Sofia Bertizzolo takes victory in La Classique Morbihan after strong team tactics – Liv Racing

Sofia Bertizzolo did herself and Liv Racing a big favour. She won La Classique Morbihan (115 kilometres) on Friday in Brittany, France. At one kilometre before the finish, on a sloping part, she placed a razor-sharp attack. No one had an answer. The peloton finished 9 seconds later. Lotte Kopecky came in seventh.

Bertizzolo won her first professional UCI victory in France. “That’s great of course, even though La Classique Morbihan is maybe not the biggest race. The feeling of winning was something I had been looking for for a long time. This season I have shown several times that I am strong. But unfortunately there were not many chances to win, partly because I am not a pure sprinter or climber. It’s nice that today all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. It is the confirmation I have been looking for for a long time.”

Bertizzolo praised Liv Racing’s tactical plan. Pauliena Rooijakkers was in a breakaway with 85 kilometres to go before the local circuit. At 25 kilometres from the finish the Dutch rider attacked again. This time she stayed ahead with eight other riders.

“The idea was that Lotte Kopecky and I would stay calm and focused in the peloton. When Pauliena was caught again, I attacked at 1 kilometre from the line exactly according to our plan. Full gas, I did not hesitate. We knew we could surprise the competition with that, because Lotte was of course still in the peloton. Nobody likes to close the gap, knowing that there is a very strong sprinter in your wheel. The tactic worked out well. And luckily my legs were strong enough to execute the plan. I’m very happy with this.”

Saturday, with the Grand Prix du Morbihan Féminin (102 kilometres), there is another race in the same region. The profile of that race is similar to that of La Classique Morbihan. “It would be great if we could have another celebration as a team.”

— rik to livracing.com

Miguel Angel Lopez is set to return to Astana Qazaqstan Team for two seasons – Astana

Miguel Angel Lopez is set to return to Astana Qazaqstan Team for two seasons

The long-term leader of the Kazakh team Miguel Angel Lopez makes his return to Astana Qazaqstan Team. The 27-year-old Colombian rider has signed a new two-year agreement with the team for 2022 and 2023.

“Coming back to the Astana team is a return home. In the world of professional cycling, a rider who wants to keep on moving forward sometimes has to change something in his career, to gain new experience. Sometimes it is a good one, sometimes not. The main thing is that I am coming home to my team, the team that gave me so much and with which, I am sure, we will be able to live many more wonderful moments. There is a lot of work ahead for the new season to be successful for me and for Astana Qazaqstan Team”, – said Miguel Angel Lopez.

Miguel Angel Lopez spent six seasons in the Astana project from 2015 to 2020, where he achieved most of his biggest results, including GC victories at Tour de Suisse (2016), Volta a Catalunya (2019), Tour of Colombia (2019), stage triumphs at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España as well as at the oldest classic race Milano-Torino. Together with Team Astana, Lopez reached the final podium of two Grand Tours in 2018, securing third place at both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.

The Colombian rider moved on for the 2021 season, during which time he also tasted some important successes with victory at the Vuelta a Andalucia, the one-day race Mont Ventoux Challenge, and the queen stage of La Vuelta.

“Miguel Angel Lopez is a rider who grew up and achieved his greatest successes in our team, and therefore I am happy that after a short break he is making his return to Astana Team. Over the past year, Miguel Angel has gained serious experience, which, perhaps, he lacked in our team. I think that this experience, both good and not so good, will help him to continue his development. Lopez proved that he is still one of the strongest riders in the world, continuing to win at the highest level, so it is great that Miguel Angel will continue his career in Astana Qazaqstan Team”, – said Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.

Photo credit: @Gettysport

— Vitalii to www.astanapremiertech.com

Jonas Rutsch renews with team

Most recently, Rutsch captivated the crowds at Paris-Roubaix with his incredible performance at the toughest one-day race of the year.


“I think Jonas will be a Roubaix guy for the next few years,” said teammate Sebastian Langeveld. And that’s all coming from a veteran who has done Roubaix 13 times. Rutsch finished the race just ahead of Langeveld in eleventh place overall, covered in the usual Roubaix mud and with absolutely nothing left in the tank. 


Vaughters agrees with Langeveld, and goes as far to even say that Jonas Rutsch will one day win the race.


“This kid could be a future winner of Paris-Roubaix and this year we saw that potential come up,” said Vaughters. “It could definitely be in his future, I have no doubt in my mind.”


Now that Roubaix is behind him and the race season has officially come to an end for the rider, he’s looking forward to working hard during the off-season and coming back stronger than ever. During his downtime and recovery, he will most likely be making himself an espresso or watching Game of Thrones. 


“I’m so happy to be on the team. It’s just a good fit. The team trusted me and gave me a chance even though I’m young. Now it’s a question of what I could give back to them,” said Rutsch. 


— Mary Lee Mahony to www.efprocycling.com

La Classique Morbihan 2021 | Movistar Team

El equipo femenino de Movistar Team afronta su penúltima salida de 2021 con las dos pruebas del GP Morbihan, comenzando con una Classique Morbihan que este año prescinde de los tramos de sterrato que usó en 2019 y utilizará un trazado bastante más corriente.

Son 115 km entre Josselin y Grand-Champ, con una docena de pequeños repechos antes de un circuito final con seis subidas de 1800m al 3% -últimos setecientos metros al 5%-. El último paso por dicha cota se corona un kilómetro antes de la meta, que será en ligerísimo descenso.

— Daniel Sánchez to movistarteam.com

Sebastian Henao and Leonardo Basso sign with Astana Qazaqstan Team – Astana

Sebastian Henao and Leonardo Basso sign with Astana Qazaqstan Team

Colombian rider Sebastian Henao (28) and Italian rider Leonardo Basso (27) will join Astana Qazaqstan Team in the upcoming season with Henao signing one-year contract (2022) and Basso signing a two-year deal (2022 and 2023).

Sebastian Henao turned pro in 2014 after a set of notable results in the Colombia racing circuit. In eight years as a professional rider, Henao has proved himself as a strong and loyal team player with a lot of Grand Tour experience, especially at the Giro d’Italia with five participations to his name.

Third place at Le Tour de Langkawi (2015), fifth place in the overall standings of Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali (2016), sixth place at the Arctic Race of Norway (2016) and eighth place in the General Classification of the Vuelta a Burgos (2018) and Volta ao Algarve (2021) can be named among his best results.

“Honestly, I am really excited to come to Astana. This is a new step for me, a change which I am really looking for to keep on improving as a professional rider. I would like to thank Alexandr Vinokurov for a chance to become a rider of team Astana. I am looking forward to join the team, to see my new teammates, to wear the new jersey, to ride the new bike. I think Astana is the team which can suit me perfectly and I will try to do my all to reach the best possible results together”, – said Sebastian Henao.

Leonardo Basso turned professional in 2018, choosing classic and one-day races as his main specialization. In the past four years, Basso has ridden 60 one-day races with fifth place at Coppa Bernocchi, seventh at Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli, and ninth at Trofeo Palma and Trofeo Campos amongst his career highlights.

“I am really happy to ride for Astana Qazaqstan Team from the next season. This is one of the biggest and oldest teams in the WorldTour and there were many champions who were competing in the jersey of Astana during its long and great history. So, it is a pleasure for me to join this team for the next two years. I am grateful to Alexandr Vinokurov for trusting in me and I hope to repay this trust on the road with my work and dedication. I will give my best to help the team to reach its biggest goals. I am ready to help the leaders to win as much as possible in the upcoming season”, – said Leonardo Basso.


“We are looking for reinforcement in our team both for the Grand Tours and classics, and I think that these two riders can suit us in the best way. We know Sebastian Henao as a good helper, very experienced in the Grand Tours and stage races, so he can play an important role for our leaders. Also, Leonardo Basso in just a few years has gained some good experience in the Northern Classics, while we are going to work on improvement in this direction. I would like to welcome Sebastian and Leonardo to Astana Qazaqstan Team and I am looking forward to start working with them ahead of the new season”, – said Alexandr Vinokurov.

Photo credit: @Gettysport

— Vitalii to www.astanapremiertech.com

Steinhauser signs with team – EF Pro Cycling

Steinhauser realizes that his full schedule may not have allowed him to reach his full potential yet but, he says, “I’m proud that I could achieve so many goals this year even though I’m working half the day and training half the day and still be able to ride at the front of a race.”


Vaughters agrees, saying, “Don’t underestimate him. I think maybe his talent will be a little bit slow in surfacing because of the fact that he’s still working on being a student but make no mistake. I think he ends up being on a slower trajectory but I think he ends up being one of the top stage racers in the world.”


In some ways, coming to EF will make racing and training easier for Steinhauser. “Everything will be way more professional and organized than it is at the Continental level. Also, I never really thought about things like nutrition. I’ve just been riding on feeling. I think I can learn a lot in this area.”


Learning is important to the young German. He worked hard in school to become fluent in English, telling his teachers, “The only thing I really needed in school was English. Math, I didn’t need that complicated stuff but English I had to use so it made sense for me to learn.” 


Continuing to learn is among his main goals for the 2022 season. “I’m very excited to ride beside my teammates and learn from them. I want to make as few mistakes as possible. Even in the moments when things aren’t going well, I still see the good and find opportunities to learn. I want to improve from year to year, from season to season, but it’s definitely a goal to win races.”


This deep appreciation for learning and reflection is part of the reason why Steinhauser wanted to come to EF. “The name EF says it all: Education First.”


Another reason why he signed for the pink team? “This team is about innovation. They are not working with old technology and gear. Instead, they’re racing gravel and being open-minded. I don’t feel like you can compare them to ‘normal’ teams. With EF, I feel like I have a new point of view of cycling.”


We love your perspective, Georg, and we can’t wait for next season.


— Mary Lee Mahony to www.efprocycling.com

Yuriy Natarov and Yevgeniy Gidich renew with Astana Qazaqstan Team – Astana

Yuriy Natarov and Yevgeniy Gidich renew with Astana Qazaqstan Team

Two Kazakh riders Yuriy Natarov and Yevgeniy Gidich have signed a new two-year agreement with Team Astana (Astana Qazaqstan Team from 2022) for the next two seasons of 2022 and 2023.

Yuriy Natarov joined Kazakh team in 2019, when he took his first and so far only professional victory, winning the General Classification of the Tour of Almaty. In 2021, Yuriy finished his first Grand Tour and won a bronze medal in the individual time trial of the Kazakhstan National Championships.

“The new contract with the team gives me great motivation and a desire for further growth and progress. This season I managed to make my debut in a Grand Tour, at La Vuelta, and this experience turned out to be very valuable and perfectly timed for me. Participation in the Vuelta a España inspired me, so I am sure that in the next two seasons in Astana Qazaqstan Team I will be able to make a serious step ahead. There is a huge amount of work to be done, but I am ready for it”, – said Yuriy Natarov.

Yevgeniy Gidich moved to the Astana project in 2018 and during his first three seasons, Gidich scored a set of valuable results: he was third in the General Classification of Tour of Croatia in 2018, taking a stage win in the following year, he won the road race of the Asian Road Championships-2019, was seventh at Coppa Bernocchi in 2019, and finished third at a stage of Saudi Tour in 2020.

Yevgeniy’s best result in the current season was second place in the Kazakhstan National Championships road race.

“This last season has turned out to be far from what I expected. However, this year I have become stronger and more experienced, so I am optimistic about the new season in Astana Qazaqstan Team. I am determined to do everything possible to reach the level that will allow me to take an important step forward in my career. I am grateful to the team for their trust, and I will make every effort to justify it”, – said Yevgeniy Gidich.


“In these past years in the WorldTour, the riders gained good experience and learned a lot. Not everything always went smoothly and the situation with the pandemic also intervened, but we still recognize the progress of both Yuriy and Yevgeniy. Both riders have reached the age when experience and solid work should turn into a result. We hope that a new two-year contract will give them the chance to move ahead. I am happy that the guys remain in the team, where they will have all the conditions to achieve success, both for the team and personally”, – said Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.

Photo credit: @Gettysport

— Vitalii to www.astanapremiertech.com

Paris-Tours (10 octobre) – Equipe cycliste AG2R CITROËN TEAM

Julien Duval : « Paris-Tours will be the last road race of my professional career »

«Paris-Tours will be the last road race of my professional career. Then I will have my very final race at the Chrono des Nations (October 17). I was at the end of my contract, and I don’t have a sufficiently interesting project to continue. I made my decision about ten days ago, after much thought.
I am hanging up my wheels wearing the AG2R CITROËN TEAM jersey, one of the best teams in the world, which has enabled me to participate in the most beautiful races. I will end my career competing at Paris-Tours, racing with some great classics riders on my team. So, I can turn the page calmly and I hope to stay close to the sport. I have fond memories of all these years, beginning with my stint with the pros in 2013, up through five seasons with AG2R LA MONDIALE and then AG2R CITROËN. I developed as a person and had the chance to do a great job that allowed me to exceed my physical and mental limits and to travel the world.
I happily remember the breakaway at the Tour de Vendée in 2012 which gave me the chance to turn pro and I will never forget the phone call from Vincent Lavenu who gave me the chance of my career. I have competed in the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Vuelta. I am aware of what this represents and I want to put the same energy into my retraining. »Julien

The news


After 73 days of competition, Greg Van Avermaet clocked up 12,511.70 kilometers for his first year in the AG2R CITROËN TEAM jersey.

The news

Three podiums for the AG2R CITROËN TEAM

AG2R CITROËN TEAM team finished on the podium in the last three editions of Paris-Tours with Benoît Cosnefroy (2nd and 3rd in 2020 and 2018) and Oliver Naesen (3rd in 2019).

— Kevin Bottin to www.ag2rcitroenteam.com

Astana – Premier Tech becomes Astana Qazaqstan Team in 2022 – Astana

Astana – Premier Tech becomes Astana Qazaqstan Team in 2022

The UCI WorldTour team Astana – Premier Tech is set to get a new name in 2022. The Kazakh cycling project will step into the upcoming season as Astana Qazaqstan Team.

Qazaqstan is the most accurate and correct name of Kazakhstan in its English transcription. Qazaqstan is a kind of new brand of the state on the international stage, which is combining centuries-old traditions, language, culture and strategy of the country’s development in the today’s world.

“Starting from 2022 our cycling team will go on under the new name Astana Qazaqstan Team, a name which is very important to our country. The name of our state will appear on the cyclists’ jerseys and in the new team logo, and it will become a kind of sign of the continuation of traditions and, at the same time, a moment of change and renewal for the sake of two important goals: promotion of the image of our country all around the world and development of domestic cycling. The project is getting a second wind and is preparing for a new turn in its development. I would like to express my special gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan as well as to the Professional Sports Club Astana, which actively support the team. I am happy with the fact that Kazakhstan Cycling Federation is going to play an important role in the development of the renewed team and the implementation of ambitious plans, which will be announced in the nearest future. Also, I am happy that our federation will be presented both in the Board of Directors and in the management of Astana Qazaqstan Team. We envisage strengthening the team’s work with the federation in the transfer of professional skills to domestic athletes and specialists as well as deeper participation of Astana Qazaqstan Team in the life of Kazakhstan cycling”, – said Nurlan Smagulov, President of Kazakhstan Cycling Federation.


“I am happy that our team will continue its development under the new Astana Qazaqstan Team brand, and it is an honor for me to return to the leadership of this team as a General Manager. For the past 16 years the Astana Cycling Project has been the hallmark of our country in the world of sports, and I would like to thank the leadership of Kazakhstan for many years of support and trust. Astana Qazaqstan Team is not just a new team name, it is an updated project philosophy emphasizing closer integration of our sports brand and promotion of the Republic of Kazakhstan as a major international partner. In the current period, preparations for the new season and the registration of the team in the top division are in full swing. Beside this we are working on an additional project, which we will announce soon”, – said Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.

— Vitalii to www.astanapremiertech.com

Aleksandr Vlasov and Alexey Lutsenko to lead the team at Il Lombardia – Astana

Aleksandr Vlasov and Alexey Lutsenko to lead the team at Il Lombardia

Astana – Premier Tech heads to Il Lombardia, known as the Race of the Falling Leaves, with a strong team captained by Aleksandr Vlasov and Alexey Lutsenko.

The route for the final Monument of the year will see a change compared to last year, where Jakob Fuglsang took an impressive win while teammate Aleksandr Vlasov took a strong third place. 239 brutal kilometres from Como to Bergamo await the riders, where Alexey Lutsenko will take on the race for the first time in his career.

The iconic climb, Ghisallo, will be the first ascent to tackle before hitting Roncola, Berbenno, Dossena, Zambla Altan and Passo di Ganda before reaching the finish line in Bergamo.

Last year Vlasov rounded out the podium and is looking forward to this year’s route:

“I have really good memories of Il Lombardia. Taking third in a Monument is something special and last year it was an incredible race. This year, we are back to the normal date, not like last year where we rode it in August. So, at least, the weather will not be as hot as last year and now, we have the route changed from Como to Bergamo. I am looking forward to it but the race has a really strong start list, we will see what will happen but I am motivated to give my best to reach yet another good result”.

Sports Director Stefano Zanini sees the second part of the race as the decisive one:

“The first 90 kilometres shouldn’t be a problem, we go over the Ghisallo from the other side than last year but then the second part of the race, after Lecco will be brutal. The decisive moment will be for sure on the last two climbs as then with 30 kilometres to go, the course runs towards the finish line on a fast but not technical road. Of course, we miss Jakob but that’s cycling. Nevertheless, Aleksandr showed incredible form last year and also Alexey is currently in a good shape”. 

Rider roster: Manuele Boaro (ITA), Samuele Battistella (ITA), Rodrigo Contreras (COL), Fabio Felline (ITA), Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ), Matteo Sobrero (ITA), Aleksandr Vlasov (RUS).

Sports directors: Giuseppe Martinelli (ITA), Stefano Zanini (ITA).

— Vitalii to www.astanapremiertech.com