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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, August 10, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

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Tour de France: the Inside Story

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Team Israel-Premier Tech signs British rider Ethan Vernon

Here's the team's announcement:

Israel – Premier Tech is excited to welcome newly crowned Elimination World Champion Ethan Vernon to the team on a three-year deal which will see Vernon in IPT colors through to 2026.

At just 22-years-old with multiple track World Championships to his name and an impressive road racing palmarès to date, Vernon will bolster the team’s sprint roster and continue his development as a road racer over the next three years.

Ethan Vernon after stage one of the 2023 Tour de Romandie. Sirotti photo

“I’m extremely happy to welcome Ethan to our team,” says IPT owner Sylvan Adams. “Ethan is a talented and versatile rider who can both climb and sprint. He will also strengthen our classics team. I have no doubt that he will fit in well with the other young talents that are emerging on Israel – Premier Tech.”

The feeling is mutual with Vernon looking forward to joining IPT and achieving more success on the road.

“I’m really enthused about the team’s ethos and ambitions. I am excited about being part of the success story and a new project. Everyone I have spoken to shares the same values and their attention to the small details are really impressive and with this I truly believe that, both myself as an individual and IPT as a team will enjoy many years of success,” adds Vernon.

The 22-year-old British rider started out as a BMX rider before making a name for himself as a track cyclist in his teenage years and while continuing to dominate on the track, Vernon has proved his versatility since making his road racing debut just four years ago.

Since turning pro in 2022, Vernon has already made his mark in the peloton with seven wins, including WorldTour victories at Tour de Romandie and Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, and his rapid rise to the top suggests that this is just the beginning.

“My first years as a pro have been awesome. They have given me a wealth of experience and taught me the importance of teamwork, which turned into seven successful stage wins, personal achievements and goals. Learning from, and living and riding with experienced riders has helped me adjust to life in the pro peloton. I still have a lot to learn so hopefully the more experienced guys at IPT can help me with this so I can continue to develop as a rider and team player,” explains Vernon.

“Having spent the last two seasons racing against the best riders, it has highlighted my strengths and areas I need to work on. My aim is to become one of the top sprinters in the world and also be able to separate myself from other pure sprinters on hilly and mountainous races / stages. I am confident I can achieve this with the support of the IPT team.”

Vernon’s signing is in line with IPT’s vision of investing in young talent and in 2024, he will be joined by fellow track riders Riley Pickrell and Oded Kogut who will step up from IPT Academy, says IPT General Manager Kjell Carlström.

“We’re delighted to strengthen our sprint and classics group with Ethan who has shown his capability on multiple occasions already. This is also very much aligned with our strategy for the future where we continue to bring talents to our team, either through organic growth or through our scouting program. We are also invested in supporting Ethan’s track ambitions for Paris 2024, further bolstered by his performance at Glasgow 2023.”

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American racer Luke Lamperti joins Team Soudal Quick-Step

Here’s the team’s news:

Hailing from California, where he used to ride his bike in the beginning as part of his training for moto-cross, Luke Lamperti has turned in recent seasons into one of the most sought-after young riders out there as a result of his numerous victories and impressive potential shown in both sprints and one-day races.

Luke Lamperti

A resident of Girona, Luke – who will make the step to the World Tour after three seasons with Trinity Racing – has a remarkable palmares for the age of 20: a three-time US Criterium National Champion, he’s also put his name on the winners’ list at the GiroNextGen, Tour of Japan, Tour de Bretagne, Volta ao Alentejo, Tour of Taiwan, and the Lincoln Grand Prix – all in the last two years.

“I looked up to this team since I was a really little kid and I’m really excited to join them and see where this takes me. Soudal Quick-Step is known for developing young guys and this had a massive impact on my decision to come here. It’s the right fit for me. I see myself doing more of the Classics in the future as I progress in the sport, I just love the cobbled one-day races, and I’m glad I will do it with the Wolfpack.”

“I’m happy also because I will continue on the Specialized bikes. I’ve been riding this brand for five consecutive years now and it’s nice that my relationships with them will continue, especially as we are both based in California.”, said Luke, who in June 2021, at the age of 18, became the youngest US Criterium National Champion.

“We have known Luke for some time now and we are delighted that he decided to turn pro with us. He’s one of the most talented riders coming from the U23 ranks, he has a lot of potential, and a big love for the Classics, so he’s in the right place to discover the Belgian one-day races and develop. We look forward to the next two years”, said Soudal Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere.

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Interview with Groupama-FDJ director Marc Madiot

The team posted this after signing three new riders:

On Tuesday, the Groupama-FDJ cycling team unveiled three new riders for the 2024: Frenchmen Clément Russo and Rémy Rochas as well as the Norwegian Sven Erik Bystrøm. In this short interview, Marc Madiot talks about the philosophy that shaped this year’s signings, with the main point being the trust for the current and future leaders of the team.

Marc Madiot with a couple of his riders in 2020.

Marc, the first three signings for 2024 have just been made official. Why did the team choose them?
To be very simple, they are solid and consistent riders who can play a domestique role for our leaders at the highest level, on different terrains, for the Classics and the Grand Tours in particular. In modern cycling, you need to ride in front, together, so we wanted riders capable of riding at the head of the peloton, fighting for positions, or riders who can get over the climbs well and be up there on a mountain stage. That was our goal, while taking into account the riders leaving the team.

What is the overall philosophy for this year’s signings?
We want to keep believing in what we have started to build this year, with confirmed leaders who remain on the team and the rise in power of youngsters who have just arrived: Lenny Martinez, Romain Grégoire, Sam Watson, Paul Penhoët and the others. We had neither the vocation nor the objective of finding other leaders. We have a different reasoning with our young talents from the Conti team, so we are continuing on this path by strengthening our potential around these guys.

Theoretically, some might have thought that with two leaders leaving, one or two leaders would have come onboard.
I am confident. We have entered a sporting logic and we try to make it successful and to develop it. I can see the doubts about what we do or who we sign, but it is done on a purely sporting logic. It may not be flashy, but the goal is to be in line with what we have developed with our partners, Groupama and FDJ. From the outside, people can be perplexed, but I keep moving forward. What matters is that we keep efficiency, logic and consistency in everything we do. We won’t go from left to right and from right to left just for fun and because someone thinks “this one is good, we should sign him”. If you invest in young talents but you don’t put them in the right situation or you don’t allow them to be leaders, then there’s no point in taking them. Changing leaders every year is not our mentality. It may come as a surprise in the world we live in, which is quite volatile, but we try not to be so. Some expected us to sign leaders, but we already have our leaders! These leaders are already on the team, and they will move up a rung.

Is this philosophy a bit risky?
Riders leaving is part of a cycling team’s life, and in such a case, you have to try to anticipate. This is what we wanted to do with the rise of the Conti’s youngsters. We had already done it with Pinot, Démare, then with the Madouas/Gaudu generation and we now have the Martinez, Grégoire & co. This is the reason why we are not looking for leaders elsewhere. I’m confident because it is our principle, and this philosophy is part of the team’s DNA. We have always been more interested in young riders than in spectacular signings. We are in line with what we have always done for twenty-five years. The losses are indisputable, but it is also a great challenge. What lies ahead is exciting.

Was there ever any question of reinvesting potential economic “gains” in new riders?
No, because we have never been tempted to look for ‘’stars’’ elsewhere. I say it again, but we have a different mentality. If we want to invest, we do it with people who are with us. Apart from that, budgets are also getting tighter as operating costs are getting higher and higher. Today, we race the Grand Tours at a loss. There are additional costs to the team’s operation which are extremely important, much more than they were a few years ago. We also need to take this into account.

How does it influence your position on the transfer market?
The market is currently experiencing very high inflation. The problem is quite simple. Today there are multinational teams, belonging to billionaires or states, which have almost unlimited budgets. It is obviously more difficult to go with the flow for teams like ours. We are in another niche. Let’s be clear, we cannot do what UAE Team Emirates, Ineos Grenadiers, Jumbo-Visma are doing. It may sound simple, but we try not to overspend on the choices we make. If you fail in scouting and developing youngsters, you pay for it 2-3 years later. If you make the wrong choices in signings, you pay for it almost immediately. We have no room for error. We need to be good and make as few mistakes as possible.

In addition to Thibaut and Arnaud, other domestiques/semi-leaders will leave the team. Is it a blow?
This is part of the team’s life, but there again, you need to make decisions and choices by trying to make as few mistakes as possible, and with the same reasoning. Our recruitment focused on domestiques capable of playing an important role alongside a leader. They might not be leaders or semi-leaders themselves, they might not have a great track record, but we were more interested in efficient men behind the scenes than in multiplying assets.

Will you make other moves to complete the squad?
Since some riders are leaving, some riders are coming, so it’s not over, but we will keep the same logic.

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Saudi Arabia wants to enter cycling: possible offer to RCS Sport

Here is a machine-translation of the article from from Bicisport:

Saudi Arabia is also ready to invest in cycling. Indeed, the Calcio e Finanza portal speaks of a possible offer from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund (PIF, Public Investment Fund) for the acquisition of RCS Sport, the company that organizes the main Italian races, including the Giro. Cairo and his group would not be willing to sell anyway.

Recall that Saudi Arabia, with AlUla , is already co-sponsor of the Jayco WorldTour team, while Movistar has signed an agreement with the Saudi cycling federation. In addition, the PIF, through the NEOM project, is also aiming to sponsor Jumbo-Visma which will lose the name of the supermarket chain at the end of 2024. And finally, the UCI announced the assignment of three world championships to Saudi Arabia, including the 2028 gravel world championship.

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