Here’s your News Roundup for Wednesday, April 18. This is our way of keeping you up to speed on all of the stories circulating in the world of pro cycling. Stay tuned for more as the season heats up!

Nibali and Porte recon Tour de France cobblestones

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Richie Porte (BMC Racing) both previewed the cobblestones of the Tour de France’s ninth stage this week.

Nibali, who has thrived on the pavé at the Tour in the past, said that some of the cobbled sections are more dangerous than previous years.

“On some sectors there was a lot of water on the sides and a lot of mud,” he told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Nibali put almost two minutes between himself and his GC rivals during the cobbled fifth stage of the 2014 Tour de France. That stage featured nine sectors of cobbles.

“It will be without doubt a very important stage,” said Nibali of the challenge that awaits this time around.

At this year’s Tour, stage 9 will feature 15 sectors of cobbles over a 154-kilometer day of racing. Nibali plans to scout the course again when his schedule allows.

Porte took to Twitter after his course recon to compliment the peloton’s pavé specialists.

Contador credits five races for shaping his career

In an interview with Cyclingnews, Alberto Contador credited five races for changing his life.

Contador says that the 2001 Subida a Gorla, the 2003 Tour de Pologne, the 2005 Tour Down Under, the 2008 Giro d’ Italia, and the 2017 Vuelta a España all shaped his life and career as a pro racer.

“The first I called Gorla because the climb and race was so important to me,” said Contador.

At the Tour de Pologne in 2003, he won his first pro race. The Tour Down Under in 2005 was the first race Contador was in after a stroke took him off the bike for eight months.

“They opened up my skull. I had no idea if I’d be able to race again,” he said.

At last year’s Vuelta a España, stomach problems derailed Contador’s bid for an overall win, leaving him hunting for stages instead of spending the three weeks calculating how to fight for the GC title. He crossed the stage 20 finish line atop L’Angliru to claim the final victory of his career, and ultimately finished in fifth place overall.

Southern California driver charged with murder after hitting cyclist in Tour de Palm Springs

A southern California driver has been charged with murder after killing a cyclist and injuring another at the Tour de Palm Springs on February 10, 2018.

According to the Desert Sun, Ronnie Huerta, 21, was taken into custody on April 11, 2018 at his arraignment in Riverside County Superior Court.

Huerta was first arrested for vehicular manslaughter after the collision on Feb. 10, when he was driving at around 100 mph, according to other cyclists, down a stretch of road where the 100-mile race was taking place.

Mark Kristofferson, a 49-year-old from Lake Stevens, Washington was pronounced dead on the scene. Kristofferson’s girlfriend, who was riding with him, was also injured.

Huerta was reported to have had a history of reckless driving.