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Thymen Arensman may well have been Ineos Grenadiers' GC hope in the Vuelta a España, but it was not to be

News Round-up: Thymen Arensman back training as the Vuelta a España turns its attention to Lisbon

The Gran Partida of the 2024 Vuelta will take place in Portugal, whilst Alberto Bettiol has extended his contract with EF Education-EasyPost

Clock19:00, Monday 18th September 2023

Thymen Arensman pictured riding again following Vuelta a España horror crash

A little over two weeks on from a stage 7 crash that ruled him out of the Vuelta a España, Ineos Grenadiers' Thymen Arensman is back on his bike and looking forward with a welcome smile. The news will come as a great relief to those who were shocked by the brutality of his crash and subsequent injuries at the start of the month.

Read more: Thymen Arensman ruled out and Geraint Thomas loses time after crash on stage 7

The crash happened within the closing kilometres of stage 7 and saw Arensman hit the deck from within the peloton. Initial television footage showed the tall Dutchman lying strewn on the ground, showing little signs of movement and having clearly landed awkwardly on his front.

Initial fears rang true when, after the stage, Ineos Grenadiers revealed that Arensman had been admitted to hospital and had stitches applied to the wounds he had suffered. The following morning, thankfully, Arensman appeared in a video in which his spirits were on the up, but his neck was in a brace and he was sporting serious facial injuries.

"I'm just not that handsome anymore," joked a self-deprecating Arensman.

View post on Twitter

But just 16 days on, his Ineos Grenadiers teammate Cameron Wurf shared a picture on his Instagram story on Sunday afternoon, showing Arensman in full team training kit and back riding outdoors. The 23-year-old was sporting a full set of front teeth and a beaming smile, to boot.

A quick look at Arensman's Strava profile reveals that the Dutchman actually ventured out around Beesd, the Netherlands, on a short ride last Tuesday, following some time spent solely on the indoor trainer. He left home for Andorra on Saturday and enjoyed two longer rides at the weekend, clocking up 138km on a four-and-a-half-hour ride on Sunday.

Having seemingly overcome the concussion he suffered in the crash, there is no further word on what Arensman's race programme may consist of between now and the end of the season - should he race at all - but his return to training is a positive sight to see indeed.

Lisbon confirmed to host the 2024 Vuelta a España Gran Partida

As reported by GCN last week, the 2024 Vuelta a España will begin outside of Spain for only the fifth time in its long history (dating back to 1935). The Portuguese capital city, Lisbon, has been awarded the honour of hosting next year's Gran Partida, marking the race's return to the city of seven hills.

Read more: Lisbon to host Vuelta a España start for first time since 1997

São Roque, São Jorge, São Vicente, Santo André, Santa Catarina, Chagas and Sant'Ana are the hills that gives Lisbon its notoriously undulating landscape, but all that is currently known about the opening stage of next year's Vuelta is that it will begin in Lisbon and finish in Oeiras.

The second stage will leave the beautiful seaside town of Cascais and venture north to the city of Ourém, before the third and final stage in Portugal will be raced between Lousã and Castello Branco.

Next year's Gran Partida will mirror the first ever Vuelta a España to begin on foreign soil, with Lisbon hosting the first three stages in 1997, before the Vuelta also began abroad in Assen (2009), Nîmes (2017), and Utrecht last year.

2024 will mark the 79th edition of the year's final Grand Tour, beginning on 17 August and ending in Madrid on 8 September. Will Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) be back to defend his surprising title? Only time will tell.

Alexey Vermeulen and Ruth Edwards win the LifeTime Grand Prix stop in Wisconsin

By Logan Jones-Wilkins

The Life Time Grand Prix continued in Wisconsin over the weekend with the historic Chequamegon Mountain Bike Festival. The elite race, which brought the 30 top men and women off-road riders in North America to the site of America’s largest cross-country ski festival, was a 40-mile trek over punchy double track, providing exciting racing.

View post on Instagram

In the women’s event, former WorldTour winner Ruth Edwards (who was called Ruth Winder before her recent marriage) won in a sprint against Alexis Skarda who has been knocking at the door of the Lifetime Grand Prix all year. Sofia Gomez Villafañe was in third, finishing right behind the first two, and clinched the overall title in the LifeTime Grand Prix.

In the men’s event, Alexey Vermeulen took the win ahead of the season's dominant rider, Keegan Swenson, in a sprint amongst 17 riders at the end of the race. In the sprint, a moto was caught in the mix, stirring a bit of fuss on social media, but largely the racers seemed to chalk it up to the quirks of off-road racing. Cole Patton, last year’s Mid South winner, was third.

View post on Instagram

While this was Swenson’s first loss in a major race this season, he clinched the overall title in the LifeTime Grand Prix with still two races remaining. Both he and Villafañe will now primarily focus on the UCI Gravel World Championships in three weeks' time.

In the United States, the next big race will be the sixth stop in the grand prix at the Rad Dirt Fest in Trinidad, a small town in southern Colorado, before the year wraps up with BWR Kansas and the LifeTime Grand Prix final at Big Sugar in Arkansas.

Read More: Alexis Skarda's Santa Cruz Stigmata

University of East Anglia provides free bikes to students in the face of accommodation upheaval

By James Howell-Jones

Following the discovery of unsafe concrete, the University of East Anglia has moved 170 students off campus, with each receiving a free bike voucher. Reinforced Autoclave Aerated Concrete (RAAC) has been causing havoc all through the United Kingdom. In recent weeks, as school holidays came to an end, 147 schools around the country were deemed unsafe due to new Government guidance that declared the material unsafe.

On September 8, just weeks before students at the University of East Anglia (UEA) arrived for the new university year, the university announced that vast swathes of its accommodation would close in line with the new rules on RAAC. 750 students have been affected, and in the past few days, the university has scrambled to find new accommodation for each of them. Most of the students affected will remain on campus, but 170 have been placed in private accommodation in the nearby city of Norwich.

To cover the 4.2km between the new accommodation and the university, UEA is offering relocated students a free bus pass or a voucher to buy a bicycle. The details of the vouchers are, at present, unclear. GCN has reached out to the university for more information.

Read more: Free bikes for students moved off university campus due to unsafe accommodation

Hugh Carthy looks forward to 2024 with EF Education-EasyPost

By Dan Benson

There had been rumours circling the peloton that Hugh Carthy would be on the market over the off-season, but GCN can reveal that this is not the case and the Lancastrian has another year to look forward to with American squad, EF Education-EasyPost.

In the face of Carthy's somewhat disappointing and hampered Vuelta a España, the climber has spoken to GCN about his focus to look ahead to 2024, rather than rue what might have been in a season without a victory.

“It’s not really gone that well. It was going okay and I was holding my own but then I had some bad luck with health and stuff. It wasn’t the best outcome with a bit of a cold and an infection. It was unfortunate but there was nothing that I could do,” a resilient but realistic Carthy told GCN at the race.

“I’ve had years when things have gone really well and I’ve had years when I’ve had a strong second half but not a great first half. You can’t be superhuman all the time and you can be vulnerable to illness. It’s not been a bad season but there are some things that I’m not happy with and disappointed with but I can’t change that now. I can use it as a source to improve for next year. I can’t be specific because that’s between me, the team, family and friends.”

Read the full interview: ‘I can use Vuelta a España disappointment to improve for next year,’ EF Education-EasyPost climber says

Nearly 100 cyclists are riding through India for the Samajwadi Party

By James Howell-Jones

On August 10, supporters of the Samajwadi Party (SP) departed from the party headquarters in Prayagraj, in Uttar Pradesh in the north of India, to begin a party rally that is expected to last for 100 days and cover as many as 25,000km. Now, 39 days on and with over 2,600km covered, organisers claim it is the longest-running bicycle rally in history.

The rally, called the 'Desh Bachao Desh Banao Samajwadi Cycle Yatra', consists of nearly 100 cyclists. Most of the participants are youth leaders and workers for the party, but local office-bearers and legislators are said to be joining from time to time. The riders are covering around 70km a day as they progress from village to village.

The riders are accompanied by a support vehicle containing some tools, a bicycle mechanic, water, and an amplification system for blasting music and party messages. As they ride through Uttar Pradesh state, they are hosting public debates, distributing pamphlets, and bringing a party atmosphere.

With 61 days and over 22,000km still ahead, it's early days for the SP rally. Time will tell whether the party's unique approach to campaigning will have the desired effect, but regardless of the political outcomes, there can be little doubt that the Samajwadi Party delegates will be among the fittest politicians in India.

Read more: 39 days and counting: In India, the longest bike rally in history rolls on

Today's other headlines

From an octopus’ garden in the shade, it is time to bid adieu. Until the next time.

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