Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Bennett goes early, others react late; points battle heats up; Boasson Hagen takes birthday bonus, and Van der Breggen shines.
Dispatches from the Giro d’Italia
Bennett wins stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia
Confidence on a high after his stage win last Friday, Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) grabbed a dominant victory on the 12th stage of the Giro d’Italia. The Irishman was prominent in a tough finale, staying close to the front on the climb inside the final ten kilometres, while other rivals such as Elia Viviani (QuickStep Floors) were long dropped.
Bahrain-Merida rider Matej Mohoric and Movistar’s Carlos Betancur got clear and still had a couple of seconds’ advantage heading towards the line, but Bennett jumped hard with 400 metres to go and thundered past them. His acceleration opened a big gap over the field, and he had ample time to celebrate.
“It was a tough final,” Bennett said. “There were still two guys in the front. I didn’t know how much energy they had left, and I didn’t want another stage getting away from me. So I decided to go early. I didn’t know if I could hold it or not, but I think I caught some guys by surprise, so it worked to my advantage.”
There were no developments of significance in the general classification. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) retains his 47 second advantage over Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), the 2017 Giro winner. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) is third, one minute four seconds back.
Points jersey battle heats up
Asked if the maglia ciclamino seemed close to him, Sam Bennett gave an unexpected answer. “The what?” he asked Eurosport’s Juan Antonio Flecha after his second stage win in this year’s race. Informed that the Italian phrase refers to the purple points jersey, Bennett said that he wasn’t going to change his current approach.
“I will just focus on stage wins,” he said. “It is getting closer, but I am just going to focus on stage wins. Then in the last week, if it is really close then maybe I’ll look at it.”
Current jersey holder Elia Viviani cracked during the stage and finished well back. As a result of the 50 points he picked up for his stage win plus Viviani’s absence in the sprint finish, the Italian’s advantage has been slashed to just 22 points. He is on a total of 184 points, while Bennett is now on 162.
Tomorrow’s Giro stage
Stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia covers 180 kilometres from Ferrara to Nervesa della Battaglia and looks like another one for the sprints. As was the case with stage 12, there is a climb close to the finish, but a big gallop seems the most likely outcome.
Gaviria doubles up in California
It was a case of deja vu on stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California. Just as he did on stage 1, Fernando Gaviria (QuickStep Floors) proved fastest in the bunch sprint, and just like on stage 1, it was Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) and Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) that were next across the line, in that order.
— World Cycling Stats (@wcstats) May 17, 2018
Tejay van Garderen (BMC) finished comfortably in the bunch to retain his overall lead. That lead will be challenged on tomorrow’s penultimate stage as the riders tackle a long, mountainous stage ending at South Lake Tahoe.
Kendall Ryan takes opening-stage honours in California
The women’s Tour of California is now underway as well, with Kendall Ryan (Team TIBCO-SVB) taking out stage 1 in a bunch sprint. The 25-year-old left her run late but won comfortably ahead of Emma White (Rally) and Nettie Edmondson (Wiggle High5), earning the first leader’s jersey of her career.
— World Cycling Stats (@wcstats) May 17, 2018
The women’s Tour of California (or, as it’s officially and cumbersomely named, the Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race empowered with SRAM) is raced over three stages. Tomorrow’s stage mirrors the difficult finish to the men’s stage 6 while the final stage is a flat circuit race around Sacramento.
Boasson Hagen wins stage 2 of the Tour of Norway
In a case of perfect timing in two respects, Edvald Boasson Hagen took stage victory at the Tour of Norway on his birthday and also on the Norwegian Constitution day. The Team Dimension Data rider blasted into Asker ahead of Sondre Holst Enger (Israel Cycling Academy) and Alex Aranburu (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA).
“I did it last year on the same finish, so I knew what to do and it worked out well today,” said the Norwegian. “So I am really happy.”
Boasson Hagen jumps up 19 places to second overall. Stage 1 winner Dylan Groenewegen (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) slips to third, while stage 1 runner-up Holst Enger is the new race leader.
Van der Breggen wins Durango-Durango
It was yet another impressive showing for Anna Van der Breggen on Thursday, with the Dutchwoman continuing a remarkable season when she soloed to victory in the wins Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria race in Spain’s Basque Country. The Dutch Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team rider reached the line 29 seconds clear of Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott), with Sabrina Stultiens (WaowDeals Pro Cycling) 57 second back in third.
“I was just not quite good enough to follow Anna’s final attack, the last climb was super steep,” said van Vleuten. “It was a climb that suits Anna a bit better than me.”
Are Deloitte and Giant set to become new title sponsors of BMC Racing Team?
Following on from a story this week saying that Cervélo looks set to take over from Giant as the bikes at Team Sunweb, De Telegraaf has reported that the latter brand could be part of a big new sponsorship at the BMC Racing Team. According to the Dutch publication, Deloitte will end its current backing of Team Dimension Data and be part of a new Deloitte-Giant sponsorship of the BMC Racing Team structure.
The American squad has been searching for new backing for quite some time. Andy Rihs, who owned the BMC company, passed away this spring due to illness, but the sponsorship search predated that. Contacted by CyclingTips on Thursday, the team declined to be drawn on De Telegraaf’s report. “We don’t comment on rumours,” said the press officer.
The team currently includes riders such as Richie Porte, Rohan Dennis and Olympic road race champion Greg Van Avermaet.
If the departure of Deloitte and Cérvelo are confirmed, it is not clear what this would mean for Team Dimension Data. Deloitte had reportedly provided a big part of the budget which brought Mark Cavendish on board.
Boom busted over boxing in bunch
Dutchman Lars Boom has had an early end to his Tour of Norway, being ejected from the race after striking competitor Preben van Hecke (Sport Vlaanderen).
“You can not beat a competitor, especially not in the face,” said a race commissaire to TV2. “It is not good for cycling’s reputation and he cannot take the law in his own hands. We have made a decision to ban him.”
However van Hacke’s account differs, and he believes throwing Boom out of the race was too harsh. “Sometimes it happens in the race. He did not hit my face, but the hip.” As for Boom, he claimed that van Hecke was riding dangerously. “I don’t want to crash, especially when an idiot does something like that,” he said.
I want to say sorry to all cycling fans, the organizer of the Tour of Norway and all other cyclists for my wrong reaction in today’s incident. https://t.co/d63Mxj2vu9
— Lars Boom (@lars_boom) May 17, 2018
See more here.
Time to pivot, there’s a new mountain bike
Pivot Cycles have a new trail mountain bike. Out goes the Mach 429 Trail, and in comes the Trail 429. The new carbon bike features 120mm of rear wheel travel, designed to be matched with a 130mm or 140mm front fork. Overhauled geometry brings a shorter rear end (430mm), a longer reach, slacker head tube angle (67.3 degrees) and a steeper seat tube (74 degrees). The reach measurement now matches that of Pivot’s burlier Mach 5.5 bike.
Much like the previous version, the new Trail 429 allows the use of either 29″ and 2.75″ Plus wheels. It’s the American company’s first 1x-specific trail bike, allowing a wider and stiffer lower DW-Link suspension linkage to be used. For those just catching up to Boost spacing, the Trail 429 uses Pivot’s Super Boost + spacing, adding an extra 9mm of incompatibility. This extra width affords more freedom for increased tyre clearance and a (claimed) 30% increase in wheel stiffness over a 148mm-wide Boost wheel. The frame is said to be stiffer too, and cables are now run internally.
Available in a choice of steel blue or crimson colouring, complete builds of this versatile trail bike start from US$4,699 / AU$7,299 / £4,749. For more information, visit pivotcycles.com.
‘The standard of women’s racing is wicked’ – Voxwomen meets Mark Cavendish
Speaking at the Tour of California, top sprinter Mark Cavendish says he is enthusiastic about women’s racing.
The 2018 Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race
Another video from Voxwomen at the Tour of California.
Did a rider fake a crash in the Tour of Norway?
This video is somewhat bizarre. Watch the orange rider who ends up sitting on the boulevard.
— Andreas Hansen (@Andreas_Hans1) May 16, 2018
Happy birthday to…
Olympic road race champion Greg Van Avermaet, born in 1985 and, two years his junior, triple Tour de France stage winner Edvald Boasson Hagen.