Sky’s young guns keep winning in the Alps, the Mur looms: Daily News Digest

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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

Sky’s youngsters are on a roll at the Tour of the Alps, Pantano breaks silence after suspension, Wiggins praises van der Poel. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Sky youngsters on a roll in the Alps

Sky’s stable of bright young talents is on a roll at the Tour of the Alps. A day after Tao Geoghegan Hart won the opener, Pavel Sivakov stormed into the race lead after a challenging stage 2.

The 21-year-old Russian, who joined Sky in 2018 after winning the 2017 Baby Giro, hung with a select group that also included big names like Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) going over the biggest climb of the day, and then attacked on the final ascent.

He took the stage 2 victory four seconds ahead of Jan Hirt (Astana), with Matteo Cattaneo (Androni Giocattoli) finishing third on the day.

Sivakov and Geoghegan Hart, two of Sky’s many star prospects, have spent much of their time in support roles with the British WorldTour squad. Now, like fellow up-and-comer Egan Bernal, they both have pro victories on their palmares – in what will be their final days wearing Sky kit before the team becomes Ineos.

Sivakov leads the Tour of the Alps over Hirt and Cattaneo as the race heads to its third stage, 106 kilometers from Salurn to Baselga di Pinè.

Beauty of Cycling

Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race should go down as one of the best events of the season. Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) triumphed after a stunning finale that saw late escapees Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) caught on the finishing straight.

Van der Poel went on the attack with around 40km to go, before coming back to the bunch.

Relive the action with a gallery of excellent images from Kristof Ramon and Cor Vos

Race Radio

Pantano “waiting,” hoping for resolution

Jarlinson Pantano has broken his silence about his suspension for an EPO positive. The 30-year-old Colombian, who returned an adverse analytical in an out-of-competition control, said via Twitter that he is “waiting” and “hoping that everything is resolved,” and thanked those that have shown support.

Pantano last raced at the Volta a Catalunya before his team suspended him following his positive test for EPO. He has a right to have his B sample tested.

Wiggins: Van der Poel could win a Grand Tour one day

Count Bradley Wiggins among those impressed by Mathieu van der Poel’s brilliant road campaign this year. The 2012 Tour de France champion said on his weekly podcast that he thinks van der Poel “could win a Grand Tour one day,” and that the Dutch youngster is “the hottest property in cycling at the moment other than [Julian] Alaphilippe.”

Bradley Wiggins at Driedaagse De Panne in 2015.

Wiggins also touched on the Hour Record. Victor Campenaerts recently broke the mark Wiggins set in 2015. Wiggins has tipped his cap to the new record holder – and now he says it’s time for someone else to take up the challenge.

“I hope someone has the balls to get up and have a go themselves now,” he said. “G [Geraint Thomas] could do it tomorrow with his track craft; [Tom] Dumoulin at some point in the future. It’s whether they’ve got time to invest the time that Victor invested in it, in order to maybe fail.”

Socially Speaking

Reports and results are great to tell the story of what happened in a bike race, but the Arkéa-Samsic Twitter gave us what we were really looking for after Tro-Bro Léon: the pig photo!

The best-placed rider from France’s Brittany region gets to bring home a porcine pal after the beloved one-day race. This year, it was Arkéa’s Romain Hardy.

Coming Up

While many of cycling’s most famous climbs are high in the Alps or the Pyrenees, a handful rise up from the Low Countries to greet those brave enough to take on the Spring Classics. One stands tall as the best-known ascent in the Ardennes Classics, a hill climb in Belgium’s French-speaking Wallonia region that runs a mere 1.3 kilometers in length but features an unquestionably brutal average gradient over nine percent.

The final push up the Mur de Huy at the 2018 Flèche Wallonne. Photo: ©kramon

The pro peloton will take on the iconic Mur de Huy on Wednesday at La Flèche Wallonne. Over the years, the punchy climb has crowned countless big names as champion of the mid-week Classic. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) triumphed atop the Mur in 2018, and both will be among the favorites this week. Multiple winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and perennial contender Dan Martin (UAE-Team Emirates) are others to watch in the men’s race, while an always dangerous Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) and in-form Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) could threaten Boels’s dominance on the women’s side.

Happy Birthday to …

Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) is 34. The German powerhouse counts four world time trial titles and five Tour de France stage victories to his name to go with numerous other big results over the course of his career.

Tony Martin in his TT world champion’s jersey at the 2013 Tour de France. Photo: ©kramon

In case you missed it …

Feature Image: Anna van der Breggen en route to her fourth straight Flèche Wallonne victory. Photo: ©kramon

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