All the news form the Vuelta a España with reports, what the riders think and video action.
Was the late change by the organisers the cause of Remco Evenepoel’s crash? – TOP STORY.
Rider news: Caleb Ewan not going to stop, Carlos Verona signs with Lidl-Trek and Clément Berthet training again.
Team news: Ridley lashes out at Lotto Dstny, Ayco Bastiaens joins Soudal Quick-Step, Henok Mulubrhan moves to Astana Qazaqstan, Hugo Hofstetter returns to IPT, Claire Steels to Movistar, AG2R-Citroën to the Bretagne Classic and Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team welcomes new DS Jens Zemke.
Race news: Tour of Britain provisional startlist and the CRIT Championship in St. Petersburg, FL.
Big coffee time.
TOP STORY: Was the Late Change by the Vuelta Organisers the Cause of Remco Evenepoel’s Crash?
The cause of Remco Evenepoel’s fall may have been found and again it isn’t good news for the race organisers. The Belgian crashed on Monday’s stage 3 after he crossed the finish-line, he was celebrating his win and didn’t have time to avoid a group of team soigneurs and press. Evenepoel hit a woman and fell, but why were those people so close to the finish line?
The organisers of the Vuelta announced just under two hours before the finish that there will be no mixed zone in Arinsal. Instead of soigneurs and accredited press, other people were now also allowed to enter the finish line.
This was the announcement on the La Vuelta’s WhatsApp:
“Hi all, after discussion we have decided to open today’s fond de ligne to all. As a consequence, there won’t be no mixed zone at the finish today. The protocol mixed zone, for ITWs of jerseys and winner, remain as usual.
We thank you al for your constructive feedback and understand that some precautions taken were not ideal for you to work. For this reason, we are willing to change things to provide a better work environment. However, we would like to remind you that:
– International Signal cameras remain priority over anyone. After them, TV right holders (wearing yellow bibs) have the priority over any ITWs in the fond de ligne.
– wear a mask and your bibs at all time, especially as the team will expect the upmost courtesy and care from all media.
Please note that today’s new rules may be taken back if we judge some of the media did not play their part in respecting the rules above. We trust you are all used to working such event and things will work out smoothly.
See you at the finish!”
Also, those people were less than 100 meters after the line, normally this is about 200 meters. This would be due to the limited space at the top. Evenepoel has now also responded briefly to the incident through its own social media. “I hope the woman is okay.”
It has now also come out, via Sander Kleikers of Eurosport, that the woman in question is okay. After a medical check, the ‘press liason’ of the Andorran police was allowed to go home and was seen with her arm in a sling.
Evenepoel: “The organisation realises they made a mistake”
Remco Evenepoel wasn’t too badly shaken by his crash at the end of the third stage. Before the start of stage four, the Belgian champion also said that the race organisers had apologised to him. “I think they realise they made a mistake.”
“The damage is not too great with only two stitches, that’s all. I have no muscle pain,” the leader of the Vuelta told Sporza. “I looked at the images again and from above it is clear that the distance after the finish was too short yesterday. The organisation has apologised for it, I think they realise they made a mistake.”
“The day is over, shit happens. Today is a new day, I’m just looking forward from now on. There are worse things in life than a hole in the head, so all in all I was lucky. The most important thing is that I was able to win a stage early in this Vuelta. That gives a lot of confidence,” said Evenepoel.
The Soudal Quick-Step rider hoped to have a quieter day on Tuesday. “Today will hopefully be a calm day, it certainly looks like it. Although it will depend on what the teams decide. It has already been three hectic days, it could be a bit quieter today.”
It’s all ‘breaking my balls’ said a frustrated Evenepoel.
Vuelta a España 2023
Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) came to La Vuelta’23 to defend his overall victory from 2022 and he immediately showed how strong he is this year. On day 3, the Belgian superstar dominated the first summit finish of the Spanish Grand Tour at the summit of the Arinsal in Andorra. Not only did he get the better of Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) and Primoz Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) on the line, he also took the red jersey as the new overall leader. Enric Mas (Movistar) and French rider, Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) are his closest rivals on the general classification.
With a sunny start and high summits on the horizon, attackers launched a very hard battle for the break. It took a flurry of accelerations and more than 35 kilometres for nine riders to escape: Damiano Caruso and Jasha Sütterlin (Bahrain Victorious), Amanuel Gehbreigzabhier (Lidl-Trek), Lennard Kämna (BORA-hansgrohe), Eduardo Sepulveda (Lotto Dstny), Andrea Vendrame (AG2R-Citroën), Rune Herregodts (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) and Jon Barrenetxea (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA).
After 60 kilometres of hard racing, Mathis Le Berre (Arkea-Samsic) and Jose Manuel Diaz (Burgos-BH) joined the earlier attackers to make it a 11 man break. The gap was at its maximum of 5 minutes. Damiano Caruso, a podium finisher in the Giro, only trailed by 23 seconds on the overall standings ahead of the stage. Jumbo-Visma, Soudal Quick-Step and INEOS Grenadiers pulled the bunch. The race entered Andorra with 51.4km to go and the gap was down to under 3 minutes at the bottom of Cat-1 climb of the Coll d’Ordino (8.9km at 5.1%, at an altitude of 1,980m). Caruso ups the ante at the front. Only Sepulveda and Kämna could keep up while dsm-firmenich drove the bunch.
Romain Bardet (dsm-firmenich) set off in the last 2 kilometres of the climb, but Jumbo-Visma, Soudal Quick-Step and UAE Team Emirates controlled his move. They trailed by 1:05 on the Coll d’Ordino with 21.4km to go. Caruso set the pace on the downhill and Sepulveda was dropped. At the bottom of the final climb to Arinsal (8.3km at 7.7%), Caruso and Kämna were 1:20 ahead of the GC group. After a series of attacks, the German eventually dropped the Italian with 3km to go. Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates) led the bunch with a gap of 30 seconds. Kämna was caught by nine riders with 2 kilometres to go. Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) tries to counter-attack. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) controlled his move, but nobody could match Remco Evenepoel’s acceleration inside the last 200 metres. The Belgian superstar powered to the stage win and claimed La Roja.
You can see more photos in the full PEZ ‘Stage Report’ HERE.
Stage winner and overall leader, Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step): “I am happy with the win and the fact that I can have such a good punch after a hard climb. The team did a great job today, they were perfect, made sure of not spending too much energy, and deserve praise for their work. The guys have a lot of confidence in me and I have in them, and I am delighted this has led to a stage victory in the first week of the race. The recon I did some weeks ago helped me to know about that final corner, and that’s what made the difference today. When I went and saw that I had a couple of metres over the others, I just kept pushing. It’s a win that reminded me of the one I took on La Molina, in Catalunya. Moving into the overall lead so early was never the plan, but if you can fight for a stage victory, then you always have to go for it. We will celebrate this success a bit this evening, then focus on the next days.”
2nd on the stage and 4th overall, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma): “We showed our best side as a team. I didn’t have my very best day. That’s part of it. You can’t have the best possible legs day in and day out. Partly because of that I can live with second place. As I said, Remco is the deserved winner. I think I got the most out of it for myself. In addition, we also showed our best side as a team today.”
3rd on the stage, Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates): “I wanted to try something to try and take back some time on GC, but there was quite a bit of wind out there and it was tricky to get away. I’d like to thank my teammates who did a spectacular job, in particular today Jay Vine. Soler tried to help me at the finish but it was hard to come around Remco in a finish like today. This result gives me confidence ahead of the next mountain stages.”
Points leader, Andrea Vendrame (AG2R-Citroën): “I am really happy to put on the green jersey for the points classification. It was one of the objectives of the day after taking third place on Sunday at the end of the 2nd stage. Larry Warbasse, Mikael Cherel and I were designated to try to get into the breakaway. The battle was really hard to get into the right one. The difference was made at the top of a climb after more than 30 kilometres and I managed to put myself in a small group. Right away I knew my goal was to take the points at the intermediate sprint in Andorra la Vella. I succeeded. It’s a special moment to wear a distinctive jersey at a grand tour. I am proud. Even if the main objective is to win a stage with the AG2R CITROËN TEAM at this Vuelta a España, keeping this jersey will also be important. It would be wonderful to get on the podium in Madrid, although I know it will be a tough battle.”
Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma): “My attack was more to test the other guys. It was still a fairly large group and that’s how the competitors had to react. I felt good enough to try something, so why not? It is never wrong to do something. It is an area where I train a lot. The people standing by the side of the road are really great. I often heard my name. That always gives you some extra energy. We knew that Remco would be strong after his World championships title. However, Jonas and Primoz were also there and that’s good.”
Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers): “I felt okay in the day, but then up that last climb I didn’t feel like I had anything in there to push really. Once you’re on the back foot at the back it’s not the best place to be. [The stage] was kind of as expected. All the usual suspects were there and strong. When that breakaway went with Caruso we knew they’d ride to bring it back, or keep it within touching distance. It was a hard pace on the last climb and for me I just didn’t have it today. Obviously it’s early on and we’ve still got about 16 hard days to come. We’ll just keep fighting.”
Vuelta a España Stage 3 Result:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step in 4:15:39
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma at 0:01
3. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates
4. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
5. Marc Soler (Spa) UAE Team Emirates
6. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar
7. Lenny Martinez (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) BORA-hansgrohe
9. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates
10. Aleksandr Vlasov (-) BORA-hansgrohe.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 3:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal-Quick Step in 8:43:11
2. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 0:05
3. Lenny Martinez (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:11
4. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma at 0:31
5. Aleksandr Vlasov (-) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:33
6. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) dsm-firmenich at 0:35
8. Santiago Buitrago (Col) Bahrain-Victorious
9. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:37
10. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma.
Vuelta’23 stage 3:
First bunch sprint of the 2023 Vuelta and the first success for the Australian fast-man Kaden Groves. The Alpecin-Deceuninck sprinter mastered a tricky finale in the streets of Tarragona to take his third Grand Tour win, the second in La Vuelta, and his fourth success in the area, after three stage wins in the Volta a Catalunya. Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) started the uphill sprint early, but Groves was on his wheel and passed him at the line. Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) retained the red leader’s jersey. Eduardo Sepulveda (Lotto Dstny) took the KOM jersey and is the first Argentinian leader of a Grand Tour competition.
On the day after the first mountain showdown of the 2023, the peloton returned to Catalunya and to the coast, with 184.6km of racing to Tarragona.
Three riders attacked as soon as the race began. Eduardo Sepulveda (Lotto Dstny), on the hunt for KOM points to claim the KOM jersey he wears on loan from Remco Evenepoel, he was joined by Ander Okamika (Burgos-BH) and David Gonzalez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA). The three opened a gap of 2:20. But Kaden Groves’ Alpecin-Deceuninck team and Alberto Dainese’s dsm-firmenich team were quick to control the gap at around 2 minutes. The intensity picked up in the peloton ahead of the two climbs of the day, the Cat-3 climbs of the Alto de Belltall (53.8km to go) and the Coll de Villa (30.6km out). The gap came down to 1:20 at the bottom of the first climb. Sepulveda took 3 KOM points at the summit.
The gap dropped down to 30 seconds on the next climb, Sepulveda took 3 more KOM points to all but seal the climber’s jersey, to make history as the first Argentinian to ever lead a competition in a Grand Tour. His compatriot Bruno Sivilotti won stage 1a of La Vuelta in 1966, but he was riding as an Italian at the time, before he became Argentinian. Sepulveda was caught with 22km to go, while Okamika and Gonzalez pushed on with a small gap. They were caught 19km from the finish. The tension roses in the bunch and a group of riders hit the deck inside the last 5 kilometres, including Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) and Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious). Marijn van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost) missed a turn as he tried to anticipate the uphill finish. Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) opened up with an early sprint, but Kaden Groves was too fast.
You can see more photos in the full PEZ ‘Stage Report’ HERE.
Stage winner, Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck): “It was a really hard day with only DSM and ourselves controlling the day. We had to use two guys to control the breakaway and that used a lot of energy but my team was fantastic today, super aggressive and we were always there on time. That paid off with a victory. It was a super tight corner. Marijn van den Berg and my teammate Robbe Ghys ended up going wide and crashing and we had a big gap with Sebastian Molano and myself. Sebastian went from the bottom, with 350m to go. I was patient enough and strong enough to pass him in the last 100m. I was confident because he led from 350m and a finish like that is super tough. I thought he would have to be in a really good day to beat me. I’m very happy. It’s been a good year with a stage win in the Giro and now another one in the Vuelta quite early. Hopefully it’s not the last. It’s a really good feeling to wear the green jersey. For sure, we always had a thought about it but the first priority was to win a stage, I even didn’t contest the intermediate sprint to focus everything on the final and I think that helped. Tomorrow, on paper, should be a little bit harder but I’ll try to see how it goes and hopefully we can win again.”
Overall leader, Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step): “My team did a great job protecting me the entire day and especially in the finale, where we stayed calm as things became more hectic due to the presence of that many roundabouts. I felt good after yesterday’s crash – the team doctors took really good care of me – I didn’t experience any stiffness on the bike, and it was a nice first day, and a quite calm one, in the red jersey. Tomorrow should be another opportunity for the sprinters, and afterwards we’ll focus again on the climbing and the fight for the general classification.”
2nd on the stage, Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates): “I had a good feeling all day and in the final climb, I told my teammates that I had the legs to battle for the stage win. They did an incredible job for me, all I had to do was following my lead out Boy van Poppel. I unfortunately lost his slipstream a little in the final kilometre, otherwise I might have finished close to the podium. This seventh place is a good result, even though I hoped to reward the team with a better result. It confirms that my body reacts well and it is a good sign for the next days. Tomorrow the hilly parcours will be pretty similar, but with the difference that the last straight is flat. If I manage to follow Boy and go all out in the sprint, I believe it is possible to finish on the podium.”
7th on the stage, Hugo Page (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty): “I had a good feeling all day and in the final climb, I told my teammates that I had the legs to battle for the stage win. They did an incredible job for me, all I had to do was following my lead out Boy van Poppel. I unfortunately lost his slipstream a little in the final kilometre, otherwise I might have finished close to the podium. This seventh place is a good result, even though I hoped to reward the team with a better result. It confirms that my body reacts well and it is a good sign for the next days. Tomorrow the hilly parcours will be pretty similar, but with the difference that the last straight is flat. If I manage to follow Boy and go all out in the sprint, I believe it is possible to finish on the podium.”
10th on the stage a points jersey wearer, Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën): “It’s a special feeling to wear the green jersey. It was the first time in my career that I have worn a distinctive jersey at a grand tour. The entire AG2R CITROËN TEAM worked hard to try to keep it. Our first objective was to score points during the intermediate sprint 20 kilometres from the finish. The plan worked well with my teammates leading me out very well. But the finish was complicated with a lot of turns. I was hampered by two crashes. First there was the one three kilometres from the finish, which really slowed me down. I had to make a big effort to get back up to the front. Then, in the last corner 500 meters from the line, there was another crash that disrupted my sprint. Unfortunately, taking only tenth place means that I lost the leader in the points classification. But there are still a lot of stages left at this Vuelta a España. I haven’t said my last word and I hope to regain the jersey soon! The whole team will do their best to bring it back to Madrid.”
Vuelta a España Stage 4 Result:
1. Kaden Groves (Aus) Alpecin-Deceuninck in 4:05:41
2. Juan Sebastián Molano (Col) UAE Team Emirates
3. Edward Theuns (Bel) Lidl-Trek
4. Milan Menten (Bel) Lotto Dstny
5. Dries Van Gestel (Bel) TotalEnergies
6. Orluis Aular Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Hugo Page (Fra) Intermarché-Circus-Wanty
8. Lewis Askey (GB) Groupama-FDJ
9. Sean Flynn (GB) dsm-firmenich
10. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 4:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step in 12:48:52
2. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 0:05
3. Lenny Martinez (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:11
4. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma at 0:31
5. Aleksandr Vlasov (-) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:33
6. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) dsm-firmenich at 0:35
8. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:37
9. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 0:38
10. Marc Soler (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 0:42.
Vuelta’23 stage 4:
The day after he claimed a victory in Catalunya, Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) sprinted to victory in Burriana, where he got the best of Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) and Dries Van Gestel (TotalEnergies). This win is the 20th for an Australian rider in La Vuelta, with Groves joining Michael Matthews on 3 wins each. Back to back wins in La Vuelta have only been achieved by John Degenkolb in 2014 and Sam Bennett in 2022.
It was a nervous start from Morella, with a peloton wary of crosswinds that could turn the race upside down on the way to a seaside finish in Burriana. Eddie Dunbar (Jayco AlUla) crashed in the neutralised zone and was forced to abandon. Riders tried to get away as soon as the flag dropped, but the peloton don’t give them any margin.
After 16 kilometres, Eric Fagundez (Burgos-BH) made the break of the day. At the end of his first season in the WorldTour, the young rider showed his colour at the front as the third Uruguayan to ever participate in La Vuelta. After 60 kilometres of racing, the gap reached a maximum of 5:30. Alpecin-Deceuninck drove the bunch with Jason Osborne setting the pace. The gap was down to 1:50 at the bottom of the Cat-2 Collado de Ibola, with 53.7km to go. Already a history maker as the first Argentinian to ever lead a competition in a Grand Tour, Eduardo Sepulveda (Lotto Dstny) bridged the gap to Fagundez for more KOM points ahead of another mountain stage on Thursday.
Sepulveda caught Fagundez with 3km to go to the summit. At the top, the Argentinian rider took 5 more KOM points. The peloton was at 1:08. Fagundez was caught by the bunch with 41km to go. Sepulveda was still 20 seconds ahead, but he was caught 3 kilometres further on, with Alpecin-Deceuninck still driving the bunch. Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) made the most of the intermediate sprint to take 6 bonus seconds ahead of Kaden Groves. The intensity keeps rising until the last kilometre. Alpecin-Deceuninck launched the sprint for Groves, who delivered another victory just ahead of Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers). Evenepoel holds the overall lead going into Thursday’s summit finish.
You can see more photos in the full PEZ ‘Stage Report’ HERE.
Stage winner and points leader, Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck): “It’s a fantastic feeling, the second win of this Vuelta, and two in a row, it’s a great feeling especially doing it with the green jersey. At the end, it was a pretty hectic final today, similar to yesterday but without climbing. The wind made it quite nervous but my team was fantastic again. We lost three guys in a crash with 2.5km to go but luckily my lead out was still there and we could organise for the final. [Remco Evenepoel] wanted the time bonus in the intermediate sprint and I agreed with the team not to go for it, but in the end I thought I could get points without spending too much energy, so I took 2nd which is also good for the classification.”
Overall leader, Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step): “I think Casper [Pedersen] is somebody who has a lot of experience in lead-outs and also to just keep me in front until the last 3 kilometres. That’s why he’s here, also with Cattaneo. Both of them are super strong and did a hell of a job today. Taking the bonus seconds was not necessarily the plan but we were in front and I saw an opportunity, that’s why I just went for it. It was a nice one to grab. I thought it was just 3 seconds but in the end they told me it was 6, so it’s pretty nice!”
KOM, Eduardo Sepulveda (Lotto Dstny): “Today I was supposed to spend an easy day in the bunch but given that there was only one rider at the front, I figured why not go and try to claim more points to spend more time with the jersey and that’s why I attacked. We’ll see how long I can keep it, so far I enjoy the moment.”
Vuelta a España Stage 5 Result:
1. Kaden Groves (Aus) Alpecin-Deceuninck in 4:23:43
2. Filippo Ganna (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers
3. Dries Van Gestel (Bel) TotalEnergies
4. Alberto Dainese (Ita) dsm-firmenich
5. Lewis Askey (GB) Groupama-FDJ
6. Edward Theuns (Bel) Lidl-Trek
7. David González (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
8. Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) TotalEnergies
9. Jesús Ezquerra (Spa) Burgos-BH
10. Jarrad Drizners (Aus) Lotto Dstny.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 5:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step in 17:12:29
2. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 0:11
3. Lenny Martinez (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:17
4. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma at 0:37
5. Aleksandr Vlasov (-) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:39
6. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:43
8. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 0:44
9. Marc Soler (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 0:48
10. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates.
Vuelta’23 stage 5:
Caleb Ewan’s Manager Denies the Rumour that the Sprinter Will Stop
Caleb Ewan’s manager, Jason Bakker, has responded to the criticism of his rider. Ewan received strong criticism from Stéphane Heulot, the CEO of Lotto Dstny. “Statements like this affect Caleb and his family.”
Heulot criticised Ewan after his retirement in the Tour de France. “He just hung his head. In a way I can’t say a good word about. A real champion lifts his team, he does not do this.”
“Of course such things hurt. Caleb is a proud person. He has given the best of himself for the team for years. If you cross off his victories at Lotto-Dstny since he has been riding for the team, there is not much left,” Bakker told Het Nieuwsblad. “When things are a bit more difficult, you just expect support and confidence from those around you, and then you work together to get back in shape and get results.”
The manager said that the statements affect Ewan and his family. “It is inevitable that this also worries other riders. What must Arnaud De Lie think of this? Will they also put him on the chopping block when he has a lesser period and then publicly humiliate him?”
HLN reported that there were rumours that Ewan was thinking about stopping, but Bakker firmly denies that. “Absolutely not. 100% no. Those are fabrications. There are always teams interested in Caleb. The question is rather whether we are seriously considering leaving or not.”
Ewan not stopping:
Carlos Verona Signs with Lidl-Trek
Carlos Verona will not race for INEOS Grenadiers or his current team Movistar next year, but for Lidl-Trek. It looked like the 30 year-old Spaniard would be with INEOS Grenadiers in 2024, but the deal fell through.
Carlos Verona received an offer from INEOS Grenadiers this spring and his current team, Movistar, assumed he would leave, but earlier this month Marca came up with the news that Verona would stay with Movistar. However, there is now a new, surprising development. If we are to believe the Spanish media, the all-rounder has now concluded an agreement with Lidl-Trek.
There is a lot of uncertainty about INEOS Grenadier’s team for next season. The team has already lost Tao Geoghegan Hart, Daniel Felipe Martínez and Pavel Sivakov and they have not announced any new signings. Also Carlos Rodríguez is not guaranteed to remain with the team.
Lidl-Trek have already signed Tao Geoghegan Hart, Patrick Konrad, Jonathan Milan, Andrea Bagioli, Simone Consonni, Ryan Gibbons and Fabio Felline and now Verona.
Verona to Lidl-Trek:
Clément Berthet Resumes Training on the Road
The victim of a fractured left collarbone following a crash while training on August 12th, Clément Berthet resumed training on the road last week.
“The radiological examinations conducted ten days after the crash were positive enough to allow him to resume training on the road,” explained Cyril Barthomeuf, AG2R CITROËN TEAM doctor.
The race where he will return to competition will be communicated at a later date.
Clément Berthet back training:
Ridley Lashes Out at Lotto Dstny
Lotto Dstny will not ride Ridley bikes next year and this has not gone down well with the management of the bike company. Ridley talks about ‘infidelity’ and ‘damage to image’, their response: “Ridley is therefore looking forward to proposals to repair the damage suffered.”
The rumour had been circulating for a while, but it has now been confirmed by the team management. HLN reports that the Belgian team has signed a contract with Orbea. This Basque bicycle brand is no stranger to the peloton. They sponsored the Spanish team Euskaltel for years and they also supplied bikes to Cofidis, B&B-Hotels and Ceratizit. They are also very active in mountain biking.
“Our collaboration with Ridley will indeed end at the end of this year. We are switching to a new bicycle brand,” confirmed general manager Stéphane Heulot. “Not so much because we are not satisfied with the quality of the Ridley bike. We choose a different brand because we want to improve ourselves financially. That is necessary to be able to keep our current core.”
CEO Heulot also indicates that it is a “complicated matter”. This has to do with the contract that Lotto Dstny still has until 2025. That contract will therefore be broken.
Lotto not on Ridley:
Ayco Bastiaens Joins Soudal Quick-Step
The 27-year-old Belgian is determined to bring his contribution to the Wolfpack’s success.
Ayco Bastiaens started racing at the age of ten and since then has continued to climb up the ladder. Having had some nice results himself, the last few years he developed into a quality helper and he is eager to still grow into this role with our team over the next two years, starting from 2024.
“It’s great to be able to ride for Soudal Quick-Step from next season. I think it’s one of the biggest and nicest teams out there, and definitely as a Belgian it’s an easy choice if you are able to go to the team of Patrick Lefevere. It’s my childhood dream, as it’s for many other riders. My role will be to help the leaders, and I’m really looking forward to do that”, said a happy Ayco.
“Next to cycling I don’t have time to do a lot of other stuff, as at this point the focus is really on my cycling career. It was my dream to turn my passion into my job, so becoming a professional rider and now being able to ride for this amazing and incredibly successful squad is fantastic. I’m excited for what the next two years will bring.”
Patrick Lefevere, CEO of Soudal Quick-Step, is confident the Belgian will immediately find his place in the team and show what he is capable of: “Ayco already has some experience. This, together with his great helping skills, will definitely match with our squad. He is calm and knows exactly what his qualities are. We will help him grow even more into that role and hopefully achieve beautiful things together in the next two years.”
Ayco Bastiaens to Soudal Quick-Step:
Henok Mulubrhan Moves to Astana Qazaqstan Team
23 year-old Henok Mulubrhan from Eritrea will join Astana Qazaqstan Team for the next two seasons (2024 and 2025).
“I am so happy to join Astana Qazaqstan Team. It was my big dream to make this huge step into the WorldTour and now this dream comes true. I spent two years with my present team, and I can say I had a good time here, so I am grateful for this. But now I feel like it is time to move on ahead. I am really motivated to come to Astana and to show my best pursuing some nice results both for me personal and for the team. One of my biggest goals is to improve in the Grand Tours, to get more and more valuable experience. Astana is a great team, one of the best in the world peloton and it is a big honour for me to join this legendary team. I’d like to thank Astana and team’s General Manager Alexandr Vinokurov for believing in me. I am ready to work hard together with the team”, – said Henok Mulubrhan.
Henok Mulubrhan is two-time African Continental Champion (2022 and 2023), the winner of the Tour du Rwanda (2023) and the Tour of Quinghai Lake (2023).
“Henok spends an impressive season on a pro continental level, taking some notable results. Feels like all he needs now is to make a new step ahead for keep on growing as a rider and now he is going to do it with Astana Qazaqstan Team as we believe that Henok has all chances to become a strong professional rider, who can bring to the team important results. We signed an agreement for the next two years and we hope our work together will be a successful one”, said Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.
Henok Mulubrhan to Astana:
Hugo Hofstetter Returns to IPT in 2024
Israel – Premier Tech is pleased to announce that Hugo Hofstetter will return to the team in 2024 on a two-year contract.
The 29-year-old Frenchman was a vital part of IPT’s sprint and Classics force in 2020 and 2021, during which time he won La Samyn and consistently featured in the front of the sprint finishes.
“I’m pleased to welcome Hugo back to our team, after an absence of two years”, IPT owner Sylvan Adams says. “Hugo is a versatile and reliable rider, with a fast finish. He’s able to sprint from the bunch, but can also get over climbs, and be in a position to win from a more selective group. He is a good teammate, and always brings a good spirit to races. Welcome back to your IPT family, Hugo.”
Hofstetter, who’s currently racing in the Vuelta a España, says he’s eager to put on the IPT colours again next year and to reunite with old teammates.
“I’m very happy to come back to IPT next year. I really appreciate that Sylvan wanted to bring me back to the team. That’s a huge motivation for me. I will do the best I can to win as many races as possible. It will also be great to see my former teammates again, as I’ve always enjoyed riding with them. I’m really looking forward to 2024.”
Together with the new IPT signings; Ethan Vernon and Pascal Ackermann, as well as Riley Pickrell and Oded Kogut, both graduated from IPT Academy, Hofstetter will be part of a strong sprint group joining Israel – Premier Tech next year. He will also be an important rider for the Classics.
“We are very happy that Hugo is coming back to Israel – Premier Tech. Not only is he a fast sprinter, he will also reinforce our Classics group significantly, being able to score points during the one-day races as well as in the sprint finishes. Hugo will also bring experience to our youngsters coming from the IPT Academy team and he can fit perfectly in the lead-outs in the biggest races for our leaders”, Sports Manager Rik Verbrugghe explains.
Claire Steels Set to Reinforce Movistar Team Project
Strong British allrounder – a top-20 overall finisher in both the TDFF and La Vuelta in 2023 – inks three-year deal with Telefónica-backed squad.
The Movistar Team continues to strengthen the core of its women’s program for the next few years, as it confirmed on Wednesday the arrival of Claire Steels (Bourne, GBR; 1986). The British rider, a current member of the Israel – Premier Tech Roland squad, has signed a three-year contract, through to the end of the 2026 season.
Steels’ progression is a massive leap from the world of duathlon and running to the top of the WorldTour, after just four years in UCI squads. Her first three in the scene were already for a Spanish squad, as Claire rode for the Sopela Women’s Team. Combined with several victories in the national peloton, the Brit added valuable international experience and gained authority and skills inside the peloton. A good climber and time trialist, she definitely took those abilities into the spotlight in 2023.
The last few months of Steels -who resides for most of the year in Mallorca- include a victory in the Volta a Catalunya’s women UCI event; an international podium finish (3rd) in the Durango classic; a silver medal in the British Road Race Championships; and strong finishes in the Tour de Suisse (6th) overall, the Trofeo Binda (9th), the UAE Tour (11th) or even two top-20 overall results -fifteenth and eighteenth, respectively – in two Grand Tours: La Vuelta and the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.
Claire Steels: “It’s been definitely quite an unexpected journey, but really, really enjoyable and exhilarating. I’ve always focused on just trying to be the best athlete I can be; that’s always been my drive and my motivation, whatever that’s meant at different stages of my life and disciplines across my sporting journey. But racing as a professional cyclist, let alone for one of the biggest WorldTour teams, is really a ‘pinch me’ moment for me. I’ve always admired the Movistar Team from afar, their professional approach and their attacking style. To be in this position is just a dream.
“I do hope I’ve still got quite a lot to offer. I feel like my cycling journey has only, really just begun, and I’m sure that, surrounded by experienced staff and riders, I can continue to develop all areas of myself as an athlete and racer. I’m especially looking forward to refining my skills to become more consistent and reliable GC contender, and first and foremost, get myself into the team dynamics, support my team-mates on and off the bike, improve also those team skills.”
Bretagne Classic – Ouest France (September 3)
Since its founding in 1992, the AG2R CITROËN TEAM has won the Bretagne Classic – Ouest France three times: in 2021 with Benoît Cosnefroy, in 2018 with Oliver Naesen, and in 2003 with Andy Flickinger.
Aurélien Paret-Peintre: “I am really happy to be back in competition for the Bretagne Classic – Ouest France. I haven’t competed in a race since the Tour de l’Ain in early August and I was starting to get really anxious to pin on a number again.
After taking a few days off to recover, I have been training very well over the past few weeks. I can’t wait to start my last part of the season. Even though I have competed in two Grand Tours already this season, I still have very good feelings. I like these end-of-season classics where the race scenarios are often quite open. We will have a very ambitious AG2R CITROËN TEAM at the start. With Benoît (Cosnefroy) and Oliver (Naesen) who have already won here, and Greg (Van Avermaet), we will have riders capable of performing well.”
Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team Welcomes Jens Zemke as New Sports Director for 2024
Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team is delighted to announce the appointment of Jens Zemke as Sports Director for the upcoming 2024 season. With over 22 years of experience in the role of DS, Jens Zemke brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise that will undoubtedly contribute to the team’s success in the coming years.
56-year-old Zemke has an illustrious career in cycling that spans over two decades. Having previously served as the German National Team Coach and spent several successful years as a Sports Director with MTN-Qhubeka and Team Dimension Data, Zemke is no stranger to the intricacies of guiding teams to victory. Notably, he guided Gerald Ciolek to a monumental victory a Milano-Sanremo in 2013 and Steve Cummings to his Tour de France stage win in 2015 on Mandela Day as a DS for MTN-Qhubeka.
Subsequently, his seven year tenure with BORA-hansgrohe further solidified his reputation as a key Sports Director in the world of professional cycling.
With his sights set on the future, Zemke is excited to re-join General Manager Doug Ryder and the new project at Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team. Ryder and Zemke share a history from their time together at MTN-Qhubeka and Team Dimension Data, which further underscores the alignment of their goals and visions for the team. Zemke expressed his enthusiasm for the new chapter, stating, “Now it’s time to open a new chapter, and I am excited to join Douglas Ryder’s project. This team has a bright future, and my goal will be to create a good spirit, help riders perform better, and help them on their professional journeys and upwards trajectories.”
Zemke’s ability to lead his teams to impressive achievements is undeniable, making his addition to Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team a highly anticipated development.
“We are delighted to welcome Jens to the Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team. Jens has a remarkable track record as a sports director, achieving great results in all races particularly Grand Tours. Using his innate abilities, meticulous planning and experience to help riders realise their full potential. It’s an exciting time for our team as we progress into the future,” said Doug Ryder, Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team General Manager.
Reflecting on his time with BORA-hansgrohe, Jens Zemke expressed his gratitude, saying, “I am super thankful for the time with BORA-hansgrohe, and I will never forget the seven successful years. Especially in the Giro d’Italia, a race I did every year, where we won 13 stages and the unforgettable GC victory with Jai Hindley,” concluded Zemke.
Jens Zemke’s arrival marks an important moment for Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team as we continue to strive for excellence in the world of professional cycling. His experience, dedication, and passion for the sport are set to play a significant role in shaping our Swiss-registered team’s journey to success.
Jens Zemke new DS with Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team:
Stars Ready for Tour of Britain 2023 as Provisional Startlist is Revealed
Former Tour of Britain champions Wout van Aert and Gonzalo Serrano, alongside home fan favourite Tom Pidcock, will all compete in next week’s race, which starts in Greater Manchester on Sunday (3 September) with the announcement of the provisional rider list for the Tour.
Having wowed the British crowds by taking four stages en route to overall victory two years ago, van Aert’s return headlines the provisional startlist. The Belgian will spearhead a Jumbo – Visma team that is one of the strongest to ever compete in the race. Alongside him will be Dutch sprinter Olav Kooij, already a winner of seven races in 2023, Grand Tour podium finisher Steven Kruijswijk, time trial specialists Jos van Emden and Edoardo Affini, and Nathan Van Hooydonck.
Spaniard Serrano (Movistar Team) will seek to do what no rider has accomplished in the modern era of the race and defend the title he claimed 12 months ago.
Van Aert and Serrano are among the historic stage winners set to compete in this year’s race.
Affini (Italy), Sam Bennett (Ireland, BORA – hansgrohe, winner in Caerphilly in 2013), and Kamiel Bonneu (Belgium, Team Flanders – Baloise, who took a surprise victory in Sunderland last year) complete the list. Team dsm – firmenich‘s line-up includes Patrick Bevin, who won the points competition in 2018.
Further home interest comes in the form of Jacob Scott (Bolton Equities Black Spoke), the Pinarello king of the mountains competition winner in 2019 and 2021; newly-crowned track world champion Ethan Vernon (Great Britain), Tour de Yorkshire stage winner Harry Tanfield (TDT – Unibet Cycling Team); and Stevie Williams (Great Britain), who won a stage and the general classification at the recent Arctic Race of Norway.
Rising American star Luke Lamperti (TRINITY Racing), who won the Rutland – Melton CiCLE Classic international one-day race in April; reigning Austrian road race champion Gregor Mühlberger (Movistar Team), and German all-rounders Maximilian Schachmann and Nils Politt (both BORA – hansgrohe) are also set to compete.
The Tour of Britain 2023 covers eight stages and over 1,200 kilometres of racing around the country. Following the Greater Manchester Grand Départ, the race will visit North Wales, East Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Suffolk, Essex, and Gloucestershire.
This year’s champion will be crowned in historic Caerphilly following an undulating stage in South Wales that takes in some of the country’s most famous climbs, including the Bwlch, Rhigos, Bryn Du, and Caerphilly Mountain.
This is the 19th edition of the race, and it forms part of the prestigious UCI ProSeries. A predicted 1.5 million spectators are expected to watch the 16 teams in action, capitalising on the free-to-attend nature of the event.
Sam Bennett rides the 2023 Tour of Britain:
Elevating American Cycling: CRIT Announces Inaugural Race, The CRIT Championship, Scheduled October 21st, St. Petersburg, FL
Supported by a celebration of local arts and culture, the CRIT Championship aims to attract new audiences and showcase American cycling in high fashion.
Professional cyclist and founder of Williams Racing Development Justin Williams, in partnership with Wasserman Ventures today announced the inaugural CRIT race, the CRIT Championship.
Slated for October 21st, the CRIT Championship will be hosted in the EDGE District of St. Petersburg, FL. Delivering on the promise to elevate American cycling, CRIT will offer a new race viewing experience free to spectators with limited VIP and GA+ seating, available for presale now on Tixr. Furthermore, CRIT encourages the surrounding community to get involved and participate in a CRIT sponsored GranFundo cycling event and 5K running race the day of the event.
Far from the office park, the CRIT Championship will speed through the heart of The EDGE District, with riders battling for position in the liveliest sector of town. Flanked by local restaurants, breweries, and bars, spectators can expect to experience the best energy American cycling has to offer.
“St. Pete is home to world-famous museums, independent galleries, a thriving performing arts scene, film festivals, live music, and a vibrant literary arts community. It is more than fitting to host the inaugural CRIT race at home on our streets. With open arms, we welcome Justin and CRIT to our close-knit community of working artists and crafts-people. We look forward to a celebratory event for the entire community.” Gina Discoll, St. Petersburg City Council.
“One of our primary goals is using bikes to create change and opportunities. We’re grateful to showcase our craft to St. Petersburg, and we invite the entire community to come out and experience an amazing weekend of bike racing and community activations. This is bigger than a bike race. The formation of CRIT has been a lifelong dream. I’m proud of where we are, and can’t wait for what’s to come. Thank you all for your support along the way, this has been a tremendous journey.” Justin Williams, Williams Racing Development
Follow along @crit_championship.
CRIT is designed to generate racing’s most inclusive and electric atmosphere by celebrating the diverse cultures of each venue as represented by riders and fans alike. CRIT promises to promote the spirit of competition, embrace sportsmanship, and share the love of bike racing.
Additional information on athlete participation will be announced in the near future.
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