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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, January 21, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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Story of the Tour de France Volume 2

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, Vol 2: 1976 - 2018 is available as an audiobook here. For the Kindle eBook version, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Fabio Jakobsen: “I have my smile back”

Jakobsen's Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl team posted this:

The Dutchman talked about his expectations for the season he’ll start at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

Fabio Jakobsen finished 2021 with seven wins under his belt, but by far, his biggest victory was returning to a normal life and to sprinting elite following the crash in which he was involved in the summer of 2020. After pinning on a number again for the Tour of Turkey – his first race in eight months – Fabio slowly but surely found his place in the peloton and began building his shape, and this road eventually took him to an emotional victory on stage 2 of the Tour de Wallonie.

Fabio Jakobsen wins 2021 Vuelta a España stage 8. Sirotti photo

Another win later in the week rounded out an incredible comeback, but the best was still to come, on familiar territory for the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sprinter – the Vuelta a España. The place where Fabio made his Grand Tour debut back in 2019 was where he completed his remarkable turnaround, taking three stage victories – including one on his birthday – and the prized green jersey.

Now, the 25-year-old is ready to get his fifth season with the Wolfpack underway at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (2-6 February), where despite the predominantly hilly terrain, the sprinters will get their opportunities to shine.

“It’s another year and I’m happy to kick it off as a member of this team. I feel normal again, part of this group. I have my smile back and I’m happy to be where I am at this moment. I look forward to fighting together with the guys for some more Wolfpack victories. I want to see them win again, to feel that great vibe, and of course, to take a couple of wins myself. Everything is going well and I can’t wait for my first race of the season, in Valencia. I like it there, I’ve won a stage two years ago and I hope for a good start”, said Fabio, who has clocked up 25 wins since turning pro with Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 2018.

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Ag2r-Citroën releases the first three races for its riders in the 2022 season

The team sent me this:

The provisional list of the first three races for our 2022 squad:

Clément Berthet:
• Tour de la Provence (February 10-13)
• UAE Tour (February 20-26)
• Strade Bianche (March 5)

Geoffrey Bouchard:
• Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise (January 30)
• Tour de la Provence (February 10-13)
• UAE Tour (February 20-26)

Lilian Calmejane:
• Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise (January 30)
• Étoile de Bessèges – Tour du Gard (February 2-6)
• Tour de la Provence (February 10-13)

Lilian Calmejane racing in the 2019 Tour of Flanders when he was on the Direct Energie team. Sirotti photo

Clément Champoussin:
• Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise (January 30)
• Étoile de Bessèges – Tour du Gard (February 2-6)
• Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var (February 18-20)

Mikael Cherel:
• Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise (January 30)
• Étoile de Bessèges – Tour du Gard (February 2-6)
• Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var (February 18-20)

Benoît Cosnefroy:
• Challenge Mallorca (January 26-30)
• Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol (February 16-20)
• Drôme Classic (February 27)

Stan Dewulf:
• Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol (February 16-20)
• Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (February 26)
• Kuurne – Bruxelles – Kuurne (February 27)

Félix Gall:
• Challenge Mallorca (January 26-30)
• Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol (February 16-20)
• Tirreno-Adriatico (March 7-13)

Dorian Godon:
• Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var (February 18-20)
• Faun – Ardèche Classic (February 26)
• Drôme Classic (February 27)

Jaakko Hanninen:

• Challenge Mallorca (January 26-30)
• Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (February 2-6)
• UAE Tour (February 20-26)

Bob Jungels:
• UAE Tour (February 20-26)
• Tirreno-Adriatico (March 7-13)
• Milano-Sanremo (March 19)

Paul Lapeira:

• Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise (January 30)
• Étoile de Bessèges – Tour du Gard (February 2-6)
• UAE Tour (February 20-26)

Lawrence Naesen:

• Challenge Mallorca (January 26-30)
• Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (February 2-6)
• Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (February 26)

Oliver Naesen:

• Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol (February 16-20)
• Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (February 26)
• Kuurne – Bruxelles – Kuurne (February 27)

Ben O’Connor:

• Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol (February 16-20)
• Paris-Nice (March 6-13)
• Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (March 21-27)

Aurélien Paret-Peintre:

• Challenge Mallorca (January 26-30)
• Tour de la Provence (February 10-13)
• Faun – Ardèche Classic (February 26)

Valentin Paret-Peintre:

• Challenge Mallorca (January 26-30)
• Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (February 2-6)
• UAE Tour (February 20-26)

Nans Peters:

• Challenge Mallorca (January 26-30)
• Tour de la Provence (February 10-13)
• Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var (February 18-20)

Nicolas Prodhomme:

• Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (February 2-6)
• Tour de la Provence (February 10-13)
• UAE Tour (February 20-26)

Antoine Raugel:

• Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise (January 30)
• Étoile de Bessèges – Tour du Gard (February 2-6)
• Tour de la Provence (February 10-13)

Marc Sarreau:
• UAE Tour (February 20-26)
• Le Samyn (March 1st)
• Grand Prix de Denain – Porte du Hainaut (March 17)

Mickaël Schär:

• Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (February 2-6)
• Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol (February 16-20)
• Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (February 26)

Damien Touzé:

• Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (February 2-6)
• Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var (February 18-20)
• Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (February 26)

Greg Van Avermaet:

• Étoile de Bessèges – Tour du Gard (February 2-6)
• Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol (February 16-20)
• Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (February 26)

Gijs Van Hoecke:

• Challenge Mallorca (January 26-30)
• Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (February 2-6)
• Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (February 26)

Andrea Vendrame:

• Tour de la Provence (February 10-13)
• Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var (February 18-20)
• Trofeo Laigueglia (March 2nd)

Clément Venturini:

• Faun – Ardèche Classic (February 26)
• Drôme Classic (February 27)
• Le Samyn (March 1st)

Larry Warbasse:

• Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise (January 30)
• Étoile de Bessèges – Tour du Gard (February 2-6)
• Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var (February 18-20)

The number: 24,000
During a training camp in Dénia (Spain) from January 8 to 19, the riders of the AG2R CITROËN TEAM covered an average of 1,250 kilometers and 24,000 meters of elevation gain.

The news: Anthony Jullien unavailable
Anthony Jullien has had detected a mild arrhythmia which requires further investigation by the cardiologist who cares for him. He is currently unavailable and the date for his return to competition is not yet known.


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Amanda Spratt returns to racing at the Santos Festival of Cycling

Spratt’s Team BikeExchange-Jayco sent me this:

Three-time Santos Women’s Tour Down Under champion Amanda Spratt returns to racing this weekend as she lines-up in Team BikeExchange-Jayco colours for the first time at the Santos Festival of Cycling.

Amanda Spratt winning stage two of the 2020 Tour Down Under.

The Australian is back in action following surgery for iliac artery endofibrosis at the end of 2021 and will link-up with new recruits Georgia Baker, Alex Manly and the in-form Ruby Roseman-Gannon for the three-day race. Amber Pate will also join the squad as a guest rider for the event, fresh off a silver medal ride at the Australian time trial championships last week.

The racing begins on Sunday with an opportunity for the sprinters, before a hilly day two that features almost three kilometres of gravel roads. The third and final stage will also see the peloton tackle two off-road sectors before taking on the testing Ngangkiparri Climb inside the final two kilometres to make for an exciting ending to the three-day tour.

The women will race again the following day, as part of the Santos Festival of Cycling, with a stand-alone criterium around the streets of Victoria Square where Roseman-Gannon will get the opportunity to wear her green and gold Australian champion’s jersey for the first time on Wednesday evening.

Team BikeExchange-Jayco women’s team line-up:

  • Georgia Baker (AUS)
  • Alex Manly (AUS)
  • Ruby Roseman-Gannon (AUS)
  • Amanda Spratt (AUS)
  • Amber Pate (AUS – Guest Rider)

Amanda Spratt:
“My training has been going pretty well since the surgery. I’ve been able to train since just before Christmas and apart from a hamstring issue that we’ve had to manage, it’s been progressing well. I’m at a point now where I can feel some fitness and strength coming back and although I’m very far away from top form, I am still really excited to be in Adelaide for the Santos Festival of Cycling. We thought this would be a great way to break up the rehab and training and I feel excited to be back with the team!

"My own expectations will be very different to normal, but I am very motivated to be able to pin a number on and race with my teammates again. I’ve watched all of the races so far this year and can see how strong they are and supportive of each other.

"Obviously, Ruby has shown she is in great form and the courses should suit her, but I think we will have different options and be able cover most scenarios. The courses are shorter than what we are used to racing but they look great and should suit a variety of riders. Stage three in particular looks like a tough one with the gravel sectors and tough late climb.”

Gene Bates (Sports Director):
“We’re extremely excited to be racing. The Tour Down Under is one of our favourite races as a team and we’ve always traditionally done very well, often starting our season off well in the summer in Australia and we’d like to do the same this year. It’s a smaller race, due to the current circumstances, not a UCI women’s WorldTour event, but we still want to have a great race and get some momentum before the European season starts.

"Our goal for the race is to go after stages and the overall, being such a short race and without a real key GC day, you have to be in it to win it, and from day one we want to go after stage wins and that will set us up for a good overall. I think we have some good, in-form riders, in particular with what we saw from Ruby in Ballarat and I don’t think the overall is out of her reach.

"I see this as a great opportunity as an early season race to get the group together, we’ve only got a small group here, but it’s big in quality. With three new riders on contract for 2022, it’s a nice low-key starting point, particularly brining in Amanda Spratt with all her experience of years with the team. I think it’s probably a nicer way to introduce them to team racing than dropping them off straight into the European season.

"This will be the first race back for Spratt after surgery at the end of last year and by all accounts her rehabilitation has gone well and to plan, so we feel like it’s a good point in time for her to comeback to racing. Obviously, her expectations are not high, we’re going to see how she goes and it’s really a case of bringing her in in a captains role for this race. She brings a wealth of experience to this race for the younger riders in the squad.”

2022 Santos Festival of Cycling – Race Details:
Sunday, 23rd January: Stage 1, Tanunda to Williamstown, 85.4km
Monday, 24th January: Stage 2, McLaren Vale to Echunga, 85.7km
Tuesday, 25th January: Stage 3, Lobethal to Lobethal, 86.9km

Wednesday, 26th January: Criterium, Victoria Square, 1.35km (45mins +1 Lap)


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Kona Bicycles sold to Ohio outdoor group

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

SEATTLE (BRAIN) — Kona Bicycles has been acquired by Kent Outdoors, a Ohio-based company that was known until Wednesday as Kent Water Sports. Kent Outdoors owns several outdoor sports and watersport brands, including the Arbor snowboard brand. Kent Outdoors is no relation to Kent International, the New Jersey-based mass market bicycle brand.

"Since our humble beginnings in Vancouver, we've spent the last 34 years building innovative, durable, fun, and eye-catching bikes for all kinds of cyclists. We've grown from a small Pacific Northwest company into a far-reaching global brand. As cyclists we know that every good ride has some memorable moments and our journey at Kona is no exception. Today we are dropping into new terrain and are excited to announce that we are joining the Kent Outdoors group," the company said in a statement Wednesday.

A year ago, Seawall Capital, LLC acquired Kent Water Sports. At the time, Kent Water Sports' portfolio included more than 15 brands, including HO/Hyperlite, Connelly, O’Brien, Liquid Force, Onyx, Aquaglide, Barefoot/Fatsac and Arbor Snowboards (managed by agreement with the Arbor Collective).

Ken Meidell, the CEO of Kent Outdoors, is also now the CEO of Kona, according to the statement. Meidell, who joined Outerbike as CEO just before the pandemic shut down most of Outerbike's business, joined Kent as CEO in early 2021. Meidell is a lifelong cyclist who has led outdoor brands including Dakine, Outdoor Research, and Cascade Designs.

"I've been riding mountain bikes since the days of coaster brakes. I started with fully rigid forays into the forests where I grew up and the stoke never really left. It's safe to say it's in my blood. Working with Kona fulfills a dream of mine, and I can't wait to help bring more iconic bikes to cyclists all over the world."

You can read the entire story here.

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