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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, June 28, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

I don't try to describe the future. I try to prevent it. - Ray Bradbury


Story of the Giro d'Italia volume 2

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Giro d'Italia, A Year-by-Year History of the Tour of Italy, Vol 2: 1971 - 2011 is available in print, Kindle eBook and audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

Upcoming racing:

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EF Education-EasyPost announces Tour squad

The team sent me this update:

Richard Carapaz. Rigoberto Uran. Neilson Powless. Alberto Bettiol. Magnus Cort. James Shaw. Andrey Amador. Esteban Chaves. Those eight riders will take the start of the Tour de France in Bilbao on July 1 ready to take the fight to the world’s greatest bike race.

The team has a layered set of objectives and ways to achieve them. Some, like stages, are obvious goals of every team. But so often teams plan and the Tour de France laughs. Its 3,405 kilometers over serpentine roads and through teeming masses of fans are as predictable as mountain weather. Hence our lineup — it’s a team built to adapt and capitalize over a mixture of terrain and circumstance. It’s a team of racers, first and foremost.

Some fit into boxes as a climber, a breakaway man. And some don’t. We’re going to attack the race. The Tour is often a showcase of muscle and a sheer test of firepower. But there are nuances and cracks in the race this team is built to explore, and races within the race take shape.

“This Tour, this route — it’s challenging to predict, especially given the early days in Bilbao. You know certain guys will be strong, sure. I’m excited about the team we’re sending because it’s so dynamic and flexible,” said Jonathan Vaughters, team CEO. “Richard, we know what he’s capable of, and we also know he’s great at reading a race and reacting. He’s tremendously exciting for us. We will support him in his exploits, and we’re also keeping our options open when it comes to attacking the race. Powless — he rode more kilometers than anyone in the breaks last year I think, and we hope he takes the next step this year. Magnus is a stage winner. Rigo, also a stage winner… on a single speed, no less. On paper, this is a great team. I’m excited to see how the race takes shape and how the whole team, riders and staff, come together to meet the challenge of the Tour.”

Hear from each of our riders below:

Alberto Bettiol
"It is going to be really tough. We have a super high quality team. Of course, the big name is going to be Richard because he is a champion, so he deserves to be our captain, but we also have Rigo and Neilson, riders who are in great shape right now and then we have a lot of options for one-day stages: me and Magnus and Neilson. It is a strong team, a really expert team with a lot of experience. We will try to do what we can.

"My ambition will be to try to win a stage. That is for sure, because last year I was so close. It would be nice to win a stage in the Tour de France. I worked really hard. I had to adapt my season to arrive in the best shape for the Tour de France, by doing the Giro d’Italia, to be more ready. I also want to show to the Italian fans that I will be ready for the world championships, which is two weeks after Paris. For me this year, the Tour de France is an extra motivation for the new date of the world championships.

"The Tour de France is for me special, a special race. It is one of the biggest events in sport on the planet. Every year, the Tour de France is one of the main goals for me and for this team for sure, so we and I have to give 100%, even more, because to win a stage in the Tour de France means a lot for a bike rider, for a team, for all of the staff that work together for three, four, five months and they all wait for this month when the Tour de France happens."

Andrey Amador
"I feel really good and motivated. I've made huge sacrifices to be able to be in the shape I am in physically. It had been awhile since I was last this strong.

"It is very exciting to return to the Tour de France after two years of not racing it. The Tour de France for any cyclist is a dream and will remain so. There are always some nerves, but also over the years you know what you are facing and how to cope with the day to day. I always think that a great Tour has to go day by day. It’s normal that over 21 days, there are good days and some not so good days.

Andrey Amador racing at the 2019 World Championships. Sirotti photo

"My goal is clear, to provide as much support as possible to the team. One of my duties is to ride out of my skin for this team that has trusted me and I will do so. We will see how things unfold over the days and how best to manage things.

"It’s a great joy to be named to our Tour squad and to give my 100% commitment to arrive in my best condition. I want to give back to the team for the trust they have placed in me. I will give everything I have for the team, my teammates and the people who have always been supporting me."

Esteban Chaves
"I heard the news that I would be on the Tour team and it is pretty exciting. After more than a decade of being a professional, hearing the news made me pumped. That means it is important and that means that I care about it and that I am still dreaming. The Tour de France is my dream. After I hung up with the DS and he had told me that I would do the Tour de France, I called my parents and I said this time you need to come, because I want you in Paris with me. They have never been. And it is a dream. It is where everything started for me, sitting on the couch, watching the Tour de France on television and just dreaming about being there and I am part of this now. I am actually living the dream. It is exciting. It is scary. It is a lot of emotions at the same time.

"It is a big responsibility as well, and I am looking forward to it. We have worked really hard, with all the people around: the team, my family, my wife. Every single one is a little bit of this. And because of all of these people, so all of you guys, I can be a part of the team. Everybody works and we are looking forward to doing everything really well and playing the cards really well and making the dream come true.

"We have a really nice and strong team. We can do a really nice GC. There is a lot of climbing this year: 14 stages are really tough, hard. And we can play the cards for stage wins with different riders, of course myself will be one of the riders to do that with the climbs. We can chase the mountain jersey. Why not? Why not?!"

James Shaw
"Who would have thought, eh? The Tour de France. What a bike race. I didn’t really know what to make of it. The whole thing came about at the Dauphiné when I was riding better than I have ever ridden and it obviously didn’t go unnoticed. Our DS Charly pulled me over on the last day and he said, look, we’ll put you on the long list. We’ll send you home to prepare. Don’t do Ventoux Challenge. Go home and get ready and prepare as if you are going to go and I thought, is he pulling my leg? He said he is considering me, but is it a serious consideration and stuff? So I was like oh, don’t build yourself up too much. So I prepared as if I was going to go. I put everything into it, the best recovery I could have done, that sort of jazz. And then he rang me and said we’ll crack on with it, we’ll do it. So I thought, oh, this is actually going to happen. I was a bit sort of taken aback by it. I didn’t really know what to do.

"I am a bit nervous. I am a bit scared. It is obvious from the guys who are going that I am there to be the best teammate I can. We have got a hell of a roster. Starting on that start line is going to be incredible. Personally, Paris is something that I have on my mind. I want to make it all the way to, but along the way I want to make sure I am doing the job that I am going there to do and be there for the guys and Carapaz and all the boys get what they need and I can get to that finish line on wherever and whatever day and I can get on that bus knowing that I gave it everything for Neilson or whoever that job was for that day. I am in the best shape I have ever been in. I think now is the moment, now is the time to do it as well, so I am super excited.

"I have this attitude in life that there are two people that you have got to make proud and they are the eight-year-old version of yourself and the eighty-year-old version of yourself. As long as the eight-year-old version of you looks up to you at the minute and thinks yeah, that guy is who I want to be and the eighty-year-old version of you looks back at you and says yeah, that is the person that I wanted to be, then it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks or feels. I think the eight-year-old version of James would be blown away right now."

Magnus Cort
"I am excited as always. It is not my first Tour de France, but it is still by far the biggest race, and no matter how many times I have been there, it is a race I am excited to go for and also nervous about. We’ll see how things are going and how things will be with the team and how things will be for myself.

"For the most part, my role will be to support the team and especially Carapaz. My role will be to be a good teammate, but I hope there will be a day or two where I can find opportunities for myself as well. There are a small handful of stages that could maybe suit me from a breakaway, but I don’t want to say yet which ones!"

Neilson Powless
"We’re getting close. I’m ready to head to Bilbao.

"I think that the prep that I have done has brought me to the right level of fitness at exactly the right time. I am really confident that I got the peak right this year and hopefully I can show that in the Tour.

"Obviously if I could win a stage, that would be incredible. That would be my Tour made if that happens, but if we have Richie or Rigo up in GC and we can get someone on the podium that would be incredible as well. I am going to have to be pretty fluid with it, with what my goals are going to be, because depending on what position we are going to be in with the team it is going to change. If we have someone going for GC, I could have a really satisfying Tour helping to get them on the podium but if it looks like we have a bit more freedom, winning a stage would be incredible.

"We have riders who are willing to take chances to get a really amazing result. We are definitely bringing a squad of racers and that is really exciting. It is guys that are punchy, can attack, are not afraid to attack and hopefully we can use that to our advantage and be at the front of the race throughout the Tour."

Richard Carapaz
"I’m excited for the Tour to finally get underway. I'm training for it and I've been away from home for a long time and I am ready for it to start, really.

Richard Carapaz was King of the Mountains in the 2022 Vuelta a España. Sirotti photo

"This race has been the primary goal that I set for myself in October of last year and I have been working towards it. In the end, I always want to do things in the best way and now that we are at the gates of the Tour, physically I feel good. I am very well prepared and above all I have a great eagerness to start. I hope that everything turns out in the best way and that I can be there ready for everything.

"It is a very tough Tour route this year. From the first days in the Basque Country it will be complicated but I also really like some of the stages. We are bringing a team that can get a nice result and that’s what we’re hoping for.

"This is a team with a lot of experience. There are guys who have done several Grand Tours, who have a lot of experience and above all, they have a lot of talent. I think it's going to be a team that's going to be up to the task of meeting the objectives that we've set for ourselves. It's going to be a nice adventure with them."

Rigoberto Urán
"I feel great, I am very happy that the Tour is about to start. It’s a race that I love. Obviously once you are there you get a little nervous and excited but I’m very happy to be part of this Tour team.

"This will be my tenth Tour de France. Having a lot of experience at the Tour helps a lot. I am able to share with the team some of my experience, some happiness. Obviously every Tour is special, every Tour is hard, and experience is important but the legs are the most important.

"For me the Tour de France means everything. It’s the biggest race. Every kid’s dream is to ride the Tour once. It’s always an honor to ride it, but also to ride in EF colors. I’ve already finished many Tours and that’s why I have to take advantage of every moment and every opportunity."

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Team Soudal Quick-Step heads to Tour de France

Here’s the team’s news:

The Tour de France is just a couple of days away, and Soudal Quick-Step – who has won 49 stages here – is ready for it. Featuring four summit finishes, a short but demanding individual time trial, stages in all five mountain ranges of the country, as well as at least five opportunities for the sprinters, Le Tour will cover 3404 kilometers between Bilbao – host of the Grand Départ for the first time in history – and Paris.

Winner of the KOM standings in 2018, fifth overall in 2019 after an unforgettable 14-day spell in the yellow jersey and victorious in six stages, Julian Alaphilippe is excited to head together with Soudal Quick-Step to the start of the 110th edition of the Grande Boucle, where he returns for the first time since 2021.

Julian Alaphilippe in yellow in the 2019 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

“I’m looking forward to the Tour de France, it’s always an exciting period of the year. I went on a recon of the start in Bilbao, and I can tell you it will be a beautiful and hard weekend. At the beginning of the month I did a solid Dauphiné, where I felt in good shape, got a win and took pleasure in riding, and the preparations went well. The Tour is a truly huge adventure, every day you have to fight together with the team, and has a really special atmosphere, with all the people along the roads. I’m ready for Le Tour”, said Julian ahead of his eighth Grand Tour start.

Joining him in Bilbao, home of one of the only three La Liga teams to have always played in Spain’s first tier since their inception, will be European Champion Fabio Jakobsen – a stage winner at his debut in the race last year – Danish ITT Champion Kasper Asgreen, French ITT Champion Rémi Cavagna, Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Yves Lampaert and Michael Mørkøv, one of the best lead-out men in the business.

“Julian and Fabio are our two leaders. Julian will try to go for a stage win, as he has some nice opportunities over the three weeks of the race, while Fabio will rely on Michael to guide him in the sprints, but also on the likes of Kasper and Yves, who can keep the speed high in the bunch finishes.”

“Rémi, who can go in some breakaways, and Dries will be the two men at the side of Julian, while Tim can work on all terrains, especially to control the breakaway, but equally important, he can also help Fabio in the mountains together with the other guys. Looking over our team, we can see a group that has a lot of ambition and motivation, so we hope for a nice Tour de France”, explained sports director Tom Steels.


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Danny van Poppel extends with BORA-hansgrohe

The team sent me this update:

The 29-year-old Dutchman will remain with BORA - hansgrohe for the long term. In recent years, Danny van Poppel has proven that he is one of the best lead-out riders in the peloton, and he will continue to play this role in the team.

Danny van Poppel wins the 2023 Rund um Köln 

Danny remarks about the extension: "I am very happy and also proud that I've been able to extend my contract with BORA - hansgrohe. I have ridden for different teams in the past, but I finally feel that I have found the perfect team, both for me as a rider and as a person. My teammates and the team staff provide me with an excellent environment. I'm also grateful that the team has given me the chance to develop as a lead-out rider, and I think I'm now at a very high level thanks to that trust. I can't wait to continue on this path together with the team."

Team Manager Ralph Denk comments, "Danny has become a permanent fixture in our team. Currently, he is likely the best lead-out rider in the peloton, but for us he is also an important all-rounder and a leader. Many of our riders can benefit from his experience and with him in the lead-out, every sprinter becomes better. So there was no question that we wanted to keep Danny at BORA - hansgrohe and I am glad that we have achieved this. This extension is an important cornerstone of our squad planning for the coming years."


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Team DSM’s upcoming racing

The team sent me this schedule:

Giro d'Italia Donne: JUN 30 - JUL 09

Kelvin Dekker - Team DSM coach:
"After a strong start to our season where we’ve rode aggressively and smartly as a group, riding to our strengths, we’re excited to head to the Giro d’Italia Donne and show ourselves on nine tough days of racing. For the race we have three goals: to go for the best possible GC result with Juliette as our finisher; hunt stage success in the sprints with Megan as our fast finisher; and to continue that aggressive and smart approach so we can create opportunities for ourselves on the other stages. We come into the event after some solid recent blocks of racing and training and are looking forward to showing ourselves in Italy. We expect it to be a tough race and there is a mix of challenging terrain throughout the event. Therefore, we need to be switched on as a team right from the beginning to get the most out of ourselves and each other."

Line-up:
Francesca Barale (ITA)
Eleonora Ciabocco (ITA)
Megan Jastrab (USA)
Franziska Koch (GER)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Esmée Peperkamp (NED)
Becky Storrie (GBR)

Tour de France: JUL 01 - 23:

Matt Winston - Team DSM coach
"We’re looking forward to getting underway at the Tour de France next week, and we head to the race with the goal of going for the GC and stage results as a team. We’ve got a good strong core GC group that have been working well together over the past few months with Chris, Kevin and Matt, who can support our GC finisher Romain over the mountainous terrain; and they showed in Tour de Suisse that they are in good shape. Likewise, we also have a core sprint group with Alex, John and Nils, with Sam as our sprint finisher for those fast finales.

Romain Bardet will be Team DSM's GC man. Here he is climbing Alpe d'Huez in the 2022 Tour. Sirotti photo

"We will work together as one team like always though, with our climbing group supporting the sprint group on those flatter days and vice versa with the sprint group doing early work in the mountains. As for the route, we expect there to be fireworks already in the Basque Country with some difficult opening stages, before potentially a sprint on day three. The route then returns to France and through Romain’s home region, which will of course be special for him, followed by a variety of terrain where we can make our mark as a team throughout the three weeks before the big traditional finish in Paris."

Line-up:
Romain Bardet (FRA)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Matt Dinham (AUS)
Alex Edmondson (AUS)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA)
Sam Welsford (AUS)

GP Color Code Bassenge: JUL 01

Rudi Kemna - Team DSM coach
"After our Development program took on the Giro Next Gen last month, we are looking forward to lining up for another one-day race, but this time in cooperation with our colleagues from the Dutch Food Valley Cycling Team. This year the GP Color Code Bassenge will be held on a local lap of eleven kilometres with some technical corners. We want to build on the good teamwork that we have established over the first races together and if we ride well together, we can look for a nice result in the end."

Line-up:
Joost Brinkman (NED)
Milan Kadlec (CZE)
Frank Ragilo (EST)
Lorenzo Ursella (ITA)

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