Wellens takes BinckBank lead, van der Poel wins in Norway: Daily News Digest

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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

Tim Wellens wins stage 4 and takes over the race lead at the BinckBank Tour, Fabio Aru is looking ahead to the Vuelta and confident he will ultimately return to form, van der Poel gets back to road racing and wins right away. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Wellens wins stage 4 at the BinckBank Tour

Tim Wellens took over the race lead at the BinckBank Tour with an emotional victory on stage 4, marking Lotto-Soudal’s first win since the tragic death of Bjorg Lambrecht, who passed away after crashing at the Tour of Poland earlier this month.

Wellens, who has twice won the overall title at the BinckBank Tour, topped Marc Hirschi (Sunweb) at the finish line in Houffalize, Belgium, with Laurens De Plus (Jumbo-Visma) taking third a few seconds later.

“This victory is very special,” Wellens said. “We still doubted whether we would start in this BinckBank Tour. Everyone on the team came here with Bjorg Lambrecht in mind. The victory is of course good for the team in a particularly difficult period, which is certainly not over yet. Far from it.”

The rainy 96.2-kilometer stage through the Ardennes region had just the sort of lumpy profile to favor the always-aggressive Wellens, who duly jumped into a long-range move and then joined an attack out of the escape that went the distance. After Wellens, Hirschi, and De Plus dropped Iván García (Bahrain-Merida) on the late climbs, the stage came down to a three-rider battle.

Hirschi led the way into the last 200 meters but Wellens timed his acceleration perfectly and came around to take the victory at the line. He now sits four seconds ahead of Hirschi in the general classification.

Socially Speaking

The BinckBank Tour peloton somehow managed to avoid a massive pileup on Wednesday’s stage 3, when someone walked in front of the bunch. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Race Radio

Van der Poel wins opening stage of the Arctic Race of Norway

Mathieu van der Poel showed no signs of rust in his return to the road after spending a few months racing his mountain bike. The 24-year-old Dutchman sprinted to victory on the opening stage of the Arctic Race of Norway.

Mathieu van der Poel wins stage 1 of the Arctic Race of Norway. Photo: SWPics/Cor Vos © 2019

Van der Poel topped Danny van Poppel (Jumbo-Visma) and Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Gobert) after 181 kilometers of racing from Å to Leknes.

With the win, van der Poel now has three straight victories in his last three days of racing on the road, even with a gap of around four months in between his April victories at Brabantse Pijl and the Amstel Gold Race and Thursday’s Arctic Race stage in the scenic Lofoten archipelago.

Hermans takes over Utah lead with Powder Mountain stage win

Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) is firmly in the lead at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah after winning Wednesday’s stage 2 on the grueling Powder Mountain climb.

Ben Hermans wins stage 2 of the Tour of Utah. Photo: Brian Hodes/Cor Vos © 2019

The 33-year-old Belgian climbed to victory on the steep ascent – featuring a gravel finish – ahead of James Piccoli (Elevate-KHS) and Niklas Eg (Trek-Segafredo). Hermans now leads the general classification with a 26-second advantage over Piccoli, with Eg the only other rider within one minute of his lead at 52 seconds back.

Aru confident in return to form, looking ahead to Vuelta

Fabio Aru (UAE-Team Emirates) is preparing for the Vuelta a España with “maximum motivation,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The 29-year-old Italian underwent surgery this spring to repair an iliac artery issue. The recovery period required derailed his planned participation at the Giro d’Italia, but as he told the Italian newspaper, the 2015 Vuelta winner is feeling confident in a return to form, with his ride at this year’s Tour de France boosting his morale.

“I can be great again, and I realized it at the Tour,” Aru told La Gazzetta. “I’m aware that I need time. I don’t know when, but I’ll get back to the top.”

Landa looking forward to sole leadership at Bahrain-Merida

Mikel Landa is headed to Bahrain-Merida in 2020 and he is looking forward to being his team’s clear leader after several seasons racing Grand Tours in shared leadership roles, the Basque climber told Radio Vitoria.

“I think a good team is being formed and I am assured of being the leader in the important races,” he said.

Mikel Landa on stage 14 of the Tour de France. Photo: ©kramon

Landa has spent the past two years at Movistar, where he has generally ridden as one of multiple featured riders in the biggest events. At both the 2018 and 2019 Tours de France, he was part of a multi-pronged approach with Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde. He started the 2019 Giro d’Italia as a co-leader as well, with teammate Richard Carapaz taking the overall win and Landa finishing fourth.

“The sports directors that we [Movistar] had at the Tour deserve a lot of credit because they had to manage the race with three leaders in one team,” Landa said. “I have a good relationship with Nairo, with the rest of my teammates, but the problem was the overlapping objectives within one big team.”

Sosa wins stage 3 of the Vuelta a Burgos

Iván Sosa (Ineos) ascended to the stage 3 win at the Vuelta a Burgos on the grueling Picón Blanco finishing climb, moving into the overall race lead.

The 21-year-old Colombian, one of his team’s marquee prospect signings this past offseason, took the win 17 seconds ahead of Óscar Rodríguez (Euskadi-Murias) with Antonio Pedrero (Movistar) a further seven seconds back in third.

Bicyclist dies after being shot while on a group ride

A Miami cyclist has died after he was shot while on a morning group ride. The Miami Herald reports that the victim was shot by a motorcyclist and died after being transported to the hospital.

According the Miami Herald, the motorcyclist was known and considered a friend to some of the cyclists, often riding alongside “videotaping them and blocking oncoming traffic.” Miami’s Local 10 News reports that a cyclist said the victim and the motorcyclist had been involved in an “ongoing dispute” for a few weeks. The motorcyclist was detained and questioned but an arrest had yet to be made as of Wednesday evening.

Tech News

Scicon now offering a women’s-specific saddle

Best known for its bags, Scicon joined the saddle market last year, and has now added a women’s-specific model to its the premium range. The women’s Elan saddle adds an additional 10mm width (244mm) and trims the nose by 4mm when compared to the existing stub-nose Elan saddle.

The saddle is said to have been designed with help of sports science and biomechanics professionals, and will reduce soft tissue pressure and increase hip stability. However, it’s full carbon construction means trialling one will set you back €199 / £180 / US$229 / AU$299.

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Feature Image: Tim Wellens wins stage 4 of the BinckBank Tour. Photo: Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2019

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