After finally securing a title sponsor for his team last month, Patrick Lefevere has added BMW as a car supplier for his Deceuninck-QuickStep team. In recent years, Quick-Step Floors have been working with French manufacturer Peugeot.
The team will be supplied with 15 vehicles in total, three fewer than their current store of cars. The fleet will consist of nine X1s Drive 18i and six 520i Touring, while they will also use one of the new X7 models in March to use for VIPs.
"We are really pleased to have BMW join us as our new official car partner,” Lefevere said in a team press release. “We are always looking for innovative ways to improve our set-up and support the team. We believe that having an official car partner like BMW, that is as passionate about innovation as we are, can help to deliver even more success and satisfaction."
Quick-Step Floors was the most successful team in 2018, winning a total of 73 races. However, they lost a number of key riders, including Fernando Gaviria, due to a protracted search for a new sponsor.
E3 Harelbeke gets new name and route
E3 Harelbeke will become the E3 BinckBank Classic from next season after the online bank became a new sponsor. The one-day WorldTour race unveiled the route for next year at the same time, as well as a new logo.
Despite dropping Harelbeke from its name, the race will still start and finish in the town. It will head toward Waregem, Oudenaard and then Zottegem before looping south toward Geraardsbergen and then heading back to Harelbeke. The route is much the same as it was this season with just a few minor changes made necessary due to roadworks.
The Katteberg will be the first climb of the day again while Hogerlucht takes over as the third climb of the day, replacing Broeke. Most crucially, the Eikenberg will not be in the 2019 edition. The new climb of Berg Ten Stene will be sandwiched in the middle of the Taaienberg and the Boigneberg.
All of this makes for a marginally shorter route, which is two kilometres shorter than this year’s race at 204km.
E3 is known as the mini-Flanders because of its parcours and often gives insight into who will be in the mix a week later at the Tour of Flanders. It gets its name from the former European autoroute E 03, which has been renamed the E17 within Belgium.
Zwift Academy announces 2018 men's winner
Nineteen-year-old Martin Lavric has earned a contract with Dimension Data’s Continental outfit for 2019 after winning this year’s men’s Zwift Academy Program. Lavric fought off competition from 30,000 applicants and made it to the final with New Zealander Alex West and Briton Ollie Peckover.
The three finalists went to Cape Town, South Africa, for the WorldTour team’s training camp last week. They took part in a number of other challenges before the winner was finally announced. Lavric, who raced with Continental team Attaque Team Gusto in 2017, had seemed sure that he would not be declared the winner and said afterwards that his aim had been to get to the semi-finals and win a home trainer.
“This is a dream come true,” Lavric said in a video produced by Zwift. “I entered Zwift Academy with an eye on a semi-final place, as I wanted to win an Elite smart trainer, but I walked away with a pro contract. I have experience racing at a UCI continental level, but this was a huge opportunity for me to get noticed by a top professional cycling team. It will be a huge change, but I’m really relishing the opportunity.”
Go behind the scenes at Prendas
Go behind the scenes at clothing manufacturer Prendas Ciclismo with the latest edition of the Cyclingnews podcast.
Founded in 1996, Prendas Ciclismo has positioned itself as one of the premiere and unique cycling brands in the industry. As well as being a supporter of the Cyclingnews podcast, it has a rich and creative history in the sport, reproducing some of the most loved and iconic jerseys, as well as establishing its own line of clothing.
In this week’s edition, editor Daniel Benson headed to Dorset, Poole, to meet Andy Storey, who has been with the company from its early days.