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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Raymond Poulidor dies at 83, Romain Bardet will skip the 2020 Tour de France, Zwift Academy finalists announced, Paralympian Kieran Modra killed in collision with car. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Poulidor dies at age 83
Raymond Poulidor has died at 83 years old.
The legendary French cyclist, who won the Vuelta a España and Milano-Sanremo during his career and famously finished on the Tour de France podium eight times without ever winning, had been in the hospital since last month with a heart condition.
“He left us this morning,” his wife Gisele told AFP on Wednesday.
Poulidor, whose consistent record of coming up just short at the Tour earned him the love of the French public, remained close to cycling after he retired. He was a fixture at Tour de France start village as an ambassador for the sponsor of the yellow jersey, Credit Lyonnais. Moreover, his familial connections run strong with recent stars of the sport. Poulidor’s daughter Corinne married Adri van der Poel. In recent years, their son – Poulidor’s grandson – Mathieu van der Poel has emerged as one of the sport’s most recognizable names.
As news of Poulidor’s passing emerged on Wednesday, people from across the world of cycling paid tribute to the icon affectionately known as “Poupou.”
Always a friendly face and a kind word. He will be dearly missed. Rest In Peace Poupou pic.twitter.com/e23GPTuK4b
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) November 13, 2019
Beauty of Cycling
You don’t necessarily need an Alpine backdrop to take a great cycling photo.
Romain Bardet to skip Tour
Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) plans to skip the 2020 Tour de France.
The 29-year-old Frenchman announced his program on Wednesday at Ag2r’s training camp in the Alps. Instead of the Tour, Bardet will target a debut start at the Giro d’Italia, the Tokyo Olympics, and the road world championships.
“I have never hidden my desire to participate in the Giro d’Italia in my best condition, with the desire to shine. It is time to open new horizons, and dividing up the season with these three major objectives, is exciting,” Bardet said.
“It was not easy to give up the Tour de France, which has brought me so much, and which is a race that I love deeply. But it seemed like a good time to open a parenthesis to the beautiful story that connects me to this race, with the intention of coming back even better next year.”
Of Bardet’s eight career Grand Tour starts, seven have been at the Tour, with one appearance at the Vuelta (which he is also expected to race next year). He has finished on the Tour’s GC podium twice. He has also won the king of the mountains title twice, including this year. Despite the polka dots, however, his 2019 Tour did not go as planned, with Bardet finishing outside the overall top 10.
With three time trials, next year’s Giro route is not the most favorable to Bardet’s climbing skill set, but he seems to be up for a challenge.
“It’s a route which entices me enormously,” Bardet said, according to Cyclingnews. “There are long stages with huge elevation gain, especially in the final week. It’s true, there are three time trials, but there was a lot of time trialling this year and a climber won.”
Zwift Academy finalists announced
Zwift has announced the six finalists of the 2019 Zwift Academy who will now vie for contracts with Canyon-Sram and Dimension Data’s newly rebranded NTT under-23 team.
The three men’s and three women’s finalists were selected out of 12 men’s and 12 women’s semi-finalists. They will now head to Spain in December for team camps with Canyon-Sram and Dimension Data, respectively. Each team will select one rider to receive a contract for 2020.
The finalists are Catherine Colyn, Jessica Pratt, and Samara Sheppard on the women’s side, and Drew Christensen, Mathijs Loman, and Campbell Pithie on the men’s.
Big viewership numbers for women’s Jaarmarktcross race
Very interesting stuff from Daam van Reeth, a professor at KU Leuven who is always tracking trends in cycling viewership numbers.
Historic moment for TV viewership of women's #cyclocross in Flanders. For the first time ever Flemish TV audiences @sporza_koers for the women's race were better than for the men's race: 577K v 562K for #jaarmarktcross in Niel on Monday. #veldrijden @UCI_CX
— Daam Van Reeth (@vrdaam) November 12, 2019
Paralympian Kieran Modra killed in collision with car while training
Australian Paralympian Kieran Modra was killed in a crash with a car while he was riding north of Adelaide on Wednesday morning. According to The Age, the 47-year-old was hit by a car traveling the same direction and died at the scene.
Modra was a decorated Paralympic athlete whose career spanned decades. Born with visual impairment due to juvenile optic atrophy, he competed in his first Paralympics in 1988 in athletics before switching focus to swimming and then cycling, where he starred in tandem track events. He won five gold medals and five bronze medals across eight Paralympic Games.
According to a statement, South Australian police are investigating the crash that led to his death.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: The peloton on stage 15 of the Tour de France. Photo: Gruber Images