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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, February 9, 2023

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Let us not listen to those who think we ought to be angry with our enemies, and who believe this to be great and manly. Nothing is so praiseworthy, nothing so clearly shows a great and noble soul, as clemency and readiness to forgive. - Cicero

Tour of Flanders, the Inside Story

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Pascal Eenkhoorn: ‘I want to show myself in finals’

Team Lotto Dstny posted this short interview:

We sat down with the Dutch champion during our January training camp to talk about his goals and ambitions, hopes and dreams.

He was Lotto Dstny’s biggest winter transfer. Vermarc, Ridley and Ekoï received a challenging extra assignment together with the transfer. They could start designing in red, white and blue. Pascal Eenkhoorn is proud of his classic red, white and blue jersey, his bold bike design and personalized helmet.

Pascal Eenkhoorn in his Dutch Champion's jersey. Photo: Photo News.

Pascal Eenkhoorn, Dutch road race champion, welcome to the team. What are your first impressions?

“This is a very nice and close group. A real group of friends or family with a close connection with each and everyone.”

Why did you choose Lotto Dstny?

“I think we have a young group with a lot of possibilities and freedom for everyone. We can do a very nice racing program and create opportunities for everyone. I like to race with an open mind and that is something that should be possible here. I want to have the possibility to ride for victory more often.”

What will your season look like?

“I have started early in Mallorca, next will be Jaén, Murcia, Ruta del Sol, via Paris-Nice to Milano-Sanremo and the more difficult races, my home races: Volta Limburg Classic and Amstel Gold Race. It will be nice to be there in red, white and blue, with a red, white and blue bike. Especially after I understood that Dstny will also become a partner of the race. And after that, hopefully, a grand tour later in the season. Every cyclist wants to ride the Tour at least once. If I am good enough and it is possible to do the Tour de France, I will definitely not pass on that opportunity.”

What are your goals in all those races?

“We’ll have to wait and see a bit. The main goal is to be present in the finals and to play a part in the final of the race.”

When will 2023 be a success for you?

“When I have been able to improve myself, be present in the finals and – hopefully - get a victory.”

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UAE Team Emirates for Oman races and Murcia / Almeria classics

Here’s the team’s schedule update:

After a successful display last week at the Saudi Tour, UAE Team Emirates will return to the middle-east for two more races : the first ever edition of the Muscat Classic on 9 February, serving as a warm-up for the Tour of Oman from 11 – 15 February.

The team is in good spirits following victory in Saudi in the teams classification and second place overall for Davide Formolo.

Formolo: “After the performance in Saudi Tour we’re hoping for more in Oman. The physical condition is good and the stages in Oman are harder so I hope I can make the difference on the climbs here. We have a new one-day race in Muscat and we’ve heard that the parcours is quite tough there too so I’m looking forward to that. As a team we are very motivated to grab a win out here.“

The team for both races in Oman will be guided by Sports Director Fabio Baldato (Ita) and Technical Assistant Yousif Mirza (UAE).

Muscat Classic [1.1] – 10-Feb-2023 & Tour of Oman [2.Pro] – 11-Feb-2023 / 15-Feb-2023

Pascal Ackermann (Ger)
Davide Formolo (Ita)
Ryan Gibbons (RSA)
Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
Diego Ulissi (Ita)
Michael Vink (NZ)

The Spanish early-season calendar will also resume with the Vuelta Murcia and Clasica Almeria with Alessandro Covi returning to Murcia where he took a memorable 1-2 victory with teammate Matteo Trentin.

Alessandro Covi wins the 2022 Vuelta de Murcia with Matteo Trentin just behind him.

Covi : “The victory here last year was one of the most beautiful of my career. To win solo is something special and to have my teammate Matteo just behind me made it a really great day for the team. The condition is good and I’m excited to return to race here.”

For both Murcia and Almeria Sports Director Simone Pedrazzini (Swi) will guide the team.

Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia “Costa Cálida” [1.1] – 11-Feb-2023

Sjoerd Bax (Ned)
Alessandro Covi (Ita)
Finn Fisher Black (NZ)
Marc Hirschi (Swi)
Domen Novak (Slo)
Matteo Trentin (Ita)
Tim Wellens (Bel)

Clasica de Almeria [1.Pro] – 12-Feb-2023

Sjoerd Bax (Ned)
Alessandro Covi (Ita)
Finn Fisher Black (NZ)
Sebastian Molano (Col)
Domen Novak (Slo)
Matteo Trentin (Ita)
Ivo Oliveira (Por)

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Team Arkea-Samsic to race Muscat Classic & Tour of Oman

Here’s the team’s news:

A new race added to the UCI calendar, the Muscat Classic features a succession of climbs in the last few kilometers that are favorable to the puncheurs. The next day will see the start of the Tour of Oman, a stage race that favors puncheurs and climbers.

Nicolas Edet
“The profile and the course of the Muscat Classic reminds me of a stage I already raced in the Tour of Oman. The big novelty is the one-day race format which can make it more aggressive. The efforts will be intense, from 3 to 4 minutes, in the decisive climbs. We will have to be able to develop high powers to be in the game and acclimatize well to the hot temperatures of Oman”.

Nicolas Edet after stage eight of the 2019 Vuelta a España. Sirotti photo

Cristián Rodríguez
“The weather in Oman is a treat for me as I enjoy the heat. The Tour of Oman will also be my first race as a protected rider in my new team: I’m looking forward to proving that I can handle this role and to repay the trust that has been placed in me. We will have a great team for this hilly and difficult course: many summit finishes or climbs near the finish that should make the selection in the peloton”.

Mickaël Leveau, sport director
“The Muscat Classic will be a discovery for the whole peloton. The course has a tough final loop with many short but steep climbs. This can favor a dynamic scenario and will set the tone before the Tour of Oman that will start the next day. In this sense, Cristián Rodríguez, Michel Ries, Nicolas Edet or even Anthony Delaplace can do well on this kind of course.

Contrary to previous years, the Tour of Oman has fewer finishes for the sprinters and much more for the puncher-climbers. Our team will be centered around Cristián Rodríguez who appreciates these profiles as well as the expected weather conditions. However, we have the chance to have several cards depending on the physiognomy of each stage. For David Dekker, this will be his first race as a designated sprinter. He has shown in the past that he is comfortable in the early season races in the Middle East and will be able to rely on Jenthe Biermans at his side, who has already shown great things in the early season.”

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