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Daily News Digest

by Mark Zalewski

April 7, 2016

In today’s edition of the CT Daily News Digest: Marcel Kittel takes record  fourth Scheldeprijs win; Stephen Cummings wins third stage of Tour of the Basque Country; Coquard and Vorobyev claim Sarthe stage wins; Benjamin Hill wins Tour of Thailand overall; With Roubaix record on the line, Boonen still convinced he can win; Tinkoff management look to secure new title sponsor by end of the Giro d’Italia; Sagan transfer rumors heat up post-Flanders win; Ten days after Demoitié’s death, what’s the latest on motorbike safety?; Boels-Dolmans’ recipe for success; Amateur cyclist believed to be behind doping doctor investigation; Uncertainty surrounds Vansummeren return; Lance Armstrong accused of withholding information in federal lawsuit; Promo video for the Schaal Sels-Merksem; Orica-GreenEdge’s backstage pass video from Flanders

Marcel Kittel takes record fourth Scheldeprijs win

by Mark Zalewski

Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) won a wet Scheldeprijs ahead of Mark Canvendish (Dimension Data) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal). The victory gives the German the record with four wins.

Typical Classics weather made for cautious racing with Paris-Roubaix ahead on Sunday. The peloton entered the final circuits all together and they kept it that way for the three laps, ensuring a bunch sprint.

Starting the final lap it was Lotto-Soudal,  Team Sky and Trek-Segafredo taking turns on the front. With 2km to go Etixx-QuickStep put their team on the front, challenging Lotto-Soudal, but no team could seem to mass the numbers for very long.

Inside the final kilometre the weather thinned the peloton to just the sprint favourites. Etixx-QuickStep had the initiative with two on the front working for Kittel, with Cavanedish linking onto the Etixx train.

“It’s a great victory and a great start for me, said Kittel. “I said before the race the [record] is not what I’m racing for, I’m racing for the joy of riding my bike. If I get the [record] that is great too.”

1. de
Etixx - Quick Step
2. gb
Dimension Data
3. de
Lotto Soudal
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 featured image comes from Cor Vos showing the pain of the close win by Marcel Kittel over Mark Cavendish at Scheldeprijs.

  • .: Son1ze :.

    With Cancellara riding into the sunset I reckon Sagan will be on Trek next year and for years to come. With Spartacus gone he’s got Project One ambassador sales written all over him.

    • Samuel Lian

      Spez seems to be losing their top line ambassadors like Cav, Contador and possibly now Sagan too.

      • Dave

        I don’t recall Sagan ever having been used in a $pesh promotion before they jumped on the bandwagon after his world title last year, they generally only go with one ‘ambassador’ for each pro team. He owes them nothing.

        Contador will not be lost to $pesh when he retires, he’ll continue to sell tens of thousands of their bikes for years after he retires.

    • Dave

      Yep. What other team could possibly suit?

      Sky? They wouldn’t understand him, and they have the same problem as Tinkoff coming up a year later if I remember correctly.
      BMC? Same problem as Sky, plus there are rumours that Rihs will be scaling back the amount of money he’s prepared to piss away without results
      Etixx? Too many good classics riders already, but they’ll probably make him an offer as they do for anyone who hands them a humiliating defeat.
      Astana? Would hurt his reputation too badly.
      Movistar? He’d be a good replacement for Valverde who is looking like retiring soon, but wouldn’t fit well with their brand.

      I don’t think there’s a chance of him going to one of the second-tier teams with lower budgets this time around. It is a real chance the next time around, if he decides that he needs a new challenge and his personal sponsors pay him enough that he can afford to take a lower salary – or if he brings a major sponsor with him like Contador did with $pesh. He won’t forget that it was one of those second-tier teams which gave him his big break.

      • jules


        • Dave

          They are one of the second-tier teams which cannot afford to buy him.

          • jules

            they seem to on the up, though. finances can change – e.g. Rihs and BMC. but that goes without saying I guess.

            • Dave

              I doubt it, the last thing I heard about IAM’s finances was that they would be considering a return to the Pro Continental division when their WorldTour licence expires at the end of this year.

              There are three scenarios where IAM might not have a choice about going down a division anyway:
              1. If they can’t raise enough money to pay their riders and staff WorldTour rates for next year.
              2. If they finish the year in 17th or 18th place (a very real possibility – they are in 15th place but the Giro should see Lampre-Merida and Giant-Alpecin charge out of the bottom two places) and the Bahrain team applies for the WorldTour, they’ll need to compete on sporting value.
              3. If the eventual settlement between the UCI and ASO involves the WorldTour division being shrunk by a couple of teams to give race owners more invitational slots.

              IAM would need a major sponsor to come on board for them to be able to afford Sagan. Those sponsors don’t come along every day, and would not go to a team facing potential relegation when there are at least five more juicy prospects closer to the pointy end:
              1. Become the secondary sponsor of BMC.
              2. Become the secondary sponsor of Orica-YourNameCouldGoHere if it’s a company so lacking in dignity they would be happy to have their name associated with a brand as toxic as Orica.
              3. Join the Bahrain team.
              4. Replace Tinkoff.
              5. Secondary sponsorship of Sky.
              6. Get better value for money with a small decal on a F1 car.

              • jules

                that’s a great analysis Dave. you really know your stuff.

                unsure about #6 though – from what I’ve heard, tiny F1 decals aren’t what most people would call v.f.m. cycling is pretty cheap to sponsor by comparison.

                • Dave

                  And yet companies are still lining up for minor sponsorships of good F1 teams at the same time they are deserting cycling. Even the dud qualifying system at the moment is not a bad thing, it provides extra talk (any publicity is good publicity), extra stationary shots where minor sponsors’ logos can be seen, and it’s not affecting the quality of the GP on the Sunday which has been incredible at the first two races of this year even on tracks thought to have a propensity towards boring races.

                  Remind me of the last time F1 had a champion’s title rescinded a couple of years later for doping?

                  • jules

                    but F1 enjoys the “mine is bigger than yours” factor in sponsorship. it’s not VFM – some corporates just get all excited about advertising on F1 cars and logic goes out the window. I read a study on sports sponsorship once and it basically concluded it’s highly emotive – some CEO loves F1 so they sponsor it.

                    also, one reason they don’t rescind F1 titles is that cheating – e.g. on technical regs. – is just an offence punishable in some minor way, e.g. grid demotion or points deduction. it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

                    • Dave

                      You’re partly right – a used front wing with a signature is a far better souvenir for the lobby than a framed jersey.

                      The same emotional response goes for cycling though. Just with fewer TV viewers and mediocre corporate hospitality offerings.

                    • jules

                      I once went to a corporate do where CEO launched sponsorship of a motorbike enduro team. He was asked by a journo why he chose that and there was a bit of mumbo jumbo, eventually conceding that he just liked enduro :)

                      this is why guys like Andy Rihs and Gerry Ryan are involved

                    • Dave

                      And that in turn is why the current model doesn’t work. Those guys will eventually find some other shiny object to distract them – or in the case of Ryan, close up shop when the Orica half of Orica-Pay€5mToPutYourNameHere decides not to renew their contract next year in the face of their potentially terminal decline in share price.

                      As much as I think he’s the undisputed Prat of the Peloton and needs to spend a couple of years on the sidelines to atone for his doping, I can’t help but admire the success of Jonathan Vaughters in stringing together enough short term deals to keep his team on the road until he finally got the relative security of a deal with a bike manufacturer.

                    • jules

                      I think JV is great. Danielson aside, I believe he is making a genuine attempt to run a team that – while not free of doping – at least doesn’t put pressure on riders that encourage doping, in the way that some other teams do. I know this is highly subjective and some would argue the toss on that, but I think it’s great he’s there when there are still a lot of other WT teams whose model is clearly – sign a big name rider who wins big races and don’t ask how.

  • Kieran Degan

    I think that is 4 times this year Gerro has won the bunch sprint for 2nd or 3rd. OGE need to up their game at the front in stopping/chasing down late escapes.

    • I make it three: these two stages at Pais Vasco, and then one stage at Catalunya where he finished 6th (first of the bunch). But yep, nice spot. The good news is he seems to have some good form coming into the Ardennes. Interesting to see how OGE approaches it – Matthews for Amstel Gold, Gerrans for Liege?

      • Kieran Degan

        You’d think so. Especially after the worlds last year. Pro Cycling Stats has them both named for Amstel. I know that’s probably based on media hearsay though.

  • Albert

    Still think it’s so strange to see Cav on a Cervelo.

  • jules

    “The 39 year-old Stevens was given a 21-month ban after failing to provide a urine sample in January 2014. This was reduced from the normal two-year term based on his testimony.”

    wow he dodged a bullet there

    • Kieran Degan

      Haha. If the ban was dated from January then the extra 3 months would have been the off season anyway

      • Dave

        Not the off-season for track or CX though.

    • Dave

      If he did blow the whistle on a big fish and if it eventually gets a result, he should get a further discount, possibly even enough to get an immediate return to competition.

      • jules

        he’s just an amateur. let’s face it, there are likely armies of amateurs out there now doping with virtual impunity. his suspension isn’t exactly putting the frighteners on amateur doping in general.

        • Dave

          Yeah, amateur cycling is never going to get rid of that completely, certainly not so long as it provides far better bang/buck than upgrading equipment.

          A good scare tactic could be to announce just before the start of a race that there will be doping tests, then take down the names of those who have signed on and then not taken the start.

          • jules

            personally, I’d say – let them go for it. the main reason for banning doping at the amateur level is not a level playing field – as there are so many legitimate options to vary the playing field (e.g. take a few days off work before an amateur race and be nicely rested) that doping is not the difference it is in the pros – where they’ve all already exhausted those 1%ers. rather, the main reason is so you don’t harm your health, e.g. get cancer. if you are really determined to take that risk, knock yourself out.

  • velocite

    Is Tom Boonen the first pro ever to confess to fear on fast descents? One very together man.


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