EUROTRASH Thursday: Euro TT Champs and Everything Else from the Peloton!
All the latest cycling news
The season isn’t over yet: We have the European time trial Champs, the Tour of Luxembourg and the Omloop van het Houtland, plus we catch up with the Ixina Gooikse Pijl p/b Lotto and the Trofeo Matteotti – All with video, results, reports and rider reactions.
Nathan Van Hooydonck home, but ends his career – TOP STORY.
Rider news: Mark Cavendish will continue for a year, Tom Dumoulin not impressed by the Jumbo-Visma Grand Tours dominance, Richard Plugge on Remco Evenepoel, Lampaert confirms departure of teammate Declercq, Caleb Ewan has wrist injury, Il Lombardia a three-man battle with Pogačar, Evenepoel and Roglič, Jonas Vingegaard will not race again in 2023, Fausto Masnada back on the bike again and Egan Bernal expects more from himself in 2024.
Team news: Lauren Molengraaf, first female athlete to sign a pro contract with Intermarché-Circus-Wanty, Álex Martín renews his contract with EOLO KOMETA, UCI reprimands Intermarché-Circus-Wanty for late wage payments, Lotto Dstny suspends DS after hitting race signalman, Team dsm-firmenich extend contracts with Alex Edmondson and Tim Naberman, Kim Cadzow joins EF Education-Cannondale, Eduardo Sepulveda stays with Lotto Dstny, Lukas Nerurkar steps up to the WorldTour with EF Education-EasyPost and Movistar invests in future with Cat Ferguson.
Race news: Il Lombardia 2023: The last monument of the year from Como to Bergamo.
Lots to get through – Big EUROTRASH Thursday coffee time.
TOP STORY: Nathan Van Hooydonck Returns Home, but with Bad News about his Career
Nathan Van Hooydonck left the Antwerp University Hospital on Wednesday. The Belgian Jumbo-Visma rider is doing well under the circumstances. On Tuesday the 27 year-old was fitted with an internal defibrillator (ICD) to correct potential future cardiac arrhythmia. After thorough testing, Van Hooydonck was diagnosed with a heart muscle anomaly that caused the disorder that nearly claimed his life, last Tuesday. The findings mean the end to Van Hooydonck’s professional cycling career.
“I realise that I was incredibly lucky”, Van Hooydonck said. “Things may have gone differently if I hadn’t gotten good help so quickly. I’m fine now, but I still have to deal with the fact that this marks the end of my professional career. I would like to express my gratitude to the people who helped me, the medical team at the hospital and all the fans who sent me messages. I will now focus on my recovery and my upcoming fatherhood. Everything is going well with Alicia and the pregnancy, and we eagerly anticipate the birth. That really helps me now.”
The team and rider ask the media and others to give Nathan the rest he needs to continue his recovery.
Wout van Aert Emotional About the End of Van Hooydonck’s Career: “Losing my Best Teammate”
Wout van Aert reacted with emotion to the end of Nathan Van Hooydonck’s career. “That is very sad news,” Van Aert said to Sporza. “Sad second, because the good news is that Nathan is still here. It was hanging in the balance, I’m especially grateful that he was able to fight through it.”
Van Hooydonck has been a loyal helper of the Jumbo-Visma leader since 2021, in the spring and in the Tour de France. “For him it is a blow that he can no longer practice his passion. I can say that I will lose my best teammate.”
“I’m having a hard time with it,” said Van Aert with emotion in his voice. “He has already had so much pushback, it is really unfair.”
Nathan Van Hooydonck has to stop racing:
European Men’s Time Trial Championships 2023
Joshua Tarling won the European Time Trial Championships on Wednesday. On the 29.8 kilometre course in and around Emmen, the 19 years-old impressively beat Stefan Bissegger and Wout van Aert. Stefan Küng looked to be on his way to a medal, but crashed in the final.
The time trial started in the Wildlands zoo in Emmen and finished just outside after 29.8 kilometres. The course was flat, but was made difficult due to the strong southerly wind, which did cause high speeds in certain sections, but was hard work into the wind. There were intermediate time points after 10.1 kilometres and 23.7 kilometres.
The first possible winner to start was Yves Lampaert, but man-in-form Sjoerd Bax was going well. For the top favourites we had to wait for the later riders. There was no Filippo Ganna or Remco Evenepoel, but there was Stefan Bissegger, Stefan Küng, Wout van Aert and Joshua Tarling. Bax set the first target time with 32:59. A time that Lampaert beat by 3 seconds.
At the first intermediate point Tarling was the fastest after 10 kilometres, 4 seconds ahead of Van Aert and 9 seconds ahead of Küng. They rode the first part with an average of over 60 kph. Cattaneo was at more than 20 seconds behind Tarling. In the second section the differences were bigger. Bissegger settled into fourth place, but that was well behind the top three. Küng and Van Aert were only a second apart after 24 kilometres, but Tarling was in a class of his own. With a split of 23:49 minutes, putting Van Aert and Küng at more than 28 seconds.
The podium looked to be decided, although Van Aert and Küng were still in battle for the other medals. A crash by Küng, who momentarily lost attention and crashed into the barriers, decided the final outcome. He managed to finish with a broken helmet and blood on his jersey. Van Aert lost some of his speed and an excellent finishing Bissegger took the silver. He was more than 42 seconds behind the new European TT Champion Tarling, who had ridden the 29.8 kilometres at an average speed of 56.7 kilometres per hour. The difference between Bissegger and Van Aert was only 23 hundredths of a second. Bjerg finished fourth at more than 1 minute, Cattaneo completed the top 5.
European TT Champion, Josh Tarling (Great Britain): “It was hard, I felt weaker today than I did at the worlds. and the wind was really hard. Originally it was a lot of over and under with the crosswinds, but it changed to a more steady cross(wind) both ways and no tail or head wind. It was more about holding that high power all day. It was really hard.”
3rd, Wout van Aert (Belgium): “I don’t think a better result was possible today. I started the way I wanted to. The first twenty kilometres went well, but then I lacked the power to fight for more. I am usually strong in the last part of a time trial, but I was completely spent today. It’s a shame. The last part was mostly straightforward. I knew that was where the time trial would be decided. This course doesn’t lie, so I’ll have to settle for bronze.”
European Men’s Time Trial Championships Result:
1. Joshua Tarling (Great Britain) at 31:30
2. Stefan Bissegger (Switzerland) at 0:42
3. Wout van Aert (Belgium) at 0:43
4. Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark) at 1:09
5. Mattia Cattaneo (Italy) at 1:13
6. Nelson Oliveira (Portugal) at 1:15
7. Daan Hoole (Netherlands) at 1:22
8. Rémi Cavagna (France) at 1:25
9. Yves Lampaert (Belgium)
10. Sjoerd Bax (Netherlands) at 1:29.
European Men’s TT Champs’23:
European Women’s Time Trial Championships 2023
Marlen Reusser was favourite before the European Time Trial Championships. The Swiss time trial specialist couldn’t be beaten on the 29 kilometre course in and around Emmen. The silver and bronze medals went to Anna Henderson and Christina Schweinberger.
The course and distance was the same as the men’s race and the wind was also the main problem of the day.
The big favourites started last, with Lotte Kopecky, Riejanne Markus and Marlen Reusser in that order. They first target time was set by Audrey Cordon-Ragot, who started early, she recorded a time of 36:41. At the first intermediate point, Christina Schweinberger was the surprising leader. The Austrian was 2 seconds ahead of Reusser and 9 seconds ahead of Anna Henderson. Riejanne Markus was fifth at 13 seconds and Lotte Kopecky was ninth at 20 seconds. Reusser had started her time trial slowly. At the second intermediate point she was on fire. The Swiss rider had turned her 2 second deficit into a 27 second lead over Schweinberger. Henderson was third at 33 seconds, while Kopecky was at 40 seconds and Markus at 44 seconds.
In the last 6 kilometres the battle for the medals was decided. Henderson managed to pass Schweinberger and to take the silver medal, the Austrian won the bronze. Lotte Kopecky finished 5 seconds off the podium, in fifth place. Riejanne Markus was overtaken by Reusser just before the finish and finished 7th.
European TT champion, Marlen Reusser (Switzerland): “That I realise the hat-trick is very special. Every time you have to fight for that jersey again. I am happy to wear it for another year. You have to ride a very strong time trial to have a chance of winning this title. So I’m definitely not getting used to this jersey, no. I take nothing for granted and have worked hard for this. To prolong the title on my birthday is a nice extra aspect. I rode a championship on my birthday two years earlier. At the World Championships in Bruges in 2021, I then just missed out on the world title by ten seconds. Back then, that was a big disappointment. It’s nice to live up to the hat-trick just today. I could use my power well on it, although I can also do well on a more uphill course. I even like that a bit more. In Switzerland, the roads slope up a bit more and there are a few more corners. That might make it a bit more interesting. But even this course was challenging. Now I can celebrate twice. I am super satisfied that I can also ride in this beautiful jersey during the time trials next year.”
European Women’s Time Trial Championships Result:
1. Marlen Reusser (Switzerland) in 35:53
2. Anna Henderson (Great Britain) at 0:43
3. Christina Schweinberger (Austria) at 0:44
4. Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France) at 0:48
5. Lotte Kopecky (Belgium) at 0:49
6. Anna Kiesenhofer (Austria) at 0:56
7. Riejanne Markus (Netherlands) at 1:00
8. Eugenia Bujak (Slovenia) at 1:09
9. Elinor Barker (Great Britain) at 1:12
10. Valeriya Kononenko (Ukraine) at 1:22.
European Women’s TT Champs’23:
Škoda Tour of Luxembourg 2023
Corbin Strong is the first leader in the 2023 Tour of Luxembourg. After a hilly Stage 1 of 156 kilometres, the Israel-Premier Tech sprinter was the first over the finish line on the Kirchberg in Luxembourg City. He beat Søren Kragh Andersen and Alex Aranburu in the sprint from a thinned peloton.
The Tour of Luxembourg started with a stage of 156 kilometres, with a hilly section in the middle with the Montée de Putscheid (2.4km at 8.9%), Côte de Bourschied (3.5km at 7.2%) and the Côte de Eschdorf (3km at 7%). The final had the Côte de Stafelter (1.8km at 7.9%) and the Kirchberg (1.6km at 6.3%).
There were four escapees in the early part of the stage. Vito Braet (Team Flanders-Baloise) and Lennert Teugels (Bingoal WB) were joined by Oliver Knudsen and Mats Wenzel (both Leopard TOGT) and had a lead of more than 6 minutes. In the hilly zone, Knudsen was the first to be dropped and after the Côte de Eschdorf, Braet was also in trouble for a while. Teugels and Wenzel were the strongest climbers, but Braet fought back. The three leaders were chased hard by the peloton, which didn’t want to catch the attackers too soon. As a result, the lead increased. Soudal Quick-Step, Israel-Premier Tech and Movistar all came to the front at the start of the final.
The last early escapees were caught just before the Côte de Stafelter, 12 kilometres from the finish. A small group including Gregor Mühlberger and Michael Woods broke away on the climb, but the thinned peloton was not far behind. The gap was closed and so everything would came down to the Kirchberg. Felix Gall was the first to attack, but the Austrian climber was caught 2 kilometres from the finish. The next attack came from Richard Carapaz, but Soudal Quick-Step held the race together. It was going to be a thinned bunch sprint at the top of the Kirchberg. Corbin Strong had the strongest legs in the sprint, ahead of Kragh Andersen and Aranburu. Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma) was 5th, Rick Pluimers (Tudor) was 6th.
Stage winner and overall leader, Corbin Strong (Israel-Premier Tech): “It’s a really nice feeling winning, the team rode exceptionally today. I’ve been in really good shape all season, but never quite pulled off the victory, so it’s a really good feeling to get it today. It was a really good stage for me, I knew I would always be on the limit, but if I could suffer and be there at the finish, I would have a good chance at being the fastest guy there. It definitely wasn’t easy and I had to dig deep in the last climb, but thankfully I was in a good position, and the guys did a perfect job all day and I was able to finish it off.”
Škoda Tour of Luxembourg Stage 1 Result:
1. Corbin Strong (NZ) Israel-Premier Tech in 3:51:01
2. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Alpecin-Deceuninck
3. Alex Aranburu (Spa) Movistar
4. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
6. Rick Pluimers (Ned) Tudor
7. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Lidl-Trek
8. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Lidl-Trek
9. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Soudal Quick-Step
10. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step.
Škoda Tour of Luxembourg Overall After Stage 1:
1. Corbin Strong (NZ) Israel-Premier Tech in 3:50:51
2. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:04
3. Alex Aranburu (Spa) Movistar at 0:06
4. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:10
5. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
6. Rick Pluimers (Ned) Tudor
7. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Lidl-Trek
8. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Lidl-Trek
9. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Soudal Quick-Step
10. Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step.
Luxembourg’23 stage 1:
Omloop van het Houtland 2023
Gerben Thijssen won the 76th edition of the Omloop van het Houtland. The leader of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty was too fast for the competition in a severely thinned peloton after a race of more than 195 kilometres. Dylan Groenewegen fell just short in the sprint.
The Belgian one-day race took the riders over a flat course from Eernegem to Lichtervelde. The 195.2 kilometres were largely completed on the final laps of 12.1 kilometres, which had to be ridden nine times. Due to the flat course and the strong field of fast-finishers, a bunch sprint seemed to be on the menu, although the wind could cause problems.
Early in the race three riders went on the attack. Jonas Rickaert (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Abram Stockman (TDT-Unibet) and Tom Sexton (Bolton Equities Black Spoke) grabbed a small lead. Not all teams were satisfied with the composition of the leading group. Team Flanders-Baloise and Bingoal WB were disappointed that they didn’t have anyone up front and moved Alex Colman and Louis Blouwe forward. The duo tried to close the gap, but ended up stuck in between. It was a long day for the two Belgians. In the meantime, the sprinter’s teams provided the control in the peloton. The lead of the three never exceeded 3 minutes due to the work of dsm-firmenich, Intermarché-Circus-Wanty, Jayco AlUla and Soudal Quick-Step. Once on the final circuit, the chasing duo was caught and Tom Sexton was dropped.
The hunt for the leading duo begin. While the lead gradually decreased, it was Soudal Quick-Step with the help of dsm-firmenich, took the lead. A strong acceleration by Tim Merlier caused a group of 30 riders to break away. It turned out to be a decisive move, which put dsm-firmenich into the driving seat. In addition to sprint leader Sam Welsford, the team also had four other men in the group. Thirty kilometres from the finish, the two remaining escapees were caught and the small peloton could get ready for the final sprint. The last 30 kilometres were full of attacks, yet no group managed to get away. In the bunch sprint, dsm-firmenich didn’t see their hard work rewarded. Gerben Thijssen beat his competitors in a very close sprint. Dylan Groenewegen was very close, but had to settle for second place. Cedric Beullens was 3rd.
Race winner, Gerben Thijssen (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty): “I worked really hard with my sprint train to prepare the Tour of Spain, driven by the dream of winning a stage. But it wasn’t to be. From one day to another I had to switch my focus to new goals and this was not easy for sure. So it is nice to win here in Lichtervelde. From the start it was really nervous because of the strong wind. With the team we decided to take matters into our hands by setting the pace in the peloton. Later we received the support of other sprint teams to accelerate in the crosswinds. This enabled us to start the final with a small peloton. For the sprint I was focused on the sprint train of dsm-firmenich, until Arne Marit came from the back to make room for me and to bring me to sprint speed with 200 meter to go. He was the last element in a perfect team job today. I’m proud to reward the confidence of my teammates. At the end of a difficult race, this success confirms that I am one of the sprinters not to be neglected. This is a boost of confidence before my final four weeks of the season and even towards next year.”
2nd, Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco AlUla): “It is another race and another podium, but it is not the win we came for. It was close again today, just like at Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen and Gooikse Pijl, so it is frustrating because the legs are good. It was just me and Elmar in the front group in the end and we worked well together, he set me up for the sprint and I came with speed but it just wasn’t enough in the end. We will keep trying and there is already another chance on Sunday.”
Omloop van het Houtland Result:
1. Gerben Thijssen (Bel) Intermarché-Circus-Wanty in 4:20:45
2. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jayco AlUla
3. Cedric Beullens (Bel) Lotto Dstny
4. Arne Marit (Bel) Intermarché-Circus-Wanty
5. Luca Mozzato (Ita) Arkéa Samsic
6. Casper van Uden (Ned) dsm-firmenich
7. Jensen Plowright (Aus) Alpecin-Deceuninck
8. Tim Merlier (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step Devo Team
9. Louis Bendixen (Den) Uno-X
10. Matteo Malucelli (Ita) Bingoal WB at 0:02.
Ixina Gooikse Pijl p/b Lotto 2023
Jasper Philipsen has won the Ixina Gooikse Pijl p/b Lotto. The Belgian from Alpecin-Deceuninck was the fastest in a bunch sprint after 199 kilometres. He referred Olav Kooij and Dylan Groenewegen to places two and three.
The route of the Ixina Gooikse Pijl p/b Lotto 2023 was identical to that of last year. Once again the riders started in Halle, from where they rode to a local circuit in and around Gooik. This circuit was made up of some rolling roads, but it was not very difficult. There was a good chance that there would be a bunch sprint. With Jasper Philipsen, Fabio Jakobsen, Dylan Groenewegen and Olav Kooij, there were quite a few fast men at the start.
The ‘break of the day’ consisted of six riders: Thijs de Lange (Metec-SOLARWATT p/b Mantel), Bodi del Grosso (ABLOC CT), Harry Tanfield and Yentl Vandevelde (Tour de Tietema-Unibet). Gage Hecht (Human Powered Health) and Ruben Apers (Team Flanders-Baloise). Only De Lange, Vandevelde, Hecht and Apers were able to stay off the front. They held out until the last lap of 22 kilometre, but just under 20 kilometres from the finish they were also caught. It wasn’t long before there was another attack. A group of about 25 riders got away from the peloton, due to Lotto Dstny. They opened a good gap, but a group managed to join them. Including all the top sprinters: Kooij, Groenewegen, Jakobsen and Philipsen.
It was Soudal Quick-Step that took to the front in the last 2 kilometres, but Jayco AlUla came through in the final kilometre. Groenewegen hit the front in the finishing straight and looked to be holding off Kooij and Philipsen. In the last metres they both came past. Philipsen managed to beat the two Dutchmen by half a wheel. Fourth place went to Gerben Thijssen, Fabio Jakobsen was sixth.
Race winner, Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck): “The last lap was more intense than expected. I thought: an easy sprint, with a nice run-up. We still had to straighten something out to be able to sprint. I already saw that they (Lotto Dstny) were quite active because their sprinter (Caleb Ewan) was out, I think. They had to try it that way. We were a bit surprised, but we played all or nothing to race there. That was difficult. I had to go pretty deep. It felt like I had to sprint twice. I didn’t really recover from one effort and then I had to give everything to sprint again. I tried to take advantage of Dylan’s slipstream for a while, but maybe not long enough. That quickly put me in the lead. I also felt that the best was over, so I still feared that someone would come from behind. But I’m glad I was able to make it.”
2nd, Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma): “It was close. I had to come from afar, although I don’t think that was an immediate disadvantage on this course. I could ride my sprint, and unfortunately, one rider was just faster. We’ll have to make do with that. When the lead group got closer, some teams thought something was possible. I was in the second group, but in the end, everything came together, and we could sprint.”
Ixina Gooikse Pijl p/b Lotto Result:
1. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck in 4:19:53
2. Olav Kooij (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
3. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jayco AlUla
4. Gerben Thijssen (Bel) Intermarché-Circus-Wanty
5. Alexis Renard (Fra) Cofidis
6. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Soudal Quick-Step
7. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Uno-X
8. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel-Premier Tech
9. Cedric Beullens (Bel) Lotto Dstny
10. Milan Fretin (Bel) Team Flanders-Baloise.
Trofeo Matteotti 2023
Sjoerd Bax surprisingly won the Trofeo Matteotti 2023. It is the Dutchman’s first victory for UAE Team Emirates. Bax escaped with Lorenzo Rota in the finale of the hilly Italian Classic, after which he crossed the finish line first.
The Italian autumn races continued on Sunday with the Trofeo Matteotti, a tough one-day race of 195 kilometres in Pescara, on a local circuit of 15 kilometres including the Salita Tiberi (900 metres at 5.1%), Colle Scorrano (600 metres at 5.8%) and the Montesilvano Colle (700 metres at 5.8%).
Early in the race, Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) and Mattia Bais (EOLO-Kometa) went on the attack. The other teams that had missed the break tried to cross, but failed. Latour and Bais had more than 4 minutes on the peloton, where Jayco AlUla set the pace for Michael Matthews and Simon Yates. Latour turned out to be the best of escapees, but he was reeled in by the peloton 40 kilometres from the finish, where Giulio Ciccone had started the chase. Unlike Ciccone, Davide Formolo managed to get away. He was joined by Andrii Ponomar in the penultimate lap.
George Bennett also made the crossing, after which he went on with Ponomar. Their lead over the thinned out peloton was minimal and so they were caught in the final lap. About 30 riders still had a chance of victory. Among them Sjoerd Bax and Lorenzo Rota, who attacked on the final descent. That turned out to be the right move. Bax and Rota took more than 10 seconds, but they started to play tactical games. In the sprint, only Bax managed to hold off the chasing group. Behind Bax, Simone Velasco finished second, ahead of Rota. Next week Bax will ride the European Time Trial Championships, the European Championships Mixed Relay and the European Road Race.
Race winner, Sjoerd Bax (UAE Team Emirates): “Of course I’m super happy with the win. It was a real team victory; first Formolo then Bennett and Hirschi all were up the road until my attack which turned out to be the right one. My sprint was strong enough and I was really happy to finish it off. I hope to continue this shape and take it into the next races we’ll have in Italy.”
Trofeo Matteotti 2023 Result:
1. Sjoerd Bax (Ned) UAE Team Emirates in 4:35:32
2. Simone Velasco (Ita) Italy
3. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Circus-Wanty
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) Jayco AlUla
5. Marc Hirschi (SUI) UAE Team Emirates
6. Julien Simon (Fra) TotalEnergies
7. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa
8. Xabier Berasategi (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
9. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team
10. Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè.
Everything on the Tour: Mark Cavendish Will Continue for a Year
Will Mark Cavendish continue for another year? The 38 year-old British sprinter was going to hang up his bike after this season, but according to GCN, it now looks like that he will be in the professional peloton in 2024.
Cavendish announced his retirement at the end of May during the Giro d’Italia. He then won the final stage of that Giro and started in the Tour de France. Cavendish did take some good placing, including a second place in Bordeaux. However, on stage eight he crashed and broke his collarbone. The dream of achieving his 35th stage victory in the Tour and becoming the record holder were gone.
In the weeks after his Tour crash, there was a lot of speculation about his future. Tuttobiciweb announced in July that Cavendish was close to a contract extension with his current team, Astana Qazaqstan. A few months later, La Gazzetta dello Sport had the same news and now GCN also say they know for sure that there is a good chance that Cavendish will postpone his retirement by one year. If this is indeed the case, he will have one last chance to write Tour history in 2024.
Cavendish hopes to race for his Astana Qazaqstan team this year. The rider is currently preparing for a return to the Tour of Turkey (October 8-15). Cavendish has already competed several times in Turkey in the past and won no fewer than eleven stages in 2014, 2015 and 2021.
Another year with Astana for Cavendish:
Tom Dumoulin Not Impressed by the Jumbo-Visma Dominance
This year’s Grand Tours are dominated by Jumbo-Visma, winning the Giro, Tour and Vuelta in 2023. Tom Dumoulin, at one time a rider with the Dutch team, is not overly enthusiastic about the situation.
“I don’t expect we will see much of this in the future. At least, I hope not,” he said to NOS about Jumbo-Visma’s season. “For the objective follower of cycling, there have been more exciting Vueltas and more exciting seasons in terms of the Grand Tours. We haven’t seen much battle (in this Vuelta). It was a very lackluster, strange last week.”
“I hope other teams have really woken up,” Dumoulin added. “Now everything is falling into place for Jumbo-Visma. This entire season, this Vuelta. It seems to me that this will continue in this way for many seasons to come. If you look at history, at the top sports teams of the past, you see that things go well for a few years and then… Maybe at some point riders leave or maybe other teams really make progress, for example in the field of nutrition, which really brings them to the same level. But for now it looks very good for Jumbo-Visma.”
What does Jumbo-Visma really do differently from other teams? “That is a good question. They have a huge vision and a goal in their heads where they want to go. They work in a super structured way, more structured than other teams. There really is an idea behind it, on which a plan is written. They really sit down for that. I think it’s a bit different with other teams.”
“Take the Vuelta. Jumbo-Visma thinks: we want to go to the Vuelta with Vingegaard, Roglic and Kuss. How are we going to do that? How do we ensure that they are in top form at the start of the Vuelta? Then they calculate back weeks and look at all facets: in terms of training, in terms of nutrition, in terms of equipment, in terms of care, etc.”
“There are more coincidences with other teams,” said Dumoulin. “But I do expect that they will also take that step in the coming years. This will not be the case every year, but I do expect that Jumbo-Visma will participate in one or two more Grand Tours next year. They have such a big lead. It has not suddenly been reduced to zero.”
Dumoulin not that pleased with Jumbo-Visma:
Richard Plugge on Remco Evenepoel: “I would really like to work with him”
The 2023 Vuelta a España was dominated by Jumbo-Visma, the team took the top three places overall to go with their Giro and Tour wins. Team manager Richard Plugge did not expect it to be so easy. “We are surprised in that respect,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws in Madrid.
“The tactical plan was to send Sepp Kuss ahead in the stage to Javalambre and thus let him move a little closer in the rankings. But I did not expect that the three of them would ultimately end up on the final podium in Madrid,” said Plugge, who had expected more opposition. “At the Gran Salida in Barcelona I took Ayuso and Almeida, Mas, Thomas and Arensman into account. And Remco, of course. The fact that he cracked on the Tourmalet stage simplified our case.”
Does Plugge have any thoughts on Evenepoel’s collapse? “I would love to work with him and talk about that. Then we might be able to formulate an answer to that question. But I’m not going to tell you that now.” After Evenepoel dropped out of the overall picture, there was little serious threat from anyone else. Then there was a unique situation in the final week as only the three teammates, Primoz Roglic, Jonas Vingegaard and Sepp Kuss, had a chance of winning the final overall. Plugge believes that they have managed things ‘very well’ at Jumbo-Visma. “It was a great situation that we, coaches and riders in particular, found ourselves in. But at the same time one that had never happened before. And for which there was no textbook solution,” Plugge points out.
“We have had good discussions about this internally with all parties involved. Listened to everyone’s opinion, put everything on the table, drew up a plan based on that and asked if everyone felt okay with it. A joint discussion. As a team, true to our values and racing philosophy: #winning together.”
The choice of Sepp Kuss for the overall win was not imposed from above on Vingegaard and Roglič, Plugge told VTM Nieuws. “We have decided as a team to go all out for Kuss from Wednesday. It is not my decision or that of Merijn (Zeeman), it is ensuring that we support the plan together. When Primoz says that he would think it would be great if Sepp won and if Jonas did the same, then that means a lot to Sepp, but also to the entire team. That is beautiful.”
Not a bad season for Jumbo-Visma:
Lampaert Confirms Departure of Teammate Declercq
On Tuesday, Het Laatste Nieuws announced the news that Tim Declercq will leave Soudal Quick-Step for Lidl-Trek. Declercq and Lidl-Trek didn’t want to confirm the move, but teammate Yves Lampaert has said as much to Sporza.
The 34 year-old Declercq is in his seventh season for Patrick Lefevere’s team. He came from Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at the end of 2016 and was a very valuable, loyal worker. In the Classics and stages of Grand Tours, Declercq was often on the front of the peloton for a long time.
Lampaert will miss Declercq. The two Belgians have a strong bond. “I have been Tim’s teammate since I was eighteen, as a first-year pro. It is a shame for myself, but I am super happy for Tim that he has been able to make a very nice transfer to Lidl-Trek. They will be very happy there with such a worker.”
It certainly does not come as a surprise for Lampaert. “Tim was very open to me about the options he had for next year. It quickly became clear that staying was not an option. He did not have to go to a lower level, such as Pro-Continental. He is making a nice move to Lidl-Trek, a team that is emerging. I am very happy for him.”
Although he does have mixed feelings. “It will hurt a lot for me, because I will now have to race against him. But especially for the moments in the room and so on, I will miss him enormously. Fortunately, we don’t live very far from each other and hopefully we will train together a lot.”
Declercq on his way to Lidl-Trek:
Caleb Ewan Couldn’t Start the Omloop van het Houtland Due to a Wrist Injury
Don’t look for Caleb Ewan in the results of the Omloop van het Houtland on Wednesday. The Australian sprinter was scheduled for the Belgian one-day race, but the Lotto Dstny rider couldn’t start due to a wrist injury.
Lotto Dstny started the Omloop van het Houtland without their sprinter. The team still had Cédric Beullens, Frederik Frison, Jacopo Guarnieri, Arjen Livyns, Rüdiger Selig and Axel De Lie, the older brother of Arnaud De Lie.
Ewan is not going through the best time of his career at the moment. The fast-finisher has been at odds with his Belgian team for some time and has only managed to win one race this season, the Van Merksteijn Fences Classic. The Australian still has a contract with Lotto Dstny until the end of 2024, although it is questionable whether he will still ride for the team next year.
“As we speak, I assume that I will still be racing for the team next year. But I don’t know what’s going to happen. The team has made it clear that they would prefer me to leave, but I still have a contract.” Stéphane Heulot, the CEO of Lotto Dstny, has said: “The intention is not to further damage Caleb’s career. We both want him to end up in the best possible situation.”
More problems for Caleb Ewan:
Il Lombardia a Three-man Battle with Pogačar, Evenepoel and Roglič
Primoz Roglič will start the 2023 Tour of Lombardy on October 7. The Slovenian TV channel RTV SLO reported that the Jumbo-Visma rider announced this after the final stage of the Vuelta a España. He will also ride the Giro dell’Emilia, which he won in 2019 and 2021.
Roglič has ridden Il Lombardia four times before. In 2021 he was 4th, his best result. This year he will be competing against Remco Evenepoel and countryman Tadej Pogačar, who won the past two Lombardy end of season Classics.
Lombardia and Emilia next for Roglič:
Jonas Vingegaard Will Not Race Again in 2023
Jonas Vingegaard will now enjoy his off-season. The two-time Tour winner has no more races scheduled for the remainder of 2023. He announced this on Danish TV 2 Sport.
Last Sunday, Vingegaard finished the Vuelta a España in second place, behind teammate Sepp Kuss. His wife and daughter were in Madrid to welcome him. “That was amazing. I also saw them in the morning, because we had some time. It was just incredibly nice to see them in the morning. I’m looking forward to the off-season and enjoying time with them.”
Vingegaard had another successful season. He won the Tour de France for the second time and also the O Gran Camiño, the Tour of the Basque Country and the Critérium du Dauphiné. He also finished on the podium in his other stage races: Third in Paris-Nice and second in the Vuelta a España. Vingegaard did not participate in any one-day races this year in his 68 days of racing.
Holidays for Jonas:
Fausto Masnada: “Being on the Bike Again Felt like a Victory”
The Italian, who recently returned to competition, looks with confidence to this week’s Tour de Luxembourg.
“When you have a big stop of three months without racing it’s always hard to come back, because you don’t know what is going to happen and you can’t compare your shape with the other guys’, so you are always a bit scared. At the same time when facing a setback I always had that mentality of looking forward to the future and starting to race again. Now I restarted in Plouay, in September, so almost at the end of the season.
My saddle sore problem was very bad, the only and last option left was to do a surgery. The outcome was 50/50, either I would be able to restart racing or I needed to stop cycling as it’s a problem with which you can’t ride if you are in pain for five hours per day on your saddle. It was a chaotic period. One month after the surgery normally I could restart, but I had to wait another ten days for a decision with the team’s doctor. In those ten days the wound and skin really healed, then I restarted training and I knew that I lost a lot of time but I also knew that now I could fully go to live as a professional cyclist again. I hope the problem doesn’t come back, but I don’t think about it and focus instead on making my return, feeling healthy and getting results.”
“When I was on the bike again it felt like a victory. I was off the bike for 50 days, which is even more than an off-season break. The bike is my job and my passion, instead I went to the gym for muscle exercises and went walking but I could only cover half of my days with that. In August I went to the training camp with the team in San Pellegrino for one month. My form was completely gone, but we really took it step by step. At the moment I’m satisfied with how I’m riding, I immediately wanted to show I can ride with the best riders in Plouay. In Canada a group of twenty riders tackled the last the climb and I was there, so I was satisfied even though I didn’t get a top ten. I know cycling is hard and the level is high, so after a few races being at this level things are good and now I can only build further and improve.
This week I’m in Luxembourg, which I’ve raced only once before, in 2021, when we won the GC with Almeida and it was a super nice week. I hope we can do the same now, we have a strong team that can perform. I’ll see how it goes day by day and help my teammates. This year I missed the Giro and the Vuelta, and it was a pity, because it’s a special thing when you go with that group to the training camp to prepare and then do the three weeks together. I missed these goals of the team, but also my personal goals. I love the Grand Tours, but I can’t change how it went.
I won’t look back on this year 100% satisfied. We are here to perform and in the end I couldn’t perform for quite some time. I’m happy that the problem is gone, because it gave me a lot of stress and kept me from riding how I wanted to, and at the same time, made me lose one year of my career. This is important as for a cyclist one year feels like ten years, time goes fast and every year counts. I missed one year, but in the end I hope to be back on track now and to have a normal year next season.”
Fausto Masnada back in the peloton:
Egan Bernal Expects More from Himself in 2024: “I see myself competing with the best”
Egan Bernal completed both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España this summer, but competing for the prizes was not yet an option. In 2024, the Colombian, who had a serious accident in January 2022, hopes to be able to compete with the best again. “I still feel like a winner, I really want to win,” he told GCN after the Vuelta.
“The Vuelta was okay,” said Bernal, who finished in 55th place. “I had a better feeling than during the Tour de France. I feel stronger overall, both mentally and physically. I trained very well this winter, but had a real setback when I had to stop in the middle of the season due to bad luck (knee injury in the Vuelta a San Juan and then crashed in the Tour of Hungary). That wasn’t ideal. I have done my best to be in the best possible shape for both the Tour and the Vuelta.”
“The purpose of doing two Grand Tours was to give me back the kilometres and base in my legs,” explained the 26 year-old rider. “It was a big block for me. I have never had so many competition days in one season. I have been riding WorldTour races since Catalonia. I was not thinking about achieving results this season, but about next season.”
Next year Bernal wants to be in the results again. “It’s a process and I don’t know where I’ll end up, but I expect more from myself. I still feel like a winner, I really want to win. I see myself competing with the best. That’s what I work for.”
Can Bernal compete in the future with the men of Jumbo-Visma, who currently rule the Grand Tours? “I would really like that,” the INEOS Grenadiers climber responded with a smile. “I want to be in my best shape, because I like to race aggressively. When you see these guys being so dominant, I want to be there and do something.”
Egan Bernal still improving:
Lauren Molengraaf, First Female Athlete to Sign a Pro Contract with Intermarché-Circus-Wanty
17 year old Dutchwoman Lauren Molengraaf, one of the most promising riders in the junior category on the road, in cyclocross and on the mountain bike, will discover the world of professional cycling when evolving into the U23 category and will race at the highest level in three disciplines until at least the end of 2025.
The reigning Junior European Champion cyclocross stays loyal to the structure of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty for her winters in the mud whilst stepping up to the Women’s World Tour with FDJ-Suez on the road from January 2024 and competing in the jersey of Lapierre-Mavic Unity on the mountain bike.
Last winter, Molengraaf was basically invincible in her category on her Cube Cross Race. In addition to her European title, she dominated the Junior World Cup and conquered the world title in the mixed relay with the Dutch team. She also distinguished herself in the elite category by finishing in the top five in Loenhout (4th) and Lille (5th) and twelfth in the World Cup in Antwerp.
This summer, she finished sixth in the European Mountain bike Championships on her Cube AMS Zero99 in the colours of her Dutch national title, before achieving tenth place in the World Championships in this discipline. A couple of days earlier, she represented her country for the first time in the battle for the rainbow jersey on the road, finishing 22nd on her Cube Litening Air.
Three weeks before her eighteenth birthday, Molengraaf will participate in her last race as a junior in the European Road Race Championship in Drenthe, in her home country.
Lauren Molengraaf: “Last winter, I flourished in the cyclocross team of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty, which enabled me to obtain fantastic results in my final season in the junior category. I’m very honoured about the efforts made by the structure of Jean-François Bourlart to offer me the possibility to receive the best possible support in my three favourite disciplines for my step up to the U23 category. This gives evidence of the great confidence they have in my capabilities. Intermarché-Circus-Wanty, FDJ-Suez and Lapierre-Mavic Unity share the same vision about my future, that’s why I’ve chosen this particular adventure with three high level teams. In each discipline, I’ll receive the opportunity to grow at my pace in a professional environment.”
“In cyclocross I already managed to achieve several good results in the elite category. For my first year in the U23 category, I cherish the ambition to distinguish myself in this category next winter, with the European and World Championships as main goals. I will also mainly focus on the World Cups. In the first half of September I prepared the new season with the cyclocross team of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty. I can’t wait to get started at the end of October, but first I want to shine in my last race in the junior category on the occasion of the European Road Championships in Drenthe this Sunday.”
“Now I will also benefit from a professional support on the road and in mountain bike, I aim to show a regular progression in these disciplines as well. I’m incredibly motivated to start learning from experimented teammates and staff. I’m grateful for the determination of my three future teams to unite their efforts to build my future together and I’m very curious to discover until where I can push my limits.”
Jean-François Bourlart (CEO): “During her first year with the team, Lauren Molengraaf has shown that she is one of the most talented athletes of her generation. With us, she flourished in cyclocross and became one of the best in her category. She followed the footsteps of Zoe Bäckstedt and Marie Schreiber, who both began their development in our structure and stepped up to the World Tour. We also know that Lauren has three passions in cycling. So we found a tailor-made solution for her to combine three disciplines at the highest level, like her compatriots Mathieu van der Poel or Puck Pieterse for example. She’s a complete athlete, about whom we’re convinced that she has the potential to grow to the highest level in these three disciplines. That’s why we set up a collaboration with FDJ-Suez and Lapierre-Mavic Unity to stimulate her development. The history of FDJ-Suez is similar to ours, it is the story of a modest structure climbing the ladder to the top of the cycling pyramid. We discovered many common points with the project of Stephen Delcourt. Together, our performance teams will work together in an efficient way to help Lauren with her progression. I’m very happy that she becomes the first female athlete to sign a professional contract with our structure and that she enables Intermarché-Circus-Wanty to make the next step in women’s cycling.”
Álex Martín Renews his Contract with EOLO KOMETA
The EOLO KOMETA team for the 2024 season continues to get defined. To the already published incorporations of Jhonatan Restrepo, Fran Muñoz and Paul Double; as well as the renewals of the Bais brothers, Mirco Maestri and Diego Pablo Sevilla, it is added the continuity with the colours of the climber Álex Martín.
The Catalan cyclist continues to grow in the structure that saw him compete in U19 and U23, with great success: “Renewing with EOLO is to be able to continue doing what I like in the team in which I have grown up and I have been almost all my life, since junior. A privilege that I am very grateful for and that I am sure I will be able to take advantage of by achieving good results next season”.
With a climbing profile, Álex Martín has also been a fundamental rider for the team in races like the Vuelta a Asturias, with the victory of Lorenzo Fortunato and the great work of his teammates controlling the race. “I consider myself a cyclist who is good in the mountains, whenever the road gets steeper I can show my best version”.
Jesús Hernández, sport director of EOLO KOMETA, values the continuity of the rider: “He is still a young rider, who is growing little by little and who has very good details in race. He is an asset for the future that we have to take care of and in whom we have a good chance of success”.
UCI Reprimands Intermarché-Circus-Wanty for Late Wage Payments
The UCI has reprimanded Intermarché-Circus-Wanty because the team paid the wages of riders and staff members too late this summer. CEO Jean-François Bourlart confirmed this with Het Laatste Nieuws. However, according to the team’s boss, there are no major problems.
Intermarché-Circus-Wanty was late in paying wages in the months of July, August and September. The riders and staff members received their wages one to two weeks later than usual. “A number of sponsors were delayed with their quarterly payments, which can happen, and that means we are also a bit late,” Bourlart explained. “But this is only a ‘trou de trésorerie’, a deficit in the treasury, this has nothing to do with our budget or any problem for the future. We had a cash flow problem for a while, and therefore a punctuality problem, nothing more. It concerns a number of days.”
Bourlart couldn’t say exactly how long the employers had to wait for their money. “Ten days? Could be. As I say: a few days. Payment was made somewhat late, but all amounts were paid out correctly. That this is a serious matter? It is serious when people are not paid.”
Although the riders and staff members were ultimately paid, there is growing unrest, pointed out HLN. The newspaper reports that about ten members are looking for other teams. The riders and staff members also contacted the UCI, which is said to have subsequently reprimanded Intermarché-Circus-Wanty. “There has been contact with the UCI, that is correct. Everything was transparent. The UCI carries out continuous checks, they do an audit every year,” said Bourlart.
Bourlart also said that the cash flow problems have nothing to do with sponsor Circus. New legislation in Belgium limits gambling companies advertising. “Circus will disappear as a name sponsor, but will remain part of our team. We don’t have any cash at the moment, but that has nothing to do with Circus.”
Late wages from Intermarché-Circus-Wanty:
Lotto Dstny Suspends DS After Hitting Race Signalman
Lotto Dstny has suspended sports director Carl Roes of the development team. This follows an incident in the GP Rik Van Looy last Sunday. Roes hit the signalman during the race.
Roes was behind the wheel of the team car. He was not allowed to enter the race route, but tried to do so and hit the signalman. The man fell, but the team DS continued in the race. “This is a very regrettable and unacceptable incident,” said CEO Stéphane Heulot. “As soon as we heard this news, we suspended the team DS. There is no excuse for such behaviour, it simply should not happen in a race. We would also like to express our apologies to the signalman and the organisers.”
“Carl realises that he has made a mistake,” Heulot said about Roes. According to Lotto Dstny, Roes was ‘particularly affected’ by the incident and immediately contacted the victim after the race. “He already spoke to the signalman and apologised. We take this matter very seriously and are now considering further measures. Until then, Carl will no longer be in action.”
The incident can be seen on RTV at the far right:
Team dsm-firmenich Extend Contracts with Alex Edmondson and Tim Naberman
Team dsm-firmenich are pleased to announce that they have extended the contracts of Alex Edmondson and Tim Naberman. Edmondson who joined at the start of this season will continue to race in the team’s colours until at least 2025, while Naberman, who is a product of Team dsm-firmenich’s Development program, is also contracted through 2025.
A new face to Team dsm-firmenich in 2023, Edmondson settled in well to the team immediately, bringing energy but also accountability, with his wealth of experience from being a WorldTour level pro since 2016. A strong rider on the flat, Edmondson’s strong engine has seen him perform an important role as part of the lead-out while also helping with positioning and early work in the climbing stages or classics. The month of June saw Edmondson take some of his best results as a pro so far, with second in the prologue at ZLM Tour where he would go on to take fourth overall, which was followed up by a third place in the time trial at the Baloise Belgium Tour. Looking ahead, Edmondson wants to continue to improve further as a rider and help the team to more successes.
A product of the team’s Development program, Naberman has been racing in two-stripes since 2019, making the step up to WorldTour with the Men’s program in the 2022 season. A consistent and loyal rider, you can often find Naberman working hard on the front of the bunch doing a lot of unsung jobs, controlling the early breakaways, and helping with positioning into the finales. Someone with a good tactical brain, Naberman also can read races well and is important in helping to make quick on the bike decisions during hectic moments. He brings a lot of value to the team too with his character and outlook, he is always open to bringing and receiving constructive feedback in a good way, and willing to help others when required, giving his everything for the goals of the squad and leaving nothing in the tank.
Alex Edmondson to stay with dsm-firmenich:
Kim Cadzow Joins EF Education-Cannondale
‘If it’s a hard, long effort, that’s probably my strong point’
Kim Cadzow will join EF Education-Cannondale in 2024. Currently wrapping up her first season in the professional peloton, the twenty-one-year-old New Zealander looks forward to continuing her development in a new setting with experienced teammates to mentor her.
Kim is still new enough to cycling that she’s not sure yet what her strengths are but she knows what she’s passionate about.
“I love climbing. I love getting to ride uphill,” she says. “But I also love time trials. If it’s a hard, long effort, that’s probably my strong point. I’ve always loved the mountains. I live in a mountainous area of New Zealand. The reason I love climbing is because it’s just pushing hard on the pedals while going uphill. I think it’s not as complicated as cycling can be at times and I like the simplicity of just riding hard and getting to embrace that. Plus making it to the top of a mountain is super awesome. And with the time trial, I just really enjoy being alone on the road, being as aero as possible, and pushing myself to my limits.”
General manager Esra Trump values Kim’s innate ability to push herself to her limits and believes it will take her far in the sport.
“On the bike, she’s a monster,” Esra says. “She wants to get everything out of herself to help her team get a result. She doesn’t give up. You can see that she wants to dig really, really deep and that’s really cool. She only discovered cycling in the last few years and she has a big talent for climbing. What she brings to the team is a lot of power, especially to the races with mountains. Our plan is to develop her over the years to become one of the best climbers in the world. That is her dream and we will help her get there.”
Kim knows that she has the power, but she also knows that she has a lot of work ahead of her to become the athlete she wants to be, which is why signing with EF Education-Cannnondale was so appealing.
“I’m really new to the sport so this is a wise step in my career. Joining a team with so many experienced riders, really great management, and a positive team environment is a good pathway for me to keep developing and learning,” Kim says.
As a teenager, Kim took up triathlon but in the span of just 18 months, she had so many running injuries that she spent most of her time riding. Bored of training for no particular reason, she decided to race her age group in the New Zealand cycling national championships. She enjoyed the experience and people she met, so she continued to sign up for more and more races, eventually coming to Europe and earning a professional contract.
Kim is the first person to acknowledge how far she’s come in cycling in such a short period.
“I still think it’s insane to look at myself as an elite athlete. It’s such a change in your life. You’re just going about your day to day life and then the next day you’re at the Tour of Scandinavia being flown by the race organisation on a charter flight on a plane full of athletes. It just seems crazy to me at times but I’m definitely enjoying it.”
There’s a lot to enjoy in Kim’s life. In October, she’ll return to New Zealand to spend a few months with her family and friends, filling her days with hikes and mountain bike rides and walks with the family dog. She and her fiancé have a few last wedding preparations to finalise before they get married in January. Kim is halfway through her sports management degree but has put that on hold for the time being to allow her to focus on racing.
“I do like my studies but we’ll see where that goes. Actually, I want to be a midwife but I can’t study that online, it has to be done in person. Maybe that’s what I’ll do after I’ve finished my cycling career,” Kim pauses and adds with a laugh, “but I hope that won’t be for a long time yet!”
“I’m super, super excited for next year,” she says. “Knowing what this team is about makes me smile a lot, makes me really happy. I’m just excited to meet everybody and get going.”
There’s a lot to be excited for, Kim. Welcome to the team!
Kim Cadzow to EF Education-Cannondale:
Eduardo Sepulveda Stays with Lotto Dstny for Two More Years
Eduardo Sepulveda (32) has extended his contract at Lotto Dstny with two more years. The Argentinean is riding his first season within the Belgian ProTeam and has already proven himself countless times as an experienced climber and a valued teammate. Besides, Sepulveda managed to get some results himself; at the end of July he took home the overall victory at the Vuelta a Castilla y Léon by winning the final stage. As the first ever Argentinean leading a Grand Tour classification, Sepulveda even made a little cycling history in the youngest Vuelta a España, where he wore a few days the KOM jersey.
“Eduardo is an important part of our climber’s squad and with over ten seasons as a pro, he gathered lots of experience. And he wants to continue passing on that expertise to the young climbers at Lotto Dstny. Not only is Eduardo a valued and respected teammate, he grabs his own chances as well. Proof of that is the stage and overall victory at Castilla y Léon and he also showed some nice things at La Vuelta”, says CEO Stéphane Heulot.
“From the moment that I met the team, I immediately felt at home”, says Sepulveda. “So I am really happy to continue the adventure at Lotto Dstny. Within the team, the riders are perfectly surrounded by professionals, who make sure that we only have to think about riding our bikes. Besides, our own feedback or suggestions are also taken into account, which makes for a really positive environment.”
The Argentinean wants to fulfil a double role within Lotto Dstny in the upcoming years. “I love to share my experience and it gives me great satisfaction when my teammates obtain good results. The dynamic between the young and more experienced riders within the team is something I feel very comfortable with. Giving advice during the race, in mutual communication with the DS’s, which leads to a victory just gives me a great feeling. And in the races where I get a free role, I still want to grab my opportunities, like I did at Vuelta Castilla y Léon.”
Sepulveda: Two more years with Lotto Dstny:
Lukas Nerurkar Steps Up to the WorldTour with EF Education-EasyPost
‘The way that the team races really appeals to me.’
Lukas Nerurkar is the next rookie who will make his WorldTour start next season with EF Education-EasyPost.
The 19-year-old British talent has already won stages of the Giro Next Gen and Orlens Nations GrandPrix and finished sixth on GC at Spain’s O Gran Camiño. That one was against the pros. Lukas will join them next year.
Racing runs in his genes. Bike racing was never the most straightforward choice for Lukas though. He grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where his dad – Olympic marathon and 10,000-meter runner Richard Nerurkar – moved their family after he had hung up his racing flats. He’d always trained in Africa and loved the atmosphere. Lukas’s mom Gail was a runner too. His sister Almi was soon bounding in their footsteps. She became a runner as well. But as soon as Lukas started riding bikes, he knew that cycling was the sport for him. When he was a kid, he and his dad would escape Addis Ababa’s clogged streets and ride up into the hills above the city.
“Some friends came over from the UK and brought some cycling kit over for me,” Lukas says, laughing when he remembers his first rides with his dad. “I was in a jersey and bib shorts that were far too big for me, but just loved wearing them and riding. My sister did running. In Ethiopia, it is unusual to do cycling. Almost everyone takes up running instead, but on the bike, I could just go a bit farther and faster.”
He has been doing that ever since. When he was seven, Lukas’s family moved back to England and settled in Brighton, where Lukas started racing with the Preston Park Cycling Club. He stayed with this local team all the way through youth categories. By the time he was 16, he was ready to step up. He joined VC Londres in London and soon caught the eye of the racers in the club, who introduced him to Trinity, a British Continental team. There his talent blossomed. Over the past two seasons, in races all over Europe, Lukas has made a name for himself on the under-23 circuit. Now, he is ready for the WorldTour. He is confident that he has what it takes to compete with the best. O Gran Camiño proved that. But Lukas knows that he still has a lot to learn.
“I have already done a few pro races with Trinity, but it is different when you are racing for a WorldTour team at those races compared to a Continental one,” he says.
Lukas has seen his good friend and roommate Ben Healy make that transition over the past couple of seasons and hopes to match his success. At 19, Lukas is still discovering what kind of rider he is going to be, though his wins at the Giro Next Gen and Orlen Nations Grand Prix have certainly shown him a way to head.
“I think I am a punchy climber,” Lukas says. “At the moment, that is the way that I am going. I climb quite well and normally, at the end of hard days, I will still have a good sprint to win from a reduced group.”
EF Education-EasyPost CEO Jonathan Vaughters has a similar sense of Lukas’s strengths. He is very optimistic about the Brit’s future and the role that he is going to play in our team. “Lucas has obviously inherited that incredible aerobic capacity from his father,” Vaughters says. “He has also proven that he is quite punchy and quick, with a good finish. He is tactically astute, as you saw with his stage wins at the Baby Giro and Orlens Nations Grand Prix. I don’t know whether he is going to be a stage racer or a one-day racer. I do know that he can go uphill and knows how to smell a finish line.”
Right now, Lukas just wants to get to his first WorldTour start-line. In his rookie year, he will try to get better from every race.
“I just want to learn as much as I can,” he says. “It will be really good to get experience racing at the highest level. It would be nice to win some races, but I haven’t done a whole lot of racing yet and think the next few years will just be about finding out what kind of rider I am and whatever I turn out to be, improving in those areas, so I can really perform in races.”
His teammates are ready to help him do just that. Through Ben, Lukas has already made a number of friends on our team. He can’t wait to light up races with them next year.
“The way that the team races really appeals to me too,” Lukas says. “I like the aggressive style of racing and just the mix of riders.”
Lukas, you’re going to fit right in. Welcome to EF Education-EasyPost!
Lukas Nerurkar to EF Education-EasyPost:
Movistar Team Invests in Future with Cat Ferguson’s Signing
17-year-old talent from North Yorkshire, a sensation in the world junior scene this season, will become a trainee with Blues in August 2024, turn WorldTour pro for the following three years (2025-27).
The Movistar Team continues to trust some of the strongest up-and-coming talents in the women’s peloton as it has committed to a long-term agreement with Cat Ferguson (Steeton, GBR; 2006).
The Yorkshire athlete, a current member of the Shibden Hope Tech Apex Team, will join the Blues in August 1st, 2024, as a trainee (stagiaire), the regulations allowing second-year juniors cutting their teeth in the pro scene while still at the previous step. She will then become a fully-fledged member of the WorldTour outfit from January 1st, 2025, and for the following three seasons (through December 2027).
A multi-talented rider, able to shine in all kinds of terrains, as well as a proven-quality CX specialist and even with some good results on the track, she’s taken the world by storm in her first junior season on the road.
The impressive list of results from Ferguson in 2023 alone includes wins in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, the Trofeo Binda, a stage in the Spanish Nations Cup round Bizkaikoloreak, another one in the Tour du Gevaudan and the British National TT Championships. Her outstanding performance in the Glasgow Worlds got her a silver medal.
While Ferguson will continue to race with her current colours at CX and road next season, she will make part of the Movistar Team’s camps and start working with the squad’s performance team immediately, the Blues ready to support her long-term growth as an athlete.
Cat Ferguson: “It’s a dream come true to soon turn pro with the Movistar Team. From our first meeting it felt like such a welcoming and family environment, with a great focus on developing my attributes at WorldTour level. I look forward to learning from the best and most experienced riders in the world, and couldn’t think of a better team to help me make the step up to elite cycling. First, I want to close out my junior CX and road seasons, hopefully achieving some big wins.”
Il Lombardia 2023: The Last Monument of the Year From Como to Bergamo
The route of the 117th edition of ‘The Race of the Falling Leaves’ has been presented. 238 km from Como to Bergamo with over 4400 meters of altitude gain. Among the big names expected at the start Tadej Pogacar, winner of the last two editions, Primoz Roglic, winner of the Giro d’Italia, Remco Evenepoel, and, for the last time in his career, Thibaut Pinot. Also at the presentation were three-time winner Damiano Cunego, who celebrated his 42nd birthday, and Vincenzo Nibali, winner in 2015 and 2017. On race day, space will be given to biking events organised by Regione Lombardia and Crédit Agricole. The ‘Lombardia Express’ project was also launched
The 117th edition of Il Lombardia presented by Crédit Agricole, the last Monument Classic of the year, was presented today at the Grattacielo Pirelli, the historic headquarters of the Regione Lombardia. The race will be held on 7 October starting from Como and finishing in Bergamo after 238 demanding km for over 4400 meters of altitude gain. The 25 teams that will participate in “The Race of the Falling Leaves” will be met with a succession of climbs that have made the history of this race such as Madonna del Ghisallo, Roncola, Berbenno, Passo della Crocetta, Zambla Alta, and Passo di Ganda before Colle Aperto, the last effort towards the finish in Bergamo.
Among the guests attending the launch of the 117th edition were two riders who have left a permanent mark in the history of the race, namely Damiano Cunego (2004, 2007, 2008), who celebrated his 42nd birthday just today, and Vincenzo Nibali (2015, 2017), who left cycling at the end of the past edition.
The Route of Il Lombardia Presented by Crédit Agricole
Starting in Como, and heading for Cantù, the route takes in the Ghisallo (coming from Asso), descends into Bellagio and reaches Lecco, running along the lakeshore. After entering the province of Bergamo, the route takes in a succession of climbs and descents, with nearly no flat stretches in-between, leading all the way to the finish. After negotiating the Roncola (Valico di Valpiana, with gradients reaching 17%), the riders will be tackling Berbenno, Dossena, Zambla Alta and Passo di Ganda, with a comprehensive altitude gain of over 4,400 m. Past Ganda, the route arrives in Selvino where it takes a long descent comprising 19 hairpins. The following 9 kilometres (the only flat stretch of the race finale) serve as an approach to the city. The route then passes through Città Alta, heading for the finish.
Il Lombardia presented by Crédit Agricole 2023 | The Route
In the final kilometres, the route runs across the upper city (Bergamo Alta), climbing up to reach Porta Garibaldi and then Largo Aperto (covering 200 metres on pebble paving). In the first part, gradients never fall below 10% (with a maximum of 12%). Along the descent, the roadway is wide and the surface is smooth. With 1,800 m to the finish, a sharp bend and a short stretch of narrowed roadway lead through Porta Sant’Agostino. The road takes a wide bend to the left after the flamme rouge, leading to the finish line. The home stretch (800 m long, on 7.5 m wide asphalt road) runs initially downwards and levels out afterwards.
Il Lombardia presented by Crédit Agricole 2023 | Official Video Promo
Paolo Bellino, Managing Director at RCS Sport: “The relationship between RCS Sport and Regione Lombardia continues, welcoming us once again for a weekend of great cycling with the last Monument Classic of the year, followed by an important event such as the Gran Fondo Il Lombardia. With Como and Bergamo alternating as hosts, this year’s race will start in the city of Como and finish in the city of Bergamo, and we expect important figures in terms of public attendance, increasingly confirming how this sport is the perfect driver for tourism, which benefits and promotes all the places it touches”.
Mauro Vegni, Director of the Giro d’Italia: “We have designed a tough and selective route, with over 4400 meters of altitude gain, pretty similar to the 2021 edition in which Tadej Pogacar won for the first time. The Slovene will be one of the stars at the start and he will be looking to make it a hat-trick, which will be made difficult by the presence of prominent rivals Giro d’Italia winner Primoz Roglic and former World Champion Remco Evenepoel among the expected names. We are also pleased that a great champion and former winner of the race like Thibaut Pinot has chosen Il Lombardia to say goodbye to the fans”.
Damiano Cunego, Il Lombardia winner in 2004, 2007 e 2008: “Il Lombardia has always been a great goal for me. I have managed to win it three times, entering the history of this race. Like every year we will see a list of very strong riders at the start of the toughest Monument Classic of the year, both classic specialists and climbers, because the course is as always very tough and selective. My favourite for victory is Tadej Pogacar because he is a rider who when he concentrates on a goal always arrives in top condition and could achieve his third victory matching my score”.
Vincenzo Nibali, Il Lombardia winner in 2015, 2017: “The two editions of Il Lombardia that I won were finishing in Como, it was a slightly different route to this edition but no less tough. There are many climbs in the final part, including the final one in Bergamo Alta which, with more than 230km already in the legs, could be decisive. I see Remco Evenepoel as the main favourite because I believe he has the right characteristics for this route”.
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
TEAM JAYCO ALULA
GROUPAMA – FDJ
INTERMARCHÉ – CIRCUS – WANTY
TEAM ARKEA – SAMSIC
UAE TEAM EMIRATES
EOLO-KOMETA CYCLING TEAM
ISRAEL – PREMIER TECH
Q36.5 PRO CYCLING TEAM
TUDOR PRO CYCLING TEAM
The Season Ends With Fireworks In Como! | Il Lombardia 2022 Highlights by GCN Racing:
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