EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!
Loads of Tour news
Only a couple of days till the Tour de France starts. Lots of team news from the French Grand Tour. But not all Tour: Lotto Belgium Tour and the US road championships results. Sam Bennett off Patrick Levefere’s favourite list – TOP STORY. Race news from La Course by Tour de France avec FDJ. Rider news: Bert Van Lerberghe contract. Team news: UCI Team Rankings, GB Olympic team, Movistar & BORA-hansgrohe new kit and Specialized renews with Deceuninck – Quick-Step. New Rabobank book and Richard Carapaz prepares for the Tour video. Thursday EUROTRASH coffee time!
TOP STORY: Lefevere on Bennett: “Starting to think it’s more performance anxiety than just pain”
Patrick Lefevere, team principal of Deceuninck – Quick-Step openly doubts Sam Bennett’s explanation of why he could not start the upcoming Tour de France. Bennett points to knee problems as the cause, Lefevere thinks that there is another cause.
Bennett said through official channels that he is disappointed that he cannot defend his green jersey. “The knee injury is not a lingering injury, but it has had a big impact on my training. There was simply not enough time left to get match fit in time, that became clear in the last few days. It wouldn’t be fair to the team and myself to race at my current level. I wish The Wolfpack a successful three weeks in France.”
Lefevere told Sporza that he already felt that Bennett would not be ready in time for the Tour. He doubts Bennett’s side of the story. “Three days before the Tour of Belgium, he bumped his knee against his handlebars. He didn’t tell us about that. When he arrived, we sent him home again. Then it was a yes-no game: to train or not to train?”
“Yesterday he had to come to Belgium, but then there were problems with his plane again. Then you start to think strange things,” Lefevere continued. “I can’t prove he doesn’t have knee pain, but I’m starting to think more and more that it’s more performance anxiety than just pain.”
Lefevere doesn’t miss the fact of Bennett’s upcoming transfer also playing a role in the story. “If that’s the case, that would say a lot about him, after all I’ve done for him. I even paid advances of fines at BORA-hansgrohe. If that’s how you treat me, that’s telling.”
Whatever is going on with Bennett, it will be Cavendish who will go to the Tour de France. “Mark had already left for Italy to train. We had to recall him. The expectations are not too high. He is not thirty years old anymore. It is to his credit that he is nervous as if he has to ride his first race in the juniors. If he doesn’t win, everyone will think that’s normal. If he does win, everyone will put him on a throne.”
Cav off to the Tour:
Lotto Belgium Tour 2021
The Prologue of the Lotto Belgium Tour was won by Ellen van Dijk on Tuesday. On the soaking wet 4.4 kilometre course, she took her third victory of the season, the first victory since her covid-19 infection.
At the Dutch National Time Trial Championships, Van Dijk already put in a great time trial by racing for the silver medal behind Anna van der Breggen. In Chimay she seized power in the four-day stage race. Her Trek-Segafredo teammate, Elynor Backstedt, was second. For the young British rider, it was her first podium finish since she broke her shin in a crash in May 2020.
Prologue winner and overall leader, Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo): “I am extremely happy to win this prologue. This is good for morale. After a long period of bad form, it’s nice to be able to win. This is a very nice one for both me and the team, It’s great that Elynor Bäckstedt is second. We know she has a lot of talent and it was cool to see her come so close to my time. It was a very wet, but easy prologue. I thought it was a nice course that suits me well. The first part went up, the second part went down. There was only one corner where you couldn’t go full. When I started, I wanted to go for a top finish. Time trials never feel great. I felt I couldn’t push through well, but it was enough for the win and I’m super happy with that.”
Lotto Belgium Tour Prologue Result:
1. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo in 5:34
2. Elynor Backstedt (GB) Trek-Segafredo at 0:02
3. Jolien D’Hoore (Bel) Belgian Team at 0:03
4. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Belgian Team at 0:04
5. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-SRAM at 0:06
6. Pfeiffer Georgi (GB) DSM at 0:07
7. Lieke Nooijen (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg at 0:08
8. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) DSM at 0:08
9. Hannah Ludwig (Ger) Canyon-SRAM at 0:10
10. Ella Harris (NZ) Canyon-SRAM at 0:12.
Lotto Belgium Tour Overall After the Prologue:
1. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo in 5:34
2. Elynor Backstedt (GB) Trek-Segafredo at 0:02
3. Jolien D’Hoore (Bel) Belgian Team at 0:03
4. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Belgian Team at 0:04
5. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-SRAM at 0:06
6. Pfeiffer Georgi (GB) DSM at 0:07
7. Lieke Nooijen (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg at 0:08
8. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) DSM at 0:08
9. Hannah Ludwig (Ger) Canyon-SRAM at 0:10
10. Ella Harris (NZ) Canyon-SRAM at 0:12.
Lotto Belgium Tour’21 prologue:
Lorena Wiebes won Stage 1 of the Lotto Belgium Tour. In Bruges, the Team DSM rider was the fastest in the bunch sprint. Jolien D’hoore crossed the line in second and took the overall lead.
After her prologue victory in Chimay, Ellen van Dijk started the first stage in the leader’s jersey. The stage was raced over 102.2 kilometres from the seaside resort of Blankenberge to Bruges. A flat, windy ride that was made for the sprinters. During the stage the wind played an important role, as a result of which the peloton was split. In the final, Natalie van Gogh tried on her own, but in the end everything came together and a sprint finish was inevitable. Wiebes secured her eighth victory of the season.
Stage winner and 2nd overall, Lorena Wiebes (DSM): “We tried to make the race hard and to push for echelons and the peloton did split at times but it didn’t stick. Overall though we did a good job to stay in the front all day and Wilma [Olausson] did a really good job to position us. For the final we made a plan and again it was a super strong lead-out, so I’m happy to take this one for the team. We’re now looking forward to the other hard stages still to come here.”
Lotto Belgium Tour Stage 1 Result:
1. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) DSM in 2:28:57
2. Jolien D’Hoore (Bel) Belgian Team
3. Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Movistar
4. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-SRAM
5. Amber van der Hulst (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
6. Lauretta Hanson (Aus) Trek-Segafredo
7. Arianna Fidanza (Ita) BikeExchange
8. Emilie Moberg (Nor) Norwegian Team
9. Susanne Andersen (Nor) DSM
10. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Belgian Team.
Lotto Belgium Tour Overall After Stage 1:
1. Jolien D’Hoore (Bel) Belgian Team in 2:34:26
2. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) DSM at 0:02
3. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:04
4. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Belgian Team at 0:06
5. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-SRAM at 0:10
6. Pfeiffer Georgi (GB) DSM at 0:12
7. Lieke Nooijen (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
8. Lauretta Hanson (Aus) Trek-Segafredo at 0:16
9. Shari Bossuyt (Bel) NXTG Racing at 0:17
10. Britt Knaven (Bel) NXTG Racing at 0:18.
Lotto Belgium Tour’21 stage 1:
Rosskopf Wins National US Road Title
Team dominates road race as Murphy finishes third, Mannion seventh.
Joey Rosskopf claimed the men’s team’s first-ever US Pro Road Race national title in Knoxville, TN on Sunday. Rosskopf capped off a dominant display by the team which saw Kyle Murphy take the bronze medal while Gavin Mannion crossed the line in seventh.
“It’s amazing,” said Rosskopf. “I didn’t expect it. We always had numbers up there and the way we raced it was only a matter of time before one of us got off the front. When I went, they hesitated, and that’s all it takes, especially when you have the team to support you.”
The team skipped Friday night’s criterium championships to focus fully on the road race. The gamble paid off. “The team was incredible,” added Rosskopf. “Every time there was a selection, we had four or five guys in the front. In the last lap, it was anyone’s race. Everyone just taking their opportunity and making decisions super fast.”
Early in the 191km race, Kyle Murphy escaped the peloton on the third of 15 laps and wasn’t reeled in by the group of leaders until the final hour of racing. Despite this, Murphy still had the legs to follow dangerous moves in the finale along with Mannion and finish on the podium. “Kyle was unbelievable,” said Rosskopf. “He was out there all day. I have no idea how he had the legs to do that and still finish on the podium. Every single person played a role and Kyle led the way.”
Murphy had added motivation with it being Father’s Day as his wife and kids were on hand for their first professional bike race. “When I turned left onto the finish straight, I was thinking about my kiddos and how badly I wanted to stand on the podium with them,” said Murphy. “I went for it and held on for third. I can’t believe Joey won, he’s the nicest guy in the world.”
Jonas Carney has been the team’s Performance Manager since 2007 and the day’s result was as meaningful as you’d expect. “It feels great,” said Carney. “We’ve been trying to win this race for 15 years and we finally did it! The guys rode a superb race. Kyle Murphy was an absolute animal and we couldn’t have done it without his amazing ride. And on top of that, Clark Sheehan won the USPRO RR as a first-year director. Simply amazing.”
US Pro Road National Championships Result:
1. Joey Rosskopf (Rally Cycling) in 4:38:12
2. Brent Bookwalter (BikeExchange) at 0:03
3. Kyle Murphy (Rally Cycling) at 0:05
4. Alexey Vermeulen at 0:06
5. Lawson Craddock (EF Education-Nippo) at 0:10
6. Chad Hagga (DSM) at 0:13
7. Gavin Mannion (Rally Cycling) at 1:13
8. Samuel Boardman (L39ion of Los Angeles) at 1:41
9. Gage Hecht (Aevolo) at 1:43
10. Scott McGill (Aevolo) at 2:32.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step to the Tour de France
World Champion Julian Alaphilippe, Flanders victor Kasper Asgreen and 30-time stage winner Mark Cavendish headline our squad.
More than 40 stage victories, almost 30 days in the yellow jersey and 8 secondary classification wins – our team has a long and beautiful history with the Tour de France, which we will look to enhance between 26 June and 18 July. The race will start from Bretagne for the fifth time in history – after 1952, 1964, 1974 and 2008 – and will conclude once again in Paris, in between scheduling three summit finishes, 58 kilometres of individual time trial and plenty of stages that will give chances to the sprinters, puncheurs and baroudeurs.
One of the riders who have already left an indelible mark on the Tour de France, Julian Alaphilippe will return to the start hoping to animate again the race and show the same attacking style and panache that have captured the fans’ hearts two years ago, when he led the general classification for an astonishing 14 days. The 29-year-old will have extra motivation, as this time he will race clad in the rainbow jersey he conquered last September in Imola.
The most decorated sprinter in the history of the race, with 30 stage wins and a green jersey to his name, Mark Cavendish will also pin on a number for the Wolfpack, as he makes his first appearance in three years at the Grande Boucle. The Manxman, who so far has enjoyed a solid and impressive season that has seen him rack up five victories, replaces last year’s points classification winner Sam Bennett, who is out of the race due to a right knee injury.
“Needless to say, I’m very disappointed to not be able to defend my green jersey at this year’s Tour de France. I had a very minor incident during training a couple of weeks ago, which effected my knee. While the injury I sustained is very short-term, it impacted my training for the biggest bike race in the world all too much and left me without enough time to be race fit. Le Tour deserves me at my best and it would do my team, and myself, an injustice to race in my current condition. I wish the whole Wolfpack a successful three weeks on the road of France,” explained Sam Bennett.
“I am delighted to be going back to the Tour de France with Deceuninck – Quick-Step. Obviously, the circumstances with Sam could be better – he had a special Tour last year and I am sad for him not being able to defend his green jersey. But at the same time, I am excited to be going back to a race that I have such an affinity with and where I have so much history. It is the biggest bike race in the world, and I am going to do all I can to grab this opportunity with both hands,” added Mark Cavendish.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s team will be completed by Ronde van Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke champion Kasper Asgreen, the Italian duo of Davide Ballerini and Mattia Cattaneo, Belgians Tim Declercq and Dries Devenyns, as well as Danish lead-out master Michael Mørkøv.
“Our team is a balanced one. Julian came well out of the Tour de Suisse and the opening weekend suits him, so we’ll support him in his quest for a stage victory. Mark returns to the Tour, and it’s great to have someone with his history and experience on the team. He will have a superb lead-out with Ballerini and Mørkøv, and the plan is to take it day by day and see how things go. Kasper will also be one to watch, as there are a couple of stages where he can go in the breakaway, without mentioning the two individual time trials, where he can do something nice. Tim is one of the best helpers in the peloton, while Mattia and Dries will help Julian in the mountains and on the uphill finishes. We are confident and hopeful for a good three weeks,” said Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Tom Steels.
26.06–18.07 Tour de France (FRA) 2.UWT:
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA)
Kasper Asgreen (DEN)
Davide Ballerini (ITA)
Mattia Cattaneo (ITA)
Mark Cavendish (GBR)
Tim Declercq (BEL)
Dries Devenyns (BEL)
Michael Mørkøv (DEN).
Sports Director: Wilfried Peeters (BEL), Tom Steels (BEL) and Rik van Slycke (BEL).
Astana – Premier Tech on the Hunt for Tour de France Stage Wins
Astana – Premier Tech is set to hunt for stage wins at the Tour de France when the 108th edition gets underway in Brest this Saturday, June 26.
The Kazakh – Canadian team has selected a versatile and experienced roster featuring Monument and Tour de France stage winners, national champions and Tour de France debutants, explained Team Performance Manager Dmitriy Fofonov.
“Our main focus at this year’s Tour de France is stage wins. We are coming to France with a strong and motivated team featuring Tour de France stage winners Alexey Lutsenko, Ion Izagirre, and Omar Fraile, our new Spanish Road Race champion. We have two-time Monument winner Jakob Fuglsang, and Basque Country stage winner Alex Aranburu, who is set to make his Tour de France debut alongside South African Stefan de Bod. Last, but not least, our breakaway riders Hugo Houle, who showed his strength at this year’s Ronde van Vlaanderen, and Dmitriy Gruzdev, complete our line up,” said Fofonov.
“We have a versatile roster and will make the most of the freedom that comes with stage hunting. Winning a stage at any Grand Tour, let along the Tour de France, isn’t easy but I am confident that we will enjoy success, as we did last year, and show the Astana – Premier Tech jersey at the front of the race.”
The team’s focus will switch from the General Classification to hunting for stage wins for the upcoming 21 stages, with an emphasis on the mountain stages and punchy terrain, as well as the two time trials following Lutsenko and new Spanish Time Trial champion Izagirre’s success at the Criterium du Dauphine.
Astana – Premier Tech at the Tour de France (26/06 – 18/07):
Sports Directors: Dmitriy Fofonov (KAZ), Steve Bauer (CAN), Stefano Zanini (ITA)
Alex Aranburu – Spain: “I am extremely happy and proud to ride my first Tour de France. I think every athlete dreams of riding the Tour de France one day and of course to win there, as do I. It would be amazing to take a stage win but I will take it day by day, as I know many strong riders are lining up. Of course, I will give my best to finish with a great result. But first of all, I want to finish my first Tour de France and gain experience.”
Stefan De Bod – South Africa: “I am grateful for the opportunity to make my debut at the Tour de France together with a strong and experienced squad and I will give my best to pay back their confidence in me. I am excited to chase our team’s goals of winning stages. We had a good week of racing at the Tour de Suisse, where I felt already in good shape. This race is the dream of every cyclist and I will enjoy every day of racing, even if there will be some hard moments.”
Omar Fraile – Spain: “I am looking forward to racing at the Tour de France, especially after yesterday. My last professional win was at the Tour de France back in 2018, so the win at the road race yesterday is something really special and gives me an extra motivation ahead of the Tour and a lot of confidence. Of course, winning a Tour de France stage in this jersey now would be the cherry on top but we will see. I feel good and I am in a good shape, so I will take every opportunity to achieve a top result.”
Jakob Fuglsang – Denmark: “I feel really good but I will use the Tour de France more for fine-tuning, to be 100% ready for the Olympics so I am not focusing on the overall. But I will take it day by day because every day is important, especially in a Grand Tour, where the easiest days can turn out to be the most damaging days in terms of losing or winning the race. Every day is unpredictable. Some days I will go deep trying to win a stage and other days, like the sprint stages, I will take easy not fighting at the front all day long to save energy and build up for Tokyo.”
Dmitriy Gruzdev – Kazakhstan: “I’m looking forward to another Tour de France with the team. I’m feeling good and have had a good training block since the Criterium du Dauphine so I’m ready to race. I want to be as useful as possible for the team and help us achieve our goal of winning stages. I think we have a great team and will have many opportunities to show what we can.”
Hugo Houle – Canada: “I am really happy and proud again be part of the Astana – Premier Tech team for the Tour de France. It is not easy to get selected for the biggest tour of the year, so for me it is really great to be there again. This year, I will have more freedom to go on the attack as we are not targeting the General Classification. My goal would be to win a stage in this year’s Tour de France, in honour of my brother. My form is going in the right direction towards the Tour and I am looking forward lining up in Brest, trying to be part in some of the breakaways and hopefully, finishing it off with a stage win.”
Ion Izagirre – Spain: “After last year’s crash and the abrupt end to my Tour de France journey, I feel I have unfinished business and I am especially looking forward to racing the time trial stages. I think we have a strong team and we already showed good form at the recent stage races and again, yesterday at the Spanish road race. This year we don’t have specific General Classification ambitions, which gives us all the chance to battle for stage wins. It would be great to add another stage win after winning my first Grand Tour stage back in 2016.”
Alexey Lutsenko – Kazakhstan: “I only have good memories from last year´s edition. Winning a stage at the Tour de France had been always a dream which I wanted to achieve. Returning to France having a stage win sticker on my race number makes me really proud. It would be great to repeat it this year. I feel good and, especially after the stage win at the Criterium du Dauphine, I am confident that I am able to compete for the another stage win. I want to reach the peak of my shape towards the Olympic Games after the Tour de France.”
Team BikeExchange Name a Well-Rounded Squad with Stage Ambitions for the 2021 Tour de France
Team BikeExchange announced its diverse Tour de France team today boasting a powerful trio of opportunists, hunting down stage victories as a primary objective for the 108th edition, starting on Saturday, 26th June in Brest.
Former Tour de France stage winners Michael Matthews and Simon Yates, along with two-time Grand Tour podium finisher Esteban Chaves will lead the outfit’s offensive charge, while 25-year-old Lucas Hamilton looks to gather experience in the general classification battle, as he makes his debut appearance.
Team BikeExchange at the Tour de France (26th June – 18th July 2021):
Esteban Chaves (COL) – 3rd appearance
Luke Durbridge (AUS) – 7th appearance
Amund Grøndahl Jansen (NOR) – 4th appearance
Lucas Hamilton (AUS) – Debut appearance
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN) – 4th appearance
Michael Matthews (AUS) – 6th appearance
Luka Mezgec (SLO) – 2nd appearance
Simon Yates (GBR) – 5th appearance
The quality quartet will have experienced support riders guiding them through the 21-stages, with a trio of powerhouses in Denmark’s Chris Juul-Jensen and Norway’s Amund Grøndahl Jansen; both lining-up for their fourth Tour de France, plus Australia’s Luke Durbridge, who is set to make his seventh appearance at the ‘Grande Boucle.’
After finishing in second place on two occasions in his debut appearance last year, Slovenian sprinter Luka Mezgec is back for more in 2021 and rounds out the well-balanced eight-rider squad.
Having previously achieved three top-10 overall finishes (2016, 2017, 2020), seven-days in the Maillot Jaune (3x 2013, 4x 2020), one TTT victory, six individual stage victories from five different riders and two overall victories in the young rider classification (2016, 2017), Team BikeExchange return confident and ambitious for its 10th Tour de France start.
Brent Copeland – General Manager: “We are coming into this year’s Tour de France really motivated after a fantastic podium at Giro d’Italia with Simon Yates. We have worked closely together with our team owner Gerry Ryan and Team BikeExchange’s technical staff and coaches to select the most competitive line-up of riders for this year’s edition. It has not been an easy task by any means to make the final selection due to us having many riders in great condition at the moment, but we are confident in the process that we have followed. Our goals and ambitions are different to that of the recent Giro d’Italia where we will be mostly concentrated in two areas; namely stage wins and experience for the younger riders. We are also very excited to have a strong presence of Australian riders at this year’s edition and as always, we guarantee some very aggressive and exciting racing from Team BikeExchange for all our fans. A big thanks also goes out to our team’s medical staff and the ASO for the medical protocols which have been closely monitored in order for such a prestigious race to be held under the challenging conditions we all currently face.”
Matt White – Head Sport Director: “We have assembled a very well-balanced unit for this year’s TDF. The group has multiple options as we go after stage wins across the entire three-weeks. We are welcoming Michael Matthews back into our TDF roster as we target selective sprints and medium mountain stages. In support of him, we have Luka Mezgec who was very impressive in his Tour debut last year and is capable winning in his own right. We have an engine room that is tried and tested with road captain Luke Durbridge working with our Scandinavian duo of Chris Juul-Jensen and Amund Grøndahl Jansen, who have plenty of experience in riding for world class leaders. Then our elite climbing unit is led by Simon Yates who is looking to add more stage wins to his tally and Esteban Chaves who has won stages at both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España and is aiming to add wins at the TDF to his resume. Finally, we have our only Tour de France debutant in Lucas Hamilton who has had a very consistent year so far and he will be getting our full support as he rides for GC.”
Michael Matthews: “We have a really good shot at going for stage wins with myself and a lot of other guys in the team we have. We can go in with Chaves and Yates for the climbs and the breakaway days and then for me with the sprint and more intermediate sort of stages. There’s a couple of stages in this year’s Tour that suit me really well, especially in the first week. So, hopefully we can start the Tour off well on those days and then continue the momentum through once we get to the climbs with the other guys. The Tour de France is always a special and important race for everyone, I am feeling in good shape and really motivated to try and go for a fourth Tour de France stage win.”
Lucas Hamilton: “The Tour is the biggest race in the world and growing up I always watched and dreamed of racing the Tour and so to be lining-up on Saturday, it can’t come quick enough. It’s my first Tour de France and also my first Grand Tour riding GC. I have only finished one Grand Tour, so for me I really want to continue with the progress I have made this season. I have done a lot of one-week races during the year and ridden GC at every race, so I feel like heading into a tough three-weeks of racing, I am as ready as I can be for the big stage. The team is full of super strong guys and I have raced a lot with all of them, so I am looking forward to getting back into it with them and trying to make it a successful Tour.”
Team BikeExchange – Tour de France Team Stats:
Youngest rider: Lucas Hamilton (25)
Oldest rider: Luka Mezgec (32)
Tour de France debutants: Lucas Hamilton
Most Tour de France appearances: Luke Durbridge (7x)
Total Tour de France appearances: 31.
Arkéa Samsic with Barguil, Bouhanni and Quintana
Arkéa Samsic has also completed their selection for the Tour de France. The most important leaders in the team are Warren Barguil, Nacer Bouhanni and Nairo Quintana. It is a special edition for Emmanuel Hubert’s team, because the first four stages are on their home roads of Brittany.
The Tour team is built around the leaders Barguil, Bouhanni and Quintana, said Hubert in a press release. “The aim is to create as many opportunities as possible to win a stage, without losing sight of other goals as the race develops. The Brittany region is our territory. We are proud of our roots and closely connected with them, just like our partners Arkéa and Samsic. We want to show our red and black colours as much as possible in the next three weeks.”
For Quintana it will be his eighth appearance in the Tour de France. The Colombian has already claimed the podium three times in the past. He was second in both 2013 and 2015 and third in 2016. He has also won three stages to date. Quintana returned to racing in February after having surgery on his left knee in late October. He won the Vuelta Asturias this season.
Barguil has been looking forward to the first Tour week for a while, as it travels through his native region of Brittany. The puncheur, this season, was fifth in the Flèche Wallonne and is going for his seventh Tour de France. In 2017, Barguil won two stages in the Tour and returned home wearing the polka dot jersey.
For Bouhanni this will be his fourth participation. The sprinter has already collected a whole series of places of honour in the Tour, but has not had a won yet. This season he has had some good results and a suspension. Bouhanni was penalised for his dangerous behaviour in the final sprint of the Cholet-Pays de la Loire. He has been racing again since June and he rode the Tour of Belgium and the French championship.
For the more difficult stages, Arkéa Samsic has also included Anthony Delaplace and Elie Gesbert in the Tour selection. Daniel McLay, Clément Russo and Connor Swift are there for the flatter stages.
Arkéa Samsic for Tour de France 2021 (26 June-18 July):
Warren Barguil (Fra)
Nacer Bouhanni (Fra)
Anthony Delaplace (Fra)
Elie Gesbert (Fra)
Daniel McLay (GB)
Nairo Quintana (Col)
Clément Russo (Fra)
Connor Swift (GB).
Nairo Quintana could surprise:
Alpecin-Fenix with Van der Poel, Merlier and Philipsen
Alpecin-Fenix has announced their eight riders who will start the team’s first Tour de France. Spearheads in the selection are sprinter Tim Merlier and Mathieu van der Poel. Jasper Philipsen has recovered in time from his knee injury from the Baloise Belgium Tour and is also part of the team.
This will be the first Tour de France for both Merlier and Van der Poel. Merlier already made his debut in a Grand Tour this year; in the Giro d’Italia he was successful by winning the second stage to Novara. The 28-year-old Belgian is having a strong season, in which he has already taken six victories. In addition to the Giro win, he also won Le Samyn, the Grand Prix Monseré, the Bredene Koksijde Classic, the Ronde van Limburg and the Elfstedenronde.
For Van der Poel it will be his first three-week Tour and it will also take some getting used to see him in the dark blue jersey of Alpecin-Fenix, after he lost his red-white-blue champion jersey to Timo Roosen in the Dutch Championships on the VAM mountain last weekend. The winner of Strade Bianche and two stages in the Tour de Suisse is an important favourite for the punchy finishes in the first week.
Van der Poel: “I know it is difficult to go from the Tour to the Games, but I understand the interests of the team and its sponsors very well. In addition, I also really like the Tour. It is one of the largest sporting events in the world. The mountain bike race at the Olympics still remains my priority. Of course it is not ideal to switch so much between the road bike and the mountain bike, but that is no different because of corona.”
Philipsen had to let the Belgian Championship pass by last weekend due to a knee injury, which he sustained in the Baloise Belgium Tour. The 23-year-old Belgian has recovered sufficiently to be at the start of the Tour on Saturday, his third Grand Tour. Philipsen won the Scheldeprijs and two stages in the Tour of Turkey this year, in addition to a handful of places of honour in Paris-Nice, Bruges-De Panne and the Baloise Belgium Tour.
Just like Philipsen, who raced to the top-10 three times in 2019, Silvan Dillier, Xandro Meurisse and Petr Vakoč also did the Tour. Meurisse crossed the line in third in his first participation in 2019 in the stage to La Planche des Belles Filles. In addition to Merlier and Van der Poel, Jonas Rickaert and Kristian Sbaragli are also making their Tour debut.
Alpecin-Fenix for Tour de France 2021:
Silvan Dillier (Swi)
Tim Merlier (Bel)
Xandro Meurisse (Bel)
Jasper Philipsen (Bel)
Mathieu van der Poel (Ned)
Jonas Rickaert (Bel)
Kristian Sbaragli (Ita)
Petr Vakoč (Cz).
How will MvdP do in the Tour?
B&B Hotels to the Tour with Bryan Coquard and Pierre Rolland
Bryan Coquard and Pierre Rolland are the most notable names in the B&B Hotels Tour team, which, just like last year, starts due to a wild card.
The team is largely the same as the one that appeared at the departure last year at the Grand Départ in Nice. Jens Debusschere and Kévin Reza, who recently announced his retirement, are missing this time. Their places are taken by Tour debutant Franck Bonnamour and the experienced Cyril Lemoine, who came from Cofidis last winter.
Bryan Coquard is their man for the sprint stages. The French rider is going for his fifth Tour de France and has already won a whole row of places of honour in his previous four participations, but no wins yet. For Pierre Rolland this will be his twelfth Tour. Unlike Coquard, the climber has won stages in the Tour de France. In 2011, he recorded a resounding victory at Alpe d’Huez, a year later he was the best at La Toussuire. This year he won a stage in the Tour of Rwanda.
B&B Hotels for Tour de France 2021:
Cyril Barthe (Fra)
Franck Bonnamour (Fra)
Maxime Chevalier (Fra)
Bryan Coquard (Fra)
Cyril Gautier (Fra)
Cyril Lemoine (Fra)
Quentin Pacher (Fra)
Pierre Rolland (Fra).
Movistar Team Confirms 2021 Tour de France Lineup
Telefónica-backed squad with two 2020 GC top-ten finishers, Mas and López, at most important stage race of the season.
The Movistar Team confirmed Monday its lineup for the 108th edition of the Tour de France, which starts in Brest on Saturday 26th June and will end in Paris’ Champs-Élysées on Sunday 18th July.
The Telefónica-backed squad will start the ‘Grande Boucle’ with the following eight-man lineup: Alejandro Valverde, Carlos Verona, Enric Mas, Imanol Erviti, Iván García Cortina, Jorge Arcas, Marc Soler and Miguel Ángel López.
It will be the team’s 39th consecutive appearance – the eleventh under Telefónica’s sponsorship – at the most important stage race in the calendar, an event they’ve won seven times, with 34 stage victories and seven team GC prizes.
The Movistar Team brings a strong squad to Brittany, led by Mas and López, fifth and sixth overall in the 2020 race. The lineup also features Valverde, a stalwart in the ‘Grande Boucle’ with 13 previous appearances.
At the Tour de France, the Blues will unveil a new kit, to be used for the remainder of the season.
Tour de France – J.F. Bourlart: “A well balanced squad”
This Saturday, June 26 in Brest, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will participate in the fourth Grand Départ in its history. Until July 18, the Belgian team will compete in the 108th edition of the Tour de France (1.UWT), which is starting this year in one of the crown jewels of French cycling, Brittany. This edition of the Grand Boucle includes three mountaintop finishes, two days in the Alps, five in the Pyrenees, 58 kilometres of time trial and eight stages favourable to sprinters.
The riders will spend the first four days in Brittany, starting with two uphill finishes, in Landerneau (3.2 km at 5.3%) and Mûr-de-Bretagne (2 km at 6.9%). The first of the two individual times comes the fifth day, with 27.2 kilometres of flat in Mayenne. After two transition stages in the centre of France, the eighth stage crosses the Alps with three 1st category climbs, including the Col de la Colombière, towards Grand Bornand. The first week ends with a finish atop the Tignes climb (21 km at 5.6%), preceded by the Col des Saisies, the Col du Pré and the Cormet de Roselend.
After the first rest day, the peloton will rally Valence for a probable sprint finish, before a legendary stage which will take on Mont Ventoux twice, first via Sault and then via Bédoin. This eleventh stage will be judged at the bottom of the second descent of Mont Chauve, after 200 kilometres. The Grande Boucle then stops for two days in Occitania, in Nîmes and Carcassonne, before starting a Pyrenean trip of five stages. The fifteenth, judged in the Principality of Andorra, will have as its highest point the Port d’Envalira (2408 meters), where the Souvenir Henri-Desgrange will be awarded.
To start the last week, the peloton crosses the Ariège with climbs such as Portet-d’Aspet, but again the finish is judged in the valley, in Saint-Gaudens. On July 14, a triptych is on the menu for the seventeenth stage, with Peyresourde, Val-Louron and the climb of Saint-Lary (2209 meters), which will welcome the second summit finish of this edition. The eighteenth stage, the last in the mountains, is short but intense: a passage through the Col du Tourmalet before reaching Luz-Ardiden after 129 kilometres. The second time trial, flat and 31 kilometres long, takes place the day after a flat stage and on the eve of the arrival in Paris, on the Champs-Élysées.
The selection of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will include in its ranks the Belgian Jan Bakelants, stage winner in Ajaccio in 2013 and wearing the yellow jersey during this same 100th edition. This is the sixth participation of the 35-year-old rider, who will be the most experienced member of the group. Eighth in the Tour de France in 2016 and 2017, the South African Louis Meintjes will be the man protected for the general classification. Alongside them, Dutch sprinter Danny van Poppel, who has finished on the podium four times this season, will be able to count on his brother Boy van Poppel and German Jonas Koch to negotiate the sprint finishes. Climber Georg Zimmermann, who with Koch recently finished on the podium of the German Championship, will make his Grand Boucle debut, as will Italian Lorenzo Rota and Belgian Loïc Vliegen. These eight men will be led by Hilaire Van der Schueren, Aike Visbeek and Steven De Neef.
Jean-François Bourlart (CEO Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert): “As every year, making the selection for the Tour de France is a difficult task. This inevitably caused joys but also disappointments. We took into account various parameters: route, objectives and chances of results, state of form of the riders,… We were looking for a good balance between profiles for the high mountains, but also for the sprint and transition stages. I am convinced that we have put together the best group possible. Our Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team is extremely motivated for this Tour de France. The start is taking place in the garden of our new title partner, Intermarché, so we owe it to ourselves to be up to it. Like our successful Giro d’Italia, we want to show ourselves to our advantage on as many stages as possible: in the breakaways, in the sprint but also in the mountains around Louis Meintjes. In this sense, our selection is well balanced to achieve our two main objectives: to win a stage and to place Louis as high as possible in the final general classification in Paris, because we must not forget that he entered the final top 8 twice.”
Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager): “All the candidates for this Tour de France have shown one by one that they are ready for this great event. When I look at the pre-selection that we had established this winter in our annual performance plan, only one name has changed and that’s a nice compliment to our entire Performance Team. We’ve been working since the start of the year on a sprint train around Danny and Boy Van Poppel and Jonas Koch. The preparation has not always been smooth, but their peak of form is approaching, as the last few weeks have shown, and this trio will take every chance to prove themselves. On the other hand, we have ambitions for the GC with Louis Meintjes and an experienced Jan Bakelants by his side. Jan has shown during the mountain stages at the Dauphiné that he can help Louis. Finally, we welcome three riders who will make their Tour debut: Loic Vliegen, Georg Zimmerman and Lorenzo Rota. With this trio, we want to go on the offensive and maybe create a surprise. The riders included in this selection for the Tour benefited from ideal preparation, some via altitude courses in Italy and Andorra, but also in competition via the Dauphiné, the Tour de Belgique and the Tour de Suisse. I am very happy with the work done behind the scenes by our team, both in terms of nutrition where we have made great progress, but also at the material level, which is of quality and constantly evolving. We have worked hard and are ready to continue our Giro’s momentum on the roads of the Tour de France.”
Hilaire Van der Schueren (sports director): “As usual, we want to show the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux jersey every day. From day one, in hilly Brittany, the race will be explosive, with difficult finishes like at Mûr-de-Bretagne. Our punchers will find an interesting playing field very early in this edition. But we also want to feature well with Danny van Poppel in the flat stages and protect Louis Meintjes in the mountain stages. At the end of our previous participation, in 2019, the twelfth place of Guillaume Martin allowed us to occupy the eighth rank of cars on the Champs-Elysées, and we hope to be able to do this again in a few weeks thanks to our South African leader. All the riders in the selection have shown in recent weeks that they are ready for this event. The enthusiasm at the start in Brest, for my 24th Tour de France, is therefore enormous.”
Boy van Poppel
Danny van Poppel
Sports directors: Hilaire Van der Schueren, Aike Visbeek and Steven De Neef.
The Tour de France selection (June 26th – July 18th)
Following the various national championships that were raced this weekend, the general management and the sports directors of the AG2R CITROËN TEAM have decided to give the three remaining places on the 2021 Tour de France (June 26 – July 18) team to Dorian Godon, Nans Peters and Michaël Schär.
Vincent Lavenu: “Dorian Godon, Nans Peters, and Michaël Schär have proven to us in recent weeks that they deserve their place at the Tour de France. We know their qualities as fighters and their aptitude to seize their chances. Our team has an attractive face, between young wolves and experienced riders, which should allow us to shine throughout the next three weeks. We certainly have to remember Bob Jungels, who was to join us, but will now take time to recover and will return to racing with all his qualities of a champion capable of winning races.”
The eight riders seen by Vincent Lavenu:
25 years old
Wore the King of the Mountains jersey for 15 days in 2020
2After a start to the season that was thwarted by knee pain, Benoît has regained his best level thanks to his fighting temperament. We know he can bring us great joys and be one of the top French riders for the Tour de France 2021.”
25 years old
2Dorian is talented and is constantly improving. His victory at Paris-Camembert is what finally convinced us to bring him. He deserves to race the Tour de France which will be an enriching experience for the rest of his career. He is already able to shine at this level.”
30 years old
“Oliver has been a part of the team since 2017 thanks to his talent and good humour.
He has often finished highly placed in stages and has also been invaluable when we have needed to position and protect our leaders at key moments. This will again be an important attribute when we are crossing France from east to west in the first week.”
25 years old
“Ben is a very talented rider who has shown great things in tough races like the Tour de Romandie and the Critérium du Dauphiné. We already knew his qualities as a rider, especially since he won a stage last year at the Giro. Subsequently, though, we have found him to be a delightful man who should certainly shine in his Tour debut.”
25 years old
“Aurélien will ride his first Grande Boucle after having had a very encouraging first part of the season, which included a victory at the GP La Marseillaise. He will go with the general classification in mind, but without setting a specific goal. We will count on him being strong in the mountains, and who knows, maybe be able to go for a stage victory.”
27 years old
Winner of the 8th stage in 2020
“Nans has had a lot of health problems this year, but he has regained a very good level which has enabled him to secure his place at the Tour de France.
His sense of teamwork, his love of the team, and his temperament should allow him to be very much an asset.”
34 years old
Winner of team time trial stages in 2015 and 2018
“Michaël is a luxury teammate. One of the best in the bunch. He will support his teammates in the tense moments of the race while also being able to get into a breakaway and go for a stage victory.”
Greg Van Avermaet
36 years old
3 stage victories 2015 (TTT), 2016 and 2018.
Wore the yellow jersey 2016 (3 days) and 2018 (8 days)
“Greg came to the team preceded by his reputation and immediately fit in with ease. He has already won stages and worn the yellow jersey at the Tour. This will again be his goal with us, while also playing the mentoring role of “older brother”, which is a role he does wonderfully.”
Team Selected for Tour de France Title Defence
Pogačar returns to lead squad
UAE Team Emirates have unveiled the team heading into the Tour de France (26 June-18 July) to start the Grand Boucles which begins from the city of Brest.
The team heads into the 21 stages led by 2020 champion Tadej Pogačar, with a mix of climbers and flat-terrain experts to support the Slovenian.
This year’s route covers a total distance of 3,383 kilometres and is notable for two long individual time trials (totalling 58km) which will be crucial in the battle for the yellow jersey. The race will spend much of the first week on the flat, rolling roads of Brittany before transitioning over to the Alps and onto the Pyrenees before the surviving riders make it to the Champs Elysees in Paris.
Team Manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Spa) will lead the squad alongside Sports Directors Andrej Hauptman (Slo) and Simone Pedrazzini (Swi). The team is comprised of 8 riders:
– Tadej Pogačar (Slo)
– Rafal Majka (Pol)
– Davide Formolo (Ita)
– Brandon McNulty (USA)
– Marc Hirschi (Swi)
– Mikkel Bjerg (Den)
– Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
– Rui Costa (Por).
Tadej Pogačar: “It’s a privilege to be back to the Tour as the defending champion.It’s been a tough year for a lot of people and we hope we can give everyone 3 weeks of exciting racing. My year so far has gone really well and I’m really looking forward to starting this Tour with good preparation and good condition. I am confident in myself and my team, we can’t wait for the challenge.”
Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Team Manager): “Our aim for this year is clear: we are going to try and defend the title which Tadej claimed last year, so we have built a team around him. We have a good mix of youth and experience to support Tadej with a strong block of climbers and also solid riders for the flat roads. Obviously we’ll be heavily marked by the other teams and it’s not going to be an easy task, but we are confident and know that a big result is well within the capabilities of Tadej and the team.”
Team DSM present 2021 Tour de France Roster
With only a few days until the peloton will take to the start line in Brest, set for this year’s edition of the Tour de France, Team DSM confirm their eight-rider strong roster that will take on an exciting edition of La Grand Boucle.
Faced with a tricky route around France, including a dangerous and opportunistic first week, followed by trips to the gruellingly difficult Alps and Pyrenees that include famous climbs such as the Col de la Colombière and Col du Portet, it’s set to be an action-packed three weeks of racing in France. It’s not only the climbs that will provide thrilling battles, the route is also littered with several sprint opportunities, setting up an exciting showdown between the fast men of the bunch. Looking to build on their successful 2020 campaign in which the team claimed three brilliant stage wins and excited fans worldwide with their aggressive brand of racing, the team will once again go on the hunt for stage success in the sprints and look for opportunities to ride aggressively in the breakaway.
After a solid block of racing, well designed and executed training plans by the team’s experts, coupled with a team sprint train camp, our eight-rider selection is ready roll out in style and fight for the Team DSM jersey’s success throughout a three-week adventure together in France.
Team DSM’s Tour de France coach Luke Roberts said: “After a successful 2020 campaign where we took three stage wins, our main focus for this year’s Tour de France will once again be to target day results. We have a really solid team train for the several possible bunch sprint opportunities which we’ll be faced with throughout the race. For the intermediate and mountain stages our aim will be aggressive and opportunistic racing, playing different cards and utilising the strength of the entire team to try and take advantage, like we did last year. It will be an interesting start to this year’s race without a traditional prologue, TTT or bunch sprint, and the first two stages are directly quite difficult which will make a very exciting start. From there, we’ll pick and choose our days wisely to go on the attack throughout the rest of the race, hunting for those stage successes and showcase our Team DSM jersey in its first Tour de France.”
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Tiesj Benoot (BEL)
Cees Bol (NED)
Mark Donovan (GBR)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Jasha Sütterlin (GER).
Introducing EF Education–NIPPO’s Tour de France Roster
The 2021 Tour de France is almost here. The Grand Départ is scheduled for this Saturday and EF Education-NIPPO is ready to take on the iconic 21 stage race.
This year’s route will feature two back-to-back climbs up the mighty Mont Ventoux, three summit finishes, and two individual time trials for the first time since 2013. The course certainly looks different to what we’ve seen in the most recent years — but let’s not forget one part of the route we can always count on: the spectacular finale on the Champs Élysées. Allez.
The 108th edition begins with a demanding stage that will suit riders like Sergio Higuita and Rigoberto Urán since its final kilometres are uphill. And our Colombian duo certainly knows how to attack a climb or two.
Speaking of climbs: the famed and feared Mont Ventoux. There are just three summit finishes throughout this year’s route, but the race organisers decided that the ascent up the Mont Ventoux was so epic that it should be tackled not once…but twice.
While there are certainly fewer mountains than we’re used to seeing, we’ll have two days in the Alps and five in the Pyrenees. You should also expect more turbulence than usual in the form of heavy crosswinds, especially around Narbonne, Nimes, and Carcassonne regions.
Last but not least: time trialing. There will be 58 kilometres of it this year – more than we’re used to taking on at the recent Tours. Plus eight stages for the sprinters, which promise to suit fast finishers and opportunists.
This course certainly strays from what we’re used to seeing in the more recent editions, but it’s a highly entertaining and traditional route that will showcase the beautiful landscapes of France. It will be expectedly enthralling to ride (and of course watch).
Since the team is due to arrive on the western Brittany coast this Wednesday, we’ll get right to it. Here is your squad for this year’s Tour de France:
Stefan Bissegger “I always watched the Tour from home and the few opportunities where the race passed through Switzerland, we cheered from the side of the road. Once we rode up a hill top finish with the family when I was 10, I had a baguette for lunch in the backpack and one of the spectators tried to steal it whilst I was riding as a joke. It’s a big honour for me and means a lot to go to the Tour in my first full year pro. I want to do really well in the TT and then see what’s possible in the three weeks. We have a really strong team there so I will try to support them as well as possible.”
Magnus Cort “It is always a big deal to be going to the Tour de France. Even though it is not my first time, it still feels like a kid’s dream coming true.”
Ruben Guerreiro “The Tour was the race that always motivated me to be a cyclist. Since I was seven-years-old, I always watched. Now to be there for the first time will be a dream come true.”
Sergio Higuita: “Competing at the Tour de France is a very important opportunity because I want to give my best self to the team and show all of my potential. I especially want to support Rigoberto Urán, who has a great opportunity. I would like to be someone who can contribute and achieve great things for the team.”
Neilson Powless: “I’m super excited to return this year. I’m coming to the Tour this year with more experience and confidence than I had last year. Every year you get stronger and learn a little more, and I’m hoping to put those lessons I’ve learned over the past year into practice. It’s hard to pinpoint one part of the Tour I’m most excited for. I would say I’m most excited about the team I am racing with. Rigo was flying in Switzerland, and I was there to witness it first hand. I hope to be a part of the most successful Tour this team has had yet. I started to feel like myself again at the Tour de Suisse. I had a few days off, but as the race progressed I started to feel strong again. The final day was probably my best and that makes me really excited for the three weeks of racing we are about to begin. I also felt like I was able to give a little more to support Rigo, sometimes the motivation of a teammate doing well can also help you reach that next level.”
Jonas Rutsch: “For me, since I was a little boy and started watching the Tour de France it was always a dream to stand there on the start line. My father had to buy me a yellow jersey back then. I was always playing like I was one of the big riders. It’s my second professional year, probably the first real one and now, here we go. I’m really excited and for me it’s pure happiness that I made the Tour team this year. I wasn’t planning on something like this happening. I had the classics in my mind and I wanted to do my best there. But after that I took it step by step. I made it into a few stage races, I went to an altitude camp together with Stefan and I think I developed a bit of my ability to climb. But when I got the call from Charly [Wegelius, head sports director] it was a real surprise to me. I’m just looking forward to this famous special race and I want to give my best for the team. Whatever our sports director will tell me to do, I will give 150 percent.”
Rigoberto Urán: “This is my eighth participation in the Tour de France. It motivates me a lot to go back to racing and as every year I want to do my best, we have a very good team and we are going to try to do our best. In Switzerland it was better than I expected obviously. When you win it gives you extra motivation, it means that the work you are doing is going well and before the Tour de France I felt good. I will go day by day. The Tour de France is a very long race and anything can happen. I hope I am in good health and that everything goes well.”
Michael Valgren: “To be a part of it this year and to race with this amazing team is going to be so much fun. There’s so many things we can do as a team. The roster we are bringing is in great shape. We have some big goals with Rigo and guys who can perform well in the stages. Our Sports Directors are so well prepared and our soigneurs and our mechanics work so hard for us. We will want to fight hard for them and for the fans. I’m really looking forward to the special moments we will have together.”
TotalEnergies for the Tour
Niki Terpstra will not contest the Tour de France for the second year in a row. The Dutchman is not included in the selection submitted by his team, Team TotalEnergies. Within the team we see three riders who will make their debut in Brest on Saturday. Jérémy Cabot, Fabien Doubey and Cristián Rodriguez make their first appearance in the biggest cycling race in the world.
Pierre Latour, who came over from AG2R last winter, is, as expected, the leader of team. The winner of the white jersey in 2018 is primarily aiming for a classification. He will be supported in the high mountains by Victor De La Parte and Rodriguez.
Edvald Boasson Hagen has also made it into the selection, despite being in doubt for a long time. The Norwegian is the only rider in the team who knows what it’s like to win a stage in La Grande Boucle. In the past, Boasson Hagen won three Tour stages.
TotalEnergies for Tour de France 2021:
Pierre Latour (Fra)
Anthony Turgis (Fra)
Victor De La Parte (Spa)
Cristián Rodriquez (Spa)
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor)
Julien Simon (Fra)
Fabien Doubey (Fra)
Jérémy Cabot (Fra).
New TotalEnergies kit for the Tour:
Trek-Segafredo to the Tour Start in Brest
Trek-Segafredo has announced which eight riders will be at the start of the 108th Tour de France on Saturday in Brest. The team is counting on several big names with Vincenzo Nibali, Bauke Mollema, Mads Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven. Edward Theuns is also part of the final selection.
Theuns built up to the Tour via an altitude camp and the Tour of Switzerland, but the fast Belgian was not yet sure of a Tour selection, even after a strong Tour of Switzerland. “I actually thought I deserved that selection. It would be a shame if they left me at home so that I can’t take advantage of that form,” Theuns said after the Belgian road championship, in which he finished second behind Wout van Aert.
Theuns will go for the sprints at the Tour, but this year will also ride in the service of the equally fast Mads Pedersen. “Last year he had not yet shown his value in all sprints, but that is the case now. I think we definitely have a chance to win a stage with him. But apart from those group sprints, I think there are a lot of stages where an escape can have a chance. Then I also want to try to make move.”
In the flat sprints you have to look forward to Pedersen, with men like Theuns and Jasper Stuyven in his lead-out train. Trek-Segafredo starts with an attacking team, with potential stage winners such as Theuns, Stuyven, Julien Bernard, Kenny Elissonde and Toms Skujiņš. With Bauke Mollema and Vincenzo Nibali, the team is also counting on two proven stage race riders, although the focus of Nibali this year is not on a top final GC.
Mollema hopes to finish as high as possible in the standings, sports director Steven de Jongh indicated: “In the first instance, Bauke is going to take a shot at the classification. If that doesn’t work, he goes for stage wins.” Manager Luca Guercilena has great confidence in ‘old hands’ Mollema and Nibali. “They have a lot of experience and qualities. They are able to achieve top results in this team.”
Trek-Segafredo for the 2021 Tour de France:
Julien Bernard (Fra)
Kenny Elissonde (Fra)
Bauke Mollema (Ned)
Vincenzo Nibali (Ita)
Mads Pedersen (Den)
Toms Skujiņš (Lat)
Jasper Stuyven (Bel)
Edward Theuns (Bel).
The Shark at the Tour again:
Barbero replaces Aru in Team Qhubeka ASSOS line-up for Tour de France
Spain’s Carlos Barbero has been called up as a replacement for Fabio Aru in the Team Qhubeka ASSOS line-up to tackle the 108th Tour de France.
Barbero (30) will join three other riders on our roster who will make their first appearances at the race: Nicholas Dlamini, Sean Bennett and Victor Campenaerts. His selection will further compliment the team’s ambitions to race aggressively, a style which saw him net two top-10 stage finishes at the recent completed Criterium du Dauphine.
Barbero has twice raced the Vuelta a Espana, and has 12 career victories as a professional on his palmarès.
Revised Team Qhubeka ASSOS line-up [squad numbers]:
Simon Clarke – Australia 
Michael Gogl – Austria 
Victor Campenaerts – Belgium 
Max Walscheid – Germany 
Sean Bennett – USA 
Nic Dlamini – South Africa 
Sergio Henao – Colombia 
Carlos Barbero – Spain 
Carlos Barbero: “I am very excited to start my first-ever Tour de France. It was not on my initial plan for the season but in cycling, as in life, there can be changes and you have to be prepared for when those happen. I am incredibly happy and will look to continue the way in which the team have raced this year as we look to be as successful as possible.”
Ubuntu – I am because we are.
Fabio Aru: “I know what it takes to compete at the Tour and I felt that with the physical problems that I had over the weekend, my body is just not where it needs to be for me to be at my very best for the Grande Depart. After discussing the situation with the team I decided that it in was our best interests to withdraw from the selection. I want to wish the team, who have given me such great support all the very best, and I’ll be cheering along with the fans as we compete in the true spirit of Ubuntu. Our team races to continue to raise the awareness of how bicycles can change lives and I know that during the Tour de France this message will continue to make a huge difference in the world.”
La Course by Tour de France avec FDJ: Vos and Van der Breggen Head the List of Contenders
The Dutch will again be among the principal contenders for victory in the 8th edition of La Course by Tour de France avec FDJ, which will offer an undulating 107-kilometre course between Brest and Landerneau on 26 June, as a curtain-raiser to the first stage of the Tour de France. Two of women’s cycling’s best stand out on the entry list. Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma Women Team) is the most successful rider in the history of the sport. She won the race in 2014 and 2019, and world champion Anna van der Breggen (Team SD Worx) would like nothing more than to win the race a second time, six years after her triumph on the Champs-Elysées, before retiring at the end of the season. While Vos appears a bit isolated in her squad, Van der Breggen will be able to count on a formidable team with the presence of 2021 Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Demi Vollering, and 2017 world champion Chantal van den Broek-Blaak.
The stiffest competition to counter the Dutch armada will be the Trek-Segafredo team. Elizabeth Deignan is none other than the defending champion who won last year in Nice on the Promenade des Anglais. The British rider is in top form after her recent victory in the Tour de Suisse. Her teammate Audrey Cordon-Ragot will be eager to ride a strong race on home turf in Brittany. Other French challengers include Juliette Labous (Team DSM), who finished sixth in the Flèche Wallonne and recently crowned national champion Evita Muzic (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope). Muzic’s teammate and seventh-ranked rider in the world, The Netherlands’ Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig could create a surprise.
American sprinter Coryn Rivera (Team DSM) could also compete for victory if she can stay close on the first steep slopes of the côte de la Fosse aux Loups (3km at 5,7%), which the rider will climb four times and at the top of which the race will be decided. Polish rider Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM Racing) finished fourth last year and could do the same if not better. On the Flèche Wallonne in April, she did the best job of resisting the seven-time winner of the Mur de Huy, Anna van der Breggen.
22 teams, the leading riders:
Team BikeExchange: Spratt (Aus), Brown (Aus)
Arkéa Pro Cycling Team: Kerbaol (Fra)
FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope : Ludwig (Den), Cavalli (Ita), Muzic (Fra)
Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime Women Cycling: Rüegg (Swi)
Canyon//Sram Racing: Niewiadoma (Pol), Chabbey (Sui), Barnes (Gbr)
Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team: Confalonieri (Ita)
Team DSM: Labous (Fra), Rivera (Usa)
Drops-Le Col supported by TEMPUR: Lowden (Usa)
Ale’ BTC Ljubljana: Bastianelli (Ita), Bujak (Slo)
A.R. Monex Women’s Pro Cycling Team: Ragusa (Ita)
Top Girls Fassa Bortolo: Bariani (Ita)
Valcar – Travel & Service : Sanguineti (Ita)
Bizkaia – Durango: Alonso (Spa)
Massi – Tactic Women Team: Kern (Slo)
Movistar Team Women: Biannic (Fra)
Jumbo-Visma Women Team: Vos (Ned)
Liv Racing: Bertizzolo (Ita), Paladin (Ita)
Parkhotel Valkenburg: Van Bokhoven (Ned)
Team SD Worx: Van der Breggen (Ned), Van den Broeck-Blaak (Ned), Majerus (Lux), Vollering (Ned)
Rally Cycling: Doebel-Hickok (Usa), Koppenburg (Ger)
Trek-Segafredo: Deignan (Gbr), Cordon Ragot (Fra)
Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank: Stephens (Usa)
All information about La Course by Tour de France with FDJ HERE.
2019 La Course winner, Marianne Vos:
Bert Van Lerberghe: One Year Longer at Deceuninck – Quick-Step
Good news for Bert Van Lerberghe: the native of Kortrijk will continue to race in the Deceuninck – Quick-Step kit for a year longer. He will be seen in the colours of Patrick Lefevere’s team until the end of 2022, according to Het Nieuwsblad.
In the past, 28-year-old Van Lerberghe raced for Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise (2015-2017) and Cofidis (2018-2019). In 2020 he switched to the Belgian WorldTour team. This year, the West Fleming is part of the lead-out of Mark Cavendish. Van Lerberghe himself finished ninth this season in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
Bert Van Lerberghe:
UCI Team Ranking
The UCI have made a recent update to the 2021 Team Ranking this week. Looking at the top 10, we don’t see too many changes. INEOS Grenadiers is still in the lead, ahead of Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma.
Compared to last week, the change is between BORA-hansgrohe and Bahrain Victorious. The German team climbs one place and is now fifth, Bahrain Victorious drops to six. We also see that AG2R Citroën enters the top-10 again. This is at the expense of Team BikeExchange. The Australian formation is now 11th. INEOS Grenadiers is still in the lead with 9,381 points, although the difference with closest attackers Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma has become slightly smaller. UAE Team Emirates is still fourth and best ProTeam, Alpecin-Fenix, is eighth on the UCI Team Ranking.
UCI Team Ranking (on 22 June 2021):
1. INEOS Grenadiers – 9,381 points
2. Deceuninck – Quick-Step – 7,706 points
3. Jumbo-Visma – 5,922 points
4. UAE Team Emirates – 5,401 points
5. BORA-hansgrohe – 5,112 points
6. Bahrain Victorious – 5,048 points
7. Astana-Premier Tech – 4,905 points
8. Alpecin-Fenix – 4,647 points
9. Movistar – 3,991 points
10. AG2R Citroën – 3,945 points
11. Team BikeExchange – 3,876 points
12. Trek-Segafredo – 3,739 points
13. Groupama-FDJ – 3,695 points
14. Israel Start-Up Nation – 3,517 points
15. Cofidis – 2,872 points
16. Arkéa-Samsic – 2,678 points
17. Qhubeka ASSOS – 2,672 points
18. Lotto Soudal – 2.444 points
19. EF Education-Nippo – 2,246 points
20. TotalEnergies – 2,153 points
21. Team DSM – 1,923 points
22. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert – 1,618 points.
Alpecin-Fenix has long been the best ProTeam in the UCI Team Ranking. The Belgian team now stands on 4,647 points. The difference with number two Arkéa-Samsic is almost two thousand points. TotalEnergies, Bingoal Pauwels Sauces-WB and Uno-X are the next ProTeams in the standings.
Best five ProTeams in the UCI Team Ranking (on 22 June 2021):
8. Alpecin-Fenix – 4,647 points
16. Arkéa-Samsic – 2,678 points
20. TotalEnergies – 2,153 points
23. Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB – 1,421 points
24. Uno-X – 1,365 points.
INEOS Grenadiers still in the lead:
Great Britain Takes the Yates brothers, Thomas and Geoghegan Hart to Tokyo
The British Olympic Committee has announced which riders will participate in the cycle races at the Tokyo Olympics. Adam and Simon Yates are competing in the road race, as are Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart who are also competing in the time trial.
Simon Yates will first ride the Tour de France with his BikeExchange team, before he leaves for Tokyo. Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart (both INEOS Grenadiers) will also do the Tour first. Lizzie Deignan, who took silver at the London 2012 Olympics, will be joined in the women’s Olympic road race by Anna Shackley, who will also start in the time trial.
The reigning U23 world champion Tom Pidcock makes his appearance in the Olympic mountain bike race. The talented British all-rounder recently had to miss the Tour of Switzerland due to a collarbone fracture, but he has recovered in time for his first Olympics. In the women’s mountain bike race, Evie Richards appears at the start for Great Britain.
With Laura and Jason Kenny, Great Britain has the most successful female and male track cyclists ever in the roster. Laura Kenny is joined in the women’s endurance team by Olympic champions Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker, as well as Neah Evans and Josie Knight. Jason Kenny, Ryan Owens and Jack Carlin, form the British men’s sprint team.
Ed Clancy will try to win his fourth gold medal in a row in the team pursuit. The men’s endurance team also consists of Ethan Hayter, Ethan Vernon, Matt Wals and Ollie Wood. Katy Marchand represents Great Britain in the women’s sprint events.
Geraint Thomas to ride the Olympic road race and time trial:
Movistar Team to Sport Telefónica Tech Logo on its New kit
Blues will feature the Telefónica Tech brand on their race clothing at cycling’s top events; Telefónica Tech reinforces values of teamwork, self-improvement, effort and resilience shared with their athletes.
Movistar Team has today presented its new kit in which, for the first time, Telefónica Tech (Telefónica’s digital business holding company created in November 2019) will be present as a collaborating brand. This new alliance with Movistar Team joins the existing one in the technological field, where Telefónica Tech applies Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and Artificial Intelligence technologies to improve the performance and competitiveness of the squad.
The presentation of the new kit was attended by Eusebio Unzué (Movistar Team general manager), Patxi Vila (Movistar Team head of performance) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team rider), as well as Rafael Fernández de Alarcón (brand, media, research and sponsorship director of Telefónica S.A.), José Cerdán (CEO of Telefónica Tech) and Pedro de Alarcón (head of the sports analytics department of Telefónica Tech).
Movistar Team riders will wear the Telefónica Tech brand on the side of their jersey and bib shorts from the Tour de France, which starts this Saturday 26th June, and will also sport it in other important races on the UCI WorldTour calendar and in three-week rounds such as the Vuelta a España. In this way, Telefónica Tech shows its commitment to the world of sport and its identification with the values of teamwork, self-improvement, effort, perseverance and resilience of a team with a great trajectory and professional recognition that accumulates more than 940 victories in its track record.
For José Cerdán, CEO of Telefónica Tech, “we are proud that Movistar Team is an ambassador for Telefónica Tech within and beyond our borders because we fully identify with its values and its ability to adapt – and even anticipate – to the new times marked by technological innovation. Movistar Team is a highly technical team that has been able to see the potential that our technologies offer them to discover sporting trends, increase the team’s performance and design strategies to achieve better physical recovery of the riders”.
For his part, Eusebio Unzué thanked “the renewed trust that all those who make up Telefónica have placed in us by putting in our hands one of their new benchmark brands, one that also helps us to continue identifying with the future that Telefónica Tech undoubtedly represents. We hope that all the people who are part of this new commitment find satisfaction in seeing their work expressed so visibly on the roads”.
The potential of Big Data for competition strategy
The application of Big Data in the world of cycling generates important competitive advantages that have been expanding over the years thanks to the implementation of increasingly novel and innovative solutions. Telefónica Tech has developed, among others, a new tool for the exhaustive analysis of the competitions from the data generated by the riders during each one of them. This information is processed by algorithms and compared with the entire history of competitions, allowing sports directors to make precise and highly personalised decisions on the strategy before and during the competition. Thanks to this technology, Movistar Team obtains accurate assessments of the performance of its riders, better manages recoveries and facilitates the detection of improvement points to work on during training.
This new tool is a further step in the evolution of the use of new technologies in the world of cycling, a sport where the data generated is digitised with high quality through sensors installed on the bicycle and on the rider him/herself. In fact, an average of 7-8 variables are captured every second that the rider is pedalling, which means millions of data in a great lap, which are subsequently increased exponentially by applying formulas designed in the field of Sports Science.
The massive generation of data and its analysis, through Big Data and Artificial Intelligence, has made it possible to consolidate all the Movistar Team’s data in an exclusive and highly personalised tool with analytical and visual information on each rider. The data collected also provides great value for designing training workloads based on the athlete’s state of fitness and studying the impact generated by the incorporation of new equipment components or protocols associated with the team’s dynamics.
Telefónica Tech is a key holding of the Telefónica Group. The company offers a wide range of integrated technology services and solutions in Cyber Security, Cloud, IoT, Big Data and Blockchain. For more information, visit: https://tech.telefonica.com/.
Specialized Renews Contract with Most Successful Team in the World, Deceuninck – Quick-Step
The six-year extension will see our team ride Specialized helmets, shoes, and bikes in addition to Roval wheels and components.
The California based Specialized have been a huge part of our success in recent years, with Deceuninck – Quick-Step riding Specialized bikes to victory in some of the biggest and most famous races across the planet, including Julian Alaphilippe’s 2020 World Championships victory in Imola. Their drive for innovation has seen them work hard with both our athletes and staff to push the evolution of the bikes that they produce, which led to the development of their flagship Tarmac SL7, that carried Julian to his memorable triumph in Italy.
Expressing his happiness at reaching a new agreement until the end of 2027, Mike Sinyard – Founder and CEO of Specialized Bicycles – said: “For over a decade, Deceuninck – Quick-Step has been instrumental in the development of cutting-edge technology for our bikes and equipment, which has resulted in some of the most monumental victories for Specialized. We are honoured to continue the close partnership with Patrick and this special team, to drive the future of our sport.”
This was echoed by Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere: “We are delighted to extend our agreement with Specialized, who has been a vital part of what we have achieved in recent times. You only have to look at the record books to get a feel for their standing in the sport of professional cycling, and we have hugely enjoyed having them by our side. In a sport as product orientated as cycling, it is perhaps too obvious to say that the equipment we provide our athletes must be of the highest quality and perfect for the purpose. That is where Specialized is impeccable as a partner – rather than tell us what they need, they interact with us, and we develop and evolve together. Their processes and communications, their enthusiasm, their drive for innovation, and their eye for details make them the perfect technical partner. We are very much looking forward to developing our relationship even further and working together to achieve the goals that we have set ourselves for the coming years.”
Staying with Specialized:
BORA – hansgrohe’s Tour de France Kit Celebrates X BO, the “next big step” from BORA, and 120 Years of Hansgrohe
While BORA will be presenting a new product in the form of X BO in time for the start of the Tour, Hansgrohe is celebrating the company’s 120th anniversary. Its founder – Hans Grohe – was always to be seen with a cheeky moustache, an inspiration for the whole team at the Tour de France.
“We are delighted that our team is supporting us and wearing our revolutionary new Flex oven, BORA X BO, on their jerseys throughout France and all the way to Paris. We are very proud of X BO, which brings a new comfort of cooking into the kitchen. We wish the team surrounding captains Peter Sagan and Wilco Kelderman all the best, and hope that they will be able to achieve sporting success with X BO. Our fingers are crossed.” – Willi Bruckbauer, CEO BORA.
“We are proud of the long history of our group of companies. As the hansgrohe brand, we are delighted to create a new arena for this special anniversary with the 120th anniversary jersey and related sponsorship activities. We will be cheering along at the Tour and wish the pros every success.” – Marc André Palm, Head of Global Brand Marketing at hansgrohe
“We always take the challenges in designing special edition jerseys as an occasion to create something cool and have fun while we’re doing it. It’s never only about a jersey, rather it’s always about a complete communication project. This time the chance was rich and the brief clear. Working on the design and creating the story was great. We are really happy that we contributed to celebrating our co-sponsors with this project.” – Alessio Cremonese, CEO Manifattura Valcismon.
“I am very pleased that this year, our Tour de France Jersey has not only a new design, but also one with a story behind it. With Hansgrohe, we’re celebrating their 120th anniversary, and BORA is introducing a new product on the occasion of the start of the Tour. We’re looking forward to that almost as much as the opening stage.” – Ralph Denk, Team Manager.
BORA X BO – The new comfort of cooking
There are only a few more days left until BORA reveals the secret surrounding BORA X BO. On 25 June 2021 at 20:00 (CET), the new comfort of cooking will be presented and another milestone at BORA will be reached. You can follow the product premiere via Youtube. Available on 25/06 at 20:00 here:
https://youtu.be/S7daMAXK3ic or here: bora.com/int/en/bora-x-bo/
Setting the beat of water. Since 1901
With the slogan, “Setting the beat of water. Since 1901.” the premium brand of the Hansgrohe Group, hansgrohe, is highlighting its leading role in the areas of innovation, design and quality in the bathroom and kitchen industry, as part of its anniversary campaign, the #hansfactor. Innovation-driven projects and a love of tinkering and discovery have been deeply embedded within the company and its product DNA for over 120 years. Never losing curiosity and always questioning the status quo, yet acting responsibly and placing people at the centre – that’s what the #hansfactor stands for.
Introducing the Sportful BORA – hansgrohe Tour de France kit: much more than just a game
The brief from the Team was clear: let’s celebrate our friends at Hansgrohe and their 120th birthday. And we started to think.
The result? A retro looking jersey with our favourite colour in the Sportful palette, inspired by chess.
Because the Tour de France – like chess – is much more than just a game.
Jan Raas Breaks his Silence in ‘De Raboploeg’ Book
Zeeland cycling legend Jan Raas has been silent about his break with Rabobank for eighteen years, but in the book ‘De Raboploeg’, published on Wednesday, the classic king breaks his silence. Journalist Maarten Kolsloot spoke with Raas and more than 270 people involved for the book.
Kolsloot spoke for 2.5 hours with the 68-year-old ex-team boss. Raas talks about his team’s transfer policy, the difficult cooperation with Rabobank, his knowledge about doping use in the peloton and about the disappointing sporting performance of his team. He also talks about his version on the transfer of Michael Rasmussen, the Danish yellow jersey wearer who came to Rabobank against the wishes of the manager and whose arrival heralded the darkest days of the Rabobank team.
When did the team manager actually know that EPO was being used in the peloton? “I don’t remember the year for a while,” says Raas, “But it was at the time that riders went to Milan-San Remo without doing a preparation race and then rode on the front.” He throws his hands up. “Hey, I never believed in fairy tales.” The book naturally focuses on the rift between Raas and Rabobank, the bank’s meddling and the scheming behind the scenes.
In ‘De Raboploeg’ the period between the summer of 1995 and the autumn of 2012 is discussed. The years that Rabobank rode in the peloton with a professional team. Eight chapters focus on the founding phase, the first doping affair, the classic successes of the team, the development team, the sponsor’s role in Dutch cycling and of course the dramatic years 2007 (Rasmussen from the Tour) and 2012 (dissolution of the Rabobank team).
Archive material that has not been revealed before shows how the bank committed itself to various major tours in their country. Furthermore, internal documents shed new light on the failed transfers of riders such as Erik Zabel and Lance Armstrong. It also appears that several riders of the development team suffered from eating disorders. The book also shows that after the Tour of 2007, a previously unknown whistleblower rose within the team.
Jan Raas at Rabo:
Road to the Tour: Richard Carapaz | INEOS Grenadiers Behind the Scenes
Go behind the scenes of Richard Carapaz’s altitude training on home roads and see what it takes to prepare for the 2021 Tour de France.
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