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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Peter Sagan is back to standard team kit after his brother Juraj took the Slovakian road title on a huge day for Bora-Hansgrohe; Total Direct Energie and Cofidis could go WorldTour in 2020; Alejandro Valverde takes his third Spanish national championship road race victory. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Peter Sagan set for first Tour in normal Bora-Hansgrohe jersey, five teammates win national road titles
Peter Sagan will be showing off a new look at the upcoming Tour de France. This year’s race will mark Sagan’s first Tour appearance ever without ownership of the Slovakian or world champion’s jersey after his brother Juraj won the Slovakian road title on a huge day for Bora-Hansgrohe.
Juraj Sagan would be one of a whopping five Bora riders to take a national championship road race win on Sunday.
The German-based WorldTour team dominated the German national championships—Maximilian Schachmann continued his strong year with the nationals win, standing atop an all Bora-Hansgrohe podium alongside Marcus Burghardt and Andreas Schillinger.
Davide Formolo survived a long (226.9 kilometers) day of racing to claim the Italian tricolore, topping Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) and Alberto Bettiol. Sam Bennett secured his first ever Irish champion’s jersey ahead of Eddie Dunbar (Ineos) and Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo). Patrick Konrad soloed an Austrian road title, with Michael Gogl (Trek-Segafredo) in second and Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) in third.
The Slovakian jersey stayed in Bora-Hansgrohe hands as well, passing from one Sagan brother to the other. Juraj Sagan soloed to his third career national title, with Bora-Hansgrohe’s Erik Baska taking runner-up honors. Patrik Tybor (Dukla Banska Bystrica) finish third just ahead of Peter Sagan.
No longer the defending Slovakian or world road champ, Sagan will head into the Tour looking quite different from the way fans are accustomed to seeing him. Outside of nationals, he has not started a road race in standard team kit in eight years.
New year, new “please don’t ruin the Tour” video from the race organizers. It’s amazing that some fans need to be reminded of certain things in this PSA from the ASO, but so many do—so hopefully the video gets some views.
Valverde adds another Spanish road title, Oyarbide takes women’s race victory
Just in case he doesn’t manage to defend his world road title later this year, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will have another champion’s jersey ready and waiting. The Spaniard claimed his third career national road title on Sunday on home roads in Murcia. Valverde topped Luís Leon Sánchez (Astana) in a close battle at the line, with Jesús Herrada (Cofidis) taking third.
Lourdes Oyarbide gave Movistar a second Spanish road title in the women’s event. The 25-year-old topped Irene Mendez and Massi-Tactic’s Mireia Benito on a very hot Saturday race.
Barguil, 19-year-old Wiel win French national titles
Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) can take some added confidence into his upcoming Tour de France start—the 27-year-old climber won his first French national road title on Sunday ahead of Cofidis teammates Julien Simon and Damien Touze.
The women’s title went to Jade Wiel (FDJ), just 19 years old. Teammate Victorie Guilman scored runner-up honors with Aude Biannic (Movistar) in third.
Merlier and Vandenbulcke triumph at Belgian nationals
Tim Merlier (Corendon-Circus) is the new Belgian road champion. The 26-year-old topped Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Gobert) and Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) in Ghent to earn himself a year in the Belgian jersey.
Jesse Vandenbulcke (Doltcini-Van Eyck) was the fastest of a three-rider group to take women’s title, with Ann-Sophie Duyck (Parkhotel Valkenburg) and Julie van de Velde (Lotto Soudal) rounding out the podium.
Dumoulin reportedly considering a move from Sunweb
According to TuttoBiciWeb, Tom Dumoulin is considering his options outside of Sunweb, despite having a contract in place through at least 2022.
The Italian newspaper reports that the management of Dumoulin’s Grand Tour woes this season – he crashed out of the Giro d’Italia and will not be back racing for the Tour due to lingering knee pain – have left the 2017 Giro champ frustrated. With such a lengthy contract in place, however, it would not be easy (although not unheard of) for the Dutchman to sign elsewhere.
Jakobsen, Wiebes win Dutch road nationals
Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-step) put his sprinting legs on display at Dutch road nationals, riding to his first elite road title in Ede. The 22-year-old speedster was joined on the podium by Moreno Hofland (EF Education First) and Bas van der Kooij (Monkey Town – à Bloc).
Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) stormed to the Dutch women’s title, picking up yet another big victory in her breakthrough season. The 20-year-old topped Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) and Amy Pieters (Boels-Dolmans) to secure the jersey.
Total Direct Energie and Cofidis could go WorldTour in 2020
Reports in Italian media suggest that the UCI WorldTour will go from 18 to 20 teams in 2020 as Total Direct Energie and Cofidis jump up from the Pro Continental ranks.
With WorldTour upgrades, the squads would be guaranteed starts at WorldTour events instead of having to rely on wild card invites. The other side of that expansion equation, however, could be a reduction in the number of wild cards handed out to the teams that remain at the second division.
The UCI has announced reforms, set to go into effect in 2020, intended to standardize invites to the sport’s biggest races based on team rankings. If the number of top-tier teams increases to 20 and that planned reform remains in place, wild card sports left up to organizer discretion at races like the Tour and Giro would be in jeopardy unless the total number of invited teams increases.
Swift wins British road nationals
Ineos rode to a one-two finish in the men’s road race at British nationals, with Ben Swift securing the title and Ian Stannard in second. John Archibald (Ribble) finished third.
Swift’s win keeps the British national champion’s jersey within his (extended) family — 2018 champion Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic) is his cousin.
Alice Barnes (Canyon-Sram) took the women’s road title, doubling up on British national championship wins after she took the time trial title on Thursday. Anna Henderson and Drops’s Elizabeth Holden rounded out the road race podium.
Voeckler will coach French national team
According to Le Dauphiné, retired pro Thomas Voeckler will take over as the coach of the French national team next year.
The always-emotive Frenchman, who won multiple Tour stages and a polka dot jersey during his long tenure with the team now known as Total Direct Energie, will reportedly work with current coach Cyrille Guimard this year before taking over in 2020.
Brennauer wins German women’s road title
Lisa Brennauer (WNT-Rotor) reclaimed the German women’s road title five years after her first national championship road race win. The 31-year-old was the first across the line at the Sachsenring motor circuit at the head of a select group, with Lisa Klein (Canyon-Sram) and Liane Lippert (Sunweb) rounding out the podium.
Top 20 cycling friendly cities
To track and rate the pro-cycling efforts and initiatives taken by cities around the world, the Copenhagenize Index released their 2019 top 20 cycling cities in a comprehensive and holistic ranking of the world’s most bicycle-friendly cities.
They evaluated and ranked over 115 cities from around the world using 14 parameters that focus on ambition, culture, and streetscape design.
18. Vancouver (tie)
18. Montreal (tie)
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Peter Sagan on stage 9 of the 2018 Tour de France. Photo: Gruber Images