2018 Tour by the numbers; Wiggle-High5 possibly folding: Daily News Digest

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

The pre-Tour excitement rose a few notches with the official team presentation today in Noirmoutier-en-l’Île. The official start list with bib numbers is out and we found a few interesting statistics about the 2018 race.

2018 Tour de France by the numbers

The greatest professional cycling race on earth starts in a couple of days and we thought we’d dive deep into the statistics surrounding the peloton of the 2018 Tour de France.

Starting off, the Tour de France is 115-years-old, but 2018 is only the 105th edition. The Tour did not take place from 1915-1918 and 1940-1946, the time periods of World War I and World War II. There have been 2,121 Tour stages through the 2017 edition.

The 2018 race will cover 3,351 kilometres, which is quite a bit shorter than the longest Tour in history. The 1926 Tour was longest at 5,745 kilometres and the shortest Tour was the second edition in 1904 at 2,420 kilometres.

The longest stage of this year’s Tour is stage seven, which will cover 231 kilometres from Fougères to Chartres. The shortest stage is the 64-kilometre trek from Bagnères-de-Luchon to Saint-Lary-Soulan (Col de Portet) on stage 17.

This year’s peloton will consist of 176 riders from 22 teams. The peloton is smaller than in year’s past due to each team only being allowed to start eight riders instead of nine. According to ProCyclingStats.com, the average age of the 2018 Tour peloton is 29.37 years old. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) is the youngest rider on the start list at just 21-years-old. He is also the only neo-pro to be taking part this year. The oldest rider in the peloton is Franco Pellizotti (Bahrain-Merida) who is 40-years-old.

At 39, Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) will break the record for the most Tour starts when he rolls away from the start line in Noirmoutier-en-l’Île. He will be participating in his 18th Grande Boucle, breaking the record of 17 Tour starts by Jens Voigt and Stuart O’Grady. American George Hincapie also participated in 17 Tours, but a few of those starts were officially taken away due to a retroactive ban he received from USADA when he testified against Lance Armstrong.

Sylvain Chavanel had the honour of wearing the maillot jaune for a day during the 2010 Tour de France. Photo: Corvos

Click through to check out our in-depth 2018 Tour de France preview.

When can a Tour rider be tested?

During the Tour de France, hundreds of anti-doping tests occur, but who carries out the testing and when can a rider be tested?

The independent Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) carries out all of the anti-doping tests during the Tour and on Thursday, the organisation revealed its strategy for conducting such tests during the sport’s biggest event. CADF will work alongside Agence Française de Lutte Contre le Dopage (AFLD), the National Anti-Doping Organisation of France to perform the tests.

CADF revealed that an average of eight riders will be tested every day. The stage winner and wearer of the maillot jaune will be automatically tested after every stage, but CADF will also select riders at random every day to be tested as well.

Tests will not only occur at the end of stages, but CADF has the ability to test riders in the morning or the evening at the team hotels.

CADF will also store all of the samples for 10 years, during which the samples can be reanalyzed at any time.

Race Radio

Wiggle-High5 looks to be folding at end of the season

The Wiggle-High5 women’s team appears to be on the brink, according to a report in Cycling Weekly.

The team’s registration for the 2019 season has not been submitted and no riders are currently under contract for next year, Rochelle Gilmore, team owner and manager, said. Furthermore, the team’s sponsorship has not been confirmed.

Wiggle-High5 debuted in 2013 and has consistently performed well. For 2018, the squad has 16 victories so far, but just one at the WorldTour level. Kirsten Wild won stage three of the Tour of Chongming Island back in April.

Elisa Longo Borghini Wiggle High 5) captured third at Strade Bianche earlier this year. Photo: Corvos

Tech news

Open Cycles continues its frame collaborations

Following on from Open and Yeti Cycles’ recent collaboration, the Swiss-based frame company is at it again. This time, Open has collaborated with the classic watch-inspired GPS cycling computer company Omata. Using Open’s versatile gravel U.P frameset, the real detail clocks in with the paintwork, which in our eyes is elegant and modern, exactly what the Omata computer aims to be. With only twenty frames available, it’s certainly one to watch out for. Did we simply just cover this to make a handful of cheap puns? Alarmingly, we did.

Garmin unveils new Edge Explore touring GPS computer with cycling awareness features

Garmin today announced the Edge Explore GPS cycling computer with features intended for touring and adventure. Preloaded on the Edge Explore, Garmin Cycle Map routes are generated with Trendline popularity routing, pulling from billions of miles of cycling data in Garmin Connect. Before heading out, riders can plan and download routes on Course Creator in Garmin Connect, which uses Trendline popularity routing to provide riders with the best road, mountain, or gravel routes aggregated from those most travelled by other cyclists. The Edge Explore is equipped with a 3-inch high-resolution touchscreen display, features up to 12 hours of battery life, and has a suggested retail price of $250.

Happy Birthday to…

Philippe Gilbert (36), the former Belgian national road race champion is a rider of the Ardennes Classics. He is only the second rider in history to sweep Ardennes’ week by winning the Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. He achieved the feat in 2011.

Recently, Gilbert has stated his goal of winning all five of cycling monuments. He’s won three of the monuments with Il Lombardia (2009, 2010) and the Tour of Flanders joining his Liege-Bastogne-Liege title. Currently, only three riders — Rik Van Looy, Eddy Merckx and Roger De Vlaeminck — have achieved the feat.

Philippe Gilbert won the UCI World Road Championships in 2012 and, thus donned the rainbow bands for the 2013 season. Photo: Kristof Ramon

Also to, Alex Zülle (50). The Swiss was a force in the 1990s. He captured the Vuelta a Espana in 1996 and 1997 along with many other one-week stage races. He retired at the end of the 2004 season.

Norwegian Alexander Kristoff also turns 31 today.

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