BikeRaceInfo: Current and historical race results, plus interviews, bikes, travel, and cycling historyBikeRaceInfo: Current and historical race results, plus interviews, bikes, travel, and cycling history
Search our site:
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter

Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, March 18, 2022

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

Food is an important part of a balanced diet. - Fran Lebowitz

Olympics 50 Craziest Stories

Les Woodland's book The Olympics' 50 Craziest Stories: A Five Ring Circus is available as an audiobook here. For the print and Kindle eBook versions, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

Current racing:

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:

Caleb Ewan will not start Milan-Sanremo

Ewan's Lotto Soudal sent me this bad news:

Due to an illness Caleb Ewan will finally not take the start in Milan-Sanremo. The medical staff and Caleb Ewan waited until the final moment to take this difficult decision, but in the end it was the only option. “I am very disappointed that I am not able to take the start of my main goal of the spring season. I was in good form and ready for a hard race, but like many other riders at the moment, I faced a stomach flu at the worst time. Together with the team we had to decide that it is better to now focus on different goals.”

Caleb Ewan winning stage three of this year's Tirreno-Adriatico. Sirotti photo

Grand Prix de Denain team reports

We posted the report from third-place Adrien Petit's Intermaché-Wanty-Gobert team with the results.

Here's the report from Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team:

Primoz Roglic has also demonstrated his excellent shape in the Grand Prix de Denain. The 32-year-old Slovenian rider of Team Jumbo-Visma took part in the final with a leading group of five and seemed to be on his way to a place of honour but was caught just before the finish.

Max Walscheid was the winner in Denain. Cofidis photo

Immediately after the start, five riders formed the day's breakaway and gained a five-minute maximum lead in the flat part of the race. The race's second half contained twenty kilometres of cobbled sections and the peloton went for it.

For Lennard Hofstede the race ended badly. The Dutchman crashed hard and broke his right ankle. INEOS then accelerated on one of the cobbled sections, and again, five riders created a gap. The strong Roglic, last Sunday's overall winner in Paris-Nice, joined the leading group after a considerable effort. It seemed they would decide who would take the victory, but a depleted peloton decided otherwise.

"It was a special and difficult day, but it went well", Roglic said. "It's totally different, riding on cobblestones. I learned things I wasn't used to, like the nervousness before the cobbled sections. Positioning is essential, which also makes it dangerous. I am not dissatisfied with the final result, because the result was not the main goal for today."

Sports director Grischa Niermann praised Roglic's efforts. "We were here to test the guys and the equipment, and Primoz did a super job. We learned a lot concerning the cobbled stage in the Tour de France. Racing on cobblestones is different than reconnaissance. Jonas was without a chance after his puncture in the second local lap. Apart from Lennard's crash, we can reflect on today with satisfaction because we did what we came for. Today has made us much better with a view to the summer."

Here's the GP de Denain report from the INEOS Grenadiers:

A trio of young Grenadiers made a rousing impact at GP de Denain with a strong breakaway effort on the cobbles.

The team enlivened the race, with Magnus Sheffield, Jhonatan Narvaez and Ben Turner forging clear on a tough cobbled sector with 30 kilometres to go.

Joined by Primoz Roglic and Damien Touze, the quintet worked together well to open out an initial gap of 30 seconds over the chasing pack.

Yet as the peloton got organised behind the gap began to fall, with Narvaez the final rider to be reeling in just under the flame rouge.

A sprint finish would ultimately decide the race, with Max Walscheid (Cofidis) claiming the victory.

find us on Facebook Find us on Twitter See our youtube channel

Melanoma: It started with a freckle Schwab Cycles South Salem Cycleworks frames Neugent Cycling Wheels Peaks Coaching: work with a coach! Shade Vise sunglass holder Advertise with us!

Content continues below the ads

Melanoma: It started with a freckle Schwab Cycles South Salem Cycleworks frames

Milano-Sanremo team updates

Team Trek-Segafredo reports Milano-Sanremo defending champion Jasper Stuyven is out of the race:

Defending Champion Jasper Stuyven out of Milan-Sanremo with sickness

Mads Pedersen will step in to lead the team at La Classicissima

Jasper Stuyven will unfortunately not be able to defend his Milan-Sanremo title. After racing at Paris-Nice, Jasper has started to feel unwell. The late change means Mads Pedersen will race Milan-Sanremo for the first time, leading Trek-Segafredo’s ambitions for back-to-back wins.

Jasper Stuyven: “Getting sick at this time of the season is a big disappointment. Of course, I was excited to race with the number 1 on my back after winning my first Monument last year. I thought I had safely got through Paris-Nice, but obviously I picked something up there. For me, the focus is now on getting healthy before the upcoming cobbled classics.”

Mads Pedersen: “As I said in many interviews last week, it wasn’t the plan for me to race Milan-Sanremo, but sometimes plans change. It’s a late change, but I’m feeling motivated and know that my shape is good. Of course, it’s a big pity for Jasper that he doesn’t get the chance to defend his title, but we will do our best to make it two in a row for the Team.”

Here's the news from Team Lotto-Soudal:

On Saturday 19 March, it is time for the first Monument of the cycling season with Milano-Sanremo. Lotto Soudal’s leader for the race will be the Australian Caleb Ewan, who finished runner-up at La Primavera last year and in 2018. He will be assisted by Filippo Conca, Frederik Frison, Roger Kluge, Maxim Van Gils and Florian Vermeersch and Philippe Gilbert, who, in his 18th and final participation at Milano-Sanremo, will have one final shot at winning his 5th Monument.

Caleb Ewan was second to Jasper Stuyven in 2021. Sirotti photo.

The 293-kilometre course has changed little. After a one-year absence, the Passo del Turchino has been reintroduced after about 140 kilometres of racing. Then it goes towards the Ligurian coast, where Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta form the appetizers for an undoubtedly exciting final on the famous climbs of the Cipressa and Poggio. Also this year, Milano-Sanremo will have its apotheosis on the iconic Via Roma.

Despite an early abandon at Tirreno-Adriatico, Caleb Ewan is full of confidence towards his favourite Classic of the cycling season.

“From the beginning of this season, I have targeted Milan-Sanremo as my main goal for this spring”, says Caleb Ewan. “I have prepared well, shown my form and am ready to be up there in the final. Almost everything I have control over, went according to plan. Besides my early abandon in Tirreno-Adriatico, from which I have recovered well.”

“The team has shown great confidence in my abilities to win this race. Let’s hope the race unfolds the way we want it to. It still is Milan-Sanremo: lots of unforeseen things can happen. For me, that is also the beauty of the race.”

“For me, Pogacar is the big favourite. Even if he does not win, he will have a big impact on how the race will play out. The same goes for Wout Van Aert. Just look at those names: a multiple Grand Tour winner, a Classics’ winner and me, a sprinter, and we all have a possibility to win this race. That is why Milan-Sanremo is my favourite Classic”, concludes the fast Aussie.

Content continues below the ads

Neugent Cycling Wheels Peaks Coaching: work with a coach!

Here's the Milano-Sanremo preview from UAE Team Emirates:

UAE Team Emirates will continue their 2022 campaign with the first of the five classic Monuments, Milano – San Remo in Italy on Saturday 19th March.

After a prolific start to his season, including victories at the UAE Tour, Strade Bianche and the recent Tirreno-Adriatico, Tadej Pogačar will be the designated leader. However the 23-year old will count on a team of strong reinforcements alongside him for the longest race on the professional calendar at 293km.

Tadej Pogacar (shown after winning this year's Tirreno-Adriatico) will lead UAE Team Emirates at Milano-Sanremo. Sirotti photo

The seven rider squad will be under the direction of Team Manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Spa) and Sports Directors Andrej Hauptman (Slo) and Marco Marzano (Ita).

Pogačar: “ I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year. The whole team has pulled together and worked really hard so I think it is showing in our results as a group. I’m excited for Milano-San Remo. The finish is not too far from where I live in Monaco so I know the last part of the race and the final climbs a bit.

"As we’ve seen before, this race is one of the most difficult to win and can end in many outcomes. At UAE we have a team prepared for all the different options so we’re ready for what is sure to be a great race.”

Milano-Sanremo [1.UWT] – 19-Mar-2022

Alessandro Covi (Ita)
Davide Formolo (Ita)
Ryan Gibbons (RSA)
Tadej Pogačar (Slo)
Jan Polanc (Slo)
Oliviero Troia (Ita)
Diego Ulissi (Ita)

Michael Matthews' Team BikeExchange-Jayco sent me this:

Michael Matthews returns to Milan-San Remo on Saturday with unfinished business, as the Australian looks to finally conquer the opening Monument of the season.

The 31-year-old has been a consistent performer at La Classicissima di Primavera in his career, with four top-10 finishes to his name, including two podiums, and he will get the full support of his Team BikeExchange-Jayco squad this year.

Michael Matthews (on right) was third to winner Wout van Aert and 2nd-place Julian Alaphilippe in 2020. Sirotti photo

The experienced Luke Durbridge and Cameron Meyer will be key support in the lengthy 293km race, as will fast finisher Luka Mezgec. Alexander Konychev and Lawson Craddock will both line-up for their third ‘San Remo’, while Alex Edmondson gets his second taste of the famous Italian classic.

After a two-year absence, the Turchino climb returns in 2022, but traditionally the actions begins at the foot of the Cipressa, a 5.5km ramp with a steepest gradient of 9% halfway up the climb. The riders then descend back to the coast before hitting the Poggio, the 3.7 km climb averages 3.7%, while the steepest ramp of 8% appears 1km before the summit.

The Poggio has been decisive in the last five editions, whether by an attack of a small group or a solo effort. A 3.3km descent provides one last opportunity before the flat run into San Remo and the finish line on Via Roma.

Team BikeExchange-Jayco Line-Up:
Lawson Craddock (USA)
Luke Durbridge (AUS)
Alex Edmondson (AUS)
Alex Konychev (ITA)
Cameron Meyer (AUS)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Luka Mezgec (SLO)

Michael Matthews:
“If I think about the finish line on Via Roma in San Remo, a lot of memories over the years come to my mind, a few high and a lot of lows. It’s been a rollercoaster race for me.

"Milan-San Remo has always attracted me since I started cycling and now I have a new opportunity to get on the top step and I will do my best to be on the that podium for the third time.

"I think I struggled a little bit through Tirreno-Adriatico after my crash in Strade Bianche, but to be honest the shape is much better than I thought, and I think I’ll be ready for Saturday.”

Matthew White (Head Sport Director):
“The team we have competing on Saturday is all based around our leader Michael Matthews, who has through the years, been very consistent in this race. I think the big difference in this year's edition, compared to other editions is the presence of two Slovenians, Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar, who potentially can change the race a lot. Roglic is coming in with a working role to help Wout van Aert, one of the favourites, and Pogacar does not want a sprint.

"So, I expect a very aggressive San Remo, with a lot of pressure coming down to the Cipressa, more than normal, because for Pogacar it will be too late to wait for the Poggio.

"An aggressive San Remo is good for us also, because Michael doesn’t want to sprint with the pure sprinters and so a more selective finale is actually better for us.”

Content continues below the ads

Shade Vise sunglass holder Advertise with us!

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl to ride Volta a Catalunya

Here’s the team’s update:

The last World Tour stage race of the month takes place between 21-27 March.

One of the oldest stage races in the world, Volta a Catalunya comes with plenty of changes from last year’s edition, but at the end of the day, it will once again favour the climbers, even more than in 2021, as the individual time trial is absent from the route of the 101st edition.

Following nine consecutive years, the peloton won’t depart anymore from Calella, which has been replaced by Sant Feliu de Guixols. One day later, Perpignan will make a return after 67 years, while the summit finishes of Vallter 2000 and Port Ainé tackled last year make way for La Molina and Boi Taüll, the ski resort that was last used two decades ago and which will take the peloton above 2000 meters. But if some things change, others remain the same, and the race will once again conclude in Barcelona, where the famous Montjuic climb – set to feature six times – will be the main attraction.

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s team for the seventh World Tour event of the season will be a mixture of youth and experience, as it will comprise Andrea Bagioli, Dries Devenyns, Tour of Oman runner-up Fausto Masnada, Pieter Serry, Ilan Van Wilder, neo-pro Ethan Vernon and Louis Vervaeke.

“We have quite a strong team for the Volta a Catalunya, featuring several riders who can go for a good result. As always, there will be a lot of climbing next week, especially on stages three and four – which will be the most important for the general classification – but there should be some opportunities also for breakaways and bunch sprints, and for the latter, we have Ethan, who can try to get involved. Concerning the overall standings, Fausto and Ilan will be our two guys, they come here with a lot of motivation and confidence”, explained Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Geert Van Bondt.

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary