EUROTRASH Thursday: Lombardia Build-Up and all the Other News From the Peloton!
Free to read cycling news
We look forward to Il Lombardia, but we also have Binche-Chimay-Binche – Mémorial Frank Vandenbroucke, Tre Valli Varesine, Coppa Bernocchi and Sparkassen – Münsterland Giro. Remco Evenepoel isn’t leaving Quick-Step – TOP STORY. Other news: Il Lombardia riders and teams, Alejandro Valverde to Lombaria, David Gaudu not. Rider news: Mathieu van der Poel to the gravel World championships, Quintana to Astana and his tramadol case, Magnus Bäckstedt joins Canyon//SRAM, CEO of Lotto talks relegation, INEOS Women’s or MTB team, criticism of the CRO Race, ‘Matxín’ stops and Movistar extends contracts. Race news: Gran Piemonte, Paris Bourges, Paris-Tours, Tour de France Saitama Criterium, Wout van Aert to ride Benidorm cyclo-cross and Nokere Koerse wants to be in the WorldTour. Link My Ride becomes official cycling app For Cycling Canada. Big coffee for a big EUROTRASH.
TOP STORY: Remco Evenepoel “Departure from Quick-Step was Never Discussed”
Remco Evenepoel has been in the news a lot in recent weeks, not only for his Vuelta a España win and his World title in Wollongong, Australia. But some in the press suggested that the Belgian would be transferring to the INEOS Grenadiers team. Patrick Lefevere, the team manager of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, previously referred the story to the realm of fables and now Evenepoel has spoken out. “A departure has never been discussed.”
Evenepoel looked ahead to Binche-Chimay-Binche at a press conference, where he will complete his first race in the rainbow jersey, but it was also about other things, he was asked about his future and the rumours surrounding INEOS Grenadiers.
INEOS owner Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly desperate for a potential Tour winner who can deliver immediate success, Evenepoel, this year’s winner of the Vuelta a España, is the first name on the list. “It is especially unfortunate that a rumour is almost made a fact, when that is not the case at all,” the world champion responded.
“I’ve never talked about leaving. Not with Patrick (Lefevere) and not with my own entourage. The subject of leaving Quick-Step has never been discussed and it will not be for the foreseeable future. I’m very happy here and I’ve had great results this year. I have a lot of friends here and I get along really well with the teammates and the staff. That is partly responsible for my performance and how I feel on the bike. I don’t want to change that anytime soon.”
Evenepoel happy with Quick-Step, Belgium happy with Evenepoel:
Binche-Chimay-Binche – Mémorial Frank Vandenbroucke 2022
Christophe Laporte is the winner of the 35th edition of Binche-Chimay-Binche. After an exciting final, the Frenchman of the Jumbo-Visma team managed to drop his last escape companion, Rasmus Tiller, on the uphill cobbles of Pépinière.
The 35th edition of Binche-Chimay-Binche – Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke, was special. The race was all about World champion Remco Evenepoel in his rainbow jersey, but also the farewell of Philippe Gilbert in own country. In the final, the riders were faced with a difficult circuit of 16.2 kilometres five times, with the uphill cobbles of Pépinière 900 meters from the finish. As usual for Wallonia, the road went up and down all day, and it was very windy on the open, wide roads.
Six riders set up an early break. Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange-Jayco) was joined by Torsten Demeyere (Tarteletto-Isorex), Karl Patrick Lauk (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Evaldas Šiškevičius (Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Métropole), Adam de Vos (Human Powered Health ) and Yentl Vandevelde (Minerva Cycling). The difference was never over 2 minutes. With 90 kilometres to go, Victor Campenaerts decided to attack, this turned out to be the start of a very nervous race. The top riders then got involved in the pursuit.
World champion Evenepoel accelerated several times, Christophe Laporte, Biniam Girmay, Florian Vermeersch and Stan Dewulf were also involved. No one managed to escape the peloton. Due to the many accelerations, the escape came to an end with about 70 kilometres to go and there was a regrouping. Entering the last 50 kilometres there was a split in the peloton. A large leading group of about 20 riders managed to get away from the peloton. With Belgian champions Tim Merlier, Arnaud De Lie, Rasmus Tiller, Mike Teunissen, Bryan Coquard and Taco van der Hoorn, there were many big names. The big absentee was Evenepoel: The World champion was at the back of the peloton, which had to make up 30 seconds on the front riders. The lead kept fluctuating around 30 seconds for a long time. The leading group continued to push hard, which was obvious on the uphill cobbles of Pépinière. The front group completely exploded and the collaboration disappeared. The peloton was able to catch them just under 30 kilometres from the finish. The race was already over for Evenepoel, in the last 20 kilometres he eased up and rolled into the finish.
Tony Gallopin went on an ambitious solo. The Trek-Segafredo rider soon had 30 seconds, but he was something for the counter-attackers to aim at. Victor Campenaerts and Greg Van Avermaet tried to cross to Gallopin and turned into a chase group of about 15 riders. Laporte, Tiller, Gilbert and Florian Vermeersch also managed to survive this selection. Laporte may have been the fastest rider in the front group, but didn’t wait for the sprint. The Frenchman pushed on and only Tiller was able to follow him. Laporte and Tiller got further away from the pursuers and would fight for the victory. Laporte easily rode away from his Norwegian rival on the cobbled climb of Pépinière. The Jumbo-Visma rider had plenty of time to celebrate his victory in the last kilometre. This is Laporte’s fifth win of the season, he had previously won a stage in Paris-Nice, a stage in the Tour de France and a stage and the final classification in the Tour of Denmark. Tiller managed to hold off the pursuers and finished second. Frenchman Hugo Page of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert won the sprint for third place. Gilbert finished sixth in his last race in Belgium.
Race winner, Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma): “It’s very nice to take another victory in this successful year. I never expected the season to turn out so successful. It was a challenging race, with some early attacks. I intended to finish the race with a compact group, but things went differently than expected. Eventually, I got to the front with Rasmus and in the final, we both had a hard time. I gave everything I had till the finish line with what little energy I had left. Fortunately, it was enough for victory. The legs were already good at the Worlds and they were strong today as well. In addition, the team was solid and worked hard. I am happy that I was able to finish it off.”
3rd, Hugo Page (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “Obtaining my first podium in the pro ranks on the soil of our sponsors and on the occasion of the farewell race of Kévin Van Melsen makes it even more beautiful. This third place was probably the best possible result today, because I didn’t have the legs to follow the attack of Laporte and Tiller after all my efforts on the circuit in Binche. My form is good, after my fifth place last Sunday I finished third today. I will conclude my season with Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours, two races in which we will give everything we have to take our 25th victory of the season!”
6th and riding his last race in Belgium, Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal): “I managed to pull away in the final with a group and it looked good until Christophe Laporte attacked. He drove off with Rasmus Tiller and we then got stuck for a few seconds. I thought we would still return, but they kept moving forward. That’s a shame, but I was able to participate in the final as hoped. I was active today and was able to play my part. The team did that, but in the end we don’t buy much with a sixth place. I did enjoy the race. There were a lot of people. I have to thank everyone. Emotions? No, I’ve been through a lot in a career spanning twenty years. I can place it all well. I still feel good. There are still two great races on the program.”
World champion, Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “I came here to see these amazing fans, to enjoy my first race in rainbow and to race alongside Iljo. He had a big impact on my career and taught me a lot of important things, for which I will be forever grateful. We were roommates many times in these seasons and it’s been a real pleasure to be again on the team with him before he retires. It was beautiful also to see so many fans before, during and after the race. The people have been fantastic since I returned from Australia and it gave me goosebumps to see them come in huge numbers and give me such a warm and beautiful welcome today, and I thank them for that.”
Binche-Chimay-Binche – Mémorial Frank Vandenbroucke Result:
1. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Jumbo-Visma in 4:26:16
2. Rasmus Tiller (Nor) Uno-X at 0:03
3. Hugo Page (Fra) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 0:08
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën
5. Toms Skujiņš (Lat) Trek-Segafredo
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7. Dries Van Gestel (Bel) TotalEnergies
8. Jake Stewart (GB) Groupama-FDJ
9. Florian Dauphin (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
10. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Trek-Segafredo.
Tre Valli Varesine 2022
Tadej Pogačar showed his form for this Saturday’s Tour of Lombardy on Tuesday in the 101st edition of Tre Valli Varesine. The Slovenian out-sprinted Sergio Higuita and Alejandro Valverde for the race win.
The Tre Valli Varesine was 196.7 kilometres long and had 24 climbs for 3,500 metres of climbing. After 45 kilometres the riders crossed the finish line for the first time. After eight circuits of 12.9 kilometres, with the climbs to Montello (2km at 5.2%, with peaks of up to 10%) and the Casbeno (2.5km at 4.9%), there were still two laps of 20 kilometres. With the climbs to Montello, Morosolo (1.6km at 7.8%) and Casciago (1.8km at 5%) it would be a tough final.
Ten riders attacked fairly early: Daryl Impey (Israel-Premier Tech), Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Mathias Vacek (Trek-Segafredo), Mark Christian, Davide Bais (EOLO-Kometa), Mattéo Vercher (TotalEnergies), Héctor Carretero (Equipo Kern Pharma ), Johan Meens (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Joel Nicolau (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Samuele Zoccarato (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè). The lead of the ten increased to 3 minutes, but they didn’t get much more time. In the peloton AG2R Citroën were working for Benoît Cosnefroy. Movistar, the team of Giro dell’Emilia winner Enric Mas and Alejandro Valverde, got involved in the chase. As a result, the lead quickly declined. At 60 kilometres from the finish, the difference was only 1:30. In the leading group Hermans decided to get away and only Bais, Vacek and Vercher were able to go with him. With just over 40 kilometres to go, the Hermans group were caught up and a new phase began. Alessandro De Marchi, last year’s winner, attacked but didn’t get away. An attempt by Jay Vine took a small gap.
The Australian climber proved no match for the considerably thinned peloton. UAE Team Emirates controlled the race for top favourite Tadej Pogačar. However, Tim Wellens was not impressed by Pogačar’s team and tried to go on his own. The Belgian of Lotto Soudal didn’t stay out of the grip of the favourites for long. With 20 kilometres to go it was the start of the last lap. Daniel Felipe Martínez, Jesús Herrada and Davide Formolo went on the move, but were quickly caught. An attack by Aleksandr Vlasov was also quickly pulled in. Ulissi decimated the group for his teammate Pogačar, but it wasn’t fast enough for Thomas Gloag. The 21-year-old British climber was clearly not impressed by the big names and went on the attack. This led to a counter-attack from Mas, but the two were soon called to order. Vincenzo Nibali, who will end his career on Saturday after the Tour of Lombardy, tried to get away, but it didn’t turn out to be the winning move. Movistar led the first group in the last kilometres for Valverde who wanted to go for the sprint. However, the 42-year-old Spaniard was beaten in his penultimate race of his career by Pogačar. The Slovenian defeated Colombian champion Sergio Higuita and Valverde. The French rider Pierre Latour and Cosnefroy completed the top-5.
Race winner, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “I am very happy for the victory. It was a very fast race, the team worked well to keep the group together in the final, especially Diego Ulissi was exceptional: the sprint was the best option for me in the final stages of the race, everything went perfectly. It is a good performance ahead of Il Lombardia: it will be more difficult than last year, but we will try as always to give our best.”
2nd, Sergio Higuita (BORA-hansgrohe): “I thought I’d be able to get a good result today. Although a lot of riders in the peloton are tired at the end of the season, I’m still motivated, which is important. And the rest of the team is also in a similar frame of mind. We didn’t have any super results so far at these Italian races, so we really wanted to improve today. I knew I had to start my sprint from a bit further out, because in previous editions of the race, I went too late. Aleks and I worked well together and he brought me to a good position in the final kilometre. I had pretty good legs, and I think overall I did a good sprint. We’re happy with a podium place, and I’m especially pleased to be able to share the podium with such distinguished riders.”
12th, Thomas Gloag (Jumbo-Visma): “In my opinion, it was a different race from last Saturday. I felt very strong today. The legs were in good shape. As the race continued, it seemed that the majority of the peloton became more and more exhausted. I still felt quite strong. At ten kilometres from the line, I decided to go for it and attack. Unfortunately, I was unable to stay ahead of the chasing pack. Maybe I could have done it with a few other riders, but it is as it is. Hopefully, this will make me stronger regarding the future. I surprised myself today. It is important for my rhythm that I complete races at this level, and it’s especially good that I can play a role in the final. I feel very comfortable with this team. Last year, I could only dream of working with such a skilled squad and riding with such experienced and strong riders. I am very grateful for that. Even though I still have a ways to go, they won’t take this away from me.”
Tre Valli Varesine Result.
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 4:36:59
2. Sergio Higuita (Col) BORA-hansgrohe
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
4. Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies
5. Benoît Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R Citroën
6. Adam Yates (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
9. Jesús Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
10.Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Education-EasyPost.
Tre Valli Varesine’22:
Coppa Bernocchi 2022
Davide Ballerini won the 2022 Coppa Bernocchi. The 28-year-old Italian of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl turned was the fastest in the sprint from a large group after a hard race. Ballerini beat Corbin Strong (Israel-Premier Tech) and Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Deceuninck).
The Coppa Bernocchi, one of the many Italian autumn one-day classics, started and finished in Legnano, just over 190 kilometres long and with the hardest part in the middle section with seven climbs of the Morazzone (1.5km at 6.6%). A sprint with a large group seemed a realistic scenario, since it was more than 30 kilometres to the finish after the last climb. Top men would be Simone Consonni, Matteo Trentin, Kaden Groves and Davide Ballerini.
There was an early break of four: Jon Barrenetxea (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Alan Jousseaume (TotalEnergies), Giulio Masotto (Team Corratec) and Francisco Muñoz (EOLO-Kometa). The maximum lead was a good 7 minutes. In the first hours of racing the pace was not hight, but this was the calm before the storm. With 55 kilometres to go, the race split apart. On one of the sections of the climb to Morazzone, fourteen riders got away from the peloton: Julian Alaphilippe, Andrea Bagioli, Mikkel Honoré (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Marc Hirschi, Diego Ulissi, Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates), Einer Rubio (Movistar), Natnael Tesfatsion (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli), Miguel Ángel López (Astana Qazaqstan), Ion Izagirre (Cofidis) and Romain Grégoire (Groupama-FDJ). This turned out to be an important moment in the race, as the difference between the two groups quickly increased to a minute. It wasn’t fast enough for Alaphilippe in the chasing group: the Frenchman attempted to get to the two remaining leaders Barrenetxea and Jousseaume. Hirschi and Rubio sensed the danger and went with Alaphilippe. Together they caught the last survivors of the early break.
The chasers were not far behind and soon there was a regrouping at the front of the race. Trentin, Ilan Van Wilder, Izagirre, Grégoire, López, Ulissi and Tesfatsion, and others, managed to rejoin towards the last climb of the Morazzone. It looked like this group would stay together to the climb, but Rubio, Ulissi, Ilan Van Wilder and early breakaway Jousseaume had other plans. These four took advantage of an easing of the pace in the group and managed to take a nice lead. The chase was being blocked by Trentin. This played into the hands of the leaders: Ulissi, Rubio, Van Wilder and Jousseaume started the seventh and final passage of the Morrazone with a lead of 45 seconds. Despite the presence of his teammate Van Wilder in the front group, Alaphilippe was unhappy with the situation and attacked once again. The two-time World champion was the instigator of a counter-movement in the hunt for the four leaders. When starting the last 30 kilometres, the Alaphilippe group had crossed and there was a large leading group of about ten riders and more were coming. The peloton, with the better sprinters, had the front riders in their sights.
The seven riders off the front did everything they could to stay out of the grip of the peloton. Alaphilippe, Van Wilder, Hirschi, Jhonatan Narváez, Alessandro Covi, Corbin Strong and Stefano Oldani were not easily caught, but their move came to an end just under 10 kilometres from the finish. The preparations were then made for a sprint from a large group. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl took the lead ahead of its sprinter Davide Ballerini. Mauri Vansevenant took a big turn in the last 3 kilometres, but the Belgian team was outflanked by UAE Team Emirates just before the last kilometre. Trentin was no match for his compatriot Ballerini in the sprint. The UAE rider started the sprint in an ideal position and raced to his second victory of the season. Corbin Strong finished second, Stefano Oldani was third.
Race winner, Davide Ballerini (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “I’m very happy, as I really needed this win, which shows that I found my condition again after not enjoying the best of times at the World Championships. It wasn’t easy and I suffered today, as the speed went up with each lap, but I tried to tackle the climbs in the first positions at all times and managed to stay in there after almost being dropped at one point. My team did a fantastic job and worked hard for me after it all came back together, pulling hard in the finale, and then in the sprint I just took Trentin’s wheel and gave my best. I’m delighted with this success on home soil and with the fact I could repay the guys for their amazing work.”
Coppa Bernocchi Result:
1. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 4:18:01
2. Corbin Strong (NZ) Israel-Premier Tech
3. Stefano Oldani (Ita) Alpecin-Deceuninck
4. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5. Iván García Cortina (Spa) Movistar
6. Robert Stannard (Aus) Alpecin-Deceuninck
7. Christian Scaroni (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan
8. Davide Bais (Ita) EOLO-Kometa
9. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën
10. Marijn van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-EasyPost.
Sparkassen – Münsterland Giro 2022
Olav Kooij was the winner of the 2022 Sparkassen Münsterland Giro on Monday. The young rider of Jumbo-Visma turned out to be by far the fastest in the final sprint, taking his 12th victory of the season. Kooij beat Jasper Philipsen and Max Walscheid with ease. Dylan Groenewegen and Fabio Jakobsen couldn’t get involved in the final.
A sprint finish was the most obvious scenario because the four climbs on the route were all in the first 110 kilometres. At the start were top fastmen: Fabio Jakobsen, Dylan Groenewegen, Jasper Philipsen, Olav Kooij, Sam Bennett and home favourite Pascal Ackermann.
An early break of five riders: Julian Borresch (Saris Rouvy Sauerland Team), Jesse de Rooij and Sebastian Niehues (Bike Aid), Jannis Peter (German National Team) and Ole Theiler (Team Lotto-Kern Haus) managed took a maximum lead of around 4 minutes. In the peloton, Alpecin-Deceuninck and BikeExchange-Jayco were in control. The Belgian team was leading for sprinter Philipsen, while the BikeExchange were looking after Groenewegen. This was bad news for the escapees, as with just over 20 kilometres to go, the last escapees were caught and the race could get ready for a bunch sprint. In the final there was a few laps of a circuit in Münster.
A bunch sprint was on the cards, although Frederik Frison tried to get away. The Belgian attacked with a few kilometres to go, but he didn’t really get away and was caught. The sprinters could then prepare for the sprint, although without Pascal Ackermann, the German had crashed earlier with a BORA-hansgrohe rider. In the chaotic final, the sprinter’s teams struggled to position themselves well, but it didn’t upset Olav Kooij. The 20 year-old Dutchman waited for the right moment, started his sprint and managed to convincingly sprint off the other wheels. Philipsen, Walscheid, Sam Bennett, Jakobsen and Groenewegen were all beaten by Kooij.
Race winner, Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma): “Winning is always good, but it’s even nicer when you defeat some world-class riders. They have all already won stages in a grand tour. I’m hoping to soon be able to do the same. I am happy that I could finish off my teammates’ work. I am very grateful to them. I didn’t feel very rested when I came back from Australia, so I didn’t really know what to expect today. Fortunately, I had strong legs in the final and could even shift up a gear. Although the season has been wonderful thus far, I want to end it well. My next races are Gran Piemonte and Paris-Tours, and then it’s time for holidays.”
Sparkassen – Münsterland Giro Result:
1. Olav Kooij (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 4:36:35
2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck
3. Max Walscheid (Ger) Cofidis
4. Itamar Einhorn (Isr) Israel-Premier Tech
5. Sam Bennett (Irl) BORA-hansgrohe
6. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
7. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco
8. Casper van Uden (Ned) DSM
9. Max Kanter (Ger) Germany
10. Milan Fretin (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise.
Il Lombardia 2022, The Entry List for the Classic of the Dead Leaves
Cycling stars Tadej Pogačar, Jonas Vingegaard, Julian Alaphilippe, Vincenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverde are among the line-up in the final Monument Classic of the season. The 253km route, from Bergamo to Como, features a selection of demanding climbs.
Lago di Como
The entry list for the 116th edition of Il Lombardia presented by Eolo, taking place on Saturday 8 October, has been announced. The race is set to be a true clash of the stars, with Tadej Pogačar returning to defend his title alongside many great names of the professional peloton lining up at the start including; Jonas Vingegaard, Julian Alaphilippe, Enric Mas, Bauke Mollema, Jai Hindley, Daniel Felipe Martinez, Domenico Pozzovivo, Romain Bardet and Damiano Caruso.
This edition of Il Lombardia will be made even more special, with two great champions in the history of cycling, Vincenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverde closing their careers after the race.
The last 60km of the 253km route, starting from Bergamo and finishing in Como, features a sequence of climbs passing through Ghisallo, San Fermo della Battaglia, Civiglio, and then again through San Fermo, before the finish line on the Como lakefront.
25 teams, 18 UCI World Teams and 7 UCI Pro Teams, with 7 riders each
AG2R CITROEN TEAM
ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM
BORA – HANSGROHE
EF EDUCATION – EASYPOST
GROUPAMA – FDJ
INTERMARCHÉ – WANTY – GOBERT MATÉRIAUX
ISRAEL – PREMIER TECH
QUICK-STEP ALPHA VINYL TEAM
TEAM BIKEEXCHANGE – JAYCO
TREK – SEGAFREDO
UAE TEAM EMIRATES
BARDIANI CSF FAIZANE
CAJA RURAL-SEGUROS RGA
DRONE HOPPER – ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI
EOLO-KOMETA CYCLING TEAM
TEAM ARKEA – SAMSIC
The Route of Il Lombardia Presented by EOLO
Il Lombardia’22 profile
Departing from Bergamo, the riders head toward Val Seriana for a short flat stretch before tackling a series of climbs in the Pre-Alps around the city. They then climb the Forcellino di Bianzano (Valle Rossa), ascending Ganda, the Passo della Crocetta in Dossena, the Forcella di Bura and Colle di Berbenno. A short flat section will bring the riders to the area of Lake Como. From here, they ascend from Lecco to reach Bellagio, where they meet the classic climb of Ghisallo. Here, the climb will feature gradients up to 14% on a wide road with several hairpin bends. A very fast descent follows over long straights and ends in Maglio. As the riders reach Como, the race will cover a final circuit of 22km. After passing the city centre they face climbing through San Fermo della Battaglia for the first time (397m), then descend back into Como. About a kilometre later the tough climb towards Civiglio (614m) will begin, with slopes averaging around 10%, before going back through Como to climb San Fermo della Battaglia for a second time.
Il Lombardia’22 map
The last 10km is inside the city of Como, following wide avenues up to a railway underpass where the climb of San Fermo della Battaglia begins. The slope is around 7% (max 10%) with a narrow carriageway and rough road surface. Around 5km from the finish, several hairpins feature before the top of the climb. The descent on wide, well-paved road meets two well-lit tunnels and two large roundabouts, and ends at the final kilometre. At 600m from the finish, there is a last wide turn to the left.
Tadej Pogačar, winner of Il Lombardia 2021:
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to Il Lombardia
Julian Alaphilippe will bring his season to a conclusion Saturday afternoon.
Il Lombardia – the race won by some of cycling’s biggest names – runs its 116th episode this weekend on a different course than the one of last year, when the Wolfpack came close to victory with Fausto Masnada, who took second.
After they will leave behind Bergamo, the home town of last season’s runner-up, the peloton will tackle a series of five climbs – Forcellino di Bianzano, Ganda, Passo della Crocetta, Forcella di Bura and Colle di Berbenno – all stacked up in the space of 90 kilometers, but these aren’t expected to have a big impact on the race.
Instead, things promise to heat up once the riders will hit the slopes of Madonna del Ghisallo, from where they’ll head to Como for a first ascent of San Fermo della Battaglia. A short descent will then lead them onto the demanding climb of Civiglio, but this won’t be the last hurdle of the day, as just a couple of kilometers later they will tackle again Battaglia, from whose top only five kilometers remain until the finish.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s line-up for the last World Tour appointment of the season will consist of double World Champion Julian Alaphilippe, former Piccolo Giro di Lombardia winner Andrea Bagioli, Dries Devenyns – who will make his tenth outing at the Italian Monument – Mikkel Honoré, Ilan Van Wilder, Mauri Vansevenant and Louis Vervaeke.
“It’s the last Monument of the season and our penultimate race, we come here after solid outings at Bernocchi and Piemonte, so the motivation is huge and we want to do well. The riders are ready to give everything on what will be a hard course, with a different final part than last year that could have a significant impact on the outcome. Julian is our leader and he will have a strong team around him, so we are confident”, explained sports director Davide Bramati.
08.10 Il Lombardia (ITA) 1.UWT
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA)
Andrea Bagioli (ITA)
Dries Devenyns (BEL)
Mikkel Honoré (DEN)
Ilan Van Wilder (BEL)
Mauri Vansevenant (BEL)
Louis Vervaeke (BEL).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA) & Tom Steels (BEL).
Alaphilippe’s last race for 2022:
Il Lombardia (October 8)
Clément Berthet: “I feel good physically at the end of the season. The series of Italian classics has put us in good shape for the last race of the year, the Tour of Lombardy. I raced this event for the first time last year and it is the type of profile for punchers/climbers that I really like. It is a monument of cycling and it is always a pleasure to take the start of these magnificent races. We will be keen to end the season well with the AG2R CITROËN TEAM. For my part, I want to do well and measure myself against the best. We will have to hang on as long as possible to get a good result in Como.”
Paul Lapeira won Il Piccolo Lombardia (Tour of Lombardy U23) in 2021. Clément Champoussin finished on the podium twice in this same race: 2nd in 2019 and 3rd in 2018. In 2022, Jordan Labrosse, a member of the AG2R CITROËN U23 TEAM, took 3rd place.
Alejandro Valverde: “I’m good enough to compete in Lombardy”
Alejandro Valverde may be saying his farewells, but there doesn’t seem to be much wear on the 42 year-old Spaniard. With a second place in the Coppa Agostoni, fourth place in the Giro dell’Emilia and third place in Tre Valli Varesine, the Movistar rider seems ready for a spectacular final in the Tour of Lombardy.
Valverde competed for victory in Tre Valli Varesine on Tuesday, although Tadej Pogačar and Sergio Higuita were better in the sprint. “I want to thank the team for the great work they have done. We checked the course from the start with UAE Emirates. We had everything under control,” Valverde said afterwards in conversation with Escilismo.
“In the final I told Enric Mas that he also had to take his own chances, but it ended up being a sprint. I could count on support from Enric and Einer Rubio in the final phase. I have to congratulate Pogačar, he was simply the fastest.”
Valverde is now preparing for the last race of his career: the Tour of Lombardy on Saturday. The Murcian has never won ‘la corsa delle foglie morte’, but did finish second in 2013, 2014 and 2019. Can Valverde win on Saturday? “I’m one of the favourites, if all goes well. However, it all depends on the course of the race and the form of the day. I am currently good enough to fight for the win. In addition, I think it is a beautiful course, I like it better than in previous years.”
Valverde ready for his final race:
David Gaudu Not Fit for Il Lombardia
Groupama-FDJ will have to do without David Gaudu in the Tour of Lombardy on Saturday. The 25 year-old French climber, who was seventh in the Italian autumn classic last year, is not feeling 100% and has decided to end his season.
Gaudu should have been one of the favourites, but has been struggling with his form in recent weeks. He had to give up early in the Coppa Bernocchi and Tre Valli Varesine, two important ‘preparation races’ for Il Lombardia. “I feel that I am not able to defend my chances optimally. I have therefore decided, after consultation with the team management, to end the season.”
“It was a year with highs and lows, but I mainly think back to my fourth place in the last Tour de France. It is now time for a short rest, and then work towards the new season.” Gaudu finished fourth in the Tour this year, but also won a stage in the Volta ao Algarve and the Critérium du Dauphiné. He was also third in the Mercan’Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes and fifth in the Grand Prix de Montréal.
His team Groupama-FDJ will hope for a performance from Valentin Madouas, Rudy Molard, Michael Storer, Attila Valter, Bruno Armirail or Quentin Pacher on Saturday. Former winner Thibaut Pinot is missing from the provisional start list.
No Gaudu in Lombardia:
Il Lombardia – OCT 08
Pim Ligthart – Team DSM coach: “We’re looking forward to taking on the final Monument of the season at Il Lombardia. This season the race will go from Bergamo to Como with a very demanding first 120 kilometres and a brutal final 60 kilometres, which makes this year’s edition of Il Lombardia a very difficult one. We enter the race with a full squad that is ready and motivated to give it their all in their last race of the year. We will look to race aggressively towards the final and will leave everything out on the road.”
Thymen Arensman (NED)
Romain Bardet (FRA)
Marco Brenner (GER)
Mark Donovan (GBR)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Andreas Leknessund (NOR)
Henri Vandenabeele (BEL).
Bardet and Hamilton to ride Il Lombardia:
Pogačar returns to defend title at Il Lombardia – Final monument of the year for the Emirati squad
Fresh from victory at the Tre Valli Varesine, UAE Team Emirates head into the final part of the season with a keen focus on the final monument of the year: Il Lombardia (8 Oct) where defending champion Tadej Pogačar will return to defend his title supported by a strong block of climbers.
Defending champion Tadej Pogačar leads the line-up at Il Lombardia in a squad which features an ensemble of climbing talent where the Slovenian will hope to defend his title on Saturday.
Tadej Pogačar: “I’m excited for Il Lombardia. It’s a different route this year but in a race like this with the strength of the field we know will be hard regardless. I think the condition is where it needs to be heading into the race and the team is really strong too. It’s a beautiful race to finish off what has been a really nice season.”
The teams in Italy will be overseen by Team Manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Spa) alongside Sports Directors Fabio Baldato (Ita) Marco Marcato (Ita) and Marco Marzano (Ita).
Il Lombardia [1.UWT] – 08-Oct-2022:
Joao Almeida (Por)
Davide Formolo (Ita)
Marc Hirschi (Swi)
Davide Formolo (Ita)
Rafal Majka (Pol)
Tadej Pogačar (Slo)
Jan Polanc (Slo)
Diego Ulissi (Ita)
Bahrain Victorious to Gran Piemonte and Il Lombardia
A few races remain on the Bahrain Victorious calendar before the curtain comes down on the 2022 season. The team will participate in two prestigious Italian races this week: Gran Piemonte, taking place on Thursday, 6 October and the last Classic Monument of this year, Il Lombardia, next Saturday, 8 October.
Both races will see the same lineup competing but with different strategies, as the two race courses feature differing characteristics.
The 106th edition of Gran Piemonte, 198km from Omegna to Beinasco, nearby Turin, has a partly hilly route that will suit both sprinters and finisseurs. Starting from the lake of Orta, the peloton will face a first 38km of ups and downs, followed by a mostly flat route until the final 70km. At km 130 will come the most demanding section of the day: il Pilonetto climb, on the famous Collina di Superga, a 10km length ascent at 4.2%. Then the last short climb of the day, at 47 km to go, finished with a flat road for the sprinters to chase back if dropped on the climbs.
“Seeing this course, it’s more a sprinter race”, Bahrain Victorious Sports Director Roman Kreuziger comments. “But it can be open to different opportunities, and we have a strong squad that mainly rode together a large part of the season. The key climb of the day can be harsh for the pure sprinters, but there can be plenty of time to get back. We don’t have any pure sprinters in our lineup, so we need to take advantage of other opportunities to turn the race in our favour. Our leader will be Matej Mohorič, who is getting back in good shape and has just won the CRO Race GC. The final a bit technical can suit him well, and everyone knows how he can be surprising.”
The Gran Piemonte will be the warm-up ahead of Il Lombardia, which takes place two days before.
The ‘Classic of Dead Leaves’ will see this year the 253km route unfolding from Bergamo to Como, respecting the alternation between the two cities as start and finish locations. The 116th edition of the last Monument of 2022 will feature several climbs after the beginning when the riders hit the ascents in the Prealps around Bergamo. But the decisive part of the race is expected to be the last explosive 60km with the traditional climb of Madonna del Ghisallo (with gradients up to 14%) and a series of ascents in the final 22km circuit: San Fermo della Battaglia, Civiglio and a second final climb on San Fermo before descending to Como lakefront and crossing the traditional finish.
Leading Bahrain Victorious is Mikel Landa, who will be back to racing to Gran Piemonte after La Vuelta. “Mikel has worked well in the past few weeks, and he will use the Classic race on Thursday to warm up ahead of his tenth appearance on Il Lombardia”, Bahrain Victorious Sports Director Alberto Volpi explains. “We aim to take a podium result. Therefore we will be focused as if it were the first Monument of the season, not the conclusive one. We want to race it aggressively. All the guys participating in this race are in great shape. Damiano Caruso showed his strong legs recently at CRO Race, where he supported the leaders. On Saturday, he will be our joker, while Matej Mohorič will have the role of road captain. His help will be crucial on a climb like the Ghisallo, as well as the help that reliable riders like Gino Mäder and Hermann Pernsteiner will give. Wout Poels will be road captain at Gran Piemonte, his first race after the World Championships. He has ridden six times this race so far, so his experience will be helpful. To round up our lineup, there will be a young guy at his debut in a Monument: Edoardo Zambanini. We can say he is our surprise of this season. We appreciated his way of riding and supporting the captain, and at La Vuelta, he proved he could take his responsibility too. Despite his young age, he’s got the talent to do well on such a demanding course, to offer great support to our leader.”
Team BikeExchange-Jayco look to be protagonists & to animate the final Monument of the season – II Lombardia
Team BikeExchange-Jayco head to the fifth and final cycling Monument of the 2022 season, II Lombardia, with an open and aggressive approach as they look to be protagonists and animate the iconic 253km event.
After falling during the week, the team’s original leader for the one-day classic, Simon Yates, will be an unfortunate non-starter on Saturday, leaving the Australian outfit forced to change its tactics and approach. Runner-up on a Tour de France stage earlier this year, Nick Schultz and local Italian climbers Kevin Colleoni and Matteo Sobrero, have the legs to challenge on the climbs, and will line-up alongside American time trial champion Lawson Craddock and Ethiopia’s Tsgabu Grmay.
Young Swiss rider Alex Balmer will make his debut at the event, and after 15 years as a professional rider, II Lombardia will be the final race for Estonian Tanel Kangert.
Known as the ‘Classic of the dead leaves’ falling in Autumn, the 2022 race will feature traditional climbs such as the iconic Ghisallo, but this year the race will see the riders pass over the double climb of San Fermo, and a final circuit of 22 kilometres that also includes Civiglio.
Team BikeExchange-Jayco Line-Up:
Alexander Balmer (SUI)
Kevin Colleoni (ITA)
Lawson Craddock (USA)
Tsgabu Grmay (ETH)
Tanel Kangert (EST)
Nick Schultz (AUS)
Matteo Sobrero (ITA)
Kevin Colleoni: “Il Lombardia is one of those seasonal events which I am really attached to. Not only was it one of the races that I went to see every year when I was a young rider, but it starts from Bergamo which is not far from where I was born and where I live. I am curious to test my condition in a race like this. A fall at Coppa Agostoni certainly did not help me in view of Il Lombardia, but I think I have a good condition and I will certainly give everything I can.”
Matthew White – Head Sport Director: “Obviously the absence of Simon Yates forces us to change our race tactics. However, the goal remains to be protagonists and to animate the race from the very beginning, for example by entering the main breakaway of the day. Saturday will certainly be a special day for Tanel Kangert who, after 15 seasons among the professionals, will enjoy the last race of his career and also for our young Swiss rider Alexander Balmer who will make his debut in this great classic.”
Il Lombardia Race Details:
Saturday, 8th October: Bergamo – Como, 253km.
Mathieu van der Poel Riding the First Gravel World Championships
Mathieu van der Poel has finished his road season, but he will star in the World gravel championship race in Veneto this Sunday.
The Gravel World championships will take place on October 8 and 9, in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy. The elite men will face a race of about 190 kilometres on Sunday. The start is in Vincenza and the finish in Cittadella. About 75 percent of the route consists of gravel roads. In the early part of the race there are several steep slopes, the second part is flatter.
Van der Poel announced at the end of 2021, in conversation with GCN, that he was considering racing in the gravel World champs. “Would I win? I do not know. I’ve never done a gravel race,” said the 27-year-old rider at the time. In Veneto he will compete against Greg Van Avermaet, Gianni Vermeersch, Zdenek Stybar, Peter Sagan, Daniel Oss, and compatriots such as Piotr Havik, Jasper Ockeloen and Ivar Slik, the winner of Unbound Gravel.
Mathieu van der Poel & Gianni Vermeersch at UCI Gravel Worlds Championship
On Sunday 9 October, Mathieu van der Poel and Gianni Vermeersch will compete in the World Gravel Championship in Veneto, Italy. Five days later, both riders will also start in the Serenissima Gravel (14 October). In that race they will also mark the end of their summer season. This will be followed by a break, after which both Mathieu and Gianni will start their cyclo-cross season on a date to be determined later.
Van der Poel and Vermeersch are excited about their participation in this first World Gravel Championship. “We are writing a bit of history on Sunday,” Van der Poel looks ahead. “For me my very first gravel race in my career. Although it is not completely new. I trained on the gravel bike for the first time today and it feels like something between road racing and cyclo-cross. The adaptation on the bike wasn’t too bad.” About his ambition, Mathieu remains cautious for now. “It’s mainly fun to be there. And if the feeling is okay on Sunday, we will obviously do our best to get the best possible result.”
“A World Championship is special anyway,” says Vermeersch. “For me too, this is the very first race with the gravel bike. I don’t really know what to expect. I have already looked at the course on the internet and it seems relatively flat and not too technical. A bit like the gravel roads in Dwars door het Hageland. In any case, I am looking forward to it. My first encounter with the bike was already pleasant.” Vermeersch will first ride his last road race, tomorrow in Binche, before he travels to Italy.
Gravel for Van der Poel:
Quintana Linked to Astana, Tramadol Case at CAS on Oct. 12
Nairo Quintana may be riding for Astana Qazaqstan next year. Last week, the Colombian announced that he was leaving his current team Arkéa-Samsic and the strong rumour was that he would go to AG2R, but now Astana seems to be the favourite rumour. Quintana’s appeal against his disqualification from the Tour de France after testing positive for tramadol will be heard by CAS on the 12th of October.
Just before the positive test, it was announced that Quintana had reached an agreement with the French team with a three-year contract extension. This agreement was apparently not on paper, so was torn up. Previously it was rumoured that the Colombian would go to AG2R Citroën, but that rumour was debunked by the team itself earlier this week. The climber is now associated with Astana Qazaqstan. There he would be united with his Miguel Ángel Lopéz. The Kazakh team has had a difficult season this year and will be able to put Quintana’s services to good use in the new promotion-relegation cycle starting next year.
The Colombian finished sixth in the Tour in July, but had to relinquish that place in August after being disqualified due to a positive test for tramadol. Tramadol is not on the list of performance-enhancing drugs, but it is banned by the UCI. From 2024, the painkiller will also be on the WADA doping list. In September it was announced that Quintana would appeal. The case will be heard by CAS on 12 October.
The 32-year-old rider has not raced for Arkéa-Samsic since the announcement of his suspension. In his own words because of health problems. He did ride the World championships in Wollongong last month for the Colombian national team.
Quintana to Astana, or?
Magnus Bäckstedt Joins Canyon//SRAM as DS
Magnus Bäckstedt will be sports director with the Canyon-SRAM team next year. The women’s team announced the news via their website. The former rider is the father of young talents Elynor (Trek-Segafredo) and Zoe Bäckstedt (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB).
“Now that my two daughters can take care of themselves, I thought it was time to become active again as a sporting director in cycling, my greatest passion. When manager Ronny Lauke contacted me, we clicked immediately. We thought the same about many things. When I saw how the team worked, I immediately knew that I would be in the right place,” said the winner of Paris-Roubaix.
In his role within the team, Bäckstedt hopes to make his mark. “The team already has a strong base with good riders. I hope to be able to help them improve in some areas. I approach the race calmly but also directly. I hope I can transfer my passion and eye for detail to the riders. I will see that everyone supports each other 100%,” he said.
The Swede is clear about the goals for next year: “I want to win more races with the team and also have a lot of fun with it. But I can’t go into details yet, because preparations for the next season are still in full swing,” concluded Bäckstedt.
Lauke is very happy with his new addition. “We are pleased that Bäckstedt is joining us to support the team in the sporting field. He brings with him a lot of experience and knowledge from different perspectives from the sport. This combined with his empathy and passion, we are convinced that he can help to get the best out of our team,” said the German.
Bäckstedt back on the road:
Top Man of the Belgian National Lottery on Lotto Soudal
Lotto Soudal threatens to be relegated from the WorldTour. However, according to Jannie Haek, the CEO of the Belgian National Lottery, this should not be taken too seriously. “Degradation? I think that’s a weird and exaggerated statement,” he said in De Tribune, the sports podcast of Sporza.
“It’s not that you tumble into the second division like in football,” continued the Lotto CEO. “Yes, we prefer to stay in the WorldTour, but is it a disaster to be at the top of the ProTeams? No. That is actually the most luxurious position. You will receive an invitation to all competitions and you can decide whether or not to participate. In a way that is also an advantage.”
Last week it was announced that John Lelangue is leaving as CEO of the cycling team. How will Lotto Dstny, as Lotto Soudal will be in 2023, start the new season? “We will have to re-analyze who our spearheads are and where we can use them. A team at our level can no longer compete everywhere. We are going to have to make clear choices.”
“We can expect a lot from Andreas Kron, we are also incredibly good with the Belgian talents and we still see a lot of ambition with the older guard – such as Thomas De Gendt or Victor Campenaerts. We’re actually not that bad.”
In addition, Lotto Dstny wants to continue to form the foundation for Belgian cycling, said Haek. “We want to continue to find talents to help keep the race great in Belgium. The cycling enthusiast appreciates that, so we also want to maintain our image of a sympathetic team. It will be important to continue to invest in that ecosystem.”
No problem for Lotto Dstny:
INEOS Starts Women’s Or/And MTB Team with Pauline Ferrand-Prévot
The big rumour is that INEOS is getting together a women’s team. Two sources confirm that the team is working on a women’s project and that Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, the team’s first rider, has already signed for 2023.
The 30 year-old Ferrand-Prévot has won World titles on the road, cyclocross and mountain bike, but at the mostly riding MTB. It is not yet clear whether INEOS’ new project involves a team that would also race on the road. It is also not yet ruled out that Ferrand-Prévot, who is currently racing for Absolute–Absalon–BMC, will be with INEOS as an individual rider. Another option is for INEOS to start a mountain bike team, which Tom Pidcock would also ride. Technically, Pidcock currently rides his mountain bike races as an individual rider.
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot to ride for INEOS:
Criticism of the UCI Over Dangerous CRO Race Route
The finish circuit of the last stage of the CRO Race was far from safe according to several riders and others.
“It’s good to see that the UCI makes the safety of the riders its biggest priority these days,” Johan Bruyneel said sarcastically. The ex-rider and former sports director posted a video of the last kilometres of the final stage of the CRO Race. The video shows how the riders have to contend with tram rails, road furniture and almost collide with a spectator.
“The UCI is once again the UCI,” agreed Jos van Emden, who rode the Croatian stage race. The Jumbo-Visma rider adds that this was only the tip of the iceberg. “Not just today (Sunday), but three of the six stages were far over the limit. How do you think things are going, David Lappartient?” he addressed the UCI president. “This was my first and last time in the CRO Race.”
Michael Mørkøv also reacted: “Who is responsible for our safety in a UCI race? UCI, please help us…”
UCI president David Lappartient has not yet responded to the criticism. In February this year, in an interview with WielerFlits, the Frenchman said that safety is currently “the top priority at the UCI. We will do everything we can to improve the safety of the riders in all races. Every accident that could have been prevented is one too many. That is why we are investing heavily in safety.”
The dangerous stage 6 final:
‘Matxín’ Stops as Sports Director
Joxean Fernández will not be a sports director at UAE Team Emirates after this season. The 51 year-old Spaniard is one of the great architects of the Emirates squad, but he has too much work. So now he will no longer be in the car as a DS after this season, but will mainly work behind the scenes, he told WielerFlits after mentioning it at the end of the Vuelta a España to EuroSport.
“I am indeed retiring as a team leader,” said Fernández. “I am a sports manager and I do, among other things, the competition calendar and the planning around it. That is a lot of work, because there are more than a hundred people involved. In addition, we have very good team DS’s. Fabio Baldato, Fabrizio Guidi, Marco Marcato, Manuele Mori, Aart Vierhouten and Andrej Hauptman, among others. They have a lot of quality and take their responsibility in the team car. I will still be present at races, but not in the car anymore.”
Retiring from that role is a conscious choice for the Spaniard. “Because I’m in contact with a lot of people and it’s been a stressful year, I’m taking a step back. This year I did the UAE Tour, the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España with great passion. But after thirty years I think that was nice. In consultation with riders and staff, it has been my own decision to say goodbye as team director for now.”
Fernández is best known for his nickname Matxín, when he caused a furore as a super scout at Quick-Step. At the beginning of the century he also founded the infamous team Saunier Duval-Prodir, before that he had also collaborated with Patrick Lefevere at Mapei. At the end of 2017, he joined UAE Team Emirates, where he has been setting the sights as the sporting director ever since. One of the first acts Fernández was to sign Tadej Pogačar. That turned out to be a golden move.
He is also involved in other matters within the team, he is still looking for absolute top talents and is conducting contract negotiations. He has also acted as a DS in recent years. Because Matxín was busy with too much business, “Which, of course, I continue to perform with great passion,” he says.
Thanks to the presence of Fernández and the big money of the oil sheiks behind this team, UAE Team Emirates is rich in great talent. In addition to the two-time Tour de France winner, there is also João Almeida, Brandon McNulty, Alessandro Covi, Finn Fisher-Black, Mikkel Bjerg and Juan Ayuso. The 19-year-old Spanish super talent finished third in the Vuelta a España last month. Another junior has been recruited for next year, the Swiss rider Jan Christen (18).
‘Matxín’ – Stepping to one side:
Erviti, Rojas, Lluís Mas, Torres Extend with Movistar Team for 2023
Trio of Spanish riders – present at Giro / Tour / Vuelta – ink new contracts with Telefónica-backed squad for next season.
Stability will be the Movistar Team roster’s main value for next season, as the Telefónica-backed squad announced on Wednesday 2023 extensions for four of its current riders: Albert Torres (Ciutadella de Menorca, ESP; 1990), Lluís Mas(Ses Salines, ESP; 1989), Imanol Erviti (Pamplona, ESP; 1983) and José Joaquín Rojas (Cieza, ESP; 1985).
Torres will reach his fourth season with the team, a valuable and appreciated domestique who has enjoyed this year a beautiful chance of riding his first-ever Tour de France, where he completed a nice job working for his team-mates away from the spotlight. A similar task was carried out at La Vuelta by fellow Balearic rider Lluís, who featured at many breakaways over the course of the season – 7th at the Clunia hill-top finish in the Vuelta a Burgos. It will be Mas’ fifth year in Blue colours.
‘Rojillas’ will fulfil an incredible 17th season with Eusebio Unzué’s organisation, already a legend of the team and a key pillar in 2022 at two Grand Tours – the Giro and La Vuelta – while also taking on individual responsibility: he came 2nd at a stage of the Tour de Wallonie in July. No less astonishing is Imanol’s spectacular career with the Blues, which will reach 19 years as he covers next season following a solid 2022 for him, racing the Tour de France as well as becoming a crucial asset for some of the Blues’ late-season success: Limousin (Aranburu) and the Tour of Britain (Serrano).
Imanol Erviti: “It’s been a different late-season for me, racing events I wasn’t so used to instead of La Vuelta. It was pretty tense in the beginning because of our situation, but the end result has been really good. We soon got some victories in the Tour de l’Ain, also at Limousin where the team raced so well and there was such a great atmosphere… The ball was rolling and we continued it with Britain, the Belgian classics… It’s been beautiful to live those results. It still makes me feel so useful to my team-mates — that’s why I’m here, to help them out. I’m so happy to be able to pay them back for their good words. It’s going to be already 19 years as part of the team, and of course 2023 will be such a different one without Alejandro. This year, I’ve only raced Occitanie and these Italian classics with him, and it will be tough not to have him around. He’s the reference, the guide to the whole group, someone we’ve always relied on and always responded. We’re going to miss him a lot, and being able to race the final events of his career, supporting him, will surely be special.”
José Joaquín Rojas: “The early 2022 season was a bit tough for me, with covid and many health problems, and it wasn’t until the Giro when I started feeling ‘half good’ at least. The last part of the season, especially La Vuelta, went really well – I ended the season really happy. I also came so close to individual success in Wallonie; everyone likes to win, even if I know well that my role in the team, for already many years, is being a domestique. I’m still really motivated and hungry for more. For the moment, I’ve got a new one-year contract, and hopefully I can race for two more years, reach 39 with the team and then move on and do other things. It’s going to be weird not to race with Alejandro, after so long together; Imanol and me will be playing the ‘road captain’ role, but I’ve got big confidence in the whole group, and both Enric and the other guys that are progressing within the team will surely make for a great new era for us.”
Lluís Mas: “2022 left me sort of a bittersweet taste, due to the crashes and especially an injury halfway through the season, which kept me from competing at important events in my calendar. I came in really good condition to that part of the year, and due to that bad luck, I wasn’t able to reach my top condition this year. I thank the team for their confidence and will be tackling 2023 as a big personal challenge, looking to bounce back, find my best legs again and be a big asset for the team at the big races, when it comes to supporting our leaders. I’ll be heading into the start of the season with great ambition, hoping to find good legs already in the early months, so I can leave behind the injuries and misfortune I experienced to make the next one a great year.”
Albert Torres: “I’m super happy to be able to extend with the team for an additional year. This has been my third season in Movistar Team colours, and I’ve taken great knowledge from every single one of them. The main change in 2022 has been that, while everything had been new to me so far, this year I already knew what was expected from me, where I could be important for the group and how I could squeeze my abilities so my team-mates obtained the best possible result. When you’re trusted by others, the motivation is higher, and in that sense, it’s been a really important year in my career, especially by being part of the Tour de France roster. It had been many, many years watching the TDF on television, and it’s a race that really leaves its mark on you, one where you learn a lot. I was fortunate to have been able to race two Giros d’Italia before, which helped me to extract my best at the Tour. The team’s overall, end result wasn’t the one we hoped for, but I hope that TDF, combined with the 2022 late season, helped us having those important leaders, and also the younger riders, build from it and become better. I hope to be able to contribute in 2023, with this new contract, to help make the next season a great one for the team.”
Gran Piemonte 2022: A Clash of the Sprinters
The 106th edition of this exciting Classic will run from Omegna to Beinasco.
The Gran Piemonte, presented by Eolo, starts from Omegna and arrives in Beinasco after 198km of tough racing. The best sprinters in the world are targeting the race but they won’t have it all their own way. The first section’s surprisingly hilly and includes the ascent of Cremosina. Come the last third of the race, there are two further climbs that mustn’t be underestimated, Il Pilonetto and Col d’Arsete. Some of the big names at the start include sprinters Mark Cavendish, Elia Viviani, Giacomo Nizzolo, Kaden Groves, Andrea Pasqualon, Simone Consonni, Olav Kooij, Stefano Oldani and Matteo Moschetti. Other big names are Alberto Bettiol, Matteo Trentin, Davide Ballerini, Matej Mohoric and Marc Hirschi.
The Route of the Gran Piemonte, Presented by EOLO
The 106th edition of the race is mainly flat, traveling from Omegna to Beinasco. Departing from the lake of Orta, the riders will slightly ascend and pass through the Cremosina to Borgosesia. The crossing of the Northern Po valley begins upon long, flat and straight roads. After 130km the riders will reach the slopes of the Collina di Superga, of which they will climb the “Pilonetto” side, with gradients that reach double digits near Rivodora. Descending the Pino Torinese, followed by a short climb towards the Hermitage, they then turn onto Pecetto Torinese and reach Cambiano. Here is where the last flat sector of the race begins.
The last 5km are along flat roads with a wide final straight of 500m.
The 106th edition of the Gran Piemonte, presented by Eolo, will be broadcast live for the last two hours of the race.
The event will be broadcast in Europe thanks to the network Discovery on the linear channel Eurosport and on the GCN+ web platform.
Plus, fans will able be to watch the race live on DirecTV in South America and on Supersport in South Africa. The race will also be broadcast by J Sports in Japan. The network BeIN will also broadcast the Gran Piemonte, presented by Eolo.
In Italy, RAI will broadcast the race live on the channel RAI Sport +HD from 2.45 to 3.45pm.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to Gran Piemonte
Mark Cavendish will be in action for the Wolfpack at the Italian one-day race
Running from Omegna to Beinasco over a largely flat 198km route featuring just a couple of hills, the 106th edition of Gran Piemonte is scheduled to take place this Thursday, when Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl will be one of the twenty-three teams at the start.
British Champion Mark Cavendish, who in the first part of the season tasted success in Italy at Milano-Torino – the oldest race in the world – and Il Giro, will lead the line for the Wolfpack, who will also count on Andrea Bagioli, Davide Ballerini, the winner of Coppa Bernocchi at the beginning of the week, Tim Declercq, James Knox, Michael Mørkøv and Pieter Serry.
“We go to the start of this race with a strong and motivated team, featuring Mark, but also Davide, who showed his fine form in Bernocchi. A bunch sprint is very likely, and if this happens, Michael is the man for the lead-out, with the rest of the team capable of controlling the race prior to the finale. It’s our last race week of the season and we hope to get another good result”, explained Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Davide Bramati.
06.10 Gran Piemonte (ITA) 1.Pro
Andrea Bagioli (ITA)
Davide Ballerini (ITA)
Mark Cavendish (GBR)
Tim Declercq (BEL)
James Knox (GBR)
Michael Mørkøv (DEN)
Pieter Serry (BEL).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA) & Tom Steels (BEL).
Mark Cavendish to Gran piemonte:
UAE Team Emirates to Gran Piemonte. Paris Bourges and Paris-Tours
Previous to Il Lombardia will be Gran Piemonte (6 Oct) as the Emirati squad will take another block of riders to Paris Bourges (6 Oct) and Paris-Tours (9 Oct) in France.
Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours are traditionally races for the sprinters and rouleurs with Pascal Ackermann aiming to take advantage of these late-season opportunities.
The teams in Italy will be overseen by Team Manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Spa) alongside Sports Directors Fabio Baldato (Ita) Marco Marcato (Ita) and Marco Marzano (Ita), while Aart Vierhouten (Ned) will guide the squad in France.
Gran Piemonte [1.Pro] – 06-Oct-2022:
Alessandro Covi (Ita)
Marc Hirschi (Swi)
Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
Arthur Kluckers (Lux)
Matteo Trentin (Ita)
Jan Polanc (Slo).
Paris – Bourges [1.1] – 06-Oct-2022:
Pascal Ackermann (Ger)
Kasper Andersen (Den)
Mikkel Bjerg (Den)
Fernando Gaviria (Col)
Felix Gross (Ger)
Oliver Knight (GB)
Oliviero Troia (Ita).
Paris – Tours Elite [1.Pro] – 09-Oct-2022:
Pascal Ackermann (Ger)
Kasper Andersen (Den)
Mikkel Bjerg (Den)
Fernando Gaviria (Col)
Oliver Knight (GB)
Rui Oliveira (Por)
Matteo Trentin (Ita).
Paris-Tours Elite – OCT 09
Wilbert Broekhuizen – Team DSM coach: “We are looking forward to the last race of the season at Paris-Tours. It is always a nice race to finish the year with some climbing parts scattered throughout while in the final there are several off-road sections on the menu too which will split the race up. We go there to race aggressively as a team, with several cards to play depending on how the race unfolds, and hope to end our 2022 campaign on a high note.”
Pavel Bittner (CZE)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (DEN)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Marius Mayrhofer (GER)
Casper van Uden (NED).
Degenkolb to Paris-Tours:
Paris-Bourges (October 6)
Michaël Schär: “Everything has been going well since my return from Canada and Benoît (Cosnefroy)’s great victory in Quebec (September 9th). I became a dad for the second time on September 19th with the arrival of Max; I was able to spend some good time with my family. I have prepared well for these last two races of the season. We will have a good team at the start of Paris-Bourges with Marc (Sarreau), who is in good shape and who has already won here, and Oliver (Naesen), also in good condition. It’s always motivating to have someone on the team who has already won the race in the past. I will finish my season at Paris-Tours, a race that I know well even if it has changed in recent years with the addition of vineyard paths.”
Michaël Schär last participated in Paris-Bourges 14 years ago, in 2008. His first participation dates back to 2006.
Marc Sarreau the winner in 2019
Marc Sarreau won Paris-Bourges in 2019. He also took second place in 2017, which is when the AG2R CITROËN TEAM took its most recent victory at Paris-Bourges with Rudy Barbier.
Paris-Tours (October 9)
Benoît Cosnefroy: “I was satisfied with my feelings during the Tre Valli Varesine on Tuesday (5th). My form was a bit of an unknown after the long journey from Australia. After having raced the Tour of Lombardy for the first time in 2021 (Benoît crashed heavily), I am happy to return to Paris-Tours. The Italian race is really for climbers and it corresponds less well to my qualities. I have been successful at Paris-Tours several times since I have turned professional, including two podiums (2nd in 2020, 3rd in 2018). The team dynamic is good at the end of the year and I hope it will be good again for the last race of the season. We will have a competitive team at the start with a strong desire to finish on a good note and be able to enter our season break calmly. I hope we can get through the lottery and the stress of the vineyard paths to play the leading roles at the finish in Tours.”
In the last four editions of Paris-Tours, the AG2R CITROËN TEAM has always finished in the top four. Benoît Cosnefroy took second place in 2020 and third in 2018. Oliver Naesen finished third in 2019. Stan Dewulf grabbed fourth place in 2021.
Tour de France Saitama Criterium 2022: Vingegaard Out to Conquer Japan
This race had not been held since 2019 due to the covid health crisis, but this year Japan has regained its place in the late season cycling calendar. A selection of riders from the Tour de France have come forward to extend the season’s competition for an escapade that several of them will be experiencing for the first time, starting with the winner of the Tour de France in 2022. After shedding tears of emotion in Copenhagen at the team presentation and then experiencing the enthusiasm of the crowds on the Col du Granon, Alpe d’Huez and Hautacam, Jonas Vingegaard will be readying himself to meet the tens of thousands of spectators who traditionally gather along the 3.5-km urban circuit (which the riders will race around 17 times in the main event) that winds through the heart of Saitama, very near to Tokyo. As regards other newcomers to city, the Japanese television viewers who were able to marvel at Simon Clarke’s show on the cobbles on the way to Arenberg, Hugo Houle’s solo finish in Foix or the cannon-ball finishes of Jasper Philipsen, will be able to cheer them on in the flesh.
The reunion with this miniature pack from the Tour de France will also allow them to reacquaint themselves with some of the most faithful riders to the Japanese Criterium: four times winner Chris Froome and his former team-mate Geraint Thomas, who has also written his name onto the Tour de France roll of honour, will be present as will future retirees Alejandro Valverde and Vincenzo Nibali, who will be making their last competitive appearances. Although he will not be climbing back onto his bike for the occasion, Marcel Kittel will again be serving as an ambassador for the Criterium in which he took part in previous editions. The former German sprinter will no doubt have plenty of memories to share with the joint record holder for stage wins on the Tour de France (34), Mark Cavendish, who also triumphed on its “22nd stage” in 2018 and who may want to have the last word of the season!
Riders participating (as of 05/10):
Jumbo-Visma: Jonas Vingegaard (Dnk), Steven Kruijswijk (Nld), Sepp Kuss (Usa)
Cofidis: Guillaume Martin (Fra), Simon Geschke, Max Walscheid (Deu), Tom Bohli (Che)
Israel-Premier Tech: Chris Froome (Gbr), Simon Clarke (Aus), Hugo Houle, Guillaume Boivin (Can)
Movistar Team: Alejandro Valverde, Enric Mas, Jose Joaquin Rojas, Imanol Erviti (Esp)
Astana-Qazaqstan Team: Vincenzo Nibali, Antonio Nibali, Samuele Battistella, Gianmarco Garofoli (Ita)
Ineos Grenadiers: Geraint Thomas (Gbr), Magnus Sheffield (Usa), Jonathan Castroviejo (Esp)
Legend Team: Mark Cavendish (Gbr), Jasper Philipsen (Bel), Yukiya Arashiro (Jap).
Ø The Tour de France riders will be travelling to Japan for the eighth time for the Tour de France Saitama Criterium, led by the Yellow Jersey of the 2022 edition, Jonas Vingegaard, who also won the Polka Dot Jersey last summer. The Danish rider will be in attendance for a day of sport and entertainment that will take place on 6th November.
Ø In addition to a considerable amount of the movers and shakers on last July’s race, the Japanese crowds will also be able to see the elite riders who are regulars on this race: Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, Geraint Thomas, Alejandro Valverde, Mark Cavendish… and of course Yukiya Arashiro, winner of the last edition in 2019.
Wout van Aert to Ride Benidorm Cyclo-Cross
The organisers of the Cyclo-cross World Cup in Benidorm has announced that Wout van Aert will be on the start line. The cyclo-cross will be held on January 22, 2023, two weeks before the World championships in Hoogerheide. Both Van Aert and his Jumbo-Visma team have not yet confirmed the Belgian’s participation.
The date of the event is good for the organisers. Various cyclists and cyclo-cross riders will at training camps in Spain during that period. The cyclo-cross is hoping for a strong field of participants.
It is the first time since 2011 that the World Cup will visit Spain. Then the Ziklokross Igorre in the Basque Country was part of the World Cup for the last time. The Belgian Kevin Pauwels took the victory.
Nokere Koerse Wants to be in the WorldTour with Women’s Race
Both the men’s and women’s Danilith Nokere Koerse will be part of the UCI ProSeries in 2023. However, the organisers has even bigger plans for the future. “We have the ambition to take the step to the WorldTour with our women’s race,” said chairman Robrecht Bothuyne in a press release.
“After being the first organisers to offer equal prize money for men and women, we have proven how strongly we believe in our women’s event. And we will continue to invest in this,” Bothuyne continued. “We hope that the UCI will eventually give us the opportunity to advance to the highest level.”
The next edition of Danilith Nokere Koerse for both men and women is scheduled for March 15, 2023. The start is again in Deinze, the finish traditionally on Nokereberg. Last year Lorena Wiebes and Tim Merlier took the wins.
Lorena Wiebes (DSM) won the 2022 Danilith Nokere Koerse:
Link My Ride Becomes Official Cycling App For Cycling Canada
Link My Ride, the pre-ride organisational platform which allows cyclists to explore, plan and create group rides, has launched an official partnership with Cycling Canada as the governing body’s Official Cycling App. Link My Ride is free for cyclists to use and has a subscription platform tailored for clubs. Having launched just this month, the simple and easy to use smartphone app allows riders to connect and cycle with others.
Link My Ride also features a tailored Club Portal which facilitates the management of members and club rides whilst removing the administrative burden of running a club.
Jacques Sauvagnargues and Tom Pidcock, former teammates and professional riders, were at the heart of the business to create an app for cyclists, by cyclists. The two developed the idea as a way to increase cycling participation globally and to simplify the way that group rides are organised.
Jacques Sauvagnargues and Tom Pidcock
“Our partnership with Cycling Canada will help us to quickly continue populating the app with riders globally, adding to the user experience as the more cyclists there are using Link My Ride, the better the experience is for all,” explained Link My Ride co-founder Jacques Sauvagnargues. “Following our official launch this month we’re excited to be extending our reach globally and working with Cycling Canada to provide a new and exciting way to meet and interact with other cyclists across the country.”
“Community is at the centre of Cycling Canada’s strategic plan, and we are confident that our partnership with Link My Ride will help us to grow and diversify our community while supporting the amazing work done by our clubs and provincial partners,” explained Mathieu Boucher, Chief Development Officer at Cycling Canada. “This partnership aligns with our efforts to support and service members beyond the racing community. Along with our provincial partners, one of our goals is to promote cycling to the broader cycling community by offering enhanced member benefits, opportunities, and support.”
The Link My Ride app works by highlighting other riders on the local map and showing rides and clubs nearby or in the defined area. When using the app you can follow other cyclists to see their activity and rides, discover and join local clubs, see activity in your area via an interactive map, engage with others and also upload your own routes to create group rides. Additionally, the smartphone app provides a number of security features including privacy controls and location masking. Amongst many unique features, it also provides the user with a calendar to keep a log of all upcoming planned rides.
Currently, only the English language version of the app is supported. French language capabilities will be available by the end of October.
As part of this partnership, affiliated Canadian cycling clubs will receive access to an exclusive discount code for their first year of subscription. Please contact [email protected] for more details on how to access this opportunity.
The Link My Ride App can be downloaded from the Apple Store here or from Google Play on Android. Find out more about Link My Ride here.
- Link My Ride is the pre-ride organisational platform created by cyclists for cyclists
- Partnership aimed at better connecting the cycling community across Canada
- Free for cyclists to use plus a subscription platform tailored for clubs
- Founded by pro cyclists, Tom Pidcock and Jacques Sauvagnargues
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