35th cyclo-cross win in a row for Mathieu Van der Poel on the sand of Zilvermeer in Mol on Sunday. Reports and video from Mol and Kortrijk. Philippe Gilbert still has contract problems from 2011 – Top Story. An unbelievable amount of other cycling news in Monday’s EUROTRASH: Van der Poel races for December, Wout van Aert cross kit and plans, Giro/Tour for Bernal? Merida no longer co-sponsor, no Olympic TT for Martin, Mollema for Tour, Rebellin in 2020, new bikes for Israel, Astana and Cofidis, Angliru in 2020, Hammer changes, Chetout retires, Thijssen operation, De Jongh talks Dumoulin and Brailsford and Julian Alaphilippe wins Velo d’Or. Big coffee time!
TOP STORY: Gilbert still facing damages after eight years
Eight years after the painful break between Philippe Gilbert and Omega Pharma-Lotto, the Deceuninck – Quick-Step (soon to be Lotto Soudal) rider is still facing damages of €300,000.
Gilbert broke his contract with the team at the end of 2011 to go to BMC, and according to team owner Marc Coucke, it was a breach of contract and compensation was demanded from Gilbert. In response, Gilbert successfully claimed the overdue bonus payments from his successful year through the UCI. Coucke and the umbrella company Belgian Cycling Company subsequently appealed to the TAS in Lausanne.
That wasn’t the end of it yet as Coucke was successful in Belgium. In November 2016, the Labour Court in Gent ruled that Gilbert had to pay compensation of €300,000 to Coucke. Gilbert appealed again, but a statement on this has not been given to date.
Lawyer Walter Van Steenbrugge, who also represents Wout van Aert in the case with Nick Nuyens, is the representative of Coucke and the Belgian Cycling Company. He explains to Het Laatste Nieuws why there is still no clarity in this case: “The claimant is no longer called BCC, but now Perrigo. The transfer of legal obligations ensured that the appeal was delayed. It is now pending at the Labour Court in Gent, but when it will be dealt with exactly is not clear for the time being.”
Gilbert tries to keep as far away as possible from the case. “I let the court do its work and fully concentrate on my job as a racer.”
Philippe Gilbert back to Lotto in 2020:
Zilvermeercross – Mol 2019
Mathieu van der Poel has won the Zilvermeercross after a wild final lap. The world champion was ahead of his Corendon-Circus teammates Tom Meeusen and brother David van der Poel.
Mathieu Van der Poel was as usual the big star in Mol today, but there were not that many big names on the start line. No Eli Iserbyt, Toon Aerts, Michael Vanthourenhout, Laurens Sweeck, Tim Merlier or last year’s winner Corne van Kessel, but it did mean the lesser riders had a chance today.
Former junior World champion Thijs Aerts launched an excellent opening attack, where he ran through the sand sections on the flanks of Lake Zilvermeer to force the first split. Teammate Jim Aernouts, Wietse Bosmans, Tom Meeusen and the brothers David and Mathieu Van der Poel stuck with him to form the first leading group.
Everyone tried to get away, but it was David van der Poel’s explosive acceleration, just after halfway, that worked. Mathieu saw him go and sprinted across to his older brother. In the following laps, Mathieu rode like a derny for David and waited for him after every obstacle.
David turned out not to have his best legs, which he admitted afterwards. As a result, Mathieu had to hold himself back a bit and with less than two laps to go the chasers started to get close. Mathieu was forced to put the pressure on, but at that point he went over the handlebars in the sand. Aerts, Meeusen and David caught him and the four were together as they entered the final lap.
On the sand sections all went well for Mathieu, who took the lead. As soon as the World champion pressed hard on the pedals, he had a gap that the others couldn’t bridge. Meeusen came closest to finish second, as David completed the Corendon-Circus party.
Race winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus): “It really was a super beautiful cross. I’ve enjoyed it. Riding in the sand is something that I love to do. I was focusing on the sand sections, and I tried to take David as long as possible. I thought it would be great fun to ride to the finish line with two. The chasing group was quite strong, so that plan did not work out. This was the best possible scenario (top three places) for us. I am very happy that it was successful. I would have let him win (brother David), but I think he would not have allowed that. We should probably have just sprinted for it.”
Zilvermeercross – Mol Result:
1. Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus in 56:07
2. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Corendon-Circus at 0:05
3. David Van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus at 0:14
4. Thijs Aerts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions at 0:20
5. Wietse Bosmans (Bel) at 0:35
6. Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions at 0:41
7. Yannick Peeters (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:10
8. Nicolas Cleppe (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions at 1:13
9. Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) Cyclo-Cross Team Teika-Gsport-BH at 1:34
10. Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 2:07.
DVV Verzekeringen Trofee – Urban Cross Kortrijk 2019
Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) won the first edition of the Urban Cross in Kortrijk on Saturday. The World champion rode on the wheels for 40 minutes, but eventually won quite easily. Tim Merlier (Creafin-Fristads) and Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions) finished second and third.
Mathieu van der Poel was first into the lead, which was a contrast with the dramatic start that the young World champion had in Koksijde last week. But Van der Poel apparently wasn’t in a hurry today. Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) lives just four kilometres from the course, and so he wanted to show himself to his home crowd, but he couldn’t force a gap.
In the following laps, around fifteen riders formed a lead group. Corne van Kessel, Michael Vanthourenhout, Laurens Sweeck and Tim Merlier tried to split the group, but did not succeed. Van der Poel was happy to sit in fifth or sixth place. Van der Poel had a mechanical problem just before half way which pushed him back to last position of the leading group, but he worked his way forward again. After 40 minutes the World champion put in his first attack of the day.
Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) tried to close the gap, but it appeared that his teammate, Iserbyt, chased him down which caused an argument between the two. It soon became clear that Van der Poel would be in a class of his own again. Van der Poel took a half a minute lead and had time for a celebration.
Race winner, Mathieu Van der Poel (Corendon-Circus): “In this new cross I had to get a result. It took a while for me to get the good feeling. I got caught up behind by some mistakes, but always had the legs to drive forward. On the fast laps you could feel it when you were too far in the back. So it was important to take the lead again. I certainly did not ride with the handbrake (on). It was a successful first edition in Kortrijk. It was the busiest cross of the season.”
5th and DVV Trofee leader, Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “I saw Mathieu van der Poel riding away, so I tried to ride after him. Maybe I closed a gap on him, but his gap wasn’t big enough in such a fast race. It was also up to me to defend my place, I did well. I do not know if that will linger, but the fact is that I am first in the DVV Trophy and also in the World Cup. Having a team with three leaders is very nice, but it is up to the team management to make a choice as to who the leader is. I think that’s me in the DVV Trofee and the World Cup.”
6th, Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “I did get frustrated for a moment when Iserbyt closed a gap on me, hence my, albeit too strong, reaction. But this has meanwhile been finished and we are leaving it anyway.”
DVV Verzekeringen Trofee – Urban Cross Kortrijk Result:
1. Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus in 1:04:14
2. Tim Merlier (Bel) Creafin-Fristads at 0:27
3. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions
4. Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions at 0:28
5. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:30
6. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:31
7. Lars Van der Haar (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions at 0:32
8. David Van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus at 0:48
9. Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions at 0:49
10. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Corendon-Circus.
Van der Poel Cross Program for December
Corendon-Circus World cross champion, Mathieu van der Poel has released his cyclo-cross program for the month of December. The Dutchman will miss the Ethias Cross in Essen and the Superprestige cross in Zonhoven next weekend to go on a longer training camp with the Corendon-Circus team in Spain. From the 14th he will ride seven races up to the end of the year.
“The crosses in Zonhoven and Essen will not go ahead with me,” says Van der Poel. “So I will stay in Spain all week. We could not sort out the start money with Essen, so I will not come home for the Superprestige Zonhoven either. Zonhoven is hard to miss, but we have decided with the team to stay longer. It is also important to do a whole training camp with the road team.”
“Then I can take it all over Christmas without having to train too much,” he told WielerFlits. “I want to ride all the crosses during the Christmas period.” Van der Poel will be in Mol, Ronse, Overijse, Sint Niklaas, Namur, Zolder, Loenhout and Diegem.
Mathieu van der Poel December 2019 Cross Program:
Sunday, December 1: Zilvermeercross Mol
Saturday, December 14: DVV Trophy Hotondcross Ronse
Sunday December 15: Grape cross Overijse
Saturday, December 21: Rectavit Waaslandcross Sint-Niklaas
Sunday, December 22: Namur World Cup
Thursday, December 26: Heusden-Zolder World Cup
Friday, December 27: DVV Trophy Azencross Loenhout
Sunday, December 29: Superprestige Diegem.
Eight more wins for Mathieu in December?
Van Aert Presents New Kit Before Comeback in Loenhout
Wout van Aert presented his new cyclo-cross clothing in the run-up to the CAPS Urban Cross in Kortrijk. The West-Flemish cross is still too early for the triple World champion, but he is there to catch-up the media about his physical condition and his comeback in the coming months.
Van Aert announced on Saturday that he will probably make his comeback in the Azencross van Loenhout (December 27th), part of the DVV Trofee series. The only reservation is that he gets the green light from the medical staff. It will be a short cross-season for the rider from Herentals, as he is concentrating on the spring Classics.
“Normally Loenhout is not one of the toughest crosses”, he explains. “I cycle there quite a lot, it is close to home and I look forward to it every year. The timing to resume during the Christmas period had been in my mind for a while.” The cross follows a week after a training camp (11-19 December) in Spain with Jumbo-Visma. He is going there on December 5th to train for a week alone.
Van Aert announced during the press announcement in Kortrijk that he has already increased his training. He was recently seen at work on the beach at Sint-Anneke near Antwerp and during an recce of Paris-Roubaix, where he mainly tested equipment with his Jumbo-Visma team. “We have taken many steps there and that makes me happy.”
Can he also look further than Loenhout? “I think about that, but it is wise to wait and see what happens next month. I want to emphasise that I really have to be physically ready and that the people who follow my recovery also think that moment is appropriate to really make a comeback. We currently rate it positively, but I have to wait for their go ahead.”
On Friday Van Aert rode 125 kilometres on the bike, the furthest since his crash in the Tour de France. “Actually without major problems. At the moment cycling is going pretty well. I still have little pain reaction. But racing is more than just cycling: it is pulling and pushing on the pedals. And if there is a running section, I have to be able to handle that. On and off the bike requires a lot more from the hip, that is the point of pain. So we are working on that now. I can make all the movements, but if I were to ride a cross, I would still have a few days of trouble. The intention is that if I make my return, I make progress and it is not a step backwards.”
Van Aert and his 2019/20 cross jersey:
2020 Giro/Tour combination for Egan Bernal?
Egan Bernal made history as the first Colombian to win the Tour de France, but the Team Ineos rider actually hopes to be at the start of the Giro d’Italia next year. “I would like to do both Grand Tours, although it is a very difficult combination,” Bernal in told Spanish sports paper AS.
More than a month ago, Bernal spoke about his love for the Italian tour, but the 22-year-old climber is seriously considering a Giro-Tour combination. “I would like to contest both tours, since I am very enthusiastic about the Giro. It is a fantastic race, I have lived in Italy for two years and have already raced the Tour once.”
“In other words, I can try,” Bernal refers to a possible Giro participation. “It is difficult to combine both tours, but I am convinced that we can perform well. Although it is almost impossible to win both stage races. However, I am willing to go to the Giro, Tour or Vuelta. They are all big competitions,” said the Colombian.
Team Ineos has been the leader of the Tour de France for years, but the British million pound team sees Jumbo-Visma getting stronger. The Dutch team won the Vuelta a España this season. “And they will become even stronger with the attraction of Tom Dumoulin,” said Bernal. “That is a disadvantage for us, but it is only good for the spectators.”
Egan Bernal: Tour in 2019 – Giro next?:
Merida No Longer Title Sponsor at Bahrain Merida
The Taiwanese bicycle manufacturer Merida has been a partner of WorldTour team Bahrain-Merida since 2017, but the company will no longer be the team’s co-sponsor from 2020 onwards. Merida will remain a supplier of the team bikes.
Merida decided to join cycling six years ago as a co-sponsor of the Italian Lampre team, which became Bahrain-Merida in 2017. The team has been able to celebrate several successes in recent years. Leader and figurehead Vincenzo Nibali won the Tour of Lombardy and Milan-San-Remo on a Merida bicycle, but he also took the podium twice in the Giro d’Italia and once in the Vuelta a España. Since its foundation, the team has managed to record 53 victories. “We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved,” said Andreas Rottler on behalf of Merida.
“It is an enormous honour and at the same time an enormous responsibility to continue working with such a successful team.” Merida will no longer be on the clothing as a co-sponsor, but will remain involved as the bike supplier and technical partner with the WorldTour team. “A new and exciting chapter will start in 2020,” director Jürgen Falke. “We look forward to working with McLaren. Together we will stretch the limits of what is possible and set a new standard in the design and development of bicycles”.
Nibali on a Merida:
Tony Martin Ends his Olympic Time Trial Dream
Tony Martin will not participate in the time trial at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year. The German time trial specialist took that decision in consultation with his manager Jörg Werner, Martin told MDR.
“The plan is to forget the Olympic Games, so that I can prepare one hundred percent for the World Championship time trial. That course suits me better,” said Martin. The chrono of the 2020 World Championships is held between Aigle and Martigny in Switzerland. The route is relatively flat, the time trial in Tokyo is hilly. “My manager was in Tokyo and he looked at the course. He describes it as extremely heavy,” said the four-time World champion against the clock. Martin gives priority to the younger generation of German riders. “I find it difficult because the Olympics are always special of course.”
Tony Martin – 2011/12/13/16 World TT champ:
Bauke Mollema to Go for Tour GC
Bauke Mollema will be one of the leaders at Trek-Segafredo in the Tour de France this summer. The man from Groningen shares the leadership with Richie Porte. He will also ride the Vuelta a España, but for stage victories.
Mollema explained his plans for the upcoming Grand Tours in an interview with the AD. “I ride the Tour for the classification, Nibali goes to the Giro. We will probably do the Vuelta together. Not for the classification, but for the stage victories. Richie also goes to the Tour for the classification. Furthermore, I focus even more on the one-day races, because they went so well last year. The big dream is to be a championship winner.”
Last season Mollema won the Tour of Lombardy, his first Monument victory. With that, the Netherlands also has a successor to Hennie Kuiper after 38 years. In the Giro d’Italia, he finished 5th this year, his second-best ranking in a Grand Tour. After his ninth participation in the Tour de France, where he finished 28th overall, he was part of the team that won the European and World championships Mixed Relay.
Davide Rebellin to Race in a Cambodian Team in 2020?
Davide Rebellin may be 48 years old, but the Italian hopes to be part of the peloton in 2020. According to DirectVelo, then the former winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Amstel Gold Race is in talks with a Cambodian UCI Continental team.
Rebellin is said to have had discussions with the UCI Continental Cambodia Cycling Academy. The newly formed team will settle in the south of France and compete in an international program. According to DirectVelo, the team will consist of nine Europeans and seven riders from Cambodia and surround area. One of those riders is expected to be Rebellin, although the Italian is still talking about a contract.
The team presentation is planned for mid-December. The formation was founded by Patrick Aurignac, who previously worked with Rebellin on the modest Sovac team. Rebellin raced for the Algerian team this season, but moved to the Continental Meridiana Kamen team during the year. The cyclist has recently been linked to the ambitious Hungarian cycling project Epowers Factory. However, the riders and staff who had already signed a contract with the Hungarian team were informed about the end of the team a week ago. The team management didn’t complete the financial plan in time. As a result, Rebellin must look for a new employer for 2020.
Davide Rebellin with Kuwait in 2018:
Israel Cycling Academy to Ride Factor – Astana and Cofidis Go Italian
Israel Cycling Academy will ride Factor Bikes for the next three years and says goodbye to De Rosa. Astana and Cofidis will also switch bike manufacturers.
Factor owner, Rob Gitelis, and the team confirm that the bike brand has signed a three-year contract with the Israel Cycling Academy team. For the coming season they will be on Factor One and Factor 02 VAM bikes, both with disc brakes.
Factor Bikes are familiar with the WorldTour as they sponsored AG2R-La Mondiale in 2017 and 2018. Last season they were with of Roompot-Charles and Parkhotel Valkenburg.
Astana will switch to Wilier Triestina bikes after the break with Argon18, reports Het Nieuwsblad. That Italian brand also sponsors Total Direct Energie, the team of Niki Terpstra.
French company Cofidis is said to say goodbye to the Italian brand Kuota, to start riding De Rosa bicycles from 2020 onwards. That Italian brand was left empty-handed because the collaboration with Israel Cycling Academy stopped, but now seems to be entering the WorldTour via Cofidis.
On Factor next year:
Vuelta to Return to the Angliru?
The Vuelta a España may return to the Alto de El Angliru next year. Two years ago, the tough climb in Asturias was included in the Vuelta course and Alberto Contador took his last win there.
The route of the Vuelta a España 2020 will be officially presented in Madrid next Month, but there are many rumours. The Spanish sports newspaper Marca reports that two stages will be held in La Rioja region, one will go from Logroño to the Moncalvillo, and the Angliru will return to the route.
The Asturian climb could be decisive. Two years ago, Alberto Contador put the crown on his farewell Vuelta by taking the victory after a great solo effort. Chris Froome crossed the line in third place to secure his overall victory.
The Vuelta a España 2020 starts on Friday, August 14 in Utrecht and ends three weeks later in Madrid.
Calendar Changes Mean Hammer Limburg Focuses on Hammer Youth in 2020 and Reintroduces the Full Event in 2021
A series of calendar changes in 2020 caused by the staging of the Tokyo Olympics has resulted in the decision not to hold a professional race as part of the Hammer Limburg event in The Netherlands next year. However, the Hammer Series intends to stage an expanded Hammer Youth event offering the best young riders in the Netherlands and Europe a chance to race the innovative and exciting Hammer format. The full Hammer Limburg event featuring both men’s and women’s races will return in June 2021.
The changes brought about by the Olympics mean that two major WorldTour races, the Giro d’Italia and the Criterium du Dauphiné, will take place on the dates in June that Hammer Limburg has occupied for the past three years.
Several options were evaluated to find a new date feasible for all parties, but unfortunately, it was not possible to secure suitable alternatives in 2020.
However, there will still be plenty of Hammer action in Limburg next year, as an expanded Hammer Youth event is being planned to highlight the future stars of road cycling, boys and girls across all age categories, and giving them the opportunity to learn the skills of racing the Hammer format over a multi-day event, planned to take place on the original Hammer Limburg dates of June 6-7.
For the last three years, the Hammer Youth race has grown into the biggest (oversubscribed) youth race in the Netherlands with age category national champions from neighbouring countries travelling to Limburg to fight for Hammer Youth champion honours in front of their heroes from the best professional teams in the world. In the spirit of the Hammer festival, the Hammer Series is looking forward to welcoming back families and children to another exciting event next year.
Hammer Limburg was the inaugural Hammer event launched in 2017. The race has been extremely popular with the fans given its challenging Hammer Climb course and exciting Sprint and Chase finishes in the Tom Dumoulin Bike Park, accumulating more than 14 million video views and being broadcast in more than 140 countries. Hammer Limburg is set to return in 2021 with the best men’s and women’s teams in the world going all-out to win in the cycling-rich region of Limburg once again.
Graham Bartlett, CEO of Velon: “The inaugural race of the Hammer Series in Limburg in 2017 saw a nail-biting finish which people are still talking about. It set the tone for the amazing races which have followed. However, the success of Hammer Limburg was definitely not only in all-out racing we have seen by the best teams in the world or the impressive viewing figures, but also in establishing one of the best youth racing events in Europe. Despite the disappointment of not being able to see the best teams fighting it out in Hammer Limburg 2020, we’re excited about continuing the investment into Hammer Youth in 2020 and are already looking forward to being back with a men’s and women’s pro race in 2021.”
Jos Bessems, Alderman at Sittard-Geleen: “Sittard-Geleen is committed to youth participation and sports. We are excited to arrange a stunning youth event together with the Hammer Series. We also have plans to organise an elite women and men’s Hammer Series at the Tom Dumoulin Bike Park in 2021 in which innovation will play a major role.”
Loïc Chetout Ends Career
Loïc Chetout will not return to the professional peloton next season. The 27-year-old Frenchman did not get a new contract with Cofidis and subsequently failed to find a new employer and decided to end his professional career.
Chetout ends his career as a professional cyclist without a victory. Second places in the Classic Loire Atlantique in 2016 (behind teammate Turgis) and a stage of the Arctic Race of Norway in 2017 (behind Dylan Teuns) are his main achievements.
Many a cyclist will associate his name with the Stig Broeckx accident during the 2016 Tour of Belgium. The Frenchman gave him first aid and saved his life. “We didn’t wear the same shirt, we didn’t ride in the same team, but at such moments the race doesn’t count and you think of someone else’s life,” he said after the incident.
Loïc Chetout in stage 2 of the Tour de Yorkshire 2016:
Gerben Thijssen Under the Knife, Again
Gerben Thijssen is less than happy. This week, 21-year-old Thijssen had to go under the knife again. The plate in his collarbone became inflamed, requiring a new operation.
Thijssen’s collarbone was reopened in the hospital and treated with antibiotics. In the coming days, the Lotto Soudal rider will follow another course of antibiotics, according to Het Nieuwsblad.
The operation is another setback for Thijssen, after he crashed hard on 12th November during the Gent ‘6 Days’. Thijssen had three broken ribs, a broken collarbone and bleeding from the brain in three small places.
Trek-Segafredo Also Wanted Tom Dumoulin
Tom Dumoulin will move from Team Sunweb to Jumbo-Visma in 2020. Numerous teams were in the market for the Dutch Grand Tour hope. CCC, Ineos, Total Direct Energie and UAE Team Emirates all had him on their list. Now it seems Trek-Segafredo talked about a transfer internally.
The staff of the American team had considered the idea. Team DS, Steven de Jongh, said in a new episode of the cycling podcast De Grote Plaat. “At Team Sunweb they have so many rules and protocols. Tom had outgrown that. For champions like him you have to make exceptions. His name was also mentioned in connection with us, because it was about that he really wanted to leave. He was dead unhappy. If you feel that you are on a dead end, you have to look for a solution.” He finally went with Jumbo-Visma.
De Jongh also looks back on the 2011 and 2012 seasons, when he joined Team Sky after his career. “I don’t look back with much joy on the period that I worked there. Sir David Brailsford was not the most pleasant person to work with, to put it simply. I missed the cycling experience. If there was a win, it was normal. The moment was never enjoyed. With Brailsford I had the idea that he did it more for his own ego than for cycling.” After 2012, De Jongh left the British team after refusing to sign a statement stating that he had never used doping. Shortly after he admitted EPO use from 1998 to 2000.
Steven De Jongh behind the wheel of the Trek-Segafredo team car with Jasper Stuyven in the 2019 Volta ao Algarve:
Julian Alaphilippe Wins Velo d’Or
Prestigious award is the latest in a long list of accolades for the 27-year-old rider of Deceuninck – Quick-Step.
Julian Alaphilippe became just the second Frenchman in history (and the first in 24 years) to receive the Velo d’Or Mondial, the award won since 1992 by some of cycling’s biggest names, including two former Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders, Tom Boonen (2005) and Paolo Bettini (2006).
Professional since 2014, when he joined Deceuninck – Quick-Step after a solid and spectacular U23 season, Alaphilippe has continually moved through the ranks within the Wolfpack and became one of the sport’s household names – a rider who possesses a fantastic power to astonish and turn his immense talent into marquee victories.
In 2019, he won 12 races, from Strade Bianche, Milano-Sanremo and Flèche Wallonne in the spring to a pair of stages at the 106th Tour de France. But maybe his most impressive feat of the year was keeping hold of the iconic yellow jersey – which last summer turned 100 years – for a full two weeks, breathing life into his home Grand Tour and capturing the hearts and imagination of the entire French nation.
Despite putting an end to his season after the World Championships, Julian remained in the spotlight, being named International Flandrien of the Year a couple of weeks ago – the first Frenchman recipient of this award – in recognition of his outstanding season, to which he now added both the Velo d’Or Français and Mondial after receiving the most votes from the international journalists.
“I am very happy with the incredible season I’ve had and to receive the Velo d’Or is a beautiful way to conclude this amazing year. I want to thank those who voted for me and decided that I should receive this trophy, it’s a great honour. It was an unforgettable campaign, with many beautiful moments – from winning my first Monument in March to wearing the yellow jersey for 14 days – which wouldn’t have been possible without my extraordinary squad”, said an elated Julian, whose results in 2019 contributed to Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s second consecutive triumph in the UCI World Team Classification.
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