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VN news ticker: Team Novo Nordisk Development gets UCI Continental status, Crusher in Tushar lottery open

Here's the news making headlines for Monday, March 1.

Team Novo Nordisk Development gets UCI Continental designation

The Team Novo Nordisk Development squad was granted UCI Continental status for the 2021 season.

Team Novo Nordisk General Manager Vassili Davidenko explained, “It is the next step for us, and we are prepared to approach and overcome challenges. The rider’s fitness will be well aligned with the races we want to participate in, and we are ready for more with full confidence and excitement. Together with Novo Nordisk affiliates, we’ll have more opportunities to highlight our mission and more people will be inspired during this special year of 100-years since the discovery of insulin.”

The team, which prides itself as “the world’s first all diabetes professional cycling team” now has two squads racing internationally.

“The idea of bumping the team up to a Continental Team has been something I’ve been hoping to be able to do for several years now,” explained development team manager Daniel Holt. “I’m happy to say that I believe the team can be competitive at this level now. One thing that really helped solidify the decision this season is that now the devo and pro teams have the ability to share some riders at races, giving the organization the opportunity to continue the development of riders at all levels.”

The development team has been racing UCI 1.2 and 2.2 races with other Continental teams for several years. For 2021, the squad will skip a domestic racing program, a first for the team.

2021 marks the centenary of the discovery of insulin and the team will be carrying that message — and that celebratory number — on its jerseys.

“We are proud to be able to celebrate the lifesaving anniversary of the discovery of insulin in 2021 by having more of our riders out there on the world stage, helping us all to continue to change diabetes for all those whose lives it affects and it’s important to remember that these are our champions and heroes of tomorrow,” said Team Novo Nordisk CEO and co-Founder Phil Southerland.

The Novo Nordisk Development Team begins their 2021 campaign on Wednesday, March 3, at the UCI 1.2 categorized Trofej Umag, in Croatia.

2019 Crusher in the Tushar
A relaxed start line vibe at the 2019 Crusher in Tushar. Photo: Catherine Fegan-Kim

Crusher in Tusher lottery open through March 15

The 2021 Crusher in Tusher lottery opened today, March 1.

The gravel race sold out in 2020 but was canceled due to the pandemic. All registrants were given the option of deferring until 2021 or 2022, or taking a refund.

With some registrants opting for the 2022 event, and others taking the full refund, a limited number of spaces for the 2021 event became available.

To ensure fairness, as well as a sense of randomness, the event organizers decided to randomly select additional entrants for this year’s event.

There is no fee to enter the lottery; those who are selected via the lottery will have their credit cards charged for the race entry fee.

Those who enter the lottery for the 2021 event and are randomly selected will be notified by March 22.

Belgian riders Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) have been selected for the Olympic men’s time trial.

In an interview with Belgian media, National coach Sven Vanthourenhout did not mention hour record holder Victor Campanaerts (Qhubeka-Assos) as having been initially selected for the squad.

“I realize all too well that Victor would love to go to the Games, but he is also aware that it will be a difficult story for him,” said Vanthourenhout. “It’s not easy for him, I know. I am a bit worried myself, because I know well enough how much we all owe to Victor. As a country, we are now world top in the time trial, but we should never forget that we owe that a lot to him.”

Should Evenepoel’s recovery from a crash at the 2020 Il Lombardia not go as planned, or if Wout van Aert is not able to make the Tokyo trip for any reason, Campanaerts would be named to the racing squad, from his current alternate position.

Marc Hirschi won the 2020 Flèche Wallone. Photo: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images

Marc Hirschi’s classics calendar

Marc Hirschi, a last-minute surprise addition to the UAE Team Emirates squad earlier this year, will be taking on a mix of Spanish and Flemish races this spring, with an eye towards those testing his climbing legs.

The 22-year-old will take the start of the Tour of Catalonia (March 22-28), Tour of the Basque Country (April 5-10), Amstel Gold Race (April 18), Flèche Wallonne (April 21), and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 25).

Hirschi won the 2020 Flèche Wallonne and was second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, as well as taking stage 12 of the Tour de France and also the overall combativity award at the French grand tour.

The peloton on sector 3 of the 2020 Strade Bianche. Photo: James Startt

Strade Bianche in jeopardy, goes through COVID-19 “red zone”

RCS Sport—the organizers of the Strade Bianche — insist the race in the Tuscany region of Italy will go on in 2021, without cancelation or postponement despite an increase in the COVID-19 infections, and the region is back in a lockdown to stem the spread of the pandemic.

The regions of Siena and Pistoia are currently labeled as “red zones,” and are experiencing more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases daily.

“Red zones” are cities, municipalities, districts, regions, or entire countries in COVID-19 preventing lockdowns.

In 2020, the race on the white roads was postponed until August 1, from its initial calendar date on March 7. The radically different calendar position resulted in a hot day of racing that saw more than 30 percent of the women’s field and 50 percent of the men’s field abandon before the arrival in Siena. Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar Team) won the women’s edition, while Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visam) won the men’s race.