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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Trek-Segafredo director Steven De Jongh failed to return from a ride and was found unconscious in Spain today. The Dutchman was found lying in a ravine along a popular biking road in the Catalonia region. Also, tennis sensation Novak Djokovic slammed cycling for its doping problem and a South African mountain biker received a four-year ban for biological passport abnormalities. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the day: Steven De Jongh found unconscious after ride in Spain
Trek-Segafredo Director Sportif Steven De Jongh went missing early Monday morning after he didn’t return from a ride in the Catalonia region of Spain. He was found hours later by helicopter, unconscious but breathing. Reports indicate that De Jongh regained consciousness at the hospital.
De Jongh’s wife Renée Meijer made a call for help on Twitter after her husband didn’t return from his ride. Meijer’s tweet was retweeted over 2,000 times before news finally broke that De Jongh had been found.
Strava seems to have played a part in helping to find De Jongh. The Dutchman’s ride was shared on Twitter and showed him suddenly stopping along a common bicycle route between the towns of Calonge and La Bisbal del Ampurdán. The police are currently investigating whether De Jongh was hit by a car or the rainy weather had anything to do with the incident.
— Robert van Klinken (@robertvklinken) October 15, 2018
De Jongh has been a staple on the cycling scene for decades. He won the E3 Prijs Harelbeke in 2003 and was twice victorious at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. He turned pro in 1996 and retired from racing in 2010 after spending his final year on Team Sky. He’s been with Trek-Segafredo for the last few seasons and also previously worked with Alberto Contador during the Tinkoff-Saxo Bank years.
Update: Trek-Segafredo has revealed that De Jongh suffered a severe concussion in the crash but that scans revealed no broken bones.
Beauty of Cycling
Today’s Beauty of Cycling isn’t a picture or a video, but rather the cycling community as a whole. It was beautiful to see how the community came together to support Steven De Jongh’s wife and help her find her husband. Here at CyclingTips, we are keeping Steven and his family in our thoughts and wishing him a full recovery.
Djokovic criticizes cycling’s doping and questions Whereabouts system
Multiple-time tennis Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic didn’t mince words when recently speaking about the sport of cycling. The Serb admitted he used to be a fan and watch the sport, but has “lost faith in cycling” after doping issues have come to light in recent years. He also called the sport inhuman.
“All the big champions that were there, Marco Pantani, now Lance Armstrong. Yeah, I don’t want to say all. I really don’t know. There has been so much controversy about that sport,” Djokovic said according to Tennis.com. “I’m sure that there are many cyclists in the world who are training very hard and trying to not use any enhancing drugs for their competition.
“But I think it’s not acceptable that they have physically so many races in a short period of the time. I think basically every single day, day and a half, they have to go through 200 miles. Uphill, downhill in Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, that’s inhuman effort.
Djokovic also criticized tennis’ Whereabouts system, which, just as in cycling, requires athletes to write down where they will be available for a certain time period each day should the athlete be selected to be randomly tested outside of competition.
South Africa cracking down on doping in MTB
South Africa’s Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) banned mountain biker Max Knox for four years for abnormalities in his Biological Passport. Knox is the third South African mountain biker to be sanctioned in the last 18 months, according to a report in Bicycling Magazine.
The sanction comes on the heels of a years-long investigation by SAIDS. The Institute closely followed Knox’s passport data beginning in 2013 and soon found inconsistencies in his hemoglobin concentration. Knox was given the opportunity to explain the variations in his levels, but the Institute rejected his explanation.
Knox captured the South African Marathon title in 2012 and 2016. He has also represented South Africa many times at the world championships for cross-country and marathon. His ban was backdated to June 16, 2015, and he has been stripped of all results and prizes from that date forward.
Industry Nine gets Shimano Micro Spline Approval
Industry Nine has partnered with Shimano to make hubs compatible with the company’s new Micro Spline technology. The Micro Spline freehub profile is part of Shimano’s new XTR M9100 group. Industry Nine is the first North American hub manufacturer to be officially licensed to offer the Micro Spline.
The Micro Spline freehubs will be offered as an option on all of Industry Nine’s current mountain bike wheelsets and hubs, and as a service component for any existing Torch series mountain hub. Industry Nine Micro Spline freehubs are expected to be available by the end of the year and pricing has yet to be announced.
Happy Birthday to …
Tom Boonen (38), the Belgian cobbled legend retired after last year’s Paris-Roubaix and has moved on to racing in NASCAR’s Euro series. He’s also working on a rap career.
Also to Kirsten Wild (36).
In case you missed it …
The Weekly Spin: Editor-at-Large Neal Rogers explains why Thibaut Pinot is one of cycling’s most relatable stars and it’s in part because of his underdog status.
Wollongong Worlds: We make a way-too-early prediction, along with the help of our VeloClub members, of what the road race courses will look when Wollongong, Australia hosts the world road championships in 2022.
Today’s feature image: Trek Director Sportif Steven De Jongh talking with John Degenkolb at the Challenge Mallorca in February.