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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Simon Yates and Mitchelton-Scott hoping to build on last year’s Giro d’Italia campaign, Raymond Poulidor says grandson Mathieu van der Poel is even better, Giant’s new frame replacement/repair program. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Yates and Mitchelton hope to build on last year’s Giro campaign
Simon Yates has “unfinished business” at the Giro d’Italia.
The 26-year-old Mitchelton-Scott rider won three stages at the 2018 Giro and held the race lead going into the 19th stage, but lost touch on a challenging day in the mountains, ultimately dropping out of GC contention altogether. He is heading back to the Italian Grand Tour, which starts on Saturday in Bologna, in pursuit of the pink jersey he seemed so likely to win right up until the end last year.
“In a way I have unfinished business at the Giro, but I would just like to have another go,” Yates said in a statement announcing Mitchelton’s Giro roster. “We were so close last year so I’m motivated to give it another go and I’m trying to arrive in the best shape possible to try and do that.”
Yates, who did go on to win last year’s Vuelta a España, will be able to count on an impressive support squad at this year’s Giro. Esteban Chaves, himself a podium finisher in the race, will make for a formidable lieutenant. The Colombian saw his 2018 campaign derailed by a bout with Epstein-Barr virus and is gradually working his way back to his best this season.
Jack Bauer, Brent Bookwalter, Luke Durbridge, Lucas Hamilton, Chris Juul-Jensen, and Mikel Nieve round out Mitchelton’s Giro lineup.
With all eyes on the maglia rosa, the team might be taking a more measured approach to the GC fight than in 2018.
“I like to race aggressively but you can’t always do that unfortunately and that’s what I really learnt from last season,” Yates said. “I will apply those lessons and hopefully come off with the win.”
Yates has scored a few results in his Giro buildup, winning stages at the Ruta del Sol and Paris-Nice, but he won’t be entering this year’s race with quite as much evidence of strong form as he brought into the 2018 Giro. Sports director Matt White says this year’s route should give his team’s leader a chance to work his way to the top over the course of the race.
“If there’s ever a Giro that you could ride into, this would be this one,” White said. “But in saying that, some of our biggest rivals have shown they are in very good shape already so there’ll be some tests early on, but nothing definitive.”
Maybe this fan gets a few points for ingenuity, but he loses far more for a lack of common sense.
Poulidor: Van der Poel is better than his dad and I were
Mathieu van der Poel has scored some high praise from a cycling icon, who also happens to be his granddad. Raymond Poulidor, whose long list of career highlights includes victories at the Vuelta a España and Milano-Sanremo and an incredible eight Tour de France podiums (famously without a win) says the young van der Poel is even better than his grandfather and his father, the also accomplished Adri van der Poel.
“He has the genes of his father, and his grandfather, but he is better than we are when you see his honors list,” Poulidor told NOS.
The way Poulidor sees it, the sky is the limit for his versatile grandson, the reigning world cyclocross champion who also enjoyed a brilliant spring on the road this year.
“He is already doing special things at his age. And he adapts to every cycling discipline,” Poulidor said.
Fortunately for ‘cross fans worried that van der Poel will put his ambitions there aside to focus more on the road (or the mountain bike, for that matter), Poulidor sees van der Poel staying true to his cyclocross roots for now.
“Cyclocross is sacred to him,” Poulidor said.
Aru cheering for Nibali at the Giro
Recovering from a surgery to repair his iliac artery, Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) will miss the Giro d’Italia, which he says has made for some tough days in the buildup to the race he’d hoped to start. At least it frees him up to root for his friend and compatriot Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida).
“I’m cheering for him. We have shared many years, a great relationship,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I learned a lot from him and I am connected to him. He must win for me too.”
Aru’s UAE team probably won’t mind that he is pulling for a would-be GC rival at the Giro considering the team is now focused on hunting stages. Built around sprinter Fernando Gaviria (a four-time stage winner at the Giro) and the punchy Diego Ulissi (a six-time winner), UAE’s Giro lineup also includes Tom Bohli, Simone Consonni, Valerio Conti, Marco Marcato, Jan Polanc, and Sebastian Molano.
Landa headlines three-pronged Movistar attack in Italy
With Alejandro Valverde forced to miss the Giro d’Italia as he recovers from a bone edema in his sacrum, Movistar is turning to a three-man delegation to lead the way in Italy. Mikel Landa, third overall in 2015, is the biggest name on the roster, but the Spanish squad is starting Andrey Amador and Richard Carapaz as co-leaders.
The three-pronged approach is nothing new for Movistar. When Landa joined from Sky last year, the team had to find a way to balance his ambitions with those of Valverde and Nairo Quintana, sending all three to the 2018 Tour.
Amador and Carapaz don’t have quite the same name recognition but both count Giro top fives on their resumes. They will have Héctor Carretero, Lluís Mas, Antonio Pedrero, José Joaquín Rojas, and Jasha Sütterlin for company this month in Italy.
Giant USA rolls out “Composite Confidence” frame damage replacement program
Giant USA has announced a program that adds two years of frame damage replacement or repair to an existing frame warranty.
The new “Composite Confidence” program will give American consumers the luxury of a free-of-charge fix or replacement on 2019 or newer products from Giant or Liv “if any composite frame or component is structurally damaged while you’re riding in the first two years after you bought it.”
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Simon Yates on the Monte Zoncolan at the 2018 Giro d’Italia. Photo: ©kramon