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Hello again, CyclingTips readers!
Just six weeks into the season, the pieces are starting to move into place for the bigger races.
Egan Bernal is pondering his leadership at the Tour de France, while Chris Froome preps for a return to racing at the UAE Tour. Other riders are preparing to line up at the Volta ao Algarve, starting Wednesday, or are putting in the hard yards with training blocks held in locations as far-flung as Namibia.
In other news, the first pro women’s race in the Middle East is underway, and riders are counting their winnings from the 2019/20 CX season – with new World Champ, Ceylin Carmen del Alvarado, topping the standings.
All this and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Until next time, readers!
| Bernal talks Tour leadership
In a lengthy interview with El País, Egan Bernal has spoken about the Team Ineos leadership conundrum that seems to await at this year’s Tour de France, with both Bernal and Geraint Thomas already named as leaders, and Chris Froome also slated for the squad if his condition improves sufficiently.
Bernal acknowledged that “it’s complicated”, but said that “[Dave Brailsford] makes me think that I’m going to have the support of the team. That’s what matters to me the most right now – feeling that Dave gives me his word that I’m going to have the support of the team.
“For sure, he will also say that to Thomas and he’ll say it to Froome, but once we’re in the Tour, it’s relatively easy to find an understanding … if someone is stronger than the other, the team is going to have to take a decision because they’re not going to let the Tour slip away.”
| Lucy van der Haar takes first stage of first Middle Eastern women’s race
The first stage of the 2.2 categorised Dubai Women’s Tour – the first pro women’s race to be held in the Middle East – was held in Dubai yesterday, and although it hasn’t attracted a top tier field, it’s an important event symbolically in a region where women’s rights (let alone women’s sport) haven’t been a strong point.
Held over an almost entirely flat 99km, the opening stage came down to a sprint finish with Hitec Products’ Lucy van der Haar coming through with the goods. The Dubai Women’s Tour will run for four stages, with the decisive third stage finishing atop the steep Hatta Dam climb.
| Stars prep for UAE Tour
The seven-stage UAE Tour, to be held next week, is an important early-season milestone for a number of riders who will use the second WorldTour tour of the season as a benchmark for where their condition is, and where it needs to be later in the year.
Most eyes will be on Chris Froome as he makes his return to racing after his major crash last season, but Alejandro Valverde, Adam Yates, Alexey Lutsenko and Tadej Pogacar are among the other big names on the startline. Keep an eye open for coverage from CyclingTips’ Dane Cash, who’ll be at UAE Tour reporting on the race.
| Carmen del Alvarado tops prize money standings
Reigning women’s cyclocross world champion, Ceylin Carmen del Alvarado, took home the most prize money out of any CX rider this season, male or female – including Mathieu van der Poel.
Het Laatste Nieuws calculated the prize money paid throughout the season, and Carmen del Alvarado’s 15 victories and seven podium finishes put her at the top of the tree, with €126,180 in winnings.
The Dutch star pointed out that the starting bonuses and salary was still not equal between the genders: “For me, my prize money is higher than my wages and starting money. In total income we do not get close to the men, but it is great that we can go home with such an amount.”
| Colorado Classic returns with innovative TV streaming model
The USA’s sole women’s UCI race, the Colorado Classic, is returning this year at the end of August with a streaming model and new video series. Race organisers experimented last year with low cost cellular technologies, live-streaming the race through 30 different outlets; the cost per view thanks to this model was just a fifth that of traditional methods.
This year, the livestream will also be hosted on CyclingTips.
| Victor Campanaerts’ Namibian sojourn
World Hour Record holder Victor Campanaerts (NTT) has spent the last six weeks training in Namibia, and capped his time in the southern African country by entering a local race – the Nedbank Cycling Challenge – held in the capital city, Windhoek.
Campanaerts broke away early, winning by over two minutes, and promptly donated his prize money to a Namibian charity that encourages kids to get into cycling. “I was just riding my own pace and making sure that I win, so that I could donate the money,” Campanaerts said. Second and third place finishers, Dan Craven and Martin Freyer, also donated their prize money.
In case you missed it
| Don’t write off Nairo Quintana yet
Nairo Quintana’s one of the more maligned Grand Tour contenders, written off by many as past his best. However, following his imposing victory at Tour de La Provence on the weekend, backed by a superb Arkéa-Samsic team, Iain Treloar writes that perhaps it’s time to rethink that perspective.
| 12 women to watch in 2020
The 2020 cycling season is already underway but the biggest and best races are still to come. So who should you keep an eye on as the season unfolds? Well, here’s a handy list for you, covering road racers and MTB stars and inspiring adventurers, courtesy of Abby Mickey.
| Women’s cycling survey
CyclingTips is hoping to get some input from you (our audience) as we work to improve our coverage of women’s cycling. Click here to take our survey—we’d love to hear from you.
Today’s feature image comes from Cor Vos and shows Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas celebrating Bernal’s 2019 Tour de France victory.