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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday April 6, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

Worldly fame is but a breath of wind that blows now this way, and now that, and changes name as it changes direction. - Dante


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Tour of the Basque Country stage two reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Julian Alaphilippe's Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team:

Julian Alaphilippe took a crushing sprint victory on the uphill finish in Viana, after a mammoth lead-out of Remco Evenepoel in the closing kilometer of the race’s longest stage. The rainbow jersey, who returned to racing this week after a bout of illness forced him to skip Milano-Sanremo, benefited from his teammate’s stratospheric effort, waiting for the last 150 meters to kick out and produce a devastating acceleration that netted his first win of the year.

Julian Alaphilippe is first to the line.

The rolling 207.8km day that started from Leitza – a small town located in Navarre – was animated by a breakaway who forced the peloton to work hard in order to reel them in, the last member of the four-man move being overhauled only 400 meters from the line, thanks to the huge work of the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl boys.

By powering to the line and putting several bike lengths between him and his opponents, Alaphilippe became the first ever Road World Champion to nab a win at the Itzulia, a race where he has tasted success also in 2018 and 2019.

“I like racing in the Basque Country. The amazing fans and the hard course make for a great race every time, these being just some of the reasons that made me happy to return here after three years. I didn’t have the best start to the season, but I came with a lot of motivation at the start and this victory gives me a lot of satisfaction.”

“The team was incredible today, they all did a perfect job keeping me protected the entire day and chasing down the attackers. Then Remco was perfect, pushing a huge tempo in the final kilometer and leaving me ideally placed at the right moment on this technical finale. My goal here was to take a win and now that I did it, I will try to return the favour to Remco and help him in the next stages”, said Julian – the ninth different Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider to pick up a victory this season.

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Here's the report from GC leader Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team:

Team Jumbo-Visma has come through the second stage of the Tour of the Basque Country well. The yellow and black brigade kept Primoz Roglic in the front for the entire day, which means the Slovenian will also have the yellow leader's jersey on his shoulders in the third stage.

Primoz Roglic racing to his stage one victory and the GC leadership.

In the race's longest stage, the riders were presented with more than two hundred kilometres and three categorised climbs. On the first climb of the day, a four-rider breakaway managed to escape from the peloton and got a five-minute lead.

The last remaining escapee was caught 400 metres from the finish line. In the sprint with a slightly uphill finish, world champion Julian Alaphilippe was too fast for everyone. Roglic crossed the finish line simultaneously and kept his yellow leader's jersey.

"This was probably the easiest stage of this week", Roglic said. "I enjoyed the sun and the crowd; the people are very enthusiastic here. For tomorrow I expect a tough stage with short, steep climbs. We'll have to be very focused, and I'll give everything to compete with the best."



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Team DSM's upcoming races

The team sent me this schedule:

Scheldeprijs: Apr 06

Roy Curvers - Team DSM coach
"Scheldeprijs is a race that often ends up in a bunch sprint of sorts, so with that in mind, we come to the race with multiple fast guys in our line-up, giving us options for the finale. We need to be alert throughout the day though and not only focus on the sprint because with start in Terneuzen it means the first part of the race takes place on the open roads of Zeeland, where the wind plays an important role. That means sharpness from the gun will be key, so we can get into the final in a good way and look to our options."

Cees Bol (shown winning stage two of the 2021 Paris-Nice) is scheduled to start the Scheldeprijs. Sirotti photo

Line-up:
Tobias Lund Andresen (DEN)
Cees Bol (NED)
Alberto Dainese (ITA)
Nico Denz (GER)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Casper van Uden (NED)
Sam Welsford (AUS)

Scheldeprijs: APR 06

Albert Timmer - Team DSM coach
"It is the second edition of the race and one that we have good memories of from last year where we won with Lorena, and this year we aim to try and do the same. With Lorena, we have a very fast finisher and we have a very strong team to support our goals for the race. We will work really hard as a group to try and make sure that we can compete and sprint for the win again. The flat parcours is perfect for that, but there is always the looming danger of crosswinds to watch out for so we do need to be careful of that throughout the day.”

Line-up:
Megan Jastrab (USA)
Léa Curinier (FRA)
Charlotte Kool (NED)
Esmée Peperkamp (NED)
Elise Uijen (NED)
Lorena Wiebes (NED)

Circuit des Ardennes: APR 06-09

Boris Zimine - Team DSM coach
"The Circuit des Ardennes is a hard race to control. There are two hilly stages and two flatter stages with some tricky open roads that are perfect for crosswinds. We will race here as an offensive block with a team that fits the profile of this race very well. We will take a day-by-day approach to the race, taking on each stage as if it was a classic, hunting for day results and seeing where that brings us in the overall classification. Our main goal is to continue our good work that we have shown so far in previous events, racing aggressively and offensively as a team.''

Line-up:
Patrick Eddy (AUS)
Bart Hordijk (NED)
Enzo Leijnse (NED)
Oscar Onley (GBR)
Pepijn Reinderink (NED)
Hannes Wilksch (GER)

Amstel Gold Race: APR 10

Pim Ligthart - Team DSM coach
"The Amstel Gold Race is one of the biggest races in the Netherlands and it is a special race with a challenging route. There are a lot of twisting and turning, small roads, with a lot of steep short climbs; making for a hard day in the saddle. With a change of parcours in the final, the climbs follow each other up faster than in previous editions and because of that, the race can open up even sooner than before. We bring a strong team with high ambitions to the start in Maastricht. The Ardennes have been a goal for Søren and the team, however he fell sick towards the end of last week and is still recovering. We have to see how he feels in the next few days before making the final decision on his race participation this weekend."

Line-up:
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Nico Denz (GER)
Mark Donovan (GBR)
Marius Mayrhofer (GER)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA)



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Team BikeExchange-Jayco to race for Dylan Groenewegen at the Scheldeprijs

The team sent me this:

Team BikeExchange-Jayco will go all-in for Dutch sprint star Dylan Groenewegen at the ‘sprinter’s classic’ Scheldeprijs tomorrow.

The 28-year-old narrowly missed out on his third win of the season at Brugge-De Panne, before bad luck ruled him out of contention at Gent-Wevelgem, but the Amsterdam fast-man is motivated in his pursuit for his first European victory of 2022.

Dylan Groenewegen winning stage three of the 2022 Saudi Tour.

Slovenian Luka Mezgec returns to the squad and will be a valuable asset to Groenewgen as his final lead out man, alongside Alex Edmondson, Campbell Stewart and Sam Bewley. Kell O’Brien will continue his Belgian classics education with another one-day outing, while Alexandre Balmer will make his debut for the team.

The 198.7km race from Terneuzen to Schoten starts in the Netherlands before winding its way into Belgium and onto the final circuit. The laps feature a short cobbled sector, but the potential crosswinds and positioning are the main obstacles of the race.

Team BikeExchange-Jayco Line-Up:
Alexandre Balmer (SUI)
Sam Bewley (NZL)
Alex Edmondson (AUS)
Dylan Groenewegen (NED)
Luka Mezgec (SLO)
Kell O’Brien (AUS)
Campbell Stewart (NZL)

Dylan Groenewegen:
“I think I have a good condition after my second place at De Panne's and Dwars door Vlaanderen last Wednesday. I think this year's route may be affected by the wind, especially in the first part of the race. The finish line in Schoten is also different from the previous two editions, but I expect the usual mass sprint.

"Scheldeprijs also starts from the Netherlands, and this is one more reason why I am happy to participate in this historic race.”

Mat Hayman (Sport Director):
“Scheldeprijs is traditionally a sprinter’s race, but there may be an added factor tomorrow as it looks like there will be a lot of wind and the potential for rain. We go through the open fields in Holland before we get to the circuit at the end, so we will have to deal with that as a team.

"Dylan will be our leader and we’ll be looking to get a result with him. The guys rode great in De Panne and after being so close to the win there, I think Dylan is keen to comeback and see what he can do. This race suits him and we’re hoping we can get him to the final and set him up for a chance at the win.”

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