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After taking some time away from winning for two whole races, Annemiek van Vleuten got back to the top step of a podium with another big victory on Thursday. Already the reigning world road champion, van Vleuten powered to her first European Continental title in Plouay in what marks her sixth win of the year.
In other news from France, Lotto-Soudal has announced that two staffers registered “non-negative” tests for COVID-19 ahead of the Tour de France. The staffers and their roommates have been sent home.
Also in Thursday’s headlines was some noteworthy transfer news: Bahrain-McLaren has signed Jack Haig to a three-year deal. The talented Australian climber has spent the past five seasons with Mitchelton-Scott.
Read on for more …
| Van Vleuten wins European road title
Annemiek van Vleuten powered to a European road title on Thursday.
The elite women’s road race at the European Continental Championships saw a strong lead group of a little over 20 riders form by the middle of the eight-lap race on a circuit in and around Plouay. With just under 40 kilometers to go, van Vleuten, Elisa Longo Borghini, and Kasia Niewiadoma jumped clear of the selection, and they were then joined by Chantal van den Broek-Black to form a lead quartet that would ultimately contest the win.
Attacks at the front opened splits within the group more than once, but nothing managed to stick until the final climb of the race, when van Vleuten and Longo Borghini pulled away on the Cote du Pont-Neuf. Van Vleuten would take the victory in the two-rider sprint, with Longo Borghini settling for second and Kasia Niewiadoma securing the final spot on the podium five seconds later.
| Bahrain-McLaren signs Haig
Bahrain-McLaren has signed Australian climber Jack Haig to a three-year deal, the team announced Thursday.
Haig, 26, has been with the Mitchelton-Scott organization for the past five seasons, picking up one WorldTour-level win (a stage at the 2017 Tour of Poland) and numerous top 10s in one-day and one-week races in that time.
| Two Lotto-Soudal staffers “non-negative” for COVID-19
Lotto-Soudal has announced that two of its staffers have tested “non-negative” for COVID-19 in pre-Tour testing. Those individuals, as well as other staffers who had been in contact with them, have been sent home.
“A first test, six days prior to the race, was negative for all riders and staff people,” read a statement from the team. “The second test, performed on Wednesday 26 July, gave one positive and one suspicious result. For this reason, in order to protect the health of the team and the race, these two staff people will not be allowed to continue. As a safety measure, and to respect the Covid-19 Measures Tour de France Protocol, their risk contacts will leave the race as well.”
| Lotto-Soudal extends partnership with Ridley
In other Lotto-Soudal news, the team announced Thursday that it has extended its partnership with bike partner Ridley through the 2022 season.
“We have been sponsoring Lotto Soudal for 13 years,” says Jochim Aerts, the CEO of Ridley’s parent company Belgian Cycling Factory. “In 2005 they gave us a chance at the highest level. Together we immediately won three stages in the Giro and the Tour that first season, thanks to Robbie McEwen. A year later our first Green Jersey was a fact, the start of a fantastic and long-term partnership.”
| ASO ‘ready to organize a stage race for women in France’
“ASO have assured me they are ready to organize a stage race for women in France. Whether this race will bear the name Tour de France is still unclear,” Lappartient told Wielerflits. “It is a great step forward in the further development of women’s cycling.”
For now, details remain sparse, but rumors suggest that the new event could be held immediately after the men’s Tour de France.
| Sidi gets into gravel
Italian shoe company Sidi has joined the gravel world with the aptly named “Sidi Gravel Shoe.” In what looks a whole lot like Sidi’s pre-existing mountain bike shoes, the new gravel footwear features a single Tecno 3 precision dial ratchet, a suede upper and an abrasion resistant toe cap.
With the choice of gravel-styled dark green or brown colouring, the carbon-reinforced shoes will retail for US$240.
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Today’s featured image of Annemiek van Vleuten and Elisa Longho Borghini at the European championships comes from Cor Vos.