VN news ticker: Dan Bigham bests British hour record, Vincenzo Nibali solos final stage, wins overall at Giro di Sicilia

Here's what's making headlines on Friday, October 1.

Photo: Courtesy Trek-Segafredo/Dario Belingheri/BettiniPhoto

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Dan Bigham bests British hour record

A day after the women’s world hour record was rewritten by Joss Lowden, Dan Bigham rode into the record books with the best distance for a British cyclist.

Covering 54.723km at the Velodrome Suisse, in Grenchen Switzerland, Bigham surpassed Sir Bradley Wiggins’ distance of 54.526km, which was set in 2015. At the time it was set, “Wiggo’s” mark was a world record.

Bigham’s effort — like his partner, Lowden’s, on the previous day — was initially conservative. He went past the halfway-mark down on the British record by about 20 seconds on record pace, but was able to ride low 16-second laps in the closing half, to surpass the previous mark by fewer than 200 meters.

“I’m sure I had a few people scared early on with the pacing, but that was the plan. It was quite a scary way to ride it because you know you’ve got to pick it up but I paced it really really well,” Bigham said. “I broke the record by 200m, so I broke it by four watts. How many people give you stick, saying four watts is nothing? Four watts is everything to me. Four watts is what got me that today.”

The current world hour record of 55.089km was set by Victor Campenaerts, in 2019.

Even if Bigham had gone past this mark, his effort would not have been recognized by the UCI, as he was not registered in the WADA testing pool long enough in advance of his ride for it to be valid.

Bigham has expressed interest in targeting the world hour record in 2022, after he has been in the testing pool for long enough to meet the WADA and UCI requirements.

Vincenzo Nibali solos final stage, wins overall at Giro di Sicilia

Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) soloed to victory on the fourth and final stage of the 2021 Giro di Sicilia.

Winning near his hometown, this accomplishment was one of Nibali’s most significant in 2021.

“This victory means a lot,” said Nibali. “In my land, Sicily, I won, and it’s something that I was waiting for a long time, for me and for the team. I am very emotional about this; I have no words.”

The 36-year-old Sicilian attacked 22 kilometers from the finish on the slopes of Mount Etna — several dozen kilometers from his hometown — distancing himself from Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation), overnight race-leader Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team),  Alessandro Covi (UAE-Team Emirates), the Romain Bardet (Team DSM).

The “Shark of Messina” went over the summit of Sciara di Scorciavacca with a 40-second advantage on his pursuers, and added nine seconds to his lead on the run-in to the finish in Mascali, holding Valverde, Covi, and Bardet.

“I knew the route of today’s stage, but not very well this side of the final climb. I just knew it was hard, ideal for an attack from far, but I knew the descent perfectly. We climbed hard and when the pace got slow, I attacked. I didn’t hesitate and went all-in, and from the team car, I was getting encouraging signals about the lead.

“I gained morale and confidence to gain time as much as possible before the top. Then, after the KOM, there was only to pedal without looking back. I am very happy and excited! The team gave me great confidence and I found the best way to repay it,” Nibali said.

2021 Giro di Sicilia Stage 4 Results

  1. Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), 4:24:29
  2. Simone Ravanelli (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), at :49.
  3. Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates), at s.t.

2021 Giro di Sicilia Final General Classification

  1. Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), 18:09:50
  2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), at :46
  3. Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates), at :49

Trixi Worrack ends 21-year career

After 21 years racing in the elite women’s peloton, Trixi Worrack is calling it quits at the end of the 2021 season. The 40-year-old German won many races over her career, including Tour de l’Aude (2004), Primavera Rosa (2005), Amgen Tour of California (2015), and Tour of Qatar (2016).

Worrack suffered a serious crash in 2016, but returned to race the 2016 Olympics, and joined Trek-Segafredo in its inaugural year in 2019.

“From the beginning of this year I had my retirement in my head,” she said Friday. “I knew it would be my last year, but I am just not someone who is telling everything to everyone. I have just turned 40 and it is time to stop; also with our baby now is the perfect year.

“It’s easier to stop when you want to, rather than when you have to. When I had my accident in 2016 and I would have stopped there, I would have not been happy because I was not deciding to stop. That’s a big difference to now.”

Allan Davis new sport director at Lotto-Soudal

Allan Davis will join the group of Lotto Soudal sports directors in 2022, team officials confirmed Friday, with a focus on the sprint group.  The 41-year-old Australian will work closely with lead sprinter Caleb Ewan.

“I know Caleb quite well, but I will work for all the riders. I’ve started my research already. I would like to get to know all riders and staff,” said Davis. “My Flemish is quite non-existent, but with English, Italian, Spanish, quite good French you get everywhere in top-level cycling. I cannot wait to start this new chapter.”

He won 30 races during his 12-year pro career, including bronze at the 2010 worlds, second at Milan-Sanremo, gold and bronze at two Commonwealth Games, and overall victory at the Tour Down Under. After his cycling career, Davis worked as head DS at Wiggle-High5 and as technical delegate at the UCI. In 2021 he was sprint coordinator/DS at Israel Startup Nation.

Herald Sun Tour also canceled

Australia’s oldest stage race is the latest victim to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Both the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and Women’s Herald Sun Tour will not be held February, officials confirmed Friday.

“We are proud of our history as the country’s oldest cycling stage race, however, the unpredictability that COVID-19 brings to our event presents too many challenges for us to proceed next year,” Jayco Herald Sun Tour Chairman Tom Salom said. “In particular, the quarantine restrictions that come with Covid made it very difficult to attract the best international riders.”

“We have not taken this decision lightly, and our team will continue to examine all possibilities in a bid to resume racing in 2023.”

The decision comes a day after both the Santos Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race were shelved for 2022.

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.