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Ten Dam to race alternative events in retirement, Bahrain bolster roster

Ten Dam to target gravel racing in retirement, six riders added to ever-strengthening Bahrain team.

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Recently-retired Dutchman Laurens ten Dam has spoken about his retirement plans, with mass-participation racing and a possible move toward coaching on the agenda.

Fan-favorite ten Dam ended his career at Il Lombardia Sunday, and his most recent team, CCC, released an interview with him covering his future plans this week.

“I will immediately be starting the change from pro cyclist to adventure rider,” he said.

“It’s this kind of thing that I am aiming to do in the future to replace professional cycling but fulfill my love for the bike. For example, I would like to do races like Dirty Kanza, Cape Epic, maybe a crazy bike packing race.”

Ten Dam’s desire to compete in mass-participation events would see him join retired American Ted King and current professionals such as Pete Stetina (Trek-Segafredo) and EF-Education First riders Alex Howes and Lachlan Morton in experimenting with racing on rougher roads.

The Dutchman has always been active in engaging with fans, and is popular on social media, hosts the ‘Live Slow Ride Fast’ podcast and organizes the ‘Ltd Gravel Raid’ fondo and festival in Germany.

A future in coaching is also an outside possibility for ten Dam.

“I have also done a Master’s degree in coaching so, while I am not planning on doing anything like that next year, usually, I will continue to ride gravel, but maybe there could be something there in the future,” he said. “We can always make a Live Slow Ride Fast coaching company.”

Back inside the peloton, Bahrain-Merida, set to race as Bahrain McLaren in 2020, announced a host of new signings for next season, with Pello Bilbao (Astana), Rafael Valls (Movistar), Eros Capecchi (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Scott Davies (Dimension Data), Marco Haller (Katusha-Alpecin), Kevin Inkelaar (Groupama-FDJ Continental) all joining the team.

Bilbao won two stages at the Giro d’Italia in 2019. Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

“We are thrilled these six riders will join the team and be part of its future direction with Rod Ellingworth and McLaren,” said manager Brent Copeland on the team’s website.

2020 will see the start of a second chapter for the Bahraini team, with the addition of performance coach Rod Ellingworth from Team Sky / Ineos to oversee a fleet of new riders including Mark Cavendish, Mikel Landa, and Wout Poels.

Recent additions Bilbao, Valls and Capecchi are all strong climbers to work in support of Landa and Poels, while Austrian Haller will boost the team’s sprint force.

Rohan Dennis, who left the team under a cloud last month, is still without a contract.