Team Katusha-Alpecin announced the addition of 23-year-old Russian Dmitry Strakhov as a trainee beginning August 1.
Strakhov, who races with Lokosphinx, was one of three track cyclists for Russia who were barred from racing in the 2016 Olympic Games because of suspicions they were involved in the state-sponsored doping scheme detailed by independent investigator Richard McLaren. Together with Dmitry Sokolov and Kirill Sveshnikov, Strakhov sued WADA over the team pursuit squad's exclusion from the Games.
Since then, Strakhov has had success on the road, winning stages of the Vuelta Asturias, Volta ao Alentejo, GP Beiras e Serra da Estrela, and the Classica da Arrabida this season.
Katusha directeur sportif Jose Azevedo said he has been following Strakhov's progress over the past two years.
"He's a fast rider," Azevedo said in a press release. "In 2018, in Spain and Portugal, he's won five races in a sprint, most of the time when the stage has been hard. So he can pass over parcours that include medium mountains and then still sprint. He's a rider that has some possibilities in the classics. He has shown us some of his potential so we believe in him and are happy to bring him onto the team as a stagiaire with the idea to keep him on the team for the next two years."
Katusha also announced the renewal of contracts with South African Willie Smit and Russian Viacheslav Kuznetsov through 2019.
Azevedo says that Smit, 25, has passed his WorldTour tests after making a big step up from the Continental ranks. "He's had some interesting results – as an example in Amstel Gold race he rode almost all day in the break when he had never raced at all in Holland. It's complicated for riders when they don't know the race. In other races he's tried to sprint. So he has shown us his potential but he needs time and we've re-signed him for another year. We believe in him and I believe after this learning year, next year he can show his true self."
Teuns to defend at Tour de Pologne
Teuns, who finished sixth overall in Paris-Nice this season, had his breakthrough performance in the Polish stage race last season, where he beat out Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Wout Poels (Team Sky) by two- and three-second margins, respectively, thanks in part to a fine uphill stage win over Peter Sagan in Szczyrk.
Team directeur sportif Max Sciandri acknowledged that repeating that performance will be a challenge.
"Winning is the goal, but it's always hard to at UCI WorldTour stage races especially ones like Tour de Pologne which is won and lost by seconds like last year," Sciandri said. "So, a podium result with Dylan would be great and we will also target a stage win with any of the guys. We have a great team with a lot of strong guys like Rohan Dennis, Jurgen Roelandts, and Alberto Bettiol.
"I think it will be a pretty open race. The stages are shorter than last year, they are all around 150-160km so I'm expecting fast and aggressive racing."
Teuns returned from his break after the Criterium du Dauphine at the GP Cerami last week, but skipped defending his title in the Tour de Wallonie.
"I think Tour de Pologne has more or less the same hard stages every year, with the tough uphill finishes that suit me well. They are hard stages but last year I survived, and the stage where I took the stage win last year is coming back so overall it's a nice course, and one I'm looking forward to," Teuns said.
"Of course, it will be hard to get the same result but after the hard work I have put in in the last month I am pretty confident about my shape. I'm ready to fight again to try to have some nice results."
BMC Racing for Tour de Pologne: Alberto Bettiol, Alessandro De Marchi, Rohan Dennis, Nicolas Roche, Jurgen Roelandts, Dylan Teuns, Danilo Wyss.
UAE Team Emirates adds trio of trainees
UAE Team Emirates will add three trainees for the remainder of the season, bringing in young Italians Andrea Bagioli and Alessandro Covi and Tour de Serbia winner German Nicolas Tivani from Argentina.
Tivani, 22, won a stage of the Tour de San Luis in 2016 and was Argentina's U23 national champion in 2017.
Trek-Segafredo adds two trainees from Polartec feeder team
The Trek-Segafredo squad promoted two of the riders on its Polartec-Kometa feeder team to trainees for the WorldTour squad beginning August 1 through the end of the season: Matteo Moschetti and Michel Ries.
Moschetti raced as a trainee with the squad in 2017, but returned to Polartec-Kometa for further development. He won two stages of the Tour of Antalya, Tour of Rhodes and Tour de Normandie in addition to the one-day ZLM Tour Nation's Cup and the Rhodes Grand Prix. The 21-year-old has already been signed to Trek-Segafredo for the 2019-2020 seasons.
"I am really looking forward to going back to Trek-Segafredo, after the great experience I had with the team last year," Moschetti said. "I have improved and strengthened and gained a lot of experience since I joined the team for the first time about one year ago. I hope to be able to prove the team right in giving me the chance to turn pro as of next year, and I am eager to get some results."
Twenty-year-old Michel Ries of Luxembourg proved his climbing abilities with a ninth place overall in the Baby Giro d'Italia.
"I am really honored to get this opportunity to race for Trek-Segafredo for the rest of the season, and I am really looking forward to learning as much as possible doing races with the team," Ries said. "For me, the most important will be to develop myself further as a rider, and I am really excited to start racing with them in the Tour of Utah. It's kind of a dream coming true."
Luca Guercilena, General Manager explained his choices: "We are always on the lookout for young talents to whom we can give the opportunity to experience racing in a World Tour team. With Matteo Moschetti joining the team as neo-pro as of January 1, it was an obvious choice to have him as a stagiaire again. He has made a big step forward, and we're curious to see him racing with the team again.
"Michel Ries is a strong climber that we were following closely for a while now. After his great performance at the Baby Giro recently there was no doubt anymore that he would be our second stagiaire. We are looking forward to welcoming both guys in the team and are confident that they will perform well."