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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,
We cross over the midpoint of the week with some transfer and renewal news, as well as an update on Alex Dowsett’s plans to take on the Hour Record, which he has had to postpone for now.
Read on for more …
Dane Cash and Abby Mickey
| Dowsett postpones Hour Record attempt after coronavirus positive
Alex Dowsett had been planning to make another run at the UCI Hour Record in December, but he has put those plans on hold after contracting coronavirus.
The 32-year-old Brit, who held the Hour Record for a little over a month back in 2015 before his record was topped by Bradley Wiggins (whose mark was then bested by current record holder Victor Campenaerts) was scheduled to make an attempt on December 12 in Manchester, but he has postponed the attempt.
“Really disappointed to have to postpone the hour record attempt. Shortly after we announced the attempt I had some symptoms of Cov & a test result came back positive,” he wrote on Twitter. “My focus now is recovery, isolation & my health. Thanks to everyone for their support, we’ll be back stronger.”
| Mitchelton-Scott extends contracts with Williams, Smith, Bauer, and Bewley
After securing several Australian riders for 2021 over the past few days, Mitchelton-Scott changed gears to announce contract extensions for four Kiwis on Wednesday. Dion Smith, Jack Bauer, and Sam Bewley signed on for two more years with the team while Georgia Williams extended for one more season.
Williams, 27, joined the team in 2017 and has won two New Zealand national time trial titles and one national road title over the course of her career. She has also delivered WorldTour top 10s at the Emakumeen Bira and the Tour of Guangxi.
Smith, 27, delivered some promising results in what was his season with Mitchelton, picking up his first pro win at the Coppa Sabatini-Gran Premio città di Peccioli and riding top 10s at both Milano-Torino and Milan-San Remo.
Bauer, 35, has been with the team for three years. The veteran rode to second overall at the Czech Tour this season. Bewley, 33, has ridden for the organization dating all the way back to its first season as Orica-GreenEdge, when he shifted focus from the track to road racing, and he has been a reliable support rider in his long tenure with the team.
| 2018 Roubaix runner-up Dillier signs with Alpecin-Fenix
Silvan Dillier is headed to Alpecin-Fenix next season after three seasons with AG2R La Mondiale.
The versatile 30-year-old has compiled strong results across a variety of different races over the course of his career, with highlights including an overall title at the 2017 Route du Sud, a stage at the 2017 Giro d’Italia, and a runner-up ride at Paris-Roubaix in 2018.
His signing represents another strong pickup for an Alpecin-Fenix team that has made big steps over the past year to add talent around star rider Mathieu van der Poel.
| Stephanie Morton retires
Australian track cyclist Stephanie Morton announced on Wednesday that she was retiring. Morton, 29, racked up strong results in national and international races in a variety of events on the track throughout her career. She rode as the pilot for visually impaired rider Felicity Johnson in several major events early in her career and the tandem scored world championship titles in 2011 and 2012 and a Paralympic title in the kilometer time trial in London in 2012. Among other subsequent international results, Morton rode to a gold medal in the team sprint with Kaarle McCulloch at Track Worlds in 2019.
“It was not a decision I have taken lightly, and thankfully I had the support of the Australian Cycling Team throughout the whole process, along with my family and close friends,” said Morton, who had initially been targeting success at the Tokyo Olympics, which have been rescheduled to 2021.
“No one could have prepared for what 2020 delivered, hence why this decision has been eight months in the making as I needed to really consider what was best for me moving forward, and it has probably been the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do.”
| Ride for Racial Justice and SBT GRVL launch BIPOC Athlete Program
Ride for Racial Justice, a Denver-based non-profit, and SBT GRVL are linking up for a program that will offer 25 spots for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) riders at the 2021 edition of the SBT GRVL race.
The SBT GRVL X RFRJ BIPOC Athlete Program will also offer financial assistance to help cover costs like transportation, lodging, coaching services, mentorship, and gear for competing in the gravel event.
| Trek-Segafredo adds Jakob Egholm to 2021 roster
After two years with the Hagens Berman Axeon team, Jakob Egholm is taking a step up to the big leagues with Trek-Segafredo. The 2016 Junior World Road Champion will be the fifth Dane to ride for the American team next year, alongside the likes of former World Champions Mads Pederson and Amalie Diderkisen.
Egholm is the fourth new signing and completes the 2021 team, after the announcement of Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier, Antonie Tiberi, and Mattias Skjelmose Jensen joining the team.
A young rider with an eye on the Classics, Egholm will spend next year in support of the experienced Trek-Segafredo riders.
“I’ve watched this team on television racing in the biggest races since it started. I hope I can do well on this team, and I am really eager to show my potential” Egholm said. “I’ll do my very best to be a good teammate and help the team to some great victories.”
In case you missed it
| CyclingTips Podcast: Head units for your wrist and Groenewegen’s suspension
The latest CyclingTips podcast covers some major themes of the 2020 season, culminating in the UCI’s decision to suspend Dylan Groenewegen for nine months. Plus, James introduces the gang to the Wahoo Element Rival.
| Strava Brings Bluetooth heart rate connectivity back to its app
Dave Rome writes about the return of the Bluetooth heart rate connectivity feature on Strava, 13 months after it was removed.
| Can heat acclimation really improve endurance performance?
Dr Jason Boynton explores the often overlooked caveats when it comes to heat acclimating endurance athletes for the purpose of improving performance, especially when subsequent riding is going to happen in temperate conditions.
Today’s featured image was taken 4 years ago today by Kristof Ramon with Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish winning the Ghent Six Day in Belgium. Unfortunately the race dating back to 1922 missed out on its 80th edition this week due to the COVID-19 cancellations.