Good morning, Happy New Year, and welcome to the first edition of the CT Daily News Digest for 2016. In today’s edition we’ve got the latest news from the world of road cycling plus a collection of links to stories that you might have missed over the Christmas-New Year break. Have a great day and a terrific start to 2016!
Caleb Ewan and Gracie Elvin lead the Bay Crits with one stage remaining
Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) and Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS) are poised to take out the elite men’s and elite women’s titles at the 2016 Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic.
With just one stage remaining, Ewan (31 points) leads Pat Shaw and Brenton Jones (20 points) in the overall standings, with 12 points on offer for the final win. Elvin (32) is seven points clear of Valentina Scandolara with Kimberley Wells one point further behind.
In the elite women’s series, Elvin won the first stage in Geelong, almost by accident, before finishing second to Kimberley Wells (High5 Dream Team) on stage 2 and second to Valentina Scandolara (Ale) on stage 3.
Today’s final stage of the four-day criterium series will be held in the Melbourne suburb of Williamstown. The elite women’s race starts at 1pm followed by the elite men an hour later.
Click through for the results from the 2016 Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic.
Darren Lapthorne calls it a day
Former Australian national champion Darren Lapthorne has called time on his career, bringing his 10-year stint as a professional cyclist to a close.
Lapthorne began his career with the Drapac-Porsche squad back in 2006. After winning the Australian road title in 2007, Lapthorne spent a season racing for the German Sparkasse Continental team in 2008, before two years with the Rapha Condor setup in the UK. He returned to Australia and Drapac in 2011 where he would race the rest of his career.
“I always loved riding since a young age but never thought I was going to make it my career until later when I first joined Drapac in 2006,” Lapthorne said. “I was 22 at the time when I thought there was a possibility of taking cycling to the next level.
“I would say one of the best memories I have was when I had my first taste of racing in Europe when I was 23 in 2007, current Australian road champion with Drapac. We were a close bunch of mates traveling and taking in the experience of racing some tough tours like Tour of Austria and Brescia along with racing some pro kermesses in Belgium along the way.”
Click through to read more at Drapac’s website.
Ryder Hesjedal on why he’s riding for another season
In a Q&A with VeloNews’ Andrew Hood, 2012 Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal has spoken about how he considered making 2015 his final season and how he found the motivation to continue on for another year.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
“VeloNews: How did the deal to join Trek-Segafredo come together?
Things change, time goes on, and I was up for contract. I looked around like anybody does, and it just all came together. I had a good feeling that [Trek] wanted me, and it was the best value, to roll for the Giro. It didn’t take long.
So for 2016, it’s the Giro that motivates you?
That’s my value right now to the team. I am a former winner, I feel like I owe a lot to the Giro. We have Bauke [Mollema] in place, and he’s already proven his spot to lead in the Tour. I don’t want to force myself into something. That’s why I came here. Simple.
How’s the race schedule shaping up?
I will start with Tour Down Under, then the Cadel Evans race. I will head back to Maui for a few weeks, then back to Europe for Catalunya, País Vasco, the Ardennes, Romandie, and the Giro. The Tour? We’ll look at it later. If get through the Giro in the right way, maybe I can be there to help the team. I think it’s a good way to Rio as well.
Click through to read more at Velonews.
Nathan Haas hoping to kickstart season at Santos Tour Down Under
The new year brings a new team for Nathan Haas with the Canberran joining Dimension Data for the 2016 season. Haas will go into this month’s Santos Tour Down Under as joint leader of the squad alongside fellow Australian recruit Cameron Meyer.
“The early season races in Australia are a good way to get the ball rolling and build the confidence,” Haas told Cyclingnews. “That is a major thing in the sport. Once you get a win you don’t have to be in the top form, and you’ve just got the confidence that you can pull something out of the bag.
“I’ve gotten to the end of so many finals, and either screwed it up or gone too early in a sprint and just been on the podium instead of the win. Sometimes I’ve maybe done too much work for GC teammates, which is not a bad thing, but it takes away from your potential performance. I know my ability, whether people doubt it or don’t believe in it, I do and I know that I can and I think that, for me, it is going to be a place that encourages it and will make it happen.”
After the Tour Down Under Haas will turn his attention to building for the Ardennes Classics.
“For me, I feel like my main reason for being in this sport is the Amstel Gold race,” said Haas. “It’s something, even when I think about it, it gives me tingles. I can’t explain it, but I love it. For me, ultimately one day I’d like to win the race. I think that I’m a dark horse to be on the podium, even this year. I expect to be in the realm of top 10, and I don’t see any reason, unless I screw up, why that won’t happen.”
Click through to read more at Cyclingnews.
ASO pulling its races from the WorldTour – the view from all sides
The ongoing stoush between the ASO and the UCI is set to make headlines right through 2016. Reddit user CycloRoss has sparked an interesting discussion on the site’s Peloton subreddit, approaching the issue from the perspective of all the relevant stakeholders.
Here’s an excerpt:
The narrative goes that ASO want to invite whoever they want to the TdF and their other races. Thus allowing them maximum control over their own events. They also want to reduce the number of riders for each team that should make for less controlled racing. What’s the logic?
I think a bit of suspense surrounding wildcard invitations and the chance to invite more French teams is part of it and the other half of the equation is to try and make the product as televisual and interesting for a home audience as possible. Think 2014 Paris-Nice. They have the most to lose here and when you are in that position it really does take some forward thinking to relinquish some power… I hope Prudhomme shows some real leadership here.
Click through to read the full post with discussion at Reddit.
The Inner Ring on the UCI’s new rider ranking system
In classic UCI fashion, the governing body put out a press release on Christmas Eve announcing a new rider ranking system for 2016. Called the UCI World Ranking, this new system ranks all professional male riders that have won a UCI point throughout the year, rather than just WorldTour riders.
The Inner Ring has gone through and analysed the new ranking system. Here’s an excerpt from that piece:
“Rolling basis: One big change is the rolling calculation. It is based over a 52-week period rather than the calendar year, or at least it will be once it’s been up and running for a year. It means the scores are not reset at the start of the season. If a rider doesn’t score in a race they’ve previously won or placed well in then they’ll drop down the rankings like Peter Sagan off La Rochette.
Points per race: Another significant change is the attribution of points. The Tour de France remains the prime race. This is good because the Tour is the biggest race and pretending the Vuelta is worth as much would only devalue the system. It works on a second level too because the Giro-Vuelta double is more amenable that the Giro-Tour or Tour-Vuelta combos, just as Fabio Aru who placed second and first in the Giro and Vuelta and collected a lot of points for it but should he be ranked superior to a Tour winner? Yes because he collected more points by racing two grand tours and no because he’s probably not yet at Froome’s performance levels. Rankings may be official but they’ll always be subjective.
As The Inner Ring concludes: “We’ve got a new rankings system but we’re keeping the old one too and both have similar sounding names. Confused? It’s almost as if you’re supposed to be” but “the new UCI World Ranking is a good idea as it ranks all male cyclists around the world from their results in all races.”
Click through to read the full article at The Inner Ring.
The world’s coldest bike race?
They say that there’s no such thing as bad weather for cycling, just bad clothing choices, but this race in Siberia surely casts doubt on that theory. Fourteen locals from the city of Yakutsk, the coldest city in the world, recently took part in a bike race in temperatures as low as -43 degrees Celsius.
Several bikes reportedly froze at the start line and riders were also forced to deal with thick fog. The men’s winner took 30 minutes and 44 seconds to cover the 10km, while the winner of the women’s race took 29 minutes and 51 seconds to cover the 5km.
Click through to read the full article at the Siberian Times.
Cambridge cyclist rides into wire stretched across path
A cyclist from Cambridge, UK is considering himself lucky after a wire stretched across a bike track snapped when he rode into it. Garry Seddon, 42, was riding home along the Jubilee Cycle Path when the incident occurred.
“I suddenly saw a horizontal line across my path less than a metre ahead and I was on a collision course with the line at a height somewhere beneath my nose and above my nipple-line.
“No sooner had I begun to squeeze the brake levers I felt the wire or washing-line cord tighten across my chest and both shoulders and it snapped with a twang.”
“My initial feeling was of embarrassment, that someone might be hiding in the bushes laughing at my predicament but I then wondered if this was a prelude to a street robbery so I continued on my journey without hanging around to inspect the wire. When I got home, I tweeted the incident to warn fellow cyclists. My feeling is that this was some prank by teenagers rather than an anti-cyclist attack, or malicious attempt to cause harm.
“However, the fact is that I was unharmed because of good luck rather than anything else: my riding position is quite upright, on a sit-up-and-beg hybrid. Had I been on a bike with drop-handlebars or triathlon aerobars, the wire could have connected with my throat or eyes.”
Click through to read more at road.cc.
Richie Porte in BMC colours
One of the biggest moves in 2016 is that of Richie Porte from Sky to BMC. We’re still having a hard time getting used to seeing Porte in red and black …
Porte will start his season with the Australian road nationals this weekend, before heading to Adelaide for the Santos Tour Down Under.
Kwiatkowski in Sky colours
Another big move in 2016 is that of Michal Kwiatkowsi from Etixx-Quick-Step to Sky. Here’s the former world champion’s new get-up:
— Micha? Kwiatkowski (@michalkwiatek) January 1, 2016
Kwiatkowski is expected to start his season at Strade Bianche before building towards Milan-San Remo and the Spring Classics.
Building a bike blindfolded
This is an impressive little video from Movistar showing one of the team’s mechanics building a bike blindfolded.
Peter Sagan in Grease re-enactment with wife Katarina
This might be the coolest thing Peter Sagan has done. And he’s done some pretty cool things.
By way of comparison, here’s the original.
Over the break …
If you’ve taken some time off over the Christmas-New Year period and you haven’t been following the world of road cycling as closely as normal, fear not. We’ve pulled together some of the best and most important pieces of road cycling news in that time for you to peruse at your leisure.
- Tom Boonen’s hearing permanently damaged by Abu Dhabi crash – Cyclingnews
- Etixx: Boonen’s hearing loss will not impact racing season – VeloNews
- UCI alters World Championship qualification rules – Cyclingnews
- Katusha doctors knew about Luca Paolini’s sleeping drug addiction – Cycling Weekly
- Von Hoff targeting Australian national road title – Cyclingnews
- UCI president Brian Cookson hits out at Hein Verbruggen over legal costs – The Guardian
- ‘Bling’ to rethink Tour ambitions in 2016 – VeloNews
- Cam Meyer focusing on one-week stage race success with Dimension Data – Cyclingnews
- Scandolara embarks on newfound leadership role with Cylance – Cyclingnews
- 10 Predictions for 2016 – The Inner Ring
- Küng sidelined with Epstein-Barr Virus – Cyclingnews
- BMC’s Ochowicz bullish on Porte, van Garderen tandem – VeloNews
- Chris Froome awarded OBE in New Year’s Honours list – Cycling Weekly
- Team Illuminate signs Australian U23 road race and time trial champion Miles Scotson – Cyclingnews
- Your 2016 cycling horoscope – CyclingTips
- Thereabouts 2 – now available on Vimeo-on-Demand – CyclingTips