Hello again, CyclingTips readers,
Tuesday’s headlines featured more details on the race starts ahead for some big names, updates on other stars as they prep for 2021 on new teams, and news of a change for riders needing neutral service support at the Tour de France.
Read on for the latest from the world of cycling.
Pinot will race the Giro and not the Tour in 2021
Thibaut Pinot confirmed on Tuesday at the Groupama-FDJ team presentation that he won’t be riding the Tour de France this year, instead opting to take on the Giro d’Italia.
The 30-year-old Frenchman will return to the Giro, which he has raced twice before and where he has finished as highly as fourth overall, after two Tour starts that have not gone according to plan. He looked to be among the top contenders for yellow at the 2019 Tour before abandoning the race in the final week with a leg injury. He seemed to be a strong contender going into the race in 2020 as well but crashed on the first day, suffering a back injury, and was not a strong factor in the overall battle.
In 2021, Pinot will target the Giro instead, noting that the route may be more favorable. Meanwhile, Groupama-FDJ will look to David Gaudu and Arnaud Démare to lead the way at this year’s Tour.
Shimano replaces Mavic for neutral service at the Tour
Speaking of the Tour, riders in need of neutral service support at this year’s race will find it coming not from Mavic, but from Shimano.
On Tuesday, the ASO announced a new partnership with Shimano, which has long provided neutral service in a variety of other races, including the Vuelta a España. The move brings an end to Mavic’s time providing neutral service for the Tour after 43 years.
Van Vleuten aims to be an inspiration for Movistar teammates
Annemiek van Vleuten is gearing up for 2021 with a new team, having signed for Movistar this past transfer season after five years with the Mitchelton-Scott organization, and as she told CyclingTips, she is enjoying the new atmosphere, speaking a new language, as she gets to know her new coworkers.
Coming aboard as an accomplished veteran, the 2019 world champion is hoping to bolster a relatively young roster.
“I’m not thinking about teaching them because I don’t feel I need to teach them, but I would like to inspire them,” Van Vleuten told CyclingTips.
“I started quite late so I can still remember my struggles in the beginning also. And I’m not scared to share them actually.”
Froome: ‘I don’t feel as if I’m done yet’
Chris Froome has been hard at work training in California over the past few weeks, and with the racing season approaching, he is feeling better about his form now than he did at this time last year, as he told reporters in his first media appearance with his new team, Israel Start-Up Nation, on Monday.
Some three and a half years since he last won a Tour de France, the four-time Tour winner remains optimistic about the future as he continues to focus on getting back to the level he was racing at before his 2019 crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné. Froome said that retiring after the crash “certainly would have been the easier option,” but that the thought of winning a fifth Tour continues to drive him.
“One really big motivation for me was knowing that I’m sitting on four Tour de France titles and I don’t feel as if I’m done yet,” he said. “I’d like to get to number five. I’d like to keep racing Grand Tours, targeting them until I’m ready to retire from the sport on my own terms.”
Volta a Catalunya names wild cards for 2021
The Volta a Catalunya has announced the ProTeams the will be invited for this year’s edition of the race, with six second-division squads set to join the WorldTour teams this March.
Alpecin-Fenix will be one of them, as will be the case any time the team wants to attend a WorldTour race after finishing as the highest ranked ProTeam in 2020. Also receiving invites are Rally, Gazprom-Rusvelo, Arkéa-Samsic, Kern Pharma, and Fundación Euskadi.
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