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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, December 23, 2020

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

I may be crazy, but it keeps me from going insane. - Waylon Jennings

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GreenEDGE Cycling announces its participation in the Santos Festival of Cycling

The team sent me this release:

GreenEDGE Cycling will begin the 2021 season in Australia, as the squad today confirms its participation at the Santos Festival of Cycling presented by the Santos Tour Down Under (21st – 24th January) for both its men’s and women’s teams.

Despite the cancellation of the traditional Santos Tour Down Under WorldTour events, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Australian outfit is looking to make the most of its opportunity of starting the 2021 racing season on home soil and will debut its new team name and look at the four-day event.

The race will take place in and around Adelaide with GreenEDGE Cycling bringing a strong squad stacked with Australian riders, which includes talented climber Lucas Hamilton, Australian champion Cameron Meyer, Australian time trial champion Luke Durbridge, plus 2019 Santos Women’s Tour podium finisher Lucy Kennedy and stage winner Grace Brown.

Cameron Meyer

Cameron Meyer at the start of stage four of the 2020 Tour Down Under. Sirotti photo

Team line-up for the Santos Festival of Cycling - Men’s team:
- Luke Durbridge (AUS 29)
- Alex Edmondson (AUS 26)
- Kaden Groves (AUS 21)
- Lucas Hamilton (AUS 24)
- Damien Howson (AUS 28)
- Cameron Meyer (AUS 32)

Team line-up for the Santos Festival of Cycling - Women’s team:
- Jess Allen (AUS 27)
- Grace Brown (AUS 28)
- Lucy Kennedy (AUS 32)
- Sarah Roy (AUS 34)
- Georgia Williams (NZL 27)
- Alex Manly (AUS 24) - Guest rider

Damien Howson:
“It is great that racing can resume in Adelaide at the start of next year to kick off the new season. The race isn’t the traditional Tour Down Under WorldTour race that we are used to with the world’s best all competing, but it is still a great chance for us to race on home soil, and for me in particular, coming from the city of Adelaide. To race close to friends and family is always a great thing.

“We’ve got a strong team with all Australian riders and it will be a nice and enjoyable way for us to start the next season at this festival of cycling.

“For the team it is great and important way for our Australian fans and supporters to see us race nearby and it will be extra special with our new team name and new team kit which we are super excited to display."

Grace Brown:
"It’s going to be a very different race in Adelaide next year without the usual UCI team line-ups, but we are still excited to get together as a team and show our strength at a home race.

"It will be our first race together under our new team name and a great opportunity to display our new kit and bikes. The Australian domestic teams are really strong at the moment, so we will be expecting an exciting fight for line honours each day."

Brent Copeland - General Manager:
“For GreenEDGE Cycling it is always a great opportunity to participate in the Santos Tour Down Under, as it is our home event. It will surely be a different one for us (in 2021) and for everyone, but we are doing everything possible to give that sense of normality to our sport and the community.

“We are also very excited as we will participate with a new Team name and look and doing it for the first official race of the year in Australia is an extra motivation for us.  We will try to achieve the best result possible in our first official appearance of the season.”

João Almeida: “Wearing the pink jersey for 15 days felt amazing!”

Almeida’s Deceuninck-Quick Step team posted this look-back:

The 22-year-old Portuguese talked about his unforgettable Giro d’Italia and how that experience helped him improve.

"At the start of the season, I wasn’t supposed to do the Giro d’Italia and I only found out that I would go there some two months before the race, after the season got underway again in August. I won’t hide that, at that point, I was in a good condition, as underscored by my Vuelta a Burgos and Giro dell’Emilia podiums, but I didn’t have any expectations for the Giro.

"Ok, I was pretty confident and motivated, but never in my wildest dreams would I have dreamed of being on the podium on my first ever Grand Tour stage. To finish runner-up in the Palermo individual time trial was insane, with so many strong time trialists in the race, but that ride gave me wings and made me think that I could end up in the pink jersey in a couple of days, knowing that Ganna wasn’t a climber.

"It happened just 48 hours later, on Mount Etna, after a tough day with a lot of rain and wind near the top, but it was worth it. The team was amazing, I gave everything to try and take the jersey, and when I got word that I had managed it for the smallest of margins I was stunned – I just couldn’t believe it. From that point on, I got to experience an astonishing 15 days in the overall lead and I can tell you that every single time I had that iconic jersey on my shoulders I felt a huge confidence boost, motivation and responsibility.

Joao Almeida

João Almeida in pink climbing the Stelvio Pass. Sirotti photo

"One of my best days was on the Piancavallo, where I felt incredibly strong and climbed effortlessly, retaining the pink jersey as we concluded the second week. I lost it a couple of days later, on the Stelvio – another stage I’ll never forget – but not because I was weak, but because others were stronger. I emptied myself there, but it was a bit too long and too hard, especially as it came after several demanding days that really took their toll on me.

"Despite that, I carried on and managed to finish fourth overall, which was massive for my first Grand Tour participation. I was happy and proud in Milan, where I was joined by my family, feeling that this three-week journey had helped me improve a lot mentally and become much stronger. I also felt privileged to have enjoyed this incredible adventure together with an outstanding team, a great group of guys who turned themselves inside out for me and contributed to my unforgettable 15 consecutive days in the maglia rosa."

Team Bahrain Victorious signs first Bahraini UCI World Tour Rider

Here's the team's news release:

Tuesday, December 22 2020 – Team Bahrain Victorious is proud to announce the signing of the first Bahraini UCI WorldTour cyclist Ahmed Madan, for the upcoming 2021 season.

Since Bahrain entered UCI WorldTour cycling back in 2017, one of the ambitions was always to inspire young riders and develop the most talented to ride with world’s best in the pro peloton.

The first to meet this ambition is 20-year-old Ahmed Madan who joined the Bahrain National Team in 2018. After a series of strong performances Ahmed’s potential was rewarded with a place in the Bahrain Cycling Academy which was founded by His Highness Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa to provide promising young cyclists with a path to professional cycling.

After one year of racing with the Bahrain Cycling Academy, Ahmed graduated to the UCI continental circuit. His passion and attitude during this time caught the attention of the President of the Cycling Federation, Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who identified Ahmed as a cyclist who could move up the ranks.

Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa commented: “Ahmed came to the cycling scene through group rides and mountain biking, but he started to show his talent once he started road racing. His first official camp with the national team was in Turkey where he quickly showed his potential. His passion for cycling is his biggest asset because it drives him to put in the necessary training to reach the top. Last season he raced with Bahrain Cycling Academy on the UCI continental circuit. Making the step-up to the UCI WorldTour is a big feat as Ahmed is the first Bahraini rider to join the elite riders of the cycling world. Ahmed will hopefully lead a new wave of Bahrain cyclists that can compete at the highest level and bring success to cycling in the Kingdom.”

Ahmed is looking forward to his first season in UCI WorldTour cycling and is hoping he will inspire other young Bahraini’s to take up the sport and make it at the highest level. On signing with the team, Ahmed said “Firstly, I’d like to thank His Highness Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who has given all young Bahraini cyclists a path to compete in this amazing sport. I’m excited about signing for the team, and I want to work hard to make Bahrain proud. This is an opportunity for me to take my cycling to the next level and learn from some of the best cyclists in the world.”

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