Sagan hints at Vuelta; Ullrich seeks treatment for addiction: Daily News Digest

by CyclingTips


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

Peter Sagan may be headed to the Vuelta a España in a few weeks, as the world champion posted a hint on Twitter. Jan Ullrich’s arrest has led to treatment for drug addiction. Australian star Simon Gerrans is set to hang up his wheels at the end of the season. Tejay van Garderen hopes to rejuvenate his career with a new team. 


Story of the day: Sagan might be headed to the Vuelta a Espana

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) suffered through the final days of the Tour de France after crashing on a descent on stage 17, but the three-time world champion looks to have recovered from his injuries and may be headed to the Vuelta a España later this month. The Slovakian posted a photo on Twitter with the caption ‘Hola España!’

Sagan last raced La Vuelta in 2015 prior to capturing his first world title in Richmond, Virginia. The Slovakian looked to be on great form during the opening days of that race, as he won the third stage. However, his Vuelta ended prematurely when he was clipped by a motorbike in the final few kilometres of Stage 8. He finished the stage, but did not start the following day.

This year’s world championship course in Innsbruck, Austria, is a climb-heavy route, which may be too much for a rider with Sagan’s characteristics. Instead the route looks suited to climbers like Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Richie Porte (BMC Racing), or Chris Froome (Team Sky). Despite this, Sagan is expected to be at the start line.

La Vuelta was where Sagan made his Grand Tour debut in 2011, while riding with the Italian Liquigas-Cannondale squad. Sagan put on a show, winning three stages and finishing second in another. The 2018 edition of the Spanish grand tour runs August 25 to September 16. The race begins in Malaga and finishes in Madrid.

Ullrich seeks treatment for drug addiction after arrest

German Jan Ullrich, who was arrested in Mallorca on Friday after jumping over a neighbour’s fence, told German magazine Bild that he’s undergoing treatment for drug addiction after separation from his wife and children has thrown him into “the deepest despair.”

The 1997 Tour de France winner and 2000 Olympic road champion was arrested after he entered his neighbour’s party uninvited, leading to a fight and Ullrich’s arrest. The neighbour, German actor and film director Til Schweiger, told Bild that he and Ullrich had once been close but that their relationship had soured after Ullrich’s marriage fell apart. Schweiger said that Ullrich had once been “like a family member,” but that the former cycling star began taking amphetamines and staying up all night after his wife and children left him.

“He’d start drinking beer at 6am and went on like that until the evening,” Schweiger said, adding that Ullrich had a prescription for cocaine.

Ullrich, who served a suspension in 2002 after he tested positive for amphetamines, said he’s in the midst of “one of the toughest episodes of my life.”

“The separation from my wife Sara, and consequently from my children, has thrown me into the deepest despair,” Ullrich said. “I haven’t seen my boys since Christmas, and we also find it difficult to speak to each other. This extreme situation has made me do and take things that I very much regret. For my children’s sake, I’m undergoing therapy.”

Gerrans calls a close to illustrious 14-year career

Two-time monument winner Simon Gerrans is calling it a career after 14 years. Gerrans is one of Australia’s best-ever riders with wins at Milan-San Remo, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Santos Tour Down Under, and stages in all three Grand Tours. Simon announced his plans to retire from the sport at the end of the current season in an open letter released by BMC Racing.

“Cycling has been a huge part of my life for a long period of time and through which, I have met a lot of fantastic people, many of whom will remain, lifelong friends,” Gerrans wrote. “I am very proud of what I have achieved during my career and I would like to thank everyone who has played a part in my journey.”

Simon Gerrans wore the yellow jersey at the Tour in 2013.

While his personal results have been few and far between for the past couple of seasons, he joined BMC Racing at the beginning of the year in the vital role as road captain. Gerrans also admitted that his motivation was lacking and that it was time for a new challenge.

Click through to read more on Gerrans calling it a career after 14 years.

Van Garderen joins EF-Drapac

Tejay van Garderen will move to EF Education First-Drapac for 2019 after spending the last seven years with BMC Racing.

“I think it was a necessary thing to do,” said the 29-year-old rider in a team announcement. “I’m definitely going to look back on my years on BMC positively. I’ve accomplished a lot with that team. But at a certain point sometimes you just need a fresh environment, fresh faces, some new ideas.

“I’m certainly not a young rider anymore, but I’m still way too young to be put out to pasture. I’ve had some good results, some ups and downs, and I’m still interested in exploring the capacity of what I have to give, however that translates. Whether it’s helping a teammate or grabbing results for myself. Whether it’s Grand Tours or one-week stage races. I still think there’s a lot more I can offer.”

Tejay van Garderen led a BMC Racing sweep of the podium on the opening day of the 2018 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.

A stage winner at the Giro d’Italia, Tour de Suisse, and Volta Catalunya, Van Garderen has twice finished fifth overall at the Tour de France, including capturing the best young rider award in 2012. However, his momentum has slowed in recent years as he has struggled to fulfill his GC potential. He hopes to revive his career and rekindle his motivation by switching to EF Education First-Drapac.

Click through to read more on Van Garderen heading to EF Education First-Drapac.

Transfer News: Bauhaus and Sieberg join Bahrain-Merida

Phil Bauhaus and Marcel Sieberg have both signed two-year contracts with Bahrain-Merida starting in 2019.

Bauhaus, 24, has shown his potential in the sprints and captured the third stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour earlier in the year, beating out Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin), Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors), and Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott). He is joining Bahrain-Merida from Team Sunweb where he spent the last two seasons.

Sieberg, 36, is a WorldTour veteran and has made a career of being a leadout rider. The team expects Sieberg to help mentor the younger riders like Bauhaus and help to set up the young rider in the sprints.


Race Radio

Kwiatkowski wins Poland stage 4, as GC contenders show their cards

Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) proved to be the strongest on the tough uphill finish in Szczryrk at the Tour of Poland to win the fourth stage and capture the yellow leader’s jersey. The Polish national road champion distanced Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing), who won on the exact climb a year ago, in the final few hundred metres to take the victory. George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) crossed the line in third.

“Winning here on that stage is really special. My family and Agata [his fiancée] are here, and that was really perfect. Winning in front of the public when people expect you to is just an amazing feeling,” Kwiatkowski said. “After the Tour, you’re never really sure about your condition. Of course, I was mentally ready to have a good race, but you never actually know.”

Kwiatkowski leads Teuns by eight seconds in the general classification with Bennett a further two seconds back.

Gavazzi victorious at Vuelta a Burgos opener

Italian Francesco Gavazzi (Androni-Giocattoli) won the first stage of the 2018 Vuelta a Burgos, as the stage finished atop the climb to the castle overlooking the town of Burgos. Gavazzi proved to be the fastest out of a select group of seven riders that emerged on the finishing climb. Pello Bilbao (Astana) and Alex Aranburu (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) rounded out the podium.


Happy Birthday to…

The Yates twins, Simon and Adam, turn 26 today. Adam Yates recently completed the Tour de France after finishing second overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June; his next race is the August 16-19 Colorado Classic. Simon Yates led the Giro d’Italia for 13 days in May, winning three stages, before losing more than an hour in the final two mountain stages; he’s currently sitting 15th overall at the Tour of Poland. Both riders have spent their entire professional career racing for the Australian GreenEdge Cycling program.

Simon and Adam Yates during the 2017 Vuelta a Espana. Photo: Cor Vos

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