More races are being cancelled, but the season goes on – TOP STORY. Loads of rider news: Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel in Spain. Miguel Ángel López and Jefferson Alexander Cepeda covid positive. Remco Evenepoel not fit yet, Giro and Olympics for Vincenzo Nibali, Tim Wellens, Wilco Kelderman, Bauke Mollema, Florian Sénéchal, Nairo Quintana and Julian Alaphilippe look forward to 2021. Injury reports from Fabio Jakobsen, Julian Alaphilippe and Rigoberto Urán. Domenico Pozzovivo in storm Filomena. Fabio Aru to ride the World cross champs. Race news from la Vuelta a España, Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana, Le Samyn, Vuelta a San Juan, the Tour of America’s Dairyland, Tour de La Provence and the Coupe de France. Renovation plans for Champs-Élysées. Team news: SD Worx and EF Education–NIPPO. Grégory Baugé retires and Stefan Denifl sentenced to two years in prison.
TOP STORY: Vuelta a Murcia thinking of moving to May
The European road season is approaching and the corona virus is spreading again. Following the Challenge Mallorca, the Vuelta a Murcia maybe the next race to be cancelled in Spain. According to the regional sports channel La 7 Deportes, the stage race will not be held in February. Currently, the Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia (UCI 2.1) is still on the calendar for 12 and 13 February, but due to the current health situation in the Murcia region, this is not possible. The organisation reportedly hopes to now move the two-day stage race to May.
Organiser Francisco Guzmán is still holding out for the relocation of the Vuelta a Murcia. “The competition will be held on the scheduled dates for the time being, but it is true that the health situation is very serious. We do not rule out that we will request a postponement from the UCI,” he told Ciclo 21.
“We have a very strong field of participants. We have received a request from sixteen of the nineteen WorldTour teams, but we are responsible for the decision we make,” said Guzmán. “I will have talks with the authorities and sponsors these days, and make a final decision later in the week. It is clear that we will not cancel the race, but want to ask for a postponement to a later date.” The college of doctors in Murcia has asked the regional administrators to put the region in lockdown. They call the situation urgent, given the increase in the number of corona infections in the area in the southeast of Spain.
Belgian Xandro Meurisse won stage 1 of the Vuelta a Murcia last year:
Van Aert Goes to Spanish Training Camp
Wout van Aert will go to Spain for a training camp for a week in the run-up to the cyclocross World championships. The brand new Belgian champion will first ride the Zilvermeercross of Mol on Saturday 16 January, where there is a sand section that closely resembles the World championships course. After that he leaves for the team training camp.
On Saturday evening of the 16th, Van Aert flies to Spain, where he joins the rest of the Jumbo-Visma team. The following Friday, Van Aert will fly back again, so that he can ride the cyclocross race in Hamme (X2O Trophy) and Overijse (World Cup), Van Aert defends his World Cup lead, on the weekend of 23 and 24 January.
First Van Aert is on a training week in his own country, aimed at the sandy World championships. “I’ve been working on that for a while. The World championships in Ostend is a big goal, once again in our own country. On a course that suits me one hundred percent. I have a level in the cross this winter that I want to have. I hope to improve this month. Two great weeks of training are now coming up and I am really looking forward to it,” he told WielerFlits.
Wout van Aert’s 2021 Schedule:
Zilvermeercross Mol (January 16)
Training Camp, Alicante, Spain (January 16-22)
X2O Trophy Hamme (January 23)
World Cup Overijse (24 January)
World Cyclocross Championships Ostend (31 January)
Wout for World champ?
Van der Poel On a Ten Day Training Camp in Spain
Mathieu van der Poel will spend the next ten days in Spain on a training camp. The World cyclocross champion wasn’t sure whether he should go on a training camp before the World championships, because of the unclear quarantine rules in Belgium for top athletes. Now that that is clear, Van der Poel has gone. He will be in a small ‘bubble’ in Spain.
According to his Alpecin-Fenix team, Van der Poel will stay in a sunny place with teammate Gianni Vermeersch and a carer. They are in a hotel with the rest of the Alpecin-Fenix road crew, but they don’t see each other. “Mathieu will train and eat in that little bubble. We do not want to take any risks in view of the World championships.”
On Thursday, January 21, Van der Poel will fly back to Belgium, where he will ride the crosses of Hamme and Overijse on the weekend of 23 and 24 January. A week later, the cyclocross World championships are scheduled in Ostend. His major competitor Wout van Aert is also going on a training camp in Spain in the run-up to the World champs, but he will only do so after next weekend. Van Aert also rides the Zilvermeercross of Mol.
MvdP training hard for the World cross champs:
López Misses Training Camp due to Positive Corona Test
Miguel Ángel López will not go to Almería for a training camp with his new Movistar team. The Colombian climber tested positive for the corona virus, the team said in a press release.
López tested positive for covid-19 on Monday, after being in contact with someone, outside the Movistar team, who had the corona virus. The Colombian climber was negative just before his flight to Europe. It is unclear whether 26-year-old López is struggling with any symptoms. The rider decided at the end of last year to change teams from Astana to Movistar. López will probably be the Movistar team leader in the Tour de France and Vuelta a España. “We are now working on a program, but we still have to make decisions,” said López in the last weeks of 2020. “I think I will start the season a little later, probably not until March.”
Not so Sooperman López:
Cepeda to Postpone Season Start Due to Positive Corona Test
Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec has to do without Jefferson Alexander Cepeda in the Vuelta al Tachira (January 17-24). The 22-year-old climber tested positive for the corona virus just before leaving for Venezuela. Cepeda currently has no symptoms of the virus.
“It is very annoying that Jefferson has this positive corona test. It is a big loss for the team, as our goal was to get him on the final podium of the Vuelta al Tachira. We will recover as a team and we are still enthusiastic for this race,” said team manager Gianni Savio.
The promising Cepeda made his professional debut last year for Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec. The Ecuadorian raced in several top events and, after the corona break and visa problems, was selected for the Giro d’Italia. The Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec team has been traveling to Venezuela for the Vuelta al Tachira for years. The multi-day race is celebrating its 56th edition this year. Last year the overall victory went to Roniel Campos and in the past we saw riders like José Rujano, Hernan Buenahora and Leonardo Sierra win.
Androni to ride Tachira without Cepeda:
Evenepoel Not Ready for Competition Yet
Remco Evenepoel does not yet know when and where he will return to racing. Evenepoel said during the online team presentation of his Deceuninck – Quick-Step team. He is still struggling with the aftermath of his crash in il Lombardia.
“I have a surprise. There were small problems in my recovery,” Evenepoel began the media presentation. “I’m not a doctor, so I don’t know the right terms. But near where the fractures were, I’m still in pain. Sitting in the saddle for a long time hurts. It takes a bit longer before I can get back on the bike 100%.”
The Belgian rider has now been off the bike for a few weeks. “I am still able to do cardio, such as running and swimming. At the moment I do not train with my teammates yet, I am working on an individual program. But I don’t panic. I am not really behind schedule, because from the outset it was said that I would not be one hundred percent again until February.”
The Giro remains his first big goal. “We are going to see what happens. I still can’t say where and when I can ride again. But we aim to eventually go to the Giro. The Games and the World championships are also a great motivation. The main goals are the same as last season. The main goal is to be there again.”
Evenepoel is not afraid that his preparation for the Giro is in danger. “We are five months before the Giro, so we still have time. It is still difficult to predict what the preparation will look like, but on May 8 (the first day of the Giro) I want to be in top form again. The Tour? That is not an option. I think I’ve already explained why.”
Remco Evenepoel getting back to fitness:
Nibali Looking Forward to 2021
Vincenzo Nibali had a disappointing 2020, but is looking forward to revenge this year. Now that his Trek-Segafredo team has unfolded the plans for the coming season, Nibali cannot wait to pin on a race number again. “I want to make up for something after a lesser season.”
The 36-year-old Nibali focuses his year on a good general classification in the Giro d’Italia and a great performance at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The experienced rider will also compete in the Tour de France in the run-up to the Games. “The Tour is more of a preparatory race for the Games. We know that the Tour can give you something extra.”
“You don’t even have to ride for a classification in the Tour to really get better. We also saw at the World championships last year that the main riders had the Tour in their legs. We are sure that an event like the Tour de France can take place in Corona time. It is important to have such a tour in the legs towards the Games.”
The Sicilian does not rule out that he will stop the Tour early. “We have not given it any specific thought, but if that is the best way to the Games in Tokyo…” Nibali hopes to shine at the Olympic Games, but will probably not participate in the World championships in Belgium. “I don’t think there is much room for other races after Tokyo.”
The leader of Trek-Segafredo knows that the years will count, but still has faith in his own abilities. “It was just a strange season, in 2020 everything was different. However, I do feel the urge to perform again and flush through a disappointing season. I hope we can do better preparations again this year.”
Wellens Starts Season in Marseille, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad first goal
Tim Wellens starts his cycling year in France. The leader of Lotto Soudal will start on January 31 in the GP La Marseillaise, the opener of the European professional season. Wellens is riding this one-day race with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in mind.
“I’m going to start my season in France, in the GP La Marseillaise and the Ster van Bessèges,” Wellens said from the training camp in an online press conference. “Then I will ride the Ruta del Sol or the Volta ao Algarve, and then we are already at the Omloop. The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is my first key moment of this season.”
The two-time stage winner in the past Vuelta a España will combine the Flemish and Walloon classics in the spring. He will start in the Tour of Flanders, the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Flèche Wallonne has a question mark for Wellens, who will ride a Grand Tour in 2021: the Tour de France. He is ignoring the Olympic Games.
Tim Wellens provisional program for 2021:
GP La Marseillaise (January 31)
Ster van Bessèges (3-7 February)
Ruta del Sol or Volta ao Algarve (February 17-21)
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (27 February)
Tour of Flanders (April 4)
Amstel Gold Race (April 18)
Flèche Wallonne? (April 21)
Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 25)
Tour de France (June 26-July 18).
Tim Wellens Vuelta stage win:
Kelderman Leader of BORA-hansgrohe at the Tour
Wilco Kelderman will be team leader in the Tour de France in his first season with BORA-hansgrohe. For the third placed rider in the last Giro d’Italia, this will be his fourth appearance in the French tour.
The German media unveiled the plans of the BORA-hansgrohe leaders. Kelderman, who left Sunweb this winter after four seasons, has been designated as the leader for the Tour de France. In addition to Peter Sagan, who is chasing an eighth green jersey, the Dutch rider will be surrounded by the necessary domestiques this summer in the battle for a top place in the general classification.
Emanuel Buchmann, number fourth in the Tour in 2019, will probably miss the Tour de France; he will focus on the Giro d’Italia, where he starts for the first time. According to the German, the Tour de France route is not really for him this year due to the number of time trial kilometres and the few finishes uphill. “In the Giro I see more chance to compete at the front. Basically my first goal is to get on the podium.”
Mollema to Ride Giro d’Italia and Tour de France
Trek-Segafredo has unfolded their plans of its leaders for the coming season. Bauke Mollema will assist his leader Vincenzo Nibali in the Giro d’Italia, after which he can ride for his own chances in the Tour de France.
For Mollema, last season ended prematurely due to a crash in the 13th stage of the Tour de France where he suffered several fractures. Next season, he will first assist in the Giro d’Italia leader Vincenzo Nibali, who is aiming for a third overall victory in his home country. After that, the Dutchman is allowed to ride for himself in the Tour. Besides Mollema and Nibali, Giulio Ciccone also makes an appearance in the Giro. For the Italian it will be the sixth time that he will start in the ‘corsa rosa’. He previously managed to win two stages and in 2019 he took the mountains classification. Ciccone is also the leader of Trek-Segafredo in the Vuelta a España.
The Trek-Segafredo Tour team has also taken shape. In addition to Mollema, Nibali will also start and Jasper Stuyven and Mads Pedersen, who form the classic core in the team, will also be at the start. They will assist their leaders, but are also given the freedom to hunt for stage victories.
Tour and Giro for Bauke Mollema:
Sénéchal Starts the Season in Tour of Valencia
Florian Sénéchal has announced its program for the first months of 2021. The fast Frenchman of Deceuninck – Quick-Step starts his season on February 3 in the Tour of Valencia. After the Spanish race, Sénéchal will ride the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal, before making his appearance in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad at the end of February. For the 27-year-old rider it will be his sixth participation in “De Omloop”. Last year he finished tenth in the opener of the Belgian cycling season.
A few days later, Sénéchal makes his appearance in Le Samyn, the Walloon one-day race that he won in 2019. Last season he had to settle for fifth place in Dour. After Le Samyn, the Frenchman will travel to Paris-Nice, where he will continue to build on his classic form.
Florian Sénéchal early program for 2021:
Tour of Valencia (3-7 February)
Volta ao Algarve (17-21 February)
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (27 February)
Le Samyn (March 2)
Paris-Nice (March 7-14).
Florian Sénéchal Le Samyn’19:
Jakobsen Feels More Like a Professional Cyclist
Fabio Jakobsen feels increasingly like a professional cyclist now that he can cycle with his Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates again. He said during the online team presentation.
“Right now I’m back on my bike. I ride with my teammates again. Not all the time, because sometimes I take another exit earlier to the hotel,” said Jakobsen. “It’s slow, but I feel like a professional cyclist more and more. The whole team has been very supportive throughout the process. That is an enormous motivation.”
The Dutch rider was asked how he is doing now. “Compared to August 5, not so good, compared to August 6 (the day of his accident in the Tour of Poland) very good. In February I have to go under the knife again, then we will see how it goes. One or two months later I will be able to race again, in case of complications it will take a little longer.”
He thinks it’s “great” that he could rejoin the team. “The crash was one of the worst experiences of my life, just like the weeks after. To be here with the team now makes me very happy. This squad is like a family. We take time for each other, we look after each other, and you could say that we even love each other.”
Zdeněk Štybar is thrilled to see where Jakobsen currently stands. “Nobody would have thought that he would be at this level now,” said his teammate. “Of course I don’t want to put any pressure on him, but I – and actually everyone – believes he can get back to the same level as before.”
Fabio Jakobsen winning in Algarve’20:
Pozzovivo Caught in Storm Filomena
Domenico Pozzovivo’s training camp on the Spanish Island of Tenerife has not gone to plan. The Italian climber is currently on the famous training volcano El Teide, but Tenerife is suffering from winter storm Filomena.
“I’ve been staying on Mount Teide since the beginning of January, but I’ve never experienced such bad weather conditions. The temperature drops below freezing at night,” Pozzovivo told Tuttobiciweb. “Furthermore, the main roads are impassable, boulders block everything.”
“In the nature park around the volcano it is now really slippery in certain places.” The Qhubeka Assos rider could not go anywhere for two days. “We were completely isolated and didn’t even have a telephone connection. In the end we had to look for a connection eleven kilometres from our hotel.”
“Fortunately, the situation is now looking better. I can now go back down to shop,” said Pozzovivo. Michael Gogl and Simon Clarke are also staying on Teide.
Quintana Thinking About the Giro d’Italia
Nairo Quintana said in an interview with W Radio that he is thinking about the next edition of the Giro d’Italia. “It’s an option. I am interested, the team is thinking about the Giro and the organisation is not unwilling,” said the Colombian climber.
La Gazzetta dello Sport said at the beginning of January that Nairo Quintana wants to ride the Giro d’Italia again this year. The Colombian Arkéa-Samsic climber, who is still recovering from a knee injury, won the Tour of Italy in 2014 and came second three years later behind Tom Dumoulin. The now 30-year-old Quintana has only raced the Giro d’Italia twice so far and the question is whether he will participate in the first Grand Tour of the season again this year. His Arkéa-Samsic team is dependent on a wildcard and there are also four Italian ProTeams in the fight for just two invitations.
Quintana does, however, have faith in a good outcome. “I don’t know exactly the situation, but we are interested in a wild card. A return to the Giro, it would be fantastic. I have performed well there in the past. I am sure I will participate in the Tour this year, but the Giro is also an option.”
Quintana at the Giro:
Alaphilippe Opens Season in Tour de La Provence
Julian Alaphilippe will start the new cycling year in his own country. The World champion will ride the Tour de La Provence in February (11-14 February). “I never really start the season in France. It’s a first!” Said Alaphilippe.
The Frenchman has invariably made its season debut in South America in recent years, but in corona times everything is different. The Vuelta a San Juan and the Tour Colombia 2.1 have now been canceled and so Alaphilippe opts for the Tour de La Provence this year. It is not the first time that he is participating in the French stage race. “It’s a great race that I already competed once a few years ago (2016). I am returning now and I want to see where I am at the start of the season. I really want to show the rainbow jersey and make myself happy,” Alaphilippe said in a press release from the Tour de La Provence.
The riders will be presented with four stages. The Queen Stage is from Istres, the route goes over two climbs to the Mont Ventoux and after more than fourteen kilometres of climbing, at an average of 7.6%, the finish is at the ski station Chalet Reynard. The Tour de La Provence starts on Thursday February 11 and ends three days later on Sunday February 14.
The World champ starts 2021 in France:
Alaphilippe Still Struggling with his Hand
Julian Alaphilippe still has problems with his hand, which he injured in his crash in the Tour of Flanders. Alaphilippe had to abandon De Ronde after a collision with a motorcycle, causing him to fall. Further examination revealed two broken metacarpals in his right hand. “It is going better than during the last training camp, but it is still not perfect. Sprinting does not work yet,” said the World champion. “But I assume that I will have recovered in time for the spring classics.”
The Frenchman starts the new season with the Tour de La Provence. “You never know if you are 100% when you start the season. I like that I can kick off my season in France in the rainbow jersey. The course suits me, so it was a good option. My goal for the race? I don’t know. I have to rebuild my form to the big block of races that will follow.”
His first block of races continues up to Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He will also start in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. It is not yet known what his program will look like in the spring. There is still some doubt about Tirreno-Adriatico; that depends on the course. He could not say anything about the Flemish classics yet. Later in the year, the Tour de France and the Tokyo Olympics are a target.
That Flanders crash:
World Cyclocross Championships for Aru
Fabio Aru had made himself available for the World cyclocross Championship in Ostend and the Italian now seems to be able to prepare for the event. The Qhubeka Assos rider is currently in Rome for a meeting with the Italian cyclocross squad led by national coach Fausto Scotti.
Aru, who rode cyclocross several times in Italy in recent weeks, had previously been happy to start in Ostend. National coach Scotti is also enthusiastic and according to Italian media, Aru will be part of the Italian selection. La Gazzetta dello Sport says that Aru has now also received permission from his Qhubeka Assos team.
Aru is currently in Rome together with other Italian riders who are eligible for the World title fight in Ostend. The 30-year-old rider, six years ago winner of the Vuelta a España, completed several cyclocross races in his home country recently. It all started in Ancona, located in the northeastern province of Marche. Aru finished fourth in Ancona, behind Gioele Bertolini, Luca Pescarmona and Stefano Capponi. Aru also raced cross in the province of Treviso and another in Montodine, before taking part in the Italian cyclocross championship. In that last cross he finished in tenth place.
World cross for Aru?
Urán Injured with Fractured Small Toe
Rigoberto Urán broke his little toe in an unfortunate accident at home. The Colombian leader of EF Education-Nippo wrote on social media that he broke his toe when he hit it on the edge of the bed. “I broke a bone in my little toe last night, thanks to the tip of the bed,” said 33-year-old Urán. “Another fracture on my list, but nothing can stop me.”
It is not yet known to what extent Urán will have to interrupt his preparation for the new season due to the break. The climber previously indicated that he wants to make a goal of the Vuelta a España.
The Urán foot:
Vuelta a España Returns to Lagos de Covadonga
The Vuelta a España will have another mountain stage this year finishing at the iconic mountain lakes of Lagos de Covadonga, Radio Televisión Pública Asturiana reports. The Vuelta has finished 22 times on the 1,134 metre high Asturian climb.
In 1983, Marino Lejaretta had the honour of being the first winner to raise his hands at the top of this mythical climb. Since then, the road to the Lakes of Covadonga have been beaten by Pedro Delgado, Luis Herrera, Laurent Jalabert, Pavel Tonkov and Nairo Quintana. The last time the Vuelta finished in Covadonga was in 2018. Thibaut Pinot turned out to be the strongest climber after a very foggy finalé, ahead of Miguel Ángel López and the overall winner Simon Yates.
According to the local radio station, the riders will be presented with a second uphill finish in the Asturias region; the Alto de Gamoniteiro, a gruelling climb of almost sixteen kilometres at more than 9%. Plan B is the terribly steep final climb of Cuitu Negru, with percentages well above 20%.
Pinot solo in the Lagos de Covadonga 2018:
Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana to Go Ahead
The Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana (UCI 1.2) will run on Sunday 24 January. The organisation announced on Tuesday in a press release.
In Spain, the corona virus is still spreading. The Spanish government has now announced new measures to avert the corona crisis as much as possible. Following the Challenge Mallorca, the Vuelta a Murcia looks like it will be the next to suffer. Fortunately, it is not all bad news, because the one-day race, Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana will be run on the 24th of this month. In view of the current health situation, the organisation has a strict safety and health protocol to make the event as corona-proof as possible.
The event will have twenty teams on the start line.The riders will start from La Nucía and finish after a relatively flat race in the capital Valencia. Soon after the start the race will climb the well know the Coll de Rates. Alpecin-Fenix, Arkéa-Samsic, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Total Direct Energie, Equipo Kern Pharma and BEAT Cycling have confirmed their participation.
The Coll de Rates back in 2016:
Seven WorldTeams in Le Samyn for Women
The organisers of Le Samyn des Dames (March 2) will have seven of the nine Women’s WorldTeams this year. Only Canyon-SRAM and Team BikeExchange will not ride.
Alé BTC Ljubljana, FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope, Liv-Racing, Movistar, Team DSM, Team SD Worx and Trek-Segafredo are on the start list, as are sixteen continental teams, including Lotto Soudal Ladies and Jumbo-Visma Women and two club teams.
In 2020 the victory went to Chantal van den Broek-Blaak. As a rider of Boels-Dolmans she won after a long solo. Christine Majerus crossed the line second, almost two minutes behind winner Van den Broek-Blaak. Lotte Kopecky was third. The final list of riders for the men’s Le Samyn, a difficult one-day race in the area of Dour. The race is characterised by the tough cobblestone sections.
Vuelta a San Juan Canceled
The Vuelta a San Juan will not take place this year, the organisation announced on Monday. The Argentinian stage race was to be held from January 24-31, but due to the corona crisis in Argentina, the 2021 edition has been canceled.
The Vuelta a San Juan was going to continue, but without European teams. That plan is now also canceled and so there will be no Vuelta a San Juan at all this year. The governor of the province of San Juan released the bad news at a press conference. “We have decided to cancel the 39th edition of the Vuelta a San Juan,” said Sergio Uñac. “There will also be no edition with national or provincial teams. Let’s hope that we can organise the race again next year.”
The Vuelta a San Juan (UCI 2.Pro) this year should have had four WorldTour teams: BORA-hansgrohe, Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Cofidis and Israel Start-Up Nation. Chris Froome, Peter Sagan, João Almeida, Elia Viviani and Filippo Ganna, among others, should have been in South America.
Last season, the overall victory went to Remco Evenepoel:
A very Happy New Year to all from your ToAD family!
2021 has arrived and while we bid a hearty farewell to a …… 2020, we recognise hurdles still remain we chart our way through the great news of the vaccine while also knowing we need to deal with the ongoing pandemic! NOT being medical or scientific experts, let’s simply say as of today, WE remain hopeful that the 12th edition of Tour of America’s Dairyland p/b Kwik Trip WILL take place between the 17th and 27th of June as scheduled! The planning process continues at a rapid pace, but we are not locked 100% yet with a calendar we can announce with confidence. We expect that to occur by month’s end, but one piece of amazing news is that our final day in Wauwatosa will being an “upgrade” of sorts, as we bid a fond (and sad!) farewell to North Avenue in East ‘tosa and plant a new flag in The Village and all it has to offer in terms of value for all of our stakeholders! This location in the epicenter of Wauwatosa’s entertainment zone has been on our radar since Day One in 2009. The support has always been there, but there were some big multiyear infrastructure projects that blocked early efforts and then along came East ‘tosa and the amazing success that endured there for many years. A change in organisation there forced the issue, but this is HUGE for the series and for you as paying sponsors of ToAD! And with a couple of other changes, some new and exciting venues are on the horizon, but like everything else, things are just taking longer, so we ask for your continued patience with the calendar confirmation.
Risk mitigation goes with the package these days too and we continue to make progress in assembling ours! One thing very likely to happen this year will be a spreading out of vendors and sponsors around the courses to encourage the spectating crowd to space out and enjoy the races from a variety of vantage points instead of the usual density we encourage. A sign of the unique times for sure, but this seed was actually planted by the City of Milwaukee as a further step in the permitting process.
Mont Ventoux Returns to the Tour de La Provence Route
The organisation of the Tour de La Provence has revealed the stage schedule for the coming edition. Just like last year, the riders are sent up the Mont Ventoux, up to the ski station Chalet Reynard.
The first stage of the French four days is the longest. From Aubagne the road goes up almost immediately to the first category Col de l’Espigoulier. The riders will then be given three third-category climbs, the last of which is 27 kilometres from the finish in the seaside resort of Six-Fours-les-Plages. The second stage starts relatively easily, but in the last 40 kilometres the riders have to cross the Col de la Mort d’Imbert and the Col Montfuron, with an uphill finish.
The Queen Stage is without a doubt the third. From Istres, the route leads over two climbs to Mont Ventoux, after more than 14 kilometres of climbing at an average of 7.6%, the finish line is at the ski station Chalet Reynard. On the last day, the peloton rides from Avignon to Salon-de-Provence. There are three third category climbs on the route, but the last one is 35 kilometres from the finish. From there the route is on almost flat roads to the finish line.
The Tour de La Provence starts on Thursday February 11 and ends on Sunday February 14.
Tour de La Provence 2021:
stage 1: Aubagne – Six-Fours-les-Plages (179.3 km)
stage 2: Cassis – Manosque (170.6 km)
stage 3: Istres – Mont Ventoux / Chalet Reynard (153.9 km)
stage 4: Avignon – Salon-de-Provence (163.2 km).
Nairo Quintana was the winner in 2020:
Coupe de France 2021 to have Sixteen Races
The Coupe de France, an important season long series for French teams, has sixteen events this year. The riders will start on January 31 with the Grand Prix la Marseillaise and end on October 3 with the Tour de Vendée.
Last year, the organisers of the Coupe de France had to make some creative adjustments due to the corona virus. Eventually they had an adjusted calendar of only nine races. This year, the organisation hopes to complete a full calendar of sixteen one-day races. Well-known races such as the GP Denain, Paris-Camembert, Tro-Bro Léon and the GP de Fourmies are part of the Coupe de France.
Last year the overall victory in the Coupe de France went to Nacer Bouhanni. The French sprinter managed to collect a lot of points by winning the Grand Prix d’Isbergues and Paris-Chauny. He also finished third in Paris-Camembert.
Coupe de France 2021 Calendar:
Grand Prix la Marseillaise (January 31)
GP de Denain (March 18)
Classic Loire Atlantique (March 27)
Cholet Pays de la Loire (28 March)
Route Adélie de Vitré (April 2)
La Roue Tourangelle (April 4)
Paris-Camembert (April 13)
Grand Prix Morbihan (May 15)
Tro-Bro Léon (May 16)
Tour du Finistère (22 May)
Boucles de l’Aulne (23 May)
La Polynormande (15 August)
Tour du Doubs (September 5)
Grand Prix de Fourmies (September 12)
Grand Prix d’Isbergues (September 19)
Tour de Vendée (3 October).
2020 winner – Nacer Bouhanni:
Mayor of Paris Agrees to Renovation Plans for Champs-Élysées
The Champs-Élysées will probably be overhauled. Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, is behind a multi-million investment to transform the French capital’s most famous street into a car-free ‘garden’. The consequences for the traditional Tour de France finish are not yet known.
It will be a while before the 1.9 kilometre long Avenue des Champs-Élysées will be renovated. The idea is to start after 2024, when Paris hosts the Summer Olympics. About €250 million has been allocated for the project. This should create more space for walkers, cyclists and green spaces. “It is a plan of a committee of local companies that has been in place since 2018, of which Hidalgo has now spoken positively in one sentence,” says NOS correspondent Frank Renout. In addition, the Paris city council has yet to agree to the renovation plans.
It is not yet known what consequences a possible renovated Champs-Élysées will have for the Tour de France. The final stage of the biggest cycling race in the world traditionally finishes with a sprint stage in Paris. Last year, Sam Bennett was the fastest, Tadej Pogačar was honoured as the overall winner of the Tour.
New look Champs-Élysées:
Team SD Worx prepares for the 2021 season in Costa Blanca
Team SD Worx has travelled to Denia, Spain, for their first ten-day training camp as part of their preparations for the 2021 season.
The first two days saw the women from the world’s best cycling team in recent years perform aerodynamic tests at Valencia’s velodrome. Two days for photo and video commitments were next on the agenda. Due to the inclement weather in Spain, however, the hard training sessions in the surrounding mountainous region in Costa Blanca were postponed until Sunday 10 January.
Team manager Danny Stam is happy with the make-up of the team for 2021: “This is an international team with lots of top riders, so we should be able to challenge for victory on all fronts. The back-up riders have come on leaps and bounds as well. This will hopefully mean that we have more riders in the finals, and then it’s all about the tactics.”
British rider Anna Shackley was unable to make the trip to Spain due to the coronavirus restrictions on travel from the UK. Nevertheless, the thirteen-strong team was almost complete. The team is living in a team bubble, in line with the COVID-19 guidelines set out by the International Cycling Union (UCI).
Anna van der Breggen will wear the rainbow jersey as both the reigning road race and time trial world champion in the coming season. Her main ambition is to compete at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games, where she’ll be defending her title on the road and hopes to be in the hunt for medals in the time trial again. “The Olympic Games are an important goal, but I’ll also try to enjoy my final season as a cyclist. Next year, I’ll take on my new role as team leader of this team,” states Van der Breggen. “We have a new main sponsor and a strong team for the coming season, two things that are driving us to get great results across the board!”
As the new main sponsor, SD Worx is very proud to see the team bearing the company’s colours. “We’re firmly behind the cyclists as one team, and we’re looking forward to the upcoming season. As a leading supplier of people solutions, it’s no coincidence that SD Worx chose to sponsor the number one women’s cycling team in recent years. Like in HR and payroll, cycling brings together talent, technology and teams to tackle the toughest challenges head on – both in life and at work. Together with the team, our customers and employees, we’re looking forward to celebrating major success this season,” says Kobe Verdonck, CEO of SD Worx.
The Team SD Worx website www.teamsdworx.com is now live.
EF Education–NIPPO and Cannondale Bicycles Extend to 2023
EF Pro Cycling and Cannondale Bicycles will continue as partners at the highest level of road cycling — and on trails and dirt roads at new races — into the 2023 season.
The team and Cannondale have worked together since 2015, when Cannondale Pro Cycling joined with what was then the Garmin-Sharp outfit. And while team names have changed over time, the constant is the performance-leading bicycles the team pilots and the strong collaborative efforts between the team and Cannondale.
“At the core, the relationship with Cannondale is about evolution and revolution. We want to make progress on the roads, off the roads, and ultimately keep pushing the boundaries of our sport outward,” said EF Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “We want to work with Cannondale to highlight the beauty of the elite level but also make the sport more accessible everywhere. We want more people riding bikes with smiles on their faces.”
The length of the agreement gives the team and Cannondale time to make true progress across multiple fronts: road, first and foremost, as well as mountain and gravel, since the team is now racing a mixed calendar of events. Beyond the road, the partnership has come to life on the wheels of the team’s alternative race calendar. From the empty dirt roads of Kansas to the rock paths of Great Britain and the high peaks of Leadville, Colorado. The new events allow the team and Cannondale to partner across disciplines, opening up the sport’s many facets and the perception of professional road cyclists.
The extension allows the team and Cannondale to continue the technical progressions that have borne fruit in recent seasons, from the team’s renewed success in the team time trial to its involvement in fine-tuning the bicycles Cannondale engineers have in development.
“Our ambitions to build a larger community in cycling are in line with the spirit of EF Pro Cycling,” said Jonathan Geran, director of sports marketing for Cannondale. “We’re all working toward the same common goals – be the world’s favourite team, race with character and heart, and shift perceptions of what people think about bicycles, professional cycling, and its riders.”
The extension is a result of technical progress and open doors between the team and Cannondale.
“The bikes we race on from Cannondale this season are truly the peak of performance,” said Andreas Klier, the team’s head of Technical Operations and its Commercial Manager. “At a certain level, you expect every bike to be great. But what really sets us apart is the way we work together on all the details around the bikes, particularly new ones. The doors are open on both sides, and in an elite performance environment, this is very important. Beyond the bike frames, we’ve been able to make tremendous gains over the years with Cannondale’s suppliers as well, such as FSA/Vision, Prologo and Vittoria.”
EF on Cannondale till 2023:
Baugé Retires Before Tokyo Games
Grégory Baugé has announced his retirement from cycling. The French sprinter, who was World champion nine times on the track, no longer considers himself able to shine at the Olympic Games.
Thirty-five year-old Baugé announced in the TV program Stade 2 that he is hanging his bike up and will not continue to train for the Games in Tokyo, where he was the intended starter of the French team on the team sprint. “I have always given 100%. But from one day to the next I felt that I could only give 90%. That is not enough for a performance at the Games.”
With nine World titles to his name, Baugé is one of the most successful track cyclists of his generation. Four times he was World sprint champion and five times he was part of the French team sprint. He also took three silver medals and a bronze medal at the Games in Beijing, London and Rio. “That one Olympic title is missing, but the worst thing I think is that I have taken away a World championship title from my teammates.” He refers to the 2011 World championship in Apeldoorn, where he won the World championships in both the individual sprint and the team sprint. Due to a doping violation he lost those titles.
Stefan Denifl Sentenced to Two Years in Prison
Stefan Denifl has been sentenced by the Innsbruck court to two years in prison, of which 16 months on probation. The Austrian was part of Operation Aderlass and confirmed early last year that he has used blood doping during his career.
Denifl was charged with doping use, in addition to blood transfusions, it also involved growth hormones, he was also charged with commercial sports fraud. The ex-rider of Vacansoleil-DCM, Leopard Trek and IAM Cycling, is said to have earned half a million euros, which he also used to finance his doping practices.
Since the use and trade in doping is prohibited in Austria, he was also suspected of a financial offence. Denifl’s trial began almost a year ago and today the judge reached a ruling. The UCI previously decided to suspend him for four years because of his involvement in Operation Aderlass.
“I wanted to get to my old level, but without doping that wouldn’t work,” Denifl said. “I am not a criminal. I have used doping because performance is expected in cycling that cannot be delivered without using doping. I couldn’t have gotten a contract without doping.”
German doctor Mark Schmidt, who is seen as the linchpin in Operation Aderlass, has a possible five and a half year prison sentence hanging over him. The judiciary also thinks that Schmidt should be banned from work for five years. The Munich court is expected to rule in the doping case on Friday, January 15.
Stefan Denifl in the Vuelta’17:
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