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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
The men’s WorldTour peloton is off and racing in 2019, the Women’s Tour Down Under is done, and new (and not-so-new) cyclocross champions have been crowned in Europe. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: New season, new kits
The Down Under Classic. It’s not part of the Tour Down Under proper, but it is a great chance for the sprinters and their lead-out trains to get things rolling before UCI points are on offer. It’s also the first time we get to see the WorldTour peloton in full flight, with all its fresh faces, fresh bikes and fresh kits.
Many teams stick with kit that’s very similar to the previous year, but there are always a handful of setups that turn up to Adelaide sporting new designs for the new year. And it would seem that 2019 is the year the pro peloton discovered colour gradients.
The traditionally conservative Team Sky have opted for a nice blue-to-black fade:
Team CCC (formerly BMC) are on bright orange — a commentator’s dream:
But certainly the most talked-about kit of the new year is the recently revealed EF Education First get-up. Mainly pink with swathes of purple and blue, it’s one of those “love it or hate it” type designs.
What’s your favourite kit of the 2019 season?
Beauty of Cycling
This lovely tribute to the late Paul Sherwen comes courtesy of the Santos Tour Down Under, a race Sherwen was set to commentate yet again this year.
Amanda Spratt wins Santos Women’s Tour
From the moment Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) won stage 2 of the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under it was clear overall victory was very likely. And so it proved to be, with Spratt holding the ochre leader’s jersey through the final two stages.
Her teammate Grace Brown won on the uphill finish into Stirling on stage 3 while Chloe Hosking (Ale Cipollini) sprinted to victory on the final stage for the second year in a row. It was Spratt’s third-straight overall victory at the Women’s Tour Down Under and a case of mission accomplished.
“When I sat down with my coach in October last year, he asked me what my goals were and the first thing I said was to win the Santos Tour Down Under,” Spratt said. “It’s a home race, an Australian team — it’s really, really special.”
Follow the link for full results from the 2019 Women’s Tour Down Under.
Caleb Ewan takes first blood at Tour Down Under
The sprint finishes at this year’s Tour Down Under look set to be hotly contested but in Sunday’s curtain-raiser criterium, the Down Under Classic, Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) was easily the strongest. That said, he did benefit from a late crash that put his biggest rival Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) out of contention.
Only a handful of riders managed to get through ahead of the crash, including Ewan, lead-out man Roger Kluge, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Alex Edmondson (Mitchelton-Scott). Sagan was second across the line ahead of Edmondson.
“It is a pity for the guys who crashed because I would’ve loved to sprint head-to-head against them,” Ewan said. “But for sure that will happen during the Tour Down Under. For now, I’m very satisfied but let’s keep calm. Tuesday, we have to be focused to again make it a sprint finish, hopefully with the same result as today.”
Follow the link for results from the 2019 Down Under Classic.
Cyclocross national champions crowned
A handful of European cyclocross titles were decided over the weekend, not least those from the Netherlands and Belgium.
In Belgium, Sanne Cant monstered her way to an incredible 10th straight title while Toon Aerts claimed his first national championship win ahead of Wout Van Aert.
In the Dutch men’s race, Mathieu van der Poel rode away to take his fifth-straight title while Lucinda Brand put 10 seconds into Marianne Vos to take her second-consecutive nationals win.
For results and more from the weekend’s CX national championships, head over to CX Magazine.
Stage 2 of TDU shortened due to extreme heat
For the third year running, a stage of the Tour Down Under will be shortened due to extreme heat. Race organisers announced on Sunday that Wednesday’s stage 2 will be chopped by 26.9km with temperatures expected to reach 40ºC in the Barossa Valley.
Similar weather is expected for Tuesday’s opening stage but with only 132km on the menu, the race’s extreme weather working group decided to leave the stage as is. Update: Stage 1 has now been shortened as well:
Follow the link to read the UCI’s Extreme Weather Protocol.
Tweet of the day
In this tweet from over the weekend, Adam Hansen reflects the views of many — riders, fans and media alike. Already the Tour Down Under doesn’t feel the same without Paul Sherwen, and the same will be true at every race he would normally commentate at.
EF Education First is exploring the world
EF Education First isn’t just wearing bright kit in 2019 — the team’s also putting a concerted effort into documenting life on the road. Think Mitchelton-Scott’s Backstage Pass with EF Education First’s flair for the slightly off-beat. Here’s the trailer:
Wired takes on the hour record
We always love seeing cycling stories get picked up by non-cycling-specific media, and this one from Wired is a good one. It’s an in-depth look at the hour record that features some familiar faces and sees reporter Robbie Gonzalez spend plenty of time on the bike in an attempt to explain the difficulty of ‘The Hour’.
From the social web
An update from Keagan Girdlestone
It’s been a long, hard road back to health for Keagan Girdlestone after his horrific crash in 2016. As, Girdlestone explains in this latest update, that journey continues.
“I have been struggling for many months now with anxiety and it’s been one of the hardest times of my life, only behind the obvious hard time I faced,” Girdlestone writes. “The anxiety has paralysed me and honestly it’s made me so scared to even get on my bike.”
Sagan on alloy
As far as PR plays go, this was a good one. Peter Sagan raced Sunday’s Down Under Classic on Specialized’s alloy Allez Sprint Disc, generating plenty of discussion on social media and beyond. Of course, when Sagan went second in the race behind Ewan, many were quick to suggest the three-time world champ would have won on carbon.
We’re not so sure about that, but we are sure that Specialized and Bora-Hansgrohe are getting their money’s worth out of Sagan, as ever.
Happy Birthday to …
Two-time Giro d’Italia stage winner Giovanni Visconti (36), fellow Italian Daniel Oss (32), and young Colombian climbing sensation Egan Bernal (22).
In case you missed it …
Campagnolo Super Record EPS 12-speed is race-ready
Sitting on the 2019 team bikes of Lotto-Soudal, Movistar and UAE Team Emirates is what looks to be a production-ready fourth generation of Campagnolo’s EPS electronic groupset – now in 12-speed. Dave Rome has the details.
Preview: Your guide to the 2019 men’s Santos Tour Down Under
Check out our preview of the 2019 men’s Tour Down Under, including a look at the course, the stages that matter, and the riders you should keep an eye on.
Feature image: Caleb Ewan winning the Down Under Classic at the Santos Tour Down Under. Image by Chris Auld.