Bigla-Katusha uncertainty, Roche rides to virtual victory: Daily News Digest

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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.

Here’s to making it to the end of the week. Hopefully you’ll have a chance to unwind a little bit.

Friday’s headlines, as ever, brought good news for some around the pro peloton and tough news for others. For Sunweb’s Nicolas Roche and Leah Kirchmann, there was some good news. Roche nabbed a virtual victory on Friday’s third day of racing at the Digital Swiss 5, while Kirchmann renewed her contract with the team through 2022.

Bigla-Katusha, on the other hand, is facing some tough moments. The team announced on Friday that both of its sponsors have pulled their funding, which has “put the existence of the squad in doubt.” Hopefully, things will take a turn for the better soon.

Until next time, readers.

What’s news

| Bigla-Katusha faces an uncertain future

Bigla-Katusha is facing an uncertain future after both of its title sponsors have pulled their funding of the team, which the team says has “put the existence of the squad in doubt.”

In a statement, Bigla-Katusha said it “hopes that both title partners will be willing to undertake further discussions with the team to negotiate the best way forward and ensure the squad’s survival.”

| Roche wins on day three of Digital Swiss 5

After knocking on the door of a victory in a few big virtual races recently, Nicolas Roche got his win on Friday at the Digital Swiss 5. The veteran pro soloed to victory on a virtually mountainous day three of the event on the Rouvy platform.

The early goings of the race saw Pierre Latour jump out to the lead, but the Frenchman then disappeared from the broadcast, with organizers later saying on Twitter that he “had to be disqualified due to technical problems with his hometrainer.” Roche then surged into the lead and carried it over the line to win ahead of Ilnur Zakarin and Larry Warbasse.

| Kirchmann renews with Sunweb

Canadian time trial champ Leah Kirchmann has renewed her contract with the Sunweb team for a further two years.

Kirchmann, 29, has been with the squad since 2016, when it was the Liv-Plantur team. Her notable results since joining the team include a stage win at the Giro Rosa and runner-up honors at La Course, and she started off her 2020 campaign in fine form with top 10s at the Tour Down Under, Race Torquay, and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

| Merckx: Van der Poel could win everything

Eddy Merckx weighed in on a variety of topics in an interview with Het Nieuwsblad this week, and among the interesting talking points was Merckx’s perspective on Mathieu van der Poel. The cycling legend sees big things ahead for the rising star.

“I think Van der Poel can win everything. Even the Tour de France,” Merckx said. “He will come up short in the high mountains against Pogacar and Bernal, but if Geraint Thomas can win the Tour, Van der Poel can do it too.”

| Specialized confirms layoffs

After rumors of job losses circulated in recent weeks, Specialized confirmed on Thursday that some staff have been laid off. CEO Mike Sinyard said in a letter sent to dealers that the coronavirus pandemic had forced the California-based company to re-examine its priorities and “refocus our investments.”

“This requires bringing in new talent with skill sets that we currently do not have and regrettably, parting ways with some really good people whose roles are no longer essential for creating the future,” Sinyard wrote.

| Rapha unveils new Core Lightweight jersey

Rapha has announced a new addition to its Core collection, the Core Lightweight jersey.

Designed for warm days, the Core Lightweight features a light front fabric with a somewhat denser rear panel that provides a claimed UPF40 sun protection. The jersey will retail at US$80.

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Today’s featured image of Nicolas Roche at last year’s non-virtual Tour de Suisse comes from Cor Vos.

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