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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Michael Matthews, Chad Haga, and Cees Bol renew contracts with Sunweb, rumors swirl around Tom Dumoulin’s potential departure, Dimension Data brass disagreed over leaving Mark Cavendish out of the Tour de France lineup. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Matthews, Haga, and Bol extend with Sunweb
Michael Matthews will ride on in Sunweb kit through the 2021 season. The 28-year-old Australian has signed a contract extension to stay for two more years at the team he joined in 2017.
“I’ve already had an amazing two and a half years with the team, with lots of great memories. I think this is a good environment for me to develop and I can’t wait to make even more memories with our big family in Team Sunweb.”
Matthews came on board with Sunweb after spending four seasons in the Orica-GreenEdge (now Mitchelton-Scott) organization, where he had first emerged as a rising star. He was quick to find results with his new team, winning two stages and the green jersey at the 2017 Tour de France. Matthews also scored the rare double at GPs Québec and Montréal in 2018.
He is currently gearing up to start his fifth straight Tour de France in Brussels.
Matthews was not the only rider to sign a two-year extension with Sunweb. The German-based team also renewed the contracts of Chad Haga and Cees Bol.
“My whole career has been about making steady progress and improvement, and Team Sunweb’s philosophy and culture line up with my own perfectly to make that happen,” the 30-year-old American said.
A wrong turn for the men’s peloton at British nationals has managed to go relatively viral even outside the cycling world.
Apparently it was Adam Blythe leading the way, but the Lotto-Soudal rider is taking it in stride.
Dumoulin denies that he is leaving Sunweb
On the other side of the transfer news and rumor coin for Sunweb is Tom Dumoulin. It’s been a strange week for the 28-year-old Dutchman, with numerous rumors circulating regarding his future. Dumoulin may have a longterm contract in place with his Sunweb team, but various media outlets report that he is close to leaving the squad.
According to Dutch newspaper AD, Dumoulin has a deal in place with Jumbo-Visma and is in talks with Sunweb general manager Iwan Spekenbrink to dissolve his contract.
Tuesday night, Dumoulin denied that he would be leaving the team he has called home since 2012.
“A transition is currently out of the question,” he said, according to De Telegraaf.
Whatever the reality of the situation, it seems that all is not well between Dumoulin and Sunweb, amid a generally frustrating year for the 2017 Giro d’Italia winner that has seen him crash out of this year’s Giro and then miss an expected return to the Tour de France.
Further conversation between rider and team seems crucial to hashing out whatever is causing the apparent rift. Wielerflits reports that a meeting between Dumoulin and Sunweb management is scheduled.
Dimension Data brass reportedly disagreed over Cavendish omission from Tour roster
Mark Cavendish will miss the start of the Tour de France for the first time since 2007 after Dimension Data did not select him for the Tour lineup. According to a Press Association report, there was disagreement among team brass over the decision. Head of performance Rolf Aldag apparently wanted Cavendish in the squad, but team principal Doug Ryder ultimately made the decision to omit the 30-time stage winner.
Cavendish has struggled to find form after battling Epstein Barr last season, and has not taken a pro win since February of 2018. Dimension Data’s initial roster announcement did not mention him or provide any explanation for his absence.
A statement from Dimension Data has since addressed the topic.
“Selection for our Tour squad was a highly-competitive process and one in which a panel weighed up the options provided to us not only by Mark but indeed all of our riders,” the team said via the statement. “As you’d expect among a selection panel, there were a number of different preferences of the final squad make up with our team principal, Doug Ryder, making the final decision on it.”
Cavendish said he was “heartbroken” to miss the race in posts on his social media accounts.
Tour organizers say they are working to reduce plastic in giveaways thrown from marketing caravan
A group of French Parliament members has criticized the plastic pollution created by the “18 million goodies that are distributed and thrown into the wild” by the Tour de France marketing caravan,” AFP reports.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme responded on Wednesday, saying that the ASO is trying to address the issue.
“For five years now, we have been working with our partners to reduce plastic in the gifts that sponsors give the public,” Tour director Christian Prudhomme wrote to French MPs, according to AFP. “We have included in the specifications and standards that we impose on our partners, the obligation to be part of a process to reduce the use of plastic.”
“For example, caps and T-shirts that once were packaged in a plastic bag are now always distributed without packaging.”
BMC dips its toes into E-road with a dropbar version of the AlpenChallenge AMP
It’s looking like 2020 is the going to be the year of two things: lightweight aero-inspired race bikes and e-road bikes. BMC is tipping its cap into the latter, with its existing AlpenChallenge AMP platform receiving dropbar options. Where many e-road bikes are adopting stealthy motor systems such as the Fazua or Ebikemotion, BMC has gone the blatant power route with Shimano’s top-tier E-8000 Steps mountain bike system.
Combine that with a carbon fiber frame that offers BMC’s ICS integrated cockpit at the front (top-tier model only) and the MTT soft-tail concept at the back, and this is a surprisingly interesting and versatile bike.
It’s a bike that tech editor Dave Rome rode in addition to the new Roadmachine, summing up his experience as, “It’s a hilarious feeling to ride up a sustained 10 percent gradient at 25km/ph while eating a nut bar no handed.” However, while he had a good time, Rome notes that it is just BMC’s flat bar e-bike with a dropbar, and so it has some geometry and handling quirks that stop it from being worthy of deeper coverage.
See more at BMC’s website.
Happy birthday to …
Fabio Aru is 29. To celebrate his birthday, the Italian UAE-Team Emirates rider is about to embark on a highly competitive three-week ride around Belgium and France.
Aru, winner of the 2015 Vuelta a España, has battled health woes recently, but is hoping to return to form after a successful surgery to repair a constricted iliac artery.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Michael Matthews wins stage 2 of the Volta a Catalunya. Photo: Luis Gomez/Cor Vos © 2019