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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, June 29, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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Paris–Roubaix: The Inside Story

Les Woodland's book Paris-Roubaix: The Inside Story - All the bumps of cycling's cobbled classic 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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Aleksandr Vlasov will be Bora-hansgrohe's GC leader for the Tour de France

The team sent me this:

A Grand Départ in Scandinavia, the cobbles of Roubaix, the high mountain passes of the Alps and the Pyrenees - the 109th edition of the Tour de France sets off on Friday in Copenhagen. For the 9th time, the team of Ralph Denk will be taking part in the cycling season’s most prestigious stage race. Inspired by the squad’s recent successes, BORA - hansgrohe is motivated and is heading to the start of the race in Denmark with the clear goal of aiming for GC success. Aleksandr Vlasov, Lennard Kämna, Maximilian Schachmann, Nils Politt, Felix Grossschartner, Patrick Konrad, Marco Haller and Danny van Poppel are the eight riders heading to the Tour for BORA - hansgrohe.

Aleksandr Vlasov wins stage 5 of this year's Tour of Switzerland. Sirotti photo.

"In general, it’s never an easy decision, we have such a strong team at the moment and we could have easily picked more than ten riders. The eight riders we have in the line-up now really deserve to be at the Tour. Why? Due to their strong current shape and because of what they have already achieved this season. We have performed very well in stage races so far, we’re on a path of becoming a GC team and with the selection of riders for this Tour de France, we’re pushing forward on this path.

"Aleksandr Vlasov is our GC leader, Felix Grossschartner will be very important in the mountains but he’s also a strong TT rider, Patrick Konrad is a climber as well but also someone for a long breakaway or solo attack. Danny van Poppel is a rider who can guide a team in nervous race situations which we’re expecting in particular during the first week. With Nils Politt, we have a rider for the cobbles, a rider who is fully committed to the team and a rider who already proved he can take a solo stage win. Lennard Kämna played a very important role in our Giro success, and we see him in a similar role for the Tour. Max Schachmann had a tough spring but came back in really good shape over the past few weeks. Marco Haller, a loyal rider, a road captain and a very strong rider in a breakaway, can go for his own success as well." - Rolf Aldag, Head Sports Director

"Over the past couple of years, we’ve had three top-ten results in the Tour and now we’re aiming for a podium. Of course, it’s a tough goal but with the performance we’ve seen from Aleksandr Vlasov this season it’s a realistic goal and we have a strong team with full support for him over every terrain. We want to show an active and attacking style of racing, focus on the GC and maybe even take a stage win. I’d be very happy on the Champs-Élysées if we achieve these goals." - Ralph Denk, Team Manager

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Team INEOS Grenadiers confirms Tour de France lineup

The team sent me this update:

The INEOS Grenadiers are proud to confirm the lineup to compete at the 2022 Tour de France with eight riders ready to go all in and attack the 109th edition of the race.

Fronted by the GC trio of 2018 Tour de France winner and 2022 Tour de Suisse champion Geraint Thomas, Tour of the Basque Country winner Dani Martinez, and multiple Tour de France stage winner Adam Yates, the team is completed by the formidable Jonathan Castroviejo, Filippo Ganna, Tom Pidcock, Luke Rowe and Dylan van Baarle.

Geraint Thomas racing at this year's Tour of Romandie. Sirotti photo.

Two-time reigning world time trial champion Ganna and all-round racer Pidcock are set to make their Tour de France debuts, while the experienced backbone of the Grenadiers is provided by Castroviejo, Rowe and Paris-Roubaix winner Van Baarle who arrive in Copenhagen with a combined 20 Tour de France starts.

INEOS Grenadiers Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “The competition this year is tougher than ever and that’s a great thing for the sport, the Tour and the fans. But we all know that anything can happen in cycling, especially over three weeks of hard racing across different terrains and weather conditions. This group of Grenadiers is the epitome of all that INEOS stands for. They have the grit, rigour and humour that we know is critical to success at the Tour and we can’t wait to get racing.”

INEOS Grenadiers Deputy Team Principal Rod Ellingworth said: “We’ve got a really dynamic and versatile group of riders that are ready to go full gas and really take this race on.

“In Adam, Dani and Geraint we have three fantastic GC heavyweights who can mount a real challenge. They have proved their form across the season and are lining up in Copenhagen in great shape.

“It’s also a proud moment for the team to see Filippo and Tom make their Tour de France debuts. They’re phenomenal riders who have big careers ahead of them and both are ready to leave their mark on the Tour. And no team could ask for three better super domestiques than Dylan, Jonathan and Luke. Collectively they have racing instincts and experience that are second to none.”

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Jonathan Castroviejo – 35, Spain
Fresh off a courageous ride at the Giro d’Italia, Castroviejo brings an invaluable blend of experience and climbing skill. A selfless teammate, he has evolved from a time trial specialist to one of the best mountain support riders in the peloton. Often going above and beyond to take huge turns on the front, his steady support and calming presence will be key across the three weeks.

Filippo Ganna – 25, Italy
Filippo Ganna has rapidly risen to become one of the best time trialists in the sport. A two-time World Champion, the Italian starts his first Tour de France with the intention of replicating his incredible results at the Giro d’Italia. Ganna racked up six stage wins across two editions, pulling on the pink jersey in both 2020 and 2021. He’ll be gunning for the yellow jersey in Copenhagen, but will also play a key team role once the climbing begins.

Daniel Martínez – 26, Colombia
One of the most consistent general classification riders in the peloton this season, Martínez claimed overall victory at Itzulia Basque Country, in addition to an overall podium finish at Paris-Nice. The Colombian won a stage at the Tour de France in 2020 in the same year he won the Criterium du Dauphine. The climber will be one of the team’s three leaders this year as he begins his eighth Grand Tour. 

Tom Pidcock – 22, Great Britain
One of the sport’s most exciting young talents, Pidcock has risen through the ranks, taking titles and world championships in cyclo-cross and mountain biking. Now in his second year as a pro on the road, the young Brit tackles his first Tour de France. In addition to gaining experience and learning from team mates, he’ll play an important team role on the flat and in the medium mountain stages.

Luke Rowe – 32, Great Britain
Lining up for a milestone 10th Grand Tour and eighth consecutive Tour de France appearance, Luke Rowe knows what this race is all about. A road captain since the early years of his career, the Welshman is a great leader and loves nothing more than battling it out for position in the peloton and crosswinds. He can also turn his hand to climbing and has form of setting an impressive tempo on the front for long periods.

Geraint Thomas – 36, Great Britain
One of the most experienced and well-liked riders in the sport, Geraint won the Tour de France in 2018, cementing his status as a British and Welsh hero. ‘G’ was also a runner up at the Tour de France one year later and knows exactly what it takes to win this race. With a background on the track and comfortable on any terrain, he is a true all-round talent. Whether he’s riding for overall victory like his performance at the recent Tour de Suisse or giving it his all to help the team, he is always all in for the win.

Dylan van Baarle – 30, Netherlands
Arriving in Copenhagen following a dream Classics season that saw him win Paris-Roubaix, Dylan has shown what an impressive and versatile rider he is. After battling it out across the cobbles during the spring, the Dutchman has the skills to transform himself into an elite mountain support rider for the Tour each year. His performances continue to improve and he will play a key role in setting a tempo on the climbs this year.

Dylan van Baarle winning Paris-Roubaix earlier this year. Sirotti photo

Adam Yates – 29, Great Britain
One of Britain’s best stage racers, Adam Yates holds a top-10 finish at all three Grand Tours and only just missed out on a Tour de France podium with a fourth in 2016. He knows how to ride at the sharp end of a three-week race and can produce a stinging turn of pace in the mountains. As a protected rider with a leadership role, he heads into his 11th Grand Tour ready to battle it out in the mountains.

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Nathan Van Hooydonck and Tiesj Benoot extend with Team Jumbo-Visma

The team sent me this news release:

Nathan Van Hooydonck and Tiesj Benoot will also ride for Team Jumbo-Visma in the coming years. Van Hooydonck (26) extended his expiring contract by two years and Benoot (28) added two more seasons to his one-year ongoing contract with the Dutch formation. Both Flemish riders will start the Tour de France on Friday.

Tiesj Bennot finishes third in this year's Amstel Gold race. Sirotti photo

"We had already verbally agreed to extend at the beginning of the year. I was thrilled with that. It gave me a lot of confidence to go into spring", Van Hooydonck said. "I get to ride for the best team in the world for two more years. I believe in what we do and in the leaders we have. There is a lot of science behind our approach. I feel I am treated the same way as the leaders, with the same facilities and preparation for the most important parts of the season. That is not the case with every team. Here, I can become the best version of myself. I said that when I started riding for Team Jumbo-Visma and still feel that way. So I'm happy I could sign for two more years."

Benoot's contract was renegotiated after just six months and now runs until the end of 2025. "If the first months hadn't been so good, I wouldn't have renewed now", said the Belgian, who achieved podium finishes in Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Amstel Gold Race in spring. "I am also honoured that discussing an extension was already proposed. The transfer to this team was late, mid-December, but went very smoothly. From the first moment, everything went very well; therefore, I am thrilled to commit to the team for a longer period. This is the best team I could wish for."

Merijn Zeeman, sporting director of Team Jumbo-Visma, foresees a prominent role for both Belgians in the coming years. "Nathan is a highly appreciated and strong team player. He is part of our team's core", Zeeman said.

"Tiesj has proven to be an important asset to our team who assists our leaders until deep in the final. Moreover, he has shown that he can achieve good results himself. We are delighted and proud that these riders will remain part of our Team Jumbo-Visma in the coming years."

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