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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, January 1, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

Every New Year is the direct descendant, isn't it, of a long line of proven criminals? - Ogden Nash

Plato's Apology

Plato's dialogue Apology is available as an audiobook here. For the Kindle eBook version, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Lotto Soudal’s Frederik Frison looks back on a rough year

Lotto Soudal posted this:

Past season, Lotto Soudal rider Frederik Frison was haunted by bad luck. After a heavy crash at the Scheldeprijs, the 29-year-old Belgian awaited a two-month recovery. Frison, who finished his sixth season at Lotto Soudal, talks about a year which did not turn out like he expected.

“Unfortunately, it has become a season with a lot of downs, especially during the spring Classics. The start of the year went smoothly, but unfortunately, I couldn’t show my full potential during the Classics. To top it all off, I ended the spring season with a pelvis fracture, which took me a couple of months to get back. Of course, I would have liked to go to the Tour, but after such a serious injury, it’s not easy to immediately be back on a level to compete. La Vuelta was the next goal, but there I already had to go home after the second day of racing due to stomach flu. Every time, I had to fight back and find my level again. Just when the season was coming to an end, I was up there again. In Paris-Tours, luck was on my side for once, but then disaster struck as I punctured at 20 metres from the end of the final gravel section. Without bad luck, I would have been able to take a very nice result. That could have made up for the whole season of bad luck.”

Frederik Frison

It was not the first time Frison was unlucky. Despite all the misfortune, he stays motivated every time and fights for his return in the peloton. “Unfortunately, I’ve already had my share of bad luck during my career, but mentally I can always deal with it. Of course, every crash is one too many, but it’s in my nature to always fight back. During my rehabilitation, it helped me to set small goals and that way come back to my full strength.”

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And there were some highlights as well. “If I had to choose one , I would go for Strade Bianche. I think I surprised myself there. Despite the tough course, I rode a strong race and was able to do my job perfectly. After that, the spring Classics were a bit less successful. But that strong performance was a small ‘up’. Paris-Tours also includes several gravel sections, so maybe there’s a future in gravel racing for me.”

“Meanwhile, I finished my sixth season with Lotto Soudal”, says Frison as one of the anciens of the team. “I have always felt at home during that period. It has really become a group of friends. Personally, I have also developed my skills a lot and that is something to be proud of. Many didn’t even expect me to get so far. Of course, there is always room for improvement and that is why we keep working hard, every year.”

The life as a domestique fits Frison, although he also cherishes his own ambitions. “Already early on in my career, I realised that I would not be a winner. Then you quickly roll into the function of domestique. Within that role as a helper, I’ve also gotten the respect of other riders. I’ve reached the point where I can assist our leaders in the final. And if I get the chance myself, I am also able stand my ground in the final. I am someone who always gives it one hundred percent for his teammates. Of course, the enormous appreciation of our leaders gives me a good feeling and that little bit extra motivation to go for it. Next year, I hope to obtain a top result in one of the spring Classics, with which I can surprise a lot of people.”

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Julian Alaphilippe: “Winning the Worlds again felt incredible!”

Alaphilippe’s Deceuninck-Quick Step team posted this:

Alaphilippe on his perfect day in Leuven:

“Coming to the World Championships, I was very relaxed and looking forward to doing a strong race for my team. Our plan was to go with Florian in case of a sprint, while I had the freedom to attack. That’s what I did, the first time with around 60 kilometers to go, when only a couple of riders followed. Then, as we entered the penultimate lap, our strategy was to counter any moves that would come, but I sensed an opportunity and rode on instinct.”

Julian Alaphilippe enjoys his win at the World Championships. Sirotti photo

“I felt good the entire day, but I never imagined I would be alone at the front with more than one lap to go, but as soon as there was some distance between myself and my opponents, I rode my heart out to remain at the front. I knew I had good legs, but there were still plenty of kilometers left to the finish, so I had to dig deep and remain focused. I just stopped thinking and rode full gas.”

“Those last 20 kilometers were really painful and I left everything out there. When I arrived at the finish, I just couldn’t believe it. To retain my rainbow jersey – the most beautiful jersey in cycling – was incredible and I needed a lot of time to realize what had happened.”

“It was an amazing victory that wouldn’t have been possible without my fantastic teammates. They protected me the whole day, did a superb job and played it perfectly in the final part of the race. That win was special, a memory I will happily recount to my little boy. Winning the World Championships for the second consecutive year is one of the most important achievements of my career and I can’t wait to show my jersey again and honor it in every race I will do with the Wolfpack!”

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Young talent Joel Suter joins UAE Team Emirates

Here’s the team’s news release:

UAE Team Emirates have finalised their roster for 2022 with 23-year old rider Joel Suter linking up to complete the 30 rider line-up on a one-year deal.

Suter hails from Frutigen, Switzerland and turned professional in 2020, spending two years at the Pro Team level with the move to UAE seeing him step-up to the World Tour. He will join-up with his new teammates on the upcoming training camp in Alicante, Spain which begins on the 5th January.

Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Team Manager) : “Joel is a proven team player who can support our big leaders in key moments. He’s strong on the flat, in time-trials and has shown that he can also perform in the medium-mountains. He is still a young rider at 23 but already has a few years experience at the professional level under his belt and has shown some of what he can do at many World Tour races already. I think he’ll slot in very well with us.”

Joel Suter: “I am very happy to be on the road next year with UAE Team Emirates. It was a dream to make this step and it’s now becoming a reality so I am over the moon and ready to start this new chapter. Next week I’ll link up with the team for the first training camp of the year so I’m already excited for that.”

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