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Friday, October 20, 2023

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UAE Team Emirates Secures 1st Place in UCI Teams Ranking for 2023

Here’s the team’s announcement:

UAE Team Emirates brought the curtain down on a highly-memorable 2023 season which saw them take 1st place in the UCI Teams Ranking. The team has clinched the top spot, underscoring their place in the upper echelons of professional cycling.

This outstanding victory is a testament to the unwavering dedication and exceptional talent of the entire UAE Team Emirates roster. With 57 victories throughout the 2023 season, they have consistently showcased their strength and prowess on the global cycling stage. These wins have come in a wide array of competitions, from classic one-day races to gruelling Grand Tours. In total 17 different riders from the team claimed victories which demonstrates the strength in depth of the team.

The team’s success is exemplified by the phenomenal performance of Tadej Pogačar, who finished as the number 1 ranked rider in the world. The 25-year-old Slovenian sensation has truly cemented his place in the annals of cycling history with a stunning season. His triumph at two of the cycling ‘Monuments’ -,Ronde Van Vlaanderen and Il Lombardia, and consistent results in other prestigious races have solidified his status as one of the sport’s brightest stars.
The top of the Individual rider rankings were also filled by UAE riders with Pogačar (1st), Adam Yates (8th), Almeida (10th), and Marc Hirschi (12th).

Tadej Pogacar wins the 2023 Il Lombardia. Sirotti photo

UAE Team Emirates has established itself as a force within the sport, achieving this remarkable milestone after years of commitment to excellence and fostering a winning culture. The team’s leadership, including the management, sponsors, and the riders, have worked tirelessly to create an environment that encourages excellence and teamwork.

This success comes on the heels of the team’s commitment to developing young talent, creating an environment that fosters growth, and providing world-class support for their riders. UAE Team Emirates has solidified its place at the summit of the UCI Teams Ranking for 2023 and has set the stage for continued success in the future.

HH Matar Suhail Al Yabhouni Al Dhaheri (Team President): “The performances our guys have shown this year are inspiring the whole nation. Cycling in the UAE has grown exponentially over the past years and having our team perform at the very top of the world stage is a big factor in that process. We are building a strong cycling culture in the UAE both as a mode of transport and for recreation and sport. Having UAE Team Emirates as a reference for children growing up in the UAE is an important step to get them active and involved in sport which is a major part of our global cycling project.

"In recent years we have seen hundreds of kilometres of cycling paths built across UAE which saw Abu Dhabi being classified as Asia’s first UCI Bike City. We are also now preparing to host the 2028 Road World Championships and the 2029 Track World Championships, so it’s an exciting period.Everything is going in the right direction and we are so proud of the path we are going in all together.”

Mauro Gianetti (Team Principal & CEO): “It gives me great satisfaction to say that we have reached the number one spot in the UCI World Rankings for 2023. It’s no secret that this goal has been a priority of ours since our teams inception and I must thank our sponsors and supporters from the UAE for carrying this dream through.

"We’ve had a record year in terms of our 57 victories and that was possible due to the enormous collective effort of our dedicated riders and staff. The UAE as a country is constantly advancing and we try to mirror that as a team with our innovative approach to performance. We’ll look back and celebrate this milestone and important moment in our teams history, but with one eye looking ahead to the future and continuing the steps we are making.We are extremely proud to have been part of the global bike development project in the UAE from the beginning, for sure the most complete and concrete in the world.”

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Team Bahrain Victorious signs Torstein Træen

Here’s the team’s news:
Bahrain Victorious are delighted to announce the signing of Torstein Træen. The 28-year-old joins the team from Uno-X.

This season, the Norweigan climber placed 8th overall at Critérium du Dauphiné. He’s also had great success at Tour of Alps, where he won the mountain classification in 2022 and took a top ten in the GC this season.

2022 Tour of the Alps stage 5: Torstein Traeen leads Lennard Kamna and Igor Arrieta on a break. Sirotti photo

Torstein Træen: “I’m very excited about joining the team and taking on the new challenges it will bring. I believe the team will be a great place for me to make the needed steps in my development by learning from great people.”


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Team Lidl-Trek looks to the future

The team posted this:

Lidl-Trek is on a mission to become the best road cycling team in the world. The team wears those ambitions proudly. And when Lidl joined the Trek road program as a title sponsor, they brought along the resources necessary to potentially make that dream a reality.

But make no mistake: Lidl-Trek’s means to success will look very, very familiar in 2024 and beyond. The culture and philosophies that have defined the team since its inception won’t be changing at all.

Here’s the nitty gritty: For years, Lidl-Trek has been in the mid-table in spending, and has admirably outperformed those bounds. In fact, 2023 was the most successful year for the men’s team on record, with its most wins ever. It finished the season as the UCI’s No. 5-ranked team.

Team Lidl-Trek at the 2023 Tour de France route presentation. Sirotti photo.

Now with a bigger budget at its disposal, Lidl-Trek is faced with the temptation to shortcut success by snatching up high-price riders and letting them loose in the most prestigious races of the year. A mercenarial mindset has worked for teams before. But Lidl-Trek’s leadership doesn’t see things that way.

Lidl-Trek was built on the idea that a tight-knit culture and best-in-peloton rider development can create team success beyond the sum of its parts. Team general manager Luca Guercilena is adamant on this point.

“The name in front is more important than the name in back,” Guercilena says. “We don’t have stars, but as a team we are stars, because we are always combative and we ride as a team. We find the stars among the anti-stars.”

The team has succeeded thanks to a ground-up approach to program building. It begins with recruiting. Since 2020, former pro rider Markel Irizar has been Lidl-Trek’s head talent scout. He spends his time traveling to races to watch young riders compete. He meets with them, often in their homes, to evaluate their fit with Lidl-Trek in terms of their athletic potential and mindset.

Part of Irizar’s mission is education. He’s a Lidl-Trek diehard, having ridden for the road program since 2010. There may be no one better in the world to explain to riders and their parents what can be expected when they enter the fold. With bouncing energy and an easy grin, he exudes everything the team represents: Positivity, tireless effort, and single-minded dedication to the team.

“There’s a mentality here where we want riders to come here because they know they can improve as individuals, but it’s the team that counts,” Irizar says. “I try to explain that they are coming to a special place. I’m not gonna say that it is better or worse, but for me this team is special because I think it’s a family.”

Lidl-Trek’s big-money initiative will be empowering Irizar. He will lead the team’s newly-established development program, which is bringing in more than a dozen young men’s riders to ride a menu of second- and third-tier races that will help them build speed and race experience before they’re thrown into the deep waters of WorldTour racing.

The Lidl-Trek women’s team isn’t establishing an official devo team just yet, but it is also investing in young riders who might one day carry the torch. It recently signed five under-20 riders who have already shined on the world stage across multiple disciplines.

Lidl-Trek will be selective when it splurges for big-name free agents. The new riders they bring on have to be a positive influence on their new teammates, as well. Case in point: Tao Geoghegan Hart, a Grand Tour GC contender who wants to win, yes, but who is also using his large platform for positive social reform, and is relishing the opportunity to be an open-minded leader within Lidl-Trek.

“A new challenge is definitely exciting, to encounter different perspectives, athletes and cultures,” Geoghegan Hart said when he signed with Lidl-Trek. “That is one of my favorite things about cycling; the exploring and learning that we constantly encounter as athletes. With Lidl coming onboard as a new partner of the team, alongside Trek, who have owned the team for a long time now, it felt like a project I really wanted to be a part of at this moment in my career.”

To put together a roster of riders who are dedicated to the team, the team needs to show that it is dedicated to its riders. Lidl-Trek has strived to prioritize its rider’s mental and physical well-being. As an example, the team was among the first to make its women’s base salary equal to its men’s.

Guercilena and Irizar are also passionate that, as a development-focused team, Lidl-Trek feels like a nurturing home for young riders, even when great results don’t show right away.

“When we talk about athletes, you need to care about them,” Guercilena says. “Because you’re talking with a rider who has a family. And as a sports director who represents a team that is invested in him, you need to build a relationship.”

That patient philosophy behind the development team reflects Lidl-Trek’s overarching ethos on success.

It’s easy to think of a sports team as a web of transactional relationships. The riders get paid a salary to ride fast. Sports directors make money to put those riders in the best position to win. And winning helps Guercilena keep his job as the head of the whole operation.

Plenty of teams across sports have won big by bringing together groups of people whose selfish interests happen to point in the same direction. But those ecosystems are fragile. As soon as one person perceives their teammate’s goals as antithetical to theirs, the the team dynamic quickly collapses.

True team sacrifice ensures that riders are invested in one another. It’s a form of success that can weather any storm.

“When we talk about scouting, we talk about the family atmosphere and what the team provides, rather than simply what the rider can do and what they will earn,” Guercilena says. “The relationship is more than a contract. We offer support to riders, and don’t make any crazy promises, because we don’t even know if a young rider is going to step in and race.”

Pro cycling is admittedly a cutthroat business. It’s hard enough that riders have to compete every single day to maintain their hold on a select few WorldTour roster spots. Very often, the teams they ride for are struggling day-to-day. Every offseason starts up a brand new carousel of leadership changes, folding sponsors and program restructuring across WorldTour squads, making it harder for riders to know where, or if, they’ll be riding the following season.

Trek has been one of the most consistent presences within the chaos, wholly owning its road program since 2014. Trek’s steady commitment to racing has helped its team culture mature and become self-sustaining.

“We are not concerned about the future, we have a very good future,” Irizar says. “I think that we are not stressed to make the highest performance straightaway. We can go step by step. That’s why our philosophy with young riders is, ‘OK, no rush.’ We let them grow physically and mentally, step by step.”

Lidl-Trek’s team culture is not for everyone, and that’s OK. For a pro rider, it’s one thing to be told that they are valued for more than their on-road success; it’s another to take those words to heart. World-caliber athletes have intense competitive instincts. It’s not easy to willingly sacrifice personal glory for the betterment of a team.

As a mid-table squad, Lidl-Trek’s athletes-first approach had the benefit of enticing riders to stay in a welcoming team culture even when they had offers to make more money elsewhere. On occasion, riders left for the bigger paycheck, but Lidl-Trek’s management is steadfast about practicing what it preaches.

“I think that with us, we care about people a lot,” Guercilena says. “Sometimes we don’t squeeze their hands, which can be good or bad. If you care about the person, then if you are successful, some will leave for more money, and then you lose. But we truly believe in our motto that we are a team. So if you are here, it’s because you love the team. It’s not just because of economic reasons and self interest.

“Mads [Pedersen] and Jasper [Stuyven] are great examples. They really love the team. And they’re a big part of the team. And they are evaluated for what they bring to the team, not just their results.”

There’s no single right way to build a successful sports team, but Lidl-Trek is confident that its approach at least touches at the heart of road cycling, a sport where individuals stand atop podiums, but almost always with the help of teammates who sacrificed for them in silence.

It takes enormous speed to win a race, but incredible depth and teamwork to sustain winning across seasons. And if there’s anything to take away about the dawning Lidl-Trek era, it’s that it’s being built for the long haul. In a fickle sport, the program has maintained continuity unlike anyone. And after a long, deliberate build, the team may be on the precipice of greatness.

“Now that we have more resources, the philosophy is not gonna change,” Irizar says. “We are going to have more pressure, of course. We have more expectations. But we are ready for a challenge, because in the end we have a winning mentality. And we like to win, and we like to race, and we are competitive. In the end, the DNA is the same.”

To this point, time has been the team’s greatest resource. Every new season — every training camp, race start, and win — Lidl-Trek has refined its approach, reinforced its team-first mentality, and become stronger on a fundamental level that isn’t always visible, but has peeked out on the sport’s biggest stages with increasing frequency over the years.

Lidl-Trek isn’t a finished product yet, and it certainly won’t realize all of its goals overnight. But every day it’s getting a little closer.


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Ruby Roseman-Gannon signs on for two more years with Team Jayco AlUla

The team posted this:

Australian talent Ruby Roseman-Gannon has committed her future to Team Jayco AlUla by signing a new two-year contract through to the end of 2025. The 24-year-old turned pro with the Australian outfit at the start of 2022 and has gone from strength to strength, continuing to knock on the door of a big victory.

With a fourth-place finish overall at the Santos Tour Down Under and at the challenging one-day WorldTour race, the Classic Lorient Agglomération earlier this year, the former Australian criterium champion has shown flashes of what she is capable of at the very highest level of racing. Team Jayco AlUla management is confident that the next step for Roseman-Gannon to consistently achieve big wins is just around the corner.

Ruby Roseman-Gannon wins Australian Criterium Championships in 2022. Getty Sport photo

Team Jayco AlUla women’s team is set to see an increase in its roster size in 2024, as it is fortified with added strength, depth and numbers and the squad is looking forward to seeing Roseman-Gannon grow into one of the team’s leaders.

Brent Copeland – Team Jayco AlUla General Manager:
“Ruby is a rider that we believed in from the beginning, and we immediately saw the mindset that she has and the seriousness that she has, she is a true professional. She knows what she wants, and she is going to become a winner.

"It’s great that Ruby has believed in our project and has signed up for another two years and we can build a team around her, because we see her as one of our leaders in the future.”

Ruby Roseman-Gannon:
“It’s been a really enjoyable two years in the team. I came from Australia with minimal European experience and with the help of the team and through race exposure, I think I’ve really developed my physical and technical abilities. I’m excited for the next seasons because I think we’ve got some strong additions, but we’re also keeping a solid core group from the past seasons.

"Personally, I feel like I’ve been consistently good, but I really want to make that next step up to some bigger results. I’m motivated to work really hard and also help to create an environment where the whole team can be at their best.”

Ruby Roseman-Gannon
Date of birth: 8th November 1998 (24)
Nationality: Australian
Contract Extension to 2025

Key Results:
4th Classic Lorient Agglomération (2023)
3rd LOTTO Thüringen Ladies Tour – stage 6 (2023)
4th LOTTO Thüringen Ladies Tour – Overall (2023)
4th Santos Women’s Tour Down Under – Overall (2023)
5th Simac Ladies Tour – Overall (2023)
7th Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (2023)

 

 

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