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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Jim Ratcliffe says Ineos will pull out of cycling if its new team is caught doping, Küng foils the sprinters at the Tour de Romandie, Pinarello unveils the new Dogma F12. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Ineos CEO: Company will pull out of cycling if team caught doping
Ineos founder and CEO Jim Ratcliffe says his company will pull out of cycling if its new team – the squad formerly known as Team Sky – is caught doping.
“The day that any of that enters our world we’ll be exiting that world,” he told BBC Sport.
Ratcliffe and Ineos, a multinational petrochemical company, saved the erstwhile Team Sky after British telecommunications company Sky announced that it would end its sponsorship. The British WorldTour outfit has made the transition from Sky to Ineos this week, unveiling its new kit at the Tour de Yorkshire. Along the way, Ratcliffe has spoken to the media about his company’s commitment to the team and the sport. That has included addressing cycling’s issues with doping and the controversies Sky has faced in recent years.
“We did our due diligence. I have absolutely no interest in cheating or drugs,” Ratcliffe said.
Ratcliffe and team manager Dave Brailsford have also faced questions about Ineos’s environmental record during this week’s changeover. A crowd of anti-fracking protesters turned out to Thursday’s opening stage, and the group behind the protests has said it will also attend the remaining stages. Ratcliffe has defended his company’s track record in the face of criticism. Brailsford has dismissed allegations of hypocrisy after Sky’s 2018 campaign to raise awareness of the problems with single-use plastic.
“We’re not giving up our single-use plastic ambition at all,” Brailsford said, according to the Guardian. “Whereas Sky raised the awareness, Jim and the team are the guys that can do something about it. If anything, it’s a step in the right direction.”
New Zealand mountain bike talent Sam Gaze took to Instagram to share some unfortunate news. The 23-year-old is taking time away from racing to recover from the lingering effects of a bad crash at the Cape Epic—Gaze sustained a concussion in stage 1 of the South African stage race.
He will be pulling out of his next few expected race starts to work his way back to health.
Küng foils the sprinters in Romandie stage 2
Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) caught the sprinters napping to win stage 2 at the Tour de Romandie. The 25-year-old Swiss rider joined the early break and spent the rest of the rainy 174.4-kilometer trek from Le Locle to Morges off the front, soloing to the win in the finale.
Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) led the peloton over the line for second with Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) in third. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) finished safely in the pack to retain his overall race lead.
Küng jumped into the main breakaway of the day in the early goings of the stage with five other riders for company. The group worked well together over the rolling parcours, but with the sprinters’ teams hungry for a bunch kick finale, the gap back was down to only two and a half minutes with 40 kilometers still to go.
On the final categorized climb of the day, some 30 kilometers from the finish, the lead group was down to three riders, with Küng, Frederik Backaert (Wanty Groupe Gobert), Gediminas Bagdonas (AG2r La Mondiale) left out front. With 20 kilometers to go, Küng made his move, putting down the hammer and dropping his breakaway companions.
The gap back to the pack stood at only a little more than one minute as Küng started his solo push to the line, but that was more than enough for former pursuit world champ Küng. His advantage hardly dipped over the final few kilometers, giving him plenty of time to celebrate his third career Romandie stage victory as his hit the line, well ahead of a disappointed field of sprinters.
Stage 2 results
1 KÜNG Stefan (Groupama – FDJ)
2 BENNETT Sam (BORA – hansgrohe)
3 COLBRELLI Sonny (Bahrain Merida)
4 CONSONNI Simone (UAE-Team Emirates)
5 VIVIANI Elia (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
6 BEVIN Patrick (CCC Team)
7 ALBASINI Michael (Mitchelton-Scott)
8 KUZNETSOV Vyacheslav (Team Katusha – Alpecin)
9 NIZZOLO Giacomo (Team Dimension Data)
10 PASQUALON Andrea (Wanty – Gobert Cycling Team)
1 ROGLIC Primoz (Team Jumbo-Visma)
2 COSTA Rui (UAE-Team Emirates)
3 GAUDU David (Groupama – FDJ)
4 THOMAS Geraint (Team INEOS)
5 BETANCUR Carlos (Movistar Team)
6 GROSSSCHARTNER Felix (BORA – hansgrohe)
7 KRUIJSWIJK Steven (Team Jumbo-Visma)
8 KNOX James (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
9 HOWSON Damien (Mitchelton-Scott)
10 ANACONA Winner (Movistar Team)
Kuss to replace Gesink in Jumbo-Visma’s Giro d’Italia lineup, Olivier retires
After sustaining a broken collarbone at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Robert Gesink will miss the upcoming Giro d’Italia. In his place, the team will send 24-year-old American Sepp Kuss to the Italian Grand Tour.
The start will mark Kuss’s Giro debut and only his second three-week race after last year’s Vuelta a España.
Unfortunately, that’s not the only injury-related news from Jumbo-Visma this week. Daan Olivier is retiring at just 26 years old. The Dutchman suffered a bad knee injury in training last year. While he returned to racing, the injury has not healed as hoped, and the past several months have exacerbated the problem.
“It feels like the dream has fallen to pieces,” he said in a team statement. “Cycling has brought me a lot. Those experiences I will never forget and I am so grateful that I have been privileged to live this life for almost 11 years.”
Chapman, Piccoli win at Gila
The Tour of the Gila got underway on Wednesday in New Mexico. Brodie Chapman (Tibco-SVB) leads the women’s race after winning the 114-kilometer stage 1 in Silver City ahead of Edwige Pitel (Cogeas-Mettler) and Kristabel Doebel-Hickok (Rally-UHC). James Piccoli (Elevate-KHS) took the men’s opener, a 148-kilometer stage from Silver City to Mogollon, ahead of Óscar Sevilla (Medellin) and Eder Frayre.
Assleman takes Yorkshire opener
Jesper Asselman (Roompot-Charles) won a nail-biting opening stage of the Tour de Yorkshire after spending a long day in the breakaway. The 29-year-old Dutchman narrowly held on at the front even as the peloton caught the back of the breakaway on the finishing straight. He took the win and the lead despite getting a small flag stuck in his cockpit, the second time in just a few weeks a big pro race has finished with such an unusual occurrence.
Filippo Fortin (Cofidis) took second with Jonas Van Genechten (Vital Concept-B&B Hotels) in third.
Pinarello launches new Dogma F12
Pinarello has announced a new Dogma F12 road racing flagship that will be ridden by Team Ineos for the rest of the season.
As expected, Pinarello claims it’s more aerodynamic and stiffer than the Dogma F10, and its styling is certainly even more distinctive. It’s also still extremely expensive at £5,000 for the rim-brake frameset alone; the disc-brake version costs an additional £200.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Team Sky in the Tour de Yorkshire peloton. Photo: SWPics/Cor Vos © 2019