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Retirement plans, Algarve postponed, Van Aert renews: Daily News Digest

Wout van Aert has renewed with Jumbo-Visma, Alejandro Valverde has confirmed that he plans to retire at the end of 2021 and Jolien D'Hoore is reportedly planning to retire at the end of the year as well, and the Volta ao Algarve has been postponed, to mention only some of the day's news items.

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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,

Thursday was a busy day for news in the cycling world.

Wout van Aert has renewed with Jumbo-Visma, Alejandro Valverde has confirmed that he plans to retire at the end of 2021 and Jolien D’hoore is reportedly planning to retire at the end of the year as well, and the Volta ao Algarve has been postponed, to mention only some of the day’s news items.

Read on for the latest from the world of cycling.

Dane Cash
News Editor

What’s news?

Van Aert will ride on with Jumbo-Visma through 2024

After several weeks of rumors about where he might end up after 2021, Wout van Aert has renewed with Jumbo-Visma in a contract that will keep him with the squad through 2024.

The 26-year-old Belgian joined Jumbo-Visma in 2019 after leaving the Vérandas Willems-Crelan team and has since nabbed his first Monument title at Milan-San Remo, a Strade Bianche victory, and three Tour de France stage wins, to go with other impressive results as well as strong showings as a support rider. The three-time world cyclocross champ has also continued to race – and win – in CX events during his time with Jumbo-Visma.

“I really wanted to extend because I have become a lot better with this team,” Van Aert said in a statement released by the team, which announced the news with a video playing on his versatility. “I think everyone has seen that I have made huge steps forward as a rider in recent years. I was always in shape when I needed to. I owe a lot to the team to be able to work towards my goals.”

Valverde confirms his plan to retire at the end of 2021

Alejandro Valverde has confirmed that he plans to retire at the end of this season.

The 40-year-old Spaniard, a former world champion, Grand Tour winner, and four-time Monument winner, had said last year that 2021 would be his final season of racing. Although reports had emerged since then suggesting that he was considering continuing past 2021, he said at Movistar’s team presentation on Thursday that he was starting this year planning on retiring at the end of the season. After he hangs up the wheels, Valverde is expected to continue working with Movistar in some capacity.

D’hoore reportedly planning retirement at the end of the season

Jolien D’hoore is also reportedly planning to hang up the wheels at the end of the 2021, according to Cyclingnews.

“I don’t want to count down every race I’m doing this season,” the 30-year-old Belgian told Cyclingnews. “I just want to have fun and make the best out of every race together with my team. I’m proud to be part of Team SD Worx so I’ll give it my all in every opportunity I get.”

D’hoore’s career palmares includes big results on both the road and the track. She won a bronze medal in the omnium at the 2016 Olympics and took a world title in the madison alongside Lotte Kopecky in 2017. On the road, she counts two Madrid Challenge wins, a Gent-Wevelgem title, a Tour of Chongming Island overall victory, and three Giro Rosa stages among her long list of career achievements.

Volta ao Algarve postponed

The Volta ao Algarve has joined the growing list of early-season events that won’t take place when originally planned. Organizers said on Thursday that the race is postponed until May due to the coronavirus situation in Portugal.

Originally scheduled to run from February 17 to 21, the race is now tentatively scheduled to be held from May 5 to 9.

Froome to make first start of 2021 at UAE Tour

After the cancellation of the Vuelta a San Juan, where Chris Froome had originally planned to make his first start of 2021, the four-time Tour de France winner will instead make his debut with Israel Start-Up Nation at the UAE Tour.

The race announced a list of provisional starters on Thursday that includes Froome as well as Tadej Pogacar, Mathieu van der Poel, Caleb Ewan, Sam Bennett, Filippo Ganna, Fernando Gaviria, Pascal Ackermann, Adam Yates, and Marc Hirschi.

Movistar documentary series set to return

Getting back to Movistar news for a moment, the team has announced that another season of the documentary series “El día menos pensado” (The Least Expected Day) is coming later this year.

The first season debuted on Netflix last year and gave an inside look into the inner workings of the team across the three Grand Tours of the 2019 road season.

Roglic not at training camp with Jumbo-Visma after close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19

Primoz Roglic is not currently with his Jumbo-Visma teammates at their training camp in Alicante because he has been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

The two-time Vuelta a España champion is instead at home and isolating in Monaco, and it is not yet clear whether Roglic will be able to join the training camp at some point.

Durbridge and Mullens take wins on stage 1 of the Santos Festival of Cycling

Luke Durbridge and Peta Mullens rode to victories on the opening day of racing at the Santos Festival of Cycling.

In the women’s race, Mullens powered to the win in a reduced sprint after the field split over a lumpy parcours. Mullens topped Ruby Roseman-Gannon and Nicole Frain to take the stage and the race lead.

On the men’s side, Durbridge soloed clear of the bunch with 75 kilometers still to go and held on for a convincing win with a gap of more than two minutes over the field. Raphael Freienstein was the next rider over the line with Damien Howson taking third on the day.

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