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VN ticker: Cavagna turns page on surgery, CPA to elect new president

Here's what's making headlines on Monday, January 9.

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Rémi Cavagna eyes return to fast lane after back surgery

Soudal-Quick-Step utility man Rémi Cavagna wants to return to the fast lane after recovering from a pair of back surgeries that slowed him down in 2022.

The French rider underwent back surgery to put pins into his spine after crashing heavily during a team camp in December 2021. He fractured his L1 vertebra, and admitted he wasn’t at his best across the season.

Cavagna recently underwent a second operation to remove the screws, and is expecting to back in full flight for 2023.

“I lost my flexibility in my back and strength all over the place,” Cavagna told L’Equipe. “It’s not easy to recover from such an injury. But that’s in the past now. I’m ready to have a big year in 2023, to attack far from the finish, to be an actor again, and to do some numbers.”

Also read: Cavagna injures back in training crash

Cavagna won every year at least once since 2018, so last year’s winless season was an unexpected hurdle in his otherwise steady progression in the WorldTour.

The French time trial specialist and attacker is hoping to return to the Tour de France, with some early season hit outs at Paris-Nice and the Ardennes classics.

“I want to be in the Tour de France, win a stage there,” he said. “In 2022, I never had that little extra that would have allowed me to win. It was frustrating but I made up for it by doing a lot of work for the team.

“I had the condition but I was too limited to do more. It’s nice to help my friends and it was great to finish with this triumph for Remco (Evenepoel),” Cavagna said. “I’m proud of it, but it’s also good to have a small victory of your own which motivates you to do more more.”

Now that he’s recovered “99 percent” of what he lost to injury, he’s keen to race again. He debuts at the Mallorca Challenge later this month.

CPA to elect new president

The rider association CPA (Cyclistes Professionnels Associés) will hold elections to find a successor to Gianni Bugno.

The election is slated for March 17 in Milan on the eve of Milano-Sanremo and two days before the Trofeo Binda, allowing many top men and women pros to vote in person.

For the first time, the group will allow electronic voting via an application that members can use to cast their vote. Interested members are encouraged to go the CPA website for more details.

Bugno joined as CPA president in 2010, and is moving on after three terms.

Tensions over election processes in the past were one of the reasons why a splinter group called the Rider Union was created in 2020.

“During the last elections the riders had asked us to implement this innovation,” Bugno said. “Voting electronically meant changing our statutes, rethinking our internal structure by guaranteeing that individual riders could vote, and creating a tool, our new app, that would serve the purpose.

“It was not an easy task, but I am happy that we have fulfilled our commitment to the riders and I am certain that our union will come out even stronger,” Bugno said.