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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, December 29, 2021

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. - P. J. O'Rourke

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Les Woodland's book Cycling Heroes: The Golden Years is available as an audiobook here. For the print and Kindle eBook versions, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Back troubles force Mathieu Van der Poel to take another break from racing

Van der Poel’s Alpecin-Fenix team posted this bad news:

Mathieu Van der Poel won’t be at the start of the Azencross in Loenhout and the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Hulst. After the race in Dendermonde, Van der Poel was once again faced with back pain. The pain worsened in Heusden-Zolder, after which he DNF’d out of precaution.

Mathieu Van der Poel winning the 2021 Flandriencross

Medical examinations on Tuesday morning revealed a swelling on an intervertebral disc, which means van der Poel has to temporarily put the bike aside again.

“It’s frustrating, but it is what it is. The problem has been there for some time, and I'm somewhat relieved that there is an identifiable cause that can be remedied with extra rest and treatment. Everyone knows that the World Championships in the US is the first big goal of 2022, but it is certainly not the only or the last one."

"I want to fully recover first, without time pressure so that I can use my full possibilities. I will therefore only resume competition when I’m completely ready. If I make it to the World’s, that's all the better. If it’s not the case, I'll be looking forward to spring on the road."

You'll be back stronger, champ!

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Julian Alaphilippe named Champion des Champions

Alaphilippe’s Deceuninck-Quick Step team posted this:

For the third consecutive year, Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s rider received the prestigious award.

A second World Title, Flèche Wallonne, and a stage apiece at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de France – it’s been another remarkable season for Julian Alaphilippe, who exuded panache every time he raced with the rainbow jersey on his shoulders. Of course, the cherry on the top was his astonishing victory in Leuven, where a massive show of strength, class and determination helped him become the first Frenchman in history to capture back-to-back World Championships.

Julian Alaphilippe wins the 2021 World Road Championships

Alaphilippe’s performances haven’t gone unnoticed, and after in December he received a third Vélo d’Or Français, now he made it a hat-trick of victories also in the Champion des Champions – which is awarded every year since 1946, thus joining Michel Lazy, Guy Drut, Bernard Hinault and Alain Prost as the only French male athletes to collect the prestigious accolade on at least three occasions.

“This trophy gives me a lot of pride and joy. It’s beautiful to get it just once, but now I have received it for each of the last three years and it’s really incredible. It comes after a season I will never forget, a season where I raced for the first time in my career as World Champion and felt how special it is to wear the rainbow jersey. At the same time, this award is something that motivates me a lot for next year, when I want to give my best again, regardless of the race, honor this iconic jersey and just enjoy every moment with it”, a happy Julian said.

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Tim van Dijke makes early switch to Jumbo-Visma main squad

Jumbo-Visma sent me this:

Tim van Dijke will become a professional cyclist at Team Jumbo-Visma as of January 1. The Dutch U23 champion would initially be riding for the Jumbo-Visma Development Team next year before transferring to the World Tour team. Due to the departure of Dylan Groenewegen and the rapid development of Van Dijke, he will already become a rider of the main force of the Dutch team in 2022. Van Dijke recorded his first professional victory in the Cro Race at the end of last season.

The 21-year-old U23 rider has a good feeling about his early transfer. “Of course I was already proud and happy that I would be part of the World Tour team in 2023 and 2024, but it is great that I am now switching a year early. I expect to gain a lot of new experiences from which I will learn a lot. Last season was already one with good learning moments, and it won’t be different next year. At times I will, of course, have a hard time, but that will help my development. It feels good to take a step up again. In addition, it is nice that my brother Mick and I switch to the World Tour formation more or less at the same time.”

For sportive director Merijn Zeeman, bringing forward Van Dijke’s switch fits within the philosophy of Team Jumbo-Visma. “At Team Jumbo-Visma, there is no hard line between the World Tour team and the development team. Each rider gets a personal program that suits him the best. Tim is developing at lightning speed. That's why we think he needs a challenging program, alternating races between the World Tour team and the development team. Next year, the development team will still guide Tim, but he will also take his first steps in the World Tour.”

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Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert expands its performance team

Here’s the team’s update:

After the arrival of Pieter Vanspeybrouck as a new sports director, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert can now also rely on the expertise of sports dietitian Jana Camphens and trainer Ioannis Tamouridis within the performance team which is directed by Aike Visbeek. Both reinforce the team behind the scenes in the prolongation of the collaboration they started with the World Team at the beginning of 2021.

Nutrition is an increasingly important part of the team’s performance strategy and therefore Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert reinforces the collaboration with sports dietitian Jana Camphens, who teams up with nutritionist Adam Plucinski. During her career, Jana worked with high-level athletes at the Centre for Sports Medecine of UZ Ghent, the Bakala Academy and EnergyLab. Together, Jana Camphens and Adam Plucinski establish individual nutrition strategies for all riders, aligned with the goals and race calendar which are defined by the performance team. The riders of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert already took advantage of this expertise in 2021 and a more narrow collaboration has been set up in the approach of next season.

Former professional rider Ioannis Tamouridis is the most decorated Greek rider in history thanks to multiple national titles, two World Championship medals on the track and participations in the Olympic road races in London and Rio de Janeiro. In the colors of Euskaltel-Euskadi he was the first rider of his nation to participate in several monuments or to finish a Grand Tour. After his career as a rider, Tamouridis became coach of the Cypriot national team and the SEG Racing Academy. In 2021 the habitant of Thessaloniki was already involved and will henceforth be a part of the team of trainers directed by Frederik Veuchelen.

Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager): “All of us have been working very hard last season to step up to the World Tour and I’m proud on what we achieved with our resources during our first year. Our successes the past months and our 14th place in the team ranking were only possible thanks to the devotion of all. Our goal is to become a stable element of the World Tour in the future. In order to reach this, we continue to build the team. Not only by strengthening our line up, but also by extending the team in support of the riders.

"I’m very happy that we got a jump on this and that we could expand the performance team, so we can focus our energy on details which can make a difference. Ioannis Tamouridis joined Frederik Veuchelen as a trainer and we now work intensively with sports dietitians Jana Camphens and Adam Plucinski. Pieter Vanspeybrouck is our new sports director with experience in sprint trains. He will join the performance team which is redesigned to make sure that the qualities and experience of all members come into their own and connect seamlessly. Also our close connections with our technical partners are growing and these interactions yield marginal gains. I’m convinced that we’re on the right way for season 2022!”

Frederik Veuchelen (Head Coach): “I witnessed an incredible evolution since I was first connected to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert as a rider in 2014 and as a trainer afterwards. The step to the World Tour was probably the most important one and required a scale-up of the support team. The hard work of all involved people and the expansion of the performance team clearly bore fruit past season. So I’m pleased that we continue to invest in a more extensive coaching of our riders in the future. After last year’s excellent collaborations it was a logical consequence to involve Ioannis Tamouridis and Jana Camphens more in the project. Ioannis and I are on the same wavelength in terms of training methods and Jana has already reached clear results with her valuable input about nutrition. It is interesting that the contributions to the performance team come from an increasing number of different angles, so we complement each other better and better. Also our riders are enthusiastic about the fact that they can rely on a large team behind the scenes!

Jana Camphens (Sports Dietitian): “It is a pleasure to be a part of this growing project! The riders are developing an in-depth knowledge of sports nutrition after going through the basics last year. We can definitely say that our work bore fruit as several riders performed better thanks to the adaptation of their eating patterns. Furthermore, we saw a better digestion of the drinks and energetic products thanks to our collaboration with our hydration partner Maurten, without forgetting our long relationship with our nutrition partner 3Action. The focus on nutrition is progressively intensified, so all riders henceforth receive an individual guidance. This means that Adam and I follow all of them from nearby and dovetail their eating patterns and the strategy of the performance team. Furthermore, we individualize the race nutrition strategies and test new recipes with the chefs and paramedical staff. The eagerness to learn and great enthusiasm of the riders and staff learned me that it will be an interesting season!”

Ioannis Tamouridis (Trainer): “I’m pleased with the confidence of the performance team after a first collaboration last year, during which I contributed to the preparation of the altitude training camps and coached four riders.  I experience the opportunity to train all riders of the World Team on a full time basis as a great compliment and I especially want to thank Aike Visbeek for relying on me for building his projects since we first worked together within the SEG Racing Academy. Striving for success with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert’s line up is the perfect outlet for my ambition after my active career as a rider. It is probably thanks to our similar vision about training that Frederik Veuchelen and I are working well together from day one within Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. We combine our expertise and both follow the scientific development of training methods thanks to the support of the Centre for Sports Medicine of UZ Ghent in order to make the best decisions for our riders. In addition, the great atmosphere between staff and riders makes it unique to work in this environment!”

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