Wout van Aert has been in the news this week, winning his court case and having a recce of the Roubaix cobbles – Top Story. A fun packed EUROTRASH Thursday with loads of cycling news: Astana change bikes, Aru unhappy, more rider contracts, but no contracts for three Roompot riders, full team line-ups for CCC, Cofidis and Androni, bus for Metek, Saint-Étienne wants Grand Départ, Ganna wants Olympic gold, race news and Floris Gerts goes back to club level racing.
TOP STORY: Wout van Aert Acquitted
The Court of Mechelen ruled in favour of Wout van Aert. The Jumbo-Visma rider has not committed an unlawful breach of contract. Nick Nuyens, who had filed the lawsuit, has to pay the legal costs.
Van Aert broke his contract at the end of last year with Véranda’s Willems-Crelan, the team ran by Nuyens. The manager then went to court for abuse of dismissal law. Nuyens then demanded compensation of 1.1 million euros from Van Aert.
On Tuesday, the court in Mechelen ruled that there were indeed urgent dismissal reasons for Van Aert, whereby he was acquitted. Nuyens must now pay the legal costs. Nuyens can still appeal to the Labour Court in Antwerp. If Van Aert is acquitted again, Nuyens can still go to a court of cassation.
Walter Van Steenbrugge, Wout van Aert’s lawyer, was able to give the good news to his client on Tuesday. “We had expected this statement,” says Van Steenbrugge. “Wout was naturally very relieved. He can now find mental peace and fully concentrate on his sport. Cycling is not just a sport, but also because of the medical aspect, a sport where there must be trust between employer and employee. That was no longer the case here,” Van Steenbrugge told Het Nieuwsblad. Because the Nuyens camp can still appeal, there is no celebration yet in the Van Aert camp. Yet there is relief: “You’d rather start a job like that with a minute ahead than a minute behind.”
Wout van Aert responded to his acquittal on Twitter: “Justice has been done,” said the rider. “What a relief! It gives me a huge boost to be able to continue working on my comeback and to be able to concentrate 100% on this. I would like to thank everyone who supported me.”
Nick Nuyens does not agree with the judgment of the court in Mechelen, which acquitted Wout van Aert on Tuesday of committing an unlawful breach of contract. “The verdict is based on one witness statement from Niels Albert, who turned up in the course of the trial,” Rudi Desmets, lawyer for Nuyens, explained to Het Laatste Nieuws. “We have four witness statements that confirm that it was impossible to work with Wout van Aert. We do not understand why those witness statements have not been retained.” The Nuyens camp will appeal to the Labour Court in Antwerp.
Wout Van Aert and Nick Nuyens at the presentation of the Véranda’s Willems-Crelan team in 2016:
Jumbo-Visma Recon the Paris-Roubaix Cobbles
Paris-Roubaix is still a long time away, but the Jumbo-Visma team were taking a close took at the cobbles on Wednesday. Among them was Mike Teunissen and Wout van Aert, the top men in the team’s 2019 results.
Teunissen and Van Aert had the company of Amund Grøndahl Jansen and Maarten Wynants on their exploration. They checked-out many of the cobbled sections, including the Carrefour de l’Arbre. Because of the rain the cobblestones were wet and Bianchi team bikes soon got dirty. A few staff members were also present during the reconnaissance, including DS Jan Boven.
It was particularly good to see Van Aert in the road again. Van Aert hasn’t raced since his crash in the Tour four months ago, but he is currently working hard on his return. He was also seen training on the beach at Sint-Anneke near Antwerp. In the last edition of the ‘Hell of the North’ things didn’t go well, there was bad luck with his equipment and a crash ruined any chance he had.
Astana Pro Team and Argon 18 End Partnership
The only Kazakh WorldTour squad Astana Pro Team would like to confirm the end of partnership with the Canadian road bike manufacturer Argon 18, which started in January 2017. The partnership has been ended by the mutual agreement as both, the team and the bike manufacturer have decided to continue their adventure in the world of professional cycling separately.
“It was a great pleasure and honour for us to work with Argon 18. We have spent three fantastic years, full of success and high sports achievements. I would like to thank Argon 18 for the sponsorship, support and contribution to the development of Astana Pro Team. After these three years of close collaboration we part as good friends. I wish Argon 18 all the best in the future and I am sure that the company with see more beautiful successes in their current new projects,” said Alexandr Vinokurov, general manager of Astana Pro Team.
Together with Argon 18, Astana Pro Team had three very successful seasons, scoring 85 victories (including Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2019, Critérium du Dauphiné 2017 & 2019, Amstel Gold Race 2018, Itzulia Basque Country 2019, Volta a Catalunya 2019 and 11 Grand-tour stages) and 141 podium places in the most prestigious races around the world (including the podiums of the Giro d’Italia 2018 and the Vuelta a Espana 2018).
“These last three seasons have been marked by multiple race wins and the launch of new products developed in collaboration with the team and tested by Astana Pro Team riders on the most demanding WorldTour circuits. We take great pride in the work accomplished throughout this sponsorship. A pride validated by the many positive comments from riders, mechanics and other Astana Pro Team staff regarding the quality of the products and support Argon 18 has provided them. In this sense, we can say: mission accomplished,” says Martin Le Sauteur, president and CEO of Argon 18.
Fabio Aru: Not Happy with the Critics
2020 will be the year of truth for Fabio Aru, according to Emirates UAE director Mauro Gianetti. Aru himself reluctantly looks back on 2018 and 2019. “I am convinced that I lost two years,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“According to many experts, I will never return to the level that I could win the Vuelta, or the level at which I was second in the Giro and wore the yellow jersey in the Tour,” said Aru. “I would like them to come into my face to say in assessing whether they are actually aware of what happened to me. Of course I have had a long, negative period. I am most unhappy about that, but I had the motivation.”
It isn’t Aru’s own fault, the two ‘lost’ years. Now that he is picking up again, he sees it perspective. “I know I can go back to my old level. I want to fight again for the goals I set, I want to make a difference and silence the critics. I know I have the legs to be among the best,” said the Sardinian.
A pinched artery vein caused problems for Aru last spring. After surgery he recovered in time for the Tour de France, where he surprised with a 14th place overall. Then he failed in the Vuelta a España. “In retrospect that was perhaps too much, but it is now easy to talk. I still notice the effects of the virus that caught me in Spain. I can now go outside for a maximum of two hours. From January I can fully train again,” Aru explained.
In recent years there has been a new generation coming through, the leader of UAE Team Emirates does not see this as a threat. “I fear no one, because I had to compete against riders like Alberto Contador and Chris Froome at their best in the past,” said Aru. Tadej Pogačar has been one of the rising stars. “He is really very strong. We can have a lot of fun together.”
Better luck in 2020 for Fabio Aru?
Three Roompot-Charles Riders Still Without a Team
Only three Roompot-Charles riders are still looking for a team for next year. Huub Duijn and Sjoerd van Ginneken have retired, fifteen of the eighteen riders from the 2019 selection know where they stand for 2020.
Good news may be forthcoming from the 33 year-old Lars Boom, but the experienced Classic specialist has not yet officially said anything. “It is not easy to find a road team. I’m working on something nice, but can’t say anything about it now,” he said after a beach race last weekend. That is one of the disciplines that Boom is focusing on this winter, alongside some mountain bike competitions. The ex-cyclocross World champion, who turns 34 at the end of December, is one of three riders who still does not have a professional contract for 2020.
For Pieter Weening there is still no team. However, the 38-year-old climber does not want to stop yet, he said in an interview with WielerFlits. “I am in no hurry to announce such a thing. Take it easy,” he said in early November. “If I still like something, I definitely want to cycle for another year. If that still occurs at the end of this month or even in December, that is fine for me too. I therefore keep all options open.”
After one season with Roompot-Charles, Mathias De Witte now has no team. The 26-year-old rider has been on the sidelines since July due to a broken ankle and nose. For the former rider of Veranda’s Willems-Crélan and Cibel-Cebon, a professional contract for 2020 seems out of the question at the moment.
In recent weeks it became clearer about the future of the riders who had contracts with Roompot-Charles in 2019. Two of them have decided to stop: Huub Duijn and Sjoerd van Ginneken. Stijn Steels (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) is the only one who moves up to the WorldTour, the rest stay at ProContinental level or drop to a continental team.
Roompot-Charles riders still without a team for 2020
Mathias De Witte
Roompot-Charles riders with a team for 2020
Stijn Steels – Deceuninck – Quick-Step
Senne Leysen – Corendon Circus
Oscar Riesebeek – Corendon Circus
Nick van der Lijke – Riwal-Readynez
Elmar Reinders – Riwal-Readynez
Arjen Livyns – Wallonie-Bruxelles
Sean De Bie – Wallonie-Bruxelles
Maurits Lammertink – Wanty-Gobert
Boy van Poppel – Wanty-Gobert
Jesper Asselman – Metec-TKH
Jan-Willem van Schip – BEAT Cycling Club
Justin Timmermans – VolkerWessels-Merckx
Michael Van Staeyen – Tarteletto Isorex
Huub Duijn – Retired
Sjoerd van Ginneken – Retired.
Stijn Steels off to Deceuninck – Quick-Step:
Israel Cycling Academy Confirms Transfer of Nils Politt
As expected, Nils Politt had made the switch to the Israel Cycling Academy team. Although the transfer had been in the air for some time, the transfer was not announced until Tuesday. Politt will play a leading role in the spring classics with the new WorldTour team.
The German is satisfied with his one-year contract: “It is clear that the circumstances were difficult for the Katusha-Alpecin riders, but I am happy that there is now a clear situation. I am very happy to be part of the Israel Cycling Academy now and I look forward to getting involved in this project.”
The 25-year-old Politt was one of the spring Classics’ revelations in 2019, with Philippe Gilbert in Paris-Roubaix finishing second. “Last year we missed a lot of experience at Katusha-Alpecin, but here I can learn a lot about racing in the Classics. With André Greipel and the other strong riders in the team, I think we can achieve exceptionally good results.”
Kjell Carlström, manager of Israel Cycling Academy, is looking forward to welcoming Politt to the team. “He has proven to be able to participate in the prizes in the Classics. I therefore think he is a valuable addition to the team. We will therefore build the team around him.”
Second to Philippe Gilbert in Roubaix:
Norsgaard Signs with Movistar Team, Prades Extends
22-year-old Dane, 4th in the 2019 U23 ITT Worlds and bronze medalist in 2018, adds his impressive physical abilities and talent to the Blues. Edu, Vuelta Aragón winner + stage victor in Provence, to continue offering his all-around strength to the Telefónica-backed squad.
The Movistar Team announced Tuesday that Mathias Norsgaard (Silkeborg, DEN; 1997), a current member of the Danish ProConti squad Riwal Readynez, will be riding in 2020 for the men’s outfit managed by Eusebio Unzué, which will also feature Edu Prades (Alcanar, Tarragona, ESP; 1987), who has signed an extension with the Blues.
World Championships Innsbruck 2018 Under 23 Time Trial – Mathias Norsgaard Jorgensen
Norsgaard (over 2,00m) will be the tallest ever rider to be part of the Abarca Sports organisation, a powerful asset for flat courses and most importantly time trials. Bronze medalist in the 2018 U23 ITT Worlds in Innsbruck, he finished 4th last September at the Yorkshire time trial, as well as national champ in 2018, Norsgaard also claimed the win at last August’s stage one of the Tour de l’Avenir, with a 120km breakaway he capped off with an excellent, final 30km solo.
Norsgaard, the Movistar Team’s 12th signing for next year, will be no less than the eighth member of the 2020 Movistar Team roster aged 23 years or under, joining Gabriel Cullaigh, Iñigo Elosegui, Juan Diego Alba, Einer Rubio, Johan Jacobs, Juri Hollmann and Matteo Jorgenson.
In turn, Prades has been one of the most remarkable performers for the Telefónica-backed squad in 2019, his maiden season in the WorldTour, with two victories: the overall classification of the Vuelta a Aragón, conquered in the last day of racing after regular results over all three stages, and a stage of the Tour de la Provence. The Catalan also finished 2nd at a stage of the Tour de Pologne and 3rd in the Klasika Primavera de Amorebieta.
Edu Prades on the Aragon podium:
Astana Pro Team Extends with Artyom Zakharov
The Kazakh rider Artyom Zakharov will continue representing the Astana colours in the upcoming season of 2020. The appropriate agreement between the team and the rider has been signed recently.
“First of all, I’d like to thank our general manager Alexandr Vinokurov for support and trust in me as professional rider. During all these years I was happy to give my all helping my teammates to win races and it is a big pleasure that in many races I was taking part our leaders won or reached the podium. And I can say that I am ready to continue helping the team in reaching important goals. Of course, I’d like to get my personal results too and I hope in the upcoming season I will have a few chances to show myself. The Olympic Games is the biggest goal and dream for any athlete, and I am doing my best to qualify for Tokyo. It is very important for me to stay in Astana Pro Team during the Olympic year because the team provides me with all the best conditions to train and to prepare for the Games. I would like to thank Samruk-Kazyna for a great support during these years,” said Artyom Zakharov.
Artyom Zakharov (28 years old) is a track specialist and the Olympic hope of Kazakhstan. These weeks Zakharov is fighting on for the ranking points in omnium, trying to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Ahead of the decisive World Cup stages in Hong Kong, Cambridge (New Zeeland) and Brisbane (Australia) Artyom Zakharov is sitting on the 7th place in the UCI Men Elite Omnium ranking.
Zakharov has joined Astana Pro Team in 2016 as a trainee and later, in January 2017 as a full-contract rider. Alongside the multiple successes in track competitions, he had some good results on the road. Thus, in 2017 Zakharov won the road race of the Kazakhstan National Championships, while in 2019 together with the national team he won the gold medal in the team time trial at the Asian Cycling Championships. Besides, this year Artyom did some good job for team’s leaders: at the Tour of Oman he helped Alexey Lutsenko to win the general classification, at the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Zakharov supported Merhawi Kudus to reach the final podium, while at the Tour of Almaty he was next to Yuriy Natarov, who became the overall winner.
“Artyom is a good and loyal rider, who is always ready to support team’s leader. Of course, in this moment of the year his main goal is to win the Olympic license in omnium and this is very important and for our team and for Kazakhstan. Zakharov will have a busy December with three World Cup stages and we hope he can do well in these competitions. He is 7th in the omnium ranking and this is a good point. For sure, he will be very useful for our team during the next season in the road races as well, so I am happy he is staying in Astana,” said Alexandr Vinokurov, general manager of Astana Pro Team.
Hungarian Time Trial Champion Attila Valter Completes CCC Team’s 2020 Roster
Hungarian time trial champion Attila Valter will turn professional with CCC Team in 2020 after a standout debut with CCC Development Team in 2019, which has secured the 21-year-old a WorldTour contract.
Valter, who claimed an impressive win on stage nine of the Tour de l’Avenir and took fourth place at Il Piccolo Lombardia, is the final addition to CCC Team’s 28-rider roster.
“Attila Valter is a rider with enormous potential and we are looking forward to welcoming him to CCC Team where he will have the chance to continue his development as rider. Despite his youth and relative inexperience, Attila has demonstrated his skill and abilities on the bike at the U23 level and we believe he has a big career ahead of him. For this reason, we have decided to graduate Attila from CCC Development Team to the WorldTour team for the 2020 season and accelerate his progression,” CCC Team General Manager Jim Ochowicz said. “Attila’s win at the Tour de l’Avenir was an indication of what he can do and with his climbing and time trialing versatility, Attila already has an excellent foundation on which we will build with the expertise of our performance team. It is particularly exciting to welcome a Hungarian cyclist to CCC team in 2020, a historic year for cycling in Hungary with the start of the Giro d’Italia in Budapest. Hungary is also an important market for our title sponsor, CCC, so we are excited to see Attila stay with CCC-sponsored teams.”
Attila Valter is excited to make the step up to the WorldTour as a neo professional and learn from the experienced riders at CCC Team. “Of course, this is a dream come true for me. Stepping up to the WorldTour after just one season with CCC Development Team makes me extra happy and motivated, because it means I’m taking the “steps” fast , which is always a goal for me. Not only the fact that I will be riding at the highest level, but the fact that I will ride and learn alongside riders like Greg Van Avermaet, Matteo Trentin and Ilnur Zakarin is something I can hardly believe,” Valter explained.
“I want to keep progressing in the following years and I hope I can achieve something great with CCC Team in the 2020 season already. I hope to have a consistent season and do my maximum in every race. At this stage, my friend Barnabas Peak and I will be the only Hungarian riders in the WorldTour level, so it’s something I can be really proud of. I believe that next year with the Giro d’Italia starting in my country, the cycling culture will change and Hungary will have a bright cycling future ahead.”
Valter joins teammates Michał Paluta and Kamil Małecki from CCC Development Team in CCC Team’s 2020 roster, as well as new recruits Matteo Trentin, Ilnur Zakarin, Fausto Masnada, Jan Hirt, Pavel Kochetkov, and Georg Zimmermann.
CCC Team in 2020:
Will Barta (USA), Patrick Bevin (NZ), Josef Černý (CZE), Víctor de la Parte (ESP), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Simon Geschke (GER), Kamil Gradek (POL), Jan Hirt (CZE), Jonas Koch (GER), Pavel Kochetkov (RUS), Jakub Mareczko (ITA), Fausto Masnada (ITA), Kamil Małecki (POL), Michał Paluta (POL), Serge Pauwels (BEL), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Szymon Sajnok (POL), Michael Schär (SUI), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Attila Valter (HUN), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Gijs Van Hoecke (BEL), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL), Francisco Ventoso (ESP), Łukasz Wiśniowski (POL), Ilnur Zakarin (RUS), Georg Zimmermann (GER).
A Balanced Cofidis Team for 2020
Cofidis is finished with the transfer market. The team announced that next year 28 riders will ride for the French cycling team, including the new sprint leader Elia Viviani.
In addition to the fast finishing Italian, the team has also been strengthened with Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert), Fernando Barcelo (Euskadi-Murias), Piet Allegaert (Sport Flanders-Baloise) and Julien Vermote (Dimension Data). A mix of young talent and experience. “We have a balanced team,” said team boss Cédric Vasseur.
“We have tried to add new WorldTour level talent to our team in order to reinforce our ambitions.” A new name stands out head and shoulders: “We are very proud that we have been able to attract Viviani. He has proven himself to be one of the best sprinters in the world.”
Vasseur is very happy with the arrival of the Italian winner, but he does not forget to discuss the other riders. “Guillaume Martin is steadily developing in stage races and he will also be an important rider. We also rely on experienced riders such as Cyril Lemoine, Nathan Haas and Julien Vermote. They will have their share in our victories and in supporting the young talents Fernando Barcélo, Eddy Finé, Victor Lafay, Emmanuel Morin and Attilio Viviani.”
The first team training camp will take place in Calpe in December. In January the team will be battling on three fronts: The Tour Down Under, La Tropicale Amissa Bongo and the Tour of San Juan.
Cofidis team for 2020:
Piet Allegaert (Bel), Fernando Barceló (Spa), Natnael Berhane (Ert), Dimitri Claeys (Bel), Simone Consonni (Ita), Nicolas Edet (Fra), Eddy Finé (Fra), Nathan Haas (Aus), Jesper Hansen (Fra), José Herrada (Spa), Jesús Herrada (Spa), Victor Lafay (Fra), Christophe Laporte (Fra), Cyril Lemoine (Fra), Mathias Le Turnier (Fra), Guillaume Martin (Fra), Luis Angel Maté (Spa), Marco Mathis (Ger), Emmanuel Morin (Fra), Anthony Pérez (Fra), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra), Stéphane Rossetto (Fra), Fabio Sabatini (Ita), Damien Touzé (Fra), Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel), Julien Vermote (Bel), Attilio Viviani (Ita), Elia Viviani (Ita).
Big win for Cofidis in 2019 – Jesus Herrada Vuelta España stage 6 in Ares del Maestrat:
Chirico and Pacioni Completes the Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 2020 line-Up
Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec has completed its selection for the upcoming season. The team loses strong-men such as Mattia Cattaneo, Andrea Vendrame and Fausto Masnada, but Gianni Savio recently secured the signatures of Luca Chirico and Luca Pacioni. That completes the 2020 line-up.
Last season the 26-year-old Pacioni rode with Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM, he had been with Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec in 2016 and 2017. Chirico is also no stranger as he raced for the team in 2018. At the time, he had his contract cancelled due to not being selected for the Giro.
The team had no fewer than 32 victories last year. A lot of victories were taken in faraway countries, but the Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec team won several times in Italy. The highlight was undoubtedly stage 6 of the Giro d’Italia. Fausto Masnada, who will be with CCC next season, won the stage to San Giovanni Rotondo. Next year, the team hopes to participate in the Tour of Italy again. The last few days the team met for the first time in Cesenatico. All the riders were present except for the South Americans.
Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec for 2020:
Nicola Bagioli (Ita), Mattia Bais (Ita), Manuel Belletti (Ita), Alessandro Bisolti (Ita), Jefferson Cepeda (Ecu), Luca Chirico (Ita), Mattia Frapporti (Ita), Miguel Florez (Col), Davide Gabburo (Ita), Francesco Gavazzi (Ita), Daniel Muñoz (Col), Luca Pacioni (Ita), Simon Pellaud (Sui), Simone Ravanelli (Ita), Jonathan Restrepo (Col), Kevin Rivera (Costa Rica), Josip Rumac (Cro), Matteo Spreafico (Ita), Nicola Venchiarutti (Ita), Mattia Viel (Ita).
Giro’19 stage 6 winner Fausto Masnada:
Hayter Joins Team INEOS
Team INEOS are excited to announce the signing of versatile British rider Ethan Hayter on a three-year contract. Widely regarded as one of the brightest young talents in British cycling, the 21 year old has enjoyed a successful 2019 season on the track and road and becomes the latest young prospect to join the team in 2020.
On the road, Hayter enjoyed stage victories at the Baby Giro and Tour de l’Avenir as well as overall victory at A Travers les Hauts de France at under 23 level, while on the track the London-born rider won national titles in the Omnium and Scratch races as well as silver in the madison at the Track World Cup in Glasgow. A World and European title holder on the track, he will spend the start of the season preparing for the Tokyo Olympics before shifting his focus to the road – and he believes Team INEOS is the ideal place for him to develop in 2020 and beyond.
He said: “It’s the best place for me to begin my career as a professional road rider and the best place for me to be with the Olympics coming up next year too. This team has lots of riders for me to take inspiration from and there’s so much young talent in the team as this season has shown. As well as Egan, Pavel and Tao receiving chances at the Grand Tours, there’s other young riders such as Chris Lawless – who was someone I was racing against at under 23 level not long ago – winning Tour de Yorkshire, so there’s plenty of different paths to follow.”
And while the majority of his victories have been in bunch sprints, Hayter believes he has a well-rounded base which he will be looking to develop in his time with the team. He added: “The Baby Giro and Tour de l’Avenir are the biggest races at Under 23 level and I won stages in both of them so that was a massive confidence boost heading into the new season. At the Baby Giro I was sixth on one of the mountain stages so I was right up there on the climbs and the sprints, so I will have to discover which type of race suits me best. It means I can look at most race profiles and still have a go.”
Hayter joined the team in September 2018 as a stagiaire, playing a key support role in Gianni Moscon’s victories at Coppa Agostoni and Giro della Toscana and he revealed these races provided him with valuable insight into how the team prepares for races. He added: “When I was a stagiaire last season for a part of the 2018 Italian block, the experience helped me understand how the team works and gave me an idea of what the team are about. In the races I rode in, Gianni Moscon was flying and it was great to be a part of his victories.”
Team INEOS Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “Ethan is an exciting, young rider who has already had significant success at a more junior level. His signing is a further commitment to our long term-future as Team INEOS. We now have a really exciting group of young riders who all have the chance to compete and train with more senior and experienced teammates – and who can learn from them what it takes to win. Ethan is at a key stage of his professional development and we are all excited about what lies ahead for him as part of the Team.”
Sofia Bertizzolo Will Not Join Movistar Team in 2020
Italian rider unable to ride with Blues next season, due to legal restrictions because of her membership in the National Police.
The Movistar Team announced Monday that Sofia Bertizzolo will not be able to join its roster for the upcoming 2020 season.
Initially confirmed, back in August, as one of the four signings for Eusebio Unzué’s women’s team next year, the Italian has seen her transfer to the Telefónica-backed squad frustrated by legal constraints, derived from her contractual relationship with the Polizia di Stato.
The regulations regarding UCI Women’s WorldTour teams, a category the Movistar Team is aiming for in 2020 through a WWT license, prevent the existence of dual work contracts, which in practice keeps Bertizzolo from starting her contract with the Blues on January 1st. After exploring every option available, and establishing that it is impossible to properly combine both situations, the Movistar Team can only wish Sofia the best with her future sporting endeavours.
The women’s Movistar Team roster for 2020 now features eleven riders: three signings – Katrine Aalerud, Jelena Erić and Barbara Guarischi – and eight members of the 2019 team: Aude Biannic, Alicia González, Sheyla Gutiérrez, Eider Merino, Lourdes Oyarbide, Paula Patiño, Gloria Rodríguez y Alba Teruel.
Metec-TKH Takes the Roompot-Charles Bus
It’s not only Jesper Asselman that moves from Roompot-Charles to the Metec-TKH team, but also the team bus. Metec-TKH has taken over the bus from the ProContinental team. It is a major upgrade for Metec-TKH, which previously owned a camper. Having a bus is certainly not a matter of course for (Pro) Continental teams, many professional teams have to do without.
A bit of luxury for the Metec-TKH team in 2020:
Saint-Étienne Wants the 2022 Tour de France Grand Départ
The 2022 Tour de France might start in Saint-Etienne, France Bleue reports that the French City is in pole position. Saint-Étienne is not the only candidate for the 2022 Grand Départ. The Netherlands is said to have shown interest, while Marseille, Norway, Yorkshire and the Basque Country are also on the list.
The French City has hosted the Tour de France twenty-six times, but the Tour has never started in Saint-Étienne. Stage 8 of this year’s French Grand Tour finished there and Thomas De Gendt took a sensational victory by holding off Thibaut Pinot and Julian Alaphilippe from a long escape.
More clarity is expected about the 2022 Grand Départ next spring. The Tour de France will start in Nice in 2020, a year later in Copenhagen.
De Gendt wins in Saint-Étienne 2019:
Tour of Norway Uncertain Future
The Tour of Norway may not have a place on the UCI calendar in 2020. The organisation of the Norwegian cycling Tour is struggling to get the financial backing.
“We know what it takes to organise the event, but we are currently unable to meet these requirements,” says race director Roy Hegreberg to Norwegian TV2. “With the signals we have received, it looks like we cannot solve these problems. In that case we should cancel 2020, to focus on 2021.”
The Tour of Norway needs six million Norwegian Kroner to run the event, but that is no easy matter. The Norwegian government proposed last month to distribute 25 millions of public money for cycling events, mainly to the Arctic Race of Norway and to a lesser extent the Ladies Tour of Norway. That is unfavourable for the Tour of Norway and the Hammer Series in Stavanger.
It was previously known that the Tour of Norway in 2020 will not be part of the newly formed UCI Pro Series. The Tour of Norway had a 2.HC status on the UCI calendar in recent years.
Ganna Want’s Olympic Gold in the Team Pursuit and Time Trial
Filippo Ganna has set his sights on the team pursuit and the time trial at next year’s Olympic Games. “I received a free ticket from the Italian Cycling Association, after which I decided not to choose one over the other,” Ganna told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I want both. I am going to Tokyo with the ambition to get medals in both events. Sometimes you have to be ambitious.”
The Italians are outsiders in the team pursuit. Ganna and his team recently finished in second place at the European Championship. “Denmark and Australia are faster than us, maybe Britain is, but that is not a fact. We were very strong at the World Cup, but we had bad luck.”
Ganna is also a contender on the time trial. In Yorkshire, the 23-year-old rider finished in third place behind Rohan Dennis and Remco Evenepoel. “The course is tough, but so was the course in Yorkshire too. I am convinced that I can do it.”
Ganna and the Italian pursuit team:
Valverde to Ride Dwars door Vlaanderen in 2020
Valverde in Dwars door Vlaanderen 2019 – photo: Cor Vos (archive)
Alejandro Valverde will race again in the Dwars door Vlaanderen next year, Flanders Classics, the organisation of the semi-classic, has announced. It will be the Spaniard’s fourth participation in Dwars door Vlaanderen. His best result in Dwars door Vlaanderen was 11th place in 2018. Last season the Movistar leader finished 31st. In his debut in 2014, Valverde was 36th.
The WorldTour race is scheduled for April 1 next year, four days before the Tour of Flanders. Valverde has not yet confirmed his participation in the Ronda van Vlaandren. This year he debuted in the rainbow jersey with an 8th place in the Ronda.
At the presentation of the upcoming edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen it was also announced that the Kluisberg would return. This is climbed from both sides, which will bring the number of hills to twelve in the 180-kilometre course from Roeselare to Waregem. The Taaienberg, Berg Ten Houte, Knokteberg, Vossenhol, Holstraat and Nokereberg are also included.
Dwars door Vlaanderen for women
For the women’s version of Dwars door Vlaanderen, will start and finish in Waregem, this season it started in Tielt. The race was won by Ellen van Dijk. The participation of world champion Annemiek van Vleuten (seventh in 2019) has also been confirmed.
The World champion in the Dwars door Vlaanderen 2019:
Floris Gerts Puts His Cycling at a Lower Level
Floris Gerts was tipped for big things back in 2015, but the man from Maastricht will race with the HSK-Trias-Mooi Jong club team next season. The 27-year-old Dutchman announced via social media that the bicycle will no longer be No. 1. He will study medicine again at the University of Leiden next year and he will also start his own coaching practice.
Gerts was fired in August by Tarteletto-Isorex. Since then he has been without a team. Before the Belgian Continental team, he rode for Rabobank Development Team, BMC and Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij. “It grew from amateurism (to love) to my profession and it will continue to be my passion,” Gerts wrote on his Instagram.
“It was a great journey because of the different teams, cultures and competitions from all over the world,” he continued. “I had never dreamed of getting that far and I want to thank everyone who helped me a lot!” Gerts has one professional victory to his name, as he won the Volta Limburg Classic in 2016.
Gerts winning the Volta Limburg Classic in 2016:
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