Atapuma leaves BMC to join Project TJ Sport in 2017 - News Shorts

Atapuma to TJ Sport Project in 2017

Darwin Atapuma is set to leave BMC and will instead join Project TJ Sport on a two-year contract beginning in 2017. The Colombian climber says he was offered a new deal with BMC but preferred to make the move to the new team next year managed by Giuseppe Saronni.

"My contract will expire at the end of this season and I received many proposals from other team, as well as a proposal for a renewal, however I found the project of TJ Sport very interesting and I decided to join it," Atapuma said in a press release.

"I spent three interesting years in BMC Racing Team, which I thank for having shared happy moments and for having supported me in difficulties.

"The positive mood which characterizes the project TJ Sport will give me extra motivations for achieving big goals, and the advice from a cycling hero as Saronni will be also important."

Atapuma has been on the podium in stages at the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana this year. He took over the red leader's jersey at the Vuelta this year on stage 4 and held on to it for four days until losing it to Nairo Quintana on stage 8.

Chinese company TJ Sport Consultation were announced as the new licence holders of Italian team Lampre-Merida. The company replaces CGS Cycling as the holding agent to create China's first WorldTour team from the 2017 season onwards.The team that has yet to be officially named.

Cavendish to lead Dimension Data at Giro della Toscana

Dimension Data announced Monday that Mark Cavendish will lead the team at the two-day Giro della Toscana set to begin on Tuesday. 

He will be supported by Steve Cummings, Kristian Sbaragli, Serge Pauwels, Igor Anton, Natnael Berhane, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Merhawi Kudus.

The team will also race in Thursday's one-day race Coppa Sabatini. Sbaragli will lead that team with support riders in Berhane, Matt Brammeier, Nic Dougall, Songezo Jim, Adrien Niyonshuti, Jaco Venter and Ryan Gibbons.

"I am looking forward to both the races this week," Berhane said. "For our team, it is racing very close to where we live and train in Italy. We will have a good team throughout the week and we have the ability to contend for the win each day with some different riders.

"Obviously with Mark Cavendish, we have a great chance for sprint wins and also with Kristian Sbaragli if it is a smaller group, and Steve Cummings is always strong so we have a good team. The Italian races are always very hard though so we will definitely race positive and be part of the action."

De Marchi back with BMC in 2017

BMC Racing announced that they have re-signed Alessandro De Marchi for 2017. The team will look for the Italian to continue his aggressive riding style to help bring home one-day and stage victories next season.

"Alessandro De Marchi is one of our most important riders when it comes to his role in our stage race and Grand Tour teams. He is a key support rider for our leaders, especially on the climbs, but is also highly capable of wining stages as we have seen with his two Vuelta a Espana stage wins and the many occasions where he has come close. Alessandro is an aggressive rider, often jumps in breakaways, and is exactly the type of rider that we want with us at BMC Racing Team," said General Manager Jim Ochowicz.

De Marchi has won two stages at the Vuelta a Epsana in 2014 and 2015. He has also won stages at the Criterium du Dauphine and Tirreno-Adriatico. He joined the BMC squad in 2015 after racing for Cannodale for two seasons.

"It's a pleasure for me to continue to work and grow in such an important team like BMC Racing Team," De Marchi said. "My desire is to grow and find my ideal profile as a cyclist. I am convinced of being in the right team to achieve this goal and I hope to give even more to the team as I continue on after this season."

Trek-Segafredo re-sign Alafaci, Coledan and Boy Van Poppel

Trek-Segafredo announced Monday that they renewed contracts with Eugenio Alafaci, Marco Coledan, and Boy Van Poppel, each for an additional two years. The trio were signed back to continue their support roles for sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo, and next year's addition John Degenkolb.

"Over the past few years, Boy has grown into this team. He has learned a lot, especially in the Classics, but he also improved in the lead-outs, where he became more confident. Next year, he will be an important part in helping Degenkolb and Nizzolo," said Luca Guercilena, the team's general manager.

Van Poppel has excelled as a lead-out rider while also developed his skills in the Spring Classics. He said he hopes to continue in those roles over the next two year.

"I'm thrilled to sign for another two years with this great team. For the next years I want to be of great help for the team in the Classics and to offer overall support to our team leaders, and, of course, continue in the lead-outs for hopefully many victories."

"I feel the directors and my team-mates have put a lot of confidence in me, and this stimulates me, even more, to improve my performance every day. I am very content in this team."

Alafaci, who has developed as a lead-out rider at the Giro d'Italia, added that he is also pleased to re-join the team as a lead-out rider and to try and gain his own glory on occasion.

"For sure, next year I want to keep improving the work I do for my teammates. And why not, if possible, make some good results myself as well? To get a victory would be of course my absolute dream."

Coledan is not just a lead-out rider but also showed strength in the team's team time trial ambitions and the Classics, positions Guercilena says are valuable to Trek-Segafredo.

"He has a huge engine and sits very firmly in the saddle, two qualities that serve him and the team well on the cobblestones and in the last kilometers in a bunch sprint. We are convinced he can still grow, so in the future, we hope to see him evolve to an even bigger certitude in these type of races."

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