Italian sprinter Andrea Guardini has signed a two-year contract with the Pro Continental team Bardiani-CSF, the squad announced today. The 28-year-old moves across after one year with UAE Team Emirates during which he struggled to crack the top 10 in a WorldTour race.
Guardini has a history of success as a pure sprinter in his prior seasons with Astana and Farnese Vini, racking up a total of 40 victories, including 22 stages of the Tour de Langkawi and a stage win at the 2012 Giro d'Italia over Mark Cavendish.
Guardini was under contract with UAE Team Emirates for another year, but he and the team mutually agreed to part ways. The arrival of Alexander Kristoff made for even more limited opportunities for sprinters.
"During past weeks I thought a lot about my career so far. I thought about my future prospectives and ambitions," Guardini said in a Bardiani press release. "I couldn't hide that in last seasons, including 2017, I didn't get what I wanted. I'm pretty sure I can deserve a place in a WorldTour team, but the most important thing for me is the role I can have. In Bardiani-CSF I know I can be leader in many races."
"Coming back in a [Pro Continental] team is not a failure for me, but a conscious choice. I know I'll be in a solid and well-equipped team, in a young and motivated environment. Another remarkable aspect is the calendar. Bardiani-CSF has always raced important events, so I can alternate good level races suited for my characteristics and top events."
Managers Bruno and Roberto Reverberi were pleased to bring in an experienced sprinter to the team.
"We're really happy for this new addition. Guardini is a great sprinter, winning and reliable," they said. "We wanted to add a new fast rider in 2018 roster and, as soon as we understood there was the chance to sign him, we immediately made our offer. He's not a neo-professional rider, he's experienced and already successful, but he has the right profile to be involved in GreenTeam project, bringing experience useful for our young riders and, of course, taking victories."
Trek-Segafredo sign Danish rider Niklas Eg
Trek-Segafredo announced the signing of 22-year-old Niklas Eg to a two-year contract. The Danish rider finished third overall in the Tour de l'Avenir last month, and is the seventh rider from the top 10 of the U23 race to step directly up to the WorldTour. Winner Egan Bernal signed with Team Sky, fourth-placed Lucas Hamilton with Orica-Scott, Steff Cras with Katusha-Alpecin, James Knox with Quick-Step Floors, and Australians Michael Storer and Jai Hindley will join Team Sunweb.
Eg, currently racing at the Tour of Denmark with his Team Virtu Cycling team, said he was excited to join the squad and hopes to develop into a Grand Tour rider.
"Signing with Trek-Segafredo is a dream come true," he said. "I see this as a huge possibility for me, both as a rider and as a human being. I heard so many good things about his team, the support you get as a young rider is so well organised. It's structure is really as good as it can be, so I cannot think of any other team where I could continue my development in such a professional way.
"Next year I want to continue learning and improving and to get acquainted with racing at the WorldTour level," he said. "I want to help the team wherever I can, and who knows, one day, if I am good enough, take my own chances."
General Manager Luca Guercilena says Eg has a lot to offer. "Ever since he was a junior he performed at a very consistent and high level in renowned international races. He's a climber but also has a good TT in the legs, so that's promising for a potential future leader in stage races. With this set of qualities, I am confident that in the long run Niklas will show us some great results."
Pozzato ends his season
"Yesterday with Coppa Bernocchi I ended my cycling season 2017," Possato wrote on his Facebook page. "Unfortunately the infection on the left leg caused by an insect bite during the last Tour du Limousin, is forcing me to take antibiotics which have debilitated my body, preventing to train and race to the required levels.
"I'm really sorry to have to close here the year, but it's important to heal properly. Especially in view of 2018, which will probably be my last season as pro rider."
Waeytens from Sunweb to Veranda's Willems
Zico Waeytens has signed to ride for Veranda's Willems-Crelan for one year, the Pro Continental team announced Friday afternoon. Team Sunweb announced last week that they mutually agreed to terminate his contract for 2018, allowing him to move.
"It's a team that has taken a clear path and will only grow in the long run. They immediately gave me the feeling that they are completely behind me and that the trust in me is great. That's always a nice feeling for a rider," Waeytens said on his new team's website.
"Next season there is a nice program waiting for me. So I will contest the spring with Wout van Aert and why not even take my own chance? A Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne is good for me. In addition, I hope to be able to show my quick legs in other races. The goal is to play for the next season as often as possible for a podium or victory."
Veranda's Willems-Crelan manager Nick Nuyens said, "Last year did not always go smoothly for him, but I'm sure we'll see the best Zico Waeytens next season. In the spring he will play an important role."