EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

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Merry Christmas everyone! TOP STORY – 32 WorldTour pros without a contract. Rider news: Roglič extends with Jumbo-Visma, Bernal want to win the Vuelta, new sponsor for Van Aert, Ganna aims at San Remo, Roubaix and the Tour, man charged with robbery of Cavendish’s house, Ullrich in hospital after relapse, Thomas signs new contract, Nys having a hard time, Haig early program, Arroyave crash, Piccolo and Rivera to Gazprom-RusVelo and Valls retires. Race news: Challenge Mallorca route, Valverde to the Ruta del Sol, Spanish champs’22 in Mallorca, Tour of Utah disappears, Saudi Tour: Act 2 and Zwift Academy winners. Team news: Peiper to step back, INEOS Grenadiers ’22 roster, new SD Worx and Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces jerseys, Burger King® new sponsor of EOLO-KOMETA and Ribeiro passes away. Plus part 3 of the Wolfpack Tour video and INEOS Grenadiers Christmas video. Special EUROTRASH coffee.


TOP STORY: Thirty-Two WorldTour Pros are Still Without a Contract for 2022
The 2021 season has come to an end and 2022 is rapidly approaching. However, a large number of WorldTour riders still have no certainty for the coming year. Dutch website, WielerFlits lists them here:

Astana-Premier Tech
Benjamin Perry (Can)

Bahrain Victorious
Santiago Buitrago (Col)
Scott Davies (GB)
Chun Kai Feng (Tai)

BORA-hansgrohe
Marcus Burghardt (Ger)

Cofidis
Natnael Berhane (Eri)
Jempy Drucker (Lux)
Attilio Viviani (Ita)

EF Education Nippo
Alex Howes (USA)
Lachlan Morton (Aus)
Logan Owen (USA)
Tom Scully (NZ)
James Whelan (Aus)

Groupama-FDJ
Romain Seigle (Fra)

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert
Alexander Evans (Aus)
Maurits Lammertink (Ned)
Riccardo Minali (Ita)

Israel Start-Up Nation
Norman Vahtra (Est)

Jumbo Visma
Christoph Pfingsten (Ger)

Movistar
Sebastian Mora (Spa)

Qhubeka NextHash
Carlos Barbero (Spa)
Nic Dlamini (RSA)
Kilian Frankiny (Swi)
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA)
Robert Power (Aus)
Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita)
Andreas Stokbro (Den)
Dylan Sunderland (Aus)
Emil Vinjebo (Den)

Team DSM
Martin Salmon (Ger)

Trek-Segafredo
Charlie Quarterman (GB)

UAE Emirates
Maximiliano Richeze (Arg).

Qhubeka NextHash Riders Working on Their Future
It’s becoming clear what the riders of Qhubeka NextHash will do in 2022. On Tuesday it was announced that Emil Vinjebo will return to the Danish Riwal team, while Sergio Henao is considering ending his career.

Vinjebo said in conversation with Feltet.dk that one day he will return to the WorldTour. “This is certainly not the end,” said the Dane. “This move is another chance for me to show that I’m better than I’ve shown. I have the feeling that I have more to offer and that I can do even better. Some riders might want to stop after a blow like that, but not me at all. Of course I don’t plan on riding at the continental level for the rest of my life because that’s not where my ambitions lie. I hope to show here that I can win races.” The 27-year-old Dane rode in the WorldTour for a year, but was unable to find a new WorldTeam for 2022. With Riwal, at ProContinental level, he achieved a number of good results in 2019 and 2020, including a third place in the Tro-Bro Léon and a fourth place in the Faun-Ardèche Classic.

The search of 34-year-old Henao for a new team is a little less successful. The Colombian winner of Paris-Nice in 2017 is even thinking of quitting. “If this situation continues, I think this will be the end of my career as a professional rider. Maybe it’s time to move on to a new phase in my life,” Henao told Teleantioquia Noticias.

Several riders of the African WorldTour team are still struggling with their future. It is not yet known what Carlos Barbero, Nic Dlamini, Domenico Pozzovivo, Dylan Sunderland, Robert Power and Andreas Stokbro will do next season. The Dutchman Bert-Jan Lindeman has found a place with the continental VolkerWessels team next year. The Belgian Victor Campenaerts returns to Lotto Soudal.

Still no contract for Domenico Pozzovivo:

 


Roglič Extends and Will Complete a Decade at Team Jumbo-Visma
Primoz Roglič and Team Jumbo-Visma have agreed on a contract extension through 2025. It allows the Olympic time trial champion to complete ten years in Dutch service.

In 2016, Roglič started his professional cycling career at Team Jumbo-Visma. Since then, the 32-year-old Slovenian has built up an impressive palmarès. In service of the Dutch team, he achieved more than fifty victories, including Liège-Bastogne-Liège, fifteen stages in grand tours, and three times the general classification of the Vuelta a España. Roglič still had a contract with the team of general manager Richard Plugge through 2023. That agreement has now been broken open and extended for two years.

For Primoz Roglič, a longer stay at Team Jumbo-Visma is a logical choice. “I have grown with this team since I arrived in 2016. We already have quite a history together that I am very proud of. I made my debut in the World Tour peloton at a somewhat later age. It may have looked easy, and the best moments surface the fastest, but it wasn’t always easy. Still, things have moved forward rapidly for me and my development. I am not solely responsible for those beautiful moments. I did that together with my teammates and the staff. It is great to be part of this team in the coming years as well.”

“My goals are independent of results”, Roglič continues. “I want to keep developing myself in specific areas. Both physically and mentally, as a team leader and as a person. I’m in the right place for that. We will see what we will focus on in the coming years.”

Sportive director Merijn Zeeman calls it extraordinary that Roglič remains connected to Team Jumbo-Visma for so long. “We find it very special that Primoz once again extends and, to date, rides his entire professional career with our team. We are delighted with that and also very proud. Primoz embodies the transformation of our team in recent years. This contract extension allows us to make plans and objectives for the coming years in which he will play a central role. Primoz is one of the pillars of the team. The culture that we have built together is very applicable to the athlete and the person Primoz Roglič.”

 


Egan Bernal Would Rather Win the Vuelta Than the Tour
Bernal dreams of one day winning the Vuelta a España. “If you ask me which race I would most like to win, another Tour or the Vuelta, I choose the Vuelta. In that case I will go down in history as the winner of all three Grand Tours,” said the 24-year-old Colombian in an interview with Colombian newspaper/website El Tiempo.

Last year Bernal rode la Vuelta a España, but didn’t manage better than sixth place. He now indicates that he wasn’t at the start in his best form. “I didn’t even want to go to the Vuelta. The idea was to do the Tour after the Giro. I would then be able to ride the Tour without too many responsibilities,” said the 24-year-old Colombian.

“Then came – completely unexpectedly – ​​the news that I had caught the corona virus. I then stopped for ten days in terms of training. In addition, when I returned to Colombia, the weather was very bad. So I didn’t touched my bike for a while. After that I did my best to get back in shape, but the numbers don’t lie. Still, I learned more in that Vuelta than in many other races.”

Bernal will return to the Tour de France in 2022. “I think it’s time to return to the Tour: it’s practically been two years since I had to give up in 2020. I want to return and prepare in the best possible way.”

Bernal does not resign himself in advance to the dominance of the Slovenians; Tadej Pogačar and Primoz Roglič. “They are very strong, but I also believe that no one is unbeatable: anyone can have a bad day, and then it’s over in an instant. Moreover, not only the physical, but also the strategic plays a role. You have to know how to position yourself and constantly keep your attention on it.”

Bernal wants all three Grand Tours in his palmerès:

 


Ethias Will be New Shirt Sponsor of Wout van Aert From 1 January
From January 1, 2022, a new partner will be seen on Wout van Aert’s cyclo-cross jersey. In addition to Jumbo-Visma, CAPS, Domo and Red Bull, there will also be Ethias. The insurance company has been active in the cyclo-cross for a few years, as a sponsor of Ethias Cross and the World Cup.

Van Aert wears a different shirt in cyclocross than on the road. Including CAPS, Domo and Red Bull as partners, as well as Cibel-Cebon. However, the latter disappears and is now shirt sponsor of Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal. But with the Belgian insurance company Ethias, which is currently the name sponsor of the Ethias Cross and the World Cup in the field, the Belgian champion has a replacement. The shirt will be changed from January 1.

Van Aert becomes the second ‘sports face’ of Ethias, which already has a partnership with World judo champion Matthias Casse.

New sponsor for Wout van Aert – When you can see it through the mud:

 


Ganna Aims at San Remo, Roubaix and the Tour de France
Filippo Ganna had a successful 2021 and has at least the same ambitions for next season. The Italian will focus on Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix in 2022, and may also attack the World Hour Record. The biggest goal, however, is the Tour de France, the INEOS Grenadiers rider told the Giro d’Onore, an annual event of the Italian cycling federation, where the nation’s most successful riders are honoured.

“I dream of the yellow jersey,” reports Tuttobiciweb. “I would love to wear it, even if it won’t be easy as it’s a tough race. The first chance presents itself on the first day, in the opening time trial (in Copenhagen). Then we’ll have to see how the race goes, but I’m sure of one thing: it will be tough every day.”

He is also thinking about a World Hour Record attempt. “We have to see if we can arrange everything exactly as I would like. I’m thinking about it and we’re working on it with the team. Because if you do, we shouldn’t leave anything to chance. In any case, I’m not going to make the attempt at altitude, as many advise to do. I will choose the sea level World Hour Record attack. When I do it that way, it’s different and that gives me more satisfaction.”

Ganna will start his season in Argentina, where the Vuelta a San Juan is on the calendar at the end of January. He then the UAE Tour in preparation for Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix. Ganna won the U23 version of the cobbled Classic in 2016 when he was only 19, he held off the other favourites from the early break.

U23 Roubaix winner in 2016 – Filippo Ganna:

 


Man Charged with Armed Robbery of Mark Cavendish’s House
Essex police have arrested a 30-year-old Lewisham man on suspicion of armed robbery at Mark Cavendish’s home. The man appeared in court on Monday in Colchester.

Last week, police also arrested two 27-year-old men from Gillingham and Kent. For the time being, they have not yet had to appear in court. They were released on bail until January.

The robbery happened on the night of November 27, when Cavendish had just returned to his hometown in Essex after spending some time in intensive care in Belgium. “Four masked and armed men broke into our house while we were sleeping. They have threatened my wife and children and attacked me in a violent way,” he wrote. “They looted our possessions and had a knife.”

“They took two watches that are of great value to us. But what’s worse is that the sense of protection, security, privacy and dignity has been taken away from my young family. Everyone has a right to that in their own home,” Cavendish said. “The effect this nightmare has had on my family is clear, and it’s heartbreaking.”

Not a great November for Cavendish:

 


Jan Ullrich Admitted to Hospital after Relapse
According to the German newspaper Bild, Jan Ullrich has been hospitalised after a relapse from his alcohol and drug addiction in Cuba, where he celebrated his birthday with friends. On the return trip from Cuba to Germany, Ullrich left the plane in Mexico to go to hospital.

The 1997 Tour de France winner had already briefly recovered from his addiction and was living with his new girlfriend in Mallorca after being admitted to a mental institution in 2018. “Three years ago I had big problems and I was just like Marco Pantani. Almost dead. Now I’m very happy,” he said a few months ago in Lance Armstrong’s podcast The Move. “God gave me this body and God gave me this talent. With me it’s either nothing or full throttle. I have my coach for my spine. I train every day and drink water.”

Ullrich will be transferred to Switzerland after his relapse to return to therapy. The German newspaper reports that Lance Armstrong has already visited his old rival in the Mexican hospital to encourage him.

Jan Ullrich and his old chum:

 


Geraint Thomas Signs New Contract to Remain a Grenadier
Geraint Thomas has signed a new two-year contract to remain an INEOS Grenadier.

Thomas, who has been with the team since its inception in 2010, has signed a contract that will take his time with the team to 14 years.

And the 2018 Tour de France winner is entering 2022 as determined as ever: “I’m still super motivated to work hard and train hard. That’s what I love doing. I still really enjoy riding my bike, pushing myself. When you can see the finish line of your professional sporting career, you want to make the most of it every day and make it all count. Obviously I had a tough end to 2021 but up until the crash at the Tour, I was in the best shape I’d been. I’m still very motivated to perform in the biggest races. I’ll probably look at doing the Ardennes which I’ve never done properly. That’s exciting and new, and hopefully then go on the Tour to play a big role there. I’m super excited about the last few years of my career with the team. It’s going to be fun – that’s the main thing. People keep asking me what my role will be and obviously I want to keep winning myself, but being a part of a winning team and having fun with some of my best mates is as important – ​​and to do that I’ll need to be at my best.”

The Welshman, now 35, has spent the last two weeks at the team’s 2022 pre-season camp in Mallorca, preparing for his 16th season as a professional.

“The team has evolved a lot over the past 12 years. The vibe in Mallorca camp compared to recent years feels different with lots of young, new guys and fresh faces. Everyone is excited about going forwards as a team, closer together. I want to play a key role in that.”

INEOS Grenadiers Deputy Team Prinicipal Rod Eliingworth said: “G has been with us since the start. He’s won the biggest races, mentored younger riders, been a brilliant ambassador for the sport and, throughout, helped to inspire countless people to get on their bikes. We know – and he knows – that there is still more to come. He is hungry for more success at the highest level. Next season is going to be a real fight. The competition is stronger than ever. We are going all in as a team and G is going to be a big part of that for us.”

 


Thibau Nys: “I’ve Never Been so Strong, but Mentally I’m Having a Hard Time”
The DNF of Thibau Nys on Sunday in Namur was surprising. After a strong start to the cross season, with a third place in the U23 European Championships and in the Koppenbergcross, this result of the 19-year-old Baloise Trek Lions rider is disappointing. “I feel like I can’t hurt myself,” Nys said in conversation with DirectVelo.

While the Belgian indicates that he is in good shape. “I have only just returned from a training camp in Mallorca with Lars van der Haar, among others. I felt really great there. I’ve never been this strong. I broke wattage records there. No rider in the team has ever done as well as I did last week.”

Then what is the problem? On Sunday Nys had the feeling that he could not go as far as the hole. “Mentally it is very tough, maybe even more difficult than last year. Last winter I just didn’t have good legs, but now I feel like I can’t hurt myself during the race. I will really have to find a solution for this. I have much more to offer than I have shown in Namur,” he said. “It will be fine, because I have faith in the future. It’s a matter of time. The people around me will help me.”

Thibau Nys:

 


Jack Haig Early Season Program
Vuelta revelation Jack Haig will ride the Tour de France next year. The Australian will work towards the biggest bike race by riding Paris-Nice, the Tour of Catalonia and the Critérium du Dauphiné, but above all by working on his time trial. “We really need to improve in the time trial.”

The 28-year-old rider is not only talking about himself, but about the entire team, even the rides by a recognised time trialists such as Pello Bilbao were disappointing in 2021, which is remarkable, for a team that had an extremely successful year. Haig himself lost three minutes to Primož Roglič in the final time trial of the Vuelta. “We have very good riders, so we are working hard at the training camps in December and January to optimise our time trial. Hopefully we can then ensure that the time trials next year become a weapon, and not a weakness,” he told Cyclingnews.

Haig opts for a slightly different build-up to the Tour in 2022 than in 2021. He will most likely not ride the Tour de Romandie. “My first WorldTour race will be the UAE Tour, after which I’ll do Paris-Nice, maybe the Tour of Catalonia and do an altitude training camp before I test my legs again in the Dauphiné.”

Jack Haig Provisional 2022 Race Schedule:
UAE Tour
Paris-Nice
Tour of Catalonia
Altitude training camp
Critérium du Dauphiné
Tour de France.

Jack Haig working on his TT:

 


Arroyave in Training Crash
Daniel Arroyave was hit by a car during a training ride in Colombia on Tuesday. Images show that the 21 year-old EF Education-Nippo rider was injured, although it is still unclear exactly how badly.

Arroyave was training with two fellow cyclists near Llano Grande, in the department of Antioquia, when he was hit by a car. According to eyewitnesses, the driver was driving carelessly. Photos (below) on social media of Arroyave, show him to be suffering from injuries to his elbow and arm. The Colombian’s bike was also badly damaged.

The young Colombian has just completed his first season at WorldTour level, he didn’t race too often, due to some nasty falls and injuries. Although he did ride the Tour of Poland and the Benelux Tour, among other races.

UPDATE:
EF Education-Nippo rider Daniel Arroyave did not sustain any serious injuries from his collision. In a video, Arroyave says he only has some cuts. “Thank God it’s nothing serious. I am okay. I only have some cuts,” he said in the video message. He also calls on everyone to behave safely in traffic. “I would like to ask car drivers to pay more attention to cyclists and walkers. Today it was me, tomorrow it could be someone else. It can cost a life. Equipment can be replaced, but a life cannot. I want to impress upon people that they should look out for each other. We all share the same road.”

 


Gazprom-RusVelo Gives Andrea Piccolo Another Chance
Andrea Piccolo will ride for a professional team again next year. The 20-year-old Italian, made the switch to the WorldTour with Astana-Premier Tech in the winter of 2020, but then did not race 1 kilometre for the Kazakh team, next year will ride for the Gazprom-RusVelo team.

Piccolo, who made an impression as a young time trialist, will have a new start with Gazprom-RusVelo. Piccolo’s agent Johnny Carera indicated a few months ago that the promising rider would return to Astana, that was the plan. From an earlier interview with Piccolo by Bicisport, however, it appeared that the Gazprom-RusVelo team was interested in the young Italian. Piccolo and Gazprom-RusVelo were introduced to each other through the new team manager of the Russian team, Dmitri Sedoun. Sedoun also worked at Astana in the past. “He also knows the internal problems within the Astana squad. He spoke to my lawyers and expressed his interest. In August it really became concrete and a program was presented to me. A picture was also painted of the changes within Gazprom-RusVelo,” Spaziociclismo quotes Piccolo.

“I thought it was an exciting prospect and decided to sign the contract. It is a very structured team. The equipment is on point and is of WorldTour level. We have already had quite a few conversations and we are currently on a training internship in Calpe. After a few weeks I can already say that I enjoy my profession more and feel less pressure,” said Piccolo, who said goodbye to Astana in a strange way. Due to ‘personal health reasons’, which came to light during the first training camp, Piccolo did not ride for Astana at all. “I can confirm that I had big problems, but I don’t feel ready to talk about it yet. The matter was serious and delicate, but for now it is enough to know that everything has been resolved for the better. I have to thank my family and my lawyers for protecting me and advising me in the best way,” Piccolo said at the end of September.

Piccolo does not want to say too much about his problems and what happened behind the scenes. The Italian did take a drastic decision in mid-2021: Piccolo took a step back to the amateur team Viris Vigevano. This has not done him any harm, as he again managed to take some nice victories at amateur level. He won three prestigious Italian U23 races in September.

Andrea Piccolo – A pro again:

 


Kevin Rivera Wants to Prove Himself at Gazprom-RusVelo
Kevin Rivera hopes to show his best again in 2022 as a rider with Gazprom-RusVelo, after two difficult years. The 23-year-old climber from Costa Rica seemed destined for big things, but did not have a good time at Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè. “I do feel that things are now slowly going in the right direction,” he said in conversation with Bici.PRO.

Rivera and Bardiani-CSF-Fainzanè soon turned out not to be a happy marriage. Kevin Rivera’s entourage said that the young climber did not feel comfortable with the team, but Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè was also not satisfied with Rivera’s performance. Both parties decided to separate with immediate effect in July. Rivera now looks back on a difficult period and tries to put his finger on what went wrong? Rivera spoke about expectations that were too high. This was already the case in his first years with Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec. Rivera was often mentioned in the same breath as riders like Egan Bernal and Iván Sosa, who also had their baptism with Androni. “That wasn’t quite fair. I would have liked to have hoped for more patience, although I must admit that I started to believe in it myself. I’ve made mistakes myself.”

“I quickly knew that I could show beautiful things uphill, but you also have to be given the time to learn and grow. You may have the engine, but as a rider you also need the time. I’m not difficult to coach, that’s not right. As a young rider you are changeable. I alternate good performances with lesser moments. According to some people I am a phenomenon, but I am not Remco Evenepoel…”

Rivera now hopes to make the step to the top in a new environment and the youngster speaks highly of his new team. “Now it’s time to race again. I haven’t done that for a very long time now. You just feel it, even in training. I feel things are slowly moving in the right direction. I’ve had a few difficult months, but I feel a lot more mature now,” said Rivera.

Rivera will start his season in February with the Tour of Valencia.

New start for Kevin Rivera with Gazprom-RusVelo:

 


Rafael Valls Retires from Cycling
Rafael Valls has decided to retire from cycling this year, after 11 seasons in the WorldTour. Valls was an integral member of the Bahrain Victorious Giro team, which secured two stage wins and 2nd in GC with Caruso.

Valls commented on his decision: “I’ve decided to stop racing from next season. In the summer, following the Giro, I had agreed to continue in 2022. However, after consideration over the past few weeks, I’ve decided to stop. I always want to compete at my best and perform at my highest level. But, after suffering several crashes over the years, I’ve got to be honest, and I don’t think I’m in the mindset to compete at that level.
Now I will take time away from cycling and focus on me and my family. I will always be grateful to the management and staff at Team Bahrain Victorious, who have been very supportive over the last two seasons.”

 


2022 Challenge Mallorca Made for the Climbers
The Challenge Mallorca, five one-day races, looks like it has been tailor made for the climbers next year. The Challenge Mallorca will take place in 2022 from January 26 to 30. The organisers announced the route via Twitter.

The races in the Challenge Mallorca in 2022 are all hard. There is a lot of climbing, although the riders will never go far above 1,000 metres above sea level. Only during the Trofeo Pollença-Port d’Andratx that the finish is uphill, but the other profiles are full of climbs. It is clear that mainly climbers will be the victors on Mallorca in January.

The Challenge Mallorca is a series of one-day races held on the Spanish Island of Mallorca. So there is no final classification over the five stages. Since 2011 there has been five separate one-day races, in previous years there were only four. Last year, Ryan Gibbons, Jesús Herrada, Winner Anacona and André Greipel won.

Ryan Gibbons won in Calvia’21:

 


Alejandro Valverde Will Say Goodbye to Andalusian Fans on the Ruta del Sol – Tour of Andalusia in 2022
Andalusian cycling fans have been called “el gordo” in the form of official confirmation of the registration in the Ruta del Sol of the World champion, Alejandro Valverde, in what will be his season of farewell to the road. The Murcian will lead the Movistar team in the Andalusian tour that will take place between February 16 and 20 of next year.

Alejandro Valverde returns to the Vuelta a Andalucía in the year of his farewell to cycling, being considered a legend of international sport. In Andalusia, “El Bala” has broken all records and has a resumé as spectacular as in the rest of his sports career. He is the cyclist who has won the general classification the most times. He did it five times, in three consecutive years, 2012, 2013 and 2014, showing absolute mastery of the race. He returned to climb to the top of the podium in 2016 and to repeat his triumph in the general classification in 2017. Only in his early days, still in the Kelme team, he could not win the general classification of his first Andalusian tour in 2003 and still, despite In his youth, he would finish on the podium in third place, behind the Italian Davide Rebellin and his teammate Pascual Llorente, who was the final winner of that edition.

Among his achievements in Andalusia, the World Champion has 8 stage victories, being the fourth rider with the most stage victories in the entire history of the Vuelta a Andalucía, only surpassed by other legendary cyclists such as Freddy Maertens (13), Dietrich Thurau (10) and Óscar Freire, another Spanish World Champion, who achieved 9 stages.

In addition to all this data, Valverde has won four times in the points classification and the fifth rider with more Tops 10 on the general, and seventh with more Tops 10 in stages.

Joaquín Cuevas, General Director of Deporinter, the organising company of the Ruta del Sol Cycling Tour of Andalusia, stressed that “the presence of a living cycling legend in our race is a dream come true. Seeing Alejandro, whom we have so much admiration and affection for all cycling fans and who can say goodbye to his career is a satisfaction for Deporinter and an unrepeatable opportunity for the cycling lover to thank a champion like Valverde for so much.” Cuevas also highlighted the interest of the Murcian cyclist and his Movistar Team in being in Andalusia between February 16 and 20 and being able to participate in a race in which both the team and the rider have achieved so many successes.

In this way, the Vuelta a Andalucía has been called “el gordo” in the cycling lottery: “Being able to count on Alejandro Valverde in this year’s edition of the Andalusian tour was such important news that we wanted to announce it as it deserves, a maximum award for the cycling fans of our land who will be able to enjoy the latest feats of a world cycling legend who is also a record man of our race.” This is how Joaquín Cuevas finished his statement, very excited about an edition that returns to its traditional dates of February and of which soon we will announce more news as important as this.

Alejandro Valverde Statistics on the Tour of Andalucia Ruta Del Sol
2003 Third classified.
2012 Final Winner. 2nd Rein Taaramäe (EST), 3rd Jerome Coppel (FRA)
2012 Stage victory Malaga – Lucena
2012 Overall Winner by points.
2013 Final Winner. 2nd Jurgen Van den Broeck (BEL), 3rd Bauke Mollema (NED)
2013 Stage victory San Fernando – San Fernando
2013 Stage victory Lucena – Rincón de la Victoria
2013 Overall Winner by points.
2014 Final Winner. 2nd Richie Porte (AUS), 3rd Luis León Sánchez (ESP)
2014 Stage victory Almería – Almería
2014 Stage victory Vélez-Málaga – Jaén
2014 Stage victory La Guardia de Jaén – Cabra
2014 Overall Winner by points.
2016 Final Winner. 2nd TeJay Van Garderen (USA), 3rd Bauke Mollema (NED)
2016 Stage victory San Roque – Peñas Blancas
2017 Final Winner. 2nd Alberto Contador (ESP), 3rd Thibaut Pinot (FRA)
2017 Stage victory Rincón de la Victoria – Granada
2017 Overall Winner by Points.

Valverde in the Ruta del Sol 2014:

 


2022 Spanish Championships in Mallorca
The Spanish Road Championships will take place next year on the island of Mallorca. The Spanish Cycling Federation RFEC announced at a press conference earlier this week. On Mallorca, the U23 and Elite women and men will compete for the national titles in the time trial and the road race.

Last season it was held in the province of Alicante on the Spanish mainland. The time trial championships were in Busot and the town of La Nucía had the start and finish of the road races. The men’s time trial title went to Ion Izagirre and Omar Fraile was crowned Spanish road champion.

For 2022, the Spanish federation does not opt ​​for a Spanish championship on the mainland, but on the popular holiday island of Mallorca. Further details and the final route for the time trials and road races are yet to be announced. The championships will take place from June 24 to 26.

2021 Spanish champion – Omar Fraile:

 


Tour of Utah Disappears From the Calendar
The Tour of Utah will not be on the UCI calendar in 2022. After the 2020 edition was canceled due to the corona pandemic, the event this season was also canceled in March 2021 for unclear reasons. The race was on the calendar again for 2022, but the organisers have now asked to have the race removed.

On Wednesday, organisers Medalist Sports announced through a press release that it is ceasing their efforts to continue the Tour of Utah. Medalist Sports have asked USA Cycling and the UCI to remove the race from the calendar. “The talks with sponsors and start and finish locations were positive, but they were not concrete enough to make a valid effort that met our shared expectations,” said Chris Aronholt of Medalist Sports.

Whether the race will ever return is not clear in the press release. The race was promoted to the professional calendar in 2011 and Levi Leipheimer was the first overall winner. Tom Danielson, Joe Dombrowski, Lachlan Morton and Jumbo-Visma climber Sepp Kuss were also winners. In 2019 Ben Hermans was the last winner of this 2.Pro race. With that, a second American stage race disappeared from the scene after the famous Tour of California.

No Tour of Utah:

 


Saudi Tour: Act 2
After a thrilling first edition finale that saw Germany’s Phil Bauhaus and Bahrain-McLaren beat France’s Nacer Bouhanni and Arkéa-Samsic in the final sprint in Al Masnak, alongside these two riders, the other stage winners were the 2013 world champion Rui Costa of Portugal and Italian sprinting ace Niccolo Bonifazio.

The second edition could not be held in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic but the Ministry of Sport reiterated the motivation of the Saudi Arabian government for the event to return in the early part of 2022 as one of the first meetings for the top tier teams in the UCI calendar.

The race will take place on a star-shaped course showcasing AlUla, a boutique heritage and culture destination in North West Saudi Arabia, chosen as a venue to introduce the stunning landscape of ancient civilisations to millions of cycling and sports fans around the world.

AlUla, The World’s Masterpiece, is one of the oldest cities in the Arabian Peninsula and home to Hegra, the first UNESCO World Heritage site in the Kingdom, as well as the ancient Kingdom of Dadan, the open-air library of rock inscriptions in Jabal Ikmah, and AlUla Old Town. AlUla’s history goes back more than 200,000 years. Once at the crossroads of the Silk Road and The Incense Route, the site has only recently been rediscovered by the world.

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) was established by royal decree in July 2017 to preserve and develop AlUla. Today the region is opening up as a year-round destination for heritage, arts, nature, and adventure. From railway bike trails to functional road bike paths and scenic mountain biking, two-wheeled transport and recreation are a big part of AlUla’s Journey Through Time 15 year masterplan, launched in April 2021. RCU’s long-term plan outlines a responsible, sustainable, and sensitive approach to urban and economic development, as part of the heritage preservation priorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program.

Resembling 2020, side events will be organised during the Saudi Tour. A mass-participation race (Saudi Tour Ride), a women’s race (Saudi Tour Women Ride), a junior race organised by the Saudi Cycling Federation (Saudi Tour Challenge) and a dedicated race for the kids (Mini Kids Race, at every finishing area of the 5 stages) will take place as side events at the heart of beautiful landscapes.

Abdullah bin Ali Al-Wathlan President of Saudi Cycling Federation, President of Cycling Organising Committee of the GCC States, said: “With the unlimited support from the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, we are pleased to host the second edition of the Saudi Tour for 2022, which is a global cycling event and one of the most important opportunities to view the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On behalf of all athletes and those who love this sport, I am pleased to express my happiness that my country is hosting this event and the distinguished efforts made by His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, Minister of Sports – President of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, preserving the Kingdom’s position and accomplishing international achievements locally and abroad, and on the follow-up and attention from His Highness Prince Fahad bin Jalawi bin Abdulaziz bin Musaed, Vice President of the Olympic Committee for all sports federations.”

Key points:

  • The Ministry Of Sport and The Saudi Cycling Federation have announced the second edition of The Saudi Tour.
  • After hosting a successful first edition that remained in the memory of cycling fans around the world, the Saudi tour will return once again from the 1st to 5th of February 2022.
  • More information on: thesauditour.com

     


    2021 Zwift Academy Road Winners Announced After Finals in Mallorca
    Maud Oudeman and Alex Bogna awarded one year professional contracts with CANYON//SRAM Racing and Alpecin-Fenix for the 2022 season.

    Zwift, the online global fitness platform born from gaming, has announced Maud Oudeman and Alex Bogna as the winners of the 2021 Zwift Academy Road program, following a week-long final held in Mallorca. Oudeman will join CANYON//SRAM Racing and Bogna will join Alpecin-Fenix from 1st Jan 2022.

    Zwift Academy Road saw a record of over 150,000 riders take part in 2021, with many benefiting from the structured workouts and seeing improvements across the Baseline and Finish Line rides. Many of those may well dream of becoming a professional cyclist, but for a few there was the potential that a dream could become reality as the global online talent ID program once again was offering the opportunity to turn professional and follow in the footsteps of the likes of Ella Harris, Jay Vine and Neve Bradbury.

    The 2021 Zwift Academy Road program was the first time men’s and women’s programs were combined, and the finals were no different, with both the men’s and women’s finalists competing together at the same camp in Mallorca, Spain. The contenders faced daily challenges, both on Zwift and on the famous Mallorcan climbs. All the action was captured in a 5-episode series hosted by GCN, which you can watch here.

    Winner of the women’s Zwift Academy, Maud Oudeman excelled at every task thrown at her over the week, winning multiple ‘rider of the day’ accolades and proving a popular fit with her new teammates at CANYON//SRAM Racing.

    “I can’t believe it!” says Oudeman. “The week was so amazing but also a tough test. I was so thrilled to make the finals and I can’t believe my dream is coming true. I cannot wait to race for CANYON//SRAM Racing and I’m really excited to continue to learn, improve and help the team as much as I can next year.”

    On the men’s side, Alex Bogna kept the Australian winning streak alive by demonstrating his skill and impressive power on the famed climbs of Mallorca. He left nothing to chance in the final Zwift race and stormed away from the other riders to take the win on the Epic KOM.

    “I have no words”, says Bogna. “Zwift Academy is just such a fantastic opportunity, when I found out I’d made it to the Finals I was so happy. I wanted to have a great week of riding and really give myself a chance of winning the contract. Honestly, I’m in shock this is the opportunity of a lifetime.”

    CANYON//SRAM Racing Team Manager, Ronny Lauke: “The Zwift Academy continues to identify raw talent that has the ability to become top level cyclists in the sport. The recent winners have all shown this with their impact on road cycling and results. In 2021, it was great that the Zwift Academy Finals were able to be held as a camp again. The level of competitiveness among the riders was very strong. Maud stood out with her consistent results and powerful performances throughout the week. We look forward to welcoming her as a member of the team.”

    Stay tuned for further content over the coming months as Zwift follows the journey of these two new pro’s in their debut seasons with their new teams at: https://www.zwift.com/uk/academy/zaroad

     


    Allan Peiper to Step Back From Team Duties
    Australian to focus on health for 2022.

    Having retired from his role as Sports Director after the 2021 Paris-Roubaix, Allan Peiper will turn his focus on his ongoing health battles. It had been hoped that Peiper would continue his work with the team in an advisory role though the 61-year old has decided to now focus on home life after a wonderful 3 years with the squad.

    Allan Peiper: “The treatment for cancer which I have undergone in the last six years have taken a huge toll on me mentally and physically. So much so that I don’t feel at this time that I can do the job like I want. The last three years with UAE Team Emirates have been a wonderful experience. The team took me in knowing I had been sick and yet offered me every opportunity, immense support and understanding for which I am utterly grateful.”

    Peiper joined the Emirati squad in 2019 and has formed an important role in the teams many successes including two Tour de France victories.

    Team Principal and CEO Mauro Gianetti expressed his gratitude to Peiper: “Though he is stepping back, Allan will always be a member of our team. In these three years we have all learned a lot from him. His professionalism, commitment and knowledge have been invaluable to the team and we are all very grateful and thankful for what he has done. We wish him the very best and are all supporting him in his latest fight, that we know he will tackle with the same drive and determination as he always does. Allan’s place in the team will remain for good, and the door is open to him as soon as his health improves.”

    Allan Peiper taking a step back:

     


    INEOS Grenadiers Ready for 2022 After Five Contract Extensions
    INEOS Grenadiers will have 31 riders at their disposal in 2022. The British WorldTour team announced on Tuesday that with the contract extensions of Jonathan Castroviejo, Brandon Rivera, Cameron Wurf, Ben Swift and Salvatore Puccio, the roster is complete.

    Puccio, who has been riding for Dave Brailsford’s squad since 2011, will start his 11th and 12th season with the INEOS Grenadiers, as his contract has been extended by two years. “This team means a lot to me,” he said in a team press release. “I don’t see myself riding for another team. I made so many memories here that this squad feels like family. I look forward to continuing our journey together.”

    Wurf has also extended his contract after he initially seemed to end his cycling career to focus on the triathlon, but he will now do both together with the British WorldTour team. The 38-year-old Wurf is aiming for a good result at the Ironman in Hawaii. “Ironman is an individual sport, but it doesn’t feel like that. I’m glad they’re letting me out to do a triathlon so I can help them in the races afterwards. It allows me to go a little deeper. That is very satisfying.”

    Luke Plapp, Kim Heiduk, Magnus Sheffield, Ben Tulett, Ben Turner and Elia Viviani are the new names at INEOS this year. Leonardo Basso, Ivan Sosa, Rohan Dennis have all left and Michal Golas has retired.

    2022 INEOS Grenadiers Team Roster:
    Andrey Amador (Costa Rica)
    Egan Bernal (Col)
    Richard Carapaz (Ecu)
    Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa)
    Laurens De Plus (Bel)
    Eddie Dunbar (Ire)
    Omar Fraile (Spa)
    Filippo Ganna (Ita)
    Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB)
    Ethan Hayter (GB)
    Kim Heiduk (Ger)
    Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol)
    Daniel Martinez (Col)
    Jhonatan Narvaez (Ecu)
    Tom Pidcock (GB)
    Luke Plapp (Aus)
    Richie Porte (Aus)
    Salvatore Puccio (Ita)
    Brandon Rivera (Col)
    Carlos Rodriguez (Spa)
    Luke Rowe (GB)
    Magnus Sheffield (GB)
    Pavel Sivakov (Rus)
    Ben Swift (GB)
    Geraint Thomas (GB)
    Ben Tulett (GB)
    Ben Turner (GB)
    Dylan van Baarle (Ned)
    Elia Viviani (Ita)
    Cameron Wurf (Aus)
    Adam Yates (GB).

    Two more years for Salvatore Puccio with INEOS Grenadiers:

     


    New Team SD Worx 2022 Jersey Even More Colourful
    For Team SD Worx it was a great challenge, in cooperation with Specialized, to make the 2022 jersey even more beautiful than the one with which SD Worx debuted in the women’s peloton in 2021 as main sponsor. In January 2021, the Team SD Worx shirt was crowned the most beautiful in the peloton by 85% of GCN Racing’s followers.

    For the 2022 season, the choice has been made to make the shirt even more colourful according to the colours of the main sponsor SD Worx. Last season purple and red were the main colours, which sometimes made it difficult to distinguish the shirt from the purple UCI leader’s jersey in the WorldTour. Now red, pink, yellow and purple have been chosen. Not coincidentally, yellow is also the colour of the new sponsor Yuzzu.

    “I think the shirt has become even more beautiful. Much more feminine. This really stands out in the peloton. We already saw that during the photo shoot in Spain where the shirt really drew attention in the sunny weather. To look so beautifully groomed again is a good motivation towards the upcoming cycling season,” Demi Vollering says.

     


    Burger King® is the New Sponsor of the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team
    The company celebrates this important agreement in its 230th restaurant on the Italian territory

    Burger King Restaurants Italia, one of the main players in the fast food market in Italy, has decided to join the Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team project, thus supporting an Italian team of one of the most representative and beloved sports in Italy.

    The partnership was signed in the new Burger King in Vergiate, in the province of Varese, opened a few days ago. The restaurant in Vergiate is the 230th Burger King in Italy, and it was chosen for the signing also as a tribute to one of the founders of the team, Ivan Basso, of Varese origin.

    Another little piece of Italy, therefore, that is discovered by Burger King’s America, in line with the path of valorisation of the territory undertaken this year by the company, with the launch of many recipes with typically Italian raw materials.

    Burger King® will share with Eolo-Kometa a common path of consistent and ambitious growth, made of clear objectives and the desire to continue to be protagonists by telling stories of men, team and sport.

    “Cycling is a real sport, which fascinates a large number of Italians, which requires a spirit of sacrifice and teamwork to achieve ambitious results: all values that we, as Burger King, fully share to achieve goals that were unthinkable until a few years ago, such as opening 230 restaurants in Italy,” said Alessandro Lazzaroni, General Manager of Burger King Restaurants Italy: “All this is also consistent with the path of rediscovery of the Italian territory and its quality raw materials.”

    “Personally I’m very happy to have a brand like Burger King in our project,” says Fran Contador, GM of Eolo Kometa Cycling Team. “The prestigious brand of a multinational company that I believe adds a very important value to our project. Together with Eolo, Kometa and Aurum, Burger King will give us the serenity to work and grow more and more. I can’t wait to get going next year, because right now I’m as charged and motivated as the whole team.”

    “This is great news for me,” adds Alberto Contador, president of Fundacion Contador, “because we are a project that is growing step by step. In this historical moment it’s difficult to find sponsors, and if we’re still growing it means that the road we’ve taken is the right one: made of freshness, values and professionalism. The fact that an important and recognised brand such as Burger King has believed in us is a reason for pride that charges us even more for the upcoming season.”

    “There is the pride, there is the satisfaction, there is the happiness that you can feel only when you find a new travel companion with whom to share, imagine and plan,” – are the words of Ivan Basso, TM of Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team. “I had the opportunity and the luck to know the people behind Burger King: not in the closed of an office, but directly on the race field in the everyday life of their work and in the reality of their restaurants. And I’ve seen that enthusiasm and ability to team up that are at the core of our team.”

    A unique future, then, made of sharing and competition, awaits the two realities, which have a great desire to get involved and learn from each other. A future, that of the young Eolo-Kometa in particular, that is still to be written, but whose pages will be without a shadow of a doubt from now on more tasty than ever.

    Alessandro Lazzaroni, GM of Burger King Italia with Ivan Basso:

     


    Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces WB: Our 2022 jersey!

    New SEASON, new JERSEY and new… LOGO!
    We are ready for the 2022 season!
    Thank you to all our partners who accompany and support our project!

     


    Portuguese Ex-Cyclist Carlos Ribeiro Passes Away
    Portuguese rider Carlos Ribeiro has passed away at the age of 29. His former team W52-FC Porto reported via Twitter. The rider was active in the peloton until 2016 and won, among other things, the green jersey in the Tour of the Future in Portugal.

    The sad news was announced by W52-FC Porto: “We are devastated by this news, cycling is in mourning. We extend our condolences to his family and friends.” Ribeiro won a stage and the green jersey in the Tour of Portugal for young riders in 2014. In 2015 he finished sixth at the Portuguese time trial championship.

    The Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor Cycling Team, previously known as Efapel, is also shocked at the news of Ribeiro’s death: “There are days that shouldn’t exist. Like today. We are devastated by Carlos Ribeiro’s early departure… Young, happy, ex-professional rider and in 2018 working for Clube Desportivo Fullracing, as a mechanic. Rest in peace! A heartfelt hug to Family and Friends.” The cause of death is not yet known.

    Descanse em paz Carlos Ribeiro:

     


    The Wolfpack Insider: Tour de France
    Mark Cavendish’s late call to the Tour de France turned into one of the best stories in the history of the sport, as the Manxman equaled Eddy Merckx’s all-time stage victory record.

    Watch now the heart-warming final episode of our series – one containing many never-before-seen behind the scenes images – depicting his astonishing journey to number 34!

     


    Drawing Inspiration – The 2021 INEOS Grenadiers Christmas Video
    At this time of year, it’s important to take a moment to reflect and give back to those that have supported you…
    Merry Christmas to you and your teammates from the INEOS Grenadiers!

     


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