More racing left after Worlds; Woods’ breakthrough; Saddle from Scicon: Daily News Digest

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

The world road championships may be over, but that doesn’t mean the road racing season is over. There is still one more road race that’s worth watching.


Story of the day: One more race left in a marathon season

Currently, the professional WorldTour season ranges from Australia in mid-January to China in mid-October. It can be tough still getting excited to watch races this late in the year and our handsome trio on the podcast discussed this very issue last week. However, there is still one more race worth tuning into — Il Lombardia.

Nicknamed “Classica delle foglie morte” or the “Race of the falling leaves,” Il Lombardia is the final Monument of the season and the only one that occurs in the fall. The race, which began in 1905, used to happen on the first weekend following the elite men’s road race at Worlds. This year the race is two weeks later on October 13.

Il Lombardia is worth watching just to view and admire the spectacle of northern Italy. The course weaves and dives through the narrow roads and climbs surrounding the beautiful Lake Como. The leaves have just begun to change, adding a bit of colour to the landscape. The racing is intense and exciting, as riders fight to get one last big win before heading into the offseason and taking a break from riding and racing.

Il Lombardia is worth watching just for the beautiful scenery. Photo: Kristof Ramon

Il Lombardia was usually our first glimpse at the new world champion, but since Peter Sagan’s reign as champion, we’ve missed the rainbow bands in Italy due to the climb-heavy course not suiting Sagan’s skills. However, this year we could very well see new world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) line up at the race. He’s on form and the course suits his characteristics. Back at the beginning of the season, he said in the press that Il Lombardia was on his schedule.

Since his comeback from his doping ban in 2012, the Spaniard has raced Il Lombardia every year except 2017. He missed last year’s edition due to the knee injury he sustained at the Tour. He’s finished in the top ten on all occasions, including second in 2013 and 2014.

The road season is long and you might be sick of watching bike racing, but you won’t be disappointed if you watch just one more.


Tweet of the day

Annemiek van Vleuten had successful surgery to repair a fracture of her tibial plateau, which she sustained in a crash during the elite women’s road race at the world championships. Incredibly, she finished the race in seventh despite the injury.


Race Radio

Woods continues breakthrough month with Bronze at Worlds

Canadian Michael Woods was a cross-country runner throughout his early 20s while attending college and didn’t become a professional cyclist until he was 25 years old in 2012. Just two weeks shy of his 32nd birthday he stood on the podium of the world road championships with the Bronze medal.

“To be a bronze medalist at the world championships is not something that I could have dreamt of when I was working behind a teller stand at a bank a few years ago,” Woods said in a team press release from his trade team EF Education First-Drapac. “I think I started to show glimpses of these types of performances last year. This year, I’ve really stepped up my consistency and shown that now, as long as I am healthy, I can contend against the best riders in the world.”

Michael Woods (Canada) leads Romain Bardet (France) and Alejandro Valverde (Spain) atop the ridiculously steep Höll Climb on the final lap of the elite men’s road race. Photo: Kristof Kramon

Woods has experienced an extreme of emotions the last few months, as well as maturing as a racer. Woods’ wife had a stillbirth over summer and he privately dealt with the tragic loss. All the emotions of losing his son came out in a post-race interview after he triumphantly won a stage summit finish in the final week of the Vuelta a Espana. The victory was Woods’ first at WorldTour level. He followed the Vuelta win with the third-place performance at Worlds on Sunday.

Road Worlds by the numbers

What goes going into hosting road cycling’s premiere week of racing? Well, the UCI released a few numbers to show us the scale of the world road championships and just how big of an event it is.

Innsbruck recruited nearly 1,500 volunteers to help the week run smoothly. Volunteers jobs ranged from manning course crossing to helping in the hospitality tents with VIPs and working to check-in over 700 media members that descended upon the Austrian ski town. The world championships were broadcast in 150 countries by over 50 radio and TV stations who produced their content from Innsbruck.

Roughly 600,000 visitors flocked to Innsbruck throughout the week. Many of whom came on the final weekend to watch the elite road races. Photo: Kristof Ramon

The UCI also carried out 1,288 bike checks for technological fraud over the course of the 12 events.

Tech News

A saddle from Scicon?

Scicon is well known for its bags, especially its bike bags, so it’s somewhat surprising to see that the Italian brand has decided to launch its own racing saddle. Dubbed the Elan, it’s a snub-nosed design (148 x 248mm) with a gentle dip and a central cutout that was developed with input from Luca Girardi, grandson of the founder of Selle San Marco.

Advice from sports scientists and bike-fitters also played an important part in the development of the Elan, as did clinical testing. However, neither will offer much assurance for those that balk at the high asking price (€199/£180/US$229/A$299).

New Ibis Cycles DV9 carbon 29er hardtail designed with junior racers in mind

With junior racers in mind, Ibis cut the price of the DV9 frame nearly in half relative to the Tranny 29 model it replaces, from US$1,700 down to a much more reasonable US$1,000. Claimed frame weight has dropped almost 200g to 1,210g, but perhaps more important is the fact that Ibis has designed the DV9 to be a more versatile all-rounder. There’s now clearance for tires up to 2.6in-wide, as well as a more modern long-low-and-slack geometry that will make the bike more amenable to general trail riding outside of race weekends.

Gone, however, are the old Tranny 29’s nifty adjustable chainstays, which not only allowed for easy singlespeed conversions, but quick disassembly for packing into airline-legal travel cases.

Complete DV9 builds start at US$2,100 with a SRAM NX 1×11 drivetrain, a 120mm-travel Fox Float 34 Rhythm fork, and Ibis 938 aluminium wheels with a generous 34mm internal width. Top models are specified with a SRAM XX1 groupset, Ibis carbon wheels, and Enve finishing kit for US$7,500. For more information, visit www.ibiscycles.com.


In case you missed it …

Cervelo S5 Disc: Cervelo has redesigned the S5 with a new unconventional V-shaped bar and stem setup. Dave Everette ventured to Spain to get all the details on the new rig and give it a ride.

The Valverde Conundrum: Editor-in-Chief Caley Fretz wishes Aljenadro Valverde had not won the world championships.

Unpredictably predictable: Our Ella Editor Simone Giuliani examines how Anna van der Breggen’s world title win may have looked predictable on paper, but it was quite the contrary on race day.

Today’s feature image: From our looking back on the week of racing at the world road championships in Innsbruck, the elite men’s peloton enters the heart of the city.

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