The UCI World Cup cyclo-cross in Namur on Sunday was the best race of the season so far – Reports and results. CAS cuts Russia’s suspension – TOP STORY. Loads of other cycling news: Peter Sagan’s Roubaix bike stolen, George Bennett in New Zealand, Tour Colombia canceled, Primoz Roglič starts in Paris-Nice and AG2R Citroën interested in Julian Alaphilippe. Race news from Mallorca, Chris Froome and BORA-hansgrohe. Contract news: James Shaw, Mathias Le Turnier, Eduard Prades, Julien Vermote. Rider news: Jakob Fuglsang, Benoît Cosnefroy, Carlos Betancur, Francisco Mancebo, Pim Ligthart, Serge Pauwels and Fabián Puerta. Team news: Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Team Novo Nordisk, new kit for AG2R CITROËN and BORA-hansgrohe. Colin Strickland on the WorldTour and Red Hook Crit video. Monday EUROTRASH coffee time!
TOP STORY: CAS Halves Russia’s Suspension
WADA decided in 2019 to ban Russia for four years from the Olympic Games and all other international competitions, but sports tribunal CAS has now halved the four-year suspension. This means that Russian athletes (including cyclists) will not be allowed to participate under the Russian flag in World championships and the next two Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 and the Beijing winer games of 2022. Russian government officials are also not welcome at sporting events for the next two years.
From December 2022, Russian athletes can again compete under their own flag. The WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) decided to ban Russia for four years last year, but the country then appealed to CAS. It was up to the highest legal body in the sport to make a final judgment.
The country is now also not allowed to participate in tournaments organised by sports federations, including the UCI. For Russian athletes who can demonstrate that they are completely clean, there is a possibility to participate under a neutral flag in international events, including the Olympic Games.
It is still unclear how many athletes received such treatment. At the end of November, it was announced that a WADA committee of inquiry wanted to ban Russia from the Games and all other international competitions for four years. The committee found that there is evidence of manipulation in a doping laboratory in Moscow.
Cyclo-Cross World Cup Men – Namur 2020
A spectacular World Cup in Namur was won by Mathieu van der Poel. The World champion was the first to cross the finish line after more than an hour in the Citadelcross. Wout van Aert was second, after his first confrontation with Van der Poel this winter. Tom Pidcock looked to be on his way to another victory, but in the final lap he dropped to third place.
European champion, Eli Iserbyt, had a different start, as he had to go on foot up the first hill because his chain was off. It was the end of any hope for Iserbyt. At the front, World Cup leader Michael Vanthourenhout got off to a good start, with Wout van Aert on his wheel. Mathieu van der Poel started in the second row and moved slowly but surely up in the first lap. Last week’s winner in Gavere, Tom Pidcock, also got away well from the starting blocks. He made the first gap; only Van Aert, Van der Poel and Vanthourenhout could follow the little Briton. Pidcock did not hold back on the second lap, which led to small mistakes by his pursuers. He entered the third lap with a lead of about 5 seconds.
On the climb, the three pursuers managed to reconnect with Pidcock, but he launched another attack and rode away from Van der Poel, Van Aert and Vanthourenhout for a 10 second lead. At the halfway point, Pidcock’s lead was 11 seconds. Van der Poel managed to close the gap on the sixth lap, but the World champion could not quite reach Pidcock’s wheel. At the start of the seventh lap (of nine), the difference was 5 seconds. Pidcock played a cat-and-mouse game with Van Aert and Van der Poel, who had dropped Vanthourenhout.
Five seconds, seven seconds… The two top riders were unable to close the gap. On the eighth lap Van Aert and Van der Poel got the wheel of Pidcock. This was the first time that Van Aert and Van der Poel had competed this winter and with Pidcock in the mix it was the toughest and most hard fought cross of the season so far.
Immediately after the three got together, the reigning World champion put an attack which caused Pidcock to lose a little ground. After the start of the final lap Pidcock was in trouble and could not hold Van der Poel’s pace. Van Aert was also having problems, but the Belgian dug deep to keep Van der Poel in sight. Van der Poel had enough power to take the victory, 3 seconds ahead of Van Aert. Pidcock followed after a great battle at 11 seconds in third place. The rest of the riders were well split up with Michael Vanthourenhout at 1:07 in fourth place and 10th placed Kamp, at three and a half minutes.
Race winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): “I certainly had nothing left. Nevertheless, I had started well, but at the top of the slope I shot out of my pedal. I never thought for a moment in the race that I had anything. I was at the limit for an hour. I also almost fell a few times, because I was really on the limit. I was pretty broken everywhere and there were a lot of risks today. It’s not that I raced tactically, because I certainly wouldn’t have managed on my own. We both have to keep our pace. That wasn’t a tactical decision of mine. I don’t think so. He has ridden his race and if possible you should definitely do it on this course. At the moment the three of us are the better ones, but that is no guarantee of success at the World Champs in Ostend.”
2nd, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “The price of the dumb. I’m bringing Mathieu back on track and I should have known better. That is a lack of confidence, because I was a little too engaged in the victory. It was there, but I didn’t know how close it was. Then I bumped into his qualities on the last lap. I estimated Mathieu and Tom better, and when Michael Vanthourenhout dropped I wanted to ride for the podium . But when I see how short I was (at 3 seconds), I shouldn’t have done that. Then I would have let Mathieu close the gap. I can build on this. I am happy that I could ride such a race. I have to use the confidence that I lacked for the next crosses. In general, I rode around too much. I did have some strengths, such as the running sections and I should have tried to do something there.”
3rd, Tom Pidcock (Trinity): “I don’t think I did the perfect race, but this is the best way for me. I rode my own race. Today I didn’t have luck on my side. Also with a little more energy in the final lap I could have finished second, I think. But winning was not going to work. They never let the gap get too big for that. It’s hard to say, but I better race from the front. I have also done a lot with the juniors and the U23. When I have to ride on the wheels I’m not that good. That’s why I think this was the right way for me to race today. I was hoping they would look at each other. But Wout did some work to reconnect, and then Mathieu attacked. A podium place is good for me, and I was able to compete against the two kings of the cross.”
Cyclo-Cross World Cup Men – Namur Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix in 1:03:59
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:03
3. Tom Pidcock (GB) Trinity at 0:11
4. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 1:07
5. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Tormans CX at 2:09
6. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Telenet-Baloise at 2:17
7. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet-Baloise at 2:53
8. Daan Soete (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 2:57
9. Corné van Kessel (Ned) Tormans CX at 3:25
10. Ryan Kamp (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 3:31.
As usual, UCI races are not available for free, but still looking.
Cyclo-Cross World Cup Women – Namur 2020
Lucinda Brand won the Cyclocross World Cup in Namur on Sunday. The leader of Telenet-Baloise team took the lead on the second lap and soloed to the finish. With her victory, Brand strengthens her lead in the World Cup standings. The second place went to Clara Honsinger from America, ahead of Denise Betsema.
Differences were made immediately in the first lap. The fastest from the start line were Kata Blanka Vas and Denise Betsema. They were followed by a group including Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, Lucinda Brand, Sanne Cant, Puck Pieterse and Yara Kastelijn. Hungarian Vas crashed on the first lap on a descent, leaving Betsema alone in the lead. On the second lap, Brand managed to cross to Betsema, while Alvarado was stuck at less than 30 seconds. The leader in the World Cup classification continued solo. World champion Alvarado had to give up her place halfway through to Clara Honsinger. The American champion got off to a good start and, together with Alvarado, joined Betsema, who had a flat tire.
In the meantime, Brand was looking strong in the lead, followed at 40 seconds by the three: Honsinger-Betsema-Alvarado. The initiative was taken on the penultimate lap by the rider from Texel, who was behind Alvarado. Honsinger was the only one able to follow Betsema and they competed for second place behind Betsema. Brand kept her lead of 40 seconds and could celebrate the victory at the Citadel. This was her second victory in a row in the shortened World Cup of this season. At the end of November she also took the win in Tábor, which puts her firmly in the lead in the World Cup standings. On the final lap Honsinger distanced himself from Betsema, to secure second place.
Race winner, Lucinda Brand (Telenet Baloise): “I really think it’s a great race. I had good legs today and I’m glad that I now win three in a row here. I have no idea how I’m going to do that. Everything I win now is very beautiful. I assume that I have good form. We really should not compare Ostend with today, that is very different in terms of classification and strength. Betsema started very hard, but I know that I have to have confidence in myself in this cross and that should be fine.”
2nd, Clara Honsinger (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld): “Getting my first second place in a World Cup is really important to me. There was some pressure. I had a good result last week, and many people saw similarities between that race and this cross. I got a lot of messages that I could do well here, and luckily I did a good race here. I had a lot of power uphill. I try to get the technique and speed on descents a bit under control, but the conditions of this cross seem to fit very well with my style of racing.”
3rd, Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “I had a very good start and luckily I was able to go from the front row because of my UCI ranking. Then I was the first to ride very quickly, but then you also blow up a bit faster. I still joined Lucinda for a while, but then I had a flat. That was a bummer. I noticed that she was a lot stronger uphill. And then I had also lost strength with that flat, so that also plays a role. That is a peak moment in the season, and we do everything we can to be at my best. We do everything for that.”
Cyclo-Cross World Cup Women – Namur Result:
1. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Telenet Baloise in 52:47
2. Clara Honsinger (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld at 0:29
3. Denise Betsema (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 0:38
4. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix at 1:21
5. Kata Blanka Vas (Hun) Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport-Proximus at 1:38
6. Evie Richards (GB) Trek Factory Racing at 1:45
7. Anna Kay (GB) Starcasino CX at 2:14
8. Aniek van Alphen (Ned) Credishop-Fristads at 2:26
9. Perrine Clauzel (Fra) A.S Bike Cross Team at 2:33
10. Eva Lechner (Ita) Starcasino CX at 2:42.
As usual, UCI races are not available for free, but still looking.
Sagan’s Bike Stolen from Specialized HQ
The head office of Specialized has been hit by a burglary. The company base in Morgan, California, was broken into and lost in the region of €130,000. The thieves took the gold bike on which Peter Sagan won Paris-Roubaix in 2018, the yellow S-Works Tarmac that Fabian Cancellara rode after taking the yellow jersey in the 2010 Tour, and the Olympic time trial bike of Tony Martin and two bikes from Specialized founder Mike Sinyard. The bikes of some successful mountain bikers and triathletes have also been stolen.
The bikes were in the Specialized museum. The police have no witnesses, as no people were present at the office due to corona measures. However, camera images have surfaced of two cars that were involved in the burglary. A Toyota has since been found, but there is still no trace of the white van containing the stolen bikes. Specialized has offered a reward of $25,000 for any information that leads to the recovery of the stolen bikes.
Sagan’s gold Specialized:
George Bennett Goes to New Zealand for Christmas
George Bennett will be in New Zealand this winter. Initially, the New Zealander was going to stay in Europe, but Bennett has now returned home.
Due to the strict corona measures in New Zealand, Bennett first has to stay in quarantine. It means that the Jumbo-Visma rider will not leave his hotel room for the next two weeks. Thanks to the help of some fellow countrymen, second placed in the Tour of Lombardy can still continue training from his bathroom.
Tour Colombia 2021 Canceled
The Tour Colombia 2.1 has been canceled, the national cycling federation in Colombia announced in a press release. According to the cycling association, it is impossible to organise the event in a safe and responsible way in Corona time.
The federation talks about the increase in the number of corona infections. “We are seeing more and more cases of corona, especially in Europe, which is still home to most of the ProContinent and Continental teams. We cannot guarantee that riders and other people within the caravan are safe.”
The Colombian cycling federation has decided to put a stop to the next edition of the multi-day cycling race. It is not the first non-European cycling race to be dropped on the calendar. The Tour Down Under, Cadel Evans Road Race, Herald Sun Tour and Tour de Langkawi have also been canceled.
The organisers of the Tour Colombia 2.1 hoped the fourth edition would run early next year. Egan Bernal won the first edition of the Tour Colombia in 2018. In 2019, the overall victory went to Miguel Ángel López, Sergio Higuita was the overall winner of the third edition in February. Higuita won ahead of teammates Daniel Felipe Martínez and Jonathan Caicedo.
Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) winning stage 3 Tour Colombia 2020 from Tunja to Sogamoso:
Primoz Roglič Starts 2021 Season in Paris-Nice
Primož Roglič starts the new cycling season relatively late. The winner of the Vuelta a España will complete his first race kilometres of 2021 in Paris-Nice (7-14 March), he confirmed in conversation with Siol.net.
The Jumbo-Visma rider, who was named Sportsman of the Year in Slovenia, says he cannot say much about 2021. “Nothing has been decided yet, but I can already say that I will start 2021 in Paris-Nice. Then I follow the same program as last year, up to the Tour.”
“I can only reveal all the details after I have spoken and consulted with the team management,” said Roglič, who makes no secret that he would like to take a shot at that missing Tour victory next year. The Slovenian is also looking at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year. “In cycling, the Games may not be as important as in other sports, but they are important to me. After all, I come from winter sports. I want to go to the Games in the best possible form, but I realise it’s going to be extremely difficult. There is little time between the Tour and Games. Still, I believe that you can participate in the Games after the Tour.”
Roglič for Nice:
AG2R Citroën Interested in Julian Alaphilippe
Julian Alaphilippe will start his eighth season with Deceuninck – Quick-Step next year, but his contract will expire at the end of 2021. And so there may be offers on the horizon. “We will not fail to try our luck”, Vincent Lavenu, the boss at AG2R Citroën, does not hide his ambitions.
Lavenu was talking with the French newspaper Sud Ouest about the current World champion. “We must of course first wait and see whether he will be available later. We will not fail to try it. Alaphilippe is an attractive rider and belongs to the absolute top of the World,” said the French team manager.
Lavenu also has the financial means to do something, after the arrival of the French car manufacturer Citroën as a second name sponsor. “Now that we have a partner like Citroën on board, there is no reason not to try. We do have to take certain data into account, but we are always looking for opportunities.”
AG2R Citroën welcomes ten new faces for the coming season, with Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet, Bob Jungels, Stan Dewulf, Anthony Jullien, Marc Sarreau, Michael Schär, Damien Touzé, Gijs Van Hoecke, Lilian Calmejane and Ben O’Connor.
Alaphilippe to go French?
Seven WorldTour Teams to Ride Challenge Mallorca
The four Challenge Mallorca races will have seven WorldTour teams on the start line. The new Mitchelton-Scott team, BORA-hansgrohe, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, Israel Start-Up Nation, UAE Team Emirates, Movistar and INEOS Grenadiers.
UAE Team Emirates has already announced that Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar will be making an appearance on the Spanish Island. It will be his first race kilometres of the new season for the Slovenian. In addition, sprinter Alexander Kristoff will also be traveling to Mallorca.
The Challenge Mallorca consists of four one-day: the Trofeo Ses Salines (January 28), the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana (January 29), the Trofeo Andratx (January 30) and the Trofeo Palma (January 31). The organisation will announce the other teams at a later date.
Marc Soler (Movistar) won the Challenge Mallorca – Trofeo Pollença – Andratx 2020:
San Juan Chris Froome’s First Race for Israel Start-Up Nation
Chris Froome will make his debut for the Israel Start-Up Nation early in the new year. The British rider goes to Argentina to ride the Vuelta a San Juan. The eight-day stage race starts on January 24, 2021.
Froome has been training in California in the United States in recent weeks. “This competition marks the beginning of a new chapter in my career. I look forward to racing with new teammates and getting everything rolling in the new adventure that lies ahead.”
team DS, Rik Verbrugghe, explains that Froome will use the Vuelta a San Juan to get in shape. “He is not going to Argentina to win the race, We see it as a perfect opportunity for Chris to start a process that will work towards a peak further into the season.”
Israel Start-Up Nation is going for stage victories in Argentina. The WorldTour announced the team: Chris Froome, Rudy Barbier (who won a stage in 2019 San Juan), Guy Niv, Tom Van Asbroeck, Alex Cataford and Patrick Bevin.
Chris Froome to San Juan:
Buchmann Leads BORA-hansgrohe in Giro – Ackermann Sprint Leader in Tour
Emanuel Buchmann will focus on the Giro d’Italia in 2021, Radsport-News reports. The German climber came fourth in the Tour de France in 2019, but according to several sources, BORA-hansgrohe wants to take as many sprint victories as possible in the Tour with Pascal Ackermann.
Manager Ralph Denk has a nice problem. With Buchmann, Ackermann and Peter Sagan, the team has several potential leaders for the Tour de France. BORA-hansgrohe can also count on strong GC riders such as Wilco Kelderman, Felix Großschartner, Maximilian Schachmann and Patrick Konrad.
Ackermann already seems certain of his first Tour selection and so there are still a few decisions to be taken. According to Radsport-News, Buchmann can prove himself as a leader in the Giro d’Italia. Kelderman, Schachmann, Großschartner and Konrad are mentioned as possible lieutenants. Buchmann has never been at the start of the Giro. However, Kelderman indicated in an interview with the Algemeen Dagblad that he is unlikely to contest the Giro d’Italia. “The plan is to work towards the Tour,” said the Dutchman. Earlier in the year, the ex-Sunweb rider will participate in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour de Romandie.
In the Tour BORA-hansgrohe hopes to score with Ackermann and Peter Sagan. The Slovak, who now has seven green jerseys in the wardrobe, will not be the undisputed leader for the flatter stages next year. Ackermann could count on his regular sprint train, Sagan may have to make do with just one right-hand man.
James Shaw Gets a Contract
James Shaw no longer has to worry about his future. The 24-year-old Brit, who raced for Lotto Soudal and this year for the Danish Riwal Securitas, is heading for Ribble Weldtite in 2021. The Continental team had signed Harry Tanfield, but he went to WorldTour team Qhubeka Assos at the last minute.
Shaw finished 20th in the Saudi Tour this year, 23rd in the Royal Bernard Drome Classic and rode for Great Britain at the World championships in Imola. “I found the sacred fire again at Riwal Securitas. I want to continue my career now more than ever, as it is a strange year,” he said earlier.
Not over for James Shaw:
Le Turnier Finds a New Team for 2021
Mathias Le Turnier was told by Cofidis that there was no place for him at the end of 2020 and was afraid it would be the end of his professional career. At the last minute he has signed a contract with the Delko One Provence team.
Twenty-five year-old Le Turnier has signed a two-year contract with Philippe Lannes’ French ProTeam. “I am happy that I was able to sign for two years. This period is in line with the new philosophy of the team to work on the long term. There are some very nice games scheduled for 2021 and I want to be competitive and good from the start of the season.”
According to team manager Lannes, a rider like Le Turnier was missing from his selection. “Both a rouleur, climber for the general classification and an excellent teammate who can assist puncheurs and other climbers on a tough course. He was less fortunate in the past two years. But once he has his confidence back, he can be very strong.”
Mathias Le Turnier:
Prades: Not Much Appreciated at Movistar
Eduard Prades recently signed for the Delko One Provence team for two years, after his contract with Movistar was not renewed. The Spaniard is taking a step down to ProTour level, but he will be a leader in his new team.
After two seasons, Movistar and Prades part ways. In his time with the Spanish team, he won the Vuelta Aragón and a stage in the Tour de La Provence. “It had had its day. The team did not want to continue with me and it was over for me. I was looking for motivation and certain guarantees that Movistar could not offer me, while Delko One Provence could. That was one of the reasons for this change,” he told RTVE.
He also felt that he did not fit in the team. “I am a type of rider who was not much appreciated at Movistar. You also saw that with Lobato and Barbero. It’s the type of rider they want to rejuvenate from time to time. They chose to take Gonzalo Serrano, it’s their philosophy. They have their leaders, their servants and then these riders ahead of, say, the less important races. They decided not to continue with me and you have to accept that.”
Prades was not short of interest from other teams. “I was surprised, because I had quite a few offers. In the end, Delko One Provence suited me the most. I didn’t have many proposals from the WorldTour, and the ones I got were either failing financially or I was told to wait – and I had to wait a lot. Once the offer of this French team came along, I couldn’t let it pass.”
What the Spaniard’s program will look like is still uncertain. Much depends on the invitations that his new team may receive for Paris-Nice and the Volta a Catalunya. “In principle, I will start with the GP La Marseillaise. After that I normally ride the Star of Bessèges, the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var and the Classic Sud Ardèche. And then the Volta a Catalunya and Paris-Nice may follow.”
Eduard Prades in the Vuelta a Aragon’19:
Vermote Still Without a Contract
Julien Vermote still does not have a new team for 2021. His contract with Cofidis will not be renewed and has so far not received a concrete proposal from another professional team. “I see Alpecin-Fenix as a possibility, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert too,” he told Het Laaste Nieuws.
The 31-year-old Vermote moved Dimension Data in 2018, after seven years under the wing of Patrick Lefevere. Two years later he found another contract with Cofidis, but the French formation did not want to give him a new contract. “Cofidis let me know in early October, but they left an opening claiming my resignation letter was an administrative formality.”
“In the end it didn’t work out. From then on I realised it would take a long time. I think I can say that it would be a punishment if I no longer get a contract. I don’t understand how long I have to wait. In the meantime, I just do my job,” said the winner of the Three Days of West Flanders 2012. So Vermote is still waiting. “At the moment I have contacts, but no concrete proposal. Qhubeka is no longer an option, because all the places have been filled there.”
“Three years ago I consciously left Quick-Step Floors to take my own chance,” Vermote said. “I don’t regret it. My first year at Dimension Data was not bad, the following year I got sick in the spring and it was less. This corona season I have not won anything. Which does not mean that I can no longer do anything.”
Julien Vermote winning Tour of Britain stage 2 in 2016:
Fuglsang Not Going for GC
Jakob Fuglsang will focus on the classics, the Olympic Games in Tokyo and stage victories next season. If it were up to the Danish Astana rider, he would no longer go for the GC in the Grand Tours.
Fuglsang, who will celebrate his 36th birthday this spring, said in an interview with TV 2, that in the final years of his career, he does not want to focus on the Grand Tours. “If it were up to me, I would no longer chase a general classification in the Grand Tours,” said the Dane, who has started in the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España fifteen times in his career. He has been in the top ten twice, won a stage in the Vuelta in 2019 and once wore the leader’s jersey in the Spanish tour, but he was never been on a final podium.
“Of course it would be great to be on the podium of a Grand Tour, but everything below that is not that interesting anymore. I know I can ride to sixth place in the Giro or the Tour. But if I want to get on the podium, I have to be one hundred percent sharp and my team must also be stronger. The teams competing for the overall victory in the Grand Tours are fully equipped for that and they are very strong on many fronts – perhaps a bit stronger than Astana at the moment.”
If it were up to him, Fuglsang would like to focus more on winning stages or the battle for mountain’s jerseys. His squad is aware of the Dane’s wishes, but the final plans have not yet been announced. The team may have other plans for him, now that Miguel Ángel López has moved to Movistar. It is certain that Fuglsang will focus on the Ardennes classics and the Olympic road race in 2021. He would also like to ride the Tour of Flanders.
Jakob Fuglsang in Strade Bianche’20:
Cosnefroy Dreams of the Yellow Jersey
Benoît Cosnefroy closed the season with podium places in the Flèche Wallonne, Brabantse Pijl and Paris-Tours. The Frenchman of AG2R-La Mondiale (Citroën in 2021) hopes to turn places of honour into victories next year.
The 25-year-old Cosnefroy looks ahead to 2021 with Cyclism’Actu. The explosive rider is talking about the Tour de France, among other things. “In the first week the riders are immediately presented two difficult stages (to Landerneau and Mûr de Bretagne) for puncheurs.” The first stage finishes on a steep slope.
The winner of the opening stage may also wear the first yellow jersey. “I’m going for the yellow jersey, I don’t have to hide that. I hope to shine in the first week and then I may be allowed to put on the yellow jersey. It may seem like a crazy ambition, but it is definitely a dream. I will really try to be in top form at the start.”
Cosnefroy cannot say too much about his program. “But it will be classic competition planning. I hope to start the season in France and then I will work towards the Ardennes classics again. I will probably participate in the Tour of the Basque Country. However, a lot can still happen,” Cosnefroy refers to the corona pandemic.
AG2R La Mondiale will continue next season as AG2R Citroën. The French team presented the new kit and team manager, Vincent Lavenu, presented his new rider line-up . “I’m glad I signed up for three,” said Cosnefroy. “I believe in this great project.”
Betancur to Colombia Tierra de Atletas
Carlos Betancur will return to his home country Colombia and will race for Colombia Tierra de Atletas in 2021, according to Ciclismointernacional.
I was announced last week that Betancur would sign a contract with a Colombian team from the Antioquia department, where Betancur grew up and is still living. The explosive climber will race for the Continental Colombia Tierra de Atletas.
Colombia Tierra de Atletas has already signed experienced riders such as Darwin Atapuma (ex-BMC, UAE Team Emirates and Cofidis) and Miguel Angel Rubiano (Androni Giocattoli) and promising riders such as Nelson Soto (ex-Caja Rural) and Hernan Aguirre. The team completed in Italian program this year.
Another Year for Mancebo
Davide Rebellin, Óscar Sevilla and now Francisco Mancebo. The forty year-old are staying in the peloton in 2021. The now 44-year-old Mancebo will ride for Matrix Powertag in 2021, according to Ciclo21.
Mancebo has been racing for Matrix Powertag since the beginning of 2019 and will start his third season in the Japanese team next year. The very experienced climber was good for some nice results in the Tour de Tochigi (6th), Tour of Japan (4th) and the Japan Cup (4th behind Bauke Mollema, Michael Woods and Dion Smith) last year. Mancebo also won the Ronda Pilipinas in 2019 and raced several times in Spain. Mancebo turned professional back in 1998. Mancebo made his debut for Banesto as a 21-year-old. His big breakthrough came in 2000 with a ninth place in the Tour de France and also the white jersey. In 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 he finished among the top ten in the Tour de France. In 2005 he was fourth overall. In 2004 Mancebo was third in the Vuelta a España. Mancebo won only one stage in a Grand Tour, the Vuelta of 2005 in Ordino-Arcalis.
In 2005 Mancebo to moved to AG2R Prévoyance, but had to leave a year later after his name was associated with Operación Puerto. Mancebo never raced again at the very highest level and raced for continental teams.
Francisco Mancebo in 2016:
Pim Ligthart Retires
After fifteen years, Pim Ligthart puts an end to his cycling career. The Total Direct Energie rider announced this via social media.
Ligthart, who will be celebrating his 33rd birthday in the spring, would have liked to continue for a few more years, he wrote: “But unfortunately the time has come to turn this page.” Ligthart has his roots in track cycling, where he won several national titles. After that, he also focused on road cycling and raced for Vacansoleil, Lotto Belisol, Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij and the last two years for Total Direct Energie.
When with Vacansoleil-DCM he won the Dutch road championships in 2011. In Ootmarsum he was the fastest of a leading group of six. In the sprint he beat Bram Tankink and Reinier Honig. In the same year he also won the Hell of the Mergelland. Later he also put the GP La Marseillaise and stages in the Ster ZLM Toer and the Ruta del Sol to his name. Last season he triumphed in the Ronde van Drenthe. After 217.6 kilometres, he beat his fellow breakaway companion Robbert de Greef in the sprint.
Ligthart says that he is very proud of what he has achieved in cycling. “That would not have been possible without the help of all the people around me. I want to thank everyone who put the time and energy into my career to help me pursue my dreams.”
Pim Ligthart in stage 10 Vuelta’20:
Pauwels to Work for Belgian Cycling as Development Coach
Serge Pauwels will soon start work with Belgian Cycling. The former rider of Omega Pharma – Quick-Step and CCC, will fill the position of Development Coach from 1 January. The team of sports scientists will also be further expanded with Arne Wallays.
The 37-year-old Pauwels announced his retirement a few months ago as a professional cyclist and is now starting a new chapter in his life as a Development Coach at Belgian Cycling. In addition to assisting the coaches during races for both women and men, Pauwels will also monitor and manage climbing and time trial projects.
“The experience that Pauwels gained from a career of fifteen years at WorldTour level will be of great value for the development of the top riders of the future,” Belgian Cycling said in a press release. “A new step is also being taken in the field of scientific guidance for riders.”
From 2021, Belgian Cycling will also have Arne Wallays, the brother of professional cyclist Jelle. The scientist strengthens an existing team that is active within top sports activities. Wallays will soon be (partly) responsible for the training coordination and follow-up of the core riders and their support. Frederik Broché, the technical director of Belgian Cycling, is pleased with the arrival of Pauwels and Wallays. “Serge gets the opportunity at Belgian Cycling to train himself in a position as a coach. His recent experiences in professional cycling are a welcome addition to the way in which the cycling association works with coaches and riders.”
Serge Pauwels in Lombardia’19:
Puerta to Fight Doping Ban
It was announced on Wednesday that Fabián Puerta has been suspended for four years for violating anti-doping rules. The Colombian, World Keirin champion of 2018, now wants to prove his innocence and may go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
One of his lawyers, César Giraldo, told El Colombiano. “We are really very calm, Fabian as well as us.” On June 11, 2018, three months after the World championships in Apeldoorn, the drug Boldenon was found in Puerta’s blood. Two months later, the sprinter was temporarily suspended. This week, the UCI announced the four-year suspension, which means that the Colombian will not be able to race again until August 2022.
Puerta’s entourage is now examining the best options. “It is a very complicated matter that we have been working on for two years. The documents we have received contain 54 pages in English and are now being scrutinised,” said Giraldo. The Colombian’s lawyers have 30 days to challenge the UCI’s decision in the Sports Court of Arbitration.
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA Title Sponsor Renewed
Seguros RGA has extended its sponsorship agreement with cycling team Caja Rura-Seguros RGA for one year. The insurance company has been associated with the Spanish formation as the second sponsor for many years.
The collaboration started in the Vuelta a España of 2012 and since then Seguros RGA has been a loyal partner of the team. “It says something about their commitment, even after a difficult year of corona,” said team principal Juan Manuel Hernández. “We’ve grown closer this year. Seguros RGA is a leading and exemplary company in everything.”
“We are clearly a family and we also feel the full support of Seguros RGA. They believe in everything we do and they enable us to continue to invest in youth cycling. It gives us the opportunity to train and prepare young riders,” Hernández concludes.
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA will start the new season with twenty riders. The team is also counting on several young talents and the experienced sprinter Jon Aberasturi next year. The Spanish formation can look back on a more than solid season with 51 top 10 finishes, with victories in the Ruta del Sol, the Tour of Hungary and the Volta a Portugal.
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA can usually guarantee a Vuelta start:
Team Novo Nordisk Confirms 17-Rider Roster For 2021 Season
Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, confirmed its 2021 roster complete with 17 riders from 12 different countries, including two new signings moving up from its development team.
Coming out of what has been an unprecedented year for the world, Team Novo Nordisk is eager to shift focus to 2021 where the onus will be on celebrating the 100th year anniversary of the discovery of insulin, meaning life for people with diabetes. The yearlong celebration is extra meaningful to Team Novo Nordisk’s title sponsor, Novo Nordisk, since its inception in 1923, has remained focused on defeating diabetes by pioneering innovative medicines.
“Aside from Covid-19, 2020 has been a pretty stellar year. For our organisation, the biggest highlight was Novo Nordisk extending our partnership through 2023. We are incredibly proud to have such an amazing partner to continue changing diabetes for the world,” Team Novo Nordisk CEO and Co-Founder Phil Southerland said. “We saw tremendous progress within our pipeline, including our biggest Talent ID camp in the team’s history. The development team had a great year of growth and success and the pro team made a solid step forward in confidence.”
All athletes on Team Novo Nordisk race with diabetes. This unique distinction means that the team’s foundation makes it feel like a family and many riders remain with the organisation for their entire professional careers.
After only 40 race days across 12 races due to Covid-19, Team Novo Nordisk started focusing on 2021 early and quickly moved to sign new riders Lucas Dauge (FRA) and Logan Phippen (USA) from the development team and extend with team veterans David Lozano (ESP), Andrea Peron (ITA), Charles Planet, and former Hungarian champion Peter Kusztor, who joined the organisation in 2019.
“What a difficult, stressful, and strange year, but I feel the entire organisation stepped up as strong ambassadors for the diabetes community. Throughout the year, we focused our attention on keeping everyone safe while still figuring out creative ways to keep sharing the team’s mission to inspire, educate and empower everyone affected by diabetes,” Team Novo Nordisk General Manager Vassili Davidenko said. “I am proud to say that all our major sponsors stayed with us through this difficult time. We are incredibly grateful for each and every one of them. Now we are eager to move on to 2021 and hopefully it will include more consistent racing!”
Before travel restrictions went into effect, Team Novo Nordisk kicked off the 2020 season by securing numerous top 10s at the International Rhodes Tour. Following the racing hiatus, the team returned to racing with a seventh-place finish at the Circuito de Getxo by Planet. In late August, Lozano wore the King of the Mountain’s jersey for multiple stages at the Tour de Hongrie.
“We started strong in Greece, with three different riders taking top 10s, and after lockdown, watching Charles return with a top 10 in Spain was huge. But I would say the team effort at the Tour de Hongrie was my highlight of the year,” Southerland explained. “The guys rode their hearts out to keep David in the red jersey, which was only lost on the final stage through a tiebreaker. It is that passion and hunger that makes me so proud of this team.”
Building on the positives will be key for 2021 and what will be a landmark year for the team and the global diabetes community.
“2021 is a year we’ve had our sights on for some time, and we are proud and honoured to celebrate 100 years of life for people with diabetes on a global scale. We do not take our roles lightly and we are driven to keep showing the world what is possible when you take control of your diabetes thanks to the lifesaving invention that is insulin,” Southerland concluded. “We look forward to leveraging the added layer of visibility this brings to the project to show how far the world of diabetes has come and to keep inspiring the next generation of heroes out there living with the condition.”
The full 2021 roster includes:
Hamish Beadle – NZL, Oliver Behringer – SUI, Mehdi Benhamouda – FRA, Sam Brand – GBR, Stephen Clancy – IRL, Lucas Dauge – FRA, Gerd de Keijzer – NED, Joonas Henttala – FIN, Declan Irvine – AUS, Brian Kamstra – NED, Peter Kusztor – HUN, David Lozano – ESP, Sam Munday – AUS, Andrea Peron – ITA, Logan Phippen – USA, Charles Planet – FRA, Umberto Poli – ITA.
Team Novo Nordisk 2021:
AG2R CITROËN New Jersey for 2021
A unique and daring jersey
Vincent Lavenu, Managing Director, as well as his entire team, AG2R LA MONDIALE and CITROËN, are proud to unveil the new jersey for the AG2R CITROËN TEAM.
Starting on January 1, 2021, AG2R LA MONDIALE, longtime title partner, and Vincent Lavenu will welcome CITROËN as title co-sponsor. The two organisations are jointly committed until 2025. This jersey embodies an unprecedented collaboration and opens the first pages of a new chapter in the history of the team.
Designing the AG2R CITROËN TEAM jersey represented a challenge for the cycling team and its two main partners. It took five months of graphic collaboration to create an identity which is not defined by a mix of multiple brands but that made the striking choice of a white jersey paired with brown bib shorts. The strong graphics will make it stand out as unique in the peloton. It is an ideal way to illustrate the shared sense of boldness and big ambitions that unite and ally the sponsoring partners.
Vincent Lavenu: “The start of a new chapter” General Manager Pro Cycling Team. “A jersey unites our entire team, from the riders to members of staff and the management. It is also a visual rallying point for our fans. This AG2R CITROËN TEAM jersey marks the start of a new chapter in our history. It is the result of a creative collaboration between AG2R LA MONDIALE and CITROËN, based on common values. I am very proud of the result. Our graphic identity evolves but our core identity does not change. We can’t wait to see our riders start racing wearing their new AG2R CITROËN TEAM kits.”
Clément Champoussin: “I can’t wait to wear the jersey” Young rider on the cycling team. “We are going to start a new adventure and this jersey is the best illustration of that! Very rarely have I had the opportunity to ride in a predominantly white jersey. I was happy to see this was the end result of the design process. It has a pleasing aesthetic, and it is atypical. I arrived at Chambéry Cyclisme Formation in 2017 before turning professional in April 2020. It was a very special year for me. I can’t wait to wear the AG2R CITROËN TEAM jersey in races and to contribute to this new chapter for the team.”
Laurent Barria: “A founding act in our collaboration” Director Marketing and Communications CITROËN. “We are proud of CITROËN becoming a partner of the France Cyclisme team led by Vincent Lavenu alongside AG2R LA MONDIALE. This team shares our values of audacity, performance, exemplarity and proximity to the public and all cycling enthusiasts. The revelation of the new identity of the AG2R CITROËN TEAM and its jersey is a founding act in our collaboration. Its graphic design and bold typographic choices perfectly illustrate our ambition in this partnership that we imagine to be promising on the roads of major international events.”
André Renaudin: “We welcome CITROËN” CEO of AG2R LA MONDIALE. “AG2R Prévoyance and then AG2R LA MONDIALE have been working alongside Vincent Lavenu and his team for 23 years. This long-term support has enabled him to progress and to grow. We welcome CITROËN to allow the team to take a new step in its development and to help it perform well in the biggest races of the WorldTour. The evolution of the jersey, with its bold graphics, is a strong symbol of this. It is how we visually welcome CITROËN to the heart of our AG2R LA MONDIALE brand.”
Clément Champoussin in the new jersey:
BORA – hansgrohe Launches 2021 Sportful Kit
A new meaning to the familiar chevron design and a dedicated tone of grey as the new main colour characterise BORA – hansgrohe’s 2021 outfit.
A team’s kit should always reflect its values and respect its history as well as its distinctive traits. With this objective in mind, the design of the BORA – hansgrohe kit has received a refreshed look with a cool and modern light grey colour, while keeping the iconic chevron at its core.
The chevron is inspired by paint brushes, with its colours being picked up in the launch video through the streaks of face paint – typical of American Football teams – used by the riders to represent above all solidarity and courage, values that form the foundation of the Band of Brothers.
“As a WorldTour Team, our first priority always lies in performance. Sportful has worked with us over the years to develop extremely fast material. But at the same time, we’d also like to present our fans and riders with striking designs. That’s why we’ve decided to choose a dedicated light grey as the main colour in 2021. Sportful is convinced that gentle grey tones are increasingly becoming a colour trend in the fashion industry, so of course we’d like to stand at the forefront of this, right from the start. We will also remain true to our chevron.” – Ralph Denk, Team Manager.
“We are always committed to providing our customers and pro riders with the best technical solutions, combined with a touch of style. Our fourth year together with BORA – hansgrohe was the perfect chance to do it. With the team, we are fully aligned towards a vision aimed at performance, but we also share the same values. The new chevron design strives to put these values on lycra, while the new colour is our tribute to the team’s main sponsors and is inspired by their premium products. It’s a shade of grey that we have added to our colour palette as BORA – hansgrohe Grey. From now on, this dedicated shade will be featured only on the team’s products.” – Alessio Cremonese, CEO Sportful
Colin Strickland on the WorldTour and Red Hook Crit
The next episode of Wahoo’s Frontiers series of athlete spotlight videos features Colin Strickland, winner of multiple Red Hook Crits and Unbound Gravel (formerly DK200). In this episode, Strickland talks about racing Red Hook, winning Unbound Gravel, and is quite candid about his decision not to race in the pro tour after being offered a contract with EF-Education First.
The video will premier on Saturday, Dec. 26.
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