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EUROTRASH Thursday: Van Aert Out of Flanders!

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Terrible news for Wout van Aert – A broken collar bone and ribs from a crash in Dwars Door Vlaanderen puts him out of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. We have all the news from the men’s and women’s Dwars Door Vlaanderen and Paris-Camembert with reports, results, rider quotes and video.

Wout van Aert Criticised by Tom Boonen, Rik Van Looy and Roger De Vlaeminck – TOP STORY.

Rider news: Jasper Philipsen wants a contract until the end of 2028, Mathieu van der Poel Moves young fan to tears, Wout van Aert’s missing Strava ride, a new Mikel Landa at Soudal Quick-Step, will Egan Bernal go to the 2024 Tour de France? And Fabian Cancellara has advice for Wout van Aert.

Team news: Jhonatan Narvaez and Luke Rowe out with concussion, Arnaud De Lie will take some time to reset and build up towards the second part of the season, Visma | Lease a Bike wont have Christophe Laporte in the Tour of Flanders, possibly no Ardennes Classics for Lennert Van Eetvelt – Good news for Maxim Van Gils, Wout Poels complains after punch from Iván García Cortina, Marlen Reusser removed from the Gent-Wevelgem results, UAE Team Emirates and dsm-firmenich PostNL riders for the Tour of Flanders and Franck Bonnamour sacked by Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale.

Race news: Mayor of Kluisbergen calls for changes after big crowds for the E3 Saxo Classic and Natuurmonumenten goes to court against the Netherlands National Cycling Championships course.

The sad news of the passing of World champion sprinter Gordon Singleton.

*** Watch ‘Chris Horner’s Flanders Preview Chat With Pez’ HERE. ***

# Read the ‘2024 PEZ Flanders Race Preview’ HERE. #

 

top story
TOP STORY: Several Fractures For Wout van Aert: No Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix
Wout van Aert has suffered several fractures from his crash in Dwars door Vlaanderen according to his Visma | Lease a Bike team. Van Aert will not start in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. He will also not rode the Amstel Gold Race.

Van Aert crashed 67 kilometres from the finish. On the descent towards the Kanarieberg he crashed together with Mads Pedersen, Jasper Stuyven, Biniam Girmay and others. It was clear that Van Aert was badly injured as his race jersey was ripped to shreds. You could see on TV that the Belgian had serious grazes on his back and was on the road for a long time before he was taken to hospital.

It turned out that he had broken his collarbone and several ribs. It is still unclear exactly how long Van Aert will have to recover, said Visma | Lease a Bike, but he will have to forget his main spring goals: the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

Van Aert’s spring is over:
Dwars Door Vlaanderen 2024

Wout van Aert Criticised by Tom Boonen, Rik Van Looy and Roger De Vlaeminck
Wout van Aert is exceptionally popular in Belgium, but he has also received criticism from some famous, ex-cyclist countrymen. Tom Boonen and Rik Van Looy have said that Van Aert should and could have won many more major races. In conversation with HUMO, the Visma | Lease a Bike rider spoken out about those comments.

“It has not worked out a few times already: that makes me an underdog,” said Van Aert, who is still looking for a victory in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. “Some people like that and are therefore fans of me. Others are disappointed and criticise. If Tom Boonen or Rik Van Looy gives an interview, I don’t have to read it to know what it says. No one is immune to criticism, including me.”

The two former top riders believe that Van Aert works for other riders too much. “Rik and Tom come from old cycling. I can try to make them understand contemporary cycling, but that won’t work anymore. I am happy with how I practice my sport and I am proud of the things I have achieved with the team. That is the most important.”

In the interview, Van Aert also looked back on 2023, which he labeled as his ‘first bad season’. “For an average professional it might have been super good, but I can’t make peace with that. It makes me hungry. I want to reverse and correct last year’s dissatisfaction. Everyone knows me as someone who never gives up, but above all my goal is for them to know me as a winner. I work very hard for that.”

Roger De Vlaeminck Also Doesn’t Believe in Wout van Aert Chances for the Tour of Flanders
Roger De Vlaeminck watched how Mathieu van der Poel raced in Gent-Wevelgem. But according to the winner of the 1977 Tour of Flanders, this was training for the Tour of Flanders. “He wanted to win Gent-Wevelgem, but he did not specifically race to win. He tired himself on every climb and Mads Pedersen is not a bad rider either,” De Vlaeminck said to Wielerrevue.

According to De Vlaeminck, Van der Poel will not get tired in the Tour of Flanders and he is his top favourite for Sunday. “Without setbacks, Van der Poel will win for a third time.” De Vlaeminck doesn’t believe in Wout van Aert. Especially because Van Aert wasn’t able to close a 10 second gap on Van der Poel in the E3 Saxo Classic. “Wout van Aert is not making any progress at the moment. In a race of 200 kilometres he is 10 seconds behind Van der Poel and he cannot ride to him! Van der Poel wasn’t racing at full speed at that moment either…”

Roger De Vlaeminck on the attack in De Ronde van Vlaanderen 1975:
flanders de vlaeminck

 

Dwars door Vlaanderen
Dwars Door Vlaanderen 2024
Matteo Jorgenson won an action packed Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday. The American jumped away from a leading group, 7 kilometres from the finish and soloed to victory. Jonas Abrahamsen and Stefan Küng took second and third. Wout van Aert was involved in a big pile-up with around 65 kilometres to go, Jasper Stuyven, Mads Pedersen and Biniam Girmay were also involved.

Dwar Door Vlaanderen 2024

The Dwars Door Vlaanderen is 188.6 kilometres with twelve climbs and eight cobbled sections. The race proper is expected to start about 100 kilometres from the finish with the climbs of the Hotond, Knokteberg and Kortekeer, which are then followed by the Maria-Borrestraat, Berg Ten Houte and the Kanarieberg. Then it’s the Knokteberg, Hotond, Maria-Borrestraat and Ladeuze, before a circuit of 30 kilometres around Waregem with a cobbled sections and the cobbled climb of the Nokereberg.

The break of the day went after 50 kilometres. Eleven riders got together from several small groups, including Pascal Eenkhoorn (Lotto Dstny), Dries De Pooter (Intermaché-Wanty), Dries De Bondt (Decathlon AG2R), Victor Vercouillie (Flanders-Baloise), Casper Pedersen (Soudal Quick-Step), Mathias Norsgaard (Movistar) and Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Jayco AlUla), they managed to take a lead of more than 2 minutes. Just before the first time up the Knokteberg, the peloton was nervous, but the race was not fully on yet. This was good for Laurence Pithie, who had to chase back alone due to bad luck. Lidl-Trek took control on the Maria-Borrestraat, after which the first of the favourites emerged on Berg Ten Houte with Magnus Sheffield and Victor Campenaerts. The pace led to a first selection, after which Visma | Lease a Bike went into action for Wout van Aert. This didn’t last long, as there was a big crash in the chase group on the descent to the Kanarieberg. Wout van Aert, Mads Pedersen, Jasper Stuyven and Biniam Girmay were amongst the fallers. Van Aert had his shirt ripped from his back and was taken away, as was Stuyven and Girmay. We will have to wait to see if they will ride the tour of Flanders on Sunday, or be out even longer. Pedersen was able to continue, but was well out of the race. Tiesj Benoot, Matteo Jorgenson, Stefan Küng, Alberto Bettiol, Michael Valgren and Joshua Tarling were able to continue and rejoin the remainder of the leading group.

There were 12 leaders who started the last lap around Waregem: Benoot, Jorgenson, Küng, Bettiol, Valgren, Tarling, Eenkhoorn, De Bondt, De Pooter, Casper Pedersen, Jonas Abrahamsen and Thomas Gachignard. The peloton was at well over a minute and had no chance of returning. On the Huisepontweg, the leading group was thinned to 7 by the pace of Küng and Jorgenson, after which Bettiol attacked on the Nokereberg. The Flanders winner, Bettiol, looked powerful, but he got cramp in his left leg and was passed by everyone. Küng, Jorgensen, De Bondt, Abrahamsen, Tarling and Benoot started the final lap round Waregem. Visma | Lease a Bike was the only team with two men and so sent Benoot on the attack. A strong De Bondt jumped on his wheel, but Küng brought the rest back. The decisive attack came 7 kilometres from the finish: Matteo Jorgenson picked the right moment, while the others looked at each other. He soon had a 15 second lead and the winner of Paris-Nice, never looked back. Abrahamsen won the sprint for second place, Küng was third. Benoot was 4th after chasing anyone who jumped after his teammate, and De Bondt was 5th.

Dwars Door Vlaanderen 2024

Race winner, Matteo Jorgenson (Visma | Lease a Bike): “It’s unbelievable. The whole season has been a dream so far. It’s actually surreal. After Paris-Nice we have a new focus. I had not yet qualified for the Olympic Games, while it is a big goal for me to ride there. But I now have that ticket in my pocket. It’s a crazy season. I really can’t believe it. As a team, our entire strategy is based on having multiple riders at the front in the final. There was a moment on one of the last cobbled sections where Stefan Küng ended up in the gutter, leaving Tiesj with a gap. Luckily I waited for him, because without him I don’t think I would have won. I was on Wout’s wheel at that moment (of the crash). It was just before the Kanarieberg, a decisive moment in the race. It was a racing incident. There were two trains: Lidl-Trek’s and our own. We came together, I think Wout and Alex Kirsch bumped into each other. It was a very ugly fall. I saw everything happening and immediately knew that Wout would drop out, because we were going so fast. Tiesj and I stuck to the plan, because there was still a race going on. But my thoughts were with Wout and everyone involved in the crash. I hope everyone is okay, I’ll check on that later. I have no news. After the finish they told me that Wout is in the hospital, so my thoughts are with him. I hope he is okay.”

2nd, Jonas Abrahamsen (Uno-X Mobility): “I have already been on the attack a lot this year, so I am happy with this podium finish. I was already close in Tirreno-Adriatico, but then I was passed 50 metres from the finish. I am very happy that I am now on the podium. Everything is possible, but Visma | Lease a Bike was very strong with two riders. I also attacked a lot, but I am very happy that this worked out with such strong riders around me. I have also been out for a while with glandular fever, but since I rode the Tour de France last year, I feel that I’m much better. That’s why I’m happy with the podium in a WorldTour race.”

3rd, Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ): “It was very hectic in that phase before the crash. In that descent I moved up and I heard the crash happen behind me. Everyone was a bit in shock, but then Matteo Jorgenson opened the final. Sometimes a crash like that goes through your mind and then some of you end up in the gutter somewhere. It can happen so quickly… But nine times out of ten it goes well. I have been riding these races for ten years now, and only in the last two years do I remember crashes there. It’s hard to avoid because there’s always a big road before a narrow road. That is part of cycling, but not a part we like to see. It was going to be a second place, because in the end Visma | Lease a Bike had a two and they played that out well. I may have been the best in the race, next to Jorgenson and Benoot, but it was impossible to win here. They are both very strong. Then it’s two against one, and the rest were looking at me, because they’re on the limit. Then it becomes very difficult. I think I can reach the podium. In general, cobble climbing suits me better. I also feel better. I felt good in the E3 Saxo Classic and also in Gent-Wevelgem, but today I had my best feeling. We hope to be there (Flanders) as a team with three men, then we want to try something.”

4th, Tiesj Benoot (Visma | Lease a Bike): “Our plan was to go on the Kanarieberg. The Van Dijke brothers did a great lead-out towards the climb. Tim had finished his turn when they passed us on the left. Wout shouted at me to speed up, which I did. But I think he tapped my back wheel when I stood up. I feel really bad about it, to be honest. I hope he’s okay, I don’t know anything. Afterwards I was a bit confused, but Matteo still went on the climb. That ultimately turned out to be a good decision. We played well in the final. Personally, I am also satisfied with my performance after my heavy fall on Friday (in the E3 Saxo Classic). It was again much better than in Gent-Wevelgem. But I am very disappointed about what happened to Wout.”

Dwars Door Vlaanderen Result:
1. Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Visma | Lease a Bike in 4:07:44
2. Jonas Abrahamsen (Nor) Uno-X Mobility at 0:29
3. Stefan Küng (Sui) Groupama-FDJ
4. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Visma | Lease a Bike
5. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale
6. Joshua Tarling (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:44
7. Jonathan Milan (Ita) Lidl-Trek at 1:47
8. Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-EasyPost
9. Mathias Norsgaard (Den) Movistar
10. Thomas Gachignard (Fra) TotalEnergies.

Dwars Door’24:

 

Dwars door Vlaanderen
Dwars Door Vlaanderen Women 2024
Marianne Vos took her 250th road victory in Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday, where she out-sprinted Shirin van Anrooij (Lidl-Trek) after 130 kilometres. They escaped from a group of 6 favourites in the final. Letizia Paternoster (Ita) Liv AlUla Jayco) was 3rd at the front of a chase group at 19 seconds.

Dwars Door Vlaanderen 2024

The women’s Dwars Door Vlaanderen was a 130 kilometre race, with the last 70 kilometres starting with Berg ten Houte, followed by the Kanarieberg, the Knokteberg, the Hotond and Ladeuze. The summit of this last climb is about 40 kilometres from the finish. On the final circuit of 30 kilometres around Waregem there were some cobbles and the Nokereberg.

There was no break in the first hour of the race. The first serious split came on the Kanarieberg, where Puck Pieterse was the first favourite to attack. Demi Vollering and World champion Lotte Kopecky also tried. They were the instigators of an elite group of 11, but they didn’t get the chance to get away. Due to an accident between two cars in the men’s race, the climbs of the Knokteberg and the Hotond were canceled. That wan’t the end of it, because to keep everything on schedule, the race was stopped for a while. After a short break, the riders started the last 46 kilometres. In that last hour of racing, cyclo-cross riders Fem van Empel, Pieterse and Yara Kastelijn failed to get away. Lidl-Trek then chose to make the race harder, this led to a leading group on the Huisepontweg with many of the top riders: Kopecky, Pieterse, Marianne Vos, Elisa Longo Borghini, Shirin van Anrooij and Letizia Paternoster.

There was no Demi Vollering and Fem van Empel, both had problems with punctures. The leading six rode well on the flat final to Waregem and extended their lead to 30 seconds. Lidl-Trek had the most riders and played that out by sending Van Anrooij into the attack 12 kilometres from the finish. The only rider who could go with her was Vos. Behind; everyone looked at Kopecky, who tried to close the gap on the last climb. That didn’t work, so Van Anrooij and Vos held on to their 15 second lead. The chase was still on, as the gap was slowly closed by attacks from Longo Borghini and Kopecky. Van Anrooij was struggling on Vos’ wheel, but the chase slowed in the last 2 kilometres, allowing Vos and Van Anrooij to sprint for the win. Vos was the fastest, although Van Anrooij came dangerously close. Vos took her 250th victory of her impressive career. The sprint for third place was won by Paternoster, ahead of Kopecky and Pieterse.

Dwars Door Vlaanderen 2024

Race winner, Marianne Vos (Visma | Lease a Bike): “It doesn’t feel like erasing gaps, but it’s a nice race to win. I don’t have a wish list that I’m working on. We can all see that they are strong teams, but we have more teams at the start. It will be another fierce battle, I think. It is a nice feeling to win this and I take good courage from it. We had a good partnership until Longo Borghini gave chase and the game was played. From that moment on there was nothing more to do than keep riding and make sure you have something left for the sprint. Shirin is very strong and Lidl-Trek had two pawns, so you can play the game. You have to gamble or go, and I shouldn’t wait too long. In the sprint I tried to catch Shirin. It was sprinting with everything you have left, and that is different from a bunch sprint, because you both suffered.”

2nd, Shirin van Anrooij (Lidl-Trek): “We tried to outplay the surplus, certainly when I heard that I no longer had to take over. We rode to win, but I knew it would be very difficult in a sprint. I sprinted my best values, but this was the highest possible. Marianne is the stronger sprinter, that is something I am trying to work on. It is also the first time that I have actually competed in the final, so I see that as a good learning experience. As a team, we wanted to make the race tough and reach the final with numbers. Then we had to attack. Now we can head to Flanders with a good feeling.”

Dwars Door Vlaanderen Women Result:
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Visma | Lease a Bike in 2:52:08
2. Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Lidl-Trek
3. Letizia Paternoster (Ita) Liv AlUla Jayco at 0:19
4. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SD Worx-Protime
5. Puck Pieterse (Ned) Fenix-Deceuninck
6. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Lidl-Trek
7. Chiara Consonni (Ita) UAE Team ADQ at 0:51
8. Arlenis Sierra (Cub) Movistar
9. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Lidl-Trek
10. Julie De Wilde (Bel) Fenix-Deceuninck.

Dwars Door’24:

 

camembert
Paris – Camembert 2024
I hope Benoît Cosnefroy likes Camembert cheese, because his win in Paris-Camembert means he will receive his body weight in cheese (around 65 kilos) as a prize. The Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale rider was the first to cross the line after 205 kilometres on Wednesday, beating Clément Venturini and Alexandre Delettre.

Paris-Camembert 2024

In the 205 kilometre Paris-Camembert, there are seven climbs in the last 65 kilometres, all of at least 1 kilometre long. The Côte de l’Angleterre (1.5km at 5.5%) and the Butte des Fondits (1km at 9.7%) come in the last 20 kilometres, with the last summit 10 kilometres from the finish .

Romain Cardis (St Michel-Mavic-Auber93), Kenny Molly (Van Rysel-Roubaix) and Antoine Hue (CIC U Nantes Atlantique) formed the early break and had a maximum lead of 4 minutes. Due to echelons the leaders were caught early in the race. Arkéa-B&B Hotels, Uno-X Mobility and Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale took control of the peloton, but the race was neutralised due to a massive crash. After the restart, the race was open again. Ewen Costiou started the action in the final 45 kilometres. His lead over the chasing group, where Guillaume Martin tried to get away, fluctuated around 20 seconds. It was on the final climb that Costiou was caught, after which an elite group started to battle for victory. Benoît Cosnefroy was the fastest in the sprint for the line ahead of Clément Venturini (Arkéa-B&B Hotels) and Alexandre Delettre (St Michel-Mavic-Auber93).

Paris-Camembert 2024

Race winner, Benoit Cosnefroy (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale): “I am very happy. I managed to get into the first group with difficulty, but then I maneuverer well in the sprint to win, so I’m very happy. When you win with good feelings it is good, but when you win with average feelings like today, it is even more pleasant to have that conclusion. I didn’t see the crash because I was ahead. Decisions had to be made later and I had the impression that it had been managed quite well. Of course, it’s always detrimental to stop for an hour in the middle of a race, especially the one time it rained. It was very cold. It’s bad luck and the stewards’ decision was correct. That modified the tactics a little, but we cannot say that he erased the kilometres traveled before. I have raced twice and won twice. The first time I had legs of fire unlike today, but I managed to place well in the final to win in the sprint, so I am very happy to win, especially because there were a lot of people I know here, including my parents.”

2nd, Clément Venturini (Arkéa-B&B Hotels): “It’s a good omen because I’ve seen myself ahead for three weekends. The previous times I worked for the team and they caught me not far from the finish line. This time I had my chance. Ewen had a great race and deserved to win. I was behind, controlling the rivals’ attacks. We were strong collectively. I still need a victory, but I am already happy to be able to get on the podium for the first time on the road with the Arkéa jersey.”

4th, Martin Marcellusi (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè): “The race was always controlled, there were fans in the middle of the race but I managed to stay focused and defend myself effectively. In the last part of the route I always stayed in the lead, collaborating with Guillame Martin to lead the group on the last climb, a move that turned out to be good. I gave it my all in the final sprint, but unfortunately I didn’t have the necessary energy at that moment. I would like to thank the entire team for the support received during the race.”

7th, Ewen Costiou (Arkéa-B&B Hotels): “I saw an opportunity present itself, I went out and gave it my all. Clément and I do 2nd and 7th. In any case, this race gives me confidence because after Paris-Nice I got sick and I didn’t really know where I was in this race. I’m calm here.”

Paris – Camembert Result:
1. Benoît Cosnefroy (Fra) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale in 4:26:11
2. Clément Venturini (Fra) Arkéa-B&B Hotels
3. Alexandre Delettre (Fra) St Michel-Mavic-Auber93
4. Martin Marcellusi (Ita) VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè
5. Fredrik Dversnes (Nor) Uno-X Mobility
6. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
7. Ewen Costiou (Fra) Arkéa-B&B Hotels at 0:04
8. Joris Delbove (Fra) St Michel-Mavic-Auber93 at 0:08
9. Rory Townsend (Irl) Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team at 0:14
10. Matyáš Kopecký (CZ) Team Novo Nordisk.

Paris-Camembert’24:

 

Alpecin 2024
Jasper Philipsen Wants a Contract Until the End of 2028
Jasper Philipsen, who’s contract expires with Alpecin-Deceuninck at the end of 2024, hopes to sign a four-year contract either with his present team or elsewhere, according to GCN. The winner of Milano-Sanremo is on the shopping list of BORA-hansgrohe, UAE Team Emirates and Tudor Pro Cycling and his current Alpecin-Deceuninck team.

One of the reasons that Philipsen wants to commit to a team until the end of 2028 is that the World Championships will take place in Abu Dhabi that year. There he would have a chance at the World title as a sprinter. A rainbow jersey could then guarantee a big wage.

GCN also suggested that EF Education-EasyPost wanted to sign Philipsen, but American team announced it didn’t want the Belgian’s signature. Soudal Quick-Step, to which Philipsen was previously linked, is also not in the race to sign the 26-year-old rider. Alex Carera, Philipsen new manager, didn’t want to confirm which teams have shown an interest in Philipsen. He did say that many big teams are interested in the Belgian. “But we will only make a decision after Paris-Roubaix. At the moment he wants to focus on his races. He has a lot of big goals in the next two weeks.”

Where for Philipsen?
Gent-Wevelgem 2024

 

Alpecin 2024
Mathieu van der Poel Moves Young Fan to Tears
Mathieu van der Poel made a young fan very happy at the start of Gent-Wevelgem last Sunday. At the start presentation in Ieper. MvdP made the fan’s wish come true.

The young man was standing with the other fans in Grote Markt in Ieper with a banner: ‘Mathieu photo pls’ the sign said. It was spotted by the presenter who even brought the boy on stage. The world champion took all the time for a photo with the fan, who afterwards spoke with emotion about ‘the most beautiful day of his life’.

Click photo for video on X:
Wevelgem 2024

 

visma
Wout van Aert’s Missing Strava Ride
A day after his crash in the E3 Saxo Classic, Wout van Aert had a morning ride of just under 180 kilometres, which he shared on Strava, but the Visma | Lease a Bike rider deleted it not long after.

“It was a bad ride. I had given my Garmin to my neighbour, so I took it off again,” Van Aert said with a smile before the start of Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday, to Sporza. Or is he hiding something from the other riders?

Before Van Aert started the Dwars door Vlaanderen as one of the favourites, he spoke about what he expected: “This is a very important race, because I also want to win today. We are at the start to win the race. I think it is a healthy attitude to try that first and then we will look further at the Tour (of Flanders).” Van Aert also spoke about how he felt after his crash in the E3 Saxo Classic. “There was quite a bit of stiffness involved. I’ve never really had much pain, but I still feel some stiffness. The hip is still sensitive. It was a harder blow than I could have initially estimated,” he told WielerFlits.

Van Aert in Wednesday’s Dwars door Vlaanderen:
Dwars Door Vlaanderen 2024

 

soudal quick-step 2024
A New Mikel Landa at Soudal Quick-Step
Moving to Soudal Quick-Step looks to have suited Mikel Landa. The 34 year-old Spaniard has said he feels reborn and is looking forward to his next races and the collaboration with Remco Evenepoel. “I look forward to showing him the way,” he said to Marca.

Landa spoke to the Spanish sports-paper Marca after the final stage of the Volta a Catalunya on Sunday. To his surprise he finished second overall, behind a flying Tadej Pogačar. “I started the race without expectations, because I had not raced for a while. I wanted to find the good feeling every day, but I felt better than expected. It’s a shame that Pogačar was at the start, because that made winning very difficult. I also expected him to be good, but I still hoped to be able to go with him. But that just turned out not to be an option.”

Landa was not too disappointed. “I have very good legs again and renewed energy. I feel fresh and just as strong as in 2015.” That year Landa won two stages and finished 3rd overall in the Giro d’Italia and a stage in the Vuelta a España. “I’m really looking forward to this season. The transfer to Soudal Quick-Step has done me good.”

Landa was allowed to ride for himself in Catalonia, but in the Tour de France he will be working for Remco Evenepoel, as he will do their next race together, the Tour of the Basque Country. “I’m going to enjoy it and I’m also very motivated for my own audience. I look forward to racing with Remco again and showing him the way. I think it will be a very good week.”

A new Landa:
Catalunya 2024

 

ineos
Will Egan Bernal Go to the 2024 Tour de France?
It looks like Egan Bernal is nearly back to his old self, two years after his training crash and rehabilitation. After good results in the Tour Colombia, O Gran Camiño and Paris-Nice, he finished third overall in the Volta a Catalunya last week. Does this mean he will be at the start of the Tour de France?

The Colombian said last year that he would be riding the Vuelta a España at the end of 2024. Now a Tour ride is very possible, considering his latest results. Cycling Weekly asked team DS Zak Dempster if this was now possible “Egan’s ambition is much higher than just a third place in the Tour of Catalonia. I am sure he will come back at a very high level and be more competitive than ever before. He is getting stronger and I am convinced that we can set even more ambitious goals. It is important not to skip any steps now, but he is very down-to-earth and modest. He is already very happy with how things are going and where he is currently.”

Dempster doesn’t rule out a start of the Tour de France this year. “We first have to take stock and decide as a performance team what is best for him now. Egan is an important rider and so we need to have a good conversation about what the best plan is now, with the aim of him being competitive in the biggest races. Who knows, he might go to the Tour. Everything is possible.”

Bernal doesn’t rule out the Tour. “But it will all depend on the further course of my season. I can say that some of my values are the same or even better than before my crash. However, they are not good enough to win, but I am still making progress every day.”

Bernal for the Tour?
Catalunya 2024

 

visma
Fabian Cancellara has Advice for Wout van Aert
Wout van Aert is a rider who can and does turn his hand to anything on a bike. This is where he will have problems, according to Fabian Cancellara. The ex-rider has some advice for Wout. “Look at Mathieu van der Poel. When he focuses on certain goals, he is super good.”

Wout van Aert has won some big events in his career, but only one Monument: Milan-San Remo in 2020. His big rival, Mathieu van der Poel, has four Monuments and is World road champion. Cancellara believes that Van Aert’s versatility has a downside. “I don’t think Wout has become slower, but he has to focus on one goal,” said the Swiss rider to GCN. “Instead of also acting as a super domestique for Jonas Vingegaard in the Tour de France. When you focus on one thing as a rider, it can make you better. It’s as if Mathieu van der Poel is going to focus on time trial. That won’t turn out well. Mathieu focuses on fewer things, but is very good at the things he does focus on. Other riders can still work on that and learn from it.”

Cancellara does believe Van Aert could win the Tour of Flanders. “It is clear that Wout is under enormous pressure. A lot is expected of him in Belgium and it is not easy to deal with that,” he said in his column for Cyclingnews. “But no one is unbeatable in a Classic. You can always find ways to beat a stronger rival. By anticipating, by isolating someone, by being inventive. I’ve also experienced it in the Classics. I have experienced moments where I was super strong, but became isolated. You are still a human being and not a machine.”

Cancellara in Flanders:
cancellara

 

ineos
Jhonatan Narvaez and Luke Rowe Out with Concussion After Gent-Wevelgem
Luke Rowe and Jhonatan Narvaez both crashed during Gent-Wevelgem. After the race they were thorough examined in hospital and it was found that both suffered concussion.

Their INEOS Grenadiers team reported on ‘X’ (Twitter), they will continue to be closely monitored by the team’s medical staff to gently bring them back into racing mode. Narvaez was one of the possible favourites for the Flemish Classics, after his 6th place in the E3 Saxo Classic. The two didn’t start Dwars door Vlaanderen.

Luke Rowe also crashed in the E3 Saxo Classic:
E3 Saxo Classic 2024

 

lotto
Arnaud De Lie Will Take Some Time to Reset and Build Up Towards the Second Part of the Season
Arnaud De Lie will not take the start in the upcoming Classics. With several factors in mind, this was decided together with the 22 year-old rider, the team’s management and performance department.

Due to several reasons, De Lie couldn’t shine in the Belgian Classics yet, where the team’s and his mind was set on. In January, just after the team’s training camp in Spain, an altitude training camp in Tenerife was held, where the 22 year-old Belgian became sick. Afterwards there was his crash in Le Samyn, which resulted in a lot of abrasions and also made him withdraw from Paris-Nice, in the fourth stage.

Several setbacks due to which De Lie isn’t able to perform at 100% these Classics. Together with De Lie, the team’s management and performance department decided the young Belgian rider will not start in the upcoming Classics. He will take some time to reset and build up towards the second part of the season. The date to come back in competition will be finally determined soon.

A break for Arnaud De Lie:
Omloop 2024

 

visma
Visma | Lease a Bike Wont Have Christophe Laporte in the Tour of Flanders
Visma | Lease a Bike didn’t have Christophe Laporte racing in the Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday and the Frenchman wont be on the start line of the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. The current European champion fell ill on the day of Milan-Sanremo and is still unwell.

Laporte rode well in the first races. The 31 year-old had top ten finishes in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and Strade Bianche. Milan-Sanremo was going to be a big goal, but he had to abandon before the Cipressa. “On the morning before Milan-Sanremo, he was able to eat less well than normal,” DS Arthur van Dongen told WielerFlits. “During the race he indicated that he was suffering from stomach pain and was not feeling well. In the evening he suffered from fever and diarrhea. So he fell ill in Italy and has not yet recovered. A shame, because he had traveled to the Primavera in top form.”

Laporte not only had to leave the first Monument of the season, but also had to miss the E3 Saxo Classic and Gent-Wevelgem. Visma | Lease a Bike continued to hope that Laporte could start the Tour of Flanders, but the big race comes too early for the Frenchman. “Unfortunately, Christophe Laporte will not start on Wednesday and Sunday in Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Tour of Flanders. He has not yet recovered sufficiently from stomach flu and saddle pain,” the Dutch team wrote on ‘X’ (Twitter). Whether he can be ready for Paris-Roubaix in just over two weeks (April 7) is still in question.

When will Laporte be back?
Omloop 2024

 

lotto
Possibly No Ardennes Classics for Lennert Van Eetvelt – Good News for Maxim Van Gils
Despite their good start to the season, Lotto Dstny has been having a lot of bad luck. In addition to Arnaud De Lie, Lennert Van Eetvelt is also not able to race, sports manager Kurt Van de Wouwer confirmed to HLN.

Before the Tour of Catalonia, the team communicated that Van Eetvelt, winner of the UAE Tour earlier this season, was suffering from a knee strain. The Catalan tour had to be missed and it unknown when Van Eetvelt will race again. “Lennert still has knee problems and is going to doctor Claes in Herentals this week for an extra consultation,” said Van de Wouwer, so the Ardennes classics will be difficult.

The other leader, Maxim Van Gils, suffered from wrist and back pain after a crash in the opening stage of the Tour of Catalonia. Van Gils eventually had to abandon. Van de Wouwer now confirms that Van Gils has recovered and will resume competition on Saturday in the GP Indurain.

Lennert Van Eetvelt still out:
Lennert Van Eetvelt

 

bahrain
Wout Poels Complains After Punch from Iván García Cortina
Wout Poels was hit by Iván García Cortina in the Tour of Catalunya. The Dutchman spoke about it on In Koers, his and Dylan van Baarle’s podcast. After the incident, Poels filed a complaint with the race jury.

“On the penultimate day, there was a technical descent in the course after thirteen kilometres,” Poels said on the podcast. “Everyone wants to sit at the front, so it was crowded. Then Iván Cortina from Movistar intervened just before the top. He sat up and delivered a punch to my upper arm. He hit me really hard and it hurt quite a bit. So I then had a big argument with him. I asked why he did that. He said it’s always the same song with me. But I never ride uphill with him, because he has usually already ridden down it.”

The incident annoyed Poels for the rest of the stage. “I didn’t want to let him get away with that. We talk a lot with the CPA (the cycling union) about the safety of cycling. We often criticise organisers because the courses are not safe and then you have a rider who just really throws a punch. That is not possible. I found the jury and filed a complaint. He got away with a fine of 300 Swiss Francs and some UCI points deduction. That was a bit disappointing to me.”

Poels did not only have a problem with García Cortina in Catalunya. There was also Nairo Quintana. “We rode on a final climb and I felt good. I wanted to move up, to be close to Tadej Pogačar, but no one let me in between. So I decided to ride behind Enric Mas, next to Quintana. That in itself is annoying for him, but I wasn’t riding so close to him that I tried to push him away. At one point he elbowed me and I got into an argument with him. I said that he was definitely on tramadol again, which is why he was acting so aggressive,” said Poels.

Quintana was removed from the results of the 2022 Tour de France, where he finished sixth, after a positive test for tramadol. The painkiller is not on the WADA prohibited list yet, but is banned by the UCI. After Quintana didn’t have a team in 2023, Movistar offered him a contract for 2024.

Wout Poels in Catalunya:
Catalunya 2024

 

sd worx
Marlen Reusser Removed from the Gent-Wevelgem Results
Marlen Reusser finished in the first group in Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, but was not included in the results. The Swiss SD Worx-Protime rider was disqualified by the race jury.

After miss judging the road, Reusser ended up on the cycle path in the last kilometres and had to slalom her way through the crowd to get back to the race route. The three-time European time trial champion and winner of Gent-Wevelgem last year, eventually managed to rejoin and finished in the first group of about forty riders.

The race jury looked at the images afterwards and subsequently disqualified Reusser. It is not allowed to ride on the cycle path. Moreover, Reusser rode very close to the spectators, but fortunately without incident.

Apart from the disqualification, the 2024 Gent-Wevelgem was good for her team as Lorena Wiebes won the race, after a close sprint with the Italian Elisa Balsamo of Lidl-Trek.

Reusser out of Gent-Wevelgem results:
Wevelgem 2024

 

uae
UAE Team Emirates Set for Ronde Van Vlaanderen – Wellens and Politt Lead Strong Squad
The UAE Team Emirates Classics squad returns to Belgium to take on the biggest of the Flanders Classics: the Ronde Van Vlaanderen (31 March) on Sunday.

The experienced duo of Tim Wellens and Nils Politt will spearhead a strong team who will go in search of defending the crown won by Tadej Pogačar in 2023.

Wellens: “We’re in good spirits and very motivated coming into Flanders this year. These Classics have been a big goal of mine for the first part of the season and we want to do as well as possible. It’s been a good classics period for us so far and we have been present in many finales, though we would like to be closer to the podium as always. Our team is strong with a good atmosphere and attitude to give our best on Sunday. ”

The Italian trio of Sports Directors Fabio Baldato (Ita), Marco Marcato (Ita) and Marco Marzano (Ita) will guide the team from the car.

Ronde van Vlaanderen – Tour des Flandres [1.UWT] – 31-Mar-2024:
Alessandro Covi (Ita)
Marc Hirschi (Swi)
Alvaro Hodeg (Col)
Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
Antonio Morgado (Por)
Nils Politt (Ger)
Tim Wellens (Bel).

UAE Flanders 2024

 

dsm postal
Ronde van Vlaanderen Men – MAR 31
Pim Ligthart – Team dsm-firmenich PostNL coach: “We take on the second Monument of the year with Ronde van Vlaanderen where we aim to be directly present in the race and look for opportunities from the flag drop. Surrounded by a strong team, John and Nils will be ready to go when the final presents itself. We will race aggressively, playing our cards well to ensure that we don’t miss out on any important moves.”

Line-up:
Pavel Bittner (CZE)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Patrick Eddy (AUS)
Alex Edmondson (AUS)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Tim Naberman (NED)

Ronde van Vlaanderen Women – MAR 31
Kelvin Dekker – Team dsm-firmenich PostNL coach: “Ronde van Vlaanderen is one of the biggest races of the year and as a team we will do everything to bring Pfeiffer into the final with good legs. We know the course and where all the key points are because of good preparation, and we have a great plan for what to do at exactly which moment. We’ll aim to use our strengths as a team in the best way possible so we can provide her with the best support throughout the whole day.”

Line-up:
Francesca Barale (ITA)
Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Franziska Koch (GER)
Josie Nelson (GBR)
Abi Smith (GBR)
Elise Uijen (NED).

Nils Eekhoff to Flanders:
dsm

 

decathlon-ag2r
Franck Bonnamour Sacked by Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale
On the 5th of February 2024, the team was informed by the Union Cycliste Internationale of the investigation and temporarily suspension of Franck Bonnamour due to a violation of the anti-doping rules.

This suspension follows tests carried out before he joined the team on the 1st of January 2023.

The team has been forced to terminate Franck Bonnamour’s employment contract early.

The DECATHLON AG2R LA MONDIALE team advocates the practice of cycling in accordance with stringent ethical rules.

Franck Bonnamour – Violation of the anti-doping rules:
paris-nice22

 

E3
Mayor of Kluisbergen Calls for Changes After Big Crowds for the E3 Saxo Classic
In the E3 Saxo Classic there was hardly any room for the riders on the Paterberg and Oude Kwaremont last Friday. Philippe Willequet, the mayor of Kluisbergen, is not happy about the situation.

During the race, Mathieu van der Poel was annoyed with the hundreds of fans who stood on the roadway and just after the Oude Kwaremont. Also there was hardly any room on the Kwaremont and Paterberg. This is a problem according to Mayor Willequet. “It can’t be like this anymore,” he told Het Nieuwsblad.

“This is reminiscent of the Tour of Flanders, but twenty years ago. Completely occupy the road and only open it at the last minute. The riders could not advance on the Paterberg, because the audience remained standing. The organisation will have to provide fences at crucial locations next year. The riders must have free passage.”

“Their safety was compromised this year and that is really unacceptable,” the mayor added. “It is also better for the supporters themselves. What if someone trips while pulling out of the way when a car is approaching? Or someone will make the leaders fall. We are going to invite the organisers for a conversation, we don’t want to see the conditions of last Friday again.”

 

holland dutch
Natuurmonumenten Goes to Court Against the Netherlands National Cycling Championships Course
Natuurmonumenten, an association that is committed to protecting nature reserves, valuable landscapes and cultural heritage, doesn’t want the Dutch road championship to go through the Veluwezoom National Park and over the Posbank near Arnhem this year and is now going to court, NU.nl reports.

When the route was announced in December, there was an immediate protest from Natuurmonumenten. It then reported that helicopters, drones, advertising and sound systems are not allowed on the relevant parts of the course. Support cars, team cars, the advertising caravan and other motorised traffic are not allowed on the climb of the Posbank. Moreover, as far as Natuurmonumenten is concerned, the public is also not allowed. The fact that the National Championship takes place during the breeding season of vulnerable birds causes additional problems.

The nature manager then entered into discussions with the race organisers. It proposed fifteen conditions that the organisers had to meet. The discussions showed that two of those conditions cannot be met. The most important is the fact that no public was allowed to stand along the road of Natuurmonumenten. “It is not within our authority to ban them,” a spokesperson for the municipality of Arnhem told NU.nl. The second condition that could not be met was the financial compensation demanded by the nature association.

Natuurmonumenten then went to court. It may decide that the race should take place on the previously proposed alternative route. The Dutch National Cycling Championships are scheduled for June 23, 2024.

No route through the Veluwezoom National Park:
Veluwezoom National Park

 

canada
Canada Mourns Track Cycling Legend Gordon Singleton
It is with great sadness that Cycling Canada has learned of the recent passing of track cycling professional Gordon Singleton of Niagara Falls, ON.

He passed away at the age of 67 after a fight with prostate cancer.

“We are incredibly saddened to learn of Gordon’s passing” said Cycling Canada Chief Executive Officer, Matthew Jeffries. “One of Canadian cycling’s greatest champions and most gracious ambassadors, Gordon was a trailblazer who inspired so many Canadian athletes who have followed in his footsteps. His accomplishments on the bike were legendary and perhaps surpassed only by his continued contributions, engagement and generosity as an active and valued member of the Canadian cycling community over the past 40 years. He will be dearly missed but never forgotten.”

“With the passing of Gordon Singleton, Canada and the sport of cycling have lost one of the true giants,” added Mark Collins, Cycling Canada Board of Director’s Chair. “Seeing him flying around the track was electrifying at a formative time for the sport of cycling in Canada; Gordon will be truly missed. An Olympian, a World Champion, and a world-record holder, he was a pioneer whose shoulders our team will forever stand on whenever we pull the maple leaf jersey on and ride for Canada.”

Singleton left his mark on Canadian cycling by breaking numerous records and becoming, in 1982, the first Canadian to win a gold medal at the Track Cycling World Championships.

In this time of sorrow, Cycling Canada would like to extend its deepest condolences to his family and friends.

Condolences from everyone at PEZ.

# You can read an interview with Gordon Singleton by Ed Hood HERE. #

RIP champion:
Singleton

 

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