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The Cyclocross World Championships delivered some familiar winners, but not without some intriguing battles. Team Sky ran rampart at the Sun Tour over the weekend. And the Challenge Mallorca came to a close. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Cant and van der Poel back in rainbows
Going into the Cyclocross World Championships this past weekend, there was little doubt which race was generating the most excitement. The elite women’s race had perhaps half a dozen potential winners on the startlist, with many others having a shot at the podium. The race lived up to the hype.
In the closing laps it was one Belgian — Sanne Cant — against four Dutchwomen — Marianne Vos, Lucinda Brand, Denise Betsema and Annemarie Worst. Brand was the strongest on the day but struggled technically. A botched bike change on the penultimate lap saw Brand hit the deck, arguably costing her her first world title. Having ridden a flawless race, Cant sensed the opportunity and attacked, opening a gap, then rode in solo to win her third-straight world CX title.
The men’s race followed a pattern similar to what we’ve seen so many times in recent CX races. Mathieu van der Poel attacked early, three laps into the 12-lap event. Defending champion Wout Van Aert bridged across but later slid out on the course’s decisive off-camber section, allowing a gap to open. From there, van der Poel was free to fly, riding to his first CX world title since 2014-15.
Britain’s Tom Pidcock won the U23 men’s event ahead of rival Eli Iserbyt, while Pidcock’s compatriot Ben Tulett won the junior men’s race. Dutchwoman Inge van der Heijden won the U23 women’s race.
Follow the link for results from the 2019 Cyclocross World Championships.
Beauty of Cycling
When you’re a die-hard cyclocross fan, freezing temperatures and bitter coastal breezes aren’t nearly enough to keep you away from the biggest race of the year. Huge crowds packed out the Worlds course in Bogense, Denmark over the weekend to see the best riders on the planet duke it out for the rainbow bands.
Dylan van Baarle leads Sky domination of the Sun Tour
Team Sky mightn’t have had their A team at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour but that didn’t stop the British squad from dominating. They walked away with the overall victory, two stage wins (from five stages), the KOM jersey, the best young rider jersey, and the teams classification.
Dylan van Baarle took the overall win after he and breakmate Nick Schultz (Mitchelton-Scott) held off the favourites on Saturday’s queen stage to Arthurs Seat. Schultz won the stage — his first as a professional — while van Baarle moved into the yellow jersey.
Sunday’s final stage saw Sky ride for young sprinter Kristoffer Halvorsen. The Norwegian took out the stage around Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens, capping a stellar week for Team Sky.
Follow the link to read more at CyclingTips.
Winner Anacona set for San Juan success
At the time of writing, the final stage of the Vuelta a San Juan is underway. Being a reasonably flat circuit race, stage 7 shouldn’t affect the GC. If that’s the case, Winner Anacona (Movistar) will be crowned the winner of the Argentinian race.
Anacona moved into the overall lead on stage 5 when he won the uphill stage finish from a group of three. Stage 6 saw a breakaway of three local riders hold off the chasing peloton, with German Tivani (Agrupacion Virgen De Fatima) taking the stage win. Going into today’s final stage, Anacona leads the GC by 35 seconds ahead of dual stage winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep).
UPDATE: Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the final-stage bunch sprint ahead of Alvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Erik Baska (Bora-Hansgrohe). Winner Anacona held on to win the overall.
Follow the link for results from the 2019 Vuelta a San Juan.
Tim Wellens, Marcel Kittel win at Challenge Mallorca
Challenge Mallorca is a series of four one-day races held on the Spanish island of Mallorca and this year’s series has just come to a close. After Jesus Herrada and Emmanuel Buchmann won the first two rounds, it was Tim Wellens and Marcel Kittel that rounded out the series.
On Saturday, Wellens won his third straight Trofeo de Tramuntana, attacking on the final climb, bridging across to the lone leader in Buchmann, then attacking again to win solo.
“I took some risks in the wet descent, only one rider was able to follow,” Wellens said. “I knew the course all too well and that really did help me a lot today. Later, I could join Buchmann at the front and at around five kilometers to go, I left him behind during a technical descent. He told me that he was cramping up so I took full advantage of that.”
The Trofeo Palma, meanwhile, ended in a bunch sprint with Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) taking the win. It’s Kittel’s first win in nearly 11 months and sets the German on a good path to bounce back from his torrid 2018.
‘I will have to forgive my dad’ – Lucinda Brand
Her crash in the pits at CX Worlds might have cost Lucinda Brand her first world title but the Dutchwoman has said she’ll “have to forgive” the mechanic involved: her father.
“My father grabbed my bike from my hands just a second too early, but my foot was still stuck in,” Brand told Sporza. “Then I was pulled down, but I will have to forgive him, otherwise we will not be able to sit down together during Christmas. Of course, he didn’t do it on purpose.”
Follow the link to read more at Cyclingnews.
UCI expands use of video referee
The UCI Management Committee has agreed upon the renewal and expansion of the video referee in 2019. Already in use at the three Grand Tours, five Monuments, and UCI Road World Championships in 2018, the video referee system has been extended to Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, Strade Bianche, Driedaagse Brugge de Panne, E3 BinckBank Classic, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Scheldeprijs, De Brabantse Pijl, Amstel Gold Race, and Flèche Wallonne.
In other news from the UCI, the Management Committee has also hailed the progress made in the fight against technological fraud. A total of 15,756 checks were carried out in 2018 using magnetic scanning tablets, and 647 with the assistance of X-rays. A study into the development of magnetic trackers is now complete. The next phase will involve the first tests on the ground, with an eye toward developing a first series of prototypes.
Tweet of the day
Sometimes the simplest tweets are the best.
WORLDCHAMPION 🌈 pic.twitter.com/5XkHDKuyAw
— Mathieu Van der Poel (@mathieuvdpoel) February 3, 2019
Full replays from the CX Worlds
Fancy watching the full races from the CX Worlds in Bogense, Denmark? Here’s the elite women’s race:
And here’s the elite men’s:
You can catch videos from the other races on the UCI’s YouTube channel.
In other news …
Irate driver mouths off at off-duty policemen
You might have seen the story last week about the New South Wales man who drove along a bike path and yelled obscenities at two cyclists on a nearby road. The driver was upset that the cyclists weren’t using the road-side bike path. Here’s the original video in case you haven’t seen it (warning: contains strong coarse language):
It’s now emerged that the two cyclists were actually off-duty policemen. The Illawarra Mercury reports that “a 28-year-old Albion Park Rail man had handed himself in to police” and that the man “would be issued a future court attendance notice for a number of offences, including using his mobile phone while driving, offensive language, and for driving on the path.”
Happy Birthday to …
Dutch one-day master Hennie Kuiper (70). Kuiper won gold in the 1972 Munich Olympics road race and the 1975 World road title (one of only three riders to have won both) plus four of the five Monuments: Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, and the Giro di Lombardia. He also won three stages at the Tour de France (two atop Alpe d’Huez!) and two at the Vuelta a Espana.
Happy birthday too to South African Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (30), winner of the Tour de Langkawi.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Mathieu van der Poel winning at CX Worlds after missing out the past three years. Photo by Kristof Ramon.