News roundup: Nibali’s Giro/Tour plans; Flanders route
Here’s your News roundup for Friday, December 14. This is our way of keeping you up to speed on all of the stories circulating in the world of pro cycling.
Nibali will race Giro and Tour in 2019
Italian media report that four-time grand tour winner Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) will ride in both the 2019 Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. The 34-year-old has never won two grand tours in a single season and said that his home race would be his main target next year.
“Next year, I will do the Giro and the Tour. The Giro d’Italia is my main aim,” he said at a presentation of his team, Bahrain-Merida, in Croatia.
Nibali, a winner of two Giro d’Italia titles and the 2014 Tour, has competed in both races twice before, including when he claimed his second maglia rosa in 2016.
The 102nd edition of the Giro gets underway in Bologna on May 11, with Geraint Thomas’s defense of the Tour de France yellow jersey to begin on July 6 in Brussels.
Tour of Flanders route remains nearly unchanged for 2019
The 2019 Ronde van Vlaanderen will again start in Antwerp for the 267-kilometer romp through the Flemish countryside. The route as a whole will remain relatively unchanged with three trips up the Oude Kwaremont, two ascents of the Paterburg, and the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen. Organizers have added a climb that is new to the race, Ladeuze, which is one kilometer long and reaches a 16 percent maximum gradient. The women’s route will be a 157km race. It has a more difficult finale with the addition of the Taaienberg at 40km to go.
Tirreno-Adriatico route snubs climbers
Top GC favorites hoping for a pre-Giro d’Italia tune-up at Tirreno-Adriatico will be disappointed this year. The 2019 race, held March 13-19, will not feature any summit finishes. It begins with its traditional team time trial and concludes with a 10.1km individual time trial. In between, the stages are hilly but not mountainous by any means. Stage 4 from Foligno to Fossombrone may prove to be the most decisive. It is long at 223 kilometers and will climb the Muro dei Cappuccini twice, the final time just 5.7km before the finish. Overall, a strong time trial rider with a deep team, who can handle punchy climbs will be favored in the “Race of the two seas.”
Introducing … Jumbo-Visma
For 2019, LottoNL-Jumbo will be known as Jumbo-Visma thanks to the addition of new sponsor Visma. The Norwegian software and IT company will underwrite the Dutch cycling team as well as its speedskating outfit.
“Visma has been interested for a longer period of time,” Jumbo-Visma’s cycling team director Roger Plugge said. “The long-term support of Jumbo, the resignation of Lotto and especially the way we have positioned ourselves in recent years have convinced Visma to partner up with us.”
Team Bigla offers independent mediator
On the heels of the accusations that riders on the Bigla team were bullied, intimidated, and manipulated, the Danish team is going above and beyond the UCI’s new 2019 code of ethics and offering a mediation and conflict management service provided by an independent Swiss Bar Association-accredited party. This means riders will have access to a female lawyer if a conflict arises. Complaints will be handled anonymously, according to the team’s press statement.