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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
The cyclocross world champion, Wout van Aert, disclosed his plans for this season after he left his previous team last week. Also, the UCI World Road Championships kicked off in Innsbruck, Austria with the team time trials. And, Philippe Gilbert is back after being sidelined from his crash at the Tour. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the day: Van Aert reveals sponsorless kit
Cyclocross world champion Wout van Aert announced his new independent program for the 2018-19 season. Van Aert revealed a world champion jersey with no sponsors and simply his initials “WVA” across the front and back of the white jersey. His bibs, which are black with rainbow accents, are also sponsorless.
The 24-year-old will be racing the cyclocross season as an independent after he terminated his contract with Veranda’s Willems-Crelan early last week. The team is filing a lawsuit against van Aert for breach of contract since the contract with the team was through the 2019 season. Van Aert could end up having to pay the team the sum of his 2019 contract, which has been rumoured to be 500,000 euros.
Van Aert posted pictures of his new kit and bike, a Stevens, on Instagram Saturday, ahead of Sunday’s opening round of the UCI Cyclocross World Cup in Waterloo, Wisconsin.
“Normally I’m not a fan of long Instagram posts but today I think it’s worth it,” wrote Van Aert. “It’s been a hectic week with a lot of stress and a lot of doubts for me. I arrived in the USA on Tuesday without certainty of racing this weekend. Thousand messages and phone calls later I am race ready. We even managed to get my new bikes exactly the same like I was used to! It feels so great and unbelievable at the same time to realize this project in only 4 days.”
With the hectic week van Aert has had, it will be interesting to see how he performs over the next two weekends with the world cup in Waterloo and then another U.S. world cup the following weekend in Iowa City, Iowa. Last year, van Aert struggled with the hot temperatures and finished 14th in Iowa City and seventh in Waterloo.
The Beauty of Cycling
Cycling doesn’t take place in an arena or a stadium. The landscape is cycling’s stadium and mother nature was on full display during the team time trial events in Innsbruck, Austria. As showcased in today’s featured image, the overcast sky allowed the colours of Canyon-SRAM’s rear disc wheels to seem ever more vibrant.
The team time trial is one of the best examples that cycling is indeed a team sport. The riders all have to be extremely focused and disciplined to ride as one unit in order to complete the course as fast as possible. It’s also one of the most brutal aspects of the sport.
TTT: a brutal but beautiful discipline. pic.twitter.com/fOcPw8vh3q
— Trek-Segafredo (@TrekSegafredo) September 23, 2018
Canyon-SRAM take women’s TTT world title
Canyon-SRAM were victorious in the women’s team time trial, blitzing the 54.5-kilometre route in Innsbruck, Austria in 1:01:46. Trixi Worrack, Elena Cecchini, Alena Amialiusik, Alice Barnes, Hannah Barnes, and Lisa Klein were 21 seconds faster than silver medalist Boels-Dolmans. Defending champion Team Sunweb rounded out the podium and finished just sevens behind Boels-Dolmans.
Remarkably, this is the fifth time the Canyon-SRAM program has won the world title in the TTT since the event was reintroduced in 2012. Although, they have done so with different title sponsors each year. Trixi Worrack is the only rider to have been a part of every winning team.
— CANYON//SRAM Racing (@WMNcycling) September 23, 2018
Top 5 results:
1. Canyon-SRAM in 1:01:46.60
2. Boels-Dolmans at +0:21″
3. Team Sunweb at +0:28″
4. Wiggle-High5 at +0:57
5. Mitchelton-Scott at +1:29
Quick-Step are world champs for fourth time
Quick-Step Floors powered through the 62.8-kilometre course to take its fourth world team time trial title. The Belgian squad paced the brutal course to perfection, keeping its pace steady over the tough five-kilometre climb with 20 kilometres to go and then powering to the finish.
Niki Terpstra, Kasper Asgreen, Bob Jungels, Laurens De Plus, Yves Lampaert and Max Schachmann finished with a time of 1:07:26, beating Team Sunweb by 18 seconds. BMC Racing finished third, losing out on the silver medal by less than two seconds.
— Deceuninck-QuickStep (@deceuninck_qst) September 23, 2018
Top 5 results:
1. Quick-Step Floors in 1:07:25
2. Team Sunweb at +0:18
3. BMC Racing at +0:19
4. Team Sky at +0:44
5. Mitchelton-Scott at +0:56
Gilbert returns after breaking kneecap at Tour
Former world champion Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) returned to racing at the Grand Prix d’Isbergues after breaking his kneecap during the Tour de France in July. He won the race in a two-rider sprint against Christophe Laporte (Cofidis).
The Belgian tumbled spectacularly over a wall on the descent of the Col de Portet-d’Aspet during stage 16 of the Tour. He climbed out of the ravine and finished the stage, which was won by his teammate Julian Alaphilippe. The extent of his injuries was later revealed after the stage and he abandoned the race.
Nick Schultz replaces Richie Porte in Aussie Worlds line-up
Twenty-four-year-old Nick Schultz (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) has been selected to replace Richie Porte (BMC) in the Australian men’s road race team for the World Championships after Porte withdrew due to illness.
“It is an honour to be selected to represent Australia at the World Championships,” Schultz said.” I will give my maximum to deliver whatever is required. I would also like to wish Richie a speedy recovery and thank Cycling Australia for their faith in selecting me.”
Mitchelton-Scott announced the signing of the Kiwi Dion Smith on a two-year deal. The 25-year-old spent the last two seasons with the Pro Continental Wanty-Groupe Gobert program and also rode the Tour de France the last two seasons as well. He wore the polka dot mountain’s jersey for three days at this year’s Tour.
“We were looking for a versatile guy and Dion is a pretty versatile character,” sports director Matt White said. “He can do a bit of everything, he can handle himself in the Flemish classics, he’s fast but not a pure sprinter, he can climb good, he is a real racer.”