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Van Avermaet keeps his options open: Daily News Digest

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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.

Tuesday’s headlines featured some more (possible) transfer talk and a welcome announcement about the racing calendar that doesn’t actually involve cancellation.

For starters, there’s Greg Van Avermaet, who has addressed questions about his own future in the context of the departure of his CCC team’s sponsor. Van Avermaet is hopeful that team manager Jim Ochowicz will find a new title sponsor, but said in an interview that he is open to other possibilities.

Speaking of transfers, five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault has some thoughts on the situation of four-time Tour winner Chris Froome. The way Hinault sees it, considering the leadership questions over at Ineos, Froome might want to think about heading elsewhere this transfer season.

And on the scheduling front, we’re happy to report that a race has added its official dates to the calendar instead of taking them off of it, as Tour Down Under organizers have announced the dates for next year’s race.

January is a long way off, but that’s something to look forward to several months down the road.

Read on for more …

Dane Cash
News Editor

What’s news

| Tour Down Under dates announced

Organizers have announced the dates for next year’s Tour Down Under in what will mark the 23rd edition of the race.

The 2021 women’s race will run from January 14 to 17, with the Schwalbe Classic set for January 17 and the men’s stage race scheduled to run from January 19 to 24. As noted in the event’s press release, “The Santos Tour Down Under is working to deliver a full program for the 2021 race and will monitor the situation as it relates to COVID-19.”

| Greg Van Avermaet is considering his options as his team faces an uncertain future

CCC team manager Jim Ochowicz confirmed on Monday that the team’s title sponsor, Polish footwear brand CCC, is departing. As such, the search is on for a new sponsor for the squad. Van Avermaet said in a recent interview that he would like to see the team continue, but that he is also keeping the door open to other possibilities.

“I hope Ochowicz finds a new sponsor, but I am also open to a transfer,” Van Avermaet said, according to Wielerflits.

“There are many teams that are interested. My performance is still there and I was the best one-day rider in the UCI ranking last season. That reassures me for next year.”

| Wheels for Heroes Zwift race raises over £300,000 in donations, Spice Girl Mel C holds 3.27 watts per kilo

A number of celebrities went (virtually) head-to-head on Sunday in The Race: Wheels for Heroes, a chase-style Zwift event to raise funds for bikes for staff of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. Riders set off at set times and raced on the Watopia Volcano in an attempt to hit the line before a pursuing Chris Froome.

The four-time Tour de France winner ultimately came out on top, but it was Mel Chisholm (aka Mel C of the Spice Girls) who put in what was probably the ride of the day. According to Zwift, she averaged 3.27 watts per kilo during her effort en route to a third-place finish, the highest average of any of the competitors outside of Froome in a group that included multiple current or former pro athletes. Impressive stuff.

All told, the campaign has drawn over £300,000 in donations so far.

| UCI releases statement on diversity

In a statement on Tuesday, the UCI addressed its commitment to diversity within cycling, saying, “While the death of George Floyd has resulted in a wave of indignation worldwide, riders’ testimonies explaining they have been subject to racism because they have black skin sends us a message concerning our responsibilities.”

While the governing body did not necessarily provide thorough details on any major changes in the works, it reiterated its respect for diversity, codified in its constitution, and cited its work through the UCI World Cycling Center as an important part of its efforts to ensure diversity in the sport.

| Hinault suggests Froome head elsewhere if Ineos does not offer full support at Tour

Bernard Hinault has offered his opinion on the Grand Tour leadership situation at Ineos, where Chris Froome, Egan Bernal, and Geraint Thomas are all hoping to be featured riders at the upcoming Tour. As Hinault put it, according to AD, the uncertainty surrounding which (if any) rider will receive the team’s support is “a problem they created themselves,” with Hinault suggesting that Froome head elsewhere this transfer season if need be.

“He’s better off going to another team if he doesn’t win the Tour this year because of the lack of support,” Hinault said. “Then he has to go to a team where he is certainly the only leader for the Tour.”

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Today’s featured image of Bernard Hinault pushing the pace comes from Cor Vos.

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