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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

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Reduced Tour Down Under to be held

The Tour Down Under race organizers sent me this news:

The Santos Tour Down Under has announced a new and reimagined event for 2021 in South Australia with the Santos Festival of Cycling taking place from Tuesday 19 to Sunday 24 January.

Richie Porte

Richie Porte, just after winning the 2020 Tour Down Under. Sirotti photo

The Santos Festival of Cycling, presented by the Santos Tour Down Under will be a 6-day domestic cycling festival which is set to delight both cycling enthusiasts and festival goers, and will include a variety of cycling disciplines, including Road, Track, Paracycling, BMX, Mountain Bikes and Cyclo-Cross.

The program will kick off with the Adelaide Track Event at the Gepps Cross Superdrome followed by a 4-stage National Road Series (NRS) race with Men’s and Women’s stages held on the same day, showcasing the Barossa, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu regions.  Program details for Paracycling, Track, Cyclo-Cross, Mountain Bike, and BMX are set to be rolled out over the coming weeks.

As part of the Festival’s COVID Management plan, selected events will be ticketed which will include limited-capacity entry for the road race start and finishes.  A free ticket will be required to access both race starts and finish locations and will be available from Monday 14 December at www.tourdownunder.com.au/ticketing.

Where tickets become exhausted, cycling fans will be encouraged to find one of our wonderful vantage points and use alternative locations on the routes to enjoy the race in a COVID-safe and socially distanced way.  Tickets for other selected riding and festival events will be announced in due course.

In a time that has been particularly challenging for South Australians, Premier Steven Marshall said that he is thrilled that South Australia can deliver an event program to start the 2021 cycling season.

“South Australia has a strong track record in delivering world class events, which create jobs and deliver substantial economic benefit to the state. To be able to pivot, innovate, and deliver a high calibre event, in a new COVID-normal environment, for all Australians to enjoy is particularly exciting,” said Premier Marshall.

For the first time the Challenge Tour will go digital in collaboration with FulGaz, with further details being announced soon, along with an exciting festival program and calendar of events.

Santos Managing Director and CEO, Kevin Gallagher said, “Santos is pleased to continue to support and partner on initiatives that make a positive contribution to the South Australian community and we look forward to enjoying a great summer of cycling.”

The Inclusion of other cycling disciplines of Cyclo-Cross, BMX, Track, Paracycling and Mountain Biking is another considered element of the festival, which in collaboration with newly formed national body, Aus Cycling, will celebrate the inclusion of all cycling disciplines under one new national banner.

Executive Director of Events South Australia, Hitaf Rasheed said the Santos Festival of Cycling has been designed to bring visitors from across Australia and South Australia to the City of Adelaide and regional communities during January.

“It is important to now look forward and do what we can to celebrate Adelaide and our beautiful regions, support our local businesses and communities, showcase what is great about our state and keep the heart beating in South Australia this summer.”

The Santos Festival of Cycling will continue to work closely with SA Health, SAPOL, participating teams and major stakeholders to deliver an exciting event that has the priority of the health and safety of South Australians, our communities and the cycling fraternity.

All event program details for all cycling disciplines as well as festival events and ticketing information can be found at tourdownunder.com.au  and information will be updated and released in due course. 

2021 Santos Festival of Cycling NRS Race Routes Summary
Thursday 21 January: Ziptrak Stage 1 – Seppeltsfield to Tanunda (Men: 106.8km / Women 80.7km)

Friday 22 January: Stage 2 – Birdwood to Lobethal (Men: 116km / Women 97.3km)

Saturday 23 January: Be Safe Be Seen Stage 3 – McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill (Men: 88.2km / Women 48.8km)

Sunday 24 January: Trek Stage 4 – Victoria Park Adelaide (criteriums)

Sander Armée and Mauro Schmid join Team Qhubeka ASSOS

The team sent me this press release:

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, December 7, 2020/ -- Team Qhubeka ASSOS is pleased to confirm a further two riders added to our roster for 2021 in Sander Armée and Mauro Schmid, to join Africa’s only UCI-registered WorldTour team.

Armée joins us from Lotto Soudal where he has been since 2014 and brings invaluable experience to the team, while Schmid is one of the rising young stars of Swiss cycling with a very bright future.

Sander Armee

Sander Armée winning the third stage of the 2020 Poitou-Charentes-Nouvelle Aquitaine.

34-year-old Belgian Armée is a strong general classification rider with excellent ability as a rouleur, and so will provide ample support to our team in our ambitions in the season’s biggest stage races.

A former teammate of Victor Campenaerts, Armée’s palmares is an impressive one that includes a stage win at the Vuelta a Espana in 2017, victory in stage 3a of Tour Poitou-Charentes en Nouvelle Aquitaine in 2020 and general classification top-10 finishes at the Tour of Norway.

Schmid joins us having spent two years at Continental level, initially with the Swiss Cycling Academy and then most recently at Leopard Pro Cycling. Describing himself as a punchy all-rounder that time trials well, complemented by a background in track cycling and cross-country skiing, the 21-year-old is a product of the impressive Swiss development system and he counts Fabian Cancellara among his heroes. Growing up the Tour de Suisse was a race that he dreamt of winning and with our team he now takes the next step toward potentially realising that dream in the future.

Having previously finished second on GC at the Tour of Black Sea (2018), in 2020 he was 11th on GC at the Tour of Luxembourg and finished inside the top-20 on GC at the Czech Tour, at which he was also sixth on a stage.

This announcement sees our roster now have 25 confirmed riders for the 2021 season with our final two riders for next season to be named in due course.

Sander Armée:
"I'm super-motivated to join Team Qhubeka ASSOS next year. Cycling is a passion for me and I feel the shared level of passion in the team, and with their staff.

"I’ve had some personal success in the past but that won't stop me from looking to improve even further; and so with the passion, knowledge, equipment and race mentality of Team Qhubeka ASSOS - I want to make this happen.

"I want to use my experience and give the best of myself to achieve all of the team's goals next year. It will also be nice to team up again with Victor Campenaerts, we were in the same team for two years and have also lived in the same village for a number of years too.

"The goal of this team is not only winning bike races but the team also raises funds to change lives through bicycles and to help mobilise people. For me this makes the team even more special, so it's an honour to be part of this."

Mauro Schmid:
"I‘m looking incredibly forward to make the step to the WorldTour with Team Qhubeka ASSOS.

"It was always a dream of me since I started bike racing about 10 years ago and this is absolutely a dream come true for me. I look forward to help my teammates so that we can achieve the goals that the team has set for itself.

"I am also very proud to represent the Qhubeka Charity which has a huge influence on people‘s lives. I can’t wait to find out more and meet the people directly involved to ensure that I use my talents on the bike to the best of my ability to also drive aware to such a great organisation."

Gino van Oudenhove - Sports Director:
"I have followed Sander since he was one of the best under 23 riders of his generation. He is a super experienced professional who has spent most of his career in the service of general classification riders, so we see him as being an excellent fit around Domenico Pozzovivo, Sergio Henao and Fabio Aru. Added to that, Sander can also finish it off himself when opportunity presents itself as was the case in his latest stage win at this year's Poitou-Charente.

"As a team we are always on the quest for young, talented and interesting riders that could fit well into either Continental team or at WorldTour level. Mauro is a talent that’s been on the radar of many WorldTour teams who are well aware of the good work done by the Swiss Cycling Academy. So we feel privileged to have him on board with us and to watch him develop and to assist him in the next steps to become a valuable WorldTour rider."

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