It’s all happening in Spain today, with the news that Alberto Contador will be riding the country’s national cyclo-cross championships next month, while MotoGP rider Aleix Asparargo has been unveiled as Movistar’s final signing ahead of the 2019 season.
You might be forgiven for wondering what is going on in the Iberian peninsula today, given that the period between Christmas and New Year is generally the quietest time of the year for news … but read on, and you’ll find out.
So, first Contador. Rueda Lenticular reports that since the 36-year-old seven-time Grand Tour champion retired last year, he’s been doing a bit of gravel biking – and now he fancies riding the Spanish National Cycle-Cross Championships.
They take place in Pontevedra, Galicia from 11-13 January, and while the website says Contador will take to the start, he is not expected to contest the medals, given that he’ll be starting from the back of the grid.
Which takes us nicely onto Aleix Espargaro, the veteran – despite being aged only 29 – of almost 150 MotoGP races and unveiled today as Movistar’s latest signing.
The UCI WorldTour team said on Twitter: “We’re very happy to be able to count Aleix Espargaro in our ranks for next year. A brave bet on an illustrious name from the MotoGP World Championship, who will wear blue with our WorldTour team next year."
Muy felices de poder contar el próximo año en nuestras filas con @AleixEspargaro. Una apuesta valiente de un nombre ilustre del Mundial de MotoGP, que vestirá de azul con nuestro equipo WorldTour en 2019.
Más info en la web de @Ciclismoafondo_ ➡️ https://t.co/g2PQn7q4RR pic.twitter.com/2j3xwne0yW
— Movistar Team (@Movistar_Team) December 28, 2018
Several of Espargaro’s new team mates welcomed him to the squad, many – including world champion Alejandro Valverde – expressing the hope that he would being his ‘motor’ with him.
It’s probably worth mentioning at this point that today is La Dia de los Santos Inocentes – Holy Innocents’ Day – which in the Hispanic-speaking world is the equivalent of April Fool’s Day.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.