Remco Evenepoel is the new junior world time trial champion, completing the 27km course in 33m15s and finishing 1m23 ahead of Australia’s Lucas Plapp. He could have gone faster…
…seriously, yes. He was out of his aero tuck on sections where his rivals weren’t. This isn’t a criticism, just an observation that if he won by a huge margin then with more work and practice he could be even better. Obviously the next question is how he progresses in the coming years with Quick Step. The plan is to start slow and to do a few small races from time to time.
The question after this could be how he handles the pressure. It’s one thing to be the next big thing in cycling, another to be from Belgium too where cycling is front page news and the coverage in the media is like nowhere else. He’s already got his supporters’ club, an institution in Belgium, complete with branded “R.EV 1703” merchandise, a play on his name and the post code for his home of Schepdaal, just to the west of Brussels.
The UCI is going to appoint a host city for the 2020 World Championships. There’s a problem: nobody wants it. Or rather the bids have dried up, it is an expensive event to host given it can cost more than hosting the start of the Tour de France but doesn’t have the matching media coverage. Recently the bid by the city of Vicenza has been stalling and outwardly this looks like their chances are diminishing, unless they’re just very wily negotiators. As it happens Aigle, the town where the UCI is based, is keen to hold the Worlds and has held discussions about a joint bid with the nearby town of Martigny. Could the UCI award the Worlds to its home town? It might look too close to home but it opens up the possibility of some very good racing given the mountains all around, theoretically the course could stick to the flat Rhone valley floor but surely they’d have to exploit the Alps and some of the climbs used regularly by the Tour de Romandie?
From Romandie to Suisse and The Cycling Podcast interviewed Aqua Blue Sport team boss Rick Delaney about the demise of his team and if the interest in the moment was what was had just happened with his team, Delaney mentioned the system of wildcard invites and this came out:
“Tour de Suisse, we did it last year, we did very well, we won a stage. it cost us twenty grand. This year we did it again, it cost us another twenty grand. So I’m paying €20,000… … Amstel Gold, another ten grand.”
– Rick Delaney, speaking to The Cycling Podcast, 34m03s
This could be a subject to return to but worth noting for now as if there’s been chatter about payments and so on, here it’s on the record and the sum is made clear.
There might be other ways. Israel Cycling Academy have signed Rudy Barbier from Ag2r La Mondiale. Not a star name to guarantee an invite but the story here is the Israeli team quietly tending its francophile image. The team has had its own development squad but for 2019 it will link up with a French club. They’ll have to do more to get Christian Prudhomme’s attention.
As for the Tour de France route most of the stages leaking out via regional media. The Velowire website does a good job and the official presentation is on Tuesday 23 October.
From guessing to official, the Giro d’Italia will start in Bologna with an 8.2km that’s flat for six kilometres before the vicious climb to the San Luca Basilica, one of this site’s preferred Roads to Ride. It’ll be scenic and also a vital test of fitness, there’s no hiding on the straight ramps of the San Luca.
An update to last week’s piece on the finances of Team Sky. Comcast has bought Sky and so ends the Murdoch family’s ownership and control of the UK-based media firm. What does this mean for the pro team? It’s too early to say. James Murdoch, a keen cyclist, has been the driving force behind the team and he’s expected to leave but Comcast are likely to review the marketing and who knows what they’ll do with the Sky team.
Another update from a recent piece is the pressure from David Millar’s bid to delay the CPA union’s annual meeting and to have an electronic vote. The frustration of many riders is understandable but the union has its own set of rules. These can be re-written – and they probably need to be, some of the drafting is clumsy – but they can’t be shredded this week. They’re clear that any changes to the rules need to be submitted a month in advance of the meeting (Article 11) and there must be at least a two thirds majority of votes from members at the annual meeting to approve this (Article 12). But the riders counter that they were only notified of this meeting 18 days before the meeting when they’re supposed to have a month’s notice as a minimum.
A belated mention of Kanstantsin Siutsou of Bahrain-Merida, provisionally suspended following an A-sample test for EPO. Some reactions to the news were along the lines of “old school” but it’s not so retro. Yes, in the 1990s the peloton was probably using more EPO than the oncology and renal services departments of a large hospital. Only today there are still opportunities to use it with micro-dosing and it has a short detection window although whether it is worth the cost, hassle and risk is worth asking compared to using, say, an altitude tent. Siutsou’s case may not be resolved for a very long time. The provisional suspension for André Cardoso’s EPO test is still ongoing a year later; as is Samuel Sanchez for a different substance.