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The strangest and possibly the most exciting road season came to an end on Sunday in Madrid with the final stage of La Vuelta. We catch up with the Spanish Grand Tour, plus the CERATIZIT Challenge and the European cyclocross championships with results and video. Primoz Roglič talks about his Vuelta win – TOP STORY. Other cycling news: Filippo Ganna Covid-19 positive, NTT remain confident, contract news from Bahrain-McLaren, Rally, Lotto Soudal, AG2R-Citroën, Circus-Wanty and Sunweb. Lefevere talks about Jakobsen, Deceuninck – Quick-Step tops 2020 ranking, Ian Stannard forced to retire and the Dave Rayner dinner goes virtual.

TOP STORY: Primoz Roglič wins his second Vuelta a España
Primož Roglič has taken his second victory on the roads to Madrid. The Slovenian leader of the Jumbo-Visma team won the Vuelta a España for the second time in a row. “It’s impossible to compare them,” he said after the presentation.

“We enjoyed riding into Madrid here,” said Roglič. “This was the last stage we had to do and we completed it successfully. It’s nice to end the season like this.” According to 31-year-old Roglič, this is a victory in itself. “It’s always nice when you win, and a win is always very difficult. It is impossible to compare the Vuelta victories, so I am very happy that I won and that I can end the year like this.”

Earlier this season, the Slovenian also finished second in the Tour de France. Despite this, he does not call himself the best Grand Tour rider in the peloton. “I don’t know that. I was the best in this Vuelta, that’s for sure. There are also still some races that I didn’t win, so I still have some challenges,” he said ambitiously. “But today we are going to celebrate this victory.”


Vuelta a España 2020
Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) dominated the uphill sprint at the end of Stage 15 in Puebla de Sanabria to take his first Grand Tour stage win in one of the most demanding days on the roads of La Vuelta 2020. The young Belgian star out-sprinted Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe) and Jannik Steimle (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) after more than 230km of racing through the wind. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) survived the day to retain the overall lead. Another day at the front means Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) is set to ride to Madrid with the KOM jersey on his shoulders.

It was an early start for the peloton with 230.8 demanding kilometres from Mos, Oscar Pereiro’s hometown, to Puebla de Sanabria and with headwind all day long. But the conditions don’t scare the early attackers, who launch another massive battle for the breakaway. It takes four significative attempts and 56km oh hard-paced racing for a group of 10 riders to break away from the bunch: Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Rob Power, Mark Donovan (Sunweb), Alex Aranburu, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Nick Schultz, Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-Scott), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar).

Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Julien Simon (Total Direct Energie) and Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) attack right afterwards to try and join the leading group but it took them 16km of pursuit to bridge the gap. Their lead was up to 4:15 as Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) takes the KOM points atop the Alto de Carcedo (72.5km) to tighten his grip on the polka-dot jersey. The gap hit a maximum of 5:45 at 117km. BORA-hansgrohe then decided to up the ante and bring the gap down to 2:30 on the Alto de Fumaces (summit at 152.8km). NTT Pro Cycling and Trek-Segafredo also came to the front of the bunch to control the gap ahead of the final climb of the day, the Cat-3 Alto de Padornelo, at 18.8km to go.

The attackers’ lead was down under 1 minute when Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) attacked his break companion and went solo with 30km to the line. His break companions trailed by 1 minute at the bottom of the final climb, and the gap to the bunch was back up to 1:40. Cattaneo gave his all on the way up and on the descent, but he is eventually reeled in 4km from the line. Guillaume Martin claimed 1 more KOM point at the summit, to lead the standings by 55 points while 54 points are up for grabs in the final three stages. The times for the general classification were taken with 3km to go, to avoid any incident due to oil on the side of the road with 2km to go. The sprinters prepared for the uphill battle in Puebla de Sanabria. Mitchelton-Scott led the bunch with 1km to go but nobody can contain Jasper Philipsen when he powered to victory inside the last 200m.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage 15 Report’ and photo gallery HERE.

Stage winner, Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates): “It’s an incredible emotion that I can’t describe. This victory is very important to me, I have been waiting for the right moment throughout the Vuelta, and it has finally arrived. At the beginning of the stage I didn’t think it could be my day but in the end I was ready for a final that turned out to be ideal for me.”

Overall leader, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “It was a hard day, so I’m really happy that it’s behind us. It was a hard pace, it was fast and in the end also cold and rainy so it’s a big and tough day behind us. It was right to take the GC times with 3km to go, definitely, because if there was some oil or something we shouldn’t take any more risk than its needed so it was very welcome.”

2nd on the stage, Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe): “After all the escapees were caught, there was a sprint final to decide the finish. We were of course looking to win a second stage here, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. I’m a bit disappointed, because there haven’t been many chances for sprinters at the Vuelta. The team did a great job to bring Cattaneo back in time and prepare for the sprint. On the finishing straight with its slight incline, I tried to overtake Philipsen after the last corner, but it just wasn’t possible. However, sometimes despite putting in all the required effort, things don’t always go according to plan.”

4th on the stage, Alfred Wright (Bahrain-McLaren): “I’m so happy with that after a very long day out. I think it’s the longest ride I’ve ever done, nearly seven hours. Because the GC riders were not involved, I just followed, and I am really happy with the result.”

8th on the stage, Dorian Godon (AG2R-La Mondiale): “It was a great day on the bike, there were three of us trying to get in the breakaway at the start of the stage, but we didn’t get far. We were a bit unlucky. We managed the stage with a really fast tempo and a lot of headwind. It was hard and exhausting, and I was not going very well. When it started to rain it was freezing cold and the best way to warm up was to try for the sprint. I was in a good position and was well placed inside on the turn, but then I got blocked. We will try again tomorrow. The good form is there.”

Vuelta a España Stage 15 Result:
1. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE-Team Emirates in 6:22:36
2. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
3. Jannik Steimle (Ger) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
4. Alfred Wright (GB) Bahrain-McLaren
5. Dion Smith (NZ) Mitchelton-Scott
6. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
7. Magnus Cort (Den) EF Pro Cycling
8. Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Stan Dewulf (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 15:
1. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma in 60:19:41
2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:39
3. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling at 0:47
4. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation at 1:42
5. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 3:23
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-McLaren at 6:15
7. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 7:14
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 8:39
9. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana at 8:48
10. David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 9:23.

Vuelta stage 15:


Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Pro Cycling) won Stage 16 of La Vuelta after a very intense day of racing from Salamanca to Ciudad Rodrigo. The Danish all-rounder was best in the sprint from a small bunch ahead of Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) to take his third victory on the roads of La Vuelta, 4 years after he won the final sprint in Madrid. Roglic took 6 bonus seconds to increase his lead on GC. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) trails by 45 seconds on the eve of the final mountain stage. This is EF Pro Cycling’s third victory in this edition, after Michael Woods and Hugh Carthy already claimed success.

The race started from Salamanca with 144 riders, without Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), who has to withdraw for personal reasons. The peloton was wary of the crosswinds on the open roads. The biggest teams controlled the race until Angel Madrazo opened a gap at 15km. He was quickly joined at the front by his Burgos-BH teammate Juan Felipe Osorio. Another rider from the Spanish team joined the day’s breakaway when Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-Scott), Kobe Goossens (Lotto Soudal) and Jesus Ezquerra (Burgos-BH) join Angel Madrazo and Juan Felipe Osorio at 31km. Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Willie Smit (Burgos-BH) also try to bridge the gap to the front group, unsuccessfully.

BORA-hansgrohe and UAE Team Emirates control the gap at around 5 minutes as the race situation settles on the way to the first climb of the day, the Cat-2 Puerto El Portillo (summit at 90.8km). INEOS Grenadiers upped the speed in the final kilometres of ascent and even more on the downhill, with Andrey Amador setting a very hard pace for Richard Carapaz. The peloton reached the bottom of the Puerto El Robledo (11.7km, 3.8%) with a gap of 1:20. Rémi Cavagna attacked at the front ahead of the 5 last, steepest kilometres of ascent. Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-Scott) follows him. But the gap was down to 24 seconds at the summit, with 35km to the line.

The Movistar-led peloton brought the gap down under 10 seconds with the last 25km to go but the attackers don’t give up. Cavagna went solo with 17km to the finish. His lead was up to 15 seconds with 10km to go, and 17 seconds with 5km to go… The Frenchman was eventually reeled in with 2km to go. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) opened up the sprint, but Magnus Cort Nielsen powered to victory ahead of Primoz Roglic and Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates). Costa was later declassed in favour of Dion Smith (Mitchelton-Scott).

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage 16 Report’ and photo gallery HERE.

Stage winner, Magnus Cort (EF Pro Cycling): “I think I timed my sprint pretty well, I came from the last corner in a decent position, not too far away from the front. Then I sat there looking for an opening, and I found that with about 200m to go, maybe a little less, and from there I went with everything that I had. I was never confident that I could win it. Starting today I hadn’t even thought about winning this stage. I thought it would be a more reduced bunch coming in, and I was helping Hugh out, and suddenly I could see my chance to get over the first cat climb with about 25 to 35km to go, and although it wasn’t that much of a reduced group I knew there weren’t many guys faster than me. There was still Cavagna out front, but there were a lot of teams wanting it to come back together. I think the last nine months have been difficult for everyone this year, it means a lot coming back and winning [since my last win nine months ago to the date]. I was coming into good form when we came back after the long break, but then I caught the coronavirus myself and I was out. So I have only been training for three weeks before coming here to this race, and it’s really nice to get the victory here.”

2nd on the stage, overall and points leader, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): “I really would have liked to win a fifth stage, but Cort was the best today. I am happy with the bonus seconds. So all in all it is still a good day for us. When I saw that the sprinters got dropped on the last climb, I knew that it was possible to go for another stage win. So I decided to go for it. As a leader in the points classification you have to be able to sprint a little bit, right? This stage will not lie, it’s the decisive stage for the GC, so I certainly expect attacks from Ineos, Movistar and Carthy. It’s not going to be an easy stage to control, but the team has shown to be very strong. We have to keep doing what we’ve been doing the whole Vuelta and hopefully I have good legs to keep the red jersey.”

KOM, Guillaume Martin (Cofidis): “I went for many breakaways and I’ll keep going. It’s a pleasure [to win the KOM standings]. It’s a tradition within the Cofidis team, with David Moncoutié and my teammate Nicolas Edet. I’m very proud to have this jersey.”

6th on the stage and 7th overall, Felix Großschartner (BORA-hansgrohe): “We had expected the possibility echelons, but no one in the peloton was really committed to riding hard. Then, a group eventually managed to get away. We controlled the race at the beginning and when Ineos Grenadiers came up to the front, the pace quickly went up on the climb. In the end there was only quite a reduced field left. I tried not to make any mistakes at that point and to stay with the small bunch, which was quite stressful at times. I may have had to invest quite a lot into achieving that, but ultimately I wanted to secure my position. My timing in the end was probably not perfect, but it’s not often that I have the opportunity to take part in a sprint from a reduced field. That’s somewhere where I can perhaps improve in the future. However, all in all, it was a good day, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

8th on the stage, Dorian Godon (AG2R-La Mondiale): “The sprinter teams started everything out at a good pace. Then Ineos decided to toughen up the race. It’s the third week, and I’m doing everything with mental strength. We were all three on the climb looking at each other and saying, what are we doing here. With Nans and Clément, we gave everything to get through that climb with a group of 45 riders. Nans and Clément did a great job and I focused on the sprint. With all the efforts I have put in over the past two days with my attempts to get into the breakaways, and the effort to sprint, I’m at the limit. I gave my all, I can’t be disappointed. I could not do better.”

Vuelta a España Stage 16 Result:
1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) EF Pro Cycling in 4:04:35
2. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma
3. Dion Smith (NZ) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
5. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers
6. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe
7. Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Michael Valgren (Den) NTT Pro Cycling
9. Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Sunweb
10. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 16:
1. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma in 64:20:31
2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:45
3. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling at 0:53
4. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation at 1:48
5. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 3:29
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-McLaren at 6:21
7. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 7:20
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 8:45
9. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana at 8:54
10. David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 9:29.

Vuelta stage 16:


The final mountain Stage 17 of La Vuelta 20 crowned David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), who claimed his second stage win on the summit of the Alto de La Covatilla. Primoz Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) managed to save the red jersey despite a powerful attack from Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers). The Frenchman took the solo victory after spending the whole day at the front of the race, dropping all his breakaway companions on the last slopes. Roglic lost 21 seconds to Carapaz but he still leads the GC with a 24 second gap on the eve of the final stage to Madrid.

The final challenge of La Vuelta 20 inspired many attackers. 34 riders got away after 19km of fighting. Among them, David de la Cruz was the best classified on GC, 10th at 9:29 and he enjoyed the support of three UAE Team Emirates riders: Rui Costa, Sergio Henao and Ivo Oliveira. Groupama-FDJ’s David Gaudu, already winner at La Farrapona, is another GC threat in 11th at 10:51. Ion Izagirre (Astana) also chased his second stage win in La Vuelta’20, while Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe) rode at the front on some unfriendly terrain for his sprinting abilities. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) showed his polka-dot jersey again at the front, with the support of Victor Lafay and José Herrada. Team Sunweb also managed to put three riders in the breakaway: Mark Donovan, Michael Storer and Jasha Sütterlin. UAE and Groupama-FDJ riders drove the breakaway to open a maximum gap of 4:07 at 68km. Primoz Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma team set the pace in the bunch over the first ascents of the day, until Movistar took over with 61km to go.

The Spanish team put the hammer down and immediately created splits in the bunch. Richard Carapaz was among the riders off the back, but he quickly returned with the help of a teammate. Movistar maintained a hard pace over the Alto de Peñacaballera and the gap was down to 2:17 at the bottom of the penultimate climb of the day, the Alto de la Garganta. Marc Soler (Movistar) accelerated 31km from the line. Imanol Erviti, who was part of the breakaway, waited for him. They trailed by 30 seconds at the summit with 26.2km to go. The GC group, led by Jumbo-Visma, was 1 minute further behind. Soler eventually bridged the gap with 19km to go. The peloton trailed by 2:15.

Gino Mäder (NTT), Mark Donovan and Ion Izagirre used the cobbled uphill section to attack 18km from the line. They reached the bottom of the final climb to La Covatilla, 11.4km, 7.1%, with a 40 second lead while the gap to the bunch was up to 4 minutes. Ion Izagirre attacked twice, with 7km to go and 1km later to drop his two companions but David Gaudu got back to him 4.5km from the summit and immediately attacked to solo his way to his second stage victory. Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) opened the GC battle inside the last 5km. Richard Carapaz then went with 3.5km and nobody can follow his powerful attack. Primoz Roglič had the support of breakaway members Lennard Hofstede (Jumbo-Visma) and Marc Soler to limit his losses and save the lead by 24 seconds.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage 17 Report’ and photo gallery HERE.

Stage winner and 8th overall, David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ): “To be frank, we thought it was going to be complicated for me to go up front since everyone defends his place in the third week. In the end, I had to go all in, I decided to attack and gave it my all. I tried to get past the leaders as fast as possible, to put them into the headwind, so that we would be on an equal footing and they could not recover in my wheel. I gave it my all, and I was afraid someone would come back in the last three kilometres, but I was able to give another kick at the flamme rouge and I knew it was done. I really am very, very happy. I thought about it this morning, I thought: why not today, why not me? Also, I liked the weather conditions. The day unfolded by instinct, and it worked out. This kind of day is exceptional. I was already very happy, over the moon actually, after my first stage win. So winning a second one is the icing on the cake, and entering the top 10 is also achieving a goal we set to ourselves. The Vuelta was already successful, but with two stage wins and a final top 10, it is even more so. We would have signed up for that from the start.”

10th on the stage, overall and points leader, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): “It became very exciting in the last kilometres. I knew it would be enough to retain the overall lead if I kept my own pace. In the end it all falls into place and I’m still wearing the red jersey. Carapaz showed that he is very strong. I didn’t always have everything under control, but I never had the feeling that I would lose the red jersey. I stayed focused and did my own thing. That turned out to be enough to keep my place in the rankings. The whole team showed themselves today. My teammates did a really good job today, as they have done throughout the Vuelta. Until now, we have been focused every day. We have to stay focused for one more day and then it’s over.”

8th on the stage and 2nd overall, Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers): “I really enjoyed the stage today and it is a great pleasure to finish second at the Vuelta. The team did a lot of work for me, they always tried to stay in the front for me. They showed some grit and some courage and we tried everything we possibly could. Personally, I am very satisfied with second place at the Vuelta, super happy with my season and I think the team can be very happy with the season as well.”

4th on the stage and 7th overall, David de la Cruz (UAE Team Emirates): “Today we went out to be aggressive from the start and in the end we had four riders in the break. I would loved to have won the stage to pay the guys back for all the work but moving up to 7th on GC is down to them. I gave everything , I never had a team look after me like the guys have done during this race and I cannot praise them enough.”

9th overall, Felix Großschartner (BORA-hansgrohe): “I’m admittedly a little disappointed that there was such a large group in the front. I had a mechanical on the last climb, and it took up quite a lot of energy to catch up again. In the end, I lost two positions in the overall standings, but ultimately I’m still in the top 10 and I can be proud of that.”

Vuelta a España Stage 17 Result:
1. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 4:54:32
2. Gino Mäder (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling at 0:28
3. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Astana at 1:05
4. David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates
5. Mark Donovan (GB) Sunweb at 1:53
6. Michael Storer (Aus) Sunweb
7. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 2:23
8. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 2:35
9. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling at 2:50
10. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma at 2:56.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 17:
1. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma in 69:17:59
2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:24
3. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling at 0:47
4. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation at 2:43
5. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 3:36
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-McLaren at 7:16
7. David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 7:35
8. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 7:45
9. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 8:15
10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 9:34.

Vuelta stage 17:


The 2020 cycling season ended on Sunday in Madrid with a fast and furious finish dominated by the German sprinter Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe), claiming victory by a handful of millimetres ahead of Irishman Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step). Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) survived the day to claim the overall victory again, after he became the first Slovenian rider to win a Grand Tour in 2019.

The 142-man peloton took it easy as they rolled out from the Hipodromo de La Zarzuela, en route to Madrid. After nearly three weeks of battle through Spain, there was time to celebrate the Vuelta and the end of the season as they reached the capital city. Primoz Roglic and his Jumbo-Visma teammates took the front of the bunch as the Slovenian star was about to clinch his second overall victory in La Vuelta, a year after he became the first rider from his country to win a Grand Tour. The pace increased as the riders enter Madrid, with some 40km to go. From then, the action never stoped. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), one of the main protagonists of this edition with 2 stage wins, attacked with Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Willie Smit (Burgos-BH). Lastra dropped back to the peloton but his teammate Gonzalo Serrano, the only rider from Madrid participating in La Vuelta 20, joined the front group. Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana) also bridged the gap.

Jasper Philispen’s UAE Team Emirates, Sam Bennett’s Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Pascal Ackermann’s BORA-hansgrohe were the most active teams to control the gap, always under 30 seconds. The attackers were reeled in just ahead of the final lap, with 6km to go. BORA-hansgrohe led the bunch into the final kilometre and Pascal Ackermann delivered, claiming victory millimetres ahead of Sam Bennett. Primoz Roglič finished in the peloton to win la Vuelta’20.

You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage 18 Report’ and photo gallery HERE.

Stage winner, Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe): “I am so happy that I was able to take the win today. But this result was only possible thanks to the support of my teammates, who did an extraordinary job, particularly over the last 3 km. We never had an easy stage here at the Vuelta. There was always a hard fight for the breakaway group and then on stages like yesterday, the sprinters had to suffer quite a lot. It was just important to save as much energy as possible and I’m glad that I was able to do that, and today it paid off. At first, we held back a bit in the decisive phase, because we knew that we had a strong sprint train. Then over the last 10 km we went full throttle and were able to take the victory. Many thanks to the whole team!”

Overall and points winner, Primoz Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): “Me and my teammates fought for it every day. We considered each stage as a one-day race. I am very proud of the performance that we all achieved. During the past three weeks I still felt in good shape. I am happy that I can end my season in this way. In the coming period I will take a break, but then I will make plans with the team for 2021. There are still a few goals I want to achieve in my career. That is an enormous motivation for me for the coming years. The 2019 win was of course special, because I won my first grand tour then. Nevertheless, I also rate this victory very highly, because it is part of the great season that I have had. We should be happy that, given the situation in the world, we were able to ride the Vuelta this year. For that I would like to thank the organisation of the Vuelta and all those involved. It was very well organised here.”

2nd overall, Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers): “For me it’s really special to be on the podium in Madrid. Especially after this year with the COVID situation and all we had to live with at home. I had a different approach to this race but it’s amazing to finish second at this Vuelta. I know I have a big potential and we will keep working with the team to seek another victory. I came to the Vuelta with the goal to do a great race and I think we have achieved it. I had the support and the aim to fight until the end. This podium means a lot to me, after 2019 Giro d’Italia I had to prove that my victory there wasn’t a coincidence and I think I did it. I’m here to fight for more Grand Tours.”

Best young rider and 5th overall, Enric Mas (Movistar): “If you compare how we started the season with how we’re ending it, I think the overview as we close La Vuelta can only be good. We feel happy about what we’ve done as a team, winning the team prize and stepping onto the podium in Madrid, even if not to the individual one as I was only able to get 5th place. We also got a stage with Marc, and all the grit and determination we showed over the three weeks – we can only feel happy about that. I always want more, and I’d have liked to be closer to the top and fight for a stage win, but it was a strange season, also a first year for me at this team, my ‘home’ team, and all this experience will surely make us stronger in the future.”

KOM, Guillaume Martin (Cofidis): “It was my first Vuelta. This whole season was very particular. It’s an important step in my career. It’s the first time I climbed on the podium of a Grand Tour and I hope to do it again.”

7th overall, David De La Cruz (UAE Team Emirates): “We came here looking for stage wins and a strong GC and we managed to do both so as a group we are pleased even if we always look for more. It’s been a very hard Vuelta and every day was a tough fight. This result gives me confidence looking ahead to next year to keep improving.”

Chris Froome (INEOS Grenadiers) on receiving his 2011 Vuelta victory trophy: “It’s a really special victory. I have really special memories obviously looking back to this period, but also the way I was told about this victory, when I woke up the day after my big accident last year. I was in ICU still when I was told: ‘Congratulations, you’ve won La Vuelta.’ That was a really strange feeling. It was such a special race to me. It’s where I first discovered myself as a Grand Tour rider and a GC contender. It gave me confidence to then go on to the Tour de France, to keep targeting Grand Tours. I certainly hope next season I’ll be here in a different capacity. It’s been an emotional day on my last day with the team. It’s been 11 years. I’m excited about what lies ahead but it’s also time for me to reflect on all the highs and lows of the last 11 years. At the end of the day it was mano a mano a few times – Richard versus the other GC guys. On stages like Angliru and yesterday there are such small margins in it. Richard is happy – he feels like he gave everything, and the team should be really chuffed with that result, even though it wasn’t a victory.”

Vuelta a España Stage 18 Result:
1. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe in 3:28:13
2. Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Max Kanter (Ger) Sunweb
4. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
5. Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Sunweb
6. Emmanuel Morin (Fra) Cofidis
7. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
8. Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) Total Direct Energie
9. Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
10. Jon Aberasturi (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

Vuelta a España Final Overall Result
1. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma in 72:46:12
2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:24
3. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling at 1:15
4. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation at 2:43
5. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 3:36
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-McLaren at 7:16
7. David de la Cruz )Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 7:35
8. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 7:45
9. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 8:15
10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 9:34.

Vuelta stage 18:


CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta 2020
Lorena Wiebes (Sunweb) dominated the uphill sprint in Escalona to win Stage 1 of the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta in Escalona.

The race started from Toledo with strong crosswinds and headwinds set to have an impact on the race. Mireia Benito (Massi Tactic) was the first attacker to get away from the bunch. The gap never gets higher than 40 seconds. The race is stopped for a few minutes after a mistake in the route directions. A new start is given with the same gap between Benito and the peloton.

Mitchelton-Scott pull the bunch to get back to the Spanish attacker a few kilometres later. Then Movistar, Sunweb, Canyon and Trek take the front positions to set a hard pace en route to the finish.

The stage was set for the punchiest riders to battle it out in the final kilometre, with an uphill sprint won by Lorena Wiebes (Sunweb). The Dutch star managed to gain a few metres to take the win ahead of Elisa Balsamo (Valcar – Travel & Service) and Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit – WNT).

Stage winner and overall leader, Lorena Wiebes (Sunweb): “Today was a fast race and the second half was both headwind and crosswind, which made it nervous,” explained a delighted Wiebes after the stage. “The team did an amazing job to keep me out of the wind all the time and we had lots of cards to play today depending on how the race went. In the end, it ended up in a bunch sprint and we were all there in the final where we all did our best to keep me in a good position towards the climb. It was a really hard finale and I’m happy that I could finish it off in a good way with the win today.”

CERATIZIT Challenge Stage 1 Result:
1. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Sunweb in 2:00:16
2. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
3. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro
4. Jelena Eric (Srb) Movistar
5. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-Sram Racing at 0:03
6. Silvia Zanardi (Ita) Bepink at 0:04
7. Alexis Ryan (USA) Canyon-Sram Racing
8. Laura Asencio (Fra) Ceratizit-WNT Pro
9. Vittoria Guazzini (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
10. Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott.

CERATIZIT Challenge Overall After Stage 1:
1. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Sunweb in 2:00:01
2. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service at 0:05
3. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro at 0:10
4. Jelena Eric (Srb) Movistar at 0:15
5. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-Sram Racing at 0:18
6. Silvia Zanardi (Ita) Bepink at 0:19
7. Alexis Ryan (USA) Canyon-Sram Racing
8. Laura Asencio (Fra) Ceratizit-WNT Pro
9. Vittoria Guazzini (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
10. Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott.


The German leader of Ceratizit-WNT won Stage 2 of the CERATIZIT Challenge by La Vuelta 2020, an individual time-trial of 9.3km in Boadilla del Monte, to also take the red leader’s jersey. Brennauer already dominated the time-trial in the 2019 edition and battled her way to the overall victory during the final stage in Madrid. She recorded a time of 12:40.43, one second faster than Trek-Segafredo’s Italian star Elisa Longo Borghini. Another Trek rider finished third, the Dutchwoman Ellen Van Dijk, at 4 seconds. Her performance sees her move into the overall leadership with a 10 second lead on Elisa Longo Borghini. Lorena Wiebes (Sunweb) still leads the points classification ahead of the final stage in Madrid.

Stage winner and overall leader, Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT Pro): “I had to ride conservatively at the beginning and maybe I lost a few seconds. When I was able to go faster, I gave it all until the finish line. The team and myself will prepare a good strategy for tomorrow. I can feel the pressure but not in a negative way.”

CERATIZIT Challenge Stage 2 Result:
1. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro in 12:40
2. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:01
3. Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:04
4. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:08
5. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb at 0:14
6. Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:18
7. Mieke Kröger (Ger) Hitec Products-Birk Sport at 0:21
8. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-Sram Racing at 0:25
9. Maaike Boogaard (Ned) Alé BTC Ljubljana at 0:26
10. Hannah Ludwig (Ger) Canyon-Sram Racing at 0:28.

CERATIZIT Challenge Overall After Stage 2:
1. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro in 2:12:51
2. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:10
3. Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:13
4. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:17
5. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Sunweb at 0:18
6. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb at 0:23
7. Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:27
8. Mieke Kröger (Ger) Hitec Products-Birk Sport at 0:30
9. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-Sram Racing at 0:33
10. Maaike Boogaard (Ned) Alé BTC Ljubljana at 0:35.


The Italian rider from Valcar Travel & Service, Elisa Balsamo, won the final Stage 3 of the CERATIZIT Challenge 2020 on the circuit of Madrid ahead of Lorena Wiebes (Sunweb) and Marta Bastianelli (Alé BTC Ljubljana). Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit WNT) defended the leader’s red jersey and dominated the overall standings ahead of Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) and Lorena Wiebes.

The riders went full gas with many attacks from the start in the Spanish capital city. Alessia Vigilia (CRONOS Casa Dorada) had to abandon after an unfortunate crash in the first laps. Meanwhile, Lisa Brennauer and Lorena Wiebes were battling the overall victory in the intermediate sprints. After many breakaway attempts, Elisa Longo Borghini attacked on her own with some 50km to go. She opened a 30 second gap and managed to hold off the peloton until many teams upped the ante and eventually reeled in the Italian star 13km from the finish.

The pack remained together until the final lap. In the sprint, Balsamo made the most of her pure speed to take victory ahead of Wiebes and Bastianelli. Brennauer took 7th place and her consistent placings in the intermediate sprint granted her both the overall victory and the points classification.

Overall winner, Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT Pro): “It was a tough fight today, but I found that the harder the race became, the best was for me.”

CERATIZIT Challenge Stage 3 Result:
1. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service in 2:16:49
2. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Sunweb
3. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé BTC Ljubljana
4. Chiara Consonni (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service
5. Silvia Zanardi (Ita) Bepink
6. Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Movistar
7. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro
8. Sandra Alonso Dominguez (Spa) Cronos-Casa Dorada
9. Jelena Eric (Srb) Movistar
10. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo.

CERATIZIT Challenge Final Overall:
1. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT Pro in 4:29:21
2. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:12
3. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Sunweb at 0:13
4. Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:31
5. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb at 0:42
6. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:44
7. Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:46
8. Maaike Boogaard (Ned) Ale’ BTC Ljubljana at 0:52
9. Alice Barnes (GB) Canyon-Sram Racing
10. Mieke Kröger (Ger) Hitec Products-Birk Sport at 0:57.


European Cyclocross Championships 2020
The Men’s Elite 2020 Cyclo-Cross European Championships finished today with a win by Eli Iserbyt (Belgium) in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

In the final medals table, the Netherlands national team came top with three gold medals, out of the four medals awarded, one silver and three bronze beating Belgium (one gold and one silver), Great Britain (one silver and one bronze) and Hungary (one silver).

The Men’s Elite race was literally dominated by the Belgian riders who set a particularly fast pace right from the start on the fast Dutch track, which quickly resulted in a leading group, then with Eli Iserbyt and his compatriot Michael Vanthourenhout at the front.

In the last three laps, Eli Iserbyt lead alone and sped to a solo win of the European title, ahead of Michael Vanthourenhout, who came second at 16 seconds, and Lars van der Haar (Netherlands) third at 22 seconds.

In the Men’s Under 23, the current World Champion, the Dutch rider Ryan Kamp, took the title after a fiercely fought battle, beating the British riders Thomas Mein and Cameron Mason, silver and bronze medallists.

The Dutch national team occupied the three podium steps for the Women’s Elite race with the World Champion Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado who won in the sprint after a close duel with Annemarie Worst, who finished second and Lucinda Brand in third place. The Dutch domination continued with Denise Betsema taking fourth place.

Dutch success also in the Women’s Under 23 with the young Puk Pieterse who had already won the Juniors title in 2019. She achieved a decisive victory in the main category, ahead of the Hungarian Kata Blanka Vas and Manon Bakker (Netherlands).

European cross champion, Eli Iserbyt (Belgium): “My first jersey with the pros. I’m already looking forward to wearing it. It was good that he (Michael Vanthourenhout) was there for a long time to keep the pace high, because we left very early in the race. I made a mistake on the second lap, which forced me to go full throttle in pursuit. Then I decided to just keep that pace and go for it. Lars put a lot of pressure, especially in the sand. There he made up for a few seconds each time, in a course that is not mine. As a result, I had to go extra deep on the other parts of the course to keep him off. But I do think that Michael and I were the strongest today. Then I will ride the Jaarmarkt cross in Niel, which I am looking forward to very hard. This victory was very important for morale. I can now start the rest of the season with a very good feeling, now that I have already achieved this big goal.”

Information and results #EuroCross20 – click here

European Cyclocross Elite Men Result:
1. Eli Iserbyt (Belgium) in 1:04:28
2. Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium) at 0:16
3. Lars Van der Haar (Netherlands) at 0:22
4. Laurens Sweeck (Belgium) at 0:41
5. Toon Aerts (Belgium) at 0:47
6. Daan Soete (Belgium) at 0:52
7. Felipe Orts Lloret (Spain) at 1:01
8. Quinten Hermans (Belgium) at 1:14
9. Joshua Dubau (France) at 1:21
10. Vincent Baestaens (Belgium) at 1:28.


Filippo Ganna Covid-19 Positive Before the European Track Championship
Filippo Ganna has had to go into isolation after a positive covid-19 test. The Italian fast-man stayed with the national track team in Montichiari to prepare for the European Track Championships (11-15 November).

The Italian Cycling Federation announced on Thursday evening that Ganna had a positive covid-19 test. The INEOS Grenadiers rider is said to have tested negative before the training camp, but suffered mild symptoms last Wednesday. A day later he was tested again and now the result turned out positive.

Ganna now has to remain in isolation for the time being, while the European Track Cycling Championship starts in five days in Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria. The Italian cycling association has now also tested the other riders and staff members present at the training camp. All results are negative.

24-year-old Ganna is one of the most successful track cyclists of his generation. He became World champion in the individual pursuit four times. Ganna has also been very successful on the road this season. He won the World time trial championships in Imola and won four stages in the Giro d’Italia.

Filippo Ganna:


Ryder Remains Confident in Fight for the Future
NTT Pro Cycling team principal Douglas Ryder remains confident that the team will be able to secure a solution to keep the team “on the road” in 2021.

Speaking at a special virtual event for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, of which the team are ambassadors, Ryder was reflecting on the team’s overall journey, performances in 2020 as well as what the future may hold for Africa’s only UCI-registered WorldTour outfit.

It was announced in early October that current title partner NTT Ltd. would not renew their sponsorship of the team; seeing Ryder in a race against time to secure the necessary funding to ensure the survival of the team.

Following the team’s best-ever performance at the Giro d’Italia, in which Ben O’Connor won a stage and Domenico Pozzovivo impressed hugely in his 14th appearance at the event, Ryder reflected: “It has been a good year on the bike. Sadly, it has not been so good from a sponsorship point of view in terms of our future, but we are piecing that puzzle together.”

“When we announced that we needed a new partner, the response has been unbelievable from all over the world. Our social media presence has been incredible in terms of people just trying to support us,” Ryder went on to say. “We have people from America to Australia and everything in between loving this team and wanting to get involved, trying to make a difference, and trying to connect with us. It is tough in the world today economically, and some businesses are really struggling, and some aren’t. But we are very close to being on the road next year.”

Today (Thursday 5 November) will see the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirm the teams that have already submitted confirmed documentation for 2021, and Ryder says that right now time is of the essence: “This Thursday is an announcement of the teams which have submitted their documentation, and we will not be on that list. In the next couple of days, I think we should be able to say that we will have a plan to move forwards into 2021.”

The virtual event also saw opportunity to highlight the building of mountain bike trails, to add to their already impressive sporting facilities, at LIV Village in Kwa-Zulu Natal – one of 30 programmes supported by Laureus in South Africa. While NTT Pro Cycling rider Nicholas Dlamini, mountain biker and Laureus YES Graduate William Mokgopo as well as acclaimed chef David Higgs all added their unique insights on the evening.

Ultimately for Ryder the dream to continue to make an impact through the distribution of bicycles with the Qhubeka Charity in rural areas remains a driving force in ensuring the team’s existence: “If there are many more people that can be moved by bicycles and can use the bicycle as tool to be free, have hope, be independent and use it as a transport tool, then it shows that our team has been successful. If we have raced around the world, been successful and we can raise funds and awareness for the Qhubeka Charity, which gets more kids on bicycles, then it is self-fulfilling and shows that we have done a great job on all fronts. The next part of our dream as a team is that a child who starts on a Qhubeka bicycle ends up as a Nic or William, to try and get to the highest level and have the opportunities to race internationally. That would be a dream come true, that is what gets us up every day and that is what makes me work so hard now in this tough time to try and keep this team on the road.”

Douglas Ryder:


Team Bahrain-McLaren Extends the Contracts of Nine Riders
We are thrilled to announce Yukiya Arashiro, Phil Bauhaus, Chun-Kai Feng, Heinrich Haussler, Mark Padun, Hermann Pernsteiner, Marcel Sieberg, Jan Tratnik and Stephen Williams have extended their contracts with Team Bahrain McLaren.

In 2021 Yukiya Arashiro, Chun-Kai Feng, and Heinrich Haussler will start their fifth season with the team. Sprinter Phil Bauhaus and key lead-out man Marcel Sieberg, both from Germany, joined the team in 2019, with Phil taking a win in his first year and winning the Saudi Tour at the start of this year. Slovenian Time-trial specialist Jan Tratnik also joined the team in 2019 and has proven he is a quality and versatile rider with a stage win at this year’s Giro d’Italia. Hermann Pernsteiner and Mark Padun also showed some impressive performances at the Giro whilst playing a valuable domestique role to Pello Bilbao. The Welsh rider Stevie Williams made his return to racing at the Czech Tour after 18 months out due to a knee injury, so we’re very excited to see what he will achieve next year.

Team Bahrain McLaren Team Principal Rod Ellingworth commented: “Despite 2020 being such an unsettling year these guys have remained 100% focused, so it’s great to have them part of our journey next year. And as we close out this year, I feel there is a real sense of camaraderie in the team, and I think we’ll see that play out even more on the road next year. We will always be a rider first team, so the guys who are giving it everything on the bike are supported by staff equally committed to achieving success.”


Joey Rosskopf Inks Two-Year Deal with Rally Cycling
Two-time US national time trial champion joins team after six years in the WorldTour

Rally Cycling is excited to announce the signing of American Joey Rosskopf from WorldTour outfit CCC Team for the next two seasons. The 31-year-old won the USA National Time Trial Championships in 2017 and 2018, as well as claiming overall victory at the 2016 Tour du Limousin. Rosskopf brings a wealth of experience and strength to the roster, as the team looks toward sharpening its competitive edge in Europe next season.

“I’m just really looking forward to racing for the team,” said Rosskopf. “I can feel myself already approaching next year with a totally different mindset knowing that this is a team on its way up that wants to learn from their riders’ experiences.”

For Rosskopf, the move back to a US-registered team is like completing a story that began years ago.

“When I started racing, the Rally Cycling program was one of the strongest teams in America that you could be on and that was 12 years ago. It’s not like I’m packing it in and going back to the US to start over. Rally Cycling has grown to an equal level to what I’ve been doing in the WorldTour the last six years. I can’t imagine the amount of work that riders, staff, and management have done to make that happen.”

After proving himself at the WorldTour level with palmarès including the mountains jersey in the 2020 Tour Down Under and a pair of top-five placings in stages of the 2020 Giro d’Italia, Rosskopf is looking to bring his experience at high-level races to the team.

“I’ve gotten a lot better at being able to sneak into the right breakaways on stages and figuring out how to race aggressively and effectively.”

As a rider with loads of WorldTour experience, Rosskopf’s calm and measured approach to racing with one of the biggest teams in the world will be invaluable.

“I’m looking forward to figuring out how I can provide the most value to the team. If nothing else, I hope to bring a sense of calm and reassurance. That we deserve to be at the biggest races and it’s all possible. You don’t have to be an out-of-place North American lost in Europe. It’s possible to belong.”

Rosskopf lives full-time in Girona, Spain with his wife and is looking forward to coming back to an American team after five years on a European program. With the team’s service course also being located in Girona, much of the roster will be joining Rosskopf at the start of the 2021 season.

“I think for a long time it felt like Americans had this big battle to overcome the expected way of doing things in European cycling culture. I’m the proof that American riders can go over to Europe and be competitive – I’m confident of that.”

As a former national time trial champion, Rosskopf is excited about being able to put a renewed focus on the specialty.

“It has kind of been on the back burner for the last couple of years and it’s an area that I’ve had success in the past so I’d really want to maximize that again.”

The team has had its eyes set on signing Rosskopf since his Hincapie Development Team days back in 2013 and 2014.

“We’ve been talking to Joey for a number of years,” said team director Patrick McCarty. “He’s one of America’s top riders in the WorldTour and we know he’ll be a great fit for our program. We’re excited to get him with our group and to put him front and center for some nice victories for the team.”

Setting his sights on stage race and time trial victories, Rosskopf will become a valued addition to the Rally Cycling program. When asked to summarise his approach to training, racing, and personal development, Rosskopf spoke like a true veteran.

“It seems like people are always looking for the next extreme thing to effect change in their body. My approach is moderation. Simply work hard and do the right thing. It doesn’t take crazy diets or monumental rides. I still feel like I’m improving every year and I’m happy racing my bike.”


Hanna Nilsson to sign with Lotto Soudal Ladies
We welcome the Swedish rider Hanna Nilsson (28) to the Lotto Soudal Ladies Team next year. Hanna is one of the four newcomers who will ride at the side of six women who were already part of the team this season.

Hanna Nilsson has several reasons to choose for our team: “Lotto Soudal is a solid name in the peloton. I am happy I can be part of the team next season. As a Swede I feel comfortable with the Belgian mentality. Our ways of thinking and acting are very similar. It feels like I will exactly be where I belong. And I can’t wait to work with Annelies Dom as a sports director. In 2016 (at Lensworld – Zannta) she was my teammate for one season. She knows the ins and outs of the peloton and its riders. She will be a huge advantage to the team. I am convinced Annelies can push us to reach our goals.”

Past season Hanna Nilsson rode for Parkhotel Valkenburg and during the season she stayed in the Dutch province of Limburg, close to her preferred type of course. Hanna loves the Ardennes Classics. Stage races may be tough and long. She already conquered several top ten places at Tour de l’Ardèche where she became second on GC in 2017. The same year she got tenth at La Course, with finish on the Izoard. Last year she was ninth in the first edition of Donostia San Sebastián Klasikoa.

To achieve her ambitions Hanna Nilsson prefers an aggressive racing style: “I love to be in the mix, where the race is. I love the fighting for position. I don’t like sitting in the back of the bunch and just wait. I love to read the players. I love racing offensively and rather try and fail than finish anonymously. I don’t want to have any regrets afterwards. I love racing uphill, but I equally love the downhills. And yes, I am stubborn. I never give up. If I have a wheel I won’t let go easily, even if I’m on my limit!”​​​​​​​

“Next year I’ll be aiming for the GC podium in stage races and a top 10 in the Ardennes Classics. I am convinced we can show nice things as a team in 2021. I will also be happy to help my teammates, because performing well as a team is rewarding too.”

As announced last week, Polish rider Anna Plichta will be one of the teammates of Hanna Nilsson next year. The two other newcomers are Belgian rider Elise Vander Sande (almost 23) and Dutch rider Silke Smulders (19). The following six riders will remain in the Lotto Soudal Ladies Team: Danique Braam, Alana Castrique, Lone Meertens, Abby-Mae Parkinson, Christina Siggaard and Jesse Vandenbulcke.

Hanna Nilsson:


Nicolas Prodhomme Signs for Two Years
The French rider, Nicolas Prodhomme (V.C Villefranche Beaujolais), 23, has signed a contract starting January 1, 2021 to ride for two years with the AG2R CITROËN TEAM.

Nicolas Prodhomme: “I spent two great years at Chambéry Cyclisme Formation (2018-2019) before joining the Villefranche Beaujolais club. After this unusual year, I am happy to join the professionals with the AG2R CITROËN TEAM. It’s a childhood dream come true today to be stepping up to this new tier. I am joining a team that I know well (he had been a stagiaire in 2018) and I am proud to be part of this adventure. I will also be rejoining former riders from Chambéry like Clément Champoussin and Anthony Jullien with whom I raced.”

Vincent Lavenu: “Nicolas is an excellent rider. He was one of the pillars of the France team and seeing him reach the professionals is the next logical step. He should have joined us in 2020 but it was not possible. He wore the Chambéry Cyclisme Formation jersey for two seasons, where he was a foundation rider for the team before joining Villefranche. I am happy to see him return to riding in our colours. His arrival completes our recruitment for the 2021 season.”

With the addition of Nicolas Prodhomme, who will be joining Nans Peters, Aurélien Paret-Peintre, Clément Champoussin, Benoît Cosnefroy, François Bidard and Ben Gastauer, the AG2R CITROËN TEAM team will have eight riders from Chambéry Cyclisme Formation.

Nicolas Prodhomme:


Patrick Lefevere: “Fabio Jakobsen will receive salary increase planned in 2021”
In his weekly column for Het Nieuwsblad, Patrick Lefevere has spoken once again about the condition of Fabio Jakobsen. The manager of Deceuninck – Quick-Step praises the Dutchman’s combativeness and also indicates that Jakobsen will receive a significant pay rise in 2021.

The sprinter from Heukelum visited Lefevere at the office in Wevelgem. “He has come a long way in his rehabilitation, but that remains a long-term effort. The path he has traveled is almost incalculable: bone has been removed from his hip, which is now implanted as a jawbone. Not a little blunt, but a significant portion. A very painful operation, it is said. Fabio walked on crutches for two weeks,” the manager points out.

“The inserted bone has to heal for three months before implants can be put in. This is followed by another three months of recovery before he can get new teeth. Then we are already six months further. I am not going to speak out too much about the possible suspension of Dylan Groenewegen – there are no official reports about that yet – but apparently the UCI is considering suspending him until May. Believe me, if you spend an afternoon with Fabio, it would seem, so to speak, nine months rather short than long.”

Lefevere hopes that his rider will be able to join the training camp with Deceuninck – Quick-Step again in December. “That is the dream he has himself and we very much hope for it within the team. It would be a blessing just to have him among the riders. I was afraid of the mental impact of the crash, but he doesn’t think that’s an issue.”

Despite the fact that Jakobsen is on the sidelines, according to Lefevere, the Dutchman can ‘simply’ count on a wage increase. “Officially I could reduce Fabio’s wages to half as from yesterday. Which of course I have not done and will not do. He will continue to receive his full salary, including the significant pay increase agreed for 2021,” he explains. “The plan remains to recover that financial loss from Groenewegen. We looked at the images of the sprint again yesterday. Sorry, what happens there is simply not possible.”

Jakobsen will be back to his winning ways:


Valerio Piva Brings his Experience to Circus-Wanty Gobert
Valerio Piva will join the sportive direction of Circus-Wanty Gobert in 2021. The 62 year old Italian is currently sports director with Team CCC. After a 10 year career as a pro rider, Valerio Piva discovered the role of sports director in 2002 with Mapei, before joining Vlaanderen-T-Interim and T-Mobile which became HTC-Columbia. After two years with Team Katusha until 2014, the Lombard began in the structure of Jim Ochowicz to lead the teams BMC and CCC. The resident of Riemst in Belgium will bring his World Tour experience in the sportive direction of Circus-Wanty Gobert, which is already composed of Hilaire Van der Schueren, Steven De Neef, Jean-Marc Rossignon and Bart Wellens.

Valerio Piva: “During those seven years, I experienced a lot of sportive emotions together with Jim Ochowicz. Unfortunately, the CCC project couldn’t continue, but I’m very happy about the association with Circus-Wanty Gobert. I felt honoured when Jean-François invited me to join the team. I’m convinced that we can achieve great performances together! We will reach new milestones, and we’ve got the same philosophy. We’ve got a lot of work to do, together, with the riders and the staff, to let our jersey shine and to achieve nice results in the World Tour. The passion radiated by the team motivates me a lot!”

Jean-François Bourlart (general manager): “We care about the continuity of the CCC project and the Continuum Sports structure, so it seemed logical for us to rely on their experience. We can count on experimented people, who know the World Tour. After the recruitment of Aike Visbeek at the head of our Performance section, Valerio is an excellent reinforcement for our sportive direction. His years in the cars of the prestigious World Tour teams is complementary to the experience of Aike Visbeek or Hilaire Van der Schueren. We can approach the step up to a higher level with serenity.”


Team Sunweb Add Phil West to Coaching Staff
Team Sunweb are happy to announce the addition of Phil West (GBR) to their coaching staff for the 2021 season.

West began his career in the sport as a professional cyclist, riding for the Great Britain Cycling Team where he had success on the track and road. Making the transition to his off the bike role in the sport, West took up a position as a Talent Coach with British Cycling. Progressing into a role as Sports Director, he also helped guide many of Britain’s biggest talents before moving into an organisational role with British Cycling. Always staying within the sport of cycling, gathering a wealth of experience, West was a Sports Director for two years with One Pro Cycling before recently being Head of Operations at Velon. Now joining Team Sunweb in 2021, West has realised his dream of coming back and coaching at the highest level.

On joining Team Sunweb Phil West said: “I am really excited to be joining Team Sunweb. As one of the world’s foremost professional sports teams, Team Sunweb bring a huge amount of passion to their work. As a team they separate themselves from others with their process driven focus and throughout our dialogue it was clear to me that we shared the same values, mindset and enthusiasm. I knew this was an opportunity I wanted to take with both hands and I look forward to working with my new colleagues and re-connecting with some old ones at Team Sunweb as part of a motivated and passionate team.”

Team Sunweb head of coaching Rudi Kemna added: “In Phil we see a very good coach who also has great organisational qualities. He’s gained a lot of experience in cycling from his roles at British Cycling and One Pro Cycling, and that will be of added value to us. He believes in our ethos and shares similar values to us and we’re confident that he will be able to translate that into the team.”

Team Sunweb:


Deceuninck – Quick-Step tops 2020 Victory Ranking
Rémi Cavagna named most aggressive rider of Vuelta a España, the last race of the season.

Since 2012, Deceuninck – Quick-Step has finished each year as the most victorious team in the world, and not even a complicated and truncated season like the one that just ended could stop the Wolfpack from repeating this remarkable performance. First at the top of the victory classification before the lockdown, our squad picked up where it left off at the end of July and continued to rack up wins in one-day races, stage races and Grand Tours alike, remaining in the driving seat until the curtain came down, on November 8, in Madrid.

Fifteen different riders scored 39 victories in 12 countries across three continents, taking Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s all-time tally close to an astonishing 800 wins. The icing on the cake was put by Julian Alaphilippe, in Imola, where the Frenchman soloed to the biggest victory of his career, the World Championships, which will see him sport the iconic rainbow jersey for a whole year.

“We have a saying: The Wolfpack Never Gives Up! We showed that again this year, maybe the most trying since the team’s inception. We faced many hurdles, from the pandemic that turned everything upside down to the numerous injuries that plagued our team, but we kept fighting, believing and making the most out of every situation. That’s why I want to congratulate everybody – riders, staff, and sponsors – who worked hard so we could stay at the top. This superb achievement is a testament to the team’s unique mentality and DNA,” said Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere.

Another Frenchman, Rémi Cavagna, picked up a trophy for Deceuninck – Quick-Step on the very last day of the season, minutes after Sam Bennett finished runner-up in Madrid, taking to the podium in the Spanish capital, where he was rewarded for his numerous attacks and breakaways at the Vuelta a España, one of which brought him close to a second Grand Tour stage victory. Six weeks after concluding the Tour de France, the “TGV of Clermont-Ferrand” didn’t show any signs of slowing down and this didn’t go unnoticed, as he became the first Frenchman in history to be named most combative rider of La Vuelta.

“This award is very special and makes me extremely proud. I didn’t win a stage, but I was six times in a breakaway, always trying to make the race more spectacular. I like being in a breakaway and I was happy every time I found myself at the front in the past couple of weeks. It’s not a question of planning, more a question of feeling, I just like to attack and improvise once I am in the lead. I know I can’t win sprints, so I always try to do something crazy, something that people will remember, like I did in Ardèche, in the beginning of the year. That is why being on the podium here and getting this trophy is so special,” a delighted Rémi said.

Rémi Cavagna:


Ian Stannard Forced to Retire Early
After a hugely successful career, British rider Ian Stannard has been forced to retire from professional racing due to rheumatoid arthritis.

Stannard has been with the Team since its launch in 2010 and has played a huge part in its success for over a decade. Former national champion Stannard ends his racing career with seven wins, including two at the Tour of Britain, and as a key member of five Grand Tour winning lineups. But he will be most fondly remembered for his efforts in the Classics, winning back-to-back editions of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2014 and 2015, before riding to third at Paris-Roubaix in 2016.

Stannard said: “It’s disappointing to have to stop like this but it is clearly the right decision for my health and my family. We have explored all of the options this year to deal with my condition, and the team has been there with me every step of the way. I started to hope that I could manage the problem during lockdown, but as soon as I returned to racing I knew that my body wouldn’t be able to perform at any level anymore.”

INEOS Grenadiers Doctor Richard Usher said: “Ian was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 12 months ago. It has caused him severe inflammation in the joints, and Ian has had pain in his wrists, knees and ankles. We have tried various treatments but ultimately Ian has taken the best decision for his long term health.”

Stannard became a pro as part of Britain’s golden generation of cyclists, graduating from the British Cycling academy alongside the likes of Geraint Thomas, Ben Swift and Mark Cavendish. He stagiaired with T-Mobile and cut his teeth in the pro ranks at Belgian team Landbouwkrediet, before joining Team Sky at the start of the 2010 season.

INEOS Grenadiers principal Dave Brailsford said: “Ian is a rider who gives so much to the race and his team mates and we all know that he always leaves it all out there on the road. He is one of the hardest, grittiest riders there is, whether racing hard on the cobbles of Belgium or pulling on the front at the Tour de France. He has been a core part of our team since day one and we will miss him, but he can look back proudly on a career that’s captured the true spirit of our sport and thrilled so many British cycling fans.”

Stannard continued: “Growing up, the Classics captured my imagination. I always wanted to go over and race on the cobbles. Back in the first year of the Team, I finished third at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne in the worst conditions I’ve still ever raced in. Even now, our DS Servais Knaven still asks if I have dried out! I think there were only 26 finishers, and I’ve always thrived in those conditions. My favourite win was undoubtedly the second Omloop victory. I’d broken my back the year before, and the recovery process was the hardest I had to endure in my career. Then to beat three Quick-Step riders, in Belgium… It doesn’t get much better really. People still ask me about that win all the time. I wanted to keep racing and that competitive fire still burns within me. But I am proud of what I have achieved in the sport and look back at my career with great pride, especially racing for this team. It’s been a dream come true.”

Ian Stannard – Het Nieuwsblad’15:


Dave Rayner Dinner 2020
The Rayner Foundation Dinner is obviously not going ahead this year. It would have been next Saturday 14th November in the usual venue in Leeds. The 40 riders that we supported this year are very disappointed not to be able to get together, some of them have never been before. In fact all of us are very disappointed not to be able to meet up.

It is important to us that we let everyone know that we continue to support young riders into next season. We have lots of applications which we are working through right now. We have decided to use the opportunity next Saturday to organised a Virtual Dinner. Sounds strange, we know. But basically it’s a chance for everyone to jump on Social Media and post messages and photos showing support for the Rayner Foundation.

We have set up an event on FaceBook.

Please could you click on GOING. Please could you share the invitation to your relevant contacts. On the evening, load up your message of support using #RaynerDinner2020
USE FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM we are @DaveRaynerFund #DaveRaynerFund #RaynerDinner2020

Rob Hatch is going to Host. We have a very special Guest of Honour. We will present the Trophy to the Rider of the Year. We have some of our older riders sending messages. We have a couple of tasty items for the Auction – working out how to do this online at the moment. There is no charge to accept but we would encourage donations if any guests are so inclined.

Dave Rayner:



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