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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, October 22, 2021

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2020 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies. - Alexis de Tocqueville


Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:


Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Giro d'Italia, Volume two: 1971 - 2011 is available as an audiobook here.

Entertainer Josephine Baker and the Tour de France in the 1930s

Before diving into the news, I'd like to share a wonderful piece by Feargal McKay on Josephine Baker and when she "Sprinkled Her Stardust on the Tour de France". Reading anything by Mr. McKay is a pleasure and he's in good form here.

You can read it here.

Josephine Baker

Here's American expatriate (the next year she would become a French citizen) Josephine Baker with Sylvère Maes (left) and Romain Maes at the start of the 1936 Tour de France. Sylvère won the Tour that year. Romain won the 1935 edition.

Davide Ballerini extends with Deceuninck-Quick Step

Here's the team's announcement:

What a year it’s been for Davide Ballerini! In his second season with the Wolfpack, the man from Cantù became the first Italian in eight years to win Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, took two other victories, made his Tour de France debut and contributed to many of the successes that helped Deceuninck – Quick-Step return at the top of the UCI World Team Classification.

His finest moment of 2021 came at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, where after a flawless job and lead-out of his teammates, Davide sailed to victory, fulfilling a life-long dream – winning a northern Classic. His solid campaign was recently rewarded with a new contract, which will see the 27-year-old remain with the most successful squad of the season until the end of 2023.

Davide Ballerini

Davide Ballerini wins the 2021 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Sirotti photo

“I am really happy, because I can continue my dream here. I feel excellent here and at no point was I thinking about leaving this team. It’s like a family for me, so continuing was an easy decision. With the Wolfpack I won my first big one-day race, Omloop, and this makes me confident that one day I can fight for victory in Paris-Roubaix, which is the biggest goal of my career. Racing the Tour de France and playing a part in Mark’s success in the points classification also makes me very proud and makes for another great memory. For the next two years, I am motivated to work hard, to improve and to help the team remain the best in the world”, a delighted Ballerini said after inking the new deal.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere is confident that Davide has plenty to show in the next seasons with the team: “We knew his potential when we signed him, and Davide didn’t disappoint. He took several victories with us in these two years, and at the same time, showed that he is always ready to work for his teammates. On top of that, he still has a lot of room to improve, and that’s why signing a new contract was the logical thing to do. We are happy that he is happy here and has agreed to stay with the Wolfpack.”

Valerio Conti and Antonio Nibali sign with Astana Qazaqstan for two years

Here’s the team’s release:

Astana Qazaqstan Team will welcome two more Italian riders in the upcoming season with Valerio Conti and Antonio Nibali both signing a two-year agreement with the Kazakh WorldTour team (for 2022 and 2023).

Valerio Conti

Valerio Conti winning the 2020 Trofeo Matteotti.

Valerio Conti (28) turned pro in 2014 and during his eight seasons at the WorldTour level has scored some important results, showing himself as a strong climber and one-day racer. He won Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli in his first year as a pro, won a stage of the Tour of Japan in the following year, took a beautiful solo victory at a stage of La Vuelta in 2016, scored a solid second place in the General Classification of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey in 2019 and took a win at Trofeo Matteotti in 2020. Back in 2019 Conti spent five days in the Pink Jersey as the race leader of the Giro d’Italia.

Two second places at Giro dell’Appennino and Gran Premio Citta di Lugano are his best results in the 2021 cycling season.

“I am happy to move to Astana Qazaqstan Team in the new season. It is a great team, and I am really looking forward to joining and to face the new challenges in the career. Astana is a strong and well-balanced international team, but of course, I am happy to see many Italian riders in the roster as it will be much easier for me to blend in quickly. The main goals for the next season are still to be discussed, but my personal wish is to try to win as much as possible”, – said Valerio Conti.

Antonio Nibali (29) is known as a strong helper for team leaders both at the Grand Tours and week-long stage races. At the same time, Antonio is very active in breakaways, always looking for a chance to fight for a stage win. In 2018, he won a stage at the Tour of Austria and took a good 8th place at Gran Premio Citta di Lugano, while this season he was 6th at a stage of the Tour of the Alps and finished 12th in the General Classification of the Tour of Sicily.

“I am looking forward to meet the team and to start the new season. I hope to spend some good years in Astana Qazaqstan Team, to help achieve the biggest goals of the team, to try to win something and to help the leaders in the best possible way. I am quite sure I will find a nice atmosphere in the team as I know a good part of the staff and, of course, some riders. The last two seasons were not that great due to the COVID-19 situation but I hope in the following year, step by step, everything will come back to 100% normal. I am ready for a new challenge in my career, it is an important change for me, and I hope to provide my new team with all the best I can do”, – said Antonio Nibali.

“Two strong riders are coming to our team. Both Valerio and Antonio are very experienced riders with many Grand Tour participations to their names, so they will bring some additional strength to our Grand Tour group. At the same time, these riders have good potential when it comes to winning races. Valerio Conti showed it many times in one-day races, while Antonio Nibali is known as a breakaway rider, so I am sure that they will get their chance to fight for a nice personal result”, – said Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.

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