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VN news ticker: Xandro Meurisse wins Giro del Veneto, two more for Astana, Petr Vakoč retires

Here's what's making headlines on Wednesday, October 13.

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Xandro Meurisse wins Giro del Veneto

Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin-Fenix) won the 84th edition Wednesday of the Giro del Veneto, 169-kilometer one-day race that featured six significant climbs.

Meurisse held off Matteo Trentin (UAE-Team Emirates) and Alberto Dainese (Team Italy), as the front three were just out of striking distance of Simone Consonni (Cofidis), Alessandro Covi (UAE-Team Emirates), and others in a reduced bunch sprint.

Trentin, Restrepo, and Meurisse had a slight advantage into the final two kilometers, but just past the red kite, they were nearly brought back by a group of seven, as they sorted out the podium order.

Marc Hirschi (UAE-Team Emirates) crashed on the final descent before an extended run-in to the finish.

The start of the race was delayed by more than half an hour for reported “technical reasons.” After the roll out, eight riders went off the front and got more than three minutes’ advantage, but were kept under control by the work of Astana-Premier Tech and UAE-Team Emirates.

The Giro del Veneto is organized by Italian pro Filippo Pozzato and Italian cycling brands local to the Veneto region. The race will be followed by the Serenissima Gravel Race on Thursday, and the Veneto Classic, Sunday.

Sebastian Henao, Leonardo Basso sign with Astana Qazaqstan

Colombian rider Sebastian Henao, 28, and Italian Leonardo Basso, 27, join Astana Qazaqstan Team next year, with Henao signing a one-year contract (2022) and Basso signing a two-year deal (2022 and 2023).

“We are looking for reinforcement in our team both for the grand tours and classics, and I think that these two riders can suit us in the best way,” said team boss Alexander Vinokourov. “We know Sebastian Henao as a good helper, very experienced in the grand tours and stage races, so he can play an important role for our leaders.

“Also, Leonardo Basso in just a few years has gained some good experience in the northern classics, while we are going to work on improvement in this direction. I would like to welcome Sebastian and Leonardo to Astana Qazaqstan Team, and I am looking forward to start working with them ahead of the new season.”

Red Bull Rio Grande Gravel postponed until 2022

Red Bull’s foray into gravel is delayed for another year.

The energy drink giant has announced the postponement of next month’s first-ever Rio Grande Gravel race in Texas. The event was largely designed by Red Bull athletes and Texas natives Payson McElveen and Colin Strickland.

Set to roll out of Cibolo Creek Ranch outside of Marfa, Texas, on November 22, a spokesperson at Red Bull said that the event had to be postponed due to “operational issues impacting the course.”

No 2022 date has been announced.

Paco Mancebo wins at 45

Former WorldTour pro Francisco Mancebo keeps on winning. The Spanish rider won the Oita Urban Classic, a one-day, 1.2-rated race, last weekend in Japan.

Mancebo, who finished fourth in the 2005 Tour de France, was linked to the Operación Puerto scandal more than a decade ago, and never raced at the WorldTour level again.

He’s since ridden for a mix of second- and third-tier teams in such places as Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, the U.S., and Asia. He joined Matrix-Powertag, a Japanese-based team, in 2019.

Petr Vakoč confirms retirement

Petr Vakoč confirmed his retirement via a message posted on Instagram.

The 29-year-old Czech rider was struck by a truck in 2018 in South Africa, and recovered from a long list of horrible injuries. He turned pro with Quick-Step as a product of its development team in 2014, and joined Alpecin-Fenix in 2020. His victory at the Brabantse Pijl in 2016 was the highlight among his seven career pro wins.

Georg Steinhauser joins EF Education-Nippo

Georg Steinhauser joins EF Education-Nippo in 2022 and will make his WorldTour debut, team officials confirmed.

The 19-year-old has a solid string of U23 and junior results after two seasons with Tirol-KTM, and some believe he could develop into a grand tour rider.

“Georg is, I think, potentially the most talented Under-23 rider in the world right now,” said team manager Jonathan Vaughters. “That doesn’t mean that he’s the best Under-23 rider in the world right now. The thing to understand about Georg is that his father was a professional cyclist and his father was very insistent that Georg finish his schooling before he dedicates himself to cycling which is actually very rare in the world of cycling.

“Georg has been sort of a part-time cyclist and has a very limited race schedule because he’s had to complete his trade school,” he said. “I basically came to an agreement with his agent and his dad that we are going to allow him to complete his studies. Of course, he’s going to race with the team, but there are going to be moments where if he needs to have a little time away to complete schoolwork, and we’re going to work with him on that.”