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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.
Another weekend, another missed monument, with the 2020 Liège–Bastogne–Liège’s originally scheduled timeslot now in the rearview mirror. But that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t racing over the weekend – it was just of a virtual variety, with the multi-stage Digital Swiss 5 race, held on the Rouvy platform, wrapping up with some familiar stage-winners.
Otherwise, sponsor woes continue to rear their head, with CCC now on shaky ground due to the financial uncertainty caused by COVID-19. And in lighter news, a Toronto group has put on a massive Zwift ride to aim money for a local hospital – with one of the riders setting a new world record in the process.
All this and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Until next time, readers.
| CCC sponsor woes put team at risk
Following a reported €75 million deficit in the first quarter of 2020, CCC’s title sponsor finds itself in a challenging financial situation. Now, according to Polish financial website Bankier.pl, the CCC Group has made an arrangement to secure financing for the coming year – but that may be bad news to the cycling team that bears its name.
The report notes that the Polish shoe group’s financing is in part required for “closure of activities related to sport sponsorship contracted for 2020-21”.
The team has already suspended staff and cut salaries, along with several other WorldTour teams, but this puts further question marks over CCC cycling team’s position, who’ll be hoping that the sponsor is able to fulfil its contractual obligations. The women’s team, CCC-Liv, has its own agreement with sponsors in place and have been able to meet all their financial responsibilities thus far.
| Bigla-Katusha riders push sponsors to honour commitments
Following previous reports that the Bigla-Katusha team was trapped in sponsorship limbo due to COVID-19, Bigla-Katusha’s riders have published an open letter asking their title sponsors to honour their commitments.
The letter, signed by the team’s 12 riders, references the team’s spirit and “scrappy racing style”, saying: “It is in hardship that we see what we are truly made of. We are fully committed to this team, partners, and one another. We hope our title partners will look back after this pandemic has passed with pride and be able to say they did everything they could to honour their commitments.”
“If there is a way you can help keep this dream alive, we will be forever grateful.”
| Küng takes stage four of Digital Swiss 5
Despite a bold ride from Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), which saw him off the front of the race on stage four of the Digital Swiss 5, it was Stefan Küng who eventually came through with the win, taking his second victory of the event.
Matthews attacked from the start of the race, but was finally overhauled by Küng 2 km from the line.
“I learned from the race two days ago you need to go out hard if you can and then just bring it home. I knew I had to try to get out early and try to hold him off but he was too strong again,” Matthews said, referencing the pair’s last tussle on stage two of the race.
| Rohan Dennis finishes off Digital Swiss 5 with a flourish
Rohan Dennis, world time trial champion and winner of the first stage of the Digital Swiss 5, finished off the way he started: with another win, just ahead of Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb).
The fifth and final stage was a 36 km course, running from Camperio to Distentis-Sedrun, punctuated by the 15km virtual Lukmanierpass. On the climb, James Whelan (EF Pro Cycling) took an early lead before Dennis overhauled him, extended his lead on the descent and kept it to the finish, holding off a chasing Roche.
“Today was a lot harder than stage 1 but I had Nico [Roche] chasing me and I could see Schachmann was as well. I went out quite hard and tried to hold onto it,” Dennis said.
“I could feel [Roche] coming and I sort of measured my effort to what he was doing and made sure I had a little bit left at the end to kick again.”
| New world record set as Toronto group raises thousands for local hospital
There have been some extraordinary feats of indoor cycling over the past couple of months, and the Toronto Hustle’s ‘CRUSH COVID’ event joins that list with a 24-hour ride and fundraiser. The ride raised over $210,000 for the Michael Garron Hospital Foundation’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19.
The event also featured another remarkable milestone – Travis Samuel set a new world record for longest distance cycled on Zwift, beating the previous mark of 988.78km and setting a mindblowing new record of 1,008km.
In case you missed it
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| Polar’s easy-squeeze bottle redesign keeps your fluids colder – or hotter
In the latest news from Pond Beaver, our virtual version of Sea Otter: Polar’s insulated bottles have had a redesign, giving them a redesigned top, improved valve and easier squeezability.
Today’s featured image shows some of CCC’s classics squad in training for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and comes from Cor Vos.