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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility. - Peter Drucker

Tour of Flanders, the Inside Story

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Deceuninck-Quick Step signs Sam Bennett and Shane Archbold

Here's the team's release:

Most successful team in the world for the eighth consecutive season, Deceuninck – Quick-Step have signed sprinter Sam Bennett, with the Irish National Champion joining the squad on a two-year deal. He will be joined at the team by his good friend and lead-out man Shane Archbold, who has also penned a two-year deal, thus completing our roster for 2020.

Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett before the start of the 2019 Vuelta's 16th stage. Sirotti photo.

29-year-old Bennett was actually born in Wervik, Belgium, before his parents took him back to their native Ireland when he was four, where he grew up in Carrick-on-Suir, the hometown of the famous Sean Kelly. Once he had completed his education, Sam’s talent on the bike was spotted by Vélo Club La Pomme, Marseille, where he began his path to a career in cycling that saw him turn professional in 2014. Since then he has built a reputation as on the of best sprinters around, having taken 42 victories to date, including 5 Grand Tour stages and the Irish National Championship.

Archbold, who hails from Timaru on New Zealand’s South Island, has carved out a reputation as one of the best lead-out men in the business, forging a formidable partnership with Bennett. The early part of his career was dominated by his work on the track, which is perhaps where he honed his skill for negotiating a hectic peloton and saw him win a Commonwealth Gold Medal, as well as World Championship Silver. Since then moving to the road he has forged a successful partnership with Bennett that has seen him pilot the Irish man to many of his victories.

After putting pen to paper with the team, Bennett said: “I am delighted to get to sign with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, the team I had a poster of on my wall when I was a kid. I remember going to a race with An Post and seeing Quick-Step at races and I was intimidated by such a big team. I never thought I would be good enough to sign for them, so be able to say that I am riding for them is a dream come true and I can’t wait to get to work with the guys and starting working and racing with them. It is a daunting task to race for this team, but it is motivating and a challenge, having been with my previous team for so long and I feel refreshed. It is fantastic to be having Shane here too. I am delighted for him as he had a few years where he wasn’t getting opportunities, so for us to both be here is special. To have a friend and a work colleague with him, it makes the job easier too.”

Upon signing, Shane said: “It is a childhood a dream for a lot of riders to join Deceuninck – Quick-Step, so I am very happy. It has been an up and down few years for me and to be able to join them is great for me and I am looking forward to being able to improve and race with what is regarded as the world’s best team. Obviously, me and Sam have had a good relationship since 2013 and it will be great to continue that. We have grown as a pair since then and to be able to be part of the progress of a great friend is an honour.”

Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere expressed his pleasure at Bennett’s arrival: “The protracted nature of Sam’s move has been well documented but I am delighted to have him on board. His palmares alone speaks volumes about his talent and determination, but he is also a great character and another leader to have around the team. We all cannot wait to start working with him.”

Lefevere was also full of praise for Archbold, when added: “We know how important it is for a sprinter to have a lead-out man that he fully understands and has faith in. While we have several excellent lead-out guys already here, when it became clear that we could add Shane to our squad to help Sam, it made complete sense. He is extremely skillful at what he does and is rightly regarded as one of the best in the world.”

Stuart O'Grady is new Santos Tour Down Under race director

The race sent me this announcement:

South Australian Cycling and Olympic Champion, Stuart O’Grady has been announced as the new Race Director for the Santos Tour Down Under.

Stuart O’Grady’s appointment follows the announcement of inaugural Race Director Mike Turtur’s retirement at the end of the 2020 Santos Tour Down Under.

As a former professional cyclist, and winner of the first Santos Tour Down Under, O’Grady brings over 19 years of international professional cycling experience to the race, and a roll-call of racing wins throughout his cycling career.

Stuart O'Grady

Stuart O'Grady racing in 2012. Sirotti photo.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway said: “Stuart is a proud South Australian, and an international professional cyclist who comes to this role with significant endorsements from the international cycling community. Having Stuart working closely with Mike Turtur this year will provide him with a strong platform and transition on which to build his own style of race for 2021.

“The appointment of a home-grown cycling legend ensures the Santos Tour Down Under will be passionately guided into its next era, after the extraordinary leadership of Mike Turtur for more than two decades.”

Stuart O’Grady said his appointment is a great challenge and opportunity. “My appointment to this role really is the pinnacle in my career.  I have lived my life and career with the international cycling community, so this is a defining professional and personal moment for me.

“I’m excited that I will be delivering a race in my hometown, with one that I competed in, won and have watched grow its cycling participation and fan-base over the years.”

Stuart added that it was a privilege to call himself Race Director of the Santos Tour Down Under from 2021. “I am looking forward to developing my vision, and a creative race that will lead to the ongoing growth of the men’s competition and to the overall race itself.”

Stuart said that although they are big shoes to fill, he is looking forward to the challenge and is relishing the opportunity to create a new story for the Santos Tour Down Under through his directorship. “Obviously Mike is a huge part of this race, the professional cycling community and the Santos Tour Down Under. He has a lot of learned knowledge that I will be hoping to capture during my time with him over the next few months” said Stuart.

Events South Australia Executive Director, Hitaf Rasheed said: “We ran a comprehensive process to ensure we got the right person for this important role and we believe Stuart is that person. We are excited about what he will bring to the role which has been filled so brilliantly by Mike Turtur over 22 years.”

Outgoing Race Director Mike Turtur said the appointment was an important one for the future. “We needed the right person, experience, fit, and someone who had an appetite to deliver a vision and really embrace the race with their own personality and someone ready to put their own stamp on it.”

Mike added that Stuart showed incredible passion for the role. “He has terrific experience, networks and relationships globally, which will also bring new opportunities to the race and for South Australia.”

“Stuart’s enthusiasm and energy and his desire to keep evolving the event as Australia’s Greatest Cycling Race and one of the most respected races on the WorldTour Calendar is a key ingredient to the success of his appointment,” said Mike.

Stuart will start work in December and will work closely with Mike over the coming months leading into the 2020 race. Mike will stay on in a mentoring role for 12 months through to the 2021 event.

Quote from Gerry Ryan OAM (owner Mitchelton-SCOTT Racing): “The Santos Tour Down Under is now recognised as one of the best bike races in the world and there is no doubt that Mike Turtur has played a huge part in that. I believe you have selected the best person who can keep the Tour Down Under at the forefront of World Cycling.

"Stuart has always been a leader and led by example. When I decided to start Australia’s first World Tour team back in 2011, Stuart was the first cyclist I approached to lead this team. It was a tough decision for Stuart to make as he was the road captain for one of the biggest teams in Europe and had led them to victory in the TDF. But Stuart’s passion for Australia won out and he was one of the main reasons GreenEdge became one of the leading teams in such a short time.

"There is no one in Australian Cycling and few in the world who have the contact network and respect that Stuart has gained from more than 20 years in the world peloton. He has amazing relationships with most of the World Team owners and Sports Directors.”  

About Stuart O’Grady:
A former two times World Champion on the track, Stuart O’Grady rode in 6 Olympic Games, and won four medals in total. He competed in the Tour de France 17 times and he wore the yellow jersey of GC leader at the TDF in 1998 and 2001. O’Grady also competed in the Paris-Roubaix 17 times, and his biggest career win came in 2007 as the first Australian to take first place at the one-day road race in Northern France.

He also competed at 3 Commonwealth Games, 2 World Championships and was the Race Director for Revolve24, a 24-hour endurance bike race in 2019 (which he will also fill in 2020).

O’Grady is the current President of the South Australian chapter of the Australian Olympic Committee. He is a two-time winner of the Santos Tour Down Under, winning the inaugural race in 1999 and won the race again in 2001.

hansgrohe extends title sponsorship of BORA - hansgrohe until 2021

The team sent me this news:

At the conclusion of the most successful season in the history of the team, BORA – hansgrohe once again has reason to celebrate, with hansgrohe having extended its title sponsorship until 2021. For three years now, hansgrohe has been a valued and reliable partner of the team, and with the early renewal of this contract, we will continue to pursue our common goal to become the number one team in cycling.

Bora Hansgrohe

Bora-hansgrohe being presented before the start of the 2019 Paris-Roubaix. Sirotti photo.

“The team is very pleased about this extension with our partner, hansgrohe. It is a testament to the hard work of the riders and the entire team during this season to achieve our common goals and be successful on the road. With our strong partners, BORA and hansgrohe, at our side, we are on the way to becoming the number one cycling team in the world.” – Ralph Denk, Team Manager BORA – hansgrohe

“We are proud of the excellent performance of the team, which in addition to bringing sporting success, has also brought gains for our brand, hansgrohe. The positive impact that has been experienced by the brand and its reputation confirmed our decision to renew our contract. Together with the team, we aim to continue this success story, and are looking forward to two more seasons as a sponsor and partner of the BORA – hansgrohe team. We wish the riders and the management continued success.” – Hans Jürgen Kalmbach, CEO hansgrohe SE

“I thank hansgrohe for their trust in us, as well as their support. This season has been extremely successful for our team. We all share a common vision and are working hard to be able to be even more successful on the bike next year.” – Emanuel Buchmann

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