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[PCT] Bralirwa - Stevens | Team Presentation
Naesen is just a freak of a signing for you. Congrats Grin


"I am a cyclist, I may not be the best, but that is what I strive to be. I may never get there, but I will never quit trying." - Tadej Pogačar
Yeah, he's everything I hoped for and more Smile It's wild that he's outperforming even someone like Baugnies. Still quite a few valuable race days left for him as well. Hopefully, he can continue to do well!
Great purchase for sure, I am glad I did put up at least a little bit of a fight to get him. Imagine if you got me for only 200k :lol:

"It’s a little bit scary when Contador attacks." - Tommy V
That would have been very nice indeed, useful for Uwizeyimana ... oh well, there always next year Grin

Good Times

In the second part of our early season recap (read Part 1 here), we turn to the results that weren’t the most extraordinary, but still very good. And while Oliver Naesen makes another appearance, the most beautiful thing about these races was that the guys from the second and even third row, especially some of our youngster at the beginning of their development, stepped up and collected points and time in the spotlight.

But we’re starting off with our more established riders and staying on cobbles, where we’ve been the most successful all season. In Portugal, the Viana do Castelo seemed promising at first, as it was a hilly cobblestone race – Naesen’s favorite terrain. Problem was: The cobbles were on the downhill sections.


Beating Vanspeybrouck (and Altur, who was further behind) is no small feat!

And for some reason, that wasn’t at all to Oliver’s liking. But while our leader had a bad day, his lieutenant Bob Schoonbroodt had a great one. He finished in the second group on the road, which was good enough for sixth place, ahead of some elite cobblers like Vanspeybrouck or Altur.

A week later, and with his first win at Gent – Wevelgem to give him some confidence, Naesen was back on his feet. On the flat streets of the GP Herning, he came to the finish in the first group, usually a great opportunity to make use of his superior speed. But this time, his opponents got the best of him. He had to go into the wind more than a kilometer out and that was too much even for him. Still, he collected a solid fifth place. And then, our youngsters started to show up.


The miracle of Colombo – a breakaway wins the classic, with Moise Mugisha right in the mix.

Heading to Sri Lanka for the Colombo Classic, we didn’t expect too much. Souheil Khederi and Hassen Ben Nasser are our guys for these types of hilly races, and while always good for a surprise, usually they are no match for CT’s elite puncheurs. And they weren’t again on that day, but it did not matter, as viewers saw one of the rarer occurences in pro cycling happen: a one-day race that was won by an early breakaway.

And lucky for us, one of our Rwandan talents was in on the move. Moise Mugisha couldn’t beat some of the more experienced riders in the group, and he’s not the quickest anyway, but his fifth place exceeded what we would have expected all season from him.


Our first jersey in team history!

Samuel Mugisha made history for Bralirwa – Stevens Bikes in late February, somewhat by accident. On stage 1 of the Ras Tailteann, the breakaway was reeled in rather early, with one intermediate sprint still to go. Working for Mikiel Habtom, who would eventually finish fourth on the day and 22nd overall, he led the peloton while no sprinter wanted to contest the points. And those three seconds he collected there were enough to hold onto the white jersey all the way!


A breakaway for our second jersey!

A few weeks later, the team flew to Mexico for the Circulo de Juarez. We had decent hopes for Rüdiger Selig to perform well in the sprints, but that was unfortunately not in the cards, not even close – a 19th place was the best he could do. But we still had a highlight! Didier Munyaneza showed why we had the confidence in him that Tryg didn’t when they cut him for cap reasons in the off-season.

On stage 1, he went into the breakaway and won both KoM sprints of the day. Four stages and many KoM sprints followed, but no other rider was able to match his points! He even led the young riders rankings for most of the race, eventually finishing second in that classification.

It’s been a pleasure to watch our riders grow even over this short period of time. We hope it’s just a taste of what’s to come. In our next installment, we’ll take a look at the less glorious moments of the past few months. We’ll keep that one a bit briefer. For all our sake’s.

Viana do Castelo
1Xandro MeurisseXero Racing5h59'44
2Tiesj BenootFablok - Chocolate Jacquess.t.
3Ramon SinkeldamCarlsberg - Danske Banks.t.
6Bob SchoonbroodtBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 38
38Houcaine El SabbahiBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 8'08
43Jonas RutschBralirwa - Stevens Bikess.t.
46Oliver NaesenBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 9'56
47Tesfom OkbamariamBralirwa - Stevens Bikess.t.
73El Mehdi ChokriBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 14'01
94Samuel MugishaBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 20‘16
119Simon CarrBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 32‘42

GP Herning
1Bert-Jan LindemanMinions4h35'49
2Greg Van AvermaetStravas.t.
3Frederik NolfCarrefour - ESPNs.t.
5Oliver NaesenBralirwa - Stevens Bikess.t.
16Bob SchoonbroodtBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 1'21
33Tesfom OkbamariamBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 3‘43
47El Mehdi ChokriBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 6‘14
57Jonas RutschBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 8‘25
94Houcaine El SabbahiBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 16‘18
95Samuel MugishaBralirwa - Stevens Bikess.t.
130Didier MunyanezaBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 37'21

Colombo Classic
1Jonas GregaardCarlsberg - Danske Bank4h42'09
2Giovanni LonardiSotto il sole di Ricciones.t.
3Johannes SchinnagelStravas.t.
5Moise MugishaBralirwa - Stevens Bikess.t.
40Juan Pedro LopezBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 22
46Bob SchoonbroodtBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 58
55Hassen Ben NasserBralirwa - Stevens Bikess.t.
74Valens NdayisengaBralirwa - Stevens Bikess.t.
100Souheil KhederiBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 2‘46
132Simon CarrBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 7'21
135Didier MunyanezaBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 7‘37

Ras Tailteann
1Mustafa CarsiNordica - Enel12h25'02
2Matteo PelucchiSotto il sole di Riccione+ 8
3Asbjorn Kragh AndersenCarlsberg - Danske Banks.t.
13Mikiel HabtomBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 24
22Samuel Mugisha i.imgur.com/DYYXmJ2.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 34
27Tesfom OkbamariamBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 35
53Rüdiger SeligBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 37
63Bob SchoonbroodtBralirwa - Stevens Bikess.t.
74Jonas RutschBralirwa - Stevens Bikess.t.
78Houcaine El SabbahiBralirwa - Stevens Bikess.t.
118Moise MugishaBralirwa - Stevens Bikess.t.

Circulo de Juarez
1Matti ManninenValio - Viking Genetics18h36'52
2Jacopo GuarnieriBakkafrost+ 11
3Andrea GuardiniMapei+ 12
20Didier Munyaneza i.imgur.com/1giQ34h.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 20
42Rüdiger SeligBralirwa - Stevens Bikes+ 56
62Mikiel HabtomBralirwa - Stevens Bikess.t.
74Heiko RedeckerBralirwa - Stevens Bikess.t.
114Tesfom OkbamariamBralirwa - Stevens Bikess.t.
141Jonas RutschBralirwa - Stevens Bikess.t.
143Juan Pedro LopezBralirwa - Stevens Bikess.t.
150Moise MugishaBralirwa - Stevens Bikess.t.
Obviously Naesen is the big man here, but from a roleplaying perspective it's great to see Mugisha get those results, would love to see my guys get a similar result Smile Just like me you spilled five race days in the Baltic Chain Tour, but Naesen's impressive performances as well as your depth results definitely put you in the top-5 of the CT now Smile
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Nemolito wrote:
Obviously Naesen is the big man here, but from a roleplaying perspective it's great to see Mugisha get those results, would love to see my guys get a similar result Smile Just like me you spilled five race days in the Baltic Chain Tour, but Naesen's impressive performances as well as your depth results definitely put you in the top-5 of the CT now Smile

Yeah, the performances by our Rwandan youngsters are almost the best part of our season so far. I'm still not looking at the Top 5 though Pfft If we can at some point feel somewhat safe in the Top 10, that's all that matters Wink

Ranking Review

For the final post to get back up to date, we take a look at the first two installments of the CT Rankings. The first one came in late January already after we had participated in just three races. And considering our season goal of a Top 10 finish, we were right on pace:

CT Rankings #1

1pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gct.pngGjensidige Pro Cycling Team181
3pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/afr.pngProject: Africa171
4pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cen.pngCentovalli - Fiat167
5pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/lph.pngLos Pollos Hermanos145
6pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cdb.pngCarlsberg - Danske Bank139
7pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/car.pngCarrefour - ESPN130
8pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/trg.pngTryg - Ritter Sport127
9pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bnz.pngBNZ Cycling Team101
10pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes93
11pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eur.pngTeam Europcar79
12pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/spr.pngSauber Petronas Racing78
13pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gsc.pngGuave's Sunlight Cycling73
14pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ssr.pngSotto il sole di Riccione69
16pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/tst.pngTrans Cycling Team42
17pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/esc.pngEddie Stobart31
18pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/nel.pngNordica - Enel26
19pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mck.pngMcCormick Pro Cycling23
20pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gla.pngGlanbia Foods Cycling Project12

The bulk of our points came from Valens Ndayisenga's solid performance at the Vuelta al Tachira and Rüdiger Selig's second place at the Great Ocean Road Race. This is represented in the individual rankings as well:

1Thibaut PinotFRApcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/afr.pngProject: Africa136
2Joshua EdmondsonGBRpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bnz.pngBNZ Cycling Team81
3Gasper KatrasnikSLOpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gct.pngGjensidige Pro Cycling Team72
4Wilco KeldermanNEDpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/phi.pngPhilips72
5Theo ReinhardtGERpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cen.pngCentovalli - Fiat70
11Rüdiger SeligGERpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes50
18Valens NdayisengaRWApcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes35
65Janvier HadiRWApcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes5
87Hassen Ben NasserTUNpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes2
100Heiko RedeckerNAMpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes1

Two riders in the Top 20 was a great snapshot at this point and it was nice to see a little bit of depth scoring behind them. But we still had some room for improvement. Because the second update included all races through the end of March, where Oliver Naesen really got going and Valens scored his most points yet in Eritrea.

CT Rankings #2

14pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cen.pngCentovalli - Fiat6364414,452168
36pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cdb.pngCarlsberg - Danske Bank5153713,922088
47pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/car.pngCarrefour - ESPN47634142100
55pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/lph.pngLos Pollos Hermanos432498,821323
68pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/trg.pngTryg - Ritter Sport428469,31395
710pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes418449,51425
81pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gct.pngGjensidige Pro Cycling Team382458,491274
913pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gsc.pngGuave's Sunlight Cycling257475,47821
103pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/afr.pngProject: Africa254367,061059
119pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bnz.pngBNZ Cycling Team248327,751163
1211pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eur.pngTeam Europcar224366,22933
1319pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mck.pngMcCormick Pro Cycling184434,28642
1514pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ssr.pngSotto il sole di Riccione170354,86729
1617pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/esc.pngEddie Stobart158354,51677
1718pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/nel.pngNordica - Enel155315750
1812pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/spr.pngSauber Petronas Racing151265,81872
1916pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/tst.pngTrans Cycling Team137294,72708
2020pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gla.pngGlanbia Foods Cycling Project115392,95443

That got us to seventh place and even fifth in projected points behind the Top 4 who at this point already seem like a lock for promotion. We're not getting carried away, though: For us, it's still all about securing our spot in the Top 10 and we're on a good way there.

14Wilco KeldermanNEDpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/phi.pngPhilips225
25Theo ReinhardtGERpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cen.pngCentovalli - Fiat223
336Jerome BaugniesBELpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/lph.pngLos Pollos Hermanos223
41Thibaut PinotFRApcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/afr.pngProject: Africa166
520Lawrence WarbasseUSApcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cdb.pngCarlsberg - Danske bank152
818Valens NdayisengaRWApcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes127
18125Oliver NaesenBELpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes92
3611Rüdiger SeligGERpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes56
44129Bob SchoonbroodtNEDpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes44
81137Moise MugishaRWApcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes20
107126Mikiel HabtomERIpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes10
108138Samuel MugishaRWApcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes10
13765Janvier HadiRWApcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes5
143127Tesfom OkbamariamERIpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes5
17187Hassen Ben NasserTUNpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes2
191100Heiko RedeckerNAMpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes1

Not least because of some great scoring from our second and third tier riders. Bob Schoonbroodt, Moise and Samuel Mugisha, Mikiel Habtom, Janvier Hadi and Tesfom Okbamariam combine for almost 100 points, which is fantastic. We're still expecting a bit more from Heiko Redecker and Rüdiger Selig hasn't been able to add many points since his GORR podium, but we're still ahead of schedule, Valens and Oliver perform as well as we could have hoped for and they still have lots of race days left. Some of the most important ones are right around the corner for Oliver - our first goal race, the Tour du Faso. Stay tuned for our preview in the upcoming days!
Naesen for individual rider of the year? Wink Unless Faso is perfect for me and a total disaster for you, you will definitely be inside the top-5 in the next rankings, and it will be well deserved. Looking forward to having reports of you and Fabianski with Los Pollos Hermanos in it Wink
Naesen for MVP!! Grin

I agree, you should jump up in the rankings. If we ever get them Pfft


"I am a cyclist, I may not be the best, but that is what I strive to be. I may never get there, but I will never quit trying." - Tadej Pogačar
You're really doing an amazing job so far - Naesen is easily among the top signings of the year! As Nemo said, I guess you're among the Top 5 by now, and although most cobbles are probably over (I don't really know, as I don't care about those strange races Pfft), you could have a good shot at direct promotion if Ndayisenga continues delivering as well.

Thanks Smile not sure about the rankings, but I guess Top 5 for the moment is possible. We would need to continue to exceed expectations for the entire rest of the season to sustain that, though, so promotion is still not on my mind Wink Eventhough there are actually still a few cobbled races left for Naesen, plus he's done well on regular flat classics on occasion as well. But Selig and Ndayisenga are too volatile to make any predictions. Either way, so far I'm very happy!

And about that beer counter, I'll see what can be done Pfft

Goal Race #1: Tour du Faso Preview

After a very successful Tour of Eritrea, Team Bralirwa - Stevens Bikes are back on the African continent for a second time this year. In Eritrea, Valens Ndayisenga made the most of his opportunities, but another type of skillset is needed to succeed in Burkina Faso.

"The Tour du Faso was a big priority in our season planning", team principal Theodore Boss told reporters at the pre-race press conference. "We approach this race with the goal of a Top 5 overall result and we discussed as much with our sponsors ahead of the season."


Directeur sportif Dira Sportif added: "Our high ambitions for this race, alongside our home race in Kigali, played a big part in dedicating as many ressources into our cobblestone squad as we have. Oliver has performed tremendously so far this season and we expect big things from him again here." To that end, the team has sent the best possible set of riders to Burkina Faso:

Fl Mo Hi TT St Rs Rc Co Sp Ac Fi Dh Pr
O. Naesen75577264777370767776646066
T. Okbamariam73666559707367767268657859
B. Schoonbroodt72637563757367746872617463
E. Chokri71616571706965716567656871
M. Habtom75536164757580687778606367
J. Rutsch70636761697066686267696866
H. El Sabbahi70646863696966646970686765
S. Mugisha69636767656766636268696461

Tesfom Okbamariam, Bob Schoonbroodt and El Mehdi Chokri have been staples of Oliver Naesen's support system over the season so far. In addition, Mikiel Habtom joins the fray, specifically for stage 2 but with an eye on stage 1 as well, which gives the team a strong 1-2 punch. Despite this strong squad, experts only see Naesen among the outsiders:

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/lph.png Baugnies797772pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.png Naesen767576
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/car.png Nolf797370pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.png Okbamariam767368
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/esc.png Taillefour787755pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/phi.png Paprstka757572
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/sva.png Van Avermaet787472pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/car.png Tsatevich757475
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gsc.png Taubel787364pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/spr.png Schlechter757466
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/nel.png Manamalage778156pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bnz.png Weber757377
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/trg.png Maes777864pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/tst.png Abraha757272
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/phi.png Van Lerberghe777473pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/afr.png Lhotellerie757166
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/cdb.png Sinkeldam777468pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/afr.png Minoungou757068
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/tst.png Thomas777375pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/sva.png Kluge747570

And the startlist for for the Tour du Faso is indeed jam-packed with the best cobblestone riders the CT Division has to offer. Specifically Jerome Baugnies of Los Pollos Hermanos has to be considered the man to beat - but remember that a Top 5 is the goal, not the outright win. Plus, Oliver is among the fastest riders, potentially looking for some bonus seconds in stage finishes.

"While far from a guarantee, we believe we have the opportunity to score ranking points on every stage here and another decent chunk from the final general classification. Nothing else can be the goal, even though we have to respect the strength of the other riders present", The. Boss said to conclude the press conference. Now it's time for the riders to follow these words up with actions.


Rejoice, people, for the Naesen festival is upon us!
You're ... a bit of an oddball, huh?
What, you prefer those banana spamming kiddies?
yeah, hey!!!
All right, all right, I'm sorry :lol:
I do want that Naesen festival, though ...

Regretfully I have to say, that Selig wasn't the best the last couple weeks over. I hope Habtom can do better.
I just hope that there are no issues between him and Naesen for the leadership. If at all possible, Naesen should be the one to go after bonus seconds in the sprint on stage 2.
In theory, I agree but it would be cool for Mikiel to have a highlight for himself. Those have been rare so far.
True. I guess as long as at least one of them is successful, we can be happy Smile

Season Recap

A lot of stuff happened since our last update. Let's get the main thing out of the way first: We ... promoted to PCT?!?! As the season drew to a close, we were very happy to achieve our goal of a Top 10 finish in the CT Rankings in our maiden season, a goal that seemed ambitious to begin with. But then, as reports of team disbandments kept trickling in, we ended up as the final team to move up the ranks.

This is an entirely unexpected situation, one we didn't have in mind when constructing our roster and therefore one we can't say we're much prepared for. But that won't stop us from giving it our all to make the most of it! Before talking about where we go from here, let's have a quick look at how we got here in the first place:


16Oliver NaesenBELpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes347
18Valens NdayisengaRWApcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes312
37Rüdiger SeligGERpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes197
87Bob SchoonbroodtNEDpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes81
102Tesfom OkbamariamERIpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes60
121Didier MunyanezaRWApcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes49
150El Mehdi ChokriMORpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes38
162Heiko RedeckerNAMpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes32
184Moise MugishaRWApcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes25
185Mikiel HabtomERIpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes25
205Janvier HadiRWApcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes20
213Samuel MugishaRWApcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes18
256Christoph MaiGERpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes10
257Houcaine El SabbahiMORpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes10
310Jonas RutschGERpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes3
323Hassen Ben NasserTUNpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes2
327Juan Pedro LopezESPpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes2
331Souheil KhederiTUNpcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bsb.pngBralirwa - Stevens Bikes2

Here's a look at our riders in the final CT Ranking. First of all, it is lovely to see that with two exceptions (youngster Simon Carr and oldie Adrien Niyonshuti), every single one of our riders contributed some points to the team's success.

But obviously, we were carried pretty heavily by our three leaders. Oliver Naesen and Valens Ndayisenga came through big time, both finishing in the Top 20 in the individual rankings, and Rüdiger Selig added a good amount of points, too. We also had some really decent depth scoring from the likes of Bob Schoonbroodt, Tesfom Okbamariam and, most surprisingly, Draftee Didier Munayneza, who was our breakaway specialist this year and capitalized on his opportunities.

That said, we also had a few disappointments. Sprinters Heiko Redecker and Mikiel Habtom performed below expectations, eventhough they were held back at least in part by suboptimal planning. Puncheurs Hassen Ben Nasser and Souheil Khederi were not expected to be big contributors, but a little bit more would have been appreciated. And Janvier Hadi could not turn his fantastic versatility into something tangible - but again, maybe his strengths haven't been utilized appropriately yet.

All in all though, a team performance that well exceeded expectations - and that now has to form the basis for a run in the PCT Division. But not all of these guys will be back.

Contract Renewals


So, here's who we had to say goodbye to. First, it's the three youngsters we loaned in: Simon Carr and Juan Pedro Lopez from Zwift Pro Cycling and El Mehdi Chokri from ISA - Hexacta. All of them were exceptional teammates, and the latter even provided us with a late season highlight by winning the U23 Paris-Roubaix.

Due to their age and waning physical abilities, we bid farewell to Christoph Mai, Hassen Ben Nasser and Adrien Niyonshuti - a Rwandan cycling icon, but he admitted himself that PCT is a bit much for him at this stage of his career.

Didier Munyaneza aspired to turn his successes into a higher wage than we were initially comfortable with, but we're sure we'll find an agreement in free agency. Heiko Redecker was let go after his wage demands did not match up with his performance whatsoever. And finally, and that's the biggest one, Rüdiger Selig was allowed to test the markets after we couldn't come to an agreement.

This leaves us with 11 riders under contract:

RiderAgeAVG2021 WageChangeAvailability
Oliver Naesen31 75,91 170.000 80.000Maybe
Valens Ndayisenga27 75,24 115.000 35.000No
Mikiel Habtom30 74,39 55.000 5.000Yes
Bob Schoonbroodt30 74,15 60.000 10.000Maybe
Tesfom Okbamariam30 73,51 50.000 Maybe
Souheil Khederi30 73,44 50.000 No
Janvier Hadi29 73,09 50.000 No
Houcaine El Sabbahi24 71,49 50.000 Loan?
Jonas Rutsch23 71,22 50.000 Loan?
Moise Mugisha24 69,87 50.000 Loan?
Samuel Mugisha24 68,90 50.000 Loan?

Despite his heroics this season, we were able to negotiate a significant salary reduction with Oliver Naesen, and Mikiel Habtom took a small pay cut as well. That more than offsets the increase that both Valens Ndayisenga and Bob Schoonbroodt - and deservedly so - received.

While this is a nice core to build upon, we also have to acknowledge that there is a whole lot of work to do. Valens and Oliver have served us well in CT, but whether they are capable PCT leaders remains to be seen. And in total, we only have 7 maxed riders.

For the first time, we're also in a position to potentially sell riders. While we're not actively looking to ship off anyone in particular, some of our riders might be available for the right price. A busy transfer period is upon us, but we're looking forward to every single bit of it.
I follow your team with great interest. Good luck in the PCT! Smile
Hectic and fun window is upon you. Or one of agony and despair, hard to predict with so many disbands/promotions
That’s a very interesting “maybe” list. I’m looking forward to reach out to you, as I’m sure we’ll have a couple of riders to talk about Grin
I'll definitely keep in mind that Rutsch might be looking for a PT loan! Smile

A top talent and a top leader: Bralirwa - Stevens arrives in PCT!

After the unexpected promotion to PCT, Bralirwa management was faced with a very exciting challenge: Lots of space to fill, but also lots of money to do it. The first course of action was to repeat what worked well last year: Splash on a cobbler who can also sprint!

Joeri Stallaert 4.100 30yo Cobbles/Sprinter €850.000
Fl Mo Hi TT St Rs Rc Co Sp Ac Fi Dh Pr
Joeri Stallaert comes as our undisputed team leader and taking up more than a third of our cap space, he'll have to bring in a lot of points to show himself worthy of that role. But as an elite cobblestone rider with the speed to score even on pure flat stages, he surely has the potential to do so - he already has a Top 20 finish in the individual PCT rankings from two years ago to prove it.

Is it risky to spend this much on a single rider, a non-stage racer at that, in a division that tends to reward depth? Probably. Will he alone keep us up? Most definetely not. But he'll be a fun as hell rider to watch and root for, and we're not just here for this year only. With an eye on the future, our second signing of the season is potentially the biggest African talent of this class:

Natnael Tesfatsion 1.00 22yo Puncheur €100.000
Fl Mo Hi TT St Rs Rc Co Sp Ac Fi Dh Pr
Natnael Tesfatsion has the ambition to become a true elite puncheur, and with some training, he might get there. But in any case, he'll become a quality rider, a prospect we felt comfortable enough in to open free agency with a 100k bid that ultimately stood unchallenged.

Further deals are already in the works, so expect some more news soon-ish. The road to remain in PCT will be tough, but first steps are being taken.
Hell yes!!! Love them both, great start to transfers Grin
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”
8/12/13 - welker3257 said [when asked for a cyclist beginning with K] "Tom Boonen."

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [For real doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
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