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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, September 19, 2019

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Wout Poels to ride for Bahrain-Merida in 2020

Here’s the team's news release:

Team Bahrain Merida and McLaren have today confirmed that Wout Poels will race for Team Bahrain Merida from 2020.

One of the strongest climbers in the world, 31-year-old Wout, from Venray, Netherlands, has signed a multi-year deal to race with Team Bahrain Merida – the pro cycling partnership with McLaren Group.

A rousing winner of the famous Liège-Bastogne-Liège race, the popular Dutchman has also enjoyed stage wins at the Critérium du Dauphiné, Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour of Britain. Wout is a veteran of 14 grand tours, in which he has played an instrumental role in helping some of the sport’s most iconic riders to grand tour titles, also earning a sixth-place finish at the 2017 Vuelta a España.

Wout Poels

Wout Poels heads to the start line of 2019 Vuelta a España stage eight. Sirotti photo.

The signing means Wout reunites with Rod Ellingworth, who commences his role as Team Principal from October, with the pair set to build on a fruitful partnership which stretches back to 2015 and has been synonymous with success.

Wout will be integral to the team, as McLaren applies 50 years of experience in the world’s most technologically advanced sport – Formula 1 – to one of the most traditional. It is an unprecedented collaboration that will spark imagination and interest, and challenge the traditional boundaries of pro cycling to inspire riders, fans and partners.

Brent Copeland, General Manager, Team Bahrain Merida, commented:
“It’s fantastic to welcome Wout to the team. A consistent top performer and no stranger to success, he is one of professional cycling’s shining lights and we’re incredibly excited to have him on board. His vast experience will be invaluable as we build an exciting new chapter for the team in partnership with McLaren.”

John Allert, Managing Director, McLaren Pro Cycling, commented:
“Wout’s track record speaks for itself. Held in the highest regard by his peers, he is a proven team player who brings a wealth of experience. He is a natural fit for the team, as we continue a journey which sees Bahrain Merida and McLaren combine passion and technology to drive performance and shape the future of the port.”

Wout Poels commented:
“It’s impossible not to admire what Team Bahrain Merida has achieved in less than three seasons, and I’m very excited about the opportunity that its joint venture with McLaren offers.

“McLaren brings a fresh perspective to the sport which encompasses equipment, human performance, data analysis and operational excellence. The application of its knowledge and technology will undoubtedly drive the team forward. It’s a fascinating prospect, not just for me, but for the sport as a whole.

“Combined with Rod Ellingworth’s expertise, McLaren’s involvement promises to make Bahrain Merida one of the best and most captivating teams in the peloton, and I look forward to playing a key part in its future success.”

EF Education First signs sprinter Kristoffer Halvorsen

EF Education First sent me this release:

EF Education First Pro Cycling will build a sprint squad around one of cycling's most exciting young talents in 2020: Kristoffer Halvorsen. The Norwegian enjoyed incredible success in the U23 ranks punctuated by the 2016 U23 road world title. He moves to EF Education First following two years with Team Ineos.

"From day one, I got a good feeling for EF and their desire to rely on me as a sprinter," said Halvorsen. "My impression is that the team has a good environment and a culture that will suit me. This feels like the right choice to help me achieve my goals as a cyclist."

Halvorsen's biggest win is undoubtedly his U23 world title on the flat, windswept roads of Doha, Qatar. He took two professional victories earlier this year, sprint stages at the Herald Sun Tour and Tour of Norway.

Kristofer Halvorsen

Kristoffer Halvorsen wins stage five of this year's Herald Sun Tour

"Kristoffer is a great talent, and it's up to us now to help him realize that talent," said EF Education First Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters. "Our sports science and sport directors group is motivated to make this guy a champion. As an organization, we're only missing one monument on the trophy mantle, and that's Milan-Sanremo. Halvorsen is our ticket to getting that last one over the fireplace."

Ask Halverson about his goals, and his response is clear as it is simple. He wants to win as often as he can and help his teammates do the same."I'm a sprinter that really, really likes to win and hates to lose," said Halvorsen. "I want to help us win together as a team, help us develop as a team."

While Halverson's life as a professional cyclist has provided him with ample opportunity to travel the globe, his favorite way to explore the world is at home.

"I love Norwegian nature," said Halvorsen. "Skiing the Norwegian winter landscape in the off-season is fantastic. The environment is something that everyone must take responsibility for so the next generation will have the same possibilities to use nature that we do."

Steve Cummings out of hospital

Cummings’ Dimension Data team posted this encouraging news:

Following his crash during stage five of the Tour of Britain Steve Cummings has been discharged from hospital.

He underwent thorough diagnostics at the neurosurgical department in Liverpool and was found to have fractured four vertebrae of the thoracic spine. Luckily no further neurological damage occurred and an operation is not necessary.

Steve Cummings

Steve Cummings in 2017

Under conservative treatment he now needs to fully recover and will not be able to participate in any further races until the end of the season.

We would like to extend our gratitude for all the messages of support we’ve received for Steve, and wish him a speedy recovery.

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