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Hello again, CyclingTips readers!
Racing fans will have plenty to follow with the busy slate of action this week, with the opening stage of the inaugural Saudi Tour kicking things off on Tuesday and the Herald Sun Tour, Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, and Etoile de Bessèges coming up on Wednesday.
Rui Costa, whom the organizers listed among the big names in attendance in the pre-race build-up, duly delivered and won the first stage in Saudi Arabia. The former world champ will be happy to have picked up his first victory since early 2017.
Elsewhere in the news, Alexandre Vinokourov added his name to the list of people denying an alleged connection between Astana and Michele Ferrari.
For now, we have the initial reports and several denials. We’ll see if any more information emerges in the coming days.
Until next time, readers.
| Organizers unveil details of 2021 Grand Départ
The ASO, which organizes the Tour de France, has revealed details of the three Denmark stages that will open the 2021 Tour.
The race will kick off in Copenhagen with a 13-kilometer individual time trial. Stage 2, from Roskilde to Nyborg, will cover numerous kilometers of bridges. Crosswinds could be a factor. The third stage, which runs from Vejle to Sønderborg, looks like a day for the sprinters.
| Costa wins Saudi Tour opener
Rui Costa rode to his first pro win since 2017 in the opening stage of the Saudi Tour.
Costa topped Heinrich Haussler and Nacer Bouhanni in an uphill kick in Jaww, taking the first lead in the five-day race.
| Vinokourov denies alleged Astana-Ferrari connection
Following media reports that the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) has information suggesting that Astana riders have been working with Michele Ferrari, team manager Alexandre Vinokourov told L’Equipe that “the story doesn’t stand up.”
“How can anyone imagine that Michele Ferrari would pass unnoticed if he came to the Volta a Catalunya?” Vinokourov said, referencing an allegation that Ferrari traveled to the race last year with the team. “Everyone in the peloton would recognize him straight away, we all stay in the same hotels.”
| Dumoulin won’t start in Valencia after all
Jumbo-Visma recently announced that Tom Dumoulin would make his first race start in several months at the upcoming Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, but as it turns out, the Dutchman will miss the race.
“I got sick last night and I will return to home to recover,” he wrote on Instagram. “This is not the way I wanted to start the season, but we have to be wise. When you don’t feel well, you’d better not race.”
| Socially Speaking
A video that Mathieu van der Poel has shared on social media documents a collection of moments before, during, and after his recent world championships victory.
Then there was this great video shared on Twitter that shows Peter Sagan’s hectic battle for positioning in the final stage of the Vuelta a San Juan.
— País do Ciclismo (@DoCiclismo) February 3, 2020
In case you missed it
| The Secret Pro: Never buy a Ferrari
The always interesting Secret Pro weighs in on the return of Michele Ferrari to the cycling headlines …
| Tech Gallery: New bikes, gadgets, and gear from Frostbike 2020
A gallery from James Huang provides a closer look at the bikes and tech on display at this year’s Frostbike.
| Nerd Alert Podcast: How to make the perfect disc brake
Speaking of James, he caught up with brake engineer John Thomas in the latest Nerd Alert, just one of the many reasons the episode is worth a listen.
| Preview: Your guide to the 2020 women’s and men’s Herald Sun Tour
If you’ve been wondering what’s on tap at the upcoming Herald Sun Tour, we’ve got you covered with a preview.
| The bike race that had it all (but almost never happened)
Matt de Neef has the fantastic story on the chaotic 2005 edition of the Herald Sun Tour.
Today’s featured image of riders cornering on stage 9 of the Tour de France comes from the Grubers.