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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, March 8, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Forever is composed of nows. - Emily Dickinson

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:

Vincenzo Nibali to lead Trek-Segafredo in the ‘Race to the Sun’

Here's the team's update:

With the postponement of Tirreno-Adriatico, Nibali has opted to lineup with the team in Paris-Nice.

Vincenzo Nibali was scheduled to race in Italy at Tirreno-Adriatico, but with its postponement, he has decided to line up in France at Paris-Nice.

Vncenzo Nibali

Vincenzo Nibali winning stage 20 of the 2019 Tour de France

The 2020 edition of Paris-Nice begins on Sunday, 8th March, running for eight days before finishing in Nice on Sunday 15th. The race has established itself as an important event in the cycling calendar in its leadup to the season’s Grand Tours.

This year’s ‘Race to the Sun’ is similar on paper to the previous edition, with the opening three stages again open to the elements and with tricky finishes. Stage 4 presents the first real GC day with a hilly time trial; however, the following two stages feature undulating courses that could throw up a surprise or two. The Queen Stage comes on the penultimate day, which finishes on the 16km-long climb to La Colmiane. The final stage, starting and ending in Nice, sets off for a loop around the mountains before a fast run into the coastal city.

Trek-Segafredo will arrive in France with a strong, well-rounded squad to compete at Paris-Nice. The team will be led by Vincenzo Nibali, who will be contending for the general classification.

“I decided with the team to be at Paris-Nice to keep the schedule leading up to the Giro d’Italia virtually unchanged,” explained Nibali. “At the moment, it’s important to put kilometers and days of racing in the legs. Given the situation in Italy, the change of calendar was practically mandatory. I’m very sorry I can’t race in my country, and I hope that the situation will soon get better, regardless of the races.

“At Paris-Nice, my goal is to confirm the good impressions I had at the Ardèche and Drôme Classics and to make another leap in condition. The team is very strong and equipped, and I want to give my contribution.”

Joining Nibali is Richie Porte, winner of two editions of Paris-Nice and five stages over seven participations. This year, the Tasmanian will be targeting individual stage wins. Helping the two climbers in the mountains will be French climber Kenny Elissonde, a key player in Porte’s Tour Down Under victory.

The squad will be bolstered by the support of key classics riders including recent Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner Jasper Stuyven, World Champion Mads Pedersen, Alex Kirsch and Ryan Mullen, along with Edward Theuns as our sprinter.

“Vincenzo will be our GC leader, and Richie will be targeting stages for us,” said director Steven de Jongh. “The classics guys might have some opportunities in a breakaway, and we will try with Edward in the sprints.

“We will have to take it day by day to see the chances we have. For the first three stages, there will be opportunities, but also, we will try to protect Vincenzo from losing any time. We were able to add Ryan Mullen to the selection, and he will give protection to Vincenzo, which will be good practice for the Giro when Ryan will have the same role.

“I’m happy that ASO did everything possible to make the race happen. They took a lot of measures to prevent the riders and staff from being in contact with crowds.”

Trek-Segafredo line up for Paris-Nice:
Vincenzo Nibali (ITA), Kenny Elissonde (FRA), Alex Kirsch (LUX), Ryan Mullen (IRE), Mads Pedersen (DEN), Richie Porte (AUS), Jasper Stuyven (BEL), Edward Theuns (BEL)

Directors: Steven de Jongh (NED), Grégory Rast (SUI)

Mikel Landa will not ride Paris-Nice

Here's the update from Landa's Bahrain-McLaren team:

Team Bahrain McLaren’s Mikel Landa will not compete at this year’s Race to the Sun due to last month’s injury.

On 1st February, Landa suffered a cracked rib during an incident with a car while training. Officials from the medical team have determined the injury, although minor, will take some time to heal. Mikel, along with the team’s medical staff have therefore concluded a regular training plan is more beneficial to his annual goal than riding Paris-Nice.

Mikel Landa

Mikel Landa at this year's Ruta del Sol. Sirotti photo

Team Bahrain McLaren’s head doctor, Dr Carlo Guardascione said, “The persistence of stress pain caused by last month’s road accident requires Mikel to have a less physically demanding schedule over the next two weeks”.

Mikel Landa said, ‘I am disappointed to be missing this famous Race, and was looking forward to competing with my Team Bahrain McLaren teammates in front of France’s passionate fans. The best thing for me now is to train and get back in full shape as soon as possible, and I look forward to competing again soon – fully fit.’

Hammer Series 2020 suspended

Here's the report from Team Sunweb:

The governing body of cycling, the UCI, has persistently attacked the Hammer Series – using regulations to remove its title as a Series and preventing new race formats being developed. This discrimination and anti-competitive behaviour caused Velon to file its Complaint to the EU Commission in 2019 but the UCI’s attacks on the races and the Series have not stopped.

Recently the UCI prevented Hammer Stavanger from adding a women’s race with full parity of prize money, broadcast and race format to the men’s race (while approving and moving other women’s races to overlap on the same weekend). These actions have made it impossible for Velon and its race organiser partners to successfully develop the Hammer Series and its races. As a result of this continued attack, the Velon Board convened and took the decision not to hold the Hammer Series in 2020.

Velon, the owner of the Hammer Series, is working closely with the race organisers of the existing Hammer races regarding the operation of their events planned for 2020 in light of the actions of the UCI. The race organiser of Hammer Stavanger, Tour des Fjords AS, and Velon have together decided to suspend Hammer Stavanger for 2020. The race had planned to expand to a women’s event, with full parity of prize money, broadcast and race format for the women’s teams, but the UCI blocked the race and in doing so cost the race organiser key funding and sponsorship.

Velon and its teams will continue with the anti-competition complaint against the UCI that it submitted to the European Commission last September. This Complaint was expanded on the grounds of gender discrimination in November 2019. The Complaint requested the European Commission to investigate the anti-competitive actions of the UCI relating to the Hammer Series, its digital platform VelonLive as well as other areas of the teams’ business and Velon continues to work with the European Commission with the aim of stopping the UCI from using its regulatory power in an anti-competitive way.

The Hammer Series and its races have gathered widespread support from participating teams, riders and millions of fans who watched the fast-paced “Climb, Sprint and Chase” format of racing in Norway, the Netherlands and Hong Kong. The purpose of the Hammer Series is for it to grow into a 10 race series across key European and international markets that would offer fans the season-long narrative the sport so badly needs, linking together exciting short-form, high impact races, and helping to bring new (younger) fans into the sport. Women cyclists feel particularly let down by the UCI’s decision, as they were looking forward to their first opportunity to compete in a women’s Hammer Series this summer in Norway.

Hammer Youth Limburg, which today is the biggest youth road cycling event in the Netherlands, will take place as planned on 6-7 June 2020. The Hammer Series is delighted to continue this legacy event, which was founded in 2017 as part of Hammer Limburg, in partnership with the Limburg cycling club, the Bergklimmers, with the ongoing support of the Limburg Province and host partner Sittard-Geleen. The 2020 edition is being organised in close cooperation with local event organisers and will feature an exciting combination event with the Omloop van de Maasvallei.

Velon is owned by 11 WorldTour teams, all of whom have expressed their deep disappointment at the suspension of the Hammer Series and Hammer Stavanger and the UCI’s use of its regulatory power to block the partnership between teams and race organisers on which the Hammer Series is built.

The latest bulletin from the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC)

The MPCC Board had a meeting in Roissy CDG on February 27th.

The Board members have reviewed the application of the movement regulations and are glad to see that they are properly enforced.

They remain cautious when it comes to the UCI procedure regarding Caja-Rural team: the disciplinary committee is expected to make the decision on the possible suspension of the team because of the two cases that have occurred in the last twelve months.

Following the repeated requests from the physios of the MPCC teams, the movement confirms its commitment to keep on carrying cortisol tests in 2020 under the authority of Dr. Pierre Lebreton, hematologist.

Among the reasons why MPCC will continue this process of protecting the health of the riders:

• The misuse of corticosteroids to enhance performance
• The health threat caused by an abnormally low cortisol level in case of stress
• The wait for new WADA regulations, promised for 2021.
• The implementation of cortisol tests by the UCI to monitor health, expected to be set up during this year.

The physios of the teams belonging to MPCC are also concerned by several topics, including ketones and thyroid hormones.

Following this concern, they all committed not to prescripe thyroid hormones. A formal request has been made to WADA to add this product on the list of prohibited substances.

MPCC recommends not to use ketones given the side effects and the uncertainty of the long-term effects. Some physios have already made this decision while they wait for more information. A task force including the physios of the MPCC teams will be set up in order to make proposals on this topic.

The Board also reviewed the members of the movement after the membership of the following teams and organizers: Alpecin-Fenix, Fondacion Orbéa, Kern Pharma, Arkéa Féminine and the organizers of "Les Boucles de la Mayenne".

There are now 844 members of the MPCC as of March 6th :

•             9 WorldTeams
•             17 ProTeams
•             10 Continental Teams
•             6 women teams
•             5 agents
•             6 federations
•             10 cycling race organizers
•             8 sponsors
•             18 sympathizers
•             372 active professional riders
•             77 former riders
•             291 staff members
•             15 former technical staff members

MPCC invites all of the stakeholders of our sport to commit for a credible cycling and become a member of the movement.

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