EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

The Yorkshire World championships came to climax with a stunning ride through pouring rain and cold temperatures – All the reports, results and video from Harrogate. Nils Eekhoff had his Worlds win taken from him – Top Story. Not all Worlds: Bahrain-Merida sack Rohan Dennis, more rider contracts for 2020, Lars Michaelsen new NTT head sports director, teams reject UCI Classics Series, Boels-Dolmans news, European cyclo-cross champs 2019 and Egan Bernal to ride the Saitama Criterium. Extra big Worlds coffee time.

TOP STORY: Eekhoff “How could they make this Decision?”
Nils Eekhoff said after the Men’s Under 23 race that he was devastated by his disqualification. The race jury took the win away from the Dutchman for riding behind his team car to regain the bunch after a crash. “I’m sad, I don’t know how I feel.”

At first everyone assumed that Eekhoff had become the new World champion after beating Samuele Battistella and Stefan Bissegger in the sprint. “That was fantastic”, he told Dutch TV station, NOS. “I had won and was the new World champion. I couldn’t believe it myself. I was overjoyed, very happy and immediately went to celebrate with my team mates.”

After the first interviews and changing for the ceremony, a UCI official approached Eekhoff and asked him to come with him. “At first I thought, fine. But it was still a short walk and nobody said anything, so I got a little suspicious and became nervous. Then they showed me images of me behind the car. They asked me if that was me. I had fallen, had my shoulder dislocated. I suffered so much that it all took a little longer.”

Eventually the Dutchman, who will ride for Sunweb in the WorldTour in the coming seasons, got back on his bike, and got back to the line of cars behind the Dutch Federation car. “You could see that in the images. Because of the tension I realised that they were not so happy with that. At that point we still had 125 kilometres to go. Then they told me they wanted to examen the images, but they didn’t know what they would do with them.”

When Eekhoff walked back to the podium, Tom Pidcock, who finished fourth, was there too. “I thought that was strange, because it was barely two minutes after they had shown me the images. A minute later they told me in another tent that I was disqualified for the image of the sport. I burst into tears and didn’t know what to do. How could they make this decision?”

“I was not aware of any harm. In my opinion you should be allowed to be brought back to the end of the caravan after a fall. I never thought it was on the verge, or whatever. The images were then broadcast on television, so the jury could already have seen them. The KNWU (Dutch Federation) has not received a warning and I have not heard anything either. And then after the finish you suddenly hear this.”

Did the UCI make the correct decision? The argument’s will go on for some time.

World Road Championships 2019
It was a wet World championships in Yorkshire, but on the whole a successful one. The time trials earlier in the week kept the excitement going to the end and had worthy winners. The road races you can read bellow:

World’s Men Road Race Championship
A perfectly timed attack by a rider that no one had mentioned as a potential race winner took the Men Elite Road Race by storm today, as Mads Pedersen of Denmark rode the Danes to their first ever world championship road race victory.

A wet and windy spell led to the changing of the route for the Men Elite Road Race and, thanks to the weather, it led to a real war of attrition and an exciting day’s racing, leaving the winning rider Mads Pedersen so deserving of the world title. The peloton was wary of potential breakaway threats from the get go and reined a few in early into the race, but with 240km to go a break stuck and including some very talented riders including Nairo Quintana and 2019 Vuelta a España winner, Primož Roglič.

It was a tiring and testing day and the peloton was being pulled hard by a surprise name. Time Trial World Champion Rohan Dennis (Aus), who would be released of his contract with Bahrain-Merida just after the race end, put in a tremendous shift at the front helped out by Julien Bernard (Fra). The Australian rider is a real talent, so it will be very interesting to see where he goes next. The break continued to gain time with the peloton leaving them to it for a while but they were all back together as they raced into Harrogate.

The first visit to Parliament Street would see a crash that would seriously affect one of the pre-race favourites. Philippe Gilbert, who many thought had a real shot at the title suffered a heavy fall – Belgian teammate Remco Evenepoel helped the rider onto his new bike and tried to bring him back into the bunch but it was to no avail, with both riders ending up abandoning after the effort.

As the number of Harrogate circuit trips decreased, many riders called it a day to take an early shower after a really tough outing, including reigning champion Alejandro Valverde. However, the riders that were left, whose legs felt good, started to make decisive moves and the Dutch pushed to the front of the bunch, bringing heavy favourite Mathieu van der Poel with them.

Lawson Craddock (USA) and Stefan Küng (SUI) then broke away taking a 30 second advantage with them and with the rain relentlessly pouring it became apparent that a breakaway could stay away if it had the right riders in it. Sensing this Mads Pedersen (Den), Mike Teunessen (Ned) and Giovanni Moscon (Ita) all followed the move. A move which would be followed by Mathieu van der Poel and 2018 European Road Race Champion, Matteo Trentin. It would turn out to be the winning move, although no one could’ve predicted the rider whose winning move it was.

It was primed for 24-year-old van der Poel who would cap off his amazing debut road racing season with a world championship win, the script was written – until it wasn’t. On a fairly unassuming stretch of road, the cyclocross world champion’s legs gave up on him and the peloton swiftly swallowed him up in their chase attempt.

Moscon was next to be dropped and it was thought he had done enough to allow teammate Matteo Trentin to sprint for the win, however Pedersen was still looking strong. Peter Sagan mounted a challenge of his own, matched by Danish rider Michael Valgren but the pair left it too late as it became a three-horse race between the breakaway group for the world title and a chance at immortality. Switzerland’s Küng had been out front since 60km to go and it was showing on his face. As the three leading riders rode up Parliament Street it was time for someone to show their hand.

Trentin smelt blood around 200m out and backed himself for the win, Keung knew his race was run but Pedersen would not back down and the 23-year-old found enough in his legs to counter the attack and blow past the Italian, taking home Denmark’s first ever Elite Men Road Race world title in spectacular fashion.

See more photos in the ‘PEZ Race Report’ HERE.

World champion, Mads Pedersen (Denmark): “It was a brutal day but that’s the type of weather I like to race in. When I found myself in that three-man group at the end I would have been happy with any of the medals. Because of that I felt I had nothing to lose and luckily my sprint was enough to get the rainbow jersey. My focus all year had been on this race and this victory is going to change a lot for me; I’m no longer going to be regarded as the underdog. The crowd was crazy today, especially as there were so many people still around to watch us in weather like that. That was so nice to see and I want to thank them for being on the roadside. This was a really good race and when you win one as hard as this, you feel very proud.”

2nd, Matteo Trentin (Italy): “If you watch the sprint, I just don’t stand a chance. Mads was just better. I certainly felt strong, but the cold might have troubled me in the final sprint. I still feel cold at the moment. It was a really tough course. When Van der Poel and I accelerated, the peloton was already completely dismantled. I have not seen the slump of Van der Poel, but it shows how tough this race was. I can’t blame myself for anything, Mads was just the strongest rider in the race. I can be proud of myself and the Italian team, but you go for that rainbow jersey and not for a silver medal.”

5th, Peter Sagan (Slovakia): “I felt good, but I decided to wait. I thought we would have a sprint. I am not disappointed, this is just part of cycling. I could have participated with the front riders, but I decided to stay put. I took into account a regrouping. Eventually the course turned out to be different. I still tried in the final, since I wanted to know how good the opposition was. I felt good, but I missed the opportunity to sit in front. I expected more strong countries, but I think that many riders were eliminated by the weather. But I have to congratulate the winner.”

20th, Niki Terpstra (Netherlands): “It’s hard to eat in this weather. You eat too little. You know you have to eat, but you are so focused and paying attention that you sometimes forget. And if you don’t, the man with the hammer comes in the final laps. It was really very tough.”

36th, Mike Teunissen (Netherlands): “Mathieu told me he was cold. Maybe he took off his clothes a little too early. I tried to take Mathieu with me, he was ready. He said he was cold. I finally rode on. I think it has to do with food, but perhaps he has taken off his clothes a little too early. It was really cold and wet. We have also done reasonably well. We have never been put on the defensive. Mathieu was in the final, but it is ultimately the circumstances that determine the race.”

43rd, Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands): “I felt pretty good, until suddenly it didn’t work anymore. It’s a shame, but I can’t blame myself. I didn’t make any mistakes with food and drinks, it was just gone. It was a kind of knock. I don’t really have an explanation either. I wanted to finish my first World championship with the pros. I suddenly couldn’t climb anymore. I had to sit up and continue riding at my own pace. The penultimate lap already hurt a lot, but the slump was unexpected. It was quite a long time afterwards until the finish, but I wanted to finish my first World Championship with the pros. Of course I am disappointed, but I have ridden a good race. I made no mistakes and I was with the right group. I’ll get over this pretty quickly.”

Ben Swift (GB): “It was six and a half hard hours in the saddle and I just didn’t have it at the end today. I gave it my best shot but it wasn’t enough. The fans were incredible and the atmosphere was building and building with every kilometre. They gave me some massive support and I’m incredibly grateful. It’s been a great Championships and great for cycling here in Yorkshire, and the UK.”

Philippe Gilbert (Belgium): “I don’t understand it either, I was suddenly lying on the floor. This is a deception, since the legs were good. I did’t touched anyone, but I suddenly went to the right. I believe I then hit a bike. I suddenly had no control anymore. The next moment I lay on the floor. Unfortunately I took more riders with me in my fall. I had a lot of problems. I was in shock because of the fall, but also because of the cold weather. I then tried it again with Remco, who rode super fast. We came closer and closer, we chased time and again to a dropped group. We almost managed to return, but the peloton rode just as fast. At some point you shouldn’t keep riding for nothing. Then it’s better to stop.”

World’s Men Road Race Championship Result:
1. Mads Pedersen (Denmark) 6:27:28
2. Matteo Trentin (Italy)
3. Stefan Küng (Switzerland) at 0:02
4. Gianni Moscon (Italy) at 0:17
5. Peter Sagan (Slovakia) at 0:43
6. Michael Valgren (Denmark) at 0:45
7. Alexander Kristoff (Norway) at 1:10
8. Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium)
9. Gorka Izagirre (Spain)
10. Rui Costa (Portugal).

World’s Women Road Race Championship
Disappointed with her third-place finish in the Elite Women Time Trial earlier in the week, the Netherlands’ Annemiek van Vleuten made up for it in a huge way today, racing for over 100km in a solo breakaway to take the Elite Women Road Race world title.

Day seven of the 2019 UCI Road World Championships got underway in a resplendent Bradford and as racing began there was nothing but sunshine, blue skies and masses of excited fans awaiting the riders as they embarked on their 149km journey.

152 riders from 50 different nations took to the roads of Yorkshire today and no one was looking forward to it more than Yorkshire’s own Lizzie Deignan. As the race rolled into her home town of Otley, right past the 2015 World Road Race Champion’s front door, the peloton slowed and allowed Deignan to ride through the town with her teammate and Yorkshire compatriot Lizzy Banks – and what a welcome they received. Earlier on in the morning the Dutch team had stood on the stage in West Yorkshire to sign on ahead of the race, and one thing became apparent quite quickly, their team was stacked with talent.

Made of multiple world champions, the team was filled with household names such as reigning champion and current Olympic champion Anna van der Breggen, three-time world and one-time Olympic champion Marianne Vos, 2017 world champion Chantal Blaak and of course, the time trial specialist and new road race world champion Annemiek van Vleuten. As soon as the peloton approached the first climb, the Dutch’s game plan kicked into action. Demi Vollering hit the front as they road up Norwood Edge and blew the bunch apart, the chase managed to reel her back in and then Floortje Mackaij counter attacked. The Netherlands had come to play, and they had so many cards in their hand just waiting to be played.

As they approached Lofthouse for the 3.5km climb at 7.6%, they played their ace – Annemiek van Vleuten attacked and left the rest of the riders in her wake. A chase group featuring some very strong riders formed and they went to work on cutting down van Vleuten’s 1.25 advantage.

The group included Deignan (GB), van der Breggen (Ned), Longo Borghini (Ita), Dygert (USA), Amanda Spratt (Aus), Paladin (Italy), Ludwig (Den) and Kloppenburg (Ger). It seemed that this group of riders would be able to work together to rein the leader back in but the gap started to grow and not even attacks from Deignan, Longo Borginhi or Dygert could kickstart anything.

As van Vleuten rode into Harrogate for the first of the three circuits, her time trial nemesis Dygert came after her, followed by Anna van der Breggen. Dygert did manage to get away for a while but by the final lap, last year’s winner van der Breggen and second place finisher Spratt caught the American and she was dropped. Van der Breggen then dropped Spratt and went after the silver medal knowing full well that her teammate van Vleuten would be crowned world champion. Those would be the confirmed medal places as van der Breggen took second place and Spratt managed to hold on to bronze.

The day though, belongs to van Vleuten and her stunning 105km solo ride. The story behind the ride is even more moving still, celebrating with her mother after the win was a wonderful sight, but van Vleuten’s late father was also with her as she crossed the line, as she was wearing the earrings he had given her before he passed away.

What a moment and what a win for a rider that will go down in history as one of the best to ever do it. Annemiek van Vleuten, chapeau and would not be seen again by the other rider until she was being presented with the rainbow jersey as the new world champion.

See more photos in the ‘PEZ Race Report’ HERE.

World champion, Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands): “That was crazy. I knew the climb was really far from the finish but once I’d attacked my coach told me to keep riding hard and I was lucky I had really good legs. It was definitely not planned but I’d trained so hard for this – put in so many hours on the bike – and I thought ‘if anyone can do this, it’s you’. As I was riding I was thinking ‘maybe I could make history today’, and if it didn’t work out I knew Anna [van der Breggen] was in a great position behind. It was only towards the end that I dared to believe, and I was being cheered on by so many fans. The crowds in Bradford were huge at the start and I had so much encouragement out on the course as well. British fans are amazing and I want to thank them all for helping make this win so amazing.”

Lizzie Deignan (GB): “Today was absolutely phenomenal and a massive privilege to be able to experience. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to ride a home World Championships and I just want to say thank you to all those people who supported me. It’s a day I’ll never forget and I’m so proud of Yorkshire. Congratulations to Annemiek too, she was in a class of her own today.”

World’s Women Road Race Championship Result:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) in 4:06:05
2. Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) at 2:15
3. Amanda Spratt (Australia) at 2:28
4. Chloe Dygert (United States Of America) at 3:24
5. Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy) at 4:45
6. Marianne Vos (Netherlands) at 5:20
7. Marta Bastianelli (Italy)
8. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (South Africa)
9. Lisa Brennauer (Germany)
10. Coryn Rivera (United States Of America).

World’s U23 Men Road Race Championship
Late drama struck the Men U23 Road Race as Dutch rider Nils Eekhoff was disqualified despite crossing the line in first place.

Judges held a meeting directly after the race and the team celebrations of the Netherlands were cut short, as it was deemed that the 21-year-old had illegally drafted behind a team car to get back into the bunch after an early crash. Even before the dramatic final scenes, the story of the Men U23 Road Race was filled with thrills, spills and everything in between. The weather conditions once again added to the spectacle of the race and made for exciting conditions and a few strong riders decided to use this as a chance to open up a lead.

The Americans missed the move and they immediately set about trying to rectify that mistake by pulling extremely hard on the front of the peloton. British riders Stuart Balfour and Fred Wright both managed to make the move into 13 man breakaway and gave a great account of themselves throughout. Things then went from bad to worse for the Americans who saw the rider they had been protecting, Kevin Vaermarke, go down in a crash, alongside home favourite Tom Pidcock; who needed a bike change.

Over the top of Greenhow Hill, the race blew apart and a move that would prove decisive was made by a select group including riders from Denmark, Norway, Great Britain and the Netherlands. Once again, the USA missed the move and it would prove to just not be their day. Idar Andersen (Norway) and Szymon Sajnok (Poland) attacked on Parliament Street and were soon joined for the final lap of the circuit by Samuele Battistella (Italy), Tobias S. Foss (Norway), Stefan Bissegger (Switzerland) and Yorkshire’s Tom Pidcock; who had spectacularly managed to overcome a crash and bike change to ride up to the lead group; spurred on by rapturous applause.

This lead group were caught by two chasing riders that included Dutchman Nils Eekhoff who would go on to cross the line in first. As the group approached Parliament Street, the chess game began and it was Pidcock who went for the checkmate. However, the young rider’s legs gave way just before the line and he could only finish fourth, agonisingly it would appear, close to the medal places.

Eekhoff retained enough energy to power his way to a sprint victory ahead of Battistella and Bissegger and celebrated arms aloft. The result would not stand though, as despite the celebrations, it was announced almost immediately that there would be an investigation by the commissaires. Their decision would take over half an hour and would eventually disqualify the Dutch rider, pushing the positions up a place to see Battistella take gold, Bissegger take the silver and, much to the crowd’s delight, Pidcock take bronze.

‘PEZ Race Report’ HERE.

World champion, Samuele Battistella (Italy): “I didn’t understand what had happened at first, and when I was told, I can’t describe how it felt to become the world champion and to receive the jersey. I am very, very happy. I’m sorry for Eekhoff because he was the winner of the sprint but this is cycling and we have to abide by the commissaire’s decision. I am looking forward to becoming a professional rider now and this win will give me confidence.”

3rd, Tom Pidcock (GB): “This isn’t how I wanted to win a medal and I feel really sorry for Eekhoff but rules are rules. Maybe his group wouldn’t have caught us if he hadn’t had been drafting, so that did affect the race. I’m still disappointed that I didn’t win but at least I got to enjoy the crowd on the podium, and I got a medal in my home World Championships. The fans were amazing today and this was one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

World’s U23 Men Road Race Championship Result:
1. Samuele Battistella (Italy) in 3:53:52
2. Stefan Bissegger (Switzerland)
3. Thomas Pidcock (Great Britain)
4. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Colombia)
5. Andreas Lorentz Kron (Denmark)
6. Tobias Foss (Norway)
7.Pascal Eenkhoorn (Netherlands) at 0:38
8. Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark)
9. Mathieu Burgaudeau (France)
10. Torjus Sleen (Norway).

World’s Junior Women Road Race Championship
Megan Jastrab added to the USA’s medal haul at this year’s world championships with a strong showing in today’s Women Junior Road Race.

Setting off from Doncaster early this morning, the first attack of the day came from Kazakhstan’s Diana Bukanova who opened up a 25 second gap that soon doubled to 50 seconds thanks to a brisk 43kph pace. The day, it would turn out, would see more than its fair share of crashes and a mid-pack crash early on in the chase led to a few tangled bikes by the side of the road; with Spain’s Irati Puigdefabregas Ariz having to abandon.

With around 50km the solo break was reeled in and, one of the pre-race favourites, Jastrab decided to push the pace. With the Americans in such top form, the other riders at the front knew the danger and followed the attack; and soon enough, so did the peloton. Cedrine Kerbaol (France) and Catalina Anais Soto Campos (Chile) went away and grabbed a 28 second lead with under 20km to go. Once again, a smart move was made by the peloton to close the gap on the two leaders with Italy and Britain pushing hard at the front.

Campos tried her best to evade the peloton’s advances, but with 3km to go an attack came from Jastrab once again, joined by Junior Women ITT champion Aigul Gareeva (Russia) and the pair went away. The broken peloton was still advancing and although they would go on to catch Gareeva and push her into fourth, just outside the medals, they could not stop yet another American win as Megan Jastrab confirmed her position as pre-race favourite to take the gold medal and the rainbow jersey. Julie de Wilde (Belgium) finished just behind in second, ahead of Lieke Nooijen (the Netherlands) in third.

‘PEZ Race Report’ HERE.

World champion, Megan Jastrab (USA): “I’ve wanted to win this race for several years now so to have everything come together today is just amazing. It’s incredible how well the USA is doing in these Championships and I am so happy for all the team. We love riding here and I wish I could take two more weeks to enjoy these roads even more, but on Sunday I have to go back to reality, and back to college.”

Abi Smith (GB): “It was amazing riding on my home roads today and the crowds were unbelievable. The schoolkids were screaming really loudly and I heard so many people shout my name, which was lovely. It gave me more adrenalin and kept me motivated. There were so many Yorkshire flags on the route as well and I just wanted to grab one of them and wave it whilst I was riding and give the supporters a wave back. Things didn’t go quite as we’d planned today but I’ve loved the whole experience and hope to have more chances in the future.”

World’s Junior Women Road Race Championship Result:
1. Megan Jastrab (United States Of America) in 2:08:00
2. Julie De Wilde (Belgium)
3. Lieke Nooijen (Netherlands)
4. Aigul Gareeva (Russian Federation)
5. Elynor Backstedt (Great Britain)
6. Noemi Rüegg (Switzerland) at 0:03
7. Kata Blanka Vas (Hungary)
8. Léa Curinier (France) at 0:05
9. Silje Mathisen (Norway)
10. Magdeleine Vallieres Mill (Canada) at 0:07.

World’s Junior Men Road Race Championship
Quinn Simmons was the pre-race favourite for junior World championships, the American talent soloed to the title for 30 kilometres. Italian, Alessio Martinelli and Simmons countryman Magnus Sheffield. Enzo Leijnse (Netherlands) was 4th.

Alex Vandenbulcke, Michel Hessmann, Gianmarco Garofoli, Sakarias Koller Loland and Max Walker took a maximum lead of 1 minute. The American team rode up Kidstones Bank at speed to drop some riders off the back. At the top the front five riders were caught with 100 kilometres to go. Lewis Askey (GB) and the American Magnus Sheffield jumped away. Their lead was limited to about 30 seconds. Seventy kilometres from the finish there was a crash, but the Americans had no intention of slowing the pace. The American team accelerated again, resulting in a new leading group of five riders with favourite Simmons, countryman Sheffield. Askey, Pavel Bittner and Carlos Cano Rodríguez.

The Italians and the Dutch had to chase, but they were not strong enough. The break started the first circuit with a 37 second lead with 40 kilometres to go. The chase group were getting close, which was the signal for Simmons to make his move with 30 kilometres remaining. He extended his lead to 40 seconds with two laps to go. With 20 kilometres to go, the difference was 1 minute, as Alessio Martinelli counter-attacked and was at 35 seconds as they hit the final lap.

A chase group included World time trial champion, Antonio Tiberi, Enzo Leijnse, Ramses Debruyne and Milan Paulus was more than 1 minute down on Simmons. Simmons took the gold medal. Martinelli had to settle for the silver. Sheffield who was the fastest in the group for bronze ahead of Leijnse.

Read the full ‘PEZ Race Report’ HERE.

World champion, Quinn Simmons (USA): “It was always the plan to try and win solo and my training’s been aimed at that. Everything went perfectly today. The roads here are rolling and heavy, and that was a long distance for a junior race. Add the rain into that mix and it wore a lot of people down – which worked to our advantage. When the course was revealed I knew it’d suit me and it’s been my goal ever since. To win solo with a flag passed to me by my family is probably the coolest experience I’ll ever have in my life. The support here was crazy as well – the largest crowd I’ve ever experienced in a junior race. I loved it all and I’d definitely like to come back to Yorkshire in the future.”

Sam Watson (GB): “It was a tough route – up and down all day – and made even tougher by the wet conditions. I ride these roads all the time and I never knew you could actually ride them that quickly. Being local, there was quite a lot of pressure on me but I’m able to deal with that quite well. This whole Championships has been an amazing experience and even though I didn’t come away with the result I wanted, the crowds were absolutely fantastic and they definitely kept me going.”

World’s Junior Men Road Race Championship Result:
1. Quinn Simmons (USA) in 3:38:04
2. Alessio Martinelli (Italy) at 0:56
3. Magnus Sheffield (USA) at 1:33
4. Enzo Leijnse (Netherlands)
5. Gianmarco Garofoli (Italy)
6. Vegard Stokke (Norway)
7. Alfred George (GB) at 1:45
8. Frederik Wandahl (Denmark)
9. Jakub Bouček (Czech Republic)
10. Milan Paulus (Belgium).

Bahrain-Merida Terminates Contract with Rohan Dennis
The team terminated its contract with Mr Dennis on 13th September 2019. This termination has not previously been made public to allow Mr Dennis an undisturbed preparation for the UCI 2019 Road World Championships. Mr Dennis has referred the termination to the UCI Arbitral Board. Against this background, no further comment will be made at this time.

Rohan Dennis, 2018 and 2019 World time trial champion:

Sonny Colbrelli and Damiano Caruso Have Extended their Contracts with Team Bahrain Merida
Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team is delighted to announce that Sonny Colbrelli and Damiano Caruso have extended their contracts with the team for the upcoming seasons.

“We’re thrilled that Sonny Colbrelli and Damiano Caruso have signed new contracts with the team. Both riders are major contributors to the team and fit with our selfless team ethos. We have seen their dedication to helping the team achieve its goals, and for this reason, amongst others, the management is proud to make this announcement.” – Team Bahrain Merida General Manager Brent Copeland says.

Colbrelli is one of the riders that has been part of the project since its birth and will ride for the team in 2020 and 2021. Colbrelli says: “When I signed my first contract, I was one of the first riders to believe in this project. We can say that we ‘grew’ together. With Team Bahrain Merida, I achieved my first WorldTour successes and had the opportunity to compete against the strongest riders. It’s incredibly exciting to be part of the second chapter of this team with McLaren’s arrival and the technology and expertise they will bring to the team.”

The Italian sprinter has celebrated several prestigious successes with the team so far, including stages at Paris-Nice, Brabantse Pijl and the Coppa Bernocchi on his debut season. 2018 was even more successful with wins at Dubai Tour, Tour de Suisse, Gran Piemonte and a back-to-back at Coppa Bernocchi. In the current season, he has won a stage at Tour of Oman and rode a successful Deutschland Tour, taking a stage victory and the points classification.

“He’s not only a powerful fast-man but also a classy one-day races rider. We have seen how his improvement and confidence has increased in the past few years. He has learned to take on the role of a true leader” Brent Copeland adds.

“We are also delighted that Damiano Caruso will extend his contract with Team Bahrain Merida until 2022. Damiano joined us in 2019, bringing his true professionalism and dedication to the team. He is a proven performer with excellent climbing skills and a solid TT record. Damiano is a true team player and a great leader in the peloton. We’re thrilled to have him for three more seasons.” Brent Copeland says.

Caruso showed his exceptional talent in supporting the team captains during this season but also fighting for stage wins as a leader. He took an outstanding 2nd place at the Giro d’Italia (2nd) and a hard-earned 5th place on the gruelling stage 18 of this year’s Tour de France.

Caruso commented “I’m particularly pleased to extend my contract with Team Bahrain Merida. For such a young team to have attracted Rod Ellingworth and McLaren is incredibly impressive and motivating. I am very proud to be part of this project and hope to be one of the key contributors over the coming seasons.”

Sonny Colbrelli:

Team Jumbo-Visma Signs Australian Chris Harper
Team Jumbo-Visma has signed climber Chris Harper for the coming two years. The 24-year-old rider from Australia comes over from the Australian Team BridgeLane and will make his debut as a professional for the Dutch World Tour-team in 2020.

Harper is regarded a talented climber and time trial specialist. He became fourth in the Herald Sun Tour, grabbed the victory in the Tour of Japan and won all the classifications and mountain stages in the Tour de Savoie-Mont Blanc.

The vice-champion of Australia is over the moon about his transfer to Team Jumbo-Visma. “I am very excited and grateful to have the opportunity to join Team Jumbo-Visma. It is the perfect environment for me to continue and develop as a rider as well as contribute to achieving the team goals.”

Team Jumbo-Visma’s sportive director Merijn Zeeman: “Chris has excelled in the continental circuit. We think that he can show more of himself and that is why we give him a chance on World Tour level.”

Chris Harper:

Théo Delacroix joins Wanty-Gobert-Tormans in August 2020
After a successful campaign as a trainee with Wanty-Gobert, Théo Delacroix signed his first pro contract. The French U23 champion, who will be at the start of his first World Championships in Yorkshire this Friday, becomes pro on the 1st of August 2020 until the end of 2022 with Wanty-Gobert-Tormans. Together with Jérémy Bellicaud, the 20 year old is an element coming out of the partnership with CC Etupes, the team directed by Boris Zimine for which he will ride the spring classics in 2020 before stepping up to the professional circuit.

The young French rider stood out thanks to top 10 finishes in Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23 (9th) and Annemasse-Bellegarde et retour (9th), and a 14th place in both the final classification in the Tour du Jura and in Paris-Mantes en Yvelines. After the Tour of Burgos as a trainee with Wanty-Gobert, he became the French U23 champion, and showed he has the right stuff. He’ll show the French tricolore in the U23 peloton at the start of 2020, before starting his neopro campaign with Wanty-Gobert-Tormans.

Théo Delacroix: “I’m very happy to join Wanty-Gobert-Tormans in August next year, a logical choice after my period as a trainee. The next three years I get the opportunity to familiarize myself with the team and to build my career step by step. I expect to gain a lot of experience in the U23 category in the French tricolore in the spring, in order to arrive with a bigger sportive baggage in the pro peloton in August!

“I’m very grateful for the partnership between CC Etupes and Wanty-Gobert. Since we met at our training camp in Spain in January, our connection grew. Finally, I was given the opportunity to join the team as a trainee. My varied race program was optimal to prepare the French and World Championships. Guillaume Martin and sportive directors Sébastien Demarbaix and Jean-Marc Rossignon guided me to bring out the best in myself. I want to thank them and Jean-François Bourlart for their confidence, I’m eager to achieve my next goals with them!”

Jean-François Bourlart: “The step up of Théo Delacroix to the pro ranks is a perfect fit in our development strategy. The French rider, well-trained within CC Etupes, showed during his period as a trainee that he has the capabilities to integrate a professional team. He has taken advantage of the accumulated rhythm in pro races to become the French national U23 champion in Beauvais. Consequently, it was an evidence to offer Théo the possibility to step up to Wanty-Gobert-Tormans. He will perfect his development with CC Etupes in the sprint and compete in the biggest U23 classics, before finishing his season in the pro peloton. His arrival, together with Jérémy Bellicaud, is a nice result from our partnership with CC Etupes, which we established last winter.”

Théo Delacroix:

Fabian Lienhard Joins Groupama-FDJ
The Groupama-FDJ cycling team is pleased to announce the signing of Fabian Lienhard for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

National U23 road champion in 2014, winner of the 1st stage of the Tour de Normandie in 2018, the young Swiss rider also ranked 2nd of the Tour de Bretagne this year and has notably won the 2nd stage of the Tour du Loir-et-Cher.

With this young but already experienced recruitment, the Cycling Team Groupama-FDJ once again confirms its desire to combine performance and training. The French team thus offers Marc Sarreau, the current leader of the Coupe de France, an additional advantage in a goal dear to the team’s DNA: to shine throughout France.

Fabian Lienhard: “I am obviously very happy to join the Groupama-FDJ cycling team. I had the ambition to move to the next level for a few years. As I make my best season, I am happy and proud that the work done is rewarded.

What attracted me at Groupama-FDJ are the synergies they have created between respect for the traditional values ​​of cycling and the modernity they bring about research and development. And inevitably, when you sign in a team that has existed for 22 years, you are confident and certain to have made the right choice.

Finally, my fellow countryman Stefan Küng praised the qualities of the team and it ended up convincing me.

Regarding my physical abilities, I am a runner who goes fast. My Top 10 on the Tour of Switzerland this year confirm it. However, I am not fast enough to win. That’s why I am very happy to be able to put my qualities in the service of a runner like Marc Sarreau during sprints, and classics with Stefan Küng. I can not wait to prove myself.”
Yvon Madiot: “We were looking for a launcher for Marc Sarreau, we wanted a young profile but with experience. The important thing was also to find someone who is fast but who has already made the process in his head to serve another sprinter. Fabian ticked all the boxes. We were looking for a really specific profile and we are happy to have found someone like Fabian. He is very motivated.
He will be there to help Marc Sarreau and participate in some classics always in Marc’s company.
He will be part of the Marc Sarreau train, with Mickael Delage. We have made a lot of efforts in the past to consolidate the Arnaud Démare train. Marc also wins races, and we had to offer him extra support.”

Fabian Lienhard:

Yukiya Arashiro, Chun Kai Feng, Luka Pibernik and Domen Novak Extend their Contracts with Bahrain-Merida
Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team is delighted to announce that Yukiya Arashiro, Chun Kai Feng, Luka Pibernik, and Domen Novak have extended their contracts.

“All four riders have been with our team since its launch, and we’re thrilled that they will continue to be part of its future direction with Rod Ellingworth and McLaren.” Team Bahrain Merida, General Manager Brent Copeland.

“They are a mix of young and experienced riders, that have shown their dedication to teamwork. We will continue to help them thrive in the sport as we have seen how much sacrifice they put into training and racing.” Copeland added.

Japanese star Yukiya Arashiro, who suffered a training accident early this season, has recovered and is now back in the peloton, which is a testament to his perseverance and professionalism. Next year will be Yukiya’s fourth season with the team.

The Taiwanese rider Chun Kai Feng had a strong start to this season with two more medals in Asian Championships: Silver in TT and bronze in the road race. Despite a crash at the Tour de Romandie, he secured another title as the National TT champion in June. Feng is looking forward to his 6th season in the WorldTour and above all to his first Grand Tour, and the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.

The other National Champion to extended his contract is Domen Novak, who won Slovenian road race title. The 23-year-old rider claimed his first National title in June, after a silver medal in 2018. Domen has signed a two-year extension with the team and aims to be amongst the best young riders in the peloton. He took the white jersey at the Tour of Japan in 2017 and the Tour of Croatia 2016.

Fellow Slovenian Luka Pibernik will also ride with the team in 2020, supporting the team captains and working to build on his results. The 25-year-old has significant potential, winning Slovenian National title in 2013 and 2015. In 2018 he took the bronze medal at the Slovenian Championships with Bahrain Merida.

Team Bahrain Merida is thrilled to have all four riders continue with the team, and we look forward to embarking on the next phase.

Arashiro, Feng, Pibernik and Novak:

Michaelsen Assumes New Head Sports Director Role with Team NTT
We are delighted to announce that the highly experienced Lars Michaelsen joins us in the capacity of Head Sports Director from 1 January 2020, as we rebrand to Team NTT.

The Dane, 50, raced professionally for 14 years securing 25 victories with teams including the likes of CSC, TVM, Team Coast and Française des Jeux. Career highlights include victory at Gent-Wevelgem in 1995 as well as a stage victory at the Vuelta a España in 1997. That win on the opening stage saw him wear the leader’s jersey for four stages.

At Paris-Roubaix in 2005 he finished an impressive fifth, as he did in 2002, while he also rode in successful support of teammates Fabian Cancellara and Stuart O’Grady, who won the race in 2006 and 2007 respectively. He also competed in four consecutive Olympic Games (1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004), representing Denmark.

He’s equally experienced off the bike too where as a Sports Director he has spent 11 years highly successful years at WorldTour level working for the likes of CSC, Leopard Trek, RadioShack, Saxo Bank, Team Tinkoff and his current outfit the Astana Pro Team.

Lars Michaelsen (Head Sports Director): “Over the years I have keenly followed Douglas Ryder’s team and the various stages of development that it’s undergone as it’s established itself in the WorldTour. I truly believe this journey is set to continue and so I’m delighted to take this role in that progression, and be a part in the continued development of the team into the future.”

Douglas Ryder (Team Principal): “I’m really pleased that Lars is coming on board as we take the next step of our journey as Team NTT in 2020. His breadth of experience both as a rider and also as a sports director, at the highest level, will see him play a crucial role in what we hope to achieve next year, and we look forward to seeing what sort of impact he will have on our group. His experience with working with some of the top riders in the world will be invaluable and I look forward to him making his own mark, while at the same time building on the strong foundation that we already have in place.”

Lars Michaelsen:

Teams Reject Key Elements of the UCI Reform 2020: “Classics Series”
The AIGCP (the association of men’s professional road cycling teams) hereby confirms that it has informed the UCI that it rejects the current approach and proposed regulatory framework for setting up the anticipated UCI Classics Series as part of the 2020 Reform.

AIGCP’s support for the 2020 Reform approved in September 2018 was conditional on setting up the envisaged competition of one-day races (“Classics Series”) on a consensus basis with all stakeholders, including the teams with their riders, and on the basis of an inclusive business plan and ownership model where the rights of all parties would be recognised and respected. Such Classics Series was meant to be a stepping stone towards the true reform that men’s professional road cycling needs: to change the current broken economical model which over the years has done much harm to the sport, not only the teams and their riders, but also to many race organisers.
However, the teams lament that no substantial progress has been made in this regard. In fact, the teams’ and riders’ rights are neither being recognised nor respected and the current approach and proposed regulatory framework do not deliver on the promised structure which would finally enable the stakeholders to realise the economic change that this sport desperately needs.

Accordingly, the AIGCP has formally informed the UCI of its rejection of the Classics Series as it is being implemented by the UCI and that no team or contracted rider may be associated with any such Classics Series without the express consent of that team.

Finally, the AIGCP remains committed to contributing to the realisation of the principles of the UCI Reform 2020 it supported in September 2018.

‘UCI Classics Series’ in trouble?

Women’s Cycling as the Main Event ‘The best is yet to come’
The Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team is going for a unique fifth world title in a row in Yorkshire on Saturday. Following on from Lizzie Deignan-Armitstead (Richmond 2015), Amalie Dideriksen (Qatar 2016), Chantal Blaak (Bergen 2017) and Anna van der Breggen (Innsbruck 2018), the team is hoping to complete the quintet in Yorkshire.

Next year will be the team’s tenth consecutive year in the sport. The Boels-Dolmans team has been number one in the UCI team rankings since the end of 2015. The team became team time trial world champions in 2016, won the women’s teams World Tour in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, and has also succeeded in winning all noteworthy women’s classic races and tours. With its innovative vision and professionalism, the team has been a trendsetter in women’s cycling for many years.
The 2020 season will be the last year for the title sponsors Boels Rental and Dolmans Landscaping. Through the sponsorship of the women’s team, both Limburg-based family businesses have more than achieved their goals in terms of brand awareness and visibility. In addition, the publicity via the cycling team has generated immense goodwill and there has been great internal engagement at both companies. Boels Rental and Dolmans Landscaping stress the fact that they have achieved a huge amount for what in international top-level sport terms is a relatively low sponsorship sum. Women’s cycling is one of the few global sports where you can currently still acquire the absolute best in the world for this amount of money.

Despite both title sponsors stopping, the team is looking optimistically to the future. Women’s cycling is currently experiencing a boom, just like women’s football, and it is receiving more and more attention. There are more big competitions and influential TV broadcasters, such as Eurosport, are providing more live coverage. Furthermore, a large number of sport marketers are these days advising companies to enter the field of women’s cycling because this sport is still in its early stages. You also see an increasing number of women cycling for recreation. The number of women participants in the big tours has increased massively, while the number of race bicycles sold to women is also growing each year.

A number of figures underscore this. Within just four years, a big campaign by British Cycling succeeded in getting 723,000 women who had never before cycled out on a bicycle. The number of women participants in the largest race in the Netherlands, the Tour Version Amstel Gold Race, rose from 8% in 2012 to nearly 17% in 2019. And on Eurosport 1 in the Benelux region the number of hours of live coverage of women’s competitions rose from 1 hour in 2015 to 22 hours in 2018. The UCI announced that in 2018 an impressive 147 million viewers saw TV coverage of the Women’s World Tour and that in total 1430 hours of television was produced from this event.

As the Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team, we are certain that ‘the best is yet to come’. We are feeling confident as we now start our search for new title sponsors for the team. Our target
is to not only retain our status as the number one women’s cycling team in the world, but also to help further develop the sport of women’s cycling. As of 2021 we want to expand our team from 16 to 18 cyclists in order to be able to compete in a double programme and to give more young cyclists a chance. In addition, we want to give more focus to the woman behind the athlete in the future and also to community projects.

2018 World champion, Anna van der Breggen – Boels – Dolmans Cycling Team in Flèche Wallonne:

Veneto Dress up for Welcoming CX European Champs
Trebaseleghe and surroundings municipalities are displaying a new urban look and feel in view of the upcoming continental event to be held in Silvelle (November 9th-10th). The Mayor Antonella Zoggia: “Cycling is being at home here, the Europeans are a great opportunity for our territory.”

It’s been over 20 years since the golden era of the international Cyclo-cross in Silvelle, host of prestigious circuit Superprestige’s five rounds, but it’s time to soak up the international spotlights for the Veneto’s location famous for its off-road cycling tradition.

With 50 days to go to the 2019 Cyclo-cross European Championships, to be held on 9th-10th November under the organisation of ASD Silvellese, Silvelle di Trebaseleghe (Padua, Northern Italy) is leaving nothing to chance in view of the most important event of its history.

Trebaseleghe and surroundings streets dressed up the colour of Europe on these days, thanks to the new urban customisation set-up by the event’s organisers. The countdown has began: on Saturday, November 9th the Master competitions are on schedule, while, “Silvelle ‘19” will assign six Junior, U23 and Elite titles will be up on grabs Sunday, November 10th.

The European Championships’ urban design also included the building of Trebaseleghe’s Town Hall, with a maxi-poster on display to welcome riders and fans from all over Europe.

“Cycling is being at home in Silvelle” – the Mayor of Trebaseleghe Antonella Zoggia explained. “Under the Zamprogna family’s boost, first Armando and his son Mauro then, Silvelle hosted a number of big and successful events over the years. The European Championships are a great opportunity for our territory, given the proximity of major tourist destinations like Venice, Padua and Treviso. Moreover, the cycling fans can discover Veneto’s typical rural landscapes here, a perfect mix of rural tradition and modern agriculture.”

The Regional headquarter in Venice’s Palazzo Balbi will host the 2019 Cyclo-Cross European Championships vernissage next October 22nd.

2019 Saitama Criterium: Bernal Will Be There
Colombia enjoyed triumph in July thanks to Egan Bernal, the youngest winner of the Tour de France in cycling’s modern era, at the mere age of 22 years. After having savoured his success on the podium on the Champs-Elysées, then on his return back to the motherland in the streets of Zipaquira, his hometown, Egan Bernal, who also won the White Jersey, will be celebrating his victory at the Saitama Criterium where the Japanese spectators will flock in considerable numbers. Bernal will perhaps have an opportunity to shine on the 3.5-km circuit route through Saitama, having conquered the general classification in France without winning a single stage. To make up for this, the latest Tour de France winner could try to win “Stage 22”, although he will have to compete with his leader on the 2018 Tour de France, Chris Froome, who has programmed his return to cycling for the Japanese event, a race he has only missed once since his first success in 2013.

In Japan, the four times winner of the Grande Boucle will be rubbing shoulders with another regular on the podium on the Champs-Elysées and the roads of Saitama: Romain Bardet, this year’s Polka Dot jersey winner, will again be putting on the outfit that he dreamed of as a child to finish his season. Other stage winners, such as Matteo Trentin, Daryl Impey, Omar Fraile and Lilian Calmejane have been invited to the race, as well as the most recent winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Critérium du Dauphiné, Jakob Fuglsang.

Main contenders (on 27/9):
AG2R La Mondiale: Romain Bardet, Mikael Chérel, Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra), Oliver Naesen (Bel);
Astana Pro Team: Jakob Fuglsang (Dan), Jan Hirt (Cze), Omar Fraile (Spa), Manuele Boaro (Ita);
Mitchelton-Scott: Matteo Trentin (Ita), Daryl Impey (Rsa), Luka Mezgec (Slo), Luke Durbridge (Aus);
Movistar Team: Alejandro Valverde, Marc Soler, Imanol Erviti, Antonio Pedrero (Spa);
Team Ineos: Egan Bernal, Ivan Sosa (Col), Chris Froome (Gbr), Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa);
Total Direct Energie: Lilian Calmejane, Anthony Turgis, Jérôme Cousin (Fra), Rein Taaramäe (Est);
Tour de France Japan Team: Yukiya Arashiro (Jap)

Key points:
Egan Bernal, the winner of the 2019 Tour de France, will take starter’s orders on the 7th edition of the Saitama Criterium. So will his team-mate Chris Froome who will be making his return to competition on 27th October.
Ø The Colombian winner of this year’s Yellow and White Jerseys will again cross paths with the 2019 Polka Dot Jersey winner, Romain Bardet (Fra), as well as the 2018 World Champion Alejandro Valverde and several stage winners on the Tour de France.

More information about Saitama Criterium on

Teaser – Tour de France Saitama Critérium 2019:

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