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Wout van Aert to lead Belgium at worlds road race ahead of Paris-Roubaix
Wout van Aert will be clicking back into action for the second big peak of his season next month.
Speaking with Wielierflits on Saturday, van Aert confirmed he will race the Tour of Britain and worlds time trial ahead of leading the Belgian team at the world race road championships. He will close his season one week later at Paris-Roubaix.
Van Aert has been slated for road race leadership by Belgian national coach Sven Vanthourenhout, so topping a stacked team sheet likely to include the likes of Jasper Stuyven, Remco Evenepoel and Tiesj Benoot.
“I think that I am the only Belgian – except for Jasper Stuyven – who is used to being a leader everywhere within his team. I’ve already proven that I can handle that,” van Aert said.
“I follow the idea of the national coach. In fact, I think it’s good that there is clarity. It would also put more pressure on me if there were several leaders.”
Van Aert will race both the TT and road race at the Leuven worlds in the middle of September. The 26-year-old scored silver at both the road race and time trial at the worlds last year. He also came close in both disciplines at the Toyko Games, placing second in the road race and sixth in the TT.
Van Aert confirmed he is again balancing his ambitions across both races.
“Thanks to the preparation I am doing now, it should be feasible to perform well in both disciplines,” he said. “I believe I have a chance in both as well. I have certainly not neglected my time trial training … But the intensity with which I now train is mainly with the focus on the road race. Explosivity is central to this. And that is also necessary if you want to score in Leuven.”
Van Aert also looked further ahead, stating the Tour de France green jersey is high on his bucket list.
“The next thing will be the green jersey. I postponed that for two years because there was a higher goal for the team. This year, when Primož Roglič dropped out, I did get that freedom, but I wanted to save myself for the Games,” van Aert said. “But in the future, hopefully, next year, that green will become a goal.”
Remco Evenepoel wins solo at Brussels Cycling Classic
Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) uncorked another huge win at the Brussels Cycling Classic on Saturday.
The Belgian ace attacked a number of times before dropping lone contender Aimé De Gendt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) in the final 10km to win by nearly one minute. It was Evenepoel’s second win in three days after also winning Druivenkoers-Overijse earlier this week.
Evenepoel profited when several of his companions in the lead group including Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka NextHash), Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal), Marc Hirschi and Brandon McNulty (both UAE Emirates) took a wrong turn and lost contact.
— Deceuninck-QuickStep (@deceuninck_qst) August 28, 2021
Richard Carapaz abandons Vuelta a España
Olympic champion Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) pulled out of the Vuelta a España in Saturday’s 14th stage. There was no official word from team officials Saturday, but Carapaz was citing fatigue and weariness after a long season.
Carapaz has been flying at a high level since June, when he won the Tour de Suisse. After finishing third at the Tour de France, Carapaz streaked to the gold medal in Tokyo in the elite men’s road race.
Egan Bernal, meanwhile, said he enjoyed his “best day so far” in the 2021 Vuelta, while mountain bike Olympic gold medalist Tom Pidcock rode to an impressive fourth on the stage.
Alexander Kristoff scores first win of the season at Tour of Germany
Alexander Kristoff scored his first win of the season at stage 2 of the Deutschland Tour on Friday.
Kristoff made the most of the wet, gritty conditions and a strong leadout from his UAE Emirates teammates to overhaul a strong acceleration from Phil Bahaus (Bahrain-Victorious) in the final kick for the line.
“I like to race in Germany. I have a lot of my wins in this country. I won a stage here last time, and had good memories from that,” he said.
“Today it was good conditions for me … I usually race quite well in these conditions, even though I don’t really enjoy it. After the race when you’ve won, then you enjoy it, so I’m very happy now.
Kristoff had come close a handful of times in recent months, scoring a hatful of top-1os at the Tour of Wallonie and home races the Arctic Race of Norway and Tour of Norway. Friday’s victory came as welcome relief for the sprint veteran, who has not taken the top step since winning the rainsodden opening stage of the Tour de France last summer.
“I’ve been waiting a long time [to win]. I didn’t have a good season this year,” he said. “I was close at the Arctic [Race of Norway] and at the Tour of Norway, so to get the win now finally was a nice feeling.”
Stage 1 winner Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished third behind Kristoff and retains a 2-second GC lead heading into another likely sprint stage finishing in Erlangen Saturday.
Married couple Neil and Lora Fachie both score Paralympic gold for Great Britain
Husband and wife Niel and Lora Fachie each won Olympic gold for Team GB in the space of less than 20 minutes Saturday.
Neil Fachie and pilot Matt Rotherham bettered their own world record to beat team-mates James Ball and Lewis Stewart for gold in the B 1000m Time Trial. Fachie and Rotherham set a new fastest mark of 58.038.
Around 20 minutes later, Lora Fachie and pilot Corrine Hall retained their B 3,000m Pursuit crown by beating Irish rider Katie-George Dunlevy in the Izu velodrome. Fachie and Hall had also set a world record in their qualifying round.
“We were the first medal ride, we had to deliver, not just did we do it but to see our team-mate [Ball] get the silver as well, breaking the world record… Then to watch my wife go and win gold, it was just unreal,” Neil Fachie said. “Wow, what a day. You never forget this.”
Great Britain also won the Mixed C 1-5 750m Team Sprint, beating China in the final as well as setting a new world record.