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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, August 23, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Idealists foolish enough to throw caution to the winds have advanced mankind and have enriched the world. - Emma Goldman

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John Degenkolb signs with Lotto-Soudal

Lotto-Soudal sent me this:

Lotto Soudal welcomes John Degenkolb to the team next year. The 30-year-old German trades Trek-Segafredo for Lotto Soudal and signed an agreement until the end of 2021. Degenkolb turned pro in 2011 and evolved into an excellent Classics rider, whose strong sprint is an extra trump card at the end of a tough race or on a technical finish. In 2015, he triumphed in both Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix, which saw him add two Monuments to his palmares. Early 2016, ‘Dege’ had to miss his beloved spring Classics due to a serious collision with a car. However, the German fought his way back to the top, claiming an emotional win at the Tour de France stage nine, which finished in Roubaix, as the absolute highlight. Degenkolb now opts for a new adventure with Lotto Soudal and already looks ahead.

John Degenkolb

John Degenkolb winning 2018 Tour de France stage nine in Roubaix.

John Degenkolb: “The talks with Lotto Soudal have revealed that there are many similarities between the team’s goals and mine. It makes sense that a Belgian team with a long history in cycling wants to excel during the Classics. That will be the aim for the first part of the season. In addition, I’m not slow at the finish, especially after a tough race. Of course, I also look forward to working with Caleb Ewan, who will undoubtedly be our number-one sprinter for his specific goals. But with my experience, I can provide added value for him and for Lotto Soudal. The team is often active on two or three fronts, which increases the chance to obtain nice results.”

“I am firmly convinced that I have reached the age to earn good results on the highest level and to keep performing during the most important races. I know the races, the courses and I have the physical capacities. I already look forward to preparing the 2020 season and to getting to know everybody. Me and Philippe Gilbert can make a complementary duo. We get along really well, I admire him as one of the best Classics riders and with his style of racing, opportunities will come along for all of us. The coming weeks, my goals are to be found in La Vuelta and the World Championships, where I want to conclude my three-year period at Trek-Segafredo as good as possible.”

Marc Sergeant, sports manager at Lotto Soudal, is delighted that John Degenkolb will be part of the team next year.

Marc Sergeant: “With John Degenkolb and Philippe Gilbert, we managed to add two great riders to our team. John is fast after a hard race, which makes a big difference if you go to the line with, for example twenty riders. I hope that we will get to see the best Degenkolb the coming years and I am convinced that he is capable of doing so. As a team, you need certain riders as a signboard, which usually has a good impact on the other guys. John has gathered a lot of experience and a big credibility inside the peloton. He indicated that he wants to recognize and try to take opportunities, we will for sure be able to define some nice objectives, he is flexible in terms of his race schedule and he definitely wants to commit himself to Caleb Ewan. The fact that we are able to get a German rider on board, is a nice bonus for our partner Soudal, for whom the German market is very important.”

John Degenkolb:

Nationality: German
Date of birth: 07/01/1989 - Gera
Turned pro in 2011 with HTC-Highroad

1m80 - 77 kg

47 pro victories

Milan – San Remo (2015)
Paris-Roubaix (2015)
Gent - Wevelgem (2014)
Paris-Tours (2013)
Vattenfall Cyclassics (2013)

Grand Tours:
1x stage victory Giro d’Italia
1x stage victory Tour de France
10x stage victory Vuelta a España

Other stage races:
Stage victories in: Critérium du Dauphiné (2x), Dubai Tour (2x), Tour de Pologne (1x), Paris-Nice (1x),...

2019 Giro winner Richard Carapaz will miss Vuelta a España

Here's the Team Movistar update:

The Movistar Team confirmed Thursday that Richard Carapaz will not take the start of the 74th Vuelta a España, which begins in Alicante on Saturday, despite being part of the lineup originally announced.

Richard Carapaz

Richard Carapaz (shown with the Giro Trophy) will not make it two Grand Tour wins this year. Sirotti photo

The Ecuadorian rider suffers from a significant contusion in his right shoulder, as well as several bruises, after a crash sustained in the Profronde van Etten-Leur criterium in the Netherlands, last Sunday. In spite of treatment received all over the week and the lack of fractures, the injury’s evolution has advised for further precautions to allow it healing completely, which rules out against his appearance in the race.

José Joaquín Rojas, initially designated as a reserve for the Blues in the Vuelta and already in Alicante since Wednesday, will be part of an eight-man roster which also includes Valverde, Quintana, Soler, Erviti, Pedrero, Arcas and Oliveira.

Deceuninck – Quick Step to ride Cyclassics Hamburg

Here's the team's update:

A bunch sprint? A reduced one? Or a solo attacker making it all the way to the finish line? All these have been seen in the past and are equally likely to happen at the 24th edition of the Cyclassics. Starting and finishing in Hamburg, and held over a distance of 216.7 kilometers, the race will see the peloton tackle the famous Waseberg climb (700 meters, 10% average gradient) on four occasions, thus giving the riders keen on avoiding a mass gallop the perfect opportunity to spread chaos in the pack and foil the sprinters’ plans, especially as the last ascent comes inside the final kilometers.

UCI World Team Classification leader Deceuninck – Quick-Step – who boasts three victories in the Cyclassics Hamburg since the squad’s inception – will come to the start of Sunday’s race with a seven-man outfit capable of being in the thick of the action regardless of the scenario and of fighting for a top result on the renowned Mönckebergstraße.

Elia Viviani, who has triumphed at the last two editions of Germany’s only World Tour event, will return at the start motivated to defend his title, sporting the European Champion jersey, which he won two weeks ago, in Alkmaar. Supporting Elia will be neo-pro Mikkel Honoré, Yves Lampaert, Danish Champion Michael Mørkøv, Fabio Sabatini, Florian Sénéchal and Petr Vakoč.

Elia viviani

Elia Viviani just winning the 2018 edition of the Hamburg classic.

“We look with confidence towards this race, which suits well our European Champion, Elia. Our team is a strong one, with a solid lead-out train – comprising Saba, Michael, Yves and Florian – so that gives us hope we can come out of it with a nice result. There’s some pressure, we won’t hide that, but also other teams interested in a bunch gallop will be under the same pressure. In terms of parcours, as was the case so many times, Waseberg will be the most important point of the race, because things always get nervous there and it’s crucial to be in a good position last time up this climb, before the fast finish in Hamburg”, explained sports director Geert Van Bondt.

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