Last pedal strokes for Thibaut Pinot - Sportish
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Last pedal strokes for Thibaut Pinot



(Paris) See Bergamo and leave. Thibaut Pinot, idol of French cycling, pushes his last pedal strokes this week in Italy before hanging up his bike for good, leaving the mark of a rider like no other.

After taking the 36e place of the Tour d’Emilie on Saturday, the Groupama-FDJ climber will participate in the Coppa Bernocchi on Monday and Tuesday in the Trois Vallées Varésines as final preparation races for the Tour of Lombardy, the fifth Monument of the season and the last major meeting you of the year, Saturday between Como and Bergamo.

For the 33-year-old from Franc-Comtois, the classic of dead leaves constitutes the last meeting in short. And the race, a sublime slide in an enchanting setting, is the perfect place for your twilight.

Because Pinot is a lover of Italy and it was at the Tour of Lombardy that he achieved what he considers to be his greatest success – even before his three stage victories on the Tour de France – when he had beaten Vincenzo Nibali on his land in 2018.

“Lombardy will surely remain the greatest victory of my career. And it’s the best race of the year. So to finish there is great,” he said.

For his farewell, his Groupama-FDJ team prepared “a few little things”, according to manager Marc Madiot, while Matthieu Ladagnous, Pinot’s teammate, also pins his last bib on Monday after eighteen years in the house.

A “curva Pinot”

Supporters of Thibaut Pinot, gathered in particular within the Collectif Ultras Pinot, will make the trip on Saturday and will regroup in a “curva Pinot” as they did on the last Tour de France by installing a volcanic Pinot bend during the stage of the Vosges.

“I didn’t think it would be this strong at the Tour. Maybe it will be the same in Lombardy. I let myself be carried away by the present moment. It’s a page in the life of the team that is turning, an era that is ending,” underlines Marc Madiot, overwhelmed by emotion in July.

Long alone in the lead during his ecstatic “jubilee” in the Tour de France, Pinot risks having difficulty repeating the feat in Lombardy where competition will be tough with notably Remco Evenepoel, Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar who will aim for a third victory in a row in this mountainous classic.

Especially since the farewell tour of the Franc-Comtois was difficult this summer with an abandonment due to a fall at the Tour de Poitou-Charentes and an abandonment due to illness at the Tour du Luxembourg.

“It’s been complicated in recent weeks, I had a fall, then an intestinal virus which really weakened me. It’s hard to get back into shape, but I hope it will do it for the last week,” he said on Saturday at the start of the Tour d’Émilie.

From Sunday, Pinot will turn the page of 14 professional seasons for a future that he first sees far from cycling and the excitement of the peloton, to which he prefers the tranquility of his farm in Mélisey, in Haute-Saône.

He will leave the mark of a romantic climber, generous in effort and emotion, who will have marked his sport as much by his victories – 33 – as by his failures, in particular his heartbreaking abandonment in the 2019 Tour de France that he was well placed to win.

Source: lapresse

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Tour de France 2025 The first three stages revealed




(Lille) Flat, a few hills, but no cobblestones: the first three stages of the Tour de France 2025 departing from Lille, unveiled Thursday, should give pride of place to sprinters and punchers, and already get to work the contenders for the general classification.

Certainly, on July 5, 2025, the Tour will set off for the fifth time in its history from the Nord department, “a land that breathes cycling” in the words of the race director, Christian Prudhomme, during the presentation of the great departure.

“We could not return to France to places that did not viscerally love cycling sport and the Tour de France,” he stressed.

“Cycling is part of our genes,” smiles Martine Aubry, mayor of Lille, to AFP. “It’s going to be great, there’s going to be an incredible atmosphere.”

But the route of the first stages will skilfully bypass the legendary cobbled sectors of Paris-Roubaix, which always make the favorites fear a fall or a puncture, for a smoother start than in previous years.

The cobblestones of the Hell of the North had however been used by the Great Loop in 2010, 2014, 2018 and during the last passage of the Tour de France in the North, in 2022.

After hilly first stages in 2020, 2021, 2023 and next year in 2024, as well as a prologue in 2022, “this will be the first time in half a dozen years that a sprinter will be able to seize the first yellow jersey,” underlined Christian Prudhomme.

“Dreadful” finale

With three listed hills far from the finish and the last 50 flat kilometers, the first stage, a 185 km loop around Lille, will indeed be “a dream opportunity” for straight line specialists, underlines ASO.

But, whoever raises his arms in Lille, he is likely to lose his leadership position the next day between Lauwin-Planque and Boulogne-sur-Mer (209 km), where two climbs in the last 10 kilometers, at Saint-Etienne-au-Mont (900 m at 11%) then Outreau (800 m at 8.8%), should benefit punchers.

Christian Prudhomme hopes to see “the favorites of the Tour de France shoulder to shoulder from the first weekend”, in an “absolutely formidable” finale.

“We will obviously have champions up front,” he added.

As for the third stage, 172 km long between Valenciennes and Dunkirk, it should once again see the best sprinters on the field pitted against each other, with only one difficulty listed on the program, the Cassel hill (2.3 km to 3.8 %).

That day, with stretches exposed to the wind and an arrival at the seaside, “it is the direction of the wind which will decide the scenario: either the peloton will split into several groups, or we will head towards a massive sprint” , specifies ASO.

“It’s going to be terrible, because in the North, we know how to party, we know how to live, we know how to enjoy the little joys of life,” rejoices in advance Christian Poiret, president of the Northern department, to the ‘AFP.

The fourth stage will start from Amiens, in the Somme, for a destination which has not yet been revealed.

Source: lapresse

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Jonas Vingegaard’s Jumbo-Visma team will be called Visma-Lease a Bike in 2024




(Paris) The Jumbo-Visma team, which dominates world cycling with stars like two-time Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard and Wout Van Aert, will be called Visma-Lease a Bike from 1er January 2024, the Dutch team announced on Friday.

This name change follows the withdrawal of the main sponsor, the Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo, whose new managers have modified the marketing strategy.

Visma has been present as a jersey sponsor for five years now. Lease a Bike, which was already a secondary sponsor this year, is a Belgian company subsidiary of the Pon group which offers companies the rental of fleets of bicycles available to their employees.

The company operates notably in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria. It is looking to expand into other European countries and the United States.

“This strengthened partnership represents another big step forward which provides us with the necessary resources to further develop and progress as a team,” Dutch team manager Richard Plugge said in a statement.

The Jumbo-Visma is coming off an extraordinary 2023 season during which it won the three grand tours (Giro with the Slovenian Primoz Roglic, Tour de France with the Dane Jonas Vingegaard and Vuelta with the American Sepp Kuss).

In Spain, the “Hornets” even signed an unprecedented hat-trick, Kuss ahead of Vingegaard and Roglic.

The team will lose Roglic next season – the Slovenian has signed with the German structure Bora-Hansgrohe – but still counts in its ranks the Belgian champion Wout Van Aert and the French Christophe Laporte as well as the Dutch Marianne Vos among the women .

The doubts that arose about the future of its partnership with Jumbo had fueled reflections this fall on a possible merger of the team with the Belgian formation Soudal Quick-Step, another stronghold of cycling, putting the peloton under tension before this solution is ultimately abandoned.

Source: lapresse

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The Tour de France will start from Lille in 2025




(Paris) The 2025 Tour de France will start from the North and the European metropolis of Lille, Amaury sport organization, organizer of the competition, announced Tuesday in a press release.

The details of the “grand departure” and the stages will be revealed during a press conference on Thursday November 30 at 11:30 a.m. at the Nord prefecture in Lille, ASO said.

After three consecutive editions marked by a start abroad, in Copenhagen in 2022, Bilbao in 2023 and Florence next year, the “grand departure” of the Tour will therefore return to France.

For the fifth time since its creation in 1903, the Grande Boucle will start from the Hauts-de-France region, after the 1960 (Lille), 1969 (Roubaix), 1994 (Lille) and 2001 (Dunkirk) editions.

The Tour de France 2024 (June 29-July 21), the route of which is already known, will begin, in an unprecedented move, in Italy with an arrival in Nice and not in Paris, as usual, due to the Olympic Games.

On the occasion of the 2024 Olympic Games (July 26-August 11), the Lille metropolis will host the handball and basketball competitions at the Pierre Mauroy stadium, in Villeneuve-d’Ascq.

Source: lapresse

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