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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
This looks different.
Indeed it does. But don’t be afraid. This is the first edition of our more compact, more digestible Daily News Digest. We’ll be experimenting with the format a bit this week and would love your feedback in the comments below.
Story of the day: Giro d’Israel
The Giro d’Italia will kick off in Jerusalem in four days amid escalating political tension, and Chris Froome will be there, bringing with him his own question marks. Froome reiterated his right to start the race in interviews this week. “I certainly haven’t been charged of anything as of yet and I hope to be fully exonerated of any wrongdoing because I know I didn’t do anything wrong,” he told Eurosport.
Of course, others are less than pleased. That includes other riders — the Secret Pro filed his distaste with the situation a few weeks ago.
Froome will be up against defending champion Tom Dumoulin as well as Fabio Aru, Simon Yates, George Bennett, Miguel Angel “Superman” Lopez, Thibaut Pinot, and Domenico Pozzovivo. Rumors have swirled that Froome’s preparation has been less than ideal. Keep an eye out for a full preview this week as our own Matt de Neef makes his way to Israel.
Quote of the day
“Opioids work, temporarily at least, especially with alcohol. And it’s easy to just have a nice warm feeling and go to sleep and forget about it. But at the end of the day, it’s addicting and a lot of people don’t have, or aren’t as fortunate as I was to have, a support group that got me through it and kept me alive.”
That was Floyd Landis speaking with Colorado Public Radio this week, shortly after his case against Lance Armstrong settled for $5 million. The interview touched on Armstrong and doping, of course, but spent more time on Landis’ use of cannabinoids (CBDs) to wean himself from an opioid addiction that began with prescription painkillers, and the CBD business he’s started since.
Another story of TUE abuse is making the rounds. Lieuwe Westra has a new book out in which he admits that he used knee pain as an excuse to obtain TUE’s for cortisone, which he would then use during important parts of his season.
A couple lines from the book, via Leeuwarder Courant:
“The medical certificate I received often with a feigned injury, for example, an inflammation in the knee. It took years to recover an injury to the knee.”
“If you wanted to join the big boys, you had to look up the limits of the permissible.”
Unsurprisingly, Astana was “shocked” — shocked! — by this revelation. The team said in a statement that it never provided him with any of the medicines mentioned in Westra’s book.
The TUE process was updated in 2014 after years of loose governance. It’s nonetheless been the source of plenty of controversy in recent years, not least related to Bradley Wiggins’ use of triamcinolone ahead of three grand tours.
If you missed it, you can read a wonderful piece on Lieuwe Westra we published on his exit from cycling here.
On this day in… Y2K
Leon Vandaele passed away on April 29, 2000. He was a winner of Paris-Roubaix in 1958 in 8’04’41, sprinting out of one of the largest lead groups in the race’s history (23 riders).
Tour de Romandie
Primoz Roglic (the former ski jumper, as TV commentators remind us incessantly) just won the Tour de Romandie, just weeks after beating Mikel Landa at Itzulia Basque Country. Roglic is on a roll and plans to take on the Tour de France this year.
Richie Porte was at Romandie too. The defending champ was slightly off his game but managed to hop on the final step of the podium. “It hasn’t been the most straightforward run-in so far. So to be there or thereabouts at this race is a good sign I think,” he said.
The ongoing story here is the seemingly unstoppable rise of Sky’s Egan Bernal. The 21-year-old Colombian finished second overall and won the uphill time trial ahead of Roglic, Steven Kruijswijk (who almost won the Giro, remember?), and Porte. Bernal has been good in literally every race he’s done this year, and is just back from a collarbone break at Catalonia a month ago. The kid is the real deal.
Festival Elsy Jacobs
Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance, right? Well, not this time. Astana’s 18-year-old Leitzia Paternoster won Festival Elsy Jacobs over the weekend, besting Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans). Majerus held a slim lead into the final stage but lost it on time bonuses in the final sprint.
Tour of Chongming
The latest round of the Women’s WorldTour wrapped up in China when Kristin Wild (Wiggle High5) nabbed the final day’s sprint at the Tour of Chongming ahead of Mitchelton-Scott’s Jolien d’Hoore and Cylance’s Giorgia Bronzini. The overall was won by Hitec’s Charlotte Becker ahead of Aussie champ Shannon Malseed (Tibco-SVB) and Anastasia Iakovenko (BTC City Ljubljana), all of whom part of a stage-two breakaway that survived to the line. Next stop on the Women’s WorldTour is the Tour of California from the 17th to 19th of May.
The Sufferfest Training System app will now set resistance on your smart trainer so you can suffer in myriad new and interesting ways. The app just got a big update and now allows for resistance control of many popular smart trainers, including the Wahoo Kickr, CycleOps Hammer, Elite Direto, and Wattbike Atom, from your Apple device (iPhone, Mac, iPad) via Bluetooth Smart. You can check compatibility here.
We’re genuinely concerned that James Huang’s shutter finger may develop carpal tunnel after he and Caley Fretz put together four massive Sea Otter tech galleries last week. Here’s Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4, in case you missed them.
Chapter2 just launched a new aero frameset. The Rere takes its name from a Maori word that means “to flow,” and uses Kamm-tail tubing profiles and direct-mount rim brakes. It was wind tunnel tested at Auckland University. Frame, fork, headset, and a reversible seatpost will cost AUD$3,630/US$2,699/£1,695/€2,394.
Chapter2 has also developed an aerodynamic integrated handlebar/stem that complements the Rere, dubbed the Mana. The carbon fiber bar/stem will fit any bike with a 1.125inch steerer and includes internal cable routing and fittings for out-front Barfly and K-Edge computer mounts. Price, AUD$725/US$539/£341/€478.
Our Australian tech editor Matt Wikstrom has just received the Rere frameset and Mana bar/stem and will provide a full review of the two in the coming weeks.
A bit of history
Ever wonder how CyclingTips got its start? CT founder Wade Wallace hopped on the CyclingTips Podcast this week to tell the tale.
Happy birthday to…
David Moncoutié, Edward Theuns, and Marcel Sieberg.