Kwiato wins Dauphine prologue, Froome’s 1,500-page defence: Daily News Digest

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

The Criterium du Dauphine is now underway which means the Tour de France is just around the corner. In today’s Daily News Digest we’ve got news of an interesting development to one of the Tour’s stages; the latest from the Dauphine, Hammer Series and the Thüringen Ladies Tour; and plenty more to start your week just right.

Quote of the day

That’s sport scientist Ross Tucker offering his (somewhat cheeky) interpretation of Sky providing 1,500 pages of evidence as part of Chris Froome’s defence. More on that story below.

Story of the day: Formula 1-style grid positions for TDF stage 17

Stage 17 of the Tour de France was already going to be a must-watch. At 65km long, it’ll be the Tour’s shortest road stage in 30 years, and given its sawtooth profile — three climbs and two descents — it’s sure to be a fierce battle. It turns out the ASO has added another element to the stage which will make it even more interesting.

Rather than a traditional mass start, stage 17 will see riders set off in waves, according to their GC position, much like in Formula 1 or cyclocross. The top 20 riders in GC will set off first, then the next 20, and so on through the field.

With the stage starting at the bottom of the first climb, the Col de Peyrosourde, you can bet that riders will be warming up on rollers beforehand. What’s less clear is how the start will unfold.

There will be no meaningful gaps between waves, but those at the front will still have an advantage. They’re the strongest climbers in the race and if they go full-gas from the off (up an 8% grade for 1km), it could be hard for others to bridge. It’s easy to imagine a team dropping the hammer if they have multiple riders in the top 20. But what about the other leaders: will they sit up and wait for their domestiques to catch up?

It’s an interesting development and one we can wait to see unfold.

Race Radio

Kwiatkowski wins Criterium du Dauphine prologue

Speaking of the Tour de France, that event’s most important warm-up race, the Criterium du Dauphine, is now underway. The eight-stage event kicked off with a 6.6km prologue ITT in Valence, with Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) taking the win in his first race day since Liege-Bastogne-Liege in late April.

“After 40 days without racing it was a bit of a surprise, but I know how hard I was training to get in good shape for the Dauphine as well as preparing for the Tour,” Kwiatkowski said after beating Jos van Embden (LottoNL-Jumbo) by one second. Kwiatkowski’s teammate Gianni Moscon was third, a further two seconds back.

QuickStep Floors win Hammer Limburg

QuickStep Floors has added yet another victory to its long list of 2018 successes, taking out the Hammer Series event in Limburg over the weekend. Bahrain Merida took opening-day honours in the Hammer Climb and Mitchelton-Scott was victorious in the Hammer Sprint, but it was QuickStep Floors that started the Hammer Chase TTT in first position. Mitchelton-Scott pulled back some time on QuickStep Floors, setting the best mark of the day, but it wasn’t nearly enough to challenge the Belgian squad.

Mitchelton-Scott leads the overall standings going into the final round of the Hammer Series in Hong Kong on October 14.

Lisa Brennauer secures overall win at Thüringen Ladies Tour

Ellen van Dijk (Sunweb) time-trialled her way to victory on Sunday’s final stage of the Thüringen Ladies Tour but had to settle for second on GC by a mere five seconds. Lisa Brennauer (Wiggle High5) came in just two seconds behind van Dijk to take second on the stage and hold onto the yellow jersey. It’s the second year in a row that Brennauer was won the German stage race.

Froome case still unlikely to be decided before Le Tour

We always knew that Chris Froome would throw plenty of resources at defending himself in the salbutamol case, and now we’re starting to get a sense of just how deep he and his legal team have gone. According to UCI president David Lappartient, Froome’s team submitted “1,500 pages of scientific report” which the UCI’s independent anti-doping arm now has to analyse. Lappartient mentioned this when asked when the case might be resolved. His answer: almost certainly after the Tour de France.

“This is not a laxity of the UCI. It’s just that there is a procedure, and this case requires experts,” Lappartient told Le Parisien. “When you have 1,500 pages of scientific report you have to analyse them. It requires answers, and we must respect the procedure, and the rights of Chris Froome. Naturally, it takes longer than expected.

“I still see it as wrong if, tomorrow, the case was to be referred to the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal and the court holds its meeting, where the rider still has the right to be heard, during the Tour. In which case, we could still consider that it deprives him of his ability to defend himself. So, I do not see a decision happening during the Tour de France.”

Speedy start for Trans Am

The 7,000km Trans Am ultra-endurance race started on Saturday and there was no holding back on the first day. After 24 hours of riding Steens Mazama winner Kraig Pauli was leading the way, having covered 567 kilometres (352 miles), including the tough climb of McKenzie Pass. Not far behind the 51-year-old Oregonian was Austrian Tanja Hacker with 533 kilometres in the bank. If this pace continues 2018 could well be another record-breaking year for the race across the United States.

You can “watch” the Trans Am live by tracking the riders here.

Sector of Paris-Roubaix cobbles named after Michael Goolaerts

Here’s some touching news: Michael Goolaerts, the 23-year-old who lost his life during this year’s Paris-Roubaix, will have a cobblestone sector named in his honour. Belgium’s Radio 2 reports that the 3km stretch of pave from Viesly to Briastre will be officially named “Secteur Pavé Michael Goolaerts” at a ceremony on June 10.

Meanwhile, a Belgian semi-pro race called Fleche de Heist will be renamed “Fleche de Heist – Michael Goolaerts” in honour of the fallen rider, who lived in the race’s finishing town, Heist-op-den-Beg.

Jack Haig to lead Mitchelton-Scott at the Tour de Suisse

Jack Haig has been one of the shining lights of early 2018 for Mitchelton-Scott, with strong rides in the Ardennes Classics and an excellent support ride at the Giro d’Italia. Now, the 24-year-old has been rewarded for his efforts with a leadership role at the Tour de Suisse.

It’s not the first time Haig will lead the team. He’s been second and third overall at the Tour of Slovenia, and he rode well as team leader at the Itzulia Basque Country earlier this year.

Madrid Challenge grows to two days, La Course

Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta, the women’s race that runs alongside the Vuelta a Espana, has expanded to two days in 2018. In addition to the now-traditional circuit race around Madrid on the final day of the Vuelta, the Madrid Challenge will also feature a 14km team time trial near Madrid the day prior.

Jolien d’Hoore won last year’s Madrid Challenge.

Meanwhile, La Course, the women’s race attached to the Tour de France, drops back from two days to one this year. In 2017 it featured a stage up the Col d’Izoard and an ITT for the top riders. Now it’s a one-stage race that runs on the same day as stage 10 of the Tour de France, finishing at Le Grand Bornand just like the men.

Coming up

The Criterium du Dauphine continues on Monday with a hilly 179km stage from Valence to Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert. There are no fewer than seven categorised climbs on the day, the last of which peaks 4km from the finish.

In other news …

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch steps in to help food delivery cyclist

Benedict Cumberbatch doesn’t just have the best name of any actor past or present, it turns out he’s actually a pretty great bloke too. The “Sherlock” actor is being lauded for his “heroic actions” after stepping in to save a Deliveroo cyclist who was being attacked by a gang of four people in central London.

Cumberbatch, who was in an Uber when he saw the man being attacked, jumped out of the car and reportedly dragged the men off the cyclist. The men tried to attack Cumberbatch and the Uber driver — who helped fight off the men — but the attackers soon fled. The cyclists didn’t require hospital treatment.

Moving pictures

Geraint Thomas bins it in the Dauphine prologue

He didn’t think he was going too fast. Turns out he was.

MPCC interviews UCI President David Lappartient

Love discussions about the UCI’s anti-doping policy? You’ll enjoy this from the MPCC, the Movement for Credible Cycling, and UCI president David Lappartient.

Thomas Pidcock’s nice save

Thomas Pidcock is one of the true rising stars of the sport. He’s the reigning U23 cyclocross world champion, current world junior time trial champion, former junior CX world champion and a winner of the Juniors Paris-Roubaix. Turns out he’s also a master bike-handler, as these videos from the Tour Series in the UK show. That’s Pidcock in the white:

On this day in … 2018

For those of you reading this anywhere where it’s still June 3, happy World Bicycle Day! As we all know there are plenty of reasons to celebrate the bicycle and it would seem the United Nation agrees!

Today’s feature image comes from Cor Vos and shows QuickStep Floors riders celebrating their victory at Hammer Limburg.

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