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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, September 25, 2023

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2023 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

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Report: Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step looking to merge teams

Global Cycling Network posted this interesting news:

Remco Evenepoel could be teammates with Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard in 2024

According to a dramatic report in the Dutch press, Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step are working on a merger for the 2024 season.

Dutch title WielerFlits states that under the deal, Jumbo-Visma’s current general manager Richard Plugge will become the team's CEO.

Merijn Zeeman, who is the senior sports director at Jumbo will step into the role of head coach, while Soudal Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere will become a member of the newly formed board. GCN has contacted all three individuals but not yet received a response.

A spokesperson for Jumbo-Visma did respond, telling GCN: "We usually don’t respond to rumours. There were many… Jumbo-Visma with Neom, Ineos with Evenepoel. And now this… Several options are open and time will tell (soon)."

A move of this nature would create a roster that included Jonas Vingegaard, Primož Roglič, Sepp Kuss Wout van Aert and Remco Evenepoel. Both Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step have close to thirty riders under contract for next season, meaning there are question marks over any proposed roster changes. While the report in the Dutch press points to 2024, one scenario could see a deal finalised soon but for the merger to come into effect at the start of 2025. That would give both of the current teams time to create space for a combined roster of riders and staff.

However WielerFlits reports that Plugge, who was looking for a title sponsor after Jumbo confirmed they would leave the sport in 2024, met with Soudal Quick-Step owner Zdeněk Bakala earlier this year with plans surrounding a possible merger quickly put in place. Should the merger be finalised, the team’s proposed name for next season would be Visma-Soudal or Soudal-Visma.

You can read the entire story here.

Tour de Luxembourg stage five final team reports

We posted the report from GC winner Marc Hirschi's UAE team Emirates with the results.

Here's the report from fourth-place Ilan Van Wilder's Team Soudal Quick-Step:

Ilan Van Wilder made a great move on the final day of the race, attacking just before the last intermediate sprint and taking one bonus second that helped him gain a position on the general classification, where he concluded in a solid fourth place.

It was Tobias Halland Johannessen who won the final stage.

The day was animated by Soudal Quick-Step from the moment the flag was waved until the finish line on the 800m climb averaging 9%. Andrea Bagioli and Julian Alaphilippe joined the breakaway, and the former put in a huge ride that saw him remain in the lead until 25 kilometers to go. This brought him a well-deserved trip to the podium after the stage, where the Italian received the prize for the most combative rider.

Minutes later after the catch was made, Ilan accelerated with the intermediate sprint in sight, taking the second that elevated him in the standings. Our team continued to remain prominent, and Mauri Vansevenant rode away together with a strong group that managed to fend off the bunch despite some fierce chasing, taking fifth on the uphill finish in Luxembourg.

“I actually didn’t feel that great the whole day, but on the local laps I was better than I thought. When what turned out to be the race-winning attack, I hesitated a bit hoping the others would go. I’m a bit sad, because I am confident that I was capable of getting more today, at least a top three. The good thing is that I have a nice feeling ahead of the Italian races. Which I will do next”, explained Mauri.

The finale wasn’t that straightforward for Ilan, who hit the ground just a few kilometers from the line, but quickly remounted and with the help of his teammates he came home with the peloton.

“It was quite hectic and the pace was high, with the bunch going at full speed into that U-turn. I probably hit the brakes a bit too late and crashed when I touched a wheel, but without any consequences, so I was back on my bike soon and Dries helped me return to the group. I’m satisfied with my solid GC here, it’s another good result from which I take a lot of heart”, said Ilan after his fourth top-ten result in a stage race this season, following third in Volta ao Algarve, fourth at the Tour de Pologne, and the impressive overall win he got last month, at the Deutschland Tour.

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And here's the Tour de Luxembourg stage five report from Corbin Strong's Team Israel-Premier Tech:

Israel – Premier Tech had a successful Tour de Luxembourg, taking a stage win, courtesy of Corbin Strong on stage one, and a podium finish on stage 3 from an attacking move by Dylan Teuns.

Corbin Strong winning stage one.

With a victory coming on stage one, a good result in the rest of the week was a bonus for the team. IPT rode excellently on the first stage, riding all day to protect Corbin Strong and getting him in the perfect position so that he could execute the perfect sprint, and come away victorious.

“I was really happy with the stage win,” Strong explains. “We came here with a really strong team, and we rode exceptionally on stage one. I’ve been in good shape all season, so it’s a really nice feeling to get the win. It was a really nice week for the team, we rode well together. We didn’t finish the week quite how we wanted, but we can be happy with how we are going, and look forward to our next races.”

Also performing well was Dylan Teuns, who came into the race targeting a good finish on the overall classification, and a good performance in the hillier stages. Finishing 13th overall, he more than proved that he was one of the strongest in the race, climbing to third place on the third stage.

“It was a good week. Finishing third on the queen stage was good, and on the numbers and power side, I can be satisfied with my performances. I wanted to do better in the final stage, and maybe finish better overall, but I know I have good legs, so I’m motivated for my next races.”

Sports Director Oscar Guerrero was pleased with the team’s performance, as they showed good morale and worked well together as a team.

“In general, the week went well, we won the first stage and Dylan did well on stage 3. I wanted the team to finish better today, but we still worked very well for 95% of the stage, it was only in the last few kilometers we lost a little bit of concentration. We had a clear plan all week, and we coped very well, and rode as a team, so I am happy with this.”


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Christophe Laporte wins European road championships

Here’s the report from Laporte’s Team Jumbo-Visma:

Christophe Laporte is the new European Champion. The Frenchman of Team Jumbo-Visma took the gold medal in Drenthe, the Netherlands, after a nerve-wracking duel with [Jumbo-Visma] teammates Wout van Aert and Olav Kooij.

Christophe Laporte beats Wout van Aert & Olav Kooij for the European road title.

In the closing stages of the race for national teams, Laporte broke away from a leading group, including his teammates. The Frenchman's gap was never more than 10 seconds, but Laporte managed to hold off his attacking teammates in the final metres. Laporte’s victory was his fifth of the season.

"It's still hard to believe”, he stammered after clinching the European title. "It was a gruelling race with a spectacular finish. I knew I had the best chance of winning when I got away. I don't think I could have beaten Wout and Olav in a sprint. I felt good all day, so I decided to go for it. I attacked on instinct. It is excellent to wear the European jersey for a year now. I want to dedicate this victory to my family and also to Nathan. I hope he'll be proud to see me riding in this jersey.”

"Christophe was just too strong”, Van Aert admitted. "For a moment, I thought we were going to catch him. He was riding pretty strong and still had some energy left. He knows how to choose the right moment. It shows that we are all strong in Team Jumbo-Visma.”

Kooij was not surprised to see his teammate beat him. "Christophe is a very strong rider. On days when he feels good, few riders can beat him. In the final, he rode very hard. He beat Wout and me on value and is the rightful winner. It is astounding that we have three riders from the team on the podium. It shows the strength of the team. Of course, I would have liked to take the title myself, but I am happy for Christophe.”


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Gleb Syritsa wins Tour de Langkawi stage two

We posted the race organizer’s report with the results.

Here’s the report from stage two winner Gleb Syritsa’s Team Astana Qazaqstan:

Another day and another bunch sprint at Petronas Le Tour de Langkawi. In Stage Two of the race Astana Qazaqstan’s Gleb Syritsa was the strongest, winning the stage after a powerful sprint opened with just 100 meters to go from the wheel of the race leader Arvid De Kleijn.

Gleb Syritsa wins stage two.

“Well, today everything went perfectly, and I learned from the lesson of yesterday’s sprint. The stage was quite easy, but the heat and high humidity made it a bit harder, especially for me as I prefer cool and rainy weather. However, once again the team made a great effort for me and I was able to save a lot of energy for the final and to come to the sprint quite fresh: every 15-20 kilometers my teammates provided me with some ice and cold water, it was important and kept me out of troubles in this weather conditions. I am really happy with my teammates as they were always next to me, supporting me, moving me safety through the peloton, but also controlling the race and chasing the break. So, my plan for the final was very simple: do not repeat yesterday’s mistake. And it worked pretty well”, – said Gleb Syritsa.

After Stage 2 Gleb Syritsa moved up to the second place in the General Classification of Le Tour de Langkawi.

Stage Three will bring the peloton to the hilly roads from Jeli to Baling.

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