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No racing in the news means team announcements come to the fore. Rider transfers and contract extensions are on the rise and Patrick Lefevere is still Patrick Lefevere.
Read on for more …
| Patrick Lefevere proposes World Tour teams fund an independent safety organization following Tour of Poland and Il Lombardia crashes
In an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws, Patrick Lefevere, the big man in charge of Deceuninck-QuickStep, pitched the idea of the World Tour cycling teams funding an independent safety organization.
This season saw a number of dangerous, and potentially avoidable, crashes in the World Tour peloton. After riders expressed criticism for the crash in Poland as well as a handful of other crashes in the weeks that followed, the UCI announced stricter course inspections would take place before races. Still, Lefevere does not believe enough has been done by the governing body to make cycling a safer sport.
One of the actions Lefevere wants to see is independent experts judging sprint finishes. “I propose that we make the dirtiest sprinter in history head of the body – the best rangers have often been poachers first. The experts have to come from the peloton because anyone who has never ridden a bicycle cannot judge what is dangerous and what is not,” Lefevere said.
Another safety proposal Lefevere discussed was better barriers and a more definitive system for warning riders of corners or traffic furniture during a race. At the moment, the only warnings riders get of a median in the road, for example, is a person in an orange vest waving a flag and a heads up from their director in the follow car.
During the interview, Lefevere also announced that he is moving ahead with legal action against Dylan Groenewegen, the sprinter for Jumbo-Visma, regarding the crash that took place at the Tour de Pologne earlier this year. The legal dealings would have to take place in Poland, where the incident happened, however, Lefevere also said that his rider, Fabio Jakobsen, who went down in the crash, is contemplating legal action in the Netherlands. Both legal cases would have to do with the physical and mental damages sustained in the crash.
On November 11th the UCI announced that Dylan Groenewegen had been handed a nine-month suspension from competition, backdated to the time of the crash, which returns Groenewegen to racing in May of 2021.
| British women dominate the second day of the European Track Championships
The second day of the European Track Championships in Bulgaria saw Great Britain win the women’s team pursuit by 03.195 seconds. The team that raced in the finale against Italy included Josie Knight, Laura Kenny, Katie Archibald, and Neah Evans. Ukraine bested Spain to take the final podium position.
Russia took the top step in the men’s team pursuit against Italy, and Switzerland beat Belarus to take third.
In the women’s elimination Elinor Barker of Great Britain took the win over Rachele Barbieri of Italy and Maria Martins of Portugal.
The men’s scratch race was won by Iuri Leitao of Portugal. Roman Gladysh of Ukraine was second and Oliver Wood held on to third for Great Britain.
Three days remain of the European Track Championships.
| Mitchelton-Scott renews contracts for Roy, Allen, Kennedy, and Brown
Mitchelton-Scott, who has already announced the signings of Taniel Campbell, Ane Santesteban, and Arianna Fidanza for 2021, today announced contract extensions for four of their core team.
Sarah Roy, who had a killer final couple races of 2020, placing fourth at Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne, fifth at the Tour of Flanders, and fourth at Gent-Wevelgem, will remain with Mitchelton-Scott for the 2021 season. Roy has been a part of the various iterations of Mitchelton-Scott since 2015.
After five years with Mitchelton-Scott, Jessica Allen has signed on for a sixth season with the Australian team. Allen is one of the team’s key domestiques and will be crucial in helping the team evolve next season.
Lucy Kennedy, winner of the Herald Sun Tour in 2019 and 2020 will also remain with Mitchelton-Scott through 2021. Last season Kennedy came to form at the Giro Rosa where she nearly won stage three before just barely getting edged out by Marianne Vos. She followed that up with a beautiful win at San Sebastian. Kennedy will be one of the riders who will have more free reign with the Annemiek van Vleuten sized hole in the team next year.
Another really exciting rider to watch next year is Grace Brown. This year was Brown’s second year with Mitchelton-Scott, and in the latter part of the season, she won Brabantse Pijl, was second at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and clocked a fifth-place ride in the time trial at the World Championships. Brown will be incredibly valuable to the team in any of the one-day races next season, and will no doubt be a joy to watch whenever it is her turn to shine.
| Alex Dowsett will continue to ride for Israel Start-Up Nation for two seasons
When Alex Dowsett won stage 8 of the Giro d’Italia on October 3rd he gave an emotional post-race interview in which he expressed uncertainty in the future. At the time, he still did not have a contract for the 2021 season.
After the Giro win, and the announcement that he would attempt to break the hour record on December 12th, Dowsett has also announced he will remain in the World Tour peloton for the next two years.
Dowsett teased his future contract earlier this week on his social media, saying he had signed a two-year deal but withholding crucial details. Today Dowsett revealed he will remain with Israel Start-Up Nation for the next two years, with an eye on the time trial at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
| SD Worx signs Niamh Fischer Black
SD Worx, formerly Boels-Dolmans, has scooped up the New Zealand national champion Niamh Fisher-Black following an impressive performance at the Giro Rosa this summer. The young climber will join one of the top women’s teams in the world, alongside World Champion Anna van der Breggen and Tour of Flanders winner Chantal van den Broek-Blaak.
Fisher-Blaak was picked up by the Bigla/Equipe Paule Ka squad on September 1st of 2019 and was one of their most active riders in 2020.
The team also announced a contract extension for Karol-Ann Canuel who has been a part of the Boels-Dolmans team since 2016. The Candian National Champion is a skilled time trialist and was part of Anna van der Breggen’s winning team at the Giro Rosa this year.
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Today’s featured image comes from the Cor Vos archives and is of Stephen Roche, Greg Lemond and Pedro Delgado from the Tour de France. Year, stage and most else is unknown! Leave a comment if you know.