Daily News Digest

by Mark Zalewski

June 15, 2016

In today’s CT Daily News Digest: Richeze wins tight Suisse sprint; Judge rules that Operacion Puerto blood bags can finally be handed over; UCI, WADA to push for identification of Puerto athletes; Interview: Why Phil Gaimon believes Danielson wasn’t doping; Keagan Girdlestone out of coma and breathing unassisted; Dot watching – The Trans Am and the Tour Divide; Rio velodrome not ready until mid-July; UK Anti-Doping admits failures in Dan Stevens case; Copeland to manage new Bahrain team; Fabio Felline set to return to racing; Chris Anker Sørensen speaks of Tinkoff team exit; Cycling media loses valued member; Leah Kirchman extends with Liv-Plantur; Is cycling more harmful to the environment than a car?; Aviva Women’s Tour Of Britain Preview; Brandon Semenuk pins it for 100 seconds; Danny Van Poppel makes incredible save, is fined by commissaires 

Dot watching – The Trans Am and the Tour Divide

by Simone Giuliani

There are two big races on in the United States at the moment that are brutal, unrelenting and cover thousands of kilometres with no support and no rest days. There’s no television coverage either so following them both is a matter of watching the live tracking dots representing riders, move across a map of the United States and so far it’s been compelling viewing.

Trans Am lead rider Steffen Streich. Photo: Nathan Jones and Anthony Dryer

Trans Am lead rider Steffen Streich. Photo: Nathan Jones and Anthony Dryer

The 7,080 kilometre Trans Am’s first week saw many leadership changes, with a woman taking the lead of the race for the first time. Now in the second week the field is starting to stretch out. In the 4,500 kilometre mountain bike Tour Divide, which started Friday, the regular shuffling of most of the top positions is still underway, however one rider has shot off the front to take a substantial lead.

That rider is Mike Hall, a former winner of the Tour Divide and the Trans Am. By 4am (MDT) Tuesday the Welsh rider had racked up 1287 kilometres (800 miles) with his buffer to the nearest competitor at 127 kilometres as he forged on through Montana on his way to Yellowstone at a record pace. Josh Kato who won the event in 2015, had been in second but slipped back through the field to sixth after a long stop.

Fellow American rider Chris Plesko took second, while compatriot Andrew Kulmatiski was in third and Australian rider Gareth Pellas fourth. Melbourne’s Jackie Bernadi continues to lead the women, despite some mechanical issues, with 852 kilometres (530 miles) covered. A podcast wrapping up the news and rider call ins can be found on mtbcast.com.

In the Trans Am it was a welcome change to downhill for the lead riders, as they descended from a peak of well over 3000 metres in Colorado and passed the race halfway mark. Greek rider Steffen Streich was still in the lead at 3,761 kilometres (2,337 miles) in the early hours of the morning Tuesday as he rode across Kansas. He had a 109 kilometre buffer to Alaskan Lael Wilcox and local rider Evan Deutsch, who are second and third. Kai Edel had moved into fourth, but was looking likely to be overtaken by former race leader Sarah Hammond while he was resting. Hammond fell back from second a couple of days ago after struggling in the high altitudes of Colorado and taking a couple of uncharacteristically long breaks after succumbing to the building fatigue.

It could be a tough Tuesday for the riders at the front of the Trans Am, with warnings that there is the risk of severe thunderstorms, damaging winds and even isolated tornadoes in Kansas. You can follow their progress on the live tracker. There is also a car on the road taking pictures and providing updates which can be found on the Trans Am Facebook site.