EF Education First-Drapac announced that Mitch Docker has renewed his contract for 2019. The Australian has only been with the team for one season but quickly earned the title of road captain after playing a key role in the team’s overall success this year.
"The first reason to stay? The guys," Docker said in a team statement. "I have loved racing and hanging out with my teammates. I knew from the first training camp at the start of the season that I was going to have a lot of fun with this team.
"Then there’s my race program. It’s great. I’ve loved all the races I’ve done. And finally my role within the team has challenged me not only physically but also mentally. As road captain, I make a commitment to get the best out of myself and my teammates in the races."
Docker raced a complete Classics campaign with the team and then two Grand Tours: Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, where his teammates Simon Clarke and Mike Woods won stages.
"I was honored to be named road captain of a truly stellar team at the Vuelta," he said. "It was fantastic to see how the team performed – not only the riders but the staff and management, too. The whole team stepped up, and we had a fantastic vibe. It showed in the results."
The 32-year-old expects to continue to grow in his role and contribute to his team’s ambitions during the Classics season.
"I’m happy that Mitch has re-upped with us," said EF Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters. "On and off the bike he’s the kind of rider who fits in well with this team and the things we try to do.
"On the road, he’s a steadfast road captain, communicating clearly, keeping guys in the right spots, keeping guys motivated. In the bus he’s a great presence as well — he brings good leadership but also a levity that’s unique. And his podcast and the way he brings fans into the sport is fantastic."
Ulissi re-ups with UAE Team Emirates ahead of Tour of Turkey
UAE Team Emirates announced that Diego Ulissi has re-signed with the program ahead of the upcoming Tour of Turkey, a race the Italian aims to win for a second consecutive season. He has signed a two-year deal with the team that will take him through 2020.
The Tour of Turkey will take place from October 9-14. Ulissi won the 2017 edition of the race ahead of Jasper Hansen and Fausto Masnada. This year he will be backed by a support team of Anass Ait El Abdia, Simone Consonni, Valerio Conti, Kristijan Durasek, Vegard Stake Laengen and Przemyslaw Niemiec.
"I have fantastic memories of the last edition of the Tour of Turkey: I made the most of the top form I was in, on a very interesting route that was suited to my skills. This year’s route won’t be much different than 2017’s; the stage in Selçuk, on the fourth day of the race, will still be the crucial fraction for the general classification. As always, in every stage we will have to pay attention to the wind, which could break up the group," Ulissi said in a team press release.
"UAE Team Emirates will be well equipped, with a good group of climbers, including Kristijan Durasek, who won in 2015; he will be a very important figure for us. I’m very happy about the contract renewal. It would be lovely, for the team and for me, to close out the season well, with a prestigious result, but I am aware of the fact that the competition will be even tougher than last year."
The team also noted that this will be the last race for Przemyslaw Niemiec.
Stalnov back with Astana in 2019
Last year, Stalnov was second in the individual time trial of the Kazakhstan National Championships and made his debut at the Vuelta a España. This year, he secured the silver medal in the road race of the National Championships and missed just a little to reach his first big win, finishing second at stage 4 of the Vuelta a España.
"After my first season in Astana Team, this year I feel like I step on the new level, like all work done pays off. Of course, I understand, that I still have a lot to do to reach my goals, but after the Vuelta a España I got more confidence in myself. Besides, the whole season gave me new motivation and desire to continue moving ahead," he said in a team statement.
"I am happy to renew my contract with Astana – this is our Kazakh team and it is a big honor to represent the colors of the best team around the world."
Jackson, Wohlberg, Young inducted to Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame
Linda Jackson, Nora Young and Eric Wohlberg were inducted into the Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame last weekend at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre, located in Milton. The trio were honoured at the Hall of Fame luncheon ceremony after the third annual Lexus Ride with Legends.
The Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame was created in 2015 to recognize outstanding achievement and contribution to the sport of cycling by both athletes and builders. With this induction, 22 members have been inducted to the Hall of Fame, including 19 athletes and three builders, according to a press release from Cycling Canada.
"It is so important to recognize and celebrate the gracious champions and builders who have been instrumental in shaping the development of cycling in Canada," said Matt Jeffries, Executive Director of Cycling Canada. "There is no better way to honour them than through this induction into our Hall of Fame. We are grateful to Nora, Linda, Eric and their families for the enormous contributions they have made and continue to make to our sport in Canada and abroad."
Jackson won a bronze medal at the 1996 World Championships in the road race, as well as several medals at the Commonwealth Games. In 2004, she founded the women's road racing team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank, which is now the longest running professional women's cycling team in North America.
Wohlberg represented Canada in three different Olympic Games, eight Road World Championships and one Commonwealth Games, winning a gold medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. From 1996 to 2006, he was on the podium at every single Canadian Road Championships in the time trial. He is currently the sport director for Rally Racing.
Cycling Canada also highlighted the career of the late Nora Young (1917 - 2016), who was a leading early era athlete who rose to prominence as one of the top female road cyclists in Canada in the 1930s and 1940s. "She is one of Canada's most important early female cycling pioneers, distinguishing herself in the top-level cycling races open to women in that era. Young's cycling career never fully came to a halt, and she continued to win multiple medals in her 60s, 70s, and 80s in Master's competitions throughout the world." as stated in the federation's press release.