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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Eddy Merckx is in the hospital after crashing during a bike ride, Vincenzo Nibali eyes the 2020 Giro d’Italia and the Tokyo Olympics, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig will join FDJ Nouvelle Acquitaine-Futuroscope in 2020. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Eddy Merckx hospitalized
Eddy Merckx is in the hospital after crashing while riding his bike with friends on Sunday, Het Nieuwsblad reports.
The 74-year-old Belgian cycling great sustained a “serious head injury” and was taken to a hospital near Ghent. According to Het Nieuwsblad, Merckx, who uses a pacemaker, is now being transferred to a “regular” hospital room, and doctors will continue to evaluate him.
“I had contact with his wife last night,” friend Paul Van Himst told Sporza. “According to her, it is all-in-all good. Today, further exams are planned.”
Merckx compiled what is generally regarded as cycling’s most impressive palmares over his career. Between 1965 and 1977, he won five Tours de France, five Giri d’Italia, a Vuelta a España, 19 Monuments, and three world road titles. His first ever Tour win in 1969 was honored this past summer in its 50th anniversary at the Tour’s Grand Départ in Brussels.
Dave Rome recently took a look at Giant’s Contend AR 1, which means that you can too over on the CyclingTips YouTube channel.
For the full review, click here.
Nibali eyes 2020 Giro and Olympics
Vincenzo Nibali could skip next year’s Tour de France as he looks toward the 2020 Giro d’Italia and the Tokyo Olympics, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The 34-year-old Italian, who will join Trek-Segafredo next season after three years with Bahrain-Merida, is targeting a third career Giro title and also an Olympic gold medal next summer. With the Olympic road race coming less than a week after the final stage of the Tour, he may opt out of starting Le Grande Boucle to be in the best possible shape for a one-day showdown in Tokyo.
Nibali’s last Olympic appearance ended in heartbreak. While off the front in a select group in the Rio finale and in strong contention for a medal, he crashed on a descent and broke his collarbone. A lumpy Tokyo parcours could mean another chance at a medal next July.
Froome: Bernal will support me at 2020 Tour if I’m the strongest
The Ineos team will have some interesting decisions to make on the leadership front at next year’s Tour de France, with the last three Tour winners all on the same team. Four-time winner Chris Froome missed the race this year, but he expects to contend at next year’s race even with 2019 champ Egan Bernal on the roster.
Froome was interviewed on France Télévisions this weekend and was asked if Bernal would plan to ride for him next July.
“He has said he is,” Froome said. “I need to be the strongest. If he’s the strongest, then I’ll be happy if he wins, because that’s how racing goes. The strongest rider wins.”
A serious crash during his recon of the Critérium du Dauphiné time trial this spring left Froome with multiple fractures. He has not raced since, missing the Tour for the first time since 2011. He is currently working his way back into training.
“A fifth Tour title was a big deal in itself. But going for a fifth title off of what was potentially a career-ending crash, that would be even bigger,” Froome said.
“There were loads of people who came out after the crash and said ‘He’s done. He’ll never win another Tour.’ They only spur me on.”
Uttrup Ludwig heading to FDJ
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig will join FDJ Nouvelle Acquitaine-Futuroscope next year after three seasons with Bigla.
The 24-year-old Dane enjoyed a strong 2019 campaign with podium finishes at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Tour of Flanders, and La Course, and a win at the Grand Prix de Plumelec-Morbihan.
The FDJ Nouvelle Acquitaine-Futuroscope squad found wins hard to come by this year, but the French outfit was one of eight women’s teams to apply for a WorldTour license for next season.
“I’m really looking forward to be a part of this ambitious project with the application for a World Tour license,” Uttrup Ludwig said in the team’s announcement of her signing. “I genuinely believe that I’ll have the best possibilities to take the next step in my development as a cyclist.”
Jones wins Taihu Lake stage 5
Brenton Jones (Delko Marseille Provence) won stage 5 of the Tour of Taihu Lake on Monday in a sprint finale. The 27-year-old Australian proved fastest to the finish line after 121.8 kilometers, topping Boris Vallée (Wanty-Gobert) and Imerio Cima (Nippo Vini Fantini) in Jurong to take his second pro win in China this season. Jones nabbed stage 2 of the Tour of Qinghai Lake in July.
New Zealand’s Dylan Kennett (St George) continues to lead the Tour of Taihu Lake with just one stage remaining.
Koppenburg signs with Bigla
Clara Koppenburg will return to Bigla after one season with WNT-Rotor.
The 24-year-old German turned pro with Bigla in 2015 and raced with the organization through a 2018 season that saw her pick up a handful of promising results. She nabbed her first big wins in 2019 with a stage and the overall title at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, and finished second overall at the Tour de l’Ardéche.
She will return to Bigla to take on a greater leadership role with the squad, with team manager Thomas Campana saying that that she will be a featured rider “particularly for difficult races like the Ardennes Classics and important stage races.”
Hats off to Phil Gaimon, who really puts in the effort finding new ways to innovate with food-related humor.
Really enjoying this giant cheese cookie pic.twitter.com/T20J1EKWT1
— Phil Gaimon (@philgaimon) October 14, 2019
The workout he uploaded to Strava doesn’t have much data to dive into but it looks like it was an enjoyable 15 minutes.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Eddy Merckx at the 2019 Tour de France. Photo: Vincent Kalut/PN/Cor Vos © 2019