Stetina shifts focus from WorldTour road racing to gravel: Daily News Digest

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

Peter Stetina will leave the WorldTour road scene behind to focus on gravel and other events “across all tire widths,” Zdenek Stybar announces ‘cross calendar, Wout van Aert wins Flandrien of the Year award. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Stetina shifts focus to gravel events

Peter Stetina will not ride on a WorldTour road squad year, but he will still be doing plenty of racing. The 32-year-old American, who has ridden with Trek-Segafredo since 2016, announced Wednesday that he is leaving the WorldTour road scene behind to focus on racing gravel and other events “across all tire widths.”

“This IS NOT a retirement as some traditionalists would think,” he wrote on Instagram.

“While the initial steps to leave the World Tour behind were scary, I am certain this is the right choice, it will be more fulfilling and I hope more successful.”

Stetina has been a WorldTour pro since 2010, turning pro with the Slipstream organization and then moving to BMC. In 2015, he suffered a serious leg injury while racing the Vuelta al País Vasco that left him mulling retirement, but he recovered and resumed racing, joining Trek the next season.

A strong climber, his best results have come in weeklong stage races, with a collection of GC top 10s on his career palmares. In recent years, he has added more dirt-oriented events to his calendar. In 2019, he won the Belgian Waffle Ride, finished second at Dirty Kanza, and took fourth at the Leadville 100, while still taking a top 10 overall at the Tour of Utah on the road.

“Some people are going to say, ‘Oh, he wasn’t good enough to have a WorldTour contract.’ I will wholeheartedly disagree with that, look at my 2019 season,” Stetina said in an interview with VeloNews. “It came down to a choice of lifestyle, between following the smooth highway or jumping onto the fun, unknown, bumpy trail next to it. I am not over the hill, by any means.”

Moving Pictures

Adrien Niyonshuti tells his compelling story in the latest video from inCycle. The 32-year-old, who lost family members in the Rwandan genocide, was the first rider from Rwanda to race at the WorldTour level, spending the 2016 and 2017 seasons with Dimension Data.

Race Radio

Stybar announces ‘cross calendar

Zdenek Stybar has at least eight cyclocross races on his upcoming calendar, his Deceuninck-Quick-Step team has announced.

Zdenek Stybar at Paris-Roubaix. Photo: ©kramon

The three-time world cyclocross champ, who mostly focuses on his road racing objectives these days, will return to ‘cross for a collection of starts, just as he did last year.

Stybar’s schedule includes IKO Cyclocross Essen, Superprestige Zonhoven, Waaslandcross Sint-Niklaas, the Zolder World Cup round, Azencross Loenhout, Superprestige Diegem, Cyclocross Bredene, and the GP Sven Nys.

Van Aert awarded Flandrien of the year, De Vuyst is Flandrienne

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) was named Flandrien of the Year in Het Nieuwsblad’s annual Flandrien awards ceremony. The 25-year-old Belgian, who racked up some big results – including a Tour de France stage – in his road campaign this year, narrowly topped compatriot Remco Evenepoel in a vote among Belgian riders. Van Aert succeeds 2018 Flandrien of the Year Yves Lampaert in winning the title for 2019.

Wout van Aert wins stage 10 of the Tour de France. Photo: ©kramon

Sofie de Vuyst, winner of the year’s Brabantse Pijl, was named Flandrienne of the Year. She topped world cyclocross champion Sanne Cant, who had taken home the award the past two years.

Wippert retires

Wouter Wippert announced his retirement on Wednesday. The 29-year-old Dutchman raced for Australian Pro Continental squad Drapac in 2015, and then rode at the WorldTour level with the Cannondale team for two years before stints at Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij and EvoPro.

Wippert racked up several sprint victories over the course of his career, most notably winning the final stage of the Tour Down Under in 2015.

In other news …

Cyclist who flipped of Donald Trump’s presidential motorcade wins county election

Juli Briskman, the cyclist who made headlines in 2017 when she flipped off the motorcade of President Donald Trump and subsequently lost her job, is now an elected official.

Briskman won a seat on the Board of Supervisors for Loudoun County, Virginia, in Tuesday’s elections.

Two years ago, while she was riding her bike, Briskman gave the middle finger to the presidential motorcade in as it passed her, leaving from one of the president’s golf courses in Sterling, Virginia. A photograph of the moment went viral, Briskman told her employer that it was her in the image, and she lost her job. Now, she will be supervisor of the Algonkian district of Loudoun County – which includes the aforementioned golf course.

The Washington Post has more on the story.

In case you missed it …

Feature Image: Peter Stetina on stage 12 of the Vuelta a España. Photo: ©kramon

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