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Lotte Kopecky has extended her contract with Team SD Worx-Protime until 2028. She said about the extension: “I am very happy to stay with Team SD Worx-Protime until 2028. I feel good with this team, and most importantly, I can be myself in this environment. The interaction in this team is very human. We are certainly not seen as robots. Of course, we are expected to perform, but not at any cost.” After Kopecky’s contract extension, Team SD Worx-Protime CEO Erwin Janssen expressed doubts last week that the Dutch squad will be able to keep Demi Vollering as the budget is already squeezed.

Stephen Delcourt, General Manager of FDJ-SUEZ, has commented that the rumoured 1 million Euros offered to Demi Vollering by UAE Team ADQ was not good for the long term sustainability of women’s cycling, as this figure is not on par with the rest of the sport’s budget. He emphasised the need for women’s cycling to develop at a more even pace.

Italian rider Gaia Realini, who has produced some great results so far, has extended her contract with Trek-Lidl until the end of 2027. The pure climber has, among other achievements, won a stage and finished on the final podium at the Vuelta Feminina, followed up by another overall podium at her home race, the Giro d’Italia Donne.

Several weeks ago, the Women’s Tour was removed from the UCI’s calendar after the previous organisers, Sweetspot, went into liquidation. Now, a four-day Women’s World Tour event, the Tour of Britain Women has been added to the UCI schedule, planned from 6 to 9 June 2024. No further details are available yet, but hopefully this means that the event will take place this year.

Le Samyn des Dames and GP Oetingen have released the list of participating teams that will line up on 27 February and 6 March respectively.

Over 108,000 Zwifters took part in the 2023 Zwift Academy program. After the finals, South African rider Maddie Le Roux was awarded a contract with Canyon//SRAM Generation. Maddie, whose background includes triathlon and teaching, transitioned to full-time cycling three years ago.

The final routes for the 2024 Ford RideLondon-Essex challenge rides have been confirmed, with a new Strava Club for Ford RideLondon enabling participants to preview the rides and be part of an online cycling community. The 2024 Ford RideLondon-Essex 100, 60 and 30-mile rides take place on Sunday 26th May on a traffic-free route that will begin on Victoria Embankment and finish at Tower Bridge in central London. Read more here.

Anna Henderson of Visma – Lease a Bike broke her collarbone at Setmana Ciclista and is now recovering in the UK. Marlen Reusser missed the opening weekend due to a viral infection, while Cecile Uttrup Ludwig had to abandon due to a crash, and Tiffany Cromwell fractured her thumb in a fall at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. We wish all riders well in their recovery.

Some good news for the Amstel Gold Race. We had reported earlier that the council of Vaas was potentially planning to ban the major tours that bring large groups of cyclists to the region, which would have negatively affected the famed Dutch race. In a meeting last week, however, the council agreed that the events could indeed go ahead with some restrictions, thus allowing the Amstel Gold race to go ahead this year as usual.

The upcoming Tour of Flanders may potentially have to take place without the famous Paterberg climb due to safety issues. The road on the approach to the Paterberg is currently closed to traffic due to erosion that has nearly undercut the road surface, as the side of the road has slid down 50 metres.

Sofiya Al-Sayegh, the first Emirati female cyclist and only Arab rider in the Women’s WorldTour peloton, has qualified for the Olympics. When she was 14 years old, her father bought bikes for both of them, and they started riding around their neighbourhood. A couple of years ago, she accepted a university scholarship, and combined her studies with the sport, as she felt she needed something to fall back onto once her sporting career finishes.

The UCI has launched a campaign aimed at ensuring that all cycling stakeholders – athletes, coaches, organisers, officials and different members of the riders’ entourage – contribute to keeping the sport fair. The Fair Cycling campaign raises awareness about all forms of competition manipulation, so that athletes can be confident they are taking part in competitions where the rules will be observed.

Yana Seel has become the Head of Business and Communications for the women’s WorldTour team UAE ADQ. Seel, a pioneer in the realm of cycling, achieved a significant milestone as the first woman to hold the position of Managing Director within the WorldTour at Team Astana Premier Tech, a role she held for three years. Following this, she spent two years as Chief Business Officer at Lotto Dstny.

 

Results

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Marianne Vos (Visma-Lease a Bike) ahead of Lotte Kopecky (Team SD Worx-Protime) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek)
Craywinckelhof – Omloop van het Hageland: Kristen Faulkner (EF Education – Cannondale) head of Mischa Bredewold (Team SD Worx – Protime) and Pfeiffer Georgi (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL)
Clasica de Almeria: Lauren Stephens (Cynisca Cycling) ahead of Yuliia Biriukova and Linda Zanetti (both Human Powered Health

Zwift Blog

Meet Geerike Schreurs, soigneur turned pro gravel rider!  ⁠ In her first exclusive blog, she explains the whirlwind journey from being a long-time staff member at Lidl-Trek to jumping on the saddle to race competitively. Check out her story here!⁠

 

This week in cycling history

Laurence Leboucher

This year will be a memorable one for the French former rider, who was selected by the Normandy Cycling committee to carry the official Olympic flame on 31 May around Mont-Sant-Michel. Born on 22 February 1972, the now 52-year-old is a four-time Olympian, a world MTB and multiple world cyclocross champion. She also specialised in the individual time trial on the road. After her retirement, she worked at a bank, and in 2012 and 2016 she commentated for French television on the MTB events at the Olympics.

Marion Clignet

Born on 21 February 1964, Clignet grew up in the USA with dual French and US citizenship. The now 59-year-old was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 22, lost her driver’s licence and took to the bike to commute. She was told that having epilepsy could make her a risk to the team and as such she was shunned by the U.S. Cycling Federation. However, this motivated her even more to want to compete, and she subsequently raced for France. She was twice the French road champion and helped France win at the 1991 World Championships in the team time trial. But it was on the track where she had her greatest successes. In addition to her Olympic medals, Clignet won five gold medals and seven other medals on the track at the World Championships. She has been active in the French Association of Female Cyclists, an organisation of retired and active riders that aims to promote the sport and improve conditions and recognition for female riders, and has also worked in support of epilepsy charities and research organisations. Most recently, she was appointed as a Sports Director at Team Cynisca Cycling.

 

WorldTour highlight videos

Catch up on all the action from the latest World Tour races. Watch the recap of the 2024 Women’s UAE Tour right here.

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