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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Eusebio Unzué says Alejandro Valverde will race the 2020 Tour de France in preparation for the Olympics, the UCI announces the national team quotas for the road events in Tokyo, Alessandro De Marchi “fed up” after close call during training. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Valverde plans to race Tour ahead of Olympics
Movistar manager Eusebio Unzué says Alejandro Valverde will race next year’s Tour de France in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, Marca reports.
According to Unzué, the plan is for Valverde to ride the Tour all the way through, despite the short time frame between the end of the Tour and the Olympics. Others, like Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), have decided to target the 2020 Giro d’Italia instead, but Valverde remains focused on the French Grand Tour.
The 39-year-old Spaniard has started every Tour since 2012. In recent years, he has typically split featured rider duties at Movistar, riding as co-leaders with Nairo Quintana or, over the past two seasons, as part of a three-pronged attack with Mikel Landa also in the mix. With those two riders gone, Movistar will look to Valverde and newcomer Enric Mas in the Grand Tours now.
How focused Valverde will be on getting results at next year’s Tour remains to be seen. The Olympics, with a lumpy profile that should suit Valverde’s skillset, will be a big objective. Unzué acknowledged the challenge that Valverde will face in racing the Tour first.
“Those that finish the Tour will do so on Sunday at 9pm, which will already be the next day in Tokyo,” Unzué said. “They will arrive in Tokyo on Tuesday, without time to adapt to the schedule or the temperature, although with Alejandro, I don’t think this will be a problem.”
Michal Kwiatkowski said after this year’s Tour de France that his body felt fatigued and that he was hoping to find joy riding his bike again, so his fans will be happy to see him mixing it up in the mud…
UCI announces national team quotas for Olympics
The UCI has announced the number of spots national teams will have for the road events at next year’s Olympics. Qualification was based off of the UCI’s World Ranking.
The men’s road race in Tokyo will feature 130 total riders, with teams bringing a maximum of five riders. Six nations have earned the max of five starters: Belgium, Colombia, France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands.
Great Britain and Australia are among the teams with four spots, while the United States will have two.
The women’s road race will see 67 starters, with national teams bringing a maximum of four riders to Tokyo. Australia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States have all earned the maximum quota of starters.
You can see the full details on roster quotas here.
De Marchi ‘fed up’ after close call with car during training
Alessandro De Marchi said he was “fed up and on edge” in a post on Instagram (in Italian) describing a close call with a car in training. The 33-year-old Italian wrote that he was riding on Sunday morning when a motorist drove past him leaving only “a matter of centimeters.”
De Marchi said that another driver who had seen the incident honked at the offending motorist, caught up to him, and yelled at him, and then De Marchi reached the driver who had passed him too close and told him that he could have killed him.
“I didn’t touch you, go to hell!” was the driver’s reply, according to De Marchi, who said he got a photo of the license plate before the driver continued to his destination, a newsstand. In his post, De Marchi thanked the driver who had showed solidarity, while venting his frustration with the other “ignorant driver” and careless drivers generally.
“Motorists in general: Do I deserve this? Is it really worth risking your skin simply by pedaling on a road that is too narrow or too busy? Or why did I move too far in the middle of the carriageway and slow down?” wrote De Marchi.
“Do I really deserve to die because I have temporarily hindered you? Reflect: You can kill with a car! And you will not simply kill a cyclist; you will kill a husband, a wife, a father or a mother, a friend …”
Deignan leaves door open to continue after Tokyo
Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) has talked about planning to retire after the Tokyo Olympics in past interviews, but following her first season back after the birth of her first child, she says she is unsure of what awaits for her racing career after next summer.
“I’m just excited to have a season where it’s not decided by being a new mum,” she said in an interview with VeloNews.
“We’ve got in the swing of things and physically I’m recovered from giving birth, so I’m excited about another season. And pretty open minded about what will happen at the end of it.”
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: The GC group on stage 16 of the Vuelta a España. Photo: ©kramon