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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, July 13, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven't committed. - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Current racing:

Important upcoming racing, according to the UCI revised calendar:

Latest completed racing:

Remco Evenepoel recons Giro d’Italia stages

Here's the update from Deceuninck-Quick Step:

The penultimate weekend of the Giro d’Italia is expected to play an important role in the final outcome, as it features two stages that are very likely to create some important gaps in the general classification: the hilly Valdobbiadene individual time trial and the Piancavallo mountain top finish – a leg-sapping 14.5km-long ascent averaging 7.8% that will come at the end of a tough day containing four classified climbs.

Slated to make his Grand Tour debut at the 103rd Corsa Rosa, which was pushed back to October due to the pandemic, Remco Evenepoel took advantage of his presence in Val di Fassa – where he came together with the rest of the Wolfpack at the beginning of the week for an 18-day training camp – to carry out a detailed reconnaissance ride of stages 14 and 15. Despite the rain that impeded his training, the 20-year-old Belgian completed the task and took a lot of confidence and motivation from this.

Remco Evenpoel

Remco Evenepoel wins the second stage of this year's Algarve Tour.

“It was great to be on the roads of two important stages of the race, both for me and the team, and to have an early look on what will be on the menu of the race’s third weekend. I’m not going to lie, the route is difficult, but now we know it better and this info will be useful in October. Even with bad weather, the roads are really good and being back on my Specialized Shiv felt great, especially as this year I rode only two stages against the clock before the season was stopped”, said the European ITT Champion, whose first race after the enforced break will be the Vuelta a Burgos.

“On Friday we rode the Piancavallo stage, followed one day later by the time trial between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, which is almost identical to the one of 2015 – albeit much shorter – and will be very important three months from now. We recognised many of the roads and the tricky descents of five years ago, elements that can make it very difficult. It was a useful test for Remco, as he got to see the course and discover what the main obstacles will be”, added Deceuninck – Quick-Step trainer Koen Pelgrim.

Jumbo-Visma Development Team prepare season restart in Slovenia

The team posted this news:

The riders of the Jumbo-Visma Development Team will be in Slovenia for the next two weeks to prepare for the restart of the cycling season. The team had started the year in a good way already with four victories and will try to continue this trend in the upcoming months.

Robbert de Groot, Head of Development, indicates that it is nice to have the group of riders back together. “Such a training camp is very important. We have not been together for a long time and of course we have not raced any races during this time. In recent months, the riders have maintained their condition, but now it is time to get fit again. In the upcoming weeks we will work on the condition so that we can resume the season in good shape.”

“Slovenia is perfect for cycling and a good training location”, De Groot continues. “We want to make a lot of altimeters. This location is certainly suitable for this, as we are close to Rogla Mountain. At the end of the training camp we will ride the GP Kranj in Slovenia with five riders. It will be nice to be back racing again. In August we will ride the Czech Cycling Tour with a combined team. There, four riders of the development team and three World Tour pros will start. Then we will take part in an almost flat stage race in Poland. A nice restart of the season for our U23 riders.”

Two riders of the Jumbo-Visma Development Team, Gijs Leemreize and Finn Fisher-Black, will participate in the Vuelta a Burgos as members of the World Tour team at the end of July. According to De Groot, an incentive for the two young riders. “That will be a very nice experience for both. Gijs has previously raced with the World Tour team in the Tour de la Provence. This is a great opportunity for Finn to see what he can do at that level.”

Astana quits Virtual Tour de France because of technical problems

The team posted this:

Due to technical problems with the internet connections at the altitude training camps in Sierra Nevada and Livigno, Astana Pro Team is forced to end its participation in the Virtual Tour de France after three stages.

- Yesterday, during the third stage of the race we have faced serious trouble with the internet connection in our hotel in Sierra Nevada, where we have our training camp to prepare for the restart of the 2020 season. Together with the support of the race organization we tried to fix the problem but, unfortunately, the technical possibilities of the connection we have here in the mountains cannot support all the specifications required by the virtual race. Our riders had to abandon yesterday’s stage, and today we can’t continue racing in Spain, nor in Italy, where we also have limited technical conditions.

We would like to thank the organization of the race for the great support during these days as well as for the possibility to take part in this amazing sports event. It’s a great initiative, which allows all teams to feel the competition spirit again and to show the team colors. Now, it is time to train hard on the road to get ready for the rest of the season. Good luck to all the teams at the virtual race and we see you soon in Nice at the start of the real Tour de France, - said Dmitriy Fofonov, sports manager of Astana Pro Team.

TDF Virtual: Groupama-FDJ talks with Ramon Sinkeldam

The team posted this

“You better call Jake! (laughs)”. The stunning second position earned by the Conti’s rider Jake Stewart obviously caught the eye of Ramon Sinkeldam who, like the Briton but also Tobias Ludvigsson and Fabian Lienhard, participated in the third stage of the virtual Tour de France on Saturday. However it is indeed the 31-year-old Dutchman, Arnaud Démare’s loyal lieutenant, who we wanted to catch up with, barely two weeks to the racing resumption.

Ramon, how did this virtual stage go for you?

I was dropped after 15 minutes or something. It’s such a difficult effort for a rider like me, who is more like a sprinter and who is heavy. You have to push all the watts like it would be a climb. On Zwift, it doesn’t matter if it is flat, downhill or uphill, you just have to push the watts per kilos. You can never really benefit from the peloton like in a real race. Also, as soon as you lose contact with the bunch, you lose a lot of time in a really quick period. After I got dropped, I rode with three guys and then with a small bunch including Matthews and some other guys. We had Jussi through the voice connection and he told us that Jake did a really good result but we couldn’t see the race. We did not actually really know what was going on. We only heard Jussi shooting « come on, come on! ». We did not know Jake was fighting for the win. It was really impressive from him. As for me, even though I did not have to ride indoors a lot, I still know Zwift quite well. I also raced the Tour for All and I ride on the platform from time to time. However, I mostly do it for fun because I know that, considering my profile, I can never have a good result. It is still a really good training.

Ramon Sinkeldam

Ramon Sinkeldam racing in the 2018 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Sirotti photo

You did not have to ride indoors a lot, but can you tell us how have you experienced the past four months?

It was obviously really difficult for many people in the world, and also for us cyclists. On a personal note, I have two small kids who could not go to school and we were then home all day. However, we were kind of lucky in the Netherlands as we could go out for training. I was really happy with this though we had to train alone. Then, you’re also looking for motivation… Your normal routine is destroyed all of a sudden. I did some indoor training on Zwift and other platforms as well. I just tried to keep a good shape but for sure, you can’t train like you’re used to. The intensities are also lower since you don’t know when your first race will be. When we understand it would be August-September, we realized we could keep it easy. Of course, I could spend a lot of time with my family but we were stuck at home anyway. We could not go out, go for dinner, cinema or even to the park. On one hand, you can spend some time with your son and daughter, but on the other hand, you cannot do fun things like you can when you are free.

About two weeks prior to the first races, the preparation is now at its peak?

For the last few weeks, I have been doing some intensive training to get a good shape again. As soon as France opened its borders mid-June, I went there. My parents-in-law have a house in the Alps so I stayed almost two weeks there to train in the mountains, which is a complete different area than home. I was stuck at home for 3-4 months and it’s totally flat here. It was then very nice to have a different area to train, to go uphill and to have another mindset. I could then fully focus on cycling again instead of coming home tired from training and having to entertain the kids, which is super nice but can also be exhausting. It was really nice to change environment and we also had a really good weather. I was there with Jesper Asselman, another pro rider. We climbed a lot, especially for the type of rider I am, but we were not focusing on doing as much as elevation meters as possible. We just had to do our efforts uphill and we made some nice loops. I think we still did 2000 climbing meters per day, which is 2000 more than I do at home (laughs). I could get a nice rhythm and when I came back, I did some intensity on home roads or on the rollers. I am now at home for a few weeks already but I’ll be leaving for a team training camp in France in a few days.

What will be your schedule for the coming days and weeks?

Next week, I can only imagine a super hard training camp. There will be many hours and much intensity because it will last only one week and we have to get ourselves ready for the races. Normally, I’ll do the Vuelta a Burgos at the end of July, so it will only be recovery at home between the training camp and my travel to Spain. We will then go to Italy for Milano-Torino and Milano-Sanremo. Then we will do some ‘’smaller’’ races like Tour de Wallonie, Tour du Poitou-Charentes, Grand Prix de Fourmies, Tour de Luxembourg. I will be there to support Arnaud. Hopefully, he’s fully recovered from his hand injury and is back to hard training. I believe he is. I just hope we can find each other again and have some nice results in the coming months. Every win, whatever it would be, will be important for the team and everybody. We want to get as many victories as possible. Right now, it’s hard to know where you stand. I did some good training but you never know what the level is in the bunch. Everybody is in this situation; nervous, excited and looking forward to the race, myself included. Still, it’s hard to tell exactly where you shape is.

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