EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!
Free cycling news
All the teams seem to be on the Spanish coast for early season training camps, but the news never stops. Wout van Aert moves up the cyclo-cross rankings – TOP STORY. Injured Van der Poel postpones cross return, US cross titles, Pogacar’s 2022 calendar, Roglič and Van Aert talk Tour, Landa for Giro and Tour, Mohorič and Haig both go to the Tour, Mollema for Giro/Tour, Cavendish on 2022, Pedersen skips Omloop for Roubaix, Brand to ride Roubaix, Ciccone for Giro/Tour and Australian & African rider of the year. Rider news: Caicedo to stay with EF Education-Nippo, Fominykh ends career, Morin steps back, Ries undergoes surgery, Cavanga update, Orts stays with Burgos-BH and Padun to EF Education-Nippo. Race news: USA National championships schedule, teams for Volta ao Algarve, Vuelta to the Angliru, riders for the Santos Festival of Cycling and E3 Saxo Bank Classic route. Team news: Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux young riders, Team Novo Nordisk on Argon 18 bikes, Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli new kit, Bingoal training camp and new DS’s for BikeExchange-Jayco. Other news: Gesink Corona positive, Nicolas Roche dancing and The Wolfpack Insider: Tour de France video part 2. Thursday EUROTRASH coffee time.
TOP STORY: Wout van Aert Moves up the Cyclo-Cross Rankings
His 100% score from last weekend, Wout van Aert has moved the Belgian champion up the UCI cyclo-cross rankings. The 27-year-old Jumbo-Visma all-rounder rose sharply after his successes in Essen and Val di Sole.
Van Aert went up thirteen places and is now fifteenth with 640 points. Eli Iserbyt crossed the line in fourth place in Val di Sole. The Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider remains in the lead in the cyclo-cross ranking with 2311 points. His team mate Michael Vanthourenhout passed Lars van der Haar, who had not traveled to Italy, with his second place in Val di Sole and is now fourth.
World champion Mathieu van der Poel has to wait a little longer before he can rise in the cyclo-cross ranking. Originally, the leader of Alpecin-Fenix would make his comeback in cyclo-cross this weekend in the World Cup races in Rucphen and Namen. However, Van der Poel has been struggling with a knee injury in recent weeks, from which he has not yet recovered sufficiently. His return is now planned for Boxing Day, in Dendermonde.
In the women’s ranking, Lucinda Brand remains in the lead, despite not riding last weekend. Second and third, Denise Betsema and Annemarie Worst, also remain unchanged. Behind them is a whole slew of minor changes. Puck Pieterse is now fourth, at the expense of Clara Honsinger, and Fem van Empel and Yara Kastelijn also switched places. Marianne Vos returned to cross in Val di Sole with a second place and is now twelfth.
UCI Cyclo-Cross Ranking Men (after 14 December 2021):
1. Eli Iserbyt – 2311 points
2. Toon Aerts – 1826 points
3. Quinten Hermans – 1530 points
4. Michael Vanthourenhout – 1443 points
5. Lars van der Haar – 1412 points
6. Laurens Sweeck – 1108 points
7. Vincent Baestaens – 928 points
8. Corné van Kessel – 910 points
9. Daan Soete – 832 points
10. Niels Vandeputte – 819 points
15. Wout van Aert – 640 points
30. Tom Pidcock – 426 points
35. Mathieu van der Poel – 400 points.
UCI Cyclo-Cross Ranking Women (after 14 December 2021):
1. Lucinda Brand – 2190 points
2. Denise Betsema – 2065 points
3. Annemarie Worst – 1325 points
4. Puck Pieterse – 1167 points
5. Clara Honsinger – 1148 points
6. Fem van Empel – 1144 points
7. Yara Kastelijn – 973 points
8. Maghalie Rochette – 972 points
9. Hélène Clauzel – 866 points
10. Blanka Kata Vas – 860 points.
Wout van Aert moving closer to the front:
Injured Van der Poel Has to Postpone his Return to Cross
Mathieu van der Poel has had to postpone his return to cyclo-cross. His team Alpecin-Fenix announced on Monday evening that he has not recovered in time from a knee injury.
The reigning World champion was meant to start next Saturday in Rucphen, but now he will make his comeback a week later, next Sunday in Dendermonde.
Sore knee for MvdP:
Clara Honsinger and Eric Brunner Take US Cross Titles
Clara Honsinger became US National Cyclo-cross Champion for the second year in a row on Sunday. She won by a massive lead ahead of Raylyn Nuss and Stunny Gilbert, both finishing at over three minutes. Eric Brunner won the men’s race.
The US Championship was held in DuPage County, Illinois. Clara Honsinger was American champion for the first time last year, this year she was able to successfully extend that title. The 24-year-old rider, who won the Koppenbergcross this year, rode away from her competitors for more than three minutes. Nuss came in second, 42-year-old Gilbert finished third. Honsinger chose not to ride the World Cup in Val di Sole.
Eric Brunner won the men’s race, over 1 hour and 8 minutes. The young American left Curtis White and Gage Hecht behind in DuPage County. White and Hecht were the only men to finish within a minute. Brunner has only raced in the United States this season, where he has already won five times.
Clara Honsinger winning in Koppenberg:
Pogacar Will Ride Four of the Five Monuments in 2022, Including Flanders
Tadej Pogačar will participate in almost all the monuments next season: Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy are on his program. He told the Slovenian national television channel. Of these four classics, he has never ridden the Tour of Flanders with the pros. He did with the U23’s; he was fifteenth in 2018.
Pogačar, who was named Slovenia’s Sportsman of the Year last Monday, unveiled his provisional 2022 program during a team training camp in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy. In addition to the monuments mentioned, it includes the UAE Tour, the Tour of Spain and his own home race, the Tour of Slovenia, which are of course important to his team. The latter race will serve as the final preparation for the Tour de France. The two-time Tour winner will probably also ride the World road championship in Wollongong, Australia at the end of September.
Before Pogačar starts his season, in the UAE Tour, the Slovenian will first go to a training camp in Spain in January. Then follows altitude training. In doing so, he hopes to get ready for just as successful a season as last year. “I want to achieve the same results as last season or better, but I don’t expect it. In addition, a fall can cause a long absence,” he said. “It’s going to be a gruelling season anyway.”
Tadej Pogačar Provisional 2022 program:
Tour of Flanders
Tour of Slovenia
Tour de France
Vuelta a España
More wins for Pogačar in ’22:
Roglič on the Green Jersey Ambitions of Van Aert
Primož Roglič has commented on the ambitions of Wout van Aert, who has cast his eye on the green jersey. “We can win several jerseys in the Tour, but the team has to make clear what the main goal is. Then we can make a plan for the two of us,” the Slovenian told Het Laatste Nieuws.
The Olympic time trial champion from Tokyo had Wout van Aert with him as a super domestique in the Tour de France twice. However, Van Aert said that he would like the green jersey next year. Roglič indicated that this is feasible, but that clear plans must be made. “We are supposed to help each other. He has to be able to fight for the stage win and at the same time I have to try to take some time. We really need to think about that,” the Slovenian asked for clarity.
“I definitely want to win the Tour and I believe I can. Although I don’t just want to be remembered as a rider who may or may not have won the Tour. It is certainly not an obsession for me, so I am not frustrated that it has not yet worked,” said the Jumbo-Visma rider about his ambitions. “I’d rather people see me as a rider who always gives everything, who always goes the extra mile. A real fighter, that’s who I am.”
About Tadej Pogačar, Roglič has his thoughts. “How to beat Pogačar? The media should talk about that. It’s about how strong you are,” Roglič concluded.
Van Aert and Roglič together:
Mikel Landa Goes for Giro and Tour in 2022
Mikel Landa wants to ride the Tour de France again in 2022. The 32-year-old Spaniard revieled during the Bahrain Victorious presentation. Last season, the climber was active in the Giro and the Vuelta.
Landa was celebrating his 32nd birthday on Monday. “As a gift I only ask for health and happiness,” he told Tuttobiciweb. “Last season was terrible,”. In May of this year he had to abandon the Giro d’Italia after a bad crash in the stage 5. “But over the past few months I’ve been able to say goodbye to all the junk that was in my body. In 2022 I hope to be able to achieve what I had set myself at the end of 2020: having fun and being competitive again.”
At the beginning of May, he hopes to return in the Giro d’Italia. “The course matches my qualities. There is a lot to climb and there are a few time trials. I would like to participate, just like in the Tour de France. Although I must honestly say that I have not yet finalised my program with my team. My ambition remains the same: I still want to win a Grand Tour.”
Landa has started the Giro seven times so far. A third place in 2015 is his best final overall position. If he starts the Tour, it will be his sixth participation. In 2017 and 2020 he finished fourth overall.
Giro/Tour for Mikel Landa:
Matej Mohorič and Jack Haig Both Want to Go to the Tour
Matej Mohorič and Jack Haig shared their 2022 schedule at the Bahrain Victorious team presentation. Both riders want to go to the Tour de France in 2022. In addition, Mohorič mainly focuses on the Classics, Haig wants to ride the Vuelta again next year in addition to the Tour.
Matej Mohorič once again showed what he has to offer in 2021. With two victories he was one of the top men of the Tour de France. He also won the Slovenian national championship, although Roglič and Pogačar did not participate. In 2022, the 27-year-old Slovenian wants to ride a similar season. “My first objective is the opening weekend in Belgium. After that the big Italian races are my goal and of course the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Liège-Bastogne-Liège is another target this year,” Mohorič told Tuttobiciweb during the team presentation.
After the Classics, Mohorič heads for the stage races. “I am participating in the Tour of Slovenia as a preparation race for the Tour de France. To end the season, I’m focusing on the Benelux Tour and the World championships,” said the Slovenian, who set up his own foundation for young riders. The Benelux Tour is a permanent fixture on Mohorič’s calendar, where he usually competes for the general classification. This year he was second behind his teammate Sonny Colbrelli, in 2018 he won overall.
Jack Haig will start his season in the UAE Tour. He then moves on to Paris-Nice, where he finished seventh in the general classification this year, and the Tour of Catalonia. “I will run a similar program next year. I want to be at the start of two Grand Tours again,” said Haig.
If it’s up to Haig, the Giro won’t be one of those two Grand Tours. “I am not a fan of cold temperatures and rain. I would rather ride the Tour and the Vuelta, where it is traditionally much warmer than in the Giro,” said the 28-year-old rider. This year Haig finished third in the general classification of the Vuelta a España. “That third place gave me confidence. I want to compete with the top riders for the general classification in the big rounds.”
Tour stage win for Matej Mohorič:
Mollema for Giro/Tour in 2022, But No Amstel Gold Race
Bauke Mollema will again participate in the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France in 2022, the experienced climber said in a press interview with his team Trek-Segafredo from Spain. Mollema goes for stage wins in both tours. The Amstel Gold Race is not on his program.
Mollema will complete his first race kilometres of the season in France with the GP La Marseillaise, Etoile du Bessèges and Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var. The 35-year-old Dutchman will then participate in Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico, followed by the Ardennes Classics; Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Amstel Gold Race does not fit into his program in 2022. The Amstel Gold Race has changed dates with Paris-Roubaix and will take place next year ten days before Flèche Wallonne. Mollema then prefers an altitude training camp with a view to the Giro d’Italia. In the month of May, Mollema will then go on the hunt for a stage wins in the Giro. After the Tour of Italy, the Tour de France will follow, where Mollema will also appear at the start as a stage winner.
Mollema also decided to try the Giro/Tour combination this year. In the Tour of Italy he has had a few places of honour, but in the Tour he won the fourteenth stage to Quillan in the last Tour, after a solo of more than 40 kilometres.
Giro and Tour for Bauke Mollema:
Mark Cavendish on 2022
Mark Cavendish had a bad crash during the Six Days of Gent at the end of November. He was left with two broken ribs and a mild collapsed lung. The Brit is now back on his bike indoors and, in a conversation with The Big Issue, he looks forward to next season with confidence. In the same interview, he also looks back on his depression.
“Of course it is not ideal that I have extended my contract so late, but I think I will win again next year,” said Cavendish, who took four stage victories in the last Tour de France. “I don’t know what I’m going to win, but I’m quite confident. Otherwise I would have just stopped. It would have been a good year to retire. To just stop after this comeback. But I know I’m still improving. And I still love it.”
So, after a particularly successful 2021, the fun is fully back, but Cavendish has also seen lesser times. He is now candid about the depression he had. “You know what was the main reason I didn’t talk about it? Because five years ago I was someone who didn’t take depression seriously. I thought it was an excuse. But I’m grateful that I now have a platform to talk about it personally,” the 36-year-old rider said.
“So many people have been in a position to lose everything. Those people have suffered emotionally and developed symptoms of mental problems. We have to take that seriously and we have to talk about it,” said Cavendish, who recently officially extended his contract with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, which will be called Quick-Step – Alpha Vinyl in 2022.
More wins for Cavendish in 2022?
Pedersen Skips Omloop and Kuurne for Roubaix
Mads Pedersen will not start the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2022. The World champion of Yorkshire and leader of Trek-Segafredo thinks he will be in better shape for Paris-Roubaix. “Roubaix is a week later next year, so my coach and the team think it’s good to skip the opening weekend,” said Pedersen.
Despite this, the Danish Classic rider will start his season early. He informed Cycling Weekly that he will be at the start of the GP Marseillaise (30 January) and the Etoile du Bessèges (2-6 February). But those are not his main goals. “My trainer and the team have a big master plan for Paris-Roubaix, and I just follow it. Hopefully it will work out well to skip the opening weekend, for my main goals in Flanders and Roubaix.”
Next year it will be the fifth participation in Paris-Roubaix for Pedersen. “Every time I get one step further. Of course I am also gaining more experience, for example to save enough energy on the road. Every time, whether I fall or not, I learn new things. Hopefully that will help me next time.”
The other spring classics are also among Pedersen’s goals, but he does not want to focus on Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert in those races. “They are not the only riders I have to beat. Look at Van der Poel. He was in the final of Roubaix, but Sonny Colbrelli defeated him. I don’t just have to take into account Van der Poel and Van Aert. There are more good riders.”
“It would be a mistake on my part to just look at them. Sure, I agree that they’re the two biggest stars in cycling today, but that’s not because they’re good at the Classics. That’s because in general they are f*cking good cyclists,” said Pedersen.
In addition, the winner of Gent-Wevelgem 2020 will focus next year on the Tour de France, which starts in his home country of Denmark. “I am not the favourite for the prologue, but hopefully I can surprise and have a good prologue in Copenhagen. I want to be close behind the winner, and then maybe I can take a shot at the yellow jersey in the Roubaix stage. Maybe a stage win is in it. That would be the dream scenario.”
Lucinda Brand Will Be at the Start of Paris-Roubaix Next Year
Lucinda Brand will participate in Paris-Roubaix next year, Trek-Segafredo reported in a press release on Tuesday. Brand decided to skip the first edition of Paris-Roubaix for women as the Classic did not fit into her competition program.
In an extensive interview in RIDE Magazine, the 32-year-old rider talked about the difficult decision to skip the very first Paris-Roubaix for women. “A week after Paris-Roubaix, the American Cyclo-cross World Cups are already on the program. As a World champion, I don’t think I can afford to skip these races. Moreover, these three cyclocross races are important to get UCI points.”
However, the second edition of Paris-Roubaix for women will take place in the spring and that gives Brand the space to be at the start. She will also participate in the next edition of the Tour of Flanders. Brand will also start her road season a little later, since she will not have finished her cyclo-cross season until February and then has to take a rest. Brand will also be at the start of the Giro d’Italia Donne next year, but not the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.
Giulio Ciccone for a Giro/Tour Double in 2022
Giulio Ciccone will contest the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France next year, just like in 2019. The Italian climber announced in a Trek-Segafredo press meeting.
The Giro/Tour combination was more than excellent for Ciccone in 2019. In the Italian tour, he was one of the top men in the mountain stages, winning the stage to Ponte di Legno in pouring rain and also taking the blue mountain jersey. He also showed his best in the Tour: Ciccone wore the yellow jersey for two days.
The 26-year-old Italian also hopes for a successful double next year. However, Ciccone does not yet have a clear goal in mind. “The most important thing is to win again. The Giro suits my qualities more, with relatively few time trial kilometres and tough mountain stages. We will see during the race whether we go for a classification or if we can better focus on stage wins.” Ciccone starts his season in Spain with the Tour of Valencia. In the run-up to the Giro, he will also participate in Tirreno-Adriatico and the Ardennes Classics. Further details will be announced.
Australian Rider of the Year
Despite strong performances this year, Ben O’Connor has missed out on the 2021 Australian Rider of the Year trophy. In the battle for the cycling award, Logan Martin beat him. Martin is the first BMX freestyler to receive the title.
Martin is the winner of the Sir Hubert Opperman Trophy (Oppy), the Australian rider of the year. The 28-year-old BMX rider was able to present strong performances. He took a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics, where he won the BMX Freestyle. A gold medal at the Olympic Games is always highly regarded in the Anglo-Saxon countries. Last year the title of Australian rider of the year went to Richie Porte. Cadel Evans is the record holder with four Oppy awards.
Ben O’Connor was one of the big contenders this year, with his stage win and fourth place overall in the Tour de France. The rider of AG2R Citroën did become road cyclist of the year, Grace Brown was awarded the women’s title.
Ben O’Connor in the Tour:
Ghirmay African Cyclist of the Year Again
Biniam Ghirmay is ‘African Cyclist of the Year’. The Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert rider also won the prize last year. Ryan Gibbons was second, Merhawi Kudus third.
Ghirmay was voted the winner by a jury led by former French cyclist Bernard Hinault. The talented rider from Eritrea won the silver medal at the U23 World Championships this year. “What he achieved in Leuven is a really great achievement. He really impresses me. I saw him in 2019 during La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, when he beat André Greipel in a sprint,” said Hinault.
“He had to be 19 years old at the time. I’ve been following him closely ever since. He has the talent to build a great career,” the five-time Tour winner is full of praise. Aike Visbeek, who works closely with Ghirmay as performance manager at Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, is also enthusiastic. “In the more difficult one-day races, he is a rider who can become a topper,” Visbeek said earlier in an interview with WielerFlits.
In addition to a silver World championships medal, Ghirmay was also successful in the Classic Grand Besançon Doubs last season. He also finished second in the Tour du Doubs and was good for places of honour in Gran Piemonte, La Route Adélie de Vitré, Tour du Jura and the Trofeo Laigueglia.
Winners of the ‘African Cyclist of the Year’:
2021: Biniam Ghirmay
2020: Biniam Ghirmay
2019: Daryl Impey
2018: Joseph Areruya
2017: Louis Meintjes
2016: Tesfom Okubamariam
2015: Daniel Teklehaimanot
2014: Mekseb Debesay
2013: Louis Meintjes
2012: Natnael Berhane.
Jonathan Caicedo to Stay with EF Education-Nippo for Two More Years
Jonathan Caicedo will also ride for EF Education-Nippo in the coming years. The 28-year-old climber from Ecuador has informed cycling journalist Fabricio Tufiño that he still has a two-year contract with manager Jonathan Vaughters’ team.
The American WorldTour team has yet to issue an official press release, but Caicedo has now put an end to the uncertainty. The Ecuadorian, who has been racing for the EF cycling team since 2019, will also race for the Vaughters in 2022 and 2013.
Caicedo won a mountain stage in the Giro d’Italia last year, finishing on the Etna volcano. He also finished third in the Vuelta a Colombia 2.1 in 2020. Last season, Caicedo was less successful. He started the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España, but didn’t finish. With newcomer Esteban Chaves, Rigoberto Urán, Daniel Arroyave and Diego Andrés Camargo, four more South Americans will race for EF Education-Nippo next year.
Daniil Fominykh Ends Career
Daniil Fominykh has decided to stop cycling at the age of 30. The Kazakh, who was national time trial champion three times, thinks it’s enough and will start working as a sports director for the Continental, Almaty Cycling Team from 2022.
Fominykh had to leave Astana at the end of 2020, after seven seasons, and joined Almaty Cycling Team at the beginning of this year. He mainly rode Turkish races, but rode the World championships in Leuven and still had a contract for 2022, but has decided not to ride.
“I am finishing my career as a cyclist and from next year I will work as a sports director for the continental Almaty Cycling Team and as a coach at the Olympic Committee of Kazakhstan,” Fominykh told ProSports.kz. “I have been active in cycling for 17 years, but I have decided that the time has come to share my experiences with the younger riders.”
Emmanuel Morin Takes a Step Back
Emmanuel Morin raced for Cofidis for three years, but will be with UC Nantes in 2022. The French team has so far only competed at national level. They have already submitted an application to the UCI to compete as a Continental team in 2022, but they do not know yet whether this application has been approved.
The 26-year-old rider’s contract was not renewed with Cofidis, so Morin leaves for UC Nantes. A step back for Emmanuel Morin. Ex-rider Bryan Alaphilippe used to ride for UC Nantes, but the younger brother of World champion, Julian, hung up his bike recently.
The French sprinter took second place in the Route Adélie de Vitre in 2021, but was unable to achieve many good results. He achieved other notable results in the 2020 Vuelta, where Morin managed to reach the top ten twice.
Michel Ries Undergoes Surgery on the Femoral Artery
Michel Ries, who will race for Arkéa-Samisc in 2022, needs surgery on his femoral artery. It concerns a pinched femoral artery in his left leg, a well-known injury among cyclists. Countryman Bob Jungels recently said that he has also had to deal with this.
The French squad announced in a short press release on their website that Ries will undergo surgery. The operation went ahead on December 14, but they cannot say when the 23-year-old rider will return to action. A pinched femoral artery or a narrowing in the arteries is an injury that often occurs in cyclists. The trouble with this injury is that it is not easy to detect.
The young Luxembourger was second in the Luxembourg national time trial championship in 2021. He was riding for Trek-Segafredo, but in 2022 he will be seen in the jersey of Arkéa-Samsic. Ries takes a step back because Arkéa-Samsic is only a ProTeam.
Rémi Cavanga Update
French Champion undergoes successful surgery.
Rémi Cavagna has today undergone surgery on the L1 vertebrae that was fractured during an accident during our team training camp Spain last week.
We are pleased to report that the surgery, which took place at Hospital IMSKE Valencia, was successful. Rémi will now take a period of recuperation and continue to be monitored by doctors.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step would like to thank the surgeon, Dr Gerd Bordon and the staff at IMSKE for their care, and we wish Rémi the best for his recovery.
Felipe Orts to Stay with Burgos-BH in 2022
Felipe Orts will race for Burgos-BH next year. The Spanish rider, who combines cyclo-cross with road racing, extended his contract with the ProTeam until the end of 2022.
Orts made his first appearance in major international road races last season, having already been successful in cyclo-cross. The 26-year-old Spanish all-rounder stood out to the Burgos-BH team management for his work in the hilly races and his ninth place in the second stage of the Tour of Valencia. In 2022, he wants to continue to take steps in road cycling and raise the bar in cross.
“I am very happy that I can continue for another year with Burgos-BH,” said Orts, who wants to prove himself to the team next season.
Mark Padun Joins Team
We are proud to announce that Mark Padun is the newest member of our 2022 roster.
While there is no singular path that will get a rider into the WorldTour, Padun’s is certainly a unique one, with uncommon twists and turns.
“Until I started cycling, I was always doing stuff like dancing and painting,” Padun says. “In school we used to train for dancing.” The 25-year-old says his dancing days are now well behind him. “I’ve only danced one time in the last few years. It was on a date,” he laughs. And as for painting? “Like dancing, it’s a skill I’ve forgotten from not practicing,” he jokes.
Growing up in the city of Donetsk, Ukraine, Padun was adventurous and curious. “I was always trying new things,” he says. “When I was young, I was like, ‘Oh I want to do this, I want to do that’ because a lot of my friends were doing things that seemed cool.”
In fact, it was this sense of curiosity that led him to riding as an 11-year-old. “A coach came to my class and told us we could go and try these bicycles for free and I decided I wanted to go. I told my father I was going to try cycling and he said, ‘Ok, for how long?’ because before that it was dancing and there was always something new. I said, ‘No, I want to do cycling for a long time.’ And, well, I guess it’s been a long time now!”
While Padun had fun riding around town with his brother and participating in local races, results didn’t come immediately. “Once I got third place in a race and I thought, ‘Wow, super cool!’”
But he stuck with it and as he hit his teenage years, Padun started to gain attention. “We were always training and racing for our school, then for the city, then for the region. I started doing well in regional races and I was invited to go to a sports school because they saw talent in me,” he says.
Padun attended a sports-focused boarding school for high school. “I really enjoyed it and I learned a lot of things there. When you are 14 and you live with your parents, you are completely dependent on them. Then you live away from them and it’s a big deal. You have to make your own plans. You’re still a child but you are growing up.”
After he graduated in 2014, he returned to his childhood home in Donetsk where he continued racing until the political situation grew too volatile due to hostilities between Ukraine and Russia.
“Thanks to my parents, I hardly saw any of the war. As soon as the army came to Donetsk, they sent me away almost immediately. I saw soldiers for a few days and I understood this was something serious. My parents understood what my dreams and goals were. They understood that to train in an area with a war was a bad idea. I left thinking, ‘Ok, this is for a few weeks and then I’m going to come back.’ And then it turned out I never went back there to live. I cannot say these were easy times.”
Padun’s parents sent him to a small town near the capital Kyiv where his aunt and uncle lived and he was able to continue training and racing. Meanwhile, his parents and younger siblings stayed in Donetsk. “Where could they move to?” he asks. “There were millions of people trying to escape the war.” Eventually, his family was able to move within Ukraine and have now settled in Seattle.
Padun himself has been based in western Europe for the last few years but he still maintains a close relationship with some of the coaches he met while living with his aunt and uncle. “We are always in contact. Even now they are trying to help me by trying to put on a training camp for me. At the same time, I’m trying to explain, ‘No, I’m already pro and I have plenty of camps and it’s the off season.’ I understand though. They try to do their best. It’s touching.”
With such dedication and support behind him, Padun has no trouble staying motivated and has his sights set on the future. “I want to become a rider for Grand Tours. I believe that I can do it because all of the people who have been working with me have told me that I have talent. I understand that I have to improve to meet this goal so I’m still working on this but I believe it is possible,” he says.
Team CEO Jonathan Vaughters also sees Grand Tour success in Padun’s future. “I fully expect him to win his first stage of a Grand Tour in the next couple of years. I have no doubt that he’ll do that. I know he can find the right breakaway in a mountain stage and climb away from everyone else and win stages. I know he can do that in Grand Tours. Whether he can expand on that to win mountain jerseys or contend in general classification, that part we have to find out. But for this year, let’s focus on a couple of stage wins. I’m 100% confident he can do it.”
Building Padun’s consistency will be key for the 2022 season. Vaughters says, “I see him as one of the biggest talents in modern cycling right now. He’s been an extremely inconsistent talent but on his good days, he’s proven that he’s one of the very best climbers in the world. It’s our job to figure out how to get him a few more of those good days and work on the consistency a little bit.”
“He’s been on my radar for a very long time,” Vaughters says. “He’s just an incredibly talented climber. He also has a nose for finding the right breakaway and then he seems quite resistant once he’s in the breakaway. When you’re out there for four, five, six hours in the breakaway, just because you’re a good climber doesn’t mean that you can handle sitting out there in the wind that long. He seems to be good at both. He seems to be able to climb really well and be able to plug along.”
A peek at Padun’s palmarès confirms that he is undoubtedly a strong stage racer. This year he won the final two stages at the Dauphine and placed third overall at the Vuelta a Burgos. “After one week or ten days, I still enjoy racing,” Padun says. “It’s not that I don’t like one day races but I like stage races much better. You can always try to be there battling for a result. I’m not a pure climber. I’m quite a heavy guy but most of my success I obtained by climbing.”
Looking to next season, Padun is thrilled to join EF. “This is the right team for me. When Vaughters spoke to me, I really was quite excited because I have never before heard the management of any team tell me such detailed things of what he believes I can do. It makes me believe. When I had this opportunity to join EF, I was quite happy and I didn’t have to think too long.”
Welcome to the team, Mark. We see great success in store for 2022.
USA Cycling Announces the 2022 National Championships Schedule
USA Cycling announced today the majority of its 2022 USA Cycling National Championships schedule.
USA Cycling is pleased to announce the 2022 National Championship calendar and is excited to continue to provide great National Championships across all cycling disciplines. With a priority on the safety of all involved at our Nationals Championships, all dates and locations are subject to change dependent on the status of the COVID pandemic.
Mountain Bike Nationals returns for a third year to Winter Park Resort, July 18-26, continuing the expanded schedule including the High School Cycling Festival, High School Mountain Bike National Championship races, and a Collegiate Fair. Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals comes back to Durango, Colo., at Purgatory Resort on October 13-16. Marathon Mountain Bike will also be returning to Frederick, Md., with a to-be-announced date.
Collegiate Road Nationals returns to Augusta, Ga., home to many past USA Cycling National Championships, on May 6-8. The following month, USA Cycling returns to fan favourite, Knoxville, Tenn., for Pro Road Nationals on June 23-26. Gran Fondo Nationals goes back to Asheville, N.C. on July 17. Masters Road Nationals returns to Albuquerque, N.M. from August 4-7.
The final details of Amateur Road and Para Road Nationals are being finalised with local authorities and will be announced when we have final approvals.
Elite and Junior Track Nationals returns to T-town at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center with a to-be-announced date. Returning to the Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis, home of Marian University, Collegiate Track Nationals will be held September 8-11. Madison Track Nationals will be returning to the Lexus Velodrome on November 10-13. USA Cycling and the Lexus Velodrome will provide an update in the near future about the status of Madison Track Nationals at the venue. Both groups are optimistic that the venue will be fully operational in the coming weeks. Para and Masters Track Nationals will be announced at a later date.
In partnership with USA BMX, the Elite BMX National Championships will take place May 15 in Tulsa, Okla. Collegiate BMX Nationals will be held February 19-20 and will take place in Phoenix, Ariz. The Freestyle BMX Nationals will be announced in the future.
The 2022 National Championship schedule will close with Cyclocross Nationals, taking place December 6-11, with a location to be announced soon.
Visit USACycling.org for more information on the athletes, events, and membership programs, and follow @USACycling across all channels for the latest on Team USA.
Six More WorldTeams Confirm Volta ao Algarve Participation
The Volta ao Algarve can count on a strong field next year. After four WorldTeams and six ProTeams previously announced that they would participate in the Portuguese stage race, six more teams from the WorldTour announced they would be starting. These are Astana Qazaqstan, BORA-hansgrohe, Cofidis, Groupama-FDJ, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert and Trek-Segafredo.
The first WorldTeams were presented two weeks ago: Quick-Step – Alpha Vinyl, INEOS Grenadiers, Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates. The already known ProTeams are Alpecin-Fenix, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Euskatel-Euskadi, Arkéa-Samsic and Human Powered Health (ex-Rally). These sixteen teams will appear at the start of the five day race.
This year’s Volta ao Algarve, which runs from February 16th to February 22nd, 2022, will consist of two flat stages, two uphill finishes and a time trial. Last season, when the race took place in May 2021, João Rodrigues took the win.
Sam Bennett took two stage wins in Algarve in 2021:
Vuelta a España May Return to the Angliru in 2022
The Vuelta a España might tackle the steep slopes of the Alto de El Angliru next year. Last year, the gruelling climb in Asturias was included in the course and Hugh Carthy took the biggest victory of his career.
The route of the 77th edition of the Vuelta a España will be officially presented on Thursday, but there are already rumours about the 2022 edition. It is certain that the Vuelta will visit the Asturias region for two difficult mountain stages. There is a chance that the short but steep climb to Los Praeres will return to the Vuelta route, but a stage finish on the Angliru is also a serious option.
In 1999 the Vuelta finished for the first time on the Alto de El Angliru and the Asturian climb is now inextricably linked to the last Grand Tour of the season. The Angliru also made its appearance in the Vuelta in 2000, 2002, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2017 and 2020. José Maria Jímenez, Gilberto Simoni, Roberto Heras, Alberto Contador (twice), Wout Poels (after the disqualification of Juan José Cobo), Kenny Elissonde and Carthy are all winners.
It is certain that the 77th edition of the Vuelta will start on Friday, August 19, 2022 with a team time trial through Utrecht, after which the tour will remain in the Netherlands for two days. The Vuelta will almost certainly return to the Extremadura region next year and next season will visit all three provinces of the Spanish autonomous region of the Basque Country, before continuing in Cantabria more to the west.
The final route of the 2022 Vuelta a España will be announced on Thursday, December 16 at the Palacio Municipal in Madrid.
Carthy on the Angliru:
Richie Porte and Rohan Dennis to Ride the Santos Festival of Cycling
The Santos Festival of Cycling is taking shape. A month after the stage race program was announced, the first names have now been announced. Richie Porte, who participates with the Australian national team, and Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) will be at the start of the event in January.
Just like last season, the Tour Down Under will not take place in 2022. Alternatively, the Santos Festival of Cycling is organised in the Adelaide area, a multi-day competition for Australian riders. The organisers have announced the first riders. Richie Porte (INEOS Grenadiers), last season’s winner of the mountain stage to Willunga Hill, and his team-mate Luke Plapp, second overall in January, will be competing on behalf of the Australian national team.
Rohan Dennis, winner of the Tour Down Under in 2015, rides on behalf of his new Jumbo-Visma team. The 31-year-old time trialist will leave INEOS Grenadiers this winter. Chris Harper, third in the Santos Festival of Cycling last season, also participates on behalf of the Dutch WorldTeam. Luke Durbridge and Cameron Meyer race for Team BikeExchange-Jayo. Simon Clarke, depending on developments at Qhubeka-NextHash, was also presented.
Georgia Baker, winner of the final stage last season, Grace Brown, Alexandra Manly and Ruby Roseman-Gannon, third in the final standings in January, are the first riders for the women’s peloton. The full list of participants will be confirmed in the coming weeks. The women’s road race is scheduled for January 23-25. The men follow from January 27-29.
Porte attacks on Willunga Hill:
E3 Saxo Bank Classic Sticks to Last Season’s Route
The route of next season’s E3 Saxo Bank Classic has been announced. The route is almost a copy of the last edition with the same seventeen climbs and an almost equal distance, 204 kilometres.
The organisers didn’t want to change for the sake of change, spokesman Jacques Coussens said to Focus-WTV. “What is good must be cherished and preserved. Over the years, we have developed a very good concept with our route and our race has shown on several occasions that it fits perfectly. In 2014 we completely redesigned the E3 Saxo Bank Classic and we still hold on to that DNA. Our motto is ‘Always On Course’. This can be done by offering a clenched track.”
The E3 Saxo Bank Classic starts in Harelbeke, after which the first climb of the day is after the Katteberg. Via Zottegem and Geraardsbergen the course then goes to La Houppe, the Kanarieberg, the Oude Kruisberg and the other climbs. After the E3 Col, the Karnemelkbeekstraat, the route goes to the Tiegemberg, the last climb of the race. Finally, the finish is also in Harelbeke. “With us, the final is more than eighty kilometres long. There is the flat run-up, which inspires an early escape. Then the slopes come, so that the race breaks open completely.”
The organisers hope to be able to run a ‘normal edition’ again in 2022, according to Coussens. “Over the years we had built up a piggy bank that we could draw on. Of course we want to finally go full again in 2022. With again our many VIPs and a spectacle for cycling enthusiasts at the start and finish in the E3-Arena. If it doesn’t work, we will go digital again and offer cycling enthusiasts something. But we assume that by the end of March 2022 we will once again be living in ‘quiet’ times.”
Last year’s E3 Saxo Bank Classic was won by Kasper Asgreen, after the Dane broke away from the other favourites, five kilometres from the finish. A week later he also won the Tour of Flanders. The next edition is scheduled for Friday 25 March.
E3 Saxo Bank Classic Climbs 2022:
1. Katteberg (750m at 6%)
2. La Houppe (1880m at 4.8%)
3. Canary Mountain (1050m at 7.7%)
4. Oude Kruisberg (800m at 4.8%)
5. Knokteberg (1260m at 7%)
6. Hotondberg (1200m at 4%)
7. Shorter (1000m at 6.4%)
8. Taaienberg (700m at 6.3%)
9. Berg ten Stene (1300m at 5.2%)
10. Boigneberg (1000m at 5.2%)
11. Eikenberg (1250m at 6.2%)
12. Stationsberg (700m at 3.2%)
13. Kapelberg (750m at 7.1%)
14. Paterberg (400m at 12.9%)
15. Oude Kwaremont (2200m at 4%)
16. Karnemelkbeekstraat (1530m at 4.9%) – E3 Col
17. Tiegemberg (750m at 5.6%).
Asgreen won the E3 in 2021:
IWG builds the future with Dries De Pooter and Madis Mihkels
Young riders Dries De Pooter (19) and Madis Mihkels (18) have chosen to spend their future with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux in 2023 and 2024. Before making their professional debut, both young talents will respectively ride in the colours of Hagens Berman Axeon and Team Ampler – Tartu2024 in 2022 and join the World Team as trainees in August after having spent the beginning of the season in two Continental development teams.
Dries De Pooter, Belgian champion in the junior category in 2020, was one of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert’s trainees in 2021. During this successful experience he had an important share in Danny van Poppel’s victory in the Egmont Cycling Race in August and raced alongside his leaders in the finals of the Primus Classic and the GP de Wallonie. During his first season in the U23 category, he finished 4th at the Belgian U23 championships, 13th in the GP Jef Scherens, 7th in the Ster van Zwolle and achieved several good results at the prestigious Course de la Paix. The rider of Geel first hopes to shine in the colours of American team Hagens Berman Axeon directed by Axel Merckx before joining the World Tour peloton with the team of Jean-François Bourlart.
In September, Estonian rider Madis Mihkels won the bronze medal at the Junior World Championships in Leuven by winning the sprint of the peloton. In this way he confirmed that he is one of the best riders of his generation, after his 7th place at the difficult European Championships in Trente two weeks before and his two sprint victories in the nations cup in Hungary. In 2021, he also won the junior national titles in both the time trial and the road race. The 18 year old rider will become the second Estonian rider to wear the jersey of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, after Rein Taaramäe.
Dries De Pooter: “After my Belgian title in the junior category, I made big steps forward thanks to my trainer Ioannis Tamouridis and the people surrounding me. The opportunity to become a trainee with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert was a real honour for me. I’m very proud about what we achieved during this period, of course I’m thinking about the victory at the Egmont Cycling Race. I already learned a lot about the professionalism of the team, about the fact that not one single detail is left to chance, for example concerning equipment or nutrition. In addition, the relaxed atmosphere reigning in the team makes me feel very comfortable. I am very motivated for 2022, I want to win races and become stronger physically before pinning my next race numbers on my Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert shirt. I’m very ambitious and I’m convinced that I will receive the opportunity to realise my dreams within this team.”
Madis Mihkels: “I’m very proud to join the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert project. During my years as a junior I didn’t receive many opportunities to prove myself because of the pandemic, but my performance at the World Championships in Leuven enabled me to show what I’m capable of. The first contacts with the team immediately confirmed the friendly atmosphere for which it is known. Together we decided that the best option for me would be to continue my development in 2022 in the U23 category, and meanwhile participate to the training camps of the World Team. It is a fantastic opportunity to be able to rely on the advice of Rein Taaramäe, a reference in my country. He is a great mentor and will help me, in addition to the performance staff, to learn step by step.”
Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager): “With Dries De Pooter and Madis Mihkels we managed to add two talented young riders to our project. As a trainee in 2021, Dries made a good impression in the difficult Belgian classics. Madis excelled in physical tests last year and confirmed his talent at the European and World Championships. Their results show their capabilities and as we are following them for a long time already we are convinced that we can exploit their potential. We have proven last season that we are able to boost the progression of our riders, partly thanks to the perfect balance between focus on performance and family atmosphere.”
“In order to enable them to step up to the World Tour in an optimal way, we created an adapted trajectory for them. We are convinced that the years in the U23 category are and stay precious for the progression of young talents. That’s why it is important that they continue in this category next season. We set up a close collaboration with their respective teams for 2022 in order to support both riders as good as possible and to facilitate their transition towards the World Tour. This collaboration exists of training, equipment, nutrition and the coordination of their race programs. Dries and Madis can also take benefit of the collective training camps and other team activities before finalising their preparation on the highest cycling level as a trainee. This collaboration is unique for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert and I’m proud about the work accomplished by all involved parties.”
Team Novo Nordisk Partner with Argon 18 Through 2023
Team Novo Nordisk proudly announced today that their riders will be racing on Argon 18 bikes for the next two years, taking the UCI ProTeam through to the end of the 2023 season. The Canadian brand is no stranger to the professional peloton and brings with it a wealth of experience across the highest level of competition on the road, track and triathlon.
Founded in 1989 in Montreal and working at the forefront of full carbon fibre frame technology since 2000, it’s fair to say that the world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team will be in safe hands.
“We are very excited to be entering into a new partnership with Argon 18,” said TNN General Manager Vassili Davidenko. “It’s always a special feeling to be starting a new season on brand new bikes, especially when it’s a technical partner of the caliber of Argon 18 who, it’s fair to say, have become a byword for speed and quality at the highest level, both on the road and on the track.”
“The competitive experience of Argon 18 in these different pursuits, road, track and triathlon give the brand huge technical insight and expertise that they are constantly putting back into their research & development. This means that our guys will get the best of the most cutting-edge technology around and we are sure that those gains will be of huge importance to us come race day.”
With 2022 set to be a season packed full of race days for TNN from February through to November, the new partnership sets the perfect platform to get off to a flying start with the unique message of Team Novo Nordisk to drive change in diabetes now being carried around the world on Argon 18 bikes.
“This partnership marks a new chapter for Argon 18, as we partner with athletes and initiatives that really inspire us as a company,” said Argon 18 CEO, Martin LeSauteur. “We’ve always challenged ourselves to provide the highest level of performance for our riders, and now we’re able to work directly with riders who overcome challenges at a very personal level. What the Team Novo Nordisk riders achieve is incredible. We hope to see more people inspired by these athletes.”
“We want to contribute to growing awareness about prioritising health, and celebrating those who challenge themselves at this level, like the riders of Team Novo Nordisk,” concluded Argon 18 Chairman, Henrik Lyngbye Pedersen. “We can support that with our products and knowledge. We would like to see even more people ride together, extend relationships, have a purpose in their training and live stronger, healthy lives. The partnership between TNN and Argon 18 brings 100 years of history together in one mission. With Novo Nordisk being from my home of Denmark, and the discovery of insulin in Argon 18’s home of Canada, this partnership is strengthened through our combined heritage.”
Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli Presents New Kit
Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli has presented their new clothing for 2022. With the new Spanish sponsor Drone Hopper, the team of manager Gianni Savio has gone for a mostly black and design, with the bright red that they have had in recent years. The many sponsor names on the kit remain unchanged.
The Italian ProTeam is aiming for WorldTour status from 2024. Next year, the team will still be on the second step of professional cycling, with a wildcard for the Giro d’Italia, like other years, being the goal. The most famous names in Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli’s roster are those of Santiago Umba, Juan Diego Alba, Ecuadorian champion Jefferson Cepeda, neopro Didier Merchán, Ukrainian champion Andrii Ponomar and Eritrean sprinter Natnael Tesfatsion.
New kit for Androni:
December, The Period of Endurance
Training Camp in Altea (Spain)
Our ridders are currently in preparation camp in Altea (Esp), under the wing of Jean-Denis Vandenbroucke, sports director, and Christophe Prémont, trainer. The current period is devoted to substantive work. Specific training will be scheduled during the January camp, a few weeks before the resumption of competitions.
Christophe Prémont: “The program for the December camp is classic for the time of year: the ridders have resumed training gradually for a few weeks and we have already had the opportunity to organise a few group outings. The main goal of the December camp in Spain is to rebuild a good endurance base, the first launch pad for the next season. A second preparation course is planned for January and the riders will be working more intensively at this time as we will approach the first races. I would point out that there are no longer really any preparation races; The competition resumes immediately at a very high level and it is therefore necessary to be well prepared from the first race number. Everyone is aiming for the result from Bessèges, Valencia… The December training camp also allows us to integrate the new riders into our group, which is 80% identical to that of last year. Our base of riders who have been evolving together for several seasons is therefore very large and very solid, it is a very important element for a cycling team. The group spirit is very strong with us and spending a long time together in the context of a course allows the group to be united, to strengthen the links between our ridders who will work together for a whole year, who will create ‘automatismes’ in races. A preparation course is therefore work, but it is also a way to have a good time together.”
Bingoal training in Spain:
Hoffman & Weening Join Team BikeExchange-Jayco as Sport Directors for the 2022 Season
Team BikeExchange, to be named Team BikeExchange-Jayco in 2022, is pleased to welcome Dutch duo Pieter Weening and Tristan Hoffman, as sport directors of the men’s WorldTour team for the upcoming 2022 season.
Having both raced professionally for more than 10 years, the team is confident that the pair will bring invaluable experience and expertise, that will be of great benefit to the Australian outfit as it begins its 11th season in the UCI WorldTour peloton.
Pieter Weening, a former GreenEDGE Cycling rider, will be welcomed back amongst many familiar faces having ridden for the squad for four years, contributing to many of the team’s successes between 2012 and 2015, including his own memorable stage victory at the 2014 Giro d’Italia.
Alongside Weening, fellow compatriot Tristan Hoffman enjoyed a lengthy and successful 14-year professional cycling career, which included a second-place finish at the iconic Paris-Roubaix before he transitioned into the role of sport director, a role which he has been working in for more than a decade with various WorldTour teams.
Brent Copeland, Team BikeExchange General Manager: “We’re very pleased to welcome both Pieter and Tristan to the team for next season, Pieter was of course racing with GreenEDGE Cycling only six-years ago, so he is very familiar with how the team works and we believe he can add a lot to our sport director’s group. Tristan has a huge amount of experience, particularly in the Belgian races, where he was very successful himself as a rider. With this, he brings a great amount of knowledge to the team, particularly for our riders racing these Northern Classics. As we bring Dylan Groenewegen into the team, it is also fitting for us to include two new Dutch sport directors, we know both men really well and I think Pieter and Tristan’s characteristics really fit in with the team culture. So, we are thrilled to have them both onboard and working with us to achieve our big goals for the 2022 season.”
Pieter Weening: “I’m really looking forward to working with GreenEDGE Cycling again, for me it is a huge advantage that I know a lot of riders and a lot of staff members. It is a real honour for me to work for a great and big team like this. I’m really grateful they gave me this opportunity and I hope we can start soon with building and getting some results with all the members of the team, I am really looking forward to it.”
Tristan Hoffman: “I really like the culture of GreenEDGE Cycling and how they race, they always race aggressively and of course they want to win more and win big races and I hope I can help with that. I’ve been a sport director for 15 years, this year in 2021 I had a sort of sabbatical, but I really found out how much I love cycling. I have been part of the cycling world for 30-years and it has brought me a lot, it is my passion and I love being involved so I am very happy to be joining GreenEDGE Cycling. I’ve seen the team race for the past 10-years, I know the guys well and everybody has been really welcoming, so I can’t wait to get started.”
Team BikeExchange-Jayco 2022 Men’s Team Sport Directors:
Matt White (AUS) – Head Sport Director
Vittorio Algeri (ITA)
Gene Bates (AUS)
Mathew Hayman (AUS)
Tristan Hoffman (NED)
David McPartland (AUS)
Andrew Smith (RSA)
Pieter Weening (NED).
Pieter Weening back with GreenEdge:
Gesink Tests Positive for Corona
Robert Gesink has caught the corona virus. The 35-year-old climber reported this via social media, where he shows a photo of a positive self-test. Despite his infection, the 35-year-old rider appears to be doing well.
Last Sunday, Gesink announced that he will have to miss the first Jumbo-Visma team training camp. His son had tested positive for the corona virus a day earlier. “It is clear that we followed the protocols of Andorra and the team, to prevent further spread of the virus,” the Dutchman wrote at the time.
In his first message, Gesink also announced that the entire family was in good health. The other photos Gesink shares, in which he and the family enjoy winter fun thanks to a thick layer of snow, seem to imply that everyone is doing well.
Nicolas Roche: Dancing with the Stars
Nicolas Roche is swapping his cycling shoes for dancing slippers. The 37-year-old Irishman, who ended his cycling career this season, is participating in the Irish version of the TV program Dancing with the Stars.
Roche says he is “very enthusiastic” about his participation. “It’s a huge challenge for me and something completely new. It frightens me and excites me at the same time,” he said on the website of RTÉ One, which broadcasts the shows live. “It’s great to be back in Ireland and I’m really enjoying my time at home. Rehearsals are going well so far, but it’s hard work. It challenges me to be something completely new, but also to perform and learn to let go.”
Roche retired from professional cycling at the end of this season after his contract with Team DSM was not extended. He starts working as a consultant at the management firm that until recently looked after him, Trinity Sports Management. The fifth season of Irish Dancing with the Stars will start in January. Roche isn’t the only athlete taking part. Paralympic swimmer Ellen Keane and former jockey Nina Carberry are also among the participating celebrities.
The Wolfpack Insider: Tour de France Part 2
Mark Cavendish’s extraordinary run at the Grande Boucle continues in the second part of our series, as the Manxman inches closer to the record of Eddy Merckx.
Watch it here!
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