News roundup: Young FDJ rider in a coma; Najar banned; Sagan hops

Samuele Manfredi hit by a car while training, in an induced coma in Italy. Vuelta a San Juan 'winner' banned. Sagan hops up stairs.

Photo: Getty Images

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Here’s your News roundup for Monday, December 10. This is our way of keeping you up to speed on all of the stories circulating in the world of pro cycling.

Car hits Manfredi; young Italian in an induced coma

Samuele Manfredi, 18, was struck by a car while he was on a training ride in Italy. His FDJ team announced Monday that the young Italian was in a medically induced coma at the hospital in Pietra Ligure, in northwest Italy. Manfredi had been signed to the French team’s newly formed Continental team for 2019. Manfredi won the 2018 Gent-Wevelgem juniors race and was second in the junior edition of Paris-Roubaix.

UCI bans Najar four years for CERA

A little less than a year ago, Gonzalo Najar blasted to victory in his home race in Argentina, Vuelta a San Juan. It was too good to be true. The 25-year-old was found to have the synthetic EPO drug CERA in his system, based on an anti-doping sample taken on stage 1 of the seven-day race. He was first to the top of Alto de Colorado in stage 5 and took home the yellow jersey. So, UCI has banned Najar until February 2, 2022. Who was second at Vuelta a San Juan you might ask? Oscar Sevilla, who was embroiled in a doping scandal of his own when he was linked to the infamous Operacion Puerto scandal prior to the 2006 Tour de France, which he was not allowed to race.

Sagan working on climbing this off-season … sort of

Cyclingnews reported that Peter Sagan had ambitions to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège, in addition to the cobbled classics that he already has on his mantle — Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Gent-Wevelgem, and E3 Harelbeke. Well, he’ll have to sharpen up his climbing chops to contend in that mammoth monument race that runs through the hilly Belgian Ardennes. Perhaps this stair routine filmed in Mallorca is his way of tuning up for La Redoute?

Too snowy for cyclocross?

A major winter storm slammed into the Southeast over the weekend. This led to a wild and snowy race on Saturday at the North Carolina Gran Prix. Unfortunately, it was a little too much of a good thing. Overnight, as close to a foot of snow covered the race course, organizers were forced to cancel the final tune-up race prior to USA Cycling National Cyclocross Championships, which will be held in Louisville, Kentucky December 16.

Kerry Werner (R) won day one of the North Carolina Gran Prix, but it was snowed out on Sunday.

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