In today’s Daily News Digest: Boom scoops stage 5 of the BinckBank Tour, nabs race lead; Kristoff sprints to victory on stage 2 of Arctic Race of Norway; Gaudu takes first pro victory on stage 3 of Tour de l’Ain, Pinot grabs race lead; Bennett victorious on stage 2 of Czech Cycling Tour; Poidevin wins second stage and overall at Colorado Classic; Murphy takes stage 1 of Colorado Classic; Despite ‘getting very old,’ Hayman remains as Orica-Scott captain for 2018; Axeon Hagens Berman team aims for Professional Continental status in 2018; Trek-Segafredo manager says team ‘not in a hurry’ to find replacement for Contador; World Champion Dideriksen to team up with Deignan in Revolution’s elite women’s championship; Video: Sagan – ‘I am young and beautiful’; Video: GoPro highlights from stage 1 of the Colorado Classic
Your Saturday Daily News Digest
As a result of an expansion of team budget by its sponsors, the Axeon Hagens Berman team has announced that it will seek a Pro Continental licence for 2018. Once granted, the licence will see the squad step up a level in the sport, and also be open to compete in higher-ranked races. It will however remain an under 23 development team, thus continuing its original mission.
“The additional sponsorship investment will allow the team to continue its tradition of nurturing and advancing young, talented riders from the amateur ranks to the highest level of the sport,” said Axeon Hagens Berman General Manager Axel Merckx. “In the past nine seasons, we have sent 22 riders to the World Tour. Getting riders to this level will continue to remain our focus. We believe that this program is unique and important for the future of the sport.”
The change will impose greater costs on the team, and meeting them has been made possible by an increased investment from title sponsor and class-action litigator Steve W. Berman, and his firm, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP.
“I continue to be impressed by Axel Merckx and the program we are building together,” he said. “Youth development in cycling has always been important to me, and I want to give this team an opportunity to do it on a bigger scale. Hagens Berman is excited to invest in the team and its move up to the Pro Continental level.”
The company previously sponsored the Jamis – Hagens Berman and the Hagens Berman U-23 Cycling Program prior to backing the current team for the past two years. The Axeon Hagens Berman squad has been one of the most successful development teams in cycling and will continue to be registered in the US.