Publisher – What's Cool In Road Cycling
No road racing to report, but we do have the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup in Tábor with video and Marianne Vos wins the Netherlands Gravel champs. B&B Hotels-KTM has no paperwork yet for UCI license – TOP STORY.
Rider news: Egan Bernal wants to return to the Tour de France in 2023, Van der Poel fans in Langkawi, Andrei Tchmil to manage Lotto, Arnaud Démare without a lead-out and Romain Bardet resigns himself to supremacy of Pogačar and Evenepoel.
Contract news: Rigoberto Urán to stay with EF, Luis Leon Sanchez return to Astana Qazaqstan, Christine Majerus Begins 10th season for Team SD Worx, Veronica Ewers renews with EF Education-TIBCO-SVB, Barbara Guarischi and Elena Cecchini to Team SD Worx, Mikkel Honoré to Ef Education-EasyPost, Toms Skujins stays with Trek-Segafredo, Guy Sagiv and Omer Goldstein renew with Israel-Premier Tech, 2023 Lotto Dstny Devo Team roster, Three Belgian reinforcements for Soudal Quick-Step Development Team and DSM recruit Matthew Dinham, Alex Edmondson and Sean Flynn.
Team news: Sixteen teams apply for women’s WorldTeam license, AG Insurance-NXTG riders for 2023, Nicholas Roche to start gravel team, Ribble Weldtite stops, Kurt Van de Wouwer new sports manager at Lotto Soudal and Circus reinforce Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert.
Race news: Ireland Hopes for Tour de France Start, 2023 Tour of Catalonia route and Speedy the new Beking 2022 mascot. Plus, ten Zwift Academy road finalists announced and Colnago opens its first flagship store in Abu Dhabi. Monday EUROTRASH coffee time again.
TOP STORY: B&B Hotels-KTM Applied for ProTeam License, But No Paperwork Yet
The UCI announced on Wednesday that fourteen teams had applied for a ProTeam license. The B&B Hotels-KTM application is missing. The French team is busy behind the scenes to get the required documentation in order.
Some 2022 ProTeams are missing from the list for the time being, such as B&B Hotels-KTM, Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli, Gazprom-Rusvelo and Human Powered Health. These teams have not yet supplied the correct documents on 17 October. The UCI emphasises that the teams have the chance to submit the necessary papers until the end of the registration procedure. In the first half of December, the UCI license commission will determine whether teams qualify for their requested license.
B&B Hotels-KTM is busy smoothing out the last details “The delay is due to the change in the legal structure of the team, with a view to developing in the coming years. We are aware of the deadlines set by the UCI and we are doing our utmost to provide the missing documents as quickly as possible.”
The team of manager Jérôme Pineau will undergo a real transformation after this season. For the time being, it seems that Pineau will have a new project with the city of Paris, with a view to the 2024 Olympic Games in that same city. Carrefour was previously named as a new sponsor, but now Amazon France has been mentioned. The team will have a significantly higher budget in 2023 than it currently has. The Tour de France route for 2023 will be announced the day after the team makes an announcement in Paris, a lot of press will be present in the French capital.
Big news from B&B soon:
UCI Men’s Cyclo-Cross World Cup – Tábor 2022
Eli Iserbyt won the third World Cup of the season in Tábor, Czech Republic, after previous victories in Waterloo and Fayetteville. The leader in the World Cup was the first to cross the line after an exciting cross, ahead of Lars van der Haar and Michael Vanthourenhout.
The first two rounds of the World Cup were held in the Waterloo and Fayetteville, the third in Tábor. Everyone was looking at Eli Iserbyt, the winner of the first two World Cups and leader in the World Cup. However, the Belgian of Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal had to take into account his teammate Michael Vanthourenhout, Laurens Sweeck, Quinten Hermans and last year’s winner, Lars van der Haar.
In the first two laps, the big men kept a low profile. In the third round, World Cup leader Iserbyt decided to attack for the first time and made a small gap with Laurens Sweeck, his great rival in Fayetteville. Under the command of Quinten Hermans, five riders managed to rejoin, a regrouping. This was the signal for Michael Vanthourenhout, who won the World Cup in Tábor two years ago, to accelerate. His teammate Iserbyt left the work to Sweeck. Sweeck didn’t give up easily and managed to get to the rear wheel of Vanthourenhout. Sweeck took Iserbyt, Van der Haar and Hermans on his wheel. With these five the race seemed to be over heading into the sixth lap, but the pace slowed at the front and a lot of riders managed to return.
This was short-lived, however, because after a quiet interlude, the time had come for Iserbyt to accelerate again. Sweeck was unable to react immediately, Vanthourenhout remained seated as Iserbyt’s teammate and Van der Haar also held back. Iserbyt seemed to have the best form, managed to slowly extend his lead to 10 seconds, but it was definitely not a win yet for Iserbyt. Van der Haar went on his own after the race leader. The European champion was able to drop Sweeck and Vanthourenhout off his wheel with a strong acceleration and came within 7 seconds of Iserbyt, but the Belgian didn’t let it go any further. The leader of Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal continued at a high pace and managed to lengthen the difference to Van der Haar again. Iserbyt then rode unthreatened to a three out of three in the World Cup. Van der Haar had to be content with second place, Michael Vanthourenhout finished third. Sweeck finished fourth after a strong cross, Hermans completed the top 5. Jens Adams, Niels Vandeputte, Kevin Kuhn, home rider Michael Boroš and Thijs Aerts were the other names in the top 10. Zdeněk Stybar, the crowd puller, crossed the line in seventeenth place, just under 2 minutes after winner Iserbyt.
Race winner, Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “I am very happy, but also very tired. I had to go really deep today. I still felt the jet lag. I really had to push myself in the first half of the cross. In the first laps I wasn’t that attentive and it didn’t come naturally. It was a tough cross. It took me a whole lap to make the difference. It’s a difficult course for me, but I’m glad it worked out. This feels very good. This was a bit of my ‘heavy animal’ (his first victory in Tábor) and it’s great that I’m winning here now. I’m already looking forward to next weekend. In the next three crosses it is mainly about saving strength towards the European Championship. I want to start there as fresh as possible.”
2nd, Lars van der Haar (Baloise-Trek): “I have to congratulate Eli, he booked a deserved victory here. I quickly felt that the four of us stood out. So I wasn’t afraid of the pursuers. In the end I waited for the last laps, but stayed a bit too long. After that I still went for it, but I couldn’t bridge the gap anymore. I have to congratulate Eli, he has a well deserved victory here. He was the best man in the race.”
UCI Men’s Cyclo-Cross World Cup – Tábor Result:
1. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) in 1:02:43
2. Lars van der Haar (Ned) at 0:05
3. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) at 0:26
4. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) at 0:32
5. Quinten Hermans (Bel) at 0:43
6. Jens Adams (Bel) at 0:48
7. Niels Vandeputte (Bel) at 0:53
8. Kevin Kuhn (Sui) at 0:59
9. Michael Boroš (CZ) at 1:05
10. Thijs Aerts (Bel) at 1:13.
UCI Women’s Cyclo-Cross World Cup – Tábor 2022
Fem van Empel is unbeatable in the Cyclo-cross World Cup at the moment. The Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider dealt with Puck Pieterse and Annemarie Worst in Tábor after an exciting battle.
The first two rounds of the World Cup were held in Waterloo and Fayetteville in the US, on Sunday the cross action was in Tábor, Czech Republic, for a UCI World Cup race. The Dutch team was very strong with World Cup leader Fem van Empel, Puck Pieterse, Annemarie Worst, Denise Betsema and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado. Lucinda Brand, the number two in the standings, was unable to ride to due to a training crash and fracture.
The best start came from the 19-year-old Luxembourgian Marie Schreiber. The Tormans CX rider built up a nice gap, although there was no panic among the favourites for the victory. After her furious start, Schreiber was quickly caught by Puck Pieterse. The young rider of Alpecin-Deceuninck, quickly took control of the race. Due to the accelerations of Schreiber and Pieterse, there was a leading group of ten riders at the start of the second lap. Van Empel, Alvarado, Inge van der Heijden, Betsema, Shirin van Anrooij, Worst, Aniek van Alphen and Blanka Kata Vas survived the first selection. Sanne Cant had missed the move, the Belgian champion found herself in a chasing group. After a lap and a half, the pace eased off a little: home favourites Kristyna Zemanová, Marion Norbert-Riberolle and Sara Casasola were able to return from behind. It was not fast enough for Pieterse, the 20-year-old Dutchwoman who won the GP Oisterwijk last week, decided to attack on the third lap. Pieterse tried with her explosiveness and technical skill to make a difference on the winding course and succeeded only Worst and World Cup leader Van Empel were able to go with her. The three took a good gap and started the fourth of six laps with a 15 seconds lead. However, it didn’t turn out to be a decisive move of the race.
Vas, Betsema and Alvarado saw the danger and made the crossing with a strong jump, so there was a leading group of six again. Betsema decided to gradually increase the pace again on the penultimate lap, but there were no real splits. An acceleration by Vas didn’t help either. The leaders seemed mainly concerned with the final lap. Seven riders were still eligible for the victory at the start of the final lap. Pieterse, Betsema, Worst, Vas, Alvarado, Van Empel and Van Anrooij started the sixth lap with hope for the victory. Pieterse did everything she could to get away on the barrier jumps, but a strong Worst clearly had other plans and outdone Pieterse. Where Worst and Pieterse provided the spectacle, Van Empel kept quiet. The World Cup leader patiently waited for her moment. That moment came right after the barriers. On a sloping section, Van Empel managed to drop her two compatriots. Pieterse and Worst had to give up a few meters and Van Empel was uncatchable to take her third World Cup victory of the season. Van Empel is now even more firmly in the overall lead. Pieterse had to settle for second place, Worst was third. Betsema and Vas completed the top 5.
Race winner, Fem van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): “The legs weren’t even that good. The jet lag (after the American World Cup races) was a big hit. I didn’t get much sleep in the past few days. I could only follow today. An attack on the last climb proved enough. I knew Puck would jump over the beams. The pace to the beams was therefore very high, but I was able to follow her on the climbs. Three World Cup victories, I really didn’t expect that for the season. It’s just a long season and maybe I should get some rest too. However, I will be there next week in Maasmechelen.”
2nd, Puck Pieterse (Plantur-Pura): “I just don’t think I went through the cross on the beams. Last year I was given free rein, not now. I actually wanted to attack on the last climb towards the finish, but Fem had the same idea.”
3rd, Annemarie Worst (777): “There might have been a little more, but the girls are very strong. It was a tough cross, but I think it’s also very nice to look at. It was very fun and exciting. I wanted to be the first to start the kicks and beams, because I knew Puck wanted to jump over the beams. I had to prevent that, otherwise she’s gone. It finally worked, but yeah… I tried and got the best out of it. There might have been a little more, but the girls are very strong. It was a nice course. The leading group was very large, which is partly due to the fast course. There are a few technical sections, but it is mainly a very fast cross. So you also have to think tactically.”
UCI Women’s Cyclo-Cross World Cup – Tábor Result:
1. Fem van Empel (Ned) in 53:32
2. Puck Pieterse (Ned) at 0:03
3. Annemarie Worst (Ned) at 0:04
4. Denise Betsema (Ned) at 0:08
5. Blanka Kata Vas (Hun) at 0:09
6. Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) at 0:26
7. Shirin van Anrooij (Ned) at 0:30
8. Inge van der Heijden (Ned) at 0:42
9. Aniek van Alphen (Ned) at 0:45
10. Marie Schreiber (Lux) at 0:48.
Netherlands Women’s Gravel Championships 2022
Marianne Vos won the Dutch Gravel championship. The Jumbo-Visma rider was the best in Epe over a race of 70 kilometres. Moniek Tenniglo won silver, the bronze went to Lorena Wiebes.
The course of the NK Gravel champs consisted of laps of 10.5 kilometres. There were a number of dirt roads and gravel strips in the circuit, but occasionally there was also normal road surfaces. The championship attracted a number of well-known names to Epe; Marianne Vos, Lorena Wiebes, Puck Moonen and Tessa Neefjes were at the start.
In the first part of the race not too much happened, the peloton took it easy. However, towards the halfway point, Vos decided it was time to attack. The Jumbo-Visma rider immediately made a gap and continued. The 35-year-old Vos was clearly the strongest round Epe and was able to keep up her effort. With this win, Vos now holds a national title on the road, cross, track and gravel. The silver went to Moniek Tenniglo. Third place and the bronze went to Lorena Wiebes, who finished second at the Dutch Championships last year.
Netherlands Women’s Gravel champion: Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma): “This is beautiful, a Dutch title. There was quite a crowd and there were constant encouragements. Then you should try to keep a steady pace. This Dutch title is very nice. I rode my cross bike today. There are also gravel bikes, but gravel cycling is a mix of everything. There are different types of bicycles that have to be able to handle these surfaces. On Tuesday Vos is riding her first cross of this winter in the Nacht van Woerden. “I’m really looking forward to that. I am very curious. After the road season I took a little rest and now I’m going into cyclo-cross. During the season I take a break with a training camp.”
Netherlands Women’s Gravel Championships 2022 Result:
1. Marianne Vos
2. Moniek Tenniglo
3. Lorena Wiebes
4. Tessa Cousins
5. Iris Offerein
Another championships for Vos:
Egan Bernal Wants to Return to the Tour in 2023
Egan Bernal has had an eventful 2022, but is now looking ahead with confidence. In 2023, he would like to start the Tour de France, the race he won in 2019, Bernal said on the Colombian radio station Caracol Radio.
“Assuming everything goes well, and if I fully regain strength in my right leg – which was the most affected – I hope to start 2023 as a normal rider,” said Bernal, who made his comeback last August in the Tour of Denmark. “I would like to return to the Tour. I have eight or nine months to get that done and mentally I feel ready. In fact, I think this year’s break will help me. So 100% ‘yes’: I want to do a Grand Tour and hopefully that will be the Tour.”
Can Bernal make it difficult for Tadej Pogačar, Jonas Vingegaard and Remco Evenpoel if he encounters them in the Tour? “Obviously they are very strong, but I have confidence in myself. I won a Giro and a Tour. It would be a very interesting Tour de France, it would be very interesting to go there, give everything and then… may the best man win. That’s sports.”
Bernal also wants to win the Vuelta someday, he said in the conversation with Carcol Radio. “Winning all three Grand Tours would be great. After that I could happily retire. It’s a very difficult race to win, but I’m 25 and I have a lot of years ahead of me.”
What next spring will look like for Bernal in terms of program is not yet entirely clear. He did say that it was an option to start the Vuelta a San Juan in January. The Tour Colombia in February is another possibility. After that he is thinking about riding the Colombian championship, Paris-Nice and Strade Bianche, later perhaps the Critérium du Dauphiné will follow. “But these are just ideas and everything can change. It all depends on how the season goes.”
Tour’23 for Bernal:
Fans at the Alpecin Team Bus for… David van der Poel
Van der Poel’s participation in the Tour de Langkawi attracted a lot of attention in Malaysia. The local fans had seen the name of the Dutch world star on the start list and in the media and so they came in large numbers to the Alpecin-Deceuninck but… For brother David.
The bus of the Belgian team was busy at the starts and finishes, Lionel Taminiaux told RTBF. “David van der Poel was in our team, Mathieu’s big brother. But suddenly many people came to the bus with questions to see Van der Poel… They thought it was Mathieu. But it was David,” said Taminiaux. “The people there know a lot of European riders, which is proof that cycling is very popular in Malaysia.”
Taminiaux asked the team if he could ride the Malaysian stage race. “I came out of the Vuelta a España with very good legs, my first Grand Tour. Then I asked the team to ride the Tour of Langkawi. That worked out pretty well, because we won three stages,” he explained. He won the fifth stage, while Jakub Mareczko and Sjoerd Bax took the other stage victories.
The wrong Van der Poel – David in Langkawi:
Andrei Tchmil to Replace John Lelangue?
Andrei Tchmil is in the picture as the new CEO of Lotto Soudal, Lotto Dstny next year. The 59-year-old former rider, who has had a Belgian passport for several years, is also open to the job. “I want to come to Belgium and I want to be the manager of the Lotto cycling team. I’m ready for that,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws.
Tchmil has been named as a possible successor to John Lelangue, who will leave the relegated team and start work at the Tour of Poland. It was previously announced that Axel Merckx will also be named as the new CEO. HLN also names Rik Verbrugghe (now with Israel-Premier Tech) as a candidate for the position.
The fact that Lotto Soudal is relegated from the WorldTour hurts the former winner of Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders and Milano-Sanremo. “Everyone who has come in the last twenty years has taken advantage of the squad. Take John Lelangue, now he is going to organise the Tour of Poland. He leaves Lotto in ruins,” Tchmil stated.
“This team deserves much better than that. Lotto has lost her soul in recent years. I want to return the soul. And I want to come to Belgium for that. I am a patriot.”
Andrei Tchmil a Lotto man:
Romain Bardet Resigns Himself to Supremacy of Pogačar and Evenepoel
Romain Bardet, who finished sixth in the Tour de France and won the Tour of the Alps, has been looking back on his 2022 season. The Frenchman of Team DSM thinks that he was never better, but that the young riders are even better. “They have something extra.”
Bardet once again showed himself in the Grand Tours this season. In the Giro d’Italia he seemed to be on his way to the podium or maybe even more, but illness forced him to abandon. With a sixth place in the Tour de France and several top-10 places, the DSM rider once again put himself in the spotlight in his own country. “But there were always two or three riders that stood out from the rest.”
In a conversation with Eurosport France, Bardet said that especially Tadej Pogačar and Remco Evenpoel impress. “They have something extra. They are cycling geniuses. If they’re all right, I can’t compete with them,” he said.
Bardet thinks he is stronger than a few years ago, when he was on the podium twice in the Tour. “However, there are even stronger young riders. The pace, especially on the climbs, is higher than ever. I’m in my best period, but the results don’t show it. Cycling has just evolved very quickly.”
Romain Bardet stronger than ever:
Arnaud Démare Without Fixed Lead-Outs for 2023
Arnaud Démare will have to do the sprints next year without Jacopo Guarnieri and Ramon Sinkeldam. Frenchman Démare was disappointed when he heard the news, but is counting on the young riders who will join Groupama-FDJ. “That is the vision of the team.”
Guarnieri will race for Lotto Dstny next year, Dutchman Sinkeldam moves to B&B Hotels-KTM. The two fast men helped Démare to several victories. In May they won three stages in the Giro d’Itala.
“When I heard that they were leaving the team, it was of course a disappointment,” Démare said to CyclingNews. “However, I remain an athlete, so I will have to adapt. We still have riders like Miles Scotson and Ignatas Konovalovas. In addition, there are also a number of young riders who will join, I am counting on them to learn quickly.”
Those young riders, seven in total, all come from the development team. “That is the vision of the team. I respect their choice,” said the French sprinter. “We’ll see how it plays out in the early months of the season. It will be a challenge, but without Jacopo and Ramon I have no choice but to accept it.”
No help for Démare:
Rigoberto Urán is Here to Stay
EF Education-EasyPost is thrilled to announce that the Colombian veteran has decided to postpone retirement and continue racing with the team.
For Rigo, the decision was simple. “I decided to keep racing because I like it. I have a lot of passion for what I do. My life is on the bike,” Rigo said.
He had, in fact, considered calling time on his storied career at the end of this season. Rigo wrapped up the year with a suite of top ten results at the Italian fall classics, an undeniable exclamation mark on any rider’s palmarès. But when he examined his life and spoke with his family, he concluded there was no reason to retire just yet.
“The most important thing is family support,” Rigo said. “My family likes being here in Europe. They spend a lot of time away from Colombia so if they like it here, that’s important. Me, I love it here, I love riding, so I want to keep going for a few more years. I get to combine my life in Colombia with sports here in Europe and I have my family’s support, so I decided to continue racing for a few more years.”
Despite leaving his native Colombia for Europe as a teenager, Rigo has always been exceptionally close with his family. Over the decades that followed, his concept of family has expanded.
“I’ve been racing for many years. You don’t always find a team like this. EF Education-EasyPost is like a family. I really get on well with the team. Everyone is very professional. It’s a team that gives you a lot of opportunities. It’s a team that allows you to try a lot of things. You have opportunities to show your talent in grand tours and in other races. You don’t find this with a lot of teams so I knew I wanted to continue with the team. It’s a team that I love.”
Over the seven seasons Rigo has already spent with the squad, team CEO Jonathan Vaughters has come to rely on Rigo not just for his race results.
“Rigo helped save this organisation on more than one occasion. He’s a leader, by example. Not by force. He’ll be invaluable in guiding the younger riders on this team. To me, Rigo isn’t just a team member, he’s a true partner and member of our family,” Vaughters said.
As he wraps up his 17th season racing in Europe, Rigo has been a professional racer for nearly as long as his youngest teammate, Georg Steinhauser, has been alive, a testament to the longevity of his career. The years have not diminished his competitive drive one bit, particularly when it comes to the grand tours, which are something special to Rigo. He has finished in the top ten of a grand tour every year since 2012 with the singular exception of 2015. At the Tour de France, he has won a stage and been second on general classification. He has collected a pair of stage wins at the Giro d’Italia and has twice finished second overall. This season he won a stage at the Vuelta a España, completing his hat trick of grand tour stage wins, and finished in the top ten overall at the Spanish grand tour. As he approaches his 36th birthday, Rigo recognises that he has limited time left in the peloton and he knows exactly what his goals are.
“These are my last years to be on the podium. I want to keep giving my all for the podium. We’ll see what we can do for the grand tour podiums. That is what we keep working for. That’s why we keep racing for each other. For me what’s most important is sending riders and teams to races that we can win and supporting each other to get those wins. Victory for our team.”
With his lengthy results sheet and a wealth of experience to share, Rigo has assumed something of a mentorship role within the team.
“Now we have a lot of young riders so I try to support the young ones and share what I’ve learned over the years. I try to be a great friend to everyone because sometimes that’s what you need.”
The gregarious Colombian is a living example not only to his teammates and his legion of animated fans but to the world at large about the value of balancing a successful career with a satisfying life.
“I’m proud not just that I’ve ridden for so long but that cycling has taught me so much,” Rigo said. “More than anything, cycling has taught me that it’s important to enjoy what you do. That’s the best thing. Find work that you enjoy. I like to ride. I like to train. I like it all.”
And we like seeing you out on the road, Rigo. Thanks for sticking around a little longer.
Rigoberto Urán to race in 2023:
Luis Leon Sanchez Makes his Return to Astana Qazaqstan Team
A very experienced Spanish rider Luis Leon Sanchez is going to make his come back to Astana Qazaqstan Team.
After a season spent in another project, Sanchez signed a new one-year contract (2023) with Kazakh WorldTour team.
“I am incredibly happy to return to the Astana team, in fact, to return home. I have great feelings, having signed a contract with the team again, for me it is a great joy and a huge motivation. I want to thank Alexandr Vinokurov and the entire management for this opportunity. It happened that at the end of the last year we had to part ways, but I used this season as productively as possible, I worked hard, gained new experience, tried to improve professionally. Of course, I am grateful to my current team for the great opportunity to spend the 2022 season together, but now I am looking forward to reuniting with Astana Qazaqstan Team to continue moving towards new goals together,” said Luis Leon Sanchez.
Luis Leon Sanchez spent seven seasons in the Astana project (from 2015 to 2021), during these years he managed to deliver a series of victories, including Itzulia Basque Country and Volta ao Algarve stages in 2016, Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli in 2017, Tour of the Alps and Tour of Almaty stages as well as Vuelta a Murcia in 2018, Tour de Suisse stage in 2019, road race of the Spanish National Championships in 2020 and Ordiziako Klasikoa in 2021.
During the 2022 season, Sanchez scored such results as 13th place in the overall standings of the Tour de France and 16th place in the General Classification of the Vuelta a España.
“We all know Luis Leon Sanchez very well; we know his strengths and capabilities. He is a great team rider, a great assistant and a true professional. It was a pity to lose such a reliable rider last year, but that’s how the circumstances turned out. And now, I am very happy that there is an opportunity to invite him back to the team, to sign a contract with him. You can rely on Sanchez in any race, you can be sure that he will give 100% for the sake of achieving team goals. Therefore, I can only add “welcome home, Luis Leon,” said Alexandr Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Qazaqstan Team.
LL Sanchez back to Astana:
Christine Majerus Begins 10th Season for Team SD Worx
Christine Majerus has extended her contract with Team SD Worx by two years until 2024. Next year, the 35-year-old Luxembourger will start her tenth year within the team. This makes her the record holder within Team SD Worx.
Sports manager Danny Stam has therefore now been working with Christine Majerus for ten years. “You can always count on her,” Stam emphasises. “She is a good rider who still reaches her level. All these years, we as a team have enjoyed Christine a lot and she is still extremely motivated. Furthermore, she is a real team player. Especially for the younger riders, it is important to have an experienced routine rider like Majerus to show them the way in the team.”
“Why should I change teams when I am having an excellent time at Team SD Worx,” Christine Majerus wonders aloud. “I am proud to always be with the number one team in the world. After so many years, they still want to continue with me. I am indeed a rider who often puts herself at the service of the team. But with this team I also know that from time to time I can ride for my own chance in various races. I also like to help young riders find their way. This way I can also give something back to cycling that has brought me so much beauty.”
The strength of Team SD Worx is the team spirit combined with the individual qualities of several riders within the squad. “The team starts in every race with the plan to win. Getting to the top is difficult, but being number one in the UCI ranking for so many years in a row is really special. Again and again we have to confirm our status. I do sometimes wonder how we managed that. We have worked with several top riders in recent years, but each time there is a team. The team spirit is great. Everyone is always willing to work for each other. If someone wins, we all feel that as our victory. In that respect, the team really feels like a family to me. And for a family member you are willing to do just a bit more than for another.”
Veronica Ewers Renews with EF Education-TIBCO-SVB
Veronica Ewers and EF Education-TIBCO-SVB are proud to announce that the American rider has extended her contract and will continue to race with the squad through 2025.
2022 was Veronica’s first full season in the professional peloton, though judging from her palmarès, one would assume the 28-year-old was a veteran of the sport. She took her first career win on the final stage at the Festival Elsy Jacobs, quickly followed by a win at the one-day Navarra Elite Classics. She was second overall at the Festival Elsy Jacobs, Emakumeen Nafarroako, Durango-Durango, Giro dell’Emilia, and Tre Valli Varesine, as well as fifth at the Tour de Romandie. At the Tour de France Femmes, Veronica raced to 4th place on the highly anticipated gravel stage and earned a place in the general classification top ten after a valiant ride on the final stage’s summit finish. She earned a further eight top ten results on stages and GC over the course of the season.
It is partly because Veronica is so new to the professional peloton that she feels so at home racing with EF Education-TIBCO-SVB. The team has been in existence for 17 seasons already but just as 2022 was Veronica’s first full season as a cyclist, it was simultaneously the team’s first season in the WorldTour. For both Veronica and the squad, it was a year of development and new experiences, ultimately leading to impressive growth. She sees her trajectory and that of the team as deeply entwined.
“One reason this team is so great is because I am given the opportunity to develop,” she says. “There is patience around that while also putting the right amount of pressure on me to continue developing. I am really excited to be a part of seeing where this team can go. Both the team and I are learning and growing so it’s really fun for me to be part of that. I get to be part of hopefully obtaining the goal of becoming a top five WorldTour team. I also really love our sponsors. I think looking forward, I know that the staff and management are working on developing a team that is capable of that and I’m really excited to be part of that.”
Linda Jackson, founder and owner of EF Education-TIBCO-SVB, appreciates having Veronica on the team for her obvious talent, but also for the energy and positive attitude she brings with her.
“It’s a very fulfilling moment for me to announce that Veronica has extended with our team,” Linda says. “We are finally at a place where we provide a great platform for not only developing riders, but for some of the best talent in the world. Veronica is clearly one of the most promising riders for the future. She is not only a promising talent, she is a wonderful person and she cares about the team as a whole. We are excited to help her develop and to continue to build the infrastructure of our team to support her and the rest of the squad. She now has a home base for several years to come and can focus on becoming the best that she can be. We’re excited to be on this journey with her.”
As Veronica considered her future, she knew her heart was firmly invested in the relationships she has built with her teammates and the staff.
“It’s really, really cool to be connecting with so many people of different cultures and backgrounds and being able to get to know each of these people, whether they’re riders or staff. For example, Alen, our bus driver and soigneur. Being as amazingly efficient as he is and making all of the riders really comfortable is a gift. I think having a long term contract with the team and continuing to build upon relationships that I’ve already built will just continue to make those relationships stronger rather than bopping between teams.”
When Veronica reflected on the growth and support she has experienced this year with the team and the bonds she has nurtured, she realised she knew exactly what she wanted for the future.
“I’m just really excited to continue with the team. It was a big decision obviously. It’s a relief to know that I’m set for a significant amount of time. I’m definitely excited to see what kind of a rider I can develop into with this team. I think it’s going to be good.”
We think so, too, Veronica.
Veronica Ewers stays with EF Education-TIBCO-SVB:
Barbara Guarischi and Elena Cecchini Provide Italian Input at Team SD Worx
Team SD Worx has two Italian riders within the selection for next season. Barbara Guarischi is new to the team, while Elena Cecchini has extended her contract for 2023.
Elena Cecchini (30) grew into a real team player within the team over the past two years. “She is a constant value in the team and has developed into a real race captain,” sports manager Danny Stam indicated. “Apart from being a good rider, she is also a fine person. An atmosphere creator, who also takes responsibility towards the younger riders. Elena teaches them the trade on and off the bike.”
“I did not have to think long when Team SD Worx offered me a new contract,” says Elena Cecchini. “I’m having a good time in the team and have set another step in the past year. I have found my role within the team. When I ride in service of the other girls it is greatly appreciated. I am also happy with the arrival of Barbara Guarischi, a second Italian rider. Surely that also gives extra motivation.”
Barbara Guarischi (32) is new to Team SD Worx and signed a contract until 2024 with the Dutch team. The 32-year-old Italian raced for Movistar, Team Virtu and Canyon/SRAM, among others, in recent years. “With the arrival of Lorena Wiebes, we were looking for reinforcements to prepare the sprint,” Stam stressed. “We never had a real sprint train, but now a lead-out train for Lorena is necessary. With Elena Cecchini, Christine Majerus, Lonneke Uneken and Barbara Guarischi, we have riders who are suitable for this. Barbara is an experienced rider who knows how to choose position in a sprint. She is going to play an important role in that sprint train.”
Guarischi calls it a dream to ride for the best team in the world: “I was already honoured when I heard through Elena that the team was interested in me. Although I have been in the peloton for years, I see this as a new chapter in my career. It’s a switch I didn’t expect anymore. I am also looking forward to working with Lorena Wiebes. I am hugely motivated to take on this adventure.”
Elena Cecchini to SD Worx:
Welcome, Mikkel Honoré – The Danish Puncheur is Excited to Race with Us in 2023
Mikkel Honoré can’t wait for the 2023 season to start. Next year, he is going to light up races in EF Education-EasyPost pink.
The 25-year-old Dane is in San Francisco at the moment, about to start a trip down the California coast to Mexico with his wife, Marilisa. The two were married on Friday. When they return home to Switzerland from their honeymoon, Mikkel will head into the mountains to train for the year ahead. He wants to make the 2023 season his best yet.
“I am just super excited,” Mikkel says. “It is a new start and chapter for me, and I can’t wait to meet all of the management, riders, and staff and get going for next year.”
Mikkel is a very versatile rider. He has the horsepower and skill to shepherd our GC captains through a racing peloton during the hardest grand tour stages. A great climber with a strong finishing kick, who can hold his own on the cobbles, Mikkel has sprinted to stage victories at the Tour of the Basque Country and Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali—two of the hilliest stage races on the calendar. He is consistently at the front of the biggest races and always ready to do his turn for his teammates. Mikkel comes to us from Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, where he spent five successful seasons and contributed to many victories. Quick-Step released him from his contract so he could join our team. Next year, EF Education-EasyPost will count on Mikkel to be there for us at crucial moments in grand tours and attack the finales of the great one-day races. He’ll go for more victories himself.
“Mikkel will be a great asset for the team in hilly classics and the grand tours,” says EF Education-EasyPost CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “He has proven that he’s a top-class support rider and, if you look at his results, he is knocking on the door of a big win himself. This is a guy who has already won a stage at the Tour of the Basque Country, and that is one of the hardest races out there. We’re going to welcome him into the team and let him show us what he can do. He’s a smart, thoughtful guy and is going to fit right in.”
On their first evening in California, Mikkel and Marilisa watched the LA Lakers take on the Golden State Warriors on the NBA’s opening night. Marilisa is a great basketball fan who works for Olimpia Milano. The two will now drive the Pacific coast past Big Sur to LA, before flying to Tulum, Mexico to relax together on the beach. Mikkel will finally have time to catch his breath and think about the year ahead. He is a rare rider who can compete at the front of the Ardennes and Flemish classics, so will have to decide about his focus for next spring with our sports directors. He wants to race hard right through the year–and go for wins.
“I can race in almost every kind of terrain and hopefully bring a good mood and atmosphere to the team,” Mikkel says. “I love to race and attack and am looking forward to getting more opportunities with EF. I am excited to go to races with a plan to take the win. I know I have the level and the capacity to do so. We are going to have a very good team.”
On the bus, Mikkel will bring a lot to our roster too. He is a keen reader, who often turns to the classics for wisdom. Although he moved to Belgium to race bikes when he was just 17 and then went to Italy to race and made the sport his career, he has learned that there is more to a good life than just faster, higher, stronger.
“At a certain point, I felt like I needed a different stimulus in my life,” he says. “It had to be something good for my performance as well. So, I really got interested in reading. Books take you away from everything for a bit, from the bubble of racing and training, and also give you interesting knowledge as a person. Now, when we race somewhere, I really like to read about the place, because it gives you a better understanding of the where and why.”
The most interesting place that Mikkel has been bike racing is Colombia. When he was there for the national Tour, he was taken aback by how friendly the people he met were and how much they loved cycling.
“You went to every small town in the middle of nowhere, and they were all super passionate about cycling,” he says. “Then, Rigo would show up, and it got absolutely crazy.”
Mikkel has also loved the time he has spent in Montréal and Québec for the Canadian World Tour races and wants to go to British Columbia to explore its wild mountains, lakes, and rivers.
“I love travelling and seeing the world,” he says. “Travelling is what life is all about. It gives you a different perspective on the world. Travelling, seeing different cultures–this is what I love to do.”
Racing around the world also makes Mikkel appreciate home. When he returns to Switzerland, and the home he and his wife have made near the shores of Lake Como, he will focus on getting stronger and faster for next season, when he’ll fly the EF Education-EasyPost colours up cycling’s highest cols and in the finales of the classics.
Welcome to the team, Mikkel.
Mikkel Honoré to EF:
Toms Skujins to Stay with Trek-Segafredo Until the End of 2024
Toms Skujins has extended his contract with Trek-Segafredo for another two years. The 31 year-old, is under contract with the American WorldTeam until the end of 2024.
In 2018, Skujins made his Trek-Segafredo debut, having previously raced for Cannondale-Drapac for two years. Since his transfer he has racked up eight victories, including a Tour of California stage, Tre Valli Varesine and five national titles. “There is no better place for me for the next two years,” Skujins said about his contract extension.
“Every year with the team I have taken a step up. That has sometimes worked out well, but sometimes not if you look at my results. But my qualities to help the team have also grown every year,” he continued. “Now new promising riders like Mattias Skjelmose are breaking through and I look forward to helping him further.”
Last year, Skujins raced the cobbled classics, where he often gave priority to the hilly races in the past. “But there are still so many races that I want to ride,” adds the Latvian. “One goal I still have for the next two seasons is to win a stage in a Grand Tour.”
The Trek-Segafredo team are happy that Skujins will stay for another two years. “Toms is loyal, reliable and very professional. He is the embodiment of the spirit of our team and that is why he is very popular among our fans and within the team,” said manager Luca Guercilena. “We know he can deliver when the opportunity arises, but at the same time he is also important as a road captain and a helping hand for the young riders.”
Toms Skujins to stay with Trek-Segafredo:
Guy Sagiv and Omer Goldstein Renew with Israel-Premier Tech
Guy Sagiv (27) and Omer Goldstein (26) will be with Israel-Premier Tech next year. The two Israelis have extended their contracts for one season until the end of 2023.
Sagiv has been racing for Israel-Premier Tech since 2017, Goldstein has been part of the team since 2018. General manager Kjell Carlström is happy that he can also count on the two riders from Israel next year. “Guy has proven that he is always willing to work for a teammate. He plays an integral role within the team and often takes on the role of road captain.”
“Omer has taken another big step forward this year. He has shown what he is capable of. He was very close to stage wins in the Tour du Rwanda, Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali and the Vuelta a Burgos. Given his motivation and determination, I’m sure he will win in 2023.”
Sagiv has ridden the Giro d’Italia twice. Goldstein completed the Vuelta a España twice and reached Paris in his first Tour de France in 2021. Goldstein also raced to several good GCs this year. In the Tour du Rwanda, Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali and the Vuelta a Burgos he just missed a stage win, but he also finished ninth in the Tour de Wallonie and fourteenth in the Veneto Classic.
Goldstein in the 2021 Tour:
Lotto Dstny Devo Team finalises 17-Rider Roster for 2023
From 2023 onwards, the development team of Lotto Dstny will operate as the Lotto Dstny Devo Team. The team will also take the step to continental level next year and has now completed its roster of seventeen young talents.
2022 was a highly successful year for the Lotto Soudal Development Team. Team manager Kurt Van de Wouwer looks back on it with great satisfaction. “Prior to the start of every new season, it seems difficult to improve or at least match the performances of previous years, but we still succeed in taking new steps every year,” he says. “As a team we performed strongly, we won races with many different riders and were competitive on different terrains: at the Classics, stage races and championships. To give an example, Alec Segaert recently won Il Piccolo Lombardia, Lennert took a stage victory and finished 2nd overall at the U23 Giro. Like every year, the Belgian championships were a main goal and we managed to conquer the Belgian tricolour in all three disciplines. Jarne Van de Paar took the Belgian road title, Alec Segaert won the Belgian U23 time trial championships and also in the team time trial, we were on the top step.”
For over 15 years, the Development team of the Lotto cycling teams has been a reference in the U23 category. Meanwhile, over seventy riders have been formed into pros, amongst them Tim Wellens, Florian Vermeersch or Arnaud De Lie. “Every year, our goal is to deliver several riders to our pro team,” says team manager Kurt Van de Wouwer. “This year, Lennert Van Eetvelt and Liam Slock will take the step towards the pros. And also Alec Segaert and Jarne Van de Paar are already sure of a pro contract in 2024. In addition, four other guys have signed a contract at other pro teams. We are convinced that the selection for 2023 again includes several future pro riders. Together with the professional support of our team and the race schedule including plenty of international events against the best espoirs, we help them in bridging that last step.”
Also next year, the Devo Team will be an important part of Lotto Dstny, as the Development Team will act on continental level for the first time since its foundation. “The step towards continental level is a logical evolution. That way, our young talents will get a taste of racing with the pros at the ProSeries or .1 level. In doing so, we’re not only reducing the step towards pro level, also the integration of the young talents within our pro team will be smoother,” concludes Kurt Van de Wouwer.
These are the seventeen riders to be part of the Lotto Dstny Devo Team next year:
Ramses Debruyne, Jelle Declerck, Tijl De Decker, Axel De Lie, Jelle Harteel, Branko Huys, Joshua Giddings, Robin Orins, Milan Paulus, Gianluca Pollefliet, Cameron Rogers, Alec Segaert, Jarne Van de Paar, Lorenz Van de Wynkele, Cédric Van Raemdonck, Viktor Verschaeve and Jago Willems.
Three Belgian Reinforcements for Soudal Quick-Step Development Team
Leander Van Hautegem, Lars Craps and Gil Gelders will ride for the squad in 2023.
Having completed his first season in the U23 ranks, 19-year-old Leander Van Hautegem – who studies Sports Management – has already set his eyes on next year: “I’m really excited about joining the Soudal Quick-Step Devo Team, it’s a nice chance and I’m grateful for that. I hope to build further on my future as a rider. As a first-year student I’m quite happy with my season. In some hard races I could finish in the top 20, sometimes I had hoped for more but in general I think I can be happy with the results I had. I want to focus on climbing, as this is where my talent lies, and I hope to make another important step next year with a top 10 in some nice races, which I think it’s possible.”
Lars Craps (21), who will start his Master studies in Economics-Law-Business Administration, is another new addition to the squad: “It’s a big step, a dream and I want to perform well immediately. My spring went really well this year, I scored several nice results, such as a 12th place in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Then some bad luck hit me, with sickness and crashes, and only at the end of September I could find my normal level again. But this is also part of cycling. I have tasted the U23 circuit for three years now and I have noticed that the Ardennes races suit me. This winter I want to take another step in this direction and start on a higher level next year.”
Gil Gelders (19) – who impressed in several stage races in 2022 – is another promising name: “I have a really good feeling about joining Soudal Quick-Step. I think I’ll have the best support here to make the most out of it. From this past season I’ll remember the Baby Giro, as in the third stage I was about to quit the race, but then I won stage 5 in Peveragno from a small group. The contrast was so big between not feeling well and coming close to retiring and the happiness that victory gave me. I’m really satisfied with the year I had. I’m not a pure climber, but I managed to get a strong sixth overall at the Ronde de l’Isard, which is encouraging. My focus is on the Ardennes, races like Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but also on the Flemish ones. I also hope to become better in the time trials.”
Team Manager Bart Roosens is happy to welcome these three talents next year: “All of them showed some nice things in the past season and didn’t go unnoticed. Lars and Gil have the same profile, while Leander is more of a climber type. For Lars it will be an important season, Gil still has a lot of growth possibilities and Leander’s future also looks bright, so we look with optimism and confidence to next year.”
Team DSM Recruit Matthew Dinham, Alex Edmondson and Sean Flynn
Team DSM are thrilled to announce the signings of Matthew Dinham, Alex Edmondson and Sean Flynn to their Men’s program next season. Edmondson is contracted for the 2023 season, Flynn through 2024 while Dinham will wear the distinctive two-striped jersey until the end of 2025.
Matthew Dinham (AUS)
A talented rider, Dinham has tasted success in cross-country mountain bike events where he was U23 Australian and Oceanian champion in 2019 and took the Elite Australian title earlier this year. Looking to the future, Dinham will focus on the road with the team where he has also tasted victory and achieved impressive results throughout his career in the U23 ranks. 2021 saw him take an impressive 12th place on GC at the Tour de l’Avenir on debut which he followed up with eighth on GC at the Tour de Bretagne. This season started off strongly with a double second place at the Australian national championships before a series of impressive results in Europe; fifth on GC at Tour de la Mirabelle, seventh overall at Tour du Pays de Montbéliard, ninth at Tour Alsace – all of which culminated in a brilliant solo win over challenging mountain parcours at the Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc. Dinham then repeated another good performance at the Tour de l’Avenir where he went one place better than 2021, with an 11th place finish; and followed that up with seventh at a home World Championships.
Dinham said: “I’m looking forward to joining Team DSM. There is a good track record of Aussie MTB riders coming to the team and doing well like Chris [Hamilton], and I also raced against Kevin [Vermaerke] too in the past. I’ve seen from afar how the team has done a really good job at taking those guys on and improving them as riders. Next year I just want to learn as much as possible and be the best help I can for the team’s finishers so we can get the best results. On a personal level, I see myself more as a climber and GC rider, who has a bit of punch, but I just want to grow as a rider overall with the team and get some nice results.”
Team DSM coach Rudi Kemna added: “Matthew has had a good year in the U23 category, winning races and finishing second in both the road and time trial national championships. His Australian mountain bike title shows his versatility as a rider and someone that has good skills on the bike. In the future with our guidance, we think he can become a strong rider in the mountains but also possibly in the hilly one-day races too. This year at Tour de l’Avenir he had some bad luck but showed a resilient character to keep fighting and finish in 11th place there. We’re looking forward to working with Matthew and help him realise his potential.”
A professional for seven years, Edmondson combined track and road racing in his youth, picking up multiple Australian and World titles on the boards alongside an impressive win at the Ronde van Vlaanderen Beloften, the U23 edition of the famous monument. Making the transition full-time to road racing in 2016, Edmondson has shown his strength riding in support of his teammates, whether that be as part of a strong sprint train or putting his power to use in the time trials; and he was part of his team’s winning performance at the 2019 Tirreno-Adriatico TTT. His crowning glory on the road was a national title winning performance at the 2018 Australian road race championships after just holding off a charging pack from a mid-race breakaway. This year has seen Edmondson faced with several setbacks due to illness and crashes, but it has only made the Australian even more motivated for the coming seasons.
Edmondson said: “I am really looking forward to joining Team DSM. The team has a lot of young but very talented guys and being able to help and spur them on is something that really motivates me. I also like how the team approaches things and they think outside the box, going down different pathways and avenues. They are a very successful team and I want to be part of that success going forward. I know a few of the guys already on the team and am eager to hit the ground running come January.”
Team DSM head coach Rudi Kemna added: “Alex is an experienced rider in the peloton and has been a part of a lot of successes at his previous team; particularly as a member of the sprint block where he played an important role. It’s in that similar role where we think Alex can bring a lot of experience to our team, as well as his in-race tactical awareness and quick-thinking in stressful moments during races. He is also someone that holds himself and others to a high standard and that accountability is something which is valuable as we look to progress our sprint block to the next level.”
Sean Flynn (GBR)
Coming from a multi-discipline background, Flynn has held British titles in the junior ranks for the road circuit championships but also over the rougher and muddier terrain taking both the cyclocross and cross-country mountain bike national titles too. Making the transition full-time to road racing at the start of 2021 in the U23 category, Flynn picked up several solid results in one-day races and took his first podium finish with second on a stage at the Circuit des Ardennes. This year saw him start with a bang, taking his first UCI level win at the Istrian Spring Trophy, a race where he finished third overall. A consistent string of performances has followed with several top tens throughout the season: a sprint jersey win at the Giro Valle d’Aosta, tenth place at the Commonwealth Games where he helped his Scottish teammate to a bronze medal, and a recent fourth places at the Tour of South Bohemia and Paris Tours U23.
Flynn expressed: “I’m really looking forward to joining Team DSM; it’s a dream for me to be part of one of the biggest teams in the world. I also know that it’s only the beginning and that the hard work has only just started. I’m excited to step into that higher level of racing and ride some races that I’ve watched on TV for several years which is really nice. I have a bit of a nervous excitement about it all, but I’m ready to work hard and prove myself with the team and become the best rider I can.”
Team DSM head coach Rudi Kemna continued: “Sean is someone that we’ve had contact with for some time as he has made his way through the ranks. We see him as quite an all-round talent who can get over the hills and packs a good sprint – something that we have seen in his U23 campaign this season. He’s still relatively young so we want to bring him to a higher level overall with the help of our coaches and experts, and we think in the future he will be suited to the hilly classics.”
Sean Flynn to DSM in 2023:
Sixteen Teams Apply for Women’s WorldTeam License
The UCI announced on Wednesday which teams are making a bid for a WorldTeam or ProTeam license. Applications have also been received for a Women’s WorldTeam license. Sixteen teams have supplied the necessary documents to be part of the highest level: the limit on the number of teams with a Women’s WorldTour license has been set at fifteen.
The Women’s WorldTour started in 2016. At the end of 2019, the first eight Women’s WorldTour licenses were distributed, at the time there were fourteen teams: Liv Racing-Xstra, Jumbo-Visma, SD Worx, Team DSM, Movistar, UAE Team ADQ, Canyon-SRAM, FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope, BikeExchange-Jayco, Trek-Segafredo, Human Powered Health, Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad, Uno-X and EF Education-TIBCO-SVB.
These licenses are valid until the end of 2023. Thirteen teams that currently hold a Women’s WorldTeam license want to extend their WorldTeam status. Human Powered Health is missing from the list for the time being, but the UCI emphasises that teams have the chance to submit the necessary papers until the end of the registration procedure. The American team was also reassuring on the subject.
There are also three continental teams that would like to make the step to the highest level. These are Plantur-Pura (known as Ciclismo Mundial), Ceratizit-WNT and AG Insurance-NXTG. Britain’s Le Col-Wahoo was considering the Women’s WorldTour, but is staying where it is for the time being. The Italian Valcar-Travel & Service team, the first continental team in the classification, has also not submitted an application.
In the first half of December, the UCI license commission will determine whether teams qualify for their requested license.
The Women’s WorldTeam licenses are only valid for one more season, because after the 2023 season all licenses will expire, and the World Ranking will play a decisive role in the eligibility of teams. The points total for 2022 and 2023 will decide which teams can be WorldTour teams in 2024 and 2025. From 2026, licenses will be issued for three years.
Teams applying for a Women’s WorldTeam license before 2023
Ciclismo Mundial/Plantur Pura
Israel Premier Tech Roland
Liv Racing Xstra
Movistar Team Women
Team SD Worx
UAE Team ADQ
The women’s peloton is taking shape for 2023:
AG Insurance-NXTG Riders for 2023
AG Insurance-NXTG has applied to join the Women’s WorldTour next year, but the team will also work with a junior and U23 squad in 2023. The full selections of all three teams have now been announced.
In 2022, AG Insurance-NXTG was a UCI team that focused exclusively on the training of promising riders. “In 2023, we will take the next step by starting an elite team with sixteen riders, eight of which come from our own training structure,” said CEO Natascha den Ouden on the AG Insurance-NXTG site. As previously revealed, these are Julia Borgström, Britt Knaven, Anya Louw, Gaia Masetti, Lone Meertens, Ilse Pluimers, Maud Rijnbeek and Ally Wollaston. “Julia, Britt, Anya, Gaia, Lone, Ilse, Maud and Ally have shown they are ready to step up.”
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Nicole Steigenga and Romy Kasper are some of the newcomers. “With the addition of eight new riders – both experienced and emerging – we have a balanced team for the race on the Belgian cobblestones, but also for the Ardennes and the higher mountains abroad, such as during the Tour de France Femmes. It’s a complete team and I can’t wait to see what they can do next year.”
The junior team has a completely new roster. It mainly consists of Belgian riders, but also some foreign talents. “With our three-part structure, we want to offer young talents every opportunity to fulfil their cycling dreams and gradually develop in a professional environment,” said AG Insurance CEO Heidi Delobelle. “With real opportunities to grow from the basics to the top: from the juniors, via the promises, to the elite team.”
AG Insurance-NXTG 2023 Team Roster:
Mireia Benito (Spa)
Maaike Boogaard (Ned)
Julia Borgström (Swe)
Justine Ghekiere (Bel)
Marthe Goossens (Bel)
Lotta Henttala (Fin)
Romy Kasper (Ger)
Britt Knaven (Bel)
Anya Louw (Aus)
Gaia Masetti (Ita)
Lone Meertens (Bel)
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (SA)
Ilse Pluimers (Ned)
Maud Rijnbeek (Ned)
Nicole Steigenga (Ned)
Ally Wollaston (NZ).
WorldTour for AG Insurance-NXTG:
Nicholas Roche to Start his Own Gravel Team
Nicholas Roche will launch its own gravel team in 2023. The Irish former pro, who won two stages in the Vuelta a España, is throwing himself into the world of gravel with his brother Alexis Roche.
A gravel team is still being worked on, but the 38-year-old Roche will have support from brands such as Bianchi, Ekoi and Assos. “I want to put together a small team,” Roche told VeloNews. “I have fully embraced the clay world. Next year I will continue to do my TV work and duties for Trinity Racing, but hopefully I will also be able to ride 12 to 15 races in the United States and Europe. I hope we can travel and race as a team.”
It was Alexis Roche who persuaded his older brother to take up gravel racing. “He will definitely be part of the team and we also want a woman. If we get a little more sponsorship money, we can attract a fourth rider. It will not be a team with all the trimmings, but we will certainly share our experience.”
“We have not yet chosen the female rider, that spot is still open,” Roche continued. “That is also difficult, because many women are already fixed on a team. In addition, some riders still have a focus on road cycling. But that is being worked on. Our team is mainly about the adventure.”
Roche gravel team in 2023:
British Team Ribble Weldtite Stops Due to Sponsor Problems
British continental team Ribble Weldtite will cease to exist at the end of the year. The team made the announcement via social media. According to rider Finn Crockett, a lack of sponsorship income is the biggest reason to pull the plug from the team.
“As you may know, it came down to sponsorship money. That is very unfortunate. It’s a sad way for the team to come to an end,” Crockett told Cycling Weekly. “Just before the Tour of Britain, we were informed that it would probably turn out to be this. It raised questions for many riders about next season, but we couldn’t do much.”
That means that British continental cycling in 2023 will only be represented by Trinity Racing, WiV SunGod and Saint Piran. “If Ribble Weldtite is having trouble staying afloat at all, it’s not a good sign for British cycling,” said Crockett, who won bronze in last summer’s Commonwealth Games road race and this year’s Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic.
The 23-year-old Briton has now found a new team for next season. He just can’t say which team yet. For his teammates, including former pros such as Harry Tanfield and Alex Peters, their future is also uncertain. In the past, Ribble Weldtite has been the stepping stone for riders like James Shaw (to EF Education-EasyPost) and John Archibald (to EOLO-Kometa) to the pros.
In a statement, Ribble Weldtite, which has grown from a local club team to a Continental team competing among the pros over nine years, has said it will leave cycling with its head held high. “We are proud and this is our way to end an amazing journey, with many memories and friends for life,” the statement read.
James Shaw with Ribble in 2021:
Kurt Van de Wouwer – New Lotto Soudal Sports Manager
Kurt Van de Wouwer is Lotto Soudal’s sports manager as of today (Friday 21 Oct). The experienced former rider of the team has proven himself for years as manager of the Development Team and Ladies Team.
Kurt Van de Wouwer raced for the Lotto cycling teams for many years during his career as a rider and took up the role of sports director at the same team afterwards. He knows the team inside out. For many years he has successfully managed the Development Team and Ladies Team. Talents like Arnaud De Lie, Florian Vermeersch and Maxim Van Gils were recruited by Kurt Van de Wouwer and made their way up to the professional ranks under his guidance.
With the appointment of Kurt Van de Wouwer as sports manager, the continuity of the professional cycling team is guaranteed. He will be responsible for all sports decisions, allowing the team to focus on the preparations towards the 2023 season. “I am very proud to be able to take this step”, comments Kurt Van de Wouwer. “This team means everything to me, after all those years as a rider, sports director and manager of the Development Team and Ladies Team. The Lotto cycling teams play a crucial role in cycling in Belgium and the rest of the world. This team holds a lot of young talent, combined with some ambitious international top-level riders. I am full of confidence in the future of what will be named Lotto Dstny from next season on and am looking forward to help shape that future in my new role.”
As communicated earlier, CEO John Lelangue will leave the team after the 31st of December. The recruitment process of a new CEO will continue with the greatest care.
Kurt Van de Wouwer – Lotto team through and through:
Circus and Ardent Group Reinforce the Pyramid of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert
Ardent Group will reinforce its presence alongside team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert through its flagship brand Circus, by investing transversally in the pyramid of the Walloon team. A stronger backing of the World Team, title partnership of the new UCI Continental team and sponsorship of the development of young talents through the Ardent Group Cycling Academy are some of the commitments of the group from Liège for 2023.
The announcement was revealed this Friday in the Dôme of Charleroi by Nicolas Léonard, Director and CFO of Ardent Group, in presence of the Minister-President of Wallonia Elio di Rupo, the Minister of Sports of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles Valérie Glatigny and of the Walloon Minister of Budget and Sports Infrastructure Adrien Dolimont and on the occasion of the fourth gala evening of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. Ardent Group wishes to contribute actively to the development of the cycling club, from which it is a partner for five years already, by supporting the different levels of the pyramid.
This support is translated in an investment on three major pillars.
On top, the World Team will change its name from 2023. Circus, the visible sponsor on the back of the bib shorts of the professional team since 2017 and first title partner in 2020, returns as official name sponsor of the UCI World Team in the beginning of next year. Intermarché-Circus-Wanty will again aim for the top after concluding the 2022 campaign in fifth place in the world ranking and securing three supplementary years in the World Tour.
The education of young talents isn’t lacking. The Ardent Group Cycling Academy, which was launched in the autumn of 2021, is the Walloon centre for cycling skills and expertise developed by the World Tour structure of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert. The mission of this academy, receiving support from Ardent Group since the start, is to revitalise the basis of the cycling pyramid, for example by supporting numerous cycling clubs which are affiliated to the Fédération cycliste Wallonie-Bruxelles. During the gala evening of 2021, more than 20.000 euros were distributed to eight Walloon clubs in the form of equipment, vouchers or funding. The campaign has been relaunched this Friday to continue supporting the educating clubs, the schools and their educators.
To complete its pyramid, a new UCI Continental Development team will see the day in 2023 under the direction of the newly retired sports director from Liège Kévin Van Melsen. Circus is mindful about a transversal support in the cycling world and will become the first title partner of this new team, which will contain fifteen young Walloon, Belgian and international talents.
Nicolas Léonard (Director & CFO Ardent Group): “Our group has always had at heart to contribute to the community and sports life of our country. The last couple of years we’ve grown explosively on an international level, but our major mission remains to conserve our important local anchoring. Strengthening our partnership with a team which we support for five years already by participating actively to the development of all echelons of its pyramid is the perfect representation of how we consider our investments in the universe of sports.”
“It is with this mindset that we launched the Ardent Group Cycling Academy, in extension of our support to the World Team and as a complement to our commitment to sport. The education, the talent detection and the creation of an expertise and cycling skills centre are an integral part of the philosophy of our group. We implement it in our own companies with which we achieve a remarkable international growth. So we were naturally convinced about the importance to trace this principle to the world of sports and to cycling in this case, with the goal of enabling the youth to find an open door and to break through on a professional level in cycling and at the same time also of showing our region and our country on the international scene. In parallel to this, it is a real pride to be able to confirm today our confidence towards the World Team by returning as the second sponsor in 2023. Indeed, next to the fifth place in the world ranking, it seemed essential to support this team as it is a true Belgian and Walloon showcase in an international landscape.”
Jean-François Bourlart (CEO Continuum Sports Belgium): “We made a step forward this season. Both on the sports side with 24 victories and a fifth place in the UCI world ranking as on our projects. Indeed, we worked to launch a development structure which will be operative from January 2023, competing the Ardent Group Cycling Academy. The creation of this team is a true step forward in our commitment to support young cyclists. The team will be directed by Kévin Van Melsen, aiming to form riders younger than 23 year old in professional circumstances to join the World Team on the short and long term. Next to this team, we strive more than ever to support the Walloon amateur clubs, like we did at the end of 2021 with a distribution of more than 20 000 euros.”
“I’m also looking forward to the return of Circus in the naming of our team. Circus is a solid group, which doesn’t cease to grow on the international scene without forgetting its Walloon roots. With this regard, our histories are similar and full of sense. We’re pleased to be able to work with such a big player and sponsor of Belgian sport like Circus, which is concerned about both the elite and the base. I’m convinced that this new step will boost our project, which aims to confirm the international status which was achieved in 2022 with Intermarché-Circus-Wanty.”
As flagship brand of Gaming1 – the entertainment branch of Ardent Group – is Circus a major player in the gambling market and sports betting industry and is also present in six other countries. The brand, which is visible on the back of the bib shorts of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert since 2017, is a key player in Belgian sports. Circus, a historical partner of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, is also present in football as sponsor of Standard de Liège and KAA Gent and in basketball with Circus Brussels Basketball or recently in padel with the Circus World Padel Tour taking place in Tour & Taxis last May. By becoming title partner of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty aiming to strengthen the international status of the team, Circus stays loyal to its will of accompanying black-yellow-red projects in the long run and of supporting all levels of sports.
Circus become a main sponsor:
Ireland Hopes for Tour de France Start in 2026 or 2027
Ireland hopes to organise the start of the Tour de France in 2026 or 2027, according to Cycling Weekly. The aim is to have the riders race in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Tour de France started in Dublin in 1998.
Catherine Martin, Ireland’s minister of sports and Gordon Lyons, Northern Ireland’s economics minister, have expressed their interest to the Tour de France organiser ASO. “Organising the biggest cycling race in the world would be a great opportunity for Ireland,” Martin told Ireland’s RTE Sport.
“I met Minister Lyons during my recent trip to Belfast and we showed a shared interest in bringing in the Tour de France for Le Grand Départ, ideally in 2026 or 2027. The idea is to organise three stages. We can make it a great event, thanks to our shared experience in organising major sporting events. The aim is to put Ireland on the map as a tourist destination.”
According to Lyons, Northern Ireland – by hosting the Tour de France – can put itself on the sporting world map. “It would be a fantastic opportunity for Northern Ireland. People fondly remember the 2014 Giro d’Italia, which also started in Northern Ireland. I am convinced that together we can organise the start of the Tour de France.”
Whether an Irish Tour start in 2026 or 2027 is feasible is highly questionable. Last year, Great Britain announced that it would like to organise the start of Tour de France in 2026. The Tour de France has already visited Great Britain three times: in 2014, the British were responsible for the Grand Départ. The plan is to organise stages through England, Wales and Scotland in 2026. The candidacy fits in with a larger plan of the British government, because in addition to the Tour start in 2026, the British also want to organise the Rugby World Cup for women in 2025. And to top it all off, they dream of the World Cup in 2030. A total of 40 million pounds (or 47.5 million euros) will be made available for these ambitious plans.
The Giro d’Italia in Ireland 2014:
2023 Tour of Catalonia with Uphill Finishes and Stage in Barcelona
The organisers of the Tour of Catalonia has announced the route of next year’s stage race. Just like last year, the Spanish race consists of seven stages. Three of those stages are very tough with several difficult climbs.
Edition 102 of the Tour of Catalonia will be held from 20 to 26 March. The race starts with a stage to and from Sant Feliu de Guíxols. The next day the finish is on the Vallter, a long and tough climb in the Spanish region.
On day three another uphill finish. The riders will have to climb La Mollina, which was also in the last edition. The fourth stage is easier. Stage five is the third tough day with a finish at Lo Port. After the sixth day with a finish in Molins de Rei, the riders head for the usual final stage in Barcelona. There, the traditional circuit is completed with the ascent of Montjuïc.
In 2022, Sergio Higuita took the win in Catalonia. On day six, the Colombian teamed up with Richard Carapaz, who was second in the overall standings, the two went on the attack for more than 100 kilometres. Third place went to João Almeida.
2023 Tour of Catalonia (20-27 March) Route:
Stage 1: Sant Feliu de Guíxols – Sant Feliu de Guíxols
Stage 2: Mataró – Vallter/Setcases
Stage 3: Olost – La Molina
Stage 4: Llivia – Sabadell
Stage 5: Tortosa – Lo Port
Stage 6: Martorell – Molins de Rei
Stage 7: Barcelona – Barcelona.
Hard days in Catalunya:
Speedy, Created by Children for Children, in the Name of Sustainable Cycling
Here is the new Beking 2022 mascot, a cute sloth that suggests the right approach to mobility to the little ones.
He’s a sloth and his name is Speedy, the new mascot of Beking Monaco 2022, designed to help young cyclists approach the rules of the road and become more aware and autonomous in moving around safely.
Speedy is a cute red and white sloth that was born from the desire to find a voice capable of conveying messages to a target audience unrelated to the purely sporting and institutional aspects of the event. He will therefore be the narrator of all the editorial lines about education, entertainment and soft mobility.
An idea for the youngest by the children who have been an active part in its conception, as Claudia Morandini, co-creator of Beking, explained: “Our children are very proud to participate in this project. They contributed to the creation of Speedy, together with the whole fantastic Beking team, and have many ideas for the future. During the last edition, they enjoyed cycling with their peer friends in the name of the passion that binds them to their dads, and it was a truly magical day.”
Road education, and the safety of children, is certainly one of the most important themes of the project, a commitment that every parent must make to turn this traveling mode into a healthy habit. In big cities, it is essential to use a mode of transport that replaces the car, to save time, health and to think about the Planet. It is from these small steps that proper education can begin.
“I remember when I was a child and the bicycle was what we used to get around everywhere. I would like it to be like that again,” explained Claudia, who is not only part of the Beking team, but first and foremost a mother. “The only way to enthuse a child is to enable them to play a sport, and we will give everyone the chance to do so, safely, with the roads closed to traffic. This is the first step; then, the children will have to learn to cycle on the road safely. My eldest son rides his bike around the city, but Matteo used to accompany him over and over again, until he became aware of the risks and learned to live with the traffic. Of course, we are also talking about raising awareness among drivers. We will come – I hope – to view the road as belonging to everyone with mutual respect.”
Future, sharing, joy are just some of the keywords of the event that will be held in Monaco on 27 November, opening its doors to families and children to introduce them to cycling and make them fall in love with it.
A great challenge to convey correct messages and bet on a better world.
Ten Zwift Academy Road Finalists Announced
Finalists will travel to Denia, Spain, for their toughest challenge yet.
Zwift, the global online fitness platform, has announced the 10 finalists in the 2022 Zwift Academy Road program. Five women and five men will now progress to the Zwift Academy Road Finals in Denia, Spain, where they will compete for a contract on the professional cycling teams CANYON//SRAM (women) and Alpecin-Deceuninck (men).
More than 96,000 cyclists participated in this year’s Zwift Academy Road. For most participants, this year’s four-week program was an opportunity to improve from their baseline fitness and identify their cycling phenotype. The program included eight mandatory workouts and one optional ride. For some participants, Zwift Academy presented a unique opportunity to attempt to join a pro cycling team. Riders who self-identified that they wanted to participate in the “Pro Contender” program completed additional workouts, and were evaluated as potential pro cyclists. Out of thousands, these ten riders rose to the top and have been selected as finalists.
The five finalists competing for a spot with CANYON//SRAM are:
● Alice Morrice, Great Britain
● Chiara Doni, Italy
● Elena Wu-Lang, United States
● Liz Van Houeling, United States
● Nele Laing, Germany
The Five finalists competing for a contract with Alpecin-Deceuninck are:
● Cooper Sayers, Australia
● Jasper Paridaens, Belgium
● Luca Vergallito, Italy
● Lucas Hoffman, Australia
● Will Lowden, Great Britain
Zwift Academy Road Finals will be held at Syncrosfera, a health and performance center in Denia, Spain. The finals, held in mid-November, will see all ten finalists complete some training tasks as a group, while others will be performed with their prospective teams. Team riders and staff from CANYON//SRAM and Alpecin-Deceuninck will be present at finals to evaluate the finalists and assist in selecting the two winners. Zwift Academy and coaches from the teams will be on site to analyse all performance data from their Zwift and outdoor efforts at finals, as well as some off-bike challenges.
The finals will be broadcast by GCN, with five films being released starting on Dec. 13 and winners will be announced on Dec. 17. To learn more about the finalists and to see how you can stay up to date with the latest Zwift Academy news, head over to zwift.com/academy.
Colnago Opens its First Historic Flagship Store: Colnago Abu Dhabi
The 10,000 square-foot, two floor building opens its doors to the Italian brand thanks to unique furniture, works of art, highly technological installations and, obviously, the bikes of the current Colnago collection, as well as some historical models. Guests will also enjoy the world’s first Colnago Caffè.
Approaching Colnago has always been a unique experience, which begins with a dip into beauty and continues with the discovery of an almost 70-year history of taste, style and details. The exclusivity and elegance of Colnago are now on display in Colnago Abu Dhabi. Based on Hudayriyat Island, the building includes:
The space, within the area of Hudayriyat Island and its 40km of illuminated cycle paths, also aims to become the reference point for all cycling fans and communities that animate the city of Abu Dhabi.
In addition to the numerous VIPs, the CEO of Colnago, Nicola Rosin, and the company’s partners participated in the opening event. Guests also included the entire roster and staff of UAE Team Emirates and UAE Team ADQ, amongst them Tadej Pogačar – two-time winner of the Tour de France and of the most recent Il Lombardia among other races – Juan Ayuso – the excellent third position in the last edition of the Vuelta a España – Matteo Trentin, Joao Almeida and Yousif Mirza, along with Sofia Bertizzolo, Laura Tomasi, Eugenia Bujak and Safiya Al Sayegh.
Colnago CEO Nicola Rosin said: “As an organisation that prides itself in creating superior experiences through expertly crafted bicycles, the launch of our new store in Abu Dhabi represents another significant milestone in our journey at Colnago as we continue to build the brand worldwide.
“Colnago is more than a bicycle brand and this store has been carefully planned and designed to showcase the best of Colnago’s products and our rich heritage that we are proud of while offering distinctive hospitality experiences. We hope having this physical space in a city that is growing rapidly will help meet the needs of cycling enthusiasts in Abu Dhabi, enabling them to experience first-hand the products that have made us the ace of cycling.”
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Alastair Hamilton has been a pro team mechanic on the road, track and mountain bike and worked for the Great Britain team at the World championships in all disciplines. Since moving to Spain and finding out how to use a computer, he has gone from contributor of Daily Distractions at the 2002 Vuelta a España to editor at PezCyclingNews.
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