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WELCOME TO YOUR DAILY NEWS DIGEST. HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
Peter Sagan knows how to win on the undulating circuit in Uraidla. Fabio Aru had suggested he would compete for the GC at the Tour de France, but UAE Team Emirates says he’ll focus on the Giro d’Italia instead. Andrea Tafi’s Roubaix return is looking unlikely. The Movement for Credible Cycling released its annual credibility report this week, and cycling looks pretty good. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
STORY OF THE DAY: Sagan wins again in Uraidla
Peter Sagan knows how to win in Uraidla. For the second consecutive year, the BORA-hansgrohe star emerged victorious at the end of a tough day in the Adelaide Hills. This time the Slovak national champion beat Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) in the final dash to the line. Sagan moved to second overall, one second behind GC leader Patrick Bevin (CCC Team).
Sagan benefitted from a hot, controlled stage that saw the CCC team ensure that the peloton had enough in the tank to reach the finish.
“Thanks to all the CCC riders who controlled the race,” Sagan said. “Bora-Hansgrohe took care of me and kept me at the front. As we passed the last climb, I thought it was going to be the same as last year. It was almost a carbon copy result from last year. It’s much better to have some experience in finales like this. But in the end, Sanchez was also very close to winning.”
GC contender Michael Woods (EF Education First) attacked into Summertown with 2.1km to go, however the peloton reacted, with Sagan, Sanchez, Dries Devenyns (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) and Michael Valgren (Dimension Data) all quick to respond. Devenyns mounted his own attempt at 1.3km to go, but that only served to drag the contenders with him, leaving a mad scramble for the line.
Sagan’s win catapulted him into the blue points jersey. Sanchez, a former winner of the Santos Tour Down Under, sits third overall behind Bevin and Sagan, and may well take leadership of the general classification with a strong performance on the final three stages. Bevin will wear ochre on Friday, with a course suited to his style culminating with a big climb up Corkscrew Road at the finale.
Aru to focus on Giro d’Italia
UAE Team Emirates has confirmed that Italian Fabio Aru will focus on the Giro d’Italia, rather than the Tour de France. He had previously suggested that the Tour route suited him better, but his UAE team will be focused on Dan Martin as its GC leader in July. Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria is currently scheduled to fight for victories at both Grand Tours.
Aru put together an impressive string of Grand Tour results in 2014 and 2015, finishing third and second at the Giro and first and fifth at the Vuelta a España, but his last strong Grand Tour ride was fifth at the 2017 Tour de France. He abandoned the 2018 Giro during Stage 19, and rode anonymously at the Vuelta. “Something was missing all year, Aru said in October. “I was always a step behind the strongest riders. All year long, I never managed to get into my very top condition.”
Aru will race at the Volta ao Algarve in February and the Volta a Catalunya in March before heading to Colorado to train at altitude in April, working with the team’s new head coach, Iñigo San Millán, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
“The idea of starting in the Giro d’Italia always hugely motivates me given I’m a climber, and there’s that extra bit of emotion added given I’m Italian,” Aru said. “You can imagine my desire to reap some rewards on the road during this Corsa Rosa – rewards I wasn’t able to enjoy in the last edition. I have a desire to repay the sponsors, fans and organisers who continued to believe in me in these last months.”
Tafi’s Roubaix return looking unlikely
Will Andrea Tafi race Paris-Roubaix at age 52, 20 years after his victory in the velodrome? It’s looking unlikely, as VeloNews reports. Though he continues to train, he has not signed with a team. Paris-Roubaix organizer ASO named seven teams in addition to the 18 WorldTour teams to race its 2018 edition, each with seven riders. Instead, it appears he may just compete at the amateur Roubaix event, held one day before the Hell of the North.
MPCC: Cycling’s credibility has improved
The Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) released its annual credibility report this week, and cycling looks pretty good compared to other major international sports.
The report tallies up doping cases and corruption cases for each sport and provides a ranking from least credible (baseball) to most credible.
Cycling is ranked 13th, with six doping cases and no corruption cases. That’s better than baseball (69 doping cases), track and field (63 doping cases and five corruption cases), and football (9 doping cases and 16 corruption cases).
Click through to read the full report.
Pozatto transitions from cycling to roller hockey
That didn’t take long. After wrapping up a 19-year career as a professional cyclist — a career that included a victory at Milan-San Remo and two Tour de France stage wins — Italian Filippo Pozzato will be competing in roller hockey. According to Belgian site Sporza, on Sunday Pozzato will start for Basano, a second division roller hockey team based in northern Italy.
As Sporza points out, Pozzato joins a growing list of former professional cyclists pursuing alternative sports careers after bike racing. Tom Boonen has moved on to car racing, Alexander Vinokourov recently completed the Hawaii Ironman, Bradley Wiggins switched over to rowing, and Oscar Pereiro became a third-division footballer in Spain.
This Miami criterium had a pretty wild last lap.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO …
Colombian Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott), a podium finisher at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, turns 29 today.
Dutch rider Sebastian Langeveld (EF Education First), who finished third at Paris-Roubaix in 2017, turns 34.
German sprinter Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe), winner of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic last year, turns 25.
Australian Brendan Canty, who rode with EF Education First last year, turns 27.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT …
After over 100km out front, on a hot and hilly day, neo-pro Jimmy Whelan (EF Education First) attacked from the breakaway, and though he was caught, he finished just 26 seconds behind stage winner Peter Sagan. Not bad, given the 22-year-old is in his very first WorldTour race in the first month of his first pro contract, just three years after his first bike race.