2020 is (mercifully) almost at an end, and 2021 is starting to unveil itself with news of teams, riders and races still coming in thick and fast.
To make sure you don’t miss a single bit of the news, moves and other gossip, The British Continental has rounded it all up and explained it all for you below…
Pidcock’s December perfection
Trinity Racing’s Tom Pidcock has been keeping himself busy on the continent during December, taking on a number of cyclocross events with some significant success.
First finishing ninth at the Telenet Superprestige Boom, Pidcock turned on the firepower as he pushed through the mud to third at the X20 Trofee Antwerpen – Scheldecross. Beaten only by CX star Mathieu Van Der Poel and Eli Iserbyt, the 21-year-old was on fine form.
That definitively proved to be the case at the Telenet Superprestige Gavere as he got the best of Alpecin-Fenix rider Van Der Poel to take an impressive 25-second victory. Toon Aerts rounded out the podium with fellow Belgian Iserbyt fourth.
In the same race, fellow 21-year-old Brits Thomas Mein and Ben Turner also put in fine performances, finishing 9th and 13th respectively.
Domestic team news
New sponsors, new name for Drops
The Drops Cycling Team will go by the name of Drops-Le Col supported by TEMPUR in 2021 after it announced two important sponsorship deals.
Current partner, British performance clothing brand Le Col, are stepping up their support as title sponsor, and are doubling down their investment having spent the past two years with the team developing some of the most eye-catching women’s kit in the pro peloton. Meanwhile, premium mattress and pillow brand, TEMPUR, joins as a new sponsor.
Team manager Bob Varney, who still harbours hopes of taking the team to WorldTour level in the future, told Cycling Weekly that the new sponsorship will enable to team to pay for regular staff and improved support for the riders. The riders themselves will remain without salaries but Varney explained that is something the team are working on.
Canyon dhb SunGod reveals 2021 line-up
Canyon dhb SunGod has confirmed an 18-man roster for 2021, which features 13 re-signings and five new arrivals as the squad looks to hit the ground running.
Continuing with the team are: Andrew Tennant, Ryan Christensen, Jacob Scott, Matthew Bostock, Rory Townsend, Brenton Jones, Max Stedman, Jacob Hennessy, Rob Scott, Callum Macleod, Ollie Wood, Charlie Tanfield and Thomas Mein.
Joining them are five talented riders, including three under-23s, meaning the team now has enough under-23 riders – five – to enable an under-23 race programme.
First up is Jim Brown, who moves across from French squad CC Étupes and already has some eye-catching results on his palmarès including a seventh at Ghent Wevelgem Juniors in 2018. You can listen to our recent podcast interview with Jim here.
He’s joined the multi-talented Dan Tulett who has come from Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother. In our recent interview with him, he told us that a year away from racing in 2020 has enabled him to rediscover his love for the sport.
The last of the under-23s has a connection to the team already, as Callum Macleod’s younger brother Euan joins Canyon dhb SunGod for his first year as a senior.
There’s a family connection to another new signing too as Reece Wood – brother of Ollie – moves from Holdsworth Zappi. A medalist as a junior on the track at European and World level, he’s had a good season on the road in 2020 too with a third and an eighth on stages one and three respectively at the Tour of Bulgaria.
Last, but not least, is final signing Damien Clayton. After a remarkable 2019 where he took his first UCI race win – Grand Prix des Marbriers – and National A triumph, at the Bourne CiCLE Classic, 2020 has been a more disrupted affair. As he told us in our latest podcast episode, however, he feels a year away from racing has enabled him to develop his fitness more than ever.
Along with Olly Moors (Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling), Clayton is a Zwift Academy finalist, meaning he is one of five riders vying for a contract with Alpecin-Fenix next season. His time with Canyon dhb SunGod could therefore be short-lived.
Departing the team are Mark Christian (EOLO-Kometa), Alex Colman (Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise), Jerome Baugnies (Decock-Van Eyck-Devos Capoen), Alex Paton (Retired), Tom Stewart (unknown), Dan Pearson (unknown) and Alex Peters (unknown).
Spirit Tifosi BSS Rotor squad (almost) complete
Over on our men’s domestic team guide, you can see that Spirit Tifosi’s squad is now pretty much complete after a slew of announcements over the last two weeks. 10 re-signed riders are joined by three new signings: road and cross talent Tom Couzens, sprinter Josh Price and Clay Davies. The team has hinted there may be another signing (or two) still to come.
Bianchi Dama confirms 2021 plans
Another domestic elite team to reveals its plan for next season is women’s team Bianchi Dama. The team has announced that Alderney Baker will sign as a stagiaire next year and will join Charlotte Colclough, Bethany Taylor, Jazz Jones, Anneleen Bosma, Georgie Panchaud, Emma Cockcroft, Tasha Reddy and Holly MacMahon, who all re-sign. In a press release, the team said it hopes to part of British Cycling’s new Elite Development Team division.
The team’s race calendar is beginning to take shape. The National Road Series will once again be a focus. The National Road Race Championships, the Tour Series and time trials will all feature too, along with a selection of UCI level events in Northern Europe.
Transfers, contracts & retirements
Pridham becomes first female DS in the WorldTour
Cherie Pridham made history when it was announced that she will lead the Israel Start-Up Nation squad next season as sports director in the WorldTour and other races, becoming the first woman to assume the role at the highest level of professional cycling.
The appointment of Pridham is a significant development in what is traditionally a male-dominated sport. She was keen to emphasise though, that she has been selected on merit and will approach the role in the same way that any other DS would. Pridham said: “My role is Directeur Sportif, not Female Directeur Sportif, and I know that I’ll be expected to concentrate on that aspect. I’ll be tackling the very same issues as my colleagues – I’ll make the same mistakes and have the same successes too.”
The news follows the closure of her long-running Continental team, latterly known as Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK.
Cavendish blasts back to the past with Deceuninck – Quick-Step
Despite his own thoughts that he might be retiring at the end of 2020, Mark Cavendish has confirmed he’ll remain in the sport for another year at least after signing a one-year contract with Deceuninck – Quick-Step.
The deal takes the Manx-man back to the team he competed for between 2013 & 2015 and took a number successes with – including the 2013 Giro Points Classification and the 2015 Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
It’s Christmas time at Drops…
GB cycling ace Dani Christmas has been announced as the latest signing for Drops Cycling as she moves across from Lotto-Soudal.
Christmas, a former middle-distance athlete, has had a strong 2020 with a remarkable 35km breakaway in the GP Euromat – where she was caught with just a few kilometres to go – and a stage win at the Virtual Tour of Britain. That’s all despite a disrupted campaign thanks to COVID-19 where she ran a more limited campaign of French and Belgian races.
Now, she’s moving to Drops with eyes set on a fuller schedule for 2021. She added: “As a British rider, I’ve always followed Drops with keen interest and now feels like the perfect time to get involved in the project. 2020 has been a year like no other so I’m pleased to have overcome the challenges and look to 2021 with the excitement of a new home to direct my passion and energy.”
Jon Dibben retires
Jon Dibben has revealed to the Podcrash podcast his decision to retire from pro cycling. The 26-year-old rode for Lotto-Soudal this season but did not have his contract renewed.
A former track world champion, Dibben turned pro with Team Sky in 2017. He won his winning the time trial in the Tour of California the same year. He rode for the now defunct Madison Genesis team last season before signing a one-year deal with Lotto-Soudal for 2020.
Shaw’s uncertainty continues
James Shaws hunt for a contract in 2021 continues, with news that his current Riwal Securitas team confirming that they won’t continue as a ProTeam next season. The team had been searching for sponsors in the hope they could continue in cycling’s second division. Reports suggest they are looking at whether they could continue as a Continental team, although that is not yet certain. Shaw has an offer from at least one Continental team but – with a mortgage to pay -he’ll need to weigh up financial considerations too in arriving at a decision.
By our calculations, Shaw is last remaining British rider at WorldTour or ProTeam level that either doesn’t have a contract for next season or has retired. Listen to our podcast interview about his search for a contract here.
Brits vying for pro contracts in Zwift Academy finals
As highlighted above, two male Brits – Olly Moors and Damien Clayton – have made it to the Zwift Academy finals. Nicole Coates (Weston Homes-Torelli-Assure) is also through to the women’s final.
All three riders are riding for the chance of a pro contract. The winner of the male finals will be offered a contract at Alpecin-Fenix, whilst the winner of the women’s will have the opportunity to join Canyon-SRAM. The grand finale takes place on 19 December.
British Conti journal contributor lands Hagens Axeon Berman contract
Our very own Joe Laverick has been announced as Hagens Axeon Berman’s second new signing of 2021. The team is renowned as being one of the best development teams around. It had been struggling for sponsorship this year but recent reports suggest the team now has enough funds to run a solid race programme in the US and Europe next year.
Joe has written a journal piece about his move, in which he reveals he’ll be basing himself in Girona from January as he sets his sights on an exciting year ahead.
Mason Hollyman to Israel Cycling Academy devo team
Mason Hollyman will leave the Holdsworth-Zappi set up to join the Israel Development Academy development team next year with his sights set on a future WorldTour contract. If all goes to plan, the move will give the 20-year-old the opportunity to guest with the WorldTour team in pro races next season, a significant step towards making his pro dreams a reality.
One of our under-23 riders to watch this year, he has already shown a lot of promise. He is a former Junior National Road Series winner and finished 20th overall in his first Baby Giro. Read our recent interview with him here.
More Brits sign Continental team deals
Thomas Armstrong has confirmed a move to Continental Level squad Electro Hiper Europa for 2021. The 26-year-old has moved across, and up a level in cycling terms, from Telecom-On Clima-Osés after a productive spell with the Spanish team.
Brits Rob Orr and Siméon Green will continue with the UCI Continental team EuroCyclingTrips-CMI Pro Cycling into 2021. Siméon Green will enter the second year of two-year deal with the team, whilst 40-year-old Orr has had his contract extended.
We’re also pleased to see that our journal contributor Joe Nally has signed for Team Elite Restauration 89, a French DN2 team. Joe had been looking for a new team after the closure of his Continental-level Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK team.
Severn Bridge Road Race gets confirmed date
With more dates for national cycling events being confirmed, one of the latest events to be added to the calendar is the always entertaining Severn Bridge Road Race.
Organised by the Bristol Road Club, the race is due to take place on April 11 2021 – a perfect early preparation for the National Road Series, which is scheduled to start just a week later at the Klondike Grand Prix.
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