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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,
For a Thursday in December, it was a surprisingly busy day in cycling headlines.
Fabio Aru has a new team, the team currently known as Circus-Wanty Gobert is getting a new name, and Rod Ellingworth is leaving Bahrain-McLaren, to list just a few of the day’s stories.
Read on for more of the latest from the world of cycling.
| Aru will ride for Qhubeka-Assos in 2021
The NTT team that will become Qhubeka-Assos next season announced on Thursday that it had signed former Vuelta a España winner Fabio Aru. The 30-year-old Italian will join the South African WorldTour squad after three seasons with UAE-Team Emirates, following several years with Astana, where he turned pro and enjoyed his biggest career successes.
“I am excited to have Fabio join our team; to have a rider who has won a Grand Tour in the Vuelta, been fifth in the Tour de France and twice on the podium of the Giro adds a lot to our teams development as we continue to strive to win on the world’s biggest stage; to inspire hope and create opportunity,” said team principal Doug Ryder.
“Fabio’s passion and love for cycling can be seen in the way he races and I think in our unique team we will see him rise again, as I am sure we will get the best out of each other.”
After putting up big results in the early years of his career, with his 2015 Vuelta win one of five top five finishes at Grand Tours, Aru has not found quite as much success as hoped in recent years, having had multiple seasons derailed by health issues. He was diagnosed with an iliac artery constriction in his left leg and underwent surgery in 2019. Although he has started three Grand Tours since then, he has not achieved the level of results that he was able to deliver earlier in his career. He abandoned this year’s Tour de France on stage 9, saying at the time that he wasn’t sure what was wrong, while UAE advisor Giuseppe Saronni criticized him publicly in the media.
At Qhubeka-Assos, Aru will slot in as the most accomplished GC rider on the squad and a likely candidate to the lead the team in three-week races, particularly given the departure of Louis Meintjes, who is headed to Circus-Wanty Gobert next year. As he moves to a new team, Aru will look to re-find the form that propelled him to such strong results only a few seasons ago.
| Rod Ellingworth is leaving Bahrain-McLaren
Bahrain-McLaren announced on Thursday that Rod Ellingworth, who came aboard as team principal only a little over a year ago following a long tenure with the Sky/Ineos organization, is leaving the squad.
After several years as the performance director for the Sky team that became Ineos, Ellingworth joined the Bahrain team last October. As he came aboard, the team made several roster changes, with Vincenzo Nibali and Rohan Dennis leaving and Mikel Landa, Wout Poels, and Mark Cavendish signing on. Just over 14 months later, Ellingworth is departing the team, which said in a statement that “Rod’s passion is rider development, so he has decided to move on and focus on new projects close to his heart.”
| Intermarché will become a title sponsor for the team currently known as Circus-Wanty Gobert
As the Circus-Wanty Gobert team is planning to move up to the WorldTour next year following the acquisition of CCC’s WorldTour license, the Belgian outfit has added a new title sponsor. Along with some new signees like Louis Meintjes, French supermarket company Intermarché is coming aboard for 2021.
Next year, the team will be known as Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. While Circus will no longer be a part of the team name, it will continue to be a team sponsor.
| Roglic wins Velo d’Or
Primoz Roglic has won the 2020 Vélo d’Or, an annual prize awarded by French magazine Vélo.
A jury of international journalists voted for their pick of the rider of the year, and it was announced on Thursday that Roglic had won the title for the first time in his career. The 31-year-old Slovenian rode to runner-up honors at the Tour de France and won Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Vuelta a España this season, finishing atop the UCI’s men’s rider rankings on the year.
| Kwiatkowski says he has signed on to stay with the Ineos Grenadiers for three more years
Michael Kwiatkowski will ride on with the Ineos Grenadiers for a further three seasons. Although the team has not officially announced the news, the former world road champ said on Polish television that he has signed an extension with the squad.
Kwiatkowski, 30, joined the team in 2016 after four years with the Omega Pharma-Quick-Step organization. He won a world road title in 2014, and since joining the team now called Ineos Grenadiers, he has racked up a strong collection of results in one-day and one-week races, taking wins at Milano-Sanremo, Strade Bianche, the Clásica San Sebastián, E3 Harelbeke, Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, and the Tour of Poland during his tenure with the squad. He has also been a key part of the Ineos Tour de France lineup, and he rode to his first career stage win at the race earlier this year.
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