Lappartient slams Wiggins, ASO; Riders ‘play ball’ in Japan: Daily News Digest

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

David Lappartient seems to enjoy the spotlight the UCI presidency has brought him. He spoke candidly over the weekend at an event in London, criticising Bradley Wiggins’ earlier comments of Lance Armstrong being the ‘perfect’ Tour champion and called for cycling’s premier race organiser to step up and support women’s racing better. Also, Chris Froome may not be racing, but he’s still globetrotting. And, a few riders tried hitting runs in Japan. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Lappartient slams Wiggins and ASO

Speaking at the Rouleur Classic in London, UCI President David Lappartient called Bradley Wiggins’ comment as Lance Armstrong the ‘perfect’ Tour champion “unacceptable.”

“I thought it unbelievable,” Lappartient said according to The Telegraph. “In supporting Lance Armstrong, who’s been banned for life for cheating, for me this isn’t acceptable.”

Lappartient spoke candidly on an array of topics including ASO adding a women’s version of Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France. He also said a group will look at ways to solve cycling’s imbalance problem among teams, which could include budget caps and reviewing the use of power meters and race radios.

Women have been competing on the Belgian cobbles of the Tour of Flanders since 2004, but have yet to have a go on the stones of northern France. Photo: Cor Vos

“I told them, ‘You are the leading organisation in the world so you have to take your part of the responsibility to support women’s cycling.’ I know there are some [logistical] difficulties. They are thinking maybe of a one-week stage race. I would support this, but I told them, ‘Why not the last 10 days the same stages for men and women,’” Lappartient said of ASO creating a women’s Tour de France instead of the single-day La Course race.

One of the more pressing logistical difficulties is that the women’s calendar would need to be reorganized. Currently, the 10-day Giro Rosa takes place every year at the beginning of July in Italy.

La Course, which will be in its sixth edition in 2019, will take place on July 19 in Pau alongside the men’s time trial stage. Instead of a time trial, the women will complete five laps of the lumpy 27-kilometre route around Pau. The race is suited to the puncheurs of the peloton for the first time. Previous editions were held on the Champs-Elysees and suited the sprinters. The last two years, both won by Annemiek Van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott), favoured the climbers.

Lappartient added that ASO is creating a women’s Paris-Roubaix that is expected to debut in the 2020 season.

Annemiek Van Vleuten spectacularly caught Anna van der Breggen in the final metres to capture her second consecutive La Course title. Photo: Cor Vos

The Beauty of Cycling

Today’s entry isn’t necessarily cycling in particular, but it involves the characters that make cycling a beautiful sport.

ASO held its annual Saitama Criterium in Japan over the weekend. The race, which is akin to the rigged post-Tour de France criteriums, was won by world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). Before the event, we got the chance to see Valverde, Tour champion Geraint Thomas (Sky), and others try their hands at baseball.

Race Radio

Dutch dominate Euro ‘cross champs

It was a day filled with orange at the European cyclocross championships in s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. Mathieu van der Poel and Annemarie Worst took home the white and blue champion jerseys on home soil under a bright and sunny sky.

Worst led a Dutch sweep in the elite women’s event, holding off Marianne Vos and Denise Betsema on the final lap. Just 22 years old, the 2017 under-23 world cyclocross champion has definitely been impressive thus far. She also won the Superprestige race in Gieten a few weeks ago.

After a slow start, van der Poel rode away from Wout van Aert on the second lap to take his second consecutive elite men’s Euro champ title. Belgian Laurens Sweeck finished third.

Froome on the move

Chris Froome’s offseason has been anything but quiet of late. The Briton attended the Tour and Giro route presentations, which were just six days apart, last week. Then he was in Colombian this past weekend attending former teammate Rigoberto Uran’s cycling event.

Froome and Uran crossed paths on Team Sky for three years between 2011 and 2013. Uran helped Froome to finish fourth at the 2012 Vuelta a Espana. Years later, Uran finished runner-up to Froome at the 2017 Tour de France.

Uran’s event was named the Giro de Rigo and offered two ride distances of 60 kilometres and 140 kilometres. The duo also went swimming over the weekend and Froome had a laugh when he dove into the water and stayed under for a while.

South Africa gets second UCI registered team

South African will have another UCI-registered pro cycling team in 2019 after the WorldTour program Dimension Data. TEG Pro Cycling will jump to the Continental level for 2019, featuring 10-12 South African riders. The team will focus on events in the UCI Europe and Asia Tours and stated in a press release it had already garnered invitations to five UCI Europe Tour races.

Founder Hein Badenhorst will serve as the team’s general manager and director sportif and is quite ambitious with the goal of one day becoming a WorldTour team. The squad has a partnership with the University of Pretoria’s High-Performance Centre, which will use the riders’ data as part of its research. Also, all of the team’s riders will be required to enrol in classes at the University. Badenhorst has also partnered with a local high school to help develop young aspiring cyclists in the area.

Transfer News

2016 junior world road champion Jakob Egholm signed a two-year deal with Hagens Berman Axeon. The 20-year-old is considered an all-rounder but is looking to improve his climbing heading into next season.

“I think that would make me a contender in a lot of races as well as being a good domestique for my teammates,” Egholm said. “Hopefully that will bring a lot of success to myself and the Hagens Berman Axeon Team.”

Jakob Egholm won the 2016 junior men’s world road race championship in solo fashion despite the flat parcours in Doha, Qatar. Photo: Cor Vos

Also, Australian national road champion Alex Edmondson extended his contract with Mitchelton-Scott for two more years through the 2020 season.

Tweet of the day

Mitchelton-Scott revealed Simon Yates‘ power file from the second stage of the Vuelta a Espana. The Briton impressively hit a maximum heart rate of 201 BPM, which was his highest heart rate of the entire La Vuelta. In a video, Yates attributed his high heart rate to the intense heat that day and a tough finishing climb that saw the riders tackle a 15-percent grade.

Happy Birthday to …

Dirk Demol (59). The Belgian is a former pro of the 1980s and 1990s. Victories were few and far between during his racing career, but he captured the famed Paris-Roubaix in 1988. His win at Roubaix was one for the record books, as it still stands as the longest successful breakaway in race history. Demol joined the “early morning breakaway” with 222 kilometres to go and survived all the way to the famed velodrome to take home a Roubaix stone.

Demol can now be seen behind-the-wheel of the Trek-Segafredo team car. He helped guide retired cobbled specialist Fabian Cancellara to wins at the Tour of Flanders in 2013 and 2014 and the 2013 Paris-Roubaix.

Feature Image: Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, and Alexander Kristoff pose in baseball uniforms.

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