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Racing hits Wallonie – Race reports and video, but no fans for Amstel – TOP STORY. Plus the Giro dell’Emilia and the Tour du Limousin. Remco Evenepoel expected to make a quick and full recovery, but Roger De Vlaeminck criticises his steering ability. Tour de France team announcements from INEOS-Grenadier, Movistar, Mitchelton-Scott and NTT. Contract news from Simon Yates, AG2R-La Mondiale, Circus-Wanty Gobert, Sunweb, Bob Jungels, Deceuninck – Quick-Step and SD Worx. Injury news from Fabio Jakobsen and Sacha Modolo. We finish with Lombardia video from UAE Team Emirates. Big EUROTRASH coffee Thursday!

top story
TOP STORY: Amstel Gold Race is preparing for no audience
The organisers of the Amstel Gold Race have decided to move the group ride/Gran Fondo version to next year. The men’s and women’s pro edition of 2020 will take place, but without an audience. There is also no VIP village at the finish. The organisation calls for people not to travel to Limburg and watch TV at home.

“15,000 participants at the start of our ride version in October, that is not realistic,” was announced on the Amstel Gold Race website. “Moreover, we want to focus on the safe passage of the pro editions: the Amstel Gold Race and the Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition.” And that will be an edition without fans.

“Normally, many participants of the Tour version stay in South Limburg to also experience the professional version. That will not be the case this year. Together with government agencies, we are working on measures to also keep the start and finish location and the climbs public-free. We are also in consultation with NOS to portray the Amstel Gold Race longer and more beautifully, so that the cycling enthusiast who stays at home does not have to miss out on the race,” says race director Leo van Vliet.

“During this period, we are conducting positive discussions with governments and safety authorities. The will to run the Amstel Gold Race is present at all parties. We will continue to follow all developments closely and learn from the international cycling races that are currently being held in Europe.”

The registered participants for the Gran Fondo version Amstel Gold Race will receive a message from the organisation. Participants have the choice to postpone their entry ticket to 2021 or to get the registration fee refunded. The group ride version of the Amstel Gold Race 2021 is scheduled for Saturday, April 17.

Amstel Gold Race 2019:

wallonie
VOO-Tour de Wallonie 2020
Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) won Stage 2 of the Tour of Wallonia on Monday. The French sprinter was the strongest after 172 kilometres in the mass sprint in Wavre. He beat GC leader Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), but the Australian retains the leader’s jersey.

Early in the stage a leading group of six men broke away. Ludwig De Winter (Circus-Wanty Gobert), Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Tim Wirtgen (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles), James Fouché (Hagens Berman Axeon), Gianni Marchand (Tarteletto-Isorex) and Toon Aerts (Telenet-Baloise). They managed a 5 minute lead.

During the stage Greg Van Avermaet crashed, the CCC leader was able to rejoin the peloton, but needed a new bike. The sprinter teams; Lotto Soudal, Groupama-FDJ and Deceuninck – Quick-Step set the pace. A bike change from Ewan, 35 kilometres from the finish, made Lotto Soudal ease off for a while.

With 30 kilometres to go, there was a crash on a roundabout. Fortunately all the riders were able to continue. The local circuit around Wavre had a few pieces false flat, which turned out to be too hard for Mark Cavendish and he was dropped. Another sprinter, Giacomo Nizzolo, crashed 15 kilometres from the finish and had a hard job to return.

At 11 kilometres, there was an intermediate sprint on a small hill in Overijse. Philippe Gilbert put in a big attack and after the summit he only had Zdenek Stybar, defending champion Loic Vliegen and Amaury Capiot on his wheel. CCC and Alpecin-Fenix ​​started to chase at 15 seconds behind the four in the lead.

Six kilometres before the finish, the four were still away. Sam Bennett, the Irishman from Deceuninck-Quick-Step, was dropped on the hill when Gilbert attacked. In the technical final around Wavre, Deceuninck – Quick-Step and CCC were trying to take the lead, but Lotto Soudal took control for Caleb Ewan.

The Australian jumped first, but that turned out to be too early. Arnaud Démare waited a long time and passed Ewan in the last metres. Third place went Daniel McLay, his team leader. Nacer Bouhanni finish fourth and Florian Sénéchal finished fifth.

wallonie20 st2 demare

Stage winner and 3rd overall, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ): “First and foremost thanks to the team. It sounds cliché, but they did a great job. Very well dosed, uses as little energy as possible by staying well ahead of the heavy rainfall. Also on the narrow roads and in the difficult local round by the way. That way I was able to save a lot of energy along the way. I felt very explosive, yes. But more importantly – unlike yesterday – I now had the perfect timing. Yesterday I was forced by sprinting myself at three hundred meters from the finish line. I couldn’t keep that up. Today I waited longer and that gave me the advantage that I could hold off the competition. It’s not going to be easy with all those Ardennes slopes on the way, but I think it might just be possible. Wednesday will be too tough anyway. I already know that.”

2nd on the stage and overall leader, Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal): “I didn’t do well at all. I started too early, but we got through that well, and the teammates’ lead-out was also more than okay. Better than even yesterday. I did win, but the lead-out was a bit messy. Today there was nothing to criticise. Those are good signals towards the Tour, but in the last hundreds of meters I wasted it myself. When I started my sprint, I immediately noticed that I had started too early. So I stopped for a moment, but that way Arnaud (Démare) Could make the jump and I was no longer able to offer a defence. Now, he’s also pretty strong right now. I had already noticed that in Milan-Turin, where he also beat me.”

Loïc Vliegen (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “It was a nervous day because of the wind and the course. The team worked well and we stayed in front as much as possible. Also on the final course I positioned well, so when Philippe Gilbert attacked on the cobbles, I was able to react. Unfortunately the 10 final kilometres were not in favour of a breakaway. Anyway, I feel well before the next stage, which will be important for the general classification.”

VOO-Tour de Wallonie Stage 2 Result:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 3:57:59
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
3. Daniel McLay (GB) Arkea-Samsic
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
5. Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
6. Rory Sutherland (Aus) Israel Start-Up Nation
7. Arvid De Kleijn (Ned) Riwal Readynez
8. Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Total Direct Energie
9. Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles
10. Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

VOO-Tour de Wallonie Overall After Stage 2:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal in 8:15:03
2. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:02
3. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:06
4. Jens Reynders (Bel) Hagens Berman Axeon at 0:09
5. Daniel McLay (GB) Arkéa Samsic at 0:12
6. Tom Wirtgen (Lux) Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles at 0:14
7. James Fouché (NZ) Hagens Berman Axeon at 0:15
8. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:16
9. Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Riwal Readynez
10. Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles.

Wallonie’20 stage 2:

Sam Bennett sprinted to Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s 24th win of the year on Tuesday afternoon, after an exciting day of racing on Stage 3 of the Tour de Wallonie. It was Bennett’s fourth victory of the season, one he dedicated to his teammates Remco Evenepoel, Fabio Jakobsen and Yves Lampaert, all injured in the past two weeks.

The penultimate stage followed the traditional pattern, with a couple of riders attacking early and establishing a four-minute maximum lead before being reeled in with 40 kilometres to go. The crucial point of the race turned out to be, unsurprisingly, Côte de Cheratte (750 meters, 12.5%) and it was here that Florian Sénéchal launched an attack that stretch out the field and triggered a powerful surge of Zdenek Stybar. The cobbled Classics specialist leaped away, taking with whom just three riders, together with whom he opened a promising 20-second margin inside the last eight kilometres.

A furious chase ensued, but the four looked capable of holding off the remnants of the bunch, only to be hauled back just 500 meters from the finish. That was the cue for Sénéchal to set a searing pace at the front of the group that created a split which left just four men in contention. One of them was Sam Bennett, and the 29-year-old Irishman launched a devastating sprint to take a convincing win over Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) and John Degenkolb (Lotto Soudal) in Visé.

wallonia bennett

Stage winner, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “This one is for those guys! Hopefully they have a good recovery and will join the Wolfpack, where they are missed, as soon as possible. It’s good to have some luck again and we hope it will be again on our side after today. I worked really hard the last month and yesterday didn’t reflect that, so I was a bit disappointed. I didn’t expect a big turnaround today, but I just rode and kept fighting over that climb. The team was fantastic, rode incredibly well and I’m so proud of them. The final was harder than yesterday, but I made it and had strong legs in the sprint. I’m happy with this win, one that I really needed with ten days to go until the Tour de France.”

2nd on the stage and overall leader, Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ): “My first goal was to win in Visé but Bennett surprised me after a bad day on Monday. I put on the yellow jersey but I think it will be difficult to keep it in the last very tough stage. I will compete in the French championship on Sunday at Grand-Champ in Brittany. I know that winning in the week before France has always been successful for me, as in 2014 and 2017: I was titled after my successes at Hal-Ingooigem.”

9th overall, Loïc Vliegen Circus-Wanty Gobert): “This stage was marked with a red cross on my calendar. I was very motivated for this stage with finish very close to home. The team supported me very well. I didn’t achieve the result I hoped for, but I was again at the front. I’m very happy with my current shape, so I hope it will bear fruit soon. Tomorrow is the next opportunity already!”

VOO-Tour de Wallonie Stage 3 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:42:25
2. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
3. John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal
4. Matteo Trentin (Ita) CCC at 0:01
5. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Marco Haller (Aut) Bahrain-McLaren
8. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix
9. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles
10. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale.

VOO-Tour de Wallonie Overall After Stage 3:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 12:57:28
2. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:16
3. James Fouche (NZ) Hagens Berman Axeon
4. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:17
5. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC
7. Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation
8. Lawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Loïc Vliegen (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
10. Nick Van der Lijke (Ned) Riwal Readynez.

Wallonie’20 stage 3:

Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) secured the overall victory in the Tour de Wallonie on Wednesday. His team pulled back all the dangerous moves before the finish in Érezée. In the final sprint on the final stage, the French fast-man showed Philippe Gilbert who was the boss in the sprint.

Scott Thwaites came through with a small lead on the Côte de Ninane after 20.6 kilometres, but after the first climb the peloton was complete again. At the first intermediate sprint Greg Van Avermaet, Jhonatan Narváez and Amaury Capiot took three, two and one seconds.

In the second intermediate sprint, Jannik Steimle, Matteo Trentin and Florian Sénéchal took seconds back on the yellow jersey Démare. A leading group of seven riders then formed the break of the day: Jens Reynders, Scott Thwaites, Zdeněk Štybar, Andreas Kron, Stan Dewulf, Tom Paquot and Lionel Taminiaux. The escape was allowed to take three minutes on the peloton, with CCC in control.

AG2R-La Mondiale and Ineos also started to work and the lead started to come down. At 63 kilometres from the finish, Taminiaux was the first to disappear from the front and with a minute’s lead the remaining six leaders entered the local circuit around Érezée. After the first ascent of the Côte de Beffe, Štybar, Dewulf and Kron were left off the front.

Behind them Michał Gołaś and Dylan Sunderland gave chase and at 23 kilometres from the finish they joined the front riders. The peloton was at less than a minute. Due to Démare’s Groupama-FDJ team and CCC, the lead shrank and the attackers were caught 10 kilometres from the finish. Then there was only the last climb of the Côte de Beffe to go, 1.5 kilometres at 8.5%.

When Démare ran into problems on the climb, Narváez saw his chance and went solo for the final victory. The Ecuadorian took a 20 seconds lead, which in combination with the bonus seconds at the finish would be enough for the overall victory. But Démare had the help of his team and they brought Narváez back. In the final sprint the French sprinter battled it out with Philippe Gilbert for the win

wallonie

Stage and overall winner, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ): “It was a tough initial phase. I thought it would be a very difficult day, but then it calmed down a bit. Just like yesterday, I had three teammates with me in a group of 30 to 40 riders. It was amazing. I could really count on them. They chased very hard to get the leader in the final phase. I know I can afford anything with these legs and the strong team around me. After we won the second stage, we didn’t slow down. We had an advantage with the time bonuses. The course was also in my favour the last two days with a few kilometres after the climbs, in which I could return.”

2nd on the stage, Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal): Gave it another chance in the last stage of Tour de Wallonie, but Arnaud Demare was just too strong in the sprint. Second place it is. Now focus on the start of Le Tour.

3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Greg Van Avermaet (CCC): “I think it was a good stage and the team rode really well. I had great support all day and I hoped to finish it off but, in the end, it didn’t work out. I was a bit unlucky that I had to have a bike change and I spent some energy coming back from that and maybe I missed something in the sprint because of it. However, I did what I could and I think that was the most important. I gave everything and even though I didn’t win, which was the goal, we ended up second on the GC and third on the stage so it is something positive. I am quite happy with this and with the work the team did, we worked well together. I think it was a good choice to race here instead of the Dauphiné for example because I think that was too hard for me before the Tour. Now I have some time to freshen up the legs again before the European Championships and the Tour de France, which will be super hard. Plus there is still a big season after that with some important Classics that I want to be good so it was important to manage the lead up well and I am really happy with the form I have now”

Loïc Vliegen (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “This week I’ve shown that I was within the best riders of the peloton, but unfortunately I’m not bringing home a result. It is a pity after the hard work of the team. I’m not only disappointed for myself, but also for my teammates. The top 5 was within reach, even though this Tour of Wallonia wasn’t hard enough. The two hardest stages finished in a sprint, it was difficult to distance the peloton. It is a pity, because I had the legs to make a difference. But two more nice years with Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans are awaiting me!”

VOO-Tour de Wallonie Stage 4 Result:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 4:51:33
2. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC
4. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
8. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Romain Hardy (Fra) Arkea-Samsic at 0:04
10. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept.

VOO-Tour de Wallonie Final Overall Result:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 17:48:51
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC at 0:20
3. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:25
4. Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:26
5. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:27
6. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Jhonatan Manuel Narvaez Prado (Ecu) Ineos at 0:30
9. Romain Hardy (Fra) Arkea-Samsic at 0:31
10. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:32.

Wallonie’20 stage 4:

emilia
Giro dell’Emilia 2020
Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) won the 103rd Giro dell’Emilia. The promising Russian managed to catch João Almeida on the decisive climb of the San Luca. The Portuguese rider eventually had to settle for second place, Diego Ulissi finished third.

The break of the day consisted of Andrea Garosio, Dario Puccioni, Óscar Adalberto Quiroz, Manuel Senni, Philipp Walsleben, Danilo Wyss, Felix Dopchie and Giovanni Visconti. Visconti won the Giro dell’Emilia three years ago, but now went on the attack early with seven others. At one point, the peloton was seven minutes behind.

At the front, Garosio and Visconti turned out to have the best legs and the two riders from Vini Zabù-KTM tried to set up an attack, but Walsleben managed to reconnect at 25 kilometres. In the peloton, Astana was chasing hard for Fuglsang and Vlasov, but on the second passage of the San Luca the race split completely.

Ciccone, João Almeida, Eddie Dunbar and Harold Tejada went in pursuit of the three away, who still had a lead of 1:30. In the super-fast descent of the San Luca, they regrouped behind the two front runners, with favourites Fuglsang, Vlasov and Ulissi. This was the start of a spectacular final. Several riders tried to break away from the favourites group and close the gap on Visconti and Garosio. The two Italians managed to hold their own for a very long time, but the finish was just a bit too far for the riders of Vini Zabù-KTM.

João Almeida attacked before the last passage of the San Luca from the group with Fuglsang and Ulissi and the climber quickly managed to take half a minute. The leaders of Astana could count on Tejada for a long time, but 10 kilometres from the finish it was finally over for Tejada and Fuglsang and Vlasov had to do it alone.

Almeida still had 30 seconds on the last passage of the San Luca. In the chasing group, Vlasov, who was third in the Tour of Lombardy last Saturday, turned out to be stronger than his leader Fuglsang and the Russian went after the Portuguese leader. Bagioli tried to follow Vlasov, but the Italian soon had to choose his own pace in the hope of a podium place. Vlasov managed to catch up with Almeida and leave him behind for his second victory after the corona break, after the victory in the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge.

emilia vlasav

Giro dell’Emilia winner, Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana): “I am so happy about my win! First of all thanks to my team and also to our sponsor Samruk-Kazyna. I felt good today and the course suited me, so at the final part up to San Luca I gave it a try and as I had a small gap I just went on. Saturday was already amazing and now going home with a win here in Italy feels so good. I am absolutely happy.”

2nd, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I wanted to go all the way today, I wanted to win for all our teammates who had problems in the past weeks: Remco, Fabio, Iljo and Mattia, who went down today on the downhill. At the end of the day, second isn’t a bad result, especially as I was really close and this result against such a field gives me a lot of satisfaction and confidence ahead of the next races.”

3rd, Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates): “Today I gave my best, even though I found myself drifting and coming back to the group at times I tried to keep a consistent effort for the whole race, especially when it got hard. In the final I used all my remaining strength on the last climb, giving my best and earning a spot on the podium.”

Giro dell’Emilia Result:
1. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana in 4:59:41
2. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:09
3. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:18
4. Edward Dunbar (Irl) Ineos at 0:21
5. Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:24
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:29
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:46
8. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:32
9. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Vini Zabù-KTM at 2:41
10. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo.

Emilia’20:

team novo nordisk
Brand Takes Prix du KM19 Sprint Trophy on Tour du Limousin Opener
Tuesday’s opening stage of the Tour du Limousin-Nouvelle-Aquitaine saw Team Novo Nordisk’s Sam Brand star in the day’s main breakaway and take top honours through the Prix du KM19 Sprint. The strong opener to the four-day French race earned the Manxman a podium appearance to receive the Prix du KM19 Sprint Trophy.

“It was a tough stage mixed with a short season where there are not as many opportunities. I won the sprint of the day and made it to the podium, so I’m really happy about that and ready for Stage 2,” said Brand.

The 183.5-kilometre stage ran between Couzeix and Évaux-les-bains with three categorised climbs and a lengthy 6.3 percent ramp up to the finish in Évaux-les-bains.

It was a fast and nervous start with many attacks, but Brand eventually escaped with three other riders. After 15km of racing, the four-man breakaway was at 3:20 on the peloton. At KM19, Brand went for the Prix du KM19 Sprint Trophy.

The breakaway reached a maximum advantage of five minutes after two hours of racing, but the peloton caught it before the intermediate sprint point.

“The team’s plan was to be aggressive and look after Andrea [Peron] and Charles. I was in a good position at the start of the race and decided to go in the breakaway,” explained Brand. “I felt good and I wanted to go for a jersey, but the peloton started to attack earlier than expected; they wanted to get us back before the intermediate sprint and they did.”

The stage ended with Luca Wackermann (Vini Zabu-KTM) attacking on the hilltop finale and taking the win. Charles Planet was Team Novo Nordisk’s best-placed rider over the line just a few seconds behind.

The world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team takes on Stage 2 at the Tour du Limousin on Wednesday. The 173.9-km stage runs from Dordogne through the Departmental Base of Rouffiac and finishes at the Grand Étang de Saint-Estèphe.

About Team Novo Nordisk – Racing to Change Diabetes
Team Novo Nordisk is a global all-diabetes sports team of cyclists spearheaded by the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team. In 2012, Phil Southerland, co-founder and CEO of the team, and global healthcare company Novo Nordisk, came together to create Team Novo Nordisk, based on a shared vision to inspire, educate and empower people around the world affected by diabetes. For more information, go to www.teamnovonordisk.com.

Sam Brand:
brand TNN

uae
Gaviria Strikes Again at Tour du Limousin
17th win of the season for Emirati squad
On the day of his 26th birthday, Fernando Gaviria put in an emphatic display of strength to win stage 2 of the Tour du Limousin in France.

In a finish marked by narrow roads with punchy climbs, Gaviria saw himself with strong legs, jumping from the bunch and countering the many attacks on the run-in inside 12km to go.

With 25km still left to go, the gap to the breakaway hovered at around 2’30 but with some strong pulls on the front from team captain Marco Marcato and his other UAE teammates the gap was quickly reduced to the three escapees.

The key move came just a kilometre from the line, when Joel Suter (Bingoal- Wallonie Bruxelles) moved clear with Gaviria quickly jumping on his wheel. The Colombian unleashed his trademark sprint with 200m to go to win comfortably and claim the teams 17th victory of the season.
Joel Suter now leads the General Classification with Rui Costa in 9th place at 16’’.

Gaviria: “I’m very happy about today. It’s the best birthday present I could have asked for. Yesterday was just that little bit too hard for me on the second last climb but I looked at the course today and knew it would suit me better. It was a complicated finish. It was important to stay near the front on the narrow roads on the run-in to the line, even if it meant jumping off the front and following attacks , as I did. I’m happy the legs were there to be able to do it. At the moment I’m building up to the big goal which is the Giro d’Italia, but there are a lot of races I want to do well in before then.”

Tomorrow will be another chance for the sprinters on stage 3 from Ussac to Chamberet (177.9k).

limousin

deceuninck
Remco Evenepoel Spoke for the First Time Since his Crash
Remco Evenepoel has spoken for the first time since his crash in the Tour of Lombardy, in which he broke his pelvis and injured his lungs. The talented young leader of Deceuninck – Quick-Step says that he is already aiming at 2021 and that he wants to come back even stronger than he already was.

“I want to say that things are going very well for me at the moment. I had a good trip to a Belgian hospital. I want to thank all the people who have helped me over the last few days, from the crash to now. Unfortunately my season is finished. I am in no hurry and take all the time to return properly, physically and everything around it. I also want to thank my fans. You support me very much, but I cannot respond to all messages. Your support really touches me. That will certainly help me in a positive way,” the 20-year-old rider said. “The team and I are positive about it and we are already looking forward to next year. We are going to build it up slowly. We will do everything we can to become an even better rider and to become even stronger than I already was.”

Due to his injury, Evenepoel misses out on his Grand Tour debut in this year’s Giro d’Italia. He also hoped for a good result at the mountainous World championships in Switzerland, although they have been cancelled.

No surgery for Remco Evenepoel
Good news for Remco Evenepoel. The fractures in his pelvis can heal naturally. No surgery is required. “This gives him a big lead in his rehabilitation,” says specialist Lieven Maesschalck.

Additional research in the AZ Sint-Elisabeth hospital in Herentals did not reveal any new elements. This means that an operation is not necessary, reports Deceuninck – Quick-Step. “The fractures will be treated conservatively.” And that is very good news, according to Lieven Maesschalck.

“A biological cure is always the best,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws. “I am not aware of this specific case, but apparently it must be clean fractures that allow nature to do its job. They must not cut into muscle or tissue, no bolts or screws are used. This gives Remco a big lead in his rehabilitation.”

Not to be compared with what, for example, Wout van Aert experienced, who had to come back from zero after the main muscle in his right leg was literally torn off. “Remco’s body will also need time, but the impact is of a different nature.” Maesschalck also sees no reason to doubt a full comeback.

It is too early for a detailed schedule or rehabilitation schedule. Deceuninck – Quick-Step already indicated to give their ‘Golden Boy’ the necessary time. “Remco will probably be able to do some exercises after a few weeks, depending on his recovery,” predicts Maesschalck. “It is important that he does not put pressure on his pelvis. He can already train the neck, shoulders and lower legs.”

But patience, so. Evenepoel will remain in hospital for the next few days, where pain treatment is easier to treat. Once the pain has subsided sufficiently, he can go home to continue to recover in his own environment.

Remco Evenepoel back in Belgium:
evenepoel

deceuninck
Good Recovery Expected by Evenepoel
Remco Evenepoel has to rest for at least six weeks as a result of the pelvic fracture, which he suffered in Il Lombardia. Team doctor Yvan Vanmol assumes, in the best case, that the rider will be able to cycle again in two months.

According to the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team doctor, the pelvic fracture has not moved or has been moved very little, which implies a very good prognosis. “When he is in Belgium, we check with the orthopaedic surgeons what the further therapy will be. I think there is a good chance that it will be conservative and that no surgery will be involved,” Vanmol told VTM Nieuws.

Evenepoel will have to rest for a long time, to lie flat. “Then we talk about six weeks. At best, let’s assume he will be able to cycle again in two months. Then I suppose he is ready to experience our first training camp in December, in the same condition as most of the other riders at the time.”

His crash means the end of the season for Evenepoel, but Vanmol ensures that there is a good chance that the rider will return to his old level. “He will be the same again. He’s going to be better than the old one.”

Evenepoel – Back stronger:
evenepoel

belgium
Roger De Vlaeminck: “Evenepoel has to work on his steering skills”
Roger De Vlaeminck, himself two-time winner of the Tour of Lombardy, is annoyed by those who ask to remove the Muro di Sormano from Il Lombardia in the future. “The cause of Remco’s fall on the descent is a steering error, not the course.”

The Muro di Sormano was first included in the Giro di Lombardia in 1960. But two years later the 15 kilometre climb disappeared again. The Muro di Sormano was only reinstated in 2012 on the occasion of Felice Gimondi’s 70th birthday. Roger De Vlaeminck, who won Il Lombardia in ’74 and ’76, has never competed on the climb and the descent.

“But that’s not what it’s about,” De Vlaeminck told WielerFlits. “The fact is that you shouldn’t just take a descent out of a race because a number of falls have happened. As a rider you have to adapt to the course, right? Look, all due respect to Remco Evenepoel, but that boy only rode his first race in 2017. That was three years ago. So it is not abnormal that he is still insufficient at steering and that he makes a mistake.”

“But that’s not why you shouldn’t change the course. In a cyclocross you can also fall badly over the beams (wooden jumps). They don’t take them out either, hey. No, those who are unable to do that go slower or get off. Look, the death of Lambrechtje, that’s something else. That boy hit a concrete culvert on a straight road. That’s a completely different story.”

De Vlaeminck previously told the media and repeats his vision today. “Why don’t they let Remco do some cyclo-cross in the winter. In cyclocross he will certainly learn to steer better and that also benefits his explosiveness. I would not hesitate. But yes, not everyone believes me, hey…”

Roger De Vlaeminck – Star of cross and road:
Roger de Vlaeminck. foto Cor Vos©

ineos grenadier
INEOS Grenadiers set out Grand Tour plans for 2020
The INEOS Grenadiers have today outlined their plans for the rest of the season and confirmed the leaders for each of the Grand Tours.

Sir Dave Brailsford said: “I am very proud that we have several current, and I am sure future, Grand Tour champions in the team. Selecting the right leader in the right race with the right support team is critical and has meant we have had to analyse all the latest information to make sure we are in the best position possible to optimise our performances in the coming months.”

“Egan will once again target the yellow jersey in France and we are very excited to give last year’s Giro winner, Richard Carapaz, his debut in this year’s Tour also. Geraint will target the Giro and take on the opportunity to double up his Tour de France win with another Grand Tour title, with the aim of being the first Welshman to win it.”

“In turn, Chris Froome will target the Vuelta. Chris is a legend of our sport, a true champion who has demonstrated incredible grit and determination to come back from his crash last year. We want to support him to compete for another Grand Tour title and the Vuelta gives him that little bit more time to continue his progress to the top level.”

The INEOS Grenadiers have also today announced the team of eight riders who will race the Tour de France, which starts on Saturday 29th August in Nice.

The eight riders are:
Andrey Amador
Egan Bernal
Richard Carapaz
Jonathan Castroviejo
Michal Kwiatkowski
Luke Rowe
Pavel Sivakov
Dylan van Baarle

Sir Dave Brailsford added: “We have been analysing closely how we can win the Tour de France this year and we have a passionate team united by a common purpose, ready to get the job done.”


Sir Dave Brailsford outlines the Team’s Grand Tour plans for 2020

2020 INEOS Grenadiers Tour de France lineup:
Andrey Amador
– 33 – Costa Rica
With 15 Grand Tour appearances in his career, Amador brings experience and assurance as a mountain support rider. He has quickly slotted into the team during his first season and his determination will be key across the three weeks.

Egan Bernal – 23 – Colombia
After the life-changing experience of victory in the 2019 Tour de France, the Colombian returns to the race as team leader with the number one on his back. In his short WorldTour career Bernal has marked himself out as one of the best stage racers of his generation.

Richard Carapaz – 27 – Ecuador
The Ecuadorian will make his Tour de France debut in 2020, adding climbing prowess and race-winning know-how to the team. Carapaz won the Giro d’Italia last season and carries strong form into the race following a recent stage victory at the Tour of Poland.

Jonathan Castroviejo – 33 – Spain
An ever-present in our Tour lineup since joining the team in 2018, Castroviejo has played a key role in our recent success. A resourceful all-round rider, he arrives at the race in great form and his time trialling ability allows him to excel on both the flat and the climbs.

Michal Kwiatkowski – 30 – Poland
Kwiatkowski will line up in Nice for his 10th Grand Tour appearance. A former world champion, the Pole is capable of winning some of the sport’s biggest one-day races but has never compromised his preparation for the Tour, playing a vital team role time and again.

Luke Rowe – 30 – United Kingdom
Part of five consecutive Tour de France victories dating back to 2015, Rowe is a rider who knows how to get the job done. A respected road captain, he brings leadership and experience, as well as the ability to position and protect his team leader in tough situations.

Pavel Sivakov – 23 – Russia
Another rider making his Tour de France debut, Sivakov has developed impressively since turning pro in 2018 and has cemented his reputation amongst the sport’s elite young climbers. After a ninth-place finish at the Giro last season he is driven and ready to step up again.

Dylan van Baarle – 28 – Netherlands
Making his second Tour start for the team, Van Baarle has continued to demonstrate his progress in the mountains. The Dutchman is used to withstanding the punishment of the Classics and proved last season how successfully he can transition into an elite support rider.

grenadier

mitchelton
Mitchelton-SCOTT name team of stage hunters for Tour de France
Mitchelton-SCOTT has selected its strongest team of opportunists for the 2020 Tour de France, which starts next Saturday, 29 August in Nice.

The selection comes after the team identified stage wins as its primary objective for the first Grand Tour of the season following its successful four-stage haul in 2019.

Mitchelton-SCOTT at the Tour de France (29 August – 20 September):
Jack Bauer (NZL, 35, 5th appearance)
Sam Bewley (NZL, 33, 1st appearance)
Esteban Chaves (COL, 30, 2nd appearance)
Daryl Impey (RSA, 35, 8th appearance)
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN, 31, 3rd appearance)
Luka Mezgec (SLO, 32, 1st appearance)
Mikel Nieve (SPA, 36, 6th appearance)
Adam Yates (GBR, 28, 5th appearance)

2019 Tour de France stage winner Daryl Impey returns for his eighth appearance and is joined by Slovenian debutant Luka Mezgec as options for the opportunistic days.

Grand Tour stage winners Esteban Chaves (3 x Giro d’Italia, 2 x Vuelta a España) and Mikel Nieve (3 x Giro d’Italia, 1 x Vuelta a España) look for their first victories at the French three-week race, whilst Briton Adam Yates, winner of the best young rider jersey in 2016, provides a third winning option in the mountains as he approaches his first Grand Tour in several years without general classification ambitions.

Rounding out the eight-man squad in crucial support roles is Denmark’s Chris Juul-Jensen and New Zealand’s Jack Bauer and Sam Bewley, who will also make his Tour de France debut.

Matt White – Head Sport Director: “This year has not been a normal one by any stretch of the imagination but the team is focused and ready for the challenge. We are very happy with the mix of experience and talent we have available for this year’s race. This is a very complete group across all terrains. Last year was an incredible race for the team and we will continue in the same vein of targeting stage wins throughout. One thing for sure is we won’t be leaving France without giving our all and making our fans and sponsors proud of the way we take on the world.”

Daryl Impey: “A stage win for the team would definitely make it successful and I would love to be the one who does it, personally that would be great. Last year was hugely successful and will be difficult to repeat, but we will certainly be going all out to achieve that. Being a stage winner does bring a certain calmness for me. I was always hunting this and was sometimes over excited which ruined my chances. I can certainly think more clearly now without having to think ‘what if this is my only chance’. Having won at that level and from a break of many specialists on that day gives me confidence in the sense that I know I can do it.”

Esteban Chaves: “Going back to the Tour de France is really special. I am going back to respect it because my last and unique experience wasn’t that great, but I feel that this year is the right time to go back and try my best again. I want to be part of the race and to play an important role for the team. This will not be like last time when I just survived to the finish, I want to be at the front and be an important part of the race. I’m happy with my performances so far this year, the first two races gave me confidence and showed me that the work we did during lockdown worked well. After Poland, I have been at altitude in Andorra and we also took some days to look at stages eight and nine. The aim has been to maintain the form we had and to add some small things I was missing, but nothing crazy.”

mitchelton tour20

movistar
Movistar Team Gets Tour Roster Together in Alps
10-rider lineup stays in France after Dauphiné, looking to take all health precautions before travelling to Nice for ‘Grand Depart’.
After the end of the Critérium du Dauphiné last Sunday, the Movistar Team is gathering nearly its whole group for the 2020 Tour de France for a final preparation block in the Alps.

The Telefónica-backed squad will recon some stages of the upcoming ‘Grande Boucle’ before travelling to Nice in the days leading up to the ‘Grand Depart. The squad managed by Eusebio Unzué aims to take all precautions from a health standpoint, to reach the start of the Tour with all guarantees at their reach.

The Movistar Team has selected for this meeting, other than most of its staff, a group of 10 riders, a list that should contain, barring any last-minute changes, their eight-man squad for the TDF. Dario Cataldo, Imanol Erviti, Nelson Oliveira, Antonio Pedrero, Jürgen Roelandts, José Joaquín Rojas, Marc Soler, Alejandro Valverde and Carlos Verona are the members present in France.

movistar

ntt
NTT Pro Cycling name 2020 Tour de France team

ntt tour20

● Kreuziger and Boasson Hagen ride 10th Tours
● SA Champion Ryan Gibbons and Max Walscheid line up for the first time
● Pozzovivo completes remarkable comeback
● Nizzolo and Valgren aim for first wins, with Gogl to play key overall role

NTT Pro Cycling is delighted to confirm the eight riders that will represent us at the 2020 Tour de France, our team’s sixth appearance at the sport’s biggest race.

The Grand Depart is set for Nice, France on 29 August with our line-up featuring an exciting array of experience, coupled with youth.

Ryan Gibbons, the South Africa road race champion, will be one of two Tour de France debutants who are set to be on the start line for NTT Pro Cycling.

Gibbons (26), will sport his national colours in cycling’s biggest race and he will be looking to build on what’s been a strong 2020, including six-top 10 finishes to go with the national title he won in Mpumalanga in February. It’s a selection that he’s described as “truly special” and one in which he “hopes to do the jersey proud”.

His power will be a key asset to the group of fast men that make up the NTT Pro Cycling selection for the race, as also making his Tour debut is the big German sprinter Max Walscheid.

The 26-year-old secured wins early in the season at the Tour de Langkawi, and has crucially struck up an excellent partnership with fellow sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo.

The Italian rode his first Tour de France for our team in 2019, and is confident ahead of the 2020 depart. He’s yet to win a career Grand Tour stage but has been in excellent form this year, taking WorldTour wins at the Tour Down Under, Paris-Nice as well as finishing an excellent 5th at Milano-Sanremo in early August.

Tour de France veterans Edvald Boasson Hagen and Roman Kreuziger both appear at the race for a tenth time, with the Norwegian having ridden all of the previous editions for our team.

The 33-year-old triple stage-winner, in particular, will be hoping to go one better on the Champs Elysée, having finished six times in the top-5 on the iconic final sprint stage in Paris.

Meanwhile for the Czech Republic’s Kreuziger, who first rode the Tour in 2008, he has notched up four top-10 finishes overall in his nine previous appearances but has yet to claim a stage victory, a goal that he has set himself to add to his impressive palmarès.

28-year-old Dane Michael Valgren will start his sixth Tour de France in fairly familiar surroundings, with the race’s opening stages taking place on some of his home training roads in and around Monaco. Valgren made his debut at the event in 2015 under current team manager Bjarne Riis. The former Amstel Gold Race and Omloop Het Niuewsblad winner is keen to add a stage win at the Tour to his list of achievements.

Domenico Pozzovivo had two strong days at the recently completed Criterium du Dauphine before the heat and difficulty of the parcours took its toll but he showed very encouraging signs for the coming race. His selection comes, remarkably, just a year after his horror crash while training and saw him undergo multiple surgeries on his arm and leg. This will be the diminutive Italian’s third appearance at the race where previously he’s taken two top-10 stage positions, as well as finishing inside the top-20 overall in 2018.

Completing the selection is the 26-year-old Austrian Michael Gogl who will play a crucial leadership role across the race for our team. He’s takes to the start line for a first time for NTT Pro Cycling, having ridden the race twice before and comes into the race off an excellent top-10 finish at Strade Bianche.

The 2020 edition of the Tour de France is set to pose a unique set of challenges across the peloton in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and as such NTT Pro Cycling has explored innovative ways of engaging our partners in even deeper meaningful ways. Throughout the race, exclusive insights will be shared on what life is like “inside the bubble” as we offer our partners unprecedented access while proudly riding in support of the Qhubeka charity.

2020 marks the 10th year that our organisation has ridden in support of Qhubeka and seen us fund over 30 000 bicycles to people in disadvantaged communities. The power to create positive change through cycling is a cornerstone of our team’s purpose and once again we look forward to being ambassadors for the power that sport has to effect positive change, on the biggest stage of all.

Ryan Gibbons: “I’m absolutely overwhelmed and thrilled to be selected for the Tour de France. It’s the pinnacle of the sport, and for any pro rider it’s a dream of theirs to get that notch on their belt. For it to become a reality is truly special. I have taken part in the Giro and the Vuelta multiple times but the Tour will be very, very special especially being in the colours as the national champion. I hope to do the jersey proud, and play my part in what will hopefully be a very successful race for NTT Pro Cycling.”

Giacomo Nizzolo: “I’m happy to announce that I’ve been selected for the 2020 Tour de France for my team. It’s been a really good year so far, and I’m looking forward to being on the start line in Nice, and having some great results.”

Edvald Boasson Hagen: “It’s a huge honour to make the team again and to be able to go to the Tour. It is one of the biggest dreams for any cyclist so to be able to do it once again is a privilege – I can’t wait. I like the pressure (of being a stage winner) but I think that the team is aiming for stages, which includes me of course, so hopefully we can work together towards that which would be really great.”

Michael Valgren: “One word on being selected again – awesome. The Tour’s the biggest race of the season and that’s what we’re all aiming for and I’m lucky to be selected again for now my sixth Tour and hopefully this year I can take a stage win. Bjarne’s going to put some pressure on us, he’s a man that likes to make some crazy tactics once in a while and to go and take a risk and that’s what we need so it’s definitely going to be 21 interesting stages to see.”

Roman Kreuziger: “It’s the biggest race in the world and it’s always a great privilege to take part in it. Even now as we’re coming from a difficult Dauphine we will work hard, and as we recover will step up. I’m really looking forward to being back at the race as I’m convinced that we have a good team and I’ve never won a stage there so I hope that I can finally realise that dream there.”

Michael Gogl: “Of course I am super happy to be selected for this year’s Tour de France. It’s going to be my third Tour, and with a new team it’s going to be something special. I’m extremely motivated and looking forward to it and that’s how we are going to approach the race as well.”

Max Walscheid: “I’d been waiting for the last couple of weeks for this moment but I’m super happy to announce that NTT Pro Cycling selected me for the Tour de France. It will be my first ever Tour de France and I’m extremely happy and thrilled to line up in Nice. I hope to see you there, I’m really excited.”

Domenico Pozzovivo: “I am extremely excited to be selected. If I think that just a year ago I had such a terrible accident where I risked my life, I thought it would be impossible to start the Tour again, and to just simply be back racing is a great result for me. The goal for the race will be for me to be a protagonist on the mountain stages because there are a lot of chances/possibilities for climbers. After the Dauphine I think that my shape will be improving and I’m spending some time at altitude on Stelivo to be in the best possible shape at the Grand Depart in Nice.”

Bjarne Riis – Team Manager: “It’s very exciting (to select the team) but also a tough job, it’s tough to select and especially for those that miss out. But that’s what it is, and it’s a part of the job.

It’s obvious when you look at our roster that we’re going for stages, that’s going to be our main focus. And then our only guy can be Pozzovivo (in the GC), I know that Roman was 16th last year but we have to see as many things can happen ahead of the race. But from the start we won’t have a big focus on the GC but rather for stages, and all kinds of them as we have a team that can feature on the sprints, massif sprints, the middle stages and hopefully also some mountain stages.

Everything is up for grabs in this race. Dauphine was very, very hard and some will pay for that, and some will come out better. There is a huge fight between Jumbo-Visma and Ineos – absolutely – but it’s going to be interesting. Many riders went very deep here and will pay for that in the coming days but that’s for them to decide, what’s important is that we take care of our team, do the right things and race intelligently at the Tour because for a team like ours that’s important and somehow save a little bit for the last week because I believe that week will be very difficult – many will suffer and hopefully we can save something for that.

I’m excited to be back at the Tour again, it’s been a while, too long I would say but I’m excited to see if we can deliver some nice results for the team.”

Douglas Ryder – Team Principal: “This is our sixth Tour de France and in our previous five appearances we’ve won seven stages which is pretty incredible. This is also a very special Tour de France for us in that we’re representing Qhubeka as the official charity of our team and also the purpose that drives us and gets us going every single day. The fact that we can use our success to enable and give hope, independence and opportunity to people across South Africa and Africa through the Qhubeka charity is something that is really dear to us and to be supporting Qhubeka for the past 10 years and them supporting us has been pretty cool, and is something that we’re really proud of.

As always, as a team we focus on our own strengths and during the Tour de France we select our riders based on what we feel suits us in terms of the success that we can derive from it.

If you look at the 2020 Tour de France it’s 3470 km in 21 days – 9 flat stages and three hilly stages – so there will be 12 opportunities for a team like ours, with the riders that we’ve chosen. And a number in the first week: stage 1, 3, 5 and stage 7 are big opportunities for us and those are the stages that we will focus on in that first week.

Of course winning on stage one with a rider like Giacomo Nizzolo would give us the yellow jersey, so in support of him we have Max Walscheid, Ryan Gibbons, Michael Valgren and Edvald Boasson Hagen. Those are the riders that will go after the punchy stages and tough finishes particulary into Privas on stage five and there’s also a tough stage to La Vois that could be on stage 7.

And then to think that we’ve got Roman Kreuziger, Michael Gogl, Domenico Pozzovivo – those riders can focus on the hillier days and mountain stages – it is going to be a very tough Tour!

We feel that we’ve got a very balanced team, and focus on stage wins and try and raise as much awareness for our team and it’s the first time that we’re racing as NTT Pro Cycling having previously been Dimension Data so it’s an exciting time for us, to show our new colours at the Tour de France, and to show the depth and the quality that we have in this great team.”

mitchelton
Mitchelton-Scott Keeps Simon Yates Until the End of 2022
Simon Yates has agreed a contract extension with Mitchelton-Scott, which will bind him to the Australian squad for at least two more years. The 2018 Vuelta winner has recently been associated with Trek-Segafredo, but remains loyal to his current team.

Yates is currently in his seventh season with Mitchelton-Scott, an adventure that will continue with his new commitment. “I have grown and matured as a person and as a rider. We’ve had a lot of highs and lows along the way, but I look forward to continuing this story together and, as always, looking for more success.”

The British rider would like to continue their successes from previous years, in addition to the Vuelta victory, also stage successes in all three Gran Tours. “We won our first Grand Tour two years ago and I really believe we can do it again, so we’ll keep working hard to get that done.”

Team manager Gerry Ryan, who recently secured the squad’s future for two years, is happy that Yates will stay on board. “It’s a long-term relationship that we believe still has great potential for even greater success. We are convinced that we can achieve many more highlights together.”

Simon Yates:
simon yates

ag2r
Lilian Calmejane Signs for One Year
The French cyclist, Lilian Calmejane (Team Total Direct Énergie), 27 years old, has committed from the 1st January 2021 for one year with the AG2R-La-Mondiale Team, which will become on that date the AG2R-Citroën Team. Lilian Calmejane won a stage at each of his first two Grand Tours with a win at the Vuelta a España (2016) and then at the Tour de France (2017).

Lilian Calmejane: “I have a very strong history with Vendée U, then Jean-René Bernaudeau’s team, they allowed me to turn professional and I will not forget that. Still, after five years on the same team, I felt the need for a new challenge. Discovering new teammates, new equipment, new races, and winning my place in the squad too. I am really happy to start with AG2R-La Mondiale, I feel like I’m starting a new career. I know that I will find riders my age, but also younger guys who are very promising. I know the team enjoys a great dynamic and I am very much looking forward to this new challenge.”

In brief:
Born 6 December 1992, 27 years old
Professional since 2016
Twelve victories including A stage at the Vuelta a España (2016); a stage at the Tour de France (2017);

Vincent Lavenu: “Lilian has already shown all his potential by winning at the Vuelta but also at the Tour de France. He has a strong character and he is capable of winning at a high level. He will be starting a new challenge with our AG2R-Citroën team from January 1st. I know he will be able to show all his talent when racing in our colours.”

Lilian Calmejane – Vuelta’16 stage win:
San Andres de Teixido - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Lilian Calmejane (France / Team Direct Energie) pictured during stage 4 from Betanzos to San Andres de Teixido - Vuelta Espana 2016 - photo Sabine Jacob/Cor Vos © 2016

circus wanty
Loïc Vliegen Loyal to Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans until 2022
Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans can rely on the defending winner of the Tour de Wallonie for two more years. Loïc Vliegen, a rider in a very good shape, signed a contract for two more seasons. The 26 year old is one of the Ker elements of Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans.

Last year, Vliegen took his first pro victory in the colours of the Belgian team at the second stage and the general classification of the Tour de Wallonie. In both stage races and one day races, the resident of Riemst is able to impress. For instance, he finished in the top ten in the Amstel Gold Race (9th, 2016), the Baloise Belgium Tour (8th, 2019), the Dubai Tour (5th, 2018), the Tour of Wallonia (1st, 2019 / 8th, 2015 / 9th, 2017), Dwars door het Hageland (4th, 2019) and Le Samyn (4th, 2016).

This season, Vliegen started strong with places of honour at the Challenge Mallorca. At the competition restart in August, he finished 18th at the Strade Bianche. The 26 year old was offensive at Milan-San Remo with an attack on the Cipressa and at the Tour de Wallonie, in which he will defend his title in the final stage this Wednesday in Erezée.

Loïc Vliegen: “I’m happy to continue the adventure with Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans. After my time with BMC, during which I didn’t often have the opportunity to play my own cards, I was able to grow in this team. Ik want to keep improving myself in this leader role, hoping to achieve as much good results as possible for the team.”

“I feel really well since the restart of the competition, I’ve shown it again this week at the Tour de Wallonie. I’m confident that I will be rewarded with results soon. I want to keep this good form as long as possible, and shine in the classics like the Amstel Gold Race, the Brabantse Pijl, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Flanders. My focus will remain on those classics in the coming years.”

Jean-François Bourlart (General Manager): “Despite a complicated period for everyone due to the Covid-19 crisis, we continued working to ensure the financial and sportive future of our team Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans. Thanks to the restart of the competition, we were able to accelerate the negotiations and to start concretising our selection of riders for the next years, with a priority for the extension of our current squad, because we cannot only take into account the performances of 2020.”

“Loïc is a key element of our effective. He learned a lot during the beginning of his career in the World Tour, and reached a higher level with our colours. Loïc has found his place in the team, and showed with his victory at last year’s Tour de Wallonie, but also with his performances at the classics since the restart, that he took a new dimension. I’m convinced that he will continue his nice performances for Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans.”

Loïc Vliegen:
Loïc Vliegen

sunweb
Team Sunweb Promote Niklas Märkl to the WorldTour in 2021
A fine product of Team Sunweb’s Deutsche Talent-Tage, Märkl is currently in his third year with Development Team Sunweb and after a string of impressive performances, will be promoted to the WorldTour in 2021. After a year of learning in his opening season with the team Märkl started 2019 with a bang, picking up the prologue win at the Istrian Spring Trophy and sprinting home to victory at the Youngster Coast Challenge the following week later. A fast finisher who can get over some small climbs, Märkl began 2020 in promising form with a third place at the Trofej Umag and he hopes to continue that during the rest of the year now that racing has restarted. Looking ahead, Märkl is excited to make the step up to the Men’s program as the team’s eighth promoted rider, where he aims to continue his development and learn from those around him.

On being promoted to the Men’s program a delighted Niklas Märkl said: “It’s such a great feeling to be able to move up to the WorldTour with the Men’s program – it’s been a childhood dream to become a professional cyclist. I’ve had my time to grow as a rider with Development Team Sunweb, and I’ve learnt a lot through those experiences. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn from everyone around me and I think this is the best environment for me to develop even further. I’m really happy I’ve got the chance to continue with Team Sunweb. The sprints and spring classics are the type of races I like and I want to learn more about them, be a valuable member of the team to achieve good results together and in the future be able to compete in them myself.”

Team Sunweb head of coaching Rudi Kemna continued: “Niklas is a very talented rider who’s been part of our Development program for three years, after we first met at our Deutsche Talent Tage in 2016. As a punchy rider, his main qualities lie in sprints and classic types of races and that’s where we will aim to develop him over the coming years. As one of the more experienced riders in Development Team Sunweb, he’s also shown leadership qualities in his personality which is important for him making the step up to WorldTour. We believe that Niklas is someone that can really fit in well with the young group of sprinters that we have in our Men’s program, and that he can make the steps towards competing in the sprints and classics in the future.”

Niklas Märkl:
Niklas Märkl

ag2r
Bob Jungels Signs for Two Years
The Luxemburg cyclist, Bob Jungels (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), 27 years old, has committed beginning 1 January 2021 for two years with the AG2R-La Mondiale Team, which will become on that date the AG2R-Citroën Team. Bob Jungels, Luxembourg Road Race Champion since 2015, has twelve national titles in road racing and time trials.

Bob Jungels: “My first contact with Vincent Lavenu dates back to before the start of my professional career. I am happy to be able to join AG2R-Citroën Team on January 1st. I bought into the team’s project pretty quickly, especially everything that has been put into place for performance, but also for equipment. With riders like Oliver Naesen and Greg Van Avermaet, the team will be very ambitious in the classics, and it’s very motivating to be part of this group. And of course, we will still be looking at the stage races, since I know that this team has had a strong history in this area. I definitely want to achieve great things, initially in the one week races, but then also in the Grand Tours, even if I am already well versed in what it takes to perform over three weeks.”

In brief:
Born 22 September 1992, 27 years old
Professional since 2012
22 victories including Liège-Bastogne-Liège (2018); 12 times Champion of Luxembourg (road race and ITT); winner of a stage at the Giro d’Italia (2017).

Vincent Lavenu: “I’ve been following Bob’s career since he was an amateur. I had already tried to sign him in the past, and now I am happy that he will join the AG2R CITROËN TEAM from January 1st. He has shown the breadth of his abilities during the early years of his career, notably winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but also having won a cobbled event like Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. He will be one of the leaders of our team, in the classics, but also in stage races. Bob has already finished twice in the top ten of the Giro d’Italia (6th and 8th in 2016 and 2017), so we will assist him with our experience in this area and he will be supported by young climbers.”

In addition to Greg Van Avermaet (Paris-Roubaix 2017), the AG2R-Citroën Team will have another rider who has won a Monument in its squad. Bob Jungels impressively won Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2018.

“We would have liked to keep Bob and we’re a bit sad at the thought of his departure, but it is as it is, this is cycling. Bob was one of our best riders in the past couple of years, he brought many memorable results in Grand Tours but also in the Classics, where he netted our first Liège–Bastogne–Liège win after a dazzling long-range attack. He’s also one of the founding members of the original Wolfpack generation and he’ll forever have a special place here,” said Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere.

Bob Jungels:
jungels

sunweb
Team Sunweb Extend Contract with Nikias Arndt to 2022
Since turning professional with the team in 2013, Arndt has developed into one of the best road captains in the peloton while consistently building a collection of highlights and wins. Two of those personal highlights are victories at the highest level of the sport, with a stage win at Giro d’Italia in 2016 and another at the Vuelta a España in 2019. As a dedicated team captain, Arndt is always happy to work for others and enjoys his role as a lead out rider, having helped the team’s sprinters to several victories throughout the years. Arndt started the year strongly, with good performances at the Volta ao Algarve and Paris-Nice where he helped Cees Bol and Tiesj Benoot to stage wins respectively.

Nikias Arndt said: “Since joining the team in 2013 I’ve really found a home here. I like the team’s way of working and I think we fit really well together as we share a similar mindset. I’ve enjoyed moving into the role of road captain and sharing my experience with our younger riders but I also still learn something new from them every day. I think with Team Sunweb I can still develop as a rider in the coming years and I’m looking forward to continuing to work together and achieving some nice results as a team.”

Team Sunweb head of coaching Rudi Kemna added: “Nikias has been a member of the team for a long time. He knows how we work very well and likewise we know how he works too – we both compliment each other. Nikias excels in his role as road captain and with his years of experience he’s someone that we can rely on to pass on his knowledge to help develop the younger riders that we have coming through our ranks. With his qualities as a rider, being someone that can compete after a hard day in the saddle, Nikias also gives us a good option for the more testing stages and races too, having picked up great results in the past such as his stage wins at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.”

Nikias Arndt:
arndt

deceuninck
Deceuninck – Quick-Step Signs Fausto Masnada
The 26-year-old Italian joins the Wolfpack on a mid-season transfer.

The new compact 2020 program, as well as a spate of unfortunate injuries have led to an agreement being reached between ourselves, Fausto Masnada and his former team CCC, allowing the move to be made at this time of the season.

Professional since 2017, Fausto has inked a deal that will see him ride for Deceuninck – Quick-Step until the end of 2021. A former winner of the Piccolo Giro di Lombardia, Masnada began making a name for himself long before that victory, when as a junior he took a remarkable solo win at Trofeo Flexform atop the mythical Madonna del Ghisallo, as well as the Memorial Maurizio Bombieri and Trofeo Bogio L’Oster uphill time trials.

Last year, in just his third season in the pro ranks, the Bergamo-born rider won the hilly stage 6 of the Giro d’Italia, to San Giovanni Rotondo, after an entire day spent in the break, as well as the intermediate sprint and combativity classifications at the end of the three weeks – a spectacular string of results that confirmed his potential and huge determination.

“I’m very happy to join a team of Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s caliber, one of the biggest squads in the world. I want to develop here, continue to grow as a rider and bring some good results. Joining another team mid-season isn’t easy, I have to find my place here, but I’m sure it won’t be a problem, as everybody already gave me a warm welcome. I can’t wait to sport the jersey for the first time at the National Championships, in a couple of days,” Fausto Masnada said.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere was delighted at the thought of having the Italian climber as part of the Wolfpack for the next year and a half: “Fausto has shown last season some impressive things on the climbs in the big races and convinced us with his aggressive style of racing and attitude. As we were also looking for riders to reinforce our squad – hit by bad luck in the past weeks – we decided that Fausto would be the perfect fit, a quality rider who we are convinced will bring his contribution to the team’s success.”

Fausto Masnada:
ccc masnada

sunweb
Team Sunweb Extend Contract with Florian Stork to 2022
A product of Development Team Sunweb, Stork was promoted to the WorldTour with the Men’s program in March of 2019. Making a seamless transition into the professional peloton as a strong all-rounder, he soon settled into domestique duties – always working consistently and ably to help set up the team. A versatile rider Stork has shown his power and pedigree by working on the flat in sprint stages, such as pulling back breaks at the Tour of Britain, while also showing his ability to go up hills – with great work at a successful Herald Sun Tour for the team at the start of 2020. At just 23 years old, Stork is happy to stay with Team Sunweb, continuing to develop and learn from the team’s coaches and experts.

After extending with Team Sunweb Florian Stork said: “I’m really looking forward to staying another two years with the team. It’s nice to feel the trust put in me from the team in such hard times with the COVID-19 pandemic. For me personally it still feels like the fitting environment to progress further and at this stage of my career I think I can provide a lot to the team too. I want to gain more experience with the team in the coming years, continuing to improve overall as a rider and progress further on the climbs and time trials.”

Team Sunweb head of coaching Rudi Kemna continued: “We’re happy that Florian has extended with us for another two years. He is a really versatile rider; solid in the lead outs, can provide good support on the climbs for GC riders, and he is a real all-round rider that brings value to the team both on and off the bike. In the future we want to develop him into a road captain, as we think he has all the right attributes and qualities for that role. He’s been a part of the team since 2017 and turned pro with us in 2019 after being promoted from our Development program, and we’re looking forward to continuing his development and journey in the WorldTour together.”

Florian Stork:
Florian Stork

boels dolmans
Cecchini and Fournier Sign with Team SD Worx
Elena Cecchini and Roxane Fournier will defend the colours of the SD Worx Cycling Team in 2021. The last couple of weeks DS Danny Stam contracted both riders and believes that they can make a step towards the world top in professional women’s cycling. With signing both riders the team becomes stronger in the basis.

The Italian Cecchini (28 years) signs a contract for two years and is meant to strengthen the team in the spring classics. “I have been following Elena for some years now”, says Danny Stam. “In my opinion she is a very good rider who hasn’t shown her true potential yet. She achieved some good results in the classics, and also in multistage races like the Thuringen Rundfahrt which she won. Besides that, she has a good race instinct. Elena has been with the same team for the last five years. A new team with a different staff, atmosphere and approach could work very motivating for her to set new personal goals.”

Elena Cecchini was surprised when she received a phone call from Stam during the Corona Lockdown. “In these uncertain times and without races you don’t expect to get offered a new contract with a new team. I have taken some time to consider the offer. After five years with the same team isn’t easy to leave the familiar surroundings of my present team. On the other hand, I am sure that this is the right step for me. The Boels-Dolmans team has been for years the best team in women’s cycling. Meanwhile they have been at the top with many different riders. That proves that the team has a strong and good structure and staff. I am very proud that this team has asked me to join them.”

Cecchini also likes the way of racing of the current Boels-Dolmans team, of which SD Worx will be the new title sponsor from next years. “They always rely on their own strength and try to create possibilities for themself. It is also great to race side by side with Anna van der Breggen. I hope to learn a lot from here. I applaud the move of both Van der Breggen and Blaak to become part of the staff from 2022 onwards. This team has been on the forefront of innovations in women’s cycling the last couple of years. This is a new and positive step in the further development of our sport. It feels good that these two top cyclists can help me further with my career.”

Besides Cecchini, the French rider Roxane Fournier will also join the SD Worx Cycling Team in 2021. Danny Stam sees in her an ideal rider in the sprint train for Jolien d’Hoore. Besides that, he regards her fast enough to go for own chances in certain races. Fournier signed a one-year contract.

“It was a big compliment for me that the best team in the world asked me.” Says the 28-year old Roxane Fournier enthusiastically. “This is the first time I will ride for such a strong team. In support of Jolien I am sure to be of value for the team. Besides that I hope I can make some tactical steps in my career with this transfer. This team always rides very aggressively. I think I can be of value in an escape. With my sprint I have a weapon, this gives the team also a tactical advantage. I strongly believe that being surrounded with world class riders such as Van der Breggen, Blaak, d’Hoore, Pieters and Cecchine, amongs others, I can learn a lot and make progression.”

Earlier this year the SD Worx Cycling Team already extended the contracts with Anna van der Breggen, Chantal Blaak, Amy Pieters, Lonneke Uneken, Jolien d’Hoore, Christine Majerus and offered a new contract to Anna Shackley.

sd worx

alpecin fenix
Modolo Injured with Broken Rib
Sacha Modolo will most likely miss next weekend’s Italian championship. The Alpecin-Fenix sprinter broke a rib in a crash last week.

The crash in which Modolo sustained the injury happened in the Tour Bitwa Warszawska 1920, a stage race in Poland at UCI 2.2 level. In the first stage, the sprinter also had to give up after a crash. “Yesterday I received confirmation that I have broken a rib and that I have to stop cycling for a while. I hope to get back on the bike as soon as possible.”

Despite the retirement of Modolo, the stage-race did end well for the Belgian ProTeam. Senne Leysen won the penultimate stage and saw teammate Oscar Riesebeek double in the final stage.

Sacha Modolo on the left, Senne Leysen on the right:
modolo leysen

deceuninck
Fabio Jakobsen: “Step by step I can slowly look to the future”
The Dutch Champion has a message for all those who supported him in the past couple of weeks.

It is now two weeks after my crash in Poland. The trauma doctors and nurses at the finish line in Katowice saved my life, for which I am extremely grateful to them. I spent a week in the intensive care unit at St. Barbara hospital in Sosnowiec. Here they immediately operated on me for five hours and gave me the chance to live. I am very grateful to all employees of this hospital.

It was a difficult, dark period for me in the ICU, where I was afraid of not surviving. Thanks in part to the organisation behind the Tour de Pologne and my team Deceuninck – Quick-Step, my family was able to be close to me, which gave me a lot of strength.

Last Wednesday I was transferred to the Leiden University Medical Center. I was admitted to the ENT department and treated further. Step by step I can start to live more independently. Currently I am at home, where the wounds in my face and my injuries can continue to recover. In addition, I have to rest a lot in the coming months because of a severe concussion. In the coming weeks and months, I will undergo multiple surgeries and treatments to fix facial injuries.

Hereby, I want to let everyone know that I am very grateful that I am still alive. All the messages and words of support have given me tremendous strength. Step by step I can slowly look to the future, and I will fight to recover.

In particular I would like to thank Dr. Rafael, who was my surgeon in Poland, Dr. Vanmol, who was present as a team doctor in Poland, Patrick Lefevere who brought my family close to me and Agata Lang and family who, on behalf of the Tour of Poland, did very well in taking care of my family.

Fabio.

Fabio Jakobsen:
Fabio Jakobsen

uae
Video: Il Lombardia 2020
Take a look back at last Saturday’s race, where UAE Team Emirates brings you along on the second cycling monument of the season.

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