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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
An untimely nature break delayed Jumbo-Visma’s team car at the worst possible time in the Giro d’Italia’s 15th stage, Movistar knows Richard Carapaz needs a bigger advantage with a time trial looming, Deceuninck-Quick-Step renews with Specialized. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Nature break delays Jumbo-Visma team car at key moment
Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) will be happy it’s a rest day at the Giro d’Italia. The 29-year-old Slovenian shipped 40 seconds to his biggest rivals for the pink jersey in Sunday’s stage 15 thanks to a series of unfortunate events in the final 20 kilometers of the stage. As it turns out, a sports director’s roadside pee break was a contributing factor in Roglic’s rough day.
Viewers of the Giro’s 15th stage could see Roglic bitten by an untimely gearing problem, his ensuing bike change onto an ill-fitting ride borrowed from teammate Antwan Tolhoek, and a crash on the descent off the Civiglio, but footage from within the Jumbo-Visma team car adds another layer to the story. Help from the car was nowhere to be found for Roglic because the vehicle had dropped back at the worst possible time so that a sports director could take a nature break by the side of the road.
It’s worth watching Eurosport NL’s video of the scenes from the car as sports directors realized Roglic needed help just after the pee break. With so much ground to cover, the Jumbo-Visma car zoomed through the convoy at breakneck speed.
Roglic was already aboard Tolhoek’s smaller bike by the time the car arrived. His sports director gave him an especially sticky bottle instead – for which rider and team would layer be hit with a small fine – and then Roglic pushed onward. Then, he crashed on an ensuing descent, picking up some bumps and bruises and losing more time in the process. Fortunately for Roglic, he was able to remount quickly and finished with his sense of humor intact.
“I’m bleeding the most here from the face, but it’s not so hard,” Roglic said after the difficult stage. “Luckily I don’t pedal so much with the face.”
Beauty of Cycling
It wasn’t just the action that intensified in week two of the Giro d’Italia – the Italian Grand Tour ratcheted up the scenery factor as well. That combination made for some incredible imagery from ace photographers like Kristof Ramon …
… Jered and Ashley Gruber …
… and Cor Vos.
Check out the gallery for more great scenes from the last few days at the Giro.
Unzué: Carapaz needs another minute
Richard Carapaz is the overall leader at the Giro d’Italia as the race heads into its third week, but he and his Movistar team know there is still work to do.
The time trial that awaits in the 21st and final stage will favor Carapaz’s rivals, particularly Primoz Roglic. With that in mind, expect Carapaz (and his well-placed teammate Mikel Landa) to stay aggressive over the next few mountain stages.
“As it stands, Primoz Roglic is still the virtual leader,” said Movistar manager Eusebio Unzué at a rest day press conference. “Richard has to take at least one minute uphill before the time trial in Verona.”
That’s probably what Movistar had in mind in the finale of stage 15 when Roglic lost touch with the leaders due to a string of misfortunes that started with a mechanical. As Pavel Sivakov (Ineos) told l’Equipe, Movistar upped the tempo as soon as Roglic was in the rearview mirror.
“I saw that his derailleur was broken, so when Movistar then started to ride à bloc, I thought that was not very fair, rather strange,” Sivakov said.
Deceuninck-Quick-Step renews with Specialized
Belgian WorldTour squad Deceuninck-Quick-Step has renewed its arrangement with bike partner Specialized, the team announced Monday. According to a team press release, the partnership – which also sees Deceuninck utilize helmets and other equipment from the California-based brand – will continue for a further two seasons.
Specialized and the organization now called Deceuninck-Quick-Step have been aligned since 2012, and their partnership has roots that date back even further, with Specialized teaming up with a prior Patrick Lefevere-run team for a few years in the late 2000s.
“Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Specialized have had a long and beautiful history together, and having a company which listens to, embraces, and builds bikes and equipment to the needs of us and our riders is one of the keys to our success,” Lefevere said in the press release. “They always take on board our thoughts and feedback and use it to develop equipment that is at the cutting edge of cycling technology.”
As of 2019, Deceuninck is one of two teams in the WorldTour peloton riding Specialized bikes; Peter Sagan’s Bora-Hansgrohe squad is the other.
Former Austrian skiing coach detained in doping probe
AFP reports that an ex-coach of the Austrian cross-country skiing team has been detained in connection with the investigation into a doping ring run by Erfurt, Germany-based Dr. Mark Schmidt. According to AFP, Gerald Heigl is suspected of having promoted doping across multiple sports disciplines, and his detention was considered necessary to prevent him from contacting others implicated in the probe.
Several individuals from the world of pro cycling have already been connected to the growing scandal. The list of active and former riders implicated so far includes Georg Preidler, Stefan Denifl, Kristijan Durasek, Kristijan Koren, Alessandro Petacchi, and Borut Bozic.
Dario Cataldo (Astana) had some adoring fans waiting for him after his Giro stage 15 victory on Monday, and fortunately someone had a camera on-hand to capture the meeting.
Hopefully this inspires more teams to start offering dog-sized jerseys so that pets can join the pro kit movement.
Elsewhere in northern Italy, a handful of cyclists decided to investigate the conditions on the Passo Gavia after Giro organizers removed the climb from the stage 16 route due to heavy snowfall and the subsequent threat of avalanches and tricky roads.
It appears that the organizers weren’t kidding about the situation.
Caley Fretz and Dave Everett are staying busy at the Giro d’Italia. As usual, their video dispatch from stage 15 tackles both tech and racing news, and documents the atmosphere as the race rolls through northern Italy…
Happy Birthday to …
Michele Bartoli is 49. The versatile Italian established himself as one of the best one-day racers of the late 90s and early 2000s, thriving on both cobblestones and punchy climbs.
Bartoli’s list of career achievements includes a pair of victories at both the Tour of Lombardy and Liège-Bastogne-Liège and one Tour of Flanders title along with numerous other impressive results.
In case you missed it …