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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, January 17, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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Sticky Buns Across America

Les Woodland's book Sticky Buns Across America: Back roads biking from sea to shining sea is available as an audiobook here. For the Kindle eBook version, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Luke Plapp wins Australian Road Championships

Here’s the report from Plapp’s INEOS Grenadiers team:

The 21-year old was the only Grenadier in the event but didn’t let that stop him, winning solo by 45 seconds in Buninyong. Plapp will now wear the famous green and gold jersey throughout his first full season at the pro level.

Luke Plapp is the new Australian Road Champion.

In the closing stages Plapp took off after solo attacker James Whelan, catching the Team BridgeLane rider on the bell lap before pressing on solo in the heat.

A superb victory helped make up for the disappointment of not being able to defend his national time trial title on Wednesday, after finding himself to be a close contact of a COVID-19 case. Despite that, the rider from Melbourne has now captured both titles at just 21 years of age.

Luke Plapp:
“It was just awesome fun out there, I’ve dreamt of this one for a while. It was a shame to miss the TT but to make up for it here in the road race, nothing beats it. I couldn’t ask for a better start.

“With six to go, five to go, four to go I was like ‘oh this is it, this is it, this is it’ but was like ‘no I can’t do it. I can’t make the same mistake as last year’ and I think I took a lot of learning from last year. So to be able to do it today and be really patient I couldn’t be happier. I was just glad. You learn from your mistakes, and I didn’t make the same mistake twice.”

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Tasmanian Nicole Frain is Australian Women's Road Champion

Nicole Frain wins the Australian Women's Road Championships

ABC News posted this:

Tasmanian Nicole Frain has scored the biggest win of her career, taking out the elite women's road race at the Australian road cycling championships. The 29-year-old launched a perfectly-timed solo attack with 3km left and stayed clear to the finish at Buninyong, near Ballarat.

Pre-race favourite Grace Brown won the reduced bunch sprint four seconds later to finish runner-up for the second-straight year.

Alyssa Polites finished third to also win the under-23 category.


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Lotto Soudal announces plans for 2022: Ewan targets Sanremo, Gilbert the Ardennes and Vermeersch the cobbles

Lotto-Soudal sent me this schedule:

During the annual press day of Lotto Soudal the plans of the team leaders were announced. Sprinter Caleb Ewan aims for stage wins in Giro and Tour again, Philippe Gilbert hopes to end his career in style and will be present in all the hilly Classics and Florian Vermeersch hopes to excel in the Flemish Classics.

Caleb Ewan (5 stages in the Tour de France and 5 stages in the Giro d’Italia on his palmares) targets the Tour and Giro yet again this year. “I really appreciate that the team is giving me the confidence again to go for stage wins in those big races”, says the Australian top sprinter. “Last year the guys did a great job helping me get two stage wins in the Giro. I was unlucky in the Tour, but I am ready to show myself again this year amongst the best riders in the world.”

Caleb Ewan wins stage five of the 2021 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

Also in cycling monument Milan-Sanremo Caleb Ewan hopes to achieve a good result. “My two earlier second places prove that I can come a long way in Milan-Sanremo. The team has helped me to prepare myself perfectly this winter, so I believe that we can deliver a top performance this year again.”

Races for Caleb Ewan: Saudi Tour, UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-Sanremo, Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields, Giro d’Italia, Tour de France.

In his last year as a professional rider, Philippe Gilbert focuses again on the races he has excelled in throughout his career. “I am very motivated to end my career in a positive way”, says the winner of 4 out of 5 cycling monuments. “It is nice to be able to do all the races in which I have had so many good moments once again. If I see how hard we have worked with all the team and everyone around it, I think we will have a very nice spring season.”

Races for Philippe Gilbert: Challenge Mallorca, Tour de Provence, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Le Samyn, Paris-Nice, Milan-Sanremo, Tour of Catalunya, Volta Limburg Classic, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Brabançonne, Flèche Wallone, Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Philippe Gilbert winning stage 12 of the 2019 Vuelta a España. Sirotti photo

Florian Vermeersch, second in last year’s Paris-Roubaix, looks forward yet again to the cobbled Classics. “Last year’s Paris-Roubaix was a dream, a wonderful day”, says the 22-year old rider, who recently prolonged his contract at Lotto Soudal until 2024. “Although Paris-Roubaix of 2021 is not even that long ago, I am very eager once again for the spring classics of next season. I think everything is there in our team to make it a good one. I will be doing most spring Classics this year, although we will be monitoring very closely how fit I am. Depending on that, some races may be left out of my actual calendar.”

Races for Florian Vermeersch: Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Le Samyn, Strade Bianche, Nokere Koerse, Bredene Koksijde Classic, Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, E3 Saxo Bank Classic, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Brabantse Pijl, Paris-Roubaix, Vuelta a Espana.

Victor Campenaerts returned to Lotto Soudal this winter. He left as a time trial specialist and came back as a Classic rider. “This year I will focus mainly on the Classics with a status just under the monuments. Le Samyn, Dwars door Vlaanderen: those are races fit for me. But also in the biggest races I hope to achieve great results with the team. We are here with a very young and eager team, and I am looking forward to race together with them.”

Races for Victor Campenaerts: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Le Samyn, Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Bredene Koksijde Classic, E3 Saxo Bank Classic, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Brabançonne, Paris-Roubaix. 


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For Thomas De Gendt this year, again it is all about the tough days in stage races. “A lot of hard work has been put in with the team until now”, says the winner of stages in all three week stage races. “The atmosphere at camp is very positive, I am looking forward to race again. Paris-Nice, the Tour of Catalunya and also the Giro d’Italia are all races where I have shown myself. Hopefully this year I can do it again.”

Races for Thomas De Gendt: GP la Marseillaise, UAE Tour, Paris-Nice, Tour of Catalunya, Giro d’Italia.

Whenever the road rises, Andreas Kron is in his element. The 23-year-old Danish rider won stages in Catalunya and Suisse last year and will focus on the hill Classics and a possible Tour debut this year. “The team places a lot of confidence in me and I am very motivated to return their trust with good results. I am confident that not only me, but the whole team will have a very good season.”

Andreas Kron on his way to winning stage six of the 2021 Tour of Switzerland.

Races for Andreas Kron: Challenge Mallorca, Jaén Paraiso Interior, Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Tour de l’Ardeche, Drôme Classic, Strade Bianche, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Brabançonne, Flèche Wallon, Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Brent Van Moer was a stage winner in last year’s Dauphiné. This year his first targets are the Classics. “Nokere Koerse, Dwars door Vlaanderen, the Flèche Brabançonne: those races suit me and I want to show myself there. The team sticks together very well and I feel that we will achieve nice things.”

Races for Brent Van Moer: Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Le Samyn, Strade Bianche, Nokere Koerse, Bredene Koksijde Classic, Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, E3 Saxo Bank Classic, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Flèche Brabançonne, Paris-Roubaix.

For Tim Wellens the hill Classics remain his favourite terrain. “I am doing the races that I love to ride and that suit me best. As always, I hope to be good from the start of the season. But my main goals will come after Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Races for Tim Wellens: Challenge Mallorca, Jaén Paraiso Interior, Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Omloop het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Volta Limburg Classic, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Brabançonne, Flèche Wallon, Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Arnaud De Lie goes into his first pro season with good hope. Without pressure he can get acquainted with the Classics at Lotto Soudal. “It would be nice to be able to ride the Ronde van Vlaanderen in my first year as a pro. My participation will depend on how I react on my first pro races. Anyhow I am very happy with the chances I get at the team and the plan that we have made together.”

Races for Arnaud De Lie: Challenge Mallorca, Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Le Samyn, GP Jean-Pierre Monseré, Nokere Koerse, Bredene Koksijde Classic, Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Scheldeprijs.

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