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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, September 30, 2023

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2023 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

Where there is injury let me sow pardon. - Francis of Assisi

Paris–Roubaix: The Inside Story

Les Woodland's book Paris-Roubaix: The Inside Story - All the bumps of cycling's cobbled classic 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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Tour de Langkawi stage seven reports

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

Here is the report from stage winner Sasha Weemaes Team Human Powered Health:

Sprinter Sasha Weemaes scored a sensational victory on stage 7 of Le Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia, timing his effort to perfection to win at the end of the 124km flat stage from Muar to Seremban.

Referring to the three podium finishes prior to today’s victory, “never give up,” were the 25-year-old’s first words to the TV camera immediately after he crossed the finish line, beating out Arvid de Kleijn (Tudor Pro Cycling Team) and Gleb Syritsa (Astana Qazaqstan Team) on a bike throw.

Sasha Weemaes wins a close one.

“It was amazing,” Weemaes exclaimed after his first professional victory. “Like the feeling that a rock has fallen off of my shoulders. Finally that victory.”

After Benjamin Perry, Adam de Vos and Gijs Van Hoecke delivered him to the final kilometer, Weemaes came off the wheels at the perfect moment, benefiting from a slight uphill drag and throwing his bike over the line to win on a photo finish.

“I knew there was an uphill finish, so I needed to come from out of the wheels after taking the slipstream. The perfect timing was important,” he explained. “I was able to come with more speed at the right moment.”

Weemaes has been on form in Malaysia but a win had eluded him. He did not let this affect his mindset.

“My only goal was winning and I was really close each day. I couldn’t be happy with only second and third. That was my motivation to go one better.”Racing in humid 95-degree conditions has also provided its own unique challenges and Weemaes was quick to praise his teammates.

“The boys did a perfect job again to put me on the good wheel,” he added. “Also, just in the race, pulling me over the climbs and getting drinks and food is so important.”

“This is a great feeling for all of us,” said Luuc Bugter, Team Director. “The team really deserves this win after the hard period we’ve been in and everyone is giving 110% to make it happen. One more stage to go at this adventurous race,” he added.

That final flat stage finishes tomorrow in the nation’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. The team has accumulated six top-six finishes with Weemaes sitting second in the points standings and climber Paul Double sixth on the general classification.

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Tim Merlier & Bert Van Lerberghe to race Gravel Euro Champs

Here’s the update from Merlier’s & Van Lerberghe’s Team Soudal Quick-Step:

[Ed note: This is not a race we cover]

Oud-Heverlee, a small municipality located in the Flemish Brabant, will host the inaugural edition of the Gravel European Championships. Consisting of four local laps in and around the Oud-Heverlee and the Meerdaalwoud, a big forest area just south of the city of Leuven, and one big loop towards Brussels of around 48 kilometers, the event will be far from being an easy one, taking in around 1500 vertical meters.

Our partners at Specialized give us the luxury of choosing from the fastest bikes and equipment in the world for any race. We’ve enjoyed incredible success on the Specialized Roubaix with Future Shock at the Spring Classics and our riders have now chosen to ride the new Roubaix SL8 for this event. The new Future Shock 3.0 offers our riders even more tune ability for the course and the increased tire clearance means we can equip the bike with the super fast Pathfinder 38mm tires. With even more aero advantage and a super light 7.3kg weight, the new Roubaix SL8 is ideal for the fast, hilly, mixed surface of the gravel route.

“Riding the first edition of the Gravel Europeans brings a lot of motivation. I have a history in cyclo-cross and it makes me excited to take on the gravel, I like trying new things, and the fact that it comes now, towards the end of the season, is perfect. I did a recon of the course and I can say it’s a nice local lap. I hope to get a nice result but we will see how it works out”, said Tim ahead of the 159km race.

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Amazon to co-sponsor merged Jumbo-Visma and Quick-Step super team

Cycling Weekly posted this:

The new Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step mega-merger team has attracted its first new major sponsor.

According to a report from Wielerflits, it was announced by Dutch marketer Chris Woerts on the Today Inside television programme that Amazon will come on board as one of the new financiers for the new super team project.

Wielerflits' reports that the American e-commerce company will not be one of the title sponsors of the new team, but will act as a co-sponsor instead.

Amazon has worked closely with Richard Plugge’s Jumbo-Visma team in recent years. Last year a fly on the wall documentary titled ‘All in team Jumbo-Visma’ was available on the Amazon Prime streaming service.

The report from the Dutch cycling news outlet also states that the documentary will have a follow up series which will be broadcast later this year. The new episodes will take a closer look at the individual Grand Tour victories of Primož Roglič, Jonas Vingegaard and Sepp Kuss.

Roglič won the Giro d’Italia in May before Vingegaard took his second Tour de France title in July. Kuss then rounded out the team's stunning season with victory at the recent Vuelta a España. It was the American’s first-ever Grand Tour win.

News first broke of the new merger earlier this week. It’s widely believed that Soudal and Visma have been involved in the discussions from the start with both companies leading the way to become the title sponsors of the new team.

Speaking to Cycling Weekly, former Quick-Step DS Brian Holm said that he believes the merger is the only way to “save the future” of Patrick Lefevere’s Quick-Step project.

You can read the entire story here.

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Attila Valter and Sam Oomen to end season in Italian autumn classics

Here's the news from Team Jumbo-Visma:

Next week, Team Jumbo-Visma will race the Giro dell'Emilia, Coppa Bernocchi, Gran Piemonte, Tre Valli Varesine and the Giro di Lombardia. Attila Valter and Sam Oomen are looking forward to the end of a successful cycling year.

Attila Valter after Vuelta a Burgos stage two.

For Attila Valter, the Giro dell'Emilia, the Tre Valli Varesini and the Giro di Lombardia mark the end of his first season with Team Jumbo-Visma. On each occasion, he will start alongside team leader Primoz Roglic. "I had a few days off after La Vuelta a España. Since then, I have had about six good training sessions and noticed that my form is quite good. The upcoming races suit me well, and I love riding in Italy. The short, steep climbs that we will be facing will allow me to get the best out of me, and I expect to be able to support our leaders for a long time."

"It's been an incredible first year”, continued the 25-year-old Hungarian, who was honoured in his home country last week for his contribution to Sepp Kuss' Vuelta victory. "I'm learning a lot from the riders and staff, which has allowed me to develop well. I owe my current form to the team. I hope to continue this form and finish this successful year well. I had some ideas about what my first year with the team would be like, but this was beyond my expectations.”

While Valter's first season ends, Sam Oomen will be racing his last race for the yellow and black outfit in Italy. The 28-year-old Dutchman will compete in the Giro dell'Emilia, the Coppa Bernocchi, the Gran Piemonte and the Giro di Lombardia. In the Coppa Bernocchi and Gran Piemonte, he will assist race leader Wout van Aert. "These races have a special meaning. It is the last time I will be on the road with a selection of the staff and riders. I look back on my time with the team with a very warm feeling. I have been part of some great stories and met some wonderful people. Next week, I will do everything possible to perform well again.”



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