Kiserlovksi signs for Katusha
Katusha has continued its recent recruitment drive by securing the services of Robert Kiserlovski for the 2017 season. The Croatian has spent the past two years in the service of Alberto Contador at the soon-to-be defunct Tinkoff team.
"This is a very nice move for me. I know many people in the team from the past, directors as well as other staff people and riders. With Simon Špilak I find a good friend of mine in the team. On the other hand, I see that Team Katusha has rejuvenated the squad a lot, which is very nice for the future," Kiserlovski said.
Now 30 years old, Kiserlovski has twice placed 10th overall at the Giro d'Italia (in 2010 and 2014) during a career that has seen the climber ride for teams including Liquigas, Astana and RadioShack.
"I can bring my experience to the young guys. I know what Team Katusha expects from me. I can win myself but I am convinced they particularly want to see me work in the mountains. It will be a pleasure for me to guide Ilnur Zakarin to big victories," Kiserlovski said.
In recent weeks, Katusha has already announced the arrivals of seven new riders, including Tony Martin, Rick Zabel and under-23 time trial world champion Mads Würtz Schmidt. "These last weeks we have strengthened our team a lot for the classics. Team Katusha, however, wants to continue performing in all races," general manager Viacheslav Ekimov said of the acquisition of Kiserlovski, adding that he will offer key support to Ilnur Zakarin.
Hoffman joins Bahrain Merida as directeur sportif
The nascent Bahrain Merida team has announced that Tristan Hoffman will join the squad as a directeur sportif for its maiden season in 2017. Hoffman has spent the past three seasons as a directeur sportif at Tinkoff, having previously been with HTC-Highroad and CSC.
"I will be a part of a new starting team. It will be a fantastic experience and challenge for me," Hoffman said. "I expect to be part of a professional team. There will be a lot of new faces for me and I'm excited to start working. I expect a lot of work but I'm ready to start and look forward to it. I bring my expertise to the team, both as a cyclist and as a DS. I'm working now for 25 years in cycling business."
The Dutchman raced as a professional between 1992 and 2005, riding for TVM and CSC. He won Dwars door Vlaanderen in 2000 and placed second at Paris-Roubaix in 2004. He was behind the wheel for Tinkoff when Peter Sagan won the Tour of Flanders in April.
"It gives us great pleasure to welcome Tristan to the team," said general manager Brent Copeland. "He is able to create the team that suits our mentality and attitude perfectly. Tristan's huge experience in the classics of the north is something that is a big asset to the team and we are looking forward to an exciting future ahead."
The Bahrain Merida team will be led by Vincenzo Nibali, and is in the process of putting together its roster for the 2017 season. Manuele Boaro, Giovanni Visconti, Kanstantin Siutsou and Borut Božic are among the riders who have already been confirmed as part of the new team.
Gaviria leads Colombia at Doha Worlds
Fernando Gaviria will lead the Colombian team in the elite men's road race at the World Championships in Doha on October 16. Rigoberto Uran and Esteban Chaves have also been included in the nine-man squad for the race, which takes place on a completely flat parcours in Qatar.
Still only 22 years of age, Gaviria is coming to the end of his first full season at WorldTour level. The youngster has won three WorldTour races and placed 6th at Gent-Wevelgem, while he crashed in the finishing straight at Milan-San Remo while sprinting for the win.
Gaviria defended his omnium world title on the track in London in March, though he suffered disappointment in the same discipline at the Rio 2016 Olympics, where he could only manage 4th place.
Uran, Chaves and Jarlinson Pantano are the three other WorldTour riders in the Colombian line-up for Doha, with Uran likely to compete also in the time trial. Vuelta a España leader Nairo Quintana will not make the trip to Qatar.
Colombia team for elite men's road race: Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep), Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac), Edwin Alcibiades Ávila Vanegas (Team Illuminate), Carlos Eduardo Alzate Escobar (UnitedHealthcare), Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling), Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange), Walter Fernando Vargas Alzate (Orgullo Antioqueño), Omar Alberto Mendoza Alzate (Movistar Team América) and Brayan Steven Ramírez Chacón (Movistar Team América).
Conti and Polanc sign on with TJ Sport
Valerio Conti and Jan Polanc have each signed two-year contracts with the TJ Sport Consultation project. Last month it emerged that the owners of the existing Lampre-Merida set-up have signed an agreement with TJ Sport Consultation, which is bidding to create the first-ever Chinese WorldTour team in 2017.
Mauro Gianetti has been named as the coordinator of the project, with Giuseppe Saronni expected to work as manager of the professional team. Former manager Brent Copeland has moved to the new Bahrain Merida team and ended his ties with the Lampre squad.
Rui Costa and Diego Ulissi were the first riders to sign on with the revamped set-up, and they were joined on Tuesday by Conti, who won stage 13 of the Vuelta last week, and Polanc, who soloed to victory at Abetone during last year's Giro d'Italia.
"I had already reached the agreement some days ago and I'm happy that I could celebrate this achievement by winning in the Vuelta: I pedalled in the breakaway with even more enthusiasm being aware that I will have continue to race in the team which had allowed me to turn pro," the 23-year-old Conti said.
Like Conti, Polanc has been part of Saronni's Lampre squad since he turned professional, and the Slovenian will continue in the revamped set-up next season. "I chose to continue to be part of the team and I'm sure that the new project will help me even more to live many exciting cycling moments," he said.
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