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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Medical tribunal hears evidence that Richard Freeman researched testosterone on his laptop, Ineos signs Pan-American Continental time trial champ Brandon Rivera, Van Avermaet shakes up his offseason approach in effort to peak later. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Freeman’s laptop data included research on testosterone
According to the Daily Mail, the Richard Freeman medical tribunal heard on Wednesday that the former British Cycling and Sky doctor downloaded information on testosterone onto his laptop a month before the shipment of testosterone at the center of the case.
Answering questions regarding the research Freeman did on a laptop that was ultimately seized by investigators, anti-doping expert witness David Cowan “noted with interest the monitoring of levels of testosterone in the blood of cyclists,” the Daily Mail reports.
Cowan said that the material Freeman downloaded “indicated a lot of knowledge and interest of testosterone concentration in riders.”
Freeman’s lawyer Mary O’Rourke, in what the Daily Mail reports was another testy back-and-forth in a hearing that has had plenty of them already, argued that Freeman would have had to have knowledge on testosterone as a doctor for athletes tested regularly for the substance.
Freeman’s tribunal continues on Thursday.
Tim Wellens and Thomas De Gendt are planning to reprise their “Final Breakaway” ride, which took them 1,000 kilometers from Lombardy to Flanders after Il Lombardia last year, with the “Final Breakaway 2” this week—but the adventure is apparently delayed.
When they do get underway, Wellens and De Gendt will be rolling through the “Montañas Vacías,” or Spain’s Lapland, which you can see more of on CyclingTips …
Ineos signs Pan-Am Continental TT champ Rivera
A day after announcing the signing of Spanish junior time trial champ Carlos Rodríguez, Ineos has announced the addition of another up-and-comer with talent against the clock for 2020. Brandon Rivera, the reigning Pan-American Continental TT champion, will join the British WorldTour outfit on a two-year deal.
“Brandon is versatile and he can become a really good support rider for the team. He’s a strong time trialist, he can climb well and he’s also fast when sprinting from a small group,” Ineos coach Xabier Artetxe said of the 23-year-old Colombian, who raced with the GW-Shimano Continental squad in 2019.
“He was racing in Europe two years ago but he didn’t have the best experience as he had a knee injury. But last year he came back to Colombia and he had a really good season. He’s stepped up a lot and I think he’s ready for the WorldTour.”
In joining Ineos, Rivera will now be teammates with a longtime friend, Egan Bernal. The pair rose through the Colombian mountain biking ranks as teenagers, often racing against each other, and they continue to train together today.
“We have known each other since the age of 10 when we started on the mountain bike in Zipaquirá,” Rivera said. “We were both full of dreams, and so to now be riding together again is incredible. I have to thank him very much for riding with me all these years and for always believing in me.”
Van Avermaet shakes up his offseason routine
Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) is mixing things up this offseason in an attempt to get back to his best following two Classics campaigns that did not live up to his expectations.
Het Nieuwsblad reports that the 2017 Paris-Roubaix winner took a six-week rest period to start his offseason, two weeks longer than he normally does, as part of a plan to peak later in the spring. Looking ahead to next season, Van Avermaet will do an altitude training camp in January and then skip the Tour of Oman in February for the first time in years before starting his season in Europe.
Hagens Berman Axeon signs Australian U23 crit champ Drizners
Jarrad Drizners will join the Hagens Berman Axeon squad next year, the team has announced. The 20-year-old from Adelaide is Australia’s reigning under-23 criterium champion and a talented track rider as well.
“His focus has been split between road and track and he has excelled in both,” said sports director Jeff Louder. “He has proven to be a strong competitor on home soil and in Europe and I expect to see him continue to continue his development as a fast finisher and hard man on the international stage.”
In moving to Hagens Berman Axeon, Drizners joins one of the most successful development-focused programs in the peloton. Team alumni include George Bennett, Taylor Phinney, and Tao Geoghegan Hart, to name just a few.
In other news …
NTSB criticizes Uber’s “ineffective safety culture,” concludes backup driver was probable cause for fatal self-driving car crash in hearing
The US National Transportation Safety Board has detailed its findings on the fatal self-driving car crash that killed Elaine Herzberg in March of 2018. The NTSB listed a combination of causes as leading to the collision, citing Uber’s “ineffective safety culture” as one of several “contributing” causes while determining that the probable cause of the crash came down to the back-up safety driver, who “was visually distracted throughout the trip by her personal cell phone.”
The NTSB characterized Herzberg’s crossing of the street outside of a crosswalk, and while potentially impaired by drugs, as one of the “further factors contributing to the crash,” alongside “insufficient oversight” from the the Arizona Department of Transportation into testing of the vehicles.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: The peloton on stage 7 of the Tour de France. Photo: ©kramon