Moscon suspended; Ewan to Lotto-Soudal; Kwiatkowski wins again: Daily News Digest

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

Gianni Moscon will indeed serve time away from racing for the punch he threw at the Tour de France, as the UCI announced their decision on the matter today. Also, Caleb Ewan is headed to Lotto-Soudal, Damiano Caruso to Bahrain-Merida, and Mitchelton-Scott reveals they’ve found a reason for Esteban Chaves’ health problems. Those stories and much more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Tweet of the day

Mike Teunissen (Team Sunweb) fractured his right collarbone and cracked a vertebra after colliding with a car on a descent during the Tour of Poland on Tuesday. He abandoned the race immediately and will be out four to six weeks, according to a statement from Team Sunweb. His injuries will not require surgery and he was present at the team hotel that evening, getting his own food for dinner.

Story of the day: Moscon suspended five weeks for Tour punching incident

The UCI announced on Wednesday that Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) will serve a five-week suspension for the punch he threw at Fortuneo-Samsic’s Elie Gerbert at the beginning of stage 15 of the Tour de France. The Italian was kicked out of the Tour for the offence with the race commissaires citing “particularly serious aggression” for the incident in the post-stage communiqué.

“I accept the suspension given to me by the UCI. I reacted in the heat of the moment and it was never my intention to hit the rider,” Moscon said in a statement released by Team Sky. “As the footage shows, I didn’t make contact, but I regret my actions and I have already apologised to both Elie Gesbert and Team Fortuneo-Samsic for the incident.”

With the suspension, the UCI has demonstrated that Moscon’s actions have no place in professional cycling. Moscon has a history of troubled behaviour and served a team-issued six-week suspension last year after allegedly using a racial slur toward Groupama-FDJ rider Kevin Reza during the Tour de Romandie.

“This incident obviously happened during one of the most challenging races the team has ever faced,” Team Sky Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said in a team release. “We are confident that Gianni truly regrets his actions and has learnt from this episode.

“We have a duty of care to all our riders, which we take extremely seriously. Gianni is still a relatively young rider at the start of his career and we will continue to give him the help and support he needs to learn, develop, and move forward from this.”

The Italian has shown great racing promise with fifth at Paris-Roubaix and third in Il Lombardia last year, but it remains to be seen if his character will improve.

Second fracture confirmed for Landa

Mikel Landa’s crash last weekend at Clasica San Sebastian has resulted in an additional fracture not previously detected; an injury to a rib on his right side. The news was announced by the Spaniard’s Movistar team, and adds to the previously-confirmed fracture on the spinous process of his lumbar vertebra L1.

The team had previously said that the latter fracture would require two to three weeks of ‘absolute rest.’ Fortunately for Landa, the diagnosis of the second fracture doesn’t affect this timeframe.

The team said that Landa began a rehabilitation programme on Monday. “Under careful monitoring from the Telefónica-backed squad’s medical staff and attention from Javier Barrio, head doctor of the Deportivo Alavés football club, and traumatologist Mikel Sánchez, Landa is following various exercises of breathing mechanics and strengthening of the injured areas in order to reduce inflammation, ease pain, and ultimately fuse the fractures.

“Mikel remains in good spirits and optimistic towards his goal of recovering completely and as quickly as possible.”

Health issues identified as reason for Chaves’ Giro woes

Almost three months after Esteban Chaves’ dramatic form collapse in the Giro d’Italia, the Mitchelton-Scott team has indicated that unspecified health issues lay behind the rider’s changing fortunes.

Chaves won stage 6 of the 2018 Giro d’Italia ahead of his teammate Simon Yates atop Mount Etna. Photo: Cor Vos

“We have [worked out what was behind the slump in form], but I am not permitted to comment on that at the moment,” sport director Matt White told CyclingTips. “We are putting something out pretty soon regarding his health issues, but I am not going to talk about it right now. We do know what the problem is, which is good.

“We weren’t going to release anything during the Tour because the Tour is the Tour, but there is something coming out soon.”

Click through to read more on Chaves’ extended absence from racing.

Transfer News

Ewan officially signs with Lotto-Soudal for 2019 and beyond

The rumours are true, Caleb Ewan will ride for Lotto-Soudal beginning in 2019. After turning professional with the then Orica-GreenEdge (now Mitchelton-Scott) program, the Aussie sprint sensation is moving on and has joined the Belgian-based team on a two-year deal.

“The opportunity to join Lotto Soudal was for me an important and incredibly exciting one,” Ewan said in a team release. “They are a team that has a great history concerning sprinters and classics, I spent many hours as a youngster marvelling at Robbie McEwen’s victories. More recently I can only say I have nothing but enormous respect for Andre Greipel, what he achieved as a rider and what he stood for as a person. But now together with Lotto-Soudal, I hope to write an exciting, new chapter.”

Ewan was the best of the sprinters at Milan-San Remo. It just so happened that Vincenzo Nibali was able to sneak away and hold off the bunch.

Ewan is replacing Lotto-Soudal’s long-standing sprinter Andre Greipel who will leave the team at the end of the season after eight years. Ewan himself is leaving Mitchelton-Scott on interesting terms after being left off of the team’s Tour de France squad. He had been expected to make his debut in the Grande Boucle this season.

Caruso inks two-year contract with Bahrain-Merida

Damiano Caruso will join Bahrain-Merida in 2019 on a two-year deal after riding for BMC Racing during the last four seasons. The Italian will reunite with countryman Vincenzo Nibali, as the two rode together on the Liquigas-Cannondale team for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Caruso is a cagey climber and his main role in the team will to be a key support rider in the mountains during the grand tours. While he only has one professional victory to his name, Caruso has shown promise in one-week stage races. He finished second overall at Tirreno-Adriatico in the spring. He’s also finished in the top 10 of the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana.

“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” Caruso said. “I’ve always considered this team well-organized and well-structured. Moreover, both management and riders have shown interest in me, so when the opportunity came up, it was very easy to find an agreement. I believe this is the right team for me and I think that this choice can be of benefit to everyone.”

Race Radio

Kwiatkowski goes back-to-back in Poland

Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) is putting on quite a show at his home race. He timed his finishing sprint to perfection to take the fifth stage of the Tour of Poland in Bielsko-Biala. He finished off the impressive work of his team, as Team Sky driving the pace through the final few kilometres up the slight incline to the finish line.

Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing) settled for second for the second straight day. He was unable to match Kwiatkowski in the sprint, with the Pole getting the jump on him and starting the sprint. Enrico Battaglin (LottoNL-Jumbo) rounded out the podium.

“The best form of defence is [to] attack,” Kwiatkowski said. “We stuck to that plan and it was perfect. We didn’t know what the final would be like, but when we entered the final circuit I said to the boys on the radio that it’s a sprint I could fight for.

“I had an amazing leadout. [Michal] Golas started, then Pavel [Sivakov] and Salva [Salvatore Puccio] was there. All the time I was protected at a high pace and then it was the longest sprint, maybe ever! It was very difficult – I’m more fatigued than yesterday because of the length of that sprint.”

21-year-old Moschetti wins stage 2 of Vuelta a Burgos

Matteo Moschetti (Polartec-Kometa) captured his eighth victory of the year on the second stage of the Vuelta a Burgos in the Castrojeriz. Moschetti, who was last in the general classification after losing almost fifteen minutes in the first stage as a result of a crash, bested Jon Aberasturi (Euskadi-Murias) and Davide Ballerini (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec). Aberasturi is the new leader in the general classification.

Photo: Ricardo Ordónez/Vuelta a Burgos

“It was a difficult, complicated and nervous ending,” Moschetti said. “I really don’t know what to say. It is simply magnificent. We are in a race with very good teams and good riders. We’re a small team, we’re all young… I’m very happy.”

Moschetti will join Trek-Segafredo as a stagiaire in the coming weeks. He has already signed a two-year contract with the squad beginning next year.

Van Dijk, Campenaerts defend Euro TT titles in Glasgow

Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) captured her third straight European time trial championship on Wednesday over compatriot Anna van der Breggen and Trixi Worrack of Germany. It was a tight race at the top with van Dijk completing the 30-kilometre course in 41:39 and Van der Breggen finishing just two seconds behind. Worrack was a distant third at 42:48.

“I’m really happy to prolong my title for another year,” Van Dijk said. “It was a nice rolling course, always going up or down a bit and I felt good, but I wasn’t very confident on the wet corners, which cost me some time in the final part of the race. At the end, it was a very close finish with Anna van der Breggen. I’m happy with my performance and proud to be able to wear the Euro colours for another year.”

In the men’s championship time trial, Victor Campenaerts (Belgium) successfully defended his title, but did so by less than a second. He finished the 45-kilometre course in 53:38, just 63 hundredths of a second faster than Jonathan Castroviejo (Spain). Max Schachmann (Germany) finished third, 27 seconds down on Campenaerts.

Hayden wins Transcontinental for second year in a row

The sixth running of the Transcontinental race has again been won by British rider James Hayden, who managed to ride the approximately 4,000-kilometre long ultra-endurance event in 8 days, 22 hours and 56 minutes. That’s nearly 20 minutes faster than his winning time of last year.

The British rider was battling with last year’s second placed rider Bjorn Lenhard through much of the race, until a route choice for Lenhard didn’t quite turn out as planned. A road that turned into a nearly impossible to negotiate gravel and mud track resulted in a 140-kilometre diversion for the German rider. With that time sapping turn, Lenhard’s gap to Hayden stretched and his handy advantage on the riders behind evaporated.

Lenhard set out from Bosnia’s checkpoint 4 having lost a place and with a bunch of riders close by, but he regained second before long. Still, with nine and a half days down, riders like Matthew Falconer and Alexandre Le Roux were close behind, continuing the chase to try and catch Lenhard before the finish line, which was little more than 150 kilometres away.

The self-supported race across Europe set out from the cobbles of Belgium, through checkpoints in Austria, Slovenia, Poland and Bosnia, before reaching the finish line in Meteora Greece. You can follow the remaining riders into the line via live tracking on the Transcontinental website.

Listen to Hayden’s reaction after crossing the finish line and being crowned the 2018 champion.

Moving Pictures

Early celebration

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