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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
World Champ Kate Courtney is heading to Scott-SRAM, Richie Porte is set to debut his new kit at the Tour Down Under, and WADA is under more pressure to declare Russia non-compliant once again. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Kate Courtney makes jump to Scott-SRAM for 2019
Cross country world champion Kate Courtney has left her longtime sponsor Specialized and made the jump to the Scott-SRAM program run by Thomas Frischknecht, her new team announced Thursday.
Courtney was a darkhorse coming into this year’s world championships and surprised the mountain bike world when she came away with the rainbow stripes. Scott had approached Courtney prior to worlds, which contributed to her decision to switch teams.
“When I was approached by the team in the middle of this past season, it was an opportunity I could not ignore,” Courtney said on her personal blog. “Joining this program gives me the chance to work with the legendary Thomas Frischknecht and ride alongside talented teammates, notably current Men’s World Champion Nino Schurter.”
Porte, new women’s team to debut in Trek-Segafredo colors at TDU
The new Trek-Segafredo women’s team will take the road for the first time at the Tour Down Under, January 10-13. Richie Porte will make his own debut in Trek kit on the 13th at the TDU’s warmup criterium.
Trek will line up with Lauretta Hanson, Elisa Longo Borghini, Lotta Lepistö, Letizia Paternoster, Tayler Wiles and Ruth Winder to Australia to open the season.
Porte won the Tour Down Under in 2017 and has won the Willunga Hill stage five years in a row.
Bob Jungels will race the Giro d’Italia
Deceuninck Quick-Step’s Bob Jungels will once again tackle the Giro d’Italia this year. The Luxembourger is a strong time trialist and has a history of riding well at the Giro — he was 6th and won the white jersey in 2016, and once again raced into the top ten a year later.
This year’s course is particularly well suited to Jungels. “It’s quite an interesting course, especially for those that are strong in the time trials,” he said. “The first week doesn’t seem to be that hard at first, but some of the stages look unpredictable. There aren’t many where you can say that a climber or a sprinter will definitely win, and so they will be a gamble, which is the kind of racing that I like.”
Transfers and signings
Greg Daniel, formerly of Trek-Segafredo, will ride for the Canadian Continental program DCBank in 2019. Daniel won the US Pro road championship in 2016, punching his ticket into the WorldTour.
South African Johan van Zyl signed with Colorado-based Continental team 303 Project. Van Zyl has competed in four grand tours and won a stage of the Tour of Austria in 2015.
Scandolara, Haller take Bay Crits overall
Coming into the final stage of the 2019 Bay Crits, three women were tied at the top of the leaderboard: Stage 2 winner Chloe Hosking, Aussie criterium champ Rebecca Wiasak, and former Bay Crits winner Valentina Scandolara. That final stage was won by former Aussie road champ Peta Mullens (Roxolt-Attaquer) from a breakaway while Scandolara took fourth to clinch the overall title for a second time.
Marco Haller (Katusha Sports) took out the GC in the men’s race, capitalising on his stage 1 breakaway victory and some strong support riding from his teammates in the two days since. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) was again fastest in the bunch sprint, winning for the second day in a row.
The Aussie summer of cycling continues today with the start of the Road Nationals. The criteriums will be held on Friday, the road races will unfold over the weekend, and then the time trials will close out proceedings early next week.
Follow the link for results from the final stage of the 2019 Bay Crits.
Tweet of the day
Peter Sagan says hello and happy new year from the slopes.
More on WADA and Russia
Adding to the condemnation delivered by USADA head Travis Tygart over WADA’s decision to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), and the subsequent missed deadline for Russia to hand over key data to the anti-doping agency, the UKAD Athlete’s commission called for RUSADA to be declared non-compliant once again with immediate effect.
Declaring RUSADA non-compliant would threaten Russia’s participation in any WADA-sanctioned international event. RUSADA was previously declared non-compliant in 2015, ahead of the Rio Olympic Games. The organisation was reinstated in September 2018 to the protest of national anti-doping bodies and athletes.
“We call on WADA to do what is right by the athletes, their families, their fans and their sport,” the UKAD statement read. “It is now 1 January, 2019, and unfortunately the Russian Government has clearly not fulfilled its promise. In a public statement the WADA President Sir Craig Reedie ‘100 per cent’ guaranteed that the Russian government would comply with WADA’s compromised terms. These terms have not been met.”
“The Russian State need to prove unequivocally that they have learned from the biggest doping scandal under WADA’s watch, and that they will for this date forward be committed to a drug free, transparent regime across international sport.”
Just In: Pearl Izumi Tour road shoes
Pearl Izumi jumps on the lace-up bandwagon with the new Tour (and women-specific Sugar) road shoes. Unlike some other classically-styled models that are focused on the high end, though, these are aimed at everyday riders with a very reasonable US$130 retail price (international pricing TBC).
The seamless synthetic uppers are mated to fiber-reinforced nylon soles with a real carbon fiber plate under the dual two-bolt/three-bolt cleat area, and the uppers are generously perforated for ventilation. The asymmetrical lacing pattern and padded tongue promise all-day comfort, too. Actual weight is 526g per pair (size 43.5).
Look for an in-depth review in the coming months — once it warms up a bit.
Happy Birthday to…
Legendary sprinter Alessandro Petacchi (45), winner of 22 stages of the Giro d’Italia.
In case you missed it …
Trial by fire: What it’s like to race against WorldTour pros as an amateur
“You’re basically sprinting full-gas every 25 seconds almost, and my sprint’s not my strong point,” McKenna admits later. “It’s essentially like doing the world’s hardest interval session with WorldTour guys whipping you, [saying] ‘come on mate’. It’s certainly brutal, that’s for sure.”
Click through to read the whole story.
Feature Image: Climbing in Ouray, Colorado. Photo from Gruber Images.