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Cav wins sprint in Dubai; doping raid snares Italian amateur team: Daily News Digest

by Neal Rogers

February 9, 2018

In today’s Daily News Digest: Cavendish wins Stage 3 of Dubai Tour, Viviani moves into GC lead; Massive raid reveals systematic doping program within amateur Italian team; 2018 Amgen Tour of California men’s and women’s routes announced; Aqua Blue Sport owner speaks of wildcard frustration, calls for changes; Gore Bike Wear brightens up Shakedry material for improved visibility; Iranian track sprinter Seyedmahmoud Rasouli handed four-year suspension.

Aqua Blue Sport owner speaks of wildcard frustration, calls for changes

by Shane Stokes

The Aqua Blue Sport team has made a solid impression thus far at the Dubai Tour, sending riders up the road in breaks, riding aggressively in the peloton and, on Thursday, driving the pace when the bunch split in the crosswinds. Adam Blythe was also a solid fourth on stage three, rubbing shoulders with the world’s best sprinters.

Team owner Rick Delaney was consequently a satisfied person at the finish but, race performance aside, was frustrated about a different subject. The squad gained a wildcard invite to the Vuelta a Espana last year, winning a stage in that race via Stefan Denifl. It punched above its weight in what was its debut season, taking other results such as Larry Warbasse’s stage win at the Tour de Suisse and US road race championships title, and Denifl’s overall victory at the Tour of Austria.

And yet, despite those showings, it has missed out on wildcards for the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and, if rumours are correct, the Vuelta itself. Race organisers have favoured teams from those countries rather than looking further afield.

It’s something which has vexed Delaney. “There are certainly two [Grand Tour slots] gone,” he told CyclingTips shortly after the stage three finish. “The third one is looking unlikely. Of course we are bitterly disappointed. I could talk to you for the next half an hour and rant to you as to the reasons why and why not. But it is very, very disappointing.

“[We’ve missed] not just a Grand Tour but also other races like Milan-Sanremo, which we thought we would certainly get a wildcard invite to. And Paris-Roubaix. It is disappointing, but we have just to keep going. Just try and prove ourselves by getting results.

Click through to read the full interview on CyclingTips.

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