Retooled Paris-Tours garners mixed reviews, Lotto-Soudal parts ways with GM, Kudus signs with Astana, Felline extends with Trek-Segafredo
Here’s your News roundup for Monday, October 8. This is our way of keeping you up to speed on all of the stories circulating in the world of pro cycling.
Andersen wins Paris-Tours on route that draws praise from some, criticism from others
Søren Kragh Andersen powered to victory on Sunday at Paris-Tours, one of the oldest races on the pro cycling calendar.
The Sunweb rider rode into the finale with Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors) and Benoit Cosnefroy (Ag2r-La Mondiale) towards the end of a tough day on a revamped course. Long known as a sprinter’s classic, Paris-Tours organizers added several gravel sections to the parcours this year, making for a more selective race. Andersen proved to be the strongest rider on the retooled route, leaving Terpstra and Cosnefroy behind with an attack in the final 15 kilometers to take the win, with Terpstra finishing as runner-up and Cosnefroy in third.
Some riders showed appreciation for the course changes, with Sep Vanmarcke among those in favor of the gravel.
Others were less than thrilled with the new route. Quick-Step team CEO Patrick Lefevre expressed his distaste for the route on Twitter while the race was still going on.
Ag2r’s Oliver Naesen, who finished fourth behind teammate Cosnefroy, was not a big fan of the update either. “I found the gravel paths a little over-done,” he said via the team website. “There were a lot of sharp pebbles cutting the tires, which made the race very random.”
Lotto-Soudal parts ways with general manager
Belgian WorldTour outfit Lotto-Soudal has parted ways with Paul De Geyter, who had been the team’s general manager. The squad announced the news Monday in a short press release.
According to the team statement, it was a “mutual agreement,” and “the two parties came to the conclusion that the perspective on the future strategy of the team differed too much from each other to continue the partnership.”
The split marks the end of what was a brief tenure in the GM role for De Geyter, who had only held the job since January of this year.
Kudus signs with Astana
Eritrean rider Merhawi Kudus is bound for Astana next year, where general manager Alexandr Vinokurov expects him to “have a chance to grow and to show himself.”
Kudus, highly touted as an up-and-coming climber since his under-23 days, has spent five seasons with Dimension Data.
“This is a big opportunity for me, because Astana is one of the biggest cycling teams in the world. I hope to have a chance to improve a lot and in the same time to learn a lot and my expectations from this move are really high,” he said. “I am looking forward to the upcoming season and really happy to join this great project.”
Astana will hope he can continue to progress as an all-rounder. He has compiled a collection of top 10s in higher-tier stage races over the course of his young career, but has yet to score a marquee win at the WorldTour level.
“Kudus is a very young and ambitious rider and I am curious how far he can reach in professional cycling,” Vinokurov said. “He is a climber, but at the same time has some skills in the time trial races. This rider will strengthen our grand tour group.”
Felline re-ups with Trek-Segafredo
Fabio Felline will ride on into 2019 with Trek-Segafredo, the team announced Monday.
The 28-year-old Italian has been a part of the Trek organization since 2014, nabbing a handful of victories and showing off his versatile skillset along the way. He won the points classification at the 2016 Vuelta a España despite not winning any individual stages.
Health problems — he picked up a parasitic infection late last year — derailed much of his 2018 campaign.
“I am extremely happy about this extension. I signed for one more year and for me it’s very important that the team wants to prolong our relationship and keeps believing in me,” he said in a Trek-Segafredo press release.
Team general manager Luca Guercilena gave Felline a vote of confidence in the statement as well, saying, “Fabio has been with the team since the very beginning and we still believe in his capacities, so even though he didn’t perform at his best in the last year, we wanted to give him an extra chance and keep him on board for the 2019 season.”