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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, March 21, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

When your mother asks, 'Do you want a piece of advice?' it is a mere formality. It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway. - Erma Bombeck

Story of the Giro d'Italia, volume 1

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Giro d'Italia, A Year-by-Year History of the Tour of Italy, Vol 1: 1909 - 1970 is available as an audiobook here. For the print and Kindle eBook versions, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Marc Hirschi wins Per Sempre Alfredo race in Italy

Here’s the report from Hirschi’s UAE Team Emirates.

Marc Hirschi made an emotional return to racing today, with victory on his first day of competition this year at Per Sempre Alfredo Classic in Italy. Hirschi broke clear with 8km to go, to cross the line solo taking the 20th win of the season for UAE Team Emirates.

Marc Hirschi winning the second stage of the 2021 Tour of Luxembourg.

The 23 year-old had been out of action for the first months of the season having undergone hip surgery in the autumn of 2021. After several months of rehabilitation and training at altitude in Sierra Nevada, Spain, Hirschi is now back to winning ways.

Hirschi: “I’m really delighted with this win, it means a lot. I’ve worked so hard together with my team over the past months to come back and it makes me really happy to do it like this.

"I have to thank my team for their confidence and for all the work they’ve done in getting me to this point. Watching the team achieving everything they have this season was huge motivation while I was on the sidelines and it feels great to be back with them in the peloton again.”

Per Sempre Alfredo Results:
1.Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) 4:23:38
2. Dion Smith (Bike Exchange) +3”
3. Remy Mertz (Bingoal Pauwels) s.t

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Sixth place for Coryn Labecki in Trofeo Alfredo Binda

Here's the report from Labecki's Jumbo-Visma team:

Coryn Labecki has finished sixth in the Trofeo Alfredo Binda. After a tough race with many attacks, it came down to a sprint of a small peloton. Labecki had to come from afar and could not compete for the victory.

After a fast start, three riders broke away from the peloton on the first climb. They gained a slight lead, but because of the high tempo of the bunch, the time difference was kept within limits. With about 90 kilometres to go, the race was neutralised because of a car crash. After a half-hour break, the race resumed and the leading group was soon caught. Subsequently, several riders attacked. Karlijn Swinkels and Anna Henderson were also part of a leading group. In the penultimate lap, the tempo was increased again and only Labecki could keep up on behalf of Team Jumbo-Visma. An attack on the last passage of the climb failed.

“It was a crazy day”, sports director Carmen Small said. “The race was neutralised, and we had to restart. In the end, what we expected from the race came true. Coryn did well by staying in the first group. She came back a few times after others attacked and it was good for us that the group stayed together until the finish. Coryn would have liked a better sprint, but our team got everything out of it today, and the riders supported each other. That is positive.”

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Lotto Soudal to race Volta a Catalunya

Here’s the team’s update:

On Monday the 21st of March, Lotto Soudal will be at the start of one of the oldest stage races within cycling, the Volta a Catalunya. The race is up to its 101st edition and won’t start – from the first time since 2011 – in Calella, but in Sant Feliu de Guíxols. During seven tough road stages, the climbers, puncheurs and strong sprinters will have their shot at the victory. Traditionally, the Volta a Catalunya ends with a closing stage in Barcelona including the famous Montjuïc climb.

Thomas De Gendt joyously wins the final stage of the 2021 edition of the Tour of Catalonia.

For Thomas De Gendt it will be his tenth participation at the Spanish stage race, where the 35-year-old Lotto Soudal rider took no less than five stage victories in the past. Most recently, Thomas won the closing stage in Barcelona last year in a truly impressive way. Filippo Conca, Matthew Holmes and Viktor Verschaeve will have their first taste of racing on Catalan roads while Sylvain Moniquet and Harm Vanhoucke are again present in Catalunya following one or more participations.

Unfortunately, a bronchitis will keep Philippe Gilbert out of the Volta a Catalunya. The Belgian leader of Lotto Soudal was already suffering from it during Saturday’s Milan-Sanremo and overnight it got worse. “I knew it was going to be hard, but I really wanted to start in my final Milan-Sanremo”, said Gilbert. “I am very happy that I was able to finish, but the bronchitis made it a very difficult race for me. Overnight things got worse and right now I am in no condition to take the start of a hard stagerace like Volta a Catalunya. Together with the team we decided it is best to focus on my recovery and the other goals I still have this spring.”

Vanhoucke for the GC:
Sports director Cherie Pridham talks about the line-up and ambitions of Lotto Soudal. “The Volta a Catalunya is a really tough stage race and this year is no different. It’s again a hilly course including two back-to-back summit finishes with La Molina on Wednesday and Boí Taüll on Thursday. We start this traditional stage race with our known mindset: animating the race and looking for opportunities in breakaways. We also have several strong riders who can support Harm Vanhoucke in his GC ambitions. With Thomas De Gendt we look for an early breakaway to have a shot at stage success. The riders are ready and motivated to make it a good seven days of racing!”

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