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We now move from Oman to Portugal and Spain for the Volta ao Algarve and the Ruta del Sol – All the reports and results with video. Toon Aerts positive – TOP STORY. Final tickets for Corima Drôme Provençale. Race news: Tour of America’s Dairyland calendar, UAE Tour riders, Giro d’Italia and the Abruzzo, Strade Bianche routes, Amstel Gold wildcards, new sponsors for Brugge-De Panne and cycling fever takes over Grand Est. Team news: Peter Sagan’s first 2022 race, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl and DSM to the UAE Tour and AG2R Citroën to the Tour des Alpes. Rider news: Egan Bernal on an exercise bike, Caleb Ewan to ride Kuurne and Remco Evenepoel returns to Algarve. Big Thursday EUROTRASH coffee time.

top story
TOP STORY: Toon Aerts Suspended After Positive Doping Sample
Toon Aerts was suspended after a prohibited substance was found in his urine sample. Baloise Trek Lions, the team of the 28-year-old cyclocross rider, announced in a press release. Aerts is second in the UCI ranking and was the winner of the X²O Trophy this winter.

Aerts received the news yesterday via a letter from the UCI. “I was notified that an abnormal result was found in my urine sample taken during an out-of-competition check at my home on January 19. I am currently in the dark as to how this could have happened. The product Letrozole Metabolite was found in my urine sample. A product I had never heard of until yesterday and I don’t know how it got into my body.”

In consultation with his Baloise Trek Lions team, Aerts has decided to stop his season until there is more clarity. “Anyone who knows me a little knows that I have been against any form of doping all my career and have always done everything I can to set an example as an athlete. I will therefore do everything I can to prove my innocence and clear my name. Pending the analysis of the B sample and further investigations, I will not comment.”

Baloise Trek Lions was informed by Aerts of the abnormal result of his urine sample. “We have heard Toon and take him at his word that he has not taken any products that may contain the substance. We are now waiting for the B sample and any further elements Toon can collect. We have been very fond of Toon for years and hope for better news soon with him. As a precaution and in consultation with Toon, it has been decided that he will no longer take action and that he will be inactive until more is known.”

The team emphasises that it has a strict zero tolerance for doping use. “As a team, we owe that to ourselves, the other riders in the team and the cycling fans. The team will refrain from further comment as long as the result of the B sample is not known.”

Letrozole is on the list of substances that are prohibited at all times in and out of competition. The drug is prescribed for a certain type of breast cancer and sometimes also for reduced fertility, but can also be abused to achieve better performance. Athletes who abuse anabolic steroids can use an aromatase inhibitor like Letrozole to counteract the formation of oestrogens, thereby reducing or preventing the unwanted effects of anabolic steroids.

What do we know about Letrozole?
Toon Aerts was caught with a drug for breast cancer. The website of the American anti-doping agency USADA clearly describes what substance Letrozole is. How it’s performance-enhancing and why it’s on the banned list.

1. What is Letrozole?
Letrozole is an aromatase inhibitor, meaning it blocks an enzyme responsible for an important step in the formation of oestrogens. More specifically, the enzyme aromatase is responsible for the conversion of androgens (eg. testosterone) into oestrogens. Letrozole inhibits this process, decreasing the amount of oestrogen in the body.

Letrozole is in medications used to fight oestrogen-dependent breast cancer in women. By reducing the amount of oestrogen in the body, Letrozole can slow or stop the growth of some types of breast cancer cells, which need oestrogen to grow.

Legally, Letrozole is only available with a doctor’s prescription. However, there are websites that illegally sell Letrozole and other performance enhancing drugs.

2. How does Letrozole enhance performance?
Athletes who abuse anabolic steroids can use an aromatase inhibitor like Letrozole to counteract the formation of oestrogens, thereby reducing or preventing the unwanted and feminizing effects of anabolic steroids. These side effects include the development of male breasts (gynecomastia), water retention and belly fat. In addition, male athletes can use aromatase inhibitors such as Letrozole to increase their own natural testosterone levels by preventing its breakdown.

3. What are the side effects of taking Letrozole?
The use of Letrozole is associated with many side effects, including an increase in cholesterol levels, a decrease in bone density, hot flashes, night sweats, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhoea and heartburn, muscle and joint pain, fatigue and dizziness, swelling of hands, feet, ankles and lower legs, and difficulty sleeping.

4. Is Letrozole Banned In Sports?
Yes, Letrozole is specifically listed as prohibited at all times (both in and out of competition) in the Hormone and Metabolic Modulators category on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List.

5. Do Diet Supplements Contain Letrozole?
Letrozole is a potent drug that cannot be legally incorporated and/or marketed as an ingredient in dietary supplements. USADA is not aware of any cases of a dietary supplement being contaminated with Letrozole at this time. However, the use of dietary supplements is always at the athlete’s own risk.

# Thanks to WielerFlits for the extra info.

Toon Aerts suspended:
Krawatencross

 

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Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta 2022
Stage 1 of the Volta ao Algarve was won by Fabio Jakobsen. The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team prepared the sprint perfectly, after which the Dutchman was able to finish it off. Jordi Meeus crossed the line in second, but due to a dangerous manoeuvre he was relegated and Bryan Coquard and Alexander Kristoff were given second and third place.

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The opening stage of the Volta ao Algarve started in Portimão and finished Lagos. With the Aldeia dos Matos and Nave there were two climbs on the route, but these climbs were both far from the finish and a bunch sprint was expected after 199.1 kilometres.

Four riders broke away, but couldn’t get more than a 4 minute lead. Asier Etxeberria (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Fábio Oliveira (ABTF-Feirense), Hugo Nunes (Rádio Popular-Paredes-Boavista) and João Matias (Tavfer-Mortágua-Ovos Matinados) were the escapees of the day. In the peloton, Alpecin-Fenix, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert set the pace for their sprinters: Tim Merlier, Fabio Jakobsen and Alexander Kristoff. With just under 40 kilometres to go there was a crash in the peloton. Ben Tulett and Juan Sebastián Molano, one of the outsiders for today, were among the fallers. The wind then caused some nervousness in the peloton, but there were no splits. In the leading group, Matias assured himself of a day in the mountain jersey, but they were caught.

The speed shot up in the thinned out peloton. About 13 kilometres before the finish, a cross wind led to a crash, leaving a group of less than forty riders. However, most of these were favourites for the stage win. Jakobsen was in the group along with many of his teammates. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl had enough men in front to prepare for the sprint. The Dutchman was brought perfectly to the front and managed to hold off Jordi Meeus relatively easily. Meeus came into contact with Alexander Kristoff in the sprint and the Belgian was put back to 33 place by the race jury. Second and third places went to Bryan Coquard and Alexander Kristoff. Jakobsen took the overall lead.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl): “It was a perfect day! The entire team did a great job and this is their victory too. I am happy I could finish it off and take my third success here and my third of the year. We pulled the entire day with Tim, who was again outstanding, then Louis and Kasper made sure we were in a good position for the closing kilometres. Remco led going into the roundabouts, before Yves and Bert provided a dream lead-out. All I had to do was hit the front with 200 meters left and go for the win. I am happy with this victory, with having the yellow jersey, but also with seeing many fans along the road and at the finish today.”

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Stage 1 Result:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 4:56:29
2. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Cofidis
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
4. Michele Gazzoli (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan
5. Rui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
6. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
7. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
8. Nils Politt (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
9. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates
10. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma.

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Overall After Stage 1:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
2. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Cofidis
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
4. Michele Gazzoli (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan
5. Rui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
6. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
7. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
8. Nils Politt (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
9. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates
10. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma.

Algarve’22 stage 1:

 

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Vuelta a Andalucia – Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2022
Stage 1 of the Ruta del Sol was won by Rune Herregodts. The Belgian rider of Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise was part of the break of the day, gaining a 15 minute maximum lead and still had 30 seconds at the finish. On the finishing climb to Iznájar, Herregodts had the best sprint. Stephen Bassett (Human Powered Health) was second and Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH) was third.

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Eight riders broke away, including Lindsay De Vylder and Rune Herregodts for Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Álvaro Cadros (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Xabier Isasa (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Vojtech Repa (Kern Pharma), Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH), Mark Christian (EOLO-Kometa) and Stephen Bassett (Human Powered health). They quickly had a 10 minute lead and that grew to 15 minutes.

Astana Qazaqstan, Bahrain Victorious and AG2R Citroën put their teams on the front to close the gap. That was not easy, as with 50 kilometres to go, the lead was still more than 6 minutes. That was the signal for INEOS Grenadiers and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert to put men on the front. The Alto La Parilla (8km at 3.7%) started with 20 kilometres to go and summited 12 kilometres from the finish. Herregodts picked up the pace, trying to thin out the leading group, which was too fast for Cadros and Repa. Before the top, De Vylder also had to drop out, although he was able to return to the other five on the descent.

At the start of the descent, Isasa, De Vylder, Herregodts, Okamika, Christian and Bassett were still more than 2 minutes ahead of the peloton. The question was whether that would be enough to hold out in the final, as the steep final climb in Iznájar was 1.3 kilometres long at 7.2%. In the pack, INEOS Grenadiers put a train on the front. Six kilometres before the finish, on a slight slope, it was Herregodts again who rode away with Okamika and Bassett, but the six came back together. They started the last 1.3 kilometres with a lead of 1:20. Okamika made the first attack, but he didn’t get away. In the sprint Herregodts managed to stay ahead of Bassett with his last effort and held him off by 2 seconds. Okamika finished third. The peloton eventually finished 30 seconds later. Alessandro Covi won the uphill sprint from the peloton for seventh place.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Rune Herregodts (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise): “It was impossible to pull away, so I bet on my sprint. I know I can gain strength after a difficult day. It was a difficult day to attack because it was a 200 kilometre stage. Quite a long stage, but we went early with eight. A large group, that was ideal. We rode very fast at the start and got a good lead together. Then I told my fellow escapees to take it easy, to go all out in the last hundred kilometres. They then had to put a lot of riders in the lead in the peloton to get us back. The collaboration in the leading group was good. Everyone did their job and no one skipped a turn. Then you can really go far. On the final climb everyone wanted to get away, but we were equal with three or four riders. It was therefore impossible to get away. Lindsay De Vylder did a great job, he kept everything together in the final. It was great to be in the leading group together, because we were able to keep the pace high. This win is very important for us. It’s a ProSeries race with a good grid. This is a prestigious competition for the team. First I want to enjoy, and everything that comes with it is a nice bonus. I will try to keep the jersey as long as possible, but I think our race is already a success.”

Vuelta a Andalucia – Ruta Ciclista Del Sol Stage 1 Result:
1. Rune Herregodts (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise in 5:16:44
2. Stephen Bassett (USA) Human Powered Health at 0:02
3. Ander Okamika (Spa) Burgos-BH
4. Xabier Isasa (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:12
5. Lindsay De Vylder (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:15
6. Mark Christian (GB) EOLO-Kometa at 0:18
7. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:31
8. Gonzalo Serrano (Spa) Movistar at 0:37
9. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
10. Benoît Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R Citroën.

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol Overall After Stage 1:
1. Rune Herregodts (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise in 5:16:44
2. Stephen Bassett (USA) Human Powered Health at 0:02
3. Ander Okamika (Spa) Burgos-BH
4. Xabier Isasa (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:12
5. Lindsay De Vylder (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:15
6. Mark Christian (GB) EOLO-Kometa at 0:18
7. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:31
8. Gonzalo Serrano (Spa) Movistar at 0:37
9. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
10. Benoît Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R Citroën.

Ruta Del Sol’22 stage 1:

 

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Tour of Oman 2022
Jan Hirt won Stage 5 of the Tour of Oman on Monday. The stage had an uphill finish on Green Mountain, and the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert rider crossed the line solo after breaking away from the leading group in the last kilometre. Hirt is also the new leader.

oman22 st5

The fifth stage mainly took place at around 500 metres above sea level. It was no Alpine stage, but it was difficult so early in the season. The finish was uphill on the Jabal Al Akhdhar, the climb we know as the Green Mountain.

Several riders tried to escape before a leading group formed with Luca Rastelli (Bardiani), Laurenz Rex (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces), Antonio Angulo (Euskaltel), Ángel Fuentes (Burgos-BH), Filippo Ridolfo (Novo Nordisk) and Nicolas Vinokurov (Astana Qazaqstan Dev), one of the sons of Alexandre Vinokourov. The six escapees took a maximum of 2 minute lead on the peloton, with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert controlling things.

Just after the halfway point, DSM tried to split the race. The peloton was in pieces, with Anthon Charmig, second overall, missing the move. A long battle between the first echelon including overall leader, Fausto Masnada and the group behind with Charmig ensued. The fight with the wind was bad news for the escape, who were all caught with 52 kilometres left to race. In the end, the group with Charmig was able to rejoin with 41 kilometres to go.

The battle for the final climb of Green Mountain started 6 kilometres out. Once on the climb, the peloton was considerably thinned out by Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. The Belgian team tried to position Jan Hirt as best as possible and the Czech didn’t disappoint. In the final two kilometres he attacked along with Élie Gesbert and Kevin Vauquelin before continuing solo. Hirt kept pushing on and was the solo winner. He now has the leader’s jersey, with 1 minute on Fausto Masnada.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “From the beginning of this stage race I felt that I was one of the strongest climbers, so that’s why the stage win was our goal today. The whole team was very focused and motivated to succeed. No words can repay their sacrifices, they all contributed to make this victory possible. Without support of other teams, Kévin Van Melsen worked hard behind the early breakaway. The others protected me in the crosswinds and then set a high pace on the final climb to create my dream scenario. It was a perfect day. The leader’s jersey was the cherry on the cake, because I didn’t really expect to close the 1 minute gap with Masnada on this 6 kilometre climb. I’m feeling confident ahead of the final stage, surrounded by a strong team.”

Tour of Oman Stage 5 Result:
1. Jan Hirt (Cze) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in 3:35:39
2. Kevin Vauquelin (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:39
3. Élie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:48
4. Kevin Colleoni (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:57
5. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
6. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 1:11
7. Anthon Charmig (Den) Uno-X
8. Henri Vandenabeele (Bel) DSM at 1:19
9. Kevin Vermaerke (USA) DSM at 1:43
10. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl.

Tour of Oman Overall After Stage 5:
1. Jan Hirt (Cze) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in 18:25:27
2. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 1:00
3. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 1:16
4. Élie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 1:18
5. Anthon Charmig (Den) Uno-X
6. Kevin Vauquelin (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 1:38
7. Kevin Colleoni (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco at 1:50
8. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 1:51
9. Henri Vandenabeele (Bel) DSM at 1:54
10. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 2:01.

Oman’22 stage 5:

 

Fernando Gaviria won the Final Stage 6 of the Tour of Oman. The Colombian UAE Team Emirates rider was by far the fastest in the bunch sprint. The leader’s jersey of Jan Hirt was in no danger and the Czech was the final overall winner.

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Like the stage to Green Mountain, the final stage in the Tour of Oman, from Al Mouj Muscat to Matrah Corniche, is a classic. Since the first year, Matrah Corniche has been the setting for the Oman final stage. Before the start of the final stage, a bunch sprint was expected, apart from two short climbs, there was nothing too hard.

Several riders were keen to get in the early break. Johan Meens (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Antonio Angulo (Euskatel-Euskadi), Víctor Langellotti (Burgos-BH), Mohammed Al-Wahabi (Oman), Gerd de Keijzer (Team Novo Nordisk), and Harold Martín López & Alexandre Vinokourov Jr. (both Astana Development Team) managed to ride ahead of the peloton for quite some time. The peloton let their lead go to no more than 2 minutes. The difference kept hovering around 1:30 in the following kilometres. It was too fast for Al-Wahabi, Vinokourov and De Keijzer and they were caught by the peloton. Meens, Angulo, Martín López and Langellotti managed to hold out a little longer off the front, but they never had any chance of stage victory. In the hilly section about 40 kilometres from the finish, with the climbs of Al Hamriyah (0.8km at 9.9%) and Al Jissah (1km at 9.2%), there was a strong push in the peloton. This was not good for the sprinters, but a regrouping was not long in coming. The race started the last 20, fairly flat, kilometres with a compact peloton. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl led for Mark Cavendish, hoping to control things and neutralise any attacks. Several riders tried to get away in the final, but the sprinter’s teams were not letting anything go.

Søren Kragh Andersen tried to go for a late solo. The strong Dane from DSM tried to get away close to the finish, but the effort of the Dane was just not enough. Due to his acceleration, the sprint preparation was disrupted. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl couldn’t get a decent train organised, the men from UAE Team Emirates were well positioned in the last metres. It turned out to be an easy win for Gaviria for his second victory in this Tour of Oman. Kaden Groves had to settle for second, Amaury Capiot was third. Cavendish had to brake in the sprint to avoid a collision with UAE lead-out man Maximilano Richeze, and finished in sixth place. Jan Hirt crossed the finish line safely in the peloton for the overall win. Fausto Masnada and Rui Costa finished second and third overall. The jury ruled afterwards that Richeze had deviated too much from his line in the sprint and so the Argentinian was relegated in the stage result.

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Stage winner, Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m really happy to take the last stage here in Oman. It’s been a good week for me and the team. I’m happy because my team worked well and stayed focussed on winning the stage and we were able to deliver. From the beginning we tried to take control of the race and luckily I had good legs in the finish and could take the sprint. It was a nice week: one of the beauties of this sport is to travel and discover new countries and cultures. So to ride in amazing places like Oman is great and we’ll hope to be back next year.”

Final overall winner, Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “Yesterday, it was a fantastic feeling to throw my hands in the air for the first time in six years. The GC win is a great bonus. I’m grateful for the help of my teammates. We raced together all week and never panicked when our competitors tried to surprise us with attacks today. I’m in the best shape of my life and found a renewed love for cycling within Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. I needed some time to adapt to my new environment after the difficult Covid-period before achieving a good level mentally and physically at the end of last season. I worked well with my coach Ioannis Tamouridis and the nutrition team this winter and both confirmed that I was ready to start the season with confidence. I hope to benefit from this good form for a long time, I’m already looking forward to the UAE Tour!”

2nd overall, Fausto Masnada (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “It’s been a good week. Coming here, I knew I had a good condition and I am happy I could finally get a win for the team. Unfortunately, I had that bad day on stage 5, but second on the GC is still a good result so early in the season. I want to say a big thank you to all my teammates for their support, this result wouldn’t have been possible without them.”

2nd on the stage, Kaden Groves (BikeExchange-Jayco): “We had a plan, but the biggest problem was that Campbell Stewart came down in a crash, a silly crash, with I don’t know, maybe 5km to go at the bottom of the climb, which we didn’t really know until we came to 3km to go and 2km to go. So, it was tough to have one guy down for the final, but the other boys still did a really good job. It was always our plan to go with our full team into 1km to go, but the guys actually started a bit early because we were on the front and in position, so Cameron Meyer took it up. Initially it was a headwind and we knew it would come around and would become more cross-tail wind, so we though we’ve got to take from the front. We watched the last few editions of this stage and I thought I’ve got to take it up in the sprint, and Callum Scotson and Kelland O’Brien did a really good job to lead me out in front and in the end it was probably just too early, but Fernando had good legs to come around. I took it up with maybe 200metres to go and with the wind it was maybe a bit too ambitious, but I had to go then and I was in position to do so. So it’s second today, another podium and another really good experience for us. We have a lot of young guys, myself included and we’re learning everyday, I’m pretty stoked with our week really, third and two seconds with good quality sprinters here. It was Campbell’s and my first race together, him being my last man in these races and it’s been pretty epic really, I don’t have any complaints. Winning with this team, in this jersey [is the goal] is going to be pretty special and if we just keep rolling the dice, doing what we’re doing, it’s going to come. For the next races things are looking good.”

Tour of Oman Stage 6 Result:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates in 4:10:16
2. Kaden Groves (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
3. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkéa Samsic
4. Paul Penhoët (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
5. Hugo Page (Fra) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
6. Mark Cavendish (GB) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
7. Felix Groß (Ger) UAE Team Emirates
8. Laurenz Rex (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
9. Szymon Sajnok (Pol) Cofidis
10. Kevin Vauquelin (Fra) Arkéa Samsic.

Tour of Oman Final Overall Result:
1. Jan Hirt (Cze) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in 22:35:43
2. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 1:00
3. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 1:16
4. Élie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 1:18
5. Anthon Charmig (Den) Uno-X
6. Kevin Vauquelin (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 1:38
7. Kevin Colleoni (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco at 1:50
8. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 1:51
9. Henri Vandenabeele (Bel) DSM at 1:54
10. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 2:01.

Oman’22 stage 6:

 

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Clásica Jaén Paraíso Interior 2022
The first edition of the Clásica Jaén Paraiso Interior (1.1), a Spanish race over gravel, was won by Alexey Lutsenko on Monday. The 29-year-old Kazakh soloed to victory in his first race of the season. Tim Wellens finished in second place, Loïc Vliegen was third.

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Spain had a new race on Monday: the Clásica Jaén Paraiso Interior. An Andalusian race with more than 3,000 metres of climbing and almost 40 kilometres of gravel. From the start in Baeza the race went over several tough gravel sections and a relatively easy middle section to the tough final around the finish in Úbeda. The finish line was on a climb of 6.1 kilometres at 5.5%, of which 5.4 kilometres were on gravel. The peloton would cross this climb three times.

Igor Arrieta and Raúl García (both Kern Pharma), Jenno Berckmoes (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Chad Haga (Human Powered Health) made up the early escape, although this was short-lived. The race exploded very early, the favourites for the victory showed themselves on the first gravel sections. Alexey Lutsenko put the pressure on at over 50 kilometres from the finish. The strong Kazakh, who won a similar gravel race last year in Italy, jumped away from an elite group with Tim Wellens. Lutsenko’s pace was too high for Wellens. Lutsenko was alone with more than 40 kilometres to go. The Astana Qazaqstan rider didn’t wait for the pursuers and threw himself into the descent of the climb to Úbeda and difference to the chasers got bigger and bigger. Just before the second passage of the Úbeda climb, Lutsenko was joined by Wellens, Connor Swift and Lennard Kämna, but Lutsenko was waiting for his moment.

On the second section of the Úbeda climb, Lutsenko was the strongest and broke away from his rivals. The U23 World champion from Valkenburg managed to widen the gap and started the final lap of more than 20 kilometres with a 30 second lead. The pursuers seemed to have given up on winning. The lead grew more and more as the kilometres went by. With 5 kilometres to go he had a lead of more than 1 minute. Lutsenko had plenty of time to celebrate his victory. Tim Wellens managed to shake off Löic Vliegen in the difficult final kilometre for second place. Vliegen finished third for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert.

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Race winner, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan): “I am really happy to take this win in my first race of the season. Together with the team I spent two good weeks at the altitude training camp in Teide and today I felt ready and motivated to try something. Last year I already won a gravel race – Serenissima Gravel, so I knew what to expect. The race turned out to be a hard one with a lot of climbs and gravel sectors. But the team helped me to save some energy for the decisive part and then I just did my best in attacks. I knew that Tim Wellens can be a real favourite in this kind of races, so my plan was to attack earlier and to try to go solo and it worked out perfectly. Well, it is a very nice feeling to win in the first race of the season! Now I am looking forward to the next race – Vuelta a Andalucia.”

3rd, Loïc Vliegen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “I enjoyed to race in the front in this beautiful race. It was an exhausting battle, because the final already started with 60 kilometre to go. Biniam Girmay positioned us in the front at that important moment which was the foot of the first passage on the final climb. He set a high pice on the climb, skimming the peloton to 30 riders. When the group split again, I managed to follow the strongest riders and battle for second place. It is nice to see that the team is in a good flow and I’m happy that I contributed with this podium and my fifth place two days ago.”

Clásica Jaén Paraíso Interior Result:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Kas) Astana Qazaqstan in 4:49:12
2. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:53
3. Loïc Vliegen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:57
4. Lennard Kämna (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:16
5. Connor Swift (GB) Arkéa Samsic at 1:28
6. Jai Hindley (Aus) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:54
7. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
8. Steff Cras (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal
10. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM.

Jaén’22:

 

drome22
Final Tickets on Sale for Corima Drôme Provençale 2022
Tickets are selling fast for the Corima Drôme Provençale sportive, which returns to the foothills of the beautiful Rhône Alpes on 26-27 March 2022.

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CORIMA Wheels, in partnership with the Saint James Vélo Club of Montélimar, has announced that final tickets have now gone on sale for the 2022 edition of the Corima Drôme Provençale sportive.

The popular event will return to the stunning roads and challenging climbs of the foothills of the Rhône Alpes after a two-year hiatus. The first sportive of the season, Corima Drôme Provençale gives competitive cyclists the opportunity to bank their first points of the year.

The event incorporates seven races and casual rides across Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 March, giving cyclists the opportunity to measure themselves against the best, or to simply take in the views of Montélimar. Cyclists who register for the 146km ‘La Corima’ route will have the opportunity to ride with Thomas Voeckler, former professional cyclist, Corima Drôme Provençale ambassador and WorldTour stage winner.

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A commemorative Corima Drôme Provençale jersey will be offered to all participants of Sunday’s races.

REGISTER FOR TICKETS HERE

SATURDAY
Cyclists can choose from two new gravel routes that loop around the scenic town of Montélimar, or take a road-based tour of the most beautiful villages of the Andrans plain. Refreshments will be available in La Touche, before returning to the exhibitor village in Montélimar.

SUNDAY
There is a choice of four races: the challenging ‘La Corima’, a 146 km route with 2158m of climbing; ‘La Jollywear’, a 105 km route with 1591m of climbing, ‘La Sesame’, a 77 km route with 992m of ascent; and finally ‘La Rando Montilienne’, a 46km route with a total of 430m ascent which is aimed at families and those wishing for a casual ride.

If the event is cancelled due to Covid-19 all cyclists will be reimbursed for the full ticket price.

MORE INFORMATION

 

toad
Kwik Trip Tour of America’s Dairyland 13th Edition 2022 Calendar of Events
Thursday, June 16 – Sunday, June 26, 2022

Lucky 13?! That’s what we think.

The Kwik Trip Tour of America’s Dairyland is excited to announce our 2022 calendar with race registration to open in mid March.

Kwik Trip continues their amazing commitment & partnership to ToAD and we are honoured to have them NOW as our TITLE SPONSOR. We can never get enough of Kwik Trip’s signature chocolate milk, Glazer donuts, bananas and fresh fried chicken and we can’t either! Add their clean restrooms, service fee free ATMs and locations across the state and it’s no wonder why everyone loves KT!

Now drum roll please……our 2022 Series Calendar:
Thursday, June 16 – Janesville
Friday, June 17 – East Troy
Saturday, June 18 – Grafton
Sunday, June 19 – Manitowoc
Monday, June 20 – Bay View (Milwaukee)
Tuesday, June 21 – tbd
Wednesday, June 22 – tbd
Thursday, June 23 – Brady Street (Milwaukee)
Friday, June 24 – Shorewood
Saturday, June 25 – Downer Avenue (Milwaukee)
Sunday, June 26 – Wauwatosa Village

Thank you to all our communities for their continued commitment and support! Our mission is still clear; to stage a FUN, ENGAGING & SAFE WORLD CLASS event for all who race, sponsor or spectate and this year is no different.

We Will See You in June #TOAD2022

toad

 

uae tour
2022 UAE Tour: Bennett, Cavendish, Groenewegen, Viviani & Ganna to target stage wins
Bennett, Cavendish, Groenewegen, Démare, Viviani and Philipsen are among the big names set to battle for stage victories and the Green Jersey at the UAE Tour. Time trial specialists Ganna and Bissegger will target Stage 3’s ITT.

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The UAE Tour race organisers, Abu Dhabi Sports Council are pleased to today reveal eight world-class riders expected to compete for stage victories at the fourth edition of the UAE Tour, beginning on February 20. Today’s eight stage hunters join the six general classification contenders recently announced.

Sprinters
The four flat stages in this year’s route provide ample opportunity for fast-finishers looking to make their mark on the first UCI WorldTour event of the season. It is no surprise then that this year’s race, like the three editions before it, has attracted the very best in the pro peloton, with 83 Grand Tour stage wins between the six sprinters announced today.

Among them is eight-time Grand Tour stage winner Sam Bennett. The Irishman has rejoined the Bora – Hansgrohe team for 2022, and will aim to bounce back from his 2021 season with a strong start in the Emirates this month. Having taken two stage wins on his UAE Tour debut last year, Bennett will no doubt be one to watch.

Bennett will face fierce competition however. Among those expected to fight for stage victories against him is Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team), fresh from last year’s Tour de France Green Jersey. The ‘Manx Missile’ has earned 52 Grand Tour stage wins and a UCI World Championship title over the course of his career but is yet to take first place at the UAE Tour, having previously competed in 2019 and 2020’s editions. This year’s race could change that.

Italy’s Elia Viviani (INEOS Grenadiers) will also be on the hunt for stage wins at this year’s race. The Italian first rode the UAE Tour in 2019, taking a stage victory and the sprinter’s green jersey. Viviani enters the fourth edition of the race riding for his new team INEOS Grenadiers.

Next on the list is Dylan Groenewegen (Team BikeExchange – Jayco). The Dutchman will compete in the UAE Tour for the second time after his race debut in 2020. That year saw him cross the line first on Stage 4, adding a memorable win to a palmarès that already includes four Tour de France stage victories.

France’s Arnaud Démare (Groupama – FDJ) is also expected to start the UAE Tour on February 20. Winner of Milano-Sanremo and a five-time Giro d’Italia stage winner, Démare returns to the UAE after his race debut in 2020, during which he took a stage podium finish atop the steep Hatta Dam.

Last but not least is Jasper Philipsen of Alpecin-Fenix. The Belgian rider, like many of his rivals, returns this year for his second UAE Tour. Despite being only 23 years of age, Philipsen has already amassed three stage wins at La Vuelta and numerous stage podiums in the Tour de France. This year’s race will provide an opportunity to further build out his palmarès against world-class opposition.

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Sam Bennett won two stages in the 2021 edition of the race

Time trialists
Alongside a host of world-class sprinters, the UAE Tour has also attracted the likes of time trial specialists Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) and Stefan Bissegger (EF Education – EasyPost). Last year, the two-time UCI World Time Trial Champion Filippo Ganna won the race’s 13km ITT on Al Hudayriyat Island, 14 seconds ahead of second place Stefan Bissegger.

This year’s race features a 9km individual time trial in the city of Ajman, set to take place on Stage 3. Both riders return for their second UAE Tour this year, and both will no doubt be in contention for victory on Stage 3.

A full provisional entry list of riders will be announced in due course. To find out more about the UAE Tour, including details of the official race route, jerseys and sponsors, visit www.theuaetour.com.

UCI World Time Trial Champion Filippo Ganna won the race’s 13km ITT on Al Hudayriyat Island in 2021:
ganna

 

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The Giro d’Italia & The Abruzzo Region: A Love Story of More Than 100 Years
Since the very first Giro d’Italia, the Abruzzo region has been part of the route and history of the Corsa Rosa, even hosting a Grande Partenza in 2001. The race’s next edition will benefit from two stages in the region (Isernia – Blockhaus and Pescara – Jesi), touching all four provinces of the territory. On the rest day, between the two stages, the race caravan will stop in Pescara.

The details of two stages to be hosted by the region of Abruzzo at the next Giro d’Italia were presented today at the region’s headquarters in Pescara. Also presented was the race’s plan to stop in Pescara, Abruzzo for Monday 16 May’s rest day between the two stages.

Stage 9, Isernia – Blockhaus
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Stage 10, Pescara – Jesi
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Mauro Vegni, Director of the Giro d’Italia said: “Abruzzo and the Giro d’Italia have a love story that dates back to the dawn of the race, with many stages in the region. I remember the historic Grande Partenza of 2001 that all of Abruzzo embraced with warmth and appreciation because this is a land of great champions of the past and present such as Vito Taccone and Giulio Ciccone, just to name two. In this year’s Giro, Abruzzo will play a very important role given the territory’s involvement in the race across three days. It will host two stages and a rest day, during which all four of the Abruzzo provinces will be touched. The arrival at the Blockhaus on Sunday 15 will be important for the general classification. Just last year in Abruzzo, in Campo Felice, Bernal took the Maglia Rosa which he then wore until Milan. The resumption of the race from Pescara, where we will observe the second rest day of the Giro, will also be very important because we will be halfway through the general route. I am sure that this year too, the welcome will be the same that we receive every time we arrive in this beautiful region.”

Marco Marsilio, President of the Abruzzo Region said: “For the sixth consecutive year, Abruzzo will return to “Rosa”, renewing its deep bond with the history of cycling. It is an important showcase for the image of our region but above all a sporting event of international significance, beloved throughout Italy. The arrival at the Blockhaus in Pretoro, after having travelled the roads that cross the national parks of Abruzzo and Majella, will highlight the skills of the best climbers. The Pescara stage, on the other hand, will bring attention to the city of D’Annunzio, and then cross the coastal strip centres to the northern border. It will be a challenging and fascinating journey that can match the most prestigious Alpine stages and which, with the occasion, will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Abruzzo National Park”.

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From left: Marco Marsilio, President of the Abruzzo Region and Mauro Vegni, Director of the Giro d’Italia

Stats:
Abruzzo and the Giro have gone hand in hand since the race’s first edition. The region has hosted stages that have entered the history of the Corsa Rosa:
112 stages of the Giro have ended in Abruzzo: the first in 1909 (Bologna – Chieti); the most recent being last year in Campo Felice.

There are also 112 stage departures from Abruzzo. The Giro d’Italia started from Abruzzo (Grande Partenza) in 2001 with the Montesilvano Marina – Pescara time trial, won by Rik Verbrugghe.

On 12 occasions, the stages finishing in Abruzzo have been decisive in the history of the Giro (with each stage witnessing the last change of the Maglia Rosa among the riders). This also happened last year – Egan Bernal conquered the Maglia Rosa in Campo Felice and kept it until the end of the Giro.

Historical stages completed in Abruzzo:

1914, Bari – L’Aquila:
The stage of the Giro that lasted the longest: over 19 hours.

1923, Naples – Chieti:
The Girardengo-Brunero breakaway on the Cinquemiglia plateau allows Girardengo to take the lead, which he will maintain until Milan.

1967, Caserta – Majella Blockhaus:
Zilioli attacked two kilometres from the finish, and the only rider remaining behind him was Merckx, who went on to win his first stage of the Giro.

1999, Pescara – Gran Sasso d’Italia:
Pantani attacked the final climb: Gotti tried to resist him, but the pace of the Pirate gave no escape.

Egan Bernal took the Maglia Rosa in Campo Felice in 2021, which he then wore until Milan
giro

 

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Strade Bianche and Strade Bianche Women Elite Routes Confirmed. The 25 Teams to Compete in the Women’s Race are Announced
On Saturday 5 March, the men’s and women’s professional races will take place on the traditional Strade Bianche route, starting and finishing in Siena. The women’s teams competing in the Strade Bianche Women Elite have also been announced.

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The routes of Strade Bianche and Strade Bianche Women Elite, set to be raced on Saturday 5 March, have been officially confirmed. The two races, as per recent tradition, will start from the Fortezza Medicea in Siena and end in the unique setting of Piazza del Campo in Siena, after 184km and 136km of riding for the male and female competitors respectively.

16th STRADE BIANCHE – 184km, 11 sectors and 63km on gravel roads (34.2% of the course).
Strade Bianche, organised by RCS Sport / La Gazzetta dello Sport, is scheduled to take place in Siena on Saturday 5 March. “Europe’s most southern northern classic”, part of the elite of world cycling since 2017, is now a key race on the UCI WorldTour calendar. The last winner to triumph in Piazza del Campo was Netherland’s Mathieu van der Poel.

8th STRADE BIANCHE WOMEN ELITE – 136km, 8 sectors and 31.4km on gravel roads (23.1% of the course).
Strade Bianche Women Elite will be held in Siena, a few hours before the start of the men’s race. The race is set to be one of the most spectacular of the year, a unique event on the global cycling scene thanks both to its special course character including Tuscany’s famous gravel roads, and to the high level of participants. The previous edition was won by Chantal van den Broek-Blaak.

strade bianche

2021 winner Mathieu van der Poel said: “Winning Strade Bianche last year was one of the most special days in my cycling career because it’s a race I really wanted to win one day. Riding towards Siena together with some of the strongest riders in the world was something truly special. I felt really strong and was happy to finish off the work my teammates had done throughout the race. It’s sad I can’t be there in a few weeks to defend my title. I’ll be supporting my teammates and I’m confident they can get a good result on the stunning roads of Tuscany.”

“We are very happy that cycling events of this magnitude can once again cross our territories, conveying the image of our city” comments the Councillor for Sport of the Municipality of Siena Paolo Benini. “The culture of sport deserves, especially at this moment, to be a protagonist in the life of our citizens. The attention we are paying to outdoor, sports and the world of cycling has always been a high priority for our administration. The two races, as per the tradition of recent years, will start from Siena and will end in our iconic Piazza del Campo, a beautiful finish also for the eyes.”

Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Cycling Director, said: “We have long established a fruitful relationship with the Siena Administration that allows us to organise one of the races most loved by riders and fans and through which we can promote around the world the unique territory of the Sienese, including the unrivalled setting of Piazza del Campo. With Strade Bianche and Strade Bianche Women Elite, we confirm the well-established path that for some years has contributed to making these races a point of reference among the great events on the international scene.”

These are the 25 teams competing in the Strade Bianche Women Elite:
UCI Women’s WorldTeams:

Canyon-Sram (Ger)
EF Education-Tibco-SVB (USA)
FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope (Fra)
Human Powered Health (USA)
Jumbo-Visma (Ned)
Liv Racing-Xstra (Ned)
Movistar (Spa)
Roland Cogeas Edelweiss (Swi)
SD Worx (Ned)
Team BikeExchange-Jayco (Aus)
Team DSM (Ger)
Trek-Segafredo (USA)
UAE Team (UAE)
Uno-X Pro Cycling (Nor)

UCI Women’s Continental Teams:
Valcar Travel & Service (Ita)
Ceratizit – WNT Pro Cycling team (Ger)
Parkhotel Valkenburg (Ned)
Plantur – Pura (Bel)
Aromitalia Basso Bikes Vaiano (Ita)
Bepink (Ita)
Born to Win G20 Ambedo (Ita)
Isolmant – Premac – Vittoria (Ita)
Servetto – Makhymo – Beltrami TSA (Ita)
Team Mendelspeck (Ita)
Top Girls Fassa Bortolo (Ita).

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The Route of Strade Bianche
It’s a twisty and undulating course, with no long climbs but punchy hills, most significantly on the unpaved sections of the route. There are roughly 63km of gravel roads, across 11 sectors, eight of which are shared with the Women Elite course.

Starting from the Stadium/Medicean Fortress area of Siena, the initial undulating kilometres are on asphalt before reaching the 2.1km-long gravel Sector 1 at km 18, which is perfectly straight and slightly downhill. After a few kilometres, the riders then face Sector 2 (5.8km), the first real challenge, with a short descent followed by a long climb with sections of over 10% gradient. The course then goes through Radi, where gravel Sector 3 starts (4.4km long; the second part of what was gravel Sector 1 in the race’s first edition) shortly followed by Sector 4 – named “La Piana” – and one of the race’s classic gravel sectors (5.5km in length, and featured in the course ever since the first edition) with no significant gradient, leading to Buonconvento.

A few kilometres later, the second climb of the day begins: the Montalcino (4km at 5%). Following Torrenieri the riders face Sectors 5 (11.9km) and 6 (8km) with only 1km of tarmac in between. Both are hard, hilly and very punchy, with many challenging bends, climbs and descents. After the second passage through Buonconvento, the riders will reach the feed station, positioned in the area of Ponte d’Arbia. Soon the route reaches Monteroni d’Arbia, which marks the beginning of Sector 7 of San Martino in Grania (9.5km) in the middle of the Crete Senesi. It’s a long sector with continuous ups and downs in the first part, ending up with a twisting climb before meeting the tarmac again.

In Ponte del Garbo (Asciano) gravel Sector 8 begins. At 11.5km it’s the hardest of the race, mostly uphill and characterised by tough hills, the most important being those close to Monte Sante Marie, with steep gradients on both climbs and descents over short distances. After Castelnuovo Berardenga there’s a very short, flat section of gravel (300m) before facing, after Monteaperti, Sector 9 – it’s only 800m long, but greets the riders with a double-digit gradient ramp before they rejoin the tarmac in Vico d’Arbia and then a paved road through Pieve a Bozzone.

Next comes the penultimate section of gravel (Sector 10, 2.4km) on the climb toward Colle Pinzuto, with gradients of up to 15%. After a few kilometres, the riders then face the last gravel section (Sector 11, 1.1km) which features a sequence of demanding descents followed by a very punchy climb (with a maximum gradient of 18%) that ends at the Tolfe. From there, only 12km separate the riders from the finish in Piazza del Campo, Siena.

Final Kilometres
The demanding final kilometres, with gradients up to 16%, approach the city of Siena along broad, straight sections of road, connected by sweeping curves, first descents and slight climbs. At 2km from the finish line, the route joins Via Esterna di Fontebranda; here the gradient touches 9%.

With 900m to go to the finish line, the race route passes beneath Fontebranda Gate where the road surface becomes paving slabs. The gradient then exceeds 10% until 500m from the finish, reaching its steepest gradient of 16% along Via Santa Caterina. A sharp right-hand turn leads to Via delle Terme, and then Via Banchi di Sotto. With 300m to go, the road continues to climb slightly then, 150m from the line, a right turn leads into Via Rinaldini. The route enters the Piazza del Campo just 70m from the finish line. The final 30m descends at a gradient of 7% to the finish line itself, which is flat.

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The Route of Strade Bianche Women Elite
A twisty and undulating course, with no long climbs but with punchy hills – most significantly on the unpaved parts. There are more than 31km of gravel roads across eight sectors (all shared with the Men’s course). Starting from the Stadium/Medicean Fortress area of Siena, the initial undulating kilometres take place on tarmac before reaching the 2.1km-long gravel Sector 1 at km 18, which is perfectly straight and slightly downhill.

After a few kilometres the riders then face Sector 2 (5.8km), the first real challenge with a short descent followed by a long climb with sections of over 10% gradient. The course then goes through Radi, where gravel Sector 3 starts (4.4km), shortly followed by Sector 4 – named “La Piana” – and one of the race’s classic gravel sectors (5.5km in length, and featured in the course ever since the first edition) with no significant gradient, leading to Buonconvento.

After the passage through Buonconvento, the riders will reach the feed station, positioned in the Ponte d’Arbia area. Soon the route reaches Monteroni d’Arbia, which marks the beginning of Sector 5 of San Martino in Grania (9.5km) in the middle of the Crete Senesi. It’s a long sector with continuous ups and downs to start with, and ends with a twisting climb before meeting the tarmac again. After Castelnuovo Berardenga there’s a very short, flat section of gravel (300m) before riders face, after Monteaperti, Sector 6 – it’s only 800m long, but greets the riders with a double-digit gradient ramp before they rejoin the tarmac in Vico d’Arbia and then a paved road through Pieve a Bozzone.

Next comes the penultimate gravel section (Sector 7, 2.4km) on the climb toward Colle Pinzuto, with gradients of up to 15%. After a further few kilometres, the riders will face the last section of gravel (Sector 8, 1.1km) which features a sequence of demanding descents followed by a very punchy climb (with a maximum gradient of 18%) that ends at the Tolfe. From here only 12km separate the riders from the finish in Piazza del Campo, Siena. The final kilometres are the same as the men’s course.

Chantal Van Den Broek - Blaak

 

amstel
Amstel Gold 2022 Wildcards
The organisers of the Amstel Gold Race has handed out the wildcards for the coming edition. In the men’s race, in addition to Alpecin-Fenix ​​and Arkéa-Samsic, who are automatically entitled to start, five ProTeams have received an invitation. In addition to the fourteen WorldTeams, the women’s peloton will also have ten Continental teams.

B&B Hotels-KTM, Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè, Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB, Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise and TotalEnergies are the five ProTeams that will be at the start of the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday 10 April. In addition, all eighteen WorldTeams.

The only Dutch classic at the highest level will take its place again this year, after the cancellation in 2020 and the rescheduled edition of 2021. The public will be welcome and the route goes through the hills of South Limburg as usual. The start will again be in Maastricht and the finish will, as usual, be 2 kilometres after the Cauberg, between Vilt en Berg en Terblijt.

Wildcards Amstel Gold Race 2022 – Men:
Alpecin-Fenix
B&B Hotels-KTM
Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè
Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
Sport Flanders–Baloise
Arkéa-Samsic
TotalEnergies

Wildcards Amstel Gold Race 2022 – Women:
Andy Schleck-CP NVST–Immo Losch
Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire
Ceratizit-WNT
GT Krush Tunap
Le Col-Wahoo
NXTG by Experza
Parkhotel Valkenburg
Planet-Pura
COOP-Hitec Products
Valcar Travel & Service.

Close finish in 2021:
amstel

 

de panne
New Sponsors for Brugge-De Panne
The one-day races of Brugge-De Panne are again undergoing a name change this year. Where in 2021 the men’s and women’s races had Oxyclean as main sponsor, this year bike sponsor Minerva and garden furniture company Exterioo have joined as name sponsors. Organiser Golazo reports.

The WorldTour race for men will officially be called the Minerva Classic Brugge-De Panne. This will be held on Wednesday 23 March. A day later, the women’s race is scheduled. The Women’s WorldTour race will be known as the Exterioo Women’s Classic Brugge-De Panne.

Minerva and Exterioo Tuinmeubelen are not very unknown in cycling. Cycling brand Minerva has been sponsoring a new Belgian continental team this year and Exterioo is also title sponsor of the competition series that in recent years was called the Bingoal Cycling Cup.

“By linking our name to this traditional race, Minerva Cycling, as a major player in the sale of electric bicycles, wants to profile itself even more strongly in cycling. We thought it appropriate as the next step to extend our many years of collaboration with Brugge-De Panne and become a title partner,” says CEO Filip Carpentier.

Thomas Vaarten, Exterioo’s marketing manager, is also happy. “In addition to our existing Exterioo Cycling Cup, through this title partnership we want to give extra support to women’s road cycling and put it in the spotlight. Major steps have been taken in women’s cycling in recent years in terms of race dynamics, professionalism and popularity among cycling fans.”

Sam Bennett in 2021:
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tdf
Cycling Fever Takes Over Grand Est
Practical, inexpensive, clean and environmentally friendly, cycling helps to reclaim the public space and enhances the living environment of inhabitants. The Grand Est Region aspires to become the first cycling-friendly region in France and offer its citizens a safe means of transport in line with their expectations.

To flesh out this ambition, the Region held an event wholly dedicated to cycling on Tuesday 15 February 2022, inviting local authorities, urban planning agencies, institutional partners, non-profit organisations, sports clubs and economic and educational actors to help to put together a 360-degree cycling-friendly strategy!

A Participatory Seminar to Become the First Cycling-Friendly Region in France
Mobility, the economy, education, tourism, health, sport, territorial cohesion and high schools: the strategy aims to be a real 360-degree plan devised together with the movers and shakers of the field.

More than 230 people attended the seminar in person at the seat of the Region in Strasbourg or via video conference. They broke new ground, exchanged impressions and shared information —including in thematic working groups— on the current state of cycling, looming challenges and future objectives. The President of the Grand Est Region, Jean Rottner, presented the ambition of the Region and charted out the first areas of interest for the development of a regional cycling strategy. Next to him was Tour de France Director and guest speaker Christian Prudhomme, who set out his view of the challenges faced by cycling, such as bridging the gap between competitive cycling and cycling in everyday life. The first step in this direction is the formalisation of the partnership between the Region and the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.

A Unique Partnership with the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift
The Region and the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift have struck a partnership for the inaugural edition of the race, scheduled for 24 to 31 July 2022. Six of the eight stages on the programme will take place in Grand Est. The event will also showcase the Region’s aspiration to promote cycling across its territory.

Jean Rottner, Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift Director Marion Rousse and Christian Prudhomme unveiled the partnership on Tuesday 15 February 2022.

The Grand Est Region, an official partner of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, will sponsor the combativity award to promote gender equality and put the spotlight on the measures taken to tackle violence against women.

“Heading into the new edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, the Grand Est Region is proud to be the official partner of the combativity award, handed to the most aggressive rider in each stage. Teaming up with an international event of this scale reflects the Region’s wish to support women’s sports and all their values, as well as to exhibit all the great things that our land has to offer. I urge the people of Grand Est to join in this celebration of cycling, support these great athletes from the roadsides and in the host towns and cities, and discover every day the measures taken by Grand Est to make gender equality a reality”, said Jean Rottner.

“There are two things in particular about our partnership with the Grand Est Region that please me. One is that it celebrates brave riders who push their limits and make this sport what it is through the combativity award; the other is that it gives us the opportunity to work together to spread the message that cycling should be developed as a part of everyday life, everywhere and for everyone”, stated Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift Director Marion Rousse.

The eight stages of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift:

Sunday 24 July
Stage 1: Paris Eiffel Tower > Paris Champs-Élysées, 82 km

Monday 25 July
Stage 2: Meaux > Provins, 135 km

Tuesday 26 July
Stage 3: Reims > Épernay, 133 km

Wednesday 27 July
Stage 4: Troyes > Bar-Sur-Aube, 126 km

Thursday 28 July
Stage 5: Bar-le-Duc > Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, 175 km

Friday 29 July
Stage 6: Saint-Dié-des-Vosges > Rosheim, 128 km

Saturday 30 July
Stage 7: Sélestat > Le Markstein, 127 km

Sunday 31 July
Stage 8: Lure > Super Planche des Belles Filles, 123 km

Competitive cycling in Grand Est:
– 5,260 licence holders in 165 clubs;
– 11 top-flight cyclists backed by the Grand Est Region, including Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (road cycling, cyclo-cross and mountain biking —world champion in 2019 and 2020 and tenth in the Tokyo Olympics) and Maxime Marotte (fourth in the 2016 Rio Olympics cyclo-cross race and current French champion); and
– over €500,000 in regional funds for cycling every year

More information on the official website.

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Peter Sagan Debuts in Tour du Haut-Var for TotalEnergies
Peter Sagan will have his first race kilometres for TotalEnergies this week. The Slovak, who left BORA-hansgrohe this winter after five years, is part of the team that will appear at the start of the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var on Friday.

Sagan was initially going to start his season in the Vuelta a San Juan, but the Argentine race was canceled due to covid. Then, just like last year, Sagan had a covid infection, so that he was only able to go to a training camp with his new team in January. “I really couldn’t do anything for seven days. It didn’t last as long as the last time I had it, but it was tough.”

Meanwhile, the 2015, 2016 and 2017 World champion is race fit and can make his debut for TotalEnergies. Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne are scheduled for later this month. In addition to Sagan, French riders Mathieu Burgaudeau, Valentin Ferron, Julien Simon, Anthony Turgis and Alexis Vuillermoz, and Italian Daniel Oss are also part of the team.

TotalEnergies for Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var (18-20 February):
Mathieu Burgaudeau (Fra)
Valentin Ferron (Fra)
Daniel Oss (Ita)
Peter Sagan (Slov)
Julien Simon (Fra)
Anthony Turgis (Fra)
Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra).

Sagan starts the 2022 season this week:
sagan

 

quick-step-alpha
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to the UAE Tour
Mark Cavendish will be in action for the Wolfpack at the first WorldTour event of the season.

Two summit finishes, a short and fast individual time trial and four flat stages that the sprinters will love make up the course of the fourth UAE Tour, which kicks off in just a couple of days, in Abu Dhabi. The only World Tour race organised in the Middle East will have a total of 1081 kilometres across its seven stages and an elevation gain of 3500 meters.

On four of these days, the sprinters are expected to be the main protagonists, although the crosswinds could change their plans and wreak havoc in the peloton, just like they did at the past editions. A short 9km individual time trial in Ajman shouldn’t have a big impact on the general classification, which will be shaped by the two big climbs of the UAE Tour: Jebel Jais and Jebel Hafeet, the latter featuring on the final stage of the event.

Having won a stage at the Tour of Oman, Mark Cavendish will continue his stint in the Middle East and link up with Olympic Madison Champion Michael Mørkøv, who is set to race the UAE Tour for the fourth consecutive year. The two will be accompanied by Oman runner-up Fausto Masnada, Josef Cerny, Stijn Steels, Stan Van Tricht and Ethan Vernon, who will make his pro debut in a couple of days’ time.

“Mark proved he is in good shape in Oman and we have confidence in him going into the first World Tour event of the season. He will rely on a strong train, with Michael as the last man ready to launch him on the four flat stages. For the overall standings, we’ll look to Fausto, of course; he will have two summit finishes to show again what he is capable of and go for a solid result in the GC. We are also happy to see Ethan in action with the Wolfpack for the first time, and can’t wait to get things started in this race where we always did good”, said Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Geert Van Bondt.

20.02–26.02 UAE Tour (UAE) 2.UWT
Riders:

Mark Cavendish (GBR)
Josef Cerny (CZE)
Fausto Masnada (ITA)
Michael Mørkøv (DEN)
Stijn Steels (BEL)
Stan Van Tricht (BEL)
Ethan Vernon (GBR).
Sports Director: Klaas Lodewyck (BEL) & Geert Van Bondt (BEL).

cavendish

 

dsm
UAE Tour FEB 20-26
Matt Winston – Team DSM coach: “We’re looking forward to tackling our first WorldTour level race of the year at the UAE Tour. The seven stages offer a variety of terrain for us to contend with, including several sprint opportunities, a time trial and two mountain top finishes on stage four and seven; although like a lot of races in the region, the wind can also be a factor in the more exposed areas. We go with a team prepared for the lead outs in the sprints and we also have some really solid options for the two stages with a mountain top finish, where we will chase day results and take each stage as it comes.”

Line-up:
Thymen Arensman (NED)
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Romain Bardet (FRA)
Cees Bol (NED)
Alberto Dainese (ITA)
Andreas Leknessund (NOR)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED).

Nikias Arndt:
giro

 

ag2r cirtoen
Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var (February 18-20)
Damien Touzé: “The Tour de la Provence was my first race of the season. I am satisfied; I had good legs (11th overall). The form is there ahead of my future goals: the classics and Paris-Nice which is one of the big races of the year. The Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var will allow me to fine tune my condition. It’s going to be a tough race. Clément Champoussin will be our real asset since he is very strong on the steep climbs. Clément will also be racing at home and therefore very motivated. I will help him to achieve the best position in the general classification possible.”

Ben O’Connor finished 5th in the general classification of the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var in 2021. Clément Champoussin took 11th place.

ag2r

 

ineos
Egan Bernal On an Exercise Bike
Egan Bernal’s recovery is making big strides. The Colombian of the INEOS Grenadiers team showed on social media that he has been able make his first ride, on a recumbent exercise bike.

“Never let anyone tell you you can’t do something,” Bernal captioned his video. “At least I’m going to have a good time with my friends.” You can see how Bernal makes some peddling movements on the recumbent bike with his dogs.

Less than a month ago, the climber almost suffered a spinal cord injury during time trial training. Bernal collided with a stationary bus at full speed and was in hospital for two weeks, several days of which were in intensive care. On February 6, he was released from hospital, six days ago he could walk wearing a brace.

 

lotto
Caleb Ewan to start in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne
Caleb Ewan adds the classic Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne to his race program. The Australian sprinter of Lotto Soudal will also be at the starting line of the French stage race Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, a week before.

“With Caleb Ewan in the team, we have multiple scenarios for the final in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne”, says general manager John Lelangue. “If it comes down to a sprint, we will have one of the favourites with him. At the same time, we have other riders who can attack on the cobbles or hills.”

Originally, Caleb Ewan had planned to ride the UAE Tour, but due to a small illness, he has to drop that race. “I am feeling very well right now, but it is better not to return immediately with a seven day stage race”, adds Caleb Ewan. After Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne he will start at Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-Sanremo.

No UAE Tour for Ewan:
saudi22

 

quick-step-alpha
Remco Evenepoel Returns to Algarve
Two years from his spectacular triumph in the general classification, the Belgian is back at the start of the Portuguese race.

But before pinning on a number, Remco talked about his 2020 win, the expectations he carries into this edition, and training on Alto da Foia – the highest point in southern Portugal – where since September last year a statue inspired by his victory pose can be found.

 


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