Spanish national coach fired; Tokyo test event; Tafi: Daily News Digest

by CyclingTips


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

The Spanish national coach is out, despite winning the world title with Alejandro Valverde. A test event for the road race course at the Tokyo Olympics is set for next year but oddly coincides with another big race. Also, Andrea Tafi’s move to Dimension Data doesn’t look as set as it seems. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.


Story of the Day: Spanish national coach fired despite winning world title

The Spanish Federation has ousted its current national coach, Javier Minguez, after he complained of earning a low wage in the position. Minguez revealed to Europa Press his salary was that of only 25,000 euro and he wanted a pay raise. In the interview, Minguez threatened to quit, but the Spanish Federation opted to fire him for speaking out.

Valverde described his win as “the greatest day of my career”. That’s saying something for a guy who’s won more than 120 professional bike races.

Minguez also said he worked for free during his first two seasons as Spain’s national coach in 2013 and 2014. He led Spain to five elite men’s medals during his six-year run. Joaquim Rodriguez and Valverde captured silver and bronze in Florence in 2013 and Valverde again finished third the following year. Jonathan Castroviejo powered to third in the time trial in 2016 in Qatar before Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) triumphantly brought the rainbow bands back to Spain this year.

Rodriguez went to Twitter to voice his frustration and disagreement with the decision. He compared the situation to Champions League soccer and asked if FC Barcelona won the championship, wouldn’t they renew the manager’s contract and increase his salary.

Despite all this, it appears Spain might hire a proven champion to run the elite men’s program. Oscar Freire, a three-time world champion, is rumoured to have put his name in for consideration. According to Marca, the Federation is also contemplating promoting under-23 men’s coach Pascual Momparler to run the elite team.

Could Oscar Freire lead Alejandro Valverde to back-to-back world titles with the 2019 worlds course in Yorkshire suiting Valverde’s abilities? Photo: Cor Vos

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Dates clash between Tokyo test event and Tour

The Olympic Committee for the 2020 Games in Tokyo revealed the cycling road race test event will take place on July 21, 2019, the same day the Tour de France comes to a close. The race, to be contested only by men, will be 179 kilometres and feature 3,700 metres of climbing. The route will start at Musashinonomori Park and finish on the Fuji International Speedway. The one difference between the test event course and the Olympic course is the absence of Mt. Fuji.

Tafi to Dimension Data looks unlikely

Andrea Tafi is vying to race Paris-Roubaix 20 years after his victory in 1999 and rumours linking him to Dimension Data seem false after the team announced its 2019 roster with the Italian absent. UCI President David Lappartient hinted to Gazzetta dello Sport last week that Tafi would be riding the “Hell of the North” for Dimension Data. The South African-based team finished last in the UCI WorldTour team rankings in 2018 and only managed seven victories.

While Tafi is not on the team’s list for the 2019 season, he could still be racing Paris-Roubaix for the program. He only wishes to race Roubaix and not the entire season, so he will most likely be signing a temporary contract with whichever program he rides for. Dimension Data could be opting to announce his signing individually at a later date. However, don’t be surprised if Tafi doesn’t kit-up in green and white for Paris-Roubaix.

Andrea Tafi battles the cobbles and the dust en route to victory in 1999.

Cascade Classic returns

After a one-year absence, the Cascade Cycling Classic will return to the U.S. racing calendar for its 39th edition in 2019. The Oregon-based race will be held in a new time slot, May 29-June 2, whereas it was normally held in mid-July. Unlike the 2017 edition of the race, it will not be run at the UCI level.

The U.S. stage racing scene will see a bit of a revival in 2019 after a down year this season. Cascade Cycling Classic is the second U.S. stage race to return after taking 2018 off. The Northstar Grand Prix, held in Minnesota, will return and take place June 12-16. The women’s edition of Northstar will be held at the UCI level.

Alex Howes won stage 1 of the 2017 Cascade Cycling Classic while riding for the U.S. national team.

In Memoriam …

Italian Guiseppe Olmo was a force to be reckoned with during the 1930s, even with the emergence of Gino Bartali during the second half of his career. He won Milano-Sanremo on two occasions (1935, ‘38) and won an impressive 20 stages at the Giro d’Italia before his retirement in 1938. He finished second overall to Bartali at the 1936 Giro.

After retiring from professional cycling, Olmo went into the bike building business. He setup shop in his hometown of Celle Ligure, Italy and the company continues to manufacture its bicycles their to this very day.

Olmo passed away on March 5, 1992, at the age of 81. He was born on this day in 1911.


In case you missed it …

Science: Exercise physiology graduate Zach examines the science behind aging and endurance sports, revealing how Andrea Tafi may not be all that crazy for attempting Paris-Roubaix at 52 years old.

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