Season complete for Nibali
The world championships signal the end of the competitive season for Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). The Italian, who crashed during the men’s road race, will not take part in the Il Lombardia this weekend. In stead, his team has chosen to send him to the Tour of Almaty in the team’s home of Kazakhstan. The one-day race takes place on Sunday.
Nibali has had a bumpy ride at the end of 2014, with a crash during the Tre Valli Varesine putting his Worlds participation in doubt. He then fell on the same hip during the road race, but finished the race. Nibali will also ride the Saitama Criterium in Japan, but sees the Worlds as the true end to his season.
Contador back in the saddle
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) will race for the first time since winning the Vuelta a España as he looks to defend his title at Wednesday’s Milano-Torino. Contador jumped on the final climb to beat Diego Ulissi by 15 seconds. The Italian race was Contador’s first one-day victory, despite an illustrious palmarès.
Contador is also looking to seal victory in the WorldTour rankings this week also. The battle for number one spot is down to a two-horse race, with Alejandro Valverde only 14 points behind him. With only Lombardia and the Tour of Beijing remaining on the WorldTour calendar, it is set to go down to the wire.
Sign on the dotted line
With the world championships out of the way, there has been a whole host of contract announcements. Team Sky’s five-rider haul was the biggest of the day, but plenty of other teams have been busy making additions to their rosters.
Romain Bardet has extended for another two seasons with AG2R-La Mondiale. The Frenchman who finished sixth at this year’s Tour de France was already set to stay with them until 2016, but has now secured his future until 2018.
Giant-Shimano secured the services of Topsport Vlaanderen rider Zico Waeytens for the next two seasons. The Dutchman finished fifth at the Tour de Wallonie last month. While Katusha has taken on two riders from RusVelo in Ilnur Zakarin and Sergey Lagutin, who spent a year with the ProContinental team after Vacansoleil folded at the end of 2013.
Get on your bike
Jetse Bol is one rider who hasn’t managed to secure a contract for next season. The 25-year-old was told last week that his contract with Belkin, soon to be named TEAMLottoNL, would not be extended at the end of this year.
Bol turned professional with the team in 2012. The decision leaves Bol looking for a new team with many of the big spots already taken by other riders.
“For me the message came too late,” Bol told AD.nl. “Many WorldTour teams are already full, but I am quite willing to put a step back. You could be in the Champions League on the bench, but it is better to play in the Europa League."