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VN news ticker: Sarah Gigante signs with Movistar, Remí Cavagna extends with Quick-Step

Here's the news making headlines for Wednesday, August 18.

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Sarah Gigante signs with Movistar

Rising Aussie star, Sarah Gigante will be riding for Movistar for the next three seasons.

The Spanish team confirmed Wednesday that Gigante, 20, has signed a contract lasting through 2024.

“Sarah is one of the biggest under-23 prospects in the whole international peloton right now,” said team manager Sebastián Unzué. “Our initial goal with her must be to help her out and guide her so she can become the best rider she can be – in that respect, I think that having her riding alongside big leaders, such as Annemiek (van Vleuten) or Emma (Norsgaard), will be really positive for her progression.

“Hopefully, the road to 2024 will see her growing strong and establishing herself as one of the biggest names in the sport.”

https://twitter.com/Movistar_Team/status/1427887996616036353

Gigante has spent the past two seasons with the American outfit Tibco-SVB in a prolific spell that has seen her take two national time trial championships, a host of promising classics and stage-race results, and an 11th place finish in the Olympic race against the clock last month. She is currently balancing racing with part-time study for a linguistics and geography degree at the University of Melbourne.

“I’m incredibly excited to be joining the Movistar Team next year, for so many different reasons that I can’t even list them all. The top drawcard is definitely the squad of awesome riders that I will have the privilege of calling my teammates,” she said.

“I have been a fan of Annemiek van Vleuten in particular for so many years and it feels quite surreal to think that we will be teammates very soon. I still remember lining up to get a photo with her in Belgium just two years ago.

“I love attritional races the most, and especially look forward to any time we venture into mountainous terrain. I really enjoy time trialing too, and have focused quite a lot on that discipline over the past two years.”

Remí Cavagna extends with Quick-Step

Remí Cavagna will stay with Deceuninck-Quick-Step in a two-year contract extension with the Belgian outfit.

The French rider joined the so-called “Wolfpack” in 2017, and has since delivered eight pro victories.

“Staying with this fantastic team is like a dream that goes on and on,” said Cavagna, 26. “Deceuninck-Quick-Step is a team that always goes for the win and I hope to contribute with some more victories in the future.”

Fire danger keeping fans off summit finale at Vuelta a España

Vuelta a España officials are keeping fans away from the summit finale Friday at the Balcón de Alicante.

It’s not for risk of COVID-19, but rather fire danger in the high-altitude pine forests along Spain’s sun-baked Mediterranean coast.

No fans will be allowed on the final approach to the climb in Friday’s seventh stage ending atop the first-category Balcón de Alicante, the next major summit finish in the 2021 Vuelta. The stage will not otherwise be affected by the limitation.

Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome, João Almeida confirmed for Deutschland Tour

Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome, and João Almeida headline the initial start list for the 2.Pro Deutschland Tour, starting August 26.

Other big names set to challenge at the four-stage race include Emanuel Buchmann, Pello Bilbao, Ben O’Connor, Pascal Ackermann, and André Greipel. John Degenkolb will be racing for the German national team as his trade team Lotto-Soudal has decided to sit out the race. Jasper Stuyven – defending champion from when the race was last held in 2019 – will not be there as Trek-Segafredo is also not taking part.

Rally Cycling will be sending a squad including Ben King and Kyle Murphy to the German race after blazing through the Volta a Portugal and Tour of Denmark earlier this month.

Expect a sprint fest at the race later this month, with all four stages looking well-set for a bunch gallop.

Juan Ayuso crashes out of the Tour de l’Avenir

Leader of the Spanish team, and newly-minted WorldTour star, Juan Ayuso has crashed out of the Tour de l’Avenir. Ayuso came down in a heavy fall with 25 kilometers to go on stage 4 and was unable to continue due to his injuries.

Pictures from after the incident show Ayuso sitting up with huge tears on the back of his jersey and bloodstains on his right shoulder. Initial examinations did not show any broken bones, but the 18-year-old sustained a lot of road rash and bruises in the incident.

Ayuso’s was the second crash of the day for the Spanish national team, with Igor Arrieta also coming down in a fall after 60km. Arrieta sustained a cut to his lip but he was able to continue.

Ayuso has been one of the stars of the 2021 season, winning the U23 Giro d’Italia convincingly before signing a five-year contract with UAE-Team Emirates. He made his professional debut in June and finished second to Luis Leon Sanchez in his third race in UAE colors at the Prueba Villafranca-Ordiziako Klasika.

He was scheduled to ride the Bretagne Classic-Ouest France with the WorldTour team next week, but it is not clear if his injuries will prevent him from doing so.