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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, May 19, 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.

Maybe this world is another planet's hell. - Aldous Huxley


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Alpecin-Fenix‘s Tim Merlier won’t start Giro stage eleven

The team posted this notice:

Tim Merlier won’t be at the start of the eleventh stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday. The winner of stage two in Novara has been struggling with stomach problems and fatigue for a few days. Yesterday it was decided to let him return home in consultation with the team’s management and medical staff. “It is a shame I have to leave the Giro,” says the sprinter. “But I believe it’s the most sensible choice right now. This is the first time in my career that I raced for ten consecutive days, and the past few days have taken their toll. With my current physical readiness, I don’t feel able to sprint for the win and I don’t want to compromise the rest of my season.”

Tim Merlier

Tim Merlier wins 2021 Giro stage 2. Sirotti photo

“I’m proud and honored that I could make my Grand Tour debut here. This Giro d’Italia has been an unforgettable adventure for myself and Alpecin-Fenix. We came here aiming for a stage victory. I’m therefore very pleased that we were able to achieve that goal and that we continued to battle for stage wins afterwards. It was a great honor and a great motivation to be able to wear the iconic Maglia Ciclimino for five days. I will support the boys from home now in the next eleven day!”

Quick Step Floors renews sponsorship contract for six more years

Unmentioned in this release is that window and door maker Deceuninck will not continue sponsoring the team after this season.

Here’s the team’s release:

Deceuninck – Quick-Step are delighted to announce that our team has agreed a new six-year partnership with Quick-Step, the reference for laminate, wood and vinyl floors. Quick-Step will support the team until 2027.

Team DEceuninck Quick Step

We'll be seeing Quick Step Floors on jerseys for a while longer. Sirotti photo

Quick-Step has been involved in cycling since 1999 and supporting our team since 2003, making it one of the most enduring partners in professional cycling. During this time the team has become one of the most successful and famous in the sport, taking over 800 victories including 99 Grand Tour stages and 20 Monuments, with wins in over 30 different countries, across 5 continents.

Patrick Lefevere was clearly delighted by the deal. “We are very happy to continue our partnership with Quick-Step, who have been at our side for over two decades now. It’s more than your usual sponsor extension; it’s proof that solid relationships exist in cycling, based on trust, mutual respect and shared values. This long-term agreement will allow us to continue striving to improve the quality of our sports performances, to focus on the future and aim remain among the best in the sport. I want to thank the President of Unilin Flooring Ruben Desmet and the entire Quick-Step family for the confidence they have shown to the team and we can’t wait to continue together this incredible journey”, said team CEO Patrick Lefevere.

Patrick’s thoughts were echoed by Mr. Desmet: “The decision to continue our sponsorship is self-evident to us. We continue to grow strongly internationally with our brand. Of course, that has a lot to do with our excellent employees, partners & products, but the many successes of Patrick’s team have certainly increased awareness of our brand among the general public. We also share the same values that drive success – dare to dream and convert those dreams into results. The Wolfpack’s leadership in the peloton is renowned, and its continuous strive for excellence is something that’s in our DNA as well. We strongly believe in cycling and the team. By entering a long-term commitment to provide stability, we are sure that the talent in the team will turn dreams into success”, Desmet concluded.

Team Jumbo-Visma keeps Tobias Foss and Koen Bouwman on board

Here’s the team’s announcement:

News from the Giro d’Italia: On the first rest day, Team Jumbo-Visma has announced that it has extended the contracts with Tobias Foss and Koen Bouwman by two and three years respectively.

Tobias Foss

Tobias Foss riding the 2021 Giro d'Italia's stage one time trial. Sirotti photo

“Tobias is a promising rider who is walking the path of gradual progression, and Koen is developing into one of the pillars of our team”, sportive director Merijn Zeeman says about the duo that is currently performing well in Italy.

“I am really happy with my contract extension”, says the nearly 24-year-old Foss. “Since I joined this team, I have had a great time with nice people. I am in the phase of developing myself and that is why Team Jumbo-Visma is the best team for me. It is a privilege to be part of this team and I’m blessed with that. The knowledge within the staff group is very good. With this team I have good odds to achieve my goals. I want to continue that process and it’s an absolute benefit that I can do this within the same team. I’ve been lucky that I started straight in this team. I am very happy here. We have started something beautiful. Now it is time to continue this and get better every day. I focus on that. We will see where it leads. I have big dreams and goals that I would like to achieve. Over time I would like to become one of the new leaders”, the Norwegian concludes.

According to Zeeman, Bouwman is also taking steps. “Koen is developing leadership qualities”, says the sportive director of the Dutch team. “He is very valuable for the leaders, but also has the potential to race offensively and to go for a victory. We are very happy that he will stay with us for at least three more years.”

The same counts for the 27-year-old Dutchman. “In recent years I have always reached a very decent level and I have also become better and better. I can be of value in every race and in every composition of the team. I have been giving everything for this team for the last five, six years and I will continue to do that for at least the next three years”, he says. “I joined the team as a quiet, somewhat shy boy. I have grown in that respect. I can now act as a road captain and those are things for which I am grateful to the team. The team has taken incredible steps in recent years. I am proud to have been able to be part of it and that I continue to be part of it. The level of both riders and staff is getting higher and higher and I must and will go along with that development. Hopefully we can achieve higher goals together than we have already achieved so far.”

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