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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, June 24, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

Biology is the study of complicated things that have the appearance of having been designed with a purpose. - Richard Dawkins

Marcus Aurelius: Meditations

Marcus Aurelius' Meditations is available in both Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Team DSM announces Tour de France squad

The team sent me this announcement:

A Grand Départ in Denmark awaits the peloton as they take on this year’s Tour de France, with Team DSM revealing an exciting eight-rider strong roster that will line-up in Copenhagen to take on an action-packed 21 days of racing at a La Grande Boucle that has something for everyone.

Romain Bardet started the 2022 Giro d'Italia, but abandoned during stage 13 after getting sick he was only 14 sec off the GC lead.

Getting underway, an intriguing three days of racing awaits the team in Denmark kicking off with a flat and technical time trial around the streets of Copenhagen, before a stage two finish over the Storebælsbroen, an 18-kilometre road bridge which potentially could be prone to crosswinds, with the three days concluding in an expected sprint finish. Returning to France, the riders face an array of terrain in the opening week including punchy finishes, a day on the cobbles and several in the mountains.

That variety of terrain continues as the peloton makes its way down the east of France through the Alps, stopping off in Switzerland which is closely followed by a finish atop the famous Alpe d’Huez. The route then cuts across the country and snakes its way towards over some testing terrain ahead of the Pyrenees where the final mountain battles will take place on the Peyragudes and Hautacam. If not already, the GC battle will be decided in a 40-kilometre time trial on the penultimate stage before the sprinters have their day under the lights on the famous Champs-Élysées finish.

Looking to build on recent form and momentum through well-engineered training and other specialist areas including altitude camps and targeted racing, Team DSM’s Tour de France group are ready to take their jersey adorned with its distinctive two stripes on the hunt for stage results in their journey around France.

Team DSM coach Matt Winston said: “We’re all looking forward to the 2022 Tour de France. Every day we will have to be sharp and that starts right from the opening day with the TT in Copenhagen which is followed by potential for crosswinds and nervous stages in the rest of our time in Denmark. We then transfer to France where we’re straight back into action with some tricky stages, including over the cobblestones, where we expect to see a big fight. A tough middle part of the race follows in the mountains which then continues as we head towards the Pyrennees before the traditional finale in Paris. Our main goal for the three weeks is to go for stage results. We will focus day-by-day on how the race is progressing and come up with plans for where we see that our chances lie. We have a really motivated group of guys who are full of ambition, as we look to compete in the sprint stages and in the more mountainous days as well.”  

Full line-up:
Romain Bardet
Alberto Dainese
John Degenkolb
Nils Eekhoff
Chris Hamilton
Andreas Leknessund
Martijn Tusveld
Kevin Vermaerke

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Team Ag2r-Citroën releases list of Tour de France riders

The team sent me this:

"We will start the Tour de France in Copenhagen with great ambitions. Since last year, Ben O’Connor has shown us the extent of his qualities. With him, we will focus on the best possible general classification, without setting a specific objective. We are certain that his sporting level, which he proved with his final podium at the Critérium du Dauphiné, can bring us real satisfaction.

"Taking a stage victory will also be a goal for all our riders. We know that it has a special meaning at a grand tour.

"It’s a tricky Tour de France where you’ll have to be careful, especially in the first week. Then the mountains will come, where our team will be able to show themselves in a beautiful way.

"It’s heartbreaking not to select a champion like Greg Van Avermaet. He remains one of the greatest riders in the peloton and his dedication to his profession is remarkable. However, the profile of the Tour de France seemed to us not quite suited to its current strengths. The sportsmanship with which he welcomed our decision further proves that he is a man of great professionalism and rare class." - Vincent Lavenu

Vincent Lavenu, general manager of the AG2R CITROËN TEAM, presents the eight riders who will make up the squad at the start of the Tour de France 2022:

30 years old / 1 professional victory
1st participation

"Geoffrey won his place in the Tour de France thanks to his convincing results his last major tours (winner of the mountain classification at the Vuelta a España in 2019 and the Giro d’Italia in 2021, 14th in the general classification of the Vuelta a España in 2021) and he has had a very good start to the season (stage victory in the Tour of the Alps). He will discover the Tour de France and provide heavy reinforcement in the mountains for Ben O’Connor. He will also have the possibility of slipping into the breakaways when the opportunity arises."

36 years old
7th participation
Best results: 18th in the general classification (2015) and 8th on a stage (2014 and 2015)

"Mikael had a good Giro d’Italia, finishing in 23rd place in the general classification. He took the time to rest and prepare and will provide valuable help to Ben O’Connor throughout this Tour de France. He is a rider who knows the role of teammate perfectly and who excels in this area, especially in terms of keeping his leader well positioned."

26 years old / 12 professional victories
4th participation

Best results: 20th in a stage (2021) and wore the KOM jersey for 15 days (2020)

"After a difficult start to the Tour de Suisse (June 12-19), Benoît regained good physical condition during the final stages. At his best, he rivals the strongest riders in the world in his style of racing. Benoît will be chasing a stage victory and will also have the opportunity to work for the team during these three weeks."

24 years old / 1 professional victory
1st participation

"Stan is a very versatile rider. He never hesitates to put himself at the service of the team and his good humor is contagious. He will be riding his first Tour de France, with the aim of protecting Ben, especially in the first week, but also with the prospect of slipping into breakaways and taking advantage of his good burst of speed to clinch a stage victory."

29 years old / 23 professional victories
4th participation
Best results: 11th in the general classification (2018) and 4th on a stage (2015)

Bob showed at the Tour de Suisse (June 12-19) that he is back in shape (6th in the general classification) and that he remains a top-level rider. He naturally finds his place in the team. He will aim for a stage victory but will also be able to accompany Ben when the road heads upwards."

Bob Jungels is a formidable rider. Here he is in pink in the 2017 Giro d'Italia, Sirotti photo

31 years old / 5 professional victories
7th participation
Best result: 4th on a stage (2019)

Oliver is a very important part of the team. He will provide essential protection for Ben the first week and throughout the Tour de France. It’s a role he masters perfectly. He will be able to bring his experience from his last six participations in the Grande Boucle, his qualities on the cobblestones, and can also try his luck for a stage win, as he knows how to do."

26 years old / 7 professional victories
2nd participation
Best results: 4th in the general classification (2021) and a stage victory (2021)

"In view of what Ben showed us last year at the Tour de France (4th in the general classification and a stage victory) and during the first part of this season, in particular at the Critérium du Dauphiné (3rd in the general classification), he will naturally be our leader. He has proven that his physical level allows him to compete with the strongest and he will start the Tour de France with the ambition of achieving the best possible general classification."

26 years old / 1 professional victory
2nd participation
Best results: 15th in the general classification (2021) and 7th on a stage (2021)

Aurélien completed his first Tour de France last year in 15th place. In recent seasons, he has shown he has great skills in stage races, notably finishing in the top 10 of Paris-Nice two years in a row (9th in 2021 and 10th in 2022). He will be an important element of the group and can help Ben. He will also focus on winning a stage."

The number: 17
Mikaël Chérel will compete in his seventeenth Grand Tour. He has participated in six Vuelta a España, four Giro d'Italia and this will be his seventh participation in the Tour de France.
Geoffrey Bouchard and Stan Dewulf will start their first Tour de France.

The news:
The AG2R CITROËN TEAM taking part in the Tour de France publicity caravan
For the second consecutive year, the AG2R CITROËN TEAM will be present in the Tour de France advertising caravan. This project, born from the common will of the team and its title partners, aims to meet the public of the Grande Boucle and to strengthen the link between the team and its fans. On this occasion, 100,000 sponge bracelets will be distributed to spectators throughout the 3,346 kilometers of the Tour de France. AG2R CITROËN TEAM has chosen to offer a useful object, reusable by everyone and for all activities. This sponge bracelet has a small pocket with a zipper, ideal for storing your keys during a hike, a bike ride or any other activity.

The two vehicles that will crisscross Denmark and then France are: a Citroën C5 Aircross Plug-in Hybrid and a Citroën Jumper dressed in a Caselani Type H kit in the team's colors.

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Wout van Aert will not ride Belgian Road Championships after hurting knee

Here’s the report from van Aert’s Team Jumbo-Visma:

Wout van Aert will not be at the start of the Belgian cycling championships in Middelkerke on Sunday. The reigning champion hit his knee at the handlebar during a training session in Tignes last weekend, which caused minor irritation in the past few days.

Wout van Aert won the points classification at this year's Dauphiné. Sirotti photo

Because the Tour de France starts next Friday, Van Aert will take it easy until Sunday. In Copenhagen, the six-time Tour stage winner will be competing as planned.

Van Aert relinquishes the national title with a heavy heart, but with a view to the Tour he wants to avoid the risk of the injury bothering him next week. "I think it's a real shame that I can't defend my jersey. I would normally never forgo a Belgian championship. I also regret missing the time trial because it just didn't fit the schedule. However, this is the wisest decision because I don't want to jeopardize the Tour", the 27-year-old rider from Herentals said. Tiesj Benoot, Nathan Van Hooydonck and Tosh Van der Sande will represent Team Jumbo-Visma in the Belgian title race.

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Remco Evenepoel wins Belgian Time Trial Championship

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

Remco Evenepoel took a hugely impressive win in Gavere, the East Flanders municipality more known for the cyclo-cross race it hosts each November. Fresh off his victory in the final stage time trial at the Tour de Suisse, the 22-year-old came at the start as the red-hot favourite and he lived up to the expectations, earning his first tricolour after a bronze and a silver at the previous participations.

Remco Evenpoel on his way to winning the Tour of Switzerland stage 8 time trial. Sirotti photo

Tucked over the aero bars of his Specialized S-Works Shiv to save watts and keep the speed, the “Aero Bullet” obliterated the field, putting himself in firm control of the 34.8km race by the halfway point and posting a time that put any questions about the winner to bed. The only rider to average more than 51km/h, Remco finished the time trial in 40:22 and took his tenth victory of a season which saw him taste victory also in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

“It was very hard with the heat today, I lost my bottle quite soon which wasn’t ideal, but I had an amazing bike and a good pace and could keep it the entire race. It’s great to be on the podium with a teammate and to know that I will wear this jersey in the time trials over the next twelve months. This win gives me a lot of motivation to keep working in this discipline. It’s an emotional day for me, because it showed that step by step I am returning to my top level”, Remco explained. “For Sunday we have a really strong team with several cards to play, and it will be important to support each other regardless of the scenario. We will definitely go for a good result.”

Last year’s winner Yves Lampaert finished runner-up, 37 seconds behind his teammate, giving our squad a memorable 1-2 in Gavere, while Dries Devenyns concluded the day in seventh place and made it three Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in the top 10.

“I gave everything out there, but I knew it was for second place. The longer a time trial is, the better for Remco. It was a fight until the end, against myself in the first place. I’m happy the jersey stays in the team, and that it’s the first time Remco takes it in the pro ranks. It’s such a beautiful jersey and it’s a pleasure to hand it over to him”, Yves added after the race.

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