EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!
Cycling news catch up
Snow in Turkey! All the race news from the Brabantse Pijl, Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and the Presidential Tour of Turkey, with reports and video. Lance Armstrong used a motor? – TOP STORY. Team news ahead of Sundays Amstel Gold Race. Rider news: Dylan Groenewegen happy to see Fabio Jakobsen racing, Julian Alaphilippe till 2024, Egan Bernal straight to Giro, Vincenzo Nibali injured, Théo Nonnez quits, Philippe Gilbert returns, André Greipel to retire and SD Worx signs Kata Blanka Vas. Race news: Top riders for the Tour de Romandie. Team news: Dutch Olympic team to get corona vaccination, DSM announce Giro d’Italia roster and you can choose the Jumbo-Visma Tour de France jersey. A full EUROTRASH Thursday.
TOP STORY: Former boss of French anti-doping agency: “I believe Armstrong had motor in his bike”
Jean-Pierre Verdy, the former boss of the French anti-doping agency AFLD, accuses Lance Armstrong of using a motor during his career. Verdy said in conversation with France TV, in response to a book he wrote about his hunt for dopers.
“Lance Armstrong is the best con man ever, with accomplices at all levels. He received special treatment. A lot of people told me not to deal with legends, because then I would only encounter myself,” said Verdy, who did not give up. One image that caught his eye was Armstrong grabbing for the back of his saddle on a few rides, just before accelerating.
“I believe that Armstrong also had a motor in his bike,” says the former AFLD boss. “I still have the images in my head, that he showed everyone his heels in mountain stages. At the end of the stage I called specialists, and they too did not understand how that achievement was possible. Not even with EPO use. Something was wrong, those specialists also said. Those were people who lived in the pack. It was not the EPO that made the difference.”
Armstrong, meanwhile, has been suspended for life for his doping use. All seven of the American’s Tour de France victories were taken from him in 2012 after an investigation by USADA. Armstrong has not yet responded to Verdy’s allegations.
Verdy has also spoken out about Tadej Pogačar. He asks questions about the Slovenian’s Tour victory. “It’s not about him himself, but about his environment. It bothers me. His manager is Mauro Gianetti, the former trainer of Riccardo Ricco and Leonardo Piepoli. I took those two in the Tour de France 2008. And Gianetti himself had health problems when he was a rider, after taking Perfluorocarbon,” said Verdy. The Swiss rider, Gianetti, lay in a coma for three days due to the use of the experimental doping substance.
“And last year something strange also happened to someone close to that team. That is very special,” says Verdy. “But I can’t see the blood profiles of these people, so I can’t say anything more about it.”
More scandal or book selling?
Brabantse Pijl 2021
Tom Pidcock (INEOS-Grenadiers) won Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday. In Overijse he out-sprinted Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) after the three broke away.
After 40 kilometres the early break of the day formed. WorldTour riders Kévin Van Melsen, Brent Van Moer, Jordi Meeus, Emmanuel Morin and Andreas Leknessund joined forces with the ProTour men Ludovic Robeet, winner of Nokere Koerse, Julian Mertens, Bryan Coquard and Anders Skaarseth. Heading towards the Alsemberg they extended their lead to 6 minutes. On the way to the local circuit around Overijse, Jumbo-Visma started to gradually reduce the lead for Van Aert. The first of time on the Moskesstraat, the leading group only had 3:30. BikeExchange also started to help the chase for Matthews. Just before the first passage of the finish line, the first of the riders in the peloton jumped away forming a chase group of Rémi Cavagna, Robert Stannard, Toms Skujinš and Sven Erik Bystrøm. Some time later, Benoît Cosnefroy, Dylan Teuns and Oscar Riesebeek also counter-attacked. The pace was too fast for Van Melsen, Morin and Coquard in the leading group.
On the S-Bocht Overijse, just before the second passage of the finish, Leknessund pushed hard in the leading group. As a result, Mertens went dropped. Van Moer and Meeus were able to stay with Leknessund, Robeet and Skaarseth. With 20 seconds on the chasers who had come together, and 1 minute on the peloton, with the last two laps to go. With 38 kilometres to go, in the run-up to Hertstraat, there was a big crash in the peloton, which involved three riders from Deceuninck – Quick-Step. The race exploded on Hertstraat when Tom Pidcock, Matteo Trentin and Van Aert attacked. On Moskesstraat, the counter-attackers joined the remaining escapees. The peloton followed at one minute. Cosnefroy and Van Aert pulled at the front, Van Moer, Meeus, Bystrøm and Robeet were dropped. Cavagna, Cosnefroy, Teuns, Pidcock, Van Aert, Stannard, Leknessund, Skujinš, Trentin and Riesebeek were left at the front. It was not fast enough for Trentin and with 25 kilometres to go, the Italian went solo and soon had a 20 second gap.
As the race started on the last local circuit of 21.9 kilometres, Ide Schelling managed to cross to the group with Van Aert. On the last climb of the Hertstraat, Tom Pidcock attacked with Van Aert on his wheel. They joined Trentin 12 kilometres from the finish with only the Moskesstraat, Holstheide and the S-Bocht Overijse to go. As they started the Moskesstraat, Teuns and Cosnefroy tried to jump to the break, but they were unable to close the gap. The gap had been made and the winner would be from these three. Cosnefroy almost managed to close with a late attack. The sprint was between Pidcock, Van Aert and Trentin. Trentin was the first to go, after which Pidcock and Van Aert fought out the final sprint. Behind that, Ide Schelling took fourth place.
Race winner, Tom Pidcock (INEOS-Grenadiers): “Did I surprise myself in the sprint against Van Aert? Anyway. But a sprint at the end of such a race is no ordinary sprint. I always start such sprints with confidence. Wout took over very hard on the way and I had to ride an insane power to keep up with him. But maybe he pushed on a little too fast. In the run-up to the sprint, I got a bit nervous because of the riders behind. I waited and waited, and got a bit trapped when Wout turned on, but in the end I had the space and I could pass him. I already had a good feeling for the race, because I had trained well recently. I’m glad it went so well.”
2nd, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “Of course I had hope, but Pidcock was just stronger. I had already felt that Pidcock was stronger with his attacks a few times. In the sprint my legs were full and he got over. I felt good in myself. I think it was a good situation that we came in front with three. We had a good spin and we were able to fight it out among ourselves. It was a fair fight. Tom was better. It sucks, because I would have liked to win. But in the sprint I had nothing in return. Coming next the victory is of course a shame. I was there for the appointment, but I was just a little short now and that is especially not nice. I think the legs are still just fine, but we’ll see. Today I had this race in my head and now I look further to Sunday. Then the guys from the Basque Country join us. We certainly have a very strong team there. I look forward to it.”
3rd, Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates): “I had a decent gap going across the finish on the last lap and my tempo was good but it was hard to hold off the whole group as they were collaborating. When I saw Van Aert and Pidcock coming across I decided to ease up a little bit and try and recover a bit because I thought this would be the winning move and in the end it was. I felt good today but the legs were a bit tired in the end and the strongest guy won. I look forward to coming back racing on these roads at the World Championships later in the year.”
Brabantse Pijl Result:
1. Thomas Pidcock (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 4:36:27
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
3. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
4. Ide Schelling (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:06
5. Robert Stannard (Aus) BikeExchange
6. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious
7. Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R Citroën
8. Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo
9. Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
10. Andreas Leknessund (Nor) DSM at 0:09
Brabantse Pijl Women 2021
Ruth Winder won the Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday. After 127.3 kilometres, the Trek-Segafredo American won the sprint from a leading group in Overijse. The difference to second placed Demi Vollering (SD Worx), who first claimed the win, was very small. Winder crossed the line 0.0004 seconds ahead of Vollering.
The peloton stayed together for a long time in the first part of the race. On the old course over the Alsemberg and the Bruine Put, riders were being dropped, but there were no serious escapes. Before the circuit in Overijse, there were several failure attempts by Shirin van Anrooij, Marta Jaskulska and Jesse Vandenbulcke, but these never lasted long. It turned out to be the start of the first serious breakaway that included Demi Vollering, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Annemiek van Vleuten, Leah Thomas, Coryn Rivera, Sabrina Stultiens, Lucinda Brand, Ruth Winder and Elisa Balsamo. They rode away on the circuit, but this didn’t last. Another attack by Femke Gerritse, Vita Heine and Inga Cesuliene didn’t last long either.
The decisive break escaped just before the bell. Six riders still had a chance to win the 2021 Brabantse Pijl: Winder, Vollering, Elisa Balsamo (Valcar-Travel & Service), Juliette Labous (DSM), Joscelin Lowden (Drops-Le Col s/b Tempur) and Leah Thomas (Movistar). Vollering did a lot of work to keep the peloton at bay with success. The group’s lead was enough for them to know that one of them would win. In the end it came down to a sprint. The fast Balsamo started the sprint too early and had to be content with third place. For the win it looked as if the American champion had lost to Vollering, but after studying the photo-finish, the jury declared Winder the winner, to the disappointment of the Dutch rider.
Race winner, Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo): “I’m extremely surprised. I came to this race wanting to be my best, and in the end, it played out really well for me. I thought Demi (Vollering) had it. We were sprinting and I threw my bike at the line, but she really celebrated, so I thought ‘congratulations’, because she is an amazing bike rider and just for me to be second, I was excited with that. To win it feels really good.”
2nd, Demi Vollering (SD Worx): “Sometimes sprints can be so close. I felt good. It was a hard race and I knew that in the climb I would have something left, and I was happy that I was there, and the team did a good job to be alert. It was a nice race.”
Brabantse Pijl Women Result:
1. Ruth Winder (USA) Trek-Segafredo in 3:20:00
2. Demi Vollering (Ned) SD Worx
3. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
4. Leah Thomas (USA) Movistar
5. Joscelin Lowden (GB) Drops-Le Col s/b Tempur
6. Juliette Labous (Ned) DSM at 0:06
7. Ashleigh Moolman (SA) SD Worx at 0:57
8. Emilia Fahlin (Swe) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
9. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10. Pauliena Rooijakkers (Ned) Liv Racing.
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2021
Miles Scotson (Groupama-FDJ) won Stage 1 of the Tour of Valencia in Ondara. The Australian finished solo, after escaping 20 kilometres from the line on a descent. A crash 4 kilometres from the line did not keep him from winning.
The first stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana started on Wednesday with a stage of 168.9 kilometres from Elche to the village of Ondara. The riders had four climbs during the stage, going up and down all day, with almost 3,000 vertical meters to cross. Early in the stage a breakaway group with five riders was formed, with Stephen Bassett, Maxime Cam, Ibon Ruiz, Lennert Teugels and Raffaele Radice. The group managed to take a lead of over 3 minutes. But they were caught 35 kilometres from the finish and the race was back on. In the finalé, which was run in wet conditions, a large group rode away, including Stefan Küng. On the descent of the Coll de Rates, Küng’s teammate, Miles Scotson attacked. Abner González tried to respond, but it was too late. The Australian took no chances and soon had a good lead. At 4 kilometres he crashed on the wet roads, but his lead was enough to take the win.
Stage winner and overall leader, Miles Scotson (Groupama-FDJ): “The roads were quite slippery due to the rain, so we had to be careful. With 90 kilometres to go it got harder and with Stefan Küng, Antoine Raugel and myself we had three men in front. After the last climb I thought Stefan had a great chance to win solo today. At first I wanted to wait for the sprint, but John Degenkolb was also in the group. Then I told myself to attack and then if they took me back, Stefan could try. In the end my attack was the right one. I am very frustrated with that fall three kilometres from the finish. With ten kilometres to go I was almost certain of the victory and I started thinking too much about the classification, and I wanted to take as much time as possible. In the end I lost a lot of seconds by not braking enough on the roundabout. That was a shame, but I am glad that the bike remained intact and I could still take the victory. Tomorrow we will probably check the race to sprint with Arnaud and in the final I will help him. Keep up with Stefan as long as possible on the last climb and limit the damage. On the last day Stefan can win the time trial. I myself won today with a lead, even if it was not as big as I would have liked. I want to give everything in the time trial on the last day. We still have a lot of possibilities in this race “
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Stage 1 Result:
1. Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-FDJ in 4:14:57
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal at 0:28
3. Alan Riou (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
4. Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling
5. Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
6. Thibault Ferasse (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
7. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
8. Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
9. Jonathan Lastra (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10. Rémy Mertz (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB.
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Overall After Stage 1:
1. Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-FDJ in 4:15:47
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal at 0:33
3. Alan Riou (Fra) Arkea-Samsic at 0:35
4. Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling at 0:39
5. Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
6. Thibault Ferasse (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
7. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
8. Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
9. Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10. Remy Mertz (Bel) Bingoal WB.
Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey 2021
Mark Cavendish rolled back the years and delivered a fantastic sprint in the closing meters of Tour of Turkey’s Second Stage, claiming his first win of the season and the 147th of a storied career that has seen him become the best sprinter in the history of the sport.
For the second consecutive day, the stage ended in Konya, the city lying on the southern edge of the Central Anatolian Plateau, but it had a completely different outcome than the one of Sunday, when Cavendish had to make up ground in the closing 200 meters after a gap was opened when a rider almost crashed. This time, after a phenomenal work of his Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates from the start of the day until deep in the finale, the 35-year-old went through the last corner fifth wheel and waited for the others to hit the front early, before unleashing a hugely impressive sprint. With 50 meters to go, Mark zipped past André Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), beating the Belgian for a wheel and claiming his first victory in over three years, one that put a big smile on his face and which he celebrated with his Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates after crossing the line.
Stage winner and overall leader, Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It’s incredible, it’s super nice and I never get tired of this feeling! Everyone on the team was incredibly committed today and that was very important. I knew after yesterday that I had the speed needed to win and I also knew that if I would be on Greipel’s wheel, I would have a shot coming into the last couple of hundred meters. Philipsen jumped early and had a small gap, but I had enough to make up ground and I must say I was quite surprised at how quickly I came in the final meters of the stage. I want to thank Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Patrick for giving me this opportunity. Patrick believed in me and I am so lucky to be here in this special team, in this family. Some people didn’t think I could get back to winning, but he did and for that I am grateful. Just to get back to winning after what I’ve been through in the last couple of years is truly incredible. To win again was emotional and to hug all my teammates after the finish was amazing. What made me super proud was that Fabio was involved in this, working at the front in the finale together with the other guys, especially after what he has been through. As I said, this team is a family and I am happy to be part of it.”
Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Stage 2 Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 3:17:26
2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
3. André Greipel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation
4. Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Rally Cycling
5. Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Pol) Bingoal WB
6. Manuel Peñalver Aniorte (Spa) Burgos-BH
7. Giovanni Lonardi (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane
8. Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
9. Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation
10. Søren Wærenskjold (Nor) Uno-X Pro.
Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 2:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Deceuninck – QuickStep in 4:52:54
2. Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Rally Cycling
3. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:04
4. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Uno-X Pro
5. André Greipel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:06
6. Pierre Barbier (Fra) Delko
7. Artyom Zakharov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:07
8. Sean De Bie (Bel) Bingoal WB
9. Ivar Slik (Ned) Abloc CT at 0:08
10. Vitaliy Buts (Ukr) Salcano Sakarya BB.
Mark Cavendish kept the wins flowing, roaring over the line with his arms held high for the second consecutive day at the Tour of Turkey, after out-powering his opponents in the closing meters of the race’s longest Stage 3, which travelled from Beysehir to Alanya, over 212.6 kilometres.
A four-man group animated the day after the first hour of racing, but Iljo Keisse once again kept their gap in check, working at the front for over 150 kilometres, before Fabio Jakobsen and Stijn Steels took over in the closing part of the stage, just as the peloton was entering the wide roads embracing the sunny coast. With the breakaway overhauled at 15 kilometres to go, they pushed a big tempo in the wind, keeping the Deceuninck – Quick-Step well positioned in the front at all times. Going under the flamme rouge, Mark got himself into a perfect slot after another strong work of Shane Archbold and Alvaro Hodeg and waited for the right moment to pounce. This happened with 150 meters to go, when the Manx Missile came around all the other sprinters and delivered a massive acceleration that saw him hit the front and hold off Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) and Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Bingoal Pauwels) for his ninth victory at the race.
Stage winner and overall leader, Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “My confidence is still coming back and today I had more than yesterday and knew I could fight again for the victory. It was a difficult finish over the urban cobbles and with that treacherous wind, but we wanted to control the sprint ourselves. Iljo was again incredible and what he did motivated us for the finale, where we were all together. Fabio also worked hard and it was nice to see him at the sharp end of a bike race, Shane and Stijn rode a lot in the wind, while Alvaro was there for me under the flamme rouge. The fact that I won again gives me a lot of confidence, especially as it’s for the first time in five years or so that I’ve claimed back-to-back stages in a race. Doing it in the leader’s jersey makes it even more special. We’re happy and we’ll continue to enjoy ourselves here.”
Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Stage 3 Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 5:10:30
2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
3. Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Pol) Bingoal WB
4. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Uno-X Pro
5. André Greipel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation
6. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Eolo-Kometa
7. Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Rally Cycling
8. Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
9. Eduard-Michael Grosu (Rom) Delko
10. Giovanni Lonardi (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane.
Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 3:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 10:03:14
2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:08
3. Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Rally Cycling at 0:10
4. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Uno-X Pro at 0:14
5. André Greipel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:16
6. Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Pol) Bingoal WB
7. Pierre Barbier (Fra) Delko
8. Artyom Zakharov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:17
9. Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
10. Sean De Bie (Bel) Bingoal WB.
Stage 4: The seaside resort of Kemer, lying on the beautiful Mediterranean coast of Turkey, witnessed a memorable milestone of Deceuninck – Quick-Step, another one in a long series of notable achievements recorded by the Wolfpack since 2003, the year that the team was created: the squad’s 800th win in a UCI race, brought by none other than Mark Cavendish.
The team controlled the stage again, Iljo Keisse putting in a superb effort behind the break which he made sure of overhauling with more than 20 kilometres to go. Things remained calm until inside 10 kilometres remaining, when Deceuninck – Quick-Step made its way to the front, Fabio Jakobsen slotting the lead-out train into position before Stijn Steels stretched out the peloton with an enormous pull.
Shane Archbold and Alvaro Hodeg did a spectacular job ahead of the final kilometres, bringing the Manxman to the head of the bunch just as things were heating up, and Mark Cavendish delivered another huge sprint in a hectic finale marred by a crash, bursting clear from the pack with 150 meters to go and sweeping past Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) on the way to his tenth victory at the race.
Stage winner and overall leader, Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It’s nice, and to be sincere, it’s irrelevant how many wins are in a row, it’s just nice to win again. It’s great that the team believes in me and I’m grateful to them for that. At the beginning of the year all I wanted to do is win a race, and now I have done it three times. I’m proud to have racked up Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s 800th victory, but to me the most important thing is that I’m part of this family, which is an honour. The most special thing about today wasn’t my win, but seeing how far into the stage Fabio got. It was beautiful to see him there, doing a phenomenal job for the squad and enjoying racing. Having him up there motivated me to finish it off. I’m proud to have such amazing teammates, and at the end of the day, that is what really makes everything special.”
Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Stage 4 Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:09:38
2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
3. Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Pol) Bingoal WB
4. Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Rally Cycling
5. Pierre Barbier (Fra) Delko
6. David Gonzalez Lopez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Lars Kulbe (Ger) Team SKS Sauerland NRW
8. Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
9. Martins Pluto (Aut) Abloc CT
10. Damiano Cima (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo.
Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 4:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 14:12:42
2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:12
3. Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Rally Cycling at 0:20
4. Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Pol) Bingoal WB at 0:22
5. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Uno-X Pro at 0:24
6. Pierre Barbier (Fra) Delko at 0:26
7. Manuel Aniorte (Spa) Brugos-BH at 0:30
8. Lars Kulbe (Ger) Team SKS Sauerland NRW
9. Martins Pluto (Aut) Abloc CT at 0:08
10. Wesley Vercamst (Bel) Bingoal WB.
UAE Team Emirates for Amstel Gold Race
UAE Team Emirates begin the start of a block of racing in Belgium this week with De Brabantse followed by Amstel Gold Race (1.UWT) on 18 April. Matteo Trentin will spearhead the teams roster on Wednesday while Marc Hirschi will join up with the squad for Sunday at Amstel Gold, where the team will hope for a strong start to the famous ‘Ardennes Week’ to follow.
Team Manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Spa) will lead team along with Sports Director Andrej Hauptman (Slo) at Amstel Gold Race:
-Mikkel Bjerg (Den)
-Rui Costa (Por)
-Ryan Gibbons (RSA)
-Marc Hirschi (Swi)
-Jan Polanc (Slo)
-Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr)
-Matteo Trentin (Ita)
Matteo Trentin: “In the cobbled races we were strong but we just lacked a bit of luck, so we aim to make up for it here in the Ardennes classics. Personally I’m feeling good and carrying over form from the cobbled classics.For Amstel Gold on Sunday I think we’re going in with a few options. Obviously we know these races can really suit a rider like Marc Hirschi and I hope to be there in the final also, so we will play our cards on the day.”
Jakob Fuglsang headlines strong team at the Ardennes Classics
Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang will face his first major goal of the season at the upcoming Ardennes Classics, the three one-day WorldTour races Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne and the Monument, Liège – Bastogne – Liège.
Winner of La Doyenne in 2019 Fuglsang heads to Belgium and the Netherlands aiming to repeat his success of 2019 when he stood on the podium at all three races.
“As everyone knows, the Ardennes Classics are one of my season highlights this year and also some of my favourite races. Obviously, I only have good memories of the Ardennes Classics, where I was able to win my first Monument. The profile of the three one-day races suits me, and in particular, this year’s Amstel Gold Race route looks good to me. I am where I need to be with my shape. Last week’s Itzulia Basque Country was the final preparation towards the upcoming races, where we also got our first two victories, which was a moral boost and gave us all confidence,” – says Fuglsang.
“We are coming to Belgium and the Netherlands with a strong line-up, so I am happy to have such an ambitious team next to me. It would be amazing to repeat 2019 and stand on the top step of the podium. I will definitely give my best to do so, especially to pay back all the sacrifices my family has made for me over the last few months,” – adds Jakob.
The opener of the Ardennes Classics, Amstel Gold Race, will take place on a circuit around Valkenburg due to the current Covid-19 restrictions but with the same finish in Berg en Terblijt after 216 demanding kilometres. Two days later, the team will travel to Belgium for La Flèche Wallonne. The 192-kilometre-long challenging route will take the riders from Charleroi to the famous Mur de Huy, where another battle of the best is expected. The big showdown of the Ardennes Classics will, as always, be the oldest one-day race on the UCI WorldTour calendar Liège – Bastogne – Liège. The battle for the third Monument of the season will play out over 260km with eleven punchy climbs, including the iconic La Redoute.
The Kazakh-Canadian team will line-up with a mix of young and experienced riders for all three races.
“The team is in good condition ahead of the races. Most of the riders used last week’s race Itzulia Basque Country as their final preparation and of course the victories gave us all confidence. For the Ardennes Classics, I think we have a strong and well-balanced team, who are motivated to give everything and to achieve great results. We have good memories of those three races over the last years and hope to repeat our success of 2019,” – says Dmitriy Fofonov, Team Performance Manager.
The Ardennes Classics:
Amstel Gold Race – 18.04 | La Flèche Wallonne 21.04 | Liège – Bastogne – Liège 25.04.
Alex Aranburu (ESP), Samuele Battistella (ITA), Stefan De Bod (RSA), Omar Fraile (ESP), Jakob Fuglsang (DEN), Hugo Houle (CAN), Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ).
Sports Directors: Steve Bauer (CAN), Dmitriy Fofonov (KAZ).
Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition – APR 18
Bennie Lambregts – Team DSM coach: “The change of parcours for this year should make for an interesting edition of Amstel Gold Race and a tough day in the saddle. We could see an open day of attacking so we want to make sure that we’re present in any dangerous move that goes clear and use our numbers well in the pre-final. Heading towards the end of the race, we want to be aggressive with our riding, while looking to support Liane deep into the final in search of a good result.”
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Franziska Koch (GER)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Coryn Rivera (USA).
Amstel Gold Race – APR 18
Michiel Elijzen – Team DSM coach: “We arrive at Amstel Gold Race with a good block and motivated riders. It’s a new parcours for this year and looks a little bit like the World Championships that were held in the area, with three tough climbs. It’s going to be a hard race with the laps getting more difficult each time the peloton takes them on. We need to focus on riding together and saving energy for the key moments and the guys will work to position Tiesj and Søren going into the finale of the race, where we’ll aim for a good result.”
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Tiesj Benoot (BEL)
Nico Denz (GER)
Mark Donovan (GBR)
Chad Haga (USA)
Martijn Tusveld (NED)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA).
Søren Kragh Andersen:
Australian duo Brown & Spratt eyeing the top steps at Amstel Gold Race
Former podium finisher Amanda Spratt and Brugge-De Panne winner Grace Brown return to the Ardennes Classics with high ambitions for 2021, eyeing the victory in Amstel Gold Race, with Spratt having built towards the event as one of her main goals of the season.
Unlike previous years, the 2021 edition of the race will cover seven laps of a local circuit finishing in Berg en Terblijt, just four kilometres from the top of the steep Valkenburg. With the abundance of short steep climbs without much respite between efforts, the course leaves no room to hide, with the Australian duo lining-up in top form.
The pair will have a stellar squad built around them with climbing duo Lucy Kennedy and Ane Santesteban, plus Georgia Williams and Janneke Ensing to provide valuable support into the key climbs and along the twisting narrow roads.
Team BikeExchange at Amstel Gold Race:
Grace Brown (AUS)
Janneke Ensing (NED)
Lucy Kennedy (AUS)
Ane Santesteban (SPA)
Amanda Spratt (AUS)
Georgia Williams (NZL)
Amanda Spratt: “I am really excited for the week of racing ahead and it feels like I have been waiting a long time for the Ardennes week to come around, maybe even more so after I had to miss them last year as a result of my Giro crash. I love the hard hilly one-day races and I think this year with Amstel being raced only on circuits, it has the potential to be even harder than usual. It will be climb, recover, climb, recover in quick succession and these are the sort of races that suit me well. I feel like my form is good. It’s been a different preparation for me this year without an Australian summer in the legs but I have had a really great group of people close to me who have reminded me to trust in the process, have confidence in it and focus on executing my role well. I want to take this mentality into the races ahead and I really believe we can fight for the win. I think we have a great team who have been able to prepare really well for this racing block and we will take what we have learnt from the last races into Amstel. I have been on the podium at Amstel before and I would love to have that same feeling after the finish line on Sunday.”
Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas – Sport Director: “For Amstel Gold Race, this year we go into the race with ‘Spratty’ clearly as our team leader and we have Brown who has shown she has great form. The course has changed for 2021 and with this new course, the race could be a bit more open without a clear place or specific climb to split the field and make a real selection. We have a really strong team to support our leaders and the riders are all in good form, with some coming from a big block of training and others having raced a lot in the cobble Classics but after a small rest, they’re ready for this next block.”
Dylan Groenewegen Happy to See Fabio Jakobsen Back in the Peloton
Dylan Groenewegen watched Fabio Jakobsen ride his first race kilometres in the Tour of Turkey after a long rehabilitation since the crash in the Tour of Poland last year. The Jumbo-Visma Dutchman says he is very happy to see Jakobsen back at work.
Exactly 250 days after the accident in the Polish WorldTour race, Groenewegen is still having a hard time. “I still think it’s terrible,” said the sprinter to De Telegraaf. “That’s why it was really nice to see Fabio back in the peloton in Turkey. And watching him do what he likes to do the most. We have all sympathised enormously and when you see him sitting on his bike with a smile, it makes me very happy.” His own return is scheduled for May 12 in the Tour of Hungary.
Groenewegen also discussed in the Dutch newspaper the death of his grandfather, the legendary bicycle builder Ko Zieleman, who died at the age of 88. “He was very helpful to me… We’ve been through so much… And yes, it is a pity that he is no longer here to see my return, but I am convinced that he is watching from above.”
Fabio Jakobsen back to racing:
Julian Alaphilippe continues with Deceuninck – Quick-Step
The UCI World Champion adds three years to his contract with the Wolfpack.
At the end of 2013, a young Julian Alaphilippe – who had impressed earlier in the year, claiming a stage win and the points jersey at the Tour de l’Avenir – was signing his first pro contract, joining our team as one of the most promising riders on the U23 scene. Fast forward eight years, and the Frenchman has established himself as one of the peloton’s biggest stars, having clocked up more than 30 victories with Deceuninck – Quick-Step.
The world title, Milano-Sanremo, Strade Bianche, Clasica San Sebastian, a pair of wins at Flèche Wallonne and five stages at the Tour de France – where just two years ago he captured an entire nation’s heart – are the results that stand out in the palmares of Julian, who backed by a strong Deceuninck – Quick-Step team, has continued to improve season after season, until the point he became one of the most versatile and spectacular riders in the bunch.
Fresh off a solid ride at Ronde van Vlaanderen, where he played a part in the squad’s success, the World Champion signed a contract extension with the Wolfpack, which will see him ride for the UCI World Team Classification leaders until at least the end of 2024.
“I’m very happy to extend my stay with the team. It was the logical thing to do, and at no moment there was the question of doing anything different. I look forward to continuing with this family and I want to say thank you to Patrick and the sponsors for the confidence they have shown in these eight years and continue to show. It’s incredible to think of what we achieved together and all the beautiful memories we have. We are the Wolfpack and we race to win. It’s our mentality and one of our strengths, we all go in the same direction, and this is one of the reasons I feel good here and do what I do with immense pleasure. I am looking forward to more great results with Deceuninck – Quick-Step this season and in the coming years”, said Alaphilippe after putting pen to paper.
The UCI World Champion also looked back on his first year with the squad and the role he now plays within the Wolfpack: “I still remember my first meeting and my first race with the team like it was yesterday. I remember being excited and eager to discover cycling at the biggest level. I was the only French rider in the roster at that time and I got precious advice from the experienced guys. I was extremely motivated to improve and show the team I want to become better and win races. That’s what I did in these past eight years, and at the same time, I discovered myself and learned more about me. It’s special to think that now I am one of the most experienced riders in the team and I help the young riders, to whom I am always happy to give advice and help make important progress and become better. It shows you how time flies, but also what a great family, as I already said, we all are.”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere was delighted to have Julian continue with the team: “It is fabulous news that Julian has agreed to stay with us for three more years. He joined the team as a fresh-faced 21-year-old, and while we knew that he had talent and ability, to see him grow into the stature within the sport that he has today, makes us very proud. He has achieved so much in that time that it is difficult to begin to list everything, but perhaps the most iconic are the beautiful jerseys that he has held. He really caught the public’s attention when he won in the mountains jersey at the 2018 Tour de France, and then having yellow for so long in 2019 and having it again in 2020 was a bit of a fairy tale. And he followed that up last September, with his unforgettable solo win in Imola to take the World Champion’s rainbow jersey, which was very emotional for all of us.”
“We have seen him grow as a rider but also as a person. People gravitate to him because he has the personality of a leader but also of a fantastic teammate, working hard for the whole team – we saw recently at the Ronde van Vlaanderen just how much Kasper’s victory meant to him. He is a true Wolfpack member that embodies the spirit of everything we are trying to create and achieve and I am very happy that he will be with us for what we hope will be three more beautiful years”, added Patrick Lefevere.
Egan Bernal Goes Straight to Giro, Skips Tour of the Alps
Egan Bernal will go to the Giro d’Italia without any preparation races, according to VeloNews via his team INEOS Grenadiers team. Bernal was initially scheduled for next week’s Tour of the Alps, but he chooses to prepare in Colombia. Bernal has not raced since Tirreno-Adriatico. His back injury, which he suffered in the Tour de France last year, flared up again, he returned home to Colombia. The 24-year-old climber is expected to return to Europe only a week before the Giro d’Italia, after detailed preparation at altitude.
Bernal is the intended leader of INEOS Grenadiers in the Giro, which starts in Turin on Saturday, May 8. He is also scheduled for the Tour de France as a helper for leader Geraint Thomas. The 2019 Tour winner is not the only classification rider who heads to Turin without a preparation race. Mikel Landa and Remco Evenepoel will also go straight to the Giro.
Giro the next race for Bernal:
Vincenzo Nibali Injured in Training Accident
Vincenzo Nibali fell on his right wrist in a fall during training. The Trek-Segafredo team announced via social media. Nibali was training near Lugano when he crashed. This left him with a lot of pain in his right wrist. It is still unclear exactly how bad the damage is to the Shark of Messina. The Italian is being examined in Lugano hospital. Nibali had just returned from a training camp in Tenerife and near Lugano he was preparing for his next race, the Tour of the Alps (April 19-23).
Vincenzo Nibali injured:
Nonnez Quits at 21 years-Old
Théo Nonnez has stoped cycling at the age of 21. The French rider with the Groupama-FDJ development team went through a rough period and has decided that he no longer wants to race at a high level. “I think I can call it burnout,” he said in an extensive interview on his team’s website. You can read the full interview HERE.
Nonnez has been riding for the U23 Groupama-FDJ team since 2019. He finished 5th in the Ronde de l’Isard and fourth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège for under 23’s and was looking forward to stepping up to the WorldTour team. “But after a long period of reflection, I have decided to stop. I think I could call it burnout, even though I think it’s an accumulation of things. I am not very disappointed, because it also gives me hope. I was in a vicious circle and was afraid to talk about my feelings. I think it’s best to break the silence because I don’t know what would have happened if I had stayed still longer,” said Nonnez. He explains that he has been dealing with motivation problems for months. The fact that he wanted to make the step to the WorldTour only raised the bar for him. “I couldn’t remember the last training that I was happy with. Cycling became a limitation. When I had to start building up again this season, my motivation was very low,” he explained. “But I forced myself to keep going. I clicked a few days before Christmas. I started training on my own because I had to do specific assignments, but the weather was really bad and I had zero motivation. After a few minutes, I broke. I started to cry on the bike. Then I said to myself, “Théo, you have to stop this. Something has to change, because something is not right.”
In consultation with his team and loved ones, Nonnez decided to take a step back. “I wanted to do my best for another year. Then I would either go to the WorldTour team, or change teams or quit. But a few days before a training camp, I felt I was not ready for that. I was able to run from the airport. That was the point I didn’t want to continue. It felt bad not to keep my contract, but I also didn’t want to fool the guys and pretend that everything was going well.”
He does not yet know what he will do now, but he does not regret his decision. “The only regret is that I didn’t see all of this coming in advance. And that I have signed a contract for this season anyway. For a while it felt like years wasted, but deep down I think it should have been. This is an experience I should be proud of. It made me who I am and will be useful in the future.”
Philippe Gilbert Returns for Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Philippe Gilbert will return to the peloton next week, the Lotto Soudal rider announced this via social media. He will miss the Amstel Gold Race, but he will start in the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
After disappointing results in the early spring, Gilbert missed the Tour of Flanders, saying he was physically and mentally exhausted. “We have decided with the team to give me a rest period because things have not been going well for a few weeks,” he said.
His crash last year meant he had a recovery period, but Gilbert kept busy. “I underestimated the workload and kept on stubbornly. By the way, Milan-San Remo was the first race I finished without pain. My body has now clearly opted for decompression after all those weeks of pain. I now pay that in cash,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert had not closed the door on the Ardennes Classics and now he has announced that he will ride the two Walloon Classics next week. Ten years ago he won Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
André Greipel Will Stop After the 2022 Season
André Greipel is in the penultimate season of his career. The German sprinter, now 38 years old, will finish his current contract with Israel Start-Up Nation and then hang up his race bike, after the 2022 season.
Greipel announced it in the documentary “Der Tanz des Gorilla” on the Saarländische Rundfunk. “My goal is to no longer have to ride a bike when my age starts with a 4,” he said. “I would like to communicate that clearly, so that everyone knows that I will not be offered another contract. If I am offered a new contract, I will not accept it. Definitely not,” said Greipel, who was surprised to receive a two-year contract from Israel Start-Up Nation last year. The sprinter from Rostock is currently in the Tour of Turkey with three top-6 places in the first three days.
The Gorilla also already knows what he wants to do after his career. “I would like to do something in cycling and pass on my experience to young talents.”
André Greipel, not racing after 40:
Super Talent and All-Round Star Kata Blanka Vas Chooses Team SD Worx
Team SD Worx has contracted the 19-year-old super talent Kata Blanka Vas. The Hungarian will defend the colours of Team SD Worx from 1 June 2021 for a period of two years. Blanka Vas belongs to the world top in cyclocross but has already proven to be one of the greatest talents in both road racing and on the mountain bike.
Blanka Vas finished respectively second and third in the last two U23 World Championships CX. In the World Cup classification of last winter, the young rider finished fifth among the elite women. She became second at the U23 World Championships MTB in 2020, while she finished sixth at the U23 European Road Championships.
“We want to be visible with the team all year round,” says sports manager Danny Stam of Team SD Worx. “With Kata Blanka Vas we can profile ourselves during the winter in the cyclocross. In addition, she has already achieved good results on the road, when we look at her age. That makes her a good addition for the team. Finally, she is also seen as one of the greatest talents on the mountain bike. Therefore, she can qualify herself for the Olympic Games in Tokyo this year. This discipline is important for our material sponsor Specialized. As a result, we will support her to develop in these three disciplines.”
Kata Blanka Vas was surprised when Team SD Worx contacted her. “I had a good feeling about my first meeting with Danny Stam,” says the Hungarian. “I think that your feeling is an important advisor when you make a choice for a new team. The team gives me the freedom to combine the three disciplines. I don’t know yet whether cyclocross, mountain bike or the road suits me best. I hope to discover that in the coming years. In that view, Mathieu van der Poel is a good example for me. He shows that up to a certain age you can combine these three disciplines and thus develop yourself further and grow into the world top of cycling. It feels like an honour to me that champions like Anna van der Breggen and Chantal Blaak, and many others, will soon be my teammates.”
Blanka Vas hopes to qualify herself for the Olympic Games in Tokyo next summer. “In March I was beaten back by Covid-19, but now I feel myself getting stronger every week. In May I have to ride a qualification race in Hungary, after which the Hungarian association will make a choice who will be selected for Tokyo. I am hopeful for this. Then I will focus on cyclocross. I hope to compete with the elite women for the podium places in the World Cups next winter.”
For the past three seasons, Blanka Vas was part of the Belgian cycling team Doltcini – Van Ecyk Sports-Proximus. “Of course, it is a pity that we see such a great talent leave our team,” says Jan Morre on behalf of Doltcini – Van Ecyk Sports-Proximus. “Blank was discovered by Marc Bracke and has grown from our Development Team into the Continental Team. However, the team’s philosophy is to give young riders a chance to develop and then make the switch to one of the top teams. We are therefore proud that Team SD Worx has signed up for Kata Blanka Vas. She is an all-round star and one of the greatest talents in women’s cycling. The parallels with Mathieu van der Poel are big.”
Kata Blanka Vas:
Tour de Romandie Will Have Top Riders in the 75th Edition
The organisers of the Tour de Romandie has today published the provisional start-list for the next edition (April 27-May 2) of the stage race. Quite a few top riders will participate in the Swiss stage race.
Jumbo-Visma will have Steven Kruijswijk and Sepp Kuss in Switzerland. The Tour de Romandie is also the first race for Miguel Ángel López with the Movistar team. The Swiss fans will be looking forward to Marc Hirschi, who should line-up with UAE Team Emirates. Joining them will be Jack Haig for Bahrain Victorious, Wilco Kelderman (BORA-hansgrohe), Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-Nippo), Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation), plus Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas for INEOS Grenadiers. At the moment there are only WorldTeams on the start-list. The fast men will also cross swords in the Tour de Romandie. Matteo Moschetti (Trek-Segafredo), Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe), Clément Venturini (AG2R Citroën), Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) and the young Olav Kooij with Jumbo-Visma.
Earlier this year, the Tour de Romandie presented the stage schedule for the 2021 edition. The organisers of the multi-day race decided to largely take over the route of the canceled 2020 edition. The race starts on Tuesday, April 27 with a short prologue of 4 kilometres through Oron. On day two there is a stage from Aigle to Martigny, followed by a difficult stage finishing in Saint-Imier. The Queen stage is the penultimate stage, when the riders complete the mountain stage to Thyon 2000. The race will have its climax in the streets of Friborg, with an individual time trial of 16 kilometres.
Roglic in Romandie 2019:
Dutch Olympians Given Priority for Corona Vaccination
Dutch athletes that have been selected for the Olympic Games will be given priority to receive vaccines against the corona virus. Sources at the Ministry of Health report to De Telegraaf.
TeamNL athletes are more likely to receive a vaccination than their peers. This way they can prepare for the Olympic Games in Tokyo next summer. Athletes from the cycling disciplines – road, track, BMX, mountain bike – can count on an early injection. Mathieu van der Poelis among them as he has qualified for mountain bike cross country.
So far, about two hundred Dutch athletes have qualified for the Games. It is not yet known which vaccine the athletes will receive. The Ministry of Health, through ministers Hugo de Jonge and Tamara van Ark, is expected to present a so-called injection schedule on Tuesday evening. It will then known when the athletes will receive their vaccination.
Mountain biker Mathieu:
Team DSM Announce Exciting 2021 Giro d’Italia Roster
With the start of the Giro d’Italia in Turin less than a month away, Team DSM confirm their eight-rider strong roster that will take on a challenging and climb-filled La Corsa Rosa.
Lying ahead of the team is an incredibly testing route around Italy, including treacherous gravel roads featured in Strade Bianche, brutally steep leg-sapping climbs such as the famous Monte Zoncolan, medium-mountain stages that entice attacks and a testing time trial to finish. Looking to build on their successful 2020 campaign in which the team finished with two riders on the GC podium, alongside a stage win and stints in the leader’s jersey, the team will once again go all-in for a top team GC result after 21 days of hard racing.
With strong foundations laid in the designing and execution of training and various other specialist areas, early season racing and altitude training, the team’s Giro d’Italia block will be ready to roll out in style in Turin as they showcase the distinctive two Keep Challenging stripes on their new Team DSM colours for the very first time in a Grand Tour.
Team DSM’s Giro d’Italia coach Matt Winston said: “Once again, this year we head to the Giro d’Italia to go all-in for a team GC result and we really need to utilise our collective strength with a complete eight-rider effort to do that. We’ve got a solid, clear plan formulated together with our experts and performance team that looks to different strategies and tactics that we can apply to really utilise our strengths and bring home that top result. We’ll also keep in mind opportunities in the sprints as we look to grab some stage results on the stages that best suit us. With our past success and memories in Italy we always look forward to racing there and getting our Grand Tour season underway. Morale amongst the team is super high and we are all really motivated to give our best to try to showcase our Team DSM jersey in Italy and bring home some top results.”
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Romain Bardet (FRA)
Nico Denz (GER)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Jai Hindley (AUS)
Max Kanter (GER)
Nicholas Roche (IRL)
Michael Storer (AUS).
Team Jumbo-Visma goes to the Tour de France with a ninth man
Brest, 26 June: the moment when Team Jumbo-Visma will start in ‘La Grande Boucle’ with new hope and ambition. This year they won’t be wearing the familiar jersey, but a specially designed one, chosen by the fans for the 2021 Tour de France. Team Jumbo-Visma even goes a step further. This summer the cycling fans will literally ride along with the team.
Because of the similarity between Team Jumbo-Visma’s regular jersey and the Tour de France’s yellow leader’s jersey, the organisation of the Tour and the UCI have asked the team to come to the start with an adapted jersey. The team uses this as an opportunity to do something special. For the first time in history the choice of the jersey is in the hands of the fans.
Together with partner AGU, three special designs were created, each with their own story. Fans and cycling enthusiasts can vote for their favourite shirt from 7 April to 15 April via ourjersey.teamjumbovisma.com.
But Team Jumbo-Visma goes one step further. Besides their own character, the three jerseys have one thing in common: fans are central in the design. On all three shirts space is reserved for the names of the fans. This summer fans will ride with the team. Literally!
Fans can get their place on the jersey by purchasing their preferred jersey between 19 and 28 April. From that moment on, the fan actually becomes part of the Tour de France team and a unique experience follows, bringing the cycling fan closer to the Tour than ever before. More about that later.
Richard Plugge, general manager of Team Jumbo-Visma: “Since the last edition of the Tour de France we have been in talks with the organisation ASO. Out of respect for the yellow jersey we and our main sponsors Jumbo and Visma wanted to think along to adapt our shirt. This presented us with quite a challenge. We have taken this as an opportunity to involve cycling fans in our team as never before. So the ‘ninth’ man will be at the start in Brest with our team of eight.”
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