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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, April 23, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. - Dolly Parton

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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Team Soudal Quick-Step headed to Tour de Romandie

Here’s the team’s update:

The season’s 20th stop on the World Tour calendar will also be our last stage race before the Giro d’Italia.

Twenty-six kilometers of individual time trial spread over two stages and a tough mountain finish atop Thyon 2000 (20.7km, 7.7%) on the penultimate day will be the key points of the 76th Tour de Romandie, which kicks off next Tuesday from Le Bouveret, a small town in the canton of Valais, before concluding in Geneva, the most populous city of the region.

Having won a total of eighteen races with ten different riders since the beginning of the season, Soudal Quick-Step will look to add to that solid palmares in Switzerland, a country where our team has tasted success on a total of twenty-two occasions since 2003.

Rémi Cavagna – a double stage winner at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali this season – Josef Cerny, Dries Devenyns, James Knox, Fausto Masnada, who two years ago became the first Italian since 2008 to finish on the Romandie podium, Casper Pedersen and Ethan Vernon will be Soudal Quick-Step’s men for the 76th edition of the race.

Rémi Cavagna wins stage one of this year's Coppi-Bartali race.

“We can hope for some good results from Rémi in the two individual time trials, he’s in solid form this spring as shown in Italy and Belgium, and those two stages will be his goal. Ethan and Casper are our guys for the race’s one, possibly two bunch sprints, while James and Fausto will try to do something nice in the hard stages of the race”, said sports director Tom Steels.

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Lotto Dstny Team statement on Lennert Van Eetvelt

The team sent me this:

Team puts rider on non-active for the time being, pending further investigation.

On Friday 21 April, Lotto Dstny was informed by its rider Lennert Van Eetvelt about an “alleged breach of anti-doping laws” during the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var on 19 February. “We have talked to our rider and medical staff and are confident in a good outcome”, the team says, “but we are following the established procedures and therefore put Lennert on non-active for the time being, pending further investigation.”

The substance referred to in the dossier is an authorised substance, found in a nasal spray that is freely available and authorised in competition, if mentioned during a control and when its use is in accordance with the package leaflet.

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“My world was turned upside down for a moment yesterday”, says Lennert Van Eetvelt, “no rider wants to receive such a letter. I also don’t really understand what happened. At the doping control, I clearly mentioned that I was taking the nasal spray, as I have already done before in my career. I am not aware of any wrongdoing and hope this is just a mistake and this nightmare will end soon.” Lennert took the nasal spray in consultation with his medical supervisor.

On Saturday morning, Van Eetvelt sat down with the team’s board of directors and explained the situation, together with the team doctor. “We had a good consultation, listened to what happened to him and we are confident in a good outcome”, the team stated. “The team applies a strict zero-tolerance policy and therefore Lennert has been put on non-active. We want to stress that this is in no way a conviction but merely the application of the MPCC (Mouvement pour un Cyclisme Crédible) guidelines. It also gives Lennert time to substantiate his case in the best way possible.”

Lennert Van Eetvelt will not make any further comments and the press is asked to respect his privacy.

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Mike Woods to ride Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Woods’ Team Israel-Premier Tech sent me this:

When you look at Mike Woods’ palmarès at Liège – Bastogne – Liège, you won’t see a number higher than ten in his results. Despite an unfortunate DNF in 2016, when Woods crashed out of his debut participation, six top-ten finishes including second in 2018 give you a pretty good idea of how well the fourth Monument of the season suits him.

After his fourth place at La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday, where he was positioned perfectly at the foot of the Mur de Huy, Woods is feeling good ahead of La Doyenne. However, he is expecting it to be the hardest edition yet with a course change set to shake things up.

Michael Woods riding stage seven of the 2022 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

“I think this year’s course change will impact the race. Having that right turn after La Redoute will make the race harder because, instead of remaining on the plateau when we normally go left, going right results in a descent so it will be harder to get back on, on the descent. Then you go straight into another climb and another one after that so there is an additional climb in there and I think it will make La Redoute that much more important this year. I don’t think the race will be won on that climb because I think the race may even be harder than in years past but certainly the race winning selection will come from there,” explains Woods.

Aside from the course, the weather conditions are expected to be miserable. And then, of course, there’s the matter of the contenders.

“I am feeling good. I’m pleased with how Flèche went, how I raced there. I think it was one of my better performances at Flèche and the way I feel, I think Liège will go even better for me. I feel like I’m very strong aerobically and I recovered well after Flèche so that gives me confidence. Apart from my DNF in 2016 when I crashed out of the race, I have never finished outside of the top-ten so it gives me confidence knowing what I am capable of. The weather is going to complicate things and it’s going to be a far harder race knowing we have two guys, Remco Evenepoel and Tadej Pogacar, who are the greatest contenders at this race that I have ever faced, even having raced guys like Valverde. These two are on another level but I’m excited and hopefully I can be up there with the best.”

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