Wellens and De Gendt go adventuring; Groenewegen victorious in China: Daily News Digest

Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.

Jump To Comments

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

Tim Wellens and Thomas De Gendt are roughly halfway through their 1,000-kilometre bike-packing journey from Il Lombardia back home to Belgium. Is adventure riding becoming a trend in the pro peloton? Also, Dylan Groenewegen took the first stage of the Tour of Guangxi and 100-percent releases retro-style shades. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the day: Pros take to riding for adventure and not for the watts

Judging from their Instagram feeds, Thomas De Gendt and Tim Wellens are having quite a bit of fun on their bike-packing adventure from Il Lombardia back to Belgium. Their journey, aptly named #TheFinalBreakaway, is reminiscent of the one that Larry Warbasse and Conor Dunne took after their Aqua Blue Sport team suddenly ran out money and was not able to race the Tour of Britain.

Warbasse and Dunne labeled their adventure the #nogotour and gained a following across social media during the week they cycled around France. The ride was a success: Warbasse signed a contract with Ag2r-La shortly after. He will become the first American to ride for the French program.

These two adventures, plus Rapha’s unique partnership with EF Education First-Drapac, signal something of a change amongst cycling’s top professionals and sponsors. It seems the WorldTour is coming more back down to earth, so to speak, and feels increasingly human. The top pros have more often than not seemed god-like in their status and performances. But by turning their attention to non-racing adventures and gravel events, as the EF-Drapac riders will do, it allows them to connect on a more personal level with the average cycling fan.

Good luck to De Gendt and Wellens on the rest of their journey.

Tweet of the day

Race Radio

Groenewegen ending season as he started, winning

Forty percent of Dylan Groenewegen’s (LottoNL-Jumbo) career wins have come in 2018. Let that sink in for a moment. To say this season has been a breakthrough for the Dutchman is an understatement. His latest victory was the opening stage of the Tour of Guangxi today in China.

Groenewegen’s quest for sprint stardom really turned a corner last season when he emphatically captured the granddaddy of all sprints — the Tour’s final stage on the Champs-Elysees. He proved that was not merely a one-off this season, as he won his first classic, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, and won two stages at the Tour. Had Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) not had the season he did (19 victories), Groenewegen would be the year’s top sprinter.

Mountain biker dies after being shot by hunter

According to France’s Le Dauphine, a mountain biker was shot and killed in the French Alps today by a 22-year-old hunter. The mountain biker has not been named but was identified as being of English nationality. French prosecutors are investigating the incident and deciding whether to bring aggravated manslaughter charges against the individual who shot the mountain biker. The hunter was hospitalized with symptoms of shock after the incident.

Transfer and sponsorship news

The sought-after Oliveira twins, Rui and Ivo, will join UAE Team Emirates on two-year contracts. They rode for Hagens Berman Axeon the last two seasons. The twins have a track pedigree — Ivo took second in the individual pursuit at the European and world championships this season while Rui took second in the elimination race at the European track championships. On the road, Ivo is the Portuguese under-23 time trial champ and Rui is the under-23 road race champ.


Astana has elevated stagiaire Jonas Gregaard Wilsly to the team for next season on a two-year deal. The Dane joined the team in August from the Continental Riwal-Ceramicspeed team. Also, Joe Dombrowski signed a one-year extension with EF Education First-Drapac.

Finally, Belgian media outlets are reporting Ag2r-La Mondiale will ride Merckx frames next year after spending the last two season on Factor Bikes.

Nerd Alert

Sagan’s latest eyewear collaboration goes vintage: the 100% Glendale

Launching with a Starsky-and-Hutch themed catalogue, which shows Sagan’s love for American vintage muscle cars, the new Glendale eyewear is seemingly 100%’s answer to the retro-inspired Oakley Wind Jacket. Built around a large cylindrical shield lens, the Glendale looks to offer an impressively wide field of vision. The usual features aren’t forgotten either, with vent ports in the frame to prevent fogging, a scratch-resistant and hydrophobic lens, Grilamid TR90 frame construction and grippy nose pads and temple tips. Learn more about the Glendale at ride100percent.com.

Moving Pictures

Get stoked on mountain biking

For our U.S.-based staff, who all happen to live in Boulder, Colorado, fall has set in and the Aspen trees have turned a magnificent yellow. The below video may help to explain why we haven’t heard from them much lately.

Tour of Guangxi stage 1 on-bike highlights

Happy Birthday too …

Sam Bennett (28), the Irishman finally captured that big win in 2018 that he’s been chasing for the last couple of years. When he spoke to CyclingTips at the start of the year, he explained he wouldn’t be truly into the top-tier of sprinters until he won a grand tour stage. Bennett won three stages of the Giro d’Italia.

Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the final stage of the 2018 Giro d’Italia in Rome. Photo: Cor Vos

In case you missed it …

Beaudin Communique: A personal essay from EF-Drapac Communications Director Matthew Beaudin about snow, cyclocross, and Dad.

Photo Gallery: Il Lombardia is often the forgotten Monument. It takes place six months after the other four. Take a stroll along the roads of beautiful Lake Como and the nearby climbs with this gallery from photographer Kristof Ramon.

Power and Passion: New to cycling and riding with power? Check out our introductory guide to power meters.

Today’s feature image: Tim Wellens and Thomas De Gendt of Lotto-Soudal during stage nine of the 2017 Tour de France.

Editors' Picks