Redemption for Yates; Van der Poel; Sea Otter expansion: Daily News Digest

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

Simon Yates will be on a redemption quest in 2019. He’ll return to the Giro, where he won three stages and wore the maglia rosa for 13 days before a late-race collapse. Also, Mathieu van der Poel unveiled his spring classics schedule and a monument is missing. Geraint Thomas received another trophy and Sea Otter is expanding to Canada. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Yates back to “finish the job off”

Stage 19 of the 2018 Giro d’Italia will forever live in cycling infamy, at least for Simon Yates. Chris Froome’s (Sky) epic 80-kilometre solo excursion across the Italian Alps sent shockwaves through cycling media. Behind, a young Briton who had looked untouchable suddenly fell apart. On the long, gruelling ascent of the Col de Finestre, he hit the wall and watched the pink jersey slip off his shoulders.

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) will look to settle his unfinished business with the Giro d’Italia next year. Yates will return to Italy not only a more experienced racer (it’s hard to argue he didn’t learn anything from his collapse), but a more mature bike racer. Yates is a bonafide champion now after he won the Vuelta a Espana in September.

Yates’ competition isn’t yet known, but one face he will have to contend with will be Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb). The Dutchman will have the upper hand over the three individual time trials, but the final week of the race includes an immense amount of climbing. There are multiple stages at the 2019 Giro which feature over 5,000 metres of vertical gain.

It also remains to be seen who Team Sky opt to send to the Italian grand tour. Froome will not defend his title and Tour champ Geraint Thomas has hinted in the press he doesn’t want to go to Italy either. The 2019 Giro may see Sky’s Egan Bernal go for the general classification. Even though he will be just 22 years old, the Colombian climbing sensation is solid against the clock and sublime when the road tips upward.

Can Yates find redemption at the Giro? He’ll most certainly have learned from his mistakes, and lady luck must also be on his side.

Race Radio

Van der Poel to ride Flanders and Amstel Gold

Mathieu van der Poel and his Correndo-Circus team finally put to bed all the rumours about the Dutch road champion’s spring schedule and confirmed van der Poel will race the Tour of Flanders and Amstel Gold Race. The team have chosen to skip Paris-Roubaix in order to focus on the Amstel Gold Race where van der Poel will line-up as the Dutch national champion.

There isn’t any rest for the weary, as van der Poel will hop straight off the cyclocross bike and into road season at the Tour of Antalya (Feb. 21-24). After the Amstel Gold Race (April 21), van der Poel will then shift to the mountain bike. At the press conference revealing his spring road schedule, van der Poel and the team reiterated that the Dutchman’s main focus continues to be the 2020 Olympic Games on the mountain bike.

Van der Poel’s road schedule
Tour of Antalya – February 21-24
Nokere Koerse – March 20
Bredene Koksijde Classic – March 22
Ghent-Wevelgem – March 31
Dwars door Vlaanderen – April 3
Tour of Flanders – April 7
Brabantse Pijl – April 17
Amstel Gold Race – April 21

ASO gifts Thomas replacement Tour trophy

Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas (Sky) was crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year last night, but he also received another gift just prior to the awards ceremony. Thomas was given a replacement Coupe Omnisports, the trophy awarded to the Tour winner in Paris.

Thomas’ original porcelain cup was stolen at The Cycle Show in Birmingham in October. Team Sky had loaned the trophy to its bike sponsor Pinarello to display during the show along with Chris Froome’s Giro and Vuelta trophies.

Lance Armstrong trolled Thomas on Twitter when news first broke of the theft. Despite all the lawsuits and striped results, the Texan still has his Tour trophies.

Tech News

VT helmet lab releases 20 more helmet ratings

The Helmet Lab at Virginia Tech University released 20 bicycle helmet ratings in addition to the 30 helmets it rated back at the end of June.

Bontrager’s Ballista MIPS helmet continued to hold the top spot, as the safest helmet tested. Interestingly, Giro’s new Aether helmet with its innovative MIPS integration was not on the list. The Aether was released just prior to the Tour de France.

The Helmet Lab is a collaboration between Virginia Tech University and the US-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The goal of the lab is to independently test bicycle helmets to give consumers a better knowledge of a helmet’s safety besides merely getting data from bike companies and hearing it from communications directors.

A new competitor to Zwift

From the creators of ZVR World Cup (virtual e-sports racing previously held on the Zwift platform with large prize purses), CVRCADE is a new virtual reality cycling game that offers a more gamified experience to Zwift. Like Zwift, CVRCADE will allow riders to ride, train and compete using an indoor trainer, but CVRCADE can also be played without pedalling. Instead, gamers can use a keyword or controller.

There will be a choice between life-like courses or a fictional gaming experience. Adding to the game experience, riders will need to steer with keyboard keys, and crashes are possible too. Growing the appeal from an Esports angle, CRVCADE offers a “Physical equalisation” feature for handicapped racing. CVRCADE is currently in closed Beta testing.

The brand’s website defines the platform as “CVRcade is an eSport game, created to provide the ultimate, all-inclusive, virtual cycling and gaming experience. It combines fitness, gaming, and eSports; allowing you to win large prize purses. You can race as an individual or as part of a team!”

Esports is a relatively new concept to the world of cycling. Zwift just announced its own professional racing league.

Sea Otter Classic expands to Canada

The Sea Otter Classic, a four-day outdoor cycling extravaganza, will be heading across the border to Canada in 2019 for a second festival. Sea Otter Canada Festival will be held in Blue Mountain, Ontario on July 4-7, 2019.

Sea Otter Classic has partnered with Toronto-based group Sea Otter Cycling Canada Inc. to run the festival. Visitors can expect to see many of the same events and activities that they see at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, CA. Events include mountain bike racing (dual slalom, downhill, enduro, xc short track and pump track), road racing (criterium, gran fondo, gravel, hill climb and stage race), and other recreational rides.

The U.S. Sea Otter Classic, which will hold its 29th edition next year, takes place April 11-14.

Happy Birthday too …

Moreno Argentin (58), the Italian garnered the nickname “Il Capo” (The Boss) during his reign in the 1980s and early 1990s. He won Liege-Bastogne-Liege on four occasions and Fleche Wallonne three times. He also has Il Lombardia and the Tour of Flanders on his palmares. Argentin captured the 1986 world road race championship in Colorado Springs

In October 2016, Argentin was handed a suspended one-year prison term by the Italian Courts for real estate fraud. Argentin reportedly sold a house to a couple that was subject to a mortgage.

Recently, Argentin returned to cycling as a race director. He founded the Adriatica Ionica Race, which held its first edition in 2018.

In case you missed it …

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Tech Review: The Moots Routt RSL is the flagship titanium gravel bike from the legendary Colorado small-batch builder. It’s anything but inexpensive, but titanium devotees will need no convincing of the Routt RSL’s worth after taking it for a spin.

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