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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, October 6, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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

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Binche-Chimay-Binche team reports

We posted the report from Team Deceuninck-Quick Step with the results.

Here's the report from Team Jumbo-Visma:

Team Jumbo-Visma did not manage to get a podium place in the thirty-fourth edition of Binche-Chimay-Binche. Dylan Groenewegen sprinted to ninth place.

The Mémorial Frank Vandenbroucke, as the race is also called, started around noon in rainy conditions. After a leading group of seven riders finally saw their chance after dozens of kilometres, the peloton also picked up speed. Timo Roosen and Nathan Van Hooydonck had to let go of the bunch after earlier efforts. With a reduced number of riders, the peloton started to hunt for the escapees.

After all escapees had been caught, the riders prepared for the treacherous final kilometre, including a cobbled climb. It was former Team Jumbo-Visma rider Danny van Poppel who won the race.

Danny van Poppel

Danny van Poppel wins in Binche.

Mike Teunissen spoke of a very tough race. Like many, he was struggling with the aftermath of Paris-Roubaix. “I had some problems with my toes and my knee after a crash last Sunday. Unfortunately, Nathan and Timo had to let the peloton go. For the rest, it was mainly a matter of catching up. A race like last Sunday’s race is not easy.”

“Nevertheless, we gave everything again today. In the end we tried to prepare the sprint for Dylan. Unfortunately, others were stronger today. It is now important to recover from these races. My last race of this season awaits on Sunday with Paris-Tours.”

Sports director Frans Maassen could not blame his riders. “The will was definitely there, but the legs didn’t cooperate today. We are not looking for excuses, but it isn’t easy to recover from the grueling previous race in a day and a half. For some guys, finishing today was the maximum they could do. We will take this baggage to the next race. I am proud that the guys gave their all today. Motivation wasn’t the issue here.”

Tre Valli Varesine reports

We posted the report from winner Alessandro De Marchi's UAE Team Emirates with the results.

Here's the report from Team Bora-hansgrohe:

After the peloton left Busto Arsizio, the 196.7 km long course initially ran flat until the riders were to take on ten laps with multiple demanding climbs before the winner was decided in the finishing town of Varese. On the hilly course, the race was, as expected, characterised by constant attacks. BORA-hansgrohe was represented by Felix Grossschartner and Matteo Fabbro in the reduced field, but the two were ultimately unable to ride for a top placing at the business end of the race. The victory went to Alessandro De Marchi, who managed to go clear from a larger leading group ahead of the finale.

Alessandro De MArchi

Alessandro De Marchi takes the win. ISN photo

From the Finish Line
"We knew from the get-go that it would be a hard day characterised by several attacks. Our plan was that Matteo and I would ride offensively while Patrick would set his sights on the finale. Unfortunately, he had a defect at a bad time in the race, which cost him a lot of energy. For me it went much better than at Emilia and I found some race rhythm again. I really attacked a lot from the beginning but in the end, it was quite exhausting. Now I'm concentrating on my recovery and I think it'll go well for Lombardia." - Felix Grossschartner

"Our goal was to ride for Patrick Konrad. However, halfway through the race he had some bad luck with a mechanical, and it cost him a lot of energy to catch up with the field again. This happened exactly at the time when Pogačar, Formolo and Wellens attacked. After that we had two riders, Matteo and Felix, in the reduced peloton of about 25 to 30 riders. We wanted to be in the front with Felix, but in the end he didn't have the legs. It just wasn't our day today." - Jens Zemke, Sports Director

Team DSM confirm coaching structure for 2022

The team sent me this update:

Team DSM are happy to announce that Huub Duijn, Pim Ligthart, Marcel Sieberg and Boris Zimine will join their coaching staff for the 2022 season. Duijn will work with with the Women’s program, Ligthart and Sieberg are brought in to coach the Men’s program and Zimine the Development program. After two years of working closely with the Development program, next year will see Roy Curvers take on new responsibility in the team to focus solely on Team DSM’s Men’s program.

Marcel Sieberg

Marcel Sieberg in 2014 checking out the Paris-Roubaix course. Sirotti photo

Working with select groups of riders to streamline their development within a given specialism, Team DSM look to build three solid blocks of riders – sprint, classics and GC – with tailored training, expertise, innovations and coaching to do so. Curvers’ new role will utilise his years of experience of racing in the peloton to develop the team’s sprint block as they continue on their mission to build a world class sprint train. Phil West also takes on a new focus with the team’s classics block, whilst Matt Winston continues to work closely with the development of the GC block.

Team DSM head of coaching Rudi Kemna said: “We are really looking forward to bringing in some new faces and fresh ideas for the 2022 season; Huub, Pim, Marcel and Boris all bring great energy to our coaching group and we believe we can build something really strong with their addition. We have been working within these three specific blocks for some time now, and have learned a lot from doing so with a more tailored approach across the board. Bringing both Roy and Phil into these new roles further fine tunes our coaching structure, and we are confident that we will see results both on and off the bike as a result.”

Huub Duijn (NED):
A former professional rider, Duijn hung up his wheels at the end of 2019. Since then he’s taken steps into the world of coaching, where he has been a part of the successful Watersley Sports and Talent park set-up, managing the cycling team. Duijn has also already integrated himself into Team DSM this year where he has worked on a part-time basis with the Women’s program, helping guide the team to successes at several races.

Duijn said: “I feel happy and privileged to start working for Team DSM next year. I’ve already had the chance to work with the Women’s and Development program in the last few months and I’m hungry for more, passing on my experience as a former rider to the next generation of cycling. The professional surrounding and setup Team DSM provides to its riders & staff, is really nice to be a part of. As it has shown in the past, the team is famous for making great champions. I’m looking forward helping the next generation of champions, in any way that I can,  to reach our goals together, while having fun in the process.”

Team DSM head of coaching Rudi Kemna added: “Huub joins us from the Watersley set-up, where he’s found his footing as a coach and we’ve seen him develop well in that role. He’s an ambitious and driven person and wants to continue his development by joining the team. Huub has done some part-time work for us this season with our Women’s program, and we’ve built up a good relationship. We’re looking forward to continuing that in the coming season as we chase more successes.”

Pim Ligthart (NED):
After a professional career spanning well over ten years, Ligthart hung up his wheels at the end of the 2020 season, putting a close to a career that saw him claim six wins and take part in six Grand Tours, alongside multiple classics. 2021 has seen Ligthart step into a new role as a team leader at SEG Racing Academy where he has put those years of experience into use by helping the team’s numerous young talents to some great performances. Ambitious, smart and driven, Ligthart wants to continue his development as a coach and get the best out of those around him, as he joins Team DSM in 2022.

Ligthart said: “I’m happy to join Team DSM next year. I’m looking forward to a new chapter in my career and life. I had some long talks together with the team which went well, and we had a shared a mutual and good feeling about each other. I know Roy a bit personally, so I also know how the team works. It feels like a good match to me and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in with Team DSM and chase top results together.”

Pim Ligthart

Pim Ligthart at the 2016 Tour Down Under. Sirotti photo

Team DSM head of coaching Rudi Kemna added: “From our very first conversations with Pim things went smoothly and we both have similar outlooks and visions about professional sport. He joins us after one year with SEG Racing Academy, where he’s played an important role in helping them to some great results and performances. A person with an ambitious character, we think that Pim will fit in well with our way of working. We’re looking forward to the experience that Pim brings as a former professional to our team of coaching staff.”

Marcel Sieberg (GER)"
2021 sees the experienced Sieberg end his long-standing and distinguished career on the bike as a professional rider. Wanting to stay in the sport he’s so passionate about, Sieberg will make the transition to the team car and become a coach with Team DSM. Aiming to utilise his years of experience and knowledge as one of the best road captains in the bunch, Sieberg’s approach to racing and especially sprinting will bring added value to the team.

Sieberg said: “Team DSM are one of the most professional teams and I’m looking forward and super motivated for a new challenge in cycling. I’m excited to work with a new group of staff and riders, sharing experience from the last 17 years as professional and my 30 years of riding a bike; I think there is a lot we can learn from each other. I’ve had some really good and productive meetings with the team and I’m looking forward to finally meeting everyone and starting to work with them.”

Team DSM head of coaching Rudi Kemna continued: “Marcel has been a professional rider for a long time and has built up a wealth of experience by competing at the highest level of the sport over the years. We’ve had some great conversations to get to know each other and he has an open and approachable personality and is someone who we believe will fit in with our way of working. Marcel’s very experienced in the lead out and that is somewhere he can bring some more insight and knowledge to the team as a coach as we look to build the strongest sprint team on the World Tour.”

Boris Zimine (FRA):
Zimine is a former rider having competed at continental and national level in France over the years but has recently turned his hand to coaching and has been a part of the very successful CC Etupes team in France. Helping to guide the riders under his tutelage to many successes, including the French U23 national title, Zimine will bring his passion of rider development to Team DSM as he joins the team’s coaching staff with the Development program next year.

Zimine said: “I’m really happy to join Team DSM, it’s like a dream come true for me. I have a lot of respect for the team and I believe we share the same ambitions and outlook, so I think it will be a great fit. There are a lot of big riders who are, and have become successful, from their ways of working so it’s a big opportunity for me to join this team and help continue that. I’m really looking forward to getting started and meeting both staff and riders.”

Team DSM head of coaching Rudi Kemna added: “Boris is a really experienced coach for someone of his age and comes from an important club team, CC Etupes, in France. From our discussions with him, it’s clear we share the same vision as Boris about rider development and we think that he will fit in well with the team’s way of working. We’re looking forward to starting to work together next year, as he joins our coaching staff, helping to further improve our Development program.”

As we welcome new coaches on board, we also say farewell to one of our colleagues, Marc Reef. Marc has been a fantastic colleague to many and has developed alongside the team as it grew to the highest echelons of our sport. We would like to thank Marc for all of his hard work and dedication throughout the ten and a half years that he has spent with the team, helping us to countless successes and memorable moments. Marc remains a great friend of the team and we wish him the best of luck in his new challenge.

Coaching staff:
Wilbert Broekhuizen, Roy Curvers, Huub Duijn, Bennie Lambregts, Pim Ligthart, Luke Roberts, Marcel Sieberg, Albert Timmer, Hans Timmermans, Phil West, Matt Winston, Boris Zimine.

Ben Healy to join EF Education-Nippo

The team sent me this:

Ireland’s Ben Healy is set to make his WorldTour debut with EF Education-NIPPO for the 2022 season. 

With so many races cancelled, postponed, and reconfigured due to the pandemic over the last two years, Healy is the first to say he hasn’t been able to race as much as he would prefer. Nonetheless, he has remained consistent with training and his palmarès reflect this with wins at the Giro Ciclistico d’Italia (the Baby Giro), the Ronde de l’Isard, and both the Irish road and U23 time trial championships, in addition to a slew of top ten stage and overall results, all since the pandemic began.

While his results are certainly impressive, the 21-year-old rider knew it would be a massive leap to move up to the WorldTour, which is why he felt EF Education-NIPPO was the right team to guide him through this transition.

“When I started to talk with the team, it was clear the team had a plan for me,” Healy explains. “That meant so much to me. It wasn’t just, ‘Yeah, he’s got a few decent results, might as well just sign him.’ There was thought behind where I’d fit into the team.”

EF Education-NIPPO CEO Jonathan Vaughters explains why Healy will be such an asset to the team. “His skill set is he knows how to get in breaks that make it to the line and he knows how to win out of those breaks once he’s in them. There aren’t that many guys that have that skill set. That's the skill that Ben’s shown over and over again in the U23 races.”

While Healy is keen to advance his cycling career, he was drawn to EF in part because of the team’s deep sense of camaraderie. “I don’t want to be going to a team just doing my job. I don’t want to be riding around for a paycheck. I want to be a part of a team. I'd like to go and be on the bus and have a laugh with everyone. I see this within the team and that’s something that really appealed to me.”

Healy has forged his own route to get to where he is today. He has never worked closely with his national cycling body or ridden for any of the bigger U23 teams. “I feel like a lot of the time I’m a bit of an underdog going into a race. That’s just given me the hunger to carry on with it.”

Racing the Tour de l’Avenir in 2019 is the perfect example. “I didn’t even get a team, I managed to scrape my way onto the UCI mondial team and I was going there for experience. I managed to pull off a stage win. That feeling of ‘I’m really here to be competitive’ was such a nice feeling and having the title of being the youngest person ever to win a stage was pretty cool as well.”

Vaughters took notice of Healy’s competitive nature, saying, “I do see him in the light of a guy who can win races. That doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be periods where he has to work for other people. He has a good nose for how to win a race. That’s why we’re hiring him.”

Though Healy considers himself an all-arounder, many of his results have come from the medium mountains. “The 15 to 30 minute climbs, when it’s just a hard day out, I normally do pretty well when it’s really grim like that.”

Healy looks forward to getting the 2022 season underway. “Stepping up to this new level will be a new challenge and a new way to race. I just want to learn everything and try to pick up as much as I can from these big names that I’ll be teammates with. I’m very excited for it. And the equipment and the kit aren’t too bad either!”

We like your enthusiasm, Ben, and we think you’ll look great in pink.

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