News shorts: Gaviria to debut with Etixx-Quickstep alongside Cavendish in RideLondon

Gaviria to debut alongside Cavendish at RideLondon, Contreras signed for two years

Etixx-Quickstep today announced the signing of two riders as trainees for the remainder of the season and will then continue as neo-pros for the next two years. Fernando Gaviria, 20, the reigning Omnium world champion and winner of two stages at the Tour de San Luis had already been linked to the team after demonstrating his sprint prowess in the Argentinean race.

The Colombian will make his debut with the team at the Prudential RideLondon Classic alongside Mark Cavendish, who was looking forward to racing in front of home crowds again.

“It’s always special for me to race back in Britain," Cavendish said. "The home fans, and the noise they make supporting us, makes this race even more enjoyable to ride than a lot of races. It is a truly iconic finish, which the riders, teams and fans love too. For a British rider this is one piece of road that stirs great emotion for sure. Etixx-QuickStep also have an exciting young sprinter Gaviria racing who has a big future in the sport. Keep an eye out for him.”

Cavendish and Gaviria will be joined by Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert, Mark Renshaw and Fabio Sabatini in London.

Gaviria will then go on to compete in the Czech Cycling Tour and Tour of Britain with Etixx-QuickStep, in addition to racing Tour de l'Avenir with the Colombian national team.

The team also signed his compatriot Rodrigo Contreras, 21 earlier this season. Contreras will start with the team as a trainee at the Czech Cycling Tour. Contreras was the best young rider at Tour de San Luis.

Martens hospitalised after criterium crash

LottoNl-Jumbo rider Paul Martens was hospitalised after a crash in the post-Tour criterium Tour de Neuss in his home country of Germany on Wednesday night.

"Tour de Neuss has been unlucky for me. Can't remember anything, but crashed and landed apparently on my face. 1 night in hospital, scans now!" Martens wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

He may have been knocked out, but he didn't lose his sense of humor, later joking, "I survived 3 weeks Tour de France and a normal "crit" sent me to hospital."

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Lotto-Soudal take on three trainees

Lotto-Soudal have announced three of their own new trainees, all Belgian and brought up from their U23 squad. Dries Van Gestel and Kenneth Van Rooy will both ride their first professional race at RideLondon on Sunday, while Frederik Friso will ride his at the Tour of Denmark.

Van Gestel is an all-rounder suited to tough parcours, Van Rooy likes the Ardennes and won the Tour de Liège this year, while Friso is a rouleur who is the U23 Belgian time trial champion.

“I’ve been working with these guys for a while now. I know Dries for three years, Kenneth and Frederik for four years. I know their character very well and I know what they’re capable of," said Kurt Van de Wouwer, who works across the WorldTour and U23 set-ups.

“These guys obtained a chance because of their results and their age. We won’t put a first-year U23 rider with the professionals, we choose riders that are ready to take the step. It’s up to them to show what they are worth, but they’re wise enough to handle this.”

MTN-Qhubeka sign Julius

MTN-Qhubeka have signed Jayde Julius, a 21-year-old South African who was a member of the MTN-Qhubeka Feeder Team based at the World Cycling Centre Africa in Potchefstroom.

At the South African national championships this year he won the U23 road race title but also finished third in the elite men’s race, beaten only by Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Daryl Impey. He also won this year’s U23 African Continental Championships ahead of Merhawi Kudus.

Julius already has a fair amount of European experience, having attended the Ronse Cycling School in Belgium from the age of 15 and trained at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Switzerland. It is likely that his first race with the team will be the Arctic Race of Norway.

"I am really excited and super overwhelmed by the opportunity to race with MTN-Qhubeka. It has been a journey to get to this point in my career and now it is just a dream come true to join a team from Africa, and specifically a team from South Africa that has just completed the Tour de France," said Julius. "The MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung team has always been a real motivating factor for me, knowing that the chances of reaching the highest levels of world cycling as a South African are real."

General Manager Brian Smith said: "This team is about providing opportunities. Especially to riders from the continent of Africa. We have been watching Jayde for the last 12 months and his progression via our feeder team. He has shown the commitment and determination required to be given the chance to ride with the team for the remainder of the season. We are looking forward to integrating Jayde into the team with a view to a permanent position in 2016. It’s a privilege to help in the progression of yet another talented African rider."

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