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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Rumours swirled last week of Romain Bardet attempting the Giro-Tour double, those rumours have now been squashed. He’s all in for the Tour. Also, two riders tested positive on the EWS circuit and Mathieu van der Poel isn’t worried about whether his dominance is exciting or not. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: No Giro for Bardet, focused on Tour success
Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) will not race the Giro d’Italia. This news comes as a surprise to nearly no one when considering the parcours of the Tour de France greatly favour the Frenchman. High alpine finishes and one individual time trial compared to three ITTs in the Giro. It was hard to take Bardet’s comments a few weeks ago surrounding a run at the 2019 Giro very seriously.
Bardet called it a “rational decision” to make another run at the Tour over starting the Giro in 2019. The 28-year-old is entering the prime of his athletic career and after a sub-par finish at the Tour this year, he’s looking to bounce back next season. He did still ride into Paris in the top 10 overall in 2018, but he finished on the podium the previous two years before.
After back-to-back podium finishes, anything less than the podium in 2018 would have not been up to standard for the French fans. Bardet has the weight of a nation to bring the Tour champion’s trophy back home for the first time since Bernard Hinault won the last of his five titles in 1985.
Bardet looks set to begin his season at the three-day Tour du Haut Var at the end of February. But the question on everyone’s mind, can he dethrone Team Sky? It’s a tall task and if he can’t do it on the favourable 2019 route, we may just see Bardet at the Giro in 2020.
Two riders test positive at EWS France
Richie Rude and Jared Graves returned positive samples for Higenamine and Oxilofrine at the Enduro World Series (EWS) third round in Olargues, France on May 13. Higenamine is banned in and out of competition, while the latter is only banned in competition.
According to PinkBike, both riders declined to have their B sample tested. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) or the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD), which carried out the tests, have yet to announce the positives publicly.
The two failed drug tests are significant because in 2019 EWS will become UCI-sanctioned. While testing is rare on the EWS circuit now, the UCI is expected to carry out stronger anti-doping measures next year.
Van der Poel: ‘It is not up to me to make ‘cross exciting’
Mathieu van der Poel has come out in defence of his dominance in cyclocross and seems to be getting frustrated by all the negative publicity he is getting for winning races. Editor-at-Large Neal Rogers pointed out in his weekly column that van der Poel has won 83-percent of his races over the last two seasons. Quite a remarkable win rate.
“It’s not up to me to make the cross exciting, but to win as much as possible,” van der Poel told Sporza. “My sponsors pay me for that, the interests are too high to make it exciting.
“I always try to compare it with other things, and if you see Barcelona (ed. the soccer club) winning, that’s fun to watch as well because they play soccer so nicely. You have to look at it from that perspective.”
Van der Poel’s supremacy in cyclocross comes at a time when he is preparing for his inaugural run at the spring classics on the road. The Dutchman is slated to ride E3 BinkBank Classic and Gent-Wevelgem. He may also start the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix if his Corendon-Circus team earns an invitation.
Fortuneo-Samsic becomes Arkéa-Samsic for 2019
Arkéa, the parent company of Fortuneo, will take over title sponsorship of the Breton-based French Pro Continental squad for next season. Many riders and staff posted on social media “#WeAreArkéa” yesterday before the team confirmed the news.
It was definitely a down year for Fortuneo-Samsic in 2018 after the team had signed 2017 Tour de France King of the Mountains classification winner Warren Barguil. Barguil did not live up to expectations and underperformed at the Tour. The squad finished the season with only two victories. However, the signing of Andre Greipel this offseason should provide the team with more podiums next year.
— Andre Greipel (@AndreGreipel) November 26, 2018
Cannondale’s Throwback F-Si Hi-Mod cross-country framesets
Ahhh, those were the days. Cadel Evans, along with the likes of Christoph Sauser, Alison Sydor, Kashi Leuchs and Tinker Juarez ripping the cross-country mountain bike circuit aboard the famed Headshock-equipped Viper Red and then Team Blue Cannondale’s. The Cannondale Factory team ran for eight years, and in that time, raked up 11 world championship victories, 17 world cup titles, 16 national championships and much more.
In tribute to those days, Cannondale is producing a limited run of its F-SI Hi-Mod framesets in the old-school Viper Red and Team Blue Gloss colourways. The frames are functionally the same as the newly revamped F-Si hardtail, including the progressive geometry, Lefty Ocho fork and offset rear end. Learn more at www.cannondale.com.
Canyon introduces the Neuron CF, a trail and cross-country bike love-child
Canyon has revamped the Neuron, a bike that fills the gap between the Lux, a 100mm cross-country race machine, and the Spectral, a 150mm trail thrasher. The new Neuron CF offers a carbon fibre frame, 29in wheels (sizes medium and up, XS and small feature 27.5in wheels) and 130mm of travel in a package that’s pitched as a do-it-all mountain bike.
A new cleverly sealed linkage system is claimed to greatly improve the bike’s durability and stiffness, while the internal cable routing is designed with ease of service in mind. A hidden quick release thru-axle design features at the rear, while the head tube hosts a protection system that stops the brake levers from hitting the top tube. Geometry is modern, with long front centres, 67.5-degree head angles and steep 74.5 seat tube angles. All sizes allow for carrying of a water bottle within the main triangle.
Canyon US didn’t offer the original Neuron for sale but will offer the new model in a choice of three uni-sex and two women’s-specific builds, starting from US$2,999. James Huang has the new Neuron in-bound for review.
In case you missed it …
The Weekly Spin: Editor-at-Large Neal Rogers examines how the elite women are saving cyclocross in a time where Mathieu van der Poel is untouchable on the men’s side.
10 Products I Loved: Self-confessed “tool geek” Dave Rome shares the 10 products he loved in 2018. Hint: It’s not all tools.
Robbery: 3T’s offices in Presezzo, Italy were broken into Monday. Thieves were in and out in 10 minutes and managed to get away with over 20 bikes, including a custom painted Dario Pegoretti.
Feature Image: Romain Bardet scaling the final climb to the finish of an epic edition of Strade Bianche back in March.