Froome vs. Thomas; Trek-Drops; Van Aert: Daily News Digest

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

Geraint Thomas doesn’t want to race the Giro. Are we set to see Chris Froome and the Welshman clash in July? Also, Trek-Drops has secured its future. And LottoNL denies signing cyclocross star Wout Van Aert. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Thomas, Froome to fight for Tour supremacy

Team Sky duo Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome look set to clash for team leadership at the Tour. Thomas told BBC he doesn’t want to go to the Tour anything less than 100-percent and that would not be possible if he rode the Giro d’Italia.

Thomas and Froome toast champagne on the final day of the 2018 Tour. Who will be celebrating in 2019? Photo: Cor Vos

Thomas and Froome have put on a friendly face since the Welshman won the Tour and the Brit finished third. Thomas said he and Froome push each other in training and are capable of working together.

Both have been coy in the media. Thomas noted after the Tour the team said it would leave him behind if he punctured during the stage three team time trial. Thomas had thought, and the team stated publicly, the duo were co-leaders. Although that was anything but the case, Thomas still prevailed.

Froome wants to join the illustrious five-win club. Thomas wants to wear bib number 1 while in peak condition. Something might have to give.

Race Radio

Trek-Drops finds financial footing for 2019

British-based Trek-Drops will race in 2019 after successfully securing its financial future through a crowdfunding campaign. The team called on the support of its fans after a potential new title sponsor dropped out at the last moment. It was already losing funds from Trek, which opted to form its own Women’s WorldTour program next season.

Trek-Drops gained about US$31,000/AUS$42,000 through the crowdfunding and the team said it secured additional funds through private donations and new team partners.

DS Loren Rowney with rider

Sosa to make Sky debut at Tour of Colombia

While Ivan Sosa’s dramatic signing with Team Sky has yet to be officially announced by the team, the Colombian sensation confirmed the 2.1 Tour of Colombia in February will be his first race in the team’s colours. Sosa told Ciclismo Internacional he’s nervous for his first race, but excited to join what he considers the best team in cycling.

LottoNL denies report team signed Van Aert

Three-time cyclocross world champion Wout Van Aert has a contract with LottoNL-Jumbo for the 2020 season. That much is confirmed, while the rest is speculation according to the team.

Wout Van Aert won’t be wearing the blue of Verandas Willems-Crelan next year. But he may not be wearing the yellow of LottoNL-Jumbo either. Photo: Kristof Ramon

Het Nieuwsblad reported Van Aert and LottoNL-Jumbo were in talks about a contract that begins March 1, 2019, after the Belgian cyclocross season ends, and he would race Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with the team on March 2. It was also reported the team was looking for “extra money” to pay Van Aert. Team spokesman Ard Bierens denied the “extra money” claim to Dutch media outlet Wielerflits, but did confirm the two parties were in discussion.

Van Aert’s ongoing legal battle with his former team Verandas Willems-Crelan seems to be the hold-up. If Van Aert is found to have broken his contract illegally he could owe the team a substantial amount of money. LottoNL-Jumbo looks to be taking the wait and see approach, as to not get caught up in the crossfire between the two sides.

Gaviria undecided between Giro or California

Recently awarded Sportsman of the Year in Colombia, Fernando Gaviria stated at the gala the Tour de France is his main objective, but how he prepares for the Grande Boucle remains up in the air.

Gaviria, who switched from Quick-Step to UAE Team Emirates, said he will either race the first 10 days of the Giro or race the seven-stage Tour of California. Both events overlap in May. Stage 10 of the Giro is May 21 and California ends May 19, so his recovery in preparation for the Tour would be the same. However, the Giro will most certainly be a tougher event and could boost his fitness. On the flip side, the Giro is also more stressful and the odds of getting caught up in a large pile-up is greater.

Fernando Gaviria (centre) and Alexander Kristoff (right) will be teammates next year on UAE Team Emirates. Photo: Cor Vos

Moving Pictures

Old rivals have a bit of fun

Steve Peat and Nicolas Vouilloz had an intense rivalry during the late 1990s and early 2000s. The two downhill legends met up for the first time outside of competition and visited two venues that were synonymous with their respective careers.

In memoriam …

Erik de Vlaeminck was a force to be reckoned with on the cyclocross circuit throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He was world champion no less than seven times and also claimed the Belgian national ‘cross championship on four occasions.

De Vlaeminck was no slouch on the road either. In 1969 he won the Tour of Belgium and also claimed a stage of the Tour de France.

He was later diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. He passed away on this day in 2015. De Vlaeminck was 70 years old.

Erik de Vlaeminck during the 1977 cyclocross world championships in West Germany. Photo: Cor Vos

In case you missed it …

In memoriam: Goodbye, Paul. A personal anecdote of how the legendary commentator changed a life.

Tech: Matt Wikstrom shares his “Ten Products I loved in 2018.” Some of his stuff came across his desk for review, while others, he’s been using for years.

Weekly Spin: Paul Sherwen’s death cause grief throughout the entirety of the cycling community. We look at why losing a “voice of cycling” hurts so much.

From the peloton: Katusha-Alpecin rider Ian Boswell turned the tables this offseason when he switched from pro cyclist to race promoter.

Feature Image: Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas before the final stage of the 2018 Tour de France.

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