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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, June 15, 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.

Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Latest completed racing:

Ag2r-Citroën to ride Paris-Camembert

The team sent me this update:

Rider Geoffrey Bouchard:
"Paris-Camembert is a motivating race. I am going to be doing it with the group of 'Flandriens' and that will be a lot of fun for me. With Greg Van Avermaet, Oliver Naesen and Dorian Godon, we have a great team. I don’t really know what shape I’ll be in. Since returning from the Giro, I have had some ups and downs. After this race, there will only be the French Championship on Sunday before taking a break. I will return to competition on July 31st at the Clasica San Sebastian to prepare for the Vuelta a Espana (August 14th-September 5th). I realized at the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenges that taking the climber’s jersey at the Giro has caused my rating to rise a little in the public eye. I was even recognized last week as I was walking around Chambéry."

Benoit Cosnefroy

Ag2r's Benoit Cosnefroy winning the 2019 Paris Camembert

The number: 1
The AG2R CITROËN TEAM has won the last two editions of Paris-Camembert with Benoit Cosnefroy (2019) and Dorian Godon (2020). Lilian Calmejane, who now wears our colors, won in 2018. “It’s a beautiful memory. You don’t win that often as a cyclist and this success proves that it is important to be aggressive and opportunistic,” said Dorian Godon. In 1992, the year the team was founded, Patrice Esnault snatched one of the first successes of the Chazal team at that race.

The news:
A training camp at Vaujany in Oisans from July 7th to 14th.
Lilian Calmejane, Julien Duval, Alexis Gougeard, Anthony Jullien, Lawrence Naesen, Marc Sarreau and Gijs Van Hoecke will be taking part in a training camp at Vaujany, in Oisans, which is one of our team’s partners, from July 7th to 14th under the direction of Alexandre Abel in order to prepare for their goals throughout the second part of the season.

Deceuninck-Quick Step riders headed to national champonships races

Here's the team's update:

Since 2003, Deceuninck – Quick-Step has won a total of 59 National Championships with 28 riders across 18 countries on three continents, the most recent title being added on this impressive list last August, when Kasper Asgreen soloed to victory in Middelfart.

Besides the Dane, who holds the title also in the ITT, our team has in its ranks three other defending champions – Rémi Cavagna, Josef Cerny and Ian Garrison – who over the next couple of days will line up, together with most of their teammates, for the National Championships.

Kasper Asgreen

Kasper Asgreen in his Danish Champion's jersey after winning the 2021 Tour of Flanders. Sirotti photo

Sports director Tom Steels, himself a four-time National Champion in the Belgian Road Race, made a preview of the upcoming events: “For the time trial, we have several riders who can be in the mix. Rémi has grown in confidence since the start of the season and is capable of defending his title in France. The same goes for the likes of Kasper and Josef, but we could see some nice things also from João, Ian and Mattia. In Belgium, both Remco and Yves are at a high level, they showed that in the Belgium Tour where they finished 1-2 in the general classification, and will have a shot at victory on a day were the high temperatures could play a role.”

“Concerning the road race, Belgium will be a very hard one and will suit the fast guys, but we’re going there with a strong team and will give our best, as always, although we know it won’t be easy. In France, the guys don’t have the numbers but are capable of featuring in the finale and fighting for the win. Kasper has a lot of confidence after his recent results in Algarve and the Dauphiné and will be one to watch in Denmark, but there’s a chance for some solid results also in Italy from Mattia – who’ll be at the start after a very solid Tour de Suisse – and the Czech Republic. National Championships week is one of the best of the year and we’re looking forward to it.”

ITT (June 16): Ingelmunster – Ingelmunster (37.6km)
Riders: Remco Evenepoel, Yves Lampaert.

Road Race (June 20): Waregem – Waregem (220.5km)
Riders: Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Remco Evenepoel, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert, Pieter Serry, Stijn Steels, Bert Van Lerberghe, Mauri Vansevenant.

Czech Republic
ITT (June 17): Podluzany – Podluzany (40.4km)
Riders: Josef Cerny, Zdenek Stybar.

Road Race (June 20): Banovce nad Bebravou – Banovce nad Bebravou (225.1km)
Riders: Josef Cerny, Zdenek Stybar.

ITT (June 17): Give – Give (47.8km)
Riders: Kasper Asgreen.

Road Race (June 20): Give – Give (227.1km)
Riders: Kasper Asgreen, Mikkel Honoré, Michael Mørkøv.

ITT (June 17): Thaon-les-Vosges – Epinal (45km)
Riders: Rémi Cavagna.

Road Race (June 20): Epinal – Epinal (245km)
Riders: Julian Alaphilippe, Rémi Cavagna, Florian Sénéchal.

Road Race (June 20): Filderstadt – Stuttgart-Degerloch (185.5km)
Riders: Jannik Steimle.

ITT (June 18): Faenza – Faenza (45.7km)
Riders: Mattia Cattaneo, Fausto Masnada.

Road Race (June 20): Bellaria-Igea Marina – Imola (225.5km)
Riders: Andrea Bagioli, Davide Ballerini, Mattia Cattaneo, Fausto Masnada.

Road Race (June 20): Wijster – Wijster (197.1km)
Riders: Fabio Jakobsen.

ITT (June 17): Campo de Feiras – Campo de Feiras (30.5km)
Riders: João Almeida.

Road Race (June 20): Castelo Branco – Castelo Branco (193.6km)
Riders: João Almeida.

ITT (June 17): Knoxville – Knoxville (34.2km)
Riders: Ian Garrison.

Road Race (June 20): Knoxville – Knoxville (190.7km)
Riders: Ian Garrison.

Giacomo Nizzolo makes World Championships his next goal

Here's the story from his Qhubeka-Assos team:

The current European and Italian champion, Giacomo Nizzolo, will begin his preparations for the second-half of his season with his sights now firmly fixed on the UCI Road World Championships in Flanders in September.

The 32-year-old Team Qhubeka ASSOS sprinter recently took his maiden Grand Tour stage win at the Giro d’Italia, a victory he described as an “explosion of emotion” after 11 second-place stage finishes.

Giacomo Nizzolo

Giacomo Nizzolo wins stage 13 of the 2021 Giro d'Italia.

The Italian has netted 15 top-10 finishes this year across 46 race days; only Kilian Frankiny and Bert-Jan Lindeman have raced more than him in our team this season. 2021 has seen him race at Etoile de Besseges, UAE Tour, the cobbled Classics, Paris-Nice, Milan-Sanremo, Giro d’Italia and the Baloise Belgium Tour, among others.

“Of course it’s been an intense first part of the season, especially with the Classics and then focusing on the Giro where I was looking to be in the best possible shape for the flat sprints, I worked really hard for that. After the Giro I had a few days of rest and then it was full focus for Gippingen where I felt really good (Nizzolo placed 4th) and then to the Tour of Belgium, which was an intense race.

“The goal for the second part of the season now is the World Championships, to be in top shape for this event. It’s going to take a lot of work but I’m confident I can do it. In terms of preparation I know that I need to be there without any regrets, working as as best as I can, and then once I’m at the race at we can give it everything.

The 2021 Road World Championships in Flanders will be raced over 268.3km, starting in Antwerp and finishing in Leuven on 26 September.

“I’ve raced a lot in Belgium and I really like to race here. It’s always very intense, it’s always very hard (racing) but very exciting. The Belgians are incredibly passionate about cycling and you feel that the atmosphere is so incredibly unique. For my profile as a rider these roads and the course suit me so that’s why I like it.

Team Qhubeka ASSOS will next be heading to the Tour de France, where Giacomo will be supporting his teammates from home as his preparations take shape.

“We had a great Giro this year with a great atmosphere in the team, working for each other in the true spirit of Ubuntu and that’s what saw us achieve the results that we did. I really hope that at the Tour the group there will be able to replicate that and they can achieve similar successes. I’ll be cheering and supporting them, staying in contact like we always do with one another in the team and lending them all of my support.

“The next steps in my programme will see me at altitude camp for some time and after which we’ll asses the plans beyond that. Those of course will be looking towards the European Championships, where I want to defend my title to the best of my ability, and then on to the World Championships.”

Mike Woods to lead Israel Start-Up Nation team at Tour de France

Here’s the team’s post:

We call him Woodsy, and we fell in love with him the moment he arrived. And what’s not to love? Woods was all we expected and much more. He quickly became one of our brightest stars with his winning mentality and mode of attacking, he delivered victories and came so close many other times.

Michael Woods

Michael Woods wins stage four of the 2021 Tour de Romandie. Sirotti photo

“The thing with Mike is that before joining us, he was always the second rider. The one to work for a leader. Joining ISN, we allowed him to lead, and he proved to us that he is, indeed, a natural leader.

"His success in the Classics, the Tour de Romandie, and the Tour de Suisse gave him – and us – the confidence that he can play the role in the greatest cycling race of all, the Tour.

“I expect him to fight for stage wins and be there in the GC hunt as he did in the Tour de Suisse. The team’s primary focus will be to protect Woodsy and provide all the support he will need.”

“I am really excited to represent Israel Start-Up Nation in the Tour de France, especially in a team leader role. I had an opportunity to lead a team in a Grand Tour, but never at the Tour de France. I am honored to be given this position, especially considering the quality of the team we have.

“My main goals and priorities are clear: stage wins first and try to go high on the general classification. We want to do well on the GC, no doubt, most important thing for me is the stage wins. That’s the main focus.

“I am looking forward to taking on the GC role in the team. I love racing GC. It’s really challenging and doing it on Tour is more challenging, more intense, and much more stressful. But the way I am riding these days, I am up to the challenge. And with the team that we have, we will be a force to be reckoned with.

“I think I’m in a good spot right now. I learned some excellent lessons in the Tour de Suisse that we just finished yesterday, where I was able to fight for stage wins and finished fifth overall. I think we’re going to use those lessons going into this Grand Tour. I’m excited about it, I believe there are some excellent opportunities for us – not just for me but for the team, and I’m looking forward to starting up in Bretagne.”

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