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VN news ticker: Jumbo-Visma boss hopeful for Tom Dumoulin return, David Dekker continues to impress in WorldTour debut

Here's the news making headlines for Wednesday, February 24.

Jumbo-Visma boss hopeful for Tom Dumoulin return

Jumbo-Visma manager Richard Plugge is hopeful Tom Dumoulin will return to the fold. The Dutch star abruptly walked away from the WorldTour during the team’s pre-season camp, and has not yet revealed his plans. Plugge said in an interview on Dutch television the team is optimistic Dumoulin will return to racing.

“I think it’s only a break, and we’ll see him return to cycling,” Plugge told Zesdaagse TV. “Tom needs a bit of time off to make a decision, but I think it will turn out OK. I have faith in it. We stay in touch a bit. Tom is doing it right, he’s on vacation now, and enjoying himself. We’ve given him a lot of space. If he calls tomorrow, and says he wants to return, he’d need a few weeks of training, but the door is always open for him.”

David Dekker continues to impress in WorldTour debut

David Dekker, a rookie on Jumbo-Visma, is impressive so far in his WorldTour debut at the UAE Tour. The son of ex-pro Erik Dekker, he battled through echelons to finish in the front group in his season debut, and then sprinted to second behind Mathieu van der Poel on Sunday. On Wednesday, he picked his way through a busy sprint to finish second again, this time behind Sam Bennett.

“I felt like there was more to it,” Dekker said. “After the finish, I was quite frustrated, because I felt a better result had been possible.”

The 23-year-old won two races last year in the shortened COVID season while racing with SEG  Racing Academy, and will debut in the spring classics and Giro d’Italia later this season. Dekker will see two more chances to test his sprinter legs during the closing stages of the UAE Tour.

“An incredible performance by David today,” said Jumbo-Visma sport director Addy Engels. “To find your way and to finish second is very strong.”

Paris-Roubaix announces teams selections for 2021 edition

Paris-Roubaix announced Wednesday the wildcard teams invited to this year’s edition, to be held on Sunday, April 11.

The first edition of the Paris-Roubaix women’s race was supposed to be in 2020, however, due to the coronavirus crisis it — and the men’s race — was postponed for a year.

Set to start the race known as the “Hell of the North” for the first time are the women’s teams with automatic invites: Alé BTC Ljubljana, Canyon-SRAM Racing, FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope, Liv Racing, Movistar Team Women, Team BikeExchange, Team DSM, Team SD Worx, Trek – Segafredo.

They will be joined by UCI Continental team A.R. Monex Women’s Pro Cycling Team, Ceratizit–WTN Pro Cycling Team, Lotto Soudal Ladies, Parkhotel Valkenburg, Team Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank, and Valcar-Travel & Service. Additional invites were extended to the UCI Women’s Continental teams Arkéa Pro Cycling Team, Ciclismo Mundial, Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team, Doltcini – Van Eyck Sport – Proximus Continental Team, Drops – Le Col supported by Tempur, Hitec Products, Jumbo – Visma Women Team, NXTG Racing, and Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime Women Cycling.

On the men’s side, the 19 WorldTour teams get automatic invites, as do the top-ranked ProTeams from 2020: Alpecin-Fenix and Akréa-Samsic.  In addition to these 21 teams, wildcard invites have been extended to B&B Hotels p/b KTM, Bingoal WB, Delko, and Total Direct Énergie.

Mark Cavendish to see second race with Deceuninck-Quick-Step at Le Samyn

Sprint great Mark Cavendish is set to race the 1.1 GP Le Samyn next week. The Brit will lead Deceuninck Quick-Step at the cobblestone classic alongside 2019 winner, Florian Sénéchal. The race, March 2, will see a number of fast finishers take part including 2020 champion Hugo Hofstetter (Israel Start-Up Nation) and John Degenkolb (Lotto Soudal).

Le Samyn will mark Cavendish’s second race in his return to Deceuninck-Quick-Step. Having previously ridden with the team from 2013-2015, the 35-year-old began his second tenure with the Belgian outfit at Clásica de Almeria earlier this month, where he lost his chance to contest the sprint due to a late puncture.

Cycling groups call for an end to helmet laws

With a new study showing Seattle police have ticketed Black riders not wearing helmets nearly four times the rate as white riders since 2003, multiple advocacy groups are working to decriminalize helmet use in the city and in King County.

The Cascade Bicycle Club, which previously supported the law, and sister organization Washington Bikes are part of the King County Helmet Law Working Group. The Working Group is gathering data and community input to have the King County Board of Health review and potentially repeal the law, adopted in 1993. A spokesperson for Cascade told BRAIN there will be a public process to review the law.

Read the full article on the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News website.

Lilian Calmejane returns to racing at the Trofeo Laigueglia

The victim of a crash during the third stage of the Tour de la Provence on February 13th, which caused a head trauma and a contusion to his right shoulder, Lilian Calmejane, who was initially assigned to compete in the Boucles Drôme Ardèche, a race that he won in 2018 and 2019, will instead return to racing at the Trofeo Laigueglia on March 3.

Romain Bardet to make Team DSM debut at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Romain Bardet will race in Team DSM colors for the first time at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad this weekend. The 30-year-old will lead his team alongside Søren Kragh Andersen and Tiesj Benoot.

“For most riders it is their first race of the season,” said sport director Marc Reef. “Our main goal is to race aggressively like a strong block. Around every corner is a new opportunity to set up an escape. We have to take our chances and we have several riders who can achieve a good result.”

The cobbled race Saturday will see Bardet take the first step in his ambition to reinvent himself with his new team. The Frenchman hopes to pivot away from his former Tour de France focus and embrace a more rounded schedule of grand tours and classics as part of Team DSM’s “all for one” race style.