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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, June 28, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

Trees are the earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. - Rabindranath Tagore


Tour of Flanders, the Inside Story

Les Woodland's book Tour of Flanders: The Inside Story - The rocky roads of the Ronde van Vlaanderen is available in print, Kindle eBook and audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl announces Tour squad that leaves off Cavendish & Alaphilippe

Here’s the team’s announcement:

In just a couple of days, Denmark will become the tenth different country to host the Grand Depart of the Tour de France. The bunch will get to spend three days in the Scandinavian country before traveling to France, where the peloton will tackle the rough cobblestones of the north, the Super Planche des Belles Filles, Col du Granon, Alpe d’Huez and Hautacam – to name just a few of the main climbs – and a 40km individual time trial ahead of the traditional Paris stage.

“Over 3300 kilometers and more than 55,000 meters of elevation promise to make for a tough race. After the first ITT, we have two other days in Denmark, which should be for the sprinters, that is if we won’t have any echelons. The cobblestones stage will be a very tricky stage, as everyone will want to be at the front, and after this we’ll have a lot of climbing, with many iconic ascents of the Tour de France. The climbers and the puncheurs will get plenty of opportunities at this edition, unlike the sprinters, who’ll have to fight in many of the stages against the time limit. Overall, the race has something for everyone, and that’s why we are going there with a balanced team”, said Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Tom Steels, who will lead the squad from the car together with Klaas Lodewyck and Wilfried Peeters.

Fabio Jakobsen wins stage 5 of the 2022 Tour of Belgium.

The most successful sprinter of the year so far with ten victories to his name, Fabio Jakobsen is slated to make his first appearance at the Tour de France, where he’ll count on the experience of one of the peloton’s best lead-out men, Michael Mørkøv. The 25-year-old, who in his past seasons with the Wolfpack has won five Grand Tour stages, all at the Vuelta a España, won’t be the team’s only debutant at the race, with two other young riders, Andrea Bagioli and Mikkel Honoré, set to be on the start line in Copenhagen.

Kasper Asgreen makes it three Danes on Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s roster for the Grande Boucle, which will include also Mattia Cattaneo – 12th overall at last year’s edition – Tim Declercq and Yves Lampaert, who is returning at the Tour after three years.

“We have riders who can support Fabio, riders who can climb, but who can also do something in the breakaways. Kasper, Yves and Michael will form a solid lead-out train for Fabio, who has proved how fast and strong he is in the sprints and will now get to discover Le Tour. Tim will be the guy to help him not only on the flat, but also in the mountains, where he’ll take care that Fabio makes it inside the time limit. Mattia is very flexible, has more experience now and can go in some breakaways, where Andrea and Mikkel can support him. Mikkel has improved a lot since joining the team and deserves his place in the team, while Andrea is a winner and has shown he has the mentality to compete with the best”, said Tom Steels.

The team also has first-reserve riders – Florian Sénéchal and Mark Cavendish.

“Concerning our reserves, we must stress out that they showed a lot of professionalism, continued to train and remained focused in these past couple of weeks, and even brought two victories at the Nationals.”

Missing from the eight-man Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team is Julian Alaphilippe. The World Champion, a stage winner at the past four editions, has just returned to racing last weekend at the National Championships, two months after his Liège–Bastogne–Liège crash.

“The decision to leave Julian home was a very difficult one, as he is one of the team’s most emblematic riders and we wrote so many great moments together at the Tour. Julian worked hard to get back into shape after what happened to him in Liège, but it is felt that for a rider like him it’s always important to be on top of his game and be able to compete with the best riders of the peloton in a race like Le Tour. That’s why we decided to give him more time to recover and build back his condition, so that he can be at 100% for the second part of the season”, added Tom Steels.

“I am disappointed to not be at the Tour de France this year. I have a natural affection for the race, from my days in the yellow jersey over the past three seasons, my stage victories and many other great memories with my teammates. To miss another opportunity to wear my beautiful rainbow jersey in my home country is very sad for me and I knew that this decision would be difficult for the team to take. At the same time, I completely understand this, because I too don’t want to be at the start if I can’t be at my best level. I want to wish the best of luck to my Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl teammates, I know they will do everything to try to have a great race. I will now focus on getting back to my best shape, because I am motivated to do a strong second part of the season”, said the 30-year-old Frenchman.

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UAE Team Emirates announce team for Tour de France

Here’s the team’s announcement:

Team goes in search of third title:
UAE Team Emirates have unveiled the team heading into the Tour de France (1-21 July) which gets underway in the city of Copenhagen, Denmark for the Grand Depart.

The team heads into the 21 stages led by the winner of the previous two editions of the race Tadej Pogačar, with a mix of climbers and flat-terrain experts to support the Slovenian.

Tadej Pogačar will try to make it three Tour wins in a row. Sirotti photo

The 23-year old will face challenges along the 3,328km course which begins in Copenhagen with a 13km time-trial before approaching the Alps via a cobbled stage through Arenberg and onto the Pyrenees before the surviving riders make it to the Champs Elysees in Paris for the ceremonial finish.

Team Manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Spa) will lead the squad alongside Sports Directors Andrej Hauptman (Slo), Simone Pedrazzini (Swi) and Marco Marcato (Ita). The team is comprised of 8 riders:

– Tadej Pogačar (Slo)
– Rafal Majka (Pol)
– Brandon McNulty (USA)
– Marc Soler (Spa)
– Matteo Trentin (Ita)
– Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
– George Bennett (NZ)
– Mikkel Bjerg (Den)

Tadej Pogačar: ”It’s already my third time coming to the Tour and I’m really excited about it.We’ve worked really hard all year as a team to prepare for this and we hope we can give everyone watching 3 weeks of exciting racing.

This year so far has been a positive one for the team and we are hoping to continue that here at the Tour. We know it won’t be easy and we’ll have many challenges but that is part of the magic of the Tour.”

Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Team Manager) : “Every year the challenge to win the Tour gets harder, all we can do is prepare as best we can and trust our team to produce their best as a group.

"Our ambition is to win the overall title with Pogačar and we have built a strong team around him. Last year we had a great group and the base of the team is similar to last years with a few strong additions in key areas.

"We have studied the route and it’s far from an easy parcours. Also the level of our competitors is really high, but we are confident and know that a big result is well within the capabilities of Tadej and the team.


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Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) fully supports ITA’s project for 2023

The MPCC sent me this:

On June 9 in Lyon, during the Critérium du Dauphiné, our Board of Directors held its second meeting of the year. The main topic was about ITA stepping up the fight against doping.

First of all, the Board of Directors was pleased to note that all the members of the movement fully complied with the internal regulation they committed to, on the basis of their voluntary adhesion, since the previous meeting.

MPCC President Roger Legeay also underlined that there are now more than 1000 stakeholders into MPCC (1034).

On top of all its individual memberships, MPCC also gathers:

• 36 professional men’s teams, including 9 WorldTeams
• 13 professional women’s teams, including 5 WorldTeams

Above all, this Board of Directors Meeting gave the opportunity to discuss the recent proposals submitted by ITA. The International Testing Agency is an independant foundation (subjected to the Swiss law) that has been mandated by the UCI to lead cycling’s fight against doping, back in January 2021.

At the end of last year, ITA adhered to MPCC. Thus, the two entities took the opportunity to affirm their mutual support, driven by the shared willingness to follow up fight against doping’s developments.

Both ITA and MPCC agree that testing is not the only focus to have to protect clean athletes. Efforts also have to be made through investigations and intelligence sharing. Following this goal, ITA made recommandations that could potentially be implemented in 2023:

• Allocating structural, operational and technological reinforcements to Intelligence and Investigation unity
• Increasing the use of information provided by confidential sources, through the REVEAL platform
• Making better use of data analysis: whereabouts, biological passports, analytics, athletes’ performances, medication use
• Performing a greater number of out-of-competition tests and sample analysis, with WADA’s accredited laboratories
• Focusing efforts on the elite level
• Increasing the amount of samples conserved on a long-time period, to make reanalysis possible
• Increasing the amount of sample reanalysis, making the most of the extended conservation period

ITA needs greater financial resources than what is currently available to achieve the implementation of this project. Even if professional cycling teams have already been making important financial contributions to the fight against doping, the total amount has barely evolved in the 10 last years.

This is the reason why MPCC wants to raise awareness among all professional cycling teams in order to offer full support to this ambitious project. The goal is to provide an effective response to the general suspicion cycling suffers from, allowing the sport to improve its credibility.


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Mondelēz International to buy Clif Bar & Company for $2.9 billion

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

CHICAGO (BRAIN) — One of the largest snack companies in the world announced an agreement to acquire Clif Bar & Company for $2.9 billion. The acquisition by Mondelēz International — which owns brands such as Oreo, Cadbury, and Trident gum — will expand its business to more than $1 billion.

Mondelēz International will also acquire the other Clif brands Luna and Clif Kid. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter following customary regulatory review.

"We are thrilled to welcome Clif Bar & Company's iconic brands and passionate employees into the Mondelēz International family," said Dirk Van de Put, Mondelēz International chairman and CEO. "This transaction further advances our ambition to lead the future of snacking by winning in chocolate, biscuits, and baked snacks as we continue to scale our high-growth snack bar business. As a leader and innovator in well-being and sustainable snacking in the U.S, Clif Bar & Company embodies our purpose to 'empower people to snack right,' and we look forward to advancing this important work with Clif's committed colleagues in the years ahead."

Mondelēz International will continue to operate the Clif Bar & Company business from its headquarters in Emeryville, California. The company will also continue to manufacture its products in its facilities in Twin Falls, Idaho, and Indianapolis.

You can read the entire story here.

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