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Esteban Chaves will ride on with Mitchelton-Scott through 2021, Simon Spilak retires, climbing stars set for showdown at Il Lombardia. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Chaves renews with Mitchelton-Scott
Esteban Chaves has signed on for another two seasons with Mitchelton-Scott, the team announced on Friday.
The 29-year-old Colombian has been with the organization since 2014, and his new deal will keep him in the squad through the 2021 season.
“I want to continue to make a story with the team like we have done in the past, I also want to help the new guys and continue to learn from the older guys,” Chaves said. “I want to continue my contribution to this organization.”
Chaves became Colombia’s first ever Monument winner when he nabbed the 2016 Il Lombardia title, and his impressive climbing legs have also propelled him to two Grand Tour podiums and five Grand Tour stage victories.
The 2019 season saw Chaves work his way back into form after a bout with mononucleosis derailed the second half of his 2018 campaign. He won stage 19 of this year’s Giro d’Italia.
“There’s a lot of positives to take out of this season for Esteban. His health has been really good this year and we know that when he can get back to the level he is capable of competing at, he can win at any race on the calendar,” said sports director Matt White.
“Esteban is really motivated to achieve a lot more goals in different areas as well, and we could see some surprises in his calendar for next year.”
The latest episode of the Rising video series with Kate Courtney offers a look at “the mental game.”
Simon Spilak retiring
Simon Spilak will hang up the wheels at the end of the season. The 33-year-old Slovenian has been with the Katusha organization since 2012.
Spilak made only five Grand Tour starts in his career – and none since 2014 – but racked up an impressive list of achievements in one-week races, where he was a constant contender for several years. He won two editions of the Tour de Suisse, one Tour de Romandie, and numerous stages in one-week events.
Hammer Series returns in 2020, adds women’s race in Stavanger
Velon has announced that the Hammer Series will return in 2020, with events again planned for Stavanger, Limburg, and Hong Kong. Jumbo-Visma won the the 2019 edition of the team-based racing series, which visited Stavanger and Limburg but cancelled its last round in Hong Kong.
According to Velon, Hammer Stavanger will feature a women’s race in 2020, “on the same days and same routes as the men’s.”
Roy Curvers set to transition from racer to coach
Roy Curvers will retire from racing after Sunday’s Paris-Tours, but he will stay with Sunweb with a new job title. The 39-year-old Dutchman, who spent much of his long career as a lead-out man and Classics domestique, will remain with the team as a coach.
“I’ve stayed with the team my whole career and that’s because we have continuously managed to find new challenges and once I decided I was going to retire, we came up with another nice new challenge,” Curvers said.
Navardauskas sticks with Delko-Marseille-Provence
Ramunas Navardauskas will continue with French Pro Continental outfit Delko-Marseille-Provence next season. The Lithuanian national road champ joined the team this year after two seasons with Bahrain-Merida.
His career palmares includes stage victories at the Giro and the Tour, and he nabbed a bronze medal in the road race at Richmond Worlds in 2015.
The final Monument of the 2019 season awaits on Saturday in Italy. The 113th edition of Il Lombardia will take riders 243 kilometers from Bergamo to Como, with some incredible scenery and several iconic ascents along the way.
A Classic for the climbers, Il Lombardia offers an especially exciting finale. Things should heat up as racers start the Madonna del Ghisallo with just over 70 kilometers to go, followed by the Colma di Sormano shortly thereafter. Then, the final 20 kilometers feature the challenging Civiglio climb, a tricky descent, the San Fermo della Battaglia, and one last downhill run to the line.
Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) took the win last year, but the Frenchman, who has not raced since an injury knocked him out of the Tour this July, won’t be at the start line on Saturday. There are plenty of huge names that will be in attendance, however. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), Egan Bernal (Ineos), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Michael Woods (EF Education First), and two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) are at the top of the list of pre-race favorites.
Good news from Deceuninck-Quick-Step and Álvaro Hodeg, who looks to be on the road to recovery after a bad crash at the Tour de l’Eurometropole last week.
We’ll close it out with this from Gustav Gullholm, who has worked up a pretty impressive Di2 charging rig …
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Esteban Chaves wins stage 19 at the Giro d’Italia. Photo: Gruber Images