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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

The audiobook version of The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1 is available.

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools. - John Muir

Current racing:

Upcoming races:

Cancelled & postponed races:

Latest completed racing:

Tirreno-Adriatico final team reports:

We posted the report from winner Tadej Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates with the results.

Here's the report from stage seven winner and GC second place Wout van Aert's Jumbo-Visma team:

Wout van Aert has won the final time trial of Tirreno-Adriatico in impressive fashion. In the streets of San Benedetto del Tronto, the Belgian time trial champion beat European champion Stefan Küng and world champion Filippo Ganna.

Wout van Aert

Wout van Aert going faster than anyone else. Sirotti photo

Van Aert also secured second place in the general classification after an excellent week in the Italian race. He also won the points jersey.

It was Van Aert's second stage victory this Tirreno-Adriatico. In the first stage he was already the fastest in the bunch sprint.

Van Aert reacted elated after his new victory. "I am very happy with this victory and with my second place in the general classification. This was the ideal scenario for today. We rode around yesterday with this day in mind already. It's great to end the week like this. I am getting better and better at this discipline every year. Last winter we did a lot to improve our time trial. It gives a lot of confidence that I can win in the first time trial of the year. The field was very strong. Almost all top time trialists were at the start here. I felt very good this week in the Tirreno."

The leader of Team Jumbo-Visma did not hide his classification ambitions. "This was the first time I went for the GC in a stage race. I am only beaten by the winner of the Tour de France. So I can say it is not a bad start of this experiment. We will try this more often in the future. For now the classics are the main goal. I am looking forward to competing for wins in the various monuments. I know from last year that I recover pretty well after a tough race. That gives me confidence going into Milan-San Remo this Saturday. I will try to defend my title, but I am not the only favourite."

Here's the report from Egan Bernal's INEOS Grenadiers team:

Egan Bernal continued his consistent build-up to the Giro d'Italia with fourth place overall at Tirreno-Adriatico.

The Colombian was able to claw 14 seconds back on third placed Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) but was unable to overhaul his rival over the short seaside course.

Egan Bernal

Egan Bernal at this year's Trofeo Laigueglia. Sirotti photo

The tough week-long stage race threw everything at the riders, with Bernal demonstrating some attacking intent as early as the second stage. Unfortunate time loss on stage three made a podium more of a tough ask, but the Grenadier battled back well in Italy, with a fifth place finish on a brutally cold and energy sapping stage five.

He will now return to Colombia to continue his training and ramp up his work ahead of the Italian Grand Tour in May.

Elsewhere on the day Filippo Ganna clocked the third fastest time on the pan-flat course, 11 seconds back on stage winner Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma). Geraint Thomas also set a strong time, missing out of a top 10 TT by tenths of a second.

And here's the report from Joao Almeida's Team Deceuninck-Quick Step:

João Almeida put together another solid ride in an individual time trial after the one at last month’s UAE Tour, confirming the progress he has made in the discipline since joining the Wolfpack. Averaging 52.696 km/h over the pan-flat San Benedetto del Tronto course helped the 22-year-old Portuguese clock a time of 11:30, enough to finish in seventh place, just ahead of Kasper Asgreen, another Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to impress Tuesday afternoon.

Joao Almeida

Joao Almeida riding to seventh place. Sirotti photo.

One of the most consistent riders at this particularly tough edition of the “Race of the Two Seas”, Almeida started the day in seventh overall, but thanks to an excellent display in the 10.1km ITT he managed to overcome a 12-second deficit and jumped one place in the general classification. Sixth overall marks João’s third top 10 finish in a World Tour race and Portugal’s best result at Tirreno-Adriatico since 1986, when Acácio da Silva carried the flag for the Iberian Peninsula nation.

“It was a good time trial, although too short for my liking. In the beginning, the first five kilometers of so, I struggled a bit to find my pace, but once it happened, I felt much better on the second part, I felt like the legs were stronger and you could see that in the time I had at the finish. I moved one position in the GC and I think it’s a good result in what was a very hard race, with many quality riders.”

“I’m happy that I could get another strong result for my team and my country. It’s always nice to write history for your country, especially when the guy before you was Acácio, who finished sixth, but also was runner-up the year before. I still have a long way to go to reach that level, but the signs are good and I’m happy. My confidence is buoyed by this top 10 ahead of the Volta a Catalunya, which will be my next appointment”, João Almeida said after Tirreno-Adriatico, a race at the end of which Deceuninck – Quick-Step cemented its lead in the UCI World Team Classification.

Qhubeka-Assos headed to Danilith Nokere Koerse

The team sent me this release:

Germany’s Max Walscheid will look to take advantage of his own opportunity to lead Team Qhubeka ASSOS’ challenge at Danilith Nokere Koerse (195km) in Belgium on Wednesday.

Max Walscheid

Max Walscheid racing at the 2020 World Championships. Sirotti photo

Walscheid has been in strong form already this season as part of the team’s group of fast men, and will be licking his lips at getting the chance to fight for a result.

He will have plenty of horsepower in support too, through the likes of South Africa’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Denmark’s Lasse Norman Hansen and the piloting skills of Matteo Pelucchi.

Three of the team’s younger men will be tasked with assisting throughout in the positioning the team at crucial points. Australia’s Dylan Sunderland and Denmark’s Andreas Stokbro continue to grow in these roles while it will be an exciting day for our Team Qhubeka Continental rider Antonio Puppio.

The Italian from our development team gets his first stage of riding in our WorldTour outfit, slotting in for Harry Tanfield who recently took a knock to his ankle and continues to make a swift recovery from that.

Danilith Nokere Koerse line-up:
Max Walscheid
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg
Lasse Norman Hansen
Andreas Stokbro
Dylan Sunderland
Matteo Pelucchi
Antonio Puppio

Max Walscheid: "I’m really focused on this race as it will be the first race in the year that I get the support from the team in aiming to score a result. I’m quite optimistic about my shape, I’ve prepared well in the races so far and I think that I’m coming with good legs to Belgium."

Team DSM's upcoming racing

The team sent me this schedule:

Danilith Nokere Koerse, MAR 17

Michiel Elijzen - Team DSM coach:
"Normally Danilith Nokere Koerse is a race that is decided by the sprinters, but the parcours is made up of a hard local lap that features some climbs and cobblestone sections, including the short climb of the Nokereberg to the line. We mix together some of our Development and Men's program riders, so we have a great opportunity for the younger guys to get experience in a race like this. It will be a good race for them to learn in a fast-paced classic, and to focus on the processes of a hard day. Whether that be being in a break, or leading out Alberto in the finale where we will work to set him up if the race is decided in a sprint."

Thymen Arensman (NED)
Alberto Dainese (ITA)
Andreas Leknessund (NOR)
Tim Naberman (NED)
Casper van Uden (NED)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA)
Ilan Van Wilder (BEL)

Danilith Nokere Koerse - Women: MAR 17

Hans Timmermans - Team DSM coach
"Nokere Koerse can go one of two ways. It can be more of a classics-style race where a selection is made on the circuit and they fight it out for the win, or we get a bunch sprint finish like in 2019 where Lorena won. Firstly, we’ll try to be in the breakaways so that we can control the race from there and cover any dangerous moves. We want to create a situation where we can save our energy in the peloton so that hopefully we’re able to set up Lorena well for the finale if it comes down to a bunch sprint. It’s an interesting race and we’re going into it with confidence after we’ve been building our form and results nicely in recent races."

Susanne Andersen (NOR)
Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Franziska Koch (GER)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Lorena Wiebes (NED)

Bredene Koksijde Classic: MAR 19

Michiel Elijzen - Team DSM coach
"Bredene Koksijde Classic is a mostly flat race, albeit with some hills around the Kemmelberg and surrounding area. It can be a really tricky and difficult race if the wind is blowing strongly along certain parts of the route, so we have to pay attention throughout the whole race and make sure we're switched on and ready, riding well as a unit. We have a nice mix of riders, with our Development program and Men's program coming together. Alberto will be our protected sprinter in the finale so we will work to position him well, but we also want to ride aggressively in the race which will be key too."

Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Alberto Dainese (ITA)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Enzo Leijnse (NED)
Andreas Leknessund (NOR)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Martin Salmon (GER)

Milano-Sanremo: MAR 20

Luke Roberts - Team DSM coach
"This Saturday's Milano-Sanremo will return to a more traditional parcours. The Passo del Turchino will be replaced by the Colle del Giovo, and from there on it will be the familiar course along the coastline. With sunshine and tail winds forecast for the weekend, this year’s race may not be one of the hardest editions but we expect it to make an all the more intense final with the conditions. Our aim for the race will be to force a difficult finale and put Søren into position for a top result, while Romain also offers us a card to play when we reach the final climbs; with the rest of the team riding strongly in support throughout the day.”

Soren Kragh Andersen

Soren Kragh Anderesen (shown at Paris-Nice earlier this year) will be on the start line in Milan. Sirotti photo

Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Romain Bardet (FRA)
Romain Combaud (FRA)
Nico Denz (GER)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Jasha Sütterlin (GER)
Martijn Tusveld (NED)

Per Sempre "Alfredo": MAR 21

Roy Curvers - Team DSM coach
"This is a brand-new race on the calendar with which we bring a very versatile selection, who we can go for a good result with in different scenarios. The first part of the race takes on some hills so we will need good climbing legs there, and be ready to race so that we're present in all of the important and dangerous breakaways. In the end if it comes down to a bunch sprint, then the guys will work to set up Marius, who showed recently in GP Monseré that he is able to compete for a nice result."

Marco Brenner (GER)
Felix Gall (AUT)
Leo Hayter (GBR)
Marius Mayrhofer (GER)
Henri Vandenabeele (BEL)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA)
Ilan Van Wilder (BEL)

Trofeo Alfredo Binda - Comune di Cittiglio: MAR 21

Hans Timmermans - Team DSM coach
"We head to Trofeo Binda looking to ride aggressively as a group and be one of the teams to animate the race. We want to anticipate the moments to attack so that we’re always present in the front group, if the race splits in the finale. We don’t have one sole leader for the race and instead we start with a strong block of riders. We’ll look to use that to our advantage by racing openly and working well together as a team, bouncing attacks off of each other."

Juliette Labous (FRA)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Wilma Olausson (SWE)
Esmée Peperkamp (NED)
Julia Soek (NED)

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya: MAR 22 - 28

Luke Roberts - Team DSM coach
"We're looking forward to racing in Catalunya and the 100th edition of the race with our main goal for the week to target good stage results. There are some possibilities for Max in the sprint and it's also likely that some of the stages could go to the breakaway where we will aim to be active with our guys. For Chad, Chris and Jai it is a semi-home race, as they're based in Catalunya during the season. Chad will be eager for the stage two time trial and Jai looks to be in quite good shape after performing well in Paris-Nice, ready to test himself on the two mountain top finishes which will ultimately decide the GC."

Thymen Arensman (NED)
Chad Haga (USA)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Jai Hindley (AUS)
Max Kanter (GER)
Nicholas Roche (IRL)
Michael Storer (AUS)

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali: MAR 23 - 27

Roy Curvers - Team DSM coach
“We’re delighted that we’re able to add Coppi Bartali to our schedule; a race like this is really important for the development of our young riders which will also be our main focus during the week. With a mixture of sprint stages, hilly stages and a TTT; the race has a versatile parcours which will give us a different challenge every day. Our objective will be to go for nice stage results by practicing good teamwork and every day we need to apply a different strategy to go for the best possible result. It’s a great way for the team to gain experience and explore different racing scenarios, all of which is a great part of their development.”

Marco Brenner (GER)
Felix Gall (AUT)
Leo Hayter (GBR)
Marius Mayrhofer (GER)
Henri Vandenabeele (BEL)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA)
Ilan Van Wilder (BEL)

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