Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Richie Porte will lead BMC Racing at the Vuelta a España in his final race for the team. Mikel Landa will miss the Vuelta due to his spinal fracture at San Sebastian. Vincenzo Nibali, who had a spinal fracture at the Tour de France, will race the Vuelta — but not as a GC leader. Geraint Thomas and Tom Dumoulin, the top two finishers at the Tour de France, will race the four-stage Deutschland Tour later this week. Peter Sagan has confirmed he will return to the Santos Tour Down Under in 2019.
Quote of the day
“For me personally, this is one kind of racing, and I feel I am ready to make the next step. I feel consistent in America, but the new year will be a whole other challenge for me. I’m ready for that challenge.”
— American Katie Hall (UnitedHealthcare), whose GC win Sunday at the Colorado Classic made it five overall victories in five starts at US stage races in 2018. She will transfer to Boels-Dolmans in 2019.
Story of the day: Porte confirmed as BMC leader in Vuelta
Having crashed out of the Tour de France, Richie Porte has another chance to chase Grand Tour success at the Vuelta a España. However the Australian in taking a tentative approach to the race, with no pre-race predictions as to how he might fare.
“Of course, I would like to do well in my last Grand Tour for BMC Racing Team, but you never know where your form is when you haven’t had an ideal run into a race,” he said via Monday’s team announcement confirming his leadership. “After crashing out of the Tour de France, I had to have some time off and it took me a while to get back to work due to my injuries. I have put in some good training since then but I won’t be lining up in the shape I was in before the Tour de France.”
Porte said he will take a day-by-day approach at first. However, he believes he could ride into form and that this could have a big effect later on and in a subsequent key target. “The last week is pretty hard so you don’t know what could happen there but, we have a great team lining up with lots of good options. There’s definitely also a carrot dangling in front of me at the Vuelta with the UCI World Championships being a climber’s course, so it will be good preparation for that.”
The squad will also feature fellow Australian Rohan Dennis, plus former stage winners Nicolas Roche, Fran Ventoso and Alessandro De Marchi, as well as Dylan Teuns, and Americans Brent Bookwalter and Joey Rosskopf. The 73rd edition of the Vuelta a España will depart from Málaga on Saturday, August 25, ending in Madrid on September 16.
Click here to read a long interview with Porte about his Tour crash, the Vuelta a España and more.
Landa to miss Vuelta, Quintana and Valverde confirmed for Movistar
Mikel Landa’s race against time to be ready for the Vuelta a España has proven unsuccessful, with his Movistar team confirming on Monday that he will miss the race. The Spaniard crashed heavily in the recent Clasica San Sebastian and was diagnosed with a fracture to his L1 vertebra plus a fracture to his rib. Last week an additional rib fracture was found.
According to Spanish newspaper AS then, the injuries, plus a build-up of fluid in his back, meant that Landa was only able to train for one hour each day. Movistar confirmed on Monday that the effects of this crash plus his earlier falls at the Tour de France had too much of a cumulative effect.
“We’ve fought the hardest we could during the last 15 days, trying to make sure Mikel could reach a high degree of recovery, but it wasn’t possible,” said team manager Eusebio Unzué. “He’s gone through good and bad moments during these two weeks, but in the end, and at the time we had to make a choice, he just doesn’t have sufficient guarantees to go and take the start of the Vuelta.”
Unzué said that the team will continue to help with Landa’s recovery in order to see if it is possible for him to ride the Tour of Britain and then the world championships. The Movistar squad will still have a strong leadership at the Vuelta, as former race winners Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde will head the squad. They will be joined by Andrey Amador, Winner Anacona, Daniele Bennati, Richard Carapaz, Imanol Erviti, and Nelson Oliveira.
Izagirre to lead Bahrain-Merida at Vuelta as Nibali targets stage wins
Spaniard Ion Izagirre will lead the Bahrain-Merida team at the Vuelta a España as Italian Vincenzo Nibali, coming off a fractured vertebra sustained at the Tour de France, is downplaying his chances for overall victory. It will be Izagirre’s Vuelta debut, while Nibali, a two-time Vuelta champion, will ride in support and target stage wins. This year’s route presents nine summit finishes, including one atop the fearsome Lagos de Covadonga.
“It will be my first Vuelta in my career and I will race for the GC,” Izagirre said. “I made several recon of stages, especially the climbs in the north of Spain, and I like the route. There are also 40 kilometres of time trial, and this is an advantage for me.”
The prologue in Malaga will mark Nibali’s first race since he taken down by a spectator on l’Alpe d’Huez on July 19. “I have been training for about only a couple of weeks and for this reason I think it will be very difficult to aim for the general classification,” he said. “I will see day by day and I hope to be able to do well in some mountain stages anyway.”
The team’s full Vuelta roster is Vincenzo Nibali, Franco Pellizotti, Ion Izagirre, Gorka Izagirre, Ivan Garcia Cortina, Luka Pibernik, Hermann Pernsteiner, and Mark Padun.
Thomas, Dumoulin, Bardet to August 23-26 Deutschland Tour
Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, runner-up Tom Dumoulin, and two-time podium finisher Romain Bardet are the marquee names competing at the August 23-26 Deutschland Tour. German stars Marcel Kittel, André Greipel, and Pascal Ackermann are also competing as well as future German stars Maximilian Schachmann, Nils Politt, and Lennard Kämna.
The Deutschland Tour is back on the international cycling calendar after a 10-year absence. Thomas (Team Sky) will resume racing in Koblenz after winning the Tour de France last month, as will Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale), Slovenia’s Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida), and Warren Barguil (Fortuneo-Samsic).
Peter Sagan confirmed for 2019 Tour Down Under
The Santos Tour Down Under has had early confirmation that Peter Sagan, the three-time UCI World Road Champion, will take to the start line in 2019.
The BORA-hansgrohe rider said his start to the 2018 season in Australia set up the ideal foundation for the rest of the season and the victories that have followed.
“Once again I am looking forward to being at the Santos Tour Down Under,” Sagan said. “This race holds a special place in my heart as it was my first race as a neo-pro in 2010. This year saw me take honours on the People’s Choice Classic and the win on Stage 4 in some tough conditions. The changes to the 2019 course will be exciting and the finale at Willunga Hill will be a spectacle for sure.”
The 2019 Santos Tour Down Under will be held January 10-20.
Bak leaves Lotto-Soudal to join Dimension Data
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka has announce that 38-year-old Dane Lars Bak has signed a one-year contract to join the African team in 2019. Bak will move across from Lotto-Soudal where he spent the last seven seasons.
“I’ve been a professional now for 17 years, next year will be my 18th, and it’s always nice to have a new motivation,” Bak said. “When I talked to Rolf Aldag he told me about the concept (of the team), I know Rolf from when I rode for two years with HTC, so I know that he does the absolute best for his riders. I really would like to perform the role that I’ve done in previous years as a helper, using my experience to help particularly the young guys in the team and everybody else while of course giving my best.”
Best news of today!! Will be awesome to have you by my side buddy! https://t.co/6By8dTj9W2
— Michael Valgren (@MichaelValgren) August 20, 2018
Lampaert renews with Quick-Step Floors
Belgian champion Yves Lampaert has signed a two-year contract extension with Quick-Step Floors following his best season since turning professional.
Now in his fourth year with Quick-Step Floors, in March Lampaert became the first rider in history to win Dwars door Vlaanderen in consecutive years. In June, he won the Belgian Road Championship.
“I love how we always shape the race, racing aggressively, trying to make things hard for others and going for the win,” Lampaert said. “It’s great to be part of such an experience.”
Majka, Poljanski and McCarthy renew with BORA-hansgrohe
Polish climber Rafal Majka has renewed with his German BORA-hansgrohe squad for the next two seasons. Teammates Pawel Poljanksi and Jay McCarthy have also renewed their contracts, through the 2019 season. Majka a two-time KOM winner at the Tour de France, is headed to the Vuelta a España, hoping to prove himself after struggling with injuries over the past two seasons. Poljanksi is a key support rider in the mountains, while McCarthy is a promising all-rounder, who has taken two WorldTour wins in 2018.
Cycling in the news
New York Times: For some girls, empowerment comes with two wheels and a helmet
Today’s New York Times has a feature about Girls on Bikes, a community group aiming to achieve pedal equality for a new generation of girls and women in Newark.
“What can happen is a self-perpetuating cycle: If the number of women is much lower than men, if you’re not seeing role models, if you’re not seeing someone who looks like you, cycling is not going to be appealing to you. But these kinds of groups, where you have the role models and it’s social and it’s fun, that can change the culture.”
Click through to read the full article at NYTimes.com.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO…
Irish rider Dan Martin (UAE-Team Emirates), a winner of two Monuments —Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2013 and Il Lombardia in 2014 — turns 32 today. In July, Martin won atop Mûr de Bretagne, his second stage win at the Tour de France, finishing the race eighth overall — his fourth career top-10 finish in a Grand Tour.