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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Former Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman, who is at the centre of the ‘jiffy bag’ affair, is under investigation by Britain’s General Medical Council. Also, Zdenek Stybar had a solid 2018 season, but the Czech is eyeing a victory in one of the big races next year. And, Hincapie Racing has secured its financial future after its two main backers pulled out. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Ex-Sky doctor at centre of ‘jiffy bag’ facing tribunal
Richard Freeman, the former Team Sky doctor whose has been criticized heavily due to his work with Bradley Wiggins and helping administer the TUEs Wiggins obtained for the corticosteroid triamcinolone, is expected to face a General Medical Council tribunal in Britain. The inquiry deals with the delivery of testosterone patches to British Cycling’s headquarters in 2011. At the time, Freeman was working with British Cycling and Team Sky.
According to a report in the Sunday Telegraph, if Freeman is found guilty of malpractice he faces a short suspension or, at worst, being taking off the medical register.
Freeman’s laptop, or lack of one, is at the centre of the ‘jiffy bag’ affair. The doctor’s team laptop was stolen while he was on vacation and all of Team Sky’s medical records were on it. The stolen laptop prevented Team Sky from definitively proving what was in the ‘jiffy bag’ that was delivered to the team on the final stage of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine. It is important to note that Freeman has not been formally accused of anything, but the council is in the process of obtaining information and seeking new evidence if there is any.
Wiggins, Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford, and Freeman’s reputations have all been tarnished since the British Parliament’s report on the ‘jiffy bag’ affair was released in the spring. While no wrongdoing was found, Team Sky and Co. were heavily reprimanded for doing what the Parliament committee found as crossing “ethical lines”. This latest inquiry into a former member of Team Sky could bring everything the team has gone through back into the headlines.
Tweet of the day
Stybar hoping to find elusive big win in 2019
Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) had a strong spring classics campaign, but the victories did not materialise. As has been the case in recent years, Stybar was nearly always present at the finale of the races, but was never the one to finish it off. In a season that saw Quick-Step Floors amass 72 wins and dominate the spring, Stybar headed into the 2018-2019 offseason empty-handed.
For his part, he finished in the top 10 at E3-Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Tour of Flanders, and Paris-Roubaix. However, he couldn’t claim a podium finish much less a win. Stybar’s last one-day win came at Strade Bianche in 2015. Presumably, Niki Terpstra’s departure to Direct Energie should give Stybar more freedom in the spring classics, but he doesn’t see it this way.
“Even when Tom Boonen was still racing with us, we were already a broad, strong group, where everyone got chances,” Stybar told Het Nieuwsblad. “That will not be different now.”
Stybar is currently in Mallorca, getting the legs moving again in preparation for the 2019 season. The former three-time world cyclocross champion has cobbles running through his veins, but it remains to be seen if he can finally turn his cobble prowess into wins on the road.
Three arrested for stringing wire across bike path
In Portland, Oregon, three men have been arrested and charged on charges of Assault in the Fourth Degree and three counts of Reckless Endangering for stringing a wire across a bike path that caused injury to a rider. According to Bike Portland, this is not the first time cyclists have been injured or faced aggression on that particular path. A man drove his car onto the path last July, forcing a cyclist off the path and verbally assaulting him.
CyclingTips would like to remind everyone to stay safe and always keep a watch out for hazards, even on designated bicycle paths.
Hincapie racing confirms two title sponsors for next year
The professional cycling team owned and operated by the Hincapie brothers, George and Rich, has secured its financial future for next season. The team stepped up to Pro Continental level in 2018, but revealed it was on the brink of collapse in August due to the team’s two main backers, Holowesko Partners and Citadel Financial, ending their financial commitment at the end of the year.
Arapahoe Resources, which was a presenting sponsor of the program in 2018, will step up its support and bike brand BMC will also be a title sponsor next year. The team also announced a small nine-rider squad for 2019, as the program returns to the Continental level. Returning to the team are Miguel Bryon, Brendan Rhim, Andrew Dahlheim, Andz Flaksis, and TJ Eisenhart. New recruits include Ben Wolfe (Jelly Belly), Justin Oien (Caja Rural), Seth Jones (Dornier Racing) and Tanner Putt. Putt raced for the Hincapie program in 2012.
Belgian Tom Van Asbroeck will join Israel Cycling Academy on a two-year deal from EF Education First-Drapac. The move is the latest for the Pro Continental team that has secured multiple riders with WorldTour experience for next year. Other signings include Davide Cimolai (Groupama-FDJ), Rudy Barbier (Ag2r-La Mondiale), and Matthias Brändle (Trek-Segafredo).
The 28-year-old Van Asbroeck will be looked upon during the spring classics. “You can say that we had some success [in the classics], we won three 1.1 classics in 2018, but I always believed we can do better with more riders that are familiar with those races. Tom is certainly a rider that can help us a lot,” Director Sportif Eric Van Lancker said. “He grew up and developed in those races. And he will come super motivated to our classics [squad] and that will carry his teammates. Add to that the talent and results he showed with his Belgian team before he moved on and I am very optimistic about him.”
Also, Sergei Chernetski will join Caja Rural-Seguros RGA from Astana. He won the Arctic Race in Norway and finished third at the Tour of Guangxi. Italian Matteo Montaguti is expected to ride for Pro Continental team Androni-Giocattoli next season. Last month, he had announced his final race with Ag2r-La Mondiale was Il Lombardia.
Hitting MTB jumps with a road bike
Mountain bike freerider Matt Jones swapped his downhill and enduro bikes for a road bike on the trails at his local mountain-bike park. While a bit long, we think the video below is worth watching all the way through as Jones progresses from shredding berms to getting big air.
Happy Birthday to …
Tom Dumoulin (28), the Dutchman has morphed before our eyes from a time trial specialist to a grand tour contender. He demonstrated in 2018 that his overall victory at the Giro d’Italia the year prior was no fluke, as he rode to runner-up finishes at both the Giro and the Tour.
Dumoulin’s riding style is reminiscent of five-time Tour champ Miguel Indurain, who himself was an exceptional time trialist. Dumoulin, like Indurain, demonstrates great discipline on the climbs by focusing on his power output and riding to his own tempo instead of those around him. He’s not a punchy-climber type like most of the other grand tour contenders.
Dumoulin’s expected to target the Tour de France in 2019, despite its lack of significant time trial kilometres.
Feature Image: From this weekend’s muddy affair at the Superprestige event in Aspen-Gavere, Belgium by Kristof Ramon where European CX Champion Mathieu van der Poel leads the race.