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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, April 27, 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.

In the midway of this our mortal life,
I found myself in a gloomy wood, astray… - Dante, first lines of The Divine Comedy


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Jumbo-Visma announces its Tour de France line-up which does not include Tom Dumoulin

The team sent me this:

The last place in the lineup of Team Jumbo-Visma for the Tour de France has been appointed to Jonas Vingegaard. Steven Kruijswijk and Primoz Roglic, respectively the number three of 2019 and the runner-up of last year, will lead the Dutch team. Like both leaders, Mike Teunissen, Wout van Aert, Sepp Kuss, Robert Gesink and Tony Martin were already announced earlier.

Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic (shown winning 2021 Paris-Nice stage 6) will give the Tour de France another shot this July. ASO Photo

As Tom Dumoulin is having a break from cycling, one more place still had to be filled. Vingegaard proved to have made a new step in his development and that he is ready for a Tour debut by winning stages and the GC in the Settimana Coppi e Bartali and ending second in the Tour of the Basque Country. The Danish rider was part of the Vuelta team that achieved the final victory with Roglic, last year.

“I am of course very happy with this”, says Vingegaard. “It’s a dream coming true for me. I always watched the Tour on television, so it’s very nice to be awarded a place in the Tour selection. I am very happy with my development, because I have made quite a big improvement indeed. Hopefully I can get even better. By helping Primoz and Steven I can take another step and learn a lot. The Tour is something different from the Vuelta, but it will certainly be a great experience again.”

“We took Jonas into the team in 2019 because we saw that he is really talented”, sports director Grischa Niermann says. “He showed that straight away. Last year he rode a really strong Vuelta in support of Primoz. He also showed for the first time that he can play a crucial role in the high mountains, in the Alps and the Pyrenees. We believe he will play a really important role in the Tour. His selection is a reward for his good results. In theory, Jonas can be a grand tour contender himself. He also has a good time trial. But he needs time for his development. In that regard nothing is better than riding a grand tour with Steven and with Primoz and support them and also learn from them.”

Roglic has confidence in the team that is being sent to France. “Jonas deserves to be included in the Tour squad. We have put together the strongest team to achieve the best possible result together. To show a really nice fight again. I’m looking forward to be at the start with these guys. Day after day we will have to show our qualities. If we can do that, we are all winners. I am still very proud of last year’s result and especially of what we have shown in the Tour de France in recent years.”

Team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert previews the Tour de Romandie

Here's the team's post:

Less than two weeks before the start of the Tour of Italy, the Tour de Romandie is considered a decisive event in the home stretch leading to the first Grand Tour of the season. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will take part for the fifth consecutive time.

The organizers have chosen to recover the same route as that of 2020, which has not been exploited because of the pandemic. The event opens with a prologue of around 4 kilometers on the outskirts of Oron (canton of Vaud), with a final on a slight uphill slope. The next day, the riders will start from Aigle, where the UCI is headquartered, for a 4-lap circuit in the fairly hilly canton of Valais. The second stage displays a steep profile, with six categorized climbs and a final in Saint-Imier (canton of Bern) at the bottom of the first category climb of La Vue-des-Alpes (7.8 km at 6.7%).

The fourth stage around Estavayer (Freiburg) should be one of the only opportunities for a sprint finish, on the eve of the queen stage. For this one, the peloton will face two climbs of more than 10 kilometers before finishing at the top of the station of Thyon 2000 which, as its name suggests, rises to more than 2000 meters of altitude and displays numbers worthy of the historic climbs of the Tour de France (20.7 km at 7.6%). The Swiss race will end with a 16-kilometer individual time trial around Freiburg, which should confirm the fight for the succession of Primoz Roglic, two-time defending champion.

Sporting directors Hilaire Van der Schueren and Steven De Neef will lead the selection including Belgian Jan Bakelants, twentieth in 2014 and who has twice finished on the stage podium leading to Freiburg. Another runner familiar with the event is Louis Meintjes, also twentieth in 2017, who returns to competition alongside Jan Hirt, Andrea Pasqualon, Simone Petilli and Rein Taaramaë with whom he took part in an altitude training course in Sierra Nevada. The seventh rider in the selection is the Italian sprinter Riccardo Minali, who will make his debut in the Romande race.

Jan Bakelants

Jan Bakelants (shown finishing stage 19 of the 2019 Giro d'Italia) will be on the Tour de Romandie start line. Sirotti photo

Louis Meintjes:
"I'm just coming out of a productive altitude training period before this Tour de Romandie. The first few days, I suffered from the after-effects of the disease that had handicapped me at the Tour de Catalunya, but I was able to get rid of it. I am resuming competition and it is difficult to predict exactly where I will be compared to my opponents. What is certain is that we have a very strong selection, with experienced riders and good climbers. We have an excellent bond and that makes us strong in the race. I will try to reproduce the performances of the UAE Tour and Paris-Nice, which gave me a lot of confidence, hoping to benefit from good weather. The climb of Thyon 2000 obviously inspires me a lot, because it is the kind of long and exhausting climb that suits me. We're going to show off the jersey and try to do something awesome this week."

Hilaire Van der Schueren:
"The majority of our selection is in a sort of ramp-up phase. They trained at altitude and come here to find race rhythm. It doesn't change the fact that we're here with two main goals. On one hand, we want to propel Louis Meintjes to the best possible general classification, on the other hand we will be there to chase a stage victory. I think the prologue suits Andrea Pasqualon, an explosive and powerful rider over this distance. Without a doubt, a breakaway will be able to get a clear field and play for the win, and we will have to be there. Another possibility is that a fresh group of counter-attack will come out along the way. This is where riders like Jan Bakelants, who from his experience has a valuable racing knowledge, could have his say. Jan has already finished twentieth in the Tour de Romandie, and he loves these roads. We intend to be active and attentive at every move, every day."

The selection:
Jan Bakelants
Jan Hirt
Louis Meintjes
Riccardo Minali
Andrea Pasqualon
Simone Petilli
Rein Taaramäe

Sports directors:
Hilaire Van der Schueren
Steven De Neef

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