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Hello again, CyclingTips readers!
A busy week in news from the world of cycling rolls on, and that’s even before you include the great time trial battles that kicked off Australian nationals on Wednesday.
The big story of the day from the WorldTour scene is the return of none other than Bjarne Riis to the top division of the sport. Confirming prior reports in Danish media, the NTT squad announced that Riis is taking on the role of team manager after the Virtu Cycling Group he co-owns acquired a minority stake in the company behind the team.
Riis has been around the pro peloton for quite some time. His racing career included a finish atop the Tour de France podium, although he later admitted to doping. Then he spent years at the helm of the CSC squad.
In other words, Riis has plenty of experience—but he is also a controversial figure in the sport. Bringing him on is an interesting call for NTT to make, to say the least.
Until next time, readers.
| Riis taking over as NTT team manager
The NTT team (formerly Dimension Data) has announced that Bjarne Riis is moving into the role of team manager. The Virtu Cycling Group he co-owns has acquired a minority stake in the company behind the team. In a press release, Riis and team principal and founder Doug Ryder both expressed optimism for developing the squad into a stronger player in the top division.
“This is a proud moment for our organization, Virtu Cycling, and I’m really excited by this partnership and its potential,” said Riis, who finished first in the 1996 Tour but later admitted to doping during his career. “Together, I believe we can develop one of the world’s best cycling teams built on being performance and technology-driven, combined with our many years of experience from the WorldTour.”
| Wiebes and Parkhotel Valkenburg settling dispute out of court
Lorena Wiebes, who finished 2019 as the top-ranked rider in the women’s peloton, will settle her contract dispute with her Parkhotel Valkenburg team out of court, according to reports in Dutch media.
The star sprinter had been looking to leave the team, but she told RTV Utrecht that her representatives and the team have reached an agreement that will see her race with Parkhotel at least for the first half of the season, with a possible transfer later in the year.
| Durbridge and Gigante win Australian time trial titles
Australian road nationals got underway on Wednesday with compelling showdowns in both the men’s and women’s time trials.
Sarah Gigante topped Grace Brown and Emily Herfoss in a close battle for the elite women’s title. Still just 19, Gigante now has two elite national titles on her career palmares after winning the road race last year.
On the men’s side, Luke Durbridge bested world time trial champ Rohan Dennis to defend his national TT title, with Chris Harper the next best finisher on the day. The national and world champions tipped their proverbial caps to each other after the race.
| Bernal, Alaphilippe, and Roglic among marquee names set to race Paris-Nice
Some of the very big names are set to take part in Paris-Nice, which gets underway on March 8.
The AFP reports that defending champ Egan Bernal will return, as will other stars like Julian Alaphilippe, Primoz Roglic, Caleb Ewan, Nairo Quintana, Thibaut Pinot, and Tadej Pogacar.
In case you missed it
| Nerd Alert Podcast: The tech of the decade and predicting the future
In the latest episode of Nerd Alert, James, Dave, and Caley discuss what tech defined the last decade, and where things are going.
| Danny MacAskill’s Gymnasium
If you haven’t seen the latest video of Danny MacAskill doing his thing in a gym, well, you should. He is as entertaining as ever.
Today’s feature image of the peloton racing the 2019 edition of Paris-Roubaix comes from the Grubers.