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January 31, 2020
Photography by Tim Bardsley-Smith
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Hello again, CyclingTips readers!
The biggest news today is that Spanish authorities just busted a massive EPO trafficking network based out of Barcelona, according to a report in El Pais.
As always, it’s tough to say whether this sort of thing is good news or bad news. The good news is that the ring was busted; the bad news is that it existed for years and sold to 260 athletes last year alone.
In other news, Vasil Kiryienka announced his retirement after learning of a heart problem, Daniel Martinez took home Colombia’s TT title, and Brodie Chapman and Sam Bennett won the inaugural Race Torquay.
Until next time, readers.
| Kiryienka bows out
Vasil Kiryienka, former world time trial champion, grand tour stage winner, and longtime super domestique for the likes of Chris Froome at the Tour de France, announced his retirement due to a heart issue. “It’s a really sad day for me, but it’s the right decision based on the information I’ve been given by the medical team,” he said.
| Brodie Chapman and Sam Bennett win inaugural Race Torquay
Brodie Chapman told us in a live CyclingTips Podcast last week that she wasn’t going to make a habit of long breakaway moves. Well, she lied. But it worked out just fine this time, as she took the win at Race Torquay.
In the men’s race, Sam Bennett won the expected sprint.
| An EPO ring, busted
The EPO distribution ring busted by Spanish authorities was apparently led by a group of Serbian nationals, but was based out of Barcelona. Authorities caught the scent in 2017, after a number of athletes who tested positive for EPO pointed back at the same source.
It appears that the network sold the drug to some 260 athletes last year. The drugs were sourced from a publicly funded Andalucian clinic.
| Daniel Martinez takes Colombia TT title
EF’s Dani Martinez was the fastest man in Colombia this week, taking home his country’s time trial title over the top of Egan Bernal and Nairo Quintana.
| The featherweight vs heavyweight challenge
The featherweight is a former pro, and the heavyweight is CT founder Wade Wallace. Who will win?
| New CyclingTips Podcast
Neal, James, Dane, and Caley are back at Vecchio’s and run through the Tour Down Under, plus take a look at how disc brakes are faring in the pro peloton.
| Dirt Rag magazine shuts down
For all the North American mountain bikers out there, this one will hit you right in the gut. Dirt Rag was a mainstay of the mountain bike scene for 30 years, but has shut its doors effective immediately. It was known for its iconic illustrated covers and a willingness to try things other media outlets wouldn’t dare attempt. You’ll be missed, Dirt Rag.
| A reporter’s sexism hits the headlines
Belgian reporter and former pro cyclist Sven Spoormakers kicked off a well-deserved storm of criticism after a crude comment about a female reporter in a low-cut top at the Vuelta San Juan posted on Twitter, where he was then called out by Australian reporter Sophie Smith. “What’s she meant to do, wear a potato sack so you don’t get excited?” Smith said.
Today’s featured image of the peloton at Aldinga Beach on Stage 6 of the Tour Down Under comes from Tim Bardsley-Smith.