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EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

Another fun packed EUROTRASH Thursday. David Brailsford has confidence in Chris Froome for the 2020 Tour de France – Top Story. A load of other cycling news: Luke Durbridge keeps his Australian TT title. Teams for the Tour de France, Paris-Nice and the Dauphiné. Paris-Nice Route and more riders for the Tour Down Under. Rider news from Tim Merlier, Jakob Fuglsang, Greg Van Avermaet, Jan Bakelants and Clément Venturini. Bjarne Riis back in the WorldTour, plus UAE Team Emirates and Circus-Wanty Gobert – Tormans new kit. Big coffee time.


TOP STORY: Dave Brailsford: “No one should underestimate Chris Froome”
Dave Brailsford still has high hopes that Chris Froome will be at the start of the Tour de France in good shape at the end of June. “No one should underestimate Chris,” said Ineos team boss. “He and the team will do everything in their power to ensure that we are at the Départ in Nice on Saturday 27 June as good as possible.”

Talking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Brailsford does not want to say whether Froome will actually make the Tour de France. “We will do everything we can to get ready for the Tour. After his accident, Chris worked incredibly hard. He does everything to win seven Grand Tours.”

On Thursday, the British rider continues his rehabilitation at a training camp in Gran Canaria. A large part of the Ineos training group on the Island will stay there until January 20, but Froome will stay an extra week. He wants more miles and is also planning to start time trial training.

According to La Gazzetta, Froome is considering a comeback to the peloton sometime between the end of February and the beginning of March, although this largely depends on his progress this month. Last week Froome said his recovery was going to plan, even though he had left an earlier training camp.

Will they be laughing in July?


Australia National Championships – ITT 2020
Luke Durbridge successfully defended his Australian time trial title. The 28-year-old rider of the Mitchelton-Scott team set the fastest time in Ballarat on the 37.5 kilometre course. Just like last year, he beat World champion, Rohan Dennis (Ineos), into silver. The bronze medal went to Chris Harper (Jumbo-Visma).

Australia National Championships – ITT Result:
1. Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott) in 46:18
2. Rohan Dennis (Ineos) at 0:18
3. Chris Harper (Jumbo-Visma) at 1:53
4. Michael Hepburn (Mitchelton-Scott) at 2:04
5. Nathan Haas (Cofidis) at 2:11
6. Damien Howson ( Mitchelton-Scott) at 2:34
7. Marcus Culey (Team Sapura Cycling) at 2:43
8. Jordan Villani at 2:55
9. Michael Freiberg (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) at 3:05
10. Dylan Sunderland (NTT Pro Cycling) at 3:39.

Luke Durbridge:


Teams Selection for the 2020 Tour de France, Paris-Nice and the Critérium du Dauphiné
The organisers of the Tour de France have chosen the teams that will take part in the 78th edition of Paris-Nice (March 8-15), the 72th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné (May 31-June 7) and the 107th edition of the Tour de France (June 27-July 19).

In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale rules, the following nineteen UCI WorldTeams are automatically invited to the race:

AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
Bahrain – McLaren (Brn)
Bora – Hansgrohe (Ger)
CCC Team (Pol)
Cofidis (Fra)
Deceuninck – Quick-Step (Bel)
EF Pro Cycling (USA)
Groupama – FDJ (Fra)
Israel Start-Up Nation (Isr)
Lotto Soudal (Bel)
Mitchelton – Scott (Aus)
Movistar Team (Esp)
NTT Pro Cycling Team (Rsa)
Team Ineos (GB)
Team Jumbo – Visma (Ned)
Team Sunweb (Ger)
Trek – Segafredo (USA)
UAE Team Emirates (UAE)

Furthermore, the Total Direct Energie Team, the leader in the 2019 classification of UCI ProTeams will take part by right in Paris-Nice and the Tour de France 2020.

The organisers have invited the following teams:
Tour de France 2020
B&B Hôtels – Vital Concept (Fra)
Team Arkéa – Samsic (Fra)

Paris-Nice 2020
Nippo Delko Provence (Fra)
Team Arkéa – Samsic (Fra)

Critérium du Dauphiné 2020
B&B Hôtels – Vital Concept (Fra)
Circus – Wanty Gobert (Bel)
Team Arkéa – Samsic (Fra).

Tour’20:


Bourlart: “Finish best Pro Team in the World Ranking in 2020”
Circus-Wanty Gobert doesn’t figure on the list of selected teams for the 107th edition of the Tour de France which will start in Nice at the end of June. The organiser, ASO, did attribute an invitation for all one day classics (Paris-Roubaix, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Frankfurt, etc), in accordance to the UCI rules, but also for the Critérium du Dauphiné, in which the Belgian team will take part for a fifth consecutive time. The UCI Pro Team, second team in the second division in de UCI World Ranking 2019, won’t participate in its fourth consecutive Tour de France, but is extra motivated to earn an automatic invitation for the 2021 edition.

Jean-François Bourlart: “Christian Prudhomme contacted me this morning to announce our non-selection for the Tour de France. It was of course a difficult decision for him to take, and even more for us to hear, but we accept it. We had the chance to be invited for the three last editions, to battle on the roads of the Tour during 63 days, to enhance our team and our functioning, and to consolidate our partnerships.”

“We didn’t win the Pro Continental team classification, in contrary to the three previous years. The difference of 64 points with Total-Direct Energie has a big consequence. We know what to do in 2020. We’ll concentrate all our energy on finishing best Pro Team in the World Ranking and on trying to race well ‘tactically’. The greatest glory is not to never fall, but to bounce back after each crash! Our nice project in cyclocross will help us to overcome this little disappointment. Our long terms goals stay the same. I want to thank ASO for its confidence the past three years and I wish the best of luck to teams who have the chance to ride this beautiful Tour in 2020.”

Wanty-Gobert at the Tour’19:


The MEN IN GLAZ on Tour!
For the first time in its short life, the B&B HOTELS – VITAL CONCEPT will race the Tour de France in 2020. Thanks to a wildcard delivered by the organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), the UCI ProTeam based in Brittany aims high in the most famous cycling race in the World.

After two years of discovery, construction and evolution, the Men In Glaz (Glaz is one of the sea’s shades in Brittany) will start from Nice with ambitions. Born two years ago thanks to the strong and common wish of both former pro rider Jérôme Pineau and Eti Group President Patrice Etienne, the team based in Theix-Noyalo (Morbihan) has grown and collected enough pro wins (8 in 2018, 13 in 2019 ) to deserve to be there in July.

Jérôme Pineau, B&B HOTELS – VITAL CONCEPT General Manager who completed thirteen times the Tour de France as a rider, welcomed the news with as much joy as pride.

“This is great news for everyone who’s involved in the club on a daily basis. At our Performance Centre and on the roads all over Europe, we work hard to bring the team where it aims to be. It’s a huge honour to be invited to the World’s biggest race. The Tour is one of the main sport events, it is part of the national and world heritage, this is what rocks our July and offers us the opportunity to enter homes every summer. Now we are invited, it is up to us to behave as it should be. We will be ambitious, hunting for stages but with great humility, faithful to who we are. The Men In Glaz know how to combine rigor and fun. Let us enjoy the event being as serious and professional as we have been since our beginnings.”

Bryan Coquard: “I’m just waiting for that: a stage win in the Tour.”

Led by talented and experienced riders, the Men in Glaz aim high. Their leader Bryan Coquard, twice 2nd in three participations, cannot hide himself. “This is the best news of the year, the sprinter smiles, who won eight races in 2019. I have missed the Tour in the past three years and it is only when your are deprived of it that you realise how essential it is. It’s the race that, kids, we were all watching on TV. The demands, the public support, the continuous rows of spectators on the side of the road… The Tour brings the best of cycling in it. The most stressful, too. This race is so hard that at the end of the three weeks of racing, we say ‘never again’. Eight days later, we look forward to be racing the next one.” 28 mm far from the victory at the end of a memorable sprint against Marcel Kittel in 2016 in Limoges, the 27-year-old rider has only one idea in mind. “I’m just waiting for that: a win on the Tour. Be part of it cannot be an end in itself. I came too close to it not to think of victory. Limoges is my biggest disappointment so far. A stage win in the Tour would be my greatest achievement, even bigger than my silver medal at the London Olympics.”

Pierre Rolland: “This is the race I’ve been training for since I was a child.”

The Glaz roster is balanced and powerful. Teammates able to shelter their sprinter for hours, fast lead-out men, punchers who know that the Tour 2020’s route could suit them, and a pure climber who will never forget his love story with the French public. Pierre Rolland, 33, has already raised his arms twice in the race. In July, he should race his eleventh Tour de France, ready for it. “My wins in L’Alpe d’Huez and La Toussuire, the white jersey on the final podium, the polka dot jersey on my back for several days, a second place in St Jean de Maurienne and even a crash when I was escaped two years ago… I experienced a lot in the Tour. Everything we do or say is under the spotlight and this is the race why I’ve been training since I was a child. Wearing the Glaz kit in this race will be much meaningful. A year and a half ago, I got involved and joined the club’s project because I knew we could live this very first time together. If you don’t race the Tour, you will never be considered as a ‘true’ pro cyclist. It’s sad but it’s the truth. The way the route is designed will give us many opportunities and I look forward to be attacking there.”

The B&B HOTELS – VITAL CONCEPT’s staff has more than five months to select eight riders among the twenty-three Men In Glaz roster. Former double French champion Didier Rous, supported by his fellow sports directors, is about to get what he was aiming when he came to the team as soon as it’s been launched, late 2017. Exactly like when he was a rider himself, he has a date with a legend in next July.

The MEN IN GLAZ on Tour!

Coquard Arctic Race stage win:


Paris-Nice 2020: A Place In The Sun
Cycling can be seen as an exercise in style. Some specialise in specific roles, confident in a particular talent that they are able to put to good use in certain domains. Others who aspire to compete for the most prestigious honours must be allrounders. The latter will, once again, face a challenge that meets their expectations on Paris-Nice, from the start of the race in the suburbs of Paris, with a stage where the hills at the end of the race could pack a surprise. No offence to those who can’t stand cold weather, but the more conscientious riders may wish for a Flandrien-style climate at the start of the week. The freshness and gusts blowing during the crossing of the French Department of Loiret on the road to Chalette-sur-Loing, or in the plains of the Department of Cher to join La Châtre, could create ideal conditions to perfect the most delicate situations in strong winds. The Wednesday time-trial in Saint-Amand-Montrond, which is also known in France as the City of Gold will establish an already solid pecking order for the weekend.

Whilst the côte-Saint-André stage warrants serious caution for the teammates of the favourites, the stage on the following day in Vauclause will be even more unpredictable. Before the finish in Apt, a final 50 km circuit could scatter the field and jeopardise some riders’ positions in the GC. Those who come up short in this exercise will struggle on the final two stages, where the riders will be thinking of the upcoming Tour de France. The climb of the col de la Colmiane, where Simon Yates took the honours in 2018, will in fact be the first major challenge of the 2020 Grande Boucle, so each contender will have the motivation to find their bearings. However, the scenario, which went the way of Marc Soler two years ago, will dampen the enthusiasm of the yellow jersey. While the final stage has been completely changed, its potential remains the same. The climbs up the col de Porte, then the côte de Châteauneuf and côte d’Aspremont, will put the podium contenders in an awkward position. The final finish line, which will for the first time be in front of the Allianz Riviera, will be preceded by a winding descent where getting the trajectories right could be decisive.

Paris-Nice 2020 stages:
Sunday, March 8th, stage 1: Plaisir > Plaisir, 154 km
Monday, March 9th, stage 2: Chevreuse > Chalette-sur-Loing, 166,5 km
Tuesday, March 10th, stage 3: Chalette-sur-Loing > La Châtre, 212,5 km
Wednesday, March 11th, stage 4: Saint-Amand-Montrond > Saint-Amand-Montrond, 15,1 km (individual time trial)
Thursday, March 12th, stage 5: Gannat > La Côte-Saint-André, 227 km
Friday, March 13th, stage 6: Sorgues > Apt, 160,5 km
Saturday, March 14th, stage 7: Nice > Valdeblore La Colmiane, 166,5 km
Sunday, March 15th, stage 8: Nice > Nice, 113,5 km.

In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale rules, the following nineteen UCI WorldTeams are automatically invited to the race:
AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
Bahrain – McLaren (Brn)
Bora – Hansgrohe (Ger)
CCC Team (Pol)
Cofidis (Fra)
Deceuninck – Quick-Step (Bel)
EF Pro Cycling (USA)
Groupama – FDJ (Fra)
Israel Start-Up Nation (Isr)
Lotto Soudal (Bel)
Mitchelton – Scott (Aus)
Movistar Team (Esp)
NTT Pro Cycling Team (Rsa)
Team Ineos (GB)
Team Jumbo – Visma (Ned)
Team Sunweb (Ger)
Trek – Segafredo (USA)
UAE Team Emirates (UAE).

Furthermore, the Total Direct Energie Team, the leader in the 2019 classification of UCI ProTeams will take part by right in Paris-Nice 2020.

The organisers have invited the following teams:
Nippo Delko Provence (Fra)
Team Arkéa – Samsic (Fra).

Key points:
Ø
For the 11th consecutive year, Paris-Nice will start in the Yvelines department. Plaisir, who hosting the event for the first time, follows on from Saint-Germain-en-Laye as the departure point for the Race to the Sun.
Ø As in 2018 when British rider Simon Yates triumphed, the pack on Paris-Nice will again be tackling the Colmiane climb, which is also included in the 2nd stage of the Tour de France 2020.
Ø For the 78th edition of Paris-Nice, Puget will be sponsoring the White Jersey for the best young rider. Furthermore, the brand will be joining the Tour de France as an official supplier.


UAE Team Emirates’ Line-Up for the Tour Down Under
Emirati team will kick-off their 2020 season at the Tour Down Under which runs from 21-26 January.

The race takes place over six stages in and around the city of Adelaide and will provide opportunities for both sprinters and climbers throughout the week. The World Tour season opener will conclude on Stage 6 on the famous Willunga Hill which has decided the overall winner in previous years.

The team will be hoping to build on the solid results from 2019 where Jasper Philipsen had a stage win and Diego Ulissi finished in the top-10 on GC.

Prior to the race, the team will compete in the Schwalbe Classic Criterium (51km) which takes place on the evening of the 19th January.

Sports Director Allan Peiper (Aus) is someone who knows the Tour Down Under well and will lead the following riders:

-Jasper Philipsen (Bel)
-Diego Ulissi (Ita)
-Mikkel Bjerg (Den)
-Aleksandr Riabushenko (Bel)
-Marco Marcato (Ita)
-Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor)
-Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)

Allan Peiper: “UAE Team Emirates is really looking forward to the start of the season at the Tour Down Under in Australia. We come with multiple objectives having Diego Ulissi for the hilly stage finishes and GC and stage winner from last year Jasper Philipsen for the sprint stages. We have a great support team with Bjerg, Bystrøm, Laengen, Marcato and Riabushenko”.

Jasper Philipsen: “I’m looking forward to starting the season early in Australia. We started really well there last year with a win, so we will be hoping to build on that this year. It’s always nice to get the season going well and off on the right foot”.


Lotto Soudal Confirm Team Line Up for Santos Tour Down Under
Lotto Soudal has confirmed their squad that will take to the start line of the 2020 Santos Tour Down Under.

Australian Caleb Ewan will lead the team in the opening UCI WorldTour event for 2020, saying he is excited to get the season underway in Australia.

“This is my home race and of course I am more than motivated. Having won already seven stage wins in the Santos Tour Down Under, I missed a stage win last season. This year I want to be back on the podium,” said Caleb Ewan.

“I have the form and the speed to win, but many things will depend on tactics, other circumstances and other sprinters. I will be ready… I cannot wait to start my season,” he said.

Lotto Soudal (BEL)
Caleb Ewan (AUS)
Thomas de Gendt (BEL)
Adam Hansen (AUS)
Matthew Holmes (GBR)
Roger Kluge (GER)
Jonathan Dibben (GBR)
Tosh van der Sande (BEL).

TDU Classic’19:


Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Tour Down Under
Sam Bennett will kick off his season in Australia.

The 22nd edition of the Tour Down Under will be the first race of the year for the Wolfpack, who’ll travel to the Southern Hemisphere with a versatile seven-man squad featuring Irish Champion Sam Bennett, who is set to make his debut for the team whose supporter he has been long before turning pro.

The 29-year-old will look to be in the spotlight, especially as – on paper, at least – three of the six stages should come down to a bunch sprint. Trusted lead-out man Shane Archbold, Iljo Keisse and Danish Champion Michael Mørkøv will form a solid and experienced train for Bennett, with João Almeida, Mattia Cattaneo and Dries Devenyns – twice a top 10 overall finisher at the Tour Down Under (2018, 2019) – rounding out the team for the race taking place between 21-26 January.

For the first time in the history of the event, Adelaide won’t feature as start or finish of a stage, but the race is still based around the capital of the South Australia state, which gets to host the traditional criterium on January 19th. The sprinters will have again their opportunities to shine, but the GC fight should be more intense this year, with the stage to Stirling and the one to Murray Bridge (where crosswinds are expected) promising to deliver plenty of action before the big showdown on Willunga Hill (3.6km, 7.1%).

“We are looking forward to starting the new season again at the Tour Down Under, where is always a pleasure to be present, as it’s such a well-organised race with amazing fans. We go there with a strong team and a motivated Sam Bennett, who will try to get his first victory in the Deceuninck – Quick-Step jersey. He’ll have experienced men around him, so we are confident he can achieve this goal. We can also think about getting a good GC result, but we’ll take it day by day, see how things go and how our riders cope with the heat”, said sports director Rik Van Slycke.

21.01–26.01 Santos Tour Down Under (AUS) 2.UWT
Riders:

João Almeida (POR), Shane Archbold (NZL), Sam Bennett (IRL), Mattia Cattaneo (ITA), Dries Devenyns (BEL), Iljo Keisse (BEL), Michael Mørkøv (DEN).
Sports Director:Rik van Slycke (BEL).


Movistar Team kicks off 2020 season at Tour Down Under
Telefónica-backed squad opens its calendar in Australia once again, with seven days of racing that include the traditional, decisive hilltop finish of Willunga.

The Movistar Team will be starting on Thursday its first journey of a long 2020 season. An expedition led by sports director José Luis Arrieta will be flying to South Australia this weekend to compete at the 22nd Tour Down Under. The inaugural round of the UCI WorldTour, a six-day event from Tuesday 21st to Sunday 26th January, will be prefaced by the Schwalbe Classic criterim in Adelaide, on Sunday 19th.

Juri Hollmann (GER), Gabriel Cullaigh (GBR) and Sergio Samitier (ESP) will be making their first outings in the Blue jersey at the TDU, as part of a seven-man lineup completed by Jürgen Roelandts (BEL), Edu Prades, Lluís Mas and Jorge Arcas (ESP).

The Aussie race, which the Abarca Sports organisation will take part in for a 13th consecutive time -with four stage wins and two runner-up GC finishes in its palmarès-, will feature up to three uphill finishes: the one at Stirling (Wed 22nd), for punchy climbers and fast finishers, and the ascents of Paracombe (Thu 23rd) and Willunga Hill (Sun 26th), for the overall race contenders.

British sprinter Gabriel Cullaigh will be one of three new Blue riders making his debut in Australia:


Tim Merlier With Alpecin-Fenix for Next Three Years
Belgian champion Tim Merlier has extended his contract with the Alpecin-Fenix team until the end of 2022. Merlier had a contract until the end of 2020, but that has been improved and extended by two years.

Tim Merlier is racing cyclocross at the moment for Creafin-Fristads, a team also owned by the Roodhooft brothers. After the cyclocross season he will take his place alongside Mathieu van der Poel and he will stay that way until the end of 2022, both on the off road. Van der Poel is under contract until the end of 2023.

Merlier has a fast sprint, and so is complementary to Van der Poel, this naturally makes him valuable to the team. He will race occasionally with Van der Poel, but they will be on a separate program. The Roodhooft brothers believe that Merlier can still make progress in the future.

Belgian champion Tim Merlier:


Fuglsang Not Sure About Starting Amstel 2020
Jakob Fuglsang was one of the best riders in the Ardennes Classics last season, finishing 3rd in the Amstel Gold Race, 2nd in Flèche Wallonne and winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but it is not yet certain whether the Dane will be at the start of the Limburg classic this year. “I will probably only ride the Flèche Wallonne and Liège”, he told CyclingPub.

Fuglsang starts its season in Spain with the Ruta del Sol, before Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico. “And after that I should participate in the Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Though I am considering only contesting Flèche and Liège.”

Fuglsang is looking for a performance in the Giro d’Italia and at the Tokyo Olympic Games this season. “I see myself as one of the favourites for the gold medal. I may not have the explosiveness for a sprint, but the course is difficult enough to drive away and stay solo.” Fuglsang can look back on a strong 2019 season, culminating in his victory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. “I feel that I am getting better every year. The results can sometimes not be seen, but I hope there is more to come.”

PEZclucive interview with Fuglsang coming soon:


Greg Van Avermaet High Altitude Training
Greg Van Avermaet will be at altitude early this season. The CCC team leader chose to travel to Tenerife for the first week of the new year for an altitude training camp.

The island was made a popular training destination by Lance Armstrong, Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali. Van Avermaet flew there last Saturday and is currently staying in the Parador de Las Cañadas del Teide. “I’d rather have gone later in January or February,” he confessed to Het Nieuwsblad. “But then everything was already fully booked.” Van Avermaet is staying with teammate Michael Schär, a mechanic and a masseur. “I have not yet seen another rider here. I am currently sitting here among walkers and tourists.”

Van Avermaet starts his season in the Tour of Valencia (5-9 February), then the Tour of the Algarve (19-23 February). A week later, he will start the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (29 February).

Whether he will benefit from the altitude training period during the Classics remains to be seen. He realises that himself: “Anyway, the focus is entirely on training and resting. And you still get extra incentives to go deep.”

Van Avermaet will train on Mount Teide. “For the time being we will stick to training sessions of four to five hours with around 3,000 meters of altitude. That will soon be six hours and almost 4,000 meters in height. That is the biggest disadvantage: there is so much climbing here that you have to be careful that you do not train to much.” He adds, “anyway, I hope to have some benefit in the spring. My long preparation for the Classics has really begun.”

Van Avermaet training in Spain:


Jan Bakelants Completes the Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans 2020 Team
Circus – Wanty Gobert – Tormans adds a 26th rider to its effective for 2020. Jan Bakelants signed a one year contract with the Belgian UCI Pro Team. The 33 year old Belgian rider brings his experience from ten World Tour campaigns. Bakelants, member of team Sunweb in 2019, will advise the young riders, but also take his own chances in hilly races.

During his professional career, which started in 2009, Bakelants won a stage at the Tour de France in 2013, in Corsica, and wore the yellow jersey. He was also the best at the Grand Prix de Wallonie (2013), a stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné (2014) and the tours of Piémont and Emilie (2015). Bakelants finished four times in the top 25 of the Tour de France and hopes to join the roads of the Grand Tour this summer.

Jan Bakelants: “Circus – Wanty Gobert – Tormans is a perfect fit for me! I want to become the rider I was in an environment in which an aggressive riding style is preferred. The exciting race calendar with an extensive World Tour programme of this Belgian Pro Team is very attractive. I’m looking forward to share my experience with my new teammates and to perform at the Tour of Catalonia and the Ardennes classics. I’m very motivated to get started and to be a part of the team’s success!”

Hilaire Van der Schueren: “I noticed his big motivation during the conversations we’re having since October. We strongly believe in his added value; he’ll show the ropes of the pro peloton to our young neo pro’s and he’ll assist our older riders in the classics and hopefully the Tour de France!”

Jean-François Bourlart: “We’ve been reconsidering the signing of Jan Bakelants for a long time, but in the end we couldn’t leave this Tour de France stage winner and yellow jersey wearer without a team. He came back at a decent level after his heavy crash and, with Circus – Wanty Gobert, he will be able to compete in a lot of races that suit him. He’ll be an important element in the World Tour races and in our hunt for UCI points.”

Jan Bakelants and Jean-François Bourlart:


French Cyclocross Championships at Flamanville (January 12)
Clément Venturini has two elite French Champion titles in cyclocross from 2017 and 2019. He was also World Junior Champion in the discipline in 2011.

Clément Venturini: “Even if I no longer participate in the entire cyclocross season, I am very attached to the French Champion’s jersey. For the second time in my career (after 2018), I will find myself at the start to defend my title. So far, my preparation has gone well. I’m going to start with humility; I know the difficulty of one day racing since anything can happen during this hour of competition. The French Championship will also serve as a test for my road season which starts three weeks later at the Grand Prix de la Marseillaise (February 2) before heading to the Etoile de Bessèges (February 6-9).”

Clément Venturini:


NTT Pro Cycling Enters into Partnership with Virtu Cycling
NTT Pro Cycling and Virtu Cycling have signed a letter of intent that sees the Danish business immediately acquire a minority share of the operational company of the South African cycling team.

The partnership is built on a shared vision to continue the development of the team along with its commitment to showcase the impact that bicycles have in changing people’s lives. It will also enable Virtu Cycling to further strengthen and develop its brand promise; to create unique cycling experiences.

NTT Pro Cycling has today announced that it has joined forces with Virtu Cycling, a Danish group of cycling-related activities, in a newly established partnership, effective immediately.

The parties have agreed a deal which sees Virtu Cycling invest in one third of the shares of the operational company behind NTT Pro Cycling. Together, the partners will seek to continue the development of the team from both a sporting and an organisational perspective, with a view to long term sustainability and success into the future.

This partnership naturally sees the continued commitment and support of the Qhubeka Charity, which incredibly distributed its 100 000th bicycle in 2019.

Virtu Cycling is co-owned by former Tour de France winner, Bjarne Riis, and businessmen and entrepreneurs, Lars Seier Christensen and Jan Bech Andersen.

Riis will take on the role as Team Manager of NTT Pro Cycling and will build on its sporting development, together with its sporting staff and the technology-driven approach to performance.

Bjarne Riis, Virtu Cycling co-owner and Team Manager, NTT Pro Cycling: “This is a proud moment for our organisation, Virtu Cycling, and I’m really excited by this partnership and its potential. Together, I believe we can develop one of the world’s best cycling teams built on being performance and technology-driven, combined with our many years of experience from the World Tour. We have had some thorough and fruitful talks and meetings with Doug Ryder on the team’s future and potential. I’m really looking forward to our collaboration and to take on the sporting leadership of the team in this new setup. I have nothing but admiration for what Doug has built and achieved with this team starting on continental level onwards to become a WorldTour-team, for his contribution to cycling and his work and support for the Qhubeka Charity. Together, I believe we can take the team to the next level and make it a team that everybody – riders and staff – want to be a part of.”

Douglas Ryder, founder and Team Principal, NTT Pro Cycling: “Today is yet another significant moment in the history of this team, and indeed its future. The expertise and breadth of experience that Bjarne Riis will provide in supporting the sporting development through our unique technology-driven performance approach will be hugely significant, and further add on to what we have built with our title sponsor, NTT Ltd. I believe this partnership will benefit the entire team to help them achieve great results which in turn helps shine a spotlight on our partners, our way of working as a team but most importantly our commitment in support of the Qhubeka Charity. Danish cycling is in a very strong place and this partnership, together with the foundation that we already have in place, I believe will help develop the team to become one of the best in the world in the years to come. That is our ambition.”

Anders Gram, Group CEO, Virtu Cycling: “At Virtu Cycling, we have had talks and negotiations with other teams in terms of building a professional cycling team but decided to take the time needed to investigate our options thoroughly. As seen from our perspective, the potential in the partnership with NTT Pro Cycling and the match in philosophy was by far the most compelling to us and therefore the one, we chose. This partnership enables us to further develop our group of companies and to live our core story of creating unique cycling experiences, whether it’s traveling, business networking, or high-end apparel.”

Ruth Rowan, Global Chief Marketing Officer, NTT Ltd: “We’re delighted to welcome Virtu Cycling to the fold. As title sponsor, we help NTT Pro Cycling leverage technological innovation, and combine it with athletic performance, to realise its ambition of being ranked among the top 10 cycling teams in the world. By working with world-class industry experts at Virtu Cycling, as well as a former Tour de France champion on the global cycling stage, we believe that together we will do great things. It’s an extremely exciting time for NTT Pro Cycling, as we all work towards achieving the one ultimate goal of creating a truly unique team that is focused on being among the best in the world, whilst riding to help make the world a better place.”

Bjarne Riis, back in the WorldTour:


Circus-Wanty Gobert – Tormans Presents its Colours for 2020
Who says new year, says new colours. Blue, neon yellow and white: the alchemy of the Circus – Wanty Gobert – Tormans jersey doesn’t differ from the previous campaigns. The 2020 equipment of the UCI Pro Team, conserving the Wanty-Gobert mindset, contains more white at the top with a prominent place for our new title sponsor Circus, which also remains on the back of the bib-shorts. The road outfit, still produced by our partner Santic, our clothing furnisher since 2018, makes it possible to start this new decade full ambition, in the same colours of the Tormans Cyclo Cross Team, already shining since January 1st.

Bière des Amis 0,0%, our new sparkling partner, makes its appearance on the bib-shorts. This beer 100% Belgian, and 100% friendly, declined in the alcoholized version or in version 0,0% is to share (or not) with friends. BMW Louyet, furnishing the cars to our sportive direction and staff for the next two seasons, will be visible in the neck of our riders, whereas TalentSquare, Human Resources partner, is visible on the sleeves.

Jan Bakelants, our last recruitment, presents the jersey which will be visible at all principal one day World Tour races and at more than 250 race days all over the world.

“The new jersey is a success, and well recognisable thanks to the touch of neon yellow. The designers within Santic succeeded in finding a nice spot for all our sponsors by combining the team colours in harmony: blue, yellow and white. We’ll stay visible in the peloton!”

The equipment, road and cyclocross, will be available at the webshop of the team at the beginning of March: www.wantyoubike.com.


UAE Team Emirates Unveil New 2020 Team Jersey
The UAE Team Emirates team were joined by eight new riders during the off season as they modelled the new 2020 jersey during their training camp in Spain.

Davide Formolo, Brandon McNulty and Joseph Dombrowski three of the high-profile riders joined a team that already includes Fabio Aru, Alexander Kristoff, Fernando Gaviria and Tadej Pogacar.

Champion Systems again produced the new jersey, keeping the elegance and white clarity of the 2019 design with the exception of a sponsor swap at the bottom of the jersey.

The first chance to see the team donning the new kit will be the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia kicking the 2020 UCI World Tour season off on 21st January.


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