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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, May 4, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

The way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until it stops rolling and then pick it up. - Bob Uecker

TDF volume 1

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, Vol 1: 1903 - 1975 is available in print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Greg Van Avermaet will end his career at the end of the season

Van Avermaet’s Ag2r-Citroën team sent me this news:

"A great adventure is coming to an end and I am a little sad. It was a very difficult decision to make but when I look in the rear view mirror, I am extremely proud of my achievements.

Greg Van Avermaet enjoys his 2017 Paris-Roubaix win. Sirotti photo

"I gave my best every day, just so I wouldn't regret anything. I have not only enjoyed my victories but also the road to them.

"I thank all those who believed in me and helped me throughout my career. I am grateful to my supporters who have supported me at every moment, even in difficult times.

"It is now time to devote time to my wife, my children and to give new directions to my life, hoping to find the same passion. I would like to thank the AG2R CITROËN team for its confidence and for the team spirit in which I have evolved during three seasons. Until the end of the season, I will give my best to the team as I have done since the day I started cycling. I hope to get some good results."

Vincent Lavenu:
"Greg Van Avermaet is a great champion. He has enabled us to climb the podium for the first time in a Tour of Flanders in 2021. His involvement, his professionalism and his human values have been remarkable: he is an example for our whole team. He will have marked us both as a sportsman and as a man.
We know that until his last race, he will do everything possible to perform under the AG2R CITROËN team jersey and we will do everything we can to support him in this objective."

The news:
Return to the Tour du Finistère
After a few days break following the spring classics, Greg Van Avermaet will make his return to competition on May 13 at the Tour du Finistère. He will then race the Boucles de l'Aulne (May 14), the Four Days of Dunkerque (May 16-21) and then the Critérium du Dauphiné or the Tour of Switzerland and the Belgian Championship (June 25).

The date of his last race is not yet decided.

The number: 18
Greg Van Avermaet has spent 18 seasons in the professional peloton. He made his debut in 2006 with the Bodysol team.
He won 41 victories including the Olympic road title in 2016, Paris-Roubaix in 2017, two stages of the Tour de France (2015 and 2016), a stage of the Tour of Spain (2008), the general classification of Tirreno-Adriatico (2016), Paris-Tours 2011, Gent-Wevelgem (2017), GP E3 (2017), Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (2016 and 2017) but also wore the yellow jersey for 11 days in 2016 and 2018.

His latest victory is the GP Cycliste de Montréal (2019).

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Team Trek-Segafredo to hunt for stage wins at the Giro d’Italia

Here’s the team’s update:

“Our focus at the Giro will be on winning stages and with this in mind that’s the way we built the team" - Sports Director, Gregory Rast.

With only a few days to go before the first Grand Tour of the season, the Giro d’Italia, Trek-Segafredo is closing its ranks and preparing for a long and exhausting challenge. The eight riders who will face the three-week race are Mads Pedersen, Bauke Mollema, Amanuel Ghebreigazbhier, Daan Hoole, Alex Kirsch, Toms Skujins, Natnael Tesfatsion and Otto Vergarde. It will be up to them to try to start another Trek-Segafredo full sweep of a stage wins in the all the grand tours, as the Team did last year.

Mads Pedersen wins stage 19 of the 2022 Vuelta a España. Sirotti photo

For a deeper insight into the Team’s ambitions and the riders that make up the roster, our first Sports Director for the race, Gregory Rast, shared his thoughts. Together with his colleagues, Steven De Jongh, Yaroslav Popovych and Adriano Baffi, Rast will have the task of outlining the strategy and pulling the strings in the hottest moments of the race.

“At the start of a Grand Tour there’s always a perspective, an idea, a goal and a best scenario to try to achieve,” says Rast. “But it is impossible to predict, as of now, what will happen in the twenty-one days of racing. Cycling is such an unpredictable sport. We must therefore look at the Giro as twenty-one different goals to aim for, where the team, all together, must focus on a daily basis. We must also have the strength and the ability perhaps to adapt our tactics during the race, keeping in mind what we came to the Giro to do: win stages.

“Of course, not having Ciccone [the rider who won the stage last year at the Giro] is a real pity for us. Our chances of victory in the toughest stages, in the Alps and Dolomites, have been reduced a lot. Because of his strength on the climbs and the condition he showed, it was impossible to replace him 100%. But that’s it and we’re now focused on how we carve out our own space on the days when he would have been our leader.”

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Former World Champion Mads Pedersen is one of the stars of the 2023 edition of the Giro. After winning one stage at the Tour de France last and going on to win three at the Vuelta a España, the Dane returns to the Giro after previous experiences in 2017 and 2018, and  he is aiming for a historic grand slam.

“Mads will be our point of reference, the rider who, due to talent and potential, deserves to be considered our captain at the Giro. We saw him at the Classics, we saw him at the Grand Tours last year. Mads is one of the most competitive riders in the world and he can fight on many different stages. His priority to win a stage is also ours. We will focus our efforts on battling with strong competitors that, of course, are aware of what Mads can do. In terms of the points jersey, I think that is something we can talk about on the way”.

Trek-Segafredo chose to field a solid team that is somewhat in the image of its captain, Pedersen.

“Vergaerde, Kirsch and Hoole [the latter two are rookies at the Giro] are three domestiques with a proven track record with Mads. They are strong, reliable and perfectly placed to support him. They will have to do a lot of work behind the scenes, a lot of dirty work to ensure the best support in the key moments of the race. The same goes for Skuijns [another Giro rookie], a complete rider, an excellent domestique but also a smart attacker. For him, the hard routes of the Giro could become fertile ground for inventing something.

“For Ghebreigzabhier and Tesfatsion, the same applies as for Skujins. Both are strong climbers and, with the second and third weeks in mind, and the numerous breakaways that will arise on the mountain stages, they can aim for the chance to to take a dream stage victory.”

Last but, of course, not least, a rider who needs no introduction is Bauke Mollema. Like Pedersen, Mollema arrives at the Giro with the aim of completing a slam of Grand Tour stage wins. At the age of 36, at the start of his 22nd Grand Tour (and 6th Giro), Bauke certainly does not want to stop impressing.

“He is chasing a dream that, for his palmares, would be like the icing on the cake,” says Rast. “We want to help him realize that. Bauke is a solid rider, experienced and smart enough to spot the best opportunities during the Giro. He is a die-hard rider and when the race becomes tough, when fatigue sets in, like in the second and third week, he will be able to emerge. He’ll have his chances and we’ll go along with him.”

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EF Education-EasyPost and EF Education-TIBCO-SVB will ride Giro in kits made from fabric that would otherwise go to landfill

Here’s the team’s news release:

EF Education-EasyPost and EF Education-TIBCO-SVB will ride in special changeout kits at this year’s Giro, but with a sustainable twist.

Our Giro uniforms by Rapha utilize a majority of excess fabrics to create the kits via upcycling material otherwise destined for a landfill. The team issue kit of the “Rapha Excess” line consists of 72 percent majority excess material. UCI rules around team kit consistency mandate that some new fabrics be used to ensure a degree of uniformity.

The sport’s governing body mandates the EF Pro Cycling teams give up pink uniforms at the Giro since they closely resemble the pink jersey, worn by the race leader. Our Cannondale bikes were not manufactured specifically for the Giro but tap into the design with a color scheme utilizing excess paint and limiting waste.

EF Education-EasyPost's 2023 Giro kit.

Muc-Off’s Project Green Initiative utilizes concentrates and refills to cut down on plastic waste, and its reusable Mechanic’s Gloves eliminate thousands of single-use latex gloves each season. And later in the Giro our long-time partner POC will show how the highest levels of performance and sustainable thinking can go hand in hand.

From June, the team will test new water filtration systems in select buses that would cut down on up to 20,000 liters of bottled water per season, and both our teams’ carbon footprints are offset underneath EF Education First’s “Hello Zero” initiative, a commitment to voluntarily offset all its global carbon emissions. EF’s goal with Hello Zero is two-fold: to be carbon negative every year starting in 2021, and to eventually become historically carbon neutral, removing all of the carbon EF has ever emitted, directly or indirectly in association with its programs, since EF’s founding in 1965.

We know our sport is far from perfect, but we’re dedicated to reducing our environmental impacts and inspiring more people to live a life by bike, on and off race courses across the world.

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