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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, July 30, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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

A scientist in his laboratory is not a mere technician: he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him as though they were fairy tales. - Marie Curie

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Peter Sagan and Pascal Ackermann to leave Bora-hansgrohe at the end of the season

Editor: Sagan is thought to ride for TotalEnergies next year and Ackermann is linked to UAE Team Emirates

The team sent me this press release:

The departure of Sagan and Ackermann heralds a significant change that was guided by strategic decisions. The successful path that the team has taken in the past is still to be continued. BORA - hansgrohe wishes both riders the very best and a successful future.

Peter Sagan

Peer Sagan winning stage 10 of the 2021 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

"I would firstly like to say that both riders are important parts of our team and we have been able to celebrate many successes together over the past years. For this, I am grateful. There are different reasons why we are parting ways now. As far as Peter is concerned, we were in negotiations until the end. Of course, I can't disclose details, but both sides worked constructively on solutions and we both wanted to proceed into the future together. However, we have also developed as a team, and we aim to continue this development. We have already made some strategic decisions and ultimately, Peter decided that there is another option available to him that is more in line with his ideas. I have full respect for that. Nevertheless, it is a great shame, because Peter is part of our success story and has contributed much to our development. All of us at BORA - hansgrohe will always be grateful for that.

"Pascal also had an offer from us. He turned pro with the team and I think we also contributed a lot to developing him into one of the best sprinters in the peloton. We would have loved to continue working with Pascal, but he decided it was time for something new. A change of pace can sometimes be important, I can understand that, but I would have preferred him to take on the coming years with us.

Pascal Ackermann

Pascal Ackermann winning stage two of this year's Settimana Italiana.

"I am sure that these will be exciting years for BORA - hansgrohe, because we are now entering a phase of change. We are constantly re-evaluating, because standing still means going backwards. We did not achieve all of our goals last year, for various reasons, but our standards are very high. This is the reason we have already started to reorganise ourselves for the future. More about that will be revealed in the coming weeks.

"I would like to wish Peter and Pascal the very best for their sporting futures, but first of all we will try to achieve one or two victories together for BORA - hansgrohe this year." - Ralph Denk, Team Manager

"Today, I would like to announce that a cycle is closing in my professional career and that I will not renew my contract with BORA - hansgrohe beyond the end of the 2021 season.

"I would like to express my appreciation to Ralph Denk, Willi Bruckbauer, the team sponsors, all my teammates, and the entire staff of BORA - hansgrohe for their support and their confidence in me during these five seasons. We have achieved so many things and even in difficult times, we stuck together. I think that we weren't just teammates, we were part of a big family.

"I have no doubt that the five seasons I spent in BORA - hansgrohe were among the most prolific of my career and some of my most memorable moments happened during that period. I became the first rider to claim three consecutive World Championships, I had the honor of winning Paris-Roubaix. I scored my 100th professional victory while wearing the BORA - hansgrohe colors, I won my record-breaking seventh green jersey in the Tour de France and my first ever ciclamino jersey in the Giro d'Italia.

"However, after a long and thorough discussion with my own management and under a mutual agreement with BORA - hansgrohe, we came to the decision that it would be best if my cycle in the team came to a close and that a new chapter opened in my career. Change is part of life and growth.

"I'm sure BORA - hansgrohe will continue to be successful and I wish them all the best in the coming seasons." - Peter Sagan

"I am very grateful for the time that I’ve spent with the team. It has been the most formative of my still young career as a professional rider. I am particularly grateful that the team gave me the space to develop into a sprint captain. That’s not always easy to come by. I will especially remember the moments during the 2019 Giro, where I won the ciclamino jersey. And also my victory at Eschborn-Frankfurt, these are moments that you don't forget. However, the career of a professional cyclist is limited. And during this time, I’d like to gain further experiences and to continuously develop myself. That's why I’ve decided to take a different path, a decision that was anything but easy for me. I would like to thank the entire team, but especially my teammates, who have always believed in me. I wish you all the very best." – Pascal Ackermann

"That a small team like ours was able to sign the current World Champion Peter Sagan five years ago was not only a dream come true for myself and a true sensation. It was also the best thing that could happen to us as a team and as a sponsor. We experienced significant sporting success and numerous memorable moments together with Peter.

"He has been an inspiration to all of us and a great brand ambassador for BORA. But no matter how big the successes were, as a person, Peter has never changed, he has remained a humble person, friendly and respectful. Peter is a friend of our company and our people, and he will always remain so.

"Pascal turned pro in our team at 22 years of age, and it has been impressive to see how fast he became a leader. He remained the friendly and open person who was always a very welcomed guest at our events and appreciated by our partners. Like Peter, a perfect ambassador for BORA.

"Personally, I feel sorry that both will be leaving the team, but the BORA family says a big thank you and sends all the best for their future. We are known for hospitality, and this also means that in the future, Peter and Pascal will always be welcome at BORA.” – Willi Bruckbauer, Founder and CEO BORA

"On behalf of the entire Hansgrohe Group, I would like to extend a sincere thanks to Pascal Ackermann and Peter Sagan for their many sporting successes and unforgettable moments. Both have been an important part of the impressive progression of the BORA – hansgrohe pro cycling team. We wish both riders all the best for their future careers." - Hans-Jürgen Kalmbach, Chairman of the Executive Board, Hansgrohe SE.

Simon Yates to lead Team BikeExchange at Clasica San Sebastian

The team sent me this:

Team BikeExchange is ready to return to racing at the one-day WorldTour race, Clasica San Sebastian this weekend, with Simon Yates named as team leader after recently making his debut appearance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Simon Yates

Simon Yates finishes the 14th stage of the 2021 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

The lengthy 223.5km race features six major climbs throughout and with an abundance of undulating terrain it is set to be a hard one. The 28-year-old Briton will be supported by experienced climbers in local Basque rider Mikel Nieve, Kazak Andrey Zeits, Ethiopian rider Grmay Tsgabu and Australian Nick Schultz who returns to racing after crashing out of the Giro d'Italia.

Young Italian climber Kevin Colleoni will make his debut appearance at the Spanish race as he looks to gain more experience whilst also supporting the squad. While Australian sprinter Robert Stannard completes the seven-rider team line-up, giving the team options incase the race concludes with a sprint finish.

Team BikeExchange at Clasica San Sebastian:
Kevin Colleoni (ITA)
Mikel Nieve (ESP)
Nick Schultz (AUS)
Robert Stannard (AUS)
Tsgabu Grmay (ETH)
Simon Yates (GBR)
Andrey Zeits (KAZ)

Simon Yates:
“I am glad to be back racing in Europe after my Tokyo 2020 experience. For me it was an incredible adventure and also sharing it with my brother was a unique opportunity. It will be my sixth time racing San Sebastian and my previous best result was seventh place back in 2016.

"The Team we have is strong and the target for us is to be at least on the final podium, but of course we need to see how my legs will react after the intense period I have come from.

"After the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, an injury and also traveling to and from Tokyo, I am curious to see how my condition will be but my feelings are good at the moment. For sure with the Team we will give the best we can for this long and always exciting race.”

Julian Dean – Sport Director:
“We are going to San Sebastian hoping to get a podium finish with Simon. Hopefully he will be back from Tokyo in good shape, but we will only find this out during the race. It will be a pretty aggressive race, as always with that layout of the route.

"We will also have Robert Stannard as good options should the race come back together at the finish for a sprint. Robert has done a lot of work while the Tour de France was on and we are confident he is in good shape.

"Then we have some riders returning racing after injuries and illness with the likes of Nick Schultz and Mikel Nieve. They have worked hard to get back in shape and we believe they can be of added value to this squad.

"It is great to also see Andrey Zeits back racing, he has done some really good work to be back at his level after a difficult first part of the season. We have a lot of variety among the riders we have and we believe we can do well in this race.”

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