Courtney takes MTB world title, Yates shines at La Vuelta: Daily News Digest

by CyclingTips

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

Whew! This weekend was an intense couple of days of racing with La Vuelta, the Tour of Britain, and the elite cross-country races at the world mountain bike championships. Don’t worry though, we gladly watched all of the action for you and have a complete wrap-up in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the day: American Courtney captures elite world MTB title at 22

Kate Courtney, a first-year elite cross-country rider, became just the fourth American woman to claim the elite cross-country mountain bike world title and the first to do so since Alison Dunlap won the world title in 2001.

“It’s an absolutely incredible feeling to win,” Courtney said after winning the world title in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. “I don’t know if it’s really sunk in yet. I was so focussed on executing my race plan, and to look up at the finish and realize that I was first was an incredible feeling. I just focussed on riding the cleanest lines I could, and I knew that was my opportunity.”

Courtney, a frequent diary contributor to CyclingTips was able to ride away from her Specialized teammate Annika Langvad (Denmark) on the final lap to claim the world title at just 22 years old. Canadian Emily Batty rounded out the podium with home country favourite and defending champion Jolanda Neff in fourth.

A look at Courtney’s results throughout the world cup season shows steady improvement and entering the race, a podium spot was not out the question. The Stanford University graduate finished in the top 10 at every world cup, except for the opening round in South Africa. That first round came before the week-long Cape Epic mountain bike race, which she went on to win with teammate Langvad.

We hope to hear from Courtney herself later this week, so keep an eye on, as Courtney finally begins to grasp that she will be wearing the rainbow bands of world champion next season.

Post of the day

Olympic champion Nino Schurter won the seventh cross-country mountain bike world championship of his career over the weekend, and on home soil no less.

Race Radio

Yates in control at La Vuelta

Briton Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) took the stage win and red leader’s jersey atop Les Praeres on stage 14. He then looked cool, calm, and collected on the summit finish at Lagos de Covadonga on Sunday, as Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) attacked from six kilometres out to take the stage win.

Yates heads into La Vuelta’s final rest day in pole position. He will enter the brutal final week of the race with the Movistar duo of Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana right on his wheel. Valverde is 26 seconds back with Quintana a further seven seconds behind.

Yates appears to be untouchable when the road tips upward at the moment, but remember what happened back in May in Italy. He led the Giro d’Italia for 13 days and looked set to win his first grand tour before cracking spectacularly on stage 19. It was the same day Chris Froome (Team Sky) went on an 80-kilometre solo ride to win the stage and seal the overall title at the Giro.

La Vuelta resumes on Tuesday with a rolling 32.7-kilometre individual time trial from Santillana del Mar to Torrelavega.

Alaphilippe claims Tour of Britain overall

Ian Stannard (Team Sky) and Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) claimed the final two stages of the Tour of Britain on Saturday and Sunday, as Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) continued his magical season and took the overall title. The Frenchman has been unstoppable since the Spring Classics.

Alaphilippe’s form and climbing ability will most certainly put him in the mix at the world championships in a few weeks. While he may not be able to hold his own against the top climbers over a three-week grand tour, he has the ability to so during a one-day race like the world championships.

The nearly 5,000 metres of climbing to be tackled throughout the 265km race in Innsbruck, Austria will test the upper end of Alaphilippe’s climbing ability, but the final incredibly steep Höttinger Höll climb is right in his wheelhouse. The climb’s characteristics are similar to the Mur de Huy at Fleche Wallonne — a race Alaphilippe won back in April — but it is a bit longer at 3.2 kilometres.

Matthews wins in Quebec and Montreal

Michael Matthews (Sunweb) outsprinted Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) to win the one-day Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec on Friday. The victory was his first one-day WorldTour win.

Two days later Matthews was again the strongest at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal, this time beating Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) and Van Avermaet. Both wins come just days after Matthews spoke about the frustration of being left off the Australian team for the upcoming World Championships.

2018 had been a season to forget for Matthews until recently. The 27-year-old broke his shoulder at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in February. He recovered and returned to finish in the top 10 at Milano-Sanremo, but struggled to find winning form. The lone bright spot in the spring was a win in the prologue at the Tour de Romandie. He then exited the Tour de France in the first week due to illness.

The win will definitely help Matthews’ confidence, as he begins to put 2018 in the rear-view mirror and look toward 2019. He will need to find the podium more frequently next year, as his contract is up with Team Sunweb at the end of the season.

Tour champ Thomas extends with Team Sky

2018 Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas will stay with Team Sky through the 2021 season, the team announced before the final stage of the Tour of Britain. He emphatically won the Tour in July, despite teammate Chris Froome entering the race as the defending champion and seeking to join the illustrious five-win club.

Thomas also became the first Welshman to win the Tour de France and third Briton to do so after Froome and Bradley Wiggins (2012).

Santos Women’s Tour Down Under heads for the hills again in 2019

The Santos Tour Down Under has released the course for next January’s edition of the four-day women’s UCI 2.1 ranked race. In this video from the organisers, you can check out what’s in store for the 2019 edition.

This year’s race was won by Amanda Spratt in the hills, but was bookended by sprint stages.

Tech News

Argon 18 launches Nitrogen disc-brake version

Canadian brand Argon 18 utilized the two one-day WorldTour races in Quebec and Montreal this past weekend to reveal a disc-brake version of the company’s flagship aero frameset Nitrogen. The highlights include a claimed 80% increase in lateral stiffness compared to the Nitrogen Pro and tire clearance for 30mm tires. The bike uses the DT Swiss’ 12mm thru-axle standard.

Moving Pictures

Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec highlights

Vuelta a Espana stage 14 highlights

Tour of Britain stage 7 highlights

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