Ackermann wins Giro stage 2, Sagan wins California opener: Daily News Digest

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

Pascal Ackermann wins stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia, Peter Sagan wins stage 1 in California, Skratch adds new flavors, Rapha expands Aero line. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Ackermann wins stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia

Pascal Ackermann was quick to make an impact in his debut Grand Tour. The 25-year-old German won the second stage of the Giro d’Italia, topping Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal).

After 205 kilometers of racing from Bologna, the race came down to a bunch kick in Fucecchio, where Ackermann proved fastest to the line.

“I’m so happy, it was my first chance to win a stage, and we did it,” he said. “I think now all the team is more motivated.”

Jumbo-Visma’s Primoz Roglic, who won the stage 1 time trial, finished safely in the peloton to maintain his position atop the overall leaderboard.

Stage 2 got off to a cold and wet start, with the early breakaway getting clear under pouring rain. The break’s advantage topped out at just over four minutes before the pack tightened the leash – with the sprinters eyeing the flat finish, the pack was not interested in giving the escapees much room.

The weather dried up by the midway point of the stage, and the peloton gradually began to eat into the break’s gap, although the last remnants of the move made it inside the final 10 kilometers before the catch was made.

Dimension Data and Bora-Hansgrohe pushed the pace into the finale, with Lotto-Soudal taking over at the front after the flamme rouge. A squeeze along the barriers saw a Groupama-FDJ rider hit the deck, but Ackerman and most of those behind managed to avoid the pileup.

A well-marshalled Lotto-Soudal wound up the pace to lead out Caleb Ewan. The Australian launched his sprint with around 200 meters to go and led into the final hundred meters, but he couldn’t hold it all the way to the line. Ackermann came past for the victory with Viviani pipping Ewan for second. UAE-Team Emirates speedster Fernando Gaviria finished fourth.

The Giro d’Italia continues Monday with a 220-kilometer stage 3 from Vinci to Orbetello that could be another chance for the sprinters.

Stage 2 results

1 Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 4:44:43
2 Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
3 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
4 Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
5 Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
6 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy
7 Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin
8 Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9 Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy
10 Rudiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe

General Classification

1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 4:57:42
2 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:19
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:23
4 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:00:28
5 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:33
7 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Ineos 0:00:35
8 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:39
9 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:40
10 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:42

Socially Speaking

When news of Marcel Kittel’s departure from Katusha-Alpecin broke last week, Mark Cavendish took to social media to tip his cap to one of the great rivals of his career in a classy Instagram post.

Race Radio

Peter Sagan wins Tour of California opener

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) has further extended his stage wins record at the Amgen Tour of California, claiming victory number 17 in Sacramento on Sunday. Sagan narrowly won the opening stage ahead of Travis McCabe (USA National Team) while Max Walscheid (Sunweb) was a little further behind in third.

The win comes nearly four months after Sagan’s only other win for the year — a stage victory at the Tour Down Under in January. It also comes less than 12 hours after Sagan’s teammate Pascal Ackermann won the opening road stage of the Giro d’Italia.

The seven-stage Tour of California continues tomorrow with a lumpy 195km stage that concludes with a 1.5km climb to the line. Sagan will start the day in the yellow leader’s jersey.

Tolhoek debuts at Giro after infection nearly cost him his eyesight in 2018

An eye infection could have cost Jumbo-Visma’s Antwan Tolhoek his eyesight, Cyclingnews reports. Fortunately, he recovered and, on Saturday, made his debut start at the Giro d’Italia, where he will serve as an important domestique for Primoz Roglic.

According to Cyclingnews, both of Tolhoek’s eyes swelled up while he was on a long-haul flight from Shanghai to Amsterdam last October.

Antwan Tolhoek at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Photo: Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2019

“I finally lost sight in both eyes because they swelled up so badly,” he told Cyclingnews. “I was alone, on a long-haul plane, so it was a scary time.”

He saw a doctor after landing, who told him a cream would solve the infection, but he sought the opinion of a specialist to be safe, who started him on a course of antibiotics.

“If I had waited a few more hours, then my sight would have been permanently affected, so seeing the specialist was the right thing to do,” he said.

Gradually, the inflammation decreased, the infection was treated, and Tolhoek was able to see again. The infection likely came from either his contact lenses or from rubbing his eyes after washing his hands in contaminated water. Although the scary incident derailed Tolhoek’s winter training regimen, he returned to training in time to race a number of early-season events and build into form for the Giro, where he made his debut this weekend.

Hondo says he blood doped with Erfurt doctor

Former pro Danilo Hondo, now the Swiss national coach, has told ARD that he had his blood treated by Mark Schmidt – the doctor at the center of the Austrian-German doping scandal – “three or four times” in 2011.

Hondo won a world title in the team pursuit on the track and took two Giro stages in 2001. He served a doping ban in 2005 and retired in 2014.

Stefan Denifl and Georg Preidler recently confessed to blood doping with the help of the Erfurt-based doctor, whose clients span multiple sports.

Wiebes wins Tour of Chongming Island

Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) did not leave anything to chance at the Tour of Chongming Island. After sprinting to the win and the race lead in the opening stage of the three-day event, she won again in stage 2 and completed the triple in Saturday’s final stage.

The 20-year-old Dutchwoman won the overall title – and the points and youth jerseys, of course – ahead of Jutatip Maneephan (Thailand Women’s Cycling Team) and Lotte Kopecky (Lotto-Soudal).

Will Hodges wins Grafton to Inverell

Will Hodges (Oliver’s Real Food Racing) has his first National Road Series (NRS) win and it’s a big one: Grafton to Inverell, arguably Australia’s toughest one-day race.

After a long day of strong winds, breakaways, attacks and reformations, Hodges and Dylan Sunderland (Bridgelane) made it to the line 25 seconds ahead of a strong chase group. Hodges was able to outsprint Sunderland for the win while U23 national champion Nick White (Bridgelane) took out the sprint for third, 25 seconds behind.

“It’s sort of unbelievable at the moment,” Hodges said. “It’s definitely the biggest and hardest race on the calendar, and to win it like that was something I didn’t expect today. I’m lost for words. It’s amazing.”

Follow the link for results from the 2019 Grafton to Inverell.

Tech News

Rapha releases new additions to commercial Aero line

Rapha announces the expansion of their Aero line, which will be worn by team EF Education First at the 2019 Giro d’Italia. Cyclists have seen both EF Education First and Canyon-SRAM testing the speed-inspired Aero line, and now can ride exactly the same kit as what the pros are wearing.

Rapha has brought on new additions to their Aero Pro Team and Souplesse lines, including the Women’s Souplesse Aerosuit and the Souplesse Detachable Bib Shorts. They also have updated colorways for their Pro Team Aero Jerseys, Pro Team Bib Shorts II, and the Souplesse Aero Jerseys.

The Women’s Souplesse Aerosuit was worn during Canyon-SRAM’s Team Time Trial World Championship win in 2018. Rapha did extensive wind tunnel testing to determine the final design of the Aerosuit which includes bonded seams, mesh inner pockets, raw-cut hems on legs, with aerodynamic designs in the fabric around areas like the back of the sleeve to create a low air pressure environment. The Women’s Souplesse Aerosuit is available in black and will cost US$315 / AU$395 / £230 / €270.

To accompany the Souplesse offerings, Rapha released the Souplesse Detachable Bib Shorts in black with two major feature updates, a self-centering magnetic clasp and the chamois. The clasp, located near the lower back, allows for the detachability for ease of removal of the bibs when nature calls. The chamois was redeveloped using a thin layer of high-density foam, which Rapha claims will provide additional comfort and performance. The Souplesse Detachable Bib Shorts will cost US$270 / AU$340 / £195 / €230.

Skratch Labs adds new drink mix flavors

Boulder, Colorado-based exercise nutrition company Skratch Labs doesn’t add new flavors all that often, so it can be big news to its fan base when it does.

New to the exercise hydration mix family is Fruit Punch, which is flavored with actual dehydrated fruit powder (in this case, apricot, pineapple, passion fruit, tangerine, and raspberry). And for post-workout, there’s the new horchata recovery mix, which uses a milk protein base and is blended with real vanilla and cinnamon. Lactase is even added in for the lactose-intolerant, along with probiotics to aid in digestion.

Both flavors are available now at

Ritchey WCS Chicane Stem now available

Remember that clean-looking Ritchey stem that showed up earlier this year at the Taipei Cycle Show? The aluminum WCS Chicane is available now and in lengths that run from 90 to 130mm, with the 100mm version weighing 175-grams. MSRP US$104.95 / €109.95.

The stem’s smooth lines come from ditching the usual dual-bolt clamp for an internal wedge system that grips the steerer tube, and there’s a small magnet that holds the top cap in place. Ritchey wasn’t done hiding bolts yet, though; the faceplate is hinged and the two clamp bolts both thread in from the backside.

Happy Birthday to …

Joaquim Rodríguez is 40. The punchy Spaniard, also known as “Purito,” won multiple stages at all three Grand Tours and also took back-to-back Lombardia titles in 2012 and 2013.

Joaquim Rodriguez wins stage 12 of the 2015 Tour de France. Photo: ©kramon

He was runner-up at the 2012 Giro d’Italia and the 2015 Vuelta a España, and finished on the Tour de France podium in 2013. He retired from racing at the end of 2016.

In case you missed it …

Feature Image: Pascal Ackermann wins stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia. Photo: LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2019

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