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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,
Racing is well and truly behind us. It’s been almost a week since La Vuelta ended and the news has slowed considerably.
Still, there have been new developments in the Operation Aderlass trial, Wout van Aert gave a telling interview, and Tibco-SBV added some more firepower to their 2021 roster.
Read on for more …
| Wout van Aert eyes one-week races in 2021
Although his main objective remains the Classics, Wout van Aert is also keen to expand his palmares to include week-long stage races, specifically something like Tirreno-Adriatico.
“I would also like to shine first in Tirreno-Adriatico, the Critérium du Dauphiné or the Tour de Suisse,” Van Aert said in an interview with Sport/Voetbalmagazine. “In the shorter term that is possible, especially in stage races with a time trial, such as Tirreno-Adriatico. I’d like to go for a GC result in 2021, and later in the hilly classics such as Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Il Lombardia.”
Van Aert also explained how the crash during the Pau time trial at the Tour de France in 2019 affected his relationship with bikes, saying, “When you’re glued to your hospital bed and then your couch for a month, you realize how much fun cycling is.”
During the time trial, Van Aert collided with a barrier sustaining a laceration in his thigh and benching him from racing until mid-way through the cyclocross season. During his comeback, Van Aert struggled to keep up with longtime rival Mathieu van der Poel.
Now, with the road season over and cyclocross just beginning Van Aert also mentioned the famed rivalry between himself and Van der Poel in the interview. For Van Aert the rivalry in the mud and the rivalry on the road is different. “Fortunately, the perception on the road is different than in ‘cross,” Van Aert said. “Because there, it only goes between the two of us, the beaten one is always the ‘loser’ who is worse than the other. But when, as in Flanders, we blow other top riders off our wheel, then everyone realizes how good we are.”
On the road this year Van Aert was incredible, winning both Milan-San Remo and Strade Bianche early on, then showing himself as a force of nature at the Tour de France, with two-stage wins and some wild climbing in the high mountains.
| Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank adds Tanja Erath, Eva Buurman, and Eri Yonamine to 2021 roster
US-based team Tibco-SVB has announced the additions of Tanja Erath, Eva Buurman, and Eri Yonamine to their 2021 roster.
Erath, who has been racing with Canyon-SRAM since she won the 2017 edition of the Zwift Academy, is a talented time trialist with a kick. In 2019 Erath was 5th overall at the BeNe Ladies Tour after placing 6th in the time trial on stage 2b.
After two years with Boels-Dolmans, Buurman will join Tibco-SVB as an exciting prospect. Buurman rode for Trek-Drops in 2018 and was picked up by Boels-Dolmans after she gathered a string of top 10’s at both the Internationale Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour and the OVO Energy Women’s Tour. At only 26 her career is just beginning and with a director like Rachel Heal guiding her, Buurman will be fascinating to watch next year.
The six-time National ITT and five-time National Road Champion of Japan, Yonamine joins the American team from a string of European top-level teams. Yonamine rode for Alé BTC Ljubljana in 2020 and 2019 (then Alé Cipollini), Wiggle High5 in 2018, and FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope in 2017 and 2016. She comes to Tibco-SVB with the Olympics as her primary 2021 target.
“In Eri and Eva, and Tanja, we have added strength and depth for the varied European races that we will compete in, and I think their aggressive racing style will work really well within our team,” said Linda Jackson, owner of the team. “Tanja also adds significant Zwift experience to the team which will be especially useful for our esports calendar.”
Tibco-SVB announced contract renewals for the riders who competed in the virtual Tour de France earlier in 2020, including Lauren Stephens, who won the Zwift race overall, earlier in the season.
| Danilo Hondo admits to blood doping in the same room as Alessandro Petacchi
In ongoing investigations surrounding Operation Aderlass, Danilo Hondo has confessed to paying 25,000 euros for three to four blood withdrawals and transfusions during the 2012 season. The former professional cyclist, who retired in 2014, had already admitted to blood doping in 2019 after police raided a Nordic World Ski Championships in Austria which led to another raid on a garage in Germany containing forty blood bags.
During the trial in Munich Hondo described being in the same room as his former Lampre teammate Alessandro Petacchi while receiving blood transfusions. The two were both working with Doctor Mark Schmidt, a former team doctor for German UCI Team Milram. Hondo also explained how he would go about receiving blood transfusions from Schmidt, which included using the cover name “James Bond.”
“The doctor just comes in and then it starts. I mean, when you’ve been doing sports for so long, you’ve already had infusions for recovery or for pain,” Hondo said. “That’s how you have to imagine it. Of course, you have a bad feeling because you don’t want to be caught.”
| Tao Geoghegan Hart gifted pink Pinarello after Giro win
It is a rare occurrence when a rider wins a grand tour without having ever raced in the leader’s jersey. For the Tour, even Tadej Pogacar got to deck himself head to toe in yellow to ride the Champs Élysées. Geoghegan Hart, having won the pink jersey in the final stage, never got to race in pink, which also meant the Ineos Grenadiers sponsors never got to go all out with pink helmets, shoes, bibs, and bike. A week after the race Geoghegan Hart was surprised with the bike he never got to show off, complete with race number and a special message from Fausto Pinarello himself.
“For me, it means so much because it’s what this represents, that’s what cycling should be about, is being exciting and people loving it and it going down to the wire. And this is an extension of that,” Geoghegan Hart said. “It’s nice to get it in London, in an Italian shop, an Italian bike. The blue skies are out, the bike looks great in the light. It’s pretty cool.”
| Jess Cera hosts “the Last Best Ride” in Whitefish, Montana in 2021
Jess Cerra, who rode for the Hagens Berman/Supermint women’s team for the last three years, and her partner Sam Boardman will host a gravel race, called “The Last Best Ride,” on August 22, 2021. The race will explore Whitefish, Montana, and Glacier National Park, with two distances. The tame version runs 77 km long with 1,463 meters of elevation gain. For those who want a longer adventure, there is also a 125.5 km course with 2,651 meters of climbing.
Registration has already opened, starting at $145 for the 77 km long expedition and $175 for the longer option. A portion of the proceeds will go to the race’s Champion Scholar Award, to be given to one Whitefish female student and one Native American student in scholarship towards their secondary education. Any collegiate riders hoping to participate in the race get a discount on their entry fee.
“After exploring the gravel roads of Whitefish all summer and discovering these routes, we thought ‘Wow—this would seriously be the most beautiful gravel race in the entire country,’” Boardman said. The race itself covers stunning mountain views, unique terrain, and test-your-mettle climbs throughout both courses.
In case you missed it
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| New Freewheeling podcast episode with Iris Slappendel discusses the Cyclists’ Alliance rider survey
Iris Slappendel joins Abby and Loren to discuss the recently released results of the Cyclists’ Alliance rider survey, and what it means for women’s cycling. The episode can be found wherever podcasts are located.