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For today’s “Story of the Day” we offer something different, a memoriam to Italian Fiorenzo Magni. The legendary racer carved out a niche for himself during a time period where two other Italians stole many of the headlines. Also, Gianni Moscon continues to win despite having taken a forced five-week break from racing and a Merckx is in line to run the Belgian national team. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the day: Remembering Magni, the peloton’s hardman
Fiorenzo Magni shined in an era that included the likes of Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali. Magni, often referred to as the “third man,” captured three Giro d’Italia titles (‘48, ‘51, ‘55) during his pro career from 1940 to 1956. The last of his Giro titles was ahead of Coppi by a mere 13 seconds. He also won three Italian road championships and three Tour of Flanders titles.
Beyond the results, Magni was most famous for being a hardman of the peloton. Arguably his most memorable moment as a professional came in his retirement season, 1956. Magni entered the Giro d’Italia as defending champion and having already announced he would retire at the end of the year. The pressure on him was high.
A crash on stage 12, which resulted in a broken collarbone, looked set to derail Magni’s chance of overall success. However, the peloton knew to not count out the Italian. He soldiered on, tieing a piece of tire to his bike. He was able to hold the tire in his mouth, which helped him to pull on the handlebars up the climbs.
Magni finished second overall, but the image of him riding with a bike tire in his mouth lives on in cycling lore. Magni passed away on this day in 2012 in Monza, Italy.
The Beauty of Cycling
Lotto-Soudal teammates Thomas De Gendt and Tim Wellens arrived in Semmerzake, Belgium to complete their 1,000-kilometre journey from Como, Italy, where Il Lombardia finished a week ago. Dubbed the #TheFinalBreakaway, the duo decided to have a riding adventure before hanging up their wheels for a bit.
While the sport of cycling is fantastic and we here at CyclingTips follow it passionately, there is also beauty in heading out for a ride and not worrying about heart rate or power or the next race. Judging by De Gendt’s and Wellens’ Instagrams, which we recommend checking out, they clearly had a great time along the way. Chapeau to both on completing the adventure from the shores of Lake Como to the cobbles of Belgium.
Moscon climbs to summit win at Guangxi
Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) continues to prove his five-week suspension did no harm to his form. He won solo atop the Mashan Nongla finishing climb to win stage 4 of the Tour of Guangxi and take the race lead. He’s in the driver’s seat for the overall title with two stages remaining.
The Italian has been on a tear the last month, sweeping up four victories and fifth at the world road championships. One of his victories was the Italian time trial title.
Bora-Hansgrohe’s Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished second five seconds behind and Sergei Chernetckii (Astana) was just behind him to round out the stage podium.
Cadel’s Race receives funding support to 2022
The Victorian state government and Visit Victoria have extended their support for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, ensuring the event will continue until 2022 at the earliest.
“Cadel’s Race” is based in Geelong and features both a men’s race (the first one-day WorldTour race of the year) and a women’s race (UCI 1.1). The fifth edition will be held on the weekend of January 26-27 and will again include the Swiss People’s Ride. The Cadel’s Race weekend will begin on Thursday, January 24 with the Towards Zero Race Melbourne criteriums at Albert Park, for women and men.
Axel Merckx a top candidate for Belgian national coach
Former pro turned team manager Axel Merckx is a favourite to become Belgian’s new national team coach, according to Wielerflits. Merckx, the son of legend Eddy Merckx, appears to be a front runner along with former Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix champion Peter Van Petegem, out of a list of 20 people. Other candidates include Sven Nys and Johan Vansummeren.
Merckx, who owns and operates the Hagens Berman Axeon under-23 development program, has lived in Canada full-time since he retired from racing in 2007. His team moved up to the Pro Continental level in 2018 and Merckx said the squad will race a more European-based schedule next year.
“Because our promising team we will race a lot more in Europe next year,” Merckx said. “I think about 80-percent of our races. That means that I will be present at many competitions. I would be honoured to become a Belgian national coach. I have always liked to ride in that national outfit and also achieved my best results [in the Belgian national kit].”
Team Sky has added a wealth of horsepower in signing Italian Filippo Ganna. Ganna is a track and time trial specialist who also excels when the road gets rough. He won the individual pursuit world championship in 2016 and 2018. He also won the under-23 Paris-Roubaix in 2016. He will join Team Sky after spending the last two seasons with UAE Team Emirates.
Also, Eduard Prades (Euskadi-Murias), who recently won the Tour of Turkey, will make the jump to the WorldTour next season. The Spaniard is breaking into cycling’s top tier late, as he’s 31-years-old. Edward Theuns has found a ride with Trek-Segafredo for 2019. Earlier this week Theuns and Sunweb mutually agreed to part ways after just one season, despite Theuns having a contract with the program for next year.
26-year-old Australian Grace Brown will join Mitchelton-Scott after riding the second half of the 2018 season with Wiggle-High5. Brown rode for Wiggle-High5 after earning the Amy Gillet Foundation scholarship due to her early season performances. Her Australian summer results included the bronze medal in the road race and fourth in the time trial at the Australian Championships, fifth overall at the Women’s Tour Down Under, and a gold and silver medal in the time trial and road race at the Oceania Championships.
Brown was also part of the Aussie women’s world road championship team in Innsbruck that helped Amanda Spratt to claim the silver medal in the road race.
Uplnd Stoke adds new Hijinx universal frame protection kit
Upstart Colorado company Uplnd Stoke has released a new universal vinyl frame protection kit, called Hijinx, to complement its existing model-specific Antic collection. Each kit is made from pre-cut 3M vinyl and is sized to protect the down tube, top tube, seat- and chainstays, and head tube from rock strikes, abrasion, and general wear-and-tear, and the individual pieces are also patterned to more smoothly conform to complex frame contours.
“As the cost of mountain bikes has soared over the last few years, there are few options to keep your expensive bikes protected from everyday wear and tear,” said company co-founder Eddie Phillips via press release. “We wanted to be able to ride our bikes worry-free, so we developed an affordable and easy solution for premium bike protection that every bike should have.”
Complete kits range in price from US$70-80, and are offered in both matte and gloss finishes, and in transparent and graphic patterns, direct through the company web site or at select Colorado dealers.
Zwift releases New York courses
Virtual riding platform Zwift unveiled 10 new routes around New York City. The New York location is the fifth ‘world’ on Zwift’s platform. Other locations included the 2018 and 2015 world road championship courses in Innsbruck and Richmond and a London route featuring Box Hill, which was used in the 2012 Olympic road race course.
The new location is centred around NYC’s Central Park. Rider’s will be able to tackle a 9.7-kilometre route inside the park, skirting famous landmarks such as The Guggenheim, The Met, the El Dorado Hotel, and Tavern on the Green. Other included routes feature the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty.
Tour of Guangxi stage 4 on-bike highlights
In case you missed it …
Forgiveness: The inquest into the death of ultra-endurance racer Mike Hall was held in Canberra last month. Among all the flared emotions, difficult memories, concerned discussions about the police investigation, and the perceived apportioning of blame, there was also empathy. Hall’s mother, Pat, found a path forward through an expression of her son’s character.
Finding new roads: Editor-in-Chief Caley Fretz and Tech Editor James Huang discover a landscape that is easy to fall in love with at Rebecca’s Private Idaho.
Today’s feature image: By Cor Vos, Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) takes the stage 4 summit finish in Mashan Nongla at the Tour of Guangxi.