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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, December 16, 2020

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

I tell you, in this world, being a little crazy helps to keep you sane. - Zsa Zsa Gabor

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:


Julien El Fares Joins EF Pro Cycling

Here’s the team’s announcement:

EF Pro Cycling is excited to announce that Julien El Fares will race with us in 2021. The Frenchman rode for UCI ProTeam Nippo–Delko–One Provence and will join former teammates Fumiyuki Beppu and Hideto Nakane next year at the WorldTour level. “This is a wonderful team with a good mentality. It definitely corresponds to my way of cycling,” said El Fares.

Julien El Fares

Julien El Fares leads on a climb in the 2016 Tour of Provence. Sirotti photo

As for his other new teammates, he’s shared many a starting line with our riders in the past and even remembers seeing a young Alex Howes riding through his hometown of Provence. “I am delighted to join the EF family and discover new friends,” he said.

It’s clear that El Fares’ mentality definitely aligns with that of EF Pro Cycling’s. When asked about what he’s looking forward to most next year, it’s having an opportunity to mentor young riders. “I’m excited to bring my experience around European races to them and help the overall team in getting the best possible results.”

El Fares was born in Manosque, France and turned professional with Cofidis in 2008. In 2009, he won the Tour de Wallonie and also won a stage at Tirreno–Adriatico that year. Before that, he began on U-23 teams AVC Aix and VC La Pomme Marseille. Cycling has been a passion for El Fares since he was six-years-old, and he had a pretty aspirational role model from his hometown. “I still live in Manosque, in Provence, most famous for its magnificent lavender fields than for cycling hero Edouard Fachleitner. He finished second in the Tour de France in 1947.” As a French rider, it’s no surprise that the Tour de France has a special place in his heart. “It’s definitely my favorite race to ride in,” said El Fares.

Growing up though, watching the Belgium Classics was his favorite pastime. “I was always fascinated by them. I was really impressed last year by the victory of Alberto Bettiol at Flandres last year,” said El Fares.

Yet there’s no location he’d rather take a long ride in other than his hometown of Provence. “My whole life is linked to my territory. It’s probably the best place in the world for cycling,” said El Fares. And like many cyclists, he spends a lot of time focusing on good nutrition to keep him fueled throughout his training. “I love healthy organic food. After a ride, my favorite dish is simple: a bowl of white cheese, with almond butter, red fruits, oats and coconut cream,” said El Fares.

As for his off-season plans, Julien is thinking only about one thing: 2021. “No plans other than my preparation. I’m 100 percent focused on my season,” said El Fares. “I’m so grateful to EF Pro Cycling. I really look forward to showing the best Julien El Fares next year.”

Mitchelton-Scott looks back on August’s racing

Here’s the team’s recap:

Racing properly returned during the month of August, with a full programme after the season was suspended from March to July. Mitchelton-SCOTT made the most of their return with world champion Annemiek van Vleuten picking up an impressive victory in the first WorldTour race, the iconic Strade Bianche before claiming the European Road Race title for the Netherlands.

Annemiek van Vleuten

Annemiek van Vleuten wins the 2020 Strade Bianche.

Success then came in Czech as the team began the four-day tour with an opening stage team time trial victory followed by a stage victory on a hilltop finish on the final day for Australian Damien Howson which proved to be enough to also seal the overall race victory.

21-year-old Barnabás Peák then took his second victory in the Hungarian time trial championships, his first win in Mitchelton-SCOTT colours.

Here’s our winning rider’s post-race reactions:

Annemiek van Vleuten – Strade Bianche:
“Everything hard is good for me and is bad for my opponents, so I just think ‘I love the heat’.

“I’ve got so many emotions today, at first, I thought I came here for nothing. I couldn’t make my attack as my teammate Amanda was in front, and then suddenly a girl is away, Mavi Garcia, a really strong rider then I had to go full on the attack, so there were a lot of emotions.

“The speed was out of the group and then suddenly my team director said ‘Annemiek time for action’ just before the second to last gravel section, that was really uphill. That was actually the moment I had in my head to attack from the group in front hopefully, but now I had to attack there to close the gap.

“The Piazza del Campo is the most beautiful finish for me to win. I didn’t think I would catch Mavi Garcia and I believe the whole scenario made it a very spectacular race."

Damien Howson - Czech Tour – Stage 4 and Overall:
“It was a hard day, I had to be attentive and respond to any moves throughout the stage that looked dangerous, because the guys had put in a massive amount of work over the last couple of days and we needed to keep ourselves on the front foot. So, I think I did that pretty well and remained calm.

“For the last half of the stage we had Jack and Michael there to help me, they did a tremendous ride and kept me calm. I said to them as long as they can get me into the last climb, they’d done more than enough, and I was confident to at least seal the GC at that point.

“I just had to match anyone on the climb on the last lap. When the Uno-X guy rode a super hard tempo there was only us two left and then it was a matter of playing my move right into the final to get my hands in the air.

“It’s awesome, it’s been a long time coming, I guess. I put some hard work in in the last couple of months and it’s nice to see that pay off. I can’t reiterate enough, the guys here, kicking it off with the team time trial and the way they’ve ridden the last couple of days, it’s truly amazing to sit behind these guys and see what they’re able to do. It was my way of repaying them with the stage win and the GC.”

Barnabás Peák - Hungarian Time Trial Championships:
“The course was really simple, one piece of highway and two laps.  My coach Ben and I planned to approach it steadily, I was pacing myself good, I could even lift the pace a little in the final leg and in the end I was the fastest.

“I knew that I was capable of the performance from the training before, so it was not surprising as such, but it’s a big victory for me for sure.

“I am really happy to win in the Mitchelton-SCOTT colours. Normally when you come into a new place you have to prove your worth, and it’s not a WorldTour win, but it’s a good performance from my side and I hope I made the team proud.

“The plan on Sunday is to try to win and go for the double again.”

August wins:

Strade Bianche - Annemiek van Vleuten
Czech Tour – Stage 1 – TTT
Czech Tour – Stage 4 - Damien Howson
Czech Tour – Overall - Damien Howson
Hungarian Time Trial Championships – Barnabás Peák
European Road Race – Annemiek van Vleuten - Netherlands

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