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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, October 25, 2023

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2023 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength. - Corrie Ten Boom

Dirty Feet: Early days of the Tour de France

Les Woodland's book Dirty Feet: How the Great Unwashed Created the Tour de France 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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Jasper De Buyst extends contract with Lotto Dstny until the end of 2026

The team sent me this news:

Lotto Dstny has extended the contract of Jasper De Buyst (29) with two additional seasons. The 29-year-old Belgian still had a contract until the end of ’24, but this new agreement will see Jasper De Buyst defend the Lotto Dstny colours until at least the end of 2026.

Jasper De Buyst wins stage four of the 2019 Tour of Denmark.

De Buyst joined the team back in 2015 and concluded his ninth season at Lotto Dstny last month. During that period, he proved to be of great value as a lead-out and part of the spring Classics squad. The Belgian also managed to take some nice victories over the years, such as Binche-Chimay-Binche, two times the Egmont Cycling Race and a stage win in the Tour de Wallonie and Tour of Denmark.

“At the end of this new contract, I will have been part of the team for twelve consecutive seasons, an absolute first in the history of the team”, reacts Jasper De Buyst. “It says a lot about our cooperation these past years and it’s a sign of trust towards the future. A twelve-year period is of course long, but why change if you feel good somewhere? Moreover, the past season has shown that the team is going in the right direction, a place in the top ten of the UCI Team Ranking is a nice proof of that. I really want to contribute to this nice project in the coming years.”

CEO Stéphane Heulot is delighted to keep Jasper on board. “Jasper is one of the most experienced riders of the team. He has proven his value already countless times and that is why we are delighted to continue our collaboration for the next seasons. As a crucial element of the sprint train, Jasper has already contributed to many victories and we are convinced many more will follow. Not only is Jasper an exemplary and respected teammate, he can also get his own results. This proves his victory at the Egmont Cycling Race, but also places of honour at the GP Plouay, Rund um Köln, Druivenkoers,… this season.”

Just like Arnaud De Lie, Jasper De Buyst will be staying at the Belgian ProTeam until at least the end of 2026. As one of the best lead-outs of the pro peloton, he wants to use his experience to help the 21-year-old leader win even more. But after his victory in Zottegem and several nice top placings this season, De Buyst isn’t hiding his personal ambitions for the next years as well.

“Lotto Dstny has with Arnaud De Lie a huge talent on board and he already showed some really nice things. So I’m looking forward to pass on my experience and make Arnaud an even better rider. It will be a nice challenge to assist him in doing so. But I also realised that I can still ride my own results as well. It is with great pleasure that I will be taking on the role of team captain the next years, but I also want to stress my own ambitions. Of course I’d like to win some more races but I also want to take another step in the spring Classics. Both at the service of the team and personally, I want to show myself in those races”, concludes Jasper De Buyst.

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Giant Group along with Liv Cycling commits to GreenEDGE Cycling through 2027

Team Jayco AlUla sent me this news release:

Giant Group has today confirmed its continued support and commitment to GreenEDGE Cycling, Australia’s first and only men’s and women’s WorldTour team, by extending its contract for four more years, which will see the technical partnership run through to the end of 2027.

Team Jayco AlUla will be on Giant Bikes again in 2024. Sirotti photo

As part of the extension, Liv, the only comprehensive cycling brand in the world dedicated solely to women, will step up to become the title sponsor of the women’s WorldTeam, which from January 1st, 2024, will be named ‘Liv AlUla Jayco’.

“For us as an organisation to have further support and backing from a company such as Giant, the world’s leading brand of high-quality bicycles and cycling gear, is tremendous.” explained Brent Copeland – Team Jayco AlUla General Manager. “Their commitment to the sport and our team is unparalleled, it has been an honor to work with them for the last two seasons, and we have seen a lift in performances since we started this partnership.”

"Their commitment to a further four years gives us a lot of motivation as we strive for more and strengthen in all areas. We will continue to work with them to develop the best racing equipment and we have to thank everybody involved for their continued support and belief in us as an organisation.”

The technical partnership with Giant Group, the parent company of Giant, Liv and CADEX brands, and Team Jayco AlUla began in January 2022. The new four-year deal is testament to Giant and Liv’s commitment to the development of the sport of cycling, which is also demonstrated with a new women’s development team that will launch under the GreenEDGE Cycling umbrella in 2024.

Recognizing the need to nurture talent, especially from underrepresented regions, the vision for the development team is to provide a successful runway to the UCI Women’s WorldTeam.

“Giant and Liv support riders pushing the highest levels of the sport by creating innovative, high-performance products for a competitive edge. Extending our partnership with GreenEDGE Cycling further solidifies our commitment for men’s and women’s teams providing them with the highest quality bicycles and gear, helping them continue to succeed.” said Phoebe Liu, Chief Branding Officer of Giant Group.

For 2024, the men’s WorldTeam will be named Team Jayco AlUla and will race on Giant bikes, while both the women’s WorldTeam and the Development Team will be named ‘Liv AlUla Jayco’ and will race on Liv bikes. All three teams will use CADEX components.

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Carlos Rodríguez re-signs with INEOS Grenadiers until the end of 2027

The team sent me this:

The INEOS Grenadiers are delighted to announce the re-signing of Carlos Rodríguez until to the end of 2027, reaffirming his long term commitment to the team.

Carlos Rodriguez descending the Col de Joux Plane on his way to winning the 14th stage of the 2023 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

Since becoming a Grenadier in 2020, Carlos has demonstrated extraordinary talent and potential – backing up his gritty performance at the 2022 Vuelta a España with a memorable stage win in his debut at the Tour de France in 2023, finishing an impressive fifth overall.

Carlos’s talent, unwavering racing spirit and professionalism have earned him great affection within the team and the admiration of riders and fans worldwide. The INEOS Grenadiers are excited to have Carlos continue his journey with the team and look forward to supporting him in the pursuit of his many remaining career goals.

Rod Ellingworth, Deputy Team Principal, expressed his enthusiasm for the re-signing, stating, “We are thrilled to have Carlos extend his contract as a Grenadier until 2027. He has shown remarkable growth and dedication during his time with us, and it’s been really rewarding for us to play a part in that. He took the step up from junior to elite level racing with the team with rarely seen maturity, and has really impressed everyone here. We believe he will play a significant role in the team’s future over the coming years - he’s truly world class."

Carlos Rodríguez shared his excitement about re-signing, saying, “This Team has felt like family from the moment I joined. I’ve always felt at home with the people here, they really took me in and made me feel welcome and valued.’

“Over the coming years I hope to keep growing, not only as a professional cyclist, but as a person as well, for me everything is about continually learning how to be better. In turn, I hope to achieve good results more frequently and to keep gaining ground on the best riders in the peloton. I think that’s why this is the best place for me to continue to grow and to achieve great results.'

"Since I was a boy I wanted to race the Tour de France; watching the race on TV I looked up to Team Sky hoping that one day I might be a part of this Team. It was so special this year to race the Tour, for the first time, with the team I had always dreamt of being with - I find it hard to describe just how incredible that felt.”

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UCI president David Lappartient speaks about reducing cycling racing’s carbon footprint

Cycling Weekly posted this important interview:

David Lappartient bangs his fist on the table. The president of the UCI, the sport’s governing body, wants to hammer home his message. “We have a green tool: the bicycle,” he says. “We have to be green ourselves.”

As the world grapples with the climate crisis, cycle racing - like every other component in life - is caught in its crosshairs. Racing in summer is becoming so hot that this August a stage of the Tour de l’Avenir was forced to start in the morning for riders’ safety. Other races have been affected by flooding, landslides and high winds that are too frequent to not be a direct consequence of a changing climate.

Yet to the backdrop of this, cycling continues to regularly fly its riders around the world, let teams double their vehicle fleet, and do very little to address a carbon footprint that is seemingly rising year-on-year.

Lappartient knows he has to address the situation. The head of the sport since 2017, last year he released the UCI Agenda 2030 mission statement in which he sets out how all of the sport’s stakeholders - teams, races and the UCI themselves - must reduce their carbon emissions by 50% in 2030, and be carbon neutral in the same year.

“There is no other choice but to change,” the Frenchman tells Cycling Weekly in an exclusive interview. Which is a good place to interject: on a scale of 1-10, how would he grade cycling’s current sustainability? “Four,” he shoots straight back. “We are not at the level we should be. We are on the right path, but our starting point was not good and there’s a lot of effort to do. Our ambition is really high, to get a score of 10, and we’re getting better. We’ve started sharing goals, a vision, but I think we have to develop more, and it has to be a truly common goal for everybody.”

It feels like that is aimed at the sport’s superstars - and it is. “We have a young generation very strongly into sustainability and fighting climate change, but I don’t believe all our athletes are at that same level. We have such big ambassadors and we need them to take the floor on this, to tell the whole peloton to change. You see riders throwing bidons in a forest and this behaviour affects our collective credibility. We need strong sustainability leaders, everybody on the same journey. We need education, regulation and obligations.”

Let’s get straight to it, then. What are the rules he wants in place that would see the sport cut its emissions and improve its sustainability? First up: restructuring the calendar into better geographical blocks. “We have to organise the WorldTour calendar in a way that reduces our emissions, and so that we’re not moving from one part of the globe to the other every month,” he says. “In the Agenda 2030 booklet, it’s written that we have to reschedule the WorldTour and other calendars. So [starting from January] it goes from Oceania, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, North America and then Asia. By reshaping the calendar we can help reduce the sport’s carbon footprint.”

He won’t find many people disagreeing with him, but many point out that the European calendar is also not sensibly aligned. “Within Europe, we should have different racing slots in different areas where all the team vehicles can stay for an extended period of time, even if the riders don’t. A good example is the Classics in Belgian in the spring, and the Italian Classics in autumn: teams are in the same hotels for three weeks, there are races every few days, and this reduces the carbon footprint.”

Lappartient suggests moving Liège-Bastogne-Liège to an autumn slot to coincide with Il Lombardia for racing narrative purposes, a decision which would actually increase teams’ carbon footprint. He accepts this, but adds: “We’re a little too conservative in our sport. We say that it’s been like this for over 100 years, but we can also move the calendar and think outside of the box.”

If the sport is serious about halving its emissions and achieving net zero, it needs to address the enormous amount of travelling undertaken in the trio of three-week Grand Tours, particularly the issue of huge rest day transfers that result in riders flying to the next stage’s start. “If we want to reduce our carbon footprint, we have no other choice but to change this,” he says.

You can read the entire interview here.



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