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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, February 15, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

What you are, you are by accident of birth; what I am, I am by myself. There are and will be a thousand princes; there is only one Beethoven. - Ludwig van Beethoven

Les Woodland's book Cycling Heroes: The Golden Years is available in the print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Tour of Oman stage four team reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Diego Ulissi's UAE Team Emirates:

Diego Ulissi took his first win of the season in fine fashion on the penultimate stage of the Tour of Oman from Izki to Yitti Hills (204.9km).

Pascal Ackermann surprised the climbers with an attack with 8km to go, forcing the other teams to chase behind.

Ulissi had teammates Formolo and Laengen in the pack to assist him as the kilometres ticked away towards the base of the final kick which came at -2km to go. As the road flattened out Ulissi used his speed to perfection coming around Axel Zingle (Cofidis) to clinch his first victory of 2023.


Diego Ulissi takes the fourth stage.

Ulissi: “I’m delighted with this first victory of the season. It was a hard stage. Ackermann attacked with 8km to go and on the final climb Laengen and Formolo did the perfect job for setting up the sprint. Ackermann’s attack softened up the bunch well and we took a great victory. We’ve started the season very well as a team.”

This win leaves Ulissi 2nd overall on GC and also leading the points classification, just 5’’ behind Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) heading into the final stage 5 tomorrow from Samail to Jabal Al Akhdhar (152.2km).

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Here's the report from fourth-place Jordi Warlop's Team Soudal Quick-Step:

Our week of racing in the Sultanate of Oman is approaching to a conclusion, only the brutal finish on the famed Green Mountain remaining of this edition, which debuted with the stage victory of new wolf on the block Tim Merlier.

Tim Merlier winning the first stage.

But before this much-awaited showdown on one of cycling’s toughest ascents, the peloton had to take on a new finish, the Yitti Hills, located some 50 kilometers from the country’s capital, Muscat. The big moves of the day came before that 1.7km climb, on the longer Al Jissah ascent, once the second breakaway of the day – formed after the first attacker of the day Josef Cerny had been reeled in – was nullified.

Having tackled the hill at a rapid pace, the bunch quickly disintegrated following a series of attacks that left only four men, including Mauri Vansevenant, in the lead. The quartet had around 20 seconds on the chasers, but a lack of collaboration on the descent helped the chasers to bridge across, meaning a rather sizeable group arrived at the bottom of the last hurdle.

Jordi Warlop was there for Soudal Quick-Step on the grinding finale, kicking out 150 meters from the line and coming inches from another podium, after his runner-up spot at the Muscat Classic. The Belgian concluded fourth, while Mauri came home in the same time and retained his top 3 place on the GC.

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Team Israel-Premier Tech announces Vuelta a Andalucia line-up

Here’s the team’s post:

Israel – Premier Tech will take on this week’s Vuelta a Andalucía with a strong team aiming to challenge for both stage wins and the general classification.

“I believe we have good options with multiple riders for this race and I think we can be in the mix for several stages here”, sports director Oscar Guerrero Celaya explains. “It will be hard for any team to control this race, as it’s very hard this year, so we need to analyze the stages very well. The idea is to start out aiming for a stage win and then we will see what’s possible in terms of the GC. With guys like Simon [Clarke], Corbin [Strong] and Dylan [Teuns] we have some good cards to play for the uphill finishes with Dylan keeping an eye on the GC.”

Simon Clarke (shown at the 2022 Tour de France) will be racing in Spain. Sirotti photo

The Spanish stage race begins on Wednesday with a difficult mountain stage and finishes on the following Sunday with another challenging day in the Andalusian hills.

After a strong start to the season, with multiple podium performances, Simon Clarke is eager to get started.

“I’m really looking forward to this race. I’ve always gone well here and with the condition I have now, I hope to go well again this year”, the 36-year-old Australian tells. “We come here with a really strong team and we are definitely looking to ride well and come home with some good results. Previously, I have always tried to go for the GC but this time, they have put in an extremely hard stage on the first day, which I think will be too hard for me. I will leave it to the other climbers in the team to chase the GC and then I will look for other opportunities later in the week.”

IPT lineup: Simon Clarke (AUS), Hugo Houle (CAN), Nick Schultz (AUS), Corbin Strong (NZL), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Tom Van Asbroeck (BEL), Sep Vanmarcke (BEL).

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Team Jumbo-Visma headed to Volta ao Algarve

Here’s the team’s update:

After races in Australia and Spain, a delegation of Team Jumbo-Visma will be racing in Portugal this week. The 49th edition of the Volta ao Algarve will take place from Wednesday to Sunday. Tobias Foss is hoping to make an immediate impact at his season opener.

The first edition of the Volta ao Algarve took place in 1960. The race is an important test for the first major WorldTour races of the season. The Jumbo-Visma team has already had success in the final classification of the Portuguese race with Primoz Roglic. In 2017, the Slovenian took his first overall victory in a multi-day stage race there.

On the eve of his cycling season, Foss is eager to wear a jersey again. “I feel perfect right now. The winter went very well. The training has been good, and I have been able to do a lot of kilometres. Of course, it remains to be seen how my form will be, but I have a good feeling. I can’t wait to start racing again.”

Tobias Foss racing in the 2022 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

The course of the Portuguese stage race has many similarities to last year’s edition. Foss finished sixth in the final classification despite a crash in the last kilometres of stage two. The Norwegian was involved in a crash in a promising position, which cost him a possible stage win.

Foss hopes to put himself in a good position on the two climbs, one through the Portuguese hills and a sprinters’ stage. “We have a time trial on the last day. This is very special because I will be wearing the rainbow jersey. I can’t wait to show it off to the world. After the title in Australia, the season was short. The Chrono des Nations is my first chance to show it to the public. I am looking forward to doing it again next week”, the world champion says.

In this particular Chrono des Nations, the 25-year-old rider raced to second place, just two seconds behind winner Stefan Küng. “The jersey really gave me wings. Hopefully, it will happen again this season. Did winning the world title change anything? Maybe a little bit. I am even more confident at the start of a time trial. I know I can win a race at the highest level. I want to continue this way this season, starting in the Algarve. Although the competition will take me seriously after this particular day in September”, says Foss with a wink.

“It gave me a lot of tangible memories that I won’t forget for the rest of my life. But I am looking beyond that highlight. I want to get consistent results this season. Hopefully, this week in the Algarve will be the start of that. The time trial course is almost 25 kilometres long and is perfect for me. It is very technical and hilly. We will do our best to make it a good race. It is one of my personal goals for the season”, says Foss, referring to his strong finish in the Portuguese race.

In addition to Foss, the starting lineup for Team Jumbo-Visma includes Tim van Dijke, Gijs Leemreize, Milan Vader, Sam Oomen, and Owen Geleijn.

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