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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, January 2, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

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Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal outline 2019 plans

Team Sky sent me this:

Team Sky can confirm that Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas will focus their 2019 seasons around the Tour de France, with Egan Bernal set to lead his first Grand Tour at the Giro d’Italia.

Froome, who is targeting a record-equalling fifth Tour title, and defending champion Thomas will take to the start line in Brussels on July 6. Bernal, who enjoyed a revelatory first season at WorldTour level, will lead the team at the Giro, starting in Bologna on May 11.

Explaining his decision to target the Tour, Froome said: “It’s been a hard decision to figure out exactly what to do in 2019 and figure out which Grand Tours to focus on, especially having won the Giro last year and having had such an amazing time out there with the team – but for 2019, my number one objective is going to be the Tour de France.

Chris Froome

Chris Froome is going for Tour win number five. Sirotti photo

“It was definitely a difficult decision not to go back to the Giro d’Italia and defend the maglia rosa. I’ve got some amazing memories from last year, but I think, with the Tour de France as my main objective, it’s probably better that I skip the Giro d’Italia in 2019.

“I’m getting to the point in my career now where I’m starting to think about what kind of legacy I want to leave behind and if I am able to win the Tour de France for a fifth time and join that very elite group of bike riders - only four other people have ever done that - it would just be incredible.”

Thomas also confirmed that he will be targeting the Tour in 2019, as well as eyeing the time trial World Championships which are being held on British soil in Yorkshire.

He said: “The main goal for me will be to go back to the Tour de France for the best result I can. Maybe if I hadn’t have won the Tour in 2018 I might have looked at a Giro / Vuelta programme but, having won the Tour, I’ll have the number one on my back and it would be sad not to go back and not to go back at 100% as well.

“The year will be geared around that, but I’m also looking forward to a slightly different programme as well, and obviously after the Tour, the Worlds in Yorkshire will be massive.

“I think the time trial will be my best chance of getting something out of it. It will be a good goal to have for the end of the year. I certainly want to be there because the support in the UK and in Yorkshire especially is just unbelievable at the moment. They’re going to be a massive Worlds and it will be great to be a part of that.”

raint thomas

Geraint Thomas wll also ride the 2019 Tour de France. Here he is with the great Miguel Indurain. Sirotti photo

Bernal, 21, is excited about tackling the Giro for the first time - a race close to his heart. He said: “The Giro is a race that I really, really like. I lived in Italy for three years, so I have a lot of friends there and I really like the Italian fans. I know the roads, I really like the Giro, and I want to do a good race there."

Egan bErnal

Egan Bernal wins stage six of the 2018 Tour of California

And the Colombian will start his season on home soil, as defending champion at the Tour Colombia.

“I’m really excited to do the Tour Colombia. It will be the first race with Froomey there so we want to do it well! It’s at home and I want to do a good race for the fans, for my family, and for Colombia. It’s incredible how the fans support us and it’s right at home. It will be good.”

The full Team Sky squad for 2019:

Deceuninck – Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevre's New Year's post:

As we have just kicked off a new year and find ourselves on the ramp to a new and promising campaign that will take us from Australia to Asia and from the Americas to Europe, I want to thank everybody who has been involved in and part of our unforgettable 2018 season – riders, staff, sponsors and fans. It’s not every year that you win more than 70 races – Monuments, Grand Tour stages, the World TTT Championships – and the World Tour Team Classification on top of all, that’s why we look back to this campaign with pride and joy.

Patrick Lefevre

Patrick Lefevre (right) talks with Mark Cavendish at the 2014 Tour de France. Sirotti photo.

We can easily label 2018 as being an annus mirabilis which saw us close in on 700 all-time victories. As we enter our 17th year – a performance as remarkable as the myriad of victories we have been racking up since the team’s inception – we are preparing for a new chapter, one which we hope it will be again rewarding in terms of the quantity and quality of wins.

At the end of last year, we said goodbye to several riders who’ve had a big contribution to our success over the years and welcomed new ones into our family. It’s not something new, this is the way things go in cycling, and sports in general, but I have the greatest confidence that we possess the right combination of experienced riders who can take on the responsibility and live up to the very high expectations and pressure, and young and promising talents who will be ready to take a few steps up the ladder.

We hope 2019 will be another vintage year, which we start with the same enthusiasm, ambition and determination that have become the trademarks of the Wolfpack. We also want it to be a year during which we will entertain, deliver fireworks on the road and beautiful cycling moments, and engage with all our fans around the world.

On behalf of the Deceuninck – Quick-Step Cycling Team, I want to wish you a Happy New Year and all the best to you and your families! We are looking forward to seeing you on the road for some spectacular races.

Team Movistar looks to 2019

Here's the team's post:

Gardel once sang that “Veinte años no es nada” (‘Twenty years aren’t anything’). However, 40 years, for such a particular sport as cycling, are as much long as heroic. The team which started as a grassroots initiative under the Nuevo Legarra and Irurzungo names, and later on transformed into Reynolds to start its pro adventure in 1980, now fulfils its first four decades of uninterrupted existence. And from all those squads (Banesto, Illes Balears, Caisse d’Epargne and, last but not least, the Movistar Team), two now keep that legacy well alive: the European, pro men’s outfit -the only active for each and every of those 40 years- and the women’s team, which will race the biggest events in the WorldTour after earning a well-deserved place last year. The ladies have brought the most legendary current squad in cycling an influx of excitement and modernity few other actions could have helped with better.

The men’s Movistar Team starts this new year wearing the rainbow jersey with Alejandro Valverde, and raring to go with a roster that again mixes experience and youth perfectly. Carapaz (confirmed for the Giro), Landa (Giro + Tour), Quintana (Tour + Vuelta) and Marc Soler (Tour) will join the World Champion (Giro + Vuelta) at the most renowned stageraces. Before that, the marvel from Murcia will ‘duplicate’ himself as no other rider can do, seeking for glory into the classics – includin the Ronde van Vlaanderen, where he will finally make his debut just before turning 39. Two of the team’s additions for this year -a younger Spaniard, Lluís Mas, and Belgian veteran Jürgen Roelandts– could join Valverde in such a challenge, with Erviti, Arcas, Bennati, Carretero and Sütterlin also ready to be of good support.

Alejandro Valverde

World champion Alejandro Valverde will be racing the classics. Here he is with former world champion Maurizio Fondriest at the 2018 Tour of Lombardy. Sirotti photo.

Two outstanding all-rounders, Carlos Verona and Edu Prades, complete the list of signings for the Blues, who will remain as strong as ever in the mountains. World-class domestiques for all terrains, such as Amador, Rojas and Oliveira, will combine with more traditional climbers like Pedrero, Sepúlveda, Valls, Rubén Fernández, Betancur and Anacona. The 25-man list also includes a good sprinter, Carlos Barbero, and a great youngster, Jaime Castrillo, in his second pro season.

On the other hand, the women’s Movistar Team -now featuring Sebastián Unzué as manager and Jorge Sanz always at the wheel of DS; Max Sciandri joins the men’s management team- includes three new faces: a top-tier classics rider and fast woman, such as Sheyla Gutiérrez; a world-class sprinter in France’s Roxane Fournier; and the young Paula Patiño, who will add a Latin taste to a roster which includes no less than eight Spaniards. Strong climbers like García, Llamas and Merino; rouleurs of high caliber in Biannic, Oyarbide, Rodríguez and Teruel; and the strong all-rounding names of González and Jasińska are the rest of a 37-athlete list supported by more than fourty staff members.

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