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Hello again, CyclingTips readers!
It’s been a busy 24 hours for news from the racing world.
Rohan Dennis revealed in an interview with The Adelaide Advertiser that his battle to shed weight in pursuit of his GC aspirations put him on “that slippery slope of a complex or disorder.” He has since decided to call time on his project of developing into a Grand Tour contender and focus on his strengths, which are quite impressive in their own right.
Then there’s cross-country MTB world champ Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, who is set for another surgery after being diagnosed with another instance of iliac artery endofibrosis in her left leg. Here’s hoping she can get back to tearing it up again soon.
And there’s also the Tour de France, which has announced the final two teams invited to take part in the 2020 edition of the race. Spoiler alert: Nairo Quintana’s team scored a bid.
In other words, plenty to digest, which is what this email is all about after all.
Until next time, readers.
| Dennis reveals battle to shed weight put him on “slippery slope of a complex or disorder”
Rohan Dennis has scrapped his plans to develop into a Grand Tour GC contender, telling The Adelaide Advertiser that his efforts to shed weight hindered his ability to train and added mental stress.
“Last year I was thinking, ‘You know what? It’s probably something that physically I can do – be a Grand Tour rider – and I have the capabilities,'” Dennis said. “But I just don’t know if I want to go down the road, and I’ll be honest with you, I started to eat and not eat and was on that slippery slope of a complex or disorder.”
As he embarks on his first season with new team Ineos, Dennis will focus on some big time trial targets: the TT stages at the Giro d’Italia, the Olympics, and defending his title at Worlds.
| Ferrand-Prevot to undergo surgery for iliac artery endofibrosis again
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot is set for another surgery to treat iliac artery endofibrosis one year after an operation to treat a prior instance of the blood flow problem.
As she wrote on Instagram on Tuesday, Ferrand-Prévot felt unable to deliver full power from her leg while racing cyclocross recently. A scan showed iliac artery endofibrosis in a different location of the same leg that was affected previously. She will undergo surgery on Friday.
| Arkéa-Samsic and B&B Hotels-Vital Concept score Tour de France invites
Tour de France organizers have announced that the Arkéa-Samsic and B&B Hotels-Vital Concept teams have been awarded the final two wildcard spots for the 2020 edition of the race.
Arkéa’s invite means that Nairo Quintana will continue to race the Tour (assuming he makes the team’s roster) after moving over from Movistar. Arkéa has raced every Tour since the 2014 edition of the race, while 2020 will mark the Tour debut for B&B Hotels. Missing out is Circus-Wanty Gobert, which had been invited to the past three editions of the race.
| Riis reportedly set to take co-ownership of NTT
B.T. reports that retired pro Bjarne Riis will become a co-owner of the NTT team (formerly Dimension Data) through the Virtu Cycling Group owned by Riis and other partners, with an official announcement coming Wednesday.
Riis compiled a list of strong results in his racing career but later admitted to doping, including during the 1996 Tour where he finished atop the final podium. After hanging up his wheels, he managed the team known variously as CSC, Saxo Bank, and Tinkoff over the years before that squad folded in 2016. Virtu Cycling’s women’s team closed its doors at the end of the 2019 season after being unable to find sponsors.
We’ll have more on the story if it is confirmed as Danish outlet B.T. expects.
| Australian road nationals has arrived
The Australian Road Nationals kick off near Ballarat on Wednesday with the elite women and men taking to a brand new time trial course. Defending champ Grace Brown (Mitchelton-Scott) will start as the favourite in the women’s event but could be challenged by teammate Lucy Kennedy and four-time former winner Shara Gillow (FDJ).
The men’s race is almost certain to be the Rohan Dennis show. The reigning ITT world champion (and three-time Aussie champ) was beaten by Luke Durbridge last year but will start as the clear favorite today after his switch to Ineos (and Pinarello).
Full start lists can be found here.
In case you missed it
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| Seven storylines that will shape the 2020 racing season
If you’re looking for a primer on what narratives to follow as the racing picks up in 2020, we broke down seven of the storylines that will define the year.
Today’s featured image of Rohan Dennis submitted into the Mark Gunter Photo Competition by James York: “Google Maps (and a bit of local knowledge) came in useful when looking for a more unusual location to shoot the Elite Men’s TT at this year’s World Championships. I tried a few different angles on earlier riders but decided on this side-on shot for Rohan Dennis, the stand-out favourite. It was difficult to compose and also keep the rider in focus at the same time but I was really happy with the result.”