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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, March 21, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments. - Gustave Flaubert

Tour of Flanders, the Inside Story

Les Woodland's book Tour of Flanders: The Inside Story - The rocky roads of the Ronde van Vlaanderen is available in print, Kindle eBook and audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Volta a Catalunya stage one team reports

We posted the report from second-place Remco Evenepoel's Team Soudal Quick-Step with the results.

Here is the report from stage winner Primoz Roglic's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Primoz Roglic has won the first stage of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. With his fourth stage victory of the season, the Team Jumbo-Visma rider completed the excellent work of his teammates. With his win, he once again showed he is in great shape. Earlier this season, he already won the general classification of the Tirreno-Adriatico.

Primoz Roglic just beats Remco Evenepoel.

Just below the top of the Alt de Romanyà, the day's last climb, the Jumbo-Visma riders shifted up a gear to catch the four breakaway riders. The finish in Sant Feliu de Guíxols was treacherous. First, it was downhill for several kilometres, then a sprint uphill in the last few hundred metres. Tobias Foss and Koen Bouwman gave Roglic a perfect ride to the line. Even though he was up against world champion Evenepoel, the Slovenian knew what to do with the opportunity.

It looked like a stage for the sprinters on paper, but nothing could be further from the truth. "I know I am not a true sprinter. But I knew I could fight for the stage win at this finish. I had good legs. Of course you need a bit of luck in the sprint. I am delighted", said Roglic.

"I am very grateful to the team. My teammates did a great job. Without them, today's result would not have been possible", said the Slovenian, who won Tirreno-Adriatico two weeks ago. "They put me in a great position for the challenging last few kilometres. You always hope to win. It is terrific the plan worked."

The peloton will face a difficult stage tomorrow. After 165 kilometres, an uphill finish awaits in Vallter. "I've never ridden this finish, but I'm sure we'll have a good plan for tomorrow", said Roglic, who will start in the leader's jersey. "This is just the beginning. There are still some tough stages ahead. Of course I would like to win the general classification here, but this is just day one. The race is not over until we've reached Barcelona."

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Here's the Catalonia stage one report from third-place Ide Schelling's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

The seven day long Volta a Catalunya (2.UWT) kicked off with a hilly, 164.6km stage around the town of Sant Feliu de Guíxols. The first stage offered a rare chance for the fast men but ultimately they had to admit defeat to the climbers in the draggy uphill finish. With the victory going to Primoz Roglič, Ide Schelling secured a strong 3rd and thereby also his first podium finish of the season. Patrick Konrad was involved in a crash with 5.5km to go but was able to finish the stage. After initial examinations, he suffered abrasions, but fortunately no fractures.

From the Finish Line:
“We had the plan to go for Patrick Konrad and it was my role to do the lead out for him. Unfortunately he was involved in a crash, so I just went for it. I had good legs and was able to follow some fast wheels. I didn’t exactly know how my shape would be after a few weeks of training, so I’m quite happy with my condition and the result. Sharing the podium with Roglič and Evenepoel isn’t too bad either.” Ide Schelling

“Our goal for today was to get Jai Hindley safely to the finish line and go for a result with Patrick Konrad. Unfortunately Patrick was involved in a crash, so we had to change plans and Ide Schelling did a great job to deal with the new situation. We’re happy to kick off the race with a podium and are looking forward to tomorrow’s first mountain finish.” Christian Pömer, Sports Director

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Caleb Ewan leads Lotto Dstny at Classic Brugge-De Panne

Here’s the team’s update:

At the Classic Brugge-De Panne (1.UWT), the sprinters get their chance on winning a Belgian spring Classic. However, the predicted rain and strong winds could cause chaos on the pan-flat course and hinder the sprinters’ plans, which will make the Classic Brugge-De Panne an exciting race. Top sprinter Caleb Ewan leads the Lotto Dstny line-up. He will be supported by a power squad including Cedric Beullens, Jasper De Buyst, Jarrad Drizners, Frederik Frison, Jacopo Guarnieri and Michael Schwarzmann. Nikolas Maes looks ahead.

Caleb Ewan wins the Schwalbe Classic earlier this year.

“The predicted rain and strong winds will surely make for a tough edition of Classic Brugge-De Panne. I expect a severe battle in de Moeren, but actually we need to be attentive at all times because splits could happen almost everywhere. With top sprinter Caleb Ewan at the start, our first goal is to support him as good as possible towards the final. Despite being two completely different races, Caleb has showed his good form at Milan-Sanremo. For what will most likely be a race marked by echelons, we selected a team of power guys who can definitely leave a mark on the race. We are really motivated to show ourselves and target a nice performance at Classic Brugge-De Panne”, concludes sports director Nikolas Maes.

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Juan Pedro Lopez back racing after breaking collarbone

Here’s the news from Lopez’s Team Trek-Segafredo:

"I really want to race". Juanpe Lopez is ready for his season debut at the Volta Catalunya after recovering from a broken collarbone.

Two months have passed since the crash that put the Spaniard on the sideline before the season had even begun. A crash during team training camp in Spain saw him break his collarbone . At that time, the middle of January, he was preparing for his first race at Volta Valenciana but, everything had to be postponed.

First came the surgery, then rehabilitation and finally a major training block to approach his new debut, this time at Volta Catalunya, with the right condition.

“I worked well and a lot in Sierra Nevada,” Juanpe explained. “As soon as the doctors gave me the green light I went up to altitude to train. I stayed there for 30 days, the rest of my approach to this debut I did at home. The numbers, analyzed with my coach Josu Larrazabal, say the condition is good, but I miss the so-called race rhythm. The first stages of Catalunya I will definitely suffer due to the changes of rhythm, but I take that into account. For me what matters is to feel good, to know that I have fully recovered and to pin again the number on my back. I really miss racing, the adrenaline, the competition!”

“Setting specific goals for a debut is complicated, there are too many question marks. I have to take it a little bit day by day. We have Ciccone on the team who is going strong. I will be by his side to help him, first and foremost. Then, if there is an opportunity, and the legs are there, to go on the attack, I will not back down.”

One of the most beautiful aspect’s of Juanpe’s character is the incurable optimism he conveys when he speaks. Juanpe always finds the positive aspect to focus on, particularly when things are not going well, as in the case of this crash.

“I broke my collarbone before I even started the season. I missed two races where I could have done well, like Volta Valenciana and Volta ao Algarve, but at the same time I was able to put a solid load of training in my legs that, looking to my (and the team’s) intentions, will be beneficial during the season. All in all, we were able to reduce this adversity to a minor bump in my 2023 journey,”

“I would have been happy to stick to my initial plans, of course, but in Sierra Nevada I had a good time. Many riders don’t like camps, but I do. It’s the best way to live 100 percent like an athlete. You eat and rest well, you train consistently. Of course, the distance from family and friends is felt after a while, but to do what I enjoy, it’s a sacrifice I gladly make. In short, we have to admit that being professional riders means that we are lucky people, we should never forget that.”

Getting back to talking about racing, it is not possible to look to the future without first reflecting back to what it was like in 2022 for Juanpe. A Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia, raced as one of the protagonists and then a bitter and unfortunate experience at Vuelta a España, his last race of the season.

“It was a bittersweet race for me, personally. I was not able to express myself as I wanted to but, with the utmost honesty, it didn’t overly affect me. I always knew that the Giro d’Italia had been something incredible. I had a very good condition, I felt a way that I have only felt a few times in my life. Then came the Maglia Rosa and 10 days as the leader. I raced it like I was over the moon. I got the maximum out of it, but it was not a good reason to allude myself that, from then on, everything would be easier. The Vuelta served as a lesson on the tougher side of cycling, when nothing comes easy, when you need to grit your teeth, to suffer every day to get to the finish line. Finishing the race gave me even more awareness of my capabilities. I came out mentally stronger.”

Juan Pedro Lopez in pink at the 2022 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

“After Catalunya I will race the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, then comes the Ardennes Classics. My focus now is on these goals. I will have time to think the rest of my season, which currently includes the Tour de France and then the Vuelta a España again, later. These are two events I care about, but I want to approach them with the right spirit and mindset.”



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