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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, March 22, 2021

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

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

Those who say it can't be done are usually interrupted by others doing it. - James Baldwin

Current racing:

Upcoming races:

Cancelled & postponed races:

Latest completed racing:

Team DSM reports on Per sempre Alfredo race

Here's the team's post:

The team were in action today for the first edition of Per Sempre Alfredo, a brand-new race on the calendar taking place in Italy. With 162 kilometres on the menu, the day could be split into two; with the riders taking on three laps of a circuit with a challenging climb in the opening half of the race before the flatter finish circuit.

From the flag drop the pace was on, with lots of attacks at the front of the race. The team rode well as a unit, covering any dangerous moves that looked as if they would go clear but with a headwind on the ascent, no successful attacks materialised. Heading into the finale a reduced bunch approached the finish, with the team committing and working really well to keep sprinter Marius Mayrhofer safe. It was a hectic final ten kilometres and there were a few crashes, which caused some disorganisation in the bunch, with the team losing each other a little under the flamme rouge. Mayrhofer produced a good turn of speed in the fast finale to end the race in a solid tenth place for the team.

Matteo Moschetti

Matteo Moschetti (Trek-Segafredo) wins Per sempre Alfredo.

“The team was very motivated and rode super strong today,” said Mayrhofer at the finish. “We covered all attacks in the mountains and stayed in a good position towards the final. In the last two kilometres it was a bit hectic after a crash and we all lost each other so I entered the finish straight in too bad a position to fight for a top result. In the end it was a super team effort though and we look forward to Coppi e Bartali now.”

Team DSM coach Roy Curvers added: “It was a good ride from the guys today. Our main goal was to ride well as a team with different possible race scenarios in mind. The parcours was hard from the start so we were ready to race directly, but the headwind on the climbs kept the bunch compact. Due to that, it ended up coming down to a clear bunch sprint where we played the card of Marius. All of our riders were committed and focused on that plan which was really good to see. In the hectic last kilometres the guys lost each other a little and Marius couldn’t start the sprint in an optimal position but still managed to finish around tenth place. All in all, we should take confidence out of this performance, fine tune a little from here and then we should be able to even aim for more.”

Team BikeExchange headed to Belgium this week

Here's the note the team sent me:

Team BikeExchange return to Belgium this week ahead of a block of Classics action as they take on the 45th Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne on Wednesday.

The one-day race typically comes down to a bunch sprint and the team is armed with a number of fast finishers in the shape of Luka Mezgec, Kaden Groves and Amund Grondhal-Jansen.

Luka Mezgec

Team BikeExchange is sending Luka Mezgec to Belgium this week. Sirotti photo

The experienced Jack Bauer and Alex Edmondson will marshal the squad through the characteristic twisty Belgian roads while second year pros Alexander Konychev and Barnabas Peak continue to get a taste of classics racing.

Team BikeExchange:
Jack Bauer (NZL)
Alex Edmondson (AUS)
Kaden Groves (AUS)
Amund Grøndahl-Jansen (NOR)
Alexander Konychev (ITA)
Luka Mezgec (SLO)
Barnabás Peák (HUN)

Jack Bauer:
“I always look forward to the Belgian block of racing, it’s one of the hardest, most competitive blocks of the year, but very enjoyable at the same time and racing that I really look forward to.

“Of course starting with De Panne, it’s not a race of the same level as E3, Wevelgem or Flanders, but it’s still a pretty hard race in its own right, so it’s a good option for me and the rest of the boys to find our rhythm and the feeling of the peloton again after Tirreno, Paris-Nice or San Remo.

“So we’ll look to get things started on Wednesday and it should be a good chance for our boys with a fast finish, Mezgec and Groves, those style of riders, so we’ll go and play our cards and hope for a good result."

Mat Hayman (Sports Director):
“De Panne is the first in the series of races back in Belgium after ‘Opening Weekend’ and we come here with a strong team for these races that are coming, racing all the way through to Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

“It’s a good chance to get back into the routine of racing here. The race starts in Brugge and we head towards the coast, so there’s a chance of wind. There will be lots of typical Belgian racing, so it will be aggressive and we have a couple of fast guys on the team, so if it does come down to a sprint we have some options there.

“The main thing will be getting back into that mindset after racing either at Tirreno-Adriatico or Paris-Nice, getting back into the routine that we will need for the rest of the cobbled classics.”

Team Qhubeka-Assos will race Volta a Catalunya

The team sent me this release:

The 100th edition of Volta Ciclista a Cataluñya gets underway in Calella tomorrow. Team Qhubeka ASSOS will field a team that will be on the hunt for opportunities throughout the race. The race has multiple climbing stages and includes an individual time trial.

Our climbing trio of Robert Power, Sander Armée and Kilian Frankiny will look forward to testing their prowess on the climbs in the region. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg will provide a sprint option for us. All-rounder, Sean Bennett, and the neo-pro duo of Connor Brown and Karel Vacek complete our roster.

Saner Armee

Sander Armée racing in France in 2020.

Kilian Frankiny- Rider:
"I have already done the race twice, and I have good memories. I won my first pro race in the team time trial in 2018. The following day, I had a chance to ride with the best young rider jersey, which was nice. It was one of my best experiences so far. It's always a tough climber race, with a strong starting lineup. The stages are similar every year... So I know the parcour a bit and I know what's coming up next week. It will be a heavy week of racing.

We have a balanced team, with some strong climbers and youngsters. We can take some chances, in the breakaways or a late attack, when the other big teams are looking at each other, we can surprise them and show some good teamwork. I'm really looking forward to the race."

Alex Sans Vega - Sports Director:
"Our main goal is to try and win a stage and we will focus on the general classification with Robert Power. We are not in the favourites for a GC result, but Rob feels motivated so we are going to see what happens and how far we can go.

It's always a hard race, with long stages, and lots of climbing. We have two stages (three and four) which are for the GC contenders, but the rest of the days are good opportunities for breakaways. It's our plan to be represented in every big breakaway and to try and gain a stage win. We also have Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, should it come down to a sprint. The team are motivated and the good dynamics in the team will give us the motivation to fight."

Richard Carapaz to start 2021 season at Volta a Catalunya

Carapaz's INEOS Grenadiers posted this interview:

How much are you looking forward to starting the season in Catalunya?

I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been training well in Ecuador and it’s been a long time since I finished last season in Madrid. I love riding my bike, so I can’t wait to pin my number on again.

Richard Carapaz

Richard Carapaz winning stage 3 of the 2020 Tour of Poland.

How exciting is the new racing style of the Grenadiers we've been seeing and how does this suit your style of riding?

I’m enjoying a lot the start of the season. The team is performing really well. In Ecuador we have to wake up early to follow my teammates but I had the chance to see some incredible performances like Sosa’s, Ganna’s and Egan’s in France and Italy. I hope I can contribute soon too.

This will be your first time focusing on the Tour de France as your main goal - have you prepared differently at all for this season? If so, how?

Yes, the Tour is my main goal and it's always a big goal for the team. We want to get there fresh, so that’s why I m starting the season so late. My preparation has been good but I’m not at 100% because there is plenty of time for the Tour. The idea is to get rhythm in the first races like Catalunya and País Vasco and seek some good results, knowing that some riders are in better shape because they are riding since February. We will do our best!

You will also tackle the Ardennes Classics this spring - how excited to try these races for the first time?

I’ve always watched them on TV but I never had the chance to race them. So I’m excited to be there for the first time. Cycling is my passion, I love watching this kind of classics so you can imagine how I will feel when I’m there... people in Belgium turns crazy when these days arrive, so I can’t wait to race there. LBL is a monument and it’d be really special to get a good result there. I’m more a climber or GT rider than a Ardennes specialist but I feel I can perform well there.

Describe how it's been preparing for a longer period than usual in Ecuador?

Good. I feel really comfortable while training there. I have all the facilities I can ask for: police, friends supporting me in the car and Ecuadorians cheering me like if I was racing. It pushes me a lot! When I won the Giro, I made my preparation there, so I think that things that work should never be changed.

Do you think training at this altitude could give you an advantage later in the season?

I think so and not only the altitude but the general hardness of my training sessions. I’m used to training in cold and rain, and that hardness that I add to my training I'm sure it will pay off later.

You did some amazing rides at high altitude in Ecuador. Do you enjoy this and how does it help you prepare?

As I have said before, the most important thing is that I really like cycling and my job, so I am also in love with my country and being able to climb those volcanoes that are the most famous in Ecuador is something incredible. The truth is that it was one of the best days that I have had on the bike.

How much fun did you have climbing on the volcano?

I enjoyed it a lot (and suffered a little bit). I can’t wait to do it again but for the next time I’d need the [Pinarello] Gravel instead of the F12!

And did you expect the stats from your ride to be so popular on social media?

You helped on that sharing it. A lot of people shared it as well and asked for interviews. I’m glad because this action aroused a lot of interest in general in Europe, the United States and other countries, to come to Ecuador to cycle. That is something that makes me feel proud.

How important is it to enjoy your training? 

It's everything. Cycling is really hard, you have to sacrifice a lot: spending so many hours on dangerous roads, you can’t eat what you want at some times and spending a lot of time far from the family. You have to love it to enjoy the sport! But I do and cycling makes me feel good.

You have spent a lot of time riding with Jhonatan Narvaez in Ecuador, how much did you enjoy training with a fellow Grenadier?

Jhonatan is a great mate, the truth is that we were born close to each other but we lived for about two hours away and we hardly ever trained together. This year I was lucky enough to go for a few days to Ibarra where he lives and we were training very well for a few weeks. Even he paid for two dinners! The truth is that we have very good chemistry and when he went to Europe we missed him a lot but I'm very happy to have trained with him. He is a great teammate, a great cyclist and a great friend.

And how impressed have you been with Jhonatan’s start to the season?

Really impressed but not surprised. When I was training with him I already saw that he was in very good shape and we all know the quality that he has and how well he can perform at those classics. At the end they are races in which being in good shape matters, but it is more important to be lucky. I am very happy for him and I wish him the best for the rest of the season.

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