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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.
While Thursday’s cycling headlines feature their fair share of unfortunate news updates – like the cancellation of the popular Ladies Tour of Norway – they do at least include some good news for at least one organization: Groupama-FDJ.
The French WorldTour team announced on Thursday that it has received renewed commitments from its sponsors and has thus invested in securing its future. In one fell swoop, the team has extended four of its best-known riders, including Tour de France contender Thibaut Pinot.
The 30-year-old Frenchman has ridden with the squad since turning pro and has developed into a well-rounded veteran in recent seasons. At one point during last year’s Tour he was even the bookies’ favorite to win the race, before an injury forced him to abandon altogether.
Pinot says that he remains committed to contending at the Tour, and amid so much uncertainty across the peloton right now, Groupama-FDJ will be happy to have secured his services for the next few years.
Read on for more …
| While other teams feel the pinch, Groupama-FDJ extends four core riders
In one fell swoop, Groupama-FDJ has renewed with perhaps its four most notable riders, announcing on Thursday that it signed extensions to keep Thibaut Pinot, Arnaud Démare, Stefan Küng, and David Gaudu with the team through 2023.
In a press release, team manager Marc Madiot said that Groupama and FDJ have both agreed to stick with the team for at least four more years, a strong show of support a time when others around the peloton are facing financial uncertainty. With that renewed sponsor commitment, Groupama-FDJ has invested in securing one of the peloton’s top climbers, a Milan-San Remo winner, one of the biggest engines in the bunch, and a promising youngster all at once.
| Ladies Tour of Norway cancelled
The Ladies Tour of Norway has officially been cancelled for 2020, leaving the already reduced Women’s WorldTour calendar down yet another race. The event, won last year by Marianne Vos, was planned to run from August 13 to 16 on the UCI’s revised calendar but with coronavirus restrictions still in place in Norway for now and possible to continue, organizers decided to call off the race and look ahead to 2021.
“It is mainly the rules regarding social distancing with one meter and the restrictions regarding entering Norway for foreigners that makes it impossible for us,” said race director Roy Moberg in a press release.
“We have tried everything and we have asked for advice from the government and the responsible people for the restrictions, but we have got no promises that things will be different by mid-August.”
| Keukeleire recovered from coronavirus
EF’s Jens Keukeleire has told Sporza that he came down with what was apparently COVID-19 in mid-March, saying, “I had a fever for a long time and I felt for a long time that there was something in my body that was not normal.”
The 31-year-old Belgian has since recovered and recently underwent a test to determine that he did indeed have coronavirus antibodies. Keukeleire said that he has resumed training and is hoping to build his form back after spending time away from training.
| A virtual Joe Martin Stage Race
Project Echelon, which has hosted virtual editions of the Redlands Bicycle Classic and the Tour of the Gila, is bringing another American stage race to the virtual realm, announcing an upcoming virtual Joe Martin Stage Race.
The event will run from June 19 to 21 on Zwift.
| Skiing gold medalist Johannes Hosflot Klaebo joins Uno-X
Cross-country skiing star Johannes Hosflot Klaebo, who nabbed three gold medals in his Olympic debut in 2018, has apparently signed a deal to join the Uno-X development team, which joined the UCI ProTeam ranks (the newly rebranded second division) this season.
The 23-year-old Norwegian announced the news on Instagram, noting that he would continue to be a cross-country skier.
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Today’s featured image of Marianne Vos comes from Cor Vos.