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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Chris Froome is not worried about getting older or his quiet start to the season, Dan Martin and Romain Bardet lament thievery, Esteban Chaves is expected to return to the Giro d’Italia in support of Simon Yates. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Froome undaunted by age, or his slow start to 2019
Chris Froome (Sky) may be turning 34 next month, but he is not concerned about losing any speed as he gains another year. Watching Alejandro Valverde win the 2018 world championships convinced Froome “that age is not a decisive factor in cycling like many people think,” the four-time Tour de France winner told El Mundo.
Froome touched on a variety of subjects in interviews published in Spanish media on Tuesday. Speaking to El Mundo, Froome reiterated past comments that he’d like to continue racing until age 38. He also offered his opinion on the idea of salary caps coming to cycling, a measure that would almost certainly be engineered toward addressing the dominance of Froome’s team. For Froome, a salary cap would keep teams from building on their successes.
“We have the biggest budget in the peloton now, but it wasn’t always that way. When we started in 2010, we definitely didn’t,” he said. “If the rules keep us from growing, cycling will lose.”
Froome discussed the 2019 season with Marca in a Q&A that posed questions to Tom Dumoulin as well. Froome addressed his quiet start to the season – he has only started two races and has not delivered big results in either one – saying that he is not at all worried about having not won yet.
“I trained too hard and on the mountaintop finishes [in the Colombia 2.1] I ended up paying,” he said. “That made an extra rest necessary. I’m okay now. The results have to come when they come.”
Froome remains focused on his preparation for this summer’s Tour de France. Beyond July, he has his sights set on the time trial at the world championships in Yorkshire.
“It will be one of the big objectives of the year,” he said. “After the bronze in the time trial in 2017, to get a medal there would be a real highlight.”
Dan Martin and Romain Bardet endured tough times at the Volta a Catalunya. Both riders crashed, and both were also victims of theft, according to their respective Twitter accounts.
At the very least, Martin seems to have found some levity in the situation.
Chaves set to ride the Giro for Simon Yates
Esteban Chaves will return to the Giro d’Italia this year (“pending final fitness and team selection”) in support of Simon Yates, Mitchelton-Scott has announced.
The 29-year-old Colombian has looked to be working his way back into shape in the early goings of the season after mononucleosis derailed his 2018 campaign. Chaves won a stage in last year’s Giro, but the final stage of the grand tour on May 27 was his last racing appearance of the season.
In 2019, he has already started and finished the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, the Ruta del Sol, Paris-Nice, and the Volta a Catalunya.
Van Avermaet skipping Dwars door Vlaanderen
Greg Van Avermaet will miss Wednesday’s Dwars door Vlaanderen. His CCC team has announced that Van Avermaet will skip the race as he focuses on recovering ahead of the Tour of Flanders, a race that has long been Van Avermaet’s white whale.
“E3 BinckBank Classic and Gent-Wevelgem were two very demanding races so, in order to optimize his recovery, we decided together with Greg that he will not race Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday,” said sports director Fabio Baldato in a team release.
Van Avermaet joins a list of is Classics contenders opting to miss the race, with Peter Sagan and Zdenek Stybar preferring to rest up as well ahead of the big weekend.
Kragh Andersen extends with Sunweb
Søren Kragh Andersen will ride on with Sunweb through the 2022 season. The team announced the lengthy contract extension for the reigning Paris-Tour champion on Monday.
“With a balanced program we’re seeing him steadily develop in his career and as a rider that can take the role as leader in the finales of different classics,” said sports director Marc Reef.
Beauty of Cycling
It’s not easy doing justice to the natural beauty of Kyrgyzstan, so it was a good thing photographer Tim Bardsley-Smith was on hand to capture the scenes from our Roadtripping the Silk Road project.
Read up on the Basics of Bikepacking in the latest entry from the collection of stories from the Silk Road.
Spring Classics season rolls on with Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday. Upgraded to a WorldTour event last year, the one-day trek from Roeselare to Waregem features a number of short climbs as well as a handful of cobbled sectors in the second half of the race, making it a fine final tune-up for the Tour of Flanders for those willing to make a start so close to Sunday’s big showdown.
While Van Avermaet and Sagan are sitting Dwars out, plenty of other big names will be in attendance. Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s Yves Lampaert is the men’s defending champion, and he will return in pursuit of a third straight victory. Oliver Naesen (Ag2r La Mondiale), Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates), Niki Terpstra (Direct-Énergie), and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) are among the other big names making the start.
2018 winner Ellen van Dijk and Elisa Longo Borghini of Trek-Segafredo, Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott), Chloe Hosking (Alé Cipollini), Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-Sram), and Lucinda Brand (Sunweb) are a few of the highlights from the women’s start list.
In case you missed it …