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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, February 25, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

He has the deed half done who has made a beginning. - Horace


TDF volume 1

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, Vol 1: 1903 - 1975 is available as an audiobook here. For the print and Kindle eBook versions, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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UAE Tour stage five news

We posted the report from GC leader Tadej Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Olav Kooij's Jumbo-Visma team:

Olav Kooij was second in the fifth stage of the UAE Tour. In the stage to Al Marjan Island, the 20-year-old Dutchman rode a strong sprint and just missed out on his first season victory behind Jasper Philipsen.

It was Jasper Philipsen who snagged the win in stage five.

A leading group of four riders was given little room due to echelons early in the stage. After an unsuccessful attempt, the situation seemed to calm down a bit. But at more than sixty kilometres from the finish another attempt was made to tear the peloton apart, once again to no avail. The sprinters' teams ultimately made things exciting by giving fugitive Michael Kurkle a big lead in the race's final stages. He was caught just before the finish line. Kooij came out of Sam Bennett's wheel at high speed, had to hold back for a moment and eventually lost the sprint by one bike length.

Kooij spoke of good team play. "It's nice to see that we went for the stage one hundred percent again today. Tom Dumoulin and Timo Roosen positioned me well. In the end, I came a little short, but we are getting closer to victory every stage. We'll go for it again tomorrow."

"The nervousness wasn't too bad", said sports director Frans Maassen. "There was too little wind. It was the first time Olav really competed for the win. He was close. It's nice to see that the team and he are making such strides."

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Here's the report from third-place Sam Bennett's Bora-hansgrohe team:

The fast men took centre stage on the flat 182 km course from Ras al Khaimah Corniche to Al Marjan Island, which took the riders through the Emirati desert. After the break was brought back, the peloton rolled together towards Al Marjan before a soloist managed to go clear with 30 km remaining.

With 10km of racing left, BORA - hansgrohe joined the pace-setting, with Patrick Konrad at the head of the field, and the gap to the soloist was eventually closed. After a strong lead-out by Danny van Poppel, Sam Bennett opened his sprint, but was caught shortly before the finish line, ultimately taking third.

Sam Bennett winning a stage in the 2021 Algarve Tour.

"It was a pretty stressful day, but in the finale the guys were great. They brought me into a perfect position yet again on the home straight. It was a shame that I didn't have the legs in the end, but our performance as a team here is really promising. When I'm back in top form, I'm sure we'll be able to get better results. So overall I'm very happy and we can only improve from here. Thanks again to the guys for their support." - Sam Bennett

"Although a bunch sprint was expected in Al Marjan, there was always the possibility that the peloton would split on the way there. However, we were prepared for that possibility, and when the peloton did actually splinter, all our riders were in the first group. At the intermediate sprint Aleksandr also picked up a valuable bonus second. The race then came back together before a soloist escaped and rode at the front until 3km from the finish.

"In the lead-up to the finale, our guys worked well together again and brought Sam in a good position heading into the finish line. The sprint was pretty close and we may have just lacked a little bit of luck today. But we're now pretty close to our goal, both in terms of the general classification with Aleks, and also in terms of the sprint stages with Sam. Tomorrow we'll have another chance with him before the final mountain stage." - Rolf Aldag, Sports Director


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Lotto-Soudal team to be Lotto-Dstny in 2023

The team sent me this announcement:

Belgian fast-growing technology company Dstny will become the co-title sponsor of the Lotto-Dstny cycling team from 2023. Destiny, which specialises in business communication solutions based on cloud technology, is launching a new logo and European brand identity 'Dstny' today, uniting more than ten companies in the group. In the cycling team, Dstny finds the perfect match to increase the awareness of this new brand in Europe. The agreement with the cycling team runs until at least the end of 2024.

With 7 victories, the cycling season started well for the oldest Belgian WorldTour team. For years, the team has remained true to its philosophy of developing its own Belgian talent, choosing the attack and racing with bravery. Values in which Dstny recognises itself.

Tim Wellens of Team Lotto Soudal and next year to be Lotto Dstny, wins a stage of the Tour de Alpes-Maritimes earlier this month,

"We are therefore very proud to be the new co-title sponsor of the Belgian UCI WorldTour team Lotto-Dstny," says Dstny-CEO Daan De Wever. "We hope to inspire the team from our similar starting position as 'challenger' to think and act strategically-creatively and 'out of the box'. I am convinced that by joining forces, we can both take the next step in our development. We believe that this sponsorship will put the Dstny brand even stronger on the European map and increase our brand awareness in current and future markets in Europe."

John Lelangue, General Manager of the cycling team, is delighted with the arrival of Dstny as a new partner. "We are very happy with Dstny's enthusiasm and strong commitment to be part of our team for the next two years. Our team is going for stage victories in the Tour de France and wins in major classics. This year and in the future. Developing young talent, both men and women, is in our DNA. That is why we invest not only in our WorldTeam, but also in our development and women's team. Through this partnership Dstny acquires a place in the future and history of Belgian cycling."

Also thanks to Dstny, it will be possible to train another generation of young Belgian talents. John Lelangue: "Dstny and our cycling team are a perfect match of two Belgian organisations with international ambitions. We can offer them brand awareness on the very highest international cycling stage, while Dstny enables us to further expand our long-term commitment to Belgian cycling."

Jannie Haek, CEO of the National Lottery, is also looking forward to working with the new partner. "We share with Dstny our Belgian identity and focus on innovation. Dstny is a great example of how Belgian technology companies can grow into strong international players. We are therefore proud that we can contribute to the further development of that success in this way. The National Lottery may have been an established and reliable value for more than eight decades, we continue to innovate constantly and to invest strongly in the digital component of our organisation. It is partly thanks to this business vision that we are able to achieve constant growth, which enables us to support many projects including the cycling team."

Cycling sponsorship to strengthen European position
The cycling team will ride with the new logo and name Dstny on its jersey from 2023. This new brand identity is an essential next step for Dstny in the management's growth strategy. With the new branding and cycling sponsorship, Dstny wants to clarify and strengthen its position as a European leader in interactive business communication in the cloud. The group's mission is to make business communication across various channels as easy as possible for employees and customers of both SMEs and large corporations. The sponsorship of Lotto-Dstny fits perfectly with the transition the company is making from initial challenger in a number of countries, through strong international growth to an ambitious European player.

Daan De Wever: "Just like the cycling team, we believe in giving talent every opportunity, in the importance of a strong partner network, in diversity and in team spirit. We are also united by our Belgian roots and ambition to play on an international level. This immediately felt like a good match. In addition, cycling is also very popular among decision-makers and CEOs in the business world, so it gives us networking and hospitality opportunities to grow even faster."

More than just a marketing tool
Yana Seel, Chief Business Officer of the team, accompanied the entire process and discovered more and more common ground between Dstny and the cycling team. "Of course, the business component of cycling sponsorship is very important," she says. "We can give companies global visibility in a sport that is very close to people. But a partnership on this scale goes much further than that: shared vision, values and identity are crucial to the success of a partnership like this. Cycling is emotion. A match on that level too is vital for both the cycling team and the partner."

A feeling also shared by the National Lottery. "We have had wonderful moments with the cycling team over the years," concludes Jannie Haek. "This is a long-term project, that much is clear after 37 years. We are grateful to the team for all those wonderful moments and the team is also grateful to us for the support over the years. We are happy that with Dstny we can again welcome Belgian talent in the team, entirely in line with the philosophy of the team."


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Team Qhubeka shows 2022 racing kit

The team sent me this release:

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, February 24, 2022/ -- Team Qhubeka (www.TeamQhubeka.com) is thrilled to release our 2022 kit which is a celebration of our organisation’s rich heritage and a true showcase of our unique purpose. The striking imagery moves us forward towards the next chapter in Team Qhubeka’s journey, with dreams and ambitions to rise again.

Eritrean rider Ghebrehiwet Birhane shows the new jersey.

Produced by our partners Ekoi, this fresh, vibrant and deeply symbolic look, with warm colour tones, we hope will be a must-have jersey among our loyal fans, and newcomers to the sport of cycling.

It features the iconic hand reaching upwards, which symbolises how we – our team, partners, Qhubeka beneficiaries - and you, are all connected to our purpose of bicycles changing lives. This montage is mirrored on an African horizon with the 'Hand Up' pointing to a future of great things to come. ​

​Details around the availability of the kit to the public will be made in due course, while we are also hard at work in creating a platform for supporters to join Team Qhubeka through an exciting offering that will connect and unite fans of the sport across the world.

Doug Ryder [Team Principal]:
It is always a beautiful time when you get to showcase and announce a new team kit. Particularly in our world where our kit is not only about showing off our fantastic partners, which are incredibly important and who invest in us, but it’s also about telling a story.

The sun might have set on our World Tour team but the sun has risen for our Continental team that will proudly wear this kit. It’s modelled off an African horizon with the hand up a sign of a future of great things to come.

The yellow and the red are the earth, the fields and the landscape – as you know our stadiums are the open roads of the world - and we ride through them and race on them to success.

The blue sky is limitless; we reach for it and we celebrate it with our hands up – hopefully many times this season.

It’s a beautiful jersey and we look forward to getting it into the hands of our riders to represent our team, our partners and our purpose successfully this year as we rise again into the future; and of course also to get it into as many hands of our partners and fans around the world.

We look forward to engaging with everyone so that they can be a part of Team Qhubeka in 2022.

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