Radio or power meter ban; Landa; Haute Route: Daily News Digest

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

Banning race radios or banning power meters? Romain Bardet gives his thoughts on the subject. Also, Mikel Landa wants to ride the Giro and the Tour. And, a three-time ‘cross world champ is returning briefly to the mud. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Bardet leans toward banning radios

Ever since Tour de France boss Christian Prudhomme stood in front of his podium in Paris at the 2019 route presentation and called for a ban on power meters, the debate has raged. Frenchman Romain Bardet threw his hat into the ring, but mostly because the media asked his opinion as he spoke with journalists at Ag2r-La Modiale’s winter team camp in the French Alps.

Romain Bardet, Alexis Vuillermoz and Hubert Dupont cross-country skiing at Ag2r-La Mondiale’s recent team camp. Photo: Kevin Bottin/Ag2r-La Mondiale

“I think a world without earpieces would be a very good thing,” Bardet told a group of journalists. “It would make the riders take a bit more responsibility. It would heighten their tactical sense and awareness. You’d have to be more alert to the race. I think it would elevate the rider as an athlete, not having that information.”

Bardet admitted there was no easy solution to fix cycling’s so-called excitement problem, but recognized the importance of discussing the issue. Regarding banning power meters, Bardet was less decisive in his response, but said it wouldn’t be a “bad thing.”

On the other hand, Alberto Contador is staunchly for banning power meters in races. Speaking at the CyclingTips Giro Della Donna last weekend, Contador explained how a rider seeing a power number near their training threshold can make them hesitant to attack. He explained how when he raced his threshold would change day-to-day throughout a three-week race. A certain rider’s threshold could actually be higher in the race than their training threshold, but they will never know if they don’t try to attack.

“Maybe in training you can do 400 [watts]. But in a race one day, you can do 420. If you see 400 on the power meter, you will not try to attack,” he said. “But you could.”

Hear more of about what Contador had to say at the Giro Della Donna on the latest CyclingTips podcast.

Race Radio

Burgos-BH self suspends for three weeks

Management at Burgos-BH, who has had a tumultuous offseason with three confirmed doping positives, has taken it upon themselves to suspend the team for 21 days between the end of January and February. Reports indicate the Spanish Pro Continental squad voluntarily turned down invitations to the Tropicale Amissa Bongo and Challenge Mallorca.

The UCI Disciplinary Committee has yet to comment on whether or not it will suspend the team. The committee received the case after Ibai Salas and David Belda were given four-year bans earlier this month. Last week, Igor Merino was also handed a ban, which prompted rule 7.12.3 that allows for the UCI to ban a team for a period of up to 12 months and no less than 15 days if a third doping violation occurs within the 12-month period of the previous two violations.

General Manager Julio Andrés Izquierdo said the team will dedicate the time away from racing to informing the riders about preventing doping and meeting with anti-doping experts.

Landa hopes for Giro and Tour in 2019

Mikel Landa, one of the three grand tour GC riders Movistar has in its arsenal, wants to ride the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France next season. Both races are especially climb-heavy in the final week in 2019. However, Landa told AS Movistar brass has yet to approve his ambitions.

Valverde, Quintana, and Landa are all racing for a contract in 2019. Will they work as a team or will the pursuit of individual results prevail? Photo: Cor Vos

Movistar manager Eusebio Unzué made the odd choice of bringing all three of Movistar’s leaders to the Tour this season. Landa, Alejandro Valverde, and Nairo Quintana all performed below expectations. Landa finished the highest overall at seventh.

Valverde has been linked to starting the Giro and Quintana is expected to go all-in on the Tour. Landa’s Giro-Tour bid could allow Valverde to skip the Tour and focus on the Vuelta. The Vuelta is deemed to be the best preparation for the world championships, where Valverde will be defending champion. The course in Yorkshire could favour him. Quintana has ridden the Tour-Vuelta three of the last four seasons.

Stybar to race ‘cross over holiday period

Three-time cyclocross world champion Zdenek Stybar will return to the mud between Christmas and New Year’s for a few races. He was a dominant force on the cyclocross scene before moving to race on the road with Quick-Step in 2011. Stybar has typically raced a few cyclocross events every year during what is known as the kerstperiode.

He will race the Zolder World Cup on December 26, Loenhout on the 28th, and Diegem on the 30th. His last event will be the GP Sven Nys in Baal on New Year’s Day. Stybar will then return to the road and meet his Deceuninck–Quick-Step teammates for a January training camp in Calpe, Spain.

Stybar and ‘cross legend Sven Nys dueled at the 2014 world championships. Both were vying for a third world title with the Czech ultimately defeating the Belgian. Photo: Cor Vos

’Gram of the day

In a lengthy post, former cyclocross world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot explained why we haven’t seen her out in the mud this season. She explained she’s been having a pain in her left leg while riding over the last four years and finally diagnosed the issue as a blood flow problem. She has an appointment with a specialist in mid-December to figure out how to proceed.

CyclingTips wishes Ferrand-Prevot a speedy recovery and we hope to see her racing again soon.

Tech News

Haute Route add mini-courses to 3-day events

Haute Route, a series of multi-day cycling events for amateurs consisting of timed seven-day and three-day events, have added a new format to its three-day events. The organisation introduced ‘compact’ courses, which allows riders who don’t want to ride the brutally hard stages, but still have the high-end riding experience Haute Route provides.

Each three-day event consists of two road stages and one uphill time trial. The normal courses are usually between 100-140 kilometres with 2,500 metres to 3,500+ metres of climbing per stage. The ‘compact’ courses will be between 70-100 kilometres and have 1,500 metres to 2,500+ metres of climbing. More information can be found here.

Moving Pictures

Slopestyle’s Bradon Semenuk gets rad

Brandon Semenuk may be retired from competition, but that hasn’t stopped him getting air and pulling big tricks.

Beauty of Norway

We love road riding, but quite a few of us at CT have dirt in our souls. Norway seems to be one of those places where it would be awesome to spend a week on two wheels (even ones with knobby tires).

Full feature can be found on Pinkbike.

In case you missed it …

Beauty An 11-year pro who dedicated his entire career to that of a domestique finally has his day — on his last day.

Racing: Australia’s best domestic team is set for a huge shake-up in 2019.

Tech: Self-confessed tool nerd Dave Rome has been wrenching with Park Tool’s AK-3 Advanced Mechanic toolkit.

Feature Image: A flashback to a muddy Strade Bianche. Lanky climber Romain Bardet shined to finish second.

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