Your Wednesday Daily News Digest

by Mark Zalewski

November 2, 2016

In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Van Aert and Verschueren defend in Koppenbergcross; Team Novo Nordisk CEO Southerland calls for more nuanced debate on TUEs; Vaughters on WorldTour: A race to the bottom; Shane Sutton responds to findings of internal investigation; Van der Haar returns to podium; Nicholas Roche talks about move from Sky to BMC; RideLondon-Surrey Classic and Velon sign three-year partnership; Phil Gaimon announces retirement; Bahrain-Merida filling out roster, has first training camp; Colin Joyce joins Rally Cycling; Jelly Belly trading gaining European experience with return of Tvetcov; Give your bicycle a ‘boost’; Ride a bike on your stomach.

Van Aert and Verschueren defend in Koppenbergcross

by Mark Zalewski

World champion Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice) made it look easy at the Koppenbergcross race of the DVV erzekeringen trofee, riding away from the field on the power sections to his third win there ahead of Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games) and Lars Van der Haar (Giant-Alpecin).

Van Aert made his move at the half-way point of the race, dropping the hammer up the famed Koppenberg cobbles and crossing the line with an increasing gap to newly crowned European Champion Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea). With Van Aert gone, a group of riders caught up to Aerts with three laps to go, including Van der Haar, as well as the Marlux-Napoleon Games trio of Kevin Pauwels, Michael Vanthourenhout and Kevin Vanthourenhout. With two to go, Van der Haar attacked the group, upping the pace. Entering the final lap Pauwels made his move and it blew up the group, with his teammates covering. Van der Haar tried to give chase, and the effort gave him his first podium of the season.

Aerts made a strong effort late in the lap to chase but had to settle for fourth, while Dutch champion Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) did not have a good outing, struggling early and never finding the energy to get back to the lead groups. Van Aert now has a 1’52” lead in the series overall which is based on cumulative time.

In the women’s race it was a two-up battle between defending champion Jolien Verschueren (Telenet-Fidea) and World Champion Thalita de Jong (Rabobank-Liv). The pair worked together to establish their winning lead, but on the final lap it was a true fight, with each rider’s strengths and weaknesses evident. De Jong, the better technical rider, opened up gaps on the off-camber descents while Verschueren, the better climber, would pass entering the uphill sections.

But near the top of the course de Jong surprised some by climbing even with Verschueren. However, Verschueren did not panic and stayed close to de Jong on the descent, knowing what she needed to do — be the first into the final turn onto the Koppenberg — and that is exactly what she did, taking the inside line and powering away from the World Champ on the steep cobbled climb to the finish for the win by 11 seconds. Sophie de Boer dropped her companion mid-way through the final lap to claim third. De Jong still has a nearly two minute lead in the overall series.

Today’s feature image comes from Jered and Ashley Gruber in the Pyrenees.