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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Mark Cavendish misses out on Dimension Data’s Tour de France roster selection, Greg Van Avermaet headlines a stage-focused CCC lineup, Valverde is thinner than ever. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: No Tour de France for Mark Cavendish
Mark Cavendish will not be at the Brussels start line for the 2019 Tour de France. The 34-year-old Manxman was not selected for the Dimension Data Tour squad, meaning that he will miss the race for the first time since he made his debut there in 2007.
Cavendish has battled health woes in recent seasons, twice missing time due to Epstein Barr virus, and he has not managed to return to form this year. That could be why Dimension Data decided to leave him out of the Tour lineup, but the team’s roster announcement did not offer a concrete explanation for his absence—it did not even mention Cavendish.
Cavendish expressed his disappointment via his Twitter account.
2/4 Predominantly at the most beautiful, special race that is Le Tour de France, where 30 of these victories have defined my career.
After a long, difficult fight back from trying to compete for the whole of last season with Epstein Barr Virus and after following a specific
— Mark Cavendish (@MarkCavendish) July 2, 2019
4/4 Though I won’t be there, as always I’ll be supporting my teammates with all I have, wishing them safety and success in France and hoping we can get even more children on bicycles.
Thank you all for your support 🙏 x pic.twitter.com/mkTbsk8jRo
— Mark Cavendish (@MarkCavendish) July 2, 2019
Although he has started several races so far this season, the 30-time Tour stage winner has not taken a UCI-level victory since February of 2018.
A third-place finish on stage 3 of the Tour of Turkey has been his best personal result of 2019. He has ridden some races in support of other teammates instead of sprinting in pursuit of his own goals.
Instead backing Cavendish at the upcoming Tour, Dimension Data will have sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo and versatile riders like Edvald Boasson Hagen and Michael Valgren as notable stage-hunting options. The roster will also feature Steve Cummings, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Roman Kreuziger, Ben King, and Lars Bak.
From the social media world comes the news that 2018 yellow jersey winner Geraint Thomas is finally ready for the Tour de France …
… and 2018 polka dot jersey winner Julian Alaphilippe apparently has a new Twitter account.
— Julian Alaphilippe Officiel (@alafpolak1) July 1, 2019
EF Education’s Tour de France roster has been announced for this weekend’s Grand Depart in Belgium, with eight riders from eight different countries:
Tejay van Garderen
“Our specific ambitions we will leave to ourselves. As giving it away wouldn’t be any fun,” says team CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “And we’re all about having a bit of fun.”
Van Avermaet headlines CCC Tour lineup
Greg Van Avermaet will lead the way for CCC at the upcoming Tour de France as the team hunts for stage victories, a shift in focus from recent years.
Whether it was Cadel Evans, Tejay van Garderen, or Richie Porte, the former BMC team had long been a GC-oriented squad in July. As BMC transitioned to CCC, however, the team saw Porte and van Garderen, as well as Rohan Dennis and Nicolas Roche, head elsewhere.
“We are lining up at the Tour de France with a fresh approach and new objectives,” team general manager Jim Ochowicz said in the CCC roster announcement. “This may be the team’s tenth Tour de France but it will be the first year in that time that we line up without a General Classification contender so, this is new terrain for us.”
Van Avermaet is the biggest name of the CCC starting eight. He counts two Tour stage wins on his palmares and wore yellow for a week at last year’s race. He will have several opportunities across the flatter and intermediate stages of this year’s Tour.
Serge Pauwels, Simon Geschke, Patrick Bevin, Michael Schär, Alessandro De Marchi, Joey Rosskopf, and Lukasz Wisniowski round out the roster.
Valverde thinner than ever ahead of Tour
Alejandro Valverde only returned to racing a few weeks ago after a long injury layoff, but all signs point to him entering the Tour in flying form. The reigning world road champion, who missed a planned start at the Giro d’Italia this May due to an injury sustained in training, says he is thinner than ever before as the Tour looms.
According to Marca, Valverde is currently weighing in at 58.6 kilograms (129 pounds).
“It was something I planned to do, to get this thin to see how my body felt,” Valverde told the Spanish newspaper. “I did not want to lose too much because then you run the risk of losing muscle and strength, which is not the point. But in La Route d’Occitanie I saw that my body responded well across four days.”
Valverde won the French stage race, and then went on to win the Spanish national road championship.
Lemond: Quintana is ‘a great talent, but I don’t think he will ever win the Tour’
In other Movistar-related news, three-time Tour de France champion Greg Lemond weighed in on Nairo Quintana’s Tour chances as part of a broader pre-Tour interview with Cyclingnews.
“He’s not explosive. You can’t go spend eight weeks at 10,000 feet – your red blood cells go up but your power goes down. He lacks the ability to attack and break away,” Lemond told Cyclingnews. “He’s a great talent, but I don’t think he will ever win the Tour.”
The former American pro also opined that Ineos’s plan of sharing leadership between Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal could work in the team’s favor.
“I think [dual leadership] takes the pressure off, actually, if you have a smart director.” LeMond said.
Bianchi’s Methanol CV FS: a new full suspension XC racer
Bianchi is the latest company in a growing list to update its full suspension cross country race bike to be more trail-friendly with a geometry that’s slacker, longer in reach and with shorter chainstays. Also following trends, the new carbon fiber 29er platform is now 1x drivetrain specific, and sees the rear suspension move to a simpler single pivot design with a vertically-placed shock to handle the 100mm of rear wheel travel.
Much like the Italian company’s premium road bikes, the new Methanol FS features Bianchi’s Countervail (CV) technology, which uses a “viscoelastic resin” that is said to reduce vibrations. Follow the link to learn more about the new Methanol VC FS.
100% launches Peter Sagan LE collection
Feeling Sagan fever as the Tour approaches? You’re in luck. 100% has announced the 2019 Peter Sagan LE Collection.
Showcasing a metallic blue topaz and metallic luster for the not-so-subtle racer (much like Sagan himself) 100% is offering the Peter Sagan LE Collection in limited quantities worldwide in four of 100%’s Sports Performance frame styles: S3, S2, Speedcraft, and Speedtrap.
Each model features the Sagan and 100% logos and is packaged in Limited Edition packaging.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Greg Van Avermaet in yellow at the 2018 Tour de France. Photo: Gruber Images