Stybar re-signs, Matthews uncertain about Tour role: Daily News Digest

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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

Zdenek Stybar will ride on with Deceuninck-Quick-Step through 2021, Egan Bernal says he has no problem helping Geraint Thomas at the Tour de France, Fernando Gaviria will reportedly miss the race. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Zdenek Stybar renews with Deceuninck-Quick-Step through 2021

Zdenek Stybar will ride on with Deceuninck-Quick-Step for the next two years. The team has announced a two-year extension for the 33-year-old from the Czech Republic, one of the team’s biggest names for the Classics. The new contract will see the three-time former world ‘cross champ through 2021—a total of 10 seasons with Deceuninck-Quick-Step.

“Keeping hold of Zdenek means a lot to us,” said CEO Patrick Lefevere in a team statement. “He is one of our experienced riders, who can do everything and whose contribution can be seen in many of the team’s results throughout a season.”

Stybar enjoyed a particularly strong 2019 season, winning the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and E3, and has been a major contributor to Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s dominance on the cobblestones in recent years. He also counts stages at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España on his list of career achievements, not to mention the brilliant cyclocross palmares he put together before he fully transitioned to road racing.

“They are like a second family and it’s a real pleasure to be staying for two more years,” said. “I am hoping that these will be the best two years of my career and I will be really happy to be spending them with the Wolfpack and mark a decade – a third of my life – with this amazing squad.”

Socially Speaking

Back in 2013, a 14-year-old Lorena Wiebes took this photo with then-world cyclocross champion Marianne Vos.

Yesterday, Vos posted this—after Wiebes took the gold medal and her teammate Vos took silver at the European Games.

Things seem to have gone pretty well for Wiebes since 2013, to say the least. For more on her emergence as a rising star – she has had a ridiculous season – you can read this piece, published last week.

Race Radio

Bernal says he has no problem helping Thomas at the Tour

Even on the heels of an impressive Tour de Suisse victory, Egan Bernal says he has no problem helping Ineos teammate Geraint Thomas at the upcoming Tour de France.

“He will be our leader and I will try to help him,” Bernal said after his Tour de Suisse win. “I don’t have any problems to help him. I’m just 22 years old, so I think I have a lot of Tours in front of me.”

Fabian Cancellara hands Egan Bernal the yellow jersey after stage 8 of the Tour de Suisse. Photo: VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2019

Bernal’s Tour de Suisse victory was his second second WorldTour stage race win this year after he won Paris-Nice in March. In just his second year in the team now known as Ineos (previously Sky), the Colombian is quickly emerging as one of cycling’s biggest names.

Bernal arrived at Ineos heavily touted as a prospect to watch, and has delivered on that promise with victories in one-week races as well as an impressive performance as a domestique at last year’s Tour de France. He also finished 15th overall there despite mostly working for teammates throughout the three weeks.

One of the top two favorites to win the Tour for most oddsmakers (Thomas is the other), Bernal is nonetheless downplaying his status as an overall contender. He may get his own chances in France next month, but for now he is sticking to the domestique line.

“I don’t choose to say I’m the [Tour] favorite,” Bernal said. “In any case I’ll go with G. He will be our leader and I will try to help him.”

‘I don’t know where to go from here,’ says Matthews after Dumoulin ruled out for Tour

Michael Matthews and his Sunweb team must make a serious adjustment to their Tour de France plans after Tom Dumoulin was ruled out for the race due to lingering knee problem. As the versatile Australian told NOS last week, Sunweb was all-in for Dumoulin at the Tour, and the teams plans have been “flipped upside down” now.

Michael Matthews digs deep at the Amstel Gold Race. Photo: ©kramon

“I don’t know what to do now. I’m totally confused,” Matthews told NOS. “I’d planned to go up to Livigno from here [the Tour de Suisse] to make sure I’m really ready in the mountains to support Tom. I think it’s just massive disappointment, I don’t know where you go from here.”

In the candid interview with Dutch network, Matthews said that the team asked riders to set their own ambitions aside in favor of Dumoulin’s GC ambitions at the Giro, and then the Tour.

“I haven’t done any sprint training or training that was preparing myself for my stages,” Matthews said. “There are quite a lot of stages that do suit me, but the team’s goal was to go for Tom a hundred percent. Iwan [Spekenbrink, Sunweb manager] told us from the start of the year that we shouldn’t have any ambitions ourself.”

With only two weeks remaining until the start of the Tour, Matthews and his teammates are not left with much time to recalibrate their goals or preparation.

“I was making sure I could climb really well, making sure I could do everything I could for the team time trial to support him as best as possible,” Matthews said. “It’s definitely hard to take in the news.”

Gaviria will reportedly miss the Tour de France

Fernando Gaviria will miss the Tour de France due to lingering knee pain, Colombian newspaper El Tiempo reports.

Fernando Gaviria at Gent-Wevelgem. Photo: Tim van Wichelen/Cor Vos © 2019

The Colombian speedster has battled knee problems since the spring, ultimately leaving the Giro d’Italia early. Guiseppe Saronni, a member of the UAE-Team Emirates brass, told TuttoBiciWeb recently that Gaviria’s Tour start was in doubt, and according to El Tiempo, he will indeed be sidelined for the race. UAE-Team Emirates has yet to confirm the news.

Gaviria won two stages and wore yellow for a day at last year’s Tour.

Madison Genesis set to fold at the end of 2019

British Continental outfit Madison Genesis will close its doors at the end of the season.

“It is with a great regret that we are announcing Madison Genesis will cease racing at the end of this season,” the team announced in an open letter “to everyone that has supported us over the last seven years.”

“I am immensely proud of what we have achieved and the team is very personal to me,” said Dominic Langan, Madison CEO.

“We have worked incredibly hard to create a team ethos of good sportsmanship with a high level of fan base engagement which delivered some fantastic results and over the last seven years we helped some talented riders achieve their full potential. However, the market is constantly evolving and whilst I would be lying if I said we didn’t have frustrations with certain aspects of the UK race scene, I feel, more importantly, that now is the right time to bring the team to an end so we can invest in other market segments which are now showing much more significant growth potential.”

Madison Genesis’s departure from the sport will be another blow for the British domestic scene in what has been a difficult period. The JLT Condor and One Pro Cycling squads both folded last year.

Huub-Waatbike and BEAT criticize UCI’s plans to overhaul track World Cup

The UCI announced last week that it will make reforms to World Cup track cycling that will see the series raced only by national teams, leaving trade teams out in the cold.

Huub-Waatbike and BEAT, two of the most successful commercial track programs, have each responded to the news with open letters to the UCI. Both teams criticized the decision, both pointing to the reduction in opportunities for riders and in the quality of racing.

“Track cycling will become an amateur sport again,” said BEAT in the team’s letter. “In no other sport do we see a move away from commercial teams as we see proposed here. We believe this will take track cycling back to the times in which most sports were practiced at the amateur level. As we see across the world of sports, professional teams are able to attract money that can be used to advance the sport.”

Huub-Waatbike called the UCI’s changes “brutally destructive to the sport,” and voiced concerns that fan engagement would decrease.

In case you missed it …

Feature Image: Zdenek Stybar wins E3. Photo: PdV/PN/Cor Vos © 2019

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