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Rolling through the midway point of the week, there’s some controversy in the headlines as well as some team news for a few different squads.
For starters the UCI formally announced its punishment for Dylan Groenewegen on Wednesday. In a confirming of what has been rumored, the Dutch sprinter will be suspended for nine months.
Elsewhere in the headlines, NTT Pro Cycling announced that it is parting ways with Bjarne Riis after just one season together, while Ceratizit-WNT announced some big signings and some key renewals for 2021.
Read on for more …
| Groenewegen receives a nine-month suspension
Confirming what was rumored last week, the UCI announced on Wednesday that Dylan Groenewegen has received a nine-month suspension, dated back to August, for causing the crash on the opening stage of the Tour of Poland that left Fabio Jakobsen seriously injured.
The suspension will keep Groenewegen, who has not raced since the incident, out of competition until May 7, 2021.
“The crash in the first stage of the Tour of Poland will forever be a black page in my career,” Groenewegen said. “During the sprint I deviated from my line. I am sorry, because I want to be a fair sprinter. The consequences were very unfortunate and serious. I am very aware of that and I hope this has been a wise lesson for every sprinter. I follow the news of Fabio’s recovery very closely. I can only hope that one day he will return completely. Closing the disciplinary matter creates clarity. That gives me the opportunity to look ahead again. I am happy about that, even though May 7th is still far away. I am happy with the support I get from Team Jumbo-Visma, my family and friends. Together we will work towards that day both mentally and physically.”
| Riis and NTT parting ways
NTT Pro Cycling announced on Wednesday that Bjarne Riis is leaving the team.
The former pro and former CSC manager came aboard at the start of this season as team manager in an arrangement that was expected to see him and his business partners also acquire part of the team, but that acquisition never went through.
Over the past few months, the team has been searching for a new sponsor as NTT is leaving that role. Recent updates from Riis and team principal Doug Ryder on the status of that search have painted different pictures of the situation, but however it plays out, Riis apparently won’t be involved in any continuation of the team.
| Ceratizit-WNT renews with Wild and Brennauer, adds Banks and Henttala for 2021
Ceratizit-WNT announced its full 14-rider roster for 2021 on Wednesday, confirming renewals for some key names as well as the additions of a few other notable talents.
Headlining the returning riders are Kirsten Wild and Lisa Brennauer, while Lizzy Banks and Lotta Henttala are both coming aboard for next season.
Henttala, who counts one-day wins at Gent-Wevelgem and the Crescent Vargarda and stage wins at the Women’s Tour and the Giro Rosa on her career palmares, has ridden for Trek-Segafredo since 2019. Banks, who has won stages in back-to-back editions of the Giro Rosa, is joining after two years with the Bigla team that became Équipe Paule Ka this season.
| Brand and Sweeck take Superprestige Jaarmarktcross wins
Lucinda Brand and Laurens Sweeck rode to victories at Superprestige Jaarmarktcross in Belgium on Wednesday.
Brand took the women’s race in a close battle with Ceylin Alvarado and Denise Betsema. The trio pulled away from the field and then Brand sprinted to the win just ahead of Alvarado, with Betsema in third.
On the men’s side, Sweeck used his strength in the sand to his advantage en route to victory. Sweeck, his Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal teammate Eli Iserbyt, and Toon Aerts battled at the front from the early goings of the race. Sweeck and Iserbyt then left Aerts behind before Sweeck pulled away solo in the sand, riding on to get the win with Iserbyt five seconds back and Aerts arriving 24 seconds down for third.
| Tour de Yorkshire called off for 2021
The Tour de Yorkshire was officially added to the growing list of events that have been called off for 2021 on Wednesday as organizers announced that the stage race will not take place next season.
A 2.HC-rated event in 2019, the Tour de Yorkshire was cancelled this season as well. Organizers said on social media that they are committed “bringing the #TDY race back bigger and better than ever in 2022.”
| Trek-Segafredo adds Ghebreigzabhier, Skjelmose Jensen, and Tiberi
Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier, Mattias Skjelmose Jensen, and Antonio Tiberi will join Trek-Segafredo next year, the team announced on Wednesday.
Ghebreigzabhier, 26, comes over from NTT, where he started his pro career. He won the Eritrean national road title in 2014, the African Continental road title in 2018 and the Eritrean TT title in 2019, and has notched top 10s at the Tour de Langkawi, the Vuelta a Burgos, and the Arctic Race of Norway to go with overall wins at the Tour International de Blida and the Tour International de Constantine.
Skjelmose Jensen, 20, joins from the Continental-level Leopard Pro Cycling squad. A promising up-and-comer, he rode to third at the Paris-Roubaix Juniors race, second at the Course de la Paix Juniors, and first overall at the Tour du Pays de Vaud in 2018.
Tiberi, 19, officially signed with the team last year after winning the junior world TT title in Yorkshire. He spent the 2020 season focusing on development with the Colpack-Ballan team, but will step up to the WorldTour in 2021.
| Rally signs Clouse
Rally announced Wednesday that 19-year-old American Katie Clouse will join the squad for 2021.
Clouse, who has won numerous junior national road, mountain bike, and cyclocross titles, was officially a member of the DNA Pro Cycling team in 2020 but did not race in any UCI events in the shortened season. In a Rally press release, she said that she is looking forward to gaining experience racing in Europe next year.
“When [performance director] Jonas Carney reached out this season, I felt like I was ready to make the move to a bigger team and race bigger races,” Clouse said. “Rally Cycling has a big presence in Europe and I’m excited to take the next step in my career.”
| New team looks to carry on Steve Tilford’s legacy
The Maap | Mini Cyclocross program of Raylyn Nuss is linking up with the Steve Tilford Foundation to expand into a team featuring a three-rider, multi-surface elite squad, a masters’ squad, and a development squad.
Joining Nuss on the elite team at the new Steve Tilford Foundation Racing are three-time American ‘cross champ Stephen Hyde and former road pro Joseph Schmalz. The project is supported by the non-profit Steve Tilford Foundation, created to carry on the legacy of American cycling legend Steve Tilford with a focus on developing young cyclists.
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Today’s featured image is from Cor Vos and is from the European Track Championships which are currently taking place this week in Kolodruma in Plovdiv, Bulgaria amidst uncertainties and a host of withdrawals due to the ongoing pandemic. Denmark, France, and the Netherlands are three major cycling countries that have decided against sending any cyclists to the Championships. Other big cycling countries, like Germany and Great Britain, are sending reduced teams