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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Another Austrian cyclist admits to blood doping, Benoot’s Strade Bianche title defense uncertain, Zwift expands on in-game products and REI grows its bike offerings. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day
Austrian cyclist Georg Preidler admits to blood doping
Yesterday, recently-retired Austrian cyclist Stefan Denifl confessed to involvement in a doping ring, now it’s fellow countryman Georg Preidler (Groupama-FDJ) who has admitted to the same act of cheating (or at least intent to cheat), stating to police that “he could not live with the secret anymore.” He confessed to having blood taken for transfusions on two occasions during 2018, but never used it.
A former triple time-trial national champion, the 28-year-old has resigned from his position on Groupama-FDJ. The Austrian rider claims to have been clean from cheating during his cycling career, citing that he cracked under the pressure to perform.
“You train day after day, but you are never first, and at some point, you want more. Blood doping does not need much of an effort,” said Preidler to Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeiting.
Groupama-FDJ’s manager, Marc Madiot, spoke with French newspaper Ouest France on the news. “It’s a huge disappointment because I had a lot of confidence in this rider. Unfortunately, this trust has been betrayed. This is part of the hazards of a team’s life, of life in general. I hope that he will know how to draw the consequences of his mistake, and will be fully involved in shedding light on this matter.”
Beauty of Cycling
Shameless plug for a few highlights from The Tour du Rwanda. Pretty much everyone on staff at CyclingTips wants to go to this one. We’re thinking about having an arm wrestling competition for the right to cover it.
Injury creates uncertainty over Benoot’s Strade Bianche title defence
Following his crash at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, it’s unclear as to whether Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) will be able to defend his Strade Bianche title this upcoming weekend. The Belgian rider re-opened a knee injury he first suffered at last year’s Vuelta a España.
Lotto-Soudal also have Tim Wellens lining up for Strade Bianche, while the team is closely watching Benoot’s recovery to ensure he’ll be in good health to race the rest of the Classic’s season.
“It’s step by step. On Saturday they did a really good job after the crash. They put in some micro-stitches. That reduced the size, and hopefully that will make the healing process faster. We have to see though, day by day,” told Marc Sergeant, Lotto-Soudal’s team manager to Cyclingnews.
Tweet of the day
This video was floating around yesterday, with much angry Tweeting. It appears the car’s automatic brake system was not disengaged, as is required, and so when the official waved his hand in front of the windshield (where the sensor is located) the car came to an abrupt stop.
Gram of the day
How the Race Was Won at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Spoiler, Bob Jungels won with a solo attack.
Vittorio Brumotti showing off his usual skill with impressive endurance
Chris Blevins sure can ride a bike
American riders Chris and Kaylee Blevins show the fun side to cross country in this ad for the Specialized S-Works Epic Evo, a longer travel version of the company’s cross country race platform. We previously reviewed the model down, the Epic Expert Evo.
Zwift opens virtual store, offering virtual things
Zwift launched the Drop Shop, a virtual store to buy nice shiny virtual products with the points (Drops) you earn from riding in the virtual world. Drops are earned through a combination of distance, elevation and calories burned while riding Zwift.
Users can now virtually acquire new bikes and wheels from the likes of Specialized, Trek, Cervelo, Canyon, Enve, Mavic and more. And certainly, we suspect it won’t be long before many more brands join the list. Levelling up will continue to unlock accessories such as jerseys, helmets and shoes.
We currently have the Specialized S-Works Tarmac Disc and Canyon Ultimate Disc in for review on Zwift (just joking…).
All REIs to sell Cannondale bikes, Bontrager parts and accesories
REI Co-Op, the outdoor goods retail chain, is targeting bike growth within its 154 US store locations and online. In what’s a concerning move for independent bicycle retailers, Cannondale bikes and Bontrager components and accessories (Trek owned) will now be sold through all REI outlets.
For now, Trek is stating the deal is just for parts and accessories, but judging by the conversation on BRAIN, existing dealers are concerned.
Happy Birthday to …
Ecuador’s Jhonatan Narváez (Sky) who turned 22.
In case you missed it …
Tiesj Benoot on his way to winning Strade Bianche 2018. Can we hope for another wet one? Gruber Images.