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Giacomo Nizzolo joins Israel Start-Up Nation for 2022

Giro d'Italia 2021 - 104th Edition - 13th stage Ravenna - Verona 198 km - 21/05/2021 - Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA - Team Qhubeka Assos) - photo POOL Fabio Ferrari/BettiniPhoto©2021
Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka NextHash) celebrating his stage win at the Giro d'Italia in Verona (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Following Victor Campenaerts' move to Lotto Soudal, the troubled Qhubeka NextHash team have lost another star, with sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo  moving to Israel Start-Up Nation for 2022.

The Italian, who was European road champion in 2020, leaves the troubled WorldTour team after a three-year spell there, and will now make the move to Israel Start-Up Nation, joining fellow newcomers Jakob Fuglsang and Hugo Houle on the incoming list at the team.

Nizzolo racked up three victories in the 2021 season, including a long-awaited first career stage win at the Giro d'Italia in Verona. The 32-year-old, who is twice a points jersey winner at the race, said that he was "proud" to be joining his new team.

"To join this team is something really special for me," Nizzolo said. 

"From the outside, it looks like a really nice team with a great group of people working very well together to reach its big goals. I'm really proud to become part of this team. I'm super happy and super motivated and I'm sure we will achieve big goals together.

"Given my level of performances over the last couple of years, I hope to continue to improve and only get better. Milan-San Remo is my dream race so I would really like to be at good level there but in general, I just want to take my chance every time there is an opportunity for me. I'm really looking forward to joining the team next year!"

ISN general manager Kjell Carlström said that Nizzolo would strengthen the team's sprint squad, which will be weakened with the retirement of veteran sprinter André Greipel.

"We are happy to strengthen the team with such a strong rider as Giacomo," he said. 

"He has shown consistency over the years, and he continues to improve. On top of that, he is also a great teammate as we could see during the World Championships in Belgium this year.

"This is a natural fit for us. We have been working hard on establishing a strong lead out train over the last couple of years, which really came to the fore during the 2021 season with several good results. Adding Giacomo to the equation gives us even more opportunities in the sprints next year."

Nizzolo leaves behind a Qhubeka NextHash team which finds itself in dire straits for the second off-season in a row. The South African squad is once again searching for sponsorship amid financial difficulties, and recently missed the initial deadline to apply for a WorldTour license.

At the start of the month, the team told riders that they were free to seek employment elsewhere for 2022, with five riders now having done so. 

Nizzolo and Campenaerts' moves come in addition to those of Michael Gogl (Alpecin-Fenix), Lasse Norman Hansen (Uno-X), and Dmitri Claeys (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert). Fabio Aru and Matteo Pelucchi are also leaving with the pair set for retirement.

Major names who remain at the squad or have yet to agree a move elsewhere include Domenico Pozzovivo, Sergio Henao, and Simon Clarke.

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Daniel Ostanek

Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content on Cyclingnews and takes on live race text coverage throughout the season.

Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Tro-Bro Léon, Strade Bianche, and the Vuelta a España.