Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Mathieu van der Poel to start cyclocross campaign at Superprestige Ruddervoorde, Sam Bennett could be free to sign with Deceuninck-Quick-Step soon, Jumbo-Visma completes 2020 roster with Christoph Pfingsten signing. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Van der Poel to start cyclocross campaign at Superprestige Ruddervoorde
Reigning world cyclocross champion Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) is set to make his ‘cross season debut on Sunday at Superprestige Ruddervoorde, and the versatile Dutchman has a packed racing calendar on tap to follow, with a total of eight starts planned in November.
After Ruddervoorde, van der Poel will race the European Championships in Silvelle, Italy, Jaarmarktcross Niel, the Tabor World Cup, DVV Trophy Hamme, Ambiancecross Wachtebeke, the Koksijde World Cup, and DVV Trophy Kortrijk.
“I’m in good form but I’m not at my top level yet,” van der Poel told Belgian radio show De Tribune.
“It has been a busy summer. I needed some rest myself and only wanted to return when I had an acceptable level of form. If you start the season badly, it’s very difficult to get it right during the season, so I wanted the basics to be in order before I started.”
In the absence of van der Poel – and Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert, who is recovering from injury – Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) has emerged as the most successful rider of the early goings of this ‘cross season. The 22-year-old Belgian has won all three World Cup events so far.
Van der Poel, who raced a heavy slate of road and mountain bike events this year, said he will miss dueling with van Aert while his rival is on the mend, but that he looks forward to taking on Iserbyt.
“Personally, I think it’s a shame that Van Aert is not there because he has always been my biggest competitor,” van der Poel. “But maybe I’ll find a challenge in Eli Iserbyt now. It seems that he has taken a big step.”
Marianne Vos was one of several very big names from the pro racing scene in attendance at the Taiwan KOM challenge this past weekend, and she even found some time to show CyclingTips her bike …
Vaughters: US racing model may need to change
Amgen Tour of California organizers announced on Tuesday that the race will not be held in 2020, leaving the United States without any WorldTour events next year. It marks another tough headline for US cycling fans to read in what has been a difficult few seasons with both pro teams and domestic races trying to stay afloat despite financial challenges.
In an interview with Cyclingnews, EF Education First CEO Jonathan Vaughters posited that the racing model in the US may need to change. Vaughters pointed to the success of events with a strong participant base as an alternative.
“To put it in cycling terms, events like the Dirty Kanza or Leadville 100 can work in the US, and that’s because people are prepared to pay sometimes hundreds of dollars to participate, and so the organizers have a consistent revenue stream that is independent of sponsorship dollars, or of government and municipalities backing them,” Vaughters said.
“That kind of model works in the US, but that isn’t to say we can’t have professional cycling in the US. What’s holding us back in cycling from having an elite contingent of 120, 130, 140 riders who race the Dirty Kanza just like they would any WorldTour event, and then there are 20,000 people behind them doing the exact same course, at the same venue, at the same time?”
Bennett transfer to Deceuninck-Quick-Step could finally be happening
Sam Bennett has been embroiled in a contract dispute with his Bora-Hansgrohe team for months, but Het Laatste Nieuws reports that Deceuninck-Quick-Step manager Patrick Lefevere expects Sam Bennett to be free to join his team soon.
Bennett was set to hit the transfer market this year and was widely reported to have signed with Deceuninck-Quick-Step, but reports emerged this summer that he had signed an offer letter to remain at Bora in May. A UCI arbitration panel was tasked with deciding the outcome of the dispute.
According to Lefevere, the situation is on its way to resolution, with Bennett set to join Deceuninck.
“Of course, you’re only certain when you have a signed contract in your hands, but yes it is about to finish. That’s a good thing, because the business has been dragging on for so long now,” Lefevere told Het Laatste Nieuws.
“I suspect that they will have waited as long as possible at Bora-Hansgrohe, to make Bennett nervous so that he would pay [to break the agreement]. But in the end, they realized that you can’t do much with a rider you want to keep against his will. So, I’m in happy expectation.”
Jumbo-Visma completes roster with signing of Pfingsten
Jumbo-Visma has signed Christoph Pfingsten for next season, the team has announced.
Pfingsten has spent the last five seasons as a member of the Bora-Hansgrohe squad, generally riding in a support role. In signing the 31-year-old German, Jumbo-Visma has completed its roster for the upcoming 2020 campaign, concluding a transfer season that saw the squad also add Tom Dumoulin, Chris Harper, and Tobias Foss.
Alex Howes’s racing future is probably safe for now, but let us know if you see one of these things learning to ride in a peloton.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Mathieu van der Poel at the Amstel Gold Race. Photo: Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2019