Belgium gets a full compliment of riders at the Tokyo Olympics – Top Story. Raymond Poulidor laid to rest in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat on Tuesday. No races to report, but lots of cycling news in EUROTRASH Thursday: World champ Down Under, rider news: Degenkolb, De Marchi, Halvorsen, Valverde, Pogačar, Navarro, Fuglsang, Bonifazio, Mareczko, Cummings, Bennati and new contracts. Deutschland Tour, Gasparotto not Italian, GF Gimondi Bianchi, NTT Continental team, TDU family rides and riding with the wolves video. Thursday coffee time.
TOP STORY: Riders numbers for the Tokyo Olympics
The UCI has announced the rider quota for the road events for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The men’s road race is on Sunday 26th of July, a day after the women’s road race. The time trials are on Wednesday, July the 29th.
The national Olympic committees must confirm, no later than 15th December, how many riders they will have representing them in the Olympic Games. Any remaining places are then redistributed. The men have a total of 130 riders to start in the road race. For women, that number is around half, less than 70. Belgium and Italy have the best representation with five riders in the road race and two in the time trial.
Olympic Games 2020 – Men’s Road Race Rider Participation:
5 Riders in the Road Race and 2 in the Time Trial:
Belgium and Italy.
5 Riders in the Road Race and 1 in the Time Trial:
Colombia, Spain, France and Netherlands.
4 Riders in the Road Race and 2 in the Time Trial:
Australia, Great Britain, Germany and Switzerland.
4 Riders in the Road Race and 1 in the Time Trial:
Denmark, Norway and Slovenia.
3 Riders in the Road Race and 1 in the Time Trial:
Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Poland, South Africa and Russia.
2 Riders in the Road Race and 2 in the Time Trial:
United States, Estonia, New Zealand and Portugal.
2 Riders in the Road Race and 1 in the Time Trial:
Slovakia, Ecuador and Eritrea.
2 Riders in the Road Race Only:
Japan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Turkey and Algeria.
1 Rider in the Road Race only:
Argentina, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, China, Chinese Taipei, Costa Rica, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iran, Lithuania, Morocco, Mexico, Namibia, Panama, Peru, Romania, Rwanda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Belarus and Sweden.
2016 Olympic Road Podium:
The Cycling World Pays Respect to Raymond Poulidor
Family, friends, fellow villagers, supporters and prominent figures from the cycling World paid their final respects to Raymond Poulidor. The French cycling legend, who died last week at the age of 83, was buried in his hometown of Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat on Tuesday.
The funeral had a large public interest. Outside there was a crowd of people following the ceremony on a large screen, there were a lot of stars of cycling in the church. Tour winners Bernard Hinault, Bernard Thévenet and Lucien Aimar attended the service, along with André Darrigade, Tour directors Christian Prudhomme and Jean-Marie Leblanc, Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle and Marc Madiot. David Lappartient UCI president was also present.
Corinne, daughter of Raymond Poulidor, read a text from her son Mathieu van der Poel during the service. “You are always so proud to be my grandfather, I am even more proud to be your grandson. You are my greatest champion. I love you Papy.”
World Champion Mads Pedersen Opens his Season Down Under
The Tour Down Under can count on the participation of World champion Mads Pedersen in the New Year. The Trek-Segafredo Dane will kick off his season there on January the 21st, reported Het Nieuwsblad.
Pedersen, who sprinted into the rainbow jersey in Harrogate in September, will be joined by Richie Porte in the stage race. The Tasmanian has won the stage to Willunga Hill and the Tour Down Under will finish on the mountain next year. It will be Pedersen’s third participation in the Australian WorldTour race as he was there in 2017 and 2018.
In addition to the duo of Trek-Segafredo, Caleb Ewan, Romain Bardet, Jürgen Roelandts, Thomas De Gendt and Elia Viviani have also confirmed their participation.
World champion Mads Pedersen:
Kristoffer Halvorsen to Ride Milan-San Remo and Giro d’Italia
Kristoffer Halvorsen can prepare for the first Grand Tour of his career, the Giro d’Italia. With Milan-San Remo, the first monument, is also on the program of the EF Education First rider.
Halvorsen, U23 World champion three years ago, announced in September that he will leave Ineos for EF Education First after two seasons. With the American team, he became the new sprint leader after the departure of Sacha Modolo and Daniel McLay. His program for next season is now taking shape: just like last year, he starts in Australia to work towards Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and the Giro d’Italia.
“Of course you get more opportunities here. Everyone knows that at Ineos everything revolves around the Grand Tours,” the Norwegian told Procycling.no. The British team reportedly had the opportunity to stick to their contract, but both sides said goodbye to each other. The fact that he saw more opportunities at EF Education First played its part.
According to team boss Jonathan Vaughters, Halvorsen is the rider who can deliver him and the team the most important trophy of Milan-San Remo. Halvorsen: “In my first year I have to be at the start in the best possible form and then I have to wait and see what will happen to me when I cycle there. After all, you never know how you react at such great distances. But I feel that the course is right for me. I feel that I can take part in it at the top.”
Halvorsen, who managed to win twice last season, hopes to be able to take new steps in his career next year. Who will assist him in the sprints is still unclear, but riders like Jens Keukeleire, Moreno Hofland and Mitchell Docker have already proven themselves. “We have to get to know each other and make clear agreements about how we are going to approach it, I think. And of course I have to have the legs for the last part.”
Kristoffer Halvorsen Race Schedule for 2020
Tour Down Under (January 21-26)
Tirreno-Adriatico (11-17 March)
Milan-San Remo (March 21)
Giro d’Italia (9-31 May).
Degenkolb: “We want to take Lotto Soudal to a higher level”
John Degenkolb is ready to take success at Lotto Soudal. The German classic specialist told Radsport-News. Together with Philippe Gilbert, he is one of the new leaders for the spring. “We want to raise Lotto Soudal to a higher level and achieve more success than in recent years,” says Degenkolb.
Even before the Tour de France it became clear that Degenkolb was on its way to Lotto Soudal. The German rider knew that he would not be competing in the French Tour with Trek-Segafredo. “I didn’t want to leave right away because I didn’t go to the Tour. That really wasn’t the reason why I left the team”, he said.
Mid-August the transfer was officially announced by his new Belgian employer. “We have already had the first meeting and they were speaking about what the season will look like for the classics,” says Degenkolb. It is not yet known where he will start the 2020 season.
‘Dege’ is confident that he can score at Lotto Soudal. He is not afraid that he and Gilbert will be stepping on each other’s feet in the spring. “It was already clear during the Vuelta, where we both rode. We already had the opportunity to talk to each other there. We understand each other,” he said. “We will meet each other a lot in the spring and we will travel a lot together. That is also the case in the winter to create some structure in the team.”
John Degenkolb at la Vuelta:
Alessandro De Marchi Furious After Near-Accident During Training Ride
Alessandro De Marchi was furious after a motorist almost knocked him off his bike during a training ride on Sunday the 17th. The Italian was not able to race for a long time this season after a crash in the Tour de France.
“I’m really tired of it. I still have a sore throat from yelling at the umpteenth motorist after the umpteenth near-accident that I was involved with. I can’t take it anymore,” writes De Marchi on Instagram. The Italian CCC rider was training near Buja, and on a climb he was overtaken by a car. “Halfway up the climb I first heard the sound of a car and then I felt the air flow past my elbow. A large Audi passed me by just a few centimetres, at three times my speed.”
“That way I was knocked off balance and I ended up on the sidewalk. Then I scolded the driver as hard as possible.” Another driver had seen it happen and stood up for the Italian rider. De Marchi: “From a distance I saw the drivers arguing with each other. When I arrived at the place where the Audi stopped, I called to the driver that he almost killed me, and he replied, ‘I didn’t touch you, go to hell!’ I didn’t even get the chance to answer, because he started screaming again.”
A moment later he saw the Audi drive on to a kiosk, which the driver entered. De Marchi then took photos of the license plate, the car and the driver, while they argued at the roadside. “Dear reckless driver, you almost killed me with your beautiful metallic gray Audi A6… to be at the kiosk quickly. I hate you with all my heart and I hope you read this, or that someone who recognises your car shows you this.”
The Marchi was sidelined for many months this season, after crashing heavily in the Tour de France. He sustained a bruised lung and fractures of the collarbone and rib. A long and difficult recovery process followed, but earlier this month the Italian announced that the end was in sight and he wanted to return better and stronger. He will be focusing on the classics, the Tour and the Olympic Games in Tokyo this season.
Alessandro De Marchi leading the break on Tour’19 stage 8:
Alejandro Valverde to the Olympics via the Tour de France
Alejandro Valverde will ride the Tour de France next year. The Spaniard will use the French Grand Tour for his preparation for the Olympic road race in Tokyo, which is only six days after the Tour finish in Paris.
Valverde’s Tour participation was confirmed by Movistar team boss Eusebio Unzué at the Marca Sport Weekend in Marbella. “The 21 days of the Tour de France may not be the ideal preparation, because if the Tour ends at nine o’clock in the evening, it will be a day later in Tokyo,” reported the Spanish website Zikloland. “When the riders arrive in Tokyo on Tuesday, there is no time to get used to the time or the temperature difference. But I think this is not a problem for Alejandro.” This will be the Spaniards thirteenth Tour start, his ninth in a row. At Movistar he may be racing alongside Enric Mas, who comes from Deceuninck – Quick-Step for 2020.
Tadej Pogacar Back to la Vuelta and Possibly Giro or Tour
Tadej Pogačar may return to the Vuelta a España next season, where he finished 3rd in the final classification in his first attempt. The Giro d’Italia or the Tour de France may also be added.
Pogačar was a guest of Ernesto Colnago, the founder of the bike supplier of UAE Team Emirates. The young Slovenian was accompanied by team manager Mauro Gianetti, who told Tuttobiciweb: “We have not yet decided on the next season, but he certainly likes the Tour route and we may see him at the start of the Vuelta a España.”
During a team meeting at the beginning of December, the team managers will look at Pogačar’s program, and will also consider the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.
Pogačar made his debut at the highest level last season and immediately won victories in the Volta ao Algarve and the Tour of California in the spring. He later raced impressively to third place in the Vuelta a España, where he also won two stages.
Jakub Mareczko Nasal Septum Operation
Jakub Mareczko has had a successful operation on his nasal septum on Monday. Brescia Today reported on the CCC sprinter.
The operation took place at the Brescia hospital. With the operation of the nasal septum, attempts are being made to combat the breathing problems that have affected Mareczko throughout the season. Use of medication often could not solve these problems. While riding for CCC, he came no better than third in the Tour Down Under, the Tour of Wallonia and the Grand Prix Cerami. During the Giro d’Italia, the 25-year-old sprinter was out of time on stage 12.
Mareczko will probably be able to leave the hospital soon. The Italian also said that he hopes to ride his first race in France in February.
Nuremberg Hosts Grand Final of the Deutschland Tour 2020
After having visited half of the German federal states in its first two editions, the Deutschland Tour will make its first stop in Bavaria in 2020. In Nuremberg, the Deutschland Tour comes to a cycling-enthusiastic region where cycling is a core sport discipline with a long tradition. The city hosts a Regional and a Federal Performance Centre for cycling.
Claude Rach, Managing Director of the Gesellschaft zur Förderung des Radsports, A.S.O.’s German subsidiary: “With Nuremberg, the Deutschland Tour 2020 celebrates its grand finale in a cycling stronghold that combines tradition with the future. In Nuremberg, the focus is on cycling and talents of tomorrow are encouraged and promoted here. The 23rd of August will be a cycling day for all in Nuremberg – a day that the fans can co-create.”
At www.deutschland-tour.com fans can now submit their ideas for the Nuremberg finale of the Deutschland Tour 2020. No matter, if highlights for the pros’ course, preferences for the Jedermann Tour routes or scenic features, which will be shown in the world-wide TV broadcast, the fans can participate with their ideas in creating the Deutschland Tour.
Fabian Wegmann, Sports Director of the Deutschland Tour: “The road to Nuremberg offers us the ideal terrain for an exciting finale. The hilly profile in the Franconia region is not too difficult, but nevertheless demanding. We look forward to receiving many insider tips from the fans to keep the race open until the end.”
3,000 amateur cyclists expected at the Jedermann Tour in Nuremberg
In addition to the finale of the pros, the Jedermann Tour for amateur cyclists will also take place in Nuremberg. From beginners to ambitious road cyclists, the participants will discover the region around Nuremberg on two routes, completing their tour crossing the same finish line as the pros. The registration is now available at www.deutschland-tour.com.
Ø The third edition of the Deutschland Tour leads to Nuremberg. On August 23rd, 2020 Germany’s largest cycling festival will celebrate its final in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg where the overall winner of the four-days race will be crowned.
Ø In addition to the elite riders, more than 3,000 amateur cyclists are expected to ride on the streets of the Franconia region. The registration for the Jedermann Tour 2020, the sportive event of the Deutschland Tour, is now available at www.deutschland-tour.com.
Dani Navarro to Israel Cycling Academy
Israel Cycling Academy has signed Daniel Navarro for 2020. The 36-year-old Spanish climber comes from Katusha-Alpecin, which has sold their WorldTour license to the Israel Cycling Academy.
“I didn’t know for months what would happen,” Navarro refers to the uncertainty for the future of the Katusha-Alpecin team. “We have been living with that doubt since May. When the news came that I’d get the chance to continue with Israel Cycling Academy, I was very happy. ”
“I have followed the team from a distance. My impression is that they give their riders the chance to race freely. There is great support and peace. That is what I am looking forward to, once again, to enjoy cycling again,” said the climber. “I believe I have a lot to offer. I had a difficult year with a crash in the Giro d’Italia, which took me out for six weeks. But now I am fit and ready to race.”
Navarro wants to use his experience as a helper for Alberto Contador, Lance Armstrong and Andreas Klöden with his new team. “I can do the same for Daniel Martin and Ben Hermans in the mountains.” Navarro previously rode for Liberty Seguros, Astana, Saxo Bank and Cofidis.
Jakob Fuglsang to Go for the Giro GC
Jakob Fuglsang will focus next year on the podium of the Giro d’Italia. The Danish leader of Astana told TV2 Sport about his provisional program for 2020. “I still want to give it a go for my chance in the overall. It didn’t go as expected in recent years, so it’s a good idea to try something new in the Giro.”
Fuglsang has already raced the Italian Tour in 2016 and then finished 12th. In recent years he has focused on the Tour de France. For the Dane, the Giro will be one of his main goals for 2020, alongside the Ardennes classics and the Olympic Games. He is expected to ride the Tour de France as a domestique.
“At the moment it looks like I’m going to ride the Tour as a helper of Miguel Ángel López. I also think that the Giro’s course suits me well and that the Tour fits well with López,” said Fuglsang, who is aiming for the Tokyo Games shortly after the Tour of France.
The Olympic Games are a special event for Fuglsang, because in 2016 he took silver behind Greg Van Avermaet in Brazil, that year the Dane first raced in the Tour as a domestique. “Racing the Tour for the ranking and then being top at the Olympic Games, I think that’s very difficult,” said Fuglsang. The Astana rider programs will be finalised in December.
Jakob Fuglsang – Vuelta stage 16 win:
Aimé De Gendt and Wesley Kreder stay connected to Wanty Gobert – Tormans until the end of 2021
The contracts of Aimé De Gendt and Wesley Kreder until the end of 2020 were extended for another year.
Aimé De Gendt recently won his first pro race at the Antwerp Port Epic. The 25 year old Belgian rider came already close to the victory with a second place at the GP Samyn in the spring. Besides that, the resident of Erembodegem achieved good results in the general classifications of short stage races like the Dunkirk Four Day (6th) and the Baloise Belgium Tour (9th). Aimé De Gendt, winner of the combativity award in stage eleven of his first Tour de France last summer, will represent the colours of Wanty Gobert – Tormans until the end of 2021.
Also Wesley Kreder extended his contract with Wanty Gobert – Tormans for another year. The Dutch 29 year old represented the Belgian team for the first time in 2014 en will complete his fourth consecutive year with Wanty-Gobert next month. The Tour de Vendée (2012) and a stage in the Ster ZLM Tour (2016) are listed on the palmarès of the resident of Hapert, however, the Dutch rider is mainly respected for his dedication to teamwork, which is expressed in a contract extension until the end of 2021.
Aimé De Gendt: “I feel very good with Wanty-Gobert and was happy with the team’s proposal for contract extension, proving our mutual appreciating. I hope to make further progression next year, and expect the team to do the same. The transfers are promising. It looks like we’ll be at the start of the classics, the big races suiting me best, with a solid team. I’m looking forward to next season with much confidence!”
Wesley Kreder: “I’m very happy that the dream I share with Danny and Boy Van Poppel to represent the same team becomes reality. We became good friends when we were teammates in the Rabobank Continental team and Vacansoleil-DCM, directed by Hilaire Van der Schueren. Both Boy and myself know Danny’s capabilities, although he didn’t always show them. Wanty Gobert – Tormans gives us the opportunity to make this happen the next two seasons! My contract extension until the end of 2021, even if I still had a contract for next season, given me a lot of confidence. I’m happy about the team’s satisfaction, so I’ll keep working as I’m used to do!”
Hilaire Van der Schueren (sportive direction): “I insisted to extend the contract of Aimé De Gendt, to highlight our confidence in him. We believe in his capacities to play a major role in the classics and are working towards this mutual goal. An important point in his growing process to work on remains for him the positioning on critical points. This young rider has a great potential, I’m very happy to continue helping building his career! Wesley Kreder always sacrifices for the team. He doesn’t need a lot of instructions to accomplish his tasks, and furthermore, he has the will to do it well. He’ll become an important element in the sprint train with Danny and Boy Van Poppel. So I’m satisfied that Wanty Gobert – Tormans brings this trio together for a two year period.”
Bonifazio: Two More Years at Total Direct Energie
Niccolò Bonifazio has extended his contract with Total Direct Energie by one year. The Italian sprinter will remain with the French ProContinental team until the end of 2021. His old contract expired at the end of the 2020 season.
The 26-year-old Bonifazio made his debut last year alongside Niki Terpstra after having raced for Bahrain-Merida for two years. He took seven victories, including four in La Tropicale Amissa Bongo. He also won a stage in the Tour of Madrid, the Omloop Mandel-Leie-Schelde Meulebeke and the GP Jef Scherens.
“By extending his contract with us, Niccolò wants to keep winning,” said manager Jean-René Bernaudeau.
Niccolò Bonifazio in the 2019 Milano-Sanremo:
Rodriguez to Turn Pro with Team INEOS
Team INEOS are pleased to announce the signing of exciting young talent Carlos Rodriguez. Hailing from Granada, the 18 year old has greatly impressed at the junior level of the sport, winning the Gipuzkoa Klasika, in addition to overall success at the Tour de Gironde.
A two-time Spanish Junior time trial champion, Rodriguez has demonstrated considerable all-round capabilities whilst riding for his country in Nations Cup events, in addition to the Kometa Cycling junior team. Signing a four-year deal with Team INEOS, Rodriguez will dovetail his racing alongside university, where he is studying for a degree in engineering.
On signing for the team, Carlos Rodriguez said: “To be a part of Team INEOS is incredible. You can see that young riders are doing so well within this team. They are surrounded by the best people and it’s the best option to develop myself as a cyclist. I’m looking forward to learning from the best riders and staff in the sport. At this stage in my career I think of myself as an all-round rider. Being consistent across the different disciplines is my strength, but I like the climbs and the tough races. I am under no illusions it is a big step up to the professional level. The training is going to be harder and the races much faster. I think that if I work hard, step by step, I can progress and adapt myself to the WorldTour. That’s my main objective for the next few seasons and I’m in the best place to do that.”
Team INEOS Coach Xabier Artetxe has been impressed by what he’s seen from Rodriguez and explained how the team will look to aid his development. He said: “Carlos has achieved some really good results in Spanish races and in the last two or three years he’s been one of, if not the best rider of his age. He was really motivated and he had all the options in his hands. He chose this one – to become a WorldTour rider and develop step by step. The most important thing is to have a really clear focus on where he is now, and where he’s going in the future. It’s going to be a big step and a challenge. We need to take care of him.”
“He’ll start from zero, learn everything and find his place in professional cycling. I think he’s going to be a really good climber in the future. He’s an exciting talent, a bright guy doing a university course in engineering. It’s an important focus for him, keeping up his studies and his cycling. The goal is to be in a position where he can learn as much as possible. It’s not about the results or how he performs in the races. He’ll be in training camps and races with some of the best riders in the world and learn from them. He’s in the best university that he can be in for cycling, and if he’s smart then he’s going to absorb all this experience.”
Total Direct Energie Sign Soupe and Bonifazio brother
The French ProConti team; as well as extending the contract of Niccolò Bonifazio, has now announced the arrival of Geoffrey Soupe and Leonardo Bonifazio – brother of Niccolò.
Soupe comes from Cofidis, where he rode for the last five seasons. The 31-year-old sprint lead-out man often worked for the success of leader Nacer Bouhanni, who will ride for Arkéa-Samsic next season. There was no place for Soupe at Cofidis, which has Elia Viviani and his men for 2020. Next year, Soupe will act as the Bonifazio sprint worker.
Total Direct Energie also welcomes Niccolò Bonifazio’s brother, who is two years older, namely Leonardo Bonifazio. The 28-year-old Italian makes his debut as a professional. Last season, he rode for the continental Sangemini-Trevigiani-MG.Kvis team. Leonardo is seen as a late bloomer and puncheur. In 2018 he finished fourth in the GP de Fourmies.
Geoffrey Soupe – One of the last big beards in the peloton:
Bigla-Katusha completes its 2020 roster with the signing of the former World and European MTB Champion Kathrin Stirnemann
We are pleased to announce the signing of Kathrin Stirnemann from next year. The Swiss rider is a talented mountain biker, with a palmarès that includes the victory in the World Cup, two World Titles, and three European titles, in the Cross-Country Eliminator discipline. At Bigla-Katusha, she will be hoping to transfer her strong sprinting abilities to the road and improve her road racing generally with the support of the team. In 2020, she will combine MTB and her racing calendar with her new road team, and believes that these two disciplines will in fact complement each other well.
Kathrin Stirnemann comments about joining the team: “I’m looking forward to integrating myself into the team and playing a role in supporting the squad as well as possible. I am convinced, that I will be able to learn a lot in this environment, and also develop myself as a rider. I’m looking forward to this new challenge. I think that my strong technical skills on the bike will also be helpful on the road. The quick starts in mountain biking have already given me a feel for the hectic nature that I can expect in the peloton, and I’m also hoping to be able to transfer my sprinting skills well on the road. However, good planing next year will also be the key to success. I think that the two disciplines can complement each other very well. Because I already train on the road a lot for MTB, I don’t think too much will change there. The road races in the spring will hopefully also strengthen my stamina and speed ahead of the important mountain bike races. And while the MTB European Championships and World Champions take place fairly early next year due to the Olympics, I’ll be able to concentrate even more on the road racing scene in the second part of the year.”
Team Manager Thomas Campana remarks: “I’m glad that Kathrin has extended her ambitions to the road racing discipline. We truly believe that she has a lot of talent and can develop this to achieve good results on the road, just as she has done in MTB. We were looking for a rider with strong technical skills and international racing experience, and also wanted to develop more Swiss riders as part of our project. Therefore, we are very happy that Kathrin has decided to join our team. We’re looking forward to providing her with the best platform to develop within the international road racing scene.”
Kathrin winning the Cross-Country Eliminator title at the UCI Urban World Championships in Chengdu, China, in 2017:
CCC-Liv Secures Two Polish Cycling Talents
CCC-Liv strengthens the team for 2020 with two Polish cycling talents. Aurela Nerlo (21) and Marta Jaskulska (19) are officially part of the orange squad as of 1 January. The two apprentices of the Polish cycling school want to take the next step in their career at CCC-Liv.
Aurela already achieved great successes in 2019. She became Polish time trial champion with the U23 and finished third in the elite national road championship. In the strongly occupied Tour de Feminin in the Czech Republic, she took the youth classification after a few high ranked stage places. In that same race, she finished second in the general classification. At the beginning of September she was strong in the Premondiale Giro Toscana Int. Femminile (second in the youth classification).
A dream come true
“I am a young rider, I learn every day and I have yet to discover where my possibilities reach on the road bike. In my time with the juniors, I have always performed well in time trials. This year I specifically trained to further improve the time trial and also to improve in other disciplines. My strength is therefore in time trials, but also in stage races and hard races. I am ambitious and still see many opportunities for growth”, says Aurela.
“My transfer to CCC-Liv is like a dream come true. It gives me a great feeling when I think that I can be part of one of the best women’s teams next season. At the same time it is a leap in the deep for me, because I have never raced at such a high level before. The preconditions to progress are in any case perfect; everything is organised very professionally and the vibe is great.”
Hard work and fun
Marta gained experience last season in stage races such as the Healthy Ageing Tour (the Netherlands) and Gracia Orlova (the Czech Republic). At the Polish road championship, she sprinted among the elite riders for the red-white jersey, resulting in a well-deserved sixth place.
“I am very happy with the opportunity that is being offered to me now. As a young girl I used to say that my goal was to ride in a professional team someday. Now the time has come and I want to take on the challenge of making it a success. I still have a long way to go and will have to work hard. But I can reassure cycling fans in Poland and beyond that I will do everything to improve. I also think having fun is important. If you enjoy and safeguard what you do, you will get better”, says Marta.
At CCC-Liv, Marta and Aurela meet two compatriots who also wore the orange jersey in 2019: Agnieszka Skalniak and Marta Lach. “Since it became known that I would join the team, contact with Agnieszka has become more intensive. Agnieszka lives very close to me. We could be good training buddies!”, Says Marta. Aurela: “I especially know Marta Lach very well. We have raced in the same Polish team for two years and have kept in touch. I have continued to follow her and have seen how she won a ride at the Elsy Jacobs Festival this year.”
Enrico Gasparotto No Longer Italian
Enrico Gasparotto has adopted Swiss nationality. Gasparotto, now 37 years old, has always had Italian nationality and in 2005 he won the Italian championships on the road, but according to the UCI he is now registered as a Swiss national.
Gasparotto has been living in the Swiss canton of Ticino for years, which allows him to apply for citizenship in the Alpine country. As a result, the experienced climber will be able to compete for Switzerland in international competitions. He was often in conflict with the Italian Cycling Federation, because he would given a lesser role in the national selection.
Although Gasparotto is riding for Dimension Data (NTT in 2020) and is heading towards the end of his career, he can race for Switzerland twice in 2020. He has a chance to participate in the Olympic Games in Tokyo and the World Cycling Championships in Aigle and Martigny. Both races are made for climbers.
According to Cicloweb, various committees have granted Gasparotto dispensation to be allowed to compete for Switzerland in Tokyo. In theory he would have had to wait a few more years to race in the Olympic Games for his “new” country. In the past, several riders have changed nationality during their career. Andrei Tchmil raced for the Soviet Union, Russia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belgium. Chris Froome, from Kenya to Great Britain, Heinrich Haussler from Germany to Australia, László Bodrogi from Hungary to France and Sergey Lagutin from Uzbekistan to Russia.
Italian Giacomo Nizzolo and Enrico Gasparotto, not Italian:
Steve Cummings Retires
Steve Cummings will not be in the professional peloton in 2020. The 38-year-old Briton does not have a contract with NTT (the new name for Dimension Data) and, after 15 seasons as a professional rider, he will hang up his bike.
Cummings made his professional debut with Landbouwkrediet-Colnago in 2005, and after a successful start to his career, he moved on to ride for Discovery Channel, Barloworld, Sky and BMC. The last five seasons he has been with MTN-Qhubeka/Dimension Data.
Cummings started the Tour de France six times. He won stages in 2015 (Mende) and 2016 (Lac de Payolle), plus a stage victory in the Vuelta (2012, Ferrol). He also took the final overall victories in the Tour of the Mediterranean (2014) and the Tour of Britain (2016). In addition he celebrated stage success in the Dauphiné (2016), Tirreno-Adriatico (2016) and the Tour of the Basque Country (2016). In 2017 he was British champion on both the road and the time trial.
His last race was in the Tour of Britain last September. He left the race after the fifth stage due to a vertebral fracture.
Steve Cummings – Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 2016 stage 3 win:
Daniele Bennati Says Good-Bye to the Professional Peloton
Daniele Bennati says good-bye to professional cycling after eighteen seasons. 39-year-old Italian who finishes his career with the Movistar team has announced via Instagram that he is forced to hang up his bike due to persistent back pain.
Bennati crashed hard earlier this year in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon. After that, he never returned to the desired level. As a result of the crash in which he broke his collarbone and two chest vertebrae, he raced with pain. He restarted his season in the Adriatica Ionica Race, but he had to stop on the first day. Due to the persistent pain, Bennati recently decided to put an end to his career.
Bennati, born in Arezzo, has been racing for Movistar since 2017. The experienced Italian had previously raced for Phonak, Lampre, Liquigas, Leopard-Trek and Tinkoff-Saxo. Thanks to his fast finish, Bennati won stages in both the Giro d’Italia (3), Vuelta a España (6) and the Tour de France (2). In 2007 he won on the Champs-Elysees, winning the unofficial World Championship for sprinters. In total Bennati won more than fifty professional races.
Felice’s shirts the landmark of the new GF Gimondi Bianchi
The graphic design of the 24th edition, to be held on May 10, 2020 has been unveiled to pay tribute to the late Champion but going on with great motivations following his example.
It’s time to start again, to look forward despite a nostalgia that can be hard to explain. The 24th edition of Granfondo Felice Gimondi Bianchi is fixed on Sunday May 10th, 2020 definitely aiming to be special anyhow. It will be the very first time without Felice on the start line and that’s enough.
“We spent a summer of great sorrow,” the event’s organiser Giuseppe Manenti explained. “As we have always considered Gimondi as a source of inspiration rather than a brand, we’ll continue to follow his example by keeping his memory alive. Feeling proud to have been close to him and spreading the joy of riding a bike in his name, we owe all of this to him.”
The new GF Gimondi Bianchi graphic design looks different and surprising. A stack of carefully folded shirts symbolises the detachment and the will to preserve the memory at one time. Those shirts resume a twenty-year career from the very beginning – the Sedrinese kit – to the glory.
“The picture tells about our feelings, let’s us start out from here with no grief, keeping high his name and example to build up such historical event”, Manenti argued.
From November 11th onwards the registrations will be open. “The last edition was very hard because of bad weather, maybe a warning sign of what would have happened three months later. Now we feel positive and fully committed to achieve a great event”.
The 2020 GF Gimondi Bianchi will showcase many new features provided that the three classic routes – short (89,4 km), medium (128,8 km) and long (162,1 km) – personally drafted by Felice Gimondi, will remain unchanged, the way Felice would have liked.
NTT Continental Cycling Team – 2020
NTT Pro Cycling is delighted to confirm our u23 continental feeder team in 2020. It will be the 5th successive season that our feeder team will base itself in Lucca, Italy, and will take on the competitive u23 European racing scene as the NTT Continental Cycling Team.
NTT Continental Cycling Team is the continuation of the former Team Dimension Data Continental Team, which is one of the most successful u23 feeder team’s in world cycling.
The 2019 season was a stand-out year for the team as they picked up 14 victories, racing in 7 different countries over a total of 84 race days. Samuele Battistella winning the u23 world championship road race title was undoubtably the most significant result of the year. Having 5 riders graduate to the pro ranks in 2020 is testament to the success achieved in 2019.
An exciting and talented 2020 roster has been assembled, with a strong focus on developing the best u23 African talent on the continent.
From South Africa, Marc Pritzen will join the team for 2020 having just triumphed at the prestigious 94.7 Ride Joburg National Classic, Marc has been the number 1 rider in the Support SA talent Road Cycling series ranking in 2019. Connor Brown will start his 2nd season in our colours.
From Eritrea, Natnael Tesfazion will continue with us in 2020 and he will be joined by compatriot, Henok Mulueberhan Solomon. Negasi Abreha, who at just 18 years of age, was crowned the elite Ethiopian National Road Champion this year, will be joining our squad for 2020.
With our four u23 Italian riders from 2019 all turning pro in 2020, we will see an all new Italian quartet next season. Samuele Rubino, Leonardo Marchiori, Riccardo Bobbo and Mattia Guasco will don the blue NTT Continental Cycling Team colours next season.
Finally, we are delighted to confirm that for the first time, our team will have two Zwift Academy winners in our line-up. 2018 winner, Martin Lavric, will continue for his 2nd season with us while the 2019 Zwift Academy winner will be crowned at our December training camp, and fill the final spot on the NTT Continental Cycling Team roster.
2020 NTT Continental Cycling Team:
Marc Pritzen (20) – South Africa
Connor Brown (21) – South Africa
Natnael Tesfazion (20) – Eritrea
Henok Mulueberhan Solomon (20) – Eritrea
Negasi Abreha (19) – Ethiopia
Samuele Rubino (19) – Italy
Leonardo Marchiori (21) – Italy
Riccardo Bobbo (20) – Italy
Mattia Guasco (19) – Italy
Martin Lavric (20) – Slovenia
TBC – 2019 Zwift Academy Winner
Kevin Campbell – NTT Continental Team Manager: “We are very excited about continuing with our development program under our rebranded title partner NTT, in 2020. The 2019 cycling season was a successful year for our team, and we hope to build on these successes with a new roster of talented African and Italian riders. With 8 new riders in our line-up next year, they will have a lot to learn but we believe in their talent, and we look forward to helping them grow as athletes and as people.”
Douglas Ryder – NTT Pro Cycling Team Principal: “This team is going from strength to strength, year on year and culminated in a world champion this year, in Samuele Battistella who now joins the NTT Pro Cycling Team in the World Tour. Each year we look to this team for riders to join our UCI World Team and each year 1 to 2 riders step up as neo-pros. 2020 is an incredible year for development teams of UCI World Teams. Riders registered with a development team may participate in UCI ProSeries or Class 1 events with the related UCI World Team at any time in the season. This will create opportunities for young riders that were not there before and make the NTT Pro Cycling team stronger. We are better together.”
Visit the new website hello.global.ntt
Samuele Battistella – U23 world Champion:
Westpac Joins the Santos Tour Down Under as Sponsor of the Challenge Tour, Family Ride, and Mini Tour for Kids
Westpac will be joining the popular Santos Tour Down Under Challenge Tour, Family Ride and Mini Tour for Kids as major naming rights sponsor for the next two years.
The Westpac Challenge Tour presented by The Advertiser, as it will now be known, is one of the most popular events in the Subaru Breakaway Series events amongst the cycling community. It sees amateur riders taking to the road to challenge themselves as they ride the 162.2km stage to Murray Bridge ahead of the men’s peloton, which follows the same route just hours later.
The Westpac Family Ride and Mini Tour for Kids, hosted on the Schwalbe Classic route, will see thousands of family members converge in the City of Adelaide to enjoy the cycling festivities and a day of entertainment.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, David Ridgway, welcomed Westpac to the Santos Tour Down Under family. “The Santos Tour Down Under is one of South Australia’s premier events, attracting visitors from interstate and overseas, and showcasing our state to the world,” said the Minister. “We are so excited to have Westpac join us, particularly as a supporter of these popular community events that are so important because they bring families and friends together – young and old, cyclist and festival fans. This is a fantastic partnership for the state and an exciting new connection on which to continue to build the momentum of the Santos Tour Down Under” said Minister Ridgway.
State General Manager Westpac SA, NT & WA and Chief Executive BankSA, Mr Nick Reade, said the partnership with the Santos Tour Down Under is an exciting opportunity to be part of an incredible world-class event.
“We are really excited to be supporting these events – the Challenge Tour, Family Ride and Mini Tour for Kids – which will encourage people to be part of the Santos Tour Down Under”, said Mr Reade. “The sense of community and atmosphere amongst the riders in these events will be fantastic and we encourage everyone to get involved – whether it be work mates, families or cycling fans. We’re looking forward to helping more South Australians to get involved. The Santos Tour Down Under is also a great way to showcase local towns and regions around the state – attracting thousands of people, and providing a valuable economic and tourist boost for these communities. At Westpac, we’re big supporters of South Australia and we’re looking forward to helping even more people to get involved.” He said.
Rodney Harrex, Chief Executive, South Australian Tourism Commission, said that the commitment of Westpac to the Santos Tour Down Under demonstrates the understanding they have of its importance to the business community and families who like to ride together. “Westpac have a proud national standing and a true ability to ‘help when it matters’, and we are very excited to have them come on board,” said Mr Harrex. “The Santos Tour Down Under not only provides an exceptional platform to see elite women and men compete in an international event, it also gives people the chance to explore Adelaide and our regions. It is great to announce that Westpac will be partnering with us to help provide opportunities to the public to be part of this world-class event,” he said.
Amateur and recreational cyclists will have the opportunity to ride part of the UCI WorldTour Stage 4 race route just hours before the professionals in the Santos Tour Down Under official recreational ride, the 2020 Westpac Challenge Tour on Friday 24 January 2020.
Families and kids will get exclusive access to the Schwalbe Classic (Men’s) and Schwalbe Stage 4 (Women’s) circuit in the heart of Adelaide just hours before the professionals on Sunday 19 January 2020.
For more information or to register for the Westpac Challenge Tour, Family Ride or Mini Tour for Kids, visit: www.tourdownunder.com.au @tourdownunder #tourdownunder
Westpac’s vision is, “to be one of the world’s great service companies, helping our customers, communities and people to prosper and grow.” Our strategy seeks to deliver on this vision by building deep and enduring customer relationships, being a leader in the community, being a place where the best people want to work and, in so doing, delivering superior returns for shareholders.
About the Westpac Challenge Tour in 2020
There will be four starting points for the 2020 Westpac Challenge Tour, catering to all levels of fitness and ambitions.
Norwood (Start 1) to Murray Bridge
Date: Friday 24 January 2020
Start: The Parade, Norwood
Finish: Bridge Street, Murray Bridge
Start time: 6:00am
Williamstown (Start 2) to Murray Bridge
Date: Friday 24 January 2020
Finish: Bridge Street, Murray Bridge
Start time: 7:00am
Mount Torrens (Start 3) to Murray Bridge
Date: Friday 24 January 2020
Start: Mount Torrens
Finish: Bridge Street, Murray Bridge
Start time: 7:30am
Mannum (Start 4) to Murray Bridge
Date: Friday 24 January 2020
Finish: Bridge Street, Murray Bridge
Start time: 11:00am
Distance: 33km (Does not include the KOM/QOM segment)
Bus transfers will be available departing from Murray Bridge and returning to each starting location as well as the Adelaide CBD.
About the Westpac Family Ride
This ride provides an opportunity for families to come together to ride on the circuit of the professional riders right in the heart of Adelaide.
Date: Sunday 19 January 2020
Where: Register at Victoria Square / Tarntanyangga – Schwalbe Classic Circuit
Start time: 12:30pm
Price: $30 – 1 adult and 2 children ($5 – per additional adult/child)
About the Westpac Mini Tour for Kids
The Westpac Mini Tour for Kids provides opportunities to ride on the Schwalbe Classic Circuit for kids between six and 12 years of age.
Date: Sunday 19 January 2020
Where: Register at Victoria Square / Tarntanyangga – Schwalbe Classic Circuit
Start time: 9:30am
Price: $30 per child
Riding With the Wolves: A look at Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s 2019 Season
Classics, Grand Tours, National Championships, you name it – our riders were again prominent in the biggest races in the world.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step were on a roll in 2019, a season that went down as one of the best in the history of the team. We put on an eye-catching display every time we had the occasion and ended up claiming an astonishing 68 victories, in the process also notching up our 700th UCI win since the squad’s inception in 2003.
This belter of a year got underway in January and was garlanded ten months later with a second consecutive triumph in the UCI World Team Classification, which our squad tops for more than 600 days in a row now – an outstanding achievement further underlining Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s commitment and mentality to be the best in the world.
A spectacular video – made by La Pédale – tells the story of this phenomenal season during which the Wolfpack showed incredible team spirit, continued to set records and raced with passion, grit and determination from Australia to Colombia and from Belgium to the United States, as they reached new heights, created memories and won new legions of fans.
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The PEZ NEWSWIRE!
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