Your Thursday Daily News Digest

by Mark Zalewski

March 30, 2017

In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Kristoff wins second stage of De Panne, Gilbert extends lead; Avila wins a second stage at Tour de Taiwan; Better than ever at Spring Classics, Durbridge sets his eyes on Flanders and Roubaix; Hall closes in on Allegaert as the Indian Pacific Wheel Race approaches its final 1,000km; Keukeleire out of De Panne with Achilles injury; 15 riders, including stage winner Gilbert, fined for riding sidewalks at De Panne opener; Gamesmanship between Quick-Step Floors and Sagan heading into Flanders; Van Avermaet confident heading into Flanders; Bouhanni extends with Cofidis for two years; Gaviria leaves Classics to focus on Giro; Team Sunweb gives injury updates; Bernard Hinault inducted into Giro hall of fame; Phil Gaimon’s “Worst Retirement Ever,” episode 1: Palomar; Cross is not coming (yet).

15 riders, including stage winner Gilbert, fined for riding sidewalks at De Panne opener

by CyclingTips

Race commisaires at the Three Days of De Panne fined 15 riders for riding on the foot paths, including Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert, who would go on to win the stage and take the race lead. Race organisers of the Belgian Classics have specifically cited this infraction as a focus this year, going so far as to place barriers on key sections of courses to dissuade the practise. Not only is it dangerous to spectators, organisers believe it goes against the spirit of the races that feature cobbled roads.

“We can not do much,” the French UCI race jury chairman Joel Alies told Het Nieuwsblad. “There were too many riders in error. We can not throw them all out of the race. There will be communiqué for the team leaders in which we make it clear that any footpath riders will be disqualified. This also comes from the headquarters of the International Cycling Union (UCI).

“But you have to weigh everything. What is better? Sometimes we tolerate it, for example when there is a risk of crashing on one of the many roundabouts that are very narrow.”

ORICA-Scott DS Laurenzo Lapage said he always makes it a point during the team meeting. “It’s too dangerous for riders and spectators, but as a rider riding on the limit, he thinks about it differently. It needs to be a change in mentality. ”

Hilaire Vanderschueren, sports director at Wanty Groupe Gobert, commented ahead of the second stage on Wednesday. “Sidewalk riding is a very delicate case. Everyone knows that it should not be done, but in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad the leaders, who were only a few seconds ahead, rode on the sidewalk, and we rode in the chase on the cobblestones. At the exit of that strip the leading group had 35 seconds, and they were not penalized. Yesterday the riders were indeed punished. It should be all or nothing. It is a very difficult issue. I tell my guys that they can not do it.”

Click through to read more at Het Nieuwsblad.