In Flanders, cycling is sacred. For every road, there is a bike route running right alongside it. So, what better tribute to this region's culture of cycling than the Tour of Flanders?
Let’s start with the names.
Matteo Sobrero, Aleksandr Vlasov, Ion Izagirre, Omar Fraile and Evgeniy Fedorov.
The first three have claimed the national time trial titles for Italy, Russia and Spain, respectively, while Omar Fraile and Evgeniy Fedorov have become 2021 national road race champions of Spain and Kazakhstan.
Yes, it was an amazing weekend for Astana – Premier Tech, even more so if we consider how unexpected these results were.
In Russia’s time trial, Alexander Vlasov was able to defeat the great four-time defending champion, Artem Ovechkin, while Italy surprised even more with another upset.
Matteo Sobrero left the big favourite –Filippo Ganna– 52 seconds behind, earning the right to wear the tricolour jersey for this speciality.
Actually, at Astana, it was no big surprise.
From the very start of the season, Dmitryi Fofonov already had very high hopes for Matteo in the time trials: the results of the last trial of the 2021 Giro d’Italia made it obvious what the aspirations were for his performance against the clock. However, even living up to expectations is satisfying because measuring up to predictions is a strenuous job.
Ion Izagirre and Omar Fraile overcame the difficult task of proving that what was being suggested in Spain was true, while Aleksandr Vlasov took the title by maintaining the form he had displayed during the Giro d’Italia.
Instead, Evgeniy Fedorov prompted the same fresh enthusiasm as Matteo Sobrero’s performance.
Evgeniy is a newcomer and becoming the Kazakh road cycling champion at the age of 21 opens to hopes for the future that only a very young age can ignite.
So, the third weekend of June was a truly exciting one for Astana – Premier Tech, and the same thrill was felt at Wilier Triestina.
It’s not every day that you see the Wilier Turbine deliver three riders to winning the Italian, Russian and Spanish national time trial titles and, the very next day, celebrate the road race titles in Spain and Kazakhstan with the Wilier 0 SLR.
These are moments that will be hard to forget, even if the preparations are already intensifying in view of the new, prestigious horizon: the upcoming edition of the Tour de France.