Outpouring of support for Costa; Chaves had mono: Daily News Digest

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

In the grand scheme of international sports, professional cycling is small. That can be a blessing in disguise, as the sport is like one big family. Nowhere is this more apparent than the amount of support that former rider Adrien Costa has received after his tragic climbing accident. Also, we finally have an answer to Esteban Chaves’ long absence from racing and, hopefully, the Colombian will be sipping victory champagne again soon.

Tweet of the day

BMC Racing was clearly not happy with the commissaire’s decision to disqualify one of its riders from the Tour of Utah.


Story of the day: Outpouring of support for Costa across cycling community

A day ago, Hagens Berman Axeon revealed the heartbreaking news that the team’s former rider, Adrien Costa, had been injured in a climbing accident and his right leg had to be amputated above the knee.

Since the announcement, there has been an outpouring of support for Costa with the GoFundMe page set-up by Hagens Berman Axeon raising over USD$50,000 in less than 36 hours. Many of the donors to the fundraiser are part of the cycling family with riders, directors, and journalists alike donating. Eddy Merckx, Romain Bardet, and Michael Valgren all contributed over $1000 to the cause.

Costa rode for Quick-Step Floors at the end of the 2016 season as a stagiaire, at just 18 years of age, and the Belgian squad offered its support on their Instagram story Thursday morning.

In February, Costa relinquished his spot on the Hagens Berman Axeon team directed by Axel Merckx and said he would instead pursue a degree in Outdoor Leadership and Tourism at Oregon State University.

The Tour of Utah raced over Mount Nebo on stage 2, where Costa still has the KOM on Strava.

Commentary: Something’s missing from the 2020 Olympic women’s road course

On Thursday the UCI unveiled the men’s and women’s road race courses for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Yet again, there’s more than a little something missing from the women’s route.

The men’s route includes three key climbs, the most noteworthy being that of the lower slopes of the iconic Mount Fuji and the 6.5km climb of Mikuni Pass, with an average gradient of 10.6% and sections reaching 20%. Neither of those are on the women’s course at the Olympics.

Click through to read more on the inequality regarding the Tokyo Olympic Games road race courses and other championship courses as well.

Viruses and allergies behind Chaves’ form collapse, no Vuelta for Colombian

The cause of Esteban Chaves’ extended absence from racing is mononucleosis, along with a number of other allergies and viruses, Mitchelton-Scott announced on Thursday. The scale of the issue is such that Chaves has been off the bike since the Giro. Chaves returned to training this week, but will miss the Vuelta a España and could potentially not race again this season.

“I’m happy to be back on the bike,” Chaves said. “It still hurts for sure, but I can already feel some differences; it’s a different suffering than I had before. Now it’s the normal suffering we get when starting again after such a long time off training. We are on the right path again and we have to keep patience and confidence like always.”

Esteban Chaves’ smile will soon return to the peloton, though it may not be until the 2019 season gets underway. Photo: Cor Vos

Transfer News: Kung joins Groupama-FDJ

Classics specialist Stefan Kung will ride for Groupama-FDJ for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, the French squad announced. Though only 24-years-old, Kung brings a wealth of experience after helping Greg van Avermaet across the cobbles the last couple of years while riding for BMC Racing. Kung was also part of BMC’s world team time trial championship-winning squad in 2015 and has captured back-to-back Swiss national TT titles.

“I will be able to bring my experience in team time trials for example, especially on the Grand Tours with Thibaut [Pinot],” Kung said. “And then on the Classics of the beginning of the season, I will be perfectly complementary with Arnaud, which will allow [the team] to adopt a much more offensive tactic in the race.”

Race Radio

Groupama-FDJ’s Georg Preidler wins in Poland in select bunch sprint

It was an intense day of racing at the Tour of Poland as the riders tackled 12 categorized climbs throughout the 129-kilometre sixth stage from Zakopane to Bukovina Resort. Georg Preidler (Groupama-FDJ) sprinted to the victory ahead of a select group including race leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) to take his first WorldTour victory. The Austrian beat Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Kwiatkowski to the line.

Kwiatkowski will head into the final stage of the race with a 16-second lead over Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing) and 24 seconds ahead of George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo).

‘Superman’ Lopez victorious at Vuelta a Burgos

Miguel Angel López (Astana) attacked four kilometres from the summit of the Picón Blanco finishing climb and proved to have the fastest finishing kick to take stage 3 of the Vuelta a Burgos. The victory also propelled him into the lead in the general classification. Young Colombian Ivan Sosa (Androni Giocattoli), the only rider able to stay with López on the climb, sits second overall.

Sosa has been nearly unbeatable in uphill finishes this season. The 20-year-old is following a similar path to Egan Bernal, including riding for Gianni Savio’s Androni Giocattoli squad, and it seems only a matter of time before he’ll step up to the WorldTour. He’s already been linked to Trek-Segafredo for 2019.

David de la Cruz (Team Sky) led the Dimension Data duo of Igor Anton and Merhawi Kudus across the line to finish third on the stage, but the trio were 32 seconds back of the two frontrunners. Kudus is third overall at 27 seconds.

“I want to dedicate this victory to my team,” López said. “It was a hard day, while on the last climb there was a very strong front wind. In a moment when the wind calmed down a bit, I decided to attack. I’ve got an advantage, but it was not easy at all to fight against front wind alone all the way to the top … That’s true, I am not in my top form yet, but looks like everything is going by plan for the Vuelta a España.”

Tech News

Wolf Tooth updates and expands Pack Tool range

Wolf Tooth’s Pack Tool range offers an impressively lightweight and compact mix of common repair tools. Tech writer Dave Rome recently reviewed the whole Pack Tools range and found there are lots to like, but the ergonomics of the pack wrench left a little to be desired. Wolf Tooth answered, overhauling the dual-duty aluminium pack wrench with greatly improved comfort, stronger socket magnets, tighter tolerances and also adding a chain line measurement tool. This new wrench retails for US$33.

In addition to the new wrench, the American machining specialists have added five new bottom bracket tools. These aluminium bottom bracket tools feature both a 3/8″ square drive and 1″ hex flats (to work with the wrench above). Stainless steel threaded screws are added for magnetic purposes, and each tool features either a Shimano Hollowtech preload cap tool or 16mm hex. They retail for US$30 each, compatibility is shown below. Visit Wolf Tooth for more information.


Ibis brings carbon fiber manufacturing back to the US

While most companies manufacture their carbon frames in Asia, Ibis is bucking the trend by moving things back to the United States — at least a piece of it, anyway.

According to Ibis, the company began investigating ways to decrease its production costs about four years ago, with the initial idea of developing a more refined process in-house, and then transferring it over to its Asian manufacturing partner. But Ibis ultimately discovered that it could actually keep the production stateside, still save a bit of money, and even make the frames better as a bonus.

Efficiency was the key here, comprising everything from a vastly streamlined lay-up schedule (that cut the number of individual carbon pieces in a front triangle from roughly 350 to around 100), a radically pared-down aluminum clamshell mold with built-in electric heaters that heat faster and are easier to handle than steel ones, and more advanced molding processes in general that yield a smoother surface finish. In total, Ibis says the new process not only cuts down on manufacturing time and labour hours, but also requires less energy and produces frames that are about 200g lighter, but supposedly without sacrificing strength or stiffness. Overall, labour time was cut by 40%.

Ibis production is already well established in Asia, so the new process will be reserved solely for a new small size of its Ripley LS trail bike — at least for now. According to Ibis, “[This] is the first step toward future US production of an entire new model,” so apparently this is just the beginning.

For more information, visit www.ibiscycles.com.

Moving Pictures

Gilbert back to riding, eyes Paris-Tours

Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) is back riding on the stationary trainer after crashing over a ravine and fracturing his kneecap during the Tour de France last month. The Belgian has the goal of competing and winning Paris-Tours in October, which would be 10 years after he first won the race.

Gaviria explains the meaning behind his tattoos

Happy Birthday too …

Davide Rebellin (47), the Italian just seems to not want to stop racing professionally and we could see him in the professional peloton at the age of 50. He has nearly 60 career victories, but in most famous for being the first rider to win all three Ardennes classics in the same season, which he did in 2004.

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