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Daily News Digest

by Matt de Neef

February 23, 2016

In today’s edition of the CT Daily News Digest: Why Tony Martin racing the cobbled classics changes everything; A way to break ASO’s stranglehold on the sport?; Teamlist announced for Paris-Roubaix; Louisa Lobigs announced as Amy Gillett Scholarship recipient for 2016; Andre Greipel with a fractured rib, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne participation uncertain; World’s third-biggest porn site sponsors Italian cycling team; Mavic owner, Amer Sports, buys Enve Composites; The European road season begins this weekend; Australia’s 2016 National Penny Farthing Championships; The Maloja Pushbikers on the London Six-Day; Mark Cavendish vs the Rubik’s Cube; Wrapping up the Tour of Oman.

Why Tony Martin racing the cobbled classics changes everything

by Neal Rogers

Back in January Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) announced he would target the Spring Classics in 2016. CyclingTips’ U.S. editor Neal Rogers has written about the significance of that decision, ahead of the start of the Classics this weekend.

Here’s an excerpt:

When three-time world time-trial champion Tony Martin announced last month that, for the first time in his career, he will focus on the cobblestone classics this season, the entire pro peloton took notice. Why? Because Martin’s participation tipped the scales in favor of an Etixx-QuickStep domination, from Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, which kicks off the classics season on Saturday, through Paris-Roubaix, on April 10.

Martin’s participation appears to be a move by team manager Patrick Lefevere to fulfill the team’s destiny — to secure a Spring Classics supremacy that appeared preordained last year, yet ultimately blew sideways, like rain in a Belgian crosswind.

Captained by Tom Boonen, the greatest classics rider of his generation, the Etixx-QuickStep squad started the 2015 Spring Classics as the 800-pound gorilla. Along with Boonen, the team boasted specialists Zdenek Stybar, Niki Terpstra, Stijn Vandenbergh, and Matteo Trentin, as well as, for a few select races, Mark Cavendish.

And Etixx started off the 2015 classics season with a pair of early wins, at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, with Cavendish, and Strade Bianche, with Stybar. Yet the team also found new and inventive ways to disappoint, particularly at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, where Team Sky’s Ian Stannard won from a four-man breakaway stacked with three Etixx jerseys — Boonen, Vandenbergh, and Terpstra.

Click through to read more at CyclingTips.

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 riders on the Haaghoek pavé sector in last year’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. This year’s edition of the race will be held on Saturday.

  • Lounge

    Why is it that only the first article is showing up in the Daily Digest? Has been happening for a week now. Using Chrome

    • Bex

      works fine for me (on chrome). have you got an ad-blocker running or something?

    • Dave

      It’s fine on Safari, whether I have
      – my normal setting of ad blocking on but CT on the list of exceptions
      – ad blocking on
      – ad blocking off

    • Gordon

      Same here and I’m using Safari on an iPad.

    • JCJordan

      Get the same problem when I try and read it on a work computer (government). Looks like some of the background workings HTYML5/Flash type stuff is blocked on a lot of systems due to the potential to introduce malware.

      • Lounge

        Probably same here. Our company is pretty strict. Something must’ve changed of late :-(

      • Gordon

        Not so sure. In the interests of expanding my cycling knowledge I looked at the site of the new sponsor, xhampster, no problems but can’t ge anymore than the first article.

  • Dave

    xHamster are backing the wrong team. They should have gone with Cannondale, thanks to them having a rider ready to fist himself in front of the whole peloton.

    • TV Time Tommy

      Damnit, you beat me to the punch…

      • Melissarmurphy

        ?my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….two days ago new McLaren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Here!b!1047????? http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsBoss/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:?2:::::!b!1047…….

    • Schlong

      Geez I can’t wait to see the new jersey design.

      • Sean

        Hopefully they do a backstage pass type of series.

        • donncha

          It might not be the backstage pass you’re expecting…. or maybe it is?

          • Andy B

            I think he meant backdoor pass

    • velocite

      Would this be the very first time that a porn business has gone in for public mainstream advertising? Maybe xHamster could introduce their own chain lube?

      • Robert Merkel

        Dunno about porn specifically, but there have been a few cases of businesses in the sex industry sponsoring sports.

        One of the highest-profile and most expensive such sponsorships was the Daily Planet brothel sponsoring a car. in the Australian V8 Supercar series (rough Aussie equivalent of NASCAR, except raced on road courses) back in the 1990s.

        A Greek amateur soccer team was also sponsored by a brothel. ISTR a Norwegian amateur team in the 1990s with a similar sponsorship.

        Brothel sponsorships are probably more acceptable to broadcasters, in countries where brothels are legal, than porn sites, because brothels often have names that don’t immediately make the nature of the business obvious.

        I suspect this is a rather more serious answer to the question than you were seeking, but anyway…

        • Not the first its been tried

          Story goes that Aussie legend Danny Clarke was sponsored by a Danish ‘adult’ magazine called Rapport for the 6 Day race (track) in Munich. Something heard about the magazine also sending its ‘reps’ to visit the race and team riders. Danny also was paid to sing to the crowd, and after midnight he finished racing and belted out Elvis covers to the well lubricated crowd.

          • Simon

            That was nice of Danny, Aussie men are not renowned for their foreplay let alone achieving a well lubricated crowd.

        • velocite

          Yes, I do recall that Daily Planet sponsorship. Probably made some sense for the brothel in giving them a racier rather than sleazier status. And the name ‘Daily Planet’ probably meant as much to car race fans as ‘Repsol’ meant to motor bike fans, at least in Australia.

          Maybe advertising internet porn is in the same category as advertising internet betting – a private activity that the operators want to present as though it is a great way to use up your money.

      • Dave

        The Melbourne bike shop Total Rush did the reverse move a couple of years ago…

      • David Everett

        There was once an amature Belgium team sposored by a brothel, I can’t quite remember the name. But the french team UVAube – Club Champagne Charlott had an ‘interesting’ jersey design incorporating their main sponsors products, a lingerie manufacture. Certainly stood out amongst the rest of the peloton in France.

        • dsd74

          Are you sure it wasn’t a Dutch team? There was a team in the 90s that was sponsored by Sauna Diana, a brothel near the Belgian brothel. They even had a nice bus that always attracted attention when travelling to other countries.

          • David Everett

            I think you may be right.

            • dsd74

              They actually helped me find a spot on another Dutch team, but I also did a couple of races with them outside of Holland. And if I’m not mistaken, they had several Australian on the roster (cycling roster that is, ;) ) during the 90s.

  • Pete

    The UCI/ASO spat is bs. If 18 WT teams had three-year licenses, whereby 6 of them were up for revision/renewal each year, then the teams would have the degree of longevity that they want and also there would be scope to refresh the pool each year from the 6 teams being reviewed as per ASO’s concerns.

    • Dave

      I expect that the eventual settlement for the dispute will be that the ASO will agree to a scaled-back version of the changes, giving them more flexibility and giving the UCI confidence that the WorldTour project won’t have the rug pulled out from underneath any time soon.
      A good option could be 12 teams on three year licences (four up for grabs each year) and another 3 on single year licences for a total of 15 teams, allowing race organisers to pick an additional three teams of their choice. The option for race organisers to veto teams with a recent history of doping could also be worth putting out there if ASO are to go for a pre-negotiation PR strategy.

      The whole premise of The Outer Line article has four fatal flaws:
      1) Top teams would simply race both simultaneously, in the case of the big GC teams they would be sending their First IX to the Tour and a second-string squad to the Giro.
      2) Such a move would further weaken the value of the WorldTour for teams, they might consider opting for the Pro Continental division instead. For the sponsors who put bread on the teams’ tables, it’s inaccurate to say that the Tour is the jewel in the crown of road cycling – it’s the whole crown.
      3) It would take an absurdly huge amount of commercial firepower to make the Giro bigger than the Tour, something that wouldn’t be practical when RCS Sport is dependent on cash bailouts (sorry, that should be “additional investment”) from the parent group and spending the cash wouldn’t guarantee success.
      4) This problem is for the UCI to sort out, not RCS Sport.

      • velocite

        Hard to argue with that, especially for me because I’m quite uninformed about the politics and administration of bike racing.

        However (!) things do tend to change in major ways, given time, and I don’t see why a race around Italy can’t supplant a race around France as the jewel in the crown. I know that the Tour is unique in that the TV audience includes huge numbers of people who don’t have any regular interest in bike racing. My mother used to watch it as a travelogue. But I don’t see it as the whole crown, and if all the top riders were there and the coverage was properly promoted there’s no reason why it couldn’t steal market share. Whether RCS have the will or the resources is a relevant question – as is, are there other candidates?

        The UCI’s problem appears to be a lack of power relative to ASO. ASO have a valuable property and are focussed on that. Against this commercial interest is the UCI, which seems essentially to be a lot of committees attempting to add up to something, and not quite managing it.

        Might have been a good thing if that Oleg Tinkov had taken over the UCI. Joke, I think…

        • Dave

          The reason I believe the Tour de France is the whole crown (not just the jewel) is that it’s not just ‘a race around France,’ it’s the Tour de France. The only other sporting events which come close to comparing are the soccer World Cup (the whole World Cup, not just the final) or the Super Bowl.

          The Giro is more like a suit of armour than any component of a crown at the moment – quite interesting in its own right but also clunky and a bit impractical. At best, it’s one of many necklaces or pairs of earrings which can be worn with a crown.

          If it was properly built up, the Giro could well go on to stand more alongside the Tour, but it would need to be sold to someone else more competent (or for RCS to sell off the whole RCS Sport company) and a lot of cash put into the non-racing aspects which make the difference between a bike race and the Tour de France. Shifting it to July because the UCI doesn’t have the balls to confront ASO on their own would not be the way to go about that though.

          The rise of another grand tour elsewhere to take on the Tour de France would be a project that wouldn’t see fruit for a few decades, and would be more likely to result in the casualty of the Giro or Vuelta than the Tour. In the current global economic climate where there’s plenty of money to go round but no confidence to invest it, I simply cannot see where else this could work.

  • Gavin Adkins

    It looks like Alex Edmondson is getting a start with OGE at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. No expectations obviously, but it’ll be interesting to see how he goes in the classics seasons having won the U23 Tour of Flanders last year.

  • Curious

    Re: the pro teams getting in car related accidents.

    Does anyone know whether they could sue for loss of income from not working? I.e. missing races?
    Because Degenkolb could potentially claim loss of income and promotions from a classic win or at least Top 10. Not to mention the other riders.

    • Dave

      The teams should have insurance policies for this kind of issue, with the amount of money in pro cycling they would be mad not to. The insurer would make the call as to whether they would cover it and charge the team an excess, or chase the driver’s insurer.

      Unless the team has some kind of insurance that covers regarding prizemoney from certain riders’ expected results in certain races, they would only get actual damages in relation to their sponsorship contracts rather than speculative damages.

      WorldTour riders are on salaries rather than prizemoney earned, so they shouldn’t have any claims unless they get left out of pocket with medical expenses.

  • Nitro

    So Cav’s married to a model, he’s one of the greatest sprinters of all time, and he can do the Rubik’s cube in under 2 mins….

    I’ve always admired the guy, but he does make it hard to not hate him…

    • velocite

      What makes the fastest sprinter? Obviously power, but I’ve read that Cav’s power figures are not that impressive relative to your Griepels and Kittels. Don’t know about McEwen’s. He said he needs always to be doing something, hence the Rubik’s cube. Maybe there’s something about metabolic rate, whatever that is.

      • Andy B

        Too many factors to limit it purely to power
        his size alone vs someone like kittel would be a huge advantage

        • Nitro

          Will be interesting to see how Caleb Ewan goes against the big boys – Seems to have lots of horsepower and with the crazy-head-upside-kissing-the-front-tyre position on the bike, surely a tiny amount of air resistance.

          • Dave

            I’m going to make two predictions with regards to Ewan when he finally goes up against the first tier sprinters:

            1. He’s going to struggle to be there at the end of quality races where the pace is hard or there’s a bit of terrain along the way to sort out the men and the boys.

            2. He’s going to struggle with any ‘interesting’ finishes with curves, uphills or sketchy surfaces. European races aren’t always contested on three lane carriageways like King William Road and cycling is such a normal sport there that they don’t bother with resurfacing their streets every time like TDU stage towns do.

            • Cam

              Seems a fairly harsh prediction based on his career to date. He beat Sagan and Degenkolb in a uphill sprint at the Vuelta, they are pretty big names. From everything I have seen I would say he has a huge future ahead of him.

            • Daniel

              Point 1, I agree the big guys will beat him in a straight finish, no question. On point 2 you obviously missed his Vuelta stage win, his strength against the big names will be cornering and uphill finishes.

      • Dave

        I’m sure I read a few years ago that has has ADHD.

        Cav needs less power than the bigger guys because he’s punching a smaller hole in the air. Frontal air resistance is generally proportional to the square of velocity, so the advantage of a smaller profile increases as the speeds get higher.

        The other guys with bigger engines will have other advantages, like better acceleration out of the final corner and better performance on uphill sprints.

      • Nitro

        I win the bet I had with myself.

        As I was writing the comment above, I nearly put the caveat “I bet my one-of-the-greatest-sprinters-of-all-time comment gets a reaction”…

        My ability to predict the future rolls on… :)

        • Dave

          Who do you think is better out of Cav and Cipo?

        • Laurens

          If you win a bet with yourself, do you then also lose that bet?

          • Ten Dam

            And do you break your own leg if you don’t pay up?

            • Dave

              Kidnap your own kids? Kick yourself out of your own house?

    • Slogger

      He also stopped to help a female commuter out with fixing her puncture.

      Then again, he was a bit of a snipe early on in his career throwing Tanties..

  • Simon

    I’ll write this once and once only. Do not give the penny farthing crowd any oxygen. They are people who live in the past on bikes that belong in the past.


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