Simon Pellaud (SUI/IAM) crosses the finish as the floodgates of heaven open (and while the race itself stayed perfectly dry...)

78th Gent - Wevelgem in Flanders Fields (1.UWT)

Daily News Digest

by Matt de Neef

March 31, 2016


In today’s edition of the CT Daily News Digest: Viviani dashes to stage 2 win at the Three Days of De Panne; Marianne Vos back to her winning ways at the Pajot Hills Classic; Trixi Worrack’s career uncertain after having kidney removed; Bringing some nuance back to the moto safety debate; Prudential RideLondon puts up 100,000 Euro women’s prize purse, biggest in the world; Former coaches speak about Daan Myngheer’s past health issues; Heinrich Haussler to lead IAM at Flanders and Roubaix; Two Russian track cyclists test positive for Meldonium; Opinion – podium boys are no better than podium girls; The Tour of Flanders is nearly here; How to make a mess of your numerical advantage; The beauty of the Peaks Challenge series.

Oostduinkerke- Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Elia Viviani (Italie / Team Sky)  pictured during Driedaagse De Panne Koksijde 2016 - Stage 2 - from Zottegem to Oostduinkerke   - photo Davy Rietbergen/PN/Cor Vos © 2016

Viviani dashes to stage 2 win at the Three Days of De Panne

by CyclingTips

Elia Viviani (Sky) has taken his second win for the 2016 season, sprinting to victory in Koksijde on stage 2 of Three Days of De Panne. Viviani foiled the plans of Marcel Kittel whose Etixx-QuickStep team appeared to have the race under control in the closing kilometres. Kittel would have to settle for second, however, while Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) was third.

“I kept it cool and left myself about 100 meters to try and pass Kittel at the end,” Viviani said in a team press release. “This is a great moment for me. I haven’t had too many big results lately but winning this stage was a big goal I’d set myself so I am very, very happy.”

The day’s breakaway of Pim Ligthart (Lotto Soudal), Bert Van Lerberghe (Topsport Vlaanderen–Baloise), and Ivar Slik (Roompot – Oranje Peloton) had an advantage just north of 90 seconds with 30km left to race before Ligthart went clear on his own. The Dutchman was caught with 14km to go, however, as the teams of the sprinters readied for action.

Etixx-QuickStep appeared to have things set up perfectly for Kittel as the final two kilometres loomed but when the German launched with 250m to go, Viviani was on his wheel, the Italian about to go around and take a narrow win.

Stage 1 winner Alexander Kristoff maintains a five-second overall lead in the race going into the final day of racing. There will be two stages to round out the race: a 111.5km road stage and a 14.2km individual time trial.

Stage 2: Zottegem > Koksijde - Stage Result

Wednesday 30th March 2016

1. it
Team Sky
2. de
Etixx - Quick Step
3. no
KRISTOFF Alexander
Team Katusha
The CyclingTips Daily News Digest features the most important and interesting news and content from around the cycling world, published every weekday morning at 9am AEST. Get it delivered straight to your inbox.

Today’s feature image comes from Kristof Ramon and shows Simon Pellaud (IAM) crossing the line at Gent-Wevelgem last weekend, just as the heavens opened.

  • donncha

    The Astana pair were ridiculous. It seemed that Westra just wanted to gain as much time on the bunch as possible (for the overall) and wasn’t too concerned with the stage win, whereas Lutsenko just wanted the stage win, though in the end Kristof outsprinted him from the front anyway.


  • jules

    that Astana meltdown was pretty funny. to be honest, were they ever going to roll Kristoff there?

    • martin

      I bet the vibe in the Astana team bus was really something afterwards

      • jules

        I bet the DS was setting it too :)

        • Dave

          If I was in charge, I would have kicked them off the bus halfway to the hotel!

    • geoff.tewierik

      Agreed, it looked ridiculous.

      Time to be educated, looking in from the outside and not having raced in a road team myself, what should they have done?

      1st goes hard so Kristoff has to follow, 2nd rider drafts in behind Kristoff, 1st rolls off and 2nd skips around Kristoff and takes the lead, again dragging off Kristoff to wear him out while the original 1st rider tucks in behind Kristoff? And continue that process until it’s time for the heads up sprint at the end?

      • jules

        yep, wear him down. but Westra wanted to make time.

      • Dave

        Recognise that Kristoff was always going to win any 3-up sprint not involving Greipel, Cav, Kittel, Gaviria, Sagan or Degenkolb, so work together to take time for the GC and forget about the stage win.

  • Robert Merkel

    Just to stir the pot a little…

    While I’m all for more money in women’s cycling, are big prize pools for bike races really the best idea?

    I’m not sure we really want to encourage buying and selling results.

    • Dave

      Yep, better to flatten the income structure to increase the number of viable teams, so the riders race for the glory of the win and not for the prizemoney. After all, a win is only as good as the opposition you beat.

      Cycling needs to think more like the NFL structure, where each team gets the same amount of league revenue regardless of whether they win the Super Bowl or don’t even make the playoffs. If the team management wants to make more money than they get from the league, they can sign sponsors or raise prices for tickets and merchandise.

  • Mark Kelly

    If you are faster than anyone else in the race why would you go to the front so far from home? It was like Kittel actually wanted to be Viviani’s lead-out man.

    • spicelab

      Yep. Reminiscent of Cavendish in Stage 2 of the Tour last year.

  • Tyron Anton

    This podium girls/boys debate is pathetic. Are our sensibilities so delicate these days that we can’t handle a few good looking people getting a job up on the podium to congratulate the winner. 2016: The Year We Were Offended By EVERYTHING

    • Shane Ingram

      @Tyron, Agreed. Podium girls/boys is a strange subject for one to work themselves into a lather over.

      • Michele

        Well, I am not working myself over in a lather about it …

        And the debate isn’t pathetic.

        The UCI – per usual – are missing a trick with persisting with podium girls/boys. And I would still feel that way if they casted them from

        Where’s the harm in getting some junior club cyclists to present to the podium place-getters? You know, young ones who have a genuine love for riding their bike?

        Imagine how a young boy would feel being given the opportunity to present flowers or similar to Sagan or Cancellara? Or, a young girl doing likewise to Marianne or Lizzie?

        • Dave

          With cycling in the financial state it’s in, the UCI would probably be best off making it the default option to go with sponsors’ representatives and local government dignitaries wherever possible.

          In any case, it’s not in the UCI’s control even for international events – I’m sure this year’s road world championships will have a grumpy-looking sheikh on the stage. The owners of the regular races will keep on doing what they feel works best for them, which could result in more podium boys at Flanders Classics, status quo at ASO races and the job getting dropped at the TDU due to rumoured SA government cost cutting.

          Most aspiring local models would jump at the chance to do it for free, the leg up of doing it at a major international event with good name recognition (i.e. not the local races which run pretty well every second day in Belgium) would give them a major boost in getting their modelling career going. It certainly worked that way for Lauren Tscharke, the former elite netballer who used the TDU to launch her modelling career.

          • Shane Ingram

            @Michele, I’m fully supportive of getting junior club cyclists to do the presentations but that wasn’t the argument against podium people. The argument was that it objectifies them like this is somehow out of kilter with how people work and relate to each other.

            We are human, we like pretty things and pretty people. We didn’t make the rules or create the program in our DNA so I don’t understand why is their a portion of the public that denies what is natural and also feels passionate enough to tell others that this thinking is wrong.

            The junior club cyclist doing presenting is a great idea but I don’t see it taking off for the following reasons:

            1.Podium girls/boys is not a problem and if it were, I doubt it ranks in the top 30 things that the UCI or race organiser needs to fix.
            2. The race organiser wants to control the imagery of their event on TV and online, they can do that cheaply consistently through hiring models.
            4. In a stage race, organising different junior club members, reliant on their parents at each different location is an unnecessary complication. Hiring a model ( I guess for free) and offer them accomm, transfers and meals for the event appears much more simple. I’m sure the organiser is busy and will take the simplest, most robust, least variable and economic solution.

            5. Like it or not, having attractive people on the podium adds glamour to the event. The organiser is pandering to the wants of the public, they aren’t silly enough purposely annoy them.

    • Mark Blackwell

      Agreed. Yes, there are two people on the podium because they are attractive, but there is a third there because he/she is FAST on a bike, nothing more or less… am I supposed to appreciate and cheer for the fast person’s broader humanity too? In my book, the (mostly) genetic ability to be fast on a bike is roughly analogous to the (mostly) genetic gift of attractiveness.

      Sometimes simpler is better. I’d much sooner get rid of the phallic charade with the champagne than the podium hotties, of either gender.

    • MadBlack

      Totally agree. Political correctness gone too far like in so many aspects of life. In my opinion that goes for the prize money debate as well. Why should there be an equal prize purse if you have less then half the participants and depth in the women’s peloton??? Yes, I said it!

    • Dave


      Someone needs a safe space.

  • Patrick Murphy

    Anybody watching that race, apart from Etixx it seems could see how that was going to play out. I appreciate actually getting around Kittel is no mean mean feat but you could tell Vivianis plan from quite away out.

    Viviani to team mates: Ok, we have a long way to go but get me near the front, keep me out of trouble, don’t worry about the final, I won’t need you.
    Sky Team: No problemo Elia

    Viviani: Ok, that’s 1,2,3,4 jeez how many Etixx riders are here, this is going to simple. I’ll watch them fall away one by one as clearly they have gone too early, then all I need to do is hide my small frame behind the brick wall Kittel then pounce.

    Kittel: Oh no, Oh no where are my team mates?? Time for a long one.
    Kittel: 2000W, 1900W, 1800W I’m running out of power. WTF? WTF? Who’s that?
    Viviani: Move out the way you big lump, witness the fitness!
    Viviano: Clenches fist. Job done.

    • Dave

      The Etixx train had clearly gotten lazy after a couple of years worth of Cav knocking out all his opponents to ensure smooth passage to the line.

    • Kittel jumped a bit too early too, even with no teammates he should have waited just a bit longer to start his sprint. I still think Kittel is the better sprinter compared to Viviani.


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