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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, December 14, 2019

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

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Daryl Impey looking for another taste of history at the Tour Down Under

Impey's Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this:

Back-to-back and defending champion Daryl Impey will return to the Santos Tour Down Under in January next year looking to take another piece of history at the Australian WorldTour event.

Daryl Impey

Daryl Impey enjoying the 2019 Tour Down Under. Sirotti photo

In 2019, Impey became the first rider in the race’s 21-year history to successfully defend his 2018 overall title.  Whilst another successful campaign would leave Impey one short of former Mitchelton-SCOTT teammate Simon Gerrans’ four victories, the South African would be the first to win three editions consecutively.

“I think my chances are as good as all the other favourites and it's about making certain stages count to put myself in a position to win it,” Impey said. “It is harder because you have a target on your back, but when your form is good enough, it's still down to who has the best legs in January.”

“All I can do is work as hard, if not harder than previous years.  No doubt there will be a time where I won't win it, it may be this year or it may not, but I try not think about it. Earlier this year I went in giving my best and the same will happen next year too.”

Despite returning later in the year than previous seasons, Impey is enjoying a familiar final leadup to the Tour Down Under in South Africa.

The 35-year-old, who won his first stage of the Tour de France this year, will fly into Adelaide ahead of the race with as much motivation as ever. “My preparation is going quite well, especially since I started differently to the past,” Impey explained. “Normally I am in South Africa in October already, but this year I spent more time in Europe to relax more from a busy season and only arrived in mid-November.”

“It takes a lot of effort to be ready in January and it's quite challenging because all my family and friends are starting to relax before Christmas, while I'm trying to build for TDU.  I have a big support structure with my wife making sure I can tick all the boxes and focus on my training so it's easier when you have that.

“I get motivated because I know I have six other guys from the team working their arses off in December too, and it's a race I love, so for me it's pretty simple. It is getting harder each year but the last Tour Down Under really gave me such a big lift for the season.”

The 2020 Tour Down Under begins with the traditional criterium on Sunday, before official racing is underway on Tuesday, 21st January.

Three challenging finishes in Stirling, Paracombe and Willunga add additional challenges for a puncheur like Impey but the back-to-back champion, who claimed his two titles by countback and just 13seconds, is positive about the course.

“I am glad Stirling is back,” Impey confessed. “I have never quite managed to win that stage but have been close in the past. It’s probably one of my favourite stages.”

“Paracombe is tough and it will test me as well as many other rivals similar to me, so we will need to wait and see. I will go all-in to save as much time as possible and assess afterwards what to do. I will prepare slightly different for that type of effort, and hopefully be able to manage them. For me that's going to be a huge decider in the overall winner.

“Overall, it is more suited to climbers, so it will be tougher for guys like me. You will need a stage win in the bag to be able to fight for the win. Willunga is always special and I hope to be going for the overall victory still on this day.”

2020 Santos Tour Down Under – Stages:
Sunday, 19 January: Schwalbe Classic - Adelaide, 51km
Tuesday, 21 January: Stage 1 - Tanunda to Tanunda, 150km
Wednesday, 22 January: Stage 2 – Woodside to Stirling, 135.8km
Thursday, 23 January: Stage 3 – Unley to Paracombe, 131km
Friday, 24 January: Stage 4 – Norwood to Murray Bridge, 152.8km
Saturday, 25 January: Stage 5 – Glenelg to Victor Harbour, 149.1km
Sunday, 26 January: Stage 6 – McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill, 151.5km

Lotto-Soudal reveals 2020 racing kit

Here are Carl Fredrik Hagen and Julie Van de Velde in the 2020 Lotto-Soudal jerseys.

Lotto-Soudal

From 2020, Napoleon Sports & Casino will be a partner of the Deceuninck-Quick Step cycling team

Here's the team's release:

The logo of Belgium’s No. 1 company in casino games and sports betting will appear on the jersey of Deceuninck – Quick Step. “The Wolfpack” got 68 wins in 2019 and finished top of the team rankings of the UCI World Tour for the second consecutive year.

Napoleon Sports and Casino is the leading Belgian online betting platform, operating from Erembodegem (Aalst). It is fully licensed through the Belgian Commission and provides customers a safe environment to play.

"We are delighted with this partnership. It was written in the stars that we, both being ambitious Belgian organisations, would join forces”, Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere said.

“We share an indescribable big passion for sports. We both aim for results, without losing track of the thrill factor in everything we do to entertain people. Just like the Wolfpack, our customers enjoy the thrill and the feeling of winning”, Napoleon Sports & Casino CEO online Francesco Postiglione reacted.

“We welcome Napoleon Sports & Casino to our family and are grateful for their support”, Patrick Lefevere said. “Their support will strengthen our position and help us develop our team even further.”

Napoleon Sports & Casino is already active as a sponsor in Belgian football, supporting Cercle Brugge and KAA Gent. It also has a long-lasting partnership with Tom Boonen, the former cycling champion who excels in racing now.

“Those partnerships prove that sports is our passion. And for our Belgian audience, crazy about cycling, sponsoring the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team is a great next step for us. It shows our commitment to Belgian sports”, said Francesco Postiglione.

“As an official sponsor of a World Tour-team, all cycling odds will be removed from our platform from 1/1/2020. This is in accordance with the UCI regulations. We do everything we can to provide the fans of casino games and sports betting a safe environment to play, with respect for the integrity of sport.”

Wanty-Gobert team to become Circus-Wanty Gobert

Here's the team's release:

The cycling structure Wanty Gobert will change name in 2020. The UCI Pro Team on the road, under the arm of the Want You Cycling structure will become Circus - Wanty Gobert as from the 1st of January. Circus, the subsidiary of the Belgian family-owned group GAMING1, an active player in casino, game rooms and sports betting, increases its commitment to the Belgian team which it supported since 2017 by becoming title partner number 1.

Wanty-Gobert

Wanty Gobert at the 2019 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

Gaming1, subsidiary of the Belgian family-owned Ardent Group through it's entertainment division, is present in Belgium and in seven other countries. Circus offers casino and online and offline sports betting. Circus, visible on the back of Wanty-Gobert's race shorts since 2017, is a key actor in Belgian sport. Besides its partnership with Corendon-Circus, with Mathieu Van der Poel, Circus is also present in football since its sponsorship for Standard de Liège in 2018. Circus, loyal to its will to accompany black-yellow-red projects, will become title sponsor of Circus-Wanty Gobert for the next three seasons with the will to accompany the team to the top of international cycling and to expand internationally.

Emmanuel Mewissen (CEO Ardent Group):
"After three nice seasons of Wanty Gobert, with their performances at the Tour de France - the biggest race in the world - as an apotheosis, we wanted to accompany them in their progression. To strengthen our partnership with team Wanty-Gobert makes a lot of sense for us. Actually, even if Circus stays loyal to its Belgian roots, we are developing internationally, with a strong expansion in casino's in France for example."

The cyclocross project, sponsored by Tormans, will be named Tormans Cyclo Cross Team. The team, directed by the structure Want You Cycling of Jean-François Bourlart, will kick off 1st of January at the cyclocross in Baal (Belgium) with Quinten Hermans and Corné Van Kessel. Both cyclocross specialists will defend the colours of Tormans, a group of engineers in Antwerp, for the next three seasons, with the appearance of a UCI Cyclo Cross Team for the season 2020-2021 with Women and U23 riders.

Jean-François Bourlart (general manager):
" Our structure reaches a new treshold thanks to the switchover of Circus to main sponsor, Wanty and Gobert, supporting our project since 2014 as title partners and continuing as active board members of Want You Cycling,  enabled us to open the doors of the team for new partners. The name's changeover from Wanty-Goupe Gobert to Wanty Gobert during the off-season allowed symbolically the association of a new company to the team name. Tormans was a first candidate, but will stay title partner of our cyclo-cross project, with also a good visibility on the road."

"The magnitude of Circus in our project increases again. Our structure grew a lot since I took the commands in 2001. We arrived at a hinge moment in the history of our team after three participations in the Tour de France. The UCI submitted new rules, motivating us even more to stay at the top of the best UCI Pro Teams, in order to qualify automatically for the World Tour races."

"This change in partners brings a new impetus to our project. Wanty and Gobert, accompanying the team for more than ten years, continue to support us at their scale. Circus reflects our image: a family-owned group, 100% Belgian and with a continuing growth. We never shot ahead, by progressing through the levels reasonably. We wish to sustain our momentum with Circus-Wanty Gobert!"

"Alongside, our cyclocross project with Tormans stays a priority. We're ready to get started the 1st of January in the mud in Baal with Quinten Hermans and Corné Van Kessel, but also with Fabien Doubey and Xandro Meurisse, rediscovering their first love. We want to build Tormans Cyclo Cross Team to one of the landmark projects of the discipline, by relying upon the best female and U23 riders as from next winter."

About Circus:
Circus, based in Liège in Belgium, is a subsidiary of GAMING1 with a presence of more than 20 years in the entertainment sector and owner of the Grand Casino of Namur and the Casino of Spa. Circus is a Belgian website of casino games and sports betting, active since August 2011 and registered by the Gaming Commission. The company is supported by a network of thirty Circus Casino's in Belgium. With passion for sports in its fundamentals, Circus has at heart to value Belgian sports and athletes in order to contribute to put them nationally and internationally in the spotlights.

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