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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Fernando Gaviria took full advantage of having Alexander Kristoff as his leadout man to win Stage 2 of the UAE Tour, Rebecca Rusch heads off to Alaska, yet another exceptionally inappropriate promotional poster from E3 Harelbeke, and Stages Cycling has added new power meter models for SRAM DUB users. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Gaviria, Kristoff gel early to take UAE sprint
Fernando Gaviria (UAE-Team Emirates) won the second stage of the UAE Tour at the end of a chaotic, head butt-filled sprint, and did so with the help of Alexander Kristoff as his new leadout man.
Kristoff is, of course, one of the peloton’s fastest men in his own right, and the combination of the two UAE riders proved unbeatable on Monday.
Kristoff seems to be finding his leadout legs quickly, even utilizing a tried-and-true trick to give his sprinter an edge.
There was a bit of a high-speed tussle in the final meters. As Kristoff swung off, his lead finished, he got in the way of Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal). Ewan threw a noggin in Kristoff’s direction in an effort to get past. Ewan later accused Kristoff of purposefully getting in his way, and Kristoff responded by… agreeing with him? Yep.
“It’s an old tactic, I think, the leadout man coming in and trying to stuff up the other sprinters,” Ewan said. “At the end of the day, it’s dangerous because he was coming into us on the barrier and there was no need for it. I think Gaviria proved today that he was the fastest in the end so there is no need for his leadout guy to come in and, you know, almost cause a crash.”
Kristoff’s response, when asked about the incident by Dane Cash, who is in UAE for CyclingTips: “I think he [Ewan] wanted to move up, but I was in the way. I know from earlier, it’s good when your leadout man is a little bit in the way for the guys behind. So I tried to do it the same way. I think for sure I was a little bit boxing him in so he had to move later than he wanted. Maybe that helped Gaviria to win.
“I know he [Ewan] wanted to move up, but I was there so what can I do? I could move completely out of the way but then I’m less helpful. It’s always like this. He could be a little bit irritated, but that’s the sprint.”
Kristoff added that he didn’t blame Ewan for throwing a little helmet in his direction.
“I would also have tried to move up if I was him,” he said.
Ewan finished third on the day, with Elia Viviani in second.
Rebecca Rusch tackling the Iditarod Trail Invitational
“I’m scared. For the first time in 10 years, I’m legitimately scared for an expedition. I’m not intimidated by the distance, but instead by the brutal elements and conditions of the Alaskan winter.”
That was how seven-time world champion Rebecca Rusch announced her plans to compete in this year’s Iditarod Trail Invitational, a 560km (350-mile) endurance race starting just outside Anchorage, Alaska, and finishing deep in the interior of the state in the town of McGrath. Food and basic shelter are provided at six checkpoints along the route, but Rusch will otherwise be completely self-supported.
“What I realized this year, as I turned 50, is that it had been awhile since I’d taken a really big athletic risk myself. I’ve done hard things, but haven’t had that palms-sweating, heart-racing feeling about an expedition for 10 years. I realized I needed to really and truly challenge myself again. It was time to take on something bigger than I’ve done before. I head to Alaska with plenty of expedition experience and help from so many friends. But I also head to the ITI as a rookie with sweaty palms, a deep respect for the elements, safety plans, and some primal fear. I don’t know yet what the reward for taking this terrifying risk will be. I am certain I won’t come back from Alaska the same person.”
Follow along with Rusch’s progress using the event’s live tracking service.
E3 Harelbeke organizers extend their dubious reputation
Road racing doesn’t exactly have the most sterling reputation when it comes to gender equality, and the organizers at E3 Harelbeke seem hell-bent on celebrating the dark ages with consistently inappropriate and offensive promotional posters for the annual Belgian classic.
We’re not entirely sure what exactly is being suggested here, but suffice to say, it’s in extremely poor taste — and that’s being charitable.
’Gram of the day
For the ultimate in that wind-in-your-toes feeling…
If you’re in the northern hemisphere, there’s a decent chance you’re in the midst of winter. But surely a consistent blanket of snow doesn’t mean you have to hang the bike for the season, right?
Stages Cycling adds power meter compatibility for SRAM DUB cranksets
SRAM introduced its new DUB 28.99mm-diameter cranksets last year, and Stages Cycling has just announced a new custom aluminum bottom bracket spindle that will adapt its existing BB30 power meter models to that slightly downsized format.
In addition to providing a lower-cost option for DUB-equipped riders that want power measurement, this new spindle also opens up the possibility of picking up a used Stages power meter for ever greater savings.
Retail price for the spindle is US$70 / AU$99 / £65 / €65, and the power meter itself sells for US$629 / AU$899 / £569 / €649. More information can be found at stagescycling.com.
Happy Birthday to…
Six-time Italian national time trial champion and Giro d’Italia stage winner Marco Pinotti (43), Tour de France stage winner Heinrich Haussler (35), and nine-time Luxembourgian national women’s road race champion Christine Majerus (32).
In case you missed it …
Most of us know how to deal with strong headwinds when riding in a group, but what about crosswinds? It’s all about positioning, planning, and power.
Functionally, lugs only serve to hold adjacent frame tubes together. But that function can also be combined with incredibly creative form, as demonstrated in Matt Wikstrom’s Masterclass feature on Darrell McCulloch of Llewellyn Custom Bicycles.
Cannondale’s next-generation CAAD13 aluminum road bike has just landed on the UCI’s list of approved frames, but the company hasn’t released any details on it. What do you think it’ll look like? Dave Rome takes a few guesses.
Feature Image: Crosswinds and sand at Stage 2 of the UAE Tour. Photo by Cor Vos.