EUROTRASH Thursday: Suisse, Belgium, Doping and French Elections Upset the Tour!

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In this EUROTRASH Thursday we catch up with the Tour de Suisse and the first time trial stage of the Baloise Belgium Tour – Results, reports, rider comments and video.

Are two Tour de France stages at risk due to French Elections? – TOP STORY.

Rider news: UCI and MPCC concerned about the use of the painkiller Tapentadol: “Ten times stronger than Tramadol”, Victor Campenaerts to race with Visma | Lease a Bike for the next three years, Lotto Dstny sees Campenaerts’ departure as a big loss: “Victor brings us marginal gains”, Nairo Quintana has to abandon the Tour de Suisse with a hand injury, Nico Denz extends contract with BORA – hansgrohe and Adrie van der Poel rides more than 300 kilometres in the Milan-Sanremo Grand Fondo.

Team news: Cofidis adds Jesús Herrada to Tour selection, dsm-firmenich PostNL to the women’s Tour de Suisse, Astana’s Yevgeniy Fedorov wins the Asian ITT champs and VisitMalta to co-title sponsor the Fundación Contador cycling team.

Race news: Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift 2025: Brittany to host the Grand Départ, teams for the Lidl Deutschland Tour 2024 and all eyes on FNLD GRVL this week: Legends of the UCI WorldTour and Olympics contend for the win Life Time Rad Dirt Fest now an official 2025 Life Time UNBOUND qualifier.

EUROTRASH read and coffee time!

 

top story
TOP STORY: Are Two Tour de France Stages at Risk due to French Elections?
The results of the European elections have forced a general election in France and two stages of the Tour de France may be affected. After the victory of Rassemblement National (RN) during the European elections in France, Emmanuel Macron (Renaissance) dissolved parliament. The elections for the French parliament are scheduled for the same days as two stages of Tour.

The first round of parliamentary elections in France will take place on June 30, but the Tour de France is still in Italy that day for stage 2. The second round of votes is scheduled for July 7, the day of the gravel stage starting and finishing in Troyes on stage 9. It is still unclear what the consequences of these elections will be for the French race, but in the past big sporting events have had to make way for French elections. Paris-Roubaix and the Amstel Gold Race changed places in 2022, because the French classic could not be held on the same day as the presidential elections. On this occasion it is the parliamentary elections and the date was not known well in advance.

While the stage around Troyes is totally in France, while the stage on June 30 is in Italy. Normally the French motorcycle police ride with the race on foreign soil, along with the host countries police. So it is possible that the French police would leave the job to the Italian that day as they might be needed in France. But for the second vote, the elections would need the police, not only the motorbikes, but all the police the race uses on the route. There will be few riders happy if the gravel stage is cancelled.

Tour 2024
The gravel stage 9

Update: French Elections Will Have Little Influence on the Troyes Gravel Stage
The Tour de France will not have many problems from the recently announced French parliamentary elections. Tour organiser, ASO, confirmed this to L’Équipe. The second round of those elections will take place on Sunday, July 7, the day as the stage round Troyes. “The route will not change,” said ASO deputy director Pierre-Yves Thouault.

“Since Sunday evening we have made a few calls about July 7,” Thouault said. ASO must ensure that access to the polling stations is guaranteed for voters. “We have discussed this with the authorities involved, the mayor of Troyes and the prefecture. We hope for a common basis, so that access to the polling stations can take place under good conditions. We have proposed some crossing points and special signage for this, so those discussions are ongoing,” Thouault said. “If necessary, we will make more efforts for security, with private security guards, but this will be done in consultation with the authorities.”

The municipality of Troyes has stated that it has good contact with the ASO. A number of measures have also been explained in more detail: there will be additional crossing points on the course, which can be used up to ten minutes before the riders pass through. The public road will also be completely free ten minutes after crossing.

There has been a major change for the organisation of L’Étape du Tour as a result of the parliamentary elections. It was planned for Sunday, July 7 on the roads around Nice and the Col de la Couillole, where the Tour ends this year, but that can’t go ahead. In consultation with the local authorities and the ASO, it has been decided to move the L’Etape forward to Saturday, July 6.

Macron might not be on the Tour this year:
Serre-Chevalier - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - French president Emmanuel Macron - Christian Prudhomme (ASO) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 17 from La Mure to Serre-Chevalier, 183.00 km - foto Poolphoto Jeff Pachoud AFP/Cor Vos © 2017

 

suisse
Tour de Suisse 2024
Bryan Coquard won Stage 2 of the 2024 Tour de Suisse. The Frenchman beat Michael Matthews and Arnaud De Lie in Regensdorf. De Lie started the sprint in the best position, but his chain came off. Yves Lampaert held the overall lead.

Suisse 2024

The first road stage was from Vaduz, the capital of the principality of Liechtenstein, to Regensdorf. The stage was of almost 180 kilometres, over hilly terrain, with 2,400 metres of climbing. The Kerenzerberg (6km at 4.8%) and the climb to Ricken (6.1km at 5.9%) were quite far from the finish, but the top of the Regensberg (2.2km at 7.7%) was 10 kilometres from the finish. This climb could end any hopes for the sprinters, but perfect for the puncheurs.

Five riders decided not to wait for the Regensberg and attacked early: Antoine Debons, Luca Jenni and Félix Stehli, all Swiss. The Panamanian Roberto Carlos González and the Belgian cyclocross/road rider Gerben Kuypers joined them. Team Corratec-Vini Fantini had Debons and González and the Swiss national team had Jenni and Stehli. Behind the five, Soudal Quick-Step, for leader Yves Lampaert, kept control. Kuypers, Debons, González, Jenni and Stehli had a maximum lead of 5 minutes. Kuypers had his sights set on the KOM jersey and was first to the top of the Kerenzerberg, but on the Ricken, Kuypers was second Jenni. There was a fierce battle between Kuypers and Jenni for the mountain points, which was too much for González who was dropped with 100 kilometres to go. The gap to the peloton was still 5 minutes, but Alpecin-Deceuninck started to work and the lead came down in the run-up to the final. The Belgian team were working for Axel Laurance.

Due to the hard work of Alpecin-Deceuninck, the lead of the four dropped. Kuypers, Jenni, Stehli and Debons had a 1 minute lead at the start of the Regensberg. In the run-up to the climb, there were a few crashes in the peloton. Attila Valter and Nairo Quintana were among the fallers, but they were all able to continue. Just before the climb of the Regensberg, the leading group split apart. Kuypers, Stehli and Debons were dropped by Jenni, who started the final climb of the day with a 50 second lead over the peloton. Jenni was soon caught, but there were no attacks for a long time. It was Alpecin-Deceuninck that got things going. Nicola Conci increased the pace for his leader Laurance and stretched the peloton out. A group of about 40 riders split off the front, but everything came together again on the descent of the Regensberg and it looked like there would be a bunch sprint finish sprint, although Alberto Bettiol had other ideas.

The Italian of EF Education-EasyPost, second in the Canton Aargau GP last Friday, attacked 4 kilometres from the finish. Things looked good for Bettiol for a while, but the Italian didn’t have the power to hold off the peloton on his own. Bryan Coquard was particularly attentive in the last kilometre, going through the final corner in second place and then starting the sprint first. On Coquard’s wheel was Arnaud De Lie, who was ready to jump past the Cofidis rider. The unlucky Belgian then had a chain problem when starting his sprint and had to finish in third place after managing to get going again. Coquard held off Michael Matthews for his 52nd professional victory, but it is only his second win at WorldTour level. Last year he won in the Tour Down Under.

Suisse 2024

Stage winner, Bryan Coquard (Cofidis): “The biggest victory of my career. It was a difficult stage, with a tough climb at the end. I got a great opportunity today, as the stage ended in a sprint with a somewhat smaller group. I am a good sprinter, but it is difficult against the real top sprinters. Today everything went as planned. I rode the perfect final and also rode a perfect sprint. I have finished second so many times, for example in the Tour de France. I once ended up millimetres away from Marcel Kittel in Limoges. I am very happy with this victory. It’s really great. I have been at altitude for the past three weeks for the Tour de France. It’s great that it is already paying off.”

Overall leader, Yves Lampaert (Soudal Quick-Step): “It was certainly not easy. It went super fast on the final climb. I was dropped for a while, but fortunately I was able to return, together with Arnaud De Lie, during the descent. That was my salvation. They did that with verve. It was a strong leading group, we really had to chase. Fortunately, Alpecin-Deceuninck also came to help, without them it would have been difficult. It’s nice that other riders are also happy for me. Tomorrow’s stage is a bit more difficult, so it won’t be easy. But I’m going to do everything I can to wear that yellow for a little while longer. Alberto Bettiol has already stuck his nose to the window today. But who knows, it might work out.”

2nd on the stage and 5th overall, Michael Matthews (Jayco AlUla): “The form is certainly there, but I still have some fear in the peloton. After my crash on Friday, I was a bit in the dark regarding my legs and feelings. The fear is still there, but the good feeling is slowly returning. The ride itself went as expected. The flight was accomplished quickly and quite easily. Soudal Quick-Step immediately took control and then Alpecin-Deceuninck also started driving. We (Jayco AlUla) decided to do our part in the final, in order to catch up with the leading group again. The positioning in the sprint did not go well. It was a fight for Arnaud De Lie’s wheel. On paper he is probably the fastest man in this round, but he had material problems and fell back a bit. As a team we are mainly fine-tuning. The collaboration was not optimal today. If we can fine-tune everything, the sprint victory will follow automatically.”

3rd on the stage, Arnaud De Lie (Lotto Dstny): “My chain flew off, so I’m third. Without bad luck I would have been in contention for the win. It was an extremely tough final. It is what it is. Normally, tomorrow’s stage is too tough. From now on I will mainly train for the Tour de France and the Belgian championship.”

Break rider and KOM, Gerben Kuypers (Intermarché-Wanty): “I arrived at this Tour de Suisse full of confidence, because I progressively feel less after-effects of the health problems I’ve been struggling with last winter. This morning, in our tactical meeting, I was chosen along with Lilian Calmejane and Simone Petilli to join in the breakaway in this first stage. I managed to escape fairly quickly, with four other riders, and I had the impression that I was one of the strongest at the front. I did a lot of pulls and was able to win the first KOM sprint after 42km. In the leading group, there were two duos from the same team, which didn’t make it any easier for me in the second sprint. But tactically I managed it quite well, enabling me to keep the lead after this second sprint. At the start, I never imagined I’d be on the podium at the end of this first stage. For a first World Tour stage race, it’s a good start. This race will make me again somewhat stronger. Afterwards follows the Belgian championship, a week of rest and my first altitude training camp with the team, a new phase that I’m really looking forward to discovering!”

Tour de Suisse Stage 2 Result:
1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Cofidis in 5:11:10
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Jayco AlUla
3. Arnaud De Lie (Bel) Lotto Dstny
4. Brandon Rivera (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
5. Rui Alberto Costa Da Faria (Por) EF Education-EasyPost
6. Axel Laurance (Fra) Alpecin-Deceuninck
7. Tom Pidcock (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
8. Roger Adria Oliveras (Spa) BORA-hansgrohe
9. Francesco Busatto (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty
10. Stephen Williams (GB) Israel-Premier Tech.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 2:
1. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step in 4:11:44
2. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:04
3. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:07
4. Finn Fisher-Black (NZ) UAE Team Emirates
5. Michael Matthews (Aus) Jayco AlUla
6. Samuel Watson (GB) Groupama-FDJ at 0:09
7. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-EasyPost
8. Stefan Küng (Sui) Groupama-FDJ at 0:11
9. Mauro Schmid (Sui) Jayco AlUla
10. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Alpecin-Deceuninck.

Suisse’24 stage 2:

 

The Third Stage of the Tour of Switzerland was won by Thibau Nys. The 21-year-old Belgian of Lidl-Trek won the uphill sprint after a particularly difficult finale. Stephen Williams finished second, Alberto Bettiol was third. The Italian took enough bonus seconds to be the new overall leader.

Suisse 2024

The second stage of the Tour de Suisse turned out to be a clash between the fast men, despite a treacherous finale with a lot of attacks. On stage 3 a sprint from a large group seemed less realistic, there was less than 2,000 metres of climbing, but final was very tough.

After the start in Steinmauer, the stage went via the canton of Aargau and Lucerne to the finish in Rüschlikon. But before the finish in this idyllic town there was a tough finale with the climbs of Oberwil-Lieli (3.8km at 5.4%), Aeugst am Albis (2.6km at 6.5%) and the Albis Pass (2km at 5.9%). In the last kilometre it ramped up to almost 8%. The day’s break consisted of five riders: Luca Jenni (Swiss national team) and Roberto Carlos González (Corratec-Vini Fantini) were again in the escape and were joined by Christoph Janssen (Swiss team) and WorldTour riders Fabian Lienhard (Groupama-FDJ) and Johan Jacobs (Movistar).

These five managed to gain a maximum lead of almost 4 minutes, but it turned out not to be enough. Soudal Quick-Step, Jayco AlUla, Alpecin-Deceuninck and Lotto Dstny, the teams of leader Yves Lampaert, Michael Matthews, Axel Laurance and Maxim Van Gils, worked well together in the peloton and managed to reduce the gap. Jakobs decided to go solo, but his lead had shrunk to 30 seconds with 20 kilometres to go. Jacobs was in trouble on the climb to Aegst am Albis. On the penultimate climb, EF Education-EasyPost, the team of Albert Bettiol and Richard Carapa, gave a big pull. The American team wanted to drop the fast men. Due to the high pace, most sprinters were gone from the considerably thinned out peloton, although De Lie, Matthews and Ethan Hayter managed to survive. They had to make every effort to follow on the subsequent Albis Pass, due to an acceleration from Brandon Rivera and Valentin Paret-Peintre.

What was left of the lead remained together in the last 10 kilometres. A sprint on the last uphill kilometre seemed to be on the cards, although Marc Hirschi did everything he could to avoid a sprint. The Swiss rider of UAE Team Emirates managed to open up a big gap, but the last kilometre proved to be too much for Hirschi who was caught. Wilco Kelderman started a long sprint. The Visma | Lease a Bike Dutchman managed to hold out for a long time, but was ultimately overshadowed by the puncheurs, with Thibau Nys in the lead. The young Belgian timed his sprint to perfection and crossed the line first, ahead of Flèche Wallonne winner Stephen Williams and Bettiol. This is his 6th victory of the season for the 21-year-old Nys.

Suisse 2024

Stage winner, Thibau Nys (Lidl-Trek): “It was a really difficult stage. In the end I was just thinking about what I did wrong in Gippingen and not doing it again today. Yesterday I was struggling a lot, today too. I didn’t feel good on the bike and I had a slightly uncomfortable feeling all day, but the guys helped me get over it. I didn’t believe in it until there was about 50km left, but I kept fighting and my legs started to get better and better. In the end it started to get easier and everything was going well. I am left speechless for the work of my teammates. Finishing it like this is more than a dream. There are many emotions. It may be my best victory. I’m over the moon. I can’t thank the team enough today. We are here for the general classification with Mattias and to be able to have a chance in this team for stages like this is already a great honour. I feel very happy that the team gives something back to them. Now everything is ready for the general classification for Mattias. I would love to take advantage of the rest of the week. I believe I am in the right team to grow, with the right people by my side and many experienced riders. I still remember my first race with the team as a stageire, sharing a room with Julien (Bernard). You learn everything from those guys, it is incredible to take these steps and see myself grow in this team. I also always seem to perform in Switzerland and I love racing here. Nice roads, nice routes. I would also love to continue like this in the coming years.”

Overall leader and 3rd on the stage, Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost): “Tomorrow the Tour de Suisse will change completely. But with this yellow jersey I give a positive greeting to the entire team and it gives us confidence. We are a group of friends. We always try to do the best we can. When we put all our energy together for one goal, as we saw today, we can do something great. This is our spirit. We have to face each race like this. Today we assume responsibility. We reached the final. We wanted to race hard. Thibau Nys was really strong. He deserved to win. But yellow is also a great achievement. It’s a reward for the work all the riders and staff did for me. They did an amazing job for me. In the last kilometres Richard (Carapaz) helped me a lot. He put me in a perfect position. That’s not something I take for granted, because he’s an Olympic champion. I really appreciate it, but this is our team spirit. We’re just regular guys who work together all year and prove we can do a great job when we do. Today I wanted to win. I didn’t do it. I’m not sad because I couldn’t do better. I was racing Nys and I couldn’t overtake him, but I took the yellow jersey, so I’m very happy. Georg (Steinhauser) also did a great job. They both worked for me and I have to pay them back tomorrow. Of course, the level here is very high. We have very strong climbers, but we never know. I will ride for them tomorrow with this yellow jersey and I hope to give them a positive spirit.”

2nd on the stage and 4th overall, Stephen Williams (IPT): “I tried well, very well. But in a finish like that, whoever is stronger wins, so I can’t complain. Yes, it was a tough final, really tough, especially the last 10 kilometres. I put myself in an excellent position heading into the final climb. The guys did a great job all day keeping me out of trouble. So I’m very grateful for that. I’m happy with second place, as much as I would like to win, but it’s still a good day.”

4th on the stage and 10th overall, Roger Adriá (BORA-hansgrohe): “The team was totally committed and worked hard for me. A big greeting to the boys. In the last 30km the positioning was really crucial, I think we did a pretty good job here. The uphill sprint was super tough and in the end, it was the strongest rider who sealed the victory. I am happy with my sprint and my performance.”

6th on the stage and 3rd overall, Wilco Kelderman (Visma | Lease a Bike): “This performance gives me good feelings. It was another hectic day. That’s what the Tour de Suisse is known for. Almost every day there are fast stages and there are ups and downs all day. We had a good final as a team. We were always well ahead. We knew it was going to be a difficult final with a steep climb at the end. I was already thinking about attacking if I saw an opportunity. In the last few hundred metres I tried. From that moment on I set my mind to zero and rode at full speed to the finish line. Unfortunately, five riders were a little faster. I can be calm with this sixth place. Good feelings prevail. I haven’t raced since Paris-Nice, so I’m very happy with my current form. It gives a lot of confidence for the next stages.”

15th on the stage and 14th overall, Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers): “I decide what my Tour looks like this year, no one else. Otherwise you shouldn’t expect anything from me. I must be given the freedom to believe in my Tour mission. I know exactly what I want. It won’t be easy to achieve that, but the people in my camp know how I work. I’m not used to taking the lead. I don’t like being at the front all the time. I prefer to lead a team from the shadows, a little more quietly, doing my own thing. I’m not a man of big speeches and I don’t whip everyone up either. They either believe in me or they don’t. I haven’t managed to achieve that big victory on the road yet. But if I win a Monument before the end of my career, become World champion or finish on the podium in the Tour, then I will have had a career like no other, including cyclo-cross and mountain biking.”

Tour de Suisse Stage 3 Result:
1. Thibau Nys (Bel) Lidl-Trek in 3:27:31
2. Stephen Williams (GB) Israel-Premier Tech
3. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-EasyPost
4. Roger Adria Oliveras (Spa) BORA-hansgrohe
5. Paul Lapeira (Fra= Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Visma | Lease a Bike
7. Adam Yates (GB) UAE Team Emirates
8. Mattias Skjelmose (Den) Jensen Lidl-Trek at 0:03
9. Ben Tulett (GB) Visma | Lease a Bike
10. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) EF Education-EasyPost.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 3:
1. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-EasyPost in 7:39:20
2. Ethan Hayter (GB) INEOS Grenadiers in 0:06
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Visma | Lease a Bike
4. Stephen Williams (GB) Israel-Premier Tech
5. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:09
6. Fin Fisher-Black UAE Team Emirates
7. Mattias Skjelmose (Den) Jensen Lidl-Trek
8. Adam Yates (GB) UAE Team Emirates at 0:10
9. Jan Christen (Sui) UAE Team Emirates at 0:11
10. Roger Adria Oliveras (Spa) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:13.

Suisse’24 stage 3:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ea15IHSP2A

 

Torstein Traeen (Bahrain Victorious) won the mountain Stage 4 of the Tour de Suisse finishing on the St. Gotthard Pass. From the early break he kept enough of a lead to stay ahead of the best classification rider, Adam Yates. The leader’s jersey went to the British rider of UAE Team Emirates. There was bad luck for Wilco Kelderman, who missed the finale due to a crash, but kept the damage limited.

Suisse 2024

On Wednesday it was up to the climbers for the first time in the Tour de Suisse fourth stage. After 170 kilometres the finish line was on the St. Gotthard Pass at 2,091 metres altitude. The average gradient of the more than 20 kilometre long final climb was more than 5%, with the last 8.2 kilometres at 6.6%.

In the first section of the stage there were several attack attempts that were unsuccessful. A subsequent attempt by eight riders was more successful. Gerben Kuypers (Intermarché-Wanty), stage winner Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) and Michael Matthews (Jayco AlUla) were among the attackers. The other escapees were Silvan Dillier (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Torstein Traeen (Bahrain Victorious), Lilian Calmejane (Intermaché-Wanty), Roland Thalmann (Tudor) and Jan Sommer (Swiss national team). The lead of the eight increased to more than 6 minutes, while the peloton was led by Lidl-Trek and EF Education-EasyPost. Everyone was looking at Wilco Kelderman, the best GC rider in 3rd place and in the best position to take the yellow jersey. On the flat run-up to the final climb, overall leader Bettiol, crashed but was able to continue with injuries.

Bauke Mollema had to abandon. Earlier in the stage, the Dutchman of Lidl-Trek had to let go on a small hill, after which he had to leave the race not much later. The peloton continued towards the foot of the St. Gotthard Pass. The leading group started the long final climb with a lead of just under 5 minutes. Thalmann, Traeen and Dillier were the better climbers at the front. In the peloton, EF Education-EasyPost, INEOS Grenadiers and Q36.5 were in the lead. Ten kilometres below the top, Traeen had 3:45 minutes left of his lead and dropped Thalmann and Dillier. It took a long time for the action to come in the peloton, it came from Felix Gall. His acceleration thinned out the peloton, with Bettiol, Maxim Van Gils and Lenny Martinez in trouble. Gall’s attempt failed, after which his teammate Valentin Paret-Peintre tried. That was three minutes from Traeen. Due to those skirmishes in the favourites group, Isaac Del Toro crashed, right in front of Wilco Kelderman. The Dutchman braked hard, but couldn’t prevent himself from crashing. Del Toro was quickly back on the bike and was able to return to the main group, but Kelderman had more problems.

Kelderman saw the group of favourites ahead of him, but UAE Team Emirates with Del Toro accelerated at that exact moment. It turned out to be preparation for an attack by Adam Yates more than 4 kilometres from the finish. No one could follow the British rider, who then had to close on Traeen for 2 minutes. Behind Yates, a group formed including Mattias Skjelmose, João Almeida, Cian Uijtdebroeks and Egan Bernal. Kelderman had picked up several victims, but that was well behind the Uijtdebroeks group. Yates could see Traeen in the distance at over a kilometre from the finish, while behind him Skjelmose and Almeida had broken away from the second group. However, the Briton was too late to stop Traeen from winning. For the Norwegian climber of Bahrain Victorious it was the first professional victory of his career. Yates finished second and took the leader’s jersey. Well behind him, Skjelmose finished third and Almeida fourth. Bernal finished fifth, ahead of an elite group including Uijtdebroeks, Gall, Oscar Onley and Enric Mas. Kelderman fought his way to 12th place, only 9 seconds behind the Uijtdebroeks group and ultimately 1:13 behind Yates.

Belgium Tour 2024

Stage winner, Torstein Træen (Bahrain Victorious): “I don’t know what to say without being emotional. It’s for Gino and it’s so special for me. It has been a rollercoaster these past two years. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo surgery. Recently, I had to leave the Giro due to an injury. This win is so special for me, Gino’s family, and the team. I didn’t believe it was possible because this morning I didn’t think I had the legs. Then, in the breakaway, I started thinking about everything that has happened to me over the last few years and, of course, about Gino. Suddenly, I was there with the legs, just hoping I could hold on, and luckily I did. The last kilometre seemed never-ending. Yates was coming so fast behind me; it was not tarmac but cobbles and there was a headwind. I was so happy when I finished and realised I had done it. Winning the prize for Gino is unbelievable. Everyone misses him. Personally, I didn’t know him because I wasn’t in the team last year, but I can feel how much he is missed. I’m honoured to win this stage for him, especially with his family here. It means so much.”

Overall leader and 2nd on the stage, Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a nice stage, it wasn’t so much the plan to attack but more to follow, but on the climb I felt good and got the guys to set a strong pace and attacked and just came up short of the win. I attacked to see who would follow. I wasn’t super confident about the cobbled section as a lighter guy like myself suffers in that terrain and gets bumped around a bit. I attacked to test the legs and nobody followed so I pushed on to the line and am delighted to take the leaders jersey.”

3rd on the stage and overall, Mattias Sjkelmose (Lidl-Trek): “I think we raced well today. We did what we had to do, as a team. The guys believed in me and did a great job keeping the situation under control for a long time, Jacopo in particular. Yates’ attack was strong. If he had been on his wheel perhaps he would have tried to follow him. Anyway, he was strong, but I always had the feeling of having good legs, so I decided to wait for the right moment to force the pace and minimise the loss. I am happy with my performance. It was the first test in the mountains for me after the break and the altitude camp. Days like this always come with a little doubt. In the end, I felt very good, and that is the best thing I took away from today. Although Yates has shown great form today, I think the fight for the general classification is still open. I’m in a good position. We will have three mountain stages and a time trial to play our options. We will go for everything.”

6th on the stage and overall, Oscar Onley (dsm-firmenich-PostNL): “The boys have once again done a great job protecting me throughout the stage. On the climb, Frank put me on the UAE train as they started to pick up the pace, which was perfect. I made a couple of mistakes, but I think it’s a solid start and something to build on for the rest of the week.”

9th on the stage and 8th overall, Cian Uijtdebroeks (Visma | Lease a Bike): “The truth is that I felt quite good today. It was the first long effort since I abandoned the Giro d’Italia. I feel like my body is getting stronger every day. Unfortunately, I lost power just as Yates and then Skjelmose attacked. Despite losing a little, the differences are still not very big. In the next few days we will try to move up in the general classification. It has been very unfortunate to see Wilco fall from the group of favourites in this way. He has fought a lot and made up a lot of time. We’re both not in a bad position, so we can do something in the next few days. The time differences are not too big.”

Tour de Suisse Stage 4 Result:
1. Torstein Traeen (Nor) Bahrain Victorious in 4:45:16
2. Adam Yates (GB) UAE Team Emirates at 0:23
3. Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Den) Lidl-Trek at 0:48
4. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates
5. Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:00
6. Oscar Onley (GB) dsm-firmenich-PostNL at 1:27
7. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar
8. Felix Gall (Aust) Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale
9. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Visma | Lease a Bike
10. Matthew Riccitello (USA) Israel-Premier Tech

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 4:
1. Adam Yates (GB) UAE Team Emirates in 11:50:08
2. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:26
3. Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Den) Lidl-Trek
4. Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:49
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Visma | Lease a Bike at 1:15
6. Oscar Onley (GB) dsm-firmenich-PostNL at 1:17
7. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar
8. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Visma | Lease a Bike at 1:21
9. Matthew Riccitello (USA) Israel-Premier Tech at 1:25
10. Felix Gall (Aust) Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale at 1:42.

Suisse’24 stage 4:

 

belgium tour
Baloise Belgium Tour 2024
Søren Waerenskjold is the first leader of the 2024 Baloise Belgium Tour. In the Opening Stage 1 time trial of 12 kilometres around Beringen, the leader of Uno-X Mobility was by far the fastest. Mathias Vacek (Lidl-Trek) finished 2 seconds down in second place, while Rune Herregodts (Intermarché-Wanty) was third.
Belgium Tour 2024

In this year’s stage 1 time trial was held round Beringen in Limburg. The time trial was 12 kilometres long and mainly took place in the territory of the Koersel municipality. There was a fairly winding first section, until just past ‘the Koersels Kapelleke’, but on the way back the course was more straight forward.

Sam Gademan (VolkerWessels) was the first starter, but the big favourites for the stage victory and the final victory had to wait until after 4:00pm. The first target time came from Daan Hoole, who raced with an average speed of 52.5kph, with a time of 13:42. A good test for Hoole, who will ride the Olympic time trial in Paris later this summer. The first to dip under Hoole’s time was Movistar’s Alex Aranburu, with 13.41, but the big guns were yet to come. Mathias Vacek of Lidl-Trek was faster with 13:26, well ahead of ZLM Tour winner Rune Herregodts and time trial specialist Edoardo Affini.

They formed the top 3 when the time trial was forced to be neutralised due to an emergency situation on the course. So that the emergency services could attend the emergency, the race was stopped. After a break of more than half an hour, the time trial could be resumed. Søren Waerenskjold was amongst the last block of riders. The strong Norwegian Uno-X Mobility finished 2 seconds inside Vacek’s top time, especially due to a strong second section. Alec Segaert, Jasper Stuyven and Kasper Asgreen couldn’t get near the Norwegian’s time. The victory and the first leader’s jersey went to the 24-year-old Søren Waerenskjold, with his eighth professional victory.

Suisse 2024

Stage winner and overall leader, Søren Wærenskjold (Uno-X Mobility): “I heard that the victim was rescued. I am especially very happy with that (the emergency that caused the race to be neutralised). I knew he had to focus on my own performance, but the neutralisation did have an influence. In the end it is more important how the victim is doing, and fortunately that is a good thing. But today was more difficult. I felt good, but I couldn’t really find a good rhythm. This time trial was also slightly shorter. I tried to find my momentum and save energy in the corners, because there were a lot of right angles. I wanted to open hard but also pace myself a bit, because there was a headwind in the final. I always wanted to keep my power output the same . I only went up or down 5 watts at a time, I tried to keep that the same. We look at it per stage. If I can follow the rest in the fourth stage, then maybe something is possible (on GC). However, the opposition is stronger this year. We will see, but I definitely want to try to sprint in the coming stages.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Mathias Vacek (Lidl-Trek): “It’s hard to say where I lost the seconds, because I feel like I left it all out there. Maybe I lost it somewhere or made a mistake, but today I don’t regret anything. I think Wærenskjold was just faster in the last part and maybe a sprint faster after the corner and gained time. I am the first defeated, but it has still been a nice birthday and I have taken a big step compared to last year. I am happy with my performance and now we look forward, towards the next stages, to fight for the general classification. I really like this race. We will try to make a race there and gain some time over the others.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Edoardo Affini (Visma | Lease a Bike): “I think I did quite well. After all, it is easy to follow through. It’s hard to start over. I have gotten closer to the first places and I have been able to find my rhythm on this course. Especially on the longer stretches I have been able to increase my speed quite a bit. I certainly cannot be dissatisfied.”

5th on the stage and overall, Alec Segaert (Lotto Dstny): “I am happy with the result. Something that suits me well, the U23 Giro d’Italia time trial that I won last year was also over the same distance. I stayed focused after finding out it couldn’t go as planned. The winner was strong, I don’t think I could have beaten him today. The only time trial I’ve run this season before today was Bessèges, which wasn’t very good. This confirms my form and I’m positive for the Belgian championship.”

6th on the stage and overall, Kasper Asgreen (Soudal Quick-Step): “It was a very fast time trial, with a bit of headwind in some parts of the route. For me it has been a good test, because I want to defend my title in the national championships at the end of the month. The result is that you have a good experience and that is the result of a positive assessment of the general classification. I’m happy to be in a time trial, I’m always happy to do it, it’s possible to continue with Tim Merlier and sprint.”

Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 1 Result:
1. Søren Wærenskjold (Nor) Uno-X Mobility in 13:24.02
2. Mathias Vacek (CZ) Lidl-Trek at 0:02.46
3. Rune Herregodts (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty at 0:10.75
4. Edoardo Affini (Ita) Visma | Lease a Bike at 0:11.70
5. Alec Segaert (Bel) Lotto Dstny at 0:12.79
6. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Soudal Quick-Step at 0:14.81
7. Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Movistar at 0:17.01
8. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Lidl-Trek at 0:17.46
9. Daan Hoole (Ned) Lidl-Trek at 0:18
10. Josef Cerny (CZ) Soudal Quick-Step at 0:21.

Baloise Belgium Tour Overall After Stage 1:
1. Søren Wærenskjold (Nor) Uno-X Mobility in 13:24
2. Mathias Vacek (CZ) Lidl-Trek at 0:02
3. Rune Herregodts (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty at 0:10
4. Edoardo Affini (Ita) Visma | Lease a Bike at 0:11
5. Alec Segaert (Bel) Lotto Dstny at 0:12
6. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Soudal Quick-Step at 0:14
7. Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Movistar at 0:17
8. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Lidl-Trek
9. Daan Hoole (Ned) Lidl-Trek at 0:18.72
10. Josef Cerny (CZ) Soudal Quick-Step at 0:21.49.

Belgium Tour’24 stage 1:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdXCWDooNg8

 

uci
The UCI and MPCC are Concerned About the Use of the Painkiller Tapentadol: “Ten Times Stronger than Tramadol”
The world cycling governing body, the UCI and MPCC (Movement for a Credible Cycling) have been monitoring the use of a particularly powerful painkiller since the beginning of this year, with concern about its use in the peloton. According to the Swiss media, Le Temps, the drug concerned is called Tapentadol.

Both authorities are said to have expressed their concerns about Tapentadol. This is a painkiller that works on the central nervous system in two different ways. It inhibits the reuptake of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter and hormone found in the body, and it acts as an opioid. Tapentadol was first developed by the German pharmaceutical company Grünenthal in the 1980s. It was approved in the United States in 2008 and in Europe two years later. According to the UCI, the painkiller is ten times more powerful than Tramadol. This drug has been on the international doping list since January 1, 2024. Tramadol has been banned in cycling since March 1, 2019.

The UCI and MPCC want to put Tapentadol on the list of banned substances as soon as possible. The UCI reportedly requested and received permission from the world anti-doping agency WADA at the end of 2023 to add Tapentadol to the control program, with the ultimate goal of banning the drug completely.

The president of the MPCC, Roger Legeay, confirmed to Le Temps that his organisation has urged WADA to ban Tapentadol. “It took us twelve years to get Tramadol on the list of banned substances. We hope that the authorities will act faster this time. Healthy athletes have no need for such products. In addition, it is important to emphasise that painkillers reduce or even eliminate pain. That is another performance-enhancing factor.”

Doping with painkillers:
doping sign

 

visma
Victor Campenaerts to Race with Visma | Lease a Bike for the Next Three Years
Victor Campenaerts currently races for Lotto Dstny, but the strong rumour is that he will move to Visma | Lease a Bike at the end of this season. Het Nieuwsblad reports the move and sources have also confirmed it to WielerFlits. The 32-year-old Belgian will sign with the Dutch team for three years.

Campenaerts’ contract with Lotto Dstny expires at the end of this year and it has been clear for some time that he will not renew with the Belgian team. Due to the troubles with the co-sponsor Dstny, who appears to be stopping their sponsorship of the Belgian team, Lotto Dstny doesn’t have the financial resources, at the moment, to make new contracts. Several riders are said to be looking for new teams.

Transfers may not be officially confirmed until August 1, but it is said that Campenaerts already has an agreement with Visma | Lease a Bike. A three-year contract is ready to be signed. Campenaerts rode for the Dutch team in 2016 and 2017, when the team was then called Lotto NL-Jumbo, he had been with Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise for the first two years of his professional career Campenaerts rode for LottoNL-Jumbo for two seasons before moving to Lotto Soudal. While with LottoNL-Jumbo became European TT champion in Herning, Denmark. Campenaerts was first known as a pure time trialist, but has changed over the years to be a good Classics man and team worker. He also has a scientific approach to his training and bike set-up.

Campenaerts to Visma | Lease a Bike:
Kuurne 2024

 

lotto
Lotto Dstny Sees Campenaerts’ Departure as a Big Loss: “Victor Brings us Marginal Gains”
The Lotto Dstny team doesn’t want to confirm or deny the news, but sports director Nikolas Maes does say that he would see Campenaerts as a big loss for the team. “Victor is free after this year, that is a fact. I am not aware of how the contract negotiations with Stephane (Heulot, the team CEO) are going. I don’t think it’s impossible that he will move to a new team at the end of the season, I can say that,” Maes said.

The former World hour record holder is known for his technical knowledge and marginal gains. “We have benefited a lot from him in the past three years. He was an added value to have in the team. And he still has his value in the team today. As leader we are not going to outplay him, but his contribution inside and outside the races should not be underestimated. Suppose he leaves, then we will mainly have to look at dealing with the technical aspect. I already have my ideas about how we can further optimise and professionalise the team. I can also acknowledge that: thanks to Victor, the team has made a big push in terms of innovation, time trial and looking for all the marginal gains that we could benefit from.”

Maes is responsible for the technical part of the performance, and can assess Campenaerts’ role. “We’re going to need someone extra. I ensure that all the materials are in order and that everything runs smoothly in collaboration with bicycle manufacturer Orbéa. But I can’t do everything. Oliver Delaey does the track testing and aero testing, who takes charge of training. But we can still do an upgrade. It doesn’t have to be a cycling rider. In fact, I think it’s better to be someone who is fully aware of the latest techniques. This can be resolved.”

On a sporting level, Campenaerts’ value wasn’t that high this spring. “It has not been his best spring,” Maes said. “We have to be honest: we expected more from him. There are many riders who can call for bad luck, but with Victor we can do that less. He has had every opportunity and his races to manifest himself. That was less. Okay, the season isn’t over yet. He is still there for the Tour, he can also perform there. But the fact is that spring did not bring what we had hoped for.”

Campenaerts is a big loss for the team:
luxembourg 2023 st4

 

soudal quick-step 2024
Pascal Eenkhoorn Will go to Soudal Quick-Step in 2025
Pascal Eenkhoorn is another rider who will leave Lotto Dstny at the end of 2024. The WielerFlits Podcast announced that the 2022 Dutch champion will ride for Soudal Quick-Step for the next two years.

Following in the footsteps of Victor Campenaerts, who will switch from Lotto Dstny to Visma | Lease a Bike, 27-year-old Eenkhoorn is also looking for a new team. He has raced for the Belgian team for the past two seasons, after he had been with Jumbo-Visma for five years.

“Where Campenaerts does not go to Soudal Quick-Step, Eenkhoorn will,” said WielerFlits editor-in-chief Maxim Horssels in the podcast. Reporter Youri IJnsen added. “He is going to Soudal Quick-Step for two years. That’s a nice team for him. At the time, he wanted to leave Jumbo-Visma to be pulled out of the domestique mold. Lotto Dstny was a logical choice at the time, but things are not going completely smoothly behind the scenes.”

“Eenkhoorn wants to keep doing his thing in the spring. If there is a team where that could be done, it is Soudal Quick-Step. They have been ready for a rejuvenation in that spring core for a few years now,” said Youri, who shares more transfer rumours in the latest WielerFlits Podcast.

Eenkhoorn to Soudal Quick-Step:
tdf23 st12

 

movistar
Nairo Quintana has to Abandon the Tour de Suisse with a Hand Injury
Nairo Quintana couldn’t start the third stage of the Tour of Switzerland on Tuesday. The Movistar Colombian is suffering too much from his crash on the second stage.

Quintana crashed in the run-up to the Regensberg climb. In the evening he had scans in hospital, which revealed that he had suffered a non-displaced fracture of the fourth metacarpal bone of his right hand and so Quintana would not be at the start of the third stage.

The Colombian wanted to build on his form from the Giro d’Italia in the Tour de Suisse. In the Giro he put in an impressive attack on the stage to Livigno, although the pink jersey of Tadej Pogačar passed him just before the finish. The second big goal for Quintana should be the Vuelta a España. It is not yet known if this injury will hinder his preparation.

A set back for Quintana:
Giro 2024

 

BORA 2024
Nico Denz Extends Contract with BORA – hansgrohe
Nico Denz and BORA – hansgrohe will continue to ride together in the coming seasons. The 30-year-old has extended his contract with the team ahead of the season’s highlight.

Nico Denz: “After my first very successful year with BORA – hansgrohe, I’m happy to continue riding here. It’s a great environment where I feel at home. I’m also delighted to be part of the new project with Red Bull. To play a support role in a Grand Tour victory is one of my biggest dreams, which I hope to fulfil here in the team.”

In his first year with BORA – hansgrohe, Nico Denz scored a double victory at the Giro d’Italia. The 30-year-old won two stages within just a few days last season. This year, he has his sights set on a new Grand Tour – his debut at the Tour de France.

The dress rehearsal for this, at the Critérium du Dauphiné, has been a success, with the yellow jersey, two stage wins and a commanding victory in the team classification giving the squad confidence as it heads into July. Nico Denz was an important part of this test run and is also scheduled for the Tour de France. He will fine-tune his form at an altitude camp in the coming weeks.

Nico Denz to stay with BORA-hansgrohe:
giro23st14

 

EF 2024
Kim Cadzow Extends with EF Education-Cannondale
The 2024 season has been a dream for Kim Cadzow so far.

Her wins this year include the New Zealand time trial national championship as well the opening stage and the overall classification at Trofeo Ponente in Rosa. She was recently named to the New Zealand Olympic squad for both the road race and time trial. And now she has extended her contract with EF Education-Cannondale.

In just her second full season as a pro racer, Kim has already exceeded not only her personal expectations for growth but also those of the team.

“I’m developing a lot faster than I thought I would, especially compared to last year,” she said. “I’m amazed at how quickly things are happening. In terms of bike handling and technique, I’ve grown a lot. I’ve learned about how to race in the peloton, about riding, nutrition, recovery, and training. The team is really good at giving us the knowledge behind why we do what we do. I really trust in the team’s plan for me and my development.”

Kim attributes that growth in part to the team environment.

“What’s awesome about this team is the group that’s around me at dinner. We have a laugh at the table, we have a laugh on the bike, we have a laugh at the races. It’s like having a big group of sisters around. We always back each other and we expect each other to do their best, but whatever happens, we’re always there to support each other which makes it easier for me to race and train my hardest,” she said.

Working with general manager Esra Tromp has been the icing on the cake for Kim.

“She’s known me for a couple of years now,” Kim said. “I really didn’t know if I wanted to keep racing before this season. Esra was the one who took me on and gave me a second chance. Now that I’ve had this opportunity to race with EF Education-Cannondale, I realise how much I love it. I’m so thankful she brought me here.”

In Kim, Esra immediately recognised an ambitious athlete who was still rough around the edges.

“When I first met Kim, she was extremely new to the sport and had only done some small races,” Esra said. “I saw a really ambitious rider who wanted to discover herself on the bike, which was really exciting to me. There are two basic, but essential qualities in a successful rider: the ability to work hard and her physical capabilities. Kim had both. We knew that from there, she could learn and develop.”

Since the winter, Kim has consistently dedicated time to working on bike handling, cornering, and other technical aspects of navigating the peloton. Esra commends Kim on her growth.

“This year, Kim has already made a big step. I see her growing as an athlete. She is already more comfortable in the bunch. She still has room to grow but she can now think about tactics while she’s in the thick of a race so that’s a really big step. She’s grown a lot as a person. Kim wants to succeed and she’s ready to invest in her own career,” Esra said.

Looking back, Kim knows she has already come a long way from just a few years ago when she casually did a handful of triathlons before turning her energy exclusively to riding. And while she’s thrilled with her progress, she doesn’t plan to rest on her laurels.

“I want to keep going how I’ve been going! I don’t want to change anything and that is exactly why I’ve re-signed with the team. I just keep focusing on my technique, my training, and learning and I think results will come from that. I want to learn how to be a GC rider in the future and learn how to better cope with fatigue. I think I’m only going to continue to grow by staying with the team,” she said.

We think so, too, Kim!

Kim Cadzow to stay with EF:
Kim Cadzow

 

holland dutch
Adrie van der Poel Rides More than 300 Kilometres in the Gran Fondo Milan-Sanremo
Adrie van der Poel rode the Grand Fondo version of the Italian classic; Milan-Sanremo (Milano-Sanremo Amatori) last weekend in the north of Italy. At the age of 64, he rode the route of the race he competed in eleven times during his career. Van der Poel senior covered 312 kilometres.

Adrie van der Poel rode Milano-Sanremo every year from 1982 until 1993, although he was never on the podium, but he did finish in the top 10 twice. A seventh place in 1986 and 1988 were the best results for the 64-year-old former professional. The route of the touring version tries to follow the route of the real classic as much as possible. His son Mathieu, catapulted teammate Jasper Philipsen to victory this year and took the win himself last year.

A big ride for Mathieu’s father:

 

cofidis
Cofidis Adds Jesús Herrada to their Tour Selection
It has been announced that Jesús Herrada will ride the 2024 Tour de France for Cofidis. The 33-year-old Spaniard is the sixth rider announced by Cofidis for their home tour. Herrada rode the Tours de Romandie and Catalunya earlier this year.

This will be the 8th time that Herrada has started La Grande Boucle and it is his 14th Grand Tour for the 33-year-old climber. His best result was in the Vuelta, where he won a stage in 2019, 2022 and 2023. Herrada has not yet won a Tour de France stage.

“With his results in the Vuelta and the Tour, he will demonstrate his qualities as a climber and puncheur this summer to try to conquer stage victories,” Cofidis said via social media. The team has six names for the Tour de France. The French WorldTeam previously announced that it will go to the Grand Départ in Florence with leaders Guillaume Martin and Bryan Coquard, plus Ion Izagirre, Alexis Renard and Simon Geschke. Axel Zingle and Stefano Oldani are probable selections, but have not been confirmed.

Jesús Herrada to the Tour:
vuelta23 st11

 

dsm postal
Tour de Suisse Women – JUN 15 – 18

Albert Timmer – Team dsm-firmenich PostNL coach: “With the Giro Donne around the corner, we are looking forward to four hard days of racing in Suisse as part of our build-up. Our goal will be to show a good performance with Juliette for the GC and she is surrounded by a strong team that can help her to do so. The race will kick off with a classic mountaintop finish and a mountain time trial, which will sharpen the GC. The final two days will take place on more hilly terrain, where we want to race more aggressively to create our opportunities and take the initiative for a hard and open race.”

Line-up:
Francesca Barale (ITA)
Eleonora Ciabocco (ITA)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Eglantine Rayer (FRA)
Becky Storrie (GBR)
Nienke Vinke (NED).

Juliette Labous to the Tour de Suisse:
Juliette Labous

 

astana
Asian Road Championships: Yevgeniy Fedorov Wins the ITT
The rider of Astana Qazaqstan Team Yevgeniy Fedorov wins the individual time trial race at the Asian Continental Championships. Yevgeniy becomes the strongest in this discipline at the Asian Championships for the third year in a row. The race with a total distance of 40 kilometres was held in the city of Almaty where Yevgeniy showed the best time 49 minutes and 46 seconds. The silver medal was achieved also by the rider of Astana Qazaqstan Team Dmitriy Gruzdev.

“Today was a very hot day, +35 degrees and a strong wind which was not refreshing at all, but racing in your homeland in Kazakhstan is always great, it’s like an additional motivation to show your best. The race was successful for me, and I am glad that for the third time, I managed to win the ITT at the Asian Championships. I’m also happy for Dmitriy (Gruzdev), who clinched a podium and brought silver to our national team today,” said Yevgeniy Fedorov.

Asian champs podium:
Asian champs 2024

 

Header Polti-Kometa 2024
VisitMalta to Co-Title Sponsor the Fundación Contador Cycling Team
The Malta Tourism Authority is thrilled to announce that VisitMalta will become one of the title sponsors for the cycling team run by the Fundación Contador and Ivan Basso, starting from the 2025 season. This new co-title sponsorship builds on a successful partnership that has flourished over the past few years, significantly contributing to the team’s growth and achievements.

Fran Contador, the team’s General Manager, expressed his excitement about this new chapter: “We are delighted to elevate our partnership with VisitMalta. Their support over the past few years has been instrumental in our team’s progress, and this new co-title sponsorship will enable us to reach new heights. Together, we will continue to foster young talent and achieve remarkable successes on the global stage.”

Alberto Contador, legendary cyclist and co-founder of the Fundación Contador also shared his enthusiasm: “The partnership with VisitMalta has already proven to be a great success. Their commitment to our values and goals makes them the perfect partner as we aim for even greater achievements. This step forward will undoubtedly inspire our riders and fans alike.”

Ivan Basso, Sport Manager of the team, stated: “The partnership with Visit Malta is a winning combination, like the message of well-being that we want to convey by strengthening the bond with a tourist-based economy. The bicycle is a formidable promotional vehicle, through which our riders raise the Maltese flag high and the values that unite us. In every breakaway, in every finish line, in every sporting gesture.”

Carlo Micallef, CEO of the Malta Tourism Authority commented: “We are excited to strengthen our partnership, this time as a co-title sponsor. Over the past few years, our partnership has yielded tremendous benefits, not only in terms of promoting the sport of cycling but also in highlighting Malta as a premier destination for sports tourism. This new level of sponsorship aligns perfectly with our mission to showcase Malta’s unique attractions and vibrant culture to a global audience. The team’s dedication to excellence and the development of young talent mirrors our commitment to fostering growth and innovation. We believe that this partnership will bring even greater visibility to Malta, encouraging more people to discover the beauty and richness of our islands.”

Maltese Minister of Tourism Clayton Bartolo said: “Sports tourism is a vital and rapidly expanding sector for Malta, and our alliance with the prestigious Fundación Contador team represents a significant milestone in our strategic vision. This partnership will not only bolster Malta’s visibility in high-profile international cycling events but also showcase our beautiful islands as prime destinations for sports enthusiasts. By supporting such a renowned team, we are confident that we will enhance our global standing in the realm of sports tourism, inspiring more visitors to experience the unique blend of culture, heritage, and adventure that Malta offers.”

Contador team

 

BORA 2024
Meet the winners of the Red Bull Junior Brothers Programme 2024
Today, Team GRENKE – Auto Eder and Red Bull announce the two winners of the Red Bull Junior Brothers Programme 2024, a global talent scouting initiative aimed at discovering the next generation of professional road cyclists.

After an intense week of testing at the Red Bull Athlete Performance Centre (APC) in Thalgau, Austria, Georgs Tjumins and Karl Herzog have earned a contract with BORA – hansgrohe’s U19 team, Team GRENKE – Auto Eder, along with a prestigious Red Bull athlete partnership deal. Their journey to professional cycling begins now.

Georgs Tjumins from Latvia showcased remarkable skill at the performance camp, standing out as a rider with immense potential. The 15-year-old has already had several successful races with the Latvian national team. Now at Team GRENKE – Auto Eder, he has the best conditions to continue developing.

Karl Herzog from Germany, whose brother Emil Herzog is already a professional cyclist at BORA – hansgrohe, also showed exceptional talent. The 15-year-old has already seen success in cross-country skiing and cycling. At Team GRENKE – Auto Eder, he now has the chance to follow in his brother’s footsteps.

Georgs Tjumins: “It is a great feeling to be selected as one of the winners of the Red Bull Junior Brothers program. I am excited to join the U19 team and learn from the best in the sport. Competing at the performance camp was a true test of my abilities, and I can’t wait to race with the Red Bull helmet.”

Karl Herzog: “I am excited to start this journey with Team GRENKE – Auto Eder and Red Bull, and to develop my skills further. Cycling is my passion, and winning this programme has motivated me to work even harder to achieve success at the highest level of the sport.”

Dr. Christian Schrot, Sport Director and Coach at GRENKE – Auto Eder: “The level of talent has been strong this week, but Georgs Tjumins and Karl Herzog truly stood out. Their skills, determination, and passion for cycling made them the perfect candidates for Team GRENKE – Auto Eder. We are excited to welcome these promising athletes to the team and look forward to seeing them make strides in their professional cycling careers.”

Anton Palzer, Red Bull athlete and rider for BORA – hansgrohe: “It’s great to welcome Karl and Georgs to the team and hand them their Red Bull helmets. I look forward to seeing them progress in their professional cycling journey.”

The Red Bull Junior Brothers Programme is more than just a scouting initiative; it’s an opportunity for young cyclists to showcase their ability, receive elite-level training, and potentially launch their professional careers.

Red Bull 2024

 

tdf
Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift 2025: Brittany to Host the Grand Départ

TDF 2025

Key information:

  • Edition four of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift will start in Brittany. The opening stage will be in the heart of the Morbihan department, and the second in the neighbouring Finistère department.
  • It is a first for an event that has chosen to honour a region with such deep cycling roots.
  • The 2025 edition will also mark a turning point in the history of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, which will be contested over nine days of racing for the first time.

Cycling has always drawn on tradition’s infinite resources, and the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift employs these values to underpin its development. The Grand Départ in Brittany is a natural extension of these values: in late July 2025, the event will be welcomed in the heart of a region where cycling reigns supreme and where the local communities’ welcome is driven by unparalleled determination.

Brittany has been associated with bicycle racing since the end of the 19th century, at least since Paris-Brest-Paris left its indelible mark in 1891. The plethora of thriving clubs from across the region has produced so many champions that no list can be comprehensive. However, it is worth mentioning the winners of the Tour de France, from the aptly nicknamed Lucien Mazan aka Petit-Breton (1907 and 1908) to five-time winner Bernard Hinault (1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1985), via the popular and unforgettable Jean Robic (1947) and Louison Bobet, the first consecutive three-time winner (1953, 1954, 1955).

Organising numerous races has also been a source of passion, from the simple village criterium to the 2000 World Championships in Plouay, reflecting the tireless dedication of thousands of volunteers. The Tour de France has visited this peninsula so often that Brest has become a beacon, as the provincial town that has staged the Grand Départ most often, on four occasions in 1952, 1974, 2008 and 2021.

The Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift naturally turned to the region flying the ermine flag to launch its fourth edition. Women’s cycling has certainly excelled here in disciplines other than the road, with Olympic and world gold medallists in track (Nathalie Even-Lancien in 1996 and Pascale Jeuland in 2010), BMX (Laëtitia Le Corguillé in 2006) and mountain biking (Julie Bresset in 2012 and 2013). But with its Arkéa-B&B Hotels Women team, based in Ille-et-Vilaine, and its stars, both established (Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Aude Biannic) and up-and-coming (Cédrine Kerbaol, best young rider and 12th overall in 2023; Marie Le Net), Brittany now has several substantial assets. With their supporters cheering them on, Brittany’s women will undoubtedly be among the riders to watch in the early stages of the 2025 race.

Loïg Chesnais-Girard, Chairman of the Brittany Region: “We’re delighted to be teaming up to host this Grand Départ. It’s something that’s very important to us because Brittany is a land of cycling, a land of value and a land of volunteers. We’re giving this gift to all those who love cycling. There are 200 cycling clubs in Brittany, which is a huge number, representing thousands of volunteers who give all their time and thousands of riders. Once again, we’re going to be able to show women’s sport in all its glory.”

Marion Rousse, director of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift: “The Tour de France Femmes with Zwift helps to create vocations for little girls and boys. People can get out and about, and come and meet the sportswomen. I’m proud of it because Brittany is a region that I love, a magnificent region. It’s been a dream of mine to set off from the Brittany Region, to the land of champions. Wherever I’ve been in the world, I’ve seen Breton flags, which shows how proud we are to be Breton. Well, this time, it’s France that will be coming to Brittany and meeting up once again with this magnificent region, with stages that will be spectacular from the outset, with quite a few difficulties. It’s going to be a great party, and I’m already looking forward to 2025.”

Cédrine Kerbaol, 12th overall and best young rider of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift 2023: “I’m really excited about this Grand Départ in Brittany. The second stage, which will start in Brest, is particularly close to my heart because that’s where I was born and lived all my childhood. I’m really looking forward to it. The Tour de France Femmes with Zwift is only one week in the year, so it’s a crazy thing to experience, and I can’t wait to get back out on the roads. The 9-day race for 2025 is really a great step forward for women’s cycling and for sport in general.”

Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France: “This big start in Brittany is historic, with a departure from Vannes for a stage that is 100% in Morbihan. The finish will be in Plumelec, which hosted the European Championships in 2016 and where there will be plenty of people lining the roads right up to the start of the circuit. The second stage will start from Brest, the city that has hosted the most Grand Départs of the Tour de France after Paris, 4 times in total. The Menez Quelerc’h climb will be one of the day’s major difficulties. The first two stages are designed for the hard-hitters, with some fine difficulties. The third stage will start in La Gacilly, home of Yves Rocher, which has already hosted the Tour de l’Avenir and the Tour de Bretagne, and then we’ll leave Brittany. See you in October for the rest of the route.”

The three days of the 2025 Grand Départ:

  • Saturday 26 July, stage 1: Vannes > Plumelec, with the finish at the top of the famous Côte de Cadoudal.
  • Sunday 27 July, stage 2: Brest > Quimper with a final loop in the town and a steep finish.
  • Monday 28 July, stage 3: The start in La Gacilly (Morbihan).

 

Deutschland Tour 2024
Lidl Deutschland Tour 2024 with More WorldTour Teams
Twelve teams from the WorldTour – two more than last year – will line up at the start of the Lidl Deutschland Tour 2024 on August 21. Among them the only German elite team, BORA – hansgrohe. The field of 20 teams in total, 14 of which will also compete in the Tour de France, will be supplemented by five second-division teams and three German continental teams, which will be selected after the national championships.

Deutschland Tour 2024

Between Schweinfurt and Saarbrücken, race director Fabian Wegmann and the route planners of the Lidl Deutschland Tour 2024 have set up a real classics course, which has not gone unnoticed by the teams. Six teams from the top 10 of the current UCI world rankings have entered, with Lidl-Trek and Alpecin-Deceuninck two representatives who dominated the spring classics.

Defending champion Soudal Quick-Step will also be taking part once again. The Belgians won the overall classification 2023 with Ilan Van Wilder, who also secured a stage win at the five-day tour. The Movistar Team and Intermarché – Wanty were also able to secure stage wins through Gregor Mühlberger and Madis Mihkels and are back in the mix. EF Education – EasyPost and Team Visma | Lease a Bike are back in the line-up for the Lidl Deutschland Tour after a one-year break. Another returnee is the Astana Qazaqstan Team, which last competed in 2019. Bahrain Victorious and Team dsm-firmenich PostNL complete the WorldTour line-up.

The participating second division teams are also mostly old acquaintances. Uno-X Mobility will be returning, as will Team TotalEnergies and the two Swiss representatives Q36.5 and Tudor Pro Cycling Team. The latter celebrated a perfect debut last year, winning the final stage with Arvid de Kleijn in a bunch sprint. Spanish newcomers Caja Rural – Seguros RGA are hoping for a similar success this time around.

Teams for the Lidl Deutschland Tour 2024 (as of June 6th, 2024)

UCI WorldTeams (12)

    • Alpecin–Deceuninck
    • Astana Qazaqstan Team
    • Bahrain Victorious
    • BORA – hansgrohe
    • EF Education – EasyPost
    • Ineos Grenadiers
    • Intermarché – Wanty
    • Lidl–Trek
    • Movistar Team
    • Soudal Quick-Step
    • Team dsm-firmenich PostNL
    • Team Visma | Lease a Bike

UCI ProTeams (6)

    • Caja Rural – Seguros RGA
    • Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team
    • Team TotalEnergies
    • Tudor Pro Cycling Team
    • Uno-X Mobility

After the conclusion of the German Championships (June 21-23, 2024), three German UCI Continental teams in addition to the 17 teams will receive an invitation to the Lidl Deutschland Tour 2024.

Deutschland Tour 1000

 

FNLD
All Eyes on FNLD GRVL this Week: Legends of the UCI WorldTour and Olympics Contend for the Win

  • FNLD GRVL returns for its second year to bring the international community of gravel cycling to Finland for a festival of cycling with a multitude of group rides and a full slate of events taking place.
  • The event comprises 3 distances: the 42km Forest Route, 113km Lake Route or the gruelling 177km Midnight Sun route.
  • Top International professional road and gravel cyclists taking part including 2016 Olympic Champion Greg van Avermaet (BEL), famed WorldTour sprinter Andre Greipel (GER) Tobias Kongstad (DEN) and Matt Holmes (UK).
  • Tiffany Cromwell is set to defend her title against a strong turnout dominated by Scandinavian riders such as Hanna Johanssen (SWE) reigning Swedish national gravel champion, Mie Nordlund Pedersen (DEN) and Klara Sofie Skovgård Hansen (DEN).

FNLD GRVL

GRVL Events, the organisers of SBT GRVL, RADL GRVL and FNLD GRVL are ready to welcome international gravel cyclists and the Finnish cycling community to Lahti this week for the second edition of FNLD GRVL. The event is the brainchild of F1 driver and Lahti local Valtteri Bottas, his Australian pro rider partner Tiffany Cromwell, and SBT GRVL co-founder and owner Amy Charity. All eyes are on FNLD GRVL after an eventful Unbound race at Emporia USA where riders were challenged with highly technical off-road conditions. In contrast, Lahti’s pristine gravel roads encourage thrilling, fast-paced racing, which will suit the line-up of ex-professional road cyclists such as Greg Van Avermaet and Andre Greipel while offering redemption to riders who underperformed at Unbound.

Lahti Welcomes Olympic Champion Greg Van Avermaet and WorldTour sprint specialist Andre Greipel

This year Lahti and the FNLD GRVL course will have cycling royalty rolling upon it as it welcomes the 2016 Olympic Champion Greg van Avermaet and 12-time Tour de France stage winner and sprint specialist Andre Greipel. Both riders having now left the UCI WorldTour, are enjoying the gravel scene. They will be looking to be at the pointy end of the race with Andre Griepel surely looking for his first big win at an international gravel event, and Greg van Avermaet looking to better his disappointing 7th-place finish at Unbound. Hot contenders for the overall win are a star-studded list of international gravel specialists: TRAKA 2024 winner Petr Vakoč (CZ), Gralloch UK winner Matt Homes (GBR), Tobias Kongstad (DEN) 3rd place at Unbound.

In the women’s PRO category FNLD GRVL 2023 champion, Tiffany Cromwell will be defending her title against a talented field including Hanna Johanssen (SWE) reigning Swedish national gravel champion, Mie Nordlund Pedersen (DEN), Klara Sofie Skovgård Hansen (DEN), and a pro field filled with strong Scandinavian riders hungry for a slice of the generous prize purse of 10,000 Euros.

WorldTour Legends and top Gravel Talent contend for Generous Prize Purse

  • Ex-WorldTour professional and Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet is looking to better his 7th place at Unbound.
  • 12-time Tour De France stage winner and cycling superstar Andre Greipel hopes to make his mark on the gravel scene in Finland. Will it come down to a sprint?
  • 2024 Traka 200 Men’s Pro Champion Petr Vakoč looking to climb back onto the top step after coming 1st at The Trakka and 3rd at The Gralloch.
  • F1 driver Valtteri Bottas is proud to be bringing FNLD GRVL to his hometown for the second year in a row.
  • Olympian Tiffany Cromwell returning to defend her Women’s Pro title.
  • Matt Holmes looking to continue his winning streak after winning every race he’s entered this year.

A cycling festival created for lovers of gravel cycling

FNLD GRVL combines fun with fiercely competitive racing on pristine Finnish gravel. There is something for everyone at this celebration of gravel cycling. Participants can choose from the 42km Forest Route, the 113km Lake Route or the challenging 177km Midnight Sun route.

The event comprises 4 days packed with fun group rides and entertainment that kicks off with the Pas Normal Studios Midnight Ride on Wednesday 12.06 from Lahti Harbour at 21:00. Thursday and Friday are jam-packed with free rides hosted by international cycling brands such as Zipp, SRAM and Canyon and the spectator friendly Fjällräven HLL CLMB on Thursday evening where riders turn up in fancy dress costumes.

All of the race action takes place on Saturday with the Midnight Sun race starting at 9:30 am from the Lahti Harbour area.

View the full schedule here:

 

unbound
Life Time Rad Dirt Fest Now an Official 2025 Life Time UNBOUND Qualifier
Gravel cyclists will have an early opportunity to bypass the UNBOUND lottery

Following a successful 2024 Life Time UNBOUND Gravel, Life Time – the owner and producer of nearly 30 iconic athletic events – has announced that Life Time’s The Rad Dirt Fest, will be an official qualifying event for the Life Time UNBOUND 2025.

Participants of this year’s Rad Dirt Fest will have the chance to skip the competitive UNBOUND entry lottery and earn a spot in the 2025 race by participating in the 2024 Rad Dirt Fest. Finishers of the 110- and 70-mile races will be eligible to earn one of the 100 qualifier coins up for grabs.

Half (50) of the qualifier coins will be allocated based on the top riders within each award category. The remaining half (50) will be distributed in a random drawing among all riders that have successfully completed either of the qualifier distances.

Drawn to the aura that surrounds the World’s Premier Gravel Event, Life Time UNBOUND Gravel, cyclists are invited to experience the vibrant energy that is The Rad Dirt Fest. The incredible gravel terrain of Trinidad, Colorado, lies deep in the Southern Colorado Plateau and next to the towering Spanish Peaks that serve as the backdrop for the event’s three unique courses (110-, 70-, 40-mile). The one-of-a-kind venue offers opportunities for gravel cyclists of all levels, with the newest opportunity being the potential for a guaranteed spot in UNBOUND 2025.

The Life Time Rad Dirt Fest is the second of only two official Life Time UNBOUND Gravel qualifying events, and the only in North America. The other qualifying event is the 160-km (100-mile) race at Heathland Gravel in Belgium, which takes place on August 11 and awards a total of 50 qualifier coins.

The Rad Dirt Fest wills serve as the 5th stop on the 2024 Life Time Grand Prix presented by Mazda where 60 of the nation’s best off-road cyclists will take to the line to compete for a combined $300,000 series prize purse. View the 2023 Race Highlights from the Rad on the Life Time Grand Prix YouTube channel.

Registration for the Life Time Rad Dirt Fest is still open, but limited. Visit www.theraddirt.com for more information and to register to take on this eclectic off-road adventure.

2023 The Life Time Rad Dirt Fest presented by Wahoo | RACE HIGHLIGHTS | 9/30/23:

Hit the gravel:
Stetina

 

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