Only six weeks till the season starts in Europe and the riders are at the training camps. Has Groenewgen been punished enough – TOP STORY. Fabio Jakobsen is at the Deceuninck – Quick-Step training camp. Other cycling news: No vaccine for DSM, Wout van Aert has no Cervélo cross bikes, spring schedule for Mark Cavendish, Emanuel Buchmann Grand Tour podium possible, Mikel Landa aiming for two Grand Tours and Giacomo Nizzolo has Milan-Sanremo in his sights. Race news from Cross Worlds, Santos Festival of Cycling, 2024 Olympics, Tour de France and La Vuelta’20. Team news from Belarus, UAE Team Emirates and Qhubeka-Assos. Contract news from Qhubeka-Assos, Bahrain-McLaren, Davide Rebellin, Tarteletto-Isorex and EF Pro Cycling. Rider news from Julian Alaphilippe, Greg LeMond, Sam Bewley, Alberto Bettiol and Jay Robert Thomson. Plus part 2 of the UAE Team Emirates Tour’20 video. loads of EUROTRASH.
TOP STORY: Boogerd Thinks Groenewgen Has Been Punished Enough
Last month it was announced that Dylan Groenewegen had been suspended for nine months for causing Fabio Jakobsen’s crash in the Tour of Poland. Former rider Michael Boogerd is convinced that the consequences of the fall had been taken into account. “It shouldn’t have been for me, because I think that Groenewegen has been punished enough anyway,” said Boogerd on Zesdaagse TV, where he was a guest with Lucinda Brand and Pieter Weening. “I think he is still not comfortable on the bike. A lot has happened to him and then he has to be out until the beginning of May.”
Safety in cycling in general was also discussed. Weening has seen many changes in recent years. “Fifteen years ago, a signal was sometimes given when a car was half on the road. Nowadays they all think: ‘If there are ten men less’. There is a lot of stress. The road network is also just different, many more obstacles, roundabouts, central reservation. It’s busier along the way. It is becoming increasingly unsafe.”
To make the sport safer, the course can be looked at, said Boogerd. “But it is still possible that there will be no crashes. What Pieter says, it always depends on the riders. I mean, you can race on a straight road twenty meters wide … but if they push, throw or pull each other, you just go. Then it’s the end of the story. I think the biggest change lies with the riders themselves.”
“We have now also seen it in the Vuelta with Sam Bennett, who gives headbutts in a full sprint. Then you see the turmoil that actually arises, with Patrick Lefevere who is angry again. Then we think, do we never learn? One of his best riders, Jakobsen, has hit the asphalt and is out for a long time. And now a rider of his does something and it is all downplayed again,” said Boogerd.
Brand believes that riders themselves also have a responsibility to protect each other. “In the women’s peloton, however, you also see that, for example, the signaling or the fences often leave something to be desired and then you also have to look at the athlete. I think it is very good that we as riders make our voice heard. But we also have to look at ourselves and come up with solutions, and not just say very angry that it is not right.”
Jakobsen at the Deceuninck – Quick-Step Training Camp
Fabio Jakobsen is in Spain at the Deceuninck – Quick-Step training camp, reported Het Nieuwsblad. The rehabilitating Dutch sprinter heads to Altea for the first team camp for the 2021 season.
Team doctor Yvan Vanmol already looked ahead to the training camp at the end of November. “His holiday has done him (Jakobsen) mentally good to reset his head. On the camp, Fabio will immediately know how he feels about cycling in a group. And if necessary we will guide him in this.”
All the Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders are gathered in Altea, a Spanish coastal town on the Costa Blanca. Mark Cavendish, the latest addition to the team, will also be present. Some of the riders had already been in Spain on their own initiative, the other riders traveled to the Costa Blanca last weekend or Monday.
The Belgian team had to move to a different location this year. “We usually stay at Hotel Suitopia in Calpe, but that hotel will only reopen its doors in February due to the corona virus,” sports director Wilfried Peeters.
In Altea, the team hopes to prepare as well as possible for the new season, but the riders will not just sit on the bike. For example, Deceuninck – Quick-Step is taking the opportunity to try on the new kits for 2021 and the team will provide psychological assistance after a particularly strange and hectic 2020.
This time it is up to the riders to determine the duration of their training period. Some riders will return home at the end of the week, according to Het Nieuwsblad, while others will stay in Spain until the festive season. The Belgian team has isolated itself in its own bubble.
Fabio Jakobsen training again:
No Covid Vaccine for Sunweb (DSM) Yet
UAE Team Emirates manager Mauro Gianetti said on Monday that he wants to have his riders and staff members vaccinated against Covid-19 in January. Team Sunweb (DSM) will not go that fast. “We follow and support the guidelines of the national governments.”
Gianetti was one of 30,000 subjects for Phase 3 testing of the Chinese SinoPharm vaccine in the United Arab Emirates. He was given two doses and had no side effects. Next month he wants to vaccinate the riders and staff members of his UAE Team Emirates during the team training camp in Abu Dhabi. Although no one will have to if they don’t want, he added.
The Belgian and Dutch WorldTour teams (DSM will have a German license) do not seem to be participating in the rush to get a corona vaccine for the time being. “We are not bypassing the government and will not select vaccines as we see fit,” a Team Sunweb spokesperson told Dutch website WielerFlits. “This is about public health and that is how we deal with it. We follow and support the guidelines of the national governments.”
The same reaction was noted by Het Laatste Nieuws by John Lelangue of Lotto Soudal. “I am CEO of a Belgian employer. Until the Belgian government says that professional athletes may be vaccinated, we will follow the normal corona protocol. Cycling is just a sport.” Deceuninck – Quick-Step also has no plans, says manager Patrick Lefevere.
Apparently they are still waiting at Jumbo-Visma. “If that opportunity arises, we will use it on a voluntary basis,” spokesperson Ard Bierens said.
Masks for a bit longer yet:
Wout van Aert Has No Cervélo Cross Bike
Jumbo-Visma will be changing from Bianchi bikes to Cervélo on January the 1st. For Wout van Aert, the new collaboration falls in the middle of the cross season, but we will not see him on a Cervélo in a cross race as the brand does not have a cross bike according to bicycle magazine Grinta. Jef Van den Bosch, Van Aert’s manager, confirmed to Het Nieuwsblad. “Cervélo is working on the development of a cross bike, but it is not here yet. Moreover, it is not really beneficial to change bikes during the season.”
It is still uncertain which bike the three-time world champion will be riding if he starts the X²O round in Baal on January 1st. He will probably ride his Bianchi Zolder Pro cross bike to the end of the season without all brand names and the blue-green Bianchi colour.
No Cervélo cross bike for Wout yet:
Spring Schedule for Mark Cavendish
Mark Cavendish arrived in Spain on Monday for his first training camp with Deceuninck – Quick-Step. But his spring program has also largely been mapped out. “Competitions in which he can gain confidence,” says Wilfried Peeters. “Without pressure.”
At Deceuninck – Quick-Step they want to build with Cavendish on his performances in Gent-Wevelgem and the Scheldeprijs, two races in which he opted for the attack and was in the lead for half a day in the wind. That is precisely why October 2020 was “his best month in a long time,” he stated.
“Cavendish must be given time.” sports director Wilfried Peeters told Het Laatste Nieuws. “We are going to bring him in a calm manner. We also have to find out where his condition is and what he can do, because at the moment we do not know what he is worth.”
The road has already been mapped out: In February he can ride his first stage race, followed by a number of one-day races such as Nokere and Handzame. “Without the pressure to win. In a manner of speaking, he can race up to five kilometres before the finish, we will do the rest,” said Peeters. “The intention is to first give him back his confidence, then we can talk about performance.”
Hoping to return to past victories:
Emanuel Buchmann: “Podium in a Grand Tour is Possible”
After his fourth place in 2019, Emanuel Buchmann wanted to take a shot at the podium in the Tour de France last season. But due to a crash in the Dauphiné, he didn’t reach his top form. Now he has his sights on the new cycling year.
Buchmann had a successful start to the season with a win in the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana and ninth place in Pollença-Andratx. “That victory in Mallorca was great. I don’t win that often, so that was special – even if it was a fairly small race,” the German rider told radsport-news.com. But then he had to leave the UAE Tour prematurely after a crash and the season came to a halt due to the corona virus.
After the lockdown, he wanted to work towards the Tour de France via the Critérium du Dauphiné. In the first days of the five-day stage race he came third and fourth, but on the fourth day he crashed heavily on a descent and had to abandon. With some doubts he started in the Tour, where he was initially able to compete with the best, but after a week it turned out that his form was not good enough for a top result.
“The weeks after the fall in the Dauphiné and in the Tour were the bitterest in my career,” said the German. “If you put so much time and energy into one goal, it is cruel when a crash occurs that I could not help myself.” In the end he completed the Tour working for his BORA-hansgrohe team, but he cancelled his planned participation in the Vuelta a España, in consultation with the team.
Buchmann hopes to be able to deal with last season’s bad luck in 2021. Whether his focus is back on the Tour or another Grand Tour is still uncertain. “Despite everything we saw in the Dauphiné where I am and that if everything goes perfectly, the podium in a Grand Tour is possible. So we will make another attempt in 2021. Whether it will be the Tour is not yet clear. The course is certainly not ideal for me.”
Buchmann winning in Mallorca:
Mikel Landa is Aiming for Two Grand Tours in 2021
Mikel Landa has set his sights on the Tour de France for next season. Last year, the Spaniard finished fourth in the French race, equaling his best performance three years ago. He also wants to return to the Giro d’Italia or the Vuelta a España.
Landa left Movistar for Bahrain-McLaren last winter. In his debut year with the team, the Spaniard finished on the podium of the Ruta del Sol and the Vuelta a Burgos and finished in fourth place in the Tour de France, just under 6 minutes behind overall winner Tadej Pogačar. “The Tour is the big goal of the year, that is clear. But in addition Mikel wants to ride another Grans Tour. Due to the known circumstances, that year did not fit, but with a normal calendar he wants to do two Grand Tours,” his team told Deia.
Since the start of his professional career in 2011, Landa often rode two Grand Tours in a year. In 2014 and 2015, he combined the Giro d’Italia with the Vuelta a España, finishing third in the Giro in 2015 – his best finish in a Grand Tour to date. In 2016, 2017 and 2019 he started in both the Giro and the Tour. He has won a stage in a Grand Tour four times; in 2015 in the Giro stages to Madonna di Campiglio and Aprica, later that year he won the mountain stage to Cortals d’Encamp in the Vuelta and in 2017 he triumphed in the Giro stage to Piancavallo.
It is still uncertain which of the other Grand Tours Landa will ride as well as the Tour de France. He will not make that decision until the routes of the Giro and the Vuelta are known; He will race the Tour that suits him best. The Spaniard will leave for the Canary Islands on today, Thursday, for a training camp in the run-up to the new season. Which he should start with the Ruta de Sol, and then hone his form in the Tour of the Basque Country. “That’s one of Mikel’s goals. He wants to be good at his home race.
Landa looking forward to 2021:
Giacomo Nizzolo has Milan-Sanremo in His Sights
For Giacomo Nizzolo, a successful season came to an abrupt end due to a muscle tear in his lower leg. As a result, the European champion had to leave the Tour early. For 2021, he has already set his sights on Milan-Sanremo. He also wants to try Paris-Roubaix.
Last month it was announced that Nizzolo will remain loyal to the Qhubeka ASSOS team in 2021. “I stayed with this team because I wanted a project that revolves around me. It’s important to keep working with the people I already know. I already felt familiar with the project. I wanted to be a part of it and take it to the next level,” he told TuttoBICI.
The Italian sprinter can look back on a strong season, in which he achieved stage victories in the Tour Down Under and Paris-Nice, finished fifth in Milan-Sanremo and then won both the Italian and the European championships. “It was a very important season. I was competitive from the start, after finally having a winter without physical problems. It was also a confirmation to myself.”
“It was a shame about the Tour de France. In the third stage I finished third, but I felt that I had more legs. Still, I couldn’t find the right gap in the sprint, those are things that can happen. And then came the muscle tear, which made me give up. The recovery time was long and as I would not be competitive in the last races of the season, I preferred to quit altogether out of respect for the two titles I won.”
“I want to be good from the start of the season with Milan-San Remo in my sights and the Belgian classics, which are suitable for sprinters. I would like to test myself in Paris-Roubaix or the other cobbled classics, but I think the Tour of Flanders is too tough. When it comes to the big laps, I would love to wear the European jersey in the Giro d’Italia, but I know the Tour de France is important to the team. I could also ride them both.”
2021 World Cyclocross Championships in Ostend Without Fans
The cyclocross World championship can take place in Ostend in 2021. All parties involved agree, the organisers report in a press release. The World Championships will take place without an audience because of the corona crisis.
“All parties involved made an extra effort. For example, the top of the international World of cyclocross can descend on Ostend at the end of January. The World Championships will be followed live from home by many enthusiasts worldwide,” said the organisation, which is supported by the UCI, Belgian Cycling, the Flemish government and the municipality of Ostend.
The Flemish sports minister Ben Weyts is extremely satisfied with the state of affairs. “All parties have made efforts to make the World Cup possible in these difficult times,” says Weyts. “The World Championships are the high mass of the season for our Flemish top riders, but also for TV-watching Flanders. Top events like this give us Flemish collective moments of joy.”
Rik Debeaussaert of the organisation is happy that the decision has been made. “We have always believed in it and had examined all the different scenarios. We are therefore very proud that all the hard work in recent weeks, months and years has finally led to a decision. Now we only look ahead and count down the days to the spectacle,” said Debeaussaert.
A lot of work is also being done on the course. On the night of 7 to 8 December, the bridge was installed that connects the beach with the rest of the course on the Wellington Racecourse. The cyclocross World Championships are scheduled for January 30 and 31, 2021. Last winter Mathieu van der Poel and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado were crowned World champions.
Another Van der Poel/Van Aert battle?
Santos Festival of Cycling Announced for 19 – 24th January 2021
The Santos Tour Down Under has announced a new and reimagined event for 2021 in South Australia with the Santos Festival of Cycling taking place from Tuesday 19 to Sunday 24 January.
The Santos Festival of Cycling, presented by the Santos Tour Down Under will be a 6-day domestic cycling festival which is set to delight both cycling enthusiasts and festival goers, and will include a variety of cycling disciplines, including Road, Track, Paracycling, BMX, Mountain Bikes and Cyclo-Cross.
The program will kick off with the Adelaide Track Event at the Gepps Cross Superdrome followed by a 4-stage National Road Series (NRS) race with Men’s and Women’s stages held on the same day, showcasing the Barossa, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu regions. Program details for Paracycling, Track, Cyclo-Cross, Mountain Bike, and BMX are set to be rolled out over the coming weeks.
As part of the Festival’s COVID Management plan, selected events will be ticketed which will include limited-capacity entry for the road race start and finishes. A free ticket will be required to access both race starts and finish locations and will be available from Monday 14 December at www.tourdownunder.com.au/ticketing.
Where tickets become exhausted, cycling fans will be encouraged to find one of our wonderful vantage points and use alternative locations on the routes to enjoy the race in a COVID-safe and socially distanced way. Tickets for other selected riding and festival events will be announced in due course.
In a time that has been particularly challenging for South Australians, Premier Steven Marshall said that he is thrilled that South Australia can deliver an event program to start the 2021 cycling season.
“South Australia has a strong track record in delivering world class events, which create jobs and deliver substantial economic benefit to the state. To be able to pivot, innovate, and deliver a high calibre event, in a new COVID-normal environment, for all Australians to enjoy is particularly exciting,” said Premier Marshall.
For the first time the Challenge Tour will go digital in collaboration with FulGaz, with further details being announced soon, along with an exciting festival program and calendar of events.
Santos Managing Director and CEO, Kevin Gallagher said, “Santos is pleased to continue to support and partner on initiatives that make a positive contribution to the South Australian community and we look forward to enjoying a great summer of cycling.”
The Inclusion of other cycling disciplines of Cyclo-Cross, BMX, Track, Paracycling and Mountain Biking is another considered element of the festival, which in collaboration with newly formed national body, Aus Cycling, will celebrate the inclusion of all cycling disciplines under one new national banner.
Executive Director of Events South Australia, Hitaf Rasheed said the Santos Festival of Cycling has been designed to bring visitors from across Australia and South Australia to the City of Adelaide and regional communities during January.
“It is important to now look forward and do what we can to celebrate Adelaide and our beautiful regions, support our local businesses and communities, showcase what is great about our state and keep the heart beating in South Australia this summer.”
The Santos Festival of Cycling will continue to work closely with SA Health, SAPOL, participating teams and major stakeholders to deliver an exciting event that has the priority of the health and safety of South Australians, our communities and the cycling fraternity.
TDU’21 will be a bit different:
Richie Porte Confirmed to Race in the Santos Festival of Cycling
King of Willunga Hill, Santos Tour Down Under 2020 winner, and fan favourite, Richie Porte has been confirmed to race in the Santos Festival of Cycling slated for January 19 – 24 in 2021.
The Santos Festival of Cycling will showcase the nations budding national road series riders against some of the finest WorldTour professionals. Richie will ride for the Australian national team in Adelaide for the first time since his Santos Tour Down Under debut in 2008.
Race Director Stuart O’Grady said “It’s fantastic that Richie and his family are back in Australia after an incredible year. For all the cycling fans out there and the public to be able to congratulate Richie in person for his historic podium in the TDF is just amazing. Being in Adelaide and supporting this event means a lot to the Santos Dour Down Under team behind the race and gives the young up and coming riders an amazing opportunity to ride alongside one of this country’s greatest cyclists”.
We would like to thank his team for next year, “INEOS Grenadiers” in allowing him to return to Australia.
Richie Porte said it will be nice to come back and see some good young Aussie talent. “There is plenty to love about Adelaide in January and it will be nice to catch up with the Aussie cycling fans to say hi. I think it’s good the South Australian government has got behind it too”.
Ticketing information is available at: www.tourdownunder.com.au/ticketing
Porte might just win again:
UCI Wants a Smaller Male Peloton for 2024 Olympics
The UCI are looking ahead to the 2024 Games in Paris. Gender equality must be in place by then and this will in particular will have consequences for the road races.
For the Olympic Games in Paris, there must be one hundred percent gender equality, for all sports and also for cycling. For Tokyo, this is already the case for mountain biking and BMX, but road and track cycling will also be changed before 2024. This has consequences for the road race for men and women.
A peloton of ninety riders is planned for both races in four years time. This is good news for all female cyclists, as there are only 67 places available in Tokyo. For the men it is a big cut, since the peloton will have 130 riders in 2021. For the women there will be an increase from 67 to 90, for the men there is a significant reduction from 130 to 90, a loss of 40 in the number of participants. “We are proud of the fact that we have achieved this,” said UCI president David Lappartient in a press release. “Gender equality is high on the agenda for the Paris Games.”
“The UCI is committed to the policy that we want to see an equal representation of men and women everywhere. This is another important step, after introducing a minimum salary for female cycling professionals. This is a strong gesture to all athletes and all of society. I want to thank the International Olympic Committee for its support.”
Orange and A.S.O. extend their partnership for the Tour de France
Partners for over 21 years, Orange and A.S.O. will collaborate again for the next four editions of the Tour de France.
Each year, Orange and A.S.O. work together to devise and deploy innovative and responsible telecommunications technologies along the route of the race, making this event the third most watched sporting competition in the world.
The Tour visits various towns and villages in France, which makes it an excellent opportunity for Orange to develop digital and network technology across the country. The 2021 Tour de France will be no exception, as the race will cover 9 regions and 38 departments. From the race start in Brittany, to the Col du Tourmalet, passing through Mont Ventoux, and the legendary finish along the Champs-Elysées, this 108th edition promises even more entertainment, guaranteed by technology offered by Orange.
Since 1999, Orange has continued to implement the latest technological advances to support the Tour de France, in order to meet the needs of the organisers, the media, partners and the spectators. Whilst 2004 and 2012 stood out for the arrival of 3G and 4G to the race, 2021 will be known for even greater quality of service with the introduction of the 5G network. Over the years, Orange has made changes to meet needs relating to broadcasting, security and connectivity in technical areas.
Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France, said: “The Tour is an ongoing challenge, physical for the riders, but also technological for the entire organisation, notably for Orange. The quality of the telecoms network and the expertise of Orange’s national and local teams are essential for each stage to be a success. So I’m very happy that Orange is by our side for the next four years of challenges and achievements.”
Fabienne Dulac, CEO of Orange France, said: “Orange is proud to support the organisers, partners and spectators of the Tour de France for another four years. An exceptionally popular event, the Tour is a brilliant showcase of our natural and cultural heritage, but also our technological expertise. A good connection has become crucial for the race to run smoothly and reach as many people as possible. Orange is proud to be the supplier, thanks to the outstanding job done by its teams. The Tour also allows towns and unique locations to enjoy network upgrades, thanks to new permanent Orange Fibre, 4G and 5G installations. We are proud to strive to provide the best possible network across the country.”
More information about Tour de France on www.letour.fr
Orange and A.S.O. extend their partnership:
Kiryienka New Belarus National Coach
Vasil Kiryienka has found a new job. The 2015 time trial World champion will start working as head coach of the Belarusian road team. In addition, he will also coach of the national track team, reported Peloton.by.
In addition to his job as national coach, Kiryienka will also be sports director of the new continental team BelAZ. He will combine that work with former cyclist Yury Yurchanka. What the selection of BelAZ will look like will be announced soon, according to Belarus media.
Kiryienka decided at the end of January to retire as a professional cyclist at the age of 38 due to a heart condition. The time trial specialist raced for Sky/Ineos-Grenadiers for many years, and also rode for Tinkoff, Caisse d’Epargne and Movistar, and won stages in the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España during his career. The highlight of his career was the World Championship time trial in Richmond.
Tiralongo Leaves UAE Team Emirates
Paolo Tiralongo is leaving UAE Team Emirates after three years as a staff member. According to Spaziociclismo, the 43-year-old former rider leaves for development Velo Racing Team Palazzago, where he becomes sports director and trainer of talented riders.
Tiralongo stopped cycling at the end of 2017 and took a seat in the team car the following year. At UAE Emirates he teamed up with Fabio Aru, who he also coached. Last season Tiralongo was no longer a DS for the WorldTour team, but only a technical assistant. After Aru left to go to Qhubeka ASSOS, Tiralongo now left.
Tiralongo continues his career as a sports director with the amateurs of Velo Racing Team Palazzago from Bergamo. That team rode the Giro d’Italia U23 and the Piccolo Giro di Lombardia last season. Filippo Conca, now with Lotto Soudal in 2021, rode for two seasons for Palazzago in his youth. UAE Team Emirates also loses another sports director as Neil Stephens goes to Bahrain Victorious.
Paolo Tiralongo in Liège:
HUNT to partner with Team Qhubeka ASSOS
Team Qhubeka ASSOS, Africa’s only UCI-registered WorldTour cycling team, is delighted to announce our partnership with HUNT wheels from next season.
This announcement marks a first step into the WorldTour for HUNT and the next stage for them in serving riders across the globe. The team will use various models and configurations of HUNT wheels for racing and training throughout the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
Leveraging the feedback and expertise from our riders competing on the highest level, together with HUNT we can work together in developing and refining HUNT’s wheels to a level that meets the demands placed on them by elite competition, resulting in even better products for HUNT riders.
Ollie Gray (HUNT Road Brand Manager): “On behalf of our team at HUNT, we’re honoured to provide technical support for Team Qhubeka ASSOS. The Rider Firm is made up of passionate cyclists, and so there is a palpable buzz of excitement inside the company. We embrace the challenge of delivering wheels to deliver at the highest level of the sport we love so dearly. Beyond the program’s incredible racing success over the years, we were drawn to the core purpose of the team; promoting the Qhubeka organisation’s mission to change lives through bicycles. To have the opportunity to partner with a team who exist to provide a tangible positive social impact, is humbling. HUNT strives to constantly improve and develop our products, and will utilise the input and feedback from the immensely talented riders and staff testing our wheels at the highest level of the sport, in order to better serve riders around the world.”
Douglas Ryder (Team Principal – Team Qhubeka ASSOS): “I am really excited about this partnership with HUNT wheels as they emerge into the WorldTour of cycling through our team. Their wheels have had excellent reviews and as a company they do everything they can to hunt for the best products to give us all the best riding experience possible. As a team we are looking forward to representing the brand as we hunt for victories across the whole WorldTour season whilst providing feedback to continuously improve the product and be better together.”
Armée and Schmid Blend Experience and Youth for Team Qhubeka ASSOS
Team Qhubeka ASSOS is pleased to confirm a further two riders added to our roster for 2021 in Sander Armée and Mauro Schmid, to join Africa’s only UCI-registered WorldTour team.
Armée joins us from Lotto Soudal where he has been since 2014 and brings invaluable experience to the team, while Schmid is one of the rising young stars of Swiss cycling with a very bright future. 34-year-old Belgian Armée is a strong general classification rider with excellent ability as a rouleur, and so will provide ample support to our team in our ambitions in the season’s biggest stage races. A former teammate of Victor Campenaerts, Armée’s palmarès is an impressive one that includes a stage win at the Vuelta a Espana in 2017, victory in stage 3a of Tour Poitou-Charentes en Nouvelle Aquitaine in 2020 and general classification top-10 finishes at the Tour of Norway.
Schmid joins us having spent two years at Continental level, initially with the Swiss Cycling Academy and then most recently at Leopard Pro Cycling. Describing himself as a punchy all-rounder that time trials well, complemented by a background in track cycling and cross-country skiing, the 21-year-old is a product of the impressive Swiss development system and he counts Fabian Cancellara among his heroes. Growing up the Tour de Suisse was a race that he dreamt of winning and with our team he now takes the next step toward potentially realising that dream in the future.
Having previously finished second on GC at the Tour of Black Sea (2018), in 2020 he was 11th on GC at the Tour of Luxembourg and finished inside the top-20 on GC at the Czech Tour, at which he was also sixth on a stage.
This announcement sees our roster now have 25 confirmed riders for the 2021 season with our final two riders for next season to be named in due course.
Sander Armée: “I’m super-motivated to join Team Qhubeka ASSOS next year. Cycling is a passion for me and I feel the shared level of passion in the team, and with their staff. I’ve had some personal success in the past but that won’t stop me from looking to improve even further; and so with the passion, knowledge, equipment and race mentality of Team Qhubeka ASSOS – I want to make this happen. I want to use my experience and give the best of myself to achieve all of the team’s goals next year. It will also be nice to team up again with Victor Campenaerts, we were in the same team for two years and have also lived in the same village for a number of years too. The goal of this team is not only winning bike races but the team also raises funds to change lives through bicycles and to help mobilise people. For me this makes the team even more special, so it’s an honour to be part of this.”
Mauro Schmid: “I‘m looking incredibly forward to make the step to the WorldTour with Team Qhubeka ASSOS. It was always a dream of me since I started bike racing about 10 years ago and this is absolutely a dream come true for me. I look forward to help my teammates so that we can achieve the goals that the team has set for itself. I am also very proud to represent the Qhubeka Charity which has a huge influence on people‘s lives. I can’t wait to find out more and meet the people directly involved to ensure that I use my talents on the bike to the best of my ability to also drive aware to such a great organisation.”
Gino van Oudenhove – Sports Director: “I have followed Sander since he was one of the best under 23 riders of his generation. He is a super experienced professional who has spent most of his career in the service of general classification riders, so we see him as being an excellent fit around Domenico Pozzovivo, Sergio Henao and Fabio Aru. Added to that, Sander can also finish it off himself when opportunity presents itself as was the case in his latest stage win at this year’s Poitou-Charente. As a team we are always on the quest for young, talented and interesting riders that could fit well into either Continental team or at WorldTour level. Mauro is a talent that’s been on the radar of many WorldTour teams who are well aware of the good work done by the Swiss Cycling Academy. So we feel privileged to have him on board with us and to watch him develop and to assist him in the next steps to become a valuable WorldTour rider.”
Sander Armée solo in the Giro:
Bahrain McLaren Sign Gino Mäder and Jonathan Milan
Team Bahrain McLaren is delighted to announce the signing of two promising youngsters, Gino Mäder and Jonathan Milan, for the upcoming 2021 season.
Gino Mäder is a 23-year-old Swiss rider who has been a professional since 2019, spending the past two seasons racing and gaining experience in the WorldTour circuit.
His talent came to prominence thanks to brilliant results he took at Under 23 cycling, finishing 4th in the 2018 Innsbruck World Championships and stage wins at Tour de l’Avenir, Tour of Hainan, Ronde de l’Isard, and Tour d’Alsace. Mäder is a versatile rider with strong climbing skills but also time-trial skills, demonstrated by becoming the Swiss ITT Junior National Champion in 2015.
He closed the 2020 season riding his first Grand Tour ‘La Vuelta a España’, finishing 2nd atop Alto de la Covatilla, after a demanding mountain stage, and in the top twenty overall.
Gino Mäder commented: “I’m more than grateful to join the team. I’m happy to be here and have teammates who are some of the best riders in the world, like Poels, Landa, Bilbao, and to have the chance to learn from such strong GC riders is something I’m looking forward to. I’m glad to take a closer look at how they work and find out the secrets behind them. It will be a new further experience for me in the WorldTour. I didn’t have a great start to my professional career, but now I have more confidence in myself. I ended the season by putting on some good performances, which motivated me to start this new venture with the team. I will look forward to proposing the best of me and to seeing if I can bring some more value to the team.”
The 20-year-old Jonathan Milan, nicknamed ‘the giant of Buja,’ from his hometown which conveys his size, power and strength, came through the Continental rank to turn professional and will make his WorldTour debut with the team in 2021.
This season, he impressed with a clutch of results that proved his vast talent as track and road cyclist: taking the bronze medal in the team pursuit at the Track World Championships, and 4th in the individual pursuit. More recently, he took two silver medals in the Team and Individual pursuit and a bronze medal in the 1KM TT at the 2020 UEC Elite Track European Championships. In 2020 he also took the Italian National time trial Under 23 title a week after becoming Italian Individual Pursuit Champion and claimed a stage win at Giro Ciclistico d’Italia U23.
On signing his first professional contract, Jonathan Milan said: “Becoming a professional cyclist is a dream come true. Honestly, I didn’t think it would be so soon! I’m grateful to the management for trusting me and allowing me to take this big next step in my career. I’m glad I chose this team. I believe I took the right decision because the support I will have to continue the track cycling racing program was one of the main reasons I decided to join. The team set some main goals also for the track races. It meant so much to me. In 2021 my first aim will be the Track European Championship and then the biggest one, the Olympics. But first of all, I’m looking forward to starting training and meeting my new teammates at the first training camp.”
Another Year for Rebellin
Davide Rebellin, at 49-years-old, will be active in the peloton in 2021, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The former winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Amstel Gold Race will be racing for Cambodia Cycling Academy next season.
It is the usually well-informed sports journalist Ciro Scognamiglio who announced the news. Rebellin was also in talks with the Continental team last year. Cambodia Cycling Academy decided to settle in the South of France last season and is working on an international program. In the end, Rebellin did not choose Cambodia Cycling Academy, but decided to renew his contract with Meridiana Kamen. Rebellin rode the Sibiu Cycling Tour this year and finished 8th in the final classification, almost 8 minutes behind overall winner Gregor Mühlberger. He also placed 34th in the Italian road championship. Rebellin made his professional debut for GB-MG Maglificio in 1992 and finished 9th in the Tour of Lombardy that year. The classic specialist continued to race for big teams such as Polti, Liquigas and Gerolsteiner and won major classics and stage races.
Alfdan De Decker to Tarteletto-Isorex
Sprinter, Alfdan De Decker will be wearing a Tarteletto-Isorex jersey from 1st January 2020 according to WeilerFlits. De Decker rode for Circus-Wanty Gobert for the past two years, but will not take the step to the WorldTour with the team.
De Decker is 24 and made his mark for the first time in 2017 with two stage victories in the Polish Course Cycliste de Solidarnosc and podium places in the Schaal Sels, GP Criquielion and GP de Lillers. Which won him the contract with Wanty Gobert.
For the past two years, he mainly worked there for Timothy Dupont and Danny van Poppel. He did achieve places of honour in the GP Marcel Kint (2019) and the GP Monseré (2020). In Zwevegem he was beaten by the Frenchmen Cocquard and Bouhanni, in Roeselare by Fabio Jakobsen and his teammate Dupont.
Next year, De Decker will race for Tarteletto-Isorex. He signed a one-year contract. Winning a 1.1 race will be his big goal. Tarteletto team manager Peter Bauwens says he still has a place available for 2021.
Alfdan De Decker second to teammate Timothy Dupont in Schaal Sels 2018:
Beppu Signes for EF Pro Cycling
EF Pro Cycling has hired Fumiyuki Beppu. The 37-year-old Japanese rider comes over from Nippo-Delko One Provence and signs with the American team for one season. Due to his transfer, Beppu returns to the WorldTour after a year at a lower level.
EF Pro Cycling also previously signed Hideto Nakane from Nippo-Delko One Provence. The likely arrival of the Japanese company Nippo as a sponsor at EF is the basis for the transfers of the Japanese riders. The team has yet to officially announce the new sponsor.
“I look forward to this opportunity to contribute to EF Pro Cycling in 2021,” Beppu said in a press release. “My impression of the team is that it is a very professional and unique team. It always has beautiful kit and bikes. The team is doing great in the classics and the Grand Tours, and the teamwork is always good.”
Beppu rode for Trek-Segafredo (2014-2019), Orica GreenEDGE (2012-2013), RadioShack (2010-2011), Skil-Shimano (2008-2009) and Discovery Channel (2005-2007). “I am very motivated, which is probably my greatest asset as a rider,” he says. “My experience in different races, such as grand tours and monuments, is also a strength that allows me to be so successful so far.”
Fumiyuki Beppu back in the WorldTour:
Power and Lindeman Complete Team Qhubeka ASSOS Roster
Team Qhubeka ASSOS is delighted to confirm the signings of Robert Power and Bert-Jan Lindeman, and in the process complete our roster for 2021.
These signings bring our WorldTour complement to 27 which also enables us the opportunity to provide additional exposure to some of our Continental riders, where the programme allows, as part of their development process onto the WorldTour in the future.
Robert Power is a very exciting addition to our squad that’s already shown his abilities on the highest level but who we see as someone whose full potential is yet to be realised. As a rider with a fast-kick who climbs well, he understandably ranks the Tour Down Under as his favourite race – he was second on stage three of the 2020 edition which finished in Paracombe. He counts among career highlights a 6th place at Strade Bianchi in 2018, victory at the 2018 Japan Cup and also crossing the line first, together with teammate Simon Yates, at Prueba Villafranca-Ordiziako Klasika in the same year. The 25-year-old from Perth focused on rugby union while growing up, a sport in which his older brother played professionally, before switching his attention to cycling and making the move to Europe.
The 31-year-old Dutchman, Lindeman, brings a wealth of experience to our environment and moves across from Jumbo-Visma where he’s spent the bulk of his professional career. He’s been a key member of the support structure within that team that’s seen it rise to be among the best in the world, and now brings those expertise to Team Qhubeka ASSOS. A stage-winner at the Vuelta a España in 2015, his palmarès also includes overall victory at the 2014 Tour de l’Ain ahead of the likes of Romain Bardet, Dan Martin and Julian Alaphilippe and an impressive 5th-place finish at Brabantse Pijl – La Flèche Brabançonne in 2017.
Robert Power: “For next year, 2021, to be able to join Team Qhubeka ASSOS is something that really excites me, I’m really looking forward to getting to know the riders and the staff. Between myself as a rider and Qhubeka ASSOS it’s a great fit and I’m really looking forward to working with the partners of the team. To ride on a BMC next year is something that’s really awesome; I’m really motivated for this next step and I just want to do my best. I’m really looking forward to the next season and getting into the racing but also to be working closely with the Qhubeka Charity. Riding and racing our bikes is a real privilege and to see the impact that can have in the communities that Qhubeka works is truly inspiring.”
Bert-Jan Lindeman: “I’m looking forward to ride in the colours of Team Qhubeka ASSOS next year. After six years I’m really looking forward to a new environment and to bring that knowledge and skill I’ve acquired over the years to my new team. That said, I will also be using the opportunity to expand my horizons and to take the next step; I’ve always ridden for Dutch-based teams and to now move into this team which also holds at its centre the purpose of what we do as riders through the Qhubeka Charity, makes me both extremely motivated and also very proud.”
Lars Michaelsen – Head Sports Director: “Bert-Jan will bring an excellent capacity as a very good addition as a “helper” rider for our team. He’s done seven Grand Tours and done nearly all kinds of the Classics races, mostly the northern ones but has also Milan-Sanremo and Lombardia. He’s solid sprinter, good climber but most of all he brings a wealth of experience coming from six years with Jumbo-Visma. The feedback I’ve received is that he has been a very loyal team man; I think he was the man sitting with Wout van Aert at Milano-San Remo in 2020, managing to be there for him, until van Aert made the race for himself of course. As someone from the northern part of the Netherlands, every day he’s fighting against the wind just to go out training, so he’s a fighter by nature and we see as a very valuable addition. Robert spent his first years as a pro with the GreenEdge organisation before going to Sunweb so despite his age has some really good experience at this level already. He is a rider who is able to climb really well and who is someone that if he gets into the right environment, or circumstances play in our favour, could be a real joker for us. His big results from 2018 show that if we get him back to that level it would be fantastic both for him and us, so if the chemistry works out well then we have high hopes for him as a trump card to play next season.”
This now completes both our WorldTour and Continental rosters for the 2021 season (in alphabetical order).
WorldTour: Team Qhubeka ASSOS
1. Sander Armée (Belgium)
2. Fabio Aru (Italy)
3. Carlos Barbero (Spain)
4. Sean Bennett (USA)
5. Connor Brown (South Africa/New Zealand)
6. Victor Campenaerts (Belgium)
7. Dimitri Claeys (Belgium)
8. Simon Clarke (Australia)
9. Nicholas Dlamini (South Africa)
10. Kilian Frankiny (Switzerland)
11. Michael Gogl (Austria)
12. Lasse Norman Hansen (Denmark)
13. Sergio Henao (Colombia)
14. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (South Africa)
15. Bert-Jan Lindeman (Netherlands)
16. Giacomo Nizzolo (Italy)
17. Matteo Pelucchi (Italy)
18. Robert Power (Australia)
19. Domenico Pozzovivo (Italy)
20. Mauro Schmid (Switzerland)
21. Andreas Stokbro (Denmark)
22. Dylan Sunderland (Australia)
23. Harry Tanfield (Great Britain)
24. Karel Vacek (Czech Republic)
25. Emil Vinjebo (Denmark)
26. Max Walscheid (Germany)
27. Łukasz Wiśniowski (Poland)
Continental: Team Qhubeka
1. Negasi Abreha (Ethiopia)
2. Ghebrehiwet Birhane (Eritrea)
3. Kevin Bonaldo (Italy)
4. Drew Christensen (New Zealand)
5. Luca Coati (Italy)
6. Mattia Guasco (Italy)
7. Henok Mulueberhan (Eritrea)
8. Marc Pritzen (South Africa)
9. Antonio Puppio (Italy)
10. Renus Uhiriwe (Rwanda).
Sole American Winner of Tour de France Recognised With One of the Highest Civilian Awards for Service as an Athlete, Activist, Role Model and Community Leader
“The Greg LeMond Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2019” was signed by President Donald Trump on Friday Dec 4, making Lemond only the tenth athlete ever to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, joining a prestigious group of American heroes including Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Jesse Owens, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer.
LeMond is an entrepreneur, innovator, father, survivor of tragic accidents, and perhaps above all he exudes a passion for cycling and the positive impact that bikes can have on health and mobility. As America’s foremost bike racer he lit the cycling world on fire as the first non-European to win the Tour De France in 1986, and made a dramatic comeback with his 1989 win following a long recovery from a hunting accident.
For decades, LeMond has been a leader in the cycling industry, pushing new technology and innovation. This has manifested in multiple ways, from his early adoption of new aerodynamic tech during the height of his career to his current ventures with LeMond Bikes and LeMond Carbon, working to bring new rapid carbon manufacturing technology to market and shift the focus of carbon sporting goods manufacturing to the US.
The bill to award LeMond one of the highest civilian honours in America was co-sponsored by Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and Representative Mike Thompson (CA-05).
In a statement, Rep. Thompson said, “Greg LeMond represents the best of American sportsmanship. One of our greatest athletes, Greg is the only American to win the Tour de France – a feat he accomplished three times. Throughout his career, Greg repeatedly exemplified the principles of healthy competition, honesty, and selflessness, putting team success ahead of his own.”
Thomson continued “…he’s dedicated his life to serving and supporting children, veterans, medical research and other causes through his charitable work. I am proud to…honour Greg with a Congressional Gold Medal…so we can fully honour his lifetime of success, as both an athlete and community leader.”
“I am honoured for this recognition, and thank Rep. Thompson and Sen. Cortez Masto for their efforts on my behalf,” responded LeMond. “It is my hope that my efforts to maintain integrity in sport will serve as an example to all athletes competing today.”
With 30 years of influencing and building the most game-changing innovations in cycling, LeMond is redefining the cycling culture and lifestyle through innovation, technology and contemporary design. In 1986, Greg LeMond pioneered carbon fibre bicycle frames in professional road racing, winning the Tour de France for the first time on a carbon bike. In 1989, he fought back from a near-death accident to win his second Tour using new aero technology that he championed with his sponsors. Today, LeMond reflects the attitude and ethos of our founder in everything we do. From developing new, more efficient carbon fibre technology, fighting for integrity in sport, to building better value and more style into every product we make. LeMond Companies, LLC is the parent company of LeMond and LeMond Carbon, Inc., a company that is commercialising revolutionary carbon fibre manufacturing technology. Learn more at https://lemond.com.
Congressional Gold Medal for Greg:
Julian Alaphilippe: “The win in Nice was what I needed after a difficult summer”
The World Champion looked back on his victory on stage 2 of the Tour de France, which netted him another spell in the yellow jersey.
Winning stage 2 of the Tour de France was where my second part of the season properly began. I finished runner-up in Milano-Sanremo, had some good days at the Dauphiné and came third at the National Championships, but that victory in Nice gave me wings and put me on the right track for that condensed last two months of the year.
Last year, when I saw the parcours, I was really excited about it and already targeted that stage as one where I could get another Tour de France win. It had a hard route, with a hectic final, but it suited me and wanted to do the most of it. At the start of the day I was very motivated, knew what I had and wanted to do, which was to attack in the final, although I was aware it wasn’t going to be easy, with two longer climbs before the last one.
Coming into the race, I had put all my hopes and expectations into this stage, but despite this I was pretty relaxed and very focused, knowing I could rely on a very strong team, which worked tirelessly for me. The guys did an amazing job the entire day and protected me, before Bob and Dries softened up the peloton as I prepared my attack. I chose the steepest part of the climb and despite being joined by two other riders, I was very confident, especially as there was some significant daylight between us and the bunch.
As the kilometres went by, I knew that a win would bring me also the yellow jersey and I kept my focus and did the right steps in the final kilometre, even as the peloton was closing in and the tensions was building up. To pull it off on the opening weekend of the Tour de France was amazing! It had been a difficult summer for me from a personal standpoint and that’s why immediately after crossing the line I got overwhelmed by emotions. Nothing can compare to 2019, but the sheer joy and raw happiness the yellow jersey brings every time you wear it is something very special. That victory was something I needed, a win that ended up playing a huge role in my successful season.
Tour’20 stage 2 win:
Bewley Wrist Operation
Sam Bewley’s rehab will take a little longer. The 33-year-old New Zealander broke his wrist in a crash in the Tour de France in August. The Mitchelton-Scott rider appeared to be on his way back, but had to go under the knife again due to complications.
Mitchelton-Scott said via social media that the operation went well and that Bewley can think about his recovery again. The helper of Simon Yates and Esteban Chaves is still in hospital recovering from the operation. “He’s in good hands,” said Mitchelton-Scott.
Bewley was involved in a crash on stage 10 of the Tour de France, 100 kilometres from the finish. The rider fell when the peloton was drawn into echelons by Deceuninck – Quick-Step. Bewley immediately knew what was the problem and was taken to hospital. The experienced rider started his professional career ten years ago with RadioShack. He has been racing for Mitchelton-Scott since 2012.
Alberto Bettiol Misses World Esports Championship Due to Fever
Alberto Bettiol was one of the big names on the list of participants of the first World Championships Esports. But the Italian EF Pro Cycling rider, was missing on Wednesday because he had a fever for the last few days, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The 27-year-old Bettiol underwent a corona test because of the symptoms, but it came back negative. Despite this, the 2019 Tour of Flanders winner has opted out of the UCI Esports World Championships. The Italian men’s selection consisted of Domenico Pozzovivo, Francesco Lamon and Michele Scartezzini.
Thomson No New Contract and Quits
Jay Robert Thomson’s cycling career is over. The 34-year-old South African did not get a new contract with the Qhubeka ASSOS team and decided to put an end to his career.
“I want to say that 2020 was the last year of my cycling career,” Thomson writes on social media. “For the last sixteen years I have enjoyed the ups and the downs, maybe there were too many of them, of this sport. I am grateful for everything that has been given to me. I don’t know what 2020 has in store for me, but I know I will continue to approach my life in the same way as my career. Namely with everything I have in me.”
Thomson had been a professional cyclist since 2012. After a few years at continental level, he then switched to UnitedHealthcare. A year later, Thomson was picked up by MTN-Qhubeka, the African formation with WorldTour ambitions. Since then, the 2013 South African champion has been an integral part of the selection. He “survived” the move to Dimension Data and the transformation to NTT, but after five years at WorldTour level, his career has come to an end.
In addition to the national title in 2013, Thomson’s honours list includes stage victory in the Tour de Langkawi, the overall victory in the Tour of Egypt and a stage win in the Volta a Portugal.
Jay Robert Thomson leading the peloton:
One Month After La Vuelta 20 – Key Figures of an Impressive Edition
Video: Till The Last Stage
The drama, the sacrifice, the glory and the emotion of 2020: Till The Last Stage.
It began like an ordinary season, no restrictions or face masks, just plenty of wins!
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