VN news ticker: Peter Sagan to skip Omloop Het Nieuwsblad; Michael Woods outlines 2021 schedule

Here's the news making headlines for Monday, February 15.

Photo: Stephane Mahe - Pool/Getty Images

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Tom Pidcock set for Ineos Grenadiers debut

UK sensation Tom Pidcock will make his debut in Ineos Grenadiers colors at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var starting Friday. The highly touted Pidcock will race on the road for the first time since joining the WorldTour super-team during the three-stage race in southern France.

Joining him in a season debut are Rohan Dennis, Pavel Sivakov, and Tao Geoghegan Hart, racing for the first time since winning the Giro d’Italia. Geraint Thomas also races for the second time this season. Other big names racing include Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana-Premier Tech).

Mike Woods opens season in France with Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico on slate

Canadian Michael Woods has outlined his 2021 racing schedule, with a build-up toward the Tour de France and the Tokyo Olympics that includes a smattering of stage races and one-day classics.

Woods will make his debut with new team Israel Start-Up Nation this coming week at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes Et du Var in France, followed by the duo of French one-day races Royal Bernard Drome and Faun-Ardèche classics. His WorldTour debut will be March 6 at Strade Bianche, with a spring campaign that includes Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour of the Basque Country, La Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Tour of Romandie, and the Critérium du Dauphiné.

At the Tour de France and the Olympics, Woods will target stage victories and a medal in the road race, respectively.

“Getting pumped to get back at it with the new team in a few days!” Woods wrote on Instagram.

Report: No ‘opening weekend’ for Peter Sagan after COVID infection

Peter Sagan will not be racing at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad or Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne at the end of this month. Reports in Belgian media state that the Slovak star has had to reshuffle his schedule having suffered a training delay after contracting COVID-19 while on training camp in Gran Canaria earlier this month.

“His quarantine is over. Peter is feeling well and has no more acute symptoms,” team Bora-Hansgrohe told and other sources. “Peter will not ride the opening weekend. It is still too early to make any decisions about the rest of his program now.”

Sagan had been planning a full classics campaign in 2021 having missed the cobblestone races last year while riding the Giro d’Italia. The loss of the highly competitive Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne from his schedule marks an early dent in his ambitions of capturing a second Paris Roubaix or Tour of Flanders title in 2021.

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