Zandio says 2016 will be his final season
2016 will be Xabier Zandio's 16th and final season as a professional cyclist. The Spaniard toyed with the idea of hanging up his wheels at the end of this season but has signed a one-year contract extension with Team Sky.
"I started the year with some doubts, not knowing how it was going to go, but in the first races of the year I felt good, motivated, and I decided to continue for another year. It’s an awesome team both on a sporting and human level so I’m made up to be extending," said the 38-year-old, according to Biciciclismo.
"It will be my last year – I’m very sure of that. I’m convinced. I think it will be time. Maybe more because of the psychological side of things than the physical. It’s a long time, I’m knocking on the door of my 40s and in truth I don’t see myself racing as a 40-year-old. I have an urge to lead another sort of life and be with my family. In principle I don’t have any real inclination to stay chained to cycling. Changing appeals to me."
Zandio has a wife and two young children. After spending 10 years under Eusebio Unzué’s Spanish team currently known as Movistar, he has been with Sky for five years and has outlined his ambition to ride a Grand Tour in his final season after not riding any this year.
Veikkenan hangs up his wheels but stays with FDJ as staff
Jussi Veikkenan will ride his last race as a professional this weekend at the Tour de Vendée after announcing his imminent retirement.
The 34-year-old, who is an eight-time Finnish national road race champion, will end his career at FDJ, the place where it all began in 2005, though he did spend one year away from the French squad in 2011. Such is the bond he has formed with the team, he will go straight into a staff role.
"I have seen great riders come through and become champions. It was a magnificent adventure," he said in a statement tweeted by FDJ. "What a big day has it been.. full of sweat, tears and joy. Time to look forward, beautiful new goals ahead," he added from his own Twitter account.
The FDJ team have also announced that they have given Kenny Elissonde a one-year contract extension.
Dani King extends with Wiggle Honda
The 24-year-old is an Olympic champion on the track in the team pursuit but was recently dealt a blow when British Cycling told her she would not feature in the squad's track plans for Rio 2016, telling her instead to target the road race. The decision was influenced by the fact that King suffered a horrific crash in training nearly a year ago, and only returned to racing in April. She won the Tour of the Reservoir in England on her return before going on to support Jolien D'hoore and Biorgia Bronzini in the races over the summer.
"I'm delighted to have again renewed my contract with Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling," said King, who has been with the team since its inception in 2013. "2016 will see me solely focus on the road for the first time in my career and with the Women’s WorldTour starting next year this is an incredibly exciting time to be embarking on my career as a full time road cyclist."
Rochelle Gilmore, the team's owner and manager, added: "Wiggle Honda will be so much stronger in 2016 simply due to having Dani commit 100% to the road and our team. Personally it has been difficult for me to not actively pressure Dani to turn her focus and attention to the road earlier. However, the time has come, her heart has made the decision very clear for her towards the end of this season."
Kenny Dehaes signs for Wanty-Groupe Gobert
The 30-year-old Belgian has signed a two-year deal and hopes to quickly forget about what has been a troubled season, in which he missed a month early in the season with a finger injury only to come back and break his arm. He will slot in at Wanty as road captain, with the team eager to make the most of his experience of supporting riders like Andre Greipel, Jens Debusschere and Kris Boeckmans.
"Everything will be new but that’s good. It’s a new impulse for my career. I expect to meet a motivated group of riders to work together with. I look forward to help the younger guys with my experience so we can go for success together next year," said Dehaes in a statement from the team.
"I had a very bad year which I want to leave behind as soon as I can. Next year I want to get back to the level I had in 2013 and 2014. Races like Handzame Classic, Three-Days West-Flanders or Nokere Koerse suit me perfectly. I prefer these over the Tour Down Under or a grand tour because I already did those. At Wanty-Groupe Gobert they have the race programme I like."
Dehaes is the fifth new signing for Wanty-Groupe Gobert after the arrival of Thomas Degand, Robin Stenuit, Gaëtan Bille and Antoine Demoitié.
Sarah Storey's Podium Ambition team to turn pro
Podium Ambition, the women's team set up by Sarah Storey and her husband Barney, will turn professional in 2016, in time for the inaugural Women's WorldTour.
The team, formerly known as Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International, was created in 2014 and has enjoyed a successful first two years. They have ridden four UCI stage races this year - two of which will be part of the World Tour - and are aiming to go from strength to strength in 2016, eyeing a spot in the team time trial at next year's World Championships.
Along with Storey, Joanna Rowsell and Katie Archibald have been named in the new line-up, which will be "almost 100 per cent British," according to team principal Barney Storey.
"Aspiring young women who have ambitions to be road professionals in the future will now be able to see the world's best here in the UK," said six-time Paralympic champion Sarah Storey, according to the BBC. "This is a huge positive as we look to further develop women's cycling in Britain."