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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put. - Winston Churchill

Current Racing:

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:

Deceuninck to will become Quick-Step team's title sponsor

Here's the team's news release:

We are proud to announce that Deceuninck, leading designer and manufacturer of window profiles, will be the title sponsor of the team managed by Patrick Lefevere, which from 2019 will be called Deceuninck – Quick-Step, after a multi-year deal has been signed by the two parties.

Deceuninck, a company founded in 1937 and headquartered in Hooglede-Gits Belgium, will have its logo prominently present on the jersey of the current World Tour team classification leader – home to some of the sports' biggest names – who has racked up an astounding 69 UCI victories so far this season.

Francis Van Eeckhout, CEO Deceuninck: 'We are delighted with this powerful partnership in international cycling, one of the most popular sports in Europe and emerging worldwide. This high valued sponsorship offers plenty of commercial opportunities for Deceuninck and all our customers. I'm confident this is a new milestone for the company."

Team Quick Step

Team Quick Step will have a new title sponsor for 2019. Sirotti photo

Jérôme De Bruycker, Marketing Manager Europe, added: "This will be a real game changer leading to a series of marketing campaigns that will exemplify our passion for innovation, ecology and design. The continuous media attention throughout the whole year will strengthen our Deceuninck brand and will support us and our partners to be the preferred choice of the customer."

Patrick Lefevere, Team CEO: "It gives me great pleasure to welcome Deceuninck on board for the next seasons. Thanks to their commitment and that of the other partners, the team can think of the future and build on what we have achieved during this outstanding season. Over the years, we've shown that we are one of the major players in the sport and our results guarantee both exposure and international visibility. Last but not least, the structure and services we provide to our partners help them create a strong marketing platform so they can give their customers a complete and exclusive experience. I'm delighted to have such an international company, with whom we share so many values, by our side and I am sure that together we will achieve our goals."

Lotto-Soudal general manager Paul de Guyter to leave team

Lotto-Soudal sent me this terse note:

The Lotto Soudal WorldTour team and Paul De Geyter, the team’s General Manager, have decided, following consultation, to put an end to their collaboration.

By mutual agreement the two parties came to the conclusion that the perspective on the future strategy of the team differed too much from each other to continue the partnership.

The Lotto Soudal WorldTour team wants to thank Paul De Geyter for the cooperation of the past cycling season.  The Lotto Soudal WorldTour team wishes him all the best in his further career.

Paul De Geyter wishes the team every success.

Rob Stannard elevated to WorldTour team early

Mitchelton-Scott sent me this:

20-year-old Rob Stannard has been elevated to join WorldTour team Mitchelton-SCOTT for Tre Valli Varesine and the remainder of the 2018 season.

The recent 2018 Piccolo Lombardia winner had originally been signed by the Australian outfit from 2019, having spent the last two seasons with continental team Mitchelton-BikeExchange, but will start earlier than anticipated, joining the squad this week in Italy.

Rob Stannard
“I am really excited to be riding with the team, it is great for my development to be able to do some races already this year with the team at this level. It is a really good stepping stone for me, I know the roads for Tre Valli Varesine, I live and train in the area so it is really nice to be able to race close to home so it is a great race for me to start at with the team.

“I am really excited, I don’t really know what to expect but I’m sure I will be learning the whole time and hopefully I can be part of the team’s success in these first races.”

Dave McPartland - Sport director
“The Italian races are on courses that should suit a rider like Rob so it is a great place for him to start. It will be a great experience for Rob to get a head start on next season and I think with Tre Valli we can expect him to be there most of the day and on roads that he is familiar with.”

Team Sunweb's upcoming racing

The squad sent me this schedule:

Team Sunweb coach Arthur van Dongen (NED): "Milano-Torino has a really hard final with a local lap and a difficult uphill to the line. Our goal here is to go for Wilco and we have a good selection of young, strong riders to support our goal. We expect that the decisive race-winning move will go on the final climb so it is here that we need to remain sharp to be in the best position to take a top result." 

RACE: Milano Torino (1.HC)

DATE: 10/10/2018

COACH: Arthur van Dongen (NED) 

Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Jai Hindley (AUS)
Lennard Kämna (GER)
Wilco Kelderman (NED)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Sam Oomen (NED)
Michael Storer (AUS)

Team Sunweb coach Arthur van Dongen (NED): "The final Monument of the season; our goal here is to go for a top result with Sam. It's his favourite race so it will be a special day for him to be our leader, especially with such a solid team around him. We'll aim to bring him into as fresh as possible condition to the two climbs in the middle, as well as when the race heads towards Como before the finish. Our goal is on Sam's development as a leader and with Wilco and Michael we have two experienced riders who can help support this goal." 

RACE: Il Lombardia (WT)

DATE: 13/10/2018

Arthur van Dongen (NED) 

Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Jai Hindley (AUS)
Lennard Kämna (GER)
Wilco Kelderman (NED)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Sam Oomen (NED)
Michael Storer (AUS)

Michael Matthews

Michael Matthews (shown at this year's Binck Bank Tour) will race Il Lombardia. Sirotti photo

Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans (NED): "Tacx Pro Classic is the last race of the year for our Development program and I am sure that they want to end their season on a high note. The race itself is over 200 kilometres which in itself is a challenge for our young riders strength. If there is wind we expect that it will be a really difficult race, and without wind an early break has a chance to go far into the final. With these scenarios in mind we will determine our tactics, but we hope the day comes down to a sprint where we will ride all in for Niklas." 

RACE: Tacx Pro Classic (UCI 1.1)

DATE: 13/10/2018

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED) 

Felix Gall (AUT)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Marc Hirschi (SWI)
Jarno Mobach (NED)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Martin Salmon (GER)
Jens Vanoverberghe (BEL) 

Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek (NED): "We're really looking forward to lining up in Hong Kong for the newly expanded Hammer Series on the continent Asia. We bring a strong team with riders like Søren, Max and Tom who have all had successes over the previous weeks. The race is held in a theatre in Hong Kong which adds an exciting dimension and creates motivation for us to show our strength in this final Hammer Series event of the season.

"The Hammer Sprint course is fast and quite technical and we have different cards that we can play. Max is a strong rider for the sprints but Søren and Tom could also be there for the long haul attacks. For the Hammer Chase we have to use our rider's strength as best as possible and race really smart; being able to see the other teams on the course makes the race even harder because the risk of going too fast and becoming empty is super high. We're really looking forward to this new edition of the Hammer Series and look forward to making it a great race." 

RACE: Hammer Hong Kong (UCI 1.1)

DATE: 14/10/2018

COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED) 

Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Tom Dumoulin (NED)
Simon Geschke (GER)
Chad Haga (USA)
Martijn Tusveld (NED)
Max Walscheid (GER) 

Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek (NED): "With Søren, Max and Martijn showing good form lately we look forward to racing the last WorldTour event of the season and we see some good possibilities for results, especially after Max's win in Germany last week. The race consists of some typical sprint stages and a difficult stage where the GC will normally be decided. After an exciting race in Hong Kong for the Hammer Series we're really looking forward to another few days in China focusing on the sprints."  

RACE: Gree-Tour of Guangxi (WT)

DATE: 16-21/10/2018

COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED) 

Rapha to co-sponsor EF Education First-Drapac

Here's the news release the team sent me:

EF Education First and Rapha announce a major new partnership to revolutionize the way professional cycling is presented, with the aim of taking a disruptive approach to the sport throughout the 2019 season and beyond. The move marks Rapha’s return to men’s WorldTour professional cycling after a two-year hiatus.

Rapha will bring their creative credentials to EF Pro Cycling, and together they will focus on profiling inspirational and charismatic riders and showcasing their stories. Coverage will include regular shows from inside the team, with some developed and presented by the riders themselves. Cameras will follow the racers on a year-long journey through the most interesting events in cycling, offering a new window into all aspects of the sport. 

This new partnership follows a two-year study conducted by Rapha into the future of professional cycling. Led by four academic experts around the world and based on interviews with more than 50 of the most experienced stakeholders in the sport, the project examined in detail the opportunities and challenges facing road cycling at large. The project found that there is vast opportunity to grow the sport and increase its overall value by converting more cyclists into fans and connecting more meaningfully with a modern audience.

It is this foundation that Rapha and the EF team will build upon. Storytelling and creative content has been part of Rapha’s business since its launch in 2004, resulting in over 300 films created in its 15-year history, and several EF riders and staff are already known as some of the sport’s most colorful.

Together, Rapha and EF will celebrate the team’s characters and heroes, and will explore not only the traditional heart of cycling in the Grand Tours and Classics but also bring new formats and disciplines into focus. A number of EF racers will ride a mixed calendar of events in the 2019 season, including the WorldTour schedule and also criteriums, ultra-endurance races and renowned mixed-terrain events. This coverage will be coupled with live events in Rapha Clubhouses and other venues around the world, building on the local cycling communities that the brand has been developing since the company’s inception.

Building on Rapha’s previous success in the WorldTour and race-proven range of Pro Team kit, the team will wear the most technically advanced and visually striking clothing in the professional peloton. The new designs will be released soon.

Simon Mottram said: “Rapha started in 2004 because of my own love for road racing. Racing has always been something that inspires us and our customers – it’s our common ground. Through our sponsorships with Rapha-Condor, Rapha Focus, Team Sky, Team WIGGINS and CANYON//SRAM, we’ve had great success, but are still frustrated that the sport can only grow if it fundamentally reforms. For this reason, we are excited to play a role in moving the sport forwards through the new venture with EF. We are passionate about making it reach more fans and be a better spectacle so that more people come to appreciate how great it is. As a fan, I’m so excited about us being back in the men’s WorldTour.”

Jonathan Vaughters said: “Rapha is a great partner for us, from their world-class kit to the cycling culture we both want to help grow. We aim to open up cycling to a wider group of people; we’re interested in exploring all aspects of the community, from racing and its core fans to the people who just got on bikes. By bringing some of our athletes to grassroots and mainstream races across the world, we’re hoping to deepen the relationship between our team and other riders, and have some fun while we’re at it. We’re also going to give people more insight into the sport than before, showing a rare, unvarnished perspective of these athletes’ lives. The human element of cycling is very, very powerful. And as for the kit… we look forward to building on the strong visual identity forged by POC and bringing our style into a new chapter. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”

By showing a true portrait of the riders and engaging at both the sport’s pinnacle and outskirts, Rapha and EF Pro Cycling will give fans plenty of reasons to cheer in 2019 and beyond.

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