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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, March 2, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

Nothing is worth more than this day. - Goethe

Tour de France: 2019

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, 2019: A Year of New Faces is available in both Kindle eBook and audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Latest completed racing:

Trofeo Laigueglia reports

We posted the report from third-place Alessandro Covi's UAE Team Emirates with the results.

Here's the report from winner Nans Peters' Team Ag2r-Citroën:

"What a pleasure to win! I'm a rider who doesn't lift his arms much and it's always with style that I manage to do it like today after 30 kilometers alone. I had a really good feeling. In the final part of the race, I kept saying to myself ‘until the end’. This victory is really good for my morale.

“The day was really tough with the rain. We found ourselves outnumbered in the final with Benoît (Cosnefroy) and Andrea (Vendrame). I wanted to anticipate to play the team race and it worked for me. It's a great collective success. I've had two complicated seasons, so it's a relief to get back to winning. I had to show resilience. I never gave up. This winter, I wanted to renew myself. I changed coaches and started back earlier. It's paying off. I'm heading for the Strade Bianche (March 4) and Tirreno-Adriatico (March 6-12). I like it when the races follow each other, so we'll have to build on the good momentum.”

Nans Peters gets his third professional win. Sirotti photo

The news:
Nans Peters and Andrea Vendrame sign the first double of the AG2R CITROËN team since the Boucles de l'Aulne in 2019. Alexis Gougeard won in front of Quentin Jauregui.

"It was a day of cycling like I like," said Cyril Dessel, sports director of the AG2R CITROËN team. The idea was to be enterprising today and not to suffer the race. Given the weather conditions, we had to get into warrior mode and that's what the guys did. They quickly took charge and it ended in the most beautiful way. We have to salute Nans' great performance and the very good work of his teammates behind. Andrea's second place is the icing on the cake."

The number: 3
Nans Peters picks up his third professional win. The 28-year-old from Isère previously won stage 17 of the 2019 Giro d'Italia and stage 8 of the 2020 Tour de France.

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Team Soudal Quick-Step to race Strade Bianche

Here’s the team’s update:

It’s one of the best weekends of the year, and not just because March is finally here, but because Saturday schedules Strade Bianche, which will run its 17th edition. Starting from Siena’s Fortezza Medicea and concluding in the very heart of the city – the stunning Piazza del Campo, one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares – the Italian race will once again comprise eleven white roads sectors.

Montalcino, Monte Sante Marie and Colle Pinzuto, with their twisting roads and double-digit gradients, are just some of the places where the peloton is expected to be blown to pieces by those willing to make a move from the distance and set the race on fire before the last ascent of the day, Via Santa Caterina. Boasting a 16% gradient in the last 500 meters, this short but sharp hill is tailored to the puncheurs who still have the resources to make the difference after 184 kilometers.

Winner here at his debut in 2019, and already victorious this season, Julian Alaphilippe will be again at the start, surrounded by a strong team comprising Andrea Bagioli – a podium finisher last weekend at the Drôme Classic – Davide Ballerini, Dries Devenyns, Figueira Champions Classic victor Casper Pedersen, Pieter Serry and Mauri Vansevenant, the man who scored The Wolfpack’s 900th win, two weeks ago at the Tour of Oman.

Julian Alaphilippe wins Strade Bianche in 2019. Sirotti photo

“We love Strade Bianche, we know how hard and beautiful this race is, and we have a lot of motivation for Saturday. Having several riders who can do something on this course means that we can try different things, so we go into the race with the confidence that a good result is possible”, said Soudal Quick-Step sports director Davide Bramati.

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Simon Clarke to lead Team Israel-Premier Tech in Strade Bianche

Here’s the team’s news:

Israel-Premier Tech will take on the Italian one-day classic, Strade Bianche, with Simon Clarke as the team’s designated leader for the white gravel roads in Tuscany.

The white gravel roads are coming March 4. Sirotti photo

“This is my favorite race of the season! Like every year, I’m really looking forward to it. Strade Bianche is definitely the most beautiful race on the calendar to me”, Clarke says. “I had a pretty good result last weekend and I hope that puts me in a good position to have another good race on Saturday. I’m all in and ready to go.”

Known as ‘Europe’s most southern northern classic’, Strade Bianche has quickly gained iconic status amongst the fans and the riders. More than 60 km of white gravel roads, spread over 11 sectors, await the riders on Saturday. From the end of the last sector, only 12 km remain before reaching the finishing line on the beautiful Piazza del Campo in Siena.

“We start with Simon as our team leader as this is a race that suits him well”, sports director Steve Bauer explains. “Simon has proven to be in great shape at the moment and so have Krists [Neilands] and Mads [Würtz Schmidt] who we can expect to do well too. We may not be the favorites for Saturday but we believe in our chances and we are ready to fight!”

IPT Lineup: Guillaume Boivin (CAN), Simon Clarke (AUS), Derek Gee (CAN), Omer Goldstein (ISR), Reto Hollenstein (SUI), Krists Neilands (LAT), Mads Würtz Schmidt (DEN).

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Joep Wennemars signs new deal with Team Jumbo-Visma

Here’s the team’s news:

Joep Wennemars has signed a new contract with Team Jumbo-Visma that will keep him tied to the team of coach Jac Orie until at least the 2024/2025 season. His previous contact ran until next season.

Wennemars, who has been with the team for almost a year now, is happy to stay for at least two more seasons. "From the moment I signed the contract at Team Jumbo-Visma, it was obvious that Jac and I are focusing on something bigger than just today. Together, we are working towards the Milan Winter Olympics of 2026. That’s why I signed this contract extension. I am really looking forward to the next two years."

According to Wennemars, coach Orie is one of the main reasons why he is so happy to be part of Team Jumbo-Visma. "Jac always has great ideas and I really trust the process. We dare to invest and take some risks. We can do that because we still have a lot of time until the Olympics. This year, I have already improved a lot, but I always want to become better. That’s my mindset. If I continue to grow like I have in recent months, some great things could happen."

Wennemars had a successful first season with Team Jumbo-Visma. Last October, the junior world champion of 2022 managed to qualify for the World Cups after finishing second in the men’s 1,000-meter race at the World Cup Qualification Tournament. A couple of weeks later, he won his first ever World Cup medal (silver) during the 1,000-meter race at Thialf, Heereneen. He finished behind the Chinese speed skater Zhongyan Ning.

"It's been a great first year, especially because of some highlights during the first part of the season", Wennemars said. "It’s a pity that I had some health issues lately, but I'm really satisfied with my rookie year. I always dreamed of competing in the World Cups and that’s what I did. I only missed the last one in Poland, because I got sick. It was a very nice experience."

Wennemars, who is the first substitute for the men’s 1000m during the World Single Distance Championships this upcoming weekend, is already looking forward to next season. "I want to improve myself in every single distance, but especially in the 1,500m. I did not get the chance to race as many 1,500-meter races as I would have wanted so far. It would be great if I could qualify myself for the important races in both the 1,000m and 1,500m next year."

Coach Orie is also delighted that he will be able to work with Wennemars in the upcoming years. "I really like it. Joep is such a great talent, who has developed exponentially and wants to learn every single day. By winning a silver medal in the World Cup, Joep has showed that we are on the right track. I think that Joep will be able to compete for more medals in the 1,000m and 1,500m in the near future."

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