Two more exciting Vuelta a España stages to catch up with – Reports, results and video. Lotto Soudal defends 2021 young team – TOP STORY. Other cycling news: No Covid-19 positives in la Vuelta. Tour de France 2021 presentation, Riwal Securitas team manager hopeful. Remco Evenepoel apologises to moto rider, Egan Bernal talks back injury, Milan-San Remo ignores Savona for three years. Contract news from UAE Team Emirates, Mitchelton-Scott, EF Pro Cycling and Team Novo Nordisk. Plus ‘The Decisive Week – Giro d’Italia 2020’ by the Sunweb team.
TOP STORY: Lotto Soudal Manager, Lelangue, Defends his 2021 Team Roster
Lotto Soudal has not kept on a lot of experienced riders for 2021 and mainly replaces them with neo-pros. Whether or not this has happened for budgetary reasons, it is causing criticism. Team manager John Lelangue defends himself. “I do not share the fear that we will shoot ourselves in the foot with a mix that is too young at WorldTour level.”
“Do Jens Keukeleire and Jelle Wallays offer a guarantee for classic success? No, right? Then I prefer to focus fully on the future and invest in promising youth,” Lelangue said in an extensive interview with Het Laatste Nieuws. “I don’t think our team in the Flemish classics was that weak. Brent Van Moer and Florian Vermeersch are the spearheads of a new, strong generation. They really do become riders.”
“Add Gilbert, Degenkolb, Frison and De Buyst to that in 2021 and we have a great team, right? There were plenty of options to supplement with mature thirties. But what is our training team for? Sunweb, Jumbo-Visma, BORA-hansgrohe and AG2R were looking forward to our ‘own breeding’. Reason enough to give Grignard, Van Gils, Verschaeve, Vervloesem, Sweeny and co. to keep in-house.”
Lelangue also defends the choice to attract Kron and Conca. “Sure it is a bit of poker game. And yes, we sometimes lose the argument, as with Van Wilder and Vandenabeele (both to Sunweb). But I do not share the fear that we would shoot ourselves in the foot with a too young mix at WorldTour level. Sunweb came with six youngsters (out of a total of seven) at the start of the Waalse Pijl. Benoot (26) was the oldest in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Look at the results.”
Lelangue also disagrees with the criticism of recruiting Philippe Gilbert and John Degenkolb a year ago. Too old. They had the best behind them, they said. “One year later it is established that John has ridden one of his best classic campaigns in years,” said Lelangue. “He won a nice stage in the Tour of Luxembourg and finished in the top ten in the BinckBank Tour, Gent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders and Bruges-De Panne.”
“Too bad that Paris-Roubaix was canceled. I would have liked to see it again. I also think Philippe Gilbert still has his value. His absence in October was a pain. He and John really click, that chemistry could have paid off. So I think we have made the right sporting choices. In the meantime, I let our other leaders Wellens, Ewan and De Gendt continue to do their thing: hijack rides in the (Grand) Tour work that McEwen and Greipel have made into the DNA of this team over the years.”
John Lelangue general manager – Lotto Soudal:
Vuelta a España 2020
Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) won Stage 7 of La Vuelta 2020 after an extraordinary day of racing from Vitoria-Gasteiz to Villanueva de Valdegovia. Attacks flew from the start and they kept going until the finish, with Movistar and Jumbo-Visma putting pressure on Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers). The Canadian rider accelerated on the final climb of the day, Puerto de Orduña, and outplayed Omar Fraile (Astana) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in the final kilometres of the stage to take his second Vuelta stage win. Carapaz held on to La Roja after his team gave everything for 160km.
The 163 riders who finished stage 6 on Sunday returned to action on Tuesday, with an explosive stage ahead of them. Attacks flew from the start, and Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quick Step) led the way from the third kilometre to the thirty-fifth, with a small gap on the bunch and many counter-attacks behind him. A new group of 17 attackers got away after 50km, just ahead of the first ascent of the cat-1 Puerto de Orduña. More riders attacked on the climb, including the Polka-dot jersey Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), his breakaway companion Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and ex-World Champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), only trailing by 3:00 on the general classification. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) crested the climb first and a group of 36 riders got back together on the downhill.
INEOS Grenadiers chased hard in the valley to try and control the gap. Alejandro Valverde attacked from the front group with Dorian Godon (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Stan Dewulf (Lotto Soudal). Chris Froome and Michal Golas pulled the bunch and the gap didn’t get higher than 2:45 as they entered the last 50km of the stage. Dorian Godon attacked again with 30km to go while Movistar led the chase behind him. The peloton split ahead of the second ascent up Puerto de Orduña and Richard Carapaz only has two teammates left to help him: Dylan van Baarle and Andrey Amador. Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) attacked with 22km to go and made his way to the summit on his own with 19.1km to go. Four riders join him on the downhill, with 16km to go: Alejandro Valverde, Omar Fraile, Guillaume Martin and Nans Peters.
Peters with 9km to go, then Martin, Valverde, Fraile… They all try to drop their companions inside the last 10km. But Woods goes for the perfect move just ahead of the last kilometre and makes his way to the finish 4 seconds ahead of Fraile and Valverde. The peloton trail by 56 seconds on the line and Carapaz saved the red jersey.
You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage Report’ and photo gallery HERE.
Stage winner, Mike Woods (EF Pro Cycling): “That was a special day, it’s always amazing racing in the Basque Country. I got away with those four other guys and they were riding super strong. I felt bad that I couldn’t pull through, but with Valverde, I just couldn’t pull through because we had Hugh Carthy in the peloton and we didn’t want to give him any more time in the classification. So, I was able to sit in a bit and then I had a bit of luck, I had the legs and I just took the win. I had penciled in this stage a bit, but initially I wasn’t meant to get in the breakaway I was meant to be with Hugh, however the race just got so crazy and the group got so big I had to go across to make sure we had numbers in it and it paid off great for me. I’m going to savour this stage win and after that I’ll start looking at the race book after.”
Overall leader, Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers): “It’s been a very fast stage, from the start and also afterwards. We spent a lot of energy today. I think we kept the situation under control, we tried to stay calm and we knew things were not too dangerous with the finale. We tried to keep the breakaway under control and I think we finished with a good gap. It’s been incredible, the team was up to the task, we defended the jersey like we had to and the boys did a spectacular job.”
2nd on the stage, Omar Fraile (Astana): “It’s the climb where I test myself and I knew it perfectly. I knew the stage was going to be difficult when I saw the breakaway. But being up there and with great legs, I knew it was possible. At first we worked well together, then Woods was saying Carthy is in the fight for GC and Valverde was there… That doesn’t make sense because in the end we gained a minute and it wasn’t going to make much of a difference. He played his cards and it worked well. I tried to follow the wheels to protect Aranburu’s options in the chasing group. And when Woods went, I thought Valverde would follow and I would win afterwards but it didn’t work out.”
3rd on the stage and 9th overall, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “I think I have to feel happy about today’s result. We were able to contest the win, at a stage where the initial goal wasn’t to go after that, but it wasn’t to be at the end. When you’re the rider pretty much everyone keeps an eye on near the end, it’s quite more difficult. I made that move into the first climb of Orduña also thinking about the GC, but not mine, rather than Enric or Marc enjoying some help in there was some battle behind at the end. I was a bit angry at the finish, because I didn’t try to go after that move from Woods at the last 2k and you regret it, because that was the decisive one, I shouldn’t have let him go. All in all, I think we offered some good spectacle and made our rivals work a bit. I want to thank the team, because everyone was splendid today, but above all of them, Rojas and Verona, which were incredible up there with me in the break. This Vuelta never lets you breathe and there’s many opportunities left; let’s see if we as a team can take advantage.”
4th on the stage, Nans Peters (AG2R-La Mondiale): “It was a big breakaway with 40 riders who couldn’t get along. Dorian Godon first attacked with Valverde. Then I tried my luck on the last climb at the top of which, there were five of us up front. I suffered until the end. I lacked the strength to win. It was a day where the winner had to have good legs. I have no regrets”
8th on the stage, Ide Schelling (BORA-hansgrohe): “We started with a breakaway group of 15 riders, which then grew considerably on the first climb. But, all in all, the group worked well together. I felt good on the last climb and was able to stay in front. After that, five riders broke away and despite working well together, we were unable to catch up with them. I was close, but in the end my legs didn’t have enough and so ultimately I wasn’t able to fight for the win.”
Vuelta a España Stage 7 Result:
1. Michael Woods (Can) EF Pro Cycling in 3:48:16
2. Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana at 0:04
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
4. Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:08
5. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
6. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:13
7. Alex Aranburu (Spa) Astana
8. Ide Schelling (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe
9. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
10. Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 7:
1. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers in 28:23:51
2. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling at 0:18
3. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation at 0:20
4. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma at 0:30
5. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 1:07
6. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:30
7. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 1:42
8. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 2:02
9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 2:03
10. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 2:39.
Vuelta’20 Stage 7:
Three days after he lost La Roja to Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) showed on Wednesday he definitely has the legs to fight for the overall victory. The defending champion made the most of the steep slopes up the Alto de Moncalvillo to claim a spectacular solo victory on Stage 8. Richard Carapaz finished second at 13 seconds. He still leads the overall classification.
The peloton rolled out of Logroño without Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) and Michal Golas (Ineos Grenadiers). Callum Scotson (Mitchelton Scott) and Jesus Ezquerra (Burgos-BH) were the first riders to open a gap but the peloton pulled them back. Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-Scott), Stan Dewulf (Lotto Soudal), Benjamin Dyball (NTT Pro Cycling), Julien Simon (Total Direct Energie) and Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH) eventually managed to get away after 20km of hard battle. At km 27, the gap was up to 3:20 and INEOS Grenadiers were at the front of the bunch to control the race for Richard Carapaz.
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA’s Jhojan Garcia and Hector Saez attack from the bunch inside the last 70km, to try and bridge the gap to the leaders while the peloton trail by 5 minutes. Movistar up the speed on the first climb of the day, the Puerto de la Rasa (9.8km at 5.3%), and the chasers are quickly caught. Rémi Cavagna led the way to the summit but the gap was down to 2:30 with 50km to go. Movistar maintained the pressure on the descent and the peloton split in three groups 38km from the finish. The gap to the front group was down to 40 seconds when Angel Madrazo was dropped, with 27km to go. Stan Dewulf and Benjamin Dyball were the last attackers to be caught on the first slopes up the Alto de Moncalvillo (8.3km with an average gradient of 9.2%).
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) shook the group with 6km to go. Then stage 7’s winner Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) set the stage for an attack from Hugh Carthy with 3.5km to go. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) follows and Richard Carapaz responds with a strong move on the steepest ramps at 2.5km out. Primoz Roglic was the first rider to react. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation), Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) and Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) also bridge the gap. The Russian even tried to counter-attack but nobody could contain Primoz Roglic’s powerful attack under the flamme rouge.
You can see the full ‘PEZ Stage Report’ and photo gallery HERE.
Stage winner and 2nd overall, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): “The pace took off after the penultimate climb”, Roglic said. “I only knew the final climb from the road book and it turned out to be a tough climb. I had good legs and you should take every chance to win. In addition, I took important seconds on my opponents, but in the first place it is great to win here. The next two stages are relatively flat. The weekend ahead will also be tough. We look at it from day to day and we try to stay focused.”
2nd on the stage and overall leader, Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadier): “It was a very animated stage and we’ve seen a strong performance from Roglic, but we’re still in the fight. The truth is this duel has been quite nice and it motivates me because it makes it more for an exciting race, mostly for the fans but also for us with the level we’re riding at. It seems like we have a couple of easier days ahead of us but we’re racing and we don’t know what’s coming.”
7th on the stage and 5th overall, Enric Mas (Movistar): “The team deserves another 10/10 for their work today and it’s been like that since the start of La Vuelta but I din’t feel as good as I hoped for. I just want to thank the team. We’ll see how it goes with the next hard days in Asturias, we’ll have to be up there. I’m waiting for harder stages. I’ve lost some ground in regard to the podium but we’re motivated, the team is motivated and we’ll keep trying. The time-trial will be an important day, with time gaps, so we’ll give our whole and enjoy ourselves.”
6th overall, Felix Großschartner (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a hard finish. I probably didn’t have my best day today. I lost some time, but it’s not too bad. I didn’t really aim for the podium today, because that would have been slightly too difficult. I’m still satisfied with my performance. I fought hard and was able to maintain my 6th place in the overall classification. Our plan is to see day by day what we can achieve and today’s result is quite ok. Thanks to the whole team who put me in a very good position for the last climb as well.”
8th on the stage, Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma): “It was good that I could still stay with the riders for the classification. That way I was able to assist Primoz in the final. It was not my intention to go for the stage win. My move with Hugh Carthy in the last kilometres was mainly in the service of Primoz. It was just a very tough climb and it is great that we have won here and that we have taken back some time.”
10th on the stage, Clément Champoussin AG2R-La Mondiale): “It was a difficult stage today. I was pretty good on the final climb with the favourites. I stayed in the peloton throughout the stage. I didn’t miss a beat. I wasn’t feeling exceptionally good, but I still managed to finish well. I am satisfied with this 10th place. It’s encouraging for the future in terms of my chances of going for a stage victory.”
Vuelta a España Stage 8 Result:
1. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma in 4:07:08
2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:13
3. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation at 0:19
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana at 0:25
5. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling at 0:33
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-McLaren at 0:35
7. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 0:54
8. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma
9. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:33
10. Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:37.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 8:
1. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers in 32:31:06
2. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma at 0:13
3. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation at 0:28
4. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling at 0:44
5. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 1:54
6. Felix Großschartner (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 3:28
7. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 3:35
9. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 3:40
10. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-McLaren at 3:47.
Vuelta’20 Stage 8:
Joint Unipublic-UCI Statement Concerning the Testing Campaign Carried Out on the First Rest Day
In accordance with La Vuelta 20’s health protocol, developed in the framework of the Union Cycliste Internationale’s (UCI) rules for the return of the road cycling season in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, the entire “race bubble” was tested during the 1st rest day.
After having been tested preceding the official start in Irun as well as upon their arrival on La Vuelta as a part of the “race bubble”, riders and staff involved in the race were tested a 3rd time during the 1st rest day. The objective of the screening campaign is to guarantee the health of the race for the riders and accredited personnel in the face of the novel coronavirus.
Overall, each of the 684 tests carried out returned negative results.
The organisers of La Vuelta and the UCI would like to thank all of the teams and riders for their collaboration and for the vigilance that they have shown and will continue to show up until the finish in Madrid.
All clear at the Vuelta so far:
Tour de France 2021 Presentation: See You Sunday
Taking into account the current public health situation, that is continually pushing the Government to take new decisions in the fight against COVID-19, the organisers of the Tour de France have decided not to unveil the 2021 edition’s route at the Palais des Congrès on Thursday, 29th October 2020.
The Tour de France 2021 will instead be presented in detail as a Stade 2 (weekly sports programme) Special with Christian Prudhomme live on France Télévisions on Sunday 1st November. An international programme will also be available simultaneously on all of the official broadcasters’ platforms around the world as well as on the Tour de France’s official platforms.
More information about Tour de France on www.letour.fr/en/
No Tour’21 public presentation
Riwal Securitas Team Manager Hopes to Save the Team
Will Riwal Securitas also remain in the pack in 2021? “I am still optimistic,” CEO Steffen Kromann tells Extrabladet.dk. “The hope and conviction to save it remains intact.” The riders would get clarity by the end of this week at the latest.
The Danish ProTour team has to fight to survive in uncertain times. Partners and sponsors have been hit hard by the corona pandemic. But Kromann lives in hope and conviction to save his team, even to maintain its status in the ProTour, the second division of cycling.
“I remain optimistic,” he said. “On the one hand we are busy looking for the latest sponsors and securing a few signatures, on the other hand we are saving where we can.”
The license for 2021 has been applied for and paid for, but the riders have no definitive certainty as of today. They would be notified by the end of this week. In the event that the team ceases to exist, the riders will be in bad shape.
Norwegian Sondre Holst Enger called the situation “frustrating” in an interview with Norwegian TV2. “Until now it has remained very quiet from the management. We are not told. I know that people are working hard behind the scenes, but I am starting to wonder whether it will work out.”
Evenepoel Apologises to Moto Rider
“Fucking motard de merde!” Remco Evenepoel wrote on his social media, after Julian Alaphilippe crashed into a motorcycle in the Tour of Flanders. Afterwards, the young rider regretted his message, after which he apologised to the motorcyclist.
“He apologised to me personally. I was pleased,” Eddy Lissens, the motorbike rider who was in the Ronde as a commissaire, said in Het Laatste Nieuws. He is still very affected after the accident, in which Alaphilippe was left with two broken metacarpals. “Within the cycling world I get a lot of support. It is mainly the inexorable reactions to social media that hurt.”
The accident in the Tour of Flanders happened at 35 kilometres from the finish. Just before that, on the Taaienberg, Alaphilippe, Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert had come together and their lead was over twenty-seconds. The world champion then bumped into the bike and hit the asphalt hard after a tumbling. After the fall, he was taken to hospital in Ronse, where two broken metacarpals were discovered.
Egan Bernal Talks About his Back Injury
The cause of the back problems that thwarted Egan Bernal in the Tour de France is now known. The 23-year-old Colombian’s legs are not the same length, he told ESPN Colombia. “It’s a problem that can only be overcome with long-term rehabilitation,” said Bernal.
“The problem is that one leg is longer than the other. That caused a curvature in my back, which hit a disc in my spine that should normally supply glucose to my legs,” explained the INEOS Grenadiers leader.
After his Tour victory last year, Bernal was again the leader this year. In the run-up to the Tour de France, he won the Route d’Occitanie and finished second in the Tour de l’Ain. In the Critérium du Dauphiné he retired because of those back problems. They didn’t go away and Bernal had problems in the Tour. In the stage to the Grand Colombier he was dropped early, after which he three days later.
“It’s a problem that can only be overcome with long-term rehabilitation. My back needs to be strengthened and we need to get the disc that has moved slightly back into place,” said Bernal. An operation is not necessary for that, he said.
Out the back on Tour stage 15
Milan-San Remo Ignores Riviera di Ponente for Three Years
Milan-San Remo had to be changed this year after thirteen mayors from the province of Savona voted against a passage through their towns. As a result, the Riviera di Ponente was scrapped. The alternative route has reportedly been favoured.
IVG, an Italian news site in Savona, announced the news. The alternative route from Milan to Sanremo, via Alessandria, Asti and Cuneo, has pleased the organisation and the riders. So good, in fact, that Savona may be ignored for the next three years. According to the news site, another factor is that race director Mauro Vegni wants to take revenge on the mayors who opposed the passage of the classic this year.
The editors of Savona News have already contacted Vegni. “I have not made a decision yet,” said the race director. “We will be talking about this from mid-November. At the moment we have not yet evaluated, we will do that later.”
Hofland to Stay With EF Pro Cycling
Moreno Hofland has had a difficult season, but the 29-year-old sprinter can prove himself for another year in the EF Pro Cycling kit. “I hope to finally be able to hold my own again next season,” he told BN De Stem.
Hofland started the season well with several places of honour in the Herald Sun Tour, but then came the corona crisis. The Dutchman continued to train in good spirits in the race-free period, but in the end took too little rest. Hofland didn’t do much in the Tour of Poland.
The rider started with ambition at the beginning of August. “The first stage went well. The rides after that were more difficult and I didn’t recover. Afterwards, tests showed that I have ‘non-functional overreached’. That I had just completely screwed myself during that corona break. A bit the same as what happened to Mathieu van der Poel. Only he can do better and I may have trained much crazier. You think you’re doing it all right. Until you realise at the first race in Poland that it is no longer possible.”
Hofland only came into action once in 2020 after the fourth stage of the Tour of Poland, but does not have to fear the end of his career. “I will stick with EF Pro Cycling. At the beginning of September, the team announced that they are giving everyone a new chance. They thought that was reasonable because of all the corona problems. I think that’s neat.”
“That corona break turned out completely wrong for me. Then it’s nice that a team looks at it like that,” said Hofland, who hopes to have a better 2021 season.
Ryan Gibbons Signs Two Year Deal with UAE Team Emirates
UAE Team Emirates have put pen to paper to bring Ryan Gibbons to the Emirati squad on a two year contract.
The 26-year old from Johannesburg, South Africa is the current national road champion and won a gold medal in the time trial at the 2019 African Games. He stepped up to World Tour level in 2017 with NTT and has spent his entire career so far with the African team.
Gibbons represents the third new signing for 2021 with Matteo Trentin and Rafal Majka also joining the team.
Ryan Gibbons: “I am thoroughly looking forward to joining UAE Team Emirates for the next two seasons. I feel honoured to be part of such an incredible setup, which has achieved so much success and proven to be one of the best teams in the peloton. I have no doubt that this transition is crucial for my personal growth and my future as a professional cyclist and I?m eagerly awaiting the start of this new journey.”
Mauro Gianetti (Team Principal): “Ryan is a versatile rider who has shown himself to be very dynamic and a strong team player. He has progressed well over the past few seasons and we hope he can continue that progression in our team as we continue to build for the future.”
Marco Pinotti Joins Mitchelton-Scott
Marco Pinotti will be part of Mitchelton-Scott’s coaching staff next season. The ex-pro will mainly focus on training riders in the field of time trial.
“I will mainly be a trainer/coach”. The Italian has been active as a performance manager at BMC and CCC in recent years. CCC will disappear from the professional peloton and so Pinotti has a new job with the Australian Mitchelton-Scott team.
“We still have to deal with the final details, but I already know that it is a good combination. I was also looking for a team with a certain culture and ambition. It was also time for something new and I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. I know that I can give the team a lot, but also that the formation has a lot to offer me.”
“Two years ago I had the chance to leave with the disappearance of BMC, but I didn’t want to leave the team then. Now I had to make a different choice,” said Pinotti, who may also work as a sports director in some races.
Lachlan Morton renews with EF Pro Cycling
The protagonist of our alternative racing calendar, Lachlan Morton, has taken us along with him on an enthralling journey over gravel passes, up muddy peaks, through long dark sleepless nights, and had us raise our arms in celebration after his stage win. His talent to keep pushing when most stop, to take on whatever terrain is thrown at him blows our minds as well as world records. Having him renew his contract with the team has us buzzing to see where his limits can take him — and all of us — next.
What were the key reasons you wanted to stay with this team?
There’s a long list of reasons I wanted to stay on this team. The big three are people, opportunities, and partners. Having the opportunity to race WorldTour events while chasing new and exciting adventures in one team is a dream for me, a dream I’ve only been able to realise with EF Pro Cycling. We have an amazing group of riders and staff that honestly feel like family. The partners we have provide us with the best equipment and support I could hope for.
Where do you want to see cycling go in the next several years?
I’m not sure. I see it growing exponentially from a participation aspect. I think if we keep pushing the envelope at the top level we can inspire a brand new audience to engage with cycling. Ultimately I believe that is the purpose of professional sport: to inspire participation.
And what’s your role in that? What kind of cyclist do you envision yourself as moving forward?
I want to continue to do as much as possible. I have plenty of ideas for alternative events. I want to do as much as possible in that department. But I also have a fresh motivation to set some new goals for WorldTour events and really chase those, too. You’ve gone from one extreme in Badlands, which is a wild solo endeavour, to a more traditional extreme, which is the Giro.
What’s it been like to be back in a Grand Tour with a full team?
It’s been great. Incredibly motivating. I’ve learnt so much and it’s really lit a fire inside me to come back and be competitive at these events. It feels like a new sport to me again.
This year has been so strange, but you’ve done a bunch of really cool things anyways. What about this season and year will stick with you?
When some doors are shut you can always push in a different direction. We are lucky to
race, but with a bit of creativity there are always ways to challenge yourself.
What’s the big hope for 2021?
That we can race a full season and that I can find a few more of my limits on the side.
Lachlan Morton in Utah:
Charles Planet Extends with Team Novo Nordisk Through 2023
Friendship, confidence, and progress key to the Frenchman’s decision
Team Novo Nordisk confirmed Tuesday the extension of 26-year-old puncheur Charles Planet. The Frenchman committed to the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team for the next three years, taking his contract through 2023.
“I feel at home in this team. Over the years, they have seen me progress and I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved together,” said Planet. “What’s even more exciting is that we’re getting better and better and that is why this is where I want to stay for the next three years.”
After turning pro in 2014, Planet has earned multiple milestones for the team including securing the team’s first WorldTour jersey with the Most Active Rider jersey at the Tour de Pologne in 2019.
“I started my professional career with Team Novo Nordisk, and it’s been an amazing journey. I was 18 years old when I joined and had very little experience on the road,” explained Planet. “I look forward to making even more progress with the team and our mission to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes. I’m really excited for the future and what we can achieve together.”
After what was set to be a promising 2020 season was stopped in its tracks with the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent suspension of sporting activities. However, Planet did not lose focus and as the season re-started in August, he returned to action with top ten results at Circuito de Getxco and the Tour de Slovaquie and a hard-fought top 30 at an epic edition of Paris-Tours.
“Charles has made solid progress over the years. Even with a very complicated and short 2020 season, he was on the top of his game at basically all the races he did this year,” said Team Novo Nordisk General Manager Vassili Davidenko. “He has shown strong character and leadership. The team is always there to support Charles and importantly for both the team and for Charles, he feels at home.”
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 10 years old, Planet echoes and elaborates on that sentiment and says the benefits of the supportive environment at Team Novo Nordisk are conducive to physical progress and emotional and mental development.
“To have good legs, you need to be good mentally. It allows me to train well and be there in the races. In this team, we have a good atmosphere between all the riders and staff, which is nice. It makes a big difference when everyone is laughing at the dinner table and getting along; that’s really important to me,” said Planet.
With the next few years secured thanks to the continued support from title sponsor Novo Nordisk, Planet and Team Novo Nordisk can look ahead to future objectives.
“The plans for Charles’ preparation over the off-season are already confirmed and will include some off-road racing,” concluded Davidenko. “Charles has earned his position as one of our leaders at Team Novo Nordisk and I am sure he will continue his growth over the wintertime and he will be ready for more great accomplishments in 2021.”
Looking ahead to what is currently a relatively unknown 2021 season, Planet is hoping to start to transition from breakaway star into more of a contender.
“Over the years, I’ve been in a lot of breakaways and I like that but now it’s time to start focusing on results for the team at races that suit me well,” said Planet. “In cycling, confidence is critical. Now I feel I have more confidence in myself. When I tell my teammates that I am feel good, we all work for one goal and I appreciate them. That’s what makes cycling so special, the teamwork.”
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