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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Vincenzo Nibali will target the Giro next season. He had already confirmed ambitions ride both the Giro and the Tour, but the former will be the main target. No, he’s not going for the double attempt, but merely riding both. Also, Team Sky could get a Chinese sponsor to replace the telecommunications company. And Tirreno-Adriatico is set to be a classics’ specialist showdown with no high-mountain finish in 2019. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Nibali seeks third Giro title
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) is a champion. He’s won all three grand tours, Il Lombardia twice, and even snagged the sprinter’s monument Milano-Sanremo with a daring final kilometre attack. In 2019, he’s returning home to the Giro d’Italia.
We already knew that Nibali will ride the Giro and the Tour de France next season, but the Italian confirmed to Dutch media outlet Wielerflits he will peak for the Giro. And for those wondering, he made no mention of the Giro/Tour double attempt.
At 34 years old, Nibali isn’t getting any younger. He said he thought the Tour de France was more difficult than the Giro and opted to race for the Italian grand tour. Furthermore, Chris Froome and the Team Sky juggernaut are set to focus solely on the Tour, which may have influenced his decision. And the world championship course is not suited to the pure climbers, so there is less emphasis on him to ride La Vuelta as preparation.
Nibali’s season will start at the Tour of Valencia in early February. Then he’ll race the UAE Tour (February 25-March 2) and Tirreno-Adriatico (March 13-19). He’ll defend his title in Milan-San Remo before heading to an altitude training camp. His final races before the Giro will be the Tour of the Alps (April 22-26) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 28).
’Gram of the day
Frenchwoman Pauline Ferrand-Prevot found the problem she’s been having with her left leg. It’s iliac artery endofibrosis and will cause her to refrain from racing for four months.
Team Sky open to partnering with new Chinese WorldTour team
The pullout of telecommunication giant Sky from sponsoring its namesake British-based program at the end of 2019 sent tremors through the cycling world, but the solution may be in Asia.
Brailsford and Co. may partner with the Chinese WorldTour program that is looking to debut in the coming years. The program is being formed by former professional cyclists Brian Smith and Shane Sutton with financial support from Tim Kay, who owns a real estate company in the country. Sutton worked alongside Brailsford at British Cycling and was briefly employed by Team Sky as well.
“Sky is a 12.5 billion turnover company, so 30 million a year is pocket change,” Kay told Cyclingnews. “So, to find another 30 million you would need to go big again and find something like Amazon. Why would Amazon advertise into a market that they already control? They don’t need cycling to promote them, that’s the problem. That’s why China is a great opportunity, because these guys want to break into these markets. Amazon has never broken into the Chinese market, and my platform gives them this opportunity to break those barriers down.
“They have a lot of doors, James Murdoch loves the team. There were rumours of him going to Tesla. Would Tesla support them, possibly? To a billionaire, 30 million is nothing, but would they sell more cars?”
Lacking summit finish, Tirreno-Adriatico for classic specialists
The 2019 Tirreno-Adriatico, running from March 13 to March 19, will not include any high-mountain summit finishes, setting the stage for a showdown among the one-day classic specialists. The 2019 route is reminiscent of the 2016 edition won by Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing). Race Organisers had to cancel the stage five summit finish to Monte San Vicino, which set the stage for the classic specialists to prevail. Van Avermaet took the overall win by one-second over Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).
The race opens and closes with its tradition team time trial and individual time trial. The second, fourth, and fifth stages are for the classic specialists with uphill finales. Stages three and six are for the sprinters.
Tirreno-Adriatico full route
Stage 1: Lido di Camaiore (21.5km TTT)
Stage 2: Camaiore – Pomarance (189km)
Stage 3: Pomarance – Foligno (224km)
Stage 4: Foligno – Fossombrone (223km)
Stage 5: Colli al Metauro – Recanti (178km)
Stage 6: Matelica – Jesi (195km)
Stage 7: San Benedetto del Tronto (10.05 km ITT)
Strava hits 2 billion uploads
Strava’s pull on the social media activity space in growing by the second — literally. The California-based company revealed it saw one billion activity uploads over the last 18 months. Thus, surpassing two billion uploads all-time. It took eight years for Strava to reach one billion uploads. Also, check out the cool Strava art below.
A few more stats:
– 36 million total users from 195 countries
– 20 activities uploaded every second (15 million/week)
– 5.2 billion miles cycled (roughly the distance from Earth to Pluto)
– Bike commuting grew 42%
– Mississippi led U.S. states with the longest average distance for bike commutes (over 14 miles)
When roadies go off road
Two roadies, one mountain bike race. The Pioneer New Zealand hosted the CyclingTips team for an amazing multi-day stage race. Laugh, cry, struggle along with the guys as they tackle this epic event.
Click through to read the feature on the Pioneer mountain-bike race.
Happy Birthday too …
Spaniard Mikel Landa (29).
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