News shorts: Quintana and Valverde to join forces at 2015 Tour and Vuelta

Reus to Verandas Willems, Gasparotto heads to Wanty, Revolution Series heads to Manchester

Quintana and Valverde to compete at Tour de France and Vuelta a España in 2015

Upon the conclusion of Movistar Team’s five-day training camp in Navarra, Spain on Friday, team manager Eusebio Unzué announced that team leaders Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana will join forces and compete at both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España in 2015. Quintana won the 2014 Giro d'Italia but will not return to defend the pink jersey.

"We evaluated all the alternatives, pooling the opinions of various leaders and believed that the team, with both together, greatly improves us, and separating them also weakens us. We could cover more targets with them apart, but both agreed with the decision of going together, as this allows them to share responsibility and also makes us a stronger and more formidable rival to other teams,” Unzué said.

Valverde, third at the Vuelta this year, noted the importance of working for Quintana at the Tour de France. The Colombian was second overall in the 2013 Tour edition and Valverde believes that he can help his Colombian teammate win the overall title next July.

“Nairo is perfectly capable of winning the Tour,” Valverde said. “I can be close, but it can be more complicated, and that is why I am realistic. At the Tour, I will be there 100 per cent for Nairo, accompany him to the end and stick together to have an advantage over our rivals.”

With respect to the Giro d’Italia, a race that Quintana won this year, Unzué said the team will provide opportunities for its younger generation of riders who are looking to build experience at the Grand Tour-level such as Beñat Intxausti, Jesús Herrada, Ion Izaguirre or Juan José Lobato.

Reus to Verandas Willems

Dutch rider Kai Reus has signed a contract with the Continental Verandas Willems team, Directvelo reported on Friday.

The 29-year-old former junior world champion began his career with the Rabobank squad in 2006 after winning the U23 Liège - Bastogne - Liège as part of its Continental development team. However, an accident while training left him with a serious brain injury, and he spent nearly two weeks in an induced coma.

Reus made a slow return to training and racing in 2008, eventually winning a stage in the Tour of Britain in 2009 for Rabobank, but the next year he struggled with mononucleosis and retired from the sport. He came back with Cycling Team De Rijke the midway through next year, winning a stage in the Mi-Août en Bretagne. He signed with UnitedHealthcare in 2012, and won a stage in the Tour of Portugal, but his time with the American squad was cut short again, and he returned to De Rijke in 2013.

Gasparotto heads to Wanty-Groupe Gobert

Wanty-Groupe Gobert has brought on board Enrico Gasparotto to lead the team in the Ardennes Classics during the 2015 season. The Italian joins the Belgian Professional Continental team after racing five seasons with Astana.

Gasparotto hopes to kick off the month of April at the Tour of Flanders and then move on to his first real season goal at the Amstel Gold Race on April 19, a race he won in 2012. He will also target La Fléche Wallonne on April 22 and Liége-Bastogne-Liége on April 26, where he was third in 2012.

“I really love one-day races,” Gasparotto said. “You only have one chance on the day and you really need to use your head. That suits me well as a rider. I will do my utmost to be at my best in those two weeks in April.”

Gasparotto has been racing at the top level of professional cycling for a decade having raced for teams Liquigas, Barloworld, Lampre and Astana, experience that Wanty-Groupe Gobert hopes will contribute to the team’s ability to secure wildcards at the WorldTour level.

“Enrico is capable of excelling in the Ardennes Classics and in the WorldTour-race in general,” said General Manager Jean-François Bourlart. “He showed this on many occasions in the past. I am happy to sign a rider of his level and hope that organizers of WorldTour events do take this into account when distributing wildcards.”

Revolution Series continues with round two in Manchester

The Revolution Series, a track cycling series that showcases the top male and female track specialists from around the world, will continue with the second round at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester on November 22.

Olympic Champion Pete Kennaugh and Luke Rowe, both from Team Sky, will be headlining the start list for events held in the afternoon and evening on Saturday. Other racers in attendance will be Maloja Pushbikers teammates Nico Hesslich and Andreas Graf, and Rapha Condor JLT’s Ed Clancy along with sprinters Francois Pervis and Callum Skinner. Jo Rowsell will be a top starter in the elite women's roster along with Elinor Barker, Amy Roberts and Giorgia Bronzini.
 

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