Froome’s ‘huge relief’, Evenepoel’s brilliance: Daily News Digest

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The UAE Tour wouldn’t normally attract a whole heap of attention but that probably changes this year. All eyes will be on Chris Froome from Sunday as he starts his first race in more than eight months. No one’s expecting him to win the race, but just how far off the pace will he be? Could he be on his way back to Tour-winning form?

Meanwhile in Portugal, one of the sport’s most exciting prospects continues to live up to the hype, and then some. Remco Evenepoel was being called “The next Eddy Merckx” before he even joined the pro ranks. Since then he’s won a bunch of races and looks set to win plenty more. Could we be witnessing the rise of a true great?

These stories and more in today’s edition of the Daily News Digest.

What’s news

| Chris Froome primed for racing return

Chris Froome (Ineos) says it will be “a huge relief” to return to the professional peloton when he lines up at the UAE Tour this Sunday. The four-time Tour de France winner hasn’t raced since the Criterium du Dauphine in June last year where he crashed heavily during a reconnaissance ride.

“The year’s gone incredibly well so far but having said that I do still need to manage expectations,” Froome said in an Ineos press release. “I’m still quite a way off where I was at the Dauphine before the crash. It’s going to take me a while to get back to that shape.”

Froome is expected to ride in a support role at the week-long UAE Tour, possibly for new recruit Andrey Amador who will debut for Ineos at the race.

| Remco Evenepoel into Volta ao Algarve lead

Remco Evenepoel has stamped his authority on the Volta ao Algarve with an impressive win on the Portuguese race’s second stage. Evenepoel’s Deceuninck-QuickStep teammate Joao Almeida set a ferocious pace in the last kilometres of the stage-ending climb before Evenepoel hit out from an elite lead group with 500 metres to go.

The 20-year-old narrowly held off Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) to take the stage win and move into the overall lead. In the group behind were the likes of Dan Martin, Rui Costa, Tim Wellens, Miguel Angel Lopez and Vincenzo Nibali.

With three stages remaining Evenepoel is on the same time as Schachmann but an ITT later in the race should favour the young Belgian.

| First pro win for Gonzala Serrano at Ruta del Sol

Spanish ProTeam Caja Rural has its first win of the year courtesy of 25-year-old Gonzala Serrano. Serrano attacked at the bottom of the 1km-long final climb on stage 2 of the Ruta del Sol and rode away to the first win of his career.

Defending champion Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) continues to lead after his stage 1 victory. Three stages remain.

| Lucy van der Haar wins tight Dubai Women’s Tour

Lucy van der Haar (nee Garner / Hitec Products) claimed a narrow victory at the inaugural Dubai Women’s Tour after finishing on the same time as Belarusian champ (and stage 3 winner) Tatsiana Sharakova (Minsk).

Nicole Steigenga (Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport) took out the final stage while the sum of Van der Haar’s stage placings throughout the race was lower than Sharakova, ensuring the Briton would take the overall title.

| Luke Rowe signs lengthy contract extension with Ineos

Luke Rowe (Ineos) has joined his Colombian teammate Egan Bernal in extending his contract through to 2023. Rowe has ridden his entire career with Sky/Ineos since turning pro in 2012. He will continue on for the next four years, with a focus on supporting the team’s young riders.

| Bontrager’s carbon wheels now have a lifetime warranty

Bontrager has updated its warranty program to include a lifetime warranty on its carbon wheels.

In late 2018 the brand announced its Carbon Care Wheel Loyalty Program, a two-year, no-cost replacement program that offered free replacement or repair of any Bontrager carbon wheel that sustained damage from riding within the first two years. The update keeps that offering in place, but now offers a lifetime warranty against defects.

In case you missed it

| Q&A with Remco Evenepoel

We’re digging this Q&A with Belgian wonderkid Remco Evenepoel, over at VeloNews. The timing is good too, given Evenepoel’s efforts at the Volta ao Algarve.

| Lucas Hamilton, Australia’s most mellow Grand Tour hope

Lucas Hamilton is clearly a talented climber who has a lot of potential. Perhaps best of all, as Matt de Neef writes, Hamilton’s laid-back, no-stress attitude will put him in good stead whatever comes next.

| Spengel’s gold-covered wheels

Carbon wheels can be expensive enough as it is, without covering them in gold leaf. Spengel’s 24-carat-gold-covered hoops will set you back just over US$10,000 / AU$15,000 per wheel and will certainly make you stand out in the bunch.

| 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.

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Today’s feature image of Remco Evenepoel winning stage 2 of the Volta ao Algarve comes from Cor Vos.

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