What's Cool In Road Cycling
Andrea Tafi, Parijs-Roubaix, foto Cor Vos ©1999

EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

Another fun-packed EUROTRASH Monday: Andrea Tafi wants to repeat history and hopes to return to Paris-Roubaix in 2019 – Top Story. Race reports, results and video from the Tour of Guangxi and Japan Cup road race and criterium, plus cyclo-cross in Boom and Bern. In other cycling news: More new rider contracts for 2019, Sunweb press officer retires, new co-sponsor for Alecto team, De Gendt and Wellens arrive home and Rigoberto Uran struts his stuff. Coffee anyone?

TOP STORY: Tafi to Return to Roubaix at 52?
La Gazzetta dello Sport reported this week that 1999 Paris-Roubaix winner, Andrea Tafi, wants to ride the 2019 ‘Hell of the North’.

“This crazy idea came to me, yes: go back to riding with a purpose, race the Paris-Roubaix again. Twenty years after winning it. An impossible dream? Maybe. But I want to try… “

Andrea Tafi is 52 years old, he was a professional from 1988 to 2005, he won three Monuments out of five: Lombardia, Flanders and Roubaix. He is the only Italian in history to have won both the Ronde and Roubaix and he is the last Italian to have triumphed in the Queen of the classics.

There is no age limit for professionalism, but one cannot help but ask: what has jumped into your mind, Andrea? “I raced in Paris-Roubaix 13 times. A first, a second and a third place. I always finished it. I believe I have acquired a Masters in this extraordinary race. And so I thought of a historical path that starts from that 1999. In 20 years cycling has changed a lot and perhaps we do not have full awareness of these developments. Re-riding Paris-Roubaix with new technological solutions will not be easy. But I, a man of challenges, can I go back? It would be something unique.”

Could not you race it with the amateurs? “If nobody hires me, it will be like that. But the real ‘impossible’ mission is what I was saying. In any case, we will document the path via social media and images to make a docu-film.”

When did you start thinking about it? “In the summer, a Hungarian friend contacted me. I first did a Gran Fondo, then taking a UCI master’s license I participated in a 1.2 race in July in Hungary (157 km from Debrecen to Ibrany, he finished 37th, ed). I was among so many young people and it made me come back a bit. It was very fast, we did over 48kph average. I was fine. And someone told me ‘Why do not you redo the Roubaix…'”

Of course you know that there are rules on racing, anti-doping controls, biological passport for six months prior to the race. “Sure. Cycling has made giant strides in the right direction. I already started, I contacted the UCI. I would be fine, we made the request.”

And the team? The Roubaix has the 18 World Tour and seven invited teams and in recently no Italian team has managed to earn a wild-card. Are you thinking of a Belgian or French squad? “I had contacts in Italy and in Belgium. Not WorldTour, but there has not been a concrete thing so far. I will also contact the organizers. I have Prudhomme’s number, I haven’t used it yet, but I know someone has already sent it to me.”

Roubaix is ​​certainly not a race in mid-July in Hungary… Why should a team hire you? “Because I have the same thoughts and incentives of twenty years ago. I certainly do not want to be a circus. I would dedicate myself 110%, I would do it with all the trappings. I’m not afraid, I could get away right away… but it would not be the priority. Evidently young people have an advantage. But whoever wins the Roubaix does not hold back for anything. I still do 18/19,000km a year and weigh 79/80 kilos. The tricolor jersey of 1998, I wore again in Hungary, it still feels good.”

How many possibilities do you have? “Some yes. I do not have to do the whole season. The project is to dispute just Roubaix.”

How will you prepare? “I will do everything in minute detail, I know what I’m up against. I hope I do not make myself ridiculous in anyone’s eyes. But patience. I’m calm. Serene. Let me dream. Leave me the taste of this impossible mission.”

Crazy or attention seeking… Good luck with that one, Andrea.

1999 Paris-Roubaix finalé:

Japan Cup 2018
After finishing on the podium in third place back in 2016, Rob Power secured the win in style in his last race for Mitchelton-Scott at the Japan Cup on Sunday, attacking out of the leading group on the final lap before sprinting to victory ahead of Antwan Tolhoek (LottoNl-Jumbo).

Well placed alongside teammate Jack Haig at the front of the bunch as the race came back together over the final circuits, Power stayed attentive as the key attacks went and formed part of a leading group of six before accelerating clear with Antwan Tolhoek on the last climb. Gaining a significant gap over the chasers, Power and Tolhoek hit the drag up to the line together with Power coming around the Dutchman to take an impressive win from the two-up sprint and wrap up the season on a high.

A beautiful sunny Japanese morning welcomed the riders to the start line for 14 laps of the 10.3 kilometer circuit around Utsunomiya Forest and it didn’t take long for an early break to form with three riders up the road after half an hour of racing: Marcos García (Kinan cycling team), Oscar Pujol (Team Ukyo) and Koen Bowman (LottoNl-Jumbo).

By the halfway point the trio held around one-minute 30 seconds on the bunch and so it remained until three laps to go when the group split over the climb and accelerations out of the bunch brought the race back together again. Both Haig and Power were well positioned towards the front, but it was Power who found himself on the front foot as part of a six-rider attack going into the closing 20 kilometers.

It was a strong move and Power quickly realized that this could be the chance as he attacked the final climb alongside Tolhoek, splitting the group and gaining around 40 seconds lead as the pair sped towards the finish. Power played it smart in the final, coming around Tolhoek inside the last kilometer to take a convincing victory with a powerful late surge. Matti Breschel (EF Education First-Drapac) took third place beating Nicolas Roche (BMC) from the chasers.

Rob Power (Mitchelton-Scott): “The whole team rode really well today, and it was nice to be back racing in Japan. I really enjoyed this race two years ago, so to come back here and win is great. It’s a special win because it’s my last race in Mitchelton-Scott colors and I really wanted to come here and do my best to say thank you for the last few years. I’ve really enjoyed my time with the team and I am pleased we were able to get a result here and close out the season in such a positive way.”

Japan Cup Result:
1. Rob Power (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott in 3:44:00
2. Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
3. Matti Breschel (Den) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:40
4. Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC
5. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini at 0:42
6. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini at 2:02
7. Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 2:07
8. Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 2:26
9. Koen De Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10. Robbie Hucker (Aus) Team Ukyo.

Japan Cup’18:

Tour of Guangxi 2018
Gianni Moscon ensured Team Sky ended the season atop the podium as he won his first World Tour race at the Tour of Guangxi.

Moscon won the race by nine seconds overall following a strong team performance on stage six to protect the leader’s jersey in difficult conditions in Guilin.

Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Floors) took the stage win following a bunch sprint, which saw Moscon finish in the top 20 to ensure he held onto his lead to win the race overall.

Earlier on, a breakaway of six had a strong lead of 3:20 until the two categorized climbs towards the end of the stage which saw their lead start to dwindle with around 35 kilometers to go.

It was at this point that the dangerous Andriy Grivko (Astana), just 30 seconds behind Moscon on GC, attacked from the bunch and attempted to bridge to the escapees. However, Team Sky worked well on the first climb to nullify his threat and bring him back to the

And as the end of the final stage of the WorldTour season approached, the sprint teams came to the fore to shut down the breakaway and setup the bunch sprint. Fabio Jakobsen was once again put in a perfect slot by his Quick-Step Floors teammate, Davide Martinelli when it came down to crunch time and delivered another fine sprint to see off the challenge of Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and take a victory that sealed his triumph in the points classification, which Quick-Step Floors won for the second consecutive year.

Overall winner, Gianni Moscon (Sky):

2nd overall, Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It is a nice way to finish the season on the podium at a WorldTour race, especially for me, it was my first WorldTour season tough. The team did a great job, so I want to say thank you. Today we wanted to go for a stage win with Pascal, unfortunately it didn’t work out but he finished second and Rudi third. I think, we can be satisfied with these results. Now, I am looking forward to the off-season.”

3rd overall, Sergei Chernetski (Astana): “I want to thank the team for their trust and support during this Tour of Guangxi and throughout the year. It is great to be on the overall podium of this World Tour stage race, it’s something I’m really proud of. After the decisive stage 4, we were looking for ways to climb up one or two steps, but in the end, we can be really happy with this result. It was a hard race because of the rain during most of the stages, but as a team, we were motivated from stage 1 to today’s final stage. I think that is really impressive after a long season of racing. Again, a big thank you to the team, it has been a great race here in China.”

Final stage winner, Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Floors): “It’s been an amazing season for me and the greatest year in the history of Quick-Step Floors, so to put an end to it like that gives me huge joy! If you win as a neo-pro seven times, you have to be happy, and I am delighted with how things went this season. These results only motivate me even more for 2019, when I hope to continue my development, become faster and get more victories for the team. The stage wasn’t easy, with the rain and the two climbs we had in the last 50 kilometers, but the guys were always by my side, while making sure they reel in the escapees before the closing kilometers, where the speed was really high. I had Philippe and Davide with me, who did a great lead-out, leaving me on the wheel of Pascal with 300 meters to go. I just did my sprint and I am happy for having managed to notch up not only the win, but also the points classification, as this marks my first jersey at World Tour level.”

Tour of Guangxi Final Overall Result:
1. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Sky in 20:39:56
2. Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:09
3. Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Astana at 0:14
4. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step Floors at 0:17
5. Carlos Verona (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:21
6. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
7. Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar at 0:25
8. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana
9. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:27
10. Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension Data at 0:28.

Tour of Guangxi 2018 stage 6 on-bike highlights:

UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup – Bern 2018
From the start in Sunday’s UCI World Cup in Bern, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) let World champion Wout van Aert (Cibel-Cebon) make the pace until Van Aert made a mistake on lap 3 and the Dutchman grabbed his chance and soloed to the finish.

Daan Soete (Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice) was the only rider able to hold Van der Poel’s wheel when he made his move, but he was soon dropped and faded to 6th place. Van Aert chased, but was only ever going to be second to the flying Van der Poel. Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) came back from a slow start for third place 58 seconds down on Van der Poel. Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Bingoal) took 4th place, beating Quinten Hermans, Soete and Corné van Kessel (All Telenet Fidea Lions). Felipe Orts Lloret (Delikia-Ginestar) was 8th ahead of Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea Lions) and French champion Steve Chainel (Chazal-Canyon).

Aerts still has the overall lead in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup after his two wins in the US rounds.

Race winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Ned): “Wout started explosively and I was suffering. I knew Daan (Soete) was in second place. At the barriers I knew Daan wasn’t jumping, so I planned to accelerate there. It’s hard to create a gap on this course. There are only two or three sections where you can go flat out so that’s what I did, but Wout does that too.”

2nd, Wout Van Aert (Bel): “I noticed that Mathieu was unable to go any faster, but on this course, it’s harder to go any faster than him. Halfway through the race, I shifted back into my comfort zone and I shouldn’t have allowed myself to let that happen. I need to keep fighting for every second. I shifted wrong and my chain dropped. It’s a pity that I lost the race because of this incident. I kept trying because if the same happened with him I still had a chance.”

3rd, Toon Aerts (Bel): “There are a lot of corners on this course, and with my long body, I sometimes hit one of the poles. It’s part of the job. I’m pleased that I’ll be wearing the white jersey in Tábor, and hopefully, I’ll still wear it in the next round in Koksijde. It’s a bit difficult for me to focus on one classification right now, this early in the season.”

UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup – Bern Result:
1. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) in 1:04:48
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) at 0:08
3. Toon Aerts (Bel) at 0:58
4. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) at 1:07
5. Quinten Hermans (Bel) at 1:10
6. Daan Soete (Bel) at 1:13
7. Corne Van Kessel (Ned)
8. Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) at 1:17
9. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) at 1:22
10. Steve Chainel (Fra) at 1:38.

Bern’18 short race video:

Telenet Superprestige Niels Albert – Boom 2018
World champion Wout van Aert was in Bern on Saturday preparing for Sunday’s World Cup, so Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) didn’t have much competition in the Superprestige Niels Albert CX in Boom. That said, Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) was only 4 seconds back in second place, with Gianni Vermeersch (Steylaerts-777) at 8 in third.

Lars van der Haar, Toon Aerts, Quinten Hermans (all Telenet Fidea Lions) and Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice) all took turns off the front before Van der Poel attacked on an uphill section in Lap 4 and by the end of the lap he had 10 seconds on the chasers. Van der Poel didn’t push too hard, saving himself for Sunday. The European champion held a gap of 12 to 20 seconds and eased in the final lap for a win of 4 seconds.

Lars van der Haar had been the early leader before Van der Poel made his attack, but it was the Telenet Fidea Lion tandem of Aerts and Hermans who pulled him back. At the end of the first lap; Aerts, Van der Poel, Hermans, Vermeersch, Daan Soete (Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice) and Sweeck made up the leading group. Van der Haar and Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Bingoal) both crashed and lost their chance.

Aerts put in an attack on lap two, but Van der Poel quickly covered it and stayed near the front. On lap 3; Hermans and Sweeck each put the pressure on and only Van der Poel and Vermeersch could follow.

Lap 4 saw Van der Poel makes his move on a short climb to soon take a handful of seconds. Behind him, Sweeck snapped his seat-post at the second sand pit leaving Hermans, Aerts and Vermersch to chase. Van der Poel extended had a maximum of 19 seconds with 2 laps to go, then eased off to save some strength for Sunday. Aerts and Vermeersch dropped Hermans on the last lap for Aerts to finish 4 seconds down in 2nd with Vermeersch in 3rd.

Telenet Superprestige Niels Albert – Boom Result:
1. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus in 56:50
2. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 0:04
3. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Steylaerts-777 at 0:08
4. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 0:19
5. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice at 0:29
6. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions at 0:33
7. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Bingoal at 0:43
8. David Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus at 0:51
9. Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice at 0:56
10. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Corendon-Circus at 1:02.

Boom’18 by GCN:

Japan Cup Criterium 2018
Trek-Segafredo’s John Degenkolb won the Japan Cup Criterium in Utsunomiya. Minutes after crossing the finish line, a very happy Degenkolb said his victory was one for the team: “Japan is amazing, to win here after such an amazing team effort is just great! Right from the beginning, we took control over the race. I’m so happy to finish a great season with a win and give the team a nice reward for their trust all year long!”

Trek-Segafredo took their responsibility right from the start. Trek-Segafredo DS Yaroslav Popovych: “Having Fumy (Beppu) at the start makes these races in Japan really special for us. He has won this race in the past and the plan was to go for him today as well, so it was up to us to control the race. We never gave a lot of space to any breakaway and the team worked perfectly well together.”

The team’s plans played out well indeed. Eugenio Alafaci and Laurent Didier brought the team to the last corner, with 600m to go, where Fabio Felline took over to bring Koen de Kort, John Degenkolb and Fumiyuki Beppu in first position. Koen did an amazing lead-out and John was the last man to bring Fumy to the finish line. When John saw Fumy had lost his wheel in the hectic mix-up of the sprint, he decided to keep going and he sprinted to the finish line to pass it in first position.

DS Popovych: “I am very proud of the team today. This can be called a true team victory, everybody did his share and in the end John finishes it off really nicely. Let’s hope we can repeat this tomorrow in the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race.”

Japan Cup Criterium 2018
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo in 42:38
2. Cameron Scott (Aus) Australian Cycling Academy-Ride Sunshine Coast
3. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
4. Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
5. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Team Ukyo
6. Logan Owen (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
7. Sam Welsford (Aus) Australian Cycling Academy-Ride Sunshine Coast
8. Kazushige Kuboki (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Cycling
9. Ryu Suzuki (Jpn) Utsunomiya Blitzen
10. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) BMC.

John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) wins the Japan Cup Criterium:

Tony Martin Makes Switch to Team LottoNL-Jumbo
Tony Martin will switch to Team LottoNL-Jumbo next season. Being a part of the Dutch team of manager Richard Plugge, the four-time world champion time trial is convinced he’s in the best environment to excel again in the races against the clock. Especially in team time trials Team LottoNL-Jumbo expect him to do well. In addition, the 33-year-old German gets an important supporting role.

“Tony was the missing link. He brings in a boatload of experience and he’s a professional in every way. He can be of great value in the support of our leaders. His signing is a confirmation of the development we’ve been through in recent years”, Plugge believes.

Martin has signed a two-year deal with the Dutch squad. “I’m looking forward to join Team LottoNL-Jumbo. I share their philosophy”, Martin says. “The riders are a unity and the staff work on every detail to support them. Especially their approach of time trials is appealing to me. It’s known that the team put a lot of efforts in that direction. My ambition is to become a prominent team player by supporting the leaders and being successful in the time trials.”

Previously, it has been announced that Mike Teunissen, Taco van der Hoorn, Lennard Hofstede, Laurens De Plus and Jonas Vingegaard will make the switch to Team LottoNL-Jumbo. Gijs Van Hoecke, Robert Wagner, Enrico Battaglin, Lars Boom and Bram Tankink are leaving the team.

Tony Martin in Paris-Roubaix 2018:

Kamil Gradek Promoted to the WorldTour with CCC Team
Polish rider Kamil Gradek will join CCC Team in 2019, General Manager Jim Ochowicz today announced.

The 28-year-old made his debut with CCC Sprandi Polkowice in 2018 and will follow CCC to Continuum Sports with the Polish shoe and bag manufacturer becoming title sponsor from 2019.

While racing at the Continental level, Gradek won Ronde van Midden Nederland in 2017 and Tour of China I in 2014, which helped to gain the attention of CCC Sprandi Polkowice.

“We are pleased to welcome Kamil Gradek to CCC Team in 2019. Kamil has a lot to learn and will gain valuable experience when he makes the transition to the WorldTour level. He will be a valuable domestique and we hope he can take opportunities for himself as he continues his development,” Ochowicz explained.

“Kamil has shown potential in the classics with tenth at Nokere Koerse this year and although he will make his debut with a WorldTour team, he has already raced some of the WorldTour one day races including Cyclassics Hamburg and Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt. We look forward to seeing what Kamil can do with this opportunity next season.”

Gradek is excited to have the opportunity to step up to the WorldTour level.

“It has been my dream to ride for a WorldTour team and now this dream is coming true. To compete at the highest level of races and with the best riders is what I have always wanted to do, so I am very excited and I can’t wait for the upcoming season. To be in any WorldTour team is something wonderful, but to be in a Polish WorldTour team will be very special so, I’m happy to be part of this project and I have a positive outlook to the future,” Gradek said.

“I know that I can learn a lot from the experienced riders in the team and I definitely want to develop more as a cyclist, and to be helpful for my teammates. I will do my best and believe I will be with the right team to achieve this. I would like to focus on some of the classic races, but I also want to take advantage of the team’s experience and expertise and improve my time trials as well.”

In keeping with team policy, no other details of the contract were released.

Kamil Gradek:

Jhonatan Narvaez Signs with Team Sky
Jhonatan Narvaez is the latest young talent to join Team Sky ahead of the 2019 season.

The 21-year-old Ecuadorian is an exciting all-round prospect, having comfortably settled into the WorldTour ranks during 2018.

National road race champion in 2017, in addition to overall victor at Circuit des Ardennes, this season has seen Narvaez finish second at the Drome Classic and fifth overall at the Tour de Wallonie.

An impressive climber and stage racer, Narvaez becomes Team Sky’s first Ecuadorian signing and forms part of the next generation of a blossoming young group of South American riders on the team.

Narvaez said: “I’m very excited about this opportunity to join Team Sky and I look forward to working with the team and giving 100 percent so I can continue to develop as a rider.

“I’ve been racing against the team this season and now I can’t wait to meet up with my new teammates. I know I am going to enjoy being a part of this team. It is full of big name riders who have achieved a lot and it also has a strong group of Latin American riders.

“I characterize myself as a bit of an all-rounder and next season one of my goals is to try and develop further so I can be in a position to help the team and also win races. I am 21 years old and I know on this team I will have great support to improve myself and grow as a rider.”

Team Sky coach Xabier Artetxe said: “Jhonatan is a really versatile rider. You could compare him to Jonathan Castroviejo in that they are similar riders that can perform strongly on the flat, time trial really well and, while they are not pure climbers, they can climb very well too.

“This year he put in some really good performances in different scenarios, working on the front for his teammates and being really competitive on summit finishes. We also saw him riding well in some one-day races and the Classics in Belgium. He is still really young so as a rider and as a team we need to define in the future where the best place is to go with an exciting rider like Jhonatan.

“Next year will be all about learning how we race as a team and how we work in terms of training and recovery. I think he is the type of rider that suits stage races more and in the future he can do really well when targeting the GC. But for next year there’s no pressure for results – for him it’s about being in a good condition to race in these events to continue to learn and develop.”

Jhonatan Narvaez:

Women’s Movistar Team Renews Nine Riders for 2019
Nearly the entire Telefónica-backed squad’s roster from this season, including all Spaniards, will stay with Eusebio Unzué’s team.

The Movistar Team announces it has reached agreements with nine of the riders which made part of its 2018 women’s roster. The core of that program will thus remain intact for next season, as they take on the biggest races in the UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar following plenty of success together in its first year of activity.

All seven Spanish riders directed by Jorge Sanz this year will remain in Blue colors for 2019. The list includes National ITT Champion Mavi García; Setmana Valenciana GC podium finisher Alicia González; strong climber Lorena Llamas, runner-up at the maiden edition of the Volta a Catalunya; National Road Race Champion Eider Merino – who won atop the Mont Ventoux (Tour de l’Ardèche) and took 8th overall in the Giro Rosa – Lourdes Oyarbide, winner of the Burgos round in the Spanish National Series; Spanish Individual Pursuit Champion Gloria Rodríguez; and youngster Alba Teruel, the current Spanish U23 ITT Champion.

Added to those names plus the team’s two confirmed signings – Roxane Fournier and Sheyla Gutiérrez – two foreign riders of irreplaceable sporting quality and friendly character have also extended their contracts. Aude Biannic, a powerhouse devoted to the team’s climbers, will stay with the Blues after her French road race title and prologue win in the Lotto Belgium Tour. In turn, Małgorzata Jasińska has climbed up the UCI world ranking’s top-20 with extremely consistent, even brilliant results all over the season, including both Nationals races, a 5th place in the RR Worlds, runner-up finishes in Plumelec and Veenendaal or top-ten results in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Plouay, Thüringen or the Emakumeen Euskal Bira. The roster still remains open for further signings later this autumn.

The Movistar Team wants to thank Rachel Neylan for her contribution as an expert competitor – a value profoundly appreciated by a newly-established team – and wishes the Australian rider all the best in her future sporting and personal endeavors.

Filippo Ganna to Ride for Team Sky
Team Sky are pleased to announce the signing of exciting Italian all-rounder Filippo Ganna.

The 22 year old has quickly marked himself out as a rider to watch, both on the road and the track. With two individual pursuit world titles to his name, Ganna has been an integral part of Italy’s recent track resurgence.

That pursuiting ability has also translated onto the road, with Ganna putting in a number of strong time trial performances during his first two years as a professional. Also a winner of under-23 Paris-Roubaix, he gained experience of the Classics during 2018 and joins Team Sky from UAE-Team Emirates.

Ganna adds to a strong Italian presence at Team Sky, joining a core of Italian riders and our family of Italian partners: Sky Italia, Castelli, Pinarello, Kask, Elite and Fizik.

On the prospect of riding for the team, Ganna said: “It’s a dream to sign for Team Sky. It’s a very impressive team and everyone in cycling is used to seeing them winning the big races”

“For me, it’s fantastic to move to a team like this and I hope I can continue to develop and improve on my first two years on the road. I’m excited to meet up with the team for the first training camp and to start to work together”

“The team is really impressive in how they approach time trials and team time trials and that is an area I feel I can develop, in addition to the one-day races and one-week stage races going forward”

“In 2018 I started to experience the Classics races as a pro for the first time and that is another area I would like to learn and focus on, to one day be able to compete at the front of those races.”

Team Sky Coach Dario Cioni said: “Filippo is a rider who has won under-23 Paris-Roubaix plus world and European titles on the track – so you can see he is a great all-round talent.

“He’s still developing on the road and this team is a great place for him to do that alongside the young talent we have at Team Sky”

“He adds to an already strong core of Italian riders at the team, and we’re really pleased to have him on board with us.”

Filippo Ganna:

Trek-Segafredo Welcomes Return of Edward Theuns
Trek-Segafredo is excited to announce that Edward Theuns will rejoin the team in 2019. The Belgian rider who last rode with Trek-Segafredo for the 2016 and 2017 seasons was a member of Team Sunweb this season.

Theuns is eager to show the Trek-Segafredo kit again and prove he still has the same fast legs that brought him wins in the BinckBank Tour and the Presidential Tour of Turkey in 2017 with Trek-Segafredo.

Edward Theuns: “I’m really happy to be joining Trek-Segafredo again, and I am looking forward to going after some big results in a familiar environment. I can’t wait to work with a lot of people that I know from the past and to be part of this big family again.”

Luca Guercilena, General Manager Trek-Segafredo: “Edward has always been a solid rider, who has given us wins in the past, and we are certain he will do so again. We are excited to have him again in the spring races where he will be one of the pillars for the Classics group. We know him as a strong rider and a complete teammate on and off the bike and are happy to welcome him back to the team.”

Edward Theuns:

Eduard Prades Signs with Movistar Team
Recent Tour of Turkey GC winner to join Eusebio Unzué’s squad in 2019 after brilliant season with Euskadi-Murias.

The Movistar Team confirms it has reached an agreement with Eduard Prades (Alcanar, ESP; 1987) that will see the Catalan rider become the Blues’ fourth addition for their 2019 men’s team. Eduard will be joining confirmed signings Jürgen Roelandts, Carlos Verona and Lluís Mas.

Prades will be racing in Movistar Team colors after a sensational 2018 season with Euskadi – Murias, a squad where he’s obtained the best results in his career – following his stages at Andorra (2009), OFM (2013), Matrix (2014) and Caja Rural (2015-17)career. At the Basque outfit, he’s again proven to be a very consistent rider, able to do well in all terrains and capable developing some decent speeds at group sprints.

The last twelve months have seen the Tarragona native win two stage-races in the Tour of Norway and, more recently, the Tour of Turkey (UCI WorldTour), where he rode swiftly over the twisty, decisive final circuit in Istanbul to make up a six-second deficit against Alexey Lutsenko (AST) after the Selçuk mountain-top finish.

Prades has also finished runner-up in the Tour de Yorkshire – only behind Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet – 4th in the GP Miguel Indurain – a step behind future team-mates Valverde and Verona- and also 4th in the Tour of Luxembourg GC, where he came close to a stage victory on the final day of racing.

2018 Tour of Turkey winner: Eduard Prades:

Alan Banaszek, Sixth Signing of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA for 2019
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA adds another rider for the next season with the signing of the Polish Alan Banaszek (Warsaw, 1997). With this movement, the team reaffirms its commitment to young values, since in 2019 he will still be under 23.

Banaskez is a fast man who spent the last three seasons in the Polish team CCC Sprandi. He arrives to the Navarre team with five professional victories in 2017 and several positions of honor this year.

He also has great experience in the track, where he was proclaimed European Champion in 2017 in the Points race. These results helped him to improve his abilities in the road and to develop his conditions in the massive arrivals, where he hopes to continue making progress next year.

The Young polish joins the signings of Jon Aberasturi, Matteo Malucelli, Domingos Gonçalves, Xavi Cañellas and David González to face an exciting campaign.

Alan Banaszek: “Caja Rural-Seguros RGA has a long and prestigious history in cycling. My fellow countryman Michal Kwiatkowski started his career here and it is a dream to follow in his footsteps. I am looking forward to start working with the team and make next season a successful one. Obviously Caja Rural-Seguros RGA has a great structure and race calendar. I’m sure it will be the right environment for me to learn and grow as a sprinter. My goals are to work hard for the team. I know that there are going to be many experienced sprinters in the team and I would like to help, grow and learn from them. I’m only 21, but I believe in myself and I want to be a top sprinter in the future.”

Sean Bennett Steps Up to the WorldTour with EF Pro Cycling
EF Pro Cycling is pleased to announce the signing of neo-pro Sean Bennett. The American joins the team from Hagens Berman Axeon off the back of a ‘Baby Giro’ stage win last summer.

In Bennett, team CEO Jonathan Vaughters sees a young rider brimming with overlooked potential.

“He won a stage of the Baby Giro. He almost won a stage in the Tour of California this year, finishing second to Toms Skujins, who I would say is the guy Sean reminds me of most,” Vaughters said.

“When I called Sean up, my question was, ‘Are you a little pissed off that you’ve been looked over while other guys, like Neilson Powless and Brandon McNulty and some other high-profile U23s, have been in the spotlight? Does that irk you?’

And he said, ‘Yeah, it does.’ I thought, ‘perfect.’”

Prior to the 2018 season, Bennett largely rode as a domestique. Over the last eight months, he’s had the opportunity to take on a different role.

“The fitness hasn’t changed much from last year to this year, but I got to save myself for the end of the races, and I had the results to show for it,” Bennett said.

The 22-year-old got his start in cycling as a high school freshman. He followed in his older brothers’ footsteps, joining NICA – the National Interscholastic Cycling Association that was founded in 2009 to develop an interscholastic mountain biking program for high school students across the United States.

“I had a lot of fun going to the races on the weekend. It was a really good social environment, so it was a lot more fun than just showing up to a bike race, racing and going home,” said Bennett. “It was a really great experience.”

“By senior year, I knew I really wanted to give cycling a proper try,” Bennett added. “I thought I was competitive enough to see where it could take me, and I went all in with it.”

After high school, Bennett switched his focus from mountain biking to road racing. He raced in Europe with USA Cycling before signing up for Irish Continental squad An Post-Chain Reaction in 2016.

“I’ve had a lot of transitions and a lot of big learning curves,” said Bennett. “It seems like every year, I’ve taken a key step: transitioning from mountain bike to road, road racing in America, road racing in Europe – that was a particularly big step. The last few years have been about increasing the comfort level and confidence in Europe so that I can compete, be an active participant rather than someone just riding in the field. I think this year I’ve taken a big step being able to consistently have a role in a race and impact its outcome in some ways. I quite like doing that.”

The move to the WorldTour is the latest in a series of steps Bennett has made season-after-season.

“There are a lot of unknowns,” said Bennett. “And signing with EF offered me the most knowns in a world of unknowns. Having familiar faces around me – people I know, I like, I get along with – having that will ease this transition.”

When talking about Bennett, Vaughters points to Skujins, who wore argyle from 2016-2017, and has recently come of age in the WorldTour, snagging another Amgen Tour of California win, wearing the polka dot jersey at the Tour of France and winning Tre Valli Varesine all within the last six months.

“Toms’ story was a bit similar,” said Vaughters. “He had great results and was somehow overlooked. Sean, to me, is the exact same thing. The guy has done a lot in under-23 and pro ranks this year. But he’s one of those guys who, for one reason or another, his name just hasn’t popped as much as. He’s got a lot of fire. And I’m happy to have a young guy like that on the team next year. He knows how to sniff out a breakaway. He sprints well. He climbs well. He’s an all-around rider with really great bike-handling skills and a good nose for tactics. As the directors would say, he’s a quote, unquote racer. He knows how to win when he puts himself in a position, knows how to help teammates.”

Bennett is eager to embrace the challenge that awaits him. “I’m most looking forward to competition at the highest level and knowing that the races I’m doing are at the top and I’m racing against the best guys in the world,” said Bennett. “I’m excited to see how I stack up.”

Sean Bennett:

Sunweb’s Press Officer Bennie Ceulen set to Retire
Team Sunweb’s Bennie Ceulen (NED) is to retire as press officer to the team from the end of 2018. Ceulen has worked with Team Sunweb since its Skil-Shimano days in 2009, enjoying a 10-year-long career within their ranks. Previous to working with the team Ceulen was a pro rider himself, and afterwards went on to spend 30 years as a journalist at Limburgs Dagblad and Dagblad De Limburger. Since 1989 he has also been a delegate for ASO in the Netherlands. Over the years, as a journalist and press officer, Ceulen has covered around 50 grand tours.

From their first Grand Tour stage win, Monumental victories at Paris-Roubaix and Milano San-Remo, right through to their three Grand Tour podium finishes; Ceulen has been a part of the team’s growth and successes over the years. Team Sunweb would like to thank Ceulen for all of his hard work and dedication, he will always remain a great friend of the team.

Ceulen, who turns 67 next month, said: “After much deliberation and with much sadness, I have decided to end my career as a press officer with Team Sunweb at the end of this year, not for a new job but to enjoy my retirement. I look back on a great ten years where I watched the team grow from a small pro-continental Team Skil-Shimano, to the WorldTour level as Team Sunweb. It was a truly unforgettable period with numerous highlights such as the team’s first stage win and yellow jersey at the Tour de France with Marcel Kittel, the beautiful victories with John Degenkolb in the Monuments at Milano San-Remo and Paris-Roubaix, Warren Barguil and Michael Matthews polka and green jersey’s and the team’s world titles last year. One of the highlights I won’t forget was of course the Giro victory with Tom Dumoulin. After a great career with some incredible memories, it is now time for me to spend more time with my family, friends and hobbies.”

Team Sunweb CEO Iwan Spekenbrink (NED) said: “Bennie has been an invaluable part of the team over the years and has been there through all of the highs and lows. We’re extremely grateful for all he has done for us and we are sad to see him leave.”

Marloes Poelman (NED) added: “We’ve had so many great memories with Bennie. Although he retires, this is something that he loves, so he will always be a part of the team and still active with some background activities. On behalf of all at Team Sunweb I’d like to wish all the best to Bennie for a great retirement and once again thank him for the past 10 years.”

TransHeroes New Co-Sponsor Alecto Cycling Team
Expert in logistics TransHeroes | Smart Logistics has committed to support Alecto Cycling Team next season. The agreement was signed last week at Alecto CE headquarter Den Bosch.

Edwin Asveld, CEO and owner of TransHeroes: “Alecto Cycling Team has proven themselves by achieving ambitious results. Ambitious riders and an enthusiast and professional team management makes Alecto Cycling Team a great team. As a logistic entrepreneur we see a lot of similarities. We are also very ambitious and dedicated and devoted as the riders of team Alecto. Therefor we have chosen cycling as our preferred sport: winning on this level will always involve team work. In the end everybody chips in for a win, that’s not different as in our line of business!”

U23 riders Mitch Groot (Brunssum, 09-02-1998) and Adne Koster (Roden, 24-08-2000) signed for Alecto Cycling Team 2019. Mitch Groot comes over from Lotto-Soudal U23 and rode previously for our satellite-team TCW De Kempen. Adne Koster is set for his first season with the big guys and comes over from Belgium Soenens. He took junior championships in 2017 and finished 2nd in the Tour of Flanders 2018.

Mitch Groot and Adne Koster:

Thomas De Gendt and Tim Wellens Successfully Complete The Final Breakaway
Thomas De Gendt and Tim Wellens arrived in Semmerzake this afternoon, after starting #TheFinalBreakaway in Como five days and 1000 kilometers ago.

Thomas de Gendt: “We were awake at six this morning and already got on our bike a few minutes past seven. I’m happy to be home, but it has been a great adventure and a wonderful experience. Despite the luggage we carried on our bike, we still had an average speed of more than 30 kilometers this week. We were lucky with the weather, only yesterday we didn’t see the sun, and we mainly had tailwind during the stages. We only had two punctures this week: on the top of the Grand Ballon and today at five kilometers from the finish.”

“We don’t regret this adventure, but won’t make any promises to repeat the effort. Tim and I really enjoyed ourselves. Yesterday evening we had dinner with Maxime Monfort and the day before Lars Bak had left a surprise at our hotel. We could enjoy nature along our route, something that’s not possible in a race. Physically we still feel fine, but we are also happy to have a holiday now. We were surprised by the support we got and the number of people that followed our adventure. Thank you to everybody.”

The PEZ INSTAGRAM Take a look at our Instagram page for a live feed of #PeloPics, #DailyDistractions, and giveaways straight from your phone: https://www.instagram.com/pezcyclingnews

Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it on the homepage, just above the EuroTrash section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.

Any comments drop me a line, email address: [email protected] or Twitter. And check the PezCyclingNews Twitter and Facebook Page.

Like PEZ? Why not subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive updates and reminders on what's cool in road cycling?

Comments are closed.