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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, August 11, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. - John Kenneth Galbraith

Cycling's 50 Triumphs and Tragedies

Les Woodland's book Cycling's 50 Triumphs and Tragedies: The rise and fall of bicycle racing's champions is available in print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Tour de l'Ain stage two team reports

We posted the report from fourth-place Mauri Vansevenant's Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl with the results.

Here's the report from George Bennett's UAE Team Emirates:

George Bennett took a solid 8th place on stage 2 of the Tour de L’Ain with the Kiwi rider having been on the attack earlier in the stage from Saint-Vulbas to Lagnieu (144km).

On the penultimate climb of the day Bennett hit out at -24km to go, whittling the group down to just 10 riders and pressing the pace and distancing the yellow jersey who was dropped.

He would later pay for these efforts and become unhitched as Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) soloed to an impressive solo victory and becoming the new race leader.

Guillaume Martin wins stage two.

Bennett limited his losses well and remains within a minute of the race lead at 54’’ behind Martin heading into tomorrow’s final stage from Plateau d’Hauteville to Lélex (131km).

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Jefferson Alexander Cepeda joins EF Education-EasyPost

The team sent me this announcement:

EF Education-EasyPost are proud to announce that Jefferson Alexander Cepeda will join our roster beginning later this month with the Deutschland Tour.

Alexander began riding as a child in his hometown of El Playón de San Francisco, Ecuador. Situated in the mountains near the Colombian border, it was perhaps inevitable that he would grow up to be a climber. He got his start racing as a 13-year-old and just three years later, won his first race.

Jeffereson Alexander Cepeda before the start of the 2021 Tour of Sicily. Sirotti photo

“My favorite cycling memory is the first race that I won. It was La Clásica Tulcán in 2014. That win was really important to me.”

The 24-year-old brings a wealth of climbing experience and recent results to the team. He was the best young rider and 4th overall at the Tour of the Alps in 2021. He went on last season to win the Ecuadorian road race national championship. At Le Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc, Alexander won stage two which featured a summit finish on the Col du Galibier, as well as the general classification win and the points jersey. Earlier this season, Alexander placed second overall at the Tour of Sicily and also earned the title of best young rider.
“I felt really, really excited to be on the podium with some of the biggest riders in the sport,” Alexander said about his performance at the Tour of Sicily.

“He’s a great climber, great talent, and has shown potential for a great future,” says EF Education-EasyPost CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “We’re looking forward to developing his talent further.”

Joining EF Education-EasyPost marks Alexander’s debut in the WorldTour, but he is not at all apprehensive about taking the step up.

“I’m pretty calm about next year being my first full season in the WorldTour. I’ve raced on professional teams and have learned a lot. I’m ready for these high level races and to help the team as much as I can.”

With his base in Andorra during the racing season, Alexander spends most of the year far from his friends and family in Ecuador, which is why he appreciates having a fellow Ecuadorian on the team.

“It’s really nice to be on the team with other Ecuadorians. It’s really nice for us to have each other and we help each other. It’s like a little piece of home. I know Jonathan Caicedo really well. We ride together and we know each other really well.”

Alexander is looking forward to kicking off the 2023 season with his new team.

“It’s quite a team. They’ve got some really good riders and it’s really good there. The team is really well prepared for the races they do and the riders give it their all to get really good results.”

We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you, Alexander! Welcome!

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Israel-Premier Tech to ride Arctic Race of Norway

Here’s the team’s preview:

Israel – Premier Tech will take on Arctic Race of Norway with a strong team aiming to put its mark on the race once again after taking the overall win last year.

In 2021, Ben Hermans won the race after an impeccable team performance throughout the race. An achievement the IPT riders will do their best to repeat this year. Home favorite, Carl Fredrik Hagen, leads the IPT lineup and the 30-year-old Norwegian is eager to get started.

Ben Hermans won the 2021 edition of the Arctice Race of Norway.

“This is a special race compared to many others and I’m really looking forward to getting started and racing in my home country”, Hagen explains.

“The last two stages will be the most crucial ones for the general classification and luckily, I know the final climb on stage 3 as I did recon earlier this year. The weather forecast doesn’t look too good but I’m used to racing in the cold so maybe that can give me a mental advantage. In any case, I feel the shape is coming along nicely right now and we have a really strong team here ready to fight for a top result.”

Sports director, Nicki Sørensen, echoes the words of Hagen. “We line up for Arctic Race of Norway with a strong team, believing we can do a really good race. We have several riders capable of doing well here and we hope that will help us achieve some great results.”

In addition to Hagen, Israel – Premier Tech also brings former overall podium finisher Krists Neilands, Sebastian Berwick, Cole Kessler plus both of the team’s stage winners from the recent Tour de France, Simon Clarke and Hugo Houle, to the race.

Last time Houle took part in Arctic Tour of Norway, he finished fifth overall and after his successful Tour de France, the 31-year-old Canadian is eager to pin on a race number again.

“I’m happy to be going back to Norway. I like the country and I like the vibe there. It feels a bit like home in Canada, with the nature and the lakes, so I’m really happy to be there. Personally, I feel pretty good after the Tour de France and I want to do a good race. I have good memories from the past editions and I’m really looking forward to racing again. We have a strong team here so let’s see what we can do.”

Arctic Race of Norway (11-14 August)
Riders: Sebastian Berwick (AUS), Simon Clarke (AUS), Carl Fredrik Hagen (NOR), Hugo Houle (CAN), Krists Neilands (LAT), Cole Kessler (USA).
Sports directors: Nicki Sørensen (DEN), Eric Van Lancker (BEL).

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Rune Herregodts & Arne Marit join Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert

Here’s the team’s announcement:

Just like Dries De Pooter, Tom Paquot and Laurenz Rex, two other rising Belgian stars will make their World Tour debut with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux next season. Rune Herregodts (24) and Arne Marit (23) from Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise signed a contract until the end of 2024.

Rune Herregodts wins the first stage of this years Ruta del Sol. Sirotti photo

Since his victory in Paris-Tours U23, Rune Herregodts built a reputation of baroudeur and specialist of early breakaways. It was in this way that he achieved his three professional victories. He obtained his first succes at the end of October last year in the Ronde van Drenthe, concluding a breakaway of more than 175 kilometer by resisting to a sprinting peloton with Andrea Pasqualon on his own. A couple of months later, he started the 2022 in the same way he ended the previous season, by preceding his five breakaway companions in the Ruta del Sol after 185 kilometer in the lead of the race and conquering the leader’s jersey. He repeated this stunt last Thursday in the opening stage of the Sazka Tour after almost 200 kilometer in the lead of the race.

Time trial is another trademark of the medicine student, who finished fourth in two races against the clock won by Remco Evenepoel, in the Belgian championships in June and in the Belgium Tour one year before. For the second consecutive year he is selected to represent Belgium in the time trial (13th in 2021) and the road race at the upcoming European championships in Munich. During a short period on the track he set the third fastest Belgian time ever in the individual pursuit when he finished sixth at the European championships in 2019.

Arne Marit excels in the sprint and one day races. In the junior category he won Nokere Koerse and finished in the top five of the Tour of Flanders and the E3 Classic. A long series of good results, a silver medal at the Belgian U23 championships and several successes such as the GP Criquielion were rewarded with a first professional contract in 2021. Just like Herregodts, he achieved his first professional success in October, preceding Bryan Coquard and Elia Viviani in the sprint in the GP du Morbihan. During an impressive en of the season 2021, he also obtained four other top five finishes in the GP Jef Scherens, the Gooikse Pijl, the Ronde van Drenthe and the Dorpenomloop Rucphen and a seventh place in Paris-Tours.

“I’m happy to join Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux from this winter, because I was looking for an environment in which I can continue improving myself. Winning is the ultimate goal of any cyclist, but making progression is my main source of motivation. It is clear that riders become better within Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, which confirms the good functioning and management of the team. I learned from my future teammates that the team works in a professional way with them and during my first meeting with the direction I got to know more about the particular attention that is being paid to equipment. This is an important factor for me, because I really care about the details. I’m always looking for marginal gains. I get my inspiration from podcasts with Taco van der Hoorn for example. During my first two seasons as a pro rider I discovered that I’m able to follow the better riders uphill. But now I’m stepping up to the World Tour, I will have to find out again how I can use my qualities best to maximize my contribution to the team goals. It will be an interesting journey of discovery, because my intention is to stay longer than two seasons with the team. One thing is for sure: my predilection for early breakaways will remain unchanged!” - Rune Herregodts

“After several years of contact with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, I’m happy that I will finally defend the colors of the team! I followed how the team grew to one of the best in the peloton, for example in terms of equipment. My training mate Aimé De Gendt and my former teammates from the Lotto development team, Kobe Goossens and Gerben Thijssen, confirm the family atmosphere within Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux and the strong confidence the direction shows in one’s qualities. The results of Gerben Thijssen, for who I did the lead outs in the U23 years, speak for themselves. His strong progression as a sprinter this season inspires me. I hope to make the same evolution as Gerben by working with a fixed lead out partner and by receiving many sprint opportunities, just like him. My ultimate goal is to compete for the victory on the Champs-Elysées, the most prestigious sprint in the world. I showed my capabilities with a victory in the GP du Morbihan and a seventh place in Paris-Tours. Unfortunately, my progression was slowed down this season due to a long series of crashes and bad luck. I’m very grateful for the faith that Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux kept in me during this difficult period. It took away the pressure and motivates me to show myself as much as possible this end of the season.” - Arne Marit

“When stepping up to the World Tour two years ago, we invested in a lot of experience within the team. Now we’re focusing on a new generation of riders. We’re looking forward to welcome many young talents in our structure in 2023. With our new Continental Development Team directed by Kévin Van Melsen we will be closer to the promising riders and thanks to the investment in Dimitri Claeys as a new sports director for the World Team we can coach the youngest newcomers even better.

”Rune Herregodts and Arne Marit are two of the five Belgian talents we are giving the opportunity to step up to the World Tour. They convinced us from their qualities last year and can keep growing the next seasons, thanks to a new level of races and an experienced environment. Marit can for example rely on the expertise of Adrien Petit, Mike Teunissen or Boy van Poppel to make the next step in sprint races. In the U23 category he was always one of the favorites when it came down to a sprint and in the pro ranks he made his breakthrough last year with a victory in the GP du Morbihan and a top ten in Paris-Tours. It pleases me that a highly coveted Belgian sprinter chose for our team.”

“Herregodts impressed me with his nice victory in Paris-Tours U23 in 2020. Also his three pro wins were one by one remarkable performances. Rune is a very intelligent person, who works in a professional way and who will add a lot of value to our team in time trials. He also has a nice future in hilly stage races. A Grand Tour debut will be an important step in his development. After his win in the Sazka Tour last Thursday I’m looking forward to his performances at the European championships.” - Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager)

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