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News roundup: Sniper/Roompot merger; Mollema stays with Trek

Stay up to speed on all of the stories circulating in the world of pro cycling.

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Here’s your News roundup for Thursday, August 30. This is our way of keeping you up to speed on all of the stories circulating in the world of pro cycling.

Van Aert’s Sniper Cycling team merges with Roompot

Pro Continental squad Veranda’s Willems-Crelan is set to merge with fellow Pro Continental outfit Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij in the coming season, the teams announced Thursday. The news comes just two weeks after a premature announcement that Aqua Blue Sport would acquire Veranda’s Willems’s parent company Sniper Cycling; Aqua Blue is instead shutting down.

The newly combined Belgian-Dutch team will be known as Roompot-Crelan on the road while retaining the current name of Crelan-Charles in cyclocross. For the moment, the list of riders signed through 2019 from either roster is short, but it does include Veranda’s Willems’s star rider, Wout Van Aert. The 23-year-old Belgian is a three-time world ‘cross champion and emerging star in the spring classics.

Veranda’s Willems brass Nick Nuyens and Chris Compagnie will join Roompot general manager Michael Zijlaard in running the new team, according to a press release, with Erik Breukink, Michael Boogerd, and Jean Paul van Poppel serving as sports directors.

Bauke Mollema extends contract with Trek-Segafredo

Bauke Mollema will ride on with Trek-Segafredo in 2019, his team said Thursday.

The 31-year-old Dutchman has ridden with the Trek organization since coming over from Belkin (now LottoNL-Jumbo) in 2015. His stint with the American-based team has been the most successful of his career, seeing him claim a Tour de France stage, a major one-day victory at the Clásica San Sebastían, and smaller one-week race wins at the Tour of Alberta and the Vuelta a San Juan.

He has also delivered a pair of grand tour top 10s in that time.

Mollema was Trek’s official GC leader at the Tour this July but was unable to deliver the performance he’d hoped for. Mollema will likely hand over Tour GC leadership reins to new signee Richie Porte in 2019.

“He is a pillar of the team as one of our respectable leaders. He is a very strong guy, not only physically but also mentally,” Trek-Segafredo general manager Luca Guercilena said of Mollema.

“Alongside Richie Porte, we will have two extremely strong climbers sharing opportunities to battle for the GC throughout the season.”

Van Vleuten in control at Boels Ladies Tour

Annemiek van Vleuten
Annemiek Van Vleuten has been dominating the Boels Rental Ladies Tour. Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images

Halfway into the 2018 Boels Ladies Tour, Annamiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) has a strong grip on the general classification after winning both the opening time trial and the second stage. The Dutchwoman even took a wrong turn in Wednesday’s finale before correcting course and taking the win anyway.

Former world road champion Amalie Dideriksen snatched Thursday’s stage 3 in a bunch sprint, leaving three stages still to come, including a time trial on the final day.

Van Vleuten currently enjoys a 29-second lead to second-placed with Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana), with Ellen van Dijk (Sunweb) at 30 seconds in third.

Rowe out for remainder of 2018 with broken scaphoid

Sky’s Luke Rowe will miss the rest of 2018 with a broken scaphoid, sustained earlier this month at the European Championships.

“I got the injury back at the Euros going into the last lap. It was just a racing incident really — it wasn’t anyone’s fault,” Rowe said via Team Sky’s website. “I clipped my right hand on a barrier on a right-hand bend. I got a small cut on my hand, and at the time it was quite sore, but I just got on with it.”

The 28-year-old Welshman did not immediately realize that the brush with the barriers had left him with a fracture. He continued on to racing at the EuroEyes Cyclassics and the Deutschland Tour, but lingering pain sent him to the doctor, where a scan revealed the injury.

As such, he will miss planned starts at the GPs Québec and Montréal. It marks the second time in two years that Rowe has had to shut down his season early after a freak leg injury sustained on a rafting trip in 2017 laid him low for months — albeit for much shorter than initially expected.

According to Sky, Rowe will be “in plaster for six to eight weeks,” which should give him plenty of time to be ready for racing at the start of 2019.