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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Vincenzo Nibali appears to be playing his suitors against each other in the media, Luke Durbridge surprised the reigning TT world champ at Australian nationals, Grace Brown took her first elite time trial title, and the Australian road champ won’t race the Tour Down Under. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Turbo Durbo surprises Dennis at Aussie TT nats
Rocking up to the Australian time trial championships on Tuesday, Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida) was resplendent in his rainbow skinsuit. He was clearly the man to beat. But on the day it was Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott) who proved strongest, riding to his third national TT title.
Dennis finished second, 21 seconds in arrears, while Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) took his second bronze medal of the meet, another 22 seconds behind. See full results here.
In the women’s race, the retirement of Kat Garfoot made for a seemingly open race … at least until Grace Brown (Mitchelton-Scott) rolled down the start ramp. The first-year pro blitzed the field to beat teammate Gracie Elvin by 1:33, while Kate Perry (Specialized Women’s Racing) rounded out the podium at 1:44.
Fresh off her astounding victory in the road race Sarah Gigante (Roxsolt-Attaquer) won the U23 women’s title by more than a minute. See full results here.
In the U23 men’s time trial, Liam Magennis (Drapac Cannondale) won by 20 seconds ahead of Lucas Plapp (InForm-Make) with Sam Jenner (Wiggins-Le Col) third at 36 seconds. See full results here.
Bahrain-Merida offers Nibali a two-year deal
Vincenzo Nibali appears to be playing two suitors against each other as he seeks to settle a contract for the coming seasons. Bahrain-Merida has now offered Nibali a two-year deal in an effort to ward off the advances of Trek-Segafredo, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
La Gazzetta reported that Nibali and his agent met with Trek’s general manager Luca Guercilena at the Milan airport on Monday, then met with Bahrain’s manager Brent Copeland in the afternoon.
“We have offered him a two-year contract,” Copeland said. Copeland expects to meet with Nibali again in February following the formal presentation of the team’s new sponsor, McLaren.
Australian champ Freiberg misses out on TDU spot
Newly minted Australian elite road champion Michael Freiberg won’t ride with the UniSA-Australia team at the Tour Down Under due to selection criteria that favour younger riders and the best NRS teams.
Freiberg, who races at the Continental level, beat a who’s who of Australia’s WorldTour riders to take the Australian road title last weekend. But his new green and gold jersey won’t be on display at the year’s first WorldTour event.
The selection criteria for UniSA first award five slots to the best team in last year’s NRS standings, Team BridgeLane. The last two positions go to development riders. Freiberg is 28.
Ayden Toovey (Team BridgeLane), Jason Lea (Team BridgeLane), Neil Van der Ploeg (Team BridgeLane), Dylan Sunderland (Team BridgeLane), Chris Harper (Team BridgeLane), Nick White (CA) and Michael Potter (CA) will race TDU for UniSA. Freiberg will race the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and Toward Zero Race Melbourne.
Click through to read the announcement post at Cycling Australia, which includes details of the UniSA-Australia team selection criteria.
Arkea Samsic’s new kit
Andre Greipel and Warren Barguil unveiled their team’s new kit this week. This is the first year in a decade that Greipel will race without Lotto colours on his shoulders.
The Russians and WADA, an ongoing series
Since we’ve been covering this story over the last month or so, here’s the latest on Russia’s attempt to move back into the good graces of the World Anti Doping Agency.
This week, a team from WADA was granted permission to access the lab data they were barred from gathering before the new year. That data was supposed to be gathered by December 31, a missed deadline that led to vocal protest from athlete’s groups and national anti-doping bodies like USADA, who have been pushing back against the Russian Anti Doping Agency’s return to good standing with WADA since the nation was reinstated in September.
WADA experts will now be allowed to gather data from the Moscow lab at the centre of the Russian doping scandal. That data could lead to the prosecution of Russian athletes who were part of their country’s state-sponsored doping regime.
Tweet of the day
Could we do this better than Danny? Neigh.
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