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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,
When choosing a new team, it’s unusual for a top professional rider to consider us, the fans, as well as the health of their sport. And yet that seems to be what Annemiek van Vleuten has done with her move to Movistar. The Dutch superstar revealed to El Peloton over the weekend that she was approached by bigger programs like Trek-Segafredo but turned them down “to keep women’s cycling interesting.”
She’s right, of course. Trek doesn’t need her, and spreading talent throughout the women’s peloton ensures more great racing into 2021. So thanks, Annemiek. We appreciate you thinking of us.
Read more on that story, plus roundups of the weekend’s cyclocross and Philippe Gilbert’s latest frustrations, below.
Until next time,
| Tom Pidcock wins Superprestige Gavere over Van der Poel
Tom Pidcock (Trinity Racing) checked off another career step-up when he took his first major international cyclocross victory on Sunday at Superprestige Gavere, beating Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions) with a solo effort.
Pidcock grabbed the race but the scruff in its early laps but looked set to pay for those efforts as Aerts and Van der Poel made their way back to him, and then distanced him slightly. But Pidcock came back around, dropping Aerts and then, on lap 6, distancing Van der Poel as the world champion made a series of small but costly errors.
Van der Poel put a foot down in one of the sloppy, muddy corners and Pidcock took that small gap and forced it open. By the finish, he had 25 seconds over Van der Poel and 44 over Aerts.
“To be honest, I don’t know what to say,” Pidcock said. “Today, I think I came of age.”
| Brand makes it four in a row at Superprestige Gavere
Lucinda (Brand Telenet Baloise Lions) won her fourth straight Superprestige in Gavere, charging through deep mud to finish ahead of Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix).
Betsema started fast, confident after her win at Scheldecross, but faded on the second lap. Nasty conditions had riders pitting on each of the five laps, and Alvarado had a slow change that left her chasing for much of the race.
Brand caught and passed Betsema on lap 3 and had a narrow four-second gap at the end of the lap. The gap slowly expanded and Brand crossed the line with 13 seconds in hand.
Two rounds of the Superprestige remain and Brand now leads the overall by two points over Alvarado. The two were tied coming into this weekend.
| Gilbert calls out riders for lack of action on safety concerns
Philippe Gilbert called out fellow pro cyclists for having more bark than bite on safety issues after only two riders – Gilbert and Matteo Trentin – volunteered to represent riders at this week’s meeting of the Pro Cycling Council (PCC), which led to an announcement of a number of new safety measures. Gilbert and Trentin represented the pro rider’s union, the CPA, at the meetings.
“Well, only two riders thought it was worth taking part: Matteo Trentin and I,” Gilbert said in an interview with Het Nieuwsblad. “The CPA regularly asks riders to participate in such a meeting, but usually no one shows up, unfortunately. It is not for my own benefit that I am participating. In principle, 20-year-old riders should commit, but apparently, they don’t have enough time.”
The new safety measures include rules focused on safer barriers. Unsafe barriers are blamed for the extent of the injuries that came out of Fabio Jakobsen’s horrific crash at the Tour of Poland this year.
Many riders believe the CPA has not adequately represented their concerns, and a breakaway union, The Riders’ Union, was created this year. The CPA, which was originally created by the UCI and is run by Gianni Bugno, was invited as a stakeholder to the PCC meetings this week and The Riders’ Union was not.
| Van Vleuten turned down Trek-Segafredo offer to “keep women’s cycling interesting”
Trek-Segafredo already has enough stars, Annemiek van Vleuten told El Peloton over the weekend. That’s why she went to Movistar, a team full of young, lesser-known riders. Cycling, she believes, will be better for it.
“When Trek approached me, one of my questions was, ‘What do you expect from me to add to the team? Because your team is already full of stars,’” Van Vleuten said. “In my reply to Ina [Teutenberg] I also said, ‘Let’s keep women’s cycling interesting and don’t put all the good riders in one team.’
Van Vleuten will leave Mitchelton-Scott after seasons of nearly unparalleled success and ride for Movistar next year. Her exit from the Australian team was rumored throughout the season, as were whispers of interest from many of the top teams, including Trek.
“With such an awesome squad, Trek-Segafredo wouldn’t need me,” Van Vleuten said. “I would’ve really loved to be part of the Trek team, because they have an amazing philosophy, as well as the equality they have achieved between the men’s and the women’s team.”
Van Vleuten also discussed her last move, from Rabobank-Liv to Bigla and then to Orica-AIS (which became Mitchelton-Scott) in 2016, and how that change allowed her to spread her wings and find the form that has defined her dominance since that year.
“I was in the completely wrong team to develop those skills”, she said of her time with Rabobank. “With Marianne Vos, Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Anna van der Breggen they didn’t need another climber, so it was the wrong team to start to believe in you and make a plan with you to improve.”
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Today’s featured image of Tom Pidcock at Superprestige Gavere was shot by Kristof Ramon.