Not to worry, only about seven months to the 2021 Tour de France. All the news from the world of cycling: The NTT team saved by Qhubeka and Assos – TOP STORY. Race reports and video from the Merksplas cyclocross and the Israeli road championships. Other news: Marcel Kittel gets engaged, Giro d’Italia 2021 start in Turin, Egan Bernal back problems, Valverde’s bad season, EF Pro Cycling and POC, Vuelta a San Juan to go ahead, rider retirements and lots of contract news. EUROTRASH coffee time Monday.
TOP STORY: Team Qhubeka ASSOS – “A dream come true”
Douglas Ryder, the South African founder of NTT Pro Cycling, is thrilled to announce the next step in our team’s incredible journey, which sees us moving forward in partnership with the leader in performance cycling apparel, ASSOS of Switzerland, to create Team Qhubeka ASSOS.
Since founding the team, Ryder’s ultimate dream has been to use the profile and success the team has developed on cycling’s global stage to promote its purpose: changing lives through bicycles together with the Qhubeka Charity.
This call to action has been keenly felt by our riders, staff, partners and fans across the world and seen our team raise funds for more than 30 000 bicycles for distribution to Qhubeka programmes in South Africa.
From 2021, our team – which has formerly ridden as MTN, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and most recently NTT Pro Cycling – will be in the exciting position to further advance this movement by racing to raise awareness of the mobility challenges that occur throughout communities in Africa.
Team Principal Douglas Ryder said: “I am really happy to have gained the support of some incredible people and partners including ASSOS of Switzerland who have stepped in to be a headline sponsor. To be able to recreate the team as Team Qhubeka ASSOS talks to exactly what we continue to strive for, and that is to be a purpose-led, high-performance racing team. The last few weeks have been incredible seeing all the comments from fans in terms of how this team has connected with them in different ways. I am so happy we can continue to create hope and opportunity through our team and with the Qhubeka Charity.
“I look forward to welcoming new partners to Team Qhubeka ASSOS as we plan and prepare for a new season in 2021 in a world that has been so heavily impacted by the pandemic. The bicycle continues to be a tool to change the lives of so many people for commuting, for sport, for health, for freedom and access. Our team has always been about much more than victories, but we do love to win.”
“I also want to pay a special tribute to our staff. Those in the sport know just how difficult it is, so to see the diligence, care and professionalism they’ve shown throughout gives me inspiration, every day. We truly are a family,” Ryder concluded.
Derek Bouchard-Hall, ASSOS CEO, said: “We have really enjoyed being part of this mission driven team – Qhubeka’s slogan that ‘bicycles change lives’ could not inspire us more. And ASSOS has always been and continues to be deeply entwined in professional cycling – we were really moved by the opportunity to support the sport during the COVID crisis by keeping this important team part of the pro peloton.”
“We love the mission, the people and the challenge that comes with it,” said Roche Maier, ASSOS Board Member and Chief ASSOS Creative design Centre. “We are made in cycling and contributing to support and further develop the pinnacle of high-performance cycling is just the proper thing to do, especially in these uncertain times.
“Team Qhubeka ASSOS is not a traditional sponsorship but will be operated as the lighthouse of the Assos Worksteam. Our team will be used and abused to push boundaries of product development and stress tests to yet another level. We thank Douglas for the opportunity.”
Qhubeka Executive Director, Tsatsi Phaweni, said: “Qhubeka has developed a relationship with Doug Ryder and his team that spans more than a decade and is founded on our shared belief that bicycles change people’s lives for the better.
“We have huge respect for all they have achieved to date and look forward to continuing to cheer them on in 2021 and beyond. We remain grateful for their continued support of our work and for all their efforts to raise funds and awareness for Qhubeka, along with their fans, sponsors and the broader cycling community. Together, we can change more lives with bicycles, and so we wish them every success.”
A special thanks to our partners: ASSOS of Switzerland, BMC, Mercedes Benz, Supersport, Rotor, Selle Italia, Tacx, Garmin, OTE, Morgan Blue, Vittoria, Compresssport, KMC, Vida e Café, Solrx, Lumin Sports, EME.Italy, Hyperice, Scicon, ASG, Elite, Burgt Reclame, L’Avenir, APO Group, Zwift and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation
Further details and announcements related to the team will be made in due course
Superprestige Cyclocross – Merksplas 2020
Michael Vanthourenhout won the Superprestige Merksplas 2020 on Sunday. The crosser of Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal managed to get away from a leading group of six on the penultimate lap and then solo to the win. The podium consisted entirely of Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal riders with Eli Iserbyt second and Laurens Sweeck third.
Lars van der Haar had the best start in Merksplas. On the first lap he managed to get away from the others, ahead of a crash. The Dutchman had a lead of 11 seconds on Belgian champion Laurens Sweeck after three of the nine laps, but he was getting closer. Behind Sweeck, Toon Aerts rode away from a group of pursuers. Aerts joined Sweeck five laps before the finish and shortly afterwards the Belgians also caught Van der Haar at the head of the race. Michael Vanthourenhout and the European champion also joined the front runners a little later, creating a group of five riders off the front.
Vanthourenhout put the rest under pressure, but was unable to make the difference. Corné van Kessel also managed to cross to the front at the start of the penultimate lap, but at that moment Aerts and Iserbyt attacked. Only Van der Haar and Vanthourenhout were able to follow. The latter escaped after that. The Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider had 5 seconds on Aerts and 8 seconds on Iserbyt at the start of the final lap. The rest followed at more than 10 seconds. Vanthourenhout rode well to recorded his first victory in a series counting cyclocross.
Race winner, Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauces-Bingoal): “I think it was a fair cross and that I was the best. The past few weeks I felt that I was good, but not good enough to compete for the victory. Today I was too slow at the start. It was a difficult course to pass, but I got more into my rhythm and that way I could close gaps. When I got to the front, I still had something left. The last lap I had a gap and didn’t waiting. Toon made a mistake after that, so it was a great day for me, but now I win like this, that’s good too. For me it is very special to win a classification cross. We were very good as a team, but the fact that we can end it like this (with three on the podium) Is very good for the team. We have to do as we are doing, not think about someone joining us. Wout will not be in top condition yet.”
2nd, Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “The intention was to win, but Michael didn’t steal it. He was the best today. We didn’t really stop as a team, it was hard against hard. It was a varied cross. The last two laps I rode well, but Michael turned out to be better, so I have to accept that. The crash was the final part of the faltering start. I changed tire pressure three times in the beginning, that was my estimation error. Lars may have started a little too early. We know that as a team we are in the top four with three and that is ultimately reflected in the final laps. You can also see that we bring our endurance training to the race.”
3rd, Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “I thought it was still feasible, because Toon fell on one of the last corners in front of the sandbox. There I put pressure on him and then he made another mistake. I could still sprint on the wheel. It was a very short sprint, that was a Telenet-Baloise tactic. Toon Aerts was in second position and we were pushed away, very far. We were unable to respond immediately to Van der Haar’s attack. And Toon thought that was a good situation. I could still detach myself to drive to Lars, and therefore Toon had to ride himself.”
Superprestige – Merksplas Men Result:
1. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauces-Bingoal in 59:33
2. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauces-Bingoal at 0:08
3. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauces-Bingoal at 0:13
4. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet-Baloise
5. Corné van Kessel (Ned) Tormans CX at 0:22
6. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Telenet-Baloise at 0:27
7. Felipe Orts (Spa) Teika-BH at 0:36
8. Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:43
9. Daan Soete (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers at 0:50
10. Diether Sweeck (Bel) Credishop-Fristads at 1:15.
1. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) – 57 points
2. Toon Aerts (Bel) – 54 points
3. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) – 52 points
4. Lars van der Haar (Ned) – 46 points
5. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) – 45 points.
Superprestige Cyclocross – Merksplas 2020
Lucinda Brand won the Superprestige round in Merksplas. The leader of Telenet-Baloise made the decisive move on the final lap, when she passed the fallen Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado. Denise Betsema finished second, world champion Alvarado third.
On the second lap, the leading group exploded. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado and Lucinda Brand took the initiative along with Annemarie Worst. Behind, a group formed with Sanne Cant, Manon Bakker, Anna Kay and Yara Kastelijn. Brand and Alvarado turned out to have the best legs, because they put further pressure on Worst halfway through and drove her further behind. However, the former mountain biker of the 777 cross team did not give up just like that. On the fourth lap of the six, Alvarado seemed to distance herself from Brand, but the leader of Telenet-Baloise recovered. One lap later, the world champion again tried to ride away from Brand in the sandbox, this time with more success. Alvarado seemed to be heading for the win, until she slid down on a muddy embankment at the start of the final lap.
Brand took full advantage of the crash and went on and over the Alpecin-Fenix World champion. Alvarado then fell again, so Denise Betsema passed her. Betsema was second, ahead of Alvarado and the dropped Worst.
Race winner, Lucinda Brand (Telenet-Baloise): “I think it fits the race to make mistakes. We are well matched and I am glad I came back to Ceylin. Then she made a mistake and it was easy for me to continue. This course is certainly very treacherous. At the beginning of the sandbox you did not have to end up in a gap in order to maintain your speed. Ceylin succeeded and I did not, so then she saw an opportunity to continue. It will remain close.”
2nd, Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauces-Bingoal): “I am very happy with my second place, given my bad start. I didn’t expect to get this close to victory after the first laps. In the first laps the sandbox went smoothly, but the last lap a little less. But second place is also great. I start in the third row and like here, with a narrow strip it is difficult to get to the front. The start is not my strongest point either, so it still needs to be worked on. But now I have more points, and that also means that I can start more near the front. I am very happy with my form.”
3rd, Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix): “The fatigue did play a role. It was wet and slippery in places, so I fell twice. That made the difference between profit and loss. I think it was mainly because of the fatigue. We rode full throttle for six laps and it went wrong.”
Superprestige Merksplas Women Result:
1. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Telenet-Baloise in 43:10
2. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauces-Bingoal at 0:06
3. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 0:16
4. Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777 at 0:20
5. Sanne Cant (Bel) IKO-Crelan at 0:36
6. Yara Kastelijn (Ned) Credishop-Fristads at 0:42
7. Manon Bakker (Ned) Credishop-Fristads
8. Anna Kay (GB) StarCasino CX at 0:56
9. Puck Pieterse (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 1:05
10. Perrine Clauzel (Fra) A.S. Bike Crossteam at 1:20.
Superprestige Women Trophy Standings:
1. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) – 57 points
2. Lucinda Brand (Ned) – 56 points
3. Annemarie Worst (Ned) – 51 points
4. Denise Betsema (Ned) – 47 points
5. Yara Kastelijn (Ned) – 46 points.
Israeli Road Championships 2020
Omer Goldstein is the new Israeli road champion. In Beit Guvrin, the Israel Start-Up Nation rider beat Eitan Levi and last year’s champion Guy Sagiv.
“Conquering the national jersey has been my big dream for a long time. I can’t believe that it has finally worked out,” Goldstein said shortly after the race via his team. For the 24-year-old rider, this is his second national title, after becoming Israeli time trial champion in 2018.
Earlier this season, Goldstein made his debut in a Grand Tour. In the Vuelta a España he assisted Dan Martin, who eventually finished fourth in the general classification. On Friday, his team Israel Start-Up Nation announced that the Israeli had extended his contract for one year. Among the elite women, Omer Shapira (Canyon-SRAM) took the national title for the fourth year in a row.
Israeli Road Championship Result:
1. Omar Goldstein (Israel Start-Up Nation) in 3:49:52
2. Eitan Levi (Israel Cycling Academy) at 0:01
3. Guy Sagiv (Israel Start-Up Nation) at 0:03.
New Israeli road champion – Omar Goldstein:
Kittel Proposes to Dutch Girlfriend
Marcel Kittel is getting married. The 32-year-old German, who stopped racing more than a year and a half ago, has proposed to his Dutch girlfriend Tess von Piekartz. “We have taken another big step in our lives, because we are engaged.” Kittel said on social media.
The former top sprinter has been with his Dutch partner for six years. It is not yet known when the two top athletes, Von Piekartz plays volleyball at a high level. Will tie the knot. Kittel and Von Piekartz became parents of their son Lex in December 2019.
Giro d’Italia 2021 to Start in Turin
It will be a while before RCS announces the new Giro d’Italia route, but the Italian tour is rumoured to start in Turin next year, according to TuttoBiciWeb last Friday. Ten years after the last Grande Partenza in the northern Italian city, Turin can once again prepare for the start of the Giro d’Italia.
The 104th Giro d’Italia will pass the Tuscan coast and Mauro Vegni will aim for the climbs of Monte Zoncolan and Tre Cime di Lavaredo later in the race. A visit to nearby Slovenia is also high on Vegni’s wish list. The Italian hopes this will bring Primož Roglič or/and Tadej Pogačar to the start.
The climax of the Giro d’Italia may take place in Verona, at the famous Roman amphitheater. However, Verona still has competition from other cities, such as the historic Gorizia. The Giro d’Italia is scheduled for next year from May 8 to May 30, covid-19 allowing.
Giro’20 winner – Tao Geoghegan Hart:
Egan Bernal Talks About his Back Problems
Egan Bernal has had problems with his back for some time. The Colombian leader of INEOS Grenadiers said in conversation with Signal Colombia. “The pain has been there for a long time. I feel good now, but it is a complicated injury,” said Bernal.
Last month, Bernal announced that one leg is longer than the other. That would cause a curvature in the back. “During the Tour France that I won last year, during my first Tour and also when I was still mountain biking… The pain has always been there,” said the 23-year-old climber.
Bernal trained a lot in his own country during the first lockdown. This made his injury much worse, he thinks. “During the quarantine I spent many hours on the rollers. After that I actually went from zero intensity to intensity to the races in France for the Tour de France,” he looks back on the Route d’Occitanie, which he won and the Tour de l’Ain, second.
Bernal then gave up in the Dauphiné with back pain, after which the Tour de France also fell apart because of the injury. “I think a pinched nerve in the spine got a little irritated, and that’s where the pain came from,” Bernal points out.
“I feel good now, but it is a complicated injury. We are working very hard to be able to be at the level I want to be next year,” said Bernal, who has ‘an army of doctors’ at INEOS Grenadiers to monitor his progress.
Bernal in the Tour:
Unzué Says Valverde’s Bad Season Due to Covid-19
Alejandro Valverde did not win a race for the Movistar team this year for the first time since 2011. The Spaniard is now 40 years old and is at the end of his career, but team boss Eusebio Unzué refuses to write off his leader, he told Bici.PRO.
Valverde started the season well, finishing second in the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana at the end of January. He also finished second in a stage of the Tour of Valencia, but these turned out to be the only high-points in the preseason. To make matters worse, the other races were canceled after the outbreak of the corona pandemic.
After the corona break, the Murcian managed to finish eighth at the World Championships in Imola, followed by tenth place in the Vuelta a España. However, this is in stark contrast to the 2019 season, when Valverde was good for five wins, countless places in the top ten and second places in the Vuelta and the Tour of Lombardy.
The big question is whether Valverde will still be able to compete for victories at the highest level at his age. Unzué continues to believe in the Innsbruck World champion. “It was difficult for the older riders to switch, but they still kept their races at a high level. Alejandro also became a father for the fifth time this year.”
“He also had other things on his mind. Alejandro has been racing and training in the same way for 25 years, but this year everything was turned upside down. It’s a huge change and Alejandro was a bit taken aback,” Unzué said. His team only managed to win two races this year, but the experienced manager does not panic easily. “We would of course have wanted to have more victories, but we must not forget that we are in a process of rejuvenation. We had to say goodbye to men like Richard Carapaz, Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa. We didn’t often cross the line first, but we did race with a fantastic attitude. Sometimes that is worth even more.”
Not Valverde’s best season:
EF Pro Cycling and POC partner through 2024
EF Pro Cycling and POC today announce a four-year extension to their partnership, meaning the team has the highest levels of head and eye protection available as it races across the world.
The team and POC have partnered for the last six seasons, working together to provide the riders with the most advanced safety materials possible. Since its inception, POC has been awarded more than 60 international safety, design, and innovation awards.
“We are excited about the future and our ongoing partnership with the EF Pro Cycling Team. We have worked closely together since we entered the WorldTour in 2014 and EF’s Swedish heritage and inclusive approach merge perfectly with our safety mission and values,” said Jonas Sjogren, CEO of POC. “As this season has shown, the team is packed full of cycling talent. But, it is also a group that influences beyond podiums, and together we can shine a light on new ideas with a willingness to break from the norm, bringing cycling closer to everyone.”
As Sjogren noted, POC and the EF Pro Cycling organisation have been together since POC entered professional cycling in 2014, resulting in years of product development at the highest level of professional cycling.
“POC’s innovation and support of the team has been critical to our organisation. We’re proud to call POC a partner, as they offer performance and quality, understand our needs perfectly and can support our future objectives,” said Jonathan Vaughters, the team’s CEO. “In addition, their mission, coupled with our overall approach to rider safety, is a true reflection on our goals. The emphasis POC puts on performance and safety is important to all of us on the team.”
Oscar Huss, Head of Product Development, POC continued: “We know from experience with the team and our aerodynamic experts, WATTS Lab, and safety experts, POC Lab, that our helmets and eyewear provide riders with the very best in safety and performance. And as the team operates in a unique, high-performance environment we are able to constantly refine our equipment, ensuring that our products and the riders excel at the very highest level. Naturally the experience and feedback we gain is an important tool, allowing us to continually improve, innovate and refine our award-winning products and support our mission.”
Jonathan Klever Caicedo in the 2020 Giro:
Vuelta a San Juan continues: “With three, maybe four WorldTour teams”
The organisation of the Vuelta a San Juan is positive about the continuation of the stage race in January 2021. The Argentinian race will be held from 24-31 January and, despite the corona situation, will have professional teams at the start. “There will be three, maybe four WorldTour teams and four or five ProTeams,” said race director Roberto Amadio.
A large part of the international competitions in Australia have already been cancelled, but not in Argentina. “The government of San Juan, the governor and the Minister of Sports all want the Vuelta a San Juan to continue despite all the problems posed by the pandemic,” Amadio told Tuttobiciweb.
“Fortunately, the number of corona infections in San Juan is fairly low, because it is an isolated part of the country. That does help to keep the race going,” said the race director. “We want a high-level race, because we are part of the UCI ProSeries. Many teams are already making plans for 2021, they would like to race. The teams we approach have confirmed their interest.”
Evenepoel in San Juan:
Pieter Weening Retires at 39
After seventeen seasons, Pieter Weening has put an end to his professional career. During his career, the Dutch climber took thirteen victories, including one stage in the Tour de France and two in the Giro d’Italia.
His Trek-Segafredo team announced the news on Friday. Since June, Weening has been racing for the American team, but due to the corona virus and an early retirement in the Giro d’Italia, the cycling season turned out differently than he hoped for. “For almost twenty years I have been able to do the work I dreamed of and loved. I have loved every year and I am very grateful for that. But in the past few weeks I told myself that it was enough.”
“I can say that I am happy with what I have achieved. I’ve always ridden in great teams, but also with great groups of people. I think this was a major motivation for me. I’ve always had the motivation to be a part of the team spirit, to pursue a common goal and to do better every year to achieve it. Without good people around me, it would have been difficult to sustain such a long career.”
Weening hopes to return to cycling one day. “I love the sport and this world, but not in the near future. After being on the road for nearly twenty years, I now just want to rest and enjoy my life at home in Neerharen with my wife and our two children. I have some thoughts and ideas for the future, but this is not the time to make any announcements.”
Weening started his professional career in 2004 with Rabobank, and raced for the Dutch team for eight years. His 2005 Tour stage win in Gérardmer was by a millimetre in the sprint with Andreas Klöden. Six years later he won his first stage in the Giro in Orvieto with a slight lead over a group of chasers. This earned him the pink jersey, which he would then wear for four days.
In 2012 he moved to Orica GreenEDGE and he would ride for that team for four years. In the Australian team, he won the Tour of Poland in 2013 and a year later, at the Passo del Lupo, he took his second Giro stage win. In 2016 he joined the Dutch Roompot team, where he achieved success in the Tour of Norway, where he took the overall victory, and the Tour of Switzerland.
Since June, Weening has been riding for Trek-Segafredo, where he rode the Giro, but he did not finish the Italian tour. On the fourth stage, he crashed after riding over a water bottle. He was unconscious for a moment, but finished the stage. A day later he complained of dizziness and had to abandon. The stage to Camigliatello Silano was his last as a professional cyclist.
Giro’16 – Pieter Weening next to Steven Kruijswijk:
Ramunas Navardauskas Retires at 32
Ramunas Navardauskas has announced his retirement from competition. The 32-year-old Lithuanian, who won stages in the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia, has been racing for the French Nippo-Delko One Provence ProTeam for the past two seasons.
In June of 2017, Navardauskas had cardiac arrhythmias, which required surgery, and so his time with Bahrain-Merida (2017 and 2018) was difficult. After a long search, Navardauskas found a new team for 2019 in Delko Marseille. The four-time champion of Lithuania, who was living in Spain, has now decided to quit. “The situation surrounding the corona virus added to the problems, there were concerns within the team and I lost the pleasure of cycling,” he told La Provence.
“I have been struggling for the last three years due to my heart problems and was always fighting with myself. That is why I decided to take my rest and take a more relaxed approach to life. I want to forget about cycling a bit. Maybe I will regret it in a few years, but I have had enough now,” said Navardauskas.
Navardauskas’ palmarès includes stage victories in the Tour 2014 and the Giro 2013. He also won two team time trials in those Grand Tours with the Garmin team. It earned him two days in the pink jersey in the 2012 Giro. He also took the bronze medal in the World championship road race in Richmond, behind Peter Sagan and Michael Matthews.
Miguel Ángel López to Movistar 50/50
Will Miguel Ángel López be heading to Movistar next year or not? A few weeks ago, the rumour was very strong, at the beginning of November there seemed to be an agreement, but team boss Eusebio Unzué estimates the chance at “fifty-fifty”.
López was previously linked to BORA-hansgrohe and AG2R-La Mondiale, but now Movistar seems to be the Colombian climber’s new final destination. “I can only say that we are very interested in Miguel Ángel López,” Unzué told Bici.PRO.
“If I have to add a percentage, I say that there is a 50% chance that López will sign for Movistar soon. We will find out more in a week,” said Unzué, who already has three GC leaders with Alejandro Valverde, Enric Mas and Marc Soler.
Movistar has already signed Iván García, Gregor Mühlberger, Gonzalo Serrano and Abner González for 2021. Although Eduardo Sepúlveda, Jürgen Roelandts, who retires, and Carlos Betancur have all left. According to the UCI, Betancur has not been part of the Movistar team since the end of August.
Movistar or not for ‘Superman’?
Fabio Aru Linked to Team Qhubeka ASSOS
Fabio Aru will announce his new team for 2021 soon, but he has now been linked to Team Qhubeka ASSOS. Aru’s contract with UAE Team Emirates was not renewed for next year.
The future of NTT Pro Cycling hung by a thread, but earlier this week it was announced that the team would continue as Team Qhubeka ASSOS. The Swiss clothing company Assos was already a sponsor of the South African team, but will now be a main sponsor.
The team has lost some strong riders, such as Michael Valgren, Ben O’Connor, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Louis Meintjes. Victor Campenaerts remains with the team and European champion Giacomo Nizzolo also seems to opt to stay. The team may also have some contract extensions. The South African team is busy strengthening itself towards 2021. Dimitri Claeys is on his way to the team and the arrival of Aru is possible.
Ex-rider, Daniele Nardello, works for clothing company Assos and behind the scenes played an important role in the rescue operation of the team, sees a transfer. “I would do it immediately. Fabio deserves a new chance. He has had a lot of problems, but is just a top cyclist,” he said to La Gazzetta dello Sport. “His results come from somewhere. I’m just not in charge, so I don’t make decisions, that’s up to team manager Doug Ryder.”
Fabio Aru in this year’s Tour:
Moscon will be racing with INEOS Grenadiers in 2021
Gianni Moscon will race for INEOS Grenadiers next season, he confirmed to BiciSport. For the strong Italian, 2021 will be his sixth season in the British team.
“But I will only start thinking about next season from December,” said Moscon. “At the moment we don’t even know when we can start racing or how we should organise the programs.” The 26-year-old rider, winner of the Tour of Guangxi in 2018 and the Arctic Race of Norway in 2016, has other things on his mind at the moment. His father is infected with the corona virus and so he himself works in the orchards of Trento. “Fortunately he is past the worst. It’s a shame that I can’t get close to him,” he said about his sick father.
Last season, Moscon failed to do much for INEOS Grenadiers and although he has signed a contract, it looks like he will have to have good results next year to stay. Otherwise, his departure is imminent. “But I don’t want to think about that now, otherwise I will get distracted and do my job here badly. This is my main occupation for now and I also need to change my mind.”
Rodrigo Contreras to stay at Astana
Miguel Ángel López’s departure seems imminent, but Astana-Premier Tech will be keeping on another Colombian climber in 2021. Rodrigo Contreras has extended his contract by one year and can prepare for a third season with the Kazakh team.
The 26-year-old Contreras mainly rode for López and Jakob Fuglsang this year, but also has his own ambitions. “I am still making progress and this year I was allowed to contest my first Grand Tour (the Giro d’Italia). I hope to compete for victories myself in the future,” he told Revista Mundo Ciclistico.
Rodrigo Contreras leading the break on Giro stage 13:
Troia to Stay with UAE Team Emirates
Oliviero Troia has signed a renewed contract with UAE Emirates. The Italian will start his fifth season with the team managed by José Antonio Fernández.
Troia announced the news in an interview with bici.PRO: “The contract was finalised in October. We wanted to get together, but in the end, due to the circumstances, I signed from home through my agent Mattia Galli. When we see each other again, we will talk about it again, but we had already reached an agreement during the season.”
In 2020, the Italian rider had a difficult season, which came to an early end due to a wrist fracture. “I was supposed to ride the Giro d’Italia, but in the Trofeo Matteotti I broke my scaphoid bone. It took me two months to recover. I wanted to go to Belgium for the classics, but realised it was really impossible. Then I called the team and said: I’ll see you next year.”
Louis Meintjes, new asset in the mountains for Circus-Wanty Gobert
Circus-Wanty Gobert continues its recruitment with the arrival of Louis Meintjes. The South-African returns to Belgium, after his U23 period with the Belgian team UC Seraing. Meintjes then became pro in 2014 with MTN-Qhubeka and immediately won the national title.The early talent and specialist in the high mountains showed his capabilities at the highest international level with two 8th places at the Tour de France (2016, 2017) with Lampre/UAE. Meintjes also excelled on the Spanish roads of the Vuelta by finishing 10th (2015) and 12th (2017). The resident of Andorra won the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, finished 7th at the Olympic Games in Rio and 8th at the Critérium du Dauphiné. Big results are lacking since his return to the South-African structure NTT, but the only 28 year old wants to reboot his career in the colours of Circus-Wanty Gobert. The South-African will be an asset for the mountainous stage races and the Grand Tours.
Louis Meintjes: “My arrival within Circus-Wanty Gobert is a new challenge in my career. But the Belgian atmosphere is pretty familiar. It all started in Belgium for me, before becoming a professional. I can’t wait to return to the Belgian cycling culture, it will bring new perspectives. Next year, I want to focus on a Grand Tour and shine. I also want to show that I’m still able to reach my best level in one week World tour races, like the Tour of Catalunya or the Critérium du Dauphiné. I’m looking forward to know the definitive calendar for 2021, and especially the courses, in order to prepare the races which correspond best to my capabilities.”
Aike Visbeek (Performance Manager): “By adding Louis Meintjes to our squad, we reinforce our team for the mountainous World Tour races. He’s already proven his capabilities by finishing twice in the top 10 of the Tour de France. We’re convinced that his career can continue crescendo with Circus-Wanty Gobert. Louis reached a mature age, and this new ambitious environment in full growth will motivate him to step up to a higher level. We will establish a programme which suits him, focused on mountainous World Tour stage races like the Tour de Romandie, the Critérium du Dauphiné or the Tour de France.”
Six New Signings for Astana – Premier Tech with Battistella, De Bod, Piccolo, Perry, Romo and Sobrero Joining for 2021 and Beyond
We are pleased to announce some new faces joining the Astana – Premier Tech from 2021 and beyond. Six young but promising names will wear the colours of the Kazakh-Canadian team with two of them facing their first WorldTour experience.
Samuele Battistella to ride with Astana – Premier Tech in two upcoming seasons: “I’m super happy to be in this team, since I started cycling Astana was one of the top teams. And now, being here for the next 2 years is something special and amazing! Many big riders have been in this team, so for sure the team has a lot of experience. I think I can learn a lot to become a better rider. Personally, I have no specific goals for the upcoming season. I just want to be in good shape and to give 110% for the team at every race and enjoy being in such an amazing team.”
Stefan De Bod, signed for the seasons 2021 and 2022: “I am delighted to join Astana – Premier Tech. After two tough seasons as a neo pro, in 2019 I faced some visa issues, as I am from South Africa and then, 2020 with the global pandemic, I am excited to leave that all behind me. I am excited for the opportunity I got and took it with both hands to finally show myself in the world of cycling. The team has amazing riders and works in a professional way, I am looking forward to working with them and learn from the best.”
Andrea Piccolo, joins the WorldTeam for the two upcoming seasons: “I am more than happy to wear the jersey of this team for the next two seasons. It’s pure happiness for me right now. My goals are first to gain some experience and to learn as much as possible from my teammates, who are also idols for me. It is an honour for me to ride among them and to be in the team. I am looking forward to meeting them all and to become part of the team. I want to support them in the best way possible.”
Ben Perry, who signed a one-year contract: “First of all, I am incredibly excited to be joining Astana – Premier Tech in 2021. I look forward to competing in the world’s most illustrious races, in a team that has a strong history and culture. I want to make an impression on the team straight away and demonstrate my capabilities as a complete and consistent rider. A significant goal of mine is to prove my worth as a dependable rider in any race on the calendar. I also want to thank everyone who has helped me along my journey; St. Catharines Cycling Club, National Cycling Centre Hamilton, my friends, my family, and all the people who have supported me and cheered me on through the years. I also want thank Astana – Premier Tech for this opportunity.”
Javier Romo, Spanish U23 Road Champion will ride for the Kazakh-Canadian team until 2023: “I am super happy to now be part of the team. I am very grateful to get this opportunity. The team gives me the chance and I want to work hard to give back the trust the team gives me. I hope I can step up into the WorldTour, helping the team to achieve victories. I am really looking forward to being part of it.”
Matteo Sobrero, signed for one year: “I am delighted to join Astana – Premier Tech next year. The 2020 season was, beside all the global pandemic and changes on our calendar, still a good one for me, I grew a lot as rider and gained some experience. I am really looking forward to riding among all those great riders and to achieve our goals together with the team. It will be a great chance for growth and to become a better rider.”
BORA – hansgrohe Extends with Martin Laas
The Estonian sprinter’s contract has been extended by one year, which will see him take on greater responsibility in BORA-hansgrohe’s various lead-outs in future.
“It was certainly a difficult year to make the jump up to the WorldTour. Nevertheless, Martin did a good job. After the lockdown, he rode increasingly better and was able to win two stages at the Tour of Slovakia for us. He made his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta, where he was integrated into the sprint train for Pascal. That also worked well and I think this role could be one of his strengths in the future. Although he is a fast man, he has very good endurance values for a sprinter, which is particularly beneficial for him as a lead-out rider. Martin also has a lot of experience and can thereby also support our newcomers.” – Ralph Denk, Team Manager.
“I think that I’ve done well this year. Of course, the circumstances were not ideal and my race calendar, as with the other riders this year, became quite disrupted. Nevertheless, I received my chances and was able to make good use of them at the Tour of Slovakia. I am very happy that the team continues to have faith in my abilities. There is certainly further potential in me and I’m looking forward to working on my development together with BORA – hansgrohe. Their trust in me gives me enormous motivation.” – Martin Laas.
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA Strengthens its List of Climbers for Next Season
The professional staff of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA continues growing for 2021. To the three signings and the four announced renewals we add four more names that expand their contracts with the green squad for the next season. These are four riders who defend themselves well in the mountains and ensure a presence in level races: Julen Amézqueta, Jon Irisarri, Álvaro Cuadros and Joel Nicolau.
For Amézqueta (1993) it will be his fourth season with the team after overcoming difficult moments like injuries. He was able to come back to his best level as he demonstrated with his KOM jersey in the Settimana Coppi e Bartali or his good performance in the recent edition of Vuelta a España. For Xabier Muriel, the team’s sports director, “after the injury and the operation he had, he has reached a level that perhaps he hadn’t had before. He has just made a great Vuelta and we hope that next year he will take one more step and be with the best.”
Jon Irisarri (1995) faces his fifth year as a professional (rising from the development team) with the aim of continuing to progress and demonstrating all his skills. “He was one of the best U23s in the category and although it was difficult for him to adapt to professionalism, after confinement he began to show everything he has inside. We trust him a lot for next year,” says the Basque coach.
After a great start to the year, showing high level in races such as the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana or the Vuelta a Andalucía, the Granada-born Álvaro Cuadros (1995) has taken steps in his progression that have led him to face his fourth consecutive year among the best, also grown up from lower categories of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA. As Muriel explains, “in the team we have a lot of confidence in him so that next year he will finish exploding and show us all the cycling he has inside.”
The fourth to extend his contract is another cyclist with a lot to say, the Catalan Joel Nicolau (1997). In addition to shining on the Saudi Tour before the pandemic, the breakaways have been his field to be seen and work for the team. The sports management is confident of its progression next year: “It is an all-rounder, very reliable and regular in all races. We have a lot of confidence in him for high-level races.”
Serrano Strengthens Movistar Team’s List of Spanish Talents
Gonzalo Serrano, one of the biggest prospects in the country, to join Telefónica-backed outfit on two-year contract.
The Movistar Team announced Thursday that Gonzalo Serrano (Madrid, ESP; 1994), currently a member of the Caja Rural-Seguros RGA squad, has signed a two-year contract with the organisation managed by Eusebio Unzué.
A member, as an amateur rider, of the Alcalá de Henares cycling club founded by the late Jesús Rodríguez Magro, a loyal domestique and prominent figure of the Banesto team in the 1990s, Serrano took the leap towards pro racing with his overall victory in the elite-U23 Spanish Racing Series in 2017, ahead of future team-mate Sergio Samitier.
Gonzalo has continued a steady progression during his first three years as a pro, performing well at tough courses – top-ten overall finisher in the Tour of Turkey (UCI WT) in 2019- and showing his quality in 2020 with a spectacular win at the Vuelta a Andalucía’s uphill finish in Iznájar (st. 2). A regular member of the Spanish national team – he’s ridden the last two Euro Champs, as well as the U23 Worlds in 2016 – he’s got great finishing speed and skills for all kinds of terrains.
Serrano’s signing is the four confirmed addition to the Movistar Team’s 2021 men’s roster, after Iván García Cortina, Gregor Mühlberger and Abner González. His arrival makes for 16 Spanish riders in a lineup currently including 28 names (full list here; to add: the recently renewed duo Torres/Mora). The roster is not finalised yet.
Gonzalo Serrano: “I’m so happy to have the chance to join a strong squad like the Movistar Team, who are giving me the chance to race at the best events and alongside some of the best pros in the world. On a short term, my goal is learning as much as possible and racing some one-day classics, which I feel will be a terrain suiting my characteristics well. I’ve always wanted to aim at that kind of races in the WorldTour, so now the goal is trying to make the most of every race I take part in and squeeze the upcoming years to keep growing as a rider and person.”
Eusebio Unzué: “I’m certain Gonzalo is joining us at a pivotal time of his sporting career. He’s already got experience in some of the toughest races in the sport, such as La Vuelta, and feel like he’s got the skills and quality to offer the team some brilliant moments in the WorldTour, like those he’s already brought to the Caja Rural squad. We’ll do everything at our reach to help him feel at home, continue his progression from these first few years and hopefully become a man who can excel also in the top tier.”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step add Josef Cerny to their Roster
The 27-year-old Czech rider from Prague has signed a deal for next season
Josef Cerny was last in action on the Giro d’Italia, where he claimed a memorable victory on stage 19 in Asti, when he competed in the day’s breakaway with his now teammate Iljo Keisse. Since turning pro in 2013, he has also taken the Czech National Road Race Championships in 2018, as well as winning his nation’s TT Title in 2018 and 2020. Cerny’s TT victories are backed up by having twice been the equivalent U23 Champion, in addition to the Czech Cycling Tour three years ago.
Upon the news of signing for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Josef Cerny said: “I am super happy that I have the chance to ride with the Wolfpack for the next year. It has been a difficult season for everyone and I am excited to have now joined one of the best teams in the peloton. I think I can add to the squad’s famous lead-out train, as well as working hard on the front when needed, and I have also shown that I can take my own results when I have good legs. I am really looking forward to meeting everyone soon and planning for the new season ahead.”
“We already have a strong team for 2021, but when the opportunity to sign Josef came along, it was not one that we could pass up. He is a strong and hard-working rider, who can add to the group, as well as being competitive for himself, as underlined by his impressive Giro d’Italia stage victory or GC results in week-long stage races. It adds another dynamic to our squad and we are delighted to have him with us next year,” said Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere.
Josef Cerny – Giro20 stage 19 win:
Ben King returns to Rally Cycling after 10 years in the WorldTour.
Two phone calls, just about twelve years apart, and two life-altering moments for Ben King, Rally Cycling’s final signing for 2021. And just as the roster is now complete, so too is a pretty incredible full circle. “I still remember after winning junior nationals in 2007 and then getting the phone call from Jonas Carney in my dorm room at college.”
Carney was calling to offer King a ride on Kelly Benefit Strategies / Medifast, the first iteration of the team that became Rally Cycling. “I had to decide if bike riding was the direction I wanted to take my life in. It really did change my path, that opportunity from Jonas.”
Carney himself remembers the first time around. “When we first brought Ben to our program, he was just a kid. We hired him straight out of the junior ranks. It’s just incredible to think after so much time has passed he’s coming back to our team as a seasoned WorldTour professional. It’s really exciting to have Ben rejoin our team after such a long time.”
Instead of the typical college experience, King began what he called a “crazy whirlwind lifestyle.”
“I was at Virginia Tech, but I was gone every weekend, driving home Thursday night, skipping Friday classes to fly out to a race, and then getting back late on Monday in time for my evening lecture. I’d get back to campus and it felt hard to relate to my peers; they were all spending their weekends doing completely different stuff.”
Kelly Benefit Strategies / Medifast provided the springboard to something bigger. Trek-Livestrong came calling and a couple of seasons later, the WorldTour beckoned.
“That time at college taught me a lot about work ethic and about the drive it takes to succeed. After my first year, I moved onto the Trek-Livestrong team while finishing up my second year at university, but from there I knew I needed to choose. If I wanted to make it into the WorldTour I couldn’t have both. I needed to commit to a full European program and I couldn’t do that as a full-time student.”
King became US national road champion in 2010 after soloing for over 100 km to claim the title, adding a senior stars and stripes jersey to go with the one from his junior years. He placed eighth in the young rider classification at his debut Tour de France, with the white jersey won by Thibaut Pinot.
Across 10 years in the top echelon of the sport, King won stages of the Amgen Tour of California, the Criterium International, and of course, his barnstorming run at the 2018 Vuelta a España which garnered not one but two stage victories. “Obviously the Vuelta is special to me and on paper, those are my best results, but I’d really like to return to the Giro. I’ve lived in Italy for the last 11 years but only raced it once. And then of course there’s the Tour, which is just on a whole other level in terms of everything surrounding the race. I hope I can help the team get there.”
As a rider, King has come a long way over the last decade, and he says it’s a trajectory that matches that of the program known now as Rally Cycling. “In 2008 [Kelly Benefit Strategies] were doing mostly criteriums in the US. Nowadays Rally Cycling has a full European calendar and is at some of the top-level races. Back then I was also still discovering what kind of rider I was, and how far I could go in the sport.”
While stage racing has always been his specialty, King says his love for the one-days has grown in recent years. “I’ve gained a greater appreciation for the really gritty, fight-for-position races. I’ve done almost all of them including Paris-Roubaix which is just really special.”
Sometimes the races you want to love, turn out not to love you back. “I guess your results and your performance, and how they all align, can affect how much you enjoy a race. I think if it was possible just to enjoy a race, a lot more races would be fun. If, at the end of a race, you don’t get the result you wanted that can colour your impressions.”
And of course, in a year turned upside down, life has been particularly challenging for King, who welcomed his first child into the world just a month ago. “It was such a tough year with all the lockdowns and being away from my wife. What with the baby coming, I was under an enormous amount of stress. When racing resumed there were so many unknowns up in the air, not knowing if I’d be able to get back to the US for the birth. And also with [NTT Pro Cycling] searching for a title sponsor, not knowing what I’d do for work. That all took a toll on my ability to focus and enjoy the process of training and racing, and that extra stress just made me so tired and run down and ready for an off-season even though we didn’t do a long stretch of racing.”
It was at about this point that the second phone call came on a day even more life-altering than the first. “Jonas actually called me in the hospital a couple of hours after my son was born to offer me the spot on the team – that made for quite a crazy weekend.”
King said yes and – while the kind of sleep required for optimal post-ride recovery is a fondly remembered thing of the past as he adjusts to life with a newborn – he is brimming with optimism about the future.
“I’m so excited to be coming back. I’ve kept in touch with Jonas pretty much every year over the last decade, he and Charles Aaron have always been people I respect and enjoy catching up with. As the team has grown, it’s always been attractive to me; the North American atmosphere will be really fun to be a part of, and John Kelly’s involvement is important as well. He’s been a family friend since before I was racing bikes. I can remember being on hunting trips with him and he would talk about wanting to have a team in the Tour de France and that looks achievable now in the future.”
He was also keen to stress the importance of the Rally Cycling ethos. “The culture I remember and still appreciate from the outside is the team’s commitment to a common goal, the gritty breakaway racing style, and strong ethics, plus their firm stance against doping.”
King’s optimism about the new start has translated into a fresh drive to train hard. “I kinda surprised myself with how motivated I am. I’ve been cranking back up the training. We’re working on ways to get some sleep around the newborn’s schedule, but I’m excited about team camp coming up and the races to follow. I love the vision of the team, the direction it has been headed for the decade I’ve been away. It’s exciting to be a part of that, hopefully, to be an influence on the further growth of the team. With Joey Rosskopf also coming, and the results the team achieved with Gavin Mannion and Keegan Swirbul at the end of the season, I’m excited to be going into that environment.”
King’s best career results have come mostly from escapes, something he’s eager to change. “I’m working on my explosivity in the gym a lot. It’d be good to learn how to get a result that didn’t come from a breakaway. I think if I could be more patient and save some energy to get some results from the field that would be cool.”
And he looks forward to helping share his abilities with his new teammates. “The team has some great sprinters, some really punchy riders, and I think the strengths I’m working on now will be really beneficial for the team – either for myself or as support for one of the other punchy guys in the team.”
For King, the prospect of ending his cycling career came uncomfortably soon. “When it was getting late in the year and I still didn’t have a contract, I felt unsettled about potentially ending my career. I contemplated it, but it didn’t feel right. Analytically speaking, that desire to fulfil my potential is still what drives me. I’ve shown I’m a pretty decent bike rider at my best, but I still haven’t reached what I’m ultimately capable of.”
12 years on, while almost every aspect of his life away from the bike has changed, some things still haven’t. “My goals are still the same, to reach my full potential. I spent 10 years in the WorldTour on three different teams and that was a great experience, but still one of the most fun years of my career was racing with Kelly Benefits in 2008.”
Ben King back home:
Team Sunweb Recruit Oscar Onley and Henri Vandenabeele, and extend with Tim Naberman
Team Sunweb are excited to announce the signing of Oscar Onley and Henri Vandenabeele, plus the extension of Tim Naberman for the 2021 season. Onley will ride with the Development program until the end of 2022, Vandenabeele will spend 2021 with the Development program before making the step up to the Men’s program in 2022 and 2023, while Naberman extends with the Development program in 2021.
Oscar Onley (GBR)
Hailing from Scotland, in his first year as a junior Onley picked up a string of solid top ten results on the British domestic scene but also overseas in France. He followed up seventh place on GC at the Ain Bugey Valromey Tour with eighth in Aubel-Thimister-Staevlot and as the best first-year junior at the Chrono des Nations time trial, where he showed his power over the mostly flat course. Racing has been sparse for Onley in 2020 but he recently caught the attention of many with his win at Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc cycle sportive, a mountain time trial that took place on the same course as the final stage of the elite men’s race of the same name. Onley’s time on the mountain would have placed him in 11th place on the stage if he took part in the race, highlighting his future potential on the longer ascents.
Onley said: “One of my main motivations to join Development Team Sunweb is that it will be the best environment for me to develop into a well-rounded rider on and off the bike. I chose Team Sunweb due to their forward way of thinking around technology and always striving for the best in everything they do. I’m looking forward to learning from all the experts on the team as well as my teammates in the different races we do. My main goal for the coming year is to learn how these races work and hopefully confirm what type of rider I can become in the future.”
Team Sunweb head of coaching Rudi Kemna said: “Oscar had some solid results in his opening year as a junior but it was his recent climbing TT success at the Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc that really showed his talents. We see him as a climber and TT specialist, and we want to help develop him towards those qualities. There is still quite a lot of room for progress and we’ll aim to get the best out of him with our team of coaches and experts.”
Henri Vandenabeele (BEL)
A talented Belgian climber, Vandenabeele had some good results in his junior career and opening season as an U23 in 2019 but his most impressive results have been in 2020 where he has been one of the revelations of the season. As a second-year U23 he started the season off well with a good showing at Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc before a fantastic ride at the Giro Ciclistico d’Italia saw him pick up a well-earned second place on GC alongside two-stage podium places. Proving that result was more than just a flash in the pan, Vandenabeele followed it up with a stage win and second overall at Ronde de l’Isard just two weeks later – highlighting his potential ability as a stage racer and climber in the future.
Vandenabeele said: “I’m extremely happy to join Team Sunweb. I chose this team because their Development program has a really good reputation. I want to do another year as an U23 before fulfilling my dream of becoming a pro. I’ve had a good year despite the circumstances and the aim is to build on these positive results next season. Developing in the bigger stage races will be my biggest goal as well as learning as much as possible from racing with the pros.”
Team Sunweb head of coaching Rudi Kemna added: “Henri has shown himself to be one of the best U23 riders this year, winning some big races and producing really strong GC results. We see him as a talented climber and stage racer for the future. Henri will join the WorldTour in 2022 and I think that itself shows how much we believe in him as a rider. Together with our experts and coaches, we’ll work on his continued and steady development, both next year and the following year, to help him reach the best of his abilities.”
Tim Naberman (NED)
Naberman has been with Team Sunweb’s Development program since 2019 and has steadily progressed each year on the bike, showing himself to the fore in the classics and tough races. A rider with a big engine, Naberman is also an important part of the team; whether that be helping to set up a sprinter or equally positioning the climbers before a final ascent. It’s not only on the bike that Naberman has impressed, it is work ethic off the bike too that stands out, always giving his all and committing to the team fully – helping to lead some of the new riders while at our Keep Challenging Centre in Sittard and proving himself to be a good captain.
Naberman said: “I really feel at home here and I’m happy with the faith the team has put in me. In my second year with the team, I have developed not only as an individual but also as a team player. I have really enjoyed being named road captain in most races, a role which I have had the privilege to experience already last season and hope to improve upon next year. The team has also given me the opportunity to go on the attack and show my own capabilities. I’m really looking forward to my last year as an U23. My progress has been really encouraging so far and I believe that we can achieve great things together.”
Team Sunweb head of coaching Rudi Kemna added: “Every year Tim makes a step forward in his development with us, continually getting stronger. He’s also one of the main captains within our Development program and is important for our way of working within the team; helping to guide the rest of the guys. That’s both with good leadership during the races while on the bike but also off the bike too, whether that be at our Keep Challenging Center in Sittard or during our dedicated focus weeks. Hopefully, he can continue his development with us next year.”
John Archibald and Mark Christian, British power for the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team
Double Anglo-Saxon reinforcement for the first EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team adventure in the ProTeam category. British cyclists John Archibald (1990) and Mark Christian (1990) sign for a season after having competed in 2020 in the continental teams Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling and Canyon dhb p/b Soreen, respectively. Both are veteran riders, recently released in their thirties, and from the sports management is believed to be able to contribute much to the team.
Scottish rider Archibald has been forged in the world of velodromes and stands out as an accomplished specialist in the fight against the clock. He and his team won the bronze medal in the mixed team time trial that kicked off the 2019 Yorkshire World Championships. So far, the Edinburgh-born rider has essentially faced a schedule within the United Kingdom. John is the brother of Katie Archibald, one of the great British riders of the moment, Olympic, world and European champion in the track.
“For me this is a unique opportunity,” says an John Archibald who has won medals in high-profile international competitions such as the Commonwealth Games. “I hope to achieve good results for next season, especially in the time trials. Of course fighting for good results in the races we will face will be an exciting step forward that I am looking forward to. I didn’t know much about the foundation before joining the team, but it is of course great to be associated with its cause”.
Based on the Isle of Man, the strong climber Mark Christian has more experience on the road at international level, with performances consisting of the Tour de Yorkshire (7th in 2017) or the Tour de Austria (13th in 2019), experience in Monuments (two Liège-Bastogne-Liège in his bag) and three-week laps (Tour 2017).
“I’m looking forward to starting this adventure. I was aware of the steps being taken at the Contador Foundation to make the jump to the ProTeam category. Sean Yates contacted me, explained what he expected from next year and I immediately agreed to sign. Being able to run some of the most important races in the world is a huge opportunity and I am very grateful to the whole team, with Alberto and Ivan at the helm, for this opportunity. I hope I can help EOLO-KOMETA to achieve its goals. I can’t wait to start working with coach Carlos Barredo and the rest of the team”.
John Archibald and Mark Christian:
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