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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, October 3, 2019

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. - Adam Smith

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Annemiek van Vleuten to debut her rainbow jersey at Giro dell’Emilia

Van Vleuten's Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this:

Recently crowned road world champion Annemiek van Vleuten will make her debut in the rainbow jersey this weekend in Italy at the one-day race Giro dell’Emilia.

The 36-year-old stormed to an incredible solo victory on Saturday in Harrogate and will be back in action exactly one-week later, hoping to continue her winning form for Mitchelton-SCOTT in her first race as the road world champion.

Annemiek van Vleuten

Annemiek van Vleuten becoming champion of the world.

The Australian outfit has never previously lined-up at Giro dell’Emilia and for 2019 they will make their debut in style, with a powerful team which also includes bronze medallist from the championships Amanda Spratt.

The squad will continue racing in Italy on Sunday at GP Bruno Berghelli, but without Van Vleuten, giving the rest of the team a good opportunity to take their chances in the race more suited to the sprinters.

Mitchelton-SCOTT Team:
Jessica Allen - (AUS 25)
Lucy Kennedy - (AUS 30)
Amanda Spratt - (AUS 32)
Annemiek van Vleuten - (NED 36) Giro dell’Emilia only*
Georgia Williams - (NZL 25)
Moniek Tenniglo - (NED 31)

The Courses:
Both races preluded the men's events and are fairly short, the Giro dell’Emilia is just 99kilometres long, with the first 90kilometres raced over flat roads before a tough final three-kilometre kick up to the finish line in Bologna, San Luca. With the steep and hard finish as used in this year's Giro d'Italia opening time trial stage, it should suit the team which boast talented climbers in Van Vleuten, Spratt and Clasica San Sebastian winner Lucy Kennedy.

The second race of the weekend, GP Bruno Beghelli is just 79kilometres and is raced over six-laps of a 13.3kilometre circuit with one main climb, the Zappolino, to tackle each lap.

Annemiek van Vleuten - World RR Champion:
“It means a lot to me to race on Saturday at Emilia, I am really looking forward to racing in the rainbow stripes and I am super proud to wear the colours for Mitchelton-SCOTT and what a great way to end the season like this.

“The race is different from the men’s where they have a lot more elevation but we both finish on the same climb, San Luca. I know it and I also saw it in the Giro d’Italia. I think it suits me and it is a great atmosphere so I am super excited to race there.

“I had some celebrations but I don’t think it has ruined my legs and I trained again already because I still have some focus, so I am looking forward to going there and going for the win. Last year I finished on a low, I couldn’t enjoy my world time trial title after my injury, so it makes this one even more special and I am really looking forward to racing in the jersey already.

“The team is strong and Spratt is in incredible form and it will be nice to race with her again and then after we can enjoy it and celebrate all the results from the whole season with the whole team at a training camp."

Alejandro Gonzales - Sport Director:
“Giro dell’Emilia is a really flat race except for the last kilometres where we finish on the top of the San Luca. It is a really hard and demanding finish that suits our riders well with Annemiek and her incredible form at the moment, also Amanda Spratt and Lucy Kennedy.

“Annemiek would like to show her rainbow jersey off for the first time, just one-week after the world championships and she will try and finish off the season on the top step.

“GP Bruno Beghelli is a totally different race, it is usually a sprint race, but with a climb each lap it can be open for some aggressive racing.”

Race Details:
Saturday 5th October: Giro dell’Emilia, 99km
Sunday 6th October: GP Bruno Beghelli, 79km

Israel Cycling Academy buys out Katusha-Alpecin and will become part of the World Tour

The deal had been in the works for quite some time. Here is the Facebook post from the Israel Cycling Academy (ICA):

ICA to take control of the Katusha team. Transaction subject to UCI approval

Tel-Aviv - October 2nd, 2019: Israel Cycling Academy and Katusha Management have signed an agreement that will see the Israeli team race in the World Tour starting January 2020.

ICA co-owner Sylvan Adams said: “I have stated for some time that ICA would be in the World Tour, sooner or later. I am excited that it is happening right away for next year’s season.”

According to the agreement, the Israeli team will race in the World
Tour under the existing Katusha license, which is being renewed for the next three years. The transaction is, of course, subject to UCI approval of the license renewal in the normal course of business.

The Israeli team will use its traditional blue and white uniforms provided by Katusha branded apparel under a new sponsorship agreement.

Israel Cycliong Academy

The Israel Cycling Academy will be a World Tour team in 2020. Sirotti photo

For Israel Cycling Academy, racing as a World Tour team in all of the sport’s biggest races, this will represent another step in its rapid growth, beginning as a start-up Continental team just 5 years ago.

Mr. Adams stated his confidence that the team will be up to the challenge. “We have several new riders, including some from the current Katusha team that will join, and I promise we will make some noise in lots of big races next year. We are: Just. Getting. Started.’’

ICA’s co-owner and founder, Mr. Ron Baron expressed his enthusiasm at the prospect of seeing Israeli riders racing for a World Tour Israeli professional team: “I am sure that this step will enhance our core vision to develop Israeli Cycling on the world stage. To see an Israeli rider in the Tour De France next season will be, for me, very satisfying.”

ICA Pro Manager Kjell Carlstrom remarked: “the team has been growing each year in an organic way, both organizationally and also on the rider side, and we feel ready for this new challenge. We have great chemistry on this team, and I am proud of what we accomplished together. Really excited for next year.’’

Mr. Adams added: “I want to thank Katusha management and its owner, Igor Makarov for choosing to do this deal with us, as I know he had several available options. Igor’s contribution to our sport has been impressive, and he will continue to support our sport.”

About Israel Cycling Academy:
Israel Cycling Academy was founded in December 2014 in Jerusalem as Israel’s first professional cycling team, with a clear vision to help Israeli cycling and to bring our young cyclists, to the highest level of the sport.

The 2017 season was the team’s first in the Pro Continental ranks and in 2018 the team raced in its first Grand tour - the historic Giro d’Italia that started in Jerusalem. ICA raced again in the Giro d’Italia in 2019. This season, the team has significantly stepped up its racing performance and recorded 27 wins.

ICA carries 30 riders from 18 different nationalities. The team is owned by Israeli Canadian philanthropist Sylvan Adams and Israeli businessman Ron Baron.

Jonathan Castroviejo signs two-year extension, Christian Knees to race tenth season with Team INEOS

Team INEOS sent me these updates:

Jonathan Castroviejo has extended with Team INEOS for a further two years.

Castroviejo has strengthened his reputation as one of the sport’s most dependable support riders and strongest time triallists in two successful seasons with the Team and become a hugely respected member of the squad.

Jonathan Castroviejo

Jonathan Castroviejo racing at the 2016 Olympics. Sirotti photo

The Spaniard said: “I’m really happy to be staying with the Team. I’ve enjoyed two brilliant years here and to be a part of two Tour de France winning teams has been special.

“I wanted to take a next step when I joined the Team and I feel like I have done that. Now I’m really settled here. It has been a great environment for me to keep improving as a cyclist and I’m looking forward to playing my part alongside our exciting group of young riders.”

As well as helping Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal to Tour de France success, Castroviejo has won back-to-back Spanish national time trial titles since joining the Team - the fourth and fifth of his career.

Castroviejo’s coach Xabi Artetxe praised his impact on the Team. He said: “We knew what type of rider Jonathan was before we signed him, but I think I speak for everyone on the team when I say that Castro has surpassed our expectations. He is one of the most professional bike riders I’ve worked with and he has been exemplary in his two years with us.

“He has enhanced his reputation as one of the most consistent time triallists in the world and he has quickly become a pivotal member of our Tour de France team. It’s great that Castro will be staying for another two years.”

Knees set for tenth season with team:

Christian Knees is motivated to continue his career at Team INEOS as he prepares to start a 10th consecutive season with the team.

After arriving as German national champion heading into 2011, Knees has gone on to establish himself as one of the most dependable support riders in the sport.

Christian Knees

Christian Knees checking out the 2019 Paris-Roubaix cobbles before the race. Sirotti photo

With 30 Monuments and 20 Grand Tours under his belt Knees has amassed a wealth of experience, and was on hand to help the team claim its first Tour de France and Giro d’Italia victories.

“I’m really happy to extend my time with the team,” said Knees after signing a one-year deal. “I feel very comfortable here and to be going into the my 10th year with the team next year is a great achievement. I’m really pleased that I can still continue to do what I love.

“I could never have imagined when I signed that I would be on the team for 10 years. I knew when I looked at the riders the team had, even back then, that it was a really strong setup. To stay for so long in a team like this – which has now won the Tour de France seven times – it shows you can’t be too bad as a bike rider.”

The 38 year old is a strong presence on the team bus and relishes the chance to be a role model for the next generation. He added: “I’ve always been somebody who likes to encourage the younger guys along and help them if they need advice, as well as being there as a role model if I can be. As a rider who has done 20 Grand Tours they can see you and look at what you’re doing to get through a three-week race. They can try to emulate that. Trying to help the developing riders out is something I really enjoy.

“On the other hand it’s still a competition within the team. So these young up and coming guys give me motivation and I know I need to be on a high level to be selected for races. It’s a win-win situation.”

Knees’ coach Leigh Bryan is full of praise for the way he continues to approach the sport, and the impact it has on those around him. He explained: “Not only is Christian going into his 10th season with the team, he’s been a pro for 14 years. His professionalism is second to none. For the young guys on the team he shows how pro cycling should be in the way that he commits to his training and his racing. He’s versatile and he can do any type of race the team calls upon him for.

“There are not many riders still racing in the peloton with that amount of experience. He knows what it takes to perform right through the season and be as good from day one as he is at the end. That’s something young guys can aspire to.”

UAE Team Emirates signs David De La Cruz

The team sent me this release

UAE Team Emirates will add a new flag to its international squad by welcoming a Spaniard, with the arrival of David De La Cruz for 2020 and 2021.

David De La Cruz

David De La Cruz racing in the 2018 Vuelta. Sirotti photo.

The Catalan rider, born in 1989, has achieved five victories since turning professional in 2012, (a stage of the 2016 Vuelta a Espana, also wearing the red jersey; stages at Paris-Nice 2017 and Paris-Nice 2018; a stage of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco 2017 and the individual time trial at the Vuelta Andalucia 2018).

Team Manager Joxean Matxin on the new arrival: “David is a rider who has the right experience to fully exploit his talent and immediately be a reliable part of our team in key races. His climbing talent, combined with his strength in time trials, has led him to win stages in top-level races and to wear leaders jerseys“.

David De La Cruz on his move to UAE Team Emirates: “When I received the proposal from UAE and after speaking with the team manager Matxin, it was everything I needed from a cycling point of view.

"The UAE Team Emirates project to become a reference within cycling is ambitious and it has solid plans in place to work towards this goal. In the next two seasons I hope to contribute to this project by being able to perform at my highest level. I really want to give my best and I’m sure that at UAE Team Emirates I’ll be in the right place to do that”.

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