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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
The Freeman medical tribunal continues, Rick Zabel and Mads Würtz Schmidt will join Israel Cycling Academy from Katusha-Alpecin, BMC recalls 2018 and 2019 models of the Teammachine SLR 01 Disc. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Freeman tribunal continues as former British Cycling head of medicine and physiotherapist give evidence
Despite the absence of Dr. Richard Freeman himself, the Richard Freeman tribunal hearing continued on Thursday with Dr. Steve Peters, the former head of medicine at British Cycling and Team Sky, attending to answering questions. Former physiotherapist Phil Burt gave evidence on Friday morning.
Peters said he did not know the details behind the order of testosterone that Freeman had delivered to British Cycling headquarters. Freeman has alleged that British Cycling coach Shane Sutton “bullied” him into ordering the packets of Testogel to treat erectile dysfunction, which Sutton has denied. Peters expressed doubt in the General Medical Council’s argument that the testosterone was intended to be used to enhance athlete performance.
“It feels like I’m being asked being to solve the crime,” Peters said, according to the BBC.
“I have a man who’s lied to me, another man who is untrustworthy. It’s much more likely [Freeman] has used this for himself and there are reasons for that, which I don’t want to go into.”
Peters also said he was “led to believe” that the package of testosterone also contained Viagra, which Freeman’s lawyer Mary O’Rourke revealed was sometimes ordered to British Cycling to treat erectile dysfunction tied to long stints in the saddle. Burt’s account of opening the package, however, did not include the presence of Viagra, according to BBC’s Dan Roan.
Burt also described the souring of the relationship between Sutton and Freeman, pointing to an incident in 2015 as the cause of a major rift between the two.
Burt spoke of a "monumental falling out" between Sutton & Freeman after doc paid to fly back from Track World Cup in 2015 after family bereavement. Freeman says Sutton wouldn’t sign off covering cost. After this, Sutton was “on ‘Freeman’s) case permanently…constant attrition".
— Dan Roan (@danroan) November 15, 2019
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Jumbo-Visma has high hopes for De Plus
Laurens De Plus (Jumbo-Visma) was one of the breakout riders of the 2019 season, putting in a consistently solid performance as a domestique for Steven Kruijswijk at the Tour de France and nabbing his first WorldTour stage race victory in August at the BinckBank Tour. As Jumbo-Visma sports director Merijn Zeeman told Het Nieuwsblad, the team sees De Plus as a potential star.
“Laurens has a good time trial, climbs great, and stays afloat in the third week. We are very pleased with the enormous steps he has taken this year,” Zeeman said. “He has everything to make it to the podium in a big tour.”
For now, the team plans to take things slowly. There’s little need to rush it with De Plus, considering the squad’s loaded roster for 2020, which also includes Kruijswijk, Primoz Roglic, and Tom Dumoulin.
Israel Cycling Academy signs Zabel and Würtz Schmidt
At least two current Katusha-Alpecin riders will head to Israel Cycling Academy as the latter squad takes over Katusha’s WorldTour license. Israel Cycling Academy has announced the signings of Rick Zabel and Mads Würtz Schmidt for next season.
Zabel, 25, has ridden with Katusha since 2017. He often played a lead-out role for Marcel Kittel, but had some of his own sprint chances as well, winning a stage at this year’s Tour de Yorkshire. Wurtz Schmidt, 25, won the under-23 world time trial title in 2015.
“I kept my fingers crossed for ICA to be the team we would come together with – and I am happy that at last, it’s behind us, and we can focus on racing and helping the team achieve its goal,” Wurtz Schmidt said in Israel Cycling Academy’s announcement
Cyclingnews reports that American sprinter Travis McCabe, whose Floyd’s Pro Cycling squad is shuttering, is set to sign with Israel Cycling Academy as well.
As for Katusha, which reportedly was late paying its riders their October wages, the UCI is set to use the team’s bank guarantee to cover the financial gap, according to Cyclingnews.
Fröhlinger calls it a career
Veteran German rider Johannes Fröhlinger is retiring after more than a decade in the pro peloton. The 34-year-old has ridden with the Sunweb organization since 2011, when it was the Skil-Shimano Pro Continental outfit. He raced 15 Grand Tours over the course of his career, including nine straight Vueltas a España between 2010 and 2018.
“As a teenager I dreamed of becoming a professional cyclist and I’m really happy to have spent so many years living my dream,” he said in a press release from Sunweb. “I could have never imagined participating in one Grand Tour, but today I look back on 15 three-week-long races, ten of which were at the Vuelta, which is really special.”
In other news …
Melbourne driver who killed Dutch cyclist sentenced to 11 years in prison
The driver who hit and killed Dutch cyclist Gitta Scheenhouwer has been sentenced to 11 years in prison, the ABC reports.
Scheenhouwer, 27, was on her way to work in Melbourne last year when she was hit by Michael Panayides, 28, who was driving a stolen car. He fled the scene, but he was later apprehended. He pled guilty to five charges, and on Friday, received a prison sentence, with the judge in the case calling his actions “negligent, culpable driving, emanating from the blatant disregard for life and safety of others on the road.”
BMC recalls 2018 and 2019 Teammachine SLR 01 Disc
BMC has issued a recalled for 2018 and 2019 Teammachine SLR01 Disc models, requesting that owners to stop riding their bikes and bring them to a BMC dealer for a “safety check.”
The Swiss brand has identified a potential safety issue related to the potential failure of the fork steerer.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Riders descend on stage 18 of the Tour de France. Photo: Gruber Images