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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, October 24, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

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Mitchelton-Scott women's team 2019 Season wrap-up

The team sent me this summary: 

Mitchelton-SCOTT women wrapped up the 2019 season in China yesterday with an impressive tally of 18 UCI victories, which included a successful title defence at the only women’s Grand Tour of the season, the Giro-Rosa.

The team achieved wins from all around the world and from six different riders, including six WorldTour races. The icing on the cake came at the world championships, where Annemiek van Vleuten claimed a phenominal solo victory to take her first ever rainbow jersey in the road race.

Annemiek van Vleuten

Annemiek van Vleuten wins the Women's World Championship road race.

These consistent results saw the Australian outfit finish in third position in the UCI Women’s Team ranking and with the new world champion Van Vleuten, finish in second place in the UCI Women's Individual WorldTour ranking.

Time Trial Titles:
Georgia Williams was the first rider to kick start Mitchelton-SCOTT women’s winning ways in 2019, by claiming a second consecutive victory at the New Zealand time trial championships. The success continued shortly after with a dominating performance from new signing Grace Brown, who her took her first ever victory in Mitchelton-SCOTT colours at the Australian time trial championships.

Later in the year over in Europe, Van Vleuten added a third national time trial title to the team’s collection for the year, as she took her fourth national time trial title in the Netherlands.

Hat-Trick Down Under:
Two-time winner of the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under, Amanda Spratt, showed her experience and maturity to deal with the pressure of returning to an event as the defending champion, enjoying a stage win on her way to securing an impressive third consecutive overall victory in the team’s home race. It was an extra special result, with Spratt being the first ever rider in the event’s history to take a hat-trick of consecutive overall wins.

Classics Consistency:
Despite a very uncertain start to the season, following an injury sustained at the 2018 road world championship, Van Vleuten returned to racing in Europe, putting any doubt behind her by winning her first Women’s WorldTour race of the year, Strade Bianche.

The Dutch superstar continued with an impressive run of form throughout the Spring Classics, finishing in second place at the iconic Tour of Flanders, Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne races before grasping a fine victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege in horrendous conditions, to make it the women’s team’s most consistent Classics period in history.

Italian Defence:
To win a Grand Tour once is a huge achievement but to return as the defending champions and win again is something special. Mitchelton-SCOTT women and staff spent hours preparing for the 2019 edition of the Giro-Rosa with 100% focus, commitment and with extensive planning and recons of stages, they arrived in optimal position to try for another victory.

Van Vleuten showed her intent on stage five by climbing away from all her main rivals to move into the race lead by over two minutes. The defending champion went on to claim two more stage wins, with Spratt and the team giving full commitment to finish in first (Van Vleuten) and third place (Spratt) for a second year running.

Rainbows Return:
The end of season highlight was the team recieving their first ever rainbow jersey on the road. This came thanks to Van Vleuten’s unheard-of 105kilometre solo victory at the world championships where she secured her first ever road race title.

The 37-year-old will bring the rainbow jersey to Mitchelton-SCOTT for the fourth time, following on from her previous two time trial titles (2017 and 2018) and Judith Arndt’s time trial title back in 2012.

Martin Vestby - Sport Director:
“2019 has been one of the most successful years for the team and one of the most consistent. It could be that we won more races last year but the quality of the races that we have won this year has been really high and we have also been on the podium and there really fighting for the victories in a lot of different races.

“We are really happy with the season, there’s still improvements to be done and we lacked a little strength in some of the racing blocks and so that is something that will be the focus to improve on in 2020.

“It is always hard to defend something, one thing is to reach the top but it’s another thing to stay there. I think Annemiek is such an impressive rider in that kind of way, so to come back this year and win the Giro-Rosa as the defending champion was special and also having Amanda Spratt on the podium there again.

“We had a strong team and not just on the bike but off the bike as a whole group and that is probably half of the work. We put a lot of work into that race, from all the staff and all the riders.

“I think we can play quite different scenarios and be able to win in different ways and that was one of our strengths this year. We showed that when we want the race to be ridden in a certain way we take initiative and we make that kind of race. That is commitment and when you have a team that really stands behind its tactics and plans, then when you have riders to finish off those plans the job is really fun for everyone.”

Amanda Spratt:
“The team is getting stronger and stronger and this year, of course Annemiek has been a superstar but it has also been really nice to see others riders stepping up. These have been highlights for me, to see riders like Lucy Kennedy, she works so so hard for us during the year then when she is given an opportunity she just nails it and that helps to lift the whole group.

“It is never easy to go back to a race as the defending champion, in Australia for example, we had a lot of pressure to perform and especially after the national championship. I think this showed how we’ve really matured as a team, everybody knew their role well and their job and so it was very special to be a part of and win again also like the Giro.”

2019 UCI race victories::

National Championships - ITT New Zealand - Georgia Williams
National Championships - ITT Australia - Grace Brown
Santos Women’s Tour Down Under - Stage 2 - Amanda Spratt
Santos Women’s Tour Down Under - Stage 3 - Grace Brown
Santos Women’s Tour Down Under - GC - Amanda Spratt
Women’s Herald Sun Tour - Stage 2 - Lucy Kennedy
Women’s Herald Sun Tour - GC - Lucy Kennedy
Strade Bianche - Annemiek van Vleuten
Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Annemiek van Vleuten
Durango-Durango - Lucy Kennedy
Emakumeen Bira - Stage 2 - Amanda Spratt
National Championships - ITT Holland - Annemiek van Vleuten
Giro-Rosa - Stage 5 - Annemiek van Vleuten
Giro-Rosa - Stage 6 ITT - Annemiek van Vleuten
Giro-Rosa - General Classification - Annemiek van Vleuten
Clasica Femenina Navarra - Sarah Roy
Clasica San Sebastian - Lucy Kennedy
Boels Ladies Tour - Prologue - Annemiek van Vleuten

World Championships - Road Race - Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands)

Vasil Kiryienka and Sebastian Henao extend with Team INEOS

Team INEOS sent me this release:

Kiryienka extends for 2020 season:
Vasil Kiryienka is motivated to continue his cycling career after signing a new deal for the 2020 season.

The Belarusian underwent treatment in March for a cardiac anomaly but worked diligently to make a racing comeback at the Tour de Romandie at the end of April – the team’s first race as Team INEOS.

The 2015 world time trial champion completed an impressive return to the peloton by winning gold on home roads at the European Games time trial, in addition to riding the Vuelta a Espana.

Vasil Kiryienka at the 2019 Vuelta a España. Sirotti photo

On his new deal, Kiryienka confirmed: “I am very happy to have signed a contract for another year. Having spent the last seven seasons in an international team led by Sir Dave Brailsford, I have gained invaluable life experience.

“I have been lucky to learn the habits and lifestyles of people from all over the world, and it is a pleasure to share a hotel room and work with them. The leaders in this team have the ability to unite people of different backgrounds and characters to achieve one common goal. This always helps me to go out there and give my maximum. 

“The current season was not easy for me. It was hard to realise that there were some physiological changes in my body that might not allow me to continue to do what I love. But thanks to the support from the team my condition returned to normal. A special thanks to the team doctor Iñigo Sarriegui for the work on my recovery. It was nice to see the positive reaction of some riders in the peloton to my return to racing. These moments helped me cheer up and win the European Games time trial.

“I am happy to continue in the team. This whole set up gives me the opportunity to feel happy when my teammates succeed, or go for my own chance to win if it occurs. I am grateful for the opportunity to be an example for my children.”

Coach Xabier Artetxe has developed a close relationship with Kiryienka and is pleased to see the Belarusian maintain his motivation and secure a new contract.

He explained: “Kiry is a great example for the young riders – to see someone who has been a world champion and one of the best support riders in the world. He’s done almost everything, competing in numerous Grand Tours successes, but he keeps the same motivation to continue. He’s a 38-year-old rider and he’s motivated to train every day, to ride the bike, compete in Grand Tours and the very best races.

“Given he’s in the latter part of his career and with the health issue he had, the easiest thing for him would have been to retire, but Kiry is really motivated to continue racing. He wants to do more years on the bike.” 

Henao happy to continue with Team INEOS:
Sebastian Henao is looking forward to spending a further two seasons with Team INEOS as he continues to develop amongst his ‘second family’.

The 26-year-old Colombian joined the team back in 2014, and during the subsequent six seasons he’s grown into a dependable and experienced professional.

2019 saw Henao tackle two Grand Tours in a single season for the first time, a key point in his development as a support rider.

On signing a new two-year deal Henao confirmed: “I’m very excited to be able to continue with this great team. Ever since my first season I have felt like home here – it’s like my second family. All of the team, riders and staff, are incredible to work with and I have learned a lot in my last six years here.

“I favour week-long races and especially the Grand Tours. I want to keep developing and improving my skills in these races. I have more experience now and I’m able to contribute even more to help the team and give my all.”

Henao’s coach Xabier Artetxe has seen him develop first-hand and explains there are new levels he can reach in the coming seasons.

He said: “Sebastian has become a really good support rider and he feels comfortable doing this job for the big leaders in the team. He continues to develop in this role and he’s a solid rider in the mid-mountains.

“He’s gained more and more experience with each season, including in big races like the Giro and Paris-Nice. The Sport Directors and leaders all trust him, and after doing two Grand Tours this season he’s at a key point in his career. He’s in a great environment where he can continue to improve and be solid throughout a season.” 

Deceuninck-Quick Step add Ian Garrison to 2020 roster

Here is the team's news post:

The 21-year-old USA National ITT Champion will move to the World Tour from Hagens Berman Axeon, where he has built a reputation as a strong and dependable rider.

Ian Garrison signed a two-year contract with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, which he will join next year after catching the eye of the team with a series of impressive performances over the past seasons. Garrison’s speciality is against the clock, a discipline at which he showed promise in as long ago as 2016, when he took bronze at the Junior World Championships.

His prowess against the clock was again on display in June of this year, when he became both USA National ITT Champion and U23 Champion, taking victory in the Elite race ahead of several experienced World Tour level riders. This performance was followed up by a silver medal at the U23 World Championships in Yorkshire last month, which rounded out a solid season that saw him come runner-up also at Le Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux.

Speaking of his move to the team, Ian said: “I am really excited! It is an incredible opportunity to ride with a squad of this level. It is something that I have always dreamed of, as I have been a fan of the Wolfpack for a long time and watched them race, so I am excited to be a part of it and learn. I am still young at 21 and I want to have a long career and seeing the progress that Deceuninck – Quick-Step have helped other young riders make is a big part of my decision and trusting in that they can get the best from me.”

“I grew up riding my bike – my parents didn’t race, but ride bikes (they have a tandem), so growing up we rode for fun. Through enjoying sports, I brought some competitiveness to it and then through cyclo-cross and the velodrome in Atlanta I got introduced to racing. I just loved watching the Tour de France in the summer, so I knew all about Deceuninck – Quick-Step and what a special team they are, and now I’m over the moon knowing I will pull on their jersey in the next two years! At the same time, I want to say a big thanks to everyone at Hagens Berman Axeon for believing in me and helping me become a better rider!”

Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere was clearly delighted with the signing of Ian Garrison: “I am very happy to add another young and talented rider to our roster. We are always on the lookout for riders who have potential that we can help to develop, and while Ian has already shown that he can compete with the best, we hope that we can help him become even stronger. To win the Elite ITT title at such a young age is proof of the fact that he already has the talent and commitment to make it, and we are looking forward to working with him.”

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