Luca Scinto, manager of Vini Zabù-KTM, a team invited at this year's Giro d'Italia, has allegedly ordered his riders to lose their power meters and heart rate monitors during racing. They will be allowed in training, but the Italian manager feels they're taking away the riders' ability to think with their own heads.
The Tour of Oman has been cancelled following the death of the country's ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. The race was going to part of the new UCI Pro Series in 2020.
While training in Cape with his team B&B Hotels-Vital Concept, French sprinter Bryan Coquard had a crash and it resulted in an airline fracture to the shoulder blade. He's still certain to start his season in mid-February at the Clasica de Almeria.
MEN: The Men's World Tour took off in South Australia with the Santos Tour Down Under. Sam Bennett, under pressure to win for arguably one of the most successful teams, Deceuninck-Quick Step, lived up to expectations and surged on stage 1 to win the sprint, the ochre jersey of overall leader and the points jersey.
Stage 2 was Caleb Ewan's (Lotto Soudal). The sprinter outpaced what was left of the peloton after a crash in the last 2km that left a few riders with fractures and cuts. Ben Hermans (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Rafael Valls (Bahrain McLaren) had to abandon, while Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Elia Viviani (Cofidis) were amongst the injured.
A well-timed and sustained attack by Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) on the last climb of stage 3, gave the Australian his first win in a year and the ochre jersey of the overall leader.
Stage 4 was for the sprinters and Caleb Ewan took his second win, edging past Sam Bennett as the Irishman launched his attack too early.
Bjarne Riss' influence in the NTT Pro Cycling set up was clear in their stage 5 win with Giacomo Nizzolo, when a very tactical ride from the team with strength in numbers made it possible for the Italian sprinter to outfox his rivals. Daryl Impey managed to take the ochre jersey back thanks to the hard work in the intermediate sprints.
Stage 6, the final one, had the finish line at the top of the Willunga climb. After a hard chase by Mitchelton-Scott and Trek-Segafredo, the breakaway was caught on the final slope. Richi Porte attacked and Daryl Impey had nothing left in the tank. His teammate Simon Yates tried to stay on the Australian's wheel, but Porte proved too strong as he kept on accelerating. The stage glory though went to British rider Matt Holmes (Lotto Soudal). The young Brit, on his first race in the World Tour (and first win), having come from domestic team Madison Genesis, was originally in the breakaway and he went with Porte when he attacked and overtook him in the last few metres. This year's Willunga was Porte's fastest ascent, and although it wasn't enough for the stage win, it was enough to clinch the overall.
The points jersey went to Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates); The Youth jersey to Pavel Sivakov (Team INEOS), the KOM to Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team) and the best team was Team INEOS.
MEN: The Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon (2.1) saw the 1st win of the season for Team Cofidis by Vivian's younger brother Attilio. The 2nd stage went to sprinter Natnael Tesfatsion (NTT Continental Cycling Team). Biniyam Ghirmay (NIPPO DELKO One Provence) won stage 3 and 6 while Clovis Kamzong (Cameroon) took stage 4 and Algerian and former Dimension Data rider Youcef Reguigui (Terengganu Inc. TSG) took the 5th stage. The final stage 7 went to Lorrenzo Manzin (team Total Direct Energie). The overall winner of this year's edition was sprinter Jordan Levasseur (Natura4ever - Roubaix Lille Mètropole), the Points to Binyam Ghirmay, Youth to Natnael Tesfatsion, KOM to Dawit Yemane (Eritrea) and the best team was Rwanda.