Tratnik wins Romandie prologue, Valverde could miss Giro: Daily News Digest

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

Jan Tratnik wins the prologue at the Tour de Romandie, Alejandro Valverde’s Giro d’Italia start is in doubt, South Australia MP poses additions to January racing calendar. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Tratnik tops Roglic to win Romandie prologue

It’s not often that you see see two Slovenian riders on the top two steps of a WorldTour podium, but Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Merida) narrowly bested compatriot Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) to make it happen in the Tour de Romandie prologue Tuesday.

Roglic, the defending overall champion, bumped Tom Bohli (UAE-Team Emirates) out of the hot seat with around 20 riders still on the road, setting a mark of 5:07 on the 3.87-kilometer prologue. He did not have the chance to enjoy his provisional lead for long. Minutes later, Tratnik hit the line one second faster, and his time withstood challenges from the likes of Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) and Geraint Thomas (Sky) to stand as the afternoon’s best.

Roglic settled for second on the day with Bohli in third.

The win is Tratnik’s first ever at the WorldTour level.

“I surprised myself but I still believed on that sort of parcours like today I can do a really good result,” the 29-year-old said after his victory.

“It’s my first WorldTour win so for sure it’s a really special win. Normally, every time, Primoz beats me. We’re really good friends but today I beat him so it’s a nice feeling.”

Tratnik’s ride earned him a huge hunk of cheese, and it also puts him into the race lead as the Tour de Romandie heads into Wednesday’s stage 1, a lumpy 168.4-kilometer trek from Neuchâtel to La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Beauty of Cycling

The 2019 spring Classics reached their conclusion with Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Aggressive finales and iffy weather helped make for a great day of racing in the Ardennes finale – and that meant great photos from both the women’s race …

… and the men’s.

Relive the action with photo galleries from both the men’s and the women’s races at Liège.

Race Radio

Valverde not a sure thing to start Giro

Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde was expected to race the Giro d’Italia for only the second time in his career this May, but the lingering effects of a training crash have called those plans into question.

His Movistar team tweeted on Tuesday that Valverde hit the deck while training for Liège-Bastogne-Lìege. Although he did race the Belgian one-day, medical tests show the presence of a “bone edema in his sacrum.”

News of the injury sheds some light on Valverde’s tough day at Liège. The four-time winner did not finish. Now, his participation in the upcoming Giro is a question mark, as he and his team wait to see if the problem improves in time for Valverde to toe the start line in Bologna on May 11.

Dutch cycling scene lobbies van der Poel to race road worlds

Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) was the revelation of this year’s spring Classics, but with his brilliant Amstel Gold Race in the rearview mirror, he’s switching to fatter tires for the summer. The multi-discipline talent is focused on mountain biking now as he looks to lay a solid foundation ahead of his 2020 Olympic mountain bike goals.

The Dutch national team is hoping he’ll at least consider returning to the road for this year’s Yorkshire world championships. Coach Koos Moerenhout told Dutch newspaper AD last week that the course suits van der Poel perfectly. This week, Sebastian Langeveld (EF Education First) joined the lobbying campaign.

“He definitely has to go to the world championships. You have to seize the opportunities that you get,” Langeveld said on Dutch podcast In Het Wiel after showering praise on the youngster’s talent. “Of course, he will get even more opportunities, but he is in great shape now.”

The reigning world ‘cross champ will have a few months to figure out his plans. The men’s world championship road race takes place on September 29.

South Australia MP raises possibility of bringing more WorldTour racing to Australia

Leon Bignell, a member of the Parliament of South Australia, says more WorldTour racing could be coming to Australia in the near future.

In a post on his Facebook page on Tuesday, Bignell said that he had met with UCI president David Lappartient and discussed several possible additions and upgrades to the January racing calendar. Proposed changes include replacing the People’s Choice Classic with a one-day event in the style of Strade Bianche, bumping the women’s Tour Down Under to WorldTour level, and adding another race after the TDU.

“I’m happy to work with the government and my contacts in world cycling to help make it all happen,” Bignell wrote.

Socially Speaking

Mountain biking in the mud can be fun, and it can be also be hard. It’s nice to know that even the best in the world can struggle to stay upright sometimes.

In moving pictures – Gone Racing

Step inside the team bus with EF in their Gone Racing series. Doesn’t it make you want to get out there and ride in the cold rain?

Coming Up

It’s a busy week for the WorldTour peloton. Plenty of stars are in Switzerland for the Tour de Romandie, but some other big names are set to square off at Eschborn-Frankfurt.

Alexander Kristoff wins the 2018 edition of Eschborn-Frankfurt. Photo: HR/Cor Vos © 2018

Four-time winner Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) will face the likes of Michael Matthews (Sunweb), John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo), Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe), André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Oliver Naesen (Ag2r La Mondiale), and others in the German one-day.

In case you missed it …

Feature Image: Alejandro Valverde with the favorites at La Flèche Wallonne. Photo: Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2019

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