Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Tour de France rosters are slowly trickling out, painting a rough picture of the race ahead. Movistar believes that bringing all three of its GC men to the Tour will give it a tactical advantage. But will it simply have too many cooks in the kitchen?
Story of the day: How many leaders is too many leaders?
Sky has one leader, or maybe one and a half if we count Geraint Thomas. BMC has one, in Richie Porte. Movistar? Movistar has three.
Nairo Quintana, Mikel Landa, and Alejandro Valverde. Quite a lineup.
The Movistar squad met the press at the title sponsor’s headquarters in Madrid and there Alejandro Valverde predicted that having three leaders would confer significant benefits over other squads.
At its best, the multi-pronged tactic can create incredible opportunities — think Mitchelton-Scott’s one-two at the Giro d’Italia this year. At its worst, a team split between multiple leaders ends up being less powerful than the sum of its parts.
Valverde thinks it will work. Rather than spelling confusion and infighting, the Spaniard predicts success. “The race will set things straight as usual,” he said, referring presumably to the road determining the final leadership. “But having three chances to win offers us many strategical choices we’ll try to take advantage from.”
A tricky, technical first week, capped by another trip across the cobbles of northern France, provided motivation for the tactic, according to team manager Eusebio Unzué.
“The first nine days of the Tour will be even more dangerous than our direct rivals,” Unzué said. “Luck is going to become a determining factor of this Tour.”
Having three leaders provides three opportunities to stay lucky, the reasoning goes.
That hasn’t always proved to be the case with squads in the past: La Vie Claire was wracked by infighting during the 1986 Tour, with Bernard Hinault holding back on his promise to help Greg LeMond. Other examples are Stephen Roche vs Roberto Visentini in the 1987 Giro d’Italia, and the shambolic tactical errors made by the T-Mobile team in the early 2000s when Jan Ullrich and Alexandre Vinokourov lined out in the same squad.
Justly or not, Landa has picked up a reputation as a rider who is primarily interested in chasing his own results. That impression was given last July when he lined out in the Tour alongside Chris Froome, and on other occasions too. He has hinted at times that his priority will be himself in the Tour, but he proved a useful foil for Nairo Quintana during the Tour de Suisse.
“We go to the Tour with big hopes to shine,” said Quintana. “It’s not just the three of us; with the five team-mates we’ll have at the start with us, the line-up will be one to fear.”
Aside from the three leaders, the team’s shortlist includes seven others: Andrey Amador, Daniele Bennati, Imanol Erviti, Nelson Oliveira, José Joaquín Rojas, Marc Soler and Jasha Sütterlin.
Will it work?
Will Movistar’s three-pronged attack work? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
Quote of the day:
I’m not at the top of my form just yet, so I am excited for July.
– Richie Porte after his win at the Tour de Suisse on Sunday.
Sagan, Quickstep lead WorldTour standings
Grabbing a victory on stage two of the Tour de Suisse, world champion Peter Sagan has padded his advantage in the latest update to the UCI WorldTour standings. The Bora-hansgrohe rider had gathered 1914 points prior to the start of the event, comfortably ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). He added 70 points to this in the Tour de Suisse, winning on day two. He was also third, fourth and fourth on other stages.
Richie Porte’s points have had a considerable boost as a result of his overall win in the race. Prior to the Swiss contest he was 24th with 795 points; after the race he has increased his tally to 1345 points and soared to fifth overall. As for the team ranking, QuickStep Floors has amassed 8499 points, well ahead of Mitchelton-Scott’s 6142.99 points.
Ford Smart Mobility develops novel connected jacket for cycling
Ever felt frustrated having to constantly check your phone for directions while riding your bike? Well, clearly some folks at the Ford Motor Company are thinking of you. The Ford Smart Mobility division — in cooperation with Lumo cycling clothing and Tome Software — have developed a new connected cycling jacket that lets you keep your eyes on the road.
The jacket is designed to be paired with a dedicated smartphone app and a set of bone conduction headphones (which let you still hear ambient noises clearly). Voice guidance provides audible alerts for upcoming turns, and the corresponding sleeve will also vibrate for an additional haptic nudge. As you raise your arm to signal your turn, orange LED indicators built into each sleeve will automatically light up to warn other road users of your impeding change in direction, and there are even LED brake lights built into the rear hem.
The jacket is only a prototype, so there’s no retail price or availability. But this is encouraging nonetheless as it’s yet another development between Ford and Tome to improve cyclist safety. The two companies are also still working on a system that will help automobiles more easily detect (and avoid) vulnerable road users, which we expect will be announced in more detail later this year.
Public Service Announcement
How not to pass a horse on your bike (warning: foul language in this one):