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The Aussie road nationals delivered a pair of stellar road race wins, Caleb Ewan’s heading to the Giro and the Tour, and a 90-year-old failed a drug test. These stories and more in today’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest.
Story of the day: A Sunday to remember at the Aussie Road Nationals
Every so often you watch a bike race that you know you’ll be talking about for many years to come. The sort of race that will be referenced with phrases like “I was there when …” and “do you remember the day that …” Yesterday’s “Super Sunday” at the Australian Road Nationals didn’t just have one such race, it had two. Two thrilling battles that will long stick in the minds of those who witnessed them.
The first of those, the elite & U23 women’s race, delivered one of the greatest individual performances ever seen at the Road Nats. At just 18-years-old, in her first season out of the junior ranks, Gigante got in the early break, then outsmarted and rode away from seasoned WorldTour pros, taking an emphatic solo victory. It was a win for the ages.
And then, later that afternoon, Cameron Meyer and Chris Harper looked to be riding for gold and silver when they sat up and started playing cat and mouse with one another. That opened the door for the tenacious Michael Freiberg to fight back after being dropped, before taking a most unlikely victory.
The Mt. Buninyong circuit mightn’t be to everyone’s liking, but there’s no doubt it produces amazing bike races.
White, Eddy and Sewell take Aussie road titles
Of course there were other Aussie road titles being decided over the weekend. Here’s a selection:
– U23 men: Three riders got clear on the final lap up Mt. Buninyong: former winner Sam Jenner (Team Wiggins le Col), 2018 podium finisher Michael Potter (Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) and Nick White (BridgeLane). In the three-up sprint, Ballarat local White took the win, as the peloton surged in right behind the trio.
– U19 men: There was jubilation in the Eddy household after brothers Pat and Sam went 1-2. Pat went solo before the final climb and Sam was able to win a three-up sprint for silver.
– U19 women: After a dramatic finish, Francesca Sewell was crowned U19 women’s champion. Sewell crashed in the two-up sprint against Neve Bradbury when her chain jammed and was forced to walk across the line. Bradbury crossed the line first but was later disqualified for an underweight bike, handing Sewell the victory.
For results from every race over the weekend, head to the Australian Road Nationals website.
Jones, Wiasak win Aussie criterium titles
After four previous podium finishes, Brenton Jones (Delko Marseille Provence) finally reached the top step of the podium at the Aussie criterium championships. Jones outsprinted Tristan Ward (BridgeLane) and Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) to take a hard-earned gold medal. Three-time former winner Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) sat out the criterium to focus on the road race.
In the elite and U23 women’s race, Bec Wiasak (Fearless Femme Racing) won gold for the second year running, easily outsprinting Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-Scott) and U23 Ruby Roseman-Gannon.
Fouche, Christie the big winners at New Zealand road nationals
It wasn’t just the Australian Road Nationals happening this past weekend; New Zealand, too, was in the process of crowning new champions. Here are the highlights:
Elite/U23 men’s road race: Twenty-year-old James Fouche (Wiggins-Le Col) attacked with 2.5 laps remaining in Napier and rode away to win solo by more than three minutes. In doing so he defended his U23 title from last year, and took both the elite and U23 titles for 2019.
Elite/U23 women’s road race: Quite remarkably, U23 riders took all of the top four places in the women’s road race, with 21-year-old Georgia Christie winning solo.
Elite/U23 women’s ITT: Georgia Williams (Mitchelton-Scott) defended her Kiwi time trial title, 12 seconds ahead of former winner Rushlee Buchanan.
Elite/U23 men’s ITT: Paddy Bevin (CCC) comfortably took back his title, nearly two minutes clear of Hamish Bond.
Click through for full results from the 2019 New Zealand Elite Road Nationals.
Caleb Ewan to race the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France
In his tough final season with Mitchelton-Scott, Caleb Ewan didn’t race a Grand Tour. For 2019, with new team Lotto-Soudal, he’s planning to do both the Giro and Tour.
“There are a lot of sprint opportunities [at the Giro],” Ewan told SBS Cycling Central. “I’m pretty much the main sprinter of the team so I think it’s a good opportunity for me to try and get some stage wins. If I can get stage wins there it will give me confidence going into the Tour also.
“[Lotto-Soudal is] giving me pressure but they’re also giving me pretty much full support. I’m going to put more pressure on myself than the team is going to anyway, so it’s not affecting me at all.”
Click through to read more at SBS Cycling Central.
90-year-old fails doping test, stripped of age group title and world record
In bizarre news, 90-year-old American Carl Grove has been stripped of a world record set at the Masters Track Nationals in mid-2018 after a urine test revealed the presence of epitrenbolone. A USADA press release reads as follows:
“While investigating the source of his positive test, it was also determined that a supplement Grove was using prior to July 11, 2018 was contaminated with clomiphene.
“During USADA’s investigation into the circumstances of his case, Grove provided USADA with information which established that the source of his positive test was more likely than not caused by contaminated meat consumed the evening before competing on July 11, 2018. Prior to consuming the meat, Grove had tested negative for prohibited substances during an in-competition test on July 10, 2018.”
Read the full release at the USADA website.
Peter Sagan to return to Milan-San Remo
Three-time world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) is currently in Adelaide preparing for the Santos Tour Down Under — his first race of the season. From there he’ll head to Argentina for the Vuelta a San Juan before building towards the Spring Classics.
His team has now confirmed that he’ll be at Milan-San Remo where he’ll try to win his third Monument (after the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix). Sagan has six top-10 finishes at San Remo, including two seconds, two fourths and a sixth.
Tweet of the day
Sarah Gigante might have been exceptional on the bike yesterday but her champagne game probably needs a bit of work. Thankfully she had a couple of friendly rivals on hand to help her out.
Fizik updates bar tapes and simplifies naming
This one isn’t major news, but it’ll come as relief for anyone who’s tried to figure out Fizik’s bar tape range in recent years. Fizik now splits its bar tapes into three product names: Vento, Tempo and Terra (pictured left to right, below).
The Vento range, consisting of a 2mm or 2.7mm padded SoloCush option, is designed to be lightweight and offer great bike control with its tacky texture. The Tempo range offers “performance, durability and versatility”, and includes Fizik’s previously popular Microtex “Classic” and “Soft Touch” tapes. Finally, the Terra tape is designed for off-road adventures with its non-slip surface and 3mm padded construction.
There are six variants in total, each available in a wide variety of colours and each with extra length for use with aero-shaped bars.
Fastest disc-brakes wheel change yet?
Changing a flat with discs: it’s all about practice (and an electric drill driver):
In case you missed it …
The making of a champion: Sarah Gigante’s extraordinary Nationals win
Simply put, it’s a win that will go down in Australian cycling folklore. Eighteen-year-old Sarah Gigante (Roxsolt-Attaquer), in her first year out of the junior ranks, outgunning and outsmarting the best riders in Australia to win a national road title. And not just the U23 title she was eligible for, but the elite title as well. An Australian first.
Click through to read the full story.
Heroics and heartbreak: How the Aussie men’s road title was won (and lost)
“I’ll try not to cry too much,” says Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott), his bottom lip quivering as he addresses a small media contingent. He’s already been crying by the looks of it. Bike racing can be brutal.
Click through to read the full story.
The first-ever eCrit National Championships: Gimmick, great spectacle, both?
This eCriterium Championship has been officially sanctioned by Cycling Australia — the first ever event of its kind. And later this weekend, all going to plan, Whitelaw and Riley will be presented with real-world green-and-gold jerseys for their efforts. For cycling purists, this mightn’t sit well.
Follow the link to read the full story.
Feature image: Sarah Gigante scores a direct hit on Amanda Spratt after beating her on the road as well. Image: John Veage for Cycling Australia.