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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, December 13, 2021

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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Wout van Aert wins snowy Val di Sole cross race

Here’s the report from van Aert’s Jumbo-Visma team:

Wout van Aert has won a cyclocross race for the third time in eight days. In the snow of the Italian Val di Sole, the rider of Team Jumbo-Visma raced to victory again the day after his victory in Essen.

Van Aert rode a strong race from the start. The Belgian champion was right up front. As early as the second lap he went on the attack and forced the entire competition to follow. Making mistakes proved unavoidable on the slippery course. Van Aert crashed a few times but was able to continue his race without any problems. In the closing stages, the Team Jumbo-Visma rider maintained a high pace, allowing him to get ready for his third victory of the season.

"The most important thing was to recover quickly after some slippy sliding. It was virtually impossible to stay on the bike the whole race", Van Aert analysed shortly after his victory. The winner was impressed with the conditions in Val di Sole. "I think today we saw sport at the highest level. Many spectacular events happened. Today’s race is proof that cyclocross can be organised anywhere in the world. I am happy that I could be part of this great fight. I’m now focusing on a training camp with the team, after which I will continue my cross season in Dendermonde. For now, I can speak of a successful start of this period."

Earlier during the day, Marianne Vos rode to second place on the same course. The former world champion produced an impressive catch-up race but lost out to Fem van Empel in the last corner when she got stuck behind a pole.

"I gambled on an attack in the last descent, but I made a mistake there. The race didn’t last long enough after that to catch up with her. I can be happy with my second place and with the fact that I was still competing for the win at the end", Vos spoke after her second-place finish.

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Here’s the Val di Sole cross report from third-place Tom Pidcock’s INEOS Grenadiers team:

Tom Pidcock put in an impressive ride through the field to secure the first podium of his cyclocross season with third in Val di Sole.

The Italian World Cup provided a spectacular snow-covered course, in a bid to showcase the sport’s credentials for inclusion in the Winter Olympics.

Pidcock racing on the snowy course.

Pidcock settled into a rhythm after starting on the second row. He was sixth following the opening lap, using his technical prowess to move up, before taking fourth with four laps to go.

A great battle between the British champ and Eli Iserbyt ensued, with both riders swapping third position and struggling at times in the tricky and unique conditions. Ultimately the Grenadier got the better of his rival, taking the final spot on the podium, 1:28 behind winner Wout Van Aert.

Tom Pidcock:
“I think [he and Iserbyt] both made a lot of mistakes in the final few laps. It was freezing, the ruts were freezing and it was really tricky and technical. It was just about trying to stay as concentrated as possible.

“I think [the race] works pretty well. The snow is completely different to what we’re all used to racing in. For sure it’s a good start towards trying to get cross in the Olympics.

“Hopefully next weekend I’m good. Last week seventh, this week third – I think I’m getting my legs pretty fast. Next week I should be at the front – I’m not saying I’ll be in my top shape but I think it will be a good race. I’m looking forward to getting back in the mud. I think it’s a bit more my thing. This is too much like sand!”


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Barnabás Peák joins Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert

Here’s the team’s announcement:

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux further strengthen its squad for 2022 with the signing of Hungarian rider Barnabás Peák. The 23 year old powerful allround rider living in Girona (Spain) will start his third season in the World Tour.

The promising rider of Hungarian cycling became national Elite champion in both time trial and road race at the age of 20 years old. His performances opened doors to the World Tour, with first footsteps as a trainee. In the following season, he won a stage in the Tour de Normandie by resisting to the return of the peloton and he finished 15th in the final classification of the Tour de l’Avenir.

In 2020 he signed a two year contract with BikeExchange after another successful spell as a trainee, adding a second national title against the clock in the season disturbed by the Covid pandemic. In July this year, he showed his speed in a stage of the Settimana Coppi and Bartali by finishing second behind Pascal Ackermann.

Next May, the cycling world will have its sights set on Budapest, the birthplace of the young Hungarian, which will host the start of the Giro d’Italia in Heroes’ Square. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will start the second Giro in its history with three stages in the Magyar country.

"The opportunity to join Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux was very attractive, because of the team's international stature, the composition with riders of different nationalities, mixed with the traditional Belgian cycling values. I already had the opportunity to make a first impression of my new environment and I especially noticed the family atmosphere and the professionalism. I know the team goals and I am determined to contribute as much as I can to achieve them. In my case, this will often be as a part of the sprint train, a role which should suit me well. With the help of the performance team I'd like to progress in this role as well as in all time trial and aero disciplines, because I love meticulous preparatory work. By working hard, I hope to achieve my dream to take part in the next Giro. Not only because this would be my first Grand Tour, but also because it starts in Budapest, the city I know so well!" - Barnabás Peák

"For next season we've got a clear strategy with our sprinters, so we're pleased that thanks to Barnabás Peák we found a rider who fits perfectly in our lead-out trains. The previous two years in the World Tour weren't always easy for him, but we're convinced that in our team he can become a strong and stable part of the sprint trains. His big engine and the results in his first U23 years were very promising, so he showed that he has the potential to make a next step in his career. Our performance staff will help Barnabás to fulfill his desire to progress." - Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager)

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