Good news as a new sponsor, Manuela Fundación, joins GreenEDGE – Top Story. Jumbo-Visma co-sponsor HEMA in trouble and Rally talk to Team CCC. Spain opens its borders and new dates for the Italian Classics. Race news from La Vuelta, Tour de France, Volta a Portugal, De Ronde, Tour of Luxembourg, Hageland, Hamburg and the Vuelta a Burgos. We hear from riders: Dumoulin, Naesen, Bettiol, Nizzolo, Van Avermaet, Campenaerts, Martinez, Cant and Dainese. Plus UCI champs jerseys rule, team news from Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Trek-Segafredo, Astana, Team Novo Nordisk and Tormans. WPCC cancelled and Sunweb’s new kit. Coffee and time for a EUROTRASH read.
TOP STORY: Good News: Manuela Fundación Takes Over from Mitchelton
GreenEDGE Cycling will be called ‘Team Manuela Fundación’ for the remainder of the 2020 season, and fully incorporate a new ‘look’ when racing resumes, thanks to a new agreement with the Manuela Fundación.
The long-term agreement comes as welcome news in a difficult period for the global sport industry with impacts from COVID-19, such as competition cancellations and postponements and job losses and pay cuts, reaching from cycling to the NFL, to the Olympic Games and beyond.
Based in Granada, Manuela Fundación is a Spanish not-for-profit entity run by Mr. Francisco Huertas and his wife Mrs. Maria Angustias González, with all its activities supported by his own funds.
The aim of the Manuela Fundación is ‘to help create a more supportive world’.
The Manuela Fundación will officially launch on the 4th of October with an overly ambitious project in aid of social work. In these early years it will focus on Spain.
Francisco Huertas, Manuela Fundación: “It’s been an intense period of hard work between Manuela Fundación sports director Emilio Rodríguez and Mitchelton-SCOTT general manager Shayne Bannan. It’s an incredible opportunity and an honour to be able to reach this agreement. We want to thank Gerry Ryan for all of his work and contribution so far, which has taken the team to its best. Now we will continue to boost this legacy and give great joy to the fans of this sport.”
Gerry Ryan, team owner GreenEDGE Cycling: “After an unsettling and uncertain period, particularly in recent months, we are thrilled to have the support of Mr Francisco Huertas and the Manuela Fundación to ensure our future in 2021 and beyond. We have always believed in our product and values as a team for perspective partners, but the significance of this long-term deal is not lost on us, especially considering the recent hardships of not only the cycling world and sports industry, but the wider world’s health and economic climate. As an organisation, we are moved by the story of the Manuela Fundación and are looking forward to working with such a generous project and doing our part to contribute to their vision of helping to create a more supportive world.”
Bad News: Jumbo-Visma’s sponsor HEMA in trouble
The Dutch retail chain HEMA, which has been a co-sponsor at Jumbo-Visma since 1 January, is in serious financial difficulties. This Monday, holding company AMEH will have to repay a loan of around €50 million. If not, creditors can file for bankruptcy.
HEMA has been making losses for years, in its own words, due to the high debt burden of €750 million, but at the end of 2018, Dutch investor Marcel Boekhoorn seemed to save the retail chain from destruction. Boekhoorn acquired HEMA from the British Lion Capital at the end of 2018 and promised to significantly reduce the debt burden. Boekhoorn, however, did not keep his promise. The businessman has not yet succeeded in selling the bakeries of HEMA, so loans cannot be repaid. Boekhoorn is also involved in a fierce battle with HEMA creditors about paying off the debt. Boekhoorn only wants to invest money if the creditors cancel part of the account, the creditors want to become the owner of HEMA in return. Both parties are looking at The Hague, in the hope that the Dutch government is prepared to guarantee the repayment of part of the loans. However, it is questionable whether the government is prepared to step into the breach financially.
The financial situation is as follows: HEMA currently has 750 million bonds outstanding, but these loans need to be repaid ‘only’ in 2022 and 2023. A larger problem is that the holding company above HEMA suffers from additional debt (so-called ‘PIK notes’) of €50 million, an amount to be repaid on Monday. However, according to NRC, the chance is very small that the company will meet its obligation on Monday, which means that in theory, creditors can go to court to file for the bankruptcy of holding company AMEH. It is unclear whether HEMA will suffer the same fate, since creditors are unlikely to see any of their money in bankruptcy.
In that case, the fighting parties may opt to postpone the repayment term. Cycling team Jumbo-Visma will hope for a good outcome, although the team does not have to worry about the financial and therefore sporting future. According to Dutch cycling website WielerFlits, the sponsorship contribution from HEMA – a commercial partner of Jumbo Supermarkten – is relatively modest.
Parent company Blokker wants to take over HEMA
Mirage Retail Group, Blokker’s parent company, wants to acquire retail chain HEMA. The group wants to reach an agreement with the creditors as soon as possible. Blokker CEO Michiel Witteveen explains. “We made an offer to creditors last Thursday. We want to reach an agreement with the aim of reducing the mountain of debt. It is the intention that everyone hands in and then we are also willing to contribute money ourselves to make HEMA a healthy company again,” Witteveen said to De Telegraaf.
Update: Boekhoorn does not agree with creditors
Department store chain HEMA appears to be in the hands of the creditors. Investment company Ramphastos of HEMA owner Marcel Boekhoorn says that it has not reached an agreement with the creditors to reduce the debts. Boekhoorn says it has made an offer of €523 million, but that offer “would not have been seriously considered”. Boekhoorn wanted to make a payment of €50 million (which must be paid on Monday) only if the debt of 750 million euros would be reduced. Because there is no agreement, everything indicates that Boekhoorn will not make that repayment and will therefore hand over HEMA. With this, Boekhoorn gives control of the retail chain to creditors. They may be looking for new investors. It was previously announced that the company above Blokker wants to take over HEMA. The direct consequences for the sponsorship of Jumbo-Visma are not yet known.
Will HEMA disappear from the Jumbo-Visma jersey?
Rally Interested in Taking Over the CCC Team
Team CCC is looking for a new title sponsor as the current main sponsor, shoe manufacturer CCC, will withdraw after this season. If we can believe the Italian La Gazzetta dello Sport, the American company Rally is interested in stepping in.
“Looking ahead to 2021, CCC will no longer be the title sponsor, so we are now actively looking for a new title sponsor,” Ochowicz said on Monday, June 8. “We are in an uncertain time, but we are convinced that there are companies that want to invest in cycling because of the increasing popularity.”
Ochowicz now seems to have found a potential new main sponsor in Rally. The health company knows the cycling world from the inside out, since Rally has long been a sponsor of cycling team Rally Cycling. This team rides on a ProTeam license this season and has nurtured riders such as Sepp Kuss and Brandon McNulty in the past.
According to La Gazetta dello Sport, Rally and Ochowicz may reach an agreement soon. However, there are still some creases to be ironed out. For example, the CCC Team has a contract with bicycle manufacturer Giant, while Rally has an ongoing commitment with Felt. The consequences of the possible deal for Rally’s current team is unknown.
Tour of Sicily winner Brandon McNulty was a Rally rider:
Spain Opens Borders
Good news for the cyclists in Spain who want to prepare for the restart of the season: On June 21, Spain will open its borders for other Schengen countries. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told all the provincial government and to the public on Spanish media.
Three months ago, on March 14, a state of emergency was declared as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and the borders were closed to prevent further spread. With the emergency in Spain ending on June 21, the borders are opening early. Travellers then no longer have to self-quarantine for two weeks after their trip. Originally it was going to be on July 1.
There seems to be one exception within Europe: the border with neighbouring Portugal will only open on 1 July at the request of the Portuguese government. On that date, the Spanish king will be attending a ceremony with the Prime Minister of Portugal to “celebrate” that border opening.
Travellers from non-European countries also have to wait until July 1. Travel is allowed, provided there is a travel agreement with Spain. The situation of the coronavirus in the country concerned is taken into account. For example, the Prime Minister of Spain has expressed doubts about the current situation in North and South America, United Kingdom and Russia.
Spanish training camps:
Official Dates Confirmed for RCS Sport’s One-Day Races
All RCS Sport’s 2020 one-day races are to take place in August. Strade Bianche will open the calendar on 1st August, Milano-Sanremo will be the first Classic Monument of the season on 8th August, with Il Lombardia last of the one-day races on 15th August. Dates are confirmed for Tirreno-Adriatico (7-14 September) and Giro d’Italia (3-25 October).
The first of RCS Sport’s 2020 one-day race events will be Strade Bianche and Strade Bianche Women Elite on Saturday 1 August.
The complete race calendar for the 2020 season has been made official by the UCI, including RCS Sport’s one-day race events.
The first of RCS Sport’s one-day race events will be Strade Bianche, and Strade Bianche Women Elite, “Europe’s most Southern Northern Classic” which will take place in the unique scenery of the Crete Senesi on Saturday 1 August. Last year Julian Alaphilippe and Annemiek Van Vleuten won the men’s and women’s races respectively.
On Wednesday 5 August Milano-Torino (won in 2019 by Michael Woods from Alejandro Valverde and Adam Yates) will serve as an appetiser to the first Classic Monument of the season, Milano-Sanremo on Saturday 8 August, when the hunt will be on for the title claimed by Julian Alaphilippe in 2019.
On Wednesday 12 August the GranPiemonte (Egan Bernal saw victory at the Oropa Sanctuary in 2019) will precede Il Lombardia. The Classic of the Dead Leaves, which historically closes the professional international cycling calendar, is scheduled on Saturday 15 August. In 2019 the Dutchman Bauke Mollema won Il Lombardia ahead of Alejandro Valverde and Egan Bernal.
RCS Sport commented: “We acknowledge the calendar published today by the UCI. As per tradition, Strade Bianche will open the one-day race season and Milano-Sanremo will be the first Classic Monument, followed by Il Lombardia.
“At this point we think about starting off safely and organising the races in the best possible way. These calendar dates are a new challenge and will enter into the history of cycling, since these races have never been held in this period, and can symbolise the restart of our country and of our sport.”
Strade Bianche and Strade Bianche Women Elite: Saturday 1 August
Milano-Torino: Wednesday 5 August
Milano-Sanremo: Saturday 8 August
GranPiemonte: Wednesday 12 August
Il Lombardia: Saturday 15 August.
First up – Strade Bianche:
Puebla de Sanabria and Salamanca Join La Vuelta 20 Route
Puebla de Sanabria and Salamanca will take over from Porto. Mastosinhos and Viseu as the hosts of stages 15 and 16 of La Vuelta 20, respectively. Puebla de Sanabria will be the finish-line of stage 15, with a departure from Mos. Salamanca will host the departure of stage 16, with the finish-line in Ciudad Rodrigo and the entire day taking place within the Province of Salamanca.
Due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 global health crisis and, following the impossibility of hosting La Vuelta 20 in Portugal under the best possible conditions, Unipublic has reconfigured the race’s route, replacing the two Portuguese host cities by Spanish ones.
Stage 15 (5/11) will depart from the Galician town of Mos and will find its finish-line in the Zamoran municipality of Puebla de Sanabria, replacing Porto. Matosinhos. On the other hand, Salamanca will be the departure point for stage 16 (6/11), replacing the Portuguese locality of Viseu, in a stage that will maintain its finish-line in Ciudad Rodrigo.
Puebla de Sanabria and Salamanca already have La Vuelta experience. The Zamoran locality was the finish-line for stage 7 in La Vuelta 16, where victory went to Belgian rider Jonas van Genechten. Salamanca has hosted 21 La Vuelta stage departures, the most recent one being in 2018 (stage 10), leaving from its Plaza Mayor (Main Plaza), and providing an iconic image in the history of La Vuelta.
Stages 15 snd 16
Two Very Demanding Stages
These changes will not only affect the host cities but also the stage profiles. Stage 15 will now become the edition’s longest stage, spanning over 234,6km. “Judging by the type of route and by the length of the stage, it will be a favourable day for escapes to take place”, explained Fernando Escartín, Technical Director of La Vuelta. “It is a winding terrain and it’ll be difficult for the peloton to control those breakaways. Besides, contrary to what happened in 2016, this time Puebla de Sanabria will feature in the final week of the race, meaning teams will have much less energy”.
In the 16th stage, the third-last day of racing, Escartín focuses on the climb of El Robledo (Casares): “A 1st category climb 30 km from the finish-line will create a natural selection of the peloton. It is likely that a reduced group, made up of 30-40 riders, will arrive together. The riders fighting for GC will have to really concentrate, as a mistake so close to the end could cost them dearly”, he warns.
More information about La Vuelta: www.lavuelta.com
A Safe passage in the Volta a Portugal
In Portugal, the calendar will accelerate next month, with the aim of organising the Volta a Portugal in a safe manner at the end of July. The stage race is the flagship of Portuguese cycling and João Paulo Rebelo (State Secretary for Sport) also sees it that way.
The national cycling federation, team bosses and several representatives of the cyclists have called in a manifesto to restart cycling in Portugal soon after the outbreak of the corona virus. In doing so, they want to keep as many jobs as possible and give partners confidence. The government is full of praise for the association’s plan to start cycling early.
To allow the Volta a Portugal (July 29-August 9) to continue as safely as possible, the government designated the Trofeu Joaquim Agostinho as a test competition earlier that month, planned to run from July 18 to 20.
“That will be a pilot race before we make a final decision on the Volta a Portugal,” said Rebelo at the opening of a new cycle path network in Torres Vedras. “If it can continue, it will of course be in a different form. But everything is on schedule for the Volta a Portugal.”
Tour 21: Vosges Stage with Finish at La Planche des Belles Filles
The Tour de France in 2020 will have a time trial with a finish at La Planche des Belles Filles. According to the local paper L’Alsace, there is a good chance that the Vosges climb will also make an appearance in the Tour de France next year.
The local authorities are said to have already signed an agreement with Tour organiser ASO to organise a mountain stage through the Vosges in 2021 with a finish at La Planche des Belles Filles. The riders then have to start in Gérardmer, and cross the Col de Bramont and the Grand Ballon.
The Grand Ballon (12 km at 7.1%) is currently not accessible to cyclists due to roadworks, but the intention is that the riders will ride all the way to the top next year, before descending towards the all-important La Planche des Belles Filles. This climb was first used in 2012 by the Tour.
Chris Froome won on this steep Vosges climb eight years ago. Vincenzo Nibali, Fabio Aru and Dylan Teuns have been victorious at the top. Teuns defeated his Italian break companion Giulio Ciccone last year in an exciting final. It is certain that the Tour will start next year in the Danish capital of Copenhagen.
Fabio Aru won on La Planche des Belles Filles in 2017:
Geraardsbergen Not in Tour of Flanders 2020
The Muur van Geraardsbergen has always been linked to the Tour of Flanders, but the steep cobbled climb will not be part of “Flanders’ Most Beautiful” this year, organiser Flanders Classics said in a press release.
With the Brabantse Pijl (October 7), Gent-Wevelgem (October 11), the Scheldeprijs (October 14) and finally the Tour of Flanders (October 18), there are still four Flanders Classics on the revised cycling calendar. The organisation has decided to change the courses a bit and to shorten the races in view of the busy autumn calendar that awaits the teams.
For the Brabantse Pijl, Gent-Wevelgem, the Scheldeprijs and the Tour of Flanders, it concerns a limited reduction of the total race distance, whereby the classic key points are preserved in the finalé. This has caused the Tour of Flanders to lose the Muur van Geraardsbergen from the course.
The final remains unchanged, including the dreaded Koppenberg and the now well-known duo Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg. The race kilometres will be taken after the first climb of the Oude Kwaremont, so that Tenbosse and the Muur will disappear for this year, but the Valkenberg will be included.
Flanders Classics has also decided to completely delete the passage across French territory in the men’s edition of Gent-Wevelgem. As a result, some slopes disappear, such as the Catsberg, Zwarte Berg and Vert Mont. To provide the race with the necessary selection, an extra passage on the Kemmelberg is included. The Plugstreets and the Moeren also remain part of the race course.
As planned, the Scheldeprijs will cross the border in to the Netherlands and will still start in Terneuzen. What will change is the passage through Zeeland, which will be slightly modified for this edition. The peloton then heads for Schoten for the classic final with three local laps. At the end of the third local loop, the finish will be on Churchilllaan.
Finally, the Brabantse Pijl final remains unchanged with the climbs of Hagaard, Hertstraat, Holstheide and Schavei. However, this year the men will complete one local lap in and around Beersel, including climbs of the Bruin Put, Menisberg and Lotsestraat.
Climbs of the 2020 Tour of Flanders:
1. Oude Kwaremont – 117,2 km
2. Kortekeer – 127,8 km
3. Eikenberg – 135,5 km
4. Wolvenberg – 138,4 km
5. Leberg – 147,1 km
6. Berendries – 151,2 km
7. Valkenberg – 156,5 km
8. Kanarieberg – 169,6 km
9. Oude Kwaremont 185,5 km
10. Paterberg – 189,0 km
11. Koppenberg – 195,6 km
12. Steenbeekdries – 201,0 km
13. Taaienberg – 203,5 km
14. Kruisberg/Hotond – 214,1 km
15. Oude Kwaremont – 223,9 km
16. Paterberg – 227,4 km
Total Distance: 240,6 km.
No Muur in Flanders 2020:
Tour of Luxembourg With Fans
Many organisers are still struggling with the question whether spectators can be admitted to the race and if so, in what way. But the Tour of Luxembourg, part of the ProSeries, the event will go ahead with the public.
“We organise everything as usual. We comply with any restrictions, but we are preparing a race for the public,” said race board member Benoît Theisen in the Luxembourg daily newspaper L’Essentiel. The tour has a new place on the calendar this year, which was already established before the corona crisis. In recent years, the race has been held in early June, but in 2020 the race will take place in September.
On the rescheduled UCI calendar, the Tour of Luxembourg is now in the middle of the final week of the Tour de France, postponed due to corona. “Cycling is in the spotlight and it is better to compete with three races from the WorldTour,” says Theisen. “Three WorldTour teams have already agreed to participate and we hope for five. We have received more requests for the ProTeams than we have.”
Trek-Segafredo, Nippo Delko One Provence and W52/FC Porto are known to be on the start line. AG2R-La Mondiale, Cofidis and UAE Team Emirates are considering it. To make the race more attractive, teams with only six riders are allowed to compete instead of seven. In addition, the organisation hopes to seduce riders who do not ride the Tour, but want to prepare for the World championships, the Giro d’Italia or the Vuelta a España.
The Tour of Luxembourg starts on Tuesday, September 15 and finishes on Saturday, September 19.
Luxembourg’18 stage 3 win for Pasqualon:
Twelve WorldTour Teams for the Vuelta a Burgos
According to the Spanish newspaper El Confidencial, twelve WorldTour teams will start in the Vuelta a Burgos next month. Jumbo-Visma, Team Ineos, Movistar and Bahrain-McLaren are said to be four of the teams in the 2.Pro race, which is a preparation race for the Tour de France.
Bora-Hansgrohe, Trek-Segafredo, Cofidis, NTT, UAE Team Emirates, Israel Cycling Academy, Astana and the new Manuela Fundácion team will also be in Burgos, which according to the organiser had forty requests from teams to participate.
There will be a strong field and several leaders have already confirmed they will start in the climbers race recently, including the steep ramps of El Picón Blanco and Lagunas de Neila. Richard Carapaz, Alejandro Valverde, Enric Mas, Mikel Landa, Steven Kruijswijk, Nairo Quintana, Simon Yates, Adam Yates and Miguel Ángel López are all to be in Burgos.
The Vuelta a Burgos is on the new cycling calendar from July 28 to August 1.
Nozzolo stage 1 win in Burgos’19:
Dumoulin on the Froome Transfer
Tom Dumoulin was reminded of his own transfer troubles at Team Sunweb when he heard the news that Chris Froome was considering a departure from Team Ineos.
The news recently circulated that Froome might be leaving Team Ineos in the middle of this season. He would like to be the leader in the Tour de France, but given the opposition from Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas within his own team, he would consider the possibilities of leaving this summer. “I had to think about my own troubles,” Dumoulin said in an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws.
The 2017 Giro winner canceled his ongoing contact with Team Sunweb last year to switch to Jumbo-Visma. “That’s not fun. I don’t know if I should believe the messages, but if he wants to switch during the season, it will take energy.” Froome would have been freed from the internal competition with a transfer, but at the same time he would lose a strong team. “I have been very different since last year,” said Dumoulin.
At Sunweb, the entire team raced for him in the Tour: “Now I am not alone anymore. We will soon be riding for who is in the best position. If Steven Kruijswijk is the best of the team, Tom Dumoulin will ride for Steven and then Primož Roglič will ride for Steven. If Primož is the best, the team rides for him. If it turns out that I am the best, they drive for me. That makes a very strong team.”
According to the Jumbo-Visma leader, that is the same situation for Chris Froome at Ineos. If he turns out to be the best, he has master servants you can only dream of. “I can’t speak for Froome. He must start from his own strength, which is possible with every team. The last ten kilometres of a climb is everyone for themselves. No matter which team, we will have to beat him anyway.”
Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Tom Dumoulin and Primoz Roglic – Tour de France 2018 stage 17 to Saint-Lary-Soulan:
Oliver Naesen Doesn’t Like Shortened Classics
Oliver Naesen is disappointed that the four remaining Flanders Classics are shortened because of the busy calendar. “A rider who is the best over 200 kilometres will not just win a race of 260 kilometres. Because the 200-kilometre limit that exists.”
Naesen prefers his races to be long, heavy and hard and so the cuts for the classics-man are not good. “Too bad”, Naesen continues to Sporza. “In a race of 260 kilometres you have to do your best to finish in the front. Those long races are all I can do well. For me, the course remains survival of the fittest. That’s why I think it’s a shame, although I may squeak differently at the end of October.”
Oliver Naesen on the cobbles:
Alberto Bettiol: Giro or Classics?
It is not certain if Alberto Bettiol will defend his Tour of Flanders win this autumn. The EF Pro Cycling rider spoke to Tuttobiciweb, saying he would like to ride the Giro d’Italia, but it is at the same time as “De Ronde” and Paris-Roubaix.
“My goal this autumn is to go back to Belgium and show me there. That would satisfy me personally” said Bettiol. “The team has only planned the August calendar so far. I will do Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo. I would also like to ride the Giro, but in October there are also the classics. But the most important thing is to start racing again, that’s what counts.”
Bettiol expects a stunning short season. “It will be strange to immediately race a top classic with so few races in the legs. I expect surprises, because there are riders who have been able to train all this time and riders who have had to do that on the rollers for a long time.”
At the age of 26, Bettiol is still young and he sees a generation that win early. “Cycling has changed. Now you win the Tour at the age of 20, such as Bernal, or immediately make a big impression, such as Evenepoel. I consider myself out there. I was not really exploited in youth, so I can still make a lot of progress.”
2019 Flanders winner – Alberto Bettiol:
Giacomo Nizzolo to the Flemish Classics
Giacomo Nizzolo wants to test himself in the Flemish Classics this autumn, the NTT Pro Cycling sprinter said in an interview with Tuttosport. “As an Italian, the Giro d’Italia is a special race, but at the same time there are the Classics in which I want to test myself.”
“The fact that we now have a race calendar has something positive mentally. It provides motivation and we can set goals,” said the sprinter. “Physically we are now in a period of reconstruction. The training is not yet demanding. I still have the feeling that something is missing.”
Nizzolo had planned his calendar. He was to start in the Vuelta a Burgos (July 28-August 1) and then work towards Milan-San Remo via the Tour of Poland (August 5-9). Now that “La Primavera” is on August 8 that might change.
Nizzolo has made Milan-San Remo a goal after he finished 20th last year. “In recent years I have not been able to drive that course much, but this season I was convinced to start there. Whether it is going better this year? We will only then know that answer. I think your approach and the quality of your training will make all the difference in this special season.”
The Tour de France also seems a certainty for the sprinter who has already won a stage in the Tour Down Under and Paris-Nice this spring. Especially because he prefers participation in the Classics over the Giro. He focuses, among other things, on Gent-Wevelgem. “It is most suitable for fast men, so I look at it with great interest. I am also thinking of the Tour of Flanders, and why not Paris-Roubaix?”
Giacomo Nizzolo at the TDU’20:
Steels: “Dauphiné better Tour preparation than Milan-San Remo”
Tom Steels believes that an ideal preparation for the Tour de France has priority over riding a large one-day race. Many riders may face that dilemma if Milan-San Remo is moved to August 15, along with the Critérium du Dauphiné. “The Tour screams for the most ideal preparation. If there has to be another big race for that to fall, it will happen,” Steels said.
“Everyone knows the importance of the Tour. The weight of that race is enormous, where you start with your best pawns. That also screams for the most ideal preparation,” the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team DS said to Het Laatste Nieuws. He believes that the team leaders with enough race kilometres should be at the Tour start. Even if that means that Julian Alaphilippe cannot defend his title in Milan-San Remo.
“They should not appear in Nice with too few competition kilometres in their legs,” said Steels. “You can simulate a lot in training, but not the riding in the peloton, the twisting and pushing, the typical stress and hectic… After such a long period of inactivity, it takes some getting used to.”
At Lotto Soudal, Milan-San Remo will be given priority in the event of a move to August 15. Manager John Lelangue thinks it’s a better date. “With the Primavera on August 8, you only got Strade Bianche and Milan-Turin as dress rehearsals. Not enough for riders who have to ride a Classic monument of almost 300 kilometres. Now Gilbert, Degenkolb and co. schedule a stage race in the run-up. Another ‘bubble’ can combine the Tour de l’Ain with the Dauphiné.”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step DS Tom Steels pushes Stybar:
Van Avermaet Not Going to Lotto Soudal
John Lelangue has no plans to bring Greg Van Avermaet to Lotto Soudal. “In my view, it would be disrespectful to the Olympic champion and our current leaders,” Lotto Soudal’s team manager told La Dernière Heure.
Lelangue has a past with Van Avermaet, the two worked together at BMC. Now Lelangue leads the Lotto Soudal team with Philippe Gilbert, John Degenkolb and Tim Wellens as top men. “Greg is a super rider and someone I love, but it wouldn’t make sense to get a specialist for the Flemish classics from a core group that already consists of Gilbert, Degenkolb and Wellens.”
Van Avermaet recently announced that he is open to offers, as his current team CCC will lose the main sponsor at the end of this season. However, Greg prefers to stay with team boss Jim Ochowicz, if he finds a new sponsor. Lotto Soudal is not yet considering transfers or contract extensions. “Why should I get nervous? I still have fifteen riders under contract, including our leaders,” Lelangue told WielerFlits.
Van Avermaet won’t be joining degenkolb at Lotto Soudal:
Campenaerts On NTT Manager Riis
Bjarne Riis has been the general manager of the South African WorldTour formation NTT Pro Cycling since January and rider Victor Campenaerts is clearly pleased with the approach of the 1996 Tour winner. “Bjarne is a winner and a motivator,” the time trial specialist told Sporza.
After his active cycling career, 56-year-old Riis chose a future as a team manager at CSC and its successor Tinkoff-Saxo. The Dane is now working with NTT Pro Cycling. Campenaerts: “He can convince you before a race that you will be part of the first echelon.”
“Riis makes you believe that your place is in the first group. It is therefore better to be with you. I am definitely a fan of him,” says Campenaerts, who recently also started working with Michael Rogers. The three-time time trial world champion was hired by Riis in early January to teach the NTT riders the intricacies of the time trial trade.
Campenaerts says he has learnt a lot from Rogers. “It is very interesting. I had never had anyone as a guide who achieved more in time trial than I did. Rogers let me train more on explosiveness. As a time trialist he has good experiences with it and then you take such advice faster.”
“Rogers also has experience in round work, which can come in handy later in my career,” said Campenaerts. The Belgian this year focuses mainly on the Giro d’Italia and the time trial championships.
Campenaerts looking for improvements:
Former Olympic Champion Martinez Makes a Comeback
Miguel Martinez (44) is making a return to the peloton. The Olympic mountain biking champion of the Sydney Olympics has signed a contract to race on the road with continental team Amore e Vita. Martinez is not unfamiliar with road cycling as the Frenchman raced for Phonak and Mapei in the past.
It is no coincidence that Martinez makes his comeback with the small Amore e Vita team. The Frenchman also ended his road career there twelve years ago. That year Martinez had a stage victory in the Tour de Beauce. In L’Equipe, the 44-year-old rider explains his contract. “It is a contract that can be renewed after six months. I don’t get paid for it, but I don’t care. Passion is more important than money.”
Miguel Martinez in the 2002 Tour with Mapei:
Sanne Cant Dreams of Strade Bianche with New Road Team
In the coming years, Sanne Cant will also be seen more on the road. The three-time cyclocross World champion will also pursue her goals on the road. “I have many dreams,” she says. “Strade Bianche is one of them.”
“But if I will ever be able to ride the Strade?” Cant asks herself on Sporza. “It depends a bit on its place on the calendar in the coming years. Together with the Strade, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix are the three most beautiful races there are. Hopefully I can participate in those races someday.”
Participation would be a great addition to Cant’s already rich career. “It would be nice if you could say after your career that you not only raced beautiful crosses, but also those three beautiful races on the road.”
She does not know when she will ride these races. It is certain that there will be racing on the road this season, provided that the corona virus allows it. “Normally I will ride a few races on the road this year. If I know when we can ride our first races, I will put a little more intensity into my training.”
World cross champ – Sanne Cant:
Alberto Dainese Wants to Ride the Giro d’Italia
Alberto Dainese does not yet know what his season looks like, but being an Italian, hopes to ride the Giro. “There is a stage with the finish in the town of Monselice, a stone’s throw from my house,” said the Sunweb sprinter to TuttoBiciWeb.
Dainese started his first season at WorldTour level with two places in the top ten in the Tour Down Under, followed by a third place in the Race Torquay and a win in the Herald Sun Tour. In the UAE Tour he then fought with sprinters Dylan Groenewegen, Fernando Gaviria and Pascal Ackermann. However, the Middle East stage race was stopped early due to corona infections. Dainese is now fully training with a view to restarting the season. “The team will tell me more about my program next week.”
Dainese hopes to contest some races in Italy this season, in particular the Giro d’Italia. “I feel calm, since I already won a race this year. It really felt like a liberation. I will get going again with the necessary ambition. I hope to sprint for even more victories.”
UCI Introduces Champions Jersey New Rule
National champions may wear their jersey until the night before the new national championship. With this rule, the UCI has created clarity for countries in which it had not yet done so, Ciclo21 reports.
With this rule, the UCI prevents countries from being without a national champion for a certain period of time, as would happen in Belgium, for example, if the Belgian championship did not take place in September. The rules in Belgium prescribe that the Belgian champion may wear the tricolore until December 31 of the following year. The KNWU already had such a rule in the Netherlands, which made it clear last month that Fabio Jakobsen can still wear the red-white-blue next year.
Fabio Jakobsen can wear the jersey for a bit longer:
Jumbo-Visma to Ride Dwars door het Hageland
Jumbo-Visma will be at the start of Dwars door het Hageland on Saturday, August 15, organiser Nick Nuyens told regional broadcaster ROB-TV. Nuyens has now managed to attract three WorldTour teams, but is still in talks with five other top-level teams.
The Belgian WorldTour teams Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Lotto Soudal have already promised their participation, now Jumbo-Visma will also participate in the gravel road race. Nuyens hopes to welcome more major cycling teams soon, but does not want to say too much about the conversations.
Originally, Dwars door het Hageland, part of the Bingoal Cycling Cup, was planned for June 17, but due to the corona measures, the race could not continue at that time. The disappearance of the Prudential RideLondon created an opportunity to postpone the race on the calendar. The race now takes place on August 15.
The Hageland race was won last year by Kenneth Vanbilsen. In the final phase, the Cofidis rider rode away from his fellow escapees and then managed to hold on to the finish line. In the past, riders such as Mathieu van der Poel, Niki Terpstra and Krists Neilands also triumphed.
The race probably should not fear direct competition from Milan-San Remo, as Italian Federal President Renato Di Rocco has announced that “La Primavera” will be held on Saturday, August 8. On August 15, another great classic is on the program with the Tour of Lombardy. Dwars door het Hageland this year will be the second event in the Bingoal Cycling Cup. Fabio Jakobsen won the first race on March 8 with a sprint victory in the GP Monseré.
Kenneth Vanbilsen and Sean de Bie in Hageland’18:
Trek-Segafredo to Extend Moschetti Contract
Matteo Moschetti is about to extend his expiring contract with Trek-Segafredo. The Italian sprinter has a contract until 2022 ready, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The negotiations between Moschetti and Trek-Segafredo are still ongoing, the Italian newspaper writes. Meanwhile, the 23-year-old sprinter has recovered from the heavy fall in France early this year. During the Star of Bessèges he broke his hip socket. As a result, he would have missed a large part of the season, but for Moschetti the corona crisis came at a good time in that respect.
Moschetti made his debut in 2019 for Trek-Segafredo. Although he did not take a victory in his first professional year, he did assert himself. At the beginning of this season he managed to win two bunch sprints in the Challenge Mallorca, but he could not continue his good form due to the injury.
Matteo Moschetti wins in Palma:
Cyclassics Hamburg for Early October
The organisation of the EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg have announced that the WorldTour race will take place this year. The race has found a new date with Saturday 3 October, so that a major cycling event will still be held on German territory in 2020.
“We are very happy that we succeeded, because we are in a difficult period,” the organisation said in a short press release today. “We were already able to find a new date for the Jedermann races (popular peoples ride October 3), But we have now also succeeded with the WorldTour race.”
“This is very encouraging for German cycling.” The EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg was supposed to be held on August 16, but the organisation had to come up with an alternative plan after the outbreak of the corona crisis. The German one-day race will now have to compete in terms of media attention with the BinckBank Tour and the Giro d’Italia.
Last year, Elia Viviani made history by winning the German WorldTour race for a third time. With that, he became the record holder. The Italian sprinter got the better of Caleb Ewan and Giacomo Nizzolo.
Viviani takes Hamburg:
Astana Pro Team is getting ready to resume 2020 season
The Kazakh UCI WorldTour squad Astana Pro Team is preparing to come out from lockdown and to resume the 2020 cycling season according to the revised UCI calendar, which was forced to stop earlier in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Still following carefully the situation in the countries across Europe as well as around the world, the management of Astana Pro Team decided to create the first plans about resuming the season. If the current situation keeps developing in a positive way, the Kazakh team will organise two training camps in mid-July, splitting the team into two groups.
Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager: “Fortunately, everything slowly returns to normal. We understand that for some time we will all have to live with certain restrictions, but if the tendency continues like this, I am sure that the revised calendar that was planned by the UCI will be realised. All our riders are already training on the road in 100% mode, the guys are preparing for the reopening of the season. If everything goes well, we will organise two training camps in July. One in Spain and the other one in Italy. We hope to have really good training in the middle and second part of July in order to have the best possible start in the first races.”
All riders living in Spain as well as the Colombians, who are planning to come back to Europe in July, will do a training camp in Sierra Nevada, Spain. All other riders of the team will gather together in the Italian Dolomites.
Dmitriy Fofonov, Sports Manager: “In July, we have planned two training camps that will be held simultaneously in Sierra Nevada, Spain, and Livigno, Italy. We divided the team into two groups based on the athletes’ training plans and logistics in order to minimise movements. So, we are systematically preparing to get out of this situation and towards the first races of this new part of the season.”
Astana Pro Team is planning to restart its 2020 season with the Spanish race Vuelta a Burgos, which has been scheduled between July 28th and August 1st. It will be followed by the Italian classics (Strade Bianche, Milano-Torino and Milano-Sanremo) and the Tour de Pologne.
Dmitriy Fofonov: “At the moment, there is a calendar that looks very good. We are working closely with the race organisers and have already confirmed participation in most of the races, so we are optimistic about the future. Most of the riders are already in Europe, including almost all Kazakh riders. Only Artyom Zakharov and Dmitriy Gruzdev are still in Kazakhstan, actively training there, but they will fly to Europe as soon as it is possible. As for our Colombian guys, we have a confirmation that a charter flight will be organised for them in July. All the guys feel good, motivated and we are looking forward to the start of the competitions.”
The Astana’s management decided to build a team around the Colombian team leader Miguel Angel Lopez at the first Grand Tour of the season, the Tour de France (August 29th – September 20th). The Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang will lead Astana Pro Team at the Giro d’Italia (October 3rd – 25th).
Alexandr Vinokurov: “Of course, our main goals in this shortened season are the Grand Tours. All teams will strive to prove themselves at the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, and the Vuelta a España, and we are not an exception. We did not change our plans, so Miguel Angel Lopez will go to the Tour as the team’s leader, while Jakob Fuglsang will lead Astana at the Giro. Also, the Kazakh National Champion Alexey Lutsenko, who is rapidly progressing in recent years, plans to perform at the Tour de France.”
The leaders of Astana Pro Team about resuming the season:
Miguel Angel Lopez: “After a long time of waiting at home and training on the rollers, finally, we have the possibility to train normal outside, doing our job for 100%. We all have the hope and desire that the races will start as planned. It will be important for us, for our team and for our sponsors. So, I’m working hard now, trying to come back in good shape and I’m really looking forward to coming back to Europe and to see my teammates at the training camp before the start of the season. I’m really motivated and excited about my debut at the Tour de France and I will try to prepare for it as well as possible. It will be a big step ahead in my career.”
Jakob Fuglsang: “I look forward to starting racing again, and I hope that the racing calendar that we have now will go on. I’m happy to start my season with the Strade Bianche. I’m also looking forward to the training camp in July, it’s going to be good to get together at the altitude camp. It will help a lot to start the season in a good way. For sure, it will be a fast and furious one after so many months at home. We have to be ready to go full gas right from the beginning. I am happy to get a leading role for the Giro d’Italia, it’s a big opportunity for me. It was my main goal, let’s say, in the original program, and I’m happy that it’s still like that. I really look forward to being the team’s leader at the Giro.”
Alexey Lutsenko: “I’m looking forward to the restart of the season, and now I’m working hard to get in a good shape for my first races. An unusual season is waiting for us, from August to November there will be a lot of races and after a long break, everyone will strive to prove themselves. There will be no easy or non-important races at all. I think that at every race we will see a hard fight for results, so we must be ready. I’ll start the season with Strade Bianche, and I would like to approach this race at 100%. It’s great that the team is planning to organise a training camp before the restart of the season: this will help us to get to a good level. This year I plan to take part in the Tour de France, it will be a very difficult race, the mountains will be there already in the first stages, so an interesting fight will be waiting for us. I would like to show myself in this great race.”
Astana getting ready for the ‘new’ season:
Marquardt Selected for USA Cycling’s Long Team for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
USA Cycling announced Mandy Marquardt has been named to its Long Team for track riders for the Olympic Games.
USA Cycling announced Thursday that Team Novo Nordisk’s Mandy Marquardt is part of its long team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games slated to be held in summer 2021.
“Mandy is an outstanding athlete and we’ve seen tremendous growth in her endurance and abilities over the years,” said Team Novo Nordisk CEO and co-founder Phil Southerland. “Mandy has been an instrumental part of our program for more than a decade and serves as the team’s standout female professional athlete. She’s put together some strong performances over the past year and we are proud to have her named to the longlist to represent the United States at the Tokyo Olympic Games and show the world what is possible with diabetes.”
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 16, the now 28-year-old Marquardt represented the United States at the 2020 UCI Track World Championships in Berlin, Germany. In 2016, she was named to the U.S. Olympic Long Team for track sprinting and has represented the United States at multiple UCI Track World Cups and World Championships.
Career highlights include 18-time U.S. National Champion, two-time U.S. National Track Record Holder – 500m Time Trial and Team Sprint (set in 2016), Pan American Track Champion (2017 Team Sprint), five-time Pan American Track medalist (2016 Team Sprint-Bronze, 2017 Keirin-Silver, 2017 500m Time Trial-Bronze, 2018 Team Sprint-Silver, 2019 Sprint-Bronze) and continuous Team USA World Cup member (since 2014).
“It has always been one of my biggest goals to represent my country at the Olympic Games. I am honoured to be named to the USA Cycling Long Team for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and be one step closer,” said Marquardt. “It means the world to me to prove to myself what I’m capable as an athlete and what is possible with diabetes. This motivates me to continue to train each and every day, and to inspire, educate and empower everyone affected by diabetes worldwide to achieve their dreams.”
Since graduating from Penn State Lehigh Valley in 2014, Marquardt has been training full-time for UCI track races, UCI Track World Cups and the Olympic Games. The Olympic lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania and spends part of the year training at the Velo Sports Centre in Carson, California. When in Pennsylvania, Marquardt trains with Edge Cycling and is coached by Edge Cycling Director Andrew Harris. She also serves on the Penn State Lehigh Valley Alumni Society Board of Directors. Marquardt remains a Penn State Lehigh Valley cycling coach but has had to take a backseat to prioritise her quest to become an Olympian.
The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021. USA Cycling announced their Olympic Long Teams for the Road, Track, and Mountain Bike disciplines. Marquardt was confirmed as a member of the Long Team for Women’s Track with the final selection to be determined in late spring of 2021.
For more information, go to www.teamnovonordisk.com.
Bart Wellens new sports director of Tormans Cyclo Cross Team
Tormans Cyclo Cross Team can rely on a new sports director at the start of the competition in August. The double cyclocross world champion will mentor the squad, with Quinten Hermans and Corné van Kessel in the elite category. Together with Wellens, the duo was part of Telenet-Fidea during his sportive career.
The 41 year old was world champion in 2003 and 2004. He also won the World Cup, the Superprestige and the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy (currently the DVV Verzekeringen Trophy). Afterwards, he became a sports director in cyclocross, with 777 and Corendon-Circus. The resident of the Campine region will add his experience to the development of the new UCI cyclocross structure, managed by Jean-François Bourlart and parallel to the UCI Pro Team Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans.
Bart Wellens (sports director Tormans Cyclo Cross Team): “I was keen on a change of scenery, and I can’t wait to start this new challenge! My new function will be a great marriage between the use of my experience and the discovery of new tasks! In cyclocross I get the opportunity to work with riders I believe in and for who I have sympathy. Quinten, Corné and I were teammates when I was still a rider. Together with our U23 riders and women, we will form a nice group which I can guide perfectly. I’m also excited to be a part of the organisational chart of Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans and tackle road races! My brother Geert and me believe in this project. He will coach the young riders from Tormans-Acrog Balen BC and his experience with young women will be key in the success of Tormans Cyclo Cross Team on the long term.”
Jean-François Bourlart (general manager Want You Cycling): “Our new project Tormans Cyclo Cross Team was formed last winter, with Quinten Hermans and Corné van Kessel defending our colours since the 1st of January. We expanded the team, with among others Thomas Mein and Emiel Verstrynge in the U23 category. An experienced sports director to coach our athletes physically and technically was lacking. I’m convinced that the arrival of Bart Wellens will enable us to show that Tormans Cyclo Cross Team is one of the best teams in cyclocross, regardless of the category.”
WPCC 2020 Cancelled
After the last decisions of the Danish government which has kept its borders closed to almost all European states (only Germany, Norway and Iceland are excluded) and which seems oriented towards maintaining this closure until August 31, the Organizing Committee of Vejle and the WPCC Committee had to cancel the 2020 edition of the World Press Cycling Championship.
The participants would have found too many difficulties to participate and it would not have been possible to wait for a possible change of course in the provisions of the Danish Government.
The next calendar of the World Press Cycling Championship will be announced as soon as possible
An opportunity to compete (not as world championship but as guests) remains however with the 71st Italian road championship and the 28th Italian time trial championship which will be held in Senigallia from 16 to 18 October and which will be open to all foreign journalists who wish to participate.
For information on these championships write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the World Press Cycling Championships at https://wpcc2020-22.com
Matt on the Worlds podium:
Team Sunweb Celebrate the Start of Summer with their Fresh New White Kit
Team Sunweb are proud to present their brand new 2020 summer kit, to be worn by riders from all three programs in training and hopefully racing for the rest of the year. The new design features a strikingly classic and traditional white colour, coupled with the team’s distinctive two-striped Keep Challenging design prominently emblazoned on the front and back of the jersey.
Summer kit – a fresh white kit symbolising new beginnings
People across the world have and continue to face challenging times, but resilience, innovation and people working together towards a common goal gradually brings new opportunities. Let’s embrace these opportunities as they come, which offer positive energy and a fresh perspective to people all over the world – something that we all need. In the words of the team’s title partner, the holiday tour operator Sunweb: ‘let’s celebrate the beginning of the summer and enjoy these new opportunities, whilst we adapt to new realities.’
As the summer approaches, Team Sunweb hope for these new opportunities – a successful re-opening of society, travel, team camps, and ultimately with it racing. With what was planned as a novelty – introducing rotating spring and summer kits – with their new white summer kit, the team are looking forward to a fresh restart of the season more than ever. A restart where they can hopefully continue doing what we all love the most – racing bikes in beautiful places across the world.
Keep Challenging stripes
As always, the two distinct Keep Challenging stripes feature on the new fresh white jersey. Those two Keep Challenging stripes, measured precisely equal in length, reflect the exact balance of energy which an individual obtains and gives to the other individuals which form their environment. Both stripes travel straight upwards, to always keep rising; the left stripe is to symbolise the continuous development of each person, and the right stripe is to visualise their ever-improving innovative environment.
The new white and black look is complimented with its prominent Sunweb “S”, their Spark, displayed proudly on the back of the jersey and on both sleeves.
The Craft Sportswear kit is developed in cooperation with the team’s group of experts who work together alongside both Craft and DSM to bring the latest and most innovative technologies to the kit. Aerodynamics and safety are two key driving factors in the process, with numerous extensive tests carried out in the wind tunnels at Delft University of Technology to ensure that the kit performs optimally when on the bike. This new jersey features an innovative new fabric that decreases drag; even more so than previous versions of the material, which were already the fastest fabrics ever tested.
Furthermore, the Craft Sportswear Armor Bib Shorts are not only comfortable but include DSM’s Dyneema, the world’s strongest fiber, which helps to protect the riders in the event of a fall. The new kit is complemented with the Lazer Bullet and Genesis helmets in a fantastic, sleek new design. To complete the look, the team are introducing a select number of Cervélo’s with a new gleaming, predominantly black, new design.
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