Lawless, Houle, Erviti sign extensions – Transfer shorts

Chris Lawless
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ineos show faith in Lawless

After impressing in his first two seasons as a professional, Chris Lawless has signed a new contract with Team Ineos to keep him at the British team for a further two seasons.

Lawless turned pro with Ineos in 2018 and made his biggest mark at this year's Tour de Yorkshire, where he won the overall title. Coming in the team's launch race as Team Ineos – having previously been Team Sky – it was a big scalp on home turf.

Lawless, a fast finisher but more versatile than a pure sprinter, finished on the podium of Scheldeprijs in both 2018 and 2019, and won a stage of last year's Settimana Coppi e Bartali.

"I think the win in Yorkshire showed what I am capable of. Of course, it was our first race as Team Ineos and all eyes were on the team, so it was a massive boost to win the race. I look back on that race with really fond memories," said Lawless.

As for what lies ahead, the 23-year-old hopes to continue to develop in one-day races and earn a spot on one of Team Ineos' notoriously competitive Grand Tour squads.

"I just want to carry on trying to win bike races and see where that takes me," he said. "I stepped up quite a bit in the Classics this year and I want to continue to do that again over the next two years – to go further in those races and maybe challenge in some of the smaller Classics too.

"I also really want to put myself in the frame to ride a Grand Tour over the next few years. It's not easy to get selected to ride one of the three big races of the year, because the depth of talent we have in this team is incredible, but that's got to be one of my aims."

Team Ineos have also handed a two-year extension to Welshman Owain Doull, and have signed Richard Carapaz from Movistar. They have lost Diego Rosa to Arkea-Samsic and are expected to lose Wout Poels, David de la Cruz, and Kenny Elissonde this winter.

Three more years at Astana for Houle

Two-year contracts are the norm in professional cycling, but so valuable a domestique has Hugo Houle made himself at Astana, they’ve handed him a new three-year deal that will keep him there to the end of 2022.

Houle, 28, joined Astana in 2018 after five seasons at French squad AG2R La Mondiale. He has not won a race, but this year has supported Alexey Lutsenko to overall victory at the Tour of Oman and the Arctic Race of Norway, Jakob Fuglsang at the Critérium du Dauphiné, and Ion Izaguirre at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. In Norway he was instrumental on the two hilly stages and bagged fifth place overall for himself in the process.

"Hugo is a valuable team rider – always loyal, ready to provide his best for the leader. We saw him in many races working hard for Jakob Fuglsang or Alexey Lutsenko. Hugo is a rider you can always count on in any kind of race," said Astana manager Alexandr Vinokourov.

"At the same time, during these past two seasons he has demonstrated very good progress, improving as a one-day and stage-race rider. I think he has the potential to become a rider who can deliver results in short stage races, for example. I'm happy to have Hugo Houle at the Astana Pro Team for the next three years."

Houle added: "I've really enjoyed my first two years at the Astana Pro Team. I've found a nice bunch of friends here, and a great atmosphere. I feel very comfortable here, and I've got a strong support from sports directors, staff and my teammates.

"These two years have passed by very quickly, and now I'm looking forward to continuing working on this amazing team. I'm ready to keep improving as a professional rider, to develop in races, and to follow my goals in this sport. I want to keep being a team player, as I like to help the leaders. At the same time, I hope to get some personal chances in one-day races or Grand Tour stages."

Hugo Houle (Astana)

Hugo Houle (Astana) (Image credit: Getty Images)

Erviti takes Movistar career to year 17

One-team riders are a rarity in the merry-go-round that is professional cycling, but Imanol Erviti has just signed up for another two years at Movistar, which will take his spell with the Spanish team to 17 years.

Erviti turned pro with Eusebio Unzue's long-running squad – home to Pedro Delgado and Miguel Indurain in the 1980s and 1990s – back in 2005, and has been there ever since. He has been part of the team's Tour de France squad for the past 10 years and also has 12 appearances to his name at the Vuelta a España, where he is currently competing.

Erviti has made his mark as a domestique and road captain, but has also led the line at the spring Classics in a team more geared towards stage racing, finishing in the top 10 at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in 2016. He has three wins to his name: two stages at the Vuelta a España (2008 and 2010), and the 2011 Vuelta a la Rioja.

It's all change at Movistar ahead of the 2020 season. They are losing Grand Tour leaders Nairo Quintana, Richard Carapaz and Mikel Landa, as well as Winner Anacona.

Coming in are Enric Mas as a GC leader from Deceuninck-QuickStep, Davide Villella and Dario Cataldo as domestiques from Astana, and young riders Gabriel Cullaigh (Wiggins Le Col), Iñigo Elosegui (Lizarte), Einer Rubio (Vejus-TMF), Juan Alba (Coldeportes-Zenu), and Johan Jacobs (Lotto Soudal U23).

Imanol Erviti rides alongside Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde

Imanol Erviti rides alongside Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde (Image credit: Getty Images)

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Patrick Fletcher
Deputy Editor

Deputy Editor. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2022 he has been Deputy Editor, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.