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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, December 16, 2019

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him. - Niccolo Machiavelli

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Florian Vermeersch and Viktor Verschaeve to sign with Lotto Soudal

The team sent me this update:

WorldTour Team Lotto Soudal has reached an agreement with two young Belgian riders, Florian Vermeersch and Viktor Verschaeve. Both U23 riders currently ride for the Lotto Soudal development team. Vermeersch will join the WorldTour team on June 1st 2020, Verschaeve will do the same on January 1st 2021. Both riders signed a contract until the end of 2022.

Vermeersch and Verschaeve

Florian Vermeersch and Viktor Verschaeve

National U23 champion Florian Vermeersch (20) was extremely delighted with the agreement. “This is a perfect way to join the WorldTour team. I will still be able to show my champion’s jersey in the first months of the season. On the other hand, I can prepare my step to the highest level in a non-rushed way. I am convinced that this will boost my development as a rider. Now, at our training camp in Mallorca, I ride together with champions like Philippe Gilbert, Caleb Ewan, John Degenkolb and Tim Wellens. I knew those guys only from tv. Now we live together. I learn already so many things from them. I had always dreamt of becoming a pro rider. A dream has come true.”

“Florian is strong, is a big talent with a huge potential”, says General Manager John Lelangue. “2019 was just his first year as real road cyclist. Earlier he was a successful cyclocross rider (and multiple national champion). Last season we could see already the potential of some other cyclocross riders… Florian convinced us, not only with his national road title, but in many other races, including the Tour de Moselle, where he won three of the four stages and the GC. He can start with us in a slow, smooth way, most likely in the Baloise Belgium Tour. Later he can do some other small stage races. Our young talents, formed by Kurt Van de Wouwer, will get the chance to grow, without any rush.”

Viktor Verschaeve (21) is such another talent. In 2019 Verschaeve finished second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23 as well as top ten in Giro d’Italia and Ronde de l’Isard.

“Yes, with just 60 kg, I am more a climber, let’s say a puncher-climber”, explains Viktor Verschaeve. “No search for a team, 2020 can and will be a year without stress, but a year with a lot of ambition. In Mallorca, together with the pro riders, I am impressed already every day. Everything is here so professional. Nutrition, the bikes, specific trainings, so many details. I cannot wait to start the season.”

Gearing guru Frank Berto has passed away

René Herse Cycles posted this remembrance:

Word has just reached us that Frank Berto passed away last Sunday, aged 90. Berto was one of the most inquisitive technical minds in the cycling world and a long-time contributor first to Bicycling magazine and then to Bicycle Quarterly.

An avid cyclist since his childhood in the 1940s, Frank obtained a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1958. He worked in the oil industry as an instrumentation and oil measurement consultant. On the side, he authored more than 100 technical articles. His book The Dancing Chain traces the history of derailleurs in all its twists and turns.

You can read the entire post here.

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