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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,
Thursday’s headlines feature updates on Wout van Aert’s contract talks, news that cyclocross racer Justin Laevens has come out, a retirement announcement from Francisco Ventoso, and kit reveals for 2021.
Read on for the latest from the cycling world.
Jumbo-Visma in talks to extend with Van Aert
Rumors of Wout van Aert’s destination for 2022 have really been heating up lately. Only a few weeks after reports emerged that the Belgian star was talking with Ineos about potentially joining the team after his Jumbo-Visma contract concludes at the end of 2021, Wielerflits reports that Jumbo-Visma is talking to Van Aert about a contract extension.
According to Wielerflits, the CFO of team sponsor Jumbo, a supermarket chain, told employees in a New Year’s meeting that progress was being made on keeping Van Aert with the squad.
“I can reveal that we are in talks with the Jumbo-Visma cycling team to extend his contract,” said Ton van Veen, according to Wielerflits. “He has another commitment for this year, but we want to keep him with us for longer. Those negotiations look very good. We will hear that in the coming days and we are very happy with that.”
Francisco Ventoso retires
Francisco Ventoso has hung up the proverbial wheels after a long career in the pro peloton. The 38-year-old Spaniard, who rode with the CCC organization for the past four years after six seasons with Movistar, wrote on Instagram that he was calling it a career.
The versatile veteran took wins on a variety of terrains over his time in the pro peloton, including two Giro d’Italia stage victories, a Vuelta a España stage victory, overall titles at the Tour of Hainan and Paris-Corrèze, a Tour Down Under stage win, six stage wins at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, and a Spanish national road title in 2012.
Belgian cyclocross racer Justin Laevens comes out as gay
Belgian cyclocross racer Justin Laevens has told SportNU.be that he is gay, which makes him one of a small number of elite male cycling pros to have come out.
The 19-year-old, who is set to compete in Belgian ‘cross nationals on Sunday with the elites after the cancellation of the under-23 race, noted that while it is not easy to be out as a pro athlete, he hoped he could help bring about change for others.
“Being out in the sports world is difficult,” Laevens said. “I hope I can set an example for other athletes, for riders or for cyclocrossers who may still be hidden in their shell.”
Liv Racing unveils 2021 kit
Liv Racing, formerly CCC-Liv, will have a brand new look to accompany its new name this season. The squad unveiled its kit for 2021 on Thursday.
Made by Cuore, the Liv kit features a lot of purple with a floral pattern on the jersey.
Intermarché-Wanty Gobert unveils kit for 2021
In other kit reveal news, Intermarché-Wanty Gobert, which will race at the WorldTour level this season for the first time, has also unveiled its 2021 look.
The kit, made by Santic, features a similar look to those worn by the team’s previous iteration Circus-Wanty Gobert, with similar colors and patterns, but with the new addition of Intermarché to a prominent spot on the jersey.
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