Wout Poels signs with Bahrain-Merida: Daily News Digest

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

Bahrain-Merida signs Wout Poels, Australia’s Ben Dyball and Dylan Sunderland will jump up to the WorldTour with Dimension Data/NTT, Geraint Thomas confirmed for the road race and the TT at Worlds. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Bahrain-Merida signs Wout Poels

Wout Poels will leave Ineos at the end of the year after five seasons with the organization. The 31-year-old Dutchman has signed a “multi-year deal” to join Bahrain-Merida starting in 2020, his new team has announced.

Poels has been a major asset for Ineos/Sky over the past several seasons. He has scored big results in his own right, winning Sky’s first ever Monument Classic at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2016 along with numerous stages in one-week races, and he has also played a critical support role in the mountains during the Grand Tours. He rode as a member of the winning Tour de France squad in 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019.

Wout Poels at the Tour de France. Photo: ©kramon

At his new team, Poels will rejoin Rod Ellingworth, formerly Sky’s performance director and, as of next month, Team Principal at Bahrain-Merida, which is undergoing some changes as it sees the McLaren Group become increasingly involved. While GC star Vincenzo Nibali is leaving the team for Trek-Segafredo, Bahrain-Merida is bringing on not only Poels but also Mikel Landa for next year.

“Combined with Rod Ellingworth’s expertise, McLaren’s involvement promises to make Bahrain-Merida one of the best and most captivating teams in the peloton, and I look forward to playing a key part in its future success,” Poels said.

Poels could be set for a greater leadership role with his new squad after balancing his own aspirations with domestique duty during his time at Ineos, where, if the Twitter account of his longtime teammate Chris Froome is any indication, Poels’s contributions will be missed.

Beauty of Cycling

Mark Renshaw has officially hung up the wheels. The 36-year-old Australian enjoyed a lengthy career as one the pro peloton’s best-known lead-out men, while also taking some results of his own along the way.

Renshaw joined Dimension Data in 2016 with Cavendish. He has remained with the African squad through to his final season as a pro.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you might enjoy taking a look back at Renshaw’s career with a great retrospective from Matt de Neef, with some excellent photos from Cor Vos and Kristof Ramon.

Race Radio

Australia’s Dyball and Sunderland to jump up to WorldTour with Dimension Data/NTT

Australians Ben Dyball and Dylan Sunderland are set to make a big jump next season. The Dimension Data team, which will be known as NTT next year, has announced that it will bring both riders on board in 2020, along with up-and-coming Dane Andreas Stokbro (Riwal Readynez)

Dyball, 30, has long been one of the most promising climbers on the Australian racing scene, and he has really come into his own in the past two seasons. After a strong 2018 campaign, Dyball has enjoyed a career season with the Sapura Continental team this year, with an overall victory at the Tour de Langkawi just one of his many big results in 2019.

After winning stage 4, Ben Dyball led the Tour de Langkawi through the finale to take the overall win. Photo: Dario Belingheri/Cor Vos © 2019

“I am still in a bit of disbelief that I will be racing with Team NTT in 2020,” he said. “I have dreamt of riding at the top level of cycling my entire life so I am incredibly excited about taking the step up next year.”

Sunderland, 23, will join Dyball in making the move straight to cycling’s top division from a Continental outfit. Currently riding with Australian-based Team Bridgelane, Sunderland has turned heads over the past two years with back-to-back top 10s at the Herald Sun Tour and a fourth-place finish at Le Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc.

Swift to lead Great Britain at Yorkshire Worlds; Thomas to start in both road race and TT

Great Britain will look to Ben Swift (Ineos) at Worlds to lead a six-rider men’s road race squad that will also include his Ineos teammate Geraint Thomas. British Cycling announced the men’s Worlds roster – selected by team coach and multi-time Irish national champion Matt Brammeier – on Wednesday.

The fast-finishing Swift will be the team’s main featured rider in Yorkshire. Thomas, his Ineos teammates Tao Geoghegan Hart, Ian Stannard, and Owain Doull, and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) round out the road race roster.

Geraint Thomas in the stage 13 time trial at the Tour de France. Photo: Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2019

Alex Dowsett (Katusha-Alpecin) will race the individual time trial, as will Thomas, who has surprisingly never actually raced the Worlds TT despite his talent against the clock.

Also of note for British fans at Worlds will be the participation of Tom Pidcock in the under-23 squad. The versatile up-and-comer, who is the reigning U23 world cyclocross champ, crashed heavily at the Tour de l’Avenir last month, but has recovered in time to make the selection for Worlds.

Visconti tops Bernal to win Giro della Toscana

Giovanni Visconti (Neri Sottoli) won Wednesday’s Giro della Toscana after out-sprinting Tour de France champion Egan Bernal (Ineos) in the closing meters.

Bernal initiated a move late in the 204.4-kilometer race in Pontedera, Italy, that Visconti, Nikolay Cherkasov (Gazprom-Rusvelo), and Pierpaolo Ficara (Italian national team) would join to form a select lead group. The quartet survived to the finish, where Visconti pipped Bernal to take the win, with Cherkasov rounding out the podium.

Police investigate Spanish cycling team Kuota-Construcciones Paulino

Police detained, questioned, and then released multiple members of the Kuota-Construcciones Paulino team, a Spanish-based cycling squad, as part of an anti-doping operation.

Asturian newspaper La Nueva España reports that police confiscated items that could be doping products after entering the homes of various people involved with the team as well as a pharmacy in Asturias. Three riders and two team directors were detained and questioned, as was the proprietor of the pharmacy.

According to La Nueva España, all six have been released but remained under investigation.

Valverde headlines Spanish Worlds selection

Reigning world road champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will unsurprisingly lead the charge for Spain at Worlds in Yorkshire, heading up a solid team that features a mixture of climbers and rouleurs.

Valverde will have current Movistar teammates Marc Soler, Imanol Erviti, and José Joaquin Rojas for company as he looks to defend his rainbow jersey, with Astana’s Luis León Sánchez, Ion Izagirre, and Gorka Izagirre, Ineos’s Jonathan Castroviejo, and Bahrain-Merida’s Iván Cortina comprising the rest of the line-up.

Neilands wins GP Wallonie

Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy) soloed to the biggest one-day victory of his career at the GP Wallonie on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old Latvian attacked inside the final 10 kilometers of the hilly 205.9-kilometer race from Blegny to the famed Citadelle de Namur, and held on to take the win. Trek-Segafredo’s Jasper Stuyven took second with Lotto-Soudal’s Jasper De Buyst in third.

In case you missed it …


Feature Image: Wout Poels on stage 13 of the Vuelta a España. Photo: Luis Angel Gomez/Cor Vos © 2019

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