Aru confident he can return to form and silence critics: Daily News Digest

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

Fabio Aru is confident he can get back to his best and silence his critics, Alejandro Valverde will return to Dwars door Vlaanderen next spring, Sofia Bertizzolo won’t be joining Movistar after all. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Aru wants to silence the critics in 2020

Fabio Aru (UAE-Team Emirates) says he is “convinced” that he will get back to his best after two frustrating seasons, La Gazzetta dello Sport reports.

The 29-year-old Italian, whose career highlights include a Vuelta a España overall victory and stage wins at all three Grand Tours, has not enjoyed the same success of his early career since moving to UAE-Team Emirates in 2018. He was treated for a constricted iliac artery this spring, however, and expects a full offseason to help him get back on track.

Fabio Aru on stage 6 of the Tour de France. Photo: ©kramon

“I’m convinced that I lost two seasons not through my fault, but I am equally convinced that I will be able to return to my level, fighting for important objectives, making the difference going uphill, and silencing the critics,” he told La Gazzetta.

Aru challenged his doubters in the press to criticize him face to face. He also said that he was the first person to be frustrated with his own performances, but that his long stretch without living up to his own expectations gave him motivation to get back to winning ways.

“If I really thought I couldn’t do more, fighting to stay with the best without any good reason, not being myself, then I would be the first in taking note and I would not discount stepping away,” he said. “But I think that’s a science fiction hypothesis, because I know I have the legs to be with the best.”

Socially Speaking

Thomas De Gendt and Tim Wellens are currently undertaking a bike-packing journey through Spain’s Montañas Vacías, and it definitely looks like the kind of fun you’d hope for out of a trek into the hinterland.

Race Radio

Valverde set for Dwars start

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will dip his toe into the waters of the Cobbled Classics again next year, with at least one big start on the pavé on his 2020 calendar. Dwars door Vlaanderen organizers have announced that Valverde will return and make his third straight start in the event.

Valverde raced Dwars in 2019 as a buildup for his first ever start at the Tour of Flanders, where he finished eighth. It remains to be seen whether he will return to De Ronde in 2020.

A lighter Van der Poel

Mathieu van der Poel, who has been practically untouchable since getting his cyclocross season underway, says he is significantly lighter at the moment than he was during his offseason.

“I’m sharp, currently weighing two kilos less than in the road season,” he said, according to Wielerflits.

Mathieu van der Poel wins the Koksijde round of the World Cup. Photo: Nico Vereecken/PN/Cor Vos © 2019

The reigning world ‘cross champ is fresh off of an impressive performance at the Koksijde World Cup, where he overcame an early delay due to a crash to dominate the field, but he downplayed that dominance somewhat after his win.

“It’s easier to make a difference here,” he said. “That will be a bit more difficult in the coming weeks, so it’s not really a harbinger for what’s coming.”

CPA working to protect rider e-sports data

The CPA – the Professional Cyclists Association – says it is committed to protecting the data of riders as virtual cycling continues to grow and emerges as a competitive discipline. With the CPA set to be part of a UCI working group on e-cycling, CPA president Gianni Bugno highlighted the organization’s focus on data privacy in a statement on Monday.

“Riders must be free to decide individually whether to let the teams release their data – and if so, at what cost – or to use their data personally for promotional reasons, or even to keep them entirely private,” he said.

You can read more here.

Bertizzolo not transferring to Movistar

Movistar announced the signing of Sofia Bertizzolo (Virtu) to a two-year contract in August, but the 22-year-old Italian will apparently not be joining the team after all.

Sofia Bertizzolo at the Ronde van Drenthe. Photo: Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2019

According to a statement from the team, Bertizzolo’s employment with the Italian police was a roadblock for the deal. Movistar’s press release pinned the cause on “the regulations regarding UCI Women’s WorldTour teams,” saying they “prevent the existence of dual work contracts, which in practice keeps Bertizzolo from starting her contract with the Blues on January 1st.”

As German journalist Felix Mattis points out, the legal issue may be specific to Spain and not the Women’s WorldTour generally, considering the fact that other members of the pro peloton are known to have multiple employment contracts without issue.

Swirbull signs with Ljubljana Gusto Santic

American up-and-comer Keegan Swirbull has signed with the Slovenian Continental squad Ljubljana Gusto Santic – the team that featured a young Tadej Pogacar before he was signed by UAE-Team Emirates.

Swirbull rode for the Floyd’s Pro Cycling team this year, but the project is closing shop after an unsuccessful search for new partners in 2020. The 24-year-old all-rounder climbed to second overall at the Tour de Langkawi earlier this year.

In case you missed it …

Feature Image: Fabio Aru on stage 6 of the Tour de France. Photo: Gregory van Gansen/Cor Vos © 2019

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