Archiv der Kategorie: Vorschau

2021 Tour de Yorkshire postponed but race organisers are committed to see the race return in 2022

Welcome to Yorkshire and the Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.) have confirmed that the 2021 Tour de Yorkshire will now be postponed until 2022. The difficult decision has been made after in-depth and constructive discussions with race organisers A.S.O., and also after detailed consultation with all the tourism agency’s local authority partners.
This sixth edition of the race had been due to take place between 30th April and 3rd May 2020, but the developing situation with COVID-19 meant the event simply became untenable.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s Chief Executive James Mason said:
“During these uncertain times Welcome to Yorkshire need to focus on the immediate needs of the industry without committing both financial and human resources towards any activity or event that we cannot be certain of. Cycling has become synonymous with Yorkshire and the Tour de Yorkshire has become a firm fixture on the world cycling calendar due to the reception the riders and teams receive in our county. Whilst it is very disappointing that we will be bereft of this wonderful race for another year the decision we have made it the right one and perhaps the only one we could make. The uncertainty in front of us meant it was impossible to plan or commit the resource that the race needs. This has been a mutual decision made by Welcome to Yorkshire and the A.S.O. and we will all now look forward to putting all our energies into bringing the race back bigger and better than ever in 2022.”
Yann Le Moenner, the Director General of A.S.O. said:
“We fully understand Welcome to Yorkshire’s position and are totally associated with this joint decision. We have worked a lot together since the Grand Départ of the Tour de France 2014 to put the Tour de Yorkshire on the top of the international cycling calendar. This work is obviously not wasted and we will collectively do our best to re-launch the event in 2022 and give the chance to the world’s best riders to be on the Yorkshire roads in front of one of the most enthusiastic audiences the cycling world has ever seen.”

The Tour de Yorkshire is of huge economic benefit to the county and its creation followed the success of the 2014 Tour de France’s Grand Départ in Yorkshire. This hugely popular event attracted 4 million roadside spectators with 188 countries broadcasting the race live contributing to £330m worth of media coverage with the Grand Depart in Yorkshire trending worldwide on Twitter.
Subsequent Tour de Yorkshire’s from 2015 to 2019 have also been an incredible success for the county, boosting the economy and showcasing spectacular Yorkshire scenery across the globe. Benefits for the county during the Tour de Yorkshire have included record-breaking figures of 107.5m Twitter reach (2016), 2.6m spectators along the route and a £98m economic impact (2018), plus a TV audience of 28m in 190 countries (2019).

More information about the Tour de Yorkshire on www.letour.yorkshire.com
@ASO

UCI und Eurosport Events präsentieren die UCI Track Champions League

5. November 2020 – Paris, Frankreich: Nach der ersten Ankündigung im März in Berlin stellen der Dachverband des Radsports, die Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), und Eurosport Events heute weitere Details der neuen Bahnrad-Serie vor, die genau in einem Jahr ihr Debut feiert. Dazu zählen der offizielle Namen, das Logo, ein kurzer Einführungsfilm, der überarbeitete Zeitplan und die beiden Markenbotschafter.
Die UCI Track Champions League
Die UCI Track Champions League, welche erstmalig im März 2020 noch unter dem Projektnamen UCI Track Cycling World League vorgestellt wurde, verspricht eine der spannendsten und dynamischsten Rennserien im Radsportkalender zu werden. Ziel ist es, die weltweite Fangemeinde der Bahnradsports mithilfe von schnellen und kürzeren Rennformaten zu erweitern. Dabei ist jedes Rennen wichtig, es steht viel auf dem Spiel und nur die besten Athleten qualifizieren sich.
Die heutige Bekanntgabe der Markenidentität ist der erste Schritt, den die UCI und Eurosport Events gemeinsam unternehmen, um das Profil des Bahnradsports neu zu erfinden. Der Name ‚UCI Track Champions League‘ spiegelt das gemeinsame Engagement und das Prestige dieses sportlichen Elitewettbewerbs bei jedem Rennen wider. Das markante, kreisförmige Logo stellt die Bahn dar, welche durch diagonale Linien überlagert wird, um die hohe Geschwindigkeit der Fahrer auf der Bahn zu vermitteln. Das Logo verkörpert die neue Rennserie, die bereit ist, die Bahnrad- und Radsport-Fans weltweit zu begeistern.
Das Jahr des Bahnradsports
Da das Interesse am Bahnradsport bei Olympischen Spielen erfahrungsgemäß sehr hoch ist, wird die UCI Track Champions League der krönende Abschluss eines unglaublichen Jahres für diese Disziplin sein. Die besten internationalen Sprint- und Ausdauerfahrer werden nächstes Jahr u.a. in Tokio bei den verschobenen Olympischen Spielen 2020 im August, in Turkmenistan bei den UCI Bahnrad-Weltmeisterschaften im Oktober und bei den sechs Veranstaltungen im Rahmen der UCI Track Champions League in Europa im Mittelpunkt der Radsportwelt stehen.
Ürsprünglich sollte die Eröffnungssaison im November 2021 beginnen und im Februar 2022 enden. Diesen Zeitplan haben die UCI und Eurosport Events überdacht und bestätigen heute, dass die UCI Track Champions League stattdessen an sechs aufeinander folgenden Wochenenden zwischen November und Dezember 2021 ausgetragen wird.
Der neue, kürzere Zeitplan verstärkt das actionreiche Format der Rennen. Das attraktive Programm bietet Titelwettkämpfe für Frauen und Männer in den Disziplinen Einzelsprint, Keirin, Ausscheidungsfahren und Scratch. Die Rennen werden alle an einem Tag ausgetragen und auf einem regelmäßigen, zweistündigen Sendeplatz an den sechs Wochenenden übertragen. Der überarbeitete Zeitplan ermöglicht es, die Duelle auf den Rennstrecken aufzuheizen und die Fans Woche für Woche für die Wettkämpfe zu begeistern.
Die neun bestplatzierten Fahrer im Einzelsprint und im Keirin sowie alle Medaillengewinner in „Bunch Races“ bei der UCI Bahnrad-WM qualifizieren sich für die erste Ausgabe der UCI Track Champions League. Bei den Rennen im Rahmen der UCI Track Champions League haben die Fahrer dann die Möglichkeit begehrte Punkte für die nächste UCI Bahnrad-WM zu sammeln.
Offizielle Botschafter der UCI Track Champions League
Als offizielle Botschafter der UCI Track Champions League fungieren zwei Legenden des Bahnradsports, die auf olympischer sowie auf internationaler Ebene erfolgreich waren: Kristina Vogel und Sir Chris Hoy MBE. Vogel (Deutschland) ist elffache UCI-Weltmeisterin und hat bei den Olympischen Spielen zwei Goldmedaillen und eine Bronzemedaille gewonnen. Hoy (UK) ist mit sechs olympischen Goldmedaillen, elf Weltmeistertiteln und 34 Weltcup-Goldmedaillen der erfolgreichste Rennradfahrer der Geschichte.
Vogel und Hoy sind Teil der Übertragung der UCI Track Champions League 2021 bei Eurosport, das „Home of Cycling“, und der Streaming-Plattform Global Cycling Network (GCN). Das Produktionsteam von Eurosport und GCN ist für die Übertragung der bekanntesten Rennen im Radsportkalender verantwortlich und bietet Millionen von Zuschauern einen einzigartigen Zugang zu innovativen und fan-orientierten digitalen Inhalten.
Der offizielle Launch der UCI Track Champions League wird im März 2021 stattfinden – wenn die endgültigen Details zu den Rennformaten und den Preisen bestätigt sind. Doch bereits heute veröffentlichen die UCI und Eurosport Events einen Teaser-Film, der einen ersten Einblick in das Geschehen auf der Bahn gewährt. Der Film ist auf der neuen Website der UCI Track Champions League zu sehen: ucitrackchampionsleague.com
David Lappartient, UCI Präsident:

Foto: Gerhard Plomitzer
„Wir freuen uns heute, gemeinsam mit unserem Partner Eurosport Events, den Namen, das Logo und die Botschafter der zukünftigen Bahnrad-Rennserie zu präsentieren, die speziell für Fernsehfans entworfen wurde. Von November bis Dezember 2021 wird die UCI Track Champions League die weltbesten Sprinter und Ausdauerspezialisten an sechs aufeinander folgenden Wochenenden in kurzen Rennformaten zusammenbringen. Ziel ist es, die Fangemeinde zu erweitern und die Disziplinen einem neuen und erlebnishungrigen Publikum zugänglich zu machen. Mithilfe ihrer starken visuellen Markenidentität, ihren legendären Botschaftern und ihrem kompakten Wettkampfkalender bringt die neue Bahnrad-Rennserie frischen Wind in eine historische Disziplin unseres Sports sowie der Olympischen und Paralympischen Spiele.“
François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events:
„Am 1. März sind Discovery und die UCI bei den UCI Bahnrad-Weltmeisterschaften in Berlin eine langfristige gemeinsame Partnerschaft eingegangen, um dem Bahnradsport mithilfe eines neuen sportlichen Formats eine neue Dynamik zu verleihen. Die Covid-19-Pandemie hat dieses Ziel nicht beeinträchtigt: Zwölf Monate vor dem Start im November 2021 freuen wir uns sehr darauf, die Markenidentität der UCI Track Champions League zu enthüllen. Diese Marke steht für höchste sportliche Standards, spektakuläre Austragungsorte, ein einzigartiges Erlebnis vor Ort, globale Reichweite und ist speziell für Champions konzipiert. 2021 wird ein großes Jahr für den internationalen Bahnradsport: Die Olympische Spiele im August, die Weltmeisterschaften im Oktober und die UCI Track Champions League mit sechs Veranstaltungen im November und Dezember, die bei der ersten Ausgabe nur in Europa stattfinden werden. Als Vermarkter streben Eurosport und GCN an, jedes Jahr einen einzigartigen Höhepunkt im Bahnradsport mit einem umfassenden Berichterstattung für die Fans zu schaffen.“
Kristina Vogel, Botschafterin der UCI Track Champions League:
„Ich freue mich, in meiner Rolle als offizielle Botschafterin der UCI Track Champions League mit der UCI und Eurosport Events zusammenzuarbeiten. Die Vision ist aufregend: ein Rennen zu kreieren, welches nicht nur ein erstaunliches sportliches Spektakel wird, sondern das Bahnradfahrer aus der ganzen Welt anlocken wird, um sich der ultimativen Herausforderung zu stellen. Die neue UCI Track Champions League legt den Schwerpunkt auf die Erfahrung der Fahrer. Daher ist es eine besondere Ehre mich als Botschafterin Teil der Eröffnungssaison zu sein. Ich freue mich schon sehr auf die Action auf der Bahn im nächsten Jahr.“
Sir Chris Hoy MBE, Botschafter der UCI Track Champions League:
„Ich bin begeistert, heute meine neue Rolle als Botschafter an der Seite der mehrfachen Olympiasiegerin und UCI-Weltmeisterin Kristina Vogel bekannt zu geben. Die UCI Track Champions League wird den Zuschauern die Action und Atmosphäre des Bahnradsports näher bringen als je zuvor. Nach einer langen Karriere auf der Bahn, in der ich diesen Adrenalinschub hautnah miterlebt habe, freue ich mich, dass die Disziplin von Eurosport Events auf globaler Ebene gefördert wird.“

2021 TOUR DE FRANCE: LOOPING THE LOOP

Key points:
 The route of the 2021 Tour de France, which is due to run from 26 June to 18 July, was presented on the set of France Télévisions‘ Stade 2 weekly programme today. After the Grand Départ in Copenhagen and Denmark had to be postponed to the following edition, this time the show will get on the road in Brittany with four stages tailored to punchers and sprinters.
 The 2021 route has been fine-tuned to keep the suspense going until the end. Climbers will get three opportunities to gain time on summit finishes (Tignes, Saint-Lary-Soulan Col du Portet and Luz Ardiden), but riders will also have to make use of their descending skills to win in Le Grand Bornand, at the foot of a „revamped“ Ventoux and in Andorra. The addition of two individual time trials with a combined length of 58 kilometres will also be a decisive factor in the strategies of the riders.

The 108th Tour de France will feature a ground-breaking route with a double serving of climbing. Contenders for the overall victory will have to be on high alert from the get-go, lest they crack on the two climbs up the Mûr-de-Bretagne, which will be tackled from a different side in the stage 2 finale. Ten days later, they will have to put on another show of strength on the slopes of the Mont Ventoux. The Giant of Provence, which is making its first double appearance in a stage, will be tackled from two different sides before plunging down to Malaucène. In between these two key dates, the riders will have already faced new challenges, including four stages in the four departments that make up Brittany —from Brest to Fougères— riddled with hazards such as coastal winds and the hills of the Armorican Massif. The Signal d’Uchon, a recently discovered climb in the Morvan, will decide the stage to Le Creusot in its first appearance in the race.

The return of the first-week individual time trial will provide an early indication of the pecking order, which the climbers will do their best to shake up in the two gruelling Alpine stages finishing in Le Grand Bornand and in Tignes, just before the first rest day.
After that, the Pyrenees will dispel any remaining doubts in five action-packed duels in the high mountains, combining the brand-new, spectacular Col de Saint-Louis on the road to Quillan with absolute classics like the Peyresourde – Val Louron-Azet – Col du Portet and Tourmalet – Luz Ardiden sequences. It will be do or die for the kings of the mountains, who will have to grab every second they can if they are to fend off the toughest power riders in the 31 km run through the vineyards of Saint-Émilion on the eve of the finish on the Champs-Élysées.
While the destiny of the Yellow Jersey will probably be decided in south-western France, the fight for the green jersey will take place all over the country, with no fewer than seven stages likely to fall to the sprinters as long as their teammates can keep any breakaways on a tight leash. Stage hunters will also get numerous opportunities to thwart the peloton.

LA COURSE BY LE TOUR DE FRANCE WITH FDJ TO TACKLE THE MÛR-DE-BRETAGNE
Since 2014, the women’s peloton has raced on the Champs-Élysées, tamed the Col d’Izoard and gone head to head in a circuit race at the foot of the Pyrenees. The eighth edition of the race will take the riders to Mûr-de-Bretagne, a hallowed site of cycling that has come to be known as „the Breton Alpe d’Huez“. While the men will face a double serving of the climb in the finale of stage 2, the ladies will tackle it no fewer than six times on 27 June 2021. The course is about 130 km long and consists of five laps of a circuit to be completed before the finish. Every lap will be tougher than the last!

ÉTAPE DU TOUR DE FRANCE: SEE YOU IN NICE ON 4th JULY
Time to follow Alaphilippe’s wheel! Following the cancellation of the 2020 edition, the cyclosportive riders of the Étape du Tour de France will get back to business on the course of stage 2 of the last Tour de France, an 186 km trek featuring the Col de la Colmiane, Col de Turini and Col d’Èze as its highlights. The decision to keep the original course of the 30th edition stems from a common aspiration with the city of Nice to support the villages in the Vésubie Valley, which were devastated and left with damaged roads by Storm Alex a few weeks ago. Note that riders who signed up for the 2020 edition will have priority for 2021, but they may ask for a refund if they no longer wish to take part in the event. The official registration window will open at the beginning of the year.
@ASO

La Vuelta 21 will start from inside the Burgos Cathedral to celebrate its 800th anniversary

La Vuelta 21 will start from an unusual place: inside the Burgos Cathedral. „It will be the first time a cycling race starts from inside a cathedral“, announced the general manager of La Vuelta, Javier Guillén, during the official presentation of the start of La Vuelta 21, one of the main event organized by the Fundación VIII Centenario de la Catedral. Burgos 2021 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the church, in July.
Javier Guillén announced La Vuelta 21 will start on August 14th 2021 with an individual time-trial from inside the Burgos Cathedral. The riders will go through the main entrance ahead of a „urban circuit“ set to illustrate the „monumental character of the city“. They will go past the castle before they return to the Cathedral, where the finish will also be set.
WORLDWIDE SHOWCASE
The start of La Vuelta 21 follows the innovative path that Unipublic has defended in the recent years, turning the Spanish Grand Tour into “a showcase capable of bringing the excellence of our country to the rest of the world”, highlighted Javier Guillén, who has made a simile between a stage race and a pilgrimage. It will be even more acute in 2021, the Jacobean Year, since the Burgos Cathedral is one of the landmarks of the Camino de Santiago.
To present this first stage of La Vuelta 21, a first view of the time-trial has been recreated, under the watch of the famous automaton Papamoscas and with the rider Ángel Fuentes (Burgos BH), who was wearing a jersey designed for the occasion of the 800th anniversary of the Burgos Cathedral.

AN EXAMPLE OF COLLABORATION BETWEEN INSTITUTIONS
If something has become clear in this morning’s event, it is the good harmony between institutions which have collaborated to make the commitment that was signed almost a year ago, on December 18, 2019, a reality.
Today’s event was attended by the mayor of Burgos, Daniel de la Rosa; the counsellor of the Presidency of the Junta de Castilla y León, Ángel Ibáñez; the vice president of the Burgos Provincial Council, Lorenzo Rodríguez; the general director of Sports of the Junta de Castilla y León, María Perrino; the president and vice president of the Fundación VIII Centenario de la Catedral. Burgos 2021, Fidel Herráez and Antonio Miguel Méndez Pozo; and the dean of the Cathedral, Pablo González Cámara.

The participants have received commemorative statuettes of the departure of La Vuelta 21 made by the sculptor from Burgos Cristino Díez. This sporting event will be added to the commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the Burgos Cathedral and other milestones that will come together in Burgos such as the year of Jubilee granted by the Vatican, the Jacobean Year, the 800th anniversary of the death of Santo Domingo de Guzmán and the exhibition Las Edades del Hombre, as Antonio Miguel Méndez Pozo, vice president of the Fundación VIII Centenario de la Catedral. Burgos 2021 recalled.
Daniel de la Rosa, Mayor of Burgos, said it is a „true luxury“ and something „exceptional“ to see the Cathedral welcome the start of one of the three Grand Tours of the international cycling calendar, and that it does so from „a living monument, which is being renewed”, as Lorenzo Rodríguez, vice president of the Burgos Provincial Council, has underlined.
Thus, the 800th anniversary and La Vuelta 21 will remain “united”, in the words of Fidel Herráez, President of the Fundación VIII Centenario de la Catedral. Burgos 2021, and will keep demonstrating „the firm commitment of the Fundación for Castilla y León“, as highlighted by Ángel Ibáñez, counselor of the presidency of the Junta de Castilla y León.

LA VUELTA 20: INFO WITH ONE DAY TO GO

Key points :

• On the eve of La Vuelta’s 75th edition, defending champion Primoz Roglic spearheads the bunch of 176 riders expected to start from Irun. The Slovenian rider, who has stood on the podium of the last three grand tours he has participated in, shares the leadership of Team Jumbo-Visma with Tom Dumoulin. Amongst the rivals, we reckon names like Richard Carapaz, Chris Froome, Enric Mas, Esteban Chaves or Aleksandr Vlasov.
• Another marquee name in the startlist is Thibaut Pinot, who aims at more modest goals as he wants to enjoy the race and fight for stage wins. Groupama-FDJ’s card for the GC is young Frenchman David Gaudu.
• As for tomorrow’s stage, it will be La Vuelta’s first ever summit finish on an initial race day. Climbers will enjoy the 173 kilometres between Irún and Arrate. Watch out for Alejandro Valverde, the active rider with most stages won on the Spanish grand tour, who already triumphed in this sanctuary back in 2012.


Foto: Gerhard Plomitzer

LA ROJA TO BE AWARDED IN ARRATE
Since the red jersey was first established as the one to distinguish the leader of the overall classification at La Vuelta, 37 different riders have worn La Roja. This year, the first one to earn the right to use it will probably be the climber who triumphs in the Santuario de Arrate, a four-century old sanctuary nearby Eibar that is reached after a 5,3-kilometre climb, and where the finish of the initial stage of La Vuelta 20 will be placed. It’s the first summit finish ever on the first racing day of any edition of La Vuelta. The last time La Vuelta visited Arrate was in 2012: it was the third stage, and Alejandro Valverde beat Joaquim ‘Purito’ Rodríguez right over the finish line. A native from Irun, former cyclist and current DS for EF Education First Juanma Gárate, is an authorised voice to break down the possible outcome we may see on this starting stage of La Vuelta 20. “I think the GC favourites won’t be able to hold any cards close to their chests,” says the winner of the Mont Ventoux stage of the Tour de France 2009. “I expect a 20-strong group to make it together to the finish line. No one will let the race go this early, so gaps won’t be huge.” On this scenario, Alejandro Valverde’s speed can well deliver him victory – and La Roja! “This is a climb I know quite well,” said the 2018 UCI Road World Champion on his team’s press conference. “I’ll ride thinking of my chances, but also on my teammate’s: we ought to ride for the benefit of the team. If any of us wins in Arrate, it would be amazing!”

DEFENDING CHAMPION WITH A HIGH-RANKED LIEUTENANT
Team Jumbo-Visma enters La Vuelta 20 with one of the most powerful line-ups of the race. Last year’s overall winner Primoz Roglic is an obvious contender for the GC, but he is intended to share the leadership of his team with Tom Dumoulin, himself a renowned three-week rider. “It will be the same approach as in the Tour de France,” said Roglic on the team’s press conference. “Tom and I are the designated leaders and we will see who is in better shape as days go by.” Dumoulin already came close to triumphing in the Spanish grand tour back in 2015. “I have some really good memories from La Vuelta,” stated the Dutch cyclist. “I’ve only raced it twice, but on the second one I got two stage wins and I nearly won the GC. I’m happy to be back in Spain.” Build-up hasn’t been ideal for either of the two. “It’s been pretty much non-stop since the season resumed,” said Dumoulin. “After the Tour I went to the Worlds, then to the Ardennaises, so I only could spend two weeks at home to rest and prepare for this race. But it’s been almost the same for everyone.” Roglic delivered a quick analysis of the race route: “The third week is easier than the other two. We will find out from tomorrow, and over the first week, how good we are. The route seems fun as it will be full-on racing all the time, so I hope it will be entertaining to watch us from home.”

CARAPAZ FOR THE WIN, FROOME FOR THE FAREWELL
INEOS Grenadiers is one of the most successful teams in La Vuelta’s recent history. Under its previous incarnation, Team Sky, the British team won nine stages and two editions of the Spanish Grand Tour, both with Chris Froome. This will be quite a particular race for Kenyan-born rider, though, as he is bidding farewell to the team after 11 seasons. “And I’m looking forward to finish my time in INEOS on a high note,” he said on a press conference. “It is a bag of mixed emotions, really, as it’s strange to think I won’t be in INEOS colours in a few months time. I am going to enjoy this race anyway. This year’s won’t be your typical Vuelta, as with a colder weather it will feel as if we were racing in the Pays Basque for three weeks. For me personally I’m going to take these first few days to see where I am in the peloton.” The designated leader of INEOS Grenadiers for La Vuelta 20 is Richard Carapaz, winner of the Giro d’Italia 2019. “It’s been quite a strange season for all of us,” he stated. “I feel really prepared for this race and my motivation is very high. We have a great team to deliver a very good performance, and I want to race for the win. This first week is going to be decisive, and even the first stage will be quite telling of who is going to be fighting for the overall. We are not going to miss the chance of winning this race. Everyone will do his best for the team. I have a high opinion of Chris Froome and I’m sure his experience will be a great asset for us.”

LOW-KEY PINOT
On his fourth participation in La Vuelta, where he has finished twice inside the Top10 of the GC (7th in 2013, 6th in 2018), Thibaut Pinot is going to play quite a different role. After a far from ideal build-up, his goals are more modest than in previous editions of the Spanish grand tour. “I’m not 100% recovered from the back issues I suffered from during the Tour de France,” said the Frenchman today at Groupama-FDJ’s press conference. “It’s getting better, though. I wanted to enter this race because I didn’t want to end my season with that bitter taste the Tour left in my mouth. I hope La Vuelta will put me back on track for a nice winter season. I want to amuse myself as I haven’t done on a cycling race for a long time.” The leader of the French team for the GC will be David Gaudu, an up-and-coming climber. “There won’t be any easy days on the first week, so I’ll have to be in the mix from the very beginning. We bear very good memories of the Tourmalet, where Thibaut [Pinot] won a stage in last year’s Tour de France. I want to be up there already in Arrate, a climb I find suits my characteristics.”

CAJA RURAL-SEGUROS RGA RACING WITH TWO BIG GOALS
The sporting goal of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA in La Vuelta 20 is crystal clear: fighting for a stage victory. The Spanish team hopes this edition of the race will be an open one, helping the chances of the breakaways to make it to the finish line. “Our motto during the build-up has been ‘A río revuelto, ganancia de pescadores’ [Fishermen make their day in troubled waters],” said DS Xabier Muriel this morning on a press conference. “We’ve put together quite a balanced team, with several pure climbers, men for the hilly stages, and a fast sprinter like Jon Aberasturi,” he outlined. There is a second goal in sight for the Spanish outfit, though: #TuCorazónSuma (‘Your Heart Adds Up’). This charity initiative, set up by the team’s main sponsor, aims to raise 2.000€ on every single stage of La Vuelta 20 and donate the money to a project of the NGO Cáritas. “This team has always been sensible to social issues,” explained the team’s vice-president, Ricardo Goñi. “We’ve always tried to support those who need it the most. And this year it is even more important to do it.”
© Unipublic

LA VUELTA 20: UNIPUBLIC-UCI STATEMENT CONCERNING THE TESTING CAMPAIGN CARRIED OUT ON OCTOBER 18TH 2020

LA VUELTA 20: JOINT UNIPUBLIC-UCI STATEMENT CONCERNING THE TESTING CAMPAIGN CARRIED OUT ON OCTOBER 18TH 2020

In line with the health protocol of La Vuelta, established as part of the the “Rules to be followed for the resumption of the road cycling season in the context of the coronavirus pandemic”, drawn up by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and, in compliance with the measures of the Spanish Health Ministry, all teams (riders and staff) were tested yesterday (October 18th, 2020). The event starts on October 20th.

Besides, all those with accreditations were due to show a negative PCR test conducted within the 5 days preceding the official start of the race in Irun at the time of collecting their badge. As of now, 500 PCR tests have been conducted, with more tests due to be performed today, specially for those riders and team staff joining the level 1 of La Vuelta 20’s race bubble after taking part in the Tour de Flanders. The objective of this testing is to guarantee the health of the race for the riders and accredited personnel.

A total of 498 tests were carried out:

• No rider has tested positive for COVID-19.
• Two team staff members, one from Bahrain-McLaren and the other from Team Sunweb, tested positive for Covid-19; they were referred to their respective team doctors who organized isolation measures and took necessary action, in compliance with the World Health Organization (WHO) rules, concerning contact cases.
@Unipublic

VUELTA 20 – Primoz Roglic will wear bib number 1

Key points :

• The winner of La Vuelta 19, Primoz Roglic, will wear bib number “1” in the official departure of La Vuelta 20 on the 20th of October in Irun.
• Jumbo-Visma will be participating with one of the strongest teams, and with Tom Dumoulin as co-leader along with other favourites including Enric Mas, Thibaut Pinot, Richard Carapaz and Chris Froome.
• Sam Bennett and Pascal Ackermann are the main candidates for sprint victories.

The list of pre-registered participants for the 75th edition of La Vuelta shows that the Tour de France favourites will be coming to Spain, starting with the winner of La Vuelta 19, Slovenian rider Primož Roglič, who was the big favourite to win the Grand Boucle from start to finish, before ceding the yellow jersey to his countryman Tadej Pogacar, in the second-last stage, just 24 hours from the arrival in Paris. He will be leading the Jumbo-Visma team featuring the strongest line-up with Tom Dumoulin as co-leader and his luxury team mates: Robert Gesink, George Bennett and Sepp Kuss. The latter won stage 15 of La Vuelta 19 in the summit of the Acebo Sanctuary.

Nans Peters (AG2R-La Mondiale), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) and Dani Martinez (EF Pro Cycling), winners of mountain stages in the last Tour de France, are also pre-registered in La Vuelta 20, as are the protagonists of the Tour de France’s general classification: Enric Mas (5th), Tom Dumoulin (7th), Damiano Caruso (10th), Guillaume Martin (11th), Alejandro Valverde (12th), Richard Carapaz (13th) and Sepp Kuss (15th). For most of them, La Vuelta is a new chance to improve on this season’s performances.

La Vuelta is also a good opportunity to make amends for the frustrations they encountered during the Tour: Thibaut Pinot and his compatriot David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) and David de La Cruz (UAE Team Emirates), who began injured and ended up becoming one of the most valued collaborators of the final winner, Tadej Pogacar. The Tour de France revelation had already made an impression in last year’s edition of La Vuelta (3rd in the general classification and winner of three mountain stages).

Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) is feeling positive: 8th in the Tirreno-Adriático (and a stage win), 3rd in La Flèche Wallone and 7th in the Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The winner at the Balcón de Bizkaia summit in 2018 arrives fresh for La Vuelta, a race he particularly enjoys. Among those pre-registered are also great stage hunters such as Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-McLaren), leader for one day in La Vuelta 19, Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) and young prodigies such Andrea Bagioli and Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-Quick Step).

There are two stars among the pre-registered sprinters: Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step), the man who dethroned Peter Sagan in the battle for the green jersey in the Tour de France, and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe), winner of the points classification in the Giro 2019, during his very first participation in a Grand Tour. Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates), Matteo Moschetti (Trek-Segafredo) and Magnus Cort (Astana Pro Team) are among the candidates to challenge the supremacy of these two sprinters.
@Unipublic

Paris-Tours 2020: Info with one day to go

Key points:
 The 114th edition of Paris-Tours will start at 09:35 tomorrow morning in Chartres. The riders will have to keep their wits about them as they take on vineyard tracks and hills towards the end of the 213-kilometre route, while taking care not to be caught out by crosswinds on the more exposed sections.
 2018 winner Soren Kragh Andersen starts as favourite but he faces no shortage of challengers, including Benoît Cosnefroy, Warren Barguil, Bryan Coquard, Nacer Bouhanni and Romain Bardet, who makes his final appearance in France for AG2R La Mondiale.
 Ahead of the elite race, the Avenue de Grammont will witness the conclusions to the Paris-Tours Espoirs and Paris-Tours Kilometre races, contested by boys and girls in the cadet and junior categories.

WIND, HILLS AND GRAVEL TRACKS: A HEAVY COCKTAIL

The “classic of the dead leaves” has become something of a “classic of the grapevines” since the addition to its route, two editions ago, of gravel sections traversing the vineyards of the Loire Valley. Set to ensure an intense final 50 kilometres for the racers, the nine tracks featured this year are interspersed among a series of hill climbs in the closing stages.
Cédric Coutouly, who is in charge of setting the route for Paris-Tours, explains the layout of this year’s race: „The vineyard tracks we choose are always accompanied by a hill. In 2018, for example, Kragh Andersen dropped Cosnefroy and Terpstra on the ascent of the Côte de Rochecorbon, a climb made even more demanding by the presence of a vineyard track immediately before it. It is this combination that creates various „springboards“ for riders looking to attack.” The wind is another element in the equation and one which, according to Coutouly, may have a central role to play tomorrow: „in theory there’ll be a north-westerly wind, which may mean crosswinds after the riders pass through Vendôme“. At that point, with over 100 kilometres left to race, only the most vigilant riders will prevail.

ROMAIN BARDET: “IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK”
After his season was put on hold following a heavy crash on the thirteenth stage of the Tour de France, Romain Bardet returned to action at the Flèche Brabançonne (27th) and is set to ride Paris-Tours for the very first time, just as his nine-season association with AG2R La Mondiale comes to an end. It will be his last race in the team’s colours in France before he leaves to join Sunweb: „I’ve only competed in the Paris-Tours U23 race and I’ve got good memories of it. I also recall the images of Richard Virenque when he won there in 2001, as he was a rider I followed closely at the time. I like the idea of trying out a new race and changing up my usual schedule, all the more so since the introduction of the vineyards has added a touch of spice to it. It’s interesting to shake up the route with this sort of innovation, to move away from the classic scenarios. I don’t have any real ambitions this weekend, although I felt good at the Flèche Brabançonne and I’m delighted that my season hasn’t been cut short. It’s good to be back in competition.”

PARIS-TOURS ESPOIRS:
YOUNG RIDERS TO SET OFF FROM BONNEVAL
The identity of the riders on the Paris-Tours Espoirs podium has sometimes been known to offer clues as to the future make-up of the professional peloton. The last ten editions of the race have seen stars like Jelle Wallays, Warren Barguil, Mike Teunissen, Jasper Philipsen and, more recently, Nils Eekhoff all finish in the top three. This year, observers will therefore be keeping a keen eye out for the under-23 riders crossing the finish line at the end of the 178-kilometres route starting in Bonneval.
Of the 31 teams competing, perhaps the most promising crop of riders can be found in the Uno-X Norwegian Development Team and, above all, in the figure of their leader Jonas Hvideberd, who was crowned U23 European champion in Plouay this August. Hvideberd finished third in the race in 2019 when he was only 20 years old. With another year of racing under his belt, the Norwegian has every reason to fancy his chances tomorrow but knows that he will face strong competition from rivals like Belgium’s Ward Vanhoof (sixth last year and fourth in Paris-Roubaix Espoirs) and Frenchman Jason Tesson, who rode home sixth behind Hvideberd at the European championships.
@ASO

No Paris-Roubaix 2020

At the request of the Préfet du Nord, Préfet des Hauts de France and following the Health Minister Olivier Véran’s announcement yesterday, that placed the Lille Metropolitan area on maximum alert, the 118th edition of Paris-Roubaix (UCI WorldTour) and the 1st edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes (UCI Women’s WorldTour), originally scheduled to take place on the 25th October, will not be organised.
Paris-Roubaix, an incredibly popular event and one that is met with great enthusiasm every year, had already been postponed from its original 12th of April date following the containment measures put in place in spring to fight against the spread of COVID-19.
We would like to warmly thank the communities and event partners who supported us in this postponement as well as those who were, like us, delighted to see the Queen of the Classics even in the autumn.
We will see you on the cobblestones on the 11th April 2021 to celebrate one of the greatest monuments in world cycling.
@ASO

PARIS-TOURS 2020: ANOTHER YEAR FOR THE DANES?

Key points:
 The 114th edition of Paris-Tours, which starts on Sunday morning in Chartres, will be raced over 213 km, with a final 50 km featuring nine vineyard tracks totalling 9.5 km.
 These gravel sections were first introduced in 2018, when they were mastered by Soren Kragh Andersen, who will start Sunday’s race as favourite. The Dane will face strong competition from a varied list of contenders that includes Romain Bardet, Valentin Madouas, Warren Barguil, Evaldas Siskevicius, Nacer Bouhanni and Bryan Coquard.

Whatever Paris-Tours may hold in store, the joy of raising one’s arms aloft on the Avenue de Grammont is a privilege reserved only for the very strongest riders. This is true when the race culminates in a sprint – be it one contested by a small group or a bigger peloton – and even more so when a rider succeeds in eliminating the competition with a solo break, a scenario that has unfolded twice since the vineyard tracks were first introduced in 2018. On that occasion Soren Kragh Andersen, who had already claimed notable successes including stage wins in the Tour of Oman and the Tour de Suisse, demonstrated a potent blend of racing instinct and strength as he rode to victory in Tours. Two years down the line, his formula continues to bear fruit, as shown in his two wins at this year’s Tour de France, and the Dane’s style appears once more to be perfectly suited to the challenge presented by the autumn vineyards. Having claimed an imperious victory ahead of Stefan Küng in the time trial stage at the recent BinckBank Tour, the Danish rouleur arrives in fine form and with the favourite’s tag firmly attached to his No. 1 bib. He nonetheless faces stiff competition from Valentin Madouas, in impressive form at the World Championships and in the Ardennes, Evaldas Siskevicius, a rider built for Roubaix-style challenges, and Romain Bardet, who is no stranger to descending from the mountains in search of the classics (3rd at Liège and 2nd in the Strade Bianche in 2018), like Warren Barguil, 4th of Flèche Wallonne and 9th in Liège last week. Alternatively, any prospect of a sprint for the line, regardless of the number of riders involved, could play into the hands of Bryan Coquard, who finished in the top ten at each of the seven sprints contested by the peloton at this year’s Tour de France (including 3rd place in Lavaur) or Nacer Bouhanni, who would dearly love to follow up his overall triumph in the Coupe de France series by claiming victory at one of the crucibles of sprinting.

The main contenders (as at 06/10):
Belgium
Alpecin-Fenix: De Bondt (BEL), Vakoc (CZE)
Circus-Wanty Gobert: Vliegen (BEL)
Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise: Deltombe (BEL)
Bingoal WB: Vanendert, Ista (BEL)

Denmark
Riwal Readynez Cycling Team: Jensen (NOR)

France
AG2R La Mondiale: Bardet, Godon (FRA)
Groupama-FDJ: Madouas, Molard (FRA)
Cofidis: Vanbilsen (Bel), Berhane (ERI)
Total-Direct Energie: Hivert (FRA)
Team Arkea-Samsic: Bouhanni, Barguil (FRA), McLay (GB)
B&B Vital Concept P/B KTM: Coquard (FRA), Slagter (NLD)
Nippo Delko Provence: Siskevicius (LIT), Combaud (FRA)
St Michel-Auber 93: Maldonado, Hurel (FRA)
Natura4ever-Roubaix Lille Métropole: Vermeulen, Levasseur (FRA)

Germany
Team Sunweb: Kragh Andersen, C.Pedersen (DEN)

Norway
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team: M. Hoelgaard (NOR)

Russia
Gazprom-RusVelo: Canola (ITA), Kuznetsov (RUS)

Spain
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA: Aberasturi (ESP), Aular (VEN)
Burgos-BH: Gibson (GB), Molenaar (NLD)
Euskaltel-Euskadi: Aristi (ESP), Zhyhunou (BLR)

USA
Team Novo Nordisk: Planet (FRA), Kusztor (HUN)
Rally Cycling: Carpenter, Colin (USA)

©A.S.O.
More information about Paris-Tours on: www.paris-tours.fr/en/

LIÈGE-BASTOGNE-LIÈGE 2020: INFO WITH ONE DAY TO GO

Key information:
 On the eve of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, all eyes are set on Julian Alaphilippe. The Frenchman is the main favourite for victory on his maiden race with the rainbow jersey – even more so after Alejandro Valverde’s last-minute withdrawal.
 There is a very long list of outsiders. Those who were up there already in Flèche Wallonne, such as Marc Hirschi, Benoît Cosnefroy, Michael Woods or Michal Kwiatkowski, are obvious names. And then there are those who have travelled to Belgium just for this event – such as Chris Froome, Primoz Roglic or Adam Yates.
 A surprise, late addition to a startlist already packed with talent is Mathieu Van der Poel. Right after winning the BinckBank Tour this very Saturday, the Alpecin-Fenix team confirmed the Dutch rider will take part in La Doyenne.
 The fourth edition of the Women’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège will be held hours before the men’s event, and pretty much on the same roads. Dutch duo Anna van der Breggen and Annemiek van Vleuten are the main favourites for victory on a race that will be broadcasted live across 190 countries.

WILL THE ROCHE-AUX-FAUCONS BE DECIDING AGAIN?
Last year, Liège-Bastogne-Liège went back to holding its finish line in the centre of the Ardennes city after 27 straight years ending with an uphill finish on its suburb Ans. Jakob Fuglsang took advantage of this set-up already in 2019, when he accelerated with 16 kilometres to go, up the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons, to later launch his winning attack at its small, follow-up hill, the Côte de Boncelles. “It’s the change we were hoping for,” says route designer Jean-Michel Monin. “In previous years, riders waited until the eleventh hour at the Côte de Saint-Nicolas, 5 kilometres from the finish, to try and break away. The Roche-aux-Faucons is the key climb now, and that forces the favourites to attack earlier and provides for a more exciting finale. This year we can picture an outcome similar to 2019, although I only see one guy capable of pulling out such exploit: that’s Julian Alaphilippe, and only if he is in the same shape he was in Imola. In any case, the 90 final kilometres are very demanding and we can expect a very reduced group to contend for victory in the closing stages of the race.”

ALAPHILIPPE’S RAINBOW SPELL TO BEGIN IN LIÈGE
Last Sunday, Julian Alaphilippe crowned himself UCI World Champion in Imola. Showcasing his recently attained rainbow jersey for the first time, the Deceuninck-Quick Step rider will try to finally net victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège after placing 2nd in 2015 and 4th in 2018. Given his current shape and his knowledge of the event, he will be the man to watch – a favourite role reinforced by the last-minute absence of four-time winner Alejandro Valverde. “I’m very happy to honour the rainbow jersey by wearing it for the first time on a race such as La Doyenne,” said Alaphilippe on a virtual press conference. “It’s one of the races I’ve long dreamt of winning, and this is a new chance for it.” It’s not usual for the rainbow jersey to triumph in this race, though. Only 5 out of the 105 editions of Liège-Bastogne-Liège ended with the rainbow jersey raising his arms, with wins by: Ferdi Kübler, in 1952; Rick Van Looy, in 1961; Eddy Merckx, both in 1972 and 1975; and Moreno Argentin in 1987.

HIRSCHI FOR THE DOUBLE
Already victor at Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne, Marc Hirschi is going to try and double-up his Ardennes Classic winning tally this Sunday at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. “We knew he had a big potential, but lately everything seems to be falling into place for him,” says his DS at Team Sunweb, Michiel Elijzen. “Tomorrow it will be a more difficult race to win, though, because there are way more cards and scenarios to play. It’s a longer, more challenging route, and the quality of the field is higher. The weather will play a part, too, as the headwind will make for a slow pace at the beginning, when heading south. Another big factor for the outcome is that no one will want to be a on a breakaway group with Julian Alaphilippe or Marc Hirschi. Deceuninck-Quick Step has multiple riders capable of winning, and we have a good back-up option in Tiesj Benoot. Anyways, it’s hard to predict how the race will pan out.”

BENOÎT COSNEFROY: “IT WILL BE ABOUT WHO PLAYS TACTICS BETTER”
After his aggressive performance in the Tour de France, the runner-up position at Flèche Wallonne went to confirm Benoît Cosnefroy’s prospects as one of the names to follow in professional cycling. Speaking to letour.fr ahead of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the French rider explained: “I love the Classics. It’s the races that suit better my nature and my qualities as a rider. I knew I was capable of getting a result [atop the Mur de Huy], but I needed to actually deliver it.” Well aware of his potential, the AG2R La Mondiale rider will try to make the most out of it in La Doyenne. “I really like Liège because tactics and strategy are a bigger factor than in Flèche. The Roche-aux-Faucons definitely is the climax. I need to be amongst the top four or six riders at its summit. Right after comes the downhill and the flat terrain on the way to Liège, on which it will be about who plays tactics better. Although if Julian Alaphilippe puts the same attack he did last Sunday in Imola, it will be difficult to beat him…”

ROGLIC STARTS OVER
After the disappointing, heart-breaking ending of his Tour de France, Primoz Roglic has cleared his mind and is bound to start a campaign to defend his championship at La Vuelta. The first stop will be his maiden appearance at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. A stage-race man, Roglic found out the joy of one-day racing last autumn in Italy, where he won both the Giro dell’Emilia and the Tre Valle Varesine. His DS Franz Maassen considers we may see him shine tomorrow in Liège, along with his Team Jumbo Visma teammate Tom Dumoulin. “Primoz [Roglic] has the morale and the willingness to race a Monument. The length of the race may suit him. We are sure the Côte de la Redoute will be a key point, but the defining climb will be the Roche-aux-Faucons. Tom [Dumoulin] felt a bit tired at Flèche Wallonne, but it is entirely possible for him to surprise everybody tomorrow.”

POGACAR STILL IN THE MIX
UAE Team Emirates was one of the most relevant outfits at Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne. “We did a great job, indeed – the best we could,” asserts DS Neil Stephens. In the final lap, both Sergio Henao and Rui Costa attacked to set-up a hard course in the benefit of their leader Tadej Pogacar, who could only deliver a 9th place atop the Mur de Huy. “We have to be realistic about Tadej,” Stephens explains. “The Tour de France was obviously very demanding for him, and he hasn’t recovered from it yet for a number of reason. Even if he wanted to perform in Flèche Wallonne and was in the right mindset to do so, he couldn’t do better than 9th. And it’s the same situation for tomorrow. Liège is one of the most beautiful Classics of the year. We have good cards to play, with several very good riders who are perfectly able to crack a top10 but for whom a victory is a tough ask. We expect the race to be decided at the Roche-aux-Faucons. The winner will go clear there – be it solo or in a group.”

FROOME + KWIATO = DOUBLE THREAT FROM INEOS GRENADIERS
It won’t be a first, because he has already participated six times in Liège with the 36th position achieved in 2013 as his best result – but it will be a last. Liège-Bastogne-Liège will be Chris Froome’s final one-day race with Ineos Grenadiers. The four-times winner of the Tour de France will play a domestique role, working for his teammate (and loyal domestique) Michal Kwiatkowski, who has stood twice at the podium of La Doyenne (3rd in both 2014 and 2017). But Ineos Greandiers’ DS, Brett Lancaster, doesn’t rule out the possibility of seeing Froome on a different note. “Chris [Froome] has worked very well over the last few weeks in Andorra and is in very good shape. He is set to work for Michal [Kwiatkowski], but he might be on the offensive if any dangerous break goes early. It’s true Michal is very focused on this Classics campaign. We’ve been discussing it for three months already and he is determined to race all the way to Paris-Roubaix.”

VAN DER BREGGEN AND VAN VLEUTEN SPEARHEAD WOMEN’S LIÈGE
Despite the long tradition of the men’s event, the Women’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège is still a relatively young race with only three editions on its record books. The two marquee names of the female peloton in this decade have so far been dominant in this Classic, with two victories under Anna van der Breggen’s name (2017 and 2018) and one under Annemiek van Vleuten’s (2019). Both Dutch cyclists will take part on this 2020 edition with their respective teams Boels Dolmans Cycling Team and Mitchelton Scott, spearheading a field with contenders such as Great Britain’s Lizzie Deignan (Trek Segafredo), Poland’s Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon // SRAM Racing), Netherlands’ Marianne Vos (CCC Team) or Flèche Wallonne’s runner-ups to Van der Breggen, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) and Demi Völlering (Parkhotel Valkenburg). The 134-kilometre long route from Bastogne to Liège features five climbs, with the Côte de la Haute-Levée as main addition for this year, and the Côte de la Redoute and the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons as final challenges before the rolling run-in to Liège. As happened at last Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne, the Women’s Liège Bastogne-Liège will be broadcasted live across 190 countries via 20 TV channels thanks to a 90-minute coverage provided by host broadcaster RTBF.
@ASO