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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, November 16, 2019

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves? - Robin Williams

TDF volume 1

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:

Rick Zabel and Mads Würtz Schmidt join Israel Cycling Academy

Israel Cycling Academy posted this announcement on Facebook:

Tel-Aviv. November 15: Israel Cycling Academy is welcoming the first two riders that will join its roster coming from team KATUSHA ALPECIN as part of its quest to step up into the World Tour next season, pending a UCI approval.

The two riders are German Rick Zabel sprinter (25) and TT specialist and classics man Mads Würtz Schmidt from Denmark.

Rick Zabel

Rick Zabel at the 2019 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

Both riders expressed delight and relief that a period of confusion and unclarity has come to an end. “We all heard many things about what was going to happen," said Würtz. "I kept my fingers crossed for ICA to be the team we would come together with - and I am happy that at last, it's behind us, and we can focus on racing and helping the team achieve its goals," said the Dane.

ICA’s pro manager Kjell Carlstrom said he expects the two first riders coming from Katusha to be significant assets to the team in its challenging 2020 season: "We are bringing on riders that we strongly feel can help the team in different areas like bolstering a solid sprint “train” and the Classics".

He pointed out that he expect both riders to fit the bill: “Rick has shown that he can be a vital piece in helping out the team in different races, both classics, and stage races. We believe that he can also continue to improve and be a vital part of the team.”

"Mads Würtz has shown his capacity both in TT’s and road races. He can be an integral part of the classics team, and in short stage races with a TT, he could potentially get some personal glory as well."

Mads Schmidt

Mads Würtz Schmidt having a good day at the 2016 Tour of Denmark.

Zabel (25), the heir of his famous Dad Erik, will be entering his 7th year as a WT pro rider and will bring the team much experience ( he finished 3 Grand tours) and versatility. "I am so happy, especially after what we went through. But I am looking forward now. ICA is so special, the only team coming out of Israel. I was so impressed with its success and now that I can be part of it, and I feel we have a great squad”.

His Dane teammate was equally enthusiastic: “The last two years I've noticed ICA in many races. They ride aggressively and always give it a try in the final for their leader. I kept my fingers crossed that I will land here. So excited to have a chance to visit Israel after Giro 2018 that I started in Jerusalem. My first focus will be the Classics and especially my dream race: Paris Roubaix”.

On Rick Zabel Career:

2014-2016 : Team BMC
2017-2019 : Katusha Alpecin.


2012 - German Champion U23
2013: Tour Of Flanders U23 Winner

Victories: 1 stage in the tour of Austria.
A stage win in the tour of Yorkshire.
2nd Eschborn - Frankfurt WT , 2017

On Mads Wurtz Schmidt:

2013 Team CULT Energy
2014 Team CULT Energy - VitalWater
2015 Coloquick
2016 Team Trefor
2017-2019 Team Katusha Alpecin


Junior World Champion TT 2011
U23 Danish Champion TT 2015, 2016
Tour of Denmark stage 4b (TT) 2015
Tour de L'Avenir stage 4 2015
U23 World Champion TT 2015
U23 Danish Champion RR 2016
Tour of Denmark stage 4 (TT) 2016
Tour of Denmark 3rd GC 2016
Etoile de Besseges 3rd GC 2017
Rund um Köln 2nd 2017
ZLM Tour 3rd GC 2019

Bora-hansgrohe completes its 2020 squad with the signing of Patrick Gamper

Here's the news release the team sent me:

By joining Bora-hansgrohe, the 22-year-old Austrian rider will be receiving his first professional contract. Gamper is considered to be a proven rouleur, whose strengths lie in flat terrain. With this signing, the squad from Raubling thereby completes its team for 2020.

“I have to say that making the move to the WorldTour has come as a fantastic surprise for me, which is made all the more exciting by joining my dream squad, Bora-hansgrohe. Of course, I have immense respect for the task that lies ahead. Riding in the WorldTour is going to be a different experience, however, with one of the top teams in the peloton, the transition to this new level of racing should be a smooth one. I am really looking forward to discovering the environment surrounding the team. Bora-hansgrohe is remarkably professional, and I anticipate that I will be in very good hands there. It’ll also be made easier by the fact that there are already several Austrians within the team. I’m thrilled and incredibly eager to take on this new challenge, and I’m confident that I will receive the best support possible.” – Patrick Gamper

“Patrick is a young rider who possesses good qualities above all on the flatlands as a rouleur. He will be useful in strengthening our sprint train and will serve primarily as a helper within the team. Of course, we will also be aiming to develop him further and improve upon his strengths. It will take some time until he has adjusted to the level of racing in the WorldTour. We will provide him with the necessary time required to gather experience, which will be a process that will also occur during one or the other of the Belgian races. As an Austrian, he is sure to integrate into the team quite quickly, with our roster already consisting of a few of his compatriots.” – Ralph Denk, Team Manager

2020 Roster: Pascal Ackermann (Ger), Erik Baska (Svk), Cesare Benedetti (Ita), Maciej Bodnar (Pol), Emanuel Buchmann (Ger), Marcus Burghardt (Ger), Jempy Drucker (Lux), Matteo Fabro (Ita), Patrick Gamper (Aut), Oscar Gatto (Ita), Felix Großschartner (Aut), Lennard Kämna (Ger), Patrick Konrad (Aut), Martin Laas (Est), Rafal Majka (Pol), Jay McCarthy (Aus), Gregor Mühlberger (Aut), Daniel Oss (Ita), Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut), Pawel Poljanski (Pol), Juraj Sagan (Svk), Peter Sagan (Svk), Maximilian Schachmann (Ger), Ide Schelling (Ned), Andreas Schillinger (Ger), Michael Schwarzmann (Ger), Rüdiger Selig (Ger)

Johannes Fröhlinger retires from professional cycling

Team Sunweb sent me this:

After a career that spanned 13 years, nine of which were with Team Sunweb, Johannes Fröhlinger is set to hang up his wheels this winter, retiring from the professional peloton.

A good all-round rider, Fröhlinger was a dedicated teammate throughout his career, always willing to work for others. He spent his first four professional years with the teams Gerolsteiner and Milram, where he frequently displayed an attacking racing style, showing himself in the breakaways. His biggest successes were a 2nd place in stage five of the Giro d’Italia in 2008 and one year later, during his debut at the Tour de France, he finished third on the mountain top finish in Andorra-Arcalis.

With his growing experience and his biggest quality as a great team player, the coaches of Team Sunweb helped him to develop into the role of a conscientious road captain. Testament to this, Fröhlinger was a part of various successes and memories with the team since 2011, helping the team to over 50 victories. Notably, Fröhlinger was a part of the squads that won the team’s first Grand Tour stage at the 2011 Vuelta a España and the team’s debut in the yellow jersey at the Tour de France in 2013; both landmark moments in the team’s history.

After 13 years on the bike, Fröhlinger will remain a close part of the sport as he pursues a career as a Trainer. First talks have been held for him to make that next step, as he aspires to start his new chapter developing younger riders. Fröhlinger is set to begin an extensive education in this specialist field and does not rule out a return to professional cycling in a trainer’s capacity in the future.

“As a teenager I dreamed of becoming a professional cyclist and I’m really happy to have spent so many years living my dream. I could have never imagined participating in one Grand Tour, but today I look back on 15 three-week-long races, ten of which were at the Vuelta, which is really special,” says Fröhlinger nostalgically. “I’m thankful and proud to look back on my 13-year professional career at the highest level. A special thanks goes to Team Sunweb: I spent the main part of my career over here and shared unforgettable moments.”

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef added: “We’ve spent a lot of good years with Johannes since he joined the team in 2011. He’s always been a rider that is willing to work in support of others and be there for the team when called upon. He’s been a strong part of the team’s development from where we started until now, using his experience and role within the team to help and guide the younger riders both on and off the bike at races. It’s been a real pleasure to have him within our ranks and he will always be a close friend of the team. We wish him the best of luck for the future.”

NTT Pro Cycling (formerly Team Dimension Data) signs Japanese road champ Shotaro Iribe

Here's the team's post:

NTT Pro Cycling is delighted to be able to announce the signing of the Japanese National Road Race Champion, Shotaro Iribe.

His signing coincides with the conclusion of a very exciting week during which NTT Pro Cycling, formerly Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, was officially launched at the home of NTT in Tokyo, Japan.

Iribe, 30, is a highly experienced UCI Asian Tour rider having spent the past eight seasons on the continental Shimano Racing Team, and in the process becomes the first Japanese rider to race for us.

He has been a very consistent performer on the Asian circuit but it has been over the past two seasons where he has really come into his own, as he raced to stage victories at both the Tour of Thailand and Tour de Kumano.

2019 saw Iribe earn the most prestigious result of his career, when he triumphed at the Japanese National Championships. Iribe also competed at the official Tokyo 2020 Olympic test event in July this year, as he eyes a place on the national team for a home Olympics road race.

Sporting our striking new NTT colours, and in his national champion’s jersey, Iribe is certain to bring huge excitement among the Japanese fans as we look to compete at the Japan Cup, among others, and he now takes the step up to the WorldTour.

Shotaro Iribe – Rider:
“I am very happy to be able to join NTT Pro Cycling. This is the challenge that I have been aiming for since I started bike racing. No words can describe how happy I am.

It’s never easy to challenge at this top-level but I am determined that I will be racing for the team by putting all my energy and soul into it. I would like to thank all those who have made this possible. Thank you very much.”

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