Tim Wellens’ future; an EPO sanction; a spotlight on Athens: Daily News Digest

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

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on yesterday’s new-look DND, in the comments section and elsewhere. Please continue to do so — we’ll be tinkering for some time to find what works best.

Story of the day: A spotlight on Athens Twilight

“I’m pretty good at bunny hopping my bars.”

Veteran racer Adam Myerson, who has over 20 Athens Twilights to his name, is explaining. He does a lot of explaining. He says a racer must hit the ground, body to pavement, in order to qualify as a crash. Myerson’s bike may have crashed, but he didn’t. Because he’s pretty good at hopping his handlebars.

Athens Twilight is part of the four-race USA CRITS Speed Week series. The series started on Wednesday in Walterboro, South Carolina before moving to Spartanburg and Athens, and finishing in Commerce, Georgia on Sunday.

We were there for the main event, and take you inside the racing and the chaos around it.

Erica Allar (Piedmont College) won Athens Twilight in 2012 and finished second on Saturday. Photo: Bear/USA CRITS

Race Radio

Kristoff wins Eschborn-Frankfurt

Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) won Eschborn-Frankfurt on Tuesday ahead of Michael Matthews (Sunweb) and Oliver Naessen (AG2R La Mondiale). It was a relativley straightforward leadout until QuickStep Floors’Fernando Gaviria appeared to sprint for an imaginary finish line 400 meters from the actual finish. Check out the video:

Tim Wellens’ bright future

Tim Wellens looks like he could be Belgium’s next classics Superman, even if he had to be content with just one victory in April, Brabantse Pijl. His Lotto-Soudal team recognises his potential and has locked him in for an additional two years, running until the end of 2020.

“I love stability,” says Wellens, who also loves his overall victories in races such as Eneco Tour, Tour de Pologne, Tour of Guangxi, Ruta del Sol, plus the Grand Prix de Montréal. And, so too, the pay rise he will inevitably get with the new deal.

“I want to further develop myself. Of course, the one-day classics will be marked in my agenda the next years too because they suit me very well, but I also want to evolve in stage races of five to ten days.” Part of that is improving as a TT rider, and the team has agreed to do what it can in this regard.

The audacity of youth at Dana Point Grand Prix

We love a good underdog story. At Dana Point Grand Prix, an icon of the American crit scene, sixteen-year-old Megan Jastab took a sprint victory over top of Sunweb’s Tour of Flanders winner Coryn Rivera, who crossed the line in third. Aussie Scot Law (Elevate-KHS) won the men’s race.

Aussie victory at Tour de Bretagne

Mitchelton-BikeExchange’s Robert Stannard took the final stage win at the Tour of Bretagne, one of the most difficult espoir stage races on the calendar. He attacked solo with two laps remaining and held on to his lead to the line.

“It has been the hardest seven days of racing I have ever done,” Stannard said. “After coming close with fourth on stage four it’s great to finally get the win.”

Races coming up:

In the U.S., the Redlands Bicycle Classic gets rolling on Wednesday. Redlands is the longest continually running invitational stage race in America.

Dope digest

It was early September 2016 when the news of Michael Gallagher’s positive test for EPO first came out. The Australian Paralympian missed the Rio Games after admitting wrongdoing, telling CyclingTips in December that it was “a good thing I got caught.”

Now, roughly 20 months since Gallagher’s positive test was revealed, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) has finally handed down a sentence, banning Gallagher from competition for four years. His sanction has been backdated to July 19, 2016, the date of his second sample collection, meaning he’ll be able to compete again in July 2020.

Quote of the day

“A captain must be the last to leave the ship. So Nacer must be able to finish the races. That’s the minimum we ask. We cannot trust him anymore. I would not put him at the start of a cyclosportive.”

That was Cofidis team manager Cedric Vassuer talking about his sprinter, Nacer Bouhanni to l’Equipe ahead of Bouhanni’s first race back after being benched by the team since Circuit de la Sarthe. Bouhanni made his return at Eschborn-Frankfurt on Monday, and he did not finish.

On this day in… 1935

Henri Pélissier died. Pélissier won the 1923 Tour de France and won Paris-Roubaix twice, but was perhaps most famous for his vocal feuds with Tour organizer Henri Desgrange. Pélissier along with his brother Francis, was also one of the subjects of Albert Londres famous story Les Forçats de la Route, Convicts of the Road, which was published in Le Petit Parisien in 1924. Pélissier died tragically, shot by his lover with the gun his wife had used to commit suicide.

Henri Pelissier

Tech news

Vista Outdoor looking to sell Giro, Bell, Camelbak

Vista Outdoor announced on Tuesday its intention to “explore strategic options” for brands outside its core business, which is ammunition. That’s business speak for putting those brands, which include bike-related companies Giro, Bell, and Camelbak, up for sale.

The announcement comes after a widespread boycott of Vista’s outdoor brands following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The boycott has included both consumer outcry and cancelled orders from major outlets like REI and MEC. Vista’s statement does not mention the boycott specifically, but the move marks a major and abrupt shift for a conglomerate that is only three years old.

In an investor call Monday, CEO Chris Metz denied that the boycotts had any effect on the company’s decision. “We have been on this path … way before any of the noise came about eight weeks ago,” he said.

Read more at Bicycle Retailer.

Messi scores on Massi

Football (the type with the feet, not the helmets) superstar Lionel Messi won a seven-year battle against Spanish cycling brand Massi last week, allowing him to trademark his surname. He’d originally tried to do so in 2011, which would have allowed him to control the use of his name on apparel and other merchandise, but was blocked by Massi, which has been making bikes since the 1970s. The General Court of the European Union overturned that decision, acquiescing to the argument that Messi is famous enough that nobody will confuse the two.

A landmark for an icon

Gary Fisher marked 25 years under the Trek banner yesterday. He’s one of the founding fathers of mountain bikes and was once suspended from road racing for having hair that was too long. He also founded NORBA, the National Off-Road Bicycle Association, which led the mountain bike racing charge in the ‘90s and early 2000s before it was wrapped into America’s governing body, USA Cycling.

Moving pictures

Tom Boonen’s brush technique looks pretty good to us.

And Chris Froome recons the Giro d’Italia:



Happy birthday to…

Frédéric Vichot, a Frenchman who won two stages of the Tour de France. He is also the uncle of Arthur Vichot, who Tour Down Under fans may remember as the Obscure Pro picked by the Port Adelaide Cycling Club as the target of its random fandom in 2010.

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