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EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

A sad EUROTRASH Thursday with the news of the passing of French hero Raymond Poulidor – Top Story. Poulidor’s grandson Mathieu van der Poel won the Jaarmarktcross, report, result and video. A load of other cycling news to get through: Carapaz leaves Movistar on good terms, not looking good for Dennis, race news from Norway and Britain, rider and team news, contracts, Velon complaint against UCI and UAE Team Emirates get some new glasses. We finish with the battle of the Puy de Dôme.

TOP STORY: Raymond Poulidor – The Great French Champion
Raymond Poulidor was a huge figure in the cycling world, not only popular in France, but he was a much admired cyclist throughout the world. Poulidor died at the age of 83. Hospitalised since October the 8th due fatigue, Poulidor died on Wednesday at 2 am.

Raymond Poulidor was more than just a cyclist. His career ended at the end of the 70s, but he would still be seen at bike races, where the crowds still recognised “Poupou”. Poulidor was at the start of the Tour de France this year and he remained the placid man, with a natural simplicity that could be approached by anyone.

In porting terms Poulidor remains forever as the “eternal second” to his great rival; Jacques Anquetil in the 60s. He was on the final podium of the Tour de France eight times between 1962 and 1976, but without wearing the yellow jersey. Poulidor won the Tour of Spain in 1964, two classics; Milan-San Remo (1961) and the Flèche-Wallonne (1963), twice Paris-Nice (1972 and 1973) and the Dauphiné (1966 and 1969). He was also the French road champion in 1961 to add to his seven stage victories in the Tour.

At first Poulidor had Anquetil as his main opponent, but later in his career he had to cope with the emergence of another rival; Eddy Merckx. Poulidor could have hoped to win the Tour de France in the five years between the last success of Anquetil (1964) and the first of Merckx (1969), but good lucky was never with him. Poulidor was nearly World champion in 1974 in Montreal, but it was Eddy Merckx who beat him to the line in a to two-up sprint.

The Frenchman ended his sporting career in 1977 after 18 seasons with Mercier, but remained bound to cycling the rest of his life. As an ambassador to the Tour de France making many appearances on the podium at the stage finishes, and also with his family, as grandson Mathieu van der Poel appears to be one of the big names of the future in the World peloton.

Eddy Merckx spoke to Sporza: “He came to my house to watch the cyclocross, together with his grandsons. I can certainly say that Raymond was a good friend. I went skiing with him for several years in the winter. And when the Tour was a guest in Brussels this year, we followed the team time trial together. Of course he was unlucky that he just came across us (Merckx and Anquetil), but I think he could live with those second places. That is precisely why he was perhaps the most popular French rider. The cycling world lost not only a great champion, but also a great gentleman. Raymond was jovial to everyone. Certainly in the Tour de France, he was very much liked.”

Bernard Hinault said to L’Équipe: “How can you not be sad after such news? We knew he was sick, but we never thought of the worst. I cycled with him for three years at the start of my career and he was a rider who did not miss anything. That was his strength. I admired him, but during the race I mainly fought against him. Poulidor was a legend and he expanded his career in the midst of Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, Luis Ocaña and Joop Zoetemelk, which is not nothing. His death will make many people sad.”

Raymond Poulidor was a great athlete and a wonderful character, everyone at PEZ sends our condolences to his family, friends and teammates. The funeral will be held on Wednesday.

A more detailed study of Poulidor coming soon on PEZ.

Les grandes courses de Raymond Poulidor by France Bleu:

Jaarmarktcross in Niel 2019
Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) won the Annual Fair in Niel on Monday, the day after winning his third European title. The World champion was the Van der Poel of old, he waited for 15 minutes and then struck. It is Van der Poel’s third victory in three races this season.

Van der Poel flew from Italy to Belgium on Monday morning. At the start of the race he decided to stay out of the battle on the opening lap. Thijs Aerts (Telenet Fidea) had the best start, but he could not make a differences at the front of the race. David van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) attacked on the second lap, but that didn’t last long.

His younger brother Mathieu put the pressure on and took over the lead on the third lap, after which he made his first proper attack. Calmly, he rode away from Jens Adams (Pauwels Sauzen–Bingoal) and the rest in the pouring rain and the decisive gap was taken.

The World, European and Dutch champion then gradually extended his lead, with faultless riding through the sand pits, mud sections and over the bars. The battle for the other podium places heated up at the back with Laurens Sweeck, 3rd the European Championships on Sunday, leading a large group of pursuers.

Sweeck held his second place ahead of Thijs Aerts. The two Belgians were behind Van der Poel, who was able to enjoy himself and regain his cross legs. The Dutchman spoke about this after his European Championship title, saying he would be able to improve in the coming weeks. With little risk, but still at the limit, Van der Poel moved further and further ahead of the competition, and had all the time he needed to celebrate.

Sweeck and Aerts joined Van der Poel on the podium. This is the second year in a row that Van der Poel has won the Jaarmarktcross. The two seasons before, Toon Aerts took the win in Niel. Several participants of the European Championship on Sunday in Italy were missing at the start, silver medalist Eli Iserbyt and Michael Vanthourenhout were among them.

Jaarmarktcross winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus): “It went well today. It was also a completely different course than yesterday, but I am satisfied with today. I had a good day and it was fun racing around. I am getting better now by racing (more) and I think I am on the right track. I raced well through the sandpit and then had a good gap. I raced at my pace and that went well, so I’m happy with the feeling. Perhaps I have to set my alarm very early more often.”

Jaarmarktcross Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus in
2. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:20
3. Thijs Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea at 1:36
4. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Corendon-Circus at 1:42
5. Diether Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal
6. Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen–Bingoal
7. Marcel Meisen (Ger) Corendon-Circus
8. David van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus at 2:03
9. Wietse Bosmans (Bel) Creafin–TÜV SÜD at 2:30
10. Yannick Peeters (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 2:35.


Carapaz: “Movistar and I split up as friends”
The news that Giro winner Richard Carapaz will ride in the colours of Team Ineos next season was a major disappointment for Movistar. According to the Ecuadorian, however, his departure from the team managed by Eusebio Unzué was on friendly terms.

“We’re breaking up as good friends,” he told Spanish newspaper AS during a press conference in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito. “If I want to return in the future, the door is open for me.”

Carapaz hopes to find a new challenge at Ineos. “I am still young and I still have a lot of things to discover, I would like to know what it feels like to race for another team, where they don’t speak your language.” Although his program for next year is not yet decided, he has already been in contact with the British team about his possible competition program and has dropped some hints. For example, he expressed the hope of being able to participate in the Olympic Games in 2020 “If I can be there, I will be there.” Carapaz was present at the presentation of the 2020 Giro d’Italia and indicated that he wanted to defend his Giro title.

2019 Giro winner Richard Carapaz:

“Rohan Dennis May Lose 1.25 Million Euros”
Rohan Dennis may lose more than a million euros due to contractual problems. The Australian would have to give up a lot next season because teams no longer have room for him or question his ‘reliability’.

Dennis’ much-discussed argument at the Tour de France and his subsequent exit from the Bahrain-Merida team threatens to cost him a substantial amount. His future is still uncertain and a source close to him told VeloNews that the two-time world time trial champion may miss out on more than a million euros in his present contractual struggle.

In the Tour de France, the Australian walked out before the time trial in Pau after an argument with the team management, but the precise details were never disclosed. He did not race until the World Championship in Yorkshire, where he secured his second World time trial title. Afterwards, his team announced that Dennis’ ongoing contract had been terminated.

According to the source, Dennis was keen to fulfil his contract of 1.5 million euros, and both parties seemed to come closer together after the Tour, until the Australian turned his back on the team. He then went in search of a new team with his agent, but nobody picked him up. When he returned to Bahrain.Merida, he was told “no”.

The decision was sealed when Dennis rode the World Championship time trial without using a Merida team bike or clothing without Bahrain-Merida on it. The source pointed out that Dennis, given his strength, could have won on any bike, and that if he had ridden a Merida instead of an old BMC, the team might not have confirmed her decision.

According to the source, Dennis can only find a contract for 250,000 euros for next season because teams have no room or are concerned about his ‘reliability’. The Australian has been linked to several teams in recent months, including Movistar, CCC and Team Ineos.

Team-less double World champion Rohan Dennis:

2020 Arctic Race of Norway: The Race Heads to Finland For The First Time
Every year, the Arctic Race of Norway delights cycling fans by delivering unpredictable racing that often maintains the suspense until the dying moments. Last year, the general classification was still up for grabs as the first riders crossed the finish line on the final stage.

Ultimately, Kazakh rider Alexey Lutsenko (Team Astana) won the seventh edition of the Arctic Race by a second, ahead of French national champion Warren Barguil (Team Arkéa-Samsic). Elsewhere, Dutch puncheur-sprinter Mathieu Van Der Poel (Corendon-Circus), riding in preparation for the World Championships in Yorkshire, won his third stage in two years. Should he choose to return next year, the Dutchman is sure to find the 2020 route through the region of Troms to his liking once more.

Route of the 2020 Arctic Race of Norway:
Thursday 6th August, stage 1: Tromsø – Tromsø, 166km
Ø Friday 7th August, stage 2: Nordkjosbotn – Storfjord / Kilpisjärvi, 172km
Ø Saturday 8th August, stage 3: Finnsnes – Målselv, 184,5km
Ø Sunday 9th August, stage 4: Gratangen – Harstad, 161km

For the first time in its eight editions, the Arctic Race of Norway will start in Tromsø, Northern Norway’s most iconic city and the finishing point for the 2014 and 2017 editions. The first stage, on Thursday 6 August, will take the riders southwards to complete a loop before leading back to the city. Before reaching the final circuit, the peloton will pass Ishavskatedralen (the Arctic Cathedral) before crossing from mainland to island via the Tromsø Bridge. The riders will then perform two laps of an 8.5 km circuit. A categorised climb (1.2 km at 8%) with 2.5 km to go will stretch the peloton out before it reaches the finish line, where the victorious rider will write his name into the history books alongside those of Alexander Kristoff and Dylan Teuns, the two previous winners in Tromsø.

On the second day of racing, the Arctic Race will visit Nordkjosbotn for the first time. On a day of firsts, the riders will then make the Arctic Race’s inaugural foray outside Norway, with the last 12 km taking place in Finland. Earlier in the stage, the riders will skirt the Storfjord before entering a valley that steadily climbs to 500m of altitude at Kilpisjärvi. Despite four categorised climbs, this 172 km stage should be one for the sprinters.

The third day will have an air of déjà vu about it. Running from Finnsnes to Målselv, the 184.5 km route scheduled for stage three is almost identical to the one undertaken on 15 August 2015, during the third edition of the race. The only difference is that the peloton will ride the first loop on the island of Senja in the opposite direction to four years ago, when Belgium’s Ben Hermans emerged victorious. In 2020, this queen stage will offer five opportunities for the riders to collect climbing points, including the final ascent to a summit finish at the ski resort of Målselv (3.7 km at 7.8%). The battle for general classification places should play out on the climbs leading to the “Alpine Village”.

While the public may see the final stage of the Tour de France as nothing more than a stroll in the park for its participants, the same cannot be said for the Arctic Race. The fourth stage, 161 km of racing between Gratangen and Harstad, is tailor-made for the puncheurs. Gratangen will welcome the race for the first time. Taking place against a stunning backdrop of fjords, the first part of the final stage will see the riders scale three categorised climbs. The race will then conclude with an 8.5 km circuit in Harstad, which was also the setting for the climax to the very first edition of the race, won by local favourite Thor Hushovd. Fellow countryman Alexander Kristoff would also go on to win the first stage there in 2015. The 2020 winner will have to successfully negotiate two climbs up the hill of Novkollen (1.4 km at 6%), before proving his strength on a final ramp to the finish line (700 m at 8.5%).

The Arctic Race of Norway shines the spotlight on the stars of tomorrow
In 2020, the Arctic Heroes of Tomorrow Race junior competition will again give 120 talented young riders from Norway and another five countries the opportunity to race on the same course as the pro cyclists. Backed by Equinor, the major sponsor of the ARN, as well as the Norwegian Cycling Federation, it has grown to become one of the major fixtures on the junior calendar. Kristoffer Halvorsen, the winner of the first edition of the Arctic Heroes of Tomorrow Race, held in Harstad in 2013, became U23 world champion in 2016 and went on to join Ineos two years later.

Thor Hushovd, world champion and event ambassador: “The eighth edition of the Arctic Race of Norway will again be a spectacular race that goes down to the wire. I am delighted to go back to Harstad, where I won the general classification in the inaugural edition. The 2020 edition also has new things in store, including a stage finish in Kilpisjärvi, Finland. Both this stage and the previous one in Tromsø are tailored to sprinters, but punchy climbers will take centre stage from then on. If one thing is certain, it is that our landscapes will again leave riders and TV viewers filled with awe.”

Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Announce Two-Year deal to Host Tour of Britain
Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils have agreed a deal to host the Tour of Britain in 2020 and 2021, beginning with the final stage of next year’s race on Sunday 13 September.

Building on the success of the Tour Series, rounds of which have taken place in Aberdeen since 2017, the UK’s biggest and longest-running international cycle race will also host its 2021 Grand Depart in the region.

Not only will the 2020 stage mark the first time the Tour of Britain has visited the region, it will also be the furthest point north the modern edition of the race has ever reached.

Full details of the 2020 stage route will be unveiled in due course, although it can be revealed that the successor to Dutch sensation Mathieu van der Poel will be crowned in Aberdeen city centre following a day of racing largely set in the stunning Aberdeenshire countryside.

The stage will be designed to maximise the benefit for tourism, for local communities and for young people to become involved, promoting the region to a global TV audience and to encourage cycling to improve health and wellbeing. Supporting events and activities will also be planned ahead of the stage, as well as on the day itself.

Mick Bennett, race director for the Tour of Britain, said: “Following the success of the Tour Series’ visits there since 2017, we’re delighted that the final stage of next year’s Tour of Britain will be heading to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. With its mix of stunning landscapes, historic architecture, passionate fans and gruelling terrain it promises to be a spectacular finale to the UK’s biggest bike race. It’s going to be a historic stage: the modern edition of the Tour has never been so far north before, so I’d like to thank everybody who has made it possible. Roll on September!”

Julie Harrington, CEO of British Cycling, said: “On behalf of British Cycling, I’d like to extend my congratulations to Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire on being selected as the host destination for the finish of the Tour of Britain. Over recent years the Tour has grown almost beyond recognition, benefiting from the huge surge in the popularity of cycling, and is now firmly recognised as a cornerstone of the British sporting calendar. Aberdeen has done a wonderful job in staging rounds of the Tour Series in the past few years, and will once again provide a fitting backdrop as the Tour of Britain concludes there next year.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “EventScotland is delighted to have worked in partnership with Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire Councils and SweetSpot to bring the Tour of Britain to the region over the next two years. Securing the event was part of a longer-term strategy to bring more cycling events to the Granite City, starting with the Tour Series. Events play a key role in our visitor economy and the addition of the Tour comes at an exciting time for the city and the region, which has recently seen the reopening of the Aberdeen Art Gallery along with the opening of the brand-new events venue, P&J Live. These world-class facilities together with this world-class event ensures Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire continues to move in its new direction of becoming a credible player on Scotland’s tourism stage.”

Cllr Jenny Laing, Co-Leader of Aberdeen City Council, added: “Securing the Tour of Britain is a sign of our ambition and determination as a Council to bring the biggest, best and most vibrant events to Aberdeen and the north-east. I have no doubt it will be a huge attraction to local audiences as well as bringing in visitors from throughout Britain and across the world.
“Through our Aberdeen 365 events strategy we have established a world class programme and this represents another fantastic addition to a calendar that is not only of benefit to local residents culturally but also to our economy by driving footfall and visitor spend. We look forward to welcoming the Tour of Britain and showcasing Aberdeen.”

Cllr Jim Gifford, Leader of Aberdeenshire Council, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the stunning landscapes of our region to a global audience, attract spectators both locally and from afar to enjoy world-class cycling and to support our economy through hotel stays, or spending money in local shops and businesses. I also hope that the residents and business community of the North East get involved, either as spectators, through sponsorship or by getting involved in one of the many supporting events that we expect to take place during the event. This will be a truly celebratory event that will put the region firmly on the map as a destination for world class sporting events, tourism and business.”

Craig Burn, Chief Executive of Scottish Cycling added: “At Scottish Cycling we are thrilled to be welcoming the Tour of Britain to Aberdeen for the 2020 and 2021 editions of the race. We know that major events are key in inspiring more people to ride bikes in Scotland, therefore securing and staging elite racing in the north of Scotland is fundamental to achieving our ambition of developing a nation of cyclists. They are also a great way of bringing cycling clubs, schools and communities together, and inspiring the next generation of young riders!”

The 17th edition of the modern Tour of Britain takes place from Sunday 6 to Sunday 13 September 2020. Welcoming the race for the first time, Cornwall will host next year’s Grand Départ with a stage between Penzance and Bodmin. Stage two takes place in Devon, marking the 11th time that the county will have featured in the Tour.

This year’s event generated a net impact of £20.5m for the British economy and attracted a roadside audience of 1.4 million spectators. Live or delayed TV coverage was available in every single country worldwide.

Earlier this month race organisers announced that they are looking for a new title partner for the Tour of Britain in 2020 onwards following the conclusion of the three-year partnership with OVO Energy.

Further details of next year’s final stage will be announced alongside the full route for the 2020 Tour of Britain at the national launch of the race in the spring.

The Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event, giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their doorstep and helping to build a great cycling nation.

Tour of Britain website: www.tourofbritain.co.uk.

2019 OVO Energy Tour of Britain stage 8 highlights: Altrincham to Manchester:

Romain Bardet Will Ride the 2020 Giro d’Italia
Vincent Lavenu, general manager of the AG2R-La Mondiale team, announced in Vaujany (Isère) where the team is taking part in its traditional team building training camp in Oisans, the main outline of Romain Bardet’s program for the 2020 season.

Romain Bardet will have three major goals, the Giro d’Italia (May 9-31), the road race at the Tokyo Olympics (July 25), and the UCI Road World Championships in Martigny (September 27). He will start his season at the Santos Tour Down Under (January 21-26) in Australia, and will race his first races in Europe with the Tour International cycliste du Var et des Alpes Maritimes (February 20-23) followed by the Boucles Drôme Ardèche (February 29 / March 1). He will also participate in the Vuelta a España, but will not take part in the Tour de France this season.

Vincent Lavenu: “Romain Bardet’s program for the 2020 season was built in a concerted and deliberate way by the general management and the sports directors of the team taking into account his personal aspirations. He will concentrate on the Giro d’Italia, the Olympic Games and the World Championships, whose courses correspond well to his qualities. We know that he will approach the year 2020 with hunger and determination, and that he will once again be a major and ambitious player in the peloton throughout the year. Romain will not compete in the Tour de France this year, where since his first participation in 2013, he has always demonstrated a very high level of performance and outstanding commitment. We will nevertheless approach la Grande Boucle with confidence and ambition, faithful to our values with, in particular, a rider like Pierre Latour whose immense potential and positive mindset we know well.”

Romain Bardet: “I have never hidden my desire to participate in the Giro d’Italia in my best condition, with the desire to shine. It is time to open new horizons, and dividing up the season with these three major objectives, is exciting. It was not easy to give up the Tour de France, which has brought me so much, and which is a race that I love deeply. But is seemed like a good time to open a parenthesis to the beautiful story that connects me to this race, with the intention of coming back even better next year. My 2020 racing program, built in coordination with the management of the AG2R La Mondiale team, is coherent and ambitious, and I am looking forward to returning to racing in Australia.”

Lavenu and Bardet:

No Floyd Landis Team in 2020
The Floyd Landis cycling team will not race in 2020. The management of the Canadian continental team Floyd’s Pro Cycling cannot find a new main sponsor as Landis has stopped funding the team.

Landis decided at the end of 2018 to step forward as the main sponsor for the team, with money he had received as a whistleblower in a case against his former teammate Lance Armstrong. First Landis wanted his own company Floyd’s of Leadville (legal sale of hemp and cannabis) as the team name, but that was stopped and so it became Floyd’s Pro Cycling.

It was known in advance that Landis took over the main sponsorship for just one year, so the management knew they had to look for a replacement, but that did not work. Riders; Serghei Tvetcov will ride with Sapura in Malaysia and Travis McCabe, who won a stage in the Tour de Langkawi this season, also has a new team.

One year for the Floyd Landis team:

Team Dimension Data Rebrands to NTT Pro Cycling
Rebranded cycling team will use co-innovated technologies to drive performance through the 2020 season

NTT Pro Cycling, a UCI WorldTour cycling team based in South Africa, unveiled its team for the 2020 season as it rebrands from Team Dimension Data. The announcement, made at the home of NTT in Tokyo, was accompanied by a jersey reveal and insights into the technology solutions driving rider recruitment and race strategy within the team.

The new kit will grace the WorldTour and the sport’s biggest races throughout 2020. It’s a brand that riders – old and new – will wear with immense pride, while at the same time continuing to showcase the impact that bicycles have in changing lives through NTT Pro Cycling’s work with Qhubeka, which has recently distributed its 100,000th bike.

The team for 2020 features nine exciting new riders, to supplement the current pool of talent as the team looks to race with a goal of establishing itself among the top ten teams in the world.

The 2020 line-up includes:
Carlos Barbero (ESP – 28), Samuele Battistella (ITA – 20), Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR – 32), Victor Campenaerts (BEL – 28), Stefan de Bod (RSA – 22), Nicholas Dlamini (RSA – 24), Benjamin Dyball (AUS – 30), Enrico Gasparotto (ITA – 37), Amanuel Gebreighzabier (ERI – 25), Ryan Gibbons (RSA – 25), Michael Gogl (AUT – 26), Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA – 30), Ben King (USA – 30), Roman Kreuziger (CZE – 33), Gino Mäder (CHE – 22), Louis Meintjes (RSA – 27), Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA – 30), Ben O’Connor (AUS – 23), Matteo Sobrero (ITA – 22), Andreas Stokbro (DNK – 22), Dylan Sunderland (AUS – 23), Jay Thomson (RSA – 33), Rasmus Tiller (NOR – 23), Michael Valgren (DNK – 27), Max Walscheid (DEU – 26), Danilo Wyss (CHE – 34).

Each of the riders were selected with the help of a technology solution that was co-innovated by NTT and NTT Pro Cycling. The solution leverages advanced data analytics that helps the team to select riders, prepare its race calendar and assign the right riders to the right races. Technology also helps the team monitor the health and wellness of its riders through a mobile application, and business-focused applications such as asset tracking, vehicle tracking and monitoring, help the team to function as a well-organised global business. Together, we’ve created the most technically advanced team in the WorldTour.

Doug Ryder, Team Principal, NTT Pro Cycling:
“Thanks to all of our partners, and in particular our title sponsor NTT Ltd. We strive to be the benchmark within the sport through being a performance-driven, technology-enabled team that is underpinned by our unique purpose-led approach in support of the Qhubeka charity. Our commitment to changing lives together with Qhubeka remains stronger than ever and we’ll be looking to do so with even greater enthusiasm in 2020. Together with our staff, riders and valued partners this core belief remains a foundation of our organisation. Our team’s story now continues into the next phase, which will see us use our established platform to aim higher and to shoot further. We truly are a team that was born in Africa but created for the world.”

Ruth Rowan, Chief Marketing Officer, NTT Ltd.: We’re delighted to be continuing our partnership with Doug and the team under the NTT brand in 2020. As headline sponsor, we help NTT Pro Cycling to leverage technological innovation to realise its ambition of being ranked among the top 10 cycling teams in the world. We’ve brought together our data platforms, analytics and machine learning, and combined them with the NTT Pro Cycling’s expertise in athletic performance to create a truly unique team that is focused on being the best in the world, whilst riding for a cause.”

NTT Ltd. is a newly launched, world-leading technology company comprising the coming together of 31 brands including Dimension Data, NTT Communications and NTT Security, forms part of NTT Group. The company recently extended its global partnership with Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.) until 2024. This partnership was initiated by Dimension Data in 2015, and the extension of this agreement enables NTT to continue providing technological innovations to enhance fan’s viewing experience of the Tour de France and attract an entirely new generation of digitally savvy fans.

Five years into the partnership, A.S.O. has been enabled to lead led the way in the use of advanced technology in cycling, demonstrating how the use of data can truly revolutionise the sport’s fan experience. This paves the way for NTT Ltd. to use its expertise to digitise other areas of sport such as connected stadiums and velodromes.

You can continue to follow NTT Pro Cycling’s journey on social media via: @NTTProcycling

NTT 2020 jersey:

Guercilena: “Nibali aims for Giro, Olympic Games and World Championships”
Luca Guercilena, team manager of Trek-Segafredo, has given more clarity about the Vincenzo Nibali 2020 program. The Italian, who comes from Bahrain-Merida, has the Giro d’Italia, the Olympic road race in Tokyo and the World Championship road race in Aigle-Martigny as his main goals.

Nibali and Guercilena met in Wisconsin, at Trek’s headquarters. “I saw a very enthusiastic Nibali,” the Trek-Segafredo team boss told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “He is ready for the new adventure and he still has the mentality of a young boy. He has the opportunity to start over in a new structure and in those cases motivation comes almost automatically. To make it a successful marriage, everyone has to live up to their expectations. Us from Nibali, but also vice versa”, continues Guercilena. “Nibali is not someone who talks a lot, but he has very clear ideas. Next year the Giro d’Italia, the Olympic Games and the World Championships are his goals.”

Vincenzo Nibali – Life in the old shark yet:

Stars, Stripes and Argyle: Alex Howes Renews with EF Education First Pro Cycling
US national road champion Alex Howes will continue his tenure with EF Education First Pro Cycling, signing on for another two seasons. The 31-year-old has been a part of the various iterations of the team since he was a teenager and has spent his entire professional career in argyle.

“The team has changed a lot over the years, but the core ethos and mentality of the team has always remained the same,” said Alex Howes. “We’ve always been the plucky underdogs who find ways to win with craft and grit. That mentality has really resonated with me and keeps me coming back.”

“Alex is the longest standing member of the team,” said EF Education First Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “He might be the guy with the most years on any one team anywhere in the world. He has been an intelligent and well-spoken member of this team since he was 13-years-old.”

This time Howes returns with the stars and stripes jersey. The winner of the 2019 US National Road Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee, Howes has long-cited a national road win as a season objective. “Racing in the jersey has been a dream come true,” said Howes. “Every time I pin a number onto the USA national champion’s jersey, I get goose bumps. I cannot wait to wear it in some big European races next spring.”

“Wearing the stars and stripes is a just reward for all Alex has put into this sport,” said Vaughters. “We couldn’t be more excited about helping him show off the jersey in 2020 – and hopefully beyond, too.”

Howes has long been an advocate of the type of alternative racing the team formally introduced this season. He has spent several off-seasons racing cyclocross locally and lined up for the Leadville 100 in 2016. Naturally he was well-poised to race and relish in our alternative racing calendar, first at Dirty Kanza and then a Leadville 100 appearance. Howes even managed to sneak in a Tushar in the Crusher start on his own.

“Alternative racing puts a giant smile on my face from early pre-dawn start to late afternoon finish,” said Howes. “These grassroots type events have my heart.”

If alternative racing has provided Howes with a renewed sense of motivation, so, too, has his teammates accomplishments this year. That’s to be expected. His teammates have always offered up plenty of inspiration on the road. This time, though, it’s off-the-bike accomplishments that have inspired.

“Using EF programs and taking EF classes, two of our young Colombians have learned English ridiculously fast,” said Howes. “Their quick learning has been a real motivator for me to improve my Spanish. I don’t want to be left in the dust.”

Howes will spend his off-season in his new mountain home. A Colorado native, Howes and his wife bought a house in Nederland last year.

“We’re putting the final touches on winter prep up in high country,” he said. “Chopping wood, putting on the snow tires, sealing windows. We’re nearly ready for the deep freeze, but we were pretty happy to skip the first big snow storm by heading to Costa Rica. Vacation is a beautiful way to explore the world.”

Alex Howes – US Champion:

Laurens De Vreese stays in Astana Pro Team
Astana Pro Team officially confirms a new one-year deal for 2020 with the Belgian rider Laurens De Vreese.

“After 5 years in the team I am still enjoying staying in Astana and working for our leaders. I feel here like in a big family, I have really good relations with everybody in the team as we have a great group of riders, but also an amazing group of staff and sports directors. I am a team player and I am proud to be part of this team, especially, after such a successful season we had in 2019! I am fully motivated to continue in the best possible way in the upcoming season. The preparation to the next year is in full progress and I am looking forward to meet all team at the training camp in December. I hope we can get even better results in 2020!” said Laurens De Vreese.

Laurens De Vreese (31 years old) joined Astana Pro Team in 2015, becoming one of the most important team riders, supporting the leaders both in the classics and stage races.

This season he helped Gorka Izagirre to win the Tour de la Provence and supported Jakob Fuglsang on winning the Vuelta a Andalucia.

“Laurens spent in Astana five seasons and we all know him as a 100% loyal team player. We can always count on him in every race he is riding with the team as he is fully dedicated to team strategy and our common goals. This year we saw Laurens helping our leaders to win races, but also in many other races he was always next to the leader, helping him to achieve as high result as possible. Besides this, Laurens is a very open and creative person who brings a really warm and friendly atmosphere in the team,” said Alexandr Vinokurov, general manager of Astana Pro Team.

Laurens De Vreese in the BinkBank Tour’19:

Smit to Burgos-BH for 2020
South African Willie Smit has signed a contract with Burgos-BH for the 2020 season, according to a recent statement from the team, reports South African website In the Bunch.

Willie Smit, who will move from Katusha-Alpecin, said and is very happy to be joining the Spanish team. “For me, Spain is my second country. I love to work with Spaniards and this calendar is the best for a rider with my characteristics. Also, Burgos-BH showed me a very interesting sporting project. I know I’ll have more freedom than in Katusha, but at the same time this is a responsibility that I needed at this point in my career. The work of Angel Madrazo at the Vuelta a Espana has set the bar very high for all the riders of the team, but we have to start the 2020 season with the ambition of improving on that level from the first race of the year.”

Burgos-BH general manager Julio Andres Izquierdo said they had been following Smit since 2017 when he came to Spain to compete as an amateur. “He won two classics, took stage victories in Galicia, Zamora and Segovia and topped the overall classifications in Segovia and León. Back then we already tried to sign him and since then we have always kept an eye on him.”

Willie Smit at la Vuelta:

Harry Tanfield Commits to AG2R-La Mondiale for One Season
Harry Tanfield: “I’m definitely very happy about this opportunity. I will meet new teammates, get acquainted with a new structure, new equipment; it’s really motivating! I will also have to learn French! I am very motivated by all this. I want to continue to progress in my time trialling. I am still young and I still have many things to learn. I know that evolving within the group of specialists for the Flanders classics will be very rewarding. I cannot wait for the season to begin.”

Tanfield in brief
Born 17 November 1994, 24 years old
Professional since 2015
Main Results: Stage winner Tour de Yorkshire (2018); 2nd British Time Trial Championship (2018); 3rd World Championships Mixed Relay (2019); 5th BinckBank Tour time trial (2019).

Vincent Lavenu: “We’ve had our eye on Harry for two years now, and this year we finally have the opportunity to recruit him. We are happy to sign such a talented rider, who will elevate us in the field of time trialling. Of course we will count on him in the road races as well. And he will also play an important role in the group of focused on the classics.”

Recruitment completed
Following the additions of Andrea Vendrame and Lawrence Naesen, both signed until 2021, and
Clément Champoussin (who will join the team on April 1, 2020 through to 2022), the Briton Harry Tanfield completes the team’s recruitment for the 2020 season.

On Tuesday the AG2R La Mondiale team started its team building training camp in Vaujany. This is the fifth time the team has started its season in Oisans. The team’s contract with Vaujany and Oisans runs until 2021.

Tanfield in Valencia ITT:

Aritz Bagües Adds Consistency and Experience to the Professional Team
The Guipuzcoan Aritz Bagües (Rentería, 1989) will continue his professional career at Caja Rural-Seguros RGA. He is a model teammate and has competed during the last five seasons for Euskadi-Murias. With them he has participated and completed the last two Vuelta a España.

Bagües is an inexhaustible worker that stands out for his skill in either flat and harsh terrains. As a result, he has good performances in the French professional calendar or in races as demanding as the Arctic Race of Norway (20th in 2019). In that same country, he finished ninth the Tour of Norway in 2018.

The Basque cyclist arrives at Caja Rural-Seguros RGA after eight campaigns as a professional, a very valuable experience that he hopes to use at the service of his new teammates, after a difficult season with several injuries that has not allowed him to show his full potential.

Aritz Bagües: “It is a pride to be part of a team with such a history. It has been a very bad year for me, especially since the injuries have not allowed me to give the 100%, but it is part of our sport and I do not want to think about it. La Vuelta is one of the biggest races of the year and ride it for the second year gave me confidence. It is clear that it makes you progress a lot as a cyclist and as a person, because always appear ups and downs during the three weeks and you have to know how to manage them. I want to forget the bad taste of the last season. I consider myself a complete rider and a good teammate. I think that my experience can be valuable for the youngest and I hope to contribute to the team’s successes.”

Team Bahrain Merida Signs Two Neo-Pros
The Bahrain-Merida team is delighted to announce that two neo-pros, Santiago Buitrago Sanchez and Fred Wright, have joined Bahrain-Merida for the upcoming season.

“We are thrilled these young riders have joined the team and are now part of its future direction with Rod Ellingworth and McLaren. They will play an instrumental role in shaping the team’s future, and we look forward to providing them with the right environment to thrive” – Team Bahrain Merida, General Manager Brent Copeland says.

Santiago Buitrago Sanchez is a 20-year-old talented Colombian climber who spent last season riding with the Italian Elite-U23 Team. His climbing skills caught the eye of our technical staff and team management, along with his strong results at the Giro della Valle d’Aosta and win at Lamporecchio.

The 20-year-old British rider Fred Wright has already experienced the pro peloton after joining a WorldTour team as a stagiaire in August 2019. Fred has a track background but firmly announced his transition to road racing having won a stage at Giro Ciclistico d’Italia and the Tour de l’Avenir. In the junior and U23 categories Fred achieved victories at the Junior Tour of Wales and Ronde de l’Oise where he also won a stage and the young rider classification.

Bahrain-Merida is proud to welcome these two young riders to the team and we look forward to their contribution in shaping its next chapter.

Fred Wright signed on at the 2019 Deutschland Tour:

Former Italian Champion Santaromita Retires
Ivan Santaromita will not return to the professional peloton next season. The 35-year-old Italian has decided to quit as a professional cyclist after fourteen seasons. “I no longer have the incentive to participate at the highest level,” he told Tuttobiciweb. “My team Nippo Vini Fantini will stop at the end of the season and to be honest I didn’t do much to find a new team. An important period of my life has now ended, so that I can spend more time with my family.”

Santaromita rode for Quick-Step, Liquigas, BMC and Orica-GreenEDGE since 2006. After a year at Skydive Dubai, he raced for Nippo Vini Fantini for the past three years. His most important achievement was the Italian title in 2013 when he beat Michele Scarponi and Davide Rebellin. Three years earlier, he took the overall victory in the Coppi e Bartali International Cycling Week. Santaromita started the Tour once in 2011. He reached Paris in 81st place overall. He also rode the Vuelta a España five times and the Giro four times.

Ivan Santaromita – Italian champ:

Velon Makes Additional Complaint Against UCI for Discrimination Against Women’s Cycling
In June 2019, Tour des Fjords AS (the race organiser for Hammer Stavanger), through the Norwegian Cycling Federation, applied to the UCI for a women’s Hammer race to form part of Hammer Stavanger from 2020 onwards.

The race offer was for full equality with the men’s race on format, parcour, duration, TV broadcasting and prize-money. In early October 2019, Tour des Fjords AS announced this exciting development, which was well received by teams and riders, particularly as the event would offer a great opportunity to showcase women’s cycling with free worldwide live coverage of all three days of racing, start to finish as with all Hammer races.

Tour des Fjords AS, the Norwegian Cycling Federation (NCF), the Hammer Series and Velon, all strongly believed that this would be an important new event to advance equality for women cycling – a belief that was shared by the teams and riders.

Roy Hegreberg, Event Director of Tour des Fjords AS: “We have had the ambition of organising a women’s race since we started in 2013. We believe international women’s cycling needs events that will give them stronger visibility to develop. This is what we offer with Hammer Stavanger: equality for women and men in terms of promotion, visibility, prize money and sporting aspects. We can’t see any reason why the UCI doesn’t want to approve this race.”

Eystein Stokstad, General Secretary of the Norwegian Cycling Federation: “NCF is a proud supporter of women’s cycling. We value equality in sport, including support for elite-level events because we know that such events are crucial to the development of women’s cycling. It would be very disappointing if the Hammer Stavanger women’s race was not approved by the UCI. NCF supports the vision of Tour des Fjords AS.”

The Norwegian Cycling Federation confirmed to Tour des Fjords AS in early October 2019 that the UCI Road Department had included the women’s Hammer Stavanger race in the draft 2020 Road Calendar submitted to the UCI Management Committee for approval.

However, the UCI informed the Norwegian Cycling Federation on 18 October 2019, a week after the formal publication of the calendar, that the UCI Management Committee had refused the application, stating that a women’s Hammer race “was not in the best interest of women’s cycling”. This followed the UCI’s refusal to support Hammer Colombia, announced on 14 June 2019, an event that would also have offered a women’s race which was fully equal to the men’s.

Velon had already filed an anti-trust Complaint against the UCI with the European Commission and has now added an “Addendum to the Complaint” on the grounds of the UCI’s discrimination against women’s cycling. The EC has been asked to adopt interim measures in accordance with Article 8 of the Council Regulation 1/2003/EC, requiring the UCI to amend its 2020 Calendar and allow a women’s race to be staged on 22-24 May 2020 as part of Hammer Stavanger.

The Hammer Series concept, format and business model offer a unique opportunity to establish a truly world class cycling series for women, promoting full equality between men’s and women’s racing, based on a proven successful, innovative and exciting racing format. This is made possible due to the carefully designed structure and format of the events, focusing on competition between teams, racing over shorter distances, involving circuits and of a shorter duration, making it possible to offer the same racing opportunity and exposure for men’s and women’s races each day.

The UCI publicly advocates race organisers to promote greater equality in racing, TV coverage, prize money etc. (even when the UCI Regulations do not require this). In September 2019, the UCI published a “UCI Women in Cycling – Best Practice Guide” with a stated purpose to provide National Federations with the necessary working tools to put in place strategies for the development of women’s cycling.

Very few existing races offer equality for women’s road cycling compared to men. The UCI’s refusal of a women’s race in Hammer Stavanger flies in the face of everything the UCI proclaims regarding the advancement of equality for women’s cycling. Velon and its race partner Tour des Fjords were supported in their efforts to bring a women’s Hammer race to Stavanger by financial partners of the existing race, including the Norwegian Central Government, Stavanger as the Host City and potential sponsors – who all demand greater equality for women cycling. It would seem that only the UCI is against this.

Velon seeks a stable, predictable and fair regulatory environment for the sport that treats the teams, riders and race organisers in equal manner – something the UCI is refusing to provide and has illustrated again with its actions to deny another Hammer race.

Refusing to allow a much-welcomed women’s Hammer event, which would increase the general public’s interest in women’s cycling and grow the sport in a country which has played a leading role in promoting it, is yet another example of the UCI using its regulatory power to block the legitimate business activities of Velon, its partner race organisers and the teams – this time in a manner which discriminates against women’s cycling.

For this reason, Velon has added to the anti-trust Complaint it submitted to the European Commission against the UCI last month, extending the complaint to discriminatory grounds.

Read more: Velon files complaint with European Commission against UCI.

Hammer Limburg 2019 highlights by Velon:

Scicon Sports and UAE Team Emirates announce multi-year deal for eyewear
SCICON Sports, the leader in high performance eyewear, bike bags and accessories for riders and active people, has partnered with WorldTour cycling team, UAE Team Emirates from 2020 on a three year deal, providing the riders and staff with their high performance range of eyewear and luggage options.

Established in 1980, SCICON has rapidly grown to become the in-demand solution to bike travel, designing bike bags and cases for professional and amateur riders alike. Additionally, the brand has utilised the experience and expertise of working with top athletes to produce an array of luggage options, with more than 35 new products now added to the line which serves riders and teams throughout the peloton already.

This year saw the introduction of SCICON’s high performance and premium sports lifestyle eyewear ranges. Featuring SCN-XT photochromic lens technology, in partnership with Essilor Sun Solution, the AeroComfort, AeroTech and SCICON’s lifestyle sunglasses will provide UAE Team Emirates with immense visual clarity, as well as UV Protection.

Sunglasses are a crucial accessory for professional cyclists, and it is only after intense testing, that UAE Team Emirates Performance Managers are impressed with SCICON glasses’ capabilities; be it at a wet northern classic, a scorching sun baked Tour de France or the bitter cold of Scandinavia. With a roster of Tour de France stage winners, a former World Champion and Spring Classics superstars leading the charge in 2020, UAE Team Emirates demand only the highest performing equipment available. This new partnership with SCICON Sports means the riders and staff will be well equipped to compete at their best all season; from the gruelling classics such as Paris – Roubaix or Tour of Flanders, to the sun baked weeks of the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France.

Additionally, SCICON is set to provide the team with their range of bags and luggage options, helping to make travel safer for bikes and easier for the riders themselves whilst also supplying staff such as soigneurs and mechanics with items such as the popular Podium Backpack (a familiar site at the finish line of most WorldTour races), race rain bags to equip team cars and luggage trolleys to allow the team to travel with style and convenience.

SCICON Marketing Strategist, Claudio Fantin, spoke of the deal: “We have invested a lot of time and money in research and development over the past 2 years in the eyewear sector, creating a team of experts specifically dedicated to this project. SCICON has produced eyewear which we believe offers quality of performance like no other currently available; our official partnership with UAE Team Emirates is a genuine testament to this. Fully equipping the riders with our advanced eyewear technology at WorldTour level is an honour, one which we will utilise to further develop our high performance eyewear, ensuring the riders can always focus on being at their best when in pursuit of glory.”

Andrea Agostini, Chief Operating Officer UAE Team Emirates said of the new partnership: “We’re excited to work closely with SCICON and the range of SCICON products over the coming years. Having performance eyewear that the riders can trust and depend upon in stressful situations on the bike is important and thanks to this partnership, the team is now well equipped in this area. The extreme weather conditions which can occur when racing means riders require eyewear which can cope with these demands, SCICON have created glasses which go beyond these requirements and we are eager to help feedback on our racing experience to help develop further optical solutions. We look forward to being able to help the brand develop through feedback from some of the world’s best riders over the coming years.”

More info at: shop.sciconsports.com.

The Battle of the Puy de Dôme
Poulidor’s best chance of defeating Anquetil came in the 1964 Tour de France, on the finish on the climb of the Puy de Dôme. Anquetil and Poulidor fought side-by-side for Poulidor to come so close to take enough time to threaten Anquetil’s first place on GC.

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