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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, November 18, 2023

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2023 Tour de France | 2023 Giro d'Italia

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self. - Aristotle

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James Knox re-ups with Team Soudal Quick-Step

The team posted this update:

The British climber, top ten in Pais Vasco last season, inked a two-year contract.

Soudal Quick-Step and James Knox have reached a new agreement, which will see him ride with the team until the end of 2025. A solid climber, James has been part of the Soudal Quick-Step family since 2018, when he turned pro, and in that time, he delivered some strong results. The most recent of these were a runner-up place at the National Championships, held in atrocious weather last June, and an impressive eighth overall at the Itzulia Basque Country, one of the hardest stage races of the season.

James Knox finishes stage nine of the 2019 Vuelta a España. Sirotti photo

“I am obviously very happy. I feel very at home in the team, and I am pleased to stay for two more years here. They have been my entire history in pro cycling, and I am happy to continue with Soudal Quick-Step. I want to say thank you to Patrick and all the sponsors of Soudal Quick-Step. It means a lot to be part of this great squad for two more years, so thanks to everyone”, said the 28-year-old Cumbrian.

Soudal Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere shared his thoughts on the new deal: “James has been with us since the age of 22, and in all these seasons, he continued to steadily develop and learn, while selflessly helping the squad whenever needed. He is also a great person, equally liked by his teammates and staff members, so it wasn’t a hard decision when it came to prolonging our journey for two more years.”

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Loe van Belle moves up to Jumbo-Visma's World Tour team

Here’s the team’s news:

Along with teammates Johannes Staune-Mittet and Per Strand Hagenes, Loe van Belle will move from the Jumbo-Visma Development Team to the Dutch outfit's elite squad next winter. The 21-year-old rider signed a contract that will take effect from 2024. "I have become a more mature rider over the past few years", he says.

Loe van Belle. Jumbo-Visma photo

Born in the Dutch city of Zoetermeer, Van Belle joined Team Jumbo-Visma's development programme a few years ago. "During a training camp with the Dutch national team in the Vosges mountains, I took part in a test at the Ballon d'Alsace as a first-year junior. Robbert de Groot was there. I turned out to be the fastest on the mountain. Robbert was so impressed that he contacted me. There were other candidates, but for me, the choice was clear. I liked the history and the ambition of Team Jumbo-Visma."

Since 2021, the young Dutchman has been riding in the yellow and black of Team Jumbo-Visma. "I look back on these three years as a U23 rider with satisfaction", the up-and-coming neo-pro continues. "Every year, I have progressed. One year a little more than the other, but that's part of a young rider's journey. I have always felt supported by the team. It's a pleasant environment, not least because of the many good teammates and knowledgeable staff."

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"Last year was all about taking the final step towards the WorldTour", Van Belle reflects. "I improved my cycling knowledge, my training and my racing skills. In terms of results, last year was perhaps not my best year. I had some good results, but a win or a podium is missing this season. I have to be critical about that."

Van Belle also has a highlight. "I was able to open my season at O Gran Camiño. That was super cool. Riding in the same team as Jonas Vingegaard and all the other big names had been one of my goals for years. Riding with the guys from the WorldTour team is an experience that nobody can take away from me. It makes you want more. Fortunately, it will happen more often in the coming years."

Van Belle praises his team's specific approach. "Because the team has allowed us to get used to racing at the highest level, the final step up is probably not that big. I felt very welcome in the team. Next year, I will be part of the WorldTour team. It is a wonderful feeling. I have dared to race in the last few years, but I have also dared to fail. I will take that with me to the pros. I am not afraid to take responsibility. I can say that I have grown up in the last few years, and I am ready for the step up."

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Rod Ellingworth abruptly resigns from Ineos Grenadiers

Canadian Cycling Magazine posted this:

Shake-up at British team continues with Roger Hammond allegedly out as well.

Rod Ellingworth has resigned from his role as deputy team principal at Ineos Grenadiers, according to a report in The Telegraph. Ellingworth, who played a crucial role in securing Tour de France victories for Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, and Geraint Thomas during two stints with the British team, has left amidst the team’s recent struggles in the TdF.

While Ineos Grenadiers has not officially commented on the reports, Matteo Tosatto, a directeur sportif at the team, confirmed his departure at the end of the year, according to GCN. The news of Ellingworth’s departure, as reported by The Telegraph, has not yet reached the riders, and there are hints that another senior management member might also depart.

You can read the entire story here.

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