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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, February 6, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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Cycling's World Championships

Les Woodland's book Cycling's World Championships: The Inside Story 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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Elite Men’s Cyclocross World Championships

Second-place Wout van Aert’s Jumbo-Visma team posted this:

Wout van Aert finished second at the cyclocross world championship in Hoogerheide. Together with Mathieu van der Poel, the Jumbo-Visma rider was in the lead throughout the race. In a sprint a deux for the rainbow jersey, Van Aert had to give way.

Three minutes into the race, it was clear that it would be a two-man battle. Both riders took off at lightning speed, leaving the others behind. In the early laps, Van der Poel made a few moves, but Van Aert refused to back down and managed to keep his wheel. From the fourth lap onwards, the 28-year-old Belgian took the lead several times, but could not gain any ground on Van der Poel. As a result, the race would have to be decided in a sprint. Van Aert was the first to hit the tarmac, and Van der Poel immediately launched himself into the sprint. Unable to match the Dutchman's acceleration Van Aert took silver.

Five laps to go, Van der Poel leads Van Aert. Jumbo-Visma photo

"I'm disappointed I didn't win the race”, Van Aert said. "From the first minute, Mathieu put a lot of pressure on me. I was at my limit for the first half hour. I then focused on the sprint because attacking would not have been the best tactic. I prepared myself for a scenario where I would be second coming onto the finish strip. I got a bit confused when I was pushed to the front. That's part of racing. In hindsight, I might have had a better chance if I had gone for the sprint straight away. Chapeau to Mathieu for squeezing out such a sprint.”


  1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 1hr 7min 20sec
  2. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) s.t.
  3. Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) @ 12sec
  4. Lars Vander Haar (Balise Trek Lions) @ 13sec
  5. Michael Vanthurenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) @ 46sec

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Volta a Valenciana stage five team reports

We posted the report from second-place second-place Thymen Arensman's Team INEOS Grenadiers with the results.

Here's the report from third-place Samuele Battistella's Team Astana Qazaqstan:

Italian rider of Astana Qazaqstan Team Samuele Battistella brings another podium to the team, finishing third at the final stage of Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

Rui Costa beats Thymen Arensman for the stage win. INEOS photo

Battistella showed a spectacular race, where he attacked from the beginning of the stage with two other riders and after first breakaway was caught by chasing group of GC-leaders, he stayed in the elite group until the final and managed to fight for a podium.

“It was a short stage and the team’s plan was to go to the breakaway and try to survive at the hardest climb. I think I did a good job, I managed to stay at the first group until the finish. Unfortunately, the sprint was a bit mess, but I’m satisfied with my result, the third place is also good result and glad to bring another podium for my team” – commented Samuele Battistella.

Here’s the Valenciana report from GC fifth place Aleksandr Vlasov’s Team Bora-hansgrohe:

The 5th and final stage of the Vuelta a la Comunitat Valenciana took the peloton over 93km from Paterna to Valencia and featured two categorized climbs. After a perfect lead out by his BORA - hansgrohe team mates, Aleksandr Vlasov launched his attack on the second and hardest climb of the day. Only the GC contenders were able to follow, a group of nine riders formed up and together they made it to the final 3km. With a late attack, Rui Costa secured the stage and overall victory. Aleksandr Vlasov was involved in a crash within the final two kilometers and was unable to engage in the sprint for bonus seconds and the overall podium. Vlasov remained unhurt and finished the race in 5th overall.

Following mild symptoms and a positive test for Covid-19, Lennard Kämna wasn't able to start today's stage.

“A short but tough day! All went very well and according to our strategy until the final 2km. It was hectitc, everyone was attacking, the road was a bit slippery and so we had a small crash. Very unfortunate as I felt very good and still had some chances for the GC. Even though the luck wasn’t on our side today, I’m very happy with my shape and confident for the next races. I also want to thank the team - they really did a great job here!” - Aleksandr Vlasov

“Our plan was to attack on the final climb and try everything to move up in the GC with Aleksandr Vlasov. The boys were committed to that plan, rode very strong and did a perfect lead out for Aleks on the last climb. A small group of GC contenders sprinting for the bonus seconds at the finish was exactly what we wanted to achieve. Unfortunately Aleks was involved in a crash and out of contention for the overall podium. In the end we had a bit of tough luck and didn’t win. But the boys showed a brave, strong and committed race! This race showed that we are on the right track and gives us confidence for our next goals.” - Enrico Gasparotto, Sports Director

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Etoile de Bessèges stage five team reports

We psoted the report from the report from GC winner Neilson Powless' Team EF Education-EasyPost with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Mads Pedersen's Team Trek-Segafredo:

More Danish success on French soil as Mads Pedersen makes it back to back stage wins for the team at Etoile de Bessèges

Pedersen – who finished second on an almost identical individual time trial course in 2022 – secured his maiden victory of the season on the last stage of the five-day race, stopping the clock seven seconds faster than any other rider in Alès

Mattias Skjelmose went into the final day of racing in France with the leader’s jersey on his shoulders but with just seconds separating the top two riders it was going to be a tight race for the overall win.

Mattias Skjelmose winning stage four with Neilson Powless just behind him. Sirotti photo

Skjelmose gave it his all – finishing ninth on the stage – but in the end, he was pushed into second on the General Classification, just one second down on Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost).

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And here's the Bessèges report from Arnaud De Lie's Team Lotto Dstny:

Lotto Dstny rider Arnaud De Lie has concluded the five-day French stage race Etoile de Bessèges with a seventh place overall. With a strong ascent of the Mont Bouquet in the queen stage, Arnaud De Lie started the closing time trial in 5th place on the general classification.

Arnaud De Lie winning stage three. Photo: Getty Sport Images

De Lie again gave his all and stopped the clock after a ten-kilometre effort with an uphill finish at 16’36”. The stage win was for Mads Pedersen, who set a time of 15’25”. Eventually, De Lie ended an impressive Etoile de Bessèges with a seventh place in the final standings, Neilson Powless took the overall victory with the smallest of margins. With two stage victories, the points jersey and a seventh place overall, the Lotto Dstny rider can look back on a really successful Etoile de Bessèges.

Arnaud De Lie: “This was only my second time trial at the pros but we prepared it meticulously to set the best time possible. Despite it’s not my specialty, I think we still achieved our mission. I am happy with this performance.”

“The original goal of this week was to win one stage. The two stage victories, points jersey and seventh place overall also surprised me, to be honest. I can say this was an extraordinary performance, as the course – especially with the steep climb of Mount Bouquet, was not really my cup of tea. I can’t repeat it enough, but this wouldn’t have been possible without a strong Lotto Dstny team which perfectly supported me. We have made a good start to the year and want to continue that way.”

The next race on the schedule of the 20-year-old Belgian will be the Spanish one-day race Clasica Almeria.

“Personally, this strong start to the season gives me a lot of confidence for the races to come. But now it’s time for a few days of rest after these five intense days of racing. Then, I will build up again towards the GP Almeria and the first race on Belgian soil: Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne”, concludes De Lie.

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