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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Story of the day: Chris Froome’s legal defense
Chris Froome and the rest of the Giro peloton made its way from Israel to Sicily today. He’s focused on the race, as he’s told us many times, but his lawyers may be looking into something else: a study that casts doubt on the salbutamol test used by WADA.
The battle to clear his name may potentially end up drawing on a newly-published study into Salbutamol, as published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. A research paper entitled the ‘futility of current urine salbutamol doping control,’ claimed that there are faults with the current WADA limits, suggesting that a single urine sample is unable to correctly determine a dosage level of the substance.
Under WADA rules, salbutamol use has a maximum dosage threshold of 1600 micrograms over 24 hours in divided doses, and 800 micrograms over 12 hours. The new study draws on previous research to build a stimulation model. It is based on WADA’s 12 hour limit and while studies into adult humans were used, the authors also drew on literature using dogs.
To read details about that paper, see its conclusions and also see questions raised about it, see more here at CyclingTips.
Dispatches from the Giro d’Italia
‘Twas the Giro’s first rest day
and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Except for the entire peloton, which flew this morning from Israel to Sicily.
A rest day after three days of racing? In the context of the Giro’s long history, it’s certainly a bit odd, but the race’s recent propensity for starting far from home (Belfast, Holland, etc.) means we’ve had quite a few starts like this in recent years. The early rest day is necessary to allow the circus of a grand tour to hop continents. It also means riders will get three rest days throughout the race, instead of the usual two.
Riders got on planes this morning and arrived in Catania just after noon. Their bikes were waiting for them, ready for a quick spin to push the flight out of their legs and prepare for the week to come.
And what a week it is.
The week ahead
Sicily is physically dominated by the cone of Mt. Etna, an active volcano on the island’s eastern edge. The week in racing will be dominated by Etna, too. It’s the first real test of the GC men, and comes on Thursday.
The two Sicilian stages ahead of Etna are easier, but not easy. It’s lumpy country. Both stage 4 (Catania to Caltagirone, 198km) and stage 5 (Agrigento to Santa Ninfa, 153km) feature tricky, uphill finishes.
Stage four finishes with 5km through the city of Caltagirone and the entire final kilometre is uphill, with grades peaking at 13%.
At 2,200m to go, the stage 5 route makes a sharp right then kicks up for a kilometre, averaging 6.1% and peaking at 12%. Then the course then heads slightly downhill before rising gently in the final 300m to the finish.
Stage 4 profile:
Stage 5 profile:
We’ll dig further into the Enta stage later in the week.
Quote of the day
“I’m just living in the moment. There is one quality from our family, with my brothers, we have no fear. For what?”
That was Peter Sagan answering a simple question: What scares you? Click through to read the whole interview.
Revard, Hall win Redlands
UnitedHealthcare’s Katie Hall and Hagens Berman Axeon’s Thomas Revard claimed overall victories at the Redlands Bicycle Classic. Team Tibco’s Emma Grant and Holoweso Citadel’s Brendan Rhim won the final road stage.
AIRhub has launched a simplified version of its resistance training wheel. The AIRhub Pro offers just two resistance settings with a flick of a switch, 1W/km/hr or 2W/km/hr. Available as a complete front wheel for US$856 or hub only for US$595.
As the folks of VeloKicks will attest, custom cycling shoes are seriously hot right now. However, not everyone is good friends with a graphic designer, or is sufficiently handy with fabric paint and a Sharpie to do the job themselves. Fizik is making the custom look a little more accessible with the limited-edition Aria R3 101 road shoes.
Just 101 pairs will be produced — in honor of the 101st edition of the Giro d’Italia — with a design created by Simon Fellows of Artful Kicks [https://www.artfulkicks.com/]. Retail price is €290. More information can be found at fizik.com.
If the premium look is your thing, you might also be interested in the chic nylon-lined leather Serra Saddle Bag, a collaboration between leather goods manufacturer Nordweg and cycling brand Kirschner — both of whom hail from Brazil. The compact shape is designed to hold one or two road inner tubes, a multi-tool, a CO2 inflator, and not much else, and it tucks up tightly against the saddle with a single Velcro strap that won’t snag your shorts.
We got a preview of Solos Wearables’ new augmented-reality sunglasses back in January at the Consumer Electronics Show, and the company has now formally announced its retail availability. The fancy shades incorporate a tiny see-through heads-up display that sits right in front of your eye for an always-there view of key data, such as speed, distance, power output, heart rate, and even turn-by-turn directions.
Other features have been added in the past few months, too, such as integrated music control, the ability to quickly communicate with other Solos-equipped riders, interchangeable lenses, and adjustable nosepieces to help fine-tune the fit.
More information can be found at soloswearables.com, and retail price is US$499. We’re expecting a sample shortly, so stay tuned for a full review in the near future.
News broke yesterday that Gonzalo Najar returned an adverse analytical finding for CERA from the Tour of San Juan in January. Today, the UCI has confirmed that A sample positive and added a second to it: an adverse finding for anabolic androgenic steroids from Najar’s teammate Gaston Emiliano Javier.
Both athletes are riders for the UCI Continental team Sindicato de Empleados Publicos de San Juan. That’s two positives for the team inside twelve months, which triggers regulation 7.12.1 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, which allow for a 15-45 day suspension of the team. The Disciplinary Commission will decide that matter.
Behind the scenes of Danny MacAskill’s latest flick:
Not letting a corker of a crash at the Red Hook crit in New York get her down. Canadian track cyclist Tegan Cochrane just posted this picture of her post-crash, just keeping on smiling through the pain.
Happy birthday to…
Double Giro d’Italia champion Paolo Savoldelli, a rider remembered for those triumphs and his descending speed, plus his fellow Italian, the Tour of Flanders, Giro di Lombardia and Paris-Roubaix winner Andrea Tafi.