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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, December 2, 2022

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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Story of the Tour de France Volume 2

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, Vol 2: 1976 - 2018 is available in print, Kindle eBook & Audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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2024 Tour de France will finish with time trial in Nice

Here’s the Tour’s 2024 race update:

After 110 editions concluded at the Parc des Princes, the Cipale velodrome in the Bois de Vincennes or on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, the Tour de France will finish far from Paris for the first time in 2024, with stage 21 in Nice on 21 July.

For this exceptional final stage along the Mediterranean coast, a time trial will decide the title among the contenders. Thirty-five years after Greg LeMond stripped Laurent Fignon of the Yellow Jersey by eight seconds. The stage the day before will be run on the suspenseful roads of the Nice backcountry.

Greg LeMond riding that famous time trial in 1989.

Those who pay attention to the details of the Tour de France's history will point out that the winner of the first edition in 1903, Maurice Garin, although celebrated at the Parc des Princes, inaugurated the winners' list of the race by crossing the final finish line in Ville d'Avray. The public gathered again at the velodrome to celebrate the heroes of the Grande Boucle in 1904 and 1905, whereas the race actually finished a few kilometres from the capital. However, the arrival of the 2024 Tour in Nice is a first, as the Tour's peloton has never finished far from Paris. In any case, the riders will feel they are on familiar ground in Nice, a city which was already on the Tour's programme in 1906, hosted the Grand Départ in 1981 and again in 2020, and has been hosting the world's elite at the conclusion of Paris-Nice since 1933. 

This new finish, conditioned by the logistical imperatives that will already block the Champs-Elysées just a few days before the start of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, is accompanied by a significant sporting challenge as the last stage will be an individual time trial. The sporting qualities of the riders likely to win mean that the Tour could remain undecided until the last few kilometres, as was the case in 1989, the last time the event offered a time trial to close the proceedings. On that day, Greg LeMond beat Laurent Fignon by 58 seconds to win his second Tour by the narrowest margin in history, eight seconds. 

It is said that records are made to be broken, and the context of a battle of mere seconds takes on a new dimension when looking at the final weekend in general. The riders will be on the region's roads on Saturday, 20 July. They are all aware that the Nice backcountry lends itself to unbridled, high-intensity rides, almost systematically on the final stage of Paris-Nice. So, there could be opportunities just until the very end to rattle the Yellow Jersey.

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Remco Evenepoel & Annemiek van Vleuten win the the Vélo d’Or

Here’s the announcement from Evenepoel’s Team Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl

[Ed: As of this writing, van Vleuten’s Movistar team has just posted a simple announcement on Instagram]

Remco Evenepoel became the first Belgian in more than a decade to receive the Vélo d’Or, the award won since 1992 by some of cycling’s biggest names, including former Wolfpack riders Tom Boonen (2005) and Paolo Bettini (2006), and current Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl member Julian Alaphilipe (2019).

Evenepoel had a stunning season, winning a total of sixteen races and bringing Belgium its first Grand Tour in 44 years. By triumphing at Liège–Bastogne–Liège, Vuelta a España and the World Championships, Remco wrote history as the first male rider since 1980 to take a Monument, a Grand Tour and the rainbow jersey in the same season – an outstanding feat for the young Belgian in just his fourth season as a pro.

Evenepoel wins Liège–Bastogne–Liège. Sirotti photo

“It’s a great honor to win the Vélo d’Or”, said the youngest rider in history to win this prestigious trophy. “Especially so early in my career, because in my opinion it’s the most important prize in the sport. It’s a reward for the entire season. When I was still playing football, I was fascinated by the prestige of the Ballon d’Or. Actually, the Vélo d’Or is the Ballon d’Or of cycling, and that link resonates a bit with me.”

“I talk a lot about football with Oumi’s brothers. Her eldest brother is a Real Madrid fan, and he went crazy when Benzema was awarded the Ballon d’Or. We said laughing then that I would be the future Ballon d’Or of cycling and I’m happy that this became reality now”, added Remco, who picked up in the off-season also the Kristallen Fiets and Flandrien trophies in recognition of his stunning campaign.

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Nico Denz interview

Denz’s new Bora-hansgrohe team posted this:

"Nowhere absolutely outstanding but useful everywhere and versatile. An all-rounder with his best years still ahead of him!" Nico Denz describes himself and his qualities as a professional rider. The BORA - hansgrohe newcomer and Tour de Suisse stage winner is an experienced and loyal worker on the bike. Away from cycling, the 28-year-old German is also a family man and student.

2022 Tour of Switzerland stage 6: Nico Denz (left) just beats Clement Champoussin. Photo: Getty Images

It's December: How did you spend your offseason?
I spend a lot of time with my family.  During the season I'm on the road for several weeks, so having autumn with my wife and two children is very important to me. We go on relaxing weekend trips and spend a lot of time at home - for me it’s the best regeneration after an exhausting season in the saddle.

What does your winter training look like? Frozen in Freiburg or under the Spanish sun?
I spent the first part of my winter training at home on the Hochrhein, south of Freiburg. That consisted of many cold hours on the bike combined with strength training. Currently, I'm in Girona doing the next training block under the Spanish sun. I will then continue with the BORA - hansgrohe team camp on Mallorca.

You spent most of your career in France. After three years with Sunweb and DSM you are now under contract with a German-speaking team for the first time. Do you feel like you’re coming home?
Definitely! BORA - hansgrohe is the flagship of German cycling and I’m very happy to wear the colours of this team as a German rider.

In October you were able to get to know the team at the camp in Sölden. What were your first impressions?
My new teammates and the staff gave me a very warm welcome, and I instantly felt at home. Apart from some entertaining leisure activities, we also had planning meetings, bike fitting and medical examinations. Overall, I was able to build the anticipation and motivation in Ötztal.

You are 28 and already heading into your ninth season as a pro: Where do you see yourself in terms of your personal development?
I think that my best years are still ahead of me! Over the last few seasons, I gained a lot of experience and see myself more and more in the role of a road captain.

As a helper, I’m very loyal. A loyal worker who is not too good for any task.

What are your goals for 2023 and your first season at BORA - hansgrohe?
I want to contribute my part to the team’s success, integrate well into the squad, and of course celebrate victories together with the team leaders.

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What type of rider would you describe yourself as?
Nowhere absolutely outstanding, but useful everywhere and versatile. A classic all-rounder!

At the Tour de Suisse 2022 you were successful on the mountaintop finish at Moosalp. Did you discover new qualities in yourself as a mountain rider?
The strength on that climb didn't come as a complete surprise to me. I'm not a classic mountain rider, but on a good day I can ride well up the climbs. Not at the level of a classification rider, but definitely fast enough to get a stage win from a leading group.

Two times Vuelta, five times Giro - the Tour de France is still missing for the Francophile Nico Denz: is it a big goal?
The Tour is a big dream and by the end of my career, I think shouldn’t be missing from my palmarès.

What motivates you?
My family!

What do you do to relax and clear your mind?
Spending time with my children, my wife and our dog. Here I can leave the cycling world behind and just be the family man Nico Denz.

Cycling in three words:
Speed - adrenaline - endorphins

Your favourite moment in the race?
When your legs are turning well and you feel like you can fight for the win.

If you hadn’t become a professional cyclist, what would you be doing today?
I might have been an industrial engineer, or at least I started studying in that direction a few years ago. In the meantime, I’m studying business administration alongside cycling. But I’m currently very happy with my job as a professional cyclist.

The new season is just around the corner: Where will we see you in the BORA - hansgrohe jersey for the first time?
Definitely on the first of January during my New Year's ride. With a start number on my jersey, maybe at the Mallorca Challenge at the end of January.

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