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Mathieu van der Poel gets his first WorldTour win at Dwars door Vlaanderen, Ellen van Dijk defends her title, SRAM Force eTap arrives. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Van der Poel wins Dwars door Vlaanderen
Cyclocross world champion Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) has only appeared in two WorldTour races on the road so far in his young career, and he already has his first WorldTour victory. The 24-year-old Dutchman topped Anthony Turgis (Direct Énergie) and Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) to triumph at Dwars door Vlaanderen.
Van der Poel made the most of a busy afternoon in a hectic race, joining an attack out of the bunch with more than an hour left to go, catching up to the remnants of the early break, and then relying on his fast finish to seal the deal out of a five-man group.
“It turned out to be a smart move,” he said of the long-range attack. “If you get caught and dropped on the next climb it’s not—but you have to try sometime to win.”
Aggressive riders – and some organizational chaos – ruled the day in the lumpy, sometimes cobbled 183-kilometer journey from Roeselare to Waregem. Fast racing in the first hour kept the race mostly together until an eight-man break finally got clear with around 130 kilometers to go. The escapees worked their gap up to over two minutes over the course of the next hour, but then found themselves stopped by race officials as the men’s race nearly caught the women’s race, which had been slowed by a crash.
The peloton was neutralized as well—but not before overtaking the halted breakaway group.
After giving the women’s race some breathing room, the men’s race was restarted with the break given time to rebuild it’s pre-neutralization advantage. Early breakaway rider Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) was not in the freshly reformed break, however, so the peloton was stopped once again to allow him to work his way back to the front, at which point the men’s action finally resumed with some 70 kilometers left to race.
A first trip up the short but steep Knokteberg with 65 kilometers to go gave van der Poel and a few others the chance to jump away from the peloton in pursuit of the leaders. With around 35 kilometers to go, another chase group jumped clear of the peloton, powered by Jungels and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal). Before long, with the pace and the parcours whittling down the various groups on the road every minute, Jungels and Benoot caught van der Poel and fellow chaser Turgis, with just Pöstlberger and Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) still hanging out out front from the early breakaway. Then, a heartbreaking mechanical for Oliveira left Pöstlberger alone in the lead.
The quartet of pursuers caught the Austrian national champ with 25 kilometers to go to make it a five-man lead group. The quintet would survive all the way to the finishing straight in Waregem, where Turgis was the first to jump in the final sprint. Van der Poel was quickly onto the Frenchman’s wheel, however, surging past with 100 meters to go and holding on for the win.
If you’ve been longing for your weekly dose of video goodness from roving reporter Dave Everett, we’ve got good news for you. He’s back with another episode of The Bunch to cover all the news from the bike world. Catch up on the Classics, see some sights from the Taipei Cycle Show, and enjoy the weekly rant…
Van Dijk defends women’s Dwars door Vlaanderen title
Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo) successfully defended her title at the women’s Dwars door Vlaanderen, soloing to a UCI 1.1-rated win in Waregem.
The 32-year-old Dutchwoman put her strong engine on display in an attack-filled afternoon. After a handful of escapes and regroupings in the first hour of the race, van Dijk and other big names like Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) and Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) formed a powerhouse lead group with around 50 kilometers to go.
Van Dijk left the group behind with an attack on the Nokereberg, the cobbled final climb of the day, and stayed clear to take the victory alone at the end of the 105-kilometer race.
Marta Bastianelli (Virtu) settled for runner-up honors on the day, with Lucinda Brand (Sunweb) crossing the line in third.
UCI will expand WorldTour to up to 20 teams
The UCI will allow for up to 20 teams to race at the WorldTour level in the three-year period from 2020 to 2022, Cyclingnews reports. The WorldTour has featured 18 teams for the past several years, and that number was previously expected to stay the same heading into an upcoming three-year phase, but according to Cyclingnews, the maximum number of potential WorldTour teams has grown to 20 to avoid possible legal challenges.
Cycling’s governing body recently announced a wide array of WorldTour reforms mostly set to start in 2020 that included the implementation of WorldTour team licenses lasting for three years. Those licenses are earned based on a list of “sporting criteria,” which include racing results from the 2017 and 2018 season—long before the reform announcement was made. In other words, teams spent those two seasons racing without knowing that their results could determine the fate of their WorldTour licenses for the next three years.
Now, in what Cyclingnews reports is a move to steer clear of potential legal trouble, the UCI has upped the maximum number of WorldTour teams for the 2020 to 2022 period. That will ensure that all current WorldTour teams will be able to continue at the top level, with the possibility of two current Pro Continental squads joining their ranks. Cofidis, Arkea Samsic, Vital Concept–B&B Hotels, Direct Énergie, and Israel Cycling Academy comprise the list of second-division teams that officially registered their interest in a WorldTour upgrade by an April 1 deadline.
SRAM Force eTap is finally here
SRAM fans will now have a chance to enjoy electronic shifting with a lower price tag than that of the top-of-the-line Red eTap groupset. SRAM Force eTap is here.
The Force eTap groupset boasts very similar functionality to the Red eTap – 12 speed gearing and 1x or 2x drivetrain options, for instance – with the tradeoff of coming with materials that add a bit of weight. The SRAM Force, however, will be available at less than half the cost of the SRAM Red.
Colnago releases its first e-road bike, the E64
First it was Pinarello, then Bianchi, and now Colnago has joined the e-road game. Sitting at a flagship level, the new E64 is the electric equivalent of Colnago’s lugged carbon C64 platform.
The new E64 features the 250W “ebikemotion” system, with its integrated battery and rear hub motor. It’s the same motor system as used on the Orbea Gain and Wilier Cento1 Hyb, and allows a standard road groupset to be fitted.
Colnago claims complete bikes start from 12kg. Tech editor Dave Rome recently took a similar e-road bike for a spin to find that under certain country regulations, the category of e-road is an odd one.
New endurance bars from Pursu feature environmentally-conscious packaging
A recently launched nutrition brand called Pursu wants to fuel cyclists while taking better care of the environment. Pursu is offering organic, vegan endurance bars that come in compostable packaging.
According to the brand, the plastic-free packaging is “certified to degrade within 9 weeks in an industrial composter and within 26 weeks at ambient temperature.” At the moment, flavors include Banana, Sour Cherry, and Beetroot.
Happy Birthday to …
Bjaarne Riis is 55. The retired Danish pro won* the 1996 Tour de France, although the record books now officially include a note that he nabbed the yellow jersey with the help of performance enhancing drugs. After he hung up the wheels, Riis embarked on a lengthy career as a team manager, heading up the organization known variously through the years as CSC and Tinkoff-Saxo.
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