Froome wins the Giro; Mitchelton-Scott dominate Hammer Stavanger: Daily News Digest

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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

Chris Froome won the Giro d’Italia as Sam Bennett claimed the final stage; Mitchelton-Scott’s mens and women’s teams had a stellar weekend; Nino Schurter and Annika Langvad won at the MTB World Cup; and much more.

Quote of the day

Ryan Mullen has had the quote of the day a few times this Giro, and with good reason.

Story of the day: Froome makes history with Giro win

It seemed an impossibility for much of the past three weeks, but here it is: Chris Froome has won the Giro d’Italia. He was 3:22 behind the maglia rosa at the start of stage 19 but by day’s end he was in that jersey, 40 seconds clear. His ride that day — a decidedly un-Sky-like long-range raid — will go down as one of the most memorable performances in cycling’s recent history.

The Briton defended his lead on stage 20 as defending champion Tom Dumoulin threw everything at Froome, and then safely negotiated the final stage in Rome; a stage that had GC times neutralised due to safety concerns.

Some stats about Froome’s win:

– He’s the first British rider to win the Giro
– He’s the seventh rider to win all three Grand Tours (after Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali)
– He’s only the third rider in history to hold all three Grand Tour titles at the same time (after Merckx and Hinault).

Can Froome now go and win his fifth Tour de France, becoming the first rider to win the Giro-Tour double since Marco Pantani in 1998? Importantly, will he even be able to start the Tour? Or will his salbutamol case drag on beyond July? Interesting times ahead.

Sam Bennett snags final stage

Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) came into the Giro without a Grand Tour stage win. He left the race with three.

Sunday’s final stage in Rome was the sprinters’ reward for slogging through the brutal mountains of the Giro’s final week. The stage featured 10 laps of a circuit around the Eternal City, but GC times were taken after just three laps, after riders had concerns about the road surface. In the shadows of the Colosseum, Bennett beat four-time stage winner Elia Viviani (QuickStep Floors) and Jempy Drucker (BMC) to wrap up the 2018 Giro in style.

Viviani closed out the Giro in the sprinter’s jersey having worn it since winning in Tel Aviv, way back on stage 2. Israel sure feels like a long time ago.

Miguel Angel Lopez wins white jersey

It was a race within a race and one of the most intriguing battles of the Giro. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Richard Carapaz (Movistar), a pair of young South Americans duking it out for the best young rider classification. It was a close-run thing, but by Giro’s end, it was Lopez in white, 47 seconds clear of Carapaz.

The Colombian and the Ecuadorian were streets ahead of their rivals, finishing third and fourth on GC. Sam Oomen (Sunweb) was third, at 9:21, but fourth place was more than an hour further back (UAE Team Emirates’ Valerio Conti at 1:18:07).

Thibaut Pinot hospitalised after stage 20

The Frenchman was clearly unwell on stage 20 and lost more than 45 minutes on the day. He headed to hospital that night and wasn’t able to start the final stage. It’s not how Pinot wanted to end the Giro, particularly given he started stage 20 in third overall …

Race Radio

Mitchelton-Scott men win Hammer Stavanger

In its second year the made-for-TV Hammer Series expanded to Norway in 2018. Raced over three days, Hammer Stavanger saw teams accrue points on the first two days — the Hammer Climb and Hammer Sprint — with the standings determining start order in the Hammer Chase, a sort-of team time trial on Sunday.

Mitchelton-Scott cleaned up, winning the Climb, the Sprint and then the Chase as well. The Aussie team started the Chase 30 seconds ahead of Sunweb but the leaders pulled further and further ahead as the kilometres wore on. Mitchelton-Scott finished the 48.7km course some 2:19 ahead of Sunweb with BMC another three seconds back in third.

Points from Hammer Stavanger are carried over to Hammer Limburg next Friday. The combined points from those two races will carry over to Hammer Hong Kong in October.

Mitchelton-Scott women continue dominance

While the Mitchelton-Scott men’s team might have had a great weekend in Norway, their women’s team was even more impressive elsewhere in Europe. A week after winning the tough Emakumeen Bira with a final-stage solo move, Amanda Spratt won Sunday’s SwissEver GP Cham, soloing to victory by 29 seconds. Of note: in four editions of the Swiss race, Aussies have now won three.

Meanwhile in Belgium, the Aussie women tore apart the Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik. Sarah Roy slipped away early, attacking over the Muur van Geraadsbergen, before two-time winner Gracie Elvin came across to join her. Roy and Elvin rode the last 75km as a two-rider time trial, finishing in that order some 6:35 ahead of a chasing group.

Jens Keukeleire wins Belgium Tour

Also in Belgium, Jens Keukeleire (Lotto Soudal) took out the five-stage Baloise Belgium Tour over the weekend. He moved into the lead on stage 4 after finishing second behind teammate and solo winner Jelle Vanendert. Other stage winners at the race include Lotto Soudal’s Andre Greipel (two stage wins), Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept) and Christophe Laporte (Cofidis).

Schurter, Langvad win round 3 of the MTB World Cup

In the world of mountain biking, Nino Schurter (Switzerland) has claimed the 28th World Cup victory of his career. In a dramatic race on his favourite XC course in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, the Olympic Champion outsprinted Commonwealth Games silver medalist Anton Cooper (New Zealand) to take the win. It’s Schurter’s second win in three rounds of the World Cup so far.

Image via Scott Bikes

In the women’s race, former world champ Annika Langvad (Denmark) claimed her second race of the season too, narrowly beating world champion Jolanda Neff (Switzerland) with Pauline Ferrand-Prevot not far behind in third. Four rounds remain in the 2018 UCI MTB World Cup, with the next round held in Val di Sole, Italy, on July 6-8.

Marcos Garcia wins the Tour of Japan

The Tour of Japan wrapped up over the weekend as well. Spaniard Marcos García (Kinan) took overall honours after winning the 32.9km road stage up Mt. Fuji (a stage three times longer than the Fuji stage normally is). That was on stage 6 — García was able to defend his lead for the remaining two stages to improve on his second overall at the 2016 edition.

Of note for Australian readers: Chris Harper (Bennelong-SwissWellness) was fourth overall after finishing third on Fuji-san, and second the following day. It’s been a great season so far for the Aussie Nationals road race bronze medalist.

Adam Hansen’s Grand Tour streak is over

He revealed late last year that his record Grand Tour streak might come to an end in 2018, and that moment appears to have come for Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal). The charismatic Australian has raced and finished every Grand Tour since the 2011 Vuelta a Espana — a truly staggering feat and one that blows the previous record out of the water. Hansen appears set to skip the Tour and Vuelta now, with his rest-of-the-season plans yet to be decided.

Will he be back at a Grand Tour? “That’s a good question,” the 37-year-old said. “I’d like to take a bit of a break and have the summer off. I might do 21, we’ll see.”

Tech news

Shimano updates S-Phyre XC9 and ME7 shoes

Released alongside the new XTR 12-speed mountain bike groupsets, Shimano has updated two of its flagship off-road shoes. The existing S-Phyre XC9, a cross country racing version of its S-Phyre RC9 road shoe, gets a more supple microfibre material that should be more comfortable, while also resisting material creases like the previous version. Additionally, Shimano has worked with Michelin to improve the rubber sole, making it grippier and more durable.

Built for the trail and enduro rider, the ME range, standing for “mountain enduro”, aims to combine the pedaling efficiency and low weight of a cross country shoe, with the added foot protection and traction of gravity-focused shoe. Shimano is updating the top-of-the line ME7, giving it better protection from the elements, a revised sole for improved off-bike traction, and increased foot protection. Both new XTR-level shoe models should be available around September.

Moving pictures

Stage 21 of the Giro with Mitchelton-Scott

Check out the Aussie team’s final behind-the-scenes video from the Giro.

Sunweb’s #InsideOut from the Giro

Here’s Sunweb’s behind-the-scenes look at the final four stages of the Giro:

Highlights from Hammer Stavanger

Catch up on all the action from Hammer Stavanger with this series of three videos. Here’s the Climb:

The Sprint:

And finally, the Chase:

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