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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, November 15, 2019

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

I get no respect. The way my luck is running, if I was a politician I would be honest. - Rodney Dangerfield

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Alex Howes renews with EF Education First Pro Cycling

Here's the team's news release:

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

Alex Howes

Alex Howes at the 2018 Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Sirotti photo

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

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

This time Howes returns with the stars and stripes jersey. The winner of the 2019 US National Road Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee, Howes has long-cited a national road win as a season objective.  

“Racing in the jersey has been a dream come true,” said Howes. “Every time I pin a number onto the USA national champion’s jersey, I get goose bumps. I cannot wait to wear it in some big European races next spring.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A great way to hold your sunglasses on your bicycle

Kenneth Acklin came up with this neat way to keep your sunglasses safe.

Romain Bardet will participate in the Giro d’Italia

Bardet's Ag2r team sent me this update:

13 November 2019: Vincent Lavenu, general manager of the AG2R La Mondiale team, announced today in Vaujany (Isère) where the team is taking part in its traditional team building training camp in Oisans, the main outline of Romain Bardet’s program for the 2020 season. Romain Bardet will have three major goals, the Giro d’Italia (May 9-31), the road race at the Tokyo Olympics (July 25), and the UCI Road World Championships in Martigny (September 27).

Romain Bardert

Romain Bardet at this year's Dauphine. Sirotti photo

He will start his season at the Santos Tour Down Under (January 21-26) in Australia, and will race his first races in Europe with the Tour International cycliste du Var et des Alpes Maritimes (February 20-23) followed by the Boucles Drôme Ardèche (February 29 / March 1). He will also participate in the Vuelta a España but will not take part in the Tour de France this season.

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

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

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