Big names on the move: Daily News Digest

by Dane Cash


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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.

A little over a week after transfer season officially began, the proverbial floodgates have now opened with one move after another after another announced on Monday.

Greg Van Avermaet is headed to AG2R La Mondiale, where he and Oliver Naesen should make a formidable duo for the Classics. Romain Bardet is leaving AG2R La Mondiale for Sunweb, where he should slot right in as the team’s new Tour de France GC leader. Patrick Bevin is joining Israel Start-Up Nation, giving that team yet another strong all-rounder as it continues to bolster its roster for 2021. Up-and-coming talent Iván García Cortina is headed to Movistar, where he will be a featured rider in the Classics.

It’s a lot to keep track of, but hey, that’s where the Daily News Digest comes in.

Read on for more …

Dane Cash
News Editor


What’s news

| AG2R La Mondiale signs Greg Van Avermaet and Michael Schär

After 10 years with the organization currently known as CCC and formerly known as BMC, Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet is on the move. The 35-year-old Belgian will join AG2R La Mondiale, which will be known as AG2R Citroën next year, on a three-year deal, and so too will fellow CCC rider Michael Schär.

The new arrivals will join current AG2R rider Oliver Naesen in forming a strong lineup for the Classics next season.

“I am happy that [AG2R La Mondiale team manager] Vincent Lavenu has shown such confidence in me, and I intend to give my best in order to achieve great results. The prospect of working with Oliver Naesen, with the goal of winning Classics, is particularly exciting,” Van Avermaet said.

“My goal is always the same: to win races like the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix, stages of the Tour de France or wear the yellow jersey for as long as possible.”

| Romain Bardet is headed to Sunweb

Speaking of AG2R, as the squad adds Classics firepower it is bidding adieu to the rider who has been the team’s marquee star for years: Romain Bardet.

Confirming weeks of rumors, Sunweb announced on Monday that Bardet has signed a two-year deal to join the team. The 29-year-old Frenchman, who has finished on the Tour podium twice, will give Sunweb a new Grand Tour contender to build around after the team’s previous GC leader Tom Dumoulin left for Jumbo-Visma this past offseason.

| Israel Start-Up Nation adds Patrick Bevin and Sebastian Berwick

New Zealand all-rounder Patrick Bevin and Australian up-and-comer Sebastian Berwick are headed to Israel Start-Up Nation next season as the team continues to bolster a much-improved lineup for 2021.

Bevin, a two-time New Zealand national time trial champ who has compiled some strong results in one-week races over the past few seasons, will join the team on a two-year deal after two seasons with CCC. Berwick, who enjoyed a breakout performance with a ride to second overall at the Herald Sun Tour earlier this year, will come aboard on a three-year deal after two seasons with the St George Continental team.

| Movistar signs Iván García Cortina

Up-and-coming talent Iván García Cortina is headed to Movistar on a three-year deal. The 24-year-old Spaniard has been with Bahrain-McLaren since 2017, showing his talent in recent seasons with a stage win at last year’s Tour of California and a stage win at this year’s Paris-Nice.

“He’s a competitor which will give us a chance to turn many different kinds of sprint finishes into real winning chances, but above that, he’ll allow us going into the big cobbled classics with a real shot at a good result,” said Movistar manager Eusebio Unzué. “Iván has to be one of the big favorites at those races in the future.”

| Annemiek van Vleuten reportedly close to a deal with Movistar

Wielerflits reports that Annemiek van Vleuten is nearing a deal to join Movistar. The reigning world road champ is out of contract with Mitchelton-Scott at the end of this year, her fifth with the Australian team.

Plenty of rumors surrounding van Vleuten’s plans have emerged in recent weeks as she has been busy compiling win after win out on the road. At least according to Wielerflits, she is close to signing a two-year contract with Movistar.

| 2021 Tour de France start moved to Brest

Confirming rumors in the French press, the ASO announced on Monday that the 2021 Tour de France will start on June 26 in Brest in the Brittany region, with a Copenhagen Grand Départ postponed until 2022.

Organizers decided to change the location of the Tour start after moving the Grand Départ up a week due to avoid overlapping with the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics. The new date presented scheduling conflicts for Copenhagen’s plans to host the European football championships. Now, the 2021 Tour will instead start in Brittany for the first time since 2008.

| Tour of Guangxi cancelled for 2020

Organizers have announced that the Tour of Guangxi is officially cancelled, confirming what has been expected since the Chinese government announcement last month that most international sporting events planned for 2020 would not be held.

The men’s stage race, won last year by Enric Mas, and the one-day women’s event, won last year by Chloe Hosking, are expected to return in 2021.

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Today’s feature image of the peloton rolling through the Breton countryside on stage 6 of the 2018 Tour de France – the last time a Tour stage started in Brest – comes from the Grubers.

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