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Your Wednesday Daily News Digest

by Mark Zalewski

February 15, 2017


In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Kristoff wins Tour of Oman opener; US judge denies Armstrong request, federal whistleblower case headed to jury trial; Tramadol: Why Some Athletes and Experts Want It Banned; Boonen crashes in Oman, okay to start second stage; Chris Hoy: Cycling needs a shake up; Three Days De Panne-Koksijde signs 10 year agreement with events company Golazo; Gent-Wevelgem announces final teams; Merckx: Tour of Qatar unlikely for 2018; Hennie Kuiper searching for infamous photographer; Wout van Aert tops prize money list; Crash in amateur race after elbows thrown; Behind the scenes making a carbon frame; Film: To The Night.

Kristoff wins Tour of Oman opener

by CyclingTips

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) took the win on the opening stage of the Tour of Oman in a field sprint ahead of Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida).

The breakaway consisted of Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport), Alan Marangoni (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Giuseppe Fonzi (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia), Aimé De Gendt (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), and Christophe Masson (LA Vera Classic AquaProtect).

Everyone looked to Katusha-Alpecin with sprint favourite Kristoff to do the work and they obliged, limiting the break to a maximum gap of little more than three minutes.

“Of course, all in the peloton looked at us, as we were the favourites with me as one of the best sprinters, so we had to take control of the race from the beginning,” said Kristoff. “Quick Step helped and later on also Sunweb. Our team did an amazing job. In the end they all contributed for the lead-out. We knew the finish from last year and knew that we had to come to the front a little bit late, especially because of the straight road and the head wind. We waited in the bunch quite a long time.

“Just in the end, with 300 meters to go, we hit the front. It was still tough with the head wind, but our lead-out was perfect. Marco Haller and Michael Mørkøv were the last guys to bring me to the ideal position but also Nils Politt helped a lot. I am proud of this team. Already in Bessèges we showed to have a good group. This is a great feeling. I hope we can continue this way.”

Stage 1: Al Sawadi Beach > Naseem Park - Stage Result

Tuesday 14th February 2017

1. no
KRISTOFF Alexander
Team Katusha - Alpecin
2. it
Dimension Data
3. it
Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team

Today’s feature image shows fans at the Tour of Oman.

  • jules

    the rider in the blue there who decided to try and squeeze past by using his elbow needs a good talking to, or worse

    • zosim

      rider in white. all I’m saying :)

      • This is the cycling equivalent of the blue/gold dress

        • Olev

          There is a second video. Look on @nigeldesota ‘s Instagram. He uploaded both videos. He is the guy in blue

          • Bex

            the guy in blue comment confused me, there’s a ton of guys in blue and i thought you meant the one who got squeezed in the crash. but good find, so it was the guy in whites fault, trying to pass on the inside.

    • Superpilot

      Nah watch it again, it is the rider in the white inside the rider in blue who was leaning first, leaned on blue man with his elbow, which forced blue man out who used elbows to balance aaaaand dominos….

      • jules

        rider in white is blameless. he was on the inside and ahead of blue rider approaching the turn. there is nowhere for white rider to go. blue rider attempts to move forward into the corner – cardinal sin. there is nothing white rider could have done to avoid contact. if blue rider had maintained his position (i.e. not moved forward) everything would have been fine.

        • Sunny Ape

          now, try making all those decisions in one fifth of a second. Don’t come up the inside in a corner… you’re asking for trouble.

          • jules

            there is always someone on the inside – by definition. what you must not do is move up on the inside leading into a corner. he didn’t do that – white rider was ahead of blue rider.

            ‘fifth of a second’ decisions is irrelevant – there’s clear principles (or rules) for how to race safely, if you follow them you’ll avoid BS outcomes like in video.

        • I’m not so sure (not saying I disagree though). You’d need to see the footage from a different angle It was a bit dynamic, and possible that guy in blue was in front until leading into the corner and when the pace slowed the UCLA rider moved up (but hard to tell) . Certainly everything happened once the UCLA rider moved to avoid the kerb…

          • jules

            agreed. the footage doesn’t give us enough info. if white rider did move up (not captured) then I change my mind :)

            but from available footage he seems to have been ahead.

            but either way blue rider had an opportunity to slow and make room. even if someone flicks you in a race, you should still yield to avoid a crash. holding your ground to make a point isn’t smart.

            • Certainly it’s a good reminder about line choice, and consequences… I hope the other poor bas.tards are ok.

        • Bex

          i was skeptical at first but you just might be right this time jules. rider in front can’t be at fault and from that footage he was well in front until the apex of the corner really. it’s very unlucky for the other riders though, the cause gets off scott free and others are left with the gravel rash and who knows what other problems/broken bikes/bones.

        • Mark Blackwell

          interesting to read the comments on Instagram. starts off blaming rider in white (in UCLA kit), but later in the comments one of the lucky escapees (#350) points out that rider in white is ahead going into the turn, and that indeed blue rider (@nigeldesota) is at fault.

          • Michele

            Just proves that Jules is on instagram :)

  • Andrew

    and he rides away with out a scratch….. reckon a discussion in the car park would be waranteed

    • Gavin Adkins

      Yep, a very vigorous exchange of ideas in a very dark car park.

  • Gavin Adkins

    Anyone who dive-bombs a corner for 20th wheel is an irredeemable plonker that needs to buy a set of golf clubs.

  • Mark Blackwell

    While the Velon videos of in-the-bunch action are undeniably fantastic to watch, it does worry me that amateur riders like the one in the video above will start trying to imitate the pros in ways that they shouldn’t, squeezing through gaps and being overly aggressive.

    Oh, and don’t ride the brake hoods through corners, get in the bloody drops

    • Bex

      is riding on the hoods rant worthy? what difference does it make really, sure a little lower centre of gravity but what else makes it so necessary to be in the drops?

      • Mark Blackwell

        probably not… my definition of a rant includes it being slightly unreasonable :)

        but i certainly think you’re less likely to crash from the drops, because you’re hands are less likely to be bumped off the bars.

        • jules

          come on guys, are we going to argue about something as trivial as riding on the hoods?

          let’s spend our energy on who was in the wrong in that crit :)

  • Sunny Ape

    When you watch videos of carbon frames being made, you realise how labour intensive and time consuming it is. That must be the primary factor as to why a carbon framed bikes costs more to purchase that alloy, not the cost of the materials, and why low labour cost economies are the primary producers. If 3D printing carbon fibre is ever perfected, then the manufacturing costs will plunge.

    • velocite

      A week or few ago there was a little old film of a British steel bicycle being made, all in house. Bottom brackets being pressed and machined in several operations, forks made from tube. The production of a carbon frame looked a piece of cake by comparison, I thought. The progress is in materials science: we can now easily make something stronger and lighter with less capital.

      I would be interested in seeing a test of one of those Allied Cycle Works bikes, CT, just to complete the picture.

  • jules

    the Lance trial still annoys me. the sponsor claims they paid the team to win the Tour without doping. in other industries there are laws against that kind of unreasonable conduct. if you pay a truck driver to deliver a package 1000 km away in 5 hours, you can’t deny them payment when it turns out they were speeding and killed 10 people in a fireball crash. you’re more likely to go to jail yourself. yet here’s US Postal, claiming “we wuz robbed”. give it a rest.

    • velocite

      It could be interesting to see how USPS tries to prove that they didn’t get value from the sponsorship.

      • jules

        they all played Lance. I know the narrative is that Lance was the criminal mastermind, but I disagree – he was a sucker in that respect.

        USPS and SCA promotions both paid Tailwind (Lance) a bombload of money for his wins, but cunningly tied those payments to non-doping clauses. SCA promotions in particular specialised in risk assessments of sports payments. Their whole job was to do due diligence on who they were insuring and what the odds were. To suggest they were blindsided by doping in pro cycling is like Vlad Putin arguing he didn’t know about russian spies poisoning dissidents. It’s not credible in the slightest.

        They knew what they were doing – they would have profited if Lance/Tailwind fell short of the bonus conditions (Tour wins), and had a good chance of clawing the payments back if they had to pay him out, when/if he was caught doping (which is what they did).

        people shouldn’t let their assessment of Lance (which I’m not debating) cloud the cynicism of those companies’ approach.

        • DaveRides

          I have absolutely no objection to the second SCA lawsuit, because they were one of few to call it correctly at the time.

          LA is in this mess because he pushed things too far and made too many enemies. The only way he can regain any shred of respect is to man up and start owning his actions.

          • jules

            in a funny way, I have sympathy for SCA. their business is essentially placing bets on sporting outcomes. the contract was the rules of the game and it included a non-doping clause.

            in that circumstance, SCA are entitled to apply the terms of the contract and seek compensation from Lance. and they got it, I believe.

            but on the other hand, and I’m pulling my bush lawyer hat on here, there’s also a requirement to negotiate business in good faith. my objection is on the basis that SCA themselves broke the law in that respect, because they must have suspected Lance was doping. in other words, Lance defrauded SCA, but SCA defrauded Lance by entering into an insurance contract they were confident they would not have to cover him under. that’s smart, but from what I understand – not legal.

            • DaveRides

              The ‘bad faith’ argument doesn’t hold water. I can’t exactly remember which sequence of Tour wins the SCA-insured bonus was for (I think it was for 2000-04, but might have been 2001-04), but it is worth considering the amount of water which went under the bridge in the 4-5 years between that deal being signed and SCA’s refusal to pay out the prize after LA won* the 2004 Tour.

              At that time, even Greg Lemond had only fought LA over the Trek deal (he only jumped on the doping accusations later), Betsy Andreu hadn’t yet spoken out, Emma O’Reilly hadn’t yet spoken out, Steve Swart hadn’t yet spoken out, Michael Ashenden hadn’t analysed LA’s performance yet, Simeoni hadn’t yet testified against Ferrari, Simeoni’s dustup with the USPS team was still four years in the future and LA Confidentiel hadn’t been written yet. The whole cycling world was on board with LA at the time, including 99% of the fans who would claim otherwise 13 years later.

              SCA didn’t get all their money back in the end either, they were still left at least $2.5M down at the end.

              • jules

                Come on, really? in 1998 the French cops had to hire a fleet of trucks to ship out all of the doping products they seized from Festina. the next year, Lance returns from stage 4 cancer and mops the floor with everyone. doping had been a part of pro cycling since forever. I know the media glossed over it, but anyone who scratched the surface would have figured out that there was at a bare minimum – a pretty good chance that doping was happening. SCA was run by smart people, they would have been aware an anti-doping clause was good insurance, on their insurance.

                As I said, I tip my hat to them – they outsmarted Lance, but at the end of the day, that isn’t a great achievement. I think Lance is sharp but these guys are a cut above. Victims though, they were not.

      • DaveRides

        That’s why I expect it to be settled for an amount well short of the full USD 96.9M being claimed.

        At least Landis won’t be getting rich from it. If it gets settled for around $40M with him getting a 15% cut (the lower end of the portion which can be paid to the whistleblower, because the DoJ will take the view that they did the heavy lifting) he might be doing well just to break even on the whole exercise once the IRS taxes it and he’s paid his lawyers.

    • But the trial, might not be anything to do with proving they were being robbed, but may be a purely defensive move (wrt to their reputation) on USPS part. “We didn’t know”…

      • jules

        It’s about money. Never think just because they’re govt that money doesn’t matter. It’s just business. Dirty business, all round.

        • I never said it wasn’t about money, just that they *might* be playing the long game… which ultimately depends their bottom line. A win might just be a bonus.

          • jules

            USPS is a govt-owned agency. the way this usually works is that some senior-ranking politician saw US pros attempting to mix it in Europe and decided to back them with sponsorship. I’d suspect it was unlikely that some manager at USPS came up with the idea.

            e.g. TAC sponsors the F1 grand prix in Australia. TAC does not need to tout for business. they were most likely told that they would be sponsoring.

            I don’t think anyone tried to blame USPS for Lance doping. they deliver mail. the business purpose for sponsoring – to the extent there was one – was about raising international awareness for overseas parcels I believe. I think they achieved that goal and more..

            • DaveRides

              It was legit marketing, not a government order. Back then the USPS was profitable and given the freedom to run itself (not sure of current arrangements now they lose billions every year) rather than being directly government-controlled like when TAC ‘sponsorship’ is used to launder government subsidies of pretty well every sport in Victoria – including cycling.

              It was proposed that the road safety awareness component of the SA equivalent MAC was to be privatised along with the CTP insurance last year, but this didn’t eventuate. It would have been interesting to see how the private sector would have operated that part differently.

    • DaveRides

      USPS is not involved in the suit.

      It’s the Department of Justice which reviews whistleblower suits and decides whether to get involved. This is intended as a check against empire building and corruption within government departments/agencies.

      • jules

        Sure, but they are still running the trial on the premise of USPS (and by extention – the govt and tax payers) having been defrauded. It’s not fraud when you sponsor someone with what amounts to a wink and a nudge.

        • DaveRides

          If it goes to trial, we’ll get to see for sure rather than making assumptions with 20/20 hindsight.

          Pity it will probably be settled out of court.

          • jules

            A trial won’t reveal the truth. If they even have to, and the vagaries of the law make me suspect that may be unnecessary, I’m sure USPS officials will take the bible and swear that they believed Lance and co. were as clean as driven snow. Your honour, we never conceived of the skullduggery and cheating that Oprah only uncovered in 2012. I am a simple person, raised under god’s teachings, etc.

            • DaveRides

              And they’ll have a contract with LA’s signature to back them up.

              The cycling world believed it back then, including journos like David Walsh. Of course the sponsors were going to be on board.

              • jules

                He’s not on trial for cheating. Nor for breaking a contract. They have to prove damages.

                • DaveRides

                  They need to demonstrate it on the balance of probabilities, not prove it.

                  Both sides will know that juries in civil trials tend towards splitting the difference, and they will negotiate a settlement somewhere in the middle on that basis.

                  • jules

                    it’s still linked to the damages. there’s no obligation to split it down the middle. if the DoJ build a compelling case, a settlement will be further towards their claim, and vice versa.

  • Luke Bartlett

    Chris Hoy looks like a bull in that photo. what a beast!

  • DaveRides

    Bad week for the #hangry vegans in Adelaide, after the road rage episode the other day they are now having a tanty over a billboard…


    • Rob

      #vegorego #meatermatters

    • jules

      too funny


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