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Nibali’s calendar, a virtual showdown, a doping suspension: Daily News Digest

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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.

With no major outdoor races going on at the moment, you might have thought we’d get a break from doping news, but that’s not quite the way things have turned out.

The UCI announced on Monday that Mexican time trial champ Luis Villalobos, currently a member of the EF squad, has been provisionally suspended following a positive test for GHRP-6. The positive came from an out-of-competition control in April of last year, when he rode for a different team.

In a press release, EF expressed frustration at the lengthy time period between the test and the announcement of the result, with team CEO Jonathan Vaughters saying the team would not have signed Villalobos had it known of the situation.

In happier news, some big names are set to race in a knockout style event organized by the RCS this weekend, The Challenge of Stars. Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali are among the stars set to contend in a climbers bracket via the Bkool platform, while Caleb Ewan and Pascal Ackermann are among those that will battle in a bracket for sprinters and rouleurs.

Until next time, readers.

Dane Cash
News Editor

What’s news

| Villalobos provisionally suspended after doping positive

Luis Villalobos, Mexico’s reigning national time trial champion, has been provisionally suspended by the UCI after a positive result for GHRP-6 (growth hormone-releasing hexapeptide), registered in an out-of-competition control on April 25 of last year.

Now a member of the EF team, Villalobos rode for Aevolo at the time. His EF team has addressed the situation in a press release, expressing that it is “profoundly disappointed” with the amount of time that has passed since the control, with team CEO Jonathan Vaughters saying “If we’d have known, we would not have signed Luis.”

| Froome, Nibali, Ewan among headliners for Challenge of Stars virtual race

The RCS has unveiled the big names set to race in its upcoming Challenge of Stars, a virtual knockout-style event that will run from Saturday to Sunday on the Bkool platform.

Pitting eight climbers against each other in head-to-head matchups in one bracket and eight sprinters or rouleurs against each other in another, The Challenge of Stars will feature Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, Jakob Fuglsang, Caleb Ewan, Pascal Ackermann, and Mads Pedersen, among others.

| Nibali confirms Giro plans, Porte eyes Tour

Speaking of Nibali, as La Gazzetta dello Sport reports, Vincenzo Nibali has confirmed that he will target this year’s Giro d’Italia, as he had been planning to do prior to the sport-wide hiatus from racing.

Nibali’s planned calendar includes Strade Bianche, Il Lombardia, Milan-San Remo, Tirreno-Adriatico, the World Championships, and the Giro.

Meanwhile, Trek-Segafredo teammate Richie Porte is squarely focused on the Tour de France this year, while also acknowledging in an interview with SBS that it may be his last campaign as a Tour team leader.

| Armstrong says he started doping at age 21

A trailer for the upcoming ESPN documentary LANCE released this week features footage of Lance Armstrong telling an interviewer that he started doping at age 21.

Armstrong admitted to doping during much of his career after he was stripped of all results from August 1 of 1998, but if he indeed began doping at 21, his first use of performance enhancers could potentially have come even before he won the 1993 world road title, a result that has not been officially stripped from his palmares.

| Winder will attempt Everesting record on Wednesday

US national champ Ruth Winder will make a run at the Everesting record this Wednesday. The current women’s record, according to the Everesting Hall of Fame, is held by Alice Thompson. She completed her effort on Naish Hill in the UK in a time of 12 hours and 32 minutes.

Winder will make her attempt on the Super Flagstaff climb in Boulder, Colorado, which rises from 1,632m (5,354 ft) to 2,195m (7,201 ft) over 7.5km, averaging 8.2%.

“It’s not the most efficient climb to do it on, but I don’t want to be miserable and it’s the best climb here,” Winder said. “I’d rather it be a good climb than some five minute steep thing.”

Winder said her goal is go under 12 hours for the nearly 15 laps of Super Flag.

| Strava announces changes for paid and free users

Strava rolled out a number of significant changes on Monday in an effort to boost the value of its paid subscription service.

Among the biggest changes unveiled in the update is the access to Strava’s segment leaderboards. Free users will still be able to place on leaderboards and can still view all-time top 10s and personal segment achievements, but moving forward, only paid users will be able to see full leaderboard data.

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| Panaracer’s Gravelking tire family has a new, faster baby: Meet the SS

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Today’s featured image of the peloton on stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia, whose 2020 edition was initially scheduled to be taking place this month, comes from the Grubers.

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