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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, December 1, 2020

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. - Alfred North Whitehead

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Mitchelton-Scott looks back at January 2020 races

Here’s the team’s retrospective

Three Australian titles and a stage victory at the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under got the 2020 season off to a flying start for Mitchelton-SCOTT on home soil.

The four victories were courtesy of three different riders, with Luke Durbridge the first rider to throw his hands in the air, taking the green and gold championship jersey for the fourth time in his career in the time trial event.

The momentum continued as Amanda Spratt rode away to take her third Australian title in the road race before Cameron Meyer, on his 12th attempt, was finally able to take the title after hard work from his teammates.

Spratt then returned to the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under with a huge target on her back as the red-hot favourite, having won the previous two editions back-to-back. Spratt got the race off to a solid start by picking up the stage two victory before eventually finishing the tour in third place overall.

Amanda Spratt

Amanda Spratt wins 2020 Tour Down Under stage 2.

Here’s our winning rider’s post-race reactions:

Luke Durbridge – Australian Time Trial Champion:
“It was a really good day and I’m a proud man to be riding back to Europe wearing the Australian colours for another year,

“It’s always a big benchmark when the world champion rocks up for the national titles and it makes me lift my level.

“I did it again and I really really happy. A lot of work goes into this in December; a lot of support from back home, family, my wife Lara, coach Ben and the team. We all put a lot of effort in to train hard in the off season, but this is why you do it.

“To win the national title is really special to me and I think that going into the Olympics this year that it’s a really good indicator that maybe there’s two spots up for grabs, and that both Rohan and I can take them which would be fantastic.”

Cameron Meyer – Australian Road Race Champion:
“It’s been 12 long years. I fell in love with this race so long ago and I’ve been so close so many times.

“Someone asked me the other day, ‘you’ve got nine world championships why do you want this one so much?’, but my brother has won it, Luke Durbridge one of my best mates has won it, and I just wanted it so badly.

“I want to put that green and gold on and I want to take it to Europe and wear it proudly.

“As soon as the summer comes around and I land on Australian soil, this is one of the races I think about.

“I can’t thank my teammates more. I was given a lot of responsibility today with a bit of a leadership and there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that, but my teammates were incredible. We were on the front foot, we always had someone out front, I had someone helping me the whole time. In the end strength in numbers won and today was my lucky day."

Amanda Spratt – Santos Women’s Tour Down Under - Stage 2
“From the start there was crosswinds and we tried with some other teams to split it, but it just wasn’t strong enough.

“From then, we knew we needed to make it really, really hard from kilometre 85 to the finish.

“Jess Allen, Georgia Williams and Gracie Elvin did an awesome lead out into the first longer climb and then Lucy Kennedy just let rip at the bottom. By the top of that we had five of us left with Grace, Lucy and I all there.

“From that point Lucy stayed on the front and drove it for 10km into the final climb so Grace Brown and I could one-two and try to get rid of the others. 

“In the end I couldn’t get rid of Liane and Ruth, but I decided at that point the GC was more important so the three of us were actually working almost all of the way to the finish.

“I was pretty nervous coming into the finish. Normally people would not expect me to beat those two riders in a sprint, but I just know that after a really hard race I do actually have a pretty good sprint so I’m pretty excited about to pull that off.”

January 2020 victories:
Australian Championship – Men’s Time Trial – Luke Durbridge
Australian Championship – Women’s Road Race – Amanda Spratt
Australian Championship – Men’s Road Race – Cameron Meyer
Santos Women’s Tour Down Under – Stage 2 – Amanda Spratt

Team Israel Start-Up Nation completes 2021 roster and heads to training camp

Here’s the team’s announcement:

30 November 2020 (Tel Aviv, Israel) – The Israel Start-Up Nation cycling team announced today that it has completed building its roster for the 2021 season. 32 riders from Israel and 16 other countries have signed for the coming season, including nine new riders headed by four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome. The team plans to arrive in Israel in January for its major pre-season training camp.

The team completed its largest roster yet by handing two-year contract extensions to Canadian Guillaume Boivin and Swiss rider Reto Hollenstein.

Israel Start-Up Nation

The 2021 team.

“Despite COVID-19, Israel Start-Up Nation had a good inaugural season in the WorldTour.  We secured our first victories at this level – including Grand Tour stages” said the team’s co-owner Sylvan Adams.

“Our lineup for next year is significantly enhanced, yet it keeps the core group together. We plan to be extremely competitive in the biggest races, including Grand Tours, Monuments, and Classics. Our pre-season training camp will provide an opportunity to bring everyone together and bond as a unit. Exciting times ahead.”

During the past several years, the team has made it a tradition to hold its pre-season training camp in Israel. Taking advantage of the country’s typically comfortable winter weather, the camp is also a chance to underscore the team’s Israeli roots and its vision to promote Israel as a cycling destination. Although the coronavirus crisis will make the training camp a more complicated task this year, the team is determined to do everything possible to hold the ten-day camp, which will include bonding activities and touring the country.

“We see ourselves as ambassadors of Israel, and we feel confident that we can hold the camp and ensure the health and safety of our riders and staff,” said Ido Shavit, the new CEO of Israel Cycling Academy.

Team Manager Kjell Carlstrom, who was the main force behind building the roster, expressed his satisfaction with the lineup assembled. “It will be fascinating to see how well we can perform up against the established big teams. We have a balanced roster in the sense that we can get results in all types of races, but our strongest chances will be at stage races. We are still underdogs for overall General Classification (race leadership) victories, but we can be in the mix for General Classification podiums. In the next few weeks, we’ll sit down and establish a game plan for that.” Carlstrom revealed that a meeting of the team’s directors to discuss strategy, tactics, riders, and race programs will take place in Girona, Spain on December 12th, lasting several days.

ISN’s new sportive manager Rik Verbrugghe: “The additional new riders will step-up the team to an other level and I feel that we are now significantly stronger in every discipline.”

Carlstrom expressed his delight with the extensions handed to Boivin And Hollenstein, noting that “Guillaume worked tirelessly for other riders during the year. He is an important teammate in several types of races and will be an integral piece of the team support structure next year.

“Reto has consistently shown his excellent teamwork throughout the year, and he brings a lot of experience. At the same time, he shows colossal commitment and motivation to continue being a perfect teammate – this is very valuable for any team.”

Guillaume Boivin, who has been a cornerstone of the team since arriving in 2017 says, “I’ve been part of the team almost from the beginning. I’m amazed at the giant steps we’ve taken every year and I’m very excited to be reunited with my good friend [fellow Canadian rider] Mike Woods. I hope I’ll get to race with him and support him towards success.

“We have so many substantial additions to an already strong team for 2021. It looks like we will enter all our races with strong ambitions. Of course, Chris Froome brings the team to another level for the Grand Tours – with Dan Martin and Chris, we can expect some fireworks. I think my skill set will be valuable to do the dirty work for those guys. I imagine the Classics will be a big part of my season and with Sep Vanmarcke, we have got a true leader to go to war with. So many exciting things for next year, I’d better work hard in the offseason!”

Reto Hollenstein joined the team last year, coming from Katusha, and says, “It was a challenging year with the current situation, but I never lost focus and I kept fighting. I am super happy to be part of this team. I am excited for the next season, to race with a strong team and gain from the experience of Chris Froome. The team is going to step up and I am ready to do what’s needed to help.”

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