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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, July 9, 2024

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2023 Tour de France | 2024 Giro d'Italia

The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less. - Vaclav Havel


Cycling Heroes: The Golden Years

Les Woodland's book Cycling Heroes: The Golden Years is available in the print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

Current racing:

Upcoming racing:

  • July 27 - August 11: Olympic cycling

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Team Soudal Quick-Step's Remco Evenepoel looks back on the first week of the Tour

Evenepoel's Team Soudal Quick-Step posted this:

Remco Evenepoel looked back on the Tour de France’s first half.

“After a hectic stage like the one of last Sunday, where we went full gas on the gravel roads, a rest day was welcome. I think it’s something that everybody in the peloton needed after nine stages. I had a slow breakfast, an easy ride with my Soudal Quick-Step teammates and then tried to recover as much as possible.

Remco Evenepoel leads the Young Rider competition. Sirotti photo

"It’s been a great race so far for our team. The start from Italy was incredible, something I will always remember. Getting a distinctive jersey, and especially that victory in the time trial, made me happy and confident for the next two weeks. I like being part of the Tour and living the experience it comes with it, I’m having fun and I hope we’ll continue to get some more nice results.

"Many of the stressful stages are history now, but we must remain focused, stick to our plans and continue to believe in ourselves. I know that in just a couple of days we’ll take on the Pyrenees and it’s very likely that the real battle for the general classification will commence there. The hardest stages of this Tour de France are yet to come, but I have better legs than at last year’s Vuelta and I am looking forward to those climbs and to being in the mix there. I have a good team, which kept me out of trouble so far and knew how to manage the nervous moments in the race, so I am confident ahead of the next challenges.”

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Steven Williams re-ups with Team Israel-Premier Tech

Here's the team's news release:

Stevie Williams is set to stay at Israel – Premier Tech having signed a new deal which will see the Welshman with the team until 2028, joining Derek Gee as the team’s longest contracted rider to date.

From being left without a contract at the end of 2022 and given a lifeline with IPT for the 2023 season to repaying the opportunity given by winning the Tour Down Under and La Flèche Wallonne this year, scoring IPT’s first ever WorldTour stage race and one day race victory respectively, Williams has proved he is well and truly at home.

Steven Williams wins the 2024 Flèche Wallonne. Sirotti photo

Now, in the middle of his most successful season to date, Williams didn’t hesitate when it came to deciding on his future.

“I feel like I have found my place on a team where I can get the best out of myself on the bike,” says Williams. “As we have seen with the way I have been racing, especially from last year’s Giro d’Italia onwards, I’ve taken a real step up. It has been rewarded with some nice results and even though I am fairly new on the team, it feels like I have been here for ten years not one year.

“I’m 28 years old now and the next four years are probably in that window when I become my best and keep improving, so to have this offer from the team gave me huge confidence and I didn’t hesitate to extend with IPT. I am so happy in the team, and I see the way I have stepped up in just one year here so I can’t wait for the next four.”

Williams is currently making his debut at the Tour de France and will make his Olympic debut next month in Paris, a testament to how far he has come in the last few years says General Manager Kjell Carlström.

“It has been a real pleasure to watch the way Stevie has developed with us over the past year and a half,” explains Carlström. “He faced a lot of adversity in the early years of his career and now, he has finally reached a point where he is able to realize his potential. I think a lot of that has come from finding the right environment and culture with us at Israel – Premier Tech. Stevie has delivered his best career results with us, results that have also contributed to the team’s history. He is an amazing bike rider and I think the best is yet to come.”

Prior to the 28-year-old’s breakthrough year in 2024, Williams overcame a lingering knee injury to claim his first WorldTour win at the Tour de Suisse in 2022, before kickstarting his winning ways with IPT with a stage and the General Classification at the 2023 Arctic Race of Norway.

IPT owner Sylvan Adams admits that extending a lifeline to Williams at the end of 2022 was one of the best decisions the team has made.

“A couple of years ago, we kind of saved Stevie’s career, or at the very least, a year of his career, when we signed him at the last minute, together with his teammate, Nick Schultz, following the folded BnB Hotels team debacle,” Adams explains. “Stevie immediately showed us that he is a talented rider, and we have now renewed his contract for the second time. Stevie is a winner, an instinctive rider who understands bike racing. His big wins this year have elevated our team.

“Stevie is part of Israel – Premier Tech’s DNA, and well loved by his teammates. I’m so proud of how he’s flourished because we gave him opportunities that he didn’t get earlier in his career, and of course, our full team support. Stevie will be representing Great Britain at the Olympics in Paris, which is additional validation of his remarkable success. I also hope to see him do something special at the Tour in the next two weeks. Congratulations, Stevie, you’ve earned all of this. Much more to come.”


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Team dsm-firemenich using electric vehicles

Here's the team's news:

Team dsm-firmenich PostNL is proud to announce a significant step in our commitment to our sustainability goals. Empowered and encouraged by our brilliant title partners dsm-firmenich and PostNL, and thanks to the continued and invaluable support of Volvo Car Nederland; we can proudly reveal 90 percent of our in-race vehicles for coaches have been fully electric since the beginning of 2024.

One of the team's electric Volvos. Our entire sport should be using less polluting solutions like this.

Throughout the years the team has focused on a variety of initiatives to progress towards a greener world. Understanding the privilege of racing in the most incredible and beautiful landscapes throughout the year, 2010 saw the team become proud ambassadors of Trees for All. Sustainability filters through all our partnerships: from the circular mattresses we use during the Grand Tours, the food we eat on and off the bike to working hybrid anywhere around the world with an international team of riders and staff.

Those efforts have further been accelerated since dsm-firmenich and PostNL became title partners of the team, with amongst other projects, the transition towards an electric fleet. As sustainability leader dsm-firmenich and PostNL are determined to keep growing their positive impact on the wider world, for the good of people, climate and nature.

The journey of electrification of Team dsm-firmenich PostNL’s fleet began in 2023, where at the Tour de Suisse and Criterium du Dauphine, the team used Shell’s advanced telemetry devices to gather critical data that underscored the feasibility and advantages of using electric Volvo cars in high-performance scenarios. These tests showed it was possible to compete at the Tour de France with an electric vehicle, and last year’s edition of the race saw our first race car complete the race on electric power alone, proving the technology’s potential and reliability. With the Shell Recharge app and card, it is always easy for our staff to find and use public charging points.

Since the start of the 2024 season our coaches have been using electric vehicles in races, which means we can proudly say 60 percent of our entire car fleet is now electric. Volvo’s high-end EX40 vehicles have been central to this transition. Known for their reliability and safety in all weather conditions, the Volvo EX40 has demonstrated that performance and sustainability can go hand-in-hand. Due to this success and our shared goal of achieving a 100 percent electrified fleet in the future, Team dsm-firmenich PostNL and Volvo have extended their partnership for the coming years.

Team dsm-firmenich PostNL head of commerce Jente Rijpstra said: “Together with our key partners we would like to set a new standard in the cycling world, inspiring others to embrace sustainable practices and showcase the future of electric vehicles in sports. Utilising electric vehicles aligns perfectly with our commitment to sustainability and innovation, and our goals as a team. Our extended partnership with Volvo allows us to further emphasise the viability and benefits of electric mobility in the high-stakes world of professional cycling, and further afield.”


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Jonathan Castroviejo & Connor Swift re-sign with Team INEOS Grenadiers

Here are the team’s two press releases:

Jonathan Castroviejo:
The INEOS Grenadiers are delighted to confirm that Jonathan Castroviejo has signed a one-year contract extension to ride for the team until the end of 2025.

The 37-year-old will continue to race as a Grenadier for an eighth season, having established himself as a crucial asset on the road and having played a key role in multiple successes of the team. A seasoned professional known for his time-trialling prowess and reliable support in the mountains, he has been a mainstay of the team since joining in 2018.

Jonathan Castroviejo leading a group descending in the eighth stage of this year's Critérium du Dauphiné. Sirotti photo

Castroviejo commented: “I’m super happy to have signed again with the team. It’s been something that we’ve been working on this year and it feels good to have everything sorted and to have clarity for next season. I wanted to stay with the team and it makes me happy to know I’ll be here for another year.

“It’s an environment where I feel happy, valued and where we always work well together. Every year, the level of racing gets higher which means you always need to improve and it’s good to be able to do that here.

“This team is full of young talent and riders that have a bright future in cycling, and it’s rewarding to be here helping and advising them where I can. It feels like the team is going in a good direction and it’s nice to be a part of the mindset of getting back to winning the Tour again.”

Connor Swift:
Connor Swift has agreed a two-year contract extension with the team until the end of 2026.

The 2018 British National Road Race champion joined the team in 2023 and has quickly proved himself to be a highly-valued, trusted and loyal Grenadier.

Most recently, Connor played a star supporting role at the Giro d'Italia where Geraint Thomas finished third overall. His versatility and strong performances in both one-day classics and stage races means that Swift has quickly become an integral part of the team.

Connor Swift winning the 2021 Tro Bro Leon.

Swift said: “I feel like I have settled into the team nicely over the last couple years and I always wanted to stay here. I enjoy being part of a team that always strives to win every race and has that all-in approach every time we line up.

“My goals for the next two seasons are to have strong and successful Spring Classics campaigns, be part of the Team’s Tour de France squad, and look to get that stripy nationals jersey back on my shoulders again.

“They are goals that I know will push and drive me, and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from being with my Grenadier teammates, it’s never give up and always believe in yourself. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next two seasons hold.”

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