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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Embattled ex-Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman’s email trail has been revealed; Paddy Bevin has broken through for his debut WorldTour win; Nibali is entertaining offers; Bahrain-Merida has hit a dry spell; and Marco Haller is tough as nails. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: email trail’s ethical fail
The testosterone scandal that has engulfed British Cycling and Team Sky drags on, with the BBC revealing the contents of an email sent from the supplier to disgraced team doctor, Richard Freeman, who is set to appear before a medical misconduct tribunal in early February.
An email from the testosterone supplier Fit4Sport Limited, sent five months after the parcel, reads: “Just to confirm that I have now received back the Testogel 50mg pack of 30 sachets, which we sent in error to you. This will be destroyed on our premises.
“Apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused you, we will revise our procedure to ensure incorrect pharmaceutical products are not shipped out again.”
It is alleged that Dr Freeman asked the supplier to send an email falsely stating that the package had been sent by mistake, and used this email as a way of demonstrating his innocence.
Dr Freeman left British Cycling under a cloud in 2017, and denies any wrongdoing.
Read more here.
Bevin breaks through
Paddy Bevin (CCC) will wear the leader’s ochre jersey on stage 3 of the Santos Tour Down Under after a thrilling uphill sprint victory in Angaston on Wednesday.
In a crash-marred finale, Bevin overhauled the late move of Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) and held off Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) to claim his first WorldTour victory.
“I don’t think anyone was really picking that, I wasn’t picking that,” Bevin said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had a good run at a bunch sprint. But for me I did a lot of work in the off-season with the time-trialling, with the power, kind of simplifying what I was doing and obviously it’s working because I was floating around that finish thinking ‘Man, I’ve got some legs here and I’m going to get run at the line and let’s see how this uphill sprint goes.'”
Bevin now leads the general classification by five seconds ahead of stage 1 winner Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) with Ewan in third, another four seconds back. Bevin’s lead over his GC rivals is now 15 seconds.
For analysis of the stage, see here.
Anna Van der Breggen to tackle Cape Epic
Reigning road race world champion Anna Van der Breggen’s early season will be a little different for 2019. Multiple-time MTB world champion Annika Langvad has revealed that the Specialized-sponsored pair will be heading to the notoriously tough South African MTB stage race as team-mates:
Nibali fielding offers for 2020
Vincenzo Nibali’s 2019 season is just getting started, but he’s already revealed that he’s considering his options for next season.
Dave Brailsford of Team Sky touched base last year, while Trek-Segafredo are reportedly keen to sign the Italian star thanks to his appeal with his local market; coffee brand Segafredo are seeking Nibali as a brand ambassador post-retirement.
Behind the scenes at Bahrain-Merida, a shift in the team’s power dynamics has occurred now that McLaren has been brought on board as a sponsor. McLaren is partially owned by the Bahrain royal family, extending the Bahraini sphere of influence over the team which is owned by Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
Bahrain-Merida pay freeze
Bahrain-Merida team management, meanwhile, have hit a temporary dry spell in their funding, delaying payment of their riders from December – including Nibali, who has accepted a freeze in his payment.
Team management have notified the UCI of the hold-up. Team manager Brent Copeland issued a (non-)statement to CyclingNews, saying “we don’t comment on any financial details of the team. There has been a short delay due to administration and technical issues, but these will be resolved shortly. All the agreements we have, have been respected.”
Tweet of the day
Dumoulin’s never going to live it down, is he?
Meanwhile, Lance Armstrong isn’t doing too bad. He took Architectural Digest on a tour of his Aspen home and – spoiler alert – it’s pretty schmick:
Marco Haller hit the deck hard in a crash in the finale of the second stage of the Tour Down Under. “The guy in front of me, his bike came up from the ground and hit me in the face and obviously it’s not a nice feeling when somebody throws their bike in your face,” he remarked.
Despite the somewhat grisly appearance of his bike post-stage, Haller escaped serious injury and plans to continue in the race.
Pearl Izumi launches environmental and social responsibility initiative
Colorado-based cycling footwear and apparel brand Pearl Izumi is taking a cue from Patagonia with a new environmentally minded initiative called “Ride More, Do More.”
Consumers will now find single (and very small) paper hang tags on all clothing items, and plastic bags will be made of 100% recycled materials, both of which can be recycled at compatible facilities. Physical catalogs will no longer be printed at all, either, replaced by online resources, which the company says are more information-rich, anyway.
The Spring 2019 line also incorporates more “sustainable” technical fabrics (made from “responsibly sourced” merino wool and recycled polyesters). Looking further ahead, Pearl Izumi plans to use recycled materials in 30% of its product line by 2020, progressing to a 90% target in 2022. And starting immediately, Pearl Izumi will begin repairing and reselling warrantee items (at a significant discount, presumably), instead of simply tossing them away.
“We’re motivated to find proactive solutions to oil dependence,” said Pearl Izumi global brand marketing VP Geoff Shaffer via press release. “We aim to use our business practices, products, and advocacy to reduce the consumption of oil – and embolden all of us to ride more and do more.”
The full press release is available here.
Happy Birthday to …
Lars Bak turns 39. The lanky veteran is celebrating his birthday at the Tour Down Under.
Compatriot Magnus Cort (Astana) is another birthDane, turning 26.
In case you missed it …
Phil Liggett isn’t ready to retire
Phil Liggett has no plans to retire following the death of his longtime broadcast partner Paul Sherwen. Not yet, anyway. He explains what his future looks like to Editor-at Large Neal Rogers.
Gunning for glory
Jaime Gunning was one of the revelations of last week’s Santos Women’s Tour Down Under, winning the best young rider’s classification and mixing it with the world’s best. We take a look at where she came from and where she’s going.