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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, April 26, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies. - Aristotle

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Team BikeExchange-Jayco will ride Tour of Romandie

The team sent me this update:

Team BikeExchange-Jayco will head to Switzerland for the Tour de Romandie with a versatile and punchy squad on the hunt for stage wins and a strong general classification showing.

Matteo Sobrero will ramp up his Giro d’Italia preparations at the five-day race, while Kiwi Dion Smith will give the team options in any potential fast finishes. Dutch climber Jan Maas will line up fresh off the back of his Ardennes Classics campaign, as will Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay.

Tsgabu Grmay time-trialing at the 2019 Tour of Switzerland. Sirotti photo

New Zealander Sam Bewley and Italian Kevin Colleoni are both back in stage racing action after the Tour of Turkey, with Amund Grøndahl Jansen completing the squad as he returns to the fold following illness.

The Swiss race is bookended by time trials, with a short 5km prologue kicking things off and a 15.8km race against the clock on the final day. The stages in between feature rolling terrain and the Queen Stage on the penultimate day, which features five Cat.1 climbs and a summit finish.

Team BikeExchange-Jayco Line-Up:
Sam Bewley (NZL)
Kevin Colleoni (ITA)
Tsgabu Grmay (ETH)
Amund Grøndahl Jansen (NOR)
Jan Maas (NED)
Dion Smith (NZL)
Matteo Sobrero (ITA)

Matteo Sobrero:
“I think the Tour de Romandie is a good point to start for the Giro, I don’t know exactly how my shape and my condition is after an altitude training camp, but I had good feelings in the training camp, so I’m looking forward to some results and I will try to ride for the GC.

"The first time trial is a prologue, it’s probably a little too fast for me and short, I’m a small guy, a light guy, but the last stage, the uphill time trial is something that I never did before in a WorldTour race, so I’m looking forward to it."

Mat Hayman (Sport Director):
“The first three stages of Romandie, after the 5km prologue, are undulating and having Dion there, we have someone who is punchy for those stages. Then looking at the GC, Sobrero is getting ready for the Giro, he’s just come down from an altitude camp and he’ll be looking to test himself in both the TTs and the mountain stage.”

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Bahrain Victorious headed to Tour de Romandie

Here’s the team’s news:

Bahrain Victorious will compete in their 10th stage race of the season this week at the 75th Tour de Romandie in Switzerland. It’s the final stage race before the Giro d’Italia, and is often seen as a good reference point for performance at the Tour de France later in the year.

Bahrain Victorious are sending a strong line-up of 7 riders, including Luis Léon Sánchez – double stage winner in 2012, who is back at the race for the 1st time since 2016

Luis Léon Sánchez having a good day at the 2020 Tour of Murcia

At last year’s edition Sonny Colbrelli won stage 2 and the Points Classification, but this time the focus will be more on the GC, with leader Damiano Caruso, fresh from victory at the Giro di Sicilia. The Italian finished 9th last year and will be using Romandie to sharpen up ahead of his first Grand Tour of the season.

The 5 days present a real variety of parcours, starting with a short prologue in Lausanne followed by 3 rolling stages offering opportunities for puncheurs, sprinters, and movements in the GC battle. The Queen stage is on Saturday, and sees over 4000m of ascending by way of 5 category 1 climbs before a summit finish at Zinal. The overall classification will be decided on May 1st with a 15.8km uphill time trial.

Neil Stephens, lead Sports Director summarises the task facing the riders:

“It’s a fantastic and really demanding race, not only because of the mountainous terrain but also the weather can be quite challenging at times. It’s up and down throughout the week, and the uphill time trial really suits us”

Along with the experience of Caruso & Sánchez, reigning Danish, European & World U23 time trial champion Johan Price-Pejtersen will be hoping to continue his development, having made his Paris-Roubaix debut last week.

Two more riders are previous winners in Switzerland: Hermann Pernsteiner, whose last victory was in Lugano, and 25 year old Gino Mader, who will be racing on home roads. Mader had something of a breakthrough season in 2021, winning stages at the Giro & the Tour de Suisse, as well as the Youth Classification at the Vuelta a España.

The selection is rounded off with Stephen Williams, starting his 3rd Romandie, and the team’s spring superstar Dylan Teuns. Sunday saw the Belgian achieve his 5th top 10 in the April classics as he sprinted to 6th at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, just 4 days after winning La Flèche Wallonne.

Stephens concludes, “We’re looking forward to very demanding but very beautiful race in Romandie”

The Tour de Romandie starts at 1500 CET on Tuesday April 26th with a 5.1km time trial in Lausanne.

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Lotto Soudal signs Janse van Rensburg and Carlos Barbero

The team sent me this announcement:

Belgian WorldTour team Lotto Soudal will add Carlos Barbero and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg to the roster until the end of the year. The duo will give the team more depth and adds the necessary experience.

As from the first of May Janse van Rensburg and Barbero will be able to ride for Lotto Soudal. Both were without a team from the first of January, but never gave up on their chances of finding a WorldTour team. They kept training and living as pro cyclists for the entire time. Janse van Rensburg became national road champion of South Africa last February.

Janse van Rensburg leads a group in the 2018 Vuelta a España. Sirotti photo

“I am very happy with this opportunity”, says Janse van Rensburg. “After last season I have prepared myself as I have always done, even though I did not have a team. Of course, sometimes it was difficult to keep making all the sacrifices without knowing if I would be able to race at the highest level. But luckily, all those sacrifices are rewarded now. I am very motivated to make something good out of this. A period like I have had just now, makes you value the life of a pro cyclist even more.”

The fast Janse van Rensburg is ready to make his contribution to Lotto Soudal right away. “I am physically and mentally completely race-ready and I am looking forward to competing again. Lotto Soudal is a team full of youngsters which I have always followed with great admiration. I hope to make my experience of good use with the younger riders, while also getting some results myself.”

Also Carlos Barbero never lost faith after his former team had to quit at the end of last year. During training, the Spaniard still gives it his all and is able to push the power numbers he was getting last year. “You have to keep believing”, says Barbero. “And so I have always done, even though it was difficult at times. I am ready to prove straight away that I am worth this opportunity. Both by sharing my experience as in getting my own results.”

Barbero is happy with the chance that Lotto Soudal offers him. “The history of this team is impressive. With Valls, Pujol and Reynes there even were some other Spaniards here as well. I am looking forward to being a part of this beautiful team myself.”

The duo adds depth and experience to the Lotto Soudal roster. “Just like every team this year, we have had a lot of sicknesses”, explains CEO John Lelangue. “Therefore, we were not able to get a complete squad at the start of every race. Also, with Kamil Małecki and Jarrad Drizners we have two riders who will be out with injuries for a long time. We had to reinforce our team to be able to do the racing program we have planned.”

With Janse van Rensburg and Barbero, Lelangue found the two ideal riders. “They are experienced, race-ready and very motivated. We will give them a chance until the end of the season and believe that they will fit in this team very well. They are grateful for the chance they are given and I am sure that they will prove their value for our young team.”

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