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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
SRAM turn it up to 12 with new top-end groupset; Sky’s Dr Freeman a no-show at medical tribunal; women’s Tour de France “impossible”, says Prudhomme; Floyd’s Pro Cycling’s new kit and sponsors. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: SRAM turn it up to 12
Big news from Chicago today, with SRAM finally releasing updates to its top-end road and mountain bike groupsets and unveiling a wealth of interesting new features – not least a move to 12 speed for the road, and to wireless shifting for MTB.
The SRAM Red eTap AXS groupset is faster shifting, has better tyre clearance at the front derailleur for gravel bikes, is customisable for sequential shifting and has a damper on the rear derailleur, acting in lieu of a clutch. However, a lack of backwards compatibility to SRAM’s existing components isn’t ideal. And there’s that thing about the power meter and chainrings, too…
For the full rundown, read our first-ride review of SRAM Red eTap AXS here.
We also take a look at SRAM Eagle AXS here.
Beauty of Cycling
Cycling unites people and transcends cultures. Even if it’s Chris Froome and a Colombian kid with downtube shifters.
💥🇨🇴 Chris Froome prepara por carreteras colombianas el @TourColombiaUCI
— COPEdaleando (@Copedaleando) February 5, 2019
Chaves back racing
After an eight-month absence from racing due to a virus, Esteban Chaves quickly settled back into the swing of things at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana on Wednesday. The Colombian made his way around the fairly straightforward course, finishing with a time of 13:31 in a respectable 36th place.
Boasson-Hagen signals early season form
In an interview before the start of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Edvald Boasson-Hagen spoke about his form and ambitions for the race, after a disappointing 2018 season. “I feel better than last season,” he told Procycling.no. “What do I expect from the coming week? Not much, I just hope that I get good signals from my body.”
Boasson-Hagen managed a bit better than that, winning the opening time trial of the race and netting Dimension Data their first win of 2019. The South African team has signed a number of big name riders for 2019, including Roman Kreuziger, Giacomo Nizzolo, Michael Valgren and Enrico Gasparotto. “The atmosphere is good,” said Boasson Hagen. “I’m curious how it will work out.”
Women’s Tour de France in July “impossible”
There have long been calls for ASO – the Tour de France race organisers – to introduce a women’s Tour, but in an interview televised on Eurosport, race director Christian Prudhomme has called a concurrently run event “impossible”.
“I would not know how to organise a second event during the Tour de France. We do not know, and we would never get permission. It is impossible to do,” Prudhomme said.
ASO – who organise the one day La Course event, which runs during the Tour – have been urged by UCI President David Lappartient to expand the event. Of introducing a full women’s grand tour, however, Prudhomme said “we organise many other competitions and want to develop women’s cycling, but this is a no. Simply because we do not know how to do that during the Tour de France.”
Sky’s Dr Freeman fails to show at medical tribunal
Dr Richard Freeman didn’t attend a scheduled medical tribunal on Wednesday morning. His lawyer requested a 48-hour delay to proceedings.
The former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor was called before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) this week to answer questions stemming from a medical misconduct case brought by Britain’s General Medical Council (GMC). The tribunals are usually held in public, but may be held in private on health grounds, which is what Freeman has requested.
“There are parts of this process which, on occasion, will be confidential,” Tribunal chair Stephen Mooney said. “They could relate to an individual’s health. This is such an application.”
Floyd’s Pro Cycling has new sponsors, kit
Floyd Landis’ new team, Floyd’s Pro Cycling, has announced its full roster, a bevy of new sponsors, and a few key spots on its race calendar.
The team will attend the Leadville Trail 100, the Belgian Waffle Ride, and Dirty Kanza, in addition to a North American road calendar that will include the Tour of the Gila, Redlands, and the Tour of Utah.
The new sponsors are Worthy Brewing, Biemme and Garneau.
Alec Cowan, Noah Granigan, Emile Jean, Noah Simms and Jacob Sitler were added to the roster, which already included top racers of the North American scene like Travis McCabe, Keegan Swirbul, and Jonny Clarke. Gord Fraser, formerly of Silber, will manage the squad.
The team had to change its name due to laws in Canada, where the team is registered, that ban the public marketing of marijuana products, including CBD. So the team is simply named after Floyd himself.
The rise of women’s cyclocross
The cyclocross World Championships were held in Bogense, Denmark over the weekend, and the elite women’s race produced arguably the best racing of the event. Now, in the spiritual home of the sport, the rise of women’s cyclocross has been confirmed in the TV viewership figures, which show a remarkable rise for the women’s race and a corresponding drop for the men’s.
Incredible TV-ratings in Flanders for #wkbogense confirm the season's trend
-men's race: lowest in 10 years & for the first time < 1 million
-women's race: highest in 10 years & now 82% of men's audience (from 40-50% before)@UCI_CX @sporza_koers #cylocross #veldrijden #cycling pic.twitter.com/FmP5Ov0bbu
— Daam Van Reeth (@vrdaam) February 5, 2019
Wout Van Aert at peace with losing rainbow jersey
Van Aert, second place finisher to Mathieu Van der Poel at the Cyclocross World Championships on the weekend, has written of his reaction to the race and what it means to give up the rainbow jersey after three years:
“The World Cup certainly did not give me deep disappointment. On the contrary: my performance in Bogense gave me extra mental peace. After a few difficult months, I feel that I am gradually turning old again, that I have closed the chapter. From now on I look ahead.
“For the first time in three years – except for the World Championships – [I will be riding] not in the rainbow jersey. Of course that will feel strange. As strange as it sounds, it had become a habit to wear that jersey. Yet I also find it special.”
The Belgian will now begin his transition over to the road with Team Jumbo Visma, and will debut at Omloop Het Nieuwsblaad before a full tilt at the spring classics.
Read more at Wielerflits.
‘Gram of the day (for all the wrong reasons)
If you’ve not been following the Deceuninck-Quickstep and Iljo Keisse incident in Colombia last week, some background reading here. Chances are you’ll be just as frustrated by this Instagram post by Patrick Lefevere as we are.
ENVE bars go internal, add sizes
ENVE’s compact road handlebars have been updated for greater electronic gearing integration, a move which will surely only increase their appeal in the high-end market. The bars – which keep the same drop and reach dimensions as before – now offer internal routing for Di2 and EPS wiring, and will accommodate a Di2 junction box.
Sizes have been added at both ends of the spectrum as well, with a 38cm and a 46cm bar now available.
Happy Birthday to …
Alena Amialiusik (30), a Canyon-SRAM racer and four time Belarusian national champion.
Guido Van Calster (63), a dual Vuelta a Espana stage winner in the 1984 edition and 6th place finisher in 1980.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Esteban Chaves in his first race back at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, shot by Cor Vos.