EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!
All the cycling news
No racing, but there is so much news to get through. NTT Pro Cycling to carry on as Qhubeka – TOP STORY. Alex Dowsett’s World Hour Record postponed, Tom Pidcock cyclocross season, Awet Gebremedhin in hiding, no 2021 Tour de Langkawi and Anthony Roux end of career. Contract news from Roman Kreuziger, Circus-Wanty Gobert, Movistar, Astana, Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, Total Direct Energie, Burgos-BH, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Jumbo-Visma, Lotto Soudal and EOLO-KOMETA. Premier Tech co-sponsor Astana and sign Steve Bauer. Behind the scenes video at De Ronde van Vlaanderen with Deceuninck – Quick-Step.
TOP STORY: NTT will continue as Qhubeka for the time being
NTT Pro Cycling is expected to continue under the name of Qhubeka. According to the German Radsport-News.com. On Monday there was good news about the future of the WorldTour team, because team boss Doug Ryder should have found a new sponsor.
Qhubeka’s registration for the 2021 WorldTour has also been submitted, which means that the South African WorldTour team will continue at the highest level next year. Due to the sponsor problems, NTT Pro Cycling was missing from the first list of teams that had registered with the UCI for the WorldTour. Qhubeka is a South African non-profit organisation dedicated to donating bicycles to people in Africa. It is part of the World Bicycle Relief charity program. The NTT cycling team has been associated with the charity for years. From 2011 to 2015 the team was called MTN-Qhubeka.
Now that the team seems to be able to make a restart it is good news for Max Walscheid. The 27 year-old sprinter from Germany has signed a multi-year contract with Doug Ryder’s team, according to Radsport-News.com. Walscheid raced for Sunweb from 2016 to 2019 and then switched to NTT.
Qhubeka in the peloton in 2021:
Alex Dowsett’s Record Attempt Postponed due to Covid-19
Alex Dowsett has been forced to postpone his attack on the World Hour Record. The Israel Start-Up Nation has been diagnosed with corona virus. The UCI announced the news about the record attempt, which should have taken place on Saturday 12 December. “I am very disappointed that the attempt cannot go ahead as planned, but my health is paramount. I am really looking forward to attacking the record in 2021 with the same intentions. We want to announce a date for 2021 as soon as possible,” said Dowsett.
The British time trial specialist announced earlier this month that he would attack the World Hour Record again. In 2015, he held the record for a short time, before Bradley Wiggins dethroned him 36 days later. “In 2015 I felt afterwards that I had even more in the tank,” he said. “I want to see what I am capable of. But I realise that the bar is set extremely high this time.” The world hour record is currently held by Victor Campenaerts, who reached 55.089 kilometres in Mexico last year.
Next year for Dowsett:
Tom Pidcock Starts Cyclocross Season a Week Later
Tom Pidcock should have started his cross season next Sunday, but the 21-year-old British rider has decided to skip the Merksplas Superprestige cyclocross. Pidcock has now postponed his return for a week to the World Cup round in Tabor.
“Tom has been in Belgium for a while, but he first wants to lay a solid foundation before he resumes the competition,” his Belgian supervisor Kurt Bogaerts told Het Nieuwsblad. “After the road season, he did not train for the first time for three weeks. He has now started his third training week in combination with muscle strengthening exercises.”
After the cyclocross season, Pidcock will prepare for a busy spring, which also plays a role in the choice of the talented Brit to start the cross season a little later. “Tom will ride in both the Flemish and the Ardennes classics,” said Bogaerts.
Pidcock will travel to Germany this week, where he will complete some tests for his new team INEOS Grenadiers. The versatile rider has thirteen crosses on the calendar for the time being, starting with the World Cup in Tabor. He closes with the World Cup in Ostend.
Tom Pidcock to start his cross season in Tabor:
Israel Cycling Academy Rider Has to go into Hiding Due to Conflict in Ethiopia
Awet Gebremedhin has no contract yet for next season, but the naturalised Eritrean has more important things on his mind. According to his sister, he is in hiding in the Ethiopian region of Tigray, where a conflict threatens to turn into a civil war.
After a season in which Gebremedhin only had 11 racing days, he returned to Mekele in the north of Ethiopia, which is the capital of the Tigray region, where a conflict is raging between the government and local forces. Attacks are likely to have killed hundreds. The city has already been bombed and many thousands of people have fled. Marcelino Pacheco, Gebremedhin’s manager, has been trying to get in touch for several weeks. “We are looking for a team for 2021 and we wanted to get in touch, but I haven’t spoken to him for two weeks,” Pacheco told Spanish sports paper Marca. “Fortunately his sister lives in Sweden and she says that Gebremedhin and his family are in hiding somewhere, waiting for everything to be over. It is said that a civil war is about to break out and we are really concerned. Let’s hope the conflict doesn’t get worse, because we’re worried about our friend,” Pacheco concluded.
At the start of this season, Gebremedhin transferred from the WorldTour team of Israel Start-Up Nation to the continental squad, Israel Cycling Academy. In 2019 he finished the Tour of Lombardy and the Giro d’Italia.
No 2021 Edition of the Tour de Langkawi
The Tour de Langkawi will not be held next year, the organisation has decided after consultation with the Malaysian cycling federation and government authorities. The corona virus throws a spanner in the works. The Tour de Langkawi should return in 2022.
This year’s Tour de Langkawi took place just before the outbreak of the corona crisis. The overall victory went to the Italian Danilo Celano after eight stages. The Team Sapura Cycling rider beat Kazakh Yevgeniy Fedorov and Russian Artem Ovechkin. The multi-day race was scheduled for the end of January / beginning of February 2021. The organisation has already announced that the Tour de Langkawi will return to the calendar in 2022. The Tour Down Under, the Herald Sun Tour, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and the Tour de Yorkshire have also be canceled next year.
No Tour de Langkawi till 2022:
Roux Fears the End of his Career
Anthony Roux told L’Est Républicain that he fears the end of his career as a professional cyclist. The 33-year-old Frenchman’s contract with Groupama-FDJ has run out and has not heard anything about next season. According to Roux, team boss Marc Madiot had promised not to abandon him. “But he hasn’t called yet. My future is still uncertain. Suddenly I am preparing for the worst,” said Roux, who became a pro with Française des Jeux in 2008 and has been with the team ever since.
“Many foreign teams stop and there are many riders on the market. I am 33 years old, I am motivated and can race well. I don’t feel ready to stop yet, I could still see myself riding with the pros until I was 40,” he said. “It has been a long season, from February to the end of the Vuelta on November 8. Especially since we didn’t pull the plug completely during the first lockdown. I have never experienced that in my career.” Roux is not riding the bike at the moment. “I plan to resume training in mid-December.”
The last race that Roux rode was the Vuelta a España. In 2009 he managed to win a stage in that Grand Tour. This season, Roux finished 9th in the Bretagne Classic and in the French road championships. His last victory dates from 2018, when he won a stage in the Tour du Limousin.
Anthony Roux sprinting for 3rd place in Clàsica San Sebastián 2018:
Roman Kreuziger to join Gazprom-RusVelo
The Russian team Gazprom-RusVelo and Roman Kreuziger have signed a one-year contract.
The 34-year-old Kreuziger from Czech Republic raced 18 Grand tours and has a wealth of experience. Among his major achievements are a stage victory at Giro d’Italia and overall victories at Tour de Romandie, Tour de Suisse and Giro di Sardegna.
Roman Kreuziger comments on signing a contract: “New team, new challenge! I received a really good energy and impression from the team management during our first online-meetings. I found out that they are very confident and I will be able to calmly start my preparation for the upcoming season. At this moment there are many very solid riders on the market, that’s why I really appreciate being given a place in the team. Moreover, I am acquainted with the team’s Sport Director Dmitry Konyshev. I know him for many years and he is a great specialist. That is something that also makes me glad. Dmitry lives very close to my place in Italy, so it will be possible to regularly meet and receive his professional advice and feedback.”
Kreuziger’s goals for the next season: “I am set to share my experience with the young riders and of course I will be helping Ilnur Zakarin to fight for the GC. I hope that we will receive an invitation to Giro d’Italia next season, because we can definitely be competitive there. From my side I also hope to participate in one-day races, especially my favourite Ardennes Classics. Another big goal for me for the next year is the Olympic Games in Tokyo.”
“Someone might probably think that I am quite old, because I have been in professional cycling for such a long time, but let’s look at Valverde who is in great shape in his 40s. So, I would say that I am only 34 and feel good and very ambitious to race for more seasons. I will do my best to achieve more victories together with my new team Gazprom-RusVelo,” said Roman Kreuziger.
General manager of the team Renat Khamidulin: “I am certain that Roman is one of those riders who needs no introduction. The massive experience gained over the years of his professional career at the highest level is actually the greatest value. This is what any team needs — the young athletes will have an example of a real professional, and experienced riders will have the kind of support in the race that only a rider of this level is able to provide. Basically, Kreuziger will have two main goals in our team — to be one of the main supportive riders for Zakarin and an athlete who is capable to personally deliver high results. I am sure that Roman’s presence in Gazprom-RusVelo will significantly increase the level of each rider individually and the team as a whole.”
Amstel Gold Race 2013 – Roman Kreuziger’s big win:
Baptiste Planckaert and Lorenzo Rota reinforce Circus-Wanty Gobert in 2021
Circus-Wanty Gobert can count on two new additions for 2021 and 2022. Belgian puncher Baptiste Planckaert wants to erase a season filled with bad luck. The 32 year old broke his collarbone in his first race of the season, the Saudi Tour, in the colours of Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles. So it lasted until the end of July until he could really start the season, resulting in a 3rd place at the Antwerp Port Epic and the mountain jersey at the Tour du Luxembourg. Planckaert discovered the World Tour in 2017 and 2018 with Team Katusha, but excels especially in semi classics. This is proven by wins in Rund um Köln last year and victories at the Poly Normande, the Tour du Finistère, the Tour de Normandie and a stage at the Czech Cycling Tour in 2016. Baptiste Planckaert is motivated to continue his success in 2021 and 2022 with Circus-Wanty Gobert.
Lorenzo Rota is the third Italian rider with Circus-Wanty Gobert next season. After four seasons with Bardiani-CSF and one year with Vind-Zabù, the 25 year old will discover the World Tour. Rota achieved excellent results, especially on Italian soil. He finished 4th at the Coppa Agostoni last year and 5th at the Trofeo Laigueglia and 6th at the Faun-Ardèche Classic this year. But also at the monuments Il Lombardia and Milano-San Remo he excelled with 18th and 28th. The rider from Bergamo finished his third Tour of Italy, before joining Circus-Wanty Gobert until the end of 2022.
Baptiste Planckaert: “2020 was a difficult year for me, so I was happy with the quick agreement with Circus-Wanty Gobert. I was looking for a better programme and I wanted to change environment. Now the team is stepping up to the World Tour, I can definitely count on a challenging race calendar. I’m already looking forward to the first meetings with the sportive direction, in which we will further define the expectations and map out my path. Just like each season, I’m aiming for a victory.”
Lorenzo Rota: “I feel honoured to be a part of this big team next year. I’ve grown this year, both mentally and physically. I feel ready for the next step. I’m very thankful for the opportunity within Circus-Wanty Gobert. This first experience in a team abroad is a dream coming true. In addition, it was an unexpected surprise when I heard that the team was planning to step up to the World Tour. The previous years I discovered the Amstel Gold Race and the Brabantse Pijl. These are the races I really love, I can’t wait to discover more classics and to give the best of myself for the team!”
Hilaire Van der Schueren (sport directeur): “We’re keeping an eye on Baptiste Planckaert and now he’s finally chosen to join us. We’ll choose a programme which suits him. There are plenty of races in which he can play an important role. Baptiste is always motivated to race. His positivity is of great value for our team. We’re always looking for young climbers. Following his good spring, and regarding his young age and progression, we started following Lorenzo Rota. We wanted more riders with his profile in our team. In my opinion, he’s chosen the right moment to move to our structure, because he can follow us to the World Tour. The Italian rider has the level for it. He’ll be an important element for the hard races.”
Torres and Mora Continue Seeking Olympic glory with Movistar in 2021
The two trackmen of the telephone squad, who have earned respect at the top-level squad with their performances in 2020, will ride the next campaign en route with the Unzué team on their way to the great challenge in Tokyo.
The Movistar Team confirmed Wednesday that Albert Torres (Ciutadella de Menorca, ESP; 1990) and Sebastián Mora (Vila-real, Castellón, ESP; 1988) will continue to wear the Telefónica-backed squad’s jersey in 2021, both having made part of road cycling’s top tier (UCI WorldTour) for the first time in 2020 as part of the Blue outfit.
The duo’s new contracts are the best way to support the efforts and trajectory of two of Spain’s biggest hopefuls for the Tokyo Olympics, to be held next summer. The two track specialists, who conquered two continental titles (Madison and Points Race) at the European Championships in Bulgaria few days ago, were able to prepare themselves for the big challenges ahead with some of the most prestigious events on the road.
While Mora had the chance to participate in WorldTour races like the Ronde van Vlaanderen, the Tour de Pologne, the Bretagne Classic or Gent-Wevelgem, Torres made his debut in no less than a GrandTour, the Giro d’Italia, which he completed and shone at with both his teamwork, earning some good reputation as a luxury domestique for the fastest, most tense stages and some strong breakaways, he was 7th in Asti, st. 19. The Balearic rider also got himself, like Mora, into some sprint finishes, was 6th and 10th at two stages of the Tour de Pologne.
Torres and Mora:
Kazakh Riders Fedorov and Brussenskiy Sign for Two Seasons at Astana – Premier Tech, Six other Kazakh Riders Extend their Contracts
The Kazakh-Canadian team signs Yevgeniy Fedorov and Gleb Brussenskiy, who will get their chances especially in the Classics, for the upcoming two seasons and extends with Yevgeniy Gidich, Dmitriy Gruzdev, Yuriy Natarov, Vadim Pronskiy as well as with Nikita Stalnov and Artyom Zakharov.
Fedorov, Brussenskiy and Pronskiy have signed a two-year deal, while Gidich, Gruzdev, Natarov, Stalnov and Zakahrov have renewed their contracts for one year. The eight Kazakh riders will be among the line ups for stage races as well as the upcoming one-day races.
Yevgeniy Fedorov, who signs for 2021 and beyond into 2022: “Becoming a part of the team is like a dream come true. I am very happy that the team, offered me a contract, which I immediately accepted. To now step up into the WorldTour and do this in the colours of Astana – Premier Tech, it couldn’t be any better. The last season, beside the strange situation with the pandemic, went quite well for me. I collected some victories and I have the feeling I grew as a rider. I want to improve and to become a stronger rider over the next years. I am pretty sure, that it will be a tough start, riding in the WorldTour, I have to get used to this level, but I am ready for it and hope I can prove myself at this professional level.”
Gleb Brussenskiy, will ride for the team for the two upcoming seasons: “It was quite a surprise to receive an offer from the team, a positive one, as it was always my dream to ride for this team. Now I am preparing myself to step up to this professional level and being part of Astana – Premier Tech. Since my childhood I wanted to become a professional cyclist and to show the colours or my country at the well-known races. I am beyond happy to get this chance now, and I will work on it to make it a successful move.”
General Manager, Alexandr Vinokurov on the young and ambitious Kazakh newcomers: “We followed Yevgeniy Fedorov for a long time already after he won the Road Race at the Olympic Youth festival. He is a strong rider with huge potential to become a powerful Classics rider. Gleb Brussenskiy is also a promising athlete, the Classics will suit him. He is fast therefore, we want to work with him on his sprint skills. Both are young riders and we want to give them a chance especially at the Northern Classics.”
Yana Seel, Managing Director: “A warm welcome to our new Kazakh talents. We always keep searching and developing talented cyclists in Kazakhstan and we’re happy to add once more two of these talents to our roster. But also the Kazakh riders that extended their contracts proved their value for the team, so we’re happy that they can stay with us and represent Kazakhstan in the UCI WorldTour.”
Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec Signs Eduardo Sepúlveda
The Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec team has strengthened it’s self for next season with Eduardo Sepúlveda. The Argentinian climber comes from Movistar, where he leaves after three years.
“We are again putting together a competitive team for next season. This year we were the second best team on the pro-continental circuit with 13 wins and we want to do that again next year,” said team manager Gianni Savio. “Sepúlveda brings the experience he has gained from a great formation like Movistar.”
Within a few days, Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec announces the arrival of three young, talented riders, Savio adds.
Sepúlveda (29) has been a fixture in the professional peloton since 2013. First he drove for Bretagne-Séché and the Fortuneo team at pro-continental level and during that period he also recorded his only three victories to date: the French one-day races Classic Sud Ardèche and Tour du Doubs and a stage in the Tour de San Luis. He has appeared for Movistar since 2018.
Boasson Hagen Signs with Total Direct Energie
Edvald Boasson Hagen will ride for Total Direct Energie next year. The now 33-year-old leaves the South African NTT Pro Cycling team after six seasons, although the team is expected to continue under the name of Qhubeka.
At the beginning of October, Boasson Hagen was still in talks with the INEOS Grenadiers about a possible return to the British team, but the Norwegian strongman now opts to go with Total Direct Energie, the team of Niki Terpstra. Boasson Hagen has never raced for a French team before. Boasson Hagen was successful in the Tour de France as a rider of Dimension Data (now NTT Pro Cycling) and also won stages in the Critérium du Dauphiné, the Eneco Tour and the Tour of Norway. He was also the best in the Tour of Britain five years ago.
At Total Direct Energie, Boasson Hagen will be a teammate of Niki Terpstra, with whom he will form a tandem in the Classics. “My goal is to win as much as possible, to race and to achieve the best results,” said the Norwegian. “I am a versatile rider, so I hope to ride the spring Classics and have a chance of winning stage wins in the Tour de France.”
Boasson Hagen is leaving NTT Pro Cycling, but according to the latest reports, Qhubeka’s registration for the 2021 WorldTour has also been submitted. The team will have to count on other riders, such as Victor Campenaerts, Domenico Pozzovivo and Max Walscheid next year.
Edvald Boasson Hagen:
Jacobs, Jorgenson re-sign with Movistar Team thru 2023
Telefónica-backed squad extends contracts with two highlight riders from 2020: Johan, a great rouleur and Northern classics specialist, and Matteo, one of their best allrounders.
The Movistar Team announced Monday that Johan Jacobs (Berg am Irchel, SUI; 1997) and Matteo Jorgenson (Boise, ID, USA; 1999) have both extended their contracts with the Telefónica-backed outfit, already in place for next season, and will wear the Blue jersey at least through the end of the 2023 season.
With Johan and Matteo re-signing, the Movistar Team is securing two of the biggest talents in its current roster. Jorgenson, who was selected as a reserve for both the Giro and La Vuelta lineups, shone at his two maiden appearances in Monument classics, Milano-Sanremo (17th) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège – on the attack in the finale – while also making the front groups in other one-day events, such as the Gran Trittico Lombardo. His quality for tough courses and conditions has already been proven in his first WorldTour season.
In turn, Jacobs already enjoyed some great appearances in his most beloved races: the Northern Classics. Long into a counter-attack move at Gent-Wevelgem, he had the chance to debut in the Ronde van Vlaanderen; went on the move in the European Championships or the Settimana Coppi e Bartali – where he contested the KOM jersey – and completed the season on a very high note, just off the podium (4th) in the Swiss Road Race Championships. Always with courage and fighting spirit.
For the 2021 season, the Movistar Team already has 25 confirmed names, the list still to be increased with both contract extensions and new additions.
The current roster includes:
Juan Diego Alba (COL), Jorge Arcas (ESP), Héctor Carretero (ESP), Dario Cataldo (ITA), Gabriel Cullaigh (GBR), Iñigo Elosegui (ESP), Imanol Erviti (ESP), Iván García Cortina (ESP), Abner González (PUR), Juri Hollmann (GER), Johan Jacobs (SUI), Matteo Jorgenson (USA), Lluís Mas (ESP), Enric Mas (ESP), Gregor Mühlberger (AUT), Mathias Norsgaard (DEN), Nelson Oliveira (POR), Antonio Pedrero (ESP), José Joaquín Rojas (ESP), Einer Rubio (COL), Sergio Samitier (ESP), Marc Soler (ESP), Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Carlos Verona (ESP) and Davide Villella (ITA).
Jacobs and Jorgenson:
Total Direct Energy Strengthens with Chris Lawless
Total Direct Energy is working hard to strengthen for 2021. The French team has announced the arrival of Chris Lawless. The 25-year-old Briton, winner of the Tour de Yorkshire last year, comes from INEOS Grenadiers.
The British rider was under contract with INEOS Grenadiers for another year. “I can’t wait to be part of my new team. It’s a bit of a leap of faith, as I’ve always ridden for British teams. However, it is a great challenge.” Lawless has a fairly fast sprint, and also has a preference for the spring Classics. “I hope to perform even better in the Classics in the future. I feel that I have taken an extra step this year and I will learn even more at the side of Niki Terpstra,” he said in a press release from Total Direct Energie. “We still have to look at my precise role within the team, but I do think I can hunt for victories.” Team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau added: “Chris is talented and has a strong personality. This is a great transfer for Total Direct Energie as Chris is a Tour de Yorkshire winner and comes from INEOS Grenadiers.”
Total Direct Energie has already attracted Pierre Latour, Alexis Vuillermoz, Alexandre Geniez, Fabien Doubey, Víctor de la Parte and Cristian Rodríguez, but Bernaudeau is not finished yet. “We will prepare the selection for 2021 for next Friday.”
Chris Lawless to Total Direct Energie:
Burgos-BH Confirms Contract Extension for Bol, Rubio and Smit
Burgos-BH has confirmed that Jetse Bol, Diego Rubio and Willie Smit will ride for the team next season. For the Dutchman, this will be his third full year with the Spanish team.
The contract extension for Bol had been expected since last month. “He is a very important rider for us,” sports director José Cabedo said. “In the Vuelta a Burgos and Ordiziako Klasika he showed flashes that were confirmed in the classics and the Belgian races, which suit him very well. With his age and experience, he will be a pillar in our team in 2021. I think he has a victory in his legs.”
Bol and Smit signed for one season, Rubio extended his contract for two years.
Willie Smit on the attack in la Vuelta:
Aberasturi, Bagües, Sáez and González renew with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
After the announcement of the arrival of three young under-23s riders from the amateur field (Josu Etxeberria, Jokin Murguialday and Jon Barrenetxea), Caja Rural-Seguros RGA continues to build its roster for the new season with the renewal of four important cyclists, good at sprints and flat terrains.
Jon Aberasturi, Aritz Bagües, David González and Héctor Sáez will continue defending the jersey of the ProTeam also in 2021, after three of them closed their season in the recent Vuelta a España (Sáez prematurely due to a fall) and González in Paris-Tours after completing the Volta a Portugal.
Aberasturi will start his fourth season at Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, where he has been able to win a stage of the Tour of Hungary this year, adding up to nineteen places among the top ten. Xabier Muriel, the team’s sporting director, values his contribution positively: “Jon is a guarantee. He always appears in the sprints, even if there is a lot of quality, so he is one of the team’s benchmarks.” Héctor Sáez will begin his fifth year with us, divided into two different phases. He has been the rider with the most number of days of competition in 2020 (54), despite retiring from the Spanish Tour early. “He has an engine still to be exploited. We hope that 2021 will be his year and that he will be able to bring out all the quality that we all know he has inside”, points out the Basque coach.
Second season for Aritz Bagües, who in a short time has become a valuable support for the team. “He is a sure value. He never fails and is always ready to serve his partners. People like him make it possible for others to have their moments thanks to their work in the dark”. Finally, David González will also wear the green jersey again. As Héctor, he grew up in the Caja Rural-Seguros RGA development team. David has already shown signs of his worth in his first two years as a professional. “He is a rider who promises to appear in the dispute of the triumphs. He defends himself well in all the terrains, but above all he has a good speed in the final meters”, concludes Muriel.
Jumbo-Visma Development Team signs three talents
The Dutchmen Loe van Belle and Darren van Bekkum and the Norwegian Johannes Staune-Mittet will join the Jumbo-Visma Development Team from 1 January 2021. The three juniors will make their debut in the U23 peloton next year in the yellow and black jersey and sign for two seasons.
Current Dutch junior time trial champion Van Belle, who won European track titles on scratch and omnium last month, has already trained with the Jumbo-Visma Development Team several times last year. “I already know most of the boys from the junior category. In the past year I have already got to know the team during training. To finally be able to wear that shirt myself from 1 January is cool. I hope to further develop myself within the Development Team and to achieve good results. In the end, everyone has the ambition to end up in the World Tour. The transfers of Gijs Leemreize and Olav Kooij have shown that this step is certainly possible. That’s what I’m going for too.”
Van Bekkum is relatively new in the cycling world and has only been competing since 2018. “My second year with the juniors has, of course, turned out differently than hoped for in the past year. There were hardly any races and I was forced to try to enjoy online races. At the KNWU training camp, organised in collaboration with Team Jumbo-Visma, I showed that I can push the pedals hard. That’s where the contact with Jumbo-Visma Development Team originated. Expectations for the coming years I don’t really want to pronounce yet. First I need to gain some experience. I am in the right place for that. The guidance here is top-notch and I am looking forward to working with this team to make steps in my career.”
Staune-Mittet, Norwegian Junior Cross-Country Ski Champion, is also looking forward to his time with his new team. “It’s a very nice step for me. I think it is the best place for me to develop myself. From the first contact with the team it felt right and when I finally heard that I could join the team, I was very happy. I look forward to being part of the culture within the team. I know Tobias Foss a bit and we talked about the team. He is very pleased with the team and recommended this transfer.”
Head of Development Robbert de Groot looks back on the past season with a positive feeling, despite the limited race calendar. “Where we were able to race, we showed ourselves. The fact that two boys will turn pro next season is a boost for the whole team. That is a great development and we hope to be able to continue this trend in the coming years. With Van Belle, Van Bekkum and Staune-Mittet we are adding a lot of talent to the current team.”
New men at Jumbo-Visma:
Vander Sande and Smulders sign with Lotto Soudal Ladies
Lotto Soudal likes to give youngsters the opportunity to develop themselves and to grow within the team. Belgian rider Elise Vander Sande (almost 23) and Dutch rider Silke Smulders (19) both get this chance next year. Together with Anna Plichta and Hanna Nilsson they are the newcomers in our women’s team.
Elise Vander Sande became fourth at the Belgian Championship in Anzegem in September, a very nice result. She beat Annelies Dom, who will become sports director at Lotto Soudal Ladies, in a group sprint for that fourth place. Elise conquered the Belgian jersey for club riders. The past five seasons she rode for Keukens Redant.
“I combined cycling with my studies Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy”, tells Elise Vander Sande. “I graduated at the end of June. It was a choice to first finish my studies. Now, I want to see what I can achieve in cycling. I am also working halftime as a physio in a group practice in my neighbourhood.”
“I had five beautiful years at Keukens Redant and the team supported me during my studies, but to be able to take my cycling career to the next level I chose for Lotto Soudal. I am good at riding uphill. I prefer longer climbs. But I don’t have any experience yet with races abroad and therefore I decided to join Lotto Soudal. The team always rides a nice programme. I want to discover what I am capable of. I am also explosive. I can stand my ground in a sprint with a small group and I dare to position myself in the peloton. I am looking forward to learning at Lotto Soudal, to further developing myself as a rider and to being a support for my teammates.”
19-year-old Silke Smulders is a first-year in the U23 category and she still studies. She is now in the second year of the bachelor Sustainable Innovation at the university of Eindhoven. This year she was part of the Dutch U23 selection at the European Championships in Plouay. They won the silver medal with Lonneke Uneken, while Silke got eighth herself. In September she finished 19th at Trophée des Grimpeuses, a Belgian climbing race.
“I am good at hilly courses, like in the province of Limburg in the Netherlands or the Ardennes in Belgium,” says Silke Smulders. “I am looking forward to discovering what I can do in the mountains. I am still young and I still have exciting things ahead of me. I was very happy that I could go to the European Championships as a first-year U23 rider. Everyone was satisfied with my work for the team. I dropped off Lonneke Uneken for the sprint and could still get a nice result myself. It felt good to be able to perform well at such an important moment.”
“I am competing in races since I was twelve. Before I started cycling, I ice skated. In summer we cycled and I was good at it. I joined a cycling club and after a while I quit ice skating. Gradually, cycling became more serious. As a junior I got selected for the Worlds twice and that was a boost for my confidence. And now that beautiful European Championship as a first-year U23 rider. I want to see how far I can get in cycling. The step to Lotto Soudal Ladies is a step to become better.”
Vander Sande and Smulders:
Edward Ravasi’s ‘WorldTour’ experience, at the service of the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team in 2021
The Italian rider Edward Ravasi (1994) will compete next season in the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team. The cyclist from Varese is the thirteenth confirmed rider for a project he is joining after four seasons with the UAE Team Emirates in the World Tour category.
“This is a great opportunity for me”, says Edward Ravasi. “I don’t think it’s a step back in my career, far from it. It is true that a WorldTour team may have a bigger budget than a ProTeam formation, and that there are also differences in terms of timing, a more demanding point, but in sporting terms a ProTeam can be just as competitive or more and in terms of timing it is also very interesting. And here we are talking about a great project, with two very important personalities like Alberto and Ivan behind it. A project that has demonstrated that in it the young people learn, progress, and that I personally know since some years ago, when I competed against the structure U23, in the Tour of Bidasoa”.
Ravasi, at 26, has already had the opportunity to compete in two three-week races, the Giro d’Italia 2017 and the Vuelta a España 2018. A great climber, curiously born on the same 5th June 1994 in which the mythical Merano-Aprica stage was contested with Stelvio, Mortirolo and Santa Cristina as part of the struggle between Miguel Indurain and Eugeni Berzin, Ravasi is confident that this new adventure in his sporting career will allow him to progress.
“I am very confident that I can take a step forward. Last season I suffered a fall in the Vuelta a Burgos where I fractured my femur and had to stop suddenly. It’s not an easy injury, I had to work hard to recover and come back. In the end it is a period of lost time, from a competition point of view, that is difficult to recover. And this 2020 season we have had a lot of work in a UAE with many and very good captains. It wasn’t the best season to look for the best,” he reflects.
For the Lombard rider, the 2021 season could allow him to return to the path outlined in 2018: “It is possible to take a step forward, in the line of the 2018 Dauphiné that I think has been my great career so far. Not in terms of the final classification, but every day I was in the fight for the breakaway so that in the end I was caught. And the La Rosière stage, which was a very important day, I held out with the best until the last ten kilometres. Before the injury I was always there in the qualifiers for the youngsters”.
Ivan Basso, sports manager of the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team: “We are very happy with Edward in the team, we believe he can do great things. In the most important race of the u23 category, the l’Avenir, he left samples of his quality and always rode with the best. In 2016 he finished second, behind David Gaudu. He now has four years’ experience on the WordTour, although either due to the misfortune of injuries or because he had to work for his leaders, he has not yet had the opportunity to give his best. I think that, as he was already in the u23 category, he can be one of the best riders in the peloton”.
Astana Pro Team Becomes Astana – Premier Tech in 2021
Astana Pro Team will change its name to Astana – Premier Tech on January 1, 2021, as Premier Tech steps up to become co-sponsor of the Kazakh UCI WorldTour team. The Canadian company is an international leader in four core industries: sustainable solutions for professional growers and gardeners, automated systems for packaging and material handling, systems and technologies to treat and recycle water and digital solutions to increase manufacturing efficiencies. Premier Tech has been a sponsor of Astana Pro Team since 2017. With its headquarters located in Canada and offices and manufacturing plants in some 27 countries, Premier Tech wants to connect its worldwide network of partners and customers through this co-sponsorship and partnership with Kazakhstan.
For the first time in its 15-year history, the team name of Astana Pro Team will be shared with a co-sponsor. Premier Tech and Astana Pro Team have been partners for the past four years and share the same values: to excel, redefine standards and collaborate with driven and talented people through cohesive teamwork.
“For Premier Tech, this announcement is the culmination of a partnership that began in 2017; one that is fuelled by a long-standing passion for cycling. The Astana – Premier Tech team perfectly captures the essence of our company and the spirit that drives this partnership, which is to constantly push the limits to redefine the standards and reach new heights, while surrounding ourselves with driven, talented people in order to succeed. Premier Tech’s motivation to constantly improve is greatly inspired by its team members, but also by those who have shaped history. That’s why Premier Tech is now associating its name with the Astana – Premier Tech team, one of the best cycling teams in the world. A team with many great victories to its name, and with whom Premier Tech shares the same passions: excellence and teamwork. This is what makes this partnership so strong and unique. That’s what makes it so meaningful,” says Jean Bélanger, president and chief executive officer of Premier Tech.
“By the management of the General Partner of the cycling team, Samruk-Kazyna JSC, as well as the Astana Presidential Professional Club, the task was given of reducing the funding of a professional cycling team from Kazakhstan part, through the entry of a second partner, co-sponsor, who could share the financial burden with our country. The work was carried out successfully, in a quite short time we managed to reach mutual understanding. We are very pleased with the results of the negotiations with the Canadian side. The name of the team for the next year will be changed, but at the same time, the team will continue to exist under the auspices of Kazakhstan, despite the fact that funding from the General Partner of Samruk-Kazyna JSC will be significantly reduced. We will continue to glorify the name of Kazakhstan as well as the name of our new Canadian partner Premier Tech in the global sports arena. Also, within this cooperation, discussions are currently underway to create a children’s and youth cycling team ‘Astana – Premier Tech Team Kids’, which will be funded within the existing budget and based in Kazakhstan and Canada. Thus, the two countries will be able to exchange with the experience and to grow a new generation to further maintain cycling at the highest level in both countries,” says Yana Seel, Managing Director of Astana Pro Team.
Astana – Premier Tech in 2021:
Steve Bauer to be Astana-Premier Tech DS
Steve Bauer will be part of the Astana team as sports director next year, the former rider told Canadian Cycling Magazine. Bauer’s arrival is no surprise, as the Canadian has been associated with the Kazakh squad for a while.
At the beginning of this week, it was announced that Astana will change its name to Astana-Premier Tech as of January 1. Canadian Premier Tech, one of the largest packaging equipment manufacturers in the world, has been with the Kazakh team for four years, but is now also becoming a name sponsor.
Bauer is the first addition to the Astana-Premier Tech technical staff in 2021. Bauer was working at CCC this season. “I had a great time with BMC Racing Team and CCC, but now I have the opportunity to work with a great group. We hope to reach our sporting goals next year. I look forward to doing my bit,” said Bauer, who will be working with fellow countryman Hugo Houle next year. “Hugo played an important role in my arrival and I am grateful to him for that. Whether there are no more Canadians coming yet? I don’t know, but of course I’d like that.”
DS Steve Bauer:
Behind the Scenes: 2020 Ronde van Vlaanderen
The last Monument of the season generated a wide range of emotions in the Elegant – Quick-Step camp, who came close to a great result with Flanders debutant Julian Alaphilippe, after the World Champion had brought the race to life with a spectacular attack on the brutal slopes of the iconic Koppenberg.
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