© Amstel Gold Race

Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition: Vollering and another SD Worx Masterclass

The SD Worx team once again beat the competition in the Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition, won by Demi Vollering. Second of the last two editions, the Dutchwoman was finally able to win at home by exploiting superb teamwork executed masterfully and magnified by the second place of her teammate Lotte Kopecky.

The SD Worx duo ideally placed themselves when approaching the Cauberg, the last of the 21 difficulties of the day, thanks to great teamwork, in particular with the help of Lorena Wiebes, to soften up the opposition.

Vollering then took advantage of the hesitation in the group of favorites to attack 1600m from the finish. A choice that paid dividends for the 26-year-old racer, who arrived solo to achieve a second prestigious victory this season after her win, again ahead of Kopecky, at Strade Bianche.

Vollering and Kopecky’s spring results are stunning. Kopecky picked up three victories in seven races (Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Nokere Koerse, Tour of Flanders) and two second places (Strade Bianche and Amstel Gold Race), in addition to a seventh place in an unlucky Paris-Roubaix.

Demi Vollering has meanwhile obtained three victories in six races (Strade Bianche, A Travers la Flandre, Amstel Gold Race) as well as two second places (Tour of Flanders, Flèche Brabançonne).

The results: 1. Vollering (SD Worx) ; 2. Kopecky (SD Worx) ; 3. Van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo)…


Amstel Gold Race: Pogacar, again and always

The big favorite, Tadej Pogacar did not fail to impress and won the Amstel Gold Race, bossing the whole peloton. Two weeks after his triumph in the Tour of Flanders, the Slovenian added a new prestigious race to his record, winning the race in grand style solo. The insatiable rider from UAE Emirates covered the last 28 kilometers alone to win with a 38” lead over the surprising Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost), who already took second in the Flèche Brabançonne four days earlier, and more than two minutes ahead of Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers). Just another impressive demonstration to post the 11th victory of his season.

“It’s incredible to win here,” Pogacar explained at the finish. “I didn’t think I would attack so early, 90 kilometers from the finish, but once at the front, I gave it my all until the end, I was exhausted. When I attacked for the first time, it was not planned. I managed to get into the leading group, it was a great situation because I just had to control. As I didn’t know this race very well, I exchanged messages with Mathieu van der Poel, who advised me to attack in the Keutenberg. It was a climb that suited me perfectly. I will thank him for the advice.”

Pogacar also becomes the fourth rider to do the Tour of Flanders-Amstel double after Eddy Merckx (1975), Jan Raas (1979) and Philippe Gilbert (2017). His performance sends a warning message to his opponents ahead of Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday and Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.

The results: 1. Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) ; 2. Healy (EF Education-Easy Post) ; 3. Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers)…


Giro di Sicilia: Lutsenko finally kicks off Astana’s season

The Kazakh Alexey Lutsenko has opened his win tally this season by taking the victory at the Giro di Sicilia. The Astana Qazaqstan Team rider up-ended the scenario of this 5th edition by distancing all his opponents in the 4th and last stage between Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto and Giarre (216 km), which he won solo.

Only in 4th place at the start of the final day, Lutsenko escaped 25 km from the finish and crossed the line 40 seconds ahead of South African Louis Meintjes and 1 minute 13 over Italian Vincenzo Albanese. They ended by being the two men who also accompanied him on the podium of the final general classification.

New Zealander Finn Fisher-Black, who had been the leader since his victory in the first stage, was distanced and finished 4th.

“It’s been over a year since I won a race. It’s great to do it just before the Ardennes classics,” the 30-year-old Lutsenko was happy to report.

The results: 1. Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan Team) ; 2. Meintjes (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) ; 3. Albanese (EOLO-Kometa)…

Stages won by: Fisher-Black (UAE Team Emirates) ; Bonifazio (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) ; Suter (Tudor Pro Cycling Team) ; Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan Team).


Paris-Camembert: Ferron as the boss

Valentin Ferron (TotalEnergies) won Paris-Camembert, the seventh round of the Coupe de France. At the end of the 209 kilometer race, the Frenchman dominated the two-man sprint ahead of the young Ewen Costiou (Arkéa-Samsic). This was his first victory of the season after a string of runner-up spots since the start of the year. Fredrik Dversnes (Uno-X) finished third, 15 seconds behind the leading duo.

“It’s a race that I really like, it suits me very well. This year, I have a win unlike last year; it feels very good. I’m happy to raise my arms, to get my first victory of the year,” Ferron admitted. “I work for that in training. It will take the pressure off me, and for the team too. This is a very good result. The form has been good since the Route Adélie, I had a good performance at the Tour des Pays de la Loire, it’s good to get things done.”

The results: 1. Ferron (TotalEnergies) ; 2. Costiou (Team Arkéa-Samsic) ; 3. Dversnes (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team)…


De Brabantse Pijl – La Flèche Brabançonne: Godon, a victory that feels good

Dorian Godon posted “the greatest success of (his) career” by winning De Brabantse Pijl after winning a two-man sprint against his breakaway companion, the Irishman Ben Healy, at Overijse in the Brussels suburbs. 

His teammate Benoît Cosnefroy completed the triumph of the Savoy-based team by taking third place ahead of his two compatriots Rémi Cavagna and Axel Zingle.

At 26, Godon was part of a six-man breakaway initiated by former French champion Remi Cavagna 38 kilometers from the line. The latter was unable to follow Godon and Healy when they accelerated on the penultimate climb of the day, at 18 km from the finish.

“I didn’t have very good feelings when the breakaway of six took shape but I gradually found my legs. And in a two-man sprint, I was not going to let go: we have so few opportunities to play for the win,” commented Godon after his seventh success among the professionals. “The team was pretty unhappy during the cobbled classics. Then here, we get first and third with Benoît, who has arrived in very good shape for the Ardennes. It really feels good. This is my greatest victory. When you look at the past winners, there are a lot of big names.”

The results: 1. Godon (AG2R Citroën Team) ; 2. Healy (EF Education-Easy Post) ; 3. Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroën Team)


Classic Grand Besançon Doubs: Lafay, a star (almost) at home

For the kick-off of the Franche-Comté triptych, Victor Lafay showed his power to win the Classic Grand Besançon Doubs. The victory came very close to home for the Cofidis puncher, whose uncle lives in Montfaucon, the new finishing town for the event.

Lafay maneuvered himself perfectly on the second ascent of the Côte de la Malate by responding to the attacks of the young French climber Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ). Even though Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Roger Adrio (Equipo Ken Pharma) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) managed to rejoin them for a short time, the two men broke away again in the last kilometer before Lafay, the faster sprinter, won. 

“It was important to put this win on my record, and it’s done so I’m super happy,” Lafay said. “It’s always good to get the first win of the season, I hope there will be more to come.”

The results: .1 Lafay (Cofidis) ; 2. Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) ; 3. Adria (Equipo Kern Pharma)…


Tour du Jura : Vauquelin confirms his talent

A professional for only a year, Kevin Vauquelin never ceases to amaze. The Arkéa-Samsic rider distinguished himself in the Tour du Jura by winning solo after managing to make the difference two kilometers from the finish to win ahead of Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis).

In dantesque conditions, between gusts of wind and incessant rain, Vauquelin took advantage of the steepest gradients on Mont Poupet to pick up the third success of his season, after winning the overall and a stage of the Tour du Var et des Alpes Maritimes.

“The start was a bit complicated,” Vauquelin admitted. “It was hard. The speed was pretty insane. Finally, at the end, I felt that I was really good. My teammate Alessandro Verre did a great job breaking away. That allowed me to be well placed behind without having to work. However, when I felt it was time, I made my own move. The tactic was perfect. We are a strong and united team. It’s all teamwork. Andrii (Ponomar) rode well from the start and then we were always one step ahead. We were very attentive. I am happy to finish off all our hard work”, he explained.

The results: 1. Vauquelin (Arkéa-Samsic) ; 2. Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) ; 3. Martin (Cofidis)… 


Tour du Doubs: Herrada surprises Pinot

Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) won the Tour du Doubs, triumphing at the top of Larmont (Doubs), the new finish line for this 38th edition, which was raced in appalling conditions. The 32-year-old Spanish climber, already the winner of a stage in the Tour of Oman this season, separated himself from the group of favorites 400 meters from the finish to hold a tiny margin over his pursuers. This is the 20th victory of his career.

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Nans Peters (AG2R Citroën Team) completed the podium.

“I am happy to take the win here. I looked at the map of the final on my computer and I had spotted that there was a false flat finish,” Herrada explained. “So, I decided to start my sprint from a long way out, 400 meters from the line. I won the Classic Grand Besançon Doubs last year already, I’m happy to do it again here on the Tour du Doubs. This is my second victory of the season and the second for my Cofidis team this weekend. The Larmont climb was rolling. With Guillaume Martin, we had decided that he would repeat his attacks and if that didn’t work, I would play my card in the sprint. It worked. This gives me confidence for the Ardennes classics next week.”

The results: 1. Herrada (Cofidis) ; 2. Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) ; 3. Peters (AG2R Citroën Team)… 


Races to come :

17 – 21 April: Tour of the Alps, https://www.tourofthealps.eu/

19 April: La Flèche Wallonne hommes, https://www.la-fleche-wallonne.be/fr

19 April: La Flèche Wallonne dames, https://www.la-fleche-wallonne.be/fr

23 April: Liège-Bastogne-Liège hommes, https://www.liege-bastogne-liege.be/fr

23 April: Liège-Bastogne-Liège dames, https://www.liege-bastogne-liege.be/fr

23 April: Rutlan Melton Cicle Classic, http://cicleclassic.co.uk/