Yates’ challenge; Matthews does Canada double: Daily News Digest

by CyclingTips

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

The Vuelta a Espana is taking a breather before it plunges into its final week, where there are sure to be fireworks. Four of the final six stages are critical to the general classification, so the question on the second rest day is simple: Will Simon Yates hold on or will he collapse like he did at the Giro d’Italia?

Story of the day: Can Yates hold on?

For the second time this year, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) is relaxing on the second rest day of a grand tour in the leader’s jersey. But as the Giro d’Italia showed in May, the Vuelta a Espana is far from over.

Yates holds a scant 26-second lead over the Movistar duo of Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana, with at least four key general classification stages to go.

The 26-year-old raced aggressively throughout the Giro and it came back to haunt him in the final days of the race. Yates has approached this Vuelta more conservatively, but if the climb to Lagos de Covadonga was any indication, it appears he is still eager to attack instead of following and defending.

On the road to Lagos de Covadonga, Yates put in multiple attacks and then, oddly, assisted in the chase of Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), a rider he didn’t really need to chase down. Pinot sits over two minutes back. It was an expenditure of energy that could possibly have been avoided had he been able to force Quintana and others to do the pace making in the group.

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) is climbing strongly for the second grand tour this season, but has he learned from his mistakes at the Giro? Photo: Cor Vos

Yates is by far the best climber at La Vuelta, but an individual time trial and three summit finishes still remain before the riders parade into Madrid on Sunday. We’ll be eagerly watching to see if Yates can hang on, as La Vuelta enters an extremely tough final week.

The Beauty of Cycling

Race Radio

Matthews does the double in Canada

Michael “Bling” Matthews (Sunweb) became just the second rider in the history of the GP Quebec and Montreal to win both one-day races in the same year. The previous rider do so was another Australian, Simon Gerrans (BMC Racing), in 2014.

Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida) finished second in Montreal, with Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) rounding out the podium.

US announces elite men’s, women’s teams for road worlds

USA Cycling has announced its men’s and women’s teams for the UCI Road World Championships, held later this month in Innsbruck, Austria.

The men’s four-rider road team will consist of Ben King (Dimension Data), Sepp Kuss (LottoNL-Jumbo), Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing), Pete Stetina (Trek-Segafredo), with Nathan Brown (EF Education First-Drapac) as a reserve. The maximum number of riders for the highest-ranked nations is eight, so the Americans will be at a bit of a disadvantage against powerhouse nations. Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing), and two-time national TT champion Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing Team) will contest the individual time trial.

The women’s six-rider squad includes Coryn Rivera (Sunweb), Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans), Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM), Katie Hall (UnitedHealthcare), Tayler Wiles (Trek-Drops), Ruth Winder (Sunweb), and Leah Thomas (UnitedHealthcare).

Three women will compete in the individual time trial championship — Wiles, Thomas, and two-time world TT champion Amber Neben (PX4 Sports). As one of the highest-ranked nations, the US has filled its maximum of six riders for the road team.

Amber Neben listens to the start of her national anthem after winning the individual time trial at the 2016 world championships. She was also ITT world champion in 2008. Photo: Cor Vos.

Based on USA Cycling’s selection criteria, King and Rosskopf were automatic qualifiers on the men’s side, while Rivera, Guarnier, Ryan, and Neben were automatically qualified for the women’s team.

Transfer News

American Leah Thomas, 29, will make the jump to Europe in 2019 and ride for Cervelo-Bigla. The UnitedHealthcare rider has had a breakout season with multiple podiums and top-10s in stage races, including the overall title at the Tour de Feminin.

While Cervelo-Bigla gains Thomas, it will lose a star in Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio. WaowDeals, set to become CCC in 2019 and run alongside the men’s team of the same name, announced the signing of the South African. Moolman-Pasio is a cagey stage and one-day racer. She finished third at La Course just two days after claiming second overall at the 10-day Giro Rosa.

WaowDeals also confirmed that Inge van der Heijden, Jeanne Korevaar, Riejanne Markus, Pauliena Rooijakkers, Dani Rowe, Sabrina Stultiens and Marianne Vos will stay with the team in 2019.

Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervelo Bigla) will add considerable firepower to WaowDeals next year in stage races and the one-day Classics. Marianne Vos and her will be a tough duo to beat. Photo: Cor Vos

Moving Pictures

Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal highlights

On-board with Rachel Atherton’

The run that won Rachel Atherton her fifth Elite Downhill World Championship

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