Uran, Phinney headline EF-Drapac’s Tour squad; Movistar rider suspended: Daily News Digest

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Rigoberto Uran’s quest for the Tour de France not only rests on his own shoulders, but that of his teammates as well. Winning the Tour requires everyone to be all-in, and with eight-rider teams in 2018 instead of nine, every rider must be fully committed. EF Education First-Drapac’s Tour selection reflects just that. The team is built around Uran, with the sole purpose of guiding the Colombian to victory in July.

Quote of the day

“I think my role is chief vibration officer. I have to keep the vibes up, make sure the frequencies are calibrated.” — Taylor Phinney on his role in EF Education First-Drapac’s Tour squad.

EF Education First-Drapac all-in for Uran at the Tour

Rigoberto Uran lost the Tour de France by less than a minute last year. The Colombian is looking to go one place better in 2018 and will have a full seven-riders riding in support of him in July.

“The objective is quite simple,” Jonathan Vaughters, the team’s CEO, said. “We start the race trying to win the Tour de France. Is that optimistic and is that pushing the limits of our team? Absolutely. But we were second place last year. We have a little bit stronger team this year, and we have a parcours more suited to Rigo than last year. We have Rigo, who is stronger than he was last year. So we’re going in with the idea of trying to win the race.”

Rigoberto Uran lost the 2017 Tour de France by a mere 54 seconds, but it’s nearly time to stop thinking about the past with the 2018 race on the horizon. Photo: Corvos

Uran will have climbers Pierre Rolland, Dani Martinez, and Lawson Craddock for when the road tips upward. Veteran Simon Clarke will be the team’s eyes and ears on the road with the Australian serving as the team’s road captain. Classics strongmen Sep Vanmarcke, Taylor Phinney, and Tom Scully will be key supporters during the flat stages and when the crosswinds attempt to rip the peloton to pieces.

“The importance of the Tour is easy to explain. Everything in July is top level – every rider, every stage, every second. It all matters,” Uran said. “I need to focus for 21 days. It’s important to focus in the race, at the dinner table, for the sleep. From the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep, it’s like the World Championships every single day for three weeks.”


Race Radio

Citing strong season, Valverde upbeat about Tour chances

Just under a year ago, Alejandro Valverde was lying on the road in Düsseldorf, Germany in the rain. He had crashed heavily during the opening stage of the Tour de France. He hit the ground at high speed, fracturing his kneecap and ankle. Now, with the 2018 race on the horizon, the Spaniard has spoken about his triumphant return to racing, his build-up to the event, plus his team’s prospects in the Tour.

“The season has gone extremely well so far,” said Valverde on Thursday, speaking via a team communication. “Not only because of the results, but also considering where I come from, after such a serious crash last year. My legs felt incredibly well already since Mallorca, and victories did not take long to start coming.”

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is motivated for the 2018 Tour after he crashed out on the opening stage last year. Photo by Shane Stokes.

Valverde will be sharing team leadership with Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa, but Valverde said he believes that things are going to work just fine. “I don’t know if we’ll win, but surely we’ll offer some fireworks,” Valverde said.

Click through to read more about Valverde on his Tour chances.

Former world champion takes break from racing at 21 years of age

Lennard Kämna has had a glittering past, winning both the world and European time trial championships as a junior in 2014, taking the under 23 European TT title two years later and last year netting the silver medal in the world under 23 road race. His medal haul highlights his prodigious talent, but it’s not enough: on Thursday, he and Team Sunweb announced that he was taking a temporary break from racing.

“I turned professional at a young age and my career progressed quite rapidly,” he said, noting that his debut season with Team Sunweb in 2017 went well. “The first part of the 2018 season wasn’t what we had hoped for, due to some sickness and a few infections. Many things have come together over the recent months and, after conversations with the team, we decided that a short break was necessary to re-orientate and re-set our long-term goals.”

Lennard Kämna of Germany rode to second at the 2017 U23 World Road Championship in Bergen, Norway. Photo: Corvos

Movistar rider suspended over irregular biological passport value

Spanish rider Jaime Rosón García has been provisionally suspended by the UCI, with his Movistar team announcing on Thursday that he is under investigation by the governing body. The WorldTour squad said that on Wednesday evening it was notified by the UCI that the rider had what it termed an adverse analytical finding in his biological passport. It said that this dated back to January 2017, nearly one year before joining the team.

Rosón García was with the Caja Rural – Seguros RGA squad at the time and went on to win a stage and take second overall in the Tour of Croatia, secure second overall in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon and to net third in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali. These results helped the 25-year-old attract Movistar’s interest.

Jaime Rosón García (Movistar) had a stint in the Best Young Rider jersey at Tirreno-Adriatico in March. Photo: Corvos

The team confirmed it was sidelining him, but that it was keeping an open mind. “Since he joined the team during the current 2018 season, the rider’s behaviour, health analytics and biological passport values have been irreproachable,” it said.

“Because of that, our team will cooperate with the rider to try and find an explanation to this case, whose resolution we abide by and understand, by virtue of the UCI’s rules and regulations.”

Colorado Classic announced women’s teams

Rally Cycling, the team of defending Colorado Classic champion Sara Poidevin, is confirmed to start the 2018 race, as race organizers announced the initial teams slated to take part.

The second annual women’s Colorado Classic will be held in conjunction with the men’s event from August 16-19. The four-day race begins in Vail with a circuit race through Vail Village, followed by a time trial up Vail Pass. Racing then moves to Denver for the final two days, where the women will race a criterium around the Velorama Festival on the third day, followed by a final circuit race through the RiNo Art District and downtown Denver on August 19.

Breckenridge turned out to see Sara Poidevin (Rally Cycling) solo to the stage 2 victory and take the overall win at the inaugural Colorado Classic.

Confirmed teams
Rally Cycling (USA)
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)
Twenty20 presented by Sho-Air (USA)
Hagens Berman / Supermint (USA)
ALP Cycles Women’s Racing Team (USA, Colorado-based)
Amy D. Foundation – (USA, Colorado-based)
CONADE-Specialized-Visit Mexico Pro Cycling Team (MEX)
Fearless Femme (USA)
Orion Racing(USA)
Palmares (USA, Colorado-based)
Point S Auto / Nokian Tyres (USA)
QCW Cycling Team (USA)
Stages Cycling Team (USA, Colorado-based)
Team Affinity (USA, Colorado-based)

Tech news

BMC debuts trio of new Alpenchallenge AMP e-bikes

BMC is expanding its portfolio of e-bikes with the three new Alpenchallenge AMP models, all of which use the same heavily stylized carbon fibre frameset and highly integrated Shimano STEPS E-8000 mid-drive motor system with 250W of assistance.

Whereas most e-bikes now have their batteries built into an oversized down tube, the Alpenchallenge battery is on the seat tube, which BMC claims yields a more natural feel while riding, while also being less visually obtrusive from the saddle. Other features include 10mm of suspension using the same MTT (Micro Traction Technology) as found on BMC’s high-end mountain bike hardtails, the same D-shaped seatpost and elegantly styled stem as on the Roadmachine all-road bikes, hydraulic disc brakes, and flat bars. Claimed weights are around 15kg, depending on the model.

All three vary only in build kit. The lightest-weight Alpenchallenge AMP Sport is the most road-focused with 30mm-wide Vittoria tires, a Shimano single-ring drivetrain with the new Ultegra RX clutched rear derailleur, an 11-34T cassette, and a Fizik Antares saddle. The urban-friendly Alpenchallenge AMP City features beefier and wider tires, standard front and rear fenders, and integrated lights (which are powered by the main motor battery). And finally, the Alpenchallenge Cross is the most versatile of the trio, with 40c WTB Nano tires, a Shimano Deore XT Di2 single-ring transmission with a wide-range 11-46T cassette, and a cushier Fizik Aliante saddle.

More information can be found at bmc-switzerland.com.

Moving pictures

Finding Inspiration

The video below about Rajesh “RJ” Magar, a 21-year-old man in Kathmandu, Nepal, is the inspiration behind James Huang’s latest column, “JRA with the Angry Asian.”

“There’s unquestionable power and beauty in bicycles in general,” Huang writes. “How they make people feel. What they allow people to do. What they have allowed this person to do. What they could potentially allow other people to do. If RJ’s story doesn’t embody that message perfectly, then the message has clearly been lost on all of us. Ride hard, kid, and do us all proud. I’ll be rooting for you. Someday I hope to shake your hand.”

Click through to read Huang’s newest column about finding two-wheeled inspiration.


Being a mechanic in the pro peloton

Get an inside look into what being a mechanic in the UCI Women’s WorldTour is all about, as FDJ-Aquitaine-Futuroscope’s Thibaut Dagnicourt explains the multiple aspects of his job.

Happy Birthday to …

Vasil Kiryienka (37), the Belarusian claimed the world individual time trial championship in 2015. He joined Team Sky for the 2013 season and has been a loyal lieutenant to Froome. He rode the Tour alongside the Briton in 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017. Kiryienka is notable for his efficient riding style where his upper body hardly moves. Furthermore, his face always seems to be expressionless, no matter how hard his going.

Also to, Lotta Lepistö (29) and Larry Warbasse (28)

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