Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
The Tour de l’Avenir is a crystal ball, so we gave it a quick polish and looked inside. What do we see? The future of pro cycling. Plus, some transfer news for a couple young Aussies, some bad injury news for Mikel Landa, and a former track champion accused of sexual misconduct.
Story of the day: The Tour of the Future
If you want to know who bike race fans will be talking about in a few years time, look no further than the Tour de l’Avenir.
L’Avenir, which translates to “future” in French, is the world’s most difficult espoir stage race. It’s ten days across France with multiple uphill finishes, a team time trial, and windy sprint stages, contested by national teams. It’s a mini Tour de France, basically. And the riders who do well there are the riders who will one day be at the front of the big show.
Who won it last year? None other than Sky’s phenom Egan Bernal. And in 2015? Marc Soler. Miguel Angel Lopez won in 2014, Warren Barguil won in 2012, Nairo Quintana won in 2010. Caleb Ewan won two stages there in 2013 and another in 2014. A year later he won his first grand tour stage at the Vuelta.
You get the point.
So who should you keep an eye on this year? More than any other talent, Colombian Ivan Sosa appears ready to spring to the front of the WorldTour. Just last week he outclimbed Lopez at the Vuelta a Burgos, winning the overall, the climber’s jersey, and the best young rider’s jersey. He’s the next Colombian superstar, and we have an in-depth profile of him here.
On Friday, Germany’s Max Kanter won the first stage of this year’s edition, winning the sprint to Elven. He was 2nd at this year’s Ronde van Vlaanderen espoirs race, and looks to be a future classics man. American Brandon McNulty, 20, was 7th at this year’s Tour of California and was 2nd at the U23 world time trial championships last year, in his first year as a U23. Robert Stannard won a stage of the Tour de Bretagne this year and has already signed with Mitchelton-Scott for next season.
The first few stages of this year’s l’Avenir are lumpy, with a mix of sprint stages and opportunties for breakaways, but the latter half is chock full of difficult uphill finishes. A team time trial in stage 3 will set the tone for the overall, and may leave Sosa on the back foot a bit. He’ll likely have time to make up in the mountains, which will add some excitement to those stages.
We’ll cover l’Avenir in the Daily News Digest all week, and highlight any exceptional performances, because there’s no better way to peek into the future of pro cycling.
Scotson jumps up to Mitchelton-Scott
Callum Scotson, the current Aussie U23 TT champion, will step up to the WorldTour with Mitchelton-Scott in 2019, the team announced. He divided his 2018 season between track and road commitments for the Mitchelton-BikeExchange feeder program and joins previously announced Robert Stannard in moving up to the WorldTour.
“Callum is a really exciting prospect for the future on a couple of fronts,” said Matt White, the team’s head sports director. “He has a very strong track pedigree including a world championship gold medal in the team pursuit, but he is also a world-class time triallist on the road with a lot of classics potential.”
Roelandts set to join Movistar Team in 2019
Jürgen Roelandts will move from BMC to Movistar in 2019 as the team seeks to bolster its strength in the classics and increase flatland support for its band of climbers in stage races.
Roelandts is only the second Belgian rider in the history of the Abarca Sports organisation to ride for the Spanish outfit. The first was Francis Vermaelen in 1983.
Hecht’s solo surprise in Colorado
Gage Hecht’s long day in the breakway at the first stage of the Colorado Classic was rewarded with the 20-year-old’s biggest win to date. Hecht (Aevolo) attacked his breakaway companions on the final lap of the Vail circuit race, up a steep gravel section of the circuit’s major climb. He passed over the top with a scant lead over the peloton and over 10km to the finish line. Despite a concerted chase from UnitedHealthcare and EF Education First, he held on to the finish line.
“I thought maybe I’ll give it one last final attack,” Hecht said. “Maybe I’ll get a little bit extra little bit of TV coverage, get my name out there a little more and then get absorbed by the pack at like 3km and then just try and hang on as best I could. I thought maybe because I had the time bonuses I could get the best young rider’s jersey.”
Hecht is the reigning US U23 time trial and criterium champion.
UHC’s Travis McCabe crossed the line at the head of the field for second place.
Vos wins first at Ladies Tour of Norway
Marianne Vos (Waowdeals) crossed the line ahead of Emilia Fahlin (Wiggle High5) and Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) to win the first stage of the Ladies Tour of Norway.
A solo effort from Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels-Dolmans) was caught by the sprinting bunch inside the last 200 meters, which rose slightly to the finish line. Vos sprinted up the right side and edged Fahlin by half a wheel.
???? @marianne_vos wins! @KarolAnnCanuel is caught by the sprinting bunch on the final 200m and @marianne_vos wins ahead of @EmiliaFahlin & @CorynRivera! What a final! #UCIWWT #lton18 pic.twitter.com/HhvtMBFfIu
— UCI_WWT (@UCI_WWT) August 17, 2018
Colin Joyce wins windy stage in Norway
American Colin Joyce (Rally Cycling) weathered high winds and a string of late attacks to take the biggest victory of his career, and one of the biggest in Europe for his North American Pro-Continental team, on the road to Kjøllefjord.
Climbs and crosswinds split the field numerous times, but it was mostly back together with 40km remaining. The categoery 1 Hopseidet Summit split the race again with 35km to go, as Jakob Fuglsang, Sergei Chernetski (both Astana), and Alberto Bettiol (BMC) went clear. A group of 11, including Joyce, came across with 5km remaining. Moves continued off the front, and in the end Joyce was the best of a group of 11 riders, crossing the line ahead of Dennis Van Winden (Israel Cycling Academy) and Markus Hoelgaard (Joker Icopal).
Mathieu Van Der Poel relinquished his overall lead to Chernetski.
Landa injury update
An additional fracture is hampering Landa’s Vuelta hopes.
Previously diagnosed with a fracture to his L1 vertebra and a fracture to his rib from a crash in the Clasica San Sebastian, Mikel Landa has had an additional setback. According to AS, doctors have now determined that he fractured another rib in the fall.
Landa’s training has been hampered by a build-up of fluid in his back. While he has been doing three rehabilitation sessions per day and receiving massage, the oedema limits him to an hour of training a day. Given the preparation needed for a Grand Tour, it will be increasingly difficult for him to be able to ride the Vuelta a España. It starts in eight day’s time.
However, Landa and his Movistar team are trying what they can. He is being treated by the doctor Mikel Sánchez, uncle of Landa’s masseur Andoni, and being assisted by the Sports Club Alavés plus its coordinator Dr. Javier Barrio. They are apparently using a machine costing 60,000 euros, which utilises diamagnetotherapy; the benefits include the reduction of pain, inflammation and fluid build-up, plus the boosting of bone healing.
Olympic champion accused of sexual misconduct
Former Olympic and world championship gold medallist Marty Nothstein’s chances of winning a seat in the House of Representatives have been dented following claims of sexual misconduct. On Friday The Morning Call reported that Northstein was suspended by the board of the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, a non-profit organization that runs the Trexlertown velodrome. The decision to put him on unpaid leave related to claims of improper behaviour relating to an alleged incident around 2000.
The paper stated that the decision was made after the board learned that Nothstein ‘was under investigation for alleged misconduct by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, an independent wing of the congressionally sanctioned U.S. Olympic Committee.’ The former champion claimed that the allegations are ‘100 percent false,’ calling them a ‘political hit job.’ He added that ‘there is no victim here.’
Nothstein received a six-figure annual salary from the Valley Preferred Cycling Center for a decade. According to The Morning Call, the decision to put him on leave was unanimous.
Nothstein is hoping to win the Lehigh Valley-based House seat. It was left open after fellow Republican Charlie Dent resigned in May. Nothstein is campaigning to ‘drain the swamp in Washington,’ echoing the rhetoric of US President Donald Trump. In campaign ads, he claims he is ‘running for congress to bring common sense conservatism to government and fight for our values.’
The sexual misconduct allegations aren’t the only controversial aspect about Nothstein’s life. In May a former employee at the velodrome took a lawsuit claiming that he was fired after he complained about a ‘noxious work environment’ created by Nothstein. He claimed that Nothstein said that ‘you Trinidadians are lazy and con men,’ saying ‘you have to beat it out of them’ to make them good employees. A campaign spokesman claimed the lawsuit is ‘without merit.’