Team Sky have signed two young British talents as stagiaires, with Mark Donovan and Ethan Hayter joining the WorldTour team until the end of the season.
Donovan rode for the Zappi team as a junior, and this year, after attending a Sky training camp in December, he has impressed in the colours of Team Wiggins, winning a stage of the Ronde de l'Isard and finishing fourth overall at the Baby Giro.
"I didn't really have any expectations going into this year," Donovan said. "I was trying to keep as relaxed as possible and do as well as I could. I never really thought I'd get the chances and results that I did. After the results I got I think this is the perfect way to end the year and a really nice opportunity. As a rider I'd say I'm a bit of an all-rounder. I can go well on the climbs but also handle myself on the flat and time trial, but I see myself mainly as a climber, GC rider."
Hayter, 19, has a different background, making a name for himself on the track through British Cycling's academy programme. He is already a senior world champion as part of the triumphant British team pursuit quartet in Apeldoorn earlier this year. His short-term future looks to be on the track, with the 2020 Olympics in his sights, but he has also shown potential on the road, winning the junior Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and finishing fifth at this year's Ronde de l'Oise.
"As a young British rider coming up through the system, Sky has always been the team everyone watches and aspires to be a part of," Hayter said. "I see myself as a bit of an all-rounder on the road. I can climb and sprint pretty well, and I can time trial fairly well too."
Team Sky performance manager Rod Ellingworth explained that the two stagiaires will be used mainly in Italy during the autumn one-day Classics.
"The idea is to look at the new wave of potential riders coming into the team, trying to think long-term and getting these young guys involved as early as we can," Ellingworth said. "The priority is for the guys to see how we race on the road, as well as getting used to the performance plans, sport director presentations and communication, radios etc. It's all these bits that you can add on to help the riders with their development."
Lutsenko extends for two years at Astana
Lutsenko, 25, is the Kazakhstani national champion and will remain with his 'home' WorldTour team until at least the end of 2020, having turned pro with the team in 2013.
"I am happy that the team's management offered me to extend for another two years," Lutsenko said. "For me, the fact that the team sees me as a rider who not only achieves results, but also continues to develop professionally is important. I am very pleased that in the next two seasons I will continue to perform in Astana, it is important for me to be part of our national project.
"I have been in this team for six years and I feel very comfortable here. There is a wonderful atmosphere in Astana Pro Team. Here I feel like I want to move forward, to conquer new heights. I have serious goals for the next few years, and I am happy that I am going to achieve it in Astana Team."
Lutsenko signed for Astana after riding for their development set-up and then winning the U23 world road race title in 2012. In the past couple of years he has come of age, with a stage win at the Vuelta a España in 2017 and overall victory at the Tour of Oman this year. A talented all-rounder, he has also shown potential in the spring Classics.
"Despite the fact that Alexey already has an impressive list of victories and important podiums, he is still very young and only is revealing his potential," said Astana manager Alexandr Vinokurov. "Lutsenko is a vivid example of the implementation of our national cycling project, and I am happy that in the next two years he will continue to grow at a professional level in Astana Pro Team. This year Alexey showed the new features and rider's qualities. I think that in the near future he will be able to surprise many with his results in different kind of races."
Chaves' brother to ride Utah for Mitchelton-Scott
Brayan Chaves will ride for the same team as his older brother, Esteban Chaves, next month, as he joins Mitchelton-Scott as a stagiaire specifically for the Tour of Utah.
The Colombian has ridden for the Mitchelton-BikeExchange development team this year and will get a taste of the WorldTour at the seven-day race, which starts on Monday.
"It's an exciting period for Brayan, and the Tour of Utah will be a good opportunity for him to gain some valuable experience racing with professionals and form another part of his ongoing development," said the team's head directeur sportif, Matt White.
"Racing at altitude in Utah will be similar to where he grew up in Colombia, and that should be an advantage for him. The experience of racing at another level will be good for Brayan and he should come out of it in good shape for the second half of the season with the U23s."
Brayan Chaves added: "I am really excited about this opportunity. This is a small step on the way to making big dreams come true, and it is incredible that the team have given me this opportunity. I think that the experience I gained during the three months I had racing in Europe this year will help me. The Giro d'Italia U23 was a positive learning curve for me, and it was great to be able to help my teammates achieve the objectives we'd been set.
"Now I will be racing with riders from the WorldTour and it will be a race of a very high level. A different level for me, a new level. I really don't have the words to describe how I am feeling, I want to learn as much as possible and to see myself racing in a Mitchelton-Scott jersey is just amazing."
Dimension Data add three stagiaires
Dimension Data for Qhubeka announced Thursday that they have added three stagiaires to their World Tour team for the remainder of the 2018 season. Matteo Sobrero, Kent Main and Connor Swift will all begin their apprenticeship with the African Team this month.
Sobrero and Main move up from the Continental feeder team and will hope to follow in the footsteps of their former Continental team teammates, Ryan Gibbons, Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier and Nicolas Dlamini, who are all currently WorldTour pro’s that enjoyed stagiaire roles with Dimension Data previously.
Sobrero has placed in the top 10 at numerous U23 UCI level races throughout the season, winning the Coppa della Pace in June before placing third at the opening prologue of the U23 Giro d’Italia. Main is a talented South African rider who has ridden as a support rider for the last two seasons, helping secure podium results at three separate U23 classics this year.
Swift is the current British national road race champion and rode for the Continental Madison Genesis team. He will add to Dimension Data's classics program.
The three riders will join Dimension Data at the Arctic Race of Norway, Deutschland Tour, Tour of Britain and various end-of-season Italian one-day classics.