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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Schachmann adds to his lead on a crash-marred day in the Basque Country, Jakobsen defends his Scheldeprijs title, Paris-Roubaix cobblestone ratings unveiled. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Schachmann wins stage 3 in the Basque Country, crash brings down big names
Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) padded his overall race lead at the Vuelta al País Vasco with a few bonus seconds, winning the lumpy stage 3 in Estibaliz. The 25-year-old German handily topped Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates) and Enrico Battaglin (Katusha-Alpecin) in an uphill finale.
“I knew I wasn’t coming as a big star to this team but I get 150 percent support and I think you saw that in the final,” Schachmann said. “I haven’t had a yellow jersey so many times, so to win in the yellow jersey is special.”
A hectic final 15 minutes of the stage saw a stubborn early breakaway – containing a handful of tough customers like Ben King (Dimension Data) and Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) – caught inside the final 10 kilometers, and a big pileup at nearly the same time.
Stage 2 winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) and Sky’s Geraint Thomas and Michal Kwiatkowski were among those brought down in the late crash. Alaphilippe spent a few minutes on the ground after hitting the deck.
Those who remained upright maintained a tight reduced bunch into the sloping final kilometer, and the speed remained high inside the last 500 hundred meters. Ulissi and Ion Izagirre (Astana) led into the final corner, but Schachmann exploded past and won by more than a bike length. He now leads the general classification with a 33-second advantage over Izagirre.
The Tour of the Basque Country rolls on with yet another hilly day in stage 4, 164 kilometers from Vitoria-Gasteiz, the region’s capital, to Arrigorriaga.
Does this count as bike handling? Whatever it is, it’s impressive stuff from American racer Danielle Morshead.
Jakobsen defends Scheldeprijs title
Fabio Jakobsen took his second straight Scheldeprijs title, taking a convincing win in the sprinter-friendly semi-classic in the suburbs of Antwerp.
As usual, the UCI 1.HC-rated event came down to a bunch kick in Schoten. After his Katusha-Alpecin teammate Marcel Kittel was dropped earlier in the race, Marco Haller was the first to launch in the sprint, but Jakobsen flew past with 100 meters to go with others on his wheel. The Dutchman held on for a clear victory ahead of Max Walscheid (Sunweb) and Chris Lawless (Sky).
Paris-Roubaix cobblestone ratings unveiled
After a final review of the route by race director Christian Prudhomme and technical director Thierry Gouvenou, Paris-Roubaix organizers have released the official ratings for the 29 cobbled sectors of this year’s race, set to roll out from Compiègne on Sunday.
The ASO has announced a few small changes to the first half of the route, but the final 115 kilometers are the same as last year’s edition of Paris-Roubaix.
As in 2018, three cobbled sectors receive “five-star” difficulty ratings: the Trouée d’Arenberg, Mons-en-Pévèle, and the Carrefour de l’Arbre. Seven sections earn four stars, including the Camphin-en-Pévèle, which a tired Roubaix peloton will hit just before the fearsome Carrefour for a double dose of bone-rattling “fun” in the final half hour of the race.
Pelucchi wins Langkawi stage 5
Matteo Pelucchi won stage 5 of the Tour de Langkawi. The 30-year-old Italian, who rides for Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, topped Australian Blake Quick (St George) and American Travis McCabe (Floyd’s) in a bunch sprint in Taiping at the end of a 200-kilometer stage from Tanjung Malim to take his first victory of the season.
Australian Ben Dyball (Sapura) finished safely to maintain his general classification lead with three stages left to race. Stage 6 should be another day for the sprinters, 130 flat kilometers from Bagan to Alor Setar.
Froome will line up at the Tour of the Alps
One Tour de France champion – Bahrain-Merida’s Vincenzo Nibali – was already on the start list for the Tour of the Alps, and now the former Giro del Trentino has added another: Sky’s Chris Froome.
The race has announced that the 33-year-old Brit will return to the Tour of the Alps after making his first career start there last year. Froome will look to use the mountainous six-day trek through Italy and Austria to work his way into form for the summer after a quiet start to his 2019 campaign.
Lepistö takes Healthy Aging opener
Lotta Lepistö won the opening stage at the Healthy Aging Tour, a 102-kilometer circuit race in the Dutch city of Borkum. The 29-year-old from Finland outsprinted Lisa Klein (Canyon-SRAM) and Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) to take the win and the initial race lead.
Stage 2 of the Healthy Aging Tour is another flat one, running 134-kilometers in and around Surhuisterveen.
Robert Axle Project’s thru-axle offerings for Mavic Speed Release and Cervelo R.A.T
Robert Axle Project specializes in aftermarket thru-axles, including unique options for use with indoor trainers, trailers and child carriers. The Oregon-based company has now added Mavic Speed Release, Cervelo R.A.T and 1.25mm thread pitch axles to its extensive range – great news for those seeking alternative axles to their bike’s highly specific equipment.
Specialized Roubaix, first ride
With Paris-Roubaix fast approaching, Specialized has announced a new edition of its endurance model, the Roubaix. The new Roubaix sports, among other things, a new Future Shock, more flexible seatpost, gender-neutral models, and clearance for up to 33c tires.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Oliver Naesen and Paris-Roubaix on the Paris-Roubaix cobbles in 2018. Photo: ©kramon