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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, March 4, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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Tour de France: 2021

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, 2021: The Little Cannibal Dominates is available in both Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Team Israel-Premier Tech headed to Paris-Nice

Here’s the team’s update:

Israel – Premier Tech will be hunting stage win opportunities while keeping an eye on the General Classification at Paris – Nice when the ‘Race to the Sun’ gets underway this Sunday.

The 2023 edition features a team time trial on stage 3 and the traditional tough mountain tests to shake up the GC in the second half of the week, says Sports Director Oscar Guerrero.

“We will see how far Nick Schultz can go in the General Classification but it would be great to see him around the top-ten, and our guys like Hugo Houle can make the most of the opportunities for stage wins. The first two stages are normally sprint stages, so we can try and put Tom Van Asbroeck up there. Then we have the TTT, so after that we can see what our situation is and whether we keep going for the GC or switch our focus purely to stage wins and breakaway opportunities, with guys like Sebastian Berwick and Stevie Williams able to jump in. So we will keep things open and take it day by day.”

Nick Schultz wins stage four of the 2019 Herald Sun Tour.

After making his stage race debut with IPT at Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol, Schultz is eager to get back to the start line.

“Paris-Nice is notoriously a very tough eight days of racing with lots of different elements to contend with,” explains Schultz. “After the first races with the team, I’m really looking forward to continuing to build on some solid work. I think we have a really strong group of guys and we can chip away daily, chasing opportunities and capitalizing on them. I’ll be looking to test myself as I did in Andalusia and see where that takes me.”

Paris – Nice (5-12 March)

Riders: Sebastian Berwick (AUS), Hugo Houle (CAN), Taj Jones (AUS), Guy Sagiv (ISR), Nick Schultz (AUS), Tom Van Asbroeck (BEL), Stevie Williams (UK).

Sports Directors: Oscar Guerrero, René Andrle, René Mandri

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Team Jayco-AlUla previews Paris-Nice

The team sent me this:

Simon Yates:
“It’s been a different start to my season compared to the last couple of years after starting in Australia and it was nice to kick things off with a stage win at Tour Down Under.

I’ve had success at Paris-Nice before and it’s a race I really enjoy, particularly the last stage around Nice. The team time trial on stage three should make things interesting for the GC, but I think we have a really strong team for it.

It’s always a stacked field and a challenging course, but we are all ready and I’m looking forward to a solid eight days of racing.”

Simon Yates at this year's Tour Down Under after winning stage five.

David McPartland – Sport Director:
“This year the TTT will be super important for anyone that is aiming for the GC, so for us, we’re one of those teams with Yates there and we’ve put a fair bit of emphasis on it. It’s a different format this year as you don’t have to finish with four riders and the time will be taken from the real time across the finish line, so it will be a crucial stage.

Simon is looking good, he’s been at home in Andorra for most of the time since he got back from racing in Australia and he’s got a good block of racing in his legs already. He’s healthy and things are on a good track for a strong GC performance.

Michael also has a big block of racing under his belt as well and he’s had a good training camp down in Spain too, so everything is looking good and both guys will be supported by a super strong team and we’re looking forward to a big week of racing in France.”

Prais-Nice start list:

  • Kell O'Brien
  • Luke Durbridge
  • Lucas Hamilton
  • Matteo Sobrero
  • Michael Matthews
  • Simon Yates

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Tiesj Benoot heads to Italian races after win in Kuurne

Here’s the news from Benoot’s Team Jumbo-Visma:

In the coming days, Tiesj Benoot will be at the start of Tirreno-Adriatico and Strade Bianche. Following his victory in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, the 28-year-old Belgian of Team Jumbo-Visma is full of ambition and confidence before the start of the two Italian races. "I have an excellent feeling. You can race a little more freely if you can get a victory early in the spring. If there had been any doubts, they have been dispelled now."

Tiesj Benoot wins Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. Sirotti pnoto

Benoot enjoyed the past few days. He won Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne last Sunday with a late attack, leaving his fellow breakaway riders behind. He finally achieved his long-awaited success in a Flemish spring classic. "I try to enjoy it as much as possible. For me, that win is special. I can imagine it is a different feeling for riders who win a lot, like Wout, to win Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne than for Benoot", the Belgian winked. "The days following a victory require you to focus on the goals for the upcoming weekend. Therefore there must be a balance between fun and focus, but I do my best to let it sink in well."

"I also received numerous congratulations through text messages. There were so many that my girlfriend occasionally asked me to put the phone aside for a moment", Benoot says with a smile. "But I prefer to receive congratulations after a victory over messages of support because you are in hospital", said Benoot, who broke a cervical vertebra in a collision during training in Italy at the end of August.

Following a fantastic debut weekend, Benoot hopes to maintain the same momentum. "We had certainly anticipated that the team would perform well in Omloop Het Nieuwblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. But after our preparation at altitude, it was hard to predict whether we would succeed. It was fantastic to dominate the way we did in those races. So I hope we can continue in the same vein for the upcoming races."

The gravel roads of Strade Bianche are familiar territory for Benoot. In 2018, the Belgian won the race in difficult conditions. Additionally, he had previously placed in the top ten four times. "Strade Bianche is more of an individual race. Working as a team is difficult here. The best cyclists always compete in the final since the race is challenging. With Attila Valter, though, we have someone on the team who can also go a long way. He came out of the O Gran Camino strong and finished fourth here last year. The other guys are also in good shape, so we definitely have possibilities", Benoot says.

"My ambition is to win the race again, but a podium place would also be nice. As a former winner, it would be odd to claim that I only aim for a top-ten finish. I am at the start to give the best possible performance and shine in the final. It's a fair race. You always end up where you belong", Benoot says.

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Two days after Strade Bianche, Benoot will be at the start of Tirreno-Adriatico. The Belgian aspires to play a significant role in the seven-day stage race. "While there isn't much time to recover between Strade Bianche and the Tirreno, it should be possible. Riding a good classification in Tirreno-Adriatico is definitely a goal if I come out of Strade Bianche unscathed", Benoot says.

"The opening time trial is the day I want to be over with the fastest", Benoot says with a smile. "That time trial is not on my mind. There are barely any corners, and it always runs straight along Lido di Camaiore's coastline. During the training camp in Tenerife, I worked on my time trial. Due to my neck injury, I couldn't sit in the time trial position for an extended period until January. I will try to limit the damage on day one. The next stages will be enjoyable, such as stage five's arrival at the top of the Sassotetto. I came in sixth place on that climb in 2018. I enjoy that three stages are longer than 200 kilometres. I'm looking forward to it."

Benoot will be joined by teammates Attila Valter, Michel Hessmann, Lennard Hofstede, Gijs Leemreize, Milan Vader and Tosh Van der Sande.

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