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VN news ticker: Kasia Niewiadoma extends with Canyon-SRAM, Romain Sicard retires, Bernal to skip Tour of the Alps

Here's what's making the headlines on Friday, April 9.

Kasia Niewiadoma extends with Canyon-SRAM

Kasia Niewiadoma has found a home at Canyon-SRAM, and the Polish rider is staying there through 2024. Niewiadoma recently signed a contract extension with the women’s WorldTeam that will see her on the German-based squad for three more seasons.

“Everyone understands me on the team and I feel comfortable here,” Niewiadoma said. “I am 100 percent myself and that’s very important to me.”

Niewiadoma is one of the fiercest forces in the peloton. Her palmares include one-day victories at Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Amstel Gold Race, a stage win at OVO Energy Women’s Tour, and second on the general classification at Giro Rosa.

This year, she finished top ten at Strade Bianche and Binda and was on the second step of the podium at Dwars Door Vlaanderen.

“Kasia is important to the team as she is a unique, still-rising athlete with racing qualities not many are gifted with,” said team manager Ronny Lauke. “Her punchy, unpredictable way of racing is important to our further progress as a team. Kasia works hard to achieve her goals and we are happy to continue on that path together with her.”

Romain Sicard retires

Romain Sicard, 33, announced his retirement Friday.

Sicard was the 2009 U23 world road champion and winner of Tour de l’Avenir.

Most recently racing with Total Direct Énergie, he was diagnosed with a heart defect and determined that bowing out was the smartest course of action after 13 years racing as a pro.

“I have been detected [with] an anomaly heart rate which will prevent me from practicing [the] sport at a high level,” he announced.

The rider from Spain’s Basque region had two top-20 Vuelta a España finishes, with 13th and 15th overall in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Egan Bernal to skip Tour of the Alps ahead of Giro d’Italia bid

Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) will not line up at the Tour of the Alps later this month, VeloNews understands. Bernal had been due to use the five-day Italian race as a warm-up for his debut Giro d’Italia in May.

Also read: Egan Bernal aims for Giro d’Italia podium

Ineos Grenadiers has not confirmed why the 24-year-old will skip the race, but he is currently training in Colombia. He last raced at Tirreno-Adriatico in March, where he finished fourth overall. Bernal has said that he still suffers from persistent pain in his back due to an imbalance in his legs.

“It’s going to be a very long process,” Bernal told RTVE last month. “I’m still feeling a bit of pain during some parts of the race. Right now, I’ve only raced races of one day or four days, and that’s very different than a grand tour. We’ll have to wait to see how the back responds during the Giro.”

Team DSM sees late Tour of the Alps entry

Romain Bardet and Jai Hindley will make an unscheduled visit to the Tour of the Alps after their DSM team received a late call-up to the event. The last-minute change in schedule has come after the Italian national squad had to pull out of the race due to conflicting race programs.

Bardet will squeeze the race in between appearances at the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, while Hindley will use it as preparation for the Giro d’Italia.

“The withdrawal of the Italian national team put us in the position to reconsider the request of the DSM team, which had expressed its interest in participating a few days earlier,” race manager Maurizio Evangelista said in a statement.

The Tour of the Alps is due to start on April 19, the day after the Amstel Gold Race.

Vincenzo Nibali: ‘Experience can still be a key factor in a race’

Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) has said he believes that experience can still outdo youthful exuberance in winning a race. Recent seasons have seen young riders dominate racing while the 36-year-old Italian last tasted victory on the final mountain stage of the 2019 Tour de France.

Nibali is set to ride the Tour of the Alps this month as preparation for a tilt at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Giro d’Italia.

Also read: Egan Bernal, Vincenzo Nibali, Geraint Thomas front up to make-or-break seasons in France

“Generational turnover is something cyclical, but last year was strange from many points of view,” Nibali admitted in an interview with the race organizer. “I believe that experience can still be a key factor in a race.

“Young riders have more energy and explosiveness, while we are better in handling expectations and in the knowledge of our body. This challenge among different generations is something that forces everyone to give his best, and the Tour of the Alps will make no exception.”