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VN news ticker: Tadej Pogačar extends through 2026, Le Col steps up to co-sponsorship of UCI women’s squad

Here's what's making headlines on Tuesday, March 2.

Tadej Pogačar extends through 2026

Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar will stay in a UAE-Team Emirates jersey through 2026. Pogačar joined the team in 2019, and has already won 19 races in the WorldTour, capped by victory in the 2020 Tour.

“I feel at home in this team,” Pogačar said. “There is a special atmosphere between the management, riders, and staff and it’s a good environment to be in. The team shows a lot of trust and confidence in me which I am thankful for, and I work hard to show that when I’m racing alongside my teammates. I hope we can have many more successful seasons together in the years ahead.”

Team Principal and CEO Mauro Gianetti said: “We are happy to announce the further extension of Tadej’s contract with us. He strongly believes in our project as we do in his abilities. It is already the third time we’ve extended his contract which shows his commitment to the project we are building here at UAE. We are creating a real group, united, with an atmosphere that I don’t remember in all my years in cycling. I am particularly proud of this.”

Le Col has stepped up to be a title co-sponsor of the DROPS-Le Col team for 2021. Photo: DROPS-Le Col

Le Col steps up co-sponsorship of UCI women’s team DROPS

Cycling apparel maker Le Col has renewed its partnership with women’s professional cycling team Drops, and in doing so has stepped up to become a title co-sponsor.

The DROPS-Le Col squad will also receive support from mattress manufacturer Tempur, cycling retail outlet Ribble, Mavic, and POC.

The British-baed team founded in 2015 is carrying 14 riders from seven nations for the 2021 season.

While not posting results in 2020, in 2019 Elizabeth Holden took home the white jersey in the Giro Toscana International Femminile.

Mark Cavendish: ‘I love the sport’

Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) says he still loves racing his bike. The veteran sprinter, racing Tuesday at Le Samyn, returned to the Belgian outfit this season on a one-year deal.

“I think enjoying riding your bike is important for anyone wanting a long career. The racing style has changed a lot but fundamentally the stakes are still the same,” Cavendish said during a media call. “I love the sport. I’m fortunate to do it, and still have an ambition to do it.”

Winless since 2018, Cavendish is taking a mixed role at Deceuninck-Quick-Step without putting too much pressure on himself. He’s slated to race next at GP Jean-Pierre Monseré and Scheldeprijs and said he’s feeling at home in his return with Deceuninck-Quick-Step, where he raced from 2013-15.

“There’s no better place to do it than at Deceuninck-Quick-Step,” Cavendish said. “They don’t try to reinvent cycling, they just race, adjusting to the times, but by going out and racing as a team and having fun doing it.”

Eolo-Kometa makes WorldTour debut at Strade Bianche

Eolo-Kometa, the Spanish/Italian team that jumped to ProTeam status in 2021, will race its first WorldTour-ranked race Saturday at Strade Bianche. The team, with involvement from ex-pros Ivan Basso and Alberto Contador, also received an invitation to the Giro d’Italia in its grand tour debut later this season.

“In Giro U23 I had the opportunity to tackle several stretches of dirt in one of its stages, and I have wonderful memories of that day,” said Arturo Grávalos. “I managed to stay in the leading group in the important moments and to fight for the victory. This edition of the Strade Bianche is the first race of our season. It is almost a monument. A modern monument within the WorldTour. I would like to do very well this year and I can’t wait to start: I dream of being able to play it.”