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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,
A major North American race has been cancelled, while other races are planning to go ahead. With so many teams at team camps, a picture of the 2021 season is starting to form. And you can always count on cyclists to find a good cup of coffee.
Read on for the latest from the world of cycling.
Colorado Classic postponed until 2022
The racing situation in the United States continues to take hits with the news that one of the biggest women’s UCI races on the North American calendar will not take place in 2021.
Originally a men’s and women’s event, the Colorado Classic decided in 2019 to focus solely on the women, pulling together four days of racing in the beautiful state of Colorado. All four stages and jerseys were won by Chloe Dygert weeks before she took her ITT World Championship victory.
The race was cancelled in 2020, and with the COVID-19 situation in the United States throwing questions over the 2021 season, they have decided against trying to hold the race altogether.
“In 2020, we spent months working tirelessly in conjunction with State, County, and City organizations, health authorities, and the sports governing bodies to come up with a COVID mitigation plan that would ensure the health and safety for everyone. In the end, the most prudent decision was still to cancel the event. With the current situation being just as uncertain as it was last year, we don’t think it makes sense — financial or otherwise — to organize a 2021 event and risk another cancellation. This is not an easy decision to make. We know that this race holds an important place on both the domestic and international race calendars, and we remain committed to our goal of being the best women’s race in the world. But we hope that by delaying the event to 2022, the pandemic will have stabilized and we’ll be able to secure the necessary financial partners to do our event justice and host another game-changing, world-class event as we did in 2019.”Ken Gart, Chairman of RPM Events Group
Giulio Ciccone looks forward to Grand Tour opportunities in 2021
Trek-Segafredo has already announced the big names they will send to each of the three Grand Tours in 2021, with Vincenzo Nibali and Bauke Mollema headlining the Giro d’Italia alongside 26-year old Guilio Ciccone. Ciccone will continue on to race the Vuelta a España later in the season and is hoping that, with the guidance of Nibali fresh in his mind, he will be able to take on a leadership role in Spain.
“For sure, it’s a big responsibility, that’s true. But I’m young and I have a lot of opportunities,” Ciccone said at the virtual press conference from the Trek-Segafredo team camp. “And I’ll have another Giro with Vincenzo first, so I can study a bit more. I’ll have another year – well, almost a whole season – to improve my skills, for example in the time trial. So I have time and I don’t have a lot of pressure.”
The Team Movistar style three-pronged attack model doesn’t worry Ciccone, in fact, he is looking forward to learning what he can from Nibali and Mollema prior to his Vuelta goal.
“For me, it’s very important to have Vincenzo and Bauke close to me in the Giro, because I can see something more,” Ciccone said. “I can use that Giro to study and then maybe in the Vuelta, where I will be alone, I can use the things I learned.”
Ciccone has had success at the Grand Tours before, winning the Mountains Classification and stage 16 at the 2019 Giro d’Italia. That same year he was second on stage 6 of the Tour de France that finished on La Planche des Belles Filles. He then wore the yellow jersey for two days, a high point of the 2019 Tour de France for Trek-Segafredo. In 2016, while racing for Bardiani – CSF, Ciccone had his first World Tour win on stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia.
Ciccone has never raced the Vuelta a España but he’s looking forward to the possibilities a General Classification could entail. “It’s the first time that I will try to go for GC, but I think it’s also a real opportunity,” Ciccone said. “I need to understand if I can do it or not.”
Annemiek van Vleuten planning mixed bag of races in 2021
Annemiek van Vlueten is planning to start her season in Spain this year at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana on February 18th, a four-day UCI 2.1 stage race, before turning her attention to the one-days with the focus being on the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Part of her calendar includes the big WorldTour one-days, Strade Bianche, the Ronde van Vlaanderen, and Amstel Gold along with a couple of stage races like Vuelta a Burgos Feminas and the Giro Rosa thrown in.
Currently at her first Team Movistar training camp in Spain, the European Champion has been getting to know her new teammates and soaking up the sun.
Tom Pidcock already planning his 2021 road calendar with Ineos Grenadiers
Although Tom Pidcock is still very deep in the cyclocross mud, he is already looking forward to his upcoming World Tour debut season with Ineos Grenadiers.
Originally slated to begin racing on the road in March, Pidcock announced that he will actually join his road team in February, after the cyclocross World Championships on January 31, 2021.
“It was March but we’re changing it to February now,” Pidcock told the Lanterne Rouge Cycling Podcast. “I’ll be doing the Mediterranean Epic, the mountain bike race, and then the Volta ao Algarve and Opening Weekend. There’s no break, I’m going straight into the road.”
Pidcock has some ambitious targets for his first year in the “big leagues,” including the Vuelta a España, the Olympics, the World Championships, and Strade Bianche, only fitting because, you know, dirt.
UAE Tour confirms team selections
The UAE Tour has announced that the race is planning to go ahead from February 21-27. They have also announced that all of the WorldTour teams will participate along with Alpecin-Fenix, the highest-ranked ProTeam.
UAE Tour is not only the first WorldTour race on the calendar, but it is also one of the only early season UCI races outside of Europe that have yet to be cancelled or postponed. Last year the race was the first majorly disrupted by coronavirus when five days into the race the whole circus got shut down, and before sending home the horses and the rodeo clowns, everyone got stuck in quarantine.
João Almeida will shoot for the Vuelta a España in 2021
At the Deceuninck – Quick Step team presentation the team announced that João Almeida, who wore the pink jersey at the 2020 Giro d’Italia for 15 days before losing it on stage 18 to Wilco Kelderman, will target the Vuelta a España in 2021.
The 22-year old was one of the breakout youngsters of the 2020 season, winning the Youth Classification at the Tour de l’Ain, a normally underrated race that turned into one of the big Tour de France leadups due to schedule changes. The 2020 edition was won by Primoz Roglic.
In 2021 Almeida will be one of Deceuninck – Quick Step’s top GC contenders, depending on the progress of Remco Evenepoel’s recovery and the style of rider Julian Alaphilippe decides to be at any given race.
The social media accounts for men’s and women’s World Tour teams are overrun with pictures of sunny team rides on the coasts or in the mountains of Spain, Italy, and France and Velon has rounded up just a few of the teams currently enjoying some training time together.
The 2021 season starts here 👇 pic.twitter.com/3Q9TGBgXT2— Velon CC (@VelonCC) January 14, 2021
Although COVID-19 has made the mid-ride coffee break a dream of the past, or at least a little more challenging, some teams are finding ways around the limitations.
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