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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Steve Cummings is calling it a career, Ineos signs Spanish youngster Carlos Rodríguez, John Degenkolb hopes that he and Philippe Gilbert can take Lotto-Soudal “to a higher level.” Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Cummings decides to retire
Steve Cummings is calling it a career.
The 38-year-old Briton, a two-time Tour de France stage winner, announced his retirement from racing on the Never Strays Far podcast. At the end of his fifth year with the Dimension Data organization, Cummings found himself outside of the team’s 2020 plans and unable to secure a ride elsewhere in the peloton.
“I wanted to continue another year or so. I felt physically pretty good. And then just the opportunity wasn’t there to continue,” Cummings said. “I searched around for opportunities and they kind of dried up. So I’ve got to apply to a different job. It’s as simple as that—I could say something else but that’s the truth.”
Cummings, who first emerged as a rider to watch on the track, turned pro on the road in 2005. He rode with Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, Discovery Channel, Barloworld, Sky, and BMC before joining the MTN-Qhubeka squad that ultimately became Dimension Data.
He enjoyed the most successful seasons of his career in his first two years with the South African team, winning a stage at the 2015 Tour de France and following that up with an impressive 2016 campaign that saw him win another Tour stage and the overall title at the Tour of Britain, among other big results.
Results have been harder to come by since, and his 2019 season ended when he crashed out of the Tour of Britain and suffered multiple fractured vertebrae. While he said he would have preferred that things concluded on a better note, Cummings said he was also ready to hang up the wheels.
“I was happy to continue but I was also happy to stop,” he said. “I’m not sitting here super sad. I’m just grateful for the opportunities I’ve had. I’m pretty privileged really to have lived my dream.”
If you haven’t seen it yet, CyclingTips took a closer look at the distinctive bike TeamGB’s plans to use on the track at the Tokyo Olympics.
Ineos signs Spanish junior TT champ Rodríguez
Ineos has announced the signing of Spanish youngster Carlos Rodríguez for 2020.
The 18-year-old Spanish junior time trial champion put his potential on display with victories at the Gipuzkoa Klasika and the Tour de Gironde this spring. His move to Ineos will take him straight from the junior ranks to the top division, and his deal is a lengthy one; Ineos has signed him through 2023.
“He’ll start from zero, learn everything and find his place in professional cycling. I think he’s going to be a really good climber in the future,” said Ineos coach Xabier Artetxe. “He’s an exciting talent, a bright guy doing a university course in engineering. It’s an important focus for him, keeping up his studies and his cycling.”
Rodríguez is only the second 2020 signing officially announced by the Ineos squad so far. The team will also bring on Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz next year, but as of yet the only other transfer news from the team has been in the form of departures by riders like Wout Poels and David de la Cruz.
Lemond advises Bernal not to work for Froome
Greg Lemond knows a thing or two about intra-team leadership conflicts, and he has some words of advice for Egan Bernal. The rider who famously won the 1986 Tour despite battling his own teammate Bernard Hinault for leadership, said in interview with VeloNews that he does not think that Bernal should work for Ineos teammate Chris Froome at next year’s Tour.
“But I think Egan Bernal, his victory at 22 years old … I just heard that he said he might be willing to work for Chris Froome. Please, Chris Froome is not your friend. And the moment that you give a victory away to him, it will be a loss for his career and his life. Do not do that,” LeMond told VeloNews.
“I’m sorry, Chris Froome’s at the end of his career and this guy’s at the beginning, he should not give any gifts to anybody. It’s his for the taking and he’s stronger than Chris.”
Bigla signs former cross-country eliminator world champ Stirnemann
Bigla Pro Cycling, which will be Bigla-Katusha next year, has signed Kathrin Stirnemann for 2020.
The 30-year-old Swiss rider is a two-time cross-country eliminator world champion, and will combine mountain bike and road racing in her new team.
“I think that my strong technical skills on the bike will also be helpful on the road,” she said. “The quick starts in mountain biking have already given me a feel for the hectic nature that I can expect in the peloton, and I’m also hoping to be able to transfer my sprinting skills well on the road.”
Degenkolb hoping to take Lotto-Soudal “to a higher level” alongside Gilbert
Lotto-Soudal will count on the services of two new signees with strong resumes next year in John Degenkolb and Philippe Gilbert. Degenkolb told radsport-news.com that he has high hopes for the coming year.
“We had the first team meeting and talked roughly about the direction it will take – especially for the classics – we want to take the team to a higher level and get more results than in the past,” Degenkolb said.
It remains to be seen how the team will juggle the aspirations of both Degenkolb and Gilbert next year, but Degenkolb said that the two can work together.
“It was already clear during the Vuelta that we would both switch to Lotto Soudal and we already had one or two opportunities to talk, we get along well,” he said. “There will be a lot of overlaps in the spring and we will be traveling together – even in winter – to create a certain foundation in the team.”
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: The GC group ascending on stage 14 of the Tour de France. Photo: Gruber Images