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VN news ticker: Sergio Higuita to target grand tours, Lizzy Banks joins EF Education TIBCO-SVB

Here's what's making headlines on Thursday, November 25.

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Sergio Higuita to target grand tours in 2022

Sergio Higuita will be targeting more consistency across three weeks as he joins Bora-Hansgrohe in 2022.

The 24-year-old Colombian joins the German squad following three seasons with EF Education-Nippo, and said he hopes to be more of a GC factor in grand tours.

“I’d like to fight for the overall in a grand tour next year,” Higuita told ESPN. “I feel I have the physical condition to do it, and every year I can handle more and more work. Next year I’d like to work with Bora-Hansgrohe to be better in three-week races.”

In three grand tours so far, Higuita’s best was the 2019 Vuelta when he won a stage and finished 14th overall. He abandoned the 2020 Tour de France, and finished 25th in 2021.

Lizzy Banks signs with EF Education TIBCO-SVB

UK rider Lizzy Banks will join EF Education TIBCO-SVB on a two-year deal, officials confirmed Thursday.

“Having started my career on an American team in 2018 with Rachel Hedderman as sports director, this move almost feels like I’m coming home,” she said. “Primarily, I’m just so looking forward to racing my bike again and experiencing the rush of emotions that comes with it and that sensation of pushing harder and going deeper than you ever realized was possible.”

Banks turned pro in 2018, won two stages at the Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile (2019, 2020) and hit second place at the 2020 GP de Plouay-Lorient Agglomération Trophée WNT. A heavy crash at Strade Bianche in March left her with a concussion that required a long recovery period.

Team founder Linda Jackson said she’s delighted to be bringing Banks on board for 2022 and 2023.

“We first made contact in 2018, as UnitedHealthcare was winding down,” Jackson said. “I wasn’t quick enough to sign her to the team then, so we are just delighted to have this opportunity now. Lizzy is an incredibly talented rider, Rachel knows her well, and she is a wonderful personality to have on the team.

“She’ll be a tremendous leader for our development riders, and I expect to see good results from her as she puts her concussion further behind her.”

Intermarché–Wanty-Gobert adds Vini Zabu as sponsor

Belgian WorldTour team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert has secured Italian wine manufacturer Vini Zabu, a branch of the Vini Fantini company, as an additional sponsor for the 2022 season. It will not be as a title partner but the company’s name will feature on team kits.

Vini Fantini is already well known to the cycling world as the headline sponsor of an Italian ProTour team run by Luca Scinto. The squad is now at risk of folding, according to reports in the Italian media over the last month, and it has not yet reapplied for ProTour status in 2022.

“We are delighted by this partnership with the great Italian group Vini Fantini, and in particular its subsidiary Vini Zabù,” team CEO Jan-Francois Bourlart said. “We have had a long love affair with Italy, not only because we have welcomed many Italian riders in our team, but also because of two key moments in our team’s history: the victory in the 2016 Amstel Gold Race thanks to Enrico Gasparotto, an Italian rider, as well as the magnificent success of Taco Van der Hoorn on our very first Giro d’Italia, which triggered then a series of victories for the team.”