Nickolas Zukowsky on the big stage for the first time - Sportish
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Nickolas Zukowsky on the big stage for the first time




Nickolas Zukowski

(Montreal) Nickolas Zukowsky will not yet be at the top of his game when he starts his first Tour of Flanders on Sunday, except that it will not taint his happiness to find himself in the peloton of the 107e edition of what is the second monument of the season in road cycling.

After three seasons with the American team Human Powered Health, the athlete migrated to the brand new Swiss team Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team. The native of Sainte-Lucie-des-Laurentides therefore remains in a Pro Team level formation, but being part of a European team opens more doors to events on this continent than when he wore the colors of that continent. based in the United States.

When we hear him talk about the Classics, we note that the tone of his voice becomes more cheerful, even though, at the time of the interview last Friday, he had just spent five hours on the bike at the E3 Saxo Classic in the Belgian rain and cold.

A way for him to take the temperature of the water for the first time, both literally and figuratively, on the cobblestones and Belgian bergs.

“I’m lucky enough to do all those big races. It’s completely crazy and compared to other riders, I haven’t been cycling (road) for so long. I didn’t watch the Tour de France when I was young, but since I started the sport, I watch the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix and I dream a bit of doing them. And there it is coming! »

Zukowsky’s start to the season has been put on hold due to a virus contracted after his stint in the Tour of Saudi Arabia. Consequently, he spent the month of February stationary, when he should have accumulated dozens of hours in the saddle. Blood test results indicated his body was fighting a virus, but doctors were unable to identify it.

“It really put me on the tile for two weeks. I was completely down and coming back from that is a nasty process. I am pampered, my team is very professional and they supervise me very well. »

Because there was the trap for the 24-year-old runner: to rush his return to racing in order to prove himself in the eyes of his new employers, but with the risk of falling ill again if he gives too much and too quickly. In a sport where the season runs from January to October, some caution is in order.

However, this did not prevent the athlete from being part of the river breakaway of the race Through Flanders on Wednesday. He ended up being knocked out of the group after holding on for a hundred kilometres.

“My philosophy is that just because I don’t feel my best doesn’t mean I can’t give my best all day. […] It’s never fun to be the highlight. You don’t want to be the hammer anymore in situations like this. And these days, I’m more the highlight every day. »

The best ally

Probably the best person to understand what it is to be a nail is his girlfriend Simone Boilard, a professional cyclist who has also had her share of health problems over the years.

The rider of the French formation St-Michel – Mavic-Auber93 had won bronze in the road race of the 2018 Junior World Championships only to see her sports career put on hold following a succession of health problems. . Her return to the professional peloton last year went well and, even if she could have been promoted to World Team level, she made the choice to stay in her continental level team in order not to skip the stages.

Zukowsky is in awe when asked to talk about what his wife has overcome.

“We are so lucky to have each other! We are far from the family and friends we have in Quebec. It’s not always easy, but being together is so much more, he says. She, she definitely had it harder in her young career and I helped her as best I could. These days, it was less easy (for me) and she was there to help me. I consider myself extremely lucky! »

The model student

About ten years old, Zukowsky first learned his cycling skills on mountain bike trails. His former coach at the Club des 2 Vals, Serge Desrosiers, supervised him at the turn of the 2010s in the Laurentians.

“Nick was a model student. He put a lot of emphasis on the process and on his personal progress, much more than on the results”, recalls the man who was at the head of the Quebec mountain bike team until last summer and who is not surprised to see that his former protege will be at the start of the Tour of Flanders on Sunday.

“Athletes with a good attitude are able to handle things better and do them for the right reasons. […] Nickolas has always had his feet on the ground. All the time. He was attentive and analytical. Being an athlete is a whole thing: you need talent, a head, attitude, perseverance and resilience. And Nick, he was always resilient and patient. »

To stay in the school theme, the races of the next two weeks are announced more like courses rather than exams for Nickolas Zukowsky. He will have to learn to position himself well in the peloton before the key sectors, withstand the violent efforts on the climbs where the grip is not optimal and drive at high speed in a relaxed manner on the cobblestones.

The cyclist is well aware of this.

“It’s such an important experience for years to come. »

Source: lapresse

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Para-cycling A puncture does not undermine the morale of Charles Moreau




(Montreal) Even though he had a puncture, Charles Moreau (H3) was not down after the men’s handbike relay race that took place on Monday, concluding the Para-cycling Road World Cup in ‘Huntsville, Alabama.

The Canadian trio formed by Moreau, Alex Hyndman (H3) and Matthew Kinnie (H2) took seventh place, 3 min 8 s behind the winners, the Spaniards.

At the start of his third and final lap, the Victoriavillois had a puncture on his front wheel, which slowed him down considerably, in addition to making it harder to drive in the turns.

“I ran over something sharp, which split the wall of my tire. Everything was fine until then,” said Moreau the day after his race, who rode with a flat tire for 2 kilometers before handing over to Alex Hyndman.

“I thought about quitting because I didn’t want to scrap my rim, but if I stopped, we didn’t collect points. I then took the risk to continue quietly. »

Moreau gave Hyndman the touchline in fifth place. The latter moved up a rank in the provisional standings before giving way to Matthew Kinnie who was the seventh to cross the finish line.

Despite this incident, the Paralympian who won the bronze medal in the time trial last Saturday was still encouraged by the times achieved by each member of the team.

“It was quite one of our best races. We are happy with our performance as a team. […] Our teammate in the H2 class (Matthew Kinnie) is getting more and more competitive and we in the H3s have good podium potential. »

Among the other Quebecers in action on Monday, Tarek Dahab took ninth place in the C2 category. He finished in the last peloton which reached the finish just over 12 and a half minutes behind the winner, Frenchman Alexandre Leaute.

The tandem formed by Benoit Lalumière-Cloutier and Maximilien Moreau (driver) ranked 12e (+8 min 38 s) of the men’s race where the Canadian duo formed by the visually impaired Lowell Taylor and his driver Ed Veal climbed on the third step of the podium after a sprint won by the Dutch Tristan Bangma and Patrick Bos ( pilot).

As for Pierre Czyzowicz, he finished 15e C4s.

The Huntsville stage was the last on the road World Cup calendar. The World Championships will be held in Glasgow, Scotland in early August where Moreau will again be aiming for a medal in the time trial.

The country’s best para-cyclists will return to competition at the end of June at the Canadian Championships in Edmonton.

Source: lapresse

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Classique RideLondon Simone Boilard finishes the weekend in 13th place




Simone Boilard (St Michel – Mavic – Auber93) had good expectations before the Classic RideLondon, she who had managed to finish in 10e place last year. On Sunday, in the last stage in Great Britain, Boilard had bad luck in the final sprint, but still managed to complete the top 10 of the day.

“The race went well. Unfortunately, I derailed at the very end. I’m a little disappointed, because I think the top 5 could have been accessible for me today [dimanche] “, she mentioned in an interview with Sportcom.

The peloton remained well together until the middle of the distance where three riders managed to break away. Frenchwoman Victoire Berteau (Cofidis), Dutchman Sofie Van Rooijen (Parkhotel Valkenburg) and Briton Grace Lister (DAS – Handsling) were finally caught up with just over 10 kilometers to go.

Despite the mechanical problems in the last meters, Boilard managed to hold on to take the 10e rank of this last stage which was won by Charlotte Kool. The Dutchwoman confirmed her victory in the general classification at the same time.

For his part, Boilard ends the weekend in 13e up (+55 seconds). Had it not been for an equipment problem which had a direct impact on her result in the first stage, Boilard is convinced that she could easily have improved her lot in the general classification.

“The Classic didn’t start very well. I had a problem with my wetsuit on Friday, it tore during the race and I lost all my gels trying to close it. As I went to get some gels from the car there was an attack and I was in a bad position to join the leading group,” Boilard said.

The Quebecer admits, however, that the second stage was much more positive as she took sixth place on Saturday.

Also in action at the Classique RideLondon, Gabrielle Pilote-Fortin (Cofidis) finished 90e Sunday to clock in at 68e step in the final classification.

Olivia Baril defends her title

Last year, Olivia Baril signed the first victory of her professional career by winning the Grand Prix in the city of Eibar (1.1), in Spain. Back on the starting line in the Basque Country on Sunday, the UAE cyclist had the sole objective of defending this title.

The Quebecer played it safe on the day’s various climbs to make sure she had enough energy in the final sprint. Baril finally confirmed her victory in a five-man sprint where she finished just ahead of Spain’s Sheyla Gutierrez (Movistar) and Ukraine’s Yuliia Biriukova (UAE).

“It’s always difficult to defend a victory. It went really well, we had to be careful of the Movistar cyclists, but my teammates did a superb job on that side. I didn’t want to make my life too difficult and it was mission accomplished,” commented Baril.

Three other Quebecers were at the start of the Grand Prix in the city of Eibar, Émilie Fortin (Cynisca Cyling) also broke through the top 10 taking eighth place. Adèle Normand (Massi – Tactic) and Joséphine Péloquin (Grand Est – Komugi – La Fabrique) respectively finished 20e and 53e.

For his part, Pier-André Côté suffered a fall with 65 kilometers to go during the third stage of the Boucles de la Mayenne on Saturday. The Human Powered Health cyclist was able to get back on the road, but as his helmet was broken in several places, he made the decision to pull out of the race as a precaution.

Côté therefore did not take part in the last stage of the Boucles on Sunday.

Source: lapresse

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Primoz Roglic wins the Tour of Italy, Mark Cavendish wins the last stage




(Rome) Primoz Roglic added to his record in Grand Tour events by winning the Cycling Tour of Italy on Sunday, adding to his three triumphs in the Tour of Spain.

Roglic, a former ski jumping specialist, became the first Slovenian to win the Giro. He did it in spectacular fashion by winning the penultimate stage and stealing the leader’s pink jersey from Geraint Thomas in Saturday’s time trial, contested in mountainous terrain.

Riding a pink bike, wearing a pink helmet and pink socks, Roglic rode in relaxed mode during the final stage, 135 km long on the cobbled streets of Rome, on Sunday, and which was completed next to the Roman Forum.

Roglic completed the 21e stages of the Tour of Italy with a 14-second lead over Thomas.

Briton Mark Cavendish, who recently announced that he will retire at the conclusion of the current season, won the 21e stage in a sprint finish with a final time of two hours 48 minutes 26 seconds.

Canadian Derek Gee crossed the finish line in this peloton in 57e place. Overall, Gee, a 25-year-old cyclist from Ottawa, finished in 22e position, 40: 54 from the big winner.

Source: lapresse

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