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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, May 4, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory. - Albert Schweitzer

Les Woodland's book Sticky Buns Across America: Back-roads biking from sea to shining sea 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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Four Days of Dunkirk stage one reports

We posted the report from third-place Nils Eeckhoff's Team DSM with the results.

Here's the report from Arnaud De Lie's Lotto Soudal team:

Lotto Soudal rider Arnaud De Lie will not start in stage two of the 4 Jours de Dunkerque. The young Belgian suffered a concussion and a lot of abrasions following a crash in the closing metres of the opening stage. However, examinations in the hospital did not reveal any fractures. As a precaution, De Lie is forced to leave the 4 Jours de Dunkerque.

The crash. You can see Arnaud De Lie in his red and white Lotto Soudal jersey headed for the ground.

The opening stage of the 4 Jours de Dunkerque took the riders over 160 kilometres from Dunkerque to Aniche, where two local laps of ten kilometres were completed before the actual finish. An early breakaway of three riders was reeled in early in the stage, after which a new attack of three riders formed.

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They were eventually caught inside the final local lap and so the opening stage would end in an expected bunch sprint. In the chaotic final kilometres, Lotto Soudal’s sprinter Arnaud De Lie was kept at the front by his teammates. Australian Welsford launched his sprint, De Lie came up to speed and tried to pass him but crashed in the final metres of the stage. Welsford was eventually relegated by the jury, the stage win was appointed to Dutchman De Kleijn.

Although he incurred some injuries, De Lie was particularly disappointed that he was unable to reward his teammates for their excellent work in the opening stage. “I went very fast and I was sure to be taking the win today, but there was no possibility for me to avoid the crash. At the moment I feel pretty okay and I am primarily disappointed to miss out on a victory. The team worked hard for me all day and I wanted to reward them...”

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Mark Cavendish to lead Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at Giro d’Italia

Here’s the team’s update:

Six summit finishes (Etna, Blockhaus, Cogne, Aprica, Lavarone and Marmolada), 26 individual time trial kilometers, five clear opportunities for the sprinters and more than 50,000 vertical meters – the Giro d’Italia didn’t disappoint when it came to designing an appetising course for the edition taking place between 6-29 May.

The race, running its 105th instalment, will get underway in just a couple of days from Budapest, the 14th different foreign city to host the start, and conclude in Verona for the fifth time after 1981, 1984, 2010 and 2019.

In the previous starts, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl has amassed 26 stage victories with 14 different riders, in addition to 11 secondary classification triumphs and 44 pink jerseys, and our team will look to be again among the protagonists this month and leave its mark on the race.

Mark Cavendish wins stage 21 of the 2013 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

Mark Cavendish is one of the most successful riders in the history of the Corsa Rosa. In just five participations, he won a staggering 15 stages, took home the points classification once and spent a total of four days in the iconic maglia rosa. Now, the Manxman will make his first outing since 2013 at the first Grand Tour of the year having enjoyed a solid first part of the season, with three victories, one of which came on Italian soil at the oldest race in the world, Milano-Torino.

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s roster for the three-week event will be a mixture of youth and experience and is set to include also Davide Ballerini, James Knox, expert lead-out man Michael Mørkøv, Mauro Schmid – a stage winner at last year’s edition – Pieter Serry, Bert Van Lerberghe, and Mauri Vansevenant.

“We go to the Giro d’Italia with a lot of motivation. We have a good team at the start, with Mark as our man for the flat. He has won a lot of stages at the Giro, and he can rely on many strong riders to support and guide him in the hectic bunch sprints. For the other stages, we’ll just take it one day at a time, fight for every opportunity and see what we can do. We know that it won’t be an easy three weeks, it never is, but we will try to do our best, because it’s in our nature”, explained Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Davide Bramati.

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Team DSM’s upcoming racing

The team sent me this schedule:

Giro d'Italia: MAY 06 - MAY 29

Matt Winston - Team DSM coach:
"We head to Italy with a strong team to support Romain where we will aim for a good GC result as a team. We need to be switched on and in the race early, since there will be some difficult stages in the first seven days but we have to think about the final week in the northern part of Italy too, which also will be super hard. We have two sprint options with Cees and Alberto that we will take on a day-by-day approach so that we are in the hunt for the sprint results. We continue with that atmosphere that we brought together in Tour of the Alps and the Tour of Turkey, with a focus on good teamwork, which we hope will bring us to a good lap around Italy."

Cees Bol wins stage two of the 2021 Paris-Nice. Sirotti photo

Thymen Arensman (NED)
Romain Bardet (FRA)
Cees Bol (NED)
Romain Combaud (FRA)
Alberto Dainese (ITA)
Nico Denz (GER)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Martijn Tusveld (NED)

Ronde van Overijssel: MAY 07

Bennie Lambregts - Team DSM coach:
"Ronde van Overijssel is a beautiful classic at 1.2 level which in the past has always had a strong winner, with the team's very own Nils Eekhoff winning the last time the race was held. The course is varied with many different roads that are narrow, wide, hilly, and also some poor road surfaces, which automatically leads to a thinning of the pack. We start with a strong squad that we can race with offensively, where we aim to get into the final with enough riders so that we can react to the attacks. Normally, there is a small group of about five riders or so who make it to the finish, or a bigger reduced bunch sprint of around 50 riders, and we have the power in our selection for both scenarios, where we can aim for a nice result.”

Tobias Lund Andresen (DEN)
Pavel Bittner (CZE)
Joost Brinkman (NED)
Patrick Eddy (AUS)
Moritz Kärsten (GER)
Casper van Uden (NED)

GP Eco-Struct: MAY 07

Pim Ligthart - Team DSM coach:
"Returning from taking a small break after the first block of racing this season, GP Eco-Struct will mark the start of the second block of racing for our Women's program. We have good memories of the race, having won both previous editions, and we set out with a strong squad who are hungry to continue that run. The flat parcours lends itself to a sprint finish but if the weather conditions are right, then the race can also split up so we need to be sharp from the start as a group as we hunt for another top result here.”

Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Franziska Koch (GER)
Chalotte Kool (NED)
Esmée Peperkamp (NED)
Elise Uijen (NED)
Lorena Wiebes (NED)

Flèche Ardennaise: MAY 08

Bennie Lambregts - Team DSM coach:
"Flèche Ardennaise is a tough race with many hills and over 3000 metres of climbing throughout the day, making it a very nice race for our selection of climbers that we take to the race. As in our other races, we enter Flèche Ardennaise as an offensive block, looking to make the moves and ride well as a group, so that we enter the final with multiple riders and can play our cards. In the end though, it's a fair race where the legs speak the truth and we believe we have a nice selection for a race like this."

Bart Hordijk (NED)
Lorenzo Milesi (ITA)
Oscar Onley (GBR)
Joris Reinderink (NED)
Pepijn Reinderink (NED)
Hannes Wilksch (GER)

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