Wallays takes Vuelta stage; Warbasse back in WorldTour: Daily News Digest

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

A nail-biting finish at La Vuelta saw the breakaway steal the stage and the peloton swarm the leading duo right at the line. Also, an American found success in France and the transfer market is staying hot late into the year.

Tweet of the day

After learning they would indeed not be participating in the Tour of Britain with their Aqua Blue Sport team, American Larry Warbasse and Irishman Conor Dunne set off on an eight-day endeavour starting and ending in Nice they dubbed the #NoGoTour.

The adventure has paid-off for Warbasse, as he signed a contract with Ag2r-La Mondiale. It is a return to the top-tier for Warbasse. He spent two seasons with BMC Racing (2013-14) and two seasons with IAM Cycling (2015-16) before joining Aqua Blue Sport.

Story of the day: The peloton’s complacency

Throughout most of the flat transition eighteenth stage of the Vuelta a Espana, the sprinter’s teams kept the three-rider breakaway close by. The gap stayed steady under the three-minute mark and was less than 90 seconds with 20 kilometres to go. The leading trio of Jelle Wallays (Lotto-Soudal), Sven Erik Bystrom (UAE Team Emirates), and Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH) seemed destined to be caught.

However, the peloton on this day underestimated the strength of the leaders and Walleys took an emphatic win after forcing Bystrom to lead the final 1500 metres. A last-ditch effort by world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) came up short, as he caught the leaders just as Wallays raised his arms in victory.

The so-called “early morning breakaway” in professional cycling always has a slim chance of survival. That is especially the case at La Vuelta, where there are so few opportunities for the sprinters. However, the trio didn’t give up and fought tirelessly until the end and, on this occasion, they reaped the rewards by fighting for a stage win.

All of the GC contenders stayed safe on stage 18 and the race heads toward Andorra for a tough final two mountain stages to decide the overall winner before the final parade into Madrid on Sunday.

The Beauty of Cycling

Most race organisers are quite particular about how the post-race ceremony will unfold. The stage winner interview on international television is generally formulaic, with the interviewer asking simple questions about the race.

Sometimes, that formula is discarded by a very happy teammate.

Race Radio

Ryan takes l’Ardèche opener

The week-long UCI 2.1 Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche began with a short, 65-kilometre flat stage, which was won by American Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM) in a bunch finish. She beat Arlenis Sierra (Astana), who won the final stage of the Amgen Tour of California in May, and Alison Jackson (Tibco-SVB).

Aru apologises for outburst after high-speed crash

Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) has apologised for his outburst on stage 17 after crashing at nearly 70kph with 10 kilometres to go in the stage. Aru was clearly shaken in the crash and got up screaming about his Colnago bike to the UAE Team Emirates’ mechanics. He got a new bike and finished the stage with his bibs greatly torn.

The Italian called Ernesto Colnago himself late on Wednesday after the stage to apologise for his actions. Colnago told Tuttobici that Aru explained at the moment of the crash his nerves got the best of him and he was shaken from going down at such a high speed.

It was revealed that the cause of the crash was Aru’s chain getting stuck in the 11-cog. Aru manually moved the chain back up to the 12-cog while he was still riding and when he looked down he crashed.

However, Colnago disputed this when he revealed he spoke with UAE Team Emirates Head Mechanic Giuseppe Archetti, who said nothing was wrong with the bike.

Il Lombardia finale changed due road closure

The 112th edition of Il Lombardia, also known as “The race of the falling leaves”, will see a new finale, as the San Fermo della Battaglia climb is being omitted due to a road closure in Val Fresca. In past editions, the finale of the final monument of the season was marked by the tough Civiglio climb and then the San Fermo della Battaglia climb, before a quick descent to the finish. In 2019, the race will still climb the Civiglio, but then the new Monte Olimpino climb (1.7km at 5%) will be the last ascent of the race. The new climb peaks just three kilometres from the finish.

Il Lombardia takes place on October 13th, two weeks after the world championships end. The 241-kilometre route begins in Bergamo and covers six climbs and 4,000 metres of climbing before the finish in Como. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) won last year’s edition, his second career victory in the race, and is slated to be on the start line this year.

Transfer News

The Trek-Segafredo Women’s team continues to add firepower to its new squad with the signing of the Ellen van Dijk. The Dutchwoman is a powerful rider and excels in the spring Classics, especially the cobbled ones. She is also superior against the clock, having claimed the European TT title the last two seasons. Van Dijk was also world champion in the TT in 2013.

American Lauren Stephens will also return to Tibco-SVB after spending the 2018 season with Cylance. She rode for Tibco-SVB from 2013-2017.

“I’ve had a difficult year battling with an injury after a high-speed crash during the final stage at the Tour Down Under,” Stephens said in a team release. “I’ve taken an early off-season this year so that I can come back at 100 percent for 2019.”

On the men’s side, Eddie Dunbar has signed a contract with Team Sky for the 2019 season. The Irishman rode for Aqua Blue Sport for most of the 2018 season, but got permission to end his contract early after the team announced it was folding. He signed a contract with Team Sky through the end of this year and will make his debut in the team’s colours on Saturday at the one-day Coppa Agostoni.

Italian Jakub Mareczko will make the jump to the WorldTour with the new CCC program (formerly BMC Racing) after spending the past four seasons with the Wilier Triestina program. The 24-year-old sprinter has racked up 35 career wins, mostly on the Asian circuit. Marcezko has finished second on a stage of the Giro d’Italia on three occasions in the last two years. It will be interesting to see how he fares over the course of a full European campaign.

Lotto-Soudal also announced the signing of Dutchman Brian van Goethem from the Pro Continental Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij for the 2019 and 2020 season. The 27-year-old will bolster the Belgian squad’s Classics team.

Tech News

Enve will give you $1000 to trade-up your wheels

Enve has announced a new trade-in program wherein the company will give riders a $1000 credit for their current pair of Enve wheels, or $700 for any other carbon wheel, when they trade those wheels in for a new set of Enves. The only major stipulation is that the trade-in set has to been in rideable condition, and this is only valid in the US.

Moving Pictures

Vuelta a Espana stage 18 highlights

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