Alexander Kristoff and Sven Erik Bystrom have both committed to UAE Team Emirates for a further two years and will now ride for the team until the end of the 2021 UCI WorldTour season.
Kristoff has been one of the standout performers since joining the team in 2018, picking up five wins in his debut season including the final stage of the 2018 Tour de France. This season has seen another fine return, with the former European champion picking up four race victories; his most recent at the GP du canton d’Argovie.
Commenting on the extension, the Norwegian said: “I’m happy to have renewed for another two years. I feel at home here and the atmosphere in the team is great. I hope that the next two years will bring good things both for me and for the team.”
Team CEO Mauro Gianetti added: “We are setting out an important growth path for the team, but big projects need strong roots and we really wanted to renew both Kristoff and Bystrom.
“Alexander has achieved very important results and we believe he has plenty more ahead of him. Sven is an under-23 world champion and a great prospect.”
UAE Team Emirates have announced a five-man line-up for this weekend’s one-day races in Belgium, including young Belgian hopeful Jasper Philipsen who will make his race debut.
Joining Philipsen at Dwars door het Hageland (June 21), Heylen Vastgoed Heistse Pijl (June 22) and Elfstedenronde (June 23) will be team-mates Rory Sutherland, Oliviero Troia, Cristian Munoz and Roberto Ferrari.
Commenting ahead of the races, Philipsen said: “I have never participated in these three races, but I know the roads well.
“They are typical Belgian races, with hilly parcours and narrow, technical sections. They will suit the fast finishers and also the riders who go well on this type of terrain.
“I am really motivated, racing on the roads of Belgium is always special for me and I hope to be in the mix to fight for a good result.”
British rider Geraint Thomas is hopeful the crash which forced him to pull out of the Tour de Suisse will not derail plans to defend his Tour de France title.
The Welshman came off his bike around 30 kilometres from the end of stage four on Tuesday and received medical attention at the side of the road.
Team Ineos reported the 33-year-old remained conscious following the incident and was taken to hospital for further checks, sport director Gabriel Rasch had said.
Later on Tuesday, it was confirmed Thomas had “suffered abrasions on his shoulder and a cut above his right eye”, but no further significant injury.
“There was a lip in the road that came out of nowhere,” Thomas said on teamineos.com.
“An Astana rider hit the lip and crashed and I had nowhere to go. I landed on my shoulder and my face and there was quite a bit of blood.
“You’ve always got to be cautious with a head injury, and whilst I was keen to carry on, the doctors made the right decision to pull me out of the race.”
Team Ineos added Thomas’ planned involvement in the Tour de France “isn’t likely to be affected by today’s crash”.
Thomas said: “Clearly it’s frustrating and a small setback for my Tour de France preparations, but there’s still plenty of time before we start in Brussels in a few weeks’ time.
“We will re-calibrate and I’m sure my coach Tim (Kerrison) will have a plan in place to ensure I’m ready for July 6th.”
“Geraint took a heavy fall. The main area of impact was to his head. He passed his initial concussion roadside test, but with the nature and severity of the impact, it was felt unsafe for him to continue in the race,” Macleod said on the team’s website.
“He was taken to hospital and thankfully all the X-rays and scans have come back clear. He’s now back in the team hotel and in good spirits.”
Macleod added: “He’s been given the all clear which is great, but we will continue to monitor him over the next few days.
“Knowing Geraint, it won’t take him long to get back on his bike, but we’ll need to ensure he’s symptom-free in the next few days before he does so.
“We’re optimistic he’ll make a full recovery over the coming days though and – all being well – he’ll be back on his bike very soon.”
Provided by Press Association Sport