Lorena Wiebes wins Lotto Belgium Tour stage 1
Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) sprinted to the stage 1 victory at the 2021 Lotto Belgium Tour.
The race was kept in check throughout the day and no successful break was established, despite several splits. In the final 10km the pace was kept high by Team DSM, to thwart attempts at attacks.
Sticking at the back of the Team DSM train, Wiebes was in perfect position to launch her sprint in the final few hundred meters.
“We tried to make the race hard and to push for echelons and the peloton did split at times but it didn’t stick. Overall though we did a good job to stay in the front all day and Wilma [Olausson] did a really good job to position us. For the finale, we made a plan, and again, it was a super-strong lead-out, so I’m happy to take this one for the team,” Wiebes said. “We’re now looking forward to the other hard stages still to come here.”
With the stage win, Wiebes moves into second overall. The prologue time trial winner Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo Women) dropped two positions into third overall, while Jolien D’Hoore (Belgian national team) leads the GC.
Team BikeExchange signs on new partner in Saudi Arabia
GreenEdge Cycling, backers of the men’s and women’s Team BikeExchange teams, announced a new partner Wednesday with the arrival of the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCA).
AlUla, described as a “boutique heritage and cultural destination” in northwest Saudi Arabia, joins as an official partner at the Tour de France, and will continue through the end of 2023.
“I am extremely delighted to announce this new partnership between GreenEDGE Cycling and AlUla, a luxury travel destination which we are honored to promote on our team assets,” said team owner Jerry Ryan. “We haven’t been there yet physically, but in the last few weeks we have met many people who are working to promote the region and we have seen so many breathless images and videos and I can’t wait for our first opportunity to visit AlUla and discover more about it. We will do our best to support their growth.”
With Saudi Arabia only recently opening up to tourism, AlUla is an emerging destination, however, the region’s connection with sport has already been established having already hosted multiple sports events from running and eco-trails to motorsports and polo, officials said.
The partnership will include opportunities for GreenEDGE Cycling to travel to AlUla for cycling camp, encouraging the local community to be engaged with the sport.
“Cycling is a premium sport and offers an invaluable opportunity to communicate the premium AlUla experience, our extraordinary heritage and culture, as well as our efforts to future proof the destination for the enjoyment of future generations of visitors,” said Phillip Jones, Chief Management and Marketing Officer, Royal Commission for AlUla.
Specialized extends six years with Deceuninck-Quick-Step
“We are delighted to extend our agreement with Specialized, who has been a vital part of what we have achieved in recent times. You only have to look at the record books to get a feel for their standing in the sport of professional cycling, and we have hugely enjoyed having them by our side,” said Deceuninck–Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere.
The California-based cycling brand will continue to provide the team with Specialized helmets, shoes, and bikes in addition to Roval wheels and components.
Deceuninck-Quick-Step riders have worn leaders’ jerseys and/or won stages in the three grand tours in 2020, won monuments, and world championships on the Specialized Tarmac road bike and the Specialized Shiv time trial bike. The Evade helmet and S-Works shoes outfitted riders from head to toe; the brand worked with the team to meet their needs, and to develop high-performance cycling equipment and apparel.
“For over a decade, Deceuninck–Quick-Step has been instrumental in the development of cutting-edge technology for our bikes and equipment, which has resulted in some of the most monumental victories for Specialized. We are honored to continue the close partnership with Patrick and this special team, to drive the future of our sport,” said Specialized CEO Mike Sinyard.
Ellen van Dijk wins Lotto Belgium Tour prologue
Ellen van Dijk led home a Trek-Segafredo one-two in the Lotto Belgium Tour prologue, beating her teammate Elynor Bäckstedt by just two seconds over the 4.4km course. Jolien D’hoore, riding for the Belgian national team, rounded out the podium at four seconds back from van Dijk.
There were torrid conditions for the opening day of the Lotto Belgium Tour with torrential rain pouring down over the riders in Chimay. Thankfully, there were few corners for the riders to contend with on the power course.
Van Dijk, who has been gradually returning to form after contracting COVID-19 in April, stormed through the course to clock a time of 5:33. The second place for Bäckstedt was her first major result since fracturing her tibia in a training crash in May.
“I am very happy to win this prologue. It’s nice for my morale after a long period with shit form – I have not had good form for a while, so it’s nice to gain a win here. It was just a nice one – for me and the team,” van Dijk said.
“It was very wet, but the course was straightforward; there was only one corner where you couldn’t go full. It was a nice course; I liked it. The first part was uphill, the second downhill. It was a good course for me, and when I started, I wanted to go for a top result. Time trials never feel great; I felt I couldn’t really push enough during the ride. But it was enough in the end, so I am super happy with that.”
The Run-Up returns with a second episode
The new documentary series looking behind the scenes of women’s racing, The Run-Up will for its second episode ahead of La Course on Saturday.
“The Run-Up gives a behind-the-scenes look at women’s road racing, insight into our fast-growing sport, and to our entire Liv Racing WorldTeam. I’m thrilled fans can join us along our journey to La Course and see all of the hard work and determination it takes to race at this level,” said Liv Racing rider Pauliena Rooijakkers.
“I’m excited to be a part of episode two, providing insight and giving fans a real look at our journey to La Course while connecting them with more of the riders in the peloton.”
The YouTube series following the peloton’s biggest teams as they prepare for major races launched ahead of Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April and has had more than 32,000 views.