Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
The story surrounding world champion Wout van Aert and the sudden break up with his team is getting uglier by the day. Now it seems the courts will decide the outcome. Also, a young sensation may still be on the transfer market, despite a team having already announced it signed him.
Story of the day: With no team, Van Aert goes running
The saga surrounding three-time cyclocross world champion Wout van Aert and the sudden termination of his contract with Veranda’s Willems-Crelan is set to go to court, according to Sporza. It centres on whether van Aert owes the team money or not for terminating his contract a year early. Meanwhile, the Belgian has arrived in the U.S. for the opening rounds of the World Cup and posted a morning run on Strava.
Van Aert’s lawyer, Walter van Steenbrugge, commented earlier in the week that the team and the world champion would mutually accept to part ways or the two would see each other in court. A team spokesperson said today the team does not accept van Aert’s explanation, so it appears the latter will occur.
Furthermore, Nieuws VTM has reported that Nick Nuyens, the team’s manager, attempted to get the other riders on the team to sign a letter against van Aert. However, neither party has confirmed this.
With all of this, it will be interesting what van Aert will be wearing at the Waterloo World Cup this weekend. He is competing as an independent rider, which was approved by the UCI and Belgian Federation. Former world champion Sven Nys competed with this designation in the latter years of his career according to Nieuws VTM. Van Aert’s world champ kit may be without logos, though he will have his Red Bull helmet, as that is a personal sponsor and not one of Veranda’s Willems-Crelan’s.
Van Aert also needs a bike. Since he likely will not ride team equipment, we could see him on a Trek while he races in the U.S. or until he finds a personal bike sponsor. The first World Cup takes place on the grounds of Trek’s Headquarters in Waterloo and the bike company is itself the promoter of the event.
The Beauty of Cycling
American Lawson Craddock finished the Tour de France despite breaking a scapula on the opening stage. He created a GoFundMe campaign to benefit the Hurricane Harvey-battered Alkek Velodrome as a motivator and encouraged people to donate for every stage he finished. In August, he gave a check to the velodrome for US$290,000.
Lobato victorious in Italy
The late season Italian one-day races continued with Coppa Sabatini, which was won by Juan José Lobato (Nippo-Vini Fantini). He attacked inside of 500 metres to the line and held off the peloton to take the victory. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) took the bunch sprint for second and Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) rounded out the podium.
WADA lifts Russia sanctions, USADA fights back
In a surprise announcement, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) lifted its ban on the Russian Federation after only three years. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency was found to have helped in state-sponsored doping during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Russia was barred from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, but athletes from the country still competed under the Olympic flag and designation Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR).
The documentary Icarus by Bryan Fogel, which debuted in 2017, helped to shed light on the state-sponsored doping in Russia. The film centred around Fogel exploring the effects of doping and how it improved his ability as an amateur cyclist. The film morphed into something greater when Grigory Rodchenkov, the head of the Russian anti-doping laboratory at the time, blew the whistle on the Russian doping program. The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature that year.
“WADA’s decision to reinstate Russia represents the greatest treachery against clean athletes in Olympic history,” Rodchenko’s lawyer, Jim Walden, said in a statement.
U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, who is famous for bringing down Lance Armstrong, also criticized WADA’s decision in a press release.
Sosa contract with Trek-Segafredo possibly in doubt
At the end of August, Trek-Segafredo announced it had signed Colombian sensation Ivan Sosa to a two-year contract. It appears no contract was in fact signed and Sosa’s changing agents from Paolo Alberati to Giuseppe Acquadro has created confusion.
Trek-Segafedo head honcho Luca Guercilena told CyclingTips via WhatsApp, “We got the news that Sosa changed agents very late, at the 10th September. We had all the situation of the negotiation and the contacts arranged with his previous agent.”
Guercilena also said he is confident everything will be sorted out and Sosa will join Trek-Segafredo. He added that Sosa told the team he wanted to join.
Devolder to mentor van der Poel
Two-time Tour of Flanders winner Stijn Devolder is set to switch from riding alongside Wout van Aert to Mathieu van der Poel in 2019. According to Sporza, the 39-year-old has signed a one-year contract with Corendon-Circus. The team of van der Poel is applying for Pro Continental status for next year in part to allow van der Poel to compete in the spring Classics.
Tweet of the Day
An American Football player complained about the number of times he had been tested by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay gave his take on the matter.
Ask a pro cyclist about the whereabouts program. https://t.co/ttXUw6FD5Z
— Jason Gay (@jasongay) September 20, 2018
Velcro is back with Fizik’s new Tempo R5 Powerstrap road shoes
What once was old is new again? Fizik’s new Tempo R5 Powerstrap road shoes have brought Velcro straps back into the cycling footwear world. The move is partially a way to bring down costs — retail cost is just US$119/AU$TBC/£110/€120 — but in typical Fizik fashion, the company has also figured out a stylish way to incorporate them into the shoes’ design.
Velcro straps on cycling shoes used to simply go straight across the shoe, but the Tempo R5 Powerstrap’s forward strap uses a Z-shaped pattern that supposedly makes for a more form-fitting feel. Both straps are unusually wide, too, and extend all the way to the lateral edge for what Fizik claims is better support than what’s usually found in Velcro shoes.
Down below is the same fibre-reinforced nylon composite sole as the existing Boa-equipped R5.
Claimed weight for the Tempo R5 Powerstrap is 499g per pair (size 42), and there will be four different colours on tap: black/black, white/black, red/black, and blue/black.
For more information, visit www.fizik.com
In case you missed it …
Secret Pro: Our anonymous columnist from the pro peloton weighs in on the CPA elections and writes how the riders are unionising against the union.
Psychology: Michael Inglis, a sports psychologist, tackles the art of staying motivated on the bike.
Interbike: Our resident Tech Editor James Huang is at the Interbike trade show in Reno, Nevada. Check out everything thing he saw on day two.