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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, September 8, 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.

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. - Galileo Galilei

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Tour of Britain's stage three team reports

We posted the report from stage winner Team INEOS Grenadiers with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Team Deceuninck-Quick Step:

Julian Alaphilippe, Davide Ballerini, Mark Cavendish, Tim Declercq, Mikkel Honoré and Yves Lampaert, combined for a strong team time trial of Deceuninck – Quick-Step on stage 3 of the Tour of Britain, which at the end of the day brought an important shake-up of the general classification, despite the route being only 18.2 kilometers in length.

Team Deceuninck-Quick step

Team Deceuninck-Quick step on their way to a second-place finish.

The Wolfpack produced a quality ride on the hilly course between Llandeilo and the National Botanic Garden of Wales, coming through the checkpoint with the fastest time, which put our squad on course for a good result on the stage. At the finish, the four remaining riders posted a time of 20:39 to go top of the leaderboard for three seconds, where our riders remained until their result was bettered by Ineos Grenadiers, the last team on the course.

That time of 20:39, courtesy of an average speed close to 53km/h, netted a solid second for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, helping both Julian Alaphilippe and Mikkel Honoré move up in the rankings, where they both sit in the top five, which bodes well ahead of the race’s hardest stage, according to sports director Geert Van Bondt: “It was hard, the guys did a nice team effort. We had a good time trial and everything went smoothly until the split, but unfortunately, we lost then lost both Tim and Ballero, and the speed dropped a big in the final kilometers. We didn’t take the win, but two of our riders are up there on the GC, which is promising going into Wednesday’s long and hard stage.”

Here's the report from third-place finishers Team Jumbo-Visma:

Team Jumbo-Visma has finished on the podium in the team time trial at the Tour of Britain. Despite a puncture of ‘the fourth man’ the Dutch team rode to the third time on the sloping course in Wales.

After having lost Chris Harper in yesterday’s stage, the black and yellow formation consisted of Wout van Aert, Tony Martin, Pascal Eenkhoorn, George Bennett and Gijs Leemreize. They covered the 18.2 kilometres in twenty minutes and 42 seconds. With that time, the team conceded twenty seconds to Ineos and three seconds to Deceuninck-QuickStep.

eam Jumbo-Visma

Jumbo-Visma riding to a third-place finish.

“I’m happy and proud about the way we rode”, Van Aert said. “We had a great plan. In the beginning Gijs gave everything he had in service of the rest of the team. This allowed us to save some power. Tony and I were the big engines. We took some intensive turns at the front. We worked together very well. It’s unfortunate that Pascal had a puncture in the last kilometre and a half. Personally, I feel very good here. I’m also very happy about this time trial.”

Despite the bad luck in the last part of the team time trial, sports director Jan Boven spoke full of admiration about his team. “I am very proud of them. We had made a plan in advance. Everyone performed their tasks well. It’s a pity that Pascal had a flat tyre at 1.3 km from the finish. With only a few corners left we lost some time. Otherwise I think we would have been close to the winning team. It says a lot about this team that we still competed for the win.”

After the third stage Van Aert holds third place in the general classification. Eenkhoorn is currently in sixth place. The Tour of Britain’s queen stage is scheduled for tomorrow.

Alexey Lutsenko signs for three more seasons with Astana

Here’s the team’s announcement:

Astana Team is pleased to announce that the strongest Kazakh rider in the peloton, Alexey Lutsenko, will remain with the team for the following three seasons (2022-2024). The 28-year-old team leader will continue defending the colors of the national cycling project after nine successful years with the Kazakh WorldTour team.

Alexeyb Lutsenko

Alexey Lutsenko winning stage five of the 2019 Tour of Oman.

“I am very happy to continue my professional career in our Kazakh Astana Team. During the years spent in the team, I have managed to become a leader, and for me this is both a responsibility and an incentive to continue to develop, to strive for new heights and every time to try to confirm my leadership position with new victories. This year, I managed to make a big step forward in the fight for the General Classifications both, at big week-long races like the Criterium du Dauphine and at the Grand Tours. My seventh place in the General Classification of the Tour de France motivates me to continue moving in this direction so, in the future, I will be aiming to fight not only for the top ten, but also for the podium. I will enter the new season together with the Astana Team with new ambitions and goals. I am sure that together with the team management and coaches we will be able to determine my main goals for the next seasons, after which we will do our best to achieve what we want”, – says Alexey Lutsenko.

Despite an injury sustained in the beginning of the year at Paris–Nice, Lutsenko has achieved a number of significant results this season. In June, Lutsenko claimed a solid win in the individual time trial at the prestigious stage race Criterium du Dauphine, also taking the second podium place in the General Classification. While in July, the Kazakh leader of the team excelled at the Tour de France, where he finished in a high seventh place in the overall standings, for the first time entering the top 10 at a Grand Tour. Lutsenko also stood on the podium at the one-day race Gran Premio Miguel Indurain.

His career in the Astana Team started in 2013 immediately after his historic victory in the road race of the U23 UCI Road World Championships. Throughout the past nine seasons in the Astana project, Lutsenko took 28 victories, including stage wins at the Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana, Paris–Nice, Criterium du Dauphine, Tour de Suisse and Tirreno–Adriatico.

“Alexey is a real team leader, who is not only winning and delivering high results, but who is also able to rally the team and lead it at the highest level races. This year, an important step forward was made at the Tour de France, and for the first time in 16 years, a Kazakh rider was among the best ten riders in the overall standings. Now Alexey is entering the age of the heyday of a professional rider, and I am very glad that we will continue this path together. There is a lot of work ahead, we will not stop there, but we will continue to move forward. Our team needs a leader like Alexey Lutsenko, and I am sure that in Astana, Alexey will have everything he needs to achieve the most ambitious goals”, – says Alexandr Vinokurov, 2022 Sports Team Principal.

Trek-Segafredo signs Dutch climber Antwan Tolhoek

Here’s the team’s announcement:

Twenty-seven-year-old Antwan Tolhoek has signed a contract that will see him riding a Trek bike and drinking Segafredo coffee for the upcoming two seasons.

Tolhoek’s first sporting love was ice-skating, a popular activity in his native country, The Netherlands. It wasn’t until 2014 when he began to take cycling more seriously, having, until this time, only used a bike to help with his skating training.

The following year, the Zeelander secured a spot on the Rabobank Development Team – the same structure where Bauke Mollema and Koen de Kort learned their trade. Tolhoek rode as a stagiaire with Tinkoff-Saxo in August 2015, where he worked with Trek-Segafredo director Steven de Jongh.

Antwan Tolkoek

Antwan Tolhoek winning stage 6 of the 2019 Tour of Switzerland. Sirotti photo

Steven de Jongh: “When I was working with Tinkoff, we saw that Antwan was quite talented, so he was given a spot as a stagiaire. But, back then, Antwan was still young and had only been on the bike for two and a half years. He was too inexperienced to throw into WorldTour level, so I called a friend who was working at the Roompot team, and they took him on for the next season. In his first professional year, Antwan took the mountains jersey at the Tour de Suisse, and then he was offered a contract with Team Lotto NL Jumbo.

“Antwan is a super polite guy, but he’s very hungry to race; he enjoys attacking to be in the breakaways and overall races aggressively. Since we were looking for riders who could go in the break and go for stages, I think he will fit the profile for us. In the mountain stages and shorter stage races, as well as in the Ardennes Classics, he can play an important role for us.

“Hopefully, with us, he can win at one of the week-long stage races. In the Grand Tours, whatever his program may be, I think he could do a role similar to what Kenny Elissonde was doing at the Vuelta. He’s really a talented climber.”

Behind his youthful smile, Tolhoek has a strong desire to win. The Dutch climber relishes that he will have occasions to try his hand in breakaways.

Antwan Tolhoek: “I’m really happy that I’m going to ride for Trek-Segafredo for the coming two years. I’m looking forward to racing Grand Tours again and fighting for a stage victory. Some experienced riders already showed that they get the chance to go in the breakaway and fight for a stage win with this Team, and that’s my dream. I hope that I can get this dream into the books in the next two years with Trek-Segafredo.

“It was a hard decision to make to leave my current team because I have been riding with them since the start of my professional career, but when a team like Trek-Segafredo came and offered me the chance to ride for myself in big races and win a stage in a Grand Tour, then there was no doubt about me grabbing this opportunity.”

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