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VN ticker: Jingle Cross returns, Vini Zabù in financial difficulties, details emerge of Manuela Fundación deal

Here's the news making headlines for Saturday, October 16.

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Van Anrooij, Baestaens win Jingle Cross opener

Shirin van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions) and Vincent Baestaens (CX Team Deschacht-Group) won the opening day of racing at the Jingle Cross festival Friday.

Van Anrooij ripped to a solo victory, beating second-place Hélène Clauzel (A.S. Bike Crossteam) by 40 seconds.

Baestaens took advantage of a crash by Thijs Aerts (Baloise Trek Lions) and Anton Ferdinande (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) in the final lap to win the men’s race. Aerts chased back for second while the American Eric Brunner (Blue Competition Cycles) rounded out the podium.

The European ‘crossers welcomed the party atmosphere at the nighttime race.

“I really like this course, and the atmosphere is amazing,” van Anrooij said. “I always love racing in the dark, so it makes for a fun evening. I like the sand races in Belgium, so I knew that was the place I should attack, so I just went full gas there.”

Friday’s race marked the return of the Iowan festival after a year-long hiatus. The three-day event continues with a gravel fondo Saturday before the UCI World Cup round Saturday.

Report: Vini Zabù in financial difficulties

The ProTeam squad Vini Zabù is in financial difficulties, according to a report in La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Italian outlet reported this week that Vini Zabù officials have confirmed directly to them that the future of the team is in danger. No further details were given.

The news comes in the wake of Team Delko’s dramatic folding at the start of this week, and the confirmation Friday that Qhubeka-NextHash has withdrawn its application for a WorldTour license while it negotiates future finances.

The Italian team Vini Zabù has 24 riders on its books, including the sprinter Jakub Mareczko, who has a handful of grand tour stage podium places on his palmarès. The team was most recently in the headlines when it was forced to withdraw from the 2021 Giro d’Italia after Matteo De Bonis was notified of two Adverse Analytical Findings for Erythropoietin (EPO) during testing in February.

Details emerge of botched Manuela Fundación deal

Further details have emerged of the Manuela Fundación – Mitchelton-Scott saga.

Spanish outlet Marca has obtained the information of a deal between the Manuela group and Mitchelton-Scott that would have seen the Australian squad’s WorldTour license change hands for €6,980,000.

Manuela Fundación’s attempted move into pro cycling hit the headlines last summer when the Spanish non-profit came to an agreement with the struggling Mitchelton-Scott / BikeExchange setup owned by Gerry Ryan.

After an initial agreement that Manuela Fundación would take over both the men’s and women’s WorldTour teams, Ryan dramatically called the deal off, and team general manager Shayne Bannan left after helping form the squad in 2012.

The report obtained by Marca reveals that the Manuela Fundación had been set to make an initial payment of €3,180,000 for the team in July of 2020, with a further €600,000 paid for expenses related to WorldTour license applications. The balancing payment to make up to €6,980,000 was due to follow.

It was a deal that would have handed Manuela Fundación leader Francisco Huertas control of the whole team structure and put an end to Ryan’s 10-year ownership.

However, soon after the initial agreement, Ryan made a renewed financial commitment to keep the team afloat, and Team BikeExchange was born.

The report seen this week reveals that Manuela Fundación turned to Deceuninck-Quick-Step manager Patrick Lefevere in the months after the fallout as it pursued an avenue into cycling, only for talks to fizzle out.  Huertas and co. are instead readying to back a Spanish continental squad in 2022.

MPCC suspends cortisol testing in wake of WADA ban

The MPCC (Movement For Credible Cycling) will stop its cortisol testing program next season.

The group confirmed Friday that it would cease its long-running cortisol testing campaign when WADA rules banning injectable and oral corticosteroids come into effect January 1.

“After a 14-year-long fight, MPCC observed with delight the turnaround in the policy regarding corticosteroids,” read a statement from the MPCC. “WADA now considers that the use of this substance enhances performance. Team doctors informed the movement about the new rules set by WADA, stating that the use of corticosteroids via injections and oral route will now be prohibited.”

The MPCC, which now includes members amassing to 68 percent of the pro peloton, added that it would maintain some oversight over the new operation being implemented by WADA.

“Team doctors underline the fact that, as of today, some vagueness remains concerning the qualitative aspect of the tests that will be carried out to enforce these new rules.,” read the statement.

“As we wait for the last details, the movement wishes to monitor the enforcement of these new rules and will suspend its own cortisol levels tests in 2022.

“MPCC expresses the wish, on this topic and on the others, to establish a lasting relationship with the International Testing Anti-Doping (ITA), which has been in charge of WADA’s anti-doping program for a year now.”

The MPCC statement also noted that the use of Tramadol had reduced “to the point of almost becoming irrelevant” and backed the UCI’s recent advice against the use of Ketones.