The season is over, but we still have a full EUROTRASH bag: Fabio Jakobsen back on his bike – TOP STORY. Wout van Aert starts cross, INEOS Grenadiers change attitude, Jakob Fuglsang and Julian Alaphilippe want to ride Roubaix, Philippe Gilbert still dreams of Sanremo and Filippo Ganna negative for covid-19. Contract news from Movistar, Astana, Qhubeka-Assos, EF Pro Cycling, EOLO-KOMETA and Groupama-FDJ. Joris Nieuwenhuis cross season, what team for Fabio Aru, Julien Vermote still looking, Vital Concept leave B&B Hotels team, Quintana innocent, Enrico Rossi acquitted, Operation Aderlass delayed and Mikaël Chérel crash. Big Thursday coffee time.
TOP STORY: Fabio Jakobsen Back On His Bike
Fabio Jakobsen has posted a photo of himself and his girlfriend, Delores Tougje, on social media for the first time since his heavy crash in the Tour of Poland. The Deceuninck – Quick-Step sprinter has undergone many operations after the stage finish crash and is still recovering.
Jakobsen was the worst victim of the sprint crash in the Tour of Poland on August 5. The sprinter sustained serious injuries, mainly to his face, and was kept in an artificial coma for some time. He is now recovering and can think about making training rides again.
Good to see:
Wout van Aert starts His Cross Campaign
Wout van Aert will start a cross race for the first time this season in the CAPS Urban Cross Kortrijk, part of the X²O Bathroom Trophy. After his good performance on the road, the three-time world champion is tempering expectations.
After the road season Van Aert stayed off the bike for a few weeks. “After that I built back to this weekend in a relaxed way. At the moment I am certainly not in top shape yet. I mainly hope to use the first block with the crosses in Kortrijk, Tábor and Boom to improve.”
In recent weeks, the Jumbo-Visma rider was in Spain and was mainly working on the basics, he explains. “After the cyclocross season I immediately switch back to the road. It is therefore important that I can continue my good form as long as possible.” He wants to temper the high expectations on the run-up to the cyclocross race in Kortrijk.
“After my season on the road it is not unusual that a lot is expected of me. But those who think that I can just continue the line from the road to the cross, approaches it in a way that is far too simple. It would also be very dangerous for me to start thinking like that,” the winner of Milan-San Remo, Strade Bianche and two Tour stages continued.
It is not realistic to be top right away, said Van Aert. “I’ve been racing long enough to know that the level is very high. Do not forget that I am against the world’s best. Those men have been working towards this all summer, my initial period is much too short. I hope that I can hook up my car on character and condition, but do not expect that I will make the race.”
After the crosses of Kortrijk, Tábor and Boom, Van Aert continues to build on the Christmas period and the period of the championships. “Because things are now running so well on the road, my view of cyclocross has changed a bit. But I still race to win, I’m not in the cross just to ride. I want to participate to win the prizes and competition is of course part of that.”
Wout back to the mud:
Change of Attitude at INEOS Grenadiers
It was a strange year for all teams, including INEOS Grenadiers. The ‘different’ season forced people to start thinking differently; this includes INEOS Grenadiers boss Dave Brailsford. In conversation with CyclingTips, he said that they want to do things differently at INEOS Grenadiers in the future. “Instead of the team, we are going to put the individual first.”
The Brailsford team held the Tour de France in a grip for years. Despite the success, something gnawed at Brailsford. “When we started to win as a team, I quickly realised that this is not the most fun way to win. But because you keep winning, you have two thoughts: do you keep going or do we have to change something?”
“This year made me think,” continued Brailsford. “I want nothing more than to create a team in which there is real racing. When I leave the team, I want to leave a team that I would have loved as a nineteen-year-old: a cool cycling team.” The British team manager wants to change course: “We are going to put the individual first instead of the team. I didn’t think I’d ever say that,” Brailsford admitted.
Despite the fact that INEOS Grenadiers failed to win the Tour de France, the team still had a successful season. Twenty victories, including seven stage wins and the final victory in the Giro d’Italia. In addition, Filippo Ganna is World time trial champion, Michal Kwiatkowski won a Tour stage and Richard Carapaz was second in the Vuelta a España.
All change at INEOS:
Fuglsang Wants to Ride Paris-Roubaix
Jakob Fuglsang has never been at the start of Paris-Roubaix, but the Astana rider hopes to take part in the cobbled classic one time. “Although it probably won’t be until next year,” the Dane said in conversation with BICI.pro.
Fuglsang has been aiming at a good GC place on grand Tours, but he also won the Tour of Lombardy this year and was the best in Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2019. Fuglsang has already ridden the Tour of Flanders, but Paris-Roubaix is on his wish list. The 35-year-old climber does have experience with the northern French cobbles, due to the 2014 Tour riding a Paris-Roubaix stage in rainy and muddy conditions. Fuglsang rode for the yellow jersey and team leader Vincenzo Nibali and finished second that day, behind Lars Boom.
“I want to participate in Paris-Roubaix one time,” said Fuglsang. “I just don’t think I will compete in new races next year. We are currently planning for 2021. It remains to be seen which races I will compete. That will also depend a bit on the situation,” Fuglsang refers to the corona pandemic.
The Danish rider can look back on a successful season. He won the Tour of Lombardy and was the best in the Ruta del Sol. In the Tour of Poland (2nd), Strade Bianche (5th) and the Giro d’Italia (6th). “In the end I still had a reasonable Giro. In the end I finished in the top-10.” Before the start, Fuglsang was tipped as one of the favourite for the overall victory, but he had to settle for sixth place. “I had good form, but luck was not on my side. I had a puncture once and I also lost Aleksandr Vlasov and Miguel Ángel López. However, you cannot control things like that.”
Lombardy win, not too shabby:
Alaphilippe Wants to Ride Paris-Roubaix
Julian Alaphilippe would like to start Paris-Roubaix someday. The reigning World champion has the cobbled Classic on his list. “It can be done later, but not necessarily next year,” he told Eurosport France.
The leader of Deceuninck – Quick-Step has already set some goals for 2021. “But for the time being, I am only thinking about the preparations for the start of the season,” said Alaphilippe. “The plans for the Tour de France always come later. The Tour of Flanders is a race that I like and really want to ride.”
“The Ronde will certainly be part of my seasons goals for next year,” said the Frenchman, who crashed hard when he collided with a motorcycle in the finalé. “I think I’ll be doing a big block with all the classics in the spring, but that hasn’t been discussed with the team yet.”
Alaphilippe also mentioned the Tour de France. “After winning the World championships, I would like to win it. For me, those are the two races I’ve always dreamed of. If I could only choose one of the two races, that would of course be the Tour. The course for 2021 is beautiful and I already feel like it.”
JuJu keeps a low profile about the Olympic Games in Tokyo. “That can become a goal. We are going to study the course, but we mainly have to wait and see how the season unfolds.”
What next for the World champion?
Gilbert Still Thinking of Milan-San Remo
Philippe Gilbert’s hunt for his fifth Monument victory will be continued in 2021. With a victory in Milan-San Remo, Gilbert would join the Belgian list of Van Looy/Merckx/De Vlaeminck. “I don’t want to think too much about Milan-San Remo, although that match is stuck in my head somewhere,” said Gilbert.
The Tour de France – Gilbert has a love-hate relationship with the Tour – still sticks in his head. “I’m really looking forward to riding it again,” Gilbert told L’Avenir. “The last three years our relationship has been difficult: in 2018 and 2020 I had to give up after a crash, in 2019 I was not selected. This is not the way I want to say goodbye to the Tour.”
The goals for 2021 are not on paper yet, but in addition to Milan-San Remo and the Tour de France, Gilbert has more races on his wish list. “There are still many great races that I want to win: Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem…” Last season Gilbert only raced 34 days. He broke his kneecap in the Tour, returned, but had to stop because of a relapse. “Never before have I raced so little, not even as a newcomer. Whether I will be fresher at the start of the new season with that? Nothing beats competition. But the hunger will be great, I already know that.”
“The moment I started to approach my best form, there was that crash in the Tour. That frustrated me, because I have never been at my best level,” he said. “And after sixteen consecutive years with at least one victory, there was suddenly that year without a win. Not that I am pursuing victories, but the numbers filled me with pride.”
Gilbert in Strade Bianche:
Ganna Tests Negative for Corona
Filippo Ganna finally seems to be free of the corona virus. The World time trial champion shared the news on social media that he tested negative for the virus. Ganna was with the Italian national track team in Montichiari about three weeks ago to prepare for the European track championship, but had to go into isolation after a positive corona test and so couldn’t ride the European championships.
Now there is good news for the Italian rider. “I felt like a Ferrari stuck in Milan traffic at eight in the morning. This negative test allows me to ride on the Monza circuit again. Finally corona free,” a happy Ganna Tweeted.
Ganna recently shared what the corona virus infection was like for him: “I had problems with my bones and classic flu symptoms. I also suffered from loss of smell and taste for a week. I did a few tests with mustard and alcohol. I can now taste honey again, but that is not the case with coffee, for example. To the people who underestimate the virus: experience it yourself.”
24-year-old Ganna is one of the most successful track cyclists of his generation. World champion in the individual pursuit four times. He is also World time trial champion and won four stages in the 2020 Giro d’Italia, including three time trials.
López Reinforces 2021 Movistar Team Roster
Colombian – winner of the 2020 TDF’s Queen stage and GC podium finisher in the Giro and La Vuelta – becomes Telefónica-backed squad’s fifth addition to its men’s lineup for next year.
The Movistar Team confirmed Tuesday that Miguel Ángel López (Pesca, Boyacá, COL; 1994), a current member of the Astana Pro Team, has signed a contract for the 2021 season with the WorldTour outfit managed by Eusebio Unzué.
López’s signing brings the Movistar Team the talent of one of the most talented GC riders in the peloton, a man who can aim at success in every stage race he takes part in. His palmarès includes podium finishes in the Giro d’Italia, where he took 3rd + the young riders’ jersey in 2018, and La Vuelta, where he claimed third in 2018 and won two stages + 5th in 2019. His Tour de France debut in 2020 included a win at the Queen stage (Col de la Loze) and a strong 6th-place finish, after spending three days in the provisional GC podium.
Winner of the 2014 Tour de l’Avenir, López has also amassed victories in WorldTour events like the Tour de Suisse (2016) and the Volta a Catalunya (2019), as well as the Tour Colombia (2019); prestigious classics, such as Milano-Torino (2016); and mountain-top finish victories in Algarve, Burgos, Austria, Trentino and Oman.
Miguel Ángel López: “I’m so happy to be part of one of the most important teams in the world of cycling. As I’ve always done, I’ll try to achieve my fullest potential to represent the Movistar Team and the people of Colombia in the best possible way. This has always been a very significant team for my home fans and a crucial factor for the growth of the sport in Latin America, so I’m excited to join them next year.”
Eusebio Unzué: “Miguel Ángel López’s signing marks a really important addition to our men’s team. Having him aboard, we’ll not only enjoy the services of an experienced rider of great results, but also the style of racing from someone who always conceives this sport on the attack, trying to catch the rivals by surprise. He’s someone who knows well what it takes to step onto the podium of the Grand Tours, and who’s achieved important victories in one-week stage races. His addition to the team further bolsters our potential for the big tours in 2021.”
López is the fifth signing of the men’s Movistar Team for 2021.
Miguel Ángel López:
Astana – Premier Tech Renews Contracts with Ion and Gorka Izagirre, Sanchez, Boaro, Gregaard, Martinelli and Contreras for 2021
Seven contract extensions for the Kazakh-Canadian team as Manuele Boaro, Davide Martinelli, Jonas Gregaard Wilsly and Rodrigo Contreras as well as Gorka and Ion Izagirre and Spanish Road Campion Luis Leon Sanchez have re-signed their contracts with Astana – Premier Tech for the 2021 season.
Ion Izagirre, stage winner in this year’s Vuelta a España, re-signed with Astana – Premier Tech for another season: “Together with my brother I joined the team in 2019. It has been great two years, therefore, I am happy to re-sign for another season. This year had ups and downs, to leave the Tour de France was shattering but winning a stage at the Vuelta a España was a happy ending to a challenging season. I am looking forward to 2021 and also to stay in the team with my brother. As always, we have big ambitions and are already in full swing to start the season in good shape.”
Spanish Road Champion, Luis Leon Sanchez, renewed his contract for another year: “I am glad to continue with the team, I feel very comfortable here, as it is a familiar team with a professional surrounding. Also, I know my role within the team, even so I get my chances to show myself. I am already many years in the team, since 2015, but my motivation and ambitions remain the same. With my experience I think, I can take the young riders by the hand but will also help our GC leaders to fight for the best results possible. After a difficult 2020 season I am looking forward to 2021, hopefully being again a normal cycling season for us.”
Gorka Izagirre, stays for another year with the team: “I am happy to stay, together with my brother, for another year with the team. The 2020 season was, as we all know, a different and difficult one, but our sponsors supported us perfectly. I am motivated to get back into race mode for next year and to ride together with the team, as I think we will have a strong line-up. I have some personal goals for the 2021 season and hope I will be able to achieve them.”
Davide Martinelli, who had his first year in the team will stay for another season with the Kazakh-Canadian team: “I am very happy because after a very strange and difficult season due to COVID-19, I hope that we can have a regular 2021 season without any problems. I got the chance to continue working with the team, where I want to show, especially in the Spring Classics, my potential. For these goals, I am working already now on it to be in the best shape. I really want to thank the team and the management for believing in me, I will give my best to pay off their confidence in me.”
Danish rider Jonas Gregaard about his re-signing with the team: “I am delighted to continue with the team, which feels like a big family to me. I think, I grew a lot over the last couple of months and I am sure that the upcoming season will be a good one for me but also for the team. I feel comfortable there, the team is working in such a professional way and supported me in every way this year. I am looking forward to wearing another year the jersey of the team.”
Manuele Boaro will continue with the team for another year:
“I am pleased to stay another year with the team, where I feel really comfortable at, therefore, I am happy that the team puts the confidence in me for another year. It has been a difficult year for all of us, but I think we had still a good season with good results, I hope we will have a great 2021 season, after some rest I am soon back preparing for the upcoming season with some personal goals, which I want to achieve together with the Kazakh-Canadian team.”
Rodrigo Contreras also stays until the end of 2021: “Even if it has been a difficult year, it’s been a good one for me, with finishing my first Grand tour. I am grateful to be another year with the team, as I like the environment, the way they team is working and the people. For now, I am in Colombia slowly getting back into shape for the upcoming season before heading back to Europe.”
Team Qhubeka ASSOS “Thrilled” to Secure European Champion
Team Qhubeka ASSOS is delighted to announce that Giacomo Nizzolo, the current European and Italian champion, will race for the team in 2021.
His signing is a major coup and follows on from the announcement last week of the team’s continuation into 2021 with its stated ambition as a high-performance, purpose-led team together with ASSOS of Switzerland; and all in the support of the Qhubeka Charity (Qhubeka.org).
The in-demand Italian, who together with his memorable victories in Plouay and Cittadella, also stormed to WorldTour stage victories at both the Santos Tour Down Under and Paris-Nice in a dynamic start to the year. His impressive run saw him place second at Race Torquay, Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne as well as Circuito de Getxo, and he surged to an excellent fifth place at Milan-Sanremo, to go with numerous other top-10 performances. His season, disappointingly, was ended by a leg injury sustained during the opening week of the Tour de France where he’d been in the hunt for a first-ever Grand Tour stage victory.
The 31-year-old’s fighting style of riding has captivated and thrilled fans, and epitomises in many respects the team’s fight for its own survival in recent months. Despite his truncated season, Nizzolo still finished 2020 as the 24th ranked rider in the world, as per the official UCI rankings. Nizzolo’s new deal also follows on the confirmation of the retention of Victor Campenaerts, Max Walscheid, Michael Gogl, Dylan Sunderland, Andreas Stokbro and Domenico Pozzovivo for the 2021 season.
Giacomo Nizzolo: “My decision to stay was because I really feel a part of this team and this project. Qhubeka is an incredible organisation that enables lives to be changed through bicycles, it is something great. Two years ago I was in South Africa and watched on as kids received bikes, it was something very emotional that inspired me during the season, and across my life actually. It’s something that I will never forget. I’m really looking forward to race as soon as possible again as the European champion and as a part of this new chapter. I feel like the team believes in me 100%, and they’ve created a project which is inspiring and gives me extra motivation; having teammates and staff believing that I’m a leader within the team is something that I really need to enable me to perform. The addition of ASSOS is special; I felt great with them and I’ve had an excellent relationship ever since they first came on board. I’m super happy to still wear their brand as I think everybody knows that they’re the absolute best out there.”
“2020 has been a crazy year, of course because of Covid and the crazy situation around the world as well as in cycling. For me in the end it was successful; at the start I had a good winter and then a very good start Tour Down Under and as well at Paris-Nice. Then I restarted training very hard during lockdown looking forward to perform well at Sanremo, which was one of my main goals. I was good there, really good, and from that point I thought that I could be competitive in trying to win the Italian Championship and the European Championship – and I did, which was great!”
“At the Tour de France I had a great chance on the first day, I felt great, but a sprint is a sprint and I couldn’t find a way through as I wanted to but that’s life. Then everything was looking good but I started to feel pain due to a rupture (in my lower leg), it didn’t improve so we decided to stop, which was the right decision as ultimately it brought my season to an end. This environment is what I need to fight for my goals; at the beginning of the season we’ll look towards the sprinter Classics, Milan-Sanremo first of all, and then we’ll start looking at the Giro and the Tour. I think it will be nice to wear the European Champion’s jersey at the Giro as the Italian champion but we’ll still have to consider everything as we look at the calendar.”
Douglas Ryder, Team Principal: “I am so happy to have Giacomo continue with us into the future; he has achieved incredible victories this year like the Italian and European Championship titles which have been very special. He’s been the perfect example of someone who has come into our organisation and through the support he’s received has shone through with his performances on the bike. We have really worked well together and we look forward to continue working hard and improving to be even better. His commitment to fight every time he pins a number on his jersey for himself, his team and the impact his success has for those less fortunate is inspiring, and talks directly to who we are as a team. To have the European jersey on the start line, in our colours, is going to be awesome, and to know the type of fighting performances we’ll get from Giacomo means that I’m just absolutely thrilled. Since joining our team to see the way in which he’s taken that next step up, in the environment we have provided, is so gratifying and an endorsement of where we’re going as a team.”
Lutsenko stays with Astana – Premier Tech for Another Season
The Kazakh Champion and Tour de France stage winner Alexey Lutsenko has extended his contract with the Kazakh-Canadian team for the upcoming season, rounding out Astana – Premier Tech’s final 31-rider roster for the 2021 season.
Alongside the new additions to the team, Canadian Steve Bauer, the Olympic medalist and Tour de France stage winner, and Kazakh former rider Dmitriy Muravyev join the team as Sports Directors.
The Kazakh Champion Alexey Lutsenko will stay yet another year in the team: “I think, I have improved significantly over the last few years and achieved many great results, which have been my goals for many years. Despite a difficult year, I still had a good season. Of course, the stage win at the Tour de France was the best moment. I am happy that the team wants to continue our journey. I am looking forward to achieving new goals and developing further as a rider. I will stay another year with this team, which makes me really happy. The team believes in me and shares my visions and goals.”
The team confirms its 2021 final roster consisting of 31 riders:
Alex ARANBURU; Samuele BATTISTELLA; Manuele BOARO; Gleb BRUSSENSKIY; Stefan DE BOD; Rodrigo CONTRERAS; Yevgeniy FEDOROV; Fabio FELLINE; Omar FRAILE; Jakob FUGLSANG; Yevgeniy GIDICH; Jonas GREGAARD WILSLY; Dmitriy GRUZDEV; Hugo HOULE; Ion IZAGIRRE; Gorka IZAGIRRE; Merhawi KUDUS; Alexey LUTSENKO; Davide MARTINELLI; Yuriy NATAROV; Benjamin PERRY; Andrea PICCOLO; Vadim PRONSKIY; Oscar RODRIGUEZ; Javier ROMO; Luis Leon SANCHEZ; Matteo SOBRERO; Nikita STALNOV; Harold TEJADA; Aleksandr VLASOV; Artyom ZAKHAROV.
As well as Sport Directors Dmitriy Fofonov, Bruno Cenghialta, Giuseppe Martinelli, Stefano Zanini and Sergey Yakovlev, two new faces will join Astana – Premier Tech. Canadian Steve Bauer, the Olympic medalist and Tour de France stage winner, will join Astana – Premier Tech through 2021 to add his knowledge and value to the UCI WorldTeam in his role of a Sports Director as well as Kazakh former rider Dmitriy Muravyev.
Steve Bauer, who will join as Sports Director: “I am very happy with the opportunity to join Astana – Premier Tech. The change will begin the next chapter for me, working with a new group of management, staff and riders. As a Canadian, it is especially exciting to have Premier Tech as a co-title sponsor of the team in 2021. I look forward to meeting the team at January camp and I am motivated to work hard with everyone to achieve the sporting goals that will be set out.”
Next to Steve Bauer also former rider Dmitriy Muravyev will join the team as Sports Director: “I ended my professional career as a rider here and now I return as a Sports Director, what makes me really happy. I will use my knowledge and experience in my new work, but I am also ready to absorb new things and continue to learn in order to share what I already know and what I will learn with the trainers, who are working in Kazakhstan. I am proud to start this new chapter in my career with this amazing project, Astana – Premier Tech, and hope that we will achieve great results together with our riders.”
Managing Director, Yana Seel: “We are very glad about this great line-up of riders and Sports Directors and I’m sure we will proudly represent Kazakhstan and our co-sponsor Premier Tech in 2021. It’s important to mention that we kept 9 Kazakh riders in our roster and added another Canadian rider next to Hugo Houle, which is important for the projects we will start for the youth in Kazakhstan and Canada. We are ready to start making a difference in the world with these projects, while we keep entertaining cycling fans with our attractive way of racing. Last but not least, I really want to thank the riders who are leaving us, Miguel Angel Lopez, Laurens De Vreese, Zhandos Bizhigitov, Daniil Fominykh and Hernando Bohorquez, as well as our two Sports Directors Alexandr Shefer and Dmitri Sedoun. All of them did amazing work for the team over the years and gave it their all every day. We want to thank them for everything and wish all of them the best of luck for their future.”
General Manager, Alexandr Vinokurov: “I think we did a great job in signing new talents and extending with strong riders that proved themselves in our team in the past years. Our team is known for its attractive way of racing and I’m sure with this roster, we are able to compete on the highest level once again.”
Another year with Astana for Kazakh Champion Alexey Lutsenko:
Erić, Patiño, Aalerud, Rodríguez re-sign thru 2023
Four crucial riders for Telefónica-backed squad’s growth to remain at least three more years with Blue outfit, where they’ve achieved their best level.
The Movistar Team announced Monday that Jelena Erić, Paula Patiño, Katrine Aalerud and Gloria Rodríguez have all signed extensions with the Blues through the end of the 2023 season. The four riders, who still had one year left in their respective contracts, will thus remain an essential part of the squad managed by Sebastián Unzué for, at least, the next three years.
The 2020 season has seen all four achieve their most remarkable, consistent level of performance, despite the pandemic stop. Erić – born in Serbia, currently living in Alicante – has shone with her teamwork and great displays at both stage races, like the Giro Rosa or La Vuelta Challenge (4th on stage 1), and one-day events, leading the Movistar Team during the recent Northern, cobbled classics. Over in Italy, Jelena had supported a fantastic Patiño, 8th overall over consistent performances in the most demanding races of the season, such as the Tour de l’Ardèche, where she shone at the mountain stages.
Murcia-based Rodríguez continues to be the heart of the Blue outfit, an exemplary domestique with ever-growing physical performance and experience, doing her best in all kinds of races and remaining a crucial asset to her team-mates’ success. In turn, Aalerud has excelled at all terrains, claiming the Norwegian time trial title back in August while also finishing 4th in a stage of the Giro Rosa and 9th at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, just few meters short for a podium finish. An essential all-rounder for the strongest Movistar Team ever in the future.
Will Barta to EF Pro Cycling
Will Barta will ride for EF Pro Cycling in 2021. The 24-year-old American, who missed the win in the Vuelta mountian time trial to Primoz Roglic by one second, has ridden for the CCC team for the past two seasons.
“EF looks to me like a group passionate about the sport and performance, so I look forward to being a part of that,” he said. “I’ve known Neilson Powless and Logan Owen for a long time because we grew up together in the national selections. And I know Ruben Guerreiro from Axel Merckx’s team, Hagens Berman Axeon.” Before he made the step to the WorldTour, Barta rode for four seasons for the training team run by the younger Merckx. During that time, he was fourth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège for under 23 and third in the classification of Le Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux. He finished the past Vuelta in 22nd place, and was one second away from a stage victory.
“It would have been great to win, but I am still happy with my performance,” Barta reflected. He hopes to develop further in the service of Jonathan Vaughters’ team. “I feel more and more where my talents lie, so I look forward to growing in different roles.”
Will Barta in la Vuelta:
The EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team is Reinforced by the Italians Frapporti and Bais
The first adventure of the Contador Foundation in the ProTeam category continues to finalise the making of its squad. The Italians Mattia Frapporti and Davide Bais are the latest additions to the new EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team. Both of them have the chance to have at least one brother or sister in the professional squad: Mattia in the case of Davide Bais, and Marco and Simona in the case of Mattia Frapporti.
Mattia Frapporti is the more experienced of the two and has committed himself for one season. The rider from Gavardo (1994) has been a professional since 2014 and for the last four seasons he has remained with the Androni Giocattoli structure.
“It has been a very difficult 2020 in which I personally have not been able to compete much, although we started very soon in the Tour de San Juan. When Ivan Basso told me about the project I gave him an immediate yes. The EOLO-KOMETA is a very motivating proposal and I arrive at a very good time and age to make a definitive jump in my career. I’m a fairly complete rider, with good speed and able to pass the climb, but I’m also a team rider, always ready to work for the team,” he explains.
Davide Bais (1998) makes the jump from Team Friuli after a very interesting performance in the last Giro d’Italia U23. In his case, the rider from Nogaredo signs for the next two seasons.
“I am really very happy for this opportunity from the very moment Ivan Basso contacted my representative. It is a project that I like very much. I have been able to know the team well this season, competing against them. From the outside it is a very well organised structure, very strong, with a good atmosphere. I arrive with a lot of illusion, my great objective is to learn a lot, to grow sportily and of course to help the team. My dream? To participate in the Giro d’Italia.”
Clarke, Claeys and Frankiny to Boost Team Qhubeka ASSOS
A trio of top signings have been announced to ride for Africa’s only UCI-registered WorldTour outfit, Team Qhubeka ASSOS, as the team continues to build an exciting roster for 2021.
Australia’s Simon Clarke will bring excellent leadership and boost the performance goals in our team for the coming season. The 34-year-old Australian has an impressive palmarès, mixing excellent ability as a road captain while also able to challenge for his own opportunities for success.
The double Vuelta a Espana stage-winner, who also won the Herald Sun Tour in 2014, raced to an impressive victory at the Royal Bernard Drome Classic in 2020, while also taking two top-5 stage finishes at the Giro d’Italia. He joins the team looking to build yet further on that success in 2021.
His signing will be complemented by the experience of Belgian Dimitri Claeys, who will look to operate as significant player in our team’s Classics aspirations. The multi-talented man from Ghent was an impressive sixth at the Tour of Flanders in 2020 and will form a key part of a group that includes Giacomo Nizzolo and Max Walscheid, among others, as we fight for results.
The exciting Swiss talent Kilian Frankiny had a very strong 2020 highlighted by two top-5 stage finishes at the Giro d’Italia. The 26-year-old has excellent climbing abilities and will be looking to take the next step up in his career, while also riding in support of our team’s general classification aspirations in the biggest races.
Simon Clarke: “I’m really thrilled to be taking on a new challenge with Team Qhubeka ASSOS. In one way, this is a sort of homecoming in that my father is South African and I’ve always felt some sort of deeper interest and pull towards the team. The opportunity to find out more and contribute to the amazing work that the Qhubeka Charity does is truly unique, and the South African side of my family is already pushing me to ensure that I get the pronunciation correct – so I have some work to do! 2020 has been a strange and difficult year for everyone but a highlight without doubt was my victory at Royal Bernard Drome on a day in really tough conditions. I really look forward to bringing those capabilities, as well as my leadership qualities, into the team and look forward to making it a very special year for us all. There’s already a strong core group in place and no doubt with further additions to come we’ll be competitive wherever we race. Finally, my wife is from the area very close to where ASSOS are based and so I’ve come to know some of the people involved over the years. They are a fantastic product and to have them as a key role player is going to be great.”
Dimitri Claeys “I am very honoured to ride for Team Qhubeka ASSOS next season. 2020 was a strange season for all of us but my performance at Flanders, in particular, was very pleasing for me and I look forward to reproducing more performances like that next season. This team has a very special history, over a relatively short period of time, which I now look forward to not only add to but to play a part in creating the next chapter of that journey.”
Kilian Frankiny: “I’m very excited to start 2021 with my new team, Team Qhubeka ASSOS. I can’t wait to find out more about the Charity as I think it’s a great thing to distribute bicycles to help. I’m really looking forward to racing; a new challenge and adventures with a team that has set itself some lofty goals for the season ahead. It’s also very nice to have two Swiss brands on board in ASSOS and BMC. I know these brands already and they are exceptional, and with me being Swiss I’m really excited to go back to these two brands. I hope to, and will, give my absolute very best to fulfil the goals of the team to achieve good results and to perform at my very best in order for us to be a great team in 2021.”
Lars Michaelsen – Head Sports Director: “We are delighted to have Simon join us. He is an experienced rider who has a very strong ability in how to “read” a race. We expect Simon both to be an important team player and to fight for top results when at his best. Moreover, having a background as a track rider Simon will also be able to contribute when lead-outs are required to set up in races where he will ride in support of our sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo. He’s a great acquisition and one that we are very pleased with. Kilian will have the opportunity with our team to showcase his climbing skills as well as being a strong support to our designated leader in our general classification aspirations. This means that he will give us Team Qhubeka ASSOS a card to play in the medium and high mountains which will be very important. Dimitri shares his passion with a style of racing that I loved so much and will be hugely important in our ambitions in the Classics. A tough customer who showed this year at the Tour of Flanders that he was able to be among the lead group in the finale, we look forward to him bringing those sorts of performances to our team together with his experience to share among our group of riders.”
Groupama-FDJ Set for 2021
Groupama-FDJ is ready for next season. The French team of Thibaut Pinot and Arnaud Démare will start the new year with thirty riders, including four newcomers.
Groupama-FDJ released the team roster on social media on Wednesday. In the row of thirty names are also four newcomers who will join the team. Lars van den Berg and Clément Davy come over from the training team, Matteo Badilatti leaves Israel Start-Up Nation for a new French adventure and Attila Valter comes from CCC.
Three riders have said goodbye. Marc Sarreau will join AG2R-Citroën, Kilian Frankiny will join Qhubeka-Assos, the successor of NTT Pro Cycling, after the winter. For Léo Vincent there was no longer a place in the team. The French rider decided to return to the amateurs.
Groupama-FDJ team for 2021:
Bruno Armirail, Matteo Badilatti, Lars van den Berg, William Bonnet, Alexys Brunel, Clément Davy, Mickaël Delage, Arnaud Démare, Antoine Duchesne, David Gaudu, Kevin Enjoyed, Jacopo Guarnieri, Simon Guglielmi, Ignatas Konovalovas, Stefan Küng, Matthieu Ladagnous, Olivier Le Gac, Fabian Lienhard, Tobias Ludvigsson, Valentin Madouas, Rudy Molard, Thibaut Pinot, Sébastien Reichenbach, Anthony Roux, Miles Scotson, Romain Seigle, Ramon Sinkeldam, Jake Stewart, Benjamin Thomas and Attila Valter.
French champion, Arnaud Démare with a strong team for 2021:
Joris Nieuwenhuis Starts 2020-2021 Cyclocross Season in December
After a promising 2020 on the road for Team Sunweb’s Joris Nieuwenhuis which included his debut at the Tour de France and an impressive third place at Paris-Tours, the former U23 World Champion returns to cyclocross this winter. Last year saw Nieuwenhuis pick up consistent results throughout the season as he made the step up to the elite ranks, with second place in Woerden and a bronze medal at the Dutch national championships his season highlights. This winter, Nieuwenhuis hopes to build on last year and pick up more strong results.
Nieuwenhuis said: “I’m looking forward to the cyclocross season again. After a successful season on the road I’m getting ready for some mud this winter. After taking a break off the bike once the road season was finished, I have started specific cyclocross training again and I’m excited to do my first races in December. The main focus will be in January, with the national and world championships. I want to be in my best form for that so we will use a good training and racing period to build up to those goals. I’m really looking forward to getting underway with the season and I’m pleased it can go ahead in such times.”
Team Sunweb head of coaching Rudi Kemna added: “With a long and solid road season behind him, and some really nice results, Joris will use December to get back into the racing rhythm and continue to improve towards the two big championships in January.Due to the long road season, we formulated a program that gave him adequate time for rest so he starts his season a little later in December. We are confident that with a solid training block in the run up to his season debut, Joris will have a good base to build upon in the run up to his main goals in January.”
Boom Superprestige – 06/12/2020
Scheldecross Trofee – 12/12/2020
Gavere Superprestige – 13/12/2020
Namur World Cup – 20/12/2020
Heusden-Zolder Superprestige – 26/12/2020
Dendermonde World Cup – 27/12/2020
DS Willems Going to Alpecin-Fenix
Frederik Willems will be sports director at Alpecin-Fenix next season. After six years in the team car, the former rider leaves Lotto Soudal, where his contract was not renewed.
Het Nieuwsblad announced Willems’ new team. The switch is not yet official, but will be completed in the coming days. The Belgian, who turned 41 in September, will provide the necessary experience and course knowledge in the Flemish Classics. Because of his past with the Liquigas team, he is also familiar with Italian racing. He will work closely with sports manager Christoph Roodhooft.
Last month, it was announced that Willems’ contract was not renewed due to savings at Lotto Soudal. He was in his sixth season as a sports director with the team. Before that, he raced for four years as a professional for the team. Before that he raced for Liquigas and Chocolate Jacques.
Frederik Willems with Kevin De Weert at team training camp in Spain 2019:
Bardiani CSF Faizanè is Now Interested in Aru
Fabio Aru has still to announce his new team for 2021, but according to Italian media, a transfer to Bardiani CSF Faizanè is the new possibility. The Italian team is the next to be interested in the 2015 Vuelta winner. The 30-year-old Aru has had a disappointing season, but the climber does not seem to have to worry about his future. If we are to believe the rumours, Aru can also count on interest from Qhubeka ASSOS, Vini Zabù-Brado-KTM and Gazprom-RusVelo, among others…
“I am in contact with different teams, but I’ll take the time to make a good decision. I want to make the decision without pressure. I want to go to a team where I feel the confidence,” Aru said earlier. “I will announce my new team at the end of November.”
Bardiani CSF Faizanè has already signed ten riders for the coming season: Enrico Battaglin, Kevin Rivera, Giovanni Visconti, Davide Gabburo, Andrea Garosio, Johnatan Cañaveral, Umberto Marengo, Tomas Trainini, Enrico Zanoncello and Samuele Zoccarato.
Which team for Aru?
Vermote Looking for a New Team
Julien Vermote is still uncertain about next season. His contract with Cofidis has not been renewed after a year and a new team has not yet been found.
After two seasons at Dimension Data, Vermote moved to Cofidis last winter, where he hoped on the one hand for a free role and on the other hand wanted to help the leaders Elia Viviani and Christophe Laporte. “The results were not good. Elia did not win and that was the biggest problem in the team,” the Belgian rider told the Flemish Focus-WTV. “It was an exceptional year. Of course you will be quickly judged for that.”
Vermote felt ready for the season after an altitude training camp, but soon the season went into lockdown. “That’s life, isn’t it? Someone who had to close their restaurant has not benefited either. After that, the team did not really get going. I thought I was fine at the end of August, beginning of September. But after that there was not much more; the Belgian championships, the BinckBank Tour and the classics. They weren’t that good, but I could feel how things were going in the team.”
After ten seasons in the professional peloton, he does not think about quitting. He thinks he can still be of value in the service of a team. “It’s still the teams that have to offer a contract, but I really want to keep cycling. I have no certainty at this point, but I am confident that it will be okay. I am sure I still have my place, even at the highest level.”
Julien Vermote in a Tour’18 break:
Vital Concept Leaving the B&B Hotels team
Vital Concept has withdrawn as co-sponsor of the B&B Hotels-Vital Concept team. Team manager Jérôme Pineau confirmed to Ouest France that B&B Hotels remains the main sponsor of the ProTeam.
Since the team’s inception in 2018, Vital Concept has been one of the driving forces behind the Pineau squad, but the company has decided to reduce its investment due to the corona crisis. The team budget is said to go from two million euros to €300,000.
“I was afraid that the team would collapse,” said Pineau. “In a time like this, we are in any case afraid of the economic model of cycling. We depend on sponsorship and it is very random. We don’t know what season we’re going into, we don’t have a fixed location, we don’t have stadiums, we don’t have TV rights. That is very difficult.”
The bottom the line; Pineau has to make do with a budget that is 15% to 20% lower in 2021. “The team will be called B&B Hotels, but if a company is looking for a team to become a co-sponsor, then our door is wide open,” laughed the team manager of Bryan Coquard and Pierre Rolland. “But behind that we have a strong club of entrepreneurs. We have been working on that in recent weeks. A few partners have invested more and we have also found a number of new partners.”
Just B&B Hotels in 2021:
Arkéa-Samsic Continues to Believe in Quintana’s Innocence
The preliminary investigation into possible doping use within Arkéa-Samsic is still ongoing. Team boss, Emmanuel Hubert says he has no doubts about the integrity of Nairo Quintana and his brother Dayer, he told the newspaper Ouest-France, speaking about the case for the first time since the end of September. The two can count on the support of Hubert: “Unless something has been proven.”
During the last weeks of the Tour, suspicious substances were found during a search of the Arkéa-Samsic hotel. The Quintana brothers, targeted by the French authorities, are free to race pending further investigation. In a statement, Nairo Quintana indicated that he is cooperating with the investigation until the situation is clarified. He emphatically denied having ever used doping.
Authorities are currently not saying anything about the case, leaving Hubert currently in the dark. “I have no doubts, but I have no facts either. I don’t really know anything at all.” Until proven otherwise, Hubert says he believes in the innocence of his riders. As far as he is concerned, the two will ride in his team next year: “Unless something has been proven.”
Hubert considers the chance of this happening to be small. “If he should have been charged, it probably would have already happened.” Hubert also indicates that he hopes that the matter will soon be clarified: “But such a preliminary investigation can sometimes take months …”
In the interview, Hubert spoke further about other riders within his team. He was satisfied with Nacer Bouhanni’s first year, who won four times: “In my opinion, he had a good season. He is racing at 90% of his ability again. I am sure he will have an even better season next year. As far as I’m concerned, he will be at the start of the Tour de France next year.”
Finally, Hubert also believes in a good overall place for Warren Barguil in the Tour de France. “Why not? I believe in it. He has the qualities for it. If he wants to go for a classification, we will help him with that.”
Nairo Quintana innocent:
Rossi Acquitted in Doping Case
Good news for Enrico Rossi. The ex-cyclist has been acquitted after ten years of distributing doping products. Rossi, now 38, was arrested by the Italian police in 2010, as he was seen as the ‘main man’ in a doping network.
Rossi, who has always maintained his innocence, was arrested in September 2010 for distributing doping products. The case involved a network of 35 people, including six professional cyclists, trainers, doctors, a pharmacist and sister Vania Rossi. The police carried out more than 40 house searches.
For operation ‘Cobra-Red’, the police went to the house of Riccardo Riccò, then a teammate of Rossi at Ceramica Flaminia and his brother-in-law. Rossi was seen as the most important link in the doping network, but the Rimini court has finally acquitted the former sprinter after a long trial. Rossi was without a team in the winter of 2010, but managed to find a contract for the 2012 season with Meridiana Kamen. He eventually raced two more years for the Croatian team and in 2014 he rode another season for Christina Watches-Kuma, but then put an end to his career.
Rossi won the Memorial Marco Pantani, Dwars door Drenthe and stages in the Tour of Slovenia, the Giro di Padania and the Circuit de la Sarthe. He finished eighth in Milan-San Remo, won by Mark Cavendish.
Enrico Rossi innocent:
Doping Case Against Doctor Schmidt Extended by More Than Six Months
A verdict in the lawsuit against the German sports doctor Mark Schmidt is still pending. Originally, the last hearing was to take place on Monday December 21, but the Munich court will need until at least mid-June.
The case against Dr. Schmidt, who is seen as the key figure in the doping affair ‘Operation Aderlass’, was already delayed in October, after three suspects and a lawyer had to be quarantined due to infections by the corona virus. As a result, three hearings had to be canceled.
At the end of September, Schmidt confessed to having provided athletes with doping since 2012. This mainly concerned winter sports enthusiasts and cyclists. The German doctor stated that he had never been out for personal gain. Schmidt also emphasised that he never endangered the health of the affected athletes.
Broken Collarbone and Ribs for Chérel
While on a training ride in the south of France, Mikaël Chérel suffered a crash that was caused by a dog who had escaped from its owner. Chérel sustained a major trauma to his right shoulder resulting in a fracture at both ends of the collarbone, as well as three broken ribs. He also suffers from a pneumothorax which will require him to stay overnight for observation, Dr. Eric Bouvat, the head doctor for the AG2R LA MONDIALE team, explained.
It is currently unknown for how long he will be off the bike.
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