Fabio Aru to miss Giro d'Italia due to iliac artery operation

Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) was back in action in the Algarve

UAE Team Emirates ' Fabio Aru will now miss the upcoming Volta Ciclista a Catalunya , as well as May's Giro d'Italia , in order to have an operation on a constriction of the iliac artery in his left leg, his team has reported. Aru was due to return to racing at next week's Spanish stage race having abandoned Paris-Nice in early March, but could now be away from racing for a number of months, until at least this summer. The winner of the 2015 Vuelta a España's last victory came at La Planche des Belles Filles on stage 5 of the Tour de France in 2017, with the 28-year-old having since struggled to perform at the level he's used to. Aru's iliac artery problem has meant that he has lacked "an adequate blood supply when trying to make a maximum effort. This problem, and resulting drop in power, during ...

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Groenewegen added to Jumbo-Visma line-up for Saturday's Milan-San Remo

Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) celebrates his win

Jumbo-Visma sprinter Dylan Groenewegen will ride his first Milan-San Remo in Italy on Saturday, having been added to the Dutch WorldTour team's seven-rider squad as a replacement for injured teammate Timo Roosen. Groenewegen was set to ride the following week's Volta a Catalunya, but has been drafted in to replace Roosen, who injured his knee in a crash at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne at the start of March and won't be ready for this weekend's race. Groenewegen has already had a strong start to his season, taking stages at both the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and the Volta ao Algarve in February. He then went on to last week's Paris-Nice, where he sprinted to wins on the first two stages, holding the race lead until the end of stage 3. The 25-year-old will now start in Milan on Saturday with a view to potentially targeting La Classicissima next season. "That's why I'm ...

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Ineos expected to be confirmed as new Team Sky backer in coming days

Geraint Thomas and Team Sky at Valenciana

Ineos is expected to be confirmed as the new sponsor of Team Sky within the next 48 hours, according to a report in the Daily Mail on Monday. The petrochemical company is owned by Britain's richest man, Jim Ratcliffe. Last week, Cyclingnews reported that the team's future had been assured for 2020 and that Ineos was manager Dave Brailsford's preferred option. The Briton had also held talks in Colombia recently regarding possible backing from state-controlled oil and gas company Ecopetrol. According to the Guardian , the budget of Team Ineos will be close to £40 million and thus exceed that of Team Sky, meaning that the squad will likely be in a position to retain a roster that includes Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas, four-time Tour winner Chris Froome and the emerging Egan Bernal. Sky announced its decision to end its backing of the team in December of last ...

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Simon Yates: I've been working on my time trial quite a lot

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) at Ruta del Sol stage 4

Mitchelton-Scott 's Simon Yates scored his first-ever time trial victory on stage 5 of Paris-Nice on Thursday, beating Katusha-Alpecin's Nils Politt and Team Sky's Michal Kwiatkowski, who extended his overall lead at the race. Yates started the day down in 70th place on the GC, almost 20 minutes down on Kwiatkowski. And while the Briton's challenge for the overall is clearly over – in a race he finished second at 12 months ago – his focus remains on May's Giro d'Italia . The time trial win bodes well for the 26-year-old, who will face three individual time trial tests at this year's Giro: an 8.2km opening stage, with a tough uphill finish to the Santuario della Madonna di San Luca, followed on stage 9 by 34.7km effort, which again is mainly all uphill from the halfway mark, and then a final, flatter 15.6km test in Verona, which is also the ...

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Benoot will return for Strade Bianche title defence

Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) on the move at Strade Bianche

The knee injury he suffered in a crash at Omloop het Nieuwsblad will not prevent Tiesj Benoot from defending his Strade Bianche title Saturday in Italy, according to a Twitter post today from Lotto Soudal . "Good news!@TiesjBenoot is ready to defend his @StradeBianche title next Saturday; his knee injury is healed after his crash @OmloopHNB!" the team wrote. Benoot's participation in the Italian one-day race was called into question after a fall in Omloop re-opened a wound in his knee that had not properly healed since a crash on stage 7 of the Vuelta a España last year. The 24-year-old Belgian was riding well at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad after returning from a two-week altitude training camp at Sierra Nevada. Benoot made the first major selection on the Molenberg climb in a group of 18 riders at 40km from the finish, but just 10 kilometres later his race was ...

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Pinot labels Preidler's blood extraction as 'high treason'

Thibaut Pinot and Georg Preidler celebrate the win

Thibaut Pinot has said that he feels betrayed by Groupama-FDJ teammate Georg Preidler, who confessed to extracting his blood for a possible transfusion on two occasions late last year. In an interview with L'Équipe on Tuesday, Pinot described Preidler's actions as "high treason." On Sunday, Preidler informed Groupama-FDJ management that he was quitting the team after he confessed to having his blood extracted to Austrian police. Fellow Austrian rider Stefan Denifl has also confessed to blood doping after being interviewed by police as part of the 'Operation Aderlass' blood doping inquiry. Pinot learned of Preidler's confession via social media on Monday morning. "When I saw it, I was stunned," Pinot told L'Équipe . "I didn't expect that at all, especially coming from a guy like that. It was really difficult. I even shed a tear, because for me, it was high treason. "I can't digest it, I'm trying to understand. ...

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Adam Yates confirms participation in 2019 Tour de France

Adam Yates wins stage 4 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana

Adam Yates has confirmed that he will return to the Tour de France this season with the aim of challenging for a place on the final podium in Paris. The Mitchelton-Scott rider finished fourth overall and won the white jersey of best young rider in 2016 but endured a disappointing race last year, reaching Paris in 29th place overall. He later revealed to Cyclingnews that he and the Mitchelton-Scott team "messed up a little bit with nutritional stuff". He is keen to put things right come July. "I’m super excited to go back to the Tour this year. Last year we made some mistakes that cost us and it was a big disappointment, so it’ll be good to go back and rectify that," Yates said in a statement released by Mitchelton-Scott on Tuesday. "Even though I’ve got earlier races/targets coming up, in the back of my mind everything I’m doing ...

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Sergeant: Injury means Benoot must be prepared to give up Strade Bianche defence

Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Lotto Soudal will wait until Thursday before announcing whether Tiesj Benoot will attempt to defend his Strade Bianche title. The Belgian crashed out of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and injured his left knee, opening up a wound that has not properly healed since a crash on stage 7 of the Vuelta a España last year. Benoot was in strong form before his crash and is desperate to make the start line for Strade Bianche. However, with teammate Tim Wellens not participating in the majority of the Belgian Classics, Lotto Soudal are keen for Benoot to take a long-term view over the spring, rather than fixate on one race. "We’ll make a decision on Strade Bianche on Thursday, most likely. It’s a long campaign, though, and we can’t take the risk for just one race," team manager Marc Sergeant told Cyclingnews on Monday in Belgium. "It’s also a dirty race, but in ...

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Astana take 15th win of 2019 at Tour du Rwanda

Eritrean road race champion Merhawi Kudus is happy to have joined Astana for 2019

Astana took their win tally to 15 after claiming the final stage and scoring the overall victory at the Tour du Rwanda this weekend, putting them two victories ahead of fellow WorldTour team Deceuninck-QuickStep , who took their 13th win of the year at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on Sunday. Last season, Patrick Lefevere's Belgian squad – riding as Quick-Step Floors – were the most successful WorldTour team, winning 73 races in total , versus Astana's still-impressive 30. However, the team from Kazakhstan have started 2019 with a bang, and, having already reached half of their 2018 total by early March, look set to give Deceuninck-QuickStep a run for their money this season. But while Deceuninck-QuickStep tend to thrive in the one-day Classics and on stages at Grand Tours, Astana have bigger ambitions, with overall victories at the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España foremost in their minds ...

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Denifl confesses to blood doping in police interview

Stefan Denifl at the Vuelta a España

Stefan Denifl has confessed to blood doping in a police interview, according to reports published in the Austrian media on Sunday morning. Denifl was questioned by police on Friday as part of the investigation into German sports doctor Mark Schmidt that saw five athletes arrested at the Nordic Ski World Championships in Seefeld, Austria last week. Citing sources in the prosecutor’s office in Innsbruck, Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung and state broadcaster ORF report that Denifl confessed to using banned practices. The 31-year-old was subsequently released from custody. ORF reports that Denifl is likely to be charged with sporting fraud, which carries a prison sentence of up to three years in Austria. A stage winner on the 2017 Vuelta a España with Aqua Blue Sport, Denifl signed with CCC in October of last year following the demise of the Irish team. On Christmas Eve, however, CCC announced that Denifl’s contract had ...

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Nacer Bouhanni: I'm already in contact with other teams for 2020

Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis)

Nacer Bouhanni has begun negotiations with various teams as he tries to plan for a future that is likely to be away from the Cofidis team where he has raced for the past three seasons. The French sprinter was a marquee signing for the French Professional Continental team from WorldTour outfit FDJ after a successful 2014 season, but relations have soured in the past 12 months after a change in the management structure. Yvon Sanquer was sacked as team boss at the end of 2017 and replaced by Cedric Vasseur, and Bouhanni has since found his leadership role taken away, with the team backing his old lead-out man Christophe Laporte in a number of races. Tensions were rife in 2018, some of it played out via the media and Bouhanni, who was repeatedly told he needed to prove his worth, was ultimately left out of the squad for the T ...

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The weekly spin: The Giro d’Italia is better than the Tour de France

Leave it to Simon Yates to say out loud what many in the cycling community have quietly believed for years now — the Giro d’Italia is better than the Tour de France. How is it better? Let us count the ways. It’s harder. It’s more beautiful. It’s more complicated. It’s more festive, less corporate, more beloved … The post The weekly spin: The Giro d’Italia is better than the Tour de France appeared first on CyclingTips .

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Simon Yates gets off to spectacular start with Ruta del Sol stage win

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) attacks to take solo win at Ruta del Sol

When Simon Yates was seen dropping back through the peloton, shortly before the ascent to Alcala de los Gazules on stage 1 of the Ruta del Sol, it looked as if the Mitchelton-Scott rider might well be taking something of a back seat in his opening stage race of the season. A long turn on the front of the bunch on stage 2's interminable grind across central Andalucia close to the final suggested otherwise, though. And on Friday, a more than respectable eighth place on the time trial, with a brief spell in the provisional lead til he was ousted from there by his brother Adam, provided further evidence to the contrary. However, the terrain catered to Yates' strengths, the high mountains, where the 2018 Vuelta a España winner made it clearest of all that he was doing anything but getting in the miles. He launched a devastating double attack ...

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Setmana Ciclista Valenciana: Koppenburg wins atop Xorret de Cati

Clara Koppenburg (Cervélo Bigla) - Flèche Wallonne Femmes

Clara Koppenburg brought her new team WNT-Rotor their first victory of the road season at the summit of the Xorret de Cati, stage 3 of the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana. She was part of a late-race breakaway but made it to the top of the final climb ahead of chaser Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC Liv), while Koppenburg's breakaway companion Soraya Paladin (Ale Cipollini) hung on for third. The third stage of the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana was a toughest of the four-day race featuring 110km from La Nucia to the summit finish to the top of Xorret de Cati. The Xorret de Cati is a well-known ascent in the Valencia region and has been used in the Vuelta a España. It is just four kilometres but has pitches as steep as 20 per cent. Up until this point, Trek-Segafredo had a firm hold on the race, winning the first two stages with Ruth ...

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Ruta del Sol: Simon Yates wins stage 4

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) wins stage 4 at Ruta del Sol

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) has hit the ground running in his first race of the 2019 season, winning stage the toughest mountain stage of the 2019 Vuelta a Andalucia , as the aggressive racing in the Sierra Nevada mountains cracked Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) took the race lead. The 2018 Vuelta a España winner stormed out of a rapidly fragmenting lead group roughly five kilometres from the summit of the brutally difficult Hazallanas climb, crossing the top of the last ascent of the stage with 44 seconds advantage. Yates then managed to keep the chasing group, led by an Astana trio of Fuglsang, Ion Izagirre and Pello Bilbao and also containing his brother Adam, at a distance on the long, fast descent back into Granada and the finish. Former race leader Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) had a tough day, crashing early on, getting dropped at the foot of ...

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Dutch start for 2020 Vuelta

Dutch start for 2020 Vuelta

Organisers say the 75th edition of the Vuelta a España will open with three stages in the Netherlands.

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Irizar to end pro career after Clasica San Sebastian

Markel Irizar (Trek-Segafredo)

Trek-Segafredo 's Markel Irizar has announced he will end his 16-year stint in the professional peloton at the Clásica San Sebastián this year. The 39-year-old has raced with the Trek-Segafredo outfit and the RadioShack team that preceded it since 2010, and before that spent six seasons with Euskaltel-Euskadi. A loyal domestique, Irizar's wins were few in number, with a time trial victory at the 2010 Tour du Poitou Charentes and the overall win in the 2011 Ruta del Sol his only individual results. But the likable rider was part of numerous team successes, including Chris Horner's 2013 Vuelta a España overall win and Fabian Cancellara's Paris-Roubaix/Tour of Flanders doubles in 2010 and 2013. Irizar is also a survivor of testicular cancer, and his bond with Lance Armstrong over their shared history was in part responsible for him being hired to the RadioShack team in 2010. "When I was recovering from ...

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Hannah Barnes: Setmana Ciclista Valenciana will be won or lost on the Xorret de Cati

An elated Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM)

Hannah Barnes and Canyon-SRAM will line up at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana on Thursday prepared to defend their title after valuable reconnaissance of the event's decisive mountaintop finish on the Xorret de Cati. The team previewed key stages of the four-day race at a recent training camp in the Gandia, Spain. "We were able to see the final of stage 1 and stage 3 while we were on camp which was really valuable," Barnes said in a team press release. "The stage 3 finish is going to be where the race is won and lost because it's very steep and you could ruin your chances if you get too excited at the bottom. "It was part of the men's Vuelta in 2017, so I've been able to watch that on YouTube just to get a small idea of how the final climb might be raced." Barnes won stages 1 and ...

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New Colombia-backed Team Sky very unlikely, says Dave Brailsford

Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford out for a ride next to Christopher Froome on the second rest day at

According to a report in Marca , Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford has told Colombian journalists that any agreement between him and a Colombian backer for 2020 is "very unlikely". Team Sky will lose their major sponsor at the end of this season, with rumours swirling at the recent Tour Colombia 2.1 stage race – which Brailsford attended – that Colombian oil and gas company Ecopetrol could be a potential new backer for the team next year. Brailsford also met with Colombian president Ivan Duque and Coldeportes [sports ministry] director Ernesto Lucena – allegedly to discuss the possibility of Colombia establishing its first WorldTour team , with Pro Continental-level team Manzana Postobon having already taken part in the 2017 Vuelta a España. However, as things stand – and despite Brailsford's enthusiasm for the South American country and in turn its enthusiasm for cycling – the search for a new main ...

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Atapuma: My time at UAE wasn’t good, but I can get back to my old level at Cofidis

Darwin Atapuma in red during stage 7 at the Vuelta

After an absence of more than six months, Darwin Atapuma is back pinning on race numbers this week at the Tour of Oman , threading the pins through the red jersey of Cofidis , in which he hopes he can reignite his career after a rough couple of seasons. In 2016, the Colombian climber finished ninth overall at the Giro d’Italia, with two podium finishes in mountain stages and also at the Vuelta a España later in the year. However, despite finishing second on the Col d’Izoard at the Tour de France in 2017, he has slumped since, swapping BMC Racing for UAE Team Emirates for 2019. The 2018 season was particularly anonymous, even though he finished both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France. Before coming to Oman, he hadn’t raced since rolling into Paris on the last day of the Tour. “In truth, it wasn’t good. I was ...

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