Alaphilippe wins again, Deignan returning at Amstel: Daily News Digest

Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today: Alaphilippe wins stage 2 of the Vuelta al País Vasco, Dyball climbs to a queen stage victory at the Tour de Langkawi, Deignan is returning to racing at Amstel, Park adds a hydraulic disk brake tool to its lineup. Those…

Photo: Kåre Dehlie Thorstad

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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

Alaphilippe wins stage 2 of the Vuelta al País Vasco, Dyball climbs to a queen stage victory at the Tour de Langkawi, Deignan is returning to racing at Amstel, Park adds a hydraulic disk brake tool to its lineup. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Alaphilippe powers to País Vasco stage 2 win

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) was the fastest finisher in stage 2 of the Vuelta al País Vasco, sprinting to his eighth win already this year. The Frenchman topped Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto Soudal) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) on an uphill finale in Gorraiz.

Alaphilippe, who rode to his first career monument win last month at Milano-Sanremo, now sits third in the País Vasco general classification. Stage 1 winner Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) leads Kwiatkowski in the overall standings.

“It was really fast all day,” Alaphilippe said at the finish. “The final with a climb like this was perfect for me.”

The 150-kilometer stage from Zumarraga featured a few small climbs and even a handful of dirt sectors to spice up the race. The tricky terrain whittled down the peloton over the course of the afternoon, and also put a dent into the general classification ambitions of Adam Yates. The 26-year-old Mitchelton-Scott rider, who started the day in fifth overall after a strong opening time trial, punctured on a section of dirt and ultimately lost over a minute on the day.

Sky and Astana pushed a high pace heading into the finale, keeping things together in the lead group and setting up an uphill sprint.

Lambrecht led into the final sloping corner with a small gap to the field, but Alaphilippe closed him down and then surged clear in the final hundred meters. He held on from there to take a convincing victory.

The race continues with a rolling stage 3, 192 kilometers from Sarriguren to Estibaliz.

Moving Pictures

Two days after a stirring performance at the Tour of Flanders, where he finished fourth after overcoming a tough crash, Mathieu van der Poel went to work creating more highlight reel material at the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe. The reigning world cyclocross champion darted to a wild sprint victory in the opening stage, seemingly coming out of nowhere to snatch the win.

Heading northeast from Sarthe across the Belgian border, the latest episode of The Bunch comes straight from Flanders, where roving reporter Dave Everett linked up with editor-in-chief Caley Fretz to bring you the best from De Ronde.

Race Radio

Dyball wins Langkawi queen stage

Australia’s Ben Dyball (Team Sapura Cycling) ascended to victory at the queen stage of the Tour de Langkawi, riding into the race lead on the long, brutal Genting Highlands climb.

Ben Dyball takes the win at Genting Highlands. Photo: Dario Belingheri/Cor Vos © 2019

The 29-year-old soloed away from a select group in the final kilometers, finishing with a healthy advantage of 23 seconds over Hernan Aguirre (Interpro Cycling Academy). Keegan Swirbul (Floyd’s Pro Cycling) rode to third on the day. The trio now sits atop the general classification with four stages left to race at Langkawi.

Lizzie Deignan to return to racing at Amstel

Lizzie Deignan will make her first start since 2017, and her first with new team Trek-Segafredo, at the Amstel Gold Race. The 30-year-old Brit, who won the world road title in 2015, took some time away from racing last season as she and husband Phil Deignan welcomed their first child. She moved from Boels Dolmans to the new Trek women’s team over the offseason, with a plan to work her way back into peak form by midseason as she targets the upcoming world championships in her native Yorkshire.

The Amstel Gold Race will be her first chance to test her legs, and then she’ll continue on with the rest of the Ardennes Classics before heading to familiar territory to race the Tour de Yorkshire in May.

Amstel doubles women’s prize money

Organizers of the Amstel Gold Race are upping their financial commitment to the women’s event, announcing that the prize money on offer for the women’s peloton will double.

Chantal Blaak wins the Amstel Gold Race. Photo: Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2018

Women’s racing at the Dutch one-day returned in 2017 after a lengthy absence. The WorldTour event, won last year by Chantal Blaak, will also increase payments to appearing teams this year by almost 10,000 euros.

Tech News

Hunt teases next generation of disc-specific aero wheels

Hunt, the UK-based consumer-direct wheel company, has begun teasing its upcoming 48 Limitless Aero Disc wheels – something we were first given a glimpse of at Eurobike 2018. Optimized for Schwalbe 28c Pro One tubeless tyres, the new wheels feature a 22.5mm inner width with a 34.5mm outer width. That huge difference between inner and outer width is made up by a non-structural low density polymer, which is said to add just 50g per rim.

Hunt is pretty confident in what the wind tunnel data says, and plans to have the wheels (and specific information) ready by June.

Park Tool adds hydraulic disc brake tool to range

Hydraulic disc brakes can be rather set-and-forget, but it’s that initial setup that can be a little tricky. One such task is trimming the hydraulic brake hose to length and then installing the connection fittings (aka hose barb and olive).

Park Tool’s latest tool, the HBT-1, cuts the hose cleanly, and then presses the often finicky hose barb in with a single squeeze of the handle. The tool is made of machined aluminum and steel, and is fully rebuildable. While this is Park Tool’s first hydraulic hose tool, it’s not the first on the market, with Jagwire and Shimano having long offered tools for the task. However, Park Tool’s US$106 version is clearly built for regular use in the workshop. Do be warned, it won’t help with SRAM’s threaded barbs.

Happy Birthday to …

Graeme Brown turns 40. The versatile Australian won two gold medals on the track in the 2004 Athens Olympics, and on the road he was a three-time stage winner at the Tour Down Under. He shined especially bright at the Tour de Langkawi, where he took nine stage victories over the course of his career.

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