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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,
For the first time in months, it feels like the cycling fans of the world can take a breath. The Giro d’Italia is finished. The Vuelta a España is having its first rest day. The spring* (*autumn) classics are all over. The Tour of Guangxi doesn’t exist in 2020. It’s almost time for hibernation.
But, dear reader, things aren’t quite over yet. The season may well have a few twists and turns left up its sleeve, with the Vuelta poised on a knife-edge due to increased COVID-19 restrictions in Spain. There’s also an update on Egan Bernal’s back and some contract shuffles.
All that and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
| “For the time being, the Vuelta will continue”
With the imposition of tightened COVID-19 restrictions across Spain, the Vuelta a España finds itself on shakier footing than it began with. A six month “state of alarm” has been announced as Spain suffers a resurgence of the virus, with curfews and limits on movement introduced.
However, Vuelta boss Javier Guillén maintains that – at least for now – the race will continue unabated. “I don’t know if the Vuelta will finish, but as of today, the race can continue,” Guillén said.
A question mark also hovers over the Ceratizit Madrid Challenge, a three day women’s stage race held alongside the closing stages of the Vuelta; no route details have yet been announced and the website is inactive.
| Giro d’Italia 2021 planning to skip Hungary
The Giro d’Italia may just have finished, but the organisers are already turning their thoughts to 2021. Given the ongoing uncertainty around the global health situation, Mauro Vegni has told RAI that the Grande Partenza in Hungary – originally slated for 2020 – may need to be rescheduled for a second time.
“I don’t think the corona problems will be solved before 2021, so we are working towards a Giro with all 21 stages in Italy… We have several options for the Grande Partenza, in Italy and abroad. But if the problem with the corona situation is still there, then a foreign start will of course be complicated,” Vegni said.
| Egan Bernal reveals cause of back injury
After calling time on the season after withdrawing from the Tour de France, 2019 champion Egan Bernal has revealed the cause of the back injury that brought his Tour defence undone.
“The problem is that one leg is longer than the other,” Bernal explained to ESPN, which in turn led to scoliosis and a disc herniation onto a nerve running from the gluteus to the knee. “It’s a problem that can only be overcome with long-term rehabilitation. My back needs to be strengthened and we need to get the disc that has moved slightly back into place.”
There’s apparently no need for surgical intervention, but Bernal says he’s putting the hard work in at the gym to get things straightened out.
| Ryan Gibbons signs with UAE Team Emirates
As the clock runs out for NTT to secure sponsorship for 2021, the riders on the roster face an increasingly nervous wait. South African champion Ryan Gibbons has managed to find a berth, picking up a two year deal with UAE Team Emirates.
“I have no doubt that this transition is crucial for my personal growth and my future as a professional cyclist and I’m eagerly awaiting the start of this new journey,” Gibbons said.
| Campanaerts: “Maybe I can become a firefighter”
Gibbons’ NTT teammate Victor Campanaerts, meanwhile, is running out of options. The World Hour Record holder finished second on two of the last three stages of the Giro, but tells Sporza he has “nothing concrete for next season, and also no offers on lesser terms”. The Belgian hopes to continue his career, but admits that his future is causing a lot of stress, with Campanaerts eyeing off a job in the fire department.
“It seems very unlikely that I will have to close my career yet,” said Victor Campenaerts, “but look at how many professionals are currently without a team. About 100.”
In case you missed it
| With Tao Geoghegan Hart’s Giro win, Ineos enters a new era
For years, Ineos has been characterised by the strength of its line-up and the robotic precision of the Froome era. In Tao Geoghegan Hart, there’s a standard-bearer for the team’s revitalisation, Iain Treloar writes.
| Take a bow, Jai Hindley
After one of the tightest Grand Tours in recent memory, Jai Hindley proved to be a revelation, as Matt de Neef explains.
| Bianchi reveals new Specialissima: a less pretty, disc-only, all-round racer
Bianchi has updated the Specialissima, one of its flagships, which follows the trend of moving to an aerodynamic design built around the use of disc brakes.
Today’s featured image of Egan Bernal throwing a peace sign at the Tour de France comes from Cor Vos.