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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, November 23, 2023

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2023 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do. - Andrew Carnegie


Cycling's 50 Triumphs and Tragedies

Les Woodland's book Cycling's 50 Triumphs and Tragedies: The rise and fall of bicycle racing's champions is available in print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Dries Devenyns to continue with Team Soudal Quick-Step as sports director for World Tour and Devo squads

Here’s the team’s announcement:

He closed out an impressive 17-year career as a pro rider less than two months ago at Gran Piemonte – where Soudal Quick-Step celebrated its 950th victory – but that doesn’t mean Dries Devenyns will say goodbye to the sport he loves so much. Starting from next season, the 40-year-old Belgian will be back on the road, but this time in a different role, behind the car wheel, as a sports director.

Dries Devenyns after winning the 2016 GP 'Ouverture-La Marseillaise. Sirotti photo

Having been an incredible road captain for the team in the past couple of years, always there to share his huge experience with his younger teammates and always contributing to the squad’s impressive victory tally, Dries will hope to do the same in 2024, as he makes the transition from the bike to the team car, from where he will guide Soudal Quick-Step and the Soudal Quick-Step Devo Team.

“I’m very happy and proud! This is a team I’ve always been part of, and to continue the story here… I couldn’t be happier. It wasn’t easy to stop my pro career, but I was fortunate to get this chance, which I grabbed with both hands, and I want to thank everyone here for their confidence. My family is happy and supportive, and can’t wait to see me in this new role.”

“I am looking forward to learning from the other sports directors and to being involved in the development team, which had an amazing season in 2023. There are a lot of talented young riders there. I want to help them discover their potential and make significant progress, so that they eventually make it to the World Tour squad. I am excited to be part of both teams next season as I begin this new road and learn what it means to be a sports director”, a happy Dries said.

“Dries has been an important part of the team in all these years, he is a person who carries that Wolfpack spirit and who we are proud to call a friend. We are delighted that he will continue with us as a sports director this time, as we enter our 22nd season. It will be a new challenge for him, but he loves the sport, he is very passionate about it, and we are confident and excited as we begin this new adventure together”, explained Soudal Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere.

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Rising star Thibau Nys extends contract with Lidl-Trek through 2026

Here’s the team’s news:

After a successful debut pro season, 21-year-old Nys has entrusted his continued development to Lidl-Trek and Baloise Trek Lions

Having only turned pro at the start of 2023, Thibau Nys has enjoyed a season beyond expectations. The multi-disciplined rider races on the road for Lidl-Trek and in cyclocross for Baloise Trek Lions, and has agreed a contract extension with both teams.

Thibaut Nys wins stage two of the 2023 Tour of Norway. Photo: Szymon Gruchalski

Nys started the year by achieving one of his main goals: the rainbow jersey in the cyclocross Under 23 World Championships. After a short break, Nys swapped his attention to the road, diving in at the deep end with a series of Belgian semi-classics. A second place in the first stage of the Tour of Romandie caught the attention of many, but Nys had to wait until the Tour of Norway to claim his first elite road victory, where he was able to showcase his ability on a punchy uphill finish. Within a fortnight, Nys doubled his win tally with another impressive victory in the one-day GP des Kantons Aargau.

In October, Nys made his return to ‘cross, having left behind the Under 23 ranks to race in the Elite category. He confirmed it was the correct decision to make the early transition by winning his first World Cup, made all the more sweet in front of a roaring ‘home’ crowd in Trek’s back yard in Waterloo, Wisconsin. Nys is already exceeding expectations, and is looking forward to seeing how far he can go with the support of Lidl-Trek and Baloise Trek Lions.

“I didn’t expect to already win two races in my road career, it came a lot earlier than I thought, along with some nice podiums,” said Nys. “I enjoyed it so much and it’s something I’ll never forget. I learned a lot; I think it’s the year that I learned the most about myself and about racing, training and recovery. Racing with some really big names helped me to gain more experience and it’s something that will help me in the next years also.”

“There were some ups and downs, and I’ll try to get rid of the downs in the next seasons as much as possible. There were some races where I wasn’t at my usual level, and that’s something I’ll try to work on. It feels amazing to be a part of this team, surrounded by this friendly, funny and professional group of people. I think it’s the best combination to grow in the next few years, and I’m looking forward to it so much.

“I’ll take it step by step as I grow, and hopefully I can win more races in the future. I want to level up my game, ride bigger races and become more consistent in my results. The bottom line is I want to win more races!”

Speaking of Thibau’s development, Lidl-Trek General Manager Luca Guercilena said “We’ve known about Thibau’s potential for a while due to his long-term involvement in the Trek family. To see him turn pro on the road with us and perform as soon as pulled on the jersey has been particularly pleasing. Thibau’s strength is his versatility – he can win on a variety of terrains and his fast sprint is a great card to play after a hard race. We’re pleased to have him signed to Lidl-Trek until 2026 so we can work together, without the need to rush, so that he can reach his very best level.”


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Yuhi Todome signs with EF Education-EasyPost

Here's the team's announcement:

EF Education-EasyPost is proud to add Yuhi Todome to our 2024 roster.

The Japanese rider has spent the last two seasons racing with EF Education-NIPPO Development Team. He is a former U23 time trial national champion. At the 2022 edition of the Tour de Hokkaido, he won the mountains jersey and rode in support of his team leader who won the general classification.

Yuhi Todome. EF Education photo

While the 21-year-old is an effective time trialist, he is still developing and feels most at home in the mountains.

“I would say I’m a climber. I like pushing myself to the maximum,” he says.

Today, Yuhi couldn’t imagine his life without cycling but that wasn’t always the case.

“I first watched the Tour de France when I was a junior in high school,” he says. “I thought it was so cool!”

Inspired, he picked up the sport quickly. He raced with his high school and college teams before joining EF Education-NIPPO Development Team.

Signing Yuhi completes the team’s 2024 roster, according to EF Education-EasyPost team CEO Jonathan Vaughters.

“Our 2024 roster is noticeably younger than in recent years. We have several riders making their WorldTour debut with us so Yuhi will fit in nicely. We wanted the last spot on the roster to be a rookie who can take advantage of the experience and knowledge of his veteran teammates and in Yuhi, we’ve found that,” Vaughters says.

Though next year will be Yuhi’s first season with EF Education-EasyPost, he raced with the WorldTour team at the 2022 Tour de Langkawi as a trainee where he supported Hugh Carthy who finished second overall. Looking back on his first race with EF Education-EasyPost, Yuhi says it was an important learning experience for him.

“I learned about nutrition and how I was doing in the race. It was my first time so I was nervous but it was fun and the team’s atmosphere was really good,” he says. “The whole team welcomed me.”

It’s not just Yuhi’s teammates who have supported him.

“My family cried upon hearing the news that I will join EF Education-EasyPost,” he says. “My family has been supporting me since the day I started racing.”

When he’s not on the bike, Yuhi enjoys shopping and catching up with friends over coffee, and also the occasional binge on Netflix. Until recently, you could find him studying in the library of Tokyo’s Chuo University.

“I’m majoring in Japanese law but I’m currently on a leave of absence. I’m completely focused on cycling right now,” he explains.

Yuhi is eager for the 2024 season to get underway.

"Dreams come true! I’m so happy to be riding with such a wonderful team,” he says. “I know that the mission of a WorldTour team is difficult but I will give my best effort!”


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Sep Vanmarcke’s Spring Classics farewell

Vanmarcke’s Team Israel-Premier Tech posted this

It was a Classics redemption that nobody could begrudge. Thirteen years after his first podium finish at Gent – Wevelgem, Sep Vanmarcke was back in the top three at one of his country’s biggest one-day races.

Sep Vanmarcke finishes third at 2023 Gent-Wevelgem. Sirotti photo

Leading home a four-rider group in the battle for the final podium place, the Belgian punched the air with delight as he crossed the line. Having had his 2022 Classics campaign wiped out, Vanmarcke had successfully returned to mixing it with the best.

He said: “I had a good winter and I stayed healthy. I didn’t have any injuries. I have felt good and have been racing at a high level. I’m just missing a little bit and I was thinking maybe this is just what I have left in my tank now, this is my best level, but now [this result] proves that if you keep trying for your best, at one point you will get a good result.”

Vanmarcke had already placed 10th at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and sixth at Danilith Nokere Koerse, but this result and performance hit differently. Sensing that the faster finishers in the chase group were tiring, he helped split things up in the closing 10 kilometres, which ultimately paved the way for him claiming the final podium spot. His daughter joined him on the podium to end a truly unforgettable day, one in which Vanmarcke’s unmistakable all-in, never-give-up mentality was clear for all to see.

Dreams of a return to the Paris – Roubaix podium two weeks later were dashed after he was caught behind two ill-timed crashes; “I think with these legs, a top-10 would have been very possible,” he said afterward. Little did we know that this would be Vanmarcke’s Classics farewell.

In July, he was forced to retire immediately from racing due to medical reasons. However, we are delighted to have Sep join IPT’s sporting and performance team in 2024. He will bring unrivalled experience and knowledge to the team.

 

 

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