Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Mark Renshaw was hit by a car over the weekend and fractured his pelvis. He’s expected to be sidelined for a few months. Also, Oliver Naesen is looking to bounce back after a lacklustre 2018 campaign. And could Nairo Quintana switch teams when his contract is up at the end of next year? Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Dimension Data’s bad luck continues with Renshaw’s crash
Aussie Mark Renshaw fractured his pelvis during a crash in which he was hit by a car while out training in his hometown of Bathurst, Australia. He was slated to begin in season in a month’s time at the Australian national road championships. It appears he won’t be back in the peloton until March.
The injury is a continuation for the season Dimension Data had. One filled with crashes, injuries, and collisions with cars. Renshaw had his own difficulties earlier in the year when he had to have surgery for chronic sinusitis in May. Mark Cavendish crashed at three consecutive races — Abu Dhabi Tour, Tirenno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo — in the spring. Cavendish was time cut from the Tour de France and later diagnosed with Epstein Barr virus, which shut him down for the rest of the season.
In term’s of car crashes, the squad had its far share of them in 2018. The caravan is one of the most dangerous aspects of modern cycling. Riders are constantly weaving amongst the team cars, either dropping back to get bottles or racing back to the peloton after a crash. In heightened races such as the classics and grand tours, stress adds another element that can spell disaster.
Julian Vermote and Bernard Eisel both collided with cars in races during 2018. Eisel’s crash occurred during the fifth stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. Eisel broke his wrist in the incident, but also took responsibility for the crash. Vermote dislocated his shoulder at the Tour of Flanders when a team car hit his wheel.
Dimension Data was only able to capture seven victories throughout the entirety of the 2018 season. However, the year ended on somewhat of a high. American Ben King broke through at the Vuelta a Espana and won two stages.
Naesen finds motivation in lack of media requests
In 2017, Oliver Naesen showed his class as a rider of the spring classics. He emerged and proved he wasn’t just a super domestique, but deserved protected leadership in a team. He finished third at E3 Harelbeke and was in the hunt at the Tour of Flanders before the dramatic crash that sent Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet and Naesen all tumbling to the ground. He also claimed the Belgian road race title.
As a result, his 2018 offseason was filled with media requests and attending the Flandrien of the Year gala. However, this winter has been much different. “Now it remained quiet,” Naesen told Het Nieuwsblad of the lack of media requests he’s receiving on his phone. “For example, I was not nominated for the Flandrien. When I was sitting in the room and the films of the six nominees were being played, I was as ambitious as [ever].”
Quintana laments Movstar’s three-pronged approach
Usually soft-spoken, Nairo Quintana criticized Movistar brass for the three-leader approach it took at the Tour de France.
“I do not like that there are three leaders,” Quintana told France 24. “[Eusebio Unzúe] is convinced that this is possible.” Unzúe is the team’s general manager.
Quintana failed to stand on a grand tour podium in 2018 for the first time since he made his grand tour debut at the Vuelta a Espana in 2012. The Colombian will most certainly have to come out swinging in the earlier spring stage races to prove a point that he deserves sole leadership at the Grand Boucle. Furthermore, he’s on a contract year. If Movistar continues its multi-leader approach, Quintana could be on the move to a team where he would not have to fight to be number one.
Lyft aquires bike share company Motivate
Popular ride share company Lyft is moving into the bike share business in a significant way. According to Bicycle Retailer, Lyft completed its purchase of Motivate, the largest bike share company in the United States. Roughly 80-percent of all bike share riders occurred on Motivate systems last year, according to the company.
On the heels of the purchase, Lyft said it will invest US$100 million in New York’s Citi Bike program. It will add roughly 40,00 news bikes, which will triple the size of the Citi Bike system. Motivate also operates Citi Bikes in Boston, Washington D.C, and Chicago.
Happy Birthday to …
Jan Ullrich (45), the 1997 Tour de France champion had been on a downward spiral earlier this year with multiple arrests and a stay at a physiatric hospital. He has since been getting treatment in both Germany and the United States. Former rival turned friend Lance Armstrong even flew across the Atlantic to show his support.
Since Ullrich penned an open letter at the beginning of October, in which he called his recovery “the first stages of my personal Tour de France,” news has been silent on how he is doing. This can be considered a good sign. Before, the 2000 Olympic road race champion seemed to be making headlines every week for all the wrong reasons.
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