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EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

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More action from the UAE Tour with reports, results and video. TOP STORY – The 2021 Giro d’Italia route. Big weekend in Belgium: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne – All the latest news from the teams. Rider news from Zdenek Stybar, Tom Dumoulin, Nairo Quintana, Thibaut Pinot, George Bennett and Remco Evenepoel. Race news: The Netherlands wants the Super World Cycling Championships in 2027, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix, Critérium du Dauphiné, Clásica San Sebastián, E3 Saxo Bank Classic, Klasika Primavera and the Olympia’s Tour. And Patrick Van Gansen suspended by the UCI. Big EUROTRASH Thursday!

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TOP STORY: 2021 Giro d’Italia Route Revealed
The 2021 Giro d’Italia 2021 race route was unveiled by RCS on Wednesday. The Italian Grand Tour starts in Turin with a time trial of 9 kilometres and ends three weeks later with another race against the clock. The last stage from Senago to Milan is 29.4 kilometres long.

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The Giro will stay in the Piemonte region for the first three days. It is the 700 year commemoration of the Italian poet and writer Dante Alighieri this year. Stage 13 is in his memory from Ravenna, where Alighieri is buried, to Verona. The 2021 Giro will hit the roads of Strade Bianche. Stage 11 from Perugia to Montalcino has several unpaved sections in the finalé. The next day the start is in Siena’s Piazza del Campo, where the Strade Bianche finishes, for the stage to Bagno di Romagna, which is dedicated to former cyclists Alfredo Martini and Gino Bartali.

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The first deciding stage in the Giro 2021 will be to Monte Zoncolan on 22 May. The mythical climb was last used in 2018, when Chris Froome won. The Zoncolan is one of the toughest climbs in Europe, given the average gradient of over 10%, ramps well above 20%. This year it will be climbed from Sutrio. The highest climb of this year’s edition of the Giro d’Italia, the Cima Coppi, is the Passo Pardoi at 2,239 metres altitude. The Pardoi is part of the Dolomite stage to Cortina d’Ampezzo in the penultimate weekend. The Passo Fedaia and the Passo Giau are also included in that mountain stage.

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The Giro leaves Italy on two occasions. Stage 15 from Grado to Gorizia crosses Slovenian territory, but finishes just back on the Italian side of the border. On the penultimate stage from Verbania to Valle Spluga/Alpe Motta goes through Switzerland. This year’s Giro is mainly in Northern and Central Italy. Guardia Sanframondi in the province of Benevento, the finish town of stage 8, is the most southerly point.

Stay tuned to PEZ for the Giro 2021 ‘First Look’ soon. You can read more on the Giro HERE.

 

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UAE Tour 2021
Filippo Ganna was the favourite for the UAE Tour individual time trial and didn’t disappoint. In the 13 kilometre Stage 2, the Italian set the fastest time and Tadej Pogačar took the leader’s jersey.

After a positive corona test by one of the staff members, Alpecin-Fenix ​​decided to remove the entire team from the tour. As a result, Mathieu van der Poel, winner of the opening stage and overall leader, did not start on Monday. David Dekker, who was second on the first stage behind the Dutch champion, became the new wearer of the leaders red jersey.

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The stage had a pan-flat profile on the man-made island of Al Hudayriyat, and there were hardly any corners or other technical sections. The big question was who could beat Filippo Ganna, the reigning world time trial champion.

Ganna, who has already shown good form with two stage victories in the Étoile de Bessèges, did not disappoint. The Italian fast-man finished in 13:56 at an average of 55.9 kilometres per hour, 14 seconds faster than Stefan Bissegger, who had been in the hot seat for some time. After Ganna there were still fourteen riders to finish, but the World TT champion was the only rider under fourteen minutes.

In the battle for the red jersey; João Almeida and Tadej Pogačar were the top men after the non start of Van der Poel. The UAE Team Emirates Tour winner was 8 seconds faster at the first intermediate point. Almeida made up a couple of seconds at the line, but it was Pogačar who took the leader’s jersey from Dekker with a 5 second advantage over Aleida and 21 seconds on Mattia Cattaneo.

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Stage winner, Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers): “I am really happy with this result, achieved in this amazing Rainbow Jersey. Every ITT is a different race, it is never easy. Some people think that because I am the World Champion, ITTs are easy for me, but it’s not like this, every new race is a new test. Today I did a good performance, the next time I’ll be doing one will be at Tirreno-Adriatico. Yesterday we had to stop for ‘physiologic needs’ and then the echelons started. Luckily we had Adam [Yates] in the front, we hope he can claim back the Red Jersey that he won last year. The wind will still play an important role in this race, many things can still change. My focus now is to help Adam [Yates], especially before the climbs begin.”

4th on the stage and overall leader, Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates): “The wind was quite strong in the end, but I did my best and got a really good time. I knew my capabilities and performed even better than expected if I’m honest. We’ll take things day by day but we’re happy to take the leaders’ jersey and will defend it until the end. We’re optimistic and I’m really happy. It didn’t matter before the start how good Almeida would do, I just concentrated on myself and did the best I could. It was a really good performance from my side. Five seconds isn’t much of an advantage. I am defending, he is attacking so it’s better for me to control but we will see; there are still five stages to go. Tomorrow is the hardest mountain finish, so I hope I have the best legs. It’s a bit of an advantage that I know the route but if you have good power on the climb it doesn’t really matter if you know every metre. In the end the best rider will be the first to the top.”

6th on the stage and 2nd overall, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “Today was very windy, but I gave everything out there and I am really happy with my effort. It’s my first race of the season and it’s a nice feeling to know I’m on the podium after two hard stages. We are in a good position for the first summit finish and we’ll continue like this, taking it day by day and seeing where that leads us.”

Alpecin-Fenix Withdraws from the UAE Tour
Alpecin-Fenix, in agreement with the UAE Tour organiser, have decided to withdraw its team from the race, in order to safeguard the race bubble and ensure the safe continuation of the race.

The team was notified of one positive result of a member of its staff from the round of tests conducted on Sunday evening, 21st of February.

Upon receiving the results, the person immediately went into isolation, and all those who came into contact with this person are self-isolating, in compliance with the protocol measures put in place by the race organisers and UAE Health Authorities. All team members will undertake further tests in the coming days, while they remain in isolation.

UAE Tour Stage 2 Result:
1. Filippo Ganna (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers in 13:56
2. Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-Nippo at 0:14
3. Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates at 0:21
4. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:24
5. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:30
6. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
7. Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka Assos at 0:32
8. Stefan De Bod (RSA) Astana-Premier Tech at 0:33
9. Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:36
10. Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start-up Nation at 0:38.

UAE Tour Overall After Stage 2:
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 4:00:05
2. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:05
3. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:18
4. Chris Harper (Aus) Jumbo-Visma at 0:33
5. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:39
6. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-Nippo at 0:41
7. Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:45
8. David Dekker (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:46
9. Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:47
10. Mattias Jensen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 0:48.

Stage 2:

 

Tadej Pogačar won the first mountain stage of the UAE Tour. The Slovenian had to go deep on the steep ramp of Jebel Hafeet to follow Adam Yates, but Pogačar eventually managed to come round the British defending champion in the sprint for the line of Stage 3.

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With top favourite Tadej Pogačar in the red leader’s jersey, the peloton tackled the first mountain stage today to Jebel Hafeet. The Slovenian won on this climb last year and this time had to keep an eye on João Almeida and defending champion Adam Yates, the two remaining competitors for the overall victory.

Thomas De Gendt and Tony Gallopin managed to take a maximum lead of 7 minutes on the long ride through the desert. Echelons seemed out of the question for a long time, but at just over 80 kilometres from the finish, some teams tried to split the race. The bunch started to get nervous due to the sudden acceleration by Bahrain Victorious and BORA-hansgrohe, but in the end the wind turned out to be just right for forming echelons. The riders with overall ambitions could relax as they didn’t need to worry about being in the wrong echelon. The lead of the break had dropped to around 2 minutes, but in the run-up to the final climb, De Gendt and Gallopin took a further 4 minutes minutes from the Deceuninck – Quick-Step led peloton. The Belgian team tried several times to tear things apart, but it didn’t happen, and so the peloton was together at the foot of Jebel Hafeet, a climb of almost 11 kilometres at 6.6%, with ramps of up to 11%. At the foot, the difference between De Gendt and Gallopin and the peloton was 1 minute.

On the climb of Jebel Hafeet, Gallopin rode away from De Gendt, who willingly let himself be swallowed up by the peloton, where UAE Team Emirates set the pace for leader Pogačar. The pace of Jan Polanc was too high for many, including Alexey Lutsenko, who almost managed to win on Jebel Hafeet last year. Alejandro Valverde, Patrick Konrad and Chris Froome also had trouble hanging on. After the hard work from Polanc, it was up to Rafal Majka to keep the pace high, but the Polish climber was soon relieved by the INEOS Grenadiers men. The British team blew the favourites group apart. Five kilometres from the top and the group was down to 15 riders. Sepp Kuss attacked from that group. The American Jumbo-Visma rider had Yates, Pogačar and Neilson Powless with him, Almeida lost a little distance on the others, but was able to rejoin. Yates was looking comfortable, but with 4 kilometres to go, the Brit decided it was time to put his competitors to the test. Pogačar was the only rider able to follow Yates’ attack.

Yates tried to drop Pogačar with several attacks, but he wasn’t going to give up and also didn’t ride with the Brit for tactical reasons. The difference between the two men on the overall was 39 seconds in favour of Pogačar and so it was up to Yates to make the race. In the chase group, Almeida was leading, but the Portuguese rider was unable to cross to Pogačar and Yates. The lead went up to 40 seconds, as Yates kept the speed high with Pogačar in his wheel. Pogačar had to grit his teeth to follow, but in the sprint he had enough left for the victory.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “We wanted to win and we did, at the end of a really hard day. The team showed an excellent performance, always riding in the right positions and setting the pace in the first part of the climb. I was able to respond to the various attacks, even those of Yates. Adam was very strong, which made it tougher and for this reason I am even happier. It was also important to have widened the gap with the other guys in the GC. I knew the ending well and how to approach it in the best way. I knew I had to start early and enter the last two corners first. The title of the UAE Tour general classification is far from over, given that we will still have to face an uphill finish and given that the wind can still create dangers in the last four stages.”

4th on the stage, Emanuel Buchmann (BORA-hansgrohe): “I had good legs and I am happy. Of course, I am not at my top level yet and it was my first race since month, therefore, the race rhythm isn’t really there yet, and it is hard when the pace is super high. I struggled a little at some point but recovered quite well and felt strong again at the end. It’s a pity we lost the race already at day one, but at least now we know that our winter preparation was good.”

4th on the stage and 3rd overall, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It was a hard race. It was super warm and that made it difficult. But I did a good climb and I’m happy with the result. Nobody was helping me to get back on the chasing group but I managed to not lose too much time. I think it was a positive outcome. I guess the top 3 is my goal. I’d love to be on the final podium of the UAE Tour.”

UAE Tour Stage 3 Result:
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 3:58:35
2. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
3. Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education-Nippo at 0:48
4. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
5. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
7. Florian Stork (Ger) DSM at 0:54
8. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-Nippo
9. Chris Harper (Aus) Jumbo-Visma at 1:00
10. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 1:09.

UAE Tour Overall After Stage 3:
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 7:58:30
2. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:43
3. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:03
4. Chris Harper (Aus) Jumbo-Visma at 1:43
5. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-Nippo at 1:45
6. Mattias Jensen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 2:36
7. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 2:38
8. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 2:39
9. Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Cofidis at 3:32
10. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 4:47.

Stage 3:

 

Stage 4 of the UAE Tour was won by sprinter Sam Bennett. The Deceuninck – Quick-Step Irishman was the fastest at the finish on Al Marjan Island ahead of David Dekker (Jumbo-Visma), who finished second (again). Caleb Ewan completed the podium for Lotto Soudal. Tadej Pogacar kept his leader’s jersey.

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After all the action of the first days, the peloton apparently needed a rest day. In the 204 kilometre flat stage that started and finished on Al Marjan Island, there was very little action. There was one attempt to form echelons, but that failed.

Francois Bidard (AG2R Citroën) and Olivier Le Gac (Groupama-FDJ) escaped more than half way through the stage and really were just stretching their legs. When Bidard had a mechanical problem, Le Gac waited for him. The two Frenchmen had their freedom for about 60 kilometres and they were caught by the peloton with just under 30 kilometres to go. Not much happened in the peloton, but there were the two intermediate sprints. In the first sprint David Dekker took full points, he was also the fastest from the peloton in the second sprint, but Le Gac and Bidard were first and second.

Eventually the pace did pick up. Israel Start-up Nation was the first to send their train into the final kilometre, but BORA-hansgrohe took over. The German team’s sprinter, Pascal Ackermann had to start too early and was passed in the last meters and had to be content with sixth place. Sam Bennett timed his sprint perfectly to pass Ackermann at about a hundred metres from the line on the inside for the win. Bennett gave Deceuninck – Quick-Step their third victory of the year, after two stage wins in the Tour de La Provence. For Bennett it is the fiftieth professional victory in his career. Behind Bennett; Dekker took second place, managing to come from behind. In the opening stage, the young Dutchman also sprinted to second place, just behind Mathieu van der Poel.

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Stage winner, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I was a little frustrated missing the sprint on the first stage and I knew there were only three more opportunities, so I was really motivated today. At the same time, I was pretty nervous, because it was the first bunch sprint of the season for myself and you never know what’s your condition coming out of the winter. Having the team do such a great job you just want to bring the victory. I knew all I had to do was follow the guys, who made my job easier, and with my legs good in the end I was able to do the sprint I wanted. It was a messy finale, but I made it thanks to this amazing Wolfpack, who controlled the stage and then delivered me in the perfect position! I am proud to score my 50th victory here! It was a long, hot stage, but it now feels great to get the first bunch sprint of the year out of the way. It’s a perfect way to start the season.”

Overall leader, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a pretty long and hot day in the saddle. I think we all felt the consequences of yesterday’s stage. Today it was more relaxed, but still very fast in the finale. It was a shame that our sprinter Fernando Gaviria didn’t win, but we have another opportunity tomorrow. The next stage is going to be super hard. We all know how strong Adam Yates is. I hope to have good legs again.”

6th on the stage, Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe): “Today we managed to stay all together at the front of the bunch quite well, but maybe a little early as we invested a lot of energy there. With one kilometre to go only Martin was with me anymore and he decided to hit the front. He did a great job, but when I felt the speed comes down a little, I gave it a go and launched my sprint. Then, the line was a little too far today and, in the end, I didn’t make it. But my legs are good, so let’s see what’s possible in the next sprints here.”

UAE Tour Stage 4 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:51:51
2. David Dekker (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
4. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
5. Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
6. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain-Victorious
8. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Qhubeka Assos
9. Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
10. Kaden Groves (Aus) BikeExchange.

UAE Tour Overall After Stage 4:
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 12:50:21
2. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:43
3. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:03
4. Chris Harper (Aus) Jumbo-Visma at 1:43
5. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-Nippo at 1:45
6. Mattias Jensen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 2:36
7. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 2:38
8. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
9. Ruben Fernandez Andujar (Spa) Cofidis at 3:32
10. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 4:47.

Stage 4:

 

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Zdenek Stybar Leaves Deceuninck-Quick-Step Training Camp Early
Zdeněk Štybar was with his Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates in Spain for a training camp, but the classic specialist had to return to his home country of Czech Republic for personal reasons. His grandfather had passed away.

“Thanks to Deceuninck – Quick-Step for allowing me to leave the training camp overnight,” Štybar said via Instagram. “The team gave me a team car, racing bike and some snacks for a trip of 1,500 kilometres. That way I can be with my family in these difficult times.”

The 35-year-old Štybar was in Spain to prepare for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the Belgian opening classic that is scheduled for this Saturday. As a former winner, the Czech is one of the spearheads of his Deceuninck – Quick-Step team.

In addition to Štybar, World champion Julian Alaphilippe, Kasper Asgreen, Davide Ballerini, Tim Declercq, Yves Lampaert (2nd last year) and Florian Sénéchal will also be on the start line of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Zdeněk Štybar:
stybar

 

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Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Feb 27th) Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne (Feb 28th)
Greg Van Avermaet won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2016 and 2017. He finished third in 2014 and 2019. “We have made it clear that we have big ambitions and these two opening races are important. With Oliver and Greg, we have two great cards to play with a strong team around our leaders,” said Julien Jurdie, directeur sportif.

Oliver Naesen: “I’m approaching the start of the classics season with, of course, a lot of motivation and desire. The team has grown a lot in this area and that’s important. This is the kind of race where it is never good to be isolated, and there’s no question that if you have a stronger “block” you can weigh in more on the race’s unfolding. I am happy to be able now to share this with Greg Van Avermaet who is a good friend. I do not have the same benchmarks as other years as to my form because due to the cancellation of the races in Spain, I had to change my program. So I raced with a different peloton. Nevertheless, the level was high and I felt in good shape. That is definitely a good sign. The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is, along with the Tour of Flanders and the GP E3, one of my favourite races among the Belgian classics.”

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Michaël Schär, whose wife is shortly expecting the birth of their baby, had initially been planned to line up at these two races, will be replaced by Julien Duval at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Lawrence Naesen at Kuurne – Bruxelles – Kuurne.

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Deceuninck – Quick-Step Ready for the Opening Weekend
World Champion Julian Alaphilippe returns on the cobbles at the end of this week.

Held since 1945, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will run its 76th edition this Saturday, when the Wolfpack will line out in Gent for a 201km journey – peppered by 13 hills, including the iconic Muur-Kapelmuur and Bosberg – that at the end will take them to Ninove. The race, which kicks off the Classics campaign that is set to stretch until the end of April, will mark World Champion Julian Alaphilippe’s first outing on the cobbles since last autumn’s Ronde van Vlaanderen, and at the same time, his Omloop debut.

First, and so far, only Czech rider in history to have won a cobbled Classic (the 2019 Omloop and E3), Zdenek Stybar will also be at the start, part of a very strong Deceuninck – Quick-Step team that will include the likes of Kasper Asgreen, Davide Ballerini, Tim Declercq, last year’s runner-up Yves Lampaert and Florian Sénéchal.

On Sunday, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne will put on the table a course that in the past years has made it really difficult for the sprinters to be in contention at the finish. Despite the largely flat roads in the last part of the 197km race, it remains to be seen if the peloton’s fast men will still be in the main group by then, as the route will offer the attackers plenty of opportunities to dispatch them, as evidenced by last year’s edition, when Kasper Asgreen superbly held off the bunch after launching a move more than 30 kilometres from home.

The Danish Champion will be one of the team’s three Omloop riders at the start of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne twenty-four hours later, alongside Lampaert and Stybar. They will be joined for the 73rd edition of the race by Stijn Steels, Bert Van Lerberghe, and two cobblestone rookies, Alvaro Hodeg and Jannik Steimle.

“It’s finally that time of the year, the Opening Weekend which riders and fans love so much. We are excited and really looking forward to it. Julian will have another nice shot of showing what he is capable of doing on the Flemish roads, after last year’s De Ronde. It will be great to see him ride a prestigious race as Omloop clad in the rainbow jersey.”

“We are curious to see Davide Ballerini – who had a superb start to the season in Provence – in action. Last year he was slated to make his cobbles debut for us, but due to the weird season that we had, this has been postponed for this year. Styby is a former winner of Omloop, while Kasper produced a masterpiece at the previous edition of Kuurne. Yves, who was again strong on the cobbles last season, Florian, Tim – who everyone is used to see at the front pulling hard for the team – Alvaro, Jannik, Stijn and Bert will provide us with a lot of options and firepower for the weekend, which we await with plenty of confidence and motivation,” explained Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Tom Steels.

27.02 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Elite (BEL) 1.UWT
Riders:

Julian Alaphilippe (FRA)
Kasper Asgreen (DEN)
Davide Ballerini (ITA)
Tim Declercq (BEL)
Yves Lampaert (BEL)
Florian Sénéchal (FRA)
Zdenek Stybar (CZE)
Sports Director: Wilfried Peeters (BEL), Tom Steels (BEL) and Rik van Slycke (BEL).

28.02 Kuurne – Bruxelles – Kuurne (BEL) 1.Pro
Riders:

Kasper Asgreen (DEN)
Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (COL)
Yves Lampaert (BEL)
Stijn Steels (BEL)
Jannik Steimle (GER)
Zdenek Stybar (CZE)
Bert Van Lerberghe (BEL).
Sports Director: Wilfried Peeters (BEL), Tom Steels (BEL) and Rik van Slycke (BEL).

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astana 2021
Aranburu and Felline Lead Astana-Premier Tech in Opening Weekend
Astana-Premier Tech is betting on two men for the Flemish opening weekend. Alex Aranburu and Fabio Felline will lead the team in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

“The team will ride in support of Aranburu and Felline,” said sports director Stefano Zanini, Canadian Benjamin Perry makes his debut for the team. “However, we do not have a top favourite for these matches. We have to drive aggressively and see what the possibilities are. Fabio has been good at the Omloop in the past. He just missed the podium in 2017,” the Italian continued. “Alex made his debut in the Belgian classics last year and since then he has grown a lot as a rider.”

Astana-Premier Tech team for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2021 (27 February):
Alex Aranburu (Spa)
Manual Boaro (Ita)
Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kaz)
Fabio Felline (Ita)
Gorka Izagirre (Spa)
Davide Martinelli (Ita)
Benjamin Perry (Can).

Astana-Premier Tech team for Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne 2021 (28 February):
Alex Aranburu (Spa)
Manual Boaro (Ita)
Artyom Zakharov (Kaz)
Fabio Felline (Ita)
Gorka Izagirre (Spa)
Davide Martinelli (Ita)
Benjamin Perry (Can).

Fabio Felline:
pantani 20 fellini

 

lotto soudal
Wellens and Gilbert in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Lotto Soudal has chosen its team for the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. John Lelangue’s team starts with a predominantly Belgian selection including Philippe Gilbert and Tim Wellens.

Gilbert is a two-time winner of the Omloop. Tim Wellens was recently put forward by teammate Thomas De Gendt as the top favourite for the race. “Tim has proven that he is in pole position to win the Omloop.” Gilbert and Wellens will be accompanied by three other Belgians: Florian Vermeersch, Brent Van Moer and Frederik Frison. Andreas Kron and Stefano Oldani complete the team.

Wellens finished third in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2019. Gilbert won the race in 2006 and 2008. The team won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2002, when Peter Van Petegem took his third and last victory in the Flemish opener.

Lotto Soudal for the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (27 February):
Frederik Frison (Bel)
Philippe Gilbert (Bel)
Andreas Kron (Den)
Stefano Oldani (Ita)
Brent Van Moer (Bel)
Florian Vermeersch (Bel)
Tim Wellens (Bel).

Race favourite Tim Wellens:
wellens

 

bahrain
Bahrain Victorious Confident Ahead of Belgian Classics Openers
The Belgian cycling season will kick off on 27th February with the 76th edition of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The provisional start list promises an exciting race from Ghent to the finish in Ninove, for the first UCI WorldTour race on European soil.

On 28th February is the 73rd edition of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, as always on the ninth Sunday of the year. Together, the two races are known as the Opening Weekend marking the start of Classics season in Europe.

Team Bahrain Victorious are confident going into the Opening Weekend as Sports Director Rolf Aldag reveals the team goals: “The coming races in Belgium are going to be the first real test on cobbles, and that needs a lot of commitment from riders and the whole team. It’s hard work, and we know that we’re going to face many young motivated neo pros and rising talent on home soil — Belgians who are really hard to beat.

“We are confident with the team’s depth. Sonny Colbrelli for a sprint finish, a super motivated Dylan Teuns and an experienced Heinrich Haussler. It’s also an exciting moment for Mark Padun, who never raced in Belgium. I’m excited about it. We are here to race and really go out there, ride offensive and be fully committed.”

Sonny Colbrelli is looking forward to his first race of the season: “Here we go with the first race of this 2021 season. It’s the season Classics opening in Belgium, and for this reason, it’s very important for me to have a good start. I must admit it’s not a soft start to the racing season. Still, I will be coming to the race after an excellent block of altitude training with the team, and I’m also very motivated. We have a perfect lineup to do well at the start of the Classics season.”

Dylan Teuns is feeling good ahead of the race: “I’m really motivated for the opening classics of the year. I came good out of Tour de La Provence. I had a good week of training at home, and now I’m all set to race on Saturday”.

Team Bahrain Victorious lineup:
Sonny Colbrelli / Marco Haller / Heinrich Haussler / Mark Padun / Marcel Sieberg / Dylan Teuns / Stephen Williams.

bahrain

 

dsm
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Elite
Marc Reef – Team DSM coach: “After a long period of good preparation with some of the guys just back from a solid team altitude block, we’re looking forward to opening weekend and the first cobbled race of the year at Omloop. Romain makes his race debut for the team and for most it’s also their season opener. Our main goal is to race aggressively and as a block, like we showed in races last year, in search of a good result. It depends on the weather and the direction of the wind, but after every corner a new chance to make a move is there, and we have to ride aggressively to take those chances and opportunities. We have multiple riders that are able to get a good result in the race, but the most important thing is that we do it together and as a block, playing it out tactically so that we can bounce off of each other and use strength in numbers to our advantage.”

Line-up:
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Romain Bardet (FRA)
Tiesj Benoot (BEL)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Jasha Sütterlin (GER).

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad-Women Elite
Hans Timmermans – Team DSM coach: “With two solid team camps behind us we’ve had a really good preparation period and we’re ready to start our season at Omloop with a strong team and group of riders. Floortje finished in third place here for us last year and alongside Liane, we’ll work to bring them deep into the tough finale in a good position. The 2018 edition of the race ended in a reduced sprint so Lorena gives us a good option for that if she is able to survive the tests of the cobbles. Juliette, Pfeiffer and Susanne are all riders whose qualities suit this type of race and with that we’re aiming to ride aggressively in the front group and be present in any dangerous moves; giving ourselves the best chance of a nice result.”

Line-up:
Susanne Andersen (NOR)
Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Lorena Wiebes (NED).

Kuurne – Bruxelles – Kuurne
Marc Reef – Team DSM coach: “We head to Kuurne with a strong team that combines youth and experience; the younger guys in a perfect position to gain some experience with the older ones on what is a testing parcours. The parcours itself is more or less the same as last year so we should expect an attacking race that could be decided from a reduced sprint or a breakaway group. Casper, Nils, Søren and Tiesj showed last year that they can ride for a good result on a parcours like we have at Kuurne. We want to work well as a team to get the four of them into the finale so that we can race aggressively and have multiple options to play, in search of a good team result.”

Line-up:
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Tiesj Benoot (BEL)
Marco Brenner (GER)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Max Kanter (GER)
Andreas Leknessund (NOR)
Casper Pedersen (DEN).

Andreas Leknessund:
Andreas Leknessund

 

movistar
Van Vleuten to make Movistar Team Debut on Saturday
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad – first Belgian classic of the year and first cobbled race this spring – to witness European champion’s first appearance in Blue, as well as team-mates Leah Thomas and Emma Norsgaard’s. García Cortina leads men’s roster.

The women’s Movistar Team’s fourth season will start on Saturday 27th February with the 16th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (UCI ProSeries) in Belgium. The opening cobbled classic features a 126km route from Ghent to Ninove with plenty of hills and ‘pavé’, including the brutal final climbs of the Kapelmuur and the Bosberg, formerly used by the Ronde van Vlaanderen.

Pablo Lastras will the sports director for the Telefónica-backed squad at the long-awaited debut of Annemiek van Vleuten, who will make her first appearance for Sebastián Unzué’s group as part of a six-woman lineup also including Aude Biannic, Jelena Erić, Barbara Guarischi and two other additions to the Blue roster: Leah Thomas and Emma Norsgaard.

movistar omloop

Over at the men’s race, second round of the UCI WorldTour over 200km with thirteen hills and as many cobbled sectors, Chente García Acosta will conduct a seven-man group led by Iván García Cortina, in the Spaniard’s first outing in the classics with the Movistar Team jersey. Imanol Erviti, promising Swiss youngster Johan Jacobs, Juri Hollmann, Mathias Norsgaard, Sebastián Mora and Gonzalo Serrano complete the list of thirteen riders brought by the Movistar Team to Belgium on Saturday.

movistar

 

uae
Squads Named for Opening Classics weekend and French Races
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad kicks-off World Tour Calendar in Europe

Aiming to build on what has been a promising start at the UAE Tour, UAE Team Emirates will also head into the weekend with a full calendar of events across Northern Europe. In Belgium the classics campaign begins with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on 27th Feb followed by Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on 28th Feb. The team is spearheaded by the experienced duo of Alexander Kristoff and Matteo Trentin who will aim to join forces on the cobbles this spring.

Taking charge will be Sports Directors Allan Peiper (Aus) and Fabio Baldato (Ita) who will lead a group of seven riders:

-Sven Erik Bystrom (Nor)
-Ryan Gibbons (RSA)
-Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
-Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
-Marco Marcato (Ita)
-Matteo Trentin (Ita)
-Oliviero Troia (Ita)

Allan Peiper (Sports Director): “We’re looking forward to the racing starting here in Belgium . The weather looks to be good, we’ll be doing our route recons this week to readjust to the cobbled roads after a few months away. As a team we’ll be hoping for success , especially through Kristoff and our new recruit Trentin who are our leaders this weekend.”

Alexander Kristoff: “Last years classics campaign ended well for me with a podium in Flanders so I’m hungry to come back and find that form again. The competition is high but we are keen to show that we can fight with any team not only in the Grand Tours but also in the classics.
Trentin is a good addition to the squad and we hope to be able to help each other in the hard finales.”

uae

Meanwhile in France the team will have two races :the Faun-Ardèche Classic [1.Pro] on 27 Feb followed by the Royal Bernard Drome Classic [1.Pro] on 28 Feb. Sports Directors’ Simone Predrazzini (Swi) and Manuele Mori (Ita) will take charge over the two races with the following seven man squad:

-Valerio Conti (Ita)
-Alessandro Covi (Ita)
-Joe Dombrowski (USA)
-Rui Costa (Por)
-Cristian Muñoz (Col)
-Ivo Oliveira (Por)
-Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr)

uae

 

ag2r
Boucles Drôme-Ardèche (feb 27th and 28th)
Clément Champoussin, Stan Dewulf, Clément Venturini and Nicolas Prodhomme will compete in the Boucles Drôme-Ardèche for the first time in their careers.

Clément Champoussin: “Last year, during a training camp in Vogüé in the Ardèche with the Chambéry Cyclisme Formation, we rode the final of the Faun-Ardèche Classic. So already I feel I will probably like these races. I started my season at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var and I am satisfied with my condition. I will continue to learn about racing among the professionals because I turned pro on April 1, 2020 and I raced for only thirty days last year, including the Vuelta. I feel like this has given me the chance to ease into things. This year, I will race the Giro d’Italia for the first time, and I hope to benefit from what I learn there for the rest of the season.”

ag2r

Lilian Calmejane returns to racing at the Trofeo Laigueglia. The victim of a crash during the third stage of the Tour de La Provence on February 13th, which caused a head trauma and a contusion to his right shoulder, Lilian Calmejane, who was initially assigned to compete in the Boucles Drôme Ardèche, a race that he won in 2018 and 2019, will instead return to racing at the Trofeo Laigueglia on March 3.

ag2r

 

header intermarche wanty
Preview Opening Weekend: Hilaire Van der Schueren: “Good feeling after the recon”
The last weekend of February will launch the spring classics campaign. The UAE Tour, which opened the World Tour calendar this year, will reach its conclusion on Saturday, but straightaway on the same day, the first one-day race of the World Tour will be on the menu with the Omloop het Nieuwsblad (1.UWT). The one-day cobbled race disputed between Ghent and Ninove will be followed, as tradition goes, by Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne (1.Pro) the very next day. A fantastic opening weekend in Belgium which Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux had long been waiting for.

For its 76th edition, the 200-kilometre parcours of the Omloop het Nieuwsblad remained virtually unchanged with its three passages over the Haaghoek-Leberg, the presence of the Paddestraat, Molenberg and Berendries and with the famous duo Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg as the last obstacles included in the final 20 kilometres of the race. Ninove has welcomed the finish line of the first classic of the opening weekend since 2019. Last year, Aimé De Gendt proved solid in that race, fighting in the group for 5th place with a late move. In the end, in sight of the Onderwijslaan, he was caught by the group in pursuit, and settled for a 19th place on the line. The rider from Erembodegem will have another chance this year and lead the selection of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux on the first classic of this opening weekend.

For Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne last year, Andrea Pasqualon was part of the main group that competed for second place behind winner Kasper Asgreen. However, the Italian finished outside the top 20 after a disappointing sprint and is now determined to do better for this 73rd edition. The organisers have set the number of race kilometres just below the 200 mark. Even though the start and finish are set in the municipality of Kuurne (West Flanders), the bulk of the race takes place in the Flemish Ardennes, in East Flanders and Hainaut. Most of the difficulties on the menu are located between 93 and 54 kilometres from the finish, with the climbs of La Houppe, the Kanarieberg, the Kruisberg, the Hotond, the Knokteberg, the Oude Kwaremont and the Kluisberg.

Along with Pasqualon, the German Jonas Koch, the Dutch Boy Van Poppel and the Belgian Pieter Vanspeybrouck will appear on both races this weekend. On Saturday for the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, sports directors Hilaire van der Schueren and Steven De Neef will also rely on De Gendt, Taco van der Hoorn and Loïc Vliegen in their team. For Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will line-up with Ludwig De Winter, Tom Devriendt and Danny van Poppel in addition to the aforementioned quartet. In preparation for this big weekend, the ten riders went on a recon training this Wednesday of the last 115 kilometres of the Omloop het Nieuwsblad and tested their new Newmen Advanced SL STREEM R.50 tubeless wheels with Continental GP5000 TL 28mm tubeless tires on the nine cobbled sections and eleven climbs. They did so under a nice spring weather uncharacteristic of an opening spring classic weekend.

Hilaire Van der Schueren (Sports Director): “The recon of the Omloop het Nieuwsblad parcours taught me that the decisive move may happen between the slopes and cobblestones next Saturday. I already have a precise area in mind that I will warn our riders about. The pleasant weather conditions can ensure that the race will be less difficult than usual, although racing can always prove otherwise. In any case, all our riders are very motivated. I heard positive feedback about the suitability and performance of the material on the cobblestones, and Aimé De Gendt has extended this collective training with a few kilometres motor-paced, which shows his commitment. He may not have a raceday yet, but I’m sure he already has enough in the tank to play a role. He gave me a very sharp impression. Overall, our ten riders had good sensations on the cobbles, so I’m very much looking forward to starting the spring classics.”

Aimé De Gendt: “This will be my fifth consecutive participation in the Omloop het Nieuwsblad, a classic that I always look forward to. Racing in your own region adds an extra motivation to a race. Last year there was a lot of wind, so the race was hard from the start. This year, the nice weather means that there may not be big differences, which can bring extra nervousness in the run-up to the hilly part. I want to be there when most of the damage is done, and after the second training camp I have full confidence that my team mates are ready to help me do exactly that. My condition is on point after a good pre-season. Originally, we had planned for me to start this weekend with a few race kilometres in the Tour de Algarve but it was ultimately cancelled. Of course, it would have helped to polish up the last percentages of my condition, but we replaced it with a very efficient training camp with the team. I know I will not be the only one in that situation, in fact it will also be the case for most of my competitors, so it is difficult to judge where I stand yet. No matter what, we know who we will need to keep an eye on, for instance the Deceuninck-Quick-Step who always come up with a strong roster. I feel ready to compete with them!”

Andrea Pasqualon: “Within a few days I will make my debut in the Omloop het Nieuwsblad. I look forward to these first kilometres on Flemish roads and the first cobbled sections of the year. Everyone is motivated and ready for this first test. I am confident that I am, as far as I’m concerned. I’m convinced that Aimé (De Gendt), Loïc (Vliegen) and I can go far with the help of our teammates. The recon was useful for me to discover the important bits. The second passage over the Haaghoek seems to be a crucial point to make the difference, and of course the Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg may provide the final decision for victory. I don’t need to tell you that we all enjoy these weather conditions when it comes to racing on the cobbles. But along with the temperatures, the wind and eventually the riders are the factors that determine the course of the race. The latter may prove the most influential, so it is a question of who will take charge of the pacemaking in the peloton. In Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne I expect that, just like last year, a large group of about fifty riders will be able to contest the win. Last season, I was part of this peloton of favourites, but this time I want to sprint for victory with Danny (Van Poppel) instead of a second place!”

Selection Omloop het Nieuwsblad:
Aimé De Gendt
Jonas Koch
Andrea Pasqualon
Taco van der Hoorn
Boy van Poppel
Pieter Vanspeybrouck
Loïc Vliegen.

Selection Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne:
Ludwig De Winter
Tom Devriendt
Jonas Koch
Andrea Pasqualon
Boy Van Poppel
Danny Van Poppel
Pieter Vanspeybrouck.

Sports directors: Hilaire Van der Schueren and Steven De Neef.

wanty

 

bike exchange
Team BikeExchange Women to Make their Debut in Europe at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Team BikeExchange women’s team will make their first racing appearance in Europe this weekend at the one-day Belgium Classic, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Brabantsje-Pijl winner Grace Brown and newly crowned Australian champion Sarah Roy will line-up as leaders with support from new signings Teniel Campbell and Arianna Fidanza, in their debut race for the team. Australian’s Jess Allen and Amanda Spratt round out the six-rider team looking for a strong start to the Classics campaign. The 124km race includes 10 steep and challenging climbs such as the Tenbosse, Kapelmuur and finally the Bosberg, which comes less than 15km from the finish line in Ninove.

Team BikeExchange at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad:
Jessica Allen (AUS)
Grace Brown (AUS)
Teniel Campbell (TOB)
Arianna Fidanza (ITA)
Sarah Roy (AUS)
Amanda Spratt (AUS)

Sarah Roy: “I’m feeling pretty pumped to kick-off the classics season this weekend. You always want to perform really, really well in your favourite bunch of races, but realistically I need to use this race as a feeler for where things are at and to get back in the swing of everything again. The less expectation the better initially, but I can imagine the racing won’t be a gentle reintroduction. The field will be very strong, and the racing will be tough, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Grace Brown: “I’m looking forward to hitting the cobbles at Het Nieuwsblad this weekend. I’m glad to have some Australian races in my legs already and I am feeling confident, but there are always many unknowns heading into the Opening Weekend of the Classics. This race is always hard and exciting like a typical cobbled classic. I expect that it will split up a lot in the final 50km and be raced aggressively. We have a strong team line-up with a mix of experience and new talent, and I hope we will be fighting at the pointy end of the race to get our first European result for the season.”

Martin Vestby – Women’s Head Sport Director: “We will be at the start with a strong and well-prepared team. Coming into the new season, I think we have more cards to play and we have very good riders, so I expect us to be in the fight for the podium and also for the win. It will be the first race with a couple of new riders in the team, Teniel Campbell and Arianna Fidanza, who will have a support role for our leaders Sarah Roy and Grace Brown. It’s going to be a hard race for sure. There were some little course changes and maybe it will be a little bit easier than last year. The second half of the race, with the combination of cobbles sections and climbs will be the real kick-off of the competition and, of course, will be important to get there as fresh as you we can before the tough finale.”

bike exchange

 

bike exchange
Team BikeExchange Ready for Belgian Battle at Opening Weekend
Team BikeExchange men kick-off their Belgium Classic’s campaign this weekend, as they line-up for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne with a mixed squad of young talent and experienced riders.

Luke Durbridge will lead the seven-rider team in both races while 22-year-old Robert Stannard and new 2021 signing Amund Grøndahl-Jansen give additional options and cards to play. Alongside them will be riders experienced in tackling the ‘Cobbled Classics’ in Australians Alex Edmondson and Callum Scotson, plus New Zealander Dion Smith. Danish powerhouse Chris Juul-Jensen brings a wealth of knowledge to the team and will be an important captain on the road.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the first race of the weekend, features 13 climbs including the famous Kapelmuur and the Bosberg just under 15km from the finish line. The 73rd edition of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne is staged with a route that boasts 12 tough climbs, including the notorious Kanarieberg, Oude Kwaremont and Kluisberg, the last of which comes 50km from the finish line and often reduces the number of competitors aspiring for victory.

Team BikeExchange at the Opening Weekend:
Luke Durbridge (AUS)
Alex Edmondson (AUS)
Amund Grøndahl-Jansen (NOR)
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN)
Callum Scotson (AUS)
Dion Smith (NZL)
Robert Stannard (AUS)

Luke Durbridge: “Opening weekend, it’s for me like the big start of the season where you can see what your form is after the winter period and also you can test the bike and get ready with the team. I really like these races, it’s the first step to being ready for the big classics to come. My first goal is to have a good race and I’m hoping to be in the last selection after the crucial climbs and if I can take an opportunity, who knows? From Australia it was a good start of the season, I had good signs, that’s also why I spent one month more than usual in the Australian summer having some time to put more base compared to previous years. Omloop or Kuurne, I’m not going to say I like one better than the other, they both present great opportunities and I hope to take them. Omloop probably better suits for me for a result and Kuurne I think I can come down with the best group. They are both hard races and a lot of it depends on the conditions of the weather and crosswind in the final.”

Laurenzo Lapage – Sport Director: “On paper Omloop is harder and more selective while Kuurne is more suitable for fast riders, but the truth is that in Belgium, all races are unpredictable and can give great surprises. For sure, the final of the race on Saturday, is the same as the old Tour of Flanders, will help make a great selection, while for Sunday a small group of 25-30 riders is more likely to arrive, also because the roads are very narrow and nervous. We have a good and competitive team, and our goal is to make a podium with our leader Luke Durbridge and, if there is a chance, Robert Stannard and Amund Grøndahl-Jansen will also be able to play their cards. Furthermore, in these first races, it is crucial to see how the boys work in the race to perfect the team’s mechanisms.”

bike exchange

 

jumbo-visma
Jumbo-Visma doesn’t write off Tom Dumoulin for Tour de France, yet
Jumbo-Visma is busy at headquarters forging a plan B for the upcoming Tour de France. This is the result of Tom Dumoulin’s decision to take a temporary break. But the same Tom Dumoulin is still in the thoughts of the team management, Grischa Niermann told Dutch cycling website WielerFlits.

A Plan B gives the impression that Plan A has not yet been written off. “That’s right,” Niermann explained. “We now assume that Tom will not participate in the Tour. He needs time and he will get that time. The route to the Tour has already started, but the specific preparation for the Tour de France starts for us at the beginning of May. If Tom returns to training before that time and reaches a good level, he is so talented that through that preparation he can be at the start of the Tour in top form. It wouldn’t be fair to exclude him from that.”

But it is not an easy situation. “Never say never. Paris is still a long way off and the course suits him very well. But I think we should not assume at this point that we will get that far, this year. When he is ready, Tom indicates the next step. We do not call every other week to ask if he wants to train. In any case, that means that we cannot assume that he will be able to be in the action anywhere this spring. He will also not immediately be ready for competition when he starts again. He has to increase and train his base again. That also takes time for a talent like Tom.”

Jumbo-Visma team manager, Richard Plugge, is optimistic. “I think this is a break,” he said on the talk show Six Days TV. The decision to stop temporarily came as a surprise to Plugge. “We saw that there were some things, but we did not see this coming. I do think this is a break, I’ll see him coming back. He needs some time to make up his mind, but I think it will work. I have faith.” Plugge does have contact with Dumoulin from time to time. “I think Tom is doing well, he’s having a nice holiday now and is enjoying it to the full. We have also given him plenty of space and tranquility to enjoy it. We will hear him and he sends a message every now and then how he is doing.”

Plugge still thinks of a Tour scenario including Dumoulin. “We agreed that with Tom as well. If he calls tomorrow, we need a few more weeks to train. But we keep the door open.” The Tour de France starts on June 26th in Brest.

Will we see Tom Dumoulin in the Tour?
dumoulin

 

arkea
Nairo Quintana Looking Forward to his Next Goals
Nairo Quintana has a good feeling about the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var. After three days, the Colombian finished ninth overall in the French stage race, his first race of the new season. “I was able to stay close to the best riders in this race. Above all, I have worked well in view of my next goals,” the Arkéa Samsic Colombian said afterwards. “Unfortunately, my teammates Romain Hardy and Miguel Flórez crashed, forcing them to both give up. This certainly had an influence on the course of our race.”

According to his sports director Yvon Ledanois, “Quintana showed in the three-day stage race that he could compete with riders who already had race kilometres in their legs. Nairo’s performance is very promising. He raced for three days. Let’s not forget his injury and knee surgery this autumn. And yet he could reach a high level.”

Quintana had to end his season prematurely after the Tour de France due to a fracture in his left knee cap. He had suffered from an accident in the summer when he was hit by a car while training. He also crashed a few times in the Tour. The Colombian had an operation on his knee at the end of October.

Finishing with the best in Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var:
var21

 

groupama
Back Problems Again for Thibaut Pinot
Thibaut Pinot did not come out of the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var unscathed. The Groupama-FDJ climber has problems with his back again, he told L’Équipe after the final stage. “I don’t know if the weather is worrying,” said Pinot.

In the tough final stage to Blausasc, Pinot crossed the finish line in 50th place, more than twelve minutes behind stage and overall winner Gianluca Brambilla. As a result, he dropped in from 12th to 35th place in the overall. “We’ll just say it was a bit difficult,” said Pinot. “My back is not doing great. I came here to the Tour du Var to get answers and I have them too. They are not good answers, but at least I have some. I don’t know if the weather is worrying. I am going to talk about it calmly with the team, but the first signals are not very good.”

Thibaut Pinot:
tour20 pinot

 

jumbo-visma
New Zealand Federation Rejects George Bennett Champion’s Jersey
Jumbo-Visma planned to have New Zealand road champion George Bennett ride in a special champion jersey this season. However, the design, which, according to foreman Richard Plugge, is reminiscent of the outfit of the New Zealand rugby team, was not accepted by the national association.

“It was a very nice kit, an ode to New Zealand, with a nod to the All Blacks and a clear link with Jumbo-Visma,” Plugge wrote on Twitter. But the black and white design has not been accepted by the New Zealand Cycling Federation. Bennett explained in The Social Distance Podcast what the reason is. “They said: we are afraid it will be confused with the jersey of the national team,” to Bennett’s surprise. “Why? In case the national team starts in the Giro d’Italia? The champion jersey we have now is okay, but not that striking and cool.”

Richard Plugge’s Twitter:
nz jersey

 

deceuninck
Evenepoel On the Omloop Reconnaissance
Remco Evenepoel accompanied his Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates for some training during their reconnaissance of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The 21-year-old rider, who has been training on the road since last week, rode over the Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg.

“It was agreed that Remco would accompany us as soon as we approached the Muur,” sports director Wilfried Peeters told Sporza. Evenepoel then rode the last seventeen kilometres of the course to the finish in Ninove. “Remco crossed the Muur together with his teammates Stijn Steels, Tim Declercq, Yves Lampaert, Bert Van Lerberghe, Florian Sénéchal, Davide Ballerini, Kasper Asgreen and Alvaro Hodeg, followed by the Bosberg. A wonderful moment.”

World champion Julian Alaphilippe, who will make his debut in the Omloop on Saturday, was not there. “At that time he was still in the car heading for Belgium,” Peeters explained. “He already explored the opening classic earlier this year.”

Omloop training:
deceuninck

 

holland dutch
The Netherlands Wants to Organise the Super World Cycling Championships in 2027
The Netherlands plans to apply for the Super World Cycling Championships in 2027, NOS reports. At the Super World Championships, World titles can be won in all cycling disciplines of the UCI over a period of two weeks.

The Dutch cycling union KNWU, national top sports centre Papendal and sports marketing agency TIG Sports are the driving forces behind the bid by the Netherlands to the UCI. Registration has yet to be done. At a Super World Championship, which must take place every four years, all cycling disciplines are contested. From road cycling and track cycling to para-cycling and mountain bike. The first Super World Cycling Championships will be in Glasgow, Scotland in 2023.

Two years ago, the UCI predicted that this “Super World Cup” will be a unique platform, with a lot of exposure for the different cycling disciplines. Fans also have the opportunity to visit multiple World championships in the same region.

Super World Cycling Championships 2023:
Road cycling
Para-cycling on the road
Track cycling
Para-cycling on the track
Mountain bike cross-country
Mountain bike downhill
Mountain bike marathon
Mountain bike cross-country eliminator
Trial
BMX freestyle
BMX
Indoor cycling
Gran Fondo.

Super Worlds in Holland 2027:
worlds20 mrr

 

flanders
Six ProTeams Receive Wildcards for the Ronde van Vlaanderen
Flanders Classics has announced which six teams will receive a wildcard for the Tour of Flanders 2021. On Sunday, April 4, ProTeams Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Bingoal-WB, B&B Hotels and Total Direct Energie will start De Ronde. Alpecin-Fenix and Arkéa-Samsic were automatically offered a wildcard because of their UCI ranking in 2020.

The Tour of Flanders is again one of the main goals for Mathieu van der Poel, who was the best in Flanders’ Finest for Alpecin-Fenix last autumn. By giving Total Direct Energie an invitation, it is expected that former winner Niki Terpstra will also make an appearance in the monument.

In addition to the six wildcard teams, all nineteen WorldTour teams are also at the start of the 105th edition of the Tour of Flanders. This brings the total number of teams to 25.

ronde 21 teams

 

flanders
24 Teams for the Woman’s The Tour of Flanders
The Tour of Flanders for women can count on an impressive list of participating teams on Sunday 4th April. All nine Women’s WorldTour teams will be present, including SD Worx with defending champion Chantal van den Broek-Blaak and World champion Anna van der Breggen.

The other top-level teams are Alé BTC Ljubljana, Liv Racing, Canyon-SRAM, BikeExchange, Trek-Segafredo, FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope, Team DSM and Movistar Women. They face competition from fifteen continental women’s teams, including Lotto Soudal Ladies, Jumbo-Visma Women, Ciclismo Mundial, Parkhotel Valkenburg and Bingoal Casino-Chevalmeire.

Last year, the Tour of Flanders was held in the autumn due to the corona crisis. This year, once again without any fans, the race will be on the original spring date.

flanders team

 

roubaix femmes
2021 Paris-Roubaix Femmes: Team Selection
The organisers of Paris-Roubaix have chosen the teams for the first edition, Sunday, April 11th.
In accordance with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) regulations, the nine UCI Women’s WorldTeams automatically entered are:
Alé BTC Ljubljana (Ita)
Canyon / /SRAM Racing (Ger)
FDJ Nouvelle – Aquitaine Futuroscope (Fra)
Liv Racing (Ned)
Movistar Team Women (Esp)
Team BikeExchange (Aus)
Team DSM (Ger)
Team SD Worx (Ned)
Trek – Segafredo (Usa)

Furthermore, the six following UCI Women’s Continental teams will participate by right in Paris-Roubaix Femmes:
A.R. Monex Women’s Pro Cycling Team (Ita)
Ceratizit – WTN Pro Cycling Team (Ger)
Lotto Soudal Ladies (Bel)
Parkhotel Valkenburg (Ned)
Team Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank (Usa)
Valcar – Travel & Service (Ita)

The organisers have invited the following teams:
Arkéa Pro Cycling Team (Fra)
Ciclismo Mundial (Bel)
Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team (Rus)
Doltcini – Van Eyck Sport – Proximus Continental Team (Bel)
Drops – Le Col supported by Tempur (Gbr)
Hitec Products (Nor)
Jumbo – Visma Women Team (Ned)
NXTG Racing (Ned)
Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime Women Cycling (Fra).

The first women’s Paris-Roubaix:
cobbles

 

roubaix
2021 Paris-Roubaix: Team Selection
The organisers of Paris-Roubaix have chosen the teams for the 118th edition, Sunday, April 11th. In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) rules, the nineteen UCI WorldTeams are invited:

AG2R Citroën Team (Fra)
Astana – Premier Tech (Kaz)
Bahrain Victorious (Brn)
Bora – Hansgrohe (Ger)
Cofidis (Fra)
Deceuninck – Quick-Step (Bel)
EF Education – NIPPO (Usa)
Groupama – FDJ (Fra)
Ineos Grenadiers (Gbr)
Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux (Bel)
Israel Start-Up Nation (Isr)
Jumbo – Visma (Ned)
Lotto Soudal (Bel)
Movistar Team (Esp)
Team BikeExchange (Aus)
Team DSM (Ger)
Team Qhubeka Assos (Rsa)
Trek – Segafredo (Usa)
UAE Team Emirates (Uae)

Furthermore, the two highest ranked UCI ProTeams in 2020, Alpecin – Fenix (Bel) and Team Arkéa – Samsic (Fra), will participate by right in Paris-Roubaix.

The organisers have invited the following teams:
B&B Hotels p/b KTM (Fra)
Bingoal WB (Bel)
Delko (Fra)
Total Direct Energie (Fra).

2019 Roubaix – Seems a long time ago:
gilbert

 

dauphine
Critérium du Dauphiné 2021: Enter the Mountain Warriors
Even in recent years, the various theories on how to interpret the Critérium du Dauphiné to predict how the Tour de France will unfold a month later have been tried and found lacking. Whereas Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas got a taste of success here ahead of the greatest victories of their careers, Alberto Contador would often struggle in the Critérium du Dauphiné, even at his peak, while the winners of the last two editions, Jakob Fuglsang and Dani Martínez, proved unable to follow up their promising results in June with a similar performance in July. However, one thing always remains the same: even as the Tour looms on the horizon, the stars of the peloton take the challenge seriously, put on a spectacular show and attach a great deal of importance to the Alpine duels that take place here. The 2021 course has been designed to gradually turn up the heat on the peloton in a trek from the Central Massif to the Alps. The rubber will hit the road in the inaugural stage starting and ending in Issoire, where sprinters will have their work cut out for them to stay in contention until the finish. It will be more of the same two days later in Saint-Haon-le-Vieux, where the 800 m home straight bends towards the sky. At 16.5 kilometres, the time trial from Firminy to Roche-la-Molière will be just long enough to shake things up a bit but, at the same time, short enough to keep the race wide open.

After four stages run mostly in Auvergne and a plunge to the Rhône Valley that could force a selection among the punchers for the showdown in Saint-Vallier, the peloton will head to the Alpine peaks, where the mountain warriors will hog the limelight from the stage to Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse, featuring the Col de Porte. This will be just an appetiser, as the next day will see the Dauphiné discover the La Plagne ski resort, coming after a 17 kilometre ascent with an average gradient of 7.5% and with the riders’ legs already softened up by the Col de Pré and the Cormet de Roselend. On Sunday, the 145 km grand finale will serve up a succession of climbs ready for use as a launch pad for an epic adventure: the roads up the Col des Aravis, Col de la Colombière, Côte de Châtillon and, especially, Col de Joux Plane, are the perfect terrain to go on the offensive, as is the plunge to Morzine, where the top descenders in the peloton will come out to play. The ascent to Les Gets will wrap up this climbing-fest. On clear days, it is said you can see Brest from the top of the mountain…

dauphine21

Critérium du Dauphiné 2021 stages :
Sunday, May 30th – Stage 1 – Issoire > Issoire, 182 km
Monday, May 31st – Stage 2 – Brioude > Saugues, 173 km
Tuesday, June 1st – Stage 3 – Langeac > Saint-Haon-Le-Vieux, 172 km
Wednesday, June 2nd – Stage 4 – Firminy > Roche-La-Molière, 16,5 km (individual time trial)
Thursday, June 3rd – Stage 5 – Saint-Chamond > Saint-Vallier, 175,5 km
Friday, June 4th – Stage 6 – Loriol-sur-Drôme > Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse, 168 km
Saturday, June 5th – Stage 7 – Saint-Martin-Le-Vinoux > La Plagne, 171,5 km
Sunday, June 6th – Stage 8 – La Léchère-les-Bains > Les Gets 147 km

Team selection
In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) rules, the following nineteen UCI WorldTeams are automatically invited to the race:

AG2R Citroën Team (Fra)
Astana – Premier Tech (Kaz)
Bahrain Victorious (Brn)
Bora – Hansgrohe (Ger)
Cofidis (Fra)
Deceuninck – Quick-Step (Bel)
EF Education – NIPPO (Usa)
Groupama – FDJ (Fra)
Ineos Grenadiers (Gbr)
Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux (Bel)
Israel Start-Up Nation (Isr)
Jumbo – Visma (Ned)
Lotto Soudal (Bel)
Movistar Team (Esp)
Team BikeExchange (Aus)
Team DSM (Ger)
Team Qhubeka Assos (Rsa)
Trek – Segafredo (Usa)
UAE Team Emirates (Uae).

The organisers invite the following teams:
B&B Hotels P/B KTM (Fra)
Team Arkéa – Samsic (Fra).

Key points:
Ø
The course of the 2021 Critérium du Dauphiné, consisting of eight stages and running from 30 May to 6 June, was unveiled at the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Regional Council building in Lyon this morning.
Ø Following the start in Issoire with a loop stage on a dynamic circuit, the organisers have cooked up a tough yet balanced course and brought back the Wednesday time trial to keep fans on the edge of their seats.
Ø A gruelling Alpine trilogy with finishes in Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse and the ski resorts of La Plagne and Les Gets will decide the showdown among the stars of the peloton, who will be hunting for a victory in the Dauphiné to boost their confidence ahead of the Tour de France.
Ø Antargaz also becomes an official partner of the Critérium du Dauphiné as the sponsor of the most aggressive rider classification for the first time.

 


Itzulia Women’s Race Replaced by Clásica San Sebastián for Women
The new three-day women’s race, the Itzulia Women, which should have started on May 14, has been canceled for this season. In its place, the Clásica San Sebastián for women will take place on July 31.

Organiser OCETA has worked hard in recent months to set up the Itzulia Women. The stage race was to be the successor to the Clásica San Sebastián for women. However, now the organisation has been forced to cancel the first edition. Instead, the Clásica San Sebastián for women will be held in 2021. It will be held in the same way as in 2019, namely on the same day as the men’s event. The organisers hopes to run the Itzulia Women in 2022.

Lucy Kennedy won the 2019 Clásica San Sebastián:
Lucy Kennedy

 

e3
E3 Saxo Bank Classic Wildcards
The E3 Saxo Bank Classic has released their list of wildcard teams and their promotional poster. This time Germaine is the main character, the podium miss that in 2012 tackled Tom Boonen on the podium. “Germaine is keeping her hands off this year,” is the headlines, which also refers to the corona measures to follow the course from home.

In addition, the organisers of the E3 Saxo Bank Classic announced the 25 participating teams. The nineteen teams of the WorldTour must appear at the start and are supplemented by ProTeams Alpecin-Fenix, Arkéa-Samsic (Both automatically invited), Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Bingoal-WB, Total Direct Energie and Uno-X.

The spring classic is scheduled for March 26, 2021. Last year, the E3 Prize was not held due to the corona crisis, Zdeněk Štybar was the last winner.

e3

 

klasika
Klasika Primavera Also Canceled in 2021
This year’s edition of the Klasika Primavera de Amorebieta was to be held in April, it has been canceled due to the global health situation. The Basque one-day race was also canceled last year.

“It is not possible to organise an event of such magnitude, as the corona pandemic brings great uncertainties,” the Sociedad Ciclista Amorebieta said in a press release. “The intention is to organise another event for elite riders in 2022.”

The organisers want as many races as possible for youth cyclists in the coming weeks and months, in order to give promising riders a chance to develop. The list of winners includes Marino Lejarreta, Laurent Jalabert, Roberto Heras, Alejandro Valverde, Joaquim Rodríguez, Damiano Cunego and Carlos Sastre.

Colombian Carlos Betancur was the last winner of the Basque one-day race:
betancur

 

olympias tour
2021 Olympia’s Tour Canceled
Olympia’s Tour is canceled this year. The organisers hoped to run the stage race from 9-12 March, but the current corona measures in the Netherlands make that impossible. The race has not asked for a postponement to the autumn, but puts everything on the 2022 edition.

“There is currently no prospect of organising a cycle race in public space for (partly) amateur athletes,” the organisation announced in a press release. “A move to later in the year does not guarantee the field of participants that matches the stature of the race. It is expected that the space on the international calendar will be too limited to guarantee a good place and thus the arrival of the strongest teams and riders at continental level and the clubs.”

At the beginning of January, Olympia’s Tour (UCI 2.2) announced the participating teams for March. Eight continental teams and ten club teams would be at the start. Last year, Olympia’s Tour was also not ran due to the corona crisis.

No Olympia’s Tour in 2021:
olympia's tour

 

Health Mate-Cyclelive
Van Gansen Suspension Until the End of 2022
Patrick Van Gansen has been suspended by the UCI until the end of 2022 due to intimidation of a number of cyclists. The ex-manager of the Health Mate-Cyclelive women’s team was also found guilty last year by the UCI ethics committee of violating the ethical rules of the cycling union. The disciplinary committee has adopted that decision.

Now that Van Gansen has been found guilty, the UCI disciplinary committee has imposed a suspension of more than two years. This penalty will take effect retroactively on April 16, 2020 and will continue until December 31, 2022. During that period, Van Gansen is not allowed to hold any position in cycling. In addition, the Belgian manager must follow a course on sexual harassment at work. This is an additional measure imposed by the disciplinary committee. If Van Gansen wants to return to cycling after 2022, it is a condition that he has taken that course before he is given a new license.

Van Gansen was accused of undesirable behaviour by several riders in June 2019. The UCI opened an investigation, but postponed its decision after new allegations. In April 2020, the cycling union announced that Van Gansen has been found guilty on the basis of an investigation conducted by an independent agency, which is based on a significant number of statements covering several years.

Health Mate-Cyclelive

 

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