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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, August 24, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words. -  Goethe

Les Woodland's book Tour of Flanders: The Inside Story - The rocky roads of the Ronde van Vlaanderen is available in print, Kindle eBook and audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Renewi Tour stage one team reports

We posted the report from second-place Tim Merlier's Team Soudal Quick-Step with the results.

Here's the report from third-place Olav Kooij's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Olav Kooij has finished third in the first stage of the Renewi Tour. The 21-year-old Dutchman was behind a crash in the final kilometres but fought his way back to finish on the podium. Jasper Philipsen won the stage.

Jasper Philipsen (far left) won the first stage.

After a fast start, five riders broke away from the peloton. Team Jumbo-Visma was involved in the chase and helped to catch the lead group. On the narrow roads around Ardooie, Kooij was brought to the front by his teammates just in time, but a crash just in front of him seemed to throw a spanner in the works. Kooij had to start his sprint in a beaten position but still worked his way up to third place.

"The crash happened just before a crucial corner, and unfortunately, I was behind it”, Kooij said. "Then you know it's going to be tough. But there was a slight headwind, so I was still hoping to get to the front from further back. Luckily, I had enough space, but winning was out of the question. My feeling in the sprint was good. There will probably be another chance in the fourth stage. In any case, it's nice to sprint in such a strong field.”

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Here’s the Renewi Tour report from GC second-place Alessandro Covi’s UAE Team Emirates:

Alessandro Covi used his strength and shrewd tactics to perfection to end the day in 2nd in the General Classification on a fast opening stage of the Renewi Tour in Belgium. The Italian formed part of the initial break of the day and picked up 8 precious bonus seconds at intermediate sprint points known as the ‘green kilometre’.

The result sees Covi sitting in 2nd place behind new yellow jersey and stage winner Jasper Philipsen.

Matteo Trentin put in a solid sprint to take 6th place on the day in a field loaded with sprinting talent from Blankenberge to Ardooie (182.9km).

Alessandro Covi : “Today I gave a big effort in the breakaway. I knew we had to keep the pressure on for the sprints in the ‘green kilometre’ or else the bunch would come back and catch us. I’m happy to be 2nd overall, though I know the time trial is not my speciality tomorrow but we’ll look to the rest of the stages to come.”

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Arnaud De Lie stays with Lotto Dstny until at least the end of 2026

Here’s the team’s news release:

Lotto Dstny has extended the contract of its 21-year-old leader Arnaud De Lie with two years. De Lie still had a contract for next season, but signed an additional two-season deal. That way, the Belgian will race in Lotto Dstny outfit until at least the end of 2026.

After an impressive season with the Development Team, De Lie turned pro last year. The 'Bull of Lescheret' showed himself immediately, developed really fast and ended his first professional year with no less than nine victories. This season, despite a heavy crash in mid-May, De Lie's tally already stands at seven and he took close places of honour at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Brabantse Pijl, among others.

Arnaud De Lie wins stage three of this year's Etoile de Bessèges.

CEO Stéphane Heulot is therefore very pleased with this contract extension. "With the eyes on the future, Arnaud De Lie's contract extension was a priority. We are therefore very pleased that one of Belgium's greatest cycling talents will stay on board at Lotto Dstny. From the moment Arnaud entered the Development Team, he experienced a tremendous development and quickly became one of our leaders due to his strong performances. Everyone in the team and also Arnaud himself is convinced that there is still a nice margin for growth. This long-term commitment gives us the opportunity to take the next steps within Lotto Dstny, so that together we can realise Arnaud's ambitions. We are already very much looking forward to what the future holds," concludes Stéphane Heulot.

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Arnaud De Lie explains his choice for an extended stay at Lotto Dstny. "Extending at Lotto Dstny was a logical choice for me. The team showed a lot of confidence in me from the beginning and it felt very good right away. In addition, the project the management has proposed to me for the coming years is promising. The team goes into every detail and continues to invest in performance, to bring out the best in its riders. All these things made me happy to prolong."

"The fact that I will be racing with Lotto Dstny until 2026 gives me some peace of mind and also the time to improve step by step. This year I was already able to show myself several times in WorldTour races, which proves that I keep making progress. The ambition is therefore to become competitive at the highest level in the future and win a big Classic. Which one that may be doesn't really matter to me. And whether I am more of a sprinter or a Classics’ rider? I am lucky to be good at both but my heart still lies a bit more with the Classics. Of course, that doesn't take away the fact that both things are possible to combine."

Before looking to the future, some big appointments still await De Lie this season, starting with the Renewi Tour and, among others, the Canadian one-day races in Quebec and Montreal. "A WorldTour win in one of upcoming races would be fantastic. I am in very good form and it would be a very nice end to the season."

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