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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, May 4, 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.

To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact. - Charles Darwin

Tour de France: 2019

Upcoming races:

Cancelled & postponed races:

Latest completed racing:

Team BikeExchange names Giro squad

The team sent me this:

Team BikeExchange named its eight-rider Giro d’Italia squad today, built around Briton Simon Yates, who returns with high ambitions of adding a second Grand Tour title to his list of growing palmarès.

Simon Yates

Simon Yates (shown having won the 2018 Vuelta a España) will lead Team BikeExchange at the Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

Yates, who finished eighth overall in 2019 and spent 13 days in the Maglia Rosa in 2018, has experience in challenging for a Grand Tour title, having won the 2018 Vuelta a España and finished seventh overall at the 2017 Tour de France.

The Team BikeExchange leader will line-up for this year's edition, older and wiser, with confidence in his preparation, after recently dominating the five-day Tour of the Alps.

Team BikeExchange at the 2021 Giro d’Italia:
Michael Hepburn (AUS) 6th appearance
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN) 6th appearance
Tanel Kangert (EST) 9th appearance
Cameron Meyer (AUS) 6th appearance
Mikel Nieve (SPA) 7th appearance
Nick Schultz (AUS) Debut appearance
Callum Scotson (AUS) Debut appearance
Simon Yates (GBR) 4th appearance

The 28-year-old will be supported in the high mountains by experienced Grand Tour riders in Spanish stage winner Mikel Nieve and Estonian Tanel Kangert. While diverse domestiques Dane Chris Juul-Jensen, Australian champion Cameron Meyer and compatriot Michael Hepburn bring the horsepower to guide their British leader through the challenging three-week tour.

The team will also line-up with two talented Australian debutants in 24-year-old Callum Scotson and 26-year-old Nick Schultz, providing balance and rejuvenating the eight-man squad.

The Course:
Bookended by individual time trials, the 2021 edition begins in Turin before the first summit finish on stage four in Sestola in the Apennines.

The second week of the race will offer several exciting moments, starting with stage nine which has a gravel hilltop finish, stage 11 which is a Strade Bianche-like stage on the unpaved roads between Perugia and Montalcino, and then stage 14 which boasts a summit finish on the brutal climb of Zoncolan.

The race, as always, will be decided in the third week by the alpine mountain stages before the definitive conclusion in Milan, after 3479 kilometres of racing, with a flat individual time trial.

Simon Yates:
“The Giro d’Italia is a race that I really enjoy. I hope this year I can have clear run and a good go at fighting for the win and we have a very strong team to try to do that.

"I like so many things about the Giro; the parcours, the food, the fans. I really enjoy racing in Italy, it is a great place to be a bike racer. This year the route looks very hard, of course there are some differences to the previous years that I have raced at the Giro d’Italia. It is bookended with two time trials and time trials are not my speciality, so we will try to limit the losses there.

"There will also be a couple of stages with gravel roads, one stage with a long section of gravel and another with around one and a half kilometres of gravel on a climb to the finish, so it is going to be a testing race as always. The Giro d’Italia is never easy.

"The team we have for the race is most of the team that we had at the Tour of the Alps and we really gelled well together there. We have been working very well and everybody is just looking forward to getting the race started now.”

Brent Copeland – General Manager:
“We go into this year's Giro d'Italia with even more ambition than in the past due to the unfortunate exclusion from the 2020 edition of the race. The Giro d'Italia has always been a special race for Team BikeExchange and both the riders and staff have worked remarkably hard at getting to this event in the best condition possible, which inspires us even more so to put on some exciting racing.

"We are forever grateful to all our sponsors and partners and in particular to Gerry Ryan for the extraordinary support during these challenging times, and a special mention also to the race organizers RCS who have done a fantastic job at getting the event organised in the safest and healthiest way possible. We wish everyone an enjoyable three weeks of racing and look forward to seeing you on the road.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“This year’s race certainly has some traditional aspects, with a backend heavy parcour and some of the most brutal climbs in the world of pro cycling. The month of May can also dish up some surprises on the weather front.

"These are aspects we see year in, year out, but the difference for me is the obstacles that we will see prior, like the gravel stages. One of these stages has a gravel summit finish and the other one has more than 30km of gravel sectors; it’s basically a mini Strade Bianche but tougher and more technical.

"There’s no surprise that we have put a lot of effort into preparing for this year’s Giro d’Italia, Simon is one of the favourites going into the race and we are relishing the challenge. We have built a team around him which has a very good balance of experience and youth and I know the entire team is excited about going up against the best riders in the world as we support our leader to the maximum in this year’s edition.”

Team BikeExchange – Giro d’Italia Team Stats:
Youngest rider: Callum Scotson (24)
Oldest rider: Mikel Nieve (36)
Giro d’Italia debutants: Callum Scotson & Nick Schultz
Most Giro d’Italia appearances: Tanel Kangert (9)
Total Giro d’Italia appearances: 28

2021 Giro d’Italia Race Details:
Saturday, 8th May - Sunday, 30th May - Turin to Milan, 3479km

Team Deceuninck-Quick Step headed to Giro

Here's the team's update:

Bookended by individual time trials, this year’s Giro d’Italia will start from Torino and finish in Milano, after almost 3500 kilometers. In between, the race will put on the table several opportunities for the sprinters, a stage on Tuscany’s white roads, and a plethora of daunting climbs – Monte Zoncolan, Passo Fedaia, Passo Pordoi, Passo Giau, Passo San Bernardino and Sega di Ala being just a few examples.

In 2020, João Almeida made his Grand Tour debut at the Giro and ended the race as its revelations, after an incredible three weeks, which saw him carry the iconic maglia rosa for 15 consecutive days and conclude fourth overall. Now, the Portuguese will return at the start hoping to be again one of the protagonists, although he acknowledges that the parcours could make for a much different race

Joao Almeida

Joao Almeida in pink during the 2020 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

“Last year it was an incredible Giro. The team put in a huge effort in what was an amazing but at the same time hard three weeks. We fought for a good result, and in the end, I finished fourth on the GC. I would like to be up there again, fight for a nice result and keep a good feeling, which is the most important thing. Hopefully, things will go well and we’ll score some nice results. This year, the mountain stages are going to play a more important role in the final outcome, which means consistency will be the key”, said the 22-year-old.

After being forced to postpone his Grand Tour debut last season because of an injury, Remco Evenepoel is now ready to make his first appearance in a three-week race. This will mark his first competitive outing of the season, to which the 21-year-old looks very much forward.

“I’m happy to race again after such a long period, during which I worked hard to be ready for my first Grand Tour. Being my first race since last August means that we’ll need to see how my body will react. We will take it day by day and see how things go. The most important thing is that I am back with my teammates and staff again, which makes me very happy”, said the young Belgian.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s line-up for the 104th edition of the Corsa Rosa will be completed by French ITT Champion Rémi Cavagna, Mikkel Honoré, 2015 stage winner Iljo Keisse, James Knox, Fausto Masnada – who was third at last week’s Tour de Romandie – and Pieter Serry.

“We go to the Giro with a good team after a very beautiful outing at the 2020 edition, when João got to spend 15 unforgettable days in the pink jersey. There will be some difficult stages already in the first week, and we mustn’t forget the Montalcino stage, which will have 35 kilometers of dirt roads. Like every Grand Tour, the last week will be the hardest and the most important, scheduling many brutal climbs. Overall, we expect a tough race, but we are all motivated for it”, explained Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Davide Bramati.

Team DSM's upcoming racing

The team sent me this schedule:

Giro d'Italia: MAY 8 - 30

Matt Winston - Team DSM coach:
“We go to the Giro d'Italia with a really strong team for what is a tough edition of the race. We’ll face a challenging parcours throughout the event, with the climbing becoming more intense as the race progresses. We’ll take on some gravel roads and testing hilly stages early in the race which we need to be sharp during and remain attentive for. The famous Monte Zoncolan finish on stage 14 preempts the final week which is full of tough mountains, with very demanding back-to-back days on stage 19 and 20 before the potentially decisive final time trial into Milan on the last day of racing. We’ll go all-in for a team GC result and we really need to utilise our collective strength with a complete eight-rider effort to do that. We’ll also keep in mind opportunities in the sprints as we look to grab some day results on the stages that best suit us. We have a nice mixture of riders in the team that should cover all bases and bring a good amount of experience to go for those goals.”

Romain Bardet

Romain Bardet (shown after stage 20 of the 2019 Tour de France) will ride the Giro for Team DSM this year.

Nikias Arndt (GER)
Romain Bardet (FRA)
Nico Denz (GER)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Jai Hindley (AUS)
Max Kanter (GER)
Nicholas Roche (IRL)
Michael Storer (AUS)

GP Eco-Struct: MAY 8

Bennie Lambregts - Team DSM coach:
“We return to the race with good memories after our win and third place last season. Like a lot of races in the area, the outcome of the day could depend on the weather conditions so we need to be wary throughout the race and make sure we're in any important attacks. Confidence in the team is high after our recent win and our goal will be to protect Lorena and keep her as fresh as possible for the finale, where we'll aim to set up the sprint and go for another top result.”

Susanne Andersen (NOR)
Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Franziska Koch (GER)
Esmée Peperkamp (NED)
Julia Soek (NED)
Lorena Wiebes (NED)

Flèche Ardennaise: MAY 9

Roy Curvers - Team DSM coach:
“We are really looking forward to Flèche Ardennaise, it's our Development program's first .2 level race in northern Europe this season. With heavy Ardennes roads and climbs to take on for the team, it is sure to be a hard day of racing. Our goal is to try to get a good hold of the race with some nice teamwork and be present in the important breaks. With Henri, Leon and Gianmarco we have riders that are in a good racing flow and who will find a parcours that suits them on Sunday, as we search for a nice result as a team.”

Gianmarco Garofoli (ITA)
Leo Hayter (GBR)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Enzo Leijnse (NED)
Oscar Onley (GBR)
Henri Vandenabeele (BEL)
Hannes Wilksch (GER)

Vincenzo Nibali given green light to race the Giro with fractured wrist

Here's the update from Nibali's Trek-Segafredo team:

Alea iacta est – the die is cast.

Vincenzo Nibali will be the eighth rider of the Trek-Segafredo team which will line up on Saturday, May 8 for the start of Giro d’Italia. Following the last medical check-up this morning, the medical staff have given the green light to Nibali.

Vincenzo Nibali

Nibali finishing stage nine of the 2020 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

Trek-Segafredo physician Emilio Magni, who has followed Nibali throughout the recovery, explains the situation: “The surgeon who operated on Vincenzo, Dr. Tami, first performed X-rays on the wrist, which showed that the plate was well-positioned and there were no dislocations. It means that the wrist has responded well to the stresses created during the last week of intense training. The following check-up has confirmed the good recovery of functionality and articulation, allowing Dr. Tami to give his approval to Vincenzo’s return to racing. Everything went in the best way.”

“It was a race against time and I’m very happy that I’ve won it,” said the Shark. “Since the day of the crash, April 14, I’ve done nothing but think about recovering in order to be at the Giro. I don’t have the top condition, which I had hoped to achieve without the crash, and I’ll also need a lot of caution pedaling in the peloton. But now, finally, I can only think about the competition that, now more than ever, will be to experience day by day. I want to say it clearly: it’s useless and impossible to say if I’ll target the general classification or I’ll aim for stage wins. I want to try to leave a mark on the Giro, but I’ll only understand how to do it along the way.”

Nibali is added as one of Trek-Segafredo’s leaders along with Bauke Mollema and Giulio Ciccone. The attacking trident with which the team had planned to face the Corsa Rosa at the beginning of the season is thus confirmed.

“Every piece is in place, we are ready for the challenge,” said General Manager Luca Guercilena. “We’re very happy to have Vincenzo at the start and, above all, we’re excited to have the trio of captains we are hoping will race the Giro as protagonists. Their technical characteristics and their team play will be the key to cultivate our ambitions.”

If Nibali, Mollema and Ciccone will share the leadership in the hardest stages, Trek-Segafredo will have a single reference for the sprints: Matteo Moschetti.

Our capable leaders will need great support and the domestique squad is a very balanced mix of experience and skill for every need: Gianluca Brambilla, Koen de Kort, Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier and Jacopo Mosca.

“Our directors Kim Andersen, Adriano Baffi and Paolo Slongo know they can count on a reliable and versatile team. Moschetti will have several chances to show his class and has full confidence. Brambilla, de Kort, Ghebreigzabhier and Mosca will be very precious elements: their contribution will be fundamental and not only as domestiques.”

Trek-Segafredo lineup for the 104th Giro d’Italia
Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)
Bauke Mollema (NED)
Giulio Ciccone (ITA)
Gianluca Brambilla (ITA)
Koen de Kort (NED)
Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (ERI)
Jacopo Mosca (ITA)
Matteo Moschetti (ITA)

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