In today’s Daily News Digest: Cavendish still targeting Merckx record, also chasing Olympic gold in 2020; Dan Martin diagnosed with vertebral fractures; BMC Racing Tour de France team targets San Sebastian success; Tour de France runner-up Uran and Phinney confirmed for Colorado Classic; Lizzie Deignan, one year after whereabouts scandal; Professional riders’ association CPA votes to also represent female riders; Transcontinental Europe race begins on Friday, dedicated to Mike Hall; Car/cyclist ‘radar’ trialled in Adelaide; Video: Celebrating rider at GP of Beverly loses race victory and some skin
Still recovering from his bad crash in the Tour de France, Mark Cavendish has stated that he will keep racing for at least three more seasons in a bid to chase two long-term targets of his career.
One of those is landing an Olympic gold, something he narrowly missed out on last time around when he took second in the 2016 Omnium. “Before this year I wasn’t sure if this was my last contract,” he told The Times. “And then the Madison was announced and I thought, ‘Right I’m going to go to 2020’.”
His second big target is to break the all-time Tour de France stage win record held by Eddy Merckx. The Belgian has 34 successes, while Cavendish is on 30. While he went into this year’s Tour under-raced after a bout of Epstein-Barr virus, he was looking good prior to hitting the deck on stage four.
“The stage I crashed in, I’m still pretty confident I would have won it,” he said. “I believe I’m the best and I believe I will be for a fair few more years. It’s given me the confidence to keep going. People would argue that I only win sprint days so [Merckx’s] mountain days mean more,” Cavendish said. “That’s uneducated in my opinion, but a number is a number and it gives me a target. I’d almost run out of targets … and that’s a target I can realistically think about.”
Speaking in Paris on Sunday, Cavendish described the serious nature of his injury, and said that his career could be over if he didn’t allow it to fully heal. He told The Times he hopes to be back racing for the Tour of Britain, but that he questions if he can be competitive.
Having finished sixth overall in the Tour de France and being one of the most aggressive riders in the race, Dan Martin has ruled out aiming for success in the season’s remaining Grand Tour. “Definitely no Vuelta,” he told CyclingTips when asked if he was planning on riding the Spanish event.
Martin previously finished seventh and 13th overall in the race, and also won a stage in 2011. However rather than heading into another three-week event, he prefered a lighter programme and to wait until 2018 before his next Grand Tour.
However had he wished to ride the race, he may not have had any other choice but to miss it. On Thursday his team announced that a post-Tour examination had revealed two small transverse process fractures to his L2 and L3 vertebrae. “During the Tour I didn’t have any problems when racing, but off the bike I wasn’t feeling very comfortable,” he stated in a team release. “So this week I did a scan and got the news. It’s a real pity I won’t ride San Sebastian, because the legs were there and it’s a race I like. But fortunately this injury isn’t something to worry about.
“In order to tackle my future goals in good condition, it’s better to take a break and give the fracture time to heal. There’s nothing else I can do, just rest and then build up for the final part of the season.”
Reflecting on the Tour de France, he told CyclingTips that it has changed the way he looks at his career. “I have learned that I can be a contender next year. Coming into the race, nobody even mentioned my name, they didn’t see me as a podium contender or a contender for the yellow jersey,” he said. “I think I am leaving the race with a much bigger status, and a lot more respect from the rest of the peloton that I can actually take the yellow jersey one day all the way to Paris.”
Richie Porte remains out due to injury but the majority of the BMC Racing Team riders who competed in the Tour de France are hoping to carry over their form into this Saturday’s Clasica San Sebastian in Northern Spain. Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet will spearhead the team in the race and, after going close to a victory in the Tour, netting placings of second, fourth and fourth, is hoping to be in the hunt there.
“I was a little sick in the last few days of the Tour de France so I’m hoping I’ll be feeling good at the Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian,” he said. “I’m motivated to do a good race and a top ten finish would be great, especially considering there are UCI WorldTour points on offer. I like the course and it’s challenging, which suits me.”
Sports Director Yvon Ledanois hints that he, and the team, are likely higher than a placing. “Six of our eight riders are coming to Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian from the Tour de France so we know their form is good. After missing out on a stage win there, they will be very motivated to go for the win in San Sebastian. We have one strong leader in Greg Van Avermaet who, as we know, was primed to win the race in 2015. I expect everyone to be ready to support Greg to go for a good result.”
The Belgian will be joined by Alessandro De Marchi, Amaël Moinard, Manuel Quinziato, Michael Schär, Fran Ventoso, Danilo Wyss and Nicolas Roche, who has previously finished fifth and eighth in the event.
Meanwhile Jempy Drucker and Stefan Küng will lead the team’s selection in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic on Sunday.
The organisers of the Colorado Classic have confirmed that Tour de France runner-up Rigoberto Uran and his teammate Taylor Phinney will both part of the lineup for the new race. Uran’s participation was first mentioned in an interview carried out with Cannondale-Drapac CEO Jonathan Vaughters on Sunday, and has now been made official.
“This is an exciting, new approach to bike racing in the U.S,” said Phinney, a Coloradan, “and I can’t wait to once again be a part of pro racing in my home state.” The 27-year-old went close to victory on stage two of his debut Tour de France, and also wore the King of the Mountains jersey for a day.
“This field represents cycling’s fiercest competitors from 23 nations, including Kelly Catlin, Rigoberto Uran, and Colorado’s own Taylor Phinney, ” said David Koff, CEO of RPM Events Group, the organization formed to put on the race. “For four days, Coloradans will have a front-row seat for incredible racing and Velorama, a three-day music festival while the race is in Denver.”
The men’s field will include Giro d’Italia stage winners Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing Team) and Marco Canola (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Vuelta a España stage victor Greg Henderson (United Heathcare Pro Cycling), Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team), Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo), Tour of Alberto champion Robin Carpenter (Holowesko-Citadel), Alex Howes and Lawson Craddoc (Cannondale-Drapac), Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Emirates) and Greg Daniel (Trek-Segafredo).
The men’s race will run from August 10 – 13, while the women’s event is two days shorter. The lineup will include U.S. Olympic & World Championship team pursuit medalists Kelly Catlin (Rally Cycling) and Jenn Valente (Sho-Air Twenty20), plus the latter’s teammate Allie Dragoo, recent winner of the Cascade Cycling Classic. Also amongst those riding are Tayler Wiles (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) and the Schneider sisters Skylar and Samantha (Team ISCorp).
It’s now been a year since Lizzie Deignan’s (née Armitstead) whereabouts controversy sparked a media frenzy just days before the Rio Olympics.
Unbeknownst to the press, Deignan had been placed under provisional suspension in July of 2016, after being charged by the UK Anti-Doping agency for three alleged whereabouts violations, dating back to 2015. The news broke when Deignan and a legal team funded by British Cycling appealed UKAD’s charge at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The appeal was successful and the first of the three violations was removed from her record, thereby lifting her suspension and escaping a potential four-year ban.
Since then, Deignan’s world champion stripes have changed hands, her Boels-Dolmans team has gained a new queen, and all seems quiet on the whereabouts front.
Still, at a time when the overall faith among the British about the integrity of sport is already low, the whole ordeal has left some mistrust among the fans of one-time darling of British cycling. It’s also left a bitter taste in the mouth of Boels-Dolmans Director Sportif Danny Stam.
The Professional Riders’ Association CPA has voted at its steering committee meeting in Paris to integrate women’s cycling into its work, thus adding clout to efforts to further professionalise this area of the sport.
The group helps to push for better standards in the sport, with safety one of its major considerations. Former road pro and world champion Alessandra Cappellotto of Italy will be responsible for the new women’s section. She explained what needs to be done.
“The women riders need support to see the respect of their essential rights in terms of insurance, security, employment contracts and retirement,” she stated in a press release. “There is so much to do and we believe that through the CPA it will be easier to achieve our goals and give the women’s cycling a better future.. ”
CPA President Gianni Bugno said he and the body were fully committed to helping those in the women’s peloton. “I believe that our ‘federative’ model is the best solution to meet the territorial needs and bring them to an institutional level through the CPA, the same way as for the men’s athletes.
“We realized that even the male professional riders are looking for some better conditions for their female colleagues and we will do everything possible to make this happen.”
The 2017 Transcontinental ultra-endurance race across Europe starts this Friday at 10pm in Belgium, its first running since the death of founder and organiser Mike Hall in March. The plan for the fifth running of the race will be to carry it out in the way Hall intended, following the vision he had already set in place.
“I’m keen for the focus to very much be on it being Mike’s race this year, and we have a team in place who want to make this vision happen,” Anna Haslock, previous race coordinator, new race director, and Mike’s former partner told Apidura in an article published on its website. “We’re trying to keep it on the path he planned.”
However, according to the article the race may evolve in the years ahead.
“I think, or rather I know, that the Transcontinental Race has potential to grow and develop and become something other than what Mike might have thought,” Haslock explained to Apidura. “There is an amazing team of experienced and knowledgeable people working and volunteering on the race, and there are already plans for new and exciting projects; ideas and twists for the future.”
However, this year is for Mike – for remembering our friend. It will still be exciting and thrilling, but it cannot help but be tinged with sadness, and I know it’s going to be a big struggle for those of us who loved Mike as dearly as we did.”
In what could be a major boost to the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, the Australian tech firm Cohda Wireless has begun conducting tests of its new technology on city streets. Called VSP (vehicle to pedestrian) technology, it uses mobile phone networks to provide an early-collision warning to a driver while also alerting a pedestrian or cyclist via a smartphone app.
One situation where it is believed to be beneficial is when a driver is approaching a blind corner and a pedestrian or cyclist are crossing the adjacent street. Other scenarios tested are when cars and cyclists are both approaching a blind corner, when a car is reversing out of a driveway and when a car is approaching a pedestrian crossing.
“Giving vehicles 360-degree situational awareness and sharing real-time driving information is the only way we can create safer roads for the future,” said Cohda Wireless CEO Paul Gray. “Cohda’s ongoing partnership with Telstra also demonstrates Cohda’s ability to deliver Cellular- V2X (C-V2X) solutions, an important part of the complete V2X system.”
The technology was originally envisaged to enable those driving cars and motorcycles to detect each other more easily than usual. The tests have been carried out in Adelaide.
“The most important outcome of V2X technology is the increased safety for road users, as the impact of human error can be minimised by helping vehicles communicate with each other and react to their surroundings,” said Telstra Chief Technology Officer Håkan Eriksson. “This is the first time V2P technology has been trialled in Australia on a 4G network, and is an important step on the journey to fully-autonomous vehicles on Australian roads.”
An embarrassing, and painful, end to the Gran Prix of Beverly for CCB Velotooler rider Sam Rosenholtz. Jake Keough (Team Skyline) nabbed the win in what was also the state championship race.