In today’s Daily News Digest: Démare sprints to victory in Halle Ingooigem; Dumoulin wins third Dutch national TT title; Skujins returns from California injury with second in Latvian time trial championship; Martin and Kristoff head Katusha-Alpecin Tour de France lineup; Sagan and Majka’s Bora-hansgrohe teammates confirmed for Tour de France; Team Sunweb confirms riders to compete in Tour de France alongside Michael Matthews; Pro panel suggesting course changes for 2018 Australian national road championships; Tour de Pologne reduces team sizes; Cyrus Monk earns Cannondale-Drapac stagiaire position; Dyball secures stagiaire slot with French pro team; Video: A message from David Lappartient, UCI Presidential candidate
Your Thursday Daily News Digest
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Arnaud Démare has secured a morale boost prior to the Tour de France, winning the 1.1-ranked Halle Ingooigem event in Belgium on Wednesday. The FDJ rider was quickest in the sprint to the line, beating Trek-Segafredo rider Edward Theuns, who was riding for the Belgian national team), as well as Iljo Keisse (QuickStep Floors). Démare previously won the event in 2014.
Run off in scorching heat, three riders went clear after an hour of racing. Pieter Vanspeybrouck, Antwan Tolhoek and Jacob Scott opened a gap of several minutes, but were eventually hauled back. Once on the finishing circuit several small groups tried to get away but these were hauled back each time. Démare was best in the subsequent bunch finish.
The victory follows on from his stage win and points classification success in the recent Critérium du Dauphiné, and will give him encouragement that he is on track for a good Tour. He is yet to take a Tour stage, although his win in the 2016 Milan-San Remo underlines his quality.
“I’m very happy that it came down to a sprint,” he said. “I’ve already won this and I think it’s a good course to prepare for the French championship. I feel the legs are good.”
Now 25, Démare made his Tour debut in 2014 and was twice third on stages. He returned the following year but wasn’t as close to a win, with fifth place in the Paris sprint his best result. He rode the Giro rather than the Tour last season, although he was a non-finisher.
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Cibel - Cebon
Today’s feature image was taken at the Passo Di Gavia in Italy by Gruber Images.