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Lachlan Morton’s new record, Lorena Wiebes is free to fly: Daily News Digest

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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.

For most pro cyclists the past few months of riding has consisted largely of indoor training – not the most exciting or stimulating way to ride a bike. But now that lockdowns are starting to ease around the world, we’re seeing more and more pros spread their wings in creative ways.

There’s been the flurry of pro Everesting attempts, of course, but there’s also the riders of EF Pro Cycling who have been doing some interesting on-bike adventures. Like US champ Alex Howes who recently rode 354 km (220 miles) from his home in Colorado to the Kansas border. Or his Aussie teammate, Lachlan Morton, who just set a new record on the Kokopelli Trail in Colorado and Utah. Inspiring stuff!

You’ll find those stories and more in today’s edition of the Daily News Digest. Have a great day and a great week.

Matt de Neef
Managing Editor

What’s news

| Lorena Wiebes and Parkhotel Valkenburg part ways

The months-long stoush between Dutch sprinter Lorena Wiebes and her Parkhotel Valkenburg team appears to be over with Wiebes set to leave the team on June 1. It is not yet clear where the Dutch champion will be racing for the remainder of the year.

“Although it is unfortunate to see a rider leave after many successes together, if the match is not there anymore, it is time to move on,” said team manager Esra Tromp in an announcement over the weekend. “We are thankful for the years with Lorena and we wish her all the best for the future.”

Wiebes started with Parkhotel Valkenburg in 2018 but had a breakout year in 2019, becoming the #1-ranked rider in the women’s peloton. In November it was revealed she was looking to leave the second-tier Parkhotel Valkenburg squad to join a WorldTour outfit in 2020. A legal dispute between Wiebes and the team ensued but was reportedly settled out of court.

| Lachlan Morton sets Kokopelli Trail record

Lachlan Morton has set a new record for the Kokopelli Trail in Colorado and Utah. Morton covered the 140-mile (225 km) mountain bike route in a time of 11 hours and 14 minutes, taking 38 minutes off the previous record set by ultra-MTBer Kurt Refsnider.

“It’s just great having that feeling again of being out, doing things,” Morton said. “After the last few months, everyone’s sort of been questioning what they do and why they’re doing it. For me, it’s nice to be going out and doing something again.

“Getting the record is nice for sure, but I’m just happy I had a good day out on that trail.”

| Rider transfer market ‘on hold’

In a normal season, rider agents would currently be busy sorting out contracts for the year ahead. This year, though, things are a little different. With racing on hold and several teams seemingly on the brink of collapse, the rider transfer market has been very quiet.

“There’s been very minimal talk of rider movement right now,” Mitchelton-Scott sports director Matt White told VeloNews. “The financial situation of a lot of teams is too uncertain. Some teams don’t even know what their budgets will be in 2021.”

Rider agent Giuseppe Acquadro offered a similar perspective: “Things have been quiet,” he told VeloNews. “Everything will happen later this year due to coronavirus. Teams don’t know their budgets, and maybe some teams will close. It’s expected that it will take some time this year.”

| Florence to bid for Tour de France start

Did you know that Italy has never hosted the start of the Tour de France? It’s true, but that could well change in the next few years. In a presentation to launch the “Rinasce Firenze” plan this week, mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, said the city and region had registered their interest in holding the Grand Départ.

“Emilia-Romagna has started the candidacy for the Grand Départ in recent weeks,” Nardella said. “That would be a historic event. By joining forces from two regions, such as Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, we have a very strong candidacy for a Tour de France start in the coming years.”

The rescheduled 2020 Tour de France is set to start in Nice, France, and the 2021 edition will begin in Copenhagen, Denmark. There are rumours to suggest the 2022 edition will start in Saint-Etienne, France.

| UK cyclist hospitalised after axe attack

Here’s some news that could be straight out of a horror film: a cyclist in Nottingham, England has been hospitalised after what police are describing as an “unprovoked attack” by an axe-wielding assailant.

The rider was reportedly hit on the head, shoulder and back by the offender, who ran away from the scene immediately afterwards.

“This must have been an incredibly scary and traumatic experience and we are keen to get to the bottom of this incident as quickly as possible,” said Detective Sergeant David Prest. “We have officers on patrol in the area this morning and will continue to do so throughout the weekend, talking to local residents and offering reassurance.”

In case you missed it

| Forget Everesting, this is quite the opposite

This is a terrific set of photos from Joey Schusler documenting Alex Howes’ massive 354 km (220 mile) ride across Colorado. Well worth a look (and a read of Caley Fretz’s terrific write-up).

| Shane Miller puts GTBikeV through its paces

Last week we shared the story of a new mod for Grand Theft Auto V which allows you to connect your smart trainer and ride around in the game. If you want to learn more, be sure to check out the videos Aussie YouTuber Shane Miller has made on the subject.

He created a helpful guide for getting the mod up and running, and he broadcast an entertaining livestream of him playing through the mod’s various modes (see below). Worth a watch.

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Today’s featured image of Lorena Wiebes winning the GP Groenen Groep comes from Cor Vos.

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