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Michal Kwiatkowski is hoping ‘to find a joy from riding’ his bike again, Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz set to return to racing ahead of expected Vuelta a España start, Katusha merger talks. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Kwiatkowski hoping ‘to find a joy from riding’ his bike again
Michal Kwiatkowski will not defend his overall title at the Tour of Poland, his home WorldTour race. The Ineos rider has announced on Instagram that he is pulling out of a planned start in the event following a challenging Tour de France.
“I’m not a guy who likes to change his plans but unfortunately this is one of those moments,” he wrote.
Kwiatkowski has scored numerous big victories in one-day and one-week events in recent years while also playing a key support role for Ineos in the Tour de France, but 2019 has not gone as hoped. Although he did finish on the podium at both Paris-Nice and Milano-Sanremo, he has yet to win a race this year and did not seem to be at his best during the Tour.
“So far it wasn’t the season I was dreaming of and this is a good time for reflection and thinking about my preparation, combining heavy racing in 2018 and trying to step up from that in particular,” he wrote. “Hopefully soon I will be able to find a joy from riding my bike and I’m sure that from there on I will win again some big races.”
Like any proud coach, Paolo Slongo shared his rider’s power numbers from a big performance to social media this week. That’s great news for data-oriented cycling fans because Slongo coaches none other than Bahrain-Merida’s Vincenzo Nibali.
If you were wondering what kind of power Nibali was putting out on his way to the stage 20 victory at the Tour de France, wonder no more. He cranked out an average of 339 watts during the stage, sporting a normalized power of 353 watts.
— PaoloSlongo (@SlongoPaolo) July 28, 2019
Giro winner Carapaz returns to racing Burgos ahead of Vuelta España start
2019 Giro d’Italia champion Richard Carapaz (Movistar) is set to return to racing at the upcoming Vuelta a Burgos to prep for a run at the Vuelta a España, according to AS.
The 26-year-old Ecuadoran has not raced since the Giro concluded in early June.
With Movistar’s lineup for the Vuelta a España already set to include Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, the Spanish WorldTour outfit will, as usual, have multiple contenders for the overall title as the race sets out from Torrevieja on August 24. Carapaz is the squad’s most recent Grand Tour winner, while Quintana and Valverde both count Vuelta overall titles on their career palmares.
Katusha-Alpecin merger talks heat up
Katusha-Alpecin owner Igor Makarov has been looking into merger opportunities with other teams for weeks now as current sponsors Alpecin and Canyon are set to direct their funds elsewhere in 2020. According to Wielerflits, Katusha has found a partner for a merger in Arkéa-Samsic, although Le Telegramme reports that Arkéa manager Emmanuel Hubert has denied the claims.
The French Pro Continental squad has been interested in a WorldTour upgrade for some time, and joining forces with Katusha would make that aspiration a reality. For Katusha, merging with Arkéa-Samsic would have huge perks as well, including the expected acquisition of Nairo Quintana, who is reportedly set to transfer as his Movistar contract ends this year. Sprinter Nacer Bouhanni is also reported to have a deal in place with Arkéa-Samsic.
According to Wielerflits, the newly combined team would ride on BMC bikes.
UAE’s sports drink woes
According to former world champ Thor Hushovd, who now covers cycling for Norwegian network TV2, the lackluster Tour de France performance of UAE-Team Emirates could have been due to the team trying out a new sports drink at the race.
TV2 reports that the aforementioned beverage “causes the body to absorb too much fluid,” and the untested change in hydration left riders feeling off. UAE-Team Emirates did not win a stage or place anyone inside the GC top 10 at this year’s race, with sprinter Alexander Kristoff only finishing in the top five of a stage one time across the three weeks.
UAE has denied having any sports drink-related issues.
“We have had no problem with our energy drink. We will do an internal evaluation and investigate why Kristoff did not perform as we had hoped,” said team spokesperson Andrea Agostini, according to TV2.
Evenepoel ‘out-sprints’ De Plus and Bernal in Aalst Post-Tour crit
Post-Tour criteriums always produce unusual combinations of podium finishers that you wouldn’t expect in most bike races, and that was definitely true in Aalst, Belgium, on Monday night.
Belgian wunderkind Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) ‘beat’ Laurens De Plus (Jumbo-Visma) and Egan Bernal (Ineos) in a three-rider sprint at the exhibition-oriented event just one day after Bernal’s Tour de France victory.
Womens Tour of Scotland teams up with Voxwomen
The inaugural Women’s Tour of Scotland is partnering with Voxwomen to present “digital highlights, insightful clips, features and a full-length TV broadcast.”
The UCI 2.1-rated event has drawn some big names and will feature plenty of great Scottish scenery across three days of racing.
Check out the race website for more on the debut edition of the event, which gets underway next Friday, August 9.
The ‘world’s steepest street’ is in Harlech, Wales
If the gradients of your nearby climbs are not offering you enough of a challenge, you may want to consider a trip to Wales. The Guinness Book of World Records has deemed Ffordd Pen Llech in the town of Harlech the world’s steepest street, an honor previously held by Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand. The record is ‘based on the steepest (highest gradient) section over a 10-meter distance.’
Even Vincenzo Nibali might consider going small in the chainring department for the stretch that jumps up over 37 percent.
Cannondale recalls 11,000 CAADX bikes due to faulty forks
Owners of disc-equipped Cannondale CAADXs from between 2013 to 2016 should get their bike to a dealer without delay. In the USA and Canada, Cannondale is recalling approximately 11,000 of these cyclocross bikes due to faulty forks that have led to reported injuries and one fatality.
Specific to the CAADX bikes, the problematic forks can be determined by an “ULTRAX” marking on the inside of the fork leg and by the disc brake cable/hose that is routed on the outside. More information can be found at CPSC.gov.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Michal Kwiatkowski on La Planche des Belles Filles. Photo: Gregory van Gansen/Cor Vos © 2019