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Hi there, CyclingTips readers,
A new week is upon us and with it comes some transfer news, some retirement news, and a few riders looking ahead to the 2021 season. Let’s get into it.
Matt de Neef
| Tadej Pogacar on the favourites for next year’s Tour
In an interview with Spanish sports newspaper Marca, reigning Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) has reflected on his thrilling win at this year’s race. “I would have loved for Primoz [Roglic] to take the Tour de France, but I was there to win it,” Pogacar said. ‘It’s just competition and I have great respect for him. He has shown everyone that Slovenia, a small country, can win big tours.
“He started to emerge three years ago and riding alongside him is a great experience. Now I have beaten him and I have some mixed feelings, but that’s the sport.”
Pogacar said that he thought it was too early to pick a favourite for next year’s race, not least given the Tour’s proximity to another massive sporting event. “We will have to see who rides it, but if the Olympic Games start a week later … Then we can see that some will ride it, others may not, others may face it in preparation,” the Slovenian said. “It will be a different year than usual. More normal than this year, but I think it’s too early to say who will be the favourite for the Tour.”
| Filippo Ganna wants to win Classics
It’s been quite the year for Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers). He set an individual pursuit world record, he won a world time trial title on the road, he won four stages at the Giro d’Italia … and then he caught coronavirus. Now, the Italian is looking ahead, and he has goals beyond what you’d expect.
He wants to win Olympic gold on the track and on the road, of course, but he’s also got his eye on some big one-day road races. “I have the Olympics in my sights, but why not think about some Classics, too?” Ganna told Sky Sports. “I’d love to win [Milan-]San Remo, but also Flanders or Roubaix.”
Ganna winning such races might seem unlikely, but the same would have been said about the mountainous stage 5 of the recent Giro d’Italia – Ganna’s first pro road race win. Given his incredible talent, it’s hard to put anything past the 24-year-old.
| Michael Valgren signs with EF Pro Cycling
Danish Classics specialist Michael Valgren is set to join EF Pro Cycling in 2021.
“I’m most excited about moving to EF to start working with all the people there,” Valgren said. “Obviously, I’ve been talking to Matti Breschel and Magnus Cort as fellow Danes. They both said it was an awesome team and I look forward to being a part of that. From the outside, EF looks like a super fun team. And I really can’t wait to be a part of it. I think I will fit right in.”
EF boss Jonathan Vaughter praised Valgren’s “big motor” and said he is “a true talent”. “He is exceptional at the Classics and very valuable to his team in stage races,” Vaughters noted. “I am excited to see what he brings to our crew. He gives us another card to play in the cobbles when things get crazy — which they always do.”
| Tom-Jelte Slagter is retiring … to start selling tractors
Dutchman Tom-Jelte Slagter has announced that he will step away from the sport at the end of 2020 and embark on a rather different career trajectory: selling farming equipment.
“After a career of 10 years as a professional cyclist, the time has come for me to take a new path and with a lot of ambition to focus on a new challenge,” Slagter said in a statement on social media. “The past 10 years as a cyclist have been a great time in which I would not have missed anything. I will carry that with me forever, but now is the right time to say goodbye.”
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Slagter, perhaps best known for winning the Santos Tour Down Under in 2013, is set to start working with Groenoord, a dealership for tractor and farming equipment brand John Deere. “I have signed a collaboration with Groenoord in the position of representative agriculture machinery, in my beloved province of Groningen,” the 31-year-old wrote.
Slagter told local paper Dagblad Van Het Noorden that he’s not just tired of cycling: “I just wanted to be with the kids.”
| Australia’s National Road Series returns in late November
Australia’s highest level of domestic racing, the National Road Series, was halted after the opening round in February – the Melbourne to Warrnambool – thanks to coronavirus. Now the series is picking back up with a hectic nine days of racing starting on November 28.
More than 200 riders from 20 men’s and women’s teams are expected to descend on the Tweed region of northern New South Wales for a bunch of road races, criteriums and team and individual time trials. The jam-packed schedule is as follows:
Saturday 28 November – Time trial
Sunday 29 November – Criterium
Monday 30 November – Road race
Tuesday 1 December – Road race & mountain-top finish
Wednesday 2 December – Road race
Thursday 3 December – Road race
Friday 4 December – Road race
Saturday 5 December – Teams time trial
Sunday 6 December – Criterium
| AusCycling appoints its first CEO
AusCycling, the newly formed organisation that combines all of Australia’s cycling disciplines, has announced its first CEO: Marne Fechner. Fechner is the current CEO of Netball Australia and will join AusCycling in February 2021 “with a mandate to develop AusCycling into one of Australia’s most successful sporting brands through a new, unified sporting model that will benefit the entire cycling community”.
AusCycling chair Duncan Murray hailed Fechner’s arrival: “During her tenure at Netball Australia, Marne more than doubled revenue, grew the professional league, and led substantial organisational redesign and cultural change,” he said in a statement. “In Marne, we have found a world-class operator to unlock cycling’s potential. She will be fabulous, and we are very excited.”
“I’m really excited to accept the role of CEO of AusCycling,” Fechner said. “The opportunities offered by the new structure are vast and I look forward to working on behalf of every cyclist – from the nervous first-timers to our Commonwealth and Olympic Games teams.”
| Cyrus Monk’s quarantine jams
Former Aussie U23 road champion Cyrus Monk isn’t just a handy bike racer, and he isn’t just a science communicator – he’s also a lifelong musician. Currently stuck in quarantine in Adelaide after returning from Europe, Monk has spent his time recording some great little cover tunes. We’d recommend checking out what he recorded on day 1 …
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… and day 2 of his quarantine – impressive stuff.
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In case you missed it
| This insane Scott Spark weighs less than 8 kg
| What it’s like to write off a $20,000+ bike on the first ride
Iain Treloar tells the story of Erik Nohlin’s debut ride on his custom Specialized Aethos. Spoiler alert: it’s not a happy story.
Today’s featured image comes from the Cor Vos archives. Can you name the cyclists in this photo?