UAE Team Emirates announced it has reached an agreement to sign Italian Alessandro Covi, winner of Wednesday's stage 6 of the Tour de l'Avenir.
Covi, also racing as a trainee with UAE, will continue with Team Colpack in 2019 before joining the WorldTour squad.
"I'm very happy, I feel UAE Team Emirates can be the best team for becoming a pro rider," Covi said. "I won't join the pros in the next season, I feel it's better to wait for one more year, during which I'll do my best to improve my skills. Meanwhile, I'll race as a trainee in my new team in this final part of the season."
The squad has also picked up Slovenian Tadej Pogacar on a two-year contract. He will begin with the team in 2019.
"I am honoured to be able to ride in a World Tour team and it makes me even happier to know that I am joining an ambitious formation that knows how to value their riders," Pogacar said. "I'd like to thank Saronni and all the sponsors for the faith they've shown in me."
Duval to replace Chevrier in the Vuelta a España
The AG2R La Mondiale squad announced a change to its squad for the Vuelta a España. Clement Chevrier is suffering injuries from a crash and was advised by team doctors not to start the Grand Tour.
Julien Duval was named as the team's replacement, pending UCI approval.
Walscheid in for Bauhaus in Sunweb's Vuelta squad
Team Sunweb announced this week that Phil Bauhaus will not start the Vuelta a España because he has not fully recovered from an illness. Max Walscheid will replace Bauhaus as the team's sprinter.
"Phil has been suffering from a virus over the past few weeks and we had hoped that he would be fit enough to start in Spain, but unfortunately that is not the case," Team Sunweb physician Anko Boelens said. "A Grand Tour is extremely demanding for an athlete and you simply need to start at 100 per cent fitness, so we had to decide to take him out. He will be given the time to fully recover before restarting training and racing."
Walscheid sprinted to a stage win in the Tour de Yorkshire earlier this season, and was a close second to Fernando Gaviria on the final stage of the Tour of California.
"It's too bad for Phil, who was our designated sprinter for the Vuelta, but with Max we have a strong replacer with who we can continue our sprint focus into the Vuelta," Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek said. "It will be the first Grand Tour for Max, a new experience for him in a challenging environment, also for his long-term development and we will go for it/give our all."
Craddock concludes 'Fight for Paris' with night of racing at Alkek Velodrome
Lawson Craddock (EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) will bring his "Fight for Paris" campaign to a close on Friday, August 24, with a night of racing at the Alkek Velodrome in Houston.
Craddock crashed on the opening stage of the Tour de France and fractured his scapula, but soldiered through the pain and finished the Tour. He vowed to donate $100 per stage that he finished to help repair the velodrome, which was damaged in Hurricane Harvey. His family also started an online fundraiser that drew in donations from fans from around the globe who were inspired by his Tour de France fight.
With the donations from EF Education First and Cannondale, along with the fundraiser contributions, Craddock will present Alkek Velodrome with a check for at least $280,000.
"When I started the fundraiser, the idea was to help get the Velodrome back on track and back to its best possible shape," Craddock said. "In my mind, that would help the cycling community grow. Houston is a busy city, and with that, there's a lot of traffic. The Velodrome provides a safe and fun place to ride a bike."
The Alkek Velodrome race director Doug Evans was overwhelmed by the effort. "When we first heard what Lawson was doing, our initial reaction was — 'wow!'" Evans said. "Here's a guy riding in the Tour de France. He's just had a horrendous crash on the first day and what he does next is an incredibly selfless thing to help our organization. We were and still are blown away by Lawson's generosity, support, and contribution. We'll always be grateful for his kindness and selflessness. He did more in 21 days than we could do in 21 years."
Team sponsor EF Education First will also sponsor the event and has committed to donating $6,000 to the Alkek Velodrome. Cannondale auctioned off the SuperSix Evo Craddock rode during the 2018 Tour de France to benefit the velodrome, raising $11,500.
"The donations have given the track a new lease on life," said Carl Jones, director of rider development at Alkek Velodrome. "We can make some improvements that will increase the quality of the riding experience. The funds will allow us to expand youth and adult development programs beyond the summer and into the entire year."
The event will include racing, a meet and greet with Craddock, autographs and photo opportunities, and a Raffle benefiting the Lawson Craddock Youth Cycling League. The gates open at 5 p.m. and racing starts at 7 p.m.
"It's going to be an awesome night," Craddock said. "I'm really proud to be partnered with great companies like EF, Cannondale and Drapac, and all our other incredible sponsors, who have pitched in and helped set-up what is going to be a really fun event. We'll be able to watch some bike racing, drink some Karbach beer and grab dinner from food trucks. What more can you want from a Friday night?"
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