Van Baarle leaves his opponents for dust at Paris-Roubaix 2022

17/04/2022 – Paris Roubaix – Winner Dylan VAN BAARLE (INEOS GRENADIERS)
17/04/2022 – Paris-Roubaix – Dylan VAN BAARLE (IGD)

Ineos GrenadiersDylan van Baarle capped a superb day of team work to take a solo win in Roubaix. The Dutchman launched his decisive move with 19 kilometres to go, on the Camphin-en-Pévèle cobbled sector, dropping his breakaway companions Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), Tom Devriendt (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) and Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl).

17/04/2022 – Paris-Roubaix – Dylan VAN BAARLE (INEOS GRENADIERS)

The first 47 kilometres featured numerous unsuccessful attacks, doomed by hard riding by Ineos Grendadiers. The pace resulted in the bunch split into two groups, thee first featuring Ineos, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl and Bora-Hansgrohe, and the second led by Trek-Segafredo and Alpecin-Fenix.

The split saw some big names distanced including, Alexandre Kristoff (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert), Florian Vermeersch (Lotto-Soudal), Christophe Laporte, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Iván García Cortina (Movistar Team) or Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix).

With 72km raced and the first cobbled section looming the gap between the two pelotons is staying around 1’15”. At 96km they finally hit the cobbles and its bone-shaking wake-up for many but not for the likes of the race’s youngest competitor, the 19 year-old American Magnus Sheffield riding for Ineos Grenadiers as they force the pace at the front of group one. Three years ago he took part in the junior version.

The opening secteurs see a flurry of crashes, Swiss Champion Dillier goes down in the second group, then Felix Gross (UAE Team Emirates) and Leonardo Basso (Astana Qazaqstan) hit the deck. Then just at the beginning of the Saint-Python (km 110,1 – 1,5 km) ** cobbled sector, a huge crash happens, hindering most of the riders in the front group.

At 110km raced tThe winner of the 2014 edition of Paris-Roubaix Niki Terpstra of TotalEnergies finds himself alone at the front of the race. Out of the Saint-Python (km 110,1 – 1,5 km) ** cobbled sector he has 10” over the small group following him.

The small group, led by Filippo Ganna, becomes quite a substantial group comprising imo Roosen, Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Filippo Ganna, Ben Turner, Dylan Van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers), Davide Ballerini, Yves Lampaert, Florian Sénéchal, Jannik Steimle (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Maciej Bodnar, Daniel Oss (TotalEnergies), Nikias Arndt (Team DSM), Sebastian Langeveld, Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-EasyPost), Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates), Max Kanter (Movistar Team) and Jens Reynders (Sport Vlaanderen).

At km 117 Terpstra has 25″ over the Ganna group, 40″ over a second group with Van der Poel group at over 1’30”.

Ganna’s group finally reel in Terpstra and by the Haussy (km 123,7 – 0,8 km) ** cobbled sector, there is a group of 18 riders at the front: Timo Roosen, Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Filippo Ganna, Ben Turner, Dylan Van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers) Davide Ballerini, Yves Lampaert, Florian Sénéchal, Jannik Steimle (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Maciej Bodnar, Daniel Oss, Niki Terpstra (TotalEnergies), Nikias Arndt (Team DSM), Sebastian Langeveld, Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-EasyPost), Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates), Max Kanter (Movistar Team), Jens Reynders (Sport Vlaanderen).

A flurry of short brutal secteurs see further crashes. including a second by Dillier. It also sees a courageous attack by Jens Reynders (Sport Vlaanderen), who accelerates at the beginning of the Saulzoir to Verchain-Maugré (km 130,6 – 1,2 km) ** cobbled sector. It lasts only about seven kilometres but his team will have been pleased about the publicity.

A mechanical for Van Baarle, who was riding on the Ganna group, means a change bikes. It’s quick but he is still caught by the second group led by Groupama-FDJ.

At the front as the race lead hits the midway point of the Trouée d’Arenberg (km 161,9 – 2,3 km) * cobbled sector ridden Ganna is putting on quite a show. He has attacked at the front of the bunch with Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers), Jasper Stuyven (Groupama-FDJ) and an Intermarché-Wanty Gobert rider in pursuit of Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe). The attacks stutters and is caught by the bunch

At the Hornaing to Wandignies (km 174,7 – 3,7 km) **** cobbled sector the race lead is occupied by Davide Ballerini (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), Casper Pedersen (Team DSM), Tom Devriendt (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) and Laurent Pichon (Arkéa-Samsic).

A sector 15, Tilloy to Sars-et-Rosières (km 185,6 – 2,4 km) **** this group has 2’20” on the peloton which has briefly remerged though much reduced in size.

Ineos Grenadiers lead the remains of the bunch into the Beuvry-la-Forêt to Orchies (km 192 – 1,4 km) *** cobbled sector with Michal Kwiatkowski on the ffront, with Ben Turner and Dylan van Baarle on his wheel. Ganna though has been dropped his mammoth efforts to drive the Ineos tank successful but exhausting.

With over 200km raced it’s a three man lead group comprising Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), Tom Devriendt (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) and Laurent Pichon (Arkéa-Samsic), chased by 12 men, Mathieu van der Poel, Guillaume van Keirlsbuck (Alpecin-Fenix), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Ben Turner, Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers), Yves Lampaert, Florian Sénéchal (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Adrien Petit, Taco Van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert), Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates).

Midway through the Auchy-lez-Orchies to Bersée (km 203,1 – 2,7 km) **** cobbled sector Van Baarle launches his attack. Up ahead Pichon has a mechanical and loses contact with the his fellow leaders. Next to have a problem is Matej Mohoric. The Slovenian national champion has had to stop right out of the Pont-Thibault to Ennevelin (km 218 – 1,4 km) *** cobbled sector in order to get a new rear wheel. It leaves Devriendt is now alone up front.

At the the 232km mark a new front group has emerged with Mohoric linking up Dylan van Baarle and Lampaert to snag Devriendt (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert)
+40” Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Laurent Pichon (Arkéa-Samsic) Ben Turner (Ineos Grenadiers), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Adrien Petit (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert).

On the Camphin-en-Pévèle (km 237,3 – 1,8 km) ****, Van Baarle manages to open a gap of 50m over Mohoric and Lampaert… and to eliminate Devriendt altogether. At Willems to Hem (km 249 – 1,4 km) **, van Baarle has further increased his gap, up to 50” over Lampaert and Mohoric and 1’10” over Van Aert and Küng, who have caught Devriendt.

Lampaert who was chasing hard suddenly found his race hopes in tatters when he clipped a clapping spectator and catapulted himself across the cobbles. He was up and chasing quickly but never managed to get back in contention and is been caught by Van der Poel, Stuyven, Petit and Pichon, who trail two minutes behind Van Baarle.

Baarle never looks like being caught and could probably have suffered a bike change if need be. Fortunately the last few kilometres are uneventful and he is able to enter the velodrome stadium and enjoy sole occupancy completing his victory lap before a quartet of Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Devriendt and Mohoric arrived 1’47” later to fight over the remaining podium places with van Aert and Kung successful.

Post race interview with Dylan Van Baarle:

How to do you feel like to be the winner of Paris Roubaix?

It’s unbelievable. I couldn’t believe it when I got on the velodrome. I looked at the other side to see if there were some other guys but I was completely alone#. When the DS came next to me I really started believing it. It’s been crazy.

Is the race you wanted to win?

It’s a Monument so of course I want to win a Monument. To be second on Flanders and winning Roubaix I am lost for words.

Was the plan always for the entire team to be on the front from the beginning?

It was not planned at all but it turned out like this. We were super focused from the gun. We wanted to be on the front foot and for other teams to chase. I knew from that moment things would change and we would use less energy than everyone else. We were a bot unlucky. I had a puncture and I think everyone had something but we just kept going and this result is amazing.

When you took off was that planned?

No, but we wanted to make the race hard before the second feed zone and that’s what we did. Afterwards we felt strong enough to ride for me. I can’t thank the team enough.

This is the first win at Roubaix for Ineos or Sky

It’s been a great Spring Classics season so far. We have to enjoy this. We have worked so hard for it over the last couple of years. We have had some bad luck but now everything is going in the right direction. The whole team is lifting on that.

Stefan Kung expressed his delight at makiong the podium after a early hiccup:

It was a really hard and tactical race today. To react all the time was not easy. I had had to stop for a nature break and that’s why I was behind when the peloton split after 47k. By the time the group were organised to chase, the first bunch had a minute over us. After going through all that happened today, it is nice to be at least on the podium. This is a big achievement at my favourite race

The frantic racing resulted in an incredible average speed of 45,8 km/h making it the fastest-ever edition of Paris-Roubaix – and the maiden victory for Ineos Grenadiers (including its previous incarnation, Team Sky) at the Hell of the North.

Top 10 Results – Full results available here

Cobbled secteurs:

30 : Troisvilles to Inchy (km 96,3 – 2,2 km) ***
29 : Viesly to Quiévy (km 102,8 – 1,8 km) ***
28 : Quiévy to Saint-Python (km 105,4 – 3,7 km) ****
27 : Saint-Python (km 110,1 – 1,5 km) **
26 : Vertain to Saint-Martin-sur-Écaillon (km 117,9 – 2,3 km) ***
25 : Haussy (km 123,7 – 0,8 km) **
24 : Saulzoir to Verchain-Maugré (km 130,6 – 1,2 km) **
23 : Verchain-Maugré to Quérénaing (km 134,9 – 1,6 km) ***
22 : Quérénaing to Maing (km 137,6 – 2,5 km) ***
21 : Maing to Monchaux-sur-Ecaillon (km 140,7 – 1,6 km) ***
20 : Haveluy to Wallers (km 153,7 – 2,5 km) ****
19 : Trouée d’Arenberg (km 161,9 – 2,3 km) *
18 : Wallers to Hélesmes (km 167,9 – 1,6 km) ***
17 : Hornaing to Wandignies (km 174,7 – 3,7 km) ****
16 : Warlaing to Brillon (km 182,2 – 2,4 km) ***
15 : Tilloy to Sars-et-Rosières (km 185,6 – 2,4 km) ****
14 : Beuvry-la-Forêt to Orchies (km 192 – 1,4 km) ***
13 : Orchies (km 197 – 1,7 km) ***
12 : Auchy-lez-Orchies to Bersée (km 203,1 – 2,7 km) ****
11 : Mons-en-Pévèle (km 208,6 – 3 km) *****
10 : Mérignies to Avelin (km 214,6 – 0,7 km) **
9 : Pont-Thibault to Ennevelin (km 218 – 1,4 km) ***
8 : Templeuve – L’Epinette (km 223,4 – 0,2 km) *
8 : Templeuve – Moulin-de-Vertain (km 223,9 – 0,5 km) **
7 : Cysoing to Bourghelles (km 230,3 – 1,3 km) ***
6 : Bourghelles to Wannehain (km 232,8 – 1,1 km) ***
5 : Camphin-en-Pévèle (km 237,3 – 1,8 km) ****
4 : Carrefour de l’Arbre (km 240 – 2,1 km) *****
3 : Gruson (km 242,3 – 1,1 km) **
2 : Willems to Hem (km 249 – 1,4 km) **
1 : Roubaix – Espace Charles Crupelandt (km 255,8 – 0,3 km) *

Matej Mohoric gets the drop on opponents in San Remo

Milano-SanRemo, 293km.

Sanremo, 19 March 2022 – Matej Mohoric took a spectacular win in the 113th Milano-Sanremo riding away from the group of favourites on the descent of the Poggio. Mohoric became the first Slovenian to win La Classicissima after pushing his descent to the limit with his unprecedented use of the ‘dropper’ seat post .

In second spot was Frenchman Anthony Turgis who had also escaped on the descent while Mathieu van der Poel, who was roped in as a substitute for a sick teammate, outsprinted the rest of the contenders to take third spot on the podium.

Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) wins the 113th edition oi the Milano -San Remo
Photo LaPresse – Marco Alpozzi

Speaking seconds after the stage finish, Matej Mohoric said: “I’ve been thinking about this race for the whole winter. I’ve worked on being in good shape for Milano-Sanremo even though I got sick in February and I crashed at Strade Bianche. I never stopped believing I could win. My plan was to do my best descent and risk it a little bit. I went full gas. It’s amazing to win Milano-Sanremo!”

Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) wins the 113th edition oi the Milano -San Remo
Photo LaPresse – Marco Alpozzi

165 riders took the start in Milan with Australian Robert Stannard (Alpecin-Fenix) the only non-starter. Eight riders, Yevgeniy Gidich and Artyom Zakharov (Astana Qazaqstan Team), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Filippo Tagliani and Ricardo Alejandro Zurita (Drone Hopper – Androni Giocattoli) Samuele Rivi and Diego Pablo Sevilla (EOLO-Kometa, Filippo Conca (Lotto Soudal), made an immediate break which persisted for most of the day.

At 45 km covered the break has a lead of 5’10” covering the first hour at an average speed of 45.7 km/h (28.4 mph). The gap continued to grow reaching 7’00” after 173km. The peloton then started pushing hte pace but the break still enjoyed 5’40” with 75km to go (km 218).

At the approach to Capo Berta Zaharov, Tagliani and Zurita are the first to throw in the towel. Next is Conca on the climb leaving four riders to push on. Back in the bunch Peter Sagan (Total Energies) has to change his bike after a mechanical problem and never gets back into contention.

Foto LaPresse – Fabio Ferrari 19 Marzo 2022 Milano (Italia) Sport Ciclismo 113a edizione Milano-Sanremo – da Milano a Sanremo – 293 km Nella foto: panoramica Photo LaPresse – Fabio Ferrari March, 19 2022 Milano (Italy) Sport Cycling 113 Edition Milano Sanremo – from Milan to Sanremo – 293 km In the pic:landscape

The Cipressa at 270.5km raced scythes through the break’s gap cutting it to 42″ and leaving Tonelli and Rivi out front with Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) driving the peloton.

Tonelli and Rivi are finally caught by the bunch at the foot of the Poggio. Tadej Pogačar of UAE Emirates is the first of the favourites to launch an attack but Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) reels him straight back in. The Slovenian stays on the front though and pushes the pace to the point he, Kragh Anderson, Mathieu van der Poel and Van Aert have a few seconds over the peloton.

It’s Mohoric who gets clear and gains 5″ by the time the road levels out. At the flamme rouge he is still riding solo but Turgis is gaining but not fast enough to thwart Mohoric’s quest for victory.

The winning margin though is only 2″ to Turgis, Van der Poel, Michael Matthews, Pogačar, Pedersen, Kragh Andersen and Van Aert. It’s 5″ then to Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Victorious) and 11″ to Arnaud Demarre (Groupama-FDJ) and a small bunch of eight with the fractured peloton spread out over the next 21 minutes.

Photo LaPresse – Gian Mattia D’Alberto March, 19 2022 Sanremo (Italy) Sport Cycling 113 Edition Milano-Sanremo – from Milan to Sanremo – 293 km In the pic: Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) winner of the race

Podium Quotes

The winner Matej Mohoric, said: “We had a plan through the whole winter to use a seat post experienced in mountain-biking, but much lighter. Since the Poggio has a very technical descent, it suits me, so I was open to the idea, but I wanted to try it first in training. I was surprised how fast I could go. Therefore I was looking forward to the race. I crashed behind Julian Alaphilippe at Strade Bianche. I hurt my knee very badly. A ligament was inflamed. But I’m very stubborn. I didn’t give up. I was finally able to do some proper training on Wednesday and I was always telling myself that the other guys were also having problems like sickness. On the downhill of the Poggio, I was super focused the whole time. I went off-road when I attacked but I jumped back on the road. The second time I slipped both wheels and I lost lot of time there as well. On the flat I dropped my chain on last corner. Maybe I pushed too much and I should have kept some energy but I’m glad I could pull it off.”

Matej Mohoric is the first Slovenian winner of Milano-Sanremo. This is his 16th pro victory but only his second one-day race triumph after the 2018 GP Larciano, also in Italy. His win adds to a stage win in each of the three Grand Tours.

Runner-up Anthony Turgis said: “To climb on the box at the podium ceremony is already a good thing. But once again, first place was in reach. I’m a little bit disappointed but it’s a reward for the day of the team. Peter Sagan got a mechanical so some riders were asked to wait to bring him back. Then the race was very hard and a group was formed with the strongest riders. Milano-Sanremo is a superb race. The more we get close to the finish, the harder it is. I hope I can win one day.”

Third placed Mathieu Van der Poel said: “Even if I was not supposed to race, I’m still disappointed. Maybe the big favorites were in the sprint for third place, it’s a pity we couldn’t sprint for the victory today. Milano-Sanremo is a very difficult race to win. Suddenly, Mohoric had a gap. I didn’t expect he would. There was Pogacar on his wheel. We all know that Matej can do quick descents but I thought the group was big enough to close the gap. He deserves the win as well. There was also a lack of cooperation behind. We were three riders with Pedersen and Van Aert who really tried to close the gap. We need one or two teammates to close it for us. I hope I’ll come back for winning but I’m getting older and this is a missed chance again.”

Top Ten Results (Full results available here)

Lotte Kopecky Wins Strade Bianche Women Elite

Belgian Champ storms home first on Siena’s Piazza del Campo

Siena, 5 March 2022 – Lotte Kopecky (Team Sd Worx) has won the eighth edition of Strade Bianche Women Elite Eolo, 136km from Siena to Siena (Piazza del Campo). The Belgian rider crossed the finish line in the historic square just ahead of Annemiek Van Vleuten (Movistar Team Women). Third place went to Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Team Sd Worx) at 10″.

Lotte Kopecky (Team Sd Worx) wins ahead of Annemiek Van Vleuten (Movistar Team Women) Photo Credit: LaPresse.
L:R Annemiek Van Vleuten (Movistar Team Women), Lotte Kopecky (Team Sd Worx), victor, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Team Sd Worx) Photo Gian Mattia D’Alberto – LaPresse

Saturday’s Strade Bianche double header delivered two first time winners with Belgian champion Lotte Kopecky taking the win in the Women’s Elite race, before Slovenian super star Tadej Pogacar followed up in the men’s event.

Lotte Kopecky in second spot as the peloton takes on the white roads of Tuscany. Foto LaPresse – Marco Alpozzi

It came down to a duel in the Women Elite event, with Kopecky and pre-race favourite Annemiek van Vleuten neck and neck up the last drag along the Via Santa Catarina before Kopecky edged van Vleuten on the line.

Speaking seconds after the finish, a victorious Lotte Kopecky said: “I cannot believe I just won! It was a great team effort from the whole Team Sd Worx. I knew I had teammates behind me that had my back. I had a good feeling in the finale, I tried to follow Annemiek Van Vleuten and I just kept pushing until the last corner, I knew I had to be first on the last corner, I was prepared for the sprint. It is the biggest victory of my career”

Full Results are available here

Applications now open for three female riders to join Dame Sarah Storey at the ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy

Picture by – 09/09/2021 – Cycling – AJ Bell Tour of Britain Stage 5 – Alderley Park to Warrington, England – Dame Sarah Storey and Skoda Academy Riders

Milton Keynes, 31 January 2022: ŠKODA UK, in partnership with Britain’s greatest ever Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey, has announced that it is recruiting three new female riders to the ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy. Applications are now open until Monday 28February.

The ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy offers young female riders the opportunity to gain invaluable experience thanks to ŠKODA’s sponsorship of some of cycling’s biggest events and mentorship from Academy Principal, Dame Sarah Storey.   

ŠKODA is committed to furthering the opportunities for female riders and the aim of the year-long, inclusive programme is to provide ambitious cyclists, aged between 18-24, with a chance to learn and develop a clear direction within the sport so that they can maximise their potential.

SKODA search for two new aspiring elite cyclists to join the DSI SKODA Cycling Academy, Lee Valley VeloPark and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, London. Picture date: Monday May 17, 2021. PA Photo. Photo credit : Doug Peters/PA Wire

Riders can apply through the website:  by providing details of their cycling experience, training schedule, and answering questions on their cycling ambitions.

Successful applicants will be contacted by mid-March to be invited to the second stage of the process. A testing day will take place on Monday 28 March at the Lee Valley VeloPark where the selected riders will be put through their paces by Dame Sarah Storey and other ŠKODA ambassadors.

Dame Sarah will decide who will join the prestigious ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy after carefully analysing the results of a series of tests that will include a peak power test, a three-minute maximal test and a 12-minute steady state challenge. The riders will also complete laps of the outdoor closed circuit to assess their bike handling skills and straight-line speed.

The 2022 Academy programme, designed to sit alongside each rider’s existing club or team activity, provides the opportunity to experience the life of a professional rider with on and off bike experiences throughout the year.

Dame Sarah Storey’s mentorship will include planning and bespoke advice on racing, training and career progression beyond the Academy. Additional social media and media training will be available alongside a sport psychology programme developed exclusively for the Academy.

Ride experiences, dictated by COVID rules at the time, will take place during ŠKODA sponsored events that include the Women’s Tour (June), Tour de France (July) and Tour of Britain (September). A further British Cycling experience day is scheduled for October.

Dame Sarah Storey commented: “I’m delighted to be able to recruit three new riders to the ŠKODA Academy for this the fourth year since its inception. The now annual programme will enable ambitious young women to further develop their skills both on and off the bike via a series of events. Whether you are already racing at a regional or national level or have just taken up cycling, this is a fantastic opportunity to join a unique and inspiring programme, where you not only get to travel and witness some of the world’s best riders in action, but you will also learn more about how to maximise your opportunities alongside school, university, and other responsibilities in life.

“I’ve had so much fun supporting ŠKODA riders over the past three years and I’m always incredibly proud to see them go on to achieve the next step in their career as happened with four riders from the 2021 programme.”

The recruitment schedule is as follows:

Application Schedule

31 January          Application window opens

28February         Application window closes

Mid-March           Shortlisted riders invited to testing day by mid-March

28March              Testing Day

1 April                    Selections made and riders contacted

w/c 4 April           New riders announced

The three new riders will join three existing Academy riders, Maddi Aldam-Gates, Gwyneth Parry and Olivia French, who were selected for the programme last year.

Academy rider, Olivia French comments: “I cannot emphasise enough how important the ŠKODA DSI Cycling Academy has been in developing my performance on the bike. Behind the scenes ride experiences at some of the biggest events alongside learning from Dame Sarah Storey, a cycling legend, have been invaluable for me. If you’re a young female cyclist with a passion for the sport, then I wholeheartedly recommend that you try out. Apply now!”

ŠKODA started life as a bicycle company in 1895 and the brand continues to honour its heritage. In tandem with its headline sponsorship of key events in the cycling calendar, ŠKODA is championing gender equality in the professional tour series.

Applications can be made here:

The Road Book 2021 Cycling Almanac

The Road Book has put weight back on for the Fourth Edition reflecting a cycling calendar that has bounced back from an eviscerated 2020.

At last we get to review the 2021 edition of The Road Book, the definitive record of the major races of 2021 UCI Road Cycling calendar, following a COVID hit end of year of our own.

The Road book has entered its fourth year. It has put on a good deal of weight and girth over the 2020 edition after COVID regulations put road cycling on a harsh diet. 2021 by comparison is a veritable Jan Ullrich after the off-season of a book this year though it does still show signs of how cycling continued to be impacted by COVID regulations.

Few sports enjoy an almanac as comprehensive as The Road Book, the nearest equivalent is the 158 year old Wisden Cricketers’ Almanac, a breeze block of a book with 1500 pages. The Road Book 2021 might have a more ‘conservative’ 800 odd pages but it is jam-packed with detail, carefully edited by Ned Boulting a cycling journalist and TV presenter with an encyclopaedic knowledge of cycling.

In a world that is increasingly online having a cycling resource in the form of an actual hard copy book is a real pleasure. No doubt some will preserve this book in pristine condition but others will cover it with post-it notes and annotations.

The book which focuses primarily on the UCI World Tour and Pro Road season, and does so in rich statistical detail, also includes a section on the Men s and Women’s Olympic road races, The British domestic scene, National Titles and even the Cyclo Cross World Cup. Races are grouped by month. The impact of COVID regulations is illustrated perfectly by January, comprising a solitary race, the 1.1 GP Cycliste de Marseillaise on January 31. Absent are the major Australian season openers. Thereafter though the season almost looks normal.

The section for each race has at least the top-20 results while those for bigger races include a re-cap of the major events with daily results and re-cap of each stage for the major tours.

There is much more to the Almanac than tables of results though with the compilers slipping in articles by  winners of a  Road Book Rider of the Year Awards, along with little Easter Eggs throughout the book. Some are very quirky such as the charts tracking the Dominant Kit Colours on page 73.

A very useful and large section in the latter half covers the Men’s and Women’s World Tour and Pro Continental Teams.

It’s not all stats though. The mid-section comprises a selection of great race pictures of the greats in action.

In summary The Road Book is an invaluable record of each unique season, enjoyable and accessible, though reading glasses are vital for those of a certain age. It is hard to imagine not having it, especially given the strange times we are enduring. Vive Cyclisme, Vive la Road Book.

Buy it here: priced £50

Paris-Roubaix 2021 Postponed

According to the French newspaper Le Parisien “The famous cycling race cannot be run on the scheduled date due to the worsening health situation in Hauts-de-France”.

Scheduled for April 11, the race was planned to be run within a ‘bubble’ but over recent days the belief the race would have to be postponed until later in the year were growing stronger as the COVID epidemic was scene to be growing in the North of France to levels above the national average. This comes after the event was cancelled in 2020.

Despite plans put forward by race organisers ASO which included the santitary bubble, and the closure of high density crowd areas such as the Trouée d’Arenberg, on Tuesday the Ministries of Sports and Health expressed reluctance to devote resources to a bike race, even one as significant as Paris-Roubaix. While evidence of meaningful outdoor infection remains scant most authorities across Europe have opted to heavily restrict spectator presence and a featurr of Paris-Roubaix is the intense close proximity of fans to riders along the narrow course.

Previously the race had only been cancelled due to war and even then organisers still managed to run it during World War 2 in 1943 and 1944 durng German occupation.

Le Parisien reports that the orgnaisers are hoping to use the newly extended UCI season to find another race date possiblty in October. Normally the season would finish on 19 october but it the UCI has extended it to 31 October and that weekend offers a possiblility that a postponement won’t turn into a cancellation.

The delay means 2019 winner Phillipe Gilbert enjoys a few more months as champion.

Stuyven’s takes the win at Milano-San Remo with daring attack.

SANREMO, ITALY – Jasper Stuyven of Belgium and Team Trek – Segafredo celebrates victory at the 2021 Milano-San Remo (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Trek-Saegrafredo’s Jasper Stuyven was not the Belgian pundits were expecting to cross the line first on The Via Roma in San Remo, but it is Stuyven nonetheless who became the winner of the 112th Milano-San Remo, La Primavera, just holding off Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and 2020 winner Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma).

How the finish Unfolded

Much of the day had been the preserve of a group of eight riders who went away with just three kilometres of the 299km race covered and comprising Filippo Tagliani, Mattia Viel (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec), Andrea Peron, Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordisk), Mathias Norsgaard Jørgensen (Movistar Team), Nicola Conci (Trek – Segafredo), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani CSF Faizane’) and Taco Van Der Hoorn (Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux).

Behind them life in the biunch was largely uneventful, excepting crash when Team Arkéa Samsic teammate Thibault Guernalec took down Nacer Bouhanni on a corner after hitting some rutted road surface. Bouhanni was more angry than hurt and easily managed to rejoin the peloton.

The break enjoyed a lead that went above five minutes but it was never going to last and it was Van Der Hoorn the last rider to be reeled in by the peloton on the Cipressa climb, 24km before the finish.

The Cipressa may have done for the break and broken up the peloton but it was still a very large group that reached he foot of the Poggio and started the climb amongst the ramshackled green houses. The speed of the climbing meant that thought of attack was largey futile, though Alaphilipe did attempt one, so it came to the descent to create separation.

One surprise survivor of the relentless pressure was Caleb Ewan. If it came to a bunch sprint it was Ewan the odds one favourite. Tim Pidcock of Ineos Grenadiers then pushed descent speeds hard hoping to rule sprinters out of contention but it was still a high density group that was approaching the foot.

It was then with two kilometres left while the favourites looked and schemed their solution to the issue of a bunch sprint that Stuyvens said ‘adios’. The only man who could match his pace was Soren Kragh Andersen (team DSM).

The gap was closing down rapidly but Stuyvens raced on to hold off a de facto bunch sprint which was unsurprisingly won by Ewan, with Wout van Aert third, and Peter Sagan and Mathieu van der Poel in fourth and fifth place respectively.

“I just knew I had to try, all or nothing. I prefer to do this than gamble for the sprint and finish in 5th or 10th place, so I prefer to go all-in. Most of the time it’s nothing; sometimes it’s all, and today it was all. It’s incredible. I don’t realize [what I’ve done] yet. I am just incredibly happy”, said Stuyven

2021 Milan – SanRemo Route
2021 Milan- San remo Profile

Top 10 Results

Full results here

Alaphillipe gives fillip to French Cycling with World Championship win

Frenchman Julian Alaphillipe is the 2020 Elite Men’s road race World Champion after taking a solo win in Imola. The 28 year old is the first French World Champion since Laurent Brochard in 1997.

Alaphillipe took the win after launching a solo attack on the last Cima Gallisterna climb crossing the line 24 seconds ahead of Belgian Wout Van Aert with Swiss Marc Hirschi edging Pole Michel Kwiatowski by a wheel rim to claim the bronze.

The new holder of the rainbow stripes, added to a palmares that includes Milano San Remo, Strade Bianchi and five stages of the Tour de France, said:

“For this moment it’s really hard to say something. I want to say ‘thank-you’ to all my teammates who really believed in me today. Everybody did a great job. It was a dream of my career. Sometimes, I was so close, and I was never on the podium. I came here with a lot of ambition and it’s just a dream day for me.”

The 258.2 km race featured nine laps of a circuit that the ladies had already tested and proved a tough challenge the previous day. Each 28.8km lap featured two climbs, Mazzolano (2.8km at an average gradient of 5.9%, with a maximum of 13%) and the Cima Gallisterna (2.7km at 6.4%, 14% max.) whose summit is placed 12km from the finish line. There was hardly a respite between the two summits and with 550 metres of ascent each lap, the day offered 5000 metres of climbing.

Elite Men’s Road Race Profile, Imola UCI World Championships 2020

Representing 43 countries 174 riders started the race at 10am from the Autodromo and almost immediately there was a seven man break. Jonas Koch (Germany), Torstein Traeen (Norway), Marco Friedrich (Austria), Daniil Fominykh (Kazakhstan), Yukiya Arashiro (Japan), Eduard-Michael Grosu (Romania) and Alfredo Ulises Castillo Soto (Mexico) with the latter three their countries sole representatives.

One lap down and the break had gained 5’54’’ on the main group led by the Slovenian, Swiss and Belgium national teams. The gap between attackers and peloton fluctuated during the first part of the race: 6’34’’ after the second lap, 5’07’’ after lap three, 7’07’’ at the end of the fourth and 5’41’’ after lap five. By now Friedrich and Grosu had been distanced by the breakaway group.

During the sixth lap the complexion of the race was changing fast as the main group increased its pace. The break had disintegrated leaving Jonas Koch and Torstein Traeen out in front with Arashiro bravely flying the flag for Japan in no-man’s-land. 2’37’’ behind him the bunch was in one long line driven by Denmark national team.

The breakaway finally ended with 68km to go, just after the seventh passage on Cima Gallisterna thanks to a powerful acceleration by the French national team.

Slovenian hopeful, 2020 Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar, gave his country a pause when he had to go for a bike change but promptly got back into the favourites’ Gruppo Compatto of around 50 riders. The next lap he was off the front making a daring attack on Cima Gallisterna about the same distance from the line as Anna van der Breggen did for her win the day before.

Chased by Belgium, Pogačar gained 10 seconds with 40km to go and then increased his advantage to 25 seconds with one lap remaining. It wasn’t enough though as he was caught by Dutchman Tom Dumoulin and then all the main group on the Mazzolano ascent.

After a day staying quiet in the bunch the Italian national team attacked with Damiano Caruso and then with Vincenzo Nibali with 20km to go hoping to make the World Championship a home win.

The day had taken its toll and after 240km the field had been culled ruthlessly ahead of the last Cima Gallisterna climb. Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet pushed hard on the first part of the ascent, then it was the turn of the Swiss Marc Hirschi and 2014 UCI World Champion Michał Kwiatkowski from Poland.

It was Frenchman Alaphilippe who finally seized the day, chased by Hirschi, Giro di Lombardia winner Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark), Van Aert, Primož Roglič (Slovenia) and Kwiatkowski. With 5km to go, Alaphilippe had taken a 12-second advantage and pushed full gas until the end, claiming his first UCI World title in front of Van Aert and Hirschi, 23 years after Laurent Brochard in San Sebastián, Spain.

2020 Elite Road World Champions:

Women Elite ITT @AnnavdBreggen, Netherlands

Men Elite ITT @GannaFilippo, Italy

Women Elite RR @AnnavdBreggen, Netherlands

Men Elite RR @alafpolak1, France

Anna van der Breggen doubles up in Imola with Elite Women’s road race win.

Imola, Italy, 26 Sept 2020.

Netherlands/Boels – Dolmans Cycling Team’s Anna van der Breggen took her second 2020 UCI World Champion Gold Medal with the win in the Road Race to go with her Individual Time Trial victory on Thursday.

Anna van der Breggen- Elite Women's UCI Road Race Champion 2020
Anna van der Breggen- Elite Women’s UCI Road Race Champion 2020

“It’s incredible”, Anna van der Breggen rejoiced after her victory. “It was a really hard race, we were fighting from the beginning. The climbs were really tough. In the fourth lap, I felt strong. We made the race hard and I just went for it. I felt good but it was really hard. The circuit had some flat parts but it was very hard. I never expected this. This season is pretty good for me so far.”

Imola continued to be deliver success for Anna van der Breggen and Dutch cycling as she dominated the Elite Women road race of the 2020 UCI Road World Championships. The Boels – Dolmans Cycling Team star took her third gold medal at the Worlds in Italy, after claiming victory in the 2018 road race in Innsbruck and in the individual time-trial this Thursday in Imola. She’s only the second rider to win both events the same year, 25 years after France’s Jeannie Longo’s double triumph in Duitama (Colombia).

A 145-rider peloton started from the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari with a beautiful sun shining along their first pedal strokes. They immediately tackled the circuit that would later crown the 2020 UCI World Champion: a 28.8km loop with two climbs to be faced five times, for a total of 143km of racing and 2,800m of elevation.

The climbs up Mazzolano (2.8km at an average of 5.9%, with 13% slopes at the bottom) and Cima Gallisterna (2.7km at 6.4% and a maximum of 14%) wore down a peloton which was quickly reduced to around 100 riders.

A group of nine riders eventually got away with Jackson accompanied by Amy Pieters (Netherlands), Katia Ragusa (Italy), Lisa Brennauer (Germany), Christine Majerus (Luxembourg), Tayler Wiles (USA), Hannah Barnes (Great Britain), Mavi Garcia (Spain) and Juliette Labous (France). Italy started pacing behind them with 63km to go and a gap up to 2’. Meanwhile, Eugenia Bujak (Slovenia) bridged the gap to the front group on her own.

The Orange train increased the tension in the penultimate lap. First, Anna van der Breggen seriously upped the tempo in the Mazolano climb. Over the top, the gap was down to 10” and some 30 riders were still in the bunch. The attackers were caught in the next climb, with Marianne Vos (UCI Road World Champion in 2006, 2012, 2013) and Annemiek van Vleuten (winner in 2019) accelerating.

Van der Breggen launched an attack with 42km to go, and never looked seriously challenged despite a concerted effort by Annemiek van Vleuten and Elisa Longo Borghini, eventually winning the race with a gap of 1’20’’.

Annemiek van Vleuten and Elisa Longo Borghini continued their duel right to the line in a sprint that saw Borghini throwing an elbow at The Dutchwoman. Van Vleuten held her line and, despite a cast on her arm from a crash ten days ago that saw her abandon the giro Rosa, took the silver medal. Marianne Vos held off a four-woman group at 2’01” to make it three Dutch in the top four.