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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Nineteen-year-old Italian Letizia Paternoster took the biggest win of her young career on the opening stage at the Tour Down Under. Chris Horner hopes to continue racing at age 47, but needs an important surgery first. There’s no love lost between the two biggest stars of U23 men’s cyclocross. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day:
Nineteen-year-old Italian Letizia Paternoster has won the opening stage of the Women’s Tour Down Under — the maiden victory for the new Trek-Segafredo women’s team.
Paternoster, a former junior world champion in the Madison, team pursuit and omnium events, proved strongest in the bunch sprint at the end of 112.9km, beating Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-Scott) and Arlennis Sierra (Astana) as the bunch flew into Birdwood.
“When I went, I thought I was closer to the finish line, and when I saw it was still 250m to go, I wanted to die a little. I am so happy to have pulled it off,” said an elated Paternoster. “This is really an amazing day for me; it’s only my second year as a professional rider. To start out with the new team, and the first race of the team like this, is really, really great.”
Paternoster now leads the UCI 2.1 event with three stages remaining. Tomorrow’s second stage is a lumpy affair that finishes with a 2.8km climb (average 6.7%) to Mengler’s Hill. It’s a climb that will likely shape, if not decide, the general classification of the four-stage race.
Beauty of Cycling
This video, shared by Dutch mountain-bike star Anneke Beerten, shows that what qualifies as “cycling” takes on many forms, with joy being the theme that ties it all together.
Wanty, Cofidis snag Tour de France wildcard invitations
Tour de France owners Amaury Sport Organisation announced 20 of 22 teams that will compete at the 2019 race. All 18 UCI WorldTour will automatically be assured an invitation; wildcard invitations were awarded to Wanty-Groupe Gobert and Cofidis, the top two teams in the Europe Tour classification. The final two teams “will be announced at a later time.”
“This third consecutive selection for the Tour de France is very satisfying,” said Wanty-Groupe Gobert manager Jean-François Bourlart. “We won the UCI Europe Tour for the third consecutive year, so I was hoping for a new participation in the Tour and I am delighted to see that the organizers rewarded our efforts. We gathered points all over Europe and climbed to the top of the second division. This announcement comes at the right time, just before we leave for our training camp in Spain where we plan all these important appointments.”
Richeze injured in traffic incident with car
Argentinean rider Maximiliano Richeze was injured while training near Buenos Aires when he was involved in an incident with a car, his Deceuninck-Quick-Step team announced Thursday.
One of the team’s key lead-out riders, Richeze was preparing for the upcoming Vuelta a San Juan when he was hurt. Initial medical evaluations revealed that his injuries are not serious, however, with some trauma to his right knee and abrasions on his back and right hip and elbow. He will visit a hospital on Friday for a precautionary scan.
Horner continues with Team Illuminate
American Chris Horner, winner of the 2013 Vuelta a España, will continue racing in 2019 at the age of 47. Though Horner has struggled with health issues over the past few years, he hopes to return racing with Team Illuminate, an American UCI Continental team. In 2018, Horner started, but did not finish, the US national road championship; he later finished 25th overall at the Sibiu Cycling Tour in Romania, 5:24 behind winner Ivan Sosa.
Since 2014, Horner has dealt with lung issues caused from acid reflux fluids flowing into his lungs and causing infection.
“Maybe if I get lucky, I’ll be doing some appearances with Illuminate cycling team again. We’ll see what’s on the horizon, maybe this summer,” Horner said. “Probably getting ready to go under the knife, do a little bit of work on my lungs and stuff, see if the surgeons can do a little bit of work on the stomach to help the lungs out with the acid reflux. If that goes good, I’ll start training and maybe do some appearances with Illuminate.”
Canyon-SRAM Racing confirms full 2019 roster
Boasting one of the youngest averages amongst the top-10 UCI women’s teams in the peloton, the Canyon-SRAM Racing squad is preparing ahead of the new season and is expecting to take part in all 23 UCI Women’s WorldTour races on the 2019 calendar. The team will open its season with Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, followed by Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
Canyon-SRAM Racing’s full roster: Alena Amialiusik (Belarus), Alice Barnes (UK), Hannah Barnes (UK), Elena Cecchini (Italy), Tiffany Cromwell (Australia), Tanja Erath (Germany), Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (France), Rotem Gafinovitz (Israel), Ella Harris (New Zealand), Lisa Klein (Germany), Hannah Ludwig (Germany), Kasia Niewiadoma (Poland), Christa Riffel (Germany), Alexis Ryan (USA), and Omer Shapira (Israel).
No love lost between the two biggest stars of U23 men’s cyclocross
British cyclocross phenom Tom Pidcock told Cyclist that he doesn’t much of a relationship with Belgium’s Eli Iserbyt, his biggest rival in the U23 ranks. Pidcock has won three of five U23 World Cup events this season and leads the standings; Iserbyt has won the other two.
Last season Iserbyt beat Pidcock at the line to take the U23 European Championship, and then went on to win the U23 rainbow jersey. This year Pidcock, the 2017 junior world champion, took the U23 European title from Iserbyt by 30 seconds and has gotten the better of his Belgian rival at the World Cups.
“We don’t talk,” Pidcock said when asked about the relationship. “I think last year when I was beating him in the World Cups and stuff, he wasn’t happy and made some stupid comments in the press. It was [at the 2017 European Championship], when he came across me in the sprint, then from there we just didn’t talk.”
Pidcock and Iserbyt are viewed as the big favorites for the upcoming U23 world championship.
“He’ll definitely be good at the Worlds and he’ll definitely be my biggest rival,” Pidcock said. “He had a dip but I think he’s back on form now. He’s got top fives in elite races, so he’s definitely back on form.”
Trek launches new downhill team
Trek has partnered with SRAM/Rockshox and 100% to kick off the new Trek Factory Racing Downhill team. The four-person roster has not yet been announced but will include three elite riders and one junior, who will race the full UCI DH circuit plus select regional and national races.
The new DH squad comes after the departure of Rachel and Gee Atherton. It joins Trek’s Factory XC team, plus its new women’s WorldTour road team and the long-running Trek-Segafredo men’s WorldTour team.
Pinot to compete in 42km cross-country ski race this weekend
Il Lombardia champion Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) will kickstart his 2019 season this weekend at Bessans Marathon, a 42km cross-country ski race in the Alps. Over 900 participants will compete in the 42 km Nordic ski race.
Does transferring teams hurt a rider?
Does transferring hurt a pro’s performance? According to ProCyclingStats, and its vast ream of data, the answer is no.
The website crunched the numbers, first by determining the point at which the average rider’s points accumulation — their performance — begins to plateau. That’s about 25-27 years old. Then PCS compared riders who had transferred teams during that that time period to riders who hadn’t. The result, according to the data, is that transferring has no meaningful affect on a rider’s results.
Comment of the day
Michael Freiberg might have been devastated to be left off the UniSA-Australia squad for the Santos Tour Down Under, but it would appear from his reply to this Facebook post that he hasn’t lost his sense of humour. For context, both Sam Welsford and Tim Roe raced for UniSA-Australia at last year’s TDU.
Mitchelton-Scott produced its own video from the opening stage of the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under.
K-Edge Di2 Junction Box Mount
Tired of the rubber strap holding the Shimano Di2 junction box on to your stem? K-Edge’s new stainless steel mount instead attaches to your steerer tube like a headset spacer, but it’s just 0.9mm-thick for minimal (if any) effect on your fit, and it’s bendable so you can customize how it sits beneath your stem. Actual weight is 7g, and retail price is US$15 / £15 (AU and EU pricing TBC).
Gore Wear Gore-Tex Infinium Stretch Gloves
Designers for Gore Bike Wear’s latest lightweight cycling gloves focused on a second-skin fit, thanks to careful patterning, strategically placed (and minimal) stitching, and a post-stitching heat-molding process to give the glove a more hand-like shape. The result, says Gore, is a second-skin fit that offers superb tactility, but yet is still reasonably warm and protective thanks to the Gore-Tex Windstopper laminate materials. Additional features include touchscreen-compatible fingertips, generous reflective printing, subtle palm reinforcement, and just a bit of gel padding. Retail price is €45 (international currencies TBC).
Fidlock Bottle Twist
Fidlock is the German company behind virtually every magnetic helmet buckle on the market, and the company recently started applying that technology to cageless water bottles. Unlike most other concepts that have tried (and failed) in the past, Fidlock’s design uses both magnets and physical connections that are said to not only help keep the bottle secure on rough ground, but also make for a quick no-look attachment to your bike. Just a simple off-axis twist is required to remove the bottle (which, in theory, can’t happen while riding), but all you have to do to remount it is hold it near the base. Retail price is US$39 / AU$60 / £31 / €35 for a 600mL bottle and base
Happy Birthday to …
Austrian national champion Lukas Pöstlberger (BORA-hansgrohe) turns 27 today.
Canadian veteran Ryan Roth (X-Speed United), a pro since 2003, turns 36.
In case you missed it …
Contributor Peter Flax, former editor at Bicycling Magazine, shares several memories as a Gran Fondo VIP.
Feature Image: Letizia Paternoster (Trek Segafredo), winner of Stage 1 of the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under. Photo: Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos.