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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, February 25, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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UAE Tour stage five reports

We posted the report from GC leader Remco Evenepoel's Team Soudal-Quick-Step with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Dylan Groenewegen's Team Jayco-AlUla:

Team Jayco AlUla sprint star Dylan Groenewegen delivered on stage five of the UAE Tour today, taking the victory in what was a fiercely competitive sprint field. The win makes it his second victory and first WorldTour win of the 2023 season following on from his success at the recent Saudi Tour.

Dylan Groenewegen wins stage five.

After being unable to find a gap in the final metres of yesterday’s stage, where he had to settle for fifth place, today Groenewegen timed his sprint to perfection, describing it as a ‘textbook’ lead-out. The 29-year-old won the stage sprint after biding his time before launching down the left hand side of the wide finishing straight, giving Team Jayco AlUla men's squad their third victory and second WorldTour win of the year.

With the absence of threatening wind during the 170km pan-flat stage, the peloton remained mostly together with no huge splits or echelons occurring. This allowed for the full Team Jayco AlUla sprint train to execute their plan and throw Groenewegen onto the top step after five intense days of racing in the UAE.

Tomorrow the riders will face another flat stage, 166km in length which will provide the team with another great opportunity to challenge for a second sprint stage victory.

Dylan Groenewegen - Stage Winner:
“It was a hard one, it was really difficult to have good timing in the final and during the stage there was a little bit of wind, but not enough to split the peloton.

"In the final, there were roundabouts and crosswinds, I was a little bit too far back then my teammates and I found each other, and I said 'we need to move to the right into the wind and make some space for each other.' Elmar Reinders did a really great job to make some space and with three kilometres to go we went to the middle and started the lead-out.

"It was a really good, we knew the last roundabout and the guys put me in a really good position and it’s a really good victory for us. I saw Sam Bennet had a small gap, so I went in the slipstream and in that moment I was thinking now I start my sprint. It was a really long one but enough.

"It’s really important [the win], we had a really good start in the Saudi Tour, it’s nice if you can win in every race, so it’s a good beginning of the season for me.”

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Here's the UAE Tour stage five report from third-place Sam Bennett's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

Today's 182 km long stage, which went through the desert, was a chance for the fast men, yet they had to remain attentive to the wind. After 15 km in a breakaway quartet, Thomas de Gendt rode solo until he was caught with 20 km to go. Following a sudden increase in tempo, the peloton split into two groups for a short time but after merging, BORA - hansgrohe manoeuvred into the lead. After a strong lead-out from Danny van Poppel, Sam opened up his sprint, taking third place, with the win going to Groenewegen.

The two groups did merge before the finish.

From the Finish Line:
"In the end it was a pretty good day for us. Unfortunately Patrick crashed twice but he's fine and we could also see that in the windy sections and again in the finale. Kudos also to Emu, who supported the guys really well today. Other than that, we lost a bit of control in the finale, but then Danny really brought Sam in a perfect position. There was very little missing today and we will still analyse where we must improve, and of course, this result gives us further motivation for tomorrow's stage." - Bernhard Eisel, Sports Director

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Team Lotto Dstny looks to Belgian opening weekend

Here’s the team’s update:

The long-awaited Belgian opening weekend is finally here. In the traditional spring Classics’ openers Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (1.UWT) and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne (1.Pro), the peloton will hit the hills and cobbles again for the first time in 2023.

Lotto Dstny aims for a strong collective performance in the Belgian opening weekend and indicated Victor Campenaerts and Arnaud De Lie as the two prominent riders. De Lie will be at the start of his first ever full opening weekend, where the primary focus is especially on gathering experience. For Victor Campenaerts, the Omloop will be the first race of his season after a long preparation. Campenaerts shows himself ambitious and fully confident in a strong Lotto Dstny team.

Arnaud De Lie winning stage three of the this year's Etoile de Bessèges

Victor Campenaerts: “Just like many others, I am really looking forward to the start of the Belgian races. The entire team is very eager and I also can’t wait to race Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Personally, the fifth place last year – despite all the bad luck in the race – has given me a huge boost. For the rest of the ’22 spring Classics but also for the start of this new campaign. That is why I want to do better than a fifth place in the Omloop this year. But of course I’m not alone, we have a strong team that sticks together really well. We want to play a prominent role in the race and need to make use of our collective strength.”

Arnaud De Lie already showed his excellent shape, but the 20-year-old Belgian is realistic.

Arnaud De Lie: “I look very much forward to be at the start of my first full opening weekend. It is nice to be named as one of the favourites and of course, I’m hoping to race a good result as well but I don’t see myself as the big favourite. There are many other strong teams at the start, that aren’t talked about a lot. The most important thing is for me to gather as much experience as possible, but it is also clear that I need to take the opportunities if they arise.”

“A lot will depend on how the race unfolds, but it’s up to us to always stay attentive. I have my strong sprint as an additional card to play, but counting on your sprint in cobbled Classics is often not the best tactic. The short uphill efforts should suit me as well and if the situation allows it, I will of course also look to join interesting moves. Which is also the case for my Lotto Dstny teammates”, concludes De Lie.

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Team Israel-Premier Tech ready for opening weekend

Here’s the team’s news:

Israel – Premier Tech will take on the Belgian ‘Opening Weekend’ with a strong and motivated group of riders, eager to put their mark on the two races.

“I’m confident that we have strong lineups for both races this weekend. I really believe in this group”, sports director Dirk Demol says.

Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad symbolizes the start of the Spring Classics season with the peloton tackling many of the famous hills and cobble sections in Flanders. IPT’s designated leader will be Sep Vanmarcke, who won this race in 2012 and placed third two years ago.

Sep Vanmarcke winning Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2012.

“I have a good connection with this race”, Vanmarcke tells. “I have won it in the past and I’ve also been on the podium several times. Hopefully, I can race at the front again on Saturday. Unfortunately, I got sick in Vuelta a Andalucía and I lost a few days of training, but I’m already feeling better again. I hope it’s enough and that I can to be up there fighting with the best this weekend.”

For Sunday’s Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, IPT will add sprint firepower in the shape of Giacomo Nizzolo who finished second in the race in 2020 and fifth last year. Nizzolo has already been close in the bunch sprints this season and now, the Italian is looking forward to digging deep again.

“I feel my shape is improving”, Nizzolo explains. “This is always a challenging race and you never really know if you have to race it as a sprinter or as a Classics rider. You may have to attack and invest a lot or you can wait for the final sprint. It will be interesting to see what happens this year. In any case, I feel good and I’m looking forward to racing!”

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Guillaume Boivin, Reto Hollenstein, Krists Neilands, Jens Reynders, Guy Sagiv, Tom Van Asbroeck, Sep Vanmarcke.

Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne: Guillaume Boivin, Giacomo Nizzolo, Jens Reynders, Guy Sagiv, Tom Van Asbroeck, Sep Vanmarcke, Rick Zabel.

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