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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, September 25, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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Tour de France: 2019

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, 2019: A Year of New Faces is available in both Kindle eBook and audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Mathieu van der Poel was arrested the night before the Pro World Champonship race and then abandons after 30 kilometers

The Belgian web site Sporza posted this (this is a machine translation):

A big bomb in Wollongong: Mathieu van der Poel was arrested on Saturday evening (Australian time). There was an incident with noisy children in the hotel of the Dutchman, one of the top favorites for the World Cup. "I wasn't back in my room until 4 o'clock," he said at the start. Van der Poel gave up after 30 kilometers at the first passage in Wollongong.

Some children are said to have knocked on Van der Poel's room door several times, who was annoyed by the behavior and went to get a story.

One of the girls is said to have hurt her arm, after which the police were called and Van der Poel was arrested.

At the start, Van der Poel confirmed the rumors about the problem. "It's true, yes. There was a small dispute. It was about noisy neighbors and they are quite strict here."

"I wasn't back in my room until 4 o'clock. That's certainly not ideal. It's a disaster, but I can't change anything anymore. I'm trying to make the best of it."

"It is on little sleep that I will race, hopefully on adrenaline. It was certainly not fun. It is what it is, I have to deal with it."

Van der Poel then went into the incident: "I went to bed early and many children in the hallway of my room found it necessary to knock on the door continuously."

"After a few times I was done with it. I didn't ask so nicely to stop. Then the police were called and I was taken."

After which Van der Poel drove away towards the starting line.

At the start of the race he told his story to some colleagues, when entering Wollongong after about 30 kilometers Van der Poel got off in the feeding zone.

What an anticlimax.

The Australian police issued the following statement: "Mathieu van der Poel became involved in a verbal dispute with two teenagers, aged 13 and 14."

"Van der Poel pushed both girls. One of them fell to the ground, the other teenager was pushed against the wall and had a small injury to her elbow."

Van der Poel's passport was taken away, who still has to fear a legal procedure. And according to the Australian letter of the law, that can take quite a long time.

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Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Tom Steels previews Elite Men’s World Championships

Here’s the team’s post:

The World Championships in Australia are rapidly drawing to a conclusion, and our attention is already focused on Sunday’s road race in Wollongong, where more than a dozen Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl riders will be at the start.

For that reason, we asked sports director Tom Steels of what we could expect from them.

“We have some riders who can be very competitive on the course. Julian comes into the race as the defending two-time champion and we’ll have to see if his condition allows him to play an important role. If not, then he can be of help for his teammates, as he is the kind of guy that can change the dynamic of a race. Rémi will be there to ride at the front, he showed at the Vuelta how good he is, while Florian – who likes this type of course and came close to getting some wins recently – could be there depending on the context.

What kind of form will Julian Alaphilippe (shown winning the 2021 championship race) bring to Sunday's road race? Sirotti photo

Andrea Bagioli and Davide Ballerini will be part of the Italian squad, and the former could be the surprise of the race. He showed his talents in Canada, finished on the podium in strong company in Montreal and the course suits him. Other riders who could feature in the finale and fight for a good result are Mikkel – who also had a strong outing in Canada and can count on an experienced captain such as Michael – and Mauro, who has enjoyed a good season, recently became World Champion in the TTT mixed relay and can end up in a move that ends up going all the way.

Of course, Remco will be one of the favourites, but it will all depend on his condition after what has been a hard Vuelta and on how things will unfold on that difficult route. Yves and Pieter will be there to help the Belgian team, but again, there are a number of factors that could influence the race.

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Zdeněk Štybar joins Team BikeExchange-Jayco for the 2023 season

Here’s the team’s news release:

Team BikeExchange-Jayco is delighted to confirm the signing of experienced all-rounder Zdeněk Štybar for the 2023 season, with the rider from the Czech Republic set to lift the Australian outfit in the Classic and one-day races.

With many of the team’s older, more experienced riders retiring, Štybar comes in to fill the role as a seasoned professional, assisting teammates with his abundance of knowledge and previous success.

Helping to guide the younger generation and act as a team captain on the road is an important and crucial role, and the squad believe with Štybar they have found the perfect fit.

Zdeněk Štybar wins the 2019 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Sirotti photo

Brent Copeland – General Manager:
“We’ve already strengthened our roster for the 2023 season in many areas and now, with the addition of Zdeněk Štybar we have a very complete and well-rounded team. His list of results and performances in a wide range of races speak for themselves, we know what we are getting with him, and it is very exciting and motivating to be adding such a rider to our squad.

"We have had quite a lot of changes over the past years and with many of our older experienced riders moving on, it was very important for us to make sure we continue to include seasoned professionals that know the races and the peloton inside out, to lead the team, and also assist the up-and-coming generation.

"Štybar is so diverse as a rider as we have seen over the years, he can perform in all types of races and not only on the road but also cyclo-cross, so we will look to also support him in that area too.”

Zdeněk Štybar:
“This is something very special for me to change team in the final part of my career. I had great time with my previous team, but I am very excited for this new season with Team BikeExchange-Jayco. The group of people seem very strong together, both the environment and the winning mentally. I am ready to begin this new chapter and I am sure it will be very special for me.

"I am also curious to race on different material and working with Giant will be a great opportunity for me, they are such a big player in our market and I am excited to try their products. These changes will give me extra motivation to keep performing and to fight with the best riders in the peloton. It will be a big boost of energy for me.

"My goals will be to be the best I can be at every race. Of course, the Belgium Classics will be key events for me and I am looking forward to competing there with my new colours,  but I’m also ready to help younger riders in the team and share my experience and knowledge with them. I believe this is an important duty at this stage of my career and I am very happy to do so.”

Zdeněk Štybar
Date of Birth: 11th December 1985 (36)
Nationality: Czech
Joins GreenEDGE Cycling: 2023

Top Results:
1st Eneco Tour Overall (2013)
1st E3 Binckbank Classic (2019)
1st Omloop het Nieuwsblad (2019)
1st Tirreno Adriatico stage (2016)
1st Tour de France stage (2015)
1st Strade Bianche (2015)
1st Vuelta a España Stage (2013)
2x 2nd Paris-Roubaix (2015, 17)

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Team DSM reports on the Elite Women’s Championship Road Race

Here’s the team’s report:

Starting in Helensburgh and ending in Wollongong, the peloton were faced with a 164 kilometre route to decide this year’s world champion. The early part of the day would see the first action of the week up Mount Keira before the now familiar circuit in Wollongong and the steep Mount Pleasant ascent. This year’s race would also see the inclusion of an U23 world champion, with the jersey decided in a race-within-a-race style.

Team DSM were present on the start list with Pfeiffer Georgi, Leah Kirchmann (who was riding her last ever race as a professional), Franziska Koch, Juliette Labous, Liane Lippert and Floortje Mackaij – with the six riders representing their national teams.

Leah Kirchmann (shown in 2019) has ridden her final professional race. Sirotti photo

It was a steady start to the race and despite a solid pace, there was no explosive action on Mount Keira and instead it was a race of attrition with riders dropping. However, as things then slowed after that, many of those dropped managed to return. Kirchmann, Koch and Mackaij did a lot of work for their team leaders early on, with the trio riding strongly in a support role as the action built to a crescendo.

On the penultimate lap, Lippert launched a vicious attack up Mount Pleasant and initially went clear with Longo Borghini before three others joined them off the descent. Yet, there was a lack of cooperation in the group and the chasers came back – meaning around 30 riders were together as they approached the climb once more, including Lippert, Labous and Georgi. Reusser launched an attack on the flat roads beforehand and ensured that the pace remained high in the chasing group, before Lippert once again showed her strong legs by exploding the chasing bunch.

In a case of déjà-vu, it was the same five riders who broke away with Lippert once again appearing to be the strongest on the ascent. Coming over the climb and onto the descent they held onto a 15 second advantage over the first chasing group which contained Labous, while Georgi was in the third group a further 15 seconds behind. Lippert did the largest share of work in the front but there were others who didn’t want to pull through as much and as a result the gap to those closed and Lippert’s group was caught on the final drag just before the flamme rouge by Labous’ group.

Van Vleuten then caught everyone by surprise with a perfectly timed attack to take the win after a moment of hesitation from everyone else, while Lippert and Labous gave it their all in the sprint to take strong fourth and seventh place finishes.

Behind in the following group Georgi went all-in to take 16th on the day but it was a result that would see her claim a brilliant second place in the new U23 category – with the young Brit taking home a well earned silver medal.

“I felt really strong today and had a really good team around me who kept me in a good position all day,” explained Lippert. “On the long climb we expected more fireworks but it was a bit more steady. It was the same on the first few laps, so I wasn’t sure if the race was going to be hard enough to make the difference in the final but going towards the final laps it was then faster which was good. On the second last lap someone else attacked and I went over the top and went clear with Longo Borghini which was a really nice situation but some more people caught us and made a group of five, and it was the same group on the that lap and final lap. I went full each time on the climb and it was only the five of us left but they didn’t commit 100 percent which was annoying as I felt like I did that, and it was a really good chance to take a medal at the World Championships. I felt super strong today and when I was in that group I started to believe and dream in the rainbow jersey but it was just frustrating when everyone didn’t fully commit to it. In the end another group came back with some fast finishers and Van Vleuten attacked at the perfect time. I started my sprint really early and I got fourth place as I exploded a bit as I was on my limit. At some point I was dreaming of more than fighting for the podium so for now it is just frustrating but I showed myself well and can take confidence from that going into the final races this year.”

Georgi added: “It was a really tough attritional race and the girls kept me protected all day. It got faster and tougher as the race went on before it exploded in the final two laps. I’m really happy with the result and think I got everything out of myself today which is all I can ask for.”

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