Stories of the week: Stetina goes off-road, Leipheimer’s tribute to California, and more.
Here’s a wrap of the key stories you need to know about from the racing scene this week.
Read on to get the news you need to impress your buddies with at this week’s group ride.
After nine years in the WorldTour, the Coloradan decided to turn away from the top-tier of road racing after experiencing the buzz of gravel during his alternative racing in 2019. “This is not a retirement. It’s a transition,” he said. With off-road mass-participation racing riding a wave of popularity and heightened sponsor interest, Stetina vowed that “I will still be training and racing as hard as ever. I’ll just be doing different kinds of races.”
Mathieu van der Poel both returned to ‘cross racing with a win and announced his desire to race the Vuelta a Espana this week.
The Dutch wunderkind is continuing to race across a number of disciplines and eyeing the biggest prizes without showing any sign of needing to sacrifice on or off-road ambitions. Andrew Hood investigates just how long van der Poel can keep the party going.
Levi Leipheimer is one of the U.S.’s most successful road riders, with victories in the world’s biggest races. But his career was forged in the Amgen Tour of California, the race that was put on hiatus for 2020.
California “had the biggest impact on my career, and who I am, and what I’m known for,” Leipheimer told VeloNews this week. Leipheimer reflects on what made the race so great, and how fortunate he feels to have been able to race it.
With the addition of Tom Dumoulin to their roster, Jumbo-Visma will boast three bona fide GC leaders, alongside Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk.
The team recognize that balancing the ambitions of three top-tier riders will be a challenge, but that it provides them a genuine opportunity to break the Sky / Ineos stranglehold on the Tour. “It’s a challenge to work like that, but it can also be a great opportunity for the team,” said Sport Director Addy Engels.
Having repeatedly been overlooked for Tour de France selection on the German team that also boasts Peter Sagan in its ranks, Bennett is eager to move to a team that will select him for the biggest grand tour of them all. With Deceuninck-Quick-Step losing Elia Viviani to Cofidis at the end of the 2019 season, it’s looking likely that the Belgian team will be signing the up-and-coming sprinter.