EF’s new name, Knees retires from racing: Daily News Digest

by Dane Cash


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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,

Wednesday brings news of another team getting a new name for 2021: EF will become EF Education-Nippo in 2021 as Nippo comes aboard as a co-title sponsor.

In other news, Bora-Hansgrohe has signed a promising youngster, while seasoned veteran Christian Knees is hanging up the wheels (although not leaving the cycling scene behind).

Read on for more …

Dane Cash,
News Editor


What’s News

| EF will become EF Education-Nippo in 2021

EF will officially have a new name next year as Japanese construction company Nippo Corporation joins the squad as a co-title sponsor. The team will race as EF Education-Nippo from January 1 on.

Nippo’s arrival comes as the company is reportedly ending its sponsorship of the Nippo Delko One Provence squad, which has been in the news recently as riders have filed complaints to the UCI regarding unpaid wages. Three current Nippo Delko One Provence riders have signed on to join the EF squad for next season.

Nippo has been a sponsor of pro teams for years, having backed the Nippo-Vini Fantini squad prior to sponsoring Nippo Delko One Provence, but as Nippo Corporation director of sport Hiroshi Daimon noted in a press release, the partnership with EF is a step up to cycling’s highest division.

“It is the first time for Nippo Corporation to participate in the WorldTour, and we are thrilled and excited. It’s a new adventure for us,” Daimon said. “We are excited to contribute as much as possible to furthering the success of the EF Pro Cycling team across the world.”

| Bora-Hansgrohe signs promising prospect Uijtdebroeks

Highly sought-after talent Cian Uijtdebroeks will race for Bora-Hansgrohe’s Auto Eder development team in 2021 before stepping up to the WorldTour team in 2022.

The 17-year-old Belgian, who won the Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne junior race this year, has generated significant hype in cycling Belgian media, and he joined Deceuninck-Quick-Step for a training camp earlier this year.

“After winning Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, I had contact with pretty much all the WorldTour teams,” Uijtdebroeks said. “There were different approaches to making the move to the pro ranks and also towards my development. With Bora-Hansgrohe, I immediately had a good feeling. They don’t just look at young riders physiologically, but they also take a very individual approach to their riders. In the end, I was also convinced by the fact that Team Auto Eder will work towards integrating me into the Bora-Hansgrohe structure. I feel that I am in good hands and am very happy with my decision. Now I’ll be able to fully concentrate on the first third of the racing program, with the Classics.”

| Knees retires from road racing, will move into new role with Ineos Grenadiers

Christian Knees is hanging up the wheels after 17 years as a pro. The 39-year-old German, who has been with the Ineos Grenadiers organization since 2011, will take up a new role with Ineos next season, “putting his experience to use behind the scenes to help the team’s Racing and Performance departments.”

“17 years is a long time,” Knees said in a team press release. “To be a professional at 39 years old is not something many people can say. At some point you need to retire and it’s always hard to end a chapter – but I’m really proud of what I achieved. The Grand Tour wins with the team – being there in 2012 with Bradley, and to be alongside Froomey at the start of the Tour in Germany in 2017. There are so many good memories, not to mention spending 10 years in one of the world’s best sports teams.”

Knees’s career palmares includes an overall win at the Bayern-Rundfahrt, a Rund um Köln win, and a German national road title. With Ineos, he spent years as a key support rider in both Classics and the Grand Tours. He was a part of the then-Sky team’s Tour victories in 2012 and 2017, and also a part of the team that won the Vuelta a España in 2017.

| Van der Hoorn will join Intermarché Wanty Gobert in 2021

The Circus-Wanty Gobert team that will become Intermarché Wanty Gobert has announced that Taco van der Hoorne will join the squad next season.

The 27-year-old Dutchman, whose career palmares includes wins at the Primus Classic and Schaal Sels as well as a stage victory at the BinckBank Tour, will make the move after spending the past two years with Jumbo-Visma.

| Puerta receives a four-year ban

Fabian Puerta, who won the keirin world title in 2018, has received a four-year ban that will run through 2022 after testing positive for Boldenone in 2018.

The 29-year-old Colombian has been provisionally suspended since the UCI informed him in August of 2018 that he had registered an adverse analytical finding that June.

| Froome will get his 2021 campaign underway at the Vuelta a San Juan

Israel Start-Up Nation announced on Wednesday that Chris Froome will make his first start of 2021, and therefore his first start with his new team, at the Vuelta a San Juan.

“This race will mark the beginning of a much-anticipated new chapter of my career,” Froome said. “I look forward to racing with my new teammates and getting the ball rolling on the adventure that lies ahead.”

Israel Start-Up Nation’s roster for the stage race in Argentina will also include Rudy Barbier (who won the opening stage of the event in 2020), Guy Niv, Tom Van Asbroeck, Alex Cataford, and Patrick Bevin, with sportive manager Rik Verbrugghe saying that the team will target stage wins.

| Ritchey’s new two stems

Ritchey has released two new performance stems. Both are designed to fit regular 31.8 mm handlebars and 1 1/8in steerer tubes.

The new WCS Toyon effectively adds a square profile to the company’s popular C220 stem. It’s available with a 6-degree +/- rise and is said to weigh 139 g in a 110 mm length.

Then there’s the new Chicane B2. The Chicane is an aero-inspired road stem with a hinged faceplate. The new B2 version replaces the original hidden internal steerer wedge clamp with a more traditional two-bolt steerer clamp. This road-focussed stem is only available in a negative 10-degree angle, with weights a few grams lower than the Toyon.

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Today’s featured image of Laurent Fignon from the archives of Cor Vos. He may be best known for his achievements at the Tour de France, having won twice, but can you name the Monument he also won twice?

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