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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, June 23, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

If I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn't have been worth the Nobel Prize. - Richard P. Feynman

Dirty Feet: Early days of the Tour de France

Les Woodland's book Dirty Feet: How the Great Unwashed Created the Tour de France is available in print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

Current racing:

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Lotto Soudal announces its Tour de France roster

The team sent me this announcement:

Lotto Soudal has finalized its Tour de France line-up. Caleb Ewan will be supported in his hunt for sprint victories by Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Frederik Frison, Florian Vermeersch and Brent Van Moer. Philippe Gilbert, Andreas Kron and Tim Wellens will aim for success in stages with more altitude meters.

Caleb Ewan winning stage 6 of the 2022 Tour of Turkey

“With these 8 we can play our part on almost every terrain in this Tour de France”, says CEO John Lelangue about the line-up. “With Caleb Ewan we have one of the fastest riders of the peloton. He is our biggest chance on a stage win and therefore we have made sure he is well surrounded with Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Frederik Frison, Florian Vermeersch and Brent Van Moer. Those last two will also definitely have highlighted the cobbled stage to Arenberg. Furthermore, Philippe Gilbert, Andreas Kron and Tim Wellens have proven the last weeks to be in a very good shape. They will definitely be active in the more difficult stages and be present in breakaways.”

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Team Israel-Premier Tech announces Tour de France squad, which includes Chris Froome

Here’s the team’s announcement:

Israel – Premier Tech has announced its eight-rider roster for this year’s Tour de France with the primary goal of hunting for stage wins.

“In this Tour, the main priority for us is to win a stage. With Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España stage wins to our name, we would like to complete the Grand Tour trifecta with a Tour de France win so it’s certainly our main focus to begin with”, General Manager, Kjell Carlström, explains.

“We also want to keep our options open and see what may be possible in terms of fighting for a leader’s jersey like we did last year, when we had Michael Woods fighting for the KOM jersey. However, hunting for stages is definitely the most important goal for us in this year’s Tour de France.”

IPT partner, Sylvan Adams, says that he’s eager for the race to kick off next week and that he has high hopes for the team.

“We have a strong squad racing in this year’s Tour de France. Our star riders are on top form and I am hoping for important stage victories. I know that all of Israel is behind us, and this gives the team energy and motivation for the three weeks ahead.”

Jakob Fuglsang at this year's Tour of Switzerland. Sirotti photo

In-shape Jakob Fuglsang is leading the IPT team in the Tour as the race starts out in his home country, Denmark, with the opening time trial on Friday, July 1. In fact, the first three stages will take place on Danish soil before moving to Northern France on the following Monday.

”Starting the Tour de France in my home country will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. I can’t wait to get started. I’m sure the Danish fans will make this year’s Grand Depart one that won’t be forgotten anytime soon”, Fuglsang tells.

“After my victory in Mercan’Tour and third place overall in Tour de Suisse last week, I feel ready to take on this Tour. I’ve been working hard to get to this point and I believe my shape is where it should be right now. The Tour is always unpredictable, but I’m here to leave my mark on the race and not just to be another pair of legs in the bunch.”

Michael Woods is another strong card in the IPT lineup. Fresh off a stage win and the overall victory in Route d’Occitanie last week, Woods is eager to keep the momentum going in the Tour.

“I’m really excited to get started with this year’s Tour de France”, the Canadian climber adds. “After Route d’Occitanie, I’m feeling really confident for the race. The first week is going to be very demanding, very stressful and very technical. My first goal is just not to crash in this opening week. I’ve come close to winning stages the last two times I’ve done the Tour, but I feel that I’ve always been hampered by injuries from crashes. This time around, the goal is just to stay safe and then have the legs ready to go in the final two weeks. There are quite a few stages there, which are suited to me, and I hope to take advantage of as many of them as possible.”

Israel – Premier Tech will also be able to rely on the strength and experience of Chris Froome in the Tour de France this year. Froome has had his best season with IPT in 2022 and the four-time winner of the Tour is now looking forward to lining up at the world’s biggest race once again.

“It’s awesome to be starting my 10th Tour de France with Israel – Premier Tech. I’ve worked exceptionally hard this year and I’m looking forward to giving it my all. We’ve got a great group of riders in the lineup and we can’t wait for the battle to begin in Copenhagen”, Froome tells.

In addition to Fuglsang, Woods and Froome, Tour de France stage winner, Daryl Impey, and multiple Vuelta a España stage winner, Simon Clarke, will also take the start for IPT. The same goes for Canadian time trial champion Hugo Houle, Latvian climber Krists Neilands and Israeli Omer Goldstein, who will be lining up for his second Tour de France after his debut last year.

“Racing the Tour is super stressful but at the same time also super exciting, as you get to perform on the biggest stage in the cycling world. I believe I have been preparing for this Tour in the best way possible. I have worked very hard and I want to deliver an unforgettable performance for myself, my team and for the country I represent”, Goldstein says.

Tour de France (July 1-24):
Lineup: Jakob Fuglsang (DEN), Michael Woods (CAN), Chris Froome (GBR), Daryl Impey (RSA), Simon Clarke (AUS), Hugo Houle (CAN), Krists Neilands (LAT), Omer Goldstein (ISR).

Sports directors: Nicki Sørensen (DEN), Zak Dempster (AUS), Steve Bauer (CAN).

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Filippo Ganna is Italian Time Trial Champion again

Here’s the report from Ganna’s Team INEOS Grenadiers:

Filippo Ganna became a three-time Italian national time trial champion with a strong victory on Wednesday.

The INEOS Grenadiers rider came out on top across the 35.6-kilometre course with a winning time of 40 minutes and 29 seconds.

Filippo Ganna at this year's Critérium du Dauphiné. Sirotti photo

That benchmark saw him take back the Italian title by 36 seconds over nearest rival Mattia Cattaneo (Quick-Step-AlphaVinyl). Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) rounded out the podium places.

The success marked the third national title in the TT for Ganna, who also tasted success in 2019 and 2020.

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Mattia Cattaneo silvers at Italian Time Trial Champs

Here's the report from Cattaneo's Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl:

For the second consecutive year, Mattia Cattaneo finished on the podium at the ITT National Championships, which were held in San Giovanni Al Natisone, a small town in the province of Udine, not far from Trieste. A bronze medalist in 2021, the 31-year-old Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider went one place better now, finishing second Wednesday afternoon.

Cattaneo time trialing at the 2021 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

Cattaneo had a flying start, tapping out an impressive tempo which saw him set the fastest time at the split, a result that only one of the four riders leaving the ramp after him could improve, and only for a handful of seconds. A top 5 finisher earlier this month at the Critérium du Dauphiné’s sole stage against the clock, Mattia kept the speed high also on the second part of the 35.5km course – which included a small but sharp climb towards the end – concluding the race in an impressive 41:05 and taking the silver medal.

“I did my best today in what was a hard race. Second is a very good result, I am content with my condition and I take a lot of confidence from this runner-up place, just like I do after every time trial race where I am up there in the classification. We had a plan before the start and I followed it, giving everything out there. The week isn’t over yet, as on Sunday we have the road race, where I will try to help the team go for what at the end of the day we hope will be another good result”, Mattia said after the ITT.

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