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Santaromita retires, De Vreese extends – Transfer shorts

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Ivan Santaromita (Nippo-Vini Fantini) on the opening stage of the 2019 Giro d'Italia

Ivan Santaromita (Nippo-Vini Fantini) on the opening stage of the 2019 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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Laurens De Vreese (Astana) at the 2019 BinckBank Tour

Laurens De Vreese (Astana) at the 2019 BinckBank Tour (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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Willie Smit (Katusha-Alpecin) at the 2019 Vuelta a España

Willie Smit (Katusha-Alpecin) at the 2019 Vuelta a España (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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Aritz Bagües (Euskadi-Murias) on the podium at Itzulia Basque Country 2019

Aritz Bagües (Euskadi-Murias) on the podium at Itzulia Basque Country 2019 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Ivan Santaromita retires

Italian rider Ivan Santaromita has announced his retirement from pro cycling, telling Tuttobiciweb that he had no incentive to continue in the sport after his team, Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizanè, fold at the end of the season.

"I leave with no regrets," he said. "I no longer have the incentive to continue competing at the top level. Nippo-Vini Fantini closed down at the end of the season and honestly, I didn't do much to look for a new one.

"I've decided that it's right to end this long and important part of my life now so that I can devote myself more to my son Leonardo and wife Chiara."

Santaromita turned pro with QuickStep in 2006, spending three years at the team before three more each at Liquigas and BMC. The 35-year-old has also spent time at Orica-GreenEdge and Skydive Dubai before ending his career with three seasons at his current team.

The biggest win of his career came at the 2013 Italian National Championships, while he also won the 2010 Settimana Coppi e Bartali and a stage at the Giro del Trentino. Santaromita was also part of the BMC squad that helped Cadel Evans win the Tour de France in 2011.

Laurens De Vreese extends with Astana

Laurens De Vreese (Astana)

Laurens De Vreese (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Laurens De Vreese will bring his time at Astana to six years after signing a one-year contract extension with the Kazakh team. The Belgian is one of the team's key support riders, from the spring Classics to the stage racing season.

"After five years in the team, I am still enjoying staying in Astana and working for our leaders," he said in a team press release. "I feel here like I'm in a big family. I have really good relations with everybody in the team.

"I am a team player and I am proud to be part of this team, especially after such a successful season we had in 2019! I am fully motivated to continue in the best possible way in the upcoming season."

This season, De Vreese supported Gorka Izagirre and Jakob Fuglsang as they took victories at the Tour de la Provence and Vuelta a Andalucía.

"Laurens spent in Astana five seasons and we all know him as a 100 per cent loyal team player," said Astana manager Alexander Vinokourov. "We can always count on him in every race he is riding with the team as he is fully dedicated to team strategy and our common goals. This year we saw Laurens helping our leaders to win races, but also in many other races he was always next to the leader, helping him to achieve as high result as possible."

Willie Smit signs with Burgos-BH

Willie Smit has found a new contract after his current team Katusha-Alpecin was bought out by Israel Cycling Academy. The South African will join Pro Continental team Burgos-BH for the 2020 season.

The 26-year-old spent two years at Katusha, having turned pro with the team in 2018. He made minor headlines earlier this season when he rode the final week of the Vuelta a España with 16 stitches to a nasty knee wound after getting caught up in a pileup on stage 14.

"I'm very happy to race with Burgos-BH," Smit said in a team press release. "For me, Spain is my second country. I love working with Spaniards and this calendar is the best for a rider of my characteristics.

"In addition, Burgos-BH offered me a very exciting sports project. I know that I'll have more than at Katusha, but at the same time it is a responsibility I need at this point in my career."

Aritz Bagües moves to Caja Rural-Seguros RGA

Another rider to find a life raft upon escape from a sinking ship, Aritz Bagües has signed with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA after his current team Euskadi Basque Country-Murias folded at the end of 2019.

Bagües, 30, had been with the Basque squad since its inception in 2016, and won't have far to move to his new team, who are based in Navarra. For the past two years, he made Euskadi-Murias selection for the Vuelta a España, finishing 78th and 117th while helping the team take a stage vicory in each edition.

"It is a pride to be part of a team with such a history," said Bagües in a team press release. "It has been a very bad year for me, especially since the injuries have not allowed me to give the 100%, but it is part of our sport and I do not want to think about it.

"La Vuelta is one of the biggest races of the year and ride it for the second year gave me confidence. It is clear that it makes you progress a lot as a cyclist and as a person, because always appear ups and downs during the three weeks and you have to know how to manage them.

"I want to forget the bad taste of the last season. I consider myself a complete rider and a good teammate. I think that my experience can be valuable for the youngest and I hope to contribute to the team’s successes."