New Belgian CX champ Wout van Aert on his way to winning Zilvermeercross.

Daily News Digest: Kelderman in hospital with fractured vertebrae

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Hi there CyclingTips readers,

As we roll towards a new week, have a read of today’s Daily News Digest for all the latest news to keep you up to date on the world of cycling. We’ve got the results from the weekend’s cyclocross races, we’ve got an update on the Bora-Hansgrohe training crash, and we’ve got details of a big win for French female professional riders. Read on for all this and more.

Here’s to a great week!

Matt de Neef
Managing Editor

What’s news?

Wilco Kelderman in hospital with fractured vertebrae after training incident

Bora-Hansgrohe has confirmed that three of its riders are in hospital after an incident involving an SUV at a training camp in Italy over the weekend. Among those worst injured was 2020 Giro d’Italia podium finisher (and new Bora-Hansgrohe recruit) Wilco Kelderman.

“Wilco Kelderman, Rüdiger Selig and Andreas Schillinger were taken to hospital, all conscious,” the team wrote in a statement. “Wilco sustained a concussion and a fractured vertebrae. Andreas sustained broken vertebrae in the cervical and thoracic spine. Rudi has also sustained a concussion, but no fractures.”

The exact details of the crash aren’t yet clear but the Bora-Hansgrohe statement says the vehicle “crossed the road and rode into our training group.” A photo on Italian website L’Arena shows three large dents on the right-hand side of the vehicle in question, with the front-right window smashed in. A total of seven riders were reportedly felled in the incident.

Wout van Aert, Lucinda Brand win at Zilvermeercross

Newly minted Belgian champion Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) have continued on their winning ways at Zilvermeercross in Mol, Belgium.

In the men’s race Van Aert took the lead early with Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) with the pair riding together until Van Aert opened a gap in the final two laps. The multi-discipline star went on to win solo in the snow and sand by nearly a minute over Sweeck, with Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) third, a few seconds behind.

Lucinda Brand (NED/Baloise Trek Lions) wins the Zilvermeercross in Mol. Women’s elite Race Zilvermeercross Mol (BEL) 2021 ©Kramon

The women’s race came down to a tight tussle between Brand and Denise Betsema (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) with Brand just managing to get clear to take victory by four seconds over Betsema. Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) was third at 29 seconds.

French federation gives pro licenses to top female riders

In 2021 the French cycling federation will offer professional racing licenses to its top female road cyclists for the very first time. A professional license will give top riders access to services like health insurance and social security, while also, finally, recognising their professionalism.

Behind this latest move was the Association Française des Coureures Cyclistes (AFCC), an organisation founded in 2019 to push for the professional recognition of female cyclists. French road champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segafredo) is the organisation’s co-vice-president. “I’m glad we have managed to achieve our first goal as a young association,” Cordon-Ragot said. “This may look small but it’s a big step for women’s cycling in France!”

Among the riders to benefit from the new agreement are Cordon-Ragot, Roxanne Fournier (SD Worx), Juliette Labous (DSM), and a swathe of French riders on the FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope squad.

Thibaut Pinot eyeing the Giro d’Italia in 2021

Speaking of French riders, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) apparently has his sights set on the Giro d’Italia in 2021 rather than the Tour de France.

French media network RMC Sport reports that the less-mountainous and more-time-trial-heavy route for the 2021 Tour de France has pushed Pinot towards the Giro this season. RMC also suggests that the intense pressure of racing the Tour (as a leading French rider) was a factor in Pinot’s decision.

Pinot is yet to publicly confirm his plans for this season. He has had success at both the Tour and the Giro in the past, finishing third at the former in 2014, and fourth at the latter in 2017.

Diego Ulissi to undergo heart study

Eight-time Giro d’Italia stage winner Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates) will undergo an electrophysiological study of his heart in the coming days after an abnormal rhythm was detected during a routine pre-season medical evaluation.

“The procedure will involve an in-depth analysis of the electrical mapping of the heart with possible removal of arrhythmias,” said UAE-Team Emirates in a statement. “Further updates will be released pending the results of the study.”

Ulissi’s irregular heartbeat was detected in December, with a follow-up MRI leading to a diagnosis of myocarditis – inflammation of the heart muscle. UAE-Team Emirates said at the time that Ulissi would “undergo a period of absolute rest for a few months” while further investigations were carried out.

Julien Vermote’s solo training camp

While most pro riders have been at team training camps in recent weeks, pre-season training has looked a little different for 31-year-Belgian Julien Vermote.

As Cyclingnews reports, Vermote is without a team in 2021 after his contract at Cofidis wasn’t renewed. Rather than give up on racing in 2021, Vermote took himself to Calpe, Spain – a popular destination for team training camps – and is currently in the midst of his own solo camp.

“You have to keep moving,” Vermote told Cyclingnews. “If you do nothing, you definitely won’t get anywhere, and then you might regret it later. It’s not nice. It’s a hard situation, but in the end I’m a professional and I know what to do. I’m still training because I hope I still get a chance. If you do get that chance, you have to be ready with a good level.”

In case you missed it

2021 Field Test: Our favorites of the mid-tier road race bikes

Dave Rome summed up some key points on the mid-tier road race bikes that the crew rode at the 2021 Field Test.

Egan Bernal is reportedly considering racing the Giro d’Italia

Egan Bernal’s still working out his plans for the year, but as Dane Cash writes, the 2019 Tour champion could make his Giro debut in 2021.

Why coming out is still hard to do

After Belgian cyclocross racer Justin Laevens recently came out as gay, another former rider has written for The British Continental about why coming out is still hard for male cyclists in 2021.

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