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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, April 12, 2021

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

The audiobook version of The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1 is available.

I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven. - Emily Dickinson

Dirty Feet: Early days of the Tour de France

Current racing:

Upcoming races:

Cancelled & postponed races:

Latest completed racing:

Tour of Turkey stage one team reports.

We posted the report from stage winner Arvid de Kleijn's Rally Cycling team with the results.

Team Deceuninck-Quick Step posted this story about Fabio Jakobsen's return to racing after his terrible crash:

The Dutchman gave an account of his first day of racing in more than eight months, at the Tour of Turkey.

"Today was a really nice day. In the morning, when I pulled on the Deceuninck – Quick-Step jersey, I had a special feeling, which is difficult to put into words, especially as it came after so many months of watching my teammates race on TV. I love riding my bike and I missed it a lot, that’s why I am extremely happy to be here.

Fabio Jakobsen

Fabio Jabosen winning the first stage of the 2020 Tour of the Algarve.

"It was good for me to make my return with a short stage and get used again to being in a peloton. I must admit that in the beginning, when they went right and left and the bunch had to brake a couple of times, I got a bit scared, but afterwards everything was fine and I even went to the head of the peloton and stayed in Iljo’s wheel, who was pulling, as I just wanted to enjoy being at the front.

"In the first part of the stage, many riders – some of my generation, but also some older ones – came to me to exchange some words and it was a very touching moment when they told me how happy they were to see me back and how they all wished me well. Now, after the stage, I checked my phone and I saw the messages I got from so many riders and fans, to whom I want to thank very much. It’s emotional to see all this outpouring of support on this special day.

"The goal was to conclude the day, but even so I tried to help the guys whenever it was possible. Then, with ten kilometers to go, I got lost a bit and couldn’t be there for the team in the finale, but being able to conclude my first race in so many months makes me proud and gives me a lot of confidence that I will improve going into next week. I look forward to being of more help for my teammates in the coming stages and enjoy every single moment I spend here."

André Greipel's Israel Start-Up Nation team posted this:

Israel Start-Up Nation’s Andre Greipel was particularly looking forward to the start of the Tour of Turkey. He is the rider with the most stage wins ever (16) and particularly eager to grow that number in his eighth participation in Turkey.

ISN brought a strong team to support the German sprinter with his ambitions, by sending the full sprint train (Sagiv, Dowsett, Brändle, Cimolai, and Zabel) to Turkey.

Greipel’s teammates helped him as much as they could in stage 1, bringing him in to a promising position towards the final kilometres.

In the hectic finale, Greipel just avoided a crash in the last corner. Out of position, he had to launch his sprint and ultimately settle for sixth place.

Tour of Turkey

Tour of Turkey stage one finish.

A stage win was ISN’s stated goal in the Tour of Turkey. That remains unchanged after the opening stage and there are plenty of opportunities for the sprint train to succeed, starting again tomorrow with another flat stage.

Due to heavy snow, the opening stage of the Tour of Turkey was both moved to Konya and shortened to 73 kilometres. Despite the freezing cold, the dry roads made it possible to do the race.

Michael Matthews hungry to win Brabantse Pijl after previous close calls

Matthews’ Team BikeExchange sent me this:

Australian rider Michael Matthews is on the hunt for the elusive victory at the one-day Brabantse Pijl next week, having been closed on multiple occasions with four top-five placings, two of them second place finishes.

Michael Matthews

Michael Matthews finishing 2021 Paris-Nice stage three. ASO/Boukla photo

With a strong and consistent track record, the hilly Belgian Classic suits the 30-year-old's racing characteristics and after displaying top form during the cobble Classics, ‘Bling’ is hungry to try and clinch his first victory of the season in Brabantse.

The mixed Team BikeExchange line-up provides Matthews with diverse support for the different phases of the race, from the horsepower of Jack Bauer through to the speed of Luka Mezgec for the 201.7km race, which features no less than 27 climbs or ‘Côtes’.

Team BikeExchange at Brabantse Pijl:
Jack Bauer (NZL)
Alex Edmondson (AUS)
Alex Konychev (ITA)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Luka Mezgec (SLO)
Barnabás Peák (HUN)
Robert Stannard (AUS)

Michael Matthews:
“I feel like I had good legs during the cobble Classics and I’m even more motivated now to try and get a good result during these next Ardennes races. I have been second twice before in this race, it is a race that I like, it is always hard and aggressive, and I think with the repetitive climbs it suits me quite well.

"We have a really strong team so I hope we can have a good race, some good luck and finish on the podium once again, on the top step is what we really want.”

Mat Hayman – Sport Director:
“It is a race Matthews really likes and one he really enjoys racing and his results show that, so of course we will go all in with him but there’s stiff competition out there. We will be backing him fully, as we have been in the Classics and we want to set things straight after a disappointing Flanders.

"His form is really good, he worked really hard over the winter and I think he wanted to come in and perform early on in a new team and we have been there or there abouts all through Paris-Nice, Milan San-Remo and Ghent-Wevelgem.

"He has been close, and we just need a few things to go our way. As we know these races are always close and anything can happen, and we just have to keep knocking on the door.”

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert to ride Giro d'Italia

Here's the team's preview:

Within less than a month, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will appear at the start of the Tour of Italy (2.UWT, 8-30/05) for the first time. Some riders of the team are currently preparing for the Giro in an altitude training camp in the Sierra Nevada, Andalusia. One of them is the Czech climber Jan Hirt, who has already three appearances to his name. The 2017 edition was his first Grand Tour, and yet he immediately impressed by finishing in twelfth place overall. Although he has struggled to get going his new team due to illness, he is determined to repeat the feat of 2017 and 2019, where he almost won the Mortirolo stage.

Jan Hirt

Jan Hirt finishes stage 20 of the 2017 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

Jan Hirt:
"I started my season on the UAE Tour, where I gradually gained momentum, and unfortunately I fell ill in Tirreno-Adriatico. Obviously there is no good time for that, but in this case it disrupted my progress. It was a simple cough and a cold but it was enough to slow down my approach to the Volta Catalunya. Lately, I finally been able to regain my full capacities, I can see it in the numbers and feel it with my sensations. With Frederik Veuchelen, we organized very productive sessions and we take advantage of the ideal working environment."

"The strength that we have, and you can see it in our training rides, is our togetherness. We all get along, we communicate and understand each other. At the Giro d'Italia, this can pay dividends and we are capable of doing well. As far as I'm concerned, I'm going to take advantage of the Tour de Romandie for a final indication of my form before the Giro. In the past, I've always had better legs in the third week. That's how I managed to compete with the best climbers in 2017, and how I almost won a stage in 2019. If I'm starting a race like this, it's not to make up the numbers. It is my favorite race and I am looking forward to showing the best of myself."

Frederik Veuchelen (trainer):
“We came to Sierra Nevada with five riders from the team who are comfortable on the climbs and are able to play a role in stage races. With the exception of Louis Meintjes who is more focused on the Tour de France, Jan Hirt, Andrea Pasqualon, Simone Petilli and Rein Taaramäe are here to prepare for the Tour of Italy. This high altitude training camp is the ideal complement to the Tour de Romandie to polish the condition. The first days were used to acclimatize to the heights of Andalusia, but day after day, we literally climb in intensity as the elevation increases. The choice of Sierra Nevada is particularly wise, we benefit from excellent weather and good infrastructure. Working with a small group favors a more in-depth follow-up of these five men, who are also great professionals. We feel that each is focused on their objective, and in a friendly atmosphere, they put all the necessary seriousness to be at the rendezvous coming May."

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