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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, May 7, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

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

Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success. - C. S. Lewis

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Caleb Ewan aims for stage wins in each of the the 2021 Grand Tours, starting with Giro d'Italia

Ewan’s Lotto-Soudal team sent me this:

During his second participation at the Giro d’Italia in Lotto Soudal colours, Australian Caleb Ewan – who already managed to win three Giro stages in the past – again aims for stage success. Following a short break after Milan-Sanremo, the 26-year-old rider resumed competition at the Volta a la Communitat Valenciana, where he prepared for his fourth Giro d’Italia.

Caleb Ewan

Caleb Ewan wins stage 11 of the 2019 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

“I think my form is good enough to get a stage win, but there are of course quite a lot of other strong sprinters at the start”, starts Caleb Ewan. “With guys like Fernando Gaviria, Elia Viviani, Giacomo Nizzolo and also Tim Merlier, the competition will be quite fierce. Actually, I did not expect such a strong field of sprinters at the Giro. In addition, Dylan Groenewegen resumes competition at the Giro. Before he got suspended, he was amongst the world’s best sprinters so it will be interesting to see at what level he returns. And then there’s always Peter Sagan to keep an eye on… On paper, there are some six sprint opportunities, depending on how the race unfolds of course. And I don’t think I have the same climbing legs as I had at Milan-Sanremo because as I prepared for the Giro, I needed to focus a little more on my final sprint.”

“On paper, I might be one of the big favourites amongst the fast guys, but that doesn’t mean I’ll easily win each sprint. If any sprinter I just mentioned is on a good day, they can for sure beat me. In addition, finishes at the Giro are often quite technical and you also need a decent amount of luck.”

Caleb Ewan already won stages at the Giro, Tour and Vuelta. However, Ewan is now kicking off a new challenge as the Australian is aiming for a stage win in each of the three Grand Tours in the 2021 season.

Caleb Ewan: “The idea to ride all three Grand Tours in one season was actually born a couple of years ago. When I won several stages at the Giro and Tour, I would have liked to go for a stage win at La Vuelta as well. But we had our first child just before the Tour and that’s why I wanted to spend some more time at home and we decided to postpone the plan.”

However, this delay was only temporary, so the plan will now be rolled out for this season.

“Last year, it was impossible but I think this season is the ideal moment to try it”, says Caleb Ewan. “In my opinion, I am nearing the best years of my career and that is why this year is ideal to ride all three Grand Tours. But it won’t be easy of course. Riding three Grand Tours is one thing, to win a stage in each of them is still something else. Also the preparation for each Grand Tour is different. In addition, there’s not much time between them, so hopefully I can manage this well.”

Caleb Ewan is not yet sure if he will also finish all three Grand Tours.

“It is not easy to – if you want to win a stage in each Grand Tour – to also finish all three of them. In the first ten days of the Giro, there are already several opportunities. So, if I could win one of them, we have to evaluate what the best preparation for the Tour de France is”, concludes Caleb Ewan.

Stage winner Ethan Hayter's INEOS Grenadiers team reports on Volta ao Algarve stage two

We posted the report from Odd Christian Eiking's Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team with the results.

Here's the report from the INEOS Grenadiers:

Ethan Hayter stormed into the race lead at Volta ao Algarve by rounding off a memorable team performance with a well-timed sprint victory on stage two.

Hayter was part of a three-pronged Grenadiers offensive on the Alto da Foia summit finish, perfectly timing his sprint following selfless work from Ivan Sosa and Sebastian Henao to setup the decisive move.

Sosa and Henao had escaped from a dwindling peloton in the closing kilometres to form a small escape group, before Hayter joined them from the chasing pack.

The Grenadiers made their numerical advantage count as Sosa and Henao took turns in pushing the pace before Hayter was able to time his final sprint to perfection to take his third professional win and move into the race lead. 

Ethan Hayter

Ethan Hayter takes the stage and the GC lead.

Ethan Hayter:
"I won in Coppi e Bartali a few weeks ago, so knew I was going well, my aim today was to limit my losses, but to win was really special. I owe it to the team who were in the perfect position all day, and Sosa and Seb made the difference on the last climb.

"It was perfect for me as it was a headwind most of the way and I felt good following in the wheels. I was trying to hide in the wheels for a bit, then Sosa and Seb both followed an attack and they were away with four guys. I looked and everyone around me was done and I’d just been following, so I actually jumped across to [Seb and Ivan] myself and it was full gas.

"I’d really like to do a good time trial. It was actually what I was looking forward to my plan was to limit my losses on the climbs and do a good time trial and see where that left me, but it couldn’t have gone better today."

EF Education-Nippo unveils new kit for Giro d'Italia

Here's the team's release:

There’s one rule that must be honored by all teams at the Giro: don’t wear pink. And since we’re the only team in the pro peloton with a pink kit, we get to shake things up at Italy’s biggest race.

Fortunately for us, we’ve got our trusted (and insanely creative) friends at Rapha. Still scratching your head and saying ‘what the actual duck?’ about our Giro kit last year? Well, we’ve got another iconic switch-out ensemble for you this year.

The Giro uniform features the colors of national flags from around the world in a celebration of people from different backgrounds coming together in pursuit of a common goal. For the next three weeks, you’ll see our riders outfitted in the kaleidoscopic creation, and we’re proud to wear it.

EF Education racng kit

They will be hard to miss in these outfits.

Now for the fine (and fast) print. You won’t be able to miss the amazing change out items that round out the kit including custom designed Cannondale bikes, Whoop straps, Tacx bottles and more. In search for the fastest possible fabric combinations on our time trial suits, Rapha tested over 100 materials at the UK Sport Science Institute at Loughborough University. Textured fabrics designed to reduce drag were paired with airflow-assisting smooth fabrics. In other words, these things move fast. Not to mention that over 40 versions were tested over six sessions in a wind tunnel, with final adjustments made to seam placements, fabric tension, fit and garment construction techniques to make sure the suit could perform at the highest possible level.

See you at the start this Saturday. In a ‘fit like this one, you certainly won’t miss us.

Israel Start-Up Nation will have special jersey for the Giro

Here's the team's announcement:

Israel Start-Up Nation will ride this year’s Giro d’Italia with a special dark red jersey, showcasing our Italian sponsor Vini Fantini and beautifully designed by Israeli clothing company Jinga.

Usually, the ISN team races in the blue and white colors of Israel, but this Giro will be different. For the Italian Grand Tour, the dark red of the Vini Fantini wines will adorn the ISN kit, blended nicely with the well-known blue from the original jersey.

Israel Start-Up Nation Giro jersey

Here's how the Israel Start-Up Nation riders will be dressed at the Giro.

Patrick Bevin: “I like this one. I think it’s a really cool design. It’s a nice gesture to change the kit for our Italian sponsor Vini Fantini while racing the Giro. I really think it looks great!”

Valentino Sciotti, President of Fantini Group: “We thank Sylvan [Adams, co-owner], Ron [Baron, co-owner] and the whole team for this beautiful gift. It’s a tremendous opportunity for us to be under the spotlight in the most important race in Italy. We will live this moment with immense joy and as a further incentive to love this sport even more.”

Aviad Izrael, Founder and Director of Jinga: “Wine, Italy and cycling – three things we all love! The Giro-Fantini project is one of our all-time favorite projects. The sweet blend of wine with the ISN colors, items that were carefully developed with feedback from the best riders in the world, and of course it was a lot of fun at the design table! We are excited to introduce this limited-edition set for the cycling world to enjoy. Good ride, good wine, good times.”

João Almeida and Remco Evenepoel headed to Giro d’Italia

Their Deceuninck-Quick Step team post this:

The 104th Giro d’Italia is about to start and Deceuninck – Quick-Step is hoping to create some beautiful memories again. João Almeida, who wore the maglia rosa for 15 consecutive days last year and finished fourth in the GC, is keen to fight for a good result as he makes a return at the Corsa Rosa, together with the help of his team, which includes Remco Evenepoel.

Joao Almeida

João Almeida spent some serious time in pink last year. Sirotti photo

“I learned from last year that the last week makes the big difference and it’s really important to manage our energy, also for the last day with the time trial. Last year the Giro was a surprise. I had a lot of success, but my mindset is just to take it day by day as always. I want to go for a good place in the general classification, but the race is going to be hard. I’m really excited to be here, I think it’s going to be fun.”

“There are a lot of candidates, which definitely won’t make things easy, but we are confident and start with optimism what we hope will be a beautiful three weeks.”

After a breakout ride at last year’s edition, João know that now his opponents will be watching him more closely: “In Catalunya I already felt they looked more at me. If you are unknown, you can still hide a bit. Now I just want to make some nice memories again with the team. I’m super happy to be back racing with Remco, I think we can show some really good stuff together and help the team get some nice results in this special race.”

For Remco Evenepoel it will be his first race – and first Grand Tour, for that matter – after his crash in Il Lombardia last season, so the 21-year-old Belgian doesn’t know what to expect, but is determined to give everything.

“It’s my first race after the crash, so I don’t know yet how my body will react. It has been too long to say I’m better than last year, we will see day by day. The goal here is just to feel well in the bunch again and get that racing feeling again and having a lot of fun together with the guys, because I missed racing for too long. I’m not yet thinking about the early mountain top finishes. Nine months without racing can really make you sad, so I just want to enjoy every single moment spent here together with the guys and feel good on my bike. Hopefully we can create some great memories together. I think you can’t prepare for a race 100% without racing, but that’s the risk that we took.”

“Tuesday, João and me did the recon of the stage to Montalcino. We were quite happy with the course. It’s 35 kilometers of white roads, but most of the sectors are uphill so it suits us quite well. It’s going to be a really hard stage and can play a big role in the general classification, so we’re glad we discovered that roads before the race”, Remco added. “As for Saturday, I’ll just go full gas for nine kilometers. Then we will see, with the World Champion at the start it’s always hard to beat that guy in a time trial, but we hope Rémi can do something, as he has shown recently that he is in a very good condition. I will just try to go as fast as possible and then I’ll have nothing to complain about.”

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