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by Dane Cash
July 18, 2019
Photography by Cor Vos
Caleb Ewan narrowly tops Dylan Groenewegen to win stage 11 of the Tour de France, Drapac will cease operations at the end of 2019, Nippo-Vini Fantini set to fold, Lezyne updates its mid-range GPS units. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) sprinted to his first career Tour de France stage victory on Wednesday’s stage 11.
The 25-year-old Australian narrowly pipped Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) on the line in Toulouse to take the win, with Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) settling for third.
“I’ve been close in the last four sprints that I’ve done,” said Ewan, who had already racked up four top-three finishes in Tour sprints so far.
“My team never lost faith in me. I never lost faith in my sprint. I knew that if everything came together I could be the fastest on the day, and I think I showed that today.”
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) finished safely to retain his overall race lead as the Tour heads into the mountains.
With its flat profile and several tough days ahead, the 167-kilometer stage from Albi was a big target for the fast finishers. With that in mind, the sprinters’ teams made sure to keep the gap to the day’s four-rider breakaway manageable, making the catch almost inevitable.
Just the same, the stage was not without drama, as a crash in the bunch some 35 kilometers from the line saw numerous riders hit the deck, and others caught behind the pileup. Niki Terpstra (Total-Direct Energie) required medical attention and ultimately abandoned the race.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) were the two biggest GC names held up by the crash, but with the help of teammates both were able to rejoin the peloton with around 25 kilometers to race.
As the break’s gap dipped under a minute, Aimé De Gendt (Wanty-Gobert) attacked his fellow escapees and soloed clear. Although the other breakaway riders were caught in short order, he survived alone out front until inside the final five kilometers.
Jumbo-Visma and Deceuninck-Quick-Step were well-placed headed into the finale, with Jumbo-Visma leading the way into the final sprint. Groenewegen’s final lead-out man peeled off with around 250 meters to go – perhaps a touch too early – prompting the Dutchman to launch with Ewan locked on his wheel.
Groenewegen wound up to speed at the head of the sprint but Ewan surged up to him as the line approached and narrowly pipped him on the bike throw.
Caleb Ewan and Dylan Groenewegen on the Tour de France stage 11 finish line. Photo: Nico Vereecken/PN/Cor Vos © 2019
“I think with about 10k to go I got caught behind behind my teammate Jasper [De Buyst] who crashed, so I was really at the back of the bunch,” Ewan explained after his win. “Roger [Kluge] came back for me and he basically took me from the back of the bunch to Groenewegen’s wheel. Once I was there I had a bit of time to recover and luckily I had the legs in the end.”
Stage 11 results
1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal 3:51:26
2 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
3 Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
5 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
6 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
7 Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
8 Cees Bol (Ned) Sunweb
9 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
10 Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 47:18:41
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos 0:01:12
3 Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos 0:01:16
4 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:01:27
5 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:45
6 Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:01:46
7 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:47
8 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar 0:02:04
9 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 0:02:09
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:02:33
The latest entry in the EF Gone Racing series from Rapha offers a fascinating look at Lachlan Morton’s GBDuro. The Australian covered 2,000 self-supported kilometers on a journey across the island of Great Britain, from Land’s End to John o’ Groats.
Drapac Cycling will cease operations at the end of 2019
Australian Continental squad Drapac will close shop at the end of the year, the team has announced.
The reasons behind the decision remain unclear, although founder Michael Drapac suggested in a May interview with CyclingTips following the tragic death of his son Damion that he was interested in shifting his focus to grassroots cycling.
Michael Drapac has backed an iteration of the team since starting a domestic squad back in 2004. That team became a Continental outfit in 2006, and then upgraded to the Pro Continental level in 2014. From mid-2016 to the end of 2018, Drapac linked up with Slipstream Sports to form the Cannondale-Drapac team and then the EF Education First-Drapac team, while a separate Continental squad under the Drapac name came into existence in 2017.
This year will be that team’s last.
Nippo-Vini Fantini set to fold at the end of the season
Nippo-Vini Fantini also reportedly set to close its doors at the end of 2019. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, team manager Francesco Pelosi says new UCI regulations – which include an increase in the minimum number of riders on a team – make it financially impossible for the team to continue.
The Nippo-Vini Fantini organization has raced under moniker or another since 2008, and took an elusive first Giro d’Italia stage victory earlier this season thanks to Damiano Cima. Invites to the Giro will be much harder to come by next year, however, as reforms will create a new system to standardize some WorldTour race invites. That, in conjunction with cost increases, reportedly signals the end of the line for Nippo-Vini Fantini.
“With the 2020 reforms in place, professional teams need a much bigger budget in the face of minor guarantees,” Pelosi told La Gazzetta, pointing out that the team’s €2.8 million budget would need to increase to €4.5 million to survive.
“There is no way to continue, and the only solution is to combine [with another team].”
Whether a merger is possible remains to be seen.
The Tour de France heads into the mountains for stage 12.
209.5 kilometers from Toulouse to Bagnères-de-Bigorre, stage 12 will bring the climbers to the fore as it tackles two first-category climbs before a long descent to the line.
Lezyne updates its mid-range GPS units
Lezyne has updated its well priced mid-range Super and Macro GPS models, adding longer lasting batteries (28 hours claimed), improved screen resolution and optional landscape screen orientation. The new Super Pro GPS (US$150) is a smaller, simpler, and cheaper model that sits directly below Lezyne’s top-tier Mega XL and C units we reviewed previously.
Smaller again, the new Marco Plus GPS (US$100) loses a few functions, such as ANT+ connectivity, but surprisingly retains mapping functionality. Finally, there’s the new Macro Easy GPS (US$80), a basic Bluetooth-ready GPS computer without mapping.
Centimetres apart, years in the making: Caleb Ewan’s first Tour win
Visualising the 2019 Tour de France: The ups and downs of the first ‘week’
Top mountain bike jumps in Tour de France history
Feature Image: Caleb Ewan tops Dylan Groenewegen to win stage 11 of the Tour de France. Photo: Nico Vereecken/PN/Cor Vos © 2019