It’s been a busy couple of days in the world of professional cycling. With only a couple of weeks left for the road season, riders are scrambling to get those late season wins. Cyclo-cross is beginning to pick up steam in earnest with the European campaigns in full swing. Lastly, the rider market and sponsorships for the coming year are beginning to shape the 2019 season.
On the road
Søren Kragh Andersen of Team Subweb won his first Paris-Tours. This year’s race was notable for the use of gravel sections, which caused havoc in the peloton. Some managers and riders considered the gravel sections a novel addition to a traditionally sprinter friendly course. Others however welcomed the changes. I would presume Søren Kragh Andersen to be a member to the later camp.
Bauke Mollema of Team Trek-Segafredo claimed his first victory of the year with a decisive win at GP Bruno Beghelli in Italy. He slipped away in the closing 5 kilometers with a group of eight. Once away, Mollema jumped with two and a half kilometers to go, and kept the field at bay to win by six seconds over second place.
Off of the road
Reigning cyclocross World Champion Wout Van Aert, whose early season has been marked more by drama than results, has signed with Team Cibel-Cebon for the remainder of the season. He had a falling out with his former team Veranda’s Willems Crelan after a team merger with Roompot saw him dissolve his contract with the team.
Where the talented rider will ride for 2019 is anyone’s guess. He is linked to the Dutch team Lotto-Jumbo for 2020, but no news as to if he will start a year early for the squad. Van Aert enjoyed incredible performances this spring. His results include a third place at Strade Bianche and a top ten at the Tour of Flanders. Needless to say, this matter is far from settled.
The big news of the transfer market is where the young Columbian Ivan Sosa will end up. Earlier in the year, he had informally agreed to ride for Trek-Segafredo. Trek’s management had agreed to pay his current team, Androni Giocattoli a sizable fee to release Sosa from his contract. In the last couple weeks however, it seems that the deal has fallen through, and Sosa is now linked to Team Sky.
Rapha returns to the men’s ProTour in 2019. The premium clothing brand will be the clothing supplier for EF Drapac who has been using Swedish apparel brand POC for the last two seasons.
With 69 victories this year alone, it seemed odd that Patrick Lefevere’s dominant squad Team Quick-Step still hadn’t secured a title sponsor for the coming season. That changed recently when Belgian window manufacturer Deceuninck announced they will be taking over from Quick-Step as title sponsor. The new team, Deceuninck – Quick-Step will likely continue dominating the spring classics.
It’s an interesting time of year for those who follow the sport. Cycling is unique in it’s structure and organization. While incredibly difficult for the casual observer, it rewards those of us crazy enough to take the dive. Expect more developments in the coming weeks. Stay safe out there, and as always, keep the rubber side down!