Real racing starts in Burgos on Tuesday – Team line ups. Now Manuela Fundación sets its sights on CCC – Top Story. Race reports as Annemiek van Vleuten wins all three races in Navarra and Olav Kooij won the GP Kranj. Race news: GP’s Québec, Montréal and Fourmies cancelled, Milano-Sanremo details, Giro d’Italia start, Brittany for Tour de France start in 2021 and the Colorado Classic. Rider news: Mads Pedersen wants to show the rainbow jersey, Greg Van Avermaet on the Olympics, Rick Zabel doubts Tour corona measures, Evenepoel on Uijtdebroeks, Jefferson Alexander Cepeda to Europe, Robert Gesink wants yellow, Niki Terpstra at training camp, Bob Jungels to AG2R-La Mondiale, BORA-hansgrohe signs Politt, Annemiek van Vleuten not approached by Jumbo-Visma and Gijs Leemreize and Sébastien Grignard turn pro. Team news: French court investigates Doltcini-Van Eyck, Jumbo-Visma to Strade Bianche, Jumbo-Visma women’s team, Arkéa-Samsic cyclo-cross team, Groupama-FDJ contracts and Kern Pharma applies for ProTeam license. Peter Sagan and the Giro d’Italia: Backstage video. All go EUROTRASH Monday!
TOP STORY: Manuela Fundación Now Looking at CCC
There is a new chapter in the Manuela Fundación story. After the Mitchelton-Scott fiasco, wealthy Spaniard Francisco Huertas is now about to save Jim Ochowicz’s squad. It is rumoured that both parties are very close to agreeing to sign the deal.
The Polish shoe manufacturer CCC was hit very hard by the covid-19 pandemic. In mid-June, Ochowicz was positive about finding a new sponsor for the start of the Tour de France. At the time, Ochowicz evaded questions about negotiations with the American insurance company UnitedHealth Group. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Manuela Fundación wants to invest ten million euros per year in the WorldTour team. The Italian sports newspaper also reports that Alvaro Crespi will take over the team management.
Ochowicz and Manuela Fundación plan to finalise the deal before 1 August, according to Dutch website WielerFlits. It is still unclear what the team will look like next year. Ten riders have ongoing contracts, it remains to be seen whether those commitments will still run. Men like Van Avermaet, Fausto Masnada and Attila Valter would have options to move elsewhere in the WorldTour.
Ochowicz said last month that his riders were free to talk to other interested teams. “If one of our riders gets an offer from another team, I will help them with the choice they have to make,” said Ochowicz. “But most are looking forward to resuming the competition. I don’t think many decisions will be made in June and July. Then the normal scenario starts. In the Tour, everyone is nervous and you start negotiating. That is not until September.”
We might see these colours yet:
Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa 2020
The first women’s race since the corona break was won by Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott). The world champion drove away from Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) and Mavi Garcia (Alé BTC Ljubljana) in the final of the Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa and finished in Lekunberri solo.
In the Spanish region of Navarra the women started the second part of their season. Before the start of the Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa, however, there was already a fuss because of the sudden withdrawal of CCC-Liv. The team of Marianne Vos did not want to take any risks in an area where the number of corona infections has risen sharply. The home team; Bizkaia-Durango hadn’t had the results of their corona tests, also had to drop out at the last minute, but big teams like Trek-Segafredo and Boels-Dolmans decided to start.
The race of almost 120 kilometres was from Pamplona to Lekunberri over a total of four climbs. Along the way, the Ultzurrun (8.7 km at 5%), the Etxauri (6.5 km at 6.6%), the Guembe (5.7 km at 5.7%) and the Zuarrarrate (6.3 km at 5.1%).
The first race after the corona break got off to a slow start, as the riders had to race in hot temperatures. It was a long wait for the first real break, but the peloton was thinned considerably on the first two climbs. At the Guembe it was all hands on deck for the favourites for the victory. Several riders managed to separate themselves from the peloton on the ramps of the penultimate climb. The reigning World champion and top favourite, Annemiek van Vleuten, attacked with Anna van der Breggen and Elisa Longo Borghini, but this break was not long lived. With 20 kilometres to go, the Spanish rider Mavi García tried to go alone.
The lead for the Alé BTC Ljubljana rider increased to more than a minute, but García had to survive the Zuarrarrate for a chance to win. This turned out to be a hell of a job for the lonely García, who was caught by the summit by two Dutch world leaders: Van Vleuten and Van der Breggen.
Van Vleuten managed to win her only race before the corona break with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the 37-year-old rider made an impression in her rainbow jersey after the break. Van Vleuten drove so fast that first Van der Breggen had to drop out, followed shortly after by García. Mitchelton-Scott’s leader managed to take a gap with 4 kilometres to go and then soloed to victory. García finished second, Van der Breggen finished third.
Race winner, Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott): “They took our safety very seriously when organising this competition. It was also very safe and they made sure everyone was tested. So I am very happy with this day. It is a dream start. I came back from an altitude training camp two days ago. So I didn’t know how the legs would feel and I was a bit nervous too. I didn’t think I could win, especially because Lucy Kennedy and Amanda Spratt were the leaders. But now that I win solo, that’s great!”
Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa Result:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott in 3:32:51
2. Mavi Garcia (Spa) Alé BTC Ljubljana at 0:18
3. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at 0:27
4. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:48
5. Erica Magnaldi (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT at 0:50
6. Clara Koppenburg (Ger) Équipe Paule Ka at 0:55
7. Ella Harris (NZ) Canyon/SRAM at 3:01
8. Eider Merino (Spa) Movistar at 5:14
9. Elizabeth Deignan (GB) Trek-Segafredo at 6:03
10. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott.
Clásica Femenina Navarra 2020
The victory in the Clásica Femenina Navarra went to a solo Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott). The World champion took her second victory in two days, after she won the Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa solo on Thursday.
On the mountainous route in the Basque region of Navarra, Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) was one of the first big names to escape. She received support from Van Vleuten on the heavy Muro de Tirapu, at the halfway point. The two got together and took a lead of more than a minute and a half over a group of chasers, including Anna van der Breggen. It looked like Van Vleuten would have a certain victory as Longo Borghini had a puncture. After a quick change, she caught the World champion at the head of the race, 25 kilometres from the finish.
On the last climb of the Alto del Perdón, Van Vleuten managed to say goodbye to her co-escapee. At the top; the gap was 47 seconds on Longo Borghini and over two minutes to the peloton, a lead that was too big to close in the final kilometres.
The victory in the Clásica Navarra (UCI 1.1) is Van Vleuten’s third victory of the season in as many races. The 37-year-old rider retains her 100% score since she became world champion in Harrogate last year.
Clasica Femenina Navarra Result:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott in 3:19:01
2. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:14
3. Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling at 2:06
4. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Valcar-Travel and Service
5. Christine Majerus (Ned) Boels-Dolmans
6. Sheyla Gutiérrez (Spa) Movistar
7. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé BTC Ljubljana
8. Elena Cecchini (Ita) Canyon/SRAM
9. Ane Santesteban (Spa) Ceratizit-WNT
10. Eugénie Duval (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope.
Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria 2020
Annemiek van Vleuten; the world champion of Mitchelton-Scott won the Basque one-day race Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria on Sunday afternoon, winning all four races she rode in 2020. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) finished second 18 seconds down.
Van Vleuten’s winning recipe was not much different from the two races she won in the Navarra region last week. On the last climb of the day, this time Goiuria Gaina with the top just before the finish, she left a group of sixteen other riders.
Anna van der Breggen was the only one left behind Van Vleuten. At one point the difference was twenty seconds, although Van der Breggen managed to halve that gap towards the top. The last descent would determine whether the Boels-Dolmans leader would catch Van Vleuten.
In the end, it did not come to that, and Van Vleuten managed to complete her Basque hat trick in four days after 113 kilometres. Van der Breggen came in second at eighteen seconds. Elisa Longo Borghini ( Trek-Segafredo) came third in just over a minute from Van Vleuten.
Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria Result:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott in 2:51:17
2. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at 0:18
3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:05
4. Clara Koppenburg (Ger) Équipe Paule Ka at 1:07
5. Marta Cavalli (Ita) Valcar-Travel and Service at 1:38
6. Ashleigh Moolman (SA) CCC-Liv
7. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
8. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
9. Mavi Garcia (Spa) Alé BTC Ljubljana
10. Ane Santesteban (Spa) Ceratizit-WNT
Kooij restarts season with victory in GP Kranj
Olav Kooij has won his third race of the season in GP Kranj. After 157 kilometres he was the fastest in the bunch sprint in Slovenia.
A small leading group got a lead from the peloton, but was caught long before the finish. The riders of Jumbo-Visma Development Team put their sprinter in the right position, after which Kooij took the fifth victory for the development team of Team Jumbo-Visma.
“The whole team had a lot of morale to finally race again,” Kooij said. “We set up the sprint train in the last ten kilometres. The boys did a perfect job. Mick van Dijke dropped me off in the last two hundred metres, after which I could sprint to victory. Next week I will ride the Heistse Pijl with some good sprinters at the start line. Then I am at the start of the Czech Cycling Tour. This victory gives a lot of confidence for the upcoming races.”
Sports director Robert Wagner is happy that his team was able to restart the season with a win. “We were able to train well in Slovenia in the recent weeks. We knew the boys were doing fine. It was great that they could take the win here.”
Olav Kooij wins the GP Kranj:
No GP Québec and Montréal in 2020
The organisers of the Grand Prix de Québec and Montréal has announced that both races will not take place in 2020. A final decision was be made on July 31, but the organisation has decided early.
The organisation recognised last week that there are some problems. For example, teams face travel restrictions and foreigners are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Canada until August 31 (and possibly September). Furthermore, large-scale events are prohibited until at least August 31.
Race director Serge Arsenault, still had the hopes of organising the Canadian classics in 2020, but he and his team now realise that it is impossible to meet all safety regulations. The Grand Prix de Québec was scheduled for Friday September 11, the WorldTour race in Montreal was to be two days later.
Michael Matthews won the last edition of the race in Québec, Greg Van Avermaet was the best in Montreal:
Matthews in Québec 2019:
111th Milano-Sanremo: The First Classic Monument of 2020 is on Saturday 8 August. Vittoria is the New Presenting Sponsor
The 111th edition of Milano-Sanremo, the first Classic Monument of the season, is scheduled for Saturday 8 August, with the start meeting point in Piazza Castello, Milan, the start in Via della Chiesa Rossa at 11.35 CEST and finishing in Sanremo in Via Roma around 18.30 CEST, after 291km. The route follows that of previous editions for a traditionally unpredictable Classicissima, even more so in the new summer date, with different tactics for those riders who will try to attack on the Poggio and the sprinters who want to arrive in Via Roma. Present at the event at the Vittoria headquarters in Brembate, were Stijn Vriends, the new Vittoria Group President and CEO, Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Cycling Director and Matteo Mursia, RCS Sport Sales Director. Riders Caleb Ewan and Fernando Gaviria, both expected to be at the start of the race, sent their messages.
Matteo Mursia, RCS Sport Sales Director; Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Cycling Director and Stijn Vriends, the new Vittoria Group President and CEO
The 111th edition of the Milano-Sanremo was presented today at the Vittoria HQ, which will also be its main sponsor. The race organised by RCS Sport / La Gazzetta dello Sport is scheduled for Saturday 8 August. The route follows the entire classic course that connects Milan with the Riviera di Ponente and the finish in Via Roma, which saw victory in 2019 for the Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe.
Stijn Vriends, the new Vittoria Group President and CEO, said of the partnership between Vittoria and Milano-Sanremo: “Vittoria is taking one of the most important steps in its history. The company is finally back to Italy, to where it belongs, and we wanted to celebrate this by supporting one of the most iconic UCI World Tour races held in Italy. We found the perfect fit in the Milano-Sanremo – the legendary Classic race. Milano-Sanremo 2020 is the race of the Italian cycling renaissance. After all the suffering that we went through, especially here in Bergamo, it is now time for a new start, and we want to actively contribute to it. I am proud to say that Vittoria, the number 1 producer of bicycle tires with graphene, is the presenting sponsor of the 111th Milano Sanremo – the race of the Italian cycling restart.”
Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Cycling Director, said: “August 8 is a date dictated by the difficult times we have been experiencing and the consequent revolution in this year’s cycling calendar. Together we face more challenges than the traditional March date but we are confident that the territory’s response can be a strong signal for the country’s restart through sport. We will have many of the great cycling champions at the start, including last year’s winner Alaphilippe, Nibali and Viviani, sprinters such as Sagan, Ewan and Gaviria, and the up-and-coming Van der Poel and Van Aert, just to name a few. Thanks to the production of our partner Rai, this Classic Monument will be broadcast in the five continents and will be watched by millions of spectators. We are convinced that this year, despite the schedule change, one of the world’s most popular cycling races will have the success and visibility that have made it legendary.”
Caleb Ewan said: “Some of my best memories of Milano-Sanremo are from my second place finish [in 2018]. I have only done the race three times and remember that edition very well – because of the second place, and also because the weather was very cold and wet at the start in Milan but when we arrived at the coast it was nice, and I managed to finish with a good result. Hopefully this year I can go one better!”
Fernando Gaviria said: “Milano-Sanremo is a race that I like very much and that I want to win. It is always open too many solutions with different riders who can win it because the situations in the race change very quickly. I have just returned from Colombia, now I am training in Europe to be ready on August 8th. In addition to Milano-Sanremo, my big goal of the season will be the Giro d’Italia.”
The Milano-Sanremo follows the classic route that has connected Milan to the Riviera di Ponente for the past 110 years: via Pavia, Ovada and Passo del Turchino, before descending towards Genoa Voltri. From here, the route heads west, passing through Varazze, Savona, Albenga, Imperia and San Lorenzo al Mare where, after the classic sequence of the “Capi” – Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta – the peloton negotiates two climbs that have become part of the route in recent decades: the Cipressa (1982) and Poggio di Sanremo (1961). The Cipressa is just over 5.6km long with a gradient of 4.1%. The descent leading back down to the SS 1 Aurelia road is highly technical.
The ascent of Poggio di Sanremo starts 9km before the finish line. The climb is 3.7km long with an average gradient of less than 4% and a maximum of 8% in the segment shortly before the crest of the climb. The road is slightly narrower, with four hairpin turns in the first 2km. The descent is extremely technical, on asphalt roads, narrow at points and with a succession of hairpins, twist and turns as far as the junctions with the SS 1 Aurelia. The final part of the descent enters urban Sanremo and the last 2km are on long, straight urban roads. 850m from the finish line there is a left-hand bend on a roundabout. The last bend, leading into the home straight, is 750m from the finish line.
Julian Alaphilippe wins the 2019 Milano-Sanremo:
The Giro d’Italia “Re-Starts” From Sicily
For the ninth time the Grande Partenza of the Giro will be in Sicily. Four stages will be held in the Region from 3 to 6 October, starting with an individual time trial from Monreale to Palermo.
An individual time trial, an uphill finish on Mt. Etna and two stages with mixed terrain will characterise the Grande Partenza of the 103rd edition of the Giro d’Italia, organised by RCS Sport / La Gazzetta dello Sport and scheduled from 3 to 25 October 2020. It will be the ninth Grande Partenza of the Corsa Rosa from the Sicilian Region (1930, 1949, 1954, 1976, 1986, 1989, 1999 and 2008).
The first stage, on Saturday 3 October, the Monreale-Palermo individual time trial of about 16km, will be followed on Sunday 4 October with the 150km Alcamo-Agrigento stage, featuring a finisseur final. The third stage, Enna-Etna (Piano Provenzana 1,775m) of 150km, will be the first summit finish of the Giro d’Italia, on Monday 5 October; a new climb, only partially climbed in 2011, from the northern side (Linguaglossa) to reach Piano Provenzana. On Tuesday 6 October the fourth stage is the last stage on the island, 138km from Catania to Villafranca Tirrena – it is suited to sprinters.
Nello Musumeci, President of the Sicilian Region, said: “This year the Giro d’Italia will start from Sicily. We have reached this agreement with RCS Sport and from 3 to 6 October the Corsa Rosa will have four stages on the island before reaching the continent. A great event, not only from a sporting point of view – this traditional sport has many enthusiasts in Sicily – but also for promoting tourism, with the Giro d’Italia which will highlight the most beautiful parts and the most interesting landscape and aspects of our territory. It’s a great opportunity for sport and tourism, and to show the best part of our land to Italy and to the world.”
Manlio Messina, Councilor for Sport, Tourism and Entertainment of the Sicilian Region, said: “We immediately accepted the invitation of RCS Sport to bring the Grande Partenza forward from 2021 to 2020 because we also believe that the seasonal adjustment is fundamental for us. We are proud to be part of this project which I am sure will drive the development of sport and tourism. I am convinced that resources must be invested in major events and for this reason we have chosen the Giro d’Italia. Sicily will welcome the Corsa Rosa with the warmth that has always distinguished it.”
RCS Sport commented: “Since 2019, with the Sicilian Region, we have been developing an important project to promote the region through cycling. It’s a communication path that started with the relaunch of the international race, Il Giro di Sicilia. Now we have the Grande Partenza from Monreale and three other stages that will show the beauty of Sicily to the world. It will therefore be a UNESCO World Heritage site to kick off a unique, all-Italian edition of the Giro d’Italia. It’s a fascinating and spectacular way to open the 103rd edition of the Corsa Rosa.”
The Temple of Hercules, Agrigento:
Brittany for Grand Départ 2021
ASO has approached Brittany to organise the Grand Départ of the Tour de France next year, reports Le Télégramme. ASO wants to bring the Tour forward by a week to avoid the Olympic road races, but the intended starting city of Copenhagen does not want to.
The UCI had made another request to the International Olympic Committee to move the cycling events during the postponed Games in Tokyo, but the IOC did not agree. The road races are in Tokyo on July 24 and 25, during the closing weekend of the Tour de France 2021.
And so the Tour and UCI want to advance the stage race by a week. This means that the Grand Départ is not on July 2, but on June 25. Copenhagen doesn’t want to because a European Football Championship game will be played on 28 June in the Danish capital.
According to Le Télégramme, ASO and Copenhagen are currently in talks to organise the start of the Tour de France another year. The Tour organisers have approached the Brittany region as Plan-B. Lorient and Rennes are cities named to host the Grand Départ. Brittany actually wanted to apply to organise the Tour start in 2024 in honour of Bernard Hinault’s 70th birthday or 2025, forty years after Bernard Hinault’s last Tour victory.
Hinault’s early birthday gift:
GP de Fourmies Canceled
The 88th edition of the Grand Prix de Fourmies will not run until 2021. Organiser Jacques Thibaux spoke to La Voix du Nord about the strict corona measures. “We would also receive too little media attention this year.”
The GP de Fourmies was scheduled for Sunday, September 13th and therefore had to compete with the Tour de France (August 29th-September 20th). “This means that the race gets too little media attention and loses its value,” said Thibaux, who as an organiser also has to deal with a maximum capacity of 5,000 people.
“These people also have to wear a mask. But who then invites you to come and watch as a spectator? Is the motto: first come, first served? Or is it better to invite older people? The GP de Fourmies is a folk festival, but if there are no spectators at all… It is the whole picture.”
Thibaux and his colleagues have therefore decided to postpone the 88th edition of the GP de Fourmies by one year. Last year, the victory went to German sprinter Pascal Ackermann, ahead of Jasper Philipsen and Boy van Poppel. The race in the north of France is part of the ProSeries and the Coupe de France.
Pascal Ackermann – Fourmies winner in 2019:
Pedersen: “I want to show that I deserve the rainbow jersey”
World champion Mads Pedersen does not care about the reactions of critics, who say that he is not worth the rainbow jersey. “People get annoyed because I work for Richie Porte in the Tour Down Under, or because I don’t do my own thing? I seriously don’t give a fuck,” said the Trek-Segafredo rider.
Pedersen indicates that he does not have to prove himself to anyone. “I won the World championships that day and that is why I earned the jersey,” he said in an online press moment. “I also know that there is a lot of pressure on my shoulders. I want to make it a hundred percent clear that I am the one who can wear the jersey and who respects the jersey. I want to show how beautiful the jersey is, I want to honour it and show that I deserve it.”
He has no answer to criticism. For example, after the Tour Down Under, he was told that he should not work for his leader Richie Porte as world champion. “I don’t care about that. It is not my problem. I know what I’m doing and I do it my way. If I am happy with my results in the rainbow jersey and if I achieve the goals I have set, then nobody can be disappointed.”
Now that the 2020 season has been completely overhauled, Pedersen will race few races as World champion. “In ten years’ time you will no longer know how many days I rode in the rainbow jersey. Only that I won in Harrogate. I have to be able to deal with that. I am happy that I won a World championships and I enjoy every moment that I can put on the jersey. Whether that is a one-hour or six-hour training ride.”
World champion Mads Pedersen:
French Court Opens Investigation into Sexual Harassment by Doltcini-Van Eyck Team Manager
The French court opened an investigation into Marc Bracke, the team manager of Doltcini-Van Eyck. The reason is a complaint by ex-rider Marion Sicot, who accused Bracke in March of questionable behaviour.
Bracke is said to have asked Sicot to send photos in underwear in November 2018 so that the manager could check the Frenchwoman for physical condition and weight. Sicot was caught using EPO a year later, but according to the rider herself, she did so to show Bracke “an achievement that would make me consider equal to the other girls.”
Le Monde reported that the UCI ethics committee had opened proceedings against the Belgian team in February, but Sicot has now also gone to the French court.
It was not only Sicot who came out with the story about the underwear photos earlier this year. Ex-teammate Sara Youmans previously had a similar story, in which Bracke asked the rider to take bikini photos during contract negotiations.
Marc Bracke and Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport deny all charges of sexual harassment. “I am an old man. From a picture of the legs I can see if someone is physically okay. But in these times of #metoo that was not the smartest move. I am now being judged on that.”
Marion Sicot in De Ronde:
Bahrain-McLaren Recommences Racing at the Vuelta a Burgos and We Can’t Wait!
Team Bahrain McLaren lines up for its first UCI cycling race after the Covid-19 lockdown at the Vuelta a Burgos from July 28th to August 1st followed by the Circuito de Getxo on August 2nd.
The feeling, commitment and readiness of the team couldn’t be stronger following the conclusion of successful training camps in Andorra, Germany and Italy. Now we turn our attention to the recommencement of the racing season, a moment we have all been waiting for some months. Most importantly, everyone on the team is safe and well and ready-to-go. What more could we ask for given the challenges of this year? We would like to thank our partners, fans and those who have supported our riders and staff over the past few months. Now, let’s go bike racing!
Rod Ellingworth, Team Principal: “This is it! We have a final few days of training before we go off racing. We’ve had three locations for training over the last few weeks. One in Andorra, one in Italy and one in Germany. The camps all finish this Saturday, and then there are a couple of days to go before we start racing next week in Burgos. Everyone is in good condition and most importantly of all in good health. Hopefully, we will see you all on the road in the next few weeks, and we are looking forward to getting back to racing.”
Mikel Landa: “Today, here in Andorra, we had the last training before the upcoming races. We did a lot of work here at altitude, and now we are ready to race. We have been patiently waiting for this moment, which finally arrived. So, lets’ race!.”
Mark Cavendish: “We had our final training camp in Germany with my sprinter team-mates, and then a few of us head to Burgos; a race which will get us back into the swing of things. We are going there to support Mikel Landa who has been training full-gas with the guys for Tour de France, so he is in incredible form.”
Gorazd Štangelj, Sports Director: “We are expecting an exciting race with our key rider Mikel Landa leading Team Bahrain McLaren. We will see Mikel go full-gas for the GC, starting the semi-hard Stage 1: Burgos Cathedral – Burgos Castillo – (157 km) which he won in 2017. Then there are two tough mountain stages – Stage 3: Sagentes de la Lora – Picon Blanco (150 km) and Stage 5: Covarrubias – Lagunas de Neila (158 km), both having Hors Category finishes. Pello Bilbao, Damiano Caruso and Eros Capecchi will push and work hard to keep safe our GC ambition. Mark Cavendish, will try his chances on Stage 2: Castrojeriz – Villadiego (168 km) and Stage 4: Bodegas Nabal – Roa (164km) with a lead-out from our experienced duo Heinrich Haussler and Marco Haller. We have tailored our strategy for the Circuito de Getxo to open up a GC opportunity for Mikel Landa, and sprint wins for Mark Cavendish.”
Team Bahrain McLaren lineup for Vuelta a Burgos and Circuito de Getxo 2020:
Pello Bilbao / Damiano Caruso / Mark Cavendish / Eros Capecchi / Marco Haller / Heinrich Haussler / Mikel Landa.
Trentin to Lead CCC Team at Vuelta a Burgos as 2020 Season Resumes
CCC Team returns to the peloton next week with Matteo Trentin headlining the team’s Vuelta a Burgos rider roster when racing gets underway at the Spanish five-day stage race on Tuesday (28 July).
CCC Team will have a strong group of riders joining Trentin at Vuelta a Burgos said Sports Director Gabriele Missaglia.
“I think everyone is really looking forward to being on the start line and doing what we all love to do. Vuelta a Burgos is a great opportunity for us to get back into the swing of things and to race hard after the extended break. Trentin will be our leader in Spain and I think he will be coming to Vuelta a Burgos in good shape, ready to race for stage wins on this parcours after a strong final block of training leading into it. We will have a good group of riders around him in the opening stages with Patrick Bevin, Víctor de la Parte, Kamil Gradek, Kamil Małecki, Szymon Sajnok, and Attila Valter,” Missaglia explained.
“I think Bevin can also look to try to achieve a good result over the five-stage race with de la Parte and Valter well-prepared for when we reach the mountains where the standard of the field will be very high. It has been a very strange season so far but, as a team, I am sure we are ready to restart the season on a positive note. Finally, while we are more than happy to be back racing, we know that it is still a sensitive time and we will maintain the highest standards of hygiene and adhere to our team medical protocol and that of the race organisers and host country.”
Matteo Trentin is looking forward to the restart of the 2020 season and testing his racing legs once again.
“I am happy to be back racing and to be lining up at Vuelta a Burgos next week. It will be a good opportunity to be back in the mix again after this long period without races. My training during this time has gone smoothly so I am feeling good and I think my form is in a good place to try to go for a stage win. There is a good combination of everything at Vuelta a Burgos with three sprints and two mountains. In terms of preparation for the rest of the season, this race will be a key first step but it will also be important for me to be racing in the hot temperatures of Spain to get used to the same kind of heat that we will experience at Milano – San Remo, where I join the Classics squad.”
Vuelta a Burgos (28 July – 1 August)
Patrick Bevin (NZL), Víctor de la Parte (ESP), Kamil Gradek (POL), Kamil Małecki (POL), Szymon Sajnok (POL), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Attila Valter (HUN).
Sports Directors: Gabriele Missaglia (ITA), Piotr Wadecki (POL).
Trentin to lead CCC in Burgos:
Nizzolo Leads at Burgos as Dlamini Makes Racing Return
NTT Pro Cycling has confirmed its selection for Vuelta a Burgos which sees the seven-rider line up spearheaded by Giacomo Nizzolo, winner of the opening stage of the 2019 event.
The 2019 edition saw Nizzolo take a photo-finish win in dramatic fashion on stage one, which he followed up with a second place on stage two, ensuring that he led the race for two days.
The Italian comes into the race following the conclusion of a highly successful team training camp in Lucca, Italy, and with confidence following stage victories at the Tour Down Under as well as at Paris-Nice earlier this year.
He will be supported in expected sprint finishes by Max Walscheid. The German also made an excellent start to 2020, winning two stages at the Tour de Langkawi as well as claiming the green points jersey.
Our contingent of climbers sees the trio of Louis Meintjes, Ben O’Connor and Danilo Wyss all on the start line, where they’ll be joined by Benjamin Dyball. The 31-year-old Australian has yet to make his debut for NTT Pro Cycling after missing the early part of the year with illness.
Our line up is completed with the late inclusion of Nicholas Dlamini. The 24-year-old South African takes to the start line for the first time this year having missed the early part of the season due to an arm injury.
One man that misses out is local Carlos Barbero. A triple stage-winner at this event in the past, the Spaniard unfortunately sustained a broken left hand in a crash while training at our recently completed team training camp. He will undergo surgery and is expected to make a swift recovery.
Bjarne Riis, Team Manager: “After the enforced break our team training camp in Lucca was an excellent way to bring everything that we’ve been working on all together. We had a very successful period of time spent together: team spirit is very high, our preparation has been excellent and we all can’t wait to get back to racing now. I’m excited for the team that we’ve selected for Burgos, and I look forward to seeing what they’re able to do in what looks to be a very strong field.”
Giacomo Nizzolo: “The camp was great; we had a brilliant time, trained very well and I’m really looking forward to Burgos. We’re definitely ready to race again. It was a great week for us last year where I was able to secure victory in the opening stage and from there we were always in contention in the sprint stages, so it was a great feeling. This year the approach will be a bit different, as we also look a little further down the line to Milan-Sanremo but of course if I get the chance to score a result then I will always try and go for it.”
Nicholas Dlamini: “I’ve haven’t pinned on a number in about 10 months, if not more, and so I’m very excited and nervous. I’ve done all the preparation and I’m feeling really good. I’m really looking forward to the race, to be on the start line and having a number on my back, that’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ve got a strong line up and obviously getting a late call up to this race is really cool. Being able to start racing even earlier than originally planned is a good thing for me, as I can get my head into it much quicker and earlier. Burgos is a really nice race, it was actually my very first race as a stagiaire so it’s nice to be heading back.”
Carlos Barbero: “I am really disappointed having crashed and broken a bone in my hand as I was really looking forward to starting the race. I was in really good condition but sometimes these things happen. I’ve already shifted my mind to full focus on the recovery process and be back racing with my teammates as soon as possible again.”
Gazprom-RusVelo is Ready to Restart the Season
Russian cycling team Gazprom-RusVelo looks forward to restarting the season at Vuelta a Burgos on 28.07-01.08. The preparation for the upcoming race program was held on the three-week long altitude training camp in Livigno.
Vuelta a Burgos will be the first UCI ProSeries stage-race after more than four-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gazprom-RusVelo rider Nikolay Cherkasov shared his expectations about the restart of the season: “I can’t wait to return to racing, it has been a very long period without competitions. However, I feel that these months worked out well for me and we also did a great amount of work at the training camp in Livigno. So, we are ready to compete in Vuelta a Burgos”.
Marco Canola, Damiano Cima, Nikolay Cherkasov, Sergey Chernetskiy, Ivan Rovny, Alexey Rybalkin, Simone Velasco.
Mitchelton-Scott with Chaves and Simon Yates to Burgos
Mitchelton-Scott has announced which riders will start on Tuesday in the Tour of Burgos. The seven names include Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates. The team sees the Spanish race as a test moment after four months without a race.
In addition to Chaves and Yates, Alexander Edmondson, Jack Haig, Lucas Hamilton, Chris Juul-Jensen and Mikel Nieve are also part of the team. Unlike previous reports, Adam Yates is missing. It will be Mitchelton-Scott’s first appearance in the Tour of Burgos since 2016 when Simon Yates took fourth place behind winner Alberto Contador, Ben Hermans and Sergio Pardilla.
Chaves was third in his only participation in the Spanish tour in 2012. The 30-year-old Colombian may also make his appearance in the Tour de France at the end of August. “I am very nervous, excited and tense, but I think I am in good shape. Personally, the lockdown was a good time for me. Since then I am hungrier and I see everything with a different perspective. Burgos is the beginning of a new chapter, so I am very excited.”
For the climber, the stage race is also a reunion with his teammates and the staff. “The Tour of Burgos is special to me because in 2012 I won my first professional victory in the stage to Lagunas de Neila. This year we will get that climb again, so it is exciting. There are two uphill finishes so it will be interesting to see how the legs compare to the other riders and to what extent the training and all the work in Colombia is paying off.”
Mitchelton-Scott for Tour of Burgos 2020
Esteban Chaves (Col)
Alexander Edmondson (Aus)
Jack Haig (Aus)
Lucas Hamilton (Aus)
Chris Juul-Jensen (Den)
Mikel Nieve (Spa)
Simon Yates (GB).
Esteban Chaves in last years Vuelta a España:
UAE Team Emirates Announce Squad for Vuelta Burgos
Seven riders confirmed for first stage race of new calendar.
UAE Team Emirates will face their first big test of the restarted 2020 season when they head to Spain for the Vuelta Burgos (2.Pro) which runs from 28 July – 1 August. The race will be the first stage race of the ProSeries after the stop of cycling due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There are opportunities for climbers and sprinters over the five days with stages 3 & 5 likely to be the most decisive for the general classification. The team goes into the race with many options with Fernando Gaviria in the sprints while Fabio Aru and David De la Cruz are expected to be prominent in the hills.
Team Manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Spa) and Sports Directors Neil Stephens (Aus) and Aurelio Corral (Spa) will lead the following 7 riders :
Fabio Aru (Ita)
Camilo Ardila (Col)
David De la Cruz (Spa)
Camilo Ardila (Col)
Fernando Gaviria (Col)
Max Richeze (Arg)
Cristian Muñoz (Col).
The UAE team will stay in northern Spain for Sunday’s Circuito de Getxo (1.Pro) (2/08) which takes in a flat circuit of 175km around the coastal Basque city of Bilbao.
Fernando Gaviria (Col)
Max Richeze (Arg)
Yousif Mirza (UAE)
Sebastian Molano (Col)
Cristian Muñoz (Col)
Ivo Oliveira (Por)
Rui Oliveira (Por)
Neil Stephens (Sports Director): “The guys are very excited and keen to get back racing. It’s been a long time coming but the whole team have prepared well during the time at home and we are expecting good things in Burgos. It’s going to be a bit different than normal racing and safety of the riders, staff and wider public is going to be a big focus. The team is very balanced and we hope to feature in the action every day – both in the sprints and on the climbs.”
Fabio Aru: “We are excited and ready to return to competition in Burgos. In lockdown I had the chance to spend time at home with my young family and am feeling refreshed. It was also a time of hard work – recently I was with the team at altitude in Sestriere where we put in good hours of training. We are all eager to be able to pin a race number on our backs again and be back in the peloton.”
Jumbo-Visma Selection for Strade Bianche
Jumbo-Visma has announced which riders will start in Strade Bianche next week. The Dutch team saw Wout van Aert take third place last year. The Belgian is again one of the strong-men of the team.
For Van Aert, the Italian one-day race will be his first race since the corona break. “Since the beginning of June, I have been specifically working towards the restart of the season, so I am allowed to start. We put the finishing touches at training camp in Tignes. My goal is to be good right away and to keep it as long as possible.”
The Classics rider has ridden Strade Bianche twice before, taking third place in both 2018 and 2019. “Strade Bianche is a very nice course to start with. In the past I rode good races after a training period, so I hope so now. After two podium places, I naturally aim for a top result again.”
In addition to Van Aert, Mike Teunissen and Amund Grøndahl Jansen, have also been selected. “They are all strong men,” the Belgian continues. “That’s why I think not only should I be ambitious, but also riders like Mike and Amund. We will do everything we can to achieve the best possible result.”
Jumbo-Visma riders for Strade Bianche 2020:
Wout van Aert (Bel)
Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor)
Bert-Jan Lindeman (Hol)
Paul Martens (Ger)
Mike Teunissen (Ned)
Antwan Tolhoek (Ned)
Maarten Wynants (Bel).
Wout van Aert – Always a favourite for Strade Bianche:
Van Avermaet Thinks the Olympic Road Race Should Move
Greg Van Avermaet argues in Het Laatste Nieuws for moving the Olympic road race in Tokyo, should the Tour organisers fail to advance the Tour start by a week. “Then all the top riders can participate.”
ASO and the UCI have contacted the IOC, but the International Olympic Committee is unwilling to move the Olympic road races until after the Tour de France. “I would like to ask that please do not program us on the first day in Tokyo,” said Van Avermaet.
“If you put the road race in the second week, all the top riders can participate. I can possibly get off in the Tour, but other riders may not. The Olympics deserve to get the best riders in the world at the start. There is a need to lobby for that,” said the reigning Olympic champion.
However, an intensive lobby does not seem necessary, as the Tour Organisation is busy behind the scenes to shift the start of the Tour from July 2, 2021 to June 25, 2021. The only problem is that Copenhagen must now abandon the Grand Départ in 2021. Denmark will play a home game in the European Football Championship on 28 June in the Danish capital.
Copenhagen is now aiming for a Tour start in 2022, while the ASO has already held talks with the Breton cities of Lorient and Rennes about a Tour start in 2021. The French national team coach Thomas Voeckler also foresees problems if the Tour de France is not brought forward. “Fair? It is a more than complicated situation.”
Olympic champion – Greg Van Avermaet:
Jumbo-Visma to Have a Women’s Team in 2021
Jumbo-Visma will have its own women’s team from next season. The team will be led by Esra Tromp, who has been the team manager of Parkhotel Valkenburg in recent years. The intended riders are Marianne Vos and/or Annemiek van Vleuten.
In addition to a WorldTour team, a training team and three skating teams (main team, training team and marathon team), the range of sports teams of Jumbo-Visma will be expanded with a cycling team for women. This is done at the express request of sponsors Jumbo (via Colette van Eerd), Visma (CEO Merette Hverven) and the new bicycle sponsor Cérvelo, CyclingOpinions reports.
Team manager Richard Plugge plans that the team will grow step by step. After his takeover of the Rabobank men’s team in 2013, Plugge learned that taking over a whole established team is difficult and that building a team yourself offers more possibilities.
In addition to Tromp, Jumbo-Visma also has the Norwegian team manager Martin Vestby, who speaks fluent Dutch. Vestby is currently working for the women’s team of Mitchelton-Scott, which also includes World champion Annmiek van Vleuten.
Initially, the team had Anna van der Breggen (who is married to Jumbo sports director-sports director Sierk Jan de Haan) and Chantal Van Den Broek-Blaak in mind as leaders, but both extended their contracts with Boels-Dolmans, which next season continues as SD Worx. Jumbo-Visma now focuses on Marianne Vos and Annemiek van Vleuten, both of whom have expiring contracts. Several conversations have already been held with 33-year-old Vos.
New team for Marianne Vos in 2021?
Annemiek van Vleuten Not Yet Approached by Jumbo-Visma
It is rumoured that Annemiek van Vleuten is on the shopping list of the new Jumbo-Visma women’s team. However, the 37-year-old World champion has no knowledge of it, she confirmed to Dutch website WielerFlits. Jumbo-Visma want to expand with a women’s team, where Marianne Vos and/or Van Vleuten would be the leader.
Just like Vos at CCC-Liv, Van Vleuten’s contract expires with Mitchelton-Scott. She previously indicated that she wanted to continue for at least two more years. “I was not approached by a Dutch team before 2021, including Jumbo-Visma,” she says. “It is nice that Jumbo-Visma has a women’s team,” adds Van Vleuten, who wishes to leave further comments on the initiative.
Jumbo-Visma does not want to respond to the possible interest in Van Vleuten, nor to the entire project surrounding the women’s team. According to CyclingOpinions, after the previous reports, Marieke van Wanroij (trainer/coach) would also leave Parkhotel-Valkenburg to Jumbo-Visma. Following team manager Esra Tromp and Van Wanroij, some riders would also make the switch. Several conversations with Marianne Vos are said to have been held.
At Parkhotel Valkenburg, top talents Demi Vollering (23, winner of Giro dell’Emilia 2019) and Karlijn Swinkels (21, former world time trial champions U19) are currently under contract. Also former Dutch champion Anouska Koster, multiple Belgian time trial champion Ann-Sophie Duyck, cyclo-cross woman Sophie de Boer and reigning Dutch elite-without-contract champion Nancy van den Burg.
Where will Annemiek van Vleuten be in 2021:
Arkéa-Samsic Joins Cyclo-Cross Team
Arkéa-Samsic will participate in cyclo-cross as of next winter. The French professional team has committed to the already existing Chazal-Canyon team, which was set up five years ago by Steve Chainel. A new main sponsor for the team has been found in Legendre.
It is the next step by Arkéa-Samsic to expand the structure, after a women’s team has already been started. Team manager Emmanuel Hubert says he became interested after a conversation with Chainel. “I understood that he was struggling to make ends meet,” Hubert told Le Télégramme. “I may not be the biggest cyclo-cross fan, but I like it. In recent years I have often had crossers in my team. When the opportunity arose, we decided to make it work.”
The new cyclo-cross team’s main sponsor, Legendre Group, is a major player in the construction and real estate market and is already a sponsor of Arkéa-Samsic. It will be an official UCI team of ten cyclists with Chainel, 36, as the leader. “I actually saw him more as manager of the team, but despite his age he still wants to continue,” said Hubert, who hopes to train talents for the professional team through cross.
Rick Zabel Doubts Corona Measures at the Tour
Keeping the corona virus at bay during the Tour de France is the aim of race organiser ASO. Rick Zabel, however, has his doubts. “The corona protocol is so fragile. It may well be that the Tour does not continue at all,” he said in conversation with the Osnabrücker Zeitung.
The Tour Organisation will make every effort to protect the riders and staff members as much as possible against the corona virus. From August 29, when the Tour starts in Nice, the peloton can count on a traveling test lab and emergency nurses, so that emergency action can be taken quickly.
“But if a rider tests positive during the Tour, there is almost no other option than to stop the race early,” said Zabel, shocked by the UCI’s strict corona instructions. “My first reaction was: it is better not to race for a year if there are so many restrictions.”
However, the son of former top sprinter Erik Zabel realises that continuing the Tour is an absolute necessity. “Many teams depend on the Tour. We have to make sure that sponsors don’t get out of cycling en masse.”
Erik Zabel worried:
Evenepoel on Uijtdebroeks
Remco Evenepoel saw the news on Thursday that Jumbo-Visma, Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Team Sunweb are all trying to sign “the improved version of Evenepoel”, Cian Uijtdebroeks. Evenepoel had a witty reaction: “We can talk if he wins the Belgian championships, European championships and a World championships.”
Uijtdebroeks owes the comparison with Evenepoel to Jef Robert, the chairman of the Acrog-Tormans team. Robert praised Uijtdebroeks’ performance at a training camp in Spain. “He’s doing things I’ve never seen before,” he said. “On a seven-kilometer climbing course in Spain, Cian went under Evenepoel by just under half a minute.”
Wilfried Peeters and Patrick Lefevere also spoke on Friday in Het Laatste Nieuws about Uijtdebroeks, who spent four days with Deceuninck – Quick-Step at a training camp in Italy. “It is a dangerous comparison,” said Peeters. “That creates too much pressure way too early.”
Lefevere also nuances the comparison: “It is not the intention to give a contract to every 17-year-old who can ride the bicycle a bit. It really isn’t all Evenepoels. I was also very good as a freshman junior.”
However, the manager cannot deny that Uijtdebroeks is a special one. “It’s a boy with balls on his body,” says Lefevere. “When we asked him to do a training camp, his trainer preferred not to. But he said, ‘I’m going anyway.’ That’s guts. We are now going to see how it continues to evolve.”
The next Merckx/Evenepoel – Cian Uijtdebroeks, junior Kuurne’20 winner:
Cepeda Flying to Europe Soon
Jefferson Alexander Cepeda now has the correct visa to make the journey to Europe. The 22-year-old rider hopes to be in Europe in time for the Tour de Savoie Mont-Blanc (August 5-8).
Cepeda was not allowed to leave Ecuador a week ago due to his Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec team sending the wrong documents to the Ecuadorian embassy. Team manager Gianni Savio now says that the last problems have been ironed out. The promising Cepeda was in the spotlight last year during the Tour de l’Avenir. Cepeda won the final mountain stage to Le Corbier.
Kevin Rivera, a teammate of Cepeda, is still stuck in his home country of Costa Rica. Rivera is not allowed to leave Costa Rica, because the European Union will not let travellers in from the Central American country because of the corona virus. Several people are working in Costa Rica to get Rivera to Europe in time.
Jefferson Alexander Cepeda:
Gesink Wants to Ride for a Yellow Jersey
Robert Gesink has now abandoned his own GC ambitions, but the 34-year-old climber hopes to win the Tour de France as a master domestique this year. “With three strong leaders, that is a realistic goal,” he says in conversation with the AD.
Tom Dumoulin, Primož Roglič and Steven Kruijswijk: Jumbo-Visma will head to the Tour de France this season with three leaders. “Taking the yellow jersey to Paris with the team would be fantastic. No matter who wears it. It would also be a crown on my career,” said Gesink, who believes in a Tour victory for Jumbo-Visma.
“This is a year in which it is really possible, with three class men in the team. Dumoulin and Kruijswijk have already proven themselves as excellent classification riders. Roglič can do it too, he won the Vuelta last year. I’ve seen what I can do in the past. What was just a step too high for me, the yellow jersey, I now want to achieve with those guys.”
Gesink was talking from Tignes, where Jumbo-Visma prepares for the coming races and the Tour de France. After a long corona break, Gesink expects an unpredictable and nervous Tour. “I think all teams come up with their strongest line-up. Normally many riders arrive a little overcooked, tired of a tough preseason.”
“Now everyone is fresh and eager. That will certainly provide spectacle and surprises.” It also promises to be a strange Tour, given all the corona measures. “There will now be even more French people along the course. Although, on the way from Andorra to Tignes I encountered quite a lot of yellow number plates. It would be nice if many Dutch fans support us.”
Robert Gesink, working for the win:
Niki Terpstra Joins Team Training Camp
Niki Terpstra’s recovery is progressing so well that he has joined his team’s training camp. Total Direct Energie resides with part of the selection in Besse, located in the Dordogne.
“Because I can expand my training step by step, I decided to join the training camp of my team. At certain times of today’s training, I regretted that decision,” he joked on social media. “But I’m happy to see everyone again.”
Terpstra is currently recovering from a major training crash in mid-June where he sustained a collapsed lung, concussion, broken ribs and broken collarbone. His rehabilitation is progressing well and he calls the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix “realistic goals” in October.
Bad crash for Terpstra:
Bob Jungels Linked to AG2R-La Mondiale
Is the future of Bob Jungels with AG2R-La Mondiale? The Luxemburger’s contract with Deceuninck-Quick-Step expires at the end of the year and, according to Le Dauphiné, he can count on interest from the French WorldTour team.
Jungels can also stay with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, manager Patrick Lefevere previously told WielerFlits. AG2R-La Mondiale is looking for a new GC rider, as Romain Bardet and Pierre Latour are about to leave at the end of this season. Bardet is linked to Sunweb, while Latour is connected with Total Direct Energie.
In addition to Jungels, AG2R-La Mondiale is also interested in Greg Van Avermaet. The Olympic champion is also out of his contract with CCC and since bicycle sponsor BMC makes the switch to AG2R, the connection with Van Avermaet (ex-BMC) is quickly established. He would also team up with his good friend and fellow Classics rider, Oliver Naesen.
New team for Bob Jungels in 2021:
BORA-hansgrohe Signs Politt, and Wants Teuns and Vanhoucke
Nils Politt is in his last season with Israel Start-Up Nation. The German will make the switch to BORA-hansgrohe next season, reports Het Nieuwsblad.
Politt will end his contract with Israel Start-Up Nation, where he ended up last year after the merger between Katusha-Alpecin and Israel Cycling Academy. At BORA-hansgrohe, the German will form the team core together with Peter Sagan in the Classics.
Dylan Teuns and Harm Vanhoucke may leave Bahrain-McLaren and Lotto Soudal at the end of the year, as their contracts also end. They are seen as possible reinforcements for BORA-hansgrohe.
Politt to Bora:
Le Gac, Guarnieri and Geniets Extend with Groupama-FDJ
The Groupama-FDJ team has extended the contracts of three riders. The French WorldTour team has signed Olivier Le Gac for three years, Jacopo Guarnieri and Kevin Geniets both for two years. The contracts of all three were to expire at the end of the year.
Le Gac has been the longest at Groupama-FDJ. The 26-year-old Frenchman is currently in his seventh season and so will be with team for ten when this contract finishes. Italian Guarnieri made his debut in 2017 after a transfer from Katusha. In recent years he has been one of the lead-out men for sprint leader Arnaud Démare.
Kevin Geniets is only in his second season with Groupama-FDJ. The 23-year-old Luxembourger was selected last March from the training team after the team fired Georg Preidler for past doping. Geniets finished fourth in the Star of Bessèges at the beginning of this season.
Olivier Le Gac crashed in the 2019 Giro:
Leemreize Transfers to Pro Team
Gijs Leemreize will be part of the World Tour selection of Team Jumbo-Visma from 2021. The 20-year-old rider is the first rider to make the switch from Jumbo-Visma Development Team to the flagship team. He signs for three seasons.
Leemreize, from Ruurlo in The Netherlands, already has experience with the Dutch World Tour team. Early this year he raced the Tour de la Provence and at the end of July he will start in the professional race Vuelta a Burgos.
“It has always been my dream to become a professional cyclist”, Leemreize said. “In the early years that I cycled that was not yet realistic, but it went better every year and I continued to take steps. In the end it went fast, because last year I was still with a club team. It was very nice that I was allowed to take the step to the Development Team last year. I am very happy that I can now join the World Tour team.”
Robbert de Groot, Head of Development, sees Leemreize as a talented climber. “We think he has the potential to become a full-fledged professional. This is also a trigger for the other riders of the Jumbo-Visma Development Team. Gijs is the first rider to make the switch and hopefully more riders from our Development Team will follow in the coming years.”
Sportive director Merijn Zeeman is happy that he can add a young talent to the team. “It is a memorable accomplishment that the first young rider makes the switch from the Development Team. Last year Gijs raced with the club team Sensa – Kanjers voor Kanjers. We got a tip by Han Vaanhold, after which Gijs earned a place in our Development Team. We didn’t expect a rider to make the switch so soon. Gijs has developed well and the Development Team and the associated training program have contributed to this. We consider him ready to switch to the pros and learn more and gain experience there. We have faith in him and that is why we committed him for three years.”
Grignard Signs for Two Years
Team Lotto Soudal is happy to announce that it has reached an agreement with young Belgian talent Sébastien Grignard. Grignard (21) is time trial specialist and already three years riding for the Lotto Soudal Development Team. He signed an agreement for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
“This is so incredible. I am really happy to make this higher step to the World Tour team. A dream comes true. Especially in this strange season it was hard to convince team directors with results. I look forward to showing what I am capable of, not only in time trial, but in other races as well. Honestly, I am particularly fond of all Flemish races” said Sébastien Grignard. “Lotto Soudal so far always kept faith in me, also in my first year as U23 when I lost my season because of mononucleosis. I will do everything not to disappoint in the future.”
Sébastien Grignard (from Ghlin) came to the U23 category with already a nice palmarès as a junior: 3rd place in the European Championships Time Trial, 4th in Paris-Roubaix and two national titles (road and time trial). Last season Grignard finished on the podium as well in the National Road Championships, where teammate Florian Vermeersch took the Belgian title.
“Grignard is very talented. His medical tests are superb and in our Development Team of Kurt Van de Wouwer, he always showed having the right spirit, being a good team player as well”, said Lotto Soudal General Manager John Lelangue. “Already before this difficult season we kept our eyes on Sébastien. In his first race, in Brussel-Opwijk, he finished immediately second. Sébastien was ready for the 2020 season. I am sure that, from now on, he will confirm all the good things we earlier saw in him.”
Kern Pharma Applies for ProTeam License
The Kern Pharma team wants to take it a step higher next year. The Spanish continental team has applied for a ProTeam license from the UCI, according to Diario de Navarra. The team expects to get clarity soon.
Managers Manolo Azcona and Juan José Oroz (ex-rider of Euskaltel-Euskadi and Burgos-BH) are busy behind the scenes to take the team to the next level. The formation is financially supported by main sponsor Kern Pharma (a pharmaceutical company) and bicycle manufacturer Giant.
Kern Pharma hopes to compete next year on a ProTeam-license in competitions such as the Tour of Catalonia, the Tour of the Basque Country and perhaps the Vuelta a España. The current selection consists of fourteen riders, but Azcona and Oroz want to attract six riders for 2021.
Kern Pharma is still counting with strong-men from this year: Enrique Sanz, Urko Berrade, Jaime Castrillo and Colombian Daniel Alejandro Mendez. Sanz and Castrillo have ridden for Movistar in the past.
Barry Bonds, Gates Corporation, FirstBank, VF Corporation, Zwift Join Colorado Classic’s Effort to Financially Support Women Cyclists, Now Racing is Cancelled
Baseball star Barry Bonds, Gates Corporation, FirstBank, VF Corporation, and Zwift are the latest to clip in or step up to support the Colorado Classic in their effort to support female professional cyclists during a time when most racing opportunities have been cancelled or postponed.
Despite extensive efforts to create a safe racing environment, the Colorado Classic last weekend announced the cancellation of their 2020 event due to COVID safety concerns. At the same time, the organisation reinforced its commitment to women’s racing, and kicked off a two-week campaign intended to financially support the teams and riders who would have attended the August race.
Despite their professional status, many pro female cyclists rely on competition and prize money to support their livelihoods. During this global COVID-19 pandemic, those opportunities have all but dried up.
“Our Colorado Classic team has always felt a huge sense of responsibility to the athletes in the women’s peloton, and even though we canceled our August event, our commitment to the riders is unwavering. With the #WeRide for Women campaign, we are continuing our mission of elevating the sport of women’s cycling by still providing a (albeit different) platform for the athletes to receive exposure and opportunity for financial gain. This is not how we envisioned spending our energy at this time of the year, but we refuse to give up on this mission,” said Lucy Diaz, CEO of RPM Events Group LLC.
Between now and August 1st, fans, industry, and sponsors will have the opportunity to donate to the #WeRide Team Development fund, which will be directly distributed back to the teams that would have competed in the Colorado Classic this August.
Colorado Classic’s sponsors remain committed to the event and its mission, and have kicked off the fundraising with generous $30,000 in contributions. FirstBank committed the initial funds of $10,000 to make the Team Development Fund a possibility, and RPM Events Group and the Gates Corporation committed another $10,000 each to help the organisation towards its fundraising goal of $75,000 — which was the prize purse for last year’s race.
The fundraiser culminates in a virtual community ride on Zwift on July 29th, which is open to anyone on the Zwift virtual riding platform and will include world-class riders from all 16 teams previously committed to the 2020 Colorado Classic.
“I’m really pleased that Zwift is in a position to help support female racers who are suffering as a result of cancelled races,” said Eric Min, Zwift CEO and Co-Founder. “We will be donating $5 for every rider that takes part in the #WeRide For Women virtual ride up to $5,000. There will be some fantastic riders joining us, so I encourage as many of you to take part and support those teams who should have been racing the 2020 Colorado Classic.”
In addition to the women’s pro peloton, some celebrity “Zwifters” have committed to clip in as well, including Olympic Silver Medalist and retired track World Champion Mari Holden, retired US road cycling champion Meredith Miller, and retired baseball star, Barry Bonds.
“I’m looking forward to supporting the Colorado Classic by riding in the #WeRide For Women fundraising ride on Zwift. I have been a team sponsor and fan of Women’s Cycling for years and applaud the management and sponsors of Colorado Classic for their continued efforts to showcase and financially support our athletes,” said Barry Bonds.
To join the Zwift ride with the professional and celebrity cyclists on July 29th or to donate to the #WeRide Development Fund, please visit https://www.coloradoclassic.com/zwift.
Committed teams include Twenty20, Rally Cycling, TIBCO/SVB, DNA Pro Cycling, Amy D. Foundation, Boulder Composite Team, Classic Cycling, Colavita/Cavailere d’Oro, Elevate, Femme Equipe, Illuminate, Fearless Femme, Lux, Point S Auto p/b Nokian Tyres, Squadra Elite and Wolfpack.
“While defending my title at the Colorado Classic was a huge focus for me this year, I am grateful the race organisers ultimately thought about the safety of the athletes in making this difficult decision,” said last year’s race winner and 10 time world champion, Chloe Dygert of Team TWENTY20. “With so much uncertainty right now, I am fully supportive and look forward to participating however I can in the #WeRide For Women fundraiser and will set my sights on the 2021 Colorado Classic.”
To stay up to speed on all things related to the Colorado Classic at www.coloradoclassic.com and via social media: @coloradoclassicpro on Instagram and Facebook.
Peter Sagan and the Giro d’Italia: Backstage
After the four episodes where the Slovak star of BORA – hansgrohe immersed himself in Italian culture at the Pinacoteca di Brera, prepared classic Italian cuisine as ‘Chef Sagan’, became an elite tailor in the atelier of Ermenegildo Zegna for Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala, and sang on stage at the main opera house in Milan, we can now share with you the backstage video of this unique RCS Sport communication project.
From the Pinacoteca di Brera (Brera Art Gallery) To the Teatro Alla Scala, Passing by the Finest Fashion and Excellent Cuisine
Benefitting from years of education in many of the cultural excellencies for which Italy is world famous – including art, music, food and fashion – Peter Sagan is finally ready to demonstrate how expert he has become in all things Italian. We have already joined him on a journey into the heart of the Bel Paese – “the beautiful country” – giving visibility to Italian places and talents, from the Pinacoteca di Brera to the Teatro alla Scala, passing through the Ermenegildo Zegna atelier and exploring Italy’s unrivalled culinary tradition. And now we can see how that journey was made on the way to the 2020 Giro.
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