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Diegem - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Illustration picture showing cyclocross riders in action pictured during the 6th leg of the men’s elite Telenet Superprestige cyclocross race of Diegem on December 29, 2019 in Diegem, Belgium, 29/12/2019 - Photo: Nico Vereecken/PN/Cor Vos © 2019

EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

Sam Bennett want’s to emulate Sean Kelly – Top Story. All the cross action from Diegem, Loenhout and Heusden-Zolder with reports, results and video. No rest for the cycling news: Rider news: Zdenek Stybar abandons Azencross, Elia Viviani to TDU, Mikel Landa talks 2020, Alvaro José Hodeg’s comeback, Domenico Pozzovivo for NTT, Egan Bernal Tour no Giro, Amador contract, Nicolas Dlamini broken arm and Fabio Aru to Colombia. Race news: TDU women’s teams and UAE Team Emirates 2019 best of video. Monday cross coffee time.

TOP STORY: Sam Bennett dreams of the Tour green jersey
Sam Bennett will officially be a member of the Deceuninck – Quick-Step ‘Woolfpack’ in four days. After a controversial transfer, he comes from the BORA-hansgrohe team, where he was under contract for six seasons. With his new team, he wants to return to the Tour de France after four years.

“Deceuninck – Quick-Step was one of my dream teams, especially when I was a teenager,” Bennett told RTÉ Ireland. “I am now in my best years. This team is the most winning team in recent years. It was something I definitely wanted to be part of. It was an opportunity that presented itself at the right time and that I could not let pass. I really have the feeling that I am moving to a higher level. I really want to go back to the Tour de France; that’s a big target for me.”

The Irish fast-man rode the Tour de France twice, but in both 2015 and 2016 he did not win any stages, although he has won in the Giro and Vuelta. Last year there were three stage wins in the Giro d’Italia and two more successes in the Vuelta a España. In 2019 he won on thirteen occasions in total.

“Deceuninck – Quick-Step is more of a sprint team and they hunt more for stage wins than for classifications. This is the perfect team for me. I will be one of their sprint leaders, so I am treated very well. I think this will be a good collaboration. As I get stronger, the motor gets bigger. I can be more versatile in the races I participate in. Every year I try to improve. I want to achieve at least another thirteen victories in the coming season”, the Irish sprinter explained.

Bennett was born in Wervik, Flanders, but grew up in Carrick-on-Suir – the home of cycling legend Sean Kelly. When he was younger, he didn’t really understand who Kelly was, the sprinter had to admit. “That became more so when I went abroad and rode the races that he had done. I sometimes struggled to finish those races, while he had won seven times. Once I realised the level at which he found himself, he became increasingly an inspiration to me. He was extraordinary.”

Kelly won no fewer than four of the five Monuments in his career, while Bennett still stands out primarily in stage races. “Maybe in the future I might look a bit more like Sean in the classics, but for now I look more at the mass sprints and things like the green jersey in the Tour de France.”

Sam Bennett Vuelta’19 stage win:

Telenet Superprestige – Diegem 2019
Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) won the Superprestige evening cyclo-cross in Diegem on Sunday. The World champion held himself back until the halfway point before going on to take his sixth professional victory in a row in Diegem, plus four more with the younger categories. Eli Iserbyt finished in second place at 9 seconds, with Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) in third at 28 seconds.

The Diegem race kicked off at 8 pm local time with 83 riders on the start line. An evening cyclo-cross under flood-lights is always something special. Lars van der Haar (Telenet-Baloise) was the first out of the trap. The Dutchman has been struggling with back and calf injuries in recent weeks, but was back to his fast-start self.

Mathieu van der Poel was close on his wheel followed by Eli Iserbyt who made it difficult for Van der Poel in Loenhout last week. The Belgian gave the impression that Van der Poel would not be getting an easy time from him today and even dared to take the lead in the early laps. A group with Tim Merlier (Creafin-Fristads), Michael Vanthourenhout, Tom Pidcock (Trinity) and Corne van Kessel (Telenet-Baloise) managed to hang on.

At the halfway mark; Mathieu van der Poel put the pressure on going through the start/finish area on tarmac. Just after that, Iserbyt was slowed on the grass and held up the chase as he was caught by the group behind, who then lost 22 seconds on Van der Poel in one lap.

Iserbyt found his second breath in the final quarter and together with Michael Vanthourenhout, he went on the chase for Van der Poel. The 20 second lead became 15 again, and 10 by the finish. Van der Poel was never worried and could even entertain the audience with a few jumps. Van der Poel has never been beaten in all his appearances in Diegem.

Race winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus): “This really wasn’t easy. I didn’t have my best day, but I know the course well. I have the experience, and that was an important part of the victory. The course really suits me. If you know how to divide your effort, it is nice to be on your own. And certainly in this atmosphere, that is extra encouraging as a rider. That is clear, yes. Everyone knows that the feeling I am riding around with is the most important thing for me. Last year it all went a bit faster and I want to restore that quickly. But on the other hand that is not super more if you can still win. Hence my triumphant gesture with ten fingers, which was rather an inspiration of the moment. It was nice to win here for the tenth time.”

Telenet Superprestige – Diegem Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus in 59:41
2. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:09
3. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:28
4. Tim Merlier (Bel) Creafin-Fristads at 0:36
5. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Telenet-Baloise at 0:41
6. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:50
7. Corne van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Baloise at 1:09
8. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Telenet-Baloise at 1:33
9. David van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus at 1:49
10. Thomas Pidcock (GB) Trinity at 2:23.


DVV Trofee Azencross – Loenhout 2019
Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) won the Azencross in Loenhout after a long chase. The World champion crashed in the opening lap and lost almost three-quarters of a minute, but managed to fight back to leader Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal). Iserbyt finished 2nd at 9 seconds, with Corne Van Kessel (Telenet Baloise Lions) 3rd at nearly a minute.

All eyes in the Azencross were on the big comeback of Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma). Van Aert was racing for the first time since his crash in the time trial of the Tour de France. Van Aert made the first impression of the race as attacked from the start line and took the lead onto the first section of off-road. The fans in Loenhout went crazy thanks to the strong start of the Jumbo-Visma rider, which exceeded expectations.

On the bridge Mathieu van der Poel was the victim of an unfortunate crash. The World champion chose the wrong track and went completely wrong. Van der Poel dropped his bike and saw almost the whole race pass him and he lost a good three-quarters of a minute and faced an almost impossible task.

At the front, Tim Merlier (Creafin-Fristads) did not want to wait for Van der Poel’s return. The Belgian road champion got off to a good start, but then also went wrong. Then it was Eli Iserbyt who took over with Corne van Kessel. The two found an ideal collaboration and together built a nice lead on the rest of the field.

Van der Poel meanwhile, passed more and more riders and after nearly half an of competition he was the first pursuer of the leading pair. That was the signal for Iserbyt to drop his Dutch partner and increase the pace, but there was little he could do about Van der Poel’s return. Despite the strong push from Iserbyt, Van der Poel was at the front with three laps to go. The World champion immediately put pressure on, but didn’t manage to break the Belgian.

On the last lap Van der Poel rode through the mud a lot faster than Iserbyt. The latter could not find his explosiveness of the previous laps and had to let the champ go. Iserbyt strengthened his lead in the DVV Trofee, partly due to the absence of Toon Aerts.

And Wout van Aert? He was the only one who did not jump over the obstacles, but he competed nicely for 5th place. He was unable to hold on to Van Kessel, but he was able to compete for fourth place, although Merlier got ahead of him at the line. His result far exceeded his expectations. His next races are in Gullegem and the Belgian championships in Antwerp.

Race winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus): “I could not help but remain calm. It was a very difficult catch-up race. It was a difficult route to just move positions up and down. I couldn’t do much about it. It was a sandbag that lay loose on the bridge. It took a while before I got my bike back because of all the riders who were behind. I could not help but remain calm at that time. Then I started my own race until suddenly I was at the front. In the first lap I looked two or three times in the distance and I always thought I saw the first riders, but that turned out to be the riders to be around twentieth. So I was really far behind and I faded a bit. I think that I then arranged my race well. I always tried to find my pace so that I could handle the whole race. That I was able to close that last gap gave me some moral. I have to say that the best was also a bit off after that catch-up race, so I was reasonably on the limit when I joined the front. There was not much left to make them crack, so I tried to keep the pace high so they might make an error. I’m not really there yet. I can very well drive a pace throughout the race, which is certainly high enough. And that means that my base is top. I am satisfied with that. We have a slightly different approach, which means that I do slightly more endurance training than specific interval. I am very satisfied with the shape of this end-of-year period, so I am also fine. Otherwise you won’t come back from the back like today.” Wout van Aert? “I am not surprised, this was to be expected. I also followed what he did, so I knew he was going to be in shape.”

5th, Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “I certainly amazed myself. It was a great pleasure to be able to race a cross again, I really enjoyed today. The audience was super nice. I was able to show myself too, so I am very satisfied. I have not forgotten that yet. With this course it was handy to be on the right track and that way I could immediately take the lead. I think I was able to give the audience immediate value for money! There were also treacherous pieces where I had to get off and there was some impact on my right leg, and that actually went smoothly. So it felt good and I hope I can continue like this in the coming days. Of course it is very nice to be able to continue building from here. In the final laps it was also a battle in our group (for 4th place). It was great that I could immediately ride in a final. I also have to thank Tim Merlier, who took me in tow in the last part. Nice to cross the finish line together. I have to see how it goes. The World Championship is a very nice cross, but given the results I have already achieved there, I don’t have to go there just to participate. I really only want to go if I can perform. If we consider this to be possible after the Belgian Championship, we make a plan to be as good as possible there too.”

DVV Trofee Azencross – Loenhout Result:
1. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus in 1:00:26
2. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:09
3. Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions at 0:52
4. Tim Merlier (Bel) Creafin-Fristads at 1:13
5. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 1:14
6. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Corendon-Circus at 1:16
7. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:19
8. Wietse Bosmans (Bel) Sport IT-Isorex at 1:22
9. Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions at 1:39
10. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions at 1:41


UCI Cyclocross World Cup – Heusden-Zolder 2019
World champion Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) won in the World Cup race in Zolder on Thursday. The Dutchman raced away alone after 27 minutes and never saw the others behind him again. Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Quinten Hermans (Telenet-Baloise) were second and third at 6 seconds.

The long start line on the Formula 1 track of the Zolder Circuit always looks like a mass sprint. That how it turned out again, the fastest of all cross riders, Belgian road champion, Tim Merlier (Creafin-Fristads), was the first to turn onto the off-road. Mathieu van der Poel was only in tenth place at that point, but the unlucky rider of the day was probably World Cup leader Toon Aerts (Telenet-Baloise). The Belgian champion was stopped by a crash at the first corner and was the very last man on the road.

At the front; Quinten Hermans and Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) took turns in the lead position in the early section of the race, hoping to keep Van der Poel behind. The World champion was not worried and stayed in position. Meanwhile, Toon Aerts – with the help of Zdenek Stybar – was able to work his way closer and closer to within the top 15.

After the end of the second lap we saw a strange happening on the asphalt. Lars van der Haar (Telenet-Baloise) accidentally brought down Daan Soete and so the lead group was thinned out a little. Soete was hurt and had to abandon.

It wasn’t long before Mathieu van der Poel decided to give it a go. The race had only been cruising for just 27 minutes at this point. Corné van Kessel (Telenet-Baloise) was on Van der Poel’s wheel in the technical zone, but the Van Kessel’s engine was not strong enough to follow the pace of the World champ. Van Kessel also slowed down the others, allowing Van der Poel to start the asphalt with a 15-second lead. There was a little reluctance from the chasers after that, until Hermans took up the challenge. But the race already seemed to be over.

Hermans, Laurens Sweeck – who recorded the fastest lap – and Vanthourenhout proved to be the strong men in the chase, along with Gianni Vermeersch (Creafin-Fristads) was also in the group of four behind Van der Poel. Especially Sweeck, who made an impression and kept the gap close with Vanthourenhout and Hermans to within 20 seconds. Sweeck was also stronger in the sprint than his companions.

Toon Aerts, who started with broken ribs, held his World Cup lead thanks to his closest rival, Eli Iserbyt, finishing in 13th place while Aerts finished 14th.

Race winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus): “This is one of the most difficult courses to race, you are never out of sight. If, like today, there is a chasing group with a few teammates who can work together, you will break down on the straight. They can keep the difference there. The technical pieces are really completely “a bloc”. I actually wanted to wait a little longer because I thought it was going to be on the final lap. But it was extremely difficult. While I was still in the group, I hung on the long stretch of the road on the roadside. I wanted to prevent that a bit. My back was a little bothering me, but I often have that on this circuit. I had fairly hard tires because it is a fairly fast course. The shocks gave me a bit of a stiff back. Stretching then relaxes a bit.” The return of Wout Van Aert? “I think it is certainly a good thing for the sport. It is only positive that he is back. I think he will finish in the top five tomorrow.”

World Cup – Heusden-Zolder Result:
1. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus in 1:02:22
2. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:06
3. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Telenet-Baloise
4. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:09
5. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Creafin-Fristads at 0:20
6. Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Baloise at 0:21
7. Tim Merlier (Bel) Creafin-Fristads
8. Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Sunweb
9. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Telenet-Baloise at 0:37
10. Thijs Aerts (Bel) Telenet-Baloise at 0:59.


Zdenek Stybar Had to Abandon the Azencross with Arm Injury
Zdeněk Štybar had to end the Azencross in Loenhout early. In his fifth cross of the season, the triple World cross champion crashed into a pole and hurt his arm. Stybar is expected to start in Diegem on Sunday.

“With some ice packs everything should be able to be remedied,” Wilfried Peeters, Štybar’s team DS at Deceuninck – Quick-Step, told Het Nieuwsblad after the Azencross. “He should be able to finish his scheduled program in Diegem, Bredene and Baal without too many problems.”

Štybar was scheduled to ride eight cyclo-cross races during this winter period. In his first cross in Essen he finished in 12th place and immediately got a taste for it. “It was tough, but I enjoyed it.” In Sint-Niklaas, he recorded his first top 10 ranking after a fast start.

DNF in DVV Trophee Loenhout! A small crash against a pole before the bridge…

Elia Viviani Leads Cofidis in the Tour Down Under
Cofidis returns to the Tour Down Under after eleven years with Elia Viviani as the leader. The Italian won a stage in the last two edition of the Australian stage race and wants to start the new season strong again.

For Viviani this will be his first race in Cofidis colours after two years with Deceuninck – Quick Step. In addition to his stage victories, he also wore the leader’s jersey for a day in 2019. He will be helped by lead-out men Fabio Sabatini and Simone Consonni.

“I know how important it is to start the season strong,” said the European champion in a press release issued by the TDU organisers. “We have worked a lot to prepare for this competition and I have the advantage that I already know Fabio and Simone. They will be invaluable.”

Cofidis team for the Tour Down Under 2020
Simone Consonni (Ita), Nathan Haas (Aus), Mathias Le Turnier (Fra), Marco Mathis (Ger), Fabio Sabatini (Ita), Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel), Elia Viviani (Ita).

Viviani wins TDU’19 stage 1:

Mikel Landa talks 2020
Mikel Landa is moving from Movistar to Bahrain-McLaren this winter to be the team leader: “I see a team that is always ready to help me. Whether there is a threat from Pello Bilbao and Wout Poels? We will see, but I am very confident. I trust Pello Bilbao just a little more than Wout Poels.”

Like Landa, Bilbao comes from the Basque Country, so there is a trust and understanding between the two. The Basque also has trusts in Poels, with whom he rode with Team Sky in 2016 and 2017. “He has clear ideas,” he told El Mundo. Both riders will be at the start of the Tour de France with Landa, which the Basque wants to win.

“I am convinced that I can win it,” says Landa. “In recent years I have been close to the best riders. Every year I seem to be getting a bit closer. Chris Froome dominated the Tour de France, but after him, only Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal won. I consider myself as likely as them.”

“Thomas has not won much in his career, but he has won the Tour de France. Before that Tour, few people had put him among the top ten drivers. That kind of performance makes you dream,” Landa concludes. “I don’t know if next year will be the chance of my life to win the Tour, but it’s a big chance.”

Landa fighting it out with Alaphilippe in 2019:

Alvaro José Hodeg Makes his Comeback in San Juan
Alvaro José Hodeg was forced to stop his 2019 season due to a crash in the Tour de l’Eurométropole. The Colombian broke several bones and had to stay in bed for almost a month and a half. Hodeg will makes his comeback to the peloton in the 2020 Vuelta a San Juan.

“My winter has been very difficult”, the Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider told Cyclism’Actu. “It was the worst holiday of my life. After my fall I lay in bed for almost a month and a half.”

Hodeg can now train again, but still has a little pain. “The only pain I still have is in my left wrist. I can race without problems, but if I have to put pressure on my handlebars in a sprint, then I have a little pain. But I am getting more and more confidence.”

“I feel a bit different on the bike because I am normally in better shape around this time. It is hard to say when I will be in top form, but I know that I can be good again now and in the Vuelta a San Juan. Maybe not a hundred percent yet, but I will come close to it,” he concluded. The Vuelta a San Juan runs from January 26th to February 2nd. Last year Hodeg was 2nd, 3rd and 5th on stages 1, 4 and 7.

Alvaro José Hodeg won stage 5 of the 2019 BinckBank Tour:

Domenico Pozzovivo To ride For NTT?
According to various Italian media, Domenico Pozzovivo will be a professional cyclist in 2020 as there are two WorldTour teams interested in signing him and Team NTT is the main candidate.

The 37-year-old Italian broke an arm and a leg in a crash last year during a training ride. He had to be operated on five times and couldn’t leave hospital for three weeks. In October the news came that he would not ride for Bahrain-Merida next season.

His career seemed to be over, but now there is hope again on the horizon. TuttoBiciWeb wrote that two WorldTour teams have shown interest in the small climber. NTT – the successor to Dimension Data – is named as the most likely. A two-year contract is being discussed, although the news is not yet confirmed. It is expected that more will become clear about the sporting future of Pozzovivo in the coming days.

Pozzovivo in the 2019 Giro:

Egan Bernal to Defend Tour Title, No Giro
Egan Bernal will not participate in the 2020 Giro d’Italia, he told a press conference in Colombia. The Team Ineos rider will put everything on the Tour de France.

More than a month ago, Bernal spoke extensively about his love for the Italian Grand Tour, while at the beginning of this month he still thought about a Giro/Tour combination. The 22-year-old climber has decided to pass on the Giro, hoping to start as fresh as possible at the Tour de France.

It is now up to Team Ineos team management to get all the leaders in line, as Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas also want to make a go at a Tour win. Froome even hopes to make history next year by winning the Tour for a fifth time. Newcomer to Ineos, Richard Carapaz, wants to defend his Giro title.

Nicolas Portal, team DS at Ineos, is not afraid of a mutiny. “It is not the first time that we have a lot of talent on board. We constantly talk to each other and that is all going well. It is nice to have a mix of new riders and young talent,” said the Frenchman.

Bernal, Thomas or Froome at the Tour?

Amador and Acquadro Signed a Contract with Movistar
Will Andrey Amador race for Movistar or Team Ineos next year? Movistar boss, Eusebio Unzué, made it clear in an interview with El Confidencial. “Amador and his manager have signed a contract with us.”

Movistar announced in July that the 33-year-old Amador had signed with the Spanish WorldTour team, but at the end of September it was revealed that the Costa Rican would leave for Team Ineos. Since then, the rider has been in uncertain. According to Unzué there is no ambiguity in “the case” of Amador. “We have a pre-contract signed by Amador and his manager, Unzué refers to rider manager Giuseppe Acquadro. “It is now up to the UCI to resolve the matter. Andrey will have to explain it all.”

“They both have a problem since the UCI has now received two signed contracts. Did Acquadro say he didn’t sign anything? Wait, since the deal was completed just before the Giro d’Italia,” said Unzué, who is willing to let the rider go.

“But then he will have to pay a fee based on the existing legislation. We can easily resolve the conflict: if Andrey pays, he is free to race for Team Ineos.” The UCI will inform both parties before the end of the year.

Andrey Amador:

Dlamini Suffers Broken Arm at Hands of Sanparks Official
NTT Pro Cycling can confirm that rider Nicolas Dlamini sustained a broken arm after being stopped by SANParks officials in the Silvermine section of Table Mountain National Park on Friday.

Following the incident, which was caught on film by a fellow cyclist, Nicholas was taken to False Bay Hospital where x-rays were carried out and was confirmed that he suffered a fracture of his left humerus. He has since been transferred to another local hospital where further specialist consultation, together with our team’s medical department, will decide on the next course of action to treat the injury.

NTT Pro Cycling also notes the release of a statement of the incident by SANParks. The video taken by the eyewitness clearly outlines the course of events which saw Nicholas sustain this injury.

This is a major setback for the Capetonian who had been out on a training ride ahead of a hugely promising 2020 season. The 24-year-old had just completed a very promising 2019 which included his first Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España, and he was looking at following that up with further participation in some of the sport’s biggest races in 2020.

He also recently was part of a delegation that travelled to Tokyo and spent some time on the Olympic Road Race course in the hopes of realising a dream and being selected for Team South Africa at the Games.

NTT Pro Cycling would like to be clear that we fully condemn violence in any form and are all highly distressed to see our teammate treated in this manner.

As such, and following the release of the video, NTT Pro Cycling calls upon SANParks to urgently account for the following:
1. The level and scale of physicality employed by the officials in subduing Nicholas, which saw him fracture his arm. Despite being visibly distressed after being pulled off his bicycle at high speed, which saw him crash, there can be no justification for the level of violence meted out to him.
2. The subsequent release of this video on social media has gathered huge momentum, around the world. As one of South Africa’s premier tourist attractions what type of message does this send to both local and foreign visitors who want to visit it?
3. Nicholas has an extensive race programme for 2020 already in place. This unnecessary injury will now have a serious effect on that, as well as his chances of racing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

We also call on SANParks to:
1. Implement immediate disciplinary procedures against the officials involved.
2. A full public apology to both Nicholas, as well as the eyewitness, who was clearly intimidated by the officials while filming this incident.
3. Following the enormous response to this incident, it’s clear that SANParks need to engage with the greater cycling community in Cape Town to forge a positive relationship for the future. 3. We look forward to seeing them take the lead in this respect.

Douglas Ryder – Team Principal: “I was both devastated and appalled to see the video of Nicholas on social media. To watch a young man who I know so well in such unnecessary distress made me feel sick, to be honest. The way in which he was treated is simply not acceptable.”

Nicolas Dlamini:

Fabio Aru to Ride the Colombia Tour
Fabio Aru will make his debut in the 2020 Colombia Tour (11-16 February), according to the race organisation in a press release. The Italian UAE Emirates rider hopes to shine again next season. The 29-year-old Aru – winner of the Vuelta a España – has had a difficult year. In March he had to undergo surgery on a narrowed hip artery, which prevented him from starting in the Giro d’Italia. Then there was rehabilitation for a few months, and he was able to start the Tour de France. Aru seemed to be getting race fit during the French race and looking good for the Vuelta a España, but in the Spanish race his health again failed him. The UAE Emirates rider was hit by a virus. “According to many experts I will never return to my old level, but I know it is possible,” Aru said.

The Italian will focus on the Tour in 2020, but he can show his form in the Colombia Tour at the beginning of February. Aru will race alongside home riders Camilo Ardila, Cristian Camilo Muñoz, Sergio Luis Henao and Sebastián Molano. The overall winner of the 2019 race, Miguel Ángel López, will not be there next year.

Aru TT training in Spain:

Strong International Team Line Up Confirmed for the Start of the 2020 Santos Women’s Tour Down Under
The start list for the 2020 Santos Women’s Tour Down Under is shaping up to be one of the strongest fields to date in the history of the race, with 16 international and national teams confirmed and ready to race the newly elevated UCI ProSeries event.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway said the Government was thrilled with the burgeoning popularity of the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under. “We look forward to another hugely successful event as our elite women’s riders battle it out for victory,’’ said Minister Ridgway.

Kimberley Conte, Race Director, Santos Women’s Tour Down Under said the race had been working hard over the last few months to secure some of the top women’s teams to race in South Australia. “We have seen this race grow from strength to strength over the last four years and I am really excited about the line-up we have secured for the 2020 race,” said Conte.

“We will see FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope and Team Sunweb compete in the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under for the first time, adding a new element of competition to the mix.”

Teams taking to the start line at the 2020 Santos Women’s Tour Down Under are as follows:
Mitchelton-SCOTT (AUS)
Team Sunweb (NED)
Canyon-SRAM (GER)
Trek-Segafredo (USA)
Ale BTC Ljubljana (ITA)
FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope (FRA)
Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank (USA)
Astana Women’s Team (ITA)
Rally Cycling (USA)
Agolico BMC (MEX)
Doltcini – Van Eyck Sport (BEL)
BePink (ITA)
Vantage New Zealand National Team (NZL)
UniSA-Australia (AUS)
Specialized Women’s Racing (AUS)
Roxsolt Attaquer (AUS)

Conte said once again the course planned for 2020 has been designed to appeal to both sprinters and all-rounders with a mix of challenges across the four stages to suit both styles of rider.

“All three road stages could potentially be won by an opportunistic rider – someone who is willing to attack at the right moment, to turn themselves inside out for the win,” she said.

“The routes have been designed to provide sprinters, climbers and all-rounders alike the chance to take stage honours. Whether they break away on technical descent into the finish of Ziptrak® Stage 1, attack on Christmas Tree Ridge which is 8 kilometres from the finish on Novatech Stage 2, or take advantage of the twisting, shaded climb up Aldgate Valley Road to stay out of sight of the peloton on Subaru Stage 3; there is opportunity for a win.”

“We can expect a fast and furious sprint finish for Schwalbe Stage 4 around the Flinders Street Circuit, immediately before the Schwalbe Classic, with huge crowds anticipated to cheer on some of the best female athletes in the world on their final day of racing.”

The 2020 Santos Tour Down Under will be held from 16-26 January 2020 starting with the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under on Thursday 16 January.

The 2019 Santos Tour Down Under attracted a record 48,300 visitors from interstate and overseas who travelled specifically to South Australia for the event, generating an economic impact of $70.7M and creating the equivalent of 837 full-time jobs.

Full rider rosters for each team will be announced over the coming weeks.

Santos Women’s Tour Down Under 2020:

UAE Team Emirates Best Moments of 2019
Season review: as the year draws to a close, hear what the riders had to say about some of the team’s best moments of 2019.

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