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VN news ticker: ASO confirms 2022 women’s Tour de France, Nacer Bouhanni suspended through June 7

Here's what's making headlines on Wednesday, March 12.

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Report: Christian Prudhomme confirms 2022 women’s Tour de France

Christian Prudhomme, boss of the Tour de France, confirmed that there will be a women’s edition of the famed French grand tour in 2022.

Speaking to The Guardian, Prudhomme spoke about the highly anticipated women’s edition but did not reveal exact dates or course details. It is expected to be contested in August in the weeks following the conclusion of the men’s race, and be about a week in duration.

“It will take place next year, that’s certain,” Prudhomme told The Guardian. “It would have happened this year if it had not been for the COVID-19 pandemic, obviously, and above all, if the Tokyo Olympics had not been after the [men’s] Tour, so the best riders may not be available. But the decision has been taken. There will be a Tour de France femmes in 2022 following closely after the [men’s] Tour.

“What we want to do is create a race that will stay the course, that will be set up and stand the test of time. What that means is that the race cannot lose money,” he said. “Today, all the women’s races that we organize lose us money. Even so, we’ve been running Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, La Course by Le Tour. There was the Tour of Yorkshire and the Tour de Qatar Feminin, there will be Paris-Roubaix in October. If it makes money, that’s great, but it mustn’t lose money or it will end up like the [women’s Tour] in the 80s, and it will die.”

Nacer Bouhanni handed a two-month suspension for ‘dangerous sprinting’

Arkéa-Samsic sprint star Nacer Bouhanni was handed a two-month suspension from racing by the UCI Wednesday.

Bouhanni accepted the retroactive sanction and will be allowed to begin racing again after June 7.

The French racer was determined to have exhibited an “irregular sprint” in the finish of the Cholet Pays de Loire on March 28.

In the finale, Bouhanni was found to have sent Jake Stewart into the barriers where he suffered a fractured left hand.

“I want to say I’m sorry for Jake Stewart,” said Bouhanni. “When we came into contact with each other, we were unbalanced, and he was caught up with me. I did as best I could so as not to fall.”

As a result of the incident, Bouhanni said he received hundreds of messages, including many that were derogatory and demeaning. He notified the UCI, which released a statement condemning the attacks against him.

In a statement, the UCI said: “However serious the fault of the French rider” that “nothing justifies the insults he has been subject to in the days following the act he is accused of.”


Jürgen Roelandts joins Trinity Racing

Jurgen Roelandts didn’t stay “retired” very long. The Belgian sprinter and classics specialist ended his racing career with Movistar at the end of 2020.

Roelandts, who won eight pro races from 2005 to 2020, joins Trinity Racing as sport director, coach, and mentor to the team’s budding riders.

Trinity Racing is backing several U23 road, mountain bike, and cyclocross riders. WorldTour pro Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) is a recent graduate of the program, and U.S. riders Chris Blevins and Luke Lamperti are now part of the team.

Following a string of race cancelations this spring, the team expects a busy May and June, with races in Belgium, France, and the “Baby Giro” in Italy.

Giro d’Italia all clear on latest round of COVID controls

Giro d’Italia officials confirmed the latest round of COVID-19 controls came back all clear.

Testing overnight Monday into Tuesday revealed that no one inside the Giro bubble was diagnosed with the highly contagious virus. All riders and staffers were required to clear COVID controls before the race started, and health officials will monitoring the peloton throughout.

Last fall, the Giro was rocked by a few COVID cases and the departure of Team BikeExchange and Jumbo-Visma from the race.

Race officials are taking an even stricter tone this year, and are keeping fans and media away from anyone inside the Giro “bubble.”