Gaviria to UAE, Van Aert’s new ‘cross team: Daily News Digest

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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

Quick-Step’s financial woes are heating up, as the Belgian team looks to unload one of its more prolific riders in order to create more room in the budget. Also, Wout van Aert has financial security to race a full cyclocross campaign, Egan Bernal signed an uncharacteristic lengthy extension with Team Sky, and a young Dane nearly beat the Hour Record. Oh, and the Road World Championships are coming back to Australia! Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the day: Gaviria to leave Quick-Step and join UAE

Sprinting sensation Fernando Gaviria appears to be leaving Quick-Step Floors for UAE Team Emirates, despite having a contract with the Belgian squad for the 2019 season. According to a report in Gazzetta dello Sport, the deal is close to completion, but rules state that an early transfer or contract termination must be approved by the rider’s union.

Fernando Gaivria’s first ever Tour stage was a victorious one. Photo: Cor Vos

Quick-Step team boss Patrick Lefevre has made it known he is looking for another sponsor for 2019 and that without one the team will have a reduced budget next year. The Belgian-based squad has 69 wins to date, more than 25 than any other team, but has not escaped cycling’s sponsorship woes. Gaviria’s rumoured €2 million yearly contract would most certainly free up a bit of money for the team.

Lefevre has been struggling to retain many of his top riders for next season. Most notably, double Monument winner and Tour of Flanders champion Niki Terpstra will be leaving to join Direct Energie for 2019. Gazzetta dello Sport is also reporting that 23-year-old Enric Mas, who finished runner-up at La Vuelta a Espana, could also be leaving.

Gaviria has been victorious on nine occasions in 2019, including four stage wins at the Amgen Tour of California in May and two stage wins at the Tour. However, he has not been Quick-Step’s most prolific sprinter this season, as that title has gone to new recruit Elia Viviani. The Italian came across to Quick-Step after three years at Team Sky and has been nearly unstoppable. Vivani captured 19 wins this season, including the Italian national road championship, four wins at the Giro d’Italia, and three wins at La Vuelta.

Race Radio

Road Worlds return to Australia in 2022; Wollongong to play host

Wollongong, New South Wales will be the host city of the 2022 Road Word Championships — only the second Australian city to host the event. The news was announced by the UCI today and brings Road Worlds back to Australia after its visit to Geelong in 2010.

The courses are some years away from being announced, but there is talk of some races starting in Sydney before heading down the coast to Wollongong for laps of a local circuit.

Follow the link to read more at CyclingTips.

Van Aert announces own ‘cross team

World cyclocross champion Wout van Aert, who had a very public falling out with his Verandas Williems-Crelan team a few weeks ago, revealed his own personal cyclocross program today along with a full array of sponsors. His one-rider program will be known as Cibel-Bebon Offroad Team. Cibel is an orange and clementine company. Other sponsors include Domo Elektro, a household equipment company, Heylen Vastgoed, a real estate firm, and G&V Energy Group.

“At a certain moment, you feel that you are all alone, but nothing turned out to be less true, and I received a lot of support,” van Aert said at a press conference according to Sporza. “When I was in the US, the nice news came from Belgium that this nice project was in the pipeline. I admit that the whole situation has weighed on me, but this project gave me positive energy and super motivated to make a new start.”

The sponsors give van Aert the finacial security to race an entire cyclocross program.

Under-23 world TT champ Bjerg sets second fastest Hour Record

Dane Mikkel Bjerg, who won his second consecutive under-23 world TT championship last week in Innsbruck, unofficially set the second fastest Hour Record in history last night. The 19-year-old covered an astonishing 53.73 kilometres in Odense, Denmark, less than a kilometre behind Bradley Wiggins’ mark of 54.526 kilometres. The mark is unofficial because the ride was not UCI sanctioned.

Bernal gets five-year extension with Team Sky

Colombian climber Egan Bernal, who has been a revelation this season and performed well above his neo-pro status at the Tour de France, will remain with Team Sky through the 2023 season. Bernal is due to race the Giro dell’Emilia this weekend, which will be his first race back since he crashed heavily and suffered facial injuries at Clasica San Sebastian in August.

Team manager Dave Brailsford took a huge risk in bringing the 21-year-old to the Tour in July, but after the sensational first half of the season Bernal had, Brailsford was hard pressed not to bring him to the Tour. Bernal stormed through the spring, winning the Best Young Rider jersey at nearly every stage race he entered. He took two stage wins and the overall title at the Amgen Tour of California.

After his performance at this year’s Tour de France, it’s hard to imagine Egan Bernal won’t be a team leader at Grand Tour in the next few years. Photo: Kristof Kramon

Valverde to debut rainbow bands at Granpiemonte

Newly crowned world road champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is on the initial start list for the one-day Granpiemonte in Italy on October 11. The race is seen as a tune-up for Il Lombardia, which takes place two days later.

Valverde, who became the second oldest world road champion at 38 years young, has the opportunity to join an illustrious group of individuals who have won the Italian Monument and the world road championship in the same season. Italian Paolo Bettini was the last rider to do so in 2006, when he won the first of his two world titles and then won the 100th edition of Il Lombardia a week later. Bettini is one of seven riders to accomplish the feat. The list is a who’s who of cycling champions. Alfredo Binda, Tom Simpson, Eddy Merckx, Felice Gimondi, Giuseppe Saronni and Oscar Camenzind are the other riders who have accomplished the Autumn double.

Alejandro Valverde with Spain’s last world road champion, Oscar Freire. Freire won the last of his three world titles in 2004 in Verona, Italy. Photo: Cor Vos

Sponsorship news

Giant and Liv will provide bikes for the newly dubbed Polish-based CCC Team (formerly BMC Racing) in 2019. The team had been providing bikes to Team Sunweb’s men’s and women’s teams for the past five seasons. The Taiwanese bicycle manufacturer will provide rigs for the men’s WorldTour squad, the under-23 men’s development team, and the women’s program, which will be called CCC-Liv Team.

Cervelo will be the bike sponsor of Sunweb in 2019. It confirmed the longstanding rumour last week when it officially launched the new S5 disc.

No WorldTour license showdown in 2019, as Direct Energie applies for Pro Conti status

After the Tour de France, French Pro Continental team Direct Energie caused a stir when it announced it was applying for WorldTour status in 2019. That set the stage for a showdown to get a UCI WorldTour license, as 19 teams would be applying for 18 spots. However, the UCI revealed today the team’s applying for WorldTour and Pro Continental status and Direct Energie has applied to remain in cycling’s second tier.

Notably, no Australian-based teams have applied for UCI Pro Continental status and only two American teams have, Hagens Berman Aexon and Rally Cycling. George Hincapie’s Holowesko-Citadel team was Pro Continental this season, but announced earlier this month a sponsorship shortfall has forced the team to step back to Continental level next year.

Mathieu van der Poel’s Corendon-Circus team is also on the list for Pro Continental status. This sets the stage for a possible showdown between cyclocross rivals van der Poel and Wout van Aert on the cobbles of northern Belgium next spring.

We may see world ‘cross champion Wout Van Aert and Dutchman going head-to-head on the cobbles instead of in the mud. Photo: Kristof Ramon

Tech News

Squirt some of this into your tyres

Squirt, a South African company best known for its wax-based chain lube, is joining the tubeless sealant market. Squirt’s new latex-based Seal tyre sealant and BeadBlock granules work together and are claimed to be non-hazardous, long lasting and plug holes up to 6mm in diameter. Added to the sealant, the Beadblock granules help to create a physical plug and should provide a cleaner, more environmentally friendly and potentially more effective solution to the common trick of adding glitter into other liquid tyre sealants.

Different from the market-leading Stan’s NoTubes sealant, Squirt’s sealant is free of ammonia and claims to include corrosion inhibitors. Seal sealant is said to not solidify against the sidewalls of the tyre, making for easier clean-up or emergency tube fitting. Squirt’s new sealant is expected to be available from December and will be sold in 150ml, 1L and 5L containers. Pricing is to be confirmed.

Happy birthday to …

Rui Costa (32), the Portuguese is a 10-year veteran of the WorldTour and most notably won the 2013 world road championship in Florence in extreme conditions. His world title win was very much overshadowed by the tactics of the Spanish squad who had Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez in the select final group of four, but Costa emphatically took the rainbow bands.

Rui Costa winning stage nine of the 2014 Tour de Suisse. It was his only road victory in the rainbow bands. He also took home the overall title at the 2014 Tour de Suisse. Photo: Cor Vos

In case you missed it …

Bikes of the Bunch: We take a look at an individual’s Orbea Orca that is made for the long haul, rides of over 500 kilometres that is.

Today’s feature image: Fernando Gaviria debuted at the Tour this year and won the opening stage to claim the maillot jaune.

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