Sonny Colbrelli takes Gran Piemonte, undulating course on tap for Tokyo 2020 time trials

Here’s your news roundup for Thursday, October 11. This is our way of keeping you up to speed on all of the stories circulating in the world of pro cycling.

Colbrelli wins Gran Piemonte

Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) powered to victory on Thursday at Gran Piemonte, the last of the Italian semi-classics before this weekend’s main event, Il Lombardia.

The 191-kilometer trek from Racconici to Stupinigi is more tailored to the sprinters than races like Tre Valli Varesine or Milano-Torino, and Colbrelli took full advantage of the opportunity. He hung with the pack on a rainy day in northwestern Italy and then surged to victory in the final sprint, launching early and holding on to seal the deal.

Quick-Step’s Florian Sénéchal rode to second place on the day, with Androni-Giocattoli Sidermec’s Davide Ballerini rounding out the podium in third. With the win, Ccolbrelli continues his trend of success in the Italian semi-classics; he claimed his second straight Coppa Bernocchi last month and triumphed at Tre Valli Varesine in 2016, to name just a few of the fall one-day wins on his palmares.

No shortage of vertical gain for Olympic TTs

The time trial specialists at the 2020 Olympics will have plenty of ups and downs to overcome in pursuit of medals in Tokyo. The UCI and the Tokyo organizing committee have unveiled a time trial course in the foothills of Mount Fuji that will include significant uphill mileage and some descending to boot.

The event will start and finish at the Fuji Speedway. In full, the course runs 22.1 kilometers, with the women’s field completing one lap and the men set for two for a total of 44.2 kilometers. According to the course announcement, the iconic Mount Fuji will serve as a “backdrop” for the races.

The course features approximately 423 meters of elevation gain, mostly courtesy of a lengthy climb near the halfway mark. For the men’s race, that will mean 846 total vertical meters.

Also included in the announcement were details regarding the Paralympic road racing events, with the men’s and women’s road races, time trials, and team relays all set to start and finish at the Fuji Speedway as well.

“The combination of the stunning scenery of the Mount Fuji region and the stern challenge that the Olympic and Paralympic courses will provide will deliver a fantastic spectacle for cycling fans in Japan and across the world, and we’re looking forward with anticipation and excitement to the start of the Tokyo 2020 Games,” said UCI president David Lappartient.

John Lelangue takes over at general manager for Lotto-Soudal

Lotto-Soudal parted ways with general manager Paul De Guyter earlier this week, but the Belgian-based outfit was not without a GM for long.

The team has named John Lelangue to the fill the position.

Lelangue has spent years involved with professional cycling in various roles. He was a director with the Phonak and BMC teams, he was the organizer of the 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar, and he has also worked with the ASO.

De Guyter, who Lelangue has been hired to replace, spent less than a year as Lotto-Soudal’s general manager.

Max Sciandri leaving BMC to join Movistar

Max Sciandri, retired racing pro and longtime sports director with BMC, is headed to Movistar in 2019.

The former stage winner at the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia spent time working with under-23 riders at British Cycling after he retired from the road, and then joined BMC for the 2011 season. He spent eight years with the team.

As that team evolves into the new-look CCC squad in 2019, however, Sciandri will move on to Eusebio Unzué’s team, where he will continue plying his trade as a directeur sportif.