Sky’s Colombian pipeline, Performance Bike’s downward spiral: Daily News Digest

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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

Brailsford talks Colombia, SRAM Red eTap AXS and neutral support, Performance Bike’s crumbling brick-and-mortar foundations, and more amateur doping. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Team Sky on tapping the Colombian well

Ahead of the Tour of Colombia — which starts tomorrow — Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford wasn’t interested in talking about the organization’s uncertain future, but he was more than willing to discuss Sky’s success at recruiting up-and-coming talented Colombian riders, which have included Rigoberto Uran, Ivan Sosa, and Egan Bernal.

Brailsford was also quick to point out the difficulties in plucking young riders out of their home environment into the strange world of professional WorldTour racing.

“Colombia has made great contributions to Sky,” Brailsford said. “[But] if you expect to get the best out of the Latin Americans by bringing them into that – we’re going to squeeze and box you into this culture – it doesn’t work.”

Read the full article on Team Sky’s Colombian talent pipeline on CyclingTips.

Race Radio

Groupset changes and neutral support

One might rightfully assume that SRAM’s move to a 12-speed format for its new Red eTap AXS groupset wouldn’t complicate the matter of neutral equipment support in races any further than it already is — after all, Campagnolo has already gone 12-speed.

SRAM Red eTap AXS rear derailleur

But SRAM’s 12-speed system is wholly incompatible with Campagnolo’s, and Shimano riders are still on 11-speed systems. Moreover, although an increasing number of riders and teams are moving to disc brakes, it’s still far from universal.

For the next CyclingTips podcast (which will go live later this week), we’re bringing on an expert on the subject to discuss how the current component landscape muddies the waters, and how neutral support is tackling the issue from their end.

Amateur American racer sanctioned for steroid use

The United States Anti-Doping Agency has announced that 50-year-old amateur racer Jennifer Pate has been handed a four-year sanction after androgenic-anabolic steroids were detected in an in-competition urine sample that was collected on August 11, 2018.

“Her urine sample was analyzed using a specialized test that differentiates between AAS naturally produced by the body and prohibited anabolic agents of external origin,” read a USADA press release. “Anabolic agents have powerful performance-enhancing capabilities and have been demonstrated to give athletes an unfair advantage over fellow competitors.”

Pate’s sanction was backdated to August 11, and all results since that date have been voided.

Tweet of the day

Deceuninck-Quick Step rider Bob Jungels is among a number of top-level pro riders embarking on a social media campaign meant to promote the use of bicycle daytime running lights. Jungels’ argument perhaps could have been a bit more convincing were the light he was using actually been more visible, but the sentiment is there, and one that we at CyclingTips wholeheartedly embrace.

Moving Pictures

How does this compare to your daily commute?

Much of the northern hemisphere is firmly in winter’s icy grip these days, and roads are often covered in ice and snow. But maybe all that’s required is a few hundred tire studs? And maybe some skill.

Tech News

Choose your world on Zwift

Zwift has historically rotated its riding “worlds” in the past between five different environments: the original Watopia island, the world road championships courses in Innsbruck and Richmond, the Olympic road course in London, and even a futuristic interpretation of New York City. The variety is welcome, but you’ve still only been limited to whichever world was active on a particular day.

As of just over a week ago, however, Watopia is now a constant choice, while the other four still rotate as usual. Other Zwift functions remain unchanged — at least for now.

US retail chain Performance Bike continues winding down

Some people have held out hope that US retail chain Performance Bike would be able to figure out some way out of its financial black hole, but Bicycle Retail and Industry News has reported that the company recently laid off nearly 100 employees at its headquarters in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, virtually guaranteeing that the long-running retail fixture would soon shutter its brick-and-mortar operations permanently.

Online operations will supposedly continue, however, with the Performance and Nashbar domains and trademarks to be assumed by up-and-coming online retail conglomerate Amain.

More information can be found at Bicycle Retailer.

We at CyclingTips wish the employees at Performance Bike the best of luck moving forward.

Happy Birthday to …

2011 Vuelta a España winner Juan Jose Cobo (38), 2006 Russian national road champion Alexander Khatuntsev (34), and 2013 women’s individual time trial world champion Ellen van Dijk (32).

In case you missed it …

Want to get faster? It’s not just about riding more

Resistance training can be hugely benefit to your performance in the saddle — if it’s done correctly. Check out Paul Argent’s feature on how ten weeks of pumping iron can yield big benefits on the road.

Feature Image: Colombian rider Jarlinson Pantano at the 2013 Giro il Lombardia. Photo by Jared and Ashley Gruber.

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