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National Championships

29 riders participate in 11 different countries

This week, 29 riders of the team will participate in the races for the national titles and this in eleven different countries. The time trial events are held from Tuesday to Friday, with the road races taking place from Friday to Sunday.

This Wednesday, Jan Bakelants and Aimé De Gendt will participate in the time trial in Gavere, where they’ll have to accomplish 34.8 kilometer divided in three laps. Three days later, the World Team will be represented by eleven Belgian riders for the road race in Middelkerke. A bunch sprint is the expected scenario at the end of the six local laps of 13 kilometer at sea level, even though the riders first have to cross the open fields in the Moeren twice.

« My third place in the sprint in the final stage of the Belgium Tour gave me an important confidence boost ahead of the Belgian championships. The parcours is tailored for sprinters and I think most of the teams are preparing for this scenario. If the race ends in a bunch sprint, I can rely on ten strong and motivated teammates to help me. I don't fear a strong wind, because I was confronted with this in the Scheldeprijs and I managed to join the first group when the bunch was split in the crosswinds. To conquer the title we can also rely on the strategy of our sports directors. Just like we showed in the Ardennes stage in the Belgium Tour, our plan can lead us to the victory if we manage to execute it to perfection. Four years ago I became Belgian U23 champion in Stabroek with a lot of pressure on my shoulders. This is an experience I can use next Sunday. »

23/06 Time Trial: Jan Bakelants, Aimé De Gendt
26/06 Road Race: Jan Bakelants, Aimé De Gendt, Tom Devriendt, Dimitri Claeys, Kobe Goossens, Quinten Hermans, Laurens Huys, Baptiste Planckaert, Gerben Thijssen Kévin Van Melsen en Loïc Vliegen

The Italian quartet of the World Team will race in the Puglia region. The road race of 236 kilometer contains almost 3000 meter of climbing. Before starting the four local laps of 14.5 kilometer, the riders have to accomplish 147 kilometer between Ginosa and Alberobello where they will among others climb La Mottola (2 km at 10%), the most challenging climb of the day.

« The cohesion in the Italian branch of the team is strong because Andrea, Simone, Lorenzo and I often had the opportunity to race together this season. In ten participations, I finished nine times among the fifteen best riders and won a bronze medal. This shows how motivated I am to prepare this race well. This year, I'll probably devote my efforts to the chances of Andrea Pasqualon and Lorenzo Rota, because the parcours suits them really well. In the youth categories I often raced in this region and I dare to predict that the strongest riders will automatically appear at the front in the final. But first, I expect the well represented Italian Pro Teams to control the race. An important characteristic of the course is that the roads are exposed the the warm rays of sunshine in southern Italy. In this regard, the exceptionally hot edition of the Tour de Suisse prepared us very well for this important race! »

26/06 Road Race: Andrea Pasqualon, Simone Petilli, Domenico Pozzovivo, Lorenzo Rota

The French road championships take place on a local lap around Cholet. Twelve laps of 20 kilometer on a hilly terrain total to 2500 meter of climbing. Among the three riders of the team at the start, neo pros Théo Delacroix (23) and Hugo Page (20) already experienced wearing the tricolor jersey in the U23 and junior categories respectively. They will be joined by experienced rider Adrien Petit, who won the bronze medal in a bunch sprint in 2012.

« Next Sunday, I'll be at the start of the French Elite championships for the third time. I know how it feels to wear the tricolor jersey as I was the French junior time trial champion, but I think it would be even more magical to win the title in the pro ranks. I'll line up with a lot of confidence, especially after my performances at the Critérium du Dauphiné. This spring I discovered the roads around Cholet in a French Cup race. The parcours is not extremely difficult, but I hope that the length of the race will tire the pure sprinters out. In my opinion, the three of us can benefit from the large French teams and discretely hide behind the favorites.After the course recon later this week, we'll reflect with the team direction about the best strategy to conquer the title with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux ! »

26/06 Road Race: Théo Delacroix, Hugo Page, Adrien Petit

Sven Erik Bystrøm and Alexander Kristoff will compete for the seventh time as a duo in Levanger, in the centre of the country. Both know the privilege of becoming the Norwegian champion and the first named won in 2020 and Kristoff wore the jersey after wins in 2007 and 2011. After 39 kilometer, they’ll have to cover seven hilly laps around Skogn. The slightly uphill finish is preceded by a downhill part of around 7 kilometer.

« Once we returned home from our respective races on Monday, Alexander and I went out for a ride together. We talked about our long trip with two flights to get in Levanger and I explained how good it felt to be reunited with the team after several months without competition. I was happy to be able to contribute to the collective goals and the victory in the queen stage of the Belgium Tour. On Sunday I'll finally race alongside Alexander again on a parcours of medium difficulty, which suits us both. Participating to the Norwegian championships always makes me proud, especially when I reflect on the edition of 2020. A photo finish showed that I defeated my two breakaway companions in a sprint. Sometimes the strongest wins, sometimes it is a tactical game. When all pieces of the puzzle fall into place just like two years ago, the reward is very big! »

26/06 Road Race: Sven Erik Bystrøm, Alexander Kristoff

Last year, Rein Taaramäe made history for the team by becoming the first national champion. The five times national time trial champion will defend his title on Wednesday on a parcours of 35 kilometer, divided in two laps in Kuremaa. Four days later he will line up in Kuldige (Latvia) for the road race together with the other Baltic countries. On the relatively flat course of 162 kilometer, he will be accompanied by his future teammate Madis Mihkels (19), who will also compete for the U23 title in the time trial.

« My wife Hanna and I dream about becoming Estonian time trial champions on the same day! This is why we spent a lot of time on the time trial bikes together after the Giro. We participated in local time trials and we did the cours recon 50 kilometer from our home. I tried to recover well from the Giro and to maintain my good condition at the same time. It won't be easy to extend my title, because my eternal Estonian rival Tanel Kangert will be at the start and a group of young talents is progressing each year. Madis Mihkels is one of them, these championships are a nice opportunity for him to show what he's got. The time trial and the road race are both ridden on flat courses. In the time trial I'm more efficient on flat roads, despite my climbing capabilities. I also won national titles in flat road races. Several titels will be awarded at the end of this race and there will be riders of different levels, which sometimes makes it possible to benefit from chaotic situations. »

22/06 Time trial: Madis Mihkels, Rein Taaramäe
26/06 Road Race: Madis Mihkels, Rein Taaramäe

Last season, both riders of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux managed to finish on the podium of the road race in Germany. It was the third top five in a row for Georg Zimmermann, who will race on a parcours of 185.5 kilometer in Sauerland this Sunday, with over 3200 meter of climbing. The course leads to ski resort Winterberg, with a finish at 840 meter of altitude.

« It is special that the road race is ridden from A to B this year, instead of on local laps. With more than 3000 meter of climbing it looks like a difficult race on paper, but I do expect that there will be room for tactical games as it is often the case in national championships. I think that the race will be attractive from the beginning and I'm rather convinced that I'll be able to rival with the well represented teams. I covered many climbs in the Tour de Suisse, so I couldn't think of a better preparation. I'll travel to Neheim with a clear ambition, I want to conquer the title! »

26/06 Road Race: Georg Zimmermann

The World Team will be represented at the Danish championships for the first time. Young rider Julius Johansen (22) managed to take the double in the U23 category in 2020 and this week he will participate in both disciplines in the pro ranks. On Thursday, the time trial takes place on a flat course of 39.6 kilometer around Aalborg. On Sunday, the road race of 211 kilometer is concluded with seven laps containing a steep hill of 800 meter in the same city.

23/06 Time trial: Julius Johansen
26/06 Road Race: Julius Johansen

This Friday, Biniam Girmay will return to competition for the first time since his historical victory in the tenth stage of the Giro d’Italia. He will first participate in the time trial on Friday, followed two days later by the road race in his native city Asmara.

« After my stage victory in the Giro I took some time off and spent time with friends and family. It was a brutal end to my Giro, but the way my teammates bounced back made me really happy. I will cherish fantastic memories from my first Grand Tour. I will not soon forget what Domenico Pozzovivo did for me in the final hectometers in Jesi. Thanks to the medical follow-up my eye is healed and I could resume training. I'm looking forward to the national championships, especially because it is always a pleasure to race in Asmara. Winning will be far from easy, because the level is high and several teams will use their numerical superiority. Wearing the Eritrean flag on my shoulders for one year would make me extremely proud, that's why I'll try my utmost. »

24/06 Time trial: Biniam Girmay
26/06 Road Race : Biniam Girmay

The Czech road race takes place in Mladá Vožice this year, in the Tábor region. Jan Hirt and his compatriots will share the peloton with the Slovakian riders and will battle for the national title in a race of almost 200 kilometer, on a circuit of 20 kilometer with a 5 kilometer climb.

« I'm curious to discover the circuit on Saturday. On paper it looks like we'll be able to use the big chainring on the climb, but maybe it will be steeper in reality. That would be ideal for me, because higher percentages would make it possible to skim the numbers of some teams, especially Elkov-Kasper which is one of the best Continental teams. Usually they attack from the start, it is important to follow their breakaway attempts. After the Giro and the Dauphiné this national championship is my last race before a training period. The perfect opportunity to do my utmost! »

26/06 Road Race: Jan Hirt 


Wednesday 22 June
– Estonia – Rein Taaramäe & Madis Mihkels
– Hungary – Barnabás Peák

Thursday 23 June
– Belgium – Aimé De Gendt (15h21) & Jan Bakelants (13h57)
– Denmark – Julius Johansen

Friday 24 June
– Eritrea – Biniam Girmay


Friday 24 June
– Hungary – Barnabás Peák
– The Netherlands – Taco van der Hoorn, Corné van Kessel & Boy van Poppel

Sunday 26 June
– Belgium – Jan Bakelants, Aimé De Gendt, Tom Devriendt, Dimitri Claeys, Kobe Goossens, Quinten Hermans, Laurens Huys, Baptiste Planckaert, Gerben Thijssen Kévin Van Melsen and Loïc Vliegen
– Denmark – Julius Johansen
– Germany – Georg Zimmermann
– Eritrea – Biniam Girmay
– Estonia – Rein Taaramäe & Madis Mihkels
– France – Théo Delacroix, Hugo Page & Adrien Petit
– Italy – Andrea Pasqualon, Simone Petilli, Domenico Pozzovivo & Lorenzo Rota
– Norway – Sven Erik Bystrom & Alexander Kristoff
– Czech Republic – Jan Hirt


General Classification


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