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VN news ticker: Nicholas Roche announces retirement, Marta Bastianelli wins kickoff stage of 2021 Women’s Tour

Here's what's making headlines on Monday, October 4.

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Nicholas Roche announces retirement

Nicholas Roche announced his retirement from professional bike racing at the end of 2021, Team DSM said in an announcement Monday.

Roche, 37, is finishing his 17th year as a pro. He has been with the German-backed squad for the past three seasons. He’s started in 24 grand tours, with fifth and sixth overall at the Vuelta a España — and wore the race leader’s jersey there, in 2013 — as well as ranking in the top 15 at the Tour de France.

The Irishman’s palmares also includes multiple national championships wins on the road and time trial, stage wins at the Vuelta a España in 2015 and 2013, and second at the 2017 Abu Dhabi Tour.

“After 17 years and over 1,270 professional races days — with a lot of great memories — it is time for me to retire and look to a new horizon. My last race was the Irish championships, at home, with my friends and family. Cycling is my life and it has brought me so much over the years. It has allowed me to meet and work with some incredible people and travel to some of the most remote and fantastic places on this planet.

“It was an experience to also work with Team DSM and it was very different to all the teams in the past. I continued to learn a lot with them and I really enjoyed being the “big brother” of the younger guys on the team.

“Spending another four days in the red jersey at the Vuelta in 2019 will always be a special memory. I want to thank you all, everyone who is reading this, for the incredible support I received during my cycling career. Thank you!”

Marta Bastianelli wins kickoff stage of 2021 Women’s Tour

Marta Bastianelli won stage 1 of the 2021 The Women’s Tour. (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Marta Bastianelli (Ale BTC Ljubljana) won the kickoff stage of the 2021 Women’s Tour.

The Italian outkicked in a bunch sprint into Banbury, after taking on a lap-and-a-half of a finishing circuit.

The 147.7km stage rolled from Bicester, and presented the group with two opportunities to win intermediate sprints and two QOM points along the way.

Anna Christian (Drops-Le Col) and Kirstie van Haaften (Parkhotel Valkenburg) made an attempt to get away early, but were marked and kept on a tight leash.

Once into Banbury, Vollering and Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM) animated the race, but were also never allowed to get much of a lead. When they were brought back Consonni (Valcar-Travel & Service) and Femke Markus (Parkhotel Valkenburg) attacked, and they, too, were brought back. Several more small attacks went off the front with similar results.

Inside the final five kilometers, sprinters’ teams took over the front, and Bastianelli was provided with the best position to take the stage 1 win.

2021 The Women’s Tour stage 1 results

  1. Marta Bastianelli (Ale BTC Ljubljana), 3:44:41
  2. Chloe Hosking (Trek-Segafredo), at s.t.
  3. Clara Copponi (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), at s.t.

2021 The Women’s Tour general classification

  1. Marta Bastianelli (Ale BTC Ljubljana), 3:44:31
  2. Chloe Hosking (Trek-Segafredo), at :04/li>
  3. Nina Kessler (Tibco-SVB), at s.t.

Rolf Aldag joins Bora-Hansgrohe as new DS

MOS, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 04: Detailed view of Anton Palzer of Germany and Team Bora - Hansgrohe after the 76th Tour of Spain 2021, Stage 20 a 202,2km km stage from Sanxenxo to Mos. Alto Castro de Herville 502m / @lavuelta / #LaVuelta21 / on September 04, 2021 in Mos, Spain. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
There are more changes in store at Bora-Hansgrohe as Rolf Aldag joins as new sport manager. (Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

German sport director Rolf Aldag will join Bora-Hansgrohe in a new managerial role, the team announced Monday.

The 53-year-old Aldag brings with years of WorldTour-level experience and will be in charge of the sportive agenda of the Raubling-based WorldTeam from 2022. Longtime director Enrico Poitschke leaves the team after 10 years.

“This was probably the most difficult decision for me in the last 10 years, because I owe Enrico a great debt of gratitude,” said team boss Ralph Denk. “We worked our way up together from the third division to the WorldTour, going through pretty much all the highs and lows imaginable, and I will always have fond memories of these shared times.

“I have become more and more aware that if we want to develop further as a team, we will likely also need a change in sportive management,” he said. “It’s not that I’m not happy with the results – we’ve all done a good job together over the past few years – but cycling has changed and we have to adapt to those changes to keep up.”

The latest move comes on the heels of more shakeups inside the German team, including the exit of longtime star Peter Sagan.

Allan Peiper stepping back from DS role

Allan Peiper is stepping back from his role as sport director at UAE Emirates as he continues cancer treatments, Het Nieuwsblad reported.

“I have less energy because of the treatments. I feel in my reflexes and concentration that I have to resist doing my job. It was the time to step aside,” said the 61-year-old Peiper, who led Tadej Pogačar to his first Tour de France victory in 2020.

On Sunday, the former rider of Peugeot and Panasonic said goodbye to his sport, the paper reported.

“Saying goodbye to the riders and colleagues were moments when I had an extra hard time last week,” Peiper told the newspaper. “Paris-Roubaix is ​​a race in which you should not lose concentration for a moment. I think it’s fantastic to be able to retire after such a heroic match. The race has captivated my whole life, but I now look forward to the rest of my life. To start with a holiday on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. It hasn’t rained for three months, but now it does. Well, it won’t be as bad as in Paris-Roubaix.”

Allan Peiper
Allan Peiper is stepping back from his DS role  (Photo: James Startt)

UAE Emirates sign Alexys Brunel

UAE Emirates has signed French rider Alexys Brunel on a two-year deal, the team confirmed Monday.

The 22 year-old from Boulogne-sur-Mer in the north of France has a showed strong progression through the junior and Under-23 ranks, winning a European title and multiple French national titles in the time trial discipline.

Brunel has also seen success through victory at the Paris -Tours Espoirs in 2019 with his first victory as a professional coming in 2020 on stage 1 at Etoile de Besseges.

“I am really happy to join UAE Team Emirates, it’s one of the top teams in cycling and a really exciting project,” Brunel said. “It’s a great opportunity for me, it will be a turning point in my career to join a team like this and I intend to give the best of myself .”