Landa’s final Tour prep; Porte will have veteran support squad: Daily News Digest

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Mikel Landa transferred from Team Sky to Movistar for the 2018 season in order to have a chance at Tour de France leadership. His wish was granted, but he doesn’t have sole team leadership in July. Movistar’s interesting three-leader attack in France with Landa, Nairo Quintana, and Alejandro Valverde will be one of the most watched aspects of the first week. It is likely one of those three riders will not make it through the chaotic opening week unscathed. Landa just hopes it isn’t him.

Quote of the day

“I got hooked on the Tour by watching [Iban] Mayo, [Haimar] Zubeldia, [Joseba] Beloki and many others as they contested victory in the early 2000s, from 2003 and 2004. I remember watching those stages with my dad. During flat stages, I got bored and asleep, but the mountain stages did get me in love with this sport.” — Mikel Landa on his first memories of the Tour de France.

Story of the day: Landa heads to the Pyrenees for final Tour preparation

Mikel Landa is in the Pyrenees putting the final touches on his Tour de France form. Photo: Kristof Ramon

Mikel Landa is quietly reconning the three Tour de France Pyrenees mountain stages before heading to Vendée for the start of the Grande Boucle on July 7.

“I’d like to contest the Tour de France victory, but we’re yet to start the race and see how I can really do,” Landa said in an interview released by Movistar. “Last year I was really close to finishing on the podium, and that makes me dream about being able to contest the win. I’m in good form, in good morale, mentally fresh, really excited and hopeful about my chances.”

2018 will be Landa’s third Tour de France and first time riding the race as a protected leader. However, Landa does not have a full team supporting him in France, with Movistar sending GC contenders Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde to France as well. Landa finished fourth overall at the Tour in 2017 while acting as Chris Froome’s main domestique in the mountains. At points, the 28-year-old looked stronger than Froome on the climbs.

“It’s a very demanding parcours, a well-balanced one,” Landa said “The first week contains many traps which we have to get through safely to win the Tour. Then there are the two final weeks, with lots of mountains and an individual time trial which might become not as decisive as expected, but still suits us well, because it’s on the penultimate day and it’s quite hilly.”

Landa raced the Spring classic E3 Harelbeke to get a feel of racing over the cobblestones in preparation of the Tour’s ninth stage, which features many sections of Paris-Roubaix cobbles.

It will interesting to see how Movistar’s three-leader formula plays out. Landa was reserved to a support role for Quintana at the Tour de Suisse. If Landa is going to be Movistar’s protagonist in the mountains, he will most certainly have to ride through the first week of the Tour safely and not lose time in the general classification.

World and Olympic champion Vogel severely injured in Track crash

German Kristina Vogel captured the Sprint gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Photo: Corvos

Multiple Track World and Olympic champion Kristina Vogel was transported by helicopter to a hospital in Berlin after crashing at the Cottbus velodrome in Germany on Tuesday. Vogel collided with a Dutch junior rider while going nearly 60 kilometres per hour.

The severity of the crash has raised concerns of serious consequences regarding Vogel’s mobility, according to a report in Vogel has a severe injury to her spine, fractures of the clavicle, and several other broken bones.

“We’re shocked! Kristina Vogel has been severely injured in training at Cottbus velodrome today,” the German Cycling Federation posted of its Facebook page. “She collided at full speed with another cyclist who was also in training at the velodrome.”

Vogel claimed two gold medals at the last UCI Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. She equalled the record number of titles (11) held by Australian Anna Meares.

“We are all shocked by what has happened to Kristina, an outstanding champion and an ambassador for the discipline, for women in sport and for German cycling,” said UCI President David Lappartient in a press release.

Multiple riders voiced their support for Vogel on Twitter, including Meares and retired Track cyclist Chris Hoy

Race Radio

Porte will be surrounded by veterans at Tour

Richie Porte will be surrounded by an experienced BMC Racing squad at the Tour de France. The American-based squad revealed Porte’s supporting cast and it’s a mix of climbers, puncheurs, and hardmen of the flats. The average age of the eight-rider squad is 31, so there is no lack of experience.

Porte’s main domestique in the mountains will be American Tejay Van Garderen. Van Garderen finished second at the Amgen Tour of California in May and won the individual time trial stage of the race.

“I’m ready for the Tour de France. Winning the Tour de Suisse was a big boost to my confidence, not only on a personal level knowing I wasn’t yet in my best shape, but also for the team,” Porte said in a team release.

“The guys were fantastic there and the fact that our Tour de France team is comprised more or less of the same riders, with the addition of Damiano Caruso and Paddy Bevin, is really motivating. After a solid training camp at altitude, I will arrive in the Vendée region knowing I have done everything I can to prepare for the Tour de France,” Porte said.

Tech News

Fortuneo-Samsic officially announces BH as new bike sponsor

Earlier in the week, Fortuneo-Samic abruptly parted ways with its bike sponsor Look Cycle, but the team will have bikes for the upcoming Tour de France. Spanish company BH was rumoured to be coming on board and a team release on Wednesday confirmed the new sponsorship.

The team will ride the BH Ultralight EVO bike for road stages and the BH Aerolight for the time trial stages. The bikes will be equipped with an FSA Vision hanger, stem, crankset and seat post. The team will continue to use Corima wheels, Vittoria tubulars, Prologo saddles, LOOK pedals, SRAM groupsets, and Elite bottle cages.

Fortuneo-Samsic’s new BH bikes for the Tour de France.

Happy Birthday to …

Taylor Phinney (28), the American’s career was in doubt after a horrific crash at the 2014 U.S. national road race championships, but he triumphantly beat the odds and returned to the peloton nearly a year and a half after the accident. In 2018, Phinney powered to eighth at Paris-Roubaix, confirming his return to the front-end of the cobbled classics. Phinney finished 15th in his Paris-Roubaix debut in 2012.

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