Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Some of the top contenders for the Tour de France’s green jersey went head-to-head at the Tour de Suisse. Who came out on top? Who can take green in July? Plus, difficulties for Hitec and unpainted frames from 3T.
Quote of the day:
“I have a lot of hard work to do, and I hope my legs are not at their best, because I need to improve before the Tour de France.”
– Peter Sagan, speaking after the final stage of the Tour de Suisse with Slovakian website aktuality.sk.
Story of the day: The hunt for green
All good runs must come to an end. How many years does Peter Sagan have left in green? The Tour de Suisse suggests that he won’t have an easy go of it this year.
Sagan won the points competition in his first Tour de France, in 2012, and held onto it for five years. He did so in such dominant style that it felt, at the time, like the only way he could be beaten is if he wasn’t in the race at all.
And then, quite suddenly, he wasn’t. Sagan was booted from the Tour de France on stage four last year. Michael Matthews seized the opportunity and took home his first green jersey in Paris.
Now Sagan faces a return to the green jersey battle against a rising crop of versatile sprinters. It’s that versatility that should be alarming to the Slovak — his green jersey dominance came largely because his primary opponents from 2012 to 2016 couldn’t match his breadth of skills. Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel, and Andre Greipel have never been able to factor across the sort of difficult stages in which Sagan shines. Given the modern Tour’s points structure, with big prizes available at intermediates and at the end of tricky, non-traditional sprint stages, Sagan was in a class of his own.
But now Cavendish, Kittel, and Greipel are not the only riders Sagan has to worry about. There’s Matthews, of course, who will return to prove his green last year was no fluke. And Fernando Gaviria, who outkicked Sagan three times at the Tour of California, taking the points jersey there. Sonny Colbrelli, too, has proven himself both quick in a bunch and versatile enough to get over small climbs. What about Arnaud Demare? The Milan-San Remo winner seems to have the qualities for a run at green. All four were present at the Tour de Suisse last week. All four are more versatile than pure field sprinters. How did they fare?
Sagan won the points jersey, proving he’s still the king. He did so with a win in stage 2 and consistency elsewhere, which is how he’s always won green. A couple wins, and points-heavy top-five placings at every opportunity.
Gaviria didn’t win a stage, but had the consistency part down. He was 2nd three times, first behind Sagan, then behind Colbrelli, and finally behind Demare. Throw a win in there and he’s nipping at Sagan’s heels.
Demare took a fast sprint to finish the race, but failed to factor in earlier stages.
Colbrelli won the hard sprint into Gansingen, when other sprinters faltered. A good sign for him.
And finally, Matthews. He finished 2nd in the points competition, behind Sagan, but was actually tied on points. He built that placing entirely off his consistency through the week. It’s exactly the sort of thing he’ll need to do to keep Sagan from reclaiming his throne in July — except Matthews will have to win some, too.
What do you think?
Sagan remains the favorite, but can he be toppled?
A refreshed, recovered Tom Dumoulin will start the Tour
Tom Dumoulin hardly touched his bike for nine days after the Giro d’Italia, letting his legs, body, and mind recover from a difficult grand tour where he finished 2nd behind Chris Froome. But now his attention has turned to racing once again, and to the Tour de France. He recently reconned the difficult Tour stage 9 across the cobbles of northern France, and has made up his mind to take the start in July.
“After the Giro d’Italia I consciously took more rest than I would normally do,” he told de Telegraaf. “In the first nine days I hardly even touched the bike. I’ve never been so fresh for two weeks after a grand tour.”
“The Giro actually went very well from start to finish and I did not see anything crazy in those weeks. The choice to drive the Tour was actually quite simple for me.”
MPCC individual rider membership grows to 200
Recently the anti-doping group MPCC opened its membership to individual riders, enabling those already on MPCC teams to reaffirm their commitment and those who are not to become involved regardless.
The group announced on Tuesday that the number of individuals has now surpassed 200. These hail from 27 different countries, are both male and female and are employed by 35 different teams.
Of the non-MPCC WorldTour teams, David Garcia is the sole Team Sky rider. There are no MPCC member from Astana, Bahrain-Merida, BMC, Katusha-Alpecin, Mitchelton-Scotto, Movistar, QuickStep Floors, Trek-Segafredo or UAE Team Emirates. The women who have joined the group include Coryn Rivera, Katerina Nash and Nikki Brammeier.
Membership of the MPCC sees those involved voluntarily accepting tougher anti-doping rules.
Guderzo and Mollebro Pedersen quit Team Hitec
A little over a month after Team Hitec Products revealed a serious budget shortfall and launched a GoFundMe measure to try to help keep the team on the road, it has lost two riders. Team manager Karl Lima said on Twitter on Tuesday that both former world champion Tatiana Guderzo and current Danish champion Camilla Møllebro Pedersen will depart the squad.
Guderzo’s departure is directly linked to the cash problems. It is not clear if the same has been a factor in her teammate’s decision, but motivation has been given as the main reason.
The team had hoped to raise €50,000 via GoFundMe, but to date just €7,002 has been secured.
3T offers unpainted frames and Garmin gets jiggy with it
Custom painted bikes are booming in popularity and 3T knows it. In what we believe is an industry first from a large carbon bike brand, the Italian company is offering its frames in a “Ready-To-Paint (RTP)” form, where the frames are ready for paint, but sold in an unfinished state. It’s not yet known as to whether the RTP will be a different price to the usual painted range. According to Australian-based paint specialist, Bikes by Steve, assuming it’s prepared correctly, a bare frame should save a customer between AU$150 to AU$200 in prep work.
From bare to fully equipped, Garmin have just updated its Fenix smart watch range with the introduction of the Fenix 5S Plus, Fenix 5 Plus and Fenix 5X Plus. The updated watch range now offers built-in routable topographical maps, storage for music and contactless payment solution. This builds on the existing fully-featured GPS adventure Fenix watch range, which has found some popularity amongst cyclists for its deep list of relevant features and connectivity, along with its rugged build.
The Fenix 5 Plus adds Galileo satellite reception for enhanced coverage. The watches offer space for 500 songs, playable through compatible Bluetooth headphones (sold separately). In addition to wrist-based heart rate monitoring, the top-of-the-range Fenix 5X Plus gains wrist-based blood oxygen saturation monitoring, great for altitude seekers. Varying greatly between models, battery life in the smart watch mode is quote between 7-20 days, with the use of GPS and Music mode seeing that greatly reduce to 4-13 hours. The new Fenix 5 Plus range starts from AU$999 / US$699.
Mavic’s many Ultimates
Mavic has long used its “Ultimate” moniker to indicate top-of-the-line gear, and it recently announced a swath of new product bearing the label. At the top of the heap are the new Cosmic Ultimate UST wheels ($4250 USD), a 1310 gram wheelset with carbon fibre rims and spokes that is UST tubeless compatible.
Also in the range are the new Cosmic Ultimate SL shoes, which weigh in under 200 grams and feature a low 6.5mm stack height plus a low collar around the ankle for better range of motion. They’ll set you back $380 USD.
Mavic’s stepped up its apparel game and in addition to the shoes is launching the Comete Ultimate MIPS helmet, Cosmic Ultimate GTX jacket, Cosmic Insulated Vest, and Cosmic Ultimate SL jersey and bib.
The helmet is designed to improve aerodynamics (a claimed 3-watt improvement at 40kph) and increase protection thanks to something called EPS-4D technology, which Mavic claims increases shock absorption by 30%.
It’s true, we have a thing for custom shoes.