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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
The start of the Tour de France is less than 24 hours away and the excitement in the Grand Départ town of Noirmoutier-en-l’Île is bubbling over. However, beneath the surface lies a considerable amount of nerves. The UCI and WADA’s decision to drop Chris Froome’s Salbutamol case has worried many about the security of Froome and the rest of the peloton due to the outrage among fans that has been seen across social media.
Quote of the day
“Bananas, I love bananas.” — Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac)
Click through to read The Tao of Rigo.
Story of the day: Chris Froome’s safety is a concern
The opening week of the Tour de France is always a nervous affair. The pressure is immense at the Tour and it takes a few days for the riders to settle into the rhythm of the Grande Boucle. However, everyone seems to be a little more on edge for this year’s start, as Chris Froome’s exoneration has angered many fans, and has worried many sport directors and riders regarding the peloton’s safety.
“If I were Team Sky right now, I would be concerned,” EF Education First-Drapac boss Jonathan Vaughters said this week. “Just reading comments on social media, people saying ‘since justice wasn’t served by the UCI and WADA, we’ll serve it from the side of the road,’ like whoa, that’s basically an outright threat … The amount of vitriol and anger directed at Sky is pretty impressive.”
The fans’ disliking of Froome was on full display at the official Tour de France team presentation when the Briton was booed heavily.
Unlike other sports that take place in closed areas, the open roads are professional cycling’s stadium. The start and finish towns are heavily fortified at the Tour with security at a maximum, but the French countryside is another matter. Fans stand within centimetres of the riders and, sadly, sometimes a few do show their disliking to the riders in unimaginable ways. Hopefully, the fans will not become part of the race and influence the outcome of cycling’s greatest event or even worse put the riders safety in jeopardy.
Porte calls out Mitchelton-Scott for leaving Ewan at home
Tour de France overall favourite Richie Porte (BMC Racing) has blasted Mitchelton-Scott for leaving sprinting ace Caleb Ewan off of its Tour roster, according to the Herald Sun. Ewan had been expected to make his debut at the Grande Boucle this year.
“They’ve sold themselves as the Australian team, but then to leave out an Australian who is their best chance to win a stage, I feel so sorry for him,” Porte said.
It has been speculated that Ewan was left off of Mitchelton-Scott’s Tour squad because he is leaving the team at the end of the season and Porte seemed to confirm this.
“He’s changing teams, but from the sporting side of it you take your best team on paper – and that’s him,” Porte said.
Sunweb captures opening Giro Rosa TTT, van Dijk donnes first maglia rosa
Team Sunweb edged out Mitchelton-Scott by a single second to take the opening stage of the 29th edition of the Giro Rosa. Ellen van Dijk led the team across the finish line and put on the first pink jersey of the 2018 race.
The women’s Giro d’Italia began with a 15.5-kilometre team time trial in the coastal town of Verbania along Lake Maggiore. Sunweb covered the course in 18:25 with Mitchelton-Scott second, and stage favourites Boels-Dolmans rounding out the podium. The Dutch team finished 12 seconds behind.
The second stage of the 10-day Giro Rosa is a lumpy 120.4km (74.8mi) stage around Ovada.
Eurobike 2018: What do you want to see?
The world’s largest cycling trade show, Eurobike, kicks off in just a few days. This year the show has been brought forward and made trade-only. James Huang and Dave Rome will be in attendance to bring you daily coverage from the expansive show that sees some 1,500 exhibitors showcase their wares.
Is there anything in particular you’re keen to see? Please let us know in the comments below and we’ll do our best.
Lezyne goes bigger and bolder with Mega GPS computers
Sitting at a more value-orientated price point when compared to Wahoo and Garmin, cycling accessory company Lezyne have been playing in the GPS game for a couple of years now. For 2019, the company have announced two new GPS units, each offering larger screens and more functions than previous options. The Mega C GPS offers a 2.2″ coloured display, and has the usual long list of premium features, including Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity, phone notifications, built-in mapping and turn-by-turn navigation. Strava, Training Peaks and Today’s Plan all auto-sync with the device, too.
With a 2.7″ black and white display, the Mega XL GPS offers a slightly larger profile and has the unique function of being switchable between either a landscape (like an SRM or Stages head unit) or portrait (like a Garmin or Wahoo) orientation. Otherwise, the feature lists of the two devices are much the same. Most notable is the battery life, with the Mega C and Mega XL offering a claimed 35 and 48-hour runtime respectively. Both units are expected to retail at AU$300/US$TBC. We have the Mega XL inbound for review
One thru-axle to replace them all?
Hexlox has just lifted the lid on a new modular thru-axle that promises to work with any bike equipped with 12mm and 15mm thru-axles. Dubbed the HexThru Axle, the two-piece system telescopes to suit the width of the dropouts, so there is no risk of the hub ever sitting on the threads, while the threaded end of the axle can be flipped and interchanged to suit different thread pitches.
The HexThru Axle will be available from October in three versions — 12mm front, 15mm front, and 12mm rear — with a recommended retail price of €45. Visit Hexlox for more information.
Bontrager updates massively popular Flare and Ion daytime running lights
Members of our tech team James, Caley and Dave (Rome) are all long-time fans of the Bontrager Flare R daytime running rear light. While it remains one of the brightest and lightest options available, Bontrager have just released an updated version, the Flare RT (US$60). The new Flare RT is said to be 36% smaller, 30% more powerful, and 20% longer-running than the existing Flare R. Offering a claimed 2km visibility in the daytime, the new 90-lumen and 23g rear light offers improved weather sealing and a built-in ambient light sensor for automatic mode adjustment to the conditions.
Matching the Flare RT are two new front lights, the Ion 200 RT (US$60) and Ion Pro RT (US$100). The Ion 200 RT is an aesthetic match to the rear-facing Flare RT, albeit in a more powerful 200-lumen front-facing light. The larger Ion Pro RT ups the ante to a peak of 1300 lumens, and is said to offer a wide beam pattern that makes it equally suitable for a mountain bike or road usage.
The three new lights are USB rechargeable and feature ANT+ connectivity for automatic operation and battery usage information through compatible Garmin Edge devices.
Happy Birthday to…
Tiffany Cromwell (30), the Australian is a one-day specialist and has a cagey finishing sprint. She won the women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2013 and is also a two-time stage winner at the Giro Rosa, which she is racing again this year.
Also to, Christopher Juul-Jensen (29).