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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, September 30, 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.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. - Confucius


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Giro di Sicilia stage two reports

We posted the report from stage winner Sebastian Molano's UAE Team Emirates with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Matteo Moschetti's Trek-Segafredo team:

After bitter disappointment in the Stage 1 sprint finish, Matteo Moschetti rebounded in Stage 2 with a second-place finish but admitted he still had a less than ideal sprint.

Sebastian Molano

It was Sebastian Molano who took stage two in Sicily. Sirotti photo

After a crash-riddled 2019 followed by a 2020 season cut short by a severe injury, Moschetti is finally putting his misfortunes behind him in 2021, but it has still been a bumpy road this year to find back his top speed.

Moschetti has been chasing glory since claiming two quick wins at the start of 2020, and the four-day Giro di Sicilia looked to be a perfect opportunity to get back on track. 

Moschetti admitted he muddled his chance in Stage 1 with an error in the final corner that left him sprinting for fourth.

In the Stage 2 finale, Vincenzo Nibali and Mattias Skjelmose helped place the Italian fastman in fourth wheel in the final 500 meters. 

All was looking good, but in the sprint Juan Sebastián Molano got the early jump to claim his second straight victory. Matteo tried to come around on the left but was impeded by Filippo Fiorelli who was quickly relegated for deviating from his line, giving the Trek-Segafredo sprinter second place.

“Although Fiorelli’s deviation complicated my sprint, honestly 2nd or 3rd changes little, I wouldn’t have been able to beat Molano anyway,” said Matteo. “I was in a good position, thanks to the work of my teammates, but in hindsight I hesitated a little too much to launch the sprint. The speed in the finale was very high, the only card I could play was to anticipate the sprint before Molano did. If I had, the result could have been different.”

Eurométropole Tour:
Mads Pedersen sprinted to third place in a highly active Eurométropole Tour, a race he won in 2018 and Jasper Stuyven finished 3rd in 2019 (there was no race last year).

The final laps in the Belgian one-day race were played perfectly by Trek-Segafredo, who never missed a move all day, a good sign ahead of the upcoming Paris-Roubaix Sunday.

Kiel Reijnen joined the day’s breakaway, which was caught on the finishing laps with just under 50kms to go. Soon after the bunch split in a crosswind section and Alex Kirsch and Mads Pedersen were attentively upfront. 

L'Eurométropole team reports

We posted the report from winner Fabio Jakobsen's Deceninck-Quick Step team with the results.

Second-place Jordi Meeus' Bora-hansgrohe team team sent me this:

This year's one-day Eurométropole Tour stretched over 177km from La Louvière to Tournai in the Walloon part of Belgium. The finishing straight on each of the five laps contained a sharp climb, yet a sprint was nevertheless to be expected to conclude the race. A seven-man break went clear early on, but the peloton didn't let them far out of their sights and with 60km of racing remaining, they were caught. The peloton subsequently fell apart, precipitating a move by a group of 29 riders, including Jordi Meeus. Over the last kilometres, however, several riders were able to bridge the gap to this group and the race came down to a sprint showdown. After putting in a strong showing on the finishing straight, Jordi took a strong second behind Fabio Jakobsen, his third podium finish in as many races.

Fabio Jakobsen

Fabio Jakobsen takes the race.

From the Finish Line:
"The team did a perfect job to support me and keep me in a good position the whole time and when the race exploded, I ended up in the first group. On the final lap, some other riders bridged the gap, including some very good sprinters. Max also made it across and brought me into a good position for the sprint, and in the end I took second. It's not bad, but also not a super result. I had the feeling that more could have been possible today. So now it's onto the next one." - Jordi Meeus

"It was a pretty good race for us. The win could have been possible, it was a very tight finish. We wanted to ride for Jordi from the beginning and make it to the sprint with him. But we also had to make sure we were represented in any important groups. Then Jordi himself ended up in the lead group and, with Max also managing to make it into that selection, he provided help here. The others also put in a strong performance, but we had a bit of bad luck with Rudi, who crashed after 12km and unfortunately was forced to abandon the race. But all in all, second place is a very strong result for Jordi and the team, and the victory is surely around the corner." - Steffen Radochla, Sports Director

Team BikeExchange to race Paris-Roubaix Femmes

The team sent me this update:

Team BikeExchange are ready to make history as the squad line-up motivated and excited for the first ever edition of the women’s Paris-Roubaix on Saturday, with a well-rounded mixed squad that includes powerhouses, Australian Champion Sarah Roy and Dutch rider Janneke Ensing, who is competing in the final few races of her professional career.

After being forced to withdraw from the Simac Tour in August, after sustaining injury to her scaphoid, Roy has recovered quickly and hopes to be in shape on Saturday, as the women’s peloton take on 116km which includes 29.2km of cobblestones divided into 17 sectors.

Alongside the pair will be New Zealand champion Georgia Williams, Tour of Ardèche stage winner Teniel Campbell, with super domestique Jess Allen rounding out the squad.

Georgia Williams

Georgia Williams will be racing on the cobblestones. Here she is in 2018.

Team BikeExchange at the Women’s Paris-Roubaix:
Jess Allen (AUS)
Teniel Campbell (TTO)
Janneke Ensing (NED)
Sarah Roy (AUS)
Georgia Williams (NZL)

Sarah Roy:
“Paris-Roubaix is a monumental race, having a women’s Roubaix is a sign of a new era for women’s cycling. My hope is that it attracts a lot of global attention, a lot of new fans, and inspires more females to ride bikes and go pro.

"I have been really motivated and excited for this race since the day it was announced. We have done some great preparation for it with a number of recons and equipment testing. I would absolutely love to win this race someday but being the first ever edition we can’t really know what’s in store yet. Everybody knows anything can happen and no matter what, it’s going to be incredible.

"I fast tracked the rehab of my broken wrist and we’re all amazed that it got through the 166km world championship road race. I hoped for a better result at the worlds being a course suited to me but given the preparation I think that’s what we could have expected. The training that I have done and racing the worlds I believe has been good preparation for Roubaix and I hope the legs will be good on the day.”

Martin Vestby – Head Sport Director:
It’s exciting for us to be racing the first ever women’s Roubaix. We are going into the event to gain as much experience as possible for the future, for the riders but also the staff as well.

"It will be an interesting race, everybody is excited and motivated to see how the race will unfold and we will try to take as many positives out of this unique race as possible. I am sure everybody will learn a lot, and this will aid us for the next editions. It’s new for everybody, so there’s a lot of unknowns, but it will certainly be a memorable day for everyone.”

2021 Women’s Paris-Roubaix Race Details:
Saturday, 2nd October: Denain to Roubaix, 116km

Gianni Moscon signs with Astana-Premier Tech for two years

Here’s the team’s announcement:

Italian rider Gianni Moscon is set to join Team Astana, where the 27-year-old individual time trial and one-day race specialist will ride in the colours of the Kazakh team in 2022 and 2023.

“After six years spent in one team, I am going to take a serious step in my career. I think that this is a kind of challenge for me, motivation to keep on growing, and a new experience that I am sure will be successful. Over the years, I have managed to accumulate a lot of experience, and now I would like to use it to the fullest in a new team, in a new environment. In my first season in Astana, I hope to be as useful as possible to the team and, of course, I will strive to achieve some personal successes. I hope that I will be able to perform in the best possible way at the races of the highest level.

"Together with the new team, General Manager Alexandr Vinokurov, the coaches and sports directors, we still have to discuss and make plans for the new season. There are a lot of big and important races on the calendar, so I hope that I can prove myself and achieve some serious results”, – said Gianni Moscon.

Gianni Moscon

Gianni Moscon descending in the 2021 Tour of the Alps. Sirotti photo

Gianni Moscon is well-known for his attacking style of racing which brought him many important results, both in one-day and stage races. Signing his first neo-pro contract back in 2016 after a number of impressive wins (Piccolo Giro di Lombardia, road race of the U23 Italian National Championships, Trofeo Citta di San Vendemiano), Moscon has continued to achieve impressive results in the WorldTour.

In 2016, the Italian won the General Classification of the Arctic Race of Norway and finished third at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, and in 2017 he won the Italian National Championships Individual Time Trial title and took a solid third place at Il Lombardia. In 2018, Moscon became back to back Italian ITT champion, won Giro della Toscana, Coppa Agostoni and the overall standings of the Tour de Guanxi.

This season, Moscon has continued to deliver victories, with two stage wins at the Tour of the Alps and victory at the GP Lugano.

“We are pleased to welcome Gianni Moscon, a very strong and versatile rider, to our team. As well as being suited to one-day races and individual time trials, Gianni is a reliable team rider who can provide powerful support for the team’s Grand Tour leaders. After six years in the same team, we hope that this move to Astana will allow Gianni to further develop as a rider, especially as he is still young, and will inspire him and help him to unlock his rich potential even more. The transfer of Gianni Moscon is an unconditional strengthening of the team’s position, both in one-day races and the Grand Tours, for the next two seasons”, – said Alexandr Vinokurov, the team’s 2022 General Manager.  

Jarrad Drizners signs with Lotto Soudal

Lotto Soudal sent me this announcement:

Lotto Soudal is excited to announce the signing of Jarrad Drizners. The 22-year-old from Adelaide, South Australia joins the team from Hagens Berman Axeon. Drizners, a two-time national U23 champion (road race 2020, criterium 2019) signed an agreement for two years.

“I am still a bit in disbelief. I am so excited but nervous as well”, explains Jarrad Drizners.  “I didn’t expect it at all as 2021 was not my best season, but in the last months I was able to convince Lotto Soudal. Since the Tour de l’Avenir I am riding at a high level. I took a 4th place overall in the Flanders Tomorrow Tour and ten days ago, in Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23, they only caught me at 50 metres from the finish, otherwise I would have been on the podium. That was so devastating, heartbreaking.”

“Jarrad will add depth to the current Lotto Soudal roster as he excels in short climbs, crosswinds and bunch sprints”, adds Lotto Soudal general manager John Lelangue. “He has a big engine and likes the Belgian races. He is definitely not a climber but he can play a key role in the lead-out for Caleb Ewan and he can finish the job himself as well. I would compare him with riders like Brent Van Moer or Harry Sweeny. Jarrad will bring a lot of potential to the team.”

“I still need to find out which kind of rider I am. I would say a puncher, a classics riders. I love Belgian races and I like sprints, most likely because of my background as track rider. Now it is awesome that I can work together with Caleb Ewan, one of the best sprinters in the world. That’s so motivating. If I just could play a little part in one of his victories, that would make me the happiest man in the world”, concludes Jarrad Drizners.

Jarrad Drizners will finish his 2021 season in France, at the Circuit des Ardennes, from 7 to 10 October, before starting the preparation for his first season at Lotto Soudal.

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