Christian Meier to retire at end 2016 season
Canadian Christian Meier will retire from professional cycling at the end of the 2016 season after five seasons with the Orica-BikeExchange team. Meier also rode for the Symmetrics, Garmin and UnitedHealth care teams prior to joining the Australian WorldTour outfit. The 31-year-old made the announcement on his Instagram page, writing "How do you thank so many people for such a life changing experience? I don't regret a single day on the bike and was able to live a dream for the past 15 years. Time for the next dream. ;)"
Despite having a further year to run on his contract, Meier's growing passion for coffee has overtaken his passion for cycling as he explained and will focus on two cafes in Girona, Spain that he owns with his wife Amber. Meier opened the La Fabrica Girona cafe in early 2015 and recently opened the nearby Espresso Mafia.
The 2008 Canadian national road champion, Meier didn't win another professional race but during his career won classification jerseys at the Tour of the Basque Country, Volta a Catalunya, and Bayern-Rundfahrt. He rode all three grand tours with the 2014 Tour de France the fifth and final three-week race of his career.
Meier will race the GP Cicliste de Quebec and Montreal this week with Orica-BikeExchange for his final races on home soil.
Romain Hardy signs for Fortuneo-Vital Concept
Frenchman Romain Hardy will join Cofidis teammate Arnold Jeannesson in moving across to Fortuneo Vital Concept from 2017. The 28-year-old spent three seasons with the Breton team between 2010-12 before joining Cofidis for four seasons and returns to his first team on a one-year deal.
Hardy is currently riding to the Vuelta a Espana where he finished top-ten on stages 5-7 and sits 22nd on the general classification and explained his pleasure to be rejoining the team.
"I spent three good years with Bretagne-Schuller, I had a good feeling with Manu Hubert and his staff. I want to work with them again. To do my job, I need to feel good in the team, I know this will be the case in Fortuneo Vital Concept," he said. "The team has changed since I left. The race calendar is more interesting, I think especially in Paris-Nice, the Tour de France but also the Ardennes close to my heart. The team can count on me to help leaders in the mountains. I of course followed the recruitment. Good riders have joined the team, I'm happy to be part of this adventure."
Along with Jeannesson, Fortuneo-Vital Concept have also signed Élie Gesbert, Laurent Pichon (FDJ), Gianni Meersman (Etixx-QuickStep) and Maxime Bouet (Etixx-QuickStep).
Roompot-Orange Peloton add young Dutch talent
Dutch Pro-Continental team Roompot-Orange Peloton have announced further additions to its 2017 roster with the signing of Jeroen Meijers and Martijn Tusveld. The Dutch duo both join from the Rabobank Development Team with 22-year-old Tusveld currently racing the Tour of Britain as a stagiaire with Giant-Alpecin.
Team manager Erik Breukink explained that with his skills against the clock, he sees Tusveld's strengths in short stage races. 23-year-old Meijer won the Kreiz Breizh Elites and has had several top-ten results across the season with the team seeing him as an allrounder.
The Dutch Pro-Continental squad have been busy in the transfer market adding Tim Ariesen (SEG Racing), Elmar Reinders (Cyclingteam Jo Piels), Martijn Budding (Rabobank Continental) and Pim Ligthart (Lotto Soudal) and farewelling Antwan Tolhoek (LottoNL-Jumbo), Maurits Lammertink (Katusha), Wesley Kreder (Wanty - Groupe Gobert), and Ivar Slik, while Marc de Maar and Johnny Hoogerland retire.
Oscar Stevenson calls it a day
Oscar Stevenson has been forced to end his cycling career prematurely with the 21-year-old explaining the decision was forced by "very complicated medical issues". Stevenson rode with the Continental Avanti IsoWhey Sports squad in 2016 with his race days limited to health issues as he explained in a lengthy Facebook post.
"In the past 10 months I have had more tests than you could possibly imagine, endless blood tests, X-rays, MRI’s, brain scans and DEXA scans for bone density," he wrote. "Firstly, following a history of broken bones (right arm x2, left arm, left collarbone and the left side of my pelvis) as well as multiple bone bruises I was recommended by VIS medical staff to have my bone density tested. When the results came in the doc’s told me I had been diagnosed with Osteoporosis, which is extremely low bone density and that I had the bones of a 85 year old. This was a massive shock and is obviously very unusual for someone only 20 years old and is normally seen in the elderly and is also more common in women.
"Secondly it was discovered in November that I had chronically low testosterone, which led to unbelievable amounts of fatigue and inability to train. My Testosterone levels where about 1/10th of the normal range for my age. Initially we believed this was due to training and recovering from elbow surgery earlier in 2015. This led me to pulling out of the 2015 Tour of Bright and from there things have only gone downhill as my ability to train and recover has been hugely compromised and suffering from excessive fatigue on and off the bike. Despite these low levels I managed some good but inconsistent results throughout the early part of 2016."
To read the full post by Stevenson, click here
During his brief career, Stevenson rode with the U23 Australian national team and won medals in the national time trial titles between 2014 and 2016.
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Media caption: Lotto Lepistö extends with Cervelo-Bigla
Lotto Lepistö will continue to ride for Cervelo-Bigla into 2017 with the team confirmed the extension of the Finish rider's contract.
"This year has been good. I think I took a major step forward from last year to this year with several wins and good podiums and we hope to continue like this. The team has a great structure which has allowed me to focus and I think that's one of the biggest reasons for our success," said Lepistö who has won stages of Euskal Emakumeen XXIX Bira, Festival Elsy Jacobs and Aviva Womens Tour and the national road and time trial titles in 2016.
"The plans going into 2017 is great and the team has given me the full support to lead the sprints and the support to take another step forward like this year," she added. "The team set up is the best for me from the equipment to the group of people involved, I believe it's the best place to keep improving."