Ullrich’s apology letter; Skujins wins in Italy: Daily News Digest

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

Toms Skujins got his tactics right today. Listeners of our Tour de France daily podcast will remember our Tactics with Toms segments where the Latvian talked about what he was thinking while in the breakaway. He was victorious at the tough Tre Valli Varesine in Italy, outsprinting a select group of seven. Also, Jan Ullrich penned an apology letter and Fernando Gaviria broke his collarbone in Turkey. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the day: Ullrich pens emotional letter about substance abuse

Former Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich opened up about his substance abuse and apologized for his actions in a personal letter published in Bild. The German is returning to Europe after undergoing treatment and a detoxification in Miami. He will receive six more weeks of treatment in Europe before returning to the U.S. for more treatment. However, he still faces three assault charges for his prior actions.

“I apologize sincerely for people I have not treated with due respect in the recent past because of my illness,” Ullrich wrote. “Against people who want to accuse me wrongly of actions that I have never committed, I will defend myself with all my strength. I realized that, despite my situation, I won a lot. Because I understood that I have friends who were there when I needed them. Those who have worked for me and tried to help.”

A video surfaced after Jan Ullrich’s arrest in Germany, for assaulting an escort, of the former champion smoking four cigarettes at once.

Ullrich spiralled downward in August. He was first arrested for trespassing in Mallorca and a week later was arrested again in Germany for allegedly choking an escort. He was briefly admitted to a psychiatric hospital after the second arrest. Former rival turned good friend Lance Armstrong flew to Germany and met with Ullrich to offer his support. Ullrich then allegedly attacked an individual in the security line at Hamburg Airport as he was preparing to fly to the U.S.

Ullrich’s decline seemed to centre around his relationship with his four children. He mentioned in the media that he had not seen them since Christmas. He mentioned in the letter he wants to spend time with his kids before he returns to the U.S.

“Not everyone affected has the possibilities like me,” Ullrich said. “I want to encourage people to be vigilant, be it in the circle of friends or at work, because there are many destinies, where a single friend for victims can make the difference. I want to motivate fellow sufferers to deal openly with an illness. And I ask fellow human beings never to condemn judgmentally for symptoms but to treat sufferers with understanding and compassion. We all only have this one life. Making mistakes is part of being human.”

Ullrich concluded the letter saying he is ready to “fight for the second chance in life.” He also asked for everyone to respect his privacy and he will keep everyone up to date on how he is doing.

Happier times: Jan Ullrich attended a Rapha event in Santa Rosa, California in 2016 where he seemed happy about life and spoke excitedly about his kids.

Beauty of Cycling

The rainbow bands of the world champion are one of the iconic images of cycling. Love him or hate him, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will have the rainbow around his chest for the next year. He raced in the rainbow jersey for the first time at Tre Valli Varesine.

Let us know in the comments what you think of Valverde’s world champion jersey. How do you feel about the light blue of Movistar accented throughout the jersey?

Race Radio

Skujins takes Tre Valli Varesine

Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) sprinted to victory at the 2018 Tre Valli Varesine. He outkicked a select group of seven riders that included Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and the EF Education First-Drapac duo of Rigoberto Uran and Michael Woods.

Pinot finished second in the sprint and Bora-Hansgrohe’s Peter Kennaugh rounded out the podium.

Richeze victorious in Turkey, Gaviria breaks collarbone

The highs and lows of professional cycling hit Quick-Step Floors hard today. Maximiliano Richeze took the sprint victory on the opening day in Turkey, but fellow fastman Fernando Gaviria crashed late in the finale and broke his collarbone.

Quick-Step said Gaviria will fly to Belgium to undergo further scans to see if the collarbone break will require surgery. It also remains to be seen if Gaviria will race in the blue of Quick-Step next season. The Colombian has been heavily linked to UAE Team Emirates next year, despite still having a year left on his contract with Quick-Step.

The Belgian squad recently signed a new co-title sponsor, Deceuninck, on a multi-year contract, which could help the team keep its star sprinter.


Transfer News

Tsgabu Grmay will move to Mitchelton-Scott in 2019 after spending this season with Trek-Segafredo. The 27-year-old adds depth to the Aussie team’s GC ambitions. The climber will be looked upon to guide GC leaders Adam Yates, Esteban Chaves, and recent La Vuelta winner Simon Yates through the mountains.

Dutchman Taco van der Hoorn (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) will make his WorldTour debut in 2019 with LottoNL-Jumbo and Spaniard Beñat Intxausti will step down to the Pro Continental Euskadi-Murias program after spending the last three years with Team Sky.

Coming up

The week of one-day racing in Italy continues its trek toward Saturday’s Il Lombardia with Milano-Torino. The 200-kilometre race finishes with a tough circuit around Torino. The five-kilometre climb to the Basilica of Superga will be ascended twice. The finish is at the top of the climb.

Tech News

FFWD wheels embraces 2:1 lacing

Dutch wheel manufacturer FFWD is ready to roll into 2019 after updating its catalogue of road wheels with DT Swiss’s latest 240 and 350 straight-pull hubs that offer 2:1 lacing. All rear wheels and front disc-equipped wheels will feature the lacing pattern where twice as many spokes are used for the disc-side (front) and drive-side (rear) of the wheel for a better balance in spoke tension.

Other updates include fresh graphics, the addition of a disc brake option for every wheel model, improvements to FFWD’s carbon rim brake track, and all clinchers now feature a revised tubeless-ready rim bed. Visit FFWD USA for an early look at the new collection.

Specialized adds discs to the Shiv

The Ironman world championships are this weekend and the usual flurry of new triathlon tech is right on schedule. Specialized has announced its new S-Works Shiv Disc, limited to just 500 units globally. Compared to the previous Shiv, the Shiv Disc is said to save a minute over the gusty Kona Ironman bike course.

Specialized states the bike is optimised to suit the windy conditions of the famed course, while offering plenty of integrated storage space, including a 50oz (1,5L) fluid canister that shields the rear wheel and a snack box in the downtube. In its current format, the new S-Works Shiv Disc is not UCI-compliant, although it’s expected a simpler version will be made available for those racing individual time trials.

Moving Pictures

Tre Valli Varesine highlights

In case you missed it …

Weekly Spin: Editor-at-Large Neal Rogers examines Rapha’s new sponsorship of EF-Drapac and how it is different than what we’ve seen before.

CT Recommends: In this instalment of recommendation series, tech writer Dave Rome shares what road helmets members of our team choose to use and why.

Photo Gallery: Go deep inside one man’s journey to complete the 3,500 kilometre Race to the Rock.

Today’s feature image: Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) raced in the rainbow bands for the first time at Tre Valli Varesine.

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