UAE Team Emirates have made two new young signings for the 2019 season, snapping up Portuguese twins Ivo and Rui Oliveira.
The pair have combined to have had a string of notable results on the track but have also been developing on the road, spending the past two seasons at the Hagens Berman Axeon team, a renowned developer of talent.
"Strength, consistent pacing and speed are among the skills that make up the brothers' cycling portfolios, along with a technical base forged by track events as well," read a statement from the team on Tuesday.
On the track, Ivo Oliveira claimed the silver medal in the individual pursuit at this year's World Championships, and has done the same at the European Championships in the past two seasons. Rui Oliveira has bronze and silver medals in the elimination race from the past two editions of the European Championships. On the road, the pair shared out the U23 Portuguese national championship titles, with Ivo triumphing in the road race and Rui in the time trial.
Joxean Fernández Matxin, who previously worked as a talent scout at Quick-Step Floors, has worked as team manager at UAE since the start of the year. The Oliveira twins are the team's fifth U23 signings of this transfer window, following Alessandro Covi, Tadej Pogacar, and Christian Munoz.
Astana hand Wilsly pro contract
Astana have handed Jonas Gregaard Wilsly a full professional contract, with the young Dane having done enough to convince the team's management during his spell as a stagiaire in the past couple of months.
Wisly rode for Continental squad Riwal-Ceramicspeed before joining the Kazakh WorldTour squad in August, and has since ridden the Vuelta a Burgos, Brussels Cycling Classic, and GP de Fourmies.
"Jonas Wilsly did a few races with our team and he has got some good evaluations both from sports directors and his future teammates," said Astana's general manager Alexandr Vinokourov. "Jonas is a talented, serious and hardworking rider, he is 100 per cent dedicated to cycling. He fits well into our team, and I am happy that he will begin his professional career in Astana. He has everything he needs to become a strong and successful athlete of the highest level."
Wisly showed his potential last year with victory in the Kreiz Breizh Elites and 10th in the Tour of Denmark, and this year he finished on the podium of key U23 race the Giro della Valle d'Aosta.
"First of all I am super happy to be a trainee and to become a rider in such a strong team as Astana Pro Team and I think this is the best team to continue my development and to learn a lot from the whole team around," he said. "I am looking forward to the new season; it will be great to ride the races of the highest level and to help all the strong riders of the team. I am also super proud on starting my professional career with Astana Pro Team. This is a really big opportunity for me."
Lodewyck joins Quick-Step as DS
Klaas Lodewyck will call the shots from the Quick-Step Floors team car next year, ending a seven-year association with BMC Racing.
The Belgian raced for BMC for four years before hanging up his wheels at the end of the 2015 season at the age of 27 after suffering from a cardiac arrhythmia. He then worked as a directeur sportif for the team's development set-up for two years before then moving up to WorldTour squad this year.
"It has been an amazing ride that I am grateful for, but when the opportunity to join what will be Deceuninck - Quick-Step next year came me way, I simply had to grab it with both hands," said Lodewyck.
"I am super excited to join the team, one of the best in the world, not only because of the success and many victories, but also because the mentality everybody has and the way they go through fire for each other and work together as a team. I am still quite young and very motivated for this role. I hope and believe I can add value to the group of experienced sports directors and be someone the riders can trust."
Lodewyck will become the seventh DS at Quick-Step, joining Davide Bramati, Brian Holm, Wilfried Peeters, Tom Steels, Geert Van Bondt and Rik van Slycke. The team has had a hugely successful 2018 campaign, racking up more than 70 wins and topping the WorldTour rankings.
"Klaas is someone we know well ever since his days as a pro and are glad to have him on board as of next year. He is a young guy, but experienced despite his age, and I am confident he will fit well and play an important role in helping our team remain at the top next season," said Quick-Step Floors CEO Patrick Lefevere.
Gazprom sign four neo-pros
The Gazprom-RusVelo team announced four neo-pro signings for next season on Tuesday. Petr Rikunov, former U23 Russian road race and time trial champion, will turn pro in 2019 having raced for the team’s development set-up, while the Russian Pro Conti team have also handed full contracts to their three stagiaires from this year.
Rikunov became double national champion last summer, and went on to finish fourth in the U23 road race at the European Championships at the age of 20. He has described himself as a rider for the hilly one-day races but also a strong time triallist.
Gazprom-RusVelo also announced on Tuesday that they have taken on their three stagiaires on a full-time basis. Vladislav Kulikov, Alexander Kulikovskiy, and Denis Nekrasov have all raced with the pro team since August and, like Rukinov, are signing on two-year pro contracts.