Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.
Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
The inaugural UAE Tour is underway, Astana continues to rake in the silverware, Tadej Pogacar is at home in the pro ranks, and Cannondale appears to be coming out with a CAAD13. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: A new normal for Cavendish
Former world champion Mark Cavendish is one of the big-name sprinters in action at the UAE Tour this week but the “Cav” racing in Abu Dhabi is not the world-beating racer that’s dominated sprints for more than a decade. It’s not just that Cavendish is starting to slow down at 33 — after two seasons plagued by illness and injury, the Manxman has forgotten what it’s even like to “feel normal”.
“I don’t really remember what it’s like to feel normal any more after misdiagnoses of being sick for two years,” Cavendish said before the inaugural the UAE Tour. “Your health is the most important thing. My family is healthy at home and I can just try and get back on it. It’s frustrating because it’s not my fault. It was a mess-up with the doctors who should have known better, but what can you do?”
Cavendish missed much of the 2017 season with Epstein Barr virus before crashes and a resurgence of Epstein Barr ruined his 2018.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Cav said of the UAE Tour. “It’s a WorldTour race and my team have come here with a GC team, so my job will be to get them into the foot of the climbs and I’ll try my best in the sprint. I’ll see what I can do but we’re here for GC — we’re here to get our three guys into the top 20.
“I’ll try my best. The efforts here will hopefully help with getting the top end back and we’ll see where it goes after that.”
Beauty of Cycling
This youngster has more skills on the bike than most of us will ever have. Very impressive!
Roglic into UAE Tour lead
The UAE Tour brings together the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Tours of years gone by and the inaugural edition of the new race is now underway. The seven-stage WorldTour event started in Abu Dhabi on Sunday with a 16km team time trial, which Jumbo-Visma took out with an average speed of over 57km/h. That result put Primoz Roglic into the overall ahead in what is his first race of the year.
“Of course, we have some hard stages to come,” said Roglic, “and we just have to go with a strong team behind me and take it day by day and we will see how the stage will go.”
Monday’s stage of the UAE Tour is 184km long and looks almost certain to end in a bunch sprint. The tour features three uphill finishes: Jebel Hafeet on stage 3 (from the Abu Dhabi Tour), Hatta Dam on stage 4 (from the Dubai Tour), and Jebel Jais on stage 6, a new addition to races in the region.
Follow the link for full results.
Fuglsang wins the Ruta del Sol
Astana’s stellar start to the season has continued with overall victory at the Ruta del Sol courtesy of Jakob Fuglsang. The Dane moved into the overall lead on stage 4 of the five-stage Spanish race, finishing the queen stage in a chase group behind solo winner Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott). Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) won the final-stage bunch sprint (adding to his stage 2 win) while Fugslang was able to hang on for overall victory.
Fugslang wasn’t Astana’s only good performer: both Ion Izagirre and Pello Bilbao were in the decisive chase group with Fugslang on stage 4, leaving Izagirre to finish the tour second overall with Bilbao in fourth. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) finished the race with two stage wins, including his first time trial win as a pro, on stage 3.
Follow the link for results.
Pinot wins Haut Var
Over in France, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) has stormed the final day of the Tour du Haut Var, winning the stage 3 uphill finish and with it the race overall.
Pinot edged out fellow Frenchman Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) by three seconds on the final stage, with Briton Hugh Carthy (EF Education First) finishing a further two seconds down. The trio finished in that order, with those gaps, in the GC as well.
Earlier in the weekend Sep Vanmarcke won the opening stage from a reduced bunch while Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) beat Pinot and Bardet on the stage 2 uphill finish.
Follow the link for results.
Pogacar wins Volta ao Algarve
Last year’s Tour de l’Avenir winner Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) seems to be adjusting to the pro ranks pretty well — he’s won just his second-ever stage race as a pro.
The Slovenian won the uphill finish to stage 2 of the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal (beating Enric Mas and Wout Poels) and moved into the overall lead as a result. Pogacar took fifth in the next day’s ITT (won by Groupama-FDJ recruit Stefan Kung), bunch time in the stage 4 bunch sprint (won by Jumbo-Visma’s Dylan Groenwegen) and then sixth on the lumpy final stage (Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Zdenek Stybar won solo). It was enough for Pogacar to win the race by 14 seconds overall — not bad for a rider that only started the tour because a teammate wasn’t able to start.
Follow the link to full results.
Koppenburg wins Valenciana
A dream has become reality for Germany’s Clara Koppenburg (WNT-Rotor). The night before the queen stage of the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana the 23-year-old dreamt of winning her first bike race. The next day she went out and rode away from the field to win the stage and pave the way for overall victory.
“I had a dream last night that I won my first bike race, I went to breakfast, and I told the girls – I said, ‘girls I just dreamt I won my first bike race’ and they asked if it was in a sprint or something, and I said, ‘no solo,'” Koppenburg said via team blog post. “I don’t know why I dreamt that, but I just can’t believe it what has happened today, I am so happy.”
Koppenburg’s overall victory saw her finish 41 seconds ahead of Soraya Paladin (Ale Cipollini) with South African champ Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (CCC-Liv) a further eight seconds in arrears.
Of the race’s four stages, one was won by Koppenburg, one was won by Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo), and the other two were claimed by Winder’s teammate Lotta Lepisto.
Follow the link for full results.
Swift in hospital with torn spleen
A crash in training has left Ben Swift (Sky) in hospital with a torn spleen and facial wounds. Swift and teammate Geraint Thomas were training on Tenerife when Swift “clipped a rock whilst descending, causing him to crash heavily.”
Swift is expected to spend a few more days in hospital.
Tweet of the day
$300 for a carbon road bike? Bargain!
How not to treat cyclists: Episode 764
Anyone recognise this clown?
Cannondale CAAD13 teased
The UCI has updated its list of approved frame and forks and this time it’s the tease of a Cannondale CAAD13 that’s got us most excited. With popularity of discs at an all time high, the existing CAAD12 (equipped with a quick-release rear wheel) has been begging for such an update.
It’ll be interesting to see what Cannondale manages to change in its hugely popular aluminium series of road bikes. Will it offer some aero cues while retaining existing weight and stiffness? We’re eager to see.
In other news
West Australia police have reportedly been notified after French freerider Kilian Bron posted photos to social media of him riding down Mundaring Weir east of Perth.
“Not only is this act illegal, it is extremely dangerous and stupid,” said a Water Corporation spokeswoman. “At around 40 metres, the wall is very high. While it is unlikely to cause any damage to the wall itself, trespassing onto the wall would be an extreme risk to personal safety.
“To help ensure our drinking water at the source is protected, it is vital the public work with us by staying out of restricted areas of the dam, and not climb walls, fences, pipework or other operational infrastructure.”
Follow the link to read more at the Hills Gazzette.
Indian man sets underwater riding record
Here’s something from the “what the?!” files — Indian man Nishant K Patel has set a new world record for being the fastest underwater cyclist. The 37-year-old rode 100 metres in 6 minutes 47 seconds while wearing scuba gear at a depth of 32.7 metres under the sea.
Here’s what underwater cycling looks like:
Follow the link to read more at the Times of India.
Happy Birthday to …
Brad McGee (43), an Olympic gold medalist on the track (team pursuit, Athens 2004), track world champion, and winner of stages at all three Grand Tours (2 x Tour de France stages, one each at the Giro and Vuelta). McGee is now a national team selector at Cycling Australia.
Happy birthday too to Melissa Dennis (nee Hoskins), the Aussie Olympian who retired in 2017. The now-28-year-old is married to world time trial champion Rohan Dennis and the pair now have a son together, born in late 2018.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Team Jumbo-Visma on their way to winning the stage 1 TTT at the UAE Tour. Photo by Cor Vos.