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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Schachmann takes his third stage win so far in the Basque Country, Katusha-Alpecin acknowledges a need to “talk urgently” with Kittel, Pinarello’s new Dogma FS has self-adjusting suspension. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Another day, another Basque Country stage win for Schachmann
Maximilian Schachmann is on a roll in the Vuelta al País Vasco. He won his third stage so far in the race in a wet stage 4, besting a strong select group in a sprint.
The 25-year-old German topped impressive neo-pro Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) in a tight push to the line in Arrigorriaga at the end of a hilly 164-kilometer day. Assumedly, he and his team are as excited as the excellent finish line announcer.
Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang took third on the day.
Schachmann’s second straight stage victory padded his overall race lead even further. He sits atop the general classification with Bora teammate Patrick Konrad in second, 51 seconds back, and Ion Izagirre (Astana) in third at 52 seconds.
The Basque Country peloton set out from Vitoria-Gasteiz missing a few riders on Thursday after a big crash in stage 3 forced the abandons of several riders. Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s Julian Alaphilippe was among those hitting the deck, and although his team says he does not appear to be seriously injured, he has pulled out of the race. Jonathan Castroviejo (Sky) is out of the Basque Country after breaking his collarbone.
Stage 4 opened with a handful of strong breakaway riders getting clear on the breakaway-friendly parcours, but the peloton kept them in check over the course of the afternoon and made the catch of the final escapee at just inside 15 kilometers to go.
Astana took up the pace-setting on the approach to the final climb, but a crash brought down Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko and others on the run-in, leading to Mitchelton-Scott taking over at the front. That set up Adam Yates to put in a dig.
The move from the 26-year-old Brit forced a selection, with only Pogacar, Schachmann, and Fuglsang capable of staying on his wheel. The quartet descended together on rain-slicked roads towards the final flat two kilometers and then it was down to a sprint. Pogacar launched first, but Schachmann was not to be denied, adding again to his overall race lead.
If any stage in the Basque Country can put the dominance he has shown thus far to the test, it is the upcoming stage 5. The 150-kilometer trek from Arrigorriaga finishes with the iconic Arrate climb.
Beauty of Cycling
There is nothing quite like Paris-Roubaix. The race boasts some fantastic nicknames – the Hell of the North and the Queen of the Classics – as well as a unique beauty that may be hard to describe to those who don’t follow the sport. The brutal cobblestones, the dust-caked faces, the roar of the crowd in the velodrome: They are all part of the allure of a race all its own.
Matt de Neef has the preview with everything you need to know ahead of the race.
Katusha-Alpecin: Team must “talk urgently” with under-performing Kittel
On the heels of a disappointing first season with Katusha-Alpecin in 2018, Marcel Kittel has not gotten off to a great start in 2019. He counts only one win on his palmares so far, and has not looked especially close to finding the dominant form of years past.
His team says it is unclear what the problem is, but it is time to figure it out.
“We can’t keep looking for excuses. We need to talk urgently,” sports director Dirk Demol told Het Nieuwsblad after Scheldeprijs.
Demol will hopefully be able to enjoy himself at this weekend’s Paris-Roubaix as he celebrates 31 years since taking a career-defining win there. Then, team staff is planning a chat with Kittel.
“In the coming weeks we will be sitting together with Marcel, his trainers and the team management. A crisis meeting.”
Pelucchi wins again at Tour de Langkawi
Matteo Pelucchi (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) sprinted to his second straight stage victory at the Tour de Langkawi, topping Terengganu teammates Youcef Reguigui and Mohd Hariff Saleh after 127 kilometers of racing from Bagan to Alor Setar.
Australia’s Ben Dyball (Sapura) finished in the peloton to retain his race lead over Hernán Aguirre (Interpro) and Keegan Swirbull (Floyd’s) with two stages left to race in Malaysia.
Degenkolb finally feeling back in condition for Paris-Roubaix
John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) spent the last three classics campaigns fighting to return to the form that saw him win two monuments in 2015. Now, he says he has his confidence back, thanks to his 2018 Tour de France stage win and the form he has built this spring.
“I had always something and when I got through it, I just knew the next issue would be around the corner. I was always chasing back,” he said. “Now, I really have the feeling that I am [in] condition – and shape-wise on a very stable base and that gives me a lot more confidence.”
The 2015 Roubaix champ will line up for Sunday’s race as one of two featured riders for Trek. The team has another solid option in Jasper Stuyven, and Degenkolb expects them to work well together as “friends within the team.”
Kröger takes stage 2 of the Healthy Ageing Tour
Mieke Kröger (Virtu) won the second stage of the Healthy Aging Tour. The 25-year-old German soloed across the line after 134 mostly flat kilometers in and around the Dutch town of Surhuisterveen, with compatriot Romy Kasper (riding for the German national selection) taking second on the day and Jolien D’Hoore (Boels-Dolmans) in third.
Stage 1 winner Lotta Lepistö still leads the GC heading into stage 3 in Musselkanaal.
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot back to training
After a surgery to repair iliac artery endofibrosis, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Canyon-SRAM) is ready to resume training. The 27-year-old Frenchwoman, who has won world titles on her road, ‘cross, and mountain bikes, has been given the all-clear to resume a normal training load following four weeks of rest.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics remain her main goal.
“I’m taking it slowly at the moment, and making sure I’m listening to my body,” she said. “Now, I still need a little more recovery time but I’m feeling confident to give myself that time, if and when it’s needed.”
Pinarello launches Dogma FS with self-adjusting suspension
Pinarello’s new Dogma FS, released just in time for the upcoming Paris-Roubaix, features an electronic suspension system that can adjust itself.
The Dogma FS has suspension units in both front and back. A battery pack positioned inside of the seat tube powers the system, which uses gyroscope and accelerometer data to modify the suspension when in automatic mode, making for a stiffer or more compliant ride depending on the terrain.
The bike will be available in four sizes: 53, 55, 56 and 57.5.
Team Sky will put the new ride to the test on the Roubaix cobbles this Sunday.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Maximilian Schachmann wins stage 4 of the Tour of the Basque Country. Photo: Luis Gomez/Cor Vos © 2019