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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, January 19, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy. - Joseph Campbell

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Women's Tour Down Under race organizer reports on Stage 3:

SUBARU STAGE 3
Today's Subaru Stage 3 winner is Ruth Winder, Trek-Segafredo.

SANTOS OCHRE LEADER'S JERSEY
Ruth Winder, Trek-Segafredo will wear the Santos Ochre Leader's Jersey in tomorrow's Schwalbe Stage 4.

FLASH QUOTES: FINISH
Ruth Winder, Trek-Segafredo
"My teammate Tayler Wiles, she was just leading me out perfectly. I was talking to her the whole time, we’ve been teammates for years and she’s helped me with so many wins, so every time I do I feel so grateful for her in the last 500 metres. The whole team the entire race was really active at the front covering things, making sure I was really safe until the circuits, which were pretty hard with Mitchelton-SCOTT destroying it on the times pretty much."

Flash results:
108.1 km

  1. Ruth Winder (TFS) 2hr 5min 16sec (38.221 km/hr)
  2. Liane Lippert (SUN) s.t.
  3. Lauren Stephens (TIB) s.t.

GC after stage 3:
340.300 km

  1. Ruth Winder (TFS) 9hr 12min 26sec (36.939 km/hr)
  2. Liane Lippert (SUN) @ 7sec
  3. Amanda Spratt (MTS) s.t.

Here's the report from fromer GC leader Amanda Spratt's Mitchelton-Scott team:

A day after claiming a sensational stage victory, Australian champion Amanda Spratt has relinquished the overall lead after stage three of the Santos Tour Down Under.

Despite another solid day of work from the full Mitchelton-SCOTT squad, a stage victory to Ruth Winder (Trek Segafredo) puts the American champion in the ochre jersey.

With one day of racing remaining, a criterium circuit in Adelaide, Spratt now sits third overall, seven seconds off the pace.

First phase: A breakaway of six riders characterised the first phase of racing, forming after 30km of racing.

The move, containing Anna Henderson (Team Sunweb), Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon-SRAM), Nicole Hanselmann (Doltcini Van Eyck), Frapporti (BePink) and Matilda Raynolds (Specialized Women’s Racing), rode out to an advantage of two minutes. Mitchelton-SCOTT controlled the bunch behind and as they headed towards with 40km remaining, the race was back together.

As the race entered the finishing circuit, the action began in earnest with an intermediate sprint contested by the overall leaders, with Winder taking the honours and seconds ahead of Spratt.

As Brodie Chapman (FDJ) tried her luck off the front, Spratt had Lucy Kennedy once again putting on the pressure at the front of the bunch up the climbs. When Chapman’s efforts were ended, Leigh-Ann Ganzar (Rally Cycling) attacked with 10km to go and she rode out to a 45-second advantage. As no risk to the general classification, Mitchelton-SCOTT allowed its rivals to chase her down.

Back together inside the final two kilometres, the reduced bunch contested the final sprint.  Winder took the victory in a strong finishing effort, with Spratt settling for 10th.

Amanda Spratt:
“Honestly, I don’t know if we could have done too much more. We had a good plan and the girls committed to it. It all came down to that final sprint. I was a little too far back a couple of kilometres out and I used a bit of energy to get up but even so, you saw how punchy Ruth was at the finish. She had a really incredible ride and sometimes you also have to realise when someone’s had a really great ride.

“My legs just kind of exploded. I finished totally empty so I couldn’t have done anything more. Of course there’s always disappointment, you always come here to win the overall, but that’s bike racing, you can’t always win and I’m still really proud of the team has ridden.”

Martin Vestby – Sport Director:
“We wanted to make it hard, make a selective group and hopefully have the numbers with Spratty and Grace Brown a bit like yesterday. That was the plan but it didn’t really turn out like that.  We had some riders on a bad day and some riders from other teams were on good days and that really put us under pressure.

“That’s bike racing and that’s life sometimes.”

2019 sees a sharp rise in doping cases

The MPCC (Movement for Credible Cycling) sent me this:

The number of doping cases revealed in 2019 amongst cycling’s professional elites has nearly doubled in the span of one year. The MPCC takes it as a serious warning.

Since the creation of our credibility barometer six years ago, cycling figures had never been this alarming.

A year ago, we were writing that data for cycling doping, from one year to the next, was not suggesting any real trend in the medium term, unlike other sports where an ever-increasing number of cases were revealed. This year, we’re noting a clear break with the recent past. This sudden increase was equally observed in men’s and women’s cycling, whether it was track cycling or road cycling (all things considered). While cycling had kept plummeting in the list of sports most affected by doping, it rose again from 13th to 5th in the span of just one year.

2019 was marked by Operation Aderlass, which revealed the existence of an international blood doping network involving several sports and most particularly cycling. It is not out of the question that further names are revealed soon in addition to the 7 known cases in our sport (6 men and 1 woman). This police operation — carried out in close conjunction with the investigators from WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) — alone does not explain the skyrocketing in the number of infractions. Furthermore, it served as a reminder that doping can spiral into all teams, including those committed to MPCC.

Two hypotheses are being used as explanation for those many doping cases in 2019: first, a renewed interest in doping; second, better targeted doping tests.

2019 was also marked by the decision to ban Russia from all major sporting events (Olympics and World Championships, notably) for four years over doping violations. Although this ban imposed by WADA — and contested by Russia — still needs to be confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, there is no country talked about so often on account of doping scandals in two different sports: athletics (21 doping cases and 9 cases of fraud from executives) and weightlifting (16 doping cases). Those two sports alone represent 60% of the procedures that were made public this year in Russia.

In the United States, American football (39 cases) and baseball (27 cases) combine to account for more than half of the damage done to the credibility of sport. The United States still ranks first in our standings for the 4th consecutive year while Italy, the most affected nation in Europe and overall 5th in our standings, has seen their number of procedures gone public cut by half in 2019, compared to the previous two years.

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