Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
The Chris Froome Giro d’Italia saga is winding down and it’s time to get back to bike racing. Tune-ups for the Tour de France are in full swing. The Criterium du Dauphine starts Sunday, June 3 and the Tour de Suisse begins June 9.
Dauphine Preview: Climbing, climbing, and more climbing
The Tour de France sets off a week later than normal this year (July 8-27) due to the World Cup, and that has hurt the start list for the Criterium du Dauphine.
Of the big general classification contenders, only Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), and Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) are lining up. Many riders have opted for the Tour de Suisse (June 9-17) because it finishes a bit closer to the Tour de France.
Despite fewer stars on the start line, the race should be exciting with a short opening prologue, a couple of sprint stages, a team time trial, and four straight summit finishes. The stages are short and explosive at the Dauphine, mirroring the Tour de France route.
After the opening prologue and two flat stages, which are 179 kilometres and 181 kilometres in length, the true racing begins with the team time trial in Pont-de-Vaux on stage three. The stage is the same length, 35 kilometres, as the team time trial stage at the Tour and the profile is nearly the same as well. Teams will be racing full-on on this day to hone their technique and equipment before the Grande Boucle.
After the team time trial, the race is all about the climbers with four straight summit finishes.
Stage four finishes will a category 2 climb to Lans-en-Vercors, but the climb is preceded by the HC Col du Mont Noir. The stage is the longest of the mountain days at 181 kilometres.
Stage five is a bit of a sleeper, with two category 2 ascents coming early in the day before nearly 100 kilometres of flat. However, the day ends with a 12.7-kilometer HC climb to Valmorel. The stage has breakaway written all over it with many of the GC riders watching the next day.
Expect fireworks galore on stage six of the Dauphine. The stage is nearly identical to stage 11 of the Tour with the only difference being the start town. The stage includes four climbs in a mere 110 kilometres. Back-to-back HC climbs start the day before an easier category 2 ascent, and then the category 1 climb to the finish in La Rosière.
Here’s what it looks like:
The 2018 Dauphine finishes with a 129-kilometre route to Saint-Gervais, at the base of Mont Blanc. The day is littered with four category 1 climbs, which should see aggressive racing. The Dauphine always seems to come down to the final day and after an intense stage the day before, there will be a few tired legs.
Prologue, June 3: Valence to Valence, 6.6km ITT
Stage 1, June 4: Valence to Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert, 179km (flat)
Stage 2, June 5: Montbrison to Belleville en Beaujolais, 181km (flat)
Stage 3, June 6: Pont-de-Vaux to Louhans-Châteaurenaud, 35km TTT
Stage 4, June 7: Chazey-sur-Ain to Lans-en-Vercors, 181km (summit finish)
Stage 5, June 8: Grenoble to Valmorel, 131km (summit finish)
Stage 6, June 9: Frontenex to La Rosière Espace San Bernardo, 110km (summit finish)
Stage 7, June 10: Moûtiers to St-Gervais, 129km (summit finish)
Bahrain-Merida’s Mark Padun leads team to victory in Hammer Climb
The Hammer Series Limburg started in cold and rainy conditions, but that didn’t stop Bahrain-Merida from putting on a clinic. Mark Padun took the stage victory, as his team won the Hammer Climb comfortably ahead of Lotto-Soudal and Quick-Step Floors.
James Whelan graduates to the WorldTour
Aussie young gun James Whelan has had a swift rise through the cycling ranks, only turning to cycling two years ago after an injury scuppered his running career. Now, the 21-year-old has taken the biggest step possible, moving to the WorldTour with EF Education First-Drapac for the 2019 season.
Whelan, who currently rides for the Drapac EF development team, won the U23 Tour of Flanders earlier this year in what was his first race outside of Europe. He’s signed a three-year deal with EF Education First-Drapac and will also join the team as a stagiaire later this season.
Ben O’Connor renews with Dimension Data
Twenty-two-year-old Ben O’Connor was one of the revelations of the Giro d’Italia, a rider that was sitting 12th overall when he crashed out on stage 19. It was a cruel exit for the 22-year-old who, remarkably, was racing his first Grand Tour.
And while O’Connor is still recovering from a broken collarbone, he’s got some great news to help ease the pain. His strong Giro ride — plus stage wins at the Tour of the Alps in April and the Tour of Austria last July — have earned him a contract extension with Dimension Data through 2020. It’ll be fascinating to see what the West Australian is capable of in the years to come.
Lachlan Morton breaks arm after hit by a car
Dimension Data’s Lachlan Morton suffered a broken right arm on Thursday while on a training ride in Nederland, Colorado. According to Morton, the car pulled out in front of him and his body slammed it. He posted a picture of his arm in a cast to his Instagram story late in the afternoon, but there have been no further comments from him or Dimension Data.
CyclingTips wishes Morton a speedy recovery and we hope to see him back racing soon.
American Buster Brown accepts two-year ban
Buster Brown, 53, tested positive for the presence of an anabolic agent and/or its metabolites as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample he provided on October 11, 2016, and has accepted a two-year ban, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced on Friday. Brown was target tested based on credible information USADA received through the PlayClean Tip Center.
Brown’s two-year ban began on November 29, 2016, the date his provisional suspension was imposed. In addition, Brown has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to August 1, 2015, the approximate first date he began using testosterone, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.
Cycling Canada’s CEO Pierre Lafontaine will step down
Cycling Canada announced Thursday that Pierre Lafontaine, its CEO and Secretary General, will step down on Friday, June 8.
Matthew Jeffries will assume the role of Interim Chief Executive Officer, during the CEO search process. The Federation’s Board of Directors will work closely with the management team to bridge the gap through the transition period.
It’s dot-watching season.
What does that mean? We’re back into the season of self-supported ultra-endurance racing, with more than 100 riders getting set to start the Trans Am on Saturday at 6 am. You can follow the riders via their tracking dots, as they wind their way through 7,000 kilometres along the popular touring route from Astoria to Yorktown.
Enve goes gravel-specific with G Series
Enve’s existing new G Series range is purpose-built for the booming gravel market. Said to have the toughness and flat protection of a mountain bike wheel, but with the efficiency of a road wheel, the G Series is designed for use with tubeless tyres ranging from 35-45mm in width. Enve will offer its new G Series in both 700 (G23) and 650B (G27) sizes, with the former offering a 23mm inner width and the latter at 27mm. Both rims are only available in a 24H spoke count, and at just 25mm deep, are said to improve ride quality.
The new disc-specific rims are Enve’s lightest clincher rims to date. A 700c G23 rim is claimed to weight just 330g, with the G27 at 320g. Using DT Swiss 240s CL hubs, a complete 700c G23 wheelset should weight just 1,300g (US$2,800), with the 650B G27 lighter again. Learn more about these new gravel rims at Enve.com.
Froome’s bike x-rayed 6 times during Giro
The UCI x-rayed Chris Froome’s bike six times during the Giro d’Italia, including after stage 19, according to a report in the French newspaper L’Equipe.
Simon Yates, who wore the Maglia Rosa for most of the race, had his bike checked 11 times. In total, the UCI checked the bikes of 58 riders using its new mobile x-ray machine and carried out 1,440 motor check using the magnetometer tablet system.
Team Sky to wear kit from recycled ocean plastic at Tour de France
Team Sky announced a partnership with Sky Ocean Rescue with the aim to remove all single-use plastic packaging from its business operation by 2020. The squad will wear a special edition kit during that Tour, whic features an orca on the back of the jersey. The riders will also wear a bespoke version of the jersey, developed from ocean plastic material, at the Team Presentation.
Sky Ocean Rescue aims to inform on the issues affecting ocean health, find innovative solutions to the problem of ocean plastics, and inspire people to make small everyday changes that collectively make a huge difference with the hashtag #PassOnPlastic
MPCC sits down with UCI President David Lappartient
UCI President David Lappartient discusses the UCI’s stances on the topics prevalent to the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC)
Why do people do stuff that sucks? Exploring Type 2 fun at Dirty Kanza
So why do people do stuff that sucks?
In the feature, by Mythical State Of, the makers of the Project Y documentary, Daniel Pasley and Kyle Von Hoetzendorff experimented on a bunch of “subject athletes” getting them to take on some Type 2 fun by challenging themselves at the 2017 edition of the Dirty Kanza, a grueling 200-mile gravel ride in the Flint Hills of Kansas that takes 11 hours for even the best of riders.
Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour stage 4 highlights
Bear vs. Wolf Pack
The Quick-Step Floors team training camp house in California was broken into by bears on Thursday. While there isn’t a video of the break-in, a staff member did catch two bear cubs playing just a few metres from the house.
Happy Birthday to …
Kiel Reijnen (32), the American is in his fourth year at the WorldTour level with Trek-Segafredo after spending eight years progressing through the U.S. domestic professional ranks. He’s won stages of the Tour of Utah and USA Pro Challenge. He also was the Philadelphia Cycling Classic in back-to-back years in 2013 and 2014.
Also to Michael Rasmussen (44), the Dutchman was infamously kicked out of the 2007 Tour de France while wearing the maillot jaune.
Other birthdays are Amy Pieters (27), 1972 world road race champion and 15-time Giro d’Italia stage winner Marino Basso (73), and Alexis Vuillermoz (30).