VN News ticker: Vincenzo Nibali returns to Astana, Rwanda to host 2025 road world championships

Here's the news making the headlines on Thursday, September 23.

Photo: Tim De Waele

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Vincenzo Nibali returns to Astana

Italian Vincenzo Nibali will return to Astana for the 2022 season.

When the 36-year-old last raced with the Kazakh-registered team, he won the 2014 Tour de France and the 2013 and 2016 Giro d’Italia.

“I am very happy to come back to Team Astana, because for me it is a real family that has given me a lot and together with which I have achieved my greatest successes. I know most of the management and staff of the team, so I will return to the team I know really well,” Nibali said. “Also I have some very nice memories from visiting Kazakhstan and its capital and. It was an unforgettable experience.”

Nibali won 22 races during his previous, four-year tenure with Astana including Il Lombardia, Tirreno-Adriatico, Giro del Trentino, and the Tour of Oman, as well as nine grand tour stages.

Alexander Vinokourov also will be returning to Astana for the coming season as the general manager, and welcomes back the “Shark of Messina.”

“We are happy that this return is coming true. Vincenzo Nibali doesn’t need any introduction – he is a true champion and leader. Probably, he spent the best years of his career in our team, and I think it is symbolic that he will finish such a great cycling career in Team Astana,” Vinokurov said. “

“I believe that Vincenzo has not said yet his last word in cycling, so in some races we can still rely on him as the leader of the team to achieve new successes together again,” Vinokourov said.

After leaving Astana in 2016, Nibali raced with Bahrain in 2017-19, and has been with Trek-Segafredo for the past two seasons.

Rwanda to host 2025 road world championships

Diane Ingabire of the Rwandan national team at the 2021 world championships
Diane Ingabire of the Rwandan national team at the 2021 world championships (Photo: Simon Wilkinson – Pool/Getty Images)

Kigali in Rwanda will host the road world championships in 2025, the national federation has announced. It will be the first African nation to host the event since it was inaugurated in 1921.

Rwanda launched its bid to host the 2025 world championships back in 2019 after the UCI invited bids from African countries. In May, UCI president David Lappartient visited the Tour of Rwanda, which has been on the UCI calendar since 2008.

The Rwandan President Paul Kagame was in Flanders for the announcement Thursday morning.

Next year’s road world championships are due to be held in Wollongong, Australia, with Glasgow and Zurich hosting the following two.

Jolien D’hoore to become sport director at U23 women’s team

Jolien D’hoore will be a sport director for the U23 women’s team NXTG Racing in 2022. D’hoore currently rides for the SD Worx squad but is due to retire at the end of the season, with her final race to be the inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes.

D’hoore has been a professional since 2008 after signing for the Topsport Vlaanderen Thompson Ladies Team. During her career, she has won three stages of the Giro d’Italia Donne, Gent Wevelgem and Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne on the road, and taken an Olympic bronze medal in 2016 in the Omnium and been a Madison world champion on the track.

“I’m really looking forward to my new adventure with NXTG Racing. The team has a really clear vision about women’s cycling, which I totally support,” D’hoore said. “I think it’s really important that they give young cyclists a chance to develop themselves in a safe environment.

“I have a lot of experience in cycling, and I would like to teach the girls all those things. I’m super excited to be a part of NXTG Racing and I’m looking forward to next season.”

Movistar signs Óscar Rodríguez

Movistar has signed Spanish climber Óscar Rodríguez from Astana-Premier Tech on a two-year contract.

The 26-year-old finished second to Miguel Ángel López — who leaves Movistar in October after falling out with the squad at the Vuelta a España — at the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge earlier this year and took a podium at the Route d’Occitanie.

Rodríguez has one professional victory so far in his career with a stage of the 2018 Vuelta a España where he beat Rafał Majka at the summit finish of La Camperona. He is from Navarra in Spain, the home region of the Movistar squad.

“I’m so happy to be able to race with the Movistar Team for the next two years. At every place I’ve been part of since I took up cycling, both as a kid at the Club Ciclista Villavés and as an amateur at the Equipo Lizarte, everyone there would have loved to have this chance. My home team, with such an illustrious history, it makes me really happy. Currently, I’m recovering from a crash I sustained at La Vuelta – I’m doing some exercise to strengthen the muscles in my left knee. Hopefully, I can get it fully healed soon, so I can resume training.

“My main wish for the next few years is performing strong so I can try and help my teammates out as much as possible, other than – when I’ve got the chance – try and contest some victories. Above all, this is about feeling appreciated by them and feeling happy about what I do. I’ll offer all of my commitment and professionalism to make this gamble by the team a huge success.”

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.