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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, April 16, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

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

The time not to become a father is eighteen years before a war. - E. B. White

Current racing:

Upcoming races:

Cancelled & postponed races:

Latest completed racing:

Julian Alaphilippe re-ups with Deceuninck-Quick Step

Here's the update from the team:

At the end of 2013, a young Julian Alaphilippe – who had impressed earlier in the year, claiming a stage win and the points jersey at the Tour de l’Avenir – was signing his first pro contract, joining our team as one of the most promising riders on the U23 scene. Fast forward eight years, and the Frenchman has established himself as one of the peloton’s biggest stars, having clocked up more than 30 victories with Deceuninck – Quick-Step.

Julian Alaphilippe

Julian Alaphilippe wins 2019 Milano-Sanremo. Sirotti photo

The world title, Milano-Sanremo, Strade Bianche, Clasica San Sebastian, a pair of wins at Flèche Wallonne and five stages at the Tour de France – where just two years ago he captured an entire nation’s heart – are the results that stand out in the palmares of Julian, who backed by a strong Deceuninck – Quick-Step team, has continued to improve season after season, until the point he became one of the most versatile and spectacular riders in the bunch.

Fresh off a solid ride at Ronde van Vlaanderen, where he played a part in the squad’s success, the World Champion signed a contract extension with the Wolfpack, which will see him ride for the UCI World Team Classification leaders until at least the end of 2024.

“I look forward to continuing with this family and I want to say thank you to Patrick and the sponsors for the confidence they have shown in these eight years and continue to show. It’s incredible to think of what we achieved together and all the beautiful memories we have. We are the Wolfpack and we race to win. It’s our mentality and one of our strengths, we all go in the same direction, and this is one of the reasons I feel good here and do what I do with immense pleasure. I am looking forward to more great results with Deceuninck – Quick-Step this season and in the coming years”, said Alaphilippe after putting pen to paper.

The UCI World Champion also looked back on his first year with the squad and the role he now plays within the Wolfpack: “I still remember my first meeting and my first race with the team like it was yesterday. I remember being excited and eager to discover cycling at the biggest level. I was the only French rider in the roster at that time and I got precious advice from the experienced guys. I was extremely motivated to improve and show the team I want to become better and win races. That’s what I did in these past eight years, and at the same time, I discovered myself and learned more about me. It’s special to think that now I am one of the most experienced riders in the team and I help the young riders, to whom I am always happy to give advice and help make important progress and become better. It shows you how time flies, but also what a great family, as I already said, we all are.”

Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere was delighted to have Julian continue with the team: “It is fabulous news that Julian has agreed to stay with us for three more years. He joined the team as a fresh-faced 21-year-old, and while we knew that he had talent and ability, to see him grow into the stature within the sport that he has today, makes us very proud. He has achieved so much in that time that it is difficult to begin to list everything, but perhaps the most iconic are the beautiful jerseys that he has held. He really caught the public’s attention when he won in the mountains jersey at the 2018 Tour de France, and then having yellow for so long in 2019 and having it again in 2020 was a bit of a fairy tale. And he followed that up last September, with his unforgettable solo win in Imola to take the World Champion’s rainbow jersey, which was very emotional for all of us.”

“We have seen him grow as a rider but also as a person. People gravitate to him because he has the personality of a leader but also of a fantastic teammate, working hard for the whole team – we saw recently at the Ronde van Vlaanderen just how much Kasper’s victory meant to him. He is a true Wolfpack member that embodies the spirit of everything we are trying to create and achieve and I am very happy that he will be with us for what we hope will be three more beautiful years”, added Patrick Lefevere.

Jakob Fuglsang & Team Astana-Premier Tech headed to Ardennes Classics

Here’s the team’s news:

Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang will face his first major goal of the season at the upcoming Ardennes Classics, the three one-day WorldTour races Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne and the Monument, Liège – Bastogne – Liège.

Winner of La Doyenne in 2019 Fuglsang heads to Belgium and the Netherlands aiming to repeat his success of 2019 when he stood on the podium at all three races.

Jakob Fuglsang

Jakob Fuglsang winning 2019 Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Sirotti photo

“As everyone knows, the Ardennes Classics are one of my season highlights this year and also some of my favourite races. Obviously, I only have good memories of the Ardennes Classics, where I was able to win my first Monument. The profile of the three one-day races suits me, and in particular, this year’s Amstel Gold Race route looks good to me. I am where I need to be with my shape. Last week’s Itzulia Basque Country was the final preparation towards the upcoming races, where we also got our first two victories, which was a moral boost and gave us all confidence”, – says Fuglsang.

“We are coming to Belgium and the Netherlands with a strong line-up, so I am happy to have such an ambitious team next to me. It would be amazing to repeat 2019 and stand on the top step of the podium. I will definitely give my best to do so, especially to pay back all the sacrifices my family has made for me over the last few months”, – adds Jakob.

The opener of the Ardennes Classics, Amstel Gold Race, will take place on a circuit around Valkenburg due to the current Covid-19 restrictions but with the same finish in Berg en Terblijt after 216 demanding kilometres. Two days later, the team will travel to Belgium for La Flèche Wallonne. The 192-kilometre-long challenging route will take the riders from Charleroi to the famous Mur de Huy, where another battle of the best is expected. The big showdown of the Ardennes Classics will, as always, be the oldest one-day race on the UCI WorldTour calendar Liège – Bastogne – Liège. The battle for the third Monument of the season will play out over 260km with eleven punchy climbs, including the iconic La Redoute.

The Kazakh-Canadian team will line-up with a mix of young and experienced riders for all three races.

“The team is in good condition ahead of the races. Most of the riders used last week’s race Itzulia Basque Country as their final preparation and of course the victories gave us all confidence. For the Ardennes Classics, I think we have a strong and well-balanced team, who are motivated to give everything and to achieve great results. We have good memories of those three races over the last years and hope to repeat our success of 2019’’, – says Dmitriy Fofonov, Team Performance Manager.

Races: The Ardennes Classics:

Amstel Gold Race – 18.04 | La Flèche Wallonne 21.04 | Liège – Bastogne – Liège 25.04.

Rider roster: Alex Aranburu (ESP), Samuele Battistella (ITA), Stefan De Bod (RSA), Omar Fraile (ESP), Jakob Fuglsang (DEN), Hugo Houle (CAN), Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ).

Sports Directors: Steve Bauer (CAN), Dmitriy Fofonov (KAZ).

Team DSM announce Giro d’Italia roster

The squad sent me this:

With the start of the Giro d’Italia in Turin less than a month away, Team DSM confirm their eight-rider strong roster that will take on a challenging and climb-filled La Corsa Rosa.

Romain Bardet

Romain Bardet should be on the start line for the 2021 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

Lying ahead of the team is an incredibly testing route around Italy, including treacherous gravel roads featured in Strade Bianche, brutally steep leg-sapping climbs such as the famous Monte Zoncolan, medium-mountain stages that entice attacks and a testing time trial to finish. Looking to build on their successful 2020 campaign in which the team finished with two riders on the GC podium, alongside a stage win and stints in the leader’s jersey, the team will once again go all-in for a top team GC result after 21 days of hard racing.

With strong foundations laid in the designing and execution of training and various other specialist areas, early season racing and altitude training, the team’s Giro d’Italia block will be ready to roll out in style in Turin as they showcase the distinctive two Keep Challenging stripes on their new Team DSM colours for the very first time in a Grand Tour.

Team DSM’s Giro d’Italia coach Matt Winston said: “Once again, this year we head to the Giro d’Italia to go all-in for a team GC result and we really need to utilise our collective strength with a complete eight-rider effort to do that. We’ve got a solid, clear plan formulated together with our experts and performance team that looks to different strategies and tactics that we can apply to really utilise our strengths and bring home that top result. We’ll also keep in mind opportunities in the sprints as we look to grab some day results on the stages that best suit us. With our past success and memories in Italy we always look forward to racing there and getting our Grand Tour season underway. Morale amongst the team is super high and we are all really motivated to give our best to try to showcase our Team DSM jersey in Italy and bring home some top results.”

Nikias Arndt (GER)
Romain Bardet (FRA)
Nico Denz (GER)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Jai Hindley (AUS)
Max Kanter (GER)
Nicholas Roche (IRL)
Michael Storer (AUS)

Team Israel Start-Up Nation reports on Tour of Turkey stage five

We have complete results posted here.

A serious mountain stage in the Tour of Turkey totally shook up the general classification in stage 5. Israel Start-Up Nation’s climber, Sebastian Berwick, was in the mix.

Jose diaz

Delko's José Diaz wins the fifth stage

Over the last few days, Seb Berwick worked hard to get the sprint train into position. He was the first man chasing breakaways and closing gaps. In stage 5, the team roles were reversed.

First things first. Matthias Brändle decided early in the stage to spend most of his time in the breakaway of the day. After a group of riders went, the Austrian closed the gap and showed his strength in front of the race.

On the second categorized climb of the day, the gap decreased a little, but there was still a significant distance between the front group and the bunch before the final ascent to the finish started.

Brändle said he had great legs today. “We worked well together and grew our lead after the second climb to four minutes. The headwind in the last twenty kilometers was a game changer though. I attacked a few times on the final climb and enjoyed my time in the break today.”

The team protected Berwick sublimely in the beginning for the final climb, and after that it was up to the 21-year-old himself to put up a show.

Till three kilometers to go, the Australian was in the first group. When competitors started attacking, he chose to keep climbing at his own pace, finishing 19th.

“I gave everything I had”, he would say right after the finish. “I hoped for a top-10, but that was just out of reach today.”

Berwick moved up 130 positions in the general classification and is now sitting in 19th.

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