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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
The owner of the women’s professional team Cervelo-Bigla finds himself in hot water today after multiple former riders spoke of damaging acts by him. Rick Delaney, owner of Aqua Blue Sport, will pay a former rider’s contract for another team next season. Also, Polartec parted ways with Alberto Contador and a 19-year-old tested positive for testosterone. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Riders speak out against Cervelo-Bigla’s Campana
In a damning article in Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, Cervelo-Bigla team owner Thomas Campana has been accused of bullying and fat shaming among other things by former riders. Campana denied the allegations.
Retired professional Iris Slappendel gave a harrowing account of how Campana prevented riders from eating at a team camp in preparation for the 2015 season. According to Slappendel, Campana prevented two 19-year-old riders from eating carbohydrates because he thought they were too fat. “After three days, one was sick, she could not cycle the rest of the camp. She was a weak person according to him,” Slappendel said. Slappendel left the program after just one season.
In August 2016, Slappendel decided to take action and gathered 35 pages of evidence detailing Campana’s behaviour. Included were anonymous statements from 10 riders and staff members in which Campana is accused of intimidation, fat shaming, and not paying salaries and prize money. Slappendel submitted the document to the UCI’s ethics committee, but cycling’s governing body explained the riders and staff statements could not be anonymous. As a result, half of them withdrew their statements.
Shockingly, it took the UCI until February of 2017 to give Slappendel a decision. The result was no action could be taken against Campana because the ethical code at the time didn’t stipulate team managers. The code has since been updated to apply to team managers as well.
It remains to be seen how this will affect the future of the Cervelo-Bigla squad and whether companies will drop their sponsorship of the program.
The Beauty of Cycling
Jordie Lunn takes insanity to a whole other level in his latest video, “Rough AF 3.”
Aqua Blue Sport owner to pay Dunne’s 2019 salary
Conor Dunne will ride for Israel Cycling Academy in 2019, but his salary will be paid by Aqua Blue Sport owner Rick Delaney. Delaney has been embroiled in controversy the last few months with the demise of the Aqua Blue Sport pro continental team and riders complaining of unpaid wages.
“Conor was the last rider that I had re-signed for 2019, so I had an obligation to Conor that he had something for 2019,” Delaney told Cycling Weekly. “So I’ve supported his salary for next year. That is me done with all contractual agreements, exactly what I said I would do.”
Delaney also took the time to slam the sport and the media for the negative publicity he has gotten regarding his team folding. “Never in my nanny would I return after that circus,” he said.
Lappartient calls out ASO regarding TV for women’s races
Speaking to Dutch broadcaster NOS in Amsterdam, UCI President David Lappartient stressed the need to get more women’s races live on TV. He particularly mentioned ASO and its lack of live TV during the mid-week Ardennes classic Flèche Wallonne.
“Our ambition is to get as many female races as possible live on television, but it also has to be produced and that costs money,” Lappartient said. “Perhaps we could better negotiate about the broadcasting of all women’s races. here and there, but there are also races that do not show live on TV, which are not even produced.”
“I spoke to organizer ASO about this and said that they do not meet the requirements for WorldTour competitions for women and I have asked them to make a serious effort to get their race on TV.”
Lappartient’s comments come on the heels of the UCI working on a massive reform to women’s racing. The reforms, set to take effect in 2020, include minimum salary requirements and paid maturity leave.
19-year-old Innocenti gets four-year ban
First-year under-23 rider Andrea Innocenti was handed a four-year ban stemming from his positive test for testosterone earlier in the year. He was considered one of the more promising riders coming from Italy, as he won 12 races last year. Innocenti’s ban began November 22 and runs until August 21, 2022. He also had to pay procedure costs which were about 378 euros.
Dennis, Spratt win Aussie cyclist of the year
Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) has been awarded the Sir Hubert Opperman medal for Australian cyclist of year, while Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) took out the elite women’s road category. This is the second time Dennis has won the award after he was named cyclist of the year in 2015.
Both riders had stellar seasons that were capped off with impressive rides at the world road championships in Innsbruck, Austria. Dennis claimed the world title in the individual time trial and Spratt took home the silver medal in the road race.
Polartec ends sponsorship of Contador’s team
American-based apparel brand Polartec is parting ways with Alberto Contador after three years working alongside the Spaniard and his three teams. Through his foundation, Contador has a junior, under-23, and continental team. Polartec was a co-title sponsor of the continental program this season along with Italian food producer Kometa. The continental team is also the official development program for the WorldTour squad Trek-Segafredo.
Omloop changes finish town for second year-in-a-row
In 2018, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad organisers changed the finale of the race to include the famous Muur-Bosberg cobbled climb duo that saw many battles during its reign as the finish of the Tour of Flanders. The new finish to cycling’s opening cobbled classic seemed to spark even more energy into the race. However, after just one year, organisers have moved the finish away from Meerbeke and to the centre of Ninove.
Happy Birthday to …
Retired pro turned triathlete Andrew Talansky (30).
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Feature Image: A throwback to the 2016 edition of CyclingTips’ Giro Della Donna.