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WELCOME TO YOUR DAILY NEWS DIGEST. HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
The death of British endurance rider Mike Hall was ruled “avoidable,” but could become a catalyst for safety improvements. Elia Viviani beat out former teammate Fernando Gaviria at UAE Tour. This weekend marks the opening of the Spring Classics with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Two former stars of the Tour de France share a birthday.
Story of the day
Coroner finds death of Mike Hall ‘avoidable’
The death of British endurance rider Mike Hall at the 2017 Indian Pacific Wheel Race was ruled “avoidable,” but could become a catalyst for safety improvements, a Canberra coroner stated in a report Thursday. Hall was struck by a car at 6:20 am, just south of Canberra, on March 31, 2017.
According to the Canberra Times, coroner Bernadette Boss said Hall’s death occurred “almost instantaneously” as a result of multiple serious injuries. She said Hall had been wearing dark clothing at the time and the driver reported he had not seen Hall before the collision. According to her report, police did not follow normal procedures for collecting evidence when dealing with Hall’s clothing, meaning the reflective nature of his clothing was unable to be properly assessed.
The driver of the car, Shegu Bobb, was not charged with any offenses in relation to Hall’s death. Boss said that while Bobb might have been negligent, there was not reasonable grounds to suggest he face any charges.
You can read the full story here.
Viviani takes Stage 5 sprint at UAE Tour
Italian Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) won Stage 5 at the inaugural edition of the UAE Tour in a bunch sprint ahead of Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) and Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin). Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) remains the GC leader with two stages remaining.
“After the successful season I had last year, and Fernando [Gaviria] not being our teammate anymore, it’s great to still win because he’s the world’s best sprinter and the hardest to beat,” Viviani said. “So I’m glad we did it as a team today after losing Stage 2 to him. My lead-out train worked really well in this chaotic finish.”
Stage 6 finishes atop Jebel Jais, the highest peak in the entire UAE territory, and is expected to be the most decisive for the general classification. The final 20km climb averages 5%, with only slightly higher gradients of around 7% in the last 2km.
Up next: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
This Saturday marks the official start of the Spring Classics season with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, a 207km course beginning in Gent and ending in Ninove, with nine cobblestone sections and 13 climbs. Last year’s race was won by Michael Valgren and Christina Siggaard.
Belgian Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) will look to continue his strong start to the 2019 season with a top result after winning the race in 2016 and 2017. He’ll be supported by compatriots Gijs Van Hoecke, Nathan Van Hooydonck, and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, all of whom train on the Flandrian roads regularly.
Lotto-Soudal is sending Belgians Tim Wellens and Tiesj Benoot; Wellens won two stages at the recent Ruta del Sol, and said that he views Van Avermaet and Australian Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) as the biggest pre-race favorites.
“Contrary to last year, I want to save some energy going into the finale,” Wellens said.” I will try to wait as long as possible to attack. Of course, choosing the right moment is always difficult in the Flemish races, as each climb can be decisive. Besides, I read that there is going to be a tailwind during the finale, which could play a role as well. Maybe it will cause the race to be more open.”
The women’s race retains the Muur-Bosberg combination near the finish, however the course features 10 climbs (three more than last year) and five cobblestone sections (two more than last year).
Canyon-SRAM sends a strong squad to Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with Alexis Ryan, who finished second last year, as well as Alice Barnes, Hannah Barnes, Elena Cecchini, Kasia Niewiadoma, and 2013 Omloop winner Tiffany Cromwell.
“I think this year the key moment will come on the Muur-Bosberg,” Cromwell said. “It’s the old final of Flanders and the Muur in particular has always been a decisive point for winning moves to be made, especially when it sits in the final part of the race.”
Grinduro expands to four events worldwide in 2019
Grinduro, the combination gravel road race and mountain bike-style enduro launched by Giro in 2015, has announced an expanded global roster of events for 2019. California and Scotland events will return, with new dates in Japan and Canada. Each event will feature one long loop of pavement, gravel, and dirt, where finishing times are based on four timed segments (each roughly seven to 12 minutes).
New for 2019, each event in the series will have a bike Host Brand, including Cannondale, Devinci, and Canyon; Cannondale will host the Quincy, California event, while Devinci hosts the event in Saint-Urbain, Quebec. Canyon hosts the event in Isle of Arran, Scotland.
Grinduro also announced Maxxis as its tire sponsor and Rapha as its apparel sponsor; as global sponsors these brands will be active and involved at every event in the series.
2019 Grinduro series schedule:
· Grinduro Scotland: July 13, Isle of Arran, Scotland
· Grinduro Canada: August 17, Saint-Urbain, Quebec, Canada
· Grinduro California: September 28, Quincy, California
· Grinduro Japan: October 2019
Freeride daredevils Tom Van Steenbergen and Ethan Nell headed to Virgin, Utah, site of Red Bull Rampage, to shoot a video that has to be seen to be believed.
Wolf Tooth’s new drop-bar dropper remote and XTR Hyperglide+ friendly chainrings
Stubborn about not wanting a mountain bike, yet fancy having a dropper post on your gravel bike? Wolf Tooth gets you. The American company’s new ReMote Drop Bar offers dropper-post control from the drops of your gravel-bike handlebar. This US$80 bar-end lever uses an expanding plug to lock into the end of the bar, from where it can be positioned as you like.
For those interested in new Shimano XTR 12-speed, which features a new Hyperglide+ chain profile, Wolf Tooth is set to offer a full range of compatible 1x chainrings. This will greatly open up crankset options, with chainrings for Race Face (and Easton) Cinch cranks coming first. Rings to fit other cranks, including Shimano’s own, will soon follow. All options, including elliptical variants will exist by April.
Eddy Merckx now offering semi-custom paint options
Joining the likes of Trek and Specialized, Belgium’s Eddy Merckx is the latest bike brand to offer semi-custom bike selection. Dubbed MyMerckx, the new web-based platform can be used to customise any model in the range.
There are three design options to choose from. Serene is the most minimalist option. Retro offers a nod to Eddy himself, with Belgian ribbons and an authentic headtube logo. While Design is based on the look of the current range. From there, you have 42 colours to choose from, and a choice of matte or gloss finish. Dealers will be equipped with painted samples to ensure you are not being misled by your computer screen.
Such a service will come with an up-charge of €250.
ReActive Adaptations helping to bring disabled athletes to singletrack
Check out this article about Colorado-based ReActive Adaptations, a Crested Butte manufacturer of innovative adaptive bikes run by Jake O’Connor, who has been in a wheelchair since a wall collapsed on him at a construction project. In nine years, O’Connor has built about 200 three-wheeled bikes that feature two wheels up front and one in the rear, providing long-missed thrills to paraplegics and quadriplegics.
Click through to read the full feature at Colorado Sun.
Happy birthday to…
Italian Claudio Chiappucci, winner of the 1991 Milan-San Remo and a six-time Grand Tour podium finisher, turns 56 today. Chiappucci won three stages at the Tour de France as well as the overall at the 1991 Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco and the 1994 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. Chiappucci won the mountains classification twice at the Tour de France (1991 and 1992) and three times at the Giro d’Italia (1990, 1992, and 1993).
Djamolidine Abduzhaparov, the fierce sprinter known as “The Tashkent Terror,” turns 56 today. Abduzhaparov won nine stages of the Tour de France and seven stages at the Vuelta a España, as well as the 1991 Gent-Wevelgem. He also took the points classification at all three Grand Tours — three times at the Tour de France (1991, 1993, and 1994), once at the Giro d’Italia (1994) and once at the Vuelta a España (1992).
In case you missed it…