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Three medals for Wild in Minsk World Cup

Kirsten Wild (Wiggle High5) brought home three medals from the fifth round of the UCI Track World Cup that concluded on Sunday in Minsk, Belarus. The powerful Dutchwoman claimed gold medals in the Points Race and the Omnium, and a silver medal in the Madison.

Although pleased with her two gold medals, Wild expressed disappointment at not winning a third gold in the Madison with her partner Amy Pieters. The pair lost to Italian youngsters Letizia Paternoster and Maria Giulia Confalonieri by four points.

“I think it was a good weekend, starting with the Points Race on Friday, and the Omnium on Saturday was nice as well!” Wild said. “But our main focus on this event was the Madison on Sunday.

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“We trained a lot on the technical part of the Madison in the last weeks, so that was our focus point, and that worked quite well. We only missed a bit of good communication in the end, and we missed the last sprint, so yeah … We were a bit disappointed in the end.”

Wild kicked off the racing on Friday with a win in the Points Race, beating Confalonieri and Norwegian Anita Yvonne Stenberg. On Saturday, she only managed fifth place in the Scratch Race in the opening round of the Omnium, and then third in the Tempo Race. She went on to win the Elimination Race and finished the four-round event with fifth in the Points Race.

She won the gold medal with 122 points, enough to beat Great Britain’s Elinor Barker, who also races for Wiggle High5 on the road. She earned the silver medal with 119 points. American Jennifer Valente finished third with 114 points.

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Pauwels left off Belgian team for cyclo-cross Worlds

Despite Belgium being awarded a seventh spot for the elite men at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships thanks to the presence of outgoing champion Wout Van Aert in the team, there is no place for five-time bronze medalist Kevin Pauwels.

Pauwels missed out on the selection after finishing 10th in the Nommay World Cup this weekend, nearly four minutes behind winner Mathieu van der Poel.

Team selector Sven Vanthourenhout chose the country’s top two riders – Van Aert (2nd) and Laurens Sweeck (5th), plus Toon Aerts (7th), Michael Vanthourenhout (8th), Quinten Hermans (9th), Tim Merlier (11th) and Daan Soete (13th) for the elite men’s race, despite Hermans and Soete finishing well behind Pauwels in Nommay.

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“Kevin is not there for the first time since he is a professional,” Vanthourenhout said to Het Nieuwsblad. “That is a result of his race performances this season. He is also realistic enough to see that. This season he was caught by the younger generation and later also passed.”

Pauwels’ non-selection could well be in violation of the UCI rules for Worlds, which state “Each federation shall be required to include its first three ranked riders in their Men Elite’s and Women’s team, as long as they are in the top 50 of the UCI Cyclo-cross Classification as published after the national championships in Europe.”

In addition to being in the top 10 of the rankings all season, Pauwels has been second to Van Aert in the rankings among Belgians until the latest published standings, when Sweeck overtook him.

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Vincenzo Nibali to start 2018 season at Tour of Oman after missing Vuelta a San Juan

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) will begin his 2018 season at the Tour of Oman next month after he was forced to withdraw from the Vuelta a San Juan ahead of Sunday’s opening stage due to a bout of illness.

Nibali is set to travel back to Europe on Wednesday and, despite initial reports suggesting that he might ride the Dubai Tour, his Bahrain-Merida team said that the Sicilian will not alter his racing schedule to compensate for the loss of racing days in Argentina.

Nibali will thus make his first competitive outing of the 2018 season at the Tour of Oman, which takes place from February 13-18. The remainder of his spring programme is yet to be finalised, with Nibali still to decide between Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice as he builds towards a tilt at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Nibali has also floated the prospect of riding the Tour of Flanders in 2018, though his participation is yet to be confirmed.

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“We’ll try to make up for it in the races to come, but my programme won’t change. My next race will be the Tour of Oman,” Nibali told La Gazzetta dello Sport in a video interview on Monday.

Nibali was one of a number of riders at the Vuelta a San Juan to be afflicted by gastroenteritis, and he explained that the timing of the illness had left him with no choice but to withdraw ahead of the opening stage.

“These are things that can happen, I picked up this virus that’s been going around,” Nibali said. “Yesterday [Sunday], I started feeling cramps, nausea and a fever, and there was nothing I could do. It could have happened at home just as easily as it happened here.

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Italy takes first Madison gold in Minsk – Women’s News Shorts

The Italian duo of 18-year-old Letizia Paternoster and Maria Giulia Confalonieri scored the country’s first gold medal in the Madison at the UCI Track World Cup in Minsk, Belarus on Sunday.

The duo defeated the more experienced Dutch pair of Amy Pieters and Kirsten Wild by 29 points to 25 after swapping the lead throughout the race. Coming into the seventh of eight sprints, the two teams were tied on points, but the Italian team shot clear to take the five points while the Dutch duo missed out. The Italians managed to get over the Dutch in the final sprint, taking second behind the Russian duo of Olga Zabelinskaya and Martia Novolodskaya to seal the win.

After coming third in Pruzkow, Manchester and Santiago, the Italians claimed the World Cup overall victory in the Madison for the season.

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Paternoster, a five-time junior track world champion, is in her first season at the elite level. The success of her Madison partnership with Confalonieri came after the country’s team pursuiters sealed the overall World Cup in that discipline after taking three silvers and one gold during the series.

Bronze medal for Letizia Paternoster (Italy)

Canada’s ‘NextGen’ team takes bronze, second overall in World Cup Team Pursuit

Canada’s ‘NextGen’ squad of young team pursuiters claimed an important bronze medal and second overall for the country in the final World Cup in Minsk.

Ferrand-Prévot scores home World Cup medal

Stewart recovering after Santos Women’s Tour crash

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Marianne Vos and Mathieu Van der Poel headline Hoogerheide World Cup

Former world champions Marianne Vos and Mathieu van der Poel headline the Dutch team selection set to race at the final UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup held in Hoogerheide on January 28.

Vos and Van der Poel are preparing for the upcoming UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships held in Valkenburg on February 3 and 4, and will be aiming to return the rainbow bands to the Dutch after both finished second in the 2017 event in Bieles, Luxembourg.

Van der Poel has enjoyed a superb 2017-2018 thus far, winning all but two of the World Cup rounds and already laying claim to the overall title. At the weekend, he dominated the Nommay World Cup, beating World Championship rival Wout van Aert by 33 seconds. He also sits second in the Superprestige rankings, one point behind Van Aert, after winning four of the six races so far. Van der Poel will be joined by his brother David, Lars van der Haar and Corné van Kessel in the eight-rider team.

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Vos has had a more challenging season, one which was marred by illness at the turn of the New Year. The 30-year-old has completed barely a handful of races and struggled at the GP Sven Nys on January 1. Upon advice from doctors, Vos decided to miss the national championships in an attempt to recover and has headed to Mallorca for a training camp before racing at the Hoogerheide World Cup this weekend.

Lucinda Brand, Maud Kaptheijns and 2017 under-23 champion Annemarie Worst have been named alongside Vos in the women’s team, but 2016 world champion Thalita de Jong has missed out on a spot.

De Jong has been battling with a knee injury that ruled her out of the defence of her title at last year’s World Championships. She returned to racing at the GP Sven Nys and scored two wins this weekend at the Kasteelcross and the Grand Prix Mobel Alvisse. She still has a shot at the World Championship team becuase spots will open up after the under-23 women are separated out from the elite women’s team for that event.

Dutch squad for UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup Hoogerheide

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Lappartient will not attend Tour of Flanders in protest of Lance Armstrong invitation

UCI president David Lappartient has said that he will not attend the 2018 Tour of Flanders following the organisation’s decision to extend an invitation to Lance Armstrong to participate in a conference linked to the race.

Lappartient previously wrote to Flanders Classics asking them to rescind their invitation to Armstrong, who is scheduled to appear at the ‘Tour of Flanders Business Academy’ event on the Friday preceding the Ronde.

Armstrong will then be a guest of Tour of Flanders organiser Wouter Vandenhaut at the race on Sunday, although due to his life ban for doping, he will not travel in the race caravan and will instead watch at various points from the roadside.

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“I can’t confiscate the American’s passport and prevent him from coming to Belgium,” Lappartient told Het Nieuwsblad. “I understand that he could be invited as a conference speaker, and he will obviously attract a lot of attention, but this is not the image that we want to send out from cycling. We want to promote a clean sport, and Armstrong is not the symbol of that.”

Armstrong was handed a life ban for doping and stripped of his seven Tour de France victories in 2012 by the US Anti-Doping Agency after an investigation instigated by US federal agent Jeff Novitzky. The terms of Armstrong’s life ban prohibit him from taking part in or attending UCI-sanctioned events. Last year, the organisers of the Colorado Classic withdrew from an informal partnership with Armstrong’s new podcast venture.

“He’s not authorised to be in a race car since he is suspended for life,” Lappartient said. “I’m not happy with this situation and have made it known to Wouter Vandenhaute. I will not attend the Ronde. I’ll go to one race or another in Belgium at the start of the season, but I don’t know which one yet.”

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Team time trial on the agenda for Tour Down Under

With 20 editions of the Tour Down Under now completed, the first significant change to the race since the introduction of the Willunga Hill finish has been placed on the table by Mike Turtur.

Speaking to assembled media the morning after the 2018 Tour Down Under was won by Daryl Impey, the race director confirmed that a team time trial will be included on the race menu “sooner or later”.

The delay in adding a race against the clock to the parcours is largely due to the necessity of acquiring dispensation from the UCI to use road bikes in the time trial.

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“It will happen in the future, but when, I don’t know,” Turtur said. “But certainly a team time trial over an individual time trial. It would be a better fit for our race.”

Planning where and when in the race the team time trial would be held is still in the early stages, but Turtur is confident it will add a new dimension to the race, adding the caveat that road stages are still the bread and butter of the Tour Down Under.

“You have to be very careful in the planning of a team time trial or individual time trial. Several years ago you saw Tony Martin win the opening stage in Beijing and the race was over. So distance, discipline, are aspects you really have to think about as some teams are better at it than others. It is a good spectacle if it can be staged correctly with the right infrastructure and information. It is something that will happen sooner or later.”

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Lambrecht: They say every good career starts with something special

Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto Soudal) may have been blocked from racing the Santos Tour Down Under due to administrative errors over his ADAMS Whereabouts, but the young Belgian has taken it in his stride and used his time in Australia to take in some warm-weather training. The 20-year-old will now make his WorldTour debut at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on January 28.

Lambrecht was down to make his professional debut at the Tour Down Under and flew to Adelaide to take part in the race almost a fortnight ago. However, an administrative error meant that he was unable to compete as UCI rules state that all neo-pros must have a backlog of six weeks (42 days) of whereabouts data before they can race.

According to Lotto Soudal, Lambrecht only received his login details for the system on December 15, with the message that he must log Whereabouts data as of December 17 – just 30 days before the start of the Tour Down Under. The UCI would not provide the rider with special dispensation and, instead of racing the Tour Down Under, he rode the majority of the stages ahead of the peloton.

“You can cry in bed but that doesn’t help. It’s better to just train and look to the future,” Lambrecht told a small group of journalists, including Cyclingnews, during the race.

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“I was really looking forward to my first WorldTour race. There are more races coming and I’ll train here and hope to be good at the Cadel Evans race.

“It was a mistake from the UCI, I think. They gave me my login too late, and that’s a little bit shit for me. It’s really annoying and if they had told me before arriving in Australia it would have been much better because I could have ridden the Mallorca Challenge. Now we’re here in Australia. I only found that there was a problem a few days ago.”

Although he flew to Adelaide with his teammates and shared a room with Lars Bak during the race, Lambrecht has been forced to focus on the Cadel Evans Race, which takes place next weekend.

“You’re hoping everyday that it could be okay but I knew it was difficult to start. It’s very hard to hear that you can’t start but there are more races in the future. I’ll look to Cadel’s race and see that the condition is better and hopefully get a good result there.”

The young Belgian found the positives from a disappointing situation and each morning he travelled to the stage starts before riding off ahead of the race.

“Without a GPS I think I’d still be out there riding,” he joked.

“It’s always nicer to race than train on your own but I could see the riders on the screen at times.

“It’s always something special with me. They always say that a good career has to start with something special, so I’ve succeeded. It was hard mentally but the weather at home is cold and raining and you can’t go outside much at the moment. In a few months I might be able to laugh about it but not at the moment.” 

The Cyclingnews Podcast in association with Prendas Ciclismo and Pinarello

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Fernando Gaviria: I always ride to win, it’s the only thing in my mind

Fernando Gaviria has picked up his love affair with Argentinean races where it left off last year, when he won two stages at the Vuelta a San Juan. On Sunday, the 23-year-old claimed stage 1 of the 2018 edition of the race in Pocito with a dominant display of sprinting prowess, easily outpacing the competition and laying down the gauntlet for his rivals over the coming week.

Gaviria blasted into professional cycling’s consciousness in 2015 at the Tour de San Luis, beating Mark Cavendish twice in the race and later signing a contract with Quick-Step, Cavendish’s team at the time. He returned to San Luis in 2016 and took out another stage, then added a brace of wins in last year’s Vuelta a San Juan.

Asked how he’s developed as a sprinter since his first breakthrough win at San Luis, the Colombian said it was all attitude and hard work.

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“I always want to win,” Gaviria said in the press conference after stage 1. “I always try to win, and I always try to do things well. Three years ago when I came here in Tour de San Luis I won two stages and then when [Peter] Sagan was here I also won.

“I always ride to win. It’s the only thing in my mind. In all the races that I have a number on my back I always want to try to win.”

And win he does. The talented speedster has piled up 24 more wins since his heady days of beating Cavendish in 2015, blossoming into one of cycling’s top sprinters and seizing the reins at Quick-Step after first Cavendish and then Marcel Kittel moved on.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

UCI to step up fight against mechanical doping in March

At an informal sit down with the press at the Tour Down Under, UCI president David Lappartient confirmed the governing body’s on-going fight against mechanical doping. An announcement regarding new initiatives and technologies was initially slated for the end of January but will now be made in March with a demonstration by the UCI.

During his election campaign in the lead up to September’s presidential elections and following his victory, Lappartient has remained committed to stamping out mechanical doping from cycling. The UCI’s tablet scanning of bikes before and after races remains its number one method for now but from March, sophisticated changes are coming as Lappartient explained

“It has been a little bit delayed because we were supposed to probably make the announcement at the end of January,” Lappartient said of the developments.

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“We can do this but I prefer to make the announcement with the demonstration with what we will do. This will probably be in the middle of March. What I can tell you is that we are ready and we know what we will do. We will have five different ways to fight and of course we have been working very hard with Bob Stapleton, the chairman of the equipment material, plus Jean-Christophe Péraud who has been involved in this.

“We will be ready for this but nevertheless in the meantime, I would say between now and mid-March, we will continue to use the current system we have. Plus, some other systems but we will be really ready after mid-March.”

The cost of the UCI’s investment in new technologies and testing methods is estimated at €500,00 per-year by Lappartient. The methods are set to include tablets, x-rays, thermal cameras and the dismantling bikes to check for hidden motors.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com