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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, June 5, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

The offhand decision of some commonplace mind high in office at a critical moment influences the course of events for a hundred years. - Thomas Hardy

Epictetus' Golden Sayings

Upcoming racing, according to UCI revised calendar:

Latest completed racing:

Thibaut Pinot, Arnaud Démare, David Gaudu and Stefan Küng extend with the Groupama-FDJ cycling team until 2023

Here's the team's press release:

Thanks to the renewed confidence of its two title sponsors, the Groupama-FDJ Cycling Team has drawn up an extremely ambitious roadmap for the coming years. Benefiting from long-term visibility, unprecedented in the professional cycling landscape, the team is already focused on its new sporting objectives, including winning a Grand Tour.

As a first important step towards its ambition, the team will be able to count for the next three seasons (2021, 2022 and 2023) on four of its emblematic riders, who are coming to the end of their contracts: Arnaud Démare, David Gaudu, Stefan Küng and Thibaut Pinot.

Thibaut Pinot

Thibaut Pinot (shown winning stage 14 of the 2019 Tour de France) will wear the Groupama-FDJ colors for year to come. Sirotti photo

MARC MADIOT (directeur sportif):
"Extending this quartet of riders is an obvious act. Each one of them brings his own contribution to the building. Since the team’s inception, it has always been and remains committed to its riders over the long term. Very often, they are riders who have become professionals with us so that we have a relationship of trust and very high ambitions. I remain convinced that in order to achieve extremely high sporting goals, you have to be committed to the long term. You only have to look at the history of the sport to confirm this. Our title sponsors Groupama and FDJ have shown their confidence in us for another four years by committing themselves alongside us until 2024. This is what has enabled us to offer Thibaut Pinot, Arnaud Démare, David Gaudu and Stefan Küng a plan which is in keeping with the long term."

"The Groupama-FDJ Team is a structure which has made me grow, in every sense of the word. From 2011 as a trainee until today, I’ve been able to count on the unfailing support of Marc Madiot and the whole of the Sport Department. The team has accompanied me towards my greatest successes and supported me in moments of doubt. To sign up again for another three years illustrates the loyalty and recognition I give to those who make me the racer I am today. I am fortunate to be able to evolve in a structure supported by two loyal sponsors, both driven by a quest for performance and determination. I find myself in these values. Finally, the fact that I am bound for a period of three years, which is rather rare in the current cycling panorama, allows me to project myself onto a new cycle. I will be able to find a real dynamic of progress while having a long-term vision. I need serenity and confidence to be able to record performances at the highest level. And the Groupama-FDJ Team is the only formation which can provide me with such conditions."

"I am happy that the team and the sponsors have put their trust in me until the end of 2023. It’s a nice way to put into time a project we started four years ago. The team has given me the time I need to get my bearings, integrate and progress at my own pace. I’ve been able to climb the ladder little by little. Today, we can say that my learning phase is over. From now on, I will be able to play a more assertive role within the team and the sports management will also have high expectations of me. I’ll be there to help my leaders win certain races, but I’ll also be aiming to win races that are meant for me. The next three years are going to be exciting and I’m lucky that the team is offering me these great opportunities."

"When I decided to join Marc Madiot’s ranks two years ago, I was attracted by the role the team wanted to offer me and by the research carried out by the Performance Division. I was convinced that I had found the right address. The motto of this team is “The desire to come, the pleasure of staying”. Now I understand the full meaning of these words. The Groupama-FDJ cycling Team offers me the structure I need for my personal development. When we began discussions to extend the adventure, we very quickly came to an agreement. Loyalty is a very important value in my eyes. Over the last two seasons, I’ve been able to assimilate and take on a leadership role. Now I know that I’m capable of bringing the team great results. We have progressed together. And I’m in the right structure to continue my progress in different areas. We will continue to grow collectively and that’s what makes the project so interesting. In addition, the entire Performance Division has involved me a great deal in the research and development work carried out on an ongoing basis with the team and our partners. These investments tie me even more closely to the sports structure. I feel integrated and listened to in order to work on optimizing performance. As an athlete, this approach is rewarding. And I want to continue moving in this direction with a team that trusts me."

"It was obvious that they wanted to continue the adventure with the Groupama-FDJ Cycling Team. The commitment of our two title sponsors until 2024 was clearly a determining factor in my decision to stay. Being able to count on loyal sponsors and partners enables us all to progress serenely. As we have seen once again during this period of crisis, we are fortunate to have strong and committed sponsors. From a sporting point of view, the project is becoming more and more ambitious and interesting. Today, we can see the rise of young people like David Gaudu or Valentin Madouas and that is creating a real craze around us. Personally, it stimulates me and pushes me to transcend myself. Leaving, when I arrive in my best years, would have left me with a taste of unfinished business. I haven’t finished writing my story with this team. I’m firmly convinced that we’re still going to build great things and win the best races. The Tour de France is obviously still the ultimate goal for which I want to devote myself 100%."

Movistar team announces goals for 2020 season reboot

Here's the team's release:

The Strade Bianche (Aug 1), with both men’s and women’s events, will be the first WorldTour stop for the Movistar Team, whose women’s outfit could debut at the Navarra Classics (July 23/24) and the Durango-Durango (26), should the right conditions be met

The Movistar Team looks with hope towards the restart of their racing activities in 2020, as it presented, through a virtual press conference, the main details of their plans for the Blues’ men’s team in the remainder of the year. The Telefónica-backed squad’s general manager, Eusebio Unzué, confirmed Enric Mas and Alejandro Valverde will race both the Tour de France (August 29th – September 20th) and the Vuelta a España (October 20th – November 8th), while also announcing Marc Soler will be making his debut in the Giro de Italia, 3rd – 25th October.

Enric Mas

Enric Mas will ride both the Tour and the Vuelta. He's shown earlier this year at the Ruta del Sol. Sirotti photo

The three Grand Tours are the core of a calendar compressed into just 100 days, set to start, should health care authorities enable the organisers, at the Vuelta a Burgos, July 28th – August 1st. Four days earlier, the women’s Movistar Team will be resuming their calendar (if so permitted) at the Navarra Classics, 23rd / 24th July, and the Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria, July 26th. Both rosters -which will be sharing their first UCI WorldTour event back at Strade Bianche, August 1st- would complete their their 2020 season at the same place: Madrid, end of both the Vuelta a España and the revamped women’s La Vuelta Challenge.

Eusebio Unzué commented on the chance for “Enric, together with Alejandro, to keep gaining experience in the Grand Tours and getting adapted to our team. On the other hand, Marc has deserved this chance to lead a team in a three-week stagerace through his efforts in the past few years, and will be the sole leader in a Giro he’ll find a strong supporting team at.” Soler showed himself “confident about this opportunity in the Giro, and willing to do my best and be in Italy with a great team by my side. Eusebio offered me that chance, I liked the idea and I hope to bring the team a good result.“

In turn, Valverde considers he’ll start the new season “with as much excitement as I had ten years ago. These will be two Grand Tours very different for everyone – the Tour de France, with all circumstances surrounding it, will be a different one, and we’ll try to take advantage. The Vuelta will be entirely held in the north of Spain, probably with cold and bad weather, yet it will be the same for everybody. It’s a special year, with big efforts in such a short span, and I like that challenge.” Enric Mas said he feels “so much excited about this dual challenge, Tour and Vuelta, and even more thrilled to have Alejandro alongside for the two. He’s always there, he’s one to follow, and I’ll learn a lot from him. These have been rough months for everybody, yet thanks to Telefónica’s support, we’ve been able to go to bed everyday calm about our jobs, our chances, and now think about our return with full confidence.”

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