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by Dane Cash
August 8, 2019
Photography by Cor Vos, Gruber Images
Luka Mezgec wins stage 5 of the Tour of Poland, Peter Sagan is expected to race the Cyclassics Hamburg and the Canadian GPs instead of the Vuelta as he builds toward worlds, the Netherlands wins the mixed relay TTT at the European championships. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) picked up his second victory at this year’s Tour of Poland on stage 5.
Wednesday saw the peloton return to competition at the weeklong WorldTour race after organizers neutralized stage 4 following the death of Bjorg Lambrecht. His Lotto-Soudal teammates led the pack across the line after an emotional ride to honor the 22-year-old Belgian, who passed away after crashing on stage 3. The team left it up to the riders whether to remain in the race, and the riders decided to continue on Wednesday morning.
The 154-kilometer stage from Wieliczka to Bielsko-Biala featured a lumpy profile concluding on a hilly finishing circuit, offering plenty of opportunities for attacks. The final half hour of racing saw several attempts to get clear of the pack.
A trio of Simon Geschke (CCC), Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton-Scott), and Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) was caught with around five kilometers to go. Miguel Ángel López (Astana) and Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) tried their luck inside the uphill final two kilometers, but an Ineos-led peloton closed down the move, setting up a sprint.
Ineos’s Ben Swift went early on the finishing straight but Mezgec surged past to take a convincing win by multiple bike lengths, with Eduard Prades (Movistar) taking second and Swift in third. The win is Mezgec’s second in this year’s race after he won stage 2.
Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) remains atop the general classification, but with a GC shakeup likely for the final two stages of the race.
Chris Froome talked about the impressive Tour de France performance of his Ineos Egan Bernal in a team-produced video released on Wednesday.
“He’s someone who is going to go on to do amazing things in our sport, but I didn’t expect to have him down as the 2019 winner of the Tour de France,” Froome said.
“Egan’s life is about to change forever.”
Sagan eyes Hamburg and Canada one-day races as he builds towards worlds
Peter Sagan is eyeing the WorldTour circuit races in Hamburg, Montréal, and Québec for his build-up to the 2019 road world championships, Bora-Hansgrohe sports director Ján Valach told Pravda.sk.
The three-time world champion will be among the top favorites for the road race this September, and his preparation will eschew a return to the Vuelta a España as he instead lines up at the Euroeyes Cyclassics Hamburg, the GPs Québec and Montréal, and Belgium’s Primus Classic and Gooikse Pijl before heading to Yorkshire.
Peter Sagan wins stage 5 of the Tour de France. Photo: Gruber Images
Sagan has had success with both approaches in recent years. He won his first world title in Richmond after racing the Vuelta, while taking his 2016 and 2017 worlds wins after racing the two WorldTour events in Canada. He won the GP Québec on both of those occasions, and has also won the GP Montréal, in 2013.
Pravda’s interview with Valach also touched on the possibility of Sagan racing the Giro d’Italia in the future. Sagan has said in the past that he would like to make his Giro debut at some point, having ridden four Vueltas and eight Tours de France but never starting the Italian Grand Tour.
“Maybe he will try the Giro once, why not?” Valach said. “Whether it will be next year, I do not know. It is certain that he would then have to adapt his program, which has been very similar in recent years. However, I would not see a problem in that, Peter has proved many times that he can prepare well for his peaks of the season.”
Netherlands wins inaugural mixed relay TTT at European championships
The Netherlands won the mixed relay team time trial at the European road championships on home soil in Alkmaar. It was the inaugural edition of the event and an opportunity to get a first look at the new format, which will make its world championships debut in Yorkshire, replacing the trade team TTT.
The Dutch national team after winning the mixed relay TTT at the European championships. Photo: Dario Belingheri/Cor Vos © 2019
The trio of Bauke Mollema, Ramon Sinkeldam, and Koen Bouwman set the fastest men’s time on the 22.4-kilometer course on Wednesday, and then Floortje Mackaij, Amy Pieters, and Riejanne Markus took to the road, setting the fastest women’s time, making for a winning performance all around.
Germany and Italy rounded out the podium.
Brajkovic details struggles with eating disorder
Janez Brajkovic has written about his battle with an eating disorder and the way eating disorders are often ignored in the pro peloton in a post on his personal blog.
The 35-year-old Slovenian was issued a 10-month suspension from the UCI after a positive test in April of 2018, when he was racing for the Adria Mobil squad. At the time of the ban, Brajkovic said that the positive was due to a contaminated food supplement, and stated that the UCI had accepted his explanation and therefore issued the reduced sanction. In his blog post this week, Brajkovic went into further detail, saying that the supplement in question had been the only thing he was able to keep in as he battled bulimia.
He also touched on the wider issue of eating disorders in cycling.
“Every team I’ve been on, from Continental to Pro Continental to World Tour, I’ve had teammates struggling,” he wrote. “There were at least five, six, with an eating disorder, many more with disordered eating behaviors.”
You can read the full post here.
Morton, Howes, and Phinney head to Leadville
Lachlan Morton, Alex Howes, and Taylor Phinney will represent EF Education First at the upcoming Leadville Trail 100 MTB.
The high-altitude mountain bike race marks the next event on EF’s alternative racing calendar, which has also seen riders from the squad race Dirty Kanza and the inaugural GBDuro so far this year.
“It’s kind of crazy, a hundred miles at over ten thousand feet. It’s fun being a roadie and testing yourself against all the mountain bike racers,” Howes said. “Everyone expects us to crash the whole time. Getting out there, showing that we can stay upright – I say that and I’ll probably biff it now – but that’s part of the motivation.”
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Feature Image: Luka Mezgec wins stage 5 of the Tour of Poland. Photo: Szymon Gruchalski/Cor Vos © 2019