The Tour de France returns to the Puy du Dôme after 25 years, the 2023 Tour de France routes for the men and women are the TOP STORY today. Plus cyclo-cross from Ruddervoorde and Maasmechelen and the Tour de France Prudential Singapore Criterium – Results and video.
Other news: Evenepoel to the Tour, Mark Cavendish on the stages in the Tour, a course on which Meintjes & Girmay can shine, Wilfried Peeters’ on the Tour route, AG2R Citroën’s Vincent Lavenu on the Tour, Pidcock starts cross season in three or four weeks, Julian Alaphilippe to focus on the Flemish Classics, Nils Politt disappointed with Wilco Kelderman leaving, Sonny Colbrelli to End his Career and Miguel Ángel López not leaving Astana.
Contract news: Lewis Askey with Groupama-FDJ to the end of 2025 and Danny van der Tuuk extends with Kern Pharma.
Team News: Doug Ryder’s new team and Padun, Morton head to Poland to assist displaced Ukrainian junior riders. Get the coffee.
TOP STORY: The Tour de France 2023
The Tour de France Men 2023
ASO presented the complete route of the Tour de France 2023 in Paris on Thursday. The 110th edition of the Tour starts on Saturday 1 July in Bilbao, Spain and ends three weeks later on Sunday 23 July in Paris.
The Tour de France will start outside the French borders for the second year in a row, after Denmark hosted the Grand Départ in 2022. The Basque Country will host three starts and two finishes. Unlike in 2022, the Tour de France 2023 will start with a road stage. In Bilbao the first yellow jersey will be awarded. It is the first time since 1992 that the Tour starts in Spain. The 182 kilometre opening stage has several climbs, the Côte de Pike is the toughest. Stage 2 covers 209 kilometres from Vitoria-Gasteiz to San Sebastián and climb the Jaizkibel. The third and final stage in the Basque Country starts in Amorebieta and follows the flat coast to finish in Bayonne. The Tour visits the Pyrenees very early with finishes in Laruns, in the extreme south of France close to the Spanish border, and the Cauterets ski station. After some battles in the Pyrenees, there are some transition stages. The Tour then continues with stages to Bordeaux and Limoges. The climbers will be looking at stage nine, which finishes on the Puy de Dôme in the Massif Central in Auvergne, the central-southern part of France, with a height of 1,464 metres. The extinct volcano was last visited in 1988. It is only accessible from one side and it is also very narrow towards the top. No public will be allowed on the last four very hard kilometres.
The second week starts with three treacherous transition stages in the south of France, not far from the Alps with finishes in Issoire, Moulins and Belleville-en-Beaujolais. The GC riders need to be on their guard, but they will wait for the decisive Alpine stages. Stage 13 leads to the top of the Grand Colombier. The second Alpine stage takes the riders from Annemasse to the ski resort of Morzine and the Col de Joux-Plane. This Alpine col, just under 11 kilometres long, at an average of more than 8%, is one of the toughest climbs in the Alps. The 15th stage heads for the final climb towards the Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc ski area.
After the second and last rest day, the remaining riders start the tough final week. Stages sixteen and seventeen are two real key stages. The sixteenth stage is 22 kilometre time trial between Passy and Combloux. There are also some serious Alpine climbs on the seventeenth stage. The last day through the Alps leads to the final climb to the Courchevel winter sports area, where Richard Virenque (1997), the late Marco Pantani (2000) and Alejandro Valverde (2005) were victorious. In this classic Alpine stage over several tough cols – including the Cormet de Roseland. In the transition/sprinter stage to Bourg-en-Bresse, probably little will happen, the stage to Poligny is also for the fast men. On the last Saturday, stage 20, there is a last mountain stage in the Vosges with the Petit Ballon and the Col du Platzerwasel. On the Platzerwasel there could be a battle for the overall victory. The Tour de France will have its traditional final stage to Paris, with the usual sprint on the Champs-Élysées.
# Stay PEZ for the Tour de France preview by Ed Hood. #
Tour de France Men 2023 Stages:
01/07 – Stage 1: Bilbao – Bilbao (182 km)
02/07 – Stage 2: Vitoria-Gasteiz – San Sebastian (209 km)
03/07 – Stage 3: Amorebieta – Bayonne (185 km)
04/07 – Stage 4: Dax – Nogaro (182 km)
05/07 – Stage 5: Pau – Laruns (165 km)
06/07 – Stage 6: Tarbes – Cauterets Cambasque (145 km)
07/07 – Stage 7: Mont-de-Marsan – Bordeaux (170 km)
08/07 – Stage 8: Libourne – Limoges (201 km)
09/07 – Stage 9: Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat – Puy de Dôme (184 km)
10/07 – Rest day
11/07 – Stage 10: Vulcania – Issoire (167 km)
12/07 – Stage 11: Clermont-Ferrand – Moulins (180 km)
13/07 – Stage 12: Roanne – Belleville-en-Beaujolais
14/07 – Stage 13: Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne – Grand Colombier (138 km)
15/07 – Stage 14: Annemasse – Morzine (152 km)
16/07 – Stage 15: Les Gets – Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc (180 km)
17/07 – Rest day
18/07 – Stage 16: Passy – Combloux (22 km, ITT)
19/07 – Stage 17: Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc – Courchevel (166 km)
20/07 – Stage 18: Motors – Bourg-en-Bresse (186 km)
21/07 – Stage 19: Morans-en-Montagne – Poligny (173 km)
22/07 – Stage 20: Belfort – Le Markstein Fellering (133 km)
23/07 – Stage 21: Velodrome National de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines – Paris (115 km)
The Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift 2023
A giant step forward each year. After the inaugural edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, which saw the peloton set off from the Champs-Élysées to complete its route over the hills of Eastern France, crossing the Ballon d’Alsace as the 1905 pioneers did. The race will now head for the Massif Central and then the Pyrenees to offer new challenges to the female riders. By gathering the peloton in Clermont-Ferrand, the link remains between the women’s race and the Tour’s history. They won’t climb the Puy de Dôme this time. But they will experience the roughness of the Auvergne geology from the very first days. Perhaps not so much on the first stage, which might not see the peloton dispersed; then in a more marked way on the road to Mauriac, where they will have to deal with a positive altitude change of 2,500 meters before fighting for the stage win.
The sprinters will most likely take centre stage in Montignac, where the Lascaux caves are situated. But they will probably be more in the wings on the longest stage of the week (177 km), where the Aveyron ascents will work in favour of the most resilient riders of a breakaway or the strongest punchers for the finish in Rodez. The thin air of the Pyrenees will begin to take its toll on the Albi and Blagnac stages, but it will be on the weekend that the Yellow Jersey candidates will battle for the first time in the high mountains. The legendary Col du Tourmalet, where the Tour riders had their first taste of altitude in 1910, at 2,115 metres, will again be the place to be. The finish line of stage seven has been set five metres lower, in a setting where only the best female climbers in the world can hope to win. Whoever manages to do so will probably be among the contenders for the final time trial, which will take place around Pau, but partly in the opposite direction, on the same course where Julian Alaphilippe defended his Yellow Jersey in 2019.
- The route of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, whose second edition will take place from 23 to 30 July, has been presented at the Palais des Congrès in Paris by Marion Rousse.
- “Even higher”, says the event director, who detailed the programme of the eight stages, totalling a distance of 956 kilometres, and which will pose new difficulties to the champions.
- The handover concept with the Tour will continue, but this time the riders will meet in Clermont-Ferrand to start the exploration of the Massif Central range. At the end of the week, the Pyrenees will begin the weeding out process among the most efficient climbers: the finish line of the col du Tourmalet will be the goal of all the contenders for the Yellow Jersey. They will have to defend their ambitions again the following day in the final time trial in Pau.
Tour de France Femmes 2023 Stages:
23/07 – Stage 1: Clermont-Ferrand – Clermont-Ferrand (124km)
24/07 – Stage 2: Clermont-Ferrand – Mauriac (148km)
25/07 – Stage 3: Collonges-la-Rouge – Montignac-Lascaux (147km)
26/07 – Stage 4: Cahors – Rodez (177km)
27/07 – Stage 5: Onet-le-Château – Albi (126km)
28/07 – Stage 6: Albi – Blagnac (122km)
29-07 – Stage 7: Lannemezan – Tourmalet (90km)
30-07 – Stage 8: Pau – Pau (22km, ITT)
UCI World Cup 2022 Maasmechelen Men
Laurens Sweeck of Crelan-Fristads won the World Cup Cross in Maasmechelen on Sunday. The Belgian went solo on the fifth lap for the victory. The Dutchman Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) and Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) finished second and third.
The irritated Sweeck took the lead on the first lap and kept a tight pace. Quinten Hermans crashed and had to change bikes and lost time. At the start of the second lap, despite Sweeck’s work, everything was still together. Iserbyt took the lead and was followed by Sweeck, Vantourenhout and Vandebosch. At the start of the third lap there were still no major differences.
On the fourth lap it was again Sweeck who took the initiative. He had Vantourenhout and Sweeck with him. However, this trio was caught by a large group including Lars van der Haar, who lost some time due to two bike changes. The same three soon managed to make another gap, this time it was a lot bigger. Going into the fifth lap they had a 6 second lead over the pursuers. On this lap Iserbyt fell and dropped out of the front group, leaving Sweeck and Vantourenhout in the lead. Sweeck accelerated and Vantourenhout ran into problems, leaving Sweeck alone at the front. Behind; Van der Haar led the chase and managed to catch Vantourenhout. The chasing group also consisted of Iserbyt, Kevin Kuhn and Joris Nieuwenhuis. Going into the sixth lap, Sweeck’s lead was around 10 seconds.
Van der Haar started the pursuit alone and not much later, Iserbyt did the same. With three laps to go, Sweeck’s lead was 14 seconds over Van der Haar with Iserbyt not far behind, they soon got together. However, Laurens Sweeck was at ‘full gas’ at the front and by the eighth lap his lead was already 30 seconds on the chasing duo, who had to settle for podium places. When the bell rang for the final lap, the situation was unchanged. Van der Haar managed to break free from Iserbyt. After a bike change by Sweeck, things got even more exciting when the lead dwindled to 14 seconds. In the end, Sweeck managed to hold on to his lead and solo to victory. Van der Haar and Iserbyt came in second and third. Iserbyt retained the lead in the World Cup standings.
Race winner, Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Fristads): “I wasn’t driven by frustration. Perhaps it’s good that the brewery is brought some life into the cross. I’m glad that luck is heading my way. I have been close a few times and have shown that I can compete with the best. The plan was to stay out of trouble by being at the front as much as possible and not getting stuck behind others. I’ve been very close a few times. I’m glad it finally worked.”
2nd, Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions): “The course was really dangerous. There were many stones on the ground. This is just not a World Cup course. If it had rained it would have been just like Bieles. The flat tyre left Sweeck before I could react. It is very difficult to overtake on this course. I tried to close the gap but in the end I waited for Iserbyt. Sweeck was by far the strongest today. The Koppenbergcross suits me well as an explosive rider. I hope I can win there next week.”
3rd, Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “There were a lot of stones on the course. Just walk barefoot on the grass first and then over rocks and you’ll understand why that’s a problem. That’s why I fell and I’m standing here with bloody knees. You barely have any grip in the corners. I won’t be coming back here next year if it’s still like this. It is not World Cup worthy. After that fall I had no chance for the victory. But I don’t know if I would have won without a fall. Sweeck was very strong today.”
UCI World Cup 2022 Maasmechelen Men Result:
1. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Crelan-Fristads) 1:02:30
2. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 0:13
3. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:20
4. Michael Vantourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:24
5. Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:27
6. Kevin Kuhn (Sui) Tormans Cyclocross Team at 0:31
7. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Tormans Cyclocross Team at 0:33
8. Jens Adams (Bel) at 0:35
9. Toon Vandebosch (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:39
10. Ryan Kamp (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 0:48.
UCI World Cup 2022 Maasmechelen Women
Fem van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) won the World Cup cross in Maasmechelen. The Dutch rider was first to cross the line, solo. Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Shirin van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions) finished second and third just behind her.
For the World Cup round in Maasmechelen, the riders were given a completely new course as this was the first time that Maasmechelen had run a cross race. Almost all top riders were present with the exception of the injured Lucinda Brand. World champion Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) also made her cross debut. Top favourite was Van Empel, who had won all World Cup so far.
From the start it was the French rider Hélène Clauzel who hit the off-road first. In the first lap, Pieterse was the first to take a small gap. Soon Van Empel and Van Anrooij gave chase. At the start of the second lap, Alvarado also joined them and they caught Pieterse a little later. The foursome started the third lap with a big lead over the rest. However, Alvarado couldn’t keep up and had to let them go. Denise Betsema had worked her way forward and seemed to be on her way to the front of the race, but she cracked and dropped back.
Van Empel, Pieterse and Van Anrooij were still in the lead at the start of the final lap. Several attempts were made to get away, but the three were well-matched. In the end it was Van Empel who managed to create a gap with an acceleration and crossed the line solo in first place. Pieterse and Van Anrooij had to settle for second and third place.
Race winner, Fem van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “This was the most difficult race of the season. It was a really tough fight. I got the lead quickly and had a good opening lap. On the last slope I saw that I had a gap on Puck Pieterse and I went full throttle to the finish. I hoped to have a gap for the bars on Pieterse, I succeeded in that. It was a very difficult race. Everyone contributed and we made it a great event. Whoever had won, everyone would have given it to each other.”
UCI World Cup 2022 Maasmechelen Women Result:
1. Fem van Empel (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal in 54:39
2. Puck Pieterse (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:03
3. Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 0:06
4. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:44
5. Kata Blanka Vas (Hun) SD-Worx at 1:05
6. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:13
7. Inge van der Heijden (Ned) 777 at 1:23
8. Clara Honsinger (USA) at 1:28
9. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 1:41
10. Line Burquier (Fra) at 1:41.
Superprestige 2022 Ruddervoorde Men
Eli Iserbyt won in Ruddervoorde on Saturday ahead of Laurens Sweeck and Lars van der Haar, who was solo for a long time, but had two punctures in the final.
Eli Iserbyt was the big favourite in Ruddervoorde, but with his teammate Michael Vanthourenhout, Lars van der Haar and Laurens Sweeck at the start, he would not have an easy day. It didn’t help that Iserbyt got off to a bad start. Before the riders hit the off-road, Iserbyt had lost many places, as did Laurens Sweeck. While Toon Vandebosch had the best start and led for a large part of the first lap, Iserbyt and Sweeck were in 11th and 19th place at the end of the first lap. There were no really big gaps.
On the second lap Quinten Hermans was at the front. Vanthourenhout and Vandebosch were next, but Iserbyt had already moved up and closed the small gap with Van der Haar on his wheel. Eight riders, without Sweeck, started the third lap together. Sweeck eventually joined them. Vanthourenhout accelerated on the third lap. He made a gap on the group, where Felipe Orts initially led, but Van der Haar took over and gave chase. The Dutchman was able to close the gap as they crossed the finish line. The Baloise Trek Lions rider continued his effort and left Vanthourenhout who dropped back to the group of Sweeck, Iserbyt, Hermans and Vandebosch. Van der Haar soon had 20 seconds on the fifth lap. Iserbyt saw the danger and tried to jump across to the European champion on his own. The Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider came close, but after the sand section he quickly fell back to the chasers.
The gap between Van der Haar and the group behind him increased to almost 30 seconds. But at the end of lap six, Sweeck accelerated in the sand and got closer with Iserbyt. The difference dropped to below 20 seconds. Van der Haar extended his lead again, Sweeck made use of the sand on the next lap to cut the lead, but Van der Haar also had a puncture. At the start of the eighth lap he was able to change bikes, but Sweeck and Iserbyt were already at a few seconds. It was Iserbyt who made contact first. He immediately dropped Van der Haar because the Dutchman again had a flat tyre. The unlucky Van der Haar dropped back to Sweeck and had to let the Crelan-Fristads rider go as he still had a flat tire. Iserbyt managed to hold out in the final lap against Sweeck, who had to settle for second place. Lars van der Haar finished third.
Race winner, Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “This was the worst of all my races. My start was really bad. I lost a lot of energy in the first two laps. The rest had of course also seen that Laurens (Sweeck) and I were sitting on the back. When I joined the front, I wanted to temporise, but there was always someone who accelerated. I also made too many mistakes, because maybe I had too little tire pressure. After a bike change I gave it a try, but I didn’t want to go too deep with the World Cup Cross in Maasmechelen in mind. So I thought about second place. But after some good turns through Sweeck’s sand and Van der Haar’s flat tyres we came closer. This was the least of all my races. It was a happy bull’s-eye.”
2nd, Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Fristads): “They don’t take their responsibility, I think that’s low to the ground. If you race with two teammates, you close the gap. It was drumming, I was closed in. Then it’s fighting. It’s better that that doesn’t happen, but I don’t think that was really a problem. You see what happens to Lars, bad luck always comes along. But I think if we had looked a little less at each other, we would have competed for the win much easier. If you stay on the wheel for three or four laps, I think you win undeservedly. He should be a champion then you also have to take your responsibility. I was surprised that Eli suddenly had a final shot, because he was not co-operating all the time. Eli put in a really fast lap. I just can’t keep up with those little guys in those small, tight turns. It is every time losing metres and closing it back.”
3rd, Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions): “It may have been a thriller for you, but for me it sucks. The first time is still unlucky, but the second time is just stupid. You know that at the end of the bridge has to lift your rear wheel, but I’m going to hit it full. My second tyre punctured even faster than the first. I had a 90% chance of winning, but now it was that 10 percent bad luck. I had a very good day. I continue my good form, but I am disappointed. It’s really sour that I can’t win here.”
Superprestige 2022 Ruddervoorde Men Result:
1. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal
2. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Crelan-Fristads at 0:12
3. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions at 0:31
4. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Tormans Cyclo Cross at 0:42
5. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:10
6. Toon Vandebosch (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 1:22
7. Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) Burgos-BH at 1:29
8. Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Tormans Cyclo Cross at 1:34
9. Mees Hendrikx (Ned) Crelan-Fristads at 1:45
10. Kevin Kuhn (Sui) Tormans Cyclo Cross at 1:49.
Superprestige 2022 Ruddervoorde Women
Denise Betsema won the first round of the Superprestige. The Dutchwoman crossed the line solo in Ruddervoorde. Inge van der Heijden finished in second place, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado was third.
After three rounds of the World Cup, the Telenet Superprestige kicked off on Saturday in Ruddervoorde. The biggest names were absent due to the World Cup in Maasmechelen on Sunday, but with Annemarie Worst, Denise Betsema and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado there were still some top riders on the start line.
It was Inge van der Heijden who had the best start. She was first onto the off-road and initially set the pace. At the first crossing of the finish line, Betsema and Alvarado were at a short distance, Worst was further back. On the second lap Betsema took over at the front and immediately put the pressure on. Van der Heijden and Alvarado were able to follow, but Worst lost more ground.
At the end of the second lap, Alvarado left a small gap. On the third lap she hung on, but on the fourth, she lost more time. Worst couldn’t win and was riding with Marion Norbert Riberolle. Aniek van Alphen also joined this duo. On the fifth of six laps, Betsema decided the race. She made a gap with Van der Heijden and then went solo. At the start of the final lap she had 11 seconds, at the finish it was half a minute. Betsema, who also won in Ruddervoorde last year, took her first victory of the season. Van der Heijden finished well ahead of Alvarado who had to settle for third place.
Race winner, Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “This is very good for morale. I am very happy with it, in the last races I always fell short of the podium. A win like this makes up for a lot. This is a circuit that suits me well and that I really enjoy doing. I was able to save some money. Once the difference is big enough, it will work. But it was still a tough race. Those technical passages just make it very intensive. I want to train more towards the championships. In that regard, it works out well. I’m also really looking forward to Namur. I have mentioned the European Championship as a goal, I hope to finally grab a jersey there. I know it’s going to be very difficult, but I’m going for it.”
Superprestige 2022 Ruddervoorde Women Result:
1. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal
2. Inge van der Heijden (Ned) 777 at 0:32
3. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:51
4. Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777 at 1:06
5. Marion Norbert Riberolle (Bel) Crelan-Fristads at 1:11
6. Aniek van Alphen (Ned) 777 at 1:15
7. Sanne Cant (Bel) Crelan-Fristads at 2:19
8. Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa) Nesta-MMR at 2:30
9. Perrine Clauzel (Fra) AS Bike Racing at 2:49
10. Zoe Bäckstedt (GB) at 3:04.
Tour de France Prudential Singapore Criterium 2022
The Tour de France Prudential Criterium in Singapore was won by Jonas Vingegaard. The winner of the last Tour de France was the first to cross the line in his yellow jersey, ahead of two other ex-Tour winners: Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali.
The road season is behind us, although there was still a race on the program on Sunday in Singapore. A professional criterium race was organised by ASO. The Tour de France Prudential Singapore Criterium was held on a purpose-built street circuit in the heart of the city. With Tour winner Jonas Vingegaard, Mark Cavendish and recently retired riders, Alejandro Valverde and Vincenzo Nibali, there were other top riders at the start.
Cavendish was in the mood for a tough race and certainly wasn’t going to wait for a sprint. The 37-year-old Briton was more or less the instigator of an interesting leading group that also included Vingegaard and Simon Geschke. However, this escape attempt was short-lived and so Cavendish and Vingegaard were captured. Not much later, a new leading group of seven riders emerged.
Rohan Dennis, Simon Clarke, Jan Hirt, José Joaquín Rojas and Guillaume Boivin were the most important names, but these riders also didn’t manage to stay away to the finish. In the final kilometres it eventually became a duel between yellow jersey wearer Vingegaard, Nibali and Chris Froome. These riders managed to jump away from an elite group and went for the victory. Vingegaard had the best sprint ahead of Froome and Nibali.
Tour de France Prudential Singapore Criterium Result:
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
2. Chris Froome (GB) Israel-Premier Tech
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan.
Lefevere on Evenepoel’s Tour’23 Plan
Will Remco Evenepoel go to the Tour de France in 2023? We still don’t know the answered after Thursday’s course presentation in Paris. Patrick Lefevere, Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl team boss, said that no decisions will be made for the time being. Tour boss Christian Prudhomme said he would like to see Evenepoel come, despite there not being many time trial kilometres.
“I don’t rule out anything,” Lefevere told Sporza about a possible Tour participation of Evenepoel. “But I’ve already said 101 times that we won’t decide until December or January. It would be stupid to do that after barely five minutes.” In the meantime, he spoke of a ‘well-distributed’ course. “I count eight flat – well, flat – stages, eight mountain stages and a tough start in the Basque Country. Julian Alaphilippe and possibly a good Remco Evenepoel could get their money’s worth there.”
Evenepoel – as a two-time winner of the Clásica San Sebastián and wearing the leader’s jersey in the Tour of the Basque Country – has good memories of the Basque Country. “Yes, that can be an advantage. And there are also eight so-called stages for sprinters. We are now thinking about that.”
While next year’s Giro d’Italia has more than 70 kilometres of time trial, the Tour de France only has 22, the lowest since 2015. For a time trial specialist like Evenepoel, that may make the choice for the Tour de France less attractive, but Tour boss Christian Prudhomme would still like to see him start in his tour. “We would be absolutely delighted with Evenepoel’s arrival, whatever year that will be.”
Prudhomme acknowledges that there are few time trial kilometres. “But in 2015 we had even less with 13.8 kilometers,” he points out. When asked if it is a Tour for the climbers, Prudhomme responds that the Tour always is. “We also no longer see a rift between a rouleur who wants to limit damage uphill and a race climber who is very weak against the clock. We are in a new cycle of racing with attackers and riders who can win on just about any terrain.”
The lack of TT kilometres could make the difference for Evenepoel:
Mark Cavendish Thinks there are Seven or Eight sprint Stages in the Tour
Mark Cavendish sees a lot of opportunities for the sprinters in the 2023 Tour de France 2023 course. The British sprinter gave his analysis after the presentation of the Tour course in Paris. “That’s a lot,” Cavendish told Cyclingnews.
The 34 Tour stage winner does not find it very surprising that the stage schedule also has many mountain stages. “The Tour de France is always tough, right? It remains the Tour. The start in the Basque Country will be the toughest I’ve seen in my career. But that’s very exciting and it’s going to be a big show, I think. It will ensure that the classification riders will determine the race early on.”
Wilfried Peeters, Cav’s DS at Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in recent years, sees only three or four sprint opportunities on this route. Cavendish himself is a bit more optimistic. “If the sprinters manage to survive the mountains, they have plenty of opportunities for pure bunch sprints. There are quite a few finishes on boulevards, with a long final straight,” he looks ahead. “Maybe there are seven or eight chances. That is a lot, so there are real opportunities for the sprinters.”
Cavendish did not want to talk in Paris about the latest developments around B&B Hotels-KTM. The British champion has agreed to be part of the French ProTeam for 2023, but manager Jérôme Pineau is having problems completing the registration with the UCI. Reportedly there are problems with future sponsors.
Cavendish thinks there are chances for the sprinters in the 2023 Tour:
Tour 2023 – “A course on which Meintjes & Girmay can shine”
It is from Bilbao (Basque Country) that team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert will start its sixth Tour de France in July. The parcours of the Tour 2023, which was revealed this Thursday October 27th in Paris, will reach the Champs-Elysées on Sunday July 23rd after 3404 kilometre of racing via the five mountain ranges of the country.
In total, the 110th edition contains eight mountain stages among which four mountain top finishes, eight stages suited for sprinters, only one 22 kilometer time trial and three days out of the French territory in the Basque Country to start with.
The first yellow jersey will be distributed after a hilly stage around Bilbao with more than 3000 meters of climbing, followed the next day by another hilly stage with the Alto de Jaizkibel 20 kilometer before the finish. The peloton then heads to France for two opportunities for sprinters, followed by a first fight in the Pyrenees towards Laruns on day five.
Ski station Cauterets-Campbasque will be the theatre of the first mountain top finish on day six, preceded by the Col d’Aspin and the Col du Tourmalet. After two new opportunities for sprinters, the peloton will return to the Puy de Dôme for the first time in 35 years, with a summit finish in the Massif Central to conclude the first week.
The rest day in Clermont-Ferrand will be followed by three days for the strong riders, before reaching the Jura for a finish on top of the Grand Colombier on July 14th. Then, two stages with over 4000 meter of climbing in the Alps await the riders, with the first one finishing in Morzine after the downhill of the Col de Joux-Plane and the second one on top of Saint-Gervais – Mont Blanc, where the peloton will start the second restday.
The only time trial opens the third week in the Haute-Savoie, containing the Côte de Domancy (2.5 km at 9.4%) as final part of the 22 kilometer stage. The next day, the seventeenth stage contains four major difficulties among whom the Col de la Loze, which is with its 2304 meters of altitude the roof of this edition, and the final climb to the Altiport de Courchevel to conclude this queen stage with more than 5000 meters of climbing.
The sprinters can then benefit of two opportunities before a final fight for the climbers in the Vosges on day twenty, a 133 kilometer stage finishing with the Col du Platzerwasel. Following the tradition, the 110th edition is concluded with a 21st stage on the Parisian circuit on the Champs-Elysées.
Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager): “This course is what we were hoping for, taking into account the roster we had in mind for the Tour de France 2023. On the one hand, it will be three challenging weeks through the mountain ranges with a limited number of time trial kilometers, which matches perfectly with the profile of our GC leader Louis Meintjes. Second, I’m pleased with the hilly stages in the beginning of the Tour. This increases the opportunities for Biniam Girmay compared to the pure sprinters, who will battle for stage wins in the second half of the event. After finishing in the top eight of the final classification and taking to three podium finishes in key stages to Arenberg, Alpe d’Huez and in Paris in last July, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert will keep chasing a precious first stage win in its sixth participation to La Grande Boucle.”
A tour to suit Meintjes:
Wilfried Peeters’ Thoughts on the 2023 Tour de France Route
Mountainous profile and limited amount of time trial kilometers for the 110th edition (1-23 July 2023).
The Basque Country will host the Grand Depart for the first time since 1992, the stages around Bilbao and San Sebastian promising some exciting battles before the race heads into the Pyrenees, where it will tackle the Col de Soudet, Col de Marie Blanque, Col d’Aspin and Col du Tourmalet in the space of just two days, the last of these culminating with the Cauterets, the first of the race’s four summit finishes.
The sprinters will get some opportunities as the peloton makes the transition towards the Massif Central, where the iconic Puy de Dôme (13.3km, 7.7%), scene of an amazing and unforgettable duel between Raymond Poulidor and Jacques Anquetil in 1964, will be back after a 35-year absence.
The Jura brings the mighty Col du Grand Colombier on Bastille Day, while the Alps will host the Saint-Gervais mountain top finish and the return of the brutal Col de la Loze (the highest point of the entire race – 2,304 metres) after three years, but also the sole individual time trial of the 110th Grande Boucle. Featuring at the beginning of the third week, the stage between Passy and Combleux will be just 22 kilometers in length, making for the lowest amount of time trial kilometers in a single edition since the discipline was introduced in 1934.
On the penultimate day, a stage in the Vosges perfect for an ambush awaits the bunch, who will take on five classified climbs, including the Ballon d’Alsace, Col du Petit Ballon and Col du Platzerwasel. From there, the race travels to Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, where the last stage of the Tour de France will get underway, with Paris set to give the sprinters one of their few chances to shine next July.
“It’s a very hard Tour de France, and you can see that from the opening weekend, which is going to be very nervous with all those hard and steep climbs in the Basque Country. Then, as the race progresses, many big climbs will make their presence felt on this relentless route, making things tougher and more complicated. The fast men should have some stages for themselves, but also the puncheurs will get their fair number of chances, maybe more than in recent years. Overall, it’s a very demanding Tour de France”, said Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Wilfried Peeters.
Wilfried Peters and Patrick Lefevere:
Tour de France 2023 (July 1-23)
Vincent Lavenu: “This Tour de France 2023 offers a fairly balanced profile with stages for sprinters but also very nice options for climbers. There won’t be many kilometers of time trials, which suggests a great battle in the mountains. Our Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region will be honoured. It is always an essential region to pass through, but there are some special features such as the return to Puy de Dome. It is symbolic. The AG2R CITROËN TEAM can play a big part in this type of Tour de France with riders like Ben O’Connor and Aurélien Paret-Peintre. The 2022 edition was not easy for us with crashes and Covid-19. We hope to reach our potential next year and enjoy a Tour like that of 2021.”
The AG2R CITROËN TEAM has won 21 Tour de France stages since its first participation in 1993.
The team has also had a rider finish on the podium three times in the final general classification: Jean-Christophe Péraud 2nd in 2014, Romain Bardet 2nd in 2016 and 3rd in 2017.
Pogačar on Evenepoel: “If I were World Champion, I Would Go to the Tour”
Will Remco Evenepoel go to the Tour de France in 2023? Or will he focus on the Giro d’Italia next year? That remains to be seen after the presentation of the Tour course. “If I were world champion, I would go to the Tour,” two-time Tour winner Tadej Pogačar is clear in conversation with Het Nieuwsblad.
The Slovenian briefly discussed Evenepoel last Thursday, after the presentation of the 110th edition of the Tour de France. “Remco has to write its own story and put together his own program. I can’t tell him to come to the Tour. It’s his decision. He is World champion and one of the best riders. But if I were World champion, I would go to the Tour,” Pogačar said.
Pogačar want’s to see Evenepoel at the Tour:
Pidcock Starts Cross Season in Three or Four Weeks
When Tom Pidcock was in Paris on Thursday to attend the presentation of the Tour de France route, he was also asked about his cyclo-cross plans for the coming winter. “I don’t know exactly what my program is, but I think I will start in three or four weeks,” he told Sporza.
“I’m also not sure if I’ll ride the Cyclo-cross World Championships,” Pidcock said. “When you cross every year in the winter, it’s tough. I’m definitely going to cross, but I don’t know how much yet. I want to have a good preparation for the road season. Next week I will know my cyclo-cross calendar.”
About the Tour de France 2023 route, Pidcock said it is “very tough. It starts hard, you can’t get in quietly. The first day there can already be differences in the general classification. That also means that there will be fewer crashes, if the classification has already been partly made in the first two days.”
The Brit also pointed to a difference with the 2022 route. “This time there are real mountain stages on the one hand, but also real flat stages on the other. They went more to the extremes compared to last year, when there were more intermediate stages.”
Pidcock does not yet know exactly what his own role will be. But riding for the GC is something in the back of his mind. Does he want to be on the podium in Paris? “That would be cool. When I was twelve years old, I was riding around in a yellow jersey somewhere in Great Britain. My dream is to win the Tour de France someday, but maybe not next year. If you look at Vingegaard or Tadej (Pogacar), I don’t see myself beating them yet. Maybe one day, but in three weeks it will be a different story.”
Less cross for Pidcock:
Julian Alaphilippe Will Focus on Flemish Classics Next Year
Julian Alaphilippe will again be at the start of several Flemish classics next year. The Frenchman told the regional newspaper La Montagne. The 30-year-old Soudal – Quick-Step rider will also make his appearance in the Ardennes classics in 2023.
The two-time World champion did not show himself on the Flemish cobbles this year, as he wanted to fully focus on the hilly classics and in particular Liège-Bastogne-Liège. However, Alaphilippe crashed heavily in that race. The Frenchman was left with broken ribs, a broken shoulder blade and a collapsed lung and was out for a long time.
Alaphilippe hopes for revenge in Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2023, but the Walloon classic is not top of his wish list this time, according to La Montagne. The Frenchman hopes to shine again next year in Flemish races, and in particular the Tour of Flanders. Alaphilippe was one of the leading riders in the 2020 Tour of Flanders before collided with a race moto.
Alaphilippe will not look back on 2022 with too much pleasure due to his crash and also a covid infection. He only had two victories this year, with a stage in the Tour of the Basque Country and the Tour de Wallonie.
Alaphilippe looking forward to the Flemish Classics in 2023:
Nils Politt is Disappointed with Wilco Kelderman’s Departure
The departure of Wilco Kelderman from BORA-hansgrohe is a problem. Earlier, team boss Ralph Denk, said that the Dutchman would be missed now that he is leaving for Jumbo-Visma, and Nils Politt also agrees: “He brought a lot of experience to the team as a classification rider,” Politt told WielerFlits.
“Wilco is a good teammate. I rode the Tour de France with him in 2021 when he finished fifth,” said the reigning German champion. “He is mentally very strong and he was always focused. It’s a shame he’s ‘going home’. That’s how I can say it when he goes to Jumbo-Visma. We lose a very good teammate with Wilco.”
Kelderman was important for BORA-hansgrohe, which after the departure of Peter Sagan chose to focus more on riding for the GC in Grand Tours. According to team manager Denk a conscious choice because of media value in Germany and Austria. The fact that Kelderman finished fifth in the Tour was important for the team. This year the Giro victory of Jai Hindley was added.
The role of Kelderman should not be underestimated, according to Politt. “He certainly brought experience to the squad. Wilco always rode at a high level, but he only misses those one or two wins. But for the rest, he was always in the top 10 or top 5,” said the Classics rider.
Politt himself is aiming for the spring classics again in 2023. He finished fifth in Dwars door Vlaanderen last season, but was unable to do much in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Politt doesn’t known about his preparation for the Classics. “We will talk about it in December. It also depends on the Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico routes. Then we can decide.”
Since 2017, Politt has ridden the Tour de France every year. If it is up to him, he will be there for the seventh time in a row next summer. “In recent years, the Classics have been my first goal. Then there was a break and then the preparation for the Tour followed. I hope to be on the Tour again next year, of course. But the team decides and if I know that I will prepare myself,” said the German who won a Tour stage in 2021.
Classics and Tour for Politt in 2033?
Sonny Colbrelli to End his Career
Following the medical advice from his examinations, Sonny Colbrelli will retire from professional cycling after having a defibrillator fitted as a result of his collapse shortly after finishing stage 1 of Volta a Catalunya on March 21st.
“A year ago in this period, I spent my days celebrating the most important victory of my career, Paris-Roubaix. I never thought I would find myself a year later to face one of the most challenging moments that life has put me in front of. But it’s my life that I want to be grateful for, a life I risked losing and which gave me a second chance. That of being here today, to remember that I came out of the Hell of the North as a winner, and I did it in a legendary way, which will remain in history and that I will be able to continue to tell my children. It is to them, my family and all the people closest to me that I owe this new life of mine. From them, I am drawing the strength to accept this moment of my sporting career that sees me here today to give up being able to add to my Palmares a victory in a Grand Tour or Flanders, a lifelong dream.”
Promptly assisted by the medical staff supported by Borja Saenz de Cos at the finish line in Catalunya, Colbrelli was taken into an ambulance to Hospital Universitari de Girona to investigate his condition further. The medical checks confirmed that the rider suffered from an unstable cardiac arrhythmia that required defibrillation.
Following this, Colbrelli was transferred to the Cardiology Clinic of the University of Padua, where he underwent clinical cardiovascular evaluation coordinated by Professor Domenico Corrado. Based on the clinical evaluation results, in agreement with the rider and team medical staff, Sonny Colbrelli went through a successful intervention of subcutaneous defibrillator (ICD) implantation; a life-saving device that works to correct the rhythm of the heart if it’s needed in extreme cases.
“After what happened at Catalunya, the hope of being able to continue being a professional rider has never abandoned me, albeit minimal. I knew that the way back would be difficult with a defibrillator. In Italy, it is not allowed by law. With the support of the team’s medical staff, directed by Dr Zaccaria, I did not give up anyway. I resumed cycling under strict medical supervision and underwent several visits and consultations with specialists in the sector. Among these, the director of the University Clinic of Padua, Prof. Corrado, who followed the implantation of the defibrillator. And an evaluation was also made by those who have followed similar cases, such as the footballer Christian Eriksen, who, like me, has a defibrillator and has resumed his professional career. But cycling is not football. It is a different sport; you ride on the streets. You do not play it on a football pitch, where, in case of need, the interventions of the medical équipe can be timely. Their training activities take place in a limited area, while in the case of a cyclist, you often find yourself alone for hours on little-travelled roads.
Precisely this is what makes it more complicated to take another path to be able to compete again. Remove the defibrillator. I admit I considered it. But as mentioned, cycling is different from football. For the reasons mentioned, but above all, also for the intensity of the effort. But first of all, removing the defibrillator is against the medical practice and means removing a lifesaver that is necessary as secondary prevention. A risk too high. A risk that I cannot afford to take. For me, for the opportunity that life, God I believe in, has given me. For Adelina, for Vittoria and for Tomaso. For my parents.
I say goodbye to cycling and try to do it with a smile for the good it gave me, even if it hurts to say goodbye after a season like last year. That was the best of my career. I learned what life offers and what life takes. But it also gives back in a different form. I’m ready to keep trying to be a champion, like on the bike. I will stay in cycling with the Bahrain Victorious, who have been close to me like a second family and will accompany me in this transition period from a rider to a new role that will evolve daily. I will be an ambassador for our partners, work closely with the performance group, and share my experience with my teammates.
I was delighted to see how the children have taken me as a model in recent months. Maybe, I tell myself, because the man covered in mud looks a bit like a superhero. For them, I would like to do something sooner or later. Meanwhile, I will also have the opportunity to be a reference for Team Bahrain Victorious and the development teams: Cycling Team Friuli and the Cannibal U19.
New challenges await me, and with courage, I prepare to face them. I want to do it with a smile on my face. Continue to rejoice in every ride I will do, even if only for fun and no longer for competition.”
Managing Director Milan Erzen: “Sonny has been part of this team from the very beginning. He is a champion, and I’m pleased that we could give him the support to achieve incredible results. The most important thing is that Sonny is healthy. We are pleased that Sonny will continue with us and share his experience across our team and our development teams.”
Miguel Ángel López Will Not Leave Astana Qazaqstan
The rumours surrounding Miguel Ángel López’s contract with Astana has been in the news a lot recently. Zikloland reported that the Colombian rider would be looking for a new squad, but now there are conflicting reports. Colombian cycling website, MundoCiclístico, is running with the news that the climber will still stay with Astana Qazaqstan. “We deny the claims that López will no longer be part of Astana. In addition, we confirm that López will remain with the team until the end of his contract, which runs until the end of 2023.”
Astana Qazaqstan suspended the Colombian in July over this alleged doping involvement, but later lifted the suspension because there was “no evidence.” López then rode the Vuelta a España for the Kazakh team. He finished the Spanish tour in fourth place. However, according to Zikloland, that does not mean that everything is back to normal, and López’s future may well lie elsewhere. López returned to Astana Qazaqstan in early 2022, after racing for one year with Movistar in 2021. The Colombian left after an incident in the Vuelta a España.
López to stay with Astana:
Lewis Askey with Groupama-FDJ to the End of 2025
Lewis Askey’s contract with Groupama-FDJ has been extended. The 21-year-old Briton had a contract until the end of 2023, that has now been extended to the end of 2025.
Askey joined the Groupama-FDJ development team in 2020. After two seasons at U23 level, he made the step to the WorldTeam. Last season he broke through with a second place in the Classique Loire Atlantique. Askey also made his debut in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Three years more for Lewis Askey with Groupama-FDJ:
Danny van der Tuuk Extends Contract with Equipo Kern Pharma
Danny van der Tuuk will race for Equipo Kern Pharma next season. The 22-year-old Dutchman turned pro with the ProTeam in 2021 and is now signing on for a third season with the Spanish team. In addition to Van der Tuuk, seven more riders have signed new contracts.
After three years with the Continental Metec-TKH team, Van der Tuuk made his professional debut in 2021 with Equipo Kern Pharma. The team made the switch to ProTeam level that year. “I can time trial well and I want to develop further as a classification rider,” said Van der Tuuk when he joined the team. “The program fits perfectly with how I want to develop as a rider. The first year will not be easy as I will have to adapt to a new environment, but I hope to show my talent soon.”
Jon Agirre, Kiko Galván, Carlos García, Álex Jaime, Jordi López, Martí Márquez and Ibon Ruiz also have contract extension with Equipo Kern Pharma. A conscious choice according to team director Juanjo Oroz: “Our team strives for continuity. These are riders who gave us their trust for two years and now we want to give that back because our goal is to build a great squad. These eight have earned a place in the team.”
Danny van der Tuuk stays with Equipo Kern Pharma:
Ryder Team has 23 Riders for 2023
Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team, the cycling team of manager Doug Ryder and technical advisor Vincenzo Nibali, will start its first season in 2023 with 23 riders. Nibali recently announced on Tuttobiciweb.
It has been rumoured for some time that Doug Ryder, former general manager of Dimension Data and NextHash, is busy behind the scenes with a new sponsor for his Qhubeka team. The team has now also applied for a ProTeam license from the UCI. Based on the registered name, it can be assumed that the Italian cycling clothing brand Q36.5 will be the main sponsor.
As a technical advisor to the team, Nibali is busy working on the last details behind the scenes. “These are really busy days. I spend a lot of time in front of my computer sending and answering emails. I really have to make a lot of phone calls, it’s quite challenging. I still get up very early, just like I did as a cyclist.”
The recently retired Nibali reveals that the team will start the season with 23 riders: Matteo Moschetti, Gianluca Brambilla, Damien Howson, Tom Devriendt, Jack Bauer, Alessandro Fedeli and Filippo Conca are mentioned as (possible) reinforcements. Mark Donovan would also go with Doug Ryder. The full team will be presented in early November.
Doug Ryder’s new team is taking shape:
Padun, Morton Head to Poland to Assist Displaced Ukrainian Junior Riders
The Ukrainian pro will join Lachlan Morton in Poland this weekend to distribute 13 Cannondale bikes to young refugees from his home country
For Padun, the moment is both personal and too familiar, as he fled Ukraine at the age of 17.
In the faces of these young Ukranian junior riders far from home, Mark Padun can see himself.
When Mark was 17, he fled his hometown of Donetsk, in the southeast of Ukraine, to escape a Russian invasion. He was taken in by a cycling academy near Kyiv, which gave him a place to stay and the support to follow his dreams. Now, Mark can do his part for kids who had to leave their homes as he did.
Since the 2022 season ended, Mark has collected cycling gear to give to Ukrainian refugees, and this Saturday, he will join Lachlan Morton in Poland to distribute Cannondale bikes to 13 Ukrainian kids who had to flee from their home country when Russian bombs began to fall on their cities. And they’ll go for a ride together.
Lachlan met those kids this spring at the end of his One Ride Away venture, which has raised $297,000 and counting for Global Giving’s Ukraine Crisis Relief fund.
For Padun, the effort is a continuation of one that began when he was 17, running from a home country under attack. He began racing at 11, and without that cycling academy in Kyiv who knows how this story ends.
“I just always had the dream to be a pro cyclist,” he says. “I would be at training camps back in Ukraine and would just know that I wanted to be a pro cyclist, that I was working for that.”
Mark’s dream kept him going. Cycling gave structure to his days. Before long, his mum and dad had to flee Donetsk, too. They are now safe in America. Mark has lived apart from them ever since that day when they had to decide to send him to the sports school near Kyiv. On his journey to the pros, Mark has been blessed with support from some wonderful people in cycling.
After making his name in the juniors in Ukraine, Mark moved to Italy, where he was taken in by a U23 team near Bergamo that launched his career. They lent him an apartment, helped him with his documents, and paid him enough to live well. That team was like family to Mark.
“There were a lot of people there who really liked to help me,” Mark says. “I am very thankful to them. In the two years I was there, I always felt comfortable, and I didn’t lack anything. Everything was in place. I had a salary, which for that period was a really good salary. I had my tickets to fly to Ukraine two or three times per year when I wanted to, and I always had help with documents. This is just the basic stuff, but I always had support. Even now when I do a good result, I will get a call from them or a message, and this is five years later. It felt like more than just a team. It was a step to the World Tour, but it was a really nice time. I remember my time spent with them really well.”
Now, with EF Education-EasyPost, Mark has found that kind of backing in the professional ranks. He hasn’t had an easy year. After a powerful start to the season, where he won the time trial at Gran Camiño in Spain and finished third overall, Mark got sick. That was the week that Russia attacked Ukraine. The war has weighed on his mind ever since.
“It has been a factor, but I cannot say a percentage or a number,” Mark says. “The war started with my first race of the season and it was pure shock to me. But this is my job. I am doing this as best as I can. I always had these thoughts about what was happening, always checking the news, always asking the relatives how they are doing and hoping it is going to end soon.”
It was months before Mark was back to himself. He struggled to get back in form after missing race kilometres and training. By the start of the Vuelta, he’d managed to get in pretty good form, and he got through the Spanish grand tour well, attacking several days in the mountains, and showing glimpses of the Mark Padun who has blasted away from the best climbers in the world at races like the Dauphiné. He then did several strong rides at the Italian autumn classics. Next year, he is determined to hold his best form for the duration of a three-week tour. He doesn’t yet know his limits, but has faith that he is on the right road with our team.
“I am still seeing different parts of cycling,” he says. “Before it was like pure work, pure job, just the performance. Now it is still that—because I cannot work halfway, but have to give 100 percent—but the team just adds more enjoyment. It is more of a journey in between the races. In the bus half an hour before the race, it is 100% performance and in the race we are only focused on cycling. After the race, we recover and get our massage. Everything else is relaxed. You can enjoy the company of the guys, all of the conversations.”
At times, Mark is amazed that he has gotten to where he is. He trains very, very hard and has suffered through some great challenges, but he has also been fortunate that the right people have come into his life at the right moments and helped him nurture the talent he believes is God given.
For Mark, it all started when his first coach gave him his first bike. Now, thanks to Cannondale, he has the chance to give 13 Ukrainian kids bikes of their own. They will follow their own destinies. He hopes for continued support for them throughout their lives’ journeys.
You can still donate to Lachlan Morton’s One Ride Away fundraiser for Global Giving.
The PEZ INSTAGRAM
See our Instagram page for a quick fix on your phone: https://www.instagram.com/pezcyclingnews
The PEZ NEWSWIRE!
Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it on the homepage, just above the PEZ Shop section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.
Any comments drop me a line, at: [email protected] or Twitter. And check the PezCyclingNews Twitter and Facebook Page. And say hi on Zwift when you pass me.