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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, October 2, 2023

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2023 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say. - F. Scott Fitzgerald


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Arnaud De Lie wins Famenne Ardenne Classic

Here’s the report from De Lie’s Team Lotto Dstny

[Ed: This is not a race we cover]

Arnaud De Lie has taken his 10th victory of the season. And how! The fast man from Lotto Dstny took a remarkable victory at the Famenne Ardenne Classic, where he was forced to pedal with one leg in the final metres after pulling his foot out in the sprint. He won the sprint ahead of Kaden Groves and Florian Sénéchal.

Here's Arnaud De Lie winning this year's GP de Quebec.

Just like in the Circuit Franco-Belge, Lotto Dstny started the race with Arnaud De Lie as top favorite. The team put in a strong collective performance and wanted to go to the sprint with Arnaud. Despite a hard race and several late attacks from the other teams, it indeed came down to that sprint, with a reduced peloton.

De Lie was a long way back when the sprint started, but he had deliberately left his effort late. Once he built up a head of steam, he stormed to the front, on his way to a great victory. But, all of a sudden, in the final 50 meters, his right foot came out of its pedal. De Lie was unable to put his foot back in (he had a broken cleat), but he kept on pedalling with one leg and threw his bike towards the line, ahead of Kaden Groves and Florian Sénéchal.

“I prefer to sprint with two legs,” laughs De Lie, "but my cleat broke off and I lost my pedal. Luckily I still win, otherwise I would have been quite disappointed if I had lost the race as a result. Fortunately it broke at 50 meters from the finish and not 100 meters. I was a bit panicky because my chain also came off. Fortunately, I was able to quickly switch back to the big plate and still able to win, in front of my own people. This is very special, for sure and I’ve won and against a strong field too. Last year I crashed here in the last corner and ended up fifteenth. I wonder what I will achieve here next year."

Results:

  1. Arnaud De Lie (Lotto Dstny) 4hr 27min 8sec
  2. Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) s.t.
  3. Florian Senechal (Soudal Quick-Step) s.t.
  4. Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma)
  5. Arne Marit (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) s.t.

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Jasper Stuyven is new European gravel champion

Here's the report from Stuyven's team Lidl-Trek:

On home roads, Jasper claims the first continental title as well as the Belgian national title

In his home town of Leuven, Jasper Stuyven once again raised his arms to the sky, winning the historic first edition of the European gravel championships. The victory also earned him the title of Belgian national champion.

Jasper Stuyven winning the 2021 Milano-San Remo. Sirotti photo

Jasper, who raced on a beautiful Trek Domane, overcame his competitors thanks to an excellent performance that allowed him to cross the finish line alone. Behind him, compatriot Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep) finished at 1’21”, while German Paul Voss was third.

Today, Stuyven was simply the strongest. On the gravel roads around his hometown, Jasper showed a great form and on the last lap he made the decisive move, attacking and building up the solid lead with which he arrived at the finish.

After a series of encouraging placements and gutsy rides, now there’s a fact: Jasper is back on the top step of the podium!


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Team Groupama-FDJ interviews about-to-retire rider Matthieu Ladagnous

Here’s the team’s post:

Just outside Milan, on Monday, Matthieu Ladagnous’ eighteen years of good and loyal service will definitely come to an end. The Coppa Bernocchi will be the last race for the French rider, who has remained faithful to the same team since his jump to the professionals in 2006. At 38 years old, and after a final busy season, it is now time for him to retire. On the eve of his final bib, he agreed to talk about some of the key moments of his career.

Matthieu Ladagnous in the leader's jersey after the stage one team time trial of the 2016 La Méditerranéenne. Sirotti photo.

Matthieu, do you remember your first moments with the team?
Yes, it was in November 2006. We had a training camp in Renazé, where we used to do cyclo-cross and road cycling. It was cold. At the end of the camp, I was dead, and I remember saying to my coach: “If it’s like that in the pros, I won’t be able to have a long career” (laughs). It was educational. A dream came true, I was a little shy and impressed.

How were your first years in the professional peloton?
I took my first victory in the Tour Med after only five days of racing. It’s something that will remain engraved in my memory. Then, I won the overall of the 4 Jours de Dunkerque, as well as one stage. I was still doing track at that time and competed in the Beijing Olympic Games, before focusing fully on road racing. For ten years or so, I was a Classics rider. I scored top-10 finishes in almost every race except Paris-Roubaix. I liked this kind of race, but it became too much of a routine, I always had the same program. I wanted to change, find a new path and I decided to support the climbers, mainly Thibaut at the time. It changed my career and I think that’s why I lasted so long.

Can we talk about the 2012 Paris-Roubaix?
It’s a deep regret. I came very close to the podium. Tom Boonen was alone in front, and I was in a small chasing group of four. On paper, I was the fastest in the sprint. I felt great, but I punctured in the last cobbled sector, in the Carrefour de l’Arbre. I stopped immediately… There was a motorbike with wheels, but it took a long time to change them, while there was one of our mechanics a hundred metres further on. That’s how it is. Then, I came back 20 metres from the group, but I was never able to get back. Eventually, I finished twelfth, after being caught by a group of seven just before the velodrome. That was hugely disappointing.

Have you experienced any other disillusions?
Of course! That’s also what makes high-level sport. On the Tour, I was caught 200 metres from the finish twice. For a rider like me, who doesn’t win a lot, winning a stage of the Tour would have definitely changed my track record. And as a domestique, I can’t not talk about the 2019 Tour… Thibaut was the strongest. I think we could have won the Tour that year. We were all there for him, we talked about it for months. It was such a powerful moment: even today, we can’t put it into words.


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You’ve also experienced some great moments: which ones will remain?
I’ll remember all my victories, but also my top-5 in the Tour of Flanders. As a domestique, there are also many: especially the victory on Il Lombardia with Thibaut, and the one on Milan-San Remo with Arnaud. I’ll also remember the Tour podium in 2014: it was the start of the Thibaut Pinot journey.

Are you happy to stop now?
Yes, maybe because I know it’s the last one. The more I get closer to it, the more I tell myself: “It’s the right time”. Physically, I feel like I could continue but you need to know when it’s time to stop. At the beginning, I imagined that a nice career would be to reach the age of 35. Now, I’m almost 39, so that’s pretty good. I want to give more time to my family, to my children. To perform well, we must think about ourselves, our training, our recovery, etc. So now, I want to be able to do things with my family, like playing football with my children, without thinking about my concerns as a pro rider. For the first time since I was twenty, I will also celebrate my birthday at home. On December 19, I was always in training camp, I always paid my round (laughs).

What will you miss?
Adrenaline on the bike. I don’t like taking risks, but we go through a lot during a race. Paradoxically, even though I find it hard to go deep in training, to do interval work-out, I’m sure I’ll miss it too. I will also miss the sharing moments on the bus. It’s really a special job. It’s not a real job.

How do you approach your last race?
I didn’t really think about it. Above all, I wanted to do a full year. The team asked me which race I wanted to finish in, and I said it wasn’t important. It will be Monday, in the Coppa Bernocchi. I want to finish my final race, and it would have been difficult on Il Lombardia: I only finished it once in seven participations, and I finished very far away. I haven’t already thought about the last bib, about the finish… We’ll see.

Do you already have plans for your post-career?
I would like to be a professional firefighter. It’s a job that has similarities with that of a cyclist. We do sports, we never do the same things, we serve others. I always wanted to become a firefighter. As a child, I dreamed of cycling, but I had a good head on my shoulders. I said to myself: “You’re strong but there is a greater chance that you won’t become a pro cyclist than the other way around. » So I dreamed of becoming a firefighter… I even took the Paris firefighter exam at 18.

Would you like to add something?
I thank all the riders and all the staff members I was able to meet. A big thank you to Marc Madiot who trusted me from start to finish. I spent the best part of my life here. I hope to come back to see them from time to time. I am grateful for everything they have done for me and everything they have given me. I’ve had a good life thanks to cycling and thanks to the team, and now let’s move on!

 

 

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