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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.
As we roll through another week without any major races on the calendar, teams are starting to feel the financial impacts of an extended stretch away from competition.
According to reports in Belgian media, some Belgian ProTeams have had to turn to unemployment assistance to keep team staffers afloat in a tough time.
That said, there are some good headlines today as well. For one thing, Max Richeze has been cleared to leave the United Arab Emirates. The Argentine lead-out specialist spent 18 days in a hospital following a positive test for coronavirus after the UAE Tour but has been given the all-clear to depart after registering two negative tests.
Hopefully the other riders and team staff still there will also be headed home soon.
Stay safe, readers.
| Unemployment benefits keeping staff of some Belgian ProTeams afloat
With no races on their calendars for the foreseeable future, some Belgian ProTeams are relying on government unemployment programs to keep staff afloat.
Sporza reports that 11 Circus-Wanty Gobert team staff members are claiming unemployment benefits, while Het Laatste Nieuws reports that Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles has also turned to the government aid program in the absence of income that typically comes from attending races. At least for now, riders continue to be paid as normal.
| Canadian court dismisses Russian track cyclists’ suit against WADA and McLaren
A Canadian court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by three Russian track cyclists against WADA and against Richard McLaren, who oversaw the investigation into Russian state-sponsored doping. The trio had sought damages due to the ban on Russia’s participation in the 2016 Olympics.
AFP reports that the court ruled the issues at hand fell under the jurisdiction of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and that pursuing the claim in Canada was an abuse of process.
| Richeze cleared to leave hospital
Max Richeze, who spent 18 days in a hospital in the United Arab Emirates following a positive test for coronavirus after the UAE Tour was halted, has been cleared to leave.
“Finally, after 18 days in hospital, my last two Covid-19 tests were negative and I was discharged,” Richeze wrote on Instagram on Wednesday. “I want to thank the doctors and nurses of the @clevelandclinicabudhabi for having cured me and my team @uae_team_emirates for the support. A special thanks to all the people for their messages and affection!!”
| Quintana: I left Movistar because I wanted to be happy
Nairo Quintana has addressed his departure from the Movistar squad in an interview with Marca, telling the Spanish newspaper that he does not regret going from a WorldTour squad to the second-division Arkéa-Samsic team.
“I wanted to be happy. I did not want to argue with other leaders, waging war is not my way of working,” said Quintana, who got off to a very strong start in his first few races with Arkéa before cancellations and postponements cleared his racing calendar for the foreseeable future. “We have a lot of responsibility in this adventure. Winning is good, it gives me confidence and joy. Now I’m motivated to win.”
| Assos announces profit sharing of online sales with retailers
With retailers facing financial difficulties amid widespread lockdowns, Assos USA has announced that it will share a percentage of its online profits with its retailers.
Through the end of April, Assos will share 10 percent of all sales back to retailers, while retailers will also have a code they can give to customers that will provide retailers with 20 percent of revenue as well as free shipping for those customers.
| Zwift lays off senior staff
As reported by DC Rainmaker, Zwift laid off a number of senior employees late last week in what is apparently a strategic move to shift focus to core business and the development of new hardware. CyclingTips reporting suggests that the layoffs likely affect more than 25 personnel.
“Zwift has implemented difficult, but important changes to reorganize the business. These are strategic changes that have been made to better support the continued growth and development of the core subscription business and to allow us to develop new hardware,” the company said in a statement posted to DC Rainmaker. “These are not decisions resulting from external circumstances. Zwift remains healthy as a business and we firmly believe these changes will result in a better product for our Zwift community.”
| The Selle Italia Flite turns 30, here’s a new one
On the 30th anniversary of the original Flite saddle, Selle Italia has released a new shortened version called the Flite Boost.
The saddle offers an overall length of 248mm, and uses the classic “T” shape of Flite saddles. The Flight Boost is available in three rail types, four widths and with or without a central cut-out. Prices range between US$150 to US$400.
| Hunt reveals carbon spoked 44 and 54 disc wheels
With pricing starting at just US$1,299 for a pair, Hunt’s new 44 and 54 UD Disc wheels represent impressive value for an in-house designed wheel with carbon spokes. The 29mm external-width rims (20mm internal) produce a wheel that Hunt says is just slightly slower than its own (claimed) benchmark Limitless 48 Aero wheels.
The serviceable carbon spokes reduce weight and are said to provide a measurable increase in wheel stiffness. Tubeless-ready and with a hooked rim bed, the wheels are claimed to weigh 1,398g and 1,456g for the 44 and 54 mm depth version respectively.
In case you missed it
| Life in lockdown: A pro cyclist’s perspective on the coronavirus pandemic
Trek-Segafredo’s Tayler Wiles shares her perspective on what it has been like to be a pro bike racer right now.
| 2020 Canyon Grail AL 7.0 gravel bike review: Big fun, small price
Abby Mickey spent some time on the Canyon Grail AL 7.0 at the CyclingTips Gravel Bike Field Test and came away impressed by the handling as well as the value.
| Shimano RX8 gravel shoe review: Not just mountain bike kicks
Dave Rome reviewed the Shimano RX8 gravel shoe and found it to be both stable and comfortable.
Today’s featured image of Deceuninck-Quick-Step pushing the pace at last year’s Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne – whose 2020 edition was initially scheduled for Wednesday – comes from Kristof Ramon.