Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.
Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Samuele Battistella wins the under-23 men’s world road title in Yorkshire after Nils Eekhoff is disqualified, Megan Jastrab triumphs in the junior women’s road race, Jumbo-Visma signs Australia’s Chris Harper, Chris Froome will ride at the Saitama Criterium. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Battistella wins under-23 men’s road race in Yorkshire after jury disqualifies Eekhoff
Italy’s Samuele Battistella was not the first rider across the line in a close reduced sprint battle at the end of the under-23 men’s road race at Yorkshire Worlds, but he is the new U23 champ just the same. The 20-year-old Italian took the victory after Nils Eekhoff (Netherlands), who initially took the sprint, was disqualified after the finish for drafting on a team car following a mid-race crash.
As such, Battistella stood atop the final podium with Stefan Bissegger (Switzerland) and Tom Pidcock (Great Britain) after 173 kilometers of racing from Doncaster to Harrogate in Yorkshire.
The U23 men’s race, which took place under at least slightly drier conditions than have been the norm this year’s rain-soaked Yorkshire Worlds, saw numerous attacks and splits in the wind throughout the day.
A crash with well over a hundred kilometers to go saw Eekhoff forced to chase back up to the peloton, and in the process, he spent some time drafting behind a car. He made the catch, but the decision would cost him.
A select group that included Pidcock and Battistella led into the last 10 kilometers with a decent gap on Eekhoff and others in a chasing group behind. As attacks opened cracks in the lead group over the ensuing few minutes, however, the pursuit closed in on the surviving riders out front.
Just one kilometer from the finish line, Eekhoff, Colombia’s Sergio Higuita, and Denmark’s Andreas Kron made the catch with the four out front to form the seven-rider lead group that would contest the finish.
With no one nation enjoying a numerical advantage, the leaders spent the next few hundred meters of uphill roads looking at each other, trying to avoid taking up the sprint too early. Eekhoff found himself in the unenviable position of being at the front with 200 meters to go when the riders began to wind up their sprints
Higuita briefly surged to the head of affairs on Eekhoff’s right and Pidcock pulled even on his left, but Eekhoff pulled ahead as he hit top speed. Battistella and Bissegger closed in as Pidcock and Higuita faded, but Eekhoff held on to hit the line first just ahead of Battistella. Around an hour later, however, the jury decided to disqualify Eekhoff for his prior drafting, making Battistella the new U23 world champ.
1 EEKHOFF Nils (Netherlands) 3:53:52
2 BATTISTELLA Samuele (Italy)
3 BISSEGGER Stefan (Switzerland)
4 PIDCOCK Thomas (Great Britain)
5 HIGUITA Sergio (Colombia)
6 KRON Andreas (Denmark)
7 FOSS Tobias (Norway)
8 EENKHOORN Pascal (Netherlands) 0:38
9 BJERG Mikkel (Denmark)
10 BURGAUDEAU Mathieu (France)
Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott), whose climbing talents and constant smile have won plenty of fans over the course of his career, has ridden through some ups and downs along the way.
A new 22-minute documentary offers a look into Chaves’s life both in the races and at home behind the scenes.
You can check out the preview here …
… and watch the full documentary here …
Jastrab wins junior women’s world road title
Megan Jastrab delivered a third American gold medal in four days at Yorkshire Worlds with an impressive performance in Friday’s junior women’s road race.
The up-and-coming 17-year-old topped Julie De Wilde (Belgium) and Lieke Nooijen (Netherlands) to win the junior world title after 86 kilometers of racing from Doncaster to Harrogate.
“I can’t believe it,” Jastrab said after her win. “I’m just smiling ear-to-ear right now and I’m just so grateful for my teammates today.”
After a handful of attacks and regroupings and a few crashes in the first half of the day, the junior women’s race heated up inside the final 30 kilometers, when Catalina Soto (Chile) and Cedrine Kerbaol (France) attacked off the front. The pair built a decent gap but the American squad led a committed chase in the peloton behind.
With seven kilometers to race, Soto dropped Kerbaol, who was then caught, but the pack reeled in Soto as well with three kilometers left to race.
That was the cue for Aigul Gareeva (Russia), the new junior women’s world time trial champ, to put in a big attack on the lumpy roads near the finish. Only Jastrab could follow. The duo built a small advantage on the peloton before playing a bit of cat-and-mouse in the final kilometer, allowing the pack to close back in. Jastrab’s final kick proved too strong for either Gareeva or the chasers to match, however.
The pack caught Gareeva on the finishing straight, but Jastrab held out to take the victory ahead of De Wilde and Nooijen.
1 JASTRAB Megan (United States) 2:08:00
2 DE WILDE Julie (Belgium)
3 NOOIJEN Lieke (Netherlands)
4 GAREEVA Aigul (Russia)
5 BÄCKSTEDT Elynor (Great Britain)
6 RÜEGG Noemi (Switzerland)
7 VAS Kata Blanka (Hungary)
8 CURINIER Lea (France)
9 MATHISEN Silje (Norway)
10 VALLIERES Magdeleine (Canada)
Froome to return to “racing” at Saitama Criterium
Whether or not it qualifies as a return to competitive racing is up for debate, but Chris Froome will get back to riding his bike around fellow pros and in front of fans this October at the Saitama Criterium in Japan.
The four-time Tour de France winner has not raced since a crash during a recon of the Critérium du Dauphiné time trial in June left him with multiple serious injuries. Hard at work on his recovery ever since, however, Froome returned to training in late August.
Now, as AFP reports, he is expected to participate in the team time trial event at the exhibition-oriented Saitama Criterium next month.
Jumbo-Visma signs Australia’s Chris Harper
Chris Harper is headed to the WorldTour. The 24-year-old Australian, who has enjoyed a career season with Australian Continental outfit BridgeLane in 2019, has signed a two-year deal to join Jumbo-Visma.
“It is the perfect environment for me to continue and develop as a rider as well as contribute to achieving the team goals,” Harper said in the team’s announcement of the deal.
Harper put his stage racing talents on display early on in the year with a fourth place finish at the Herald Sun Tour, and only upped the ante from there. In May he won the Tour of Japan, and in June he rode to a dominant overall victory at Le Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc, taking the general classification by six minutes.
Now, he’ll have a chance to test himself against top-division talent.
“Chris has excelled in the continental circuit,” said Jumbo-Visma sports director Merijn Zeeman. “We think that he can show more of himself and that is why we give him a chance on World Tour level.”
AIGCP rejects “key elements” of UCI’s Classics Series plans
The AIGCP, the International Association of Professional Cycling Teams, released a statement on Thursday opposing the current plans for the UCI’s “Classics Series,” set to be implemented in 2020.
As part of the UCI’s broad-ranging 2020 Reform plans, the Classics Series would elevate certain one-day races to a higher category to form a season-wide series with an overall title up for grabs. In its statement, the AIGCP expressed frustration with the proposals and the process behind their formation.
Of the opinion that “teams’ and riders’ rights are neither being recognized or respected,” the AIGCP has “informed the UCI of its rejection of the Classics Series as it is being implemented by the UCI and that no team or contracted rider may be associated with any such Classics Series without the express consent of that team.
What that will mean for the proposed series next season remains to be seen.
Trek-Segafredo signs Elynor Bäckstedt
Elynor Bäckstedt will turn pro in 2020 with Trek-Segafredo, the team announced on Friday.
The 17-year-old Brit has enjoyed a big season on the junior women’s circuit, winning the Gent-Wevelgem juniors race and the EPZ Omloop van Borsele along with other results. She finished third in the junior women’s time trial and fifth in the junior women’s road race at Yorkshire Worlds this week.
“It doesn’t feel real yet, and I can’t wait to meet up with the rest of the team,” said Bäckstedt. “Trek do so much for women’s cycling, supporting female riders and helping them develop and treating everyone the same, that it is an honor to join them.”
New Zealand’s Pioneer Mountain Bike Stage Race heading to North Island in 2020
The Pioneer Mountain Bike Stage Race, about to embark on its fourth edition this December, will shift to the North Island in 2020.
“The Pioneer has already created lifelong memories and taken riders on some amazing trails, from Christchurch, Lake Tekapo, Ben Ohau, Lake Hawea, Snow Farm, Bannockburn and many more,” said race founder Dave Beeche. “And now in 2020 we will add to that impressive array of New Zealand’s best riding trails and stunning countryside at the yet to be disclosed new North Island location.”
Before that move, of course, there’s plenty of racing on the docket. This year’s event, which starts and finishes in Queenstown, will traverse a total of 433 kilometers – and 12,540 meters of climbing – across a prologue and six stages.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: The final podium for the the under-23 men’s road race at Yorkshire Worlds. Photo: SWPics/Cor Vos © 2019