Alvaro Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
8. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
9. Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Movistar
10. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation.
Tirreno Adriatico Stage 1 Result:
1. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma in 3:36:07
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal at 0:04
3. Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates at 0:06
4. Simone Velasco (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo at 0:07
5. Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:08
6. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën at 0:10
7. Luka Mezgec (Slo) BikeExchange
8. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
9. Alvaro Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
10. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step.
Healthy Ageing Tour 2021
Jolien D’Hoore won Stage 1 of the first UCI race on Dutch soil in 2021. After 126 kilometres on the Assen TT Circuit, she sprinted past Alice Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) in the last metres. Karlijn Swinkels gave Jumbo-Visma their first podium place in third. Lorena Wiebes crashed in the finalé.
The three bonus sprints at the end of the 6th, 10th and 18th laps were especially important for the overall. Amy Pieters (SD Worx) won the first sprint, Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT) the second and Léna Mettraux (Andy Schleck-CP NVST-Immo Losch) won the third sprint. Chloe Hosking (Trek-Segafredo) won the sprint on the flat circuit that counted for the mountain classification. During the race it was difficult to for anyone to escape. Although many tried in the last part of the race. The Luxembourg team showed itself well from the front a few times, as did many of the other team. The last major attack of the day came from Daniek Hengeveld. The 18 years old talent of Grant Thornton-Krush Bikes-Tunap Sports, riding her first UCI race, attacked in the penultimate lap. She soon had a lead of 30 seconds and looked like she could pull off a surprise. The sprinter teams had to work hard and she was only caught on the last corner before the finish, to finish eighth.
British champion, Alice Barnes, started the sprint with Lorena Wiebes in her wheel. She seemed to be in best position, but when turning on to the final straight she crashed hard after touching Barnes’s wheel. In Wiebes’s wake, D’Hoore had to swerve so as not to crash, after which she passed Barnes just before the line. D’Hoore took her first victory of the season and the overall lead.
Stage winner and overall leader, Jolien D’Hoore (SD Workx): “We knew it was going to be a sprint, so I wanted to take my chance. It was very hectic. The road was so wide that anyone could come from anywhere. The speed was also high. I thought I was going to go down when Lorena fell, but I just got round. I was really lucky with that. There was a gap with Alice Barnes, luckily I could pass her just before the finish. The team helped me tremendously and I am happy to be able to finish it for them. This was a beautiful first day. Tomorrow in the time trial there are a few other riders in the team who will go for it. Not myself. On the last day we will have fun on the VAM-Berg… It was cool to race on the (Assen) track. It is a pity that there was no audience, but the organisers deserves compliments that this corona bubble can be kept.”
Healthy Ageing Tour Stage 1 Result:
1. Jolien D’Hoore (Bel) SD Worx in 3:14:03
2. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-SRAM
3. Karlijn Swinkels (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
4. Anna Henderson (GB) Jumbo-Visma
5. Charlotte Kool (Ned) NXTG Racing
6. Amy Pieters (Ned) SD Worx
7. Georgia Danford (NZ) Andy Schleck-CP NVST-Immo Losch
8. Daniek Hangeveld (Ned) GT Krush Tunap
9. Marjolein Van ‘t Geloof (Ned) Drops-Le Col p/b Tempur
10. Amber Van Der Hulst (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg.
Healthy Ageing Tour Overall After Stage 1:
1. Jolien D’Hoore (Bel) SD Worx in 3:13:53
2. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-SRAM at 0:04
3. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT at 0:05
4. Karlijn Swinkels (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:06
5. Amy Pieters (Ned) SD Worx at 0:07
6. Emma Cecilie Norsgaard (Den) Movistar
7. Lena Mettraux (Swi) Andy Schleck-CP NVST-Immo Losch
8. Joscelin Lowden (GB) Drops-Le Col p/b Tempur at 0:08
9. Anna Henderson (GB) Jumbo-Visma at 0:09
10. Nathalie Eklund (Swe) GT Krush Tunap.
Peter Sagan Started His Season in Tirreno-Adriatico
Peter Sagan started his season on Wednesday in Tirreno-Adriatico. Sagan had to cancel his early season calendar because he caught the corona virus. He had to miss the Flemish opening weekend and then Strade Bianche. BORA-hansgrohe reported that the Slovak had mild complaints due to his corona infection, but that they wanted to be sure that there wasn’t any further damage. BORA-hansgrohe will have Patrick Konrad and Matteo Fabbro as well as Sagan.
Late start to the season for Sagan:
Three More Years at Trek-Segafredo for Ciccone
Giulio Ciccone has extended his contract with Trek-Segafredo for three more seasons. The 26-year-old Italian has been racing for the American WorldTour team since 2019. At the end of January, Ciccone was already close to an agreement for a longer contract with Trek-Segafredo, but now everything has been signed. Ciccone is in his third season with Trek, after he left Bardiani-CSF at the end of 2018.
His performances in the Giro, where he won a stage in 2016 at the age of just 21, had not gone unnoticed by the American team. In his first year for Trek-Segafredo, he won another stage in the Giro and took the win in the mountains classification. He also wore yellow for two days in the 2019 Tour. Ciccone recently finished fifth in the Trofeo Laigueglia. The Italian will ride the Giro d’Italia in May and then be the team leader in la Vuelta a España.
Giulio Ciccone in yellow:
João Almeida Receives Offer from UAE Team Emirates
The UAE Team Emirates has shown an interest João Almeida and now has received an offer from the WorldTour team. A switch is likely, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Almeida wore the pink jersey in the Giro d’Italia for fifteen days last year. In the end, the Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider finished fourth overall in the Italian Grand Tour. The 22-year-old had received interest from many teams. Almeida’s manager asked Patrick Lefevere that he wanted to “know where we stand” before the end of February. Lefevere was not shocked by this: “If you have been in the business long enough, you have seen every trick that a manager pulls out of his hat three times before.”
Almeida will started his second stage race of the season in the Tirreno-Adriatico. In the UAE Tour he finished third overall.
João Almeida in pink:
Alarcón suspended for four years
Raúl Alarcón has been suspended for four years by the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal for violating anti-doping rules. The suspension will take effect retroactively. This means that 34-year-old Alarcón may not compete until October 20, 2023.
In May 2019, Portuguese media reported abnormal values in Alarcón’s biological passport. Five months later, the rider was provisionally suspended and now the UCI has decided to suspend Alarcón permanently for four years because of “the use of prohibited methods and/or the use of prohibited substances”.
Alarcón always strongly denied that he was guilty of doping use. “It’s all a lie, I didn’t do anything wrong. I will therefore try to prove in the upcoming trial that I am innocent and have not broken any rule”. However, the Spaniard has failed to convince the UCI of his innocence.
In recent years, Alarcón has been quite successful with the Portuguese W52-FC Porto team. He won the Volta a Portugal in 2017 and 2018 and also the Vuelta Asturias four years ago, ahead of Nairo Quintana. These results will soon be scrapped, the UCI said in a press release.
UCI Team Ranking as of 9th March
On Tuesday, the UCI updated the Team Ranking. Deceuninck – Quick-Step are in the lead with 2,356 points. INEOS Grenadiers is in second place with 1,561 points and Trek-Segafredo have 1,447 points in third. Alpecin-Fenix has jumped fourteen places on the UCI Team Ranking in just a week. With 775 points, they are the best placed ProTeam amongst the WorldTour teams. Mathieu van der Poel with 365 points and Tim Merlier with 253 points took the most points with their victories in Strade Bianche, Le Samyn and the GP Monseré.
The best ProTeam in the UCI Team Ranking must be given a wildcard for every WorldTour event in 2022, including the three Grand Tours. The team that finishes second will receive an invitation for all WorldTour one-day races. Arkéa-Samsic is currently number two. Team DSM and Movistar have collected very few points, but the season is still young.
UCI Team Ranking:
1. Deceuninck – Quick-Step – 2,356 points
2. INEOS Grenadiers – 1,561 points
3. Trek-Segafredo – 1,447 points
4. UAE Team Emirates – 1,154 points
5. AG2R Citroën – 1,044 points
6. Groupama-FDJ – 911 points
7. Bahrain Victorious – 864 points
8. Israel Start-Up Nation – 836 points
9. Alpecin-Fenix - 775 points
10. Qhubeka ASSOS – 689 points
11. BORA-hansgrohe – 639 points
12. Jumbo-Visma – 616 points
13. Arkéa-Samsic – 508 points
14. Lotto Soudal – 485 points
15. EF Education-Nippo – 454 points
16. Astana-Premier Tech – 428 points
17. BikeExchange – 423 points
18. Terengganu – 423 points
19. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert – 374 points
20. Total Direct Energy – 366 points
23. Cofidis – 287 points
26. Movistar – 234 points
34. Team DSM – 135 points
ProTeams on UCI Team Ranking
9. Alpecin-Fenix - 775 points
13. Arkéa-Samsic – 508 points
20. Total Direct Energy – 366 points
22. Bingoal-WB – 319 points
24. Delko – 238 points.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step top team:
Amstel Gold Race to Run in 2021
The Amstel Gold Race will be held this season. Leo van Vliet confirmed that both the men’s and the women’s races will take place on Sunday, April 18. Last year, the classic was canceled both in the spring and in the autumn due to the corona virus.
The Amstel Gold Race will have no audience and be held on a circuit of 17 kilometres in the Heuvelland between Valkenburg and Maastricht. This route includes the climbs of the Cauberg, Geulhemmerberg and Bemelerberg. Last year, the event was planned on the same route, but the South Limburg region did not agree at the time. Now the organisers of the classic have the green light from the government. The route will be sealed, so there will be no fans Limburg. “We have been given a ‘Go’, so the Amstel Gold Race will take place on April 18,” Leo van Vliet told Dutch website WielerFlits. “There are strict conditions. After the cancellation in October 2020, we have been busy. We have maintained discussions with governments and have been able to work out the plans in detail. The mayors decide in the end, but we have also been in contact with the ministry. If we can do it corona proof, and we can, then we can race. They are shortened versions, otherwise the men and women cannot both race. And it will be without an audience. For example, the women will race in the morning. The message is: do not come to Limburg, but look via NOS. It is broadcast there all day long.”
UCI president David Lappartient also commented on the good news: “I am very pleased that the Amstel Gold Race for men and women will continue after the cancellation in 2020. I would like to express my thanks to the Dutch government and the organisers for their perseverance and finding a solution through this 17-kilometre course. It is very important that races on the International cycling calendar and in particular the UCI WorldTour and UCI Women’s WorldTour take place, of course with appropriate measures to be able to organise the races safely. This fantastic news confirms that our sport is able to think in terms of solutions, thanks in part to the cooperation of all stakeholders despite the difficult circumstances during this pandemic.”
The women will ride seven and the men thirteen laps of 17 kilometres on Sunday 18 April, with each lap climbing the Geulhemmerberg, Bemelerberg and Cauberg. Only the last lap for the men, the race will not go up the Cauberg. The Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition will be held in the morning. Due to the current Covid-19 measures, it was decided not to start on the Vrijthof in Maastricht, but within a closed area on the top of the Cauberg. The start is around 8.30 am and the finish is around 12 noon. The Amstel Gold Race for men starts at 12.15 pm and the men are expected to finish at 5.45 pm.
Mathieu van der Poel won an exciting 2019 Amstel:
The Province of Ourense Will Host the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta 21
Manuel Baltar, President of the Provincial Council of Ourense, has confirmed to Javier Guillén, General Director of Unipublic, the thermal province’s commitment to collaborating with the celebration of the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta 21, due to be held in September.
Ourense will once again be the protagonist of a world-renowned cycling race. This time, it will do so by hosting the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta 21, a highlight of the women’s WorldTour cycling calendar that will take place in September and pass through several localities within the province.
The Provincial Council’s President, Manuel Baltar, has confirmed to the General Director of Unipublic, Javier Guillén, the Council’s commitment to collaborating with the celebration of this race: “the Ourense-Sport binomial gains the highest prominence by hosting the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta”, said Baltar, emphasising the importance of a race of these characteristics “in terms of economic returns and tourist promotion for our province, especially at a time when recovering from the COVID-19 crisis must be our utmost priority”.
7th Edition of an Ever-Evolving Race
During their meeting, Manuel Baltar and Javier Guillén analysed details of the event, the first women’s cycling race organised by Unipublic that will be celebrating its 7th edition this year.
During its first three editions, the Madrid Challenge (its original name) consisted of a single day, coinciding with the celebration of La Vuelta’s (male) final stage. 2018 was a year of growth and development for the race. For the first time, its route went beyond the main streets of Madrid’s capital, with a time trial held in Boadilla del Monte. In 2020, the race jumped to three stages and celebrated its official departure and one of its stages outside the Autonomous Community of Madrid, in the Province of Toledo. 87 female riders from 20 nationalities and 15 different teams competed for the leader’s jersey ‘La Roja’, which ended up going to German rider Lisa Brennauer (WNT) for the second consecutive year.
In 2021, the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta takes yet another step in its ever-evolving trajectory. As explained by Javier Guillén, General Director of Unipublic: “This agreement is the result of two commitments. On the one hand, Unipublic’s commitment to continue to make its women’s race grow, expanding to different territories. And on the other hand, by the Province of Ourense’s commitment to sports and, more specifically, to women’s sports. It is a collaboration with nothing but positives all round.”
The route of the 7th edition of the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta, which is yet to be revealed, will feature the exceptional landscapes of the Province of Ourense, a cycling paradise that, this year, opens its doors to the women’s peloton.
More information about CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta: www.challengebylavuelta.com
Giro di Sicilia Removed from UCI Calendar
The Giro di Sicilia should have ben run at the end of the month, but it has been canceled. The Italian stage race has been removed from the UCI calendar. According to Spaziociclismo, organiser RCS is looking for a new date, moving from March 31 to April 3, to sometime in the Autumn.
There was already uncertainty about the Giro di Sicilia (UCI 2.1), but there is still hope of a 2021 edition at the end of the year. The UCI is waiting for other cancellations before drawing up an autumn calendar. The stage race on Sicily was canceled last year due to the corona crisis. Brandon McNulty won the first and only edition of the Giro di Sicilia in 2019. There is a chance that the Giro di Sicilia will be held in October, after the Tour of Lombardy. The Giro di Sardegna is also on the program from 12-16 October, other Italian races: Tre Valli Varesine, Coppa Agostoni, Coppa Bernocchi, Giro dell’Emilia, GP Bruno Beghelli and Memorial Pantani, also want to change.
Brendon McNulty, the last and only winner of the Giro di Sicilia:
U23 Gent-Wevelgem Canceled
The organisers of the youth races of Gent-Wevelgem have announced the races will no take place on Sunday 28 March. According to various media, this is the conclusion after a final consultation committee. Cycling Flanders announced in February that until April 1, 2021, only national and international races on the UCI calendar, in which WorldTour teams participate, may continue in the coming months. All other races will be canceled. However, the organisers of Gent-Wevelgem were still hoping for an exception. “The number of infections in Belgium is decreasing. We realise that in these times our sport is certainly not above society, but we still want to wait until the next consultation committee,” said Hans De Clercq on behalf of Gent-Wevelgem. “We will make decisions after the consultation committee. We do not want to lose the spark of hope by relaxing.”
It turned out to be just vain hope, because after the consultation committee it turned out to be impossible for Gent-Wevelgem to organise five more youth races on Sunday 28 March. So there will be no Kattekoers for U23, the GP Noyelle for juniors, Gent-Wevelgem Women Junior and the Katjeskoers for novice boys and girls. So there will be no exception for the races for U23, juniors (boys and girls) and novices. Gent-Wevelgem for elite riders (ladies and gentlemen) will take place on 28 March. The first edition of the Youngster Coast Challenge (U23 version of the Bredene-Koksijde Classic) will also not run this year.
No Gent-Wevelgem for the youths:
Team BikeExchange, Trek-Segafredo and Rally Cycling Headline Initial Teams Slated for September’s Inaugural Maryland Cycling Classic
U.S. Continental Teams Aevelo and Wildlife Generation Will Join the Line-up at America’s Top One-Day Professional Cycling Race
The Maryland Cycling Classic supported by UnitedHealthcare, America’s top one-day professional cycling race and the only UCI-sanctioned road race in the U.S., today announced the first five teams confirmed to compete at the inaugural event, scheduled for September 5, 2021.
WorldTour teams Trek-Segafredo and Australia’s Team BikeExchange will be joined by America’s top ProTeam Rally Cycling and U.S. pro Continental Teams Aevelo and Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling, when the event kicks off this fall.
“After the challenges of postponing last year’s first edition due to the pandemic, it’s exciting to look forward and start introducing some of the world’s top teams into the event,” said Maryland Cycling Classic Chairman John Kelly of KELLY Benefit Strategies. “Trek-Segafredo and Team BikeExchange are already off to great starts in some of the world’s best races this year. Rally Cycling will be bringing its top guns and the U.S. pro Continental Teams will be hungry to perform in what is now America’s top one-day pro cycling event.”
The Maryland Cycling Classic is part of the prestigious UCI Pro Tour and is already one of the top-ranked events in North and South America. Trek-Segafredo has already secured several big wins by 2019 World Champion Mads Pedersen and Bauke Mollema this year, and Team BikeExchange led the prestigious Paris-Nice race through the efforts of Michael Matthews earlier this week.
“GreenEDGE Cycling is excited to return to the United States of America for the Maryland Cycling Classic in September. We have achieved many notable victories at races in the U.S. and we will travel to Baltimore with big ambitions,” said Team BikeExchange Chairman, Darach McQuaid. “It’s an important race for our team and we are honoured to be there and represent our team’s colours in the best way possible. North America is an important market for our partners and also for the bicycle industry. We truly hope this event will keep growing and Team BikeExchange can contribute to its growth in the years to come.”
“We’re super excited to participate in the Maryland Cycling Classic. At the moment there aren’t a lot of races in the USA and as an American team it’s really important for us to be there on the start line,” said Steven de Jongh, Head Sports Director of Trek-Segafredo. “We’re looking forward to racing in Maryland and expect a great race!”
“I’m thrilled to take part in the first edition of what is sure to become a legendary event in the cycling world and I feel very lucky to be racing the Maryland Cycling Classic as a member of an American pro team,” said Ben King, two-time stage winner in the Tour of Spain who races professionally for Rally Cycling. “I love one-day races because they are all or nothing. Plus, the event is close to home for me so my friends and family will be able to attend. It’s like we have a home-field advantage, and it will be an excellent opportunity to engage with our fans.”
“We’re coming to win the Maryland Cycling Classic,” said Danny Van Haute, team director of Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling. “It will be one of the biggest of the events of the year for us. We believe we have two or three riders that could win it.”
Long-time elite-level cycling event managers and promoters Medalist Sports and KOM Sports are behind the event along with the newly formed Sport and Entertainment Corp. of Maryland, led by Terry Hasseltine. The event will feature a weekend of activities, including a charity ride, exhibition and symposium, outdoor health and wellness festival and more. The full schedule of events will be announced with detail in the coming months.
Rally Cycling will be in Maryland:
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