Mathieu Van Der Poel
Mathieu Van Der Poel's team Corendon-Circus becomes Alpecin-Fenix. The Dutch rider will probably miss out on his Grand Tour debut, La Vuelta, given the limited wild cards that the Spanish organisers have available (2) but he will take part in his first World Tour stage race, the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, two days after Milano-Sanremo. Catalunya organisers have invited five other teams to the race: Arkéa-Samsic, Burgos-BH, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Circus-Wanty Gobert and Fundación Euskadi.
The race could be the first Monument to be cancelled. Landslides have caused problems on the turning towards the last climb, the Poggio, just outside Sanremo. The mayor is battling to find €10m and see if RCS, the race organisers, could help financially as it's a big burden on the host town. It's likely there will be a diversion of the course rather than a cancellation. However, according to a local official the situation is ok at the moment and the race is not at risk now but it will all depend by the weather over the next few weeks as they have to keep monitoring the slipping of terrain with torrential rain.
Sofia Bertizzolo has joined Marianne Vos' World Tour team CCC-Liv after her move to Movistar couldn't be approved. The Spanish employment laws forbid a double working contract and as Bertizzolo is already employed by the Italian Police she was forced to look elsewhere.
Enrico Battaglin joins Bahrain McLaren after the demise of Team Katusha.
Domenico Pozzovivo clinches a last minute contract with NTT Pro Cycling (formerly Dimension Data), after a training crash last August, which threatened his cycling career.
20-year-old Dutch sensation Lorena Wiebes has fallen out with the management of her team Parkhotel Valkenburg. Her contract runs until the end of 2021 so her team don't want to let her go, and now she doesn't want to ride for them. This might result in Wiebes not riding in 2020 for at least 6 months, when it could be possible that either herself or a team will buy her out of the contract.
The troubles for Parkhotel Valkenburg don't end with Wiebes. Sofie Dr Vuyst, winner of Brabantse Pijl, was due to join World Tour team Mitchelton-Scott but failed a doping test for exogenous anabolic steroids (Exogenous steroids are the synthetically created versions of the testosterone hormone).
She's now waiting for the B-sample results but the contract is now null and void.
Australian rider Amanda Spratt of Mitchelton-Scott took the first win of the season on the first of the Bay Crits in Geelong, Victoria, while Chloe Hosking of Rally UHC took the second and the final stage, sealing the overall victory. Although both riders are from different teams, at the Bay Crits they rode together in a composite team.
The men's race was won by Sam Welsford (Lexus of Blackburn) after stage wins by Kaden Groves (Novotel-Mitchelton), Nicholas White (BridgeLane) and Sam Welsford himself.
The first official UCI race is underway, the Cambodia Bay Cycling Tour (2.2) with two stages done. Wins by Ariya Phounsavath of Laos and Hiu Fung Choi of HKSI Pro Cycling Team.
Richie Porte (Trek) will stick to his usual calendar and kick off with the Tour Down Under as well.
Sam Bennett will be there too in his Irish Champion jersey for his new team Deceuninck-QuickStep.
André Greipel will return to the Australian stage race for Israel Start-up Nation. He has won a record 18 stages there and was twice the overall winner.
Peter Sagan will start with the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina.
Chris Froome (INEOS) is still far from a full recovery, and had already decided to skip the Giro in favour of the Tour. He has now left a training camp in Spain after just two days and there's speculation, allegedly fuelled by INEOS coach Dario Cioni, that he might not be able to recover at all.
Guillaume Martin, who came 12th at the last Tour de France for Wanty-Gobert and has now a two year contract with Cofidis, has written a philosophical book called "Socrate à Vélo" (Socrates on a bike). It is autobiographical but it uses philosophy as a storytelling tool (Martin has a Master in Philosophy). Looking forward to the English translation for a review. In the meantime, inrng.com has the first review from the original French version.