Top names debut at Alpes Maritimes, Qhubeka-Assos encouraged by winning start –

Top names debut at Alpes Maritimes, Qhubeka-Assos encouraged by winning start –

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Tom Pidcock debuts at Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var

Tom Pidcock makes his WorldTour debut Friday at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var starting Friday in France. The highly touted Pidcock is joined by Geraint Thomas, Rohan Dennis and Tao Geoghegan Hart, racing for the first time since winning the Giro d’Italia.

Other big names making their 2021 season debut at the three-stage race include Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic), Michael Woods and Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama–FDJ), and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana-Premier Tech). U.S. rider Kevin Vermaerke (Team DSM) also sees his WorldTour debut, while Joe Dombrowski (UAE-Emirates) and Logan Owen (EF Education-Nippo) also start.

“It’s a tough little race this so it’s a good chance to check your condition and to see how things are going for the spring season,” said Qhubeka-Assos’s Simon Clarke. “There will be no hiding at Haut Var, you can’t come there if  you haven’t put in the hard work so it will be good to see how it’s all going. The race is three tough stages, all uphill finishes and all over 3000m of climbing, everyday. It’s going to be a tough challenge but a good block of racing, that’s for sure.”

Qhubeka-Assos encouraged by winning start to 2021

Giacomo Nizzolo‘s win at the Clásica de Almería is a boon for Qhubeka-Assos, as the team rides into 2021 with optimism following a tumultuous 2020 season that saw the team nearly fold.

“Every professional team wants to win and, if possible, right from the beginning of the season,” said sport director Lars Michaelsen. “With Giacomo Nizzolo’s win in Clásica de Almería we got just that – both a nice win and also an early win. Our hope throughout the season is, that we can pick out our days and surprise here and there. Of course, these moments have to fall into what’s reasonable to expect from our team.”

Olav Kooij jumps to WorldTour squad at Jumbo-Visma

Olav Kooij makes an immediate move from the development team of Team Jumbo-Visma to the World Tour team, officials said Thursday. The 19-year old Dutchman won six races in 2020, and the idea was to transfer him to the main team in the middle of this season, but an injury to Mike Teunissen and the uncertain future of Tom Dumoulin opened up some space. Also, the cancelation of many U23 races also prompted the change.

“With Olav we propose a balanced talent development program,” said sport director Merijn Zeeman. “Unfortunately more and more races are dropped from our development team program and at the same time more space is created in the pro program by the temporary loss of riders. This creates a situation for Olav in which a transfer is the best contribution to his training and development.”

Kooij will make his debut for the World Tour team in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

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