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VN ticker: Sean Quinn to join EF Education-Nippo for 2022 season, Roman Kreuziger joins Bahrain-Victorious as sport director

Here's the news making headlines for Friday, October 15.

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Sean Quinn to join EF Education-Nippo for 2022 season

Sean Quinn inked a deal with EF Education-Nippo to race with the American-based squad in 2022.

Quinn raced the past season with Hagens Berman Axeon, where he won the best young rider jersey at the 2021 Volta ao Algarve. He also finished in eighth overall at the 2021 Tour de Wallonie. He was on the LUX–Stradling–Specialized roster in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

EF Education-Nippo CEO Jonathan Vaughters considers Quinn to be a good addition to the team for climbing stages.

“He’s a climber. He’s a big climber. He’s not a tiny little guy but those are the kind of guys you want because a slightly larger framed climber tends to be a little bit more versatile in different types of terrain you can gamble with so we’ll see where he fits in,” Vaughters said. “I see him very much as a future Tour de France rider. He’s a bigger, stronger kid that can handle the high speeds on the flats, and then he can also climb which is what you need for the Tour de France.”

The 21-year-old American neo-pro has been a life-long fan of cycling since he was introduced to the sport by his parents.

“My family always rode bikes when I was a kid. My parents always had the Tour de France on over the summer,” Quinn said. “I remember there was one year, for whatever reason, I became obsessed. I watched the team time trial and that was the first thing I saw and I thought, ‘Whoa,’ with the helmets and stuff. That summer I woke up every morning to watch the Tour.”

Roman Kreuziger joins Bahrain-Victorious as sport director

Bahrain-Victorious announced Friday that Roman Kreuziger will join the team as a sport director for the 2022 season.

Following 16 years in the pro ranks, Kreuziger will shift his focus to helping the Bahraini squad from the team car.

“I’m excited to be back in the World Tour. Looking forward to this new chapter in my life. I know many team members, both riders and staff. There is a winning spirit in the team, and I will do my best to contribute to the results we want,” Kreuziger said. “My motto is simple – to work hard and to be professional, on and off the road. After all those years in the peloton, I am pretty sure this works.”

Throughout his career, Kreuziger won several Czech national championships, was on the podium in classics and one-day races, and stages at the Giro d’Italia. He was the 2004 world junior road champion.

Kaitie Keough makes shock retirement decision

American ‘crosser Kaitie Keough has retired.

The 29-year-old cyclocross stalwart made the surprise announcement on Instagram on Thursday, just the day after she had started the Fayetteville World Cup.

“I tried like mad for two years, searching for a way to get my fire back. The fire that’s needed for race days. I finally had the guts to admit to myself that it doesn’t make sense to keep forcing something that clearly isn’t burning within anymore,” Keough wrote.

“It’s not fair to me and it’s definitely not fair to the team around me. Underneath the grief, I feel relief. While this is a few months earlier than when I wanted to finish and not the exact way I had visioned going out, I am leaving this sport with grace. I am celebrating the fact that I get to close this story with the most wonderful memories and accomplishments.”

Keough has been racing for more than a decade on the ‘cross field, amassing 13 victories along the way, all of which came in a prolific spell from 2015-2018. The Wisconsin native has struggled to achieve the same consistency in recent years and had previously stated she would race through the 2021-2022 season before hanging up her wheels.

After failing to finish both of the two U.S.-based World Cups this week, Keough has brought her decision to retire forward several months.

“The best part about my time in this sport? The relationships I’ve made. Lifelong relationships that I will cherish forever,” she reflected.  “This will always be the most beautiful and special chapter of my life. I’m very sad to end it this way but I know in my heart this is the best decision for me.”

Ethan Vernon to turn pro with Quick-Step

Ethan Vernon will hit the WorldTour with Quick-Step next season. The team set to be known as Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl confirmed Friday it has snapped up the young Brit on a two-year deal.

“We have had Ethan on our radar this summer and we know that his signature was sought-after by other teams, so we are very happy that he has joined us,” said team boss Patrick Lefevere.

“He has proved at U23 level that he has a fast finish, as well as some good results in time trials, so he is strong in several departments, and we are looking forward to seeing what he can do with us.”

Vernon, 21, is another of the crop of young British talent following on the heels of Tom Pidcock and Ethan Hayter. He has scored standout stage wins at a number of junior development races and rode into the top-10 in the U23 world championships time trial last month. Vernon was also a part of Great Britain’s team pursuit squad this summer.

“I’m really excited to be joining this fantastic team. Deceuninck-Quick-Step has a proven track record when it comes to helping young riders, so I couldn’t think of a better place to start my professional road career,” Vernon said in a team release Friday. “There is also an in-depth knowledge of sprinting, which is where I want to specialize, and I am really looking forward to getting to work, learning as much as I can, and see where that takes me.”

Ethan Hayter, Anna Henderson win British TT championships

Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) and Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma) will wear the jerseys of British national time trial champions next season.

Hayter, 23, continued his breakout season by beating Dan Bigham and James Shaw by a convincing margin on the 44.7km test Thursday. Defending champion and six-time winner Alex Dowsett did not hit the podium.

The 22-year-old Henderson was also dominant in her race, beating world hour record-holder Joss Lowden by nearly one minute.

Both Henderson and Hayter are expected to race the road race championships Sunday.

“I was surprised by my victory because the level of the riders was high today,” Henderson said. “I am thrilled. Together with my coach Marieke I had made a good pacing plan. It was tough, but I just kept going on the climbs and tried to recover a bit on the descents and technical sections. I am very proud of this performance. Now I will try to recover well for the weekend and then I will go for it again in the road race.”

It was a double-celebration in the Hayter household. Ethan’s younger brother Leo (DSM) also won the U23 race to take two gold medals home for the family display cabinet. Anna Shackley (SD Worx) won the women’s U23 TT.