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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, November 9, 2019

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

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Mario Cipollini recovering from five-hour heart surgery

Cycling Weekly posted this report:

Former Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini is recovering from a five-hour heart surgery undertaken to correct an artery anomaly, having risked death because of the condition.

The procedure was performed last month, with Cipollini going public with his health issues in order to help people better understand the heart problems cyclists can face.

Mario Cipollini

Mario Cipollini winning the 2002 Milano-San Remo. Sirotti photo.

The coronary artery anomaly occurred at a spot where his heart’s muscles fibres wrap around the artery, which was around two centimeters deep in his heart and compressed. After checks, a ventricular tachycardia ablation was immediately performed at a hospital in Ancona, Italy.

“The problem is much more serious than we could think,” Doctor Roberto Corsetti told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Yes, Mario risked dying. But he’ll be back, we don’t know if it will take two, three months or how much time.”

The problem comes at a time when the 52-year-old will face a judge over accusations from his ex-wife that he pointed a gun at her, threatened and stalked her. Cipollini won a record 42 stages in the Giro during a career that spanned three decades from 1989 to 2008.

“It’s a serious illness, no joking, and can lead to extreme consequences. The mother of a dear friend died from the after-effects of this disease. The doctors discovered that mine is due to a virus,” Cipollini explained.

“It is strange, because as an athlete you think you are healthy, strong, perfect. Instead, it is not so. I realised that something was wrong because when I was climbing and pushing out 500 watts I felt like I’d hit a wall.

“I am lucky because I have a friend and a great professional like Dr Corsetti. He’s almost maniacal in finding the problem and finding the solution. Even in my career I have exasperated my heart in a devastating way and now I find I have genetic problems that have limited me.

“I am 52 years old and still have some things to do in life. In a very difficult time I found myself in the hospital in the best possible situation. I have lived through intense moments that I could not have imagined.”

Cipollini admitted it has been a hard time for him. Asked about his ex-wife’s claims and the court case, he said: “No comment. It would not be right to speak about this in the newspaper before speaking with the judge.”

The case will be heard on December 4, in his hometown of Lucca, in Tuscany.

You can read the entire story here.

Team Astana re-signs Daniil Fominykh

Here's the team's press release:

Astana Pro Team has signed a new one-year agreement with the Kazakh rider Daniil Fominykh, the current Asian ITT Champion and 2018 National ITT Champion.

- I think I've had a good season. One of the main goals was the Asian Championships, where we had to perform as successfully as possible. I managed to come to this event in a good shape, and I'm happy that I managed to bring victory to our country in ITT, and that I was able to help my teammates to succeed in the road race. In general, the second part of the season turned out quite well – I had a good result at the Kazakhstan National Championships, but also in several races I tried to do everything possible to help Alexey Lutsenko: at the Arctic Race of Norway and in the Italian classics. I was happy to perform at the World Championships and represent Kazakhstan there. Well, another season in Astana is lying ahead, I am very happy to extend my contract with the team. I thank our general partner Samruk-Kazyna for supporting. In the upcoming year I will try to improve personal results, but, of course, first of all I am always ready to help the team to achieve important successes, - said Daniil Fominykh.

Daniil Fominykh (28 years old) moved to Astana Pro Team in 2014, spending 6 seasons on the UCI WorldTour level. Twice he won the individual time trial of the Kazakhstan National Championships (in 2014 and 2018), also twice Fominykh won the gold medal in the individual time trial at the Asian Cycling Championships (in 2013 and 2019).

- Daniil is a very good helper, a loyal rider, who is always in the corner of team’s leader, ready to support him in any moment. He is doing an important amount of work, but having a chance in the race, he is always trying to use it. We had an important Asian Championships this year, where we fought up for an Olympic license and Daniil showed himself really well, not only winning his individual time trial race, but also helping Yevgeniy Gidich to reach an important win for Kazakhstan. It is always nice to have such a good rider in the team and I am happy to renew with Fominykh for one more season, - said Alexandr Vinokurov.

Velon, an association of WorldTeams, makes additional complaint against UCI for discrimination against women’s cycling

Team Sunweb posted this:

In June 2019, Tour des Fjords AS (the race organiser for Hammer Stavanger), through the Norwegian Cycling Federation, applied to the UCI for a women’s Hammer race to form part of Hammer Stavanger from 2020 onwards.

The race offer was for full equality with the men’s race on format, parcour, duration, TV broadcasting and prize-money. In early October 2019, Tour des Fjords AS announced this exciting development, which was well received by teams and riders, particularly as the event would offer a great opportunity to showcase women’s cycling with free worldwide live coverage of all three days of racing, start to finish as with all Hammer races.

Tour des Fjords AS, the Norwegian Cycling Federation (NCF), the Hammer Series and Velon, all strongly believed that this would be an important new event to advance equality for women cycling – a belief that was shared by the teams and riders.

Roy Hegreberg, Event Director of Tour des Fjords AS: “We have had the ambition of organising a women’s race since we started in 2013. We believe international women’s cycling needs events that will give them stronger visibility to develop. This is what we offer with Hammer Stavanger: equality for women and men in terms of promotion, visibility, prize money and sporting aspects. We can’t see any reason why the UCI doesn’t want to approve this race.”

Eystein Stokstad, General Secretary of the Norwegian Cycling Federation: “NCF is a proud supporter of women’s cycling. We value equality in sport, including support for elite-level events because we know that such events are crucial to the development of women’s cycling. It would be very disappointing if the Hammer Stavanger women’s race was not approved by the UCI. NCF supports the vision of Tour des Fjords AS.”

The Norwegian Cycling Federation confirmed to Tour des Fjords AS in early October 2019 that the UCI Road Department had included the women’s Hammer Stavanger race in the draft 2020 Road Calendar submitted to the UCI Management Committee for approval.

However, the UCI informed the Norwegian Cycling Federation on 18 October 2019, a week after the formal publication of the calendar, that the UCI Management Committee had refused the application, stating that a women’s Hammer race “was not in the best interest of women’s cycling”. This followed the UCI’s refusal to support Hammer Colombia, announced on 14 June 2019, an event that would also have offered a women’s race which was fully equal to the men’s.

Velon had already filed an anti-trust Complaint against the UCI with the European Commission and has now added an “Addendum to the Complaint” on the grounds of the UCI’s discrimination against women’s cycling. The EC has been asked to adopt interim measures in accordance with Article 8 of the Council Regulation 1/2003/EC, requiring the UCI to amend its 2020 Calendar and allow a women’s race to be staged on 22-24 May 2020 as part of Hammer Stavanger.

The Hammer Series concept, format and business model offer a unique opportunity to establish a truly world class cycling series for women, promoting full equality between men’s and women’s racing, based on a proven successful, innovative and exciting racing format. This is made possible due to the carefully designed structure and format of the events, focusing on competition between teams, racing over shorter distances, involving circuits and of a shorter duration, making it possible to offer the same racing opportunity and exposure for men’s and women’s races each day.

The UCI publicly advocates race organisers to promote greater equality in racing, TV coverage, prize money etc. (even when the UCI Regulations do not require this). In September 2019, the UCI published a “UCI Women in Cycling – Best Practice Guide” with a stated purpose to provide National Federations with the necessary working tools to put in place strategies for the development of women’s cycling.

Very few existing races offer equality for women’s road cycling compared to men. The UCI’s refusal of a women’s race in Hammer Stavanger flies in the face of everything the UCI proclaims regarding the advancement of equality for women’s cycling. Velon and its race partner Tour des Fjords were supported in their efforts to bring a women’s Hammer race to Stavanger by financial partners of the existing race, including the Norwegian Central Government, Stavanger as the Host City and potential sponsors – who all demand greater equality for women cycling. It would seem that only the UCI is against this.

Velon seeks a stable, predictable and fair regulatory environment for the sport that treats the teams, riders and race organisers in equal manner – something the UCI is refusing to provide and has illustrated again with its actions to deny another Hammer race.

Refusing to allow a much-welcomed women’s Hammer event, which would increase the general public’s interest in women’s cycling and grow the sport in a country which has played a leading role in promoting it, is yet another example of the UCI using its regulatory power to block the legitimate business activities of Velon, its partner race organisers and the teams – this time in a manner which discriminates against women’s cycling.

For this reason, Velon has added to the anti-trust Complaint it submitted to the European Commission against the UCI last month, extending the complaint to discriminatory grounds.

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