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VN ticker: No Tour of Flanders for Alaphilippe in 2022; Novo Nordisk signs Czech junior champion

Here's the news making headlines for Monday, November 1.

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Julian Alaphilippe drops Tour of Flanders to focus on Ardennes in 2022

There will be no rainbows in the bergs of Flanders next spring – double world champion Julian Alaphilippee has decided to prioritize the Ardennes classics over the Tour of Flanders in 2022.

“I wanted to try to juggle the Flandrien and Ardennes classics this year. I realized that it was possible to do it, but it’s not easy to be 100 percent in both,” Alaphilippe told RMC Radio.

Alaphilippe raced a full classics program this year, stretching from Omloop Het Nieuwsblad through Strade Bianche, Flanders, and many more. The Frenchman closed out with three top-6s across the Ardennes triplet.

2022 will see an all-in approach to the hilly classics instead of such a wide-ranging schedule.

“What will change for the first part of the next season is that I will stay focused on the Ardennes classics,” Alaphilippe said. “They’re the races that suit me best. Even though I loved discovering the Tour of Flanders, it is a race that I will come back to do at 100 percent when I’m ready to give my all to go for victory.”

Alaphilippe launched his new book, “Rainbow,” this weekend, where he wrote at length about the pressure of wearing the rainbow jersey. He told RMC that he hopes to bear the burden of the iconic bands better in 2022.

“I hope so because I have learned to ride with the rainbow jersey,” he said. “I have learned to wear it every day in training and take all the demands that go with it.”

Novo Nordisk signs Czech junior champion Matyáš Kopecký

Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team, has signed Czech standout Matyáš Kopecký through 2023.

Kopecký, 18, won the Czech junior road race championships and came a close second in the national TT this summer. He went on to score an impressive top-20 at the junior worlds in Flanders.

Like the rest of the U.S.-registered team, Kopecký is a long-time sufferer of diabetes after being diagnosed at the age of 15.

“Signing for Team Novo Nordisk is surely one of the best things to ever happen to me,” Kopecký said in a team statement Monday. “I have dreamed of becoming a professional cyclist all my life, and now my dream is coming true.”

“Until last season I was primarily focussing on cyclocross, where I managed some nice results in youth categories. But this past season my focus shifted to the road. I managed to do well in some big U19 stage races and also won the Czech national road championship. Competing on the road is now my full priority.”

Kopecký first came to the team’s attention at a talent I.D. camp in France this past summer.

His string of top results through the season sealed the deal, and the team is now looking to develop him further in the next two years.

“We are all excited to welcome Matyáš to the Team Novo Nordisk family and to help him develop and reach his full potential,” said general manager Vassili Davidenko.

“He is still very young, only 18-years-old, and there will be a lot of work involved to help him reach the next level, but he is very determined and focused which is great to see and we are confident that we can help him every step of the way.”

Team Novo Nordisk will also welcome three riders from its development program into the elite team in 2022.