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Daily News Digest

by Matt de Neef

April 18, 2016


In today’s edition of the CT Daily News Digest: Enrico Gasparotto wins his second Amstel Gold Race; Emma Johansson wins the Euskal Emakumeen Bira, Guarnier take the final stage; Alejandro Valverde dominates the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon; Martin Mortensen wins Tro-Bro Leon in One Cycling 1-2; Logan Owen takes out the U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege; Report – Mechanical doping used in Strade Bianche and Coppi e Bartali; Audax confirms disqualification of Oppy 24-hour record-breaking teams; Fabio Felline’s frontflip; Female pioneers at the Tour de France; The return of Frankie.

Enrico Gasparotto wins the Amstel Gold Race

by Shane Stokes

Enrico Gasparotto wound the clock back four years at the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, racing to a superb second career win in the race. The Wanty–Groupe Gobert rider attacked on the final climb, went past breakaway rider Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and pushed on over the summit.

He was joined by Tinkoff’s Michael Valgren, who did the majority of the work in the flat final two kilometres to fend off the chase behind.

As a result he had nothing left to give when Gasparotto opened up his sprint. The 34-year-old powered ahead and crossed the line pointing at the sky, thinking of his fallen teammate Antoine Demoitié who was killed after being struck by a motorbike in last month’s Gent-Wevelgem.

“I had incredible legs today, Gasparotto said after the finish. “Everything went as we planned. It is the most beautiful victory for the team. The team did a really good job. We had a rider in the break and then Björn Thurau in a chase group. The rest of the team protected me very well. It was perfect.”

Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) finished third, leading in a 28-strong peloton four seconds behind the two leaders.

1. it
Wanty - Groupe Gobert
2. dk
3. it
Bardiani - CSF

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 Jered & Ashley Gruber and shows the famously intricate Amstel Gold Race route map.

  • martin

    Oof, that Felline crash. Maybe he’s done that successfully before but sticking your hand anywhere near your front wheel would seem crazy to most.

    • Turbo

      Fingers and spokes as an e-brake is never going to end well. If he was concerned about his QR, surely a stop was a better option inside the neutral? Regardless, ouch.

      • Dave

        Those spokes look pretty dangerous, perhaps the UCI should ban them.

    • Mark Blackwell

      Doesn’t look like he was trying to remove glass from the tyre… I do that all the time by lightly dragging my fingers over the tyre, just in front of the front brakes. Instead Felline seems to be reaching down to his QR lever, which is more dangerous but probably no more so than many of the things we see pros doing on their bikes (removing leg warmers, taking a “nature break”, drafting team cars…)

      • Nitro

        I always thought the standard approach was to drag your bidon across the front tyre while in motion… Allows you to feel if there’s anything embedded, with minimal chance of forward roll action…

      • Roger That

        Adjusting your QR whilst riding (in a race) would have you as a candidate for The Darwin Awards, no?

        • ebbe

          Indeed! Adjusting your QR while riding is really, immensely stupid. Adjusting your rim brakes while riding however, is something all riders and mechanics (hanging from the car) have done. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the real reason. And yes, I did see that his hand was as some point lower down (after it was higher up first), but that could have also been from a slight shift in balance or simply his hand was already caught by a spoke at that time. It’s all speculation however, since the team obviously does not want to give us the real reason. That glass on the tire story is obvious nonsense

  • Alex

    I’m glad to see Audax disqualified the two teams in question. Regardless of their efforts, following the established race rules is paramount and any exceptions made in this case would be unjust to previous teams and record holders

    • Catherine Rodriquez

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  • Arfy

    Now the motor cheats know they’d better add a cooling system in their seat-tube ASAP.

    • Robert Merkel

      I wouldn’t have thought that there’s enough space to have enough cooling fluid (or heatsink) around any plausible motor to completely hide the heat signature.

      Something more exotic like a CO2 cartridge (or even liquid nitrogen) might theoretically work, I suppose. But we’re starting to talk very complex engineering at that point!

      • Arfy

        I think the trick would be two-fold:
        * Thermally insulate the motor from the frame so the frame doesn’t heat up quickly, this would eliminate the hotspot shown in the video. You can have some heat into the frame, as long as it’s removed by the airflow around it. You may also restrict the on-time of the motor so that heat doesn’t build up over a long period of time, so just use it for short efforts, a thermal sensor could be used.
        * Dissipate the heat over a larger area (seat-tube, top-tube, maybe down-tube), or move it away to somewhere where it won’t be noticed (underneath the seat?) by using a heatsink and utilising the airflow around the bike to remove it from there. The trick is to get the heat signature low enough to avoid suspicion.

        You could put an active cooling system in the downtube and route this to cool the motor, and with the amount of money that’s being discussed ($50,000 for a wheel) and the ongoing discussion about lifetime bans for being caught, I’m sure someone’s happy to do it.

  • Nitro

    I don’t get how a journalist would “suggest” hidden motors have been used… but not actually back this up with facts, figures, names etc

    The “I know something that you don’t know, but I’m not going to tell you who it is” sounds a bit amateur to me…

    • Robert Merkel

      They appear to have facts – in short, they pointed an infrared camera at a couple of races and got some glowing seattubes, which is strongly indicative of cheating.

      However, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to hold off on naming names without definitive proof, given the consequences that the mere accusation of being involved in this kind of cheating is going to have on someone’s career.

      For what it’s worth, I am surprised at the numbers allegedly involved, given that Strade Bianche was in March, well after Van den Driessche was caught. I would have thought that would have been enough to scare most miscreants.

      • jules

        no mention of the riders’ results though. surely they should have done quite well? if they are pack fodder as per normal then it’s fair to question why the motor didn’t help. on the other hand, if they did well..

        • Robert Merkel

          The Inner Ring has tweeted a screenshot from the TV report of the images from the actual race


          As Mr (?) Ring indicates, it’s hardly compelling evidence of cheating as far as he (and I) can see. The images from a known doctored bike are far more obvious.

          • ebbe

            This is one of those (alleged) rear hub motors. The report says: 5 seat tube motors + 2 rear hub motors.

            While this picture from a (alleged) rear hub motor is not very conclusive, the 5 from the seat tube motors should be far more convincing. However, I applaud the journalists from not releasing the images yet since the internet will probably be able to name the bike and therefore the team, and possibly even the rider even from a contour.

            I see this while thing more as an exposure of the UCI than anything else. It’s the UCI that knew this type of technical fraud is possible (it’s been technically possible for over 40 years by the way) and failed to counter it. If this story turns out the be true, Cookson should resign immediately.

      • ebbe

        Indeed. So far, this Italian newspaper and French TV station have done journalism the way it’s supposed to be done (from what we’ve seen… other things may come up to change this)
        – You don’t merely copy-paste one opinion/letter/accusation and call that a story. You gather actual factual evidence and only make claims that are supported by evidence or at the very least the evidence makes your story plausible. (Note: there’s something to be said about their evidence, but I’ll leave that aside for now)
        – You present the evidence to the “other party” – in this case the UCI – and allow them time to respond with their side of the story and take action. You don’t carry out basic adversarial principles via the media, but you do this in private before you put your story in the media.
        – You don’t explicitly name any names until you’ve also allowed the riders/teams involved to respond or at least prepare, and the proper ‘authorities’ the same. A journalist needs to realise that – even with all the hard and diligence work they’ve put in – the evidence can still be misleading to the journalist themselves, and they can ruin somebody’s career for good. A heat signature still is no rock solid evidence of KNOWING PRESENCE AND USE of a motor… however it’s by far the best I’ve seen in any case to date.
        – Then, if the UCI and involved riders/teams are not taking the responsibility they should, you can always (threaten to) release the names and further evidence later on.

        I would say that so far, these journalists have done pretty good

  • Michele

    My reply to those 2 investigators referred to in that horrendously written cyclingnews piece (off topic: will these devices connect to non expensive watches with Bluetooth? Or just the expensive watches?):

    If you’re so sure of your technology then name names.

    • Dave

      I agree about the business opportunity.

      Once an offending rider and team have been fined, the UCI could split the revenue 50/50 with the company which detected it. Some for you, some for me, we both win.

  • Dave

    Speaking of seat tube motors, what happened to the UCI’s statement on 4 April that “in 4 to 10 days” they would announce the Femke van den Driessche decision? I know that there was the convenient timing of the confected outrage over disc brakes, but they involved two completely separate UCI Commissions so it still looks like the normal sort of unexplained silence which usually follows the UCI doing something they aren’t proud of.

  • Anto, NZ

    Scarponi is quite the natural history camera man, maybe hasn’t quite got the voice of David Attenborough, but that piece was a least entertaining and uplifting after seeing the mechanical doping clip. Could trained parrots carry Go Pros and replace the need for motos?

    • Arfy

      You’re definitely onto something, imagine birds flying back to the team cars to retrieve bottles, or landing on the handlebars with a mussette bag.

      • Anto, NZ

        Amazing! You’ve just cut down on the number of domestiques a team needs and probably the team members at feed stations too. I suspect they could also do a better job of team tactics than the Ettix classics team too. Bye, bye a few team managers.
        The massive financial savings could be exactly what cycling needs!
        I feel an open letter to the UCI coming on… look how quickly they decided to ditch disc brakes. The Giro could be totally transformed! :-)

        • Dave

          A parrot could probably be equally as interesting as Simon Gerrans in a post-race interview. Adding a squawk or two would go to great lengths to improve his litany about the team’s support.

  • Derek Maher

    Great to see Emma J take the overall win. I bet the management and riders are happy and breathed a sigh of relief.


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