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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, November 26, 2021

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this. - Terry Pratchett


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Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, Vol 1, 1903 - 1975 is available as an audiobook here.


23-year-old Italian Alex Konychev continues with Team BikeExchange

The team sent me this news:

23-year-old Alex Konychev has re-signed with Team BikeExchange for another year after turning professional with the squad in 2020.

The Italian neo-pro had a disrupted initial season as a WorldTour rider after suffering from COVID-19, but since recovered well and has settled his way into professional peloton throughout 2021, displaying his great strength and potential for the future, after some standout performances when assisting his teammates.

Alexander Konychev racing in the 2020 Ruta del Sol. Sirotti photo

Brent Copeland, General Manager on Konychev:
“Konychev is still young, and we see a lot of potential in him. He is becoming more mature as a rider and as a person, and this is an important phase of his career. We will do everything possible to support his growth, and we are sure he will demonstrate his talent with strong performances already in the first few races of the new season.

"It’s a crucial moment for his professional career. He has only been with us for two seasons, but has already acquired the spirit of GreenEDGE Cycling and for us, this is also very important.”

Alex Konychev:
“I chose to stay in Team BikeExchange because, first of all, it is the squad that really believed in me and that offered me the contract to become a professional rider. After two years of gaining experience, I am increasingly convinced that it is a team where, not only can you work very well for others, but a team that also offers the best conditions to continue professional growth.

For next season, I hope to be able to repay the trust that the team has given me, and this will also include the achievement of significant results.”

Alex Konychev:
Date of Birth: 25th July 1998 (23)
Nationality: Italian
Joined GreenEDGE Cycling: 2020
New Contract: 2022

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Vini Zabù to become a sponsor of Team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert

Here’s the team’s announcement:

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux can rely on an additional partner for 2022. Indeed, Italian brand Vini Zabù joins the family of sponsors of the UCI World Team from Belgium. Vini Zabù is the Sicilian branch of Italian wine group Vini Fantini, which is historically involved in Italian and international cycling, lately as title sponsor of an Italian Pro Team since 2020. Vini Zabù will appear on the race kits of the riders of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, which will be unveiled in the beginning of 2022.

Team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert is presented as part of the opening ceremonies of the 2021 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

Moreover, the products of the Italian organization will be consumed throughout the season by the riders, staff and partners of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. The partnership was presented this Wednesday at Vini Fantini headquarters in Ortona, Italy, in the presence of CEO Jean-François BOURLART, COO Maxime SEGERS, Sports Director Valerio PIVA and Rider Lorenzo ROTA and of the Sciotti family.

Vigneti Zabù is the Sicilian winery part of Fantini Group. The winery is located in the heart is the wine region: Sambuca di Sicilia,  in The province of Agrigento. An extraordinary area untouched by factories and rich in oenology history with ancient vineyards of over 60 years old, Sambuca di Sicilia is a land of generations of vintners. With bright skies and the crystal-clear waters of Lake Arancio. Vigneti Zabù works in the area to preserve the nature and ensuring the highest quality of the grapes.

Led by Jean-François Bourlart since the takeover in 2001 of the amateur club VC Ath, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert has climbed the cycling ladder step by step. It competed at Continental level in 2008 before becoming Pro Continental in 2011, achieving success in the Amstel Gold Race 2016 thanks to Enrico Gasparotto and three overall victories in the UCI Europe Tour 2017, 2018 and 2019. In 2021, the structure acquired a World Tour license and compete in the most prestigious events, with a roster of thirty riders from eleven different nationalities. During its first year in the elite peloton, the team made resounding debuts in the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España with a stage victory in both Grand Tours, in addition to nine days leading the general classification of the Vuelta.

“We are delighted by this partnership with the great Italian group Vini Fantini, and in particular its subsidiary Vini Zabù. We have had a long love affair with Italy, not only because we have welcomed many Italian riders in our team, but also because of two key moments in our team’s history: the victory in the 2016 Amstel Gold Race thanks to Enrico Gasparotto, an Italian rider, as well as the magnificent success of Taco Van der Hoorn on our very first Giro d’Italia, which triggered then a series of victories for the team.

"In addition, our structure is renown for its friendliness and family aspect. We had the opportunity to taste the Vini Zabù products during our team building and share them with our partners during our end of season Gala, and they will greatly contribute to maintaining the family atmosphere! We look forward to defending the colors of Vini Zabù and helping them to further establish themselves in the Belgian and French market." - Jean-François Bourlart (CEO Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert)

"After thirteen years of presence in Italian teams with the group Farnese Vini, we’re happy to start this unprecedented partnership with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. The team is omnipresent in breakaways and distuinguishes itself by its combativeness. Nowadays, the team is recognized for its achievements in the most prestigious cycling events.

"Just like our group, the structure stands for a clean and honest sport as it is driven by passion and love for the job. The presence of the Vini Zabù logo on the team kits offers a great guarantee in terms of visibility for Vini Zabù on the sportive side, but also in commercial terms. Belgium is one of our major export partners, so it is a fantastic opportunity for our group to reinforce its position on the market." - Giulia Sciotti (Marketing Manager Vini Fantini)


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Mark Cavendish discharged from hospital

Here's the report from Agence France-Presse:

Mark Cavendish has been discharged from the hospital where he was convalescing from a collapsed lung incurred in a track cycling crash and is back home in England, according to Belgian media.

Mark Cavendish racing at the Ghent 6-Day before his crash.

Cavendish rides for Belgian team Deceuninck Quick-Step and was left with two broken ribs and a collapsed lung last Sunday when crashing at the popular track event, the Six Days of Ghent.

"The collapsed lung developed very positively and he was able to leave the University Hospital," daily newspaper Het Nieuwsblad said on Thursday. The report said Cavendish's wife had driven the 36-year-old Manxman back to their home in Essex.

There are still doubts as to where Cavendish will race next season amid contract talks. "You can't put a contract under the nose of a man in a hospital bed," Cavendish's team boss Patrick Lefevere said earlier in the week. The rider wants to stay in cycling after his racing days are over, as a team director, and also wants to ride one final road-race season, according to Lefevere.

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