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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.
The weekend is nearly here, so we’ll do what we can to see you through to the Friday finish line with your daily dose of news from the cycling world.
Thursday’s headlines brought some intriguing updates from a handful of big names from the pro peloton, as well as some less fortunate news about a figure that, until relatively recently, played a pretty big role as the owner of one of the peloton’s most recognizable teams.
On the intriguing athlete news side of things, Romain Bardet says he is considering racing the Tour of Flanders and even Paris-Roubaix this year, which we’d certainly love to see. Meanwhile, the UAE team is apparently all-in on Tadej Pogacar, having signed him to a lengthy contract extension that will keep him with the squad all the way through 2024.
On a more serious note, Oleg Tinkov, former owner of the Tinkoff team, has said he has not appeared in public lately because he has been diagnosed with leukemia. Tinkov is currently in London facing possible extradition to the United States to face tax fraud charges.
Stay safe, readers.
| Bardet eyes Flanders and Roubaix
Most years, Romain Bardet would have a hard time finding a way to squeeze a run at the cobbled Classics into his Grand Tour-focused calendar, but things are different this year. With the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix coming after the Tour de France for once, the French climber is considering giving the pair of Monuments a go.
“It is clear that I really want to participate in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix and that it is difficult in normal season, during the preparation for the Grand Tours,” he told Le Monde. “It’s during the Vuelta [now], so there will be choices to be made, and we will see with the team how it organizes its troops. But it is clear that I prefer to go after this very beautiful campaign of Classics. It promises to be epic, with a greasy and wet pavé in late October.”
| Yates’s 2020 program ‘up in the air’
Simon Yates had initially targeted the Giro d’Italia and the Tokyo Olympics this season, but his 2020 plans are now a question mark, with the Olympics moved to next year and the Giro rescheduled to October. In a Zoom interview with CyclingTips and other outlets on Thursday, the 27-year-old Briton said that his program is ‘up in the air‘ now.
“I’ll have a team meeting with Whitey [Mitchelton-Scott sports director Matt White] and the rest of the team in the coming days to discuss the program going forward,” he said. “I’m open to anything.”
| Tinkov diagnosed with leukemia
Oleg Tinkov has told Russian newspaper Vedomosti that he has leukemia.
“In recent days, I did not appear in public, which caused some questions and speculation, especially in light of the fact that the trial is ongoing,” Tinkov said in a statement, Vedomosti reports. “And although I didn’t want to disclose the details for a long time, it seems that the time has come to inform you that I have been diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia.”
The former owner of the Tinkoff squad is currently in London facing possible extradition to the United States over tax fraud charges.
“With regard to questions from the United States on my taxes in the past, lawyers work on them, leaving me the strength to sue my main enemy [illness],” Tinkov said, according to Vedomosti.
| Prudhomme says a women’s Tour de France could happen by 2022
Two months after confirming that the ASO was working towards a women’s Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme has now provided a bit more information about those plans, saying that the race could happen within the next two seasons.
“Our goal is still the same. We have started thinking about a women’s event which would take place after the [men’s] Tour de France,” Prudhomme said, according to the AFP. “The calendar has been considerably shaken up, including in 2021 since there will be the Olympic Games. It would be logical to envisage it for 2022.”
| UAE extends with Pogacar
UAE-Team Emirates has secured the services of rising star Tadej Pogacar all the way through the 2024 season, signing the 21-year-old Slovenian to a lengthy contract extension on Thursday.
“I turned professional here and I feel very comfortable with everyone. I believe in the team and I want to be part of this ambitious project,” Pogacar said in the team’s announcement of the news. “The next five years will be fundamental for the team and for my career, with the hope that they will be fruitful years for both parties.”
| Dixon and Bole win on stage 4 of Tour for All
Thursday’s fourth and penultimate stage of the Tour for All was a flat one, serving up a fast finish on the Sand and Sequoias course.
In the men’s race, it was Bahrain-McLaren’s Grega Bole who took the win in a reduced sprint, topping Pier-Andre Cote and Nick Schultz at the line.
On the women’s side, Leah Dixon notched the win ahead of Tanja Erath and Teniel Campbell.
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Today’s featured image of Romain Bardet climbing La Planche des Belles Filles on stage 6 of the 2019 Tour de France comes from Kristof Ramon.