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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, August 5, 2021

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2020 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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

If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do. - Lucille Ball


Current racing:

Upcoming racing:

Cancelled & postponed races:

Latest completed racing:


Bora-hansgrohe signs Jai Hindley, Sergio Higuita and Marco Haller

The team sent me this press release:

With Jai Hindley, Sergio Higuita and Marco Haller, Ralph Denk's team is strengthening itself on different fronts, thereby also initiating strategic changes. All riders will be under contract with BORA - hansgrohe for at least the next three years.

"The signing of Jai, Sergio and Marco is an important step towards adding further depth to our squad. We realise that it’s important to continuously broaden ourselves as a team, with races being quite different than they used to be. One has to be able to react flexibly in races. Flexibility is key if one wants to race offensively, and that's what we want to do. Jai will clearly be orienting himself towards the GC with us. He has definitely had a difficult season so far, yet his potential is undisputed.

Sergio Higuita

Sergio Higuita wins stage 18 of the 2019 Vuelta a España. Sirotti photo

We think that second place in the 2020 Giro is not the end of the journey and we will continue to work together to bring more consistency to his performances. Sergio is a very versatile rider. First and foremost, he’ll strengthen the team in difficult one-day races, such as the Ardennes classics. He is a very good climber who is also fast in the sprints. With these skills, he can also go for stage wins in stage races.

Marco, on the other hand, brings a lot of experience for his age, having had many different roles, including being a rider in the sprint train, co-leader in the Flemish classics and also being able to lead a team as road captain. It is exactly this versatility that we’re aiming to take advantage of. He will play a central role, particularly in the spring, and through his experience, will help lead young riders in the races." - Ralph Denk, Team Manager

"I am very excited to be riding for BORA - hansgrohe from next season onwards. I’ve been watching the team for a long time and have admired their impressive progression over the past few years. For my next steps as a professional, BORA - hansgrohe is the right team for me, I’m sure of this. My focus will be on stage races, on one-week races and Grand Tours. I can still develop there and that's what I want to work on with my new team." - Jai Hindley

"BORA - hansgrohe has a great image in the peloton. If you look at the squad, it's a good mix of top performers and young riders, and the team has proven that it’s able to develop young talent. That's precisely why I really wanted to join this team. From my point of view, BORA - hansgrohe has everything that I need to fully utilise my potential in the upcoming years. Of course, it will also be a challenge as the first Colombian in a German team, but I quickly came to the realisation that we essentially have the same spirit. Everything is very familiar, and I quite like that." - Sergio Higuita

"I’m of course very happy to be joining a team that is closest to my home country of Austria. I have several friends in the squad and that certainly makes the change easier. Personally, I plan to play a role particularly in the Classics. This year, that has already worked out well and I’m aiming to build upon that. But that won't be my only role at BORA - hansgrohe. I’m quite versatile, also in the lead-out and as a helper in Grand Tours, and I’d like to use my experience to help the team on all terrains. These will be exciting years to come, I'm sure." - Marco Haller

Team Deceuninck-Quick Step headed to Tour of Poland

Here’s the team’s update:

Ten stage victories and an overall title is our team’s rich crop from the previous participations at the Tour de Pologne, where we’ll line up again in just a couple of days with a squad capable of fighting on every terrain.

Sixth overall at the Giro d’Italia, João Almeida will be back in competition with the Wolfpack for the first time since the National Championships, where a solid ride in the ITT brought him his maiden victory in the pro ranks. The Portuguese all-rounder will have the opportunity to show that jersey on the 19km stage against the clock in Katowice, which is expected to weigh heavily in the final outcome as the big climbs are absent this year.

Remi Cavagna

Rémi Cavagna, showing wining the French road championships, is headed to the Tour of Poland.

French Champion Rémi Cavagna is another Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider eager to show his National Champion jersey for the first time since conquering it on the road more than six weeks ago, in Épinal. Tim Declercq, Ian Garrison, former stage winner Alvaro Hodeg, Mikkel Honoré and Stijn Steels will round out our squad for the 78th edition of the race, which is set to take place between 9-15 August.

“We’re heading to Poland with a strong team and a lot of confidence. Alvaro took a fine win in France just last week and will have a couple of opportunities also here, while in João, Rémi  and Mikkel we’ll have three guys capable of playing a role in the general classification fight. Last but not least, Tim, Ian and Stijn will be an important asset to the team at this edition, which should be decided by the two uphill finishes and the penultimate day time trial”, said Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Geert Van Bondt.

Italians win gold medal in Team Pursuit in Tokyo

Here’s the report from team member Filippo Ganna’s Team INEOS Grenadiers:

Riding with his Azzurri teammates Jonathan Milan, Simone Consonni and Francesco Lamon, Filippo Ganna helped propel the Italians to victory in one of the most nail-biting finals in recent memory.

Denmark held what looked like a winning advantage heading into the final kilometre but some searing laps from Ganna helped break down the gap, before crossing the line first by just 0.166 seconds.

Italian pursuit team

The Italian Olympic pursuit team enjoys its victory.

The epic finale produced yet another World Record for the Italians, with a time of 3:42.032 almost eight seconds quicker than the winning time from the previous Games.

The bronze medal ride also produced a welcome result, with new stagiaire signing Luke Plapp part of an Australian team that claimed the bronze medal versus New Zealand.

Ethan Hayter was also in action from Team Great Britain, with the squad rebounding well from Tuesday's disappointment to win their heat and finish seventh.

Filippo Ganna:
"It’s a dream. After five years working together we had one goal, to take this amazing result – the gold medal. Before we went to sleep last night I said to the guys, tomorrow we are less than five minutes away from a result in the most important moment of our lives. In the end we arrived together and we are happy.

"We knew in the last kilometre we had a rocket in the legs! In the end we kept the gap so we could take this result. I was lucky that after the time trial I had a good feeling in the legs and we are happy, the team is happy and I think everyone in Italy is happy!"

Team DSM reports on second stage of Vuelta a Burgos

We posted the report from stage winner Sebastian Molano's UAE Team Emirates with the race results.

Here's the Team DSM report:

Today saw the Vuelta a Burgos peloton take on a rolling 175 kilometre long route from Tardajos to Briviesca and a parcours that featured two short climbs in the final 20 kilometres to tempt the attackers. It was a controlled start to the day with a five rider breakaway escaping from the flag drop, building up a lead that reached a maximum of almost six minutes.

With all Team DSM riders in the peloton, focus remind on staying safe and riding well together before attention turned to the finale. As the kilometres ticked down the gap to those fell and on the penultimate climb of the day with 20 kilometres to go the race was all back together, as some teams pushed on the pace at the front of the bunch; attempting to split the race on the climb and following plateau. It stayed together though and leading onto the last ascent the attacks started again, with Romain Bardet covering some dangerous moves, before a three rider group escaped.

Working well as a unit, the team regrouped at the bottom of the final descent inside three kilometres to go and started to chase the attackers. With some strong pulls, they were eventually caught with around 400 metres to go, while Alberto Dainese was brought into position by the team before being dropped off by last lead out man Nico Denz in sight of the line. Launching a powerful sprint, Dainese gave it everything all the way to the finish, just being pipped to first place after a strong effort; securing a good second place on the stage.

Sebastian Molano

Sebastian Molano wins the second stage of the Vuelta a Burgos.

“The final was quite nervous,” explained Dainese. “After the last climb it was a long descent until the last three kilometres where we regrouped. The guys did an insane job and I just had to follow them. Inside the last kilometre we still had four guys which was pretty awesome. Then at 150 metres to go Nico dropped me off at the front. It was close; not enough for the win but I’m really happy with the commitment from the guys which was good and we’ll go again in the next chance.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston added: “I think the guys did a great job. Coming into the final it was really hectic. We found each other in a really good way and closed down the breakaway together. We then put Alberto in a really good position to go for the sprint and he took a strong second. It was a nice step today and it shows that we’re moving forward in a good way.”

Alexander Kristoff & Sven Erik Bystrøm joining Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux

Here’s the team’s announcement:

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux is pleased to welcome Norwegian riders Alexander Kristoff, winner of 79 professional races, and Sven Erik Bystrøm, former U23 World Champion, in the team in January. The experienced duo from Stravanger is currently racing for UAE Team Emirates before reinforcing the Belgian team in 2022 for the classics and the sprints.

Alexander Kristoff

Alexander Kristoff winning Milano-San Remo in 2014.

Among the 79 professional victories of Alexander Kristoff there are two monuments, Milano-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders, a European title and four Tour de France stage wins. This latest stage win in Nice also offered him the yellow jersey. The long career of the 34 year old not only brought him victories in classics like Ghent-Wevelgem or Frankfurt, but also in stage races like the Tour of Norway or the 3 Days of De Panne. The former sprinter from Team BMC and Team Katusha will ride for a Belgian team for the first time in his career and he’s as motivated as ever to shine in the classics. There are two races on his bucket list which still make his eyes sparkle: Paris-Roubaix and the World Championships.

Like his neighbor Kristoff, Sven Erik Bystrøm will focus on the classics. This spring, the former U23 World Champion from Ponferrada finished 13th in Ghent-Wevelgem. A couple of months earlier, the 29 year old took 11th in the crosswind edition of Bruges-De Panne. The tall Norwegian also has an offensive spirit. He showed this by battling for a stage victory in the Vuelta a Espana in 2018 or by joining several breakaways earlier this season. Last year’s Norwegian champion fractured a vertebrae when defending his title in June. This Thursday, he is returning to competition at the Arctic Race of Norway with the national team, together with Alexander Kristoff. Bystrøm signed a two year deal with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux.

"This winter will feel like my first day at school. Meeting new teammates, new staff, trying new equipment, … is very exciting and renews my enthusiasm. I’ve always been loyal to my teams, but I felt that I was ready for a new challenge. The Belgian team really seduced me! I’ll be part of a team in which the classics are a priority for the first time. It gives me a lot of confidence to know that, just like me, my future teammates have the classics close to their heart. Also, I was pretty surprised by the forward-oriented approach, especially in terms of equipment.

"I’m looking forward to contribute to the development of the material from our technical partners. Testing and optimizing equipment is an aspect of cycling I love! I also can’t wait to ride my first kilometers on my CUBE Litening C:68X bike! This winter, my new machine will add a new dimension to my motivation. This new energy is welcome, because this season didn’t really go as expected. For example, the Covid restrictions reduced my possibilities to go on training camps, or on top of a mediocre form at the start of the season I also got sick during the classics. I feel that things are turning around for me now and I hope to show it at the end of this season. I want to win back my position among the best riders in the world and to perform at the classics like before. I’ve always felt good in my teams, so I’m looking forward to a nice future with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux!" - Alexander Kristoff

"I’m very motivated to make the jersey of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux shine! The most important factor for my transfer is the opportunity to realize my own ambitions. I appreciate the cobble classics and I’m dreaming of winning a Grand Tour stage. This is exactly what the Belgian team desires to achieve with me, so all pieces fit. I’ve been following the team’s progression from the sideline, especially with Odd Eiking, and during the meetings with the team it became pretty clear that we were on the same page. Their big confidence in my abilities convinced me entirely! I hope to realize this step forward. It’s an honor to race for a Belgian team, where cycling is so popular, and where riders, staff, management and sponsors radiate with passion!"  - Sven Erik Bystrøm

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