EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!
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All the reports, results and interviews from La Flèche Wallonne, men’s and women’s races, and the Tour of the Alps with video. Patrick Lefevere disappointed after Lampaert’s crash – TOP STORY. Rider news: UAE Team Emirates want Dylan van Baarle, Bradley Wiggins was groomed by coach as a teenager, Tim Merlier managed to finish Paris-Roubaix, Tom Devriendt most underestimated rider in Belgium, Nicola Conci not happy with the UCI and Giulio Ciccone misses Ardennes Classics looking to the Giro d’Italia. Race news: Teams for Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Maryland Cycling Classic. Team news: Lennert Van Eetvelt signs with Lotto Soudal and The Wolfpack Insider: Paris-Roubaix video. *** Stop the war in Ukraine. ***
TOP STORY: Patrick Lefevere Disappointed After Lampaert’s Crash
Yves Lampaert was riding into a podium place in Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, until he crashed hard after contact with a spectator. In the end he had to settle for 10th place. The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team manager Patrick Lefevere is disappointed by the events that cost his team UCI points and a good result.
“This isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last time this has happened,” Lefevere said after the race. As everyone could see on television, the Belgian hit the fan’s arm and hit cobblestones. However, Lefevere had another rider in his team who fell after a collision with someone at the side of the route. Florian Sénéchal was also the victim of a collision with a spectator. “He was on Lampaert’s wheel when Wout van Aert put in an attack and a spectator hit his handlebars and his head.” The French rider was confused about this for a while. “For a few seconds he didn’t know where he was and it was impossible to get back.”
The problem is that these people are not reasonable, said Lefevere. “Those riders lose 250 kilometres, live for weeks for this race, and one stupid guy messes up everything. He sleeps well tonight, don’t worry, but for Yves this is a disaster. What can you do? With my background from 30, 40 years ago I would have turned around, took my bike and hit him on the head, but you can’t do that.”
“Yves didn’t realise what was happening, he was concentrating. Okay, if he had ridden on the sidewalk, he could have been at fault. However, this man was on his phone and we all saw what happened next,” said the team manager.
Lefevere doesn’t think the race would have had a different winner without these events. “Van Baarle was the best and I don’t think Yves could have beaten Van Aert in the sprint. He could certainly have been third or fifth. The spectator could be fined perhaps 1,000 euros. He may need a lawyer, but that will be it. I hope he sleeps badly. I don’t understand why people take selfies or want to film like that.”
The crash of Lampaert on the last cobbled section of the day cost Lefevere and his Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team a lot of UCI points and a good result. “And Yves will run out of his contract at the end of the year. If you ride in the top three or top five in Paris-Roubaix, you have better papers to start negotiations with, because in two weeks everyone will have forgotten the crash.”
A bad ending to Roubaix for Lampaert:
Flèche Wallonne – Men 2022
Belgian ‘puncheur’ Dylan Teuns won the Flèche Wallonne by timing his effort perfectly on the summit of the Mur de Huy. The Bahrain-Victorious rider beat Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde, who on his final appearance in this race was not able to extend his record victory count to six. Third was BORA-hansgrohe’s Alexander Vlasov, with World Champion Julian Alaphilippe in fourth place and INEOS Grenadiers’ Daniel Martínez in fifth. Philippe Gilbert was the last Belgian to win Flèche Wallonne in 2011.
Morten Hulgaard (Uno-X), Paul Ourselin (TotalEnergies) and Ruben Apers (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) attempted to break away, but didn’t succeed. After 28 kilometres Daryl Impey (Israel-PremierTech), Simon Guglielmi (Arkéa-Samsic), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Chris Juul Jensen (BikeExchange-Jayco), Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin-Fenix), Valentin Ferron (TotalEnergies) Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-KTM) and Hulgaard managed to go clear. Jens Reynders (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Luc Wirtgen (Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces) countered and the bunch let the group go. Wirtgen bridged at the top the Côte des Forges (55,1km), while Reynders took some further 10 kilometres to catch the break. The 10 man group managed to build a maximum advantage of 3:15 after 90 kilometres into the race. The pack was led by UAE Team Emirates, INEOS Grenadiers and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl. The nervous approach to the circuit, which was to be lapped three times, brought the gap down to 1:35 at the summit of the first climb to the Côte d’Ereffe (121,3km). The climbs began to wear down the riders at the front. Reynders and Wirtgen were dropped in the Côte de Cherave (134,1km), as were Juul Jensen, Hulgaard and Rolland the second time up the Côte d’Ereffe (152,5km). In the bunch, pre-race favourite Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers) was dropped on the Mur de Huy (139,8km) and withdrew from the race.
As the breakaway got smaller, riders in the bunch started to attack. We saw several attempts from Intermarché-Wanty Gobert riders, but it was Simon Carr (EF Education-EasyPost) who took off on the second climb of the Côte de Cherave (165,2km) and pulled off a successful chase to catch the break with 25 kilometres to go. Carr didn’t wait for long and decided to attack again while climbing the Côte d’Ereffe (183,6km), with Ferron on his wheel. The rest of the break was caught by the bunch shortly after. The peloton shut down their move with 9 kilometres to go. The last climb to the Côte de Cherave (196,4km) saw aggression from Rémy Rochas (Cofidis), Mauri Vansevenant (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Soren Kragh Andersen (DSM). The Frenchman was dropped on the way to the Mur de Huy, while the Belgian and the Dane were caught by the bunch under the last kilometre banner. Movistar set the pace up the Mur de Huy with Carlos Verona and Enric Mas, but Dylan Teuns frustrated the plans of the Spanish team with a powerful acceleration with 200 metres to go.
# You can see the PEZ ‘Race Report’ HERE. #
Race winner, Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Victorious): “Mine is a love-hate relationships with the Mur de Huy and Flèche Wallonne – all or nothing. You need to have the legs I had today in order to get away from it with something. Before the climb I knew I had to be in good position if I wanted to win. I was stressing up a bit, so I re-focused and tried to think about nothing in order to find a good position on the approach to the climb. Then everything fell into place. When Alejandro Valverde launched his acceleration, it was the perfect moment also for me to go. The big reason why I am in such good shape in these Spring classics is that I didn’t panic after I caught Covid-19 in Valencia. While I was undergoing the sickness, I was texting the doctor ten times a day to ask when I could go back to training. Afterwards I kept calm and patient, believing in my shape and my preparation. It took ten days until I first tested negative. We had changed my schedule and I was set to race Volta a Catalunya instead of Paris-Nice, so I had four weeks to train until my following race. The first few days I was just testing my body, seeing how far I could go… and once I felt I was good, I trained really hard. I was in contention already in Catalunya, and in the Classics the victory had not been far off – it had to come one day! I feel big respect towards Alejandro Valverde. He is 42 years old, and I don’t think by that age I will be doing what he is doing now. He is the King of the Mur de Huy. I was next to him five years ago, in third place, disappointed that I couldn’t follow his wheel when he did his last acceleration. Today it was the other way round – and I’m super proud of it.”
2nd, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “I can only feel happy about my performance today. I’ve been so close to victory. I was pushing so hard that I felt more pain in my arms than in my legs! [Dylan] Teuns has been stronger than me – period. Congratulations to him. I want to thank my team for the excellent work they’ve done for me the whole day. They’ve given me an excellent travel to the Mur de Huy. Then Enric Mas set a very strong pace on the final climb that enabled me to be in perfect position for the final accelerations. It must have been the fastest-ever climb to the Mur de Huy – definitely one of the fastest. Some days you end up the race feeling you could have done more, but it’s not the case today. This second place is worth as much as a victory, as I’m turning 42 in five days and this was my last Flèche Wallonne. Having performed at this level, with lots of sufferance but finishing on a good note, gives me hopes of a nice Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.”
3rd, Alexander Vlasov (BORA-hansgrohe): “I tried to begin the final climb on the best possible position in order to ride steadily to the top of the Mur de Huy, at my own pace. When I saw Dylan Teuns attacking, I tried to follow him… but he was too strong, so I just could go to my maximum. My shape is very good right now, so I’ll try and use my legs to get the best possible result next Sunday in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. I normally prefer stage racing, but when last year I saw was also in the mix in Lombardia I understood I am also able to perform well on one-day races. I feel great motivation this season. BORA-hansgrohe is a super team, with very nice guys and a great, friendly atmosphere. I’m happy to race for them.”
4th, Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “First of all, I want to thank the entire team, because they worked hard and did a huge job for me. I wanted to win today, for myself and for the Wolfpack, I was very motivated and gave my best, but I just didn’t have the legs. There were other riders stronger than me at the end of the day, so I don’t have any regrets. It is as it is. Now I have to leave this behind and move my focus to Liège–Bastogne–Liège.”
Flèche Wallonne – Men Result:
1. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Victorious in 4:42:12
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:02
3. Aleksandr Vlasov (-) BORA-hansgrohe
4. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 0:05
5. Daniel Felipe Martínez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:07
6. Michael Woods (Can) Israel-Premier Tech
7. Ruben Guerreiro (Port) EF Education-EasyPost
8. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
10. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) TotalEnergies.
Flèche Wallonne – Women 2022
Marta Cavalli’s beautiful spring became even more impressive on Wednesday, as the Italian FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope rider powered to victory on the slopes of the Mur de Huy. Only four days after she was 5th in Paris-Roubaix, the winner of the Amstel Gold Race got the better of Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) to become the second Italian winner of La Flèche Wallonne Femmes, after Fabiana Luperini, who followed the race in the car of race director François Lemarchand and joined Cavalli on the podium.
After a handful of attempts, Katia Ragusa (Liv Racing Xstra) is the first attacker to get away from the bunch. Anastasia Carbonari (Valcar-Travel & Service) and Kylie Waterreus (Lotto Soudal) joined her off the front 10km later, with the peloton at 30 seconds. Three riders managed to cross: Federica Piergiovanni (Valcar-Travel & Service), Pauline Allin (Arkéa) and Silvia Zanardi (Bepink). The gap to the peloton went up to 52 seconds after 50km, as they get closer to the first climb of the Côte de Cherave (65.4km). The attackers reach the bottom of the climb with a lead of 1:50. Zanardi led the way to the summit, and the gap to the bunch dropped to 1:10. The Italian rider also set the pace on the first ascent up the Mur de Huy (71.1km). Waterreus couldn’t keep up with her pace, while the speed picked up in the peloton, bringing the gap down to 45 seconds at the summit.
The five leaders manage to build a bigger advantage of 1:30 after the summit, but more attackers try to get away from the bunch on the way to the Côte d’Ereffe. A group of 10 are eventually able to go free and bridge the gap to Ragusa, Carbonari, Piergiovanni, Allin and Zanardi after 95km: Anna Shackley (SD Worx), Alena Amialiusik, Elise Chabbey (Canyon//SRAM), Leah Thomas (Trek-Segafredo), Jelena Eric (Movistar), Esmée Peperkamp (DSM), Amanda Spratt (BikeExchange-Jayco), Anouska Koster (Jumbo-Visma), Krista Doebel-Hickock (EF Education-Tibco-SVB), and Yara Kastelijn (Plantur-Pura). They opened a gap of 2 minutes on the next ascent of Côte de Cherave (96.5km). Marta Cavalli’s FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope react to bring the gap down to 1:45 at the top the penultimate climb of the Mur de Huy with 31.2km to go, and 1:25 as the race entered the last 25km.
Movistar’s Eric dropped back from the break to the bunch to help the chase behind the break of nine. The attackers only had 20 seconds with 10km to go. They were eventually caught as SD Worx put the hammer down on the final ascent up the Côte de Cherave, just before the final 5km. Fifteen riders got back together on the way to Huy. Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) had two teammates to set her up, and the Dutch star set a strong pace on the steepest sections as she tried to drop all her rivals with 400m to go. Cavalli was the only rider who could follow Van Vleuten, but she didn’t have enough strength to get past Cavalli before the summit finish.
2022 Flèche Wallonne winner, Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope): “It’s a big surprise for me to win today. In the Amstel, I won in a different fashion, I surprised everybody with my attack. Today, I showed all my strength. And I couldn’t expect to have the energy to overtake Annemiek van Vleuten in the last 100 metres. She’s the strongest, but we have similar characteristics. She likes to ride hard but with a steady rhythm and that’s good for me. I’m an all rounder. The sprint is my only weakness because I’m a lightweight. I’m confident in my shape, I did three good races in a row [5th of Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift between Amstel and Flèche] and I have nothing to lose.”
2nd, Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar): “I rode exactly according to plan, so I can live with it. Marta is just in great shape, she already showed that in the Amstel Gold Race. She has something extra now. In other years I always made a mistake, but now I was able to do exactly what I wanted. Thanks to the team that helped me a lot in the final. If I could blame myself I would be angry. But now I’m here with a nice second place. I fought and left nothing behind. I had to go really deep, it went black before my eyes. I don’t often. She came next to me and I wanted to keep giving everything until the finish. I thought: I was still raking it out of my little toe, but it turned completely black before my eyes. I have been knocked out.”
3rd, Demi Vollering (SD Worx): “It was really hard, I almost passed out and I still feel like I’m dying. It was an early start. The race was not going super hard at the beginning and then this lap is really hard with three climbs, including two very steep ones, not only the Mur de Huy but also Cherave. We already tried to make things hard with Anna Shackley at the front, so it was a good situation for us. On the final two ascents, we really made it hard with the team so I’m totally empty now.”
Flèche Wallonne – Women Result:
1. Marta Cavalli (Ita) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope in 3:38:37
2. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Movistar
3. Demi Vollering (Ned) SD Worx at 0:10
4. Ashleigh Moolman (SA) Team SD Worx at 0:17
5. Mavi García (Spa) UAE Team ADQ at 0:21
6. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:30
7. Liane Lippert (Ger) DSM at 0:33
8. Kristabel Doebel-Hickok (USA) EF Education-TIBCO-SVB at 0:37
9. Yara Kastelijn (Ned) Plantur-Pura at 0:40
10. Ane Santesteban (Spa) BikeExchange-Jayco at 0:42.
Tour of the Alps 2022
Geoffrey Bouchard won Stage 1 of the Tour of the Alps. The Frenchman crossed the line solo after being with the early break and dropping his fellow escapees on the final climb. In the final the peloton came dangerously close. This is Bouchard’s first professional victory.
The first day of the Tour of the Alps was constantly up and down in the 160.9 kilometre stage. Towards the end of the stage there were also two big climbs. The second category, Passo Brocon (15km at 4.9%) and the third cat, the Passo Gobbera (4.2km at 5.6%), about 24 kilometres from the finish.
In the opening hour there was a battle to get into the break of the day. After 20 kilometres 6 riders escaped: Ben Zwiehoff (BORA-hansgrohe), Vinicius Rangel Costa (Movistar), Mattia Bais (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli), Asier Etxeberria (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Emanuel Zanglerle (Tirol KTM) and Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën), the KOM of the 2021 Giro d’Italia 2021. The group had a lead of 8 minutes. At the foot of the Passo Brocon, they still had almost 6 minutes. The escapees kept the pace high at the front, dropping Rangel and Zanglerle on the climb. Meanwhile, Bahrain-Victorious for Pello Bilbao and Mikel Landa, led the pack. They slowly narrowed the gap to the leading group. The leading group consisted of only two riders as Bais and Etxeberria couldn’t hang on, only Zwiehoff and Bouchard were left at the front of the race. Bouchard was first over the top of the Brocon about 4 minutes before the peloton. INEOS Grenadiers had taken over the work from Bahrain. On the descent towards the second climb they took back a little bit of the lead.
The previously dropped Bais and Etxeberria were able to return to the leading duo, for a while, at least. After Zwiehoff’s first acceleration and then Bouchard’s attack, Bais and Etxeberria had to hit the Passo Gobbera. Just over a kilometre before the top, Zwiehoff was unable to answer an attack by Bouchard. At first, Zwiehoff managed to stay close, but on the descent the German crashed, causing Bouchard to extend his lead further. The 30-year-old rider didn’t have much to fear from the peloton, because his lead was still large with 20 kilometres to go. INEOS Grenadiers had the help of Bahrain-Victorious. Attacks by Pello Bilbao and Eddie Dunbar also contributed to the speed in the main peloton. Because the gap with Bouchard quickly narrowed, there was still tension in the finalé. At 3 kilometres from the finish, the Frenchman had 30 seconds, but the peloton attacked again. Richie Porte pulled through on an uphill stretch. In the end, however, the Frenchman just held out and took his first professional victory and the overall lead. Behind Bouchard, Pello Bilbao won the sprint from the thinned peloton.
Stage winner, KOM and overall leader, Geoffrey Bouchard: “It’s a great victory. This is a race where the riders who will compete for the general classification at the Giro d’Italia are completing their preparation. Last year, at the Giro, I came very close to taking a stage. I’m happy finally to win as a pro. I have already won King of the Mountains jerseys in two Grand Tours, but that does not have the flavour of a victory. When I knew that the peloton was gaining on me, I got out of the saddle and I said to myself: ‘you can’t sit down anymore.’ Whatever the lead, we had to win. I compete in a lot of WorldTour races where the level is very high. It is therefore necessary to know how to seize the slightest opportunity.”
2nd on the stage and overall, Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious): “At one point we thought the race was lost. The peloton didn’t work together 100% but we tried to pull full in the last 5k and we were near. We showed that we can do great things in this race.”
Tour of the Alps Stage 1 Result:
1. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën in 4:12:22
2. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:05
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM
4. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa
5. Felix Gall (Aust) AG2R Citroën
6. Natnael Tesfatsion (Eri) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
7. Richie Porte (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers
8. Pavel Sivakov (Fra) INEOS Grenadiers
9. Michael Storer (Aus) Groupama-FDJ
10. Jonathan Klever Caicedo (Ecu) EF Education-EasyPost.
Tour of the Alps Overall After Stage 1:
1. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën in 4:12:12
2. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:09
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 0:11
4. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa at 0:15
5. Felix Gall (Aust) AG2R Citroën
6. Natnael Tesfatsion (Eri) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
7. Richie Porte (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers
8. Pavel Sivakov (Fra) INEOS Grenadiers
9. Michael Storer (Aus) Groupama-FDJ
10. Jonathan Klever Caicedo (Ecu) EF Education-EasyPost.
Alps’22 stage 1:
Pello Bilbao won the Stage 2 of the Tour of the Alps on Tuesday. Early in the stage to Lana, a dangerous break emerged in which Bahrain-Victorious had missed the move. However, the team managed to pull the race back together, after which Bilbao won the sprint from a small peloton, to reward his hard working team.
The second stage kicked off with a steep climb, the Passo Rolle. After a long descent into the valley of the Adige, the second climb of the day followed, the Passo della Mendola. After a descent came the next and final, Passo Palade. From there the riders had to descend to the finish in Lana.
On the Passo Rolle a strong break was created: Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Victorious), Miguel Ángel López, Vadim Pronskiy (Astana Qazaqstan), Pavel Sivakov (INEOS Grenadiers), Felix Gall (AG2R Citroën), Cian Uijtdebroeks (BORA-hansgrohe), Jonathan Caicedo (EF-EasyPost), Mauro Badilatti, Michael Storer (Groupama-FDJ), Carl Frederik Hagen (Israel-Premier Tech) and Thymen Arensman (DSM) took more than 3 minutes on the peloton. Despite Bahrain-Victorious having Pernsteiner in the leading group, the squad of Pello Bilbao and Mikel Landa chased because too many dangerous men were in front. Because of this acceleration, the lead started to shrink. On the second climb, the Passo della Mendola, Sivakov attacked, splitting the leading group. Pernsteiner, Storer and Arensman were able to join the INEOS Grenadiers rider.
Pernsteiner dropped back to help his team and Arensman couldn’t hold the pace, Sivakov and Storer were left together on the Passo Palade. The other early break riders were caught by the peloton and Bahrain-Victorious were back into control. With Geoffrey Bouchard struggling, Bilbao was the new virtual leader. In the last 10 kilometres, Sivakov and Storer were caught and a small peloton headed for the finish in Lana. Bahrain-Victorious led the sprint for Bilbao, who finished the job off. Romain Bardet was second, Attila Valter third. Felix Gall and Eddie Dunbar rounded out the top five. Geoffrey Bouchard crossed the line 35 seconds behind in a second group and had to give up his leader’s jersey to Bilbao.
Stage winner and overall leader, Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious): “We knew it would be more difficult at the beginning than at the end. But I didn’t expect such a big action on the Passo Rolle. But we rode a good pace with every rider in the team. Everyone did their best. In the end we were still with four riders in such a small group and my teammates still put me off well. This should not go wrong. We have lost a lot of energy, but we still have three important days ahead of us. We ride every day like a classic and go for the win every day. Cycling is a team sport, it was proven today. I needed every rider today to get this win. I’m in the best shape I’ve ever had. It’s normal that we had to take our responsibility. Whether I think of the pink jersey in the Giro d’Italia? That would be a dream. A race that I love very much. It is a dream that I have yet to fulfill, but it will not come easy, because I’m good at regularity, but I’m not the best climber and I’m not the best time trialist.” On his teammate Sonny Colbrelli: “How do I deal with that? It was a difficult situation. But that happens in life, also in other sports. It’s hard to accept and it was a shock. But there is more to life than cycling.”
Break rider, Miguel Ángel Lopez (Astana Qazaqstan): “I believe it was a good stage for me, I did an important amount of job today and I needed it to come back into the racing rhythm after a big break and the training camp on altitude we just finished in Teide. Anyway, today I had nothing to lose and since we knew the start was going to be an explosive one, I decided to follow attacks and to try to do something. I am still far from my best form and in the end I paid for the work I’ve made in the breakaway, but I am satisfied with this day. It was good to be there in front.”
Tour of the Alps Stage 2 Result:
1. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious in 3:56:04
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM
3. Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ
4. Felix Gall (Aust) AG2R Citroën
5. Eddie Dunbar (Irl) INEOS Grenadiers
6. Pavel Sivakov (Fra) INEOS Grenadiers
7. Esteban Chaves (Col) EF Education-EasyPost
8. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious
9. Richie Porte (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers
10. Einer Augusto Rubio (Col) Movistar.
Tour of the Alps Overall After Stage 2:
1. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious in 8:08:15
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 0:06
3. Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ at 0:12
4. Felix Gall (Aust) AG2R Citroën at 0:16
5. Pavel Sivakov (Fra) INEOS Grenadiers
6. Richie Porte (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers
7. Esteban Chaves (Col) EF Education-EasyPost
8. Eddie Dunbar (Irl) INEOS Grenadiers
9. Einer Augusto Rubio (Col) Movistar
10. Santiago Buitrago (Col) Bahrain-Victorious.
Alps’22 stage 2:
Lennard Kämna won Stage 3 of the Tour of the Alps. The German was part of the ‘early’ break that took off just before halfway and eventually battled for the win. When entering the final kilometre, Kämna attacked, after which he managed to hold off Andrey Amador. Pello Bilbao held the overall lead.
On day three of the Tour of the Alps, the first categorised climb only came after 86 kilometres, but before that there was quite a bit of climbing: The Terento (6.1km at 8%), the Furkelpass or Passo Murcia (7.9km at 7.6%), which has gradients of 12%. The summit of this climb was 23 kilometres from the finish.
Despite the many false flats in the first part of the stage, it was very fast from the start. After one hour, 47.5 kilometres had been covered. There wasn’t a leading group until after 70 kilometres due to the many attempts. Eventually twelve riders got together: Vadim Pronskiy (Astana Qazaqstan), Andrey Amador (INEOS Grenadiers), Lennard Kämna (BORA-hansgrohe), Merhawi Kudus (EF Education-EasyPost), James Piccoli (Israel-Premier Tech), William Barta, José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar), Chris Hamilton (DSM), Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Torstein Træen (Uno-X), Reuben Thompson (Groupama-FDJ) and Natnael Tesfatsion (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli). The leading group gained a maximum lead of 4 minutes. At the foot of the Furkelpass they only had 3 minutes. Bahrain-Victorious, the team of overall leader Pello Bilbao, was still in the lead, but INEOS took over. The British team reduced the gap to the men at the front to 2 minutes. Attacks by Geoffrey Bouchard and Eddie Dunbar, both of whom were unable to get away, narrowed the gap even further.
Up front Piccoli, Tesfatsion, Træen and Pronskiy were the strongest climbers. The four took a gap on the other escapees, until Piccoli and Tesfatsion had to sit up. In the peloton there was an attack by Pavel Sivakov, who was soon neutralised by Bilbao. After that Miguel Ángel López went into battle, but he also didn’t get away. Traeen and Pronskiy came over the top of the Furkelpass about 1 minute ahead of the favourites. Soon there was only one leader left as Traeen had a crash in the first kilometres of the descent. Pronskiy couldn’t hold out against his former escape parters, who caught him one by one. In addition to the Kazakh, the group consisted of six more riders: Piccoli, Amador, Kämna, Barta, Lastra and Tesfatsion. Kudus was also there, but was dropped with cramp.
There had been some attacks in the peloton, but there were not enough men left to close the gap to the attackers, so the winner would come from the break. After several attacks, Kämna looked to have put in the decisive attack 3 kilometres from the finish. Amador and Lastra managed rejoin, after which the rest also caught them. Kämna was not satisfied and went again just before 1K. This time the others couldn’t react, although Amador tried to jump again, but the INEOS rider was stranded in second place. Kämna took his second win of 2022 after a stage win in the Ruta del Sol.
Stage winner, Lennard Kämna (BORA-hansgrohe): “When I finally made it into the group, I was already dead for the first time. It did cost a lot of energy to be there, and I knew I had to save as much as possible from there on. To me it was also clear that the last climb won’t be decisive, therefore I was happy in the chasing group because the gap was not too big. We came back after the downhill and at that point I knew that I did everything perfect so far. From then on it was all in as I knew that I wouldn’t have a chance in the sprint. They brought me back two times, but I saw everybody was on the limit, therefore I tried it a third time. I am really happy that it worked out in the end and this win also means a lot to me ahead of the Giro.”
Overall leader, Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious): “Today was an overall easier day than yesterday, we didn’t have to pull hard from the first kilometre, and I have a very strong team I can count on. Tomorrow we have an uphill finish ahead of us, but I think Friday’s stage, which is short and has short, hard climbs will be the last real hurdle to try and bring home the green jersey.”
Tour of the Alps Stage 3 Result:
1. Lennard Kämna (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe in 4:02:56
2. Andrey Amador (CR) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:03
3. Jonathan Lastra (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:04
4. Natnael Tesfatsion (Eri) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli
5. Will Barta (USA) Movistar
6. James Piccoli (Can) Israel-Premier Tech
7. Vadim Pronskiy (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan
8. Sean Quinn (USA) EF Education-EasyPost at 0:57
9. Felix Gall (Aust) AG2R Citroën
10. Pavel Sivakov (Fra) INEOS Grenadiers.
Tour of the Alps Overall After Stage 3:
1. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious in 12:12:08
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 0:06
3. Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ at 0:12
4. Felix Gall (Aust) AG2R Citroën at 0:16
5. Pavel Sivakov (Fra) INEOS Grenadiers
6. Einer Augusto Rubio (Col) Movistar
7. Eddie Dunbar (Irl) INEOS Grenadiers
8. Thymen Arensman (Ned) DSM
9. Esteban Chaves (Col) EF Education-EasyPost
10. Richie Porte (Aus) INEOS Grenadiers.
Alps’22 stage 3:
UAE Team Emirates Want Dylan van Baarle
Not only Jumbo-Visma want Dylan van Baarle, UAE Team Emirates has also made a generous offer to the second placed rider in the Tour of Flanders and winner of Paris-Roubaix. The Dutch team fear that they cannot compete with the bid made by the team of Tour winner Tadej Pogačar. “We hope it works, but it won’t be easy,” a source within Jumbo-Visma told WielerFlits.
Van Baarle ends his contract with INEOS Grenadiers at the end of this season. As the British team has been investing heavily in a Classic team over the past year, it will certainly try to keep Van Baarle. The question is what role Van Baarle wants in the future. At INEOS – Grenadiers and Jumbo-Visma, he would be part of a strong classic core, where he would have to sacrifice his own opportunities for other leaders. At UAE Team Emirates they want to have a broader core for the Classics. Pogačar has indicated that he wants to return to the Tour of Flanders next year to take revenge, but the Tour of Flanders is the only cobbled race that the Slovenian wants to focus on for the time being. As a result, Van Baarle would be sure of leadership in all other cobbled classics.
Van Baarle has also proven in recent years that he is of great value in the Tour team of INEOS Grenadiers. In 2019 he had an important part in the Tour de France victory of Egan Bernal. This spring, Matteo Trentin is the main-man for UAE Team Emirates in the Flemish races. The 32-year-old Italian’s contract expires at the end of the season, but it is not certain whether he will stay with the squad. That is why UAE is looking for reinforcements for the classics, Van Baarle just might be their first choice.
Everyone wants Van Baarle:
Bradley Wiggins was Groomed by Coach as a Teenager
Bradley Wiggins has revealed revelations about his private life in an interview with Men’s Health magazine. The 2012 Tour winner stated that he was ‘groomed’ by his coach as a teenager. “I have never been able to fully accept that. It affected me as an adult,” said Wiggins.
Wiggins, now 41, had no one to turn to for help. “I wanted to bury it. However, my stepfather was quite aggressive. He called me a fag because I was wearing cycling clothes. I don’t think I could tell him, so I tried to forget. I was a loner as a child and felt so lonely. I wanted to get away from my environment. Yes, I was a pretty strange teenager. I think that because of my setbacks I also started cycling.”
Wiggins had a difficult childhood. His father Gary, who was also a top cyclist, abandoned the family. In 2008, Wiggins senior, after a turbulent life full of alcohol, drugs and psychological problems, died under suspicious circumstances in Australia. Father and son had little contact. “But he was still my hero and I wanted to prove myself to him,” Wiggins said.
“I first met him when I was eighteen. We had a bond from then on, but I didn’t see him for the last few years before his death. He was a good cyclist himself, but wasted his talent. He had manic depression, was addicted to alcohol and also took a lot of drugs.”
Where Wiggins senior squandered his talent, his son grew into one of the best riders of his generation. With a win in the Tour de France, an Olympic and World title in the time trial and several Olympic gold medals on the track. But, fame also had a downside. “After winning the Tour and the Olympic time trial in 2012, my life had completely changed.”
“I was swept up in the fame and success, but really I’m a closed person. In the years after my Tour victory I no longer knew who I was. I acted like some kind of rock star, I was never really myself. It was probably the most unhappy period of my life. I was expected to win even more, so the pressure was high. I really struggled with that.”
Wiggins now works for Eurosport:
Tim Merlier Managed to Finish Paris-Roubaix
Tim Merlier has postponed his planned altitude training camp in the run-up to the Giro d’Italia. The Alpecin-Fenix sprinter crashed in Paris-Roubaix on Sunday and has had to take it easy. “The coming days will be dominated by recuperation,” he said in conversation with Sporza.
Merlier looked to be on his way to a top 15 placing in the cobbled classic, but crashed on the Carrefour de l’Arbre. “There was a gap and I wanted to overtake the rider in front of me, but he just avoided a hole. My handlebars doubled, I made a somersault and fell sharply.”
Merlier soon saw that he was injured. “A large open wound on my elbow, which was bleeding profusely and full of stones. You could even see a muscle. After the race they had to completely clean my elbow in an operation.” He didn’t want to abandon just like that. “In hindsight, I would have been better off getting into an ambulance, but the pain wasn’t too bad. The blood was terrifying and as a rider you want to reach the finish. It wasn’t that far anymore. After two flat tires I had already fought hard and I also thought of my grandmother. That motivated me to keep going,” said Merlier, who was told before the start that his grandmother had passed away. “I quickly realised that a place in the top 15 was too ambitious with one arm. I made it to Roubaix by slaloming and with the help of colleagues.”
Merlier eventually crossed the finish line in 40th place in Roubaix, seven minutes behind winner Dylan van Baarle. After his arrival, he was immediately taken to the hospital with an open wound on his right elbow, where he went under the knife in the evening. “To thoroughly repair my elbow, they put me under anesthesia last night. So today I felt a bit weak.”
The 29-year-old sprinter will now rest for a few days, before resuming his preparation for the Giro d’Italia. His participation is not jeopardised. Merlier: “With a view to the Giro d’Italia I would go on an altitude training camp, but I will postpone that for a while. I will soon be able to cycle again, but the question is how that wound will react. And I can now also miss an extra fall like a toothache.”
Tim Merlier on the cobbles:
Hilaire Van der Schueren: “Tom Devriendt Most Underestimated Rider in Belgium”
Tom Devriendt was the big surprise in the top-5 of Paris-Roubaix. The Belgian of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert crossed the line in fourth, but according to Hilaire Van der Schueren there was more to it. “If Mohorič didn’t have a flat tire at 38 kilometres from the finish, Tom and Mohorič will fight for the victory on the track,” Devriendt’s DS told Het Laatste Nieuws.
“On the cobbles, Tom and Matej were constantly riding at 50 kilometres per hour and peddling between 400 and 450 Watts. Then it is very difficult for the men behind to make up for a lot of ground,” said Van der Schueren, who is full of praise for his young rider. “Tom has been with me in the team since 2015. I think he has been the most underrated rider in Belgium for some time.”
“Tom has already been through a lot on a private level,” continued Van der Schueren. “He really wanted to stop a few years ago and he was also at the end of his contract with the team, but I consciously kept my hand above his head. He’s been a ‘chouchou’ of mine for a long time. I’m just not a fan of his long hair. I have often asked him to have it cut off, because I think it is cleaner.”
Devriendt confirms that it has not always been easy for him in recent years. “I’ve been in a difficult spiral for a few years. This is a reward for the team for always trusting me,” said the 30-year-old rider, who had a special Sunday in Hell. “Suddenly I was in the leading group between all those big names and the people were shouting my name. I was driving five kilometers per hour faster than normal.”
“It was like racing in a tunnel. At the end I had cramps all the way through, but the adrenaline kept me peddling. It is a pity that Küng started the sprint three hundred meters from the finish. I was a bit surprised and gave everything, but the podium was no longer in it.”
Tom Devriendt on the cobbles:
Nicola Conci Not Happy with the UCI
Nicola Conci, who was under contract with the suspended Gazprom-RusVelo, has lashed out at the UCI on social media. The 25-year-old Italian believes that the International Cycling Union is not doing enough to find a solution for the riders of the former team registered Russia. Conci and his teammates cannot race at the moment, except for a national team.
“The words in this post are addressed to the UCI,” began Conci, who rode for Trek-Segafredo for many years and made the switch to Gazprom-RusVelo last winter. “It’s been fifty days since me and my team-mates from the former Gazprom-RusVelo have watched as our right to do our job has been taken away from us. We’ve seen our salaries and goals suspended.”
“We have waited and talked to both you and the CPA (Cyclistes Professionnels Associés) in a professional manner, but you must take responsibility and resolve this situation. The time for answers has come. Stop talking, start acting. Our future depends on your choices,” Conci points out that the UCI has made decisions that have had major consequences for him and the other Gazprom-RusVelo riders.
In recent weeks, Conci has raced several times for the national Italian team. He finished ninth in Per Semper Alfredo, tenth in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali and seventh in the Giro di Sicilia. Team manager, Alex Carera, previously made a similar appeal to WielerFlits: “The consequences for all riders and staff who have nothing to do with the war, nor for this situation have asked are great. The UCI could also have helped in the search for a sponsor,” Carera said in March. “Gazprom Germany has already paid part of this year’s sponsorship. 100% coverage is not required. Two million euros is needed to keep this team in the air before 2022. In my view, the UCI should have guaranteed the salary of the mechanics, masseurs, team leaders and riders. Now they are banning the Russian license and taking Russian money, saying: your problem. Wrong: all parties have a problem here.”
Giulio Ciccone Misses Ardennes Classics Looking to the Giro d’Italia
Giulio Ciccone will not be at the start of the Ardennes classics this week. The Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège were originally part of the Italian climber’s schedule, but he now wants to use this period to further prepare for next month’s Giro d’Italia.
“No Flèche Wallonne or Liège-Bastogne-Liège for Giulio Ciccone this year. Instead, he will go on another week of altitude training in Spain to prepare for the Giro d’Italia in the best possible way,” his Trek-Segafredo team said on social media. Last year he was well on his way to a top 10 place in the Giro, until after a crash and then fever, he had to stop in the third week. This year he wants to see if in a Grand Tour whether he is going for a classification, or whether it is better to focus on stage wins.
Ciccone started the season with 8th place in the Tour of Valencia, after which he was to rode the Tour de La Provence. But, plans changed: he went instead on a training camp in Tenerife and then did the Trofeo Laigueglia, where he again finished 8th. In the weeks that followed he rode Tirreno-Adriatico (10th) and the Volta a Catalunya (21st). He then went on another training camp, to the Sierra Nevada – although he was battling bronchitis and fever at the beginning of April.
No Ardennes for Giulio Ciccone:
More team announcements added as the come in. Don’t miss the race report on Sunday.
UAE Team Emirates for Liege-Bastogne-Liege
UAE Team Emirates continue their spring racing campaign with two important World Tour races scheduled, starting with the Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday (20 April) followed by the oldest Monument of the calendar known as ‘Le Doyenne’, Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday (24 April).
The team will wear the number 1 jersey in their ranks with Tadej Pogačar the reigning champion from 2021 leading the squad. The team will also look to the good form of former Flèche Wallonne winner Marc Hirschi and the experience of veteran riders like Diego Ulissi.
Pogačar: “We’re coming back to the Ardennes with great memories from last year. It’s a period I look back on with great fondness. To take the win in Liege was like a dream and I feel a nice connection with this race. Since the Tour of Flanders the next day I went to test the pavé sectors for the Tour de France which was an exciting experience. They are quite hard but it’s good to have an idea of what to expect before the Tour. Then I had a couple of days break. Since UAE Tour I raced quite a lot so it was nice to get back home and train normally, it’s a part of the job I enjoy so to have a bit of a routine was nice. For these Ardennes races we have a very dynamic team. The form is good and I think I can do well but on a whole the team is very strong and we’ll have options which is always an advantage.”
Sports Directors Andrej Hauptman (Slo) and Aart Vierhouten (Ned) will take charge of the team.
Liège-Bastogne-Liège [1.UWT] – 24-Apr-2022:
George Bennett (NZ)
Marc Hirschi (Swi)
Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
Tadej Pogačar (Slo)
Jan Polanc (Slo)
Marc Soler (Spa)
Diego Ulissi (Ita).
Line-up Lotto Soudal Liège-Bastogne-Liège
This Sunday, Lotto Soudal will ride Liège-Bastogne-Liège, one of the oldest Classics and the fourth cycling Monument of the season. Philippe Gilbert will be at the start of ‘his’ race, which he won in 2011, for the final time in his career. Discover the full line-up of Lotto Soudal for Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the video below.
Liège – Bastogne – Liège – APR 24
Huub Dujin – Team DSM coach: “With ‘La Doyenne’ we have the last classic of the Ardennes on the menu, where we will look to give it our all one final time. With a challenging parcours, the race can be decided at any point over the many hills, so we need to be sharp throughout the day. With a strong squad at the start, we have lots of different possibilities to go with the attacks, and ride aggressively as we aim for another top result to end our classics campaign.”
Francesca Barale (ITA)
Lea Curinier (FRA)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Floortje Mackaij (NED).
Liège – Bastogne – Liège – APR 24
Luke Roberts – Team DSM coach: “This Sunday we will line up for the fourth monument of the season, ‘La Doyenne’, the oldest of the five monuments on the calendar. A true race of attrition with the many challenging climbs through the Ardennes on the return from Bastogne to Liège. Our goal will be to protect Romain and Soren throughout the day and bring them in a position to challenge in the final as we take on the famous climbs of Cote de La Redoute and Cote de la Roche-aux-Faucons.”
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Romain Bardet (FRA)
Mark Donovan (GBR)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED)
Florian Stork (GER)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA).
Søren Kragh Andersen:
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Julian Alaphilippe heads up our squad for Sunday’s rendez-vous.
The 108th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège will await the peloton with a tough 257.1km course comprising ten climbs: Côte de La Roche-en-Ardenne, Côte de Saint-Roch Montée, Côte de Mont-le-Soie Montée, Côte de Wanne Montée, Côte de Stockeu, Côte de la Haute-Levée, Col du Rosier, Côte de Desnié, Côte de La Redoute, and Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons.
The selection could start early, with the succession of hills boasting stinging double-digit ramps promising to gradually thin out the peloton, but the decisive moves are once again expected to come on the iconic Roche-aux-Faucons, whose 11% average gradient over just 1.3 kilometers can serve as the perfect terrain to make the difference, especially as the finish line in Liège comes only 13 kilometers from the top of this gruelling ascent.
The only Frenchman to amass multiple podiums in “La Doyenne” this century, Julian Alaphilippe will race the spring’s final Monument for the third time in his career clad in the prestigious rainbow jersey, after the 2020 and 2021 editions. The World Champion will be joined on the start line by Tim Declercq, Remco Evenepoel, Pieter Serry, Ilan Van Wilder, Mauri Vansevenant and Louis Vervaeke.
“We have a squad more or less similar to the one that was in action on Wednesday, riders who know the parcours and have a lot of motivation coming into the race. We can count on the World Champion, we have several other guys who can go on the offensive, so the feeling is good and hopefully we will get a nice result on Sunday as we bring down the curtain over the Spring Classics”, explained Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Klaas Lodewyck.
24.04 Liège-Bastogne-Liège (BEL) 1.UWT
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA)
Tim Declercq (BEL)
Remco Evenepoel (BEL)
Pieter Serry (BEL)
Ilan Van Wilder (BEL)
Mauri Vansevenant (BEL)
Louis Vervaeke (BEL).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL) and Geert Van Bondt (BEL).
Julian Alaphilippe – Close in 2020:
Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 24th)
With Benoît Cosnefroy, Paul Lapeira, and Mikaël Chérel, three riders who come from the Manche department will be at the start of the two Ardennes races.
Julien Jurdie: “Our sporting goals for the Ardennes are quite simple: with the physical condition that Benoît Cosnefroy has recently displayed, we can hope to get on the podium and why not on the top step. For the past few weeks, he has shown that he is very strong and he will be supported by a committed team to position him in the best possible conditions. It is a complicated task but it is the right year to shine. He is capable of climbing onto the Flèche Wallonne podium again and he can confirm the good sensations he had at la Doyenne two years ago. Mentally and physically, Benoît is equipped to succeed in these races.”
Matthews hungry for Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Australian Michael Matthews will lead a mixed Team BikeExchange-Jayco squad at the coming Liège-Bastogne-Liège, with the team lining-up with high confidence after the Australian’s recent strong and consistent performances. The 31-year-old finished seventh in his last two races, Amstel Gold Race and Brabantse Pilj after making it into the front splits but is hungry to snatch a podium placing this week, after previously finishing in fourth place in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and fifth place in Flèche Wallonne.
Surrounding Matthews will be a versatile team boasting various talents from the strength of experienced Chris Juul-Jensen, Tsgabu Grmay, Jack Bauer and Nick Schultz, through to the youthful motivation of Alexandre Balmer, Jesus David Peña and Jan Maas. Sunday’s prestigious cycling Monument, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, will see the peloton tackle 254km before the main testing climbs come after 165km of racing.
Team BikeExchange-Jayco line-up:
Alexandre Balmer (SUI)
Jack Bauer (NZL)*
Tsgabu Grmay (ETH)
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Jan Maas (NED)
Jesus David Peña (COL)*
Nick Schultz (AUS)
“I have been feeling good, the legs are good and I had two seventh place finishes in the last two races here, so I am feeling ready and motivated for these final two Ardennes Classics.Flèche is always a hard race, and the Mur de Huy never gets any easier. I have been fifth here before so it gives me confidence that if I am in the right place, I can have a good result. Then for Liège, it is Liège, it is one of the cycling Monuments and a race I really would love to win. It is a race that suits me, I expect it to be really aggressive racing like we’ve seen in all these races recently, but we’ve got a good mixed team for many situations that may unfold.”
Mathew Hayman – Sport Director: “It is a hard iconic finish in cycling up the Mur de Huy, Michael has had some solid results up there, it is a climb that suits not only the punchy classics riders but also the pure climbers and we often see the light guys come in, so it is a bit of a cross over race of the classics. We will be going all in with Michael, he has shown week in, week out, that he has got good form and he has had numerous top ten’s in these classics and we will continue to try and put him into a good position. Liège is a longer race, there’s more chance for different race scenarios to happen. Flèche in recent years has always been a big bunch coming in to the bottom of the climb and essentially has been a race up the climb, whereas in Liège, there is a lot more involved with getting to the final. Again we will be looking to support Michael into the final, and we are hoping some of our other guys can step up to the mark and once we get around the Cote de La Rouche-Aux-Faucon, it is pretty much full on to the finish line.”
Team BikeExchange-Jayco Women Ready to Play Their Cards at Liège-Bastogne-Liège
After a busy weekend with the second edition of Paris-Roubaix, Team BikeExchange-Jayco women are back in action with their ‘climbing’ group, ready to tackle the final two races of the Ardennes Classics, the iconic Flèche Wallonne Femmes and prestigious Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes.
The squad will line-up with a leading trio of Ane Santesteban, Amanda Spratt and Alex Manly, after all showing good climbing form in the previous races, with Spratt a former fifth place finisher in Flèche Wallonne and second place finisher in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Joining the trio will be Georgia Williams, Urska Zigart, Chelsie Tan (Flèche only) and Jess Allen (Liège only) with the team looking to play their cards right to be attentive and in moves with an aggressive style of racing. The two one-day races round-out the busy northern spring classics, with Wednesday’s 133km event including three ascents of the famous Mur de Huy for the first time in the women’s race. A brutal 1.3km% climb averaging 9.6% percent but with a maximum gradient of over 20%.
For Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège, it is a slightly bumpier and lengthier route of 142km with seven main ‘cotes,’ culminating with the Cote de la Roche-aux-Faucons just 14km from the finish line.
Team BikeExchange-Jayco line-up:
Jess Allen (AUS) * Liège only
Alex Manly (AUS)
Amanda Spratt (AUS)
Chelsie Tan (SIN) *Flèche only
Georgia Williams (NZL)
Ane Santesteban (ESP)
Urska Zigart (SLO)
Amanda Spratt: “Flèche is always a race I look forward to. This year I think it will be one of the toughest editions yet. We race up the Mur de Huy three times for the first time ever and the final loops have many more climbs. The inclusion of the Cherave climb again makes the final harder in my opinion. My form has been progressing race by race. I still need more time to hit my top form again, but I still come to the race with high motivation alongside a strong team. I am especially looking forward to having the amazing crowds back this year especially up the Mur! The atmosphere there is electric. Ane and Alex in particular have shown really strong climbing form in the last races, so they will be key riders for us, and I am just looking forward to leaving everything I have out on the road in both races.”
Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas: “We bring the climbers back into the team for Flèche Wallonne, it is always a really hard race, but we go in with confidence after seeing the riders’ performances over the last weeks. Spratty is improving every single race she does, and we saw that Alex is in good shape after her rides in the last races like Amstel and Brabantse. The racing in general has been really aggressive so we expect the same on Wednesday and on Sunday. We will look to be animated and in the moves, but like always it will be a case of who has the best legs in those final few hundred metres on the Mur de Huy.”
Cofidis has Several Outsiders for Liège-Bastogne-Liège
The French team has several options in La Doyenne. One of those riders is Guillaume Martin, last year he was 15th in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. “I was in the group that competed for sixth place for several years. This year I hope to be in the first group,” said the philosophy graduate. “I haven’t raced for a month. But I’m in good shape after my training sessions. I hope I have recovered sufficiently from this, although Liège-Bastogne-Liège is an extremely tough race.”
“We are at the start with a strong team. We have several cards in hand and it is up to us to play them well so that we can take advantage of the strength of the collective,” said Martin, who won the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2015. The other riders on the team are Simon Geschke, Victor Lafay, Anthony Perez, Rémy Rochas, Ion Izagirre and Jesús Herrada, won the Classic Grand Besançon Doubs, ahead of Lafay. Herrada was second in the Tour du Jura.
Izagirre was recently the best in the final stage of the Tour of the Basque Country, which he finished second. He is also looking forward to Sunday. “Liège-Bastogne-Liège is a race I love because of its history. I’ve already finished fifth in this race (2017) and it would be fantastic to get a result like that again,” said Izagirre, who is highly motivated after his good performance in his home race.
Cofidis for Liège-Bastogne-Liège:
Simon Geschke (Ger)
Jesus Herrada (Spa)
Ion Izagirre (Spa)
Victor Lafay (Fra)
Guillaume Martin (Fra)
Anthony Perez (Fra)
Remy Rochas (Fra).
Basque stage win for Izagirre:
Team BikeExchange-Jayco, Trek-Segafredo and Human Powered Health Headline Initial Teams Slated for September’s Maryland Cycling Classic
L39ION of Los Angeles, Hagens Berman Axeon and international teams Team Medellin-EPM, Yoeleo Test Team p/b 4MIND, Team Corratec and EvoPro Racing also join the field.
The Maryland Cycling Classic, supported by UnitedHealthcare, America’s top-ranked professional road cycling race and highest-ranked UCI event, announced the first nine teams to compete at the inaugural event, scheduled for September 4, 2022.
WorldTour teams Trek-Segafredo and Australia’s Team BikeExchange-Jayco will be joined by America’s top ProTour series team Human Powered Health and U.S. Pro Continental Teams L39ION and Hagens Berman Axeon, along with international squads Team Medellin-EPM (COL), Yoeleo Test Team p/b 4MIND (CAN), Team Corratec (ITA) and EvoPro Racing (IRE) when the event kicks off this Labor Day weekend.
“The goal for the event this first year is to attract an international field with good sprinters and one-day classic riders, affording opportunities for teams in the Americas to compete with big teams from Europe,” said Maryland Cycling Classic Chairman John Kelly. “As the season progresses, we will continue to build on the initial team roster at all levels, adding to our illustrious international field for the inaugural event of 17 teams.”
The Maryland Cycling Classic is part of the prestigious UCI Pro Tour and is already one of the top-ranked events in North and South America. Trek-Segafredo has secured five wins so far this year, including four by superstar Mads Pedersen. Team BikeExchange has tallied six victories this season, including two stage wins by Aussie rising star Kaden Groves and one each by Michael Matthews, Simon Yates and Dylan Groenewegen.
“We’ve had to wait a long time to take part in the Maryland Classic, but finally this year we’ll have the chance to race in the United States again. As the leading men’s road race in the USA, it’s really important for us to be on the start line and we’re looking forward to putting on a show for the local fans,” said Luca Guercilena, General Manager of Trek-Segafredo.
Human Powered Health has scored several high finishes and podiums early in the European season, including a victory through the legs of Pier-Andre Cote.
“Our goal is to bring the strongest team possible,” said Human Powered Health Managing Director Charles Aaron. “This race is one of our biggest goals of the season. The whole team is excited to be racing back at an elite level in the United States. Maryland and Baltimore will make a great backdrop for a world-class race.”
“The Maryland Cycling Classic will be an incredibly exciting stop in L39ION’s 2022 tour calendar. Our riders are thrilled to welcome teams from around the world to the streets of Baltimore, and we look forward to battling it out with them for the win,” said Justin Williams, founder and general manager of L39ION of Los Angeles. “As a black-owned team competing in a city of predominantly black residents, the weekend serves as an even more significant moment for us and I look forward to activating the team within the community.”
The Sport and Entertainment Corp. of Maryland, led by Terry Hasseltine, are the owners and producers of the event and have partnered with experienced, US-based cycling promoters Medalist Sports and KOM Sports to publicise and manage the event. Hasseltine said the weekend schedule of events will be announced at a press conference, April 26, at 11 a.m. ET on the second floor at Columbus Center, 701 E. Pratt St., in the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore.
Additional information: www.marylandcyclingclassic.us.
Lennert Van Eetvelt Signs Pro Contract with Lotto Soudal
With Lennert Van Eetvelt the Lotto Soudal Development Team delivers yet another talent to the WorldTour team. The 20-year-old Belgian has signed a contract for 2023 and 2024. The reigning Belgian U23 time trial champion, who got second this weekend in the U23 version of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, wants to further develop his qualities on all levels at Lotto Soudal.
At the moment, there are 13 riders in the Lotto Soudal WorldTour team with a history in the Development Team. The Development Team has been the final step-up to a professional career for many Belgian and foreign riders. Lennert Van Eetvelt will follow in the footsteps of amongst others Tim Wellens, Florian Vermeersch and Arnaud De Lie.
Best preparation for a pro career
“Our Development Team plays a crucial role within Belgian cycling”, says Lotto Soudal CEO John Lelangue. “The best U23 riders of the country can prepare themselves in a professional environment and in the toughest races at their level to make that final step to the pros. The three years in our Development Team will look good on Lennert Van Eetvelt’s resume for the rest of his career.”
Ready for the WorldTour
Van Eetvelt is known as a puncheur with a good time trial. “He is definitely ready for the step”, says Kurt Van de Wouwer, manager of the Lotto Soudal Development Team. “Van Eetvelt joined us in 2020, the ‘Covid year’. It was a season with few races for the U23s, which made it hard for them to show themselves. In 2021 he took a big step forward, with amongst others the Belgian time trial title, a 3rd spot at the Belgian road championship, a 5th spot at the European road championship and also an 8th spot in the Tour Alsace. This year he showed himself even stronger, with a 6th spot in Tour de Normandie, and last weekend a 2nd in Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23. He is more than ready for the WorldTour.”
Van Eetvelt: ‘Lotto Soudal knows how to help young riders’
Van Eetvelt himself is looking forward to next year, but is still aiming for nice results at the U23s this season. “This is my third year at the Development Team now. I have already joined a training camp of the WorldTour team”, says Van Eetvelt. “Stepping up to the pros feels very natural and smooth. All those riders who have been there before me, show that Lotto Soudal knows how to help young riders when they turn pro.”
The third-year U23 rider hopes to further develop his qualities on all levels. “I am a puncheur, but can go a long way uphill too and I also have a good time trial. What type of rider I will become at the pros, I am yet to discover. But I am looking forward to developing myself into a strong pro rider.”
Van Eetvelt was second in last weekend’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23:
The Wolfpack Insider: Paris-Roubaix
It’s the “Queen of the Classics”, but it’s a ruthless one, throwing one hurdle after another in the way of the riders trying to conquer it and shattering their dreams in a split second.
Yves Lampaert got to experience this on his own skin, after a crash just eight kilometers from the line put an end to his hopes of what would have been a well-deserved podium.
You can watch this, and much more, in our latest video.
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