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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Pre-race favorite Tom Dumoulin went down in a pileup 6km from the finish of Stage 4 at the Giro d’Italia, and lost four minutes. Richard Carapaz avoided trouble and attacked from a reduced peloton to take the stage win. Colombian rider Juan Molano was pulled out from the Giro by his UAE-Emirates team for “unusual physiological results.” Remi Cavanga won stage 3 of the Tour of California. Italian Alessandro Petacchi has been accused of blood doping during the 2012-13 seasons as part of an Austrian investigation titled “Operation Aderlass.” Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Dumoulin injured in pileup, loses four minutes on GC
The general classification of the Giro d’Italia was thrown into disarray Tuesday when a large crash in the peloton with 6km remaining on Stage 4 split the bunch and left 2017 champion Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) injured and down four minutes on race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).
The crash, after nearly 230km of racing, caused a split in the field, with about 25 riders pushing on toward the finish line in Frascati.
Dumoulin crossed the line over four minutes down, surrounded by his Sunweb teammates, cradling his left arm while blood streamed down his left leg from a large gash on his knee located just below a clear chainring mark on his thigh. Though he finished the stage, it was not immediately clear the extent of his injuries, or if he would continue in the race.
Katusha-Alpecin team was most affected by the crash, which appeared to be caused when Salvatore Puccio (Team Ineos) touched wheels with another rider and went down first. Four Katusha riders hit the ground, with Dani Navarro forced to abandon and Marco Holler, Reto Hollenstein and Kuznetsov Viacheslav all affected but able to finish the stage. Navarro was diagnosed as having broken his right collarbone as well as three ribs.
“Puccio from Ineos crashed, I think he touched a wheel or something and he took me and Izaguirre with him,” Dumoulin said. “I was in the front of the bunch and just couldn’t avoid it. There are no fractures which is good, but my knee is very swollen. I wasn’t able to push any power in the last few kilometres so I don’t know how I will be tomorrow. The GC is for sure gone.”
Carapaz holds off Ewan to win Stage 4; Roglic adds to his GC lead
From a reduced peloton split by a big crash with 6km remaining, Movistar’s Richard Carapaz launched a solo attack that stuck, just holding off a hard-charging Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) on an uphill finish to win Stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia. It was the second career stage win for the Ecuadorian rider, who won a stage last year en route to finishing fourth overall.
“I didn’t expect to win today,” Carapaz said. “It was a long stage with some hills towards the end. Our plan was just to protect Mikel Landa to not lose time, but a crash at the end changed everything. I was up against sprinters for the stage win so I had to anticipate their action. The moment I chose to attack was perfect.”
Ewan was clearly frustrated at the finish, having failed to win a stage in the first three sprint opportunities of this year’s race.
“I saw Carapaz go at 500 metres from the line but at first, it was Team UAE that set the pace,” Ewan said. “With 300 metres to go I launched my sprint but eventually, I wasn’t able to pass him. Today I once again proved that such finishes really suit me. As a sprinter, it is really hard to battle against better climbers like Ulissi, Roglic, and Carapaz. Of course, I am disappointed because you not often get a chance to win a Grand Tour stage. Sunday I finished third, today second. Tomorrow, there’s a flat stage and I am convinced that I can once again battle for victory. It is only a pity that I wasn’t able to seize this opportunity.”
Roglic crossed the line two seconds behind Carapaz, the highest-placed of the GC contenders; Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) yielded 16 seconds to Roglic. Yates now sits second overall, at 35 seconds, while Nibali sits third, 39 seconds behind Roglic.
“In a Grand Tour, it’s important to avoid all the unnecessary bad things that can happen,” Roglic said. “In the time trials and in the mountains, you know what is coming, it’s easy to control. It’s harder on stages like this, that are super nervous. In the end we only want to come home safe to the finish.”
Remi Cavagna wins stage 3 of the Tour of California
Frenchman Remi Cavagna has made it two stage wins in two days for Deceuninck-QuickStep at the Amgen Tour of California, taking a big solo win in Morgan Hill on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old attacked from a breakaway with 75km to go and, despite some unconvincing descending in the closing kilometres, rode his way to the finish alone. Ben King (Dimension Data) was second, a whopping 7:11 later, after outsprinting third-placed Simon Geschke (CCC). The remnants of the peloton came in roughly 30 seconds after King and Geschke, ensuring Tejay Van Garderen (EF Education First) will retain his overall lead.
Stage 4 of the seven-stage race is a lengthy 212km from Raceway Laguna Seca to Morro Bay with three minor categorised climbs along the way.
Molano pulled from Giro due to ‘unusual results’ in team tests
Colombian rider Juan Molano was pulled out from the Giro d’Italia by UAE Team Emirates for “unusual physiological results.”
After contesting the first three stages of the Giro, UAE Team Emirates management sent him home prior to the start of the 235km stage from Orbetello to Frascati. The team issued a statement after the stage began explaining that Molano had produced unusual results in tests “performed under the team’s strict and sophisticated internal monitoring system.”
“Following team policy concerning the protection of our athletes’ health, the Colombian will be suspended to undergo further testing in the following weeks, in collaboration with the UCI, as we try to determine the cause of these unusual results,” the statement continued. “In order to protect the right to privacy, no further information regarding the matter will be released until results from the necessary tests come back.”
Molano joined the WorldTour this year after three seasons spent with the Colombian Pro Continental team Manzana Postobon. He won a sprint stage at Tour Colombia in February, and was riding the Giro in a lead-out role for team sprinter Fernando Gaviria, who was awarded the Stage 3 victory on Monday after Elia Viviani was relegated.
Petacchi implicated in Austrian blood-doping investigation
Italian Alessandro Petacchi has been accused of autologous blood transfusions during the 2012-13 seasons as a client of Mark Schmidt, the German physician at the center of the Austrian investigation titled “Operation Aderlass,” Le Monde is reporting.
Schmidt was arrested in his German office on February 27. The blood-doping network he ran was mainly concerned with winter sports, and was dismantled by the German and Austrian police.
Petacchi’s name was among twenty athletes identified as Schmidt’s clients by German and Austrian investigators, who relied on the doctor’s confession, which helped identify his past clients and the owners of the blood bags seized from his home. Other names emerged from physical, telephone and banking surveillance around Dr. Schmidt.
Investigators have had little reason to doubt Schmidt’s confessions. Two Austrian cyclists identified by the doctor — Stefan Denifl and Georg Preidler — quickly confessed to using his services. On Sunday, former German sprinter Danilo Hondo also confessed in an interview with the German channel ARD.
Throughout his career, Petacchi won 22 Giro stages, 20 Vuelta stages, and six stages at the Tour de France; he also won Milan-San Remo, Paris-Tours, and Scheldeprijs. Asked about the accusations at the Giro d’Italia Tuesday, Petacchi said, “I do not know him. I have never been to his office in Germany or anywhere else. I have never performed blood transfusions. And I have no idea why my name appears in the folder.”
Kaarle McCulloch writes on the ‘dangerous myth of the perfect body’
Australian Kaarle McCulloch, a four-time world champion in the team sprint and bronze medalist at the 2012 Summer Olympics, has written a testimonial at Players Voice website about body image, and the trials and tribulations of being an Olympic-level cyclist.
“This sport can be tough for girls,” she writes. “The lycra is tight-fitting and sometimes you’ll be racing for a team with white or yellow skin suits and it can leave you feeling very exposed. But you get used to it. What I’ve come to realise is that my body is my engine. It’s my F1 race car.
“And as a 31-year-old woman, I’m proud of being able to squat more than 100kg. I’m proud that I can generate more than 1,500 watts of power. I’ve learned to appreciate the things that my body can do, rather than wishing I looked a different way. That’s significant, because I wasn’t always at peace with my appearance.”
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In case you missed it…
Happy birthday to…
Italian Matteo Tosatto turns 45 today. The former pro rode for Fassa Bortolo, Quick-Step, Saxo Bank and Tinkoff throughout his 19-year career. He started 34 Grand Tours, winning one stage each at the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia.