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VN news ticker: Team USA rides to four wins at American Continental Championships, Bora-Hansgrohe boss confirms talks with Peter Sagan

Here's what's making headlines on Tuesday, March 30.

Team USA rides to four wins at American Continental Championships

Team USA left Salinas, Puerto Rico last weekend after scoring four wins in the Pan American Championships, March 24 – 28.

Kelsey Urban (Rouleur Devo p/b DNA Cycling) won the Continental Champions jersey in the elite women’s short track event. Madigan Munro (Trek Factory Racing) joined her and ultimately finished in fifth place. In the elite women’s cross country event Sunday, Urban stayed off the front for most of the race, but ultimately wound up taking the bronze medal.

In the U23 women’s cross-country event, Savilia Blunk (Orange Seal) dominated while Munro — racing in her third event — took the second podium step. On the U23 men’s side, Caleb Swartz (Bear Professional Team) crossed the line in sixth and was the top American finisher.

Ruth Holcomb (Bear National Team) took top honors in the junior women’s cross country event, and was joined by teammate Lauren Aggeler in second, and also American Mia Aseltine (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com Devo Team) in third. Team USA not only swept the podium but also scored a fourth-place with Bailey Cioppa’s performance. Racing in the junior men’s event, Cayden Parker (Bear National Team) was the top U.S. finisher, in fourth.

The team relay squad took top honors in their event, with Blunk, Holcomb, Munro, Russell Finsterwald (Clif Pro Team), Bradyn Lange (Rocky Mountain Factory Team), and Ethan Villaneda (Corona, Calif.) working well together to smash through the six-lap event with a dominant win.

Full results are available from the UCI American Continental Championships website.

Bora-Hansgrohe boss wants Peter Sagan deal by April

Bora-Hansgrohe boss Ralph Denk said a decision on the future of Peter Sagan could come as soon as April. The three-time world champion is off-contract at the end of 2021, and Denk told German newspaper Kölner Stadtanzeiger that talks are ongoing.

“We are currently in talks with Peter,” Denk said. “The outcome is still open, and we hope for a decision in April. We are very grateful for what Sagan has done for us, but he is entering the ‘autumn’ of his career. And he is one of the best-paid professionals in the peloton. We have to weigh that up: do we still want to afford it, or is it better to invest the money in youth?”

Sagan, 31, won just once in the COVID-shortened schedule in 2020, and won his first race in 2021 last week at the Volta a Catalunya. Sagan joined Bora-Hansgrohe in 2017 following the closure of the Tinkoff team.

“If Peter doesn’t stay with us, I will have a lot of money available,” Denk said. “My sponsors trust me that I can put together the best possible team with the money they give us.”

Ronan McLaughlin topples Everesting record

Irishman Ronan McLaughlin blew out the world Everesting record on March 23, 2021 riding the required elevation gain of 8,848 meters in 6:40:54.

This mark betters the previous Everesting record set by American Sean Gardner on October 3, 2020, by nearly 20 minutes.

McLaughlin’s record was verified by Hells 500, the official Everesting record keepers, and will now stand as the new best mark to beat.

During the attempt, the 34-year-old covered 126km with an average weighted power of 296 watts.

This is McLaughlin’s second Everesting record, and the second time he rode 76 laps on the same 810-meter stretch of road ​— averaging 14.2 percent grade rising 117 vertical meters — to Mamore Gap, in Northern Ireland. He was 24 minutes faster than his previous attempt in July 2020.

Excellent weather provided McLaughlin with a 20kph (12mph) tailwind on the climb, while air temperatures hovered around 10C (50F) degrees.

To be sure he set the new record, McLaughlin added an extra two laps of the climb even after suffering a near-catastrophic rear flat tire on the descent with just 10 laps to go.

While a mechanic serviced his primary bike, McLaughlin rode his spare bike for two laps.

Matteo De Bonis positive for EPO

Italian rider Matteo De Bonis of Vini Zabù tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO in an out-of-competition control, the UCI confirmed Tuesday.

The cycling governing body said the control was taken on February 16 in a targeted control “planned and carried out by the International Testing Agency (ITA) on behalf of the UCI,” a statement read. In accordance with UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the rider has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the affair.

The case is the second involving a Vini Zabù rider within a 12-month period, following a case involving Matteo Spreafico, who revealed traces of Enobosarm in two samples in October.

According to rules triggered by two cases within 12 months, the UCI said its disciplinary panel will consider a racing ban for the entire team from 15 to 45 days.

The case could endanger the team’s wild-card invitation to the Giro d’Italia.

Chris Froome races next at Tour of the Alps

Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) took stock after the Volta a Catalunya, where he finished 81st overall in the weeklong WorldTour race dominated by his ex-teammates at Ineos Grenadiers.

“Although it was a tough week for me personally, I felt my form improving as the days went by, which gives me confidence going forward,” Froome said. “From a team perspective, it was wonderful to see everyone pull together. Although we are a relatively new group, we are quickly developing a great sense of camaraderie. After a few recovery days, I will be heading off to my second team training camp of the year and will return to racing at the Tour of the Alps.”

Steff Cras positive for COVID-19 at Catalunya

Yet another racer has been diagnosed during a race for COVID-19. Lotto-Soudal’s Steff Cras sat out Sunday’s finale at the Volta a Catalunya, later won by teammate Thomas De Gendt. Team officials said Cras went into isolation, and that others on the team revealed negative results before racing the final stage.

It’s the latest case in an uptick of COVID-19 infections across the peloton. Over the weekend, Bora-Hansgrohe and Trek-Segafredo both missed Gent-Wevelgem due to infections among some of their ranks. In Spain last week, Alpecin-Fenix did not start Catalunya, and Kern Pharma left mid-race after two infections were detected among its riders.

 

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