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by Mark Zalewski
January 11, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Leopold König explains his path from Sky domestique to Giro d’Italia contender; Brailsford critcised UKAD chairman for speaking about investigation; Contador says he is happy to be finished with Oleg Tinkov; Velocite company owner alleges patent infringement by Pinarello; Niels Albert criticises elder van der Poel for working on world champs course construction; Athletes blast UCI for short notice on world championships; USA Cycling names cyclocross World Championships team; Christoph Strasser’s Australian record-breaking adventure starts in Perth today; British All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group seeking cyclists involved in traffic incidents; Stephen Hyde on the lead-up to nationals; Euro-cross recap video; Farmer drops pro triathletes like a boss; Fat Bike caught on electric fence.
Peter Sagan and Rafal Majka have earned most of the headlines after moving to Bora-hansgrohe, but if things go to plan for Leopold König, he could end 2017 with some of the team’s best results. The 29 year old Czech rider was previously part of the squad between 2011 and 2014, competing under the Team NetApp-Endura colours. He then moved to Team Sky and spent two years there, helping riders such as Chris Froome to success but also learning much and gaining strength. Now back working with Bora-hansgrohe chief Ralph Denk and his squad, König has big aims for 2017, including leading the team in the Giro d’Italia.
“Well, when we take the whole picture, it’s definitely simple…it is a podium in a Grand Tour,” König told CyclingTips, laying out his goals for three-week races. “I feel like I’m improving every single year…with age, I am still getting better. The last step was this year’s Vuelta where I really had a feeling that I can be up there with the best ones.
“I can be up there in the time trials, I can be up there on the climbs. So definitely the dream and the goal is to be on the podium.”
König first showed Grand Tour promise back in 2013 when he won a stage and finished ninth overall in the Vuelta a España. The following year he built on that result, putting in a very solid second half of the race to net seventh overall in the Tour de France. He could have continued that upward progression in the race by continuing to ride for himself but instead he accepted an offer to join Team Sky. The squad has the highest budget in pro cycling and likely paid well for his services; however, another factor was to learn from the team and thus continue his evolution for the future.
In 2015 König was set to back the team’s two leaders in the first two Grand Tours on the calendar. He started the Giro d’Italia riding backup for Richie Porte. However the Australian suffered bad luck and, after a crash on stage 13, withdrew before the end. König was able to play his own card and improved to a fine sixth overall in Milan. He then started the Tour de France intent on backing Chris Froome. While he was not at his best due to fatigue from the Giro, he helped the Briton to his second overall win in the race. In 2016 he missed both the Giro and the Tour, concentrating on the Vuelta a España as his sole Grand Tour of the year.
Click through to read more at CyclingTips.