Nibali pursues legal action over TDF crash; Van Aert calls for calendar review: Daily News Digest

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

Vincenzo Nibali is continuing to pursue legal action over his crash on L’Alpe d’Huez at the Tour de France, which left him with a fractured vertebra. Cyclocross world champion Wout van Aert criticised the UCI for the way it put together the CX calendar. He will skip certain events as a result. And, Adam Hansen has reportedly extended his contract with Lotto-Soudal. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the day: Nibali to meet with French Prosecutors

Vincenzo Nibali is set to meet with French prosecutors in early November over the incident on the slopes of Alpe d’Huez where he crashed heavily after catching a spectator’s loose camera strap. A meeting is set for November 10 in Grenoble, according to a report in Gazzetta dello Sport.

Nibali was forced to abandon the Tour after it was revealed he had a fracture of his tenth thoracic vertebra. The injury arguably derailed the rest of his season, as he rushed to regain form ahead of a climber-friendly world road championship. He underperformed at Worlds, but bounced back to finish second at Il Lombardia.

The complaint filed by Nibali and his lawyer Fausto Malucchi is against unknown persons for injuries. Reports indicate that Nibali has statements from various Italian fans that were in the area at the time of the crash, which occurred five kilometres from the finish atop Alpe d’Huez.

It remains to be seen how this will play out and who will be at fault for damages, if Nibali is indeed granted damages by the French courts. The owner of the camera strap that appeared to cause the crash has yet to be identified or come forward. Furthermore, speculation is that Tour organisers ASO could be deemed responsible for the incident.

Vincenzo Nibali was clearly in pain from the crash, as fans helped him to his feet. Nibali has said the fans put him at a greater risk due to them suddenly helping him to his feet without knowing the extent of his injury. Photo: Holly Mathews

Race Radio

Ackermann takes stage 2 in China, Groenewegen retains race lead

Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) was victorious on a wet second stage of the Tour of Guangxi. He outsprinted the Dutch duo of Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Floors) and stage 1 winner Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo). Groenewegen retained the red leader’s jersey.

Ackermann’s win was the ninth of the year for the neo-pro. He’s had a stellar year racing in cycling’s top tier thus far. Six of nine wins have come at WorldTour races and he also captured the German road race title in June.

Van Aert calls for UCI to review cyclocross calendar

In his weekly column for Belgian website Wielerflits, Wout van Aert called for the UCI to review the cyclocross schedule, as long transfers will cause him to miss key races to ensure he is fresh for the prestigious World Cup events.

Van Aert pointed to this upcoming weekend as an issue. There is a Superprestige race in Boom, Belgium on Saturday and the third stop in the UCI World Cup series in Bern, Switzerland on Sunday. Superprestige is considered cyclocross’ second-best series after the World Cup. The two events are nearly 700 kilometres apart and riders doing both events, like Mathieu van der Poel, will be making the drive in their camper vans. Flying is not a viable option according to van Aert.

The issue again arises in November with the Tabor, Czech Republic World Cup stop and the DVV Trophy race in Hamme, Belgium. Van Aert will race the World Cup, but be absent in Hamme.

Wout van Aert (Cibel-Cebon) on the start line of GP Mario De Clercq in Ronse, Belgium. Photo: Kristof Ramon

Cyclocross racing in Europe differs greatly from in the U.S. in that American ‘cross races are usually Saturday and Sunday events at the same venue. The European calendar is stacked with established races, so it seems doubtful cyclocross’ motherland will adopt this model anytime soon.

Transfer news

Jan Bakelants and Asbjørn Kragh Andersen will ride for Team Sunweb in 2019. Bakelants is a 10-year pro veteran and will be moving to the team from Ag2r-La Mondiale. He’ll be expected to help mentor the younger riders according to team coach Marc Reef. Twenty-six-year-old Kragh Andersen will be making his WorldTour debut with the Dutch-based team. His older brother, Søren, also rides for the team.

Edward Theuns and Team Sunweb have mutually decided to part ways at the end of the year citing “their visions of the sport differing.” The Belgian joined Sunweb on a two-year deal at the beginning of the year.

According to Het Nieuwsblad, Adam Hansen has extended his contract with Lotto-Soudal for another year. The Aussie has ridden for the program since 2011.

Adam Hansen at the 2017 Vuelta a Espana. Photo: Cor Vos

Moving Pictures

Tour of Guangxi stage 2 on-bike highlights

History …

Hippolyte Aucouturier, a two-time Paris-Roubaix winner, was born on this day in 1876. The Frenchman was known as “Le Terrible” due to his outspoken personality. It is reported that Tour organiser, Henri Desgrange, referred to him by this on multiple occasions in the newspaper L’Auto.

Aucouturier captured the “Hell of the North” in 1903 and 1904. The latter edition was the first time the race was held without pacers. He was disqualified from the 1904 Tour de France, along with three others, for taking a train. He returned to the Tour the next year, winning three stages and finishing second overall. He died in 1944 at the age of 67.

In case you missed it …

Podcast: Caley, Neal, and James are in the basement to discuss Thibaut Pinot’s emphatic victory at Il Lombardia, Zwift racing and whether virtual racing is a future discipline of cycling, and bike gearboxes.

Nutrition: In the third and final instalment of our post-ride recovery nutrition series, we look at rehydration and the context in which rehydration is or isn’t important.

Refurbished: We catch-up with Mike Wilk, a man hooked on building and riding bikes that most have forgotten about. “I’m going to make sure it’s exactly as I wanted it to look when I was 12 years old, but didn’t have the money,” he says.

Today’s feature image: Vincenzo Nibali riding through the crowd during the team presentation of the 2018 Tour de France.

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