Tour de France lineups, Valverde and Morton: Daily News Digest

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

Dan Martin will lead a UAE-Team Emirates Tour de France lineup that features Fabio Aru but not Fernando Gaviria, Alejandro Valverde will ride on with Movistar through 2021, the Giro d’Italia unveils the first three stages of next year’s race. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Martin, Aru, Kristoff headline UAE-Team Emirates Tour roster, Gaviria out

UAE-Team Emirates has announced its lineup for the upcoming Tour de France, with Dan Martin set to lead the team’s GC campaign and Fabio Aru making the start after recovering from surgery to repair a constricted iliac artery. Notably absent is sprinter Fernando Gaviria.

The Colombian, who won two stages at last year’s Tour, has not raced since pulling out of the Giro d’Italia in May due to a lingering knee injury.

Dan Martin will be in the hunt for a GC result this July, having finished each of the past three Tours de France inside the top 10 overall. For Aru, winner of the 2015 Vuelta a España, making it to the start line at all marks an important step on his road back to racing at a high level.

“Through the last few months and during my injury I’ve always stayed calm and I’m taking that into this Tour de France,” he said. “I will not be in France to worry about the general classification, the Grande Boucle will be an exciting new chapter as I reboot my season.”

Despite Gaviria’s absence, UAE-Team Emirates will still sport a strong sprinting contingent. Alexander Kristoff, who won last year’s final Tour stage on the Champs-Élysées, and up-and-comer Jasper Philipsen will lead the charge in the fast finishes for the team.

Alexander Kristoff wins the final stage of the 2018 Tour de France. Photo: VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

Sven Erik Bystrom, Rui Costa, Sergio Henao, and Vegard Stake Laengen round out the UAE roster.

Socially Speaking

A long, unsupported ride from Land’s End to John o’ Groats means doing your own shopping. Add that to the list of challenges Lachlan Morton is facing at GBDuro, a four-stage bike-packing race spanning two thousand kilometers.

Race Radio

Valverde will ride on with Movistar through 2021

Movistar announced Thursday that Alejandro Valverde has extended his contract with the team. The reigning world road champion will continue to race with Movistar through the 2021 season, and will remain a part of the organization in one way or another through at least 2024.

“I’m so happy with this extension. Everyone knows the Movistar Team is home to me,” Valverde said in the team’s statement. “I’ve always felt really loved and respected here, and I’m so happy to be able to stay with the team for the next two years. It gives me the calmness and confidence I need to keep working hard and enjoying bike racing.”

Alejandro Valverde at La Flèche Wallonne. Photo: Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2019

The 39-year-old Spaniard joined the squad over a decade ago in 2006 when it was the Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears team. He has said that the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo are a major goal, and now is signed on to continue riding with Movistar through that season and beyond.

Denifl and Preidler receive four-year suspensions

Austrians Stefan Denifl and Georg Preidler, both of whom were implicated in a German-based blood doping ring as part of Operation Aderlass, have been handed four-year bans by the Austrian National Anti-Doping Organization.

Denifl, who raced for Aqua Blue Sport last year and was signed with CCC before asking to withdraw from his contract in December, confessed to blood doping earlier this year, with news of his admission emerging in March. Preidler’s admission of having blood extracted, and his subsequent withdrawal from the Groupama-FDJ team, followed.

Anti-doping authorities have now banned the riders and stripped them of results from specified periods. Denifl has been stripped of results garnered between June 1, 2014 to March 5, 2019, a period that includes a Grand Tour stage win at the 2017 Vuelta. Preidler has been stripped of results from February 1, 2018 and March 5, 2019.

Giro d’Italia unveils Hungary stages for 2020 race

The Giro d’Italia has unveiled the three stages that will kick off next year’s race in Hungary.

The 2020 Giro will get underway in Budapest on Saturday, May 9, with a 9.5-kilometer individual time trial.

Stage 2, 193 kilometers from Budapest to Györ, will likely be one for the sprinters. So too will stage 3, 197 kilometers from Székesfehérvár to Nagykanizsa.

Following the Giro’s Hungarian start, the race will head to Italy for stage 4 and beyond.

Roy tells story of journey to pro ranks

Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-Scott) shared the story of her journey from aspiring racer to successful pro in a recent post for de velo.

In a story that is worth a read, the 33-year-old Australian detailed the challenges of coming up through the national program, funding a move to France by selling bumper stickers and her bike, and finding her way in the European peloton.

Enduro racer Maes receives 90-day suspension

Martin Maes, who currently leads the Enduro World Series, has been handed a 90-day suspension for a “non-intentional Anti-Doping Rule Violation.” The 22-year-old Belgian testing positive for Probenecid, a prohibited masking agent.

As Pinkbike reports, Maes apparently received the drug as part of treatment advised by doctors for a cut to his sustained during the NZ Enduro. The cut was described as “life or limb threatening” and the drug was prescribed in conjunction with antibiotics.

Maes reportedly asked if the drug was banned but was unable to check due to a lack of phone signal. After the treatment, he applied for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE), and then failed two doping controls. His TUE request was denied, but the UCI has imposed a reduced suspension.

Van Aert, Kopecky triumph at Belgian TT nationals

Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) has added a time trial title to his lengthy palmares, a strong display of form as the Tour de France approaches.

Wout van Aert with his gold medal after winning the Belgian national time trial title. Photo: JdM/PN/Cor Vos © 2019

The versatile 24-year-old topped Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s Yves Lampaert and Remco Evenepoel to win the Belgian time trial championship by a comfortable margin.

Lotto Kopecky (Lotto-Soudal) took the women’s TT title, with Jolien D’Hoore (Boels-Dolmans) and Annelies Dom (Lotto-Soudal) rounding out the podium.

Dowsett, Barnes win British TT titles

Alex Dowsett won his sixth British time trial title in Norfolk. The Katusha-Alpecin rider set a time of 49:25 on the 41.7-kilometer course to top John Archibald (Ribble) to take the victory by six seconds. Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) took third.

Alice Barnes (Canyon-Sram) won the women’s title, riding the 27.4-kilometer route in 36:12, 15 seconds faster than Hayley Simmonds (BTC City Ljubljana). Hannah Barnes (Canyon-Sram) finished third.

Thomas, Eraud take French TT victories

Benjamin Thomas (Groupama-FDJ) rode to the time trial victory at French nationals. The 23-year-old topped veterans Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis) and Julien Antomarchi (Natura4Ever) to take the win.

In case you missed it …

Feature Image: Lachlan Morton rides GBDuro, by Gruber Images

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