The bulls of Spain are now a memory, but we are still in the countryside with cyclocross. Results and video from Leuven and the European track championships. Patrick Lefevere’s safety plan – TOP STORY. So much other cycling news this EUROTRASH Monday: Groenewegen case to court, Tadej Pogačar on life after the Tour, Remco Evenepoel training in Spain, Elia Viviani disappointed, Richard Carapaz dreams of Tour Victory, don’t write Vincenzo Nibali off, Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec keeps sponsor and Aleksandr Vlasov to leave Astana. Contract news from Cofidis, EF Pro Cycling, Fabio Aru, Circus-Wanty Gobert, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Team SD Worx and EOLO-KOMETA. Alex Dowsett contract and World Hour Record – Victor Campenaerts to go again. Giulio Ciccone and Joop Zoetemelk recover. INEOS Grenadiers present for Tao video.
TOP STORY: Lefevere on ‘safety plan’: “I hope things will progress faster from now on”
With a suspension until May 7, 2021, the UCI put an end to the much-discussed sprint crash between Dylan Groenewegen and Fabio Jakobsen, but Patrick Lefevere is still working behind the scenes to improve race safety.
Jumbo-Visma and Deceuninck – Quick-Step decided to set up their own safety organisation after several incidents, to ensure that riders are exposed to fewer dangers during events. Richard Plugge (Jumbo-Visma) and Patrick Lefevere (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) are the main initiators of this new movement.
The safety organisation must provide a new standard in contemporary cycling. Safer, therefore, with fewer serious incidents. “There must be an independent party that does more than just say what’s wrong, that takes the safety of our sport to a more professional level,” they said a few months ago.
The UCI and ASO were involved in the discussion and other teams and parties have since joined. “At the moment, committees are being formed per theme,” Lefevere told Het Laatste Nieuws. “I hope things will progress faster from now on. At the start of the European cycling season, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, there must be a concrete plan on the table and in effect.”
The new safety organisation is in the process of drawing up clear rules of conduct for (mass) sprints. Lefevere: “I want independent experts to judge. I suggest we make the dirtiest sprinter in history head of the control body. The best gamekeepers have often been poachers first. The specialists have to come from the pack.”
“Anyone who has never ridden a bicycle cannot judge what is and what is not dangerous. There are many gradations. A push with the shoulder is not always dangerous, an elbow push against an arm is more dangerous than an elbow against a buttock. The most important rule should be that a rider must always keep his hands on the handlebars.”
Other working points are the training of a VAR (a video referee), safe barriers and kilometre arcs and a better indication of dangerous points. “The safety standard in Gent-Wevelgem is a good initiative,” says Lefevere. “I also see that dangerous curves are better marked and I also see more fenders.”
“As far as I’m concerned, nets may also be installed in some places. And indicate traffic islands and other obstacles that are spread over the race course with an alarm signal. Riders often look at the ground or at the rear wheel of their predecessor. And maybe motorcycles could also be equipped with a warning, to prevent incidents like the one with Julian Alaphilippe in the Ronde van Vlaanderen.”
We don’t want to see any more of this kind of thing:
Ethias Cross – Leuven 2020
Laurens Sweeck won the Ethias Cross Leuven. The Belgian champion beat Toon Aerts in a sprint, although he had sat on for almost the entire race.
In the past two years, it was Aerts who had taken the victory in Leuven. On Saturday, the Telenet Fidea Lions rider was looking for a hat-trick. Aerts started aggressively and the Flemish rider immediately had Belgian champion Sweeck with him. Behind the leading duo, Michael Vanthourenhout and Eli Iserbyt, teammates of Sweeck, were at seconds. Due to the high pace of mainly Aerts, the two chasers were unable to get close, although the cooperation between Vanthourenhout and Iserbyt was excellent. After halfway, the European champion was even dropped by Vanthourenhout, who was still 15 seconds from the front riders.
Sweeck and Aerts were going to duel for the victory, although an attack was not forthcoming. Sweeck thought that was fine. The Belgian champion raced almost the entire cross on the wheel of Aerts and gambled on a sprint. In the sprint the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider finished off the job. Sweeck kept Aerts from a third consecutive victory in Leuven. Ten seconds later, Vanthourenhout crossed the line in third place.
Race winner, Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “I was in a seat thanks to Vanthourenhout. On the technical lanes I was better able to ride in first position. If you make a mistake, you lose ground. So it was a matter of making no mistakes. In the finish straight, I had an advantage because of the wind. When we started sprinting, I didn’t hesitate and turned on. I thought that Toon hesitated to go for a moment, but I just sprinted full. I am happy that I have won the victory. The Koppenberg two weeks ago was not really my thing. I also missed a few percent, I think. At the European Championship those few percent were there, but I was also a bit with the team game. Due to a chain break, I missed the stage. After that I built in a moment of rest. That can sometimes pay off. Everyone always tries to be a little better at a championship, but I always try to be on level. I feel good now. Hopefully I can hold on to that. I don’t have the impression that the form will decrease any time soon, now that the races are converging faster. I haven’t really looked at that yet. Normally I always react super mentally and physically on training camp, but now I haven’t been able to do a camp yet. I miss it, but it is making do with what you have. We are looking at a number of riders to go by car, but we do not yet know whether that is feasible. I do not know how things are in the Czech Republic, but I suspect that it is well organised as a World Cup would be.”
Ethias Cross – Leuven Result:
1. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal in 56:31
2. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 0:01
3. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:24
4. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:33
5. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions at 0.35
6. Daan Soete (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers at 0:39
7. Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers at 0:44
8. Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:45
9. Ryan Kamp (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:56
10. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team at 1:23.
#EuroTrack20: Great Britain Beats Russia and Italy
The 2020 edition of the Elite Track European Championships ended today in Plovdiv’s modern velodrome (Bulgaria) with the awarding of the title for the Men’s Madison race.
In the medals table, Great Britain came top with 11 medals (six gold, two silver and three bronze) in front of Russia (5, 5 and 3) and Italy who won 14 medals (3, 7 and 4).
In technical terms, Russia without doubt dominated in the Women’s Sprint races winning the Sprint (Anastasiia Voinova), Team Sprint (Anastasiia Voinova, Daria Shmeleva, Natalia Antonova and Ekaterina Rogovaya) and the 500 Metres (Daria Shmeleva). However, one rider stopped the Russians from completely clearing the board: the Ukraine Olena Starikova who took the title in the Keirin. In the Men’s, the German specialist Maximilia Levy won two gold medals (Keirin and Sprint) meanwhile the Kilometre title was awarded to Tomas Babek (Czech Republic) and the Team Sprint to Russia with Denis Dmitriev, Pavel Yakushevskiy, Ivan Gladyshev and Alexander Sharapov.
In the endurance races, Great Britain proved its reputation as one of the leading nations with Matthew Walls winning two golds in the Elimination and Omnium and in the Women’s with Katie Archibald in the Points race, Elinor Barker in the Elimination, Neah Evans in the Individual Pursuit and the Team Pursuit with Josie Knight, Laura Kenny, Katie Archibal, Neah Evans and Elinor Barker.
Also in the Women’s a great performance from Italy who won the Omnium (Elisa Balsamo), Scratch (Martina Fidanza) and the Madison titles (Elisa Balsamo and Vittoria Guazzini).
Portugal finished the 2020 European Championships with two medals in the Men’s with Iuri Leitao (Scratch) and Ivo Oliveira (Individual Pursuit).
The Men’s Madison, which was particularly exciting, was won by the Spanish specialists Alberto Torres and Sebastian Mora (Mora also won the gold in the Points race).
Results #EuroTrack20 – click here.
Groenewegen Case to be Continued in Court
The file has been closed by the UCI, but the Groenewegen-Jakobsen case will be continued in court. Patrick Lefevere, the team principal of Deceuninck – Quick-Step, filed a complaint with the Polish court together with insurance company Europ Assistance.
Earlier this week it was announced that Groenewegen has been suspended for nine months for causing the crash of Fabio Jakobsen in the recent Tour of Poland. The Amsterdam sprinter has accepted the suspension, and he can come back into action again for Jumbo-Visma from 7 May 2021.
Is a nine-month suspension the correct sentence, Het Laatste Nieuws asked Lefevere. “I don’t want to waste any more words on it. Not because I’m afraid of the reactions, but simply because it has been enough. We don’t have any influence as a team,” Lefevere said.
The team boss accepts the decision of the UCI, but is not finished with the case yet. Lefevere has filed a complaint with the Polish court. “We don’t know when the case will happen. As in most legal matters, this may be something of the longer term.”
There is a good chance that there will be a second lawsuit in the Netherlands, brought by Fabio Jakobsen himself. In both cases, the main claim will revolve around compensation.
Pogačar: “Life hasn’t changed much since my Tour victory”
Tadej Pogačar, was the Tour de France 2020 winner, but the young Slovenian has not yet noticed any changes. “My life hasn’t changed much since I won the Tour, it’s basically the same as before,” he told Spanish sports-paper Marca.
The talented UAE team Emirates rider has noticed that the media is showing more interest. “Maybe I have a few extra interviews and media commitments, but that doesn’t create a lot of stress,” said Pogačar. “I don’t think anyone really likes interviews, but they are part of cycling. You get used to it and it is not that difficult to do a few interviews.”
The Tour de France ended in a battle between the two top Slovenian riders. Pogačar was to challenge Primož Roglič, who was the top favourite. Despite the age difference, they are also friends. “I would have liked Primož to have won the Tour, but I was also there to win the Tour. At that moment it is just competition and I have a lot of respect for that. He showed everyone that Slovenia, a small country, can win a Grand Tour,” Pogačar said of his fellow countryman. “He stormed to the top three years ago and going up against him has been a great experience. The fact that I beat him gave some mixed feelings, but that is also sport.”
Pogačar has not often thought back to his triumph in Paris. “It was crazy, because it was my first Tour and I won it. That is truly an incredible thing. I felt very good from the start and arriving in Paris in yellow was even more special.”
The route of next year’s Tour de France has already been presented. It seems like a more traditional Tour with more flat time trial kilometres than the last editions. “I think it is a bit early to say who is the favourite. We will see who goes for it, but the Olympics also start a week later. It will be another year.” Pogačar won the Tour at his first attempt. Top talent Remco Evenepoel previously announced that he can draw confidence from that performance. The Slovenian is looking forward to a duel against his Belgian colleague. “I don’t really know, but I think anything is possible. Last year I did my first Grand Tour and I was already on the podium. Remco can do that too, because he is a very good and strong rider. Only he fell this year and hasn’t done a Grand Tour yet, so we’re not really able to estimate whether he can do a good Grand Tour.”
2020 Tour de France winner, Tadej Pogačar:
Remco Evenepoel on Training Camp in Calpe, Spain
Remco Evenepoel left on Sunday, with the usual media attention, to Spain for a training camp in Calpe. The young Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider is still recovering from his crash in Il Lombardia. At the beginning of October Evenepoel was able to resume outdoor training on the bike. “It is quite special to train outside again, a big boost for self-confidence,” he said at the time. Next month, his Deceuninck – Quick-Step team has planned a training camp in Calpe. Evenepoel wants to prepare for that.
Evenepoel is recovering well from his pelvic fracture in Lombardy. The doctors did not want to put a deadline on the rehabilitation after his fall, but emphasised that he had to take his time.
Evenepoel on the way back:
Viviani Disappointing Start with Cofidis
Elia Viviani was brought in by Cofidis with a big fan-fair at the end of 2019, but the Italian sprinter did not achieve any victories for his new team this year. “What is it about? There is a shared responsibility,” Viviani told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The 31-year-old Viviani was a winner for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, but for the time being it seems he does not want to succeed in a Cofidis jersey. “I never really felt great, but I also underestimated the development of a sprint train. I thought it would click faster, but it doesn’t. We can speak of a bad season.”
“We were already looking for the winning formula in the Tour Down Under and we just kept changing and chasing things. We could not keep the peace and then it is difficult to achieve results. I was also unable to train on the track this year and I missed that anyway,” said Viviani, who still has confidence for 2021.
“I now believe even more in the Cofidis project. We have failed to create any chemistry this year, but I am definitely not giving up. We always have to race together next season to forge a team like that. For example, Fabio Sabatini must always be part of the selection, as we are very well attuned to each other and complement each other. That is beyond dispute.”
“Furthermore, Simone Consonni has taken another step. What do I want to achieve in 2021? I want to be the first to cross the line, it doesn’t matter where. We just want to give everything and be successful again.” Viviani will be able to count on newcomers next season such as fast-men Tom Bohli and Jelly Wallays and sprinter Szymon Sajnok.
Richard Carapaz Dreams of a Tour Victory
It was a special year, Richard Carapaz told a news conference in Ecuador. The INEOS Grenadiers rider returned to his home country this week after the European road season.
Carapaz made his Tour de France debut in his first season with INEOS Grenadiers. He also finished second in the Vuelta a España. “It was a spectacular season, because I adapted quickly. It feels like I’ve been with the team for five years. I don’t know if it looks that way from the outside, but I really feel like a veteran. We have achieved many successes in a short time, so imagine what we can achieve in three or five years.”
The Ecuadorian started his season with the Tour Colombia, then pick up the thread again in Europe after the corona break. In fact, he was supposed to return to the Giro d’Italia to defend his 2019 title, but he raced the Tour instead. There he wore the mountain jersey for two stages and finished second in Villard-de-Lans and La Roche-sur-Foron. He then led for five stages in the Vuelta and finished second in the final overall behind Roglič.
“That was a great achievement,” he said a week after the Vuelta. “I was beaten there by the best rider in the world. For me it was confirmation that I can keep dreaming big and keep competing with the world’s best riders.” His confidence continues, because now he wants to win the Tour. “I now know that I can dream of the title. I am convinced of that and that is the new goal we have set for the near future.”
Whether Carapaz will make a bid for the overall victory in 2021 is still uncertain. He is also aiming at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. “That is a big goal for me. After all, the Games are a big event; not only as a rider, but also as an Ecuadorian to defend the colours of the flag. I want to be 100% during the Games, because we not only represent a brand or person, but an entire country.”
Carapaz: Beaten by the World No.1 in la Vuelta:
Vincenzo Nibali: “Don’t write me off yet”
Vincenzo Nibali celebrated his 36th birthday on November 14. The leader of Trek-Segafredo knows that the years are starting to count, but that does not mean that he can no longer have results. “I’m not that old that you have to write me off, no matter what the keyboard warriors say,” Nibali told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The Shark of Messina only competed in his own country this autumn. This resulted in 5th place in the Gran Trittico Lombardo, 6th in Il Lombardia and 7th in the Giro d’Italia. Nibali does not think he should be written off just yet. “The most important thing is your own desire and the pleasure you get from cycling,” he explained.
Nibali looks back on the past season with mixed feelings. “It was so weird that I wouldn’t consider it a completely reliable indication,” he says. “The Giro did not go as expected, there is no doubt about that. Young riders have survived a season like this better.”
He is critical of his preparations for the races in autumn. “If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t have done two altitude training camps, but only one. And I would have done some more races,” he explained. “In recent years I have always fought for the podium places when I raced for a classification. Then it can happen that you have a bad year. There are riders who have that more often.”
Nibali will be entering his last year of contract with Trek-Segafredo. He does not yet know whether he will stop after 2021. Plans for 2021 are already in the making, with the Olympic Games as the target. “But my idea is not to concentrate fully on a goal, but to race freely. Without the pressure and stress of having to achieve a result,” said the experienced Sicilian.
The Giro wasn’t as Nibali expected:
Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec to Keep Sponsor
Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec can count on the support of sponsor Androni next year. The toy manufacturer has extended its commitment to the Italian team of Gianni Savio until the end of 2021.
Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec will keep its current name next year thanks to the renewed agreement, which was signed at Androni’s headquarters in Varallo Pombia in the Piedmont region. The toy manufacturer has been supporting the Italian team for thirteen years.
Gianni Savio’s team has already hired three new riders for next year: Matteo Malucelli will be coming from Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Žiga Jerman (Groupama-FDJ U23) and Leonardo Marchiori (NTT Continental).
Another year of Savio and his boys:
Astana and Vlasov to Split? “Rider agent tries to terminate contract”
Aleksandr Vlasov is under contract with Astana for one more year, but it is unclear whether the Russian Tour sensation will also ride for the Kazakh team next year. According to the Spanish daily El Mundo, the agent Giuseppe Acquadro is busy behind the scenes to terminate his contract.
The influential Acquadro has been the agent of the 24-year-old Vlasov for a while, who managed to break through at the very highest level this season. Earlier, La Gazzetta dello Sport already reported that the promising climber may be on his way to INEOS Grenadiers, despite an ongoing contract with Astana.
According to El Mundo, Acquadro is now busy trying to break Vlasov’s ongoing contract to pave the way to INEOS Grenadiers. This is a striking move, as Acquadro has quite a few Astana riders in its stable with the brothers Ion and Gorka Izagirre, Omar Fraile, Alex Aranburu, Óscar Rodríguez and Rodrigo Contreras.
It is not the first time that an Acquadro rider has terminated an ongoing contract for a transfer. Earlier, Egan Bernal left Androni Giocattoli after two of the four years, albeit for a transfer fee. There was also a lot of hassle surrounding the transfers of Iván Sosa, Richard Carapaz and Andrey Amador.
Cofidis Signs Luxembourger Jempy Drucker
Jempy Drucker has found a new team for 2021. The experienced Luxembourger, who didn’t receive a new contract with BORA-hansgrohe, will ride for the French Cofidis team next year.
The 34-year-old Drucker started as a cyclocross rider at Fidea Cycling Team, but at one point decided to pursue a road career and raced successively for Willems Verandas, successor Wanty-Gobert, BMC and BORA-hansgrohe. Drucker rode for BORA-hansgrohe for the last two seasons, but will race for the French team next year.
“Cofidis has a long history in cycling. I can’t wait to come out for my new team and give everything for my future teammates. I am a very versatile rider. I can help Elia Viviani in the sprints, but also assist Guillaume Martin during a stage race,” Drucker said in a press release.
Team manager Cédric Vasseur expects a lot from ‘team player’ Drucker. “Jempy has a lot of racing experience and will play an important role next year. Jempy has the qualities to fulfil his role, so that our leaders can also perform to the maximum. He will also be one of the main pillars in the classics.”
Drucker finished seventh this year in the Tour of Slovakia and fifth in the Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne. He also finished eleventh in the BinckBank Tour and fifteenth in Gent-Wevelgem. In the past, he was already the best in the Prudential RideLondon & Surrey Classic and in 2016 he took a stage victory in the Vuelta a España.
Jempy Drucker winning stage 16 of the 2016 Vuelta a España:
Michael Valgren to Join EF Pro Cycling
EF Pro Cycling is proud to welcome its newest member – Michael Valgren. The Danish Classics man and all-rounder will be joining the team in 2021.
“I’m most excited about moving to EF to start working with all the people there. Obviously, I’ve been talking to Matti Breschel and Magnus Cort as fellow Danes,” said Michael Valgren. “They both said it was an awesome team and I look forward to being a part of that. From the outside, EF looks like a super fun team. And I really can’t wait to be a part of it. I think I will fit right in.”
Valgren has been turning heads ever since he signed his first professional contract in Denmark at age 19. Since then he’s won the Danish national championships, the Amstel Gold Race, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, completed six Tours de France and won two editions of the Danish stage race Danmark Rundt.
“My main strength as a rider, I believe, is my endurance and that I’m really able to read the race pretty well. So I think that’s a very good combination, especially in the one-day races. The longer the race gets, the better I get and I read the riders in the race. That’s one of my greatest qualities on the bike,” Valgren said.
The reliability of Valgren didn’t go unnoticed by EF Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters.
“Michael has a big motor and is a true talent. He is exceptional at the Classics and very valuable to his team in stage races. I am excited to see what he brings to our crew,” Vaughters noted. “He gives us another card to play in the cobbles when things get crazy — which they always do.”
The 28 year old said there is one race that he dreams of winning one day – the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders).
“It’s a special race. It’s so intense, it’s long and hard, but somehow it just goes by so fast. I’ve always been pretty good there. So that’s also why I like it,” explained Valgren who finished fourth there in 2018. “But the combination of the course, the atmosphere, the history around it, I think it just creates these really great battles in the Ronde van Vlaanderen and that’s why I really love it.”
When he’s not racing his bike, Michael has taken to learning all there is to know about coffee. “I think that’s normal for every cyclist, you know, you grind your own beans and bring them to the races, have your own aeropress. That has become a normal thing now,” explained Valgren.
Michael grew up in the northern regions of Denmark, a region rich in national parks and sandy beaches. He has spent the last few years living and training on the sunny shores of Monaco with his wife and son.
“I moved to Monaco in November 2016, so I’ve already been here four years and I really, really like it. We have a really good network of friends down here that we built up with my wife and son,” said Valgren. But at the end of the day, there is nothing quite like riding at home. “My favourite area to ride my bike in Denmark has to be where I am from. I’m from the West Coast and we have some amazing roads over there and the scenery is beautiful. And, if you want to ride your gravel bike there are so many good roads to ride out on.”
Welcome aboard, Michael:
Fabio Aru Could Go to Vini Zabù-KTM
Fabio Aru’s contract with UAE team Emirates is over after three years, but the Italian climber has still not found a new team for next season. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, there is now interest from Vini Zabù-KTM in Aru.
The Italian ProTeam sees two leaders leave this winter with Giovanni Visconti (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè) and Luca Wackermann (EOLO-Kometa). This would have freed up space for the 30-year-old Aru. Aru was previously associated with Alpecin-Fenix, but that rumour was firmly contradicted by the Belgian team.
Fabio Aru: “I will announce my new team at the end of November,” Aru said in an interview with Bici.PRO. “I am in contact with different teams, but I’ll take the time to make a good decision. I want to make the decision without pressure. The problem is, NTT will likely disappear from the pack and a lot of riders will enter the market. So now I have to make a choice. I want to go to a team where I feel the confidence.”
The Sardinian won the Vuelta a España in 2015 and finished twice on the final podium of the Giro d’Italia, but he has not been the same rider in recent years. His last victory dates back to 2017, when he won the mountain stage to La Planche des Belles Filles in the Tour de France.
Its been a while since he had a win:
Dillier to Alpecin-Fenix
Silvan Dillier will finish his career next year wearing an Alpecin-Fenix jersey, writes Het Nieuwsblad. The Swiss cobblestone specialist rode for AG2R-La Mondiale in recent seasons, but did not get a new contract.
Dillier announced via social media that he will present his new team as soon as possible, but according to Het Nieuwsblad, the rider has signed a contract with Mathieu van der Poel’s team. Dillier will have an important role in the cobbled classics and the smaller stage races, plus possibly the Grand Tours.
Dillier (30) started his professional career in 2014 with BMC. As a neo-pro in 2015 he won a stage in the Arctic Race of Norway and in 2017 he managed to take the Route du Sud and a stage in the Giro d’Italia. In 2018 he rode for AG2R-La Mondiale and that year he finishing second in Paris-Roubaix. Dillier was on the attack all day, was caught at one point by Peter Sagan, but eventually turned out to be strong enough to follow the world champion to the Roubaix track. In the sprint, Dillier was no match for Sagan, but it seemed like a turning point in his career. The Swiss rider has had quite a lot of bad luck in recent years, he broke his collarbone twice. This year he finished tenth in the Tour Poitou-Charentes, seventeenth in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and eighteenth in the Ruta del Sol.
Silvan Dillier on the Roubaix cobbles:
Jan Bakelants and Tom Devriendt extend with Circus-Wanty Gobert
Belgian riders Jan Bakelants and Tom Devriendt extended their contract with Circus-Wanty Gobert for two years. After ten year in the World Tour, Jan Bakelants joined Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans last winter. A successful first year with the Belgian UCI Pro Team results in a two year contract extension. Together with the structure of general manager Jean-François Bourlart, Bakelants will return to the World tour in 2021. The 34 year old Belgian rider will continue sharing his experience of ten campaigns in the World Tour with his teammates. The former Tour de France yellow jersey and stage winner achieved a 6th place in the general classification of the Tour du Luxembourg and a 9th place at the final classification of the Trofeo Matteotti in the colours of Tormans Cyclo Cross Team, before missing out on the medals at the Belgian national championships (4th). During his professional career, which started in 2009, he won the GP de Wallonie (2013), a stage at the Critérium du Dauphiné (2014) and the Tours of Piémont and Emilie (2015). Bakelants stays until the end of 2022 with the Belgian team.
Tom Devriendt is a member from Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans for six years already. The 29 year old rider mainly races at the service of the team leaders, but he also regularly achieves places of honour himself. In 2019, Devriendt was the fastest at the third stage of the Tour of Austria, after having won the Omloop van het Houtland in 2017. During the short spring campaign in 2020, he finished on the podium twice: at the GP La Marseillaise (3rd) and at the second stage of the Etoile de Bessèges (3rd). The Flemish rider showed in Paris-Nice with a 170 kilometre that he was ready for the classics season, which finally didn’t take place. A knee injury and operation kept the resident of Otegem off the bike for two and a half months, making it impossible for him to continue his success in the second season half. Tom Devriendt’s injury is healed now, so he already started the preparation for his seventh season with Circus-Wanty Gobert.
Jan Bakelants: “First, I’m very happy about last winter’s opportunity to join Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans. I was convinced that I could play a role in this team, and I think my sportive performances and experience have been an added value. I’m not hiding that I feel well here. I’m having fun and achieving good results at the same time. The collaboration with the riders and staff goes very well and I’m looking forward to work with Aike Visbeek and Valerio Piva, who bring their experience from the World Tour. So I was pleased to receive the opportunity to extend my contract. The news about the step up to the World Tour was the cherry on the cake.”
Tom Devriendt: “My knee problem made the second part of the season difficult for me, but my results in the spring, my devotion for the teamwork and last year’s victory at the Tour of Austria gave me enough confidence to keep working well. The direction knows that I’m grateful for their confidence, but I’d like to stress it once more. I feel good in this team. The role of helper suits me, and I’m happy to receive my own chance from time to time. This might change next season, but the opportunity to participate in a Grand Tour or other nice races is a great compensation. It won’t be easy to perform all season at the highest level, so I started my preparation for 2021 already!”
Hilaire Van der Schueren (sports director): “In a pretty short time, Jan showed that he’s one of the cornerstones of the team. He didn’t have an easy preparation to the season, and the season was interrupted by the lockdown period. So I expect his integration process to continue next year. He’ll become the extension of the sports director in the peloton. Tom Devriendt is a rider in whom I believe. He’s able to do fantastic performances when he’s in a good shape. I hope this World Tour project will stimulate him to work well and respond to our expectations.”
Jean-François Bourlart (general manager): “We’re very satisfied about the level achieved by Jan after a difficult winter. Our step up to the World Tour will do good to him. The participation in all big races will give him the opportunity to reach his level again. He has an important role in the team during the next two years, because he’s the link between the riders and the sportive direction. Tom is at home in our team. He can be very efficient in a team, especially in the classic races. He’s also fast, giving him the opportunity to win races. He deserves it to continue in our project.”
Barrenetxea Will be Professional with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
Jon Barrenetxea (Gámiz, 2000) becomes the third signing of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA for the 2021 season. The Basque cyclist has been one of the greatest names of the Spanish amateur field this year with five victories, more than any other cyclist in the category.
Spain’s junior champion and called up for the World Championships in Innsbruck in 2018, his only two seasons in the Under 23 field have served to prove his worth and claim a place among the professionals. He was able to achieve a victory in Antzuola in is first season as Under 23, although it has been this year when he has chained five victories, despite the short schedule. Barrenetxea won in Zumaia, Urretxu, the Navarra Championship and Berriatua before closing the year in a big way with his triumph in the rain at the prestigious Memorial Valenciaga.
An injury in the Spanish Championship prevented him from going with the national team to the European Championship in Plouay, the great event in the category this year without the Worlds. He is a complete and constant rider, with good sense in the final meters as he has shown as Under 23 winning the Torneo Euskaldun. Now he hopes to continue growing as an athlete with his arrival to the professional ranks with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.
Jon Barrenetxea: “I am very happy to become professional. At the beginning of the year I saw it very far due to the pandemic and the general situation, so achieving it means fulfilling the dream of racing in front of the best cyclists in the world. It has been a very atypical year for everything. Personally, I have had a great season, it was a shame that in the Spanish Championships I had a fall that left me out for a few days preventing me from running the European Championship. As the season evolved, I believed a little more that I could give the jump, although I did not start the year with that clear objective. The key to staying competitive from February to October has been that in winter I was able to train very well. I took the lockdown very calmly, that’s why I think I’ve been able to finish the year very well.”
“The most special moment of 2020 has been the victory at the Memorial Valenciaga, as it has been the most important and the last race of the year. I think I am a very complete rider who can stand out in any type of race, regardless of the profile. The improvement this year has been that now I am able to accumulate more days of competition or hard training and I notice that the body does not generate so much fatigue, which I think is very important for the professional field. My goal for 2021 is to adapt quickly to the category, learn from teammates and rivals as much as possible and help the team in whatever they ask me to do.”
Fisher-Black and Canuel Complete Team SD Worx
Team SD Worx has finalised its 2021 team. Sports director Danny Stam has managed to attract 20-year-old superstar Niamh Fisher-Black and the experienced Karol-Ann Canuel, meaning the team will kick off with fourteen riders next year. “I think we have a good mix of major champions, experienced riders and young future talents”, says Danny Stam.
Fisher-Black’s signing of a two-year contract generated great satisfaction among the members of the technical staff. This champion from New Zealand is only 20 years old and comes to us from Équipe Paule Ka. “It’s only a matter of time before Fisher-Black establishes herself as one of the absolute world leaders on climbs”, says Stam. “She surprised us all during the Giro Rosa ascent. She has a tremendously athletic body and she impressed our riders with how she handled the tricky bits. I’m convinced she will continue to make a lot of progress in our team”, says Stam.
The New Zealander was pleasantly surprised to be approached by Team SD Worx (still Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team until 31 December 2020). “I’m still discovering my possibilities as a cyclist”, she says with great modesty. “Everyone in the peloton sees how dominant Boels-Dolmans can be on rides. I’m very proud to be part of this winning team. I think it will be an ideal learning opportunity for me.”
Fisher-Black hopes to prove herself mainly in the tougher competitions. “I’m at my best during stage races and classics with lots of climbs. I was very pleased to already be riding the Giro Rosa this year. That I made it to second place in the final stage gave me huge satisfaction. It also goes to show that I recover well from heavy exertion.”
Canadian Karol-Ann Canuel is remaining loyal to the team in 2021. She has been a member of the Boels-Dolmans line-up for the past five years. “I’ve been part of the team ever since it became number one in the world”, says the 32-year-old experienced rider, with a wink. “The members of the team have really become my friends over the past few years. I find that rough terrain shows me off to the greatest advantage. I have no problem leaving the limelight to such champions as Anna van der Breggen and Chantal Blaak. It’s a special thing to be part of a team with so many wins and know you played a part in that. The team already had an international feeling to it, but with SD Worx as the new main sponsor, the mix will include even more nationalities. I welcome that.”
Team SD Worx has fourteen riders lined up for 2021. Anna van der Breggen, Chantal Blaak, Amy Pieters, Lonneke Uneken and Demi Vollering all hail from the Netherlands. They will be joined by Jolien d’Hoore (Belgium), Christine Majerus (Luxembourg), Elena Cecchini (Italy), Roxane Fournier (France), Anna Shackley (United Kingdom), Ashleigh Moolman (South Africa), Nikola Noskova (Czech Republic), Karol-Ann Canuel (Canada) and Niamh Fisher-Black (New Zealand).
Seven Contract Renewals for the New EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team
The Italian Alessandro Fancellu, the Portuguese Daniel Viegas, the Hungarians Márton Dina and Erik Fetter and the Spaniards Alejandro Ropero, Sergio García and Diego Pablo Sevilla are the seven riders of the current Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team that have already completed their renovation with the new EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team project.
Up to five riders, Fancellu, Viegas, Ropero, García and Sevilla, have passed through one of the training sports structures of the Alberto Contador Foundation. In the case of Ropero and García, this trajectory extends to the Selection Campus where the new riders arriving in the junior team are chosen. Sevilla, for its part, remains linked to a project it arrived at in the first year of the junior team’s launch. The Madrid native, who will be 25 years old in March, is the only rider in the whole squad to have raced in the Foundation’s first team in the continental category.
“Although the project is going to take a major step forward in 2021, this advance could not come without taking into account all the previous route and all the work done. In the continental team we have several young people with a lot of projection, who already know what it means to win or who have put on very important performances against WorldTour teams this season. We believe that this base and the new additions will allow us to start in the new category with all the guarantees,” says Ivan Basso, sports manager of the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team.
These seven riders, two seasons contracts, join the already confirmed incorporations of the young Spaniard Arturo Grávalos, who will face his first year as a professional in 2021, and the Italian veteran Manuel Belletti. A staff of nine riders that in the next few days will increase their number with new incorporations.
Alex Dowsett Extends Contract with Israel Start-Up Nation
Alex Dowsett will ride for Israel Start-Up Nation next year. The 32-year-old Brit has put his signature on a two-year contract. In December Dowsett will try to set a new World hour record.
“It’s really great to stay,” said the British time trialist on his YouTube Channel. “We reached an agreement during the Giro d’Italia and I was soon able to sign a new contract. The team is really improving and I will play a part in creating an even better time trial culture.”
“I will continue to be a domestique for other riders, but from time to time also get the freedom to do my own thing. It will be a really challenging cycling year. We have now attracted real winners and it is great to be part of this team. I am really very happy,” said Dowsett, winner of Giro stage to Vieste this year.
On Saturday, December 12th, Dowsett attacks Victor Campenaerts’ World hour record in Manchester. The 32-year-old Brit has to cover more than 55,089 meters if he wants to dethrone Campenaerts.
Two more years for Alex Dowsett with Israel Start Up:
Join Alex Dowsett on Zwift as he Prepares to Break the UCI Hour Record Timed by Tissot
Dowsett to provide a unique insight into his training in advance of the attempt with eight demanding workouts.
Zwift, the online training and racing platform for cyclists, has joined forces with Alex Dowsett, Level 26 Zwifter, to support his UCI Hour Record Timed by Tissot attempt on December 12th in Manchester.
Earlier this week, cycling’s governing body the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirmed Alex Dowsett will take on the UCI Hour RecordTimed by Tissot at the Manchester Velodrome on December 12th. Dowsett is a former holder of the hour record with a distance of 52.937km but is aiming to break the current record of 55.089km, held by Victor Campenaerts from Belgium.
Dowsett will be using Zwift to help him prepare for his latest attempt and, in a unique move, will be inviting Zwifters to join him for his final four weeks of preparation. Eight new workouts will be made available for Zwifters to complete. Each workout has been named after towns that have played host to previous UCI Hour Record attempts. Held as Group Workouts on Zwift, there will be two workouts taking place each week, spread over the four week period leading up to the attempt on December 12th. Alex Dowsett himself will be leading one workout each week and is looking forward to sharing the experience with fellow cyclists from around the world. Alex will also be streaming these workouts on his YouTube channel.
“I’ll be massively appreciative of the support knowing that there will be others suffering alongside me, hopefully all working towards the glory of setting a new UCI Hour Record.” says Alex Dowsett, Professional Cyclist with UCI WorldTeam Israel Start-Up Nation. “In very rare circumstances do athletes share their training before an event, so I’m hoping many Zwifters will seize the chance to join me on my journey so they can feel a part of the attempt on December 12th.”
The UCI Hour Record is known to be one of the most gruelling efforts on the bike and Dowsett warns the training will be tough.
“These workouts are progressive with a taper back down for the final week, finishing the series with a short but punchy session. This is my Hour Record prep. It’s meant to be hard, it’s meant to be exhausting, and on the limit.”
Full detail on all the workouts, along with details on how to take part can be found on the Zwift website here – https://zwift.com/events/series/alex-dowsett-hour-record.
Alex Dowsett’s attempt at the UCI Hour Record Timed by TISSOT is supported by Zwift and Muc-Off. Through this attempt, Alex Dowsett will promote Little Bleeders and The Haemophilia Society.
Campenaerts Will go Again if Dowsett Takes his Hour Record
On Saturday 12 December, Alex Dowsett will attack Victor Campenaerts’ World hour record in Manchester. The 32-year-old Brit has to cover more than 55,089 meters if he wants to dethrone Campenaerts. “He faces a tough assignment,” the Belgian said in conversation with Het Nieuwsblad.
Campenaerts set the hour record at altitude last year in Aguascalientes, Mexico, Dowsett will try it on a near sea-level track in Manchester in a month. It came as no surprise to Campenaerts. “In the last Giro d’Italia we were still talking about the hour record. It’s a bit double. I get along well with Alex.”
“I like him, but I can’t give too many tips either. He is a competitor that can take away my greatest achievement as a cyclist. If he takes my record, I plan another attack in the short term,” said Campenaerts, who certainly does not want to underestimate Dowsett. “I think he has a 50% chance of breaking the record. I’m glad someone finally dares to do it.”
“However, Alex is facing a tough assignment. The air pressure makes or breaks an hour record attempt. I am not a climatologist, but in Mexico the air pressure is almost constant every day. In Belgium or the United Kingdom, the temperature fluctuates day after day. If on December 12 there is high air pressure, I fear it will be an impossible attempt.”
An advantage for Dowsett is that he can choose his own equipment. “That is a big advantage,” said Campenaerts, who is not afraid that his hour record will be shattered. “That would be a bit painful, but I honestly don’t believe in that. Alex faces a tough challenge. It would be sad for me if it weren’t.”
Maybe another hour attempt by Victor Campenaerts:
Successful Operation for Ciccone
Giulio Ciccone has had a successful operation on his nasal septum, the Italian climber said via Instagram. The surgery took place in his home country of Italy. “I will not just race with my mouth open from now on,” Ciccone added.
The operation on the septum is to combat breathing problems. Ciccone has been suffering from this for a while. “It took several years, but I finally had an operation on my nose. My nasal septum was completely wrong, so it stopped working. I have to thank Dr. Tito Marianetti for his professional approach and willingness to perform the surgery. I am in the best of hands,” said Ciccone, who already suffered from the corona virus at the beginning of September, but the Trek-Segafredo climber turned out to be fit for the Giro d’Italia.
However, the 25-year-old rider had to give up early in the Italian Grand Tour due to acute bronchitis. Ciccone started 2020 very promisingly with a win in the Trofeo Laigueglia, but that was before the outbreak of corona.
Giulio Ciccone in Tour yellow 2019:
Zoetemelk Recovers from Crash
Joop Zoetemelk is still recovering from his collision with a car at the end of September, in which he sustained fractures to his left arm and right hand. According to doctors, the winner of the 1980 Tour de France can hope for a full recovery, he said in interviews with the AD and De Telegraaf.
“The health is good, only that injury will take a while,” the 73-year-old Zoetemelk explained. The former cyclist living in France was back in hospital last week, where he was rushed in September and had to stay for over a week.
In the hospital, he spoke to the doctor who operated on him. “My right hand will certainly start to move,” he says about the injury. “It just might take a few more months, maybe even a little longer. And maybe it will not fully recover 100%.”
Zoetemelk has the most trouble with that right hand. “There muscles and nerves have been damaged and a lot has been bruised. I can bend the fingers of my left hand and I can grab something with the left, but not with the right. No cup or fork. And I’m on the right, so that’s switching. It requires quite a bit.”
For the time being, the former pro is not getting on the bike. Zoetemelk also responds to the impact his accident had. “I understand that many people are shocked, but I hear the most myself. It also bother me the most,” he responds. “I have to say: I have received a lot of get well cards from people. Incredibly beautiful.”
Get well soon, Joop:
INEOS Grenadiers has a Present for Tao
A Giro winner deserves a bike to match, so we spoke to Pinarello and hatched a plan!
Tao had no idea…
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