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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, October 21, 2022

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

The way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until it stops rolling and then pick it up. - Bob Uecker

Story of the Giro d'Italia volume 2

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Giro d'Italia, A Year-by-Year History of the Tour of Italy, Vol 2: 1971 - 2011 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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Mikkel Honoré leaves Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl and signs with EF Education-EasyPost

Here’s the news release from Team EF Education-EasyPost:

The 25-year-old Dane is in San Francisco at the moment, about to start a trip down the California coast to Mexico with his wife, Marilisa. The two were married on Friday. When they return home to Switzerland from their honeymoon, Mikkel will head into the mountains to train for the year ahead. He wants to make the 2023 season his best yet.

Mikkel Honoré winning stage five of the 2021 Coppi-Bartali Race. Sirotti photo

“I am just super excited,” Mikkel says. “It is a new start and chapter for me, and I can’t wait to meet all of the management, riders, and staff and get going for next year.”

Mikkel is a very versatile rider. He has the horsepower and skill to shepherd our GC captains through a racing peloton during the hardest grand tour stages. A great climber with a strong finishing kick, who can hold his own on the cobbles, Mikkel has sprinted to stage victories at the Tour of the Basque Country and Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali—two of the hilliest stage races on the calendar. He is consistently at the front of the biggest races and always ready to do his turn for his teammates. Mikkel comes to us from Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, where he spent five successful seasons and contributed to many victories. Quick-Step released him from his contract so he could join our team. Next year, EF Education-EasyPost will count on Mikkel to be there for us at crucial moments in grand tours and attack the finales of the great one-day races. He’ll go for more victories himself.

“Mikkel will be a great asset for the team in hilly classics and the grand tours,” says EF Education-EasyPost CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “He has proven that he’s a top-class support rider and, if you look at his results, he is knocking on the door of a big win himself. This is a guy who has already won a stage at the Tour of the Basque Country, and that is one of the hardest races out there. We’re going to welcome him into the team and let him show us what he can do. He’s a smart, thoughtful guy and is going to fit right in.”

On their first evening in California, Mikkel and Marilisa watched the LA Lakers take on the Golden State Warriors on the NBA’s opening night. Marilisa is a great basketball fan who works for Olimpia Milano. The two will now drive the Pacific coast past Big Sur to LA, before flying to Tulum, Mexico to relax together on the beach. Mikkel will finally have time to catch his breath and think about the year ahead. He is a rare rider who can compete at the front of the Ardennes and Flemish classics, so will have to decide about his focus for next spring with our sports directors. He wants to race hard right through the year–and go for wins.

“I can race in almost every kind of terrain and hopefully bring a good mood and atmosphere to the team,” Mikkel says. “I love to race and attack and am looking forward to getting more opportunities with EF. I am excited to go to races with a plan to take the win. I know I have the level and the capacity to do so. We are going to have a very good team.”

On the bus, Mikkel will bring a lot to our roster too. He is a keen reader, who often turns to the classics for wisdom. Although he moved to Belgium to race bikes when he was just 17 and then went to Italy to race and made the sport his career, he has learned that there is more to a good life than just faster, higher, stronger.

Mikkel Honoré:
“At a certain point, I felt like I needed a different stimulus in my life,” he says. “It had to be something good for my performance as well. So, I really got interested in reading. Books take you away from everything for a bit, from the bubble of racing and training, and also give you interesting knowledge as a person. Now, when we race somewhere, I really like to read about the place, because it gives you a better understanding of the where and why.”

The most interesting place that Mikkel has been bike racing is Colombia. When he was there for the national Tour, he was taken aback by how friendly the people he met were and how much they loved cycling.

“You went to every small town in the middle of nowhere, and they were all super passionate about cycling,” he says. “Then, Rigo would show up, and it got absolutely crazy.”

Mikkel has also loved the time he has spent in Montréal and Québec for the Canadian World Tour races and wants to go to British Columbia to explore its wild mountains, lakes, and rivers.

“I love travelling and seeing the world,” he says. “Travelling is what life is all about. It gives you a different perspective on the world. Travelling, seeing different cultures–this is what I love to do.”

Racing around the world also makes Mikkel appreciate home. When he returns to Switzerland, and the home he and his wife have made near the shores of Lake Como, he will focus on getting stronger and faster for next season, when he’ll fly the EF Education-EasyPost colours up cycling’s highest cols and in the finales of the classics.

And here's the statement on Honoré's release from Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl:

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl would like to announce that Mikkel Honoré has been released from his contract with the team, leaving him free to join another squad.

We would like to place on record our best wishes and thanks to Mikkel, who has been with the team since 2018.

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Toms Skujins re-ups with Trek-Segafredo

Here’s the team’s update:

A loyal member of the Trek-Segafredo team since 2017, 31-year-old Toms Skujiņš has signed a contract extension which will see him continue to represent the US outfit for two further seasons. In his seven years as a professional, Skujiņš has notched 11 wins, including Tre Valli Varesine, three stages of the Tour of the Tour of California and five national championship titles.

Toms Skujins in dots after stage 8 of the 2018 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

Toms Skujiņš: “It’ll be already quite a few years after this contract with the Team. I feel like there’s no other place I’d rather be for another two years. I think that every single year I’ve been on the team I’ve made a step up; sometimes it has paid off, sometimes it hasn’t paid off results-wise personally. Overall my ability to help the Team with has improved year by year. Now we have some new, exciting riders coming up through the Team like Mattias Skjelmose and I’m looking forward to helping him where I can.

“This year was the first year that I did the Classics, which was fun. I definitely enjoyed being part of that team. In the past I’ve always done the Ardennes, so it was a nice change of pace. There are still a lot of races I want to do, still a lot of races I haven’t yet done. I’m hoping to sample some extra pizza and pasta next year – I hope the Team agrees with me on that! One target I have for the next two years is to win a stage in a Grand Tour.”

"Toms is a loyal, dependable and highly professional rider who lifts the mood at every race. He embodies the Team spirit, and this is why he is such a popular figure amongst our fans and throughout the wider Trek family. We know that Toms is quite capable to pick up results when the chance presents itself, but equally he performs a vital function as road captain and helps the younger riders to step up, a role he has performed well for a while already. We hope to see him continue to do so to over the next two years, nurturing our next wave of rising talents." - Luca Guercilena, General Manager

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Lotto Dstny Development Team finalizes 17-rider roster for 2023

The team sent me this update:

From 2023 onwards, the development team of Lotto Dstny will operate as the Lotto Dstny Devo Team. The team will also take the step to continental level next year and has now completed its roster of seventeen young talents.

2022 was a highly successful year for the Lotto Soudal Development Team. Team manager Kurt Van de Wouwer looks back on it with great satisfaction. “Prior to the start of every new season, it seems difficult to improve or at least match the performances of previous years, but  we still succeed in taking new steps every year”, he says. “As a team we performed strongly, we won races with many different riders and were competitive on different terrains: at the Classics, stage races and championships. To give an example, Alec Segaert recently won Il Piccolo Lombardia, Lennert took a stage victory and finished 2nd overall at the U23 Giro. Like every year, the Belgian championships were a main goal and we managed to conquer the Belgian tricolour in all three disciplines. Jarne Van de Paar took the Belgian road title, Alec Segaert won the Belgian U23 time trial championships and also in the team time trial, we were on the top step.

Alec Segaert is on the left after coming in second in the 2022 U23 World Time Trial Championhships. Soren Waerenskjold is the winner and on the right is thrid-place Leo Hayter. Getty Sport photo.

For over 15 years, the Development team of the Lotto cycling teams has been a reference in the U23 category. Meanwhile, over seventy riders have been formed into pros, amongst them Tim Wellens, Florian Vermeersch or Arnaud De Lie. “Every year, our goal is to deliver several riders to our pro team”, says team manager Kurt Van de Wouwer. “This year, Lennert Van Eetvelt and Liam Slock will take the step towards the pros. And also Alec Segaert and Jarne Van de Paar are already sure of a pro contract in 2024. In addition, four other guys have signed a contract at other pro teams. We are convinced that the selection for 2023 again includes several future pro riders. Together with the professional support of our team and the race schedule including plenty of international events against the best espoirs, we help them in bridging that last step.”

Also next year, the Devo Team will be an important part of Lotto Dstny, as the Development Team will act on continental level for the first time since its foundation. “The step towards continental level is a logical evolution. That way, our young talents will get a taste of racing with the pros at the ProSeries or .1 level. In doing so, we’re not only reducing the step towards pro level, also the integration of the young talents within our pro team will be smoother”, concludes Kurt Van de Wouwer.

These are the seventeen riders to be part of the Lotto Dstny Devo Team next year: Ramses Debruyne, Jelle Declerck, Tijl De Decker, Axel De Lie, Jelle Harteel, Branko Huys, Joshua Giddings, Robin Orins, Milan Paulus, Gianluca Pollefliet, Cameron Rogers, Alec Segaert, Jarne Van de Paar, Lorenz Van de Wynkele, Cédric Van Raemdonck, Viktor Verschaeve and Jago Willems.

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Team Jumbo-Visma looks back on the cycling year

Here’s the team’s post:

On this year's World Statistics Day we look back on the past cycling season of our three teams.

Our dream came true, we were on the podium in Paris with the yellow jersey. But that wasn't the only win this year. At the highest level, the team won 48 races, the most of the entire professional peloton. In the UCI World Ranking we are in first place, which means that we are the best team of 2022! Time to look back on the most successful year in the history of Team Jumbo-Visma.

Jumbo-Visma got the big one. Jonas Vingegaard celebrates winning the 2022 Tour de France in Paris. Sirotti photo

Did you know that ... ?
... our riders have jointly ridden 233.749 kilometers during races. That's more than 70 times the distance of the Tour de France!
... three riders have raced more than 10.000 kilometers in 2022? Gijs Leemreize, Sam Oomen and Pascal Eenkhoorn rode the most metres on behalf of our team.
... it only took eleven days for the first win this year? Rohan Dennis' win in the Australian national time trial championship on January 12 was our fastest win in a new year in the team's history.

Team Jumbo-Visma Women
The first edition of the Tour de France Femmes was a very successful one for Team Jumbo-Visma Women. With two stage wins and the victory in the points classification for Marianne Vos, the team can look back very satisfied on the week in France.

But did you also know that ... ?

... our riders have jointly covered 50.257 competition kilometers?
... our riders raced most often in the Netherlands? There were fourteen days of racing in our own country, grab the agendas for next year!
... Karlijn Swinkels is the only rider to start in all three grand tours? Unfortunately, she had to give up in La Vuelta due to illness.

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