Hello again, CyclingTips readers,
As we begin the month of February, the cycling world bids farewell to Polish cycling great Ryszard Szurkowski. The former amateur world champion, two-time Olympic silver medalist, and four-time Peace Race winner died on Monday at the age of 75.
In other news from the cycling world, David Lappartient has provided an update on the UCI’s current plans for rescheduling postponed events and the Ineos Grenadiers have confirmed that Egan Bernal will start his season at the Étoile de Bessèges.
Until next time, readers.
Ryszard Szurkowski dies at 75
Polish cycling great Ryszard Szurkowski died on Monday at age 75.
Over the course of his impressive career, Szurkowski rode to one amateur world title in the road race and two world titles in the team time trial, won two Olympic silver medals in the team time trial, and took four overall victories at the Peace Race. Szurkowski had dealt with serious health issues in recent years after crashing during an amateur event in Germany in 2018.
Michal Kwiatkowski and Rafal Majka were among the many names around the sport paying tribute to Szurkowski following his passing.
David Lappartient provides an update on plans for rescheduling postponed races
As more and more races are being postponed, race organizers are looking into new dates for their events, creating some uncertainty over how everything might fit together in the racing calendar over the coming months. UCI president David Lappartient addressed the topic in an interview with DirectVelo on Monday, saying that the UCI is holding off for a little while on finalizing dates for rescheduled races.
“Everyone looks at the calendar as if they were alone and everyone makes almost the same choice. We would end up with weeks where there are five or six races,” Lappartient said. “We are waiting for the month of March to first see which events are really cancelled and then decide on a reorganization of the calendar.”
Lappartient noted that that situation at the moment is somewhat different from the situation last year in which racing went into a sport-wide hiatus for several months. For now, racing is going ahead in some places but not in others, and the UCI and organizers will therefore have to plan a bit differently when it comes to making adjustments to the 2021 season.
Egan Bernal to return to racing at Étoile de Bessèges
Following the postponement of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, where he had been planning to make his 2021 season debut, Egan Bernal will instead make his first start of the year at the Étoile de Bessèges.
The 2019 Tour de France winner, who has not raced since pulling out of the 2020 Tour last September, will be part of a strong Ineos Grenadiers lineup that also includes Geraint Thomas, Michal Kwiatkowski, and Filippo Ganna. Other big names expected to make the start include Vincenzo Nibali, Mads Pedersen, Greg Van Avermaet, and Pascal Ackermann, to name only a few.
DSM extends Casper Pedersen
Casper Pedersen will stick with DSM through 2022. The team announced a contract extension for the 24-year-old Dane on Monday.
Pedersen joined the then-Sunweb team in 2019 after a season with Aqua Blue Sport. He made his Tour de France debut last year and then went on to take the biggest one-day victory of his career at Paris-Tours in October.
Mathieu van der Poel mulls possible early exit from Tour
Wielerflits reports that Mathieu van der Poel is thinking about the possibility of planning an early departure from what will be his Tour de France debut later this year as the mountain bike race at the Olympics is his main objective of the season.
“I even considered not riding the Tour de France,” Van der Poel said, according to Wielerflits. “But I realize that’s not possible with our sponsors. They are the ones who pay my salary so giving in sometimes is okay. I must add that I get so much freedom here with three disciplines and riding the Tour de France isn’t a punishment of course. The plan is to finish the race but if they say I risk not being top shape in Tokyo, I might consider leaving the Tour early.”
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