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Hi there, CyclingTips readers,
Even in mid-November, we head into a new week with a surprising amount of news from pro bike racing teams.
There’s one big team getting a new name, another renewing with some key players, and another potentially set to announce some good news soon.
Read on for more …
| Astana gets a new name for 2021
The Astana Pro Team team will ride on with a new name in 2021 after picking up a new co-title sponsor in a move that helps secure the team’s future after some uncertain times. The Kazakh WorldTour outfit will race as Astana-Premier Tech next season as Canadian company Premier Tech, which was already a non-title sponsor, steps up into that role for 2021.
The change will mark the first time in the team’s history that it has featured two sponsors in its name, and it comes after recent reductions in the funding the team was receiving from Kazakh sources. Earlier this year, there was a significant delay in payments to riders and staff, and the team was among those cutting salaries during the racing hiatus.
“By the management of the General Partner of the cycling team, Samruk-Kazyna JSC, as well as the Astana Presidential Professional Club, the task was given of reducing the funding of a professional cycling team from Kazakhstan part, through the entry of a second partner, co-sponsor, who could share the financial burden with our country,” said the team’s managing director Yana Seel.
“The work was carried out successfully, in a quite short time we managed to reach mutual understanding. We are very pleased with the results of the negotiations with the Canadian side. The name of the team for the next year will be changed, but at the same time, the team will continue to exist under the auspices of Kazakhstan, despite the fact that funding from the General Partner of Samruk-Kazyna JSC will be significantly reduced.”
| Mitchelton-Scott renews with seven
Just a few days after announcing contract renewals for several of the Australians on their women’s team, Mitchelton-Scott announced contract renewals for seven Australians on the men’s squad on Monday.
Luke Durbridge, Robert Stannard, Cam Meyer, Callum Scotson, Nick Schultz, Damien Howson, and Alex Edmondson will all ride on with the team in 2021. The news brings the count of Australian riders confirmed with Mitchelton-Scott’s men’s team to 11 for next season.
| Good news coming for NTT?
Various outlets reported on Monday that there could be some good news coming for the NTT team, which has been looking for a new sponsor for months.
According to Cyclingnews, the team run by Doug Ryder is currently building a 2021 roster after having found a way to continue on next season despite the departure of current title sponsor NTT. Radsport-News reports that the squad, which spent five years as MTN-Qhubeka and continues to support the Qhubeka Charity, is likely to race as Qhubeka next season.
| Movistar renews with Jorgensen and Jacobs
Movistar has announced that youngsters Matteo Jorgensen and Johan Jacobs will ride on with the squad through 2023.
Jorgensen, who won the points classification at the Tour de l’Avenir last year, joined the Spanish WorldTour squad this season. The 21-year-old American raced his first two monuments this season at Milan-San Remo and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, finishing 17th at the former in what was only the third day of WorldTour-level racing of his young career.
Jacobs, 23, rode to runner-up honors at the Paris-Roubaix Espoirs in 2019 and made his Tour of Flanders debut with Movistar earlier this season, his first at the WorldTour level.
| Cloud 9, Veloqi, and the Pan Celtic Race announce Ultra Distance Scholarship
Cloud 9 Cycles, Veloqi coaching, and the Pan Celtic Race are linking up in the creation of the Ultra Distance Scholarship for BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) cyclists to support representation in the world of competitive ultra distance riding.
As Cloud 9 Cycles said in a post at their website, “The recipient of this scholarship will receive a comprehensive bike fit at Cloud 9 Cycles by Foundation Fit specific to Ultra Distance racing, a custom hand-built Cloud 9 frame, a fully custom bike build out of the Cloud 9 workshop, a spot in the Pan Celtic Race 2021, support from the Pan Celtic Race community including invitations to their infamous ‘Gatherings’, training support from coach Alison Wood of Veloqi, and bike maintenance from the Cloud 9 workshop up until race day.”
Applications will be accepted until December 11 with a recipient announced on December 18. You can read more about the scholarship here.
| Strava raises $110 Million in latest funding round
Strava has announced that its most recent round of funding raised $110 million, a significant increase over previous funding rounds, which amounted to a total of $70 million.
Major venture capital firms TCV and Sequoia Capital led this round of Series F funding, with Dragoneer Investment Group and current investors Madrone Capital Partners, Jackson Square Ventures, and Go4it Capital also involved.
| Campagnolo and ProBikeKit go dark on a special-edition Zonda wheelset
Online retailer ProBikeKit has teamed up with Campagnolo to produce a limited edition of the Italian company’s Zonda aluminum rim-brake wheelset.
Sitting toward the lower end of the company’s range, the Zonda offers quite a lot for the price. The non-tubeless aluminum rims are a bit narrow at 17 mm (internal width), but they boast solid outer walls that don’t need rim tape, machined inner walls to trim some rotating mass, and staggered 24/27 mm rim heights to help balance torsional stiffness and ride quality. The rear wheel features Campagnolo’s trademark triplet lacing on the bladed for more even tensions.
Limited to a total of 500 sets, the ProBikeKit version feature an exclusive dark grey decal set instead of the stock edition’s somewhat gaudy chrome graphics, plus additional winged icons on the hub shells. And while the rear hub is normally offered with Campagnolo or Shimano HG freehub bodies, ProBikeKit is offering only the latter option here (though they can still be converted later).
The wheels are functionally identical otherwise, but the toned-down look nevertheless enhances the appeal of a wheelset that arguably should be getting a bit more attention, anyway.
The “launch price” for CyclingTips readers is US$550 / AU$850 / £500, and more information can be found at www.probikekit.co.uk.
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Today’s featured image comes from the Cor Vos archives. Can you name the cyclists in this photo from the 1981 Tour de France?