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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, June 26, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

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Dylan van Baarle wins Dutch cycling championships

Here’s the report from van Baarle’s Team Jumbo-Visma:

Dylan van Baarle is the new Dutch cycling champion. He rode away from the lead group in the final and crossed the line first in Sittard-Geleen. Olav Kooij finished a respectable second after a long day in the breakaway.

Van Baarle was delighted with his title. "It is a dream to ride the Tour de France in red, white and blue. After a failed spring and a lot of bad luck, this is sweet. Things were going well at the Dauphiné, and I was able to connect the dots at the training camp in Tignes. I'm more than happy with this victory.”

Here's van Baarle winning Omloop Het Nieuwsblad earlier this year. Sirotti photo

The Dutchman laid the foundations for his first title with a clever and well-considered attack in the final kilometres. "I chose the right moment for my attack. Mathieu van der Poel had attacked so many times before, so I wasn't surprised that he didn't follow. When he goes full speed on the climbs, I can't follow. So I had to be smart. I know very well what I can and can't do.”

The winner of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was complimentary about the way Team Jumbo-Visma rode in the summer weather conditions. "Olav had to try to follow Mathieu on the climbs, and he did. That's very strong. And Olav was very strong in the lead group with Robert Gesink. Behind them, we were always riding with different guys. It was also a matter of teamwork because I would never have made it without help. This victory is also for my teammates.”

Kooij finished a respectable second behind the winner. He also praised the teamwork of the yellow and black squad. "It was a tough battle, also because of the hot weather. We rode attentively, and I'm glad I was part of the breakaway. Robert did an excellent job. We won as a team and rode as a strong block. It all worked out perfectly.”

It is Van Baarle's second victory of the season after winning the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Team Jumbo-Visma's victory tally now stands at 42.

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Alexey Lutsenko wins Kazakhstan national road race championships

Here’s the report from Lutsenko’s Team Astana Qazaqstan:

Alexey Lutsenko won the road race (164 km) at the Kazakhstan National Championships, which ended today in Taldykorgan. Lutsenko attacked solo from a leading group with some 20 km to go, opening a good gap, enough to finish alone and to become the new road race champion.

“It was a very good test of my form, and I am really happy with the race and with the way I was feeling during the whole day. With a week before the Tour de France it was important to check my conditions and looks like everything is going by plan. We attacked and broke away quite early, so he had to push hard and to stay away almost all day long, but we succeed. In the final I found a moment to go solo, it was a nice move for me, which brought me the title of the national champion. I am happy with my success at the National Championships and for me it will be a great honor to start the Tour de France in the jersey of the national champion of Kazakhstan”, – said Alexey Lutsenko.

Alexey Lutsenko racing in stage 18 of the 2022 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

A group of riders with Lutsenko, 2022 road race champion Yevgeniy Gidich and 2022 time trial champion Yuriy Natarov broke away clear after the first 20 km of racing, taking a good gap to the peloton. Later it was Gidich and Lutsenko together with Daniil Marukhin and Alexandr Semenov, who attacked again to create the decisive leading group. Alexey Lutsenko and Yevgeniy Gidich worked well together to keep the gap, while on the final lap Lutsenko counterattacked to win the race, while Gidich won the sprint for the second place.

Having the time trial title on Wednesday and winning the road race in Taldykorgan today, Alexey Lutsenko became 2023 absolute national champion.

Parallel to the battle in the Elite category there was a fight among Under 23 riders, dominated by Astana Qazaqstan Development Team riders. The individual time trial champion Maxim Taraskin was leading the race for a long time, while closer to the final the chasing group caught him back. The attack of Nicolas Vinokurov, followed shortly after that, brought him the second consecutive U23 national champion title.

“Well, it was a tough day. I had a plan to make part of the first breakaway and after some time I was able to come across a group of some 20 riders. But later it was caught back. During the final part of the race I had cramps, so I was thinking it was over for me, but at the end of the day I’ve managed to deal with it. I knew I would lose in the sprint against the other riders if our group arrives to the finish all together, so I attacked with 5 km to go and being caught back I kept on trying, attacking again with 1.5 km to the finish line. This time it worked well, and I was able to arrive alone. I am so happy to get this back-to-back victory after a lot of bad luck and sickness during the first half of the season. So now I am really looking forward to continue wearing this beautiful national jersey, working hard to achieve the new goals”, – said Nicolas Vinokurov.

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Remco Evenepoel is Belgian road champion

Here’s the report from Evenepoel’s Team Soudal Quick-Step:

Remco Evenepoel turned another dream into reality Sunday afternoon, as he became the first Belgian rider in the last 84 years to win the National Championships with the rainbow jersey on his shoulders, en route delivering the 70th title in the history of Soudal Quick-Step.

“I’m incredibly happy with this win, this gold medal, this beautiful jersey. To triumph at the Road Nationals for the first time in my career is incredible. I dreamed about it since turning pro and now that I’ve done it, it’s just crazy”, an elated Evenepoel said after his eighth success of the season.

Here's Remco Evenepoel winning stage seven of the recently completed Tour of Switzerland. Sirotti photo

Held around Izegem, the race was mainly flat, but the famous Kemmelberg featured three times in the first part of the 230.7km course. It was there that several riders drove away, trying to put pressure on the peloton, and our team made sure it was represented in the move by Yves Lampaert. The Former Belgian Champion was one of the last two men to get caught by the bunch, together with Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), some 28 kilometres from the finish.

That was the cue for Remco to launch one of his trademark accelerations, a brutal attack that splintered the peloton, leaving only a dozen riders in the front. The World Champion had Dries Devenyns for company, and waited for the final ten kilometers to go again on the offensive, this time only Alec Segaert (Lotto-Dstny) being capable of responding. The newly-formed duo worked well together, building a buffer of 20 seconds, and even though he led under the flamme rouge, Evenepoel easily controlled the sprint, which he won by a clear margin.

“It was a long and hard day, which was complicated even more by the heat. I can’t say I felt good in the first part of the race, when we were in a perfect position, with Yves up the road, while Tim and myself remained in the peloton. It was only in the last two hours that I began feeling better, so I decided to try something, the first time in the final 30 kilometers, and then, with ten kilometers to go.”

“That sprint was probably the longest one of my career, but as I still had something left, I trusted it and I’m glad of how it panned out after five hours in the saddle. To have two of cycling’s most beautiful and prestigious jerseys in my palmares gives me a lot of pleasure”, added Remco, who over the last twelve months has won Clasica San Sebastian, Vuelta a España, the World Championships, Liège–Bastogne–Liège and the Belgian Nationals.

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Pfeiffer Georgi is British road champion

Here’s the report from Georgi’s Team DSM:

Taking on the challenging course around the town of Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Pfeiffer Georgi used both her racing nous and strong legs to take a brilliant win and become British national champion.

Pfeiffer Georgi takes a clean win to become British champion again.  Photo Credit: Eltoromediadotcom

A former winner of the national title in 2021 and having finished second last year, Georgi was determined to get back on that top step this afternoon. Using all of her experience and tactical racing nous, Georgi combined that with strong legs throughout the afternoon and made a decisive group that would go on to fight it out for the win. Despite attacks on the run in, it was all together at the bottom of the final climb where Georgi danced on the pedals – putting the power down. Not looking back until she was in sight of the line, Georgi could sit up and celebrate a brilliant win and her second national title.

An elated Georgi said: “It was a really hard course today, constantly up and down. It was really attritional. A group of about seven of us were away for the last few laps. I wasn’t so confident on the climbs originally so I tried with one lap to go on the climb, and I felt strong there which gave me the confidence. I thought of Lincoln; I did the same thing there were I tested the waters. I wanted to keep it all together on the last lap and take those corners first on the descent to the climb, then go full gas. I believed in it but I’m still in shock; it’s really nice to win the title again.”

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