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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Vincenzo Nibali and Bahrain-Merida are taking the former Tour winner’s crash on Alpe d’Huez extremely seriously. The Italian and his lawyer met with French police over the weekend to discuss the crash. Also, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour is returning to the famed Arthurs Seat climb in 2019 and a world champion Aussie faces yet another setback after just returning from one. And, world cyclocross champion Wout van Aert has a few words for his haters. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Nibali meets with police regarding d’Huez fall
Vincenzo Nibali met with French police for three hours over the weekend about the incident on the slopes of Alpe d’Huez where the Italian crashed heavily after catching a spectator’s loose camera strap. According to a report in Gazzetta dello Sport, Nibali’s lawyers were happy with how seriously the French police are taking the situation. The owner of the camera strap that caused the fall has also yet to be identified.
Nibali and Bahrain-Merida initially filed a complaint against unknown persons for injuries. Bahrain-Merida is claiming it lost immense of amounts of exposure for the team’s sponsors due to Nibali’s abandonment. The Italian was diagnosed with a fracture of his 10th thoracic vertebra after the Alpe d’Huez stage and was forced to abandon the Tour. Nibali struggled to regain his Tour form after surgery, underperforming at La Vuelta and Worlds. He bounced back to finish second at Il Lombardia.
Nibali and Co. appear to believe that Tour organiser ASO could be held liable. Although rowdy fans have always been part of the sport, this incident could cause dramatic changes to occur in how the summit finishes play out if race organisers fear liability should fans disrupt the race. For its part, ASO used a rope to hold fans back on Dutch Corner on L’Alpe d’Huez. Could we see fencing throughout entire climbs instead of the last few kilometres?
The Beauty of Cycling
Alan Marangoni is one of the more anonymous riders in the pro peloton. The 34-year-old’s career came to a close over the weekend but in the most magical way. The 11-year pro, who spent nearly his entire career in the support of others, earned his first professional victory at the Tour de Okinawa. Marangoni helped guide a young Peter Sagan to countless victories in his early days on Liquigas-Cannondale, so it was a special day for him to finally stand atop the podium as he’s watched his teammates do on countless occasions.
“It was the perfect day I have always looked for in my career and I found it today,” Marangoni said. “I took the risk of attacking in the last kilometres because I wanted to play all the cards to reach this goal, chased several times during my career. Crossing the final line first and winning on a day that was already special for me, was an emotion of an indescribable power.
“It was a month of sacrifice far from home, but I wanted to close in the best way my career. A fairytale ending that I have dreamed of many times and that today has become a reality.”
Buchanan’s comeback season ends with dislocated finger
Aussie Caroline Buchanan made her world championships debut in yet another discipline this week, a remarkable way to return to top level competition considering the horrific car crash she was involved in nearly a year ago.
Last year’s car crash left the multi-time BMX and mountain bike world champion in the ICU for a brief period. After a long road to recovery, she managed to get back to being one of the best in the world and was preparing for her run in the Finals of the BMX Freestyle at the UCI Urban World Cycling Championships when she collided with another rider during practice. A dislocated finger prevented Buchanan from competing for the rainbow bands.
One thing is certain: after coming back from a car accident a dislocated finger should be no problem for the Olympian. CyclingTips wishes Buchanan a speedy recovery.
Jayco Herald Sun Tour returns to Arthurs Seat
The Jayco Herald Sun Tour is set to return to the iconic Arthurs Seat climb in 2019. The steep 3km ascent on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula had become a mainstay of Australia’s oldest stage race but was omitted from the event in 2017 and 2018. It will return in 2019 as the centrepiece of the race’s queen stage.
Starting at Cape Schanck, stage 4 of the 2019 men’s Sun Tour will cover a total of 128.8km including five ascents of the tough but scenic ascent. The stage will conclude at the end of the final climb.
“On previous occasions, it has been three times which has been tough enough, but five times: well, the riders are going to be shocked when they hear that … and certainly more shocked when they are riding up it,” said the Sun Tour’s new race director Scott McGrory. “It certainly does give an amazing finish for the race, building momentum towards the end.”
The Arthurs Seat stage will be the penultimate day of the men’s Jayco Herald Sun Tour and will be raced on Saturday, February 2, 2019. The 2019 Sun Tour will also include a two-day women’s race. The courses for both the men’s and women’s Sun Tours are set to be announced in the coming weeks.
FDJ announces Continental program
Groupama-FDJ revealed the creation of a Continental-level program to develop riders for the team’s WorldTour outfit. The team consists of 12 riders, including multi-time track world champion Morgan Kneisky. At 31, Kneisky is much older than the rest of his teammates and will be looked upon as a mentor to the younger riders, the team said in a press release. The squad will focus on France’s Elite level racing circuit and .2 rated races.
Former pro turned director sportif Philippe Mauduit will switch the UAE Team Emirates team car for a Groupama-FDJ team car in 2019. The Frenchman retired from racing in 1999 and has been a director sportif in the WorldTour since 2006. He’s directed for a multitude of programs including Cervélo Test Team, Saxo Bank, Lampre-Merida and Bahrain-Merida. He worked for UAE Team Emirates this past season.
The highest of highs and lowest of lows for Kiwi Williams
Mitchelton-Scott’s Georgia Williams started off the 2018 season with a bang. She swept the New Zealand time trial and road race national championships in January. The coveted black and white jersey was the one she had been striving to capture for years and she finally had it after multiple podiums and top 10 finishes.
The momentum continued with second in the Commonwealth Games’ road race, but a crash in June derailed the second half of her season. “I feel like my highs were really high and the lows really low but that’s all part of the sport and I feel it will make me stronger for the 2019 season,” Williams said.
“My highs were winning the TT and RR at the national champs then following up with a silver in the Commonwealth Games Road Race. I was also happy with my 4th place GC position in Bira in May. My lows were my crash at the end of June, fracturing my pubis, hip and sacrum. This also forced me out of the Giro which was pretty hard as I was excited to race there and play a key supportive role.”
The 25-year-old, who will once again be in a Mitchelton-Scott kit in 2019, has highlighted January as again one of the most important months of her season. She will attempt to defend both of her national titles and possibly race the Santos Tour Down Under, Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, and Herald Sun Tour. In 2018, Williams raced Cadel Evans and the Herald Sun Tour. The team has yet to finalize which races she will do in 2019.
’Gram of the day
Watteam cease production and seek acquisition
Watteam, the first company to bring a “pro-grade” sub-US$500 powermeter to market, announced that it has ceased production and sales of its Powerbeat G3 powermeter. The company has alluded to cash flow issues and is actively seeking a “strategic partner” to acquire the brand or invest capital.
In the meantime, Watteam has stated it will continue to support all existing customers with aftermarket support and product warranties. See the full release here.
In case you missed it …
Commentary: There’s been much debate over the last few years about the lack of a women’s Tour de France, but is a three-week race actually what is wanted? Simone Giuliani examines the complexity surrounding a women’s Tour de France and offers a solution that is longer than ASO’s one-day La Course event, but not the length you might think.
Feature Image: The road less traveled in Catalunya, Spain.