EUROTRASH Thursday: Van der Poel Wins and the Peloton News!
All the week's cycling news
EUROTRASH never sleeps… Mathieu van der Poel took the win in the X2O Badkamers Trofee in Herentals – report, rider quotes and video.
Toon Aerts is looking forward to a comeback – TOP STORY.
Reader news: Egan Bernal to ride the Tour de France, Michael Matthews excited for the Australian season, Wout van Aert on SRAM, David Dekker’s first races for Arkéa-Samsic, Sean Bennett, Sacha Modolo, Alexander Cataford and Enrico Battaglin retire and Spanish amateur champion positive for EPO and tramadol.
Team News: Jumbo stops sponsoring motorsport, Bahrain Victorious to Tour Down Under, Israel – Premier Tech set to ride the Tour de France, 2023 kits from Movistar, Arkéa-Samsic, Cofidis and Uno-X.
Race news: Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana 1969 now a UCI 1.1 race, 2023 Tour de France teams, first UAE Tour women’s race and Olympia’s Tour has a complete field.
Contract news: Franck Bonnamour to AG2R Citroën, James Piccoli to China Glory and Chloe Hosking signed by Roxsolt Liv SRAM.
Plus Primoz Roglič is a father for the second time and the Rayner Foundation announces its roster of supported riders for 2023.
TOP STORY: Toon Aerts is Looking Forward to a Comeback
Last Thursday Toon Aerts announced that the UCI wants to suspend him for two years due to a positive doping test, this Monday he was a guest on Sporza’s CROSS podcast. There he talked about the past year and already talked about his comeback.
Aerts tested positive for the banned Letrozole Metabolite on January 19, 2022, during an out-of-competition doping control. Since his positive test, the cross rider has not raced. It was a difficult period, says Aerts, but he has now turned to looking to the future. “In the second half of my career I would like to match what I achieved in the first part,” said the 29 year-old Aerts.
“I would like to work towards some big victory again,” Aerts continued. His suspension will expire on February 16, 2024 if the proposal is ratified. The next cyclo-cross season will by then be almost over. “If I can’t start again until September 2024, I’ll be fine by Christmas 2024.”
Aerts now has a short haircut, he had grown a long mane in the past year. He had not cut his hair to try to prove his innocence with hair analyses. That last analysis was last week and so Aerts could go to the hairdresser again. “The results of the new hair analysis have shown that Letrozole has not been found since last summer. So the exposure to the product stopped after the previous cross season, so it probably comes from food supplements,” said Aerts, who was happy with his new, short cut. “With my hair, the stress has also been cut away a bit.”
Aerts, meanwhile, continues to contest the UCI’s suspension proposal. He will soon take legal action and will tell his story at the anti-doping tribunal of the International Cycling Union.
Toon Aerts on the way back – In 2024:
X2O Badkamers Trofee Herentals – Men 2023
Mathieu van der Poel won the X2O cross in Herentals on Tuesday. The Alpecin-Deceuninck Dutchman once again fought a big battle with his rival Wout van Aert, but took full advantage of a puncture by the Belgian champion in the last lap.
Four days after their sprint in Loenhout, Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, took each other on again, on a slightly modified route of the home cross for the Belgian champion. World champion, Tom Pidcock, was still suffering from the after-effects of his crash in Baal and didn’t start.
Jens Adams surprisingly had the fastest start. The Belgian was pushing hard and only two riders were able to go with him: Van Aert and Van der Poel. These three leaders started the second lap together. Van der Poel opted for a different tactic in Herentals and initially rode conservatively. Van Aert decided to take up the challenge for his own audience and took the lead, with Adams and Van der Poel on his wheel. This was short-lived, as in the second lap we saw the first acceleration from MvdP. The Dutchman couldn’t hold himself back, but Van Aert and Adams managed to follow. The Belgian champion then took the lead again, although it was not yet a full battle.
For Adams it was to be a stay of execution, because on a subsequent passage of the Skiberg, the Belgian had to pass due to the pace of Van Aert. It was then a case of the expected duel between the ‘Big Two’. Van Aert handed out the most attacks, but Van der Poel didn’t budge. He was waiting for the penultimate lap. However, the attack attempts on both sides were skilfully neutralised, so that it came down to the last lap again. Van Aert was the first to throw his cards on the table, but the Belgian was unable to get rid of his rival on the Skiberg. A sprint seemed like a realistic scenario, but just past the pit area, fate struck for Van Aert. The Belgian punctured, shook his head and Van der Poel was able to solo to victory. The Dutchman was not exuberant at the finish-line, as it os a welcome boost after a few defeats at the hands of Van Aert.
Race winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck): “I decided not to cheer at the finish line, as I would have preferred to beat him without the puncture. The plan was to be the first to dive into the technical zone, but just before that Wout had a flat. It’s a pity he couldn’t defend his chances. Today I rode differently than the previous races. I wanted to have something left over for the last half lap. We were evenly matched again today.”
2nd, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “I punctured just before the pits. Then I already felt that my bike started to slide. I hesitated for a while to switch, but then you have no chance for victory anyway. The moment Mathieu passed by, it felt like someone was pulling on my saddle. Of course I’m disappointed, but luckily I still had two minutes towards the finish to come to my senses. It was great fun to cross here. It is nice to race between so many acquaintances. I would rather have crossed the line as the winner, but I still have to thank everyone for the turnout. I hope we were able to provide a spectacle. Perhaps a bit boring that we are so evenly matched. I did indeed notice that Mathieu left the initiative to me. It worked. In the cross I just follow my feeling. I would have liked to have raced more in recent races, but that was not possible then. Mathieu then put so much pressure on me that I had to limit myself to following. But it’s not easy to drive someone of that class (Van der Poel) off. I did try to drop Mathieu today. In the first laps I knew a few good passages on the Skiberg, but in the last laps I did not let Mathieu loose there. It is perhaps a bit boring that we are so evenly matched. We just race around with the two of us.”
3rd, Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “Thanks to a course change it was a bit faster than usual. I’m glad I finished ahead of Lars here as he is a tough customer. It’s never easy to beat him on the last lap. I always rode a little better up there and could make the difference on the climb. Lars is also having a very good season and is an established name. I’m glad I could beat him today. I am happy with my podium finish in this nice atmosphere. I felt right at home in Wout van Aert-land. It was really pleasant and I’m glad something like this is possible in this period. I was quite tired. Racing like a headless chicken after Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, that was not an option today.”
X2O Badkamers Trofee Herentals – Men Result
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck in 59:45
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:21
3. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:31
4. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions 0:32
5. Cameron Mason (GB) Trinity Racing 0:49
6. Pim Ronhaar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 1:16s
7. Jens Adams (Bel) Chocovit Cycling Team at 1:22s
8. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 1:38s
9. Tim Merlier (Bel) Soudal – Quick-Step at 2:24
10. Daan Soete (Bel) Deschacht-Hens-Maes at 2:39.
X2O Badkamers Trofee Herentals – Women 2023
Puck Pieterse was the winning favourite in the X2O cross of Herentals. The Alpecin-Deceuninck rider rode away from the opposition in the first lap and then soloed to victory. The X2O Trofee leader Denise Betsema, had a bad day and has lost the overall lead.
The best cyclo-cross riders gathered on Tuesday in Herentals for the fourth round of the X2O Badkamers Trofee. Puck Pieterse was the big favourite for the victory in the absence of Fem van Empel. With Lucinda Brand, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado and X2O leader Denise Betsema, there were many possibilities.
The best start came from Pieterse. The Alpecin-Deceuninck rider got off to a very good start, with her teammate Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado on her wheel. She set a hellish pace on the tough course in Herentals. Pieterse quickly managed to take control of the race, Betsema had a disaster of a start. The Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider was held up and then had also had a puncture. She managed to reach the pits, but after one lap he was already behind by 2 minutes. She was faced with a hopeless mission to make something of this cross and had to fear for her X2O lead. Meanwhile, Pieterse had dropped her last companion; Alvarado. The young Dutch rider started the second lap with a lead of 10 seconds after only 10 minutes of racing.
Pieterse was able to expand her lead over the following laps. Halfway through the race, the difference to the first pursuers, Brand and Alvarado, had already increased to 40 seconds. Pieterse didn’t have any problems in the finalé to take her seventh victory of the season. Brand, in turn, rode away from Alvarado, to cross the line in second. The Baloise Trek Lions rider managed to make up for her deficit on the overall standings of more than 3 minutes, helped by Betsema’s bad luck, and now looks good to win the X2O Badkamers Trofee. Betsema is now 26 seconds behind Brand and Alvarado is in third place at 29 seconds.
Race winner, Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck): “I can still keep count (7 victories this season). It’s not that much yet, but it’s starting to count nicely now, yes. I certainly had to do my best. Running up that ski mountain and then cycling, that was not easy. That was going to the hole, also because there was a piece of road in front of it that you would like to pull through. It went well today. I tried to ride technically as well and as fast as possible, although at a certain point you have to accept that you don’t go down that steep mountain in a click. That almost went wrong in the last lap, but in the last lap i was a little more in view of safety. I was able to choose a bit of what I wanted to race during the Christmas period. I already raced here in 2020 and so knew it was a nice circuit. That’s why I wanted to come back.”
2nd, Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions): “Who would have thought? It comes as a surprise that I am now the leader in the X2O Trophy. It’s a nice bonus. I felt better today than during the previous races, although there is still work to be done. I had a lot of trouble with the descent of the Skiberg. I was not directly in my pedals. That was a bit tricky, with all that bouncing. It was a bit clumsy at times, but luckily it’s going in the right direction. That’s a good thing, with all the work I’ve put into it.”
X2O Badkamers Trofee Herentals – Women Result:
1. Puck Pieterse (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck in 51:31
2. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 0:27
3. Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777 at 1:13
4. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 1:17
5. Sanne Cant (Bel) Crelan-Fristads at 2:07
6. Aniek van Alphen (Ned) 777 at 3:11
7. Blanka Kata Vas (Hun) SD Worx at 3:38
8. Maghalie Rochette (Can) Specialized/Feedback Sports at 3:54
9. Leonie Bentveld (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 3:58
10. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 4:23.
Egan Bernal to Ride Paris-Nice on the Way to the Tour de France
The Colombian reporter of Marca is sure that Egan Bernal will return to the Tour de France in 2023. According to the newspaper, it is also certain that the INEOS Grenadiers climber will start his season in the Vuelta a San Juan.
As for the rest of Bernal’s build-up to the Tour de France, there are still some questions. Marca writes that the 2019 Tour winner may still ride the Colombian national road championship on February 5 before leaving for Europe. There he would contest Paris-Nice (March 5-13) and the Tour of Catalonia (March 20-26). In April, Bernal might start in the Tour of the Basque Country or the Tour of Romandie, but this has not yet been confirmed.
What is certain is that in May, during the Tour of Italy, Bernal will train with the Tour selection of INEOS Grenadiers in Spain or France. There are still several options on the table for June: the choice between the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour of Switzerland has not yet been made. The Tour de France, Bernal’s main goal, starts on July 1 in Bilbao, Spain.
It is not yet excluded that the Colombian will participate in the Vuelta a España. That will depend on how he comes out of the Tour. If he is still fresh, the Vuelta is an option. Otherwise, he will take some rest and then compete in the Italian Autumn classics.
Tour for Bernal?
Michael Matthews Excited for the Australian Season Start
Michael Matthews has opted to start in his own country this year. The Team Jayco-AlUla rider can’t wait to race in front of his home crowd again. “The Tour Down Under, it’s been a while,” he said in a team press release.
Matthews will start racing on Sunday, January 8, in hopes of a shot at the Australian road title. Then now 32 year-old rider will go to the Tour Down Under, which returns after two covid years, and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. The last time Matthews started the Tour Down Under was in 2014. “It’s been a long time since I’ve raced in the Australian summer, but I’m just really looking forward to it.”
“This year I decided to head back to Australia and get the season started there, it has been a long time since I’ve raced the Australian Summer, so I am just really excited for it. It is of course important racing for us as an Australian team, so to be returning with the team line-up that we have, which is super strong, it is going to be really fun. We have a big block starting with the Australian championships and after a few years where TDU and CEGORR couldn’t be on or at WorldTour level, we are so grateful the racing has returned to the highest level and have the opportunity to race in front of our passionate home fans. I am expecting everyone to be in really good shape for the TDU, a lot of our riders want to return to their home country and really show what they have got, everyone is going to bring their A game.”
Team Jayco-AlUla is counting on Simon Yates, Luke Durbridge, Lucas Hamilton, Chris Harper, Michael Hepburn and Campbell Stewart in the upcoming Tour Down Under (January 17-22) – in addition to Matthews. Unlike previous years, the round will start with a prologue through Adelaide. It is the first time that a race against the clock has been included in the course of the Australian round. In addition, the race does not end on Willunga Hill, but on Mount Lofty.
Michael Matthews starts 2023 in Australia:
Wout van Aert on SRAM: “It takes some getting used to”
Wout van Aert rode his first cyclocross race of 2023 on Tuesday afternoon. The X2O Trofee Herentals is a home cross on familiar terrain, but his bike will probably feel different as Jumbo-Visma has switched from Shimano to SRAM for 2023.
“That takes some getting used to,” says Van Aert to Sporza before the race. The 28 year-old rider will have to get used to the differently SRAM shifting on his cyclocross bike due to the switch. “Normally I race on automatics (Di2?). So it can certainly happen that I shift wrong in Herentals. But I will soon get used to that new shifting system.”
SRAM is not new to Van Aert. At the start of his career with Vastgoedservice, he also raced with the SRAM system. “The adjustment is more difficult for the mechanics than for the riders. I still know the system, so the feeling is back very quickly for me,” said Van Aert to Het Nieuwsblad. “It’s just a bit of a shame that you now have to change from one cross to another in the winter, but that’s not that difficult in itself.”
In addition to the shifting system on the Cervélo, there are some changes in Jumbo-Visma’s equipment. “On their road bike, the riders will also have to get used to new shoes (Nimbl) and pedals (Speedplay),” Mathieu Heijboer, the Head of Performance at Jumbo-Visma, told Sporza. “They are very different from last year and offer a big advantage in aerodynamics and weight.” In the cross, however, Van Aert will still race on his trusted pedals and shoes for the time being.
Jumbo-Visma has hired experts to help riders with the change of material, says Heijboer. “During the last training camp in December, we switched completely to the new components. We have already explored Paris-Roubaix with the new bikes and we have noticed that we are making a lot of gains in several areas. The riders were delighted with the new bikes.”
Van Aert’s new cross bike:
David Dekker’s First Races for Arkéa-Samsic
The French team shared David Dekker’s early season program on Tuesday. Dekker will complete in his first race on the Spanish island of Mallorca.
The son of ex-cyclist Erik Dekker starts his season with the Challenge Mallorca, a series of one-day races on the Spanish island of Mallorca. The former Jumbo-Visma rider will then take part in the Muscat Classic and Tour of Oman before traveling to Belgium and France for Le Samyn, Paris-Nice, GP Denain and the Bredene Koksijde Classic.
His race schedule for after the Bredene Koksijde Classic was not announced. Dekker hopes to revive his career in the French team, after he had to deal with illness, injuries and crashes in 2022. “My last season was marked by bad luck and I hope to get results again this year in the sprints and classics. It is a new challenge for me, in a new environment.”
“I am confident in my abilities and I want to achieve results and victories in my new colours. I enjoy difficult races with cobblestone sections and small hills, but of course I can also handle flat races,” Dekker said last year.
A new start for David Dekker:
Sean Bennett Retires
Sean Bennett has ended his professional career. The 26 year-old American, who rode for the continental China Glory team in 2022, couldn’t find a team for next season and so says goodbye to the peloton.
“I have some fond memories of the last few years,” Bennett wrote on Instagram. “But I am quite frustrated and sad about how the last few months have gone. I saw how my career eluded me and how I ended up without a team for next year.”
Before signing with China Glory, Bennett rode for Qhubeka ASSOS for one year, of course that team ceased to exist at the end of 2021. “It was a few frustrating winters where I was always in a situation where a team quit or changed their plans at the very last minute. I hoped I could continue, but this year nothing became concrete. It’s time to say goodbye. I want to thank all the people who have supported me in similar situations in the past and are doing so again.”
Bennett turned pro in 2018 with Hagens Berman Axeon, which had a ProContinental license at that time. That year he won a stage in the Baby Giro and took second place in the third stage of the Amgen Tour of California. He also finished seventh in the U23 version of both Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders.
The following year, Bennett signed with EF Education First and joined the WorldTour. In his first Grand Tour, the 2019 Giro d’Italia, he finished in the top ten on two stages. In 2022 he finished eighth in the final classification of the Tour of Turkey.
Sean Bennett retires:
Sacha Modolo Ends his Cycling Career
At the end of November, Sacha Modolo already said that he feared the end of his cycling career, but now it is certain. The 35 year-old Italian announced his retirement through a video. Modolo could not count on a contract extension with Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè and didn’t find a new team.
More than a month ago, Modolo was still hopeful of finding a team, but he was also gloomy. “I realise that at the moment there are still a lot of riders without a contract, riders who are younger and earn more than me. I’m not stupid, I know how cycling works. And if it doesn’t happen this year, it would probably be next year,” the sprinter told tuttobiciweb.
Modolo also said that he didn’t want to continue at Continental level. “Certainly not. I’ve had a great career, I have no intention of continuing that way. Also because I would then steal a spot from a younger rider. I am 35, I knew this moment would come one day. Will I stay active in cycling? I don’t think so, for example I don’t have the desire to become a sports director.”
Modolo made his professional debut in 2010, with Colnago-CSF Inox, the predecessor of Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè. Before returning to the Reverberi family team, he rode for Lampre-Merida, UAE Team Emirates, EF Education First and Alpecin-Fenix. Modolo recorded 47 victories in his career. The highlight of his career was the Giro d’Italia 2015, when he won two stages. He also won stages in the Tour of Switzerland, Tour of Poland and Tour of Turkey (four times).
The end of the road for Sacha Modolo:
Canadian Alexander Cataford Leaves Pro Cycling
Alexander Cataford will not return to the peloton this year. The 29-year-old Canadian didn’t get a contract extension from Israel-Premier Tech after four seasons and has now decided to stop.
“I am leaving the pro peloton. I have come to the conclusion that it is time for a new chapter in my life. It was a tough decision to step away from something I’m good at and have done for the past 15 years,” Cataford made his farewell message on Instagram. “But after a lot of thinking and talking to people, I’ve decided it’s okay.”
“When I look back on my cycling years, I really enjoyed every minute of it. I don’t regret it either. I started as a little boy in Ottawa on a borrowed bike, but ended up seeing my wildest dreams come true. I’ve competed in the world’s greatest cycling races and met so many great people. I have also made lifelong friendships and made unforgettable memories. The sport really made me into the person I am today.”
“I would like to thank everyone who supported me during this journey. My family, wife, the Ottawa cycling community, coaches, teammates, friends and countless others. I will continue to cycle and the sport of cycling will continue to be part of my life, even though I no longer have to pin a number on my back. Thanks everyone!”
Cataford raced for several smaller continental teams in the early years of his career, but made the switch to UnitedHealthcare at the end of 2016. After two seasons with the American team, he went to the Israel Cycling Academy. Cataford made three appearances in Grand Tours. In 2020 he rode the Giro d’Italia, in 2021 the Vuelta a España and last year the Giro again.
Alexander Cataford retires:
Is This the End of Enrico Battaglin’s Career?
There is a good chance that Enrico Battaglin will soon announce his retirement. The 33 year-old Italian has still not found a new team and is thinking of quitting. “There is little hope left,” Battaglin told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Battaglin was told at the end of 2022 that there was no place for him at Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè, now Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizane. “That was really a big blow mentally. It’s true that I didn’t manage to win last season, but I did contribute to the success of my teammates and helped the younger riders along the way. That is also worth something,” he told local newspaper Il Giornale di Vicenza.
The Italian, who also rode for LottoNL-Jumbo, Katusha-Alpecin and Bahrain-McLaren, was still looking for a new team. Two months later and Battaglin is now a lot more pessimistic, although he still wants to continue racing for at least another two years. Battaglin is now seriously considering saying farewell as a professional cyclist.
Battaglin turned pro in 2012 with Colnago CSF Bardiani and is known as a puncheur with a good sprint in his legs. The Italian excelled especially in the hilly races and was also able to place himself in the bunch sprints. His list of achievements included a few professional victories. His greatest successes was in the Giro d’Italia as he won a stage in 2013, 2014 and 2018. He also won the Coppa Sabatini in 2011, as a stagiaire with Colnago.
Enrico Battaglin – Giro’18 stage win:
Spanish Amateur Champion Tests Positive for EPO and Tramadol
Spanish cycling started in 2023 with a doping case. Iñigo González, the current Spanish amateur champion, has tested positive for EPO. Traces of Tramadol have also been found during analyses.
González, 23, tested positive at a U23 and amateur event in the Basque Country in July 2022, a week after winning his Spanish amateur title. The rider finished thirteenth in the Spanish road championship on Mallorca last year.
González now faces a four-year suspension for using EPO. Tramadol is not yet on the list of performance-enhancing drugs, although the UCI banned the drug a few years ago. The international cycling union will place the painkiller on the list of banned substances in 2024, as it has an addictive effect and causes nausea and a dizzying sensation, which can cause crashes.
CC Padronés-Cortizo, González’s team in 2022, has now responded to the positive test. “He takes full responsibility for his actions. The rider would no longer be part of our team for 2023 anyway, so we can only condemn his actions. We want to make it clear that we strongly reject the use of banned substances and are committed to sports ethics and fair play. We will provide all necessary information to the appropriate authorities.”
González four-year suspension:
Jumbo Stops Sponsoring Motorsport
Supermarket chain Jumbo will eventually stop sponsoring motorsport. Jumbo will remain active as a sponsor of Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen and of the skating and cycling teams.
The decision comes a few months after Frits van Eerd, the former CEO and co-owner of Jumbo-Visma, was identified as a suspect in a major money laundering case. In September 2022, a house search took place in Van Eerd’s home. Investigation services also raided other places. According to the Public Prosecution Service, money was laundered through car trade and sponsorship activities in motorsport.
Jumbo then commissioned an independent investigation into its own sponsorship activities in the sport. This investigation showed that nothing impermissible happened during the sponsorship and that the investigation by the Public Prosecution Service does not focus on the supermarket chain. Nevertheless, Jumbo has decided to put sports sponsorship on the back burner, and will eventually even stop sponsoring motorsport altogether.
“Motorsport has come to be seen in a special light for us. That also has consequences for our sponsorship in motorsport,” Ton van Veen, who temporarily acts as successor to the retired Van Eerd, told Algemeen Dagblad. “We won’t be doing that for long. We will also look critically at our activities in motorsport in the same way. An exception to this is the contract with Max Verstappen.”
As team boss of the Jumbo-Visma cycling team, Richard Plugge need not fear for the future: Jumbo will remain on board as a sponsor. Jumbo-Visma’s skating team can also still count on financial support from the company.
Bahrain Victorious to Tour Down Under Season Opener
The Tour Down Under marks the start of the 2023 WorldTour season in South Australia. Riders will take on a fast-paced 1.35km circuit through Adelaide’s centre on Saturday, January 14, as a pre-race curtain raiser ahead of the six-day race from January 17 to 22.
Starting with the prologue on the Adelaide Riverbank, the race finishes in the Adelaide hills on the summit of Mount Lofty and covers 673km in total.
The course of the 23rd edition, after the 5.5km prologue along Adelaide’s Riverbank, moves to Tanunda with an expected sprint finish.
For stages 2 and 3, Nettle Hill(2km/7.8%) and Corkscrew(2.4km/9%) are the last climbs of their respective stages and could play a crucial role in opening the race.
Stage 4 in Willunga could be a chance for a punchy rider. While stage 5 features an explosive 114km that sees riders take on the punchy Mount Lofty (1.5km/6%) four times before finishing there.
The Prologue and rolling terrain suits our leader from the Basque country. Heading to Australia by leading this versatile group of riders, Pello Bilbao will make his Tour Down Under debut with the help of Hermann Pernsteiner and Kamil Gradek, who will have supportive roles over the weeklong race.
For stage wins, Phil Bauhaus can be confident of his first victory of the season with the help of Jasha Sütterlin and Nikias Arndt. In 2018 Phil was second in the bunch sprint in Victor Harbor. Cameron Scott, the 25-year-old from New South Wales, will join forces with the other fast men in our lead-out train and round up our 7-man roster.
Comments from Neil Stephens, our Sports director in Tour Down Under: “Team Bahrain Victorious has been working really hard out of the European winter to get ready for the Tour Down Under. As we all know, this race hasn’t been on for a couple of years because of the coronavirus. We are really looking forward to 2023. We put together a solid team. Pello Bilbao will lead the team up for the GC, and Phil Bauhaus will be our designated sprinter for the team. We also have some great support from Kamil Gradek and Hermann Pernsteiner. They are really solid workers. We are welcoming some new members of the team this year. Nikias Arndt is coming to the team. He will be our vice sprinter and the worker, and we may even give him the chance for the sprint himself. Also, the local Australian rider Cameron Scott is doing his first race as a professional cyclist. We are happy to have them here within Team Bahrain Victorious. We will be looking forward to going for many different goals in the Tour Down Under. The GC will be lead up by Pello Bilbao. They will be different styles of stages; the pure sprinter stages will be more for Phil Bauhaus. We’ve also got options when the stages get a little bit harder. Not only riders but also our staff members have been working hard throughout the winter, ensuring all the technical aspects of the Tour Down Under have been addressed. We ensure our riders have the best material and conditions to do the best in the Tour Down Under. We are really looking forward to starting the 2023 season with a bang.”
Israel – Premier Tech Set for Fourth Tour de France Participation
After claiming two emotional stage wins at the 2022 Tour de France, Israel – Premier Tech is set to return for the team’s fourth participation this year having been granted a wildcard invitation from the A.S.O.
From making history in 2020 as the first Israeli team to race the Tour de France, where Guy Niv had the honour of being the first Israeli rider to line up, to two stage wins in 2022, Israel – Premier Tech is hungry for more success at this year’s race says IPT owner Sylvan Adams.
“We are looking forward to racing in the sport’s most important and difficult race, the Tour de France, this July. We hope to build on our success of last summer where we won two stages, including one of the most difficult on the mythical cobbles of the Paris-Roubaix course. Israel – Premier Tech was one of only six teams that won at least two stages at last year’s race, and we will be hunting for more success in the 2023 edition. We will be dangerous and strong, I promise, and hope to bring winning joy to our many fans around the world, and especially in Israel,” says Adams.
The Tour de France invitation, and IPT’s participation at WorldTour stage races and one-day races, confirms that the team’s season will remain largely unchanged in 2023. General Manager Kjell Carlström thanked the A.S.O for awarding one of the two remaining wildcard invitations to IPT.
“After racing our best ever Tour de France in 2022, we are thrilled to return to the race this year for our fourth participation. With each participation, we have grown as a team and watching Simon Clarke and Hugo Houle claim two emotional stage victories last year was an absolute highlight of our team’s eight-year history. We are hungry for more and we will be lining up at this year’s Tour de France racing for victories and making our fans and partners proud to support IPT. I also want to thank A.S.O for inviting us back to the race, in what will undoubtedly be one of our big objectives of the season,” explains Carlström.
While winning a Tour de France stage is a dream come true no matter the circumstances, few victories in 2022 were as memorable as the stage wins of Simon Clarke and Hugo Houle. Whether it was Clarke’s win on stage 5, having started the year without a team before bouncing back to claim the biggest win of his career on the mythical cobbles of Roubaix, or Hugo Houle’s emotional win on stage 16 dedicated to his late brother Pierrik, IPT’s maiden Tour de France wins are ones that won’t be forgotten.
For Clarke and Houle, the news of IPT’s invitation is a huge source of motivation as the new season gets underway.
“It’s great that the we have been confirmed to race this year’s Tour de France. It’s really important not only for the team, but also for us as riders to have the opportunity to participate. Without an automatic invitation, the news of a wildcard invitation is great for us. Everyone, from management to the riders, is super excited to be back there heading to the Basque Country in the first week of July for another lap of France,” says Clarke.
“It’s super important to have this invitation to the Tour de France, one of the most important races of the year, and really great to start the year with this news. It’s a race I enjoy, especially last year with the success I had, so this gives me a lot of motivation to go back and be there for a fifth time in my career. A big thanks to A.S.O for giving us this opportunity and recognising what we achieved last year. It will be one of my main focuses of the season to make the team and to perform well and show everyone that we deserve this invitation,” adds Houle.
Tour stage win for Houle:
Movistar Changes Kit, But Still Blue
Movistar has revealed the kits for 2023. Both the men’s and the women’s teams are in blue again next year. The clothing has changed slightly compared to 2022.
One of the main differences is that the blue has become lighter. The colour is also less uniform: dark and light shades alternate. In addition, the main sponsor’s ‘M’ on the chest has been changed. Last year it was light blue, now it is white again, as it was before 2022.
Mathias and Emma Norsgaard:
New Arkéa-Samsic Kit – Bianchi Blue on the Sleeve
Arkéa-Samsic presented their kit for 2023 on New Year’s Day. Several riders, including the new addition David Dekker, posed in the new jersey. The clothing is redder than in previous years.
In 2022 the kit was a bit whiter towards the ends of the sleeves, but now the edges of the sleeves are now celeste. This light blue colour is of course all to do with Bianchi, the new bike sponsor of Arkéa-Samsic.
David Dekker in the new Arkéa-Samsic Kit:
Cofidis with More Red in 2023
The riders of Cofidis will again ride in red and white in 2023. The colour combination remains the same with the French team, but the design has changed, a little more red has been added to the outfit.
Last year the jersey was white from the chest down, but not in 2023, it is all red now. That red seems a bit lighter than before and contains different shades. The sleeves of the jersey are still white, while the shorts remain black.
No Change Norwegian Uno-X Team Kit for 2023
Uno-X has unveiled its 2023 kits. The men’s and women’s teams are again yellow and red. The Norwegian team has left everything as it was. “No changes from last season. We must reduce our consumption. By keeping the design, we can reduce our apparel spending for 2023. Not to mention our fans, who will now continue to recognise us,” Uno-X said via social media.
The men’s team is strengthened for the new season with Alexander Kristoff, Louis Bendixen, Stian Fredheim, Magnus Kulset and Marcus Sander Hansen. The women’s team has three new faces in 2023: Anouska Koster, Maria Giulia Confalonieri and former World champion Amalie Dideriksen.
Kristoff looking fit:
Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana 1969 is a UCI 1.1 race in 2023
The Spanish one-day race Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana 1969 was a 1.2 race last year, but moves up in 2023. The race, run on January 22nd, will be a UCI 1.1 race this year, and is the opener of the European UCI season.
The organisers can count on the presence of nineteen teams on Sunday 22 January. With Movistar, Cofidis, Arkéa-Samsic, AG2R Citroën and Team Jayco AlUla, five WorldTeams are at the start. The ProTeams Euskaltel-Euskadi, Equipo Kern Pharma, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Burgos-BH, Lotto Dstny, TotalEnergies, Israel-Premier Tech, EOLO-Kometa and Green Project Bardiani-CSF Faizanè will also be present.
The riders of the Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana 1969 will cover 190 kilometres from Valencia to the finish in La Nucia. On the route are two climbs; the Alto de Barx (6km at 5.6%, 3rd category) and Alto de Bixauca (17km at 2.7%, 2nd category). The top of the last climb is more than 30 kilometres from the finish.
Last year the race ended in a sprint and victory went to the fast Italian Giovanni Lonardi of EOLO-Kometa. Past winners of the then GP Luis Puig, were Bernard Hinault, Mathieu Hermans, Sean Kelly, Laurent Jalabert, Peter Van Petegem, Mario Cipollini, Erik Zabel, Andrei Tchmil, Alessandro Petacchi, Óscar Freire and the recently deceased Noël Dejonckheere.
Tour de France 2023: The 22 Teams
- The peloton of the 110th edition of the Tour de France will include 22 teams at the start in the Basque country on 1st July 2023.
- 18 UCI WorldTeams and 4 UCI ProTeams, with one unprecedented participation.
Details of the selection:
18 teams UCI WorldTeams:
AG2R Citroën Team (Fra)
Alpecin Deceuninck (Bel)
Astana QazaQstan Team (Kaz)
EF Education-Easypost (Usa)
Ineos Grenadiers (Gbr)
Movistar Team (Esp)
Soudal Quick-Step (Bel)
Team Arkea-Samsic (Fra)
Team Bahrain Victorious (Brn)
Team Cofidis (Fra)
Team DSM (Ned)
Team Jayco AlUla (Aus)
UAE Team Emirates (Uae)
4 teams UCI Proteams:
The two teams qualified by right:
Lotto dstny (Bel)
The two teams invited by the organiser:
Israel-Premier Tech (Isr)
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team (Nor).
UAE Tour Breaks New Ground in the Middle East as Women’s Race Joins the UCI Women’s WorldTour Calendar in 2023
First ever Women’s WorldTour race in the region set to showcase the best of women’s pro racing in February.
The UAE Tour is set to make cycling history this year, as 20 teams of the world’s top female cyclists descend on the Middle East for the first ever Women’s WorldTour race in the region.
Marking an important step for international cycling and women’s sport as a whole, the introduction of the event into the UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar showcases cycling’s growth in popularity, offering local cycling fans greater opportunities to experience world-class racing in the region. The route for the Women’s tour will see riders take on the UAE’s unique and varied terrain and pass significant landmarks. The full routes will be announced in January 2023.
Organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and taking place from 9-12 February, the UCI Women’s WorldTour race will run ahead of the 5th edition of the men’s WorldTour race, the UAE Tour, taking place from 20-26 February.
The UAE has rapidly become a hub for cycling, having successfully hosted many professional races in the form of the Dubai Tour, Abu Dhabi Tour and UAE Tour. With support for, and investment in, women’s professional cycling growing exponentially across the globe, the addition of the UAE Women’s Tour is another huge success for the region. Following a boom in interest in cycling in the Emirates and the introduction of the women’s team, UAE Team ADQ, in 2022, this latest announcement showcases an exciting step in the country’s development in cycling, and the efforts being made to promote professional women’s cycling across the region.
The trophy of the race
H.E. Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council said: “We are excited to add another world class cycling event to the WorldTour calendar with the UAE Tour UCI Women’s WorldTour race. As a favourite in the UCI cycling calendar, the UAE Tour has been a great opportunity to showcase our country’s diverse territories and historic sites to the world, and with the new UCI Women’s WorldTour, we represent both an exciting milestone for the country’s development in cycling, and showcase the strides we have taken to promote professional women’s cycling in the region.”
Fabrizio D’Amico, Chief Operating Officer RCS Sports and Events and UAE Tour Director added: “Seeing the Women’s UAE Tour coming to reality is something we are very proud of. With the Abu Dhabi Sports Council we worked with the objective of bringing further cycling excitement to the region and in doing so, it is therefore natural to offer the same playing field to women with a women’s version of the UAE Tour at the same level as the men’s race. We want this new race to become one of the best and most important races of the UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar with the goal also to help the development of women’s cycling within the Country and the whole Continent.”
Olympia’s Tour has Complete Field for 2023
The 25 participating teams in Olympia’s Tour 2023 (March 22-26) have been announced. The organisers have registered 22 continental teams and also has room for two club teams and a northern district team. Tour de Tietema-Unibet also has an invitation.
With Bingoal WB, Tour de Tietema-Unibet, Scorpions Racing Team, Metec-SOLARWATT CT p/b Mantel.com, Rad Net Osswald, Suri-Carl-Ras, NWVG FILA Cycling Team, WV de IJsselstreek and Regio Team Noord are the last participating teams announced.
The race already knew of the participation of Motala AIF Serneke Allebike, BHS-PL Beton Bornholm, Saint Piran, Tartu2024, AllinqCT, BEAT Cycling, ABLOC CT, VolkerWessels, Lotto-Kern Haus, Riwal Cycling Team, WiV Sungod and the development teams of DSM, Israel – Premier Tech, Jumbo-Visma, Lotto Dstny and Uno-X.
Race director Thijs Rondhuis of Courage Events is proud of the field of participants that he can welcome in the coming edition. “I think we can count ourselves among the best occupied stage races in Europe at our level with no fewer than 22 continental teams. This year, together with main sponsor Metec, we focused on an attractive stage schedule at a popular time of the year. We are rewarded for this with a nice mix of Dutch and foreign teams.”
“I am glad that we also have club teams at the start, because the competition is the training course par excellence. I am convinced that we will get a winner that fits in the line of winners such as Paris-Roubaix winners Servais Knaven and Dylan van Baarle and the current Dutch champion Pascal Eenkhoorn,” said Rondhuis.
The route of the upcoming edition of Olympia’s Tour is taking shape. It was previously announced that the race will start with a time trial on the TT circuit in Assen and end with a Limburg stage. Assen, the capital of the province of Drenthe, is also the starting and finishing point of the second stage. The race was won in 2022 by Maikel Zijlaard.
The Olympia’s Tour on the Col du Vam:
Franck Bonnamour Joins AG2R Citroën
Franck Bonnamour: “It is a great pride to join the AG2R CITROËN TEAM for the next two seasons. It was a career goal to join a UCI WorldTeam. So to achieve this, in a French team moreover, is a great achievement and a huge source of motivation. I liked everything Vincent Lavenu told me. It’s a team that corresponds to my qualities, my personality, and which puts its riders in a very good position to progress with state-of-the-art equipment and attentive supervision. It’s a group that I know well, in particular Benoît Cosnefroy, with whom I was in the France team when he became U23 World Champion in 2017. I look forward to blending into this collective and helping where I can. I’m really looking forward to sharing my first rides with my new teammates during our training camp in Spain (January 10-20 at La Nucia). I worked very hard throughout the winter to be fit for the first races of the season because I am coming out of a year that left me hungry despite my victory at the Polynormande. I want to do even better in 2023. The objective will be to go to the best races on the international calendar and also to discover new events on the UCI WorldTour calendar by putting myself at the service of my leaders. The challenge is exhilarating! I’m hungry for victories.”
Vincent Lavenu: “It is a real pleasure to see Franck join our AG2R CITROËN TEAM. He is a rider that we have been following for a few years now and with B&B Hotels team stopping, that hastened his arrival in our organization. After the recruitment of three neo-pros from our training program, the arrival of Franck will allow us to count on an experienced rider, able to play his card on all terrains. He has proven it in the past, in particular by being elected super-combative at the Tour de France 2021 as the most aggressive rider, so he is obviously very talented. He has a burst of speed that allows him to play his card in small groups, he climbs quite well, he is comfortable at the classics, and has the ideal mindset to blend into our team. He will provide valuable support for our leaders. Even though he is joining a UCI WorldTeam for the first time in his career, Franck has already proved that he is capable of competing with the best riders in the international peloton. His arrival is great news for us.”
Bonnamour in brief:
Born 20 June 1995 (27 years old) at Lannion (Côtes d’Armor)
La Polynormande 2022, super-combatif at the Tour de France 2021. 2nd at Paris-Tours 2021, 2nd at the Tour du Limousin 2021. European Champion juniors 2013.
Franck Bonnamour is the fourth recruit for the AG2R CITROËN TEAM for the 2023 season following the signing of Pierre Gautherat, Alex Baudin, and Bastien Tronchon.
Franck Bonnamour to AG2R Citroën:
James Piccoli Signs for China Glory
James Piccoli takes a step back. The Canadian, who has been in the WorldTour with Israel-Premier Tech for the past three years, will compete for the Continental China Glory team in 2023. Piccoli wrote on Instagram.
“After a time with many challenges, I am very excited to say that I will be riding for China Glory in 2023,” the 31 year-old rider said. “The fire is burning again and I am more motivated than ever to start racing again and win this year. Thank you to those who give me the chance for another comeback.”
In November it became clear that Piccoli would not stay with Israel-Premier Tech. The Canadian made his professional debut for the Israeli team in 2020 after several good years on the Continental circuit. Piccoli, however, never really managed to break through at the highest level. He was second in the Tour du Rwanda for Israel-Premier Tech and eighth in the Ruta del Sol and the Sibiu Cycling Tour.
James Piccoli to China Glory:
B&B Victim Chloe Hosking Signed by Roxsolt Liv SRAM
Chloe Hosking was supposed to move from Trek-Segafredo to the new B&B Hotels-KTM women’s team for 2023, but that last project fell through. The Australian will be in the peloton this year. The Continental Roxsolt Liv SRAM offered Hosking a contract for the coming season.
The 32-year-old Hosking has been riding for Trek-Segafredo since 2021. Before that, she was with Wiggle High5, Alé Cipollini and Rally Cycling Women, where she particularly impressed as a sprinter. In 2016 she won the third edition of La Course by beating Lotta Henttala and Marianne Vos on the Champs-Élysées. That same year she won a stage in the Women’s Giro d’Italia.
In 2022, Hosking was unable to win, but she did achieve several places of honour: 2nd place in a stage of the EasyToys Bloomzone Fryslân Tour, 6th in the Scheldeprijs and 2nd in a stage of the Tour of Scandinavia (2.WWT).
Chloe Hosking saved by Roxsolt Liv SRAM:
Primoz Roglič Becomes a Father for the Second Time
On Tuesday Primoz Roglič and his partner, Lora Klinc, welcomed their second child. The Jumbo-Visma rider revealed on Facebook: “When the year has only started and you are already celebration the biggest win of the season. We are grateful and blessed to welcome another boy to our family.” This is the couple’s second child, after the birth of Lev a few years ago.
Rogič child No. 2:
Cycling Charity Announces Supported Riders for the 2023 Season
The cycling charity, the Rayner Foundation, has announced its roster of supported riders for the 2023 cycle racing season. It had its most successful season in 2022, with two female and five male riders now confirmed as professional bike riders within world tour teams.
The Rayner Foundation supports young cyclists from the UK who want to cycle race in Europe. It strives to encourage under-represented groups to engage and succeed in cycling by providing the means for young riders to travel abroad safely and set up a home and function daily whilst pursuing a cycling career.
A total of 24 riders supported by the Rayner Foundation will join European teams for the 2023 season as part of the charity’s Springboard scheme, which awards a financial grant to individual athletes to enable them to assist with their costs whilst living abroad before they can earn a salary from their success.
Joscelin Ryan, a committee member of the foundation and Rider Liaison, welcomed the success of the 2022 season but said she was disappointed the foundation had not been able to find individual female riders at the appropriate level to support. She said:
“It is baffling that this is happening at a time when Women’s Professional Cycling has never been so healthy, with many opportunities available to women riders. The Rayner Foundation is therefore finding other ways to support young female riders. Our Gateway scheme will operate again this year to support women’s teams and junior riders to race in mainland Europe in conjunction with their UK team. We hope that by providing this support, they can gain the experience necessary to make a career in the sport.”
Thirteen of the riders supported by the foundation in 2023 will join French teams. Five will go to Spain. Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland accommodate the rest.
Half of the riders will have been abroad before, with the support of the charity, and the other half will be racing full-time in Europe for the first time.
Three further opportunities have been offered to riders who will go to Europe during the summer months after their exams.
Rayner Foundation Riders – 2023:
- Ben Askey will follow his brother Lewis and other British riders who went to France to join Groupama FDJ Conti
- Adam Bent will join Eiser Hirumet in Spain
- Max Cushway, first-year u23, will join WB Fybolia in France
- Alfie George will spend a second season with Vendee U in France
- Alex Haines will spend a fourth season with GSC Blagnac Velosport 31 in France
- Tyler Hannay will move from France to MastroMarco Sensi Nibali in Italy
- Oliver Knight will spend his fourth u23 season with AVC Aix in France
- Bjoern Koerdt, first-year u23, will join CC Etupes in France
- Owen Lightfoot will go to Spain to join Previley Maglia Conforma
- Logan Maclean will join AG2R Citroen U23 in France
- Adam Mitchell joins Team U Charente Maritime in France
- Oscar Nilsson Julien will join AVC Aix in France
- Charlie Paige goes to France for his second season with Bourg en Bresse Cyclisme
- Benjamin Peatfield will spend another season with Vendee U in France
- Isaac Peatfield will continue with VCU Schwenheim in France
- Tom Portsmouth will move up to Bingoal Pauwels Conti in Belgium
- Max Rushby remains in Belgium but switches team to Geofco Doltcini
- Oliver Stockwell returns to CT Friuli in Italy
- Louis Sutton changes location and team from Spain to AVC Aix France
- Lucas Towers remains in Spain but changes team to Caja Rural U23
- Callum Twelves, first-year U23, joins the Fernando Barcelo Team in Spain
- Zac Walker, first-year U23 and National Junior Road Champion joins Tudor Pro Cycling Devo in Switzerland
- Dylan Westley returns to Equipo Finisher (previous name Equipo Lizarte) in Spain
- Jamie Whitcher joins Basso Team Flanders in Belgium
For more information on the Rayner Foundation, visit www.theraynerfoundation.org.
The PEZ INSTAGRAM
See our Instagram page for a quick fix on your phone: https://www.instagram.com/pezcyclingnews
The PEZ NEWSWIRE!
Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it on the homepage, just above the PEZ Shop section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.