Paris-Nice stage 5, more cancellations, Gaviria’s update: Daily News Digest

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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.

Even as the Paris-Nice peloton pressed on for a fifth stage, it has been another day of headlines involving coronavirus and its impacts on the cycling world.

Fernando Gaviria has confirmed that he tested positive for coronavirus in the UAE. The Ronde van Drenthe and other events in the Netherlands have been cancelled. The Volta a Catalunya has been postponed. The status of the upcoming Flemish Classics is unclear at the moment, with amateur events in Flanders already cancelled.

Against that backdrop, it’s been a bit harder to focus on what is typically one of the biggest stage races of the early season. The fifth stage of Paris-Nice saw Jan Tratnik’s breakaway hopes dashed in the final moments with Niccolò Bonifazio winning the day, but organizers have faced calls to stop the race.

At the time of the Daily News Digest’s publication, that has not happened, but we will continue to keep an eye on that and, as ever, the broader situation.

Stay safe, readers!

Until next time.

What’s news

| Gaviria confirms coronavirus positive in UAE, some Gazprom and UAE team personnel cleared to leave

Fernando Gaviria confirmed that he had tested positive for coronavirus in a video from the United Arab Emirates, where he has been quarantined since the early end of the UAE Tour.

“Hello everyone. I know that there have been many rumors circulating in regard to my state of health, but I’m fine,” Gaviria said. “I’ve been here, undergoing regular tests, which have given me a positive result for the coronavirus, but I’m feeling fine.”

Meanwhile, those UAE-Team Emirates and Gazprom-Rusvelo riders and staff who have tested negative have been cleared to leave quarantine in the UAE two weeks after the race was halted.

| Government decrees put races in doubt, Drenthe and Catalunya called off

Numerous races have been called off and others have been cast into doubt as governments and organizing bodies in Flanders, the Netherlands, and Spain announced blanket stoppages to various sporting events on Thursday amid coronavirus concerns.

The Ronde van Drenthe and the Volta a Catalunya are the biggest events to have been called off thus far on Thursday, but further details on cancellations could be coming. Amateur events in Flanders have been cancelled, but at least as of press time on the DND, the big Flemish Classics have not yet been called off.

| Bonifazio wins Paris-Nice stage 5

Even amid the string of cancellations to other events, Paris-Nice forged on in France on Thursday with Niccolò Bonifazio taking the stage 5 win.

The lumpy stage saw plenty of aggressive racing over a lengthy 227 kilometers from Gannat to La Côte-Saint-André, and breakaway rider Jan Tratnik came oh-so-close to going to distance, but he was swept up just before the line. Bonifazio topped Iván García Cortina and Peter Sagan in the sprint.

Max Schachmann continues to lead the race after five stages.

Stage 5 results

1. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Total Direct Energie 5:18:02
2. Iván García Cortina (Spa) Bahrain McLaren
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe

| Broken femur for Woods

Mike Woods abandoned Paris-Nice after a bad crashed on stage 5. The punchy Canadian was taken to a hospital in Lyon and diagnosed with a broken femur.

He will undergo surgery before returning home to Girona.

| Vegni raises possibility of alternate date for Giro

Amid the coronavirus crisis in Italy, which is currently on lockdown until at least April 3, Giro d’Italia director Mauro Vegni said on Thursday that organizers may look to hold the race at an alternative date.

“We’re trying to save the May 9 start of the Giro d’Italia in Hungary but another date is possible,” he told the Adkronos news agency, noting that “everything is up in the air, so for now we’re going to wait until April 3.”

| Spurcycle introduces the Compact Bell for flat bars

It’s safe to say that the original Spurcycle bell is the favorite noisemaker among our tech team. Now the American company has introduced a new Compact Bell with a mount that’s 50 percent slimmer for better integration with many flat bar brake, shifter, and dropper levers.

The bell uses a fixed 22.2mm diameter composite clamp (again, for flat bars), while the simpler build quality and fewer parts means a reduced price of US$39.

In case you missed it

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As Matt de Neef reports, NTT is hoping that a reliance on data analytics can help propel the squad up the team rankings.

| Park Tool’s new universal brake bleed kits allow you to free up a hand

Dave Rome has the story on Park Tool’s new BKD-1 and BKM-1 brake bleed kit offerings, which have some clever features.

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Today’s featured image of Jan Tratnik at Paris-Nice comes from Cor Vos.

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