The end of the season looms and the promotion and relegation race is heading to an even faster conclusion. The glorious uncertainty of sport is what makes it compelling but Lotto-Soudal need a series of fluke results to remain in the World Tour. Israel-PremierTech require a miracle or failing that, a lawyer.
One metre, two metres. Alexey Lutsenko might have fancied his chances in a two-up sprint but Remco Evenepoel wasn’t going to risk that. Evenepoel attacks on the penultimate climb up Mount Plesant and it’s going, going, Wollongong.
The final race of the World Championships is this Sunday and while some riders haven’t made the journey to Australia, there’s a galactic startlist an open course awaits that offers something for grand tour champions and one day heroes alike.
The sport’s governing body, the UCI, published a big document (PDF) yesterday setting out an agenda for the coming years. It runs to 126 pages and covers plenty, so much that achieving all of ideas inside is a tall order but it will set the direction for the sport’s governance in the coming years. It’s not just sports admin, it’ll affect the racing too.
Changes to the calendar, TV rights and team budgets could be coming. There will be discussions, debates and, over some issues, probably some big bust-ups. [continue reading…]
You must have heard about the bird attacks on riders at the Worlds in Wollongong – to look at Twitter today has been to see Bauke Mollema – this blog can’t add much more. So have some alternative avian content instead… the image above is an advert for racing pigeons from Japan, snapped by ex-pro Fumy Beppu. Weirdly the birds have a cycling theme as the first pair listed, yours for 100,000 (about €700), are called “Good Kittel” and “Young Sagan”… presumably they pack a fast finish.
Another week, another update and with only a month of racing left, the story is the same with Lotto-Soudal and Israel-PremierTech facing relegation. Let’s take a closer look to see if their World Tour ambitions are done for.
Racing looks more intense these days and some data supports this, like when you look at the watts, a literal measure of energy used. This is in part sustained by a big increase in the amount of calories consumed during a race, intake has almost doubled over in recent years. It feels like a quiet revolution, certainly a significant change in habits.
The points from the Vuelta a España are banked and Movistar have plenty to cheer about. For Israel-PremierTech things are doomed as they’re now further adrift from 18th place and security than they have been all season. Team owner Sylvan Adams is threatening to sue if the rules are rewritten.
A quiet week on the points front but Israel-PremierTech are the top scorer so things get tighter for the relegation battle.
It’s getting very close at the bottom of the table with Arkéa-Samsic now feeling the stress too as they’re at risk of struggling for promotion.